Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Big One


Okay, you know how you live through a year and wonder where the time went?  That’s how I feel now, as I technically mark the first anniversary of this blog.  Yes, it’s been a whole year since I invited you into my world and locked the doors behind you, so you can’t escape.  Aren’t you glad you’re here with me?  This is the moment where people like me usually get very introspective and philosophically contemplate what’s happened during that time.  Well…what the hell did you think I’d do?!  Just ask for donations to my retirement account?  You can do that, too, but read me out on this one.

A few things have remained the same during the past year.  I’m essentially still an unemployed technical writer.  My parents are still loud and opinionated.  My dog is still a cool little dwarf Rottweiler.  I’m still working on my novel.  People still piss me off.  My truck is still dirty.

But, mostly things have changed – and changed for the better.  I’ve done more writing in the last year than I have in the previous ten.  I’ve managed to let go of my past life and move forward; finally understanding that rehashing events from long ago only creates more wrinkles and anxiety.  I’m one year closer to age 50 and eagerly anticipate that glorious milestone – and hope I don’t spend it in jail from going overboard in a road rage incident (which is really difficult not to do in the Dallas area).  I’ve learned to leave my body alone and masturbate no more than once a week.  I’ve come to realize that intoxicated doesn’t always equal creative.  I’m emotionally closer to my parents and my dog; knowing I may not have any of them too much longer.

Working on this blog also has been one of the most therapeutic outlets I’ve ever encountered.  For someone who grew up shy and introverted like me, writing is a mere form of expression.  In the past, we creative types had to sulk in our art work and hope that someone would hear our cries for justice – and money.  Alas, the Internet came along and freed us – and many others – from the doldrums of loneliness.  Blogging alone has opened up a new universe for me; allowing me to share my thoughts and views on a world that’s as beautiful and enticing as it is ugly and aggravating.  I know the first two attributes often remain hidden amidst the chaos, and that’s why I enjoy writing so much.  It forces me to explore outside my immediate realm.

I have to thank everyone who follows my blog and anyone who has visited it.  Your own insights are more valuable than any currency or precious metal.  Ideas and healthy dialogue invigorate people and keep them free.  I know all of us in the blogging world realize that more than just about anyone else.

In the meantime, my beloved followers, you’re still trapped in the web of my psyche.  So don’t even think about trying to get out!


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A Box of Cupcakes Helps the Medicine Go Down


Courtesy “All Nurses Rock.”

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The Conspiracy Widens

Rick McKee 011813

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January 23, 2013 · 9:12 PM

Glory Holes


“O that the murderous effect of abortion in the Black and Latino communities, destroying tens of thousands at the hands of White abortionists, would explode with the same reprehensible reputation as lynching.”

— John Piper, a minister quoted on Heartbeat International’s Urban Initiative web page.  The organization runs “pregnancy crisis centers.”  Critics note that many of the centers offer inaccurate information about abortion and contraception and exist primarily to persuade pregnant women not to terminate a pregnancy.

That’s ingenious!  Convince poor colored women that abortion is just a Caucasian-inspired plot to annihilate them the same way Custer killed off all those Indians!  I’m sure Heartbeat International offers plenty of information on how they’ll help these women care for the kids once they’re born, too.

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How Do You Miss This?


By now, you’ve surely heard the story about Manti Te’o, the Notre Dame football player who claims a girl he met on Facebook a while back never existed.  If you’ve been in a coma lately, don’t worry.  You’re not missing anything important.  But, this bizarre tale is rife with the tawdriness that only the reality TV / Internet generation could spawn.  Te’o says that he formed a relationship with a girl named “Lennay Kekua;” a union born in the pantheon of cloudy cyberspace and the hormonally-riddled loins of a lonely college boy.  Oh, Lord!  The humanity of it is already making me light-headed.

The drama unfolded in true Facebook fashion when “Lennay” supposedly endured a horrific car wreck late last summer only to learn she had inoperable leukemia.  Things allegedly took a turn for the worst when she died in September.  But, that wasn’t the only tragedy to strike the Te’o family.  The next day, Te’o’s beloved grandmother also died.  Despite the dual afflictions, Te’o managed to continue playing football successfully through the rest of the season; well enough to end up as a Heisman Trophy finalist.

But, as with most lies and fantasies, the truth eventually emerges – or at least when the drugs wear off.  I don’t know what it was in Te’o’s case, but things in his glass-domed universe began to crumble after the first of the year.  “Lennay Kekua” was a whole lot of nothingness.

Here are two things we now know for certain: first, Te’o’s grandmother did pass away last September; second, Te’o is an idiot.  The latter is based upon the sudden revelation that “Lennay” was the figment of some other clown’s twisted imagination.  There was no girl named “Lennay Kekua” and there was no car wreck, followed by an abrupt onset of leukemia.  This is particularly revolting considering that thousands of people die in this country – and across the globe – every year from both car wrecks and leukemia.  That’s not a lie, and people don’t incur cheap sexual fantasies about either dilemma.  Or, they shouldn’t.

