Eight Secrets for Recovering Dumpees

Cover of "WHAT? (Diary of Forbidden Dream...

Cover via Amazon

I’m not sick very often, or ever, really.  I break a lot of bones, but I have rarely had the opportunity to sit around in bed bored to distraction, I mean like cruising the brackish backwaters of the internet.  I found some genius who made a series of videos on how to carry out simple home repairs, such as fixing a leaky sink, checking for faulty electrical connections in sparking light fixtures, or installing a new ceiling fan after a sparking ceiling fan has blown a hole in a ceiling, leaving a blackened void.  The demonstrators were all pert, young women – none of them truly symmetrical enough to be considered true Helen of Troy beauties, but WebMaster had these demonstrators dressed in crude, cliché bits of erotic clothing…like tube tops circa 1972, shorts, torn and shredded to the point they appeared ready to fall apart and expose the whorish fishnet stockings that truly set off the ensemble.

Brilliant.  The internet is a true wonder of modern culture, and I’m sure our era will be treated well in history books.  Then, there’s those who try to truly help with weighty topics, such as the end of relationships.

This one website I found seems a rich vein of such wisdom, so I thought I’d pass it on to all of you who have too many truly constructive matters to attend to.  Another of my Public Service-oriented style posts –

 

"Bubble Bath" Pink Punch

“Bubble Bath” Pink Punch (Photo credit: Javcon117*)

“Sometimes no matter how hard you try to fix your relationship it just doesn’t work out. 
When you are left with a broken heart and just don’t know how you are going to make it, hold your head up high and try a few of these ideas to help you get over your break up.”

 

  1. Join a Gym or start exercising, this not only takes up time but it will help you feel better about yourself and get you out of the house.
  (Nonsense…joining a gym will only give the dumped a view of all those hard-bodied fanatics who do the breaking up with their out of shape partners.  A horrible place to try reclaiming any dignity and sense of self esteem.  Also, I haven’t come across a gym yet that allows pitchers of Margaritas or doesn’t frown on crying jags from flabby dumpees wrapped up on sweaty floors in fetal positions.  Stay home for a year or two…lifting a medium-sized pitcher of Margies is a fine place to start any health reclamation project).
  2. Start a hobby. Try something you have never done before! Art, writing, or collecting are a few things to consider.
  (Again, nonsense.  Opening a world formerly free of risk-taking behaviors, or on pastimes as fickle as the arts is a sure way to increase despair algebraically.  Collecting things?  Wasn’t that the reason that the dumpee was kicked to the curb by the dumper in the first place?  Remember the course words and insulting arguments about the angel figurine collections, or the overflowing bowls of animal bones?  Do not start collecting anything, unless it is suggested by a very pricey lawyer).
  3. Volunteer someplace. Volunteering not only boost yourself esteem, it also gets you out and around people,
    Bubble Bath !

    Bubble Bath ! (Photo credit: Mark Philpott)

    opening up opportunities to meet somebody new.
  (Another “get out of the house” ploy…as if the people one meets on the street offering “opportunities” are of any value other than the entertainment value derived from their imminenet arrest for pandering shakes the cocunuts in your tree.  And, volunteering?  Volunteers do the work that no One in their right mind, or anything useful to do take part in.  The hours are usually rough, the pay is…well, volunteer says it all…but maybe I’m just jaded since Relationship Crisis Counseling was my first volunteer experience after such a breakup.  My second wasn’t much more inspiring, was at a rabbit shelter, giving bubble baths to recently dumped rodents).

  4. Pamper yourself. Get a new haircut and have your nails done. If you can’t afford to go have them done, do them yourself! Set up some nice music and treat yourself to a bubble bath followed by a nice manicure.
  (This strikes me as something the dumpee should have done before dumper got their headstart.  A bubble bath?  Why do people always wait until suicide is a consideration before deciding on a bubble bath?  This suggestion also forgot to mention the cliché tub of chocolate chip, pistachio mint ice cream….amateurs for sure.  Dead relationship experts like this are surely failed therapists).
  5. Reach out to your friends and family. Most of the time when we are involved in a major relationship we neglect our friends and family… They probably miss you and will welcome seeing you more often.
  (Yeah…that’s it…spread the misery around equally.  A sure-fire way to endear one’s Self to friends and relatives that have been avoided to the point of non-recognition for decades sometimes.  Finding a person offering “opportunities” on the street would present acceptable targets for any frantic tirades of how the dumper will never find another pre-dumpee to clean the hair out of the shower drain like the neo-dumpee did for the dumper).
  6. Break off all communications with the “ex” for a while. It is hard enough to forget them and move on, but when you are still in communications you are doing nothing more than prolonging it. Set up a “fake” number on your phone for when you feel the need to text them. When you feel like calling them, write a letter instead and then burn it. Do whatever you have to do, just do not contact them!
  (What?  What was that?  How about just taking a blunt object to the dumper’s communication enablers…starting with that cell phone, working through brittle digits, and finally, all that dental work that the dumpee financed?  There…problem solved…you’re welcome.  And forget all that nonsense about another fake number on a phone…it’s that kind of behavior that started the questions that led to the row that led to all this dumping and being dumped in the first place.  And burning things, like letters…who writes letters nowadays?  No self-respecting dumper cares about letters, so why should grieving dumpees have to deal with fire departments or irate neighbors following the smoke, as they say in the Despondant Dumpee Reaction Force biz).
  7. Start your own website. I know that seems kind of silly, but there are so many places to make free websites and they can take up a lot of your time. Start one about your favorite animal, or one that has you favorite recipes. Start a forum with your friends and have them post as well. It will take up your free time and give you something to look forward to.
  (Yeah…get in a dark room, all by your dumped Self, then write until you are staying up for days conniving new ways to insult, degrade, and defame the dumper…forget to sleep, or eat, and start considering a liquid diet as normal, as long as the garbage bags of empties go unnoticed, dumpees can get away with this for a bit.  Really, this is a calling, not something most dumpees just fall into, like getting law or medical degrees.  Any council including the words “free time” should be ignored…there is no such thing.  Another cliche reactionary reaction).
  8. Hiking – Exploring. This kind of falls in with exercising, but think of it as more of an adventure. Make a list of places you have always wanted to see and GO SEE THEM!
  (The encouragement to exercise again…while trying to rationalize it as “an adventure.”  I saw that movie about the guy who went hiking alone in the Utah desert, I think it was, and  fell, getting his dumpee arm caught between two boulders…remember that?  Yeah…how long is it going to take for the average dumpee to decide to chew off their arm to escape their Darwinian Death Sentence?  Just calm down….stay still…plot some kind of horrible, gruesome sort of adventure for the dumper…then, after a year or two – after the internet thing turns the dumpee into a photosensitive mole – do an internet word search for hangover remedies, or rehabilitation program, and venture out into the world.  And, next time, switch the role…do the dumping, and keep in touch with that quick-twitch response mechanism or prepare for a re-run of the despair of the dumpee).
margaritas on the rocks.

margaritas on the rocks. (Photo credit: ANOXLOU)

Now, for any One who has not read too many of my dosulute (Is that a word?  It should be), and despairing posts in the past, I’m not usually so dosulute and despairing.  I’m just baffled by the experts who ladle out advice like this… if they knew how to mix a decent Margie, they wouldn’t have the time or inclination to be offering it up for free on the internet, unless they’re just one of those kind Soles out to solve all the social problems of serial dumpees.

 

 

Little Secrets (song)

Little Secrets (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dengue Report:  The brain has to re-establish neurotransmitter contact between the positive ends of the synapses, and for a couple of months I might be a bit negative…a woman on the street told me this, right after she wrote the cyber address of this site down for me on the back of an ice cream container she was about to toss in a trash bin.  She walked away muttering about my lack of enthusiasm for her hard-won wisdom, and I can’t say I blame her. I’m too happily married to recall the feeling of being a dumpee, if I ever was…and with gunk like this transmitting from my neurotransmitters to my battered nervous system to my fingers to this screen, I’m sure I have at some time.

Good luck ladies and gentleman, and to all Ships at Sea.

Later…

When Adjunct Professors Drop Dead…My Career as a Canary

An electronics engineer uses visible lasers to...

An electronics engineer uses visible lasers to align various optical components. (Photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery)

Margaret Mary Vojtka, an adjunct professor of French at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania dropped dead on her front yard earlier this month.  This reminds me of that tree falling in the forest question…did she make a sound when she died?  Did anyone really care if some part-time educator died due to university/corporate profit margins and sheer neglect?  Guess not much, if at all.  She wasn’t worth health insurance, one of the advantages of employing adjuncts to teach everything from 101 classes to PhD courses.  Her $10,000 per year “job” didn’t afford her enough excess moneys to pay for heat, and in Pittsburgh during the winter, no heat can kill.

