The Word Ends with an Itch

After emerging from the hot tub at the condo on

a cool, rainy day in Phoenix, he tossed his wet

swim suit into the drier, put on shorts, a top and

slippers, gathered the recyclables together and

headed downstairs, dog in tow. On the way, he was

cut off by an older model Jeep. The woman threw it into

park, jumped out, ran to the other side and gathered up

two cardboard boxes.  She dumped them in the dumpster

marked for garbage. As she headed back to the Jeep,

he said to her, “Those are recyclable and that dumpster

is over here. It’s green.” She actually took the time to say

that there was stuff in the bottom of the boxes that couldn’t

be recycled. He wondered quickly if that utterance was

to justify her rapid journey to the garbage dumpster instead

of the recycle dumpster.  He said that stuff could

be separated and put in the garbage dumpster and the

boxes could be recycled. She jumped in the Jeep and

tried to turn the corner but couldn’t make it around.

She had to back up. Her windows were shut

but he shouted with his best pulpit voice, “Hey, be

careful.  My dog and I are right behind you.”  She

threw it into drive and continued around the fountain,

heading for the exit.  He called after her, “Hey, slow

down. Smell the flowers. Smell the creosote after the

rain.” Brake lights came on. Window came down and

she shouted, “Mind your own business.”  She rolled up

the window and took off.  He shouted as she made it

out of the complex, “Hey, it is my business and your

business and everybody’s business.  This is your land

and  my land and everybody’s land.  This is our air and

our water and our mountains of garbage choking the life

out of our earth.”  And then he yelled something that

broke his New Year’s resolution to suffer fools gladly.

He shouted a word that begins with capital “B” and ends with

“itch.”  His dog pulled against the leash.  The dog had heard

that voice before and didn’t want to be anywhere near it.

The man looked at the dog, said, “Okay, let’s go,” in

a much softer tone.

The Benefits of Wheat Free Living

A week ago I e-mailed many friends about the touted benefits of refraining from eating wheat. The claim is that wheat plants are treated with toxins by agribusiness to grow fuller crops which can get to market faster.  Apparently, the toxins don’t go away in the processing from plant to flour and have negative effects on our health.

An acquaintance raved about the benefits for his and his wife’s arthritis.  After three days wheat free, they were pain-free.  I looked up an article on the internet and read that people who quit wheat watched pounds melt right off their bodies, saw their good cholesterol skyrocket and their blood pressure drop through the floor.  I couldn’t wait to get started.

Here is the update I promised those friends.  I didn’t think it would come this quickly but I have hard and fast evidence of the results of giving up wheat and its benefits for the body, not to mention mind and spirit.

My wife and I wondered what we would do to find substitutes for wheat.  The young woman in the condo immediately beneath us, a veteran of five years wheat free, helped immeasurably.  We had already purchased a package of organic brown rice pasta, but she gave us another brand that she thought was better and actually gave us the gift of a package.  She said we could do a taste test.

Also, instead of wheat crackers for our cheese snacks, we found rice crackers and low-calorie rice cakes.

Knowing that most vodka was made from wheat, I visited the local grocery store and discovered a potato vodka for a fairly reasonable price.  At an upscale liquor store, the clerk introduced me to some upscale vodka made from grapes.  Grapes, of course.  I didn’t buy the vodka but I did buy lots of Pinot Grigio. Red wine gives me a headache. No wheat in wine.

And so the experiment began.

We had brown rice pasta each night with various wheat free sauces and meats with a small side salad, of course.  The left overs became breakfast with a different sauce under melted cheese (no wheat in cheese) and topped with two poached eggs (the healthiest way to prepare an egg).  The neighbor’s pasta choice was a bit better we decided.  When the pasta ran out we turned to rice, brown rice, lots and lots of brown rice for dinner with delicious sauces. We looked forward to trying the brown rice with wild rice.  When the rice ran out, we used baked potatoes as our veggie with delicious rib-eye steak grilled medium rare.  Can’t get enough great protein from grass-fed beef.  No wheat there. Each meal was washed down with the reasonably priced wine.

