A Cancer Story

(Author’s note: I wrote this over a sixteen-month period. It is too long and needs a stern editor. It isn’t dramatic or particularly compelling. It’s just a story about have cancer.)

I have cancer. I’ll repeat that. I have cancer. The tumor is dying, but it’s still considered active. Regardless, it’s not a cancer “scare,” although it is quite scary. It’s the real thing—a malignant tumor in my prostate gland. Medically, it’s an adenocarcinoma. Cancer.

I was 56 when I was diagnosed, not particularly young or old for prostate cancer. I found out in July of 2019. I got a phone call, and the doctor said something to the effect of “We have your biopsy results. You do have malignant cells in your prostate. It’s a low to intermediate grade tumor. It’s very slow growing, but at your age you probably want treatment. We’ll call you back today for an appointment to talk about it. Any questions?” Despite having rolled around numerous nightmarish scenarios for four weeks, I really didn’t have any questions. My only thought at the moment was “Huh. Well, that’s weird.”

About a month before my biopsy, I had my annual physical. By “annual,” I mean the physical examination I have every few years. My last one was four years ago. In all humility, I must say that I am in tip-top physical condition–so, why go to the doctor, right? Apparently, most men my age are big messes. Okay, so my cholesterol should be a tad lower. Oh, and my PSA level was elevated—two and half times higher than before.

You get reserved parking, which is nice.

PSA. Prostate Specific Antigen. Long story short, it’s something produced by your prostate gland for various reasons. One reason is cancer. Mine went up a pretty fair amount in four years. I also had my prostate examined. It’s examined by something called a “digital rectal examination.” “Digital” doesn’t have anything to do with any sort of high tech diagnostics. It’s “digital” as in “finger,” just in case you aren’t aware of how it works. So, after my PSA test and DRE, my doctor thought I should see a urologist for more blood work and, of course, more DREing.

So, I saw a urologist. Great guy. I’m pleased to report that my prostate gland is remarkably small for a man my age. In fact, my urologist says that it’s the “prostate of a 20-year-old.” I guess he means a 20-year-old with cancer, but still…. My incredibly small prostate was something of an indicator of cancer, believe it or not. The increased PSA could have been caused by an enlarged or infected prostate. Mine was in pristine condition.

I’ll admit something. I didn’t know much about the prostate gland until all this. Given my age, I knew well the hideous DRE, but I really didn’t even know precisely where the prostate is located. Now, I know WAY more than I ever thought I would. Naturally, I have thoroughly searched the internet for every hideous prostate cancer story I can find. Did you know that Frank Zappa died at 51 of prostate cancer? Bill Bixby was 59. Gary Cooper was 60. Basketball player John “Hot Rod” Williams was 53. Then again, a lot of really old guys die of prostate cancer, too. Dennis Hopper, for instance. He survived the ‘60’s and countless drug-fueled adventures. He didn’t survive this, though. There’s even a Wikipedia listing people who died from prostate cancer. I’ve studied it. Intently.

Men, if you live long enough, you’ll have prostate problems. You’ll probably have prostate cancer at some point. Like all cancer, the keys are: 1. When you get it; 2. When you find out you got it; and 3. How aggressive it is. Unlike some cancers, it can be treated. Like all cancers, if you wait too long to find out about it, it can also certainly kill you.

Well, my cancer wasn’t going to kill me, at least not any time soon. I was repeatedly assured of that. My oncologist even said, “You’re not going to die from this.” I really appreciated being told that, even though I was able to convince myself that I still might be dying.

In addition to the blood tests and DREs, I also had a biopsy. It was unpleasant. As with all prostate-related procedures, it involved rectal probing. Basically, a metal rod is inserted, then your prostate is located by ultrasound through the wall of your large bowel. After that, a needle is shot into your prostate numerous times to take tissue samples. All in all, it’s pretty painless, as rectal probing goes. Oh, there’s some revolting bleeding that goes on for a few days, but it’s not that big a deal.

It’s biopsy time.

All this happens, and then they tell me it’s cancer. It gets a Gleason Score which is a complicated scoring system using charts that get cross-referenced to give your grade. It’s all rather mechanical. More good news. My score wasn’t too high. Low to intermediate grade adenocarcinoma. That means it’s all inside the prostate—most likely. Now, you have to figure what to do.

This all sounds pretty positive, doesn’t it? Well, it is given the context, yet it was still terrifying. Even though there were some pretty strong indications before the biopsy that I had cancer, I still didn’t really think I had it. It just didn’t seem like something I would have. I’ve never been hospitalized for anything. I’ve never had surgery. Or a CT scan. Or an MRI. The only broken bones I’ve had were two small stress fractures on the top of my right foot about 20 years ago.

After the news sank in, I began to consider that this is the end for me. I’ll find out it’s some sort of unmanageable cancer that runs wild. I was reminded of my wife’s grandmother who liked to regale us with dire stories of her friends who were deathly ill. Once asked her what type of cancer one of her unfortunate friends had. Granny said: “The fast-eatin’ kind.” I figured I had that, too. Like most things that terrify me, it actually never happened. Mine was the “slow-eatin’ kind.” Regardless, there’s still a ton of stress. It’s just weird to think I have cancer. For example, when the dentist asked if I’d had any changes in my health, I had to say “Oh, yeah, I have cancer.”

