To Souls Present and Passed…

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A toast to all humane humans, who persevere;
And to whatever remain of our worldly tomorrows;
Even if that tallies out at one; just tomorrow.
And to today; in the event tomorrow never comes.

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A toast to all kindhearted souls; present and passed;
And to our eventual, eternal reunion;
Be our shared existence at the elemental level,
On the anticipated, heavenly plane,
Or within some extraordinary realm that
cannot be fathomed by the mere, mortal mind.

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Pregnant Wordplay

Peeps of noble creeds; valiant; steadfast
Steep regal deeds; revered nth degree vast
Keep legal speeds; steer forward; dread past
Reap secreted seeds, they’ve dreamed ’n’ spread; cast
Deep-seated needs, theirs, they’ve deemed ‘em dead last
Bleep defeatist feeds; shear all sheer blowhards’ bombast

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Embattled Mixed Emotions

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As a pacifist, I concur with President Joe Biden’s decision to finally end George W. Bush’s ill-conceived War in Afghanistan; the projected exit date to fall on September 11, 2021; the 20th Anniversary of the NYC / DC / PA al-Qaeda attacks.

As a pragmatist, I know there’s little for the world to gain by America soldiering onward, endlessly, in that one specific war zone; especially considering how terrorism, by its very nature, knows no geopolitical boundaries; when new, terrorist training camps proliferate not unlike metastatic cancer cells; when any attempts at shutting them down is not unlike playing a bloody, deadly game of Whac-a-Mole.

As an ethicist, I also need to factor in the Pottery Barn, “You Break It, You Own It Rule”. Obviously, since W did his damnedest to break Afghanistan, unfortunately, that means that each of his presidential successors, have inherited the carnage. And, as such, there’s a moral and financial obligation to clean up all that W had mucked up.

The rub here is that when it comes down to any Wars on Terror, there are no easy exit strategies; as the reality of W’s nearly two decades long AND Russia’s one decade long no-win battles can both certainly attest to.

The problem began when brain dead W, in his futile attempt to “smoke out” Osama bin Laden, had resorted to boots on the ground overkill when, truth be told, a more refined, cogent approach would’ve sufficed; e.g. President Barack Obama’s deployment of the “United States Navy SEALs of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group (also known as DEVGRU or SEAL Team Six)” (quoted content copied / pasted from Google search).

Of course, that’s not to say there have been no gains within Afghanistan, in particular, we must consider the modest improvements re human rights; more specifically, women’s rights.

As an altruist, the very thought of the Taliban (or any other barbaric, moronic, misogynistic régime), muscling its way back into that embattled region is repugnant to me.

As a realist, I know that U.S. troops have been fighting no-win battles. So, how the hell could it ever be any different for the Afghani forces who will soon be left to fend for themselves?

As a kinda / sorta journalist, I find it absolutely unsettling to end a blog with a question, especially one that neither I nor anyone else can honestly answer in a hopeful manner. Long sigh.

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Nearly an Eternity in Lockdown

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Almost sixty years prior to the coronavirus pandemic, my own peers had made it their Job #1 to bully me; demote me to the rank rank of second class citizen; these sickos’ nonsensical and merciless verbal, physical and emotional attacks robbing me of the carefree, fun times, which is (should be) (must be) each and every kid’s birthright.

And, upon factoring in how much school I had skipped to escape their torment, they also committed similar grand larceny by denying me my education; which, btw, is (should be) (must be) each and every human’s birthright, too.

Oh, eventually, after four long years of this harassment, these schoolyard and neighborhood hoodlums / hooligans did grow a tad weary of tormenting me, but their timing could not have been worse. You see, by then, puberty took over; it’s Job #1 being to deface my face.

While my parents (by profession, both high school level educators) did attempt to defend and console me, they could no more effectively open my principals’ eyes than my clogged pores.

My only, bygone coping mechanism, summed up in two words, had become: Social Isolating

Not showing my face in public, eventually, became a way of life; if “life” is even the operative word, here.

Ironically, my leading into 2020, New Year’s resolution had been to get off the bench and back into the game of life; to make the most out of whatever time I have remaining on Earth.

Needless to say, we all know how well that went, don’t we?

So, what has nearly a lifetime in lockdown taught me?

In pre-pandemic times, I could take some solace in my belief that life’s parade was still marching onward; to be joined in progress when the time was ripe.

