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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Transitions remain.

Buddha's most significant story is that suffering in life is constant and we cannot change that. What we can act on is our reaction to suffering. That comes from want and if we can let go of want, we can lose suffering.

My response is one of the son of the Wisconsin Nort'woods: What if I just want a beer?

Several of my transitions include changing banks and other businesses who, inevitably, request a previous address. I don't like the word "homeless" at this point because the blog likely did me more harm than good. One interviewer more or less asked, "How could you let this happen to you?"

I've tried responding, "Well, I'm in between addresses."

That brings a blank stare.

I have been trying to buy a mattress and bed -- that's another long story -- and the salesperson always asks, "What kind of mattress are you using?"

Um, not mine.

Some friends. some motels, wherever I can lay my huge misshapen head so the mattress doesn't matter so much.

An expert warned me early on that the toughest part of being homeless, even my homeless light, is working out of it because people don't like the stigma.

I will work my way out of this.

Then I will settle in and read and write about big muskies and lumberjacks.

And be forever grateful for this chance so late in my career.

Have a beautiful long weekend, as temperatures here in the Nort'woods are shooting to 50 degrees.

Peace and fortitude unto you my brothers and sisters.


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

 I don't have anything to write about tonight.

Which reminds me of a joke.

The parents of a baby aren't terribly concerned when he hasn't spoken by his first birthday. But by the time he's 2 years old, they're worried and take him to an array of doctors. All assure the worried parents he has the capability to speak physically and mentally. Just wait, they said. No speaking by age three. They buy him nice toys and books. Still, no speaking by age 4. The parents return to the doctor. He's fine they say. They've done all the tests. Same at age five. It repeats at age six. Over this time they give him the best toys and food. The parents begin to think that's just the boy's life. Finally at age seven, he looks at his parents during lunch and says, "The soup is cold." They are stunned. "You've been able to talk this entire time? And you didn't?" The boy says, "Up until now everything was fine."

Everything was fine today.

Peace and a fine life unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

 I dream. I dream.

Three nights ago I dreamt I was hiking on a narrow path around the rim of Irvine Park in my hometown. It doesn't exist in real life. I had to have a walking stick because I had trouble moving my legs, stumbling often, maintaining balance only because of my makeshift cane.

The walkway became higher and higher but I told myself the need to keep on my journey. At some point, a dog, a very cute little dog, rushed out of a cave and nearly knocked me over the precipice. I fell backward, back on to the path and grabbed the doggy so he would be safe. Then I stood up and continued on until I could see my goal: the exit of the path.

There the dream ends.

That's an easy read. My trip has been long and filled with trials that scared me to death. And oh, I have stumbled. But I kept going.

The next night, I dreamt I had a new job as communications at a huge university. The chancellor met with me and said my job was to distill his intellectual messages into something simple, that provided the university with talking points and a marketing strategy. I nodded "yes" and he patted me on my leg.

He introduced me to his team, which included a graphic artist I worked with 15 years ago. They asked questions, I answered them. The artist walked me to the door of the building where we met and I asked, "What have you told them about me?" He said, "That you're really smart." Oh crap, I thought.

I didn't know where I was. I couldn't remember anyone's name. I didn't know the name of the university. And I couldn't find my car.

I had no idea what I was doing or where I was.

On my search for my car, a brick wall impeded me as I tried to climb over it. Someone reached out and grabbed my arm to help but I continued to slip off. "Pull harder," I asked.

Here the second dream ended.

Another easy read. I don't know what I'm doing -- yet. I'll figure it out. I just need some help.

My readings could be wrong. Freud would say I miss my mother's nipple. But that dude had an oral obsession of epics proportions.

I understand where I've been and where I'm going. The dreams serve to remind me.

Peace and sweet dreams unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Monday, March 1, 2021


 15589 Winter Drive, Hayward, Wisconsin, 54843

This spacious, two-bedroom home with a deck and two-car garage is my new home.

The Homeless Editor is no more, at least technically. I'm working on arranging a drive down to Bloomington in a U-Haul truck, packing up my stuff -- in storage for nearly two years -- and moving into my rental home.

I turned the key in the front lock this evening, the smells of new carpet and fresh paint greeting me. I might get a car odor refresher with that smell.

I could see where I'm going to put my kitchen table, the bookshelves, the TV -- even though I don't watch it much any more -- the beds. I'll need to get a second bed for the guest room and make that welcoming for the many visitors I expect -- no demand. Family, friends, random passersby -- all are welcome.

Soon the kitchen shall smell of sauerkraut and the backyard of the many bratwursts made locally.

I see myself, settled deep in a plush chair (or settled plush in a deep chair), buried in a book with Alexa playing Eric Satie -- great reading music, by the way.

The idea of driving 1,300 miles in a U-Haul stresses me but I understand that sometimes at the end of a long trip comes the hardest work.

I'll alert you as I finish these couple of weeks until I can lay my huge, misshapen head into a pillow of my own.

And I'm looking for suggestions for a new blog title. My current favorite is "The Northwoods Editor."

Peace and a pillow unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

 I saw the saddest GIF today: Kevin, a character on "The Office," spilled a vat of his world-famous chili.

Kevin is already a sad-sack character and the writers and actor played off that characterization for surprises. But Kevin is treated by fellow characters as lesser-than. That always kind of broke my heart.

So when he spilled his chili, a recipe he spent his life on, and ends up wallowing in the mess, it made me so sad.

Because all of the difficulties over the last year have not produced such a moment for me. I've had difficult times yet I've not been personally debased.

Part of that has been holding my head high, making the best decisions offered to me and -- the first rule of being a doctor -- not doing harm.

I have not been debased as was Kevin.

Is that too much empathy? Yes, absolutely. But as I've discussed with my kid, I'd rather have more empathy than less.

On Monday, I will have an address although I have to travel to Indiana to get my stuff -- mostly books and cooking equipment. I won't stay in the house until I have a bed there as I'm too old and fat to sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor. Watching me trying to stand up out of that would make a money-making YouTube video.

Once I'm set up in the new place, which includes a guest room, I expect visitors. Godamnit. Come see the beauty of the Wisconsin Nort'woods and have some beer with me, all of you beautiful people.

