Little Punks All Grown Up

Thirty years ago, a friend said to me, “Every time I meet a German male of a certain age, I wonder what role he played in the Nazi Party.” It kind of made my blood run cold, if I’m honest. But now that generation has, for the most part, died off.

But when you think about it (even though these things are on a different scale entirely), there are little criminals in every generation. Sometimes I look at the adults I know and I remember that all of us have gone through the stupid adolescent stage, and that means, purely from a statistical standpoint, that a certain percentage used to be dumb-a$$ little punks.

That CEO may have delighted in keying cars when he was 13. Your postman may have thought it was funny to make sexually harassing anonymous phone calls. Your spouse might have been into shoplifting.

Bullies grow up, too. Some of them outgrow that tendency. Others, unfortunately, become your supervisor. I shudder to think what antics Donald Trump got up to when he was 12. It wouldn’t surprise me if he pulled the wings off flies.

And while certain behaviors should be written off as the foibles of youth, and people really can mature and change, a lot of criminal behavior is an innate part of one’s psychological makeup, and the only reason that person is still out amongst us is that he or she just never got caught. You can never be completely sure of the content of someone else’s character.

Something to think about.


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Score One for Nature!

I’m not a violent person. I don’t even believe in the death penalty. But when I stumbled across this article about three rhino poachers getting killed by a pride of lions, I have to say that I was kind of pleased by the justice that Mother Nature meted out.

Even if it were true (and it’s most definitely not) that rhino horns held medicinal properties, that doesn’t give you the right to kill them. And if you are stupid enough to break into a game PRESERVE full of wild animals to commit this crime, you certainly can’t blame the lions for viewing you as a delicious midnight snack. You were about to do what you do, so they did what they do. Fair’s fair.

You were committing a crime. You were in a place where you had no right to be. Nature stepped up, leaving nothing but your shoes and your gloves and one skull behind, along with the nefarious weapons you planned to use to commit your atrocity.

Sometimes justice balances the scale in unexpected ways. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If I didn’t believe so firmly in karma, I’d probably implode under the sheer weight of my righteous indignation. Fortunately, a little of that weight was lifted this time around.


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Do You Even HEAR Yourself?

It happened again the other day. I was listening to NPR on my commute to work, and I heard something that almost made me swerve off the road. When am I ever going to learn?

I can’t even tell you what the story was about, such was my level of outrage afterward. All I know is it was some official or other asking people to come forward if they had any information about some crime or other. Here’s what got me: The official said, “You never know. Maybe he heard something at the bar, or maybe she heard some pillow talk…”

Perhaps I’m a little too raw in this, the #MeToo era. Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive. Maybe most people didn’t hear that comment the way I did. But I want to know why SHE has to hear something through pillow talk, and HE gets to go to the bar.

Pillow talk? Seriously? Yes, we women are wily. We’re so sexually liberated that we lure people into our beds and get them to confess to all manner of shenanigans. Because when you put women and pillows together, my, my… nothing good can come from that.

Whereas men can only talk to each other when they’re wasted. Actually, both genders should be insulted by this bozo. The assumptions he makes about the way we all live our lives… it’s condescending. It’s disgusting.

He probably calls women “gals” too. Or “little ladies”. And he probably doesn’t even realize what he’s doing.

But you know what really, really gets my knickers in a twist? It’s that a huge number of the people reading this are probably saying, “What’s the big deal?”

The big deal is that it’s 20 freakin’ 18, and you still can’t see why stupid freakin’ micro-aggressions like this are a big deal. That’s what the big deal is.

End of rant.

We haven’t moved very far from 1959.

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A Solution to Gerrymandering

Gerrymandering, or the deliberate manipulation of the shape of voter districts to ensure a particular political outcome, is one of the most common forms of corruption in the United States. This crime is perpetrated against the American people by both Republicans and Democrats. We all know it. It has to stop.

Here’s why it hasn’t. In every state in the union, either the Democrats or the Republicans are in power. And the party in power just loves Gerrymandering, because it’s a way for them to remain in power. The citizens of this country need to take that power back.

The people in the great state of North Carolina have been given a wake-up call. Their gerrymandered districts were deemed unconstitutional by a lower court. Unfortunately, it just got overturned by the supreme court. (Bias, anyone?) They need to make changes.

But they are hardly the only state with insanely shaped voting districts. Check out this district in Florida. It even stretches a tentacle right down the center of the St. Johns River, without touching dry land for miles, in order to exclude some people and include others. It helped an extremely corrupt Corrine Brown remain in the US House of Representatives from 1993 to 2017. She is now a convicted felon. Finally.


Here’s what has to happen: We need to create a law that requires all districts to be in the shape of squares or rectangles. They should be required to have only four 90 degree angles, with one exception: Allowances should be made for the uneven borders between states.

