Miss-Speaker of the House

I need to get things straighten here. We here in Bakersfield are very very proud of our boy-man Kevin McCarthy. He’s our very own born and bred Bakersfieldian.

UNITED STATES - APRIL 16: Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to reporters during the media availability immediately after the House Republican Conference meeting at Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

UNITED STATES – APRIL 16: Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to reporters during the media availability immediately after the House Republican Conference meeting at Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Please do not make fun of his way of talking. We understand what he’s meaning.

Also don’t pay tention to facts about Bakersfield being the highest teen-pregnancy place in California and second in the nation. That has little to nothing to do with the way many peoples including Mr. McCarthy talks.

The fact of the matters is we are the highest illiterate city and county in California too. We raise a lot of good folks like Kevin, but we don’t raise em’ real smart. Talking isn’t a big deal to us Bakersfieldians…no, it’s action that counts up, don’t you know.

So, to set the recordings straight, I want you all to know that Kevin McCarthy has successfully sponsored TWO, not one, but TWO bills signed into official law. So, he does have experience to be the new Speaker of the House.

I probably should also say that both of those bills, that’s TWO not ONE, both of those bills were about naming shit.

Go Kevin, make us right proud of ya

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Not Much to Say

I can’t write when I’m angry. It’s no different than trying to talk to someone when you’re mad. You say things you don’t mean, you cuss, your sentences make no sense and nothing gets solved.

I’m mad…again. I’ll stay mad for at least a few days and then the anger fades because life gets in the way. Or until there’s another mass shooting.
Then I’ll be angry again.
smoking gun

I hate living in a country full of shruggers. We shrug every time it happens.

Yes, I know I can leave, move, and get out. I want to. I probably will, but I can’t now. I have obligations. So I have to live with you insane people.

I think about my grand-kids in college. No college is a safe haven now.

I don’t want to move to Australia…too far. But, they had gun problems, like we do. Between 1978 and 1996 Australia had 13 mass shootings taking 112 lives. THEN…in 1996 one crazed dude with a semi-automatic killed 35 people and seriously wounded 18 others. Australians got tired of shrugging. Over extreme protests from a lot of white guys who mix up their gun with their dick, they passed a law banning automatic and semi-automatic weapons. They bought back 643,000 weapons.

Since 1996 they have had NO MASS SHOOTINGS.

We don’t have a problem, we just have cowards in Washington.

And please don’t point to our founding fathers and their second amendment. What a joke. Our founding fathers had muskets. I think we should all have muskets…period.

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Absinthe makes the Heart Grow Stupid

I just spent another three great days in San Francisco. We do this a few times or three or four every year. I love the “City”, the restaurants, the symphony, museums, the buildings, and the people. I love riding Amtrak and not dealing with the driving hassle (and the $38 per day parking fees). We can walk everywhere we want to go.

We got off the train at the “Bart” station in Richmond, waited three minutes for “Bart” and rode directly to the Civic Center. Walked about a half mile to our little boutique hotel (Inn at the Opera) and we were in our favorite world once more.

The symphony Saturday night was a musical experience I will never forget. One of the finest musical treats of my life in a great musical venue…Davies Hall.
Davies Hall 1Davies Hall 2

Within walking distance of the Davies Hall are 34 incredibly great restaurants. I have my favs, and Absinthe is one of them…both the restaurant and the drink.

I had made reservations at Absinthe. Things got complicated there.

On the train I had read many things, but a stand-out column by one of my favorite authors, Mark Morford, was fresh on my brain. He is extremely funny and sometimes overly graphic in his writing descriptions. This particular Friday column was dealing with the latest scientific studies on our roughly 100 trillion active microorganisms in our personal microbiome.

Yes, we already know that we have so much bacterial goodness that we can’t contain it all. It’s pouring off our bodies all the time in our dead skin, hair, spit, food and bits of cloth. What Mr. Morford was excited about was the latest discoveries that our airborne effluvia (personal bacteria cloud) stays in the room behind us…well after we’re gone.

I couldn’t get that picture out of my mind as I watched the young beautiful girl sitting a few feet down from my wife. She was constantly playing with her long black hair. First she would run both hands through it and fluff it. Then she would pull on it and place it on her left side hanging down. Two minutes later she had it lying equally on each side…then all on the right side.

I realized she was on a date and nervous. Her date insisted she taste “absinthe” and the face she made was worth the price of my dinner.

But as you can tell now from my obsession with her flipping hundreds of millions of microorganisms up into the atmosphere, someone else at my table was observing me watching this young lady.

Of course I tried to explain about her microscopic effluvia being tossed into our drinks and the atmosphere, but it really looked like the typical old geezer eyeing the young maiden.

When I tried to explain about the clusters of voracious nits on the roots of the girls hair follicles being carelessly strewn all over the restaurant including my food, there was only one brilliant statement from my sweet wife.