However, with the pandemic still marching and rampaging onward AND the revelation of the ever-evolving, far more contagious and deadlier, coronavirus variants (of late, discovered, right here, in my home state of Michigan) AND the slow down of the vaccines’ distribution (due to both logistical and pharmacological problems) it’d appear that life’s parade has been canceled indefinitely.

My greatest concerns:

  • By the time this running amok, global scourge is finally in our rear view mirrors, so too, will be my above mentioned, days of yore, ill-timed, ill-fated New Year’s resolution.
  • Considering how a huge chunk of my Earthly existence can already be seen within my own, personal, rear view mirror, my road ahead, indeed, doth appear short.

My best coping mechanism (hopefully yours too), summed up in ten words, continues to be:

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To whom it may concern…

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To whom it may concern (be you many or few):
When you espy us, how do you construe?
Our X-OneNation, ISO its glue;
And devoid of its vertebrae, too.

How would you treat pseudo science reliers?
And defeat global warming deniers.
And anti-maskers; social distance defiers.
And all the rest of these wisdom decriers.

Would you deck out, all decadent folks?
Decked out in brown shirts or white hoods and cloaks.
Who’d reinstall OrangeMan; instill his hoax.
Who’d call on wild insurrection to coax.

How would you fight all who deepen each schism?
Out the “devout”, who flout their catechism.
Fire the pushers of each evil ism.
Devotee voters who’d fight FOR Fascism!

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When Staying Alive Itself is a Gamble

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Under normal circumstances, games of chance, when played in moderation, can provide a fleeting moment or two of fun; e.g., playing penny ante poker, where it’s more about the between hands, friendly banter, while the cards are getting shuffled / dealt; or, when wagering a couple of smackers to try winning the occasional, astronomically huge lottery jackpot.

However, on the flip side of that coin, one could hardly call our present-day, pandemic circumstances normal.

Not when staying alive, itself, is our daily gamble.

It’s at that juncture where / when hopeless, stressed people, who are facing down joblessness, homelessness and hunger, can easily get suckered into get-rich-quick sales pitches; get misled DOWN, Down, down the highway to Hell.

The devil IS in the details: So, let’s start digging downward; and I mean deeply.

Just prior to Corona-V’s worldwide invasion, Michigan’s Republican dominated, bicameral legislature, in a rare moment of bipartisanship, suckered in Democrats / Dumbocrats. Together, they authored a bill to legalize, statewide online gambling. Alas, Governor Gretchen Whitmer (also a Democrat), in a rare moment of injudiciousness, opted to sign this lousy legislation into law.

Yep, they all opted to throw, WIDE OPEN, the virtual casino doors; to entangle the masses in gambling’s sticky web / www.

As if what? The oodles of our preexisting Lottery games are not enough, already?

Sure, exploiting vice to make nice will generate new revenue; fill up our state’s cash strapped, devoid of tax dollars coffers. However, what, in essence, is the “sin tax”, simply takes the (too) easy (Republican) way out. Beyond that, this was precious time that could’ve been much better spent; which begs the $64 Million Question:

Why are our elected state representatives, the majority of them Republicans, not conscientiously doing the Real People’s Work, which We the Voters expect of them; e.g. [1] safeguarding public health and safety, [2] maintaining and strengthening liberty and justice (regardless of a person’s melanin content), [3] promoting the education of our young people in a factual and ethical manner, [4] attracting living wage, full-time job creators, [5] upgrading our infrastructure, [6] securing a clean green planet for us; for posterity, etc.

It’s a forgone conclusion that today’s anti-American, anti-science, anti-education (hell, anti-everything respectable) Republican Party would ever want to be a PARTY TO ANY OF THAT! Why, they’d go apoplectic at the mere notion of ever attempting anything that’d (even accidentally) advance humankind.

Deleterious Side Effects: Each greedy bastard owner, of these online gambling hellholes (proliferating like metastatic cancer cells), has been saturation buying media-wide ad time (these ads also proliferating like metastatic cancer cells).

As if what? One commercial per hellhole per hour would never be enough to convince the gullible masses to take the plunge into their virtual sewers; as a (w)hole?

Alas (long sigh), no commercial break slot ever goes unsullied by the slews of inveterate veteran gambler junkies. Be these hucksters real or just role players, they’re all offering up their so-called testimonials to the “virtues” of everyone compulsively pissing away their, likely, already dwindling assets.

