Saturday, February 27, 2016

Is Donald Really a "Strong Christian?"

 Every day now we seem to discover some new wrinkle in the grand tapestry that is Donald Trump. Just yesterday, for instance, we learned that he has been audited every single year since 2003! Moreover, Mr. Trump offered an opinion on just why it is that he has been so targeted by the IRS..."Because I'm a strong Christian."

Well, far be it from me to question anyone's sincere religious convictions, but, when searching for descriptive adjectives to describe Donald J. Trump, I'm pretty sure that strong Christian would be maybe 116th on my list...just before humble and right after thoughtful. But, thanks to Google, it's possible to delve into anyone's past to find evidence of strong Christian character. I did so this morning, and must confess that in this case, Trump is right...he IS a strong Christian!

Here is a picture of Donald with his accountability group after their weekly bible study at Trump Tower.

Here's Donald with three college girls lucky enough to have had him finance their mission trip to El Salvadore.

Here's Donald posing for a picture at the Taj Mahal casino just before attending a chapel service in the conference room behind the nickel slots.

Here's Donald congratulating two recent converts after their baptism.

Donald's personal pastor.

Donald preparing to say grace before the National Prayer Breakfast..."Before I deliver my amazing prayer...pull my finger!!"

Friday, February 26, 2016

Debate Notes

Notes from last night's debate. This picture tells the story!

Trump doesn't even try to be a clever liar. It's like he's thinking, "What the hell? Lying has always worked for the Clinton's!"

For Trump, what he believes is always the next thing he says.

Rubio has been awesome tonight. Combative, relentless, sarcastic, finally aggressively going after Trump. I guess he figures, "...what have I got to lose?" 

Great exchange:

Rubio: If Trump builds the wall the same way he built Trump Towers, he'll do it with illegal workers.

Trump: You don't know anything about business.

Rubio: You're right, I don't know anything about bankrupting companies.

Every time this debate starts to kick some serious butt, Wolf Blitzer throws a question to John Kasich...the human time-out.

Carson: Will somebody attack me, please? Beyond pathetic.

Oh, ok. Now that Rubio is finally insisting that the quarterback actually show us his homework, people are upset at the nastiness and name calling. So, what do you want? This isn't Aristotle v. Plato people! The only thing I'm mad about right now is that it took Rubio this freaking long to go after this fool.

Great exchange:

Rubio: You lied about the Polish workers.

Trump: yeah, yeah, yeah. 38 years ago!

Rubio: Oh, 38 years ago? I guess there's a statute of limitations on lies.

I see this morning that his Trumpness has won all of the online polls asking, Who won last night's debate?

Well, I suppose that settles it...we are doomed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Poll Results and Commentary


A presidential campaign between these two would be the stuff from which nightmares are made. Nevertheless, with each passing day of this interminable race, it appears more and more inevitable. For this reason, I commissioned the first ever Tempest Poll this morning in order to take the pulse of my readers on the subject. Now that 100% of all precincts have reported, I can share the results.

First of all, let me say that today set an all time record for traffic. Several hundred different people read about the poll on my blog. However, just like in America at large... A very small percentage of readers actually voted, only 13% in fact. Despite the low voter participation rate, the exchange of views on my Facebook page was civil and courteous, which I appreciate more than I can say. So, here are the results:



No vote...39%

Some of you hated the choices. Others, wished for a third party option and some more actually wrote in candidates. While I sympathize with each of you, it's my poll, and I can ask the question any way I wish. The burning question on your minds is probably, "Ok, hotshot. How did you vote??"

I voted for Hillary.

Now, I'm sure there are some of you who may have just spit sweet tea across the kitchen. Others may be ready to block me from all of your social media accounts, still others may even now be on your knees in fervent prayer for my wayward soul. But, before you have a cow, hear me out.

I am under no illusions about the Hildebeast. She is a corrupt, lying, career feather-bedder, who on her worst day would make Claire Underwood look like Mother Theresa. I feel certain that she will make a horrid President largely because of her arrogance and hilariously exalted view of her own greatness. On the subject of exalted self regard, Hillary Clinton is outdone by only one person in America today...Donald Trump!

As a Libertarian-leaning, small government fiscal conservative, voting for Hillary Clinton will no doubt make me feel very dirty. As soon as I get back home, it will be straight in the shower for me! I see eye to eye with her on practically nothing. And yes, if she becomes President, she will get the chance to appoint judges to the Supreme Court which could allow her Statist views of government to carry the day for years to come. But, this is where people like me say a prayer of thanks for our founding fathers and the brilliance of their gift to us of three branches of government. Checks and balances are very cool. And perhaps I should remind all of you conservatives out there that it was George W. Bush who gave us that stout originalist, John Roberts as Cheif Justice. How has that worked out??

So, despite the many flaws of Ms. Clinton, what really will force me to choke back the rising vomit in the back of my throat and actually vote for the woman is this sobering thought...Donald J. Trump as Commander-in-Chief. Can any of you imagine this guy in charge of the mightiest, most deadly killing force in the world? 

"Mr. President, we have a situation in Yemen. A group of armed terrorists have kidnapped our entire diplomatic team and is holding them in an unknown location, and..."

Trump: Wait, did you say Yemen? You can't be serious? Have you ever been to Yemen? I've been to Yemen. I was going to build a golf course there once so I flew over and I can tell you, it's a hell hole. Bunch of f**king losers! Send in the heavy bombers and flatten the go****n place!

"But, Mr. President, what about our diplomatic team??"

Trump: What about 'em? They can't be but so good, right? If they were real winners, what the hell are they doing in freaking Yemen!!??

Then, there's the question of experience. Now, I know that right now the mood of the country isn't interested in experience, matter of fact, it's viewed as a liability. After all, it's been the best and the brightest who haven't been able to figure out how to secure our borders. But experience in the Oval Office is sort of a good thing. Knowing a little something about how Congress works, how a bill becomes a law...that sort of thing...I think is needed. One gets the impression with Trump that he hasn't the foggiest notion how he intends to actually get anything done. When he says, "I'm gonna put the very best people on that and we are going to do the greatest deals ever," that's essentially code for, "I don't know what the hell Im talking about."

