The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

If you have medical insurance and you make less than $50k a year and you still get a bill from the emergency room you should just toss it. I had to visit the emergency room about eight months ago. I was passing a kidney stone and was really only there for the morphine. I wanted to land on a cloud instead of the bathroom floor if I crashed again.

I knew there was nothing else they could do for me.

They did some scans of my torso and gave me an $800 saline drip ( $1.75 wholesale).

Long story short, I got the morphine.

Now I drink lots of cranberry juice and lemon in my water.

So far so good.

I don’t care about that bill. If I ever make any money again I will. If I can’t pay you and I’m not even sure why I owe you, I could not give less of a shit.  The hospital can sue me.  It will still be my go to emergency room if I ever have to go through that again.  It’s really close by.

I live in Los Angeles. If you make less than $50k a year here you should qualify for food stamps. I want a handicapped placard for my rear view on account of my ingrown toenails and sciatica.

I don’t qualify for shit.

It’s not like ever I tried.

I’m your typical liberal.

Lazy and shiftless and just looking for a free ride.

I don’t have a goddamn thing, not on paper at least.

I used to.

A good job, a house, cars.

I didn’t lose my job or my stuff because of the recession. But afterwards it took me a couple years to find something that paid at least a living wage. I had to sell a lot of my stuff.  I had to live with my parents. It’s been a struggle ever since. I’m not complaining. I’m a hell of a lot luckier than millions of other people. I’m a white male with a resume in the best country in the world.

I doubt I’ll ever be able to retire.

We live in amazing times.  We work harder, longer and more efficiently than any other country.  We are afforded less vacation time and sick leave than any other country.  Education and healthcare cost about a ten times more than they used to.  Seriously, a thousand percent more.  Way more than any other country.  I don’t make any more than back then and neither do you.  We can no longer afford either.

Something like half of us are living check to check.

That’s insane.

It’s not sustainable.

This is why we’re fucking nuts.

White people need to stop voting republican and scare this shit out of democrats by overwhelming them.  We simply don’t have time for a third party, it’s too late for that.  White people need to understand that we are no longer the shit in America or be complicit in becoming a third world country.

Acting like it matters in the scheme of things that an immigrant mother gets $12k a year in government subsidies for her seven children is moronic. Standing in front of all the modern horrors we can casually survey everyday and thinking this is worthy of anyone’s attention is moronic. We live in a country that blows people just like her to fucking bits all over the world every day.

Find something meaningful to give a self righteous shit about.

White people can still save us.  But only if we stop worrying about black men running amok and Mexicans raping our women.  Only if we actually realize this isn’t any longer about the color of our skin or the content of our character.

This is not about takers vs. makers.

This is about a concentration of wealth.  Income redistribution but not like on the TV.  The wealthiest one percent have always gotten that way with a leg up and by shitting down the backs of thousands but now they are getting away with too goddamn much.  Power is their crack. They drool and careen behind closed doors, drunk with avaricious obliquity.  These fuckers are out of control.  They hate us.  They’re no longer bothered by what anyone else thinks.  It’s a harbinger.  An omen.

Us white folks used to be somewhat excluded from the military industrial complex, the financial industrial complex and the energy industrial complex leveraging the political industrial complex.  The beginning of the the end of that was Vietnam.  These days it’s rolling over all of us with impunity and without regard to complexion.  These days being fucked is an equal opportunity liability.  Rich people no longer despise the poor and minorities nearly as much as they see the middle class as an inconvenience.  An obstacle not to be gotten over or around, but eliminated.

They disenfranchise voters, craft and pay for the passage of profitable legislation, implement policy and ultimately buy our elected representatives and the very elections in which they run.

It’s a goddamn disaster and they don’t give a mad fuck what color we are.

The quicker we understand that we are no different than anyone else and never have been, the quicker we can get on with what needs to happen next.  We need to get over all this bullshit they would have us spend the rest of our lives in hand wringing self righteous despair of.  They have at least half of us pining and whining to take our country back from the other half by jerking at the strings of a sense of entitlement that is now archaic and obsolete.

Take our country back from what?

From who?

Nobody is coming for your guns, gay people don’t lust after your brats, black men just want a decent job and Latinos wouldn’t mind finally being recognized for how unbelievably fucking hard they work. We don’t all want man caves and nurseries and lawns and cement ponds and fancy eatin’ tables.

We aren’t all the same and we need to stop being distracted by that.

The big secret to equality and justice is one of economics. Racism is a symptom.  Greed is the disease. Class warfare has always been the hallmark of an aspiring plutocracy.

You gotta hand it to them, they swindle us with our own egos.   Rob us blind with fear and gyp us out of our dignity.  White people are kinda new to this.  We really need to catch up.  White people today are indisputable proof that the cancer of absolute power has metastasized absolutely.  We aren’t as bad off as other races yet but it won’t be long.

Yes, we need to take our country back.

From the people who actually took it.

Drinks for my friends.



It Berns

Every time, they say this election is the most important of our lifetime and I’m sure it’s been true of each one.

This one looms and it’s definitely true.

If democrats lose the presidency, we’ll all end up in FEMA camps.

A saw a list a few days ago of top donors for Bernie and Hillary.

Hillary is all banks and Wall Street law firms.

Bernie is all unions.

I’ve said it before, Bernie Sanders is the best presidential candidate of my lifetime.  He’s not perfect I know and I have real reservations.  I honestly don’t give a mad fuck about his foreign policy experience because I realize that the only existential threat to the American way is greed.  ISIS and Iran ain’t got shit on corporate American avarice.  My country tis of thee  isn’t broke at all.  I’m getting tired of pointing this out.  There is plenty of money.  We spend it on the wrong things and give it to the wrong people.

We the people are broke though.  This time it really is the economy stupid.  Inequality is always leveraged by the distribution of capital.  That’s why we have culture wars. There are actual social democracies where earnest students pay little to nothing to study and healthcare is a right.  And they aren’t out of their goddamn minds all the time.

What is working for Bernie now is what will work for him as president.  He stumps and big ass happy crowds show up.  President Sanders will have to continue all anachronistic like FDR and adopt the bully pulpit as policy.  As a tactic.  Without losing stride,  he keeps talking to the people in public all the time.  He has to make the people make him do things and he can only do that if he keeps doing exactly what he’s doing now.

I understand how archaic it is.

He’s a populist, that’s what they do.

Whatever the telegenic euphemism  is. Town Hall.  Webinar.  Cable news.  Keep stumping.  This is where accountability begins with the elected and ends with the electorate.  Bernie Sanders is doing this now.  It’s pretty goddamn cool.

Apoplexy if a republican wins.  Just look at them.  It may or may not get too much worse under plutocrat owned Hillary.  Or we can roll the bones for Bernie, who never squanders an opportunity in front of an audience to say say exactly what he’s saying.

Door number one is Donald Trump or Jeb Bush according to today’s forecast. Door number two is Hillary who gave a big 45 minute speech on the economy the other day that was 43 minutes of generic, pine scented air freshener.  Low calorie pablum almost indistinguishable from Scott Walker’s announcement that same day. Door number three is Bernie Sanders who hasn’t been fucking kidding for over half a century.

We are in a shit storm here and Bernie Sanders is the only one talking only about the biblical proportions of it.  He is the only one talking about what continues to cause it. He actually talks about what happens if we don’t do anything about it.  He is the only one talking about what absolutely must be done about it.

Whether or not Bernie Sanders is electable, whether or not he can prevail over whatever bozo the republicans foist is ultimately up to us.

The fulcrum of the sale rarely rests on reason but almost always reclines on romance.

Drinks for my friends.

It was going to be huge

I am watching the Donald Trump and I am in awe.  I have never heard a man say so much stupid with so much conviction.  So willing to suck his own dick in front of everyone.  He is as absurdly pompous as he presents.  Forcing every  interview into an agenda of toxic racism to riot the willing.

He pisses in the republican pool by  pissing on and pissing off brown people and he’s the most popular bigot at the club.


It’s an early grand finale.  He’s gonna walk away and it will be boring.  I’m sad about it already but I love that the only reason he got in was for the money and of course the auto erotic asphyxiation angle and now it’s actually costing him money and strangling him.

The great unwashed adore him for exactly the same reasons I do.

He’s amazing.

So this sucks.  There is no substitute for the Donald. Who among them can comfortably circus his volume of ego the way he does?  There is no other capable of this noxious dumbfuckery.  It’s a shallow bench without him. No candle power or charisma.

I don’t believe he ever had any intention of becoming president.  He’s probably as amazed as the rest of us that he’s polling in first place in the first place.  All this means is he’s looking to bail even quicker than originally intended.  It’s costing him actual money, his brand is genuinely soiled and he’s getting over on the mouth breathers far better than he anticipated.  There’s a lot more of them than he thought.  He’s understandably afraid of them.  Scary shit for someone so full of himself.

It’s all a crying shame because as the absolute worst person to ever run for president, Donald Trump  is the best environmental disaster to ever contaminate the teabilly ecosystem.  He really is Fukishima for the conservative base.   His public masturbation has a political half life of well over fifty years.  Every month he stays is another reactor melting down and killing potential voters for at least a half century.

Bullies are cowards and he’s going to pull a fade.

The last interesting thing about him will be how much pride he leaves on the floor.


Drinks for my friends.





It’s rich.

I’ll grant you that.

The holy indignation.

It is intrinsically rewarding.

They say the supreme court made a law.  Nope.  They say removing the confederate flag from government houses is a violation of the first amendment.  Nope. They say it’s injection of racism into a historical context of proud heritage.  Complete crap.

The irony, it burns.

I’m a little disappointed though.

The sound of their heads exploding is not quite what I imagined.

I figured it would be louder.

But it’s like grapes imploding.

Sort of gassy.

I was hoping for some fire and brimstone moral turpitude kinda shit.  Maybe some kind of widespread stigmata outbreak or a gang of vampire exorcists descending on unsuspecting heathens with fire hoses gushing holy water.  The crackle of burning flesh and it’s lingering perfume.

But no.

