Directional Changes

I often make quick notes while I’m out and about to use as fodder for future blog posts. July 20th of this year was no exception. While returning from shopping I passed by a young man, one of many in my city here in Colorado who was panhandling in front of a shopping center. As I sat waiting for the light to turn, I observed that he was clean cut, fairly well dressed and dancing to music on his not inexpensive iPod waving his obligatory “Please Help” sign each time a car would approach. However, when they’d drive by without giving him money – he’d flip them the bird.

I marveled at how he was somehow oblivious to the fact that the other people he was hoping to get donations from might be a little put-off by his gesture to non-givers. And I further noted to myself that his seeming demands for assistance without thanks might be a blog-worthy topic.

When I started my itty bitty blog many moons ago, I suppose I had visions of being the next Catty Von Snarky-Pants commenting on all things politic. I was toying with using that young man’s actions as a starting point to discuss the little-reported side effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado. I was most likely going to relate that scene to the rudeness and outright demands I’ve sadly observed on social media by those who support certain candidates, and doing so with my usual panache and flair.

While I still harbor great disdain for a certain tangerine-hued politician and his more off-putting fans, I’ve discovered that life can throw you the goshdarndest curve balls when you are least expecting them.

I’d only just arrived home that afternoon when I needed to rush hubby to the hospital for what has been, put simply, a nightmare. The column got shelved. Life as I know it got shelved.

As those of you who follow me may know, I’m a native Coloradan. Partly because of that, and partly because of my upbringing, I have an independent streak a mile wide. I’m often too hard-headed about “doing things myself” and going it alone.

The trope “It takes a Village” has always somehow bothered my innate sense of self-reliance. But suddenly, I found myself needing to (*shudder*) ask for help. My condescension of the young man I witnessed now seemed haughty. How dare I question why he needed to ask for help? Heaven knows I’ve said less than charitable things to a number of drivers en route to hospital races when hubby was in crisis. And, since the internet is forever, my less than Christian replies to certain adherents of a candidate I greatly dislike are well documented.

Over the last month I’ve been gobsmacked by the generosity of friends and strangers; humbled that my post as a tribute to my husband has been so well received; blessed with your replies, your stories, your shared experiences. And we’ve been buoyed by your prayers. My village has grown and so has my admiration for you, my fellow travelers.

So the focus of JudiannaBlog has probably taken a new course. I’m still not sure what course that will be (and I reserve the right to be snarky about politics on occasion), but for those of you who have chosen to join me on this journey, thank you. I will try to post columns worthy of your consideration, worthy of your time… and I promise to mightily resist having this blog become a maudlin experience lest I get beaned by another curve ball.

All the Little Things That Define Marriage – Part Two

Back in the day, I was a budding writer. I was part of the inaugural group of the “Colorado Voices” in the Denver Post.

In August of 2001, on our anniversary as a matter of fact, my piece was published.

I’d meant it as a tribute to my husband, and it means even more to me today.

So, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share it with you now with an update.

All the Little Things That Define Marriage

A pat on the backside. A quick hug in the hallway.


The Morse codes of romance that you learn after you’ve survived the ritual mating dance.


Once you’ve spent the requisite time waiting for the other shoe to drop and then figuring out that it’s never going to, you settle into a comfort zone with your mate. Sure, the initial wild excitement and the giddy romance are nice, but they can’t hold a candle to the sweet assurance of love that has lasted for years.


Sly winks to each other. Turning up the radio for a special song. An arm slipped around your waist while you’re cooking spaghetti.


These little things are what define a marriage. They’re the merit badges earned after you’ve passed the “now-I-know-all-about-you-but-I-love-you anyway” test.


While my husband battled a neurological nightmare for 18 months, he was with me physically but not “with me” totally. His illness robbed me not only of the strong man I had leaned on for all of our married life, but also of the little things I had somehow taken for granted. I was never alone but, boy, was I lonely. I didn’t have him to chat with. I couldn’t share my fears with him, because he was at war with demons threatening to destroy his central nervous system. Compared to his struggles, my losses were insignificant.


Holding hands in the car at a red light. Curling up in each other’s warmth to go to sleep. Walking into a party hand in hand.


Little things. Until they’re gone. Then they become part of an intricate fabric that you watch unraveling and dissolving at your feet. You can’t even remember what they felt like, because you never paid attention to them when they were there. My heart goes out to every lover who no longer has those little things.


