Month: June 2016

The Heart of Two Explorers

My wife and I continued our road trip through Utah, exploring scenic highways and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Tributes to John Wesley Powell and other explorers that came before us can be found at various highway viewpoints.

My wife and I continued our road trip through Utah, exploring scenic highways and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Tributes to John Wesley Powell and other explorers who came before us can be found at various highway viewpoints.

Many explorers crisscrossed the lands of southern Utah, but two stand out in my mind. One is John C. Fremont, and the other John Wesley Powell.

John C. Fremont

John C. Fremont

Fremont headed a number of expeditions through the American West, often passing through present-day Utah. In fact, the Fremont river in central Utah is named after him.

During the Mexican-American War, Fremont led a military expedition into California and defeated the Mexican army. He was then appointed by the Navy as California’s first military governor, but got into a dispute with the Army over the legitmacy of this appointment. Fremont was court-martialed over this, and convicted of mutiny. But he became a national hero during his trial, and President Polk commuted his sentence. It was the politically savvy thing for Polk to do for such a celebrated man.

Few people seem to live in or near the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. But here is one little settlement nestled within the rugged terrain.

Few people seem to live in or near the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. But here is one little settlement nestled within the rugged terrain.

In 1856, Fremont became the Republican Party’s first nominee for president. The newly-formed GOP was banking on Fremont’s national hero status in their bid for the White House. However they didn’t count on him being swift-boated. Revelations came out about a decade-old murder in California of three unarmed Mexicans, committed by Kit Carson. Carson had been under Fremont’s command at the time, and it was alleged that Fremont gave the order. This scandal, along with alleged military blunders, sank his chances of winning the election. He came in second to James Buchanan.

You may have noticed how dark my photos appear. Something very bad happened to my camera on this journey. I haven't figured it out yet. My wife likes this "sunglasses" effect and thinks it's an improvement. I'm not so sure. What do you think?

You may have noticed how dark my photos appear. Something very bad happened to my camera on this journey. I haven’t figured it out yet. My wife likes this “sunglasses” effect and thinks it’s an improvement. I’m not so sure. What do you think?

Yes, Fremont was a man of questionable character and judgment. In fact some of his questionable decisions led to several of his expeditions ending in disaster and lost lives. Historians describe this man as being controversial, impetuous, and contradictory. Not only that, but he also had poor business acumen. He died penniless in 1890, at age 77.

Utah's Highway 12 carried us past the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, to altitudes over 9,000 feet. We found this alpine meadow in full bloom.

Utah’s Highway 12 carried us past the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, to altitudes over 9,000 feet. We found this alpine meadow in full bloom.

John Wesley Powell’s character and judgment was not nearly as questionable as John C. Fremont’s. But they both possessed the heart of an explorer.

Powell grew up bucking his father’s wishes, in pursuit of his love for the natural sciences. But he was also an abolitionist. He put his beloved science career on hold and enlisted as a private, to fight in the Civil War.

John Wesley Powell

John Wesley Powell

At the battle of Shiloh he lost most of his right arm to a minie ball. But he continued to serve and fight until the end of the war, leaving the Army as a brevet lieutenant colonel.

In 1869, the one-armed Powell embarked on his legendary expedition down the Green and Colorado Rivers in Utah and Arizona. This journey included the first recorded passage of white men through the entirety of the Grand Canyon. What a ride that must have been! Three of his men abandoned him in the middle of the expedition, fearing they would not survive the rapids. They were never heard from again. But everyone else did survive.

Powell led a second expedition in 1871, resulting in fairly accurate maps and more extensive knowledge of the Colorado Plateau region.

A distant view of Capitol Reef National Park, from Dixie National Forest.

A distant view of Capitol Reef National Park, from Dixie National Forest.

After these expeditions, Powell devoted the rest of his life to public service. He led the U.S. Geological Survey, and directed the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institute.

Powell with Paiute Indian named Tau-Gu, during his 1871 expedition.

Powell with Paiute Indian named Tau-Gu, during his 1871 expedition.

And he possessed the vision to encourage water conservation in the West, while discouraging the use of widespread agriculture in America’s arid and semi-arid regions. But he was resisted by money interests from the railroads, and his recommendations went unheeded. Then the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s ruined the livelihoods of thousands of western pioneer farmers. After this, Powell’s ideas and policies were finally taken seriously, and implemented.

