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where to begin?

March 6, 2020

Whew!  In Bernie’s brief tenure as front-runner, I tried my best to feel good about some of the pundits pointing out that he might have a chance.  My 73-year-old gut would have none of it.  He would have an upstream struggle against Trump’s tsunami of whale shit, especially in the down ticket races, it kept insisting.

Plus, he recently had a stent put in his heart.

Biden’s crucial win in South Carolina (thanks, Jim Clyburn) and Very Good Night on Super Tuesday did not quite have the ring that all’s right with the world again, but it felt to me like we inched back from the edge of The Abyss.  The markets agreed.

Listening to the millionaire Sanders bitch about rich people reminded me of  the millionaire Trump’s faux rage.  Other similarities come to mind.  Both have merely borrowed a major political party for their own purposes.  Both play the populist card, albeit from different ends of the deck.  Both pursue specious goals like The Wall and Medicare for All with the tenacity and clarity of Captain Ahab.

Even though Biden has enough going against him, I think he’s the Dems’ best hope, partly because he seems to be Trump’s worst fear.  The GOP is already politicizing the Burista thing, but I can’t see that gaining much traction against a health crisis that Trump is making worse with staggering efficiency.  And I will gleefully take Joe’s occasional gaffes over Donnie’s endless lies any day.

After often thinking POTUS had finally pushed things too far, I can’t quite believe that this is the camel-breaker.  Yet I’m cheered that the virus is a narrative that he can’t control, and the turbulent markets are shaking the foundation of his best strength.

Are you still buckled up?


let the obfuscation begin

January 27, 2020

Kate, Linda and Al, thank you for your comments on my last post, and thank you for not giving me up for dead.  Quadra Island is shaking off a rough (not Saskatchewan rough, by any means) two week stretch of winter that had Jude and I contending with frozen water pipes, a meshuggenah micro-hydro system, a broken truck and a long steep driveway that reappeared just two days ago.  So we’re watching the impeachment to relax.  More on that later.

Al, I believe Trump won the election more or less fairly.  There’s no way such a huge, important matter can be done in complete fairness, especially when it involves an Electoral College.  He had the advantage over Hilary due to his lack of moral and ethical constraints, but he just flat out-maneuvered her in the Rust Belt.  And she was warned by her people there that she needed to show up.

I can’t think of any viable Democrat I wouldn’t choose over Trump this November.  I’m wary of Sanders and Warren, though.  Since hysteria is kinda what Trump does, he could paint them as rabid Socialists.  Biden may be the best choice in that case.

But here’s the thing: Trump may not be the nominee.  Since the explosive New York Times report about Bolton’s book, the impeachment tone has shifted.  Calling witnesses has moved into the outer realm of possibility.  Still a long shot, but Trump’s mental and physical health are always at the forefront to me.

If he doesn’t or can’t run again, age will be a factor.  Then we’d see a scramble among the younger Dems, but they’d have to be in the race already.  Too bad, because Adam Schiff’s stock in the party has to be rising dramatically.

And, Al, you asked where the Representatives are.  They are likely watching the wrath they wrought, just like 50 million other Americans have.

All props to Schiff and the other managers.  They did a terrific job of telling the story.  The Republicans have only countered with a lame, arcane argument about process.  Today, it took an absurd turn when Ken Starr admonished the Senate for cheapening the concept of impeachment.  The Ken Starr who obsessively pursued Bill Clinton.  One of the women lawyers, Jane Raskin, got the shittiest job of all: trying to make Rudy Guiliani look respectable.

Let the turd polishing begin.

take time to stop and smell the roadkill

January 18, 2020

Happy 20’s, all.  I don’t have any real reason or even excuse for not posting for so long, other than constantly tripping over my jaw because of the behaviour of a certain megalomaniac.  No one we know here on our island paradise in B.C. can understand how the U.S. continues to tolerate his bullshit.  The only thing reliable about him is his daily lies and distortions.

When Nixon was on the verge of impeachment, I was working long hours in an adolescence group home.  When Clinton’s turn came, I was working on a locked psych unit and simply didn’t need any more insanity in my life.  Plus, I was living in my van and couldn’t get adequate satellite dish service.

But now that I’m retired, I have the time and dish to stop and smell the roadkill.  If I went to Hollywood and pitched a movie with characters like Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, Lev Parnas and Robert Hyde, I’d be escorted out of town.  I do, by the way, believe Hyde when he says that he’s never been prescribed any drugs.