When we were first married, we’d snuggle together in bed at night, talking about our dreams for the future. When his symptoms were at their worst, nights were spent helping him to breathe without choking, waiting for his medicine to get him to sleep and then allowing myself to toss fitfully for a few hours before the sun rose. It was too much of a struggle for him to talk, so our conversations were limited to my posing simple questions that he could nod or shake his head to. I’d stroke his brow and kiss his face, but he had lost the muscle coordination necessary to return the gesture.


A squeeze of your arm. Ear nuzzles and a mumbled “I love you.” Telling really bad jokes. The unique signature denoting two lives that have been forged into one.


While he was confined to bed, the toothpaste tube didn’t get squeezed in the middle, glasses weren’t left on the counter and I had complete and total control of the television remote. I hated every second of it. Trips to the drugstore became 15-minute races before he woke up. The pharmacist and I were on a first-name basis.


Tickle fights. A hand resting on your thigh.


He fought with the heart of a champion for more than a year to get well. Success was measured in little things. Walking unaided down the hall. Sitting up in his chair for an hour. Driving around the block. Three hours without any seizures becoming three good days without symptoms.


Coffee in bed. A foot massage.


We’re just now getting back to the little things. I treasure each kiss and luxuriate in every caress. I’m memorizing each snuggle. We hug longer than we used to. Today is our wedding anniversary. My husband is home and getting stronger every day. I’ve even given him back the remote. Please help us celebrate all of the little things that mean so much more now than before.


Right now, grab your significant other and give him or her a hug. Just because.

And for the update that I’d hoped I would not have to write for many more decades:

My husband has managed to cheat death for 15 years.

Since going into remission from tardive dyskinesia, he’s had shoulder reconstruction surgery from the near fatal accident we somehow miraculously managed to survive five years later; a five-way bypass; a pacemaker.

I suppose the hardest thing for me is that he’s always been the “Energizer Bunny” of husbands. He’s consistently lived through things that other mere mortals shouldn’t live through. I keep praying for a miracle, but everyone (even he) says there are no more to be had.

So, we wait.

This time, there will be no more “Walking unaided down the hall. Sitting up in his chair for an hour. Driving around the block.”

The tickle fights and hand resting on my thigh are memories.

Hell, I can’t even make him spaghetti anymore because of his dietary restrictions.

We’re slipping back into the nightmare of nights spent helping him to breathe without coughing, but there is no medicine to get him to sleep. Allowing myself to toss fitfully for a few hours before the sun rose would be a luxury that I’m afraid to take right now.

He can still talk, but our conversations are now “are you going to miss me when I’m gone?” and “I want you to get on with your life” – although he is my life, and has been for so very long that I’m probably going to wander aimlessly for a bit.

He’s still fighting like a champion – only his goal is to make it to one more anniversary on August 26th. I’ve watched that drive and determination before. I’d almost bet he’ll make it.

I know that all too soon, the toothpaste tube will no longer be squeezed in the middle, there will be no more glasses left on the counter and I will once again have complete and total control of the television remote. And I will hate every second of it.

But now, just as in 2001, and I do mean right now, grab your significant other and give him or her a hug. Just because.

Half update, half cry for help

I’m not sure if this is the “appropriate” forum – but, on the other hand, it’s my blog darn it.

For the many if you who’ve said “let me know if I can help” – this is my official cry for help.
Here’s where we are:
The heart is a wee bit stronger because of dialysis. Output is better. Kidneys still crappy.
However, after an agonizing Saturday with a poopyhead hospitalist with zero bedside manner, and whose stupidity threw hubby into a full blown panic attack – I was able to corner both the cardiologist and nephrologist at the same time. That meeting of the minds resulted in this:
We’re bringing him home with palliative care not hospice (yet). Possibly as early as late today depending on how he does with dialysis. The nephrologist has put in orders for outpatient dialysis. The cardiologist said no more heart meds – it’s holding its own and any meds they’d give him would only further damage the kidneys. He said that he’ll more likely pass from kidney failure than from heart failure.
We’re meeting with the palliative/hospice people this afternoon and I’ll have a better grasp of what they can and can’t do.
He’s conversant, he’s aware, he’s relatively pain-free. He’s just horribly weak. But, he wants to come home. I’m going to move heaven and earth to make that happen.
He is not in denial. He knows he’s terminal and he’s accepted that. I have as well. His new goal is just to pass at home and, if possible, spend one more anniversary with me on the 26th.

