It’s Not Just a “War on Women.” It’s Worse.

            I bumped into a friend I’ll call Kim four or five days ago on my way to the chairlift for some afternoon skiing.  She was on her snowboard and riding single for a few hours before her evening shift at a local restaurant.  It was a beautiful day and we decided to take a few runs together.
            In her mid-twenties, Kim graduated a couple years ago with a science degree from a university in Kentucky.  Currently, she’s enjoying the ski town life for a while before grad school becomes a reality.
            Riding to the top of the mountain on the chairlift, we spoke conversationally as always.  She knew I had a daughter close to her age that had been living in Europe for some time, and Kim kindly asked after her.  I responded, saying my daughter was doing well and mentioned a few of her latest exploits, but also added that she was astounded by the “War on Women” that Republicans back in America seemed so hell-bent on waging.
            To this, Kim shook her head and rolled her eyes behind her goggles.  She admitted she had little tolerance for the news at this point in time, and simply couldn’t believe the extreme statements coming from the right.  We didn’t really touch on any of the issues, nor did we need to.  Yet minutes before we got off the lift to enjoy skiing/boarding down the mountain, Kim off-handedly made a statement that’s been churning in my mind for the last several days.
            “It’s not just a “War on Women,” she noted, “it’s a war on all of us, a war against everything that’s progressive and sensible.”
            After ruminating on her statement for a few days, I couldn’t agree more.  Whether it is denying a woman’s right to contraception, mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasounds, or redefinitions of when life begins or what constitutes rape – it’s actually all boils down to a War on Higher Consciousness.  It’s a war against much needed and inevitable cultural transformation and, without question, women are the focal point.
            But why is this the case?  Why do we seem to be going backward in time?  What is behind the onslaught of legal attempts to deprive women of choices regarding their own bodies and their own reproductive related decisions?  Why is there even such a thing as a Blunt Amendment or an obsessive drive to de-fund Planned Parenthood where millions of women receive basic health care – not just abortions?  What is behind the insanity that makes women the focal point in this war?
            It would too easy to explain away this war in terms of the brain-dead marching to the dictates of paternalistic and mind-manipulating religions.  That of course is part of what drives this “War on Women,” and yet might only fit into what is a bigger picture.
            In truth, it doesn’t take much imagination to view this “War on Women” as a consistent and even expected reaction coming from a cultural mental tradition thousands of years old that stresses male hierarchal dominance and control.  It is only in relatively recent history compared with the thousands of years preceding, that the shackles of wrathful male gods, the warrior culture, and institutions promoting oppression, privilege, and fear are being cast off – and traded for a new awareness.  That new awareness is viewed as a threat to those of male-dominant controlling elite mindset – and it should be – but naturally they misapprehend why and accordingly overreact most viciously.
            For millenniums women have been treated as subservient to the all-powerful male, and wives have been viewed as chattel to their husbands just as poor are servants of the rich.  The essential nature of the feminine has long been violently repressed, and as it now emerges, as women also rightfully demand and receive more freedom to take control of themselves, as a new awareness pervades many in society – the only answer for the cretins still entrenched and entranced by the male-dominant, conflict-oriented, elitist power-and-control, conquest-and-subjugation, kill-or-be-killed mentality, is to declare an all-out “War on Women.”
            It is truly a shame these dunderheads lack the mental enlightenment to perceive the most basic attributes of the feminine – basic attributes that revolve around generative powers and nurturing.  If they could comprehend the same, perhaps their eyes might open to the fact women are not attempting to conquer them like they conquered women, but are more interested in cooperation, partnership, and life-centered initiatives for the species and planet as a whole.
            Like my friend Kim implied as we rode up the chairlift together the other day, we’re all in this together – both male and female.  The importance of an egalitarian balance amongst the genders is essential if the necessary cultural transformation is to transpire, so as realistically confront long-range planetary sustainability issues such as peak oil, global eco-rape, and the consumer madness depleting planetary reserves.  A Higher Consciousness celebrating and promoting what the previously repressed nature of the feminine can contribute to the whole is essential; the repudiation of the right-wing, male-dominant culture’s “War on Women” is most immediate and imperative.
            Women are indeed the focal point, but it’s not just a “War on Women.”  It’s worse.  It’s an assault on all of us, women and men, seeking to escape the chains of a more primitive consciousness; it’s a war on all of us seeking a cultural transformation so as to leave a livable world for future generations of our species.
            There is no alternative: we must engage the warmongers by joining together – by heartily renouncing and repudiating the current “War on Women” – initiated by chauvinistic blockheads both unaware and unevolved!

Update on “PayPal the Censor”

