Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Year in Review

     We have now reached the final day of 2017? is everyone still in one piece? If so, it is a wonder. There has never been another year in my memory which was plagued so brutally by the events of the previous. I speak mostly of the presidential election in which Donald Trump surprisingly upset Hillary Clinton. It was a closely contested election, and the division spilled into 2017 with no apparent slowdown heading into 2018. Oh, joy!
    A Clinton victory was supposed to cap off a 2016 Year of the Woman that never materialized. So in 2017, women tried a different tactic by gathering in large numbers wearing vagina costumes demanding dignity. No wonder self-identifying as another gender became so popular among Social Justice Warriors. I am certain it can be difficult as a woman to associate with such dinginess. Not that the tactic of dressing like a giant vagina to earn respect worked. As evidenced by the large number of sexual harassment claims from male celebrities, journalists, and politicians, maybe they got the wrong idea. There will not be any slowdown in the feminist movement, farce though it may be nowadays, in the coming year.
     Sex certainly played a huge role in politics this year. Among it all, it is easy to forget Anthony Wiener was sentenced for sending underwear pics to an underage girl. In what other year would such a thing be considered tame in comparison? I particularly enjoyed Democrats supporting Al Franken when he was first accused of sexual harassment, then called for him to resign during the brief period when it looked like accused pedophile Roy Moore might win Jeff Sessions' old seat, and to regret calling for Franken to resign after Moore lost. What a bunch of hypocrites. But just watch how many candidates, especially Republicans, are going to face sex scandal claims not that one sunk a GOP candidate in deep red Alabama.
    I do not even want to touch race relations. Remember when Barack Obama was supposed to bring racial healing? The idealistic hope originated about a decade ago. Racial reconciliation never quite materialized. Instead, we have gotten riots, a literal war with/on police, clashes over Confederate monuments, and national anthem protests that have caused the NFL's fan base to collapse. My personal favorite, though not exclusively racial in nature, is Antifa bludgeoning anyone who dares have a different opinion with them on anything.
     All of the above is the depths to which American political discourse has plunged. It is nearly impossible to respect the quest for social justice these days. It has gone from a valid civil rights movement to arguing over fluid gender, which bathroom to use, and how it is moral to tell white people to shut up while the self-proclaimed oppressed air the unending list of grievances. There is no end in sight for this, either.
     I am not going to comment at all on Trump. I am tired of hearing about him. You are tired of hearing about him. We will all continue to hear about him on a daily basis in 2018. Why add to the cacophony?
     It was a lousy year for rock and roll. It has been nothing but lousy years since 1989 or so. It was a lousy year for country, too. Why are country artists starting to use Autotune now? Such a thing does not even fit within the genre. People named Blake Shelton the sexiest man alive. It is rare Shelton is the sexiest man in the room at any given point, much less sexiest man alive. Blake Lively ought to be named sexiest man alive before Shelton.
     How was 2017 on a personal level? No family members made death threats, so that is one improvement over 2016. Any year you stay above ground is a good one, no? The last few introduced a tougher struggle to maintain the weight I have gained since escaping Team Chavis. I am still in good enough health to eat pretty much anything I want that does not inflame my diverticulitis, but I am getting sick of eating constantly while downing multiple Ensure a day for good measure just to see my metabolism burn it all up. By all rights, I ought to be a 300 lb diabetic, but I can only dream of hitting 100 lbs without developing a twenty pound tumor to put me over the top. So the struggle continues.
     Speaking of the struggle continuing, it will for everyone. I do not predict 2018 will get any easier than 2017. Maybe I am being pessimistic. But if I am not, break out the crayons and the therapy dogs. It is going to be a bumpy year ahead. I will be right back here with you on the flip side.  