That brings up a whole host of new problems.
#1. I have no clue how to transport him from home to the dialysis clinic.
Problem #2: I am pretty sure I’m going to get hit with huge bills from hospital and consulting docs. I have no clue what the co-pays for outpatient dialysis are. He wants to live as comfortably as he can for as long as he can and I’m bound and determined to not let money dictate how long he’s going to live.
Problem #3: He’s been in such not-great health for so long and really all of our “expendable” income has gone to co-pays and prescriptions – oh heck no we don’t have life insurance (or even burial insurance for that matter).
I’m lost. It’s bad enough that I’m losing him, but being put in an untenable position of being forced to lose him sooner is breaking my heart even more.
So – yes, help.
I’m open to suggestions. I’m determined not to run out of options. I just want to honor his wishes and do the right thing.

If anyone wants to hire a slightly snarky (okay, really snarky) redheaded blogger, I’m available.

Of buzzing things. Yes, another analogy.

My garage has been invaded by wasps.

No, not White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. I’m talking about the yellow, nasty, angry, stinging flying, scare-the-pants-off-of-you mean arsed bugs.

At first, there was just one or two of the stray little buggers that I swatted away and basically applied the maxim of “you live your life and I’ll live mine, buddy” to.

Then I noticed that one or two became a swarm. An angry, attacking, make-you-run-like-heck-to-get-to-the-truck-before-you-get-stung mob.

Seems the one or two that I ignored decided that I was no threat and they put out an invitation to their bug buddies to come on over and build a nest in an out of the way place on an eave that I never paid much attention to. Because running for my life in spike heels is generally not a successful venture, I was left with two options:

1). Move.

2). Invest in some wasp killer spray.

(Author’s note: if we were talking spiders here, the only option would be “carefully grab a tissue and burn the entire house down”).

I chose option 2 and, because I’m a woman and I actually read the freaking instructions, I learned the most effective method to rid my haven of the buzzing interlopers.

First: Stand a safe distance from the nest and keep the wind at your back.

Second: Spray until nest is thoroughly saturated to get rid of the entire nest population.

Three: Exit area immediately.

Four: Wait at least 24 hours before removing the nest because the poison that was sprayed will also destroy any other late arriving wasps who decide to show up to the nest area.

And, oh heck yes, this is going to be one of my famous analogies.

We heard some buzzing. We ignored it. The angry mob of stinging buzzers grew and grew.

It would be one thing if this was just a group of honeybees that had been pushed too far. This is a swarm of some of the most virulent racist haters in the country.

They had nothing to do with conservatism – they only wanted to burn the party down. The Comboverlord is merely their chosen vehicle to achieve that goal.

And that angry mob is hell bent on making us move from our “home”. They’ve set up their nests and they will swarm and attack us in a heartbeat when all we want to do is get in the damned truck and drive.

Hopefully, those of us who are rock solid conservatives are standing together at a safe distance, and we will realize that we do indeed have the wind at our backs.

As someone tweeted the other day, they threw us off the ship and set us adrift in lifeboats thinking they were punishing us. We just have a good vantage point to watch their boat capsize.

If we’re not going to move and start a new party, then what we need to do now is to find something (anything) to get rid of the entire nest – AND to poison the nest so that any future interloper doesn’t try to attach themselves to our garage ever again.

It would seem to me that the only way to get rid of tyrants and buzzing stinging pests is to destroy them thoroughly.

The fascist dreams of Italy and Germany were only thwarted after being soundly trounced in war. The Asian-Pacific domination plans of Japan were stopped by a noisy atomic delivery to two cities.

Defeat is a mighty potent inducement.

I don’t know exactly what it’s going to take, but in my mind, the only way to stop this virulent swarm is to make sure they lose.




And we must tar those who enabled him in politics as well as in the once-conservative media with the stain of supporting a fraud and make damned sure that they are never allowed back in our garage.

The wind’s at our back, peeps.

Oh, and I’ve already called the tar-and-feather concession, so don’t step on my turf. Pitchforks and torches are still up for grabs, though.

What Is and Is NOT Important

I began drafting this while sitting in the critical care ICU waiting room as my husband is valiantly battling to stay alive.

