Fourth Estate

Interesting insight.

Poesy plus Polemics

childe-hassam-the-fourth-of-july-1916-742x1024 “Fourth of July 1916” by Childe Hassam

I thoroughly enjoyed the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, and I fully expect I will also enjoy the Democrat Convention in Philadelphia next week. For political junkies and public policy wonks (and I’ve been something of each over long stretches of time in my life) these quadrennial events are analogous to the Olympics or the World Cup. They show the American political process of selecting our principal Presidential candidates at its ultimate frenzy, in all of its glory, its hokey pageantry, and all of its travesty. It is a thing both beautiful and ugly to behold by the truly objective eye. Principles, promises, and puffery all choreographed to ostensibly inform and deliberately incite potential voters. Of course, for committed partisan viewers, only the convention of their affiliated party will likely be appreciated, the other being despised as so much deviltry.

But what…

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This Is Not A Political Post

Excellent.

Drifting Through My Open Mind

o-american-flag-facebook American flag

My first political debate took place in the back of the school bus in First Grade. My friend and I had started arguing about the upcoming election. We were going at it pretty hard over Reagan v Carter. We were spitting out words and throwing around phrases we had heard but didn’t really understand. But we both sat firmly in our separate corners, glaring at each other and sizing each other up.

It got a little intense. Other kids joined in and took his side. I was alone. It became clear that I was the only person on team Carter. They were yelling at me about the Iran Hostage Crisis and the gas shortage. I felt myself shrinking into my seat. Mercifully the bus brakes squeaked and I was able to make my clumsy exit. I walked home with tears stinging my eyes.

The next day I got…

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Life in the Key of Me

i sing
every hour
under my breath,
at the top of my lungs.

i think
every second
about injustice
and the power of love.

i cry
once a day
for lives lost
in needless ways.

an aura
of futility
permeates all,
threatens despair.

yet, i sing
because music
lightens my heart;
takes away the hurt.


Trial Separation

“Trial Separation”

Relax, Studly Doright and I aren’t splitting the sheets. Heck, after 40 years of marriage it would be a little ridiculous to call the whole thing off just when life is getting good. Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t days when I have to restrain myself from throwing him out a window. 

Studly outweighs me by about a hundred pounds, though, so he’s probably safe. Plus we live in a single story home, but don’t think I haven’t occasionally wondered what a good surprise shove might accomplish. (Note to self: delete this post in case of police inquiry.)

No, I’ve decided for the sake of my sanity to take a break from Facebook. This might not sound like a huge issue for most folks who check in once or twice a day to see what’s going on with their friends, but I have an addiction to this social network, spending as much as two hours a day scrolling through FB statuses on my phone.

I know that’s sad, but in my defense after so many cross country moves Facebook has become my best means of keeping in touch with family and friends. Lately, though, I feel such anger and disappointment that I’m not sure I want to keep in touch with anyone via Facebook. 

Of course my own sense of right and wrong is to blame here. Increasingly I have found it more difficult to ignore the racist comments and the outright lies being peddled as truths. Rather than call someone out as being a lying sack of shit, I’ve chosen to separate from them for a bit. How’s that for diplomacy?

Peace, people!

Written in Meat Loaf

I’ve gradually been reducing my dosage of the anti-depressant, Effexor over the past year and just last week stopped taking it altogether. There have been a few shaky, brain shivery moments, and a couple of emotional outbursts, but knock on wood, I’m finally done with this mind controlling drug.

Vivid and unusually scripted dreams have accompanied every step down in dosage. Several nights ago I dreamt that I was in my hometown of Floydada, Texas, for a reunion of sorts. There were a good many people present with whom I’d attended school, as well as several family members. All of whom are now deceased. 

Maybe that should have creeped me out, but I found their collective presence comforting. They all appeared to be having a good time.

At some point a former physical education teacher approached me, and we visited for some time. I hadn’t particularly cared for her, nor did she like me much back in my junior high school days. Our dream conversation was convivial, though, until she took umbrage at something I said and assigned me the task of writing an essay. 

