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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Twinfessions Collection #1

So if you follow my twitter or facebook you will no doubt have seen the recent rash of twin-related confessions, which I dubbed Twinfessions.  Yes, I am a twin.  Identical, even.  So I thought I should have a little fun with it.

I decided to collect the twinfessions once in a while here.  Let's see how long I can keep these going.


Twinfession #1: Sometimes when I don't want to talk to someone, I tell them I have a twin. It's not technically lying.

Twinfession #2: Sometimes I wake up at 3am and punch myself in the face, just to keep my brother in Atlanta on his toes.

Twinfession #3: In 4th grade my brother and I switched places and never switched back. No one has noticed.

Twinfession #4: Since we have the same genes, my kids refer to their uncle as "Daddy 2". His can call me "Cool dad."

Twinfession #5: I don't know. What's it like NOT being a twin?

Twinfession #6: Once my brother was sick for Halloween . I just went up to every door twice and told them I was him.

Twinfession #7: My older brother is like a canary in a mine; if he ever gets a random pain, I know I’ve got 3 minutes.

Twinfession #8: When one of us dies, the other will experience The Quickening. There can be only one.

Twinfession #9: If you hit me, my brother will not feel it. But you will when I hit you back.

Twinfession #10: Whenever someone picks a fight, we inform them that we used to be triplets and let their imagination run.

Twinfession #11: Twins are just when a drunk fairy forgets to take the original baby when leaving a changeling. I'm looking at you, Bob.

Twinfession #12: Triplets are when a doppelganger and changeling become friends.

Twinfession #13: Yes, twins can share thoughts. But all my brother shares are cat pics.

Twinfession #14: When we were really young, our mom would just guess which one was which. I wonder which one I *really* am.

Twinfession #15: Identical twins consider fraternal twins to be twinposters.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fear and Loathing in DC

Congratulations, America, on your purchase of a Trump!  Trump will be a good addition to your home if you remember three simple rules.
1) Do not feed your Trump's ego after midnight
2) Do not let your Trump near camera or TV lights
3) Do not let your Trump get wet.

In all seriousness, however, we, as a nation, are going to be led by this man who may very well be the least qualified person not currently in jail.  That is not to say he is not qualified.  He does meet the requirements: He was born in the US, he is over 35, and he has lived here for the last 14 years.  But that's where his qualifications for this job cease.

I have my fair share of friends who voted for Trump, and I asked many of them what they saw in him and why they were voting for him.  The answers were mostly nonsense.  They want change.  They don't like Obamacare.  They feel he is a party-man.  They like his ideas.  Hillary is guilty of x crime.  Hillary is a liar.  Hillary laughed at rape.  EMAILS!
When asked about the crap Trump says he wants to do, the answers were all-too-familiar.  The checks and balances will stop him.  These are actually good ideas.  It's just politic/locker room talk.  He didn't say/mean that.

Before I delve into this rant any further, I want to make my observation.  Stephen Colbert pointed out a poll that said 4 out of 10 Americans feel the other party (than their own) is dangerous.  That is to say, 40% of republicans think the democrats are a danger to the country, and 40% of democrats think the republicans are a danger to the country. An article claimed that this was an election "of fear." I also read a comment on twitter that, unlike previous elections, the losing side is not simply depressed, angry, and sad.  They are in real fear.  This fear sets this election apart from all others, and is not a good start to what promises to be an eventful presidency.
My observation is this:

The republicans are afraid of Hillary because of what the GOP claims she might do.  The democrats are afraid of Trump because of what he says he will do.

This is not an "us vs them" argument.  Trump's words are on tape, video, twitter, etc.  You can look them up yourself.  These are not fear-mongering attempts to control the undecided voter; these are the actual hopes and promises of the presidential candidate himself. We are afraid because he makes us afraid, not because our party wants us to fear him.

