Road Trippin’ 2014

I took a road trip—from Lexington, Kentucky to Riverside, California.  Why?  Because I had an excuse to do it.  My oldest son is in a mathematics research program at California State University—San Bernardino.  Instead of our usual beach-oriented vacation, my wife and I decided that we would visit California.

WHY DO THIS?

Even though it was a family vacation, I drove alone to California.  As a result, many people asked my wife and me why I would do this.  Before I go further, let me answer the most commonly asked questions:

Why did I go by myself?  No one wanted to go with me.  At one point, I thought my middle son would go.  He and I traveled together quite a bit when he played baseball, and he’s a pretty good companion, although he’s a little too picky about meals.  Ultimately, he backed out as I expected he would.  Honestly, he would have been bored to death,  although later in life he would have been glad he went.  There is no way my wife would go.  She can’t stand a day long drive anywhere.  Four or five days of driving would have resulted in madness for one or both of us.  My youngest son gets car sick riding across town.  There was no chance of me driving 4,000 miles with the window down so he can “get some air.”  So, it was either go alone or not at all.

Was I lonely?  I have many flaws, but as I proceed through my fifties, I’m pretty comfortable with myself.  I don’t need people to entertain me. I’m just weird enough that driving and seeing new sights interests me.  I don’t have to force someone else to go with me to enjoy it.

Why did you want to do this?  I wanted to see the country.  I haven’t been across the country since I was kid when my family would drive to Utah to visit my grandparents.  I’m 51 years old.  Who knows when I would have the excuse to do this again?  Maybe never or maybe I’d be too damn old to do it.  This was my chance, and I took it.

HITTING THE ROAD

I left on a Sunday morning headed out on I-64 which I rode into Missouri.  Southern Indiana and Illinois are faceless, bland drives.  It only gets interesting when you hit St. Louis.

One thing I wanted to do was check out Route 66 (or what’s left of it), the famed Mother Road which ran from Chicago to Santa Monica, California.  Prior to the Interstate system, Route 66 was the main artery across the United States.  It still exists, to certain extent, although it has been largely obliterated by Interstates 44 and 40.  It many places it still retains some of its old character.  I checked out quite a bit of it.  I’m not going to give your details of all my stops or a history of the road.  Google “Route 66” and you’ll more information than you can digest.

I had no itinerary.  My oldest son gave me a book about Route 66 which was helpful.  It gave me some idea of where I was going.  Otherwise, I just drove.  A lot of the driving was on Interstates, and a lot wasn’t.

My only plan was to drive until 4:00 or 5:00 and then look for a Hampton Inn.  I’m a big fan of Hampton Inn–clean rooms, reasonable prices, free internet and free breakfast.  Plus, they have fitness rooms.  When I do a lot of driving, I like to have at least a treadmill to use to keep this old body in shape.  Oh, I’m also a big fan of Flying J truck stops.  The restrooms are clean and the coffee is always hot and fresh.  Good stuff.

Here are some highlights:

My first stop—about 6 hours in—was in Cuba, Missouri for lunch.  I ate at Missouri Hick BBQ.  Pulled pork sandwich just the way it should be—smoky and no sauce on it.  I followed Route 66 for about an hour after that but hopped back on I-44 to cover more ground.  I spent the night in Joplin, Missouri, slept well and was back on the road in the morning.  I was struck by how much of Joplin is still destroyed by the 2011 tornado.

This just had to be good.  It was.

This just had to be good. It was.

The old road is no great treat in Missouri.  I-44 obliterates in most stretches.  In others, it’s little more than a service road for the Interstate.   Cuba, Missouri, though, is worth a stop.   In addition to Missouri Hick, it’s the City of Murals with murals painted on almost every building.  It also has the Wagon Wheel Motel, the oldest continuously operating motel on the old road. Pretty cool.

On Day 2, I decided to follow Route 66 for the day.  I rolled through Galena, Kansas and on to Commerce, Oklahoma, small town that surely suffered when the Interstate bypassed it.  I came into Commerce at around 9:00 a.m.  I parked on the main street and looked around.  There were no signs of any activity.  One thing, though, stood out.  Mickey Mantle was from Commerce, and Commerce is proud of it.  Signs line the street proclaiming it.  The center piece is in front of the town baseball park—Mickey Mantle Field, of course.  A huge statue of the Mick is out front.  Something about that statue early in the morning gave me chills.  It is a magnificent monument.  Yankee Stadium would be proud to display it.

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THEY STILL LOVE THE MICK IN COMMERCE.

Next, I came to Vinita, Oklahoma, which is home to the former largest McDonald’s restaurant on Earth—it straddles the Interstate, in fact.  Weird, but true.  It was a nice little town.

Miami, Stroud and other small towns passed by.  I ate in Stroud at the Rock Café, a Route 66 landmark—Nice people and good food, too.  It was one of the models for the film, Cars.

No trip through this part of the country would be complete without seeing the Blue Whale of Catoosa:

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I took the Mother Road through downtown Tulsa and about half way to Oklahoma City.  I hopped back on I-44 to avoid traffic around OKC.  My night was spent in Clinton, Oklahoma, home of Toby Keith.  I learned that every town in Oklahoma is the home of “someone.”

I took one detour before I reached Clinton.  I drove about ten miles south of I-40 to Binger, Oklahoma, hometown of the my childhood hero, Johnny Bench.  There’s not much in Binger, but they have a Johnny Bench Street and Johnny Bench Museum.  They remember Johnny:

JB's sign needs straightening

JB’s sign needs straightening

I lost a lot of time with my wanderings on Day 2, so I stayed back on the I for most of Day 3.  My first goal was the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo which I got to around lunch time.  I’m glad I looked it up on the Internet.  There are no signs or billboards.  You have to know that it’s between exits 61 and 62.  The artist who created it died just a couple of weeks ago.  You’re free to paint your own graffiti on the cars.  Of course, I couldn’t resist:

I chose to tag a car with "UK" for my beloved University of Kentucky.

I chose to tag a car with “UK” for my beloved University of Kentucky.

Before I reached Amarillo, I couldn’t pass up the Devils Rope Museum in McLean, Texas.  It’s a barbed wire museum.  You never imagined there were so many types of barbed wire—hundreds, maybe thousands.  They also had a small area devoted to Route 66 artifacts.  I met a couple of folks from New Zealand.  Their accents and mine clashed  and none of us were sure what had been said.