For another meal we bought brown rice hamburger buns.  They were delicious buttered and toasted on the grill to be used with the luscious hamburgers I grilled and topped with delicious, melted Irish cheddar cheese with shallots.  The left overs again were used for breakfast.  The brown rice hamburger buns became buttered (no butter substitute) toast served with organic jelly and organic peanut butter. The left-over burger was used in a three-cheese, three-egg omelette (poached is so mundane after a while).

Being full from breakfast, we didn’t need another meal till dinner so for a snack those brown rice crackers and rice cakes came in handy with the cheese (one can’t get enough organic cheese), sardines and smoked oysters in oil for happy hour to go with our potato vodka. If we wanted to go out for happy hour we found a great deal at a local Mexican restaurant: two corn tortilla (no wheat flour for us) tacos with ground beef, rice and refried beans which we split, of course, for $4.95 and $1 Margaritas. Those babies do go down like soda pop.

After dinner, wanting something a little sweet but healthy and wheat free to finish off the day, we bought some absolutely delicious, organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups and one (or several), wee little night-cap to go along.

So here are the amazing results after just one week.  Oh, as an aside, I decided to clean up my appearance to go with my new resolution to eat healthy in the new year so I shaved my head.

Well, back to the results.  I have gained seven pounds in seven days and before going to bed, after all that wheat free wine and vodka, I look like a giant, round, white, bobble head bowling ball.  I have found that in the morning, the bobbling continues but with significant pain for a while.  By happy hour the pain is usually gone and afterward, it is definitely gone.

One morning, wife Chris informed me that on the previous evening I single-handedly had attempted to re-enact the entire Bolshoi Ballet much to the distress of the young woman in the condo below. Fortunately, I had no recollection of any such behavior and am inclined to think my wife is pulling my leg. She’s such a kidder.

By the end of the evening, I’m having such a good time, I don’t really give a damn about the cholesterol or blood pressure, but in the morning I am panicked that my HDL is burrowing its way to China and my LDL is skyrocketing to the moon. I’m glad my cholesterol test is next August.  That will give me a chance to turn things around.  And I don’t dare get anywhere near the blood pressure machine at the local pharmacy for fear that if I took my blood pressure, alarms would go off and the EMT would show up.

But, hey, you can’t expect success on all fronts.  I have had zero pain in the arthritic middle knuckle on my left-hand pinkie.



Like A Lakota Chief

Cameron sits on the

cement bench on

the side of the

Dreamy Draw Trail

like a Lakota Chief

sits alone meditating

before the council


He comes at dark

and smokes


like the chief smokes

a peace pipe to close

the council meeting.

He is a recent

graduate of the

University of Arizona

in mathematics.

He works as an intern

at a computer firm

to expand his field

of expertise before

starting his Ph.D

program at a school

as of yet to be


He sits through the

cold, clear winter

night and watches the

January full moon.

He sits through the

summer night,

looks up and lets

the monsoon rains

wash over his face.

A lone coyote wanders



So, What’s the Difference?

He has been approached

by a vanity press to publish

one of his poems, one of his

own choosing, in fact. He

writes it; he chooses it;

they publish it, period.

They said they had been

following really good poets

and they wanted

to include his work

in a book of the

best poetry of 2012.  Wow!

What an honor! Was he

flattered about the offer

and then it was even made

better because they said

he stood the chance of

winning big, big bucks

in prize money. Wow,

again, until he realized

that he would have to

buy a copy of the beautifully

bound book. They said

there would be no

obligation to buy to

get the poem in that beautiful

book, but that wasn’t so, but

that wouldn’t be so bad, the

thought to himself.

To sweeten the pot they

also offered medals to

wear around to impress

his friends and

customized cards with

his poem on it so he

could send them

out to friends to show

them what a great poet

he is. Years ago he would

have rejected the idea out of

hand, but this time it just

might be out of his pocket

and the cost wouldn’t be

that much and in this internet,

digital age of self-publication

it might be just the best

thing since sliced bread. Hey,

he already publishes his

poetry and musings on

a blog for a fee, so that’s

kind of vain, so what’s

the difference, he wondered

to himself and his wife

belongs to an art coop

and so she works

there and pays a fee, so

that’s kind of vain, so

what’s the difference, he

wondered to himself.

