Saturday, December 31, 2022



I used to make predictions every year.  Covid was such a disruption that I finally just waved the white flag and gave up.  But, now I’m ready to give it one more shot.  The 2023 predictions:

_1 The Ukraine-Russia conflict gets resolved. Probably before the end of March.  Russia gets something out of it and the world agrees that Russia did not lose the war (even if they did.)

_2 With the Ukraine-Russia situation settled world energy markets calm down and the European economy starts a slow recovery.  2023 will not be great and we will have a recession.  But it won’t be very deep nor will it last long.  Inflation eases up.

_3 The 2024 Presidential campaign is in full swing by the second half of the year.  The Democrats are stuck with Biden/Harris and the Republicans try to figure out how to make Trump go away.  I predict Trump does indeed fade out.  Barring a scandal of some sort, DeSantis is the favorite going into 2024.

_4 The Stock Market surges in the second half of 2023.

_5 2023 will be a big year for M&A activity, especially in transportation/logistics and food/grocery.

_6 Georgia repeats as college football national champs. Kansas City wins the Super Bowl.

_7 As evidence mounts that Covid originated in a Chinese lab, the “Covid Story” goes away.  Republicans will push it, but it will be to a dead end.

_8 There will be some Federal response, at last, to the border crisis.  It has become a nasty loose end going into the 2024 elections and the Democrats recognize the need to do something.

_9 The United States, along with other Western industrialized nations, continues to move further to the left on climate, economic and social issues.  Conservatives will object and continue to issue dire warnings.  But the tide has turned and isn’t likely to change until there is some sort of cataclysmic event.

_10 And lastly, I have one prediction that is guaranteed to be correct: Expect the Unexpected. 

"A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both." - Milton Friedman

Saturday, December 24, 2022



2022 has been interesting.  If you like roller-coasters, you may even have enjoyed it. On the Chinese Zodiac calendar 2022 was The Year of The Tiger.  But not just any Tiger.  This was the year of the Water Tiger.  This “water” concept is part the ancient Wuxing philosophy that sees all of creation being subject to the cycle of Five Elements: Wood, Earth, Fire, Metal and Water.  Water is the low point.  It is the most “Yin” of the five elements.  Its motion is downward and inward.  Its energy is stillness and conserving.  Its color is black, its time the night, its light the moon.  It comes from the north and it brings cold.


As a Christian, I take seriously the warnings not to delve too far into such things.  Not because they are not real; but because they are real and come from a place where dark spirits work against God and those created in his image.  I would say those dark spirits have been hard at it in 2022.  The world is in chaos, nations are struggling with inflation and access to reliable, affordable energy.  The shadow of Covid and the fear of what comes next is ever present.  The cultural divide between progressives and conservatives has never been greater.  The basics of civilization are up for grabs.  We can’t agree on energy, food, education, housing, work, sex, gender, marriage, giving birth, dying, law and order, art, literature, humor or even what words are permissible.  Morality is relative and God is whatever one chooses “it” to be or not at all.


Obviously, this didn’t all just start in 2022.  It’s been building up forever, since The Fall or The Beginning, wherever one chooses to plant that stake.  But it has been accelerating and 2022 feels like the bands are about to break.  We can only do so much and we can only take so much.  2023 will be The Year of the Rabbit.  But it’s the Water Rabbit.  So, we are still under water.  I suppose the world can hope it does not get any deeper before we run out of air.


As for me, I will cling to The Faith and look to Jesus.  There is only one Truth.  I know that’s not popular to say these days.  But it doesn’t make it any less so.  2000 years ago, God became one of us in order to save us from the dark powers of this world.  Those powers do not want us to believe that.  But it doesn’t change the facts of the matter.  In the end, all of the elements, including Wood, Earth, Fire, Metal and Water will be consumed and replaced by a New Heaven and a New Earth.  The lion and lamb will lie down together as will the tiger and the rabbit.  And there will be Peace.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

We Will Run Again


I walk my dog most days.  Usually we walk the fields, but when it’s too wet we take to the pavement.  Barney is a two-year old English Springer Spaniel.  We often call him Barney Two or B2.  We had another Springer named Barney but that was years ago, a different time and many different places.


When Barney One was with us I could still run.  We ran many miles together.  And when we lived in Montana, he would go up into the mountains with me.  I would let him off the leash.  But he never ventured too far away and would come running back when I called him.  I always worried that he would run into a mountain lion someday or maybe even a bear.  But he loved being off the leash whenever possible.  So, I let him run.


But the years and a bad knee have ended my running days.  The bad knee has been replaced, but I’m a big guy and the doctor said it would be best if I did not run on it.  I might run if I was being chased or in an emergency.  But for exercise it’s down to walking.  With some recent back problems, even the walking is not what it used to be.  I reckon it’s not more than 3 mph and sometimes less.  Barney Two loves the walks, but I know he wants to run or at least walk faster.  It’s taken a lot of hard tugs and hard words to make him quit pulling.  But when something excites him, he still wants to take off.


At times during our walks he looks back at me as if to ask “Is this the best you can do?  Can’t we just pick up the pace a little bit?”  I think he somehow knows that once upon a time I could do better.  When we show him old photos of Barney One, I wonder if he knows that we ran together, that I wasn’t always old and slow.  


We have a large fenced back yard and Barney will run the fence line barking at birds in the field or squirrels in the trees.  Sometimes when I go out in the yard, he will run up and jump as if to say, c’mon let’s run.  It feels great.  Then he will stop and just stand there waiting for a hug because he knows that’s the best I can do until it’s time for our walk.  But as I hug him, I always tell him that someday I will run again and that he and Barney One will be running with me.  Just not today.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Not The Same Game


If Conservatives want to win more elections they must play a different game than their Progressive opponents.  Red meat rallies and attacks on Progressive ideologies, institutions or leaders will only be turned around and used against them.  When conservatives go after Progressives, it becomes hate speech, or it is somehow inciting violence; or it’s racist or homophobic or misogynistic.  In the end it becomes a threat to Democracy. 