Powell died in 1902 at the age of 68. I wonder which was the most breathtaking: his journey through the passage of death, or his wild gauntlet run through the Grand Canyon, riding the rapids of the untamed Colorado River.

Aspen forest along Highway 12.

Aspen forest along Highway 12.

You see, death is inevitable. It’s an adventure requiring no courage or free will. But living, true living, is never certain. You must be brave. You must seek out on your own the whitewater maelstrom of risk and reward, and plunge forward with a lust for all things new and unexplored. To really live, you must possess the heart of explorers.

Explorers like John C. Fremont and John Wesley Powell.

The Dirty Devil river, and site of the former town of Hite, Utah. The town was submerged by the waters of Lake Powell, after construction of the Glen Canyon Dam in 1963. Due to the recent drought, Lake Powell has receded and exposed the town site again. I wonder when some slick operator is going to open up a real estate office down there?

The Dirty Devil river, and site of the former town of Hite, Utah. This town was submerged by the waters of Lake Powell, after construction of the Glen Canyon Dam in 1963. Due to the recent drought, Lake Powell has receded and exposed the town site again. I wonder when some slick operator is going to open up a real estate office down there?

The Hoodoos of Bryce

Black Birch Canyon.

Bryce Canyon is actually many canyons. Or they can be more accurately described as natural amphitheaters. This is a view of Black Birch Canyon.

Our next stop for my wife and me in our road trip through Utah this month, was Bryce Canyon National Park. The chief attraction at Bryce is tall columns of orange rock. These columns resemble petrified unicorn horns to me, but they’re actually called hoodoos. I guess they looked like hoodoo dolls to whoever named them.

Black Birch Canyon.

Another view of Black Birch Canyon. The many natural amphitheaters can be viewed by driving an 18-mile long road through the national park, and stopping at viewpoints. There are also several hiking trails.

Hoodoo dolls are a wicked fantasy. It’s a dark dream we all share at some time or another, to make those who’ve caused us suffering feel the same pain we feel. Throughout our lives we’ve been dealt a host of harms, both real and imagined, from a bunch of assholes. And sometimes we sure would love to pay them back.

Bristlecone Trail.

A view from Bristlecone Trail. The Bristlecone Trail is over 9,000 feet up, at the very end of the road. Most of the park is over 8,000 feet in elevation. (That’s 2,400 meters, for you Canucks.)

Wouldn’t it be nice to raise your abusive parents, and make them suffer at your mercy? Or how about blasting your loud, rap-music neighbors with 150 decibels of Slim Whitman hits? Or what if you could force TSA agents to work barefoot and without belts?

Bristlecone Trail.

View from the Bristlecone Trail. The Paiute Indians thought the hoodoos were the Legend People who, according to mythology, were turned to stone by the mythological character Coyote. Now there’s some ancient revenge for you. The Paiute term for hoodoos was Anka-ku-was-a-wits, which means “red painted faces.” This rhymes with Manischewitz, which is a sweet red beverage that can also get you stoned.

Revenge has a sweet taste. But Gandhi said that if we practice an eye-for-an-eye, the whole world will go blind. Darn you Gandhi for spoiling all the fun, with your great wisdom! If I could only come up with some wise retort for you, you’d know how I feel right now.

Bristlecone Trail.

Yet another view from the Bristlecone Trail. I managed to hike this one-mile path. The extreme altitude left me almost as breathless as the views.

Empathy is what peaceniks recommend over things like hoodoo dolls. It ain’t easy to practice, and it ain’t always pretty, but the sad truth is that it does redound in better long-term results. For instance, feeling the pain that drives the assholes of our lives to harm us, helps us to understand our enemies. And as a smart strategist once recommended, “Know your enemy.”

Natural Bridge.

This natural bridge reminds us of the connections we can form with our enemies when we stop relying on hoodoo magic.

The Buddha spoke of the Simile of the Saw. He taught that if some mean dudes are holding you down while sawing off your limbs, it is best not to think ill of them. Instead, wish them to be well, peaceful, and happy.

Natural Bridge.

Bryce Canyon is named after the Mormon settler, Ebenezer Bryce, who briefly homesteaded here. He tried to raise cattle, but the livestock kept getting lost amongst the hoodoos. After this and other difficulties, he moved away in 1880. I would have stayed and found a new vocation.