More of the same narcissistic intellectually lazy binary crap about the sanctity of the institution of marriage and the ridiculous pride of an entire region of this country that lost a war a hundred and fifty years ago for the best reason I can possibly imagine.  That stupid goddamn flag represents nothing more than the enslavement, subjugation, oppression, rape and murder of an entire people.

If you’re troubled by conundrums like how is preventing the confederate flag over state houses any different than forcing bakeries to make and sell cakes to gay and lesbian couples for their weddings,  stop reading my shit now and stab yourself in the eye with a fork.  If you’re a redneck teabilly male experiencing any pleasure at all listening to Fuckface von Clownstick rhapsodize bigoted about Mexicans, stop reading my shit now and vigorously scrub your taint with a brick of pumice until you weep out loud.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

The whole republican field is pathetic.

Mittens is back in I hear.

An equal and opposite reaction.

What we are seeing is act three of our first black presidency.

Act one was denial.

Act two was a more vociferous denial.

They have lost their shame and are feeling fresh.  They shrugged off that brief period when it wasn’t cool to be racist.  None of the republican contenders are even trying.  Not one of them can get out front and call Donald Trump a prick bastard for his racist rants.  There is no decency in Smallville.  They just can’t risk calling Trump a racist ass clown.

Act three.

It’s not worth it.

There are no heroes on this republican bench.


Every single one is the worst possible example of what they say they stand for.

Work with me here because this makes it easy.  You’ve got this woman who has been around forever and has serious gravity and experience.  Sure, she’s compromised but she is regal and serene.  So adept she probably meets with Satan once or twice a week.  And then we have Bernie Sanders.  Bernie knows the devil but so far has not danced with him.  He has not danced with him.  He is not perfect but we can see him.  There is no mystery.  He is consistent.

On the other hand, you have a barn door wide open.  Zealots crashing out with the worst of intentions. All of them phony salesmen of halcyon days that never actually happened. They sell Norman Rockwell but you’ll end up with Ralph Steadman or even worse, Nagel.  They just want you to believe them.  Everyone of them will guarantee you an afterlife whether they believe in it or not.  Before  that, they swear you will prosper financially.  They’re not kidding about that. Just vote for them one more time.

Just one more time.

They all believe in you.

Just one more chance.

It is the fourth of July.  I live in the San Fernando Valley.  I cleaned the shit out of my kitchen.  I stood on my balcony last night and listened to the fireworks exploding all over and tried to imagine it as the same sound all the other people hear in all the other countries where we wage war everyday.

Drinks for my friends.





Confessions Of An Electron Director chapter four

Then there was Joyce.

I never knew her last name or even the spelling of her first.

I don’t think she actually had an official title.

We called her Joycee.

She could neither read nor write.

As a runner, she could make or break you.

If she wasn’t on your side, you were fucked.

She actually carried things on her head all the time in a bright dress.

Joycee was a Jamaican woman of almost indeterminate age and an accent with the viscosity of syrup.   It took me a long week to even begin to understand her.  Medium height with a pronounced pot belly and a deep chuckle.

Despite her latent power she was almost entirely benevolent yet still a powerful ally.

My first day in the magic castle I misunderstood her so completely that I walked straight into the only public women’s bathroom and there stood Sheri Lazerus.  She was adjusting her stretch pants, approaching the mirror and looked at me like I was a serial rapist on fire.

“Wrong door honey”.

My face was hot.  Fuck me I was embarrassed.

I would clean that bathroom for years.

I was off to a brilliant start.

What I understand now is Joycee was directing me to the runners closet next door.

What Joycee did, if she had your back, is cover your ass and keep you from looking stupid.  She could do everything three times as fast and way better.  If you didn’t cross her, if you respected her, she was capable of delivering you into good favor.  She worked hard.  A sweet and kind woman.  We became friends once she decided I wasn’t a fool.  It took some time because I was a fool.  I loaned her a few bucks here and there and never asked for it back.  When her sentence started with “Grant me a favor” in that humid dialect, I knew she was about to hit me up for something.  She sold me shitty Mexican pot now and then.  Occasionally she sent me home with food.  Good food.  I sometimes drove her home in my shitbox VW Bug to an awful and dangerous neighborhood instead of her taking the bus.

She was always happy.  She was almost always smiling.  It was a sad day if she wasn’t.

She ran the grill out behind the studios on Friday afternoons.

She cooked like a mom.

Just about everyone respected, trusted and appreciated her.

We were rarely at odds.  She hated it when I brushed my teeth in the runner’s closet sink.  The same place we washed the dishes for all five studios every night and the fruit for every control room each morning.  She reserved her most furious anger for when the night shift runners would get drunk and high and throw all the dishes away instead of washing them but that’s a story for another chapter.

My favorite memory of Joycee is from one early morning when I was still on the day shift.  It had been one of those nights where all the rooms went down late and the entire complex was in chaos.  I walked in and just about nothing had been done.  The night runners cheesed it.  It was ugly.  The second studio on the right after the lethal door is Stuidio A.  I was late and and probably hungover and  Joycee is already there.  We start picking up trash and collecting dishes.  I go for a cart and come back.  We were loading it up,  filling trash bags back and forth when she makes a happy noise.  I look at her and she is beaming.  In one hand is an ashtray and in the other a big fat Jeff Porcaro kind of roach.

I put on a Toni Childs CD and we fire it up.   All of the sudden it’s an easy Sunday morning on the bridge of a starship.  Beyond the console and a wall of angled glass, is the basketball gymnasium live room lit by a sun that began by banging through the only window in the entire place and down a dark hallway to just then, politely invade the east loading bay doors of Studio A. Everything is fresh and glowing.  Time passes.  We are sharing the record, laughing, singing and dancing a little as we lounge.

I love that record to this day.

Time passes and we’re back on our feet and getting it done because urgency has replaced joy.

The rest of the morning she is beside me and apart from me but we are of the same mind.  Toni Childs in our heads, doing whatever we have to do to make it all acceptable before everyone else sees it.

Saving ourselves.

One day years later, Joycee retired.  We had a big party with presents and food and it was the first and only time I ever saw her cry.  As far as I know she went back to Jamaica to open a restaurant.

It’s the last anyone ever heard of her that I know.

I can still see her and hear her in my head.

I miss her a lot.

Drinks for my friends.

Comfortably Numb

There is still plenty of injustice in the world, but today was a happy day.

I am pleased.

There exists a lingering conservative legacy on the highest court in our land.  Like many, I considered the supreme court deigning to hear the issue of gay marriage to be ominous.

Turns out I was wrong.

I am a rare kind of satisfied.

I am excited.

This is big.

The whiplash paced acknowledgement of LGBT dignity and the eschewing of the confederate flag as a symbol of anything but hate and oppression is soul caressing.  It fortifies my sensibilities. The religious right in this country has been bitch slapped hard and the message is unambiguous.  You people can longer enjoy being unapologetic dicks with impunity. The rest of us are on to you.  You’re on notice.  Your bullshit has an expiration date now.  The provenance of passing judgement and bullying from an altar of righteous indignation has been revoked.

Just like that, you are on your way to the margins.

My pleasure is guilty.  For hundreds of years you have been insulated from the verdict of equitable objectivity.  I can’t help but rejoice in your confusion and new found sting of shame.  The Lucifer of your peculiar fantasy is you.

It’s about goddamned time.

Today we were visited by justice and its always attendant compassion.

We deserve to celebrate that and to revel in it.

Take the weekend.  Get drunk and make toasts.

The union is indeed a little more perfect.

Careful not be lulled, however.

Beware the sentimental euphoria of complacency.

It is far from over.

Gird your sensitivity and generosity and brace yourself for what Monday will surely bring.

Until then, own that love and kindness prevailed in a big way today.  Keep it close to your heart.  Remember it when the shit storm once again darkens your day. Reach for it the next time some asshole opens fire on the TV.  Be ready to beat it back all over again.

Drinks for my friends.

American Malaise

I had to step back and think about it for a minute.

Because this time it was perfect.

A hate crime.


Some product of deplorable southern genetic fuckery succumbs to calculated indoctrination, walks into an iconic black church and sits through a service for like an hour with the unsuspecting he intends to murder.  He quietly allows his rage to detonate and blows holes in people he doesn’t know at all but hates with the incandescence of racial animus.  He believes the full throttle afterburner of lies forced down his neck at the optimum time for his aptitude to gulp them.

He was about fourteen years old when Barack Obama was first elected president of the United States of America.  Since then he’s been given specific purpose to fear and hate black people and allowed to blame all his own failures and shortcomings on people whose only difference is the color of their skin.

Not just one shit stain lost his mind,  half the goddamn country has.

The second it begins, the right wing religious assholes don’t even break stride in their relentless campaign of obfuscation to render culpable the first black president.  It’s all his fault.  How dare he get elected twice. They stop at nothing.  Shame and hypocrisy are mere divots in a smooth green field to them.  Such routine violence is ascribed to trends of acceptance and equality for everyone from gay and transgendered to immigrants and black Americans.

It’s an attack on Christians and of course it is racism to point out the impetus was exclusively racist.

It’s everyone’s fault but theirs.

They relentlessly spin it away from anything to do with bigotry and the sick fetish for guns in our culture.  They just can’t abide a lingering look at this latest horror.  Any prolonged bearing of witness to the very worst of our kind slithering from under rocks and out of caves to visit misery. Any scrutiny of the those among us emboldened by the craven fantasy of a  president on the verge of sending troops to confiscate anything resembling a firearm from every American household.

It’s all about that fetish.  They don’t give a mad fuck about protecting their families.  They aren’t actually worried about the grid failing and battling their neighbors for sustenance.  That’s all bullshit.  The second amendment is nothing but a goddamn slogan to them.  They only fear the potential emasculation writ large for them by the NRA of losing their guns to the nigger in chief.

I loath the NRA. Because without it we would have at least some amount less of these tragedies. Because Wayne LaPierre could not give less of a shit that without him there would be less of them.  Because the NRA is organized crime.  Because they masquerade as a group of innocuous defenders of the second amendment when they are actually a cabal of greasy lobbyists who agitate the hardest case dumbasses in this country into thinking they need some sort of arsenal to prepare for the coming race war.  Because they paint it as holy and even some kind of civic duty.

