Monthly Archives: August 2015

Thanksgiving with the Merricks…

Sara returned from her walk through the Pearl District with her mind cleared of all frustrations from the other day. Perhaps if she’d walked longer and further, she might have realized that she hadn’t achieved clarity so much as she’d managed to tidily sweep up her feelings and put them someplace out of reach. It was like when Matt would agree to get rid of something they no longer used or had any need for, and he’d just move it to the basement or attic.

Back at the penthouse, she pulled off her boots by the front door and took whispered steps into the living room, where she stumbled upon the sepulchral figures of Gina’s in-laws displayed neatly among the furniture: Lillian Merrick was draped across the front of a walnut sofa, like a winter coat someone neglected to hang in the closet, and Doug Merrick sat on the opposite end with his legs parted wide and his stubby arms folded gravely.

 “Why, it’s Sara Richter!” Lillian glanced at her husband. “Did you know she was going to be here?”

 “I do now.” Doug plugged a thick finger into the gray shrubbery growing inside his ear. The only other significant amount of hair on his head was a bushy mustache, which Gina liked to call the “Tyrannosaurus Pornstachus.”

 “How are you?” Sara asked. 

 Doug answered, “Fine!” quickly, dismissively, which was his normal pattern of speech. Lillian’s fingers clicked together like knitting needles.

 “Oh,” she said hesitantly. “You mean today? Right now?” 

 “It ain’t the Daily Double, Lillian.”

“I’m sorry, Sara,” she murmured, punctuating her apology with a gust of laughter conspicuously devoid of joy. “It’s just… my mind… Doug’ll tell you… my mind’s in other places. See, we came over a little early, not to get in the way or anything… Gina has so much to do, not that she needs my help or asked for it… but anyway, I thought we might get some time with Charlie and the girls. We don’t see them as often as we’d like… and I checked with Charlie about what time would be best…”

“Two o’clock!” Doug broke in, his displeasure beating against Lillian like heavy rain. “You’d settled on two o’clock, which is when we got here, and they’re asleep.” He threw up his hands. “Middle of the day. I can understand the kids…”

Sara, who could hear Gina rattling with purpose in the kitchen, offered to ask the younger Mrs. Merrick to rouse her husband and daughters.

 “That’s sweet of you,” Lillian said, “but Charlie works so hard at Microsoft, I hate to disturb him. I know it’s not my place. I’m not his wife. I’m only his mother, but he needs his rest.”

 Doug smirked through his mustache, but he didn’t push the matter. He seemed content to be disappointed.

 “Did you just get back from a walk?” Lillian asked Sara. “I’ve always admired that about you. You’re so active.”

 “You’re wrong there, Lillian,” Doug said decisively. “The best thing about Sara is all up here.” He tapped his bald head. “She’s always been a smart girl, real level-headed. So’s Gina, for that matter.” After a moment’s hesitation, he included his own daughter. “And Teri, of course.”

Sara avoided taking a side in the “mind-body” debate and thanked the Merricks in equal measure for their dueling compliments. She sat in a straight back chair opposite the couple and served herself a healthy piece of the German butter cake laid out on the coffee table. She wanted to join Gina, but she felt committed to the Merricks for at least another few minutes. She’d known Doug and Lillian almost as long as her former in-laws, and although they’d always expressed genuine affection toward her, she felt a stifling tension in their presence from the couple’s tortured efforts to maintain an illusion of marital harmony. 

Doug’s right leg jerked restlessly. At his own home, he was constantly adjusting furniture, clearing shelves, wiping away traces of dust only he could see, but the penthouse was spotless beyond even his militaristic expectations, with everything just right, so he turned his attention to his wife, whose hand had fluttered over to take a tiny sliver of cake.

 “What did we discuss?” His lips drew tight across his face.