In the majority of cases—mine included—prostate cancer is slow-growing. I could go a number of years doing nothing before I have major problems. That’s actually one option. Do nothing. Monitor the situation and then act when necessary. That approach wasn’t recommended for me, because I’m relatively young in the prostate cancer world. Plus, I wouldn’t deal well with the stress of being checked every six months or year. So, I had to pick a treatment option.

My choices were radiation, surgery or something called HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound). HIFU wasn’t covered by insurance, so it was a nonstarter. There are three kinds of radiation treatment: 1) External beam; 2) seed implantation; and 3) CyberKnife. Surgery is just what it sounds like. They cut out your prostate gland. My decision came down between CyberKnife and surgery. I’m not a good candidate for the other radiation treatments for a number of reasons. That’s good, because they’re really intense.

Surgery is the most conservative approach. You cut it out and have thorough pathology done on the gland and know exactly what you’re dealing with. As you might expect, though, there are some real negatives, too. How about walking around with a catheter for at least a couple of weeks? Bladder leakage for some period time or forever. Possible impotence. These are worse case scenarios, of course, but the doctors are blunt about the possibilities. If it came down to courting death or dealing with all this, I wouldn’t have hesitated on the surgery. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case with me. Side effects aside, I’m not real keen on being cut on unless it’s necessary.

I chose CyberKnife. CyberKnife is a high-intensity radiation beam that targets the prostate and then “slices” the tumor up. The goal is to kill it. If it doesn’t not kill it, you want to at least slow it down enough that something gets else you first. Why do this? Turns out I’m a great candidate. I’m very fit. I’m not overweight. My tumor is small and low to intermediate grade. Everyone was quite confident about the treatment.

Of course, this isn’t without its own side effects. There’s fatigue for a two or three weeks. or so. There are the dreaded “frequent loose stools.” The GI issues were minor–more annoying than anything else. All things considered, it’s not so bad.

Your author positioned to begin his fifth-and last-CyberKnife treatment.

So, I had the treatment. I laid on a table and a huge piece of equipment moved around me for about 45 minutes. I had to lie perfectly still. I listened to music. They put a warm blanket over me. Not bad, right? Well, it was a tad scary. In fact, I almost hyperventilated before the first treatment. While I was lying there, it suddenly struck me that I must have something seriously wrong with me. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be doing this to me. Plus, everyone was REALLY nice to me. This is how all patients should be treated.

I forgot about the enemas. I had to have one every morning before my treatment. I had to do it myself, which is preferable I suppose. After a while, one more thing up in there is no big deal. I also had to go on weird “low residue” diet which was about as bland as it sounds.

The treatments were weird. I didn’t feel anything. It didn’t seem like anything was happening, but I knew it was. I knew because no one could be in the room with me while it was happening.

There were side effects. Fatigue was the major one. A couple of days after the last treatment, I started hitting a wall in the afternoon. I’m an active guy. Crazy active. I work out every day, and I did so after my treatment, but I had to work around the fatigue. When it hit, it was like catching the flu in about five minutes. My legs would die. I’d be sleepy, almost achy. It passed after an hour or two, quicker if I could grab a nap.

It took a couple of weeks to start feeling better, but I did. By Christmas, I was hale and hardy again.

There were some urinating issues. The less said about that the better, but it wasn’t so bad. I took one one pill a day for that, and it helped.

So, here’s how we got here:

June 11, 2019: I have my periodic physical. Doctor calls later in the day to talk about my PSA level. It’s not good when your doctor personally calls you on the same day you have a physical.

July 8, 2019: Biopsy.

July 16, 2019: Biopsy results.

August 21, 2019: Meet with urologist to discuss options.

September 12, 2019: Meet with surgeon to discuss surgical option.

September 26, 2019: Meet with radio-oncologist to discuss radiation treatment. That same day, I decided to go with CyberKnife.

October 28, 2019: Fiducial markers inserted into my prostate. These are four pieces of gold about the size of grains of rice. They put in through a needle—again, more rectal probing. These markers make the prostate–and tumor– easy to locate. Unpleasant, but as cancer treatment goes, not that bad.

November 11, 2019: X-rays, CT scan and MRI to prepare a treatment plan. My markers are located and something of a map is created for the CyberKnife to follow in zapping my prostate.

November 25-27 and December 2-3: Treatment.

My diploma

Not much happened after that. I saw my urologist on March 11, 2020. Good news. My PSA level was cut by a third. The doctor and I also talked about this new virus “COVID-19.” He said it looked like really serious stuff and that I should be sure to frequently wash my hands. It sounded like we might be in for a rough few weeks.

Another physical in June 2020 (those will be ANNUAL from now on.) More good news: PSA level cut in half. Then, a follow up visit to the oncologist. He says I’m right where I should be. He’s confident the tumor is dying. I have one more appointment in July 2021, and he expects to release me from treatment. Whew.