I made it all the way to Albuquerque where I had dinner at Garcia’s Kitchen on old Route 66 which runs the Old Town section of the city.  That’s a great drive.  Many of the old motels still remain, although I was told at my hotel that it wasn’t the safest place to wander at night.

Garcia’s was outstanding.  Chicken flautas, refried beans and rice.  My waitress was friendly.  Of course, she asked about my accent.  She guessed I was from Texas, but I told her that Texans could understand me, either.

My goal on Day 3 was Phoenix.  If you know your geography, you know that’s quite a detour.  My brother lives in Scottsdale, and we rarely see each other.  I couldn’t pass up the chance to see him.  So, I did

I had lunch in Holbrook, Arizona, a town which I’m guessing hasn’t changed much over the decades.  Many of the Route 66 businesses were still there, including the iconic Wigwam Motel:

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It was cool to see and walk around, but I wouldn’t stay there.  While it seemed well-kept and clean, there was just something about the look–maybe it was the old vintage cars parked in front of each teepee.  I could easily imagine a masked marauder sawing the top off my teepee in the middle of the night.  I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t happen.

I lunched at Joe & Aggies Café, another excellent meal.  Chicken tacos this time.  Great service and atmosphere.

Winslow, Arizona was next.  The sole purpose of this stop was to be photographed standing on the corner.  So, I was:

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Seligman, Arizona was also on my agenda.  I learned that it’s pronounced “Sligman” by the locals.  It had a small stretch of preserved Route 66 businesses, including Degadillo’s Snow Cap, which has been in business since 1953.  I had some ice cream and hit the road for Phoenix.

I had dinner with my brother in Scottsdale, and set out for California the next morning.  I had to make up time in order to meet my family in Riverside that afternoon. I would catch the California sights on the way back.  I did make a brief stop in Needles, California where I enjoyed the 115 degree heat.  Yes, I know—it’s a DRY HEAT.  115 is still hotter than Hell.

We spent five days in Riverside at the Mission Inn and Spa.  If you ever a get a chance, stay there.  It’s luxurious and reasonably priced.  I won’t bore you with the history of it, but it’s like a poor man’s Hearst Castle, a crazy quilt of architectural styles and artifacts.  It has to be seen to be appreciated.  We loved it.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t quite as enthused about the return trip, but I set out to cover the same ground and catch more scenery.  After about an hour on the Interstate, I decided to hit the Mother Road again.  The first landmark was the Bagdad Café in Newberry Springs, right in the desert.  The proprietor, a gentleman named Shaggy, came out to my car and invited me in.  While Shaggy enjoyed his breakfast beer, he gave me the history of the place, explaining that it had been featured in a 1988 film,  Bagdad Café.  Since nothing is left in the real Bagdad, California, the film was made there.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had never heard of the film   He gave me a movie poster.

Shaggy was fascinated that I was from Kentucky, because he and his co-workers had been looking for someone who knew about guns.  Oddly though, they never asked me anything about guns.  Shaggy had worked in L.A. as a mechanic.  He liked my car and gave it a thorough examination before I left.

Here’s Amboy, California (population 4):

 

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I continued on Route 66 for some time before I concluded that this is what I was going to see:

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On my trip back, retraced my path and saw a few new sights, such as the Blue Hole of Santa Rosa:

 

The Blue Hole is a popular scuba diving spot.

The Blue Hole is a popular scuba diving spot.

… and the VW Slugbuggy Ranch in  Conway, Texas:

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On to Amarillo for the night where I ate the best barbecued brisket ever at Tyler’s Barbeque.  After a night in Tulsa, I hauled the 750 miles back home.  I was tired and more than a little road-weary.  I’d do it again tomorrow.

THE PEOPLE AND PLACES

Understand that I’m not one of these guys who shows up and glad hands strangers, but I will strike up conversations when I can.  Mostly, though, I just people watch.  I’m odd enough that enjoy the anonymity of being a stranger in a strange town.  No one knows me, and I don’t know them.  Nevertheless, I met some folks and saw quite a few things.  Here’s a sampling:

  • I chatted with a member of the Bandidos motorcycle club in Texas.  He admired my car and we talked about the bugs in the air.  Nice fellow for an “outlaw biker.”  In Indiana, I shared a restroom with a biker who placed a handgun on the sink while he washed his hands.
  • In Adrian, Texas, I met some Chinese folks at the midpoint of Route 66.  They were thrilled when a rough-looking biker pulled up and began frantically taking pictures of him.  He, in turn, was amused.  He let them pose on his bike for their own photo ops.  I talked to them enough to figure out that only one spoke English–barely.
  • In Oklahoma, I asked a fellow about the nearby windmill farm.  He said folks were pretty pleased with it, but that if you lived near it you had to get used the low-level “hmmm” of the blades.
  • At the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, I watch kids jump into the water-over and over and over.   It was tempting, given that it was 100 degrees.  Kids are kids everywhere.
  • I walked the street in Commerce, Oklahoma at 9:00 a.m.  There wasn’t much activity.  It could have been the small town where I grew up in Kentucky.
  • In New Mexico, I drove Route 66 at sunset.  I parked on the side of the road and watched the sunset while several horses wandered around my car.
  • I saw lots of other towns–Williams, Arizona; Kingman, Arizona; Rolla, Missouri; Clinton, Oklahoma (Home of Toby Keith); Chandler, Oklahoma; Erick, Oklahoma (Home of Roger Miller); Shamrock, Texas; Elk City, Oklahoma (Home of Jimmy Webb); Quapaw, Oklahoma; Ludlow, California; Grants, New Mexico; and many others.

New Mexico was the prettiest state with its red rocks and open skies.  Arizona was the best drive with great scenery and little traffic.  California was the toughest.  Both the Interstate and old road are desolate and HOT.  Oklahoma has the most casinos. Missouri has the most adult video stores.  The nicest people were in Texas.   Oklahoma folks are nice, too.

If you ever want to drive the entirety of the old Route 66, give yourself a couple of weeks.  Drive a vehicle that can handle poorly maintained, or even unpaved, roads.  I didn’t come close to driving the whole route and still encountered plenty of rough driving.  Also, be prepared for maddening breaks in the highway as it gets obliterated by the Interstate here and there.