“Oh!” She wrapped the stolen slice in a napkin as if hiding evidence of a crime. “I’m just not used to eating Thanksgiving dinner so late in the day.” She gripped the napkin within a clenched fist. “I suppose that’s a regional difference, but we’re all happy to adjust to it for Gina’s sake. And of course the meals are so heavy and rich. It can throw you off your diet.”

Doug’s mustache bristled furiously. “It’s not a diet. It’s common sense. We could skip eating for the rest of the weekend after today’s full-fat fest.”

Lillian sighed, buckling under the weight of her husband’s declaration. “Well, it’s just wonderful to see you,” she said to Sara. “I’m so glad you’re spending Thanksgiving with us. I assume Gina didn’t tell me for a reason.”

“She works for a living,” Doug barked. “She was probably too busy to send you the guest list.”

“I just wish she had,” Lillian said, her sagging eyes still on Sara, “because I would have brought you something. Charlie says you’re practically starting all over, so you might need essentials, you know, like a good vase.”

Doug gestured in disbelief at the empty space beside him. 

“That’s kind of you,” Sara said, taking up another forkful of cake.

“Even when we didn’t have much,” Lillian continued, “I would always set the table with fresh-cut flowers. It can be whatever’s on sale at the supermarket, but it just makes your house feel like a home.” Her hand fell on Sara’s arm like a tissue. “Are your parents still in the same house?”

The question confused Sara, and Lillian explained she meant the same house where Sara grew up.

“No,” she said, pausing to swallow. “We didn’t stay in one place that long. We traveled a lot when I was young.” She mentioned a year spent in Costa Rica and another on a sailboat in the British Virgin Islands.

“I can’t imagine not feeling like you had a home,” Lillian said, shaking her narrow head sadly. “We were determined that Charlie and Teresa would have stability, so no matter the sacrifice, we promised never to move while they were in school. When their father was transferred to Denver in ’89, I stayed here with them, and he rented an apartment in the city.” She smiled slightly at the memory. 

“Sara doesn’t care about that,” Doug broke in sharply. “What have you been doing with yourself?” he demanded

Sara knew Doug Merrick well enough to understand he was only interested in how she earned money, and she answered accordingly.

“Oh, that sounds… different,” Lillian remarked. “Do you say ‘Order up!’? I like when they say ‘Order up!'” Lillian shared her son’s sense of humor but not his freedom to express it.

 “Christ, Lillian, let her get a word in edgewise!” Doug yanked on the ends of his blazer sleeves. “We’ve never spent that much time in restaurants.”

“No, that’s true…”

“Of course, it’s true, why else would I mention it? We never ate out. Now, I did occasionally at business meetings, which were always a waste of time, but we never went to a sit down place and paid for it with my own money until…”

“Charlie introduced us to Gina.” The napkin had shredded in Lillian’s hands and crumbs sprinkled over her shoes. “That would’ve been toward the end of his sophomore year — almost seventeen years!”

“She can remember that but not the exit to our house,” Doug grumbled.
Lillian pressed forward, her fingers weaving together. “I was more than happy to cook a nice meal at home, but Charlie wanted to make a good impression. It was The Metropolitan Grill. It’s probably the Irish in me, but I just find fancy dinners very showy. Anyway, that would have been spring of 1998.” She smiled at Sara. “You hadn’t met Charlie yet, had you?” After a meaningful pause, she added, “What a shame.”

Doug Merrick glared at his wife and, with only slightly less contempt, his watch. “I hope we see these girls before they go to college.”

“I’ve said I was sorry so many times!” Lillian billowed out from the sofa like thin drapes covering an open window during a storm. Her voice, however, never rose above its usual whisper, but that was still the moment when Lillian Merrick’s daughter-in-law appeared from the kitchen — spotless and composed, as if she’d only been calmly watching others at work. 

“I heard people talking out here, so I just assumed Charlie was up,” Gina said, placing a hand on Sara’s shoulder. “Why it’s almost 2:30!” 

Doug nodded while tapping the side of his nose. “Sara’s been entertaining us while we wait for our appointment.”

