Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thank you, Mr. Boehner.

Apart from a couple of minute and wholly satirical references to Donald Trump from which we discovered unilateral proof that satire must self-identify - and even then said disclaimer will be roundly ignored - this poster has been preeetttttyyy quiet about the fray - meaning the Presidential campaign of 2016.

But a thing has happened so unique, even in these contentious times, to warrant scrutiny from comedians to the most dour moderator. That thing has rendered us breathless for both its irony and uncompromising verity and that thing is this...

Be it known: while we're tickled, as stated, for the great big leap in Facebook likes, if posting this loses numbers, then we've been completely wrong about our assertion that heaven is up and somebody baaaaad lives far below.

And as long as we're mentioning the Inferno, we're guessing it's frozen over because we're saying a thing that we swore we'd only do only when the preceding occurred: Thank you, Mr. Boehner.

Warning: This hurts.

And something tells me that anyone who "needs" to see it is pretty far gone, past being affected. Mean stuff goes with the territory, some say: The cruel, spineless anonymity sent forth on all kinds of social media.

But there are still people on this earth being formed, who are bringing themselves up to be more than who is raising them. Perhaps this kind of hate backfires.

Thanks to Rhonda Shock and Felicia Michaels for posting it. And to Esquire.


I'm pretty sure you don't have to be a medium to find this funny.

Once again, thanks to Awkward Family Photos website for delivering better reality than any TV show.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A shock to the system.

The folks at the New Day Foster Homes in China take in babies and toddlers with medical needs regular orphanages can't handle. For over a decade they've helped hundreds of babies get life saving surgery and other medically appropriate help, but also prepare the children for life with a real family.

From institutionalization to a home with loving nannies and 24 hour care, stunning transformations occur.

Since many of these kids have serious conditions, it's naive of to think they won't have casualties. And they do.

But we're shocked and grieved that one of the little boys who was close to leaving for his 'forever home' expired suddenly. This makes the work they do at New Day more vital than ever, and makes us realize we're chicken: It's a risk to love anyway.

We've been perhaps too subtle about our shout outs in support of New Day. Please check out their site. The least you'll get out of it are images of some of the cutest, bravest little kids you've ever met. To say nothing of the folks who care for them day in and out who are reeling from this particular loss.

Thank you for your time and attention.

PS There are soooo many people/ places on this earth trying to make a difference. By sharing this, we hope in no way to diminish any other charity.

Early Mother's Day

Big, mushy post ahead. Don't say you weren't warned, y'all.

First, my deepest thanks to the many of you who've been kind enough to keep my Mother in your prayers and to ask after her these last scary months. Great news:

She's actually getting to go home today.

I'm glad I haven't put on make up yet this morning, because it would be pretty yucky what with the messy, happy crying face I'm working on as I write this.

Some of you might've figured out, either by reading my book or posts here that I'm an unabashed, ridiculously unapologetic Mama's girl. I'm also pretty sure I could live another half a million hours - yes, I added it up - and not do justice to the things I've learned from her or the many ways her love has made this life worthwhile.

Her grandchildren - my passel of nieces and nephews - are perhaps the people who most get why I'm be this goofy for her. The big things about her and the little ones. They all blend in...

Little things as seemingly insignificant as watching the credits for films and talking about the hard work that went behind all kinds of art.

And then the bigger things start adding up...She taught us not only about history but its relevance to daily living. This helped with context and reeeaaally helped with comedy. Ah, comedy.

When I was eight years-old and told her I wanted to do stand-up comedy for the school Christmas pageant, you know what she said?

"Honey, what a great idea!"

Good Lord. She actually helped me write down George Carlin jokes from the Ed Sullivan Show. She helped me phrase funny anecdotes from my kid sisters. And then she was the only one laughing her ass off during the show. When I finished, she said, "You were GREAT!"

Though I thought I acquitted myself honorably, I felt it fair to mention, "But nobody laughed!"

Do you know what she said? I'm chucking to recall it exactly...

"Well, they didn't GET it!"

What Mom tells a third-grader she's too hip for the room?

