Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Edge of Summer

It's the last weekend of May. Memorial Day comes late this year, on May 30th. It's breezy and just slightly warm outside on this very sunny Sunday afternoon, and the breezes make everything feel great. We're having a bit of a cool front come through, and we're going to fall short of the normal high temperature of 98 degrees by a good 10 to 12 degrees. We will certainly take the temporary cool spell with a lot of gratitude and will enjoy the heck out of it while it lasts, which will be all too fleeting.

Nobody is being fooled, though, by the nice weather. I've been living here going on 18 years and I know full well that another ghastly, blisteringly hot Arizona summer is waiting in the wings to crush our spirit and our will to live with its harsh, unrelenting, oppressive, choking heat. We have to put up with things that are incomprehensible to the rest of the country, such as stepping outside at 10 p.m. at night to a temperature of 102 degrees and being hit in the face with a blast of hot air not unlike sticking your head into a furnace. Or a nighttime "low" temperature of 94 degrees. You just know when you wake up at 6 in the morning and it's already 97 degrees outside that your day is going to be hell.

There will usually be at last one or two days at the end of June when the high temperature will hit 117 or even a little higher, which is ridiculously, preposterously hot. Anything over 115 degrees is unnecessary overkill, and serves no useful purpose other than to torture us. In mid- to late-July the monsoon season will start, and that is when the humidity creeps upward, making everything even more disgustingly awful that it already is. Those are days when a stifling blanket of heat covers everything and lulls you into a sleepy, hypnotic limbo, not sure if you're ever going to wake up again. And finally, during late August and early September everyone is so absolutely sick of summertime and the heat that we are ready to kill each other. Right now in late May, sitting on the Edge of Summer, we are all too familiar with what will be coming our way, and some of us are not too happy about it.

But despite the murderous, hateful aspects of our summer, there are actually some good things that happen here during June, July, August and part of September. Summertime is when we get the most colorful sunsets of the year. Because of the summer wind kicking lots of dust into the air, the sunsets are remarkably vivid and glow with unexpected and mesmerizing shades of green and purple. When the monsoon moves in it brings different layers of moisture and clouds in the atmosphere and at sunset the sky is an astonishing artist's palette of colors - crimson, deep orange, royal blue, gold, cranberry, magenta, cream and light gray. Monsoon sunsets are the best, and some of them will drop your jaw open with their magnificence.

Then there are the monsoon storms themselves. You can watch them building up over the Mogollon Rim northeast of Phoenix, in big, fluffy accumulations of storm clouds that look like immense heaps of custard in the sky. If we're lucky, these storms will collapse at sunset and come screaming down the Rim into the Valley, and then everything goes batshit crazy. Short-lived but extremely intense storms, with torrential rain, violent thunder and lightning, and near hurricane-force winds can make for an interesting, albeit hair-raising, evening. But the reward for putting up with Mother Nature's little freak-outs is a very welcome and wonderful 20-degree drop in temperature. We live for those cool, damp nights after the storm.

If we're really lucky, we will be able to watch a thunderstorm in the distance, too far away to affect our local weather, but close enough to see everything that's going on inside. It's so very interesting and beautiful to watch the distant thunderhead, made up of billowy gray clouds, being laced with lightning bolts which illuminate internal portions of the cloud bank and present a never-ending light show of bizarre shapes and colors. I remember watching one particularly beautiful round thunderhead, like a giant mushroom, flicker and flash with internal lightning bolts while being framed by a beautiful turquoise blue sky, the crescent moon and evening star. One of the most breathtakingly beautiful things I have ever seen, and completely free.

Our Mexican friends and neighbors to the south certainly had the right idea with their custom of the siesta, or afternoon nap. During the very hottest part of the day, when going outside is only something that you do when the inside of your house is on fire or there are a million dollars in the middle of the street waiting to be picked up, what better thing to do than snooze through it with a nice, long nap? The rabbits do this all the time, and I have to say it has a lot of merit.

