To see a full-size view of the images posted, just click on them.

RULES FOR POSTING COMMENTS: This blog is meant to be interactive. Please utilize the comment feature to respond to posts that prompt a reaction. You do not have to agree with me to post, but I do ask that your comment pertain to the post itself. I also ask that "anonymous" guests attach some sort of name to their comments so readers can tell everyone apart. (If you cannot follow these simple rules, your post may be DELETED or at the very least mocked for the entertainment of those who can respect my guidelines.)

Thursday, March 29, 2018


I have always said that I am lucky to be among the majority of people who are not prone to addiction. I have done my share of things that could be disastrous for those unlucky few who are. But then there are times when I wonder if I may have some inclination.

Recently I have rediscovered a VERY old computer game via "Steam" (an online source for games ). My stepson recommended Steam when I bemoaned my inability to play my old favorite game discs on these super-updated laptops. Most just won't work even with the "patches" available online.  Steam offers these games in a playable format. And it was through Steam I was able to get "Lords of the Realm 2" ........for $2.99 no less!

A typical view of one's, to manage my resources and raise an army!

LOTR2 is a lot of fun for an old game, even with its limitations, and it is one of those old rare "turn-based" games. I like "turn-based" formats, but find them strangely......addictive. When I play a real time game, I find it much easier to say, "OK, enough. Time to stop." This game I can play for hours. And I can play it with the sound off......anywhere......even while 'watching' TV with Rosa.

Now I am also hosting Easter, and I have been doing things to prepare for that as well.....but in between errands and tasks?  I am playing LOTR2.

It has also distracted me from blogging.........which at this point I think is a good thing. For a while there I was posting every day with various topics. Gathering images and source information took time......and it was a good outlet......even if these posts only generated responses from Dan, and a couple of others. It seems that lifestyle posts are hit-or-miss with readers, and socio-political ones....with little exception...... inspire more knee-jerk partisan reactions than genuine truth-seeking debate. So....fuck it.  

I don't plan to close "Collected Submissions" (though if I did, there are probably only a metal fabricator's handful of people who would care) but I don't plan on very many "adult lifestyle" posts either.....because I'm just fairly bored with talking about it.

So, I am just going to conquer as many countries as I can, do some projects, and post when something motivates me. Those few who enjoy a robust debate can always email me. The rest? Well........LOL......I wouldn't have heard from you either way.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

More on rage

Yesterday Dan raised a persistent question about why there would seem to be more rage in a society that is objectively better off than it was during times of less rage? At first I kept responding in terms of whether rage was triggered by these changes or was more personal......but either way, Dan's question remained valid: "Why more now?"

After a bit of thinking, I tried to think of the people I knew in the past and now who were the victims of injustice and who, while understandably angry, managed to cope without full-on rage. In every case, the answer was similar if not exactly the same: these people ALL believed that some external force.....either their god or karma......would eventually ensure justice for those who inflicted intentional cruelties and then managed to escape any consequences.

My own mother was one of these people and was a staunch believer in a combination of the two. For her, there was NO DOUBT that a person's actions were going to catch up with them............ here or in the afterlife. I remember her telling this to me, my brother, Rosa, and anyone who seemed angry over an injustice they were powerless to correct. She believed it with every fiber of her being. And she was no shy, wallflower. If she could exact her own retribution, she would.....but when it was fruitless? Well, karma would get them. And if karma didn't? Well, that was what God would take care of in the end:

God's vacation spot for those who escaped justice on earth.

Historically, this notion of Divine Retribution, preached from the pulpit to the poor, powerless, and oppressed, guaranteed justice. It is one of the many criticisms of Christianity that such teaching helps keep the throngs of oppressed people from revolting against the privileged classes. 

"If you won't fight for yourselves.....follow my breasts!"

So I ran the 'retribution tape' through my own head and pretended I believed it to be true..........and I realized if I was able to convince myself of such a thing, I felt better. Why waste my time and ruin my day with frustrated rage when the justice I sought would happen in time? All I had to do was continue with my own life and trust that everything would be made right eventually. Wow. What a strategy!