What is now going DOWN, Down, down in Michigan is destined to eat away at what remains of decent society. IF we could, somehow, get this all too real, destructive virtual force to virtually go cannibalistic, THEN, it would eat away at online gambling profits, instead.

Soooooo, here’s where we (barely) stand on this new / old pandemic day.

In the end, we’ll become witness to folks recklessly wagering their loot and frittering their lives away, when staying alive, itself, is a gamble.

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Enter This Road At Your Own Risk!

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Welcome to my / my homeland’s nightmare. And do heed my headline’s warning!

Alas, we’re about to discuss the post Trumpian Epoch; the bare bones existence currently suffered by millions of us commoners, all across the Ununited States of America; a nation gone utterly mad. Granted, I do blog obsessively / excessively on this topic, but, especially considering the January 6th Insurrection, this is not without good reason.

For starters, while President Joe Biden has been doing whatever he can to right Trump’s wrongs, mostly by signing Executive Orders (EO), considering the U.S. Senate’s 50-50 bitter, partisan divide and how multiple state’s xenophobic Governors have been approving recently authored, seething with racism, voter suppression laws, Joe may wield neither the required political clout nor possess sufficient time to take on such a Herculean task; let alone, permanently fix our Donald-diseased, devastated homeland / world.

And even if he does, the bitter truth is that Joe’s EOs can just as easily be undone by any future, radical Republican who manages to mismanage (take out) the Oval Office; maybe as early as 2024; be that Donny, himself, or one of his scramble-brained spawn.

Now, I cannot attest to whether or not what follows illustrates a bona fide nightmare; i.e., seeing how, like most of us, I rarely recall all that transpires during my REM sleep. Nonetheless, here we go…

I find myself cruising along a two lane, rural highway at the posted 90 KPH (55 MPH) limit; one so steep I’m practically heading skyward. Just as I’ve reached the apex of this Wild West mesa, at breakneck speed, an oncoming, painted retina burning red, SUV veers over the center line.

Perhaps, its delirious driver has been driven to this off course, feverish pace by ague? Or, he is some inveterate, nonconformist who, by his very hot headed nature, is hellbent on disobeying all the rules of the road? Perhaps, he’s a hardcore science denier and, as such, actually believes that two objects can occupy the same spot at the same time; sans any damage?

Just when this impending, fatal head-on crash seems carved in stone / tombstone, I spot a side road. Even tho I know not where that dirt and graveled passage will take me, it’s down to do or die. With nothing left to lose, I swerve sharply leftward; barely accommodating the laws of inertia; i.e., narrowly averting vehicular rollover.

Just as I exhale my “whew” and nervous chuckle, I catch a fleeting glimpse of that kamikaze vehicle, reduced to momentary, mere red blur, in my rearview mirror. Another “whew”, for indeed, I’ve totally cheated certain death?

Maybe not! Now materializing out from a dense, billowing dust devil, I spot an impromptu, caravan parking lot; multiple dozens of pick-up trucks, all hued blood red; all veritable roadblocks to all forward motion and notions; to humankind’s journey thru life. This rabble flaunts and taunts; honks horns, hoots and hollers.

Worst of all, these guerrillas, teamed up with big city and small town rogue cops, brandish their assault rifles; aim them all in my direction. What totally innocent moi could’ve possibly done to face down such vigilante justice escapes me; but I am driven to escape and escape I will.

With my untimely demise, once more, imminent, yet another unpaved side road presents itself. Somehow, I manage to reprise my moments earlier, maneuvering miracle only to discover the road, unexpectedly morphing into two mere parallel tire ruts within a tall, tinder dry weed field; the median strip’s knee high foliage noisily scraping at my vehicle’s undercarriage; that clunk of a boulder cannot be good.

My gas tank ruptured, spilling petrol and friction spark flames; one certainty, there can be no turning back.

Momentarily my eyes gaze skyward; perhaps to see the light? The gate to the promised land? I dunno. But, one thing that fleeting glance doth provide is the forewarning of a looming storm front. Angry storm clouds hurl freakish, sky to ground lightning bolts, which set ablaze the drought browned vegetation, ahead.

Fortuitously, albeit a mere car width wide, yet another path presents itself; my last ditch, leftward sharp turn, momentarily, affording me a new lease on life? Or not?