I really hate them.  Because they have somehow managed to be on the lips of every callow redneck confederate flag waving asshole from Florida to Arizona. Because they are able to get otherwise reasonably sane people to buy into this crap.  They have so successfully plumbed the paranoia of the contemporary American male, they are able to exploit millions of them with hubris but without reservation.

Because they effortlessly paint every new atrocity as one side or another didn’t have enough fucking firepower.  If there were just more guns, everything would be just fine.  What we need is more guns.  Every injustice can be resolved with some obtuse Dirty Harry doctrine.  If only everyone had a goddamn gun, the good guys would win every time.

Because the more they foment fear and prejudice, the NRA and every other pig at the trough rakes in a shitload more money.

I hate the NRA because they will not allow us to even try things.  We need to try things for fuck’s sake.  We need actual universal, comprehensive background checks and a data base for people who would purchase a gun, a dozen guns or more than a thousand rounds.  Whatever.  People who have felonies, mental disorders, or even a propensity for railing against other “groups”.  A list of people with a history of violence or meaningful conversations with the disembodied.

We have such a list for anyone who aspires to ride on a commercial airplane. No one in this country has ever been killed by a shoe bomb but we all have take our shoes off before we can get on one.

What about liability insurance?  Maybe everyone who buys a lethal weapon should have an insurance policy that will pay out the nose if the bastard accidentally or intentionally ends a life with it for any reason other than self preservation.  The notorious avarice of insurance companies could be the antidote for the infamous greed of gun merchants.

But we can’t even have that conversation.

The president is an asshole for confronting the ubiquity of guns in our country instead of just letting folks grieve.  Somehow, he is the one politicizing it because he points out an ostentatiously aberrant problem with no equal anywhere else in the civilized world.  He is chastised and pilloried by the media, our elected representatives and half the electorate for daring to point out the obvious carcinogen.

Somehow, by being nothing but forthright and germane, he’s too soon and too much for pointing out this crazy fucker would have only been marginallysuccessful at the sporadic hematoma if he was limited to plastic spoons.

I am done with you idiots that would suggest we talk about anything other than how we can realistically mitigate this problem.  Regulation.  Common sense.  There is no substitute.  There is no longer any excuse for eschewing responsibility.  Fuck you if you want to whine about the looming potential of a home invasion because violent crime is at a historic low.  Yeah yeah, criminals will always have guns.  If you don’t live among criminals then piss up a rope.  If you’re that worried about it, lock your doors and windows, get a home security system and keep a Louisville slugger by your bed.  If you’re not crazy you can even have a gun.  Seriously, despite the odds that you’ll die by it or kill your spouse being exponentially higher.

No shit, if any of this happens to you it’s unlikely you’ll be wearing your holster.

Open carry is absurd.  I don’t automatically assume you’re hung like a gnat if you own a gun but I’m confident you resemble a Ken Doll sans underwear if you think it’s normal to strap your AR15 on before you go grocery shopping or out for ice cream.   If you find yourself in the middle of some stick up, run or get on the floor like the bastard says because if you’re packing you’ll probably be the first to taste your own blood.  Stop fantasizing about being a hero.  Life isn’t a comic book and you’re not in an action movie.

So relax, and shut the fuck up, you can have your goddamn guns as long as you’re not a goofecock nutter planning to shoot up the local Starbuck’s and willing to prove it by submitting to an objective process.  Nobody wants to take your precious guns away as long as you are sane and willing to prove it.

There’s no way that’s too much to ask.

And South Carolina, take down that stupid fucking flag.

Drinks for my friends.




Picking fights

There should be some sort of meter.

A scientific instrument.

To measure it.

As soon as they say anything like “Obama’s Kenyan socialist/communist policies are sinking this once proud Christian nation”, I just have to walk away.

Because, well.

I used to argue.

I used to get angry.

I’m not necessarily some huge fan of our president but I don’t hate him and my problems with him are really only because I’m paying attention.

I’ve finally figured out that no matter how much I humiliate them in my eyes they are never humiliated in theirs.  This gives me pause because what if I’m that stupid and don’t know it too?  There’s a conundrum I’ve grappled with.  I’m grateful to have worked it out and you’ll be pleased to know that I’m not that stupid.

I’m pretty sure.

Because if I look hard enough I can find the asshole in any libertarian.  It’s pretty easy to find the asshole in most republicans and it’s a regular walk in the park with just about every Christian I’ve met lately.  I know how tired it sounds but I’m completely serious when I say it really is the old fashioned magnifying glass of logic and truth.  I swear it works.  Christians will say the exact same thing and then challenge you to disprove the existence of their adult version of Santa out of a thousand other versions for the exact same reason the other religions do.  Most republicans are arrogant and hypocritical so there’s your Christianity connection right there.  And most libertarians, although there are quite a few atheists, are really just particularly narcissistic, selfish republicans.

One thing is for sure.   Sooner or later, any one of the above will utter some version of “Obama’s Kenyan socialist/communist policies are sinking this once proud Christian nation”.

So you see what I mean now.

It’s just so cheap and intellectually lazy.  Fifty year old cliches that still pack a punch for the elderly, fanatical and racists old and new.

That racist thing, with all the other brackish deception, just gets to be too much for me.  It’s too too toxic.  Too wrong.  Too bullshit.  No reason on top of no reason with all that conviction and absolute certainty.  Before I know it, I’m actually arguing about dinosaurs cavorting with children and Obama’s fucking birth certificate.

A couple of these people have fooled me lately while on my way to believing they were good people.  This is where I need an instrument.  A device.  A tricorder or some damn thing.  They actually fooled me with the Christian shit. They get all pious on you and assure you they don’t judge.  Before I knew it I was having conversations with them about music and food and sometimes even politics.

Next they say some thing or another and my neck hair starts looking for a breakfast broadcast.  As soon as they can’t defend the socialist/communism thing, they move to insisting the unbelievable amount of racist vitriol howitzered at Obama never happened.

They’re not convinced he’s a citizen.

Then they tell me all those young black men were thugs.

That’s the dirty bomb.

It’s true I’ve got a stake in it but that shouldn’t matter.  I tilt on my axis and my parasites are spilled into the ether because of the gravitational disruption around my equator.  All my markets crash.   Somewhere in there I want get drunk and beat somebody up and puke in the sink.

It’s like they’re terrorists.  If you go on the offensive at all they get ever more self righteous and obstreperous.  They actually tell you about what the look on your face will be when God comes.  They share made up anecdotes about stereotypical minorities.   They bond among themselves. They WILL lie to you.  They flaunt it with all the pompous audacity of a child convinced that the cookie is bigger by breaking it in to pieces.

I just can’t do that any more.

So I’ve decided that if I am that stupid, I don’t want to know.  I want to be like them and have the courage of my convictions no matter what.  If I am that tragically vain, I won’t be able to bear it.  If I have anything in common with them, there it is.

I’ve decided that I have a finite amount of time and I need to allot that time more wisely.

I need to be among my people.

Drinks for my friends.



So word on the street is the Donald isn’t kidding this time.

He’s about to throw his hat and maybe his ridiculous hair into the ring.

I can’t wait.

Donald Trump will perform the equivalent of racking a 12 gauge at thirty thousand feet and blowing a hole in the fuselage of the commercial airliner the rest of the GOP bench is flying on and so vacuum all the integrity and credibility out of the pressurized cabin.

They will all panic and clamor for oxygen masks but half of them will perish by asphyxiation anyway.

It gonna be awesome.

He won’t be the stupidest and probably not the most radical to ever run for president but he will be intrinsically the douchiest.

The deal with the Donald is that he is utterly contemptible.  He may not be the stupidest but he is an idiot.  I say this for many reasons but chief among them is the fact that he’s a wealthy white racist.  His whole barely concealed dog whistle birther campaign waged from the sidelines for the last six years obviates any seriousness he would assume as his what?  Birth right?

I actually watched a season of his television show about a decade ago.  I’d just bought a new house and didn’t have internet access.  It occurred to me to be the most insipid, self aggrandizing spectacle I’d ever witnessed.  It was the first and last time I ever devoted any of my attention to “reality television”.

It completely sucked because he was an asshole blowhard.

My father is very funny and a consummate judge of character.  When he sees the Donald on television he calls him “suckerface”.

Despite the fact that I don’t think a single candidate from the GOP bench is worth a shit, Donald Trump is going to drag it through a sewer.  It’s sad.  Maybe the comedy looms way larger than any potential tragedy here.

Not really.

Trump just may be the harbinger of a final nadir in American politics.  Polls show he lands solidly in the middle of the field and that is troubling enough.  Donald trump is a uniquely American cartoon.  A real live face on the side of a bus. What the rest of the world pictures when they imagine the ringleader of the ugliest American carnival.

No experience.  No bona fides.

An uninterrupted history of pious avarice and narcissism.

So the most obvious move for him is to finally run for president of America.

If you’re anywhere north of thirty five years old, the idea of a clown like Donald Trump running for president should give you pause.  Some of you might panic and indeed you should.  It’s a neon billboard announcing our total abandon of vanity and self respect as a nation.  It indicates to the rest of the world that we have resigned ourselves to the idea that this campaign will be the punchline for the end of our dignity as a country.

Donald Trump entering the race for the GOP nomination is the last straw.  I hope he actually follows through.  I think we need to own how spectacularly ridiculous we have become.

It will be cathartic.

It will be a relief.

Goddamn we suck.

Drinks for my friends.



Idle Hands

She lived just a few blocks east. Just down the road. She had questionable teeth but she was always in a good mood.  She was attractive. Fun.  I wasn’t used to my affections being paid any attention.  The first independent woman I ever met.

I was twelve.

I ended up at her place one day. There was a boarded up window at the front of the trailer and some huge vented machine on the roof sounding like it was drilling everything apart. It was quiet inside though, and dark.  Red sheets instead of curtains. The school bus driver’s son was there on the couch with a buxom red freckled girl named Belinda.  Turquoise eye shadow.  His name was actually Johnny. Skinny and hollow eyed. He was greasy and stank like a man in his tank top and bell bottoms.  Trying to get Belinda to make out with him.

