Apocalypse Now

Does anyone reading this remember the Duck and Cover drills from the 1950’s? Just in cases you missed them, the drills were part of President Harry S. Truman’s Federal Civil Defense Administration program and were aimed to educate the public about what ordinary people could do to protect themselves in case of nuclear attack by the Soviet Union.

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Like this was going to save you from being turned into radioactive Rice Krispies

I don’t remember doing these when I was a kid, but I didn’t start going to school until the 1960’s. By that time everyone had probably figured out that ducking and covering was a stupid idea, so they started smoking pot and protesting against the Vietnam War and marching for civil rights. And stuff.

You wouldn’t be allowed to have a mass protest right now because the whole world is on double-secret probation lockdown in an attempt to control the Coronavirus pandemic, including the Lakeside Area. Yesterday, my golf course closed until sometime next week, but probably maybe later. There’s a whole lots of nothing to do here right now.

I’ve completed every home maintenance project within my ability here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. I added about five hundred gallons to the pool yesterday. It took seven hours and twelve minutes. If you think watching paint dry is boring…  And I watched five hundred videos on Facebook and the YouTube®.

The first two were funny.

I’ve weeded some of the gardens. Todd has weeded all of the others. Miguel, our gardener and pool guy, is going to cry when this quarantine is over. I repotted all of my plants on the patio this morning that I was planning to get around to doing, someday. 

Right now, I’m listening to my collection of Mozart CD’s that I bought twenty years ago and never took out of the box. And it seems like a good time to try to write something/anything to pass the time away…

* * * *

Way back when I wanted to become a rich and famous author, I wrote an epic, three volume tale about the End of the World. There were a couple of plagues of Biblical proportions in it. Hundreds of thousands of people got dead. I thought I had a pretty good idea of how people would react during a crisis, but I know I didn’t write anything about people hoarding toilet paper…

But wait, there’s more!

There were a shitload of natural disasters that ruined the lives of almost everyone on the planet. And more than one unnatural disaster that, if you were unlucky enough to survive, would probably make you wish you had gotten dead. And there were a couple of world wars where millions of people got killed to death.

My book was a lighthearted comedy romp through the worst fucking things you could imagine, and then doing them all over again because you just weren’t miserable enough yet.

And I seriously wondered why no one wanted to publish it at the time.

I know I didn’t foresee the current political divide in American politics. Even if I had, I’m sure I would’ve predicted that the two parties would put aside their differences and work together to try to save their country from ruin.

That has not turned out to be the case with the Coronavirus, has it? It’s like unto those old Miller Lite commercials:

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Tastes great. Less filling!  Bitch! Whore!! CUNT!!!

It’s time to grow up, you politician guys. And it’s time for America to wake the fuck up. No party in the current system, not Republican nor Democratic, has all of the answers to fix all of the problems America is facing. And if they can’t start working together, neither of them will.

* * * *

The End of the World has been predicted pretty much ever since civilization began. And the one constant I can see is this: every one of those predictions of imminent doom, destruction and death has been wrong. Including mine.

As far as I know, there has been only one (unverified) case of complete and total worldwide death and destruction since human beings appeared on the scene.

The Great Flood.

* * * *

Some of you probably know the story about Great Flood and Noah and his ark. As the story goes, wickedness and evil were prevalent all across the world at that time. It was like unto the Sin City movies, only worse. And if you’re looking for a story about a compassionate, loving God, you won’t find one here.

According to legend, a group of angels called the Grigori were living on Earth to keep an eye on things while God was busy doing other things somewhere else. One of the things these angels noticed was the daughters of Men were some serious babes. They broke General Order #1, the Prime Directive, and interfered with the normal and healthy development of Earth life and culture. The children of this mixing were called Nephilim.

They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

Think back to those mythology classes you thought were stupid and boring because all that crap had to be made up by someone doing mind-altering drugs. All of those gods, demi-gods, and heroes: Zeus. Osiris. Apollo. Odin. Vishnu. Thor. Achilles, Perseus, and Hercules. Bilibobus Thorntonicus.

They were half-mortal, half-divine beings with an impressive array of abilities and  powers unknown to the rest of the world. And they were most likely the real reason God decided to destroy most of the civilized world when He did. I don’t think He liked all of the competition. And He clearly kicked the shit out of all of them. There were a lots and lots of stories about their exploits. And then, kind of just like that!, there were no more stories…

Something happened to all of those guys.

* * * *

According to the Bible, God regretted ever creating humans because they were so fucking wicked bad. According to the way I interpret this story, the cause of all that wickedness appears to be a group of rogue angels that decided to have unprotected sex with a bunch of hot girls. And they produced a race of Giants with magical superpowers. So God decided the best thing He could do to fix this problem was kill every man, woman and child on the planet by drowning them in a great flood.

Everyone except Noah and his family because Noah was a righteous dude, like unto Ferris Bueller. And you probably know the rest of the story. Noah built an ark, then he gathered together a bunch of animals and herded them into his big-ass boat. And then it started raining like unto a bastard, and it rained for forty days and forty nights. 

According to the Bible,  …everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died.  Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.

Afterwards, God made a covenant with Noah and his family. God promised Himself He would never destroy the world in this fashion again, and He set a rainbow in the clouds as a sign of the covenant He had made. It would be a reminder to God that the next time His children disappointed Him, He wouldn’t kill them all to death again.

You know, just in cases He forgets or something…

* * * *

I’ve always thought the story of Noah’s ark was the kind of story that parents would read to their children when they went to bed at night to encourage them to be better people, or God will drown your rotten little asses, too!

I thought that for a couple of reasons. One, God is supposed to be all-knowing and perfect, therefore, incapable of making a mistake. Ask any pastor you happen to see, they’ll tell you. And yet He appears to have done fucked up a couple of times in this story. I’ve said this before: if God wanted a perfect society, He should have stopped with bees.

The other reason is God supposedly doesn’t labor in vain. Everything He touches works out to perfection. But here we have a world gone to hell in a handbasket, with corruption and crap everywhere. God rolls up His sleeves and gets to work. He cleans up the mess His wicked and evil children have created by drowning them all in the bathtub.

And yet, after all of that, wickedness and evil still exist? That shouldn’t be possible, should it? Nor does it appear that God was even successful in killing all of the Nephilim. It clearly states in the Bible that some of them continued living after the flood.

Yeah, I know. It doesn’t make any sense. And yet if you want to be a good Christian you have to believe it’s true because it’s in the Bible and everything in the Bible is true. It’s one of the reasons I’m not a good Christian.

* * * *

There was one part of the story that I thought had to be true. After the flood Noah planted some grapes, made some wine, and got drunk. And it says he passed out naked in his tent.

But I imagine this as the first block party after the flood. Noah had no doubt been very stressed out from building an ark, gathering a herd of animals and somehow feeding them during the super storm that drowned the earth. But those may have been small change compared to being quarantined with his family for more than six months straight.

It’s something we can all relate to right now. With adjustments for inflation and the cost of living, six modern days are easily equal to six ancient months.

I imagine Noah drank a few flagons of wine at the Postdiluvian Block Party. Then he drank a few more… The next thing you know, he’s telling his family what a bunch of fuckin’ whiners they’d been during the dark days of the storm. His sons were almost no help. Their wives, those bitches, he would’ve fed them to the lions if God would’ve let him. Then took his clothes off and twerked his naked ass in front of all of their faces before he stumbled into his tent and passed out.

According to the Bible, Noah was 600 years old at the time of the Great Flood. That could not have been a pretty sight.