Or have a beer this weekend and wave it northwards.

Peace and beer unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

So I signed a lease today.

I'll share the address Monday when it becomes legal.

But now I wonder about mowing the lawn, shoveling the driveway, where to put the grill -- oh yeah, I have to have a grill for a series of sausages (my new autobiography title).

Such are the anxieties of an address.

The stress I've lived through in the past 10 months, ameliorated by the blessings of friends and strangers, is I just didn't know that the hell was going to happen next.

I've long called it the anxiety of the unknown. 

Worse, I've had this problem over the last 10 months of massive self-judgment.

I drove by nice homes, well-kept, two cars in the driveway, two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard, and wonder -- how did I fail?

This despite my favorite advice from the Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, "Love others, start with yourself."

And, oh, how I have failed. You don't have time to read that blog entry. It likely goes back to my toddler days, according to my mom, when I would stick my finger in a socket. Mom would say I should learn my lesson. I would say, "It's OK mom. That thing won't do that to me again."

There's a fine line between optimism and stupidity.

I promise I won't blow this new start. Or stick my finger in a socket.

And I promise I'll alert all of you, my dear readers, to the new start and the changes.

Peace and no electrical outlets unto you my brothers and sisters.


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tomorrow I sign a lease.

In eight days I have an address.

Within a month, I'll move my junk here and it's mostly junk. Too many books. Cooking equipment. Three manual typewriters (that's down from 35 -- when I had a problem). One electric typewriter. A couple hundred pens that are likely dried out by now.

I'll have a home.

This is not to suggest pity. I understand how lucky I've been with friends who have helped out in many ways, from places to stay, to money, to gift cards, to Indiana unemployment to buying me spare beers. I've been blessed.

In the following days, I'll ideally share the stories of Hayward, Wisconsin, and detail plans of the move. 

Part of the transition will include me traveling back to Bloomington, Indiana, to pick up my stuff -- the books and typewriters and cooking stuff and all.

I hope I can meet up with folks for some beer and stories and -- certainly for me -- some tears.

One of the blessings is I've found a house with a guest room so I can open up my place for all my reprobate friends. We'll share some beer and some food and, undoubtedly, funny stories.

By the way, given my recent luck, I did buy some lottery tickets. I'm not superstitious but what the hell.

Peace and perseverance unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Monday, February 22, 2021

Ten months, 180 blog posts, 150,000 pages views.

Songs came to my head today.

What a long strange trip it's been.

Magical misery tour (which is a parody song by National Lampoon of The Beatles -- as well as the alternative title one of my journalism professors gave to a feature story about my friend Pete and I hitting all the dive bars in Eau Claire).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not leaving you, dear and faithful readers. These moments allow for retrospection.

And it's not done yet. I have much learning to do on my job. The community must be studied. Negotiations for an address -- an actual address -- must be finished. Then I have to find a way to get my stuff here under the cheapest possible circumstances.

I cannot, however, use a negative song for this 10-month trip. I have learned so much.

Just when you think your job is good and the money will continue, it won't. We live in a brittle economy and one bump can make you fall off your horse.

And when you don't know what the hell you're going to do next, friends and absolute strangers will reach out to you. Before this trip, I struggled with asking for help. Since then I've learned how to do that but I've also found friends, strangers and even folks across the country will reach out.

There have been struggles I have not written about -- because I was embarrassed. Sleepless nights married to sleeping a week. A loss of appetite that still struggles. My hairline. And I'm still embarrassed. Give me some time to explain later on.

But the biggest lessons I've learned are 1.) keep breathing, although the breath might be shallow; and 2.) keep moving forward, even if the steps are small.

I've often written I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth, stealing that from Lou Gehrig. 

Saturday, after going into work for a while, I had little to do so I drove to the Lac Courte Oreilles casino, even though I don't like gambling and stuck 20 bucks into a poker machine, the kind Jim Herman taught me how to use.

Within five minutes, I hit four aces and won $250 bucks.

The philosopher Prince once said, "'Cause my momma didn't raise no fools." Rather than continue playing, I cashed out and drove to my current hotel room.

Given recent luck, I think I should get some lottery tickets. Please advise.

Peace and prosperity unto you my brother and sisters -- particularly when the road is long.


Thursday, February 18, 2021

"Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch ..."

These are not the words of some great philosopher outlining a transition but part of an old vaudeville sketch performed by damned near every comedic troupe in the early parts of last century. My favorite version being the "Susquehanna Hat Company." See: Slowly I Turned - Wikipedia

But it's my life right now as I transition from troubles to stability.

I have found I need to keep the word "homeless" out of many conversations -- as I was warned by homeless experts early on -- because the word carries with it heavy judgment.

I never spent time on the streets. I didn't have a cardboard sign on street corners. I don't have addiction issues, unless beer at The Tap is a problem. (OK, I have a slight problem with bratwurst.)

In these times, though, we live in a brittle economy where many people could be without an address in a day -- as was and is my condition.

I'm nearly out of it with the help of family and friends, meager government support and just goddamned luck.

And I certainly made it through this magical misery tour with the help support of you, dear readers.

I work Friday but I'm going to have a three-day weekend from the blog.

Peace and warmer temperatures unto you my brothers and sisters.


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

It's official today.

My new job is editor and general manager of the Sawyer County Record in Hayward, Wisconsin, and general manager of the Spooner Advocate.

I'm being paid almost as much as I made in Bloomington, Indiana, where I had a fancy title and oversight of editorial operations at 10 newspapers.

Better yet, I'm home.

Every bar I walk into, Leinenkugel's is served. People know Packers trivia. The residents are kind and helpful and welcoming.

I've had some car troubles and housing issues and newbie problems and everywhere I turn, there's someone to help. And not just aid but with a basic common humanity and decency with which I grew up. It's not as though I've not seen this in other cities but here that kind of behavior is to be expected rather than a pleasant surprise.

Do I have a bias to the Nort'woods? Yes. Absolutely.

I am home.

And I am staying.

Peace unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

I'm on the cusp of something I haven't had in a while.

Now my caustic friends would suggest that would be the ability to see my toes while standing straight up. To them, I respond "go to hell."

What awaits me is a permanent address.

