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Thursday, Dec 18th

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Editorial

Chomping on Food for Thought vs. Just Deserts

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It's nice of the universe to cut me some slack now and again.  Usually, life serves up swarms of fastballs quicker than a bank of berserk robo-pitchers in a major league batting practice, making me the unwitting mole in the Whac-A-Mole game, getting bonked witless, and scared, um,  excretion-less.

Whatever.  Life is probably quite good at throwing racetrack walls at you, too, just as you're punching out of the turn, just in time to catch sight of the slippery, surprise pool of motor oil now under your racing slicks -- apparently and simultaneously, according to your vision, both beneath and above your cartwheeling car frame as it bash-dances on the track.

Yeah, I've hit that same wall, on fire, and at a high rate of speed, as it is said.  Life has no compunctions about such things.  I try to not take things personally, even when it is damn personal and completely unpersonable.

Usually, The News is the instigating propellant in this mad equation of consciousness.  I have no idea what 9 out of 10 doctors may make of things, but, for me, The News makes me foamingly loco about 479 times out of 10, not to put too fine a point on it.

The plan here:  Impossible math counters insane developments -- I hope -- or, at least provides some sort of interim shield, like zombies passing up unhealthy hosts.  The more I stroke out at The News, the universe provides more counterbalancing fluff pieces.

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It's Good to Be Sane. Mostly.

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Here is a question for you:  Is America worth your personal investment of a couple hours and some medium-to-moderate thought?  No, it's OK -- this is not a disguised recruitment tool of any kind, nor is this an attempt to sell you aluminum siding.  Your long-distance carrier or digital service plan provider is not involved here, honest.

Although, to be fair, I think this is a pretty good experiment of a couple different kinds.  The primary one is whether you would be willing to spend a couple hours to see if you are sane -- if you're operating on good information that makes sense to you and to some others who are accomplished in such matters.

Put it this way:  I spent the two hours and I have to say, you know, that I'm relieved about a lot of things, and yet troubled about some others.  Maybe I should start at the beginning.

Let's say this were possible:  Out of the blue and without warning, and with no time for preparation, you are given 10 seconds to determine the kind of America you want to live in, and the kind of America that you want your friends and family to live in, too.  Whatever you say goes -- it will be done.

OK, based on average reading speed in this country:  Time's up.  So:  What kind of America do you want?

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The Heady, Hempy Joys of Laughter

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Sometimes, even in the face of cruel and absurd realities, I find myself reaching down to retrieve my buttocks, having laughed them clean off me, and onto the floor.

Hard-working professionals are sometimes responsible for any lingering twitches I may harbor to create LMAO messages that I may still feel inclined, even now, when I know better, to send anywhere:  comedians, screenwriters, authors, actors, and the like.  Other times, it's the accidental, amateur all-stars from the wobbly, wearisome, warlike planets of politics, monetary systems, religious beliefs, and the ongoing unrest over Crockpot chili recipes.

Sometimes, though, it's the innocent, unplanned happenstance of the hapless, of people going about their lives, doing the best they can, pratfalling and deadfalling their way from one stretch of black ice to Crsico patch, only to make their escape jump onto a long slick of axle grease, shooting right into Vaseline Lake.

Machiavellian schadenfreude, random bursts of deus ex machina surprises, and other semi-sadistic skullduggery aside, it's good to take your endorphins out for a spin now and then, to get them, and you, some air.  It helps to flex the muscles that work the corners of your mouth, to test the hinges on the ol' head meat -- the ones that open and close the mind.

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Lex Luthor INC.

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I had a strange version of the cold, flu, and plague recently that laid me low for a couple of weeks and turned me into a barely sentient pile of goo. All I was capable of was collapsing on the couch in the BigAssTV room until it was time to stumble off to bed just in time for the fever dreams to kick in. I couldnt follow any plot more complicated than a 3 Stooges short so for my viewing pleasure I decided to watch some episodes from the fifties TV show, Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves. Inertia through illness allowed me to sit back day after day while all 104 episodes washed over me.