"Relax, children........I got this!"

The problem is......I DON'T believe this will happen. And it seems that an ever-increasing number of Americans have the same problem. (click for article on decline of religion in US)  So, I can't help but wonder if THAT'S the answer to Dan's question. The statistic I read in another article pointed out an interesting fact that in the context of this 'rage theory' is either more evidence, or a bizarre coincidence: it seems like the increase of rage in society is not gradual. It feels like it went up a tiny bit in decades past and now is increasingly more frequent. Oddly the decline in religious follows that same pattern: a very gradual decline from the 60's through the 70's and 80's, picking up speed a bit in the 90's, and rampant among "Millennials" now. (link)

I find that very interesting. It certainly is consistent with the correlation between rage and the feeling of being powerless. With a solid belief system in place, you may be powerless, but you have this all-powerful force that you can rely on. But.....stop believing in that force? And all you have is your rage.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Age of Rage

The poster child for rage.

Rage is anger on steroids.  You don't just frown and grumble. You don't just shout a profanity. No, you fume as the heat builds in your face and pressure mounts in your chest until you think your head will explode and your heart burst. You don't just want to slam your fist or stomp your want to take up a club and smash EVERYTHING!

While verbally explosive at times, I am a very non-violent person physically. However, lately I have been almost perpetually angry with frequent flashes of suppressed rage. It has gotten so bad that I started talking to others about it. First Rosa, and then this weekend, before we sat down to dinner, I talked with my daughter and Son-in-Law (a professional psycho-therapist) about it. I really was beginning to worry that I was losing it. What was my surprise to learn that this feeling was widespread!? At first I was relieved to learn that I wasn't alone....but then worried that ......I wasn't alone. How good is it that such feelings are rampant?

The Red Hulk, Thaddeus Ross, who becomes not only stronger....but literally hotter with increased anger.

I was not surprised to learn that rage often stems from feeling powerless to correct an injustice. (That's my issue for certain.) And it occurred to me that perhaps THIS is where things like school shootings come from? Put in that context the tearfully rhetorical question of "who would DO such a thing?" becomes much easier to answer: someone full of rage.

If the Hulk is the King of Rage, Carrie must be the Queen.

Today's political climate has only exacerbated the root causes of rage. There used to be plenty of injustices and runs of bad luck in normal daily life to induce rage.....hell, just think of "road rage" alone! But now? Now, it seems like a lot of people would happily tear out the throat of just about anyone else from the 'other tribe'. And every day brings some new "I've never seen anything like this in my entire life"-level outrage.

Sorry ladies, but if your idea of Wolverine is the handsome Hugh Jackman, you should know that the character he portrays looks and acts more like this.

I have always been a kind of multi-point kind of person.....meaning, I'm not the type to let any ONE thing get to me. But if you start stacking things up? Then I don't handle it so well. And the worse thing is that once I feel the stacking begin, the size of the "blocks" doesn't matter nearly as much as how many are being piled up. So, if we start with one substantial bad thing, I can usually keep it in perspective, but start compounding that with a bunch of lesser things and by the time we get to the Nth 'block', I can lose it over something as minor as a package not arriving on time. Now normally such a trivial thing would never prompt that.....but under this 'pile up' it can.

I also find certain environmental factors can contribute to the problem. The fact that it's mid-March and still cold means that every 'outdoor person' I know has had enough of Winter. 'Cabin Fever' is a definite contributor. I think even my 'playful' O-lessness played a part. (Rosa gave me an O yesterday and I found I already felt better afterwards.....and yet I was as complicit and willing in that denial period as she was). So there are a LOT of things that can factor into all this.

For me it can be a lack of sunlight......but for this guy, it's too much moonlight!

