In Reply

From my email this late afternoon: “Why do you announce to the world that you have mental health issues? Don’t you know that can come back and bite you in the ass? Aren’t you afraid?”

Here are my answers: It is the right thing for me to do, yes, and no. 

Now to expound on that, because none suffice.

Firstly, I am a military veteran, and I have mental health issues that developed either during or shortly after my service. Secondly, there are veterans all across the U.S. who battle these same issues.

Finally, they are either ashamed to admit, like I was, that they have problems or fear getting turned out by friends, family, and acquaintances and have no idea that what they are living with and through is common and natural. By expressing myself and being forthcoming, I might help some other person, veteran or not, find a way to deal with their mental health issues and get the necessary assistance to move forward in this ‘dis-ease.’

Thank you for asking and worrying about me, but remember, what other people think of me is none of my business.

Cheese and Crackers

It has been a minute since my cheese last slipped off my cracker.

As I was on my way home from a potluck last Wednesday evening, I felt a slight change overcome my mood. The best I describe it is I suddenly, and not for any discernable reason, I describe as ‘sad,’ though that is not what depression in my case is.

With the 45-minute drive, I was feeling hostile, anger, upset, but at what, I had no idea. My wife noted that I seemed out of sorts, and if she could see it, I knew something had gone south in my mental stability.

She was already in bed, so I went into my office to lay down. I fell asleep at some point, and by morning, I did not want to get out of bed.

It was a struggle to get myself moving as I had stuff that needed doing. I mowed the yard, cleaned the front flower bed of dying plants, washed the sheets, and made the bed.

What a fight it was to do these simple tasks, but I got them done. As the evening closed, I went to bed early, praying for an easier time come the following morning.

While I slept, it was neither deep nor restful. When it was finally time to get up, I had to battle the urge to stay in bed again, forgetting my responsibilities, sleeping, or playing dead.

Either one would have been okay with me.

The depression had stuck to me like an ingrown hair on my butt. However, it finally broke and became a case of melancholia by early Saturday morning.

That is where I am at this morning. I am waiting for my manic self to reappear, so I can continue to complain that I have insomnia as the inability to sleep is easier to deal with than the ‘depression sleep.’ I’m betting by Wednesday that I’ll be back at the top of my game.

Haunted House

We had not been in our new home for three months yet when Halloween came around. My son was six-years-old at the time, and he was excited about going trick-or-treating in our new neighborhood.

One night, as he was getting ready for bed, he asked, “Can we go to a haunted house?”

As he climbed between the sheets, I smiled, “Sure, but what’s wrong with the one we live in?”

“What?!” he exclaimed, his eyes as large as saucer plates.

“That’s right,” I said as I turned off the lights and left the room.

That night he slept with us.

¿Eres tú, Batman?

Darkness was beginning to settle as I hurriedly walked home. I had spent much longer at the local pub than I meant to, and now I was in trouble with my wife.

Along with the night came an unsettling fog that slowly wafted its way between the nearby trees and the narrow path I followed. As I approached the corner where I would be in sight of my house, I froze dead in my tracks.

Across the roadway and less than 50 feet from me stood a lone dark figure. We stood there, staring at each other for at least half a minute as I was too frightened to move.

“Batman,” I thought as I noted the pointed ears and the cape draped over his shoulders and hanging near his knees. Then I thought, “…or Satan.”

As I was preparing to run for my dear life, a pickup truck came bouncing down the road, and I breathed a sigh of relief when its headlight flashed over the figure: a horse with a blanket on its back.

Nervous laughter followed as I quick-stepped my way home and the ass-chewing I had coming for not being home when I said I would be.

Bullied

As Frankie entered my laboratory, I asked, “Whats was wrong, son?”

“The kids at school are bullying me,” he said.

“How so?” I asked.

“They are calling me a freak,” he said. “One kid even said I was an accident.”

I frowned as he asked, “Am I an accident, Dad?”

Frank Jr. is reaching that awkward age, so I knew this was coming.

“Frankie, you are one of the only children who entered this world completely on purpose,” I answered. “I chose every one of your body parts myself.”

He smiled, picked gently at his stitches, and said, “Thanks, Dad.”

My Cousin Elmo says, “So, the bills are washed, the laundry paid, the clothes are in the oven, and the last load of dinner is in the dryer, and my wife claims I’m no good at multitasking.”

