Monday, June 27, 2022

I decided to cross post some of my flash fiction from "BoZone Too". Not sure why.

 The Prediction Weekly Writing Challenge

for Thursday June,16, 2022 - midnight GMT 

100 word maximum - Three words - Available, Third, Yoke

The Secret of God

Eons before any other species began to gain self awareness, our kind learned in their third epoch the most efficient method for conquering the Universe.

It wasn’t with grand, extravagant, expensive violence. No.  Cost too many lives. Instead, we learned unexpected and unseen infiltrations were consistently more successful at bringing another race or planet under our yoke.

Our asteroid will collide with Planet 13 in Quadrant 2334 soon. There will be no need to prepare to land. Available DNA strands safely ensconced deep inside this rock will ensure a successful conquest.

Patience and time is all that is needed now.


So, for this post, I had to include two musical choices :

"Galaxy Song" - Monty Python


"Space Oddity" - a one off cover by Astronaut Chris Hadfield in 2013

Monday, June 20, 2022

The Long Goodbye

Recurring participation meme's slide through my Facebook feed on a daily basis. Most are silly challenges or questions that I answer or hardly notice.

Then there are the meme's or posts if you will, that work hard to catch my heart and tear into it. Abused pets, starving children, health issues no one would wish on anyone. The list of heart rending stories is endless.

It seems most of us pass them by with nothing more than a glance; maybe a "like" or if we really read the captions and felt a connection, we might punch the "caring" emoji or the "sad" emoji shedding a tear. If  we feel our gut wrench, we might comment and then move on. Very few of us seem willing to take the minute it takes to share that meme that latched onto our heart strings. But never fear, because there are umpteen billion people using Facebook, the sad tale will be seen and felt by somebody.

Of course many of the cool kids; the influencers, the social media butterflies of Facebook and Twitter seem to consider sharing sappy meme's that show compassion and empathy of any kind for average Joes and Janes as exercise for losers. Unless it is about their favorite pop idol, reality show matriarch, or some other mud cricket personality, they are oblivious. They are the the really important folk who admire empty headed do nothings always embroiled in soap opera drama conjured up by their producers. They are the clowns who are worthy of our attention and idolatry.

I actually started this post a couple of months ago. For some reason I did not finish it. I had given it a title and added a picture of my mother in law who passed thirty years ago. The image and the title did give me a hint at what I had in mind when I started it.

My father died on the kitchen floor in the house I live in today. He died laughing from a massive coronary as my mother looked on from across the kitchen table. There was no time to say goodbye, no lengthy trip to death's door. We did not sit and commiserate watching a loved one slowly die of .......... there are so many choices, pick one.

As shocking and painful as my father's death was with its "here today, gone tomorrow" unpredictability, I think he was lucky. I cannot imagine a better way to die than with a smile on my face. We should all be so lucky.

And then there are the infinite number of ugly and unfair ways to die. Of them all, I consider death following a period of Alzheimer's/ Dementia to possibly be the cruelest death of all. To know your mind is going and also know there is no help that will do anything but maybe prolong the process, well, like I said, there is nothing crueler than existing in a capricious atmosphere of on again, off again clarity.

The callous indifference of Alzheimer's I would not wish on anyone. It is hard on the folks suffering from it and hard on the loved ones they leave in their wake as they slowly disappear into, well, I guess no one knows where they go. My mother in law's last years were suffered under the dementia cloud.  What was really sad was she remembered me, her son in law, but not my wife, her daughter. I could not imagine, I could only watch.

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


Music for this post  ................ Hmm. Well, it appears others have already traveled this path; this path for tunes to ease the anxiety and emotions of experiencing or watching someone we love slowly disappear until only a physical caricature remains. It is called "Music for Dementia Patients" . It is a top ten list. I picked Ben E. King's "Stand By Me"

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The New American Idiots

I would love to pat myself on the back for being able to fight the good fight against Right Wing lies, deceits, rampant hypocrisy, and yes, even treasonous behavior since Reagan and his evil bride Nancy first squatted in the White House in January, 1981. 

