Opening a Box of Spiders

trump-hair I sit and wonder, neurons firing in rapid succession, blood coursing, pulse throbbing, muscles twitching, mind in chaos as my body goes on autopilot as I negotiate the political waters in my little boat. I am watching old reruns of America’s Funniest Home Videos the Foxy Noise’s answer to “ask a politician” otherwise known as a “debate” but more clearly seen as a 10-ring circus.

What is this phenom called “The Donald”? What does he want, need, or reflect? What is this barely one-third filled auditorium of robotic clappers who cheer when candidates say, “no abortion, not even to save the life of the mother,”? A very smart right-wing excuse for a human, points out that, hey if the woman is saved but not the baby, she’s no mother anyway. Burn the bitch at the stake!

Watching over the past weeks at the land laid bare by one Donald J. Trump, put-er of names upon objects, flashy promoter of silly “reality” shows, ex-promoter of barbie dolls in swimsuit and gown barely able to string one sentence together with proper grammar. All around douche.

It is impossible for a person of normal sensibilities to look at this trainwreck of a human being and do anything but shake your head in. . .in what? Sympathy? Understanding? What exactly do you feel when you look at such a creature of an evolutionary roll of the dice?

A surprising number of folks, some clearly knuckle-draggers, but quite a few seemingly normal, will respond to the question, what do you think of the Donald, with “well at least he tells it as it is” or “he says what he thinks regardless of whether it’s popular”. With similar phrases a man who has managed in his lifetime to accomplish nothing that anyone would admire much at all, has been catapulted to the top of the leadership board in the GOP clown car race to lose the presidency once again.

Yes, The Donald may “tell it like it is” or more pertinently, tell it like we’d like to if we had the chance” but what does  that mean? Surely we don’t (most of us at least) agree with much of anything that falls out of his prissy lips. So is it just the choice to throw caution to the wind and speak one’s own sense of truth no matter what that counts?

I doubt it. We can know this because while not apologizing for any of the shocking things he says out loud, he does go to some lengths to “explain” so that he won’t be judged so harshly by his base.

His base?

It seems the right winger tea-sippin’ loons are fairly fungible. They slither under the rock supports for such buffoons as Trump, but also the Jindal/Cruz/Santorum/Carson et. al. as well, and they will abandon any of ’em should they stray from the deep and bitter hatred speeches that this group demands.

Of course conspiracy theories abound as well. Which is nice, since the Trumpster has been author of a few himself. Note how the “proof” he had that President Obama was not a real citizen, has evaporated into interstellar space long ago. Along with the ever anonymous “border agents” trotted out by everyone to prove that one cannot cross the border these days for the heaps of bodies and crime victims littering the Chihuahuan Desert, along the red line that separates Merika and my little slice of heaven from Mexico which stands for all of the rest of the world. To the loons, all brown people are Mexican regardless of whether they hail from Ecuador or Peru. And let’s not forget all the Arab terrorists that have been living there just waiting to sneak across and blow up Deming and Ruidoso.

We are glad you informed us all down here of the danger we are in.

Yes, the Trump man likes his conspiracies. One aimed at him, is that he is nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing, entering the private hell, aka GOP, as a means to destroy it from within, no doubt at the behest and for a good hand/blow job by the ever versatile Hillary.

Now, while it is an appealing thought, I really don’t think that normal people like Hillary could have concluded that even The Donald could out-crazy a Ted  (machine-gun bacon) Cruz for instance. Who can outdo a Mikey Huckabee and his “Obama is leading the Jews to the doors of the ovens”? Who can outdo Bennie the scalpel Carson’s, “Obamacare is worse than slavery”? I mean can not crazy probe into crazy deep enough to out GOP the GOP? Does one risk losing one’s senses to even try?

Look, Donald is one very mean son-of-a-bitch, and we all know that. He unrelenting attacks against Rosie O’Donnell are proof positive that he is neither a gentleman nor a man in firm grasp of his own self-esteem. He cannot stand being criticized no matter how minor the issue, and he does what people of low self-esteem always do–they hit back hard and vicious, attacking people on peripheral matters that are suggestive of grammar school playgrounds.

He pretends to live in some world where he is the most attractive, smart, rich person and is admired by all. I doubt even he believes it, but he is driven by some absurd need to succeed, and his measure of success is, believe me, no standard you or I will ever know. I suspect it’s all tied up with daddy issues and probably a mommy one or two to boot.

If you read the right wing bullshit creator (otherwise known as Fox but also Breitbart, WND, Red State, Town Hall, and the Blaze), you realize that Donald has done nothing more than tap into the drooling stupidity of the far right that knows almost nothing, is educated about almost nothing, but can still identify a white stranger (friend) at sixty paces, and finger the safety on their semi-automatic while they purchase diapers at Walmarts.

These people are STUPID. They don’t want to pay taxes. They want a better job (with no clue how to get one or what to do with it if they had it). They have been Foxy educated to hate all people of color not because they are of color, but  because they are criminals, job thieves, and don’t pay taxes. If your life sucks, Fox will explain who is to blame, and it ain’t you and it ain’t them. Funny how all them just happen to be not white.

