The Crank

Crank, Mechanism, Machine, Gear, Old, Rusty, Obsolete

I walked these woods every day, and I usually kept to the path because the undergrowth grows thicker than an Italian’s beard, but that day I decided to explore the gully. I heard the rumors. They say a little girl got lost in these woods a couple decades ago. They never found her body even though they covered the hills with a fine tooth comb.

At least they thought they did.

When I found the metal monument of her grave, the moss coating the housing made it look like the trunk of a tree. If I hadn’t rammed my shin against the rusty crank, I would have walked right by. As I cursed and rubbed the rising bruise, I noticed the rotten corpse of an old doll. Not much of it was left, after all, it had been years, but it’s plastic eyes stared at me as lost and lonely as that little girl must have felt in her final hours.

 

 

 

Daily Post: Crank

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New growth

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Grandma wore a floppy hat and garden gloves. I would carry the watering can, following her down the row as she scattered the seeds.

She would kiss the seeds before she planted them in the ground.

“Grandma, why do you do that? Why do you kiss the seeds?”

“To help them grow big and strong.”

“Does it work?”

She kissed my forehead. “It works on you.”

Daily Post: Awakening

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Disruption to the cutest degree

cat (2)

Every cat-owning writer is plagued with this disruption. Rex is too big to fit on the keyboard now, but he does insist on sitting on my lap when I write, or should I say, try to write.

Note the excellent choice of letters in the background. They’re better than some of mine at times.

Daily Post: Disrupt

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What is wrong with you people?

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A Trump supporter with logic is like a unicorn; it can’t be found. Today’s REAL Facebook comment reinforces this.

We have always known that the Democrat’s motto is vote early and vote often. You aren’t gonna change my belief no matter how many studies you do. If it occurs on ONE ballot it skews everything. It should never happened and I have no faith in our election system at all.

There are so many concerning issues with this comment:

  1. Vote early, vote often actually originated in Great Britain, but was used by John Van Buren back in 1926 with respect to organized crime activities. The origin of ‘vote early’ stems from the idea that by voting early you would miss the crowds. Nazi Germany was famous for packing the polling stations with their fanatics thus dissuading ordinary citizens from voting. The term ‘vote often’ could be interpreted as voting in every election possible but more likely implies ballot stuffing. This is now strictly prohibited in all liberal democracies, and to imply it is happening on a grand scale in America has been proven false.
  2. “You’re not going to change my belief no matter how many studies you do” is probably the scariest sentence I have ever read. Disregarding facts just because they don’t fit into your belief system is just plain ignorance.
  3. “If it occurs on ONE ballot it skews everything” is utterly false, and if you knew what math was, you would know that. Unless you’re talking about a race with only a dozen voters, then I suppose, yeah, one vote could skew the election, there were nearly 129 million votes cast in 2016. A New York University School of Law report lists several studies that debunk this myth including:
    • 2016 working paper concluded that the upper limit on double voting in the 2012 election was 0.02%.
    • 2014 paper concluded that “the likely percent of non-citizen voters in recent US elections is 0.”
    • 2014 nationwide study found “no evidence of widespread impersonation fraud” in the 2012 election.
    • 2014 study that examined impersonation fraud both at the polls and by mail ballot found zero instances in the jurisdictions studied.
    • comprehensive 2014 study published in The Washington Post found 31 credible instances of impersonation fraud from 2000 to 2014, out of more than 1 billion ballots cast.
  4. “I have no faith in our election system at all” but I bet you believe Trump won. If you have no faith, how can you legitimize his presidency? You can’t have it both ways.

 

 

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South Dakota Treasures

This is the beauty of South Dakota backroads. You have to go where the signs say “Dead End” or “Bridge Closed.” Meet the Belle Fourche River (pronounced Bell Foosh) near Vale, South Dakota.

Anybody know what year and make of the car? I’m guessing 1950s? It had a last wide ride. Hey, I feel a story coming on.

 

Daily Post Challenge

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My answer to the problem

Why is nobody running on this platform? It seems to me that these two measures would just about solve all our domestic problems: legalize pot and reform our prisons.