Ms. Vojtka had other problems inconvenient to Duquesne also….she had been battling cancer.  She had been a bit of an embarrassment, sleeping in her office for the heat, and they felt firing her would be the best answer to the situation.  That’s what had happened before she dropped dead on her lawn of a heart attack.

Duquesne officials argued their side of the story, or course, insisting they pay adjuncts more than most schools do, but admitting those same adjuncts are underpaid.  (“The least that an adjunct professor could be paid is $3,500 per course, or $7,000 for a given semester,” Duquesne Provost Tim Austen told NPR Radio.  “Whether those are appropriate in a larger context is…a matter that the academic world has not yet found a decisive answer”).  I loved that quote…the Provost is a major part of the academic machine, and exactly what is the “larger” context?

Ronald E. Powaski has lectured at Cleveland St...

Ronald E. Powaski has lectured at Cleveland State University. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The new corporate/educational model of America is to hire part-time employees….don’t have to pay prevailing wages, or offer medical insurance, or any respect.  It’s kind of like being a tenant farmer.  The school owns the field, the adjunct works it for next to nothing, and the school reaps huge rewards.  The school may award another year, if the professor was tame enough, and the professor is eager to work, knowing there’s not much call in the real world for many of the subjects they teach…except in a well-rounded education.  Adjuncts make up 60 percent of the Duquesne faculty, and about 75 percent around the country.  I was one once.

Cleveland State University kept me, among many others, at one teaching credit below the level where they would have to pay us as full-tiime employees with benefits.  They were very good at this process, creating one or two credit classes to milk the most out of us while keeping us that one credit below the dividing line.  They never seem to quibble about paying athletics coaches $200,000 or 500,000 a year, or building multi-million dollar stadiums, but pay a teacher a living wage?

Before I left the “profession” the president of CSU was Michael J. Schwartz.  He had been the president of Kent State U. for a bit, and spent three years at CSU.  During that time he initiated a grandiose building binge that had the university tied up in warning tape and re-routes for the entire three years, spending millions and millions and millions of dollars.  I knew his secretary…we’d meet outside every now and again, where we adjuncts exchanged info on where to get low-cost medical care at teaching hospitals, or free coffee and donuts at homeless institutions set up for indigents.  We would see Schwartz leaving work in the early afternoon hours, dragging his fat ass out of his comfy president’s chair and waddling off to his status symbol of a car.  He always had a queer smile on his fat face.

Around this time I was using the financial angle to encourage a student to apply herself to her work a bit more diligently.  I asked her if she really felt her work was earning her an education worth around $750 a class, which is what most tuition had been when I was attending the same university.  She looked at me quizzically, then told me she was paying over $1,100 a class.  It seems tuition had been going up a bit.

When Schwartzy retired the same year I left, I found out he had gotten a $600,000 golden parachute.  One check, more than all the adjuncts at the university made for the whole year.  Then I understood why he had that smile, like the proverbial cat that ate the canary.

I was one of those canaries.

Now I have escaped a country where teachers are not worth a good point guard on the basketball team, or a president who sits in his tower office, in a chair that costs more than a student’s tuition for a semester-long class.  Imagine that…give me my Third World country.  Every time I think about my experience teaching the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave I want to puke…and I can’t believe any human being would not want to puke after hearing the story of Ms. Vojtka.  Thomas Hobbes, that great capitalist thinker who proposed that if we just ignore the poor, the non-winners in this great crap shoot of lucre, proposed that if we don’t feed or care for the poor they will just die off, then…the problem of poverty would be solved.

It seems to have worked for Duquesne University.

A Pre-Post, or Post-Post Apology, Depending on How You Read These

tamarindo estuary playa conchal atenas 409To my six dear, loyal readers.

I do apologize for the jumbled, discombobulated effort at an articulate post about my on-going bout with Dengue Fever, my Costa Rican Scam Artist of a Lawyer, and that Friggin‘ thief of a taxi driver whose window I had to crawl into to wrestle my change out of his grubby hands.

Anyone who reads my posts must know by now that I don’t re-read my posts before I post them, when it might be of some help…only after I post them, and then it’s usually my wife who tells me how badly written they are.

I have a completely valid excuse.

The mosquito that gave me this bout of Dengue Fever has given me a gift that keeps on giving, for a few months at least.  It seems that this more virulent strain I picked up this time causes such an internal buildup of heat on the brain that normal functions take two to six months to recover full operational mode….so, my last post contained even more misspellings, syntax problems, clarity trouble, and just downright nonsensical rambling.

I guess I should have given myself another couple of weeks before I subjected CyberLandia to the crap coming out of my over-cooked brain, but I wanted to see if I was back to my normal levels of poor writing now that I’ve passed though the hemorrhagic fever stage.

Guess not…..

Here’s to fully functioning brains…and to roasting that S.O.B. of a lawyer of mine…I’m coming for you, Pacheco !

Later….

Mosquitoes, Costa Rican Lawyers, Taxi Drivers to Huacas, and Other Blood Suckers

English: Stegomyia aegypti (formerly Aedes aeg...

English: Stegomyia aegypti (formerly Aedes aegypti) mosquito biting a human. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just checked into my WordPress site and noticed I had not published anything in exactly three weeks.  I guess I have no real obligation to post anything, but my few followers have become somewhat of a social group – sort of.  I even saw a few comments from a week – or weeks ago – inquiring as to my health, or my degree of slow, degenerative demise.  How sweet.

About this Non-Posting thing.  It started out as a conscious choice – I Was Busy…with a Costa Rican residency lawyer who was backing out of a legal agreement when the going started getting rough.  The mosquito-borne Dengue Fever happened soon after, and the taxi driver thing…well…that’s been going on since the first gringo got off the plane in a Third World Country.  (Oh, yeah…the politically correct term now is Developing Nation, and since the Cold War was exposed for a colossal scam to fuel the ammunition and armaments biz…screw it – Developing Nation it is).

 

Costa Rica Arenol Hans Scott Char 226I am so pissed at my lawyer he is going to get his own post soon as I feel a bit more feisty, and it ain’t going to be pretty folks.  For now, though…let’s just hit the hi-lites.  There was a small glitch in our – my wife and mine – application for residency.  We put her down as the main name on everything.  Nothing much became of that during our initial proceedings, but when it came time to sign up for the socialized medicine aspect of our residency, our lawyer became one M.I.A. dodge of an S.O.B. – hanging out with his buddies in the pool at The Scamming Bastards Club in San Jose, no doubt.

The socialized medicine here is written into law, sometime around the new constitution of 1948 when Costa Rica abolished it’s military to focus on more important matters, such as education and free medical for all the citizens of this tiny, unimportant little Developing Nation.  But…something that hasn’t changed in this D.N. is that it is a patriarchal, Catholic-informed domain, and the man’s name should be on every document, application, or other such scraps of paper.  My wife and I were wondering why our lawyer had so expertly handled everything from our dealings with the American embassy to our finger-printing at the fortress-like San Jose police station.  All we got was an e-mail telling us to get hooked up with the CAJA (literally box, but an acronym for the Social Security here) for our medical, and a gentle demand for the rest of his legal fees.

Whoooooaaaaa, I thought.  Let’s see how all this plays out before we go depositing $1,200 in his account with no assurance of success in a land where anything legal moves glacially, and there’s always a hook or sixteen.  And why had he abandoned us at this seemingly simple (and final) step before we got our Cedulas which made us residents?  BECAUSE, grasshopper…with my wife’s name first on our application, and mine listed as a dependent, we had to get a letter from a Costa Rican accountant verifying that anyone would be silly enough to list a woman’s name first on their application.  After several trips to Manana-Land with our lawyer (we have no car, so we have to beg or borrow rides, paying for gas at around $6, or paying $50 taxi rides).

We finally got to an accountant in a small town down a muddy, rutted road to Huacas.  He wrote the letter out wrong, using one he had prepared for someone else.  The names were in the wrong places, and the occupation was wrong.  It took several rides to the Vientesiete de Abril CAJA office to get a human to talk to us (using up our goodwill and money each time) until we got a bitchy little man to laugh in our faces and tell me the accountant’s paper was useless.  (It was around this time I woke up one morning with a fever that had sweat dripping from me, my clothes as wet as if I had just got out of a swimming pool, and shaking from chills so bad I couldn’t push the buttons on my phone).

To make a long and painful story short, so I can get on to the next one, we had to make four trips to Vientesiete de Abril, two trips to the canton capital of Santa Cruz, and two to the provincial capital of Liberia trying to get someone to show up for the many appointments we made trying to rectify the bureaucratic problem of a woman’s name being on top of a man’s in the great paperwork pile of life.  $$$$$$$$ and GoodWill all gone, it was taxi time, folks.  The lawyer who dicked it up in the beginning…remember him?  The only replies to our e-mails for help was his Sincere disbelief that such things were happening to us, and calls for our final moneys to be deposited QUICKLY.  And, the accountant who could have repaired our application, but dicked it up worse?  He refused to answer his phone, and his beefy secretary blocked all attempts to enter his office.  And, you have to remember, each move costed…and costed…

A TEM micrograph showing Dengue virus virions ...

