I was recording some ideas on my Sony tape recorder, and suddenly the red record button wouldn’t depress. I pressed again, and nothing happened.    Something was stuck. I pressed several times, changing the force each time, and the button finally went down. I don’t know what was sticking, or why the button finally went down, but it worked.

Have you ever faced that kind of a situation, wherein you attempt a repair and you do something that you can see or feel, but you don’t really know what you’re doing. You just know that if you touch the thing in a certain way, pushing it backwards and forward four times other events take place and they are pleasing – they are right – they are good. Your effort doesn’t work every time, but when it works life is perfect again.

If you think about that kind of situation, such as pressing something yet not knowing exactly what it is attached to, yet you press it three or four times and something happens at some other level, in some other connectedness, in some other interface then something goes, something works. That is similar to the healing arts. The doctors frequently don’t know what the hell they are doing, but they press, push, probe, stick and something happens. That diligence and persevering occurs in psychotherapy.

“Yes, Mrs. Schutlz, I know it seems that we are just talking, but one of the things that happens is that you will undergo some genuine changes. Usually these changes are of a beneficial sort, and after some time everything will work out fine.

“Yes Doctor, but how does it work, how come the talking works.”

“It works – it just works! Don’t you like to be talked to; don’t you feel better when you get talked to? Don’t be silly now; everybody likes to be talked to.”

“But Doctor that’s just paying money to be talked to?”

“You’re right Mrs. Schultz, but something good happens. It is like pulling bones, pressing muscles, or stimulating a cell in the brain with three or four drops of a chemical. Two pulls, or press and three drops and something happens that is good. Who knows why, or how, or what actually happens?

Whatever happens, it feels good. If it doesn’t, we try something else until it feels good. Feeling good won’t happen every time, but sooner or later therapy will work just like my Sony tape recorder. Mrs. Schultz, did I ever tell you about my Sony tape  recorder?”


Small talk is seen as trivial, meaningless, and superficial. Often we hear people complain that…

“I can’t stand small talk!”

“Oh, all that small talk is driving my crazy!”

Why do we engage in small talk? Because we are small people? No. Big people engage in small talk. Perhaps it is because we have small minds. I don’t believe so, since many small minds are known to talk big.

The main reason for small talk must be the mouth size. Small talk is probably caused by a small mouth. Big mouths are known to talk big. In fact, big talk is the hallmark of a big mouth, or is that a loud mouth?

Have you ever heard loud mouths talk small talk? It might not be possible.  Since small talk is bad, then big talk must be good. Remember the joyful hours you have spent listening to big talk. Big talk, out of big mouths, with small minds.

Small talk is not at all trivial, meaningless nor superficial. Small talks allow us the time to become acquainted; small talk allows us to gracefully engage a stranger, or to painlessly tolerate the friend.


Pope Francis commented on the violence and religious offence in Paris. He suggested that there is a limit to free speech when it concerned offending someone’s religious beliefs. “There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others, “ he said. “They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr. Gasparri (a Papal Aide) if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit.” The Pope said that Dr.Gasparri would “get a punch.”

Right on, Pope! And I suppose if someone came up to you and said your Mother, “sucks” you would also throw a left hook. Why didn’t the killers in Paris go into the offices of Charlie Hebdo and just punch a cartoonist, or beat the shit out of everyone in the office. I can’t understand why the murderer at the Kosher deli didn’t just sucker punch the deli man. We don’t know, but maybe the Deli man said, “Hey, Mohammed, get your black ass out of here.”

Pope Francis, what would you do if Dr. Gasparri cursed your mother, and then blew her to pieces with an automatic weapon.  It would have been quite a sight if when the Crusaders invaded Moslem nations, they didn’t kill, and just punched the shit out of thousands of men, women and children. The Inquisitor maybe wasn’t the boxer you are, so he resorted to burning blasphemers at the stake.

If anyone was looking for material for comedy, tragic or otherwise, the religions of the world offer limitless content. For starters, just look at your costume. When you are finished check out the Pope mobile. Just several off the cuff comedy routines. A group of grieving women trying to move a 7 foot diameter boulder from the mouth of a cave, or even turning an attractive young  woman into a pillar of salt. Who would not want 7 or more virgins waiting for you at heaven’s gate – or porch or redwood deck?