“No more absinthe.”


No, I didn’t forget this Wednesday is International Blasphemy Rights Day. Just since January of this year, four bloggers in Bangladesh have been machete-hacked to death for speaking out about Islam.

In my opinion Ideas don’t need rights…People Do! We all must protect free expression. We all must protect free dissent.

That being said…In my opinion, L. Ron Hubbard was a total fraud and Scientology is a scam…a big scam.

(if anything happens to me, check the alibi of Tom Cruise)

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I don’t make many mistakes behind the wheel of my car. Almost none. I don’t trust you on the same road with me so I drive defensively. I don’t drive below speed limits, usually five miles higher on the highway and main arteries.  I just anticipate you are going to run a red light, cut me off, improperly yield, or turn in front of me. I’m watching you.

My mom gave up her car keys about age 95-96. I think she saw a dent in her rear bumper that she didn’t remember being there. She assumed she goofed. I promise to stop driving before that age.

Actually I don’t have to. I will just stop steering. Google or maybe Apple will do the steering for me. I can’t wait. Set my GPS, spin my seat sideways, lift my table and write, read, play games, watch TV, Facebook, whatever all the way to my destination.
self driving car 2self driving car

I’m guessing our automobile death toll, now averaging above thirty thousand every year will drop by 80%.

When I started driving in the late ‘50s, the death rate per year was 21 people out of every 100,000.

The “muscle cars” of the ‘60s (plus our rock music and drag racing movies) pushed the death rate to 26 out of 100,000. During those years more than 50,000 people died every year in auto wrecks.
drag wreck

Our death toll now is 10 out of 100,000.

Our roads are pathetic, the population of people and cars has doubled, but our cars are much safer.

My conservative friends, along with the greedy auto manufacturers, lobbied and fussed about shoulder belts, airbags and other safety features…ranting and raving about government regulations. I’m glad we didn’t listen to them. An airbag saved my wife’s life a couple weeks ago. I know dozens of friends who are thankful for airbags, also. Stop listening to politicians who want to take us back in time when cars, food, air, water and health were much much much WORSE.

Back to steering cars: Teenagers and old folks cause most of the wrecks. One third of all wrecks happen at intersections with improper left turns and failure to stop.

Our computer driven cars will never be that stupid. With dozens of cameras and three hundred sixty degree eyes, they will see trouble coming before we humans can.

Of course there will be a new “word” for driving, because we won’t be driving. Maybe we should make it up now and not let some Google Googan decide what it will be called. If they make up the word it will have a computer-based meaning like:  “Let’s “compwheel” on up to the Bay Area” or “Can you “nav” over tonight for dinner?” or “Why don’t we “AP” (autopilot) down to LA?”

We need to keep it simple, but with meaning.

“I “carpotatoed” to LA this morning.” (It’s like couch potato only moving)
“I “sleeprolled” to work this morning.”
car potatoing

When pilots put their plane on “auto-pilot” and make love to their co-pilot, it’s called joining “THE MILE HIGH CLUB.”
I also want a new name for us doing that in self-driving cars.

Other good news…Computers don’t drink and drive.

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Ups and Downs

We all have experienced those special moments when we were on top of the world. That heady exhilaration of sucking in special air only breathable when your mind and spirit are high in the clouds.
emotional high

That experience, that “happening” teaches us nothing, except maybe a false sense of merit or justification.

The lessons we learn about ourselves happen when we are knocked off that perch and tumble many miles below the earth’s surface. Where there is no air. Where the party’s over.

Looking back on the summer of 1972 brings back such a memory.

My musical group was experiencing some success as a “house band” in a local Indiana Holiday Inn. It was the happening place to be any weeknight. Always packed. Always party central.

There were two Holiday Inns in town then, today there are none. In 1972 a new district manager came to town to run the Inn on the other side of town. He liked our little band a lot. In fact he called us in for a special meeting. Two of us went to his office to see what he wanted. We figured he wanted us to leave the East Side H. Inn and move to the West Side H. Inn.

Nope. He wanted us for the Holiday Inn in St. Croix, Virgin Islands.  When he told us that, I remember my senses shutting down, my breathing almost stopping. WHAT?

His company owned quite a few franchises of the Holiday Inn and St. Croix was one of them. The manager opened his calendar for us and pointed at December. This was late-August, 1972 so he said we needed to get passports for our families (yes we were going to take our kids over Christmas vacation) and he would book us for a two week gig. FUN!

St. Croix Harbor

Air fare, a good nightly fee, plus 50% off of our food. How could this not be the highlight of our lives? Three guys in our ‘20s, just playing music for the love of it. No interest in traveling, recording or “Making It.” Suddenly we were being offered a gig in the Virgin Islands.

I remember approximately six or seven days of cloud-walking.

