July 10, 2016
Dear Mrs. Clinton:
I congratulate you for getting as far as you have in this presidential race. Your success is truly a laudable achievement. Yet, at this juncture, I believe that you should consider withdrawing from the presidential race, and further, withdrawing from public service in general.
This is being written on the 10th of July 2016, less than one week after the FBI made public their findings in the investigation of your handling of emails. The list of errors you made, the gross negligence and general carelessness is certainly embarrassing for you, and for those who are supporting you as president.
It appears now, not surprisingly, that you will not be charged with any crime. I’m no attorney and have no opinion of whether your failings to follow the law, state department policies, and common sense actually reach the threshold of criminal activity. That’s for the experts to decide and they have spoken. Enjoy your freedom.
However, and this is the point of my open letter, I believe that you should immediately, voluntarily suspend your campaign for the presidency and subsequently remove yourself completely from all political activities on all levels.
My reasoning is this. While you have avoided prosecution, you are clearly guilty of negligent handling of highly important and sensitive government information. You have proven yourself untrustworthy by the fact that you (or attorneys under your direction) deleted over 2000 emails related to your job as secretary of state, this violating the letter and spirit of our vital Freedom of Information Act statutes.
Mrs. Clinton, please understand the situation this creates for our country. Tens of millions are shocked that your prosecution will not go forward. They are calling en masse for the justice department to reconsider. This situation has the appearance of favoritism, as if we live in a country where there are two sets of laws – one for the rich and powerful connected, and another for the common man. In a country based on the rule of law and fair treatment for all, this is unacceptable.
Perhaps you deserve prosecution and perhaps you do not. In either case, you apparently will not be prosecuted. To the common man, it appears you have cheated the system through your connections and power and money. This creates discontent and strife and I fear will lead to a degradation of the foundation of our country itself.
I see only one solution. While it may not be the most pleasant for you, and may be considered tragic by your supporters, this is the only way.
Mrs. Clinton, end your campaign for president and withdraw from public service. Retire. Do charitable work. Do whatever you want. But leave any and all positions of power. Do it for the greater good. It will be better for you too. I promise.
We need to begin to heal as a nation, not become more divided. You have it in your power to begin the healing process. Do it Mrs. Clinton.
Filed under: General stuff
If you know me, you’ve probably heard “the talk” at least once. If you happen to tell me that you, a relative, or your child, ESPECIALLY your child, is on psychiatric drugs, you’ve definitely gotten “the talk”.
In brief, I HATE psychiatric drugs. But that’s not the subject of this article. This article is about how the FDA knows these drugs are dangerous but, apparently not hating them as much as I do, they hide reports of adverse effects from the public.
I could write an article about it, but I probably couldn’t make it any more clear than this: http://www.madinamerica.com/2016/05/the-fda-is-hiding-reports-linking-psych-drugs-to-homicides/
I’ll leave it to you to read, understand and make your own decision about whether your FDA is on your side, protecting you, or if it’s protecting drug companies while conspiring against you.
I’ve also posted some of the documents online, along with this article.
Filed under: General stuff
This was a curious, adventurous and memorable Christmas season. 2014, by the way.
It started just over a week before Christmas when Karen Hadley picked me up in Little Rock, after being shocked to discover that I was not in Ft. Smith. We said our prayers to St. Christopher and hit the road. Road Trip! All night long. Sunshine and warmth greeted us in Florida. Not terribly Christmassy, but it’s alright. While Karen moved into her new place with Logan and Violet’s help. I had the great pleasure of meeting up with someone I love dearly that I had not seen for over a year. Nice!
I had to catch this ride home with Karen in order to make my appointment for Christmas tree decorating with Pam, Sebastian, Soleil and Logan. My first job was buying the tree, but I found out quickly that, late in the season, there aren’t many trees left. But I found one. 10 feet tall, roughly a foot taller than our ceiling. Everyone was looking forward to creating this tree, Fae and Violet were around too! All was right with the world… Until I realized somewhat late (oops) that I gave the tree stand to Patricia last year, Fae and I made an emergency run from store to store breaking speed limit and numerous other laws to find one. Thank you Ole Blue. Then we set up the tree, the kids decorated it, and we all had a fine time.
And then there was Christmas day, a.k.a. Christmas 1, probably the most multi-cultural family event in all of Clearwater. We had a tree and presents and one Eric. Our food was all Ethiopian, in celebration of Kwanzaa, with both A’s. We had our TWO menorahs and Star of David in the window, and had folk with Buddhist, Atheist and Catholic leanings (along with me, the Scientologist of course) around our improvised table, which was really foot lockers covered in paper in the tree by the living room. Yes, we made everyone sit on the floor, on pillows. Thanks for the creativity, Logan. Brilliant!