Gina clucked her tongue. “Why don’t I arrange a trade? I’ll go round up Charlie and the girls, and Sara can come help me dot the ‘i”s and cross the “t” in Thanksgiving.” She reached over to cut off a tiny piece of cake and popped it in her mouth.

— from “The Wrong Questions”

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Posted by on August 28, 2015 in The Wrong Questions


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Hell Now or Hell Forever…

“That’s a lovely dress, Wiggles,” Gina said.

“Thanks!” She ran a hand down the front. “It requires some explanation.”

“Really?” Margaret smiled politely.

The explanation was long and circuitous and ultimately no more interesting than the process anyone went through to select and purchase clothing.

“Then the shop wouldn’t take my credit card,” she continued — well past her story’s natural climax. “I said, ‘The register clearly displays the AmEx logo among the cards you accept.’ The clerk goes, ‘Well, we did, but we don’t anymore, and I guess we never got around to changing it.’ I explained to her that the register’s display was basically a binding agreement. I asked to see the manager, and she went to get her, but by that point, I realized that my Visa was giving double cash back this month, so I just used that.”

Winifred Landman’s argumentative nature had steered her toward a career in law. For many years, she was only conservative regarding Israel, but her politics had taken a hard right turn after a homeless person fell asleep in the backseat of her Honda Civic, which she’d left unlocked before a night of bar hopping in Pioneer Square. Now she was proudly one of the toughest prosecutors in King County.

“So, I’m surprised Sara showed up to a wedding,” Wiggles said, “all things considered.”

“Sara always RSVPs as soon as she receives the invitation,” Gina explained.

“But circumstances have obviously changed,” Pauline noted.

“Maybe she knew Matt wasn’t coming,” Margaret suggested.

Gina shook her head, and blonde waves struck her shoulders. “No, once she commits, she always follows through. Even if Matt had shown up, it wouldn’t have mattered. That’s how she is.”

Now that Wiggles had entered into the subject of Sara’s marriage like a curvy canary in a gossip mine, the other women felt safe to venture further.

“I wonder what Sara told her parents?” asked Pauline, who didn’t buy wallpaper without parental consultation.

“She didn’t say,” Gina replied. She believed it entirely possible that Sara hadn’t mentioned her impending divorce to the Richters, which made the three-week delay before Sara informed Gina slightly more palatable.

“It would devastate Mom and Dad if I walked away from my marriage,” Pauline declared. “I could never do that to them. Even if I wanted to.” She chewed listlessly. “But I obviously don’t want to.”

Brenda Waylen was halfway through her second ginger pear cocktail and had started to become demonstrative. “But if you were unhappy…” she said.

“I’m not,” Pauline insisted as though repeating a mantra: “I have a wonderful marriage.”

“Oh, for sure, but if you were unhappy — and we can only imagine Sara was — all I’m saying is I’m sure your family would understand.”

“I’m sure they understand the Bible,” Pauline replied, her arms folded. “’What God has joined, let no man separate.’”

“Technically, though, Sara separated herself from Matt,” Wiggles pointed out. She added, shrugging, “I’m a lawyer.”

“And Sara’s parents might not see it that way,” Margaret said. “Aren’t they part of some quirky religion?” The word “quirky” was Margaret’s polite euphemism for “liberal.”

“The Religious Society of Friends,” Gina said to blank faces, so she clarified: “Quakers.”

“Oh, like Scientologists?”

“No, Wiggles, this religion wasn’t founded back in the ‘50s in someone’s garage.”

Margaret Ashe examined her teeth in the back of a spoon. Satisfied with her appearance, she tapped the utensil against her thin lips.

“We’re thinking of getting a new car,” she added tangentially.

“What’s wrong with your Outback?” Brenda asked.

“It’s OK… it’s functional. There’s just no joy in it anymore. It’s fine for Dylan to take to work, but we need something new for me. It’ll be good for the kids, too.”

