What if?

My wife and I have similar taste in music though she has strayed more into 21st century while I still languish in the 20th. I have SiriusXM in my car which has a multitude of music channels to listen too. I listen to basically three, Pearl Jam, Grateful Dead and Deep Tracks which is the classic rock album cuts channel. See, 20th century.

We play a game in the car called what if. What if Duane Allman had lived, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Gram Parsons, Ronnie Van Zant, what if? I am sure we all have artist we could put on the what if list, but today I am thinking of one in particular because today would have been his 50th birthday, Kurt Cobain.

Cobain committed suicide in 1994 at the young age of 27. He and his band, Nirvana were at the height of their career. Hit records, sold out concerts and money flooding in but for whatever reason it was either too much or not enough for Cobain.

In 1994 I was a 33-year-old father of two, one four-year old and a one year old. My long hair, jean jacket days were well behind me traded in for a coat in tie and a 8 to 5 job. But despite my conformity I could still listen to Nirvana in my car, when I was alone, at full blast and harken back to the days of freedom, the days of being responsible just for me and no one else, days that I gladly gave-up but never really let go of.

So what if, what if Kurt had found the will to live, would he still be making music like his counter part Eddie Vedder is today? Michael Stipe, the lead singer of R.E.M said he and Cobain were talking about working on a project together right before his death. I would have enjoyed hearing that.

We all have our what ifs. In 57 years of living I have a bag full of them and I am sure I will go to my grave with a few more, but what I have learned about life is this, next to every what if is another choice, another direction, another option. Sometimes you can take both, but the vast majority of the times we can’t. We pick the choice, the option that fits best at that very moment, and like everything else, moments change as quickly as the weather.

It’s hard to imagine that Kurt was done at 27 but maybe he had said everything he had to say, maybe he didn’t see the value in playing the what if game. Fortunately I do, I hope we all do. Sometimes we get it right, and those are the times it makes all the difference in the world.

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I hear you knocking


Back in May of 2016 I told y’all the story a female Cardinal that comes to our home in late January and proceeds to fly into our den window, beating her little bird head against the window pane everyday, all day long through about mid-March. Well she is back for year five.

I don’t know much about the lifespan of a Cardinal so a quick Google search reveled that “On average, northern cardinals live for 3 years in the wild although several individuals have had life spans of 13 to 15 years.” The 13 to 15 years was not welcomed news. I have been asked by many people “how do you know it is the same Cardinal”? My typical response is to just let the question simmer and stew for a moment which brings most people to the same conclusion, yea that would be weird that it would be a different bird each year.

Part of me, not the part that finds the constant thump against the window every 10 to 15 minutes irritating as hell, is flattered that she has chosen our home each year to fling her little bird self against the glass. She has a mate, who will occasionally sit atop the bird feeder and watch her self-flagellation. I also know she nest near by because she visits our feeders all Summer long. She is pretty easy to pick out, she is the one with the missing feathers on her head.

We have tried several remedies, covering the windows with towels, arranging sticky notes everywhere and those distractions work, for a little while. But sure enough, just like the postman neither sleet nor rain will keep her from the swift completion of her appointed head banging.

The most logical reason I have heard as to why she does this is because she sees her reflection in the window as another bird in her territory and she is protecting it. But, the issue with this theory is that it is typically the male bird that exhibits this behavior, not the female. So what this tells me is I have an Alpha female and a Beta male Cardinal couple, a feminist, a women’s libber, a henpecked husband married to a bad-ass bird wife. Hmm, sounds a little like my……..never mind.

There is a lot of weird Psychic stuff that surrounds Cardinals as well, for instance the word cardinal comes for the Latin word cardo, which means hinge or axis so it is thought that Cardinals are a hinge on the doorway between our Earthly world and the Spirit world, carrying messages back and forth. At this point, listening to this little lady slam against our window all day long I think the more appropriate word is unhinged to describe her existence and behavior.

In a couple of weeks she will quit, start making a nest, lay some eggs and then she will be to busy to head bang our window. I wonder how I will feel if she doesn’t come back next year? I wonder if I will even notice or remember? Our world is not a friendly place for birds, between cats, loss of habitat and the chemicals we spray in our yards to kill bugs and crabgrass I would imagine it can be tough to live one or two years let alone five.