Back at the hacienda, I have a few moments between hospital races to put this in some semblance of order, so please excuse any sloppy editing.

The problem facing my husband of 22 years (23 next month, God willing), is that all of his major organs are trying to shut down. The emergency trip to the hospital was the result of the effects of peritonitis (an accumulation of toxic fluid in his abdomen). A team of incredible specialists are throwing everything at it except the kitchen sink (and that may be next), and they are working in tandem to halt the symptoms and battle the root cause(s).

First line of defense: Antibiotics to kill the poison.

Second line: Drain the toxic fluid.

Third line: cleanse the bloodstream and try to improve the blood flow from a weakened heart that’s been under attack for years.

The poison that is attempting to murder my spouse has been festering for a while. It started innocuously – a bit of discomfort, a pain or two, but nothing that screamed out with fury or intensity until Wednesday evening. Unbeknownst to him (and to us, really), it was also systematically attacking his immune system, his heart, his kidneys and his liver. All are in acute failure at this moment.

(You all know I’m going to get political here because these allegories pretty much write themselves.)

Like the anger that has infected our country over, really, the last decade – this insidious poison crept in – a bit at a time. One small outrage on top of another finally hit a boiling point.

Unfortunately, there is no antibiotic to kill the corrupting, festering substance that is feeding off of the ire of hardworking people in this country. I’m watching race pitted against race, class against class, and a once proud nation being ripped asunder by charlatans who are only stoking the rage for their own political gain. The toxic fluid will not be drained from our society as long as the hate peddlers stand to make a profit off it. And I fear that the weakened heart of America, much like my husband’s, could possibly stop beating.

Before you say “But, Judianna – we have a right to be angry!” – yes, you do. Yes you have every right to let the anger turn into hatred and poison your relationships. It’s your life. For the time being, at least, you can still decide what’s most important to you.

In fact, H-E-Double-Toothpicks, I’m angry too.

I’m angry at the scumbags who are planning to kill our freedom as surely as this illness is trying to kill my husband.

I’m angry at the professional liars in the media and in government who have figured out that they can manipulate your emotions and cause you to lose your sense of self while joining the pitchforks and torches crowd. (On both sides). They know that no matter the outcome, they’ll still have their cushy jobs, their ratings, their paychecks – and meanwhile your lives won’t be one whit better.

I’m angry at those who’ve compromised their values and integrity and demand or assume that I will compromise mine.

But you know what I’m most angry at?

The poison and the still undefined disease process that’s threatening to take my husband from me.

Every four or eight years, we’re warned that “this will be the most important election in our lifetime”. The winner of this election will, according to the fear mongers, either take away all of our God given rights or, I don’t know – lower the oceans or something. Their predecessor (per the rumor mills) is always a nefarious step away from declaring martial law and stopping the elections

And yet, every four or eight years, there’s an orderly change of power. For all the new regulations imposed by whatever party is in charge, there’s an Uber, there are congressional and senatorial elections, there are people calling their congress critters. It will ever be thus.

Yes, I’ll still jump on Twitter and criticize the Emperor Hiro Cheeto – it’s good therapy for me, actually. And yes, I’ll use social media to roundly pan any politician that I deem hypocritical.

But, what’s NOT on my top worry list:

The elections.

The government.

The media’s chosen candidates.

The latest salacious gossip about who is having a vanity fight with whom.

What is important:

My husband

My family

My friends

My two dachshunds that kissed away my tears when I finally allowed myself to break down last night.

What I’m grateful for:

The heroes that have emerged in the new media to speak truth to power

One of the top hospitals in the nation who is taking tender loving care of my man

The best medical system in the known world

The freedom I have to write and share my thoughts with you gentle readers.

And especially, all of you who have rallied to support me with your good wishes and your prayers.

From my heart to yours, thank you.

I hope he fails

IRL, I hunt bad guys for a living. From murderers to petty thieves, drug dealers to gang members to con artists, grifters and scammers who’ve bilked grandmas out of their life savings. I’ve found them all over the world.

That’s also the reason I use a nom de plume on Twitter and on my blog, by the way. Never a good idea to let felons know you’re looking for them.

(It’s also why I have to chuckle when people make threatening “anonymous” comments on my blog or Twitter feed as though I can’t find out who and where they are. Right Dave?) But, I digress.

I know their MO like I know the back of my hand. Especially confidence men.