Brenda set down her drink. “Maybe Sara felt that way about Matt.” She dabbed the sides of her mouth with a napkin. “I thought Matt was a good guy. Still is, I guess. No one’s perfect, of course, and Sara probably knew him best. But he always seemed charming and attentive. Better than a lot of husbands out there.” She picked up her drink again. “I suppose when Sara left Matt, it felt like she was saying we might as well all cut our losses… why bother?”

Everyone was quiet, except for Wiggles who chewed a cookie boisterously, and soon Gina felt obligated to state the obvious: “That’s not what she’s saying, Brenda… or doing, or implying. She’s getting divorced. That’s all. It happens.”

Pauline sniffed. “I don’t know the specifics of Sara’s situation, but I know what Mom always told me: Better to be in hell now than in hell forever.”

Gina recalled spending a weekend with Brenda and Margaret at Pauline’s house when they were in college. Her father had wandered around in a ratty robe and even sat on the sofa with his legs spread at full Basic Instinct. Pauline’s mother must have really feared eternal damnation.

— from “The Wrong Questions”

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Posted by on August 11, 2015 in The Wrong Questions


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Drinks at May’s…

By the end of dinner, Sara was exhausted from a long weekend of socializing, and she wanted nothing more than to retreat to Cindy’s apartment and read. She hadn’t decided what she’d download to her Kindle, but whatever she chose, she looked forward to the still silence of the words. Jane felt like a cocktail and more conversation: “Something cold with someone cool,” she said, directing the force of her smile at Cindy and the force of her words at Chris: “Do you want to drop Sara off at Cindy’s and then swing us over to May’s?”

Nodding pleasantly while paying the check, Chris Beltran accepted his girlfriend’s question as the directive it was. Later, per Jane’s instruction, he waited for Sara to cross the street and safely enter Cindy’s apartment building —  “It’s a little sketchy this close to the 99” — before driving half a mile to their next stop. May’s was a Thai restaurant on 45th designed to resemble an authentic old teak house. Through the lowered car window, Jane told Chris that she’d “Uber it” back to her condo in Belltown and then sent him on his way to Greenlake.

“All Thai restaurants smell like fish,” Jane said as she led Cindy downstairs, “and the food reeks of it, even the stuff with chicken or beef. But the lounge here is poppin.’”

The lounge gleamed red and glittery gold. They eased into a vinyl-lined booth. There were just enough people around to provide the illusion of privacy without the discomfort of true solitude.

“Chris is a doll,” Jane declared, “but a man can really dominate a conversation.” Cindy nodded, but she actually couldn’t recall Chris speaking more than a dozen words all day. He made Sara seem loquacious. “I’m stoked that it’s just you and me now.” Jane rested an arm behind her. “I’ve wanted to talk to you for some time. I’ve said, ‘Cindy Prior, that is a gal I’d like to know better.’ I don’t know why it hasn’t happened.”

“I’m sorry,” Cindy said, finding herself apologizing as if fully to blame, “the summer just got away from me.”

Jane ordered a Garuda’s Perch for herself and a Bubbly Hibiscus for Cindy. “They’re bomb,” she said. Cindy was usually wary of drinks with proper names, but she felt in the mood to escape her current mood.

“You’ve had a houseguest,” Jane noted, although Cindy had stopped thinking of Sara as just a visitor. “I know how it is. That’s why when people come see me, I put them up in a hotel.” She licked the sugar off the rim of her glass. “So, you think Sara will go back?”

“Go back?” Cindy repeated, swinging her crossed leg. “Where?”

“Who,” Jane corrected. “Matt.”

“Why, I don’t know.” Cindy took a quick sip of her drink. “She’s still adjusting.”

“Fair enough.” Jane shrugged. “But I don’t think she’s going back. I have faith in her.”

Cindy bit her lip to hold back a recent memory, and Jane poked her shoulder like she was testing a steak for its doneness.

“You know something I don’t?”