On the other hand, when Progressives start calling out Conservatives; it’s filtered as main-stream news, fodder for talk shows, a skit on SNL or receives a  tweet storm of approval.   We just need to accept that Progressive criticism of those on the Right is mostly considered accurate, constructive, relevant and moral.  But that’s not how it works in the other direction.


Conservatives are forced to play a different game.  Essentially offer positive solutions to the problems most people are facing without blaming, shaming or finger-pointing at those mostly responsible for the problems in the first place.  Better yet take some responsibility for the problems and apologize.  Seriously, just say you’re sorry.


The playing field is not level.  Don’t feed the narrative.  Play nice and don’t make it personal.  The other side has already made up their minds about you…don’t keep reminding them. 

Monday, October 31, 2022

What Matters Most...


Early voting has begun in what might be one of the most contentious mid-term elections since the last one....and the one before that one...and the one before...I’ll stop there.  In all honesty, this might be the most contentious mid-term election ever.  It’s just where we are these days.  Divided on so many fundamental issues that there seems to be no middle ground left to stand on. 

So who wins and who loses?  It all depends on what matters most to the most people.  And that depends on who is voting. And it will look a lot different in “blue” states than in “red” states.  Even within those colors, the voting will vary by county and region.  Even Texas is starting to increasingly reflect shades of blue.  Winning and losing in today’s divided nation comes down to the margins.  Which side can control the House and Senate.  In Presidential elections and close Senate races it can come down to a few key counties in a few key states that determine the outcome. 

Both parties can rely on their solid cores.  The Democrats traditionally struggle with turnout, but they’ve done a better job since Trump’s big upset win in 2016.  The blue core is going to vote.  The Republican core will always turn out.  But demographics are working against them.  Republicans must convert independents as well as members of traditional Democratic “identity” groups such as Latinos.  Even some Blacks are starting to lean right, but for the most part they are going to vote Democrat.

So what moves the needle for those voters who are not “hardcore” in either camp?  The Democrats are banking on Abortion rights and lingering anti-Trump sentiment to motivate independents to vote Democrat.  Gun Control, Climate Change, Diversity-Equity-Inclusion issues are foundational to hardcore Democrats.  But it’s Abortion and Anti-Trumpism that really matter at the margins.

Republicans must push the buttons on inflation, crime and kids while creating some distance from Trumpism.  Border security tends to be more of a regional issue, important but not so much for the majority of independent voters.   The number one pain point for most people is inflation.  That should be a winner for the Republicans.  Not because their hands are clean on the issue, but because the Democrats have really lost control of the economy. 

Crime is a clear winner for Republicans.  People are just fed up with the surge in criminal activity.  The Democrats have earned their reputation for being soft on crime and it will be a major factor for independents. 

And with kids, it’s about education vs indoctrination and a growing awareness that something is “off” in the way kids are being taught and what they are being taught.  Parents of all races, ethnicity and religious backgrounds are pushing back on CRT and progressive gender/sexuality ideologies being taught to their children.

But, Republicans must not underestimate the impact of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that essentially pushed the abortion issue back to the States.  And with many Red States passing extremely restrictive abortion legislation, this has become a rallying point for women including many in the center who might otherwise be inclined to vote Republican.

And then there is Trumpism.  Outside of his hardcore followers, one finds very little support for Trump even within the Republican party, much less among independents.  At some point, Republican leadership must rip the band-aid off and be done with Trump once and for all.  Even if it means the Trumpers start a third party movement and cripple the Republican party in the near term.  A Republican Party that allows itself to remain hostage to Trumpism cannot survive. 

In a two-party system both parties must remain viable.  The Democrats are allowing far left Progressives to push them into a 30-40% support corner from which they can only win if there is no better alternative for moderate, middle of the road voters.  Now the big question is which is the lesser of two evils?  Far Left Progressivism or Far Right Trump Nationalism?  If those are the only two options, The Left has the advantage.  They are standing on the moral high ground of our postmodern secular culture when it comes to women’s reproductive rights, social justice for the “marginalized” and fighting against The Fascists (aka Trumpers).  

These mid-term elections are likely to determine the direction of both parties for at least the next ten years.  If there is a “Red Wave”, Trump will claim much of the credit.  He will either be the Presidential candidate in 2024 or determine who will be.  If the Democrats can find a viable candidate, they will win the White house. 

However, if the Democrats were to do better than projected and the Republicans finally realize that Trump is more of a liability than an asset, it might trigger a major shift for the party.  Two more years of Progressive policies and chaos would almost certainly open the door for sweeping changes in 2024. A more moderate, inclusive Republican Party would likely win the White House as well as seize control of both the House and the Senate.   

We will soon see how this all plays out.  It should be interesting, even if it's only more of the same.

“Politicians are like bad horsemen who are so preoccupied with staying in the saddle that they can’t bother about where they are going.” – Joseph Schumpeter

Monday, October 10, 2022

Growing in Grace


Two weeks ago I wrote about how our plans are never certain.  God may not laugh at our plans, but he does not bless them either if they are not according to his plans or his purpose.  I still don’t know why God allowed my back problem to become disabling just before we were to head off for two weeks in Italy.  Even more baffling, my pain level started going down last week and by the time we would have arrived back in the States I was probably back to 80% of where I was before this episode began.  Candidly, if I had felt no worse than this on September 22, we would have boarded that flight to Italy and taken our chances. 