Part A: Legalize Marijuana

This is a win-win for everybody. Isn’t it time to give up on this prohibition? It’s just stupid and shortsighted. The only people who want it illegal are old, white folks like Jeff Sessions, who think it’s evil as the puff on a Marlboro, and the pharmaceutical companies that think it will cut into antidepression sales, which it will.

Not to mention:

  1. Pot is a tad lucrative, which is why people are willing to go to prison for it (see Part B.) No more teachers’ strikes, better veteran care, prop up our failing infrastructure, and can we even… dream of… universal healthcare? 

    Look at these Colorado Department of Revenue sales from medical and retail marijuana stores.

    Marijuana Sales Reports

    Calendar Year Total Marijuana Sales Total to Date
    2014 $683,523,739 $683,523,739
    2015 $995,591,255 $1,679,114,994
    2016 $1,307,203,473 $2,986,318,467
    2017 $1,507,702,219 $4,494,020,686
    2018 (Jan) $117,993,222 $4,612,013,908

    Over a billion dollars a year. That’s a lot of bud.

  2. Pot has medicinal properties which alone should be enough to delist it, but some folks, let’s just call them Republicans, would rather deprive a natural remedy to a veteran with PTSD or a kid with cancer.
  3. Pot is loved by the people who have no intention of quitting.

Part B: Prison Reform

Part A plays a primary role in the success of Part B. Get the disproportionately black, nonviolent, offenders out of jail. Provide them with job opportunities in a ‘budding’ new industry so they can support their families and get off welfare.  Overcrowded jails could be a thing of the past.

Now I don’t know much, but I know this kind of corruption and misuse of power is unacceptable. A New York Times article addresses the harm of fine and fees when it investigated Ferguson, Missouri, three years ago after the killing of the teenager Michael Brown by a police officer.

Ferguson used its criminal justice system as a for-profit enterprise, extracting millions from its poorest citizens. Internal emails revealed the head of finance directing policing strategy to maximize revenue rather than ensure public safety. Officers told us they were pressured to issue as many tickets as possible.

Even the local judge was in on it, imposing penalties of $302 for jaywalking and $531 for allowing weeds to grow in one’s yard. He issued arrest warrants for residents who fell behind on payments — including a 67-year-old woman who had been fined for a trash-removal violation.

At the time of our investigation, over 16,000 people had outstanding arrest warrants from Ferguson, a city of 21,000.

People are arrested, can’t afford representation, fines, or bail, the court systems are powerfully overwhelmed and understaffed so court dates are months in advance, people lose their jobs, can’t pay fines, lose their driver’s license, get more fines, go back to jail, and on and on. It’s a downward spiral with no hope of daylight for the offender AND their family. This shouldn’t be America.

Prison reform under Trump has taken a positive step, but then, he hasn’t had his tiny hands on it. According to a February 16, 2018, Rolling Stone Magazine article:

Criminal justice reform is now moving through Capitol Hill again. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bipartisan bill that relaxes mandatory minimum sentences for some nonviolent drug crimes on a 16-5 vote. While that effort still faces hurdles – namely opposition from Sessions himself – it’s a significant step forward.

It’s an itty-bitty step.

It’s an easy plan, right? Who’s with me?

 

 

 

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Me and the blog-o-sphere

Related imageIs there anybody out there?

Just nod if you can hear me.

 

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Dream vs Reality

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I’ve been having some weird dreams. Unrelated, scrambled scenarios with no basis in reality, but last night’s dream fits into today’s onslaught of chaos.

I was in a small basement filled with people clustered around a table. Donald Trump was there. Yeah, I had a dream about Donald Trump. Upside, Barack Obama sat to his right. The room was packed.

And EVERYBODY was smoking cigarettes because Trump wanted it. Everybody, but me.

I couldn’t understand why they conformed to something so bad and against their best interests. I could barely see through the cloud of toxin, but they blindly puffed away. I started hacking. Somebody told me to stop, it was rude and insulting to the president. Of course, that made cough even more and feint retching. They made me leave the room.

I woke up and tried to put some meaning behind the dream, and for once, I could.