This is where Trump is stuck. He can claim that he doesn’t filter but says what he means, but really? Apparently  he has suggested that PPH should be funded to the parts that don’t deal with abortion. Reasonable? Some would say so. But the far right whack jobs are already threatening him with the appellation RINO as a result. He can drift almost not at all from the stringent rules of the road established by the gun rack lobby.

These folks are willing, for the right candidate, to burn the house down to make their point. Trump dare not come off rational in any respect or they will abandon him like two day old raw chicken left on the counter.

Trump has no hope of winning over the middle, for even the “I don’t vote for a party but for the candidate” folks won’t go that far. The independent voter (which is nothing more than those who don’t listen to any of the shit until a week before an election) is not his to win. They may be uninterested, but they are not fall-down drunk stupid.

It seems to me that Trump probably never does better than about 25 per cent. That means he wins nothing either as a GOP candidate or as an independent hair express man.

So what is his point?

Hell if I know.

As a comedian suggested on Larry Wilmore the other night, “if it appears I’m trying to get into Trump’s head, just kill me. I don’t want to ever go there.”

We figured the GOP for a good circus act this time around. But this? Oh we never expected this. This is too sweet. It’s like SNL playing new stuff ever minute of the day. Trump delivers the bull and the media cackles and tries to make sense of the crazy. Worse, they start predicting.

It’s going to be a long season. If the best is yet to come, lordy are we in for a bumpy ride.

My First Day as Replacement for Jon Stewart

God They say that I have, in the modern terminology, a “case of the ass” when it comes to fundamentalists. That’s only partly true, though I admit, it probably ends up about the same place.

You see, I’m pretty much in the “live and let live” category, but the good folks who profess to believe in their decades old-idea that the bible should be selectively read quite literally, have a pesky habit of carrying their self-serving interpretation to the ballot box with them. This is where we part company, and I get out my pitch fork to do battle.

I personally don’t give the good side of a rat’s butt what you think about nearly anything actually. You may (and must if you are a true fundie) believe in a flat earth and I don’t care. Just don’t presume to make public policy decisions based upon your warped thinking and we’ll be fine.

But of course, you do, so we’re not, and it all gets ugly.

Most people agree with me.

You persist.


Because you claim that we will be lost if Christian morals aren’t a part of the mix in determining our national public policies. In that, as in most other things, you are wrong.

We don’t derive our moral positions only from some religion. That is a fallacy. Moral rectitude comes from lots of sources, and experience and historical recall are two great beginnings to a moral code independent of deity. It is convenient to deny this, but hardly honest.

Let me give an example.

Look at the Hebrew testament. What sticks out?

God, as portrayed seems a might vengeful  deity doesn’t he?

This God is upheld by the religious right evangelicals. God is vengeful right? After all, at the very start of the commandments, God appears to make it quite clear:

There shall be no other gods before me. 

Much of the “history” of Israel constitutes the wars and invasions necessary to make this clear. Israel claims the land of those who worship other gods. Israel ends this by sometimes destroying all the people associated with the cult of “other” gods.

The rightie-tighties view all this quite literally. God punishes and favors those who fight other gods and who cleave to Him alone. God is warrior. God is vengeance.

We understand this sort of god quite well don’t we? We are a warrior people, and a fair reading of human history suggests we have been warring almost from the start. We are like God.

It’s almost as if we forgot what came next in those commandments:

You shall not make a likeness or image of any sort to represent God. 

Does that possibly suggest to you that our human traits don’t really apply to God?

Where does that leave us?

With a better interpretation than a literal one.

Experts might suggest to you that the anonymous men and women (?) who wrote various pieces of the Hebrew testament might have something quite different in mind when they wrote than pure naked truth.

In fact, these may well have been teaching documents when “written”, designed for various purposes other than to provide a “manual written at God’s guidance” about what Christians must do. They may well have been nothing more than tools of persuasion for a “country” in formulation.

How best to justify our rather violent takeover of a region long inhabited by others? Blame it on the God you follow whom you would argue has proven himself more powerful than any other. Forget that your writing set out to deliberately establish that, using the jealous god theme as your basic defense to being called “invaders”.

Coalesce one’s followers around the theme of “being chosen” and “special” and only responding to a God who had proven to be powerful enough to destroy whole armies at will to those who were faithful.

Tell a common story to a people straggling along the roads and byways of roads that led from Babylon, the place of exile, to the “homeland” never seen for generations. This is how you build a “people” from refuges who have for generation lived with other gods and other cultural rights and wrongs.

A vengeful God becomes the one to point to. We didn’t kill all your village elders, God did. You see how easy that works?

You see how much sense it makes?

The bible becomes the reflection of how a society came to be, the methods used to coalesce its numbers and the code of conduct determined to work best in order to keep that common cause always foremost. It blames the nasty behaviors on God, and allows the rank and file peasant to “get along” with the indigenous population. This vengeful God thing becomes the perfect cover for violent overreach.