“Me?” Cindy pried her fingers from a thatch of red curls. “No.”

“Good, cause, what I’m saying is I’m happy for her. No else would say it. No one else would admit. But us.” Jane’s words lassoed Cindy and pulled her closer. “You and me. We’re a vanishing breed. We live our own lives.”

“I suppose.”

“Hey, we go home tonight, who’s there? No one we don’t want to be. How many wives can say that?” Jane clinked her glass against Cindy’s. “So, let’s talk about you.”

Cindy felt like a spotlight had been focused on her. She batted her eyes. “Oh, well, honestly, I’d have to say everything is just going great! I’m gonna be an aunt again, you know.” Jane nodded as she played with the zipper at the hem of her jeans. “Jacob’s awesome, but it’ll be so different having a niece. My parents are just thrilled. They’ve already rescheduled the trip to Peru they had planned for Dad’s sixty-fifth birthday so they can be in Portland when Mindy gives birth.”

“Peru, huh? Fancy. Well, vacationing there is. I hear actually living there is a bust.”

“Yeah,” Cindy agreed. “My mom thinks struggling countries are much nicer to Americans. They appreciate all the tourism, I guess. They’ve both really taken to traveling lately, especially overseas. They like America, of course, don’t get me wrong, but neither of them enjoy much of it outside the northwest.” Cindy paused to quickly offer an instinctive, middle-class defense of her parents’ wealth: “They’ve worked so hard over the years.”

“Good for them,” Jane said, adding with a wink, “and you eventually.”

“How’s your family?” Cindy asked, twirling her straw.

“They’re… relatives.” Jane laughed. “No, they’re boss. Barbecues. Holidays. All the stuff you’d expect. My dad retired three years ago: He finally left my mom.” She mimed striking a drum. “Ba-dah-bum! Seriously, though, he’s a great guy. Self-made man.” Jane noticed the palliative effect the subject of family, anyone’s family, had on Cindy, so she leaned back with her drink and continued. “My grandparents never had much money, so they were miserable. My dad always wanted more, but his brother didn’t make waves. You know the sort of kid who’s just as happy with an empty box for Christmas even if everyone else got a toy rifle? By their teens, it was clear their futures weren’t shade-worthy. Now, there was some distant cousin who never had a family of his own and was loaded. My grandparents practically adopted the old coot. They figured if they were nice enough, he’d reward them when the time came. That was also the only reason they ever went to church. Then in ’64, he croaks and leaves everything to my dad.”

“Why just your father?”

“He asked,” Jane answered with a shrug. “His folks danced around it — real poseurs. But Dad cut to the chase. They didn’t care at first. They thought he’d just hand it over and take whatever they felt like giving him back. You pay taxes. You know what that’s like. But they were too thick to see that the money had changed everything. It wasn’t even like they were his parents anymore. I mean, outside of, you know, biology, but in the real world, they were just this sort of pathetic middle-aged couple trying to tell him what to do. And who listens to poor people? So, he took off and enrolled at UC Santa Cruz. He just wanted to keep a solid C average so he could stay out of Vietnam. Or ‘Nam. He always calls it ‘Nam. Even though he never went. His brother go drafted, though, and he came back in a box. There wasn’t even much of a story, like what you see in the movies. He just died. Kids today spend $100,000 to get a degree, and they always feel like they got gypped. But my dad paid $20,000 to stay alive, so he considers it money well spent.”

Cindy stared into her glass and watched the ice cubes melt before pointing out, “But you said he was self-made.”

