Election 2016

As a republican and conservative, I have some strong political opinions. The vast majority of these opinions can be lumped under the broad categories of “LESS GOVERNMENT AND MORE (national and local) SECURITY”.  My political views have absolutely nothing to do with the issues that the press and apparently many of my liberal friends believe I stand for (or against).  I am NOT a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, uneducated “deplorable”.  I find it ironic that some liberals who preach tolerance and sensitivity with regard to most issues are not tolerant of Trump supporters (or even Christians at times).  We talk about how college students are subjected to ‘micro-aggressions’ and we are told that Halloween costumes and school mascots are offensive.  At the same time, conservatives are subjected to ‘micro-aggressions’ in their workplaces that aren’t nearly as subtle.  Think about what it means to be prejudiced.  You are lumping a person into a broad (negative) category based on a single or few characteristics.  It’s not ok to be prejudiced against someone based on ethnicity, race, sexual identity/orientation etc.  Why then, is it ok to lump Trump supporters into a basket of deplorables?  I am extremely sad to think that many of my liberal colleagues believe that I supported our president elect because he is a racist, sexist bully and/or because I am ignorant or just mean spirited with regard to social issues.  Although Donald Trump has made comments that certainly make him sound bad—I do not believe that this is who he -and even if it is there are unfortunately much more important issues facing our country right now-(LESS GOVERNMENT-MORE SECURITY).  I think many of us have on occasion made inappropriate comments (hopefully either in the privacy of our own homes or at the very least in a non-recorded setting) that we regret.  There is no simple cure for the ‘isms’ but taking a knee during the national anthem or calling a large portion our nation deplorables (or enemies) clearly does not inspire unity.  The press attributing all sorts of mean spirited (and ignorant) motives to the Donald Trump “movement” also does not help.  I believe that the only way to combat the ‘isms’ is to make sure that ALL of our interactions with people who are different from us (including those with different opinions) are completely respectful.  Believe it or not, I am proposing that this respectfulness include not just liberals but republicans, conservatives, Christians, police officers and even those oppressive white males!  Furthermore, if at all possible, we should be respectful when interacting with the racist, sexist etc. deplorables.  If we can find a way to make a single person see his own intolerance, we are making a small difference.  There is no simple answer for intolerance, however it is not possible to legislate good behavior (LESS GOVERNMENT please).  I hope the press and all Americans will give our new president a chance to tackle the important problems facing our nation.  We need to end the divisiveness and work together.

alcohol pairings

This is a helpful post for those of you who see things on menus, in particular drink menus, that sound intriguing and therefore order it just to find out.

Short list of alcohol related drinks that sound weird enough to be good… but definitely are not.

salmon infused vodka

-tried it at that watermelon fuzi bar in Alaska–stick with the watermelon fuzis

skinny girl margarita

-should have been obvious to me that this would be awful – same bar in Alaska …I think, I guess the watermelon fuzis impaired my judgement

bacon grease infused whiskey

-not even good enough to put in a Bloody Mary, not sure what we were thinking with this one

bay seasoning infused beer

-sounded like something worth trying while in Baltimore…not.

coffee and cigarette martini

-this was on a menu in Durango.  even without the tobacco infused vodka it tasted like someone put his cigarette out in my drink  couldn’t detect the coffee though.  The bartender at a nearby brewery said she had to drink three more drinks to get the taste out of her mouth after trying one of these.  I was just happy to hear that I was not the only idiot who tried it.

The bartender mentioned above had another useful tip.  I asked to taste the mead that they had on draft and after I said …yeah, I guess I knew I wouldn’t like it, I don’t think I’ve ever had a mead  that I really like.  she said ‘I’m not sure why we’re trying to bring mead back after it took a few hundred years to get past it’.  ditto for moonshine.

You’re very welcome for the helpful tips,



Neck tattoos

New Mexico needs to draft legislation to eliminate neck tattoos.  In photos of criminals shown on morning news programs in ABQ, NM, approximately 90% of violent criminals have neck tattoos.  According to my estimates this means that up to 60% of violent criminals in the state of NM have neck tattoos.  Therefore, in an effort to reduce violent crime; we must pass legislation to outlaw neck tattoos or to at least make it very difficult to get neck tattoos.  Also, we must prosecute owners of tattoo parlors and their employees who are involved in creating these neck tattoos that clearly incite criminal behavior.

Things I loved about Ireland

1. The gorgeous scenery. The cliffs with the water below splashing up off the rocks in spouts and mists. Picture perfect.
2. The sheep, cattle and other livestock. I mainly appreciated it because it’s something I don’t see here in Albuquerque. It was cool seeing the animals dotting the countryside pretty much everywhere we went. I even got used to the weird coloring system of pink and blue stains on the wool. And It was fun to watch the two cows next door with their new calves.
3. The grass! This may sound weird, but I loved it because it’s this really long grass and it’s swept around like from a paint-brush and it’s spongy underneath, and it’s that nice thin (golf course-like) grass, not that stiff, crab-grassy stuff with the ‘cement’ underneath that we have here in the southwest.
4. The weather. Even though it was somewhat ‘challenging’ (one local called it ‘random’) with wind, rain and even hail. The weather created a variety of ‘moods’ in the water from frothy chocolate, to emerald green, to turquoise on sunny days.
5. The people. Everyone was very friendly and tolerant of tourists even when we were being somewhat obnoxious.
6. The dogs. Extremely well behaved dogs in this country! There was this pretty, red (ok, obviously) irish setter that came by the house in Ballydavid to escort us on walks periodically and he actually ‘went home’ when he was told to. The herder dogs (border collies?) were also really sweet, they ambitiously herded our small group to the nearby pub (not that we needed the motivation). There were other dogs that waited patiently outside of grocery stores for their owners. One strange fact–Apparently they don’t pick up after the dogs in this country, but it seems to wash away after 1 or 2 rains anyway.
7. The pubs. They really had that Irish pub feel that ‘Irish’ pubs try to mimic here in the US. Most had live music ranging from rock to typical Irish. We were even serenaded by the bartender/owner? (with an accordion) at one nearby pub. We learned to appreciate jamesons and guinness to the point that we actually missed our ‘watered-down’ American beer and Jack Daniels at the end.
8. The guinness and jameson’s tours in Dublin. With the 360 degree view in the Guinness Gravity bar and the scotch, irish whiskey, Jack Daniels taste test at jamesons.
9. Walking and pub hopping in Dublin. We could walk pretty much anywhere from our apartment near the Ha-penny bridge.
10. Our self catering ‘flat’. Perfect location, attentive and friendly property manager/owner.
11. The food. The fish and chips, mushy peas, meat pies and this amazing heavy brown bread with ‘treacle’? (I think it’s like molasses) in it at one of the bars in Dingle.