Listen, either one of these two becomes President, the next four or eight years is going to be a white knuckle ride on the lunatic express, but at least with Hillary, we will have some semblance of predictability, and because of her husband, at least some institutional memory from which to draw. And something tells me that Hillary will be less likely to get us into a war with somebody because she was caught flirting with the First Lady of Burma.

And finally, there's the issue of what kind of man Donald Trump happens to be. For the life of me I can't understand news stories I read about how much of the evangelical vote Trump is getting. Does anyone actually believe that if a liberal Democrat male like say, Martin O'Malley was ahead in the polls and went around bragging about how many women he had slept with in his life...does anybody not believe that conservative Christians would be howling about his immorality? Yet, Trump can do just that, and while he's at it, say creepy things about his hot daughter, and throw in profanity on the stump, with nary a peep of protests by the evangelical community. No, either morality matters or it doesn't. I think it does matter. It's not the only thing that matters, but it counts for something.

So, there you have it. Maybe it won't come down to this Hobson's choice. Maybe Hillary will get indicted for having that illegal server. Maybe It will be discovered that Trump is actually an alien and as such was not born on this planet, therefore is not a natural born earthling. Good Lord, I hope so. Because, if I have to actually go through with this voting for Hillary thing, I'm note sure I'll ever recover.

I'm Taking a Poll

After last night's Nevada primary, which proved to be Donald Trump's most dominating victory yet, it is now clear to me that he will be the Republican nominee, barring some unforeseen divine intervention. It is equally clear to me that without said intervention (or indictment) Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. This unhappy fact means that the American people will have to decide between the lesser of two considerable evils in November.

The purpose of this blog is to get a feel for what all of you think about this choice. Call it an unscientific poll, if you like, but I want you to do me a favor. I will now pose a question for your consideration. I want you to provide your answer either at the bottom of this blog in the comments section, or as a reply on Facebook. Here's the question:

If the election were held today and you had to decide between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, how would you vote?

A. Donald Trump
B. Hillary Clinton
C. I would not vote

I don't need any explanation of your answer, just A,B, or C. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can do so in the comments section below. If you would prefer not broadcasting your answer on social media, you can private message me on Facebook.

Once I have tabulated the votes in my little private poll, I will inform you of the results and add my commentary. 

Thank you for participating in advance.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

George Washington...time traveler.

                                                              -- Part Two--

About halfway through Washington's farewell address it starts to get spooky. It's as if you have stumbled onto something written by a time traveler. It's like old George somehow was teleported from Mount Vernon into  21st century America, took a look around, then teleported back to 1796 and started wearing out about five quills, furiously scribbling out this amazing speech. How else to explain the timeliness of his warnings?

After warning his future countrymen against enemies of the Union and the pernicious influence of factions, he then ventures into the issue of the bureaucratic state:

" It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one and thus to create a real despotism."

Yeah, no kidding!!

Concerning the place of religion and morality among a free nation Washington offers this nugget:

" Let it be simply asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion...reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles."

Then, our founding father begins to sound exactly like a regular old father when speaking about the subject of finances:

" As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible...avoiding the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars have occasioned."

Something tells me that the time traveling Washington never caught a glimpse of our debt clock, because surely the sum of 18 trillion would have literally killed him.

When he finally turns his attention to foreign policy, he begins to get quite worked up:

" Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence( I conjure you to believe me,fellow-citizens), the jealously of a free people ought to be constantly awake.

Whoa, settle down George! But, he wasn't finished. He proceeds to plead with us to avoid entangling alliances...especially with the Europeans:

" Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies. Hence therefore it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics."

Vicissitudes, indeed Mr. President! Substitute Israel or any other Middle Eastern nation for "Europe" in the above paragraph and you've essential got Rand Paul's foreign policy!

George Washington was no saint. He was a slave owner, and as President sometimes failed to follow his own advice. But, he was a great man. One of the things that made him great was that rarest of traits in great public figures...genuine humility. When listening to the various candidates for president speak on the campaign trail, I long to hear from anyone of them something approaching this:

" In reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest."

A true Patriot will find it difficult to read that paragraph without a lump in the throat. God bless you, Mr. President. May we be worthy of the nation born of your tireless efforts. And may those who aspire to lead us in this day learn from the matchless example of your character.

Donald Trump, call your office.

 Pam gave me this book for Valentines Day. And yes, leather bound, gold leaf classic books are very sexy. This one is a collection of every important speech given by anyone in this country's history, which is why it's so thick. It starts with John Hancock's On the Boston Massacre, and ends with Barack Obama's first innaugural address. For a history geek such as myself, this thing is like finding the Holy Grail, it's like a 12 year old boy stumbling across an issue of Playboy, it's like Megan Kelly...beautiful and informative!

Anyway, I've been making my way through this thing slowly, savoring every detail. There's the combative stem winder from Patrick Henry, Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death, and believe me...the dude meant it! There's Samuel Adams' bomb throwing classic, American Independence. You read enough of these founding father Patriots and you'll be ready to gather up all your Downton Abbey DVDs and feed them through a shredder!

Then I ran into the brick wall of George Washington's Farewell Address to the People of the United States. I feel like I had read this once before back in college when I was too ignorant to appreciate it, too clever to understand. Every word is a treasure. Every warning contained in it has proved prescient, each observation wise beyond comprehension. 

The great man starts by voluntarily relinquishing power, something unheard of in the age of kings. After demonstating for us the cornerstone of republican governance, he sets about saying good-bye to the nation he loves and has faithfully served for 45 years of his life. To read his words is to be humbled that such a man as this ever existed, to read his words is to be reminded of how far we have fallen. 

After a couple of pages of genuine humility where he begs the indulgence of his listeners for his many flaws, he sets out with warnings of what he sees as potential pitfalls for the American experiment in self government. First, he warns against anyone or anything that might come against the union. Regional and sectarian interests should be sacrificed for the greater good of unity. Then he rails against the danger of parties, that despicable notion of federalist and republicans, Whigs, and whatever other factions within government that had arisen in his time. Then, out of nowhere I read this:

"This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetuated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public Liberty."

Donald Trump, call your office.