“Yeah,” Jane confirmed, not seeing any conflict. “He made it all for himself. He saw opportunity and took it. Like he always told me, ‘I never owned a slave or killed an Indian. My money’s as clean as anyone’s.’” She set her drink on the table and conducted her thoughts with heavily ringed hands: “See, what I’m saying is: You have to look out for yourself. Who else is going to do it? Family? Perhaps.” She shook her head. “A man? Perhaps.” She shook her head harder. “You’re the only definite. That’s the truth. God’s honest, gospel truth, and do they want you to embrace it? No, they want you to spend your whole life being afraid of it.” She held a candle below her face and spoke with a creepy intonation, “Don’t. Die. Alone. Let me tell you something, sister: We all do.” She put down the candle and picked up her drink. “No matter the size of your rock — I’ll buy my own, thank you! — or all the kids you wrecked your body having., OKCupid, eHarmony… What are those things? They’re a sand trap… no, they’re symptoms of a disease — people wasting their lives running from the inevitable. And I admire the stuffing out of you for just… standing still. It couldn’t have been easy. But look at you now! You have yourself, and that’s the only thing worth having.”

Cindy peered through her glasses at her almost-thirty-seven-year-old reflection in the mirror behind the bar. This was the first time in a while — if ever — that Cindy had thought of herself as a commodity. She finished her drink.

“Delish, huh? How about a couple more?” Not waiting for an answer, Jane signaled the bartender for another round. “Now, it’s true: I’ve got the word’s hottest man. But this is key: We each have our own places, set up just how we want. No arguments. No tension. No mess… we both have maids. I’ve got a closet full of stuff at his. He’s got a toothbrush at mine. It’s the best of both worlds. He asks me, ‘Should we move in together?’ I say, ‘No way!’ Why? For the same reason I give the middle finger to marriage.” She also physically flipped off the idea of wedlock. “I like my freedom. Why should I give that up?”

Jane’s candor shook Cindy’s propriety and caused her to ask, without her innate Prior filter, “Don’t you want kids?”

“Plenty of time for that!” She dismissed the four years remaining in her thirties with a sweep of light brown hair over her ear. “Besides, kids are an indulgence, not an investment. Look at those old biddies in the nursing homes. A horde of grandchildren among them. Who’s there every day? Their nurses. Clock in. Clock out. It’s all transactional. When they shipped my grandmother to one of those places, everyone she knew before she started forgetting everyone was already burnt toast. What she clung to the most was her home. Why? Because, in the end, how do we define happiness? Security! And that equals freedom, and freedom has a price tag.”

Jane moved closer to Cindy in the booth until her bare shoulder rubbed against Cindy’s fleeced arm.

“I want to show you something. It means a lot to me because I know it’ll mean a lot to you.” She slipped an iPad mini from her bag and opened an app with casual swipes of a pinky. “This is a house. I shouldn’t call it a house. That’s insulting. It’s an opportunity. It’s an experience. It’s under foreclosure, so we should act soon.” She lowered her voice, as if about to share something deeply personal. “Listen closely to what your heart tells you, because I feel like you’re going to fall in love.”

— from The Wrong Questions

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Posted by on August 5, 2015 in The Wrong Questions


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The FOX debate…

FOX has announced the 10 candidates for the GOP nomination who will appear in the first primetime debate.

The first primetime debate of the Republican primary race on Thursday will include ten candidates, according to FOX News: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich. 

FOX, which is hosting the debate in Cleveland, Ohio, announced the list of the top 10 candidates based on recent national polling on air at 6pm ET Tuesday. 

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who earlier last week was at risk of missing the cut for the primetime debate in his home state, made the cut at the 10th spot, edging out former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. 

Candidates that did not make the cut will participate in a separate debate earlier on Thursday. Those Republicans are: Perry, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Jim Gilmore and George Pataki. 

First off, I think it’s somewhat ridiculous for FOX to enforce an arbitrary cut-off for the debate. This isn’t American Idol. No one has voted yet, and they’ve already set a distinction between major league and minor league candidates, which I think effectively ends the campaigns of everyone in Tier 2. Yeah, they’ll have a “separate debate” earlier in the day, which about as many people will watch as will participate. It’s almost like the singles table at a wedding: “Bobby, I think you and Lindsey will get along smashingly. Yes, you just met a half hour ago but you’re both polling poorly, so you have that in common.”