Native Nevada and Political Correctness

The Marketing and Communications Department at UNR has introduced a diversity, equity, and inclusion guide, requiring staff to avoid saying “Native Nevadan,” as it may be offensive to the indigenous population, meaning Indians.

It says: “Refrain from using the term native Nevadan as a general term for people born and raised in Nevada as it is not respectful to Indigenous people who truly are native to the land here in Nevada. Instead, use phrases like born and raised or lived in Nevada their whole life.”

According to the guide, its purpose is to create a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable environment dedicated to “raising up every member” of the community and “helping one another.

My son is a Native Nevadan, born in Reno, but there is no inclusivity for him. 

Las Vegas Man Accused of Voter Fraud

Nearly a year after this blog documented the federal elections fraud that happened in Nevada in 2020, a Las Vegas man finds himself accused of voting twice, including once using his late wife, Rosemarie, name, during the 2020 election.

Attorney General Aaron Ford’s office is accusing Donald Kirk Hartle of voting more than once in one election and of voting using the name of another person. Hartle said that someone forged her name to a ballot.

The Nevada GOP promoted Hartle’s claim in its efforts to cast doubt on the 2020 election. Because of this, the Nevada Secretary of State’s office investigated Hartle’s claim despite Barbara Cegavske repeatedly saying that her office could not find any evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Hartle, reportedly a registered Republican, could face up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine on both counts.

There Was This Great Story in My Head

Have you ever had one of those days where you’re busy and cannot stop and take the time to write at the moment?

Have you ever had one of those days where you repeat, edit and revise a story in your head because you cannot stop and take the time to write at the moment?

Have you ever had one of those days where you tell yourself that you’ll remember the story because you could not stop and write at the moment?

Have you ever had one of those days when by the time you get home, you’ve forgotten what the hell it was you were going to write?

Arrgghh!

The Unmasked Smart-Ass Strikes Again.

Had to go to the post office this morning. I remembered everything — wallet, phone, package, but I forgot my mask.

Decided that since I was already in the parking lot, I would not return home for it. Besides, businesses usually have those cheap sky-blue masks available for “we, the forgetful.”

Not today.

Since no one said anything, I remained in line. There were 15 or 16 people qued up awaiting service.

Two persons behind me, a 20-something guy suddenly calls me out for not having a mask.

I smiled, “I forgot it.”

“Well, you shouldn’t be in line then,” he said.

“I know,” I replied with a straight face, “And I don’t have any underwear on either, so what’s a person to do?”

Everyone in line and the two women behind the counter laughed. The guy turned red, dropped out of line, and left.

So Really, What is in That Damnable Bill

Unable to sleep last night, I read the FY21 Budget Reconciliation Bill, thinking such mundane, boring legalese would make me fall fast asleep. Instead wound up staying up all night and morning making notes. I have done my best to remove the opinionated-verbiage I use when researching such a touchy subject. My apologies should you find any offensive references hidden in this listing.