Perhaps God in his wisdom knew that the long flight, sleeping in strange beds, dragging luggage around, walking up and down old stone pathways, standing in line to view the “must-see’s” one must see when one is in Italy, too much good Italian food and drink; or some combination of these would have triggered the disabling pain.  Certainly not a thing one would wish to experience while on an overseas trip. 

Now based on the MRI and the back specialist’s assessment, this problem may be treatable without surgery.  Especially given that the pain has subsided and there are no signs of lost strength or nerve damage.  But my lower back remains in need of professional therapy and treatment.  That this painful event was going to happen at some point is almost certain.  That it happened when it did I believe was providential.  We had asked God to bless this trip and watch over us.  I think he did just that. 

The lesson here is that God sometimes answers our prayers in ways we would not have expected nor wished for.  He knows more about us, and for that matter everything else, than we do.  He knows that our bodies are breaking down as we age and that some of us accelerate that process be it through pride or pleasure or just plain stupidity.  Our journey in this life is short.  That we experience some pain and suffering along the way is simply part of that journey.   But, thanks be to God that we are not alone.

 "I am certain that I never did grow in grace one-half so much anywhere as I have upon the bed of pain." – Charles Spurgeon

Sunday, October 2, 2022



The other day a friend of mine posted a report on the world’s largest social media platform regarding newspapers cancelling the Dilbert comic strip.  The issue has become somewhat controversial. (Was Dilbert 'Cancelled' as Comic Creator Scott Adams Suggests? (   


Was Dilbert, in fact, too politically incorrect?  Did Scott Adams, Dilbert's creator just in end up on the “wrong side” of the political divide in this country?  These are good questions.  But in all fairness, newspaper comics have been dying for a long time and newspapers are cutting back on that space.  So maybe Dilbert is just one of many…or maybe not. 


 I simply responded to his post with an old quote from Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda: “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play”.  I credited the quote to Goebbels for context.  This prominent social media platform promptly took it down and notified me that I was banned from making comments or posts for thirty days.  Interesting.


I guess I got a digital time.  But this action simply confirms the very issue in question.  If I had made some sort of “Woke” endorsed comment about Dilbert being canceled,  I am confident there would have been no backlash. But even the hint that perhaps our government, directly or indirectly, is influencing what we read, hear, write or speak is somehow forbidden.  And having the audacity to connect such practices to those of the Nazi’s is just a line you do not cross.  Nazi is the other N word these days…unless, of course, it happens to be The View using it to describe a white gun owner.  History is only relevant if it can be used to support certain agendas. Otherwise, it’s off limits.


And just to put a fine point on it; you may have missed this story if you only follow mainstream media, but it’s a very real and very scary example of what’s going on these days:  Groundswell of Support for Mark Houck, Catholic Father of 7 Arrested in FBI Raid| National Catholic Register (  


Once upon a time I could not have imagined federal agents showing up at a citizen’s front door to haul him off for purely political purposes.  But it’s happening these days. This is McCarthyism on steroids. Be warned, it’s not a big leap from social media cancellation to things like this….or much worse.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

A Change of Plans


“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish adage meaning “Man Plans, and God Laughs.”  Although I’m not Jewish, that has become a favorite saying of mine.  I have learned over the years that a lot of things do not work out the way I expect, even when I make great efforts to plan and prepare.  And while I remain a pessimist by nature, I still live with this illusion that if I plan well enough and prepare as much as possible, the outcome will be positive.  But Forest Gump was correct when he observed that life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re going to get.  I have experienced this more than a few times in my life.  Believe me, that lesson has been learned. But apparently God decided that I needed a refresher course.


In January 2020 my wife and I planned a trip to Italy.  Our plan was to travel in late September and spend two weeks in Italy.  We had everything lined up to the last detail.  And then there was Covid. That shut everything down.  We thought, well maybe 2021.  But Covid still had the world tied up in knots.  So, we looked to 2022.  With over two years of planning and research we had the perfect trip planned. Not that I didn’t have concerns. I always have concerns.  I worried about our flights, the weather, were our accommodations going to be as good as advertised and worth the money?  Would the tours we had booked be worth our time (and money)?   Still with two weeks left before our departure everything seemed to be in order.  We had covered all the bases.  What could go wrong? 


Off and on throughout my life I have had the occasional back ache.  But nothing major.  In fact, I’ve been blessed with good health and have been able to stay fit.  But in recent years the back aches have come and gone more frequently.  Early in the summer I’d noticed some of that pain radiating in my right hip.  Just to be safe I went to the doctor.  No big deal, no arthritis, just very tight muscles in my hips and thighs.  He prescribed some physical therapy and after a few weeks all seemed to be well and getting better.  


And then the unexpected.  Two weeks before we were to leave, the hip pain returned.  So, I ramped up my stretching program along with continuing my normal exercises of walking, using the elliptical machine and strength training.  But the pain just got worse spreading from my hip into my thigh and my calf.  Five days before departure I could barely walk. 


So, we ended up back at the doctor. This time he x-rayed my back.  The results were not good.  

“Mr. Click your lower lumber spine appears to be the source of the problem. The pain in your hip, thigh and calf are from nerves in that area.  It would be a very bad idea for you to take that trip to Italy.  In fact, I am advising you to just rest and do as little as possible for now.  We will schedule you to see our back specialist.  In the meantime, let’s get an MRI.  He will want those results when he sees you.  Here’s a prescription for pain and a muscle relaxer.  Go home.”


