Borat, Fall, and Email Scams

I enjoyed the new Borat movie called Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. It is not quite as crass as the original, and it has a sweet father-daughter relationship plot. It rips the top off right-wing American culture so we can see just how gross it is, in case we didn’t know already. I watched it on my Kindle as soon as it was available. But I wanted to see it in all its grandeur on a larger screen. So I headed to our basement where a slightly larger TV screen is available. It was there in our basement where I experienced fall.

Not the season fall, but this kind of fall …

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Great Success!

I want to announce that I will be unavailable for blogging on the 23rd of October. That is typically cause for celebration and great rejoicing. Why am I unavailable, you ask? Wait, what? You didn’t ask? You don’t care? Regardless, I will be busy on the 23rd. I will be occupied watching this over and over again …

That’s right, the sequel to Borat hits Amazon Prime on the 23rd. The reviews are in and generally positive. And you may have heard some news yesterday about this co-star in the movie.

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New Music for Old Rockers – RIP Edition

I haven’t done a NMFOR post in almost 4 months. Without live music, it sometimes seems to me that new music doesn’t exist. But it does! There’s some excellent new music being released. Here are some links to new music by Tame Imapala, My Morning Jacket, Bruce Springsteen, and Dayglow. Now the last song isn’t new. It was released over 2 years ago by a high school kid with a green screen, some musical talent, and the ability to write an easy, listenable song. Over 42 million YouTube views later and it finally is getting some radio airplay.

I want to make it clear – none of these artists have died. They are just examples of new music being made despite the Age of COVID.

That brings me to this new release of an old song written by someone taken from us by COVID – John Prine. Kurt Vile teamed with John Prine to record Prine’s “How Lucky.” I like the contrast between Vile’s clean vocals and Prine’s rough, cancer-scarred vocals that somehow still sound great. And together at the end of the song, their voices blend together magically.

It got me thinking about all the musicians we lost in 2020. I put together this supergroup …

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We are starting a remodel of our master bathroom. Last night, we went to look at bathroom vanities at a closed fitness & massage storefront with a street address of 10039 & 1/2. I thought those fractional addresses were only found in Harry Potter novels. As we arrived, an old man with an Eastern European (?) accent accosted us in the parking lot and called inside to tell the seller that we had arrived. This morning, I purchased one of the vanities for cash only with no receipt given from the back of the seller’s rented truck in a gas station parking lot. I’m starting to think this deal may be a bit shady.

I, Monster

Take a look at the soap I’m using these days …

I count at least 5 bars used to make this Frankensoap monstrosity. But I need to come clean. I don’t want to shower you with dirty lyes. As I prepare to add another sliver of soap rejected by my wife, I realize that although there may be a monstrosity residing in my soap dish, the real monster is its creator … me.

Happy Halloween? Not for the Face-Covered Piñata

My 12 year old daughter is still casually interested in Halloween. She was thrilled to see we received this invite from a neighbor.

I have so many questions …

  • If everyone brings a face cover for the piñata, isn’t that going to be too many for the piñata to wear?
  • Does the piñata really need a face cover?
  • Can’t the piñata provide its own face cover?
  • If the face covers are for party attendees to wear, are they because of COVID or is the piñata loaded with shrapnel?
  • Can we use the water provided to clean our potential shrapnel wounds?
  • Is a piñata a small piña?

I expect my daughter to attend, stand around, try and look cool, and not attack a defenseless piñata. But she will definitely be wearing a mask, just like all of us should when we are around other non-piñata humans.

 

A New Cartoon? (God help us all)

That’s right, from the same mentally unstable creative team that gave you award-losing cartoons such as Mulch Ado About Nothing, Mite Be Funny, and the Pulitzer Prize-ignored Flies On Washington Walls comes a new cartoon called …

Flies On Mike Pence’s Head

Well, that didn’t go as planned. Maybe we’ll give the creative team their meds and rethink this while you enjoy a song.

How Dumb Can Trumpers Be?

One of my neighbors allowed me to plant a nice row of 5 Democratic candidate signs at the back of their property along a main road.