Donald Trump is cancer, a slow, malignant tumor in the heart of America. He has fed off the teat of discourse, milking it for his personal gain, sucking away at the morality of his office while dolling out promises to his like-minded followers. Just like cancer, his effects will be long-lasting and potentially irreversible.

Without treatment, his disease is spreading. The Republicans smoke their cigarettes ignoring the illness of nepotistic, good-ole-boy politics that engulfs Trump’s every move.

And the cancer spreads.

Hate crimes are increasing, the divide is deepening, our government is broken. How much longer are the poor and middle class going to shoulder this country’s burden?

I wish I would have had a different dream. Another one about not being able to find a bed when all I wanted to do was sleep. Come to think of it, maybe those dreams did make sense. To be able to fall asleep and wake up when Trump is gone… wouldn’t that be bliss?

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#EnoughIsEnough

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I went to the movie with my son last week, and as we waited for the trailers to begin, it went through my mind: What if a guy came in and started shooting?

I had never thought that before, but I really didn’t think it would happen.

Not to me.

But it could. It could happen to me. My son could be killed and I live. That random, insane, incomprehensible scenario is reality in America. While I feel safe because I live in South Dakota, there are parents in Chicago texting their son as he is on lockdown.

What would you do if your child was killed? This isn’t just about mass shooting; it’s about America’s romance with firearms. Just as this is a many-leveled problem, it should have many layers of solutions.

But do something.

Enough is enough.

March.

Vote.

Resist

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Broken Heart

Heart Broken Love Pain Broken Heart Sad Ba

Consciousness taps on the inside of my skull, but something pulls me back into a dream that isn’t mine. I’m in a room, foreign yet familiar. I want to leave, but I can’t.

Dank air, ripe with mold, drifts across the room. Cobwebs droop from an ancient chandelier, a witness to countless travesties and transgressions. Faded wallpaper hangs in shreds clinging to a different era. A broken desk tilts, its top illuminated by light beams streaming through my legs. Hearts, engraved with a lover’s knife, litter the oaken top, a premonition of things to come. I can’t quite make out the letters, but I don’t need to. I know they belong to people who died in this room.

There is so much blood. Beautiful spatters cover the wall like a Jackson Pollack painting, some dark and dry, others bright and fresh. They haunt me, and I am drawn to their dance. A chaotic blend of memories storms inside me. Somehow I feel responsible, but I know that’s ridiculous.

A mirror leans against the far wall. I see legs. They must be mine. I hold a crowbar. It drips a thick liquid. I know what it is and who it belongs to.

A girl cowers beside the desk like a cornered mouse. She was beautiful once, I can tell. Her golden hair hangs in bloody strands over blackened eyes full of fear. Slashes crisscross her arms. Her clothes hang in blood-soaked ribbons.

“Please let me go. I won’t tell anyone.”

“Tell anyone what?” My words sound hollow and far away. What is this place? Where am I?

“I… I don’t understand.” Her doe-eyes drift over the darkening blood. “About… this.”

“Oh, I know you won’t, little girl. I’ll make sure of that.” My lips move, but it’s not my voice.

I claw through the mixture of memories but can’t put the pieces together. I want away from this gruesome scene. I want to wake up. Something’s not right.

#

The fierce hospital lighting pains my eyes.

“He’s waking up.” My wife’s words pull me the rest of the way toward the light.

I shouldn’t be alive, but the familiar ache in my chest is gone. I attempt to sit up, and the morphine soaked haze evaporates as the sutures pull at my skin.

They did it anyway, went ahead with the transplant. Damn them. I told them I would rather die than have a killer’s heart inside me.

I push the pain aside and reach for my wife. She’s the one I love, and the one who bore my children.

“Did you use his heart?”

“I had to save you, baby. I couldn’t let you die.”

#

They send me home with the new heart, the one that feels like a ticking time bomb in my chest. I spend my days trying to write, but the words don’t flow.

My wife brings me my afternoon tea.

“What the hell have you done to your desk? You’re never going to get that out!”

I drop the carving knife unable to recall picking it up. I trace the new etching with my finger. It’s a heart… with my wife’s initials inside it.

 

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