Now for the boring part I'm sure you'll skip. Yes, it's a rant.  I pride myself on being able to look at both sides, and usually I am pretty fastidious about where I get my sources, how truthful I am being, and how honest I am being with myself.  Like everyone, I slip, but unlike everyone, I have the time and training to actually research.  I want to attack these things one by one.
- When I heard someone claim that they are voting for Trump because they want change, they tell me that they don't care if it is positive or negative change... or they deflect.  Change for the sake of change is not a good thing.  Change must be productive, and well-thought-out for it to be beneficial.  If you are working on the bottom rung of a company and hear that there are going to be "staff changes," you would be smart to start looking for a new job in your free time.
- They don't like Obamacare.  Well fine.  It is not perfect.  I've seen people who have been burned by it, though far more people depend on it.  Removing Obamacare is going to cost us a lot, all of us.  But what are you going to replace it with?  The current plan is to get a plan.  This is irresponsible.  You are willing to put millions of people's insurance at jeopardy without knowing what is going to replace it?  Last I hard, Trump said everyone will have to pay their own way.  That is a death sentence to tens of thousands.  That is a step backwards.  We, as a society, should be beyond that.
- Trump represents the party.  If this were true, wouldn't GOP members be flocking to him, instead of bailing out left and right?  He has never represented the party - and that is part of his appeal.  He is the outsider, the man of his own ideals and ideas, however flawed they may be.  The PARTY is bending to HIS will, not the other way around.
- I don't know how anyone can like his ideas and consider themselves a normal human being.  The wall is pointless (it will not work), expensive as hell (trillions, plus maintenance costs), and paying for it is a debacle (Mexico will not pay for it, but Trump has *said* he wants to put SANCTIONS on them, our ally, until they do.  International bullying?  What the Hell!?).  His economic plan is, essentially, to bankrupt America and then "work out a deal."  His plan to end abortion is to punish the women.  He has no healthcare plan.  He wants to deport every illegal immigrant AND THEIR LEGAL FAMILIES en masse. He wants to end the 1st Amendment to make it easier for him to sue the media (and who knows what other crap that will cause...).  His gun plan is to have more of them. His plan to deal with terrorists is to waterboard them (or worse) and then "go after" their wives and children. These are actually things he has said.
- Out of every crime people like to accuse Hillary of, from murder to rape to controlling Bill's accusers to being a security risk, she has been investigated by competent, real people who would like nothing more than to put her away for a long time and in every case it turns out there either isn't enough evidence to even present it to court or it was made up.  People are hypocrites when it comes to her automatic guilt in crimes, but Trump's automatic innocence.  He has been embroiled in far more lawsuits, including 3 rape cases, charity fraud, racist rental policies, and racketeering.  There's still a chance he will be in jail - as a felon - on inauguration day.  No, Hillary is not nice or likable, and there really is some shady stuff in her past, but none of the stuff she is actually guilty of holds a candle to what Trump has been found actually guilty of.
- I have to laugh when people tell me Hillary is a liar.  But it's true.  She is a liar.  She has lied quite a bit.  According to politifact.com, as well as every other reputable fact checker out there, she has lied between 13% and 17% of the time.  Here's where more of the hypocrisy comes into play.  These fact checkers have determined that Trump is also a liar.  About 53% of the garbage he spews from his mouth is a lie.  That means he lies more than 3 times as frequently as Hillary does... and his lies tend to be worse.  He has more "pants on fire" ratings.  They aren't even imaginative lies; half the time he's simply saying that he didn't do or say something that he definitely did or said (on tape, in front of thousands of people, or on twitter).  I cannot abide lying, and I hate it every time I heard one from Hillary, but Trump?  The very thought of him makes the pit of my stomach give out.
- Hillary did once defend a rapist because that was her job and she was appointed to it.  It would have been remiss of her (and possibly illegal of her) not to do so.  And she won, like a good lawyer should.  Had it been Trump, the GOP would be praising him.  Years later, she was in an interviewing laughing about not trusting polygraphs anymore after that case.  No, she never, not once, laughed at a rape victim.  Listen to the audio.  It's online.
- The emails, GOD THE EMAILS!  How often has she been exonerated, and how much the people blew this out of proportion.  When Comey decided to show his colors (turns out the FBI is heavily Trump-leaning) and announce that he was simply investigating emails that mentioned Hillary, an announcement that is highly unethical and simply not done, its timing could not have been more suspicious, and its impact could not have been more auspicious.  Although she was again exonerated, the damage was done, and most analysts agree that Comey single-handedly handed the election to Trump.  If there is a God, Comey should spend the rest of his life behind bars. I'm more worried about the fact that he will turn the FBI into some sort of secret service.  Oh... I'm not bragging or being hyperbolic.  Under Hoover's command, that's exactly what many politicians and agents thought of the agency.  It has happened before, and it may well happen again.
-The checks and balances or other politicians will stop him?  What, like they were supposed to stop him from being the nominee?  Right now he has the majority in both sides of Congress, the GOP will refuse Obama's final Supreme Court Justice nominee and give the SC to the GOP.  ALL he is lacking is a supermajority.  He has executive orders now.  The checks and balances will mean shit.  The other members of his party would crawl backwards to attend to his every whim, just as they have ever since he was their nominee.  Besides, shouldn't you NOT be trusting in the checks and balances to stop a madman?  Shouldn't you INSTEAD not VOTE for the madman?
- These are good ideas only if you are a terrible person.  If you have any sense, you should see them for the crap that they are. Every bit of progress our country, perhaps the world, has made is in danger of being undone.
- No.  Shame on you.  This isn't locker room talk.  I would never say that in a locker room.  I would not be friends with someone who would say that in a locker room.  I would never even THINK the shit that comes out of Trump's diseased mind. And I hate him all the more for implanting such horrific thoughts.  No, this isn't politics as normal.  Trump is not a politician.  Yes, he lies when he thinks it will get him his way.  But these promises? Even if half of them are lies, the other half would still be true.  You all need to take the things he says seriously.  Chances are, he means them.