I look back on those times as idyllic compared to the horror show we have now forty one years later. At least in the 1980s, 1990s and the first few years of the new century, once the leaders from both sides of the aisle had beaten their favorite dead horses and championed their partisan views, they often found common ground, met in the middle and moved this country forward. 

Bipartisanship was a real thing back then. 

Now, twenty years later, any hope of cooperation from the Right has totally vanished. Any hope of the Left growing some balls has evaporated also. What we have today is an intractable gridlock that is exactly what the Right wanted. America is now controlled lock, stock and barrel by a nasty selfish minority while the Left stands on the sidelines wringing their hands and whining like little bitches.

The party of No, the GOP, has successfully ground the USA to a halt and are now busy demolishing any remnants of our great past in order to turn this country into a fiefdom for God and the Fortune 500. In the meantime, the Right has convinced enough of the their brain dead followers that feeding the Fortune 500 is the most patriotic thing they can do. It is sad so many people in this country are so stupid.

And though I blame the Right for most of the political and social carnage that has swept the land these past two decades, they could not have done it without the unforced errors committed by the Left. Instead of focusing on the issues swirling around the center, the Left allowed their fringe to push the agenda of social progress rather than the nuts and bolts of political realities. While Left Wingers are more likely to lend a sympathetic ear to the needs of exploited and forgotten populations, they can't do anything if they don't have a solid majority that has to include as much of the Center as possible. Policy and progress has to come from the center moving outwards, not shrinking from the edges in.

What it boils down to is The Right are mean, stupid bullies. The Left are a bunch of Nancies who are scared of the Winger bullies on the other side of the aisle. And frankly I am fed up with the both of them. And now that Maine has passed a law creating semi-open primaries for the 2024 election cycle, I am dropping the D next to my name on the voting rolls and replacing it with an I. 

Up until the Right went totally off the rails, I would often vote for the candidate and not the party. Beginning in 2008 I became a straight ticket voter. I voted against rather than for. No Republican has had my support since then. And now that I can vote in primary elections as an unaffiliated voter, I am all done with the Democrats except on election days. My votes from now on will always be against the Right, no matter who is running.

I am so, so very tired of the two party scam that has this country by its short hairs.

Fuck the Right.

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


"American Idiot", by Green Day fits so well in the current cluster fuck that is America today. That Green Day released this song in 2004 points out how the cluster fucking began long, long ago. 

"American Idiot", Lyrics

Songwriters: Michael Pritchard / Billie Joe Armstrong / Frank Wright
American Idiot lyrics © W.b.m. Music Corp., Green Daze Music

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Finally, a Local Youngster to Vote For.

It's Primary Day here in Maine. Maine is not an open primary state. That is, only registered Republicans or registered Democrats can vote for members of their own party. 

But in 2024, Maine will hold semi-open primaries allowing unaffiliated voters to vote for whoever they want. The semi open title indicates that Republicans and Democrats still have to vote in their party's primary. They cannot cross over.

I think a totally open primary would be better, but what we have is what we have. And bringing in semi-open primaries is way better than the old system. 36% of Maine voters list themselves as Independents. Allowing them to vote in primaries will have a major impact on who runs in the general elections. Participation of unaffiliated voters will offer up a truer representation of where the political winds blow and will enhance the power of a huge group of voters who were previously muzzled by self the serving political rules set up by the Democrats and Republicans. It is time for the two party system to choke and die on the vine.

But I did not mean to go on about our system here in Maine. It has actually worked pretty well over the years; certainly more equitably than many other states. And in 2024, it will be even better.

So this morning the plan called for a good walk with Maggie and Sammie (my daughter and son in law's dog ). Ever since our previous dog, Stubby, lost her leg to a speeding car fifteen or so years ago, I have come up with a ritual that never varies when escorting fur buddies across Sam Page Road to head into Mary's Park. 

It was 5:30 AM and even though there was little chance of traffic, I took them to the edge of the road, gave them a sit command, unleashed Maggie and told them both to continue to sit. Neither of them like to park their butts on sand, but eventually they complied. After exaggerated looks both ways, I said, "Okay". Maggie was across the road in a flash and Sammie the Pit/Bull mix did his best to dislocate my shoulder or rip my arm off;  he didn't care which. He's such a big doofus.