By sheer luck, I stumbled into viewing a two-bedroom house in a quiet neighborhood about two blocks from my newspaper. It's clean, it has more amenities than I'm used to. And it has a little deck and big back yard which would allow me, in more amenable temperatures to grill a slew of entubed meats. 

There will be enough available as I bought lunch for staffers at Lynn's Custom Meats and Catering today, where I found the emporium of sausage (my new autobiography title). Lynn's Custom Meats & Catering | Hayward, WI

Readers must understand the market for renting here is virtually impossible. Acquiring, I've been told, "nothing's open," "rentals spend three minutes on the market," and "you're shit out of luck."

I won't go into the details of how this happened, only to say that when daylight appears, one must rush toward it.

Some paperwork awaits me, some check signing, some moving -- but I'm close to having an address and a home again.

I'll alert you as the process continues and then when the weather turns, probably around July, I'll invite any and all to a party of the entubed (OK, now that's my new autobiography title).

Peace and a home unto you my brothers and sisters.


Monday, February 15, 2021

Forty below this morning.

Below what you ask? It doesn't matter at this point.

My driver-side front tire was as flat as Iowa. (Have you ever been? Despite the lack of hills, you can tell you're coming up on a pig farm miles before by the smell.)

But it was, to again paraphrase the philosopher Ice Cube, an appropriate quote at this time, a good day.

I made significant inroads in learning my new job. I proofed a fantastic special section my new colleagues put together as a preview of the American Birkebeiner -- the largest cross-country ski race in North America. They did a spectacular job and it felt good to help. I reached out to regional state senators to fend off their efforts to pull legal notices from newspapers -- what seems a now national effort.

And, here's the kicker, I have a shot at getting something I haven't had in some time: an address.

I get to look at the property Tuesday, in a region that is growing and where people have told me rental properties last on the market "three minutes."

A colleague helped me blow up the tire although we waited until it warmed up to 4 degrees. He also bought me a sandwich because I was immobile at work that was turkey cranberry on cranberry bread. 

You know me and cranberries.

Forty below. Flat tire. Joints making noises like the breakfast cereal "Snap, Crackle, Pop."

Ending the day writing a column and another missive on this blog.

Enjoying a Jack Daniels Manhattan with just enough bitters.

Yeah, I'll sleep well this evening and look forward to Tuesday when the temperature is going to hit 12 degrees ABOVE zero. I might even lay out in the sun for a while.

Peace and sunshine unto you my brothers and sisters.





































































Friday, February 12, 2021


 

Sure, I’m near friends and family after 20 years astray.

I’m home in Wisconsin.

But, let’s face it, the real reason for returning was Friday night fish fry.

That’s what I enjoyed tonight, kind of a communion for Wisconsinites.

Yes, other places have their fish and chips, or fried fish or something fancy such as Filet-O-Fish.

The special nature of the Friday night fish is as much about the tradition as it is the food.

First you sit down and order a brandy old-fashioned and when the server brings the drinks, she brings the beloved relish tray. It’s been a long week so don’t slug the drink. Relax. Take your time. Maybe have a second drink.

When it comes time to order, you’ll get the choice of fish – I did the haddock tonight – which can include walleye here in the Northwoods. And a myriad choice of potatoes, which will include fries, baked potato, twice baked, hash browns, potatoes au gratin, potatoes au gratin with cheese (not a typo) and lyonnaise potatoes.

I’ve probably forgotten some choices because just writing that list has given me carbo-induced dementia.

Have a glass of wine or beer with dinner. Or, what the yell, another old-fashioned.

I failed to mention that in many restaurants it’s all you can eat – which ends up being like a contest.

Finally, as you're stuffed, happy, a little sleepy, have a Golden Cadillac or Grasshopper. Those are drinks with ice cream and liquor. Because we do that in Wisconsin.

That’s Friday night mass in Wisconsin.

Have a beautiful, safe and warm weekend.

Peace and tartar sauce unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

 This morning greeted me with a temperature of minus-27 degrees.

That's the kind of cold that smacks you in the face and calls you a name. Challenges you to stand up again to be belted one more time.

It's cold enough that when you sit in your car seat, the butt doesn't settle because it's frozen. Then my car wouldn't start. As I turned the key, all I could hear was an odd noise. "Scru u u u u u u you u u u u u u."

So I called work on my second day to get a ride in, all of 1.1 miles from my hotel to the newspaper office and worked on getting someone to give me a jump. (To others outside of northern climates, that's not an obscenity. It's where one person hooks up cables from one vehicle to another to give the disabled car a little electrical goose, as it were.)

Jumper cables are the umbilical cord of the Nort'woods. They sustain fragile life.

On the ride in, I saw some construction workers driving nails with frozen bananas, like that winter battery commercial of 30 years ago.

Talk at work concerned who had the lowest reading on outdoor thermometers. The winner came at minus-30 degrees.

My car wouldn't start, I said.

My eyeball cracked, said someone else.

Two fingers froze solid and fell off, said another.

Of course no one said anything like that -- except for me.

These are a hearty people and I need to return to their ethos. One does not complain, even if an eyeball is cracked or fingers fall off. You see someone with such conditions, you say, "How you doing?" They say, "Good -- and you?"

It's 30-below-zero and life goes on. You go to work. Attend to your duties. Maybe go out for a beer -- when having a 35-degree bottle of beer is akin to having a hot-buttered rum. It's 60 degrees warmer than the temperature outside.

I put gasoline in my car after work -- along with an ISO-HEET to keep the gas from freezing, and yes gas freezes -- and it took 30 minutes and one Manhattan for me to stop shaking.

Yet I'm blessed. I'm working in a business I love in a place I love.

Peace and warmth unto all of you my brothers and sisters.



Wednesday, February 10, 2021

 Seeking: One person of any age to teach older editor how to have a life.

Applicant must be patient and ability to repeat the same phrase over and over again: Go home.

Also, some minor hygiene advice appreciated. (Mr, Jackson, sauerkraut is not an aftershave.)

Apply within.


I left work at 5:10 p.m. today and sure it was my first day so it's hard to have an extensive to-do list. Yet I had a mild panic attack. What am I going to do tonight? How will I fill my time?