So, I did learn that my strategy of 'distraction' is in fact a viable solution. I find that keeping busy with my multiple projects keeps my mind off of things that would otherwise fuel a rage. "Projects" are like my 'addiction'. I thought that perhaps such avoidance was bad, but I learned it's not at all. So I guess I will just continue to keep myself busy, get out in the sunshine as often as the weather permits, avoid watching too much news, and if all else fails, maybe just have a drink......or ask Rosa for an O!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Our table

from yesterday's St.Patrick's get-together:

You can see we re-used our new charger plates from Thanksgiving, and you can also see the domed Depression glass butter dish next to the pitcher

That's the bottle of Redbreast over on the left. The whole theme was green and white and pewter. 

The food came out great. We had an opening appetizer of an Irish pub treat of beets and egg on sourdough toasts with a freshly-made, sweet & spicy mustard sauce. Then we had the Potato & Leek soup with fresh baked brown bread my daughter made and brought. The main course was corned beef and cabbage with colcannon on the side. Later on my stepson made everyone Irish Coffee with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

Eventually the 'party' continued from the table to our living room with many rounds of 8-Ball being played until we moved a TV into the room (we do not usually have a TV in our living room) to watch "Miller's Crossing" and then the mandatory annual viewing of "Boondock Saints". The party went on past 1:00AM! (very late for Rosa  and me)

Overall a very good day!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day. As you know I will be doing a nice Irish meal for my family and friends today......but I already got a jump on things yesterday, so this shouldn't be as much work as last week.

So may you all be touched by a bit of the luck of the Irish.....

...............which if you look at the history of the Irish, is a kind of weird thing to wish on someone. So just focus on the good stuff.

Friday, March 16, 2018

What's in a name?

There seem to be a lot of takeaways from the Special Election in Pennsylvania, but there's one I haven't seen in the media: how the people of that notoriously Republican district were willing to vote for a...........................libertarian?

Conor Lamb 

Rick Saccone 

Drew Miller 

OK, so not one who 'calls' himself a Libertarian. No, Drew Miller got less than 1% of the vote. But look at this Lamb-guy. 49.8%!! Wow, when is the last time you saw a Libertarian get nearly 50% of a vote? Even at their own elections?

Now, if you listen to Lamb, he's a moderate Democrat, but if you listen to Trump? Well, first you'll go crazy from having to discount every other word as a lie......

An old Kliban cartoon presaging the courtship of Trump and Stormy Daniels.

....but then you have to see there is some truth to it. (You know like the way a genie, leprechaun, or demon tells the truth.) He accused Lamb of running as a Republican. But Lamb is as much of a Republican as any Libertarian......and as much of a Democrat. So Lamb says he's a Democrat. Trump says he's a Republican. And I say he's a "small 'L'" Libertarian. So who are you going to believe? ;-)

That's kind of what Libertarians are, the moderate best of what both parties have to offer without all the hypocrisy and pandering attached. And people seem to like long as it's called something else. Call it what it is......and you can expect to get 1% of the vote.

Now I'm not saying there weren't other reasons at play here. Despite Lamb's assertion that this wasn't about Trump, I think at least some of it was. And some could be that Saccone wasn't the best Republican candidate. But it does seem odd that everyone is talking about this election and Conor Lamb and Doug Jones and what it means for the Democratic 'model' going into the midterms, and yet no one seems to want to point out that this "new Democratic model" is eerily close to the platform Gary Johnson ran on.

As for me? I just find it amusing. I feel like the guy at the party who's among only a few that know that the chocolate mousse everyone is 'enjoying' is really a bowl of whipped shit.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Signs of hope

After what feels like an excruciatingly long winter, my yard is now dotted with scattered nubs of green! It's now the 'Ides of March'. Daylight Savings Time has taken effect. Easter is just around the corner. Can a full-fledged Spring be far behind?

Rosa was complaining about wanting Spring to get here. She said that she just wants to be able to get out of the house and walk around our garden for hours on end. I have to agree.

I have some big plans for several moves in the garden this year. And I need the right weather to get an early start to transplant before things get too far along. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Scattered thoughts

There are simply too many things going on to focus on a single topic today, but neither do I want to write a rambling, multi-point essay. So instead I am just going to send out a few thoughts and updates:

Farewell to one of the greatest minds of our generation. I recall reading 'A Brief History of Time' and feeling like my head was going to explode. But it was a good challenge. 