My Mama, that's who. That kind of self esteem mixed with, sure, a modicum of delusion, would stand me in good stead for years to come and give me the guts to go onstage on an open mic night in Texas when I had nothing else to lose.

Yet, part of that important stuff that lasted in my spirit, even though it's not about comedy, what stands out the most are her lessons about racism. If someone used a racial epithet in our presence, she'd tell them about it in ways that never diminished the person who made the statement. It was extraordinary to behold.

I had unkind reactions, and usually wanted to call them a bigot and say, "Begone!" But my mother wouldn't ever double a sin by reenacting it.

She herself has been judged for various choices and even events that were beyond her control in her own life and, at times, by those closest to her. As in blood kin. And she never returned the treatment in kind, never extending judgement or unforgiveness in the wake of the same.

I'm glad some of those people finally realized how amazing she is. Some of them actually told her, too. The amazing thing with Mom is that they didn't have to. She loved them anyway. She understood. More than I'll ever comprehend.

Someone recently did something for her that is complicated to explain and I bristled at what I thought was massive hypocrisy behind it the act. Before I could vent my uncharitable opinion, Mom just said, "It's just how he is. It's the best he can do. How often does anyone get the best someone can be?"

Crap. She was right.

To a thin-skinned daughter who felt like defending her, her behavior seemed like pearls before swine. It also seemed like the way I want to be and possibly COULD be after umpteen more incarnations flipping over like a fish in a skillet til I get it right.

And while she would be the last person to compare her attitude or behavior to Him, in real and important ways, she reminds me of that Someone who rolled that way, at great cost to Himself. Now this next part is touchy territory, but because I saw Jesus used as a dividing line and even a weapon in my Dixie childhood, I might have ended up confusing the Man for the many hateful things done in His name. Although she was far from religious, my mother straightened me out on that.

What a huge lesson: Knowing the difference between religion and spirituality. Oh I'm not saying I've got that puppy anywhere near down pat: but because of my mother, I'm able to see where they can and do overlap. And, on occasion, where they're miles apart.

Look, I don't have any way of knowing the statistics of Mothers who truly want their children to find what it is they're good at, what makes them happy and then go for it even if it is completely unconventional but that's the kind of Mom I've got.

And I know, too, that a bunch of people will read this who have lost their dear mothers and I'm sending you the biggest hugs possible in the unlikely delivery vehicle of ether and intention.

And I'm even sorrier for folks who, for one reason or another, had a mom who couldn't or wouldn't be these things to in your life. I extend the amazing hug of my mother to you because her heart is that big, her soul so expansive that it blows me away that I even get to know her, much less got to be her oldest child.

Mother's Day is not here yet but I got it early this year. Actually. I have it every day.

Friends, Romans, Facebookians, lend me your eyeballs....

This here post is from an academic study about the effects of spanking on children.

Warning: Great big speeches - or ass pants ones of any persuasion - in the comments section will be deleted because we are just feeling that imperious this evening.

Besides, it's just something we're passing along as we ponder another huge issue facing society, which is this, although I'm not phrasing it in academic terms at all:

Why stuff that isn't that important seems more important when it happens close by when there are waaaay more horrific things happening on the planet albeit not so close to home.

To wit: How do we not only learn to feel non-locally but act that way, and - whew, yeah I'm out of breath just pondering all this - how learning to be that way can probably make us more powerful and content in our local orbits.

Btw, I'm fully aware that there are lots of truly advanced souls extant right this minute who are not spending a bit of energy writing this crap down and/or fretting about the evolution of others.

The good news is that they may smile inwardly at my teeny struggle to even articulate it, perhaps thinking: Ah. I remember when I thought that mentioning things might change the planet, too.

In other words:

Ruuuuun, Forrest, ruuuun!

Up next? Why Johnny Football is really the ultimate Deflategate and why we wish he had a Britney Spears' Daddy to rassle control of his world until he gets his shit straight. Thank you and happy dreams.

About Mister Manziel. This time.

Part I

In which we grab things from current headlines that repeat in sad loops, in memes of loss and judgment, coming to aching endings and every so often the glory of surviving.

