Friday, September 21, 2018

Bill Clinton and James Patterson "The President is Missing" Thumbs down.

No duh. The President and a Writer are both missing from this book. Seriously, Bill Clinton is a good writer. Why he teamed up with Patterson to write spy-espionage-thriller is a mystery to me, no pun intended. He should have written it himself.

I read a lot and I have read some James Patterson novels and I state right now, clear and loud that I am not a Patterson fan. If you read two of his books you have read them all. The snobby reader that I am, I don't care if you have the same character in every book (witness the success of Lee Child with that Jack Reacher guy, a character I have loved for some time until recently, but that's an essay for another day) but just jimmy the plot a bit, throw in some strangeness and something different. Patterson does not do that.

So we have this BLOCKBUSTER NOVEL (marketing caps, not mine) of a collaboration between Patterson and Bill Clinton. I suppose it was born of a need for Clinton to pen a book with his wisdom and his experience couched in a fake character. That's fine, but why pick Patterson? He's a hack. Clinton is not. There are so many other writers to buddy up with, Lee Child included.  How cool to have a sort-of Reacher character as maybe the VP who coerced the P into disappearing and the FBI and CIA knew nothing about it!

But I digress.  This book, "The President is Missing" was good for about 75 pages. At that point, for me, it began to disintegrate. I read another 25 pages and tossed it on the floor and stepped on it. It was stupid and a waste of my time.

Sorry, Bill. Write a book on your own. You were President which means you have a good imagination and you can create your own female terrorists (Bach, really?) and you can still have room to spout your Democratic ideology to the masses.  Man up.  Get a gun and a secret car and a better disguise (a hat and fake hair, really?) and make it happen.

No disrespect, Mr. President, but you can do a lot better.


Springsteen whispering in my ear......

I ain't nothing but tired,
I'm just tired and bored with myself.
Message keeps getting clearer,
Radio's on and I'm moving round the place.
Check my look in the mirror,
I want to change my clothes, my hair, my face.
Man, I ain't getting nowhere,
Living in a dump like this.
There's something happening somewhere,
Baby I just know there is.
You sit around getting older,
There's a joke here somewhere and it's on me.
I'll shake this world off my shoulders,
Come on baby, this laugh's on me.

This song has been rolling around my head every morning for the past week.  "There's something happening somewhere, I just know there is."  I find myself looking at craigslist for used RV's or a small van I could sleep in. I read endless articles about foreign countries or national parks in the midwest or food halls on the east coast. Insatiably, I ask guests at the hotel where they are traveling from and where they are going next.  Wanderlust.

I woke up the other morning and I spoke out loud to myself: "I don't want to do this anymore."  Having said it and acknowledged it as the truth means it needs to be real. How long can I put off doing what I was meant to do just because I am afraid of the financial part of the equation?  Where is the financing for my heart and soul?  Why is the deficit always the factor that drives my life? I am tired of living with that philosophy. Something has to change.

2019. The year I drive the length of the Mississippi River, the year I see the temples in Cambodia, the year I finally see the Northern Lights?  Will it happen?

Image result for picture of the northern lights in alaska

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Using CBD cream for pain vs hemp oil for pain: any opinions?

One of my knees is pretty much OK after surgery 8 months ago but it is being a little tweaked because of the situation with the other knee.  Knee #2 has a torn meniscus and a blown bursa, both of which should get better at some time but it's taking a long, long time.  There are times when it hurts a lot, and it makes me depend on Knee #1 too much.  For the bad knee I am currently using CBD cream. It helps but it doesn't alleviate the pain.

I am also using hemp oil, which is touted to have the same properties as CBD since they are related. (There is too much information online to make a distinction about which is better.)  The hemp oil also helps but doesn't take the pain away.