Through a dramatic and not too humorous series of events, my grandchildren couldn’t be there for Christmas 1. Sad face. Big time. I LOVE those kids! So, while rejoicing that they don’t yet know how to read a calendar, Pam and I planned out Christmas 2, more info two paragraphs hence.
Because of a suspected allergy and the fact that the damn thing dropped five pounds of needles on the ground every day, we had to get rid of the tree. Do we recycle? NO! How boring. We moved it to the back yard, dug a hole and planted it. No, we were not under the mistaken impression that a cut-down tree will re-grow. We just had a very special plan for this tree.
Christmas 2 came and went. We had the kids, MANY presents, love, microwaved kid food, TWO Erics without repeating the previous Eric. Great time had by all, and I even have a few pretty darn good pictures. Logan wasn’t with us. He was recording a CD which will NO DOUBT be on everyone’s Christmas list NEXT year.
And then… January 20, at almost midnight, we “decorated” the back-yard Christmas tree with about 20 pounds of flammable stuff, mostly paper, and lit it! Amazing! Flames 20 feet in the air, glowing embers all over the neighborhood. It was epic. And so ended, officially, our 2014 Christmas season.
Thank you family. I love you! Now let’s plan a kick-ass John Wilkes Booth Day Celebration!
Filed under: Philosophical stuff
Rest in Peace Denny.
I don’t even know Denny, never met him.
But he’s in my thoughts and prayers tonight. Ok, I don’t really pray usually, which is a subject for another article. But the dear departed Denny is in my thoughts; I’m telling the truth about that part.
And I’m thinking: “I hope he’s not resting in peace”.
Somebody wants Denny to rest in peace. My brush with Denny’s life (or death I guess) lasted about 2 seconds. As I was riding my motorcycle north on US19 in Clearwater, I spotted a car with white lettering all over the back and side windows. The largest text said, “Rest in Peace Denny”.
I’ve seen many such signs and even seen a few tombstones that literally say R.I.P. But this time, for reasons unknown, I got to thinking about it. And I’m a little confused.
“Rest in Peace” conjures up an idea that the departed are, well, resting, or their friends and relatives at least want them to be resting. The confusing part is… most people belong to some religion that holds a belief that people live again, that this one physical life is not all there is. Their views of where we go after the body stops living are pretty diverse – heaven, hell, back to Earth (which seems to be a little bit heaven and a little bit hell).
So with this belief system in place, why would so many people choose the “rest in peace” line? I’m stymied. I really do not know why this is the case. In a few cases, I could surmise that the person was such a troublemaker that you really do hope he is resting and causing NO trouble anymore. But that explanation can’t explain why they seem to apply the same message to everyone.
Someday, I will die. I’m not happy about this fact and I have every plan to put it off for many many years. But eventually, I’ll find myself at the wrong end of a gun barrel or something and well, whoever is left will gather around the Richmond/Callaham Funeral Home, admire the flowers, tell stories, laugh (I hope) and maybe cry a little. I sincerely and fervently hope that nobody says, “may he rest in peace”.
Amongst my friends and family, probably half or more are Christian or Jewish. Slightly less than half are Scientologists. And whatever single digit percentage is left is a mix of just about every religion on Earth. And, with the exception of a handful of atheists, they all believe, supposedly, that I will continue living in some form.
So please do not say, “may he rest in peace”.
I have no plan to rest. I’ll be up to something – you can count on it!
Even if it’s true that there is nothing else but this one life, if the Atheists are right, don’t wish me into oblivion. Give me some credit, and a fighting chance. If everybody who ever lived is just… gone, so what? Maybe I can be the first one to beat the system. Cheer me on! Say “Go Doyle Go! Don’t Stop Trying!”
Resting forever just really does not sound like fun to me. Even Hell sounds better than that. Eternal torture is preferable to just… nothing, in my book. And I suppose a lot of my friends will be there – IF there is a Hell.
So let’s change this odd culture of “may he rest in peace”.
I think B.R.B. (Be Right Back) would be awesome on a Scientologist’s tombstone!
For a Christian, maybe something like… “I’m in heaven, see you when you get here; take your time” or a simple, “on to bigger and better things”. Isn’t a more positive message than R.I.P.?
Denny, I hope you are having a great time, wherever you are. I hope you’re not resting in peace. I hope that heaven, or whatever you were promised, is everything you expected. Live on Denny, wherever you are!
Filed under: General stuff
Why is it so cool to get out of town for a few days, a week, a month?
Maybe we all need a little change of pace. Some of us feel a little overwhelmed in our regular lives. When you leave it all behind, it’s out of sight, out of mind. I think many people just want to get away from a particular person. Word of advice – don’t take that person with you.
So where are we going?… St. Augustine for the weekend, Montreal for the Jazz Festival, Hong Kong just because. I’m ready.