                                            --to be continued--

Monday, February 22, 2016

A New Look

Yesterday I received a complaint from a faithful reader of this blog. "You know that I read your blog every day...but," she began. This introduction is usually followed by a criticism of my many flaws as a writer, including but by no means limited language, conservative politics, liberal politics, too much politics, baseball obsession, too many Lucy references, not enough Lucy references, etc.. But this time the complaint was about optics. "I can hardly read your blog anymore, the words aren't dark enough, the background is too gray or something, it gives me a headache."

My first thought was that perhaps my sister should consider getting her eyes checked. But then it occurred to me that she might not be the only one having this problem since the average age of my readers probably has climbed north of 50. After all, along with the other cruelties of aging comes diminished eyesight. Lucky for all of you, I am married to Pam, who delights in any computer task that requires patience, creativity and...patience. Just before settling down for my Sunday afternoon nap, I gave her my username and password and asked her to "fix it."

What you now see is the results of her labor. I think it looks pretty cool. The parchment paper background is a nice touch, and the type does seem easier to read. She thought to add the liner notes to the book I wrote about my parents, and for reasons unknown to me, attached an unflattering picture of me which takes up half the screen, which I am sure is quite startling to old woman and young children. Nevertheless, it is a vast improvement over the old layout and I sincerely hope you all approve.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Is It Over Yet?

Donald Trump had a terrible week. In perhaps the most conservative place in America, he spent the week calling all of his opponents liars, accused the beloved(in South Carolina) George W. Bush of lying about WMD's, got in a dust up with the Pope, came out as a fan of the individual mandate in Obamacare, and was caught lying about his own opposition to the Iraq war.

Didn't matter. Won anyway. Big.

Meanwhile, in Nevada, Hillary found a way to not totally blow what had been a huge lead a month ago. She eked out another victory over a 74 year old Democratic Socialist, while managing to look as if she had lost. Apparently, blacks are not warming up to the Bern. Perhaps his endless yapping about class and income equality, and his comparative silence about race has convinced blacks that he isn't down for the struggle. But, a Pyrrhic victory is still a victory, so Hillary marches on in her joyless slog towards the nomination.

It's becoming harder and harder to imagine a fall election that doesn't feature Trump v Clinton. On the Democratic side, despite the exuberance of the Sanders faithful, one gets the feeling that Hillary Clinton is simply too diabolical to be stopped by something so hopelessly futile as mere...voters. Amoung Republicans, anti-Trump forces have been reduced to bragging about finishing second more consistently than anyone else, and finding hope in keeping Trump's margin of victory under the crucial 15 point threshold. The people who keep assuring us that at some point Trump will say something truly beyond the pale, have now been proven wrong at least 30 times. 

So, next comes March 1st, Super Tuesday, when I will get the chance to cast a ballot here in Virginia. I will vote for the candidate who has the best shot at defeating Trump, admittedly a long shot. Right
now, I believe that candidate to be Marco Rubio. Although, it will no doubt be difficult to overcome the devastation of Jim Gilmore's withdrawal from the race, I simply can't gather up all my marbles and go home! I'm not gonna lie...if Jim would make an endorsement, it would make this decision a whole lot easier.

Some of you might take exception to my irreverent attitude about all of this. Many of you are all in for a particular candidate and view the proceedings with a much more vested interest and a far greater emotional investment. Others may resent my efforts at humor...don't you know what's at stake??!! And you're right. This is serious. But, at this point in the contest, my defense mechanism of choice is sarcasm, or gallows humor, depending on your perspective. I'll move on to anger and grief later.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

"We are gathered here because of one man..."

I was in the midst of an exhausting workout at the gym, dripping with sweat, slugging away on the treadmill when I noticed that the funeral for Antonin Scalia had just started on the television just in front of me. It was closed captioned so I had to read along as the words were typed out at the bottom of the screen. At first it was just ornately dressed priests walking up and down the aisles of the great basilica carrying a richly detailed crucifix of highly polished silver and gold, a black priest out front swaying the thurible back and forth sending gray plumes of incense everywhere. The typist pecked out two musical notes.

Several dignitaries read scripture passages. The other justices were there, the Vice-President, and many of the famous and infamous. Then, the judge's son, Paul Scalia, himself a priest climbed the steps to the pulpit. I wondered how he would eulogize such a brilliant but controversial man, especially with so many of his political opponents in attendance. I thought of the pressure he must have felt. Then he spoke these words:                                                                                                                          

"We are gathered here because of one man. A man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to even more. A man loved by many, scorned by others. A man known for great controversy and great compassion..... that man of course is Jesus of Nazareth.”

The rest of his words were about the role that faith played in the life of his father. It was tender, well written, warm and touching. But it seldom strayed into mere tribute. This would be a summation of a life of faith, and I can't recall hearing a clearer presentation of the gospel of Christ anywhere, at any time. It was an amazing demonstration of hope and peace. I benefitted just by reading the script at the bottom of the screen, while sweat poured off my nose. Such a strange place to attend church.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The FBI vs. Apple

Read this. No, seriously. Read this now.

I have seldom used this blog to promote the work of others, but in this case I am forced to make an exception. When I first read the story of the government's demands of Apple in the case of the San Bernardino terrorist's cellphone, my BS detector went into overdrive. Something about the story gnawed at me, something didn't add up. I mean, other than my knee jerk inclination to get pissed off whenever the federal government starts throwing its weight around trying to bully a member in good standing of the business community, a business in Apple's case which has created more jobs and more wealth than a billion Bernie Sanders could in a hundred lifetimes. But it took Kevin Williamson over at National Review to identify the reason for my unease. 

So, do yourself a huge favor and read this piece then ask yourself this question. Where, after hundreds of billion dollars in spending on security and law enforcement, does the government get the nerve to demand that Apple do its dirty work for them? Tim Cook is worried that this type of technology might fall into the "wrong hands?" Too late. The FBI is the wrong hands.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

My Own Private Museum

I'm told that an awful lot can be learned about a man by walking through his library. If, for example, an entire couple of rows is occupied by biographies of Hitler, you might want to look for the nearest exit. Currently there are upwards of 400 books scattered about my house and my office. It has been great fun deciding which of them to reward by placing them in my new library. I'm sure that over the years new ones will be added, and maybe a few that didn't make the first cut will make an appearance at some point down the road. But for now, 152 titles have made their way onto these magnificent shelves behind my desk:



I have gone to the trouble of taking a written inventory. The following are a list of the most represented authors...

