Ugly Day at 73.

13 May 2015

It’s been one of those days. rainy and cold.  Things not going as I hope or expect.  It’s depressing and frustrating.  In my foul mood, I looked for blogs by people with cancer.  I found several.  They only blackened my mood.  I need weed.  And booze.  Some good news would help too.

I’ve had the goddamned cancer for fifteen years now with several surgeries along the way.  I look in the pink of health but there is one or more metastases growing somewhere or other.

It’s said, though not widely acknowledged, that when treating cancer, you get three bites at the apple.  I’ve had two.  The third?  Either a trial vaccine or some terrible chemo.  I got a note from the doc: time for two more tests.  Then it’ll be time to kiss my ass goodbye.

But I keep plugging away.  Do I brood over my cancer and its side effects?  I try not to.  Mostly, I don’t.  Days — even weeks — go by without thinking about my new normal vs. the old one — and pain and death.  Brooding would be really, really counterproductive.

My biggest issue is I’d like to do something useful before I croak. And remunerative, such that Jo will be OK.  Maybe not swell, but OK.  Of course she’s got family; five siblings, so she’s not going to become a bag lady.  Of course we wish that we could both go at the same time.  Perhaps a meteor will smash into the bedroom in the AM when we are cuddled up?  Nah.  Maybe some ISIS scum will gun us down at the mall.

One of my biggest problems with the cancer is I’ve never felt free to simply blow up.  Do a drunken rant to my friends and family.  A couple of times I’ve made the attempt but got shut down after a few words leaked out.  Whining. Sell-pity. Wallowing.  “Oh, stop it.  You’re just fine.”  The closest I’ve come is the book referred to at the top of the page.  Nobody reads it but it was fun to write and provided some sort of therapy.

We could move to Jo’s family compound in Illinois, get some righteous weed from a family connection, some cheap booze from Jewel, zone out and wait for the tumor to kill me.  I gotta admit the temptation is strong.

And why wouldn’t it?  I mean, Christ, I’ll be 73 in less than a month.


Carly Fiorina for President?

13 May 2015

So, Carly Fiorina, a good, solid Republican, has decided she should be president of the USA.  Is she worthy of such an office?  Hummm.

Ms Fiorina ran one of the biggest, high-tech companies in the country, Hewlett-Packard.  She did so for six years.  She also shit-canned 30,000 Americans and sent the jobs overseas.  For this and other blunders, she eventually got the sack.  The day after the Board of Directors showed her the door, the company’s stock went up.

Quite a qualification.  (Please visit

Carly Fiorina — and all other corporate pooh-bahs who aspire to the Oval Office — have one glaring disqualification: They’re all dictators.  They only have one constituent to please, i.e., themselves.  Just like Stalin, Hitler or Pol Pot or Henry VIII.

Think I exaggerate?  Consider that if a dictator issues an order or a policy that will ruin the country, everyone must nevertheless toe the line.  Should anyone dare to disagree or raise a question, it’s off to the gulag or the gibbet.  In a corporation, the CEO (the dictator) enjoys similar power, though milder: You just get fired, which is the corporate version of the death sentence.

Dictators and CEOs, Carly Fiorina included, rule by fear.  If you are unwilling to endure humiliation or a demand to do something unethical, you get the boot and a bad recommendation.

Ah, but with a president, it’s way different.  The president can only rule through cooperation and accommodation.  Is a president is going to fire an uncooperative congress or supreme court?  Hardly, if the president pisses them off, they can fire the president.

And if not actually impeaching the president, they’ll tie him or her up in knots.  His or her agenda will go right down the toilet.  As will all nominations.  As will domestic and foreign policies.  No, any CEO who becomes president and tries to play the dictator, will end up a toothless, powerless joke.

So, Carly?  Go ruin another company and leave Uncle Sam alone.



The Littlest Things

10 May 2015

It’s that time of year and the bugs are out again.  Last evening, a mosquito landed on my arm but before I could administer the lethal swat, it flew off.  A mosquito is one of the littlest things on earth, but . . .

It’s an improbable creature, but consider that its brain about the size of a pin point.  Yet that brain can operate:

  • Six independent but coordinated legs with several joints each.  These legs can walk in any direction.
  • A set of fully controllable wings.
  • A sex-based reproductive system that lays eggs.
  • Eyes.
  • Antenna that can spot air-breathing animals and can find said animals once detected.
  • Mouth parts consisting of:
    • Reciprocating saw blades to cut through the skin
    • A siphon to suck out the blood
    • A pump to do the sucking
    • A scabbard to hold all this apparatus
  • A metamorphic system that takes it from egg to larva to nymph to adult.




Our Opinions of Ourselves

9 March 2015

Unless you are a psychopath, you have a finely tuned sense of guilt.  And worthlessness.  Or perhaps, more worthlessness than guilt.  It’s an individual thing.