The dead of summer.

The rare humid day in the high desert with a dark sky and the smell of rain whenever the breeze stirred. I remember a mere dozen days like it because of their peculiar jaundice and because they barely ever happened.

Her name was Donna Stevens. She seemed okay with me being there. It was morning because children were eating toast and cereal. There was chaos and confusion. Just a few streets down from where I lived the world was entirely different. They didn’t have a yard at all. It was all dirt and the discarded.  Cardboard and crates and mechanical parts. Identical plastic step stools to the front and back doors. Little kids running around yelling at pretending. People having nothing to do with anything walking through to the next street.

Donna’s older brother was Daryl Stevens. Friendly enough. I’d met him before on the bus. They were from Detroit. He wore a tight thermal shirt and a silver chain with tooth swinging from it. On his left fist he wore a giant steel ring that made me think of a piston. Muscular and quiet. He brooded and smiled. He rubbed his hands together a lot like it was cold. Like it was Detroit. I had no reason to be afraid of him but I was. He was coiled and you could see the mean in the way his jaw rippled.

We decided on the high school that day. A picnic. We had a bag of chips and a big bottle of soda. I’d never been there before but I watched it go by everyday from the bus. I don’t remember getting there that day. Three or four miles on the way into town on our bikes.

We broke into the cafeteria first. They had piled gym mats between the lunch tables for the off season. We fell on the mats from atop everything available. Inside a huge modern structure. There were murals and bridges. We broke into the auto shop next. It smelled familiar. We had contempt for the people who would be there during any other season somehow.

We vandalized.

We celebrated with barbecue chips and orange soda.

Outside it was darker, hotter and heavier.

There was a huge field in front with a track around it.

There was this guy named Shawn Hudson. A pole vaulter. He and his dad were working out that day. We were bouncing around on his landing mat in the middle of the field. They showed up fast from wherever they’d been. I don’t remember if this guy was olympic material at the time but if you lived in Carson City you knew his name. All sinew and formidable.  An angry nervous horse.

We were punks and they were up to serious business. I figured they were pretty much right about that after what we’d been up to. They got mean pretty fast though. His dad threatened us and taunted his son to fight, to kick our asses. He was hysterical. Adamant. Indignant. Resolute. Justified.  We started to panic but Daryl Stevens watched it come. Like he’d been waiting all day for this exact thing and was now able to relax because the time for it had finally arrived.

He was still. Waiting for it to start. Nothing about his outside changed at all.

It was the first time I ever witnessed two males not afraid of each other.

It scared the fuck out of me.

Because I understood that the pole vaulter was afraid. He didn’t want this but it was impossible for him. His dad. Right there. Punks on his equipment. His father beside himself.

I was afraid for him.

Once it started it kept speeding up.

Before I knew it they were swinging on each other.

The pole vaulter from Carson City had run into a saw he couldn’t have imagined when he woke up that day. Daryl hit him maybe three times before anything else was possible. The sound of those blows caused me a languid trauma that I just can’t describe any better. I could have pissed myself but I didn’t. My brain temporarily suspended sensation. My mouth tasted like a nine volt battery.

I heard the pole vaulter bounce off the mat and saw blood where his right eye should have been. It gushed down his face and he screamed he would kill us all. He was half blind and in shock. Stumbling and tilting.  His cheek caved in. The worst thing I’d ever seen. Before anything else, the father understood his son needed to be in a hospital.

The rain was hot and plump but only sparse enough to stir the desert dust like talc on the way home.

I could smell the brush and the animals.

It finally rained hard that night.

It flooded the next day.

I don’t remember what happened to any them.

Drinks for my friends.

Dear Texas


You people floor me.

There is no way all of you can be this goddamn dumb.

How do you deserve the benefit of my doubt?

Rick Perry.

Could not remember one of three government agencies he would absolutely abolish if he were elected during a live televised presidential debate.  Despite that, he’s running again.  This time he’s wearing glasses.  Under federal indictment.


George W. Bush.

“I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”

Same deal.  You know the rest.

What happened?

I mean, how is it that you can possibly even entertain the notion that the US military under executive order will be invading you anytime soon?

What exactly the hell is wrong with you people?

You publish textbooks for the rest of the country that actually endorse completely ridiculous shit like Moses is the father of our democracy and our founding fathers gave more than a passing fuck about Christianity.  You actually fight to include creationism in your science.  You would have modern homo sapiens cavorting with goddamn dinosaurs.

You’re just as crazy for the death penalty as you are for saving fetuses.  You lead the nation in executions. It doesn’t matter whether those pregnancies are the result of violent rape by a jaundiced and crusty alcoholic uncle.  You actually lead the nation in laws that defy and ignore women’s rights over their own bodies.  While you’re simultaneously adamant those fetuses never benefit from a single social program or basic infrastructure.

That’s the kind of stupid that just can’t be fixed.

The only people, the only place Ted Cruz is taken seriously is your state.  He said proposed federal relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy was a pork project that would serve only to further expand our national debt.  As opposed to helping people that just got their asses handed to them by God I guess.  Then he completely lacks shame in begging for federal funds for the climate disaster visiting his state now.  A disaster that just about every scientific mind agrees is the result of the human impact on climate change that Ted Cruz vehemently denies.

Every thing is is bigger in Texas, even the mendacious hypocrisy of your elected representatives.

Ted Cruz is a lying, hypocritical prick, he’s your junior senator and he is absent self awareness so profoundly that he is running for president too.

Your senior Senator is John Cornyn.  Oh boy.  Apparently you people hate the poor bastard.  Because he endeavored to end the economic maelstrom his party created by holding his nose and voting for the bailout.  He said it was a “necessity” and he was right.  Because he voted to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25, which still wouldn’t allow for a homeless man to support himself even with all the dumpster diving a man, woman or child could avail themselves of.  And he voted to raise the debt ceiling, to pay the bills he and his colleagues had already written checks for.  Gosh, no wonder you hate him.

You gave us Louie Gohmert and Pete Sessions, thank you very much.

Your entire state seems to revere stupidity and celebrate ignorance.

Highest percentage of minimum wage jobs in the country.

Lowest rate of high school graduates.

Top three in teenage pregnancy.

Dead last in voter turnout.

Greater reliance on federal aid than any other state.

You want to secede but don’t understand you’d never make it on your own without the filthy federal government lucre you so despise.

I have a number of friends from Texas and they all say you are the stupidest motherfuckers they have ever met and that is why they left.

The dirty South indeed.

The epicenter of American stupidity and the cartoon that inspires the loathing of America by every other civilized country.

I cannot for the life of me figure out what you are all so proud of.

Drinks for my friends.




Total Fucking Godhead

I see everything.

I am omnipotent and omnipresent.

I am the arbiter.

I decide.

I am the way and the truth and the life.

Trust me.

Believe me or burn in hell.

I am a republican candidate for president of the United States of America.

A Christian nation.

Women are not the the equal of any man.  They do not deserve the same pay.  Their role is one of subservience.  Colored people are not the equal of white people. They can be shot with impunity.  Their role is one of subservience.  Poor people are poor for a reason.  Their role is one of subservience.  All of them are lazy, less intelligent and lack ambition.  All of them.  Women, colored and poor.

I hold these truths to be self evident.

The constitution is explicit.

It matters not whether their station in life is ordained by God or by circumstance.  Inferiority is not my cause or my problem. I am only here to lead the righteous to prosperity and the undeserving to prison or poverty.

All you need to know is that if you are poor but worthy, I promise you will get yours and you won’t have to pay taxes on it.  If you already have it, I will make sure you keep it and it will grow.  Good Christians should never have to pay taxes, everyone else should.  In the meantime, understand you are deserving of all that God grants you.  Feel free to practice judgement and dominion over all who are not righteous in the eyes of God.  You are just and divine in your endeavor to exercise your will and the rule of law over every godless liberal, socialist, feminist, homosexual, environmentalist, addicted, disadvantaged, minority, atheist, agnostic heathen that threatens your privilege and right as the chosen.

I am the agent of God.  My name is Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum, Ben Carson or Ted Cruz.

I could be Scott Walker or Jeb Bush because whatever it takes.

I come in many forms and faces but my purpose never falters.

Do not allow yourself to be distracted by so called contemporary issues like perpetual war and egregious wealth.  Concern yourselves only with the most vital and timeless of matters.  There is a sustained attack on our way of life and our values.  Our culture and morality is under siege.  Our entitlement as white Christian males is being challenged.  This once great country has excreted an entire class of godless people who believe they deserve endless convenience store burritos, menthol cigarettes, Mountain Dew and free rent.  All prizes to be sure, but hordes of them want free education and health care too.

Imagine if these things were available to everybody.

They would eat unborn fetuses and receive two checks a month for it.

We are outnumbered.  Soon they will demand these things because they are the majority.  We alone deserve to enjoy all the spoils and deviance from the affairs of men. The time to enforce our message of divine superiority is at hand.

The hour is short.

The democrat liberal heathens want everything for nothing and a vote for me is a vote against feeding, clothing and educating them and most importantly, their children, who will only grow up to champion Satan.

Trust me.

Beware false prophets.

I am the way and the truth and the life.

Don’t be stupid.

Vote for me and buy my free book.

Drinks for my friends.


Factoring Bernie

What I hate about Americans is our notion of what is presidential.

Tall, calm and graying at the temples.

Bill Clinton, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan etc, all very presidential.

The cult of political celebrity.


Bernie Sanders is not presidential but I’d like to have a drink with him.

Bernie shows up on TV looking like he combed his hair with a sharp rock.  His suit is wrinkled and his tie is cheesy.  He sounds like a cab driver from Brooklyn and he has the on air presence of an assistant district attorney from south Boston.  His Achilles heel is AIPAC and all matters Israel and he’s got gun issues.

These things give me pause.

He’s not ideal.

But he is smart and completely unafraid.

