Thursday, November 24, 2016

Alice's Restaurant


So BA and I headed over to Brendan and Susan's place today for another annual Thanksgiving feast to beat all others ever celebrated in the known Universe.

The turkey was perfect.  The beer was plentiful and cold.  All the normal trimmings one could hope for were in attendance, with more dessert choices than this man could even hope to best.

A big fat doober before and one or two after our sumptious repast, and now at this moment I can barely move.  Just sitting up is painful. ........................ Lord, please put me out of my misery.

Breaking bread with folks from a few of the many New England corners has become a comfortable and expected high light of our holiday season.

No matter what madness exists in my recent past.  No matter what madness may lurk in my upcoming future.  No matter what might come down, go down, this night I sit here thankful for the company of fine folks from away.  Sharing polite conversation, everyone carefully avoiding the trap of politics and turkey.  A raunchy joke or two resulting in loud and  for some, guilty laughter.  Not me.

Today was for celebrating Life and the enjoyment of another person's company.

I sit here fat and happy ................ with refrains of Alice's Restaurant running through my brain.

Hope your Thanksgiving was everything you hoped for.

Later ..............................................

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Stupid Cat

A purring cat looking for a good head rub is what Life should be about.  Savor these moments.

Eyeleen was born in the master bedroom closet, oh, I guess about 13 years ago.  Bony, puny, and sickly, she never achieved normal cat status, physically or mentally.  Only saw her at meals and for years would only tolerate my wife's hands on her, not mine.  She existed inside our home as a feral member of the Sam Page Road Feline Bar and Grill.

Her brother Gee Gee Snotflinger was the friendly one, the cat with the cool swagger.  We lost him a couple of years ago.  That's when Eyeleen began to warm up to both of us.   Suddenly I was able to pet her when she was next to her food dish.  Slowly she increased her tolerance levels to the here and now.

Now, she is a pain in the ass.  Always wants attention, won't leave me alone. ..........

"Stupid Cat.  Stupid Cat.  Who's the Stupid Cat?"  She loves it when I whisper this into her null and void brain cavity as she rubs her head in my beard.

Damn, cats are odd animals.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ..................................

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hubris


"Whenever I've had success, I never learn from it. Success usually breeds a degree of hubris. When you fail, that's when you learn. " - Moby


I admit now it was my arrogance, along with millions of others, that helped The Donald ascend to our most sacred seat of power.  I was overly confident that Americans would never sink as low as they did on November 8, 2016.

"Surely", I thought, "we can't have that many people who could push their moron button at the same time and vote in the man who will become President on Friday, January, 20, 2017."

I was wrong.  A majority of Americans were wrong.

I could whine as I did back in 2000 when Gore won the popular vote, but lost the election.  Until we actually decide to re-write our election laws to reflect a truer form of democracy other than the mutant system we have in place now, any whining I might partake in will be of no use to anyone, especially myself.

I could blame the Internet.  I could waste time blaming the Right.  And though I would be more on target blaming the Democrats, blame is just so useless.  I mean, blame is usually creating excuses for the failure of one's side to marshal enough support to push their agenda over the top.

The blame for this extraordinary Flame-out of the Left should be shouldered by them and no one else.  Certainly contributions from outside groups, situations, etc. did not help.  But we who voted so confidently for what we perceived to be the best candidate need to acknowledge that we let this happen.  We arrogantly underestimated the level of anger out there aimed at every politician in DC, Right and Left.

That I do not understand why so many people are unhappy is what might have set me up for this serious miscalculation.  I am in a much better position now than I was in 2007-2008.  For me, every year since has seen an upswing.  Yeah, it wasn't meteoric, but come on, the hole this country was in eight years ago was certainly worse than now.

That myself and the country are in better straits is a moot point.  For some reason, America has decided to chew on the fear of the unknown, rather than spitting it out and getting on with more important things.

So what to do?

First thing I guess is to never assume any group larger than three to have the aggregate IQ they exude as individuals.  The IQ of a mob appears to be geometric inverse of the positive one might hope would exist, but does in deed not exist.  Herds have no minds, just automatic reactions.

The Democrats I hope will take a serious lesson from this blow and redesign their ground game for the mid-terms coming up.

Later ...........................................