In September 2020, I went back to the urologist. By the way, you can’t have a prostate exam during a telehealth appointment, so it had to be face-to-face, or something like that. PSA has fallen even further. Doctor says I’m clearly on my way to full recovery. He took me off my prostate medication.

So, that’s cancer my story (so far). As comic Norm MacDonald says, the best news you get from a doctor is that nothing is wrong with you…YET. Mine isn’t a dramatic tale of survival. I wrote this so I could remember it. The fog of time obscures a lot details. Plus, I want to share it with others who might be in the same situation.

Fifteen doctor/clinic visits; seven prostate exams; seven enemas; one biopsy; one procedure to implant the fiducial markers; and five radiation treatments: Not so bad as cancer treatment goes. Yet, I’m pretty that’s more medical treatment than I’ve had in test of my adult life.

I also learned a lot. In the past, I would hear of people with “non-serious” cancer and think “Well, that’s unfortunate, but it sounds curable. Good for him.” I don’t think that way now. It’s a chilling to be told you have cancer. It’s scary. It’s confirmation of your expiration date—if not now, it’s coming.

I also appreciate doctors and science in a new way. I’ve lived my whole life in Kentucky, and I love it here. Unfortunately, during the COVID pandemic, I learned that many Kentuckians don’t care much for science. They also come up with their own science. If you want to become a fan of science, get cancer. You’ll be all about science then. You won’t be looking for memes or your politicians to tell you what to do. Doctors will do quite nicely.

I can’t overstate how well I was treated. All my questions were answered. If I called, someone PROMPTLY called back. Everyone was nice. The way I am, it made me think I might be really sick. Why else would they be so nice?

I was likewise impressed by the effort to fully educate me. I got recommendations along the way, but the choices were mine.

Big thanks to my primary care doctor Dr. Eiyad Alchureiqi at Lexington Clinic; Urologist Dr. Stephen Monnig at Lexington Clinic; Dr. Alan Beckman, my radio-oncologist at Baptist Healthcare. They and their staffs were top notch from start to finish. My wife, too, deserves HUGE thanks. She was optimistic from start to finish. I needed that.

Here are few lessons I learned:

  1. DON’T tell a cancer patient about that person you know who died of the VERY SAME THING. No one wants to hear that. Your medical opinion is also not likely to be well-received. Okay, so you know a guy who had the same treatment, and it failed miserably. Keep it to yourself.
  2. DON’T tell a cancer patient that he or she should have opted for some other form of treatment. He or she is making a decision based on the available information. Don’t invite second-guessing.
  3. DON’T pry. Here’s the best thing to say: “How are you?” If the person feels like telling you–believe me–you’ll find out. If I feel like telling you that I’m have trouble peeing, I’ll let you know.
  4. DON’T pander. “I’m sure you’ll fine” and the like really don’t mean anything. Unless you’ve had experience with a similar situation, you don’t know if someone will be “fine” or not.
  5. DO be empathetic. I tend to dwell on myself which results in nothing good. This flaw was especially acute after my diagnosis. No matter how bad something seems, someone else has it worse. Just sit in the waiting area at a cancer center, and you’ll see. Think about others. Consider what you would do if you couldn’t get treatment or it didn’t work.

I’ll never look at people with cancer the same way. Cancer is like surgery. “Minor” cancer is someone else’s cancer. I’ve even heard people saying that cancer can be a blessing. I don’t agree, especially for the many folks I’ve known who have been seriously ill or have had debilitating forms of treatment. So, if you have or had cancer, I have, too.

©thetrivialtroll.com 2020 

Government Shutdown FAQ Page

As a public service, I shall now address the most frequently asked questions about the Government shutdown.


In this case, it’s the federal government, as opposed to your state, city or county government.  I live in an area with a merged city-county government.  It is sort of like Christian Rock combining the worst of elements of two conflicting disciplines.  The federal government is described in the United States Constitution.

The federal government has three branches:  1) Executive (the President and all his minions); 2) Legislative (Congress); and 3) Judicial (Courts).  The Shutdown involves primarily the Legislative Branch.


Our Congress has two parts.  The Senate consists of like 50 or 100 senators or possibly more.  The House of Representatives contains God knows how many people, maybe 1,000.  They make the laws, sort of.  Mostly, they just disagree about what the laws should be.  This is because the Republicans control the House and the Democrats control the Senate.  John Boehner, a leathery-faced chain smoker from Ohio, is the Speaker of the House.  Harry Reid, a feckless milquetoast from Nevada, leads the Senate.  They do not get along with each other.  Although Reid used to be a boxer, my money is on Boehner in an actual fight.

Congress has an approval rating of less than 10%, putting it just ahead of syphilitic dementia and just behind root canals in popularity.


It’s where the government doesn’t have enough money to operate and shuts down a bunch of stuff.  They won’t shutdown everything.  We’ll still have air traffic controllers, prison guards and, of course, Congress.


Not everyone calls it that.  Fox News calls it a “slim down,” which sounds like a really positive thing. It might be a real positive, unless you’re one of the million or so people not getting paid during it.