OH NO! OMG! It’s now abundantly clear I’ll be running out of rutted road before I can lead foot my speedometer down to zero. Not unlike the dive of the fictional flick’s Thelma and Louise, I careen over a sky high cliff; plunge into a Grand Canyon magnitude abyss; FALLING, Falling, falling; the gravity.of the situation all but assuring an early meeting with my maker?

The End?

Epilogue: Be the above account based upon an actual nightmare, the composite of untold night terrors (accrued over a lifetime), or merely the musings of this sleep-starved blogger on this new / old pandemic day, it’s all, obviously, reality rooted; the current events unmistakably torn from today’s front page news; e.g., the pitiless pandemic, Democracy demolishing insurrectionists, reckless recalcitrant Trumpers, police brutality, hate crimes, mass murdering incidents, climate change’s freakish weather; uh, need I say more? Sure, why not?

Perhaps REM sleep affords us the best opportunity to make sense of our hometowns, homelands and home world? Of course, it’s not as if anything any of us could muster, solution-wise, would ever be taken seriously, let alone, get implemented.

However, there is one inescapable truth.

First and foremost, everything good we hope for is inexorably linked to humanity emerging from this godforsaken pandemic in full possession of sound mental, physical, fiscal health.

At best, our path ahead will prove a tough road to hoe. At worst, it’ll get roadblocked by horrific people and their horrendous policy; so much so that our forward momentum could easily come down to a brake squealing, tire screeching, crashing halt; perhaps, even drive us over a cliff; i.e., if we let it.

Let’s not let it!

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The Worst Defense is a Bad Offense

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The Minneapolis Police Department’s (now ex) executioner, Derek Chauvin, is trotting out quite the defense. He’s pointing the finger of blame squarely at his police training / upbringing.

Uh huh.

As if what? Society is now supposed to give him some breathing room?

You cannot possibly be serious! We are discussing a bad cop who, back on 05/25/2020 refused to give breathing room to his arrestee.

Since when is deadly force (to flesh that out Chauvin’s knee crushing throat suffocation modus operandi), ever condoned, especially when it ends up with the needless death of an unarmed, handcuffed, motionless, not resisting arrest, groaning “Please, I can’t breath”, pinned prone to the pavement man!

George Floyd WAS that man.

Chauvin is saying what? At that point, he and his cop accomplices could not deliver Floyd to the police station; where he’d be processed, granted due process and, most importantly of all, STILL BE ALIVE?

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

U.S. Constitution • 6th Amendment Due Process Protections

In effect what we have, here, is tantamount to Chauvin deadpanning:

“I was just following orders.”

Hmm, now where oh where have we heard that pathetic excuse before?

I know! That’d be at the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands; where the forces of good never take too kindly to the forces of evil; e.g., a power-tripping cop committing a crime against humanity.

Most assuredly, in that venue, there’d never ever be anyone feeling jocular about anyone whose knee crushed the jugular.

And Derek Chauvin IS that so-called man.

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Roadwork Leads To Roadblocks?

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A WordPress friend, who I follow and who follows me, recently mentioned that my posts have not been appearing in her Reader. To an already barely noticed blogger, such as moi, platform failures of that nature can be devastating.

Worthy of mention, too, is the recent, ongoing “roadwork” being done on the WordPress portion of the information superhighway; so far, mere cosmetics to modify, here and there, background hues. Yawwwnnn.

So, might this “roadwork” also be setting up “roadblocks”; such as this Reader issue?

If not, another type of roadblock does come to mind; namely, the intentional suppression of notions, opinions, impressions, feelings, etc.

In one word: Censorship

I do hope that’s not the case, for if so, the follow up questions become:

  • Where does the oppression originate?
  • Within the bowels of an authoritarian régime? Or two? Or more?
  • Or, might this issue be rooted in more localized, virtual soil?

When the free flow of ideas fails to function like an easy access two way street, all sorts of speculation can surface; inclusive of the variety that makes it sound as if each speculator is long overdue for the fitting of his/her tin foil hat.

Hey, it can happen when communication is wanting.

Or more to the point, if there are anticipated, deleterious, technical side effects, why doesn’t the “road work” crew just say so, right?

I mean, this blog site, by it’s very nature, is supposed to be communicative.

Yes? No? Maybe?

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