Penny is here

Madame Penny Lain

Yesterday we drove down to the West Palm Service Plaza to get our foster-to-adopt female boxer. She was picked up as a stray in Miami-Dade, checked out, vaccinated, chipped and turned over to a boxer rescue group. We were approved on Tuesday to be a foster family, and a volunteer was calling Wednesday night about “Bernice”, a name which Kiernan said did not fit her. It was Kiernan that came up with Penny because her coat is the color of an oft-handled one cent piece. I added Lain, in honor of our granddaughter. So now she’s Penny Lain. I’ll ask Alexa to play some Beatles music to honor her new moniker.

The Street Where you Live?

The story I make up about Penny is that she was a breeder in a puppy mill. She was probably kept caged for most of her life which looks to be between 6 and 8 years. Penny is small-framed with soulful brown eyes. She’s practically toothless, so her diet now consists of ground turkey and brown rice; she gobbled up every morsel for her breakfast. When we walk together, she looks out at the world as though it’s totally new and marvelous. For the next two weeks, we will walk together with the leash just to be sure she doesn’t try to explore too much of that outside world.

Right now we’re on the living room couch. She’s asleep, but prior to dropping off, she did her best to merge her body into mine. She seems starved for human interaction, which fits with the breeder scenario. She used the crate to sleep last night, but insisted the door be left open. We’re not sure about cat interaction yet, but early signs are she has no interest in Maddox the porch dweller.

Happy or Not so Happy Cat?

I’m sure there will be lots more about Penny in the future. Having a dog again will be a big change for us, but a good one. I think Penny Lain has found a home.

Credit Suisse – 51% Likely to Go Belly Up

Remember 2008? Well, the meltdown in ’08 actually started in ’07, but nobody noticed until it was a tidal wave. Well, the meltdown of ’22 has started in ’21, and nobody’s noticing. I am.

Remember When?

Two names will go down in infamy for bringing down Credit Suisse, the company that will start the dominos falling. Archegos and Greensill Capital. Credit Suisse bet on both these companies, that are now in bankruptcy. The losses are going to run into the billions. More important: when Credit Suisse goes down, they will likely take others with them. So why isn’t this the headline on the front page of every newspaper in town? Because we’re all distracted by other news: the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, and Matt Gaetz dragging a 17 year old around with him on his travels.

Matt Gaetz “Brand” is in Meltdown at the moment

So back to the point: Archegos Capital was borrowing from multiple banks that somehow didn’t know about each other. Archegos Capital is a guy named Bill Hwang, banned from Hong Kong markets because of insider trading nine years ago. In the age of the internet, how is that possible the banks didn’t know about his debt load? That’s a good question. But the failure came from a bad review. Yep. When you own a bunch of stock (Viacom and Discovery, Inc.???) and somebody writes a bad review and you were using borrowed money to buy those stocks that just went down in value…gosh! It’s 1929 all over again!

Greensill capital was highly leveraged (remember credit default swaps?) and its insuror, Tokio Marine Management, got cold feet and wouldn’t renew their policy. That brought the entire house of cards down. This is ’08 for sure..and there will be more to come from companies you likely never heard of before they melt.

It seems like we’re back to ’07 and the financial fall is just beginning. When it begins to affect US banks, will the government bail them out this time? Uh, nope. First of all, the government just gave away all this year’s tax revenue to all of us. No money left in the till. Besides, the Biden administration ain’t the same as the end of the Bush/beginning of the Obama administration. No Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson, Fed Chair Ben Bernanke and head of the New York Fed branch Tim Geitner to guide this disaster. Instead, there’s the hangover from the Mnuchin days when all this started. The new Secretary of the Treasury (who is it ..quick..not a clue, right? It’s Janet Yellen, formerly head of the Fed..ok, then who’s running the Fed? Jerome Powell.) These two are the ones driving fiscal policy right now that will not have any money left over to bail out the banks. So I start to get that sinking feeling that comes when you’re in the stateroom and the Titanic hits that bump in the ocean.

When I wrote the Suffer the Children series, it was a very similar situation. Lots of bad things happened with a pandemic of parents killing children, covered up by the government. When the smoke cleared from all that, everyone figured out the US government was insolvent. No gold in Ft. Knox, no cash in the bank…a taste of things to come in the next year.

Get ready.

Lizzy, You were Right

Elizabeth Keubler Ross described the five stages a person going through in dealing with the death of a loved one. I am going through those stages now in dealing with the near-death of this country.