So, if self-publication

was good enough for

Walt Whitman to get

a start, why wouldn’t it

be good enough for him,

so what’s the difference,

he thought to himself, but

then he really thought to

himself and decided that

he’ll just save the $49.99

and tax and shipping

for the beautifully bound

book (as they had shown

in a beautiful photo of

that beautiful book)

that would include one of

his own poems with a self-

written bio of a hundred-

fifty characters or less for

an extra twenty-five bucks

and, instead, take his wife

out for a few happy hours

for that amount.  That actually

would make a difference, he

thought to himself.

THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND (An Alternative National Anthem) words with two stanzas not usually included by Woody Guthrie with notes on the occasion of the Second Inauguration of President Barack H. Obama

This land is your land

Yours, Blacks, Asians, Latinos, people of multiple race,

Christians, Jews, Muslims and those of other faiths and

no faith in particular and those who have the faith of atheism

This land is my land –

Yes, mine, too, a white, straight, male senior citizen

of Dutch and Swedish ancestry

From California, to the New York Island

From the poorest of the poor to the richest

of the rich and to those committed to lifting the poor

and limiting the power of the rich.

From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters —

To being a nation dedicated to protecting those forests

and the salt and fresh waters

This land was made for you and me.

The gifted, the challenged, the exceptional, the

ordinary, those well equipped to succeed because

they received helping hands

and those who still need a helping hand and

should get it simply because of the

Constitutional contract with America.


As I was walking a ribbon of highway

I saw above me an endless skyway —

And dedicate ourselves to polluting less,

recycling more, jogging, bicycling, exercising

to help keep that skyway endless.

I saw below me a golden valley —

And a pledge to support sustainable farming.

This land was made for you and me.


I’ve roamed and rambled and I’ve followed my footsteps

To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts

And all around me a voice was sounding

This land was made for you and me.

Yes, this land was made for you and me, for

males and females, young and old, gays, lesbians,

bisexuals and transgender, for all who walk

from the sea sand to desert sands,

this land does belong to you and me

and for all who have immigrated through the desert

and across boarders seeking a better way of life, may

this land soon be for thee.


The sun comes shining as I was strolling

The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling

The fog was lifting a voice come chanting

This land was made for you and me.

Let us keep our grain free of toxins and

poisons and pledge to keep droughts

from increasing and heat waves from raging

and storms from destroying because

this land was made for you and me.


As I was walkin’  –  I saw a sign there

And that sign said – no tress passin’

But on the other side  …. it didn’t say nothin!

Now that side was made for you and me!

And may that side always be there for you and me.


In the squares of the city – In the shadow of the steeple

Near the relief office – I see my people

And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’

If this land’s still made for you and me.

The Second Inauguration of Barack H. Obama

Was filled with Red and Yellow, Black and

White, all who are precious in God’s sight and

it gives us hope that while we continue to

grumble and mumble on behalf of peace,

justice, mercy and we comfort the afflicted

and afflict the comfortable, may we rejoice

in affirming that this land was made for

you and me and the uppercase WE.

On the Pine Ridge Reservation with a Lakota Couple

All the arrangements  were made so

We didn’t just barge into their

Sacred space, which they didn’t

Consider sacred at all, but a

Prison of the white man’s

Making – homes.

Their derision couldn’t be

More obvious – dirt floors,

Thank you. The tall, handsome

Man sat in silence looking forward

Into space as we brought in the

Bed frames and mattresses.  I had

Seen him proud in his regalia at

The Pow Wow, his dance moves

So smooth and sensuous.  The tall,

Physically beautiful woman welcomed

Us into their home. I had seen her dance

At the Pow Wow with her statuesque,

Sexy presence.  I have no idea what

They may have said to each other

After we left, but perhaps, he

Dreamed of wild horses running

Free in the Badlands while she

Thought of the kids and their new


Where is Mr. Rogers When You Need Him?

He would rather watch

Anthony Bourdain


drink himself silly on

a layover in Atlanta


or some exotic place

than all those shot,


mutilated, annihilated on

TV shows as entertainment


without even having had

the benefit of drinking a drop


of booze or ingesting

delicious, delectable


delights for thirty-six

hours with Tony before


he takes off for another

gun free destination.


