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Monday, December 23, 2019

My first work in print!

Well, it is finally here.  Or should be by end of tomorrow!  BUY HERE:


Also, we will be at ConNooga selling books and you can meet some of the authors:


When I began this new journey it was at ConNooga - a writer's, illustrator's, movie buff, cosplay, gaming, and everything else conference held in my home city.  While talking to the 501st (storm trooper cosplay that do charity events - my son is interested in joining them when he turns 18) and seeing some acquaintances I knew from local game shops, I came across a table for a series of mystery books.


She had a cool mannequin, several mystery books (that involve science - if your child is interested in STEM these are awesome!), and a gentlemen about my age standing off to the side of her booth.  This "Jim" we shall call him.  That is, after all, what he goes by.  He was selling the first edition of the Crazy Buffet.  He told me there were a group of writers who meet twice a month for fellowship, to discuss the craft, and to eat.

After nearly twenty years since I last wrote "creatively," I was invited to join.  I am so thankful for this group and all they have meant to me this past year.  I am especially honored that they would allow me to submit two stories in the new edition.

My first is a story from Rwanda.  I spent a good bit of time there after the Rwandan genocide.  While the story is fiction, it is drawn from the stories I heard while there.  The second is the story of a mother with her young child  She is in recovery and rebuilding her life.  By chance, she has a brief meeting with her biological mother who is still very much in her addiction.

I hope you will take time to purchase and read.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Will our next president get an Impeachment BOGO?

So, last week absolutely no one asked for my opinion regarding the impeachment proceedings.  With such overwhelming demand, how could I not respond. 


1789 - 1843 - NO IMPEACHMENTS

1843-1900 - 3 impeachments
  Impeachment proceedings included charges of corruption and attempts to remove a racist president who wanted to be soft on Southern reconstruction.  Also an attempt to get an ex-military leader and drunkard out of the white house (and had something to do with "the Whiskey Ring" among other scandals..

1900 - 1950 - 1 impeachment

 During "lame-duck" session of congress an attempt was made to impeach Herbert Hoover.  By the way, of the four impeachments so far, half have been against presidents who held no political office prior to their presidency.  In fact, if you are not a career politician your odds of impeachment proceedings are greatly increased!

1951-2000 - 5 impeachments
  Sure, a president tried to seize privately owned steel mills, a president who "was not a crook" but did try to drop a nuclear bomb on Vietnam one night while drunk.  Of course, there was Reagan (who had a political career before the presidency but just as easily could be placed in the "non-political president" category.   It also included Bush #1 and a president who was having a bit too much fun with interns.

2001 - 2019 - 3 impeachments

The last twenty years we have seen every president face impeachment hearings.  Actually, every president that has served since Reagan in 1981 has faced them.

So in the modern "TV era" we are 6 for 8 on impeachment attempts.  And can you really count Ford?  How could you impeach the nicest man ever to hold the office?  Dude builds houses for the poor!

So what does all this mean?  I think it means that impeachment is not a democratic or republican event.  It has sadly become part of the fabric of our current political landscape. Now, only three impeachment proceedings went anywhere and none resulted in removal from office.  But they are used as political sticks to browbeat what should be the most honorable office in the land. 

It saddens me.  If we teach our kids to hate America, politics, and their presidents how can we expect they will want to defend their nation in the next generation?  I've traveled the world a great deal.  We have much to be joyous about and in my humble opinion should not seek to be so hate filled (on both sides).

OWNBTK:: TerribleMinds.com

"On Writing" Not By The King: 
A weekly blog-post reviewing writer blog-sites from an amateur's perspective.

TerribleMinds is the blog of Chuck Wendig.
Image result for chuck wendig

First off, I was immediately draawn to the opening menu of his website.  One link memorably reads "holy shit, free stories"  I clicked it immediately.  Apparently... free doesn't sell... and the page was 404: Page not found.

Oh well.... off to the blog itself.

Being Christmas time, the first post was on "Gifts for writers."  Perfect. That's me!  Among some posts about best pen choices (appreciated), the need for caffine, and his quest for a place to write there was also a promo for his two books on writing.

Vintage 1999 Applause Lucas Film Star Wars Rubber Yoda Hand Puppet ROUGH COND.I really like his casual, somewhat vulgar style. But there is also a great deal of wisdom here.  Just a few posts down from a "I'd do anything for yoda" post there was a post on grief(Nov 19th).

Swimming Sideways

Wendig discusses being a writer in the wake of losing his mother.  It is a touching piece but also a moving metaphor of grief as water.  It reminded me as a new writer that writing is not isolated from life.  It draws from it and is also impacted by it.  Who we are and what our experiences are shape who we are as writers.