Next week’s Cover for the New Yorker magazine

Yesterday, I was in denial, so I found humor in Viking dude’s appearance – inside the capital building, wreaking mayhem with the rest of his unwashed mass insurrectionists (the UMI’s). Now I’m moving smartly on to anger. Yeah, baby, I am angry. Not at Trump – he’s toast. I’m angry at the likes of Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Louie Gohmert, Brian Mast (because he’s our Congressman) and that capital policeman who opened the door to the UMIs. I spit on all of you. So I’ll write this, and then maybe I can move on to depression.

Here’s what he said yesterday in his ‘concession’ speech:

I’d like to begin by addressing the heinous attack on the United States Capitol. Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem. Why are you outraged? You fostered it

I immediately deployed the National Guard and the federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders. America is and must always be a nation of law and order. That’s a lie. It took hours for the National Guard to arrive, and it was too late by the time they did.

The demonstrators who infiltrated the capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. Really? Yes, I think they do represent your Ruined America. And there was no ‘infiltration’. They blasted through broken windows, with a woman dying in the process. You craven coward with your squirrel words.

And to those who broke the law, you will pay. We have just been through an intense election, and the emotions are high. But now tempers must be cooled and calm restored. Who the hell wrote this paragraph? I think he riffed line two and maybe three. How do I know? The speechwriter who wrote this would never have put these three disparate notions into one paragraph. Doesn’t fit with the mold.

We must get on with the business of America. My campaign vigorously pursued every legal avenue to contest the election results. And some illegal ones, like trying to intimidate the Georgia Secretary of State into ‘finding’ over eleven thousand votes. Gimme a break.

My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote. In so doing, I was fighting to defend American Democracy. I continue to strongly believe that we must reform our election laws to verify the identity and the eligibility of all voters and to ensure faith and confidence in all future elections. Now Congress has certified the results. This is the bullshit paragraph. You were doing exactly the opposite. The integrity of the votes? Yeah, the ones for you. Defend American Democracy? By stealing an election? Reform election laws so you can win every time. Now Congress has certified the results – with the exception of those Senators and Congressman who voted against doing so. A pox on their house – oh, wait! There’s already a pox on all their houses (cue Viking dude).

And a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. Put there by our black and brown voters from Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Phoenix. We owe you all a huge debt of gratitude for showing up. My own state succumbed to Trumpism. Aargh.

My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation. 2020 has been a challenging time for our people. Your focus now turns to saving your own skin between now and the 20th. Gonna pardon yourself for any and all crimes committed during your four years? Sure, why not?

A menacing pandemic has upended the lives of our citizens, isolated millions in their homes, damaged our economy and claimed countless lives. Defeating this pandemic and rebuilding the greatest economy on earth will require all of us working together. Oh, Donald, please don’t pretend you even care, and for God’s sake, don’t help. You’ve helped enough.

It will require a renewed emphasis on the civic values of patriotism, faith, charity, community and family. We must revitalize the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that bind us together as one national family. Wow. Remember, you just sicc’d Viking dude on Congress? I know you’re reading this off a teleprompter, but I’ll bet your nose grew at least a millimeter when you read these lines.

To the citizens of our country, serving as your president has been the honor of my lifetime. And to all of my wonderful supporters, I know you are disappointed, but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning. And he’s baaacckk. Your incredible reign of terror is not beginning, it’s ending. Good riddance. Gbye.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America. God has damned America because over 70 million of us support this guy. Damn all of you. Yes I said it: damn all of you for being gullible enough to fall for this guy’s goddamned bullshit. You all see yourselves as good Christians and upright citizens. You are silly, white, members of a cult..a cult of personality so obviously corrupt and evil that even a 7 year old knows that. My Kiernan told me so..

So if paragraph 6 comes true, and Viking dude has to go to jail, I’d prefer his punishment instead to being forced to watch Donald give this speech over and over again. Think of it as deprogramming. It was used successfully in the 60’s when kids joined the Krishnas or the Moonies. Maybe it’ll work this time and Viking dude will lay down his horns and get a job serving lutefisk at Ingebretsen’s Nordic Marketplace in Minneapolis – get it – Viking? OK, a little humor never hurts, at the end of a rant. Right?


Eight more days ’til Christmas and the only one that thinks that’s too long is Kiernan. I guess when you’re six, the time before the Yule does drag a bit.