A TEM micrograph showing Dengue virus virions (the cluster of dark dots near the center). Español: Partículas maduras del virus del Dengue-2 replicándose en un cultivo tisular de cinco días. La magnificación original es de 123,000 veces. Deutsch: Eine TEM-Aufnahme, welche Dengue-2-Virus Virionen zeigt (schwarze Punkte in der Mitte). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, this Dengue Fever thing.  It just got worse and worse.  Dengue Fever is transmitted by several types of mosquito within the genus Aedes, principally Aedes Aegypti, from Africa.  It is pretty much confined to tropical areas, but has been reported as far north as Southern Florida.  The virus has four different types; infection with one type usually gives lifelong immunity to that type, but only short-term immunity to the others.  I got the least of the virulent type almost one year ago exactly when I was living in San Jose.  It was a week of one of the worst flues most people will ever get, and then it was gone.  No big deal.  This was a different bug altogether. Subsequent infection with a different type increases the risk of severe complications, so Wikipedia says…and that’s what I got.

Dengue Fever is also called Breakbone Fever, since the muscles get so constricted that it has been blamed for broken bones in the very young, or very old and brittle.  Every bone in my body hurt…every muscle in my body hurt…the headache settles in behind the eyes, like the worst hangover headache time 100…chills rattled my bones….sweat poured from every pore, soaking my bed nightly…it hurt to turn my head…my fingernails hurt…my hair hurt…any sustained thought is impossible.

Most people, with insurance or family to pay for hospitalization do it, since it kills off the white blood cells, and when they drop from @250,000 count to under 85,000, the patient is in serious danger of a life-threatening stroke after it hits the hemorrhagic fever stage. No one is paying my doctor’s bills, and the insurance thing…that’s where I started this little rant about Bloodsuckers.

My self-prescription was staying in my smelly, sweat-soaked bed, drinking pure grape juice (builds up the white blood cell count) and trying not to move my eyes or touch my hair.  But, every few days the wife and I had to venture out and try to get the medical insurance thing straightened out…and write my lawyer a quick “Piss Off and Die” e-mail.

English: A positive tourniquet test on the lef...

English: A positive tourniquet test on the left side of the image in a person with dengue fever. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m getting known in town a bit by now, but there are still a few taxi drivers who think every gringo can’t count when the colones get up into the tens of thousands.  One of these Bloodsuckers tried to take of with a few dollars of change after another ride back from another disappointing ride to a disappointing half-day spent in an non-air conditioned office where another gringo-hating hack laughed at me for having my wife’s name above mine on our application papers.  I guess the taxi driver was used to confused, passive gringos who think just because the money has lots of numbers on it, and pretty colors, and pictures of monkeys and toucans, that’s it’s not real.  WRONG !

Despite my debilitating disease, for which I should have been in the hospital for, under a doctor’s care, I climbed through his window, grabbed his skinny,

old wrist, and wrenched my money our of his hand…tossing him a few coins, before telling him to go and have sex with his mother in Spanish, which probably surprised him more than a man as sick as me doing what I had just done.  At least he had something to talk about that afternoon with the rest of the boys at the cab stand….and my standing as the craziest gringo on the streets of Tamarindo shot up like Apple stock after the release of the newest iPhone.

There’ll be more when I’m feeling a bit better…lot’s more…I promise.  Pacheco, you’re lawyering days are going to take a serious spike downward.  Don’t screw around with writers…they have audiences, and they’re articulate enough to cause a bit of a ruckus.

Later…

Twerking Food Babies for Badassery Selfies with Anthony Wiener

Quotation slips

Quotation slips (Photo credit: addedentry)

Another ignorant Non-News flash blinded me today…srsly.  Folks…I just click and collect this stuff, but I’m entering digital detox in three days, so don’t supercut me out of your readership.  (Like it or not, these words symbolize our culture, so learn to love and use them correctly, or some may consider you as literate as a chimpanzee).

The Oxford Dictionaries Online has been at it again.  Just today they added their latest batch of words into their database.  Here’s a few of the more buzzworthy examples:

badassery (n.):  behavior, characteristics, or actions regarded as intimidatingly tough or impressive.

(This has become difficult with the rise of technologically mediated communications, giving rise to Anthony Wiener-like social networking activities)

buzzworthy (adj.):  anything likely to gain attention from or arouse interest from the public.

(Now, if that guy Wiener isn’t buzzworthy, I just can’t imagine who would be…anyone want to try and compete with a mayor even New York doesn’t deserve?)

food baby (n.):  this is the protruding stomach one gets after eating a large quantity of food, creating the semblance of the early stage of pregnancy…maybe enough to make a girl or woman appear with child, as some people still say.

(Don’t even get Wiener started with his food baby…the Tweets will never cease and sleep will become impossible)

jorts (n.):  denim shorts, like those old hippies used to wear instead of $125 designer shorts, or, in the South, a synonym for Daisy Dukes.

(Ohhhh, Daisy Duke…now there’s someone that geek could focus his Wienering ways upon)

Weiner Hangs It Up

Weiner Hangs It Up (Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)

omnishambles (n.):  a completely mismanaged situation, recognized by the string of blunders and miscalculations strung out behind the resultant disaster.

(Again, this brings a Mr. Anthony Wiener to mind…and I just wanted to throw his name around some more – first, because it’s just fun, and second, because it transitions well with just about any of these words, such as…

selfie (n.):  smartphones and other modern digital toys made brought us this word, meaning a photograph of oneself, then uploaded to a social media website.

(Anthony Wiener inspired, no doubt)

English: Miley Cyrus singing.

English: Miley Cyrus singing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

twerk (v.):  dancing in provocative, hip-thrusting manner – often done while squatting or lying on the floor while grinding away as if a sexual act is being portrayed.

(Attributed to Miley Cyrus’ recent performance at the MTV Music Awards, but did these people ever hear of Elvis…Jim Morrison…Jimi Hendrix…Tina Turner…Mick Jagger…or Anthony Wiener?)

There are more, but why go on.  These are just more examples of a disposable culture run amok, further exemplified by a few words added over past years for no good reason other than they were srsly buzzworthy for a minute.  Most of these are as cryptic – if not more craptic – than these new additions.  Try these out in your next literary workclick and collect, digital detox, emoji, supercut, phablet, srsly, apols, BYOD, FOMO, grats, and vom.

I think I’m done here for now…or maybe for good.  I’ll check back when I check out of the Word Addition Rehabilitation Project for the Evolutionarily Devoid   (WARPED, to you and me).

(Yes…spellcheck red-lined each of these new entries.  Guess the word(s) haven’t got out yet).

 

Killing Me Softly: Fun with Social Media

VicorianAs an instructor of English I have to make reading and writing interesting to students who often consider the internet and its many social networks the epitome of literature, needless to say, much more interesting.

A bit of creativity, and adapting my lesson plans to the world of these students is as important as understanding the meanings of words and concepts such as preterit, subjunctive, subjective, syntax, colloquialisms, first person, second person, or third person perfect tenses, and then hurriedly moving from the theoretical to the practical.  The theoretical has its place, but not as a method to get non English major students to put away their smart phones, or prop their eyes open and pay attention to in-class lectures.

I came across a news story about a Tweet on the Twitter network which I thought might stimulate the prankster in them as well as offer an amusing method of becoming literary nuisances.

FrigThe original Tweet was from someone associated at the ClemsonTigerNet.  It announced the sad death of William “The Refrigerator” Perry, a football player who had played his college football at Clemson University.

(William Perry, for those who couldn’t care less, became famous in the 1980s, a first-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears professional football team in 1985.  During his rookies season, the reportedly deceased footballer helped the Bears to a Super Bowl win.  Perry was a 350-pound defensive lineman, but was occasionally used in the backfield as a blocker for running backs, and even scored a touchdown once.  An unusual player, on a team of many unusual characters…a minor celebrity of the time).

A response was quickly issued by Adam Plotkin, Perry’s agent, insisting, “William ‘Refrigerator’ Perry is alive and fine.  (The italics are mine…I just thought it amusing Plotkin didn’t use the usual “…alive and well…” wording.  But, I guess fine is better than dead, though most of us would rather be well).  I presented this to my students, and brought them up to speed on who Perry was.  Then, in the finest Trojan Horse tradition, I introduced my literary angle…Jonathan Swift.  And I couldn’t think of a better literary figure to associate with Perry’s death hoax.

Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Swift died on October 19, 1745…for real.  Being the satirical giant he was, Swift wrote in his last will and testament that he wished to leave funds to establish a hospital for “Idiots and Lunaticks” in Dublin, Ireland, because, “No nation needed it so much.”  Hoping to instill a sense of just how much fun they could have with social media, using the example of Swift, I then gave them a bit of background on one of England‘s most amusing death hoaxes.

Swift held “almanackers” and other predictors of future events in great disdain.  A fellow named John Partridge was one he disdained the more than any other.  Swift – taking on the pen name Bickerstaff, and presenting himself as an astrologer, issued several absurd predictions, the most unnerving, a prediction in a pamphlet distributed around London that Partridge would die at 11 p.m. on April 1st, April Fool’s Day.  A pamphlet entitled The Accomplishments of the First of Mr. Bickerstaff’s Predictions soon followed, declaring Bickerstaff’s prediction had come true, also noting an error on his part, announcing Partridge’s death occurring at 7:05, four hours different than Bickerstaff’s original claim…a nice touch, I thought.  This created the minor uproar Swift intended. 

Partridge – very much alive, and a bit outraged at the gall of his nemesis, Swift, was awakened by a sexton outside his window who wanted to know if there were any orders for his funeral sermon.  Condolences, floral arrangements, and well wishes for the bereaved family were offered by friends, family, and Partridge’s loyal audience.  As Partridge walked down the street several people he knew stared at him, some telling him to inform him how much he resembled a recently deceased acquaintance.

Partridge immediately started a pamphlet-based campaign to rectify the situation, insisting that he was alive and accusing Bickerstaff as a fraud.  Bickerstaff countered in a pamphlet of his own that Partridge was obviously dead, since the response was more poorly executed than Partridge’s best written work.  This went on for some time, amusing many Londoners, especially when Bickerstaff (Swift) noted that Partridge’s own wife had admitted that her husband had “…neither life nor soul…”

Pooh Hamaca 2Now this is the kind of stuff that makes literature come alive to young learners…English can be fun…it can be a sarcastic tool to annoy friends, relatives, enemies, and the public in general.  I am waiting to see if there will be any announcements in my small sea-side town of my untimely demise, or if I’ll have to start fielding complaints from parents about their children using the internet in what might be considered an abusive, embarrassing, or bothersome manner by responsible progenitors.

Yes…I wait, with the shadow of a pink slip announcing my imminent release from my teaching duties.  It’s near unbearable…and I have a hard time with unbearable.

Truly, the possibilities of plotting these sorts of hoaxes are limitless.  How much fun can one have with a lawyer, or a real estate agent, or any honery friend or associate?

I may have created a dozen or so monsters in what was previously a dry, boring investigation of one of the most difficult of subjects to make interesting to students who may have never opened – let alone finished – a single book, yet are so savvy when it comes to the internet and social media.

WARNING: Keep Eyes Open for Serious Nonsense

English: 0

English: 0 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I’ve gone through my morning ritual of web cruising, and finally arrived at WordPress, but not without a few sobering words of caution.

Some whacko newsletter I have neglected to block from my e-mail sent me this collection of product warnings today, and I feel the social obligation to pass them on to you, my few, yet rabid followers.

Wash hands after using:  This sound advice came from an indoor extension cord.  Why?  I think I’m one of the slow ones such warnings are meant to protect, since I can’t think of one reason why I need it.

– Not for contact lenses or direct use in eyes:  I can think of a zillion products this might be an appropriate aid in guiding the consumer to avoid, but this was on a small bottle of spray-on anti-fog cleaner.  Really…I pass on these warnings because I go by the old saying, “If you save one, you save them all.”  In the past I have used this product on muddy feet, waxy ears, and a few areas discretion leads me to leave to your imagination.  I suffered no consequences, so I’m only passing on this specific warning.

Alright…enough of the serious stuff.  Here’s a bit of the warning label advice I found outlandish no matter how deeply I imagined the warped ways my imaginative readers might tease the fates:

Company will not be held responsible for any illness or injury that is incurred while using the pedometer.   Yes, this came from a pedometer…damn tricky little devices, which have in the past must have been responsible for many a disfiguring accident.

Combustion of this manufactured product results in the emissions of carbon monoxide, soot and other combustion by-products which are known by the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm.   This was the warning on a box of matches…matches I picked up in a convenience store in Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles, California.  Good luck avoiding inhaling these dangerous substances, Los Angelinos !

Not for human consumption!  Please…just take a guess or two as to the origin of this warning label.  OK…done?  This came from a package of rubber worms intended for fishing.  I have known a few fisherpeople for whom this might be good cautionary advice, but not all that many.

Alright…I can get carried away with stuff like this, so…here’s a few quick-hitters.  Consider these drive-by warnings –

Caution:  Cape does not enable user to fly.   Why, on a Batman costume, of course.

Remove child before folding.   Oh my…this is from a children’s safety seat made for automobiles.  Get it new parents?

Off Road Commode

Off Road Commode (Photo credit: signalstation)

Not for use on moving vehicles.  From an Off-Road Commode, a portable one that attaches to a trailer hitch.

 

Danger: Avoid Death.  Excellent advice, I would think.  It came from a motorized yard appliance.

 

Harmful if swallowed.  There are so many objects and substances, from the mundane to the exotic, I could apply this to, but does this really need to be on a brass fishing lure with a three-pronged hook?

 

This product moves when used.  What a novel warning…for a Razor motorized go-cart.

 

Do not use for personal hygiene.  This, probably my favorite, came from a toilet brush.

 

So, there you are.  I feel as though my work is done for the day.  If I’ve saved a life, or an eye, or even some run-of-the-mill embarassment, I feel vindicated in my obsessive search of American cultural toys, tools, and health aids for possible dangers to you, and all yours you care enough about to not let swallow fish hooks, scour their private areas with toilet brushes, or see folded into child car seats.

march 28 2013 695Have a safe rest of the summer, and check any local listings for the dangers of jumping into piles of leaves as fall approaches.  Remember, there’s a possible lawsuit in nearly any action in the Land of the Litigious.

I’ll be here on the beach if any emergency cases arise despite my best efforts at steering readers clear of such dangers.  And, yes…I am reading the warning label on my water bottle, since I’ve finished the warning against wearing baseball caps backwards.

Later…

“Your Mama…” – Breaking Non-News Events for Big Babies

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA. The bases lie horizontally between the two spiraling strands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Genetic ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’ Uncovered – that was the headline.

This is an attention-grabbing lead, I guess…if you’ve been anxiously awaiting such clarification, or obfuscation, however this reads out for you.

The opening paragraph:

“Almost every man alive can trace his origins to one man who lived about 135,000 years ago, new research suggests. And that ancient man likely shared the planet with the mother of all women.”

Yes…”that ancient man likely shared the planet with the mother of all women.”  Well, there goes any idea of inter-planetary sex, and with it, a load of science fiction writing, as well as a boat load of basement-based believers that aliens had something to do with human beings populating the earth without any cosmic nudge.

Any Way…

The journal Science presented this in an article “The 10 Biggest Myths of the First Humans” in today’s issue (Aug 1).  And, it’s about time.

I was getting so frustrated with earlier research suggesting that men’s most common ancestor lived just 50,000 to 60,000 years ago.

I was feeling like a bit marginalized, feeling like a bit player who arrived late on the world stage, without a clue what my lines or cues were or are.

But, all is well, after meandering through this article by Tia Ghose, staff writer for LiveScience.com.

Research Team

Research Team (Photo credit: shareski)

These researchers, taking scientific stuff like mutation rates and archaeological events, such as migrating people and populations into account, have concluded all males in their global sample (69 men from seven racially and geographically separated ethnic groups) share a single male ancestor in Africa from roughly 125,000 to 156,000 years ago.

Now, that 33,000 year window may seem a lot to commoners like myself and others like me, but once the numbers get this long, it’s pretty much passed over with a shrug, if that.

These researchers also took women into account, which seems appropriate, since they’re discussing the origins of Man.  Women are easier, when it comes to this kind of research, due to the way their genetic lines die out when not directly passed on.  The research presented revealed – Revealed… – that from a sample group of 24 women, they all trace back to one mitochondrial Eve, who lived in Africa 99,000 to 148,000 years ago – “…almost the same time period during which the Y-chromosome Adam lived,” the article says.  See what I mean about 30,000 years here… 40,000 years there…it all adds, I guess, but adds up to what?

This is where religions come in handy…a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end…which, in the end, is all most readers are expecting.  Give me a bored god figure, a mud man, a companion conjured from bone fragment, and let the plot get fuzzy, since incest questions always make me queasy, and are best skirted.  And why not throw a talking snake, a magic tree, some tragic apples, and a few other fantastic plot devices in as well.  This sure simplifies things, if one considers that sort of story simple.