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Deplorable Double Wide - 99 Words

Flash Fiction site, "Carrot Ranch Communications" does a weekly 99 word challenge.  This week's challenge (11/9/16) is "write a story that pivots around an unexpected ending".  

In lieu of watching the news, commenting on the news, and hating the news, I figured to give it a go.  Anything to take my mind off the nightmares that will haunt me for at least the next 4 years.

My effort this week:

The Deplorable Double Wide

Roscoe opened his eyes.  Disoriented, he took stock of his surroundings.  He was seated at a wooden table in the kitchen of a deplorable double wide.  

Where he was now was not the location of his last waking moment.  He was sure it was tipping shots and slapping backs with his Wall Street buds in lower Manhattan.  On the big screen, their guy was kicking ass. 

“Uh, Where am I?”

A pudgy hand with no wrist dropped a plate of Spam and eggs in front of him.

“Home, you dumass.  You got shitfaced last night cuz your man won.”
_______________________________________
There you have it.  

Keep it 'tween the ditches
______________________
Also cross posted at BoZone - Too

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Day After

I sat in front of this computer before I turned it on and just stared at the dead screen.  I sat here for quite awhile trying to get my mind around what happened yesterday.  I decided to not post any response to the complete repudiation of everything I had stood for since, well, 1980 at least.  I did not turn on the computer.  I was sure I had nothing to say.

I stumbled through normal morning routines and wasted time staring out one window or another.  I sparked up some doob to commemorate the one small consolation prize I had taken home from this election.  Recreational Pot in Maine is now a done deal.

 Once I had become satisfactorily baked, I decided that maybe I should at the least try to get a grip on my overwhelming sense of disappointment in yesterday's election.  In times like this throughout my life, writing down how I feel can be cathartic.  Then again, it sometimes backfires, leaving me angrier than before I put pen to paper.  It is indeed a crap shoot.  The Doob has certainly helped to keep the ape-shit angry part of me at bay.

Donald Trump will be our next president. ............

Hmm ............ There I said it.  The reality is now right in front of me in black and white.

I don't have to like it, but I do have to accept it.  I have to accept it if I can expect to move past this dark day and face whatever days are coming at me.  Wallowing in angry despair will do nothing but make every day an angry day.  There is no point to being angry when there is absolutely nothing I can do about the outcome.  It is what it is.

I won't wax poetic or look for Pollyanna hiding in the shadows in my mind.  There is no positive twist on what happened.  There is no silver lining I can see at this point in time.  I will allow my anger to churn and burn awhile and wallow in my own self pity.

At some point though I will snap out of it.  I always have.  Because I know that all we can do in this Life is put one foot in front of the other and try not to stumble.

Later .................................................................

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

"A Cicatricial Reminder" - 100 Words



I was sure I had purged my belly full of anger a few weeks ago.  Apparently not.

I decided to once again try my hand at some Flash Fiction when I found a blog run by an old Flash Fiction friend that offered up a weekly 100 word challenge based on the prompts she came up with.

I also decided that writing an upbeat happy 100 words would put me in just the right mood to walk down to the Town Hall and step into a voting booth.

Try as I might, I could not fashion anything warm and fuzzy, wry or humorous.  All I had floating around inside the cranial void were serious negative waves dude.

I was actually surprised.  I thought that some of my recent rants, posted and unposted , would have set me straight.

So my re-entry into Flash Fiction is dark, ........ yeah, not a pleasant tale.

Be forewarned and remember it is only a story.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Tomorrow - Midnight

Beady eyes drop into slits, raising his lips into a crooked smile.  Pallid crooked fingers grasp one another as if desperate for each other's company.  He is sure he can smell it.  Smell the blood as it floats to the surface.  His eyes widen as he considers the impossible.  Could this dream actually be coming true?

Before his hopeful improbability morphs into a definite reality, he turns his head away, afraid to look.  Something inside tells him he will not like what he sees, even after assurances from others he is sure are smarter than he is.  His insecurities, all of them, flash through his mind as he attempts to muster up the strength to caste them aside and face his dream come true or his nightmare created in the bowels of Hell.

As he cowers with his back turned, he wonders why he has so much invested in something he has no control over or for that matter even understands completely.   His body begins to quiver and then shake as he purges the pent up emotions two years in the making.  Finally a deep guttural sigh escapes his lips and his shoulders slump in resignation.

He turns to face his destiny ..................................................

