The Toilet Zone: Tipping Point

Note: This is the fifth installment of The Toilet Zone, a commentary series on the Trump presidency.

“There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you have had enough.”

This week I reached my limit, the tipping point. I momentarily went off the rails, posting on Facebook, using social media as my primal screen therapy, echo chamber of sorts. It was in response to this past Sunday, when a crazed white male gunman, domestic terrorist, lone wolf (you choose the descriptor) massacred innocent people attending an outdoor country music festival, 58 dead, almost 500 wounded or injured. My nephew and his family live and work in Las Vegas. My nephew John is a Metropolitan Las Vegas Police Officer, one of hundreds of first responders and heroes, including concert-goers who stepped up to help save lives. Continue reading

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Battle of the Sexes Redux

It’s just really important that we start celebrating our differences. Let’s start tolerating first, but then we need to celebrate our differences. — Billie Jean King

“I wanted to use sports for social change.” — Billie Jean King

“You’ve Come a Long Way Baby.” — Virginia Slims cigarette slogan, first sponsor of the women’s tennis circuit which later became the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association).

Each generation experiences firsthand a series of events which become mile markers and touchstones for our lives. The past two weeks, I was reminded, while watching Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s riveting PBS documentary series, The Vietnam War, of being a baby boomer who came of age from preteen to young adult during the Vietnam War. Beginning last year, and continuing this year, I watched documentaries and narrative films about the anniversaries of Civil Rights protest marches, riots, and tragedies, most recently the film Detroit. On Friday, the reminiscing continued when I saw the new film, Battle of the Sexes, chronicling the $100,000 tennis television spectacle between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, billed as the “battle of the sexes,” women’s libber vs. chauvinist pig.  Continue reading

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Hotel Bar

“A recovering alcoholic walks into a hotel bar…”

You may be surprised on how this story ends. I’m the recovering alcoholic — that’s not a surprise to most of my readers — yet soon I will be scouting locations for my new web series, Hotel Bar. No worries, I won’t be drinking anything that contains alcohol during my site visits, but I will ultimately tell a story or two about a subject I know about, bars, bartenders, and the stories they hear. Continue reading

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Seasons/Change

“Memories recycle of seasons past
of people absent and places far away.
I soothe myself with the solace of ritual.
There is comfort in repetition
and wonder in change.” — From the poem, The Solace of Ritual, Linda Lenzke

It has been and continues to be a hellavu week, a reminder of the power of nature the relationship of the sun, moon, and earth and how it impacts the weather. Beginning this past Monday in North America, we witnessed the total or partial eclipse of the sun, depending on where we landed on, or near, the path of totality. Continue reading

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Three Things I Don’t Need (or Want)

Why I still think like a baby boomer…

As a person who falls somewhere in the middle of the continuum between fogey and creative innovator, I find myself at the threshold of the past and the future — again. As a baby boomer born in 1950, I was a late adopter to technology — though I’ve embraced many of its tools, often following some initial resistance — I’m now dependent on devices and software that enables communication, commercial and bureaucratic transactions, access to media, intellectual content, navigation, and social networking. On the flip side, most days I still enjoy direct person-to-person interaction. I’m not as fond of autonomously-powered tools or systems which rely on AI (artificial intelligence). I’m not sure how many robots I’d like for roommates. Did you hear that Cortana, Siri, and Alexa? Continue reading

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Dispatch from the Hideout

“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”― Albert Camus

“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ― C.G. Jung

For me, the past week has been one of introspection and retreat. It began with the 18-month anniversary of my mother’s death, counterbalanced by joyful anniversaries and celebrations of the living — birthdays, graduations, and more, of family members and loved ones — grief and gratitude. This unfolded during a critical period in the political landscape when our leaders were charged with designing and implementing a promised healthcare plan, first, repeal then replace, which when brought to a vote in a number of forms, failed again, and again, and yes, again.   Continue reading

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Ethel Mae’s Garden: A Mother’s Legacy

Grief and gratitude, hand in hand

The past few months have marked a series of family anniversaries, holidays, birthdays, and celebrations. There were parties, gatherings, and projects that brought us together. We affirmed our bonds with each other ­— across generations —  in our laughter, our stories, family traditions, and shared experiences — the nature and nurture that created our family. The person at the center —  the heart of our family — was our father’s wife and soulmate, his best friend — our mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Ethel Mae. We are all flowers in her garden. Continue reading

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The Toilet Zone: Duck & Cover

Note: This the fourth installment of The Toilet Zone, a commentary series on the Trump presidency.

“Your silence will not protect you.” ― Audre Lorde

We are approaching the first six months of the Trump presidency. While I write, during the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, Trump met for the first time with Russian President, Vladimir Putin. After a brief public press event, they convened for over two hours behind closed doors. It’s been reported that Trump opened the meeting by confronting Putin on Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. As was to be expected, Putin denied it. Representatives for each leader who were in the room, told different stories describing the tenor and tone of the meeting. No surprise. Continue reading

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Random Topics II

Mansplaining, Man Buns, and Manspreading 

I introduced the first installment of Random Topics for Mixed Metaphors, Oh My! in October 2015 as follows: “As a blogger, I mine my daily life for topics to write about. I set out to find something timely and meaningful, something that my readers can relate to, a universal message or lesson to discover in my lived experience.  I’m often left to choose from the mundane, or subjects that pique my curiosity. When this happens, the only common theme is the randomness of my choices. Today, I offer three random topics with absolutely no connection or relation to each other at least that I’m aware of at the outset of this essay. Perhaps as I write, I may discover the subtle relationships that bind them together. Life is like that.”  For the most part, the same is true for this new offering in the series, Random Topics II, except man is at the root of every story. It could be more precisely titled, Almost Random Topics.   Continue reading

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I Need to Pay Attention to What I Resist

“Where there is power, there is resistance.” ― Michel Foucault

There are many tools for living that I’ve acquired over the years from parents, mentors, school, books, films, spiritual practices, and recovery from substances and unhealthy behaviors. I’m most grateful for the latter, which saved my life. Today, we are faced with challenges in personal, social, and political spheres. Now, more than ever, I need to pay attention to what I resist.  Continue reading

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