Send out the clown

Scanning some beans,

At the Kroger checkout.

You looked kind of strange

And it left me no doubt

You are a clown, You are a clown. — With apologies to Stephen Sondheim.

The day had been sort of crappy for whatever reasons. I bought some shoe cleaner at Kroger and I looked next to me in the self-checkout only to see a clown with one can of beans. At least that is what I imagined the beep from the checkout machine announced it was scanning. Beans. I don’t know why.

Send in the clowns? So that’s what they did. Whomever “they” may be.

It would seem that the clown to the left of me in the Kroger self-checkout line would brighten my day. Isn’t that what clowns are supposed to do? Maybe I should have had a Joker on the right.

But this clown seemed kind of grumpy. Its clothes were kind of faded. As I forced a fake smile looking at this clown it seemed for all the world that the clown wanted nothing more than to get the hell out of there.

Send in the clown? Nope send it out. We got us one angry-ass clown. That’s not to be confused with an angry ass clown. Whatever the latter may be.

I was in a bad mood to start with. The clown put me in a much worse mood.

Thanks Chuckles.

 

 

 

Young cartel leader gets his initial proceedings in federal court

One never knows whose path you might cross. For instance, 23-year-old Mexican national Juan Francisco Saenz- Tamez was on a leisurely shopping trip a couple of weeks ago in Edinburg, Texas, when he ran into federal agents who promptly arrested him. Saenz-Tamez wasn’t just some day shopper from across the border though. No, through supposed hard work as a Mexican version of a rags-to-riches Horatio Alger character, U.S. law enforcement agents say the Camargo, Tamaulipas, resident Saenz-Tamez heads the Gulf Cartel. The organization is allegedly one of the most violent of the Mexican drug smuggling gangs.

“Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez became the head of the Gulf Cartel following the 2013 arrest of former leader Mario Ramirez-Trevino,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart, in a press release from the U.S. Justice Department. “He moved steadily up the cartel ranks, working as a lookout, record keeper, plaza boss, and finally its leader. Thanks to the quick actions of DEA and our local partners, we were able to identify and safely arrest Saenz-Tamez while he was in the United States.  He oversaw much of the violence and bloodshed that has plagued Mexico and DEA is pleased he will face justice in the United States.”

The alleged drug kingpin found himself yesterday inside a courtroom in the Jack Brooks Federal Building and Courthouse in the town where I reside, Beaumont, Texas. The press release from Eastern District of Texas U.S. Attorney John Bales said Saenz-Tamez was transferred from the Rio Grande Valley to Southeast Texas to appear before U.S. Magistrate Zach Hawthorne for an initial hearing as well as for proceedings that determined he should be detained until trial.

A grand jury in September 2013 indicted Saenz-Tamez. He is charged with conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy with intent to distribute marijuana, and conspiracy to launder money. He faces a sentence of from 10 years to life in federal prison if convicted.

Sources said a number of federales and perhaps those from other Mexican and U.S. law enforcement agencies were in town to see for themselves that the wunderkind criminal leader was caught and on the first step toward a long career in federal prison.

News reports indicate the Gulf Cartel has been losing steam in recent criminal enterprises. Bales attributes that to hard work put into the investigations of the drug gang

“The news that Juan Saenz-Tamez has been arrested is further proof that justice is prevailing in Mexico,” said Bales.  “I am encouraged that the efforts of so many law enforcement officers are now paying off. Congratulations to them and I look forward to seeing Saenz-Tamez answer for his crimes in a Beaumont courtroom.”

Whether such involved operations are truly making a dent in the drug-based organized crimes that have plagued Mexico remains over time to be seen. New factors such as legalization or semi-legalization of marijuana in certain U.S. states have not operated in the open long enough to determine whether marijuana smuggling will remain viable for criminal gangs across from the southern U.S. borders. Even so, cocaine and meth aren’t facing a legal market anytime soon in the U.S. in general and specifically in Texas.

During the meantime, trials likely to take place here in Beaumont for Mexican gangs as well as those from violent white supremacy prison-based outfits cannot help but make some folks in mostly quiet Southeast Texas feel uncomfortable. Federal authorities do not release information on security during such trials which is sensible to most people whose brain is clearly functioning. One might feel more secure if the Justice Department provided snipers hiding up in the ceilings as their fellow federal lawmen and women in the Secret Service do on occasions while protecting the president. But I guess we wouldn’t know about that unless something happened.

I for one, truly, hope things remain serene here in town, Likewise, in the temple of justice where mostly good people may stand in judgement of those who are allegedly some really bad folks.

Imaginations

Who was it that dreamed of this modern life?

Years ago we laid back in the pasture looking at the clouds and we would imagine them as something we knew about whether vaguely or not.