Well, peaceful, and happy?! Bullshit, right? Instead, you might rather flip them off, if only you had fingers left to do so. But just think, if these droogs were peaceful they wouldn’t be sawing your limbs off in the first place. And then you wouldn’t mind if they were well and happy.

Rainbow Point.

View from Rainbow Point, at 9,105 feet.

The hoodoos of Bryce are beautiful to admire. But be careful of their allure. Avoid the steep cliffs at their base. Revenge is a treacherous precipice, with ineluctable gravity. It only pulls you down.

Rainbow Point.

Another stunning vista from Rainbow Point.

So we gave the hoodoos a wide berth, and observed them from a distance. We avoided the edge and kept our feet on solid ground. And the temptations of the hoodoos were supervened by this one wish:

Yovimpa Point.

View from Yovimpa Point. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument can be seen in the distance, below.

That all living beings would be well, peaceful, and happy.

A Little Piece of Heaven

My wife and I went unicorn hunting a few weeks ago. That is, we went on a 7-day road trip. We motored through the scenic wonderland of the great states of Utah and Arizona. It was a successful hunt, as we captured a number of those elusive one-horned critters along the way.

View of Zion Canyon, from Weeping Rock. Yep, plenty of unicorns to be found here.

View of Zion Canyon, from Weeping Rock. Yep, plenty of unicorns to be found here.

Our first stop was Zion National Park. Zion was originally named Mukuntuweep National Monument. Mukuntuweep is a Paiute Indian word meaning “straight-up land” or “straight arrow”, or straight something or other. We were lucky, as we were not shot by any straight arrows as we toured the region.

Looking straight up the canyon walls, near the River trail.

Looking straight up the canyon walls, near the River trail.

A Mormon rancher, who apparently couldn’t speak Paiute, renamed the area Little Zion, with the idea that it resembled a little piece of heaven. This got me wondering what heaven really is.

I passed at least one kidney stone last week. For me, heaven is not having kidney stones. Or better yet, heaven is having good health in general.

Court of the Patriarchs. From left to right, these peaks are called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They all suffered from kidney stones, and therefore had these rocks named after them.

Court of the Patriarchs. From left to right, these peaks are called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They all suffered from kidney stones, and therefore had these rocks named after them.

The Virgin River passes through Zion National Park, and some say that heaven is having 72 virgins. But I say, how long will they remain virgins? Heaven for these men is very short-lived, unless they suffer from erectile dysfunction. Besides, virgins make lousy lovers. They’re bashful, and you have to show them how to do everything.

The Virgin River. This river is renowned as a favorite swimming spot for young ladies and old maids.

The Virgin River. This river is renowned as a favorite swimming spot for young ladies and old maids.

For me, heaven is having one lover, and one only. Lovers can cause headaches, you know. Just one is enough for me. And a lover who you can communicate and work well with can be very useful in a unicorn hunt. But just try coordinating a hunt with 72 giggling girls. It can never work.

A closer view of the Virgin River, looking as pure and innocent as ever. But I'm skeptical. When I got real close I spotted some tadpoles.

A closer view of the Virgin River, looking as pure and innocent as ever. But I’m skeptical. When I got real close I spotted some tadpoles.

For the Mormon that named this area, heaven was beautiful scenery. I’ll go along with that. My wife and I love the beauty of Zion National Park. In fact, this was our fourth visit.

Our first visit was brief, as we just drove through it like a Mukuntuweep straight arrow. My wife was behind the wheel, and she was so impressed by the scenery that she would stop in the middle of the highway and back up traffic. She had a hard time keeping her eyes on the road, and at times I feared she would drive off a cliff. For her, the beautiful scenery was heaven. For me it was a living hell.

Checkerboard Mesa. Wouldn't this be the perfect spot to build a Senior Citizen Center?

Checkerboard Mesa. Wouldn’t this be the perfect spot to build a Senior Citizen Center?

We’ve since learned to enjoy Zion in safer ways. And our memories of this unique canyon are the unicorns we captured. Too bad we couldn’t remain in this little piece of heaven. But there were more unicorns waiting down the road . . .

Man Gives Birth

I had this same look of relief when my kidney stone passed.

I had this same look of relief when my kidney stone passed.