We Arizonans will always whine and gripe about our summertimes, just as Minnesotans or Wisconsinites complain about their harsh winters or residents of southern states carp about their swamp-like humidity, but as we always do, we will get through the summer and the cool, crisp days and nights of autumn will be our eventual, inevitable reward. And as always, we will find ways to extract a little bit of fun and pleasure from the Edge of Summer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Rapture That Wasn't

There was another incidence last weekend of a predicted end-of-the-world that didn't quite pan out. Some decrepit old fool named Harold Camping on this preachy "Family Life" radio station claimed to have "crunched the numbers" in the Bible and came up with May 21, 2011 as the day the Rapture would take place. This is when all the good, proper Christians would be yanked out of their clothing and sucked up into heaven. In my opinion, having to see millions of naked Christians floating through the air is the closest approximation to hell on earth that can possibly be imagined. I guess the national media was caught with nothing to talk about since gasoline prices appear to be headed downward, at least temporarily, and they all jumped on the end-of-the-world story like Kirstie Alley on a chocolate layer cake. But extreme Christian-battiness aside, what does it say about our culture that such a preposterous thing could garner that much publicity?

That anyone would believe an obviously addled, shriveled old douchebag somehow figured out a fairly momentous event that everyone else on the planet didn't, is somewhat of a stretch. And we all know how precise and exact the Bible is when it comes to relating historical events and timelines. Anyone with at least two firing brain cells would have dismissed this claptrap out of hand, but we're not talking regular people here, we're talking religious nuts whose lives are so empty and dreary and devoid of meaning that they have to take their cues from some desiccated old dirtbag with nothing better to do than scare the witless.

While most of us did just write off this nonsense as kabuki theater for the trailer-park crowd, a number of followers did go to extremes in their blind, lemming-like panic. One man in New York City spent his $140,000 life saving putting up advertisements in many subway stations warning of the impending catastrophe. I don't know which is more depressing: someone throwing away their life savings, or $140,000 even being considered "life savings." At any rate, he's out big bucks and for what? A big pile of nothing. The news reported that this guy was hanging around Times Square warning people that the end is near and when the 6 p.m. hour of reckoning came and went, he frantically starting looking through his Bible for help while a crowd of people laughed and jeered at him.

Harsh treatment, you might say, for someone of obviously limited intelligence who was taken in by just another religious charlatan. But the man was nearing 60 years of age and you would think after all that time you would be able to tell when something is bullshit when you smell it. The old saying goes, "There's a sucker born every minute," but maybe that should be changed to "There's a sucker baptized every minute." After a while, unless someone is mentally incapacitated by a psychological disorder and totally unable to make rational decisions, they have to take responsibility for their own actions and choices. Everything we do has consequences, and some consequences are worse than others, but the fact remains that when you do something stupid and idiotic, it's your own fault, and you have to deal with the aftermath.

But this whole "Rapture" thing is another way for Christianity to do their "us and them" thing, separating the world into the "saved" (i.e. believers) and the "unsaved" (those who don't believe). It doesn't matter that possibly some of the non-believers lead perfectly moral, exemplary lives - maybe even better lives than those who profess to believe in God - the fact that they don't accept the belief system of organized religion automatically dooms them to a horrible fate. I am a firm believer that organized religion of any kind gets in the way of a truly personal, fulfilling relationship with whatever higher power you choose to believe in, and it should be bypassed in favor of a much simpler, direct and honest way of dealing with that higher power. You don't need churches, temples, mosques, synagogues or crazy, Alzheimers-ridden old coots to run your life for you. You have and always have had the key to a rich, productive life in the palm of your hand, and you don't need crazy people telling you what to do.

So now, this old moron has come out from under the rock where he's been hiding for the past couple of days and reset his Doomsday countdown clock to October 21, 2011. That's the new date that the Rapture will happen. I suspect he'll probably get substantially less publicity and markedly fewer followers panicking in the streets at that time, but rest assured there will still be some people who will happily allow themselves to be snookered over and over again, and to whom the other old adage of "Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me!" has no meaning.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Delicious Dilemma

I know I said I was going to stay away from political rants but sometimes they are just too good to pass up. As always, anything that makes Republicans look even more idiotic and loathsome than they naturally are makes me squeal and giggle like a Girl Scout who just sold all her cookies to the fat family down the street.

The 2012 Presidential election is still a year and a half away but the campaign is just getting started. The Democrats know who their nominee is going to be, so no issues there. All eyes are focused on the Republicans and their gaggle of potential candidates. And what a load of creepy, disgusting and appalling dirtbags they are. They range from the merely tiresome and eccentric, such as Texas Representative Ron Paul - who has been down this road a number of times and failed miserably, and will do so again - to really despicable, toxically ignorant buttheads like Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann, Pawlenty and just about everyone else in that sorry Theater of the Inbred that is the G.O.P.

Luckily the sun appears to be setting on a couple of the more misguided candidates. The nation was diverted, willingly or not, for a couple weeks by the sad, sorry sideshow of Donald Trump, egomaniac, narcissist par excellence, and stubby-fingered vulgarian who did what he does best, promote himself and his hair to anyone who will pay attention. He thought he had a winning issue with the "birther" controversy, until their intended target Barack Obama produced a valid Hawaii birth certificate for himself and permanently shut down that little cottage industry. Right afterward, all the gas went out of Trump's presidential bid, but not before he tried to take credit for everything from the birth certificate itself to the killing of Osama bin Laden. By that time the rest of the country wised up to what a charlatan and cheap huckster Trump is and has been merciless in their criticism and condemnation of him for wasting all our time with his bullshit. And rightfully so.

Newt Gingrich's ill-advised presidential bid was barely out of the gate when he stumbled and landed right on his Pillsbury-doughboy face. He made the unforgivable sin of criticizing Paul Ryan's Economic Plan/Welfare for the Super Rich on Meet The Press last Sunday. The Republicans are pinning all their hopes on Ryan's plan, and they know they absolutely need to get everyone in the G.O.P. on board with it. The Newtster must have missed that memo, because he called Ryan's plan "right-wing social engineering," among other things, and was immediately drop-kicked by nearly every Republican pundit around and taken to task in the harshest possible terms. His remarks were in direct contrast to Ronald Reagan's golden rule, "Thou shalt not speak ill of fellow Republicans." Newter suddenly realized he stepped into a vast sea of manure of his own making, and clumsily tried to make amends by accusing the mainstream media of tripping him up with a deliberate "gotcha" question, but even Republican spin-meisters knows the only person who "got" Gingrich was himself. Watch his support and money dry up faster than the leathery skin of his weirdly robotic, bug-eyed wife.

So, who's left in this assortment of assholes, I mean, candidates? Mitt Romney, the apparent front-runner, has a huge amount of baggage he brought with him from his time as Governor of Massachusetts, where he put in place a universal health care system which was the model for Obama's health care reform package, something that Republicans absolutely love to hate and are trying to derail every way possible. Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania stepped on a land mine when he criticized John McCain for knowing nothing about enhanced interrogation, a.k.a. torture. I think McCain knows a little bit about torture, after five years of it when he was a Vietnam era P.O.W., and military service is an experience that Santorum has notably missed. It seems the G.O.P.'s best hope for the White House, Mike Huckabee, is happier being a much older, really ugly version of Ricki Lake on his own surreal, cringe-inducing talk show.

The B-listers on the G.O.P. side don't fare much better. Tim Pawlenty is universally regarded as terminally boring and bland. Current Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels is also regarded as profoundly charisma-challenged. Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson does not attend church, is pro-choice, and is in favor of legalizing marijuana, so he has zero chance with the drooling, knuckle-dragging evangelicals that dominate the early primaries. Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin are holding up the batshit-crazy wing of the party. South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham is burdened with a southern accent, which automatically makes you sound stupid and retarded, so no thanks, I don't think so.

And then there are the Z-listers, people who think they can run as a Republican through some confluence of massive self-delusion and mental illness. These include the token black candidate Herman Cain - former CEO of Godfather Pizza, a real pre-requisite for the White House; former U.N. ambassador John Bolton - who is like some weird hybrid of Mark Twain and Charles Manson; gay-rights activist Fred Karger - HAHAHAHA!; career flight attendant Tom Miller - also HAHAHAHA!; and Houston businessman Vern Wuensche. This is the second go-round for ol' Vern, who campaigned in 2008 and came in tenth in Iowa and New Hampshire before bailing out. His campaign material makes the interesting assertion that "businesses which survive do so through the good decisions of those who run them and they are therefore exceptionally qualified for public office," which is, of course, a totally awesome thing to say.

So, for this field of potential office-seekers, which completely covers the whole range of qualities from "abysmal" to "vile" and back, their first test of electoral viability will be the Iowa caucuses. Set in the monochromatic, frozen wastes of Iowa in winter, the candidates must put on their best evangelical-Christian, Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes and work hard to appeal to one of most homogenous, non-diverse, and non-representative populations in the entire country. Required to cozy up to mostly old, white, obese farmers and their bloated, bovine wives, the candidates will be elbowing each other out of the way to get to the extreme-conservative end of the political spectrum. And thus we have the delicious dilemma that I mentioned about half a million words ago - namely that the Republicans need to appeal to the far-right-wing-nutcase branch of the party to get through the primaries, and then have to back-track and refute everything they said and scramble to the political center to appeal to everyone else in the general election. You can be sure that the Democrats will be closely watching every bit of action in the early primaries and the attack ads will practically write themselves. The Republicans have clearly painted themselves into a political corner early on, by casting their lot with the ultra-conservative factions in this country and they will have a terrible time trying to get the independent voters they so desperately need in the general election.