  • Assigns $8 billion to commission the Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) (pages 8, 21, and 926).
  • Requires funding for school construction to be used on enrollment diversity and Green New Deal agenda items (page 55).
  • Includes a $10 billion “environmental justice” higher education slush fund to indoctrinate college students and advance Green New Deal policies (page 1,935).
  • The bill blocks the ability of many faith-based providers from participating in the childcare system and will lead to many of their closures (page 280).
  • Requires pre-K staff to have a college degree. (page 303)
  • Illegal immigrants will be eligible to take advantage of ‘free’ college entitlement (page 92) as well as being eligible for additional student aid (page 147) and the enhanced child tax credit (page 1,946).
  • Increases OSHA penalties on businesses that fail to implement the mandate up to $700,000 per violation and includes $2.6 billion in funding for the Department of Labor to increase enforcement of these penalties (page 168).
  • The bill includes language that favors unions in labor disputes, subjecting employers to penalties that exempt union bosses and officials, including preventing employers from permanently replacing striking workers (page 175).
  • Forces businesses to meet union boss demands by increasing Fair Labor Standards Act penalties by 900 percent (page 168).
  • The bill would subsidize union dues (page 2323).
  • Spends $643 million on “procuring…culturally appropriate foods” (page 333).
  • It eliminates the Hyde amendment and mandates taxpayers to pay for abortions (page 198) and (page 336).
  • Creates methane (page 367) and natural gas tax of up to $1,500 per ton costing $9.1 billion and 90,000 jobs (page 368).
  • Effectively forces Americans to get 40 percent of their energy from wind, solar and other forms of energy within eight years (page 392).
  • Five billion dollars for “environmental and climate justice block grants” (page 377) and another $100 billion in green energy special interest subsidies.
  • Two hundred and twenty-two billion dollars in “green energy” tax credits will be given to those who can afford expensive electric vehicles and other “green” innovative products (page 1832).
  • Includes “equity” initiatives throughout the bill including “equity” language inserted into a title focusing on the maintenance of the U.S.s’ cyber security efforts (page 897).
  • Grant amnesty to around eight million illegal immigrants at a cost of around $100 billion over ten years that would largely be spent on welfare and other entitlements (page 901). Trillions more would be spent long-term on their Social Security and Medicare.
  • The bill would waive many grounds for immigration inadmissibility, including infection or lack of vaccination status during a Pandemic, failure to attend removal proceedings in previous immigration cases, and the previous renouncement of American citizenship. DHS may also waive previous convictions for human trafficking, narcotics violations, and illegal voting (page 903).
  • At least 226,000 family-preference visas would be administered each year (page 905).
  • Language included in the bill exempts certain aliens from the annual green card statutory limits and has been described as a “hidden pipeline for U.S. employers to flood more cheap foreign graduates into millions of middle-class careers needed by American graduates” (page 910).
  • Two-hundred million dollars is earmarked for the Presidio Trust in Speaker Pelosi’s congressional district (page 933).
  • The bill prohibits mineral and energy withdrawals (page 979), by overturning provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that authorized energy production in the Arctic that will result in 130,000 Americans losing their jobs and $440 billion in lost federal revenue (page 983) and the mineral withdrawals it prohibits would include minerals necessary for renewable energy sources (pages 934, 940, 943).
  • The bill would mandate the conversion of the entire federal vehicle fleet from internal combustion engines to electric engines at a time when there is a global microchip shortage and crippled supply chains (page 1,043).
  • Concepts from the Endless Frontier Act included, including $11 billion in research funding that will result in American intellectual property going to China (page 1079 – 1081).
  • Two-hundred and sixty-four million dollars to the EPA to research with environmental justice groups on how to transition away from fossil fuels (page 1063).
  • Adds a nearly $4 billion slush fund that would help grassroots organizations that, among other things, want to tear down and rebuild or otherwise alter infrastructure deemed “racist” (page 1183).
  • Mandates “consequences” for states that don’t meet “green” climate standards while at the same time adding nearly $4 billion for “Community Climate Incentive Grants” for cooperating states (page 1179).
  • The new paid leave entitlement would mandate workers get 12 weeks of paid leave and would cost $500 billion over ten years (page 1245). It would apply to those making up to half a million dollars a year (page 1254).
  • The bill spends $835 billion on welfare (page 1943).
  • The bill lifts the State And Local Tax (SALT) deduction cap.
  • The bill creates a new tax credit program that gives tax credits worth 40 percent of the cash contribution made to university research programs (page 2094).
  • Obamacare’s employer mandate will become more severe by adjusting the definition of “affordable coverage” to mean coverage that costs no more than 8.5 percent of income rather than the law’s 9.5 percent of income (page 2041).
  • The corporate tax rate will increase by five-and-a-half percent, meaning American companies will face one of the highest two-thirds in the world, with two-thirds of this tax hike falling on lower and middle-income taxpayers (page 2110).
  • The bill would permanently double the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit’s (EITC) marriage penalty on childless worker benefits (page 2036).
  • Guts the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act small business deductions that reduced pass-through entity taxes to keep them comparable to taxes imposed on corporations (page 2235) as well small businesses that file as individual tax earners with the 39.6% rate (page 2221) and Obamacare’s three-point-eight percent tax on net investment income.
  • The bill would impose a 25 percent capital gains rate (page 2226) and cut the Death Tax exemption in half (page 2240).
  • Eighty billion dollars to hire 87 thousand Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents to review bank accounts above a $600 balance or with more than $600 of transactions in a year. (page 2283).
  • The bill repeals the Rebate Rule which passes through rebates directly to consumers at the point of sale (page 2465).
  • The bill includes healthcare policies imported from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom (page 2349).

