i’m still not sure how I met Elle Michael River

My editor is a better writer than me. i am OK with that.

I am not sure, exactly, how we met, but like one or two other people I have stumbled upon during this writing journey – Shari Stauch is another – I am deeply grateful and a little in awe.

She scared me when I realized she was going to review my work. Elle gave me a better review than I deserved. It is astounding to me – how I get to work with people of this caliber.

This is an except from Elle’s blog.

FOR I HAVE SINNED

By Elle Michael River

When Jesus walked into the nuthouse, I knew things were going to get interesting. Our savior wore a gray t-shirt, ripped jeans, and a pair of orange, converse sneakers. An angry red sore oozed over his fat, brown lips, and he had the tell-tale bruising of a black eye almost healed. He was smiling. I guess he knew something we didn’t. He bounced up and down on the balls of his feet and hummed what sounded a bit like Jingle Bells.

No one else paid Jesus much attention. It was close to lunchtime, and meals were a serious business in the nuthouse. I was bringing up the caboose of unit B2’s lunch line, picking at my overgrown nails, when the singing began.

“Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almiiighty!”

Jesus’ crisp tenor pierced through discussions of Connect Four triumphs and whether there would be pie. Everyone stopped short at his sudden serenade. Silence. Here was our savior, smiling at us, his teeth a rancid, smoker’s yellow.

“Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah! Praise ye the Looord!”

Jesus wasn’t a very good singer.

Pete let out a bark of laughter and turned his crooked smile to Jo and me.

“Wow, this one’s even better than Crazy Katie! Someone screwed up downstairs,” he said. He rolled his eyes in that Pete way.

A stiff, brunette woman wearing nurse’s white came by with her clipboard and began to count us off by twos for lunch. A line of dark lipstick had smeared beyond the left of her smile. I couldn’t stop staring at it. She called my number – forty, the last in line – and I shuffled forward, sucking at my lips. She gave me a weird look, but I cast my gaze to the ground. I didn’t like being last. My favorite number was nine, but I wasn’t always fast enough to count eight places and wedge myself in. It was easier to be number forty.

Jesus was all but forgotten during our meal. Hunger has a way of taking over your brain until all the mashed potatoes are gone. Pete, Jo, and I always sat together at lunch. We weren’t really crazy, not like the others. The doctors couldn’t keep us for long when they had actual psychos like Katie to deal with. The three of us stuck together because it was important to have allies in the nuthouse.

Crazy’s contagious, you know?

(Please click link to continue on to Elle’s site and to read more)

http://ellemichaelriver.com/2017/09/11/for-i-have-sinned/

It used to be huge

 

It used to be huge. Everything was huge. She didn’t have a party, she had events. Summer parties for a hundred of her closest friends and food and drinks for two hundred. If you were her friend you were a close friend.

The circle was huge.

There were no simple acquaintances.

Ringing the cow bell from the car, for every mile of a 200 mile bike race. And laughing. Laughing and ringing that bell for 14 hours. Every time she saw me she’d yell, “you got this bro…” Every time. Continue reading It used to be huge

Hurricane Irma – Florida

 

My baby girl and her girls and her husband, my sister, friends of family. Friends… people I have never met, but I speak with almost daily. All Floridians, from Miami to FloBama.

I just got a message from my sister. It was chilling. She’s in the south, close to Miami. Store shelves empty since Tuesday, no gas, roads jammed and stopped.

I hope I see my sister again. I hope I hear from her soon. Continue reading Hurricane Irma – Florida

Hot fiery nuclear death, not what I had planned at this stage in life. I was hoping to open a bicycle shop…

Nuclear war, any day, for several reasons.

I’ve been reading about the interconnected complexities of the world economy that rest on the shoulders of these two idiots, Trump and Kim.