Raylan Givens quote

You run into an @hole in the morning, you ran into an @hole. You run into @holes all day long, you’re the @hole.

The writers for justified are wonderful! Lots of great quotes on that show.

The Tree of Life: a brief movie review

OK.  I was forwarned that this movie was ‘bad’. 

I found this review online:

The Tree of Life is maddening, exhilarating, gorgeous, ponderous, insightful, pretentious, epic, shallow, beautiful, and strange — essentially the apotheosis of Terrence Malick’s entire career. It will divide audiences like few films have in recent years.

The movie, which exists as a metaphysical meditation and a lyrical poem, focuses – at a microcosmic level – on the story of Jack, a jaded, middle aged man (played by Sean Penn) scarred by the memories of an oppressive upbringing by his father (Brad Pitt), as well as the untimely death of his younger brother.

Like all Malick movies, however, the plot is simply window dressing for the grand philosophical questions the director has been chasing for nearly four decades: the struggle between nature and grace, the duality of man, the meaning of life, and a sense of understanding and reconciliation amidst the chaos and suffering of it all. (editors note:  blah blah blah)

While the film makes several missteps and is saddled with an inelegant conclusion, the sheer audacity and vision of a director willing to tackle these weighty metaphysical questions in such an unconventional, non-mainstream manner must be applauded (editors note:  OR NOT).

My review is much shorter:

That’s 2 and a half hours of my life that I’ll never get back.

P.S.  Aldo picked it. 

Oh… and parts of it were quite beautiful. 

P.P.S.  not sure why I was inspired to post this review.  watched Silent Running and Midnight Cowboy again–silent running was a bit of a spaghettio moment (not as good as remembered), but Midnight Cowboy withstood the test of time (more or less)….again Aldo picked them.

Why I haven’t posted recently

Just because you’re a hypochondriac doesn’t mean you won’t get a disease.  I admit to being a bit of a hypochondriac and I was diagnosed with breast cancer this April.  First I’d like to mention a website that I found useful:  http://community.breastcancer.org/   I don’t know the specifics of how it is sponsored/moderated etc, but it’s basically a bunch of women with breast cancer (or worried about breast cancer) who interact in a supportive manner. 

If you’re a hypochondriac, you probably already get your regular mammograms, but a word of caution.  I had a mammogram in Dec 2011 and was called in the next week for additional views which were subsequently read as ‘negative’.  When I felt a lump 3 months later, April 1st (yep April Fools day), a third mammogram of the same breast was again read as ‘negative’.  No one at the breast center had the necessary ‘expertise’ to palpate the mass, which seemed a bit odd.  I felt like I had to insist on an ultrasound, which was read as highly suspicious and therefore followed by a biopsy.  I had my excisional biopsy shortly thereafter.  My main point is that a negative mammogram could have given me a false sense of security.  I have read that monthly breast self exams are not absolutely recommended; but the reasons given don’t make much sense to me.  Reasons such as…  it may produce unnecessary anxiety, some women are intimidated by the process etc.  My suggestion is to not ‘worry’ about the breast exam; just DO it, and don’t even try to follow some specific protocol, although I would include an exam standing and an exam lying down (my lump was only palpable while lying down, and I’ve heard the opposite story as well).  I agree that trying to follow a specific protocol is somewhat ‘intimidating’.  So don’t bother.  Just feel your (entire) breasts periodically and if you aren’t sure if you feel anything weird or unusual, then don’t worry about it for another month.  Lots of women say ‘I don’t know what I’m looking for’.  I can assure you that my lump was not something subtle.  It felt very hard and very different from my usual lumpy stuff.  If nothing strikes you as worrisome, you’re probably ok to not worry.

Another related comment about mammograms.  Ask your doctor if you have dense breasts.  Apparently there is good evidence that women with (very) dense breasts on mammogram are at increased risk for developing cancer.  It seems strange to me that of all the risk factors we seem to hear frequently about (estrogen, lack of child bearing, alcohol); dense breasts is rarely mentioned.  I might have been more conscientious about my breast self exams had I been aware of the increased risk and notorious unreliability of mammograms in women with dense breasts.  Also, it seems to me the radiologist should have suggested the ultrasound instead of repeating the mammogram back in December.  The good news is that most breast cancer is highly treatable these days.  Lumpectomies are a frequent option for smaller tumors, for some women sentinel lymph node sampling protocols have minimized symptoms and genetic testing of the tumor (oncotype score) helps women decide whether or not they need chemotherapy.  Radiation therapy was fairly easy for me and so far tamoxifen has not caused any definite symptoms.  In summary, get your mammograms, do your breast self exams (monthly) and find out if you have very dense breasts.

Oh… and the other reason I haven’t posted recently… I moved back to the Southwest and got a new job.