There are 4 signs of very important candidates that we hope will flip our county board Democratic, flip an Illinois House seat Democratic, and retain Democratic control of our House of Representatives seat on the federal level. The least important sign is the Biden/Harris sign in the middle. The Biden/Harris race is OVER in Illinois. They should win Illinois with 65% of the vote.

So, what sign gets stolen by Trumpers? That’s right, the Biden/Harris sign. That race has never really been in doubt in Illinois.

I gladly replaced the Biden sign, hoping the idiot Trumpers take the bait once again and steal the Biden sign while leaving the rest. Don’t let me down, dummies.

Emily Can Rot in Paris

Deep dish pizza is kind of a Chicago thing. Is it healthy? No. It’s a round disk of tomatoes & sauce on top of a glob of melted cheese packed inside of a delicious crust. Add meats and veggies to taste. There is no more delicious crust than Chicago’s own Lou Malnati’s pizza. It took me a couple of pies before it hooked me. Now, no other deep dish pie comes close for my taste because of the Malnati’s crust. Here’s a pic of a Malnati’s slice/complete meal.

But apparently there’s someone in Paris that disagrees about the deliciousness of Malnati’s pizza. Someone named Emily. Lurking about on Netflix. Here’s the headline …

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Happy Birthday, Mr. President

I wanted to acknowledge President Jimmy Carter’s 96th birthday and wish him well. He’s helped construct more meaningful buildings with Habitat for Humanity than Trump has ever contracted to build.

Since allowing a grifter like Trump to occupy the White House for almost 4 years while keeping and profiting off all his business holdings, Republicans should be ashamed that they required Jimmy Carter to divest himself of his beloved peanut farm. But of course, they have no shame. I would be all for contributing to buying Carter a new peanut farm, but I don’t think it is a very appropriate gift for a 96 year old.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President.

El Gourdo

I see in Vermont that they have grown a huge zucchini.

I think that’s great. If you read the article and watch the embedded video, you will learn the grower thinks the perfect weather and soil contributed to the enormous size of this gourd. But then it gets a little weird. There is a little extra the grower provides …

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Motivation Recalibration

I had slipped into a summer exercise routine that felt as comfortable as my fat pants with the stretch waistband after about 20 wearings without a washing. I would get up early and take a long solo walk or bike ride. Most days I would stop at one of the many wild berry patches I had scouted and pick fresh mulberries, raspberries, or blackberries for my consumption that day. After work, I would walk the dog and swim some laps in our little pool. Then the weather started to change. We had a stretch of rain and cold. No cycling for a week. I took down the pool before it turned into an above ground ice skating rink. So much for my swimming workouts. I immediately started to gain back the weight I had lost. My quest for a 20 lb. weight loss seemed unattainable.

But then, one man inspired and motivated me to try and make that weight loss happen. Who, you ask? I’m pretty sure I heard someone ask. Come on, raise your hand if it was you asking. Nobody, huh? Regardless, that man is …

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Signs of the Time

Every 2 years, signs sprout up in our yard. The crop is good this year.

I couldn’t help but notice that I have unintentionally arranged the signs like a middle school dance – girls on one side and boys on the other. It’s certainly not a special shrine to Joe Biden like the one that I saw when I biked through our old neighborhood.

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My Winter Weather Weight War

One week ago, I was on the brink of having lost 19 pounds toward my goal of 20. And then, the weather turned ugly along with my disposition. Unseasonably cooler temperatures moved in along with rain every single day of the week. Literally overnight, I gained 2 pounds. My body reacts to the cold by packing on winter weight, possibly so I can live off my blubber in case I am ever lost in the Arctic or Chicago in January. I’m not sure which is colder. I fought back by getting depressed and eating everything in sight. Turns out, that didn’t help. I gained another pound.

I could no longer get in a daily swim since the pool was overflowing with cold water. I could no longer get in a daily bike ride due to all the rain. I changed my tack and established an indoor routine of daily walking on the treadmill, elliptical work, and some interval training including crunches (not Nestle’s, although that would be my preference), push-ups, and light weight work.

Success! I’ve banished 1 of the 3 pounds I added. I was even able to get back in the pool yesterday as warmer temps have returned for a few days. We’ll see how sunny and warm these next couple days get as we are now experiencing a smoky haze from the west coast of the USA that is burning out of control. I always thought California would fall into the Pacific due to an earthquake. I never expected it would burn into oblivion.