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Knighty Knight, Ringo

     The Queen has selected the latest Honorees for knighthood. Ringo Starr, Barry Gibb, Nick Clegg, and Darcey Bussell. Starr was a member of the Beatles who will be knighted for service to charity and music. Gibb was a founding member of the Bee Gees who will be knighted for his contributions to music and charity. Clegg was the former leader of the Liberal Democrats and once served as Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Bussell is a retired ballerina and judge on a televised dance competition. She will be honored for her contributions to dance, literature (childcare’s books), and charity work.
     Notice the alliteration with the last two letters in the honorees' names? Starr, Gibb, Clegg, and Bussell. I am curious if that is mere happenstance or planned. If the latter, where is Simon Pegg? He has contributed much to science fiction. I imagine he has done charity work, too. We need a Sir Simon Pegg! Now would have been the perfect opportunity.
   I do not have much to say about the merits of knighting these honorees. I looked Bussell up as I had never heard of her. Do not judge. You had never heard of her, either. Clegg most likely still has his detractors since he was still in office until relatively recently. Gibb is probably overdue. The Bee Gees are remembered as a disco band, but they were far more than that before and after Saturday Night Fever. Starr is long overdue as well.
     Starr appears to have generated the most negative responses on social media with his impending knighthood. Many are tongue in cheek, mind you. A lot of jokes about being the least talented Beatle, an awful songwriter, and playing second fiddle to a anthropomorphic train. Others run darker, such as accusations of serial spousal abuse. There is also the fact Starr publicly supports Brexit. My personal favorite is the hope he was notified of his knighthood by phone since he might have mistaken the notice for a phone letter and threw it away. He comes across as a jerk by telling his fans to no longer send him fan mail.  

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Selfie

     Here is my usual holiday selfie for Christmas. The hair is parted in the middle and brushed back as well as the cowlicks will allow. It is time for a haircut, I know. I will get around to it eventually.
     Christmas dinner took a turn for the Southern this year. Rather than the usual ham and turkey, I enjoyed fried chicken with an assortment of veggies, cornbread, and pumpkin pie for desert. No complaints about any of it though. I enjoyed it and the leftovers for supper.
     While it was not particularly cold outside, it was overcast. The weather looked dreary from inside the warm, cozy Hermit Cave, but I did not let it dampen my Christmas spirit. I hope everyone else enjoyed a good holiday, too.   

Merry Christmas!

     Do not wind up like this elf!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

On Christmas Eve

     When I was younger, Christmas Eve was the day family gathered at my house for a big dinner. Everyone brought the presents they gotten for each other. We would enjoy one big evening opening them all. Santa Clause would come the next morning and then everyone would go to my grandparents for another big dinner. There was a considerable difference in how well my mother cooked—great—and my grandmother—the strawberries on the shortcake were still frozen—but tradition was tradition.
     It never occurred to me not to celebrate Christmas that way in my adult life. By that I mean opening presents Christmas Eve to allow Christmas Day not to be so much about materialism. As it turned out, my adult life has been far more beyond my control than I anticipated. So I have sort of just gone with it. It is all about Christmas Day. Probably the way it is supposed to be.
     I hope everyone else's plans work out for the best. At the very least, I hope nothing like the scene depicted above happens.    

"You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"--Darius Rucker

     Leave it to a fellow Gamecock to perform a perfect rendition of

"You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Friend Came to Visit

     Courtney came for a Christmas visit last night. As you can see, she is about ready to have her first baby. It is a girl she and her husband will name Journey. Journey should arrive shortly before the new year. I am about as excited as they are!
     I have not gotten a haircut yet. I could stand to gain a few pounds, too. I have not put much effort into the former, but I am working on the latter.   

Friday, December 22, 2017

"Little Drummer Boy"--Faith Hill

     One of the most beautiful Christmas carols performed by one of the

most beautiful country singers.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The United Nations General Assembly Condemns United States' Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capitol of Israel