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See? I told you

Don’t be surprised when this whole quarantine thing ends if you see crowds of drunken naked people dancing in the street. It could totally happen.

* * * *

At least one of my Facebook friends is convinced that the Coronavirus pandemic is the beginning of the end, and the End of Times is upon us. I was pretty sure the Gulf War was going to usher in the events that would end the world…

Yeah, I really do suck when it comes to being a prophet.

That said, I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time, so here’s a couple of things to consider about the End of Times:

“Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Revelation 12:7-9

Every pastor I’ve talked to about this says that war was fought long ago. Go ahead, ask your pastor. See what he thinks. I think it’s a battle that is yet to be fought. And the reason I think that is this verse in the Book of Revelation:

“Therefore rejoice, you heavens
    and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
    because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
    because he knows that his time is short.”

For a malevolent spirit of ultimate evil, Satan has thus far appeared to be a bit of an underachiever when it comes to being, you know, a really bad guy. The worst thing he’s done lately is prevent the Saturday Women’s group from having pancakes. From what I tell, he appears to be content to watch Netflix® and chill, just like the rest of us. 

Desperate times require desperate actions. When Satan starts acting like a Russian mobster on a meth binge, then you’ll know that shit just got real.

And there’s one last thing. Revelation 19:19. That verse describes the armies of the kings of the earth assembling to wage war against the forces of Heaven.

Two billion people on this planet claim to be Christian. Every Christian will tell you the Second Coming of Christ is something they look forward to with great anticipation. Every Christian alive would say this is true, even if they happened to be a king of the earth.

If that’s true, then why would they gather their armies and prepare for war?

There’s only one thing that I can think of that could unite all of this world’s fractious leaders enough to pool their forces and fight together. And that thing is an invasion from outer space.

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April Fool’s! Or is it?

* * * *

Yeah, I know it sounds crazy. But if you can think of anything else that would make all of the world leaders unite like that, I’m open to your ideas and suggestions.

Jesus Christ claimed to be the King of Heaven and Earth, and he said he would return again one day to rule. One quarter of world’s population believes with all their hearts that this is going to happen, and the sooner the better. But according to the Bible, Jesus will have to go to war to claim his throne.

You’d think he’d have an army of supporters waiting to welcome him when he returns, but it doesn’t appear that that is going to happen. Can any of my Christian friends explain to me how that’s possible?

I have one. When Jesus returns, he comes back in a spaceship. And because of that, no one is going to lay down a welcome mat for him

That, however implausible it might seem, would explain a whole lots of things. I’m not going anywhere or doing anything for a few days. If you have a different idea, leave a comment.

* * * *

Hang in there everyone. This quarantine isn’t going to last forever. It probably won’t last much longer. Maybe another week beyond what everyone has been predicting. But then simple economics will have to take over and the world will have to get back to business again.

But if it doesn’t, a lots of people are going to start praying for spaceships.

From A Million Miles

From a Million Miles is a technopop/electronic dance song by the Australian trio Single Gun Theory. I’m not a big fan of the genre, but I do have that song on one of my playlists. If you don’t have anything else to do, you can listen to it on The YouTube®.

It’s kind of a catchy song. And the title more or less sums up how living in a foreign country can sometimes feel when you miss your family and friends. And stuff…

 * * * *

How’s everybody doing? I hope you’ve all been able to stock up on toilet paper, bottled water, and hand sanitizer so you don’t get killed to death by the Coronavirus. We’re safe here in Mexico because we drink Corona® beer. It contains all the antibodies you need to develop immunity to the pandemic that’s wreaking havoc everywhere else on the planet.

Honestly, I have no idea what’s really going on out there in the real world. I don’t watch the news. Social media seems to be the most effective way to spread misinformation. Ever.

I figure most of us will survive this latest crisis, much like we’ve survived everything else that was supposed to destroy the world. Or we won’t. And life will go on.

The bottom line is this: there’s a bunch of rich, white, seventy year old men in America with dementia and intransigent political alliances, and they are going to fix everything.

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What could possibly go wrong?

* * * *

I am seriously embarrassed by the current state of American politics, and if you aren’t, you should be. Even if you’re not an American. I’ve come to the conclusion that the current system of government isn’t just broken, it’s FUBAR. For those of you that are unaware, it’s a military acronym that means: Fucked Up Beyond All Repair.

I’d like to be able to blame Donald Trump and his political sycophants for destroying the country of my birth, but all they did was drive the final stake in its heart.

It’s no secret that I dislike President Trump. He has taken being a hypocrite to a whole ‘nother level. A hypocrite is a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, or principles that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie their stated beliefs.

The Donald is more of a triplocrit. And here’s how he does it: 1.) He says or does something outrageous. 2.) He denies that he did or said anything. 3.) He smugly admits to doing/saying that which he had previously denied, but says it’s not a big deal. Or it’s not illegal. Or what are you going to do about it. Or something…

I haven’t been following his antics as closely ever since my Twitter account was permanently suspended last year. I still get updates from my friends on Facebook about what The Donald has been up to. Okay, they despise Trump, too. So they never have anything good to say about him. 

Trump, if nothing else, has clearly defined the lines of divisiveness that separate the two major American political parties. He probably used a Sharpie®…

The People With Brains, my name for the people that oppose Trump, are absolutely mystified how the Walmart Intelligensia, my name for the people that worship Trump, can be so taken in by this two-bit charlatan.

There might be an explanation in the Bible: “…they look but do not see, and they listen, but do not hear nor do they understand.” Matthew 13:13.

But one line in the Bible can be used to support almost any argument.

“They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31. I could claim that this bit of scripture prophesied the Philadelphia Eagles beating the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl in 2018.

God, if He had anything to do with Donald Trump being elected, is clearly working in mysterious ways because that’s apparently the only way He knows how to work. And if this is going to be one of His lessons for humanity, there are going to be a whole lots of dunces facing the corner wearing funny hats when this is over.

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As I’ve said before, guys are not typically known for their profound thoughts. Guys are simple creatures. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. That’s a guy thought. If it is broken and you can’t fix it, it’s time to get a new goldarn thing. That is also a deeply profound guy thought.

It’ll probably require another American revolution to fix this goddamn goldarn mess of a thing, but that political/socioeconomic battle won’t be fought until long after I’m dead.

I tried to warn the Millennials, but they haven’t heard me yet. It’s time to vote every fucking member of Congress from my generation out of office, and put them out to pasture where they belong.

I’m not going to tell you little bastards that again.

* * * *

One of the best things about living in Mexico is we don’t have to watch or listen to any American political ads if we don’t want to. We did have to endure Canadian political ads last year. Yep. They were annoying, too.

I love living here. The climate is temperate. The people here are genuinely sweet. The food is amazing! The cost of living is doubly amazing!! We live in a beautiful gringo mansion that we wouldn’t be able to afford back the States. I get to hang out with the love of my life and enjoy spending this blessed time of our lives together. And we have kit-tens!!

Some of my Facebook friends have told me they are fascinated by my decision to live in Mexico. Well, if they’re that interested, I hope they start reading my blog. That’s right, Ryan McKenzie, I’m talking to you.

He was my first boss at Aurora Behavioral Health in Glendale, AZ. I accepted the job because of him. He was highly regarded and recommended by my co-workers at St. Luke’s Hospital in Phoenix. I decided to find a new job after my first work wife, Deb Goral, left the Evening shift and started working Days. It wasn’t as much fun without her, so I decided to move on.