This morning however I noticed someone had planted a political sign in front of my property. At first I assumed my wife had okay-ed it. When we got back to the house and my wife finally made an appearance around 6:30 AM, she assured me no one had asked her for permission.

With a healthy head of steam pumping up my righteous indignation I fussed and fumed my way out to the road, yanked that damn sign out of the ground and brought it back to the house. My wife agreed it was bush league to place a sign without permission but offered up;

 "We don't know who put it there; calm down ferchrisakes."

Yeah well, she can be a pain in the ass like that and it really pisses me off when she so rudely talks me out of a righteous moment of anger. But when she's right, I find caving is easier than the alternative. So I made some coffee instead; then sat at the computer and did some googling.

Daniel Norwood is an interesting candidate in these here parts. He came here to Acton from Guatemala as a youngster. How young I am not sure. But his history is that of 29 year old man who has actively sought public service for many years. This run for Maine Senate is his first shot at elected office. He is not the typical town politician who is trying to move up to the bigger pond in Augusta. Finally we have a candidate who challenges the traditional white, straight, Gen-xer or Boomer clone we seem to pump out every other election. He pushes our comfort zone and I love it.

I watched his You Tube video and was impressed with his thoughtful notions regarding privilege and the reason his placard is purple. We later swapped some messages and I let him know about how not to anger folks by planting signs without permission. It may be legal, but it is stupid to not ask first.

Anyhow, Daniel's entry into state politics from our district is bound to bunch some panties on both sides of the aisle. Daniel does not care. He realizes this election is but part of his learning curve, some of the dues he will have to pay to climb the political ladder. He seems to be in it for the long game. No matter how it turns out for Daniel this election, Maine has not seen the last of him. I am voting for him. He is the sign of things to come and we had better get used to Millennial's and all their new fangled ways.  

Keep it "tween the ditches ................................................


There was only one tune I thought of. Again a song from my youth seems more appropriate today than back in the day. Here is Bob Dylan singing "The Times They Are A - Changin" . Recorded in 1964 I think before he went electric.

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

How Despots Are Made ran a very short news item about former Marine, Ben Beers, giving up his custom AR-15 because as he put it:

"I've never used them for self-defense and, to me, it's a token of pure evil and destruction."

I make no judgement on his actions one way or the other. The man obviously had finally had his fill of the outrageous number of mass shootings lately that have occurred at a rate of more than one per day in this country. 

What I found interesting was the predictable Gun Lover excuses that without a doubt justify their ownership of weapons of war. 

On Twitter, where I first came upon this news piece, John, a gun worshiping Twitter tweeter, did not try to use the "AR-15 are hunting rifles" excuse. His statement made it clear that in his hands, the AR-15 was a weapon of defense against a government already out of control:

"It's not about hunting its about defending ourselves against the government from overthrowing the people which is starting to happen people. Wake up people! George Washington forwarned us about this."

Which brings me to the point of the post.

Though, both the Right and the Left lay claim to knowing what our forefathers meant when they thought, said or wrote this or that. The truth is we will never know exactly what their honest feelings were in any given situation. So to me, the words they left lying around for us to pick up and interpret are just that, nothing but interpretations based on wishful thinking of the person invoking the words.

Once the American Revolution was over, our forefathers became what they started out as when they congregated in Philadelphia to write the Declaration of Independence. The became politicians again. And if there is one truth about politicians that has always been part of their makeup, it is always take anything they say with a grain of salt. And regarding what they write, well, their written words cannot be counted on as their true feelings when anything they publish has a political taint to it. 

So, when John claimed George Washington "forewarned us about this", I snorted and chuckled. I do not give a shit about what George Washington said or did not say. I worry about what our current George Washingtons, our current Adolf's, and our current Putin's are saying, writing, and most of all I am really interested in what they are doing right now here in the present.

But if John, my gun loving twit from Twitter wants to battle with the words or warnings of our forebears, I leave with this quote from Ben Franklin, one of the sharper arrows in the Revolution quiver:

"I agree to this Constitution ... and I believe, further, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other."  ( From Here)

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

I picked " Knockin On Heaven's Door", the original by Bob Dylan. Hated the movie, love the song.

