Imbecile Child

The farmer looked at his son, knowing the boy had no future. He’d been starved for air at birth, leaving him slow-in-the-head.

It was the year 1892, modern times, with places one could leave an imbecile child. Family, town folk, preachers, and doctors all said to put the child away, but he couldn’t, such was his love for the boy.

“Don’t know what he’s yammering on about now,” he said to his wife.

“You know he has a strong imagination,” she said. “You recall how he spent months talking on and on about the bird that laid an egg on an island and it bloomed like the sunrise.”

“Yeah,” he said. “Guess it ain’t nothing then. Still, I wish I understood what it was about alabaster twins turning to dust. Sounds like a nightmare or something.”

“Go wash up,” she said, “Suppers nearly ready.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said.

The backdoor screen slapped shut as the boy came running in.

“What does certificate of vaccination identification mean, Momma?” he asked.

“It means you best go wash up,” she said. “It’s nearly time to eat.”

“Hope it’s fried chicken,” he said, racing to join his father at the washbasin, “I love fried chicken.”

You Can’t Help

You can’t help my isolation
You can’t help the fear that it brings
You can’t help yourself by seeing me
You can’t help my fucking want
You can’t help my wanting to fuck

You can’t help our social distancing
You can’t help the hurt that it brings
You can’t help your helpless can’t
You can’t help touching my human needs
You can’t help not wanting inside me

You can’t help my need to be inside you
You can’t help hurting me deeply
You can’t walk away on your knees
You can’t help my isolation
You can’t help the anger it breeds

You can’t help touching my body
You can’t help washing your hands
You can’t help beating me senseless
You can’t help my need to beat-off
You can’t help my wanting to fuck

You can’t your fucking turning away
You can’t help my breaking heart
You can’t help this romantic disease
You can’t help not wanting to fuck me
You can’t help having not seen the real me

You can’t help feed my isolation
You can’t help fuck my only fear
You can’t help but tease me
You can’t help my need to be teased
You can’t help your helpless can’t

You can’t help watch my death throes
You can’t help to wait and what to see
You can’t help explain your desire to me
You can’t help not acting on your dream
You can’t help believing in romantic death

Sam Clemens, the Dog and a Pig in a Blanket

As a kid, reading Mark Twain’s, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn,” lead to “Treasure Island” and eventually “Lord of the Flies.” But somehow, I always returned to Twain, especially to his shorter tales.

One such short story is “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” In it, the narrator is sent by a friend to interview an old man, Simon Wheeler, who might know the location of an old acquaintance named Leonidas W. Smiley.

Finding Wheeler at Angels Camp, the narrator asks him if he knows anything about Leonidas. Simon appears not to and instead tells a story about Jim Smiley, a man who had visited the camp years earlier.

According to Wheeler, Jim loves to gamble and will bet on anything and everything. He explains that once Jim caught a frog, whom he names Dan’l Webster, and spent three months training it to jump.

When a stranger visits the camp, Jim shows off Dan’l and offers to bet $40 that it can out-jump any other frog in Calaveras County. The stranger, unimpressed, says that he would take the bet if he had a frog, so Jim goes out to catch one, leaving him alone with Dan’l.
While Jim is away, the stranger pours lead shot down Dan’l’s throat. Once Jim returns, he and the stranger set the frogs down and let them loose.

The stranger’s frog jumps away while Dan’l doesn’t budge, and the surprised and disgusted Jim pays the $40 wager. After the stranger leaves, Jim notices Dan’l’s sluggishness and picks the frog up, finding it much heavier than he remembers.

When Dan’l belches out a double handful of lead shot, Jim realizes that he has been had and chases after the stranger but never catches him.

The narrator, understanding that Jim has no connection to Leonidas, gets up to leave. However, Wheeler wants to tell him about a yellow, one-eyed, stubby-tailed cow Jim once owned.

Rather than listening to another pointless tale, the narrator leaves. As he does, he muses that his friend must have fabricated Leonidas Smiley to trick him into listening to Wheeler’s stories.

But how did Twain come up with such a story?

It began in Virginia City, Nevada, with a prospecting pig named John Henry and Towser the Bulldog. Both animals belonged to Twain’s friend, Jim Gillis.

Gillis was not only a teller of tall tales but also a “pocket miner.” He spent his time searching for small hallows in the dirt where he might find ore.

Gillis trained John Henry to dig hardpan. He did this by burying biscuits that the pig could dig up, and in doing so, Gillis would sift through the loose dirt.

One evening after staying past midnight, drinking and swapping stories with Gillis, Clemens decided he would stay over. The cabin had four bunks and two already in use.

Gillis would let the dog and the inside on cold nights, something his guest didn’t know. They slept on the cot which Clemens was currently occupying.

The pair piled on Clemens and began to wrestle as they always did before settling down to sleep. Needless to say, this made Clemens a little more than testy.

Clemens called Gillis every name he could think of, swore off their friendship, and threatened never to speak to him again. But Gillis pulled the cork from another bottle of whiskey, offered Clemens a drink, and proceeded to tell the story about an amphibian from the Golden State that wouldn’t hop.

Sam settled down, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Fernley Man Dies in VC Motorcycle Accident

A few minutes after 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 28, the Nevada Highway Patrol responded to an injury crash involving a single motorcycle on SR-341 at D Street in Virginia City.

Following a preliminary by Troopers, it was learned that a black 2017 Harley-Davidson, operated by Anthony Pizarro, 25, of Fernley was heading northbound on SR 341 at a high rate of speed when he lost control while negotiating a left-hand curve. Because of his rate of speed, he applied the brake too heavily and entered a locked wheel skid.

Pizarro was ejected from the motorcycle as it slid, overturning and tumbling down an embankment. He was taken via Care Flight to a local hospital where he later died from the injuries he received in the crash.

The More They Lie, the Less Safe I Feel

We have a disconnect from logical thought in this country. To wit:

President Biden ordered a missile strike on Syria. Shortly after, a Syrian man went on a shooting rampage in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security claims there is no connection between the two events. And yet…Syria.

It’s as simple as that in my mind as I wait for DHS to avoid the connection between Noah X., the Nation of Islam, and the Washington DC roadblock attack.

It is Done

Thank goodness this week is over. It has been an expensive few days and will probably be worse next week. But for now, the weekend is here, and I can allow myself to relax for a few hours.

It began with shorting the light in my garage. I hunted for the problem but eventually had to call an electrician to repair my mistake. After $140, we have lights once again.

Then the water heater gave out after nearly 23-years. That’s not bad. But it cost $519 for a new one, and fortunately, a friend of ours installed it for us.

When I took the old water heater to the Reno city dump, the Waste Management guy yelled at me. No, I did not see the sign, but posting a sign at the entrance before allowing Joe Public to drive through the lot would have been the better thing to do. Masks make some people so brave.

The next day a Washoe County Library employee got pissed at me because I could not get the frigging book return touch screen to work. The old manual pull-open and push-shut draw worked fine. The third time she yelled at me and walked in front of my truck, I had murder on my mind.

It cost us over $300 for our 20-plus-year-old lawnmower once everything was said and done. I had to put a $125 deposit down because people leave their mowers to be repaired and never return to pick them up once they learn how much the “damage” is. We could have put a downpayment on a riding mower for that expense.

As I was leaving the small engine shop with the mower, my truck took a shit. It is in the shop right now and will be through next week. I have no idea what it will cost us, and I don’t even want to think about it at the moment.

Finally, my son and his wife invited us to dinner at an actual sit-down restaurant for my wife’s birthday. It was a wonderful visit, and we all came away very full. And though I was ready to help pay the bill, “my kids” pick up the entire tab.

Happily, Easter is almost here.

My Cousin Elmo says, “I’m not sure what’s wrong with my TV, but I jus’ saw a straight white male in a commercial.”

Corporeal Separation

All of my life I have wanted to belong.
To what, I’ve never been sure.
Jus’ belong.
Talk of tribalism has reinfected that wound.
I don’t belong. I have never belonged.
Outside the circle, the community, the troop.
Certainly, I have attempted to belong: school, military, service organizations, professions, even communities that involved hobbyists.
Nothing.
For a while, I will be accepted then slowly I find myself abandoned.
Left to my own devices.
Alone.
You, too?
No, this is not a complaint, but a quest for the why of the nature.
The answer is we are all alone, but together.

A Short Converation from the Morning

“Did you see the news about how Biden’s going to cancel a billion dollars in student loans?” my wife asked.

“Yes,” I answered.

“Whose going to pay for that?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“What? Why?  This is important stuff.”

“Yup, I know.”

“Then why don’t you want to talk about it? This is in your wheel-house.”

“I know, but every time I say anything I make people mad, I make you mad and that’s because what I say is taken simply as opinion and not fact.”

She was still mad at me when she left for work.

Sue Vincent, 1958-2021

After battling cancer, writer, artist, blogger, friend, and all-around nice person, Sue Vincent left us today. She was born on September 14, 1958.

In her own words:

“I am a Yorkshire-born painter and writer, living in the south of England. I paint the strange things that come as images in dreams and fantasies and write about life as it happens,” she wrote about herself.

“I was raised in a spiritually eclectic family in a landscape where myths and legends were woven into the stones, and have always had an intimate relationship with the inner worlds and the understanding that all paths are but spokes on a wheel, leading ultimately to the same center,” Sue added. “It is not the path that one walks that matters, but how one chooses to walk it.”

Enjoy your new path Sue. Know that we will all eventually catch up with you.

A Dog’s Death

Written March 20, 2020, after coming upon an accident while heading home…

Turning from Seventh onto Sun Valley was like entering a twisted dreamscape. But now I know that this witnessed scene is but a view of the remaining year.

I expect no one to understand.

It was minutes beyond noon, as work let out early. It would forever be ‘out early’ because of COVID-19 and high taxes now, the business permanently closed.

At the side of the pock-marked asphalt, beyond the solid white stripe, lay a body on the icy Earth. I stopped to see if I could help, only to learn it was a large dog, its blood soaking into the dirt and mortal remains quickly chilling.

Holding the dog’s head was a large German woman who lived across the street. She pressed deep, the 14-month old dog to her aging breasts until animal control arrived to take away what remained.

Her neighbors, a Mexican family, stood in weeping despair near the open gate from which their puppy had escaped. Only the father’s sad eyes were dry.

Ahead sat the garbage truck, half in the travel lane and nearly in a ditch. The driver, stone-cold sober, hung on his open door, blood-shot eyes red and looking every bit as sick as a man who suffered a bender the night before.

Yes, a forboding, I tell you. This year will be filled with death, tears, isolation, separation, long waits, and misdirections.

Homeless in the Time of COVID

Ere walking over to the mailbox, I complained aloud that I couldn’t think of anything worth writing about. Then as I went across the street and looked down, I found an overly-used piece of lined paper folded and tucked in a sandwich bag.

With a habit of picking up anything I find, I did likewise with this, knowing that I’d look to see what it was first before tossing it in the trash. But after seeing and reading and rereading it, I think I’m gonna hold on to it.

I also have something greater to share…

At first, I thought it was some school kid’s doodle pad, but the more I read, the more I realized that I was looking at the ‘journal’ of a homeless man. I say ‘man’ only because I read ‘ex-wife,’ among the many scrawls on this single and most singular piece of paper.