Dean Koontz, 15
William Shakespeare, 10
P.J. O'Rourke, 9
William F. Buckley, 7
Dumas Malone, 5
Jeff Shaara, 5
Christopher Buckley, 4
Pat Conroy, 3

Then there are a score of authors who have two titles represented:

Jon Meacham, Ernest Hemmingway, John Updike, John Feinstein, Marc Eliot, E. L. Doctorow, Stephen Ambrose, William L. Shirer, Burke Davis, G. K. Chesterton, Peggy Noonan, and Mark Twain.

Then comes the writers with one book each:

Edgar Allen Poe, Voltaire, Cervantes, Robert Louis Stevenson, Aristotle, Stephen Crane, Nathaniel Hawthorne*, Jonathan Swift, H.G. Wells, Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, Thomas Mann, Jonathan Franzen, H.W. Brands, Amity Shlaes, James Bradley, Winston Churchill, Alf J. Mapp, 
Fyodor Dostoevsky, David McCullough, Jonah Goldberg, Joseph Heller, Jack Kerouac, Homer, Robert Penn Warren, Dashiell Hammett, Truman Capote, Aldous Huxley, Harper Lee, Dylan Thomas, Saul Bellow, Thomas Sowell, J. D. Salinger, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Wolfe, John Steinbeck, C.S. Lewis, Sun Tzu, and Erik Metaxas.

One thing I noticed as I was putting this all together, and I would wager a rather large sum that my English Major daughter noticed the same thing....there are only four books in this collection authored by women, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, two books by Peggy Noonan and one by Amity Shlaes. This is profoundly embarrassing to me, especially considering the thousands of brilliant writers out there who happen to be women. Good grief, how did this happen? I probably have a dozen or so upstairs that didn't make the cut, but still...I've got to broaden my horizons.

Anyway, I can't tell you how much I love this new room. I've spent practically every waking moment in here since the furniture was delivered. Everyone of these books have meant something special to me at some point in my life. Having them gathered together in one place feels like walking into a museum of your life, only you're the only one for whom the displays make any sense. I remember being mesmerized by Catcher In The Rye, shamed by To Kill a Mockingbird, astonished by the questions in The Brothers Karamozov. I was terrified by The Nightmare Years, enchanted by The Prince of Tides, humbled by The Everlasting Man, and inspired by Bonhoeffer. Each book made a bold mark on my memory which still remains all these years later. 

Monetizing My Blog....a bust!

What I was hoping would become a major source of my retirement income has turned out to be a bust. That's right, faithful reader, monetizing my blog has turned out to be the empty pot at the end of the rainbow. After six weeks of the great experiment, I have netted a whopping $28.14. Put another way, at this rate after a year I will have earned enough money to pay 25% of one month's premium for my Obamacare health insurance policy! So, I guess my dream of retiring in three years will have to wait. In Google Adsense's defense...the process was quick and easy. But, fear not dear reader. Let not your heart be troubled. The purpose and therefore the motivation for The Tempest has never been financial. I write this blog for entirely mental health reasons, as in...maintaining mine!

Having a public forum for the purposes of self expression is about the coolest thing ever. The fact that people actually enjoy reading is even cooler, astonishing in fact. Having come up with something to write about 1,100 times in five years might suggest to some an unhealthy obsession with the written word. To others it might fairly be viewed as someone who perhaps values too highly his own opinions. But here's the thing...until you go to the trouble of writing down for public scrutiny your opinions of events, you don't realize how contradictory and biased they are! If anything, these past five years have illustrated the flaws in my thinking more so than the virtues. I have often contradicted myself. I find that my mind can be changed on a matter after reading an old, uninformed opinion. Keeping a record of one's opinions can be embarrassing and humbling, but it can also help reinforce the truth. Some truths are timeless, after all.

The fact is, there's a part of me that enjoys controversy. I actual like stirring the pot. If these blogs don't irritate at least one person, then where's the fun in that? Opinions provoke, and provocation can be great fun. But according to Google Adsense, fun will have to be my only reward. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

This is the day...

Dreary rain falling outside has melted yesterday's snow. It's a Tuesday and the clock is ticking. A man who lives to age 80 gets 29,100 days on this earth. After each one is done, they never come back. A man who is 57 has fewer days ahead of him than behind him, 20,000 already spent days stretching behind him obscured by the dust of the road. Today is what we have. Dreary, rainy Tuesday is the moment that counts. Tomorrow might be better. The sun might be shining tomorrow. But tomorrow might never get here. Today is the thing.

Most days carry with them no memories. The vast majority of them are uneventful, indistinguishable units of time on a calendar. Then something spectacular happens and a day becomes plated in gold, the birth of a child, a wedding, an anniversary. Others are marked in black, someone dear gets sick, an accident, someone beloved slips away unexpectedly. But most days lack drama, nothing of consequence happens and one blends into the next like water colors. 

But is this as it should be? Is life to be lived in long seasons of sameness interrupted by the spectacular and the heartbreaking? I think not. Maybe everyday should be gold plated, everyday an adventure. If our hearts could take it, wouldn't living everyday as if it were our last make a difference? Sure, it would be exhausting, but maybe each day should end with us collapsing in bed completely spent. Maybe we're all supposed to arrive at the end with scars all over us, battered by an energetic life, not as a well preserved corpse about whom people say, "Oh, he looked so good for his age."

"This is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Monday, February 15, 2016

Why President Obama is Not My Enemy

Writing a blog is sometimes fraught with peril, especially when the subject is politics. It is very easy to be misunderstood. My limitations as a writer can sometimes result in people jumping to conclusions that I never intended to convey. Today's topic might very well be one of those times, but here goes.

I'm not terribly fond of the Democratic Party, have never been a big supporter of the current President. This will come as no surprise to any of you. But what may surprise some of you is this truth...President Obama is not my enemy. 

In this hyper-polarized and divided nation, compromise and accommodation have somehow become synonymous with weakness. Any compliment paid to the other side feels to some like a betrayal. Well, in my opinion, this graceless, scorched earth style of politics is toxic and may very well eventually kill this country.