We grab this particular headline and hold it in the light, though, just because we think the better part of humanity - the silent, collective, gathered bunch who prays for the highest good of us all - is so much bigger than the hasty castigation of strangers, which is often the bullshit of social media which is really nothing more than old-fashioned gossip ramped up, broadcast by prettier people, repeated by uglier ones in hissed whispers that'll be played back at the ends of our little skin school on earth and, oh, won't that be a bitch to see?

Even if we cannot erase the times we've been that low brow sort, it seems fairly likely that angelic scorecards can accommodate newer, more merciful acts that are to our advantage to begin soon.

Today, as always, someone's life is at stake. Millions upon millions of lives are on the brink daily, if the truth be told, but by focusing on the one or two here, we may pump something of value to the rest. (Hell, no, I've no empirical proof of this karma stuff. Only flying by the seat of my ass clown pants: where the gut and the heart connect albeit higher up and in the front.)

Lest it seem we're posting this from some high and mighty ground, please note: We confess to plenty of moments filled with pettiness and self-righteousness that make Nancy Grace look like an amateur. But, by golly, we've seen some progress of late, and feel that it's connected to meeting some of you. Yes, as in stranger on Facebook you.

We're in this together, standing far apart, but every now and then, when we're all looking up at that crazy big night sky, our shoulders touch. I tried to write this looking up the whole time.

Part II

Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye


My ten year-old nephew, Pat (not his real name), thinks Johnny Football hung the moon. That's putting it mildly: Manziel is his astronaut, fireman and John Wayne all rolled up into one.

Granted, it'd be hard to ignore the headlines about Johnny, but I pay closer attention because this kid's heart - like most kids' - is pure enough to only believe the best about young Johnny.

You see, my nephew has his great big hero tied in with his own football-playing dreams. He wears Johnny M jerseys at school and other kids now tease him for it. Pat's heartbroken. My little nephew doesn't understand what's happening. And you know what? I'm an alcoholic-addict who's been sober almost as long as Johnny's been alive and I can barely understand it myself. Then or now.

By the way, even if this particular boy wasn't my nephew, I'd still want to relay the following anecdote by way of describing who he is: Although it meant that the outcome of the game went in favor of the other team, Pat corrected the referee on a call. You see, Pat was tagged out and the ref didn't see it. While the other team congratulated him, some of his fellow players were mighty quiet on the bus ride back. You bet I'm proud of him, and there's also a part of me that knows his path is going to be steep and lonely at times. Like the George Washington cherry tree legend, that little episode goes to paint a larger picture. Where does conscience come from? Why do some of us whittle away at morality when it becomes inconvenient, while others draw lines in the sand never to be crossed?

Perhaps no one knows for certain. Nurture? Nature? Plain dumb luck? To be fair, I know that my sister and brother-in-law are parents who discuss intangible concepts. - like morality - with both of their children. And they start young. Actually, all four of my sisters have raised and are still raising fine human beings who have displayed degrees of morality, verity and compassion at tender ages. (I'm the only childless one out of the five daughters and shudder to think how my progeny might've ruined the curve.) But back to Johnny: I know this much: Right now, his Mama and Daddy's hearts are breaking and in slow motion. His father was concerned enough to state publicly that he doesn't think his boy will reach his 24th birthday at the rate he's going.

Apparently, his Daddy has seen Johnny's running buddies. You don't have to be running with Johnny to know that it ain't your granddaddy's wild time any more. (It's one of the few times you'll ever hear be recommend Googling 'Johnny Manziel running buddies'. One of them actually looks like a photo of the devil even though he's just another young man betting on the wrong horse with his soul as the ante.)

Drugs in the mix change everything. They amplify both the effects and hasten youth the disintegration process. The same stuff that can let you drink all night is what'll kill you quicker than booze by itself. Johnny hasn't hit the dark side of that learning curve - yet. His young body can take plenty more hits, on and off the field.

What he's not reckoning on, what he'd sneer at during an intervention, is the notion that what's happening in his brain right now as he parties is infinitely worse than a lifetime of NFL concussive hits. And, unlike the helmeted hits on the field, it won't take decades to see the effects. After all, "killing brain cells" has been a frat house punchline for ages, a destination. It is what alcohol does.

Maybe I'm slandering him to presume drugs are part of his party panorama.

