Thursday, January 31, 2019


Down the garden path
Now that we're deep into winter many
fantasize about greener pastures. As
the polar vortex hovers above much
of this country we've no choice but to
dream. Fortunately our mailboxes are
overflowing with seed catalogs. And
even ordinary grocer posies seem to
put a smile on anyone's face. So rather
than sit and stew, maybe it's time to...

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019


We against the world
All too often we're our own worst enemies.
For reasons unexplainable we set ourselves
up for failure. Or dive into quite challenging
circumstances. It's not that we're fools. Nor
do we enjoy cutting ourselves down inch by
inch. More frequently than we care to admit
self mutilation is the root of our inability to
accomplish anything of consequence. Hence
we find that we've dug a rut that is seemingly
insurmountable. Deep within the fog of our
malaise we wonder if there is light at the end
of the tunnel. Only to realize that we flipped
our own switch off. We relinquished power.
Dumb and dumber
We all have MOJO. A sense of self. An internal
drive that takes us to places we'd otherwise not
get to. Yet our internal combustion engines get
gummed up with contaminants. Gross errors in
judgement seemingly far beyond our control.
Then all of a sudden one is deemed as obsolete,
unnecessary or worst of all forgotten. It's often
at that point that we realize we've nobody to
blame for said mess but themselves. Wherever
we've ended up was due to a series of missteps,
detours, and mechanical failures. Leaving us
stranded or resolved to get to a better place no
matter what. And miraculously we... survive.
Veil of tears
Call it depression, oppression, or regression -
there isn't any pill to cure whatever ails you.
All that's required is the ability to see things
clearly. Honestly is always be the best policy.
However when it comes to self realization
clarity isn't as easy as one  thinks. Instead of
blaming ourselves it's much easier to blame
anybody but me, myself, and I. Yet such a
lack of culpability only fuels inertia. It stops
us dead in our tracks. Limited visibility limits
our ability to learn from our mistakes. Which
is why so much of us are repeat offenders. So
rather than move on we take the easy way out.
Repeat offenders
No wonder most of life's failures are somewhat
Pavlovian in nature. Like Elizabeth Taylor we
keep trying to find the perfect partner. So we
try and try again without coming to grips with
the root of our evil. Ultimately karma is a laser
beam focused on our inadequacies. Hence those
who haunt us are in essence ghosts of our own
making. How do some people learn from their
mistakes? By being brave enough to face reality.
Fantasy may be entertaining but it doesn't put
food on life's table. At some point we all must
grow up and embrace our individual truths. A
bitch slap of reality is the best wake up call.
End game
Ultimately there is a method to life's madness.
For most with age comes wisdom. And with it
the ability to see things for what they truly are.
Living in a state of perpetual candor just may
be the closest thing to heaven on earth. Rather
than fight impossible odds, the best of us focus
our energy on what we do best. Appreciating
the here and now fuels success. Thus even if
our physical bodies occasionally fail us, the
older we get... the better life gets. All too soon
this too shall pass. So be  assured that ultimately
we all discover that whatever went wrong was
worth our time and effort. No pain... no gain!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


One evening long ago I rushed onto
the M train (subway) as the doors
were closing. As I got my bearings,
I realized that my fellow passengers
were in a frenzy. All because a small
rat was in the car riding along with all
of us. Terrified, the poor rat ran from
one end of the car to the other as we
humans scrambled and screamed out
of it's way. We sat with our legs raised
as we waited to reach the next stop!
Upon arrival we ran out as others ran
in to grab a seat on the Rat Express!
Hop to it!
Our little furry friends aren't all that
evil. Like us they're trying to survive
this rat race that we call life. Yet for
whatever reason we innately loathe
rodents and when one is personally
confronted with their reality most
of us recoil and then do everything
possible to eradicate their existence.
Hence even the thought of a rodent
throws the bravest into a frenzy. So
if you've ever had a mouse in the
house you understand that's it's all
too easy to freak out! EEEEEEEK!
Bait and switch
In my younger and more vulnerable years
I decided to uproot my family and move
to Illinois. In those days of 18% mortgages,
Lincoln's state was a candy land of bargains
for rabid easterners like us. We purchased a
large and charming Victorian abode. Which
we furnished beautifully. Then one fine day
we came across some small black "seeds"
in our St. Charles custom kitchen drawer...
Quickly we learned that said tidbits
were actually mouse droppings. Now
fully aware that we had a problem we
searched and found black bits of terror
throughout our beautiful home. One
afternoon as we sat in our thirty foot
long living room we watched a mouse
scurry across our lovely new carpet.
That's when we realized that our new
home was INFESTED with a bevy of
furry friends. They say that when you
see one, there are at least ten more. In
our case there were hundreds more...
Poison Pill
We called in Orkin and quickly they
set poison and traps throughout the
house. It's odd what one gets used
to. Every dawn I would patrol the
battle field and swat poisoned mice
to death with a broom. Plus collect
traps full of the those who opted to
grab the tainted bacon. Weekends
I crammed steel wool into crevices
and spread mothballs out in crawl
spaces. We did everything possible
to rid our home of mice and WON!
Only to immediately MOVE OUT!
Gone but not forgotten.
You see, in the eyes of my family
our home was sullied. No longer
livable given rodents had been all
over the place. Just the thought of
their being near pushes even the
best over the edge. My infestation
taught me to be vigilant of vermin.
A skill that has since helped me in
all aspects of life - even the office.
You see most vermin rarely scurry
about with furry snouts and tails.
Instead they're ordinary folks who
are waiting for us to take the bait.
Follow me
Unlike the average house mouse human
vermin are fully aware that their actions
impact others. I've watched first hand as
one individual and his minions infested
a company and tainted it beyond repair.
The problem was that others didn't fight
the infestation. Rather we welcomed it
with open and naif arms. Initially the
biggest of rats try to both charm or woo
their prey. Slowly they nibble their way
to one's weaknesses. Reducing even the
most superior of species to easy targets.
Which is why some lead, others follow.

