Friday, June 12th, 2015

Update: My surgeon called at 3 PM, there’s a complication that needs addressed before he’ll go forward. Surgery has been rescheduled to June 24th.

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take,     Amen. — Source: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep – Wikipedia

It’s funny how the simplest, perhaps longest and best remembered prayers can bring us the most comfort. I’ve recited the one above while lying in bed trying to assess what was going on in my chest more than once over the last several weeks. As I began trying to sort out why my wellness and sense of well being had tanked so quickly and dramatically this past year, or so, the refrain from doctors was uncomfortably similar and confounding: if you get short of breath, stop what you’re doing and if you have any chest pain at all, call 911 immediately.

My natural, yet mostly unvoiced response was also the same … Did they teach you that shit in medical school?


Saturday, April 7th, 2012

I didn't go looking for this item further down below from 2008. I had forgotten I'd done it, much like many things over the years. It popped up while researching something else on blogs. It was fun reading for me for several reasons, including the latest MSNBC/NBC story of mine mentioned in John Sexton's item - tipped to me via the Les Jones Blog in a Twitter DM and linked in my initial post. It was also interesting thinking back, as I'm now working as a blogger for Breitbart.

However, the NewsBusters story is actually based on, and links back to, a story published here at two days earlier. In that story, author Dan Riehl highlighted the edit to the Zimmerman 911 tape as it appeared in print at MSNBC.

I had a blog on Blogger, or BlogSpot called "itsjustdan" for a very short time, gone now, before moving here to Typepad. I started blogging over the 2004 Bush re-election effort and it seems my first post here at this site was on September 20, 2004 at 12:43 AM. It was on John Edwards: Senator Ass Pimple Speaks Out. Man, I haven't changed a bit! lol But tell me I wasn't right about him? Anyway, it seems I've been doing this a bit over 7.5 years.

Also of note, in typical low-class democrat fashion, they'll be exploiting more soldiers families in the coming days. Doesn't that make you feel proud. This group will stop at nothing to get elected. On the one hand they undermine the war efforts everyday in the press – next they turn around and exploit the soldiers and their families.

Also as usual, they talk about fearmongering, then turn around and do the same, all while playing the race card, of course. These guys are desperate, as well as disgusting.

Discovering blogs via a Fox News report mention of them, I seem to recall reading Ed Morrisey at his old Captain's Quarters blog one day, thinking, I want to do this. I had no idea where it would lead and some days, I still don't know. That may be one of the things I love about it. It is what you make of it everyday when you get up and start blogging. Plus, you almost aways learn something.

This below appears to have been posted elsewhere in April of 2010. You may find my list of top ten blogs at the time intersting – see previous link. Yes, I did help launch the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation blog as a consultant, among others, racist that I am, according to the left. It was the foundation to raise money for building it at the time, not the memorial, itself, if it matters. The crime blogging period was actually fascinating and where I learned many of the research techniques I've used in my political blogging, ever since.

Dan Riehl studied journalism in college, edited a college paper and went on to a 20 year business career. He began political blogging in early 2004 as a hobbyist. In May 2005 he posted on the Natalee Holloway story at the Blogger News Network. His own blog became one of the highest trafficked due to ongoing coverage, also continuing to post political content. Many crime watchers learned of blogs and political blogs from that. In 2005, an email from Good Morning America requested blog updates at a time when blogs were barely beginning to break the Big Media wall. His readers and commenters ranged from Aruba, to Alabama and Holland, enabling him to regularly break exclusive news from sources close to the story. Before he returned to purely political blogging he had co-operated regularly behind the scenes or on air with MSNBC, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Fox News, People, CNN, ABC and others as a respected reporter with a blog, sharing sources, tips and news as a peer of sorts. That experience shaped his vision of a blog that could co-operate with big media and do real news, often with help from readers and reliable sources he developed on his own.

In 2007 he left business and moved to Washington, D.C. to blog full-time at Riehl World View. Recent posts have resulted in Harvard's Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and other Harvard employees having to amend tax returns due to the misappropriation of charity funds and he has exposed some troubling information behind a blogger in Alaska constantly attacking 2008 Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin. That reporting is ongoing. He consults behind the scenes with political campaigns and also helped launch the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation blog and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers blog through his consulting work.

This is his list of top blogs every conservative should read. Of the list he notes: God Bless America! But as a prospective voter, you're on our own. So, please give it some thought and be sure to read some of the better conservative blogs for their point of view, even if it might not be your own … yet!

