The Jeff Sessions Marijuana Pop Pot Quiz

TO:  Mr. Jeff Sessions, United States Attorney GeneralSessions 01 cropped

RE:  Marijuana

Dear Attorney General Sessions:

You’re all about marijuana being an illegal “controlled substance,” but how much do you actually know about it?

For instance, can you pronounce, let alone spell, the psychoactive component of marijuana?

It’s tetrahydrocannabinol.

You and other marijuana-challenged folks can just call it “THC.”smoking A.jpg

So Mr. Sessions, in the interest of helping you become better informed, here’s a Pot Quiz.  No cheating and skipping to the end for the answers!

  1. Which of the following is not a marijuana nickname:

a) Muggle.
b) Maui Wowie.
c) Broccoli.

  1. In your very own place of business – Washington, DC – marijuana is:

a) Legal for medical purposes.
b) Legal for recreational purposes.
c) All of the above.
d) None of the above.

  1. At your confirmation hearing in 2017, when you were asked about marijuana,sessions 08 cropped flippedyou said, “I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law.”  With that in mind, is the following statement true or false:  Jeff Sessions understands the double-negative rule of English grammar.

a) True.
b) False.

  1. Medical marijuana is legal in a majority of states in the U.S.

a) True.
b) False.

  1. Recreational marijuana is legal in nine states. Three of them are:

a) Florida, California, Nevada.
b) Vermont, Maine, Oregon.smoking 01
c) Colorado, Wyoming, Alaska.

  1. Which of the following can be legally traded on the U.S. Stock Exchange:

a) U.S. marijuana company stock.
b) Canadian marijuana company stock.
c) All of the above.
d) None of the above.

  1. Even though you consider marijuana illegal, you’re considering investing in publicly traded marijuana stock because:

a) Sessions 02 cropped The U.S. Marijuana Index, compiled by Marijuana International Corporation, has delivered 158% returns over the past one year, as of October 17, 2018.  The S&P 500 has over the past year generated only 9.78% returns.
b) You’ll be out of a job soon, and money is money.
c) You won’t inhale.
d) All of the above.

  1. What’s the difference between politicians and stoners?

a) Politicians don’t inhale…they just suck.
b) All of the above.

And finally…

  1. What moron said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana”?

a) Jeff Sessions.
b) Jeff Sessions.B3AN1K


1.   Fooled you! They’re all nicknames for weed.  I mean, marijuana.
2.   c) All of the above.  Medical marijuana has been legal in Washington DC for almost 20 years, and in November 2014, voters in DC legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older.
3.   b) False.
4.   a) True.  Medical marijuana is legal in 30 states, plus Washington DC.
5.   b) Vermont, Maine, Oregon.  The nine states where recreational marijuana is legal aresmoking marijuana 03 Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Colorado, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, plus Washington, DC.
6.   b) Canadian marijuana company stock.
7.   d) All of the above.
8.   a), b)
9.   a), b), and below.

sessions 06 cropped

Do You Know Jack?

There’s not a lot that’s noteworthy about Lynchburg, TN.

It’s not quite in the middle of a state that’s not quite in the middle of the country:


And has a population of around 6300 people, who are managing just fine with just one traffic light.

There’s not a lot going on in Lynchburg, though Columbia, TN isn’t far, and it’s home of the Pumpkin Paradise Festival:

“Take a hayride, play in the corn box and test your skills with steer roping.  Kids spend some energy running around the indoor hay maze, enjoying the duck races, and the corn cannon which launches corn in the air.”

A corn cannon!  Note the real corn coming out of the cannon!

A corn cannon.  Whew.  After all that excitement, I need a drink.

But I won’t be getting one in Lynchburg, TN because Lynchburg is a dry town, and that means no buying alcohol, nowhere and no how.

Well, with one exception:

The Jack Daniel’s distillery, home of the world’s most famous bourbon, is located injack-daniels-tennessee-whiskey-welcome-to-lynchburg cropped Lynchburg, TN.  This is the oldest, most famous distillery in the U.S. and it’s in a…

A dry town.  So dry, that Tennessee enacted its own prohibition 10 years before it became the national law.  After Prohibition ended in 1933, counties could vote to remain dry or not, and so far, Moore County – location of Lynchburg – is a “dry.”

It’s illegal to purchase or drink Jack Daniel’s bourbon anywhere in Lynchburg except at the distillery, where, according to the website, you can take a 90-minute tour for $20 and “you’ll linger over and sip five of our most popular whiskeys and liqueurs.”

Hmmm.  Doesn’t sound all that “dry” to me.

Healthy croppedBut healthy?  Oh, yeah.  Several Jack Daniel’s products list “Zero” for fat, sodium, carbohydrates, sugar, protein and caffeine.

Though after sipping “five of our most popular whiskeys and liqueurs,” who cares?

If you want to know more about Jack Daniel’s bourbon or even Jack himself – and yes (see above photo), he was a real person – you can learn all that on their website.moonpie store_01 cropped

And if you want to find other exciting things to do in the area – besides the corn canon – try hanging out at the MoonPie General Store on Lynchburg’s charming Main Street:

“Hundreds of MoonPie varieties and novelties can be found within the store for the MoonPie lover in your family!”