But, this entire convoluted fiasco makes me ask two questions.

  1. How could you be in a relationship with someone you’ve never met?
  2. Who amongst us gives a damn?

A third question: why is the national media harping on this like it’s in an extension of the Benghazi massacre?

This mess would be newsworthy and plausible, for example, if “Lennay Kekua” had been a fan of Manti Te’o and if her family and friends had set up a trust fund for her leukemia-related expenses.  This has happened before.  People have faked illnesses or injuries well enough to have accounts set up; their ruses earning thousands of dollars, scores of gifts and mounds of sympathy.  Then, as always occurs, their lies unravel, and the world crashes down upon their greedy, stupid faces.

But, that’s not the case with Manti Te’o.  I still don’t understand how he didn’t know he was in a “relationship” with a girl he’d never actually met.  Maybe he did meet her – through someone else; through his dreams; through a drunken haze.  Perhaps – as only happens on Facebook – he “friended” her and came to believe he was in some kind of loving bond.  They shared photos and daily motivational greetings, and he thought they something going.

As a child, I often had invisible playmates; but then, so have millions of other people – especially those of us who grew up shy and introverted.  An only child, I even imagined I had a twin brother.  As an adult, I’ve had my share of my fantasy lovers.  I’ve enjoyed thousands of lurid sexual encounters; then I either woke up, or finally had an orgasm.  For the record, I still do partake in such hookups, but they’re more meaningful now.  I’ll write about that later.

I must concede I’ve become enmeshed in the Facebook frenzy.  I have “friends” I’ve never met; people who’ve connected with me for various and sundry reasons.  I actually value my Linked In connections more; that site serves a real purpose.  But, I’d like to find where some of these Facebook “friends” live, so I can test their trustworthiness and show up at their home at one or two in the morning saying my truck broke down.  You know you have really good friends when they give you gas money or help you bury the bodies of former supervisors without too many questions.  But, a romance?

I shouldn’t be surprised.  I started meeting people online almost as soon as I got my first personal computer in 2000.  It helped that I posted nude pictures of myself on the web and said I was a virgin, but again, I’ll tell you all about that later.  Still, I tested the value and honesty of these people by revealing bits of myself with each email exchange or instant chat.  I know a couple in Delaware who even sent me glossy photos of themselves.  I have another long-time acquaintance in Milwaukee.  But, I haven’t just traded emails with these guys; we’ve sent each other birthday and Christmas cards; we’ve talked on the phone.  I’ve haven’t met any of them, but I know they’re real people.  I have another long-time acquaintance in Oakland whom I’ve never met; nor have I talked with him on the phone.  But, I’ve looked him up through “White Pages,” and we have a mutual friend here in Dallas who’s met him.  So, I know he exists.

But, I still don’t understand what’s going on with Manti Te’o.  Notre Dame is investigating the matter – as if it’s a sexual assault case.  Now, Te’o has spoken with Katie Couric (who’s still desperately trying to stay relevant since leaving the Today Show) and conceded lying about “Lennay Kekua.”  Ooooo!  It’s getting deep!  Perhaps we’ll finally get to the bottom of this mystery and learn the sordid truth – as nasty and painful as it may be.  Then, we can move onto less pressing issues, like the ongoing economic crisis and global warming.  I mean, first things first, right?

In the meantime, I have another date with a steamy redheaded chick.  I think her name is Candace, but I’ll figure that out when I reach for the bottle of lube.  And, of course, I’ll tell you all about it.

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“Sometimes when I play the guitar, I feel like I am dancing with God.  And although I step on her toes from time to time, she is content to let me lead.”



Photo courtesy Guitar Monk.

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Cloud Capture


This is one of the most intriguing displays of art in motion I’ve ever seen.  Dutch photographer Berndnaudt Smilde creates nimbus clouds indoors and then quickly snaps pictures of them.  Characterized by their low altitude and heavy volume, nimbus clouds are the type that produces precipitation.  The clouds Smilde creates hang low, but fortunately, don’t bear any rain or snow.

Smiled began displaying his work in a small gallery in Arnheim, the Netherlands in 2010, but last year moved into much larger spaces, including a castle and a 15th century church.

“Some things you just want to question for yourself and see if they can be done,” says Smilde.  “I imagined walking in a museum hall with just empty walls.  There was nothing to see except for a rain cloud hanging around in the room.”



Perhaps it’s only natural that Smilde would be fascinated with clouds.  Holland is beset with heavy cloud cover and frequent precipitation.  Moreover, Dutch art masters such as Rembrandt van Rijn and Aelbert Cuyp, created some spectacular cloud-covered landscapes in their paintings.

“My grandparents had one with really threatening-looking clouds,” says Smilde.  “I remember I was intrigued by the power of it.  I couldn’t really grasp what it was, but there was something big, magical and dark about to happen in that painting.  I wanted to create the idea of a typical Dutch rain cloud inside a space.”