Well, whatever it is, it troubles us.  For example, we have flash memories of ignoble acts performed long ago and we wince — for hours, maybe days, we cannot purge it from our minds.  At three o`clock in the morning, we awake troubled by a sense of failure; we haven’t provided as well as we would have liked.  You know, bigger house, better schools for the kids, inability to retire to a long life of carefree ease.  We can’t ever hope to meet the pecuniary success of a brother-in law and we feel small and wretched.

But many years ago, while attending a soiree, the guru said something I was able to take home with me.  It is this: Think hard on every good deed you have done, every instance where you have gratuitously helped someone, every time you stood up for decency — and write them all down.  And after you do, show the list to someone close to you and let them look it over but make no commentaries.  “This is your list,” she said, “and it’s your opportunity to crow about yourself . . . To puff out your chest and pat yourself on the back.  We need to have good opinions of ourselves.”

She went on to tell us that we should keep the list close, confine it to one or two close friends because they won’t pick at it.  Others may try to let the air out of the balloon, simply because that’s the kind of people they are.  Also, if your list is a good one, it will shame other people and they’ll become resentful, and perhaps act out.

Anyway, it’s time for me to do this list again.  And precisely because you are as far away from me as you can get, I’m going to share it with you.  I am immunized from catcalls and calumnies.

So here, in no particular order, here are the ones I can recall today.

I befriended a wan, sickly classmate who seemed depressed and withdrawn.  I was the only kid who paid any attention to Lester.  One morning, the teacher told us Lester died the previous night of a long illness.

One of my clients told me he wanted to get into [financial] consulting work and asked me for some help.  I gave him that help.  The last time I saw him, his consultancy had shot to the moon and he was moving on to a greener pasture in California.

I stopped at a wreck on I-80 in Wyoming and helped extract a severely injured man from a crushed camper.  A cop told me I’d probably saved his life.

A close friend ran up some bills he was unable to pay.  I squared the accounts.

I helped a friend deal with, and resolve, a bad job situation.

Jo and I took in a homeless Viet Nam vet.  I met him on a job site. He and I had hit it off so in invited him home.  He stayed with us for six weeks.

I inspired the wife of a prominent churchmen get a PhD in the language department at the UofW.

I’ve stopped at more traffic wrecks than I can count, helping the injured and terrified people until help arrived.

For many years, on Thanksgiving day, Jo and I would drive around looking for cops who had to work and gave each a Whitman’s Sampler.

On a transcontinental flight home, a steward asked me to sit with two young girls who’d never been on an airplane before.  I sat with them, chatting and playing games from New York to Seattle.

I got Jo her programming career.

In truck stops, I was always a soft touch for the tramps.  Today, and when I’m flush, I hand tens or twenties to the poor bastards standing at the feet of freeway off-ramps.

For twenty years I was a volunteer Guardian ad Litem in the courts here about.  I saved the lives of at least two kids and the sanity of a third.

Until his death, I used to visit, and help care for, my invalided friend from seventh grade.

I got my sister-in-law out of a parasitic relationship the almost killed her.

A young girl who lived behind us was getting, and had been getting, bullied.  While she watched, I Christianized the two mutts who tormented her and they never bothered her again.

In my new career driving a small bus for a senior center, I befriend the old, the sick, the isolated and the forgotten.  Sure, it’s just for the few minutes a trip takes, but I’ve been told it’s appreciated.

I’ve taken in Kitty, Moe, Zeke, Peeper, Sweetie, Toots, Snuggles, Buddy and Sweetpea.  Most were strays and some were about to be given the needle.

There, I feel a bit better.



7 February 2015

Yes, I saw the video.  In case you may be in sympathy with ISIS (or apathetic), you should watch it too.  The link is below.

It is clear, there is no enormity to which these creatures will not stoop.  They — ISIS — have the morals and principles of an insect, and they should be treated as insects: Extermination, complete and total.  No prisoners, no surrender, extermination by whatever means are needed.


About the characters in Titanic

1 January 2015

Last night Jo and I watched ‘Titanic’ for the umpteenth time.  Jack and his lady-love were portrayed as way-cool pretty people, which is at odds with the reality of a stoop laborer early in the 20th Century — as well as his lady-love, a cosseted whelp.

Jack, to start off, would have reeked of B.O., having bathed oh, maybe, six months before.  His clothes, however, would be even worse, having never been laundered — in the finest of Wisconsin traditions.  Of course they would be rife with body lice.  Jack’s shaggy mop of hair would, naturally, be infested with head lice.

His skin would have been filthy and covered with angry eruptions.

Jack’s teeth would have been carious, stained with nicotine and at least three would have gone missing.  Add-in bleeding gums and his breath could have stripped paint.

Below the belt, Jack had problems too.  In those days, most men were not circumcised (a barbaric, stone-aged practice if ever there were one) and this, coupled with Jack’s aversion to bathing, would have left him with a good teaspoon of foul-smelling smegma gracing the head of his pecker.  If ever he were to skin that thing back, the stink would have cleared a large room.

