16 October 2016


When I stumbled into the morass of writers block, I didn't think I'd fall so deeply in. I've never been away this long! I'm still fighting my way out of it but I do have good reason to post today.

It's a big birthday for one of our Denizens. You only turn ONE once and our sweet baby Jane turns one today. We are so excited for this little girl. She is full of such promise, joy, and plain old good stuff. It slays me to watch the way she takes in every little thing her brother does. He's going to have his hands full with her. Seeing her personality develop reminds me of her mother. It reminds of just how blessed I am to be that little girl's grampa.

She's got an amazing life ahead of her. I'm lucky to be a part of it.

Happy birthday, Jane!

28 September 2016


This is me and the blog right now.

That delightful adjective describes my current writing state. I feel like the well from which I write is empty and is wanting to say the least.

You would think, given all that's going on around us, that I could find something to write about. The recent U.S. presidential debate? Not sure I can add anything to the hysteria associated with it. Besides after my detour into Trumplandia's raging chasm o'hate, I'm sitting out for a little while. Life now that I'm 50? Nothing has changed, so nothing to talk about, at least for now. That'll change with my first yet to be scheduled colonoscopy fiesta. The stunningly patient and mighty fine SML has already thrown down the mighty hammer of opposition on my ill-conceived idea of live blogging it. You can thank her (and the anaesthetist) now or later, it's up to you.

If nothing else, at least you know now that there's going to at least one post coming about the joys of a colonoscopy. So you have that to look forward to. In the meantime, I'm going to take comfort in this  piece of wisdom for the late American poet and writer Charles Bukowski:

"writing about a writer's block is better than not writing at all"

24 September 2016

Into the chasm

It is no secret that the American electorate is a tad divided in the run up to the presidential election. The division is everywhere but its starkest, darkest, and ugliest side is most evident on the Interwebs. Earlier this week, I got an up close and personal tour of the dark side.

Earlier this week, on the morning of my birthday, a Tweet comparing refugees to a bowl of Skittles by the eldest son of the Republican presidential candidate was trending. It caught my attention and I Tweeted my own response. Here's what I said:

Thank you @DonaldTrumpJr for reminding us how little regard you 
have for humanity. Like father, like son.

Snarky, yes, but it was my honest reaction, a reaction by the way that I was under the impression I was allowed to have. I really thought nothing more of it until my notifications started to blow up. Apparently, I'd struck a nerve with the more extreme residents of Trumplandia in my tiniest corner of the Twittersphere. Nearly 25,000 impressions and engagements, plus hundreds of likes and retweets of that Tweet later, I'd been drop kicked into a hate-filled chasm. Here are a few highlights from the responses that came my way:

F*!$ off
I should be subject to violent anal rape (I toned that one down but apparently this is a favorite line of attack, or variant of the same theme, by Trumplandians. See this from Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank)
I am an ISIS supporter
I am a feminist and an abortionist, or at least an abortion supporter (I'm not quite sure how that leap was made)
I am illiterate
I need to study English more because I do not know what an analogy is (I guess I should sue my alma mater then for failing me when I was awarded an English degree)
I am an SJW (Social Justice Warrior - I didn't know what that was so I had to look that one up)
Muslims and Syrians are not human
I should pray that my church isn't bombed by refugees this Sunday
I was asked where I lived so that refugees could be sent to my home to poison me and my family
I have no right to speak 

Fun, right? 

There were some telling things as I fell into the chasm. In almost poetic move to prove that I was an SJW, one of the Tweeters went into my blog and linked to a post I wrote in April of this year about women being assaulted by anonymous Twitter trolls as proof. Irony alert - that was posted by an anonymous Twitterer. While my blog is mostly personal, I've written about issues that are important to me including gun violence, rape, and a few other hot button issues. But the issue that makes me an SJW? Speaking out against the abuse of women on Twitter. That speaks volumes. Irony alert - being told I have no right to speak. That one killed me. Being told by those who shout from the rooftops about protecting their rights that I have no right to speak was rich. Thanks to the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, I have as much right to speak as any one else in this country.

What is most telling is the fear, or the bigotry masquerading as fear. I don't go to church on a weekly basis convinced that my place of worship is going to be bombed. Nor do I fear that a family of refugees is going to poison me, in spite of the wishes that it would happen that came my way.  I can't live with that kind of fear. Not everyone who is not a WASP is hell-bent on destruction. Really, they're not.

My trip into the chasm of hate on the Interwebs was short-lived. It was instructive, disturbing, and revealing. It speaks volumes about the divide and the fear in this country. To live with that kind of fear / bigotry is in the word of the Republican presidential candidate, "Sad!"

20 September 2016


So I've hit that number today
There's another birthday here in the Den today and that birthday is mine. It just happens to be one of those significant milestone birthdays, too. Today, I celebrate fifty years of darkening the door of this wonderful thing we call life.

I like what Victor Hugo said about being 50. He said "Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age." Turning 50 does not mean that I am suddenly middle-aged. That ship sailed when I turned 41. Per the good people at the U. S. Social Security Administration and their super fun Life Expectancy Calendar (have fun playing with that one!), I am expected to live to 82.2 years old. So I am nearly a decade into my middle-agedness, which for my children means at least three more long decades of dealing with me. Buckle up, you three! It's only going to get worse. You have been warned.

Here's some fun facts, courtesy of the Interweb's truth sayer Wikipedia, about 50:

  • 50 is the atomic number of tin (as a sciencephobe, this means nothing to me)
  • 50 is the number of Gates of Wisdom and Gates of Impurity in Kaballah. I wonder about the connection between wisdom and impurity now.
  • 50 is the number of U. S. states. No, really, there are only 50 states. It is not 51 (sorry Washington DC or Puerto Rico).
  • 50 is the number of the retired jersey of San Antonio Spurs Hall of Famer, David "The Admiral" Robinson.
  • 50 is the number of rings required to transform Sonic to his super form in the "Sonic the Hedgehog" game. Given my extensive (and by extensive I mean non-existent) history as a gamer, this another one that means nothing to me.
Thanks to the great Paul Simon, we know that there are "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover."

Thanks to Keanu Reeves in his tour-de-force role from the 1990's cinematic masterpiece "Speed," which in itself is a gift that just keeps on giving, and Dennis Hopper's creative bomb-making skills, we know that 50 was the danger zone. Remember if that bus went slower than 50 MPH, it was goodbye Sandra Bullock and Cameron from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

I'm excited to hit this milestone. I'd like to think it's going to give me an air of added maturity. In reality, it's brought me an invitation to join AARP and starting the countdown to this:

Yep, that delightful procedure is coming. It's one of the harsher realities of turning 50, as is this point made by the life of any party he must have attended, English author George Orwell. He said, "At age fifty, everyone has the face he deserves." Let that one sink in. If I now have the face I deserve, I shudder to think what else is coming my way in terms of what I deserve...

Clearly, 50 is going to be awesome. I'm a few hours into it and I'm already a fan. The first fifty years have been good, darn good. I think the 32.2 years that I have left are going to be darn good, too. Among other things, I want to see if there's any truth to this statement from T S Eliot:

The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always 
being asked to do things, and yet you are not decrepit enough to turn them down.

I'm 50. I'm not dead yet, so no need to toss me in the Wagon O' The Dead: