What? No smoke?

AMARILLO — My drive to Amarillo filled me with some concern that I would enter a cloud of smoke as I entered the Texas Panhandle.

Glory be! I didn’t see any smoke. Those fires that ravaged this region I used to call home appear to have been quelled. At least from my vantage point along U.S. Highway 287 as I entered the city on its eastern side.

The fire brought enormous devastation to the region, taking the lives of several residents and at least one first responder — the Fritch fire chief — along with thousands of head of livestock.

I had seen the photos taken from jetliners flying overhead and from folks on the ground. The ominous smoke clouds were ghastly in the extreme.

The region, though, appears to have survived … to the extent that it can survive a record-setting blaze.

I returned to see some friends and get away from my North Texas neighborhood for a couple of days. I return Monday.

I am delighted to report that Panhandle is beautiful and clear … as it should be.

Heading for the ‘inferno’

Just kidding with the headline on the top of the blog post.

Although I am driving tomorrow to the scene of where more than 1 million acres of grassland burned in what has been described as the worst wildfire in Texas history.

Amarillo is my destination, where I will attend Easter services and catch up with friends I haven’t seen in more than a year. The massive fire didn’t encroach the city limits, but it brought plenty of misery and tragedy to communities nearby.

The Fritch fire chief perished as he sought to save someone trapped by the blaze. Thousands of livestock died in the fire, along with several other human victims.

I haven’t yet heard if the fires have been extinguished, although I do know they’ve been contained.

I hear snippets of good news. The grass is recovering nicely from the charred remains of what the fire did to our good Earth. I look forward to seeing it in person in short order.

it’s always good to go back to where my wife and I called home for more than 20 years. Amarillo was the longest stay during our 51 years of marriage.

Friends await and I look forward to feeling the love.

Are we headed for the crapper?

I am going to refuse to believe this great nation of ours is going to elect someone who stands a better than decent chance of being convicted of a felony.

Thus, the crapper destination is not in our nation’s future. Or so my gut is telling me.

I see the polling data that tell me the incumbent president, Joe Biden, trails his likely Republican opponent. I also notice that the polls also show the two men within striking distance of each other. The data all contain a “margin of error” that varies from 3 to 6 percentage points.

OK, I am not going to rely on polls to buoy my spirits. They can change. They can be wrong.

What does lift my spirits is my undying belief in the intelligence of average Americans. And I am not going to include the MAGA nimrods who comprise the bulk of the base that continues to support the former Liar in Chief in my category of “average American.” They ain’t average. Not by a long shot.

I want to harken back to the ex-POTUS’s inaugural speech on Jan. 20, 2017. Do you recall the most memorable line from that speech? To me it was: “The American carnage stops right here, right now.”

Did it stop? No. It didn’t! No president should make such a prediction knowing he cannot make it happen because he says it.

It was just one of many promises this dipsh** made that he didn’t keep. Now he’s running for a third time. It’s all different now. Forget the two impeachments. He stands as a four-times-indicted criminal defendant awaiting trial for an assortment of felonies he has been accused of committing.

I am going to lay my faith at the feet of American voters who cannot stomach the notion of electing a potentially convicted criminal to the nation’s highest office.

We are better than that. We are definitely better than the candidate.

A bitter date awaits

My bride and I celebrated April 1 in an odd fashion: we commemorated the birth of our puppy, Toby on that day.

He joined our family in early September 2014. We took him to the doctor to get him vaccinated, neutered … all the stuff pet parents do. The vet looked him over and calculated him to be five months of age. We backed it up five months and learned he was born in early April.

Thus, April Fool’s Day became Toby the Puppy’s birthday.

On Monday, he would be 10 years old. Except that he is no longer with us. He passed away from cancer on Dec. 1.

I had struggled mightily to keep him longer. His 12-pound body couldn’t keep up the fight. His demise ended the worst year of my life, adding a poignant symmetry to a year that began with the loss of my wife on Feb. 3, 2023, and ended with Toby’s passing away on Dec. 1.

I still struggle with Toby’s passing. I well up when I see couples walking their own dogs down my street in Princeton, Texas. I told a dear friend today that I get “jealous,” but she responded that it isn’t jealousy I am feeling, but that “You’re just missing your puppy.” I accept that definition of what happens to me.

It will take some time get over my loss of this critter who turned into the best friend and companion I ever could have imagined. We fell in love with him almost the moment we laid eyes on him in September 2014; he felt the same thing toward us, too. We took him on RV trips to all corners of this country and through the western half of Canada. Was he a road warrior? Damn right!

He made us laugh every single day he lived in our home. That is not an exaggeration! Every single day we giggled at something he did.

I wanted to get this posted today, because I’ll be on the road Monday returning from a brief visit to Amarillo … where our journey as dog parents began.

I will miss him forever … and then some.

How does he maintain this grip?

The afterlife awaits every one of us, as no one gets out of here alive.

When my day arrives — and I hope for damn sure it’s no time soon — I will head there with many political questions jostling through my noggin.

Chief among them will be trying to grasp how the 45th POTUS manages to maintain the grip he has secured around the throats of the MAGA cult he has created.

To be sure, it’s seemingly not as large a cult as it once was, but it’s every bit as vocal. The cultists so far are outshouting the rest of the Republican Party faithful … and I mean to say the “real Republicans” who cannot seem to shake loose the grip that the former Liar in Chief has on the MAGA crowd.