What is not humorous is murder, maiming and intentionally destroying the life space of any person. At times every mother, even yours deserves a curse or two. What child has not cursed (sotto voce) a mommy while being ordered to their room, reprimanded for spilling a glass of milk,  or losing their IPad. Is there a husband alive who has not cursed his wife, or at least his mother-in-law? God, the Lord, and cohorts, mothers, and Santa are all targets for verbal abuse – anytime, anywhere and even by Dr. Gasparri. Your aide was lucky that you do not carry a Glock, and you prefer a punch.





The video shop was crowded. I was somewhat relieved by the bustle, because I felt that my anonymity would be preserved amongst the crowd. I quickly scanned the group looking for any neighbors, local politicians, or friends of my children.  I immediately searched the comedy tapes, and then the Walt Disney videos hoping that any suspicious eyes would be relieved by my innocent selections. The true nature of my video quest would have to wait until I felt more secure.

Slowly, but deliberately I worked my way over to the counter. I leafed through the video catalog. Mysteries, comedies, documentaries, dramas, musicals and then adult movies! Immediately, I turned back to the pages cataloging the mysteries, comedies, documentaries, dramas, musicals, and yet, as if by a magnetic force, I was once again scanning adult video titles.

“Can I help you”, said the clerk. I was stunned, and I immediately closed the catalog book. “No thank you”, I blurted. I had never said, “No thank you,” so rapidly. I felt caught out, so I walked over to the wall displaying the latest video releases. I needed a moments respite. I was almost ready to take a copy of “Raindance”, and suppress my urges. I could rent the musical, and hold my head up high as I left the store, but lust and desire held me in place.

I did take the musical. I roamed down an aisle, and worked my way to the rear of the store where there was a separate room filled with adult movies. Why did they have a separate room dedicated to the worlds smut? Everyone knew what was in the back room. Every child in town knew that the rear of the store housed videos reserved for the local perverts. Entering the room, even casually, would mark you as not just curious, but as a lustful degenerate.

Just to the right of the rear entrance was a rack of foreign language films. Fortunately, I had every right to stand near the rack and scan the foreign films since my wife was French, and I could speak the language. I took two videos that were in French, with English subtitles, and I furtively slipped into the sex room.

The walls were covered with video cassettes featuring near nudes of women, men, two men, three women, etc, etc. Each title seemed intriguing, as did the photos. “Lust on the Orient Express”; Caught from Behind 6”; “Charm School”;” James Bond Meets Octopussy”. Should I choose from the title alone, or from the cover picture?

I picked up one of the videos, and as I started to read the description on the box, a middle aged man walked into the room. Quickly I replaced the video and left the room. I went directly to the counter with the French films, and waited for the clerk. “Is that all you want?’ she said. “No”, I said, “Just put this aside, please” As I regained my composure, I wandered through the shop and re-entered the back room. Just as I did, the man left. I was annoyed that he had left. I wanted to make my selection in his presence, without shame and without guilt.

I found myself staring at one video that featured sadomasochistic content. Dare I take that one? The thought excited me, but such a public demonstration of my fantasy life was too frightening. I chose one film, because it contained my name in the title, but I then randomly chose another with a cover that could have been a husband and wife in a bathtub.

I went to the counter and told the clerk the numbers of the videos that I wanted. The French films were numbers 334, and 336, and the smut was number 113. I thought that would be enough, but she replied, “Excuse me, was that number 113”? I thought to myself, who heard her? Did anyone hear her? Even if no one else heard her, I did! She must have known that all films with numbers from 100 to 200 were X—rated films.

I had been in the store for twenty minutes, and I knew that fact. I repeated, “Yes, number 113”. I meant to say it in a whisper, but it came out in full voice. She replied, “That will be eight dollars, Mr. Golden.” I was stunned. Instantly a massive fever gripped my head. Suddenly I realized that I had worn my golf shirt, which had my name embroidered on the chest pocket. I forced a smile, withdrew the eight dollars from my wallet, paid the clerk, and quickly exited with my three videos. With head bowed, I scampered to my car and drove home.

