On The Dubious Merits Of The Self-Inflicted Pedicure

Masochists listen up. Are you tired of the same old limp flagellations, clumsy autoerotic asphyxiations, bondage with ropes that loosen too easily and ball gags as large as grapefruits rendering the desperately uttered safe-word unintelligible? Then try something new if, well, you’re beyond a certain age, with shaky hands and arthritis to boot. Try self-administering a pedicure.

I guarantee you’ll find both the agony and humiliation to be exquisite, light years beyond those old chestnuts like the hogtie and the strappado. Visualize that lone, hapless man semi-naked on the floor, bending, twisting and yes, writhing to pull that noncompliant foot into proper position, only to see it slip from a grasp that is all too tenuous. Picture the quandary of how far to insert the clipper blades, those blades that resemble the teeth of an ill tempered piranha. Not deep enough and the blades will not take hold- too deep and the scream will rattle the neighbors and the blood will stain the carpet. And if you persevere and give those pesky nails some semblance of a decent trimming, performed without a net or assistants, the moment of triumph and bliss will be all too ephemeral. You’re not out of the woods yet. Now the second phase of torment arrives- untwisting your body and getting up off the floor. Your muscles are already quivering with fatigue, and your joints ponder- where’s the WD-40 when we need it? Risking the further humiliation of a self-administered Heimlich Maneuver, you swallow your pride and crawl like a baby to a table and hoist yourself up. And then, that inevitable question: is it all worth it? Yes!

Yes, because the humiliation of the above described would be magnified a thousand fold if I traipsed into a nail salon, tail limp betwixt my legs, and had my toenails trimmed for me. Why?

There is humiliation, and then there is public humiliation. Why do these establishments feel it is de rigueur to have their customers displayed clearly, visible through the frontage windows, reclining on a divan like an ersatz Turkish sultan (sultaness?) having their toenails “done” by odalisque concubines? Plenty of humiliation to go around for both customer and practitioner. Funny. I’ve never seen a man behind those windows, and I don’t intend to be the first. Don’t get me wrong- I’m all in for exhibitionism- when I’m alone. Can you imagine if proctologists plied their craft in nail salons? Yes, every business should be transparent- up to a point. Think of the double takes of passersby- nay, make that quintuple takes. Chiropractors, I would imagine, would conveniently have their offices next door.

The class and racial implications of these salons have never escaped me. The customers and pedicurists seem to glare at one another, the former predominantly White women, the latter diminutive Asian women. The latter forced to kneel in supplication, hatred festering for their pampered, indolent customers- the former burning with envy as they gaze upon the delicate, dainty feet of the supplicant pedicurist, in comparison with their own enormous clodhoppers, that can only be comfortably shoed by the local blacksmith.

Oh these tangents of mine! What was I even talking about at the beginning of this rant? Ah, the relentless effronteries of Father Time, my memory in perfect alignment with my decrepit joints.

Is He Truly The Worst?

“It was twenty years ago today, Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play.” Ah, if only it were true. The reality is, it was twenty years ago today (or tomorrow, depending on when this posts) that the United States, without provocation or legitimate reason, invaded the sovereign country of Iraq. The reasons are complicated and hideous in retrospect. Allow me to attempt a recap.

On 9/11/01, Islamic extremists hijacked four of our commercial jets and launched the most destructive terrorist attack in our nation’s history. Nearly 3,000 citizens were killed. Two of the planes hit The World Trade Center in Manhattan, bringing down both towers. Another plane struck the Pentagon, and a third crashed in Pennsylvania after heroic passengers overpowered the hijackers. The aftermath was a time of national tragedy, and a long period of mourning ensued. The American people wanted peace and stability returned, but, perhaps more vehemently, they wanted revenge. We initially weren’t sure who the culprits were or of their motivation, but we must retaliate, at least at someone, and in times of war the people (most people) are acutely receptive to what the government tells them.