Saturday, June 04, 2022

Learning to Not Be So White

It took most of a lifetime for him to realize many of the riches he had been blessed with were based on his skin color. He was born pale and hairless; a puny lump of puking, shitting, totally dependent squirmy piece of flesh. But he happened to be White. His chances of good luck in his future were higher right out of the gate than the life prospects of the black, brown and yellow people living down back roads that crossed defining tracks separating Humanity into various groups based on imagined figments of superiority or inferiority.

It did not take him many years to believe his color, his race defined his greatness. The traditions of his ancestors insisted on their supremacy from centuries of exploiting folks whose only weakness was slower technical development. In his child like ignorance, he used his luck of the draw advantages as his due. Subjugating others became not an evil, but business as usual. He even convinced himself he was doing all the unwashed masses a huge favor by allowing them to bask in his White greatness.

And now multiple generations later, the unwashed masses have caught up and are insisting on the real equality they feel is owed them after so many years of exploitation. The latest progeny of the White Culture looks on a landscape his ancestors never envisioned. All around him the bedrock philosophy of his race is being attacked. His knee jerk reaction was it is an unfair and unwarranted surprise attack on him personally, using the evil committed by his White ancestors as an excuse.

Had not his forebears passed laws that turned the masses into humans just like him? Had not advantages he had never been given been bestowed gratis on the multi-colored rabble? Wasn't he and his race to be given credit where credit was due? Why were they still bitching? 

The White Man could not see past his anger over their lack of gratitude. He did not, could not, would not recognize the fact that passing laws and refraining from racial slurs was not enough. The reality was all those moments of progressive racial and ethnic actions were in reality turning out to be but window dressing disguising the ingrained racist history many white folk did not even know still existed.

The unwashed masses were still angry, still ungrateful. And White Folk all over the land were perplexed and soon many became angry and re-located their White Legacy of embedded racial hate. Not enough made any effort to walk in the shoes of the unwashed masses. They just hunkered down with their White hate and dug out Great, Great  Grand Dad's Confederate flag and dangled it from their pick up truck; all the while failing to acknowledge just how lucky they were to be White. They did not realize that just being White automatically removes much of the baggage the unwashed masses are saddled with the day they are born. 

The White Man liked to consider himself a fair man, an empathetic man, a man who was concerned about his fellow man. Slowly he began to calm down and tried to look at the new culture of racism from outside his classic clueless and skewed White perceptions. 

Inch by inch, article by article, speech by speech, he began to question the legacy that had been handed him from his White ancestors. He knew they had probably been good people who thought they were in the right. But he began to understand that racial superiority is ingrained so deeply, it would be years after he was dead and gone before it was resolved.

In the meantime, he vowed to try and not be the White Man he used to be.

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


Not sure I want to find a song that would be appropriate to the post. But I have created a tradition such as it is with a musical number to go with the post. 

I thought finding an appropriate tune would take some serious screening of more than a few tunes. But I picked the first one I listened to. Here is Billie Holiday singing, "Strange Fruit" .

Something most White Folk never had to consider for their kind.

Friday, June 03, 2022


Slugs .................... there is not much I can say in defense of slugs. They look slimy and are slimy. If that slime gets on you, even soap and a scrub brush may not get rid of it anytime soon.

Slugs it seems, are predisposed to bypass the immeasurable tasty tidbits they wake up next to every day and head right to any plantings a human has carefully laid down in sweetened soil.  It does not seem to matter what plants are sown, as long as human hands had anything to do with their existence. Slugs are going to find them and have their slimy way with them.

I have been battling slugs for, well, forever I guess.  As a wee tacker, I was tasked to perform daily slug patrols in Dad's various gardens.  Dad has since passed onto the great beyond, but the task of slug patrol continues unabated.  

If the little bastards would wait until the seedlings gained some girth as well as some height, I might not hate them so much.  But they insist on going after the children.  This will not stand.