It was so quiet that when the wind blew, the rustling pine needles shocked us for some period that could only be described as “nano-momentarily.” But the quiet itself wasn’t alarming, rather it was expected. You might hear an airplane fly over but it was seldom.

The sounds of a chainsaw felling timber somewhere nearby in the Pineywoods of East Texas, as well as the blast from a shotgun that some hunter fired in some different direction, were not so much marvels as they were expressions of work.

This “computer” contraption I had heard of for many years but it would be way past my “wonder years” when I would finally see one, and into a new decade when I might much less use one.

We would wait patiently, or perhaps not so much, for the three old ladies on our “party line” to get off the phone so that we could make a call. We made fun of those ladies after listening quietly in on their conversations about grape jam and the use of fresh okra.

Perhaps the minds who created modern technology: the Internet and Facebooks of the world had much more imagination than most of us. Those who enlarged the boundaries of medicine that help so many could not have all thought only of the amount of money their inventions would produce.

Likewise, those who made the manned and unmanned weapons of, well, some size of destruction, surely did not do so strictly because they hate their fellow man and woman.

Or so we hope, anyhow.

What does that big cloud in the middle of the sky resemble? A peace symbol? A jet fighter? Or perhaps it reminds us of home and what we did at a different time in life.

You got me there, Bubba!

A new low speed in political spin

If you are a real fan of politics you might just have a change of temperature when seeing what Florida gubernatorial candidates are squawking over.

A debate between GOP Gov. Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist, the former Florida governor, started about 7 minutes late. But it wasn’t due to a technical glitch. No Scott refused to come about because Crist had a fan blowing on him from below his lectern.

The fan was no stranger to Crist. He wrote in a biography that he had used the cooling appliance for years. As many Floridians probably know, it gets hot there sometimes. After all, its nickname is “The Sunshine State.” And when you are wearing a suit and tie below hot stage lights or in a church that has only a ceiling fan for air conditioner, you might have the tendency to break that famous rule of campaigning: “Never let them see you sweat.”

A Florida TV anchor moderating the debate finally explained the Scott rules for the debate that there should be no fan on the stage. That led to boos from the audience. Then, Crist began mocking such riders.

“Are we really going to debate about a fan or are we going to talk about education and the environment and the future of our state? I mean, really,” Crist responded.

This is what the state of politics passes for these days. It seems like the audience would need a fan of gigantic proportions, more so than the politicians, for all the hot air coming from the candidates.

Of course, the follow-up had the candidates’ flacks spinning faster than the former governor’s fan. Around and around and around we go and where we stop? Well, in this case I suppose it is the Florida statehouse.

Here I use math to prove prevaricating pooches

Have you ever wondered whether dogs lie? I mean, yes they lie, as in down. But I mean dogs flat out telling a fib, or rather, communicating such an untruth in whatever manner a dog would use.

Now I imagine we have always known a dog or two that would cut a big foul-smelling fart. Big in volume where (4/3) pi r1 r2 r3.

In other words, where we have a big gas-filled ellipsoid. And the ellipsoid of funk — maybe we will even name it the Mighty Ellipsoid of Funk — floats silently but deadly across the room until it his you POW! right smack in the schnoz.

There is no one in the room excepting me. That is, no other human in the room. So our, mine, eyes turn quickly toward the dog. Yes, our loveable canine friend is the top suspect for the stinky ellipsoid so why don’t we just call the dog, the Mighty Ellipsoid of Funk, or MOEF, MOEF being sort of equivalent to the noise the dog makes while barking.

But the ellipsoid hangs all over the room and the dog smells it too. So what does MOEF do? Denies, denies, denies. No sir, nothing that vile could come from such a pure soul as mine, says MOEF dog. Of course, dogs do not talk or so it has been said. Is that a stupid f***ing sentence or what?

But MOEF looks outside and sees a butterfly and “MOEF, MOEF, MOEF.”

No, I am not buying it at all. The damned dog has just tried to divert my attention away from the ellipsoid but by the time this psychodrama settles down so does the ellipsoid.

Lying bastard dog!

See there. With the use of a formula for a fart-filled ellipsoid did I expose the dog for what it really is.  A lying $#@%$&&^% and  (#&&#**#! as well. Just *$(& it!

Gore and darkness awaits one on the movie screen

Lately I have become a devotee of the Redbox. It is not any red box, but rather the Redbox standing so prominently outside local grocery stores and pharmacies and the like. I don’t know why, but I never watched movies on my laptop computer much before. Since I bought a new laptop I have begun to play the discs on my computer screen.

I haven’t watched movies, relatively new ones at least, very much in the past several years. I am not big in going to the theater unless someone goes with me. And I have kind of been a loner in the majority of the last decade with a couple of exceptions when I was dating. So most of the movies I have watched were on TV, either cable or otherwise.

