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 …

Cheers!

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.

ON THE DEATH OF WIT AND CHARM

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?”

Once There Were Great Men

Can you recall the last time you took a risk? More difficult yet, can you remember the last time you took a risk- as in risking your life for a moral principle; a higher good? I suspect most of us would have difficulty with such recollection- we are human, driven by self-interest and survival, and there is no shame in this. But there are, and have been, exceptions.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. If I’ve done my math correctly, he would have been 93, as he was only 39 when assassinated in 1968. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I remember being shocked, horrified and heartbroken. And yet, I was amazed it didn’t happen sooner.

For the better part of his life, whenever he stepped out the door, the sense that his head was in the crosshairs was both palpable and realistic. Behaving fearlessly doesn’t negate fear. He was an absolute non-violent warrior for justice- for all people. During his numerous marches and protests he had been beaten, arrested, jailed and stabbed by a deranged woman. J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the F.B.I. , bore an obsessed, pathological hatred for him. William Sullivan, the head of the F.B.I.’s infamous COINTELPRO project (the F.B.I.’s covert and illegal program to surveil, infiltrate and disrupt political groups deemed unamerican, ) wrote in a secret memo, “We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security.” For Dr. King, paranoia was an understatement of reality. Racist organizations, individuals and the full power of the F.B.I. wanted him dead. He was, in reality, their greatest threat.

Dr. King’s charisma was not of the demagogue, but of the iconic moral teacher. And he was, arguably, the greatest orator of the 20th century. His “I Have A Dream” speech from 1963, delivered before thousands at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, is indelibly etched in the minds of justice loving people everywhere. “I have a dream,” he stated, “That my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!”

“I have a dream today. That one day every valley shall be engulfed, every hill shall be exalted and every mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed. …”

And, as the days of our time grow darker and divides widen, as tribal hatred supplants reason and the sulphuric stench of civil war is in the air, I find myself drifting into cynicism and hopelessness. I feel the whispers of the darker angels of ourselves growing louder, and I feel within myself a growing hatred for those who trade in hate. And when I feel myself sliding toward the abyss, I pause and reflect that once there were great men. You remain my hero, Dr. King. Happy birthday. Your spirit still shines through the darkness.

The Best And The Brightest

And now, gentle readers, I feel morally compelled to reflect upon the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, and the audacity of his killers’ defense at the subsequent trial.

My reiteration of the events relating to Arbery’s murder will be brief. My goal is not to revisit this crime in all of its horrific and absurd minutia. A recap:

On February 23rd, 2020, a young Black man (Arbery) who was a devoted jogger and aspiring electrician was jogging along the streets of Satilla Shores, Georgia, in a neighborhood where some of the residents don’t, well, cotton to a young Black man jogging along their streets, because, dog gone it, if he’s running he must have done something wrong. Two men, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34 had seen Arbery in the neighborhood before, which reflexively raised their suspicions. Gregory and Travis, along with neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 50, in separate trucks pursued and cornered Arbery. When Arbery was boxed in, Travis jumped from his truck, aimed his shotgun point blank at Arbery’s chest, and as Arbery tried to escape he was shot three times. The pursuit of Arbery was ostensibly to affect a citizen’s arrest because they believed Arbery may have been involved in a series of burglaries (not to digress, but a citizen’s arrest where there is no actual evidence of a crime is illegal- even in the state of Georgia.) For reasons I will conjecture upon later, “Roddie” videoed the pursuit and killing with his cell phone. Initially, no charges were filed. The presiding D.A., Jackie Johnson, knew Gregory, who once worked for her. Ah, the prevailing attitude- let’s sweep this one under the carpet, tidy things up a bit and move on. But alas, the video was inexplicably turned over to police by “Roddie.” Somehow, he later claimed, it would justify the actions of him and his friends. Not surprisingly, it leaked, and soon went viral, generating global outrage. The case was turned over to The Georgia Bureau Of Investigation. The bureau concluded that all three men “Chased, hunted down and ultimately executed Arbery.” In due course, the case went to trial.