The bottom line for me is that we are halfway through the month, and I still have 3 pounds to lose to reach 20. I am not confident, but I will try like hell to get there by the end of September. I know October will bring colder weather and that means a fatter, but not jollier, Jim.

Go For 20!

Back when I started my career, I worked for a company that ran a “Go For 10!” promotion. They were a smaller company in their industry, and they wanted to push sales to get into the top 10. So, Go For 10! They failed. In fact, they may have fallen further down the ranks, and I was a part of it. Great story, right?

I’m running my own personal “Go For 20” promotion, but not to get into the top 20 of human beings. I don’t have a chance of getting there, especially when I publish a series of blog posts titled “Am I a Bad Guy?”

But I do have a chance to lose 20 pounds! I’m going for 20 pounds lost! By the end of August, I had officially lost 17 pounds of winter tubbiness and am currently trending toward 18 lost pounds of lard. How? COVID lead to underemployment which lead to less money which lead to me to walking and biking while contemplating my dilemma which lead me to notice things growing which lead me to eating those growing things. Here’s my harvest of European plums today …

They kind of look like sweet, juicy red seedless grapes. They’re not. NOT AT ALL. They taste nothing like grapes. They are edible but tart. I will eat them, but it’s not like there’s a chance I’m going to overeat. The real key to the weight loss has been in taking steps to better health, literally. Take a look at this pic.

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Free Food Top 10 List

Being underemployed this COVID season caused me to look more to the Earth for food.

No, I didn’t eat actual earth, but ate from the Earth. I foraged a lot this summer. I’m not sure why. Sure, we saved a few bucks on food, but I think I enjoyed most the discovery of new foods to forage from the land.

As I made my Top 10 list of foraged foods, I realized just how many foods I have picked, eaten, and hated this year. I’ve left those off the list like dandelions. Did you know that you could eat the dandelion flower? Did you know that you may want to spit it right out?

Along with my failed foraging attempts, I also didn’t include apples. I did forage some, but I went too late. The one apple tree in the woods was already spent except for a few small, mealy, gross ones. I used the non-gross parts of the few apples I foraged in some smoothies. My fault, so I don’t want to disparage the apple for my tardiness.

Let’s get started on the list with #10 …

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Overcoming Adversity vs Giant Shit Show

At the Democratic National Convention last week, Joe Biden pulled out the stuttering handicap he overcame for all to see. Apparently, he helps and mentors stutterers he meets in his travels. A young stuttering teen named Brayden spoke on Biden’s behalf at the convention. Here’s the first meeting between Biden & Brayden.

No, I’m not crying. I think I have something in my eye that must have punctured my eyeball and is causing it to ooze.

That’s all well and good, but what about Trump’s handicap? No, not the textbook narcissism. He overcame bone spurs. BONE SPURS! They sound very boney and spurry. But he overcame them so well, that he can now do this …

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Slow Down

I needed a break this morning. I have been cycling hard every morning to get in shape so I can deliver to my precinct via bike the Democratic voting guides once they get printed. Democratic leadership wanted to wait to print the guides until after Biden picked a VP. They really could have printed them months earlier. The ticket could have been Biden & ‘A Bit of Moss on the Side of a Tree in the Depths of a Forest’ and Democrats would still have voted for him. I do like the addition of Senator Kamala Harris as VP. Speaking of addition, I think Biden + Harris = 93. See what I did there?

Back to cycling, I felt I needed a day off. I decided to take a shorter, slower cycle to check on a blackberry patch that should have been just about spent. It was, although by slowing down I was able to spot a few stragglers that I picked for the freezer. It’s been a good berry-picking season.

I cycled a bit further and came upon a field of these beauties …

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Questioning Education & Conversation

Over the weekend, I drove almost 300 miles on Saturday to help my middle daughter move into college for her 5th year, also known as her super senior year. I have so many questions, but will limit it to these 3:

  1. Will my middle daughter ever really use her second major and second minor she plans to earn in this 5th super senior year?
  2. At my advanced age, why do I have a youngest daughter that is still 6 years away from even starting college?
  3. From a parent’s perspective, there is nothing super about a second senior year. Okay, so that is more of a declarative statement than a question.

