The Sane Person As An Endangered Species

Anti-choice and anti-abortion fanaticism is running rampant through the land right now, and we are beginning to see outcomes, some predictable and some unforeseen. An op/ed in the New York Times takes one case and opens it to show how these present-day Torquemadas are yet one more version of the crazed mob we have seen portrayed in movies, running up and down the cobblestone streets with their torches while looking for witches to burn.

The photo below is either that of a horde in Texas out looking for abortion providers or a group in Europe trying to smoke out the Frankenstein monster, I can’t remember which.

The author of the op/ed is a pediatrician who tells the story of an obstetrician-colleague who is being pilloried right now for performing a legal abortion on a ten year-old rape victim. Ten years old … my god! It makes chilling reading. The concluding paragraph of the piece is reproduced below.

Our medical and ethical responsibility as clinicians is grounded in delivering comprehensive, safe and evidence-based health care. If providing that care results in threats to professional and personal safety, patients will suffer. Doctors have sworn to do no harm. Clearly, many of those in power have not.

Dr. Caitlin Bernard Was Meant to Write This With Me Before She Was Attacked for Doing Her Job; Dr. Tracey A. Wilkinson, New York Times July 16, 2022

But the fanatics don’t really care who gets burned in the relentless crusade to inflict their personal version of moral perfection on all of us. To them, it is acceptable collateral damage. It is okay to force ten year-old children to carry pregnancies caused by rape to term, to make their point.

If we needed it, and apparently we sorely do, this is one of those teaching moments where the reasons for the separation of church and state are plainly visible. Even though the world’s religions are very capable of doing good works, each one of them harbors men and women who are zealots and love nothing better than to see the tendrils of smoke rising from a fresh immolation.

The inmates are truly running the asylum when the churches who still won’t accept full responsibility for their enabling role in the rape of children all over the world are leading today’s charge against giving women full say over their own bodies.

The Days That Used To Be, by Neil Young


A Dick Guindon cartoon.


I don’t often provide recipes here, because I know that many of you are better cooks by far than I am. (I also don’t take photographs of what I am eating because I suspect that you could care less.) However, I thought I’d share something with you about Paprika, a recipe organizing software that Robin and I have been using for maybe eight or nine years. It works with iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows. We have found it the best of the three such organizers we have used over the years. Here is what Paprika does for us:

  • It can download recipes from most sites on the internet with ease, saving much typing and cursing about typos. This is a big deal.
  • “Can I get this recipe from you?” is a common question asked by friends, and with Paprika the answer is always Yes. Just email it from your phone or computer to that person.
  • There is no limit to the number of recipes it will hold, and you can sort them by using your own keywords
  • Want to make half a recipe or a double recipe? Just a click and the program does the calculation for you.
  • It syncs between laptops and iOS devices
  • You’re at the grocery store and you forgot your list of ingredients for something that you were going to make for supper? Bring up the recipe on your phone and you’ve got the information!

We use the program nearly daily and although you can live a life that is happy, joyous, and free without it, for us it is a good and reliable worker who helps us with the daily chore of feeding ourselves.



Periodically someone will mention to me that their physician, their spouse, or the checkout person at the grocery store is in the habit of lecturing them on the evils of eating bacon. I recoil in horror at these stories. Why, a world without fried and crispy slabs of hog fat is unimaginable and I would not want to live in it. If push came to shove I would ask for transport on the first Musk-A-Plane to Mars that had seats available.

These do-gooders will natter on about their belief that bacon fat doesn’t need to be digested but passes right through the stomach to the bloodstream in large lumps that you can see with the naked eye. These chunks then wedge themselves in blood vessels everywhere in the body. If a chunk lands in someone’s brain that person may not be able to talk, drive a car, or take care of themselves any longer, but the good news is they will still be able to legally carry an Uzi at the movies in the state of Texas, so there is that.

Another annoyance is the fact that these same folks say that there are so many cancer-causing agents in a piece of cured bacon that it should only be available by prescription, and that only for people already on death row.