In that, there is also a great post about self-care.  I've read books saying you must write so many words a day.  I even have someone in my writer's group who participates in "story a day."  On the other side is the balance of writing and taking care of yourself.

Sharp Rock, Soft Pillow, The Balance of Self-Care and Tough Love

I as a new writer am not full time.  No one has bought my book, given me an advance for the next, nor hiring me to speak at conferences.  I moved from a career that was 5 days one week, 6 days the next to teaching so I could have summers off and down time to write.

Most writing helps I see assume the writer takes the leap from a regular job to writing.  Perhaps that is necessary? I would love to hear how younger writers balanced life, family, and trying to start a career.  I know one of my favorite authors, Joe Brown, offered his reflections in the book On Fire.

Somehow, I think if Wendig wrote it the title would be something more akin to Oh SHit! I'm on fire!"  That said, it would likely be equally brilliant.

This is a blog I will revisit.  Between the promotion of his work is very helpful advise for someone trying to learn the trade.

And I have also put his new book on my to read list:


A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Emotional Support Bees

Prescott Valley, Ariz., resident David Keller thinks the application process to register an emotional support animal is too easy — so he tried registering a swarm of bees as his service pet.<br data-cke-eol="1">

True story.  David Keller of Prescott Valley, Arizona has applied to register his swarm of bees as an emotional support animal.

Emotional Support Bees

Apparently, anyone can go to the registration site:  https://usaservicedogregistration.com/ and register your animal.

The craziest part of his story is that he was approved.

Now, I am not sure what you do with emotional support bees.

Wife: "Did you pick up milk?"
Husband: "No, I forgot.  Want me to go back out?"
Wife: "You are an absolute failure as a husband and I hate you."
Husband: "At least I have my support bees!"

Trying to picture emotional support bees is difficult.  Do they crawl over you in a full body hug?  Or drip honey into your mouth as a service pet?  Or perhaps they simple attack anyone else near you to provide you a safe space?

If the latter, then I think it would be really cool to have an emotional support grizzly bear.  Or lion.  Or maybe just an emotional support Rhino?

Image result for siegfried and royAll of this made me remember the pioneers of emotional support animals.  Siegfried and Roy.  The two loved to pet, cuddle, and stick their heads in the mouth of beautiful white tigers.  I loved these two and always wanted a white tiger.  Alas, in my day we could have guns at school, got paddled for discipline, and said crazy things like, "Yes Sir."  However, our society was not advanced enough to yet offer emotional support tigers.

So I was forced to watch these two men live the dream from a distance.  Theirs was the most visited show in Las Vegas until one of the tigers got hungry.  Lesson... you must feed your support animal.  Or maybe get them a support rodent?

I for one have taken advantage and registered my dog as Emotional Support Dog # 1427601508.  I'm considering registering the cockroach that scurries around my work desk next.  There is something about the little critter that makes me feel at peace.

Monday, December 9, 2019


For those of you who have been kind enough to read my blog, or for those of you who thought this page had something to do with a new Marvel Star Wars crossover and continue to read for spoilers, let me thank you. I began this blog in the naivete of a young writer.  While I am well into my middle age, I just the past few years picked up the proverbial pen to write.  It has always been something I wanted to do... later... when I had more time... or a house with a study... or energy... or ...

In many ways my writing career was like that Amazon.com item ordered from some unknown shop in China.  The website promised two day delivery but the tracking just says "on the ship."  At some point you either have to forgo the item or go find it closer to home.

So I began.

One of the first things I learned from reading again (I had read it over a decade ago) Stephen King's book On Writing was that a writer must write.  You must begin.  You must make space and time for the craft.  You must make a practice of writing.

So I joined a writer's group.  They have been immensely helpful both in learning the craft and in encouragement.  Our twice a month meetings have become some of my favorite events in my ical.

Having finished a first book, 
I have also begun looking at how one goes about being published. 

And don't worry Stephen - if you are reading this - I'm still writing on other projects also.  I have one where I'm asking what happens if a young girl that identifies as a boy becomes a Texas Ranger in a dystopian America.  Another where a few low level drug addicts and a group of Pokemon gamers have to stop a hypnotist serial killer.  And maybe, just maybe, a Hallmark-esque romance.

But as I write, I am also exploring how to get my stories into the marketplace.  One of the things I was told was to have a social media presence.  A blog.

Image result for dave barry

And so here we are.  A good friend suggested that I start it writing what I care about.  "Starting and adding new content is just as important as a theme."  Maybe that is true, maybe not.  But I followed it nonetheless.  I will continue to use my blog here for observations of Americana.  It has become Lewis Grizzard or Dave Barry like in its formula.  Both of those men I deeply admire.  I can still here Dave Barry yelling "Bat Urine!" from the printed page.  If that isn't literature, I don't know what is.