Others call it a slow down, as though the government could actually move any slower than it already does.


The House controls spending and won’t agree to fund anything unless part of Obamacare is delayed for a year AND members of Congress are required to participate in it.  The President and, hence, the Senate refuse to agree to this, saying that the law is law.  So, both sides would rather have much of the government grind to all a halt than compromise.


That’s hard to say.  There are three schools of thought:

The Right:  Folks on the right (the “Conservatives”) say that the President did it.  Why?  First, they hate the President, so he has to be blamed.  Second, the President is a Democrat, and the Conservatives are not Democrats.  They blame the President for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a/k/a Obamacare.  They don’t like Obamacare and don’t want it implemented, even though it is now the law.  So, the House won’t agree to fund any of the government unless there are changes made.

The Left:  Those on the left (the “Liberals”) blame the Conservatives, more particularly the Republicans.  They don’t want to negotiate with the Republicans.  So they don’t.  They hate the Republicans.  As a result, they don’t really want to talk to them at all.  Their hate of the Republicans is probably the reason they made Obamacare a law to begin with.

Everyone Else:  The remaining Americans (the “Victims”) don’t know who the f**k to blame and don’t give a rat’s ass.


I’ve written extensively about that before.  No one really knows, but it exists.


I have no idea.  Just pick one.  They’re all about the same.


You got me on that one.  No clue.


It’s not really shut down completely.  Let’s say you worked in factory, and it got shut down.  There would still be security guards and some maintenance people working.  It’s kind of like that, but completely different.

Mostly, they’ve just furloughed a lot of employees.  That means they’ve told them not to come to work. Of course, they also don’t get paid. For example, of the 1500 employees of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only three are working.  Those three are complying statistics on how many people in the Bureau of Labor Statistics aren’t working.

If you are a “non-essential” employee, you’re not working.  “Non-essential” means they don’t really need you, which begs the question of why they’re paying you to begin with.


That’s likely because you don’t work for the government.  Private sector non-essential employees should still report to work and pretend to be busy like usual.


Something like 3,000,000, and that doesn’t include the military, CIA, NSA and a bunch of others.  That’s more than Walmart, IBM and McDonalds combined.  The Department of Homeland Security has 230,000 employees itself.  That’s hell of a lot but only one for every 1300 people in the country.  They can’t really protect all of us, can they?


What kind of idiot are you?  Of course, they’re getting paid.  The Congressional barber shop, gym and shoe shine service are closed, though.  So, they are suffering but not as much as Congressional Barbers, Shoe Shiners and Gym Attendants.  Besides, if Congress doesn’t get paid, the Washington D.C. prostitution industry will collapse.


You have 48 hours to get the Hell out.  If you don’t, the NSA will turn bears loose on your campground.


Luckily, no.


Probably not, unless you’re really poor or a member of Congress.


No, we’re not.


Yes.  For the time being, the microchip implant has been deactivated.  You’ll know when it restarts, because you’ll piss your pants a couple of times.


Yes, they are.  Much like jury duty, you may be called to serve at any time.


You’re wrong about that.  Most cops are state employees anyway.  Plus, I know an FBI agent, and he’s still working, although it’s questionable about whether he’s being paid.  Imagine how surly he’d be if he had to bust your ass for free.


Yes.  The Postal Service isn’t affected, because it generates income from postage.  Somehow a business that loses billions of dollars can still deliver a letter for you 3000 miles away for 46 cents.  Go figure.


First, that’s not a question. Second, your drunkenness does not explain your lack of understanding.  Many teetotalers, including the few sober members of Congress, don’t understand any better than you.


That’s a Frequently Asked Question About The United Nations.  I can’t answer it.


Mr. LaPierre, I told you to quit posting questions.


How should I know?  Golf?  Vacationing?  Fighting evil?  Doing evil?  Just the usual stuff that Presidents do, I guess.




©thetrivialtroll.wordpress 2013

The Republicratic Commonwealth of Kentucky

Someone sent me an insightful email suggesting that each state in the United States declare its own sovereignty and refuse to follow any federal laws except those they find acceptable. It also recommends such things as jailing of illegal immigrants, drug testing welfare recipients, no gun laws and other acts of sovereignty. It got me thinking about doing this in my home state, the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

If you’ve read much of this self-indulgent blog of mine, you know I’m a lawyer. Anything like that email sets my mind spinning. For instance, states can’t refuse to follow federal law. We have a local sheriff here in Kentucky who claims that he won’t enforce any new gun laws and will arrest anyone who does. Once you get past the laughable image of this guy trying to arrest FBI and ATF agents, you can see that such defiance–if real–amounts to insurrection.

This type of “sovereignty” is secession from the union. States have no right to secede. Before you start screaming, read Texas v. White from the United States Supreme Court. That’s the law. There are exceptions. First, there is armed rebellion. Second is by agreement. Since Kentucky doesn’t have a military (The National Guard belongs to the feds but more on that later), we’d have to hope for agreement of the rest of the states. Let’s face it, we’re Kentucky. They might let us leave. It wouldn’t hurt to ask.