In 1997, a think tank called The Project For The New American Century issued a statement paper declaring that with the crumbling of The Soviet Union, “American global leadership” should be promoted, and that “American leadership is good both for America and the world.” The promoters of these ideas, after the 9/11 attack, pushed strenuously for regime change in Iraq, even though there was no evidence Saddam Hussein had any connection to the attack or harbored “Weapons Of Mass Destruction” to be used against us. The Project For The New American Century (PNAC) had written before the attack that “The process of transformation” (regime change), to be politically viable, required a “catastrophic and catalyzing event- like a new Pearl Harbor.” Bill Clinton was president at the time of PNAC’s proposal of militarily imposed regime change, and smart president that he was, dismissed it on face. Unfortunately, his successor was not so smart.

When George W. Bush became president, he was surrounded by signers of PNAC’s proposal (the so called “Neo-Cons”). Chaney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz et al had his ear. He was convinced by them that the Middle East Muslim countries somehow had a dormant yearning to live in a Western Style democracy (the idiotic expression of “Spreading Democracy” became a favorite of the Bush administration, as if democracy could be spread like margarine over an English muffin.) And then the brain washing began.

During the nearly two years after 9/11, there was a concerted effort by the Bush administration and affiliated ideologues to literally transform the American psyche through classic brain washing techniques, specifically through repetitive juxtaposition. Any time 9/11 was mentioned, you could bet that soon thereafter Saddam Hussein and “Weapons Of Mass Destruction” would follow. Condoleezza Rice, then Secretary of State, famously warned, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” The House and Senate signed off on Res. 114 (Authorization For Use Of Military Force Against Iraq) in 10/11/02. By March we had invaded Iraq, a country never to show aggression toward us and arguably was the most secular country in the region.

Were the Iraqi people ecstatic to have us liberating them from their ancient culture and values? No. And soon the carnage began. In the years to follow the Iraqi death toll was estimated by the Opinion Research Business (ORB), an independent British polling agency, to be over a million (other polls arrived at different numbers). In the states, unlike during the Viet Nam War, the press became willing lap dogs, more cheer leaders than journalists, many of whom “embedded”with the troops (sounds a bit like “in bed with.”) Fox Network color coded the degree of terror we should feel in inexplicable daily graphs appearing on the t.v. screens’ bottom. The wise and prudent French refused to join our war effort, resulting in French Fries renamed to “Freedom Fries.” At the prison for suspected terrorists in Iraq (Abu Ghraib) hooded American torturers resembling Inquisition inquisitors gleefully photographed one another tormenting the prisoners. Through embarrassing Orwellian New speak, torture, like water boarding, became “enhanced interrogation techniques.” The enormous death toll was exponentially eclipsed by the number of injured and maimed. An estimated 758 billion dollars was spent on our noble liberation of the Iraqi people. Money comes and goes, but death and carnage are forever. For every bomb dropped on civilians, a new generation of terrorists was spawned.

And so, as difficult as it is to say for a life long progressive and Trump despiser, Donald Trump was the first Republican candidate to condemn the Iraqi slaughter. During his administration, we never invaded another country, and as far as I know, no one was tortured (except when listening to his rants). Was he the worst person to ever be president? Strong argument for. Was he the worst president? Hand the prize to the grinning, bumbling war criminal whose stock has risen because of the odious Donald. And damn those who ever made an order at a drive-thru for “Freedom Fries.”

On Book Banning

Picture if you will a book of horror stories where horrible things happen to good people- including children.

Picture if you can a story where a God of wrath and vengeance decides that all of humanity, except for a very few, shall be drowned to death in a massive flood. Picture if you dare the screams of flailing children, sucked beneath the raging waters, screaming for their parents to save them, but alas, they too are drowning.

“Seven days from now I will send rain on the Earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the Earth every living creature I have made.”

Pretty strict, don’t you think? Now picture another story from the same book in which the same God feels like testing the loyalty of a decent fellow named Abraham, by telling him to murder his own son Isaac. And spineless chap that he was, he was just about to do it, but as Abraham raised the sacrificial sword above the hapless lad, an angel appears and says, “Now I know you fear God.” Who wouldn’t fear a sadistic psychopath playing head games for who knows what reason? Was God feeling insecure, and needed proof of Abraham’s loyalty? But why would he feel insecure, his being omnipotent and all? Uh oh, here I go on a tangent once again. Oh dear God, stay my hand and keep me on topic.