Wow! What a long strange trip it's been, … and still going, it seems.

Monday, December 5th, 2005

So, What Was I Thinking?

Easy_1 Well, after three years of a full-time day job and full-time college classes on nights and weekends, the funerals of both my parents, one after a long and incredibly stressful dying process – I was thinking nothing in life was easy. And it was about damn time that something was.

That’s what I was thinking when a lumbering puppy mix between a lab and a whatever jumped over the fence started playing a game of over-size pawed footsie with me through her 4 by 6 foot enclosure at the we put down unwanted puppies county site they called the dog pound. And just as easy as she settled down on my lap for a nap on the ride home, that’s what I named her – Easy. And she was, mostly.

Of course, umpteen years later it’s easy to forget the three linoleum floors, two doors and a table top a young, gnawing half-lab caused me – but what the hell. They weren’t anymore troublesome than the holes she had dug in a distant part of my yard that a building inspector made me fill in before I could close when I sold that property. At least no one died.

Not long after getting her, that was my fear while walking her one day in a park around a new lake which had sprung up from the filling in of an old creek bed and a small valley. The rules required I keep her on a run and she had one – a chain, about thirty feet of it.

I was tossing out a stick and watching her swim and fetch it back when that damned must-be-dumb dog decided to grab onto the tip-top of an old birch tree that hadn’t had time to decay and fall to the bottom. She tried and twisted the top of that small tree and it pulled her down deeper – damned if she was going to let go without bringing it back to me. I was halfway to jumping in after her when she finally relented long before the birch ever would. She made it back to shore snorting water out of her black shiny nose. Scared the hell out of me that day, yes, she did.

Just like it scared hell out of me thirteen and some odd – fetch, catch it, and stop begging at the kitchen table – years later when the vet said she had to talk to me about the X-rays in the other room – the room with the shiny black image of a thigh bone that wasn’t where it belonged. It wasn’t even what it was supposed to be anymore, so deformed – freakish and malevolent, glowering from a light board on the wall.

My eyes rolled malignantly over each bump, break and perturbation of what should have been a sturdy bone that only looked like so much sadness to me now I could hardly stand to look. But I had to. No, I wasn’t going to see some magical answer in the X-ray the vet had missed. I just saw so much magic so quickly disappearing, eaten up from the inside, as it were, eating at the inside of me, too, now. Frozen, I couldn’t look away.

And so it was we came to be older, limping along together at another small lake in another small town all those years later and that damned dog Easy still loved the water every bit as much as she did when she nearly drowned in it so many good God damned years ago.

Why she stepped out into that mucky mess I’ll never know, but she did – finding herself unable to move, sunk down deep as she was, until all I could do was step in after her. Calf-deep in mud and knee deep in water I reached down and scooped her soggy ass up and cradled her until we both fell back on the bank – me half laughing, half crying and her just licking my face like she had done so many times, so many days over so many long years together. I cradled her there on the bank, in the sun light, warmed by so many beautiful memories.

Actually, I never stopped cradling her. I cradled her in the back seat of the car as her overly-long Labrador tongue lapped at the top of an open window unaware it was her final ride in a car, which she always enjoyed right to the end.

I cradled her as I lifted her up on the gurney and I cradled her even more and buried my face in her coat while the vet did her number. I cradled her as I felt everything that was so good and so God damned Easy all those years slip away into a relaxed mass of flesh I couldn’t comprehend but could only love as it became increasingly weighty in my shaking arms.

I can’t recall the things I said to her, though I know I said much. Whatever it was is buried somewhere deep down in my heart – where she is – where it and she will always be – so Easy, so beloved, so pure.

What was I thinking? That something in life could be Easy, I suppose. But I know better now. Don’t let people fool you, Me_and_eznothing in life is easy – and certainly nothing worthwhile. But some things are so beautiful and all but necessary you have to learn to accept the dreadful uneasiness they may inevitably bring one day. And such is life.

And such is the death of things we love, perhaps. It’s what it must be, I guess. But it sure as hell isn’t always Easy, either.

Saturday, February 5th, 2005

I haven’t felt, for lack of a better term, in synch with this blogging deal for a few days. I had a strange or different experience the other night. And since then I have felt bottled up somehow as far as communicating. That’s likely why I have been playing with pictures so much and not words. I knew I would write it out, for better or worse. I’m not going to keep tweaking it. It’s been inside too long as it is and I need to just get rid of it, in some sense. So, here it is. And not to belittle it by any means, but I hope I can move on and get back to writing whatever it is I may feel like writing without feeling like there’s this boulder in the middle of my road holding back a lot of thoughts and feelings.