Ryan is the Program Director of the SAGE Unit now. That’s the Gero/Psych unit I worked on at Banner Del Webb Medical Center in Surprise, AZ. As one of the doctors I worked with at Del Webb told me when I left there, “It’s a small world in Psychiatry here in Phoenix. We’ll probably run into each other again.”

He was right about that. I worked with him again at Aurora.

* * * *

If you’re one of the seven people that have ever read any of my blogs, you might have noticed that I changed the title of my page. I originally started writing about my career as a psych nurse, and I called it Reflections. As time has progressed, I’ve been less reflective about my nursing career and more reactive to just about anything. I’m all over the spectrum with what I write now.

If I can’t think of anything else to write about, I tend to ramble on about living in Mexico, so I decided to add that to the title to emphasize it a bit more. I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea about what they’re going to find here.

* * * *

As much as I love living here, life in Mexico isn’t without its challenges. Case in point, the fireplace in our living room.

In my last post, I mentioned we were shopping for a gas insert for the fireplace in the living room. We have three fireplaces here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. They all have gas lines installed, but none of them have the requisite inserts that make them functionable.

We found an insert at Baja Grills, and Lea was able to negotiate a sweet deal on it with Kat. It was one of those Just Between Two Supermodels Things…  Lea bought the insert for less than five hundred bucks, which is about half of what you’d usually pay for one down here.

However, before we bought it Lea wanted to know if the gas line to the fireplace actually worked. I suppose I could have just turned one on, you know, to check. But I don’t like playing with gas, so I decided to call our property manager, Jaime Mendoza.

And there was this: I thought Lea was being ridiculous because the gas lines were already in place! And who would be stupid enough to run a gas line to the fireplace and not hook it up to the propane tank???

So, I talked to Jaime, and he talked to Lord Mark. He’s the guy that owns the house we’re renting. They were both pretty sure all the fireplaces worked because Lord Mark’s parents had burned wood fires in all of them. When I asked again about the gas lines, Jaime couldn’t think of any reason why they wouldn’t work.

Based on that information we bought the insert, but when the guy came to install it we discovered that none of the gas lines to any of the fireplaces worked. At some point in time in the past, the original gas line had been replaced with a new and improved gas line. But the new line ran from the propane tank to the water heater for the bathrooms in the North Wing of the house.

And the fucking fireplaces had not been reconnected!!!

The installer from Baja Grills was a Mexican guy named Saul. He took one look at how the new line had been installed, and said, “Fucking Mexico.” And then he said, “It takes a Mexican to fix a Mexican problem.”

l love that because truer words have never been spoken.

Saul gave us an estimate to run a new gas line from the propane tank to the living room fireplace. Fourteen thousand pesos. That’s roughly equivalent to $700 US. It’s not a huge amount of money, but it’s more than Lea or I wanted to spend on a house that we don’t own.

So I talked to Jaime again, and he came over to eyeball the situation for himself. Jaime said he didn’t know about the replacement gas line. And if Lord Mark had known about it, he had forgotten all about it. And Jaime had had the same thought I did. He couldn’t imagine the gas lines not working either.

However, Lord Mark thought it was important that the living room fireplace actually worked like a fireplace, so he agreed to pay for the installation of a new gas line. And it would be much cheaper than the estimate Saul had given us. “I think that guy gave you a gringo-face price.”

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I had never heard that term before, but I don’t doubt that it’s true, too

It took Tacho, our general fix-it guy, two days to hook up the new gas line. Tacho loves working here because I let him use any of my tools that he needs, and I always tip him well for his services.

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And there you have it

One working fireplace! I don’t know if Lord Mark would’ve been willing to run new gas lines to all the fireplaces here. I doubt we’d ever use the other two, and we love it here, so we don’t want to create any undue expenses for stuff we don’t want or need.

We painted the fireplace in the master bedroom to make it pop! Seriously, you wouldn’t have known it was even there before we added the accent color to the chimney. They both turned out great and we’ll probably never have to mess with either of them again.

* * * *

Mexico. The land where things that you think will be easy to do or find end up being Herculean labors of frustration. And things that you think are going to be almost impossible to accomplish end up being easier than tying your shoes.

That’s what happened when we found this house. And when we needed to get a new car. Lea and I are changing our living status in Mexico from temporary to permanent this year, and once we do that we are required by law to drive a Mexican plated car. 

In order to be legally registered and licensed in Mexico, every car has to have been manufactured in Mexico, Canada, or the United States. I think it’s part of the NAFTA treaty, or whatever it’s called now. Our American made Buick Encore was actually assembled in South Korea. We couldn’t get it licensed here even we we wanted to.

Buying a car in Mexico isn’t the same as buying a car in the States. Prices for almost everything in the States are fixed, except cars. You can negotiate the sales price of the vehicle you want, and salesmen will literally kiss your feet if means getting a sale. In Mexico, a lots of prices are flexible, except cars. The dealer has one price, and if you don’t like it, well, that’s too bad for you.

On the bright side, cars are about 40% cheaper in Mexico than they are in the States. Yep, you read that correctly. The car we’re thinking about buying will cost us roughly $18,000 US.

In America, no one pays cash at a dealership. Cars are financed, and you have a monthly car payment for years. In Mexico, financing is something they’re still trying to figure out. If you really want to buy a decent car, you better be able to pay cash for it when you go to the dealership.

And, you should have a reputable mechanic look over any car you want to buy here because not everything is as advertised. Odometer readings are often changed to reflect lower mileage, so if nothing else, there’s always that. Additionally, cars that have damaged by floods in the US are frequently shipped to Mexico to be sold. So there’s that, too.

We hired a local guy named Antonio Regalado to find a new car for us. He owns and runs a business called R &R Car Sales and Rentals to help gringos find good cars, and comes highly recommended by everyone we know that has done business with him. He’s kind of a mercenary car salesman — he doesn’t work for any dealership — but he works with a few of them and they usually pay his fees for hooking up gringos looking for cars with dealerships that have a lots of cars to sell.

Antonio does all the talking to the salesmen, the managers, and anyone else who might be involved in the sale at the dealership. And he kept us updated on everything that was happening.

We met with him Monday for about half an hour at his office, and told him what we were looking for. We gave him a list of the options we wanted and the year, make, and model of the SUV’s we were interested in. Half an hour later, we had a list of six SUV’s to choose from, along with Antonio’s perspective on which was the best buy.

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These are our top two choices

The first is a 2017 Kia Sportage GT. It has 45,000 kilometers. The GT package means it has a bigger engine and comes with a fair amount of bells and whistles. The second is a 2018 Nissan X-Trail. It has 59,000 kilometers and it has almost every bell and whistle available for that model. And it’s red.

Antonio drove us to Guadalajara today to the dealership to take a closer look at both of them. Personally, the only thing I care about in my automobiles is that they have a great sound system, which makes me the least qualified person on the planet when it comes to buying a car. So it’s a good thing I have people around me who know what the hell they’re doing.

This process has transpired a helluvalot faster than any of us thought it would. I thought it would take a couple of weeks at least, not two days! Our financial planner didn’t think it would happen this quickly either, so she has had to scramble to get us the funds we need to buy Lea’s new dream car. 

There’s an unwritten rule for shopping in Mexico: If you find something you like, buy it. It won’t be there the next time. We’ve failed to do that enough times that we don’t question it anymore. Lea loves the X-Trail. And it has a Bose® stereo sound system. Done deal.

And here’s where the really weird part comes in. Before a Mexican dealership can sell you a car, the Mexican government requires that you have to prove you actually live in Mexico. And proof of residency, according to the government, is a utility bill. An electric bill. Telephone, TV, or Internet. All you need is a bill with your name on it, and you could buy a whole fleet of cars if you wanted to.