I know what it feels like to give birth. I passed a kidney stone. It’s said that the pain from passing a kidney stone can be as horrible as the pain of childbirth.

Women with children, I feel your pain.

My labor pains began while I was taking a nap. What a cruel trick mother nature played, interrupting my slumber this way. My right side suddenly began to burn like a gasoline fire. Damn last night’s chili! was my first thought.

But it got worse. Worse than any of the napalm bombs I’ve ever spooned out of my wife’s cast-iron dutch oven. Within forty-five minutes my wife was rushing me to the Emergency Room.

By the time we got there I couldn’t walk. I was assisted into a wheelchair, then trundled directly to intake. The lady running the joint began the paperwork.

“What is your name?” she asked.

“OOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!” I replied.

“Sir, don’t yell at me!”

I heaved up my lunch into a blue plastic vomit bag an orderly gave me, and then tried to explain to her that I wasn’t yelling. This was how I normally talk when my guts are exploding. But all that came out was, “OOOOHHHHHHH! NOOOOOOOOOOOT YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLL! OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH!”

She became curt with me. “Sir, I have to know your name, and I don’t appreciate being yelled at!”

Thank goodness my wife was there. She interjected and provided all the necessary info. Otherwise I may never have gotten past this officious gatekeeper.

This little interaction left me worried that the fine folks at ER had no interest in my well-being, but instead were completely focused upon rules of etiquette and record-keeping. And that just made the pain all the more worse.

Finally this bureaucrat wheeled me into the area where all the patients were ensconced. Meanwhile, the fire inside my guts burned higher and higher, and my OOOOOHHHH’s changed to “OOOOOHHHHHHH SHIIIIIITTTTT! FUUUUUCKKKKKINNNG SHHHHIIIIIT! OOOHHHH GOOOOOODAAAAAMNIT!”

“Sir, stop swearing. There are children around here.” the lady instructed me.

“FUUUUCKKK!” I replied. “GOOOODAMMMMNN MUUTHHHERRRFUCCCCCKKKKER!”

Another office lady joined her. “Sir, if you don’t stop swearing, I’m going to have to call security,” she sternly warned me.

I wondered what the hell the security guard was going to do, toss me out of the hospital? Handcuff me?

“OOOOOHHHHHH FUUUUCKKKK, ARREST ME!” I yelled.

The niminy piminy ladies gave up and handed me over to the custody of a male nurse. In between my groans and whimpers I managed to ask if I had been brought to a church or a hospital.

He was very sympathetic and understanding. He carefully helped me into the bed, and gave me the reassurance that my health and well-being was truly a concern in this facility.

After this I was able to relax into a delirium of loud screaming, groaning, and an occasional curse word, fueled by the fiery pain in my side.

At this point, I thought that I either had a bowel obstruction or a ruptured appendix.

An IV was started, and after what seemed like 15 lifetimes, but was actually more like 15 minutes, pain medication began to take effect. My screams decreased slightly in volume. The analgesic really wasn’t that effective. But it did help a little.

Then the very nice, kind, compassionate male nurse, injected a much more powerful painkiller into the IV. It must have been a horse tranquilizer. Within minutes my screams softened, to a more intelligible huffing and puffing and light whimpering. And I was actually able to lie still. That’s when Scott came along.

Scott was another nice, kind, compassionate healthcare worker. He wheeled me into a dark room with a monstrous-sized machine and gently CT scanned my abdomen.

Within a few minutes after the CT scan, the breech baby in my belly must have turned. I suddenly felt a wave of relief, and within minutes the raging inferno inside subsided to low-glowing embers.

It was over. Thank God it was over.

I had to wait around a while for a diagnosis. My wife said she thought it was a kidney stone. I told her she was crazy. No, I advised her that this was a bowel obstruction. That’s exactly what it felt like. Like a bowel obstruction that suddenly came loose, allowing relief. But she stood her ground. And I stood my ground.

Then the doctor came by and told us it was a kidney stone. Well hell.

But at least that mutherfucker had passed. I was happy. Now I could go home, relax, and get some sleep. My pain was a fast-fading memory. A story to recount to bored house guests. An aberration. A small bump in my history of relative good health.

Until the next morning, when my baby from hell returned.

Another trip to the ER. More agony, wailing, and screaming. But at least this time we knew the cause of the pain. It was yet another kidney stone, for crying out loud. And maybe now that the cause was known, they could go inside there right away, with some sort of pickax, and mine the offending boulder out of my belly.