Do you know any MoonPie lovers?

Do you know what a MoonPie is?



you don't know jack_01

Memo To Melania: When It Comes To Opioids…

You’ve heard of the movie Sleepless in Seattle?

I propose a new movie:  Clueless in Cairo.

That’s my take on Melania Trump’s recent trip to Africa.

Melania’s trip took her from Washington DC to Accra, Ghana; to Lilongwe, Malawi; to Nairobi, Kenya; to Cairo, Egypt; and back to DC, a trip of close to 17,000 miles, by my reckoning:

Africa trip

While she was there, Melania…

Hugged babies… melania and kid_01 cropped
Met some Republicans… melania met elephants cropped.jpg
Hugged more babies, and… melania and kid cropped
melania trump rene belloq
Wore an outfit that numerous Internet wits have likened to… That of Nazi collaborator Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

And yes, this is the same woman whose idea of a fashion statement was a jacket emblazoned with “I really don’t care.  Do you?” on a June visit to detained immigrant children who were separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

be_best_logo_aBut back to Africa.  The trip was made under the auspices of Melania’s BE BEST initiative which, according to the website, focuses “on some of the major issues facing children today” and concentrates “on three main pillars:  well-being, social media use, and opioid abuse.”

Memo to Melania:  If one of your “major issues” is opioid abuse, you didn’t have to travel 17,000 miles to, around and back from Africa.

When it comes to opioids, there’s no place like home.

On your BE BEST website it says “more than 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids since 2000.”

Here’s an overdose death map from 2016 – and we know it looks even worse today:

Overdose Map

Pick a state.  Any state.  In fact, every state.

You could easily travel thousands of miles around the U.S. to get up close and personal with people (including children) affected by opioids.

And Melania, here’s a thought:  While you’re in a travel mode, why not spend some extra time in states that have been devastated by hurricanes, floods and wildfires – just this year.  Places like…

hurricane-florence-flooding-nc-sept-14jpg-2c057bb83ebf9420.jpg wildfire-ca-pol-hb-171206_16x9_992
Hurricane Florence, September 2018, North Carolina, South Carolina 2018 Wildfires in AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, TX, UT, WA, and WY

Here’s another idea:  Since you like hugging children so much, why don’t you spend a little extra time hugging kids in California, the state with the highest poverty rate in the country:


You can log 17,000 miles in no time!

But lose the pith helmet, please.

Pith Helmet Colonialism in Africa_01
Clueless in Cairo:  Melania displayed either her total ignorance or total lack of caring, and wore a pith helmet in Africa. The pith helmet has strong negative connotations in Africa, recalling British colonialism – and oppression – in the 19th century.


Guess Where Beauty Pageants Are On The…

I wouldn’t watch a beauty pageant even if I was in one.

beauty-pageants child cropped
Child beauty pageant; I guess they hadn’t gotten the word about “no swimsuits.”

And the chances of that are…


I think beauty pageants suck:

Beauty Pageant:  A fiasco* in which females in various age groups, from toddler and up, invite the public to objectify, trivialize, and criticize them, based on their appearance.

*Fiasco:  A thing that is a complete failure, especially in a ludicrous or humiliating way.

But the September 2018 Miss America Beauty Pageant sucked slightly less.

And that’s because of one contestant:

Miss Michigan, Emily Sioma.

Since we’re both from Michigan, I’m going to call her “Emily.”

As I understand it, at some point in the pageant the contestants are given about eight seconds to introduce themselves.  Instead of highlighting her achievements, here’s what Emily, 24, said:

Emily with HeadlineWow!  When I read that the next day, did I sit up and take notice!

And so did the media:  the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, the BBC, People Magazine, numerous other newspapers, and network and local TV stations.

People were on Twitter, too – few doofuses, sure, but most praising Emily for using that short stretch of time to make a strong statement about her state – and herself.

Emily’s “none for its residents to drink” was referring to the water crisis in Flint, MI that began in 2014.  Flint’s tap water had become contaminated with lead after officials switched from the Detroit system to the Flint River to save money.

Fint water headline.jpg

In 2014 and 2015, Flint didn’t properly treat corrosive water that was pulled from the river.  As a result, lead in old city pipes contaminated the water going into homes and brown water_01businesses, and it streamed from household taps as a brown, smelly fluid.  Some children were found to have elevated lead levels in their blood, leading to long-term health concerns.

There were tons of blame to go around:  Michigan’s Governor Snyder, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, and emergency managers appointed by Snyder to help the city handle its finances.   Attorney General Bill Schuette charged at least 15 people in his criminal investigation.

As of early 2017, the water quality had returned to acceptable levels, but residents were instructed to continue to use bottled or filtered water until all the lead pipes have shower with bottled water_02been replaced, which is expected to be completed no sooner than 2020.

Shower with bottled water.  Yeah, right.