Maybe that’s why Trump bothers me so much. I had this charlatan pegged from the get go.

Like all con men, the Comboverlord’s biggest enemy is time. The longer a con lasts, the more chance that the mark has to spot it. Their usual modus operandi is to make a big splash and get out with the cash and do so quickly before their victims find out what’s going on.

Whether the Emperor Hiro-Cheeto has figured out that the jig is up or if he’s so arrogant that he’s determined to ride this thing through to the bitter end is a question best left for others, but he is displaying all of the classic moves that I’ve seen in my twenty-plus years of tracking.

First, he chose his marks wisely – an angry group of people looking for a tough guy to extract vengeance for them.

Second – he managed to drive a wedge between his marks and their support groups.

Third – he extracted unwavering fealty from them – so much so that they’d rush to his defense even for the indefensible.

Fourth – he’s claiming a need for more cash because of extenuating circumstances.

All that’s left is for him to abscond with their money.

A part of me wants to hold out hope for a delegate revolt. I’m leaning against it though.

1). DT’s band of merry miscreants has already proven that they are willing and capable of intimidating delegates into silence or at least acquiescence. One only has to witness the behavior of his internet army of trolls to see the lengths to which they are willing to go.

2). The GOP has time and again proven their utter fecklessness in doing the right thing – even in what could be an act of self preservation. Far too many of the party honchos have already cast their lots in with the Donald. I believe they’re committed to him in some sort of bizarre suicide pact and/or they’re content to reap the minority status they will inherit with him as the nominee. The ones who aren’t ousted will still have their cushy seats on committees with no real responsibilities, the ones who are ousted will land on their feet and slide into jobs as consultants or lobbyists.

But (worse) 3). It would give Trump the out he needs to save face. If the GOP delegates dump him, he can cry to his base that he was robbed, start TrumpTV with a built in audience of victims and continue on. If the nominee other than him goes on to lose, he could forever call in to Fox & Friends and cry how “I could have won this if not for the mean old Establishment”.

Same thing with a third party run. As much as I dearly long for someone to vote FOR, a third party taking votes from him would give him the same “I coulda been a contender” result.

No, gentle reader, I think I‘ve moved into the Give-Up-On-2016 altogether camp.

To me, the best outcome is if Trump is the nominee and loses. Not just loses, but gets horrifically, ignominiously, humiliatingly trounced. For the good of the conservative movement, totally vanquishing him and his ilk would provide the purge that has been long overdue.

To quote a radio personality I once admired – “I hope he fails”.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego

For those gentle readers who do not know me, one of my all consuming passions (when I’m not snarking on the Comboverlord, that is), is my fishkeeping.

I’m one of those doting owners who names all of her fish and probably spends way too much money on them, but, they eat out of my hand and generally bring me hours of joy.

Several years ago, we had a devastating fire in our community. I watched nervously as the fire jumped line after line, destroying homes and businesses in its rampage, knowing we lived dangerously close to the area it was headed toward. The acrid smoke became nearly unbearable.

At that time, I only had four beautiful huge fancy goldfish (aged 4 to 10 years old) – all of whom had names, of course. But, just a few weeks prior to that I’d purchased three little Corydoras, thinking that Cory Cats would be great bottom feeders for my ever so messy goldies. I had not named them yet.

And finally, we got the reverse 911 call that we had to evacuate. Panicked that I was going to come back to ashes and a fish fry, I scooped up the goldfish into a giant bucket easily for transport to a friend’s house with a pond where they’d be safe. The Corydoras on the other hand, were having none of it.

Despite my pleas, they refused to be netted. After half an hour of trying, I sadly gave up – said a little prayer for them, and drove off to safety.

As it turned out, thanks to providence and the heroic efforts of the fire department, my home was spared. The raging inferno never got more than 500 yards from my front door. I returned home to an intact, smoky hacienda albeit with a few tiny char marks on the patio – and three very safe (and hungry) Corydoras who now had their names – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

The panicked move, however, was not kind to the goldfish. One of them never survived the emergency transport and died a few short days after we got back home. Within a year, the other three all died.

The Cory Cats, however – are thriving. And that brings me to my analogy for today.

Yes, there was imminent danger. Yes, the need to get to safety was paramount in my mind. But, the panicked, haste filled drive to escape the conflagration was deadly for four. The three who refused to panic and run with the herd are left to tell the tale.