It's kind of cool that Stephen would leave us on Pi Day.

Where would we be without pi?

Some personal distractions....again mostly financial..... have kind of dampened the more sexual mood here. Rosa and I are fine, and getting along.......just not feeling too sexy right now.

Another 'oldie' from the 90's. Remember answering machines?

Not feeling sexy has led me to find more time to work on my latest project....

The lower half of a bathroom window for what will become our "Peruvian Bathroom".

Politics continues to challenge my capacity to remain calm.....not something I'm good at in the best of circumstances. I did want to make an amused observation though, based on a couple of comments I've received from some new visitors in recent weeks. I love the way people entrenched either on the left or right can read what I say and, if it runs contrary to their views, assume I must naturally be a full-fledged member of the opposite extreme. LOL. I think the notion that a person can be a moderate with viewpoints based on thought rather than tribalism is truly alien to a lot of people. 

Because I have been criticizing Trump a lot, some folks seem to assume I must be a Democrat. LOL. Keep assuming. It's very entertaining.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

That smell

Did you ever have a bad smell in the house and you couldn't quite figure out what it was or where it was coming from?

So you'd look around to see what it was.......

.......but you just couldn't find it. But, in doing so you sometimes found something that you didn't even know was lost.

But despite those little discoveries, that damned smell was still there, so you kept on looking.

The thing is that with those really bad smells, sometimes the cause is really hard to find. Whatever it is could be buried in a place you'd never expect, and digging for it can make a mess of things.

And maybe after a long while, you don't have the desire to keep looking, or the ability to search difficult places on your own. Besides, it sometimes seems some of the people helping you look aren't always too eager to find what's causing that smell anyway, and so you have to call in a pro.

Thankfully these guys really know their stuff, and they don't give up. Yeah, it may take some time, but eventually they find the source of that awful stink.

So, 'thank you, Mr. Mueller'. Now that the House Intelligence Committee has closed up shop, it's up to you to find where that stench is coming from. Good luck.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Militant tolerance

Just a playful bit of irony from the past:

This cartoon was made to poke fun at the BDSM community's dual wish for broad tolerance and strict adherence to its tenets. But when I wrote it, I worded it more vaguely so that the speaker could be talking about almost anything.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


Here's a thought for the day:

It seems to me that  the only difference between a "bully" and a "snowflake" is that while both perceive any slight or challenge to be an offensive affront, the 'snowflake' will annoyingly whine about it, but the 'bully' will beat you up for it. Isn't it interesting in the Trump-age that 'bullies' are admired and 'snowflakes' derided?

And then we wonder why a kid exposed to this mentality would choose to walk into a school full of people he feels offended him and kill them as opposed to just complain about them? Maybe he just didn't want to be thought of as a 'snowflake'?

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Busy Saturday

Today I am going out to a flea market with Rosa then returning to cook a "Pre-St. Patrick's Day Meal" as a dual birthday dinner for both Marta and my son (both born on the same day!) I will be doing an authentic Irish Lamb Stew with a Potato & Leek Soup. I am also doing an Irish "appetizer" of glazed beets and egg on sour dough toasts. There is also plenty of good Irish whiskey (single malt no less) and some rich, tasty stouts (not that watery Guiness). So a good time should be had by all.

So I don't have a lot of time for a clever post. Instead I am just going to put up a couple more of my own "captions". I'm afraid they're not as good as the "blow-up doll" one, but hopefully they will at least prompt a grin:

Friday, March 9, 2018

Just spank'em!

That gad-durned, newfangled, modern thinkin'!

An interesting topic has been popping up with Dan about whether the absence of corporal discipline in modern society is a reason for why we have things like mass shootings in schools. I  don’t see how any one factor can be blamed for something so complex, but I would agree that it may be one of several factors….or at least symptoms.  However, I do think there IS a more complete answer, except that to do it full justice, I’d probably have to write a book instead of a blog post, but I will do my best.