Those of us who see that, see everything else quite differently as a result. If we feel squeemish initially at other people’s choices in spouse we don’t look to give sanctuary to our lack of compassion in a few remarks made by a writer who had a far different agenda and describes practices unknown in our modern world. We deal with our own failings that lead to this feeling and correct it.

The truth is, we on the left side of religion understand one thing as paramount. God to us is love, and if love is served, nothing else much matters. If the relationships humans define as sacred to them are based on loving feelings, it is sanctioned by the God we believe in. All decisions, feelings, notions, actions, contemplations, are judged simply by this: does it favor love or cut against it?

This is a morality that while based on belief, serves as well without the god attached. It cuts in both directions. We can take as given that cross-culturally, all humans arrive at much the same place albeit through a myriad of paths. We all fairly collectively agree that ending a human life deliberately is not acceptable except in specific instances usually well-defined. Cultures world-wide develop some concept of the “golden rule”. A moral code which in general is much the same comes to be, over time, everywhere.

What does this mean?

To the atheist it means that we are evolutionarily programmed to arrive at a code of conduct independent of any god because it is evolutionarily useful in maintaining the species. Admonitions against killing make sense because they provide for the continuation of the species. It has zero to do with any god.

Believers of course see the whole thing differently. To the degree that all religions share major tenets of good behavior suggests that God places in each of us some germ that leads us to a moral code that is responsive to God’s offer of unconditional love.

One sees our shared ethics as proving there is no god and the other comes to the exact opposite conclusion.

Fundamentalists fall out of the mainstream for they don’t share either opinion. For them Christianity serves as a tool in their arsenal of self-esteem. God chose them. God sets out a strict list of rules to be followed to remain one of us, thus not them.  We are saved, they are not. There is always a scapegoat in the bible; someone to blame. I am always to proclaim my unworthiness, but no matter what I do in actuality, I am saved, and that’s all that matters. My bad acts are forgiven. They are still to blame.

It is not enough for a fundamentalist to live his or her life according to their interpretation. They insist that I must as well. But since I know them to be utterly wrong in their simple and self-serving interpretation, I can’t be happy about that. They don’t want to live peacefully, they want to force everyone to live as they dictate. And that we cannot allow.

That I will not allow. I will fight to the last to deny you that.

And somehow, I gotta believe, and I really do, that love is a much stronger emotion than hate. It will win simply because in the end it makes the most sense. And hate-based judgments will wither and die.

The Arts of Writing and Motorcycle Maintenance



download (1)The written word has, for as long as I can remember, enthralled me and held me captive. Much as Justice Black said that he could not exactly define pornography, but he would know it when he saw it, I cannot exactly define good writing, but I surely know when I am in the presence of it.

But this is not about writing, for as I just admitted, I can no more set out the requirements of good writing than I can turn a cartwheel these days, but I do know something about writers. Being one, I can relate.

But what a ragged bunch we are. Actually writers make me laugh sometimes. After all, to declare one to be something which is not measured by a weekly salary or a list of duties associated with one’s daily grind, makes it hard indeed to stand with head held high. Starving artist comes to mind. Are you indeed an artist if nobody buys your work?

Well, so say some.

Dorothy Parker famously queried whether one can be a writer and have no book? In her time, there was no such thing as “self-publishing”. So she opined that unless one had taken to the lonely task of writing a book (fictional presumably), one was not fairly a writer. Those who wrote short pieces for magazines did not qualify.

There are other similar questions by some, mostly I’d suggest, from people with an axe to grind.

I mean self-publishing is now easy and fairly cheap. Anyone can publish their writing and disseminate it in book form. One can, as some do, buy up large quantities of one’s own work and count it as “copies sold” to impress others.

But for some (usually those who have been published), the appellation writer only applies to one who has been properly published by an established publishing company. But there are publishers and then there are publishers. These types however don’t tend to worry overmuch about that. Any publisher will do, but published one must be.

Others might draw the line at “been paid for”. If Boy’s Life paid you $25 for your little ditty about handkerchief folding, well baby, you been published and paid! Welcome to the ranks of Faulkner and Balzac.

Once upon a time, I was a lawyer. I’ve also been a student, and even a waitress for a couple of months (oh I was awful at that I gotta say!). When I started blogging a number of years ago, well, I eventually got the idea that I too was a writer, and I began to learn of the various definitions of what constitutes a person whose “job” it is to writ large.

Of course such writing doesn’t differentiate between fictional and other forms of writing. Technical writers are writers too even if their offerings are much less glamorous than the work of a Mitchener or Cervantes. But if publication is the standard, then all writers who get published by a publishing company can claim the banner.

I don’t know if any of this is unusual in other professions. I mean most of them require the same basic standardized list of accomplishments in order to matriculate through its school and to the degree. But heck, who knows, among physicists, there may be many factors that separate the fish from the chum.

I find it all amusing.

I really do.

For I define writer in a rather different way.