Ok God, I get it.  Haven’t I had this lesson often enough?  My plans and your laughter.  I know there are things I cannot control.  But who or what is in control of something like this?  As a Christian, I know that you are ultimately in control.  You are the Creator and I am one of your creations.  But why this, why now?  If you want me to go through back surgery or whatever this turns out to be, couldn’t you have scheduled it for some other time?  Is this just all part of us living in a fallen, broken world?  Or am I the victim of some Job-like wager made in the heavens?  Given that Job was much more righteous than I am, that could not have been an even bet.   Was it pride that motivated me to push myself too hard for too long over too many years?  Did I ignore the warning signs?  Is this going to be a lesson in humility?  Is it time to just accept that I am getting old and this body is wearing out?  


And God you know that I have prayed for patience.  Is this how you want me to learn it? I have no choice now.  I must wait for doctors and wait for tests and wait for a diagnosis.  And then more waiting for treatment, possibly surgery.   If surgery is required, then wait through a long recovery period for an uncertain outcome.  So, I must learn patience…and hopefully find some peace along the way.


God, are you telling me to listen more to you and less to myself and others?  That I tend to pursue the things I want to pursue and then ask you to bless them?  Maybe you are telling me that I’ve had things backwards. When I pray: “Thy Kingdom come… Thy Will be done… On Earth …As it is in Heaven”; that doesn’t mean the wind will always be at my back and the lights are always green.  Perhaps it really means Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven according to your purposes and your plans, not mine.  Not my will, but yours be done. 


God has a way of getting our attention one way or the other. I may wish that he had chosen another way of getting mine, but I can only trust that He knows best.  And God is not laughing at me.  He is just loving me...and for that I am most thankful.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55: 8-9

Thursday, August 25, 2022

The First Spoiled Generation


I am part of the Baby Boomer Generation.  The children of the Greatest Generation.  The Baby Boomers grew up during what has been called the Golden Age of America.  After The Depression and World War II, America emerged as the dominant world power.  The 50s and 60s were times of progress, prosperity and promise; certainly for white folks at any rate.  We stopped briefly to protest in the late 60’s.  The 70’s were a bit of a rough patch.  But then we caught the next big wave of the 80’s and 90’s.  And many of us ended up living very well….still do.

So what’s wrong with that?  Maybe nothing or maybe everything.  But what is clear is that we Baby Boomers were the First Spoiled Generation.  And that has had enormous consequences for this nation.   Our children became the First Generation begat by Spoiled Parents.  That circle of indulgence and entitlement, once begun, remains unbroken and grows ever wider.  What we are experiencing in 2022 goes back to that First Spoiled Generation of Baby Boomers.

It's interesting to watch Baby Boomers try and find the reset button.  We think if we can sound and act like our parents and grandparents, then maybe it’s not too late to set things right.  Once upon a time Billy Joel sang “We Didn’t Start The Fire”.  And he might have been right.  But we darn sure poured gasoline on it.  We didn’t destroy the foundations and cornerstones of our society, we just ignored them.  We even celebrated that ignorance and neglect with our music and our movies. 

Aging Baby Boomers now talk about God and Faith and Family Values as if we were the last upholders of moral virtue.  But we know the truth.  We just don’t like to admit it.  We opened a Pandora’s box of sexual liberation, drugs and materialism.  Divorce rates skyrocketed.  Addictive behaviors got worse.  Too many of our kids and grandkids struggle with mental and physical health issues.   We grew to enjoy raw sex and graphic violence in our entertainment.  So we got more and more of it.  And now that there are lines being crossed which we could never have imagined; we self-righteously object and demand a return to those good old family values.

Boomers are angry.  But more than angry they are scared.  We know that we have sown the wind and are now reaping the whirlwind.  America would look much different today if we Baby Boomers had been faithful to God and Family.  It’s now up to the younger generation to find the way.  The best thing Baby Boomers can do is confess our sins and stop preaching. We’ve done enough already.

"Teach your children well. Their father's hell will slowly go by.  And feed them on your dreams, the ones they picked, the ones you'll know by." - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (written by Jeff Healey)

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Why The Democrats Need Trump


“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections.  It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment…that which they cannot anticipate.” – Sun Tzu

If anyone seriously believes that the Democrats are actually trying to disqualify Donald Trump from running for President in 2024, they would do well to read Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” and pay attention.  The Democrats are playing chess while the MAGA Republicans are playing checkers. 


There is a reason why Democratic backed operatives are quietly funding Trump backed candidates going into the mid-term elections.  There is a reason why left-leaning judges, agencies and Congressional Democrats are relentless in their pursuit of Trump and his supporters; and it has little to do with “January 6th”.  It has a lot to do with the upcoming mid-terms; and everything to do with the 2024 Presidential Race.


The best thing the Democrats have to run on is their defense of democracy against the MAGA/Trump Republican assault.  Presidential elections are won and lost in the swing states and swing states can be won or lost in a few zip codes.  The Democrats know that the Republican base is going to vote Republican, including those Republicans who can’t stand Trump.  But they will vote for him anyway simply because they believe where the Democrats want to take this country is even worse.  So for the Democrats it comes down to capturing Independents who cannot bring themselves to vote for Trump.  Best case they vote Democrat, but perhaps they just don’t vote period which is better than having them vote Republican.  And that often is enough to move the needle in a swing state.


Secondly for the Democrats it comes down to turn out.  They need a highly motivated base of voters.  They know that most Republicans will vote.  But the Democrats tend to struggle with turnout.  So the focus has to be on “The Fight”.  The fight to save democracy, the fight to protect women's rights, the fight to retain and extend all of the personal freedoms that have been won over the past 60 or so years.  The fight to save the planet, the fight for social justice, the fight to end gun violence, the fight for your right to party, but most of all… the fight for Democrats to stay in power.