It is nearly noon and I’m tired. I think I’ll take a nap.

Still Pounding Sand Where the Clintons are Concerned

In August, China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile that orbited the planet before racing back down toward its target at more than five times the speed of sound. The test left U.S. intelligence surprised, indicating China is making quicker progress in developing hypersonic weapons than previously known.

Beijing has denied the report, saying that it had conducted a routine test of a space vehicle.

(I wrote in April 2015)

Eleven years ago, in May, The Washington Examiner reported, “Clinton Foundation staff pushed Hillary Clinton’s State Department to approve a meeting between Bill Clinton and a powerful Russian oligarch as her agency lined up investors for a project under his purview.”

The oligarch was Viktor Vekselberg of Renova and the overseer of the Skolkovo Innovation Center. Shortly after, Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a speech in Moscow from Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank with connections to the Kremlin.

Not only was Vekselberg a Moscow agent, but he was also a Clinton Foundation donor and involved with Uranium One, whose sale the Clinton State Department would approve, and whose executives together contributed $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.

A 2012 U.S. Army report on Skolkovo, by the United States European Command (EUCOM), says:

“…the Skolkovo Foundation has been involved in defense-related activities since December 2011, when it approved the first weapons-related project — the development of a hypersonic cruise missile engine. The project is a response to the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, part of the Prompt Global Strike program.”

Then in November 2016, the U.S. Air Force released a report on the Russian and Chinese hypersonic missile threat to the U.S.:

“The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation are already flight-testing high-speed maneuvering weapons (HSMWs) that may endanger both forward-deployed U.S. forces and even the continental United States itself.”

“These weapons appear to operate in regimes of speed and altitude, with maneuverability that could frustrate existing missile defense constructs and weapon capabilities,” it adds.

(I wrote in April 2015)

Again, from the 2012 EUCOM intelligence bulletin:

“Skolkovo is an ambitious enterprise, aiming to promote technology transfer generally, by inbound direct investment, and occasionally, through selected acquisitions. As such, Skolkovo is arguably an overt alternative to clandestine industrial espionage — with the additional distinction that it can achieve such a transfer on a much larger scale and more efficiently.”

It continues:

“…it is not clear how much leverage the U.S. industry has. Therefore, the key issue for U.S. policymakers is balancing the benefits of constructive technological engagement with Russia against the risks that Russia could leverage transferred scientific knowledge to modernize and strengthen its military.”

The FBI went further in 2014, sending letters warning U.S. tech companies that in dealing with Skolkovo, they risked possible espionage. And an agent in the FBI’s Boston office even wrote about the possibility.

“[Skolkovo] may be a means for the Russian government to access our nation’s sensitive or classified research development facilities and dual-use technologies with military and commercial application,” Assistant Special Agent in Charge Lucia Ziobro penned in the Boston Business Journal.

The FBI was also concerned about the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporations (Rosatom) acquisition of Uranium One. William Douglas Campbell got inside Rosatom in 2009 and gathered evidence that its agents were engaging in a racketeering scheme involving kickbacks, extortion, and bribery in the U.S.

(I wrote in January 2016)

Campbell also got a hold of written evidence that Vladimir Putin wanted to buy Uranium One as part of a strategy to obtain monopolistic domination of the global uranium markets. Campbell further warned that a Clinton Foundation donor was working for Rosatom while approval was pending before Hillary Clinton’s state department.

Her department and the Obama administration approved the transaction anyway.

A Witch Goes to the Doctor

The nurse escorted Hilga to an exam room, where she had to step on the scale, have her height measured and temperature taken. Finished, the nurse asked her to strip and put on a flimsy hospital gown.

“Doctor will be with you shortly,” the nurse smiled as she exited the room.

Minutes later, the doctor comes in, “What seems to be the problem, ma’am?”

“I’m having trouble holding onto my broom,” Helga answered.

“Can you be a little more specific?” the doctor asked.

“Yes,” Hilda said. “You see, I’m a witch by profession, and I keep flying off the handle.”

Betty Blur

With her jet black hair and bangs, Sally Mae was a beautiful woman. That’s why Anderson was frustrated.

Every time he tried taking her picture, the results were the same.

“Blurry again,” he’d complain.

As for Sally, she found herself in trouble for her actions.