Now I ask, what decent, intelligent and sensitive people would allow children to be exposed to the above horror stories? Think of the trauma to the children’s tender young psyches, staying up late, wondering if their dad might be given such a test, their fears magnified a thousand fold if mom is named Sarah. What kind of people would allow children to be exposed to these nightmare inducing tales of terror?

People who ban books, that’s who.

Yes indeed, the good folks who feel they are better judges of what we should read than we are, are perfectly OK with the bloody, lunatic tales from Genesis, but come down hard on numerous other books, many of which are devoid of violence. And it’s not just books dealing with LGBTQ themes, Critical Race Theory or “Woke,” whatever the hell that is. Here are just a few:

Maus– The Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel depicting the horrors of the Nazi holocaust. Seems laudable, but alas, the characters are anthropomorphized animals, some of whom are shown naked. Guess which state pulled it from their library shelves? Texas, you say? Excellent guess.

The Call Of The Wild– No, I’m not being sarcastic. This Jack London classic that’s been perfectly fine for 120 years. This one seems, in some odd way, to tout Socialism, and animal abuse, which of course would never happen in real life, so blind fold the kiddies.

The Diary Of A Young Girl, by Anne Frank- Why this one? The scholars in Alabama deemed the 14 year old’s description of her own body”pornographic,”plus, they added, it’s a real “downer.”

Where’s Waldo– An illustrated book with few words, somewhere in the book appears a partially topless woman in a beach scene. She’s tougher to spot than Waldo.

Where The Wild Things Are– Maurice Sendak’s 1963 classic children’s book. Why? The protagonist, Little Max, after misbehaving is sent to bed without supper, and dreams he is in a Dark Land where he becomes king of the “Wild Things.” He then leads them on a raucous “wild rumpus.” Too dark for the kiddies. Plus, Little Max had to endure starvation when deprived of his supper.

Should I even venture into Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland? Use your imagination, like Lewis Carrol did.

There you have it, a tiny ice cube off the tip of the iceberg. Yes, we must protect our fragile children from the corrupting, mind warping affect of the above mentioned books. Give them something suitable from The Good Book itself. Ah, those wonderful heart warming tales of human sacrifice, genocide, war, plague and, for something they can really relate to, infanticide. Yes, wholesome reading that will make for sweet dreams- sweet dreams for the innocent, impressionable babes, whom we must protect at all costs from bad thoughts from banned books- or from thinking altogether.

Early Bird

Every Halloween I try to post a piece apropos to my favorite month, October, and my favorite holiday, Halloween. Here’s a snippet from my work-in-progress, a collection of dark, macabre and absurdist short stories titled October Dark. Pay heed, all you procrastinators who had, shall we say, father issues.

My first memory of him. I was in the backyard, pushing a toy lawnmower. I was following right behind the biggest man in the world who was pushing a real lawnmower. The biggest man in the world, and the strongest. Isn’t that how all four year old boys see their fathers?

I remember he was chewing gum as he mowed. When he stopped for a break, I approached him and asked if I could also have a stick. He smiled and said, “Sure- open your mouth.” I opened wide, and he spat the chewed wad into my mouth, then put a fresh stick into his. At four, you don’t question these things. You just assume that this is how all fathers behave.

Sometime later, perhaps a year or so, he was in a jovial mood, and gave me a kiss. His tongue darted down my throat and wiggled like a small snake. Then he giggled. Yes. When abusing me he always emitted an incongruous girlish giggle.

I’ve always wondered if he sexually molested me, and I repressed the trauma- the horror. But the cruelty, the continuous acts of physical and psychological abuse are not repressed. They are fresh in memory, as if from yesterday. We were a Catholic family. My parents observed the rhythm method. They wanted to stop bearing children after my two older sisters were born. Sadly, I had usurped the rhythm, and was inadvertently spawned. Oh how he would delight in telling me, out of ear shot of my mother, that I was a mistake, and that he had been suffering for it since the day I was born. Often, I even wondered if he knew my name. His favorite moniker for me was Stupido, or Stupe, as in stupid. He was Sicilian. Oh such exquisite Sicilian wit! Odd. I say that as if somehow I was not Sicilian. Indeed, if I could have my father’s genes “liposucked” out of me I’d do it in a heartbeat.