Which do we watch first? The French films of critical acclaim, or the depraved. Sarah must have heard me as I entered the house. She startled me with her shout from the upstairs bedroom. “Tom, please bring me a glass of water.” I was so tense and guilt ridden, that I replied, “Do we have any oranges?”  Sarah replied, “Tom, I said water, not juice.” I replied, “Sure, darling. I’ll be right up.”

It was time to bite the bullet, or at least my nails. “Sarah, are you up to watching a movie?” She shouted, “What?” “I was wondering if you would care to watch a movie?”   “Tom, I’m thirsty.” I shouted, “I’m coming. You like love stories don’t you?” She replied, “Yes, sure I do. Are you coming up”? I walked to the bottom of the stairs holding the video # 113 in my right hand, and the glass of water in my left hand. I shouted, “Sarah, you know many love stories are so boring – don’t you think?” Somewhat annoyed, she replied, “Tom, I’m really dying of thirst. I don’t care what movie we watch.”  That should have been a relief, but no way.

“Sarah, the video clerk suggested this great foreign film. Should I bring it up?” Sarah with some exasperation replied, “Whatever. Tom are you coming or not?” “Sure, I’m coming. I’m just getting some ice for your water.” “Tom I don’t need any ice. I’m not hot. Just thirsty.” I laughed to myself. I was just thinking about the orgy that might occur if only I were able to climb the stairs.

“Tom!” “Yes”, I replied.  “Would you like some ice?” She replied, “No thanks, I don’t need any ice. I’m not hot.” I laughed to myself.  “Tom!” “ Yeh!” Sarah said, “Tom, forget the water, I’m going to sleep.” I called, “Sarah!” No answer. She must have put the wax plugs in her ears. Ah what the hell! I shouted anyway. “Sarah, I’ve got this Triple X porn video for us. You’ll love it. What do you say?”

All was quiet on the second floor. If I were not married, I would have watched the video myself, in the family room. Being married I felt such an act would have been the ultimate perversity. I walked into the kitchen, and opened the refrigerator and took a Stoneyfield Vanilla Yogurt. I ate the yogurt, while reading every credit on the porn video box. I’ll try tomorrow; the video rental is good for three days.



Debates can be informative, captivating, elevating and even entertaining. On September 26, 2016 television viewers can watch the NFL game of the week or a debate for the ages – not quite all the ages.

1500 – 1551: Since the Valladolid Debate occurred in Spain from 1550-1551 during the Spanish wars of conquest in the New World. It concerned a theologically and politically pressing issue at the time: did the native peoples of the Americas deserve the same treatment as free men? (sound familiar???) Or did Christian teachings and natural law make colonization and oppression imperative? The debaters were a Dominican friar and Bishop of Chiapas. Both parties said they won, but neither received the desired outcome. (Oppression is still rampant, not here – but there! You know over there!)

1830: And the Webster – Hayne Debate. A Senate debate in 1830. The debate began with a beef between Northeast states and Western states over a plan to restrict western land sales. Senator Robert Hayne of South Carolina argued on behalf of states’ rights. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts argued that “America was not just a collection of sovereign states, but a popular government, erected by the people; those who administer it responsible to the people; and itself capable of being amended and modified, just as the people may choose it should be.” (Hurray for Senator Danny Webster – Danny, Danny, he’s our man, If he can’t do it, nobody can!!)

1858: Oh, here comes the biggy. Lincoln Douglas Debates in 1858. A total of seven debates throughout the congressional districts in Illinois. Total divisiveness in the nation regarding sectional rights, and the issue of slavery. Lincoln, the Republican (can you believe it!) was a newcomer to the antislavery movement. Lincoln lost the state election, but the Republicans received more popular votes than the Democrats (how the hell did he lose??). Lincoln gained a powerful reputation in the North, and soon became a possible presidential candidate. Senator Douglas won the debate, but lost favor with the Democratic administration and he was stripped of his power in the Senate.

1948: This debate is somewhat esoteric, but still very famous??? Frederick Copleston versus Bertrand Russell. The debate was in 1948 on BBC Radio. The existence of G-D* was the subject (What else is new). The debate is one of the most famous theological conversations ever recorded. Copleston, a Jesuit priest, relied on Aquinas, while agnostic Russell looked to David Hume. Hume believed that the limits of human understanding rendered any conversation about G-D* inherently meaningless (Right on!!) Copleston asserted that everything in the Universe is contingent, and hence the Universe as a whole must also be contingent. Russell counted with: “If every man who exists has a mother, and it seems to me your argument is that therefore the human race must have a mother, but obviously the human race hasn’t a mother – that’s a different logical sphere.” (Well said Bertrand – good for you!)