Many residents – understandably – still trust neither the water nor the officials who are telling them their water is safe.  In the meantime, the state had been providing free bottled water to Flint residents, but that assistance ended back in April.

As Emily said, “none for its residents to drink.”

This isn’t the first time Emily has stood tall and spoken out; here she is bravely standing – alone – during her 2016 graduation from the University of Michigan, with I survived written on her mortarboard:


Emily says she was sexually assaulted twice in college, and found few resources for help.  When she was crowned Miss Michigan this past June, Emily said she hoped sharing her story of campus sexual assault will raise awareness of the issue and encourage other survivors to be proud of their recovery journey:

“I realized this is going to be a hard battle I’ll be fighting for the rest of my life, but if I don’t start now, who’s going to do it?”

And here’s Emily on Facebook on September 14, speaking out in support of VAWA, the Violence Against Women Act, due to expire September 30, and urging people to contact their reps:

Facebook violence

This federal legislation, aimed at protecting women from violent crimes, was granted a short-term reauthorization only until December 7 in the stopgap spending bill that was passed in September.

So, OK.

This year, for the first time ever, the pageant did away with the swimsuit competition.  And the organizers don’t call it a “pageant” anymore, but rather a competition with the emphasis on scholarship.

If Miss America becomes a platform for energized, intelligent women to raise their voices on behalf of those who aren’t in the spotlight, then perhaps it will suck even less.

It’s a big if.

Emily was her own woman when she walked onto that Miss America stage.  She didn’t make the top 15, but who cares?

She’s still standing tall and speaking out, and as she told Glamour magazine, “I’m just getting started.”

Facebook Believe Women

I Just Don’t Get It

There are words in our language that do not induce warm fuzzies:

  1. Tornado
  2. Hurricanetornado
  3. Typhoon
  4. Earthquake
  5. Sarahsanders
  6. Flood
  7. Wildfire
  8. Avalanche

Let’s go with avalanche.

An avalanche is “a mass of snow, ice, and rocks falling rapidly down a mountainside.”

You’ve heard the stories, seen the videos – avalanches are unpredictable.  Uncontrollable.  Scary, and worse than scary, deadly:  Avalanches kill more than 150 people worldwide each year.

It’s hard to find anything good to say about an avalanche.

Ask WhySo could someone tell me why – WHY – General Motors named a car “Avalanche”?

With nearly a half-million words in the English language to choose from, why choose a word that denotes a disaster?

Yet GM did, and the Chevrolet Avalanche was in production from 2001 to 2013.

This came to mind recently when I was at a stop light and noticed the name of the car in front of me.  “Avalanche?” I thought.  “What kind of car name is that?”

Actually, I thought, “What the @#$%&! kind of car name is that?

avalanche_02 avalanche car
Q:  What does this avalanche………………Have in common with this Avalanche?
A:  Nothing.

But auto makers seem committed to using strange names for cars.  And not just using – but creating names for car models.

Let’s start with the strange names that are, at least, real words.

A guy gets home and says to his wife, “Honey, I got the Viper!”  Logically, she’d expect him to walk in with a nasty poisonous snake.  But somehow Dodge thought Viper was a cool name for a car for 20+ years.

Or how about “Spider,” used by several car manufacturers?  Supposedly that tarantualword indicates a small convertible, but to me spider indicates a huge, ugly, possibly deadly bug with eight legs and, if it’s in my house, on a suicide mission.

Maybe the worst of all:  the Eagle Talon.  Now, “eagle” I can understand – eagles are fast, smart, powerful, and impressive to look at, suggesting that the car is, too.  But an taloneagle’s talons – are its toenails.  Its long, curved, sharp toenails that the eagle uses to catch and kill prey.

What was Chrysler thinking with that one?

As for the made-up car names – with that half-million words in English, car makers couldn’t find anything to name their latest and greatest?

And if it isn’t an actual word, what are these supposed to say about the car?Not a Word_03

  1. Allanté
  2. Astre
  3. Elantra
  4. Invicta
  5. Sentra

Here’s the conversation:

Husband:  Honey, I got the Invicta!
Wife:  Oh, no!  Do you need to see a doctor for that?

I guess I’ll just continue wondering about automobile names, and longing for the good old days when a car’s name made sense.

ford-model-t-1915-1Like Henry Ford and his Model T.  Ford had been producing cars for years, starting with his Model A in 1903, then progressing with the Model B and C and so on, skipping some letters when the plans for those models didn’t make it off the drawing board.  He didn’t do all that well with any of them until 1908 when he struck gold with his Model T – a name that made sense, as the next letter in the alphabet.

By 1914 it was estimated that nine out of every 10 cars in the world were Fords.  The Model T put Ford on the map, put millions in his pocket, and put thousands on the road in the first car middle-class Americans could afford. edsel_02

Of course, then there was Ford’s Edsel, which was supposed to be the car of the future but lasted only from 1958 to 1960.  Ford named the car for his only child, his son Edsel, who was named for Henry’s close friend, Edsel Ruddiman.

At the time some wit wrote in Time magazine that the Edsel looked like “an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon.”