But, the murder was on video, for gosh darn. The accused men’s’ attorneys heads were spinning for a defense. Brainstorm! That’s it- defense- self defense! Why, it’s all there in, well, Black and White. When Arbery was cornered between the two trucks, “Trapped like a rat,” as Gregory later stated, Travis jumped out of the truck, aimed his shotgun point blank at Arbery’s chest, and shot him three times. But you see, he had to! He had no choice. When the unarmed Arbery instinctively tried to wrest the shotgun barrel from his chest to save his life, he could have- no, better, make that would have- wrenched the gun away and murdered poor Travis. Why, it’s common sense that this would have happened. Look- look you eleven out of twelve White Georgian jury members. Yes, yes, we’re not supposed to think these things, but you know how these people are. How fast, powerful and violent they are. Why, as one of the defense attorneys stated, “Arbery was not an innocent victim. Why, he wore no socks to cover his long, dirty toenails.” Ah ha- a smoking gun, if you will. By the way, not to digress, as I am wont to do, but how did she get close enough to Arbery’s feet to discern the state of his toenails? Fascinating thought- does she live a secret life as a necrophiliac foot fetishist, sneaking into morgues at dead of night to drool ghoulishly over dead men’s feet? Did she produce evidence, statistics or scientific studies that suggest that long dirty toenails correlate to criminality? I mean the dirty toenail argument is pretty slim pickins’, but they have to come up with something. Or, perhaps she thought a radiantly stupid, racist, ad hominem and non sequitur attack on the victim might sway some fence straddlers on the jury.

But the defense’s case was problematic. Optics are important. It didn’t help that the three defendants looked like racist rednecks plucked out of Hollywood central casting. What to do? Ignorance of the law may not be an excuse, but how about severe stupidity? That was the track taken by “Roddie’s” lead attorney. His counsel brilliantly did the impossible, by characterizing “Roddie” as even more dimwitted than his co-defendants. Yes, his attorney argued, that even if a crime had been committed, his client was such a dullard as to be rendered harmless. Look at him- the neighborhood fool. A bumbling buffoon lacking the grey matter to participate in a homicide. Oh the chutzpah! Could Alan Dershowitz have argued more effectively?

Was this a racially motivated hate crime? Nonsense, the attorneys would opine. When interviewed by police, “Roddie” of the dim light stated that Travis called Arbery “A fucking nigger” as he lay dying on the road. The image of the Confederate flag appeared on Travis’s truck, and overtly racist text massages were found in “Roddie’s” phone. Irrelevant- coincidental! Uncanny perhaps, but nothing of import nonetheless. And that video. As mentioned, though not a member of Mensa, did “Roddie” really believe it was to their benefit, proving they tried to arrest Arbery- proving if nothing else his attorney’s depiction of his client’s mental acumen? But allow me to posit an alternate explanation:

The video does not show decent citizens protecting their neighborhood. No. This was a lynching. A father and son bonding lynching as in the good ole’ Jim Crow days. Why did “Roddie” video the proceedings? Why do some hunters bring along a buddy to video the taking down of an elk- or a buck? To memorialize the victory for posterity.

Ultimately they overplayed their cards, an inherently losing hand. The mostly White jury didn’t close ranks along racial lines. They had it within them to think critically, examine the evidence, and arrive at a just decision. All three, guilty of various counts of murder.

And so, for all you White supremacists, look at your shackled brethren. Do they look supreme, slouching as they shuffle from the court room to their new home- the penitentiary?

Take pride. They may be the best and the brightest of you.

The Trouble With Kyle

Look at him. Such a sweet innocent face. Those plump cherubic cheeks, the kind of cheeks my Sicilian uncles would reflexively pinch and not let go. Come on. He’s just a kid. All kids get into mischief from time to time. Did you see the video? Did you see him traipsing about the streets, the burning streets of Kenosha, like a carefree, frisky puppy, his baby fat jiggling as he ran? How could such a harmless looking boy be a killer? Rather easily, it would appear.

On August 25th, 2020, at a protest that turned into a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, resulting from the police shooting of a Black man multiple times in the back, seventeen year old Kyle Rittenhouse crossed state lines from Antioch Illinois into Wisconsin. Ostensibly, he was there to join other civilian militia to guard and protect property. Was he invited by property owners? No. When interviewed by a roving reporter, young Kyle stated he was an EMT (emergency medical technician) and wanted to administer medical attention to anyone he encountered who was hurt. He was not an EMT. He carried with him a medical kit, a fire extinguisher and- an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Why, every earnest EMT should carry one- they are designed to save lives, are they not? Now the narrative becomes obfuscated, a la Rashomon Effect.