At this point, I'm guessing we all have a lot more to worry about.

Seeing Johnny's Twitter feed alone is akin to hearing heckling at a crucifixion. Strewn in together in the big trampoline of Instagram are the love bytes, hash tags of ass kissers and true blue God-fearing fans who honestly wish him well. Then there are the damnable, savage curses of strangers who perceive Johnny's reckless sojourn as pure, willful selfishness. A special mix of loathing is reserved for the lucky, the gifted who embark on the path of addiction.

I recall going to the great white hope rehabs just to get people off my back. Here's where I really feel for Johnny. He's never been sober before. (It's reported that he went for over 60 days at an inpatient facility. I'm talking longer than this.)

I'm pretty sure that he actually still believes this is something he can handle. Further, I'm imagining he even feels the keen betrayal of those who've loved him for a long time suddenly leaving his golden circle.

This happened long before this little nephew was born, but I will never forget who left me and when as my own public spiral became out of control . Someone I employed, who stood to lose a good living, looked at me and said, "I won't watch you do this to yourself." It would be years before I could tell her how much I loved her for that. She was the first to leave me and the one with the most to lose. And when she turned to go, even though I was a bitter hypocrite to actually notice it, I couldn't help but notice the crowd who stayed. Part of me was dying for them to do the same thing.

In her way, she was willing to do what my nephew did. She told the ref about a bad call. She was willing to lose the game for one reason: Hers was the only head that had to fall asleep on her pillow that night.

There were uglier things to follow and I cosigned them all: I'll never forget who tried to get money from my CPA when I was nearly dying on my way to rehab. (A blood relative.) I'll never forget the grace of forgiveness both coming and going as those inconsequential moments flooded in and out of my consciousness as I lay, for all intents and purposes, dying.

I didn't. And I'm glad. You'll be glad, too, Johnny, if for no other reason than it'll make all the wrong people happy.

Thanks for reading this.

By the way, if any of it makes us think twice before being stupid enough to blame a Kardashian, et al, for what's wrong in this world, then we accomplished something. The difference between symptoms and the actual disease is vast. Granted, they really make it hard to keep our eyes on our own paper, but that's another post.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The New Way Things Are in NC

An interesting, balanced first person account of a transgender person trying to obey the bathroom law in North Carolina. The understated nature of this essay makes it tragic in a way that wailing cannot evoke. Funny how that works.

Speaking of wailing, if you're someone who knows this post will irk/enrage you before even reading it, why bother? And most certainly, don't skip to the end and then either whine or warn us about perdition in the comments section. How does that old saying go again? "We ain't got no truck with that (stuff)."

That's not to say we brook no disagreement here - if civility is observed. We've just hit our quota for horses' back sides for the rest of the year.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Love the simplicity of these plant, yet

don't have much luck with them - indoors or out. Then all of a sudden, two days ago.... TaDAAAAA!

So excited over this little ivy plant, you'd think they were rare blooms.


To Be Almost the Best We Can Be

and other compromises during the revolution

Warning. Way too long a post, but I was riding shotgun for two hours after spending time with some radical vegans.

Flower photos next.

A couple of years ago, I found a site called 'Collective Evolution'. A merry and idealistic bunch of young folks founded it about five years back. Rational Wiki calls it "a woo-mongering clickbait website". Lately, I kind of agree. Don't get me wrong: It's just taken political correctness full circle, hectoring and lecturing just like the old school.

Maybe I'm a faux progressive. Saying I love animals while still eating ones who swim and, too, worse. Aoparently by consuming by-products of living bovine and poultry units, I'm contributing to their torture. I know because the vegan bible tells me so.

Look. I haven't ever had almond or soy milk, OK? I'll never forget my pal's reply, ages ago, when I asked what tofu tasted like. He said, "It tastes like what it's NEXT to." (My emphasis.)

What an answer! And this was what he said to entice me to try it. Tastes like what it's next to. Good Lord. For that matter, so does Kelly Ripa. (No offense to her in any way.)