Life can be so wickedly hard, and this is the written proof.

Calling Card

As a master hoarder of all things historical and not-as-of-yet-historical, there is a secret pleasure in collecting calling cards. We know them better today as business cards.

Yesterday, I received four cards, possibly five, if one should include the double-side card.

The farthest came is from San Angelo, Texas. It was handed to me by this fella and his wife, whom I invited to visit the saloon where we were gathered for a post-funeral wake.

That is what happens when one drives up, asking, “Why is everyone dressed up so in period-piece?”

(Most id the people attending the funeral procession we’re dressed in mid-to-late 19th-century western wear.)

Nice couple. Small world.

Mark and I learned we have an odd crossing of personal history…

  • He was born in Sacramento, the same as my brother.
  • We each had a great Uncle that worked in the aerospace industry, namely Rockwell-Rocketdyne. His in Texas, mine in Los Angeles.
  • Each of our Great uncles brought us a small poster from Virginia City, Nevada when we were kids. The short poem “My Job.”
  • And finally, we both have family in Oklahoma, where he and his wife live.

That is the value of a calling card, and yes, I will use the older vernacular in this case, and why still I maintain that a ‘stranger is really a friend you ain’t met yet.”

Speculative Humor

Standing on the observation platform, the Commander and a Sub-commander of the spaceship looked at the blue orb known as Earth. The craft’s sensors detected a planet devoid of human life.

Soon the scouts they had sent to investigate returned. The lead scout reported to the platform where the two officers waited.

“Did you find any sign of the Humans?” the Sub-commander asked.

“None,” answered the Scout.

“What caused their disappearance?” the Commander asked.

“I can only speculate,” the Scout began, “But they may have bought and used so much toilet paper during the pandemic that they wiped themselves out.”

Connecting the Dots and Dashes

The sergeant sat in his cubicle listening to the static and hiss of the shortwave. His duty was monitoring the signal being bounced from Moscow to West Germany, write down anything he heard and report it to the duty officer.

Three-years through his four-year Air Force enlistment, and with a couple of hours left in this shift, John had heard little worth reporting. It seemed to him that the so-called ‘cold war,’ was below the freezing mark, and he could hardly wait to rotate home.

He took a sip of his lukewarm coffee, then paused with a slight head jerk. He had heard something faint, but it was there nonetheless.

Dash-dot-dot, dot, dot-dash, dash-dot-dot. Dead in Morse code.

He transcribed the words that followed. Certain he had it right, John got up and went to the duty officer with the intercept.

“Are you sure?” the Captain asked.

“Yes, sir,” John answered.

Returning to his radio and headset, he would finish his shift with the knowledge that he knew something that the rest of the world, including those in the nearby cubicles, would learn later. For now, he had to remain tight-lipped and close out his day in silence.

Back at his single-room billet, the young sergeant tried to sleep, but it was impossible. His mind kept playing those four letters over and over.

Finally, he gave up and went to the corner and picked up his guitar. He sat back on his bunk and began plunking those four letters over and over until he found their rhythm.

It wouldn’t be for another two years that he’d finally find a use for that chord. By then, everybody knew what John had first learned that March day, and now it was old news, and still the Cold War continued.

Fifteen-years would pass before that chord would be considered a future county music classic. You’ve probably even heard the famous words, “But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die,” a time or two.

Dash-dot-dot, dot, dot-dash, dash-dot-dot.

At one time, Johnny Cash had been the only person outside the Soviet Union to know that Joe Stalin had died. And the Man in Black would immortalize that secret in “Folsom Prison Blues,” hours before the world would learn this too.

Some Crap Needs No Toilet Paper

Perhaps I should have known it was gonna be an “Ahh, crap!” kinda day.

My wife brought home two cream-fill donuts for me. Aside from already partaking in my “doctor recommended” two cups of coffee, the one donut turned out to be jelly-fill, the other empty.

“Ahh, crap!” I complained, eating both anyway.

Everything started out alright, then I decided to remove the fluorescent lights from the garage ceiling. All was well as I did not electrocute myself, fall off the ladder or break any of the tubes.

Then I realized that other lights were no longer on. Track and trace, trace and track to find the “short” in the powerline, and I have yet to locate the problem.

My brain growls, “Ahh, crap!”

As I was finishing up a news article, editing and locating a suitable picture to go with it when the power went out to the television, stereo, and the Internet. Did the problem in the garage earlier cause this?

Immediately I think, “Ahh crap!”

Discovered that a fuse had popped off at the junction box. Easy enough to fix, so I return to the computer where my news article…is gone…and I must start from scratch.

Now say it with me: “Ahh, crap!”

Consent

BAM! He jumped from bed at the sound, looking at the bedside alarm, 3:17 am, and as the dog suddenly stopped barking.

Before he had a chance to react, they were on him, men in black uniforms forcing him to the floor and handcuffing him. He was bleeding from the top of his head, where a rifle butt has struck him.

Quickly, he was half-carried, half-dragged from his home, and into an awaiting vehicle. An EMT doctored the gash to his head before they were on the road to where he didn’t know.

Within minutes he was sitting in a small room, painted ocean green, in an unbalanced metal chair in a corner. There he waited for nearly an hour before a man in a crisp white buttoned-down longsleeved shirt and blue and red striped tie stepped into the room.

Without a word, the man placed a photograph and a letter on the small table near the wall. Only then did he introduce himself as a Special Agent.

“Do you know what that is?” he asked, pointing at the photo.

Still cuffed, he slid forward in his seat and looked closely at the image.

“It’s a picture of the letter you have next to it. It’s from a high school friend of mine,” he answered.

“Correct,” the agent said. “The photo’s from a postal service app called, “Informed Delivery.”

“Yeah,” the prisoner said, “I remember downloading it. So what? It’s on the app store site. Is this what this is all about?”

“No,” the agent answered, “It’s about your friend who’s been linked to an underground movement of domestic terrorists.”

“No way!” the man said.

The agent looked at his wristwatch, “In fact, he should be in custody by now. You’re under arrest for conspiracy to commit domestic terrorism.”

“But I didn’t do anything,” the man exclaimed. “And what about my right against unlawful search and seizure?”

“It doesn’t matter,” the agent said, scooping up the photograph and letter. “We didn’t have to get a warrant because you gave your permission by downloading the app. And as you know the postal service is a part of the government, so we can look at your mail anytime and flag whatever we see as a potential threat.”

“But I didn’t do anything,” the man said again as the interrogation room door closed.

**Note: there really is an app called “Informed Delivery” available from the U.S. Postal Service and from your favorite app store.

Printing the Fit of News

Moving womanhood forward nearly 10-days, the winner of Miss Silver State USA is a person of transgender. Kataluna Enriquez will now compete for Miss Nevada USA, the state pageant that leads to Miss USA and Miss Universe.

Several Dr. Suess books will remain out of print, banned for their racial bias. “Please tell me about my White Privilege again, Daddy,” said no child ever when wanting a bedtime story.  Cartoon character Pepe LePew has also been canceled due to rape allegations, even though in 1991, he married the cat he had chased on-screen since 1945.

And we were all given the pleasure of watching Cardi B. and Megan the Stallion rap and grind to their “Wet Ass Pussy,’ song during the recently televised Golden Globe award show. No word on the number of towels needed to wipe up the moisture left behind.

Masks have been named the top-selling item for 2020, followed by toilet paper and hand sanitizer. There was no mention of the propaganda the media managed to sell everyone about a “full-blown pandemic” and “a lack of widespread fraud.”

President Joe Biden fell three times while attempting to walking up the steps to Air Force One. No one was there to help him, while others on social media made fun of him despite the possibility that he has dementia.

You can also add the White House Easter Egg Roll to the list of yearly traditions canceled, once again by the pandemic. Reports are that roasted rabbit will be the delight of many tables this Easter Sunday.

Meghan and Harry sat down to have a chat with Oprah, where they got to air their Royal families dirty laundry while soiling themselves at the same time. Meanwhile, Oprah scores a fat wad of cash for her part.

Speaking of the Royals, Queen Elizabeth’s public birthday celebrations at Buckingham Palace have been canceled due to COVID-19. And soon there will be an unveiling of a new Princess Diana statue at Kensington Palace, in celebration of what would have been her sixtieth-birthday and just in time to be vandalized by the “woke” crowd.

Finally, Hasbro is planning to scrap “outdated” Community Chest cards in favor of new “woke” ones. There are issues with receiving a tax refund, getting a bank error in your favor, and winning a beauty contest.

Please allow me to repeat…beauty contest.

Calvin Fritz, 1959-2021

“Calvin Lamar Fritz, born November 12, 1959, in Crescent City, CA., passed away February 4, 2021, in Crescent City, CA.” That’s all the obituary reads.

Calvin, his brother Keven, my brother Adam, others, and I played “combat” day-after-day in the woods. And sometimes we fought like cats and dogs, and for real.

We met because our parents were long-time friends.

Considered “slow,” and places in special ed at Margaret Keating School with me, I refused to let anyone call Calvin an “M.R.,” because he wasn’t mentally-retarded. As a 5th grader, I got into a fight with an 8th grader because he kept calling Calvin names.

Calvin will always be the tender-hearted kid, that lived in Sages’ Court on the other side of Highway 101 from me.

Without a Voice

It has been some time since I’ve turned on the television. Admittedly bored, I was curious to see what might be on and of possible interest to watch.

There is nothing.

Going through the channels, I discovered that we have two new national news stations: i24 and Newsy. After listening to them, I concluded both suffer from corporate propaganda also.

Nothing new there.

Interestingly, our service provider Spectrum has “muted,” “silenced,” or “shut off the sound,” to BBC News, Fox Business, and Fox News. Meanwhile, CNN and MSNBC are “sound efficient.”

Regardless of the presentation, this is censorship and wrong.

And Now Page Two

Younger people might not understand this, but the elder among us, especially anyone living in the US or those who listened to Armed Forces Radio Network, will. Many times I would remain seated in my truck long after pulling into the driveway, waiting, listening for those nine special words.

There was a sense of wonder, sometimes astonishment and from time-to-time a great big, “I KNEW IT” at the end of the broadcast. It was hard to shut the receiver off.

Radio hasn’t been the same since Paul Harvey’s last uttering of, “And now you know the rest of the story.”

So Fucking Mad

while I have been brushed aside
no longer needed or even wanted
after all, what can an employer do
do with a man over the age of 60
with a broken back, overweight,
all anyone sees is as described
they fail to see the experience
work ethic, leadership, ability
to adapt, to overcome, to learn
meanwhile, i watch with sorrow
a seventy-eight-year-old man
trip, stumble, and fall, three-times
going up steps to Air Force One
with no help, assistance, or aid
and while others laugh with delight
(there is nothing funny in dementia)
i see a man who is in need of help
like i am in need of full employment
and neither are a concern to them
humanity failing and it sickens me.

They Done Her Wrong

Clara stepped through the doorway, surprised by the crowd that had gathered. She walked silently through them, forcing herself to look each person in the eye.

Then she came to the bottom of the steps, where she suddenly felt faint. It was as if she had come back to her body from some spectral realm.