The car’s name became synonymous for “failure.”

But at least the name made sense.

makes sense_02

What A Thoughtful Guy

When:  October 16, 2018

Where:  Washington DC

The interview is about the missing Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.  This appears to be a tragic story with no possible good outcome.

In the midst of this I couldn’t help but notice:

Image 2

It’s raining.

He’s got an umbrella.

She doesn’t.

Image 3

He doesn’t even make a pretense of sharing it with her.

He’s probably too busy thinking about other things.


Human rights.

Image 4



Book Review: Outstanding In Her Field

NY Times
When I wrote this blog, “In Pieces” was #2 on the 10/14/18 New York Times Best Sellers list.  Not bad for a first-time author!

Publication date:  September 2018

Review, short version:  Three roses out of four.

Review, long version:

I generally don’t read memoirs because unhappy people write them.

I think they’re people whose lives are mostly misery, starting with their dysfunctional families and not improving much after that.  Whatever moments of hope or joy they experience are often smothered by the next tsunami of misery, until the book ends and I’m left shaking my head and wondering, “Why did I read that?”

But I read Sally Field’s memoir, In Pieces, because I like Sally Field.

Field’s not-so-happy family:  Sally,  Jock, Margaret, and brother Ricky.

I think she’s an actress of great range and great endurance, and she’s a survivor – of parents who divorced when she was four, leaving Fields with a mostly absent father until he wanted to borrow money, and a distant, narcissistic mother (my words, not Fields’); of a stepfather, actor Jock Mahoney, who sexually abused Fields throughout her whole childhood – which I believe her mother knew about, and did nothing – and who also borrowed money; two failed marriages; and 50+ years in show business, experiencing the highest highs and lowest lows.

I like survivors, and I like Field.

Field’s mother, Margaret Morlan, was put under contract with Paramount in 1945 at age 23.  Margaret’s career never amounted to anything, and I’m betting it galled her to witness Field’s numerous successes including:

norma rae
“Norma Rae,” 1980
  • Primetime Emmy, Outstanding Lead Actress, Miniseries or Movie, Sybil, 1977
  • Academy Award, Best Actress, Norma Rae, 1980
  • Academy Award, Best Actress, Places in the Heart, 1985
  • Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress, Drama Series, ER, 2001
  • Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress, Drama Series, Brothers and Sisters, 2007
  • Best Supporting Actress, New York Film Critics Circle Award, Lincoln, 2012

If I listed all her wins and nominations I’d still be writing this into next week.

“Gidget,” 1965

Fields’ career started in television in 1965 as the lead in the sitcom Gidget – not bad for an 18-year-old with no TV experience – and has encompassed dozens of TV and movie roles.  And she’s still working; in 2017 she appeared on the Broadway stage in The Glass Menagerie, for which she received four award nominations including a Tony for Best Actress in a Play.

Pretty good for a woman who thought she’d be forever pigeonholed as a flying nun.

I’ve twice said “I like Sally Field” and I do, but I’m also alluding to an event Field doesn’t mention in her book – the decades-long mockery of her acceptance speech at the 1985 Academy Awards.

Field spoke for just 67 seconds but afterwards people chose to repeat – to mock – just the last 15 seconds when she said, “And I can’t deny the fact that you like me!  Right now!  You like me!”

Sally You Like Me_01
Academy Awards, 1985

It was a sweet burst of honest enthusiasm rarely seen at the overly hyped, overly long, and overly tedious Academy Awards.  I read elsewhere that Field later said she was trying to describe the fleeting experience of being at the top of her field, knowing that she’d been on the bottom and might be again.

Why anyone would mock that is beyond me.

There’s much more to In Pieces than I’ve mentioned, and the book offers many insights into Field’s life and journey.  There is a fair amount of the aforementioned misery, but I think there’s a good balance of ups to go with the downs.

Enough balance to give me the right answer to, “Why did I read that?”

Sally, 70, and still going strong.  On Broadway with Joe Mantello in “The Glass Menagerie,” 2017.


Ouch!  That must have hurt!!!ouch

Oh, wait.  I misunderstood.

That headline should have read,

Jet Lands On HMS Queen Elizabeth

 A ship.  It landed on a British ship, not on the actual queen.

Whew!  That’s a relief!!!

The F-35B jet landed on the ship last month, just days before an F-35B crashed in ouchNorth Carolina.

Ouch!  That really hurts!!!

That sucker cost $122,000,000!!!

Give or take a few million.

To ease your mind, the pilot of the crashed F-35B ejected safely and no one on the ground was hurt.

This is the first time an F-35B (full name: F-35B Lightning II single-seat, single-engined, all-weather stealth multirole fighter) has crashed.  The F-35 “family” has drawn sharp criticism over its lengthy development and cost overruns, despite reassurances by US military leaders who say the kinks are being worked out.

Ouch!!!  Those are expensive kinks!!!