And I will be watching their struggle with a huge amount of gleeful satisfaction.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Leap of Faith

I did another release of a cottontail into the wild yesterday. I had been caring for the adult male cottontail since January, as he recovered from injuries sustained in an accident with an automobile. Here is a picture of him a couple weeks after I got him:

He came to me very lethargic, in a dazed condition. There was bleeding from behind his right eye, and dried blood in his right ear. I was very concerned that he had suffered a brain injury. I had seen that a couple of weeks before, when another cottontail was brought to me in a similar condition after being struck by a car. That poor little guy just sat in a hunched-up position and would move around and eat very little. I tried to syringe-feed him some food but he just was not interested in eating. I took him to the vet who agreed that there was some severe head trauma but there was nothing we could do for him other than to keep him quiet and comfortable and hope that he will come out of it on his own. Sadly, that was not to be, and I awoke one morning to find him laying on his side. If he was meant to die, I'm glad he could do it in a place where he was warm and safe, and in the presence of someone who cared about him.

This last cottontail rehab had a happier ending, as he got over his injuries and returned to being a normal bunny. As he recovered, he showed he was comfortable with me and would come over to the side of his cage and look me directly in the eye as I talked to him. It was as if he was trying hard to understand me, but I was talking some alien language. Which, of course, was true.

For a wild animal, he adapted very well to living in captivity with a human. I gave him a little wooden house in his cage to hide in, but he enjoyed sitting on top of it so he could watch everything going on in the room. He had a real liking for oatmeal, but for him rabbit pellets were an acquired taste. I tried 4 different kinds of pellets on him until I found one he sort of liked. He also liked grated carrots for a while but in time he decided they weren't really his cup of tea and wasn't as interested in them as he had been.

For the past couple of weeks I had been watching him in his cage and I was slowly coming to the understanding that the life he had with me was not what he was meant to have. Sure, he had everything he needed - food, water, shelter, safety - but he was alone. As he got healthier his instincts started kicking in and he became more wary and frightened of me. I really couldn't take him out and let him play in the playpen as I do the domestic rabbits in my care, because I was afraid he would hurt himself in a more open, unfamiliar environment. I think he could have lived in my home in that cage for a long time, much longer than the life he will have in the wild, surrounded by predators and dangers, but as the old saying goes, a gilded cage is still a cage. I really wanted to keep him, but I had to come to the realization that it's not about what I want, but what is best for him.

I think what really convinced me that he needed his freedom as when I moved him and some other bunnies out of the bunny room in my house to the guest bedroom. His cage had been against a wall opposite the only window in the room. In the guest bedroom, he was atop a bank of cages directly in front of a window, and he spent a huge amount of time on his wooden house staring out the window into my yard. He was clearly very interested in what was going on outside and I couldn't help but think he really wanted to be there. I couldn't deny the feeling that he was trying to tell me something, that he wanted and needed to be outdoors with his own kind, living the life he was meant to have. Sure his life would be fraught with danger every step of the way, and the environment would be harsh and unforgiving. But the cottontails are native to this area and they have the instincts and survival skills to live in this land where death can happen in a split-second. It may sound to humans like a cruel, brutal existence, but to the cottontails, it's what is meant to be for them.

So, on a bright, cool Tuesday morning, I released my cottontail into the underbrush near the home of my friends Kim and Michael in Paradise Valley. This release was pretty much like the others I have done - I took the bunny out of the carrier, said goodbye and put him on the ground. For a couple of minutes, he just sat there and did not move, as if he were overwhelmed by what was happening to him:

Then, as he started to look around and get his bearings, he took what I like to call the "Leap of Faith," his first tentative hop into a world that is both new and familiar at the same time:

As he scampered off into the bushes, I could tell he was very glad to be back in his intended environment. Any misgivings or regrets I might have had about returning him to the wild disappeared at that point, because I knew he was happy:

Then, as I followed him around to a couple of bushes, he stopped and looked at me, and I was able to get one last photo. I like to think he was saying, "Thanks, Dad, for everything!":

If I could say one thing to him, I would say: Thank you, little one, for being in my life for a couple of months and allowing me the great privilege of caring for you. I hope somewhere in the back of your mind you will keep a small memory of me and know that you were loved and had value. Go and enjoy every second of your life, and make hundreds and hundreds of beautiful little cottontail babies who will run and jump and dance in the morning sunlight, just as you did when I set you free.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Reviews Are In!