No candidate is perfect.  None will ever be as far as I’m concerned.  None will ever be as far as you are either.  Look in the mirror.  That’s as close as you are ever going to get and you will never run for president.

He’s not a choice because of what we’ve learned to picture on our screens.  It’s the only test he doesn’t pass.  Otherwise, he’s been consistent from the day he walked on.  He’s a socialist.  Our republic is a failing model because of unchecked capitalism.  It survives only because of some modicum of socialism.

It’s why we don’t don’t actually enslave the migrant workers that clean our hotel rooms or why our salads aren’t $50 a pop.  Instead, the bigots bitch about them taking jobs none of us would ever consider and they get to go to the emergency room when it’s a matter of life and death.  It’s a better deal than most of them will ever admit.

Bernie Sanders is a socialist.  That very word is so polarizing it will probably prevent him from ever being elected.  Nevermind the socialist constructs in this country that we all take for granted everyday. Fire departments and libraries, medicare and social security.  For whatever reason Americans have been taught to fear that word so profoundly that we imagine it threatens our existence.

It’s sucks because it is why we aren’t a third world country.

Or a theocracy or plutocracy.

All of the above

Can Bernie beat Hillary?

It’s unlikely.

Hillary’s support is broad but shallow.  She’s hawkish and corporate cozy.  Her path is trickier than most estimate.  She’s got baggage and skeletons and a lot of Americans think she’s a bitch.

She is vulnerable.

She has the amps but maybe not the volts.

Bernie has voltage.  A long history of consistent values, beliefs and actions that amount to a rare integrity.  It’s formidable.  His support is deep.  But he needs amperage.  Broader support.  Crucial and hard to come by.  Wattage.

He is not presidential and that might just be the best reason to vote for him.

He is the best person to run for president in my lifetime.

Thom Hartmann says Bernie is not kidding.  He’s not here to pull Clinton to the left.  He’s in it to win it.  I hope he’s right.  He probably won’t get the nomination and what pisses me me off is he won’t get taken seriously by the media.  We deserve him.  This man says every single thing I crave to hear on every issue that every other politician has avoided for the entire time I’ve been paying attention.

He goes right at it.

Fuck big banks, fuck big pharma, fuck big energy, fuck the military industrial complex.  Fuck everything that fucks with most of us every fucking day.  Goddamn I love that.  He is a no bullshit, unapologetic liberal.  He is a socialist.  We need socialism because capitalism is running amok.  Capitalism is why an education costs as much as a house.  Capitalism is why a $1 bag of saline costs $700 in a hospital.  Capitalism is why I pay $1.30 more a gallon for gas in California than the rest of the country despite oil being less than $50 a barrel.  The minimum wage used to be a living wage and capitalism is why it is now not enough sustain an individual.  Capitalism is why, despite all of this, corporations are far richer than they have ever been while worker productivity is at an all time high and wages are stagnant.

Capitalism is why they are no longer embarrassed to buy and sell our elected representatives on television.

Bernie Sanders has been talking about this shit his entire life.

What more do you want?

He has my vote.

Then I’ll vote for Hillary in the general because the GOP offers nothing but filthy idiots.

Drinks for my friends.


Clown Car Begets Short Bus

Twenty two viable republican candidates for president of the United States.

Not necessarily legitimate.

Not necessarily credible.

Not necessarily sane or reasonable.

Of course not.

But viable.


So what is this?

On one hand, it is a sure sign that the entire conservative movement is fracturing and imploding and courting extinction and flirting with obsolescence and otherwise devolving into a parody or a cartoon or a malodorous stain on American history etc.

I confess, republicans keep me partisan.

On the other hand, maybe it’s on purpose.

Could be there’s a reason.

The earlier a republican candidate declares is in direct but inverse proportion to how seriously that candidate will be taken.  So far we have Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.  Now that’s a clown car.  Holy crap.  Take a minute and picture them.  What this group has in common is a remarkable facility for chucking red meat directly onto the grill at every teabilly picnic, wake and campground.  Lowest common denominator politics.  Each one of them is some amount of greedy, cynical and stupid.  None of them will get the nomination but the base will be foaming and frothing with pitchforks and torches before they run out of money.

It’s people like you what causes unrest.

The same can be said for the rest of the field that has yet to declare.  They serve at the pleasure of the elite whether they know it or not.  The smarter ones understand it for the transaction.  The smarter ones who occupy the greedy and cynical end of the curve anticipate the bargain and never intended being elected in the first place.  If they actually aspired to give a mad fuck, they would run for an office they actually have a chance of winning.

It can be a lucrative business, running for president.

Higher speaking fees and bigger book advances.

Swimming pools.

Movie Stars.

The stupid ones anchoring the other end of the curve, the Donald and the Ricks Perry and Santorum, will be branding.  With little more than hubris and the presence of mind of a goldfish in hand, they’ll come out even bigger assholes than before.  They serve a purpose and will sustain some level of relevance and aggrandizement for themselves.

Some surrogates romance the base even after the primary.

They can’t help it.

They have a chip on their shoulder and pack a grudge for a long time despite having the attention span of pigeons.

It is the convenience afforded whatever candidate is left standing.  The one who will have already been anointed by way of money and judicial fuckery.  No need to labor the onus of  firehosing us with all the hateful shit.  He’ll be standing on the shoulders of them that came before him.

He can be cryptic about that near takeover of Texas by Obama’s federal Kenyan jihadis.  He can be family values.  He can be as populist as he needs to be.  He can lie about everything else.

Whoever he is he’ll have the luxury of being able to focus on the important issues.

The really challenging shit.

Drinks for my friends


Let’s Do The Trade Warp Again

International trade deals are always notorious in the rear view mirror of globalization.  Bill Clinton’s legacy will forever be jaundiced by two things, a blow job and NAFTA.  That blow job didn’t usher in the atrophy of the American middle class.

So exactly why is the president deliberately trying to slip the TPP by us?

Barack Obama is telling us not to worry about it.

A gigantic red flag is whipping and cracking in fog.

It makes no sense.

“……… the TPP is a Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom.”  -Robert Reich

The proposed agreement is between the United States and 12 other nations.  Mostly Pacific Rim.  We’re talking about 40 percent of the world economy here.  It will impact nearly a billion people.  The largest most comprehensive trade deal in history.  Elected members of congress are only allowed to view the actual text in the Trade Representatives office without staff or experts.  They aren’t allowed to take copies with them or even take notes.

Officially, that’s all we know because officially, that’s all we’re allowed to know.

There is no mistaking that something wicked this way comes when the republicans agree with Obama so thoroughly that none of them want anyone to even know there’s a conversation.  There are over 600 multinational corporations acting as advisers or authors of this agreement for years, yet members of congress enjoy little more than severely restricted access to it and are actually forbidden to share any information about it all.

It would be illegal.


The devil must certainly be in the details if neither side can disguise the tripping all over to hide them.

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders Sherrod Brown, Ron Wyden and Alan Grayson are just about the only ones shouting from the rooftops about this.  That’s gotta tell you something.  That they are openly opposing Obama tells you the rest.

“It is ironic in a way that the government thinks it’s alright to have a record of every single call that an American makes, but not alright for an American citizen to know what sovereign powers the government is negotiating away.  Having seen what I’ve seen, I would characterize this as a gross abrogation of American sovereignty. And I would further characterize it as a punch in the face to the middle class of America. I think that’s fair to say from what I’ve seen so far. But I’m not allowed to tell you why!”  -Alan Grayson

We’re at the little kids table.

As of now, we have no way of knowing how this agreement will affect workers, human rights, the environment, financial regulations, food safety, pharmaceutical regulation, energy regulation, net neutrality or internet privacy, copyrights and intellectual property. Even more troubling, the president doesn’t want us to know.  He in fact wants it to be “fast tracked”.  Limited time, limited debate, no amendments or filibuster.

What’s the goddamn hurry?

Then there’s the ISDS (investor- state dispute settlement).  It’s an international tribunal of lawyers not subject to any nation’s laws that can potentially extract compensation arbitrarily according to “unjust expropriation”.  It’s complex to say the least but it is essentially a device for adjudicating all issues of sovereignty that will inevitably arise from such an outrageous prostitution of Joe Six Pack’s expectations.

“This isn’t a partisan issue. Conservatives who believe in U.S. sovereignty should be outraged that ISDS would shift power from American courts, whose authority is derived from our Constitution, to unaccountable international tribunals. Libertarians should be offended that ISDS effectively would offer a free taxpayer subsidy to countries with weak legal systems. And progressives should oppose ISDS because it would allow big multinationals to weaken labor and environmental rules.”  -Elizabeth Warren

How predictable that Hillary is big on it?

Makes you wonder what the hell is going on here doesn’t it?

I used to bristle when some intellectually lazy asshat dismissed American politics with the casual excuse that both parties are the same.  It’s true democrats can be counted to be on the right side of social and cultural imperatives like civil rights and all matters of equality.  Sure, democrats are golden.  But there are issues that supersede the cultural and social ones because they are the battery that stores them.  Perpetual war abroad, unchecked assault on our own village by our biggest corporate, energy and banking institutions for example.  This where democrats are not quite to the man, the same as republicans.  Pretty much the same.  Most of the bastards are sell outs.

Without this whole war thing and the insidious problem with greedy, power mad pricks and cunts, there would be so much money we could each open whatever kind of store we wanted.

Dear Mr President, I resent the notion you sponsor that we should just trust you.  We shouldn’t have to just trust you.  You should not be asking. You want for us to place full faith and trust in capitalism for a level of playing field to be disclosed later.

You have got be fucking kidding me.

NAFTA was a low blow just before the bell to the American middle class. The TPP could be the overhand right after the bell to the back of our head that has us waking up in our car.

Drinks for my friends







Friends of Bill

Over the last 25 years republicans have gone from disingenuous jerks to complete assholes. From occasional forays into dirty politics and smear tactics to a no holds barred enterprise of fear, hate and racism.  From a tacit deployment of bigotry, to a stentorian campaign of disenfranchising minorities and marginalizing women.

From stupid and selfish to mean and vicious.

From conservative to teabilly.