The Magic Panacea

We had John’s birthday dinner last night, and a little family talk before and after. Robin had a conference with Kiernan’s teacher, who said what all teachers of ‘different’ children say: “she needs to be medicated”. I think Kiernan is very bright (don’t all grandma’s think so?) and gets bored in a regular classroom with 24 kids. All roads point to very small class private school, but there’s a process to get there, I’m told. The child has to suffer first and then – and only then – can deliverance come in the form of individualized education. Just because children are chronologically the same doesn’t mean they are – the same.

Kiernan does well in math, but stinks at reading. That’s the exact opposite of her mother and aunt’s tendencies. They were right brained; she’s left brained, just like her dad. He hates reading too, so he helps her with her math. I find Kiernan receives information much better aurally than visually. She says the letters jump around in front of her eyes, but if she hears a story, she can practically repeat it verbatim. What does that say about her situation? I think she needs the equivalent of books for blind children, to help her see the words as a whole, rather than sounding it out. She seems to have no capacity for sounding out. That technique makes no sense to her at all. So I’ll be looking at the library for science-based books that talk to her. I believe the answer to correct this deficiency is repetition, repetition, repetition!

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated in solving this conundrum. Hyperactive, my patoot. She’s bored! The problem is not the child, it’s the system that expects uniformity based on age. Silly system.

324 & 323

It’s Monday, the week before Christmas. We decorated the tree yesterday, and managed to get it done without drama. I’m working on patience with these kinds of activities, recognizing that Christmas is for young children. It is not a list of chores to be got through. Therapy and Clemmie are working on me to be a better mother and grandmother. About time, eh?

Today is brother John’s birthday – he is 67 today, which means next month I will be seventy. Doesn’t seventy sound oh so much older than 69? I know, not’s just a number. Based on good genes and sticking with the gym, I intend to be around for a much left to learn. So Happy Birthday, brother! I’ll bake you a lemon cake to celebrate your 67 years on this earth.

It feels odd not having a writing assignment every day, other than this blog. I am still like a mule in harness..gotta pull the load and go somewhere. But book 5 of the series is done and ready for publication on Christmas day, as previously mentioned. Then I’ll simultaneously work on the new Trumpet project and finish up the Algorithmic Brain. Just waiting for a book from the library that I put on hold to start things off with the trumpet project. Any suggestions of superb trumpeters would be appreciated.

Also working on getting my sinus issue resolved..went to Jupiter Medical Center Urgent Care to get an antibiotic to clear up the infection I’ve probably had for a couple of years! Now I just have to let my system recover from years of Flonase and Xyrtec. Gonna try my friend Bobbi’s suggestion of Simply Saline as a daily therapeutic. Getting tired of waking up every morning with a headache.

That’s all for the moment…enjoy your week.


Three hundred twenty five more days until the 2020 election, and things just keep getting more dismal. After watching the 60 minutes of the PBS Newshour last night, I turned to Erik and said, “Every one of those stories was depressing. Is there no hope?”

Not on that front, anyway. So what to do in time fraught with misery and dismay? Focus on what’s important to you. Today, Robin, Colter, Kiernan and I went to Home Depot to find the perfect Christmas tree. We’re pretty happy with the one we selected, even tho’ we had to go to two different stores to find it. Now Erik and Colter are putting up the Christmas lights on the from eave of the house. We bought two light up reindeer, and ordered a sleigh/reindeer combination. It should be here some time next week.

Decorating for Christmas; planning the Christmas menu to share with family and friends – what could be better? Nothing. Give it a try.


So have you noticed that the closer we get to impeachment votes, the crazier everyone gets? Is this the end of the world, people? I don’t think so. We know how all this will end, so why the drama? It reminds me of that video where all the North Koreans are wading into the water, chasing after Kim Jong Un, or the young’un as I call him..they are trying to show how much they adore this crazy dude in order not to be sent to a re-education camp. It’s the same way with Republicans..a question of fealty to Tsar Donald. It’d be sickening, if it weren’t so ludicrous. I feel the bad karma building for all of them – when it arrives…damn!

But that’s not what I came to talk about – I want to talk about exercise. I started doing Silver Sneakers when we lived in Vero, and learned to sort of like it .. nah, that’s a lie..I learned to recognize it’s good for me, but I will never like it. What I don’t like – beyond just about everything else – is falling down and becoming incapacitated. So Silver Sneakers is my method for trying to stay upright.

Robin & Colter at the Spartan Race

Then there’s my daughter Robin and her husband Colter and granddaughter Kiernan. They all participate in radical sports events – like the Savage Race and the Spartan Race. Here Robin and Colter are participating in the Spartan last weekend. Do you see the look on their faces? Yes, they look happy! I don’t think I will ever achieve that level of happiness with Silver Sneakers. But if it keeps me vertical – that’s good enough.