Slowly she ascended the stairs, counting as she did. Thirteen.

Once on the scaffold, she was positioned over the trap door. From there, she looked down on the faces of those gathered.

The ropes coils were laid across her left shoulder as the noose was tightened about her neck. It felt heavier than it looked.

“Any last words?” the sheriff asked.

Clara looked down into the faces of the many men who had visited her in the darker hours. They all looked away.

“You men oughta be ashamed of yourselves,” Clara said. “You knew what they were doing and you didn’t have the guts to stop it.”

As she spoke, the sheriff bound her hands behind her back, then a strap around her ankles.

“Now, I gotta pay for your lack of courage,” she said. “Had you did so, you’d have gotten off for defending a woman, but no, you turned a blind eye.”

The sheriff slipped the hood over her head. Clara was surprised that she could still see the shapes of the men, women, and children that had come to see her hang.

“Cowards,” she yelled, realizing she was panting for breath like a dog pants on a hot day.

The trap dropped from beneath her, and blackness filled her eyes. But in her head, she heard a sharp hum, like a tuning fork.

The sound faded into the twittering of songbirds, or perhaps angels singing. She could not tell.

That faded too.

Connie Jones, 1961-2021

What happened? I don’t know.

What I do know is that I am going to bed with a broken heart. My friend Connie has died, but I don’t know why.

I don’t know why.

Grief — and I cannot overcome the sadness that I’m going to bed with this night. Perhaps I shall not wake come the morning myself.

Only God knows as he is the final arbitrator of my insignificant life. If so, I love you, and you and you.

You’ve enriched my life in ways I could never express. Thank you.

Should tomorrow dawn, we shall gather in happiness.

A Little Plan in a Big World

There is nothing like being lost in a fog of one’s own making. If I were on horseback I’d give’em his head and let’em find the way home, but I’m not, so I’ll loiter here for the while.

Yesterday, I began this…

“Why do I feel the death of a person so deeply?”

It was a question raised after yesterday’s post about a friend dying. When you’ve witnessed 241 people dying in a single moment, every life you come in contact with afterward becomes that more precious, and therefore their passing becomes that more intimate.

So, yes, I feel that pain deeply.

Time to finish my thoughts…

All the fighting, the bitterness and anger, hatred, the “this” culture, and “that” culture has me on the ropes. Sadly, I’ve contributed my share to this.

Its time to say what needs said, and I think I have the perfect place to start:

  1. Stop it, stop it now!
  2. Because people don’t last forever, tell them you love them.
  3. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

For the longest time, I’ve been in a fantasy world, believing that I could make myself immortal with my writing. But unless I turn out to be Mark Twain or something, that’ll be a big NOPE.

Hell, even Twain’s dead, getting doxed and canceled, so I’ve stopped daydreaming. Now is the time to act and think my three-step action plan could be the cure.

Life is too short to live as we’re living right now, so let’s change it. It’s not too late.

Bill Stamps, Jr., 1948-2021

It’s been a leaky morning. It’s what happens when tears keep welling up in one’s eyes and insist on racing down the face.

I’m writing this as feelings come and go, so please forgive me for the broken train of thought.

Bill Stamps, Jr., passed away on Tuesday, March 9, as best I can gather from social media. He was a good man with a lot of demons in his past.

His dad, Bill Sr., was practically a living-legend in my neck-of-the-redwoods. Knowing your dad is a popular figure in a small town must have made for some tough times as a child.

Bill also lost a brother when he was a kid. Then that same kid volunteered to go to Vietnam, serving in the U.S. Marines.

He came out of all the muck and the debris the better man. Bill offered hope, spread cheer, and showed that happiness can and always has been contagious.

Bill was also the man who wasn’t afraid to ask for divine help when the chips were down.

Not too long ago, his beautiful wife Jana was diagnosed with cancer. Bill asked for prayers of recovery, receiving them from all over the globe.

Jana has since come into better health.

Then this…suddenly Bill is gone, and Jana is without him. This is why, ultimately, I am having a leaky morning.

Bill was only a dozen years or so older than me, and this leaves me frightened. There are so many things I still want to do in this short life we each get, so perhaps, I write this, not only about Bill – but selfishly – also about myself.

Perhaps there will be more to write in the coming days, but for now, though, I must absorb this painful blow to the heart.

Crescent City, Calif., makes National News for Wrong Reasons

This comes from my former hometown…

Crescent City, Calif. Mayor Pro Tem Alex Campbell entered a guilty plea to making a false declaration of candidacy in Del Norte County’s Superior Court. He submitted the form to the County Clerk on Aug. 6, 2020, saying his residence was within the city limits when his actual home is in the county.

He faced two felony counts of perjury and one count of false declaration of his candidacy. The Del Norte County District Attorney’s office has agreed to dismiss the perjury charges, however.

Campbell is to be sentenced on April 15. He is looking at two years of felony probation, a fine of up to $20,000, and restitution of up to $10,000.

Campbell said that while he does have a house in the county, he’s been renting a room in the city limits from a friend and claims he is currently living there. He was elected to the City Council on Nov. 3 before he became mayor pro tempore in December.

Nevada is on the Brink of Politcal Disaster

Nevada’s entire Democratic Party staff has resigned.

Their action came after every Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) and the Left Caucus member won party leadership roles on March 6.

Executive director Alana Mounce announced that she and the directors of operations, research, communications, and finance have resigned. The new executive director is the former chair of the Clark County Democratic Party, Judith Whitmer.

Clark County was the center of attention during the 2020 presidential election for voter fraud accusations with more than 3-thousand instances. The primary sources of that fraud being dead voters, double voting, people who have moved out of state, and mass mail-in ballots.

Other DSA members voted into positions are Jacob Allen, first vice chair; Dr. Zaffar Iqbal, second vice chair; Ahmad Adé, secretary; and Howard Beckerman, treasurer.

The media claims this to be in-fighting between the establishment and Bernie Sanders supporters. If so, then Harry Reid is to blame for the divide.

In 2008, he forced the DNC to name Nevada the “first battlefield state” in the nation, using the caucus system rather than a primary election system. To make this happen, Reid promising his support to Barack Obama, who once elected, would stop the Yucca Mountain Complex from being used as a waste repository.

By making Nevada’s caucus the first in the nation, Reid inadvertently created an opening for the Sanders faction, who are still feeling the sting of loss from 2008.

While the media searches for a cause, I see this as a natural progression of the party. Either way, this is the real state of Nevada’s politics.

Anchor Podcast App

Have you tried using the Anchor podcast app that WordPress has been offering?

I’m using it, though I had a major malfunction this morning after recording several short stories for possible playback. The entire system crashed and with it went all of my work.

This evening, I’ve been going through my old recordings, editing them, and then uploading them to the app. Barring any further catastrophes, I will continue to add more stories to my playlist.

In the meantime, here’s a link to my site: https://anchor.fm/tomdarby. Please let me know what you think. Thank you.

Double Shot

Yancy was never meant to be shot. But that’s what happened as Bill took aim at the buck, following it along as it ran.

Suddenly Yancy stood up as Bill squeezed the trigger. Tighe and Jerry raced to where the older cowboy fell.

“Oh, Lordy,” Jerry said. “I think he’s dead.”

By this time, Bill was beside himself, and panic had set in. He wasn’t sure whether he should run away or stay and help.

As Bill stood staring, Tighe gathered Yancy’s horse, and with Jerry’s help, tossed the dead man over the saddle. Frozen with fear, they helped Bill get on his horse too.

It was a long ride, arriving back at the ranch in the small hours of the following day. Quietly, Jerry entered the main house, where he was surprised to find Agnes standing in the hallway with a shotgun aimed at his chest.

“You should have called out before coming all the way inside,” she said, lowering the gun.

“You’re back early. Must’ve been successful,” Agnes added. “Let me heat some coffee up.”

“Bad news, Aggie,” Jerry blurted out, “Bill accidentally shot Yance. ‘Fraid he’s dead.”

Agnes quickly rushed to the front door. Though dark, there was enough moonlight that she could see her husband’s body draped over his favorite horse.

She gave out a blood-curdling shriek that startled everyone, including the horses. Yancy’s body slid off the horse, saddle, and all, dropping to the ground with a sickening thud as his frightened horse bucked in circles.

Jerry had to help Agnes back inside and to the couch. He fumbled to turn on the lights before stepping to the phone to call 9-1-1 and report the hunting accident.

As he finished dialing, he heard the yelling and carrying on of Bill and Tighe. They sounded as if they were in a panic.

When he turned, he saw Yancy standing in the open doorway. He had his rifle raised and aimed at Jerry.

Agnes screamed, “Yancy. What are you doing?”

“I’m about to take care of business,” he answered as he chambered a round.

“For crying out loud, Yancy, it was an accident,” Jerry said.

Jerry looked at the shotgun still leaning in the corner against the wall where the hallway and front room met. He looked back at Yancy and knew he had no chance of getting to it before he was shot.

As Yancy raised the rifle to fire and Jerry raised his arms as if to ward off the bullet, a loud blast came from outside the front door. Yancy winced, twisted, and fell to the floor.

In the dim moonlight, he could see Bill standing there, rifle in hand. A trace of smoke trailed up from the barrel.

“Let’s go,” Bill said as he turned and head to the truck, where Tighe waited behind the wheel.

“I’m sorry, Aggie,” Bill said. “We thought he was dead. Honest.”

She didn’t hear him.

Instead, she was going for the shotgun in the hallway. Jerry knew that he’d best make tracks if he wanted to live, and so he dashed out the door and dove into the back of the pickup as it bumped and bounced down the dirt road.

As buckshot from Agnes gun scattered across the right side of the truck’s bed, Jerry wondered, “Did the dispatcher hear all that?”

Above the Neck

Karl had a severe disability. He had been born with a head on his neck.

His condition left the doctors amazed. They were further surprised by Karl’s survival as his head grew large, more round, and he had to be placed in special classes to help him learn to navigate a headless society.

Once Karl became an adult, he could feel the looks, stares, and repulsion his head had on his neighbors and strangers alike. He was ashamed and wished he could be exactly like them.

Then one day, Karl discovered the answer to his disability by building a guillotine.

The Day Silence Came

They called him a nut-job and that what he was saying was nothing more than a conspiracy theory. So they canceled him on social media.

It only made him laugh. He had read the news stories, and he understood the game.

The space agency had claimed that a large asteroid was hurtling towards Earth and that it would “knock out all U.S. satellites.”

“On Friday night, the asteroid 99942 Apophis (named after the Ancient Egyptian demon serpent god of chaos) came within 10.4 million miles of Earth.” read the news article. “While that’s a comfortable distance away, scientists say it’s going to get within 19,800 miles of the planet the next time it comes around in 2029. That’s the distance between the Earth and the Moon, and it’s close enough to potentially collide with high-altitude U.S. communications satellites.”

Seven-and-a-half years later, he couldn’t help but call attention to the idea that it wouldn’t destroy satellites from other nations.

“It’s only the U.S. that’ll lose the Internet,” he said. “And it’s not an asteroid that’ll do it, it’s the government.”

They called him a nut-job and a conspiracy theorist, but then they were canceled too, so it no longer mattered. He laughed when it happened.

