Jeb versus the Clinton woman: Monarchy versus cronyocracy

This morning I discussed by email with my expatriate friend Paul the news that Jeb Bush is “actively exploring” a run for president in the 2016 election. My Tokyo-based “J” School friend, who teaches English there, pondered the wording of this news as if we really think it is news.

 “I suppose ‘explore’ might be sitting around drinking beer and thinking about it. ‘Actively explore’ might be sitting around drinking beer and paying Karl Rove to think about it,” said Paul.

To which I might reply, were Paul, Sir Paul of the Beatles: I am the egg man, they are the egg man. I am the walrus, goo goo goo joob … Ah but alas I am not an egg man, though I was an egg boy, one time, selling eggs from laying hens and yard hens. Also, Paul is not Sir Paul. But it is important as to how concepts are presented when you aren’t just another joob running for president. Because three Bushes are directly related to a bird in the hand. The next thing you know, you’ve got a damned monarchy, which I pointed out to Paul. His reply:

 “We probably should do it because then we could have Dukes and royal babies and shit like that — CNN would like that. The irony would be that the ‘King’ would eventually lose power and be a ceremonial inbred figurehead mostly attending charity balls, playing golf, and pardoning turkeys on holidays while trying to keep his daughters’ topless vacation pictures out of the press.

 “I’m good with all this,” concluded my friend, signing as “Paul the Serf.”

It’s certainly an interesting way to look at it. Will we fight another revolution if Jeb I or Bush III or whatever we would call him, wins a presidency?

Or, perhaps, we can just go ahead and elect a Clinton wife in the less than royal manner of the Texas Fergusons — a.k.a. “Ma and Pa Ferguson.

Oh but Ma was humane. Many say “crooked as a barrel of snakes.” She was good about getting folks out of the slammer in Huntsville. My Dad once told me a story about a less than savory cast of cousins, one of whom was in Huntsville. Pop said this unsavory cousin’s mother hitchhiked all the way from San Augustine to Austin — 232 miles one-way — to see Ma and get her boy, our cousin, out of prison. Our cousin’s mother, also a cousin, was successful and perhaps even stopped off in Huntsville on the way back and picked up her boy before returning to the red clay, pine-covered hills of San Augustine County.

So with Republicans one gets royalty and with Democrats the result is cronyocracy? Things are never that easy. But three Bushes? One at a time was certainly not so great where George I upchucked on the leader of Japan and George II was swayed into igniting another world war in the Middle East. Yes, the House of Bush, it bothers me plenty.



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!

Ask any piggy you happen to see, what’s the best pork chop? Piggy of the Sea.

This is something that had always puzzled me. Thanks again to the “internets,” that George Dubya Bush spoke of and which Al Gore invented. (sometimes I do satire.) I’m speaking of “Chicken of the Sea.” That’s a tuna company of course. The name comes from what fishermen called albacore tuna because of its white meat and mild taste reminding them of chicken. Perhaps that is where the habit of saying different foods, particularly unusual choices for meat at least in the U.S., saying that the food “tastes like chicken.”

Frog legs? Tastes like chicken. Rattlesnake meat? Taste like chicken. Rocky Mountain Oysters? Tastes like chicken. No, no, wait a minute now. Mountain oysters taste like calf fries to me.

But Chicken of the Sea. It’s a hell of a name, especially when you extrapolate a bit. Turkey of the Permafrost. Zebra of the Lower Fourth Ward. Gecko of the Locker Room. Dog of El Camino Real. You see what I mean?

Back to the whole tastes like chicken thing, have you ever had chicken that didn’t taste like chicken? It can happen. So what do you say when that happens? Tastes like grout on a cracker. Tastes like honey badger. Tastes like … Well, you get it. It just doesn’t make sense.

I’m just glad that Chicken of the Sea wasn’t named after some dude who was afraid of the ocean. So let’s say he goes back to dry land and moves somewhere out West where Kenny Rogers writes a song in his honor called “Coward of the County.” No? Okay, I gave it a shot.

How I somehow got on a discussion of roadrunners

Seeing a roadrunner is not an everyday kind of event in my neck of the woods.

This ground-dwelling cuckoo known as a roadrunner may have coyotes to worry about in some places but there are fewer high places on which to launch a dangerous bank vault. Bureau of Land Management photo/S. Schmidt.
This ground-dwelling cuckoo known as a roadrunner may have coyotes to worry about in some places but there are fewer high places on which to launch a dangerous bank vault. Bureau of Land Management photo/S. Schmidt.