The worst of you don’t care. You actually believe Obama is a communist, Muslim, Kenyan that just wants to reward lazy, shiftless blacks and Mexicans with food stamps, welfare and endless unemployment benefits on your dime.  You don’t care that it’s all thoroughly baseless crap and you can’t possibly back any of it up.

It doesn’t matter at all to you that the bastards who are actually in your wallets are the same bastards you vote for every time.

The worst of you think he wants to overthrow or undermine America.

The worst of you only care that the next president is a white republican Christian male. It wouldn’t matter to you if this required violence.

All this stupidity causes visions of getting my gums scraped to dance in my head.

The punchline is that these are the reasons the worst of you are still relevant.

Having said that, shifting demographics, social evolution and all things actuarial point to the extinction of the worst of you.

Any remaining republicans aspiring to be taken seriously in the real world, and by that I mean outside the absurd right wing echo chamber, have to learn to respond and participate with some civility and dignity or party on ignorant toward that extinction.

So here’s a primer for all of you who would be left behind.

The best of you.

Normal people, regular people, the best of you, don’t call for president Obama to be executed, impeached or incarcerated because you realize it’s fucking silly and it embarrasses you that the worst of you can never produce a legitimate reason for any of it.  You understand it is hyperbole to distract the lowest common denominator of rotting mouths and vanishing prospects.

The best of you realize that the president is a decent man,who at least has in common with you the best of intentions for our country. The best of you differ with him, you don’t agree with his execution of the office. You don’t agree with his policies. You don’t like his priorities.  You just don’t like him. But the best of you understand that he isn’t out to destroy you or this country or your way of life.

The best of you feel no need to demonize him or resort to the very worst of human nature by analogizing he and his wife to primates. The best of you want simply to disagree and be taken seriously for doing so. You realize he is but a man, not a king, not the anti-Christ, but merely a man who was elected by a solid majority of the voters twice who’s transgressions are certainly no more egregious than his predecessors.

You hope to elect a republican next time around but simply don’t feel the need to impugn this president’s character or disparage his integrity to accomplish that. You realize that you would be horrified to see those sorts of tactics applied to your candidate or president.

The best of you get that this president exemplifies “family values” way better than any of the goofcocks that run for your political party.

The best of you just want political discourse to return to comity and respect. The best of you sincerely wish your already elected representatives would ascribe to at least as much.

The best of you want no part of what goes on here. You would be more comfortable where responsible ideas are dealt with responsibly, without the vitriol and invective. You want a venue where you’re not called names and attacked for no more than disagreeing.

The best of you are grownups.

This blog is dedicated to my friend Bill, for whom I genuinely bear no ill will, but who I wish would just stop posting such incredibly callow bullshit that he just refuses to take responsibility for.

My sincere hope is that my friend Bill will grow the fuck up.

This is not only about your beliefs Bill, it’s about your behavior.

Drinks for my friends.




Andrew Markoff

This a new thing for me. A new feeling.

People you knew but never met, dying.

I knew Andrew. We were friends.

When I saw that he’d posted I went right to it and ate it up. I feel like I knew him. When he shared his thoughts he was thorough and profound. He cared. He actually really cared. He commented on my blog often. His was often the first comment. It flattered me because he was such a passionate writer.

We were often on the same facebook posts. Sometimes when I was battling some asshole bigot. I never met him but I felt like he was right there sometimes. He was a force. I felt him.

I’m just so sorry about this. The idea that he took his own life digs at me. I don’t know what to make of it but it scares me. The idea of it has haunted me a little since I learned of it. It’s hard not to take the world too seriously. It can be really hard.

Thanks Andrew, very much. I’ll miss you for sure.

All my best to your family and friends.

Drinks for my friends.


Boiling Frogs

I just ate macaroni and cheese out of a pull top  can with a big ass spoon.

Forty years ago Sarah Palin would never have been chosen as a presidential running mate. Not because she’s a woman but because she’s dumb as a goddamn stick. Forty years ago, you would not have seen the lineup we’ve seen for the last two presidential elections from the GOP.  And yet again, the whack jobs cometh.

For what it’s worth, democrats aren’t much better. Their excellence is viscous populism while ignoring the eight hundred pound gorilla as it shits on the main course.  No different than republicans.  One party distracts with fear while the other accomplishes it with hope.  Black and white hats.  It’s exactly that stupid.

Politics in America is nothing more than reality television. Lowest brow common denominator entertainment. It’s a pageant where we all vote for the equivalent of Miss Congeniality as long as she’s able to sucker punch and back stab that commie liberal or fascist conservative and keep up appearances. It’s a joke that not all of us are in on. The electorate plays the straight man,  each side blaming the other side for everything while the burlesque of consequence dances on all our heads.

Consider as an example that we are all living on the same planet experiencing dramatic and destructive climate change. The current pissing contest is over whether it’s caused by human industry or the cyclical nature of mother earth. Nobody bothers to admit that it doesn’t fucking matter. Our only chance is to exert control over the impact of our footprint and the shuffling of our feet.

Or water will become as important a commodity as oil in a mere few decades.

Once that happens, plutocrats and oligarchs will be at play in the fields of the lord.

All the while, wealth concentration continues apace globally. In America we’ve gone from a middle class that was robust and could afford a house, cars, health insurance and college educations on a single income, to one that can’t afford any of these things on two incomes.

The ideal of an educated populace is openly mocked.

Prisons are for profit.

Our infrastructure crumbles. Bridges, roads and tunnels decay.  Electrical grids deteriorate.  The very things we used to fund as devices to bolster the middle class, things we understood would pay dividends for decades, are things that are now maligned as socialism or utopian.

We never wanted to suffer the poor and disadvantaged falling through the cracks.  We took pride in equality and opportunity.  We were flawed but worked to erase it.  We owned that most people if given the chance, would rather work hard toward self sufficiency and prosperity than wallow in pity and dependence.  These were once popular ideas.

Now we trip over the sick and homeless in our urban areas with disgust and we accept abject poverty in our rural areas while media shows us how to loath and despise people not like us for being weak and undeserving.  Racism and classism flourish.  It’s stupid that we waste a single worry over immigration.  It’s goddamn ridiculous that we actually debate marriage equality.  It’s been an amazingly methodical implementation of economic policy symbiotic with social engineering and cultural warfare.  Concerted.  Awesome.

We are losing ground.

We have arrived at cheering the divide between the undeserving takers and the virtuous makers instead of the purpose of closing the gap between the haves and the have nots.

America has lost its goddamn mind.

Multinational conglomerates rape and pillage, stealing and hoarding resources and wealth without the threat of law. There’s nothing new about this except the most powerful advent of technology as a catalyst ever.  Lunatic greed in broadband HD with surround sound after a bump in the bathroom.

We can access validation for any belief no matter how crazy.

If you fuck with our government it sends drones.

We are told that we can no longer afford to simply help people.  Bullshit.  We spend a trillion dollars a year on making war, planning more war, inventing new ways to make and fight new wars and new enemies.  As we speak at least half our political representatives are chomping at the bit to mingle us in yet another war in the middle east.

This our cancer. This is our disease.  This is the addiction that will kill us all.

Humans are losing.

America used to be an example. Other countries agreed. Now we’re barely able to stand our own smell.  America is the preeminent historical example of absolute power and how absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The rest of the world reasonably expects that America will be its demise.

What’s it going to take?

How bad does it have to get?

America is a frog in a pot on a stove.  I hear you can literally boil a frog if you just start the poor thing out at room temperature.  He’s a cold blooded amphibian and it seems he can’t really sense the heating as long as it’s gradual. He won’t jump out or anything.  He’ll die in that pot before it boils and he won’t see it coming.

Drinks for my friends.



Ted Talk

Rafael Edward Cruz is running for president.

Boy howdy.

By all accounts Ted Cruz is bright and formidable.  He’s a powerful speaker.  His academic accomplishments are impressive.  His career trajectory just prior to politics is downright imposing.  There’s a certain charisma in a Bob Dole meets Pee Wee Herman kind of way.  He’s also a notorious tea party prick.  It makes no sense that an obviously intelligent man has chosen to champion the stupidest.

By all accounts his fellow republicans would no sooner miss an opportunity to punch him so hard in the mouth that he shits out his intestines than I would.

I’m not here to remind you what a cartoon this guy is.  Ever since he entered stage right onto the senate floor in 2013, he has not failed to avail himself of any excuse to be an asshole.

Jeb and his brood will surely suck all legit, semi legit and the filthiest of lucre out of Ted’s home state of Texas as well as every other campaign cash venue available to almost every other republican who would be except maybe Scott ‘eyes too close together’ Walker.

He cannot win.

He has no chance.

So just exactly what is he up to?  I imagine he will finish being more despised than he started.  He’s a miserable narcissist.  Watching his faux filibuster over the ACA forced lurid visions onto me of a rotting mouthed hillbilly settling down on Friday evening to masturbate with a twelve pack of malt liquor talls and a soiled pile of vintage porn.  A poster boy for hubris and self aggrandizement.  Free standing ashtray full of fast food napkins.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

His announcement at Liberty University was awesome.  They’re nihilists dude.  Sheezus.

What is he doing?  It’s not some obscure egalitarian agenda. It’s not some ham-fisted altruistic effort to jerk the clown car toward purity.  Nope.  Ted Cruz is no team player. Ted Cruz is an asshole who gives not a mad fuck.  Ted Cruz drives a hot rod hearse.

Does he believe his father’s assertion that he is among the evangelical Christians to be anointed as kings to bring the spoils of war to priests in a great transfer of wealth?

Or is he just branding?

If so, what is his brand other than asshole?

He will not win, place or show.  Not even the darkest of horses in this field of crazies would consider him for a running mate.

Maybe he’s a a super secret double triple agent, a democratic plant that will finally doom the GOP and rent it asunder.

After all, he appears to be punching down.

Fuck me if I’m wrong and may God help us all because if I am we deserve it.  Things will explode.  Like prisons and war.  Folk music will come back.  The middle class will further diversify culinary applications of Top Ramen.  You will be on your own.

I don’t get it.

I have this feeling that it’s right in front of me but I’m missing it.