2016: And now we have Hillary and Donald and @#$”+_()*&%^$@!(“?>##*&*(‘/.

*By G-D, is meant GOD, (my fingers are crossed) but it is not acceptable to write the word G-D, or type G-D.  It is like when the government decided to place the words ‘under G-D ‘, in the pledge of allegiance. When you say it no one cares about the spelling. Saying G-D is fine, even if you say “G-D damn it!” But don’t you dare commit to paper the word G-D – forget it! It is not the same, but similar to “step on a crack, break your Mother’s back.” Well, maybe not quite the same.


Tamir Rice, age 12, shot dead in 30 seconds. Tamir’s death was in record time, while other Black Men were allowed several minutes – never a half hour. No last words, no final prayer, no requested final meal, and no blind fold over their eyes. What is the rush? It appears in most cases there was ample time to kill. Ample time to reassess the situation. Ample time to call for back up. Ample time to even allow for an attempted escape, and then shoot to kill.

Even if the victim had a weapon, beyond a knife, an officer could take cover in their auto or some nearby structure.  In the most terrifying situation, the officers could have asked for the local SWAT team.

Why the rush? Officers overwhelmed by terror and uncontrolled anxiety is the only explanation, if one rules out outright evil. How many police officers have ever been in a gunfight? How many officers have ever faced an armed offender? How many officers have ever fired their weapon at another human being? Deer, raccoons, and Pheasant do not count. How many? Perhaps a few, and then in combat in Viet Nam, or Iraq, or some other war torn location.

In fact, it is not normal to draw a weapon and shoot at another human being. It is abnormal behavior to shoot another human. The frequency of killing in self-defense is a unique occurrence. Only the severely mentally disturbed are capable and willing to kill another person, even then, in their demented state, they may believe they are threatened. Why the rush? The event is terminal. No mulligan. No “oh damn it”. As in the good ole days, the Last Judgement.



Michelle Obama declared that she and her fellow citizens must take the high road. Hearing that, and searching for the high road, Governor Howard Dean states – no suggests – or rather alludes to Donald’s nose noises during the debate as indicative of cocaine use. During the debate, Hillary introduced Donald’s verbal abuse of a Miss Universe contestant’s weight, and ethnicity.

Late that same evening, and media rushing to announce the news, the abused woman was interviewed and offered that Donald frequently slandered her ethnicity, and used unrepeatable vile language and slandering Blacks. Where the hell is that high road? In case you missed it, at the close of the debate, Donald stated that he did not choose to embarrass Hillary inferring that he sure could if not for Chelsea Clinton sitting in the audience. Was that an indication of taking the high road, at least for 24 hours. Early on Wednesday, September 28, several Trump supporters began the recitation of Bill Clinton’s affairs. Even more sinful was his wife, Hillary defending Bill, and her lambasting several of the scarlet women.

The most disdainful act of all was that Hillary stayed married to Bill. Now back to the high road. I am certain that there is a high road that can be taken as opposed to a low road. During my search, I foolishly turned on my GPS in search of a high road. Many high roads, and even a British television series entitled Take the High Road. We all understand that Michelle spoke of moral and ethical behavior, not geology nor cartography. The high road is truly a road less traveled.


The woman says she is Black. Is she Black? A nation ponders her claim. Whites say she is crazy, psychotic, etc. Blacks decry her somehow ridiculing Blackness. The woman is mocking the reality of the life, history and fortunes of “real” blacks. The woman heads a NAACP organization, and in fact is quite active. She does have braided hair, and kind of tannish skin, but her parents say she is not Black. They are not known to be racists.  The parents look White. They insist that biologically their daughter cannot be Black, unless both parents are not truly aware of her birthright.

For the moment ( and only for the moment), let’s assume that her claim to be Black is truly motivated by an honest respect for,  and concern for the Blacks of America. The woman has committed her adult life to the Black cause, as have many Whites (even died for the commitment as in Mississippi).