“No problem,” I smirked, “I write essays in my sleep.”

So I composed a quick essay on the prescribed topic of the Joys of Exercise and submitted it to her. She refused to accept it, saying she’d clearly demanded it be written in meat loaf, and that I wasn’t free to return home until I’d accomplished that feat.

Painstakingly I etched the attention-getting introduction and overarching thesis statement into an unbaked meatloaf, followed by three supporting paragraphs, and a resoundingly strong conclusion. Then the meatloaf was cooked to perfection.

My words disappeared in the cooking process, but Ms. P. E. Teacher was satisfied and I was allowed to leave.

Now, my amateur dream interpretation skills have led me to conclude that my subconscious was dwelling on the temporary nature of all things. Or maybe I was just in Effexor withdrawal. You be the judge.

Peace, people, but wait, there’s more!

There’s meat loaf, and then there’s Meat Loaf.

Wild Adventures: Day One

The adventure started at breakfast when Jackson celebrated by putting whipped topping on his Eggo waffle.  

Once we were all dressed we headed to the Wild Adventures amusement park in Valdosta, Georgia.


Dominique was all smiles until I confessed that I weigh 300 lbs. just as we were getting underway. “You don’t weigh over 40 pounds do you?” I asked, pointing to the warning sign on the car in front of us:  
She was ready to climb out before I told her I was just kidding.

The three of us got soaked on the Roaring Rapids. Considering the temperature was in the mid 90’s, the drenching felt wonderful.

We rode it twice back to back. The operator didn’t even make us get out of the boat for our second go around.

For much of the day I was a spectator. It seems I didn’t need to ride every coaster in the park. Maybe I’m growing up finally? Jackson and Dominique are in the very top car of this ride that went backwards, forward, then backwards again.
Several of the rides were nearly devoid of riders. No long lines in the sweltering heat!


We’re going back for another go tomorrow. Wish me good health and endurance!

Peace, people!

A Little Help, Please

I’m trying to come up with something for dinner that has no calories. 

Tempting, but Studly Doright doesn’t like to hear me (or anyone else) crunch their food.

How about settling for LOW calorie instead of NO calorie:

I wonder if the fruit slices and garnish are figured in the caloric total, because I’m certainly going to eat those, as well.

If I could find a way to ungain the weight I’ve repeatedly lost over the years I’d be the skinny woman I know lives somewhere inside me.

She’s a noisy broad. 


This Is Not My America

Written beautifully by my friend, Andy Garrabrant. Please read more at

Aroil in Pain

“Oh say can you see” does not mean

We turn a blind eye to injustice.

“By the dawn’s early light” does not mean

We can ignore our dark past.

“Proudly we hailed” does not allow us

To look down upon others with disdain.

“Twilight’s last gleaming” does not imply

Our best days are behind us.

“Broad stripes” are not labels

With which we paint our fellow man.

“Bright Stars” don’t refer to

Tinseltown tabloid headliners.

“The perilous fight” is not talking about

The two year long presidential election process.

“Over ramparts we watched” isn’t

A reference to the walls of our gated communities.

“Gallantly Steaming” is not about

Binge watching “Game of Thrones” on wifi.

“Rockets red glare” is not a commentary

On the lackluster performance of an NBA team.

“Bombs bursting in air” is absolutely not

About a demeaning sexual scenario!

“Our flag was still there” isn’t a call…

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Hanging With The Grands

I’m having such a wonderful time with my grandchildren, Dominique and Jackson, this week. 

We stopped by Studly Doright’s (Poppa’s) office.


Aren’t they cute?
Later in the day Jackson and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. He’s all about asking me to challenge him to do physical stunts, such as climbing trees and jumping over obstacles. I’m such a wimp, though, that I can never come up with a suitable activity.

I loved his question, “Nana, do you have any trees that need climbing?”

Dominique and I spent an hour making bird feeders out of pine cones, peanut butter, twine, and seeds. 

 Here are the final products:


Now we need to hang them.

The kids chopped down a couple of saplings.


Jackson is a born lumber Jack.
 While I watched from a safe distance.