“You do not have the right to speed up simply because we are not from this planet,” her leader said.

“I’m only having fun with the man,” she said. “What else is this body to do?”

“Let the man take your image,” commanded the leader.

Sally did, and then she changed her name to Betty.

The Staircase

“So what’s this one supposed to represent,” Apolonia Pena asked the park ranger.

“I can’t speak on behalf of the park, but I think it is a ‘shapeshifter,” the ranger said. “At least that is what Grandfather told me when I was a child.”

“It’s frightening,” Apolonia said.

“It is,” said the ranger. “I also think that Elders used it to make children behave, sort of like the boogie man.”

“So it could be a ‘made-up’ petroglyph?” she asked the woman.

“No, I wouldn’t say made up,” The ranger answered. “More like an ancient memory passed down from generation to generation.”

“Still, it’s scary,” Apolonia said as she and the other park tourist followed the ranger further up the canyon.

It had been a beautiful day, long and filled with picture-taking and long winding trails. Apolonia’s mind was full of adventure and images from all she had seen this day.

As she got back to her car, she sat and studied the park’s tour book. It was Apolonia’s final day of real vacation, and the next day would be all about traveling home.

She looked at the vehicle’s clock, 4:30. There was still a couple of hours of daylight left and time enough for at least one more adventure.

The ‘Staircase,’ a three-hundred-foot trail that wound its way up a cliff, had caught her attention. She wanted to see it and set off down the gravel road to find the thing.

It was not hard. The cliff, with its massive yellow-red rock, loomed to her left as she parked the car and walked to the short trailhead.

“I have time,” she said as she started up the steep trail.

As was her habit, she began counting her steps, “One, two, three, four, five…”

“217,” she said as she felt a stiff breeze push at her.

Hugging the wall as best she could, she counted, “398, 399, 400.”

It was beginning to grow cloudy and a certain grayness set in over the landscape. At step 509, Apolonia paused to look down.

Things looked different from where she stepped. Apolonia could not believe how high she was up on the side of the cliff, and she suddenly felt her heart beating hard and fast.

Still, she pushed herself upward, 743, 744, 745, 746. She could see the summit ahead, and she had to force herself to put on foot in front of the other.

Finally, she made it to the top, scrambling for the flat surface before her. To her fright, the space was only a foot wide, with a yawning crevasse below.

She sat down and caught her breath. Looking towards the skyline, she saw nothing but a jagged, rock-filled landscape, punctuated by the deep shadowy furrows of the many canyons between the ridges.

Still, her heart raced only now she could feel the sweatiness of her palms as she contemplated her hike downward. She looked at the distant ground below and heard the voice in her head whisper, “It would be easier to fall than to descend the trail.”

The voice left her even more frightened. Apolonia had never had such a thought before.

Slowly, she stood up and stepped, “One.”

She stopped, frozen, understanding that she was terrified of both the height and the voice and the words that still clung to he mind. She sat down again.

“I can’t do it!” she screamed as the sun dipped beyond the horizon and the sky grew even darker.

She sat, unable to move up or down, crying. By the time she had gathered herself, the sky had turned a dull black.

Below, Apolonia heard the howl of a coyote. Her mind drifted back to the image of the shapeshifter, and she shivered involuntarily.

Again the coyote howled. This time it was joined by others.

A cold sweat rolled down Apolonia’s back, and she suddenly found herself shivering violently, though the night air was warm. She wiped her tears away, laughing at her silliness and the thought of what a fright she must look with her mascara smeared over her cheeks.

Still, the coyotes howled and yipped, seeming closer than before.

She stood once again and continued downward, “Two, three, four…”

At her ninety-second step, she felt something brush against her face. She screamed at its touch.

“A bat,” she said. “Only a bat.”

She hugged the rocky wall as she heard more of the winged creatures come and go about her. She held her breath and closed her eyes, listening.

“One simple step to the right, and you’ll be off this cliffside,” she heard that voice say inside her head.

“No,” Apolonia screamed as she sat down again.

In less than half a minute, she stood and began her downward walk once more. Again Apolonia counted, only louder, trying to drown out that horrible, suggestive voice that was her own.

“93, 94, 95, 96…”

Sam Clemens, the Genzu Knife That Keep Giving

For years, even as a child, I wondered how long or if ever the people of Virginia City, Nev., knew that Sam Clemens and Mark Twain were the same people. The short answer is that Sam Clemens walked into a saloon and came out as Mark Twain.