At one point, Young Kyle is seen running across the street, away from the roving interviewer. There is a confrontation with a man named Joseph Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum threw a bag at Young Kyle and allegedly issued verbal threats. Young Kyle shot him four times within four feet. The crowd observes. Is he an active shooter? Is he not decked out in the typical garb of civilian militia? He is pursued and falls on his back. A man named Anthony Huber attempts to disarm Young Kyle, and strikes him with a skateboard. He is shot in the chest and dies. A third man, admittedly brandishing a hand gun, is shot in the arm. Most of the bicep is blown away. Young Kyle gets up and flees from the crowd, and encounters police. He tells them he has shot people. They give him water and tell him to go home. Honest Injun’. What is it about cops and baby faced right wing killers? Remember Dylann Roof? The cops gave him Burger King when they arrested him. Now, if at all possible, try to imagine the above described scenario, all details identical, except Young Kyle is Black. He tells the cop he has shot three people. How might they reply? “Aw, get out of here kid. Here’s some water. Now scram and go home.” I know. You can’t imagine it.

Eventually, our young rascal was arrested and charged with multiple offenses, including murder. When Young Kyle appeared before a judge, Lady Luck was beaming at him. He went before Judge Bruce Schroeder, who at an earlier hearing, denied a request from the D.A. to increase bail by $200,000 because a video had surfaced showing Young Kyle in a bar drinking beer with members of the “Proud Boys,” the notorious White Nationalist group who were key players in the January 6th storming of the nation’s capital. Well, is not storming what storm troopers do? Our boy, who for the remainder of this piece shall be referred to as YK, was wearing a “Free As Fuck” tee shirt and flashing the OK sign (thumb touching index finger), often displayed by White Supremacists. The charge of a minor in possession of a firearm was dropped because YK did not buy the weapon, but borrowed it, and within the infinite wisdom of Wisconsin law, the barrel was too long to qualify as a hand gun, which would have been illegal. I hope you are processing this better than I am. The honorable Judge Schroeder also ordered that the three men who YK shot could not be referred to as victims by the D.A., but the defense could refer to them as arsonists or looters, if there was evidence they were involved in such activities. Question: if there was no such evidence, then why could they not then be described as victims? Ask the judge. Throughout the trial the judge excoriated in near rage the D.A. over technicalities. Such an impartial adjudicator. He may as well have been wearing a sandwich board stating, “I’M WITH KYLE!”

During the actual trial, the defense rolled the dice and put YK on the stand. It was self-defense, he pleaded. He only did what he had to do to stay alive. At one point, he broke down, poor boy, in sobs- enough crocodile tears to fill the Nile. Such a convincing performance- Stanislavski would be proud; a Proud Boy, if you will.

Then- the day of reckoning. Not guilty on all charges. More histrionic sobs, wracked with them; tears of joy, of vindication- and then he began to swoon.

And what now for YK? From day one he has been the darling of the Alt-Right and White Nationalists. He has been deified by the likes of Tucker Carlson, Ann Coulter and Matt Gaetz, the champion and protector of seventeen year olds. YK may himself emerge as a pundit on Fox, with a bit of grooming. But what about now. How can he make a bit of money?

Remember George Zimmerman, who, in my opinion, murdered another seventeen year old, Travon Martin, a kid who was unarmed, minding his own business and Black? Zimmerman sold the murder weapon, a 9MM hand gun, for $250,000 at auction. An AR-15, with two kills and a maiming on it’s pedigree, should do a Hell of a lot better.

Some Reflections On Samhain And A Halloween Poem

For years I felt freakish and aberrant. A grown man, well into maturity, who never lost his passion for Halloween, or Samhain as the ancient Celtic people called it. But with each year I learn how many adults, many well into the Golden Years, have also retained their love and excitement for Halloween. Some thoughts:

The psychologist Carl Jung believed there is a collective unconscious; that we all share ancient memories and beliefs that are inherent in the human psyche. We are drawn to Halloween and yearn for its arrival before the times of cold and darkness are upon us. We may never have harvested, but we remember the harvest. We may not be hunters, but we know the excitement of the hunt when The Hunter’s Moon glows from above. But Halloween presents a contradiction.

Halloween is in stark contradiction to most of our major holidays. There are Pagan elements and symbols in Christian based holidays like Christmas and Easter (mistletoe, eggs and rabbits, all of which relate to fertility and procreation, but have been neutered of their true meanings). But Halloween has successfully resisted being co-opted and remains essentially Pagan. Attempts to Christianize this Pagan holiday in the guise of All Saints Day or All Hallows Eve have failed.

Halloween is that time, that day and especially that night, when we are allowed to reconnect with our ancient roots; when fear and guilt are overwhelmed by excitement, and we revel in things seen and not seen. We feel it in the air, sense it underfoot and see it in the sky. Is that odd shaped cloud really a cloud? Doesn’t it look, at least somewhat, like a witch on a broomstick? Are those shadows really shadows, or shades from the spirit world?