So, that’s my trip.   I scribbled notes here and there and covered Facebook with posts to the annoyance of everyone, I’m sure. I wrote this as much for me as anyone else.  I’d do it again, but if I don’t get the chance at least I did it once.

©2014 http://www.thetrivialtroll.com

Staring Into The Abyss: Street Life

 “Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster; and if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes into you.” Friedrich Nietzsche

I recently spent a few days in Washington, D.C. I have been to our Capital before, but this time I had a few hours to play tourist. Two of my law partners and I strolled the National Mall and surrounding area. Seeing the Capitol, White House, museums and other landmarks, one of my partners noted that it made her proud of her country. Indeed, one would have to be a jaded American not to feel the same way. I know I did.

I was in Washington on business. I had been asked to speak at a conference at the United States Department of Labor. Such things, of course, make one a big deal.

As we walked from our fabulous hotel two blocks from Capitol Hill, we approached several workers preparing for their day. They wore hard hats, boots, work gloves and those reflective vests which one hopes draw the attention of distracted drivers. These men were assembling scaffolding on the sidewalk and running industrial extension cords for whatever project awaited them.

As we neared the workers, I noticed that were negotiating their way around several piles of trash on the sidewalk. I thought it was a shame that among all those impressive sights, our nation’s capital couldn’t keep its sidewalks clean.

Then I saw the feet. They were sticking out from under a pile of carpet felt. Then I saw another pair beneath a pile of rags and plastic. Between the feet was a body. Wedged between two buildings was another man, swaddled in rags and staring blankly. These could have been corpses or garbage, but they weren’t. They were people–men huddled against the elements, awaiting nothing.

My concern that morning was that my feet hurt from the previous day’s sight-seeing. I also had my talk to give. This, of course, was very important, too.  I was living a world away from those fellows.

The day before, I had walked by that same spot and noted that the building housed the Mitch Snyder Arts and Education Center for the Homeless. I’m embarrassed to admit that my reaction had been to dismiss this as foolishness. What kind of do-gooder thinks the homeless need art? I even cracked a joke about it to one of my partners.  This Mitch Snyder must have been some rich guy who thought art would help.  How about some beds?

When we walked back to our hotel several hours later, the scene was much the same.  The workers were still working.  The piles of humans were still there, too.  Pedestrians disinterestedly passed both.  We crossed to the other side of the street.  On that side, those piles didn’t exist.

It struck me that’s how my life works.  I live in suburbia.  I have a job.  And a family.   Those men don’t exist in my world, although even in the college town of Lexington, Kentucky, I am no more than a 15 minute drive from them.

Who are these people?  Most assuredly, they are wracked by some combination of mental illness, addiction and poverty.  We know that many of them are military veterans–the same men we breathlessly laud for their service to our country, reduced to nothing so much as refuse.  In fact, one would expect common garbage to be removed from the sidewalk.  People, it seems, are a necessary evil.

At this point, one might muse “There but for the grace of God go I,” the well-known idiom attributed to 16th century martyr John Bradford as he saw prisoners being led to execution.  How many of us really believe that?  Not many, I suspect.  You may be imbued with an arrogance that you are somehow protected.  Family, friends and God will shield you from this fate.

I no longer believe that I am either graced or protected.   At the risk of offending my readers, I have no use for a God who arbitrarily graces me while He curses my brothers.  If I embrace that I am so special then I must also accept that others–through no fault of their own–have been ignored or even damned by that same God.

Those men on the street have families.  They are sons, siblings-even parents.  They have had friends and lovers.  Each story is different but all share a common thread.  Somewhere, somehow, they fell to the point where I saw them in Washington or in Las Vegas on New Years Day this year or here in Lexington.

I learned about some of these men from a friend of mine.  He lived this same life years ago.  Born to parents who neither wanted nor loved him, he suffered a childhood of abuse and neglect.  In his teens, he was homeless and a budding alcoholic and addict. Into adulthood, mental illness gripped him as he drifted from town to town unable to hold a job or establish anything most of us would call a “life.”

The good news is that my friend overcame his addictions and for several years worked and made a life for himself.  Fate, though, can be cruel.  In the past few years, as he approached middle age, my friend suffered disabling illness which has threatened to take away this life.  He gets along as best he can with the help of friends and doctors, and is grateful for all he now has, as meager as it may seem to me.  Yet, he will occasionally look at me and ask:  “What did I ever do to deserve this?”  I have no answer. Now, when I consider all that I have in my life, I ask the same question.  I have the same answer.

What of Mitch Snyder?  My judgment was wrong.  I have since learned that he may well have been the greatest advocate the American homeless ever had.  He is credited with forcing the District of Columbia–largely by public shaming–into providing shelters for the homeless.  A common tactic was to publicize the funerals of those who froze to death on DC’s streets.  His public fasting directly led to the donation of an empty Federal building as a 1400 bed homeless shelter–the largest in America.  In the end, Snyder couldn’t conquer his own demons.  In 1990, at age 46, he hanged himself in that shelter.   His Community for Creative Non-Violence continues his work.

For all his efforts, I suppose Snyder never conquered homelessness, either.  Don’t ask me for the answers.  I still wonder why I have so much while others have so little.  I do know that money alone isn’t enough.  If you think this can be remedied by handing out checks or jobs, I disagree.  Visit one of your local homeless shelters and talk to the residents.  Few can handle money, much less a job.  We can do better offering them food and shelter, but that can be limited help.  My friend told me that always avoided shelters because they were “too dangerous.”

Snyder was right when he thought that those men on the street should enrage the public, but they don’t.  They make  us sad, even a tad guilty perhaps, but few of us rage against it.  Even worse, a fair number of us condemn such people as drains on society, symbols of those who can’t–or won’t–take advantage of all our great country has to offer.  This is, after all, the Land of Opportunity.  Each man and woman can do anything he or she sets out to do.  If that comforts you or eases your guilt, go on believing it.  I’ve come to believe that opportunity isn’t doled out equally nor is success measured the same for everyone.  For too many, survival equals success.

A person born to my circumstances has little excuse for failure, while my friend mentioned above can easily be forgiven.  I’m not naïve enough to think that we can eradicate homelessness anymore than I would believe that we can assure success for everyone.  Nor do I think my observations are great revelations.  It’s not like I just discovered this problem, but I don’t think I’ll see it the same again.  Something about the juxtaposition of my privileged stroll down the street with men living on that sidewalk gave me new perspective.