The second question is the one that really bothers me. It points to a total lack of planning and judgment on my part. I fear I can never trust myself again, not that I ever could before.

Anyway, after I returned home, I planned to regale my wife with stories of how I got over 38 miles per gallon on the way there, but 6 mpg less on the way home. Imagine the possibilities as to why that happened! Wind direction, speed maintained, route taken, etc. Then I realized just how sad that sounded, so I spared my wife that conversation and decided to blog about it instead. It seems even sadder in writing.

Social Distance Motel

One week ago, I woke up in Missouri. I had needed to go to my warehouse there for business for a while, but COVID is running rampant there. The St. Louis Cardinals can’t even play baseball. Due to COVID, the Cardinals have played 5 games. FIVE. My hometown Chicago White Sox have already played 19. There’s a serious COVID problem in Missouri.

I didn’t want to stay in any Missouri hotel or motel. I had no plan to stop anywhere at all on the way to the warehouse. I made arrangements to stay in the warehouse overnight, despite that warehouse being the site of a suicide many years ago. Gulp.

They had prepared a nice second floor loft space for me.

G Stairs

Although I brought an air mattress, the bed they had ready was appreciated, sort of.

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The Big Chill

I was happy to return home last night after a quick business trip involving driving 600+ miles and staying overnight in a place where someone hung themselves. More on that tomorrow. I was eager to jump into our little pool and cool off a bit. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak. Instead, I jumped onto our couch for some TV watching.

But this morning, oh, that was going to be a different story. I was up early and ready to swim. I love those cool late summer mornings when steam rises from warmer lakes, ponds, and pools.

pool steam

The air was a crisp 62F (16.7C) this morning, so I found it odd that I didn’t see that steam rising from our little pool. I wasn’t sure why … until I got in.

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Weekend Milestones – Part 2

If you missed yesterday’s post, I finished writing a book this weekend. No, not a sequel to my Parasitic Twin novella, but a collection of short stories. As I warned I might do, the title has already been changed to “Beyond: Tales of the Afterlife.” But there were other milestones reached this past weekend.

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Weekend Milestones – Part 1

I finished my book of 18 short stories after just a bit over a year and a half of writing work. But I didn’t view it as work, because I enjoyed it immensely. I did hit a snag 2 weeks ago when I finished the last story. Then the daunting tasks of compiling the stories into one document, creating a table of contents with links, doing a final edit, and choosing a title stared me in the face. Ugh!  I love the creative process and hate the tedious details. But I hunkered down and finished the work this weekend.

The tentative working title (subject to change based on my whims) is “Beyond Life: Tales of the Afterlife.” Here’s a brief tease about what each of the 18 stories is about.

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My Pool, Me, & OCD

I am of the belief that we all have some mental illness of some sort. Think about it. What mental illness affects you? Depression? Mood swings? An unhealthy obsession with the lady next door that looks like a young Audrey Hepburn?

For me, it’s OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I’ve never blogged about it. I am only starting to discuss it with family and friends, because it turns out they find it charming, quirky, and fascinating. Okay, so they also find it somewhat disturbing. But I can live with that as long as it makes me appear more interesting. Hmm, I may need to add narcissism to my list.

My OCD really came into focus when I messed up my pool liner order, and had to reduce my pool from 16 feet across to 15.

Pool 15 foot

I guess the picture doesn’t really help you understand my OCD. I’ll try to explain.

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Park that Ford on the Bench

About a year and a half ago, I named my all-President basketball team. My line-up:

  • Barack Obama at point guard
  • Dwight Eisenhower at shooting guard
  • George H.W. Bush at small forward
  • Gerald Ford at power forward
  • Abraham Lincoln at center

But then I saw this new painting that some pro-Trump painter is currently hawking online.

Trump Painting Presidents

Gross. I have so many questions …

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Good Brains!

I saw on Twitter a lot of this page from the mental health acuity test that Donald Trump is claiming he “aced.”