This is not a day and night of contrition, shame or guilt. This sacred time is not for flagellants and brow beaters, when we must cower beneath the oppression of The One God, the God of floods and plagues. Was it not the poet Ezra Pound who said we should never have turned our backs on the Pagan gods? The spirits of Halloween smile like gleeful jack-o-lanterns and expect, for at least one night, that we feel joy and exhilaration as we dance before the bonfires of Samhain, bold, ecstatic, fearless and without shame.

Admit it- we’re all at least a little bit Pagan.

Treat- Or Trick?

Old house- old woman. A witch? We were afraid to knock on her door.

The most coveted treats were homemade- the candied colored apples; the sugary buttery pop corn balls. So trusting then. Razor blades? Poison? Allowing such treats now would be child endangerment.

The dichotomy then- the joy of running from house to house, amassing candy wealth in billowing pillow cases, balanced with a nocturnal dread. Things can happen, those unspeakable things that go bump in the night.

Innocence dies a slow death, like a Jack-O-Lantern, turning soft and black, rotting in the November sun. A Halloween will come, perhaps next year.

Bolder now, we approach the old house where the old woman lives, and knock.

She opens the door. “Trick or treat!” Why, she does not look like an evil witch, a cackling hag with a long crooked nose capped with a gnarled wart. She looks like grandma. A doting loving grandma. She smiles with delight at our varied costumes, and doles out homemade treats: candied covered apples; sweet buttery popcorn balls.

She is generous- and wise in the ways of tricks and treats – and of razor blades and poison.

Imagine If You Can

Imagine if you can parents screaming, yes screaming, their rage at city council and school board meetings. And imagine if you can these parents in such a venomous frenzy that their hatred seems to spray out of their pores; spores and droplets of hatred circulating among the attendees, none of whom are wearing masks. Listen to the banshee wail of these suburban parents as masked board members go from being quietly stoic, to terrified as the parents roar that they know where the board members live; then crank up the decibels, threatening not only the board members but their friends, families and children with mayhem, sexual violence and death. What horrific and barbarous behavior have these board members exhibited? What taboo and debased proposals have they made that would turn sane and civil citizens into a frothing lunatic mob, prepared to lynch, maim and tear limb from limb well meaning members of community boards and councils? Brace yourself, oh gentle reader. They have proposed that children, for their own protection, and the protection of others, wear masks at school, and be vaccinated for Covid.

Small measures you may think, to affect a greater good for a greater number, i.e. the general welfare of society.

Have things truly regressed to a state of mindless, primitive tribalism for a substantial portion of society? Imagine if you can when the Salk vaccine was introduced, which effectively provided immunity from crippling and sometimes fatal polio, parents exploding, ranting psychotically, “How dare you- how dare you! Our little Bobby has a God-given, constitutional right to live a life of quiet introspection within the protective womb of an iron lung. How dare you deprive him of that right!” Or imagine if you can vicious parental hysteria regarding tetanus vaccinations. “How dare you! How dare you unpatriotic bureaucrats preventing our little Judy from attaining her full womanhood by depriving her of the joys of lockjaw!

I have a theory regarding ignorant, hateful people. Why do they behave like that? Well, here it is: It’s because they love being ignorant and they love hating. Do neon vacancy signs flicker in their eyes at the mention of critical thinking and logical consistency? If they believe that mandated protective masks and vaccines are a violation of individual liberty, do they get hysterical when driving and must stop for a red light? How dare the oppressive state dictate when we must stop. Do they understand- even an eensy bit- that stopping for red lights is not only for their protection, but for the protection of their fellow citizens, many of whom desire the liberty of not being broadsided by some idiot?

If these outraged citizens, with their warped one way our way or the highway mentality feel compelled to play Russian Roulette- with masks, vaccinations or traffic lights, I say hear, hear! Just make sure the gun barrel is resting on your temples, and not ours.

Introducing: The Red Wing Chronicles (A Stream Of Consciousness Personal Exorcism)

I really don’t know how many people read my blog posts. For the past year or so, at various times, I have posted several pieces with subtitles like “A stream of consciousness rant, or lament, etc. from “The Red Wing Chronicles (A stream Of Consciousness Personal Exorcism). This is my latest book- part memoir of my first 30 years or so, and part stream of consciousness rant. Stream of consciousness is a technique in which the writer’s thoughts are quickly rendered into written words with minimal thought or fermentation. James Joyce, Jack Kerouac, and Virginia Wolf have used this technique in various of their works and when it is successful it often is akin to a jazz improvisation in words.