What would be the consequence for America, if thousands – no millions of Americans declared themselves to be Black. Not just being politically correct, but a sincere identification with the Blacks of America. Millions of Americans joined the NAACP. Millions of White woman had their hair styled in corn-rows, and/or braiding. Millions of White men declared themselves Black and joined the Million Man March, only now it was a 10 million man march. Millions of White voters elected only Black candidates for local, state and federal positions, and so on, and on, and on……


The meeting was called for “time”. Unlike on Earth, time and date are not concepts that control Martian behavior. The Elders and the Youngers were gathered at the “place”. Similarly, to time and date, location is a notion that needs no specificity. All Elders and Youngers are aware of all that matters.

Elder 1: We are faced with a situation that no longer allows for delay. There is no room for unnecessary deliberation or frankly any discussion.

Younger 1: I understand completely.

Elder 1: You do?

Younger 2: Yes. The situation has been a long time in coming.

Elder 2: We are all in total agreement.

Elder 1: The specifics are not yet formulated.

Younger 3: What specifics?

Elder 1: We must determine the nature of our commitment.

Younger 3: Do we have any choice?

Elder 4: Yes, consideration of the potential harm, we must be absolutely clear as to what we are to do.

Elder 1: I for one request a unanimous agreement among all of you.

Younger 4: You certainly have my vote.

Elder 2: Me too.

Younger 3: I am also in total agreement, but I have one question.

Elder 1: Speak.

Younger 3: If we go ahead with the complete plan, do we have a fallback position.

Elder: 3: What are you talking about. What fallback position?

Younger 3: If we are not successful in the mission. What do we do?

Elder 1: There will only be success if we act now. Right now!
All the Elders and Youngers shout agreement.

Elder 1: Now we will have Elder 2 read out plan.

Elder 2: Yes sir! Proclamation of the Elders and Youngers: On this day and at this time and location, We The Elders and The Youngers have authorized the total invasion of the Planet Earth. The invasion will involve the complete array of our interplanetary forces. We are obliged to take this extraordinary action as we can no longer delay the total conquest of the Planet Earth. Our latest intelligence has confirmed that activity on the Planet Earth has reached such intolerable conditions, and the threat of such activity to our wellbeing is undeniable. The Earthlings interplanetary capacity is advanced as evidenced by their popular, though somewhat unrealistic film, The Martian.

For many years we have witnessed the total dissolution of peace and tranquility on Planet Earth. There is no area on that planet that is not in constant warfare, pestilence, poverty, and total disregard for life. They have destroyed their land, sea, and air. We are not absolutely certain of their plans for planetary exploration, but we will not allow our planet to be infested by their ethics, morals, scientific ignorance, economic systems, and most of all their dangerous religious proclivities.

We have evolved to a level of sophistication that we will not allow to be jeopardized by a species that has not evolved in thousands of years. In fact, their planet has regressed to a point of no return. For many eons we have tried to communicate to the Planet Earth, but they have steadfastly refused to believe in life beyond their simplistic universe. All attempts at contact with Planet Earth are terminated. This proclamation is made in good fellowship and good will. We will prevail!

Do You Swear to Tell the Whole Truth

Bailiff: Will Bank of America please come to the bench.
(no activity in the courtroom)

Bailiff: Will Bank of America please stand and come to the bench.
(still no movement in the courtroom)

Judge: Is there a Bank of America in the room?
(no response)

Judge: (quite firm) I will ask just one more time. I have a judgment that I am going to announce, and I must have Bank of America come to the bench and be sworn in.
(no response)

Judge: All right, I assume that absent…
(interruption. A man in a gray suit – gray hair, approximately 50 years of age, slim, well groomed)

Man: Your Honor. I am representing Bank of America for this hearing.

Judge: I appreciate your willingness to represent the Bank of America, but this judgement of 19 billion dollars must be rendered to Bank of America, and not a representative.

Man: Your honor, I am hesitant to inform the Court, but there is no individual named Bank of America.

Judge: Sir, excuse me. Your name.

Man: Cutler, Mr. Harry Cutler, Your Honor.

Judge: Thank you, Mr. Cutler. Understand, I am fully aware that the Bank of America is a United States Corporation. I am also aware that the United States Supreme Court has declared that corporations have the same first amendment rights as do individual citizens. With that in mind, despite my distaste for that decision, I insist on having before me the Bank of America. Is that clear, Mr. Cutler?