Wow – haven’t written since the 1st. Been busy finishing up book 5 and I was ill with a sinus infection and upset stomach the last few days. I know – no excuses! Well, I’m back.

The impeachment is well underway with all the sturm und drang that accompanies such political theatre. Everyone is playing to their constituencies, who are either filled with indignation (the R’s) or indignation (ha ha – D’s). Geez, will it ever end? It seems like we’re spawning investigations to investigate the investigations that investigated the investigations. Stop – enough already!

A bunch has happened in the past twelve days, but y’all already know about it, so let’s talk about something different. Book 5 will be out on Christmas Day, and there’s some method to my madness. Christmas is about the birth in Bethlehem of a Jewish baby boy from Nazareth named Jesus. His 33 year life spawned a religion that claims 2.4 billion followers, at the moment, the largest group of faithfuls, followed close behind by members of Islam at 1.9 million. Islam is growing faster than Christianity, so it may catch up some time in the future. I used quotes from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita for Book 5, as the two Bible testaments and the Koran were used in Books 1-4. I thought the Hindu book appropriate as the title involved Karma. The last quote is from a book about the Hopi prophecy of the demise of America.

So what have I been working up to? Once you’ve read book 5, you’ll have a sense of it. And, beginning in the spring, I will write a sequel that will involve many of the characters left over from the first series. It will pick up where Book 5 leaves off, so no need to be discouraged, as Mathew indicates. Life will go on.

Clemmie with his trumpet

In the meantime, my assignment from Clemmie is to find everything there is to know about trumpeting; the history, mathematics of the acoustics, and techniques; then match all that up with samples of outstanding trumpet solos – all in video format. Sound like a challenge? I think so too. We’ll see how it ends up. Always good to learn something new, eh?

340 & 339 & 338

Thanksgiving was lovely; the food was great; the company was marvelous. What can I say? A good time was had by all.

But is it now time to get back to the real world? Must I? Aw gee, living in holiday mode is nice..just requires running the dishwasher more than normal.

Okay, back to the real world. Let’s talk about guns. I could post all the statistics about how much greater gun violence is in the US… okay, I will post them, if you insist.

Nope – changed my mind. If you look at statistics, they are all over the map, and most are misleading. But looking at CDC data, it’s clear that most deaths from guns in this country aren’t from mass shootings, they’re from suicide. OK, now we have that out of the way.

The AR-15 originally made by the Armalite Corporation

My family has always been involved with guns and shooting. It was my grandfather’s pet project to teach people how to safely use guns. The NRA of today would appall him. But here’s the thing – and what I want to really talk about – there are some guns that just don’t belong in the hands of regular citizens. They belong in the hands of soldiers fighting in wars. The AR-15 comes to mind, because it seems to be the weapon of choice for mass murderers. Should civilians have access to what knowledgeable people call “a perfect killing machine”? I think not.

James Fallows wrote a most interesting piece in The Atlantic about a decade ago about the AR-15. That’s where the perfect killing machine quote came from. It was the weapon used by special forces in the early days of the war in Viet Nam, and the soldiers loved it. Sadly, army bureaucracy did not. Mostly through custom rather than graft, they totally bolloxed up this weapon and it became that most-hated rifle, the M-16, which tended to jam in the heat of battle. Per the article, many soldiers died with a jammed M-16 in their hand. But AR-15’s are still around and here’s my point: I can buy one online for less than $700, ready to fire lethal bullets at a host of individuals, should I so desire. They can ship anywhere – except California. Hooray for California for at least attempting to put some sanity into this madness. So the army changed a perfect killing machine into one that malfunctioned and led to the death of many American GIs in Viet Nam. Isn’t it ironic? Mass murderers get the good stuff; guys sanctioned to kill get the garbage.

So what’s the answer? Stop online sales of perfect killing machines. Teach children gun safety. Develop and utilize better ways to keep people from killing themselves with guns. Then maybe the stats will look better, and the opponents of gun control can stop putting useless comparisons out to confuse people into inaction. That’s about it.


Happy Thanksgiving. May all your dishes come out tasty and at the right time. May the table be set by someone else, while you’re trying to get the smoke out of the kitchen from stuff dripping down in the oven. May you have a glass of wine and not care one way or the other .. you did your best. Love your children and grandchildren so much they never doubt you.