Meanwhile on the other side of the tracks.

Another set of beady eyes does not turn away.  These eyes have been here before.  They have witnessed 30 years of disappointments and triumphs.  Those eyes are used to this moment.  Her face hardens as she sees results trickle in.  Her face shows no emotion, her true feelings buried deep by years of practice.  Yet, behind her blank stare and calm demeanor, her insecurities, all of them, tumble through her mind.   She has the strength to caste them aside, but cannot at the moment find the key.  She closes her eyes and consciously slows her breathing.  She seeks that center where equilibrium will once again find a home.

Instead, a bead of sweat runs down the middle of her strong time tested spine.  It finds the small of her back, causing a shiver of sorts.  She knows she has to face her new reality.  There are no nightmares in her life, just another disappointment or triumph.  She is sure she will go on.

She opens her cold calculating eyes .........................................

Sunday, November 06, 2016

The Stench of a People's Fear

Harsh unreasonable winds drive the stench of a people’s fear, turning their terror into anger as it sweeps through the land.  It poisons everything it touches.  Soap box heroes use vitriolic bellows to keep the nation's bad temper racing towards a feverish and ill conceived conclusion.

No one cares what effect being angry for anger's sake will have on society once the winds of discontent have subsided.  No one seems to care that being afraid is the fertile ground where failure is sown.  And no longer is there any interest in pragmatic solutions, just irresponsible blame.

The once vigorous and thriving pockets of common sense and sanity scattered here and there, have seen their bulwarks worn down into apathetic resignation.  Fighting the good fight has turned into an exercise in futility.

"What use is there to fight the tide?", some ask.

"Go with the flow", others mumble.   And everyone gives in to the hate and discontent that swirls around them.

Meanwhile the malcontents of all sides blindly feed their own fires, dragging the rest of the great land down into their self inflicted miseries.  Nobody will win.  Everyone loses.


When a citizenry begins feeding off their fears instead of their courage, the first casualties are their greatness, followed soon by their pride.  It is indeed a sad thing when a great and proud people hate themselves so much, they are willing to allow fear to take over their lives.

Later ...........................................


Tuesday, November 01, 2016

In a Week

In a week, we will finally be able to take a vacation from probably the most contentious and ugly election any of us have ever seen.  The process was made even tougher by the nomination of two sad excuses for nominees.  The offerings are nothing new.  We have had many years of bad choices on both sides.  But none are saddled with as much baggage as the two we have to decide between this time.

Both candidates have had deeper than the run of the mill skeletons to deal with.  Whipped into a frenzy by campaign goons, crazed fans of both sides insist the other candidate should at the least, not be elected, with many crying to throw the bum in jail.

None of us are perfect, especially what constitutes the "cream of the crop" of either party.  By the time any politician/business man has risen to the level of these two in the political and business arena, many expedient choices, back room deals, and out and out sleaze have been left in their wake.  Anyone trying use ethics, morals, or other high ideals to choose which one to vote for is living in Pollyana land.  That is they are deluding themselves that either one place ideals over their own interests.

I had made my mind up months ago.  Neither emails nor groping was going to affect me.  Filtering out the noise, I considered each one and how they had responded to accusations and attacks from the other side.  I took into account who actually had the kind of experience I would like to see in a President of our country.  And I also tried to evaluate the skill set each had based on the national political and geopolitical arenas they would be operating in.

I decided I did not like Donald Trump back in the 1980s.  I decided he was a greasy snake oil salesman who was more impressed with the legend he built in his mind, than any good his actions may or may not result in.  While I did not even entertain whether I would like to see him president, my early decision on his character ensured he would never find room in any choice I made in the future.

My initial impression of Donald Trump was spot on.  He is indeed a sleazy snake oil salesman.  And by his response to softball attacks at the beginning and then heavier hits as the election loomed large, I knew this was not a man I wanted batting for me in the political big leagues.  He was and will always be, all hat and no cattle.  The thought of him going toe to toe with the other big leaguers from across the oceans, well, they would eat him for breakfast.  Blowhards and bullies like Donald Trump are usually cowards from my experience.  It would be a mistake to allow him to be one as our representative.

Many years ago, I decided Hillary was a fighter and not above using the tools at hand to improve her position.  That she was practicing her selfish climb to the top in the arena she is now hoping to reign supreme, is actually a plus in my mind.  She has been under a steady barrage of attacks for 30 years or so.   She has weathered every one.  She has shown she can play with the big dogs.  She has spine.