            “There has been some chatter about PayPal’s decision to not allow the sale of certain ‘erotica’ content using our service,” said Anuj Nayar, PayPal’s Director of Communication, in a PayPal blog post on Thursday, March 8th, that you can read here.
            Yes, Mr. Nayar, there certainly has been some “chatter” out there as you deign to recognize in your posting.  And, to tell the truth, I have yet to see any of it voicing approval for PayPal’s new stance as censor and moral arbiter for all!
            In fact, a ground swell of criticism has been directed at PayPal and their new role of “Guardian Censor for We the People.”  For a good starting point, one need only check out Mark Coker’s Smashwords site that has weathered the brunt of PayPal’s decision to become our censor.  In posts of recent days that you can find here, Coker notes how major media outlets – such as Publisher’s Weekly, Reuters, Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal and CNET – all picked up the story and added their voices to the discussion.  Links to those stories are in Coker’s Smashwords posts, as is a link to some interesting research that analyzes some of the “objectionable” content on Ebay, PayPal’s parent company, by Smashwords author, L.C. Cooper.
            I would hasten to add that besides the innumerable tweets, blog posts and web articles relating to PayPal as Censor, Forbes also did an excellent piece titled, “Credit Card Companies Should Process Payments Not Censor Content,” and you can find it here.  Another good post was by O’Reilly’s Radar called, “The Threat of Censorship from a Non-government Entity,” that can be found here.
            Coker of Smashwords also pointed out that several organizations have aligned themselves with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) – mentioned in last week’s post on this blog – in order to make their feelings know to PayPal regarding censorship. Two of those organizations, the American Booksellers Foundations for Free Expressions (ABFFE) and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) – also mentioned last week here – were joined by several other groups to address PayPal directly.
            Signing on as well were: Access
 ACLU of California, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Article 19,
 Association of American Publishers,
 Authors Guild,, Bill of Rights Defense Committee,
 Bytes for All, (Pakistan), 
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Coming Together (charity publisher), Feminists for Free Expression, Fight for the Future, Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, Independent Book Publishers Assn., Index on Censorship, Internet Archive, New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, New England Independent Booksellers Association, Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, Peacefire, PEN American Center, Reporters Without Borders, Southern California Independent Booksellers Association, 
Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, Tunisian Association for Digital Freedom, 
and Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance.
            And then yesterday, March 10th, Ms. Madeline Morris of BannedWriters posted on their website, that you can read here, an erudite and judicious letter from Visa head of Investor Relations, Doug Michelman, in which he stated, “Visa would take no action regarding lawful material that seeks to explore erotica in a fictional or educational manner.”  So, PayPal, one must wonder, who are those banks and credit card association that you told Mr. Coker of Smashwords (here), that are issuing requirements you must remain in compliance with – and thus become a censor of morality (as you see it)?  Perhaps you’d be kind enough to reveal your Governing Board of Censors?
            But yes indeed, Mr. Nayar, Director of Communications at PayPal, as you so condescendingly noted, there has been some “chatter” about PayPal’s decision to act as Chief Censor and Moral Bigot!
            At the bottom of Mr. Nayar’s PayPal blog post, there is a place to leave a comment.  Mr. Nayar even writes, “We always welcome your feedback,” – but guess what – PayPal was not so welcoming after all!
            As a matter of fact, I took some time to put my name and email address in PayPal’s “Leave a Comment” area.  Next contributed was a rather long and detailed comment, stating how I objected to PayPal efforts to assume the mantle of censor for us all.  I stated they were a financial services company, and not in the business of policing content.  Further, it was specifically pointed out that as an author I absolutely do not write content relating to rape, incest, or bestiality – nor do I have interest in reading it.  That notwithstanding, my comment to PayPal went on – no one, and that means absolutely no one – should be censoring someone else’s legal right to write, publish, or read such material.
            My opinions went on for some length – but guess what – when clicking the “Submit” button link, the entire comment went nowhere whatsoever.  All that popped up, assumedly at PayPal’s instructions, was a window stating, “To view this page you must login.”  Further, it declared, “Access restricted to authorized personnel only.”  Below that was a space for name and password.  The name I would gladly provide; as for the password, of course, I didn’t have a clue.
            In short, I was locked out of PayPal’s login and can only assume Mr. Nayar and PayPal didn’t really welcome feedback at all.  Apparently I wasn’t alone either, for Mr. Coker of Smashwords also noted, “The blog post by PayPal today has a comments section, but it doesn’t appear to accept comments.”
            That is indeed unfortunate, but not entirely surprising coming from the promoter of a despicable censorship.
            There is, however, a way to get to PayPal – so to speak of course.
            As alluded to earlier, the organizations above and vast numbers of concerned individuals have signed on to an email the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) is sending to John Muller of PayPal, urging them against censorship.  If one adds their name to the form on this page, a correspondence will be generated to Mr. Muller and PayPal with the text found on the same page.
            If you are concerned about PayPal’s efforts at censoring legal fiction, and the slippery slope this action puts all writing and reading on, I urge you to go to the EFF website page and send your sentiments directly to PayPal.
            Tell PayPal: Don’t Censor Books!

The Dark Specter of “PayPal the Censor”

            In the last few weeks, online payment processor PayPal has contacted several online booksellers and distributors including,, All Romance Ebooks, and eXcessica, putting them on notice that PayPal will cease to do business with their companies unless they remove various kinds of erotic content, involving descriptions of rape, incest (and “pseudo-incest”) and bestiality.
            As Mark Coker of explains it, “PayPal is asking us to censor legal fiction.  Regardless of how one views topics of rape, bestiality and incest, these topics are pervasive in mainstream fiction.  We believe this crackdown is really targeting erotica writers.  This is unfair, and it marks a slippery slope.  We don’t want credit card companies or financial institutions telling our authors what they can write or what readers can read.  Fiction is fantasy.  It’s not real.  It’s legal.”
            Coker further states PayPal told Smashwords that the crackdown was necessary so as to remain in compliance with requirements of banks and credit card associations.  And though PayPal didn’t specifically mention the names of these “banks and credit card associations” to Smashwords and Coker, it is likely, he notes, that they were Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
            There can be absolutely no question here that small groups of individuals within powerful organizations are attempting to establish themselves as moral arbiters and “guardians” for us all.  The dark specter of moral bigotry – a threat to the mental and intellectual freedoms of all – has arisen again, this time incarnated as “PayPal the Censor.”
            But can PayPal really do this?  Is it possible in this day and age that they can get away with determining what a sovereign individual may choose to write, publish, or read?
            Apparently, they can.  In an enlightening piece about “Legal Censorship” from the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) that you can read here, it’s stated that PayPal did much the same thing in 2010 when cutting off services to whistleblower WikiLeaks and thus financially hogtying that organization.  As EFF explained when WikiLeaks was facing censorship from the service provider, “the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression against government encroachment – but that doesn’t help if the censorship doesn’t come from the government.  Free speech online is only as strong as private intermediaries are willing to let it be.”
            So if PayPal and the shadowy “banks and credit card associations” can legally censor and practice their own brand of moral bigotry, where does it all begin and end?
            In an excellent joint letter to PayPal and EBay (who owns PayPal) from The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) – that you can read here – serious questions are raised by PayPal’s ultimatum to remove all titles containing bestiality, rape or incest, or face deactivation of PayPal accounts.
            Comparisons are made in the joint letter of PayPal’s censorship attempts being akin to a modern day Catholic Church Index of Prohibited Books, or the Hays code in the film industry.  And “Like the Index,” notes the joint letter from ABFFE and NCAC, “PayPal’s policy has the potential to suppress important works: incest, rape and bestiality have been depicted in world literature since Sophocles’ Oedipus and Ovid’s Metamorphoses.”
            Further says the joint letter, “While PayPal may claim that its policy would only apply to low-value erotica, many great and even iconic works of literature were widely reviled as low-value filth when first published.  Books like Ulysses and Lady Chatterley’s Lover were banned as “obscene” in the United States because of their sexual content.”
            The EFF article about legal censorship wonders if books such as Nabokov’s Lolita will be removed from online stores, “as it explores issues of pedophilia and consent in soaring, oft-romantic language.”  Or, EFF ponders as well, might also the Bible be banned for its description of the presumptive incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters?
            Mark Coker of Smashwords carries it to even greater lengths when he rhetorically queries, “If you write paranormal, can your were-creatures not get it on with one another, or is that bestiality?”
            “In short,” the joint letter to PayPal from ABFFE and NCAC sums it up, “there is no telling what kind of works, or how many be affected by PayPal’s policy.”
            Or in Coker’s words: “The insanity needs to stop here.”
            For anyone not a moral bigot attempting to promote the dark specter of censorship, PayPal’s heavy-handed ploy to control what We The People can write, publish, or read must be repudiated with the same vigor with which SOPA was recently eradicated.  PayPal is attempting to engage in legal censorship – and the users of PayPal and the shadowy “banks and credit card associations,” must rise up against this despicable moral bigotry and attacks on open and free minds.
            Censorship in any form harms us all.  As Coker states, “Authors should have the freedom to publish legal fiction, and readers should have the freedom to read what they want.”
            I say: “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it or read it!  Hells-bells, go right ahead and criticize it; let’s have a lively debate!  But never, never, never – censor it!
            If you think the moral bigots in the big corporations and the supposedly superior arbiters of what’s acceptable shouldn’t be censoring the rest of us, tell them about it.  That’s what I intend to do!
            For starters, contact information can be found here:
PayPal and Ebay (EBay owns PayPal):   
Scott Shipman:
Jonathan Fox:
Jonathan Muller:
For shadowy “banks and credit card associations,” go to their web Home Page and click “Contact Us.”
American Express:

S.F. Writer’s Conference 2012 – A Brief Retrospective

            Last weekend, President’s Day Weekend 2012, it was my good fortune to attend the annual San Francisco Writer’s Conference held in the Mark Hopkins Hotel atop Nob Hill.
            It wasn’t the first time I’d been to a SFWC; actually it was the third time in four years, in addition to attending writer’s conferences previously in Hawaii and New York City.  So, it’s safe to say I had a fairly good idea of what I was getting into when I signed up.  Yet, even then, I balked at going. Attending the conference isn’t inexpensive considering the conference fee itself, airfare, hotel accommodations, and so on.  I dallied, pondering if the money put out would be worth the investment.
            Despite my misgivings, I dug up the necessary funds and found myself in San Francisco for three days, attending the 2012 SFWC.
            On the face of it, the SFWC is, for the writer – and actually anyone involved with publishing – a virtual cornucopia of resources, valuable information, and hard won experience by publishing veterans regarding the industry.  In the sessions and workshops, the attendee is offered everything from discussions on poetry to non-fiction, from self-promotion to social networking strategies.  There are sessions for writing romance, thrillers, or children’s literature and Young Adult; there are workshops focused on selling to the stage and Hollywood.
            Naturally, traditional publishing is well represented with top-flight fiction and non-fiction agents and editors from both coasts.  Emissaries of the revolution, or transition in publishing as some call it, are out in force too, with numerous self-publishing and e-publishing experts in attendance.
            The keynote speakers at the 2012 SFWC were extraordinary as well.  Featured were bestselling author Lisa See, longtime editor Alan Rinzler, and author Lolly Winston.  And all speakers were preceded, of course, by a lavish meal in the Peacock Court, the main ballroom of the Mark Hopkins Hotel.
            Perhaps most fascinating with respect to publishing in general, was the preoccupation by many concerning the tremendous shifts underway in the publishing industry itself.  In multiple workshops and sessions, even in remarks by some of the keynote speakers, there was an undeniable recognition that a revolution was occurring because of technology and e-publishing – but how it would all play out was anybody’s guess.
            It might not be as bad as I heard remarked at our breakfast table as traditional agents were being introduced before the upcoming Sunday morning pitch sessions – that they were merely dinosaurs waiting for extinction – but then again, becoming an agent might not be a wise career choice for someone with youth and foresight to pursue at this time of industry upheaval.  In any case, e-technology and e-publishing does seem to be cannibalizing traditional print publishing, perhaps much in the same way as Gutenberg’s invention cannibalized those dedicated scribes who laboriously reproduced by hand one copy of a book after another – as someone else remarked.
            Unquestionably, however, beyond all the enlightening workshops and specialty sessions at the 2012 SFWC, beyond the keynote speakers, experts, and the copious quantities of good food, the most redeeming feature and benefit of attending the conference was all the amazing people one is fortunate enough to meet.  Conference hosts Michael Larson and Elizabeth Pomada encourage a lively interaction amongst attendees and, as a result, I was once again overwhelmed by all the truly creative and intelligent individuals that gather together for a weekend.  Obviously, their collective problem is the shared obsession for writing – normally a poorly paid, often ignored endeavor – but still these attendees appear to be remarkably alive, stimulating specimens of the species in spite of their crippling obsession.  And I was incredibly grateful for the opportunity to meet so many of these people, as well as renewing old friendships from previous conferences.
            After the 2012 SFWC, sitting in the San Francisco airport waiting for a flight back to Colorado, I queried myself regarding my earlier misgivings about attending and consequent expenses.  In short, was it worth the money to again attend the San Francisco Writer’s Conference?  The answer was easy: unquestionably, yes.
            Just as important, perhaps: would I plan on attending the 2013 SFWC?
            The answer: it is very likely.