If nothing else, the next time I’m patting myself on the back for something, perhaps I’ll consider those men.  No one’s life is easy.  We all have our trials.  I suppose we all run the same race, but many of us had a head start.

©2014 http://www.thetrivialtroll.com

Twenty Signs You Are A Liberal…Or Not

Are you a liberal?  If so, there’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s just that the world is confusing these days; thus, you could be misjudging yourself.  Some people say I’m liberal.  Liberals don’t say that.  They say I’m a reactionary capitalist.  It confuses me.  I’ve always been the type that had difficulty figuring myself out.  If you ask:   “How are you?”  I might respond:  “I don’t know.  You tell me.”

John F. Kennedy was considered a liberal, but I think he’d be a conservative today.  Ronald Reagan is king of the conservatives, but he might be a liberal now.  Who knows?  I do know that there are definite signs of liberalism, but even those are confusing.

So, I’ve tried to identify the tell-tale signs of liberalism–those traits which expose a closeted liberal to the harsh light of day.  These same traits could mean something entirely different, too.  It’s all still confusing, but this won’t stop me from making broad and reckless generalizations.

With all this in mind, any of the following characteristics could make you a liberal–then again, maybe not:

  1. You have a beard (ladies included, of course).  If you have a beard because you live in an underground bunker, you’re probably not.
  2. You compost your bodily wastes.  See bunker comment above.
  3. You don’t bathe regularly.  If it’s because you are in prison for insider trading, you’re probably not.
  4. You draw a check for doing nothing.  If your check comes from a trust fund, you’re probably not.
  5. You have a ponytail.  If it is on an actual pony you bought your daughter, you’re probably not.
  6. You refuse to shop at Wal-Mart.  Okay, this cuts both ways.
  7. Your car is covered in bumper stickers.  If any of those sticker say OBUMMER, you’re not.
  8. You support higher taxes.  If you support higher taxes only on people who don’t pay taxes, you’re probably not.
  9. You believe in big government.  If you don’t consider the military part of the government, you’re probably not.
  10. You’re anti-war.  If your anti-war stance applies only to you personally not being in a war, you probably aren’t.
  11. You’re a socialist.  If you don’t know what a socialist is, you’re probably not.
  12. You’re a communist.  No counter-point here.  All communists are liberals and vice versa usually.
  13. You hate Ted Nugent.  If you only hate him because he plays that blasted Rock and Roll music, you’re probably not.
  14. You are smarter than everyone else.  If you really are smarter than everyone else, well…you’re smart enough to  know the answer.
  15. You hate all religions.  If you hate all religions except your own, you aren’t.
  16. You own a cat.  If the cat is food for your hyena, you aren’t.
  17. You support universal healthcare.  If your support is limited by your belief that Earth is not part of the universe, you aren’t.
  18. You belong to a minority group.  If that minority group is the Mega Billionaire Club, you probably aren’t.
  19. You hate Ann Coulter.  If it’s because she won’t respond to your letters, you’re not.
  20. You don’t own a gun.  If you don’t own one because of some mental health issue, you’re probably aren’t.  Then again, you might be.  It’s hard to say, really.

Under my proprietary and quite arbitrary scoring system, here are your test results based upon the number of signs which apply to you:

5 or less:  You are not liberal.  If you think you are, you have been living a lie.

6-10:  You have definite liberal leanings.  Keep them to yourself around your conservative friends.

11-15:  You are a dangerous, free-thinking leftist.

16-20:  Total Fidel Castro-loving, Marxist pinko.  Or not.

See? It’s pretty simple.  Or not.

©www.thetrivialtroll.com 2014

Dying to Get High

Since Philip Seymour Hoffman’s body was discovered on February 2, 2014, I’ve pondered whether to write about it.  What can I add to the flood of coverage?  Maybe nothing, but here goes.

Let’s stop being ignorant about drug and alcohol addiction.  We once embarked on a well-meaning, but painfully naive, campaign to JUST SAY NO to drugs.  Perhaps one day a high-profile drug death will force us to JUST SAY NO to our collective ignorance of addiction.  Addiction is disease, plain and simple.

Many of us think of the famous and talented has having something we don’t, an edge that we’d love to have.  This is largely true.  Addiction, it seems, is the great equalizer.

That Philip Seymour Hoffman was a great actor is undeniable, so, too, it seems is the fact that he was a drug addict.  Being a great actor is a mark of distinction.  Being an addict is not.  The addict is like a character from a Tom Clancy novel, operating in the shadows, doing his best to conceal his true identity.

Hoffman gave many fine performances as an actor.  His skills are now a footnote to his life.  He will be largely remembered for how he died, not how he lived.  For all its trappings, this is one element of the price of success.  Anonymity is gone.  Fame–or infamy–take its place.

Hoffman is not afforded the vague obituary of the common addict.   You know some of these people.  Their obituaries say they died “suddenly” or “unexpectedly” or after a “brief illness.”  Perhaps they died of “heart failure,” another common euphemism for overdosing or drinking oneself to death. There are no requests to support cancer research or hospice care in lieu of flowers.  They are relegated to the same types of amorphous remembrances as suicide victims.

Hoffman died like most addicts–alone.  By all accounts, he had been clean for over two decades, only to relapse in the past couple of years.  It took him two decades to build his enviable career.  It took his addiction less than two years to kill him.  If you are familiar with addiction, you’ve seen this same story play out before.  Regardless of how glamorous one’s life may have been, this death is not.

The addict’s death is an ugly death.  Google Chris Farley’s name, and one of the images you’ll see is his body after his overdose death.  Ugly might be a mild word.

The chances are that every person reading this knows an addict.  Perhaps you are one yourself.  If so, you know the power of the addiction.  Maybe you are one of those for whom addiction is a sign of weakness or poor morals.  If so, consider:

  • Have you ever taken an illegal drug?
  • Have you ever taken a prescription drug that belonged to someone else?
  • Have you ever taken a legal drug but not followed the directions?
  • Have you ever had a drink of alcohol?
  • Have you ever been drunk?

Some folks-very, very few–can answer “No” to all of those questions.  If so, you have avoided the risk of setting off your addiction.   If you answered “Yes” to any of those, you are simply one of the vast majority of us.

The great puzzlement of addiction is that most people–indeed, the overwhelming majority–can do all of the above without becoming an addict.  Life for an addict is different.

