And Breathe

It comes out as a sigh, that first release of the breath I’ve been holding.

By the time I look up, it’s 4:30 on a Friday, the dead zone for releasing information, let alone sitting down to write.

But here I am, my breath caught at last, caught in the comfort of an easy rhythm — in, out; in, out — as I allow myself to relax, to try to remember what it was like to live a day out of dread.

This is the way now.

A madman’s tiny hands no longer hold the reins of power, and while much remains to be done, much has already improved, just in the space of time it takes a minute hand to move.

The moment, the striking of noon on Wednesday, resonates. Though the bell tones pealed twelve times just like every day before, and every day to come, I heard them differently then.

I heard hope in those bells, and I hear it still: a tinnitus of optimism.

Over this I hear cries from voices that would drown the moment, if only they could grip it and wrestle it beneath the waves of their own rage and dismay.

Not today, not today.

And for the days ahead I shall push through, focusing on the sounds that matter, repeating the good things I hear, and endeavoring to let the dark voices fade into history by ringing those bells again, and again.

Little Deuce Coup

A shitty attempt to overthrow the government is still an attempt to overthrow the government.

And that’s what we had Wednesday. An armed, organized group assaulted and occupied the U.S. Capitol.

Frankly, we’re lucky they weren’t a little better organized. As it was, members of Congress were evacuated in time, the occupation was brief, and the loss of life was low.

But this is definitely a case where the quality of the thing matters less than the thing itself.

We dismiss it at our peril.

We dismiss those supporting it at our peril.

I don’t care whether you’re conservative, liberal, libertarian, moderate, progressive, radical, red, blue, green, gold, or mauve.

You don’t get to support this and call yourself an American patriot.

It’s frankly embarrassing to see people try to claim otherwise.

Patriots don’t support attempts to overthrow their own, lawfully elected government.

This is not a difficult concept. Basic fucking concept.

Hate the government? Sure.

Disapprove of it? Absolutely.

Speak out against it? Any time.

Overthrow it? Maybe. But not like this.

In a democracy, the people retain the means to overthrow the government.

We’re given that opportunity, regularly, via the ballot box.

Four years ago, my side lost.

Two years ago, we won a bit back.

This year, we won big.

Two years from now? It’s too early to say, except for this: everyone gets another chance.

Until then, sit your fucking ass down.

Oh, and prosecute anyone attempting, or instigating the attempt of, a coup.

This Damned Year


I mean, right?

This is no year for retrospectives; who really wants that crap recap?

But here we are. Most of us, anyway.

If you’re reading this, you made it. (That, or the afterlife is very strange.)

No awards, no medals, no pats on the back; just, “Off you go. Have a 2021.”

I don’t believe — and I doubt you do, either — that the simple rolling over of a numeral is going to make much difference to the quagmire of murk within which we find ourselves emerged.

2021 will be better, or the same, or worse, as it unfolds, and we will take it as it comes, same as 2020, same as 2019, same as every other year we’ve ever longed to see the back of, which, lately, has been most of them.

Hell, 2016 was so awful I personally started a see-you-off feature called Whisky Wind-down.

Turns out, I rather liked that feature, so I brought it back in 2017.

And I would have again, in 2018, were I not on a long hiatus.

When the hiatus finally ended, in late 2019, I made sure to revive the feature, at least partially.

2020, well, 2020 has been quite the year for drinking whisky, too. Just not so much for writing about it, I’m afraid. Frankly, I’ve been struggling to write much of anything.

I know, I know. You’ve heard that before. Story of my life. Write. Fall into funk. Hiatus. Return. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Forever, it seems.

This year, though. Jeez.

As I think I’ve said before, I don’t much buy into anthropomorphizing years.

While I do quite see the appeal of having something to yell at for <waves vaguely at everything> so many of life’s problems aren’t / can’t / won’t be defined neatly by tossing out the old calendar and putting up a new one.

We should be so lucky.

I guess that’s why I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions, and it’s why I don’t buy into New Year’s Day eating/acting superstitions, even if I do like an excuse to eat black-eyed peas and forego doing laundry.

But this period of time between Christmas Day and the end of the year has long been one in which I ponder and reflect and (often) fall into a funk, showing, I guess, that whatever I may think, on some level I am susceptible to the significance of a changing calendar after all.


I guess that’s why I find myself writing now, 11ish hours of 2020 left.

Part of me wants to feel a difference once those hours have expired, wants to successfully resolve something for next year, wants … something better than this, anyway.

The rest … the rest just feels like apologizing for again falling short of expectations, even if only my own.

Anyway, here we are at the end of 2020.

At the very least, I’m glad to still be around, and I hope you are, too.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I’m not going to start a retrospective on the tenth anniversary of this site — hold your applause — but as I was looking back at some early posts I found one that is timely to revisit.

Most everything I said in Hair and Back Again remains true.

In fact, I still have not had a salon haircut since.

And I sure as hell have never entered another barbershop.

I have cut my hair a few times, though. Literally. With my owns hands. Holding scissors, of course.

I’ve never gotten over my severe aversion to having another person hovering around my head with sharp or buzzing objects, so these days I handle that stuff myself.

Mind you, when I say handle, I am referring only to a roughly semi-annual trim.

I’ve been fortunate over the past few years to not feel — or be much better at ignoring — social pressure to keep my hair in any sort of “neat” way, so my default look has been long and unruly.

Now, alas, the day draws near when change must come.

I may be able to ignore mainstream hair norms, but I cannot ignore nature.

My hairline, always high, is creeping upward. My thickness, ever on the thin side, is diminishing.

I long ago decided I wouldn’t keep a sparse mane or, worse, be a guy with a ponytail in back and nothing up top. And while I yet have time before those coiffures could come to pass, I’d much rather get ahead of the game.

Cuts are coming. Maybe colors, too. Might as well have some fun with it while there’s fun to be had.

Ten Damn Years

Happy anniversary to, which was founded on Oct. 1, 2010.

I didn’t start writing then, of course, but it was at that point that I started to really want to write for myself, after years of writing only for pay for others.

Sometimes, like when I had a newspaper column, that meant I got to write more or less what I wanted. Most days, though, I wrote what I was paid to.

Thus, this place. My place.

It started on Blogspot — remember Blogspot? — but I soon sprang for my own domain, using my longtime online moniker.

Of all things, my first post here was about baseball.

Since then I have been consistently inconsistent in my posting. Good days, bad days. Bad years …

Anyway, thanks for being here, even if it’s your first day.