This would still allow for some manipulation. I suspect we’d see radical differences in square sizes, and some strangely long and skinny rectangles. But even so, the power to predict outcomes will be much more limited.

The thing is, until all the people, on both sides of the political spectrum, get together and agree on this one issue, there will be no justice for any of us. We need an organization to take this on as a pet project, and inform the people that they are being manipulated. It’s time to take back control so that our politicians represent the will of the people.

Let’s hear it for 90 degree angles!


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Stupid, Stupid Boy

So, it’s fairly certain that one of the biggest fires in Oregon at the moment was started by a 15-year-old boy playfully throwing a smoke bomb into a ravine while hiking in the woods. To hell with burn bans. The world is one big video game! Woo hoo! If we destroy everything, we just hit the reset button, right?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The vast majority of the crime and destruction in this world is perpetrated by boys between the ages of 15 and 24, regardless of race or religion. It’s like they take out their brains and set them on a dusty shelf in the back of their closets for a decade.

I know that’s a sweeping generalization. I’m sure there are plenty of good kids wandering around. But from a statistical standpoint, I wouldn’t bet the farm on any of them. When it comes to violence, theft, graffiti, traffic accidents, bar fights, rape, DUI, and general stupidity, the numbers bear me out.

I hope there are consequences for this kid. I hope he has to help fight this fire. I hope he has to walk through the devastated landscape afterwards and see what he’s done. Somehow, someone has to get through to him.

He won’t be in the stupid stage forever. How will he feel in his 30’s about what he did? This may sound strange, but I hope he regrets it quite a lot. Because that will show that he has developed some sort of a moral compass, as painful as it will be for him. If, on the other hand, he laughs it off, is allowed to get over it, or becomes angry and bitter and stays stuck in his stupidity, then heaven help us all.


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Fascism: The Warning Signs

Very often, I hear people confuse Communism and Socialism and Fascism. They use the terms interchangeably, which makes me realize they really haven’t a clue as to each system’s basic tenets. They have just been taught that they mean “bad” and feel that’s all they need to know. I find this very disheartening, and potentially dangerous. Knowledge is power.

At this moment in history, I am particularly concerned about Fascism. What follows is a basic primer, Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism, by Dr. Lawrence Britt. I will leave it to you to decide if these characteristics seem eerily familiar. Heaven help us all.


Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each: 

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are wide spread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

From Liberty Forum


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Peace and Quiet

As I write this, a construction crew is tearing up the pavement on my bridge. It’s long overdue, and I’m really looking forward to not having potholes in my parking space anymore, but still, they are making an ungodly racket. I’ve actually had to resort to wearing earplugs, which is making it quite a challenge to hear boats when they request a bridge opening.

Peace is closely linked to quiet for a very good reason. I’m finding it really hard to concentrate due to this hullabaloo, and even harder to write. I’ve noticed I’m shaking my leg again, just like I did throughout my teen years. That’s evidence of an unsettled spirit.

If you don’t have quiet, you can’t think clearly. If you can’t think clearly, you make poor decisions. Poor decisions rarely lead to peaceful outcomes. At least that’s been my experience. If you ever want to see me contemplate violence, just let a neighborhood car alarm go off at 3 a.m., and let it continue to blare until the battery runs out. That’s pitchfork and torch time, as far as I’m concerned.

I always used to think that big cities were more crime-ridden than small towns because of the concentrated population. Now I’m beginning to wonder if it has more to do with the fact that in the country you can actually hear yourself think. Thinking people are less apt to break laws.

You’ll never see anyone meditating on a construction site. It’s not an ideal place to practice Tai Chi, either. Maybe if I calmly repeat, “Bye-bye, potholes,” as if it’s a mantra, while taking deep cleansing breaths, I’ll exit this experience with my sanity intact.


The Great Plate Debate

My coworker recently had his front license plate stolen off his car, which made me run out to my car and make sure mine was still there, because I never look. That got me thinking. And when I start thinking, it generally turns into a blog post. Sorry. That means there’s nowhere to hide.

Having lived my entire auto-owning life in Florida until recently, I’m used to having only one license plate—the one on the back. It was quite the culture shock, moving across the country and having to put a plate on the front of the car as well.

Honestly, front plates have never made much sense to me. I mean, if someone is committing a crime, aren’t they generally driving away from you? If the criminal is coming at you, chances are you’re too busy getting out of the way to take note of his plate number. (Unless it’s imprinted backward on your forehead, and at that point you would have other things to worry about.) You’d also think that while having two plates would give young boys twice as much to hang on their bedroom walls, it would also be twice as expensive for the states in question.

So I did a lazy Google search, and learned quite a bit. According to, this country only has 19 one-plate states, so there I was, in the minority all that time without realizing it. Go figure.

And it seems that front plates actually save states money, because they get a lot of revenue from catching folks on camera who are running red lights. They also lose a lot less on automated tolls, because if the sun glare makes the plate hard to read on the back, there’s always the front. The same with people who try to sneak out of parking garages. I guess I never thought of these petty criminals because it would never occur to me to do these things myself.