Image result for lewis grizzardBut I have done this enough to come to see a benefit in a theme.

In mid-December I am meeting with a web developer friend of mine and hope to launch a website.  I chose to wait and do it with some coin in hand rather than just put something out there.  When I do, perhaps these two strands of blogs will find two homes.

My new strand will be "ON WRITING NOT BY THE KING"
 in honor of one of the more influential books I've ever read. 
 I even own it in hardback. 

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft

But my blog posts will be looking at the craft not from the vantage point of a master craftsman.  Rather, I will be looking from the perspective of the complete bumbling amateur.

Over the last two years I have read a plethora of material about writing.  The web is full of great and not so great material from publishers, editors, teachers, and other writers.  Some offer freely and some offer their wisdom at a price.

One such hybrid is the site https://shaylaraquel.com/

My writer's group discussed the currently $.99 eBook titled the Ten Commandments of Author Branding.

Facebook Banner The 10 Commandments.jpg

AMAZON.COM Link to book

It is a very helpful volume to a new writer and I think well worth the $.99 of previous store credit I used.

In case you must know... The credit came from a Chinese made and shipped faux leather jacket my daughter ordered.  It never arrived and after hours on the phone, I received a refund.  Thus, I feel I really put sweat equity into this purchase.

But I digress.  On Shayla Raquel's website is a post for "50 Blogs for Mastering the Art, Craft, and Business of Writing."

50 Blogs for Mastering the Art, Craft, and Business of Writing

These blogs are well known, well reviewed, and readily accessible.  My goal here is not to increase their traffic nor to give them grand correction or insights.  However, I do offer a perspective that may be helpful for some out there.

I am a new writer trying to learn.  Come with me as I look at these 50 blogs from the lens of a Newbie.  My goal is to cover one per week and finish in a year.  Ready?  Well then there is only one thing to be said.... "Bat Urine!"  .

Removal of Bat Urine Information

Monday, December 2, 2019

Roll Up Your Windows

Image result for driving with windows down

I for one think there is something iconic about driving with the windows down.  Ever since I saw films like Grease and American Graffitti I've thought there was something special about being on the highway with the wind in your cab.

But NO MORE!!  America is a much more dangerous place than those bygone days! 

Just ask Joseph Zak, a Florida man who was riding aimlessly down the road.  To his chagrin, the evil Florida winds blew in a bag of cocaine!  I imagine the conversation went something like this:

Officer: Sir, do you know why we pulled you over?
Image result for american graffitiJoseph: No sir.
Officer: You failed to stop at that stop sign.
Joseph:  I tried to stop sir, but this wind today is vicious.  It just blew my car right through the intersection!
Officer: Is that cocaine in your car?
Joseph: It must've blown in also!
Officer: It is in a sealed bag and with a crack pipe.
Joseph: These wind storms are crazy!

Cocaine blew in my window!

Now, if you aren't already rolling your windows up to protect yourself from flying cocaine, maybe you will take warning from this Taco Bell consumer.

In recent news, one man claims his life was saved because his windows were up.  Ryan Bishop of Arizona said that he ordinarily loves to have his windows down, but rolled them up because "I didn't want pieces of my taco flying around."

Tacos save a life

We've all been there.  Lettuce everywhere.  Tomato chunks in your gear shifter.  Cheese strips all up in your air vents.  Fortunately for this man, rolling his windows up also prevented a local shooter from killing him.  The bullet pierced first where Ryan usually put his arm, and then through the window itself.

Image result for cyber truck

And of course, this all leads me to the importance of windows.  Yes... the cybertruck.  Tesla recently revealed its new cyber truck.  My favorite review was an apt vehicle aficionado who said, "Finally, a I can drive the car that I drew when I was five."

In the reveal, Tesla promoted its armored glass.  A real necessity in the world where bags of cocaine can literally fly through your window at any time.  In an effort to show how the window could take a bullet, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tossed a small rock at the window.  It shattered.  Then he threw another one a bit softer.  Shattered. 

Tesla Truck Windows Shatter

For now, the direct to consumer armor plated window is still a pipe dream.  Sorry America.  Keep your tacos inside your car and your standard windows rolled up.  And just in case there are any more flying bags of cocaine, you may want to turn that heat and air to recycle.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Christmas HalfTime

Image result for halloween christmas

I have always known in my heart that the Christmas season does not start in July (as Walm-Mart thinks) nor does it start after Thanksgiving (as many of my family think).  No.  It starts the day after Halloween.

