Do “Cops” Deserve Disrespect

COPS! What? They call policemen cops??? What kind of low class place is this? This was my response to a headline in “The New York Times” or “Herald Tribune “or “Newark News.” When I moved to New Jersey there were a lot of newspapers.

I grew up in the state of Washington and do not remember being told what to call police officers. You just knew that you did not call them cops. To do so was disrespectful, demeaning, denigrating to the officers and made the speaker a low life. I could not believe a newspaper would use the word cop. But New York and New Jersey ones did. Still do. But my prohibition about its use stayed with me. It is beginning to wane, however, because reports of police officers behaving like thugs have been coming at us with increasing frequency. I won’t discuss the race issue, just speak of police creating havoc and fear for any citizen. Police now get themselves decked out in fancy costumes, grab some military weapons and go out to show the community they’re something, the something looking like the legal goons in police states.

Drugs figure prominently in many thug stories. Someone says there are drugs in X house and a SWAT team roars in. No warrants, no nothing but guys high on fancy dress and weaponry. And too much testosterone, or maybe it’s too little of the big T, thus demanding proof of manhood. And what better proof than tanks, flash grenades and guns? Police smash into homes, throw people to the floor, shoot dogs doing nothing but barking. One particularly awful event included throwing a flash grenade into a baby’s playpen, blowing a hole in the child’s chest. A “protector” of the community would not allow the mother to go to the child. The baby survived but his ultimate condition is unknown. There were no drugs in the home.

COP behavior reared its ugly head with an invasion of the mayor’s home in 3000 person Berwyn Heights, Maryland. The Mayor’s dogs were shot, having made no attack moves. There was no authorization for entering or questioning, but the Mayor and his mother-in-law were interrogated, handcuffed, in his home for hours, surrounded by the blood of his dogs. The Mayor was later awarded damages, costing taxpayer money because of the brain-dead behavior of militarized law enforcement officers. 

I have become increasingly worried. No, I’m beyond worried. I’m scared. I wonder when I’ll see tanks with SWAT boys on top armed with assault rifles roll down the streets of my town of 6000 people. If other towns need SWAT teams and heavy weaponry, why not mine? Of course there have to be drugs somewhere in this town. There are drugs everywhere in this nation. Let someone point to my home and I could be looking down the barrel of a gun made for war.

I look for good news about police officers. I really would like to think of them as protectors, not as thugs being commanded by the unbelievably pathetic, but I fear cop might become a regular part of my vocabulary because for me cop is a word for those you don’t, can’t respect.

Additional Information—

Police Overkill Has Become the Default American Police Policy

Flash Grenades Kill — A Whole Lot of Innocent Citizens

Winter Relief

Rather like the foot part of a cowboy boot. Narrowed, turned up toe. Bas relief floral design on the outside flashing beauty for all to see. Shiny black leather booties. Close fitting at the ankle. Back zipper necessary to get in. To be worn with jeans, slacks, skirts, dresses. I can even see them with black hose and a shimmering dress on a flapper Fox Trotting across a floor. “Ain’t We Got Fun.” I know. Wrong footwear but they’d look smashing.

I’ve wanted these booties for a long time. Over my shoe budget. Most expensive footwear ever bought. Two thousand fifteen arrived and I indulged. Of course they can’t be worn now, in the dead of winter. Not because of snow; the salt would destroy them in one season. So why did I buy them now? I don’t know. Perhaps they’re incentive for the tiring business of staying more or less alert for three months doing the work necessary for my forthcoming novel “In the Land of Two-Legged Women.” It’s winter. We should all be curled up under fluffy blankets blissfully dreaming of delicious adventures through the dreariness of the season of ennui. I can’t do that, so I look at my beautiful, delectable booties sitting on a chest in my office, waiting to be worn with black jeans—and flapper-like dresses.

I hope they help me through this winter. But, if they don’t I’ll have them when spring reminds us life is worth living. They’re ready to dance and strut the stuff. Ready to say, “Hey, look what Huey has. Ain’t they grand?”

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Something for the Holidays

Tis the Season to be Jolly. Most of my work isn’t in the Holiday spirit so here I am thinking of something to say for the Holidays when everyone knows we are all to be happy, happy, happy. Some people hate Christmas, the entire holiday weeks. I’ve read statements about how they avoid the whole HO HO HO experience. I wonder if Seasonal Affective Disorder has it’s onset with the “Christmas” season. Bah, humbug to everything from the opening of December to the first day of Spring.