From Daniel 3:1-18 (NIV):

King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.

Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”

Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. (*Sound familiar?)

They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Furious with rage, (*Sound familiar?) Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”


Now don’t get me wrong, or assume that I’m putting on airs here. Especially given my less than Christian responses to Trumpkins who have defiled my Twitter feed, I don’t think that anyone is going to mistake me for a Biblical scholar any time soon. But, believe it or don’t, I take great solace in the books of the Latter Prophets, especially in days such as these.

So go for it, Trumpkins. Tell me that I must bow to the ring of your idol. Urge me to panic and run from the impending fire. I know what happened to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – both in the Book of Daniel and in the House of Judianna.

No ring kissing or bowing down here, thank you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some fish to feed.

With Gratitude to David French

While my sadness is great this morning at the loss of a candidate that I would be proud to vote for as opposed to a belligerent braggart who demands my vote out of fear of his opponent, I am beyond proud of David French for even considering a run. He demonstrated his wisdom and modesty (both a rarity these days) by noting that it would take someone far better funded and better connected than him to actually pull off a successful third party bid.

I also don’t begrudge his prayerful decision to spare his family any more antagonism. The social media hell that he and his wife have been through the past week has been nothing short of staggering and appalling.

Within hours of his consideration being leaked, Trump’s Nazis tweeted photo-shopped pictures of his youngest daughter in a gas chamber. A so-called “journalist” from Politico questioned his marriage.

The drumbeat would only have gotten louder because the main stream media has already selected our choices for 2016: “dammit – how dare you bring forth an interloper?” Radio talkers already in the tank for Trump were pooh-poohing consideration of a third party run by a true conservative as merely an attempt by the nefarious “Stablishmen” to derail the Great and Glorious man of “We The People” (retch).

Pundits who decried the fact that David French was not a household name and therefore unsuitable to run seemed to prefer celebrity (or infamy) to a man with solid principles entertaining the idea of running for the greatest office in the world – not to be a spoiler, but to actually try to win. Someone who was honestly willing to put himself in harm’s way in Iraq was again willing to put himself and his family in harm’s way by pursuing the presidency.

If there was a presidential campaign that should have been smothered in its infancy, it was Trump’s, not French’s. That the press showed that it easily could have derailed the train-wreck that is Trump and chose not to is perhaps the most telling part of this saga.

David French ran the social media gauntlet with aplomb and, if nothing else, by allowing his name to be considered, his potential candidacy demonstrated once and for all the division that the conservative movement faces. That there were voices who were willing to back a serial adulterer, a liar, a con artist, a supporter of Planned Parenthood, a gun grabber, an advocate for Canadian style socialized medicine, a misogynist and a racist over a man who is the very epitome of the very conservative values they supposedly espouse has been a defining moment.

One of David’s friends shared Bonnie Tyler’s lyrics:

“Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?

I need a hero.

He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero

He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life

I need a hero”

David French, in that shining, all too brief moment, solidified his status as a hero to me for all time. I and other like minded conservatives owe him a debt of gratitude.

Perhaps America gets the politicians she deserves. From the demagoguery I witnessed on social media this past week, I wonder if America deserves a good man like him at all.

I hope that Mr. French will emerge as an even stronger voice in the NeverTrump movement. I hope that another equally principled challenger to the pretender’s claimed throne will emerge.

But even if it means that someday I’ll be sitting all alone with my crumpled and tattered “NeverTrump!” banner, I’ve found another hero.

Godspeed Mr. French.

And, thank you. From the bottom of my heart – thank you.

Devil’s Advocate

Allow me to play devil’s advocate for a moment.

When Ted Cruz first threw his hat in the ring, I was over the moon. I thought to myself, “Finally! A conservative – and a constitutional conservative at that”. Knowing full well that the GOP would seek to pack the clown car with as many would be pretenders to the throne as possible to dilute the vote and pave the way for their chosen middle-of-the-road squish (I assumed Jeb), I was not the least bit surprised to see a total of 16 challengers crowd their way in.

What I did not anticipate was the level of ferocity that the “establishment” would see fit to unleash at the senator up to and including, IMHO, the almost to-a-man endorsements of Donald Trump, a man who, in my eyes is wholly unfit for the highest office in the greatest nation on earth.

That’s why I am looking with bemusement at the groundswell of the faithful who are hoping against hope on two fronts.