The aforementioned “family” is a veritable alphabetical and numerical soup that includes:

  • F-35A CTOL (Conventional Takeoff and Landing)soup_01
    • F-35I Adir (an F-35A with Israeli modifications)
    • CF-35 (proposed Canadian variant of the F-35A)
    • F-35D (possible future upgrade to the F-35A)
  • F-35B STOVL (Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing)
  • F-35C CATOBAR (Catapult-Assisted Takeoff But Arrested Recovery)

That’s a lot of soup!

Why, you may be wondering, are there three F-35s – the A, B, and C?

Because the Air Force, Navy and Marines each required their own special touches.  You might want your “Probe and Drogue,” or your “Gattling Gun,” or your “3-Bearing Swivel Nozzle” or all three, or some combination:

Three Jets

And how about a sun roof?  Sure, we can do that:


None of that one-size-fits-all stuff for our military!  And what the hell, it’s not their money.

Here’s a photo of the F-35A, F-35B and F-35C – can you guess which is which?

Formation of F-35 Aircraft

Of course you can!

What sets the F-35B apart is that it can take off and land vertically, like a helicopter.

That comes in handy when you’re landing on Queen Elizabeth.

On the ship, that is.

Jet Parked.jpg
Sorry, sir, this lot is full.  You’ll have to try down the street.

I Wonder…

Once again, all over again:

Our East and Midwest are drowning in floods… flooding maine summer 2018.jpg

Maine, Summer 2018


…while the West is on fire.


wildfire colorado

Colorado, Summer 2018

Too wet in too many places… Florida Flooding

Florida, Fall 2018

…and too dry in too many others. California Wildfire The Latest

California, Summer 2018

But, what if…

Just fantasize along with me here for a minute, OK?

What if…

We built a pipeline system to control flooding in the East and Midwest, and sent that water to the West?


What if we did?

I’m not talking about siphoning off someone else’s water.  I’m talking about floodwaters that evaporate or end up in sewers.

What if, before that water evaporated or went into sewers, we saved some of it, shipped it, and disbursed it to the West?


If we have the wherewithal to build the Keystone Pipeline for oil, surely we can build a cross-country pipeline for water?


The Keystone oil pipeline, according to the TransCanada website (the pipeline owner) runs from Alberta, Canada to Houston, TX, about 2,687 miles.

Keystone pipeline

The distance from New York to San Diego is about 2,760 miles.

U.S. Map

There are so many reasons to move this from the realm of “What if” to “Why not”:

Saving lives:  Every year people die in floods and fires.  Flood control in one part of the country could ease the dry, fire-prone conditions in another part.Headline

Saving money:  Every year fires and floods cost billions, and insurance costs increase.

Stopping trauma:  Every year victims of floods and wildfires are traumatized by deaths, injuries, loss of homes and businesses.

Stopping waste:  Every year we lose vital infrastructure, and natural resources like forests and other ecosystems.

But a little time online shows that, of course, I’m not the first person to think about this.  There are plenty of reasons to move from “What if” to “Here’s why not”:

Pipelines are expensive:  Fossil fuels are laden with profits while water is not.  This morning the cost of gasoline is $2.90 per gallon.  On my last bill (not including all those unidentifiable fees) I paid $3 for 1,000 gallons of water.


One gallon vs…

1000-gallon-galvanized-stock-tank_02.jpg clearer

1,000 gallons

Right of way:  People along the pipeline route might not agree to having it on their land.  Business owners who might be displaced or negatively impacted won’t support the idea, either.

Location:  Not many places flood on a reliable timetable, so some parts of the pipeline might be unused for decades.

Invasive species:  The chance for the introduction of invasive species such as the zebra mussel, grass carp, etc. would be great.

I know this country has the smarts, the money, and the ability to build a water pipeline.

But perhaps we lack the leadership, the imagination, and the guts to make it happen.

So I guess my fantasy will remain a fantasy.

And I’ll keep wondering…

what-if-and-why-not-letsgo larger cropped

It’s True, I Do…

I love words.

I are a wordsmith:


So I was thrilled that Merriam-Webster recently announced the addition of more than 840 new words to its online

After all, Merriam-Webster knows a thing or two about words – they’ve been around since 1828, when George and Charles founded G & C Merriam Co., and then bought the rights to An American Dictionary of the English Language from Daniel Webster’s estate in 1843.

Hence, the Merriam-Webster dictionary.  And thesauruses, and atlases, and apps, and eBooks, and so much more, including The Official Scrabble© Player Dictionary.

But going back to the new words, here’s just a sampling:

Bingeable:  Having multiple episodes or parts that can be watched in rapid succession.

GOAT:  An acronym for Greatest Of All Time.

Time suckHangry:  Describes that feeling when you’re super-hungry and getting cranky, or angry.

Time Suck:  An activity to which one devotes a lot of time that might be better or more productively spent doing other things.

There are so many new words entering our lexicon that Merriam-Webster also added a bunch earlier this year:luxury camping_03

Glamping:  Outdoor camping with amenities and comforts (such as beds, electricity, and access to indoor plumbing) not usually used when camping (glamour + camping).

Hate-watch:  To watch and take pleasure in laughing at or criticizing (a disliked television show, movie, etc.)