Most of what I post is posted with readers in mind, somehow. This post is for me and for Frankie. Someone I may or may not have gotten to know better in life. But that’s irrelevant because there never was the chance.

When I Reached Out for the Candy the Little Monkey Made Me Cry (A Prayer for Frankie)

I didn’t know why. I couldn’t come straight home tonight because a man like me doesn’t come in the house crying for no reason and I couldn’t stop crying no matter how far or aimless the drive. That isn’t usual, or expected. It took hours before I realized I was crying for the monkey, though it was the candy that started it all. If I hadn’t been laughing so hard all day at the candy the monkey wouldn’t have gotten in the car with me as I drove and cried myself to and away from home.

There were two good penny candy stores in my childhood. I can still see and hear their narrow paper brown bags crackle, crumple, fold and swallow meaty young fingers digging in – always for the kind of candy that I taste in my older dreams. My older dreams seem to come before my nightmares. In those old dreams a child’s hand plucks candies with delightful, focused joy, and even if it is a joy I remember to forget, it’s still a very damn fine thing to experience. Besides, in my old dreams the monkey rarely makes me cry.

There wasn’t much chocolate that I recall. Wax lips, pixie sticks, sugar-watered little wax soda bottles too flat to be bottles were sucked dry by greedy moist lips and chewed up like my many ever quickening years. And several years have passed since I’ve seen the kind of candy store that exists in those dreams. Family owned, dusty shelved sugar dens carved out of unused living rooms with TV’s not off in the distance, heard but never seen in kitchens that are used but somehow seem to be forgotten. Who needs a kitchen when the living room is full of candy? I think back now and you’d probably always smell old people in a place like that if it weren’t for the candy, of which I know the little monkey never really got his share. But then what should be the ration for old candy mostly dissolved and barely edible in dusty corners of old dreams? And how could a poor little monkey ever get enough candy, or anything for that matter?

Maybe he stole some; I don’t know. If he did, it wasn’t because he was a thief, but because he had so much never given to him. That’s the real tragedy; the one that makes me cry when I reach for the candy. Inside I know I’ve already had so much more than he could have dreamed of in his silly little monkey dreams. Ha! See how quickly I forget. The monkey certainly had nightmares. I’m unsure if he was even aware of them, let alone what they might mean: Probably not. But everything I know tells me he had nightmares, though I really would prefer we get back to the candy.

Banana and Strawberry Taffy Bars cooled hard and slammed against tables fragmenting into manageable bits, with Chocolate being the best of the lot to me, opinions vary. Yes, there was chocolate, just not much. Licorice whips, nips and twists that tasted deep and unprocessed – not like today, somehow. So much processing done – and to do. Too much processing. Too much. Jaw Breakers that broke jaws unsuitable for aged teeth, great big bubble gum cigars licked, chewed, sucked but never swallowed, the bubble gum of old dreams is too big for swallowing, it’s only suited for blowing bubbles so real they floated around your face and might have carried you away if they didn’t always explode in some comical messy mask of over-indulgence. Did I over indulge in the candy, little monkey? Probably I did, I know. I’m sorry. Sometimes I wonder if it’s really you, or me that makes me cry. But I’m getting off the track.

The secretaries joined in along with some of the managers, though I confess to leading the charge. We marched through candy stores, over boardwalks, down streets from our pasts describing the thoughts, feelings and sensations of well-candied childhoods spent, here, and there. We laughed, God how we laughed – and glowed. Certainly anyone can relish some special delectable treat they had known as well as their own bubble, colored-sugar or maybe even chocolate covered candy eating childhood face. But I didn’t tell them about the monkey. I couldn’t. I had forgotten about the monkey, at least until he decided to catch a ride home with me.

Frankie was the little monkey’s name. He was a poor little white trash kid whose parents drank too much and could only afford to always pay too little of everything, from rent, to dollars, to attention to the little monkey. Or, so I imagined. His ears flopped. Well, they didn’t flop so much as stand out; likely I remember them as I do everything, even penny candies, as bigger than they were. Frankie’s T-shirts were always dirty to complement his face. But his energetic spirit glowed with the pure, clean shine of a young impish God with a sense of humor and he seemed to see the hard knocks of life as bumps to be bounced off of in an explosive ball of laughing energy. I think only the young with very little can learn to do that so much, and so well; because they have to. He was coy that way for his all of seven, eight or so years. It was an adorable cuteness that didn’t know itself; it just knew that something worked for it, somehow.