Front Number One: that the delegates will see what a dangerous incredibly stupid move it would be for Trump to be the GOP standard bearer and somehow magically realize that they can abstain from voting for him on the first ballot at the convention and, on a subsequent ballot, give the nomination to someone more suitable. In tandem with that hope is the not too farfetched theory that Trump will continue shooting his mouth off and somehow his campaign will totally implode before July and “something must be done”.

And yes, all one has to do is turn on the news at any given time for the mouth shooting theory to be validated because saying something racist, demeaning or abjectly stupid comes as naturally to Trump as breathing for the rest of us.

And yes, I read the stories on an almost daily basis detailing how Cruz has managed to do an end run around the Comboverlord with delegates and is, presumably, still amassing delegates who are favorable to him as we speak.

As much as it would be a welcome bit of sanity in an otherwise all too insane primary, let’s take a moment and explore what would happen with that outcome:

First, there would be all out civil war and scorched hell on earth if anyone but Trump The Deserving gets the nod. He’d no doubt take immediately to Twitter (or wherever) screaming that the nomination had been stolen from him. His mindless minions as well as the press (who loves a good cat fight above all else) would resurrect the “Lyin’ Ted” mantra immediately. His thugs have already promised riots if there are shenanigans not of their own making at the convention, and I have no doubt they’d make good on those threats.

Second, the “Only Marco” faction of the party, many of whom were all too happy to join in with the Branch Trumpidians in putting forth any stories that they felt might damage Cruz (The Carson Iowa flap springs immediately to mind), would join in the revolt because they’ve been breathlessly hoping for Rubio to swoop in on his white horse and save the day. The chances of them accepting a Cruz nomination are somewhere between slim and none (and slim’s gone to lunch).

Third, do I really have to detail what utter crapweasels the GOP hierarchy really are? The spineless, feckless party leaders are no way going to sanction anything that would bring them negative publicity (well, except Trump, of course) – and a full out riot at their July soiree is not part of their entertainment plan. Honestly as opposed to Trump, I could even be talked into Jeb at this point if need be, but I will guarantee the GOP doesn’t have the stones to do it. The two schools of thought on the higher ups are that (a) they think they can somehow control or manage Trump should he actually win and he’d let them continue their entrenched ways unabated; and (b) they’re secretly hoping for a blow out in November because that will once and for all purge what they see as the “hard right” from the party ranks. Either of those scenarios is far more likely given their history than intentionally bringing a modern day version of 1968’s democrat debacle to Cleveland.

That brings us to Front Number Two: the “Write in X” campaign for November. (“X” being either Rubio, Cruz or, who knows – Pat Paulsen, maybe).

Only 43 states allow a write in to begin with, and all but eight of those require that candidate has to register before their name can even be considered as a write in. No registration – no vote counted. Period. As in tossed in the trash. As good feeling as a protest of that measure might be, it’s not going to do you any good unless Marco, Ted, Jeb or whomever has registered – and I haven’t seen any signs that they’re going to.

That would be the ultimate in “throwing away your vote” as many Trumpkins love to throw out as criticism.

So no, gentle reader, no way in hell would a write in candidate be able to win – especially when said write-in is going to be pretty evenly split between the two warring factions to begin with.

One of my favorite people to follow on Twitter opined today that “Maybe Fairy stories help (them) sleep”.

Unfortunately, this is the fairy story where the wicked witch actually gets Hansel & Gretel into the oven and enjoys a hearty meal.

There’s gotta be a third option. One that ensures that Trump will never get his tiny grubby raccoon hands on the nuclear codes.

Anyone who has read my blog for any time knows that I favor the third party option, if for no other reason than as a guarantee (insurance, if you will) to keep Trump away from the presidency. While my preferred warrior on that front has not officially announced that he’s willing, that’s where I prefer to hold my hopes.

The One Where I go Full Godwin (and maybe a little Mercurochrome)

When I was growing up, one of my best friends was a little blonde haired moppet named Debby. Debby’s mom, Hedy was from Germany. Hedy was, well, interesting. In addition to being an awesome cook, as evidenced by Debby’s brother’s waistline, Hedy was most infamous on our block for being the mom who would put Mercurochrome and a BandAid on any neighborhood child unfortunate enough to skin their knee in proximity to her house.