As an atheist I know there is nothing beyond what we are, there is no cosmic driving force directing our actions.  But that has never stopped us from becoming what we aspire to be. Aspiration and work towards a goal, coupled with a bit of luck, has proven sufficient to remake a society into whatever it chooses to be. If a person wants meaning in their lives, they choose what it is and the result is meaningful. How powerful is that? The problem is it works in reverse too.

The Greatest Generation being great

When I was a kid there was a holdover mentality in effect from the Greatest Generation still being the mentors and authority figures in society…...but these ‘elder statesmen’ were already being challenged. The sense of honor, personal responsibility, and inner strength of character that these elders relied upon during some of the most challenging times worked in their time, but now it was the 1960’s and a new generation was pointing to the glaring holes in that golden veneer. And they weren’t wrong either. Vietnam was not WWII, racial inequalities were glaring, and the patriotism that had meant laying down your life for one’s country, loved ones, and honor, now was being eyed suspiciously as a flag-waving excuse to support a potentially corrupt government. Science was on the rise and religion on the ebb. Protests were everywhere. People became empowered. It was the beginning of a different kind of individualism. Not the “rugged” kind…..but the one where you either looked out for yourself or risked being a sucker.

A not-so-noble truth of that same generation.

Then came Nixon. Now even the stalwarts had to recognize that things weren’t as innocent and rosy as had been believed by the preceding generations. The last veil was stripped away, and nothing was the same after that. Suspicion replaced faith. And while that sort of philosophy can be depressing, how could anyone go back? It was like Adam & Eve eating the apple…….yes, they lost their grace and innocence…...but they did gain knowledge. The hallmarks of American idealism as evidenced by a glance at any Norman Rockwell collection became corny nostalgia. And that is where we are now decades later.

At the time of his death, Norman Rockwell, our nation's beloved illustrator, was a sad, disillusioned man, who felt all of his life's work was a lie.

There have been attempts to swing back to those glory days of God and country and family…..but every time the proponents of these values were exposed as frauds and hypocrites. There were plenty of lecherous TV evangelists, corrupt politicians, and people saying one thing but doing another much more self-serving thing in secret. And then people started doing something that while understandable, led to where we are today: they sort of gave up. 

The Bakkers before the fall.

There are quite a few things that people gave up on, but I think the worst two are ‘thinking’ and ‘taking responsibility’. For a society blessed with the opportunity to learn more than any one that came before, we are just getting dumber instead. There is so much information and so much that contradicts itself, that again people seem to have just given up and instead of trying to learn and evaluate, they are just indulging themselves with distractions. And in our current age of ‘tribalism’ no one needs to work harder than listen to whatever proselytizing “talking head” is their side’s current shaman. Gone are the days when established didacts were challenged by new ways of thinking. Now anyone with a few minutes of airtime or a cell phone can be regarded as equally valid as anyone else. So any philosophy, no matter how wrong or dangerous, can be instantly validated with a Google search.

The right half of a phony coin. (And yes, it has a left half too.)

When an individual mentally crashes after one tragedy and then another, we look at them in sympathy and understanding. We get that there’s only so much a person can take. But what if that happens to a society? It’s dangerous enough for a distressed individual to think: what difference does it make? But how much worse is it if that is a general consensus? What sort of message are our kids getting from a society that feels and acts this way?

The other issue is a holdover from the ‘victim culture’ that came into vogue in the 90’s. Nothing is anyone’s fault. We are all victims. So even if we do bad things, or see someone else do bad things, no one even needs to be sorry……..“Be sorry for ME! I’m the real victim!”  How can we point to a kid growing up without consequences as a problem when all around us is an entire world of people, many more wealthy and powerful than us…..who suffer no consequences either?  

A troubled kid can always find solace in the church, right?

So take a kid, especially a troubled one, with parents who have sort of given up on everything except consumerism and where is the guidance that could either help him through his crisis…..or at the very least ….identify the crisis before it turns to tragedy? And if a kid is disturbed and angry and feels like going into a school with the intent to kill a lot of people is a good idea….how empowering is it for him to think about the possible consequences and conclude: what difference does it make? And besides, I’m the real victim here?