“What else am I supposed to do, stay here and learn?” – Seann William Scott as E.L. in the 2000 movie Road Trip. Great movie, with Amy Smart. I want to take a road trip with Amy Smart!
Most of my travel is work related, either my for-profit or non-profit activities. Even work travel can be fun, especially when somebody else is paying for it.
Travel can be a chore but it doesn’t have to be. Flights can be especially painful with delays, cramped seating, loud kids and lame snacks. Traveling in a car can be more pleasant but begins to lose its charm after the first three hours. No matter why, where or how you’re traveling, make the best of it, make it fun. Make a game out of it. There are lots of games you can play. You can play the “how much money can we save” game. You can play the “get there really fast” game. Or the “how much can we eat?” game.
My favorite game is making time to see people I care about. There’s just nothing better than an all-expense paid business trip which includes some time to surprise some friends or random relatives in town. Some of my friends get a free meal out of my visit; hey Angela, see you in February for Thai pizza. Some others, unfortunately for them, are such darn good cooks that I’m never offering to take them out ever. Chris, this means you – thanks for all the great homemade food Cuz.
It irks me to hear people complain so much about their travel. Maybe they’ve just been so beaten up by too many trips and lost their enthusiasm. But honestly, there is just no excuse for that. If you have to be on the road anyway, come on, this is your life, and you’ll never have another chance to be happy in that moment. So take a fresh look at it, change it up.
I have suggestions. Don’t I always have suggestions?
1. Drink more water. The first thing I do when I arrive anywhere is stop by a store and stock up on water, and maybe some nuts. Water is key to your wellbeing. You just aren’t going to feel good and enthusiastic about life if you are not hydrated. And I don’t mean soda, coffee and sugary apple juice, I mean water!
2. Talk to more people. Say hi, strike up conversations. If you’re single, try to pick up every reasonably attractive girl you run into. What have you got to lose? Getting rejection is good practice for the future. If you’re a girl, I’m not sure you want to try picking up guys, that’s a whole different matter, not too safe.
3. If it’s not too far, drive instead of fly. Sometimes, with unexpected flight delays, you can get there faster driving than flying. The greatest thing about driving is that you can stop periodically, get out, stretch your legs, eat what you want, buy some stuff.
4. Don’t over plan. I guess some kind of a plan is necessary but you don’t need to painstakingly plan every minute well in advance and have it all printed out in date order. Leave a little time for spontaneity. I’m not saying plan your spontaneity in advance, that would be wacky, I’m just saying don’t get too strict on planning.
5. At least once in your life, take a long trip on a Greyhound, a.k.a. “The Dog”. Why, you ask? I’ll grant you that a bus is not the most elegant, comfortable, or best smelling way to get from point A to point B. And I’ll grant you that, how do we say this gently, you may have to rub elbows with members of the, gently now, less “moneyed” classes, or something. I will tell you this. You’ll never forget it. It won’t be dull. Greyhound bus stations are colorful and interesting places, and the people who ride are sometimes the most interesting of all. Just do it, at least once, you’ll have great stories, you may meet some great people, and it’s cheap! If nothing else, an overnight trip from Clearwater to Lexington or Washington DC to Cincinnati (my two Greyhound experiences) could make you really appreciate and stop complaining about the rigors of flying.
So who’s up for a road trip? I’m in. Amy, how about it?
Disclaimer – there are some people who genuinely love living where they live and don’t want to go anywhere. I don’t understand you people. Never will. All you stay-at-home types should probably just ignore all the above advice.
Filed under: General stuff
Does anybody really eat pickled eggs? And how about pickled pigs feet? Really?
And what’s the point even of pickles in general? Sour vegetables just doesn’t sound good. Yet somehow it’s become part of our culture to enjoy them.
I just learned today that pickles are hugely popular in Russia, because, I’m told, pickles taste good with vodka. Supposedly it’s like peanuts and beer. Well, I guess I’d have to try it.
I think it’s the salt we crave. Pickles are generally low in calories and nearly fat-free but are LOADED with sodium. The doctors (trained by universities funded by drug companies) all tell us to cut back on sodium. I don’t buy that at all, especially for people who live in a climate like Florida and who are active and sweat. Our bodies need salt and all kinds of health problems are caused by lack of salt. And, of course, it tastes good.
It seems that somebody somewhere has pickled just about everything. The standard is cucumbers but any store will also have olives and various other combinations of vegetables. And of course the pickled eggs and pigs feet. I confess though, as a kid, I did eat (and enjoy) pickled pigs feet. Sounds pretty creepy now and I don’t think I’d really want to try again. I saw pickled mangoes in my friend John’s Greek fruit and vegetable market near our house.
What I do love though is pickled beets. I like beets any way you make them. There is an expression in Kentucky, where I grew up, – “wilder than a pickled beet”. It’s a cute expression and honestly I have no idea what’s so wild about a pickled beet. They are red but that’s about it.