Mitt, Ricky & Severely Immoral Humor

            There is perhaps nothing more severely and immorally appalling than what has been injected into this year’s political reality show under the guise of humor.  And, no doubt, you are likely aware of what we speak.
            It all started sometime ago when the noun, “Santorum,” was introduced as quite the figure of speech and caught on with overwhelming popularity among the crass and crude in the general electorate.  All one need do is Google “Santorum,” and immediately discovered is the unscrupulous SpreadingSantorum website.  The homepage here defines the noun “Santorum,” as “the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex.”
            It is quite likely this sophomoric and inept attempt at slanderous jest has surely plagued the anti-gay and adamantly Catholic, Ricky Santorum, for months and months – even though he’s maintained an assumedly honorable silence about the matter all the while and remained above the fray.  But will his fellow Republican contender Mitt Romney be able to do the same?
            Of late, poor ole rich Mitt has been similarly ill defined by the despicable wags of the Internet.  Now, if you Google “Romney,” the rabidly popular SpreadingRomney website appears and reveals, “Romney,” has become a verb meaning, “To defecate in terror.”
            Disgustingly enough, this definition is in supposed reference to a family road trip the candidate took in 1983, wherein Seamus, the family dog, was strapped to the roof of the vehicle.   According to a 2007 article in the Boston Globe, Romney’s oldest son, Tagg, yelled, “Gross!” upon noticing a brown liquid flowing down the back window from the dog above.  “As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station,” the Globe noted.  “There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway.  It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.”  Later, when quizzed by the Wall Street Journal about the bizarre behavior, all Romney had to say was: “Love my dog. That’s all I’ve got for ya.”
            And thus we have the new verb, “Romney,” Googling its way into our collective consciousnesses and on public display with the noun, “Santorum.”
            You would assume this flouting of prepubescent scatological humor regarding little Ricky and poor ole rich Mitt would suffice, but no, the shameless Internet funnymen who apparently have a bone to pick with people more sanctimonious than themselves are now going after Newt, the master of infidelities and God’s forgiveness!  Can you believe that?  It’s true nevertheless, for if you Google “Gingrich,” immediately appearing is a “SpreadingGingrich” website.  It looks though, like the unprincipled and underhanded jokesters haven’t yet figured out the definition of “Gingrich,” for they are currently busy encouraging suggestions as an avenue toward “internet immortality.”
            Ron Paul, on the other hand, doesn’t yet seem to be stalked by these severely immoral Internet cads.  Either that, or I did something wrong, for when Googling “Paul,” and “SpreadingPaul,” all that could be retrieved focused on the Gospel of a St. Paul – not Ron – as well as scattered recurring references to Pat Paulsen and Harold Stassen.
            Unfortunately for little Ricky and poor ole rich Mitt, and as soon will be the case I fear for Newt, these sad attacks on our Republican soldiers of Rectitude and Righteousness will not be dissipating and going away soon.  Like the issue of revealing taxes, this sickly soup of colonic humor must be confronted before it spreads like a debilitating cancer.   In short, little Ricky must treat his noun as more than rear-guard or back-door assault; and poor ole rich Mitt must understand his verb will likewise dog him all the way to the general election if indeed he becomes the nominee.
            So, little Ricky, come out of the closet regarding these slurs to your integrity if you want to prove your mettle as Front Runner!  Quit bending over and ignoring the unchaste picadors that make a laughingstock of your name, and by extension, your reputation.  Get up there on the stage in that sweater vest from Mommy and speak of the vile inequities of the noun, “Santorum!”  You can talk about anything you want – but gosh darn it, Ricky, get up there and say something!  You can fire back at the detestable heathen gigglers who think they’re so cute, funny, and smug, with something so simple as, “The mixture isn’t that frothy!”  Or maybe, if your revulsion and bile finally threaten to overflow, you might stand on stage with all your spawn of children and your breeding, subservient wife, as you rage against the darkness that is enveloping our country, to so proclaim, “We don’t talk anal or lube at our dinner table!”  Really Ricky, it doesn’t matter what you say; just get up there and fight back against the severely immoral jokesters that threaten to erode your candidacy and the chastity of our nation.
            Likewise, poor ole rich Mitt, it you are to prove worthy as heir apparent to the GOP nomination, you must sooner than later wade into the thick of things and cut the crap.  Your “Love my dog. That’s all I’ve got for ya,” won’t fly any longer.  If that statement festers untended, the next thing you know those droll reprobates and quipsters on the Internet will be tying a certain frothy mixture to poor ole rich Mitt’s love for you-know-who on the rooftop!  And only the Good Lord you all profess to follow knows where it might go after that.  Don’t flip-flop on this one, Mitt!  It’s time to get up on the stage, pound the podium, and tell all the depraved web wisecrackers to self-deport!
            Fortunately for you, Newt, your perfect opportunity is at hand!  No need to be the butt of jokes like little Ricky; or have the shit slide down the metaphorical back window of your campaign limo.  Steal a march on your competition, Newt: regain front-runner status, and get to the dissolute jokesters on the Net before they get to you!  Give them some, “big ideas,” or “big visions!”  Hell, offer them a trip to the moon – who cares?  Just get beyond all this before it gets to you.  Acknowledge the shit in the road ahead that hasn’t been picked up, before you too step in it and become a study in coprology like little Ricky and poor ole rich Mitt!
            Finally, in parting, may all three of you – Ricky, Mitt, and Newt – perhaps ponder the following adage as you consider strategy regarding the severely immoral humorists of the Internet.  It has long been said that: “Anything worth taking seriously is worth making fun of.”
            So, don’t trouble your little heads, our pillars of American Virtue and Sanctity – for we commiserate!  The distasteful and ignominious attempts at humor by the severely immoral on the web can’t be fun for you – and until they are, you certainly can’t be taken seriously!

Give Us Our Bread & Circuses – It’s Superbowl Sunday!