And like those Genzu knife commercials of late-night television and childhood,”…but wait, there’s more!”

Clemens always claimed his nom de plume of Mark Twain came from his Mississippi riverboat years. Clemens said he “laid violent hands upon” the pen name after the death of riverboat Capt. Isaiah Sellers, who had used it in writing up riverboat news.

The term ‘mark twain’ means two fathoms of water.

It first appeared in a letter written to the editor of the Territorial Enterprise and published on February 3, 1863. However, Sellers was still alive at the time.

Clemens was hired by the Territorial Enterprise officially in August 1863 after reaching Virginia City in September 1862.

The Sellers story was accepted and published in “The Adventures of Mark Twain” by Albert Bigelow Paine in 1912. But in 1938, in “Mark Twain’s Western Years,” historian Ivan Benson questioned the story, saying “…there was ‘no original Mark Twain’ other than Samuel Clemens himself…”

He added, “Neither the name Mark Twain nor any single reference to Samuel Clemens occurs in the Sellers Journal…”

Meanwhile, Ernest Leisy, writing in 1942 for American Literature, added to the case. He searched New Orleans newspapers and found no use of “Mark Twain.”

Both reached the same conclusion; Sellers never used the name while Clemens worked the riverboats.

However, Lesy did find that Clemens had parodied a Sellers letter in the New Orleans Daily Crescent in 1859, signing it “Sergeant Fathom.” Leisy posited that Clemens “choice of the name ‘Fathom’ gave rise in his mind to the term used for the water sounding Mark Twain and that only in this remote, indirect way was he indebted to the redoubtable Isaiah Sellers.”

Five years later, Effie Mona Mack brought attention to an article in the Eureka Daily Sentinel of Eureka, Nevada. In 1877, editor George Cassidy, who had lived in the Virginia City area during the time Clemens wrote for the Territorial Enterprise, characterized Clemens as a bohemian.

Cassidy and other writers of the Sagebrush School gathered at a saloon on B Street owned by John Piper. He recalled Clemen’s habit of ordering two drinks at once and having both marked on a chalkboard behind the bar.

Recalling Clemens habits, Cassidy said he found backstory to the nom de plume to his riverboat days “too thin.” Shortly after the printed recollection, the Daily Alta California published Clemens upbraiding and redoubling his debt to Sellers for the pen name.

Paul Fatout, in his 1964 book, “Mark Twain in Virginia City,” believed the Cassidy version of the story, finding additional support for the saloon origin in another newspaper. An 1866 Transcript article published in Nevada City, Calif., backed his belief up, stating Clemens took his “regular drinks” at Johnny Doyle’s saloon.

“Well, ‘Mark,’ that is Sam, d’ye see, used to run his face, bein’ short of legal tenders…used to take two horns consecutive, one right after the other, and when he comes in there and took them on tick, Johnny used to sing out to the barkeep, who carried a lump of chalk in his pocket and kept the score, ‘mark twain,’ whereupon the barkeep would score two drinks to Sam’s account — and so it was, d’ye see, that he came to be called ‘Mark Twain.’”

The Transcript article confused Johnny Doyle, who owned a saloon in Dayton, with John E. Doyle of Virginia City. In 1865, John E. Doyle killed a man in self-defense at his own Doyle and Goodman’s saloon on C Street, Virginia City, which the Daily Union reported on March 14, 1865.

The article reminded readers that Doyle was the same barkeep for the Magnolia, which Doyle owned in Sacramento in early 1863. The newspaper report of the Doyle saloon shooting may have triggered the memory of Clemens in the 1866 Transcript.

Another story of Clemens’ drink habits came from a friend, Thomas Sawyer of San Francisco. Immortalized in later works by Clemens, Sawyer was a credible source of memories of the author’s time in “the city that Virginia silver built.”

In an 1898 interview, Sawyer recalled visiting Twain in Virginia City, where the pair frequented a saloon owned by Tom Peasley.

One night, barkeep Larry Ryan served them two cocktails, expecting Clemens to pay. Instead, Clemens held up two fingers, pointed to the slate, and said, “Larry, mark twain.”

When Ryan told owner Peasley about it in the morning, Sawyer recalled, “Peasley thought it such a good joke that he told all the boys, and after that Sam wuz dubbed ‘Mark Twain.’”