Mr. Cutler: Yes Your Honor, but I understand that it is somewhat difficult to accept that the guilty party is a Corporation, but honestly that is who – I mean that is what is being punished, honestly.

Judge: Mr. Cutler, I do not want to discuss the issue of Bank of America, the real, or make-believe person. What I am much more concerned about is, or was there any person, male or female, that resembles most of the persons in this courtroom that was responsible for any illegal behavior as regards the mortgage loans in question. Anyone-did any human being do anything that would suggest he or she was involved in such illegal actions? I would like someone with a name, social security number, or Facebook account. Please answer my question.

Mr. Cutler: Your Honor, it is Bank of America that is totally responsible for any actions that have resulted in the mortgage irregularities.

Judge: Sir, I have allowed you to finish your statement, but I must tell you that I am at the point of charging you with contempt, but I will not, seeing that you are willing to talk to me. I know that you are in a difficult position in that Bank of America will not face this Court.

Mr. Cutler: Your Honor, I was…
(Mr. Cutler is interrupted)

Judge: Do not say another word. Not another word. I know this. On a particular day or days, in some location a real red blooded person did somethings that have resulted in harm to other red blooded persons. I promise you that I will not require you, or any other red blooded person to pay damages of 19 billion dollars, but, I am determined to hold some person or persons accountable. I believe by all that’s holy that someone did something, and Bank of America is holding the bag!

Mr. Cutler: Your Honor I do not understand.

Judge: (vexed) Bank of America, this thing, this company, this name-tag is willing to pay a lot of money, and in fact Bank of America did nothing wrong. Do you understand me?

Mr. Cutler: Your Honor, I have told you that Bank of America is totally responsible for any damages. The Bank really means to make good.

Judge: Mr. Cutler, just stop with this silly talk about Bank of America. Listen to me, does Bank of America drive a car, sweep a floor, flush a toilet, eat chow mien, or watch Beavis and Butthead? Does it? Of course not. But there is someone who works for Bank of America and does some or all of what I just mentioned, and many more things. In addition, someone at Bank of America screwed up, excuse my language. I demand to know who that was. I will not close this case until I find out. Do you understand Mr. Cutler!

Mr. Cutler: But sir, if I can just explain how the process works at the Bank?

Judge: (more relaxed) Mr. Cutler take it easy. Let me tell you a story. Let us say that you and your family, the Cutler’s live next to a neighbor who grows roses – beautiful roses. One day the man notices that his rose bushes have been cut down. All the stems are resting on your lawn – right alongside the remaining rose bushes. Your neighbor, formerly a good neighbor, calls the Police and he presses charges. He believes that someone in the Cutler family destroyed his rose bushes.

Your neighbor presses a charge against, THE CUTLERS. All six members of your family, but not any one person, just the CUTLERS. Perhaps you as the Father of the family or perhaps your wife, Mrs. Cutler know who cut down the roses, or perhaps the culprit is for the moment unknown. The likelihood that the entire Cutler family went together and cut the roses is rather slim, but the Police and a Court will be obliged to punish the entire clan absent identifying the rose cutter.

Mr. Cutler:(upset) But Your Honor…

Judge: Just shut up, Mr. Cutler. Is it right that each of you, including your 12 month old infant, and your 4 year old daughter should be held guilty?

Mr. Cutler: (flustered) Your Honor, I have no wife, nor children. I am not married.

Judge: So what! I am just telling a story. Can’t you get with the program? I mean, I am getting disgusted with this entire case. It is plain and simple. I want the names of the guilty party or parties, and I do not want to hear it was a company foul-up nor clerical error, or case of PTSD! This case is adjourned until sanity returns to this court house!  (bangs the gavel)

And Then I Smile

A melody, a meringue dancer, collage peppers, elbow macaroni with gruyere, or a glass of Gallo Hearty Burgundy, and the tears gather behind my eyes.

Our garden, your stock of silks, wool’s, bobbins and Vogue Patterns.

All provoke images of your face. Images that are rarely complete yet totally consuming.

The bird feeder, the marauding squirrels, and the wall of photos all command your presence.

Our meals are yours – your taste, your mouth and your style.

Your clothes fill the dresser and closet, and I smell them. I remember your smell.