            It’s finally Superbowl Sunday, the most revered sports day of the year!
            Today, the entire world – or at least that part of the world that counts – will be huddled around their televisions enjoying the best that life has to offer.
            Yet back in early December, with about four weeks left in the regular season, I experienced a moment of panic, fearing Superbowl Sunday might not come this year.  It was all because I stumbled upon an article in Sports Illustrated online about a former NFL champ, Lew Carpenter, whose brain was studied by researchers after he died at the age of 78.
            Carpenter was determined to have an advanced form of Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy, or CTE, a result of repeated blows to the head.  It’s rather a sad story that you can read here, but the gist of it has to do with speculation that an athlete need not have X-amount of concussions to develop this degenerative disease, but that tens of thousands of subconcussive blows might also play a tremendous role in the development of CTE.  One of the researchers involved, a Dr. Cantu, told the Associated Press, “You can’t draw a line between number of concussions and risk for CTE.  You have to factor in the subconcussive trauma.  It’s equally – if not more – important.”
            After coming across this I became fidgety, but nearly soiled my shorts when reading a little further that, “if subconcussive blows do play a role in the development of this brain injury, then bigger changes have to occur.”  Just what, I wondered, were they trying to imply?  What might these “bigger changes” be?  And then I panicked.  I thought: Why this and why now?  With four weeks left in the regular season, why bring any of it up at all?  Why the negative vibes and the stoking of pangs of conscience?  All I could think was: Don’t ruin the season, please!  Don’t take away our Superbowl Sunday and deprive us of our bread and circuses!
            Fortunately most of my fellow rabid fans didn’t give this article and its implications a second thought.  But why should they?  It would be anti-social, anti-cultural, and anti-American so to do.  And it could undoubtedly ruin Superbowl Sunday.
            Still, the NFL and other contact sport leagues surely know they are on a slippery slope when it comes to concussions, subconcussive trauma, and brain injury.  The pro football league, for instance, has already taken steps to crack down on the violent head hits that are conducive to brain injury.  The reality of it all, however, is that the NFL is progressively painting itself into an inescapable corner as it seeks to limit and eradicate the glorious violence that defines the essential nature of the game.  We all thought you were smart NFL with your billions and billions of dollars coming in every year – but this time you’re permitting the whiney moralists, the oversensitive, and the spineless milquetoasts out there to shoot you in the foot (or the head, as the case may be).
            With all due respect to Mr. Carpenter and his sad story, what do all of us rabid fans really care about the long-term consequences for our beloved cannon fodder that plays the game?  And why should we allow researchers and promoters of suspect probity to fix a microscope on an ex-player as if he were an after-the-fact crash test dummy?
            We rabid fans do love our cannon fodder.  And if one goes down, the next one steps up.  That’s how we play the Games.  Simply put, football players are merely our metaphorical bread for our football circuses.
            Besides, what’s a little brain injury compared to the old days when our species had glorious gladiatorial battles to the death?  Those were the days when you really did – Do or Die!  But in our “advanced” namby-pamby culture, we haven’t the heart for such ultimate competition.  Cherishing the gelded and emasculated has become our conception of sport; now “the best among us” fret about brain injury, when in the good ole gladiatorial days it was merely a matter of life and death.  Ultimately, this downhill course for true sports can provoke nothing but consternation for us rabid fans.
            Nevertheless, even if we probably won’t see a revival of gladiatorial battles to the death anytime soon because of our limp-wristed culture, at least we still have Superbowl Sunday!  We rabid fans can shelve any worries about brain injury because weobviously don’t have it!  And if our cannon fodder players get it, who cares?  They’re our cannon fodder and we love them!  They make tons of money playing the Games for our enjoyment, so why squawk about concussions, subconcussive blows, and brain injury?
            The NFL’s misdirected efforts to sissify the Games by not allowing violent helmet-to-helmet contact is a mistake and the players themselves are aware of it.  The cannon fodder beloved by us rabid fans isn’t afraid of a concussion or little brain injury.
            Just read this article by the Associated Press, where leading Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew was asked if he would try to play through a concussion or yank himself from the game.  His straightforward answer: “Hide it.  The bottom line is: You have to be able to put food on the table.  No one’s going to sign or want a guy who can’t stay healthy.  I know there will be a day when I’m going to have trouble walking.  I realize that, but this is what I signed up for.  Injuries are a part of the game.  If you don’t want to get hit, then you shouldn’t be playing.”
            Absolutely awesome, huh?  That’s why us rabid fans love our cannon fodder!
            I’d go a step further, however, and urge the NFL not to hide it!  I say: Bring it all out in the open!  Let’s make NFL football a real, manly sport!  I say: Get rid of helmets altogether!
            Yes indeed, let’s see what the human brain is really capable of in honest and open head-to-head contact.  We don’t need to build a better NFL mousetrap with more silly rules about not hitting one another – not when our species has limitless potential when it comes to building better cannon fodder.  And we love our cannon fodder!
            Without helmets, not only would us rabid fans be left giddy by the unconcealed head bashing, but think of the glory Clay Matthews and Troy Polamalu would display with hair flowing freely before a savage strike.  Further, without helmets, researchers and promoters of suspect probity would be overjoyed as well by a windfall of after-the-fact crash test dummies they could study in order to actually verify the connection between subconcussive trauma and CTE.  And, without helmets, the NFL could fully disavow the moral corner it was busy painting itself into with half-baked rules regarding helmet-to-helmet contact.
            I say: A Thumbs-Up to Helmetless Football!
            Let’s be honest and forthright when comes to our primal emotions!
            We love Superbowl Sunday and if the NFL goes helmetless, it only gives us better bread and circuses.  We’ll then party all the heartier on Superbowl Sundays and enjoy so much more the cutesy little ads.
            And you’ll keep making gobs of money, NFL!
            Go Helmetless, Pro Football!  Give us ever better bread and circuses!

A Fool’s Hike?