My belief in the goodness of humanity is being challenged daily by the ignorance demonstrated by those who glom onto the moron’s every statement. Even when he mangles words or confuses individuals (such as when he recently confused Joe Biden with Barack Obama), they still whoop and holler. Go … figure, man.

I will have to dish out some off-handed praise to the former Idiot in Chief. He has found the audience that adheres to his nonsense, and he speaks plainly to them in a language that only they seem to comprehend.

The rest of us?

We’re left in the dark … and the candidate doesn’t give a sh**!

He can’t cite a single verse? What?

The presumed Republican Party presidential nominee claims to be a devout Christian.

I mean, he says he has “many Bibles” strewn throughout his houses in Florida, New Jersey and … Timbuktu.

Now he’s signing Bibles and selling them for 60 bucks a throw. For what purpose? To raise money to pay legal bills accumulated as he defends himself against multiple felony charges contained in four criminal indictments.

He’s a phony and a fraud, says Mitt Romney among others. Here’s how one can make that presumption.’

When reporters have asked him to cite a “favorite verse or two” from the Bible, the former Bible-thumper in Chief can’t do it. He won’t do it. He says it’s “too personal” to cite a single favorite verse. A reporter once asked him whether he prefers the Old or the New Testament. He answered: “Oh, let me think. They’re equal.”

He is without question, debate or any discussion needed the most un-religious and immoral individual ever to hold the office of POTUS. To think he wants it back simply sends chills throughout my old man’s body.


Here is a brief video that shows what I am talking about. Spoiler alert: It is admittedly compiled by someone who opposes this individual’s claim of piety.

Donald Trump Can’t/Won’t Name His Favorite Bible Verse (youtube.com)

Nothing wrong with ‘mainstream’

Conservatives far and wide take great joy in hurling the so-called “mainstream media” epithet at reporters and editors who tell them the truth about their favorite politicians.

I disagree, therefore, that the term should be used in that context. If the right-wingers out there are going to toss the term “mainstream media” at those of us who are (or used to be) employed by media organizations, they should include their pals who toil for conservative outlets, too.

Fox, Newsmax, Daily Wire, the NY Post, DC Examiner are every bit as “mainstream” as any other media organization. If we’re going to lump all media organizations under the “mainstream” umbrella, then for criminy sakes, include the righties, too.

I only would implore the right-wing media, though, to abandon the lies they promote about, oh, the 2020 election and the immediate past president’s non-response to the COVID pandemic.

But they’re still mainstream … you know?

Who’s the insane one?

I suspect we’re going to see social media images like the one that appears on this brief blog post.

It gives anyone who backs the presumed Republican Party presidential nominee the what-for given the moron’s bizarre proclivities. The picture shows the ex-POTUS saluting a North Korean general, I presume in advance of his meeting with North Korean despot and murderer Kim Jong Un.

I cannot predict these images and texts will spell the difference in the upcoming election. They damn sure should!

To think that this idiot’s fans, cultists and minions would suggest that Joe Biden has lost his snap is, as the meme suggests, “laughably irrelevant.”

Except that I am not laughing.

What is RFK Jr. doing?

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s bizarre campaign for the presidency has me baffled and bamboozled.

He announced his candidacy first as a Democrat; then he became an independent. This week he selected an entrepreneur/lawyer, Nicole Shanahan, as his vice-presidential running mate.

Why the bafflement? Well, RFK Jr.’s father, the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was my first political hero. I had the pleasure of shaking Bobby Kennedy’s hand in late May 1968, one week before his own presidential bid ended with an assassin’s bullet in Los Angeles.

I am struck by the notion that RFK Jr. would abandon the Democratic Party, given his family’s long affiliation with the party. I am certain his father would be aghast.

What’s more, RFK Jr. professed profound admiration and affection for President Biden even as he was announcing his Democratic presidential campaign. What the … ?

I am puzzled by the reason he wants to become the next POTUS. His conspiracy theories regarding the murder of his father and his idiotic refusal to accept the vaccine offered to battle the COVID 19 pandemic simply send me into orbit.

Will his campaign harm Biden more than the Republican nominee-in-waiting? I haven’t a clue. I have seen polling data that suggest an even draw-down of votes for both major-party candidates. I don’t necessarily believe those polls.

I remain baffled that Bobby Jr. would do this … and to what end.

I also am convinced that his father would take the kid to the proverbial woodshed …

NBC pulls its head out

Just when I thought the world was going to hell, a major TV network has delivered the goods and thought better about a horrible hiring decision it had made.

NBC News withdrew its decision to hire former Republican Party chair Ronna McDaniel as an on-air political contributor.

I want to stand and cheer out loud! So … I will.

You see, NBC erred in hiring McDaniel after the former party chair had been complicit in the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election; after she denied President Biden had been elected fairly; after she promoted The Big Lie put forth by the 2020 Republican Party presidential nominee.

She is far from just someone who once led a major political party. She is a purveyor lies and deception. That a TV network would put her on the air to offer political commentary was just too much to swallow. It drew tremendous blowback from its own employees and journalists everywhere.

The network today thought better of its own stupidity … and pulled Ronna McDaniel’s name off the table.