He Came from Outerspace

It came down like a bright ball of fire, then disappeared into the depth of the dark night. It was a few minutes later that a heavy thud shook our house.

Not yet 10 years old, I remember that April night in 1961 like it happened yesterday, and it still makes me sick to my stomach. Only now that Mom has passed can I begin to unburden myself and tell what happened during those three days.

After the house shook, Dad grabbed his shotgun and headed out to have a look. By this time, I was sent to bed, so I wouldn’t be in the way.

Then I heard the shotgun blasts. Curious, I got up and sat at the top of the stairs, listening and watching.

Soon Dad came rushing in. He was sweaty, pale, and in a panic, shouting at Mom to grab some towels and that he’d shot a man.

Mom did as she was told. She came in the house another couple of times to get first aid supplies before disappearing outside.

How long it was between the time I watched Dad rush out of the house with Mom in tow, I’m not sure. Soon I heard them on the front porch, where it sounded as if they were struggling to carry something heavy.

Scared, I retreated to my bed and remained there until morning. That’s when I learned the extent of what had happened.

Dad had shot a spaceman, and the ball of light we’d seen and the shaking of the house had been his spaceship coming to Earth. I could hardly believe that men-from-Mars were real.

It took another day before I caught a glimpse of this spaceman. He didn’t look like the monsters my comic books had made them out to be.

He looked so human though he spoke words I had never heard before. I thought that perhaps it was Martian or something.

I also saw his orange space suit, covered in blood, while Mom was trying to clean it in the kitchen sink. When she saw me, she shooed me away.

That night, I sneaked into the bedroom where the spaceman lay. He was dead by this time, and Mom and Dad were trying to figure out what to do with his body and were fearful that there would be an attempt to rescue him.

Though the lights were out, I could tell he had been shot and that he had died from those wounds. I couldn’t understand why his blood was red and not green like I had been lead to believe.

The next morning I watched as Dad carried the sheet-wrapped body from the house to his backhoe. Mom helped him load it on the machine and then stood crying as Dad drove into the wheat field where the spaceship had come down.

From my bedroom window, I watched as Dad placed the spaceman’s body in the ship, then push both into the hole he’d dug, before he buried them. I marked that spot in my memory after being warned to never say a thing about what had happened.

Three days after the spaceship and the spaceman’s unceremonious burial, I was in the hallway between the living room and stairs when I saw the news. I was not supposed to be there as I had been forbidden to watch it since the ship crashed on our farm.

Though he was in black and white, I knew the man receiving a handshake from the Soviet Premier. I had seen him, listened as he died, and watched as he was buried in the wheat field in front of our house.

“Who is Yuri Gagarin?” I asked without thinking.

The Cook and the Waitress

“Order up!” LeRoy the cook shouted.

Molly rushed over and grabbed the plates filled with food.

They were very busy, so busy that the coffee shop owner, Pete had to pitch in that morning. He usually stayed in his office, out of the way, only acting as an umpire in a baseball game between LeRoy and Molly.

“He is the best short-order cook around,” Pete told himself every time trouble erupted.

The owner liked Molly. She was quirky in many ways but always level-headed and she did her best to keep LeRoy in line.

“Wish I had an extra hand,” LeRoy complained as he cooked five orders at once.

“Would a prehensile tail work?” Molly asked.

“Sure,” LeRoy smiled, “As long as it can butter toast and flip burgers.”

Molly broke in a sing-song voice, whirling a butter knife like a wand in his direction saying:

“While you slumber,
You will grow a tail,
And all this summer,
You will use it without fail,
As all memory leaves you,
And the boss, Peter, too.”

LeRoy twisted to his right and saw there was nothing there and laughed, “A tail, my ass.”

The following day, in a panic, LeRoy came to the coffee shop early. Only Pete was there.

“Look! She gave me a tail.”

“Who gave you a tail?”

“Molly!”

“Who is Molly?”

“The waitress.”

“I think your cheese has slid off your cracker, LeRoy.”

“She was here yesterday.”

“We were closed yesterday.”

With the thought of Molly fading, LeRoy put on his apron and started setting his kitchen up for the morning rush. And as promised, his prehensile tail could butter toast and flip burgers, and it came in mighty handy when it came to scratching his itchy nose.

As for Molly, she took the summer off and vacationed in the Virgin Islands. Come winter, she returned and incanted the return of her job.

Separate February Northern Nevada Crashes Prove Fatal

There were a couple of accidents near the end of February on Northern Nevada’s highways resulting in fatalities.

The first happened a few minutes before 10 a.m., Tuesday, February 23, on US-395 at Courtland Lane in Gardnerville. The Nevada Highway Patrol’s investigation shows that a 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup driven by Sean Leonard, 53, of Gardnerville was southbound on 395 and stopped to make a left turn onto Courtland.
Also traveling southbound was a white 2012 Freightliner semi-tractor-trailer. The driver failed to stop, rear-ending the Dodge as it waited to turn. The Dodge went into the northbound lane where it struck a white 2016 Peterbilt head-on.

Leonard died at the scene.
Then on Saturday, February 27, about 8:15 a.m., Troopers responded to a crash at the intersection of Day Lane and Lower Colony Lane in Smith Valley.

There, they found a white 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 pickup, driven by Lawrence Myrold, 62, of Mammoth Lake, Calif, had been heading west on Day towards Lower Colony. As he approached the intersection, he failed to see the stop sign, broadsiding a green 1998 Dodge Ram pickup going north on Lower Colony, causing the Dodge to roll.

Myrold, Mammoth Lakes fire captain, was taken to the hospital, where he later died from his injuries on Tuesday, March 2.

Cancel

The sniper laid in the sand, waiting. His spotter laid nearby, binoculars trained on the target three-quarters of a mile to their southeast.

It had taken them days to work themselves this close to the target, a younger man with a beard and horned-rimmed glasses. The pair had infiltrated the enemy’s territory, and should all go as planned, they would be another several days ex-filtrating the area.

“Wind west at five, drop half-a-degree,” said the spotter.

The sniper blew air out his nose, holding his breath and feeling his heartbeat. He squeezed the trigger between beats.

“Canceled,” the sniper said.

Pareidolia One

Faces, I see them everywhere,
Even when they are not there.
The floors are filled with them,
The walls are covered in faces.

The dog’s face presents to me
As does cat, cows, and crows
People walking by with faces
But no one looks for my face

My face, it does not matter
Perhaps I am their flooring
Maybe I am the rough wall
Could it be – I do not exist?

No, that cannot be that at all.
Faces, I see them everywhere,
Even when they are not there,
Including your more than one.

Am I Missing Something?

As I try my best to avoid political blogging but fail spectacularly…

In 2020, Nevada’s District 3 Congresswoman Susie Lee lobbied the Small Business Administration for a $5.3 million Paycheck Protection Program loan on behalf of her husband’s company, Full House Resorts. Once awarded, none of it went to Nevadans but was instead used to rehire several hundred casino employees in Colorado and Indiana.

Meanwhile, Lee supports President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. This bill qualifies the average Nevada family (those who do not drive for service-providers Uber or Lyft) for $1,400 in pandemic relief, while illegal alien families in Nevada qualify for $4,200.

Pitiful

He looked up at the entrance to the well. There was no way out.

Soon he began to hold a conversation with another man in the hole, certain that he was not real.

“We’ll never be able to escape,” that man said, “We’ll die down here. Forgotten and alone.”

“Leave me be,” the other cried out, “You’re not really here.”

“Oh, I’m real alright,” that man said, “You’re simply losing your mind.”

“You’re crazy!” the first man shouted.

The other laughed maniacally.

Suddenly their nurse called down, “Get out of there before I call the orderlies, you two nut jobs!”

Infomercial

Whatever it was, it had stepped on his foot, waking him. Still seated on the couch, he looked around in response to the pain.

Nothing.

“I should go to bed,” he said to the dog as if it might understand.

He looked down, but the dog was gone.

“Ah, the dog stepped on me,” he said.

In a sleep-fog still, he noticed that the TV was on and an infomercial was playing.

“But wait, there’s more,” he grunted, pushing himself from the couch, remote in hand.

He didn’t feel the bite of the Werewolf as it chomped his head off.

In-flight Phone Call

Helene got out of the shower, toweled off, and wrapped it around her. She was exhausted and laid back on the bed.

The phone rang. Helene quickly grabbed it because she didn’t want her family downstairs to pick it up.

“Hello?” she said.

“Hi, hon,” it was her husband, Dan.

“Daniel?”

“Yes. Who else would it be?”

“Where are you? You should be here with me. With us!”

“I know, I know, but there’s a little trouble with my flight.”

“Trouble?! Trouble?! We buried you today, Dan!”

The phone went dead, dead like Dan’s body had been in his casket.

If It…And

Found this on a sticky-note inside a pile of loose papers in a box labeled ‘1995’ with no other annotations. I cannot recall if I wrote it myself or copied it.

if it stays,
it is love,
if it ends,
it is a story,
if it never was,
it is a dream
and
if never begun,
it is poetry.

In Defense of Employees

The newsroom fell silent as the heated exchange grew louder. The two men were practically nose-to-nose arguing over a single word.

“I’m tired of the use of the word ‘workers’ when it ought to be ‘employees,’” Bob stated.

Rich, the news director, returned, “I don’t care what you think it should be. The guide says ‘worker,’ and therefore it’s ‘worker.’”

That was the end of the argument.

Bob returned to his work-station and continued with the business at hand; writing and editing. Rich had a report to file.

The following day as Bob was on the air and in the middle of presenting the news, he was arrested and charged with seditious behavior.

Thirteen Weeks

He had always been the wrong kind-of-citizen, so Tony was not surprised when they arrested and held him for deportation. What did surprise Tony was the number of good citizens the police had rounded up in their recent city-wide sweep.

Many were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when picked up, often found to be without their mandatory papers on their person. But it did not matter as the police had a quota to fill.

That was more important.

Loaded into moving trucks in the middle of the night, destination unknown, those that survived the trip would never survive the ordeal. Of the ten-thousand sent, only a third would live to tell the tale, but none would ever be allowed to speak of it.

The play for survival began the moment the rolling doors on the large vans closed. Criminals pushed their way around the darkness, assaulting women, murdering any man that offered resistance, and taking what valuables anyone had in their possession.

By the time the two-day journey ended, few men were alive, and even fewer women wanted to be alive. Tony was one of those men still living, having played dead to keep from being strangled or suffocated.

Authorities, not wanting such undesirable people near their town, decided that it would be best if they loaded them onto barges and off-loaded them onto the nearby island in the middle of the river. While they knew the island had few resources for so many people, they believed the deportees would figure out how to make a living from the isolated land.

Once the boat landed, and with no guards present, Tony quickly walked into the Poplars and disappeared. Here, he would stay until the crisis had passed or until he could figure a way off the island.

Day-in and day-out, Tony heard the screams of people, mostly women, and children as they were tied limb from limb between two trees and filet while alive. Men of the most inhumane kind stripped away the choice parts for eating.

Slowly the screams died away, leaving an eerie silence in their place, and death over-ran the camp.