Over the weekend, after the sudden passing of Justice Scalia, social media almost immediately erupted into a volcano of bad faith, some on the right voicing accusations of assassination by dark leftist forces, some on the left positively gleeful at the death of such a powerful enemy. It was shameful and unworthy of us.

The thing is, I have no enemies in politics, I have opponents. Even Donald Trump isn't my enemy. Neither is Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. They are politicians with whom I disagree, nothing more. Here's how it works:

President Obama is a good man. There are things to admire about him. We are human beings first, and as human beings go, there's a lot to like. He's a good father, for one thing, and by all accounts a fine husband. As the first family, they model all of the right qualities for our nation, a very good thing. As President, he has had some terrific moments. The speech he gave at the funeral of those killed in the attack on Gabby Gifford was beautiful. When speaking about the youngest victim of that tragedy he said, "I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. All of us, we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectation." Those were beautiful words that put a lump in my throat, worthy of a President.  Although his gifts as a speaker were oversold, he has moments of brilliance, and the spoken word is one of a President's most valuable tools. The fact that I disagree with him about policy cannot and should not blind me to his gifts or force me to actively delight in his failure. 

Listen, President Obama and I, by and large want the exact same things for this country. We both want a robust economy, more and better paying jobs, better and cheaper health care, a peaceful world. In other words, we share common goals. Where we part ways is over tactics, not strategy. He is of a political philosophy that values centralized planning. His default assumptions about the problems we face are that no problem is without a government solution. In his mind, government is a positive, transformative, benign force for all things good. I totally and completely reject that line of thinking. For me, central planning bureaucrats are not agents of progress, but obstacles to progress. In my opinion, a government large and powerful enough to provide for your every need is a government large and powerful enough to take from you everything you have, and if history has taught us anything it is this...centralized power in the wrong hands is the most dangerous thing on earth.

So, I try to vote for those least enamored with blind faith in the redemptive power of government. But, as is often the case in a democracy, sometimes my guys lose. When that happens, I don't immediately start praying for my political opponents to all suddenly die in their sleep! I have never wanted President Obama to be a failure, largely because if he is a failure, my country fails. My faith instructs me to pray for my leaders. It makes no exception for party.

In November, we will elect a new President. At this point, I have no idea who it will be, although at this writing, the favorites are Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz. None of them will be my enemy on innauguration day. We have a system of government that provides checks and balances on our worst instincts. I will trust that system of government to protect me from their worst policy prescriptions. Whoever the next President is will be the beneficiary of my prayers. I don't think this makes me naive or soft. I think it makes me a good citizen. Does it mean I am insufficiently partisan? I can only hope so.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Dogs Are Ruthless

On this Saturday morning, February 13, in Short Pump, Virginia, the sun is shining brightly. But it's only 21 degrees. The high will only reach the upper 20's. Tonight it will drop to 10. For my friends unlucky enough to live up north, you're probably thinking, "Wow! For February that's downright balmy! Let's have a picnic!" To which I say...bless your hearts.

For my Deep South and California friends, the mere idea of 10 freaking degrees is unfathomable. You guys don't own enough clothing to survive such a day as this. So, weather is a very subjective experience. When I was younger, I wouldn't have hesitated to bundle up and head outside on a day like today. I remember once playing golf with my brother in a snow storm. I was 13 years old and very much the idiot. He was 23 and without excuse. 

Sometimes my wife complains about the fact that I still do foolish things more appropriate and understandable for a teenager than a 57 year old man. Fair enough. But there is one thing that has managed to chasten my tomfoolery, one part of my arrested development that prudence has restored. I hate cold weather. Gone are the days of 35 degree rounds of golf. Three mile runs on frigid mornings? Not a chance. I look out the windows of my awesome new library at the bright sunshine, watching it have zero effect on the frozen, crunchy grass of my front yard and I'm thinking, "No way I'm going outside today."

Lucy, on the other hand, has other ideas.

She has already had a frantic, exhilarating, madcap adventure in the backyard which featured gnawing on an azalea branch that just happened to somehow fall off one of the bushes, several high speed figure-eight laps, and one epic bowel movement. Now she has cast her eyes into the front yard. She stands there at the front door gazing out longingly. Then she sits, turns towards me with her pink tongue hanging out of the side of her mouth looking like a complete lunatic, "So, wanna take me for a walk??"

So, after ten minutes of this expert human shaming campaign, I give in. I'm about to bundle up and take this crazy dog for a walk. Dogs are ruthless.

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Food Review

Ok...I'm very tired of writing about politicians and politics. So, this morning a review of some truly awesome takeout I had last night.

When my wife left the house yesterday morning, she informed me that she was going to make sausage and lentil soup for dinner last night. I was thrilled. Any dinner which features sausage as a main ingredient gets my vote, but this particular soup is fabulous. All day long thoughts of the meal that awaited me once the day was through gave me hope that the gyrations of the stock market would all be forgotten once I sat down in front of a that steaming bowl of awesomeness.

But then, at 5:30 my wife walked into the house loaded down with a strange white plastic bag and declared, "I know that I promised you sausage and lentil soup, but I've had a long and crazy day, I'm exhausted and too tired to make it tonight, but...I picked up a treat at Q!!"

For the uninitiated, Q is short for Q Barbeque, a fast food style Barbeque place less than two minutes from our house. Despite the fact that it is clean, has no hubcaps hanging from the ceiling, and isn't really a, it serves up some incredible food. Anyway, just recently we discovered a new menu item called beef brisket chili. I am here to tell you, it is very good. How good? Let me try to explain.

It's Texas style chili with chunks of brisket swimming around in the bowl. Actually, not really swimming since it's much too thick for that. Sliced green and red peppers are in there too. But there's some sort of sause or spice of some sort that makes the dish. At first you don't think it's particularly spicy...just delicious. The chunks of meat as delectable as anything you've ever put in your mouth. But about five spoonfuls in you begin to feel the heat. It starts at the corners of your mouth, then makes its way into your nose, which begins to run a little, delicately, like your wife's nose runs during the makeup scene in one of those Lifetime movies. Before long, your eyes start to water. You are forced to pour a second glass of tea, then a third. But there is simply no way you're not going to finish this bowl of chili because it's the most delicious thing you've had to eat in months. You take a break, eat a corn muffin, drink some more tea, then pound the last spoonful. It's the kind of chili that should be eaten while listening to some 70 year old blues guitarist. You glance at the clock. It's after six. You ask yourself, "Where did I put that bottle of Pepsid??"

