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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.


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

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?


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.