Tony did not witness what happened next. He was killed by a sniper from the other side of the river while riding a raft of three logs towards freedom.

“This is how I know what’s happening over there,” Bryant explained to the town’s Mayor, laying the still-damp note’s on the desk before him. “I read these papers I found in his jacket pocket, where his makeshift raft and body washed ashore.”

Bryant would be labeled ‘undesirable’ the following week and would not survive the following 13-weeks.

Eaters

He’d been warned not to go into the old mansion, but Daryl didn’t listen. He was itching to confront whatever the thing was that left people scared.

Armed with a thick bible and a wooden crucifix, he entered, intent on learning the secrets of the dilapidated house. Soon Daryl found himself cornered in a hallway designed to confuse the spirits, but it wasn’t working.

Instead, Daryl was the one confused, unable to find the door he entered, and now the dark mass had him trapped in the exitless hall. In his attempt to escape, he threw his bible at it, then his crucifix.

The demon simply absorbed both without effect.

Helpless and panicked, Daryl resorted to defending himself with all he had left. He pulled off his right shoe and chucked it at the demonic being.

Suddenly, the creature began to wobble and appear weak, so Daryl yanked off his left shoe and heaved it at the thing. That did it, as the shadow broke apart and disappeared like so many atoms in a vacuum.

His odor-eaters did the trick.

Nevada Seeks to Keep Voter Rolls Unchanged

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford wants a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed after the November election that claims voter rolls contain ineligible names and that illegal aliens cast ballots.

The state attorney general also said in the motion that the lawsuit wrongly identifies Nevada’s secretary of state as the official in charge of voter registration. Deputy State Solicitor General Gregory Zunino wrote in the motion to dismiss the case that the role Barbara Cegavske plays in maintaining voter records is only “supervisory,” and that the clerks in Nevada’s 17 counties are responsible for maintaining voter registration and lists of eligible voters.

The lawsuit, filed in December, came after state and federal courts in Nevada and other states rejected election challenges by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, including its claims of widespread voter fraud. While the suit doesn’t seek to undo the 2020 election, it does cite DMV records of applications for driver authorization cards and claims that nearly 4,000 illegal aliens voted.

While the plaintiffs allege those ineligible votes “diluted” their legally cast ballots, the state’s filing to dismiss calls any allegations of harm “hypothetical” and compares it with the injury that honest taxpayers suffer when someone evades paying taxes.

In 2018, a newspaper report revealed that Ford owed more than $185,000 in unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties. The article came out two years after paying back those delinquent taxes.

The request to dismiss the lawsuit does acknowledge that there are errors within the voter rolls.

“Immigrants who conduct business with the DMV have ended up on Nevada’s voter rolls,” it says, adding, but “immigrants rarely vote,” and to prosecute, the state needs to prove that the person who voted knew it was a crime and intended to break the law. The attorney general’s filing further claims that inaccurate voter information “generally consists of the names of deceased persons and the addresses of persons who have moved.”

The Googliwooglie

Not only did Barney and Rat work in the same department, but the two Airmen were also housemates, living off base. Between the two of them, Barney had the only working car, a 1972 Nova.

After a 14 hour day, Barney was behind the wheel, pushing down the gas pedal, flying through the long loping curve. Ahead was a slight rise in the road before it straightened out the final three miles before home.

Barney fairly flew over the rise, but it was too late. The man, caught in the headlights, went careening over the top of the car with a heavy thump.

The tires squealed, and the car fish-tailed and bucked as Barney pumped the brakes before coasting it to the side of the road. Even before it had stopped, both were out and were looking back at where the man had been standing.

The night laid across the road and the grassy field to either side, so they could not see where the man might be. Rat ran back to the top of the rise as Barney made a quick U-turn in the two-lane road to get some light on the area.

As Rat walked up and down the side of the road, Barney drove beyond where he was sure he had hit the man. But neither one could find him.

After another pass, they drove to their trailer house to call 9-1-1. The dispatcher routed the call to the Sheriff’s Department.

“Can you meet the deputies there?” the dispatcher asked.

“Yes,” Barney answered. “We’ll be there in less than five minutes.”

Shortly after they arrived, two sheriff vehicles pulled onto the side of the road. The first order of business was to have Barney and Rat fill out an incident report as the deputies searched the roadway and the grassy gully on either side of the road.

“You sure it was a man and not a deer or something?” the older deputy asked.

“No,” Barney answered, “I looked him in eyes. It was a man.”

“Well,” the younger deputy said, “We can’t find anything.”

“Then how do you explain the damage to the car?” Rat asked.

“We can’t,” stated the older deputy.

He walked over to his unit and pulled the microphone to his mouth, and said, “We need more help out here, can you activate SAR?”

“10-4,” came the reply.

Within half-an-hour, the first of the search-and-rescue team arrived on the scene, bringing floodlights and dogs. Before long, they were trotting the K-9’s up and down the roadside.

To the west, they found a trail in the grass beyond the barbed-wire fence. The flattened grass led to some volcanic rocks, and it was there the dogs either refused to go any further or lost the scent of whatever they’d been tracking.

The search for the man continued for another two hours after sunrise before it was called off. However, nothing was found other than a patch of blood on the asphalt where the two men said it happened.

Still, in uniform, Barney and Rat returned to the base and to work.

It wouldn’t be until that weekend when the two were sitting outside their trailer, enjoying the sunshine and cold beer, that they would strike up a conversation with the elderly neighbor lady. She quietly listened to their tale.

“You know,” she started, “I’ve lived here all my life and not always so close to the city. Tell you this, there are more things in the wilderness than meet the eye.”

“What does that mean?” Rat asked her.

“It means you might have hit a man, but the Googliwooglie made off with the body, thinking it was fresh roadkill,” she said with a straight face.

“A Googli…” Barney started.

“…wooglie,” she interrupted. “Not an ‘a,’ but a ‘the.’ It’s a Bigfoot-like creature and he’s been seen many-a-time in the Buffalo Ridge area.”

Over time, and with no one reported missing or a body ever found, the incident was relegated to the cold case file.

Time Split

that is me
a 6-year-old boy
riding the bicycle
with training wheels
staring at an old man
with white hair on his face
sitting alone in the cafe
i had never noticed before, and
having a profound feeling
of I don’t know what.

that is me
a 60-year old man
sitting alone in the cafe
staring at nothing in particular
suddenly overcome by a sense
of déjà vu as my eyes
lock with a boy on a bike, and
who looks eerily
like the schoolboy version
of me.

Mad Minute of the Mind: 0730-0731 Hours

Time to put down some thoughts truths maybe not me not till later another zit I’m too old to be getting zits shake the mental cobwebs loose Internets slow again they’re choking it down neighbor has fired up his truck it’ll run for thirty minutes now the sheets are already dry I jus’ put them in shit make the beds-time I need a shower got do it before I can wash the towels coffee in the bathroom gonna have to heat it up again three times now I wish I’d never found that pimple wanna pick it this is Friday right paper is due out today glad I have a calendar this stupid-assed Internet I swear they’re choking it down so slow need a new keyboard is there one in storage still need to check gotta pull that old camera out too wanna show it off coffee that’s right bathroom shower time add ellipses run through Grammarly need to clip my nails must write two news articles today watching Grammarly will be fun reward myself with reading something not work-related phone calls to make need my list of chores no to ellipses that is sixty-seconds I’ll never get back coffee

The Cattle Truck

One day, when my son was four or five years old, we were heading somewhere in town when we came up behind an enclosed cattle truck. Back then, there were no car seat laws or laws demanding that you keep your little one in the back seat of your vehicle.

I side-eyed him as he leaned forward to get a better look at the cows.

“That one looked at me!” he squealed.

I smiled because he was never much of a talker, so to hear that much come from him was a joy.

The truck went straight while we turned left. I never gave the cattle truck another thought.

However, he’d been thinking about it ever since we’d first seen it, asking, “Do we get hamburgers from cows?”

I gulped, wanting to lie my way out of the question, fearing it would upset him to know that we do slaughter cows for hamburger meat.

In the end, I said, “Yes, we do.”

“Seeing those cows made me hungry,” he grinned, “Can we go to McDonald’s?”

About Those Sheep, Jesus

I was trying to outrun myself.

Tooling along near the Arizona-New Mexico line on I-40, it was approaching nighttime, the sun setting behind me. And since I couldn’t find a music station, I had resigned myself to listening to a radio preacher sermonizing on John 21:17…

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

“Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”

He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

Feeling Peter’s pain, I pulled off the road and started crying. After I finally composed myself, I got back on the highway, sure that I should become a preacher.

Twenty years later — it has yet to happen and I’m still awaiting the third rebuke.

The Mail-Ordered Bride and the Bandit

The eastbound Central Pacific passenger train pulled into Colfax, California, Sunday afternoon, July 27, 1873. Passengers disembarked, walking to the Wells Fargo Depot, where the stage ran twice a day except on Sundays.
Driver Bob Scott soon pulled up, and 13 passengers boarded. Wells Fargo Agent William B. Storey loaded more than $7,000 in gold coins into the strongbox.

Aboard the stagecoach, rode prominent passengers W.R. Tully, E. Black Ryan, Thomas Bard McFarland, newly elected U.S. Senator Aaron A. Sargent. Not so important was mail-ordered bride, 22-year-old Miss Eleanor Berry.

As the stage approached Sheets Ranch, five miles from Grass Valley, Scott jerked his team to a halt. Four armed men had stepped into the roadway, blocking their path.

With a floursack over each head, holes cut out for their eyes, gunnysack-cover boots, three of the bandits carried shotguns, the fourth a six-shooter.

“What do you want?” Scott called out, Ryan adding, “Yes, boys, what does this mean?”

“We want that treasure box,” came the reply.

“It’s on the other stage,” Scott lied.

“Well, we’ll keep you until the other stage comes up,” declared the leader.

His bluff called, Scott told the highwayman, “It’s no use fooling any longer, this is the only stage tonight.”

“That’s what we thought,” the robber replied. “Climb down from there and unhitch your team.”

As the passengers stood against a roadside fence and with the strongbox about to be blown open, Berry protested.

“Gentlemen!” she cried out. “My trunk, which is on the deck of the stage, will in all probability be blown to pieces. It contains all that I possess in this world, and while its destruction will not benefit you in the least, it will be an irreparable loss to me. I beg of you to take it down.”

“Certainly, miss, with the greatest pleasure,” the head robber said.

Berry then saw the scar on the back of his hand.

The blast ripped through the stage, exposing the cache of gold coins. Soon, the four highwaymen disappeared.

The explosion blew the strongbox lid through the stagecoaches roof, shattering the walls and floor, but the running gear survived. Soon Scott had his team hitched up, the passengers back aboard, and was en route to Grass Valley.

After alerting police to the robbery, Scott drove Berry to Nevada City and her destination, a small rented cottage. Earlier in the week, Lewis J. Dreibelbis had rented a room for her.

The landlady explained to Berry that Dreibelbis, the man she was to marry, had been called out of town but would soon return. Though still rattled, Berry remained determined to go forward with the wedding.

Soon Dreibelbis, her senior by 37 years, arrived at the cottage, where the pair were married. Berry believed his voice to be familiar as he recited his wedding vows.