“The Fight” is all the Democrats have to run on.  Their economic policies have failed.  They have mishandled virtually every encounter with our enemies around the world.  Crime has surged wherever Democrats are in charge.  They have failed to protect our borders.  Their leaders are incompetent, incoherent and delusional; even more so than the Republican leadership which is quite an accomplishment in itself. 


Every fight needs a hero and a villain.  And in America, our heroes and villains are defined by journalists and media personalities, teachers and educators, artists and entertainers along with wealthy globalist elites;  most all of whom lean left.  The bigger the villain: the bigger the battle to be fought.  Who better to be that villain than Donald J. Trump? 

Monday, July 25, 2022


"I'm going to go pee. If the universe is bigger and stranger than I can imagine, it's best to meet it with an empty bladder".  - John Scalzi, Old Man's War

Even as a young man I occasionally got up during the night to go pee. If I felt any urge down there I just couldn’t get comfortable.  As I got older, the trips became more frequent.  In fact, the last time I can recall sleeping through the night was 10 years ago down in the Big Bend Country.  We were staying at The Gage Hotel in Marathon and after a full day of activity went over to Alpine for dinner and drinks.  And I had a few more drinks, then more than a few more drinks.  I was very thirsty.  My wife drove us back to Marathon.  I just remember that it was sundown and the mountains were beautiful.  We got back to The Gage, I fell on the bed and slept in my clothes.  Never moved.  And the next morning, other than being incredibly thirsty, I felt great.  I guess that’s what a good night’s sleep will do for you.


Since then, every night has been filled with trips to the bathroom.  At first one or two times.  Then three, often four times.  And then during the day I started having what I called “Peeing Encores”.   One goes and pees, then 10-15 minutes later, one goes and pees again.  Certainly not the best way to travel if you’re flying coach on a crowded flight sitting in a window seat. But it can lead to a fellow passenger giving up their aisle seat for you.


During my annual physicals the doctor would do the finger wave. (If you don’t know what that means, look it up.  And it has nothing to do with women’s hairstyles).  The doctor noted that I had a slightly enlarged prostate, but not to worry.  I told him about the frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom and he encouraged me to cut back on the antihistamines and limit my fluid intake in the evenings.  Of course, I did neither of those.


Finally, I decided to go to a urologist.  He put me on Tamsulosin (Flomax).  After 45 days, there was no improvement.  Then he said let’s add Oxybutynin a drug that calms the bladder.  The only effect was that it relaxed my upper stomach and gave me severe acid reflux which I had never had before and never want again.  So we stopped that.  A few weeks later, I decided to have the exam.  The exam being a cystoscopy procedure where the urologist inserts a device in the penis, runs it up the channel a ways, takes a look, a few images, pumps you full of fluid and then has you pee into a vial hooked up to machine that measures your “flow”.


Turns out that my flow was really bad.  And the images showed that I also was starting to develop bladder stones.  No trouble today but would only get larger and become big trouble tomorrow.  Indeed, I had the classic old man’s problem, an enlarged prostate, aka Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).  Benign sounded good, Hyperplasia not so much.


So the urologist gave me several options including continuing medication.  But the reality was that surgery was the best option and the best surgical option was the tried and true “gold-standard” of BPH surgeries: TURP (Transurethral Resection of the Prostate.)   TURP is just medical shorthand and a fair bit of marketing genius if you ask me.  It sounds a whole lot better than saying we’re going to stick a cable in your penis and run it up through the urethra and use a little roto-rooter like instrument to carve out enough tissue so you can pee better and less often.  Now Mr. Click we just need a few signatures.


So I signed up.  It would require a night, maybe two, in the hospital.  Post-surgery I would have a catheter in for as long as necessary and might even get to wear it home.  I had a catheter several years ago with a left knee replacement.  I spent two nights in the hospital, even got up and moved around with it.  The nurse took it out before they sent me home and it wasn’t that bad.  But with another bit of good salesmanship, what the urologists don’t tell you is that the catheter they use after TURP surgery is the size of a small garden hose which in necessary to handle the volume of water and blood that comes out.  And just for fun it has an inflatable balloon that keeps everything open while your wounded and angry prostate responds to the invasion. Fortunately, they deflate the balloon before they take the catheter out, but it’s just one more thing.  What goes in, must come out.  


The good news is that I only had one night, one long sleepless night in the hospital with noisy equipment running to monitor blood pressure and keep the fluids pumping through the IV in my arm and out the catheter in my little friend.  I was also drinking water non-stop.  Anything to speed up the process and get me out of this cage.  But I did have my I-pad and my noise-cancelling Bose headphones.  So I watched “The Terminal List” or listened to classical music.  Every couple of hours the nurse came in to empty the catheter bag (which was at least gallon size) and muse about the color of liquid that had come out of my body.  The good news is there really wasn’t much pain, just a lot of discomfort and inconvenience.


“Take a deep breath Mr. Click and when I tell you to breathe out, I’ll remove the catheter.  There may a be a little bleeding.  Okay?”  As if I was going to say, “Nah, I think I’ll just wear this home and wait for it to slip out on its own someday”.   So I took a deep breath and she said breathe out.  As I did, in one smooth, quick motion she pulled the garden hose out.  And it did hurt.  How could it not?  And it was a bloody mess.  But it was out, thank God.


But before they would let me go home I had to conquer the pee challenge.  I’m chugging down water like crazy and peeing as best I can into one of three numbered quart sized pitchers. The goal is to see if the urine has an ever-decreasing amount of blood in it.  If not, the nurse suggested that they might have to put the catheter back in and send me home with it.  That was at once more than enough motivation to keep me chugging water to clear up the stream.   The nurse was taking pics of my output and mailing them to the urologist who would make the final decision about the release with or without the garden hose.