That took some ingenuity and plenty of research.  He encountered a substance called aerogel, also known as “frozen smoke,” which is 99.8% air.  It’s the lightest solid material on Earth.  Fascinated with its resemblance to clouds, Smilde began experimenting with it.  Using various temperature controls, moisture and backlighting, he eventually achieved a true nimbus cloud effect.  Since the cloud creations don’t last long, Smilde can’t display them except in photographs.  He has only conducted three live demonstrations.



Like many visual artists, Smilde views his work through its transitory nature.  “It’s there for a brief moment and the clouds fall apart.”

The Ronchini Gallery in London will open a month-long show of Smilde’s work on January 16.  The SFAC Gallery in San Francisco will feature an exhibition of his photographs from February 15 through April 27, 2013.

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In Remembrance – Martin Luther King, Jr.


Today marks the 83rd anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the most important political and social figures of the 20th century.  King was born Michael Luther King, Jr., in Atlanta, Georgia.  He later changed his name to Martin and started a successful career as a pastor with Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

King is most closely associated with the modern civil rights movement, but that was a task with no easy beginning and a blatantly violent end.  In 1957, as Southern Negroes began to clamor for more freedom and equality, King was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed primarily to provide leadership for fledgling civil rights activities.  King adapted Christian ideals to the structure of the SCLC and followed the mantra of India’s Mahatma Gandhi who preached non-violent and peaceful resistance to achieve equality.

Before King could convince White Americans that entrenched racism was morally and constitutionally wrong, however, he had to convince Black Americans – especially Black Southerners – to brave uncharted territory.  It seems almost ludicrous now, but King had to rally Black Americans to rise up and protest against the institutional bigotry that ruled their lives.  They had maintained a tremulous existence for decades; one they obviously didn’t like, but a life they generally felt powerless to do anything about.  There were no anti-discrimination laws to protect someone against the White male aristocracy that ruled America with an iron fist.  Women and non-White men had to be prompted to risk everything to demand the nation hold true to its constitutional values of freedom and justice.

From 1957 until his death, King traveled over 6 million miles and spoke over 2,500 times against social injustices towards Black Americans.  Other groups, such as Hispanics and Native Americans, took their queues for action from King.  His 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech was seminal to the Black civil rights movement.  It won him the Nobel Peace Prize; making him the youngest man ever to be awarded that honor.

I guess it was destiny that he would not live to see much of his dreams come to fruition.  He was gunned down on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, while doing what he did best – speaking out against discrimination and oppression.

His memory still lives, though – vibrant and strong.  The battle for justice and human dignity continues.

Image courtesy W. James Taylor.

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Father Wolf Turns 80

My father and I, Easter Sunday 1967.

My father and I, Easter Sunday 1967.

Today my father, George, marks his 80th birthday.  As I stated last month when my mother turned 80, that’s still a remarkable accomplishment.  My father was born and raised in Dallas; the middle of seven children.  On his father’s side, our ancestry dates back to late 16th century Texas; something we’d known about for years, but which he’s confirmed through his extensive genealogical research.

As you might expect, my father is kind of old school.  He comes from an era when family was sacred and hard work was revered.  People took care of themselves and their loved ones in his day, and they didn’t play the victim when things didn’t work out just right.  He worked hard – too hard – all his life and, along with my mother, built a comfortable middle class lifestyle.  He also a typical dad; doing things that only a father would do.  When I was about three months old, my parents ran out of baby formula just as a major ice storm hit Northeast Texas.  My father simply got dressed and walked a couple of blocks to a nearby convenience store.  He thought nothing of it; what else was he supposed to do?  He also thought nothing of standing on his feet several hours a day, slaving over hot printing presses in a dingy shop in downtown Dallas for more than 40 years.  He’s paid for it with bad knees and gnarled toes.  But, that’s what men of his generation did.  They worked hard and took care of their own without question.  Society doesn’t seem to produce men like my father anymore – at least not in great numbers.

Like most Hispanics growing up in old East Dallas, he had it tough.  Classified as “other,” he was occasionally complimented with comments about his fair skin and good looks, as if that made him different, or better.  He told me he once actually got into a fight with a dog in the neighborhood – and won; returning home with a tiny piece of the dog’s ear hanging from the corner of his mouth.  I didn’t know whether or not to believe him – as if I had any reason to doubt him, knowing how mean he could be – until his mother and oldest sister confirmed the story several years ago.  That’s one of those ‘only-my-dad’ type of stories.

So, here’s to my father!  Happy Birthday!  You mean old Mexican!

My father on his 16th birthday, in a picture he gave to his mother.

My father on his 16th birthday, in a picture he gave to his mother.



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Old Wood and a Bottle of Booze


I just thought this was funny.  Fellow blogger Travel Spirit (Sherry) took this picture in a gift shop in Tarpon Springs, Florida.  The figure reminds me of a close friend who has a moustache, loves Jack Daniels and used to smoke Camel cigarettes.  He also practically grew up in the Florida panhandle, visiting the area often as a kid.  He said – with the exception of the cigarette – the image is true to him: hard as wood and loving Jack Daniels.  That’s all the visual I’m sure any of us needs!  Thanks, Sherry!

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