Image result for mascot footballThose who think we need to start selling Christmas Trees and Santa ornaments when it is 102 degrees outside need no conversation.  They are sick and need help.

For those who think you have to wait till after Thanksgiving "because you can't skip a holiday" please give a moment to my argument.  It just might convince you.

So this Sunday I sat on my couch and watched the Atlanta Falcons continue their self-destructive season.  But I am a loyal, life-long fan so I watched every minute.  At halftime, I did what every arm chair quarterback does.  I got up, said hello to some of my family who were elsewhere in the house, made myself something to eat, maybe ask my family and friends what they thought went well thee first half, and got back in time to watch a little bit of the halftime show.  Sound familiar?  If you are a football fan you should be nodding your head.

Image result for NFL halftime

So, let's transition.  What do I (and most Americans) do on Thanksgiving?  Well, we get up and go see family members, talk about what went well last year, make some food, and catch a few parades on t.v.  That's right, we do halftime activities.

The Christmas season starts the day after Halloween.  The first two weeks of November are the first quarter.  Set up your lights, start talking about parties.  You know, set the pace of the game.  Get control of the game clock.

Last two weeks of November is quarter two.  You had best be considering how to budget your time outs (who will you travel to see), some instant replay (of last year), playing good defense (not over committing in December), and establishing confidence in the run game (never too early to start shopping).

Thanksgiving.  Halftime.  Relax.  Well.... until the start of the third quarter...
Image result for coach halftime speech

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Local Tuesday, Scandinavian Wednesday, or Thrift Store Thursday  all represent the start of the third quarter.  Sadly, most people are like my beloved Falcons.  They don't really play the first half and come out way behind.  Don't do this.  The third quarter should involve some coaching assist and tweaking of your game-plan, not an overhaul.

By December 14th the person who doesn't start till after Thanksgiving is in a panic.  Unprepared, behind, and pinned in their own end zone.  It is sad to watch.  But someone who plays all four quarters with a confident plan... can focus on putting in the newer talent, resting your star players, and managing the clock while already enjoying your victory.  That is right... you can look toward charities and acts of good will.

Image result for merry christmas and happy thanksgiving

So there you have it.  Enjoy your Christmas Halftime this year.  Eat some Turkey, talk to family, and highlight all the good pre-Christmas work you've already done in the first half.  Or leave the table half-full to go stand in line at midnight because you didn't play the first half.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Texans trying to declare their own Thanksgiving

Image result for texasSo my son and daughter-in-law moved to Dallas, Texas.  I am very proud of them and their decisions as they begin life together.  However, I am always inanely suspicious of Texas.

Recently, they tried to remove Hillary Clinton from their history curriculum as the first woman to lose a presidential election.

She wasn't actually.  That honor goes to Victoria Woodhull in 1872 promoting women's suffrage, spiritualism, and everyone's favorite... free love.  Truly, she was ahead of her time.  Literally, since she also didn't meet the minimum age for a presidential candidate.  But we digress.

Texans also have thoughts of removing Helen Keller.
Image result for texas stonehengePerhaps there is a joke in there but I don't see it.

These removals may make sense to some, but more disconcerting is what Texans have claimed to have!   They claim to have more tigers in Texas than exist in the wild.  They have a large cross obelisk surrounded by 13 images of Jesus and a cross in bronze.

Image result for texas leaning tower They claim to have an Eiffel tower, a Leaning Tower of Texas, an alien grave site,  a forbidden garden, Stonehenge, and a toilet seat museum.  OK, the last one is actually really awesome.  But you get my point.  Texans often claim to own things that just belong elsewhere.

And now I have learned they think they own Thanksgiving.,

According to the Texas Almanac, Texans believe they invented Thanksgiving.
Image result for texas first thanksgiving
We invented Thanksgiving!

the belief is that on April 30, 1598 (23 years earlier?) Spanish Explorer Juan de Onate commemorated a day of Thanksgiving in El Paso.

Apparently, he led thousands on a 50 day march across the Chihuahuan Desert before reaching the Rio Grande.  There two horses drank so much water their stomachs burst.  Two other horses were so thirsty they drowned themselves in the river.  Others settled for a much more low key celebration around a bonfire with some food (horse?) and drink.

I see several problems with this claim.  First, there is no Turkey.  Ok.... the Pilgrims didn't have any either but let's not get caught up in details.  No pilgrim hats.  That takes away the craft activities for thousands of elementary school kids across the country.  And somehow, I don't think politicians such as Hillary Clinton would approve of replacing pilgrim hats with exploding horse games.