     Check out the expression on Amb. Nikki Haley's face right before she addressed the United Nations General Assembly on its overwhelming passage of a non-binding resolution condemning the United States' recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Her status shot up immensely among conservatives for the way she stood up for American sovereignty. It is the United States' right to choose its own foreign policy.
     The General Assembly voted 128 in favor of the resolution with 9 against and 35 abstaining. After posting the results on Twitter, I noted—to the bewilderment of some—much of the world will be facing divine retribution for their vote. I stand by the claim. God made a promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 to bless those who blessed His people and curse those who cursed His people. The resolution passed today may be non-binding in a political sense, but it is a declaration of blessing or curse on God's chosen people.
     I am curious what those loony conspiracy theorists who believe Jews secretly run the world think when something like this overwhelming international vote against israel occurs?  A friend suggested conspiracy theorists will likely claim the vote is a calculated move so Jews can appear victimized.  I agree that sounds like the sort of rationalization the kooks would buy into.
     I support the recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel. I also agree in the United States' right to make the recognition actual policy. Say what you will about Donald Trump, he keeps his word. Do not forget the number of presidents who have unofficially declared Jerusalem the capitol of Israel, but never sealed the deal.   

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Foo Fighters' Christmas Medley

     The Foo Fighters are one of the few remaining acts out there qualifying as rockers. I was excited to see them perform on Saturday Night Live. Anticipating a musical act on the show does not happy too often. I guess I am not longer cool since every act out there feels too teenie bopper for my tastes. The Foo Fighters did not disappoint. The best performance is embedded above. It is a Christmas medley punctuated by a rendition of “Linus & Lucy” from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Old is New Again

      None of the titles given to the blog have suited me for long, so it is going back to the old stand by, Eye of Polyphemus. It was the name of my previous blog for nine steady years. Sticking with a title that long is quite an accomplishment for one as restless creatively as I tend to be. There must be something to the title that resonates.
     You may recall I named my previous blog Eye of Polyphemus in late summer 2004 after the first round of devastating health issues took the sight from my right eye. I was not quite sure what to do with myself back then, but at least I saw the bitter humor in associating with the misanthropic cyclops from Homer's The Odyssey. As mentioned, the title lasted until I went into exile in 2013. When I reemerged, it seemed as though it was time for a change. But apparently, it was not. Eye of Polyphemus still suits me.
     So here we go again. Just like old times. Except these are not like old times. The blogosphere has certainly changed since I was last active in it. The big dogs now work for major news outlets while the citizen journalists moved on to Facebook and Twitter. The place feels like a fresh start. But purely fresh starts are a myth. All things come with baggage. With that in mind, we shall see what comes up.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Decorations Are Up

     The Christmas season officially begins the day after my birthday. It is convenient since there are exactly two weeks between the two. Two weeks is about as long as I can handle the disruption of decorations before the need for normalcy sets in. Since I just finished putting out the decorations, the clock is ticking.
      The stocking is hung out ready for Santa to bring my usual lump of coal. My usual Charlie Brown Christmas tree is up, too. I will not post a photo of the little fellow this year. It is the same one I have put out for since 2013. if you really want to see it, there are photos in previous December posts. Check the archive, if you so desire.
    I hope everyone enjoys a merry Christmas or whatever holiday(s) you celebrate at this time of year.   

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Pirate Looks at 41

     Back on my 33rd birthday in 2010, I started the tradition of marking the day with a blog post entitled 'A Pirate Looks at _____” and the Jimmy Buffet duet with Martina McBride “Trip around the Sun.” It was supposed to be a long running joke until I reached forty and could title the appropriate post with the correct song title--”A Pirate Looks at Forty.”
     The theme ran a lifetime ago on a defunct blog. When I turned forty last year, I posted Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years."  Anyone following me long enough knows I will change my mind on a dime creatively, so it should not come as much surprise. But I rationalized last birthday “Still Crazy After All These Years” felt more appropriate. I am not certain now why I thought so.
     For my 41st, I am back to the belief Buffet and McBride best sum up my thoughts on growing older while reflecting on the time gone by. So I am returning to “Trip Around the Sun” after a brief interlude in 2016.  