The author addresses the time issue as “…this small overlap in time…” before going on to say our ancient Adams and Eves “…probably didn’t even live near each other, let alone mate.”  Melissa Wilson Sayres, a geneticist at the University of California, Berkely, added – “Those two people didn’t know each other.”

playing in the captive whirlwind.jpg

playing in the captive whirlwind.jpg (Photo credit: opacity)

This is beginning to sound like human behavior hasn’t changed much in 200,000 years…people pro-creating on the fly, not living near each other, or knowing each other.  At least some of us wake up the next morning knowing we’ve mated, and maybe deposited some genes into that most crowded of pools.

But, that’s where things often start to get weird.

“It’s very exciting,” Wilson Sayres told LiveScience.com.  “As we get more populations across the world, we can start to understand exactly where we came from physically.”

Well, I know where I’m coming from physically…and it has to do with waking up and seeing this bit of jarring news.  So, I go for more coffee, a short pit-stop, tell my wife, “Yes…I’ll help with the laundry, as soon as I’m done with this monumentally important post,” and I come back to this:

“The Science Behind Delivering a 13.5 Pound Baby ” – a feed from The Week.

Whoaaaa ! ! !  And here I thought my mother was the champeen Big Baby deliverer.  Her first child – me – weighed in at a hefty 10 pounds 12 ounces.  And, that didn’t dissuade her from any follow-up attempts at Eve-ing her way around in our family tree.  My sister and brother, 10 pounds 8 ounces, and 10 pounds 2 respectively, followed not long afterward.  (If I’m not precise on the sibling weights, I’m close…the point being, three over 10 pounds.  I have no idea how women do it.  I certainly would have been dissuaded).

This 13.5 pound baby was delivered in Leipzig, and not by C-section.  Yes, folks…not by C-section.  Now, imagine our Mitochondrial Eve hurling something like that into the world.

I’m imagining a pregnant woman, loaded down with 50 or 60 pounds of camping gear, rotting food, and of course, the maps, trudging across a dry, frozen mountain pass somewhere in Eurasia.  She’s on her way to colonize and populate the world…she’s also following a group of men – who are carrying nothing but a few wood and stone weapons, which is important, you know.  The stomach cramps, nausea, and all the other joys of impending motherhood give way to the miracle of birth on some rocky, desolate, trail.  The group gets her stabilized as well as they know how, bundle up the squalling newborn, help her get her pack back on, and off they go.  Remember, I’m imagining this.

Happy Women's Day: in Tribute to Mitochondrial Eve

Happy Women’s Day: in Tribute to Mitochondrial Eve (Photo credit: garlandcannon)

Yes, we all owe a lot to that, and every other Mitochondrial Eve we can imagine, past and present.

The Philosopher Red Stimulates my Reptilian Core

達磨 Dharma-Zen Painting-

達磨 Dharma-Zen Painting- (Photo credit: hira3)

Great…I finally get home, and I have had to make a strategic move back to the Ghost Hotel.  I’ve heard rumors of three gringos in town, very white-toned skin, wearing dark blue pants, serious expressions, and asking questions – which is bad form in a community of refugees from the “real” world – too many with too much to lose from answering questions.  Then, there’s that terrifying AA of American Airlines on the patch sewed onto the breast of the trio’s equally dark blue jackets.  I think this has something to do with my outburst in O’Hare after being delayed three times, missing a connection, and being re-routed to Chicago where thunderstorms had us grounded for three hours.  Look…I really had nothing to do with the disappearance of that snaggly woman at the Missed Flights/Distressed Passenger counter.

Any Way…I thought I could sit this out in peace here with the Philosopher Red at the Ghost Hotel, but he wasn’t around, only a dozen or so empty Impeial beer bottles and a messy pile of clippings from magazines to even suggest he had been here in the last month or so since I’ve been gone.  The clippings of word combinations were a bit disturbing, since I lean toward gallows humor and conspiracy theories.  Here’s what I found:

Sometimes, coming home can be a battle in itself.

TE ESPARA (you wait, in Spanish)

Black Magic

EXCESSIVE FORCE

Stay Comfortable, Stay Connected

No more business as usual

Donde estan los ninos?  (Where are your children, in Spanish)

Robotic revolution

Heroes among us

Prefiere sus reuniones cara a cara a las 7:30 (you want to meet face-to-face at 7:30, in Spanish) with the “7” inked out, and a “9” scribbled above it.

Brilliance.  Proximity.  It’s all Here

VeryKool

A Costa Rica Wilson

While sifting through this debris I noticed a few marks on the fence Red and I put up to discourage any outside examination of our life in the Ghost Hotel.

Lifting a candle up to the marks I found this.  Wilson…  Yes, Wilson in Costa Rica.

I was getting the fear.

The more optimistic types – those who don’t know the history of the Philosopher Red – might take these clippings for an exercise in found poetry…the image for an innocent blot left after a day of painting – but I do know his history.

Now, I’m not sure about anything any longer, but the purpose for these clippings, and the paint blot?

I’ve  watched enough television cop shows to know the beginning of a ransom note, or a warning to the Rude Red Dude’s perceived enemies when I see one.

 

pilsen girl

pilsen girl (Photo credit: w rollins)

A young surf bum on a stool at a beach club bar (or, an apparently young surf bum) with an Australian  accent, leaned into me and whispered, “They hijacked an Imperial truck two days ago,” to me while I was yelling – I mean asking – the local Pilsen Girl why the only cold beer they had was Pilsen.

Imperial is the “Beer of Costa Rica” as the advertising says.

Just then the local miriachi band started playing Hotel California for the 137th time since I’ve been here, but there were no tourists paying them, and the singer was  staring directly at me.  The rest of the musicians were looking at their instruments, the ground, the palm trees, anywhere but at me.  Something in that Reptilian core of my brain began to itch…the fight or flight center which has always served me well.

The Aussie beach bum slipped me a local magazine called The Howler, opened it to the editor’s page, and said, “I’d read this if I were you.”  He left immediately, without finishing his Pilsen.  I did too.

It seems that some researchers have been snooping around, trying to connect the way children learn language with the way baby birds learn to make bird calls.  One of their bodies was found in the estuary of Las Baulus National Park, the favorite dumping ground for Nicaraguan and Columbian – I’ve got to go.  I’ll explain later, when I can…if I can.

Later…

Immortal Bananas, Super-Sizing for Jesus, and My Last Meal

English: The Last Supper of Jesus Christ

English: The Last Supper of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I survived a few extremely uncomfortable experiences on my trip to GringoLandia, probably the most uncomfortably numb moments were shopping with my wife.  I could go on about that in detail, but it would just decay into cliché bitching.  Here’s one of the weirder things I noticed while shopping – Immortal Bananas.

How can it be that the hundred or more bananas at some Box Store were all the same size, the same perfect color of yellow, and as pristine as the photos on a grocery store advertisement?  And, after making off with a few of these Franken-Nanners, they defied the aging process, staying as yellow and perfect as plastic fruit for several days…no splitting, no browning, no banana activity whatsoever.  I live in a Banana Republic…I eat bananas every day…they’re supposed to get spotty, split at the seams…and smell…and taste like something other than paraffin.

I decided to do some internet cruising while waiting out the Immortal Bananas, and, of course, found weirdness.

One of the stranger websites I came across while waiting for my bananas to act like bananas was one dedicated to last-meal requests in the state of Texas.  Texas proudly claims to be the first state to offer specialized last meals, reportedly starting the ritualistic chow-down in 1924.  That all came to an end though, in September of 2011, after condemned prisoner Lawrence Russell Brewer requested a huge last meal and did not eat it, saying he wasn’t hungry.  Brewer’s refused request –

Two chicken-fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions; a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger; a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and jalapeños; a bowl of fried okra with ketchup; one pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread; three fajitas; a meat-lover’s pizza topped with pepperoni, ham, beef, bacon, and sausage; one pint of Blue Bell ice cream; a slab of peanut-butter fudge with crushed peanuts; and three root beers.

Most states offer last meals to condemned inmates a day or two before are scheduled to be executed.  Some opt for simple, like some joker named Victor Feguer – a single, unpitted olive.  Timothy McVeigh, of Oklahoma City in-fame, ordered two pints of mint, chocolate chip ice cream.  John Wayne Gacy ordered a full meal, with the addition of a bucket of original recipe fried chicken from Kentucky Fried Chicken.  The site I found this on was comprehensive enough to include the fact that before Gacy became a student nurse killer he managed three franchises for the Colonel…ahhhh, the memories.  (Wasn’t he also a semi-pro clown?)

Seems that Super-Sizing has reached into even the most remote niches of American Life…and Death.