The simplest (and best) explanation I’ve ever heard for why we drink or take drugs is this:  We like the effect.  That’s hard to admit for a lot of us.  We want to think we are wine connoisseurs or that we “experiment.”  The truth is more blunt:  We like the effect.

The addict likes the effect, too.  His world, though, is different.  He obsesses about the effect.   When he consumes a drink or his drug of choice, he likes the effect, but then craves more.   In his last days, he can’t quite get the desired effect.  More is better but never quite enough.

I am certain that most people reading this cannot relate.  You may have a drink or two at dinner and think “I better slow down.  I’m starting to feel this.”  Maybe you smoke a joint to relax.  For the addict, that drink or joint lights the fuse.  His response is “I’m starting to feel this.  I need more.”  As F. Scott Fitzgerald said “First you take a drink.  Then the drink takes a drink.  Then the drink takes you.”

Hoffman, Lenny Bruce, Judy Garland, Whitney Houston, Chris Farley, John Belushi, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin–all well-known drug deaths.  A similar list could be compiled of the famous who drank themselves to death.  Actors, athletes, politicians–the lists are practically endless.

These are the addicts we know about.  Consider all the ones we don’t. They include your friends, neighbors and even family.  Maybe you, too.

Like other diseases, addiction doesn’t discriminate.  The rich and poor; black and white; male and female; young and old–addiction throws a broad net.  The addicts I’ve known include doctors, lawyers, accountants, realtors, salesmen, ministers, carpenters, brick masons, electricians, janitors, politicians, housewives and many others.  Money, success, failure, poverty–none of this matters.

You may be of the stripe who say “Lock ’em, up!”  While I disagree, I understand the sentiment.  It is more comforting to think we can hide it.  Looking at it is tough.  There is shame in it.  And fear.  We’ve stuffed our prisons full, yet our friends and neighbors still die.

There is good news, though, among all this sorrow–and it is sorrow, by the way, destroying the lives of the addicts and all those who care about them.  Addiction is treatable.  Make no mistake here–it is not curable.  The clean addict or sober drunk is one drug or drink away from disaster.  Ongoing, effective treatment can and will prevent that.   Our attitude toward addiction remains a great stumbling block.

The stigma attached to addiction is daunting, worse perhaps than mental illness.  While we’ve grown accustomed to taking a pill for this or that , we still shrink at the thought of a drug addict or alcoholic among us.

Shaming the addict into the shadows with the threat of prison or ostracizing him won’t work. I’ve never known an addict who enjoyed his or her addiction in its chronic form.  No one sets out to be a drug addict or alcoholic.  Sanctimonious preaching won’t cause a great revelation in the mind of the addict.

Why don’t they just straighten up?  You might as well ask a cancer patient why he “doesn’t just get well.”  I once heard that no one was ever shamed or browbeaten into Christianity.  Treatment for addiction works the same way.

If we consign addiction to the dust bin of moral failure, we simply accept it as a human frailty.  It is much more than that.  Likewise, it is not a bad habit.  Leaving one’s dirty clothes in the floor is bad habit.  Drinking or drugging oneself to death is not.

Addiction is a disease of the mind and body.  The addict’s mind drives him to his drink or drug while his body craves more.  Addicts aren’t “partying.”  They are dying.

Addiction has one distinction that other diseases do not.  Often, the addict has no desire to stop.  The disease convinces him that he has no disease.  I can think of no other chronic, fatal illness that has that so affects its sufferer.  As a result, getting help for an addict is difficult, even impossible in many cases.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

I suspect that if a terminal illness swept through our population like addiction has, we would bring every possible resource to bear on its eradication.  Of course, it is foolish to think we can eliminate this disease.  As long as there are human beings, some will want to change how they feel.

Perhaps if we take addiction out of the shadows and remove the stigma, we can make some progress.  If every drug or alcohol death were publicized, we would be horrified by the numbers.  For all his fame, talent and wealth, Hoffman died the addict’s death.  He leaves children to mourn him and puzzled friends.  The next time you hear of an overdose death, think about your friends and family.  There’s probably an addict lurking among them.

©www.trivialtroll.com 2014

Here’s Something Funny: How I Talk

I talk funny.  No, I don’t have a speech impediment.  If I did, it’s likely that very few people would mention it.  Then again, maybe they would.  Still, I talk funny, and I know it.

I didn’t always know it.  For 18 years, I thought I sounded just fine, better than most, in fact.  I grew up in Harlan County, Kentucky, the very heart of Eastern Kentucky.  Harlan is Appalachia at its finest.  We’re proud of our heritage.  We’ll tell anyone who’ll listen.  Unfortunately, many times those people won’t understand a damn word we say.

When I was 18, I went to college but not very far from home.  I attended the University of Kentucky, a mere 3 hours (at most) from Harlan County.  There were a lot of Eastern Kentuckians at U.K., and those folks became my friends.  As one friend from Bell County (Harlan’s next door neighbor) told me “We’re like Indians.  We’re lost when we leave the reservation, so we have to hang together.” So we did.

I met people from different places, and they talked funny.  They had accents.  We did, too, but not so bad.  I knew plenty of people in Harlan with accents, heavy mountain accents.  They were hard to understand even for a native.  I didn’t sound like that.  Or so I thought.

When I was 19, I met a girl from Louisville–Kentucky’s big city.  She broke the news to me about my accent. For example, I pronounced the word “light” all wrong.  It has a short “i”, not the long, flat “eyyyyyye” I used.  In fact, I was practically saying “lat” instead of “light.”  Damnation.  Who knew?  She complained about my mumbling.  Little did she know, that she should been have happy that she couldn’t understand everything I was saying.

Once someone talks about your accent, the relationship is doomed, I suppose.  Nevertheless, I realized that I did have an accent.  I’ve been cognizant of it ever since.  You can’t tell I have an accent by reading this, but I do.  It’s a pretty thick one, too.  You know what?  I don’t give a fat damn about it.  [“Fat damn” sounds really good with my accent, by the way.]

What kind do I have?  Appalachian.  That’s not southern.  I don’t sound like Foghorn Leghorn, although folks in the Northeast will ask me if I’m “from the South.”  I’m not from the South.  I’m from the Mountains.

Our accents are a mountain drawl combined with a distinct mumble.  Our words run together but kind of slowly.  We aren’t fast talkers.  Go to Michigan if you want to hear that.  Our accents have so butchered the English language over time that translation is often required:

You from upair? Translation:  Are you from up there? [Up where, you ask?  Upair.]