Perhaps it is all self-serving since I admit willingly that I’ve not been paid for writing, other than as a lawyer and no one can separate the brief writing from the argument. I’ve been published in school newspapers and here certainly. A few entries in the Courts of Appeal with excerpted arguments.  I have no other bona fides to claim than that.

Yet, still, I am a writer.

Because writing isn’t about any of the stuff others claim for it.

It is singular and something that only the person can claim for themselves or not.

It is not about publishing or being paid.

Writing is a form of communication, so first and foremost is one person placing into written form thoughts that they wish to convey to some “other”. And most important, do they care about how that thought is conveyed?

What I suggest is that writers love words, and love them to death, agonizing over the placement, the right word, the perfect modifier. Writing is not casual, but sweat and yes even tears on occasion.

However one engages in the craft, it becomes the thing itself, not the means to some other end. When it stands or falls on its own as readable, nay enjoyable, success has been achieved. We struggle with each word, each paragraph, and the order of the thing so that it “flows” and brings smiles of recognition and delight.

It is poetry but not. It is some in-between thing. Not an instruction manual and not Shakespeare, but something of its own. As you read, you marvel. What a wonderful turn of a phrase, how beautifully captured, how eloquent.

Each page is turned with fresh anticipation. One fingers the remaining pages with a certain despair and melancholy. Too soon it will be over.

Such writers, whether their offerings are fiction or not, cause people to search out everything they have ever written. We are insatiable in our desire to read more of this wonderful stuff.

If you don’t aim for this as a writer, I don’t think much of your efforts. If you are not continually searching for your own style, your own “voice,” your own distinct way of delivering your message, you are not a writer. You are at best nothing but a competent communicator. No artistry can be found.

Only the writer can honestly assess these things and declare themselves as wanting or as having passed the test. Of course this is entirely self-serving by definition. I control who  am.  But truly to be dishonest with oneself on this issue is to serve no purpose. One can claim the title but if one cannot produce the magic, well, everybody KNOWS you are only a sham.

Lover of words, extraordinary words, ordinary words catapulted to new realms of usefulness. Cantilevered into phrases, exploding into instantaneous meaning by new association, this is writing. This is art. This is sublime.

This is what I strive for. This is what I attain in singular moments of wordy ecstasy. And then it falls apart and I am left with the refuse of words not used, old favorites, and ones I fully wish to use but struggle with finding a context when they will sing their crystal clear illustration of some obscure thought.

Writers of my ilk love some words to death, hate others, are frightened of the implications of others, and judiciously dole out a few that are so powerful they risk being old hat if used often. Dusted off and polished, old thines and betwixts, hasts and methinks yearn for inclusion in a modern world. Find us a place, tuck us into that sentence, there, with an exclamation point!

Such makes us giddy with excitement. Palpable, throbbing, sexual energy.

I say too much?

I am ready, ready, ready, ready, to write.

Are you ready?

Participating from time to time and loosely with SoCS.


It Was a Hell of a Ride, But, Dude, It’s Over


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angry-whit-menistan I don’t recall as a pubescent girl, ever much thinking that I’d have rather been a boy. All that stuff in their pants looked rather homely to me as a child. As I grew older and wiser, I figured worrying that my boobs wouldn’t be “perky” enough was small potatoes versus worrying that my pecker wouldn’t pass muster either in the locker room or in a ladies vagina.

And then there was hair loss later in life, and well, I don’t pretend to know whether men obsess over chest hair or not, but it just seemed that their burdens were not worth the exchange.

I suppose it all goes back to caves, or whatever suitable accommodations were “home” to our ancestors on the plains of Africa. Men are for the most part stronger which makes them quite useful for things that require brute strength. Ironically men who work with their hands and use their bodies as their machines are fairly looked down upon by their Madison Avenue brothers as having not “made it” in the wicked world of power and wealth today. But it was the originator most likely of men’s superior classification.

In an event, men ruled, and that is pretty much everywhere you look across the blue marble we call home. In the only parts that counted (by those same men), white men ruled all others, including men of color. And it was all seen as good and well, as evidenced even by major religious scriptures, who took it for granted that men pretty much ruled naturally and with God’s imprimatur.

Somehow, even allegedly smart white men failed to see that Jesus rather turned that cart upside down when he suggested that women were, *gasp* capable of preaching the “good news” of the coming Kingdom.

Things have gone on in that vein for some time. Well, to be honest, it has gone on through most of recorded time. I’d hazard a guess that even where women ruled it had more to do with “blood lines” than competence, and many sturdy men were gathered around such a lady to “guide” her to correct decisions.

It continues today, but the battle is now fully engaged, and white men are getting a bit nervous.

images (1) Women have always been angry, but anger needs direction and some sort of power base to be effective. Only in the 20th century do we begin to see real movement to question the paternalism that has been the history of women’s life in America and the world.

Another aspect is now apparent as well. While white men were busy running the world and making obscene amounts of money to feel “successful”, the rest of the planet was busy reproducing like rabbits. Left with so much extra time on their hands, they played in the garden of rare delights also known as ladies private parts. And the birth rate has skyrocketed and well, do the math.