Sure, I could blog a little bit. That's about six minutes, apparent in the many typos I leave. I could eat but even with chewing everything thoroughly, that's about a half hour. I could read or write, my two passions, which is probably what I'm going to do.

But I think this leaving work is going to become a pattern and I must do something about it. First, it will be exercising and becoming more healthy. I'll have to find a gym for winters because ain't nothin' healthy about taking a walk at minus 20-degrees. (Side note to new life coach: Encourage me to buy gloves. I haven't had to have them in five years.) In the summer, though, opportunities abound in this beautiful area. Walking, hiking, running from bears. (Damn you, Brian Urlacher -- why must you pursue me?)

I'm going to immerse myself in local history. I'll volunteer. Certainly I will become an advocate homeless issues.

Then sometimes, when the sun is setting, I'm going to drink a decent Wisconsin beer (as though any could be indecent), watch the sun set over the pinery and do not a damn thing at all.

I still can't announce the job or the place yet and now I'm searching for something I haven't had in a while -- a permanent address.

I will continue to alert you, dear readers, as I finish these final steps.

Peace and thanks unto you my brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

 I now sit in my new home where the temperature is 0 degrees.

That is to say, there are no degrees. We are bereft of degrees. There are no degrees to be had.

Yet I feel safe and warm because it's home to me. I'm back in the Wisconsin Northwoods. I can't publicly announce it until the newspaper does Thursday but no need to hold your breath. Because you'll freeze to death.

The two-day trip was fraught as driving for twelve hours and three states during February invites fraughtness -- if I can make that a word.

I spent much time driving through snow in central Illinois. It was like driving through the whiteness of Miracle Whip.

When there weren't trees or farms on the horizon, the white fields met the white sky seamlessly. When I glanced down at my speed and temperature, I couldn't see them -- blinded by the whiteness of the drive.

I overnighted in Madison, where I enjoyed a couple of Spotted Cow beers, a joy you cannot share outside Wisconsin.

And then I woke up to temperatures of 2 degrees. I looked out the window of my hotel and could actually see the little degrees, running around, blind as they are, often smashing into each other and falling down into the snow giggling. Low degrees aren't so sharp.

I made it all the way to Eau Claire when my car started to shake like a paint mixer. I stopped at Birch Street Auto, where I begged help that I was on the road to my first job in nine months. The owner took me in immediately and found I had busted a couple of lugnuts off my right front tire. They fixed it immediately, with the owner saying it was the easiest job of the day, and I made it to my new home in less than two hours.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, I will work for money I've earned.

That's a big deal to me. Bless unemployment pay but I like to earn my keep. Unemployment kept me well for these last nine months but I will be happy and proud to work again.

I will alert you as I go.

Peace and accomplishment unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Despite having lived in 11 cities, I've become worse at saying goodbye -- not better.

I've been blessed in every stay. Somehow I find folks who are willing to put up with my sense of humor, my lack of sartorial astuteness and my general personality.

As I've intimated the end is nigh in Bloomington, friends approach me and say goodbye. There are fewer hugs because of COVID yet the departure is more sincere. Much sobbing, though, on my end.

I think my inability at saying goodbye is rooted in aging and some (a little bit) emotional maturity.

Most of us, maybe just some of us, had plans to be great, which inevitably included a good-paying job, nice car, a beautiful house.

Then when you get older, particularly as that dream evades us, we understand it's family and friends who are the great gifts.

So now I get to move closer to family and friends and stay a journalist, a position I believe predestined for me. I'm pretty sure at age five, I told my mother her comments were on the record.

The official announcement of my move won't be until next Thursdays but I will tell you, faithful readers, I am happy and at peace.

I get on the road Monday to make my transition and will report from the road that night. Have a beautiful weekend.

So I wish unto you my brothers and sisters peace and joy.


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

I made a mistake yesterday.

I input my information into an online page looking for movers to get me to Wisconsin.

Now I've been inundated for 30 hours with some of the most questionable callers I've dealt with since being a newspaper editor.

Just how many people named "Spider" can be a customer service representative?

"Hello, Richard, dis here is Spider. I wanna talk to youse about moving your stuff -- I mean your stuff for now."

"Well," I said, "I don't have anything worth value. I mean unless you want a torn copy of 'Thou and I' by Martin Buber."

(Off the phone: "Marty, bubalah -- I got this guy here who is talking smack about 'Me and Youse.'")

(Buber takes the phone.) Buber: "Schweinehund!" (Literally from the German "pig dog.")

I've been called worse.

The calls during the day didn't get any better. One of the tactics was for some companies to transfer me to one customer service representative to another, a strategy I know well. I've seen some 15,000 police reports and civil lawsuits. The scam is to confuse the mark (me, the caller) and when it comes time to pay the bill, which has doubled or tripled, is for the company to say, "Well, who offered you that?" The customer says, "I don't know -- some guy named Timmy." The response, "Well, there's no Timmy here and if you failed to get something in writing, we can't stand by it."

Another guy -- it was all guys I talked to today -- said because of the opening of the country and the burgeoning of the economy, many people were waiting seven months to move.

In the con game, grifting, this is what is called "the squeeze." The grifter makes up a story and then the mark, me, asks if I can pay extra to move.

What most of these folks don't know is that I have little to lose.

I've spent two years living out of a suit case and realize I need so very little. In my last move, the company failed to take my storage unit and so I lost the only things valuable to me: mementos of my father, drawings from my kid until she was 10 years old and my own juvenilia. 

And whether I have my stuff or not, I'll soon be back in the Wisconsin Nort'woods, sipping a Leinenkugel's.

Peace and a Summer Shandy upon all of you my brothers and sisters.



Tuesday, February 2, 2021

So much to do today I actually had to create a to-do list.

I finished about 40 percent of it working steadily through the day. (By the way does anyone have any suggestions about hiring a moving company that won't 1. Charge by the pounds of flesh and 2. Not hold my stuff hostage when I get there?)

It's much more than my daily schedule for the last nine months.

Sure I spent time in the morning applying for jobs and then mope for a while. I'd have a couple of chicken McNuggets for lunch, not because I was poor but I had no appetite and food gagged me. Yes, food gagged the fat man. (Great HBO movie title.) Have I ever asked the question here about the Burger King deal that offers 10 nuggets for $1 without ever noting what animal produces said nuggets? I think it's pigeon.