China, South Korea, Russia all have a take, a position, a stake in this game. Putin – go ahead and hate him, I do, but at least he takes some time to examine the situation, not simply run his mouth – says the situation may be unsolvable. His economy in the north is very closely tied to North Korea. Continue reading Hot fiery nuclear death, not what I had planned at this stage in life. I was hoping to open a bicycle shop…

A Pirate looks past 60, with apologies to Jimmy Buffett

Now we have the radical left who are no better than the radical right. It feels as if the entire country has lost its mooring.

We are adrift.

This is not who we are, what we are. There is and always has been racism – on all sides. I’ve been the only white guy in the room, not a comfortable situation; no more or less than being the only black guy in a room. But, we have always been able to put on the back burner and survive, when the shit hit the fan.

I know a man who can and does spew the vilest racist comments, but yet when the chips are down shows his true colors. I’ve seen this same guy risk his own life to save a non-English speaking Hispanic guy from a car fire. It showed me his racism is, or was, only on the surface, not who this guy is. It was his mouth, not his heart.

I fear it’s gone deeper in us now.

The right wing’s hate and anger that a black man had the audacity to be elected president and effectively lead for eight years has spilled out from the gut and now defines a substantial percentage of who we are.

Are we going to allow a handful of cowards who fear “them Uppity Niggers” define us a nation?

By the way, this is the first time I’ve ever used that word in a post. It is an ugly, yet powerful word. I wish people who use it freely would ponder its weight. Just think, step back from the anger and think.

We all own this. We have to.

I don’t think you will ever educate Klan members, Neo-Nazis. I’ve been in fights with the Klan, they are gutless cowards. They feed off each other. Their power is fragile. Giving them attention gives them power. The media gives them power, the White House gives them power. Ignore them and they will not go away, but they will diminish and weaken. They will go back into their holes.

The left is no better. Sinking to the same level as the right and the KKK. The radical left is nothing more than another disenfranchised collection of cowards. Again, the attention feeds them and their actions justify the radical rights actions.

I struggle with this. There is nothing I’d rather do that bust open the skull of a Klan member with a pipe.

That makes me no better than them.

We need calm level-headed leadership, not trump, not Hillary, not the mess we call congress. Instead, we have black armbands in the street.

We are seeing in this country now a direct result of the failure of leadership. We have been accepting the unacceptable for too long. There is a cancer eating this country alive. I’ve watched it come unglued since the ’70’s.

We used to have, at the very least, respectable leadership. What happened, why? How did we get to a place where we accept – AND DEFEND – the unacceptable.

We have the highest number of prisoners, per capita, of any nation in the world. A for-profit prison system. We have a government that is now encouraging – boldly – the militarization of local police departments. We have radicalized hate groups in the streets. We have men like Joe Arpaio endorsed by the occupant of the White House. That same occupant of the White House publicly endorses police violence. We have a Supreme Court that says corporations and people and they can dump as much cash as they want to spend to buy all the politicians they want to buy. We have a congress with an 11% approval rating and they still get elected…

We have a government so gutless that it stands back and watches it unfold… just lets it all be, as if these things are acceptable and normal.

We have got to do better. I’m not sure we are capable of coming back from this ledge. For the first time in my life I’m thinking of leaving, seriously thinking of leaving, abandoning my home and going somewhere else. Another shore to sit and watch it burn. I know some will say, “Good, go.” To them, I say, “God bless yer ‘merica”.

A recent conversation with a sane and somber conservative friend. We discussed the most effective gun for protection and hunting. He said the .12 ga. Shotgun hands down. As I sat looking at them, considering the life and death power; what they mean to me.  Thinking back to the reason I gave up my guns years ago, I had to ask myself, “is it really that bad?”

Sadly, I think it is. I’m curious to observe, will I buy the gun or pack it in.

 

#williamlobb #resign

Can’t we stop until these people are OK? Can’t we cut the crap?

Can’t we lose the Right – Left bullshit for a couple of days.

Can’t we keep  the sitting president and his entourage and secret service away so a tragic situation doesn’t become worse? He can be much more effective seeing to it that Federal resources are available to this area, these people.