My first choice, Bernie, has spine also.  Unfortunately he had more than a few decks stacked against him.  His insistence on not publicly embracing either party and going his own way ensured his run would fail.  Though, he did make them nervous.  I wish he had done this years ago.

Regardless, I will stand in the voting booth on Tues, Nov 8 and cast my vote for Hillary Clinton.  Definitely the best choice considering the alternative.

Later ...........................................



Monday, October 31, 2016

Man Bait

A few years ago, a segment of the Today Show was dedicated to the supposed "Bacon Shortage" we were about to endure in our collective futures.  As I had become hardened and immune to unfounded fear mongering, I was confident I would not allow this gloomy prediction to have any effect on my fragile psyche.  It appeared at the time though, the prospect of a pork shortage of any kind did cause me some concern.  Pork, specifically bacon,  is a staple here on Sam Page Road.  We love our bacon.  We stocked up.

I had always assumed bacon was good on just about anything.  Apparently the on camera crew over to the Today Show agreed.  They highlighted some of the bacon laced products available.  They had bacon candy, bacon beer, bacon toothpaste, jeeez, they even had bacon scented soap.  One of the women commented that the soap might just be the perfect "Man Bait".

Come on ladies.  While smelling like bacon might appeal to some men and even more than a few women, you know damn well all you have to do to attract a man is show up within eyesight.  You are the perfect bait, constructed carefully by evolutionary forces and self design over the years to do what it takes to propagate the species.  We don't need bacon soap, teddies, mini skirts or eyeliner.  Once we see you, you have us by the short hairs.

Of course, all the fussin, fiddlin and readjustin of your positives does seem to help speed up the process and gussies up otherwise bland public spaces.  But really, it is not necessary.

Later .............................................

Friday, October 28, 2016

Babies and Crucifixes

When I first got into this blogging gig, I vowed to find one new blog a week that interested me enough to link it at least in the "favorites" file marked "Blogs".  Between the self generated stress of keeping my own blog going and fulfilling my sense of duty to the bloggers who visited my blog by visiting theirs, this promise fell by the wayside rather quickly.  My excuse - there is only so much time in this world to fart around and I have to pull the plug at some point to at least eat some food and catch some shut eye..

I stepped outside my blogging comfort zone and went on reconnaissance missions to find new blogs to connect with.  It had been at least a year or so since I journeyed out beyond my blogging perimeter. 

I tried the "next blog" button at the top of the page.  I am guessing the random button installed by the wizards inside the blogging network is often stuck on "let's drive this guy crazy with blogs he has no interest in".   My first 50 or so punches brought Jesus into my life.  In the space of less than 30 minutes I basically read the Bible in five word chunks at the top of every new blog I brought to life.  Someone out there was determined to bring me back into the fold.  My resistance almost worn out, I found the strength to resist the path to righteousness by finding some Black Sabbath videos and playing them over and over again.  Thank you Ozzie, you are indeed my savior.

A day or two later, I tried the button again and the random button inside the gulliwots of the blogger network had moved to mommie blogs.  Another 50 punches and I found myself now a guilt ridden wreck crying out for my dear dead mother and jones-ing for some apple pie.  Images of innocent toddlers in various stages of cuteness all meshed together creating horrific scenes in my mind of dirty diapers piled to the ceiling, baby puke dripping off my shoulders, and trying to cram 5 child carriers into a four seat car.

I was going to surrender, cry for mercy and promise to never again step outside my blogging comfort zone.  For a few days it worked.  But once I get an itch, I can become a tenacious Homer bound and determined to weather anything to find what I want. ...................... Doh!

I decided to try being a smart Homer.  I would fool those evil bastards whose perverted pleasures are satiated saturating my brain with cute faces coated with Gerber paste while their stubby little hands stab crucifixes in my general direction.

While I pondered my next foray out into the wilderness, I decided my Profile Page needed updating.  After opening it and tweaking it here, there, and in between, I noticed that all the words I filled in next to the various categories were highlighted blue like they were links or something.

Hmm ................................. Yeah, I remember thinking just that, "hmm".