If anyone out there in virtual reader land has an opinion or has experience of either product and has something helpful to tell me, bring it on! Since anyone can by CBD or hemp products in grocery stores these days, I suspect that it all depends on the user's body chemistry and what other "essential oils" are in the product one buys.  (The whole "essential oil" thing strikes me the wrong way, I think it's just the name.  Who is to say what is essential?  Olive oil might be essential to me but not to you. And yes, I know that olive oil is not considered an "essential" oil, but just saying....)  I could and should go to a dispensary and I will at some point but there are different price levels depending on if you have a medical marijuana card or not and yes, it's legal here but you still have to jump through a few hoops and with my bad knees that jumping is painful. 

Having said all that, maybe it's better to smoke two joints in the morning, smoke two joints at night.  But that always makes me cough and the CBD doesn't get you high, unless you get high from not having any pain, which would be a good high for me! Maybe eating my Sleeping Brownies would help my knees, who knows?   Moving on......


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Can a liberal Democrat be on good terms with an Obama-hating Trump supporter?

No, it is not a rhetorical question.

The short answer is "NO".

The long answer is "NO".

The other answer is "NO .... but...." 

At my workplace is a guy who is seemingly normal and nice. He cares about his coworkers and seems interested in their lives, he is reasonably intelligent and articulate and outwardly kind.  He is also, I just discovered, an Obama-hating Trump-loving Republican of the far right.

Therein lies the "but."

Before I get into the philosophical arguments that are staring us in the face, I need to state my ideology clearly and succinctly:  I am a liberal Democrat and I believe in the Democratic party policies. I am not a 100% "Democrats are right all the time" person, but no one should be.

However, this situation goes way beyond Democrats vs Republicans. Trying to reconcile my like of this person with his values that I truly despise is making my head spin. If I met him at a party and he had on a badge that read "Trump Supporter, Obama Hater" I would not speak to him, would have nothing to do with him.  When I met this person, he was charming and intelligent, a good worker, easy to talk to, blah, blah, blah.  He likes me, I like him.

ACK!  What do to? I have to work with him (he is not my boss, thankfully) but I don't want to even talk to him. On the other hand, he is funny and he makes me chuckle and he likes me as a person. Can I like him as a person knowing he staunchly believes in things that I find abhorrent?   I am sure he knows that my political and philosophical beliefs are far from compatible with his but he has no problem putting that aside and joking with me and chatting about his life. Why is that? Why do I have a very difficult time putting his belief system aside while he does not?

There is no answer here, of course. At least not one that I can fathom at this moment. It makes me very sad and quite angry that I actually know someone personally who has hate and ignorance as a base of belief.  And yet, there it is.

More on this subject to come because it certainly is not going away.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Whatever happened to real fortunes in fortune cookies?

I am totally serious. Long, long ago a Chinese fortune cookie had an actual fortune, one in which you could fear or rejoice. Fortunes like: A loved one will cheat on you.  or A business proposition bodes well.  or  Travel to a foreign land may be forthcoming.  It didn't matter if it made sense, it mattered that it COULD happen. It was a portent.

Now all we get are smarmy platitudes and stupid well-wishing sayings like You have many friends  or  The sun shines on your home or Wise people cultivate wisdom. What is with all that? Those aren't fortunes, they don't make you think about the future. If I am going to the expense of getting Chinese take-out (which happens about twice a year) I want a note in a cookie that tells me I might win the lottery (You will soon come into a substantial amount of money) or that lets me know something good (or bad) is on the way (An anticipated windfall might not be what you expect.)  I do not want a Confucius saying about my health telling me to watch my blood pressure and eat more kale. (The kale part has not yet been written but it's just around the corner, I am sure of it.)

Give me a friggin fortune cookie with a real fortune, a fortune that makes you think, even something ominous, something veiled, something like the one Gabe got years ago:  Before you plan the wedding day, be sure to read his resume. We had that on our fridge for years.  That's a fortune to ponder.


Friends for 50 years

When I was 18 years old I worked at a fabric/stitchery shop in Torrance, in a small strip mall. Big malls were not yet the rage (although Torrance did claim to have the largest mall in the world for a couple of years, the Del Amo mall, just in case that is of interest to mallrats) but small strip malls were a great source of commerce. In that strip mall was a deli/liquor store where I would sometimes get a sub sandwich. And in that store I met Flip.