How I love your smell, and the incredible softness of your skin.

The tears gather just behind my eyes.

And France is you. And music and your voice and your laugh bring tears to my eyes.

But only for me to feel and no one to see.

The tears pool and search for release. They flow back and forth behind my eyes.

And then…and then I smile. I don’t see you, but I feel you, and I smile.

My tears leave the back of my eyes and I smile.

Shinny Rocks (a.k.a. Sea Glass)

Joshua lived by the shores of Lake Erie. Every morning he walked with his friends along the shore and they searched for shinny rocks. The shinny rocks that they found were pieces of beautiful colored glass. The glass was made so smooth by the waters of the lake.

Joshua saved his rocks in an empty Skippy Butter jar that he had on his dresser. Every evening before going to bed Joshua separated the shinny rocks into piles. Some piles had the same color, and other piles were small shinny rocks, and others were bigger rocks. Before he went to sleep, Joshua placed the most beautiful shinny rocks in an old sock that his Grandpa gave to him. Each one was like a jewel, and so hard to find. Purple, orange, red, and black were the best but, blue and green were also special. The rocks in the sock were his favorites, and he would never give them away, or even trade them with his friends.

Many children who lived by the lakefront collected the shiny rocks, except for his neighbor, Francis. Francis couldn’t walk along the shore, because Francis was bound to a wheel chair. When Francis was born he had a disease and he was never able to walk like the other children. Every morning, Francis would sit on his porch, and watch the other children search for shinny rocks.

Francis had a pet goldfish. The goldfish was a beautiful orange color – just like a Halloween pumpkin. The goldfish was named Pumpkin. Each morning, Francis would take Pumpkin in the fish bowl and sit and watch the children searching the shore for shinny rocks. Francis really wanted to go down to the shore and search for the rocks with his friends.

Each morning when Joshua came back from the beach, he would stop to show Francis the rocks that Joshua collected. Francis was so happy to see, and touch the shiny rocks. The boys were such good friends.

One day when Joshua was walking back from the beach, he saw that Francis was not sitting on the front porch. Joshua went to the rear of Francis’s house. Seated in his wheelchair under a big oak tree was Francis. Joshua walked over to say good morning. Joshua saw that Francis was crying. As Joshua got closer, he noticed that the fish bowl was empty. On Francis’s lap was Pumpkin the goldfish. Francis told Joshua that Pumpkin died last night. Joshua said that he was very sorry. Francis wanted to bury Pumpkin in the yard, and Joshua offered to help. Joshua went into his garage and got a small garden shovel. Joshua dug a small hole next to the trunk of a big oak tree. Joshua took Pumpkin from Francis and placed Pumpkin in the hole. Joshua put the soil on top of
Pumpkin. Francis was crying so hard. Joshua told Francis that he had a big surprise and that he would return in a minute

Joshua went into his house, and returned in a few minutes to Francis. Joshua had his Grandpa’s sock in his hand. Joshua opened the sock and poured several of the very best of the jewel-like rocks on top of the grave. Joshua put his best : blue, orange, pink and peach on the soil. Francis stopped crying, and he smiled such a big smile. He never saw such beautiful shinny rocks. Joshua also smiled, and he held the hand of Francis.

The next day, Francis’ father decided to bring Francis down to the water’s edge to be with his friends. The wheelchair became stuck in the sand, and all the children helped carry the chair to the water’s edge. Joshua came over to Francis and when Francis was not looking, Joshua took a green rock out of his pocket, and secretly dropped the rock in front of the wheelchair. Soon Francis noticed the rock and reached for it, and as he did he fell out of the chair onto the sand. Francis was so excited; he wasn’t even hurt by the fall.

Seeing how happy Francis was, Joshua once again secretly dropped another shinny rock a few feet away from Francis. Francis saw the rock and he crawled over to the rock. He shouted for joy. All the children were watching. Francis’s Father was so happy for Francis. Joshua continued to secretly place his rocks further down the beach, and Francis excitedly crawled to collect his new found treasure. He never saw that it was Joshua who was placing the rocks for Francis to find.