Once you have pickles, you can (as Emeril would say) kick ’em up a notch by deep frying them. Yes, you got it, deep fried pickles. I’ve had them, but really, given a choice, I’d rather have something else fried up, like maybe potatoes or even mushrooms.
So have a pickle but try not to find yourself “in a pickle”. That’s bad. I have always been a little confused about this idiom. A quick Internet search taught me that originally “pickles” was a spicy sauce for meat, then later a briny, spiced vinegar solution used as preservative. Still later, the vegetables that were preserved also took the name pickles. The idea then of “in a pickle” conveys the fate of a vegetable that finds itself immersed in this solution. Obviously, there is no easy way out once they close the lid on the jar. I don’t know about you, but I have had that feeling a couple of times. Somehow though, I always managed to get out of it. Good thing I’m not a vegetable, or a pig’s foot.
My readers may have noticed that all my blog articles contain quotes. It was a challenge to find a humorous or even interesting quote about pickles. The best I could do was this anonymous thought about the deeper meaning of pickles, “I think pickles are cucumbers that sold out. They sold their soul to the devil, and the devil is dill…”
All this talk about pickles is making me hungry. I might have a pickle, except that a Russian ate all the pickles in our house. I’m going to have some ice cream.
Filed under: Family stuff
Today (August 18th) would have been my mom’s birthday. She would have been 81.
She lived a good life but maybe not for herself. She made a good life for others – that’s for sure. But her own life, at least the last half of it, was not lived as well as it could have been. She deserved better. But that is a story for other days. Today is Reminiscing-about-the-Good-Times-with-Mom Day.
My two sisters and I usually called her “Mom” when we spoke of her. I always always called her Mom directly. My sisters sometimes called her Mother, which I always found endearing.
She raised the three of us, with no man around to help. We have three different fathers. Undoubtedly, that’s an exciting story but truthfully, I don’t know the details of it. She kept most of it to herself and even if I knew the story I probably wouldn’t write it. I know a fair amount of what happened with my dad from what he told me. But it’s a story Mom didn’t care to share so I’m not telling it either.
So why three kids, all that work, and no man? I always thought she just loved us (myself and my sisters) and wanted to have us and just didn’t want a man around interfering. Maybe there is some truth to that. Possibly she intended it to happen exactly as it happened. In any case, she never complained.
We were poor, I suppose, but I never noticed. We always seemed to have what we needed. We never went hungry but we ate simple food and rarely ate out. We had good clothes, though she made some of them. I had toys, bikes, color TV. Everything we had along those lines, including an electric guitar and amp I remember from my early years, came from the Western Auto store. She bought everything on credit. When she needed something, she called up Clay, who owned the store, and he delivered it.
We didn’t have a car but she didn’t drive. It would have been pointless to have one. We got around by walking (we lived in a small town), taxi (Oscal Goble, one of the TWO taxi drivers we had in our aforementioned small town) and rides from friends and relatives.
My fondest memories from childhood are when she played with me. Since I didn’t have a dad around she had to “man up” and play some frisbee, toss a baseball back and forth and a few other outdoor activities. She even tried fishing once but she really didn’t have the patience for it and I quickly worked out doing it on my own.
We also played Monopoly, checkers, chess, Yahtzee and some card games. The best part is, she cheated. If I looked away, or left and came back, she somehow always ended up with a strategic advantage. We’d laugh endlessly about her cheating. She just did what she could to make the games a little more fun.
She worked ALL the time, early morning and late at night. Mainly, she was a seamstress. Our house was a constant stream of the townspeople showing up unannounced with dresses, suits, curtains to repair. Sometimes a big fat man would show up with a pair of pants he’d ripped out. That was funny. She made dresses and weird green, pink and psychadelic pantsuits out of polyester for the stylish women of our town. Hey, it was the 70s. She kept the leftover pieces of the clothes she made and sewed them into patchwork quilts. I still have one, my favorite material possession. It’s the best beach blanket ever.
She also made costumes and uniforms, being the only full-time seamstress in town. In the 70s, rock bands had to have matching costumes – think the Osmonds and Jackson Five. She made them, from scratch. She even made school band and cheerleader uniforms. Once when I was a young teenager, in 7th or 8th grade, my bedroom was full of cheerleaders in various stages of undressed, trying on their uniforms. It was awesome. Well, I imagine it was awesome. I got kicked outside and I was shivering in the snow.
As I said, she worked a lot. As I also said, she never complained. I remember clearly that, in my childhood, she sang softly when when she worked. Gospel songs mostly, along with some Jim Nabors and Stevie Wonder. After 1976, she didn’t sing anymore but that’s a story for another day.
Today, I remember Mom, I miss her and I know two things. Wherever she is now, and whatever she’s doing, the place and the people are better off because she is there, and she isn’t complaining.
Love you Mom.