I have learned a few things over the years about slugs and how to keep them at bay:

The beer in a cup trap is a bad idea.  While it is somewhat heart warming to come out to the garden and see cups full of dead drunken slugs, I figured out that the beer was drawing more of them in than if I had not put any beer out in the first place.  More coming in meant more getting to my plants to ply their evil ways.

I tried commercial remedies a couple of times.  It might be my imagination, but once I was sure I saw a couple of slugs hiding at the shadowy edge of the garden chuckling and poking each other as they watched me plop down a store bought slug trap.

The only technique that works for me is to get physical and put myself in harm's way to defend that which I have struggled so hard to create.  When I was young, I would pick them up and toss them in a can to be thrown in the garbage after Dad poured a small dose of kerosene in the bucket.  So of course, I would have slug slime all over and then bring it into the house.  Slug slime in the house does not a happy Mom make.

I tried just stomping on them.  Sure, it killed them, but leaving a carcass was just an enticement to all the slug hordes waiting in the shadows.  And often I would end up with them stuck to my shoes and they would end up in the house.  Dead slugs in the house does not a happy wife make.

Over the years I have altered my approach.  Now I use a scraper to scoop them up.  Instead of disposing of them, I give them another chance at Life, but from a new location.  I fling them as far away from the garden as I can.  I have gotten pretty handy with that scraper.  They might find their way back, but I am sure it takes them more than a day or two. And this has been the most effective slug deterrent I have found.

Anyway, just a few words regarding slugs.  As integral parts of Nature's clean up crew, I guess they deserve a modicum of respect.  But only if they stay out of my garden.

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

Tune for this post is an appropriate choice....... "Hey Slug" by Sarah Maddack

Thursday, June 02, 2022

A Conversation With J

J is not a rabid, foaming at the mouth Right Winger. I think he hovers around the middle like I used to. I generally respect Jeff’s opinions, no matter how far out in Left field they occasionally are. Hell, I often find myself deep in Left Field myself, so who am I to look down on another human with definite opinions of their own?

What follows is a rendering of a Facebook conversation we had a few days back that was initiated by the image to the right. I posted the image without comment on my Facebook page.

J's First Response

These statements are so extreme. Does anybody want their child to come home in a body bag? No they just have different ideas about what to do about it.

My 1st Response to J

 I notice you did not mention "does anyone not want their child to look at a rainbow flag". In my mind, the Right's absolute over the top exaggerated indignation over almost everything the Left says, does, or even hints at sets the tone for the over the top response by the Left. And it is about time the Left gave as good it has had to eat the last decade. Fuck the Right.

J's Next Comeback 

 I didn't mention that because my point leans neither left nor right. Your defense of the left going rabid because the right is rabid (I'll give you that one) indicates and my sensors agree... "Ok , I realize, tensions are high"... What about that rainbow flag though. Well I neither want it forced down anyone's throat and I do not want schools which are already messed up in teachers which are already underpaid to teach my child sexuality ever, nor did I inundate with my children with a lot of sexual information you just need to cover the basics and make them understand their body is their own and all of that sort of thing. As for the gay kids in school they can start using the law and if people commit assault on them they can press charges or they can maybe they can call me you know the A team.

I think I Feel a Roll Coming On

Are rainbow flags as big a deal as insurrection? Is mentioning, just mentioning "Critical Race Theory" as big a threat as denying women autonomy over their bodies? There are so many stupid things the Right has their panties in a bunch over that are nothing but false flags designed to keep real progress from happening just because the suggestion for that progress was initiated by the Left. 

I am fed up with giving the Right any slack. I am fed up trying to understand their points. Their points make no sense and are nothing less than bullshit designed to hurt the Left, but in reality only hurt the country as a whole. Flying a rainbow flag in no way teaches children to be gay. Wishing there were some kind of common sense rules about guns and their usage does not mean everyone on the Left wants to "take away our guns". 

The Right is chock full of cowards who, instead of creating that heroic warrior culture you seem to embrace, instead are creating a cowardice culture where the only courage recognized is the false courage that comes from the end of a gun.

The online back and forth with J ended here. At least for the moment anyway. 