Then I would spend some time moping. And sure I moped in the morning some days. And then later in the afternoon, I moped. Sometimes I moped in the late night after blogging. But I never moped at dusk -- never at dusk. That's a variant of a class Steve Martin routine for those asking.

Busy feels good. Certainly I spent much time these nine months writing -- sheer junk that no one will ever see except I did send the first act of "Rasputina" to my kid.

But this busy accomplishes something. I'm taking steps to move forward whereas much of this time has been me with my blinkers on, stuck in the snow somewhere because Indiana apparently only has enough money for two snowplows during a winter storm.

I'm tired tonight and not for excessive non-dusk moping.

Not all the day was great. Seriously, moving companies, do something about yourselves.

Remember, though, that the Buddha said life is nothing but a series of unhappy stories mixed with real misery. We can't change that. We can change how we react. The Buddha, he ain't never moped.

I might occasionally mope just for old times sake. I might miss that scent of desperation that smells vaguely like Drakkar Noir.

But right now, I have life to live. I'm moving forward for the first time in a long time.

Peace and identifiable nuggets on to you, my brothers and sisters.


Monday, February 1, 2021

 So the moving transition begins -- all unpleasantness until I can get into my new nest.

I only cried five or so times today, not tears of pain but tears of goodbye. Yet again, I say goodbye to some of the best people I've ever met.

Pass me a beer.

And I work on finding movers and mechanics and new places to stay, tasks that make me look forward to dental work from Steve Martin in "Little Shop of Horrors."

There's the old cliche that nothing worth doing is easy.

Well that doesn't mean I have to enjoy it.

I can't tell you my destination yet until I arrive at my new work place next week, then it will become official publicly.

I also have some storylines to wrap up. An early expert I interviewed for this blog talked about the difficulties of those who transition from homelessness. Again, I'll note that while I have dug myself a hole, it's not nearly as deep as others.

It's a hole nonetheless. (An aside: I typed "a hole" without giggling -- I continue to mature.)

There's no saying goodbye to The Homeless Editor quite yet. I'll let readers know about some of these challenges.

And I'll continue to fight for disenfranchised folks until my dying days.

Peace and transition unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Friday, January 29, 2021

 I am exhausted and I still have five hours back to Bloomington.

But it's a good exhaustion as compared to that listless feeling when little to nothing has happened.

I traveled hundreds of miles and made new friends along the way. I had a job interview that led to an offer. I saw family and friends and now I'm on my way back to Bloomington --with Wisconsin treats for my Sunday beer-drinking buddies. (If you think I'm concerned about making new beer-drinking buddies in Wisconsin, I am not. It's called "all of Wisconsin.")

It's the kind of exhaustion that comes from accomplishment.

I have some wrapping up to do both with the job offer and life in Bloomington.

But life is good.

I shall sleep soundly tonight and return to the road Saturday.

Peace and accomplishment unto you my brothers and sisters.


Thursday, January 28, 2021

 Did you ever cry so much you had to rehydrate with beer?

That was my day.

And it was a wonderful day with all my sobbing and crying. Without giving out too much proprietary information about my job interview, I was able to meet with family and friends after my interview and job offer Wednesday.

I went to visit my mom at an old folks center -- I know there's updated terminology for such places but I've stopped paying attention to them.

All the doors were locked but I went through a door where some dudes who were moving in furniture. Once inside, I asked a woman mopping the floor where I could find the front desk. Quickly, people came out of their offices to kick me out.

I get it and they were right. COVID has decimated old folks across the country. I told them I would leave immediately.

But they took  pity on me -- my typically disheveled appearance often belies my efforts.

"I haven't seen my mother in three years," I sobbed. 

The people at the home set up a window visit, where I stood outside and talked to my my mom via borrowed cell phones.

We had a fast and funny conversation. I'm the only one who tells dirty jokes to my incredibly Catholic mom. We laughed through the window separated us. She was happy in her wheelchair inside while I stood in 14-degree temperature outside. 

She asked me if it was cold and I said my nipples could cut diamonds. 

We laughed madly like the old days.

It was cold enough that the emotional meeting, which caused me to sob and thus snot, gave me a face of frozen tears and boogers.

Classy stuff, eh?

The best thing was when I told her about my job offer nearby and my mom said, "that's good for me."

Hours later, my brother took me out for dinner at Connell's Supper Club, Those who have not lived in Wisconsin will never understand the beauty of the supper club. Just a day before, I told my potential boss that one of the things I missed most was the relish tray  before dinner. So today, the relish tray included fresh vegetables, cole slaw and a cheese spread. God bless Wisconsin.

Finally, I met a group of friends at the West Hill Bar, where I bartended 30 years ago. A good dozen people showed up and we shared stories of a long time ago but also updated the lives we live now.

It was all so goddamn exhausting -- but beautiful at the same time.

Let me just offer peace and friends and family unto all of you my brothers and sisters,

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

It's nice to be wanted.

I received my first job offer in nine months, a good one with a company that cares about community journalism.

Given the circumstances of the market and the pandemic and the recession, these have been tough times. This blog often receives trolls who suggest my failure to find employment is based on this or that -- given their own particular views.

As positive as I've been on this blog, I fear that I've not always been truthful as I wish to be. This trip has been an extraordinary struggle despite the blessings of those who've helped.

Since becoming a newspaper editor, that's always been my identity. Without that, I have felt lost and lesser-than. 

The offer I received today is a blessing and I feel, for the first time in a long time, I feel hope.

Peace and hope unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

"Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred." Roger the Shrubber.

DATELINE UNKOWN -- I'm now in my third state in a couple days of travel and my third state of COVID reaction.

It's been much like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

One's too hot, one's too cold and one's just right.

In Indiana, the state opened up everything it could, as much as it could, as quickly as it could. That hasn't turned out too well as COVID rates shot through the roof. Remember, though, Indiana once had a code for child care that said running water for children could be allowed even if it's a water hose from another nearby building.