When I was ten years old I began to have intestinal bleeding. Ulcerative Colitis. My father had no health insurance for his family, and thus I was placed in a “teaching hospital,”a lame euphemism for charity ward. I was in the hands of clumsy, indifferent interns and nearly died, as much from malpractice as from the disease.

When I was twelve, something happened, I’m not sure what, that really set him off. He began slapping me in the face, hard, back and forth, back and forth, with both hands as hard as he could until my mother finally intervened as I felt consciousness slipping away.

I could certainly go on. My mother had no immunity to his reflexive cruelty. For most of her life she was also assailed by his malevolence. After her kids were grown, she wanted a job. Oh how important to be liberated from his oppressive yoke and affirm her worth and self esteem. She got a job as a receptionist at a local grammar school. On her first day, the floors had been waxed and buffed the night before. Her footing was precarious, she slipped and severely sprained her ankle. My father’s response? “Instead of making me money, you’re costing me money.” But far greater in cruelty, he would boast to my mother of his many infidelities and tell her if he had it all to do over again he would have married a more attractive woman.

In my early twenties, after I had an opportunity to exchange life stories with other young men, I developed points of reference. I realized my father was a monster. He was also dead, purportedly from cancer.

Years went by, but I could never liberate myself from my father’s ghost and memory. He persisted to torment me from beyond the grave. And thus I began my plan.

I had, on numerous occasions, literally pissed on his grave, hoping for some degree of catharsis. But it wasn’t enough, a feeble gesture always leaving closure far from reach. No. I needed much, much more.

I bought a pick and shovel, the heaviest and sharpest I could find. I trained with weights, and dug practice holes in my backyard. For a week, I surveilled the cemetery to ascertain when the fewest potential witnesses would be present. The gates opened at 9:AM. If I started at six, there should be enough daylight and time to do my handiwork.

D Day. D as in desecration. I arrived just before six. It was easy to climb the wall. The plan? Exhume dear old dad, pop open the coffin, and tote away his remains where I could take my time with the father and son reunion. Oh, the possibilities- the varieties of desecration!

The digging went much faster than I had calculated. I was expecting the ground around the grave would be hard and packed, but it yielded much more easily to my pick and shovel. There. The coffin was exposed. Now, for the moment of truth. I popped open the lid with my pick. Incredulity. Anticlimax and disappointment. The coffin was empty, except for a note. I opened it and read:

Sorry Bro- Beat You To It. You Weren’t His Only Son

Where Is the Good Guy With The Big Iron On His Hip?

Of late, I’ve been revisiting some of my favorite songs from my childhood. Though not a big Country Western fan, the exception was Marty Robbins, who I could listen to all day. Although his signature song was the immortal “El Paso,”my favorite was another ballad called “Big Iron.” The ballad deals with a small South Western town which is visited by a tall handsome stranger with a “Big Iron” on his hip. At first the town’s people think he is an outlaw come to do them harm, but he explains that he is in fact an Arizona ranger who has come to bring a vicious young gunslinger named Texas Red to justice- dead or alive. Texas Red has twenty notches on his gun, and he is so fast on the draw the town’s people assume the ranger will surely be twenty one. They meet the next morning:

“There was 40 feet between them when they stopped to make their play, and the swiftness of the ranger is still talked about today. Texas Red had not cleared leather ‘fore a bullet fairly ripped, and the ranger’s aim was deadly with the Big Iron on his hip.”

And there, for an innocent young boy, was embedded the myth of the good guy with a gun taking out the bad guy with a gun.

I’ve been down this road before, and I try not to be redundant, but when horrific things keep happening, over and over, perhaps redundancy is forgivable.

I’ve said it before. Part of the horror is a gradual erosion of the collective memory. The places, names, body count and parents driven mad by grief begin to blend. Newtown, Buffalo, Parkland, El Paso, Uvalde. Can we match the killer with the proper location, motive, (if any) degree of carnage, law enforcement response? Did I say law enforcement response?