I do believe in prayer.  But, in the grand scheme of things, I wasn’t sure if God cared all that much if I had to go home with a catheter or not.  I concluded that if I did, there must be a reason and it must be for the best.  So I alternated between praying that my pee would clear up enough to pass inspection;  but if not, praying that I would deal with all of it graciously, being thankful that I lived in a time when such medical solutions are available.  Thank God for doctors and nurses.  Thank God for those who invent, design and manufacture the technology and equipment used in modern medicine, including catheters. Thank God that I live in this time and this place and have access to medical care.  And thank God for anesthetic.


Now almost two weeks post-surgery, things are getting back to normal.  It will take 4-6 weeks to determine how effective the procedure is in correcting my “pee problem”.  At this point, I am optimistic. But, also realistic enough to know that time takes its toll and something else in this old body will start to fail one of these days. 

“For dust you are and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Alter or Abolish


These days it’s a real challenge to write about serious matters.  Somewhat like walking on broken glass. Therefore, one is left to write about dogs and butterflies, or what they had for breakfast.  Even those innocent topics can draw fire from those who are ever ready to be offended.  And just try saying something about abortion, guns, critical race theory, climate change, crime, vaccinations, immigration, inflation or education.  Good luck with that.


Now it would appear that July 4th has been added to the list of “hot topics”.  With the recent Supreme Court ruling that returned the abortion issue back to the states, the whole idea of American Independence has once again gone under the microscope of public opinion.  


This is not the first time American Independence has been questioned.  Slaves were, by definition, not independent.  Even after slavery was abolished, black citizens were only as independent as white citizens would allow.  Not that long ago, women by tradition, law and holy scripture had very little independence.  Native Americans became dispossessed prisoners, forced on to land not of their choosing. Living in ways they did not know or understand.  Independence lost.  Those Americans who labored on farms and in factories were only as independent as the next harvest or paycheck.  And while new immigrants found America to be a better place than the one they left behind, economic freedom and independence would be hard to come by.


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…”  The Declaration of Independence goes on to insist that Governments exist to secure these “Rights” and when such Governments fail to do so; the people who are governed have the Right to alter or abolish such Governments and institute new ones.  


In July 2022 we find ourselves, those who are governed, somewhere between “alter” and “abolish”.  The genius of our Founding Fathers was the creation of a Constitutional Republic of States, a Federation, that gave us the best system yet devised by which people might secure those Rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.  A system of checks and balances, alteration and amendment.  But it’s not perfect.  Not long after the ink was dry we fought a Civil War where over 600,000 Americans lost their lives in the name of freedom and independence because they could not agree on what those words meant. 


On this July 4th, take care America.  We must come together peacefully and resume this Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness adventure even if we cannot agree on exactly what those words mean. Perhaps we start by listening more and talking less.  Seek to understand, not just to be understood. And we could certainly use fewer fireworks and more forgiveness.  Let's try a little tenderness for a change, America. 


“Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves have poisoned the fountain”

- John Locke

Saturday, June 4, 2022

On Our Own


Ask most any law enforcement officer, off the record of course, about the need for law-abiding citizens to have guns for self-defense and protection and they will nod and say, absolutely.  They will likely qualify that response by saying that gun owners need to know how to handle guns safely and responsibly.  But they know how dangerous it is out there and they know that law enforcement just cannot be there to stop an assault before it happens or while it’s happening.  In that moment, it’s between the attacker and the attacked.  That’s reality.


But there are some fundamental questions Americans must answer.


_1 Do we have the right to possess and use firearms?

_2 What sort of firearms should we be allowed to possess and use?

_3 Who should be allowed to possess and use firearms?

_4 How should we control and regulate the possession and use of firearms?

_5 What should the penalties be for illegally possessing or using firearms?


We know there is very little agreement between Progressives and Conservatives when it comes to answering these questions.  We also know that guns are used to kill a lot of people in this country and that certain types of guns are often used by the crazies who decide to commit mass murder.  Note that I said “guns are used”; not that guns kill.  Big difference.


So where does this leave us?  I don’t know about the nation as a whole; but I do know about my own circumstances.  We live outside the city limits.  If bad guys show up, my wife and I are on our own.  This would still be true if we lived in the city, even if it was in an apartment with neighbors all around.  But it’s especially true out where we live now.  I have a shotgun in my office.  I am prepared for varmints, two or four-legged.  We have handguns in the house, one in the family room, a 9MM semi-auto; and one in our bedroom, a .357 revolver.  We have several other handguns, rifles and shotguns.  We lock them all up when we have visitors or kids around.   


My wife is also a realtor and handles property from the northern suburbs of DFW all the way into Southern Oklahoma.  She has her concealed carry license.  I’m glad that she is armed.  Realtors, especially female realtors are targets and more than a few have been attacked, raped, and murdered.


I also have a concealed carry license.  When I was a younger man, I didn’t worry too much about defending myself. I was big, strong, tough, and athletic. I had a false sense of security and didn’t see the need for a gun.  Now I am older, slower, and weaker.   And more of the bad guys are well-armed.  So, I keep a pistol in my truck just in case.


I don’t own an AR-15 type rifle, but some of my neighbors do.  Most everyone out here is armed to some degree and most folks have a dog or two or three hanging around.  Some of us have security systems and cameras.  Are we being paranoid, overly cautious?  Perhaps.  But the bad guys know that folks around here are well-armed and prepared.  I will acknowledge that having guns around makes it more likely that some one will be shot accidently or commit suicide with a gun or in the heat of the moment shoot another family member or neighbor.  But on balance, we’ll take our chances with those unlikely outcomes versus being unarmed and unprepared.  And that’s our choice to make.  Because for the most part, we are on our own out here.