On the beach was a very big tree trunk that had been swept to shore by a storm. Joshua placed a magnificent bright red shinny rock on the top of the trunk. The rock was high up on the trunk. Francis saw the beautiful red rock. To get the rock, Francis had to grab onto the branches on the tree trunk and pull himself up to a standing position. He had to use all of his strength to pull himself up. With all his might, he finally reached the shiny rock. Francis was fully standing for the first time in his life. His Father, and all the children cheered for Francis. Joshua cheered the loudest, and the longest. He truly loved his friend Francis.

Honey, It’s Time To Go To Sleep

Marriage changes many lifelong preferences and habits. We change the food we eat, and the clothing we wear. We change our hairstyles, and we even change our friends. Oh, but habits in the bedroom are difficult to change. Conflicts arise about the amount of window to leave open, the number of pillows and who gets them, and even blanket control. When to close the lights, and go to sleep can disrupt the most beloved marriage…

The evening wore on, and I decided that I was not going to read in the t.v. room, den, kitchen, living room, carport, bathroom or the greenhouse. I was going to read in my bed. What’s more I was going to read on my side of the bed. I was going to read until I felt sleepy and then I would close my reading lamp and go to sleep. Regardless of how nicely my wife requested that I close my light, or read in another room, or stop reading and “just go to sleep”, I was determined to read in my bed. I was being stubborn, but if I left the room with my book, our marriage might have been wounded forever.

“Darling, let’s go to sleep.,” she cooed.

“O.K. As soon as I’m done reading.”

“But I’m tired, let’s go to sleep honey,” she sighed.

“I’m not sleepy yet, I’ll soon be finished.”

“It’s late, darling,” she declared.

“I know, soon honey, soon.”

“It’s 11:30,” she snapped.

“Yes, I know.”

“I’m really very tired, Frank,” she pleaded.

“Go to sleep honey.”

“I can’t,” she moaned.

“I’ll turn the light down, just try to sleep.”

“You know I can’t sleep with a light on,” she said between clenched teeth.

“Try,try. I’ll be done soon.”
My wife pulled the covers over her head, and turned her back to me. I turned the light down. I could hardly read the words.

“Frank, are you done yet,” she gently asked.

“Soon,just a few more pages.”

“Aren’t you tired?” She sat up in bed, and stared at me.


“It’s late!” She was angry. It was now 11:35 p.m.

“Listen honey, I’m going to read downstairs.”

“But it’s late aren’t you going to sleep?” She truly couldn’t understand me. She actually was dumbfounded at my lack of desire for sleep.

“No. I’m not sleepy. I want to read.”

“But I want to go to sleep!”

I wished she did go to sleep. I was beginning to feel guilty for staying awake.

“So go to sleep I’ll be downstairs.”

“I can’t sleep.” My wife was near tears.

“But you said that you were tired.”

“I am, but I can’t sleep if you’re not in bed.”

I wondered if that was a trap. My quilt was turning fast toward anger.

“Sarah, I’m not tired and I want to read. Go to sleep! ”
I started to leave the bed…

“Frank you’ll never get up in the morning,” she said as a devils curse.

“Don’t worry.”

“Where are you going?” she said with fearful voice.

“Just downstairs to the living room.”

“But I can’t sleep I’m exhausted Frank. Why can’t you just go to sleep? Why do you fight sleep? It’s late.”

I looked at her pleading eyes. I caught a glimpse of the clock. It was 11:50 p.m. She was right. It was late. I closed the book, and I closed the light. I was exhausted.

A Modest Proposal…

Dear Mr. Putin:
It appears that you and your financial oligarchs are under the impression that you are immune to the economic sanctions that are being instituted by the United States and members of the EU. I am quite certain that there are a significant number of Russian citizens who do not approve of your policies regarding the Ukraine and specifically the illegal annexation of the Crimea.

Last week, it was reported that approximately 50 thousand Russians took to the streets of Moscow to protest your policy in Crimea. Perhaps small in numbers, there is clearly a population of Russian citizens who do not support your current stance. I sincerely suggest that you re-evaluate your current aggressive stance. Absent such an assessment, on September 1, at 12:00pm EST, all internet programmers will close access throughout Russia to the social media, particularly Facebook. In addition, all stored data of users will be permanently deleted. At the present time there are approximately 7 million Facebook users in Russia. The deadline that I am proposing is irreversible. I anticipate that with the closure of internet access to the primary social internet resource, Facebook, you will take notice. I await your response.