Upon seeing his scar as he signed paperwork legalizing their marriage, she ran from the room. A few minutes later, Dreibelbis left the cottage.

Berry spent the night locked in her room. She only told the landlady, preacher, and a few neighbors that Dreibelbis was “not so well fixed” as she had expected.

The following day, she boarded the first stage, leaving Grass Valley without further explanation.

Meanwhile, local lawmen were busy hunting the robbers. A posse led by Nevada County Sheriff Joe Perrin pored over the robbery scene and began tracking them.

A half-mile-long trail led to a mask, giant powder and percussion caps, and two miners in a cabin, whom they arrested. Later that day, officers picked up two more suspects, including Ormstead Thurman (alias Charley Thompson, alias Bill Early.)

Sentenced to prison in 1865 for robbing a stage in Maricopa County, Thurman murdered another convict for foiling an escape plan. He had been released from San Quentin six weeks before the latest stage robbery and seen in the company of local one-armed saloon keeper Jim Myers.

The four men appeared before a Justice of the Peace on July 31. After giving their alibis, the judge released three of the suspects.

While Myers claimed Thurman had been drinking in his saloon when the holdup happened, Scott and one of the passengers identified Thurman. He was held over for trial.

Deputies searched for the other bandits for more than a week. Then, on Aug. 9, Wells Fargo Chief Detective James B. Hume got word that a man named Rob Walker in Colma was drinking heavily and spending freely.

Hume learned Walker had deposited $1,000 in gold coin and a bar of bullion with the hotelkeeper, claiming to be a former mining superintendent at Ophir in Placer County. But when Hume telegraphed Ophir, he found that no such man named Walker had ever worked there.

Traveling to Coloma, Hume examined the coins and gold bar, which matched those stolen in the robbery. Hume arrested Walker and took him to jail in Placerville.

“I told him I thought I had a strong case against him,” Hume later recalled, “That the condition of his coin clearly indicated the effects of the giant powder explosion of the Grass Valley treasure box.”

Walker finally broke, confessing to both the Grass Valley robbery and the June holdup of a stage near Downieville. He also admitted to being an ex-con and that his real name was Lewis J. Dreibelbis.

Saying he was tasked with ‘guarding the passengers,’ only. Hume soon matched the description of Dreibelbis to that of the leader.

He also learned that Dreibelbis had severely cut the back of his hand during the Dowmieville robbery. It was this scar that Berry had noticed after their abbreviated ceremony.

Dreibelbis eventually identified Ormstead Thurman, George Lester (aka George Lane), Nat Stover, and saloonkeeper Myers as the other gang members.

Hume and Perrin soon rounded up the rest of the bandits. They picked up Myers at his saloon and found Stover at a mining camp near Grass Valley.

Both confessed, and Myers led them to the spot where he had buried his share of the gold. Stover also led the officers to his cache, but a ‘soiled dove,’ named Nellie Gassaway made off with his loot.

All three were convicted, with Dreibelbis providing testimony against each of them. They each received long terms in San Quentin.

George Lane was indicted but managed to escape. Hume found him in Virginia City, Nev., the following year, returning him to California to stand trial and where he received a 15-year prison sentence.

For testifying against the others, the state dropped all charges against Dreibelbis. Hume bought him a one-way train ticket home to Iowa, where he lived quietly on his farm in Scotch Grove until his death on Dec. 12, 1888, aged 75.

Berry moved into the home of Gilroy pioneers John and Sophia Eigleberry, where she dared not reveal that she had married a highway robber. Instead, she explained that the mail-ordered groom had been a failure, yet rumors of her strange affair spread like wildfire.

With the truth out, and a month after the robbery, Berry survived an attempted suicide using chloroform. What became of her afterward is unknown.

Inside Joke

The war vet lay on the park bench beneath his woolen blanket, half-frozen, half-asleep, and all in on a night terror. Above him in the bare branches of a tree, ink-black feathers reflecting the full moon’s shine roosted two-dozen crows.

“What should we do?” the veteran screamed as his mind drew him through some unimaginable imagined horror.

The largest crow looked down, “How’s about we commit us a murder?”

The surrounding crows cackled and cawed at the dark inside joke.

Celebrate

While putting on a shirt I hadn’t worn in a while, I found this ditty I wrote on my birthday in 2020. Each line is three syllables, so with 20-lines, it adds up to 60…

sixties child
turns sixty
dirt roads to
internet
gen-Tang drink
to moonshine
fat chance
to skinny tv
heroes gone
whiner near
Downey fresh
A Calgone
destress moat
regress, no
depress, go
in slow-mo
jus’ today
oh my how
life spreads
out so long

Still

He’d been crossing the prairie for eight days. Jordie Keller figured he had another couple-dozen more to go before he’d reach Fort Bridger.

Head down, he didn’t see it as he trudged up the incline. It was near the top that he saw that he had inadvertently trespassed into an Indian burial ground.

Remembering the Old-timer’s stories, Jordie began walking backward, stepping in his tracks as he worked his way back down the incline. Once at the bottom, he dug out his tobacco pouch and offered four healthy pinches of the shredded brown leaves to the four corners of the earth.

His final offering was given as he turned around.

That’s when he discovered that he had an audience: three Braves, two armed with spears and a third with an arrow nocked and aimed at him. Jordie Keller didn’t understand their words as they spoke rapidly between themselves.

“Did you see that?” one of the Braves with a spear asked.

The other spear-armed Brave answered, “Never. It’s a good thing. Honorable.”

With a scowl on his face the third Brave, the one with the bow and arrow, replied, “Fools, he’s still a White man,” as he let the shaft fly.

Time

“Wonder when the train’s coming by?” he asked the mule, chuckling at himself for talking to a dumb animal.

He thought of the Sunday school story about the ‘ass’ who spoke to its master while trying to protect the man from a vengeful Angel. He wished an Angel would arrive or that the mule would talk.

It had been days, endless cycles of dark and light. He had no idea what time it was.

“Used to be able to tell the time, that train was so regular,” he said.

The mule wasn’t listening and would never again. It was dead.

Fallow

Quietly over the years, the six richest men in the world purchased millions of acres of land throughout the country. They did this with so little distinction that no one noticed.

Those who did notice were often self-congratulatory for having such well-known and wealthy neighbors. They never once gave it a second thought beyond this fact.

Then, following the same unassuming steps they had taken in making their purchases, all six men sold their land-holdings to the government. That same government used the tax-payers money to make the purchases.

Now, those millions of acres are off-limits to all unauthorized humans.

Correctthink is Here

We have a problem known as ‘cancel culture.’ Recently actress Gina Carano was fired from her job and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s social media platform permanently shutdown.

This isn’t the first time. The tech giants have ‘canceled’ President Trump, several of his supporters, and cut power to several ‘right-wing’ platforms like Parler.

In Carano’s case, she tweeted, “Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors….even by children.”

She went on: “Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?”

The now-former LucasFilm employee’s post included a picture of a bloody ‘Jewish’ woman, clad in underwear, trying to outrun kids chasing her with sticks. I’ve seen the photo before and always thought that the woman was French and a Nazi collaborator, which doesn’t excuse the children’s behavior.

At any rate, Carano’s point was made, making her ‘cancellation’ all the more ironic.

And while I’m no fan of Kennedy, Instagram, a Facebook product, kicked him off after they discovered he was posting personal anti-vaxxing opinions. The son of Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, had over 800-thousand followers when the ‘plug was pulled’ on his account.

See the problem? They’re ‘canceling’ everyone who doesn’t conform to ‘correctthink.’

If you want to delete or block me, that’s fine, but that decision ought to be yours and not up to a tech firm. We need to come together and destroy this ever-growing oligarchy.

Futile

The struggle for liberty wasn’t real to people when masks were mandated or when social distancing was approved, and self-isolation was lauded as the ‘new normal.’ The struggle didn’t seem to matter to one-half of the nation, as it learned that there were ‘election irregularities,’ and discovered that national elections could be rigged in favor of one political party over another.

And once the Internet was shut down, the struggle for liberty became even less of a concern. The sudden disruption of online interconnectedness became a mental health crisis, with mass suicides.

The Oligarchy had finally assimilated the entire population.

Chasing a Conspiracy Theory

People keep sending me bit-and-pieces of information to put together like a jigsaw puzzle, and while a bunch of it is official-looking documents, it’s the photographs that best explain what seems to be happening in our nation’s capital.

 

Note the officer between the two groups. My assertion is that the one attending the Biden/Harris party is not an officer, and may not be military at all. Then there is the tale of the two planes which are very different from one another and that in fact, the one on the bottom does not have to Presidential seal on the fuselage, though the seal can be seen in the galley doorway.

  

These two photos are interior shots of the oval office. In the first, note the off-angle set of the ‘secret doorway,’ and in the other, how the corner of the walls have become separated.

 

Lastly, a photograph of the WH Press room which has buildings outside its windows that should not be there, and then the difference between the Oval Offices, with the top one showing a parking lot outside the window, while the lower one is filled with trees.

Now I am not one for conspiracy theories, but damn, this a lot of inconsistency, and I cannot make out what is going on in Washington D.C. As an aside, the White House has been dark for days, meaning no outside lights and very few lights inside, especially in the residential area of the building, and the National Guard continues to surround the building, though one cannot tell what it is they are protecting it for or from.

Finally, when I go looking for information on this – ALL my searches contain the same two sentences: “Didn’t find what you’re looking for? We’re temporarily hiding some results for this search query.”

The Coming of Ancient Man

They had found the cave while foraging. It was tucked in the crags of a high cliff wall, accessible only by climbing.

That was 1,115-years ago, and they made it their home. They decorated it with charcoal drawings and colored them using the natural flora found in the lower basin.

Over time, the tribe grew, eventually melding with other nearby tribes until nothing but the crude drawings on the cave walls, a burn pit, and few pottery shards were left. Even the dust forgot that people had once lived there.

Then in the year 3136, archaeologists stumbled onto the antediluvian dwelling.

Zippy and His Big Mouth

My wife is mad at me because I cannot control my tongue when it comes to bad drivers, and by saying ‘bad,’ I mean STUPID.

Here is the situation: it’s a four-lane roadway, the speed limit is 55 miles-per-hour, and in the slow lane is a dually pick up truck doing only 50 mph, and you are behind him, left turn signal blinking on-and-off, and the drivers in the lane next to you are passing you one at a time, and no one is letting you in so you can pass this fucking idiot — I mean this dually driver.

You finally get around that particular driver, only to have a 1975 Datsun pull slowly into your lane. You were going 55 mph, and they were at a stop sign when they drove into your lane. Mind you — you were only a couple of hundred feet from the stop.

What do you do?

In my case, I stepped hard on the brake, looked for an escape route around the piss-ass – I mean the Datsun truck and driver — then downshifted, blowing by him on his right where there is no roadway, only gravel. Happy to have avoided a crash, I stepped on the gas, but because I’m still in second-gear, I wound out the engine, making it sound like a jet taking off.

That’s when my wife, bless her heart, says, “You’re in the wrong gear. I think I can drive better than you.”

Yup — that’s exactly where Zippy lost his shit.

Mind Passages

Mental health is such a tricky thing and after watching two disturbing videos yesterday, I lost control of mine.