Oh well, if you think websites dedicated to last meals is nonsense, get a load of this nonsense:

Brian Wansink photo -- Executive Director of U...

Brian Wansink photo — Executive Director of USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brian Wansink, a food behavior scientist at Cornell University, conducted a study comparing the size of food portions in 52 of the most famous portrayals of Jesus Christ and his disciples at The Last Supper.

I don’t know which is stranger, that some moron gets who knows how large a pile of grant money to investigate and quantify such balderdash, or that some moron would come up with such an idea. But, any how, with the smell of filthy lucre in the air, Wansink brought his brother, Craig, a professor of Religious Studies at  Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia, in on the scam.

Utilizing computer technology that allowed them to scan, rotate and calculate images regardless of their orientation in the paintings, the brothers compared the portion sizes to the heads of the disciples. Their findings…between the years 1000 AD and 2000 AD, numerous artists enlarged the size of the main dish by an average of 69 per cent; the size of the plate, 66 per cent; and the bread, 23 per cent.

I get the picture, I think…though I don’t know why.

Religiously inspired artists through the ages must have put as much value on the size of a serving of food being placed before Jesus the Christ and his disciples as modern-day parents do when grazing their increasingly obese children on the obscenely large doses of what is considered food in these modern-day United States of America.

But, this can’t be the whole story…that only came out when the details of the study were published in the April issue of –

International Journal of Obesity

International Journal of Obesity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The International Journal of Obesity.

Yes, folks…there is an actual International Journal of Obesity. Who would have thought?  I can’t even imagine who the target audience is.  And, this only gets weirder.

Wansink’s position at Cornell – one that would allow enough academic juice to engage in such idiotic research…he’s the John S. Dyson Endowed Chair in the Applied Economics and Management Department at Cornell University.  For his intrepid efforts he also became a 2007 recipient of the humorous Ig Nobel Prize and was named ABC World News Person of the Weekon January 4, 2008.

What a world !

Wansink was no joker though.  He has figured out how to belly up to the private trough, researching the size of the Last Supper, for whatever reason, and he’s also elbowed his way into position at the taxpayer-financed trough.  George W. Bush tabbed Wansink for his Executive Director of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), a post which Wansink filled from 2007 to 2009.  And, what good is any of this unless a book deal can be the end result?  Well, there was such a result…

 

Mindless Eating

 

Bon appetit…I think I’m done eating for a week or two.  I’m going to send out an e-mail to the friends I was staying with in the states…ask them if those bananas have started to show any sign of Mortality.

Later…

 

Hot Coffee, Same-Sex Unions, and Ohio – Running for Cover

Rust Belt

Rust Belt (Photo credit: jenni from the block)

So, I’m still on the run…or on vacation, as some people call it.

Morning coffee…cigarette…all good to go – until I spilled that hot coffee on my bare foot, causing me to drop my cigarette in the folds of my cat pyjamas.  The fire was a threat to spread to the newpaper I was reading, those heartless black and white symbols of progress and knowledge all going up in smoke?  Not on my watch !  I should know betterthan to read the news – I should KNOW better !

Yelping for my wife in my usual exaggerated, animated, over-reactive manner, she didn’t know whether to respond to a flood, a forest fire, a visit from a deity, or just go back to bed – which is often her most sensible choice, and she can be sensible.  Despite all that, she rushed to the front deck, carrying a glass of cold water – which she doused my lap with…thanks, hon ! – then tossed a towel at me, then gave me her best scowl, disappointed there was no true emergency, since they usually suggest degrees of her superiority to me in such situations.  But, I was engrossed in the news of the day, and the reason for my latest morning histrionics was a bit of breaking news, and dysfunction from my adopted country, Costa Rica.  Try this on for size:

THE WORLD

Costa RicaConservative lawmakers are mortified that they may have accidentally approved language making same-sex unions legal when they passed legislation this week and didn”t notice that the final version of the bill had changed earlier language that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.  President Laura Chinchilla signed the bill late Thursday.  She has refused to veto the bill.

Laura Chinchilla

Laura Chinchilla (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I do love these fumbling, bumbling attempts to restrict the private lives of human beings…they never seem to work out just right.  And, before anyone in some industrialized, “First World” country gets too puffed up about how screwed up those political posers in so-called “Third World” countries can get while trying to imitate the streamlined, well-oiled legislative processes of their betters, STOP !  I used to live in Ohio, the Mississippi of the North, as I’ve heard a few people call it.  It will always be the Buckle of the Rust Belt to me…but I am getting away from my purpose.

I survived Ohio for fourteen years, finishing a sort of education and teaching at a university there.  I was going to get married at one point, before I discovered it was illegal for me to do so….and it wasn’t because of my sexual preferences.

I was – and still am – an epileptic. My kind has a history with the conservative, uber religious set as being spawn of the devil, a danger to the pure gene pool.  Really…I’m not joking.  Religious influence in early law-making labeled epileptics as “spawn of the devil” and “marked by the beast as his” and were gently – sometimes not so gently – encouraged to not breed.

(These dim wits thought forbidding undesirables the right to marry would keep them from reproducing…”who you calling imbecile, imbecile?”).  I guess I haven’t got to the part about imbeciles and marriage yet, so, maybe I should…here:

In the stilted view of Ohio lawmakers of yore I was bunched in with a class of humans to be banned from that most public of pools, humans such as habitual drunkards, epileptics, imbeciles, or the insane.  These laws were pushed into being by eugenicists…conservative crusaders whose agenda was to cleanse their world of racial characteristics they thought unnecessary, and encourage those they thought needed preserving.  This marriage law forbidding licenses to unapproved persons was passed in 1904, and came into question during a 1925 push to ban interracial marriage.  Sterilization was a proposal included in cases such as these.

Sterilization and culling the herd using medical practices and procedures…proposed by conservatives?  Ohhhh, there are so many plot twists and twirling, swirling storylines in this Work in Progress most people refer to as the World.

Most of this nonsense was kicked around or ignored until it was repealed in a more sober moment.  Epilepsy was forgotten in the debate.  There has never been much of an Equal Rights for Injured Epileptics (ERIE) movement, and Che Guevara never made it far enough north to incite the social outrage and encourage the necessary civil disobedience that Henry David Thoreau did in his landmark work, Civil DisobedienceI guess Thoreau didn’t excite people the way Guevara did…or the CIA was too lax to murder him when they had the chance.  (I jest…there was no CIA back then – hence, Thoreau and his kind).

Speaking of a lack of sobriety, political screw-ups, and Ohio – which are three topics nearly anyone can gracefully incorporate into any sentence, and, I think, belong in a special knowledge-base tested for in the public school system since the No Child Left Behind disaster –  listen to this: Ohio was not truly a state until 1953 !  It was another governmental clerical error, one on a much larger scale than Costa Rican lawmakers could ever imagine.

Thomas Jefferson signed an act of Congress in February of 1803 that approved Ohio’s state boundaries and constitution.  The debate over the sensibility of statehood had been carried out in a tavern…whatever…more heinous crimes have been hatched in kitchens, garages, boardrooms and Senate chambers.  Any Way…Some How, Congress never passed a resolution formally admitting Ohio as the 17th state.  The paperwork was misplaced during the excitement over the Lousiana Purchase and the War of 1812.

The rules for such recognition changed in 1812, during that excitement over the Louisiana Purchase and the War of 1812, and the oversight was not discovered until 1953.  Ohio congressman George H. Bender frantically introduced a bill in Congress to admit Ohio to the Union, since the state was in the process of arranging for the 150 year anniversary of their statehood – or non-statehood, as was the official case.  Anticipating inquiries, outrage, and paperwork problems concerning taxes paid to the Federal Government, relatives killed in wars, prison sentences served, and other such rewards and/or penalties of statehood, Ohio’s formal admission to the Union was made retroactive to March 1, 1803.  The new petition for statehood was delivered to Washington D.C. on horseback.

(I have neighbors in Costa Rica who, until fifteen years ago, got their power bills delivered by horsemen).

President Dwight D. Eisenhower postponed his usual tee time on August 7, 1953, and scrawled his signature across the dotted line at the bottom of the bill…and Ohio’s anniversary plans went on as planned.

My answer to this sort of nonsense is, pour another cuppa coffee – Costa Rican only…light another Cowboy Killer, rearrange the sodden pages of the neighbors’ newspaper before I put it back into the plastic covering and replace it on their porch, and just carry on with the more mundane and managable aspects of life.  But, I hear rumblings from the locals…tales of sneaky legislation trying to regulate the pursuit if happiness, pertaining to others only, of course – others those regulators don’t know.  I hear Ohio is still a state, and I guess there’s nothing I can do about that.  So…I guess the boat floats, for the moment.  Be back soon….

Later….