And I don’t know why I loved him in the platonic way I did. I don’t know why I still do love him. At that age I hadn’t really thought much about loving anything, let alone someone. He was just … lovable, I guess. Maybe it was the innocence in a face born to but not from hardship that I admire so much. I’m still a sucker for it and the underdog even today.

High-topped black converse knock off sneakers always sprang him from his house across the street, down off the porch in one clumsy endless bounce. He wasn’t graceful but the little monkey was always running – off somewhere. At 13, I was enough older so that I had just begun to purport to swagger as I made my own way down the same streets, to the same ball fields, along the same base paths of the same games all of us played together in the mostly lower-middle class neighborhood.

We were driving with my Mother on the way home from a football practice for one of those then under-organized overly uniformed junior league football teams for which I had actually somehow begun to star. Touchdowns, tackles, yardage records, they piled up like so many adolescent boys given a ball and told to play, and play hard. I have to admit I started to feel hard somehow myself. I think it was the uniform. Hell, if you put a quick big kid in a padded uniform and tell him to crash into other kids and he knocks them down enough, is it any wonder he might not come to feel that way, just a bit? I did, before we passed the school.

There on the street was the strangest damn thing I had ever seen in my life – just a single black high top sneaker standing straight up and fully laced in the middle of the road as if it had been placed or left there somehow on purpose. I guess bounding off all those too hard knocks of life had finally thrown the little monkey clean out of his shoes. I heard the car had caught him clean and there on the same streets as my candy stores lay Frankie the little monkey after having careened up and off the hood of some still invisible to me unknown car.

His head had cracked solid against the pavement like a God damned taffy bar but with a far more disastrous result. He was bloodied and broken, lying in the street and all the world’s innocence seemed to go away with him for me, somehow. Because he was gone. And until then I didn’t know that something or someone you loved could just leave you like that, alone, having no answers and no longer feeling safe, or innocent.

My uniform went, too. I could feel the shoulder pads sinking weakly back into my bony frame as I just sat in the car and looked straight ahead without having the slightest idea what I was seeing, thinking or feeling. Boys my age, especially from my neighborhood, we didn’t have feelings, tried to ignore much of what we saw, and did better when we tried not to think too much, if at all.

In one overwhelming instant I learned that records don’t mean so much because there were far more significant things that could happen to a young boy that had nothing to do with keeping score. Like any young athlete, keeping score was just starting to mean a lot to me at that point in my life.  Until I found out there were other things – things that we should never have to imagine, keep score of, or dream about. But I still do, dream about them, that is  – in my older dreams; the ones before the nightmares.

My bubble blowing childhood mask of invincibility exploded in my face in an instant that I have never been able to forget. And sometimes no matter how much I want to laugh and tell people my childhood was filled with almost magical paper candy bags stuffed with sugar, I also know that somewhere there’s still an empty sneaker. I know that because tonight when I was driving home from work, I could see it sitting there, in the middle of the road. And I couldn’t drive but I had to drive and I had to cry but I couldn’t cry and I fought with everything I had just to find my uniform because I needed my shoulder pads. I needed to go home because there’s always and only one place you can go when you’ve lost things you don’t understand and want things you can’t have. You always have to go home if you’re lucky enough to have one to go to. And Frankie doesn’t and maybe he never really did and it’s so unfair and then I got lost three blocks from my house because I couldn’t see the road for my tears

And all I wanted to do was to give the little monkey a piece of candy but I didn’t have any candy. I’ve eaten so damn much candy in my life I feel like a pig. And that somehow makes it all my fault but I know it wasn’t my fault it just feels that way. And I’m sorry Frankie, I’m so God damned sorry because I never knew or cared enough to tell you to stay out of the road any more than anyone else ever did and that’s why you died and that’s why you haven’t had any candy as far as I know for longer than any seven or eight year old kid should have to go without candy but it isn’t my fault. I swear to God it isn’t my fault. But sometimes it still feels that way. And that’s why I need my shouldpads because I have to go home, Frankie. I have to go home. And I’m sorry because you never did.

Anyway, that’s why today when I reached out for the candy; the little monkey made me cry.

God bless you, Frankie. It’s been over 35 years and I know that if there’s a God and he really does have infinite wisdom … he has great candy in heaven. And I pray you’ve finally been given your share.

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