We don’t own the house we’re living in. None of the utility bills we pay have our names on them. We have a signed copy of the rental contract, but the Mexican government doesn’t recognize it as legal proof of residency. They don’t recognize driver’s licenses either.

Yeah, go figure on that!

Seeing how we live here, but don’t have the required documents of proof, we’re trying to figure out how to make this work. A bank statement will suffice, but first we have to open an account in a Mexican bank, then wait until we receive our first bank statement. This being Mexico, and assuming that will be an easy thing, it could take months for that to happen.

But we do have an Antonio. And as everyone knows, it takes a Mexican to fix a Mexican problem.

The Three R’s

Greetings from Casa Tara, the Chula Vista Resort and Spa in beautiful San Antonio Tlayacapan, Mexico!

We’ve been busy here of late. Todd has been getting his room organized so it doesn’t look like a warehouse for half of his stuff anymore. And we’ve been going golfing a lots. Todd and I mostly suck at golf at about the same level most of the time. Our games are mildly competitive, but mostly relaxing. It’s been a lots of fun having him here.

I thought there would be more of a differentiation in our lives, you know, a Before Todd/After Todd kind of thing, but that hasn’t been the case. I almost think he found a way to use the top-secret time machine in the basement of the Minneapolis VAMC to alter the TimeSpace continuum so it seems like he’s always been here.

And it’s not just me. Todd and Lea both say the same thing. Right now, Todd is on his way to Minnesota to visit his kids and stuff. He’ll be gone about a week. I might be able to gain a bit more perspective about our new living arrangement by his absence, but probably not. I’m not all that interested in analyzing this. I have plenty of other things to ponder deeply.

My lovely supermodel wife has been working out some of the details for the window treatments for the master bedroom. She’s decided the job is too big for her to handle on her own, so she’s has enlisted the help of my third retirement wife, Susan. She’s an interior decorator, and she has some local contacts who can help complete Lea’s design vision.

I have no idea how long it will take. I don’t really care, either. Our bedroom looks fine to me the way it is, though I’m sure Lea’s design will be beautiful.

As for me, I have litter boxes to keep me busy when I’m not doing anything else. Four kit-tens produce roughly ten times as much waste products as two kit-tens. Yeah, I didn’t know that either.

I think all of our kit-tens are starting to get used to each other, but it’s hard to tell. One day they appear to be peacefully coexisting. The next day it’s something like unto a feline version of WWE Smackdown. They’re all trying to figure out how they all fit into their new world. You know, kind of like high school.

Except Sammy. He’s the king of the house, and he knows it.

Mika and Sadie seem to be the two kit-tens at the center of the remaining confrontations. Mika was the most vocal in her displeasure with the new kit-tens when they moved in. Now that Sadie has adjusted to this being her new home, it’s payback time.

No one has died yet, but one of Lea’s antique red glass vases became a casualty of war the other day…

I find it hard to believe that our new kit-tens have been here for less than a month, so it still seems feasible to me that after they’ve all been together for six months or so, they will actually all get along.

I’ll keep you posted.

* * * *

Way, way back when I was a kid, there were Three R’s: Reading, Writing and ‘Rithmatic. Way back when I was middle aged, there was a new set of Three R’s: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.

Now that I’m an old guy, there seems to be an even newer set of the Three R’s. They appear to be the platform upon which Donald Trump has based his popularity: Religion, Racism and Ratings.

The Donald didn’t coin these terms, I did. Well, I think I did. They might have been someone else’s ideas and were somehow inserted into my mind. It happens to me all the time.

* * * *

I can’t say that Donald Trump is the most religious President in the history of the United States, though he claims to be a good Christian. He actually seems to be the least religiously grounded man that has ever sat in the Oval Office, but that hasn’t stopped him from using religion as a tool for his own ends.

* * * *

The Donald actually got into a pissing contest with the Pope because of his Great Southern Border Wall. The Pope said something to the effect of …any man who would rather build a wall than a bridge doesn’t seem like much of a Christian. And Donald replied with something to to the effect of Oh yeah? Who asked you? Who do think you are, the fuckin’ Pope?

The Pope kind of apologized, possibly because he thought Trump would invade The Vatican City. And The Donald kind of apologized, saying he thought the Pope was …a great guy.

* * * *

When Citizen Trump was running for President, he brought a Bible to the podium in September of 2015. All he did was show it to his audience to prove he had one. He didn’t read anything out of it. It was merely a prop, displayed with a flourish, then quickly forgotten.

In August of this year, he was asked about his love of the Bible because he said it was his favorite book. When he was asked what his favorite Bible verse was, he refused to answer the question. He said the Bible was too deeply personal for him to talk about, you know, in public.

Let me translate that for you. He doesn’t know even one verse in the Bible. Even atheists know at least one Bible verse!

* * * *

Interviewer: Can you tell me who wrote the Four Gospels?

Donald Trump: I’m not answering that question. You want to know why I’m not answering your question? A sixth grader could answer that question. It’s a no-brainer, so I’m not going to answer that. Ask me a tough question. What? We’re out of time? My people are telling I have to get to my next appointment…  By the way, the answer to your question is John, Paul, George and Ringo!

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I know a lots of Christians. All of them have a favorite Bible verse. Even the ones who suck at being good Christians. Like me. What’s my favorite Bible verse? Romans 12:2. See? That was easy.

Evangelical Christians are The Donald’s biggest middle class supporters. They are very conservative and fundamental in their beliefs. These are the people who see Donald Trump as their last bastion of hope for the world they want. He is the Chosen One that will protect their God-given rights and freedoms. 

Adamant Amendmentalists. That’s the best term I’ve been able to come up with to describe them, and I’m not sure that last word is even a word. But as far as the Constitutional Amendments go, they’re only interested in two. Maybe three.

The First Amendment: Freedom of Speech, and the Second Amendment: the Right to Bear Arms. That’s it. Those are the only two amendments they care about. If you were ask them if they support the Thirteenth Amendment…

Um, I want to take the fifth.

That’s the Fifth Amendment. And that’s as far as this road goes.

Oddly enough, these ardent defenders of some of the amendments don’t seem to understand that all of the amendments apply to all of the people, not just to them. Nor do they seem to be all that interested in listening to anyone who has an opinion that differs even a fraction from theirs. Much like unto their revered leader, their great and unmatched wisdom brooks no criticism.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About the US Constitution: there are twenty seven amendments. The only reason I’m saying this is because 37% of the people polled couldn’t name any of the rights protected by any of the amendments. The first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights. And the thirteenth amendment? That abolished slavery.

* * * *

Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that he is not a racist, which I find laughable. Almost everyone in my generation was raised to be a racist because our parents were totally racist.

My dad was Archie Bunker. He didn’t like black people. He had no black friends, and none of his children did either. Roughly forty years ago, one of my sisters almost dated a black guy. I think we had to replace part of the roof when my dad found out about it.

I’ve spent a good part of my life trying not to become the kind of man my father was. I can tell you this: the things you learn when you’re young, they take forever to un-learn.

Donald Trump’s dad was probably a member of the Ku Klux Klan, so, no history of racism there…  Maybe The Donald doesn’t see himself as racist because he has never openly called black people niggers. Be that as it may, his politics are based on racist ideals, and the Walmart Intelligensia that supports him is most definitely populated with racists.

To quote myself, These are the people who see Donald Trump as their last bastion of hope for the world they want. And what they want is a world with good old fashioned 1950’s segregation. Of all the embarrassing things that America has become, this is easily the most embarrassing.