Let’s also take a moment to consider that four governors (Gilmore, Jindal, Pataki, and Perry), and two senators (Graham and Santorum), who despite what you might think of their politics have some practical experience, won’t be on the same stage in a primetime debate for the GOP presidential nomination with the former star of The Apprentice. That is Trump’s occupation, by the way. That’s why most voters even know his name. It’s not like Steve Jobs is still alive and is running. No one sits down to watch Hulu on their “Trump Tablets.”

And Trump is arguably still the most appealing of the “major league” candidates. I suppose Bush is supposed to get credit for being the only closeted asshole of the bunch.

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Posted by on August 4, 2015 in Political Theatre


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More on Trump…

From Politico:

A new Monmouth University poll has Trump at 26 percent, easily topping his competitors. The next-closest candidates — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — are at 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively. 

Both the new Monmouth survey and an average of the five most recent live-caller polls — Fox News’ criteria for whittling the list of Republicans down to 10 candidates for Thursday night’s debate — reinforce the tiers that have developed since Trump upended the race by surging to the top.

Beneath Trump, Bush and Walker are five more candidates who are hovering around 6 percent in the poll average (and scored between 4 percent and 6 percent in the Monmouth poll): pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

I suppose the theory (or at least the hope from the Bush campaign) is that majority of GOP primary voters will eventually unite behind Jeb. But the folks supporting Cruz, Huckabee, Paul, even Carson and Christie seem more likely to back Trump. He is more similar to all of them in temperament and rhetoric. I wonder if the GOP establishment will at some point pressure Walker or Rubio to withdraw as their supporters seem likely Bush voters.

I know it’s almost a year until the GOP convention but gee, Jeb, your dad and your brother were both president. You were governor of a state for a while and now you’re losing to Donald Trump by 14 points? That’s only acceptable if the poll was conducted by Trump himself.


Posted by on August 3, 2015 in Political Theatre


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Trump Voters…

Some of my favorite comments from Donald Trump supporters via Facebook:

“I’ve been wrong but as of right now this man has my VOTE UNLESS I FIND OUT HE ISNT A CHRISTIAN OR HE DOESNT BELIEVE IN GOD. What else is there ? We have to have someone who can’t be bought if there is a future. I can be utterly negative and say Lord come quickly but doesn’t the word teach us to live as though we are going to live forever and live as though our Lord could come anytime?”

“Not saying I agree with everything this guy says but FINALLY a guy running for office that isn’t pussified and PC. I think at the very least the country will lean towards him to show the other politicians to grow a pair!”

“THIS is why I’m voting for this cornhole, He’s not ANYONE’S puppet and he says what he’s thinking. GOOD or BAD All I keep hearing him say over and over is “Let’s make America Great again!” got my vote.”

“That’s the way things should be in politics, no compromise with anybody but with the country.”

“Untouchable like Elliot Ness”

‘We all remember Obama using the word CHANGE and Lord knows he sure did CHANGE things to being worse than ever. If u want real, positive CHANGE in this country vote for Trump. He really doesn’t need anybody’s special interest money and he won’t owe anything to anybody and he definitely will create jobs and secure our borders.”

“This is why The Donald is dangerous to the republicans, democrats, and every lobbyist in Washington, the money can’t influence him!! I dunno, everybody thought it was crazy for an actor to be governor of California and then president. Is the Donald the next Ronald? Anything dangerous to the establishment in Washington is more than likely good for the American people. Donald J. Trump is a very real threat to the establishment!!!”

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Posted by on August 2, 2015 in Political Theatre


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Badly done, Jared…

From the Business Insider:

The FBI has subpoenaed an affidavit containing alleged texts between former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle and a former female Subway franchisee in which Fogle says he paid for sex with a 16-year-old girl, according to the former franchisee’s attorney.