Nevertheless, I’m willing to ignore the United States Constitution and decades of jurisprudence to entertain the notion of Kentucky as its own sovereign state. What would we look like?


We call Kentucky a Commonwealth, just like Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts call themselves. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a leftover from colonial times. The only problem I have with it is that it sounds vaguely communistic. Let’s move on.

As some Americans are aware, we have a republican democracy. We elect representatives who (theoretically, at least) represent our interests. They pass laws which are executed by our executive branch and enforced by our courts. Some believe we have the greatest country on Earth with the greatest form of government. I say bullshit to that.

If we’re going to secede, that means we don’t like the federal government. We don’t want it. We don’t need it. There’s no point in looking anything like it. Kentucky has 4.25 million people spread over a mind-boggling 120 counties. Each county is already its own little fiefdom with elected officials, courthouses, graft and whatnot. I say let each one run its own affairs. They can set up their own governments. Most will likely become dictatorships in short order–assuming they aren’t already, but give the people what they want.

We’ll be a sort of confederacy of counties, but we’ll still need a constitution of some kind. Kentucky has a constitution, of course. It is approximately 60,000 pages long. Okay, that’s a lie, but it seems that long what with all the bizarre amendments made to it over the years. It’s going to have to be revamped.

One problem is that it is very similar to the United States Constitution. It makes little sense to break away from federal rule only to keep in place the same framework that led to our secession. We probably need the Bill of Rights, and Kentucky’s is pretty similar to the feds. I say we copy the Bill of Rights except the Second Amendment which will now read:

The right to keep and bear arms is absolute and shall not be limited or constrained by any law, regardless of reasonableness or necessity. “Arms” means anything that can kill people or animals, whether intentionally or accidentally.

We probably should replace “Governor” with something like “King” or “Pharaoh” in the rest of it. Honestly, I’ve never read the whole thing. I don’t think anyone else has, either. Maybe we can keep the rest of it.

We’re not the smartest people. Let’s don’t make it too complicated. Maybe we can start out with anarchy and see what happens.

Regardless of the form of government, what will life in our new nation be like?


This is an easy one–no gun laws. None. No knife or sword laws, either. Why can’t I defend my family with a saber if I want? Maybe I want to scatter bear traps around my yard. So be it. Napalm doesn’t incinerate people. People incinerate people.

No background checks. Why can’t a crazy man defend himself from real and imagined threats? The nuttier you are the more guns you should have. How else will we protect the criminally insane?

Next topic.


This is another easy one. We’ll have the Ten Commandments posted everywhere. I mean everywhere–schools, buses, government buildings, private property, sporting events. Without that irrational United States Supreme Court to interfere, we can even post the entire Book of Deuteronomy if we want. Any kid who can’t describe how to build the Temple can’t graduate from high school.

We’ll pray in school–all day long if we want. It will have to be a Christian prayer, of course. Anyone caught on a prayer rug will be subject to ridicule.  In fact, we might make such ridicule a constitutional right, too.

We’ll even include somewhere in our new Constitution that Jesus wrote it. That will seem crazy at first, but in a few decades people will debate whether or not it is true.


This one is tough. We can’t have a military. Okay, I know some of you are thinking: “Hey, the state runs the National Guard. That’s our militia.” Well, sort of but not really. Since 1903, the National Guard has been run by the feds and–more importantly–funded by the feds. We can’t do it. Plus, who are we going to fight? Hopefully, it won’t be the United States military. Have seen the toys they have?

Remember that we’re going to have plenty of weapons. I think we’ll have enough to fight off an invasion from Indiana or Tennessee. Besides, the chances of anyone wanting to take over Kentucky are pretty remote.


Kentucky receives about $13,000 per person in federal money per year. That’s a hell of a lot. I’m not good at math, but it’s at least billions of dollars each year. Wow.

We have all kinds of taxes in Kentucky–income, sales, property, usage (WTH?) and a bunch of others. I have no idea what it amounts to but I’m sure it’s not close to what we need. Now, that we’re off the federal teat, it’s time to tighten our belts. If we don’t, we might have to raise tax rates to 120% or so. We can survive but how?

Go for the Gold

With the feds off our backs, they’ll close Fort Campbell and Fort Knox. We’ll give them 48 hours to come and get their gold from Fort Knox–maybe we can keep a little of it, too. Would they really miss a couple of tons?


Okay, on the surface, this may seem like a big deal, given that we are dependent on the feds for school funding. Not so. Ever heard of home schooling? That’s what everyone did back in the Good Old Days when everything was better. Teach your own kids, you lazy bastards.

Our state universities will be in peril. We should be able to offer at least a few on-line courses at the Universities of Louisville and Kentucky to keep the basketball programs afloat.


Here’s where our friends in the National Rifle Association will help us. Let’s take the idea of an all-volunteer school security force and expand it to all law enforcement and public safety. With the schools closed, these volunteers will be eager to help out. Besides, every community has dozens–if not thousands–of people who want to carry a gun and wear a badge. Hell, most of them would probably be willing to pay the state.