At the time, I thought Flip was a couple of years older than I was, but I was easily swayed by anyone who pretended to be anything other than what they were. I was then and am still fairly gullible. Plus Flip was not anything like the pasty-faced white surfer boys I sometimes dated in those days.  (HA!  "Dated" is such a euphemism for "had sex with.")  Flip was another mix, sort of Hawaiian and maybe Samoan or something, who knew, I didn't care. He was a little brash and a bit wise-ass and a tad wise. He was not a pasty-faced white surfer boy. He asked me out, I said yes.

Flip introduced me to the Los Angeles fine dining scene, what there was of it in 1968. He had a way of making waiters bow differentially and back off when they questioned if I was of drinking age. (I was not.) (As it turned out, neither was he!)  He ordered bottles of Chateauneuf du Pape wine, which were lovely. (I was 18 and knew nothing about wine except the sweet kind.)  We went to the Sunset Strip in LA and got into places we had no business being in. We would drive down the coast, talking and talking, stopping in some Mom-and-Pop restaurant for cheap pasta and house red wine served in old jelly jars. We made out in the back of my small red car, always coming up for air before we got too far into the sex thing. We decided that being friends was more important than fucking, so we never did.  Flip covered for me in 1969 when I needed him and he was at my wedding in 1971, although he arrived late. I was at his first wedding the following year. 

Flip was in SF this week with his new wife, Tina. (He has had more than a couple wives in the past 50 years, just saying.) Tina is a perfect match for Flip: she is smart, honest, direct and fun. Like me, she is a voracious reader of books, which I always take as a positive sign of a person's character.  I think Flip and Tina are going to do well together.

It is amazing to have a friend for more than 50 years.  There have been times when we called each other every two weeks and there have been times when two years go by without talking. But out of it all, I know that if I needed him, if I called and said "I need you" he would be on a plane within the hour and be at my door ASAP. I would do the same for him.  I remember once I was in a small hotel in Paris and the phone rang (which never happens, of course) and it was Flip calling, just to surprise me and to see how I was. How he found me in that small hotel I still can't figure out (and he won't say) but it spoke of how much he cares for me. And he still does. And I do back at him.

As I said in a blog post a month ago, the thing that matters is just this:  we love.  This is what I said then:  It doesn't matter why or how, it matters that we love. It matters that we love, even if it is messy and difficult because it is also special and sometimes remarkable. More often than not it is simple and easy while also complicated and annoying. But that's all part of the process and part of why and how we love. That we love, there is the meaning.

I love Flip, I always will, he loves me and he always will. I am so, so happy that he has this new life and I cannot wait to visit Tina and Flip in Hawaii.  Life moves on. Sometimes life is good.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Update on Jon Carroll

Jon Carroll wrote for the SF Chronicle for so many years, maybe 25 years, I am not sure. (I don't trust Wikipedia.) Once I noticed him and once I read him, I was an instant fan of his writing, his ideology, his political beliefs, his humor, his satire and just about everything else. But then he quit writing a few years ago and I have missed him greatly.

A good friend sent me his current post listing.  It is  If you were a Jon Carroll fan, you can find him there.

This column, his latest, spoke to me. I am not a Writer, I do not have a Writing career but I like to write and I love to read and the word, the words, are very important to me. If I could muster up the gumption to write every day, I would. And I wish I could say that I will.  But I will try. Writing for me is like letting go of my breath. One draws in breath and lets it out on a normal, not conscious level, it is what keeps us alive.  For me, writing is an exercise in letting go, in breathing out, exhaling to cleanse my mind and soul.

I write this blog for that reason: it makes me reflect, makes me "smile and nod" at the world. The writing makes me exhale. The writing centers me and makes me look outside of my own self. I re-read the writing I did last year about the fires and it makes me cry. Some of what I write makes me laugh, always a good thing.

That's all.