I know one Hoosier who said he made out with Larry King while the latter was in ICU with COVID -- just because he could. I questioned him. He said he didn't think it was Larry King but thought he was eating a raisin. (Nothing of the sort ever happened. I just thought it was a funny joke.)

One of the states through which I drove, I couldn't find a place to pee. The state was tighter than my prostate. Which doesn't make any sense because I wouldn't need to pee in such an instance.

The third state, where I stay tonight -- is kind of just right. Dealing with the deadly virus requires common-sense vigilance but not monastic lockdowns. Understand, we as a country are dealing with the first pandemic of this order in more than 100 years ago so we have to make up policy as we go. Policy changes must morph into something supportive of both life as we know it and safety.

 I imagine this is controversial to those on the extremes. But I've always supported the goal of efficacy -- that which works. I like to say it's my second-favorite F word.

Peace and health and livelihood unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Monday, January 25, 2021

 DATELINE UKNOWN -- I'm on the road again for a job interview.

If you've read this blog before, you'll know I consider locations proprietary so that's why the dateline shares no information.

As hopeful as I am about this opportunity, this has been a particularly stressful trip, partly because of my situation. (That sounds like I'm an unwed, pregnant teen in the 1950s -- "my situation.")

It turns out in order to rent a vehicle, one needs a major credit card. I stopped at three places one recent morning and that's the industry standard. I had a receipt from my debit card in my pocket to show I had some savings but common sense rarely beats policy in the word of rock, paper and disenfranchisement. 

Of course, hotels require the same unless, it turns out, it's a hotel that accepts cash and rents by the hour. (Honestly, who needs an hour?)

And I'm a lucky disenfranchised person. I have savings left. I'm nominally kempt although that's never been my strong suit. Nor do I have a strong suit -- or a suit at all. 

Even as Bloomington continues to clean out Seminary park of the disenfranchised homeless, I wonder why city leaders don't address the underlying causes rather than the symptoms.

Imagine one of these folks in a nice set of clothes, cleaned up, trying to find a job, go to school -- hell, just be respected.

If I face obstacles, with the help of friends and family, imagine why some homeless are described as "chronic."

I understand most people have dug their own holes more deeply.

But doesn't anyone have a longer rope to help them out.

I seek thoughts, prayers, vibes, karma and a couple of New Glarus Spotted Cow beers from you, my friends.

Peace and help unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

All I need is the littlest of gifts.

This morning my daughter texted me, after I sent her the first act of a stage play I'm working on, called "Rasputina."

It's a play with four characters telling the story of when Rasputin's daughter was mauled by a bear in Peru, Indiana. That's an entirely true story.

"Dude," she wrote. rasputina is great ... I want more."

Good Lord that made me feel good the rest of the day. I'm still basking -- and I'm not good at basking. We don't bask in the Wisconsin Nort'woods. We settle. Then we stew.

Part of it is my kid's specialty in comedic arts is script writing. She's the expert in the family and I must trust her. 

Second, kid and Homeless Editor and Rasputin go way back.

That's a story in and of itself.

Over the years on our road trips, we used to stop at the Presidential Library and Museum of President Rutherford B. Hayes. And yes, isn't that what great parents do? Other parents bring kids to Europe or  waterparks or one of the Disneys, we go to Norwalk, Ohio, and celebrate one of the most controversial presidents in history. Sure, the museum grounds had tame squirrels that would take a peanut out of your hand -- fun for the kid and dad.

On one of the visits, we co-wrote a rap song about Rutherford B. Hayes:

Rutherford B. Hayes

He set this country ablaze.

Elected by Representatives in the House,

He had Lemonade Lucy for a spouse.

This was a decade before "Hamilton" and we believe we deserve a cut of profits for being the first historic rap artists.

Another time, the kid poured lemonade on the grave of Hayes's wife, as props to her homey. Lucy Hayes was a member of the Temperance Movement and promised she wouldn't serve alcohol in the White House. Media wags gave her the pejorative "Lemonade Lucy" and she embraced it.

On another trip, we went into the gift shop and purchased cheap and paltry items for any family member who loved Hayes. I also bought a Rutherford B. Hayes coffee cup that remains by favorite in the morning. The kid continues to mock me because the store clerk -- about 167 years old -- had to get on a ladder to get my mug. We believe she dated Hayes, whom she called "Ruthy."  Kid found a book about weird history that included a section on Rasputin. 

About a year later, during one of her innovative classes in fifth grade in Richmond, Indiana, she chose the Mad Monk as her subject and as part of that she had to create a product for sale based on the subject. My kid made a "Rasputin Pillow Pet."

Clearly, I had damaged the child.

When my kid gives me props for a stage play including Rasputin, it seems like the perfect amalgamation of brilliant kid, weird dad and Mad Monk.

So happy tonight going into a three-day weekend and then leave for a trip out of state for a job interview.

I wish peace and a Green Bay Packers win unto all of you my brothers and sisters.



Wednesday, January 20, 2021

I cried much today.

First, mind you, I cry all the time to the point of embarrassment for friends and family. Once, while my kid and I watched "Hotel for Dogs," I audibly sobbed. My kid hit me with her elbow. "Dad, stop it," she said. Later, as we went for ice cream, she asked why I cried and I told her the group of disenfranchised people and animals, forming a new family, reminded me of my weird trip through life.

Certainly I cried at the beauty of the inauguration but I think I've cried at most of them I've watched since 1976. I love the pageantry of a peaceful handoff of power that's happened 46 times now in this experiment called the United States.

And please, it remains an experiment, Any doubt should be erased by in insurrection at our Capitol building just two weeks ago. Armed rioters with zip ties wandered the halls seeking the capture and assassination of our sitting vice president, among others.

I cried because there are indeed leaders who seek good governance, unity, decency. 

I also cried because I couldn't sleep last night and I was exhausted, both at what I've been going through and what my beloved country has seen.

And, given my emotional nature, I also cried while reading the obituary of Don Sutton, the MLB Hall of Fame pitcher who died this week.

Please don't make me watch "Hotel for Dogs" again.

It was nice to rehydrate with a couple of beers and a friend later in the day.

The United States of America is strong as it has made it through so much tragedy. But it's also as delicate as its people.

Please help make it better rather than worse.