Superior species
Rats feed off others as their legions grow.
Therefore one must eradicate whatever
fuels their power. Why would anybody
allow vermin to take over? Rather than
be innocent prey, we must protect ALL
that we value. Which requires we act
with conviction. Bravery alone doesn't
make a super hero but it proves that one
is committed to doing the right thing.
That is what separates mice... from men.

Monday, January 28, 2019


Gunfight at the OK Corral
Wherever one lives, whatever one does, and
whichever way one believes is only part of
what makes America great. Our democratic
system of government is a carefully tuned
amalgam of checks and balances. One which
while in recent times has seemed somewhat
challenged, ultimately brings us all together.
Whether we like it or... not. The outcome of
the recent government shutdown once again
proved that it's all about us. Not the warped
priorities of just one. Therefore on the short
term some win, others lose. In order that in
the end we ALL move forward as ONE.
The wild west
However let's be real. Politics is a divisive ever
churning process. One that by its very nature is
designed to insure that nobody gets their way.
While it's fun to watch said process from afar,
most of the same swirl happens in almost every
community, corporation, club, and some might
argue... family. Yet somehow in such situations,
most learn something in said process. Currently
on our local front there are many issues being
fought for. Those involved are if nothing else
passionate. Hence they revel in pouring political
gasoline on said fire. All while the rest of us sit
back and watch. And hope for the best.
Snakes in the grass
Some call those unwilling to participate in our
political process "the silent majority." Which
in part is rather unfair. Ultimately at least half
of Americans vote on election day. However
one might argue that all of us vote on a daily
basis in that we decide where we and how we
live, work, and play. Thus in essence those who
end up in the middle do so by choice. Somehow
we are able to see both sides and navigate our
way to a sweet spot. Whereas those actively
engaged can't see the forest for the trees. Or
could it be they're simply vipers who enjoy
nothing more than biting anybody in the ass.
Locked and loaded
It's hard to separate the Washington political
wheat from the chaff. Mostly due to the fact
that we really don't know those we empower
to drive OUR government. The opposite is
true on the local front. Whenever I see a list
of folks who are backing a local initiative
I immediately know who they are, and what
they stand for. And if they're unknown to me
chances are somebody I trust knows them all
too well. Most are more than well-intentioned.
Some have obvious personal agendas. And a
very few simply who love to pick a fight with
whomever, whenever. They're never happy.
Pussy or posse?
What is most important is that somehow we
all work together to achieve a common goal.
Apathy is the enemy of democracy. There
have been times when most of Lewistown
opted out of active engagement in the process.
Opening the way for a group of power hungry
opportunists, warped zealots, lost lambs, and
some who are just plain ornery. Ultimately
the rest of us woke up and realized that both
sides needed to have a voice. And hopefully
we finally learned our lesson. Which is that
we can't let somebody else do our dirty work.
Especially a bunch of varmints and coyotes.
Friends and neighbors
A few blips aside, the majority of local folks
work together on a daily basis. Which is why
any grass roots effort in Lewistown inevitably
yields success. Be it stepping up to support
kids in need or those suffering from hunger,
abuse, or addiction. Or on a happier note -
supporting initiatives such as our community
pool, ice rink, archery range, labyrinth garden,
skate park, soccer fields, or a new creekside
park. So while I often worry about the things
that I read in the paper, I know that in the end
everything will turn out for the best. And what
could be greater and more American than that?

Sunday, January 27, 2019

7th Day Surprise: GROUNDED?


At this time of year many want to get away from it all
Finally, last Friday - day thirty five -
our government shutdown ended... temporarily.

In part because our air safety system was in jeopardy.
Causing flights at Laguardia to be grounded.

The question is over the next few weeks
will our President and both houses be able to rise to the occasion?

Don't you wish we go back to the days
when we had nothing to do but fly high and go
up, up, and away!?