Possible hiatus in posting

Written by Scarabus





Melanie’s Pup bites Wayne on his ass. I’m sure he deserved it!*


I’m revealing no secrets in saying that I suffer from cardiac and peripheral artery disease. Saw my cardiologist today, and tomorrow we’ll make an appointment for a catheterization. I know what that means, and my wife does too. I’m carrying six stents already, and I anticipate I’ll come out of this with more — or with “surgical intervention.” (Result of a combination of genetic susceptibility and ill-informed/undisciplined living.)


If that’s necessary, and I’m incommunicado for a spell, one of my friends or family members will post updates on my two blogs and on my Mark “Your Personal Information Has Been Commodified” Zuckerberg’s FB. In medical terms, this is routine stuff these days.



—wayne [a.k.a. Dr. Dickson, Dr. D., Doc., Butthead]


*An inside joke. My not as close as I could wish but closer than I could have hoped for friends Melanie and Roy adopted an abandoned and hurting chihuahua. The pup was rather defensively “nippy” when I met him (perhaps because the little guy had been abused in the past by men). I shared with Melanie a story from my own deep past, when I was a “paper boy” delivering the evening Miami News, arch-rival of the morning Miami Herald.

Our relationship with customers was up close and personal. Being too young to drive, we didn’t toss papers from automobile windows, but from wooden baskets attached to the handlebars of our (one speed) bicycles. Most subscriptions weren’t paid for by mail, and the concept of a credit card would have seemed Buck Rodgers** stuff.

We had to get off our bikes, enter canine territory (maybe or maybe not defined by fences and gates), knock on a door, and ask for the 50¢ weekly subscription. Scary stuff! But the only damage I ever suffered was a bite on the ass (literally!) from  chihuahua. So it goes. The little dude wasn’t going all John McCain/Bill Kristol “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb.” He was just defending primarily his own and secondarily his human companions’ turf.


**You don’t recognize the allusion to Buck Rodgers? Ah, my young and/or cloistered friend! A world of pop culture awaits your exploration! A bit of trivia? One of the final candidates for the design/build contract for the new Chicago public library was dismissed because his design was too “Buck Rodgers.”

The American dream that’s fading now

Written by Scarabus


This is the house where my wife was living when I met her. We both grew up in working class but aspiring families. When I met Jewel, her mother was a school cafeteria manager, and her father a long-haul truck driver. At that time my mother was a meat wrapper in a Winn-Dixie grocery store. My father was doing architectural and engineering work for Metropolitan Dade County, Florida. He couldn’t get credit for his work because he wasn’t a college graduate, let alone a certified and registered civil engineer. We lived in a small house my father hadn’t just designed but also built – literally, as in hammering, sawing, running wire, melting tar, and the rest of it.

We both had grown up in small frame houses: two bedrooms, one bath. Mine was somewhat larger, while hers had a detached garage. Our parents wanted us to do well enough to rear our own children in a bigger, more comfortable house. With the exception of Jewel’s father, they wanted us to graduate from college; find white-collar jobs; enjoy a larger income; and earn higher social status than they. And we did.

I wonder what parents like ours want for their children today. I wonder how realistic they think their dreams might be. I wonder how realistic they really are.




712Frame 4


Looking at this image causes really strong emotions to surge. We were so young! so naive! and, toward the end, so much in love. The youth is gone. The naivety is gone. But not the love!!


We did lots of courting on that front porch. No lattice then, but there was a porch swing. Jewel and I spent a lot of really good time there. No appointment or dress code or entry fees …. Just being together. And just being together is as important now as it was then. Like right this moment. Jewel’s upstairs right now, while I’m downstairs … but we’re together. In a few moments she’ll come downstairs, and we’ll be together in space as well as spirit.

There used to be a huge oak tree growing several feet from the house, right in front of the door. It died, I forget why, but for a long time there was a stump there. Jewel’s mother had lots of caladium plants in big cans that had held vegetables and sauces for the school cafeteria she managed. No sign of it now. Don’t know whether it was ground away by a subsequent owner or just merged with the elements through natural processes.

There was one bedroom upstairs in the attic and another to our left behind the lattice. There was also a bed just off the dining room in a small space behind that bedroom, at the foot of the stairs. When I met them, her mom and dad used the downstairs bedroom, Jewel the attic. Jewel’s brother was in the space off the dining room.

Needless to say, there was no satellite television antenna. But there was a television, one of the first in the neighborhood. Jewel’s mom bought it with money she had saved from her cafeteria job. At first I remember Jewel’s dad spending time there watching baseball. (He never forgave the Brooklyn Dodgers for having recruited Jackie Robinson.) Later her mom and dad would relax there in big chairs, watch for a while, and then fall asleep and start snoring in chorus.