That’s when I received the sad news. The doctor told me it was NOT another kidney stone. She identified it as the same culprit from the previous night. She said that this rock was on a long journey that had only just begun. A journey that begins at the kidney, goes down a very long, narrow tube, and ends in the bladder. A journey of a thousand miles, that begins with the first scream. She calmly advised me that I could expect intermittent periods of agony and relief for many more hours or even days, while this peregrination was taking place, and that there was nothing she nor anyone else on the ER staff could do about it. Except prescribe pain killers.

I was discharged from the ER and left to fend for myself.

And that’s the terrible truth about kidney stones.

I’ve done some internet research and discovered a few more truths. I’ve read that the pain from passing one of these can be more intense than medical conditions such as childbirth, gunshot wounds, and heart attacks. And if a stone is greater than 5mm it can obstruct urine flow and destroy a kidney. But I say, with pain that intense, who the hell needs kidneys anyway? Let those bean-shaped organs die!

Mine was only 2mm. That’s the thickness of a nickel. A very small stone. I guess you can say I gave birth to a preemie.

So mothers, I feel your pain. I know what you’ve gone through. I’m a man whose given birth. And I hope I’ll never have to go through this experience again.

Now if there was just some way I could have my tubes tied.

Kidney Stone

I cannot be very conversant with comments or posts right now. I am in the process of passing a kidney stone. Please pray that if there is a God, I will either die soon or recover soon.

The F-Word

The bard.

The bard used the F-word. But in those days it meant something completely different. And if rumors about Shakespeare are true, I doubt he’d ever use that word today.

I haven’t used the F-word in many years. But there was a time when I thought nothing of deploying it. It fell from my lips as easily as any other slang in common usage.

I remember my classmates and I freely and frequently speaking this word in elementary school. We used it on the playground. We used it in the classroom. We used it in front of our teachers. Hell, sometimes even our teachers would utter this epithet.

Nobody thought it was that bad of a word. But it could occasionally incite an angry exchange or even a fistfight. It was used to playfully or maliciously put someone down–especially other males. It often peppered the badinage and persiflage of our masculine repartee.

I continued to use the F-word after entering adulthood. But I found myself feeling less and less comfortable with it. When other adults used it, they seemed to color it with a tinge of hatred and contempt. I guess I didn’t share their level of contempt.

One day I used the F-word while speaking with someone whom I held in great esteem. He responded with a long silence. I felt puzzled and a little embarrassed. I knew he didn’t live that kind of lifestyle. He wasn’t one of “them”. So why the silent treatment?

But he knew others who lived that way. And as I opened my eyes and mind, I realized I did too. And these were folks who were like anybody else, except for that lifestyle. Most of them were honest, considerate and, like all of us, they were smart in their own way. And their “lifestyle” usually wasn’t much different from the rest of us.

So I stopped using the F-word. I don’t like the banning of words. My mind bristles when people try to tell me what I cannot say. I think that’s natural. We all love freedom of speech. But there are some words that have been used for generations to fuel hatred and justify violence.

You may have already guessed that the F-word I’m referring to is not the four-letter one. Hell no. I love that fucking word. It adds color, character, and emphasis to our language, and enjoys special status in the cockles of my heart. No, this particular F-word is either three or six letters long. At one time it referred to firewood and cigarette butts. But nowadays it’s an unambiguous hate-language word, and reflects bigotry and ignorance.

Those who have used this word have unwittingly or wittingly fueled the hatred that has contributed to the violent deaths of many innocents. Matthew Shepard met such a demise in Wyoming in 1998, at the age of 21. He’d been pistol-whipped, tortured, and tied to a barbed wire fence.

And just last year, on November 1st, gay rights activist George Zander was beaten to death in Palm Springs, California. That’s only a few miles from where I live, for God’s sake. He was the victim of an alleged hate crime. Local news reports describe him as having been a wonderful, well-liked human being. He was even honored posthumously with a star on Palm Springs’ famous Walk of Stars.

And then there was the Orlando nightclub shooting this last Sunday. Dozens of other wonderful, well-liked human beings perished at the hands of a man who hated their sexual orientation. I suspect this man both heard and used the F-word many times in his life. When he heard others casually flinging this term around, did it make violence seem okay for him? How could it not?