Thursday, February 11, 2016

February and F-Bombs

I am no stranger to the February Funk. A couple of years ago I wrote a piece about it entitled "The Curse of February." Every word of it was true and remains so today. But, this year feels different.

I suppose that when you endure February amidst the backdrop of a presidential campaign season, things feel worse. Even though elections are an essential part of living in a democracy, and for the most part a healthy exercise, there is a certain amount of silliness to them as well, and this year, a new level of vulgarity, a tawdry tinge to things not seen before. Most of it comes courtesy of Mr. Trump who recently has felt emboldened enough by his success to inject language into his speeches that heretofore had been considered toxic for serious politicians. Within days I'm sure we will all be treated to the first intentional F-Bomb drop by a Presidential candidate in U.S. History. If past is prologue, Trump's poll numbers will go up afterwards, especially among evangelicals!!

I don't know...maybe it's no big deal. Presidential candidates, I'm sure, use this sort of language in private all the time. If we say we want authenticity in our public servants, maybe a coarsening of their language is what we get. Listen, I'm no angel when it comes to the occasional salty word. Sometimes, when trying to express a difficult emotion, a well timed four letter one does quite nicely. But, I'm not running for President. I prefer a minimum standard of dignity from those aspiring to lead my country. I like to believe that the men and women running for the highest office in the land have the requisite vocabulary needed to communicate their thoughts to us without resorting to the lowest level of communication we share...the profane. But, now that pu**y and s**t are out of the bottle, something tells me they will never go back in. ( I use the asterisks here just in case my Mother might somehow be reading this in heaven...).

But, I digress. February is with us for another 17 cold and dreary days. There's Valentines Day to look forward to, and President's Day. But mostly, thin clouds, a small sky and a diminished sun, trying their best to simulate a real month. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Thanks, New Hampshire.

It is now official. The folks over at Ripley's can go ahead and print it in their latest edition. Hillary Clinton is the worst Presidential candidate in history. Despite having more campaign cash than anybody, more name recognition than anybody, and the full throated support of most of the media, she just got...trounced, whipped, embarrassed, and dare I say, manhandled, by a 74 year old Socialist in New Hampshire. This after getting waxed in 2008 by a first term black senator with a thinner resume than Kim Khardashian. It would appear that Mrs. Clinton is the most overrated politician of this or any other age.

On the Republican side, it's becoming harder and harder to imagine a scenario that doesn't feature Donald Trump as the nominee. The only person who can beat him now is Ted Cruz, and I'm not sure even about that. Rubio, Bush and Kasich are finished. Although Kasich finished second, it was a very distant second in a state he had practically lived in for the past year. And now, he's broke. There is no reason whatsoever for Chris Christie, Carla Fiorina or Ben Carson to remain in the race. It will be a two man fight the rest of the way between two men who the Republican establishment truly despise.

So, the prospect of a fall election featuring dueling populists is starting to become more and more likely. Part of me thinks that if Hillary implodes, the big cheeses in the Democratic Party will step in and insist that Joe Biden get in the race. Despite the support of his enthusiastic supporters, Bernie Sanders isn't going to become the next President of the United States. Come one people. We aren't freaking Venezuela! Of course, in my lifetime the Democratic Party actually nominated Walter Mondale and Mike Dukakis, so anything is possible I suppose. 

But let's say for a minute that it winds up being Trump v. Sanders. We would have one candidate appealing to our fear, and another appealing to our greed. One guy promising to build a wall, and another guy promising to make health care and a college education a free entitlement. One guy who has never been elected to anything before, and another guy who has never had a real, private sector job in his entire life, surviving for over 50 years at the public trough. One guy who thinks a country can be governed by the sheer brilliance of his personality and another guy who thinks that the answer to every problem we face can only be found by expanding the power and reach of government. It will be Benito Mussolini v. Karl Marx redux. Instead of " It's morning in America', more like..."It's midnight in America. Do you know where your kids are?" Both of these men will be in their 70's if they get elected.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Good News and Bad News

I run a terrible risk in this space when I write about personal health issues. For one thing, my sister will get mad at me because if you even insinuate anything physically unpleasant around her, she gets the vapors. My wife might protest that I am offering too much information...that most of the people who regularly read this blog have their own health problems, so they don't need to hear about excellent point. So, instead of giving you a blow by blow account of the last 24 hours, I'll let Dave Berry do it for me.

A dear, sick, and twisted friend of mine sent me an email last week offering this observation: "As someone in the health field, I feel it to be my duty to let you know just what you're getting into with regards to your up-coming procedure. Let me know if this info changes your mind about going through with it."

Attached was a column written by one of my favorite satirists, Dave Barry. He too had endured a recent colonoscopy, and unlike me had no reservations about writing of his experiences. I won't produce the entire article, but the following paragraph is, believe me, right on the money!! It captures the essence of what it is like to drink the four liters of swill, and what follows. His stuff was called MoviPrep. Mine was Prep335.

"MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic here, but: Have you ever seen a space shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink the second half of the MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not eaten yet!"

For me, this meant missing the entire half time show...from what I have read, this turned out to be a blessing. That's all I can say about the night without violating the admittedly lax internet decency laws. The actual procedure was a piece of cake. The last thing I heard was an exchange between my doctor and the anesthesiologist:

Doctor: Did you hear that they said that last night over 20 million chicken wings were consumed?

Anesthesiologist: Poor chickens...

The next thing I heard was an enthusiastic nurse asking me if I would like some ginger ale. Just like that, I was on my way home. Results to follow in a week or so, but so far, so good.

On a completely unrelated note...yesterday I received some bad news about a kid that I taught back in my youth group days. Every so often it happens. Kids lose their way sometimes. It's hard becoming an adult. Most of the news I get about the kids I taught is wonderful, someone got married, someone got a huge promotion, someone else is having a baby. But then, bad news comes, and it's devastating...still. I'm always surprised. No matter how troubled kids may have been, I suppose I always feel like they had enough potential to eventually figure it out. When the bad news comes, I think back to my encounters with him or her. I wonder why I couldn't get through to them, I ask myself whether I tried hard enough. Then regret sets in. But I remind myself that there's much more good than bad. 