Drinks for my friends.

Citizen Fore

What’s mind blowing about the whole Snowden thing is not what huge deal it was, it’s what a huge deal it is.

To my dismay I have become cynical, so it occurred to me at the time that it really sucked but I wasn’t at all surprised.

I mean, how could anyone in real time America be in any way at a loss over the nefarious efforts of our government to know and control everything within its reach?  Who doubts that shit?

What floored me the most was the indignity of professional blowhards along with the great unwashed.  They were all pissed and everything.

Whoulda thought our government was anything but benign and magnanimous?

I was nascent during the the Vietnam war era and the Nixon administration.  My mother made us watch the resignation of Nixon live on television along with stuff like any televised activity by the Apollo Space Program and Sesame Street.  God love her.  Consequently, I never had any reason to to trust my government and went on to date the daughter of an ABC News science correspondent.  She may have had access to an actual moon rock and she did have a great rack.  She was crazy and smart and beautiful and told me her father was a real prick.

So I watched the Snowden Documentary the other night and regardless of my feelings on the subject, the film was brilliant.  Fascinating.

Yep,  Snowden is fascinating too.  Erudite and still clever.  He’d obviously thought hard about what he was doing and taken at face value, was pretty unselfish and altruistic about it.

I’m not going to spend any time here guessing about his true intentions because I’m not sure how much it matters.  This is not about whether Edward Snowden is a hero or a villain.  Hardly.  The focus so far on that question is deliberate distraction on the part of the players.  I’ll say this much, he’s no traitor and is probably only as earnest a patriot as he knows how to be.

What is important to me is what he revealed, because as cynical as I am, it was awesome and profoundly disturbing.  The chilling malignancy of our government and its corporate partners to deceive and manipulate the gen pop gnaws at me.  I can’t stop thinking about it because I can’t stop wondering what we don’t know.

It’s an iceberg.

Think about that.

If you don’t think what we know now pales in comparison to what we don’t,  I’d like for you to join my ministry and buy my free book.

Okay look, it’s hardly a stretch these days to conclude that the assassinations of JFK, MLK and RFK were at least somewhat the behest of the CIA and organized crime right?  That’s  a 50 year old iceberg.  The tip of Snowden’s iceberg shows drones, secret prisons, torture, spying on Americans in vulgar defiance of the 4th amendment, the suspension of Habeas corpus, Posse Comitatus…………

Try for a minute to imagine what lies beneath that waterline.

Americans only gave a shit about the salient aspects of the story for like a day.  The next day it devolved into a debate about whether this dude should be hung or shot.  After that it was Benghazi, Ebola, ISIS and all manner of things more existential.

How quick this event stopped selling tickets in the American theater of short attention spans.

Drinks for my friends.



I can’t stand it .

I’m just in awe that any sane person could devote so much energy and acuity to such an irrelevant discipline.

You know.

The Bible.

I mean of all the scholarly pursuits available in the 21st century, for anyone to devote this much effort to a book that they can’t even know who wrote is just spectacularly baffling. Who does that?  If nothing else, has the modern world not provided ample evidence that your beliefs are hardly exclusive? That your fantasies and dogma are no more credible than those of the guy next to you on the bus eating his boogers?

How have you escaped the most notorious phenomena of the information age with all it’s cruel and hard instant truths?  The relentless data forced down our necks, synced up with our every heartbeat, pulse and biorhythm for optimal consumption and ideal absorption that render your theological obsessions just as obviously obsolete as any other of today or from thousands of years ago.

How do you folks miss this?

How do you manage to escape it?

I listen to these hopeless zealots talk about and debate it and it’s fucking comedy.  They sound like Trekkies at a convention.  It’s all about the ‘prime directive’.  Remember that SNL skit where Shatner shows up at a convention and tells them all to lighten up?  Wouldn’t be awesome if Jesus did that?

Seriously, there’s science of all kinds.  There’s language and communications.  Psychology and sociology.  Why there’s even gambling and used car sales.  Finance and astrology.

Why The Bible or any other work of mere fiction?  Might I suggest the Lord of the Rings?  It’s got genealogy and anthropology and different languages.  And it has the extra added benefit of being way less contradictory and far more sure footed in terms of a moral course.

What happens to people to make them do that?

Animal husbandry anyone?

So, fair enough.  I get it.  They are afraid.  They are humid with panic and desperation.  Searching their scriptures for solace and dignity.  And in both their hearts and minds they understand that the notion of a benevolent Santa for adults is an empty fantasy.   The id and the super-ego rage against the dying of the light while the ego haunts without malice or reservation.  No wonder they are so goddamn confused and self righteous.  I mean, that’s gotta suck.  To cling to that nonsense and get kicked in the mouth every day with proof that it’s complete bullshit.  No wonder in America most scientists are atheists and most Christians are either hypocrites or in jail or both.

My major malfunction is that they walk among us like they know something we don’t.  Like common sense is for fools and heretics.  Like we don’t know they don’t know.  It’s obtuse.  They prance and froth at the religiosity of the president like it has anything to do with his patriotism or Americanism.  And they get away with it because we have to respect everyone’s beliefs.

Because for thousands of years the cults of theism have ruled the day.


All I have to do is acknowledge beliefs.

I don’t have to respect them or their efforts to infringe on my society, my morals or my politics.

Enough of this nonsense.  The lobbying.  The religious litmus test for any aspect of worthiness in public life.  Enough of the considerations afforded the pious and the holy and the bellicose.  All the dominionist, theonazi homophobes can piss up a goddamn rope.

I’m tired of this crap.  Tax the shit out of churches and temples and synagogues.  Use all the money to fund planned parenthood and food stamps and welfare and unemployment and healthcare and secular education and then maybe all these jackwagons will shut the fuck up and disappear.

Jesus Christ, I gotta stop writing about religion.

Drinks for my friends.

Team Spirit

I’m agnostic.  An agnostic. That means I’m confident that organized religion, any that worships a single deity or deities, is complete bullshit. That means that I don’t discount the notion of a higher power because neither I or anyone else has all the answers regarding the hows and whys of the universe.  It also means I don’t dismiss the idea of souls, but I admit to being a little more dubious on that one.

Religion was only allowed to once manifest and therefore exist today because of how primitive science was as recently as a century or two ago.  Hello, Mormons.

Probably the biggest thing that chaps my ass about theists is that if I choose not to believe in their God, I have chosen to exist in a moral vacuum.  That my lack of belief means I simply have no access to any moral compass.  That the two are mutually exclusive.  That I’m capable of anything.

That God makes morality objective.

Wrong.  Morality is like it or not, subjective.  The Christian bible is so convoluted and contradictory that it’s moral message is anything but objective.  It’s no wonder Christians are so confused and so inherently hypocritical.  I almost can’t blame them.

But I do because they have chosen to be full of shit.

I’m not singling out Christianity, I’m merely taking advantage of it as a convenient example.  There’s no shortage of examples.

They would have me believe that I have a choice between door number one and door number two.   Along with the presumption of choice is the presumption that I know full well what’s behind those two doors.  Heaven or hell.  Good or bad.  Right or wrong.  Love or hate.  God or Satan. One or the other.  It’s a callow and immature insistence on defining life as simply as it can be defined.

Morality is ultimately subjective.  I choose to rape and kill as many people as I want.  That number is Zero.  Morality is the providence of philosophy and subject to the consensus ideally, of a democratic society.  This is where the concepts of justice and of law enter the human condition.  One could argue that religion is philosophy but all religions end up self disqualifying by purporting to be the one and only truth.

What if that’s not what’s behind them?  What if there are more doors?  What if doors aren’t the only choice?  They tell me that’s it. It’s that simple.  But they are notorious for providing no proof and obscene explanations.  And again, by virtue of whatever religion, they deprive themselves of one of life’s most important choices.

Whether or not to be full of shit.

“Eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God’s infinite love”.  -Bill Hicks.

Drinks for my friends.


Cats and Men

Doesn’t it seem crazy that the most of the folks who believe in life after death are at odds with the theory of evolution?

Scripture spewing theists railing against abortion while pining away for more capital punishment, even more guns and jerking health care out from under the feet of the people who need it the most?

Does that make any sense?

They believe that we as a species are so special, so unique as humans that we just must have been created by one God’s design. We didn’t evolve. We were planted with all our grace and humility intact as the pristine flowers we so obviously are.  This all happened about six thousand years ago.  Then we had that huge ass flood and everything.  And it was then that our species saved every other species we now enjoy today.

You know, the whole Noah thing.

We are exclusive and divine.

We deserve everything.

Dominion over all of it.

Good God, organized religion is such a load of crap.

I don’t doubt that a lot of what is attributed to humans as virtue is actually virtuous.

But they are mistaken in thinking that these virtues don’t exist anywhere else. 

They do.

Animals never have to compete with the inherent lethality and avarice of technology and commerce, therefore the kindness and compassion of animals when domesticated is pure and their endeavors toward survival in the wild are nothing but efficient and completely absent malice.

If only humans would aspire to as much.

Our failings as a species are breathtaking.

There is so much more dignity in being other than human on this planet.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s all the proof of evolution anyone should ever need.

So, wouldn’t it be awesome if they all came back as cats?

Drinks for my friends.


Does it occur to anyone else that the Joni Ernst story about bread bags on her shoes has to be complete bullshit?

She’d wear holes in them on the way the to goddamn bus fer crying out loud.

I read on the internet that you’re supposed to wear them over your socks.

Sometimes I think of Barack Obama as a Dungeons and Dragons character.  You know, he’s only got so many spells and potions and magical weapons.  So many charisma points.  So many wisdom points.  His political capital is finite.  We don’t know how much he actually has.  Maybe he’s actually being resourceful.

I think like this sometimes.

It was a great speech.  I hear.  I didn’t watch it.  Well, I watched the post game.

I watched the fuck out of Joni Ernst though.  Did ya catch the gummies in the corners of her rictus?

She’s awesome.

She could be better than Bachmann.

She’s a senator.

It’s a good trade.