Ms. Lindsey is correct. If you look around white dude, well, I can understand why you are shakin’ in your boots and clingin’ to your guns. Your days are numbered and no amount of prancing around neighborhoods with your semi-automatic penises strapped across your chest is gonna make any difference to that.

You are a not dying, but certainly about to become wheelchair ridden, mere shadows of yourselves.

Now, I don’t say this with glee necessarily. After all, I’m married to one of y’all.  I rather like him too, so I have no ill-will in general to white men, just everything mostly that they stand for.

We can all pretty much agree that you have done a lousy job of runnin’ things. I mean yeah, you build a lot of stuff, but it seems for the only purpose of blowin’ it all up eventually. You guys can’t stop arguing about whose penis is bigger and if you ever bothered to ask us, you’d know that has nothin’ much to do with it.

Yet you persist.

And our sons and daughters and well, all of us suffer for your insatiable desire for bloodshed. There just ain’t enough hills for all of ya to be kings on.

So I can get why you are so angry. And like petulant children who can’t have ice cream for breakfast, you take it out on everyone you come across.

What you all are in need of is some basic psychoanalysis. I mean your ability to blame it on anybody but yourselves is shocking. It’s the black, brown, female, immigrant, wrong religion, youth, liberal, educated, government, et ceteras into oblivion’s fault for your troubles. A white man never looks in the mirror and sees the cause of his own disaster.

Anyway, you get all out there in your twisted but fact-less minds, and become conspiracists of one sort or another. We’ve visited the FEMA camps, and gun confiscations, the Muslim Brotherhood infiltration to death. We’ve been birthered to death and delved into the drug-induced supposed gayness of the black guy in the WHITE house.

We have tried to talk sense to your sense of impending loss, we really have, but past a certain point, crazy is too crazy to hear let alone understand. You are like the child who attempts to solve his unhappiness by making public scenes of displeasure at the world.

Unfortunately, you’re methodology includes the killin’ of plenty of innocents as you strike out in anger and frustration that you can’t always be first in line and get the best cupcake.

It’s over dude.

Do the math.


You are like the king who rules over a kingdom of “others”. Once his army became “others” too, it was only a matter of time, until they learned to count. Suddenly it was lookin’ a bit grim for the king.

Some of you have taken to claiming that you are the one’s being victimized now. Oh, if only that were true. We’d surely come to your aid if it were true. But it’s not.

Nothing is more pathetic than hearing a white dude proclaim that he is being discriminated against. Dude you were born with a white penis, what more could a person want? With it came all the entitlements and assumptions that have always attached to a new born white male. There is no “stretch” to thinking of you in a new more powerful way. It’s business as usual for you.

You can’t fathom how that is not what it is for the rest of us. We have to first convince somebody(s), that we can do the job, that we are smart enough, strong enough, carry the right emotional schema, are not unsuitably encumbered by family and obligation, and a host of other things. Women must explain that their menses won’t cause them to divulge the nuclear codes nor will “pillow talk”. Black and browns must assure that they have enough of the “cultural”requirements to govern. Remember, they weren’t “raised” the same as white dudes, which has become by their decree the cultural norm.

And since the numbers, (damn them) simple are what they are, white dudes are gonna lose no matter what. You can’t shoot it, marry it, enslave it, or stick it in a company town. It’s just gonna swallow you up.

So you lash out.

Do you realize that almost all crimes of mass murder are committed by white men? Dude, this endears you to no one. Let us know that your brains are falling out because you can’t be king any more, and we will help. If you don’t, well, the end is your demise one way or the other.

But please, stop trying to take us with you.


Marijuana is My Friend


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001e95a94ffc099169ea25b7d0c42ab9 The following comes with all the normal provisos: I am not a doctor. I don’t portray one on television. As in all things that have to do with your health, consult with whomever you esteem as having expertise in the area you are concerned about. This is just information you might want to research yourself and decide whether it’s a good idea for you.

My husband is a Vietnam Vet. He came away from that war with PTSD. He was probably on the cusp of when the military was starting to take “shell shock” or “battle fatigue”  and other various appellations for PTSD seriously. He attended the PTSD clinic in Kansas City back in the seventies for some weeks.

In addition, he suffers from COPD, and a very strange and intermittent lack of balance which makes mobility difficult for him sometimes. The latter is usually attributed to several concussions suffered in youth and in a helicopter crash in Vietnam.

We live in New Mexico, a state that has a “medical marijuana” law. My husband is candidly, no stranger to pot. After all, we are from the 60’s generation and it would be expected that we had dabbled with cannabis and perhaps more over the decades.

In any event, my husband decided to pursue the issue in New Mexico. The process was easy for him. A quick trip to a psychiatrist for an evaluation, and the securing of his rather large PTSD file at the VA was essentially all that was required. My spouse was lucky in that a few years ago, the VA re-evaluated his PTSD pursuant to a renewed request for VA disability status.