We fought one horrific, bloody civil war in the 1800’s to end slavery. One hundred years later we fought an equally horrific, though much less bloody battle to enforce the constitutional and legal rights for African Americans that white Americans already enjoyed.

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The fact that this still even an issue — I have no words for that.

White privilege. That’s what Trump’s supporters expect him to defend. They are better than these goddamn non-white immigrants who are sneaking into the country to steal their jobs, rape their daughters, and get their sons hooked on drugs. They are better because they’re white. That’s their justification.

The America our forefathers envisioned doesn’t exist. It can probably be argued that it never existed. America, apparently for the most part, is bitter. And cruel. And small-minded.

I didn’t move to Mexico because I disagreed with American politics, but I will never reside in the country of my birth again because I now strongly disagree with American politics.

You can quote me on that.

* * * *

Given the fact that The Donald is the least presidential-acting President that the United States of America has ever had, I’m not sure he understands that he’s actually the President. From my point of view, he acts like the star of reality TV show would act if that was the role he had to play.

That’s what he was, is, and forever shall be. A reality TV star who somehow ended up being arguably the most powerful person on the planet. His words and actions only make sense when viewed in the context of man getting advice from his producers to increase the market share for his failing TV show:

Say outrageous things! No, even more outrageous than that! It’ll boost our ratings!! Go over the top with your Twitter account! People love that kind of stuff!! But maybe you should use Spell Check…

For those of you who don’t follow @realDonaldTrump on the Twitter®, he misspells almost everything. Including the word outrageous. And moat. 

Ratings. That’s where it’s at, man. Ratings make the world go ’round. That’s what The Donald is really all about. He’s constantly posting poll results that show how much people love him. That’s why he’s your favorite President.

Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Dallas

He’s actually called the himself that in a couple of his tweets.

* * * *

Just in cases you haven’t figured this out already, I am beyond sick of Donald Trump. My most fervent hope right now is that the Democrats aren’t as stupid as the Republicans, and if/when they decide to file Articles of Impeachment, they better not fuck this up.

If Donald Trump is as corrupt as I imagine him to be, the Democrats are the last hope America has. Trump has as much as admitted he did all of the things the Democrats want to investigate. That’s his defense. Yeah, I did it. And you know what? I’d do it again! And after he admitted his crimes, he said he wouldn’t do anything to cooperate with any investigation.

Americans expect greatness from their Presidents. And if they can’t get that, the very least they expect is humility. We have gotten neither from Donald Trump. He has done more, in less time, to tarnish an office that once was the most respected and admired office on the planet.

Time to wrap this Thanksgiving turkey up and get him the hell out of the White House by Christmas. It would be the best present America could ask for, and give everyone with a brain and a heart a renewed hope for the next year.

When the Bough Breaks

I’m going to figuratively go out on a limb and say that everyone has heard the lullaby Rockabye Baby. Even Millennials. If you haven’t, you should know the drill by now. That’s right, look it up on the YouTube®.

It’s a cute little song to fall asleep to, except for the whole crashing to the ground from the top of the tree part. That would startle you awake no matter how deeply you were sleeping.

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See? I told you.

A lots of bad shit can happen when the bough breaks. It’s like unto the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. You take as much as you can for as long as you can, and then you snap.

Like I did last Sunday.

* * * *

The Minnesota Vikings played their fourth game of the season. In yet another dismal performance against a divisional rival, they looked absolutely pathetic as they were manhandled by the Chicago Bears and lost, 16-6.

Four games. The Vikings are 2-2. Hey, that’s no reason to jump ship, Mark!

I actually had people tell me that. But I’ve seen this movie before. It doesn’t end well. Being a Vikings fan is like unto dating a really hot girl that fucks you like a nympho pornstar one weekend, then shits all over the bed the next.

I finally got tired of having to clean up the mess. Halfway through the Chicago game I decided it was time to cut my losses and change allegiances. I became a Detroit Lions fan. I’ve been thinking about doing it for two years, so it shouldn’t be a complete surprise to anyone.

If there’s one team in the NFC North that sucks more than the Vikings, that team is the Lions. They’re so bad they only have one great player, but he is their quarterback. Matthew Stafford is a fourth quarter wizard. He is a master of the fourth quarter comeback, and finds a way to almost win a lots of games.

In the last ten years, the Lions have lost more games by three points or less than any other NFL team. You better check that. I may have made that statistic up.

I decided I’d rather root for a team that no one expects to ever win a game and almost always does, than root for a team almost everyone expects to dominate their opponents and looks like the Keystone Kops more often than not.

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I. Am. Done.

There were few notable events in the game that contributed to my meltdown. The first was Chase Daniel. He’s Chicago’s backup quarterback. He came into the after Mitch Trubisky, Chicago’s starting QB, was injured. Backup quarterbacks don’t usually win a lots of games in the NFL. There’s a reason why they’re backups.

Chase Daniel looked like Tom Fucking Brady against the Vikings defense, which is supposed to be one of the better defenses in the NFL, but Mr. Second-string Junior Varsity moved his team up and down the field with relative ease.

The Vikings revamped offense looked terrible against a depleted Bears defense. That’s right. Chicago didn’t play a few of their best players because of injuries, and they still shut down Kirk Cousins and friends.

The Vikings had one of the best rushing games in the league prior to last Sunday. Against the Bears they rushed for forty yards. If you can’t run the ball, you have to pass it. And if you’re going to that, you better protect your quarterback. Kirk Cousins was sacked six times, and spent most of the game running for his life.

Kirk Cousins is the $84 million man. He was supposed to be the missing piece of the puzzle for the Vikings’ Super Bowl aspirations. The Vikings hired at least two coaches to come up with plays just to make Kirk look good. And as long as he’s playing against teams that aren’t very good, he looks awesome.

However, when he plays against good teams with winning records, he looks like the biggest mistake the Vikings have made since the infamous Herschel Walker trade.

The Purple and Gold are the new Browns. You heard it here first.

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This is what my social media meltdown mostly amounted to…

* * * *

Last week, the House of Representatives began an impeachment inquiry into some of President Trump’s more questionable actions. The Donald may have abused his presidential powers and sought help from a foreign government to undermine former Vice President Joe Biden, one of the Democrats trying to become the next President of the United States.

The Donald has said and done a lots of questionable things since he became President. Some of them have been reprehensible, in my humble opinion. But you can’t be impeached simply because someone thinks you’re an idiot. Or an asshole. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have any Presidents that weren’t impeached.

Bill Clinton was impeached because he got a blowjob from one of his female interns in the Oval Office. It’s ironic because I’d be willing to bet every dime I own that every man who voted in favor of impeaching President Clinton was also guilty of getting blowjobs from their interns in their offices.

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I know it’s hard to believe that a guy who acts like he’s a Mafia boss would actually do something that you’d expect a mob boss to do, but that’s what appears to have happened. According to several diverse sources, this is just the tip of the iceberg of Trump’s illegal activities, and they are seemingly legion. We’ll see how all of this plays out…

The Donald denies any wrongdoing. This weekend he had a Twitter® meltdown that made my meltdown look like the beginning of the last Ice Age. He posted over eighty tweets saying he was the victim of a witch hunt and was being harassed and bullied by the Do Nothing Democrats. Then he demanded to know the identity of the whistleblower who exposed him, and threatened everybody associated with the inquiry with vague retribution and severe punishment. 

That, is witness tampering, and it is most definitely a crime.