When the last season wrapped up I watched the two Superman serials made in 1948 and 1950 starring Kirk Alyn as The Man of Steel.  Most sane people would have given up after slogging through Superman and the Mole Men but I kept going and watched the first two Christopher Reeve Superman movies, the 2006 reboot, Superman Returns, and the latest entry of the franchise, Man of Steel. As my health improved I slowly regained a reasonable facsimile of sanity. I was once again capable of going outside and pretend I am a normal person. As Alex at the end of A Clockwork Orange said, I was cured all right!

Isaac Newtons third law states for every action there is always an equal reaction. Thats How Things Work. But little did I know, following the days of steeping in All Things Superman, what my reaction was going to be after delving into all that weirdness.

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Faith, Hope, and That Itchy Sensation

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It's been a restless winter.  Our dogs move around from one of their beds to another, and rotate spots on the floor in an ambling, nomadic waltz.  The ants have been especially antsy here this year, leaking out of the ancient, pseudo-farmhouse woodwork in streams, eddies, vortices, miniature maelstroms -- a bumper crop of biblical proportions.

The two humans residing here travel back and forth unpredictably, errant with errands, steeped in to-do lists, turned to and fro by daily tidal forces, triggered by a general twitchiness, tuned to some facial-tic-producing frequency just outside the range of hearing.

When not under the spell of whatever it is that might be working on us, we sometimes ask ourselves about the nature of the possible and probable propellants involved in our fidgeting.  No answers so far.

We keep coming up with a general "hookanno" -- our shorthand for "who can know?"  We say it like "Winnebago," which is HOO-kan-no.  We sound like hoot owls, muttering in the loose, eternal wake of our room-to-room search, hunting for reasons why we might be here, on this planet, just as much as why we might be here, in this particular room.  Both are tricks of memory, I am convinced, one easier to resolve than the other.  I forget which is which.

Our house is old.  It has sections tacked on here and there.  It is growth by afterthought rather than by planning and forethought.  It was built a little at a time, by a hobbyist with more good intentions than good skills.  If Euclid lived here, he would have flat gone insane before his furniture was moved in and arranged.

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Dinosaurs, Cello Loops, and the Avalanche of Awe

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There's a certain, spectacular wonderfulness that comes from being ambushed by Beauty.  The experience can be disorienting, dazzling, dazing, delightful.  It can be stealthy and breath-taking, shorting your oxygen before you realize you're no longer continuing that familiar ebb and flow of air in and air out.

Remembering to breathe is the thing, when bushwhacked by Beauty.

It could be I am just out of practice and easily ambushed these days.  That's a possibility.  My circle of travels has been slight for the last year or so.  I have worn pairs of ruts into the roads between home and hospital, and permanently scuffed and squeaked my rubber-soled footfalls on the waxed and buffed tiles of antiseptic hallways.

My guard was down.  And, yeah, it's been a while since anything whacked me upside the head, leaving flickering lights and multicolored whirligigs exploding overhead -- like a cartoon character magically smitten with the blinding high-beams of romantic attraction, all stars-and-planets overhead.

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Pop Goes Another Resolution

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A case might be made that January is named after the various American demigods of tax calculation computer programs, weight-loss schemes, resolution daydreams, and instant makeovers of home, family, friends, wardrobes, exercise equipment, cars, relationships -- you name it.

All it takes is a little champagne and the turn of a calendar page:  Presto, there goes another resolution.  One year gone, here comes another.  Up one minute, out the next.  Now you see it, now you don't.  It's the ultimate in on-demand convenience, good intentions, and the sort of regretful, pawing, nagging lapsed morality we've perfected hereabouts -- a real natural for Life in These Here Benighted, You-nited States.

Somewhere in here, in January's brittle fidgeting, is also the routine recategorizing of accepted presents from the joyful and effervescent into the ho-hum, yawning tedium of regiftable status.  Here are stored captured holiday items once received with smiles, originally swathed in shiny paper, and are now framed with flat-lined lips and are swaddled in odious, future benevolence and stale, self-centered philanthropy to come.

January also means laughing at, and cheering on, gargantuan gladiators who bash each others brains out.  It's a fine, high-spirited return to the Colosseum, where the display of a certain thumb toward the battlefield, from a cushioned throne, meant swift and instant death.

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