His PTSD was diagnosed as active and ongoing, which, as I said, made the process with New Mexico fairly much a no-brainer.

Within a few weeks of his evaluation and submission of application, he received his card. We live in Las Cruces, which has several “drugstores” that cater exclusively to medical marijuana users, so my husband soon was purchasing weed legally for the first time in his life.

We were concerned that whatever relief he might garner from the marijuana vis-a-vis his PTSD might be overwhelmed by a turn for the worse in his COPD status. We expected that he might have to use it in the form of food or as a vape. But he started out in the traditional way: the joint.

After a week, an amazing thing happened. His breathing improved dramatically. Not just dramatically as far as he was concerned, but it was astoundingly obvious to me. I had long grown used to the fact that even walking from the car to the house left his breathing hard. The focus of walking straight seemed to add to his burdened lungs even more difficulty.

Yet, here he was almost NEVER breathing hard no matter what he was doing. Surely he was still taking his inhalers as required, but he was no longer waiting for his next dosage–he often forgot.

So much better did he feel in fact that he has started to ride the recumbent bicycle each morning, taking Diego for a good ride through the neighborhood. He returns in fine fetter and for a while at least, even his mobility improves.

I’ve done some cursory research. What I have learned is that a couple of very long term studies seem to have put to bed the argument that marijuana is even worse than cigarettes for the lungs. In fact, for “light users” there seemed no long term damage to the lungs at all. Even with heavy usage (daily) there seemed to be little change.

Beyond that, there seems to be an increasingly large anecdotal collection of data that suggests that contrary to expectations, use of marijuana seems to help COPD patients. A number of theories are advanced: the normal coughing that might bring up more phlegm and thus open the lungs, the deeper inhaling customary to pot smokers, or just the general relaxation of the body’s systems which allow for greater oxygen intake.

For whatever reason, some COPD patients have reported that they are doing much much better using marijuana. One person has gotten off inhalers completely.

While my husband has not experienced quite that dramatic an improvement, it has been significant. He has been much more active, which explains the bike riding. He sleeps very much better, the best in years. His balance issues come and go, but he feels that that is a worthwhile tradeoff for breathing so much easier.

I wondered whether I should talk about this, but it seems to me that the tide has turned on the issue of marijuana in this country. Colorado and Washington State have led the way, as well as a number of states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. People on Facebook, for instance, now talk openly, supporting further legalization.

I thought therefore that I had some obligation to speak out as well. If you have a medical condition and live in a state that allows medical marijuana, you might be surprised at the range of diseases or conditions that can be improved. Who would have thought that smoking a joint would help COPD?

As I said, I’m no doctor. I’m sure a boatload of them will still say it’s a bad idea. A boatload of marijuana supports will say otherwise. As far as I can find, most of the supposed dangers of marijuana are way overblown, and it seems certainly to be less of a health risk than alcohol.

I have no interest in talking you into anything. I just offer one story, one anecdote among others that suggest that some really good stuff can come from pot. I can’t speak to what that might mean five years down the road or twenty. It’s just more information for you to use as YOU see fit in determining your own care.


I’ll See Your Demagoguery, and Raise You a Revolution


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images (5) If you ask your average Merikan about demagoguery, you’re probably going to hear about Stalin and Hitler and Mussolini. If you are specially lucky, you might hear reference to Joe McCarthy. A significant number of Merikans, perhaps most, won’t have a clue what you refer to, beyond a vague sense of “bad” floating in the air.

It’s no secret that American youth are fairly poorly educated in this country. While there are plenty of reasons and excuses for this, top of the heap is probably because they are taught lies. 

Such is underway in Texas anyway, where new textbooks will play down slavery as a cause of the Civil War, and emphasis a lie–states rights–as being its motivation. Now states rights had something to do with the Civil War, but not in protecting states rights–in actuality it was  the states rights of northern realms that they despised and set out to separate themselves from. In fact, up until the 60’s there were specific “southern” textbooks on these issues, not used in the rest of the land. We are returning to that era, when again, Southern kids will be taught a different “history” than the rest of the country.

A demagogue is one who through resort to fear and prejudice, appeals to the common people, in an attempt to manipulate their approval to gain personal power and influence. Lies are a common vehicle used to gain the support of lower socioeconomic classes which is then used to gain the ends (usually hidden) of the demagogue.

Americans think they are smarter than the average demagogue, and always have. We look at people such as Hitler, Stalin, and others of that ilk with a certain disdain, sure in our adolescent minds, if not our later adult ones, that such a thing could not happen in the good old USA, because we are “on to them” sorts. And the slightly smarter among the great unwashed will use Joe McCarthy as an example. Sure we toyed with demagoguery for a bit, but in the end we censured Joe and sent him packing, destined to go down in history as a rather sinister chap who in the end was admonished, “Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

So, we sit in smug superiority.

We of course were and are wrong. We are no better at ferreting out demagoguery than your average Athenian was when Cleon was stirring the people to behaviors we normally don’t associate with Athens in the classical period.