MOCA-Test-English

I figured that was just one of many pages of this test. Trump explained to Fox’s Chris Wallace that the last five questions were particularly difficult. But I was shocked when I looked closer at that one page.

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Slowing My Roll to a Stroll

Shortly after I was crowing in a post about losing weight through diet & exercise (who knew that would work?), I encountered a setback this weekend. While taking a stupid walk, my stupid dog lunged at at a stupid chunk of asphalt in the stupid road that she mistook for a stupid animal, unexpectedly jerking the stupid leash that I stupidly held, and my stupid knee was reinjured. Back to the knee brace for me …

Knee brace on

I’m not happy about it, and my knee brace also looked displeased …

Knee brace frown

I haven’t stopped exercising, but my walks have become strolls, and my bike rides have become leisurely sightseeing excursions. That does have some advantages. Just this morning, I encountered this photogenic family while biking …

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Spam Much?

I signed-up for Trump’s NH rally that was ultimately canceled. I didn’t plan to go, but I wanted to see what they would do with my email. Spam bomb time and all very grifty. This is a perfect example …

emailtrump11

Hmmm, for $20 I get a FREE yard sign. I don’t think they understand how FREE works.

But what if you have more money to spend on FREE merchandise and want to be more welcoming to other Trump supporters? Then this next offer is for you, but act quickly.

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My COVID Diet

I’ve delayed writing this post for a month now. I know what you’re thinking … I should have made it 2 months. But I finally feel comfortable writing it now for reasons I will soon disclose.

But first, even though most of my blog posts are considered uproariously hilarious by the general public, and members of General Public, I want to make it perfectly clear that I take the COVID-19 coronavirus seriously. I got tested after participating in BLM marches. I social distance. I WEAR A FREAKIN’ MASK. You should, too. COVID-19 goes hand-in-hand with Donald Trump as the scourge of my lifetime.

But thanks to COVID-19, I have lost weight. I’ll explain …

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Disturbing Stats

I have found that the most popular blog posts I write involve food, travel, health & exercise. Everyone (including me!) is tired of political posts. We all know Trump is awful, and while you’ve been reading this sentence, he’s now done another terrible thing which is blah, blah, blah. I find that I need to write some political posts for personal cathartic reasons, and they barely get noticed … except for my post titled “It All Adds Up to the Mark of the Beast.” If you don’t recall it (And why would you? It was eminently forgettable), go ahead, click the link, and take a look. It’s number rubbish, because I’m a math geek, but I happened to notice a disturbing trend for that months-old post …

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Unfair Government Control!

No, I’m not talking about the government-ordered shutdown of businesses. I miss going to concerts and sports this year, but come on, let’s flatten the COVID-19 coronavirus curve.

No, I’m not talking about government-mandated mask wearing. If you don’t wear a mask, you’re an idiot. Hmm, let me restate that so you idiots will understand better. If you don’t wear a mask, your an idiot. Subtle, but appropriate difference.

No, I’m not talking about the government planning to inject us with tracking microchips included with the new COVID-19 vaccine. I’m ready for that.

Tin_foil_hat_2

The government won’t let me have any of this …

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Questioning QAnon

I’m confused, as regular readers of this blog already know. Here’s what currently has my head spinning.

  • The QAnon conspiracy folks love Trump.
  • The QAnon conspiracy folks think the COVID-19 coronavirus is a hoax.
  • The QAnon conspiracy folks think the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine will inject tracking microchips into us. They are definitely anti-vax for COVID-19.
  • Donald Trump keeps promising (likely lying) that a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine will be available by the end of the year.
  • The QAnon conspiracy folks continue to love Trump.

My head hurts. Please explain.

Another Edition of … Am I a Bad Guy?

A neighbor and I both walk in the mornings. I met him coming back home as I headed out yesterday. I couldn’t help but notice that he was saying the rosary as he walked. When I walk, I forage for wild berries and look for loose change on the ground.

Am I a bad guy?

Will your opinion change if I promise to donate the penny I found yesterday to the poor?

 

 

Ranking the Friendliness of My Fellow Exercisers

Ever since I hung up my running shoes earlier this year and settled on walking and biking (once I fixed my bike) as my exercises for the future, I have noticed my fellow exercisers more. I no longer have to try and avoid people as I run so they don’t see my jiggling fat. I walk. I wave. I engage them in conversation … well, some of them. Here’s how I rank them from unfriendly to the friendliest.