Oh my God, it's only been a day since Careless Whispers came back online, but the reviews are pouring in from all over the world. It's so gratifying that this blog is making such an impression. Here is a sampling of the buzz:

"Careless Whispers is always lively and fun. Never boring and stuffy, like my in-laws."
-- Katherine Middleton-Windsor, Duchess of Cambridge

"I need this blog like I need a hole in my head!"
-- Osama bin Laden, from the bottom of the ocean.

"The bitch is back!"
-- Elton John

"This blog is better than breaking up with your cancer-striken wife! And I should know!"
-- Newt Gingrich

"Reading Careless Whispers is the only thing that makes my comb-over lay flat."
-- Donald Trump, Stubby-Fingered Vulgarian

"Todd said If I could read I'd be pretty upset, you betcha!"
-- Sarah Palin

"Makes me wish I was still alive!"
-- Jan Brewer, Arizona Governor

"This blog (sniff!) brings a tear (snivel!) to my eyes (blubber!) every day. WAAAAH!"
-- Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)

"I'd gladly give all my money away if this blog would just disappear."
-- Warren Buffett

"Careless Whispers is the only drug I need! Well, until my coke dealer gets back to me..."
-- Lindsay Lohan

"GDMN slanderous f***ing piece of horse s**t!"
-- Pope Benedict XVI

"Forget this drivel, we're still hurting over here. HELLO???"
-- The Entire Country of Japan

"Careless Whispers is back? Basement, here we come!"
-- Dow Jones Industrial Average

"I don't think my life could get any more screwed up. What did you say? Something about Careless Whispers?"
-- Muammar Qadafi, Libya

"I died for this?? Are you kidding me?"
-- Jesus

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I'm Baaaaaack!

Whew, what happened to this blog? I didn't just fall off a cliff somewhere, I just took a 4-month sabbatical from Careless Whispers. And by "sabbatical" I mean being too damned lazy to write my own blog. How messed up is that? I've been meaning to get back on track and resume my random rants, and this time I'm going to do it. I missed writing my blog and promise to do better in the future.

Part of the reason I stopped blogging is that things really have gone to hell in the world of politics, until very recently. The elections in November 2010 marked the Ascendency of the Terminally Stupid, and voters have unequivocally proven AGAIN that it's impossible to overestimate the stupidity of the average American. Despite the fact that Republicans have repeatedly shown over and over how hostile and destructive they are to middle-class Americans, what do the voters do? Elect a bunch of the most regressive, neanderthal-like Tea Partiers to Congress, as if they are going to save the world or something.

The Republicans entered into an unholy alliance with the TPers, just like they enter into unholy alliances with every other right-wing crackpot group they can dredge up, and they rode the (unexplicable) voter appeal of the Tea Party to a majority in the House of Representatives. But what is different, and very encouraging, is that the Repubs are experiencing "buyer's remorse," and that keeping the TPers happy and goose-stepping in formation behind them is going to be a lot harder than they thought. Their blubbering, dithering "leader" Rep. John Boehner is nowhere near as charismatic and qualified as he needs to be to keep that unruly mob of cretins and mental cases in line. He is just one major screw-up away from watching his weird Coalition of the Inbred implode and split into two factions - the Crazy and the Crazier - thus allowing Barack Obama to coast into a second term. We can only hope that will happen.

The Republicans also have seemingly shot themselves in the cloven hoof with their batshit-crazy plans to solve the budget deficit by a whole witches' brew of draconian measures, like privatizing Social Security, replacing Medicare with a completely insane voucher system and getting rid of a whole spectrum of programs and services which directly help the elderly and the poor. And, at the same time, awarding the super-wealthy with lots of tax breaks and dumping more money into the Pentagon to fight costly, protracted and ultimately unwinnable wars. In a barely-believable demonstration of the old adage that says, if you repeat something often enough it will become true no matter how preposterous, the tired, boring Republicans are still flogging the dead horse of trickle-down economics, the decades-old, blatantly ridiculous and widely discredited piece of economic hucksterism that says if you make rich people richer, it will filter down to all levels of the economy and make everyone happy. The only problem with that is that is HASN'T WORKED IN 25 YEARS and it never will! Every single economic indicator available says the same thing - Americans are economically worse-off than they were 20 years ago. But, sad to say, so many ignorant, disconnected and disinterested voters in this country seem to think it's true, and will repeatedly vote for Republicans who are working so very hard AGAINST the voters' best interests. Why, I absolutely don't know.