There are a couple of down sides of watching these movie-in-a-box rentals. First, the DVDs aren’t always in the best condition. I got a couple of discs a week ago that I couldn’t watch because it wouldn’t play, or it would play and stop for long periods of time. Redbox did, to their credit, give me a couple of promotional codes for free movies in the future.

And, I don’t know if it is just me, but some movies have become way too gory for me to enjoy or are either too dark. I will give a couple of examples.

I should have expected a pic with Arnold Schwarzenegger to be filled with a lot of action and a certain amount of blood. But I wanted to see one of “Ahnold’s” films since he left the California statehouse for another run at Hollywood. The movie “Sabotage” is one of his recent flicks.

The story is about an elite DEA team that finds itself being depopulated one-by-one after stealing millions of dollars in a cartel cache. Now I will spare you some of the ways the rogue agents are taken out. That is not only to spare one from scenes being spoiled. Also, some of the manners in which the agents are killed are just simply full of more gore than most folks need.

A movie I also watched with some cringe factor at work was a South By Southwest premiere last year by the title of “Cheap Thrills.” The E.L. Katz directed work is listed as a ‘black comedy”but its darkness far exceeds its comedic factor.

The show’s plot is about a working-class Joe and would-be writer who finds himself, his wife and kid in financial straits and about to be thrown out of their rental into the street. The character, Craig, finds out he is laid off just after pulling an eviction notice from his front door. Like every good man in the deep doo of financial ruin, Craig goes to a bar. While there Craig runs into a buddy he hadn’t seen in five years.

At his core, Craig is an upright — and a bit uptight — guy who loves his wife. But his foundation gets shakier and shakier as the film goes on. The two old buds runs into a seemingly rich and definitely twisted couple in the bar who are supposedly out celebrating the wife’s birthday. That celebration gets higher on the Perverse o’ Meter in each frame.  I will just give a tame for instance. The rich guy says he will give one of the old friends $200 to say something to a good-looking lady that will get one of them slapped. And believe me that is as tame and injury free as it gets from there.

I have never been much enchanted with gory slasher-style movies. For some reason though, lots of graphic shit bothers me. Even one of my favorite TV shows, NCIS, has scenes that I will have to turn my head away from especially when a body is on the coroner’s table burned to a crisp. No doubt, my head turning in that case isn’t surprising because such instances in real life as a firefighter and as a reporter revealed similar scenes of what we would call in our own dark humor “crispy critters.”

I don’t have nightmares about some of the repulsive stuff I saw in real life, at least that I know of, who knows what all there is lurking in the deep recesses of our beans.

One thing is for certain though, if I am to continue my movie watching, I think I will have to watch the ratings more carefully. When they say bloody, or scenes too graphic, maybe I will just leave the disc be. After all, what’s $1.20 for a movie disc when it comes to your sanity?

‘Weather’ or not you like it, a change is going to come

The first “cold” front of the Fall has just passed through after a rainy afternoon with some nice thunder to accompany it. It is technically a cold front because of cooler air. But in reality it is a cool front. The cooler weather makes that abundantly clear.

I took some movies back to the Redbox at a local Walgreen’s and when I got out wearing a polo and shorts, it felt definitely more chilly than it has been for several months now. The wind helped make it so. From what I can tell, the temperature is in the upper 60s. I expect the temps should fall to the lower 50s tonight or the upper 40s at its lowest. It is just a nice little “cool spell” that usually makes it down south here in Beaumont, Texas, at this time of the year.

A respite from the summer heat is usually welcome by this time. It hasn’t been one of those super hot summers that sometime creep into late September or early October. We don’t normally have too much variation in weather in these parts though it isn’t a place which has no variation in climate as I’ve hear some people complain.

Those who know me and/or have read this blog over the years will know I am a warm weather person. But I enjoy a little change in the season. Actually, if I had my “druthers” I would prefer a constant temperature in the daytime because I am not a person given to dressing in “layers.” I know that particular style is something that one probably does not think much about if they reside in a place where layer dressing is just a fact of life.

Of course, I am not particularly fond of it being really cold outside and then having to go inside where it is stifling hot. Then again, the weather is what the weather will be and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it except complain or praise it.

The truth be told I am usually up, by the time it normally comes, for one of those “blue norther” cold fronts where the temperature goes shooting down at a really drastic manner. I have seen the temperature over time drop 40 or more degrees in a short period of time.

Change is just one of those little things we deal with in life. We may like it, dislike it, or not care but the weather isn’t one of those parts of life which complaining about it will do any good. As the saying that has found it’s way to the land of sports cliches during the last few years, it is what is. I might add, it isn’t what it’s not. I’d go on but I am worried someone might want to hit me on the head with something and that would be something that is what it is but isn’t what it should.