The smart money is on a quick acquittal, but I’m anticipating surprises.  New outrages are constantly surfacing, and I think Chief Justice Roberts will do something heroic.  Trump will be further emboldened, and do something monumentally foolish like he did right after he thought Mueller had let him off the hook.

The Dems have a truly solid team.  The GOPers have Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr, a man who once obsessed about Clinton’s privates.  The Republicans, sadly, cannot differentiate between the gravity of national security and oral sex.  Even with an acquittal, there will be heavy political consequences.

Buckle up, folks.



worst birthday gift ever

July 21, 2019

I just returned relatively unscathed from the U.S., literally sweating out the start of that massive heat wave until I got to LAX.  I went south to visit family and friends.  I hadn’t  been to the Midwest since 2012, and I had an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

My dear friend Bill was delivering a motorcycle to his son in Ellensburg, Washington.  His wife Leah rode out with him, then generously yielded her spot in their Toyota Tundra so she could fly home to avoid more altitude sickness crossing the Rockies.  He picked me up in Seattle just after leaving her at the airport.

It went swimmingly the first 27 hours.  We reminisced about our wasted youth, much of which we wasted together, and gleefully.  Then in Rapid City, South Dakota, we decided to have a fine meal at Red Lobster and spend the night.  After ordering our meals, I went to the bathroom to pee.

I couldn’t.  I was blocked so badly that every attempt grew more and more painful.  We went to the nearest emergency room, which was packed.  One woman there said she’d been there five hours.  I was certain that I couldn’t bear that pain that long, but my look of distress got me treatment after an hour or so.

I was having my first attack of prostatitis.  Pretty much any guy in his 70’s can count on prostrate problems, but I can’t figure out why Random Chance, in its infinite wisdom, chose South Dakota to remind me.

After some procedures and a shot the nurse said “might soon feel like you’ve got a baseball in your butt”, I was released.  Bill and I drug ourselves to a hotel and heated up our to-go Red Lobster feast in the room.

In the morning, I felt fine, including my butt.  I peed freely.   Bill and I drove the rest of the way to Kansas City, stopping only for gas and a buffalo burger at the famed Wall Drug Store.  The next day — my birthday — he drove me to the Budget car rental agency at the KC airport.

I had rented the cheapest car they had, a manual transmission that no one else wanted.  Problem was, they couldn’t find it, so they told me “how would you like a Mustang at the same price?”  I immediately turned 18, my age when the Mustang was first released on an undeserving world.  “Why, sure!”, I said.  “Happy birthday!,” they said.

So they brought up a new Mustang 5.0, which had more horsepower than all the other vehicles I’ve owned combined.

And it was orange.  Repeat: orange.  It had a real “STEAL ME!” vibe.

Nonetheless, I headed out to my daughter’s home in mid-Missouri.  Problem was, I had to do a 150-mile stretch on the Interstate at the beginning of the weekend crush.  So I was driving a muscle car on the first day of my 73rd year in traffic that was either sailing past me or right on my tail until it could sail past me.

Somehow I survived.  Fortunately, my daughter had beer.  The visit went very well.  I got reacquainted with kin I hadn’t seen in ten years.  Then I visited my nephew, whom I hadn’t seen in 16 years.  Then, some old friends, and my son and two grandsons, whom I hadn’t seen in seven years.

It was an incredibly rewarding and stressful week.  After a thorough immersion in this modern world, I may never leave Quadra Island, or even the farm, the rest of my life.

Tom Cotton’s picky logic

May 16, 2019

I generally respect my fellow veterans, but I must call bullshit on Tom Cotton, the U.S. Senator from Arkansas.  He said recently that there would be some sacrifice for Americans in the current trade war with China, but that sacrifice would be “pretty minimal compared to the sacrifices that our soldiers make overseas that are fallen heroes that are laid to rest in Arlington make.”

Cotton was in the Army, volunteering for the infantry.  He pulled tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He received the Combat Infantry Badge and the Bronze Star.  I give him his props for that.

But it grieves me that he makes such a huge logical jump on the backs of the U.S. war dead.  Did they not pay dearly enough?  Why drag them into this?  It just further lessens an archetype diluted by America’s increasingly specious conflicts.

It also minimizes those paying dearly today.  Witness the farmers who are in danger of losing their properties as Trump “squabbles” with Xi Jinping.  An Iowa farmer told CNN yesterday that the tariffs could cost him $150,000 this year.

So Cotton guilt trips them with the deaths of others also caught up in circumstances they had no control over.  He likely has national political ambitions, because he seems to be following the Trump arc, which starts with the belief that patriotism is the first refuge of the scoundrel.