We have a long history of volunteer fire departments. Let’s just do more of that.


I’ll concede that federal highway money is helpful but only to the extent that you need highways. I suspect that Kentucky has the highest number of ATVs per capita of anywhere on Earth. If any state is ready for dilapidated highways, it’s this one.

What is Kentucky best known for? If you said illegal meth labs, that may be correct, but I’m talking about horses. We have lots of horses, but I hardly ever see anyone riding them. Saddle up.


Good lord, we have a lot of folks drawing disability checks in Kentucky. No more SSI and don’t expect Kentucky to pick up the slack. If you’re too infirm to work, you should really think about moving to the United States. They have systems for that kind of problem. We don’t.

Here’s how it works. If you can work, get a job. If you can’t, leave or maybe you just starve to death. Problem solved.

As far as welfare, bear in mind that’s another federal boondoggle. It has no place in our utopian world so don’t worry about drug testing. We Kentuckians will be free to consume copious amounts of drugs without fear of Big Brother staring over our shoulders.


We won’t use the worthless United States currency. We will print our own money, just like in the old days. It will bear pictures of Adolph Rupp, Daniel Boone, Jim Varney and other famous Kentuckians.

Rather than the worthless crap printed in the United States, our money will be backed by a secure commodity. We will go on the Coal Standard. Our money will be backed by the valuable coal reserves in our state, which we will now be free to mine and burn with abandon. Of course, we can’t burn too much of it or we will have to switch to the Weed Standard which also runs the risk of being burned.


Let’s get one thing straight. No government health care–of any kind. Medicare and Medicaid–those behemoths of our former overlords–are gone. They won’t be replaced, either. We’ll adopt what I call the Bachmann Plan: If you want health insurance, get a job. If you can’t get a job, see comments above.

In fact, health care in general will be discouraged. Haven’t we all had enough of a bunch of holier-than-thou eggheads with stethoscopes telling us how to live our lives? The Founding Fathers didn’t put up with such nonsense.

You may be concerned about such inane things as public health, life expectancy and rampant disease. Given that our health care services are likely to be substandard, at least by so-called “Western” standards, we don’t need a bunch of sick people lingering around making the rest of us sick. A quick death is much better for everyone.


We’ll just be flat against it–in all its forms. No one from a foreign country, which now will include the United States, is allowed. Anyone trying to float across the Ohio River will immediately be attacked by our fleet of coal barges. We’ll just shoot people from Tennessee. That won’t bother any Kentuckian. Hell, it probably won’t bother anyone in Tennessee, either. West Virginians will be a problem, but they’re so similar to us it won’t be a big deal.

We’ll round up all the foreigners and deport them. Anyone who looks, dresses, talks or acts the least bit different will be a suspect. We’ll just dump them in the nearest bordering state.

This may sound like a daunting task, but remember–this is Kentucky. Most people are trying to leave, not get in. We can expect enthusiastic cooperation.

We will make limited exceptions for immigrants who obtain a 5 Star Visa. This visa program will be administered by the head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky.


The people of Kentucky want to legalize hemp but can’t because of the narcs in D.C. Now, we can cut right to the chase and legalize marijuana. Why? Well, it’s our number one cash crop for starters. Also, we can dispense with the foolishness of pretending we want to wear hemp clothing and shred our hands on rotted hemp rope. We want to smoke the stuff, not wear it.


Like any young nation, we’ll face challenges. Someone like Ashley Judd will try to become dictator. Louisville will probably try to declare itself a city-state like the Vatican. We’ll need to change the state motto from the axiomatic “United We Stand. Divided We Fall” to something less incongruous. We’re up to these challenges.

What if it doesn’t work out? Simple–we’ll just accept massive amounts of foreign aid from the good old U.S. of A. If that doesn’t work, we have a massive stash of chemical weapons in Richmond. That will invite an invasion by the US and the establishment of a new government. That one never fails.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

John Roberts and the Temple of Doom

I’m a lawyer.  In 25 years of law practice, I’ve read a bunch of U.S. Supreme Court opinions, at least 4 or 5 in their entirety.  Everyone is abuzz about  National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius which was decided on June 28, 2012.  What is that, you ask?  It’s the Obamacare case.  I realize that most folks don’t have the benefit of my education and years of law practice to help them understand what happened.  As a public service, I’ve decided to address these concerns with this primer on Sebelius and what it means.


It’s a law called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  It’s 2700 pages long.  I’ve never read it and won’t.  I tried to read The Fountainhead one time.  It’s only like 1000 pages long.  I just couldn’t do it.


Good question.  It’s the only court required by the Constitution.  There are no qualifications to be on the Court.  You can be foreign-born, any age and have little or no education.  You don’t even have to be a lawyer, although I’m pretty sure all the justices (We call them “justices,” not judges) have been lawyers.  Geddy Lee, Alex Trebek and Jackie Chan could be on the Court.  So could Snookie.