Them yor people?  Translation:  Are you related to those people? 

He done got farred.  Translation:  That fellow was discharged from his employment.

Gimme em warcutters.  Translation:  Please hand me those wire cutters.

He thoed that out the winder.  Translation:  He threw that item out of the window.

I et a mater sammich yesterdee.  Translation:  I dined on a tomato sandwich yesterday.

Them fellers fit upair.  Translation:  Two gentlemen from up there engaged in fisticuffs.

He clum upair and worked on the chimley.  Translation:  He climbed up on the house to repair the chimney.

These are but a few examples, extreme though they may be.  We’ll say “tar” instead of “tire.” Someone may be “lexicuted” rather than electrocuted.  We fish with “minners,”not minnows.  People live in hollers or they may holler at you.  We’ll even “GARNT-tee” something for you.  We can do all of this but you won’t have a damn clue if we explain it to you.

So, you’re thinking:  “You people are ignorant hill jacks.”  No, we’re not.  That’s just how we talk.  I guess we have our fair shares of idiots, but almost all of us have accents which render us, to some extent, incomprehensible.

Now, not all mountain people have accents.  Some work very hard to get rid of them or to never have them.  I’m cool with that.  That’s not how I was raised, though.  We just talked how we talked.  We didn’t really think about it much, except for my mother who was a stickler for correct grammar.  She pointed out to me on many occasions that only the lowest of trash used double negatives.  “Ain’t” made her practically shriek, but not as much as “hain’t” did.

I do feel a bit bad for the folks who lose their accents.  They become sort of like people from Nebraska.  Try to say something and sound like someone from Nebraska.  You can’t, because no one knows what they sound like.  I can identify an Appalachian accent in about 5 seconds.

One group I don’t care about is those who shed their accents because of their shame of coming from the mountains.  They don’t want to sound like us.  It’s embarrassing.  They’re above that.  They are the same folks who pontificate about people in the mountains need, when in truth they wouldn’t care if the place was used for nuclear waste disposal.

So, how thick is my accent?  I was eating at my neighborhood Waffle House recently, when the waitress asked where I was from.  When I said Harlan, she said “I thought so.”  Oh, she then added:  “Half my family is from Harlan–the half we don’t speak to.”

Recently, I was in Las Vegas and struck up a conversation with a couple of strippers on the street.  One asked:  “Where are you from?  Your accent is so cute.”  I gave her five dollars.  I also met aspiring rapper, Young Cheese.  Even he asked me where I was from.

These ladies like my accent.  That's not so bad, is it?

These ladies like my accent. That’s not so bad, is it?

The obvious downside to my accent is that I am often incomprehensible to the untrained ear.  I once ordered lunch in a restaurant in Gloucester, Massachusetts.  The waitress couldn’t understand me nor could I her, yet we were both speaking English.  My lunch companions worked as translators.

My own wife struggles to understand me, and we have lived together for over half our lives.  Here is a typical exchange:

ME:  What’s for dinner?

HER:  What?

ME:  What’s for dinner?

HER: Huh?

ME:  DINNER!  WHAT ARE WE HAVING?

HER: Don’t yell at me!

ME:  I have to yell.  You can’t hear.

HER:  What?

ME:  YOU! ARE! DEAF!

HER:  I am not! You mumble!

…and so on and so on. It always ends with my wife pointing out that her friend Lisa can’t understand me, either.  Maybe I do mumble, but you’d think 26 years would be enough time for someone to get used to it.

 [In my defense, I would note that my father often accused my mother of mumbling.  He was almost completely deaf, yet never conceded that his lack of hearing was an issue.]

As a lawyer, my accent comes in handy.  I handle many cases in Eastern Kentucky and sound the part with no real effort.  Occasionally, it’s a hindrance.  I recently tried a case in Illinois, and explained to the court reporter that she may have problems understanding me.  She did.

Mountain accents help in other ways, too.  They are really good when you threaten someone.  If someone with Locust Valley Lockjaw says he’ll kick your ass, you’ll laugh in his face.  When someone from Harlan says it–male or female–it has a ring of truth to it.  “I’ll whup your aaasss” just sounds serious.  It also makes curse words sound better. “Hell” comes out like “Haaaiiil.” Shit becomes “I don’t give a shiiiiiit.”  It creates an emphasis that others lack.  There are many more examples that good taste prevents me from discussing here.

The only time my accent bothers me is when I hear it.  I’ll hear myself on video and think “Man, oh man, I sound like a weed bender.”  I guess I do.

Naturally, many folks hear us talk and think we’re dumb. Many of these people are, in fact, dumb people with different accents. Sure, if we’re interviewed on TV, there may be subtitles, but we’re not dumb–at least not all of us. If you ARE dumb, a mountain accent won’t help. Nevertheless, it won’t actually make you dumb.

Of course, we aren’t the only people who sound funny.  New Englanders sound funny, too.  So do folks from Wisconsin.  New Yorkers are hard to understand, just like people from the deep south.  Appalachians just have the disadvantage of being in perhaps the last remaining group of people who can be openly derided with no repercussions.

Now, read this again in your best Appalachian accent. If you still don’t get it, watch the TV show Justified. It’s set in Harlan County, and they do a good job with the accents. Maybe you’ve seen the Patrick Swayze classic, Next of Kin. There are some good accents in that one, with the exception of Liam Neeson. I’m not sure what he was doing, but I’ve never heard anyone sound like that.

Aint’ got nuthin left to say about this hyere–nary a word.  I’m still upair in Lexington, but I’ve still got people in Harlan.  Reckon I’ll stay hyere, unless I end up somewheres else.  Proud to know you uns.  Holler at me if you get up this way.

©www.thetrivialtroll.com 2014

Help A Drowning Man

phil

I am awash in a sea of bad information. How did this happen? I’ve spent too much time in the ocean of social media where information is plentiful, but accuracy is sacrificed for speed and volume. How does this happen? The easy answer, of course, is that people are idiots. This knee jerk response is just as flawed as the flotsam vomited out on social media even as you read this. People love outrage. More precisely, they love to be outraged. This is especially true when politics and religion are involved. This causes otherwise intelligent and thoughtful folks to randomly post thoughts, memes and links which are related to reality only by the thin thread of having originated from someone’s mind.