But in that regard, I suppose in Texas, a state where there is an annual festival to watch and hopefully be consumed by bats,  it doesn't matter what Hillary thinks.

Monday, November 18, 2019

PB&J as currency

Image result for peanut butter jelly
I'm sure you have heard the news.  The University of Alaska at Anchorage has decided students may pay unpaid parking tickets with peanut butter and jelly.

The university recognizes everyone from time to time finds themselves in a jam, parking where they shouldn't to preserve precious time.  In such sticky situations, you had better make the bread to pay the fine.  Ok... ok... I'll stop.

One of my favorite childhood stories comes from a friend whose brother committed the grievous sin of putting jelly on one slice of bread.  Then, throwing caution and culinary regulation to the wind, he proceeded to smear peanut butter on top of the slice already containing jelly!  My friend was traumatized by the whole event as he stood there gaping at an overloaded slice of whitebread next to an empty slice of the same bread. 

Perhaps this is why afood.com actually has a recipe for PB&J!
PB&J Recipe

I am unsure if the university is offering students sandwich making courses.  It is, however, a good question.  We can't assume.

The university accepts the 16oz jars in lieu of payment and then donate the donations to the local food pantry.  Apparently, it has just come to light that college students spend their money on other things like tuition, books, beer, concerts, and beer.  This leaves little room for ancillary items like food or gas money.

It has yet to be determined if Ramen Noodle lobbyist will become active in Anchorage in an attempt to protect their stockholder's investment in the college student niche.  When I didn't call the CEO of Ramen, He had no comment.

But in all seriousness, kudos to UAA.  I for one received several parking tickets over the course of my three degrees.  I would have loved the opportunity to confess my parking error by helping out someone else in need.  It would be my hope that such programs gain popularity.

The University has as of yet, failed to invent a parking meter that takes peanut butter directly.  If they did, I would be so jelly.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Manners make the man

Listen on Audio

It was recently Constitution Day. As a teacher, it is one of those holidays we don't send kids home to play video games and eat pizza. Those holidays always confuse me. I'm pretty sure Martin Luther Jr. would be horrified that kids celebrate civil rights by NOT being together in academia. Constitution day is different. We are together and it is my honor (not school mandate) to draw students back to the forefathers.

This year.... based on what I have seen with students returning from COVID the greatest need is MANNERS!  I can not tell you how significant is the decline in manners. Whether it be "yes sir," picking up after themselves, or non verbal body posture. Students who I had two years ago and were respectful, young scholars now slouch in their chair with hoodie over their head. They are quick to hot temper, slow to work, fast to grumble and show disrespect, and are a little bit gross - especially on sloppy joe day.

So this year, we worked on etiquette - drawing from our first president.

Here are a few of my faves.

Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, 
to those that are Present. 

When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, 
not usualy Discovered. 

 Shew Nothing to your Freind that may affright him. 

In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, 
nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet. 

 If You Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud but Privately; 
and Speak not in your Yawning, 
but put Your handkercheif or Hand before your face and turn aside. 

Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, 
Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.
Image result for george washington
Thus are some of George Washington’s rules of civility. 

One of the responsibilities of middle school is the beloved shift of cafeteria duty.  Where the Rules of Civility are as rare as a teenager listening to an eight-track player.

If that image makes you laugh, be sure to follow Washington's 24th rule!
Do not laugh too loud or too much at any Publick Spectacle.

There is a lot in a school lunch to encourage devolvement into entropy and chaos. It is twenty minutes. That includes walking from a classroom, standing in line for their starch laden delicacies,  and finding a seat.

In truth, students have under ten minutes to actually eat.it is also the only time in the day they can talk freely to their peers.   So it is no surprise that they eat dribbling food, spilling sauces, and breaking every etiquette rule ever taught. That is, assuming someone actually did teach them. For some I wonder.

Let us recall Washington's 98th:
 Drink not nor talk with your mouth full 
neither Gaze about you while you are a Drinking.

It saddens me that we don’t teach manners. Like wood shop, I believe it is an essential part of an education. Young men and women should learn how to conduct themselves in public.  The social sphere is where they will locate jobs but also where they will find places to invest their charitable and volunteer hours.

Nothing saddens me more than how students throw their trash away. Not all, but many toss (gently maybe, but still a toss) their styrofoam trays (aren’t we suppose to be saving the planet?) into the trash.

107: If others talk at Table be attentive but talk not with Meat in your Mouth.

This inevitably means our elderly janitor pushing the van receives a barrage of mash potatoes sludge, spaghetti sauce, or maybe the worst day chili remnants upon his shirt and pants.