Jack’s underwear (if he wore any) would have been sodden and caked with dirt, duck butter, pee stains, pecker tracks and skid marks — they could have almost walked by themselves.  And where was toilet paper during all this?  Well, lady-love probably had some in her steamer trunk but Jack?

Of course Jack, being of Irish descent, would have had rickets, thanks to a very poor diet and his legs would have been bowed like a chicken’s wishbone.  This would have not enhanced his attractiveness.

But would all this have been enough to make the lady-love turn away?  Probably not, for she herself would have hardly been in better condition.  Razor blades were of poor quality and dangerous (recall Sweeney Todd) so her armpits, legs and nether-places would be as hairy as a St.Bernard.

Of course the tight bodice and voluminous skirts wouldn’t let air reach those places so the sweat would have clung to the hair and … well you can imagine the smell.  Her hairy airless crotch, swaddled in those airless bloomers, skirts and whatnot, would have captured old menstrual blood, shit stains, pee marks and kuze.  Were she to fluff those skirts, the stink would have been intolerable.  It would have been right out of the Infernal Pit.  Her unshorn arm pits were hardly any better.  Of course her teeth (and breath) would have been no better than Jack’s.

To ice the cake, lady-love would have plastered her face with harsh chemicals they called ‘cosmetics’ which made her face as rough as sandpaper and as tough as parchment.  These ‘cosmetics’ would have laid on her face like coatings of lard; they would have worked their way into her pores and turned black.  These blackheads would have been so large and discolored they wold have looked like freckles.

What a pair.




The REAL Christmas Story

28 November 2014

Re-published, by popular demand

Don’t you wonder how the Christmas story would be told today?  Gone would be the stilted and droning prose of yore and in its place, a new, hip vernacular. It might go something like this.

Way back when, The Man wanted to screw-over everyone by laying a 1040 on them.  Part of the deal was everyone had to hoof it back to Granny’s place so some hump could put the bite on them.  Two such folks were Joe and his young squeeze, Mary.  Mary had a bun in the oven and it wasn’t Joe’s, so the trip was going to be a profound drag.

Well, when they got to town, Mary was ready to hatch so they tried to find a flop. No such luck; with folks pouring into town, getting a room there in Bethlehem was like trying to get a room in Green Bay during the Superbowl.

After knocking on every door in town, some old fart running the local rent-a-barn soaked them good for a spot where they could snore with the horses. Problem was, Mary was about to hatch.  She dropped the kid, wrapped him in a blanket and put him in a horse trough.  Then she and Joe hit the hay.

While all this was going on, some guys were hanging out in a field, looking after some sheep. They were laying around noshing, talking trash and looking at the stars when a strange looking dude started floating around in the sky.  “Whoa! I told ya you put too much poppy in that pipe!” said one.

“Dudes!  Chill!” said the floating guy, “Don’t get your drawers in a bunch, OK?  I’m not here to sweat you.  In fact, I’ve got some news for you: If you beat it over to Bethlehem, like right now, you’re going to find this little kid sleeping in a horse trough.  Now this kid puts out some real righteous vibes.  Kind of like a guru — but he’s cool, man; he’ll never mess with anyone’s wives or kids, and he won’t make anyone drink the Kool-Aid, either.  So,” said the glowing guy, “I strongly recommend you guys to go pay a visit — and bring some nice stuff with you too.  OK?”  With that, a bunch more glowing guys showed up and they all began to whoop and holler, jump around and dance.  They they split.

The sheep-watchers sat there looking at each other.  “Uh, um.  Did anyone see what I think I saw?” asked one. “You mean the guys in the sky?” asked another, pointing up.  “Yup,” said a third. ” OK, then we ain’t nuts,” said the first.

“Well I gotta tell you, they freaked me out in a major way.  I don’t want to get sideways with guys that come and  go while floating up in the sky, so how about we drift on out and go see this kid?”

“Good idea, man,” said the second guy. “In fact, I’m gonna stop off at the gob shop and see what they got that might smell nice.”

With that, they were off.

When they got to Bethlehem, they asked around.  Some old bag pointed them to the horse barn down the street.  “Try that place,” she said.  “There a kid in there what’s been bawling it’s head off the last two nights.  Can’t get a wink of sleep,” with that, she slammed the door.  Going into the barn, our three boys caught sight of Joe wrinkling his nose as he washed out a filthy diaper.  “Yo, Joe,” said the first with a cheery voice, “We came to see the little dude.  Where is he?”  Without looking up, Joe pointed to his left where a supernal effulgence came from said horse trough.

“Gotta be him,” nodded the second as they scuttled over with their presents.  Peering into the trough, the three then looked from one to the other and in one voice said, “Cute little bugger, ain’t he?”

Outside the barn, in the darkest of night, a small star had gone nova and lit the place up like the night light on McGruder’s Smoke Shop.

Eight days later, they bobbed the kid’s dick and the rest, as they say, is history.

Well, that’s better, don’t you think?  



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