Would spanking him at an early age have helped? Probably not, but if spanking was just one part of an overall parenting system centered on hard work, goals, responsibility, learning, thinking, discipline, and consequences, then maybe yes. But you could still instill all of that without the spanking and still probably achieve the same result. But for that you first need parents who are not part of the overall problem.

There is definitely a prevailing sense that something is different and that something is wrong. Well, if we are to be honest, every society in each generation has been different and each one of them had their share of things that were wrong. This is our set. Is there a way back? No. Like Adam & Eve, there is no going back. You can only move forward, but that is not a bad thing.......unless where you're headed is even worse than where you are.

OK, so the fall seemed bad at the time.....and a lot of nasty shit happened.....but look where this (symbolic) decision led. Nothing we have would have ever been possible if we never evolved past being a clever primate.

But I'd like to think the kids we raised that are now just coming into their own might redefine society once again. Perhaps there will be a new "Age of Reason"?  After all, a society need not be naive to have noble standards. And perhaps besides my own kids and step-kids, who I think are doing pretty well, their kids (my grandkids), raised by the standards instilled in them, might turn this all around......with or without spanking.

Thursday, March 8, 2018


I've only recently learned this in looking around at some of the posts my fellow bloggers were doing. So, I thought: why not me? (and since 'why not?' is a question, we're already off to a head start!) So, let's set the atmosphere for a little "Q&A":

Rosa and I don't scene/role-play much, but a long while back we did do a sort of 'military interrogation/torture scene'. Only being from South America, Rosa dressed more like a guerilla rebel than a Nazi.

Close, but Rosa was wearing more of a revealing vest/tank top combination.......she DOES love Ernesto Guevara though.

It was kind of fun, but not really our thing. She was sexy as hell though! Anyway, if anyone has a question they've always wanted to ask, fire away. 

( But be warnedjuicy threats may make me less inclined to talk)

I'm not sure if she's torturing him.....or checking his oil?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Me? Captioning?

Call it a case of 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em', or maybe it was simply of something popping into my head, but now that I found a quick, easy, free, captioning program, I decided to make one of my own that did NOT utilize classic photos from history:

This is based on the countless 'the look you get when....' memes out there.

However, in all fairness, no one can accuse this caption of falling into the pattern of the types I routinely criticize and mock. 1: the people ARE clearly engaged in something pertaining to the caption, i.e. they are not innocent, 2: the caption is not misspelled, 3: it's not a long, rambling, creepy scenario born of personal frustration, but rather an attempt at humor. Anyway, I hope you liked it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Different "look"

I am only just starting to come out from under my "pissy mood" (described yesterday). And in trying to come up with a topic for today I noticed that some of my fellow bloggers have chosen today to post some 'humor'.....either in cartoon or meme form. So I thought: there's an idea! I'll join them in doing the same!

While I have done some new cartoons in the past year, the majority of my "collection" goes back to the 1990's when I was actively doing cartoons (and articles) for the SandMUtopian Guardian. Besides being more enthusiastic about the material, it also helped that I was getting paid. LOL Anyway, many of you have seen my cartoons on the 'net, on my main website (link), or here, and have probably noticed a particular style I use for my characters. Now there are a few where that look has been loosened a bit, but the overall character style is still similar. However, there was a time when I experimented with an entirely different look for my characters and those cartoons also just happened to be in the "missing batch" that I've been parceling out here (and have still to load on the main website). So unless you saw these in the SandMUtopian Guardian, here they are for the first time since the Clinton era:

I was toying with this widened head shape but soon found it limited what I could do. Even in this example you can see the second and third customers look more like my usual characters. The other thing is it tended to make the characters look more juvenile than I wanted, especially in this example below:

This one was a reaction to the endless online 'advice' one would find at the time about the importance of "communication". I got SO sick of hearing it as the cure-all for everything that I just felt like pointing out the reality of what happens even with communication when what is being communicated shocks the listener.

Anyway, after these two I dropped this style and just stuck with the one you are all used to.