And, Tom, as a former English major, I must also point out that your grammar is sub-par.

a Cat among cats

April 17, 2019

As we await the release of the Mueller report and the quite likely shit storm of response, Jude and I have been searching for distractions.  Regrettably, we got a huge one yesterday when Ollie, our beloved cat, took his last laboured breath with Jude by his side.

We think he might have had cancer.  He’d lost a lot of weight from his 18-pound frame.  But he was about 15 years old.  He faced his death as he lived his life: calmly.

He lived on our farm almost as long as we have.  He was literally dumped in our laps.  A client Jude was seeing on a home visit wanted to get rid of him.  She called me from there and asked if she could bring him home.

“Well, we’re not landed yet and things are really up in the air for us,” I said.  “Please,” she said.  “Okay,” I said.  “You’re so easy,” she said.  I really couldn’t mount a cogent counter- argument because we had just acquired our soon-to-be-beloved dog Slinkee from the rescue shelter.

Thusly, Oliver Purr Twist came to our farm.  Though just a kitten, he immediately secured a valued place in the family constellation by going on a rampage, hunting mice day and night until he had the rodent population down to a manageable number.

He was hell on birds, too.  When the weather started warming up, he would often come to the door with one in his mouth.  His muffled meowing would give him away, so we’d say “Step away from the door and show us what you have.”  He wouldn’t, being a cat and all.

From Ollie’s viewpoint, there was no object that couldn’t be a toy, and no time that couldn’t be playtime.  Gravity was of no interest to him.  He once jumped six feet nearly straight up.

He lived life fully, all nine of them.  He got a serious infection from a stick that penetrated his skin.  He got poisoned, probably from eating a shrew (they’re venomous) and twice one night I thought he had died in my arms.  He got a sizable hole chewed in his backside by a raccoon which probably would have killed him if Slinkee hadn’t intervened.

He would usually disappear when we had visitors, but would usually take to the visitors who became friends.  He seemed to have a knack of sensing the pain of others.  When I had my hip replaced he laid on that side of my body.  When I had my hernia surgery recently, he laid on that side.

About six months ago, the dog of some dear friends was nearing the end of his illustrious life.  We were baby-sitting him his last full day on earth.  He could barely walk.  Ollie lay down with him on a floor pillow and we got a great photo of them.  That photo just doubled in value, if you can multiply pricelessness.

So, Ollie, old chum, good luck wherever you are.  I hope it’s rodent-abundant and raccoon-free.  The only thing about you I won’t miss is your practice of leaving the livers of your night kills on the floor for Jude or I to find in the morning.  Usually barefoot.



this is priceless

April 5, 2019

Trump’s bump from “total exoneration” has yet to appear.  His aggregate approval rating at the Five Thirty Eight website today is 42.3, the same as March 25th.  Indeed, Donald’s numbers have been quite steady.  He hasn’t been below 40 since February 27 of last year, except for a quick dip at the height (or depth) of the shutdown.

Pundits are making much about public opinion solidifying before any real meat from the Mueller findings sees sunlight.  I agree that Barr’s four-page summary of a 400-page report can scarcely do it justice, but I believe that there’s plenty of time for the truth to break through and change minds.  If someone buys Barr’s whitewash topped with Trump’s newest Big Lie of total exoneration, likely nothing would sway him or her.

The Donnie immediately fumbled this huge gift by threatening to kill Obamacare and close the southern border because of the immigrant influx.  Reluctant real Republicans like Mitch McConnell privately counseled Trump on the folly of that, so he did back flips one doesn’t usually see from someone of that age and frame.  The ACA problem can now wait until late 2020, and the crisis at the border now has a year to set itself straight.

Trump has mostly limited himself to gloating before adoring crowds.  They eat up his sophomoric (no, more like freshmanic) humour.  This bugs the bejesus out of me.  It’s petty, a stain on the office of the Presidency.  We’ve got Samantha Bee, Steven Colbert, Trevor Noah and John Oliver for political humour.

But there’s one topic I encourage him to rift on: wind power.  I guess because it’s not a fossil fuel industry, he has deemed it a Good New Enemy.  According to Trump, wind power doesn’t work if the wind isn’t actually blowing, and when it does blow, the sound of the turbines rotating causes cancer.

Steady Trump supporter Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa called that claim “idiotic”.  With good reason: there are 4000 wind turbines in Iowa that provide 9000 jobs and 37 percent of the state’s power.

So, Donald, please keep tilting at windmills, as you call them.  The image is priceless.