Wait, yes I do know. It all comes down to the three G's: God, Guns and Gays. The Republicans are all about social conservatism, and their mantra for the past four decades is to frighten old white people into believing that a bunch of atheists are going to take away their guns and recruit their children into homosexuality and close all the churches. They keep hammering away at those social issues and convince voters the American way of life is in imminent danger because of the "others." Republicans are undisputed masters of the "us-and-them" game, pitting stalwart, conservative Americans against vast hordes of liberals, gays and gun-control freaks who are at this very second pounding on their front doors, demanding surrender of all they hold dear. And for so many voters, these are the only issues they can even remotely understand, so they figure that voting Republican is going to save them. But what they don't understand is when you vote for a Republican because you agree with their stance on gay marriage, for instance, you get a whole lot of baggage along with the candidate that you didn't know or didn't count on.

But more amazingly still, the conservative front line when it comes to completely destroying this country has moved into a new frontier, the state governorships. In a number of states, most notably Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, new Republican governors and GOP-controlled state legislatures have embarked on an astonishing, mind-blowing campaign of fiercely conservative legislative actions which have, among other things, stripped the collective bargaining rights of public worker unions and allowed for the take-over of towns and cities that the governor has unilaterally deemed to be in "economic crisis". That includes nullifying the will of the voters of their cities and throwing duly-elected officials out of their offices. That by itself is a breathtaking usurpation of the democratic process rarely seen outside of third-world dictatorships like Myanmar or North Korea or at least a dozen places in Africa, or anachronistic, repressive monarchies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. And yet, it's happening right in the American heartland. How the hell can something like that take place here?

The usual freak-show cast of political characters is still around, unfortunately. The eternally vapid and loathsome Sarah Palin is still polluting the scene but fortunately her star has fallen considerably and she is now viewed unfavorably by a majority of people in her own party. Just how disgusting and messed-up are you if even other Republicans can't stand you? And it couldn't have happened to a nicer bitch. Unfortunately, the even crazier and more repellent Michelle Bachmann has seen her political stock go up, and this batshit-crazy scarecrow now has her eye on a Presidential run. God save this country if she gets anywhere near the White House, things would truly be lost and I will pack up all the rabbits and head to Prince Edward Island in Canada.

We are also being treated to a supersized-version of the Theater of the Damned, as the execrable, annoying and low-class Donald Trump makes noise like he wants to be President. The late, great Spy magazine had him pegged 30 years ago when they consistently referred to Trump as a "stubby-fingered vulgarian." I'm not going to say anything more about him because he and the dead animal on top of his head need no embellishment, but again it shows how irretrievably broken and dysfunctional the American version of democracy can be, when any cheap, tacky blowhard thinks they can be President. Throw in the usual array of right-wing creeps like Romney, Huckster-bee and Gingrich, along with other third-string players like Pawlenty and the infinitely cringe-inducing Rick Santorum, and you have the makings of the most inept, repulsive and potentially destructive slew of jerks and assholes that the world has seen in a very, very long time.

But, as much fun as political rants can be, after a while it seems as if you are just beating your head against a brick wall. And the result of that is the wall pretty much stays the same while you have a massive headache to deal with. So I stopped doing political rants because there was just so much bad stuff going on that it seemed pointless to rail against it. But things have taken a turn for the better last week with the death (I prefer the word "extermination") of Osama bin Laden in his lovely little compound in a nice suburb of Islamabad, Pakistan, where he lived for years right under the nose of Pakistani intelligence services and within walking distance of the leading military institute of that country, and not in some cold grubby cave somewhere. I may write more about this in another post but suffice to say that in spite of the fact that Obama has been almost universally hailed as a courageous, skilled and resourceful leader, there is a large faction of conservative cockroaches who refuse to give him his due as the President who finally brought bin Laden to justice. And that is solely due to their racism and their refusal to admit that a black man can be a fantastic leader, a great President and a loyal American. And that, more than anything else, will cause this country to fail.

So, I won't be doing as many political rants as before, but I will be doing more posts on non-political topics. I hope to write more short stories and talk about rabbits and write more humorous stuff. I hope everyone who grants me the great favor of reading my blog will enjoy it. It is very good to be back.