Subtweet:  A usually mocking or critical tweet that alludes to another Twitter user without including a link to the user’s account and often without directly mentioning the user’s name.

Welp:  Used informally instead of “Well,” (as to introduce a remark expressing resignation or disappointment).

Now, I don’t know about you, but to me, some of these words sounded more like sniglets:


If so, Merriam-Webster, then surely these sniglet gems are also worthy of your consideration:express checkout_02

Expresshole:  A person who brings more than 15 items to the express lane in the store.

Flopcorn:  The unpopped kernels left in a bag of microwave popcorn.

Musquirt:  That runny stuff that comes out of the mustard bottle before the mustard does.

Newswafer:  Newspaper left on the driveway that has been wet and run over for a swear wordsperiod of time.

Profanitype:  Symbols used by cartoonists to replace swear words.

Snackmosphere:  The pocket of air found inside snack and/or potato chip bags.

My spellcheck went crazy with all this but…

Aren’t words fun?

Yes, it’s true:


Rant: No Finger-Snap Solutions For Us “Little People”

Several years ago I was very annoyed at something said by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Not that she ever knew, or cared.ginsburg cropped

It happened during a hearing about campaign contributions, and was mostly overlooked by the media due to all the politicking and posturing around this very volatile subject.

Ginsburg said:

“Then the little people will count some and you won’t have the super-affluent as the speakers that will control the elections.”

against the bossWhat incensed me was her phrase “the little people,” and in a blog I speculated – to whom, exactly was she referring?

Not me, that’s for sure.

Not anyone I know.

In fact, I doubt that any Americans would include themselves in that derogatory description.

Now, for me, that’s all changed.

I do feel like one of those “little people” who doesn’t “count some” – or at all.

court_best croppedWhat brought this about was a little-noticed story amidst all the media coverage of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings in late September and early October.

On Saturday, October 6 it was coming down to the final vote that would – or wouldn’t – seat Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

The Republicans needed the majority of votes for this to happen, but one of their members – Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana – was not going to be present.

On October 6 his daughter was getting married in Montana, and Daines was absolutely committed to walking his daughter down the aisle.

“Wow,” I thought, “what a guy!  To pass up this crucial, history-making vote forum no his daughter’s sake – that’s one great dad.”

Um, no.

Daines’ presence to vote – if needed – was never in doubt.  No, he couldn’t be two places at once, but he could attend his daughter’s wedding in Montana and vote in Washington DC.


coach seating-02
No sardine seating for our senator!

Hop on United Airlines at the last minute in the middle of the night and fly coach from Montana to Washington DC while the Senate held the vote open, waiting for him?

Not likely.

Instead, said Daines, “My good friend and colleague, Greg, has come to save the day.”

And just like that, fingers snapped, problem solved.

So who the hell, I wondered, is “Greg”?

Giancorte with clown, clown on right
Gianforte and rodeo clown; the clown is on the right.

“Greg” is Republican Representative Greg Gianforte, and if you didn’t know this either, with 435 Representatives, who can keep track of them all?

Gianforte “saved the day” by offering Daines the comfort of his private jet to whisk Daines back to Washington DC if needed.

It turns out that Gianforte is one of the richest people in Congress, with an estimated net worth of $350 million.  He won a special election to replace another Montana Republican, Ryan Zinke, who’s worth a mere $1.8 million, when Zinke became U.S. Secretary of the Interior in 2017.

When Gianforte made his offer, I imagine the dialogue went something like this:

jet_02 reversedRep. Greg Gianforte:  No prob, Steve-o, I’ve got a sweet 12-seater jet and a crew, just standing by.  Help yourself!

Senator Steve Daines:  Gee, thanks, Greg!  I’m only worth a lousy $14 million, and haven’t been able to do the private jet thing yet.

When I learned this is when I started feeling like one of those “little people.”

No millions.  No jet.  No finger-snap problem-solving abilities.



And maybe a little bitter.

I call men like this the “Pale males in grey suits.”  Perhaps I should change that to the “Rich and powerful pale males in gray suits.”

steve daines greg Ryan-Zinke_PD

Daines……………………….. Ginaforte………………………………. Zinke
Pale males in gray suits.

What chance do we “little people” have of being heard, when “super-affluent” politicians operate in this rarified stratosphere?

How Do Politicians Learn To Do This?

Ask any politician a simple, straightforward question and you’ll mostly get non-answers or lies.  Example:

Interviewer:  Senator, how much is two plus two?

Senator #1:  I’m glad you asked that, and speaking of two, there should be only twopolitician political parties in this country.
Senator #2:  Well, it’s clear that hardworking, ordinary Americans want to know the same thing.
Senator#3:  I can’t speak for my colleagues across the aisle but, as I’ve said in the past, we’ll have to wait and see.

We hear this answer avoidance so often that it even has a name:


PivotWhen politicians are interviewed, and at press conferences, during campaign debates, in TV ads – in other words, nearly every time they opens their mouths…

They pivot.