WHEW!  You made it through the rant.  Now if you are a rabid Trump supporter, you are either ready to (or currently?) write up a scathing rebuttal full of things you believe to be true, but, given time, I will gladly show you are false.  I'd ask that you save us both some time and just don't.  Because this next little bit is the important bit.

Trump lost.

Trump lost the same as Bush lost.  Neither man should (have) serve(d) in the White House.  Neither man was elected by the people.  They were elected by the electoral college, an outdated and extremely flawed system that is susceptible to gerrymandering (which the republicans have done in spades) and corruption.  There is some old and misguided idea that rural areas need to be protected, so their votes are worth more.  That very thought is anti-democratic.  It is anti-American.  But that's one of the reasons the last two republican "presidents" were not voted in by the people.  And look at them.  Bush was a laughing stock.  He had an abysmal approval rating.  He plunged us into debt.  He had negative job growth.  He started endless wars that he didn't pay for, predicated on a lie.  By any agreeable measure, he is one of, if not THE worst president in the history of the United States.  And now he's about to get Trumped.  No, I am not giving Trump his fair chance.  I do not think he deserves one.
And if you want to defend the electoral college, try me.  But I guarantee you that if Hillary had won on electoral votes and Trump on popular votes, you would also be decrying the idiocy of this backwards system.

A final thought.
This election was important for a lot of reasons, and failed in them all.  One reason, however, remains of vital importance and could well make this the single most important, and worst, election in history.  In other elections, in other years, no matter how bad it got, there was also the promise that in 4 years, we'd get a chance to boot the "bad" guy out and put another guy in who can undo all that damage.
We don't have that promise this time.  I'm not saying Trump will do something like declare himself president for life (but I wouldn't put it past him).  No, I'm saying that the damage his policies could have on our environment are not something that will go away, that we will recover from.  Ever.  There likely will be another president after him, and then another...  but they won't be able to undo the damage to our eco-system.  This is a man who believes that climate change, which is now confirmed as real AND as human-made, is a hoax invented by the Chinese.  This is a man who said that he wanted to ABOLISH the EPA to make it easier for businesses.  Now he wants to put the world's leading Climate Skeptic into position over THE EPA. He has said that he wants to destroy the Paris Climate Agreements. I cannot imagine a scenario worse than this. At this time we are experiencing an unprecedented level of extinctions (1,000 to 10,000 times higher than natural rates). In the last 40 years, we've lost HALF of all wild animals.  75% will be gone within three lifetimes.  And by 2070, the coral reefs may be beyond repair.  To you, these might seem like numbers.  But what they mean is that, unless we act *NOW* to mitigate the damage, we may well have triggered events that will see the end of our species.  After all, you can't eat money.
Trump may be our president.  But if he follows through on what HE IS SAYING HE WILL DO, he will also be our downfall.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


I don't know if it is the late time, the fatigue of the day finally getting to me, if it is simply my unusual mind finding a way to amuse itself...