The main gripe the general public seems to have with front plates is that they make their front bumpers look all ugly. I suppose that aesthetics would be a concern for those who spend as much on their vehicle as I spent on my first house, but for me, that has never really been much of an issue. I will never look at a car as a significant investment. It’s just the thing that gets me from point A to point B.

So, just consider me to be a public service. I sit here and  think and write about unimportant stuff so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.


News Flash: I Don’t Care Where You Pee

When I lived in Florida, I used to dream about moving to the mountains of North Carolina. To me, that was paradise. I had convinced myself that I would find my ultimate happiness there. I used to vacation there every chance I got.

The reason I was so anxious to get out of Florida, believe it or not, had nothing to do with the oppressive heat or the gigantic cockroaches (although I don’t recommend them). It had everything to do with the conservative culture and the, frankly, bat shit crazy politics. Florida seems to have more stupidity per capita of politicians than any other state with the possible exception of Kansas or Texas. North Carolina, I thought, would be a refreshing change. Until now.

Thank God that relocation never came to fruition. When I hear what’s currently going on in North Carolina, I have to cringe. No matter what your opinion is about transgender Americans, you have to see how stupid this bathroom legislation is. Oh, where to begin.

First of all, is that state battling against some secret underground organization that has been suppressing the news and statistics about public bathroom violence? Because, to be honest, I feel more uncomfortable in the average parking garage than I do in most bathrooms. (Thanks, Hollywood.) And how would they keep this conspiracy quiet? I mean, nowadays if a snake comes up out of a toilet, it’s all over Facebook before nightfall.

My whole life, I’ve never had a dangerous bathroom encounter, unless you count bullies in junior high school. I’m sure violence does occur occasionally, but that can be said of any public place. If a bathroom seems sketchy to me, I avoid it. Simple. For example, I wouldn’t go to a New York City Subway bathroom at 1 a.m. That’s just common freakin’ sense.

Second, has NC also discovered some statistic that shows transgender people to be more violent than the rest of the population? If so, I’d like to see it. Even a basic Google search of “Transgender” and “Rape” seems to only come up with hits in which the Transgender person is the victim, not the perpetrator. They’re not vampires, people. They weren’t put on this earth to attack you.

If the State of North Carolina genuinely believes that its bathrooms are dangerous places, then they need to employ more security guards and beef up their police force. (And not so they can stand outside of every public crapper asking people to produce their birth certificates.)

If they truly want to make the world safe, and they are under the stupid belief that this particular group of people are their most likely criminals, shouldn’t they be introducing legislation to keep transgender people out of back alleys, away from bridge underpasses and other high crime areas? Of course they’d think that. If they really believed any of these things. But keeping people safe isn’t their concern at all.

Their agenda, plain and simple, is to open the door to discrimination against a group of Americans whose lives they don’t approve of. (They’re basically throwing a tantrum because everyone can get married now.) First it will be bathrooms. Then schools, jobs, and rentals. Pretty soon they won’t be allowed to own bicycles and will have to wear a pink and blue star on their sleeves… This is the kind of thing that happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany.

You’re probably thinking that’s a little extreme. Don’t think they’re that dedicated to their cause in this day and age? Think again. They’re willing to do without billions (with a b) of dollars in federal funding to prove their insane point. That’s pretty freakin’ scary if you ask me.

Here’s an idea. When you go into a public bathroom, go into your stall, close your door, lock it, do your business, wash your hands (please!) and leave. Stop trying to be the pee pee police. If you’re in there all focused on the authenticity of everyone else’s genitalia, then you are a pervert.

Shame on you, North Carolina.






Crime Reenactments

This is just me allowing my mind to ramble again, but how desperate would you have to be, as an actor, to sign on to one of those true crime shows and reenact some sick, twisted and heinous crime for everyone’s viewing pleasure? I mean, let’s face it, a lot of viewers aren’t that smart. Even though it should be quite obvious that you aren’t the actual criminal, picture this: A few days after the show airs, you’re in the convenience store down the street from where you live and the cashier looks at you and shouts, “You’re the guy who abducted that little girl! Somebody call 911!” And the next thing you know, you’re tackled face first into the potato chip display. I mean, honestly, is fame worth that much to you?

I also wonder about people who stand in criminal lineups. Do those guys get paid, or are they forced to do it? How terrifying would it be to risk being falsely accused of murder, for example? That to me is cruel and unusual punishment. Before you do something that crazy, you better make sure you have an air tight alibi and a snow white criminal record. What if someone says, “No, he’s not the guy who killed my wife, but he looks a lot like the guy who stole my car a few months ago.”

I don’t care how hungry you are or how much attention you crave, there are just some things in life that aren’t worth doing.


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