Of course I’m not the only one who’s noticed – the Internet has lots of articles on this technique, including this succinct piece:

Pivot Headline

A first-grader will give you a simple answer to “How much is two plus two?”  They’ll say, “Four.”2+2 cropped

So how do those straightforward kids grow up to be adults who prevaricate, dissimulate, obfuscate, or just outright lie every time they’re in front of a microphone?

Here’s my simple, straightforward answer:


PSOLNA overrated

(The “P” is silent.)

A top-secret institution, PSOLNA teaches neophyte politicians to look straight at a questioner or TV camera and do a verbal tap dance that leaves the listeners/readers wondering, “Huh?”

And PSOLNA isn’t just a few meager weeks or months of training; this is a full-on, multi-year course that offers a number of degrees including:

  • Bachelor’s of Perfect Prevarication
  • Master’s of Truthfully Lying
  • PhD in Spinning, Dodging and Evading

It’s easy to tell when a politician has graduated from PSOLNA:

politician female_02 reversedInterviewer:  Congresswoman, what’s your position on the opioid crises?
Non-Graduate of PSOLNA:  This morning I’m introducing a bill that will provide the funding to address this national epidemic.

Interviewer:  Congresswoman, you recently said that when it comes to affordable health care, you’re neither for nor against it.  Can you clarify?
Graduate of PSOLNA:  That comment was taken out of context.  Next question?

And PSOLNA isn’t just for elected officials – appointees, nominees and employees are proud PSOLNA graduates, too:

Reporter:  But you’re the Press Secretary, can’t you just answer “Yes” or “No”?
Press Secretary:  It’s more than a matter of “can’t” or “can,” it’s a threat to our national security.  If you ask that again, the guards will escort you out of here.

Reporter:  Your Honor, you’re up for a position on the 9th District Court of Appeals – politician_05how can you be certain of not bringing your own biases into the courtroom?
Judge:  “Certain” is such an uncertain word.  Existentially, how can we be certain of anything, except the uncertainty of how the other party is addressing our immigration issues?

Reporter:  Sir, you’re not the first nominee the president has considered for this Cabinet position.  What are your thoughts on that?
Cabinet Nominee:  I think my thoughts are my thoughts as are your thoughts, and it’s incumbent upon all of us to agree that the American people’s minds are a wonderful thing.

but wait croppedBut wait!  If you, an ordinary, unimportant American citizen have found yourself thinking, “That politician sure knows how to pivot.  I wish I could do that!”

NOW you can!

For the first time ever, PSOLNA is no longer limiting this top-secret training to politicians.  PSOLNA is opening its doors to the public so you, too, can learn to Pivot Like waiter0-1200x780a Pro:

Restaurant Patron:  Waiter, what kind of cheese is on the pizza?
You:  That’s an interesting question, and could have important repercussions regarding the NAFTA dairy guidelines between the U.S. and Canada, especially the issue of ultrafiltered milk.

Co-Worker:  Beth, do you have those reports printed for our two o’clock meeting?
You:  The average person wouldn’t pick up on this, but I’m sensitive to what you’re asking, and are you aware that paper comes from trees, and deforestation is threatening both our ecosystems and our children’s futures?

patient_01 croppedDoctor:  Sam, the last time we met I asked you to start exercising – why haven’t you done that?
You:  With all due respect, the issue isn’t exercise but the larger issue of lifestyle, and whether or not we average Americans are going to see benefits from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Now it won’t just be politicians who are experts at prevaricating, dissimulating, and obfuscating – you can be, too!


He’ll Be Back

But not on the high-speed train, Arnie!

Once upon a time there was a land that was so rich, one of its congressmen could afford to spend $600 on an airplane ticket for his bunny rabbit.

Hunter and Rabbit

Yes, it’s true!

Or at least it’s true according to Federal prosecutors, and that will all get sorted out in court, I guess.

artist rendering_02
Caifornia’s high-speed train exists only in this artist’s imagination.

But that’s how rich this land is!

In fact it’s so rich, that’s it’s spending billions – yes, billions – of dollars on a choo-choo train that goes nowhere!  And it’s going nowhere for a long, long time, maybe forever!

Welcome to the land of California where, in 2008, a bunch of suckers, I mean voters, said “yes” to Prop 1A, the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century.

Wow, that’s a long name!

That meant the people in this rich land were OK with pledging $9,950,000,000 to partly pay for a high-speed train.

Wow, that’s a lot of zeros!

artist rendering_01
Another artist rendering; the cars are real, the train is not.

But that was only partly.  In 2008 when the proposition was passed, the California High-Speed Rail Authority guesstimated the total cost of the project at $40,000,000,000.

Wow, that’s even more zeros!

Where’s all the rest of that money coming from?

It was supposed to come from other sources like the federal government (meaning your tax dollars), private investment (which hasn’t materialized), and something called “cap-and-trade auctions,” a system meant to limit carbon emissions by selling credits to pollute.

What’s it all mean?

Can you imagine the high-speed train zipping across this viaduct?  Neither can most people.

It meant that someday, we’d be zipping around on a high-speed train to go even faster from one ever-more-polluted city to another!