But I find myself wanting to be challenged by going a whole day without saying a specific sound.  It may be difficult.  I seem, though, to be able to do it, to put my thoughts into cohesive, well-made sentences that still sound decent.  Let's see how long I can keep it up.  Some things I want to say need me to find inventive ways to convey them.  And that is the fun thing about this challenge.  Don't make it too difficult, too odd.  You don't want it to be impossible.  Then again, going all day without SAYing it may not be a good idea.  I might pause in mid-sentence,  take a long time to put my thoughts into something intelligible, even back up when things get out of hand.  So maybe, just maybe, I could make a tale, a fable, that has a distinct lack of this specific symbol.  On second thought, too many things have this symbol... plus if I don't call attention to it, no one might notice.  If I do call attention to it, the plot itself might seem weak, a gimmick.  I wouldn't want that.

I could just make a blog post...

Monday, July 11, 2016

California Dreamin'

Memory is something that is subjective, unreliable, easily-swayed, and often flawed, but it also forms the very foundation of who we are.  What are we if not the sum of all our experiences, the sum of our memories?  Most people think they have an excellent memory, but most people are quite wrong.  I think my memory is pretty good, and I have some evidence to back this up, but I am probably wrong as well.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to engage in a conversation about earliest memories.  What is your earliest memory?
Most people didn't remember things until they were in kindergarten or first grade.  One woman claimed she didn't remember anything until second grade.  I remember stuff from when I was 3.  Not 3rd grade.  Just 3.  Maybe even earlier.  And it's not a little.  I remember a good deal.  Granted, it is probably wrong, probably jaded or influenced by later thoughts. However, anything I remember from California is likely from before the age of 6.  This is what I remember.

One of my first memories is when I escaped the den and got into the kitchen.  I was an early reader, and apparently around 2 or 3 I could read some words, words I had a vested interest in... namely the word "sugar."  I remember thinking it was a weird word because it didn't sound the way it was spelled.  I knew sugar was a white, granulated substance that starts with an S and is found in the kitchen.  So when I found a small blue box of the stuff, I downed it.
To this day, I still cannot stand anything that is over-salted.

But there are more.  So many more.  I remember the dog, a standard poodle, running me down in the back yard after it escaped from the gate/got away from the person at the gate.  I don't remember anything AFTER that.  I remember that there was  tall red or brown fence and a very large dog on the other side that would peek over it at us, but I honestly can't tell you what the dog looked like.  I remember the back yard, the swing, there was something else back there, electrical... perhaps a pole. I remember when they were building the addition to the house, there was sawdust in the driveway and I had on shoes with tiger stripes on them... so I thought if I stepped in the sawdust it would look like tiger footprints and scare people.  I don't think it worked.

I remember the massive house at the bottom of the hill that had the most amazing christmas decorations every year.  I remember when mom and dad went to Germany and we got to stay with our grandparents for a while.  I remember my grandparents' house... the back yard where there was a citrus tree and cat tombstones behind the bushes, a large, covered back porch wit ha screen-in room, a large avocado tree grew near the stairs and we used to swing on the branches.  There was a crawlspace under the house we used to play in, especially when cousins were over.  There was Amos, the dog that would sing with grandpa.  In the back room, there were pictures my sister drew before she died.  We had Christmas there one year, all our stuff on a hard, red-cushioned sofa.  I remember grandma sitting us kids down because someone dialed 911 and hung up.  I remember getting in trouble for touching (literally, I just TOUCHED) grandpa's stereo system.  This was after I was already in time out for swinging on the avocado branches. There was a wooden den you had to step down into with an old dial TV that clunked when you changed the channel.  Teddy Ruxpin was a show I used to watch on it, with my very own Teddy Ruxpin beside me.  I have so very many vivid memories of their house.