And then, I want to hug my own kids a little closer.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

So Pumped For My Fast

With the exception of the desk chair, the library is complete. Pretty cool. I will take great comfort from this room today as I subsist on jello, bottled water, black coffee, and the occasional Popsicle. It's 8:15am and I'm already starving. Might have had something to do with the stomach-expanding last supper I had last night at Glory Days...

Worth it though. That's one Chicago dog, six teriyaki wings, six onion rings, and three celery sticks slathered in blue cheese dressing. By the time I was finished, the only thing left was the sauce bespotted basket liner...and I had to fight the temptation to lick that clean. I believe it's called, "getting your money's worth." Alert readers will notice Pam's more balanced, nutritious meal in the background of this photograph. Yes, glazed grilled salmon and steamed vegetables are the perfect point, counter-point to my self-indulgent feast. However, it should be noted that she copped two onion rings off my plate...she's no culinary saint.

A friend on Facebook, when reminded of my predicament, asked this question..."Does this mean no Sunday lunch?" Not, "Oh dear Doug. I'm so sorry you have to endure this sort of thing on Super Bowl Sunday." Not even a, "Don't worry Doug, it will be over before you know it." No, my friend only wanted to know how my gastrointestinal troubles were going to inconvenience her after church plans! Well, I'm not going to name names here but, Leigh Ann Fort, don't worry. Pam and I will be going out to eat after church like always. I will drink my complimentary ice water while the rest of you pound that plate of nachos. I'm a big boy. I can take it.

Last night Pam and I Facetimed both of our kids. What an astounding age we live in. I touched one little button on my iPad, and twenty seconds later their bright, crystal clear faces appeared on the screen. We talked and laughed, and they got a guided tour of the new library. There were no glitches. It cost me absolutely nothing. It came to me courtesy of the boundless creativity and innovation of the private sector and free enterprise. If we weren't so jaded and entitled as a people we would be more appropriately amazed and grateful. I still remember what it was like communicating with Pam 35 years ago when we were dating and she was away at college. I had to wait until after 9 o'clock in the evening to call her...on my black dial up phone. If our conversation lasted more than fifteen minutes the would be hell to pay when the C&P telephone bill came in the mail at the end of the month. So, I seldom called. We wrote letters letters, some of them quite juicy as I recall. It's a lost art today, I think. Still, FaceTime technology is awesome.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

In Praise of the First Amendment

The last piece of the library gets delivered today, a third bookcase. Then Pam and I will have a blast shopping at Hobby Lobby for all of the incumbent nicnackery required to give the room that finished look. I love that store. For not a whole lot of money, you can buy something that looks like it could have been salvaged from an antiques barn in Vermont, when in fact it was slapped together in some Taiwanese sweatshop two weeks ago. Nothing quite says  Early-Americana like a pair of wood grained plastic bald eagle bookends manufactured by Asian adolescents. But, such is the brave new world of global free trade.

Yesterday, I posted a couple of very irreverent photos/cartoons lampooning several Presidential candidates. I include them here for those of you who may not have seen them yesterday:
It's Paula Trump ya'll!!

Grandma, Grandpa...stop it!!

It occurs to me what a privilege it is to do this. How great is it that we live in a country where we are allowed to take cheap shots at those who presume to lead us? How wonderful is it to have First Amendment protections? How glorious a thing is free expression? Whenever I see something on Facebook ripping someone on my side over some hypocritical thing or another, I think to myself...that's actually pretty funny, and great. Of course the stuff ripping the other side seems even funnier and greater to me, but that's as it should be. The point is, for most of recorded history, Kings, princes and lesser petty tyrants took a very dim view of this sort of thing, and anyone caught making wisecracks about leaders met with a bloody and violent end. The Tower of London stands as the ultimate political oppression museum, a poignant reminder of what political life was like for 99% of human beings that have ever lived on this planet.

But not us. Thanks to an admittedly flawed collection of white men from the 18th century, we have the U.S. Constitution, and thanks to James Madison's bull-headed insistence on a Bill of Rights, I sit here at my desk spewing out opinionated venom at any politician who pisses me off.

God Bless America

Thursday, February 4, 2016

My New Library

My new library furniture came yesterday, everything except the desk chair which had to be back ordered and won't be here until March, and one more bookcase which we didn't know we wanted until they put these two together. I couldn't be happier about how it all turned out. It's beautiful. I feel smarter just sitting here! Lucy isn't exactly thrilled. She tiptoes around, sniffing mightily, annoyed that the chairs aren't big enough for me and her. The first thing Pam did was rip down the window curtains because they didn't match the rug. I didn't even know that matching curtains with rugs was a thing.

Writing my first blog at this desk feels I should write something intelligent this time, with no fart jokes, and better grammar. We'll see.

I lost a cousin yesterday. John "Bubby" Dixon died after a long illness. He was a legend in my Mother's family. His father, my Mother's brother, was a tank driver in Patton's army during WWII. Bubby was awarded multiple Purple Hearts for his combat services during the Vietnam war. He was older than me, closer in age to my brother Donnie, who drove down from Maryland yesterday to be at his side. We weren't close, the Dixon's stayed in Nelson County, while the Dunnevants moved away. My most searing memory of him was when I was 8 years old at my Grandmothers funeral. She had been killed in a head on collision with a vehicle Bubby. He was devastated, distraught beyond description. For an 8 year old, it created an unforgettable image. Soon after that experience, he signed on to fight the Vietcong. Now he's gone. Donnie called last night with the news, his voice cracking with emotion. I regretted not going to see him...he was part of my Mother. I should have been there.

I have three more days of eating left before my Super Bowl fast. 

This jug seems to grow larger and more menacing with each passing day. On Sunday morning, I will fill it with lukewarm water and empty the handy lemon flavor pack into the mix. Between 5:00 and 10:00 pm I will need to somehow drink the entire gallon. This, after a day of eating nothing but jello and Popsicles. Seriously? We can put a man on the moon, but this is the best we can do in the gastrointestinal sciences? I read somewhere that some people throw a little vodka into the mix. Intriguing. But I want to be in full command of my facilities when this stuff kicks in...nothing would be worse than a stumble and fall on your way to the toilet!