Have people lost the ability to think, to stop and think?

Fifty inches of rain. That’s the equivalent of forty FEET of snow.

A major US city underwater and I see posts from Pete King about how he’ll vote for aid even though Ted Cruz didn’t for NY and Sandy.

Shut up.  All of you, shut the fuck up.  Right – Left – stop it.

We’ve lost sight that people are dying here.

Did anyone see the nursing home underwater?

Stop it.

These people need help. Way more help than NOLA got during Katrina.

Real help.

If you can’t help, at least have the decency to shut up and stay out of the way.

Cant we cut the crap and act like the Americans we so proudly and boldly claim to be?

A DAY IN COURT

 

I got too many tickets. Most are speeding tickets. Being an entitled, old white guy it usually ends up a reduced fine where the court gets the money, and I get no points.

This is no joke money if you ever sit in one of these kangaroo courts and do the math. This is a business. Big money generating business.

Most people, myself included, are happy to get some kind of “parking ticket”. Parking too close to a fire hydrant was the crime of the day in the East Fishkill court last week.

Some guys get $50 tickets, some gets $75, some get $100… Me? I topped the charts at $225. That was one Hell of a bad parking job. My bad.

$225 is better than a million points, and I deserved it. I was 30 mph over 55.

A speed limit of 55 mph is stupid, I fall asleep at 55, but that’s not the point. Continue reading A DAY IN COURT

Writing

 

 

People tell me I’m a good writer. That’s a stretch. I’m sure they are referring to the final product. That, to me, is a great honor. It is hard to describe the feeling when someone says good things about my work. It is more than a quick stroke of the ego. The positive feedback touches something very deep inside me. As does the criticism – always deserved – and IS the side of the writing process that leads to actual growth.

I am equally grateful for the criticism or the praise. It takes some work to appreciate criticism. Learning to say “he/she is right” and start over is tough, but it makes you a better writer. Suck it up, buttercup.

All that said, you people are nuts. Continue reading Writing

Old Glory, Faded Glory, Ragged Glory

I’ve seen a lot of American flags strapped to pickups trucks lately. I see them at night, I see them in the rain, I see them touching the lumber and garbage in the back of the trucks; beer cans and coffee cups and bags that I assume are destined for the local landfill, or the side of some back road. I see them flown, on pickup trucks, alongside Confederate flags.

I’ve never been much of a flag waver. I was raised around men who took the flag and what it stood for very seriously. They took patriotism – not nationalism – very seriously. Guys who were in fights like the Battle of the Bulge and Pearl Harbor in WWII – I actually had two uncles at Pearl Harbor – and some who saw some really heavy, terrifying things in Vietnam. Some got medals. Some threw those medals away. Continue reading Old Glory, Faded Glory, Ragged Glory

Fausto’s first blog post.

I cant type real good. I’m a cat. You get that, right? Be impressed I can type at all. I aint got opposable thumbs fer starters. Typing is hard.

My slave’s name is Mr. Lump, cause he makes a lump on the bed when I’m trying to nap.

He is freaked out of his mind about this trump feller. Somebody hide Lump’s phone before his head explodes. i think it wud make a hell of a mess.

I fear two things: no fud and vegibles. I hate vegibles.

If Lump’s heads explodes i might not have any fud. Then id be nervous. His hed didnt explode yet, so im good. but its close.

If you have fud and no vegibles I think you shud relax.

vacuum cleaners scare me. unless you are being chased by a vacuum cleaner you shud relax too. ive been chased by vacuum cleaners. – thanks Lump, you annoying bastard – i aint never been chased by no Kim Jung Un. He’s pretty chubby. I cant imagine he’s a real gud chaser.

you shud relax.

Tell Mr. Lump tu relax twoo

I’m takin over the bloggin. im hoping Mr. Lump will relax. its gettin annoying listening to him bitchin and bloggin and twittin all day.

Just say no to twitin Mr. Lump

 

 

 

Author of The Third Step, now available!