That’s hard to say, really.  I’ve never been there and probably won’t ever be.  I know people who have, and it’s pretty intimidating.  That said, they only hear cases that they want to hear.  You have to petition for a Writ of Certiorari to be heard.  It’s hard to pronounce and even harder to do.  Don’t even try.


Well, there are 9 of them, although the Constitution sets no limit.  If I were in charge, I’d change it to like 27 to make it a free-for-all.  To the best of my knowledge, these are the justices:

  • John Roberts:  He’s the Chief Justice.  Smart dude.  Good writer.  He’s now a scurrilous lackey for the President.
  • Anthony Kennedy:  He’s the wildcard.  Hard to say if he’s liberal or conservative.  I had lunch with him one time.  Okay, maybe not with him, but really close to him.  He seemed like a fine fellow.
  • Antonin Scalia:  Another really smart guy.  Extreme ultra-conservative.  Excellent writer, but a little testy.  Kinda like if your grandfather was a genius and started writing legal opinions.
  • Clarence Thomas:  Come on, you know him.  Gets a lot of flak for not asking questions during oral arguments.  As a lawyer, I like that.  Don’t interrupt my brilliant presentation with your inane questions.
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg:  The tiniest Justice.  Almost elfin.  Wears fabulous neck wear with her robe.
  • Stephen Breyer:   Liberal dude.  His opinions are whiny.  I don’t like that.
  • Alito or Alioto or something like that:  Sorry.  Couldn’t pick him out of a police lineup.
  • Sonia (maybe?) Sotomayor:  Again, don’t much about her.
  • Elena Kagan:  Really liberal.  That’s about it.  Looks like a heavy Rachel Maddow.

They all went to really good law schools.  So, if you went to a state university like I did you got no shot.  Sorry.  Besides, I wouldn’t be any good.  My penchant for foul language would disrupt many an oral argument.  Plus, I’m not that strong a reader.


In a 5-4 vote, the Court upheld most of  Obamacare.  Chief Justice Roberts wrote the opinion.  He’s supposed to be a conservative but now is viewed as a wild-eyed liberal.

As an aside, I know that “Obamacare” started as a derisive tag for this act, but it’s really catchy.  It has a certain flow to it.


Honestly, I haven’t read the whole opinion.  Actually, there are multiple opinions.  All Supreme Court  rulings have a syllabus at the beginning that summarizes the ruling.  That’s usually good enough for me.  Eventually the opinion will be published and then will have “head-notes” included.  These are like bullet points at the beginning that tell you the highlights.  Sort of like Cliff Notes.  For most lawyers, head-notes will suffice unless you’re some kind of egghead. Or a law professor, but they aren’t really lawyers anyway.

The opinion has something to do with the Commerce Clause of the Constitution which gives the Federal Government the power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes.”  You’ll have to trust me on this one, but that little clause gives the government the power of Thor.  BUT, it doesn’t give it the power to make you buy health insurance.  Now, if you belong to an Indian tribe, you may be SOL, but I don’t know for sure.  Chances are that they can force the Indians to do anything.

What they CAN do is tax you for NOT buying health insurance.  So, Obamacare can tax your ass for not buying insurance.  That’s it.  Learn to live with it. Oddly enough, the Indians are exempted from this part.  Go figure.

I don’t know if they’re crazy (the Supreme Court, not the Indians).  They might be.  Justice Ginsburg looks a little crazy.  Thomas is quiet which is certainly a sign of craziness, but he was against the ruling.  If he’s crazy, it’s for other reasons.

Justice Roberts wrote the bulk of the Court’s opinion.  He doesn’t seem crazy to me, but he could be. Sometimes people who don’t appear to be crazy are really super-crazy.  He could be the Ted Bundy of the Court.  I’m not suggesting that he’s a serial killer nor am I suggesting he’s not.  Draw your own conclusions.


We can’t.  He’s appointed for life and would have to be impeached.  It won’t ever happen.  You have more chance of making out with Salma Hayek.  Or Bradley Cooper.  Or both.


No, unless you now qualify for Medicaid, which may be expanded if your state wants to expand Medicaid, which it doesn’t have to, by the way.  If you qualify for Medicaid, your life might suck so much that you don’t really care about staying healthy anyway.


Basically, the government can tax you now for not having health insurance (unless you’re an Indian).  Some now fear that they will be taxed for not eating broccoli, although I’m not sure that’s in the Act.  It could well be, of course.  Justice Roberts reaffirmed what we already know:  The government can tax you into the poorhouse.  I didn’t need him to tell me that.


Because you can afford health insurance but won’t buy it. What kind of idiot wouldn’t have health insurance if he could afford it?   It’s the Idiot Tax.  If you can’t afford the tax, you go to a gulag full of sick people.  It will really suck.  Okay, I made up that part, but they could tax you for not going to the gulag.  THAT would be perfectly legally.


Of course.  Taxes are bad.  Bad, bad, bad.  This tax is really bad, because it brands YOU as the problem.  You not only get taxed, but you’re also identified as a selfish jackass.