Although the words often flowed, this was a difficult book to write. My childhood was hardly a pleasant one. It was rife with serious illness, bullying and family abuse. The serious illness was ulcerative colitis, and during a six week stay in a “teaching hospital” (charity ward euphemism) I nearly died. Whether my precarious condition was due to the illness, or patient neglect (as evidenced by permanent bed sore scarring) or both, is conjectural. I will leave descriptions of abuse and bullying in the book, for those who care to read it. A heads up- today there is cyber bullying. The abuse and bullying from my childhood was physical and emotional, and much of it would be deemed criminal today.

The memories in my story trigger the rants, which are often raw and vehemently emotional (but still peppered with my cynical, sarcastic and sardonic sense of humor pervasive in my blog posts). They are also cerebral, and deal with topics such as the fragility and illusory nature of memory, the subjectivity of sanity, the relativism of good, evil and morality, and the hypocrisy of authority.

Catharsis is never easy. Nor is exorcism of one’s personal demons. This book is, I believe, unique; not just in content but in conception. It was conceived and written with my feet up on the couch, staring as if in trance and being steered and inspired by the greatest pair of shoes ever cobbled. My scuffed up, wise and seen it all from the ground up shoes. My dear old Red Wing friends.

Sharia Law Texas Style

They’ve taken control with little resistance. Tribal people with rules, laws and sensibilities from the 7th century. For a time, there had been progress, measured in inches, moving toward the civilized world, but the regression was quick and draconian.

Women are no longer sovereign within their own bodies. The tribal rulers have declared that women can no longer terminate pregnancy after the sixth week- a period when most women may not be aware that they’re pregnant. No exceptions, except endangerment of the mother’s life; not even if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

You may think I’m describing the barbaric patriarchy of the Taliban as they impose Sharia law in Afghanistan. You think wrong. I’m describing Texas, which has signed into law Bill TX (SB8). But although the new law may seem like a blast from the Stone Age past, the method of enforcement is so ludicrous as to render Texas the scourge and laughing stock of the civilized world. The police are keeping out of this- private citizens are tasked to enforce the law!

Yes, any private citizen. With or without standing. Anyone who suspects that someone, however obliquely, has aided or abetted an abortion, can be sued by an abortion vigilante. The plaintiff doesn’t even have to reside in Texas. Any plaintiff who brings forward civil action against an aider or abetter and wins will be rewarded a minimum of $10,000, to be paid out of the defendant’s pocket. And who would be considered an aider or abetter? Included would be the Uber or taxi driver who drove the woman to the abortion clinic; the neighbor who helped fund the abortion, or even pays for the transportation to the clinic; anyone who provided funding for the woman’s health insurance and of course the physician who performs the procedure. Why stop there? How about anyone who wishes the woman good luck, or gives her a hug en route to the clinic? And why should pets be off the hook? If Bowser the Golden Lab jumps up and slobbers love and encouragement to the woman as she’s out the door, should he not share in the guilt? No doggy treats or tummy rubs for him, let’s say, for six months.

Anyone remember the reality T.V. show “Dog, The Bounty Hunter?” You know, the buffed bad ass biker dude who apprehended people who jumped bail? Well, welcome to the new breed of bounty hunters, lurking about, spying on their neighbors, snooping into other people’s affairs and lives. Why, are they not doing God’s work, sparing the lives of billions of zygotes from genocide (we can’t say infanticide; not at six weeks) and earning money in the process?

Imagine the chaos! How would the abortion “Dog The Bounty Hunter” equivalents gather information? What specific evidence would be required? What if they couldn’t find any and made things up? Why, the guilty could be anyone: that rude kid at the local take-out; that despised neighbor who keeps driving over your chrysanthemums; the obnoxious uncle you only see on Thanksgiving, crashed out on the couch after eating too much mince pie. These aiders and abetters are everywhere and must be stopped. And what if some of them do not like being snooped upon? Texas is a stand your ground, open and carry without a permit state, and dog gone it, trespassers can be shot. Think of the excitement- the Wild West mayhem of gun toting abortion snoopers in shoot outs with heavily armed abortion abetters. Ah, the delicious irony, people killing each other over the sanctity of life. Davey Crockett and Sam Houston would be proud!

The Quran does not address abortion. In some Muslim majority countries like Tunisia, and authoritarian countries like China and Russia, abortion is relatively accessible. In North Korea the margin is wide; a woman can obtain an abortion for “important reasons.” The reality is, there is no complete ban comparable to Texas under Islamic law.

Oh that liberal Taliban. Way out in front of the second largest state on abortion. How they must frown upon the primitive tribal beliefs of the extremists in Texas.

Perhaps in due course Texas women will break free from the shackles of the Lone Star State and make a beeline to the land of the Burka.