Am I ignoring recent events?  Not at all.  What happened in Buffalo and Uvalde and Tulsa and Ames and on and on; are tragic and must be addressed.  Tighter regulations on who can own what sort of guns makes sense.  It might help some.  But those bent on killing will find other ways to kill.  We must do better when it comes to recognizing those who are mentally unstable and on the brink.   We must improve security around soft targets.  And sadly, we must accept that we are on our own. Taking guns away is not the solution, it’s just surrender.

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” – Thomas Jefferson

Friday, May 6, 2022

Just a Conversation


“I know you from somewhere”, I heard him say.  I looked up but the white man wasn’t talking to me.  He was looking across the small waiting room at the black couple who had just sat down.

The black man replied, “I thought you looked familiar.  You bought your pick-up from __________.”

“That’s right, you’re one of the service managers over there, aren’t you?”/

“Yeah, how are you doing? Everything ok?”

“Yep, just here for a follow up with Dr._____.  You?”

“I’m having some problems with my right eye”.  Then nudging his wife who was sitting beside him, “She said I needed to see Dr._____ or quit complaining about it”.

The white man was with his wife as well and the two couples just started talking.  They talked about their work.  The white man was already retired and the black man was looking forward to it. They talked about where they were from originally and the places they had lived and worked.  The wives told stories about their husbands getting lost and refusing to ask for directions.  They laughed about their husbands telling them how to drive when these women knew perfectly well how to drive.  The women told how their husbands were always teasing the grandchildren and making them mad.  But when they stopped teasing them, the grandkids always asked if Papaw was ok.  

They told stories about when they were younger and their own kids were small.  And how their parents, now passed on, used to prod them to come see them more often.  They talked about the weather and going to church.  The white couple talked about living in West Texas for a few years and not liking it much.  The black couple talked about going back to Mississippi and Alabama to see family when they were younger.  But they had now been in Texas so long, this was home.

They talked about waiting to see doctors and why it always seemed to take so long.  And about getting old and then more about their grandkids.

Then the nurse came out and called a name.  The white man got up with a hand raised saying, “That’s me.”  He told the black man it was good to see him and wished him well with his eye problem.  The wives exchanged goodbyes saying how much they enjoyed visiting with each other.

Just a conversation between members of the human race.

Monday, May 2, 2022

A Five Pound Sack of Sugar


It was a hot day in the summer of 2009 when Kayla and I drove down to Tolar.  We were going there to pick up a little Bichon puppy.  We already had one Bichon, Dillon, who was getting up in years and needed a buddy.  Or at least we thought he did.  Or maybe we just wanted a puppy.  After a rough patch in our marriage, things were settling down.  We had moved back to Texas and this was where we would stay.  Time for a new dog to share our new life.


We had already picked out the name, Boudreaux.  The breeder had sent us his photo and he just looked like his name should be Boudreaux.  Over time we added more names.  He was Boo, or Boo-Boo or Boody Man.  He answered to them all with a tail wag and a happy face that seemed to say I am so glad you spoke to me.


That day in Tolar, when we first met Boudreaux in person, it was love at first sight; for him and for us.  I remember picking him up and saying, “You’re just a five-pound sack of sugar aren’t you?”.   He answered me with dog kisses and panting puppy affection.  He would eventually grow up to weigh twenty pounds, but he never stopped giving kisses or being affectionate.  He was always the same sweet puppy we met that first day.


Boudreaux was the complete opposite of Dillon who tended to be moody and neurotic.  Sometimes Dillon wanted to be petted and sometimes just to be left alone. But Boudreaux and Dillon got along well.  And I have no doubt that Boudreaux’s attitude and positive energy added years to Dillon’s life and, in the end, made Dillon a better dog.


Not long after Dillon passed away, we got Brodie, a Bichon-Havanese mix.  Brodie was a two-and-a half pound sack of sugar with lots of spice.  But he and Boudreaux got along great and became fast friends and allies.  We got a larger kennel so they could stay together and they truly became inseparable.  As Boudreaux aged, Brodie became his little protector.  When we brought Barney, an English Springer, into the family; it was Brodie who would jump on Barney and straighten him out when he played too rough.  Boudreaux, as always, just went with the flow, allowing Barney to chew on his tail and paw at his ears until Brodie came to the rescue.


But in this world, nothing last forever.  This week, Boudreaux took his last ride.  It’s only five miles to the veterinarian, but I wish it had been five hundred.  Just a little more time.  Some months ago the bloodwork from Boudreaux’s annual physical indicated liver problems.  We were concerned and he was given some medication.  Not long ago his bloodwork had shown improvement.  We were encouraged.  But then last week Boudreaux stopped eating.  He had been a bit “off his feed” for a week or two.  Nothing to worry about, or so we thought.  But, he quickly went downhill.  After two days at the vet’s, the outlook was grim.  We brought him back home, praying that he might rally.  He was glad to be home and tried to soldier on.  But he would not or could not eat.  When he drank water he threw up and it was not just water coming out of him.  He was dying.  The vet assured us that other than nausea, he was not in pain, but the end was inevitable and would come soon.


His last few days with us were spent sitting in Kayla’s lap or lying in his kennel next to Brodie.  When he went outside he would perk up for a moment or two and then lay down.  Once he saw me walking Barney in the field next to our house and somehow mustered the energy to wobble out to the fence, but he could not manage to bark.  Seeing Boudreaux trying to run, attempting to be his old self, broke me.  I somehow stumbled through the rest of that walk, tears running down my cheeks and Barney looking up, wondering if he had done something wrong.   I do not cry easily, but during the last days with Boudreaux, I cried often and I cried hard.


