Borgia on My Mind (the Raggio Charles Version)

We’re off again back to Italy where it all began… (this blog, not the history of the of the world) and then on to Croatia.  A quick eight days in Rome, Bologna, and Venice then two weeks on the Dalmatian Coast (not to be confused with a Dalmatian Coat worn by Cruella deVille).

But first a quick word on what the heck happened to this blog.  The last entry was almost a year ago from England, a month-long trip that took us on to Scotland and then Copenhagen.  But the writing for that trip was cut short and it was hard to pick up the pen (a truly anachronistic phrase) until now.  So what happened?  The Tubbs fire happened.  The Fabulous Miss K and I were in the National Gallery in Edinburgh last October when we got a text, out of the blue from our house sitter that said simply “The fire is approaching but we’re not evacuating yet,  Hilde the wonder dog, is safe and we’re ready to leave, if needed, at a moments notice.”  The Fabulous Miss K and I looked at  each other, scratched our collective head and decided make like ET and phone home to find out what the heck that message meant.  Unfortunately we had to walk a block away from where we were because some damn bagpiper was playing so loud we couldn’t think.  Have you ever noticed how there are no yoga music playlists that include bagpipe music? There is a reason for that.  Anyway we did phone home and got the full story on the horror that was occurring as our city burned.  I won’t tell you all that we went through trying to figure out what to do because ultimately we were safe and so many people had more harrowing and tragic experiences.  All I can say is as the days rolled on it didn’t seem appropriate to continue writing about all the fun we were having at the haggis-fest.

Nearly a year has passed since then and FMK and I boarded a Norwegian Airlines jet for Rome.  We like flying on Norwegian because they’re cheap, comfortable and the 787 jet’s are all new.  Unfortunately to get the cheapest fare we had to sit in what they call the “Lapland section of the plane” where they keep it at a temperature that only reindeer are comfortable with.  FMK wrapped herself and ended up looking like the love child of an Inuit and a Burrito.  But at least she was warm.


We landed and made our way to our hotel over by the Pantheon where we crashed out totally exhausted.  It’s a very nice section of Rome, great for walking and speaking Italian.  We did manage to walk around the neighborhood one day and found out we were located just a block from what can only be described as the Ecclesiastical Savile Row.  There was shop after shop selling robes, miters, braided gold belts, tunics, and sacred whatnots. Everything was trimmed in gold and the colors (that weren’t ivory) were bright, glittery and exceeded anything you’d see on military dress uniform.  I don’t know what they call all the parts of their holy get-ups, but they had them in every color imaginable.  It totally reminded me of the holy fashion show in Fellini’s Roma which ultimately literally redefines a holy roller. I hadn’t seen this in a few years and its even funnier now than when I first saw it in 1973. It was of course censored at the time. You really should take the time to watch this.  You’ll be a better person if you watch it.

So I wandered into this store, and tried on a few robes but nothing seemed to fit right.


Unfortunately, I was asked to leave when I asked the holy salesman if he could show me the children’s section.  It turns out they’re pretty touchy about this… but that’s probably the wrong way to say that.

Given that we only had a couple of days in Rome we only did a couple of things (besides walking everywhere).  We had seen the Colosseum, Forum, and all the other major sites on previous trips so we decided to walk out to the Protestant Cemetery, also called the Non-Catholic Cemetery.  An odd choice, but we had been told it was one of the most beautiful and peaceful spots in the city… and its true.   Rome can be overwhelming, its kind of like New York that way, only it has even more pasta.  Besides the graveyard’s beauty it holds the graves of the poets Lord Byron, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Gregory Corso (the great American Beat poet), Richard Henry Dana, Goethe, and the businessman Bulgari.  It also has the only pyramid in Rome.


He’s kind of like Greyfriar’s Bobby only he’s a cat and didn’t know Mr. Bulgari (who makes things that I don’t buy)


Incredibly beautiful monument.  The saddest angel ever.


Next to Shelley’s gravesite is this anonymous Pothead

It does tell you something about how the Catholics think about Protestants that they put their cemetery even farther from the center of town than the Jewish ghetto.  When will all this nonsense about religious cooties end?  Maybe that’s something to actually pray for?

The next day we rambled through the city and made it up to the Borghese Gallery.  This place is worth about a 1,000 visits and I covered it in the earlier posting linked above at the start of this posting. No need to repeat what I said earlier except it was great once again to see this beautiful Bernini bust of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee.  It was odd to see him in this Italian ultra-gallery considering everyone knows he was both French and American.


Chef Boy-Ar-Dee just before he became Pope SubUrban IX

And then there was this great find of Marco dal Pino’s Jesus Entering the Disco, one of the lesser known works.


Marco dal Pino’s “Jesus Entering the Disco”. 

Yesterday we took the train up to Bologna where we’ll be for about 4 days.  We arrived in the afternoon and immediately crashed out in our new hotel overlooking the major plaza.  Our mission while in Bologna is simply to eat everything in sight.




In London

Our trip is progressing wonderfully. After leaving Bath we went up to the Cotswolds for a few nights and hiked a lot. The countryside is beautiful there and we took footpaths through fields, viewing the horses and sheep as we roamed from town to town. Over here the public footpaths cross private property in a way that would be impossible in the US, and we never got a dirty glance except from a couple of the sheep. But you know how hard it is to read a sheep’s eyes. If the eyes are windows to the soul then I’m afraid all I saw was lamb chops.We had a guide one day who drove us through the countryside and took us to some fabulous lookouts and a couple of villages where they shot the epic Downtown Abbey. I know this show had a lot of fans, including the Fabulous Miss K, but somehow it never quite grabbed me. I tried watching an episode early on in the series but at the start of the show I watched they showed about 7 maids fluffing pillows for 10 minutes. Somehow it didn’t grab me.

We also visited Blenheim Palace, which was out-of-control huge and awesome: Two thousand acres with lakes, streams, gardens and really a lot of china inside. I always like visiting these old castles (much more than churches which I avoid for satanic reasons) because you can get great decorating ideas. Now I’m seriously considering adding some gold leaf in our dining room. I’ve already ordered some giant cannons and a couple of humongous bronze lions for the front porch. They should arrive by the time we get home.


Enjoying the garden at Blenheim Palace


From there we cruised through Oxford for a night and a day. I think it’s a pretty magical place. I had wanted to show it to FMK since I visited about 15 years ago. Coming from years in academia it does feel a bit like hallowed ground and the fact that it’s where Tolkien and C.S. Lewis drank together weekly and Alice in Wonderland was written makes it all the more cosmic. These guys really pushed the borders of mystical fiction and storytelling. We also took time to visit the Oxford Comma Museum where they’ve enshrined a lot of memorabilia about the famous punctuation mark.  We were surprised to see a lot of grammar lovers lined up at the ticket office all hepped up and excited to see this famous pause.

From there we trained on into London. Along the way we passed through this town:


If you’ve ever wondered where all the dorks come from now you know. On the other hand maybe this is where all the Deepdeners go to do some serious dorking. We just buzzed through the town so I didn’t really have a chance to investigate. Maybe it means something totally beyond my pale. But I’ve noticed you run into stuff like that all the time here. They put these letters together like they are real words but we all know they really don’t have any meaning.  Keep in mind these people claim to speak English.

We arrived in London and moved into the AirBnB we had rented for the next six days.  This is an intense city and there are a lot of people here, most of them looking at their cell phones as they walk down the street.  Its actually quite eerie and its a wonder they don’t have more pedestrian accidents because no one is looking at what’s going on around them.

Since we were setting up house we hit the local supermarket to get a few basics.  It’s nice not having to eat out every meal so we usually get in some breakfast stuff and snacks and then only eat out once a day.  First choice was picking out some oatmeal and we had these two choices:

IMG_0638   IMG_0637

So my choice was to eat the one that made me look like George Washington in drag or pick the one that would make me look like a young Sean Connery with an olympian physique but would also turn me into a bad speller.  I opted for door number 2.

Over the six days we were there we did three things: Walk a lot because it was really fun, go to museums, and see a lot of plays.  We didn’t actually visit Buckingham Palace though we kept going by it on our walks from our flat to the museums and plays.  That turned out to be pretty handy because I soon came to have admiration for the how the British run their country.  In my mind I had been preparing a list for ways they could improve this country (fix the driving thing, drop a few vowels from some of their words, etc.)  It turns out that on the gate of the Queen’s  they have a suggestion box.  I think they had it made at TapPlastics but they gilded it and you can just drop off your ideas for how to make things better for the country and every day one of those bear-hat guys in red brings the Queen your suggestions and then she fixes it for you.  It’s hard to tell from this picture I took because the box is basically clear plastic with a little gilding but the Royal Suggestion Box is over on the right column next to the gold thingie.


Gate to Buckingham Palace  Showing the Royal Suggestion Box

We also happened to see three plays while we were there and that was a surprise for us. Our first day there we were walking through the West End where the theaters are and we passed in front of Apologia, which starred Stockard Channing and one of the daughters from Downtown Abbey.  Because it was the day of the show we were able to pick them up for the price of a bowl of haggis.  Then we sat in our seats and we were approached by a woman who asked if we would prefer to sit in the center in the third row.  We thanked the seating fairy, picked up our jackets, moved up front and saw a great play.

The next night we went to see the Book of Mormon.  For this we had bought tickets before we came over.  There has been a mountain of stuff already written about this musical and I won’t go into any details here, but I will say that I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard at anything as I did at this.  And I’m a guy who generally has no use at all for musicals.  I avoid them like the plague and if the truth be known when I was young and got taken to see The Sound of Music I think its the only time I ever rooted for the  Nazis…. anything to make that family stop singing, Please.

So on the 3rd day realizing we had been so fortunate the previous two nights, we said lets go see one more.  We were able to get tickets to see the hottest play in London,  The Ferryman.  Suffice it to say its the best play I ever saw.  Absolutely amazing with surprises, laughs and tears.  It really was shockingly good. I don’t know if it will come to the US, but I hope so.

We also visited the British National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.  Hands down this is my favorite art museum and I’ve visited it every time I’ve come here.  In particular they have two Caravaggios that have always knocked me out.  I got tipped off to them the first time I came here when I asked a guard what his favorite painting was and he sent me off to experience them.  They’re incredible. So when we arrived this time I made a beeline for them, and found out they’d been rotated out and were in storage.  Actually it was fine because there is so much good art here.

Have you ever had an experience where you turn a corner in an art museum and suddenly and very unexpectedly you’re looking at a painting you’ve known for many years. Perhaps it has touched you in some way and you’re shocked to finally and at last and out-of-the-blue be face-to-face with it.  The only other time this happened to me was at the Chicago Art Institute when I walked into a room and suddenly I’m looking at Grant Wood’s iconic American Gothic (probably the most parodied piece of art in history except for the Mona Lisa) and then I turn around and in the same room is Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks.  I had a very similar experience here at the British National Gallery.  I was looking at the paintings when all of a sudden I’m looking at this:


This has been one of my favorite paintings for many years.  It’s a painting by Gainsborough of his two daughters.  The love and sweetness of a father for his daughters is almost overwhelming in this picture.  To me its breathtaking.  And there they are chasing a butterfly, a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of childhood.  Besides its inherent beauty and awesomeness, the painting is “important” for a couple of reasons.  About twenty years ago I was asked to give a guest lecture on the history of childhood at a conference.  This wasn’t actually anything I was prepared to do, so I began to research it and decided right away to use the history of children in art as the basis to develop the idea.  Actually the concept of “childhood” is relatively new, really taking shape in the 1700s with Rousseau and his contemporaries.  What art shows is that children were always portrayed one of two ways prior to that time.  First, they were shown as cherubs, angels dancing in the sky, or even as the Little Baby Jesus (yes that’s my favorite Jesus too).  Alternatively they are shown in formal portraits of the aristocracy, essentially as tiny adults.  It wasn’t until Gainsborough’s time that we really see children as children.  This painting was the forerunner of acknowledging childhood as a specific and special time.  So, you get the picture (literally in this case).  Here’s a picture I know and love and there it was in right in front of me.  Terrific.

I was so excited I decided to take this selfie, my very first one:


My First Ever Selfie—I’m the One Wearing the Hat

Weirdly enough there was only one other photograph on display in the National Gallery and it’s of The Fabulous Miss K and me on our third date (she says it was the fourth date but I’m pretty sure she’s wrong.)  I have no idea how they got a hold of this.


The Fabulous Miss K and me on our Third (or Fourth) Date

Enough with the National Gallery.  The other big museum we visited was the British Museum (you’ll never guess how they decided to name it that).  This is the most enormous museum in history and is famous for it’s collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts as well as their Greek and Roman collection.  They have over five million objects on display but because FMK and I were limited to a single afternoon we were only able to see about two million of them.  I know that a lot of folks find this kind of museum stuff boring so I’ll keep it brief and only show a couple of items that caught my eye.


A Gold Mesopotamian Head Gear (Helmet)—with Inscription


This object probably caught my eye because I like wearing hats and it was beautiful  I like the little metal ears on it.  But what was so fascinating was the inscription which you can’t see from this view. Chiseled in cuneiform (have I mentioned that I minored in cuneiform) on the front of the helmet were words that translate into Make Mesopotamia Great Again.  How sick is that?

The second item is this:


A Game in Some Pharoah’s Tomb

Yes, this is an Egyptian game  It appears to be kind of like Chinese Checkers only the Ancient Egyptians didn’t know about the Chinese, so I don’t know what they called it.  Maybe Moroccan Checkers? But what’s really weird is where they found this game.  Inside a dead guys tomb so he could play games when he was dead.  Now I’m sure we’ve all given some thought to our mortality and being in heaven but did anyone think they’d spend all eternity playing Ancient Parcheesi?  Maybe its not any weirder than playing a harp forever but I just never figured you’d go to heaven to play games.  So I’ve got to wonder who do you play Ancient Parcheesi with?  I mean you’re not in that pyramid with other people are you?  Does one dead person get to win for all eternity and the other dead person loses forever?  What happens if you cheat?  I mean its too late to get sent to hell.

Here’s another thing in the museum that I think they got wrong:


A Dead Mummy or Gollum?  You decide

Although they chose to label this as an actual dead Egyptian mummy I’m actually pretty sure this is the body of Gollum, retrieved from the Mountain of Doom in Mordor.

Finally, did you ever wonder what really happened to the Supremes?  Dreamgirls doesn’t really tell the full story.


What Ever Really Happened to the Supremes

One final word regarding museums (never to be mentioned again in this blog unless I feel like it).  There is one museum I will never  visit, nor can I figure out who would visit it and why anyone felt the need for this museum.  It really exists.  I walked by it today.  It’s located in Keswick in the Lake District where we’re staying now (more to come about that later).  I think it should be erased.


After six days in London we’ve gone back to the countryside and we’re now in the Lake District near the border with Scotland.






We Head Off to the UK

After a long flight and then landing in London, the Fabulous Miss K and I immediately jumped on the train and headed out to Bath, arriving at dinnertime the day after we left Oakland. Bath is probably the most beautiful city in England and apparently a huge tourist attraction. I’m so glad we traveled off-season as there weren’t really any crowds to sort through during our time there.  We took a lot of walks in the countryside and met some great sheep.


Bath is most famous for its famous Roman baths and rightfully has a reputation as being a very hygienic city. The Romans first built this city because the water bubbling up from the ground was hot and they were very dirty. (Hence the phrase, “You dirty f%$&ing Roman guard”). It seemed liked a good idea. So the Romans dug in and built the world’s most impressive bathhouses and went on to invent monogrammed bathrobes and slippers and the centuries passed. Then the Romans left and the English showed up and started serving tea to every one, like it was a big deal. Great.




We learned a lot about Bath’s history and culture while  we were there. Here are a couple of things so you can amaze your friends at the next Bath trivia night (don’t worry if you haven’t been to one of these yet, just be patient and know Bath Trivia night is the next big thing).

  1. Postage stamps were invented in Bath.
  2. Nicolas Cage had a nice house here until the taxman came after him.
  3. They think our president is nuts.

Okay, that’s it.

Except for one other thing. England is the Jane Austen capital of the universe (like there were a lot of other contenders?) They even put her on their 10£ notes recently right above Winston Churchill who is only worth half as much because he’s on the 5£ notes.  A lot of people don’t know this but he used to date her before he married Clementine.  If England is the center of Austen-worship then Bath is the epicenter.

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Jane grew up there, and I was fortunate enough to be dragged to the Jane Austen Center, by the Fabulous Miss K who has actually read her books. The “Center” is located in Jane’s old house on a street in Bath, but she doesn’t live here anymore because she died a few thousand years ago. I dutifully went in and the place was full of Austen worshipers and their husbands and those poor guys all had that same look on their faces that said, “What the hell am I doing here?” It turns out that there only three guys in the whole world who have actually read Jane Austen and only one of them will admit it. I don’t think it’s a mistake that right across the street from the Jane Austen Center is a medical clinic that specializes in testosterone injections. I know that when we walked out of the Center I had this strong urge to take a bath with a lot of salts, turn the lights down low, light a lot of candles and listen to Joni Mitchell. But I fought it off.

The Fabulous Miss K and I were both disappointed to learn that we had missed the annual Jane Austen festival they hold annually.jane-austen-festival-logo

This week-long festival celebrates all things Janey. There are lectures and teas, and people dress up like there was a big velvet sale down at Britex fabrics. But the Janesters are also known for totally ripping it up at night and the clubs, discos, and pubs are jammed with rowdy, drunk, Jane-worshipers and a few Mr. Darcy impersonators and guys named Percy who drink to excess and get in fights and ruin the woodwork, if you know what I mean.

One of the highlights of the week is the Miss Jane Austen look-alike contest where beautiful contestants compete for the honor of being treated like a literary queen for the whole week.

Queue outside the Assembly Rooms

Unfortunately this event has a darker side as the third runner-up is forced to dress up as Emily Dickenson for the week and is publicly humiliated wherever she goes. She is made to walk a gauntlet down the main street and is taunted with cries of “Don’t you know any limericks?” and “Rhyme this sweetheart.”

Jane Austen week culminates in the famous Running of the Librarians where tens of thousands of angry librarians who have come just for the festival run through the streets chasing hundreds of thousands of people who have overdue books.   Its not unusual to see gored readers who have taunted and flaunted these librarians by not getting their books back in time or by using their “talking voice” in the library, lying battered and bruised in alcoves and doorways along the route.   The city management thoughtfully has ambulances waiting in the side streets to assist those foolish enough to try to outrun an enraged librarian.


That said, I was pleased to learn that one of the direct descendants of Jane Austen was Steve Austen the $6 Million Man. Who would’ve guessed that someone associated with a deep understanding of human girl-nature would beget an American action hero as powerful and shallow as Steve? That’s just one of the reasons England is such a great country.


Next Up: The Cotswolds, Oxford, and London


XL Pipeline—YES! Let it Flow!

Like a lot of you I was heartened to hear that our new President took decisive action and has opened the way once again to the construction of the XL pipeline.  This is the pipeline halted by President Obama that was designed to carry oil from our unwalled northern neighbor (Oh, Canada!) right through our national midsection down to the crescent city where it could be dumped onto boats or the Caribbean, whichever was more convenient. However I know the real reason our president has approved this pipeline… and it has nothing to do with oil.

Once again his decision is rooted in his childhood eating habits (read disorder).  Biographers of Trump have noted that not only did he have a compulsive need to keep his foods separate on his plate (creating a wall between each serving) but with Asperger’s like precision his diet as a child was self-limited only to pumpkin and pancakes.   Now comes the perfect opportunity for him to fulfill that unmet childhood need by approving a pipeline to carry Canada’s most precious natural resource straight to the American heartland.  But what I have sussed out from speaking to those closest to the president (yes, I have contacts in the Secret Service, the FBI, the CIA, the MI-6, and at Legoland) is that he  has no intention to send oil through that pipeline.  As noted above the raison d’être for this pipeline has nothing to do with creating jobs, energy independence or even world finance.  This pipeline will be used to ship Canada’s overabundance of Maple Syrup straight to America, keeping our pancakes fluffy, tasty and moist.  For those who say, WTF?, I can respond only that you should check out the going price for gasoline which is about $2.75 per gallon and compare it to the price for a gallon of Maple Syrup, which is currently about $88 per gallon at  Of course this is organic maple syrup or as we pipeline folks like to call it, Sticky Sweet Light Crude (ironically this was Trump’s nickname in high school). supertroopers

You probably think I’m jumping on the fake news bandwagon by giving out this information, but I think I have the proof.  Trump is so dedicated to this that at one point he actually married a woman named after this pancake accompaniment.

Finally, I want to say to those who still are opposed to this pipeline (or omelette eaters as we like to call them) that you need no longer fear the consequences of a pipeline spill.  In the event of break in the new pipeline and a gusher of syrup we need only send in a fleet of cargo airplanes and drop millions of pancakes and waffles over the area.  This should prevent any permanent damage in the area, although it may cause the local wildlife to die from gorging.  Alternatively all the new homeless folks can drop by for a free meal.

That’s why I think we should all get behind this newly approved pipeline.

A Simple 2-Step Plan for the Next Four Years

Following yesterday’s shit-show in Washington I’ve realized that I need to implement a new plan to deal with what’s coming down.  After checking with my various advisors (including my orthodox son-in-law) and reading Michael Moore’s advice I realized I needed another approach.  So to keep it simple here’s my plan:

  1.  Yesterday I headed over to Costco and bought enough whiskey to last for four years.  Right now there are several barrels stacked up in my den.
  2. I have moved our card table to the center of the den and I have covered it with a bedspread that reaches to the floor.  This is my fort.  For the next four years you can find me in my fort.  I will be in my pajamas and I have a long straw.  Those of you wishing to visit me can come on by.  Don’t worry I have an extra straw.


Note:  Before I head into my fort I’ll be in the streets today marching with the women (if I can figure out what to wear).  It probably won’t be the last time.



The last couple of weeks have been super-busy for me. In addition to wrapping up another 200-hour yoga teacher training (let me just put the rumors to rest. I can confirm that my levitation skills and my X-ray vision are awesome and have improved immensely) I have also been engaged at various times in the 2016 Olympic Trials, trying once again to make a variety of teams. Many of you recall the bitter disappointment I felt when I was cut at the last minute from the Winter Olympics Curling Team because the “inspectors” felt if I couldn’t keep my kitchen floor swept very well I wouldn’t be able to clear the ice for the big “stone” or whatever they call that slidey thing on ice. This Olympics I was determined to make my appearance count so I have tried out for several of the sports that will be part of this Olympiad. Here’s the latest update:

Rumors to quash:

  1. Golf: In spite of the odds being in my favor I decided not to try out for golf. It turns out that the top golfers in the world are eschewing a trip to Rio because of their wussy fear of picking up some kind of disease. I don’t know why we expected more from these folks but we should remember that these “golfers” have little shame about wearing spats and plaid pants, riding around in little Disney-carts and then telling us they’re sportsmen. So even though the odds were good that I’d win a couple of medals I decided I couldn’t lower myself to wearing clothes like that.
  1. Although the host country is always allowed to select one special sport for inclusion in the Olympics that reflects their national passion, I was very disappointed to learn that waxing was not considered a sport even by the Brazilians. I think that’s a shame because although I haven’t really been in “training” I think I could be very good at this.

So What Did You Actually Try Out For?

This year I decided to focus on three sports where I thought I had a decent shot at making the team. Fortunately the trials for all of these were held here in Santa Rosa, the sports capital of America, so participating was easy. All you had to do was go down to the Vets Memorial Building a week ahead of time and sign-up for the tryouts of the sports you thought you could dominate. So I went down and got in line with the other 20,000 would-be “athletes” and waited patiently until I had a chance to show my skills and prowess. How did I do? Not bad actually. Here it is: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  1. Basketball

I might as well get the bad news out of the way. In spite of almost making several baskets, I got nosed out at the end by LeBron. He did make more shots than I, although I was a much better defender than he is (even though he has a height advantage). I’m pretty sure I didn’t get picked because my “Tanya” move was apparently illegal, at least in their eyes. So moving around on the court was a bit problematic primarily because I’m older and slower and blinder than a lot of the people who tried out, but I’m not deterred very much. I think that in the 2020 Olympics they’re going to make H-O-R-S-E an Olympic sport and I’m pretty sure I can do better at that.

  1. Synchronized Swimming

Ever since I was a baby and saw my first Busby Berkeley movie on acid I wanted to be a synchronized swimmer.

(For those of you with less patience you can move the video up to the 3:00 minute mark but you’ll miss the amazing buildup).

I mean, let us be serious here: Is there really anything hotter, is there really a bigger turn on, than a woman wearing a tiara AND a nose plug? Sure some guys are into latex, others like shoes and boots. But for me it’s T&NP.

I knew then that if I was going to meet these royally beautiful but close-nosed ladies I’d have to get my feet wet too! And so from the age of eight I dreamed of becoming a synchronized swimmer. I even practiced in the bathtub when nobody was home. But the day came, ugly as it was, when I learned that men can’t sync. Yes, up until now men were banned from joining a synchronized swimming team. So the question was could I be the one to break what has become known as the “aqua ceiling”? …That invisible (but moist) barrier that keeps men from competing with women.

But I was undaunted. I signed up for the team and sadly I was met with resentment. I could hear my teammates whisper when they thought I was out of earshot: “Too brawny”, “Not sleek enough”, “Somehow the hair sealant doesn’t look quite right”, “He’s an “autumn” and our uniforms are definitely for “summers”, or “Who the hell invented the Speedo?”swimmersNow for the good news! After the tryout, I was gently pulled aside by the team coach and told “I wasn’t good enough” which is coded language for “you’re not good enough”. But I could see through her nervousness and when I threatened to sue, and promised to stop taking performance-enhancing drugs that kept me afloat, she relented. So, Yes. I’ll be going Rio in a week to join my teammates in the big Olympic event. I know that all the swimmers are supposed to look alike on a synchronized swim team, but see if you can pick me out!

  1. Equestrian Events

Yes, it’s true. This is the year that I was going to ride off to a gold medal in the equestrian events. My years of experience at the racetrack along with my cat-like reflexes and being the owner of the worlds only Lipizzaner Clydesdale made my win assured. I’m sure we could win the gold in all three categories, dressage, eventing, and jumping. So my steed “Bogart” and I showed our stuff over at the Vets Building and they signed us up on the spot. We were Rio bound! The only problem was I had to pay for both me and Bogart to get to Rio. Sure, I could afford a coach ticket for myself, and maybe even Bogart, but those bastards wouldn’t sell me a ticket for my Clydesdale. Apparently those airlines are allowed to discriminate against different species. So the next day I slipped on a pair of dark glasses, pulled out my white cane and went to buy a ticket to Rio explaining that Bogart was my Seeing-Eye Stallion and should be able to board with me and stay under my seat. No dice. They seemed to think I was faking it. Bastards!

Things were looking grim. It looked like we were literally going to have to hoof it down there on our own, so I packed a lunch and a bag of hay and we started trotting. After about three days I had made it to Milpitas and realized that lunch was gone and I was hungry and at this rate it would take forty-two months to trot to Rio. So we headed home.

I was beside myself (and beside Bogart too). That’s when it dawned on me that I could leave my horse behind and still compete in an equestrian event if only I could convince the judges that beside jumping, eventing, and dressage, there is a fourth category of equestrian events: Prancercize! For those not familiar with Prancercizing it is very similar to Zoomba, Tai Bow, Chi Gong, Hula Hoop and Jazzercise only instead of dancing and moving like a human, you move like an equestrian. This is basically an equestrian event without the horse! Here’s what it looks like:

So yes, I’m heading to Rio to Prancercize! I’m just going to start by crashing the dressage event. I know that when they see I’ve already perfected two never before seen Prancercize moves: The Double Appaloosa— you’ll have to see this to believe it, but it will soon become to Prancercize what the Triple Salkow is to competetive Ice Skating. And the Flicka Flop—It’s sort of like faux high-jumping like a Clydesdale and includes a full body roll.

So folks, be sure to record the whole summer Olympics in Rio and watch for me in the equestrian events and synchronized swimming. Two out of three isn’t bad. Those wishing to support my intense training and travel costs should send me a lot of money soon.





With Just a Simple Policy Tweak I Could Support Trump

OK reader,  I know you’ve been wondering where the hell I’ve been and at some point in the near future I’ll get back to regular writing. The urge is growing (poor you). While I can’t reveal all the details of my recent activities I can say that it involves some of the following:

  • Brokering a lasting peace in the Middle East
  • Developing a new sustainable energy resource based on recycling reality TV shows
  • Coaching Steph Curry (I taught him how to walk around with a mouthguard hanging out)
  • Altering my pants so my ass doesn’t look too big

I’ll fill you in on all of these things later.  But like all of us I’ve been watching the election to date and after careful analyses I think I might be leaning towards supporting Trump.  I’m not ready to commit because while I think he’s on to something, his ideas don’t really see fully formed yet.  So I want to offer the following advice.  If he adopts what I’m saying I’m pretty sure he’s got my vote.

What Trump Almost Has Right or Almost Right

Trump’s major proposal involves the banning of Muslim terrorists and Mexican rapists from entering our country.  Additionally, as you know he wants to build a wall between us and our drug dealing amigos to the south.

I’m pretty sure his insistence on building a wall between our countries goes back many years to when he was a young child.  Some people say (I’ve received thousands of emails about this) that as a young child he would throw tantrums and throw his silverware around if the different foods on his plate were touching.  He would fly into a rage if the peas were touching the potatoes or the delicious salisbury steak touched the apple betty on his Swanson TV dinners.  Because he came from a wealthy family he was able to have special plates constructed (or stolen from airlines) with higher barriers than the typical TV dinner and these ensured that no food would be ruined because it touched other foods. I’m fairly sure this is the root of his call for building wall between our countries.  Because I’m a scientist I’ve been experimenting with this idea.  Last night I cooked dinner and on one side of my plate I had an enchilada and some frijoles. On the other side of my plate I put a corn dog.  Then using a bunch of tortilla chips I was able to make a nice wall to separate them.  You know what?  The food actually did taste better this way.  Given this scientific proof, I think the wall between our countries is something I can support.

But where I think Trump is askew is on his policy of banning Muslim terrorists and Mexican rapists and drug dealers.  He’s definitely on to something because I think we all agree that immigrants to the United States should have high moral standards and look beautiful, or if they don’t look beautiful they should be willing to work really hard for hardly any money.

But the policy he’s proposing needs to be amended.  I don’t think he’s seeing something that to me is fairly obvious. Looking just a shade deeper we can see that what drug dealers, rapists, and terrorists all have in common is that they are men!  It’s terribly sad to admit this but I think the problem is guys.  So I’m proposing that Trump slightly shift his idea and propose a ban on all men from entering the country.  This proposal would be more logical and still keep out the nastiest most dangerous folks from our country while welcoming those who truly deserve to be here.  Additionally, it would eliminate any discussion that Trump is a racist or a misogynist.

So I want to put out there that if Trump is willing to make this change, he’s got my vote.