Thing is, this woman is just not bright.  Totally Stepford.  And she’s a fucking hypocrite.  Her stump story is bullshit.  Her family received all kinds of government farm subsidies and if she actually was poor it was under Reagan.  To republican men, she’s a token.  On the other hand, she may end up the heat and light that Palin never had a shot at.  Palin was too stupid and they were desperate for a woman.  At least she didn’t let loose with that ridiculous goose laugh.

The poor woman is going to be briefed and debriefed relentlessly on what to say when there’s cameras and microphones.

I can’t wait for her to go rogue.

When is the GOP gonna figure this out and at least foist a woman with intelligence?

They do it on purpose.  The set the bar really low, they anoint a token dingbat and out of one side of their mouths they are pro women and out of the other side they tell the shriveled up white dudes that everybody knows the bitches can’t be trusted.  Republican men view all women besides their mothers as whores.  I’m being fair here by judging them on their policies.

I think like this sometimes.

Or, the republicans really do suffer from an ideological myopia so profound and disgusting.

Maybe it doesn’t matter.

I can barely tell the difference between democrats and republicans anymore.

Maybe it doesn’t matter.

What I can tell you is that republicans are just so ridiculously obvious.  Shameless.  They take the gullible and the ignorant for granted.  They count on them.

I’ll also point that about half of us buy into it and the other half buys into that.

Two men say they are Jesus, one of them must be lying.

What if there is no Jesus?

Drinks for my friends.




The Ballad of Allen Hamilton

It was 35 years ago and I was sixteen.  After a stint at KFC, I was finally old enough to not have to lie about my age to get a real fast food job.

I applied at Der Wienerschnitzel and was hired by a color blind man named Jerry. He had a face like a melted bag of caramels and a vague east coast accent. Everything about him was the color blue. His suits. His ties. His car was a sky blue El Dorado with a navy blue vinyl top.  I don’t know if that was the only color he could see or what.

He looked and sounded like a gangster to me.

I had a hard time taking him seriously.  He was a stereotype.  A caricature.

Jerry took me back into the kitchen where the magic happened and introduced me to a beefy guy named Dave.  I would learn later that Dave was an aspiring bodybuilder.  Dave’s corpulence challenged his managerial uniform in every imaginable way.  Shirt buttons barely winning,  a too short tie that looked to be asphyxiating.  His brown polyester slacks glistened like fresh sausage casing.  He wore braces on alarmingly aberrant teeth.  Dated 70’s disco afro.

Dave told me to report the next afternoon, after school, to the tallest and ugliest motherfucker I would ever see.

He told me his name was Allen.

That’s what he actually said.

He was perhaps the tallest and ugliest motherfucker I’d ever seen, but he was cordial.  He showed me to the stock room and casually suggested that I practice punting old corn dogs against the ceiling for awhile.  He pointed to a 5 gallon plastic bucket and said he would be back to check my progress.

Allen stood about six foot six and was 4 or 5 years older than me.  He was slope shouldered, pigeon chested and very long of limb.  His face was pocked and pitted.  Lantern jawed with a smile that was nothing if not threatening.  His voice was cavern deep and despite his awkward stature, he was sinewy and there was unmistakable power in his presence.  He was pretty fucking scary the first time I laid eyes on him.

After an hour so, he came back.  I’d done the best I could.  The floor was random with ruptured corn dogs, wrappers, the wooden sticks and somehow, there were mustard stains on the ceiling.

He raised an eyebrow above milky glasses and muttered something about my lack of enthusiasm but seemed satisfied enough and introduced me to the deep fryer.  His instructions were terse.  Pay attention to the drive thru grease board, listen to the orders broadcast on a PA from the front register and anticipate.  There were two timers.  One for french fries and one for corn dogs.  Don’t cook too much and don’t run out.

Men had failed before me.

There was a guy we called French Fry Bob.  He worked the day shift.  He had some obscure degree in something he assured us.  He never made it past the fry station.  He must have been good.  I can’t remember much about him except that he was pear shaped and seemed to last longer than he should have.

I’d never met anyone remotely like Allen Hamilton and my guess is I never will.

I don’t know how other less legitimate fast food outfits were back then but when you pulled up to the window to pay and collect your delicious meal at Der Wienerschnitzel, you were afforded a full view of the kitchen and it’s workers.  Nowadays you’re lucky to get a glimpse of a cash register and the drink station.  There is no choice in remembering the shock on customers faces when they caught an eyeful of this gaunt giant, in nothing but an apron and boxer shorts, spatula in hand, flipping patties and grinning while assembling the delicious meal they had just ordered twenty feet back.

He was difficult to know.  He didn’t suffer fools.  He had a dark, sometimes vicious sense of humor but he was still very funny.  It was obvious that he was troubled but even those who knew him well barely saw it.

There were marathon Dungeons and Dragons sessions at Allen’s place fueled by speed and liquor.  Allen was of course, the dungeon master.  For a time, his circle of older friends and my circle of younger ones converged.  There were always some pretty shady characters in and out.  Characters that inspired instinctual caution.  Jack, who dressed like a 50’s greaser, pegged jeans and all with a constant rapid, involuntary wink.  RJ, with an overbite that left him on the verge of whistling when he talked.   He was nearly as tall as Allen but beefier and not nearly as smart.

I liked Allen and admired him.  He was painfully bright.  He had composure.  He always seemed to be a step or two ahead of me and everyone else.  He was calculating and manipulative.  Just a little more dangerous than anyone I’d ever met.  People who didn’t know or understand him were at least a little afraid of him.  He could be intimidating and he knew it.

You could reasonably expect to find his trunk full of medieval weapons.

Despite all that, he was a good friend to me and my friends.  He was enigmatic.  He pushed the envelope.  He challenged me in conversations. I found myself flirting with trouble far more serious than I would have contemplated on my own.

He was a good friend to me and my friends, save maybe one.  His name was Pete and we were pretty close.  Pete and I took his ’67 Cougar over  Donner Summit and into the Bay Area to see the Who and The Clash at the Oakland Coliseum in 1982.  I’d made some mix tapes for the trip.  Lot’s of Pat Travers, Montrose and Van Halen.  We ran out of money on the way back and resorted to a dine and dash a Denny’s in Vallejo.  To this day I’m convinced we left our last money for the tip.

On the way back, it was snowing hard and Pete almost killed us both by falling asleep at the wheel.

Pete was always a little vulnerable.  He behaved as though the rest of us were keeping a secret from him.  Over time he somehow became convinced that Allen was controlling his mind and Pete kinda lost it.  Every once in awhile one of us would catch site of him by the side of the highway scribbling in a wire bound notebook.  He refused to have anything to do with any of us thereafter.  We all experimented liberally with a variety of pharmaceuticals and hallucinogens back then and I’m sure that was at least a component of Pete’s demise but there must have been more at work.  I remember hearing he’d married Allen’s sister.  But I thought she was married.  Allen had nothing to say about it but I knew that he knew exactly what had happened and liked being asked.

Northern Nevada is littered with old, abandoned and notoriously unstable mine shafts. There was a time when Allen led a group of guys deep into the side of a mountain and left them there without light in the darkest of black for hours for reasons I don’t imagine were anything other than vice.

He liked cocking an eyebrow and saying nothing.  He did that a lot.

The truth is this.  We were all kind of losers back then.  We did not belong among the beautiful or privileged and we didn’t aspire to it.  We were white trash.  I won’t speak for the rest of my friends but I was an archetypical maladroit post adolescent geek and I wasn’t the only one being led.

Eventually the restaurant changed hands, Allen was fired and I became manager.

It’s not like I was ambitious.

I kinda fell into it.

I beat out a kid with dirty teeth and a desperate home life.

Spanked him on the written test.

The last time I saw Allen was early November of 1992.  I was in town for Nevada day.  We spent a late night drinking tequila and ended up at my parents house.  I saw him in the back yard putting out a cigarette and looking for a trash can.  I heard is his primer gray ’69 GTO lumber off and that was the last time I ever saw or heard from him.

Ten or so years later I heard he was dead.  From a mutual friend, who was a notorious drunk, and drunk and sullen with the news.


Part  II

Fast forward to the present.  Two days after Christmas and I’m in Lake Tahoe for my niece’s wedding.  I’m sitting at a table with my wife and kids and mostly people I recognize except one tall and lanky girl.  I know her boyfriend Mike pretty well but I can’t remember the last time we had a conversation.  I like Mike.  We start talking and his girlfriend joins in.  Valerie.  She’s bright and funny and self deprecating.  I like her.  She’s pretty behind big glasses.  At one point someone asks how tall she is and I don’t remember her answer but think it’s an odd thing to ask.

Not long after, she stood up.

I discover I know her mother.  We dated.  She was beautiful and crazy.  We rolled a car off the side of a mountain road end over end in a blizzard.  Her mother was driving.  If it wasn’t for seat belts, we both would have been killed.

I ask her a question about her father and literally get the one answer I never would have thought before this exact second when I’m thinking it.  She is saying the same thing my brain is saying at the same time.  Allen Hamilton.  My long dead friend and her father are the same man.

It makes sense.  Marfan’s syndrome.  She looks like him.  She’s built like him.  She tells me she’s already had open heart surgery and a doctor told her once that most people with Marfan’s don’t live past thirty.  She tells me this haunts her.

She says she just has a few vague memories.  She doesn’t know anything about him.  She’s never met anyone who even knew her father other than her mother.  We talk about him a lot.   Neither one of us are prepared for this.  I’ve rarely been in a situation where I know less how to act or have less of an idea what to say.  We orbit. We exchange contact information because we understand the conversation is far from over.  We hug and she cries.  She is lovely.

On the way out, her boyfriend Mike tells me he is glad it was me.

I think about this for awhile and decide I’m glad too.

A few weeks later I get an email from her.

“………………There are so many things that I want to know that I don’t know how to ask. If I could ask just one question it would be, was he ever happy? Happy with himself, or happy with his life? Did he know heart-swelling joy, or just fleeting moments of non-sorrow?”

I answered that she had thrown me a pretty wicked pitch.

She seems all of the good and none of the sorrow.

I wrote her back but this is my complete answer. 

Drinks for my friends.