Hedy was also prone to fits of depression. In today’s world, we’d probably correctly diagnose her with PTSD, but back in those days, the other parents just explained it as “She’s had a hard life”. One day, after being the recipient of the dreaded Mercurochrome/BandAid combination after being unlucky enough to take a bike spill in front of her home, I noticed that she had a tattoo of numbers on her arm. Being the fearless six year old that I was, I asked her about it. Her countenance darkened. She said “Hitler”. I asked who this “Hitler” person was (again, I was all of six). I will never forget her answer. In a very low voice, she said “He. Was. Evil.” And at that point, she daubed my knee with more iodine and the pain was too great for me to continue my line of questioning.

Later, when my eyes had stopped tearing and the smell of Mercurochrome had subsided, I asked my mom who this Hitler person was. Mom explained as best she could to a young child that he was a bad man and one of the reasons that our nation had gone to war. She told me that he had ordered people who opposed him to be killed or thrown into prison.

Fast forward to my school years. America had all too recently returned from WWII. My fourth grade teacher, in fact, had fought not only in Germany but also in the Pacific theater. Mr. R. wore a back brace and had trouble standing in front of the blackboard for long periods of time due to the injuries he returned home with. To a person, all of my teachers knew all too well the threats of a Hitler, a Mussolini, a Hirohito. Unlike today’s campuses where Che Guevera is chic and Mussolini made the trains run on time and Hitler was a nice guy with a funny mustache and maybe a slight anger problem, the underlying focus of my education experience was the reinforcement of the fact that totalitarian dictators always bring horror. Especially when they are cheered on by easily led populist, nationalist countrymen.

I’ve tried to resist the all too easy slide into Godwin’s Law – but with Trump, that’s a Herculean task. If his Alt-Rt followers weren’t enough, the mere fact that he refuses to disassociate himself with them is troubling at best. Perhaps because of my upbringing, or all of the not-so-subtle cues I see from Trump, I sense a greater danger in his authoritarian bent (and the willingness of his followers to obey him at all costs) than many of my younger compatriots.

After all, Hitler’s command to his soldiers to “Have no pity! Act brutally!” is not unlike Trump’s exhortations to his followers. One of his sycophants, a talk radio host, actually solicited opinions from his listeners on which of his unbelievers “President Trump” should throw in jail and/or execute as war criminals a few months ago. And don’t even get me started on the arm salute he demanded (and giddily received) from his followers along with an oath of fealty.

My parents, like other parents of the day, wanted to make sure that their children had all of the advantages they didn’t have. Perhaps, in their love for us, they made it way too easy on us. I vividly remember my dad working three jobs to make sure the four of us had everything we wanted. The thought of him having to say “no – we can’t afford that” pained him so much that he literally worked himself to exhaustion.

Likewise, there was an unspoken desire to spare their children from the horrors of war – and over the next decade, that coincided with the rise of liberal leftist Che t-shirt wearing teachers who replaced the WWII educators as they retired. So, I’m willing to give some of my much younger compatriots who’ve come begrudgingly to the conclusion that “Trump is better than Hillary” a bit of a pass on the basis that perhaps their history and early education doesn’t quite align with mine.

After all, I grew up with Tex Avery and Looney Toons poking fun at the Nazis and kamikazes – they grew up watching “Captain Planet” and worrying about corporations and ozone. But it cannot and will not stop me from sounding a warning on the oft chance that they still might be able to put their Hillary panic into better perspective. Yes Hillary would be disastrous, but with a united opposition, she’d be survivable for four years. Trump would get no opposition from the roundly criticized spineless republicans in congress. They’d make more excuses for him than the democrats did for Obama his first two years. And if a republican congress dared to oppose him, he’d simply make some of his famous “deals” with the democrats.

The ignominious few who are hardcore Trump disciples, however – those who, for example, petulantly demand that I unblock them on Twitter so that they can continue throwing insults at me and continue their inane diatribe solely in order to impress their followers – will get no pass from me. They are beyond warning. Their fingers are so solidly planted in their ears that no reasoning, no explanation is possible and, indeed, to them I am surely one of those unbelievers that should be jailed or worse.

You know when there’s that little feeling in your gut that something’s just not right? And every time you ignore it, you realize later that you should have heeded it? Everything in my senses tells me that Trump is a two-bit tinhorn dictator waiting to happen. Call me a fear monger if you must. Tell me I’m irrational.

Better yet, tell that to Hedy.