I mean every nasty, vindictive word I wrote about the Right. As long as they continue to be deceitful, dishonest, unethical and selfish, I have no interest in meeting them "halfway". Halfway to a Right Winger is only one way; Their way or the highway. And I am sick of it.

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


I picked a tune that in today's over heated political discourse could be embraced by either the Right or the Left. It is also a tune that is more relevant today than it was when it was recorded 22 years ago.

"My Way" - Limp Bizkit

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Shy Orchids

 This morning around 5:15 AM my smart phone told me it was a comfortable 48' F outside. I checked my real thermometers attached to the house and the phone's claim was in the ball park. It was also overcast with no wind out there. The 48' F chill would most likely keep the biting bugs in bed longer than usual. It was perfect dog walking weather. Maggie and I hit the trail over to Mary's Park about 5:20 AM. 

Early morning walks are my favorite when I can muster my sorry ass out there to enjoy them. No matter what excuse I might use to find something else to do, I know that if I walk, my day is already starting with a best foot forward action. And Maggie, she's beside herself with joy when she sees me put on my hat and grab the leash with outdoor collar attached. She will do her best to place that collar on by herself, but her other animated movements, the jumping, snorting and whining often make the routine a real clown show.

The usual procedure is I walk Maggie on the leash to the edge of Sam Page Road.  Pulling at the leash, it usually takes me two r three "Sit" commands before she obeys. I go through exaggerated motions of looking Right and then Left, while verbally reinforcing the rules of safely crossing the road. And as usual, Maggie sits and looks at me thinking, "Get on with it Asshole, I have scents to chase." Making sure she is on board with the safety tip, I release the leash, tell her "wait" and when the road is clear, which at five in the morning, it usually is, well, I motion with my hand and she bolts across the road and runs in circles while I saunter across the road.

So we began our walk, or rather I strolled in a classic rendition of an old man shuffle while Maggie bolted, sprinted, turned on dimes and 2 minutes in, her tongue was already hanging close to the pine needles. A happier dog did not exist in that moment. By walk's end I am sure the difference in MPH and distance traveled between us was at least 6 to 1; advantage - Maggie. 

The cooler morning gave her more energy. And to that point, it also did the same for me. I am sure if I had kept track, I would have ended with a faster time and a longer distance than any walk this Spring. I was smokin, drivin hard. Must have been averaging 1/2 MPH at least. ... No Boast. Really...... Stop shakin your heads. 

As fast as I was turning over those RPM's, it is a wonder I was able to catch glimpse of my first "Pink Lady's Slipper"of the year. So many years prior I did not see one until well into June and sometimes I only noticed them by their absence. Come and gone long before I thought about them.

They are more often spotted as solo acts.  This year I screeched to a halt in a prime location in which to find these illusive beauties. My conscious stop based on previous experience was this was possibly ground zero. I found a half dozen within a 20 square feet or so area. Tomorrow I will look for more. If memory serves, the most Pink Lady Slippers I have found over to Mary's Woods is 14. And this morning I hit almost half that with 29 more days to go to find more.

Lady Slippers are a wild orchid family found throughout at least the northern states. I used to think they only came in three colors,; Pink (the most common), White and Yellow. Apparently I am wrong. According to the U.S. Forest service, there are 11 varieties of Slippers. And the one I have always known as the Pink Lady's Slipper is also called the Moccasin Flower. 

They don't just grow anywhere, what with being fussy about soil nutrients, soil consistency, amount of sunlight needed and I think they just choose to locate few and far between. Spotting one always makes me smile.

Now I can't wait for the other orchid I look for to flower. The Rattle Snake Hawkweed in its own way is as beautiful as the Lady Slipper and even more infrequent and shy. They will start budding up in August.

Both plants are not protected here in Maine. There is no penalty for uprooting them and attempting to plant them in a yard. But from what I have heard, successfully transplanting them is more often than not a big fail. So, please don't yank them. Don't be a Bush Leaguer. Leave them alone and let them pose for your cameras. 

Watching Nature always ends up being a more positive experience for me than most anything else I can do outside the privacy of my own home. ...... Stop Snickering dammit!

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


Musical choice this morning is of course Tom Petty's "Wildflowers"