He said the country would be torn apart in a civil war if he were to be impeached, which may cause some of his more loosely-hinged supporters to shoot a whole lots of other people. We’ll have to see how that unfolds, too. He added this wasn’t an impeachment, but a COUP intended to take away the God-given rights and freedoms of all Americans. And he said he’d be willing to fight with his supporters, but he has bone spurs and a note from his doctor, so there’s that.

At any rate, there has been a paradigm shift in American politics that will likely only increase the huge divide that already separates the Republicans and the Democrats. Though if you were to ask Republicans how they feel off the record, many of them would probably say they support impeachment and are secretly relieved.

* * * *

My lovely supermodel wife and I had lunch with a friend of ours last week. She was an attorney and a political lobbyist in New York State. During lunch she told me her theory about why the American political system fell apart.

White wine.

Remember when everyone started drinking white wine because they heard about some study that said white wine was good for you?

Before the release of that study, people drank whatever they wanted. Beer. Gin. Whiskey. Vodka. Tequila. Whatever. And that included politicians. That’s how legislative deals were made. After a political session ended, all of the legislators would get together in an office and have a few drinks, and voilà!

Shit got done.

Then everyone started drinking white wine, and going to the gym, and no one could eat gluten anymore…

Now nothing gets done.

I hadn’t heard this theory before, but chronologically, it makes sense. And I never thought I would ever hear myself saying these words to anyone, but you goddamn politicians aren’t drinking enough alcohol. Get your heads out of your asses. Drink a couple of glasses of Scotch, and do your jobs.

Drink, drink, and vote yea.

That, and nothing else, will make America great again.

Mexican Standoff 2.0

I’m not sure how much accurate news the US media reports about Mexico, but if they’ve mentioned anything about a gas shortage going on south of the border, that is true.

If you weren’t alive and driving a car in 1970’s, you might not know there were a couple of gas crises in the United States.

In October of 1973, OPEC decided to stop exporting oil to the United States in response to President Nixon’s domestic and foreign policies.

There was a second crisis in 1979 when the puppet government of the Shah of Iran, which had been supported by the American government, collapsed and the Ayatollah Khomeini instituted his repressive Islamic rule.

The result of these shortages was soaring gas prices and long lines at filling stations, and they contributed to  major economic downturns in the U.S.

I could elaborate more, but I’m pretty much done talking about American history. If you need to know more about this, look it up on the Interweb.

* * * *

The current Mexican gas shortage doesn’t have anything to with pissed off Arabs. The new President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is fighting a war against organized crime.

Criminal gangs known as huachicoleros have been siphoning gasoline from pipelines for decades, and reselling it. The new Mexican president campaigned on cleaning up the corruption in his country, and made it a priority to stop the gangs.

According to available statistics, the market for cheap stolen fuel cost the government some 60 billion pesos, or $3.14 billion last year.

That’s a whole lots of tacos, baby.

The short-term effect of this has been predictable. Long lines of cars waiting for gasoline, limited/rationed amounts of gas for sale, and a whole lots of pissed off people. It’s actually been closer to standstill than a standoff.

The long-term effects should be considerable. Increased revenue for the government to fund the multitudinous improvements that Mexico needs, and it could weaken the hold of some of the fucking gangs of criminals who have essentially done whatever they want without any fear of repercussions.

If you want to make an omelette, you have to break a lots of eggs. If you want to attack the grip of organized crime, you have kick a lots of gangs in the cojones. Studies have shown that if you kick a guy in the balls, he’ll stop engaging in whatever he was doing and get down on his knees to pray. Or puke. Or both.

I wish Presidente López Obrador the best of success. He seems to be concerned about actually improving his country for the benefit of his people.

* * * *

cor·rup·tion
/kəˈrəpSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.

* * * *

That’s the one of the definitions of corruption, just in cases you were wondering. To be certain, you don’t have to be in a position of power to be corrupt. In just pays better when you are.

Corruption isn’t a problem specific to Mexico. It’s a global political issue. Fixing it isn’t a huge priority for most governments, mostly because it’s such a huge problem. It appears to be easier to look the other way than it is to try to fix a broken political system.

The Donald was elected President of the United States partially because he promised to clean up American politics and make government work better for those who feel their interests have been neglected by political elites.

He proudly proclaimed that he’s not a politician. And nobody disagrees with him.

Yet, rather than feeling better about progress in the fight against corruption over the past year, a clear majority of people in America now say that things have become worse. Nearly six in ten people now say that the level of corruption has risen in the past twelve months, up from around a third who said the same in January 2016.

If you don’t change the way you do business, you end up with business as usual. This is one of The Donald’s broken promises that he hasn’t lost any sleep over. Trump’s hardcore supporters don’t seem to be upset by that in the least, and that says more about them than any of the things they actually say.

In all honesty, I’m getting tired of pointing out Trump’s shortcomings. I had no intention of writing about him when I started this post, and yet, here we are. Again.

The partial government shutdown is in its 29th day. Trump said he is going to make “an important announcement” later today that will lay out the details of a deal he’s hoping to make with Democrats that will end the shutdown.

It’s a face-saving gesture. The majority of the country blames him for the shutdown, and people remember that shit when they vote.

I hadn’t thought of The Donald’s Great Border Wall in terms of political corruption until recently. I thought it was more of his shortsightedness than anything else.

But if he gets the funding to build his wall, The Donald will be able to hand out government contracts to private companies to build his wall. And those contracts will go to some of The Donald’s rich buddies who support him.

* * * *

America is the only country whose lifestyle has been immortalized with a catch phrase.

The American Dream.

No one dreams about living in Haiti. Or Nigeria. Or anywhere else.

People want to go to America because it has promised something no place else offers. A chance for a better life. That’s what the American dream is. That’s all it is.

It’s not that much of a dream anymore. Global opinion of the United States has dropped precipitously in recent years, and remains at an all-time low. And there’s only one reason for that.

Donald Trump.

* * * *

It’s abundantly clear that Americans could care less about what the rest of the world thinks about them, or their country. They’re actually kind of proud about not caring. There’s another word for it.

Apathy.

If you don’t know what that means, look it up.

The American Dream is dying. To be sure, it’s dying a slow death, but whether you die swiftly or slowly, you still end up dead.

There’s still time to save it. America just needs to wake up and remember who, and what, she used to be.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ~ The Lorax

Mexican Standoff

A Mexican standoff is a confrontation amongst three or more parties in which no strategy exists that allows any party to achieve victory. As a result, all participants need to maintain the strategic tension, which remains unresolved until some outside event makes it possible to resolve it.

I had no idea what a Mexican standoff was until we moved to Mexico. Even then, I thought it was a term most likely used to describe multiple vehicles entering an uncontrolled intersection, actually, any intersection in Mexico. Traffic laws are interpreted more like unto suggestions down here than actual laws most of the time.

I tend to approach every intersection with caution because you really never know what the other guy is going to do here. Red lights might mean stop to some people, but they could mean go really fucking fast to others.

Given the specifics of the above cited definition, I’m not sure if it adequately describes the current political situation in the United States. There might be three or more parties involved, but I doubt that I could identity all of them.

If you are somehow unaware of what’s going on in the US, a partial government shutdown has been in effect since December 22nd because Congress and the President couldn’t agree on a budget and the appropriation of funds.

The main item of contention is the US-Mexico border wall. The Donald wants $5.7 billion dollars to build his wall. Evidently, he doesn’t have enough support in Congress to get it.

