Thursday, December 13, 2018


With less than a month to go in 2018 and reflecting back on the last several years in this country, as well as globally, it would seem that ideologically speaking, our planet is taking a pretty direct veer to the right. Rather than being aligned with the Allies, it would seem that we have more and more nation-states auditioning for parts as a member of the Axis team, which we all remember fondly from World War II. Do we remember that, or teach it to anyone anymore, and the harsh lessons that were learned there?

It would almost seem that is not the case. I remember pretty vividly comedian Jay Leno, on the “Tonight Show” in one of his “Jay-Walking” exercises asking random people who had been some of the Axis leaders. One answer stands out pretty well. Apparently, Tim Hitler led Germany into war against the world. I bet he was a fun guy!

Seriously, we seem to have forgotten the principles that make up ANY democratic, or pluralistic society. Y'know, those ones about people striving to be free? This would also encompass being equal and safe under the law, but we've pretty much thrown all of that out the window with the abrogation of our III, IV, V, VIII, IX and XIV amendments. Lest you think I'm just getting all fancy with my Roman Numerals, let me assure you that I do know some Constitutional Law and I've also spoken to some law officers who've agreed with me. They're also concerned that we've violated Writ of Habeas Corpus, as well. Shit. The only thing we lack in this fun-house are snappy uniforms and jack-boots.

I realize too that I've whined down this road before and I'm never gonna say “I told you so”, because in the end, any country gets what it deserves, when it votes stupidly. I truly believe that. I've been working as an Inspector for the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections and this election was remarkable, especially here in Florida.

We had three very close races that ended in recounts and manual recounts, and even ended up with Miami-Dade County's Election Supervisor resigning in disgrace (honestly, she shoulda gone long ago; that whole county is crooked as a dog's hind leg, in my opinion).

I was already mad at Senator Bill Nelson (D), because one year ago, last September, when I was calling people like mad, and other Senators, Congressmen and all kinds of people to rally the vote for Net Neutrality, I couldn't even get my own damned Senator to set up a Town Hall meeting, 'cause he was worrying about re-election. He did absolutely NOTHING for us, the men and women who spent years building and improving the internet. I set up so many Town Hall meetings for other Senators and people, but I could never get Bill Nelson to do something this important. So, when the General Election came around, I wasn't surprised that he and Rick Scott, our soon-to-be ex-Governor, who has all the charisma of a crowbar were pretty much neck-and-neck and it was RECOUNT time! Not just for the Senate race, but the Governor's race and the Secretary of Agriculture. (Rick Scott DID win for those keeping score at home.)

All of these too-close-to-call races came down to a bunch of school-yard name-calling, neener-neener-ing and the usual shenanigans that always seems to devil Florida politics, but this almost the worst yet; the worst being the year 2000, when we had no President for what seemed liked an eon; I early voted in N. C., where I then lived, went on a concert tour, moved back to Florida, after celebrating the New Year and we STILL had no goddamned President. It took the Mary Kay of Political Nonsense, Kathleen Harris to throw the vote to the GOP, after months of flap-doodle about hanging chads, bushels of ballots being thrown out of the backs of moving vans on I-95 and more chicanery than ever existed in Huey P. Long's imagination when it came to rigging politics.

Throughout our history, we've tried to burnish our political wheelings-and-dealings with a patina that it doesn't quite deserve. We may mouth plenty of good words about how we stand united and how equal we all are in the eyes of the law and flower it up a bit to make it sound really pretty, but the fact is, we've really done a pretty shoddy job here, pretty much since our inception. Our performance is patchy at best, but, in the past, we were able to fend off such icky things as tyrannies and treating our Leaders as Cult figures – although we're skating on thin ice in this area right now – because we had this remarkable capacity to sit down and discuss our differences like the rational humans we purported ourselves to be.

Yes, we did live through the era of President Obama and to a fault, I never heard an African-American say “Obama's OUR President!” - I voted for him - I was thrilled that he was elected and never saw the type of behavior that has been witnessed with the election of Donald Trump. No one on “the other side” behaved as though they were some found member of a long-lost Wu-Tang Clan bandsman crossed with Jesus, nor acted with the kind of superiority one sees from the Trumpkins. By the way, I vote principles, NOT platform; put your crayons away, you haters.

Is this just the kind of ass-hattery that occurs to simpletons who find themselves on the right side of the so-called rising tide of some ill-gotten demagoguery that will most surely come to a bad end when Robert Mueller finally does subpoena Donald Trump? Trump cannot possibly think that he is going to pardon himself on these charges of malfeasance and payments and kickbacks and bribes to shut up mistresses and I could go on and on and on, but you get the point.