If they had, they might be

alive today.


It seems like he can’t

watch a dramatic series


except something on

PBS without staring


down the barrel of

another assault weapon.


And a question came to

his mind.  Did any of


those scrawny, skinny

frail looking teenagers


or twenty something

boys with volcanic rage


get an idea out of the

most popular show on


TV – NCIS or its West

Coast cousin or Criminal


Minds to aid and abet

their own criminal minds?


It’s not a beautiful day in

the neighborhood, these


days.  He wonders where

Mr. Rogers is when you


need him?






They Wondered as They Wandered

The husband and wife wandered through

Cabela’s on Sunday. He had seen an ad in

Sunday’s paper and even though they had

every outdoor thing imaginable with the big,

intentional, exception of guns, they thought

it offered a nice excuse for a Sunday ride and

the opportunity to stare at the hiking boots

and trail runners. He is the Amelda Marcos

of running shoes.  She found a great deal

on a base layer hoody for hiking and jogging.

On the way out, after the requisite tour of

the aquarium, he glanced at the area they otherwise

never gave a thought – hunting.  Did he bother

because of all the talk of gun control? He

wondered if they just sold hunting rifles

and small-caliber guns. What they saw

looked like a mob. The store was crowded

but the hunting section was jam-packed.

The ad in the paper didn’t mention great

deals on guns. Guns weren’t mentioned.

Winter clothes for the family were.

So, on this day, four years into Barack

Obama’s presidency, a week or so

before his second inaugural, about a

month after the Sandy Hook slaughter

and just another day when thirty-three

people will be mowed down by guns

in America times 365 days for 12,045

murders a year, the hunting section was

jammed.  Hunting animals is

down nation-wide.  Hunting humans

is up.  Were all these people lined

up to reverse the trend in declining

numbers of deer, bear, squirrel,

rabbit and bird hunting?  They

wondered as they wandered up

and down the aisles, excusing them-

selves as they squeezed among the

shoppers.  He looked over at the fishing

section and wondered why no one was

there except the clerks and salespeople?

As they made their way for the exit, they

realized on a Sunday afternoon where the

worship was happening – in the hunting

section of Cabela’s.  On a Sunday afternoon

they saw god in a glass case.  They saw

the golden calf in high-powered assault

rifles and $2000 handguns. They saw

the real, true, honest, disgusting,

abhorrent, shameful, sacrilegious,

heretical truth that America’s god

is a gun. Lord, have mercy! Christ,

have mercy! Lord, have mercy on

a Sunday afternoon in gun country.

A Derisive Glance at the Stupidity, Insanity and Heresy of the National Obsession With Guns as God

Guns, guns everywhere

and so much blood

as we sit and drink our beer.

Guns, guns everywhere

and we can’t let the NRA fear

and not stand up for our rights.

No, it’s a religious quest —

something for which fights

are for the brightest (sic) and best (sic).

So we won’t give in to the State’s


We’ll fight because we believe

it is our Great God’s plan.

We sit, night after night, staring

dumbly and numbly — Boobs

staring at the tubes

and watch guns blazing on shows

and even on the news.

What fun we have watching

NCIS East and West

blazing away and making

jokes that are the best.

A Person of Interest’s enemy


while his genius boss makes

pretty bad jokes,

and the Hawaii 5-0 beach bums

kid each other while

the enemy croaks.

We get our thrill


and watch and watch


We need those guns to blast

our enemies as

they might come through our doors

with no delay

and the false laws will never

stand in the way

of our Second Amendment rights

and never, ever take

our good God, God granted,

Godly guns away.

Those big mag rifles are our lovers;

We love to stroke the barrel

Or me and my brother’s name

ain’t Darrell and Darrell.

Glocks are our salvation.

Without them there

is no redemption,

So, don’t worry NRA,

they will never, ever

take our guns away.

They cannot take God


They will never take God


Charlton Heston, God rest his

soul, was wrong.

Do you understand?

They cannot pry God

From a cold, dead hand,

Not even when all

Our hands are cold and


God bless America, land

that we militia love.

Yes, I’m a Yankee Doodle

Ding Dong, A

Yankee Wobble head,

do and die.