            It happened last fall and I’ve been reluctant to talk about it until now.
            Obviously, there was the risk I’d be shunned by some of the more proper members of the multiple hiking groups I’m involved with.  Now, however, well into winter, it’s time to come clean and confess.  And let the chips fall where they might: life these days is fraught with politicians and untold dangers anyway.
            Living in the mountains in Colorado, I enjoy skiing in the winter.  When the snow disappears however, hiking is a consuming interest.  An experienced hiker, I enjoy getting together with different groups coming out of Denver as well as with old friends during the summer-fall months of the Colorado mountain hiking season.  When younger, there was a lot of backpacking too, but at this point it’s mostly day hikes.  But that’s fine, because I’m in good shape after living at 9300 feet and running regularly at over 10,000 feet.
            So, being in good physical condition and experienced in the mountains, it’s fair to say I know pretty well what I should and should not do when it comes to hiking.  Problem is, sometimes I violate the “rules” on purpose.
            Sometimes, a person just gets a wild hair.
            It’s kind of like when I was going to meet a group of friends for a hike over by Loveland Pass on a Saturday in the late summer.  The weather intervened and cancelled that excursion, but Sunday morning was predicted to be beautiful and it was.  So, I got a wild hair, broke some of the “rules” and took a trip up toward Rocky Mountain National Park.  The fractured “rules” notwithstanding, my hike to Bowen Lake and Cascade Mountain were just south of the Never Summer Range in the Park, and incredibly beautiful.  For kicks, here’s a quick pic:
            Knowingly, I confess I broke a few “rules” on that trip and somehow still lived.  A few weeks before that though, on a trip to Watanga Lake, I don’t know if there were any “rules” I didn’t break.  All my misdeeds weren’t really intentional, though some were, but the cumulative effect might yet be shunning and ostracism among the more sapient and savvy of the hiking community.
            But sometimes you just get a wild hair.
            A lot of the hiking books and most hikers, in fact, believe that one should never hike alone.  If hiking alone, the sentiment seems to go, suddenly you will succumb to bears and mountain lions, you will automatically fall down and break a leg, eventually get hypothermia, die, rot, and not be found until the following spring – because no one is by your side to come to your aid.  You were alone and that’s a stupidity of the highest order.
            Well, going out hiking alone is not all that bad, but a cardinal rule is if you hike alone, you always tell someone else where you are going and when you should be expected to be back.
            But on the trip up to Watanga Lake, as well as that later hike up Cascade Mountain, I admit to failing miserably.  No one had a clue where I was, or when I’d be back.
            The truth is: I just happened to get a wild hair and hit the trail.
              A good idea too is to check into a ranger station on the way out, but there wasn’t one in convenient sight going up to Watanga Lake so I didn’t bother.  It’s a good idea as well if hiking alone, to choose a busier trail and preferably one you’ve been on before – so you don’t get frigging lost, obviously.  Yet, those sensible suggestions were non-starters as well, since I’ll always opt for a place I’ve never been, and the less crowded, the better.
            Looks like a recipe for a disaster story is coming, but wait, it only gets wilder.
            The conscientious hiker knows full well to stick to the established trail and this should be presupposed doubly important for those that hike alone.  Oops, guess what happened?
            On the way up to Watanga Lake, a hike that is only a little over four miles one way yet fairly steep, the trail crosses a creek called the Roaring Fork several times.  Some of these crossings are difficult to discern and at one point I lost the trail altogether and ended up on another where somebody had a campfire before.  After back tracking for some time, the crossing still wasn’t evident, so I said, “Screw it!” and started hiking up through the undergrowth on one side of the creek to the point where some falls could be seen.
            There was no trail to be found on my side of the Roaring Fork, so I crossed and re-crossed the creek a few times to no avail.  No trail could be found.  Reasoning it had to be up there somewhere because the valley was only so wide and the river might likely be fed partially from Watanga Lake (it wasn’t), I kept climbing up the steep mountainside through the bush, then over hazardous boulder fields, only to eventually traverse bogs as the landscape flattened out above the falls.  This all took quite a while and honestly, I had no clue exactly where I was.
            But ending up on one side of the valley above the falls, it was easy enough to figure that if one walked toward the other side of the valley, theoretically perpendicular to the trail as it meandered somewhere up to the Lake, I should cross it at some point and then be able to follow it upward.  And that is exactly what happened; the trail was encountered after about fifteen minutes working my way over and around wetlands and streams, and I followed it to Watanga Lake.
            It might be tempting to suggest I wasn’t worried because I’d packed the Ten Essentials and had enough survival gear to withstand a few nights until I was rescued, right?
            Are you kidding me?
            I just got a wild hair and hit the trail.
            Sure, I had water, a bit of food, a rain jacket, and some other clothing, but other than that, I didn’t have anything but a great hike up to Watanga Lake that day.  Here’s a couple photos of the Roaring Fork Creek and Watanga Lake:
            Of course, if I’d tweaked an ankle, or fallen to my death in one of those boulder fields only to be either devoured by wild animals or recovered next spring, the typical quote I came across relating to some other hiker, might have applied to me as well:
            “I still don’t get it why people do this stuff . . . Hiking alone in an area that you don’t know at all?  What if you fall and get injured?  How do you get help?  Some people just seem to be lacking the most basic common sense . . .”
            To which I can only reply, that some people are stuck with the most basic of common sense.
            Why in the world, it might be asked, would I carry on upwards and onwards after I’d lost the trail?  After all, no one knew where I was, except for the bears on my tail, and being experienced, I certainly knew better when it came to all the “rules.”  Is there something sick in the psyche that pushes one detrimentally onward to do what is knowingly “foolish,” and likely injurious in a worse case scenario?  Is there an explanation for such behavior?
            How about: “It was fun.”  Or maybe, “What a great adventure!”
            Maybe a sickness in the psyche comes from a culture that finds too much warmth in mollycoddling its members to excess.  Maybe there’s too much worry and fretting.  Maybe common sense is sometimes too common.  There’s other times when it might be best to get a wild hair, get off the path, and just go for it.
            Of course it’s arguable that the “rules” evolved because of screw-ups people made in the past.  And there’s no question that violating the “rules” could be to my own detriment, but I choose to gamble on my abilities.  And that’s what makes it fun, an adventure.  A little less fretting, a little less worry, and little more, hardy initiative can go a long ways in more grandly enjoying life, it seems to me.
            Someday my number may be up because of a wild hair, but if it is, so be it.  Until then, there’s no choice but to live on the edge at times – however one chooses to do it – to tempt fate, and enjoy a wild ride.
            But really, what if it’s wild hair time and things go awry?  No need to worry about a rescue scenario, because I don’t.  Probably couldn’t be found anyway . . .

Let Them Eat Cake, eh Mitt?