#10 – Serious Cyclists

They are the absolute worst, wearing their fancy cycling clothes and teardrop-shaped aerodynamic bike helmets. There’s me with my teardrop-shaped body trying to give them a wave or nod, but they are always too busy going 100 miles per hour to acknowledge me back. Oh, was that a tree branch I accidentally left on the path?

Bike Flip

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Blood is Thicker Than Smoothies

I’m not sure my morning smoothie should look like this …

Blood smoothie

… unless I’m a vampire. It does seem sort of bright outside this morning. I’m feeling like I should close the blinds and go back to bed.

Anyway, the ingredients follow:

  • Raspberry yogurt
  • Black raspberries (foraged)
  • Mock strawberries (foraged)
  • Red Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Watermelon
  • 2 ounces of Type O+

Enjoy the smoothie … mere mortal.

Game Time!

Let’s play a game. One of these people is not like the others. Can you identify the person in this pic not accused (yet) of a sexual crime?

Sex Assaulters

HINT: The person not accused (yet) of a sexual crime is the one that looks high as a kite.

HINT: The silent “s” in Ghislaine stands for sex.

HINT: The men pictured are both sexual deviants.

Thank you for playing.

 

Well, Mock My Berries

Doesn’t that title sound like a catchphrase from a bad TV show? It’s not, but we do have these mock berries growing all over our property. I have eaten them regularly for years without knowing for sure exactly what they are.

Mock Strawberry

I’ve always called them wild strawberries. But it turns out, they are not strawberries. They are called a mock strawberry and are the fruit of an invasive weed. As soon as my wife heard they were a weed, she threatened to remove them from the yard. But not so fast! They are healthy.

They are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytosterols. Is that last one good? I looked it up, did some research, and still don’t know. What if I suffer from lack of phytosterols in my diet and my wife gets rid of the mock strawberries? I guess I could get regular strawberries and mock them myself.

The bottom line for a fruit is taste. Sweet, juicy watermelon. Crisp, tart apples. Mmmm. One website accurately, in my opinion, describes the mock strawberry’s taste as “dry and insipid and are tasteless.” I find it interesting that both the mock strawberry and this blog can be described in exactly the same way.

 

 

Smoothie? No, the Smoothest.

Here is my recipe for this smoothie.

Smoothie Ingredients

  • Banana (overripe is better for a sweeter result)
  • Red Grapes
  • Green Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Black Raspberries
  • Mulberries
  • Cherries (pitted, of course)
  • Watermelon
  • Add a splash of milk (cow, almond, etc.) for blendability.

Any quantity of any of those ingredients is fine. Any fruit-to-fruit substitution for any ingredient is allowed. Basically, anything goes as long as you are not substituting beef jerky for one of the ingredients. And, NO ADDED SUGAR ALLOWED!

The result? This …

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I’m Mad At My Dermatologist

I have 2 excellent scars that I am more than willing to show you. However, one is on the bottom of my foot from the time I was standing on a fish bowl while playing with my bird. What’s that? You don’t understand? I think that statement was quite explanatory. The other excellent scar is on my back from one of my skin cancer removals. Nobody wants to look at that scar buried in my back fat. So, with my recent skin cancer removal from my leg, I was excited to soon have a very visible scar. I mean, that Harry Potter was so lucky.

Harry Potter Scar

Such a cool scar and all he has to do is lift his hair. Based on my hair or lack thereof, such a scar on me would be visible 100% of the time on me. Well, at least this leg scar of mine will be easily visible if I keep my left leg shaved and wear shorts all the time.

I’m heading out to a restaurant tonight and I was ready to cross my legs and show-off the scar. But this has happened … Continue reading

Buy Bargain Book

The blockbuster novella I published earlier this year called My Parasitic Twin Wants to be President is for sale this weekend for under $1. Use this link to buy a digital copy you can read on a PC, Mac, iPhone, Android phone, or Kindle tablet for just $0.99 … https://tinyurl.com/BuyTwinBook. All proceeds will be donated to local Democratic candidates.