I’ve written about the political chasm dividing the Republican and Democratic parties before, but in this case I don’t think The Donald has the complete support of his own party. Because of Trump’s intransigence on this issue, he essentially has everyone in both parties, and God knows who else, by the short hairs.

The Wall. I’m not sure why The Donald is so stuck on such an archaic idea. No one with a functioning brain does. A wall might be a barrier, but in and of itself, a wall cannot prevent someone from climbing over it or tunneling under it. The Great Border Wall would have to be equipped with a whole lots of armed guards to make it an effective barrier against the immigrant horde that’s allegedly trying to storm into the United States to destroy it. Somehow…

The border wall was one of Trump’s campaign promises. He hasn’t kept many of his other promises, and not keeping any of them hasn’t seemed to bothered him one bit. This Wall, however, is somehow different.

Back when The Donald was running for President, he promised he would build a border wall and Mexico would pay for it. And then Mexico fucked up everything by not doing what The Donald said they would, cleverly avoiding being part of that Mexican standoff by racing through the intersection when the light was red.

I saw something the other day that The Donald is now saying he never said Mexico would pay for the wall. His hypocrisy, it seems, truly has no limits.

Perhaps in an attempt to sway public opinion in his favor, The Donald gave a speech from the Oval Office the other night, painting a picture of a national threat and humanitarian crisis occurring along the US-Mexico border, saying his signature border wall would provide a solution.

Even if what The Donald said were true, how would a wall effect a humanitarian solution? This is one of those Zen koans that doesn’t have an answer for multiple reasons. One, no great natonal threat exists. Neither is there a humanitarian crisis. If none of those conditions exist, why spend almost six billion dollars to fix it?

I think the answer is this: The massive military parade The Donald wanted was shelved. So he’s decided no one is going to take his wall away from him.

It makes as much sense as any explanation I’ve heard. Given The Donald’s petulant nature, it actually makes more sense than anything else I’ve heard.

* * * *

“Every day, Customs and Border Patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country.”

The Donald said that in his speech. This, is apparently what the national threat and humanitarian crisis is.

Immigrants.

Illegal immigration is certainly a reality. Is it a national threat? Is it as huge of a problem as The Donald says it is? Probably not. From what I’ve seen so far, nothing is as big as he says it is…

“Them there immigrants are coming here to take jobs away from hard working Americans!” That’s probably what all of Trump’s blue collar, Walmart-shopping supporters say. So, is that even close to the truth?

Most undocumented workers are lucky to get even a menial job once they get to the US. Busing tables, washing dishes. Mopping floors, cleaning toilets. Harvesting crops. You know, the jobs most Americans think they’re too good to do.

In my entire working career,  I’ve never met anyone who lost their job to an immigrant. Have you? As near as I can tell, immigrants didn’t have to come to America to put any hard working Americans in the unemployment line. American industry came to them.

Have you ever heard of outsourcing and offshoring? I’ll bet you have.

“Do what you do best and outsource the rest!” has become an internationally recognized business tagline, and it’s essentially how Big Business functions now.

American companies discovered they could pay workers in China, India, or Mexico a helluvalot less than they pay their hard working American workers, and moved their plants to foreign countries. But can you blame them? Those big buck executives were barely getting by on their six figure salaries.

Let’s say the average American worker in the US makes $10/hour. Work an eight hour shift, make eighty bucks. The average worker in Mexico makes 80 pesos a day. That amounts to roughly four dollars. Imagine yourself making twenty five, maybe thirty dollars a week.

Yeah, let that sink in for a minute.

Increased profit margins. Mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money. Greed is good. Executive pay in the United States in 2007 was 400 times more than average workers — a gap 20 times bigger than it was in 1965.

They’re called capitalist pigs for a reason…

But that’s not the problem. It’s those fuckin’ immigrants sneaking across the southern border.

* * * *

“More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War…  Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90% of which floods across from our southern border.” That’s more of The Donald’s rhetoric.

Yes. America has a drug problem. And yes, Mexico supplies a double buttload of heroin to the hard working Americans that demand it. However, the President’s assertion is misleading, blaming the drugs coming across the US-Mexico border for the total drug deaths in the US. Additionally, The Donald’s figures don’t distinguish between deaths caused by drugs smuggled into the country versus those prescribed by US doctors.

Doctors who don’t have to smuggle drugs in from anywhere. All they have to do is write a prescription that can be filled at any drugstore on any corner in any city of the country.

Just say No. Remember that? Nancy Reagan declared war on drugs back in the 1980’s. Judging from The Donald’s statistics, I’m going to go out on a limb and say there are quite a few Americans that didn’t say No, and just like the American experience in Vietnam, this is a war we aren’t going to win.

Building a wall is not going to solve this problem, Mr. Trump.

* * * *

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There are a lots of points of entry into the US, and most of them aren’t located on the US-Mexico border. Somehow, The Donald doesn’t seem to be concerned about any of the rest of them. He hasn’t said anything about building a wall on the northern border. In this he appears to be quite logical because there aren’t any criminals or even any crime in Canadia.

* * * *

“I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. I haven’t done it yet, I may do it. If this doesn’t work out, probably I will do it. I would almost say definitely.”

That’s what The Donald said yesterday, indicating that he probably, almost definitely, doesn’t have any real idea of how to extricate himself and the rest of the country out of the incredible clusterfuck of a mess he has created.

Using his logic, I could declare myself President of the United States, and it would be just as real as The Donald’s delusional emergency. How has he not ended up on a psych ward?

There is one specific group of people that have borne the brunt of The Donald’s disastrous desire to build his Great Border Wall. The 800,000 federal employees who have been sent home or are working without pay.

“Many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing…  and certainly they’re not thrilled — but they say, ‘Sir, do the right thing. We need border security.’ And these are people that won’t be getting paid.”

All I can say in response to this is the President’s head must be further up his ass than any of us could have imagined. Do you know anyone who would agree to keep doing their thankless job, with fewer people in the office to do it–probably doubling or trebling their workload–and they won’t get paid for doing it.

In the former Soviet Union, maybe. You’d probably end up in a gulag if you protested. In the United States of America, where the majority of those federal employees are living paycheck to paycheck? No. Fucking. Way.

I was once a federal employee. I was a nurse at the Minneapolis VAMC. Not only did I have to work without pay while Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich engaged in their pissing contest over the budget, I ended up taking out loans from the bank so we could pay our bills, and buy gas and food.

I don’t remember anyone that I worked with who thought shutting down the government was the right thing to do. We hated Clinton. We hated Gingrich. If either one of them had come to visit us during that time, we would have locked them in a seclusion room and shot them full of drugs until they got their goddamn minds right.

While some federal workers might support The Donald, the vast majority of them feel this way: Pay the workers, furlough Trump. There were protest marches in Washington DC, Chicago and Dallas yesterday. With no end in sight, there will certainly be more protests.

* * * *

The Kobayashi Maru is a training exercise in the fictional Star Trek universe designed to test the character of Starfleet Academy cadets in a no-win scenario. This, more than a Mexican standoff, appears to be the best description of the machinations of The Donald.

The Mexican standoff at least offered the hope that an external force could precipitate a solution. I can’t think of anything or anyone that could bring enough force to bear on The Donald to make him rethink his strategy. His mom got dead eighteen years ago. We can’t even appeal to her.

The saddest part about this is that the one person who is responsible for it will, most likely, never be able to understand that.

One Simple Thing

Do you remember when the Age of Political Correctness began?

I’m not sure of the exact date and time, and I’m not interested enough to Google® it to find out. The thing is, I’m reasonably sure that political correctness became popular because it was supposed to make our lives simpler and easier. Distill everything down to the least common denominator and we would all be on equal footing.