It was after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, in Newtown Connecticut, where Adam Lanza slaughtered 20 children and 6 adults, that the NRA’s spokesman Wayne LaPierre indirectly invoked the “Man With A Big Iron On His Hip.”How do you stop a bad guy with a gun? With a good guy with a gun. The NRA’s new mantra. Then came the avalanche of absurd stupidities. Arm the teachers. Aren’t teachers good guys? Imagine the image of arithmetic teachers or librarians, moms and grandmas, who bake and grow Tulips on the weekend (yes, I’m stereotyping, thank you) taking on a homicidal psychopath with an Ar-15, wearing full body armor. (Note: in no way am I trying to malign moms, grandmas, librarians, arithmetic teachers or nurturers of tulips.) I would venture with confidence that the chance of a teacher going off her nut and gunning down her students, (a favorite fantasy of teachers, I’ve been told) or a lunatic student disarming the teacher and shooting both teacher and fellow students is far greater than the psycho shooter breaching the school and slaughtering everyone in sight.

And how about those real life good guys with a gun? The kids at Rob Elementary in Uvalde Texas were surrounded by good guys with guns. Highly trained, body armored, with weapons at least as effective as the shooter’s. When they finally arrived at the school, they immediately committed their own crime- loitering. For 73 minutes, as children were being murdered, they loitered in the hall, looking frightened and confused. One of them was videoed applying hand sanitizer from a wall dispenser. Why? Was this a homage to Pontius Pilate, washing his hands of the whole sordid debacle? Or, perhaps if one is loitering in the hall with one’s member in one’s hand as feet away screaming children are being ripped beyond recognition, a display of hygiene in lieu of courage is, well, better than nothing. Or how about Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida? The security cop there was a good guy who went into hiding for 45 minutes instead of confronting the shooter who murdered 17. He was later arrested and charged with 11 criminal violations, including child endangerment. It didn’t work in the grocery store in Buffalo, where the shoppers were mostly Black. When an armed, experienced security guard who was also a retired police officer did have the guts to confront the racist shooter, he was no match with his side arm against the body armored AR-15 toting shooter. 10 people dead, including the heroic security guard.

There is a way in which the almost weekly carnage can at least be diminished. I probably said this not long ago in a previous piece. Bump up the age at which AR-15 style rifles can be purchased to 21; require a safety and proficiency test as is done for car license acquisition; require a written test and some type of psychiatric vetting. The Founding Fathers could live with that, although they were thinking of muzzle loaders when the 2nd amendment was forged.

And to all of you good guys out there, I salute you. Alas, sometimes being good isn’t enough.

Gird Up Your Loins

During the senate confirmation hearing of justice Amy Coney Barrett, I early on began chomping at the bit to hear a critical and revealing question posed by one of the senators. The question? “Ms. Barrett, if you were pregnant within the first trimester, and your physician gave you the grim news that if the fetus is not aborted, you will die, how would you decide- your life, or the fetus?”

For fifty years, women in our country have had sovereignty over their own bodies. This is not to say that patriarchy, entrenched in varying degrees in all societies, has been relegated to the ash heap of history. No indeed, it casts its dark shadow in most facets of our lives. But for half a century, women have been able to live their lives as more than breeders under a supposed god driven edict to go forth and multiply. I’ve got my thinking cap on, and I’m trying, trying heroically, to think of what person should know better if a fetus should come to birth than the person carrying that entity which in fact is not yet a child? Prior to Roe V. Wade, repealed today by an ultra-conservative majority supreme court, women who sought abortions were societal pariahs, and indeed criminals. Tales of the back alley quack with bourbon on his breath and a rusty coat hanger in his hands performing abortions are not apocryphal. Countless women have died from such butchery (so much for the Right’s constant evocation of the sanctity of life.) If we role back the clock to the days of our founders, termination of pregnancies was as normal as any other medical procedure. In 1748, “The Instructor,”a popular British manual for all matter of real life issues, was adapted by Ben Franklin himself, to include how to perform at home abortions. In Colonial times, abortion was a common part of life, barely inspiring discussion, let alone push-back. In Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion of overturning Roe V. Wade, he states, “The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.” Was he referring to our nation? For the 18th century colonists, it was very deeply rooted and as traditional as apple pie.