On September 6, 1972, eight Americans were massacred playing golf at the Fountain Valley golf course in St. Croix. The Island declared Marshall Law, all in and out flights were cancelled, hotels were shut down and a massive man-hunt began for the five shooters. They were found and arrested five days later.

However, tourism STOPPED for a few years. Within days of the tragedy, our contract dates were declared null and void. No Caribbean Island gig for our band.

Interesting enough when I got the news that we were NOT going to get our gig in St. Croix, I felt the same numbing loss of senses. Disappointment swirled around my brain and flushed the exhilaration out.
emotional low

That horrible massacre in St. Croix became a fixation, even to this day and I have followed the news about it over these past forty three years.

The massacre was a robbery gone bad and the leader of the five shooters, Ishmael LaBeet started firing his automatic rifle at anybody and everybody. He was a recent Vietnam Vet who was living on St. Thomas Island and decided to pull this huge robbery of the country club (now called Carambola Resort).

All Five murderers were convicted and sentenced to eight consecutive life terms in Federal Prison.

Years later, Ismael LaBeet filed a civil law suit claiming mistreatment.

In 1984 the case was brought to trial. LaBeet lost his case and was put on a DC-10 and flown back to Federal Prison. He asked to use the rest room. He came out of the airplane rest room with a gun, took over the plane and ordered the pilots to fly to Cuba.

It is believe Ismael LaBeet is still in Cuba today. He would be 68 years old.

And now you know the rest of the story.

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Planning Your Surprise Week

I would like to share a little fantasy with you. Actually I would like you to have the fantasy. If you want to tell me about it– or not– that’s cool. It’s your fantasy.

Here’s what’s happening to you…and me.

Starting next Monday you and I have seven days off. Your boss is cool. You have NOTHING that has to be done for seven days. Monday through Sunday. Your plate is empty. No obligations.

On your dresser will be $10,000 cash. It will magically appear at 12:01 AM this coming Monday morning.
ten thousand dollars


Any part of it that is left at Midnight next Sunday is GONE. Can’t save it. Must spend it. On anything, any place, anywhere. Just plan your seven days.

If you want to pay bills and just sit and watch TV for seven days, so be it.
Debt Relief

But, remember, if you try to put it in savings, it disappears. Must be spent somehow, somewhere.

It could be a huge (or as the Donald says, YUGE) vacation.
Paris SkylineRome

Maybe a family room addition.
A Kitchen.

Remember you are accountable to no one for seven days. Bonus week for you and me.

$10,000 cash. Seven Days.

Have at it!  Man-in-hammock

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I started this post with one of my typical crazy ideas. I fantasized that NASA had asked me to stock a new giant spaceship “Voyager” with things about America and our modern culture.

I may come back to that idea another time, but I got stuck on the word Voyager.

It brought me back to a “date” I had quite a few years ago, during my “single” days. This lady asked me over for popcorn and a movie with her and her sister.  . They wanted to watch one of their favorite movies. Obviously they had seen it many times. I had never seen the oldie but goody, “Now Voyager.”

During most of the movie I strained to understand the weird Austrian accent of the lead actor and at a crucial time at the ending, I was laughing. Both of the sisters were crying. It was an “oh-oh” moment. What you might call a “personality clash.”

What a closing scene. It’s supposed to be one of the greatest ending scenes of all times. Every time I see it I laugh.

Let’s remember it.

Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) approaches Jeremiah Durrance (Paul Henreid), her eyes misty. He says, “Shall we just have a cigarette on it?”

She looks forlorn. She steps towards him and says, “Yes.”

She opens a fancy cigarette case and offers him a cigarette. He takes two. Places both of them in his mouth (all through this scene the violins are syrupy), lights them both at the same time, takes one out of his mouth and hands it to her. They both inhale and then blow smoke in each other’s faces.

I try not to crack up, but my body wants to cough.

The strings grow louder. She turns and walks to the window, pulls back the curtain a bit and stares into the sky.

He approaches her, while she takes another puff, and says “May I sometimes come here?”

She says, “Whenever you like, it’s your home, too. You have people here who love you.”

Jeremiah grows close and says (in his Austrian accent that sounds tongue-tied to me), “Can I look in on you and Tina, share with your peace and contentment?”

“Of course. And just think it won’t be be for this time only…that is, if you’ll help me keep what we have. We must try hard to protect that little strip of territory that is ours. We can talk about your child.” (She turns to the window)…He interrupts.

“Our child.”

She turns back and her misty eyes look into his and she says, “Thank you.

He says, “And will you be happy, Charlotte?”

And then her famous closing line,

“Jerry, don’t just ask for the moon…we have the stars.”

The strings grow even louder and the camera moves out the window, above the tree-line and onto the starry night.  “The End” flashes on the screen.

Yes, I know, I’m not very romantic. At least, not at this movie.

Go ahead…watch the ending.





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