Peace and patriotism unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

I was going to write something thoughtful, meaningful, using the background of history I've learned over these years -- this on the night before inauguration.

Then a frat pack attacked me.

For the readers not in college towns, a frat pack is a group of six to infinity young men attending college and the same fraternity. They are easy to spot, particularly nowadays:

1.) They don't wear a mask unless told to. (1.a.: To which they respond "whatevs.")

2.) They have enough product in their hair to light a menorah indefinitely. (2.a.: They don't know what a menorah is.)

3.) They each individually spent more on their evening's clothing than I have spent in my entire lifetime on attire. (3.a.: That's not saying much.)

In the days of COVID, these scrums scare the hell out of me. I occasionally share beer with health professionals and I can see in the latters' eyes I'm not alone. One local frat in Bloomington had a 87 percent COVID positive rate.

Whatevs.

So I was sitting in a bar writing where wonderful people brought me beer without me asking. I've had dreams for each of the last two nights laying out a stage play about Rasputin's daughter. (Please don't ask me questions.) I know when this happens, I have to get it out of my head.

I'm sitting in the bar and they wander in like lemmings in pleather (my next stage play) and it's fine because we're in the back room of The Tap and separated so I don't have to worry about their spittle.

No problems at first because I had ear bugs in me. Yes, I know they're called "ear buds" but this is much funnier to me.

When I start writing, I initially need something with some 1970s funk and hard bass lines. So, Stevie Wonder from about 1968 to 1981. James Brown. P-Funk. The Brother Johnson. Then I threw in some Prince. Early Prince. Like Prince before he made it big. "Little Red Chevy Cavalier." "Raspberry Latte." "This is What it Sounds Like When Doves Poop."

Between songs I could hear the Frat Pack talking, mostly in half words. Bruh, Bro, Ho, Clamyd.

They ordered their second round of beers.

I don't care. I mind myself. But dudes and bros, I'm writing a major Broadway play about Rasputin's daughter (Rasputina) listening to the best of The Spinners and I can't hear them over my ear bugs.

Seriously? I can't hear "Then Came You"? A mixture of Dionne Warwick and The Spinners? Dionne Warwick.. /W The Spinners..Then Came You... 1974 - Bing video

I took out my ear bugs and these bros -- sloshed on a beer and a half -- are sharing strip joint stories including a polemic about one of the bros gave an extra tip to one of the hos and she didn't respond with a (sexual act). He then called her a (expletive) (not an expletive but I don't like the B word).

After the second round of beer, each took a turn going to the bathroom. Now, as an Irish Catholic Journalist from Wisconsin, I would have been kicked of the bar for not holding more than two beers.

Sadly, I suspect these Indiana University students will soon be congressional interns. Cong-ints, perhaps, but something important because of the tendency of pack animals like fraternities to hire what they know.

I finished the first act of "Rasputina," paid my bill and headed for home and the cheap hotel where I'm staying.

Thankful I have not a Bro, a Bruh, a Ho or Clamyd.

Peace and prosperity unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Monday, January 18, 2021

 Over the weekend, one of the fantastic cleaning crew at my $50-a-night hotel handed me one of those little bottles of shampoo.

Yet after six weeks in the hotel, I had not entirely used the first tiny shampoo.

I'd like to attribute that to my penurious nature but that's only a fancy word for being cheap, a skinflint, miserly, tight-fisted and so on.

But of course I have little hair.

To be clear -- I have lost hair on my head but the hair has merely migrated to other areas. I liken it to plate tectonics, where there were various mega continents in the early days of the planet but, in my most scientific language, stuff changed.

My hair has migrated. 

I had to consider whether this small gift came from my cheapness -- I am raised Scotch-Irish -- or my balding noggin.

Obviously, it's both.

One of the many lessons I've learned as the Homeless Editor is what little I need. I lived in a beautiful cabin I called The Hermitage that was probably less than 200 square feet. Now I'm in a hotel room less than 100 square feet.

Wherever I land will be goddamn palatial. 

Peace and simplicity unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Thursday, January 14, 2021

A news company is seeking me out and it feels good, like a kid going to prom.

More so, the company is willing to fly me to the interview in quite a rural area.

Fly? Flown? Flew? Flewed? Airplaned?

Crap. I've already failed the editing text.

Have a beautiful weekend.

Peace and thanks for reading this short blast unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Watching the impeachment hearings today was like watching an extended Depends/ Viagra/ Reverse Mortgage commercial.

These people are old.

The hearings were brought to you by Milk of Magnesia. 

I thought I should buy gold for my future.

Steny Hoyer spent most of his time complaining about the seditious act against his prostate.

Most of these people were so old that when the Big Bang happened, they were like, "Hey -- keep it down over there."

I joke.

It helps that I can joke because I have a brilliant kid who is studying comedic arts and we exchanged texts today, some of which I stole like Amy Schumer taking used cigarette butts out of an ashtray.

I joke because of the two biggest impediments to my re-employment is my age; the other being I've been at too many newspaper properties.

Apparently, I'm too old to be a decent job candidate but too young to serve in the U.S. Congress. I mean for God's sake, Mitch McConnell makes money from selling his mugshot to online obituary companies.

I must joke because in the words of Abraham Lincoln -- whose Capitol building was never breached during a Civil War -- "I laugh because I must not cry. That is all. That is all."

Peace and laughter unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

I am embarrassed that since the insurrection of Wednesday, I've not applied for a job.

The one singular thing I need the most is to return to the workforce and I've failed in that pursuit.

I won't ask for forgiveness because the only harm I've caused is to myself. However, today I pulled my head out of my posterior and returned to what is my most important goal and what I want: to work.

I understand the market has changed quickly over the past couple years so I'm concentrating on applying to remote editor jobs. After all, I am emotionally remote -- why not work that way? (I continue to have a sense of humor, No one will ever take that from me.)

If any of you know of jobs, please send me a note on Facebook or at richjackson1@gmail.com.

Thank you for your friendship and support.

May peace be unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


Monday, January 11, 2021

 We cannot be inured to the historic nature of what happened last week.

Sometimes, living through history, we fail to understand what's happening around us.

Here's what happened: For the first time in the history of the United States armed insurrectionists overtook the Capitol, trashed it, vandalized it and sought out elected officials for potential assassination. Some of them smeared their own feces on walls for God's sake.