I rather think that Trump will resign and then paint himself as a sort of martyr, rather than ever have the bald facts surface and have the countless naifs see him (well, maybe) for who he really is. The truth is, it will be one more excuse to see the truth through the prism of their own ignorance and once again, cry “fake news!” and completely mis-read everything that has gone on in this country for the last decade or so. To say that we have just insulated ourselves within our own echo chambers, via the internet and like interests is also to say that we have truncated our own ability to discern what the real truth is.

It is completely easy and understandable to go ahead and say “nay!” to anything that is in opposition, when we have Balkanized ourselves so completely. To truly educate ourselves, we MUST reach out, must go where it is not comfortable, must expose ourselves to thoughts and ideas that expand what we think we might hold to be self-evident. There is no certainty any more and we must get used to that.

We need to face one another in this time of near-crisis; for ourselves, our planet, our future and our sanity and most importantly, for our grace. For if we do not do this thing and come to accounts with each other, we will surely perish and soon.

Rant Over!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018


After being dormant for so long, it seems there is a plethora of things and themes and subjects to write about. I want to pursue fiction, but am not sure I'm all that creative. When I was in high school, I was trying to write a piece of music and the best I could come up with was “meh”. One of our Composition teachers had an ABSOLUTELY FOOLPROOF METHOD for writing the perfect melody and we hastily got to work.

We sat side-by-side on the piano bench and blocked out some chords and then carefully picked out the notes, according to Mr. Hathaway's method. I put them all together and then added some rhythm and syncopation in the melody. It looked beautiful on paper. It rose and fell and died away and came to a beautiful conclusion. I eagerly played in on the piano and looked at Mr. Hathaway. We both looked at one another for a minute. Then, we busted up. “That's horrible!”, he said. I agreed. I'm no composer, although I can INTERPRET music beautifully and make it my own, so, using that as my guideline, I am not sure that I can create fiction.

I'm a hell of rhetorical writer and great with historical events and dissecting things and analysis, but I'm not sure that I can cobble things up out of whole cloth. I've dipped my toes into some flash fiction which is fun and I think I need to continue in that vein and then go from there.

Anyway, I see that my shambolic life has leaked into my blog. What was to have been a post just about where I had been and what I was not doing all of this time and ending with my crap-tastic fall that garnered me a broken left hip, has somehow confused the #IWSG gang. (See previous post.) THIS is the #IWSG post, ha. Oh well. I do things like this all the time. I had entered “#IWSG” in the title and of course, Blogger helpfully remembered it for me. Gah. Anyway, happy IWSG'ing everyone! I do hope you're all looking forward to the Holiday season. I certainly am!

Sunday, December 2, 2018


NOTE: This was intended to be posted on this blog on Thanksgiving Day, but because Google got really stupid and wouldn't recognize my 2-step Authenticator, I ended up posting this on my tumblr blog instead, which made me not one bit thankful or happy. I then spent the next week wrestling with Google to get them to REMOVE said 2-step authenticator, which they finally did, today. Argle. Google is really the worst when it comes to customer service. Anyway, enjoy some warmed-up turkey. At least it's not baloney!

I haven't blogged in quite some time, or barely written anything. Something I've sorely missed. I know that it took me years to develop my own “voice” and style and I should probably be flayed for letting it slide, but I've let a lot of things slide in my life lately, due to a severe case of “I don't give a shit”.

I've gotten to a certain age, where benchmarks and things that define us normally as people, are fewer and fewer in my future, with the exception of death, and that is just a stark, and bleak outlook, one I need to shed myself of, but seem hell-bent on hanging onto, never mind the fact that I am only 62 years old. Rather than looking for new things to do, I've been worrying over this fact like a dog chewing on a huge Brontosaurus bone that has no ending and I've found myself unable to get out of it.

Thus, the only way to do so, is just to DO something. Do ANYTHING. I think I had a bit of a wake up call too, when I broke my hip recently. On October 2, 2018, I was walking to the bus stop to take the bus up to Hillsborough Avenue and then walk the ½ mile to my doctor's office. For those who've been playing along at home, and may not know, I'm legally blind and I had a run-in on my way to the bus stop with one of our local hobos. He just irritates the shit out of me and has been trespassed from every little business in town. I had just chased him off and was agitated, and I really wasn't paying attention. I was nearing the corner of Floribraska Avenue, and Nebraska Avenue, and my cane that I carry, letting people know I'm legally blind, hit the part of the curb that is elevated for wheel-chair users, while I was down in the trench where the actual wheel-chairs ride to cross the street; this effectively creates a mini-ramp for them, but it's an obstacle for all visually-impaired people, because the curbs are not painted in a bright color to bring awareness to the height difference.