Another answer might be that I spend too much time on social media and should do something else like a read book.  No thank you, Egg Head.  That ain’t happening.  We need to work together.

Phil Robertson is now the millstone around my neck.  If you don’t know who Phil is, then good for you.  You aren’t into social media and perhaps spend your time writing poetry.  If so, you’re probably not reading this anyway. Phil is a “reality TV” star.  His show, Duck Dynasty, is entertaining.  It certainly seems scripted to me, but what do I know?  Perhaps Phil and his family became multi-millionaires while bumbling about like…well…reality TV stars.

I won’t rehash what Phil did.  There’s no point in doing so.  He said things that pissed people off or made people happy.  Outrage ensued.  Many folks–again, otherwise intelligent–have risen to his defense by citing his right to “free speech.”  One poster on Facebook said “What the hell happened to free speech in this country?” The answer is nothing, because Phil’s opinions have nothing to do with free speech.  “But, but, but…he got FIRED!!”  You are correct.  He did get fired.  Free speech, unfortunately, doesn’t prevent that.  “YES, IT DOES!” you screamLet’s read the First Amendment of the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

[Note how I helpfully highlighted the part about “Congress.”]   Congress has made no law regarding speech which affects Phil at all.  In fact, no government official has done anything to Phil.  Maybe you love what he said about gay people and African-Americans.  If so, you have found some common ground with radical Islam.  Maybe you’re a Libertarian sort who supports everyone’s right to speak his or her mind. I really don’t care.   But, let’s all agree to never invoke the First Amendment again on this issue.  We’ll all feel better.  I know I do.  Thanks.

It’s not only the plain language of our Constitution which cause confusion.  Easily verified claims also drive us to hysteria.  Here’s a favorite example. Occasionally, a meme makes the rounds about Presidential and Congressional pensions. It reads:

WAGES

Salary of retired US Presidents……………………….$450,000 FOR LIFE

Salary of House/Senate members……………………$174,000 FOR LIFE

Salary of Speaker of the House……………………….$223,500 FOR LIFE

Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders………………….$194,400 FOR LIFE

Average salary of a soldier DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN ……$38,000

Average income for Seniors on Social Security …………………$12,000

I think we found where the cuts should be made! If you agree, pass it on!

Aren’t you outraged?  This is patently insane.  Why would these people get paid for life!?!?!  What kind of country do we live in?  That’s a valid question but not because of this.  The above information–while outrageous–is incorrect in almost every way. None of these people–not even the President–gets full salary for life. It simply is not true. Does this stop folks from being outraged about it? Of course not. Variations of this meme have been posted many times on social media.  The comments are fairly frothing with their condemnation.   Here’s my suggestion:  When you see something that is so inane as to make you want to immediately post it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, stop and think.  Since you’re probably on the Internet at the time, do a simple search.  Check the facts.  You’ll be amazed how easy it is to confirm or counter such things.  Again, we’ll all be better for it, and you won’t look like an uninformed ass.

Then there are the half-truths, those items of interest based in reality but twisted into something sort of whole truth.  Here’s a meme making the rounds:

veterans

The House of Representatives passed a budget bill cutting pensions for veterans.  (Not “Veteran’s”).   That much is true.  The reduction is actually a reduction of the cost of living increase for certain pensions.  It’s what I call a “Government Cut.”  A “private cut” is where you make less money next year than you made this year.  It only applies to certain veterans–ones deemed young enough to re-enter the work force.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  This seems like a bad idea.  We’ve worn out our military with endless wars.  The least we could do is leave their pensions alone.  On the other hand, don’t worry about veterans actually getting a cut in their pensions.  The private sector, where there are no pensions anymore, is the only place that happens.

This is a prime example of excellent propaganda. Take a grain of truth, twist into something outrageous and scare everyone. Remember that Hitler got elected by scaring the hell out of people. There’s a reason he had a Ministry of Propaganda.  It works.

Finally, there are those debates that rage over opinions.  Most of these involve politics or religion–two topics which civilized people never discuss.  Bear this in mind:  There are two sides or more to each such debate:

  • Obamacare:  POINT–The program is already failing and far too expensive for the country to afford.  Socialized medicine will lead to reduced services for everyone.  COUNTERPOINT–It’s the law.  Give it time, and the kinks will get worked out.  If socialized medicine is so horrible, why do we provide it to our military veterans.  Wouldn’t they be better off buying their healthcare in the market?
  • Phil Robertson:  POINT–He’s free to speak his mind and express his faith.  Leave him alone.  COUNTERPOINT–People are also free to be offended by his comments.  We don’t have to leave him alone.
  • NSA: POINT–The Government is only gathering data. They have no way to do anything with it. COUNTERPOINT: Yet. There is nothing more un-American than spying on your citizenry.
  • TAXES: POINT–Let’s raise taxes on the highest earners. This would quickly fix all our fiscal problems. COUNTERPOINT–Our government has a history of spending every penny it brings in–and more. Until we fix that, more revenue won’t help.

These few examples show how it works. There are two sides to all theses issues. It just depends on your political prism.

Of course, acknowledging differing opinions isn’t our way. God forbid that we be asked to actually respect another’s views.  We prefer to be right.  In fact, we demand it, even when we are wrong.  I am fortunate to have friends from all walks of life.  Their politics range from Left-leaning Communists to budding Neo-Nazis.  The Right’s take on current events is a combination of moral outrage, moral superiority (always Christian), the U.S. Constitution  (if you don’t like something, it’s unconstitutional) and some nostalgia (such things as whipping children are fondly recalled).  The support Republicans and like all Ayn Rand quotes.  The Left approaches these issues from a different angle, of course.  They are intellectual titans ready to make fun of religion (always Christianity.  They don’t say anything about Islam, Judaism, et al.), cite obscure authors, and engage in relentless name-calling often involving obscene language.  They support Democrats and love to quote Barack Obama, Mahatma Ghandi and hate all Ayn Rand quotes, even though most of them are atheists like Rand.

Here is a typical social media exchange regarding Mr. Robertson, who has eclipsed war, world hunger and random violence as the issue of the day:

  • Original Post:  I stand with Phil!  The Bible says that we will be persecuted for Him! Christians have freedom of speech, too!  Our country is being destroyed!  I will never watch TV again!

[See how our friend has concisely encompassed the significant elements of right-wing rage.  The Bible, persecution, morality, patriotism and broad and incorrect legal principles.]