Nothing as far as I know.  But I’m sure there’s something about them in the 2700 pages of the Act.  Like our members of Congress, I have no intention of ever reading the whole act.  Here’s how it probably will work:  You’ll contract some deadly disease like Ebola virus.  At this point, the only decent thing to do is go ahead and die.  If you refuse to die, the Death Panel will tax you for staying alive until you do the patriotic thing and give up.  If that doesn’t work, they’ll invoke the Patriot Act on you and send Navy Seal Team 6 to your house.  And that will be that.


I think so.  I think it’s like the Supreme Court.  There are no real qualifications. Well, except you have to be alive, of course. Maybe.


Possibly, but it depends on how sick you are.  If you’re kinda sick, it’s okay.  If you’re extremely sick, that’s bad (see the comments on the Death Panels above).  Of course, it’s always bad to be extremely sick, but you might have health insurance now, unless you’re an Indian.


Of course.  Since everyone will be insured, there will be less incentive to stay healthy.


There is some good news.  The so-called Slacker Mandate allows you to stay on your parents’ health insurance until age 26.  Make yourself comfortable in the basement and get as sick as you want.


Good news:  They’ll have to insure you.  Bad news:  I was uninsurable for a while and bought my coverage through a high risk pool.  Good luck affording that.


Only if you are insured under the Slacker Mandate, in which case you must use them even if you are not in a relationship. Plus, you’ll be forced to use them with random uninsured people chosen by the government.


It’s simple, really.  Since more people will be insured, the risk will be spread around which will offset the increased cost of insuring pre-existing conditions and more people.  The insurance companies will pass this savings on to YOU, rather than just pocketing the increased profits.

Oh, hell, I just read that somewhere.  I have no idea how it would decrease costs.  My health insurance premiums go up every year.  Why would that change? If you know, tell me.


Sorta.  Sadly, the Constitution doesn’t have a Popularity Clause allowing the Court to throw out unpopular laws.  We can, however, vote.  Now, don’t get confused.  You can’t vote against Justice Roberts.  Remember, he has a job for life.


You’d think that would work, but it won’t.  The last amendment took over 200 years to get approved.  So, you’ll long be dead by then unless Obamacare results in us all living to be 300 years old.  If that happens, we’ll probably be okay with it.


Of course not.  We’re Americans.  You can use its catchy acronym:  PPACA.  Here are some other alternatives:  Barackacare; Robertscare; Obamalamadingdongcare; Osamacare; ObamaScare; Yomamacare; YoYoMaCare; and Whocares.


It’s either the greatest opinion in the history of jurisprudence or the end of the republic.  The Court struck a blow for better and more affordable healthcare or eviscerated the Constitution.  We’re on the road to Communism or joining the 21st Century.  It is the single greatest moment ever (Barack Obama’s view only) or the last puzzle piece needed to establish a worldwide caliphate (Glenn Beck only).  I have no idea.


That’s one possible solution–or you can join an Indian tribe, if that’s allowed.  Here’s the rub:  Almost every other country has some form of socialized medicine, plus they suck in all kinds of others way.  For example, they won’t have football.  Also, they may not speak English.

Greece has really good health care, but everything else about Greece sucks.  France, too, but, hey, it’s France.  What are you, a Commie?  I’m not sure what you should do.  People in Monaco live to be around 90.  They must be good.

Our government already provides about 65% of all the health insurance anyway.  Let’s just stay here and see what happens.  Plus, we have football.  Don’t forget that.


Yes, that’s what I’m saying.  At least there’s no hope of going back to Ron Paul’s childhood where doctors made house calls and you paid your surgical bills with chickens or pelts.

While everyone was chewing off their arms over Obamacare, the Supreme Court quietly delivered its opinion in United States v. Alvarez.  That involved a law which makes it illegal to lie about having military medals.  In other words, you can’t buy a Purple Heart off eBay and go around pretending to be a war hero.  The law is unconstitutional, because we have the right to lie.  Outraged, are you?  Don’t be.  If the government can criminalize lying, it can also decide which lies to criminalize and, ultimately, what is true and what isn’t.  That’s a blow for freedom.  All is not lost.  A good thing happened on the same day as a bad thing, assuming you think a bad thing happened at all.  That’s exactly what they want you to think.

Now, those of us willing to plumb deeper into the depravity of the Supreme Court note the “coincidence” of Alvarez holding that lying can’t be a crime on the same day they found that Obamacare is a tax.  The President, of course, said it wasn’t a tax, which means he was lying.  But lying isn’t a crime now, is it?  Hmmmm.  Well played, Mr. President and your lap-dog, Chief Justice Roberts.


Most–if not all–of what the government does is perfectly fine under the Constitution.  That doesn’t mean I like it, and it certainly doesn’t mean I support it.  In fact, most of what the government does is imbecilic. I’m not all that worked up about Obamacare, but I have a bunch of other stuff stuck in my craw.  I’m not counting on John Roberts and his cabal of Fellow Travelers to unstick my craw, either.  I’m voting.  You should, too.

One word of caution.  The call now is for “Repeal and Replace!”  Another gaggle of Congressional idiots will draft the replacement.  Oh well, that will just give us another crisis to get hair-lipped over.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2012