            Even though Newt Gingrich captured the primary battle yesterday in South Carolina, an overly evangelical-leaning and delegate-poor state, you can bet Mitt Romney – with his well-oiled organizational machine already established in multiple states and with lots of money – is nevertheless on his way to capturing the Republican nomination for President.  Looking back even in a month of so, South Carolina will likely be viewed as only an insignificant bump in the road for the Mitt Romney campaign.
            With all the hoopla-of-the-moment surrounding Newt, however, perhaps you’ve forgotten what Mitt Romney looks like, and what he proudly represents.  If that be the case, here’s a pic from his glory days with the boys at Bain Capital:
            Of course he touts those hallowed days of “job creation” wherever he goes, but I just can’t get out of my mind the tempest-in-the-teapot statement he made a week and a half ago about “envy.”  According to poor ole rich Mitt, the nation’s focus on income inequality is mostly about envy.
            “You know, I think it’s about envy.  I think it’s about class warfare,” poor ole rich Mitt said on The Today Show on January 11th.  When he was then asked if there were any fair questions that could be asked about wealth distribution, Romney replied, “It’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like.”
            I kind of feel sorry for poor ole rich Mitt, for no sooner did he get those words out of his mouth, there were those trying to turn it around on him.  Some of the most vociferous pounced first, screaming it wasn’t a question about the 99%’s envy, but it was more about the 1%’s greed.  That’s hardly fair though, is it?  Who would ever think of greed when you look at this next picture of Mitt and the boys just having a little fun?
            And then there were those that assaulted Mitt and his ilk after The Envy Proclamation, saying he smacked of elitism, supreme arrogance, and the supposed superior self-righteousness of those blessed with wealth and power.  Have you ever heard anything more ludicrous?  These nigglers and whiners who simply struggle and work hard to keep a roof over their heads contend that poor ole rich Mitt’s comments about envy vividly demonstrate what a pampered life he’s led, and how distant and out of touch he is with the rest of us.
            Again, I’d ask these folks, most condescendingly, does this next picture of Mitt and pals resemble anything close to being distant and out of touch with the rest of us?  Is there any indication here that he wouldn’t invite the 99% into those quiet and hushed away back rooms to entertain an open discussion about wealth disparity?  Not in this next pic, not by a long shot!
            Astonishing as well, were those immorally envious serfs and drudges that were brazen enough to declare they weren’t envious, poor ole rich Mitt, as much as they were disgusted.  They couldn’t stop prattling on about how there was no envy of Wall Street investors and banksters whose economic gambles of greed upended the national economy, and how disgust – along with more than a tad bit of anger – was the predominant emotion when those of poor ole rich Mitt’s ilk were bailed out and well rewarded economically (by the co-opted 99%), despite their egregious failures.
            Yet be it envy or disgust, why should we allow it to interrupt the fun and games these jolly good fellows are having in the next photo?
            But maybe poor ole rich Mitt was at a different kind of distance when he made The Envy Proclamation.  Maybe, just maybe, he was thinking about one of his homes – perhaps the one in New Hampshire.  You know, the fantabulous humble abode on Lake Winnipesaukee, with six bedrooms, 7500 square feet, tennis courts, stables, docks, a private beach, and a sprawling boathouse.  Why, he was probably envious he couldn’t be there instead of talking to some pesky reporter, and possibly imagined how envious we’d all be if he were there – and all we had was a pesky reporter.
            Of course poor ole rich Mitt’s detractors, claiming not envy – but a waste of resources, obsessive & ostentatious opulence overkill, and consolidation of wealth in the hands of the plunderous few – would probably demand a photo be flashed now of the cottage on Lake Winnipesaukee.  Sorry, it isn’t going to happen.  That house and all its excessive trappings are only things; they aren’t representative of the man the way this next photo is:
            In the end, unfortunately, there were also those pain-in-the-posterior naysayers that protested misguidedly; they claimed their focus on income inequality had nothing to do with envy, but everything to do with values.  What?  Say that again: values?  Who do they think they’re kidding when they claim poor ole rich Mitt lives a life of values utterly alien to most Americans?  And who is going to believe them when they allege it’s not just about poor ole rich Mitt, as he’s only a focal point because he’s running for President, albeit a stealth (?) candidate for the 1%.
            These ill-mannered malcontents of the great unwashed and unnumbered 99% attempted to deviously shift the focus off The Envy Proclamation when the testy subject of income inequality raised its hoary head.  They actually wanted to picture poor ole rich Mitt and his ilk as forever lusting after more power and control in a ruthless hierarchal class war by the 1% for dominance in a world of predatory competition – rather than a mutual co-operation and co-partnering within the 99% for the greater benefit of the entire community.
            Can you believe it?  These same grumblers then made yet a further lame effort to recuse themselves of envy!  They had the gall to argue the income inequality prevalent and demonstrated by poor ole rich Mitt and his ilk represent despicable values that celebrate the worship of money and a concentration of ownership by the rapacious elite, which translates into the material impoverishment of the majority.
            Now, wait a minute!  Let’s stop right there!
            Does this look like a picture of those that would “Celebrate the Worship of Money!”  – at the expense of the rest of us?
            I say: Let Them Eat Cake, eh Mitt?

Time to Occupy Congress?