On June 19, the lawyer says that Fogle again asked the woman to advertise herself on Craigslist. She responds: “Is this the same website you found that 16 year old girl you that you f*****? …I still can’t believe you only paid $100 for her.”

Fogle responds: “It was amazing!!!!”

She asks: “What part of her ad made you think she was selling sex?”

He says: “U will have to read them to see.”

The age of consent in Indiana, where Fogle resides, is 16 years old.

First place, whenever someone asks you such a leading question — “I’m going to grab some cash at the corner ATM. Is that the same bank that you robbed at gunpoint and used the funds to buy a warehouse full of cocaine, assault rifles, and bootleg Prince records?” — your response should *not* be to willingly incriminate yourself but to borrow from Eric Stoltz in PULP FICTION and shout, “I don’t know you. Who is this? Prank caller! Prank caller!”

Also, if you’re engaged in this type of activity, shouldn’t you have a “no text” policy? Everything’s verbal or you use code words (“Did you tape DOWNTON ABBEY? YES! It was AMAZING! Very satisfying… episode.”) or invest in that MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE technology where everything self-destructs after 60 seconds.

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Posted by on August 1, 2015 in Social Commentary


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Facebook “Friend” Requests…

I’ve noticed a Facebook‬ trend where people will post a simple question or request advice and follow that up with a lengthy codicil that basically pleads, “Don’t be an asshole” E.g.: “I’m going to my cousin’s wedding in Tampa. Anyone have any hotel recommendations? Please no comments about how Florida is a cesspool that’s not fit for human habitation.” Or “I’m attending a work conference in Austin, Texas. Any ideas on vegan friendly meal options there? Please no comments on how vegans are patchouli-smoking hippies and I’m wasting my time by going to Texas and not eating a big steak or enjoying the local barbecue.” Or “I have tickets to a Rolling Stones concert. Has anyone gone to a big stadium show before? When’s the best time to arrive? And any tips on parking to avoid the crush when the show lets out? Please no comments on how Mick Jagger is an undead mummy and that the Stones best work was over before I was born and how arena shows are absurdly expensive.” Is this what the Internet has done to us? We can’t just answer someone’s question without unsolicited, meanspirited commentary? Or just not say anything at all? And the requests aren’t paranoid, because we’ve all read the threads where people are, basically, assholes.

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Posted by on August 1, 2015 in Social Commentary



Badly done, South Carolina…

From the Greenville News:

Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis released a statement Tuesday saying (Zachary) Hammond died from a gunshot wound to the upper torso, but the statement didn’t indicate if the bullet came from the front or back. He referred questions to SLED, the Seneca Police and the 10th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Tori Dianna Morton, 23, of Pickens, was in the car with Hammond but wasn’t hurt. She was arrested for possession of marijuana.

Covington said the officer approached the car with his gun drawn, as is common practice in making narcotics arrests.

An undercover officer had arranged a drug buy to lure Morton into the parking lot of Hardee’s restaurant on U.S. 123, according to an incident report.

The report says the officer executed a search warrant and found a bag of marijuana in the car. It makes no mention of the shooting. Covington said the officer will file a statement later.


I have not been to Paranoia Academy, but how often do people run over cops rather than just try to escape? And even if it occurs a great deal, in the time to draw your weapon and fire *point blank* at the person behind the wheel, can’t you just… get out of the way?

What was the worst-case scenario here? An adult would have purchased a drug that is legal in several U.S. states, a drug that cannot be used to mow down 9 people in a church. Yet, resources are wasted on an undercover “sting” of someone buying marijuana. And now a 19-year-old is dead. DEAD. Why? What the the hell is wrong with a state where this kid could have legally bought an assault rifle, even if he had a history of mental problems, but he’s shot dead because he *drove* someone to buy pot.

If Zachary Hammond lived in Washington or Colorado, he’d be alive. South Carolina, you need to explain to the rest of the civilized world how your residents are safer because of the laws that led to this young man’s death.


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Posted by on August 1, 2015 in Social Commentary


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