Saving Women from the Abyss of Criminality

people breeding or how rats view us?

people breeding or how rats view us? (Photo credit: Ken Kindoku 菌毒)

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

This comes to you, from me, as quoted from the Equal Rights Amendment.  I was always fascinated by the “…on account of sex.” bit…as if my rights would be abridged or denied for participating.  Then I got educated.

In my Hall of Musty and Dusty Books Library I’ve become a bit more enlightened, and I’d like to share a bit of how Women have been separated from the fates of rats, cats, pigs and she-asses.

The E.P. Evans’ book, The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals (1906), has been my starting point for animal criminality…my memories of Ronald Reagan and Pat Robertson – along with a bit of research on the Equal Rights Amendment – my re-education as to the criminal tendencies of women.  Let’s explore the dangers suggested by animals first.

Evans claims to know of 191 animal trials between 824 AD and the year his book was published.  Here’s a few Hi-Lites:

A she-ass condemned to death in France in 1750 was pardoned because of good character.  There’s not much information concerning this case, coming at the end of a paragraph about the Catholic Church’s reasoning for accusing, prosecuting, and punishing animals for crimes usually thought of as exclusively human transgressions.  Their reasoning – it that’s a proper term – was based on Plato’s assertion that animals are intelligent, and therefore responsible for their actions.  This doesn’t seem to follow traditional religious reasoning, but…you know…sometimes times get dull.  There’s got to be someone, or something, to keep the religious persecution business bumping along.

So a she-ass slipped through the legal system of the time by being interesting, or at least trustworthy.  Other cases were more fully documented.

Pig!

Pig! (Photo credit: timsackton)

A sow and her piglets were accused of murdering and partially eating a child in Lavegny, France, in 1457.  Hauled into court, the sow was sentenced to death.  Guess all that Plato-suggested intelligence wasn’t as deeply cynical as the situation called for, since any sow should know that justice is a business, and we all get as much “justice” as we can – or are willing to – afford.  The courts back then did have some mercy though.  The sow’s piglets were acquitted because of their youth, the bad example their mother had set, and a lack of evidence that they had took part in her crime.  Probably went on to terrorize in their later years…cull the bad apples while the culling is good, we all know now.  More nonsense?  Sure…there’s plenty to go around.

In another landmark case of French jurisprudence,  some rats were charged with feloniously eating and wantonly destroying the province’s barley crop.  This was in 1522…Autun, France.  When the rats failed to show, their attorney argued the summons was too specific, and the summonses should be read from a church pulpit.  They were.  Again, the rats failed to show.  This time their attorney argued his clients were afraid to leave their holes out of fear of their accuser’s cats.  A bit of legal maneuvering over bonds from cat owners guaranteeing their animals would not molest the rats left the court befuddled, and another court date was left up in the air, and eventually forgotten as a case of Black Death ravaged the lands about the time of the crimes.  Rat’s favor…they also were acquitted, and more power to them.  Now, speaking of rats, pigs, and asses, here’s a couple of appropriate quotes from some defenders of the common good of men, if not women:

Ronald Reagan wearing cowboy hat at Rancho del...

Ronald Reagan wearing cowboy hat at Rancho del Cielo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Human beings are not animals,” Ronald Reagan said during the debate over the Equal Rights Amendment, adding “…I do not want to see sex and sexual differences treated as casually and amorally as dogs and other beasts treat them.  I believe this could happen under the ERA.”  Reagan supporter, popular televangelist, and one-time presidential candidate himself, Pat Robertson, made Reagan look like a moderate when he spewed the following:

“It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement,” he said, “that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”  As I often am when fully comprehending I share a common biology with such creatures, I am feeling a bit bedazzled by all this.  Do I need to repeat the full text of the Equal Rights Amendment?  Oh well…here goes a bit of it –

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any other state on account of sex.”

Thaaaaaaats All, Folks…. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

My Origin – A Mysterious Howl and Moonbeams

English: Coyote attempts to get persimmons fro...

English: Coyote attempts to get persimmons from Opossum in a traditional native American Caddo story. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I received an e-mail from an online ancestry search site this morning.  It seems that I have little measurable genetic connection to any human gene series yet discovered.  Does this bit of information surprise me?  Not really.  Is it going to surprise my mother?  I think so…she has vivid, concrete memories of birthing me.  Is this going to make my life a bit more complicated?  Yes, definitely, and it’s already begun.

I was sitting on a porch in Washington state with a friend of mine last time I was in the United States, and she told me about the ancestry search she had begun using the same online site.  She is adopted and wanted to find out about her ethnic background.

The moon was full, we had finished off two bottles of Pinot Noir and were opening a third one.  A coyote was howling in the distance.  Nothing of this story so far is unusual, but somehow the combination gave me the urge to follow my friend’s lead and investigate my ancestry through the site, a service operated by the Mormon Church…and if you can’t trust the Mormons with genealogical research, who can you trust?

 

My first DNA submission was a blood sample.  I received a notice that testing had been inconclusive, and would I send in another sample.  I did.  The second was not only inconclusive, but confusing.  I was asked to send in more samples – hair, blood, and skin.  I did.  The e-mail I received today listed only one possible earthly connection, canis latrans, the common coyote.  But, after performing a process referred to as a “split” only 4,739 genetic markers could be found that would even connect me to a coyote.

 

The most famous of the Moon rocks recovered, t...

The most famous of the Moon rocks recovered, the Genesis Rock, returned from Apollo 15. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is where it gets really weird.

The e-mail also informed me that my DNA had been sent to a lab which tested fossil DNA sample, hoping for some reasonable place to start.  The lab workers had been frustrated, and one of them…must have been a real smart-ass type, tested my samples against the elemental make-up of a moon rock brought back from the second Apollo mission.  They informed me my connection to material from the moon rock sample was equal to that of canis latrans.

I have no idea what my mother is going to say when she hears this.

I do know what the governments of Washington state and the United States of America are going to say, because they’ve said it.

I received another e-mail from the state of Washington, not an hour later.  The message was a confusing bit of governmental nonsense about re-examing my birth certificate, driver’s license, and teaching certifications.  This didn’t really bother me too much.  My driver’s license has been either revoked or suspended for about as many years as it’s been active.  But, since I’m planning a trip to the states soon, I called my lawyer in San Jose to make sure I could get back in the country with only one form of photo ID, which they’re very uptight about here.  He was near apoplectic.

“Who you are…I am meaning, what you are?” he nearly screamed into the phone.  He’s only a generation down out of the hills, and has a grandmother who is a practicing curandera…a witch to most people.  He told me he had received a visit from an American Embassy official inquiring as to my whereabouts, since I’ve moved several times since registering with them.  “We no service dogs, or coyotes, or what you ever are,” he said, calming down a bit.  I heard a voice in the background.

“And we no take rocks, either, you demonio desde…”  He never swears…even the words ” demon from hell.”

I also have a grandmother who was a bit strange when it came to natural healing, one who claimed messages sent to her from “other” sources.  She was one of those “there’s one born every minute” people who bought a deed to a piece of property on the moon back in the 1970s…those fakey things that some enterprising American had made up during the excitement of the lunar landings.  I mean, seriously…is there a country where there are more hucksters, selling more useless junk, to a more gullible populace, than in the U.S.?  I own a piece of the moon.  And, now – at least according to the most reliable of ancestory specialists – I am descended from a piece of the moon.  I have no idea how this is all going to turn out…who would?

 

Coyote pup

Coyote pup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can I really be some sort of coyote and moon rock mix?  I found an odd photograph during a Google Image search, labeled simply “coyote pup” …but look at it.  It looks lunar to me.  Maybe I’m just being paranoid…but, paranoia is simply realizing how weird things CAN get, according to some people.  Is this my first baby picture?

I’ll have to get back to you all on this one…after I field a few frantic, dramatic, and disturbing e-mails and/or phone calls from my mother, no doubt.  I don’t fear governments, but mothers are a different story.

Later…

 

Internet Privacy and You…What’s Up With That?

privacy

privacy (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

“People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither, and will lose both.”

I made a mistake and watched the news last night…I also received an e-mail.  As usual with life, it seems, these two events collided leaving me in some strange, uncharted territory.

First off, I saw a story on a brand-name cable news network about two previously secret government operations, one called PRISM, and the other BLARNEY.  PRISM, it seems, is an operation set up by the U.S. government to collect images and documents posted on internet sites such as Google, Yahoo, and FaceBook, to name the most popular.  BLARNEY does the same thing with the written word, such as e-mails.  I don’t watch news much any more, so I was surprised that the interviewee felt he was in for a bit of persecution, outing these two previously covert operations.  Would this be considered an illegal search under the U.S. Constitution and its amendments?