The time it takes to walk an extra two steps (or in some cases get out of your seat and stand) to deposit the tray in a kind fashion is less than ten seconds. It is also the difference between granting value to a human being.  Mr. Jackson’s generation gave our students integrated schools, educational opportunity, and technological innovation. But even if they had not, there is a dignity we all should know and express to those who serve us.

Whether it be a veteran, a waiter, a store clerk, a doctor, or a man who cleans your lunchroom.
For George's rules end nobly:

Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire 
Called Conscience.

Monday, November 11, 2019

A horse is a horse...

Image result for Mr Ed

I have a lot of memories of my father. He passed away in 1996. For years I missed his advice and wisdom. As I aged, I also began to miss him getting to see special moments such as the birth of his grandchildren, their high school graduation, or the like.

One memory that I cherish is watching Mr. Ed with him on Nick at Nite.  He loved that stubborn talking horse.  Ed was always getting in trouble and running away. Wilbur, his owner was always going after him because he loved Ed (sometimes to the chagrin of his Wilbur's very attractive wife!).
Image result for mr ed wilbur's wife

That show had a major impact on me. I almost pursued architecture because of it. One thing I took away from it and my dad’s other favorites (Andy Griffith, The Nelson’s, Gunsmoke, Rin Tin Tin, or the Beverly Hillbillies) was that life is best when it has a simple pace.
Image result for rin tin tin

I was at a wedding this weekend. Actually, I was officiating the wedding. One of the bridesmaids spoke during the service. Her comments praised the beauty of a simple life.

The couple love each other. They witnessed it in front of close friends and family. They showed it in their laughter, joy, and kindness.  They reflected it as their first act as a married couple was a little private communion service.  A simple life together is what they desire.  I went to officiate. But I walked away from the beautiful farm and a beautiful ceremony mindful of the joy of a simple life.

Image result for Mr EdA horse is a horse of course, of course. 
And no one can talk to a horse of course. 
That is of course, unless the horse, is the famous mister Ed.
People yackity yack a streak, and waste their time of day.
But Mr. Ed will never speak, 
unless he has something to say.

Thank you dad for teaching me to enjoy life.
Thank you to the Cox family for reminding me.
Thank you to my bride whom I enjoy being with every day.
And thank you Nick at Nite, wherever you are in cable land.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Queen goes Green Screen

Queen goes Green Screen


So recently the Queen of England chose to wear a bright green outfit for her birthday.  In my opinion, this may be the best thing England's royalty have done since the King's touch. 

In the Middle Ages, the king and queens of England and France believed that they were appointed by God to rule.   In order to prove their regency was from God, the divine monarch would do what any sensible person would do, go touch sick people. 

You would think this would be a Godsend (pun intended) to the people.

Ma: "My tuberculosis is acting up."
Pa: "We could go to the doctor and have him put leeches on you.  They will suck your blood out till you faint."
Ma: " You just want me to stop nagging you... cough cough... Nah... I'm gonna go down to the palace and touch the king.  He's a looker."

Unfortunately, many of the nobility were not lookers.  And thus, it became tradition to also offer a memorial coin.  The coin could be kept as a memento, or more likely, be spent on real medical treatment.
 The "Touch Piece" of Henry VI (1422-1461)

There were of course, people who were suspicious as to whether the king (or queen) could heal someone.  Voltaire is famously highlighted in criticizing the practice.  Apparently Louis XIV's mistress died of scrofula "despite being very well touched by the king."  But overall, centuries passed where most people thought one great way to deal with major illness was to have the king touch you.

I know what you are thinking.... this blog is PG.... yes.... so.... Apparently, the last documented touching by a king of England was by George I.  The French kept touching people a little longer until Charles X touched 120 people in 1825 and it was decided that was to be the last publicly sanctioned touching.  Ok... PG...

We would all agree that the last two hundred years the regency has not been the same.  The royal family has become quite boring.  That is, until now.  The queen's green suit has once again placed her in contact with the people.  This time, through the many great memes circulating.

 You want your queen to be batman? Done.

The Riddler? Done.

Burger Queen? Done.

 Or maybe just in a Dr. Who outfit? Done and Done.

Batman's Queen
Nice work Queen! 

Queen goes Green Screen

Monday, November 4, 2019

Do we need another member?

I am a volunteer at my local fire hall and being such am on a committee.  Our committee met this past week and among other business we discussed an inactive member.  The inactive member had previously said she would not likely continue on the committee.

Thus, there was a vote to remove her from the committee.  One of our officers then asked the question, "Do we need to replace her?"

It was a great question.  There is nothing magic about the current committee make-up.  It could be a committee of five or seven or whatever.  The areas we serve - fire, medical, rope rescue, and community service - were already represented.  And further, members in the fire hall are already stretched thin and often over committed.  Such it is with men and women who have a heart to serve others I suppose.