In the "Location" section, I punched the word, "Maine".  Immediately I was taken to a link page in Blogger that gave me access to all 10,000 or so blogs that claim Maine as their location.

Again, I remember softly uttering, "Hmm",  and maybe even added, "That's interesting".  I cannot confirm the last part as all I am sure of as a Homer who puts his few brain cells into motion by uttering, "Hmm", that I indeed most likely, 99% sure of it, I at least uttered, muttered, said "Hmm".

I had finally beat the bastards, those rascally little Google Wabbits who tried to mess with my head.  Hung by their own cleverness and code.  Finally, I had an endless hunting ground filled with blogs I might be interested in.

I punched the words "riding my bicycle" I had typed in the section marked, "Interests".  And thousands of bicycle related blogs popped up.  In the section, "Favorite Books", I hit "Asimov", and immediately I was taken to all the blogs who favored Asimov as an author.  Surely there were some like minded folks to be found there.

So, take it from a Homer who, unaided and without a guide, was able to weed out the unwanted and focus on possibly the wanted.  Sometimes stupid desperation does work out.

Keep it 'tween the ditches .....................................

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

An Opinion from the Upper Decks

From my seat in the upper decks, I have watched my country devolve from one I was comfortable living in into one I am not.  I see nothing but hate and discontent on all sides poisoning our shared love of country.

Hate and discontent at election time is normal.  Now it seems that nobody , Right or Left, is happy 24/7.  In spite of being better off, if only slightly, than we were 8 years ago, many of us are convinced that Life in the USA is going down the tubes.

Why?

I do not pretend to know all the why's.  But I do know who I would blame for this over the top dissatisfaction Americans have regarding their lives now.  I blame the media weasels and the leadership of both the Right and the Left and their mutual reliance on Fear to herd us into their various corrals.

But ultimately, I blame our citizens for allowing things to get out of hand.  We have ended up with the government we deserve, by not insisting on better.

We piss and moan about how nothing gets done.  We allow ourselves to become mind numb followers of leaderships spoon feeding us lies, empty promises, accusations and doom on the horizon scenarios.  We buy into their fear rhetoric because it is easier to fear a thing, than try to face it.

So, if we want to blame someone for what is going on, we might look in a mirror.

Shifting our selfish focus on the quantity in our lives to the quality of all our lives might just be a good place to begin turning things around.

Later ...........................................

Monday, October 24, 2016

An Email to my Other Brother

The image I picked for this post has nothing to do with my brother/s.  It is just one of the few pictures I have taken I considered a keeper.  I took it in the summer of 2010.

It reminds me that no matter how awesome and beautiful something is, there is always an undercurrent of ugliness that comes with that beauty.  Life is indeed a bowl of cherries, but one needs to be watchful when consuming said cherries, they do not choke on the pits.

Without Ugliness, Beauty cannot exist.
___________________________________

Below is my attempt to contact my other brother.  The hard feelings between he and I run deep, much deeper than any I may have with D, my other brother.  Although by the roar of silence I have received from my first email to D, Politics may have been a poor choice to use as an ice breaker.

Without further comment........................ my first attempt to contact J in at least 20 years.

J,

Timing is everything I have heard.  So, I figured that I needed to stop telling myself I should contact you and actually put words to paper and send them your way.  And what better time than now?  Right in the middle of a country wide hate and discontent-fest.

But then, when is a good time to try to renew a connection lost years ago?  I thought about it and decided there was no good or bad time.  What was important was that I at least try.  I have no expectations that you will reply or not.  I hope that you do, even if it is to call me an asshole.  In my past, I certainly called you one a time or two. And while I make no judgement as to whether you are an asshole now, I will tell you yes, I am often still an asshole.  Remember what tree my apple fell from.  Nobody could do asshole like Dad could when he was so inclined.

So, how you handling the Old Fart gig?  Me, well since I am still just a rookie Old Fart really, I do have a clue now what's coming at me down the road.  We all pay for the play of our past.  Right now, it's all about how I deal with it.  Give in like Mom did, or fight it tooth and nail with my middle finger wagging in its face?  So far, I am choosing to go down fighting. I still crash on my mountain bike on a regular basis.  And every time I think, "If I had given in to aging, I would have missed this trip to the urgent care clinic.  Ain't Life grand?"

Anyway and besides, or maybe in closing, I just wanted to roll a small ball your way to see if we might not at least create a dialog.