So for me, the F-word is out of my vocabulary. I want to avoid contributing to the violent deaths of innocent people.

Because that would just be too fucked up.

Ancient Hike

I took a walk through history the other day. Actually, it was just another hike. But aren’t all hikes through the wilderness a walk through history? This virgin desert hasn’t changed much from the way it was hundreds, or even thousands of years ago. It looks the same, smells the same, and even sounds the same, except for the occasional passing airplane.

Once you get past the cities and campgrounds, things haven't changed much over the past several thousand years.

Once you get past the cities and campgrounds, things haven’t changed much over the past several thousand years.

It tastes the same, too, if you’re as brave as me, and willing to sample some of the herbivorous offerings growing underfoot. It’s never killed me to do this, which is a little surprising.

Purple Sage is blooming this Spring--one of my favorite wildflowers. If Prince had ever seen this flower, I'll bet his famous song would have been given a slightly different name.

I call this Purple Sage, even though it’s blue. But there are many different sages called Purple Sage, so I have license. It’s one of my favorite wildflowers. If Prince had ever seen this flower, I’ll bet his famous song would have been given a slightly different name.

The ancients who hiked these hills before me had the same kind of worries, too. After all, I take care to avoid stepping on serpents, just like they did. But one of these days a rattler’s gonna get me, I’m sure. I’ve come close a few times, but so far the vipers have kept their fangs to themselves.

I can’t say the same for the two-legged vipers I’ve encountered, in that place we call civilization. But even the ancients had to deal with scoundrels within and without their tribes.

Bees love Purple Sage, also.

Bees love Purple Sage, also.

I’d sure like to get to know these ancestors. But the closest I can come is to walk through the same wilds they walked, and stomp the same hills, and keep the same watchful eye for buzzworms.

I wonder what they considered their reason for living? I doubt it was to be my progenitors, though that would be flattering. I’ll bet they, like us, could not quite put their finger on it. Everyone probably had their own theory.

This rock is so old, it's developed wrinkles.

This rock is so old, it’s developed wrinkles.

The purpose of life, according to my finger, is just to experience life itself. There’s no life in boredom, pain, or endless hard labor. That’s death, in my book. So I try to avoid those things. And when I do, what’s left is simply life itself, with its purpose automatically fulfilled.

I wonder just how old my theory is. How many ancients, who walked these hills, would have agreed with me?

Thoughts That Fell From My Head

Claude Monet Reading a Newspaper, by Pierre Renoir, 1872.

Claude Monet Reading a Newspaper, by Pierre Renoir, 1872.

Sometimes I get a wild hair and decide to read the news. And then I think about it. Yep, there I go thinking again. Here’s a few thoughts that fell out of my head recently, after picking up a newspaper:

The sheriff’s calls section of our local rag is replete with reports of Walmart shoplifters. They’re often caught concealing merchandise under their clothes. This worries me. I wonder, just how many things have I bought have at one time been down someone’s pants?

A tiny tot recently fell into a gorilla exhibit in Cincinnatti, which resulted in the shooting of the gorilla. Some blame the mother for this zoological tragedy. And of course, parents should always keep both eyes on their young children at all times, and never, ever look away. Not even for one second. Not even to eat food, or drink water. Not even to look both ways when crossing a street. Not even to make eye contact with another adult when engaged in conversation. Those pupils must be fixed. At all times. On that damned fucking little rugrat who keeps running around acting like a stupid fool.

Athletes are threatening to boycott the summer olympics in Brazil, due to the Zika virus. I say, why not just introduce a new game? Call it the Mosquito Slapoff. He who slaps off the most mosquitoes, and receives the fewest bites, wins a gold medal. This will motivate the athletes to avoid the proboscis of this insect, and return home safe and healthy.

Donald Trump was on a campaign stop here in southern California, when he proclaimed that we have plenty of water, and there is no drought. Can’t blame him for saying that, as I’ve been known to see mirages, myself. In fact I’m currently under the impression that the Donald has plenty of hair, and no need to sport a combover.

Bernie Sanders is doing his darndest to win the state of California in our upcoming primary, June 7th. So Hillary cancelled some campaign appearances in New Jersey, in order to give the golden state more attention. I don’t think Hillary has to worry about Bernie. But hey, any excuse to get out of Jersey, right?