Well, as I woke this morning and was drinking my pre-work coffee, I began thinking.

Our local paper ran an article this past weekend about the alarming rate teachers are leaving our county school system.  In my school, we have turnover.  There are lots of reasons offered, lots of scapegoats, and lots of fingers to point.

Reading the following: Compulsory Education  I found

In 1852, Massachusetts was the first U.S. state to pass a contemporary universal public education law. In particular, the Massachusetts General Court required every town to create and operate a grammar school. Fines were imposed on parents who did not send their children to school, and the government took the power to take children away from their parents and apprentice them to others if government officials decided that the parents were "unfit to have the children educated properly".

Now the Amish do not have to educate past the 8th grade according to federal law, and apparently were some of the first children left behind in the famous "No Child Left Behind" campaign.  
But for the rest, America has slowly made education longer (requiring first middle and then high school) and more required.   All in all, high school as compulsory is a historical fad.  It has only been a mandate in America for a hundred years or so.  

And perhaps.... perhaps... it shouldn't be.  If a student can't make high school either academically or through appropriate social interaction then maybe he or she would be best served elsewhere.  Maybe offer a GED voucher so that child once a bit more mature, separate from the current home life, and ready could obtain a GED?  Or maybe offer appropriately devised work programs?  

But what we should not do is just assume that mandatory high school education is a universal norm or even if it is a universal necessity.  I know there is much to debate here with issues of poverty, opportunity, gang violence, and the like.  I also know that in my city the high schools in those areas of poverty and violence are not necessarily any safer or any greater benefit to the student than possible alternatives.   

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Bouncy Houses in Space and Schwarzenegger's Ukrainian Phone Calls

Ukraine seems to be all the news today.  Everyone in Washington pointing fingers at everyone else for vague conspiracies that involve Ukraine.

 I've asked my liberal friends exactly what Trump did and received:
"He made a Ukrainian guy tell him something about Biden."
"I just know that you can't talk to Ukraine."
"He's an ass."

My conservative friends were a bit more specific regarding Biden's blunder:
"Pure nepotism!"
"His son was doing something corrupt."
"Wasn't he the one that shot himself hunting?"

Obviously, this topic has been well covered.  So I move we discuss Russia.

I read recently that we had an astronaut in space.

Here is a picture NASA posted:

California wildfire from the space station Oct. 30, 2019

This was posted by our American astronaut Andrew Morgan.  What struck me about the photo was the thought, "how the hell did he take it since we stopped our space program in 2011!!!"

Here I have gone eight years assuming America was done with space.  To my chagrin, we only stopped sending shuttles up at that time.  We still send astronauts.  In fact... we pay Russia to send them on their spaceships.   It costs 75-85 million per astronaut.  And yes... I looked... sending a shuttle up ourselves cost 450 million so we are getting a real bargain.

And, by sub-contracting out our space flight, NASA is able to focus more on their next goal - bouncy houses in space.  Yes.  I kid you not.

bouncy houses in space

 A model of a Mars base featuring Bigelow Aerospace B330 inflatable space stationsThese actually are pretty cool.  I mean, if you are okay with sudden death being inches away and all that protects you is a carnival ride made by the lowest bidder.  But apart from that, I compliment NASA for thinking, "My kid loves the bouncy house.  Space is bouncy.  Why don't we put those together?"

By the time I got done looking at the different themes for space bouncy houses I had forgotten why I had even begun looking.  Then I recalled the pressing issue.

 California is on fire.

I blame Arnold Schwarzenegger and  his secret calls to Ukraine.

Kincade fire in California

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Paris puts the first brainless blob on display... or have they?

Paris again seeking to be cutting edge have opened a new exhibit.  A yellow goo called "the blob" (so Stephen King 1980's).  As the French say: "Parle vous Jai un sac de feu"  Which I am pretty sure means, Joey dropped his scrambled eggs before they were done and we put it in an exhibit."

So why should you quite your job right now, buy a ticket to France, and go see this exhibit?

You shouldn't.  France has done this before.    The great storming of Bastille to start a revolution actually only saved seven criminals from jail.  That wouldn't even make a good Hollywood movie.  And the Mona Lisa... not sure she is actually smiling.

But even beyond that, the French have released some crazy facts about the blob such as it has 720 different sexes (???), it solves mazes, can beat puzzle master Will Short in Soduku,  and it likes oatmeal!