Take care and my best to all at your end,

Mike


I sent this a few days ago.  As of yet, no reply from either of them.

And that is okay with me.  I am looking to check off one of the things on my bucket list of regrets still hanging around.  If we never speak to each other again, I will know that I at least tried to bury the hatchet.  And that will take the edge off that particular regret.

Later  ..............................................................

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Random Thought About Direction, Time and Space

This Kodak Moment is a shot taken on the board walk trail across a marsh in Sanford, Maine.  It is nestled just south of the decaying remains of the old weaving mills in downtown.  This marsh is part of the Mousam River watershed and back in the day served as a dumping ground for all the nasty chemicals used in the textiles produced there.

This marsh has recovered from the foul place it once was.  And the fact that it is less than a half mile from downtown points up why Sanford and the State of Maine should be proud to have recovered such a wonderful pocket of nature so close to the day to day bustle of a small city in Maine.  Kudos to those folks who engineered this turnabout.

But what got me going over this image is what it represents to me as a symbol in my life.  Is it telling me where I am going?  Or does it remind me of where I have been?  A glance over my shoulder or eyes straight ahead on the look out for what is coming.  Or does it possibly symbolize my current point in time betwix and between my past and my future?

In my current mindset, it is a reminder that no matter how much I think I am meandering through this existence with no plan, the path is actually a straight and somewhat rigid one.  And it is a crap shoot whether I benefit or not when I wander off it.  After all there is a marsh on both sides.

Just something random that came up when I was dumping images off my phone.

Later ..............................................

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Email to My Brother

I found myself a few months ago, getting too fired up over this election. In an effort to retain some sanity through the summer, I backed away from button pushing media and political hacks as much as I could. The BoZone was one of my first casualties. Every time I sat down to write, I felt more pressure to vent about the sad state our election process was in and suddenly I could feel the bile rising.

 What, you might ask, does this have to do with my brother? Well, the opening paragraph is maybe a lame excuse for having ignored my blog.  Or it is a mechanism I am using to get warmed up to relate some personal pain I have safely closeted for over 25 years.

 I have been estranged from my brothers since my mother died in 1990. She was the last physical connection we had going for us. There have been hard feelings over the years and when she passed, I blew my brothers off and got on with the rest of my life. In that I felt they had already blown me off, it seemed a mutually beneficial situation for all of us.

 So now I am 26 years older. They are 26 years older. Maybe it's time for me to stop being an asshole. Not talking to someone because of real and perceived insults, denigration, and belittling in the years prior to 26 years ago seems kinda stupid. None of us have that many years left, and I for one intend to try to renew a line of communication to them that has been withering on the vine these past 26 or so years. As it turns out, holding a grudge after a certain period of time does no one any good.

Since all three of us grew up eating dinner while politics were passed around the table like another side dish, I figured I would start emailing my brothers using something we all enjoyed fighting over. What better way to renew old friendships than with hate and discontent about politics. That way we can, or should I say, I can avoid the personal pain that caused our rift in the first place.

Or I can just relay what is on my mind at the moment.  Regardless of whether they read my emails or not, I will feel better about my self-inflicted silent treatment these past many years.  Before we get planted 6 feet deep or scattered over some lake in Maine, I will try to learn about the third of their lives I know nothing about and maybe they will learn about my last quarter century trying to make sense of this madness we call Life.

Without any further fuss or commentary, my first dedicated effort to establish a dialog.

So D, I would be interested in your take on the recent farce being passed off as an election.  Will the GOP regroup after Nov 8?  Will the Democrats take lessons from the GOP's experience?

I have to say that from my seat here in the upper decks, the GOP leadership and the Religious Right look like a bunch of spineless waffling losers who do not practice what they preach.  At least the Dems have been consistent and stayed on message.  Whether one likes their message or not, they are not in self destruct mode as it appears the GOP is.

This election is a gift from Heaven for the media weasels and fear mongering political hacks on both sides. I have done my best to turn off the noise, the useless, petty bullshit being tossed back and forth.  But it is hard sometimes, especially when I hear Trump or one of his surrogates  open their mouths.

Of the many things I have learned over the years, especially at election time, two stand out.
That no matter whether I think the country is going to Hell in a hand basket or heading in the right direction, the country weathers the storm and survives to fight another day. 