The NY Times Book Review noted, “This is one of the most powerful books of 2020.” They weren’t talking about the book I published, but my book does have reviews. How about this one?

“A witty story that combines humor, satire, and astute observations of our current political reality. Connects the absurd with contemporary issues, providing the reader with an unexpected, humorous, and thought-provoking perspective of modern times. Well written and engaging from cover to cover. Highly recommended!” Who needs the NY Times Book Review when you have a review like that on Amazon?

Now if you don’t intend to purchase, I need to introduce you to the illustrator.

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As I headed out this morning, I noticed this stuck to the side of my car.

Feathers

It looks like it could be from a bird hitting the side of my car. I hope not for a couple reasons. First, the poor bird! But also, the car is a lease. I’m praying there’s no dent under those feathers. I don’t want to try and explain to the insurance company.

I’m hoping it was not a bird accident but rather a voodoo curse. Not that I want to be cursed, although after 3 & 1/2 years of the Trump administration, it may not seem so bad. But if someone around town here is laying voodoo curses on people, I may have some business I could swing their way.

A Berry Good Time

It is that time of the year again — when I forgo buying food in stores and forage for food in the woods and occasionally late at night in dumpsters behind grocery stores. This morning I wasn’t in the woods but in an industrial business park that has some excellent mulberry trees on the perimeter of the parking lot. I’ve been scouting berry harvesting locations all spring. I came away with this haul of mulberries today …

mulberries

Q: How are mulberries and my jokes similar?

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Juneteenth

June 19th, known as Juneteenth, marks the anniversary of the official end of slavery in the USA in 1865. It only took a nationwide Civil War for Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 to be enforced across the USA by 1865. I often joke that we should have let the Confederacy secede. I really don’t want anything to do with the Southern USA. But the Civil War freed people that were kept in bondage as property, so it was a noble and necessary fight. Here we are, 155 years later, and we still limit freedoms in the USA based upon the color of one’s skin.

I grew up in an all-white Chicago suburban neighborhood. I rarely saw black people except when watching Chicago Cubs baseball on WGN TV. I treasured an autograph from Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, for decades. He was my first hero, and he was black. But in late 1965, 100 years after the first Juneteenth, Dr. Martin Luther King moved to Chicago. He was prominent in the local news for the rest of 1965 and all of 1966, leading peaceful equal rights marches through Chicago’s streets. I got a chance to see him in the summer of 1966.

I was 8 years old at the time. My father had passed away over the winter. It was just me and an overprotective, grieving mother in our family home. We were spending a day on the East Side of Chicago with extended family. How can Chicago have an East Side when it is built on the western shore of Lake Michigan? The East Side is down on the Indiana border where the land starts to curl east under Lake Michigan.

Southeast Side

 

It was a truly awful neighborhood built around now-defunct steel mills in which my maternal grandfather toiled until he died while in his 40s. I always knew when we were getting close to the East Side because I could smell it.

I was one of the younger cousins, and my older cousins who lived on the East Side decided to go see a King march in the area. I followed along just to be with my older, cool cousins. There was no way I could get lost. I was part of a huge throng of white people moving in one direction. I didn’t notice the rocks, bricks, and bottles in their hands until they started throwing them at marchers. I don’t know if my cousins threw anything. I don’t recall throwing anything. It didn’t seem right to me. But I stayed there and watched. That was wrong.

Now I am the father of 2 black young adults. I almost didn’t make it. My mother just about killed me when she heard I was at the march. Not because it was wrong to be there as part of an angry white mob, but because I could have gotten hurt.

My mother advised me and my wife against our first adoption, mainly because the child was black. We had to train my mother not to use racial slurs that she thought were endearing. But I will give her some credit. She loved all her grandchildren.

My mother is now gone, and her black grandchildren are adults that recently marched in a Black Lives Matter protest. The protest was eventually ended when tear gas cannisters were launched at marchers. Is it progress that it was the police lobbing projectiles at marchers? Is it progress that the projectiles were cannisters of tear gas and not glass bottles, bricks, or rocks? We should celebrate 155 years of Juneteenth, but also understand that we still have many years and a long way to go until all are fully free.