As I sit here and write this she is banging away. Maybe what she is doing is reminding me that despite my thumbs and occasional clever thought she is just as important as I am. That she has just as much right to occupy this space as I do. At this juncture I believe her. She has more than made her point, believe me, she has made her point.



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Family values

Born again

“Thank you President Trump for bringing GOD back to the White House after 8 years of Obama banning Christmas and prayer!!!!” – Trump supporter Comfortably Smug tweet 2-19-18

Family values – values held to be traditionally learned or reinforced within a family, such as those of high moral standards and discipline.

Maybe I am just not rolling with times. Maybe the Values of family values have changed and I just missed it. When I consider the definition above I think about what most would consider to be the typical American family, two parents, male and female, and two kids. Now certainly I am “liberal” enough to accept that there is no longer a typical cast of characters in the term “typical American family” but even if the characters and the roles have changed in my mind what hasn’t changed over the years are the values of high moral standards and discipline.

I know single-parent families, same-sex parenting families and grandparent families that all fill the role of the typical American family and uphold the definition of family values. I accept these and many other combinations of what the moral and righteous minority would view as non-traditional families because not of who they are, or what they believe but because they fill their homes with love and for me that is all that really matters.

When I look at Barack and Michelle Obama I think of a typical and traditional American family. While in the White House, and even today, you don’t hear about affairs with Playboy bunnies, or payoffs to Porn Stars. The Obama kids are bright and well-behaved and they even had Michelle’s mother living with them for all eight years of the Presidential term helping them instill the values all kids need to grow into responsible adults. Honestly, I can’t imagine my mother in-law living with me for eight years, that in my mind is not only traditional, but a real sacrifice.

So look at what we have now, a man married three times, with children by three different mothers. Countless lawsuits for sexual abuse and inappropriate behavior with women, many 20 and 30 years younger than he is. Two, that we know of, payoffs to women he had tryst with while married to the First Lady. A man who has famously been quoted as saying; “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [they] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”, “You have to treat ’em like shit.”, “I have days where, if I come home — and I don’t want to sound too much like a chauvinist but when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof.”, “They said, ‘How are you going to change the pageant?’ I said ‘I’m going to get the bathing suits to be smaller and the heels to be higher’.”, “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”, and “I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and f— her. She was married. And I moved on her very heavily… I moved on her like a b—-, but I couldn’t get there.”

Yup, “Thank you President Trump for bringing GOD back to the White House after 8 years of Obama banning Christmas and prayer!!!!” Like me, I am sure most of you don’t remember suspending Christmas or praying for the eight years Obama was President and I am pretty sure God didn’t leave the White House, if anything, based on the compassion, empathy and love the Obama’s have shown each other and the nation, God was alive and well in the White House for all eight of those years.

Today, the White House is filled with pagan Gods of greed, gluttony, ego and selfish pride. I guess I missed Franklin Graham’s memo about what the Evangelicals believe are the new family values for this country. Trump certainly doesn’t represent nor does he speak for the type of values my family works to uphold and live by. How about yours?

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Craft: Nesting balls

Nesting ball

I enjoy making stuff, from chairs, tables, and bookcases to something as simple as the nesting ball above. Now you might be asking yourself what the heck is a nesting ball? Well as the name implies, it is a ball filled with nesting materials for birds to use. Makes sense now doesn’t it.

I buy the balls, which I assume are just grape vines woven together, at Michaels craft store for about $7.00. I tried weaving one myself and honestly the Chinese just do it much better than I can.

The ball is filled with various materials; shredded cotton balls, yarn, cloth ribbon, Spanish moss, hemp twine, etc. stuff you can find around your house. The key is use to natural materials. For me, the fun is to find a Robins or a Thrush nest hidden in the hedges and see a piece of blue yarn, or the multi-colored paper or wood Easter grass I use woven in. It reminds me that we are all in this game together.

I give nesting balls as gifts at Christmas, for birthdays and as a house-warming presents. I make a little label to include with the ball that explains what it is. It reads; “Birds love to forage for things for their nests and these reusable balls give an all natural safe and soft option for them. Hang outdoors and birds will fly back and forth picking from the ball time and time again. When it is empty fill it up.” 