In the end, Boudreaux was at peace, ready to go.  And even though we were not ready, one does what one must do.  His ashes will take their place on the shelf alongside those of our first Springer, the original Barney; and Dillon, the cranky old Bichon uncle who showed Boudreaux the ropes when he was just a pup.  We will desperately miss him and today our hearts are broken.  But I take comfort knowing that little sack of sugar is in a better place and heaven just got a whole lot sweeter.

                                  The Five Pound Sack of Sugar - 2009

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Matters of Opinion


“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.” – United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The United Nations ratified the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” in 1948.  No doubt they anticipated that advancements in technology would provide greater access to information and ideas.  More information and more ideas delivered to more people in less time and at lower costs.  But could they have imagined instant messaging on a global scale?  Millions of smart phones capturing images, recording events and transmitting them to the masses in real time?  Information and ideas, good and bad, truth and fiction going viral?  And to what consequence?


Certainly they understood the risks of “fake news” and propaganda.  A war had just been won against Fascism and the Cold War with Communism was on going.  In a world of print media, radio, movies and coming soon, television; there would be a battle for hearts and minds.  But it was manageable.  It had to be manageable.


The generation making that Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is mostly gone now.  Their children are old and fading away.  And their childrens’ children and grandchildren are mostly divided and disillusioned.  The battle for hearts and minds rages 24/7 and there is no escape.  The search for truth has given way to demands for tolerance of whatever ideology the loudest voices declare to be worthy.  


For all practical purposes human rights no longer include the right “to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media”.   As it turns out, receiving and imparting information in a world without shared values is only manageable by censorship and control.  And so the question becomes who gets to censor and who has control?  Welcome to the 21st Century.


“Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast”-The White Queen from Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

Monday, March 28, 2022

Texas 6


There is a documentary series available on Paramount Plus that follows a small-town Texas football program over the course of two seasons.   The town of Strawn, Texas is so small that it can only field a Six-Man team.  But, make no mistake, Six-Man football is still a big deal in the state of Texas because….well…because it’s football.   Texas is a huge state with a lot of small towns.  More than 150 of them have Six-Man football teams.  Most are not very good, but a handful have developed exceptional programs that consistently win and compete for the coveted state title. 'Texas 6' is about one such program.


Strawn is half-way between Fort Worth and Abilene, almost metropolitan compared to some Six-Man teams in Texas.  As an example, Sanderson in far Southwest Texas is 150 miles from Odessa, 200 miles from San Angelo and almost 300 miles from San Antonio.  Strawn is in Palo Pinto county, a place rich in western heritage.  A place where Comanche Indians once ruled, where Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight ranched, a place of oil booms and busts.  Now it’s mostly just a place where State Highway 16 crosses Interstate 20.   A forgettable place passed over by truckers, trains and travelers.  A few stop at Mary’s CafĂ© for one of the best chicken fried steaks in Texas.  And there is dove hunting and deer hunting that still draw people out from the city.  But mostly no one stops and no one cares much about Strawn, Texas.


Being a Texan and a fan of high school football,  I thought the series was great.  But what really struck me was how much it reflected the America that is overlooked, discounted, disparaged and even despised by our “Wealthy Elites”.   Strawn Texas is uniquely Texan, but it has a lot in common with other rural communities and small towns all across America.  I would venture to say that any small town which  is more than an hour’s drive from a major metro area has more in common with the citizens of Strawn Texas than they do with those of major metros within their own state.  Even more so if that small town happens to be located in the South or Midwest.


Palo Pinto County Texas was once solidly Democratic; known back in the day as Texas “Blue Dog” Democrat.  No more.  Over 80% of the votes are now Republican Red.  It’s a poor, hard-scrabble, working class county that votes totally opposite of the way poor, hard-scrabble, working class counties in Texas voted 50 years ago.  This shift is not unique to small town Texas.  It’s happened all over this nation and it’s foundational to the extreme partisanship and division we now experience.


Too many on The Left, including the mainstream media, want to chalk it all up to a toxic mixture of racism, misogyny, Christian fundamentalism, homophobia, right-wing conspiracy peddlers and just plain old stupidity.  Deplorables clinging to their guns and religion.  Unfortunately, the real life of people like those in Strawn, Texas is not well-known and seldom portrayed accurately.  We are more likely to see movies and television shows about people and events which are familiar to those living in big cities or the surrounding urban sprawl.  When life in small town America is shown, it tends to be either idealized or demonized.  The truth, as is most often the case, is somewhere in between.


Texas 6 shows us life in a place where many families live below the poverty line.  Kids are being raised by single moms and grandparents. There are problems with alcohol and drugs.  Teachers and coaches do their best, but too often it's not enough.  Old men hold court over cups of coffee in the convenience store that serves as the local gathering spot.  Mostly they talk about football, the weather, livestock prices and the past.  When politics are discussed it’s with disdain for both parties and politicians in general.  There is a tone of resignation, mixed with patriotism and sadness. Whatever white privilege that may have existed left this town long ago.


So they vote for the lesser of evils, for the charlatans who are not as likely to disrupt what’s left of their way of life.  They cling to the hope reflected in their little high school football team, as well as their guns and their fading faith.  The kids and coaches kneel and say the Lord’s Prayer before each game and then rise to shouts of “Now let’s go kick the shit out of these guys”.  Those who have graduated, lean on the cyclone fence around the football field and remember their best days as they cheer for today’s heroes. Kids who would likely be faceless and nameless in big city high schools are stars in Strawn.  The players, the cheerleaders, even the water boy; everybody know who they are and that matters.  Most of them will move away and live out their lives in the suburbs, barely knowing their neighbors and watching their own kids disappear into the crowd. But they will remember what it was like once upon a time growing up in a small town.