Look, very few of us have a leg to stand on in these ultimately moral discussions if only for the huge inconsistencies we're heir to - as humans. My favorite people talk about these things without talking AT those who don't live by, vote for or eat what they do. That's not too say I collect unprincipled buddies. When I consider who cares for me - I am among the luckiest people. Plenty of these friends believe differently from me but none of them hate any human for their race, creed or sexual preference...

Until now. Until the March of the Vegans.

Some of you will think all of this is just new age angst anyway. I hear you. Then if you take into consideration that I profess to pick up information from people no longer among the living, you'll see a steaming plate of irony heaped high, no?

Like something scratchy way down the back of my shirt, I've been trying to claw at whatever it is that's bugging me about these guys. The Collective Evolution/vegan guys. (Relax: "Guys" is just an easy label I've borrowed since seeing 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ". As in, "Who ARE those guys!?")

I've a similar rub the wrong way reaction when reading the posts of uber vegan folk on my FB timeline. There is noooo mercy. Even for the 1% organic milk I use in my coffee.

None, Nada, zilch.

You don't have to club baby seals to accrue the ire/shaming of this truly holier than most of us bunch. Just. A little. Milk in your coffee. And YOU are just as bad.

Kids. That does not sit right with me.

I know vegetarians so mellow about this enormous and, yes, truly principled life decision, that I didn't even realize they were for years. Because they don't tell people.

(Granted, I could certainly learn to be more observant, especially with folks I care about.)

I'm tickled, too, that I've picked friends who haven't stormed the gates of my less than conscious choices, imparting their own lofty path by way of example.

No one has ever changed my mind about anything important by screaming at me. Ever. And if you think I'll stop drinking milk in my coffee because you were gross enough to remind me it has -


...(their words) blood and puss in it.


About twenty years ago, I recall seeing PETA members throw blood on women who wore furs. I was actually there to see this. I recall the ugly muscles in the faces of the haters more than anything else. Coupled with the certainty that they were on the side of right, they actually looked exactly like the people who screamed at the little black girls who were just trying to attend public school a half a century before.

I think that wearing fur is pretty hideous.

Unless you are a citizen of a place that has the climate, marketplace and many other distinctive attributes which make this the exception. I'll always think there is a meat exception, too.

We're in America. Most of us don't meet the requirements for that exception.

But these guys who hunt and give the meat to the hungry? There are gray areas where your blood buckets have no business. Look. I can't stand those clueless fur wearing puffy lipped rich chicks either, but dammit you've almost made them sympathetic.

Am I saying that people who believe in animal rights are no better than hate-filled pointy-headed racists? No. I'm saying that hate really has one facial expression. And whoever is on the receiving end of it probably won't go home thinking, Gee. I never thought of it THAT way. I'm sure glad they expanded my consciousness to accommodate their righteous path. Gee, THANKS BLOOD TOSSING INVECTIVE SPEWING SELF RIGHTEOUS HARRIDANS! I really needed that!

If you're a meat eater cheering my tirade, good. That's my comedy. But realistically?

It's a fact, btw. Vast consumption of meat is an untenable choice for a planet already pushed to the breaking point. Like people saying the tides ain't rising and that pollution isn't eating a hole in the sky. Let's at least agree to see the things that are really going on. Then we can decide about sacrifices.

The shrieking vegans aren't suggesting that people perhaps consider cutting back on meat, starting with a few nights a week. No. I'm pretty sure some of them would like to exterminate humans

Yes. I've seen FB posts that are almost that bad.


What to Let Go Of and what to boot in the ass....

Half measures are proven impossibilities for SOME life changes. I'll give an example with which I'm brutally familiar. Getting loaded. I remember a simple test from decades ago, designed to identify one's proximity to being an actual alcoholic. It was simply this:

If you can have one drink a day for thirty consecutive days - no more than one drink and no less than one drink - and it doesn't bother you, you're probably not an alcoholic.

I knew immediately that I'd have difficulty with that. I could skip days, but if I had one, I was off to the races. Because of the complexity of that particular ailment - alcoholism - it took much longer for me to realize that complete abstention would be the only way I'd live.

Because of support groups, the world upside down feeling that quitting gave me was not only mitigated, my life became filled with moments, events and possibilities I'd never even dreamed of.