Joe Manchin and Susan Collins both have stated that they were snookered when they voted to confirm the Trump Supreme Court nominees. Gorsuch stated, when asked if he would support abolishing Roe V. Wade, that it’s “The law of the land.” He added that Roe is a Super-Precedent. “The ruling has been reaffirmed many times, I can say that.” Barret stated that Roe meets all the rules of “Stare Decisis,”the legal principle that precedents should not be overturned without strong reason. Kavanaugh stated that Planned Parenthood V. Casey, the 1992 case that reaffirmed Roe, was “Precedent on precedent.”

Why did they say these things when they clearly didn’t mean them? I believe the legal term is, “They lied through their teeth.”

Justice Clarence Thomas opined that the rationale for the decision to give Roe the boot, could be applied to overturn other major cases, including Gay marriage. I wonder if he would also consider the 13th amendment?

Roe V. Wade has been woven into the fabric of our society for fifty years, with a decided majority of Americans supporting it. But what is really happening? Justice and equality acquired through the sacrifice and blood of millions is being purged by a powerful minority of religious zealots hell bent on cramming their barbaric and unscientific beliefs down the throats of the majority. This minority would like to establish America as a Christian theocracy, that in many ways would be more stringent and oppressive than Sharia law.

And so Gays, adulteresses, Blacks, atheists, blasphemers et al, as stated in The Good Book, “Gird up your loins.” The battle has just begun.

Uvalde Post Mortem

Again. The barbaric, grotesque redundancy of it. Another slaughter of the children.

Although there is a tendency for what is now a rich tradition of massacres in our society to blend in name, location, numbers of victims and dates of occurrence, as mass murder with AR-15 type rifles have perversely become a part of our societal landscape, the ones involving children stand out in bold, bloody detail.

Newtown Connecticut, December 14th, 2012. 20 year old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Of the 26, 20 were children between six and seven years old. February 14th, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida, 19 year old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people, 14 of them students, with 17 seriously injured. And now again. Uvalde Texas, May 24th, 2022, at Robb Elementary School, Salvador Rolando Ramos shot to death 19 students and two teachers, and wounded 17 others.

All three of these massacres (and let’s stop white washing them as tragedies, as if they were an act of god or nature) share a common thread: The killers were White or Hispanic males ( let’s dispense with non-binary gender pronouns i.e “they” or “them”- stick with him and he) between 18 and 20; no criminal records, but red flags galore of serious anti-social mental heath issues via social media and parental statements, and all perpetrated their carnage with AR-15 type semi-automated rifles.

My intent is not to analyze or dissect the myriad failures of law enforcement in the Uvalde massacre, or analyze the psychotic flotsam who did the killings at the three schools. And if I hear once more that “The System” failed the killers, I might literally puke on my computer screen. The days of limp-dick liberalism arguing that these poor young men are victims in their own right because insufficient hugs or too early potty training turned them into monsters should be forever debunked as the psycho-babble that it is. Perhaps these homicidal little bastards were simply bad seed- born evil, inherent and undetectable in a M.R.I. .

Some basic questions: why is it more difficult to obtain a driver’s license than it is for an 18 year old to purchase an AR-15? Ramos bought two within weeks of each other. Total lunacy. The other industrialized countries are baffled by our laissez faire gun culture. But I don’t want to get bogged down in how other countries perceive us. How we perceive ourselves is more important.

If substantial gun law reforms were ever to be made it would have happened after Sandy Hook. Why? I’m not writing this to be politically correct, I’m writing this to be honest and heartfelt. The Sandy Hook victims were first graders, the youngest of all the child victims, their parents were relatively well off and their kids were White. But all efforts to enact even minor changes in the gun laws were stifled. Why? Because of Republicans in the house and senate unable to stand up to the NRA and the gun manufacturers’ lobby. Fast forward ten years and it’s the same story and the same pitiful bleating from the Republicans- thoughts and prayers go out to the victims’ families, or pea brained ideas like arming the teachers. At Uvalde, the school was surrounded by highly trained heavily armed law enforcement. They failed to protect. I doubt grammar school teachers with side arms would fare any better.

How, I ask, is raising the age to 21 to purchase an AR-15, expanding background checks and forging reasonable red flag laws a diminution of the Second Amendment? You know who agrees with me? Well over half of the American people.

And so I say to Ted Cruz, one of the NRA’s more embarrassing concubines, and all of his other gutless, feckless ilk in the house and senate who whorishly fall to their knees before their NRA pimp- a pox on all of your houses.

On The Timidity Of Samuel Alito

Like many Americans I am vehemently opposed to the overturning of Roe vs Wade. Why? Because it doesn’t go far enough!

Yes, you heard me right. The efforts of Alito and his majority of conservative Justices, six of whom are fellow Catholics, five of whom are ultra orthodox Catholics, is a mere band aid. We must not stop at protecting the fetus (or zygote, at the early stages of pregnancy). We must get to the root of the issue. In order to fully protect the fetus (to hell with the mother) we must first protect the unheralded hero of pregnancy- that feisty, indefatigable little fellow- the spermatozoa.

We do not like to think of these things, let alone discuss them. But every day these microscopic little Argonauts are massacred to the tune of 40 to 600 million per ejaculation. How can we prevent these crimes against potential future humanity? I really don’t think I need to tell you. Yes, by not only making masturbation a crime, but indeed a capital one. This on the surface may seem draconian, but extreme actions require extreme measures. Yes, that vile, unnatural and depraved act must be dealt with appropriately. All masturbaters must be imprisoned for life without the possibility of parole.

Look at it from the point of view of the spermatozoa. Upon ejaculation each and every sperm cell has certain expectations. He (and I think in this case binary gender pronouns are appropriate) is suddenly jettisoned into a strange and murky new world. By instinct ( does one require a brain to follow instinct?) he begins his destined quest. Swimming, frantically, to cross the finish line first, he is welcomed with open arms by a grateful ovum (have you seen the little sperm cells under the microscope? They are cute, like wiggly little guppies.) But what if he is thwarted right out of the gate?

Picture the absolute horror of the little guy upon realization that the elusive ovum is now unobtainable. He looks about and sees only whiteness. Where is he? Was the ejaculation so powerful that he has been propelled to the surface of the moon? No, infinitely worse. He is floundering on the surface of a toilet tissue, one that will soon be crumpled up and tossed in the wastebasket, or worse, ye gads, tossed into the toilet, into oblivion, where he will join trillions of his hapless brethren.

But all dark clouds have a silver lining. Unintended consequences are not always bad. It is estimated that 95% of all men masturbate. If the morally correct measure is taken to outlaw this vile act, more prisons will need to be built to contain the billions of spermicidal monsters who thus far have stroked away with impunity. The construction and servicing of these prisons would result in full global employment. Hunger and homelessness would be eliminated. But, a conundrum: if 95% of men are incarcerated, can the righteous 5% construct sufficient prisons without assistance? No. Women, by necessity, would have to assist, but this pool would also be depleted, as 29% of all pregnancies end in abortion, and that 29% would, presumably, also be incarcerated. Solution: robots. These robotic workmates of the diminished human worker could fill the gap, and could actually be constructed by the incarcerated men and women, as an ongoing project akin to the time honored production of license plates.

And so, to all the bleeding hearts like Justice Alito, who lack the temerity to take the full measure, I would suggest to, er, strap on a pair of balls. But expect a backlash. Carpel Tunnel surgeons will lobby against the new law, in addition to the makers of Vaseline and Kleenex. And of course there will be the inevitable bumper sticker-

I’ll Stop Masturbating When They Pry My Cold Dead Fingers Off My …


The melodic, seemingly happy chirping of birds in the morning is not an expression of joy, but a territorial warning to other birds.

The beautiful, crisp Autumn leaves swaying lazily to the ground, are dead.

Our pet dogs hate us, and are just waiting for the right moment.

Our cats hold us in contempt, but at least don’t pretend otherwise.

The bright, glorious sun is steadily burning out.

Since the dawn of humanity, somewhere, at every minute, war is being waged.