Want to send the Koch brothers for Christmas

Written by Scarabus

Note: In fairness, we should always remember that there’s a third billionaire Koch brother, Bill. He’s mostly conservative; but he cares more about the environment; he’s not a rabidly anti-democratic, plutocratic ideologue; and he doesn’t at all get along with Charles and David.


Anyhow, this morning I got the email appeal below, on the left, from Free Speech TV. I was cool with it, except for one thing: These guys love burning fossil fuel to pollute the atmosphere. Thus, to send them a lump of coal for having been naughty would be a reward rather than an insult.

I decided it would be better to send them a gift that piss them off, so I modified the flyer to what you see on the right. For their “naughty boys” stocking stuffer, I suggested model wind and solar generators rather than fossil fuel. (I also changed the caption.)


Kochcomp 3

Ads for Duluth Trading

Written by Scarabus

I admit I like the Duluth Trading ads. (You can learn about them at the company’s nicely designed website.) Now mind you, I watch any one ad only two or three times, and the campaign as a whole is getting old. Still, the ads are clever while hinting just a bit at the naughty. So with the preamble, this morning I got this ad in an email flyer:


FreeRange 2


Compare that to the follow, which I went to the Jockey site to find:


Jockey 1


Three things “jump out” at you, so to speak: Duluth uses illustrations, Jockey photos of real men; the invisible models in the Duluth ad received noticeably bigger “packages” from Santa than did the visible models in the Jockey ad; and the Duluth prices are significantly higher.

Duluth always relies on illustrations rather than photos, and Jockey usually relies on photos. However, Duluth doesn’t often use invisible models. I wonder why they did here. The size of the invisible models’ privates is part of the schtick (sic), of course. “Free range”? They aren’t talking about chickens raised in a yard instead of a cage! So what about the pricing?

The Duluth underwear normally sell for $20 a pair. The Jockey for $10, $12, and $7.50, respectively. Could be that the material is significantly different. Duluth boasts “organic” cotton. I have no idea what that means in respect to cotton; but “organic” is usually better for the environment, and we’re used to paying more to get it. Could be that the workmanship is better.

I wonder if there isn’t some subconscious mechanism at work, though. Like a brand name thing. Pay more and feel good about it if everyone can tell you wear shirts only if they have a little polo player or crocodile or whatever displayed somewhere discrete but impossible to miss. Maybe if you wear Duluth underwear you’ll suddenly feel better endowed. Maybe if you know others can catch sight of your Duluth label, you can feel good about conveying the impression you can pay twice as much for your garments.


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[Click me for a 3 minute YouTube video.]

Are you a true conservative? Find out for yourself!

Written by Scarabus


A Political Ideology Inventory

Answer each of the following questions, then look further down to how you did.


Inventory 1






Check your results:

  1. If you answered “No” to every question in the left column and “Yes” to every question in the right, then congratulations! Your views are politically correct in every possible way. You are worthy to sit at the “captain’s table” with Ron Reagan, John Birch, and other worthies.
  2. If you answered “No” to at least 8 or 9 questions in the left column and “Yes” to at least 8 or 9 in the right column, then you are worthy to then you will live for eternity in a whites only sort of nice section of the celestial Conservative Gated Community.
  3. If you answered “No” to at least 6 or 7 questions in the left column and “Yes” to at least 6 or 7 in the right column, then you will have to will live for eternity in a shanty town outside of the celestial Conservative Gated Community. Your neighbors will include blacks like Ben Carson, hispanics like Ted Cruz, lunatics like Michele Bachmann, and gay Republican politicians who managed to stay closeted.
  4. If you answered “No” to 5 or fewer questions in the left column and “Yes” to at least 5 or fewer in the right column, then I’m afraid you’re screwed. You’ll have to spend eternity in Liberal Inferno. The good news is that you’ll be comfortable because you’ll be cooled by renewable energy; you’ll have clean water and safe food; you’ll live in any neighborhood you wish; the Koch brothers won’t be there to tell what to think and how to feel; ALEC won’t be deciding whether you’re allowed to vote; and you’ll never again have to go to church unless you really want to.

Dante’s 8th Circle

Written by Scarabus


While working on something else I happened to think how today’s Republicans would feel right at home in the 8th Circle of Dante’s Inferno, the part where sorcerers and astrologers are being punished. How? They’re force to walk forward, but their heads are attached backward so they can see is what lies behind them – the past, so to speak. Needless to say, they frequently stumble and cause injury to themselves and others.


Dante s inferno canto 20

Churning Children into profits: School Privatization [Warning! Potentially disturbing cartoon at the bottom!]

Written by Scarabus


Thanks to The Progressive for these resources!


Progressive Banner






Click here to find an interactive map showing what’s happening in various states:


National map 1





Here’s a cartoon showing how I feel about this.

Warning! Not for the squeamish!







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