Did anyone yell at me and/or other newcomers? Very rarely. They became poster children for how recovery didn't have to be.

There will always be islands of self-righteousness within all of us. I cannot lie: I'm apt to love you the most, you adorable human being, you, if I find out you have had a CAUSE about which I've been largely ignorant.

Here's an example of my own - I don't know whether to call it just being human or downright hypocritical: I've always been against capital punishment. But the older I get, I'm surprised to find surges of feeling not so strongly about that.

I understand the people who show up to protest executions. I don't know how they do it. I mean, I know they just buy poster board and take a few candles and drive a long way and make their point known. What I don't get is his how they tolerate the 'kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out' bunch of counter-protestors who show up.

I've seen victim's relatives forgive the bastards who've murdered their beloved. And I've seen the ones whose lives have been eaten up with unending pain and hate, almost extending the effects of the crime into infinity.

Because I have not had ANYthing approximating that burden in my own heart, I can only pray that I'd end up on the side of the former. And, barring that, that my compassion, however one may find it misguided, can be as fully with the latter.

Hating haters has always been one of my glaring defects. Several years ago, I moved where the Klan had laptops and meth labs and I even saw their damned fancy robes in dry-cleaning plastic hanging in their truck windows.

I heard people trying to assure me that they weren't racist by actually saying, "Well, there's WHITE niggers, too."

Because I spent every second of the first twenty six years of my life way below the Mason Dixon line, I knew damn well what they meant. It made me sick to my stomach, but I knew what they were trying to say. Exactly. And, sadly, if I had to illustrate their mindless example, it was their image that would appear next to the definition.

Then my Mother, whose humanity exerted itself in both deeply personal and universally applicable ways, spoke to me about my attitude. She said that I might want to be careful.

That I sounded about bigots the same way that they sounded about the many varieties of people they hated.

And because she DIDN'T scream this at me, I heard her. I realized she was right. I hated them. I did not want to associate with them. If one of my sisters married one, I wouldn't want to visit them. In short: I was no different.

Faced with the challenge of loving people, individually or collectively, who were actively embarked on making life hard or impossible for others because of skin pigment, sexual preference - which is biology, too.... I had to at least try.

And you know what? In theory, it's working. If I don't see your birther bullshit dressed up like a sudden concern for Constitutional respect, then I love you like another perfect, flawed child of the same Creator.

If I don't see the white spittle at the corners of your mouth while you're shooting it off, busy busy hating some of the really lower down things on the totem pole of what's important, it is easy to love you, too.

I know an animal lover who sat on huge piles of stockpiled money never helping a single animal with a medical emergency in a community where there were many: who never actually transported ONE animal in his own car.

And you guessed it. Some of the bloodiest, most awful posts came from this person.

And in this last completely true bit, to be continued later...

Someone told me - as I was about to put honey in my tea at a restaurant that to ensure more potent honey, that the head of the male bee is ripped off at the moment he ejaculates and that, therefore, I was contributing to animal cruelty by putting honey in my tea.


We'll let you know how that turned out next.

Thanks for checking in.

Proof God exists.

And magnificently.

North Carolina

Henry Rollins just wrote a mighty fine piece about North Carolina being a fine place and not the sum of its current governor.

On behalf of the many, many totally loving, smart, witty and cultured folk who call that great state home either by birth or choice, thanks, Henry. Btw, even if you didn't extend your support in language I'd read to the elders, we suspect they'd totally get your intent. Rock on.

A little thing called Four Signs Your Pet Has Seen a Ghost. ...

Our friend Bill Montana posted this and we swiped it for this page...

There are way more than four signs. All animals came to earth with vitally embedded intuition, but only humans built things that inadvertently broke it down.

And now? The only things between us and the unseen are hubris, chance and lots and lots of bulky sweaters.

UFO Planet

Darin Crapo (pronounced CRAY-poh, ahem) has the coolest YouTube show called UFO Planet. He isn't saying, by any means, that all the sightings are unidentified, which is part of why I like him.

Plus he's such a nice guy that he makes other Canadians seem mean by comparison. (If you know Canadans, you may find this difficult to believe.)

Just a plug for a stranger who's doing interesting work.

Links Contact