That Virginia City is the likely birthplace of the pen name is illustrated further in January 1864, in an article referring to Clemens as “Mark Two.”

In her 1990 book, “Mark Twain; The Bachelor Years,” Margaret Sanborn wrote: “Clement T. Rice, the Unreliable, reported the affair for the Daily Union…Last night a large and fashionable audience was called out to hear a message delivered by the Mark Two — otherwise called Twain.”

Clemens left Virginia City on May 29, 1864.

A Spoon Full of Sugar

The following information I culled from the Jerusalem Post:

“A new study from George Washington University noted that an aspirin regimen in more than 400 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the United States cut the need for ventilation by 44 percent, slashed ICU admission by 43 percent, and reduced overall in-hospital mortality rates by 47 percent.”

This article comes directly from today’s New York Times…

“Doctors should no longer routinely begin prescribing a daily regimen of low-dose aspirin to most people at high risk of a first heart attack or stroke, according to new draft guidelines by a U.S. panel of experts.”

It is interesting how what has worked for years (I have been taking a low dose each night before bed ever since my father had a fatal stroke in 1995) no long is recommended, and it comes only a day after another study states aspirin can treat COVID-19.

Richard Patrick ‘Doc’ Durden, 1946-2021

I waited till late this evening and after finishing my work for the day to write this…

It is important to tell you that I lost a friend today to death. Doc Durden was a giant of a man both in physique and in the eternal sense.

Pressed to get a COVID vaccine last week, he did. So did his wife, who felt a “little under the weather” the following couple of days, but for Doc, his health took an exceedingly dreadful turn for the worse.

Two days after getting the Pfizer dose, he slipped into a coma, and then his organs began to fail. The hospital sent him home on hospice care, and he passed quietly last night, Sunday, October 10.

My opinion — and I stress that it is only an opinion, is that there are usually underlying health conditions that the vaccine affects, causing death. As for now, I haven’t a clue what that condition, in any, could have been in Doc’s case.

Thanks for your patience and for allowing me to vent. I can do nothing else and therefore feel like I am rendered helpless in this situation.

Why these things happen is not for me to understand.

Fortune Cookie

Maggie finished her General’s Chicken and asked for the bill. When her server came and laid it on the table, she also gave Maggie a single fortune cookie, which Maggie immediately cracked open.

She ate half of the cookie as she read the slip of paper: “You will die by old age.”

Maggie smiled and put the paper in her purse as she withdrew her handbook. After paying, she left the restaurant to return to work.

Maggie would never make it. As she crossed the busy street, a car ran her over and killed her.

The driver was 96 years old.

Nice Guy…Not

I thought of titling this “How to Take Me From Being Decent to Becoming a Would-be Murderer.”
I saw a scared gosling trying to cross a busy roadway.
I pulled over and made my way to where I could safely reach the bird.
I motioned for traffic to be aware, and drivers reacted by slowing down and moving over.
I stepped out to pick the bird up, and a truck ran over the gosling, killing it, nearly hitting me.
I went from being a kind and loving person to the wanna-be killer of that truck’s driver.

I fucking give up.

The Making of a Trio

They met by accident on the sidewalk in front of the old folk’s home where they lived. Dark and 3:15 in the morning, neither saw the other till they each came to the walkway.

“You too?” Frank asked.

“Me, too,” Bill answered.

They headed up the walk to the front steps. That’s where Bill stopped.

“What’s wrong?” Frank asked.

“Forgot what I came back for,” Bill answered.

“Didn’t wanna admit it myself, but so have I,” Frank said.

“So, now what?” Bill asked.

“Since we’re spirits now, let’s go scare the shit outta Hal,” Frank suggested.

“Great idea,” Bill laughed menacingly.

The Elucidation of Ying and Yang

As Ying took his final breath, he found himself in darkness no man could describe. Ahead he saw the red glow of Yangs of eyes.

They widened before blinking, “What are you doing here?”

“How soon you forget.”

“But you are a mortal and cannot be here.”

“I was mortal once, but when you took my earthly life, I became spirit like you, and I am here to destroy you.”

The Dark-one looked up from its churning cauldron, “Stupid humans, finding elucidation in symbols without understanding their other meaning. Brothers trying to kill one another, knowing not why they battle.”