            Here we go again.  At least that’s what it looks like gauging by the obsessive and never-ending barrage of news reports by the mainstream media preoccupied by another tedious Presidential election year.
            The debates went on for months in 2011, and now in 2012 we’ve already experienced the initial voting for Republican candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire.  We’ve all been subjected to it, even if residents of those two states have been most inundated so far by negative attack ads and harangues of the contenders as they crisscross the country soliciting votes.
            And of course, all of that costs money.  Lots and lots of it.
            In 2008, the costliest Presidential race in U.S. history, the amount spent was approximately $2.4 billion when all candidates and related expenses were included, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.  For the upcoming 2012 campaign, expenses are only expected to rise.
            It won’t be any different for races in the U.S. Senate and House.  As soon as you think you’ve been desensitized enough by all the jabbering and yammering of the Presidential race, you’ll be subjected to it all over again in localized state races for Congress.
            And all that costs money too.  Obscene amounts of it.  The average successful House race costs $1.4 million to stage, while the average Senate campaign is almost $10 million.
            The monumental cost of seeking national office in the U.S. is often given as a reason for the stupefying disparity in wealth between elected officials and their constituents.  The simple fact of the matter is if you don’t already have a lot of money, you’re going to have a real tough time playing the game of getting into Congress.
            A month or so ago, both the New York Times and the Washington Post published separate articles about the widening wealth gap between members of Congress and those they represent.  Reportedly, nearly half of all those in Congress are millionaires and their median net worth is $913,000, compared to $100,000 for the rest of America.  If, however, home equity amounts were excluded and adjustments were made with respect to inflation, the Post stated the figure for members of Congress drops to $725,000, and the same median for the rest of us is $20,500.  To say the very least, an incredible financial disparity exists between our elected representatives and we, the people, they supposedly represent.
            So what are the most obvious effects of this astounding wealth gap?  Naturally there are concerns that some of these scoundrels may be profiting even more from their position by contacts made or corruption, but that’s hardly uncommon when it comes to the political game.  The more subtle and frightening aspect of this disparity is on display when we realize just how far removed our elected officials are from the lives the rest of us lead.
            How could they actually have a clue, for instance, when it comes to the realities of unemployment or maybe health care battles – when they have no real and tangible connection whatsoever with the issues?  Members of Congress are in a position to address these and other concerns, but if they truly don’t understand them because they are insulated from them in their own lives, will anything ever really change?
            By the same token, do you think all the fat cats in Congress are really going to go against their self-interests and begin invoking so-called “millionaire taxes”?  I’d suggest we shouldn’t hold our collective breath waiting for that to happen, anymore than our elected officials will work to cut their overly generous medical and pension benefits to be on a par with the rest of us.
            And yet, the corporate controlled media echo chamber will drone on throughout another political election season, and the majority of us will dutifully show up at the polls in November to vote for the lesser of two evils on the ballot – which will just be more of the same self-serving rich – way out of contact with 99% of the poor constituents they supposedly represent.
            So, is there a way out of this endless vicious cycle?
            There are some that believe that it is possible; there are even some that believe it inevitable.
            As many are aware, in a couple days, on January 17th when Congress reconvenes, members of the Occupy movement are intending to “Occupy Congress,” in Washington D.C.  Those of Occupy rightfully recognize that members of Congress aren’t beholden to individual voters, but are instead indebted to powerful multinational corporations and lobbyists who “donate” millions and millions to their campaigns to place and keep them in office – for the favors they can reciprocate.
            And yet, there seems to be a sentiment within Occupy that the rest of us can and eventually will find new “pro-99%” candidates that will refuse corporate funding and will win, sooner or later, because they truly represent 99% of the people.  Walking away from multimillion TV ads and negative campaigning, they believe it possible to “take the buck out of the ballot” by utilizing social networks and web video to provide direct expression to their points of view.
            But will such an approach work?  Is it possible to eliminate private finance from our electoral system?  Can the disparity of wealth between those we elect to govern and the rest of us be more or less eradicated?
            I don’t know.
            What I do know, however, is that even after another same old election process, the end result won’t be soaring approval ratings for a nationally despised Congress.  And nothing, fundamentally, will change.
            I also know there are more Americans on Facebook alone than will vote in the 2012 elections.
            I don’t know if it’ll work, but I say give it a try.  We’ve got nothing to lose, considering what we have now.
            Let’s Occupy Congress!

An Appreciation

            Detouring from the normal rants and raves, it seems imperative this week to offer an appreciation.

            At the beginning of November, about two months ago, this blog entitled “What Would Diogenes Rant?” was initiated.  Having no experience whatsoever in such matters, I had no clue what to expect.  Maybe like that guy swinging his lantern about in the light of day, it was more or less assumed that what might be hurled out on the Internet would likely fall on deaf ears, as it was honestly lost in the vastness of that same Internet.
            At best, I hoped some old friends here in the U.S. might click on my website for an occasional diversionary read and that would probably be it.  What I have discovered however, primarily by means of the “Stats” utility on Google’s Blogger, has both awed and humbled me.
            Of the hundreds and hundreds of readers kind enough to click on this website since the first of November, the vast majority were from the country I reside in, which in itself isn’t too much of a shock.  More surprising, perhaps, is the astounding number of pageviews coming from a strong readership in different countries across the planet.  Ukraine with 13% of total website visits and readers from France with 7% led the way after hits from the U.S.  Norway, Russia, Netherlands, China, the U.K and Ireland, and others followed them.
            To ponder the fact that I cannot speak word one of Ukrainian and know only a smattering of French phrases – not to mention my inabilities with other non-English languages of most countries above – leaves me feeling small and insignificant when it comes to the capabilities of others I am fortunate enough to be interacting with through this website and the magic of the Internet.
            Although fate, destiny, or whatever you may wish to call it has located me in the U.S. – and thus most of what is written will be U.S. related – I would like to imagine some of the weekly rants and raves of this website do indeed strike a harmonic with those from afar.  Further, as readers of earlier rants will easily recognize, like many others on this planet I too sense we are approaching a tipping point as an Earth Community in the face of an oncoming perfect storm that combines the dangers peak oil, environmental ravages, obsessive consumerism, and a brutal male-dominant hierarchical system stressing greed, wealth, and plunder for the elite few, on a planet that may well have surpassed its carrying capacity.  In the face of such overwhelming opposition, it is dubious what a tiny and inconsequential website such as this can accomplish, but again, I am humbled and grateful that there are readers out there that might share corresponding sentiments as those on WWDR.
            Quite appreciative I am as well to all those in the past two months that have taken the time to re-tweet on Twitter references to the posts of this website, and to those that have forwarded the same to their Facebook friends.  Everyone states how incredible social media has become; and yet, it isn’t truly astounding until it directly relates to your own efforts.
            One small example of this is an article that was published by the Denver Post this week by long-time skiing and outdoor writer, John Meyer.  A few weeks after my “Occupy ‘Sorensen’ Park!” and “Treading on the Tail of the Corporate Dragon” posts, Mr. Meyer contacted me and came up to Winter Park Ski Area from Denver.  We shared a bite to eat in a popular restaurant for locals, the Coffee & Tea Market, as he queried me for an interview.  We then went skiing to examine what was left of Pop Sorensen’s ski jump hills.  The result was a well-balanced and insightful piece in the Denver Post that you can find here.
            As we move forward in 2012, I hope to continue with my Sunday posts on WWDR, but we’ll see how it goes.  Concurrently, I am working on a new novel so it is a question of judiciously balancing the two writing pleasures.
            And speaking of writing pleasures, for an utterly self-serving moment or two I’d like to draw attention to my novel, “The Coming Tsunami.”  A short description of the book is at the top of this site, as is a discount code and hyperlink to the book on  It is also available directly on Amazon/Kindle, through iPad and iPhone apps, Barnes & Noble/Nook and others.  If you’ve enjoyed some of the posts on this website, perhaps you might be intrigued as well by a compassionate and even humorous treatment at times of seemingly difficult subject matter – that of dementia and caregiving – when framed within a love affair that went bad and festered for over thirty years . . . until now?
            To conclude this uncharacteristic blog post, the promise is there to return for some hearty ranting and raving next week, maybe even some that would have made Diogenes smile.  In the meantime, I offer a heartfelt thanks to all those across the globe that have been kind enough to read some of the posts on WWDR.