Second off, I received an e-mail from my friend in Pakistan telling me that she had been sending me two e-mails a day for two days, but FaceBook was not delivering them.  My friend said she had taken out any mention of religion (she’s a Muslim), drone strikes, and politics…that self-censored e-mail I got.  I know she is not guarenteed anything by the U.S. Constitution, but I am, and it seems I’ve read somewhere I had the right to privacy.  I was wrong, and I’m not just being snide…there is no specific right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution.

Constitution of the United States of America

Constitution of the United States of America (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

The fourth right, in whole, reads – “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the places to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Like all our “rights” in such old documents, they don’t translate well to the current world.  The right to bear arms in conjunction with an organized militia being the one that gets kicked around the most.  These vague and outdated “rights” need a serious bit of updating.  But, the U.S. Supreme Court is supposed to take care of that, and such interpretations have been proferred.  Pertaining to this presumed right to privacy, Justice Antonin Scalia‘s dissenting school of thought has been that searches must be “reasonable” and the warrant requirement has been overly emphasized.  Those italics are mine, the watering down of any rights, pure conservative blather, an asterisk followed by an invisible – “…unless we feel like it.”

Does the U.S. government and that most powerful of intelligence agencies, FaceBook, really need to protect me from a young women using Ishaa-Allah, god willing, following her hopes for sales of her new book of poetry?  I know she’s a Muslim.  Does the U.S. government need to censor the fact that drone strikes happen near where she lives?  I know they do…and probably more often than we are made aware of.  Do I need to be protected from the fact that politics is a dirty business where she lives?  It doesn’t seem so, since only a dolt wouldn’t know it’s a down and dirty business everywhere.

On my guitar I have a bumper sticker that says, “Ignore your rights, and they’ll go away.”  How true.  I really am not some sort of militia weirdo hiding out in the woods of Michigan or Idaho or Montana or Hoboken, New Jersey.  In fact, I think I’m in pretty good company in contemplating what rights I truly have, and how they’re being coerced.  A pretty famous guy who most Americans admire – if for no other reason his mug is on the $100 bill – is reported to have made similar statements when trying to rectify past infringements on rights he thought should not be infringed upon.  I’ve always seen one of his more famous quotes listed as –

“People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.”

Benjamin Franklin

As with many oft-quoted persons, this was not exactly how it was originally said.  Franklin was preparing some notes for the Pennsylvania Assembly, shortly before February 17, 1775, and wrote –

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

This was published in Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin, published in 1818.  But wait…as is often the case, he was probably doing a bit of word “libertion” since he, being a publisher, had occasion to produce a book – An Historical Review of the Constitution of and Government of Pennsylvania – by an author named Richard Jackson in 1759.  On the title page that same warning appears, with the word “purchase” instead of the “obtain” found in Franklin’s quote.  I do love the liberation of words !  But, no fear, Franklin lovers and respectors…seems that a few years before that, in 1738, the following appeard in Honest Ben’s Poor Richar’s Almanack

“Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor liberty to purchase power.” 

I know…in the writing and publishing games everything gets murky if you dig long and far enough.  The word “murky” seems stuck in my mind since the collision of the news that my government is obtaining information from and about me through what I mistakenly think are private correspondences.  I’m not that naive, really…I’m not.  I never expected privacy, but outright censorship of my private correspondence, and the covert skullduggery from a government that claims to be the bastion of freedom and individual liberty and rights?

I’m sure this little bit of dangerous writing will garner me some more un-warrented attention, unless your name is Antonin Scalia, you front the Fear Factor Gang, and consider warrants “overly emphasized.”  So, if you’re reading this, you’ve joined me on some kind of list that some clerk – whose salary we pay – is compiling in some Virginia basement – which we also pay for.

Weird World…truly Weird World.

 

The Victoria’s Secret Model, Dr. Bill, and a Kid Named Alberto

Viví el Victoria's Secret Fashion Show por TNT

Viví el Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show por TNT (Photo credit: sitemarca)

“I felt like a piece of meat,” was the complaint from a model after participating in a Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

Yeah, this came off of Yahoo News, so you know it’s got to be suggestive, but did an experienced model really have come to this realization only after working her way up to the big time Show of Shows?  When they outfitted her in wings, squeezed her into revealing lingerie that left little to more to suggest, did she pause before high-heeling it onto the runway?  No.  She seems to have made sure the check was deposited first.

Nothing else to report from the world of non-news, at least of any interest…Prostitute ads, Pope wasting food…, Taco Bell firing coupled with FBI investigations – the usual stuff I’ve commented on before, the kind of information that has no value and calls for no action or reaction, other than offering the easy and empty, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you” reaction.

I’m considering doing a few posts on some of the American, Canadian, and European ex-pats who call Costa Rica home.  They are an odd lot…mostly people who have left wrecked lives or open indictments behind in their country of origin.  These are risk-taking people, mostly, and they are as quirky a bunch as I’ve ran across in thirty years of traveling.  Few photos can be included with such posts, since many of these people seem very camera shy, and most of them go by names they’ve made up or have adopted since their arrival.

Costa Rica often reminds me of a pirate-era Tortuga.  There is little altruism here, as I’ve seen ex-pats involve themselves with in many other countries I’ve visited.  Some people are here for the eco-tourism biz, and there are some who volunteer for turtle, sloth, monkey, or parrot rescue projects.  But, on the whole, these people are here for their own economic advancement.  I’ve got a better example to draw from – one from when I lived in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

I was walking down the beach my second day in town, trying to kill two days until an apartment opened up.  I had been sleeping in an abandoned restaurant near the beach, and came across Dr. William St. John on my way “home.”  A skinny man, appearing to be in his 70s, bright green bathing trunks that were too tight for comfort, and he was working away at a pile of beach junk, dock lumber, rusted cable and ropes – there had been a severe storm a few days before that had destroyed the city pier, and this was the remains.  I stopped, watched for a few minutes, he acknowledged me, then went back to pulling the mess apart.

“There’s a pelican in here,” he said.  I started helping him.  We eventually freed the pelican, and by that time he had found out I was homeless, and offered me a place to stay.  I spent the next two days living on the roof of the Hotel California – really, the Hotel California – under a corrugated tin roof, my only furniture was a full-sized Brazilian flag.  His name was Dr. William St. John, from White Plains, New York, and he smoothed over the rougher aspects of my life, asking for nothing in return besides my company.  We spent two evenings on his balcony talking over many topics, the broadest, the meaning of life…the narrowest, the value of one life.

Dr. Bill had been a successful physician in Boston, with houses, summer homes, cars, boats, a portfolio of investments, and a severe alcohol problem.  Putting down the bottle somehow brought him to question the lifestyle he had constructed around the endless drive for symbols of status.  He sold everything, gave much of the proceeds to charities, saving enough to travel the world comfortably for the rest of his life, which he refused to do.    He took public transportation, traveled across seas on cargo ships, hiked dirt roads, paid for passage on Arab trading boats, and generally lived like a bum.

When I met him he had visited 52 countries, and had been changing the world for the better, one life at a time.

In Puerto Vallarta Dr. Bill had made friends with a Catholic priest.  Dr. Bill was an atheist, convinced the best he could do in this world was serve his immediate community, and in turn, the world.  But, he also knew that in a Latin American country a local Catholic priest was probably his surest source to discovering a worthy project.  Through that priest he had identified a young man named Alberto who had shown promise, intelligence, a sense of family and community loyalty, but lived in a shack up on the hill without electricity, indoor plumbing, or any of the other conveniences most of us take for granted.

Dr. Bill moved Alberto’s family into an apartment with the basic amenities…nothing extravagant.  He up-graded their wardrobes, concentrating on Alberto, since the young man would need presentable clothing to attend the private Catholic school he was to be enrolled in, on Dr. Bill’s dime.  Alberto got a new computer, the beginning to a library worthy of a young man on his way to medical school, and reliable transportation to school every day.  The Catholic priest was put in charge of monitoring Alberto’s progress, and a local businessman of good repute was charged with monitoring the priest and his relationship and guidance of Alberto.  With all this in place, Dr. Bill backed his way out of the picture, asking only for bi-annual reports on Alberto and his family.

This was not the first such project the good doctor had undertaken.  He received many such reports from countries such as India, Bhutan, Vietnam, Ghana, Morocco, El Salvador, and Ecuador, to name but a few.  Besides the criteria perviously mentioned, the common denominator in Dr. Bill’s kids seemed to be they had ambitions toward a profession that would serve their community.  I lost contact with Dr. Bill after he moved on, while I stayed to become a diving guide, a waiter in a restaurant called Baby Jaws, checked in on Alberto and his family now and again.  One of Dr. Bill’s requests was after he had set a more manageable future in motion for this lad, strangers – like myself – should stay out of the way as much as possible and let the situation play out.

I can imagine I’ll have a hard time finding another Dr. Bill, but I am sure I’ll be able to come up with some unique modern-day pirates.  Will report soon.