It doesn't help that the infrastructure is crumbling and uneven in this part of town, but there are many visually-impaired people here. "Legally blind" generally means there is SOME vision. Had there been bright coloring on the berm, I would have seen it. Tampa needs to fix this shit.

It was at this corner where I fell; I was up on the portion nearest the light pole and my cane had gradually gone down into the ramp. I have no depth perception and couldn't feel the difference, as I was moving quickly, the way I normally do.

Now, being visually-impaired, I'm used to falling and I know how to check myself, but this was different. I tripped so quickly and fell and fell like a tree that had been felled in a forest; hard and swift, and I fell directly onto my left hip, and knee. I had on a sun dress and I heard a crunch. I was able to pull my head to the right and keep my head from hitting the cement, which would have been disastrous; my neck ached for weeks afterward. But I did fall so hard, that my brain seemed to re-boot. Reality just kind of changed for a minute; colors were different, everything was muted and everyone moved so slowly. I just lay there on my side. I knew I was badly hurt.

Two people; a man and a woman, came running from somewhere, I didn't see where and helped me up. I could put no weight on my left leg and I sure had one hell of a strawberry on my left knee. Idiotically, what went through my head first, was a nick-name my dad had for me when I was a kid “Red-Knees Wallace”. I was certainly living up to that name now! The second thing I knew was that I was in extreme PAIN and I have an extremely high pain threshold. I was in the hospital once over a domestic, and I went an entire week with a broken right hand, before it dawned on me that that nagging pain wasn't going away; I had two smashed knuckles. My current pain was much, much worse than that.

The two people asked if I wanted an ambulance; I said “no”; I needed to see my doctor on this particular date. So they helped me hobble to the bus stop, but as I sat there waiting on the bus, I realized that there was no way I could walk the ½ mile from where the bus was going to let me off to the doctor's office, so I called a cab. The cab took me to my doc's office and we got our business done and I took a cab home, where I somehow thought I was going to “gut” this out.

The “gutting” out lasted about six hours. Every move I made; trying to go to the bathroom, trying to cook something, trying to lie down was just excruciating. I even just took my normal night meds and lay there for about ½ an hour and said “screw it; this isn't going to work”, before I got up, hobbled around and packed up a few things and then hobbled out to my porch. I apparently left every light on the house on, including the porch, as Alex told me later – he came over and very thoughtfully turned them all off.

The EMTs took me to TGH and they took x-rays which were inconclusive, so they dumped me in Observation for a while, which is a tomb-like area in the bowels of the hospital. After two days of trying to get comfortable and being miserable, they came back and took some more x-rays and said “Okay, you're now PRN, and we're gonna operate. You got 2 options. One is we put 3 screws in the side of your hip, but at your age, you're gonna have to deal with arthritis and more surgeries later on. Two, is we replace the hip and you have a bit more rehab, but no more surgeries or arthritis, and blah blah blah”. I had quit listening after “no more surgeries or arthritis”; I can rehab like a mo-fo.

They thought I was gonna ride around in this here wheelchair? I decided I'd be better off pushing the chair, since they wouldn't let me have a walker quite yet. Silly hospital; they kept me in a monitored bed, which meant bedpan, and I don't know if you've experienced the new "slenderized" version, which just lets everything run out the sides and onto the bed. It's terrific! Said no one ever.

So, that evening after the surgery, I was up and in a wheel-chair, and then I got up out of the wheel-chair, and pushed it around my room for a bit. I hate wheel-chairs. I was discharged to an inpatient rehab place for another 10 days after my surgery, because I live alone and there was some fear that I might fall again, plus, I don't live in the safest place in the world. While in rehab, I did my job.

I rehabbed like a mo-fo, and was up and walking all over the place and it just continued when I got home. I was hearing all of these horror stories about people who were still in wheel-chairs four years after their surgeries and I'm not about that. I'm agile and mobile and here we are six weeks after my fall; I walked a mile yesterday. I exercise and work this body, so I need to work my mind and heart as well.

I need to share the gifts I cultivated with my blogging friends and participate with the people I love and care about. It's difficult living alone, but it's no excuse to shut myself off from people who care about me and whom I love dearly. For doing so, I'm heartily sorry. Nebraska Avenue craziness and my own craziness is still happening and I need to share it with you all. To everyone, a Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!