The other is that we can never go back.  Nor should we want to.  Somehow we always manage to keep moving.  We stumble, fall down ,get stupid, but in spite of our best attempts to screw up a good thing, the system and free spirit we have show us a way through.

There is no need to "make America great again".  We have never stopped being great.  It is just the bullshit of the moment that makes us forget this from time to time.

I'll close now.  Stay safe and remember to breathe.  That is really what it is all about.

Your Pinko Commie brother.

There you have it.  A baby step, but a step nonetheless.

Later ............................................

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Illegal Immigration

What does a political and economic ruling class do to keep those they lord over from worrying about what their leadership is really up to?

Not sure if this is a good question or one with an easy answer.  But this question dogged me all morning as the replays of Trump's latest antics in the Southwest covered the news like a stinking blanket.  Good question or not, I figured I would try to put down in writing what I think.

What a society's leadership does to deflect attention away from them and their exploitation of their citizenry is to create boogeyman issues that play on the fear of the dark most societies harbor just below their public surface.  They find a stooge or stooges who are willing to whip this fear of the dark up into a cultural wide feeding frenzy of unrealistic fear based not on facts but emotion.

This overblown concern over Illegal Immigration is the perfect distraction.  It does not matter that illegal immigration has actually gone down during Obama's term.  It does not matter that most experts agree that the system in place in the Southwest , while not perfect, is working better than anything we have done so far.  It does not matter that if we exclude the crime of the illegal immigration, once here, illegal immigrants as a population commit less crime than those from the legal population.

No, none of that matters.  What matters is that we should be afraid of the big bad boogeyman illegal immigrant.  Take care of that and all our troubles will be over.  And those who pull the strings can continue to stay busy taking advantage of our labor, our rights, and our soul.

Later ....................................

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Life is Not For Enduring

My previous post, I shared my recent mishaps on my new mountain bike.  From the comments I received, it appears I am not acting my age, or acting in a sane manner because I insist on riding past my skill set level.

 JACKIESUE told me to "stay the fuck off the bike".

 Mohaverat opined about how I will pay for my loose dog ways on a bike when I get older.

Hmm ................

Maybe not every day, but often enough, a burned in image passes through the re/viewer in my brain.   An image of what I could become if I did not push every limit I have left.  I watched my mother give in to the accrued ravages of her life and basically become an invalid the last 10 years she was alive.   The arthritis she fought most of her life finally won and she became a hunchback old lady who stopped doing anything.  Too much pain to fight it, she said.

I have a similar situation rearing its ugly head myself.  And now that I am facing the same decade of life she gave up on, I use her shriveled up painful countenance to spur me to stay active even if it hurts.  And some days, just getting out of bed can be a struggle.  But then anyone who is 64 and up certainly knows what that is all about.

This past winter my weakened immune system let some heebie jeebie get a grip on me and I became another piece of furniture in the house for a month and a half.  Once I started to feel better, I worked up a new agreement with myself.  I was going to do what made me happy as long as I could.  Screw the pain or long term negatives that may result.  I only have so many bike rides left and I plan on pushing the ones I have left as far as I can.   I may not be fast anymore, but I can still test the edge of what abilities I have left.  Some pain I understand is a lot easier to deal with than the day to day chronic crap that fills up more of my waking time on this planet.

I still want to live Life, not just endure it.

Later ..................................................

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Exercising My Own Right to be Stupid

So I bought a new bicycle for myself a month or so ago.  This is not unusual.  I have owned and ridden too many bikes over the years to remember.  Owning a bike shop makes it easy.

This new bicycle is one of the latest hip mountain bike incarnations to be thought up in the design labs of the bike industry.  It is a Plus size mountain bike.  A 27.5 plus mountain bike.  It has fatter tires than traditional mountain bike sneaks.  There are many other differences, starting with the frame, but none as obvious as the tires.  What makes this bike so special is the phenomenal traction it has on the trail.  So far, I have failed it before it failed me.  It is indeed an awesome bike.  Fuji nailed it with this one.

But the bike is not why I am writing this post.  It is possibly related , but not the main thrust.