The first video, about Anne Frank who hid from the Nazis in a secret room with her family for over two years. The other, about Elisa Lam who in 2013 disappeared and was later found drowned in the water tank of a Los Angeles hotel.

Here’s where my mind slipped: I decided that because I feel isolated like Anne, am manic-depressive like Elisa, I had to create a new ‘isolation’ diary, like Anne and it had to be online, like Elisa’s. Crazy, I know.

Later, in the evening it dawned on me that I should’ve known I was in trouble. That morning, I did what many with our disorder do: I enjoyed some online impulse shopping, spending money I didn’t have. Once back in my right mind, I returned everything and got most of what I spent back, but by then the damage was already done.

Anyway, about fifteen minutes after creating my new ‘online diary,’ I came to my senses, asking, “What in the fuck am I doing?”

It was as if I had suddenly awakened. I immediately deleted the damn thing, knowing I already had one that I could use.

Black Horse

He lost nearly everyone, some to the virus, others to the vaccine. Now, Travis was forcibly removed from his house to a government relocation camp.

Quickly, Travis figured out how to escape the compound. He immediately disappeared into the mountainous terrain of the high desert.

Soon he regretted his decision as starvation had taken hold of his body.

It was mid-winter and very little food available for the wildlife, let alone for a foraging human. Finished, Travis sat down in the snow and awaited death to overtake him.

In the freeze of early morning, Travis finally saw his Black Horse.

Another Memory Slip

Mom loved her pulp mags. We always had four or five issues on the coffee and side tables next to our couch.

One article I read when I was 11 was about Sister Aimee McPherson, an evangelist and founder of the Four Square Church. The story horrified me because, as I remember it, she burned to death after refusing to abandon her church tent when it caught on fire.

Fifty-years later, and I can’t find that version anywhere. The story now is that she was believed to have drowned only to reappear in the desert claiming she was kidnapped.

Mandela’d again.

Recognition (5/5)

It wasn’t until they had both cleared the town and were in an open field that it came to his mind that he might be chasing a shadow, so he stopped as the hooded man continued. No longer being pursued, the hooded man stopped and looked back, lowered his hood, revealing himself to be a woman.

Still not sure if the person was real or fake, he stepped forward. Without warning, she raised her gun and fired.

He lay on the damp earth, feeling her soft fingers pushing his hair lightly from his eyes and gently caressed his dying cheek.

Trouble with Time

Time trouble comes from not fully understanding how our perception can be distorted. For instance:

  • Marilyn Monroe and Queen Elizabeth of England were born in 1926, and yet we think of one as an old woman and the other, a sex symbol.
  • Anne Frank and Rev. Martin Luther King were each born in 1929, making them younger than the Queen of England.
  • Thomas Jefferson died when Harriet Tubman was four years old, and Ronald Reagan was two years old when she passed away.
  • “The Lion King,” “Forrest Gump,” and “Jurassic Park,” movies all released in October 1994, are now closer in time to the Apollo Moon Landing of July 1969 than they are to February 8, 2021.
  • Charlie Chaplin, a star of the silent film era, lived long enough to see the original “Star Wars,” considered to be a computer graphic imagery masterpiece.
  • And even if he were still alive, born in 1935, Elvis Presley is younger than William Shatner, who was born in 1931.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t help wonder what my parents did with their time since neither had a television growing up. But then at one point in my life, I didn’t have the Internet or a smartphone, and now I find myself wondering what I did with my time.

Finally, my son, at 28, has never known a world without television or the Internet. I wonder if he ever thinks what it must have been like for Dad to have grown up in the “good old days.”

Recognition (4/5)

For months, he battled the ‘demons of the mind’ as he called them. They came, and they went, and he continued to function despite the frightening rapidity of their occurrences.

One morning he hiked to a nearby town. It was abandoned and had been for some time, but it was still the best place to find rags and other odds-and-ends to help make life easier.

The movement was slight, but he had seen it. He quickly raced around the corner in that direction only to find the hooded man standing there.

“Stop!” he shouted as the hooded man began running.

Recognition (3/5)

Soon his mental wanderings became worse. He’d find himself having arguments with nearby trees, and once he believed himself to be playing the harmonica, only to awaken to see his pistol in his hand.

“Was I thinking of killing myself or something?” he asked.

The thought frightened him so much that he decided to not pack the weapon with him when he was out foraging. Instead, he’d carry his rifle for protection.

While checking his trap lines one afternoon, he found himself confronted by the same stranger who had rapped at his car window.

“Hallucination,” he laughed, as the stranger vanished.

Recognition (2/5)

The old car, an abandoned station wagon, was now his home. It sat in a copse of trees, on a slight hill near a creek.

Over the two years that he’d been there, he’d pulled out the seats and the steering wheel and added whatever materials he could find from his surroundings. It was there that he slept, and there that he began to have dreams of ‘her.’

He had no idea who she was, yet she comforted him, lightly stroking his face and pushing his long, matted gray hair out of his eyes. He would jump awake every time.

Recognition (1/5)

He knew his mind was beginning to slip. Three years of solitude does that even to the strongest of people.

It began with the first recurring nightmare. It was set back in the time before.

In it, he’d fallen asleep in the front seat of his car and was startled awake by a sudden and harsh rapping on his window. Turning to look, he saw a hooded figure peering at him, and the sight caused him to jump so violently, he woke up.

Looking around, he was still safe in the old car that he’s stripped out two years before.

Hush

Whatever happened, happened quickly and without warning. It left the world filled with things that were once human that now feed on anything that makes the slightest noise.

When he can, Bill listens to an old Walkman he found, with its single cassette tape, ‘The Shaggs, Philosophy of the World.’ It is not his favorite kind of music, but it does the job of whiling away the long, lonely hours.

Sadly, he dropped it, and the noise it made nearly got him killed. Only by running did he save this life.

Bill learned his lesson and now lives in silence.

Possible Dominion Voting Systems Contract

So someone is still looking into voting irregularities in Nevada. They claim this is part of the contract between Dominion Voting Systems Inc. and the State of Nevada, Pages 3 and 4, Section 8 and 9:

8. Confidential Information. Customer acknowledges that the Software and related documentation (collectively, the ”Information”) (i) constitutes confidential and proprietary trade secrets, disclosure of which would materially injure Dominion’s business and competitive position, and (ii) is exempt from disclosure under, the terms of any applicable freedom of information, open public records ad or similar statute (“FOIA Statute”). Dominion Voting Systems, Inc. Customer therefore agrees, to the maximum extent permitted by law, to keep confidential and not to disclose any of the Information to any other person or entity, or use such Information for any purpose other than as expressly permitted by this Agreement. Customer shall limit disclosure to employees of Customer having a need to know to perform their duties to Customer who have agreed in writing to be bound by the restrictions of this Section 8, Customer shall take any and all action necessary or appropriate to assert all applicable or potentially applicable exemptions from disclosure under the FOIA Statute and take all other legally permissible steps to resist disclosure of the Information including, without limitation, commencement or defense of any legal actions related to such disclosure. In the event Customer receives a request for Information under the FOIA Statute, Customer shall inform Dominion of such request within ten (10) days of Customer’s knowledge or such shorter period as necessary under the FOIA Statute to avoid prejudice to Dominion’s ability to oppose disclosure, Dominion shall use its best efforts to assist and support Customer’s exercise of any statutory exemption in denying a records request under the Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/1 et seq.). In the event that Customer becomes subject lo fines, costs or fees pursuant to Section 11 of the Freedom of Information Act (5 ICLS 140/11) relying upon Dominion’s claim that the information requested is exempt, Dominion shall indemnify Customer for those fines, fees and costs, notwithstanding any other provisions In this agreement. In the event Customer is required by court order to disclose any of the Information, Customer shall give written notice to Dominion at the earlier as soon as reasonably practical after tile imposition of such an order. 

9. Prohibited Acts. The Customer shall not, without the prior written permission of Dominion:

9.1. Transfer or copy onto any other storage device or hardware or otherwise copy the Software in whole or in part except for purposes of system backup;

9.2. Reverse engineer, disassemble, decompile, decipher or analyze the Software in whole or in part;

9.3. Alter or modify t11e Software in any way or prepare any derivative works of the Software or any part of parts of the Software;

9.4. Alter, remove or obstruct any copyright or proprietary notices from the Software, or fail to reproduce the same on any lawful copies of the Software.

And here, I thought this matter was settled.

Bird Watcher

Bored after nine-months of quarantine, Brody slipped out of his house and into a nearby vacant field. And like he used to, Brody took his binoculars.

Sitting quietly, enjoying the sun and breeze while bird watching, Brody was alarmed at the sight of a drone dancing along the treetops on the other side of the field. Dropping his binoculars as he scrambled to his feet, he raced home without looking back.

The following morning he found his abandoned binoculars hanging on a chair in his kitchen. Panicked at the sight, Brody barely heard the pistol slider close before being executed.

Valuing Fantasies

Shortly after boot camp, I saw an article in a magazine about this ‘poor guy,’ who only had a van to live in, spending his time fishing to eat.

“What a life!” I thought.

Eventually, I altered that ‘story,’ making it mine. It included moving to the big island of Hawai’i, peddling a rickshaw bicycle, shuttling tourists around, buying a VW bus, and living on the beach. This little fantasy got me through a lot of trying moments, some that nearly cost me my sanity and a couple, my life.

Recently, I’ve been fantasizing about getting an old horse trailer…

First Rule

“I don’t want to hit it,’ Darwin said.

“You have to,” his supervisor said, “It’s part of the program. Besides, it’s only a robot.”

“Yeah,” Darwin countered, “What if it’s as smart or even smarter than they say it is?”

“Remember Asimov’s First Rule?” the supervisor asked.

“Yes,” Darwin answered.

“Repeat it to me,” the supervisor said.

“A robot may never injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm,” Darwin said.

“Great,” the supervisor said, “Now, hit it.”

Darwin lifted the bat, but the robot took it away before he could swing.

A printer came on somewhere in the laboratory, printing the result: ‘Human is injured by the thought of hitting the robot.’

It had grown more intelligent than its creators.

I Am Not Alone

For 20-years I’ve been blogging and not once has anyone from my home-area ever joined in this task. And while he is not joining me, per se, I am happy to say that I can no longer say I am alone at this.

Please welcome my long-time friend Rick, and please follow his endeavor…

Yesterday is the future, or in this case, the future was 2 days ago. Tom Darby and I established a texting channel outside of FB’s Messenger 2 days ago. We are both highly censored and doxed and canceled and blacklisted and whatever other tricks the fascist tyrants implement these dark days. It is the…Solutions Will Present — SISKIYOUS LIFE

Welcome, Rick!

Number 272


He did everything correctly after the world went to hell. He made it to his initial ‘bug-out’ site and reorganized himself before heading off on his 400-mile journey home.

By the end of the week, he had started traveling at night, avoiding towns, stopping during the day to sleep. Three months later, he came to Giuntoli Lane, knowing he had less than 90 miles to go.

Deciding to cross an open field through some cows to a copse of trees to rest during the day, he had forgotten that the cows, now wild, might have different ideas. He could not outrun #272.