Oh, great! My first library inspired blog, and I end up using the word toilet!! You can dress a guy up...but you can't take him anywhere!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Weekend and a Movie Review

Spent this past weekend in beautiful Columbia, South Carolina visiting my daughter and her husband and their giant clown of a dog, Jackson Fitzgerald Manchester:

He is everything that our Lucy is not, afraid of nothing, a lumbering mass of fur and slobbering kisses, and about the most loving creature you'll ever meet. For now, Jackie-Jack is the closest thing we have to a grandchild, so I feel some primal urge to bore you with the above two pictures.

While we were there, we watched The Martian. Pam had wanted to watch it during last week's snowstorm, but I refused. I was suffering from acute cabin fever as it was, so there was no way I was going to make it worse by watching Matt Damon trapped on an entire planet by himself. Besides, I've never been much of a science geek. I mean, science is great, I benefit from its pursuit and all, but I've always been uncomfortable around its biggest fans. Something inside me is annoyed by the smug assurance of the science crowd, their presumption that everything can be explained by science, that anything that won't succumb to their calculations is nothing more than charming myth. Of course, that's just me. Everyone else in the world these days seems in awe of science and scientists.

So, I hadn't particularly wanted to see this movie. Many of the reviews were all about the mastery of science, the power of the mind of man unleashed on even the most intractable problems producing triumph after triumph. I half expected the film to have an intermission where a white-coated scientist comes out on stage and lectures the audience about global warming. But then, I actually watched the thing. Wow.

Yes, everyone involved in this story is super smart. The brain power called forth to keep a man alive on an inhospitable planet 125 million miles from Earth, is truly an awe-inspiring thing to behold. But what I took away from the movie wasn't the infinite capacity of the mind of man to solve problems. The hero of the movie wasn't science so much as

We see Matt Damon's character hauling wheelbarrows full of Martian soil for hours on end. We watch him using power tools of every description, we see him tending to his potatoe garden with the back breaking skill of a farmer. At every turn he works. Grinding, physical labor is his life, because his life depends upon it. Yes, his scientific training as a world class botanist is on display, and it is quite impressive. But what makes it all work.

I remember one time my Dad telling me that there wasn't any such thing as work that was "beneath you." If it was important enough for somebody to do, then it was important enough for you to do. He would usually launch into this speech when I was spreading cow manure in the garden. I suppose I took him at his word since my first paying job was mucking horse stalls at the State Fair of Virginia.

Anyway, The Martian was a fine film, worth the nearly two and a half hours it took to watch the thing. It was about the triumph of the entire human spirit, everything that makes us who we are...our mind and it's limitless capacity to solve problems and the miracles that come when we couple intellect with hard work.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Iowa Observations

So, maybe Donald Trump isn't invincible after all. Ted Cruz went into Iowa, came out against the most sacred cow of all times-the ethanol subsidy gravy train- and WON. If Marco Rubio had had one more day he would have knocked Trump out of second place. Amazing. I'm thinking that Donald Trump's Twitter feed is going to be the center of the middle school universe over the next several days.

On the Democrat side, it was like kissing your sister...a tie. Really?? Of course, Hillary declared victory. Bernie was having none of it, thrusting his tight fist into the air in front of his frenzied supporters, looking for all the world like what Che Guevara might have looked like had he survived into old age.

Poor Jim Gilmore. He's having a difficult time connecting to voters. By difficult I mean...impossible. The one person in all of Iowa who stood up at a caucus site in support of the former Virginia governor won the night with this great line..."slow and steady wins the race...and nobody has had a slower start than Jim Gilmore!"

Well, as a Virginian, it's high time that I stepped up and came to his defense. Might I suggest a few campaign slogans for the Gilmore team?

# Expect Less
# Charisma is Overrated
# Time For a President We Can All Forget
# It's Time For Millard Filmore's Second Term
# Hope. Change, and a really cheap suit.

On to New Hampshire!!

Monday, February 1, 2016

How I Would Vote if I were an Iowan.

If I were an active, engaged citizen of Iowa, I would have a very difficult decision to make. How to vote?

That's right, I said how to vote. This early in the Presidential nominating process, its more about how than who. Let me explain.

If I were a Democrat, the choice would I want to finally reward Hillary for paying her dues, putting up with all of Bill's philandering all these years? Do, I want to make it up to her for leaving her in the lurch for Barack back in 2008? Or do I want to go with my heart and reward the only guy in my lifetime who has run for the highest office in the land as a Democrat who had the guts to admit his Socialism?

If I were a Republican, the decision would be harder. Do I vote for who I believe would make the best President, or do I vote for the candidate who I believe stands the best chance to defeat Trump? Here's how that process would work for me:

First, I would eliminate everyone from the lower tier of candidates who have zero chance of winning.

Goodbye Huckabee, Santorum, and Gilmore.

Then I would nix all those candidates who just rub me the wrong way. Its not their fault really, its just something weird about them that I can't quite get passed...nothing personal.

Goodbye Jeb Bush and John Kascich.

I think that leaves me with five alternatives to the Donald. At this point, I will temporarily eliminate Ted Cruz in favor of the four candidates who I believe would actually make decent Presidents. All of them have flaws, none of them are perfect. But as I trudge through the snow storm, through the corn field to the Caucus site, I remind myself that the choice I have to make very much requires me to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I must balance the good against the bad to make the best out of what are my available alternatives. Therefore, I reason thusly...

Rand Paul. The only candidate from either party who seems totally committed to smaller government.

Carly Fiorina. She has actual business acumen, rather than the inherited kind. I like her intelligence.

Chris Christie. Tough gig, being a Republican governor of a state like Jersey. Like his style and the way he handles himself in a debate.

Marco Rubio. Like his youth, vigor, and intelligence. LOVE his back story and how his deep love and appreciation for this country always shines through.

Of these four, today, Feb. 1st, 2016, as an Iowan who is voting for who I think would ultimately make the best President, I would go with Marco Rubio.

But, if my primary motivation was doing whatever I had to do to end the Trumpian nightmare, on this night...I would vote for Ted Cruz. He seems best positioned to win...tonight.

I'll deal with the potential Ted Cruz nightmare later!