And then we discovered what a slippery slope political correctness actually was.

It was confusing as hell for me. There are reasons for this, of course. I was raised in a time of political unrest, not correctness. My generation was not going to be silent. We wanted our voices to be heard.

And there was alcohol. I used to drink. A lots. Drunk people tend to lack filters. Almost anything that pops into their heads is likely to come out of their mouths. I like to think that I was a pretty funny guy back when I drank. But I wasn’t always funny, and sometimes I was a real dick.

I could never survive a Congressional investigation into my past, though if I testified that I couldn’t remember a specific event, it would probably be true. Those aren’t the things that would scare me. It’s all the things I do remember. Satan, if he exists, likely held himself to a higher moral standard than I did in my youth.

However, I would be able to state with complete confidence that I have never had sex with a goat.

The Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings have brought the collective sins of our youth into a focus that can only be achieved through an electron microscope, prompting Donald Trump to say this, “It’s a very scary time for young men in America…”

Yes. Equal footing for our sons has been achieved. Now they know how our daughters feel.

Nor was The Donald speaking for all young men. Whether by accident or design, he was referring to young white men. It’s been a scary time for young African-American men since, well, forever.

The thing President Trump found to be the scariest was that “…you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of.” Guilt, I think, is still something that has to be proven. A lots of people have accused me of being an angel, and I know they’re wrong about that.

This latest shitstorm came to light when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct during his confirmation hearings to the Supreme Court. In his defense, Mr. Kavanaugh produced a calendar that didn’t note he had sexually assaulted anyone, and admitted that he liked drinking beer.

One of my female friends pointed out that he never described himself as a raging drunk. Back when I really was a raging drunk, I didn’t describe myself that way either. It’s called denial.

As for not leaving a paper trail of your crimes, that’s simply self-preservation.

Is Mr. Kavanaugh guilty? Did Dr. Blasey Ford make all this stuff up? From my experience, I can tell you when there are two disparate stories, someone is lying.

* * * *

I’ve been thinking about this post, or something like unto it, for a few months now. I still don’t want to write it. There are reasons for that, too. I’m not a political pundit. I will freely admit that I try not to think about the current political situation in the US, or any other country for that matter.

I am probably the last person you want to talk to if you’re seeking clarity about American politics.

Be that as it may, I find that I am distressed by what has been happening in the country of my birth. A lots of people are, on both sides of the divide that currently exists in the American political system.

It is this schism that I find particularly distressing. A house divided against itself cannot stand. A guy named Jesus said that a couple of thousand years ago when he started preaching his message. A guy named Abraham Lincoln repeated it sixteen hundred years later, two years before the beginning of the American Civil War.

Whether this vast political divide is the cause of all the turmoil in my former country, or merely a symptom of something deeper and more insidious would take someone far more discerning than I am to diagnose. But lack of understanding has rarely stopped me from going where I have no business being.

Ready? Here we go.

* * * *

The American political system is composed of two major parties. The Assholes, and the Other Assholes. Some of you may know them as the Republicans and the Democrats. And once upon a time they actually used to work together for the betterment of the country.

I’m not going to offer an in-depth examination of the American political system, but I’ll elaborate this much. The Republicans are the right-wing, conservative party. The Democrats are the left-wing, liberal party. If you need more context than that, read something. Or watch a video on the YouTube®.

I’m not sure when the precise moment that the political chasm that separates the two parties occurred, but as far as I can tell, the only things our elected government officials do now is say some partisan based uncomplimentary things about each other, get together once a year to approve a budget, and the rest of the time they campaign to try to keep their very cushy jobs.

Any time this guy has more credibility than anyone in Congress:

giphy

That’s a problem.

I’m not even sure why the Republicans and the Democrats decided they needed to oppose each other tooth and nail on anything the other party proposes, but instead of seeing each other as their esteemed colleagues from across the aisle, they now view each other as the enemy from the wrong side of the tracks.

One theory I’ve heard about the lack of meaningful dialog between the parties is because the extremism of both parties is too great.

Perhaps that’s true. If you know the answers to any of the questions I’m not going to even try to answer, please feel free to fill in the blanks for all of us. You can comment on this post.

The Extremism Theory holds some water in my bucket of beliefs for one reason. And that reason is the current titular leader of the Republicans. President of the United States and Disgruntled Teenager with a Twitter Account, Donald Trump.

It’s no secret that I am not a big fan of The Donald. He has done more in two years to divide the country than anyone has since the birth of rock and roll music. I don’t think President Trump created the Great Political Divide. He simply brought the boundaries into a stark relief, and sharpened the edges.

I call this new status quo The Walmart Intelligentsia v. The People With Brains.

Is he a bad President? I don’t know. Like unto pretty much every President I can remember, people either love him or hate him. And I don’t think it’s the politics or the policies. It’s who you are. If you’re liked as a person, you’ll probably be liked as a President.

Except Jimmy Carter. Great person, lousy President.

I think The Donald is a buffoon. You know who else does? The United Nations. The General Assembly actually interrupted his last speech there to laugh at him. And he wasn’t telling a joke!

There’s no doubt that he’s a narcissist. He makes fun of handicapped people. He disparages anyone who doesn’t agree with him. He’s a misogynist. He fabricates facts and accuses the media of fake news. He’s a schoolyard bully in a suit. In an age of political correctness, he’s everything none of us are supposed to be anymore.

And, he’s the President. How is this even possible?

Donald Trump is essentially the least Presidential acting President since Franklin Pierce. For those of you who don’t know about Pierce, he saw his only surviving son get horrifically killed to death. His son was run over by a train a few weeks before President-elect Pierce was inaugurated. President Pierce spent most of his time in the Oval Office in a drunken stupor.

On the bright side, I haven’t heard any reports about The Donald getting drunk. In my opinion, he’s already unstable enough. That instability has essentially drawn a line in the sand between his supporters, who absolutely love him, and his detractors, who totally despise him.

There is no middle ground here. In a world rife with gray areas, this is vividly black or white. Period.

* * * *

“Let the word go forward from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans…” A guy named John F. Kennedy said that in his inaugural address. What was true then is true now.

The leaders of the current Asshole party and the Other Asshole party are straight outta my generation. We have done some great things in our time, but elevating a pissing contest into some sort of incomprehensible art form? There’s nothing great or even laudable about that.

We must remember, as Franklin Roosevelt so eloquently stated, that “…problems created by man can be solved by man, so long as we pull together toward a common end.” Therefore, it is incumbent upon the generations that have followed us Baby Boomers to vote all of those motherfuckers out of political office as quickly as possible. That’s not a joke.

It’s a call to arms.

To every forgotten male and woman out there who chooses not to vote because they feel their vote won’t make a difference, you are wrong. Your vote makes the only difference.

Distill this problem down to the least common denominator.

It’s a simple thing.

There’s a simple solution.

* * * *

FEMA recently instituted the Presidential Alert system. It’s similar to the state-level systems that let police and local authorities send out AMBER Alerts and weather warnings, except from now on they’ll come from the Commander-in-Chief.

Afterwards, Donald Trump may or may not have tweeted something like unto this: Just sent a message to 300 million people. No one responded. Oh well…

I’m sure I saw this, but I haven’t been able to verify it since. Seeing how President Trump can play it fast and loose with the facts, there’s no reason I can’t do the same. My Twitter account was actually suspended because I used to respond to the President’s tweets. A lots.

Give the people some time, Donny. I’m sure they’ll respond to you soon.

Like, November.