But the people of California were cool with that, because it meant we’d have a high-speed train that could take us from Los Angeles to San Francisco in less than three hours!

And when you’re driving, that’s a trip that can take anywhere from eight hours to eight days, depending on traffic.

Then in 2011 our friends at the High-Speed Rail Authority had a surprise for us!

They issued a new cost estimate of $98,500,000,000 to $118,000,000,000.

There we go with all those zeros again!

waiting for a train_03
Wow, 25 years is a long time to wait for a train!

When Prop 1A was passed in 2008, the high-speed train’s completion date was 2029, which seemed like a long time to wait a train to come.

Now that opening date has been pushed back to 2033.

That’s a really long time to wait for a train to come!

But that’s OK.  Because in the meantime you can follow the high-speed train’s excruciatingly slow progress on Twitter…


And Facebook…


And its own page on the State of California website…

Govt Page

And you can call it by its nickname:  The Bullet Train To Nowhere.

Train to Nowhere_01

Wow, that’s a fun nickname!

And lots of people have another name for it:


Boondoggle headline

Do you know what a “boondoggle” is?

“A work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.”


“A public project of questionable merit that typically involves political patronage and graft.”

graftDo you know what “graft” is?

“Practices, especially bribery, used to secure illicit gains in politics or business; corruption.”

While Californians will have to wait until (at least) 2033 to zip from Los Angeles in San Francisco in less than three hours, in (maybe) 2022, we’re told,  Phase 1 of the high-speed rail will be complete.

You’ll be able to zip from Bakersfield to Fresno in – well, in a big hurry!

Fresno to Bakersfield with arrows.jpg

Though why anybody would be in a big hurry to get to Bakersfield or Fresno is a mystery to me.

Do you know what a “mystery” is?

“Something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain.”

In the dictionary, here’s the picture that illustrates “mystery”:

Going Nowhere Fast

Finally, I’ll close with this final thought, recently verified by PolitiFact, with regards to how California politicians choose and don’t choose to spend our tax dollars:

PolitiFact headline



Book Review: This Book Is No Shoo-in

bookPublication date:  June 2018

Review, short version:  Four skunks out of four.

Review, long version:

One of the fun parts about writing fiction is that the author is free to make her characters anything she wants them to be.  What they say, do and think, how they look and where they live – those are all an author’s choices.

So I’m at a loss to understand why Jill Hall, author of The Silver Shoes, chose to create a female lead character who was DingbatPageTopper croppeda boring, whiny dingbat.

Seriously – several light bulbs short of a chandelier.  Several sandwiches short of a picnic.

That character is Anne, who is “past 30,” and an aspiring artist.  To support “her art” (you see that phrase a lot), she works as a valet parking cars.  One night while parking a car, she knocks over a trash can.

And leaves the trash in the street. trashed apartment_01

Anne “loses track” and forgets to pay her rent; “money management had never been one of her life skills,” she admits.  Nor is housekeeping; her apartment is “its usual cyclonic mess.”

Another sign of Anne’s maturity is her way of venting frustration:  throwing her hat on the floor and “jumping on it.”  She quits her job without another job but no worries:  “It was all about making art.”  As opposed to, I guess, making rent money.  And now she “loves having hours on end to do her art.”

And shop – somehow Anne has the wherewithal to buy a pair of silver shoes she sees in the window of a resale store.

whiner_01In keeping with all this, Anne is in love with Sergio.  Anne lives in San Francisco and Sergio, New York, and Anne is panting for Sergio to commit:  “I hoped you were going to invite me to move here [New York] with you,” she whines.

Way to give up your power, girl!

In fact, Anne spends most of the book waiting and wondering and handing all the power over to Sergio.  Every time Anne brings up moving to New York and commitments, Sergio puts her off.

The other lead character is, Clair, 18, and her part of the story is set in 1929.  Clair leads a no spine_02 croppedrich but restricted life with her widower father in expensive digs on Manhattan.  Clair is no dummy, but her lack of spine gets wearying.  She does everything her father tells her to do, including agreeing to marry the heinous guy Daddy chose for her.

Because it’s 1929 you know the stock market is going to crash, and Clair and Daddy lose their nice home.  They move in to mooch off her aunt, Clair has a one-night stand with a stranger, gets a job, and then starts performing in a burlesque show.  One of her costumes includes a pair of silver shoes – yup, the same shoes Anne buys 90 years later.

But you have to read 319 pages (out of 324) to learn this.

pity party_01 croppedI haven’t done justice to how juvenile this book is.  Anne is a major space cadet, and Clair is a major pity party.  Anne continues making her collages (described as “kindergarten art” by one gallery owner) but not making money.  Clair keeps trying and failing to form the word “No,” even when she’s walking down the aisle with Mr. Heinous.

You – reasonably – may be wondering why I finished a book I disliked so much.

Well, I kept hoping Anne would get smarter, and Clair would grow a spine.

But I won’t tell, so don’t worry about spoilers.

Besides, how can you spoil something that’s already gone bad?

holding nose thumbs down larger.jpg