We live in a soup of demagoguery with any number of suitable candidates lined up to become the populist hero of the day. Fox Noise serves as the propaganda disseminator with plenty of minions named Rush and Ann and Rich and Sean ready and willing to spout the memorized script of why “they” are destroying America, and “we” must get out our guns and show them we will not tolerate their warped secular world.

We finally, at long last, sat down and watched Game Change the other night.  Sure, it was filled with lots of giggles and nodding, as we saw our Sarah entering the national stage. We saw the almost comical cluelessness on anything beyond the demagogue’s rhetoric. We watched as she puzzled over basic European history, attempting to take notes (on paper in the beginning, precursor to the famous hand writing), and figure out who was who, and what was what.

And we saw the debacle of interviews that broke open the wisdom of hirin’ Sarah wide open finally, and exposed what McCain referred to as the “dark side” of Populism–the degree to which it is based not on facts and well-thought out logic, but rather instilling and promoting fear and anxiety regarding “others”.

Sarah is pictured as sitting mesmerized listening almost spellbound to the criticism of her. Yet, either through brilliant acting, or truth, one sees a startling revelation. Sarah is not studying her detractors to learn what she is doing wrong, so much as she is carefully examining her detractors for weakness, and how she might better exploit it.

She studies, not foreign policy position papers, but what makes people smile or frown, what makes them cheer, what makes them nod in approval. She is all about one thing–how best to sell Sarah, and reap of course the benefits–fame, and more importantly fortune.

Sarah, as we have come to know, is really only about becoming wealthy. She forcefully and loudly proclaims that “they are boxing her in”, preventing her from doing what she does best–talk to the common folks. She ends up in a long and exhausting war with her handlers over who will control the agenda.

And of course, we have seen the fine results. After the election, Sarah made all her own decisions and she’s managed in six years, to not be the “new young leader of the GOP” that McCain predicted, but rather she has become a cipher in the conservative movement. A few thousands still shout her name, but largely the great uber right wing has moved on.

But the not surprising popularity of Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker remind us all too well, that there are more than one ready to take over the mantle from Ms. Palin.

Cruz, following the SCOTUS decision regarding marriage equality enters the arena with the lie: a few people who were never elected by us have dictated to the rest of us how we must live. Now of course, Cruz leaves out that this is exactly how our constitution intended.  It is what was established in Marbury v. Madison.  Trump contends that Mexico is sending us criminals, and then sets out to find an example to make his case.

Walker advises he will do to the Middle East problems exactly what he did with unions in Wisconsin–destroy them. Santorum suggests that the rights of every real Christian are at risk if gays marry. Jeb, not quite as capable as demagogues go, wrings his hands and mutters the code words, but doesn’t exactly know how to utter them convincingly.

We need not fear that demagogues will become extinct. We must fear that we are perhaps more susceptible to them than we thought.

Look, we live in a busy world. As has always been the case, the vast majority ignore politics and worry about paying the electric bill and getting packed for that fishing trip to the lake. But while you sublimely watch fireflies at water’s edge, back in the recesses of taverns and game rooms in fancy townhouses and estates, grifters like Sarah are busy trying to figure out what will scare you into voting for them.

I’m not expecting you to spend two hours a day reading what’s going on in the world. It would be nice if you took that interest in the now and future, well mindful of the past, but that’s asking too much. Half  aren’t mentally up to the task, and half of the rest are just too bored by anything that doesn’t speak to the World Federation of Wrestling.

But I ask you to remember one thing. The better it sounds the more likely it is to be not true. 

You do not need guns to prevent the government from overreach. If the government wants to stop you from mouthing off, it will kill you, and no weapon you have will make a difference.

You’re way of life will not end because gay people can marry each other. I’m quite sure almost none of them will want to marry you and with good reason.

ISIS is not plotting to blow up your neighborhood. It is quite more likely that you will die from a bee sting or be blown up by your neighbor’s arsenal when it goes off in a house fire.

You are not being attacked as a Christian. Nobody has ever stopped you from reading the bible you want, interpreting it the way you want, and going to the church you want. There is no war on Christianity, and as much as you want to think of yourself as a martyr, you aren’t. You would piss your panties should the feds show up and demand you become a Sikh or Buddhist, and all to many of you would bow and ask for the rules of proper worship.

If it sounds good, and makes you feel vaguely selfish–it’s a lie and you are being selfish. Don’t fall for it, even though it would mean a cut in your taxes and some sort of wispy comfort that your way of life is being protected. It isn’t and won’t be. We are becoming both NON-white and NON-Christian. It’s a fact. Learn the word ameliorate and learn it well.

If in doubt, don’t vote. A stupid vote is worse than no vote at all. Remember the demagogue is not looking for a smart vote, but a stupid one. Don’t take the bait. There is really nothing in it for you. EVER.

But keep an eye out for Sarah. She’ll be opening a supermarket near you.


Is I Crazy? You Decide.