Race ‘n’ age. Age ‘n’ race. Can’t touch this!!

A few minutes ago I was walking into the local convenience store. A “Brotha” somewhere in his 20s to 30s was about to walk into the store. I intended to open the door for him, my being closest to that door. Now, I was raised to open doors for no matter who it might be. I don’t think it is a traditional custom across our country because you don’t see someone opening doors for others, or at least I haven’t, very often in places outside of the South. I’ve seen people delighted by the custom while others were perplexed.

Brotha Man beat me to it though. He said: “Let me get that door for you, pops!”

I have to admit that I have never heard anyone call me “pops.” I used to call my Dad, “Pops.” I don’t believe any of my siblings ever called him that. I guess it was because I was in my late teens and early 20s, I wanted to be cool. Calling him “Daddy” was, I don’t know, just a bit on the little children side. I didn’t call him Pops out of disrespect. I am sure if it had offended my Father he would have let me know.

Back to the neighborhood sociodrama. I was laughing and muttered: “Pops.” The black guy said: “You never heard that?” I said that I didn’t. He went to the ATM and I picked up what I needed and headed to the cashier, who was herself black and in her early 20s.

“Did you see that?” the girl asked me. I asked her what she had seen

“That guy came in the door and grabbed his junk,” motioning about her mid-thigh. “I’ve seen guys do like … ” as she was raised her hand to a much more believable level for a crotch grab. Whatever length that may be.

I didn’t want to entertain her with more of the stereotypes I’m sure she always heard concerning, uh, size. The truth was that I have seen young black men, not all of course, grab themselves and wondered just what the Sam Hell that was all about? This is not some recent fad. I have seen this phenomenon going on as long as I can remember. Race always being the sensitive issue, I never even though to ask about it.

Thinking of something quick, I remembered about a comedy routine I heard Richard Pryor do one time. Pryor said that black guys hold on to it because the whites took “everything else we had.” I didn’t know what kind of reaction I’d get as a “Pops” telling that to a young, black girl. She laughed. A little embarrassed but a good laugh all the same.

I decided to look for some learned explanation for the crotch grab. Apparently it has been adopted as of late by the young white boys, the likes of Justin Bieber. And even some of the young princesses are doing it. “Crotch grabbing is the new twerking,” says Cosmopolitan.

The new twerking thing leaves me more puzzled. What ARE those young ladies doing?

About the only scientific explanation, not specifically related to the subject, comes from the self-testing for an inguinal hernia. It sounds torturous, the hernia, much like my fear of developing shingles. I have got to take that vaccination and make it prompt!

In less than three weeks I will turn 59. Yes, almost 60 years old and still so many questions. Faced with a situation such as the one I faced today, I left the store doing the only thing that came to mind.

The brother again opened the door for me.

I said:  “Hey thanks Junior. Be cool now.”

Shocking new drinking game: Prepare to get Blitzered!

Here is a way to get totally blitzed and somewhat informed, for awhile at least, at the same time.

Watch Wolf Blitzer’s show on CNN. Take a drink every time the bearded newsman says “shocking!

“Shocking!” “Shocking … ” ” … shocking … ” “Shocking … Well, better drink beer. Better drink light beer or 3.2 beer. If you take a shot of tequila or whiskey you will definitely be Blitzered.

Trying to wake up for the Texas November elections

The Texas General Election in November has failed to capture my attention so far this year. Why is really not that important to discuss except that some candidates have done their best to keep away from the news media. I especially note Republicans Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton, respectively, candidates for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.

Patrick did manage to surface from meeting with small influential crowds long enough to debate Democratic State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte last night in Austin. I tried finding the only scheduled debate for Texas Lieutenant Governor on the TV last night but couldn’t. Oh well. Media stories covering perhaps the one opportunity to see the two candidates say it was pretty much what I expected, charges and counter charges about raising or not raising taxes.

I did watch a debate between Republican Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott and Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis, the two candidates for Texas Governor. It was of slightly more substance. Of course, I have been getting email up the ying-yang all year from Wendy’s people and Obama and every Dem politician running for public office it seems. It seems as if they want money. Hey, I will clean your windshield. Sorry, it’s all ho-hum. It just seems like the election has already been determined and we will have a repeat of all these Republican nut jobs in state offices, as well as a majority in Legislature.

Perhaps I will be surprised. Maybe at least Van de Putte will win, that would put her in what is constitutionally the strongest office in the state as head of the State Senate. Of course, Good Hair Perry did put a sizable dent into that power by his ability to appoint people to boards and commissions.

Maybe I will feel more like becoming a part of the political process as time goes on toward the election. I hope I do. It will take my mind off other things like the spread of Ebola.