Making these balls are a fun, relaxing and messy project you can do with the kids or grand-kids on a rainy day. Spring is almost here, make a ball and help support our feathered friends.

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The Oblivious-in-chief

Trump Thumbs up

“President Trump you say, ‘What can you do?’ You can stop the guns from getting into these children’s hands. Put metal detectors at every entrance to the schools. What can you do? You can do a lot. This is not fair to our families. That our children go to school and have to get killed. I just spent the last two hours putting the burial arrangements for my daughter’s funeral who is fourteen. President Trump, please do something. Do something. Action. We need it now. These kids need safety now.” – Lori Alhadeff, the mother of shooting victim Alyssa Alhadeff

40 miles away from where “our” President was staying in his over the top, opulent home Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida mothers and fathers are burying their children and this is what is on Trump’s mind;

“Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes. The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect. Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!” – Trump tweet 2-18-18

I am the father of two daughters, two daughters that are now young adults. I have invested and given the vast majority of my adult life to these two human beings. I would, even today, gladly sacrifice my life for theirs, you would not have to ask me twice. They need my heart to survive, take it. They need a kidney to live a normal life, take both of mine. I can not imagine the absolute sorrow and heartache the parents in Parkland, Florida are dealing with and obviously, neither can “our” President.

Of the 17 victims murdered at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School 14 were children. 14 human beings with mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, friends and dreams, dreams that will never be fulfilled because of the senseless act of a child himself. And “our” President blames everyone but the people and the organizations that deserve part of the blame, all the while posing for photographs with a shit-eating grin on his face giving a big “thumbs-up”. Seriously, what the hell is he grinning about and why the “thumbs-up”.

David Hogg, a survivor of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had this message for “our” President; “You’re the President. You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us. How dare you? Children are dying, and their blood is on your hands because of that. Please take action. Stop going on vacation in Mar-a-Lago. Take action. Work with Congress. Your party controls both the House and Senate. Take action, get some bills passed, and for God’s sake, let’s save some lives.”

17 human beings were murdered on Valentines Day, 14 children and 3 adults. How many more lives are we willing to sacrifice? How much blood needs to be shed until we wake-up and realize our gun laws are destroying this country? How long are we going to allow gun manufactures and gun lobbying organizations the unchecked influence and control over our leadership? How long are we going to turn our backs on parents burying their children because of gun violence? How long?

Alyssa Alhadeff, Scott Beigel, Martin Duque Anguiano, Nicholas Dworet, Aaron Feis, Jamie Guttenberg, Chris Hixon, Luke Hoyer, Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Helena Ramsay, Alex Schachter, Carmen Schentrup & Peter Wang 

“We don’t want any other community going through this. There is something wrong with our country right now. This is common sense.” 17-year-old Ariana Ortega speaking at the funeral of her friend 14-year-old Alex Schachter, killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland


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Trump blames everyone but………Russia

“I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.” The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!” – Trump tweet 2-18-18

I grew-up in a very typical 1960’s and 1970’s new south suburban neighborhood with two styles of homes, split-levels and ranches. Dads worked, moms stayed home with the two kids, the air on Saturday’s was filled with hamburgers burning on backyard grills, and families piled into their station wagons on Sundays and went to Protestant churches. It was middle class utopia, cookie cutter hell.

Most of my neighbors and their kids were warm and friendly but like most communities there is always one black sheep family and our black sheep was the Alexander clan. Mr. Alexander was a supervisor for the power company. Mrs. Alexander was a high school prom queen fighting years and gravity with pounds of Mary Kay cosmetics and too tight clothes. The Alexander’s had three boys, spaced two years a part and when you fought one you got beat-up by all three.

Mr. Alexander was a tough, foul-mouthed ex-Marine that fought in Korea, drank Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, smoked unfiltered Pall Malls, named his dog Damn-it so he could scream “Damn-it quit licking your ass” and hated blacks, Jews and Communist which, in that era meant the Chinese and the Russians. A real sweet heart of a guy.

No big surprise but Mr. Alexander didn’t live to a ripe old age but if he had he would have been the poster child for the Deplorable nation. But I have wondered, how would this Communist hating racist have felt knowing that the Russians actively and systematically manipulated his thoughts, his words and his opinions. Better still, would he have admitted too it? And the man who Mr. Alexander would have supported and elected President blames everyone but the Russians, the country Mr. Alexander hated.

The evidence is very clear to me, the Russians disrupted and effected the outcome of our 2016 elections. They manipulated Trump, the Deplorables, and all of the Mr. Alexander’s in this country and guess what, they are still playing us and “our” President is doing nothing about it. Hell, Trump is inviting the Russians to the White House and the only reason we know about it is because the Russians tell us which is seriously scary bullshit. The sixty-four dollar question is this, why isn’t Trump doing anything about it? Why isn’t Trump supporting the sanctions against Russia that Congress enacted with a 98 to 2 vote? Why isn’t Trump calling Putin out for his role in undermining the U.S. elections. Why is Trump failing to act to protect our Democracy? Why is Trump blaming everyone but the Russians? Why?

For me the answer is very clear, the Russians own Trump, they have the goods on him. What I wonder is this, will it even matter to the Evangelicals or the Deplorables? It certainly hasn’t yet and the evidence, just the evidence the general public has access to, at least for me, is pretty damning. But for whatever reason, these patriots, these men and women who claim to love their country, men and women who have served this country are apparently okay with having a Putin puppet in the White House and I just don’t understand why.

“If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!” – Trump tweet 2-18-18

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But still they support him

Jesus MAGA

Trump’s bad week has “forced” me to spend, yea I know I wasn’t forced, a lot of time on social media, specially Facebook and Twitter. Now let me explain how I have my Facebook account set-up, I have no friends, no really I have no friends. 50% of the content I receive on my “News Feed” is politically based, probably 10% local news, 10% environmental news, 10% sports related, 10% spiritual and the other 10% fluff and bullshit. Sounds pretty dull I know but I am a pretty dull guy.

I try to balance, at least balanced in my mind, the political sites I subscribed too but as you would expect if you have read this blog for any length of time, I lean from the middle to the left so that is the type of reporting I prefer reading. So no feeds from Fox News or Sean Hannity, or Breitbart or Rush Limbaugh. The conservatives would say how could I proclaim to be getting a “balanced” representation of the story then? Funny, that is the same question I ask them.

So back to Trump’s bad week which I detailed in my post The heat is on, I was reading an article about the Playboy model, Karen McDougal who alleges she had a nine month affair with Trump back in 2006. The jest of the article was about the pattern of powerful men using the National Enquirer to “catch and kill” a story. The publication will pay for the exclusive right to run the story, in the case of McDougal $150,000, and then kill it, never publish it as a “favor” to the powerful man, in this case Trump.

So what we have witnessed, over the last 30 days or so, are two women who have come forward and said that they were in a relationship with Trump and were paid a total of $280,000 to keep quiet. As has been Trump’s modus operandi he denies any and all allegations such as these but given his past, he has been married three times, and current statements, remember what he said about Roy Moore “He totally denies it”, it really isn’t hard to believe these two assertions and all the other sexual abuse charges leveled at him by 20 other women are true. But still they support him.

As I finished reading the article I started scanning through the comments and as you would imagine, there was no middle ground. But I was particularly interested in reading what Trump supporters had to say. Think about when both of the alleged affairs occurred, shortly after his marriage to Melania and months after the birth of his son. Now as both a husband and a father there is never a good or appropriate reason to have an affair but I would imagine no matter what kind of piece of shit you knew you were marrying, after your wife just had your child would, at least in my mind, be the worst time.

So how did the Trump supporters respond to this article? Two ways, by disparaging and vilifying Karen McDougal and proclaiming that “GOD” had changed Trump. Remember what Michelle Obama said; “I’ve seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are. It reveals who you are.” But still they support him.

I worry about all these Evangelicals, not their souls or salvation, but the toxins and poisons they are filling our environment with. How blind and superficial must you be to exclaim, for all the world to see and hear, that you are follower of Jesus Christ and then align yourself with a miscreant such as Donald Trump. What does that say about you? What does it say about the Christian faith in general? But still they support him.

I thought a Donald Trump presidency would destroy this country and sadly my fears are being realized. What I didn’t expect or anticipate is that a Donald Trump presidency would erode the moral fabric of our country. Honestly, I guess that is what I really should have been worried about. We can rebuild what has been demolished but recapturing Americas goodness, honor and principles may be more difficult. But still they support him.



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