Ask yourselves: What will the history books say about this time?

Sadly, I'm reminded of what my beer-drinking buddy Dennis said Sunday. Dennis, a man who works with his hands but who can quote Tennyson and a self-described "terse and taciturn" man, leaned into me and said, "We've taken a turn for the worse as a country and I don't think we can recover."

I had to agree.

I know exactly how millions of people have come to believe absolute lies and how at least thousands of them can use those lies to justify insurrection -- and even the death of five people.

Now there are plans for more violence as a new president is inaugurated.

We've been through a civil war and many more wars, massive economic upheavals, social chaos, Constitutional crises and this is all coming down to 70 million people who have been taken by a serial grifter. In the game of the con man, there's the grifter who has created the con and there's the mark. Usually the grifter has associates. The the commonality is the mark (the victim) never has a clue he's the mark.

Back to my initial point: the Capitol has never been violated by its own citizens until last week.

It's not heroic. It's not patriotic. It's not American.

It is, however, historic in it's gross stupidity, immorality and utter lack of anything decent.

The arguments for false equivalency about Black Lives Matter and Antifa are such utter bullshit. Come to me with that argument when those groups trash the Capitol, the sacred place of our democracy.

I cry for my country almost every day now.

I truly wish peace unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

 Watching the insidious riot at the Capitol Wednesday, I couldn't help but remember a scene of tremendous decency.

In October 2008 in Minnesota, at a John McCain campaign event, a woman with a microphone said she couldn't trust Barack Obama because he was an Arab.

McCain promptly took the microphone from her and said, “No, ma’am,” he said. “He’s a decent family man [and] citizen that just I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what the campaign’s all about. He’s not [an Arab].”

Sadly on the left, his comment was parsed to death. "Oh, so an Arab can't be a decent family man" fully missing the point of what happened.

Obama was not a bad man.

Too often now, we like to pretend those with whom we disagree aren't just wrong -- they're bad, dangerous, even evil. People we shop with, share sports stands with, even share a church with are now dangers to our democracy.

Of course that's all bullshit.

What we must now do is utterly individual and up to us as citizens to do better.

First, don't commit crime at the behest of your leaders. Use all the reasoning you want, but if you break a law, it's on you. Take person responsibility.

Second, find a way to attempt empathy for those with whom you disagree. They want the same things you do: safety, security, health, shelter, education and happiness.

Third, question you tacit leaders because some people -- I know this might be hard to believe -- they are full of crap.  With the internet, it's easy to check out original source documents so you don't have to buy into someone else's interpretation. Our Founding Fathers had hoped for an informed citizenry. Part of that was considering all sides before coming to a conclusion.

Finally, be kind. Live like your momma raised you. And if your momma was unkind, then break the cycle.

The United States is a better country than what we saw Wednesday, both with the protests and more than 100 legislators feeding into lies about a stolen election.

And calm down. Have you met anyone still pissed about the 1876 election?

I flash peace signs to my friends as a greeting, not because I'm a hippie but because I truly believe in peace as a way of life. And I long ago took to ending my simple little blog with a wishing of peace unto complete strangers, because in fact you are my brothers and sisters.

So peace unto you my brothers and sisters. Let's work on being better.


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

 The state of the nation is not sound.

When a sitting president of the United States incites his followers to break into the Capitol building and wreak havoc -- and that's perfectly fine with many Americans -- our national experiment is in trouble.

What happened today is entirely unprecedented. One of the reasons other nations look to the United States as a beacon of freedom is that for more than 200 years, the country has had a peaceful transfer of power. Even during wars. During economic crises. During a civil war, for God's sake.

When's the last time the Capitol building was breached? In 1814, when British troops commandeered the place during the war of 1812.

What's all the more shocking is the incitement is based on lies -- that the November election was stolen.

As an amateur student of history (amateur because I don't get paid to read history) it's entirely unprecedented.

I had been watching the Electoral College count in my hotel room and realized it was so boring I needed to get oxygen and food and caffeine or I would pass into a coma. This despite a huge family fight in the room next to me. (One dude wanted to take something, another dude was like, "I need it," the first dude was like, "For what?" and the second dude was like, "To wipe my ass." That's when I put the music buds in my ears.)

By the time I arrived at a cheap area restaurant, the incursion into the Capitol had begun. I watched at various places for hours, shocked at each breach of history and decorum. 

I'm still watching the news and expect worse. Worse than violence? Death? Vandalism? Treason? Sedition? Pipe bombs?

Yes.

Clearly anything goes now.

And I don't know what else to write now but I'm working on ideas for solutions that I'll share Thursday.

Peace and more peace unto you my brothers and sisters.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

 You can't look forward to anything with dread.

Anticipate? Yes. But not look forward to? No.

So it was when I opened up job search sites today with hope I've written about: jobs will open up with the New Year.

Hope is wonderful -- until it smacks you upside the head.

Today, I applied for a dozen jobs around the country and here in my adopted city of Bloomington. They ranged from editor jobs to restaurant management to some titles I didn't understand. Change agent? Transformational analyst? 

Cool. If some company is willing to pay me once again, I am willing to answer to just about anything. 

As awesome as it is to have the internet for a job search, I remain troubled that I can apply for a number of jobs without any human contact.

Hope 1; dread 0.

Peace and hope unto you my brothers and sisters.

Monday, January 4, 2021

 Ready, set, go.

I've been in business long enough to know most businesses do not hire in December, even in good years let alone in a struggling economy and a pandemic.

Most hiring managers spend December trying to make their numbers so they can get their kid a G.I. Joe with the Kung Fu grip. (Am I aging myself?)

So I harbored hopes that Monday, Jan. 4 would open up the floodgates of jobs.

That is until I started looking today. Sure, there were plenty of jobs for which I don't qualify: nursing, trucking, high-end mechanic -- and generally anything that calls for sensitivity.

In reality, it's going to take days, weeks, even months before the market opens up a little more. And I'll take anything inside journalism or out because I miss having something to do each day.

It's the turn of the new year and I feel a little better because of that.

Keep reading.

Peace and hope unto all of you my brothers and sisters.