The Geococcyx californianus  as they are scientifically known aren’t completely alien to the pine forests of East Texas, where I was raised. Neither are roadrunners completely foreign a little south of the Pineywoods, in what is the Big Thicket area and into the coastal plains of Southeast Texas where I currently reside.

Scientists who study these sort of things say these speedy ground-dwelling cuckoos have been found in each of the 254 Texas counties. The North American Breeding Bird Survey shows the roadrunner habitat through most areas of the Southwest U.S. and into areas of states bordering Texas. This is in conjunction with the areas of northern Mexico where one may also find these birds.

Roadrunner habitat in the United States from the Breeding Bird Survey. USGS map
Roadrunner habitat in the United States from the Breeding Bird Survey. USGS map

The map provided by the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) — a U.S. Geological Survey/Environment Canada effort — shows that one is most likely to see a roadrunner in the Chihuahuan Desert, the North Texas plains and the Rio Grand Valley in Texas as well as the Sonoran Desert in California. But other than a two or three day adventure in Big Bend National Park — in the heart of the Chihuahuan — the only roadrunners I have ever seen were in the wooded areas of eastern Texas.


Sometimes called the chaparral or chaparral cock, this cuckoo is pretty damn smart when it comes to ferreting out the sustenance it needs to survive and doing so just about wherever it needs to survive. The first roadrunner I saw was while riding to a picnic with my neighbor kids and their mother. We kids recognized the bird, of course, because the “Roadrunner” cartoons had recently begun its run on network TV. Folks around the area where I grew up said the first such birds they had seen were sometime in the 1940s or 1950s. The birds actually spread pretty rapidly because of the changes in land use. Whether that growth has stopped or slowed down, I don’t know. But the BBS map shows that they haven’t traveled very far from eastern Texas. Once again, the physical terrain and vegetation, whether changed or not, probably is the major factor.

I have to admit that the roadrunners are curious-looking, as well as curious-acting, feathered fellows. I think they are quite majestic and quite handsome even though its long legs and neck do somewhat resemble the flightless ratites. The major difference between the chaparral and ratites such as the emu is that roadrunners are capable of a weak effort at flying. As for photogenic, I’d have to say the roadrunner wins hands, or feet, down. And while the emu is not generally given to aggression they are apt to cause humans to hurt themselves as the “smarter creature” takes flight. The good old roadrunner just takes off instead of fooling with humans. Then again, I have had strange encounters with emus. I think I will just leave it at there, for now at least.

Although I certainly hold no claim as an expert on roadrunners, I can say without reservation that I’ve never hear them utter sounds such as “meep meep.” Also, since coyotes can be found just about anywhere I wouldn’t draw any conclusions.

Fishing tale: The one that got away didn’t

Some fisherman ply the waters for sustenance while others fish for sport. It has been awhile since I have fished. But I generally find it a relaxing exercise and one in which I care little whether I catch a fish or not. I say “generally.” I suppose if I was paying for a deep sea trip or booked a fly fishing journey in the Rockies I would definitely want some return for my dollar. Some fish freshly caught for grilling would certainly be one return to enjoy. Still, going fishing is many times more than wetting a hook. And sometimes the hunt is better than the capture. For instance, every fisherman worth his or her tackle box has a story about “the one that got away.”

Anthony Wichman may truly have been better off if the fish he hooked had escaped.

A Navy Times story reports that Wichman, 54, hooked a 230-pound Ahi tuna while fishing last week off Kauai island, Hawaii. While reeling in the monster tuna it capsized his 14-foot boat and pulled the man under the water. As if that wasn’t enough, Wichman also managed to entangle his leg in his fishing line.

He managed though to hang on to the overturned hull and used his cell phone to call his wife, who in turn, notified authorities. A Coast Guard helicopter found the capsized vessel and plucked Wichman out of the water. A couple of his friends also showed up to help tow his boat to shore.

A Honululu Coast Guard spokeswoman said Wichman sustained minor injuries. But one important answer was difficult to find out in the otherwise entertaining story.

What happened to the fish?

Well, a picture accompanying the story shows the angler and his friends holding up the giant tuna. The cutline beneath the story explains that Wichman and friends were able to save the Ahi as well as the boat.

What other details that transpired is hard to say: Like whether the giant tuna was worth the ordeal and whether Wichman might have wished he had not even hooked the fish in the first place.

One has to admit though, it is one hell of a fishing story.