A response from the Left naturally flows:

  • Comment:  You can stand with that bigoted, homophobic, racist if you like.  I have never seen his show.  In fact, I do not own a television having traded mine for a Navajo Dream Catcher.  Freedom of speech is not an issue here–offensive, racist, homophobic rhetoric is.  The Bible supports all manner of prejudice.  I suggest you read the collected works of Bertrand Russell instead.

[Our Leftist chum has countered with his own salvo.  He engages in name calling that far exceeds anything Mr. Robinson has done but does so from a perch of intellectual superiority. He is above mere TV watching.  He concludes his concise commentary by inferring that atheist mathematician/philosopher Bertrand Russell is a better source for moral guidance than the Holy Bible. Well done.]

This exchange will continue with many additional posts by these and other commentators.  The Right will contend they are right because, well, they are right…or Right.  The Left will froth and name-call, even resorting to the use of vulgarities to make their points.  Ultimately, no one makes any sense and everyone is angry.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I have engaged in this foolishness on occasion, especially when legal principles are misstated.  I forget my advantages in this regard:  1) I have actually read the Constitution; and 2) I graduated from law school.  I, too, have been called names.  One Lefty even called me a racist for correctly noting that the ubiquitous George Zimmerman is Hispanic.  I countered with own my stream of obscenities.  It’s easy to fall into this trap.  I do not judge.

Let’s all commit to work as one to make all this easier for me.  After all, wouldn’t the world be a better place if things suited me?  Don’t be a racist, homophobic, liberal, conservative, Communistic Neo-Nazi, Bible-thumping Atheist.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

JFK Fifty Years Later: Asking the Unanswerable

Like all Americans, I’ve been overwhelmed by coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  There have been movies, reenactments, documentaries, docudramas and replays of contemporary news footage.  I have concluded two things:  1) JFK is dead; and 2) Someone or some thing shot him.  The rest is subject to debate.

Unlike many scholars who have devoted decades to detailed analysis of the evidence, my research has been limited to two or hours of disinterested television watching.  Much of that has been obscured by the mad cacophony which is a sort of background theme music in my home.  Nevertheless, I am now armed with enough information to wildly speculate about those tragic events.

The Warren Commission was the body charged with investigating JFK’s assassination.  Headed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, the Commission concluded that  Oswald, acting alone, shot JFK and Texas Governor John Connally from the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas.  Oh, if it were only that simple.   It has become quite clear to me that I know more than the Commission, plus I have no fear of reprisal since I don’t know what the hell happened, either.

This “single gunman” theory has been largely rejected by many erudite scholars, students of history and crackpots.  It is just as likely that JFK was killed as part of a conspiratorial cabal which may or may not have included Lyndon Johnson, the Mafia, the Teamsters, Fidel Castro, Commies, J. Edgar Hoover, the Amish, the Boy Scouts, Israel, the John Birch Society, Opus Dei, the Kiwanis Club and Joe DiMaggio.  I am willing to consider–and embrace–any and all theories.

In 1969, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison tried Clay Shaw for conspiring to kill JFK, resulting in an acquittal after less than an hour of jury deliberations.  Garrison was either a visionary who dared take on the establishment or a complete crackpot.  You decide.

With 50 years of study behind us, you might think that there are unexamined issues left.  Of course, you would be wrong.  I now am willing to ask the tough questions–the real ones–from which others shrink.  Among the questions which no dares ask are:

  • Why was LBJ conveniently in Dallas on that fateful day?
  • Why was Lady Bird Johnson so quickly dismissed as the likely second gunman or gun person, as it were?  From her position in the car behind the President, she alone had a clear shot at his head.
  • Why was suicide ruled out?
  • Earl Warren was a well-known champion of so-called civil liberties.  Isn’t at least reasonable to assume that he may have been a communist sympathizer?
  • How come no one killed Jim Garrison?
  • Where are the suppressed photos of Oswald and LBJ at Jack Ruby’s strip joint?
  • How do you explain the deaths of Earl Warren and Clay Shaw within one month of each other in 1974?
  • Speaking of Earl Warren’s death, why doesn’t Wikipedia tell us the cause of his death at the relatively young age of 83?  Who is editing that page to delete all references to his mysterious passing?
  • Within a year of Warren’s death, Jimmy Hoffa disappeared and mobster Sam Giancana was murdered.  Coincidence or silencing?
  • What deal was struck with Warren Commission member Gerald Ford for his complicity?  Could it have included the Presidency of the United States?
  • Only one year after Warren’s untimely passing, Lynnette Fromme and Sara Jane Moore attempted to assassinate President Ford.  Why have they never denied being part of a conspiracy to wipe out all Warren Commission members?
  • Why didn’t Richard Nixon ever publicly address his relationship or lack thereof with Jack Ruby?
  • Why, when filming such an important event as a Presidential assassination, was Abraham Zapruder’s film of such poor quality?
  • What kind of name is Zapruder, anyway?
  • Why are so many assassins known by three names?
  • Is there anyone under age 50 in the United States named Lee Harvey?  If so, why?
  • How was Jack Ruby so skilled in human anatomy that he knew that shooting Oswald in the stomach would be fatal, as opposed to a head shot which he would have likely survived?
  • Fidel Castro has said that killing Kennedy would have been an “act of insanity” insuring the immediate destruction of Cuba.  Why would anyone believe that Commie?
  • By the way, how in the Hell is Fidel Castro still alive?
  • When Oswald was arrested, he was watching the film War Is Hell  starring Baynes Barron.  Barron was born on the same day as JFK.  How do you explain that?
  • Was Oswald’s wife really as big a nag as portrayed in the TV movie Killing Kennedy?
  • If Oliver Stone’s film JFK isn’t true, how could he make a movie out of it?
  • How powerful is Oliver Stone that no one has killed him yet?
  • What better way would there be for the Mafia to get the Feds off their backs than to murder the President?
  • What is a grassy knoll?

If you can answer any or all of these questions, you may be on to something.  Or not.  We know JFK is dead.  Oswald? Dead.  Ruby? Dead.  LBJ?  Dead.  Connally? Dead.  Warren? Dead.  Garrison? Dead. Lady Bird?  Dead.  Are we seeing a pattern here?  I’ll ask the questions.  You answer them.  It’s safer for me that way.

©thetrivialtroll.com 2013