And in fact, it appears we have known about this blob since the 1960's. And we believe it has been around billions of years, enjoying long walks in the forest and reading The Great Gatsby.   It is not a new discovery.  Only the French trying to convince you to come see their zoo.
Image result for jokes french surrender
But part of me understands why the French would want this as their key exhibit in a zoo.  Zoo's should show the community animals that are wild and a little terrifying.  Here in the Southeast of the United States, we want to see lions, tigers, bears, pythons, and piranha's.  These are all really awesome animals that we are also a little afraid of encountering.   

For the French, a people who we must remember lost their own civil war, I suppose the blob is that animal.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if soon we here that the French military has surrendered to it.  Only after using pay phones to coordinate the peace treaty of course.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Freedom to be fat

So I recently read that in August the city of Minneapolis passed a new law.

The newest legislation is not unique, but the most recent of several areas to ban construction of fast-food drive-thru windows.  It is a law to prevent car emissions but also the government's way to help curb obesity.

I'm not sure this really solves the problem.  People eat a cheeseburger over kale for several reasons:
-1. It is delicious
-2. It is cheaper
Image result for drive thru fast food-3. It doesn't harm kale
-4. It has cheese on it
-5 They are patriotic (What holiday has "kale" as its choice food?)
-6. Grease stains support struggling dry cleaning businesses
-7. It goes better with beer
-8.  It comes with tater tots.
-9. It can be delivered through magic portals on the side of buildings called "driv-thru's"

As you can see, drive - thrus are #9 on the list. People for the last century have fought to overcome drive-thru speakers that sounded like this:

"Can I twaker your fft pop orderrr pop fft"

"I'd like some kale."

"Did you say pop fft you wanted fft pop ffft screech pop with fries?"

"No, I wanted some kale."

"So a chee-burger pop fft extra pop mayo?"

"Yes. Just get me out of here."

If the American can overcome the drive-thru ordering speaker, he or she can overcome this baricade to fast food.  The government can take away my right to have cheeseburgers delivered through a window, but they can't take away my cheeseburger till they pry it from my cold, dead hand.

Of course, they will say my death is exactly what they are trying to prevent.

We shouldn't be surprised.  This is the same city that brought us the "Twinkie Law" after a city council candidate was indicted by a grand jury for serving Twinkies to elderly people.

But this is a tragedy from the city that once founded the Mars candy company and developed the Snickers.  It is also the home of the Juicy Lucy, a cheese - stuffed burger.

In today's environment where the government pays more and more for healthcare costs it is no surprise they want to legislate health.  All I can say to my fellow Minneapolis friends is in the south we have cheap housing, fried turkey legs, Nascar, and fast food drive-thrus.  I even hear one company is developing a Cheese filled burger with lettuce, cheese, and a snickers.

Image result for juicy lucy burger
 The Jucy Lucy Burger

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

When will America's suffering 10% get their due?

To say I was disappointed in the Democratic debate assumes several things:

Image result for democratic debates

-1. That I believe candidates shouldn't criticize their own party.  I mean, come on everyone.  We don't have to beat up on Elizabeth Warren just because she doesn't have a clear plan to pay a trillion plus dollar campaign promise? Or criticize Biden just because when he was VP, his son had some questionable dealings with Ukraine.

-2.  That I actually watched the debate.

Image result for goobers

While the debate was going on, I was working.  Now, that sounds noble.  It paints a picture that if I was at home I would have had my popcorn and goobers out on the couch with my feet propped up.  Well, that is probably true, but watching Netflix.  Not the debate.

I did however watch the New York Times four minute rundown this morning.  So I consider myself an expert.

And that is why I am concerned.  My family want to hear the candidates talk about the real issues.  10% of our population suffers everyday when they sit at conference tables, use spiral notebooks, or God forbid want to use a pair of scissors. 

Evidence shows this population may be paid less, have more stress, and be uncommonly attracted to white, middle class men who write blogs.  At least, that is what I found in my research.  Well, actually, I didn't do any research at all.  But that is secondary to the main issue.

When are we going to stand up for the rights of left handed people.  From my understanding, no candidate even mentioned the plight of this hurting contingency.  Sure, we threw them a day (August 13th) and an incredible Simpson episode, but there are no parades, rallies, sit-ins, camp-outs, protests, colorful ribbons, or celebrity led "coming out" parties. 

Surely, someone in Hollywood could speak for this suffering minority?  Bruce Willis? Julia Roberts?  Angelina Jolie?  Hugh Jackman?  Please?

Image result for left handed problems

I for one am waiting.  Democrats, you want my vote?  Let's deal with the real issues my family face when we go to a crowded booths at a restaurants, when we want to simultaneously make hand gestures about middle class tax increases,  or when my wife and I are scrappbooking newspaper clippings about Hunter Biden's Ukraine exploits.