I say poof and piffle on their science. This is America and I can be as ignorant as I want to be even if it makes those around me tear the hair from their heads.

There are two great morning smells in the world – coffee cooking and bacon frying. These aromas are essential to a civilized life. End of story.

Bacon, by Jim Gaffigan


A George Booth cartoon


Golf is a silly game. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of good games are silly, like the kids’ card game of Going to the Dump. It’s part of what makes them fun to play. What’s different about golf is that its adherents have almost covered up its aspects of childhood fun-ness and have instead dressed it up to make it look like it’s important, almost a religion.

It has its temples like Augusta National and St. Andrews. It has its priests and heroic figures like Tiger Woods and Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. It has its dogmas and its vestments and its commandments. [Those vestments often take the form of clothing more suitable to that of students at a clown college.]

All the game really is about is to take a stick and strike a small ball toward a small hole and try to roll it in. All the rest is pretty much overblown twaddle.

Here in Paradise, which is a small town of 19,000 souls, we have not one, not two, but three golf courses. Two of them sit right in the middle of town and are impediments to any sort of logical street planning, since all roads must go around them. This also happens in communities with large parks, which are open areas where you can go to rest up and heal life’s wounds. Roads have to go around these as well.

But the particular parklands that golf courses represent are for members only, an “elite” composed of people who dress oddly and have convinced themselves that knocking balls into holes gives them an insight into the meaning of life.

Every few years I replay these clips from performances by Robin Williams and George Carlin on the subject of this game. They are full of f-bombs, so don’t watch them if you are offended by coarse language. Also don’t watch them if you are one of golf’s true believers. It won’t improve your day.


I can hear some of you saying – But what sort of hypocrisy is this? A rant from a man whose home is on a street named Country Club Way? I offer this as an example of how the pretentiousness of the “sport”seeps out into the community. There is a golf course nearby, a good two blocks away, but the people who built the houses in our little subdivision thought it would dress up the place to put in a reference to such a club. In spite of the fact that there is not a single square foot of Country Club Way from which any golf course is visible.

You might as well call our street Lagoon Avenue, we can’t see a lagoon from here, either.


I am publishing this edition one day early because later today (Tuesday) Robin and I are taking off on a two-day mini-vacation that involves taking grandson Aiden to the Santa Fe Opera. Aiden has a love for all sorts of musical theater. In addition, he has an excellent voice and an eagerness to learn. How could we not take him?

And what better guide than myself for such an experience? I am positively loaded with culture. My credentials are that I have actually attended an opera twice in my life, both times being disappointed that they were done in a foreign language. I thought that the least they could do when performing in America was to sing in American. Call me fussy.

The opera we are going to see is Falstaff, which I understand is Mr. Verdi’s idea of what Shakespeare’s character would have been like had he been born under an Italian grape arbor and with a plate of pasta before him. Aiden will be very fortunate to have me to explain the nuances of the production. This is doubly important because once again they have stubbornly decided to perform the entire opera in Italian, in spite of the fact that I wrote them about my previous unhappinesses.

Ah me … well … maybe they will at least be selling popcorn at the intermissions.


The first song by the Rolling Stones that really caught me was “The Last Time.” I heard it issuing from a boombox in 1965 which was being carried on the shoulders of a kid in Minneapolis who was walking past the run-down tri-plex that I called home. This was way back at their beginning, when the group was young and hungry and interesting to me. It is rock and roll stripped down to essentials, with a hook that is instantly recognizable.

The song’s refrain is similar to “This May Be the Last Time”, a traditional gospel song recorded in 1954 by the Staple Singers. In 2003, Richards acknowledged this, saying, “We came up with ‘The Last Time’, which was basically re-adapting a traditional gospel song that had been sung by the Staple Singers, but luckily the song itself goes back into the mists of time.”

The Last Time, Wikipedia

Even now, that hook will stop me and I will listen to the rest of the song all the way through, every time. I don’t know if any rock and roll tune should be called “perfect,” because an essential part of the genre is a certain amount of raggedy-assedness, but for me this song is about as close as it gets.

The Last Time, by The Rolling Stones


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