Sunday, December 10, 2017

I Spent a Lovely Day in the Emergency Room

     The news comes two days late, but for good reason. I was completely wiped out yesterday after both a long day and night previously. My Friday may have been spent mostly in the emergency room, but the fun did not end there. I brought it back home with me, too.
     I woke up Friday morning with abdominal pain and nausea. It was clearly not one of those rare, but dire “Oh, geez...this feels like a rupture” pains like twice before. Nevertheless, it was unpleasant and definitely needed to be handled by the professional. I already assumed the problem—ye olde colon, often barely chugging along, needs a little encouragement—but I must go through all the usual steps, anyway.
     The first step involved an IV. As usual, it took three tries to get one started. There is an abundance of fat veins in both arms, but they like to roll and occasionally blow just to make things interesting. For those keeping score, the first two veins blew. I am currently typing with and arm as green as Kermit the Frog, but much puffier. The third stab at it was the charm. As the morphine flowed, I really did not care about much else. That is some good stuff. Apparently, it makes an even better cocktail with nausea medication.
     I did not even mind drinking the contrast for a CT scam. Fortunately, it was the lemonade version rather than the thick, orange stuff that has forever ruined orange sherbet for me. The CT scan showed what everyone already assumed. I had a bowel obstruction again. The last time one occurred was back in June. Before that my last was during the summer of 2013. Things were looking up there for a while. Not so much now, especially since the latest bugger was tougher to clear out than the one from June.
     What is worse, I needed to use magnesium citrate to get the job done. It was worrisome. This is the stuff you use the night before a colonoscopy with 300 gallons of water because it essentially drains every ounce of water out your digestive system and floods your colon with it. Add in a colostomy, and you have hours of fun ahead. As a bonus, magnesium citrate tastes so awful, it usually makes me nauseous. But I was ahead of the game after hours of IV fluids and nausea medication, so how bad could it be?
     Most of the night I spent alternating between intended results and barfing. By the wee hours of the morning, neither one had stopped. I was beginning to wonder if I would wind up in the ER again in worse shape than before. But both issues faded away. After sleeping through most of Saturday, I seem to have bounced back with soft food and water. About as good an ending for which I could ask.
     I can guarantee I have dropped a few pounds because of this mess. Ten pounds would not surprise me. I have not mustered up the courage to stand on the scale and see for certain. Maybe after I have eaten steadily for a few days. My healthy held steady for several years now up until this patch of rough road. Hopefully, 2017 is just taking its last chance to get in some shots at me. Maybe the year needs to fill a quota or something. Whatever the case, this weekend was hopefully not a sign of things to come.     

Sunday, December 3, 2017

I Am Enjoying a Batch of Double Fudge Brownies

     My birthday is not for another week plus a few hours, but I was surprised with a batch of double fudge brownies today. Some nice folks are working hard to fatten me up. The effort is much appreciated. Especially when the effort is this tasty.
     Just to be clear, I snapped this photo quickly with the webcam built in to my laptop. It is completely unedited, so the color, contrast, and just about every other aspect is way off. In order to properly edit the photo, I would need to stop eating a double fudge brownies. Why in the world would I do such a thing? I obviously made the right choice, all things considered.
     I offer up the explanation because some of my more honest critics on social media pointed out various issues. Most notably, the photo looks like it was taken in 1994 by a Fisher Price camera. I would say ouch, but I am eating double fudge brownies while they are not. I take a great deal of solace in that.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Periodic Reminder

     One may insist the spirit of this post runs contrary to the general advice to “let dead leaves fall,” but I did vow months ago to make a periodic reminder of the status of my personal belongings. While it is important to let go of the little things, it is also important to keep your word. I weighed the two concepts and decided keeping a vow is more important under the circumstances. What good is a person who fails to keep his promises?
      You may recall when I intervened in the Darlington County sheriff's race I had been abandoned to a nursing home by Team Chavis while they kept all of my personal belongings, surrogate for the campaign said all of my belongings were actually boxed up. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows this claim is false. No reason exist to keep any of my stuff if Team Chavis has no intention of ever contacting me again. But I called their bluff and will continue to do so. I have friends in Hartsville who are willing to retrieve my stuff. All they need is the go ahead fro Team Chavis. It is a go ahead that will, of course, never come.
     This is the character of your new sheriff, Darlington. He does not care about doing the right thing. He only cares about the sense of self-worth he derives from wearing a uniform. I will continue to serve as a source of truth for this matter.