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1c4f70b Oh, boy have I unleashed the dogs of war. Offering up such a juicy steak to those incredibly warped individuals who don’t think that I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread. Handing them an eviscerating tool of great power–is I crazy? Twice?

Trust me, letting them think they have me at their mercy is just my way of inviting them into my lab-bore-a-tory said the spider to the fly.

Is I?

As a child, I laid upon my bed and wondered was anyone in the world like me? I feared not, and in the era of peer-pressured sameness that we all strove to reach, I quivered. Was I normal?

Now, at the threshold of agedness ( I shall never be a “senior” or and old person I swear), I lay upon my bed and wonder if there is anyone in the world like me. I fear so, and in an era of eccentricism, I quiver. I don’t wanna be normal.

I think my prayers are answered. Were answered, or were ignored but I was just lucky that my prayers were actually the way things are? One of the above.

I’m a nut. I believe in all sorts of things that you no doubt think foolish.

For instance.

I wrote about this before so bear with me. In college I took a logic course and was asked to write a response to this statement: Would you be willing to pay for the support of an individual whose only requirement was to read? In other words can I fathom a world in which not everyone must work for a living?

Buckminster Fuller suggested an answer:

“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

See,  I went to college. But not to think. I went to earn a living. And I did very well, thank you very much. I set myself up for a gentle life, not working too hard, in a reasonably decent setting. I had tons of friends and colleagues. I made good money and enjoyed the perks of professional work. I needed to make a living and by all standards, I succeeded rather well.

But that’s not what should be or could be. Too many good minds are wasted in menial work of all sorts, professional and otherwise. These minds might be better used if we just let them think.

I think it would all sort itself out over time. I mean if you aren’t a good thinker, then thinking would become both boring and well, mindless at some point. One would ache to get one’s hand on a piece of wood or a pie crust. And one would move to that. We would do what pleases us and revs up our juices. It would be sane.

Trouble is, most of us aren’t willing to pay for others to do what seems pointless to many. But thinkers think about things and thinking about things leads to ideas and ideas lead to schematics and drawings and experiments and prototypes, and, well you see where this goes.

New stuff is discovered and people who work with their hands for pleasure make this new stuff. And thinkers and paper pushers and bus drivers enjoy this new thing, which makes their lives a wisp easier or more pleasant. What’s not to like here?

Still, tight asses will complain. They will suspiciously stare at the thinker and want proof that their money is being well spent. No lobster sir, be satisfied with bean soup you grifter! Yes, they will not trust the process, because they are all about making sure they ain’t bein’ ripped off.

Hey nothing is perfect. Somebody is always scammin’ the system. Hell people go to great lengths to set themselves up as pillars of the community when they are stealin’ ya blind. Humans are very human no matter the system.

But if you are of the mind that humans are in a process of evolving, then shouldn’t we pursue avenues that point to evolution in our THINKING as well as in our technology? Shouldn’t we be nobler and kinder in our systems of governing, pushing us mere mortals to be better than we think we can be?

Didn’t Jefferson and Adams and Madison and all the rest focus on the horizon and see a future better than any before them? Didn’t they offer us the messiness of democracy because we would screw it up surely as humans, but we would have something worth struggling for rather than languishing in the monarch-subject model?

Why do we keep beating up on the defenseless? Look, a cursory examination of physical types of human being proves rather clearly that genetics is a tricky and sometimes comical thing. I’ve seen people put together in what looked to be no more than random cutting and pasting of various limbs. Head too small, body growing outward as one descended, legs like stumps without the merest reference to ankles?

If some physical jokes pass as the range of genetic drift allowed within the species,why is it so hard to realize that not everyone has inside their cranium the makings of even a good basic biologist? Some people are dumb. Some are thoughtless. Some are unable to walk and chew gum, or see beyond their own nose.  Why must they be conformed to some job to which they are ill-suited in almost all respects?

Let them find their way, and then make up the slack. Don’t they have enough to contend with? What must it be like to realize that one got shortchanged in the brain functioning department? To think but not to reason well? Ah, that’s the rub.

Out of common decency let these people be! A decent home, nutritious food, medical care, education based on interests. Do this to our less fortunate and embrace them as providing a meaningful richness to the fabric of humanity and move on.

Stop the whine. Yes, uber conservative with your compartmentalized brain and your rigid sense of right and wrong, I’m talking to you. You have worked all your life. Nobody gave you a thing (I know you believe this although it’s far from true). You can’t retire because you don’t have enough of whatever it is you think essential.

But that is not the only model of living available. There is nothing to be ashamed of if for any reason you can’t hoe the row established by the not so bright but physically strong average human. There is a place for us all, and if we do it right, we will be doubly enriched by the offerings of all these oddball humans who contribute to the human family diversity.

Sometimes people just make damn bad decisions. Should they pay forever? Or can you cut them some slack and help them exist in what’s left of their lives? Can ya?

That damn Protestant work ethic and those bootstraps will be small comfort in the grave. It did not serve you especially well quite honestly. There are other ways.

It’s a little bit socialistic I guess. And a bit psychosis.

That is. . . .


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