20 - 25 years ago when I was definitely nummer and dummer, I consistently pushed my off-road skill set past the sanity line.  One of our favorite lines was, "If you ain't bleedin, you ain't ridin hard enough".  As I was only gifted at birth with a normal range of athletic ability, when I began to ride mountain bikes, I began to crash on a regular basis.  While most were minor resulting in skunned knees, hips or shoulders, I did end up in the ER a few times.  A couple of concussions, a period of living with my first 8 vertebrae compacted, broken collar bone and stitches a couple of times.

After I broke my 5th helmet in less than 10 years, I decided that riding within my skill set was probably a good idea.  I had worn out any sympathy from my wife years ago and suddenly the dingers I was taking were taking twice as long to heal as they did when I was in my 30s.

I cranked it back a notch and began to come home relatively unscathed most rides.  Still had fun, and no dirty looks or sighs of disgust from my darling significant other.

That was roughly 1998 or so.  For closing in on 20 years, I have not stacked it hard enough to bring a doctor into my life.  No broken helmets anymore.

Enter my new bike.  The hot hip new steed that is currently one of the rages floating around the bike world.

My second or third ride, I stacked it hard, went over the bars and crushed my helmet on a rock.  Definitely rang my chime.  Lost some seconds or maybe a minute or so trying to remember what happened.  Went on self directed concussion protocol because I absolutely did not want my wife to find out.  Apparently, I was okay. I felt fine the next day after waking up 3 or 4 times in the middle of the night to check out my eyes.

The next week while trying to perform a tight turn I should not have, I crashed again.  This time my right forearm took it hard.  Immediate blood and ugly stuff drenched my gloves.  Dave had some duct tape and he taped it up so I could ride back to the shop.  From the hit I took, I knew it was probably stitches time.  I was right.  It took a total of 10 stitches to close me up - 3 in the deeper parts inside and 7 on the outside.

As I could not really hide this mishap from my wife, I decided to take the coward's way out and call her from the urgent care facility so I wouldn't have to face her evil glare.  Doing it over the phone did not help.  Her disgusted voice was even worse than the stare.

I blame the bike.  I blame the bike industry.  I blame anyone but myself.  If they had not invented such a fun bike to ride, I would not have been tempted to ride beyond my skill set like I used to.  But I will say that even though the bike is an evil ride, it is very much a fun evil ride and I will be riding the crap out of it as long as I am able.

So much for being older and wiser ................................

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Gerrymandering

A post over to "Who Hijacked Our Country" about the recent court decisions regarding the new voter restriction laws got me to thinking about how rigged the whole election process is in this country.  The Democrats and the Republicans have tweaked and twisted the system over the years so that every election tilts in their direction.

While the "two party" system seems to work when both of them actually compromise with each other, the polarization of the last 20 plus years has this country's political process so knotted up, nothing is getting done.  It is entirely too easy for gridlock to happen when only two parties have the reins.  A viable third party would shake both trees and force policy movement that in the end could be considered progress.  Right now though, we are dead in the water and tempers are at an all time high.

But how to change the current political landscape to allow for the rise of other parties?   Hmm.

One thing that could be done is to create a national system that does not allow states and local areas to pass laws or redistrict based on arbitrary and often prejudicial criteria.  There should be a basic set of election rules every state and local area has to adhere to.  Elections are too important to allow locals to set them up as they please.

Included in this national election directive would be the outlawing of gerrymandering, the redesigning of congressional districts to favor one party over another.  The number of Representatives in the House could still be based on population, but they would be elected in state wide elections, not by specific districts.  This would instantly negate gerrymandering.

I know and hear the whining about how the less populous areas of a state would be ill served by Reps being elected in state wide votes.  Cry me a river.  The damage done to the elective process by gerrymandering over the years far outweighs the predicted and as of yet unproven lack of representation to folks in the more rural areas of a state.

Regardless, the design of congressional districts should be taken out of the hands of partisan state legislators.

Later .....................................................

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What an Entertaining Election

In the face of growing ridicule and disdain, The Donald and his merry band of Trumpeteers press on in their heroic quest to defeat the windmills of logic and reason.  A fine and brave army of Homers insist on defending their inalienable right to be stupid.

Meanwhile, in the age old smoke filled rooms of the Right, crusty old white men are just now realizing the import of what they were responsible for unleashing on an unsuspecting public.  Wisely, their counterparts, the aging Hippies of the Left are restraining themselves for the most part so as to allow the Right the room necessary to defeat itself.

Damn, Politics can be fun to watch.


Later ..................................................