One of the earliest memories I have is from a dream.  Mind you, I was 2 or 3 at the time.  I used to lean down and "spit" (inject saliva?) into the carpet.. I have NO idea why.  It stopped after this dream.  I did it and mom and dad wanted to see me.  They were in bed, only on the side they normally weren't on.  Dad asked what it was I did and I explained it.  He wanted to try, but wouldn't get out of bed, so I got an old VHS tape and handed it to him.  After he spit into it, he got red and the top of his head popped open.  Things of all sorts, like those fake snakes in the peanut can, flew out of his head.  That one freaked me out.

I remember being potty trained.  I remember asking how much toilet paper to use to wipe.  Mom used to have us sing a little song (to the tune of "Beethoven's 5th", "I am all dooooone."  and if it was number two, we would complete the phrase with "going poopooooooo!") so she would know to come in and wipe us (don't ask, she has issues with cleanliness).  We had little potties that we took in the van with us on long trips.  I even remember some of those long trips.. the Grand Canyon where dad pretended to fall in and freaked out mom.  Once we were in the desert and needed to use some sort of bladder to cool the engine... not really sure.  And we had little white harnesses with leashes to keep us all in check.  Nowadays, they hide those things like little backpacks made of animals, but kids still know them for the straight jackets that they are.

I remember seeing a picture of a girl in our house, a girl I didn't recognize.  I believe I may have seen it in grandma and grandpa's house, too.  When I asked mom about it, she told me it was my sister in Heaven.  She didn't really say much more about her, other than her name.  Little did I know that the wounds were still very fresh to her.  After all, what is two or three years?

I remember seeing my dad's parents a few times in their home in California.  We didn't spent as much time with them, but we did like playing with Marc, our older cousin, the only one on that side of the family. He was in a wheel chair and we always get his hand-me-down underwear.

Perhaps my first memory, however, is when my grandmother... or was it my great grandmother... died.  I have only one memory of her... visiting her in a hospital or hospice room... seeing her on a bed in a strange place.  And then, a short time later, having to dress up to go to a funeral for her.

The more I delve into my memories, the more come back to me. Swim lessons, the old house, the old pets, throwing a wooden block at my brother's head (the scar is still there), having my brother's hairy birthmark removed (the scar is still there), seeing gaps in the bark of the tree in the front yard, going to school, my brother's first "girlfriend," teasing him about her, my first crush, taking forever to get to school if grandma or grandpa drove, slamming my foot in the door in the parking lot at the school, the poem I wrote in Kindergarten which won some sort of award (The Windbow), releasing tons of balloons from the church grounds, learning that if you poke a snail its eyes withdraw, ringing the bell at the church (or trying to, we didn't weight enough to pull the rope down too far), visiting my sister's grave with flowers, the Donut Man playing songs at our preschool, explaining to the class that both 2+4 AND 4+2 both equalled 6, hearing an autoharp for the first time, when my sister stepped on broken glass, when we celebrated by dead sister's birthday with spaghetti (her favorite), the many trips to Disneyland, the first time I stole something (a small piece of wood in the shape of an owl I think), our first ice cream cone (sitting on the washing machine so mom could clean us AFTER our first ice cream cone), Haley's Comet coming by and claiming I couldn't see it when I did (I was 4 then), bathing with all three of us in the tub at once, the little jingle on TV for a mexican restaurant (Ay-yi-yi-yi someone stole my taco!), learning how to read hyphenated words...

Perhaps that is enough nostalgia for now.  But I like to think that I was formed in those days, that those memories are someone at the core of who I am.  I feel sorry for people who don't remember these childhood formations. But perhaps this is why I have always been in touch with my "inner child."  In a sense, I still am that child.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Episode VII - The Return of the Blogger

I seem to post apologies to this blog more and more often for being absent.

I'm not sorry this time. No! My wife and I had another baby a few months ago and we have been busy.  I joined the Masons (which means I now have things to memorize).  I am trying desperately to find time to work on my novel.  I'm struggling with a personal crisis.  I'm drowning in housework.  I'm tired all the time, and cranky most of it.

But I am still here.  I am still alive.

Some of you may have come here from my short stories.  Some from my meditations in Forward Movement publications.  Some may even be here because of my open letter to Brian May (still my most popular post).  But whatever the reason, know that I'll get back to posting.  It may be sporadic, but it will happen.

In the meantime, enjoy a laugh.