Stephen Timmons, 1956-2021

More bad news as my cousin Stephen Timmons died January 22, following an accident in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, where he lived. He jus’ turned 65, having been born in Enid, Oklahoma, January 3, 1956.

We had only ever met once in 1964 when I was three, and he was seven and that was at my Grandma Agnes’ funeral. All I can recall about that time is the turtle, the ‘midgets’, and the watermelon we enjoyed eating every night.

Years later, we contacted each other through social media and had tentative plans to get together this coming summer. Stephen had such a great sense of humor, was quick-witted, and an all-around great guy.

While I treasure the time we had getting to really know one another, I’m gonna miss his friendship.

No Allowance

“You’re always making up stories to get me to do stuff you don’t want to do,” my son said when he was eight-years-old.

“You’re only saying that to get out of doing your chores,” I said.

“I’m not either, and you know it,” he said.

“What story have I made up?” I asked.

“Well,” he answered, “like the one where you said you’d toss me through a portal into another dimension if I didn’t clean up my room.”

“That’s not made-up,” I returned. “What do you think happened to your older brother?”

“What older brother?” he asked.

I smiled, “Exactly.”

The New Danger

He was standing at the cellphone store’s window. Taffy recognized her former levitation and potion’s teacher right away.

She joined him.

“Though you might not be here,” he said.

“Had no idea that I was going to be here,” Taffy returned.

“Yet here you are,” he said.

After a brief silence, he stated, “The old magic is in danger from the new.”

“The new?” Taffy asked.

He pointed at the items on display, then disappeared in a puff of smoke. Taffy turned to see a woman with a cellphone camera.

“What..?” she said before also vanishing in a smoky cloud.

Weird Old Things

Even with his ancient eye-sight, he could see the three boys, his grandson’s, as they crossed the flat below his hillside perch. The youngest, as was usual, was trailing behind the other two.

Behind the old man was a sheep flock, guarded by two large dogs. He scanned them, then set about preparing the three meals for the boys.

“Got a big-ears, Grandser,” the eldest said as he dropped the jackrabbit on the ground.

“Looks good,” Grandser, their name for their Grandfather, answered.

“I only got a stupid groundhog,” the middle grandchild complained, “He’s so noisy.”

He was speaking of the youngest grandboy, seven or 8. The two boys sat down and began eating before their brother made it into camp.

“See what I found?” the youngest said, holding up a faded and nearly rotted piece of paper.

Grandser held his hand out. It was an old advertisement insert from a newspaper. He examined it and knew it must go into his treasury, a cave where he kept things of the past.

“So what is it?” the boy asked.

“It’s ads for food from a grocery store,” he answered.

“A grocery store?” the child questioned.

The older of the two boys made a disapproving sound with his teeth before saying, “Now you done it. He’s gonna be talking about weird old things all day long. Great!”

Grandser smiled at the eldest boy as he looked at the prize his youngest had brought him. Finally, he found what he was looking for, below ‘$4.99 a pound for New York Steak,’ the date, January 29, 2021.

“Eat up, boy!” he said to the youngster standing before him.

Day at the Races

It was a beautiful day, sunny, with a few high clouds and no wind. Social elites, movie and television stars, politicians, and sports figures gathered for this first-ever televised event of its kind.

“And here they come,” the announcer stated over the public address system as the racing gates moved up to the starting line for the beginning of the first showing.

The crowd cheered at the sound of the bugle call, alerting spectators to the start of the race.

The bell rang, and the announcer shouted, “They’re off.”

Within seconds, eleven adult racing tyrannosauri’ tore through the terrified crowd.

First Contact

The four pods slipped through Earth’s atmosphere. Three landed without a problem, while the fourth tumbled wildly, killing its single male occupant.

Of the other three, while safe, one had dropped far from the other two. That capsule held a female, who upon exiting her craft, found herself alone.

For nearly a year, she searched to find another survivor without success. Then one morning, she discovered the debris field and the site of the fatal crash.

Hopeless, she ran through the woods, ignoring all possible dangers. Without warning, she found herself attacked from behind.

Quickly, she pulled her survival knife and slashed at her attacker, who howled in pain, jumping off of her. It was one of the group of four she had come with, the other man.

She needed only to look at him to convey her question.

Still holding his bloodied rib cage, the man pointed at a camouflaged pod. She rushed over and banged on the door.

Slowly, the other woman slid the door aside and stepped out, holding a baby. She smiled.

The two looked at each other, then hugged. It was the first real contact the first one had felt since leaving her red planet.

A Convo with the Big Guy

Chatting with the Big Guy a while ago, I asked Him if I could ask a question.

“You know you can,” He said, “so shoot.”

I had to slow my breathing down as I found myself excited before asking, “Why do You have me writing about what I’m writing about?”

“You mean, opposed to writing about politics and such?” He countered.

“Yeah,” I said, “it’s like I suddenly had to change directions again.”

“It’s not like – it is that I had you change directions,” he stated. “I had you educating before. Now you’re pointing out the ramifications of not learning.”

Blink in 12 Megapixels

She took pictures of the inside through the front window, planning to send them to her brother in another state. After several tries, Micky gave up, settling for a simple exterior shot and an address.

“He’ll have to look it up online himself,” she said.

The next day as Micky sat at her kitchen table, she remembered her cellphone and the many frames of nothing she’d managed to take of the house’s interior. Intending to delete them, she screamed when she found that one of the pictures wasn’t blank at all, and the eye in the photograph –blinked at her.

The Chilean Army, 21 Sep

As I thread my way through my old photographic files, every once in a while I find myself seeing something I didn’t see before…

The army of the Kaiser and the Furher lives on, but not in Germany. The Chilean Army still uses the uniforms, traditions, weapons, and marching music of 19th century Prussia as well as that of the Wehrmacht WWII era.

A touch frightening, I will admit…

Primary Colors

The State blocked his only window. They covered every window on that side of the gray high rise so that no one could see the stylish gathering on the other side of the street.

But it didn’t stop Lucas from peeking. After, he found himself wishing that he hadn’t because what he saw angered him.

For years the State had been sucking Earth dry of its primary colors after finding a way to produce energy from color, then taxing citizens for that production. Now, Lucas wondered why corporate heads, politicians, and celebrities were allowed to ‘colorize’ while he lived colorless.

Hunted Down

He decided to use his only day off to go for a walk. Arnie peddled his bike from his apartment to the nearest preserve, turning down the trail leading through the dense trees and into the marshy area, frequented by bird watchers.

Suddenly, he heard the high-whine of an ‘Autonomous Airborne Vehicle.’ Fearful, Arnie tried hiding, recalling the attack on Capitol Hill only days before.

But it was of no use – the AAV found him. The thing hovered in front of Arnie until he reached out and took his ever-demanding device from it,  the device he’d purposefully left at home.

Stacking the Fact-checking Deck

All fact-checkers used by organizations like Facebook, Associated Press, and others must be certified before being approved and licensed by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN.)

And while I am not a fact-checker, I’m pretty thorough about the facts I present. Unfortunately, I’m still having trouble with various social media platforms and their fact-checkers.

To that end, I decided to do a little digging into the IFCN.

One IFCN certifier is American University School of Communication professor Margot Susca. She has bragged about being on “Team Hillary,” even posting a photo of herself in 2019 with Hillary Clinton, where she admitted, “I’ve been on Team Hillary since ’08.”

She has also appeared on Russia Today, criticizing Donald Trump.

“It is hard for me to be an objective observer of this presidential administration when for years now they have continuously tried to delegitimize and marginalize news reporters for doing their constitutionally protected job,” Susca said.

The IFCN Code of Principles states, “The applicant is not as an organization affiliated with nor declares or shows support for any party, any politician or political candidate, nor does it advocate for or against any policy positions on any issues save for transparency and accuracy in public debate.”

The Cawling


It was as if the Raven had a built-in clock. It came every morning at ten for the offered snack of nuts, crackers, and cooked meats.

Jennifer enjoyed feeding the large blackbird. She had become so used to the Corvus, that she even talked to it as if it understood everything she said.

Then one morning the Raven was over an hour late, and when it finally did arrive, it was joined by four others like it.

Each removed their beaked-masks, revealing their humanoid faces, and the original Raven said, “We should talk.”

Jennifer wasn’t a bit surprised.

Society Broken

Why bother!
It is what it is.
Doxing, canceling, violence, silence.
The four horsemen of Society Broken have ridden down upon us.
While the alarm warned, we sat back in our comforts, lifting not our hands or eyes.
It is a dark winter that drives us downward.
Let me write of what might be, not on that which is happening, save in hidden silence.
Safety.

Affiliation

It was the celebration of the season and Victor felt honored to be invited. That honor quickly evaporated three days afterward, when the party’s host was arrested for ‘failure to take pandemic precautions.’

Soon a list of all the party-goers was leaked to the state-media. And even quicker, Victor found himself a pariah on social media and among his colleagues.

Worse yet, were the managers, who vowed to make him pay for his activity, writing, “Whether on or off the clock, employees are prohibited from affiliating with subversive persons and prohibited from doing anything that brings disrepute to the State.”

My Cousin Elmo says, “In one day, President Biden’s gone from ‘Elect me because I have a plan to stop COVID’ to ‘Trump didn’t leave us a plan.'”*

*CNN repeated Biden’s claim that Trump didn’t leave the Biden administration a plan for vaccine distribution, never mind that millions of vaccines have already been given out. Then, Fauci contradicted that claim, on the record. Sad that mainstream media is more interested in promoting an agenda than fact-checking a falsehood. Takes the fun out of joking about another possible Biden gaff.

The Way It Was

It was a sunrise and a nightfall since he’d left Virginia Street for Geiger Grade. Declan recalled how hopeless he’d felt as he pushed the hand cart, filled with supplies, up the narrow dirt trail, and along the mountainous slope.

Now he was less than a day away from Virginia City, his new assignment. He was to join the remaining twenty-nine people stationed in the town, all there to help maintain its upkeep.

Above him, he saw a battered and worn red and yellow sign and recognized the word ‘museum.’ Whatever else it said, he couldn’t read it, the thing was so neglected.

“I haven’t seen that old sign since I was a little boy,” Declan smiled, letting the memory wash over him, like a warm wave.

As he stood looking up at it, he wondered, was the sign an advert for a museum in the town, or was it for the surrounding land, filled with untamed scrub pine, rocks, and dirt. He couldn’t recall and being tired and hungry, he had no desire to even try.

It was then that Declan realized that no one would miss him and turned the cart off the trail, guiding it up the hillside.

NHP Investigating Fatal Crash

A mid-morning crash on Sunday, January 17, 2021, has left one woman dead. The Nevada Highway Patrol says the accident happened at about 11:15 a.m., involving three vehicles on US-95A at Quince Avenue in Silver Springs.

Investigators say that a green 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup was southbound on US-95A, but failed to slow for a black 2014 Nissan Titan pickup as it was waiting to make a left turn from US-95A onto Quince Ave. To avoid hitting the Nissan, the Dodge tried to go around the vehicle, driving into the northbound lane of US-95A, striking a white 2015 Peterbilt commercial vehicle head-on.

Seventy-two-year old Jacqulyn Cook of Silver Springs was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was hurt.