My holiday mood is happy flecked with, “Oh, Hell. Another thing I have to do to get ready. And, “Oh goody, watch the money bleed, heavily, into the credit card accounts. No fun. Particularly since some of the gifts will undoubtedly be duds.

So—what are some happy thoughts?

1] I always look forward to my Christmas Eve festivities with friends. I started doing this decades ago for people who had no place to go on Christmas Eve. Those people have left, but new ones have joined in. Some years guests bring an additional guest. After asking permission. I figure I can always set up another table.

2] I always look forward to Christmas Day with friends I’ve known forever, friends I’m closer to than I am to most of my family. Some of their other friends are present and it is a jolly time.

The two days of Christmas are highlights in each year. I might say,”Oh, hell” more than “Ho Ho Ho” as I approach the days—but I’d be very unjolly if I didn’t have those days.

Happy all the relevant Holidays to you and yours.


There is too damned much hugging in this world. Hugs from family, friends, lovers is very good. BUT—this hugging by people you see occasionally and possibly don’t like has gotten out of control. Good god, I’ve been hugged by people I’ve just met. A pox on premature familiarity. I particularly hate situations in which I have to evade the hug of some flaming posterior orifice who thinks it’s his right to grab and slobber on women he has no business touching. Yuck! Quite frankly I want all grab and slobber assholes off the planet and I don’t care how they’re removed.

I don’t know how this idea of hugging EVERYONE got started. There is talk about people not connecting face to face due to SM, i.e., social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are taking us further and further away from actual human contact. I wish more people would spend more time on social media and keep their paws off me.

Perhaps this urge to merge, briefly, is due to social media. Without being conscious of it, we are anxious about not spending enough time with corporeal, rather than avatar, people. So, handling those in whom we have little interest, or possibly don’t want anywhere near us, is a way of persuading ourselves that we don’t spend too much time texting, tweeting, Facebooking with “friends,” some never met. I’ve hugged, ergo, I AM connected with real people.

Isaac Asimov, in “The Naked Sun” tells the story of a murder committed on a planet on which the inhabitants live essentially as hermits, viewing each other by hologram. Actual seeing is too painful. They are attended by robots. Perhaps we fear becoming acclimated to living as hermits, taken care of by technology. That fear is producing the urge to grab and hang onto anyone who won’t respond aggressively. This might be utter nonsense but there has to be some reason for hug, hug, hug.

I with it would stop happening to me, except when done by family, friends, lovers. I think I’ll get a large name tag that reads, “I do NOT need a hug.  Nor do I want one.”

Nothing for the Dog to Eat

I’ve been off fiction for a few months. I wrote and publicly read a story involving disgusting behavior and murder, which I guess would be shocking to some. Then my fiction muse left town. Is there a connection between silence and that story? I’m not sure. Perhaps. I’m not too apprehensive about my fiction avoidance because I’ve been busy with learning about creating websites and working with social media. I have a novel, “In the Land of Two-Legged Women” [Inanna Publications], coming out next year. I have to gear up to do PR. I’ve also been working on speeches about Place in fiction, so I’m not alienated from writing.

I was somewhat relieved about being a writing wastrel when I read an interview of Louise Glück by William Giraldi in “Poets & Writers.” [September/October 2014] Glück, a major American poet in possession of many awards, has taken absences from creating. “I go through two, three years writing nothing. Zero. Not a sentence. Not bad poems I discard, not notes toward poems. Nothing.” If a major force in the lit. world can go on leave, why not I? Maybe I’m making excuses, blaming the dog for causing absence of work.

But I’m also encouraged by interviewer William Giraldi. His new novel “Hold the Dark” is about as dark as it can get. Beyond noir. I recommend it, but warn you that it can be a rough ride. But he shows me it’s okay to write anything that can be imagined, even though it might offend, upset, scare, horrify some readers. Thank you, Mr. Giraldi.

The fiction urge has been creeping up on me. I’ll attempt to turn my “shocking” story into a novel. I wish my writer self well. I don’t have a dog, but I’ll work as if I did and the beast was looking for something to eat.

Rip Off

You have got to be kidding. What the …? One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars for a Will, Power of Attorney and Living Will? Get real. I had laser surgery that cost $1400. I doubt the lawyer spent more time, energy and money to get where he is than the surgeon who repeatedly zapped my eye to correct a botched job done by another surgeon. Yes, surgeons do make mistakes and mess up patients. There is always risk for doctor as well as patient with surgery of any kind. What was that $1500 lawyer risking? Nada. Zilch, Zip. I find it downright insulting.

Of course I almost immediately thought of Dick the Butcher in Shakespeare’s Henry the Sixth. “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” I know he was speaking of corrupt lawyers, not all. But one can’t avoid the line coming to mind even when one, I, would not advocate terminating people of any profession.

I don’t know how to deal with my umbrage. I guess the only thing I can do is try to write a story that happens in Lawyertown. A place in which legal people who offend basic sense and decency get justified comeuppance. I’ll have to avoid being too vicious, although I suspect some of you might want to urge me on in that direction. Those of you who’ve had dealings with lawyers. Perhaps dealings similar to mine. A lawyer friend, who now writes legal articles for a major publication, had recommended some one who I decided not to use after getting his fee quote, which was not as bad as the Attorney at Insult, Esquire. Two or three days after the recommendation I got a “Don’t use him until we talk” warning from my friend. I still don’t know why I was warned but it’s got to tell you something about lawyers if they can so quickly be warned against after being recommended. Another lawyer who couldn’t get around to completing legal documents for me has been disbarred. Misappropriation of client funds. I won’t bore you with my long tale of woe with him. 

Okay, I’ve vented. I’ll go work on the tale of Lawyertown. I suppose I’ll include the Shakespeare quote as an epigraph. Won’t be able to resist.

Good luck with any of your dealings with lawyers. Lots of luck.

Bear Involvement

“Residents are encouraged to refrain from any unnecessary involvement with the bear.” So declared my local newspaper. New Jersey residents are having encounters with bears. Allegedly, one county has more of them per square mile than anywhere else in the nation. Sadly, a bear killed a young hiker a week or so ago.

I had an almost-involvement with a bear. My aunt, her three daughters and I were camping with our families at Twin Lakes in the Cascade Mountains. Mt. Baker is guardian of the place. We climbed up to a high meadow from which you could think you were standing directly across from the mountain. Mt. Baker is blue and white magnificence, particularly from that perspective. It’s also frightening. I stared at that inanimate beauty and knew in the nano particles of my being that human survival is of no importance to Mother Earth. Then I smelled something. My aunt and I looked at each other and nodded. I don’t know how I knew I was smelling bear, but my hunter aunt had the experience to know. She didn’t have a rifle that day. Wanting no encounter with the bear we hurried my cousins back to camp.

When I was living in the foothills of the Cascades I had no idea I would some day live in New Jersey. I certainly wouldn’t have anticipated bear involvement, necessary or non. I grew up assuming bears wanted nothing to do with us; but we have taken over much of their territory, so now they’ll open screen doors and walk right into our kitchens. I imagine them sitting at tables, holding forks and knives, waiting to be served. Perhaps banging the flatware on the table to speed things along.

A favorite story, “Brilliant Silence” by Spencer Holst, tells of bears trained to do tricks in a circus. Through a series of mishaps they are left on an island off the coast of South America. They breed and their offspring, generations of bears, know all the circus tricks, including dancing. In a sparkling white crater made by a meteorite crashing into chalk they dance paw to paw to unheard music in a pool of moonlight, perhaps reminded of a circus spot light. It is a poignant, beautiful image.

There’s a moral in my rambling. For bears. Avoid involvement with humans. Be wary of raiding bird feeders and garbage cans. Stay away from our kitchens. Our planet doesn’t care about your survival anymore than it does that of humans. And we humans fear nature with tooth and claw—and we have guns. Find some humans who will take you to a place, perhaps an island, where you can live as you want, without threat. I wish for you a safe home, one where we humans can imagine you dancing paw to paw, to your favorite songs, in a pool of moonlight.

Spencer Holst. “Brilliant Silence.” James Thomas, et al, editors. Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories. W. W. Norton. New York, 1992.

Odd Connection

“Who wrote “All the King’s Men?”

It’s one of my favorite books. I know who wrote it, Robert Penn Warren. But my mind was blank; I had no answer. I know a lot of things that refuse to come forth, to identify me as a person of “wide knowledge.” Almost as if my brain has gone self-effacing. Or maybe my brain is mad at my mouth for some reason and refuses to communicate with it.

People chalk up the problem of not remembering a name or other words to growing older. We get so much stuff in our heads, good and bad, that rapid thought turns slower    and    slow er. In fact I’m pretty sure I read something about that recently. An article in … Uh. Yeah!

This idea of too much stuff to sift through quickly might be right, but it’s more fun to think of the brain being mad at the mouth. How many times do we utter stuff we wished we hadn’t. I did it recently, thus insulting a woman. As she walked away my brain thought, “WTF! How could you do that?” My mouth babbled before my brain engaged. I can imagine my brain getting so disgusted it would withhold information for quite some time.

My brain and my mouth do have a peculiar relationship. A guy I was dating asked me, “What was the name of the lead singer in Jefferson Airplane?” My brain was thinking, “Oh my god, I don’t remember. What was her name? Good god, he’ll think I’m a dunce.” Whilst my brain blathered on, my mouth said, “Grace Slick.” This came as a great surprise to me. I thought I’d lost that permanently. I wrote something a few days ago that probably would have been better non-communicated. Too bad. I hit Send. Can’t be called back. I better watch my mouth and my fingers to avoid being horrified. But sometimes the gaps can produce good surprises and even be amusing, such as wanting to say zucchini frittata but coming out with bikini frittata. There’s obviously a lack of consistent connection between my brain, mouth, fingers.

I choose to think that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” —Oscar Wilde

One does what one can to hang onto thinking one doesn’t have a little mind that’s unimaginative. Even when the mind, little or not, isn’t letting you in on what you know.

Oh, wait. I almost forgot. H. P. Lovecraft wrote, “Creative minds are uneven and the best of fabrics have their dull spots.”

Hold that thought.

Secrets From Self

 Admit something and you’re stuck with it. That probably explains why many of us walk around with our heads in the sand. (Of course impossible, but an interesting image.) Think of the people you know who are alcoholics, yet steadfastly claim they aren’t. And those who claim to love a spouse but speak about, and to, that spouse with contempt in their voices. And those who find their children endearing beyond belief, refusing to recognize others grit their teeth every time the little creeps appear.

If one admits there is a problem, there’s the problem of getting past the original problem. Pain and a demand for some action is possible. If Henrietta, who “loves” her husband admits she wishes she was with practically any other man than hubby, she’s stuck with thinking about divorce. What a mess that could make in her life.

What I’ve said isn’t new news. We all know it at some level. But what do we do with it? Having recently realized something about my life—which I choose to keep to myself—has given me a headful of grief and annoyance. I’d be better off if I’d never admitted it. That’s not completely true because it’s made me more confident about life, as contradictory as that appears. Now that I’m in on this secret-from-self I can decide to do something with it—or not. I have a choice, I won’t go into death never having realized I might have done some things differently in my life which might have enriched it. I can chose to change or I can chose not to. 

Perhaps I will have arrived at the point of “the sufficiency of is.” That phrase comes from a short story by Mark Jacobs in which an older woman is considering making a major change in her life. Ultimately she decides not to do so because life is what it is and it’s okay. That gives her a greater sense of control. My annoying, revealed secret has given me that as well.

Think about the secrets you might be keeping from yourself. Would you be better off if you looked for them and decided what to do with them? There might be losses but there also could be gains. I wish you the best of luck. 

Under Separate Cover

“Under separate cover” is one of my favorite phrases. To me it suggests something more than a message in an envelope separate from the one which has the message using the phrase. Why does it charm? Not sure. I can think of alternative possibilities for its use, such as: people under different tents at a gala; people sleeping in separate beds; a diary versa emails to the boss. Doesn’t help, alternate uses isn’t explaining why something registers in the head, yet gives no explanation as to why. Why does a song suddenly appear that hasn’t been heard in eons. Having lunch the other day I heard Diana Krall singing “You Go to My Head.” I haven’t listened to her in months. And it isn’t just sound I experience. I can smell a musty cellar for no apparent reason. I have no particular love or hatred for cellars, musty or not.

We have a lot of stuff in our heads and some of it’s junk. You might put “under separate cover” in the junk category.

I seem to be heading nowhere with this. 

What is the point? We have likes and dislikes with no idea why. 

One of these days I might figure out why under separate cover is so pleasing to me. A possibility is it has something to do with keeping aspects of life separate from others. I can be a pussy cat, but I’m also a bitch. Those personae are under separate covers. A person could encounter one of me, but might never meet the other. Being introverted, privacy is important and “everyone” doesn’t need to know “everything” about me.

I suppose thinking of this will demand I snoop around in my head for other separate cover areas. Who knows what interesting quirks lurk in our private spaces? Who knows what I’ll find crawling out from under a rock. Exploring, discovering can be unnerving as well as fun. 

Let me know if you come up with some interesting separate cover discoveries about yourself.