The glass is half empty, with a hole in the bottom.

When life brings you lemons, pucker.

Optimism is reflective of a slave mentality i.e. I was tied to the whipping post for an hour and got fifty lashes, but it could have been two hours and a hundred lashes; Hallelujah!

People who believe lethal injections are humane are too stupid to recognize oxymorons and should be drawn and quartered, in the nicest possible way, of course.

The Founding Fathers were slave owning oligarchs who plagiarized The Declaration Of Independence.

Most accidental shooting deaths are in fact premeditated murders.

The Bubonic Plague of the 14th century wiped out half of Europe, and the surviving other half was ecstatic.

Climate change is real and the deniers will eventually burst in flame and not be included in The Rapture.

Most suicides by hanging are in fact auto-erotic strangulations gone awry, but the decedent’s family is too humiliated to admit it.

Purgatory in fact lasts longer than Hell, and is even hotter.

Surgeons frequently and summarily amputate the wrong limb with impunity, and exhibit neither shame nor remorse.

Diamonds are not a girl’s best friend and are plucked out of mines by slaves who are worked to death.

A kiss on the hand is not quite continental.

Everything Qanon says is true; as a registered Democrat, I can attest that baby is quite good, when prepared properly.

To top everything off, I was just inexplicably fired from my job answering phone calls at a suicide prevention hotline.


One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies, North By Northwest, is when protagonist Roger Thornhill, played by the immortal Cary Grant, is confronted by an obnoxious ticket seller at the train station. Grant is being pursued by spies who have misidentified him as a rival agent named Kaplan, as well as by the police who believe he murdered a United Nations diplomat. Wanted posters are everywhere, including the train station. Grant, attempting to flee aboard a train, has donned dark glasses to conceal his identity. The ticket seller is sufficiently suspicious to query Grant, “Is there something wrong with your eyes, mister?”

I will digress just a bit to mention that if you are not familiar with Grant’s films, I beseech you to familiarize yourselves. Grant is what is sometimes referred to as an essential persona actor. Whatever character he played he was always Cary Grant: quintessentially charming; effortlessly suave and reflexively witty. So when asked by the ticket seller if something is wrong with his eyes, he replies with droll sarcasm as only Cary Grant could, “Yes- they’re sensitive to questions.” After successfully entering the train, Grant encounters a radiantly beautiful blond, played by the radiantly beautiful Eva Marie Saint, who is in fact in collusion with the spies. An affair develops, and entire scenes are devoted to their sexy, sophisticated repartee, with Grant’s lines delivered with a style and class that he alone could deliver. Alas, romantic repartee has been abrogated by truncated words on text messages, embellished by some absurd emoji.

And so I beg the question: how would Cary Grant’s style and class be perceived today? Would the coarse and vulgar times in which we live render a latter day Cary Grant infinitely weird and inconceivable? Are wit and charm gone forever, permanently swiped from our stark barren world, gone with the wind along with love letters written in personalized cursive? Is it folly to yearn for another time? Do people drink Gibsons anymore, as did Cary Grant as he charmed Eva Marie Saint on the train? Would it even be legal today to offer an elegant lady a cigarette extracted from a platinum cigarette case? For that matter, is it acceptable to even refer to a woman as a lady, or is the very word deemed to be an archaic derogation imposed by a brutish patriarchy?

Is it possible that a new Cary Grant is now germinating, to emerge when the time is right? Could today’s high tech literalists even recognize sarcasm, wit, satire and irony in a neo-Cary Grant, or in an intelligent novel? For that matter, are intelligent novels still being written, and if so, who reads them?

How unfair and unrealistic you may ponder, for me to bemoan the extinction of styles and sensibilities from bygone days, especially when they may have been manifested more in celluloid than in reality. But I can’t help it. I yearn to see people today dance like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. I want there to be Noel Cowards and Cole Porters, uttering wit and playful wordplay.

I fantasize. Oh, if only once in my drab life I could don a top hat and tux and approach that glamorous and sophisticated lady who got caught in a storm, and with Cary Grant’s voice and elan, query, “Why don’t you get out of those wet clothes and into a dry Martini?”