This is not my place.

by baldilocks

I’ve lived in my apartment for fourteen months now. After having spent nine months in homeless housing, I don’t like to complain about my present habitation. And it is not that bad. Nice, relatively quiet neighborhood. Very racially mixed, as I said in my last post. The noisiest thing: car alarms and fast drivers.

I’ve talked before about my homeless sojourn; my first roommate had four AM hallucinations featuring me knocking on the walls and, as a result did things in “retaliation” like threaten my life. And, after I proactively rid myself of her company, my two new roommates were very nice older ladies who liked to sleep with all windows closed. I usually slept with a fan directly on my face and no covers.

Now, therefore, I try to revel in the solitude, the cool, fresh air and the freedom from the need to sleep with one eye open.

The only real problem I have living here is a very slight one: my landlords’ attitudes. Every time I tell them that there’s a problem, they act as if I’ve sabotaged their property.

Example: my front windows were stuck in the closed position for months, beginning just two month after I moved in—in September of last year. I let it go for the winter but when it began to get warm again, I told the owners—a married couple. The man came over and fixed them easily—something I was unable to do because I don’t have the upper body strength necessary. Then he mentioned that the windows had never gotten stuck before. When I said that they simply just stopped moving, he said: “sure they did.” I was silent. You don’t want to curse out your landlord.

There have been three other incidents like this.

I used to be a landlady—owner of a duplex and I lived in one of the units—so I understand about how tenants are sometimes. Heck, the teenaged son of my tenant burgled the battery out of my temporarily out-of-service car while the car was in the garage! I found out when I went to take it to mechanic. (I told him that a functioning battery had better magically appear under my hood in 24 hours or the police would be informed. I assume that he lifted one from someone else.) But to automatically be assumed to be an unreasonable breaker-of-things doesn’t happen to me often.

It kind of interesting to be looked down upon and have others expect the worst of you. Did I mention that these people were black? Losing almost everything I own has taught me that I am not my material possessions. If my landlords are lucky, they won’t have to discover this in the same manner that I did.

No more complaining.

And I have a new video up.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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28 Years ago I spent my Honeymoon with my wife in the Portland Ore / Vancouver WA area. My how things have changed.

You know there was a time when I wouldn’t have even thought it necessary to ask such a question, but given the events of this week that’s no longer the case.

Incidentally, I actually do want an answer to this question.

Imagine being a ten year old child during the London blitz. On the first night your house is being bombed by the Luftwaffe, you and your parents rush to the Underground, where you sit in the dark for hours. Tense as the situation is, it gets worse when the exit is blocked by debris from the bombing and you and hundreds of others must wait, not only for the bombing raid to end, but to be dug out.

After you get dug out, you go back to your life.

Compare that with the college students so distressed out by President elect Trump’s Tuesday night victory that they need counseling, vigils, safe spaces, therapy dogs, coloring books and play doh.

I did not invent the London blitz scenario. A friend (now deceased) lived through it. Aside from a reluctance to being in dark enclosed spaces (such as movie theaters or red eye flights), she lived a long, happy and successful life. She firmly believed that resilience can be learned, just as she had.

Many years ago I came across an excellent book by sports psychologist Jim Loehr, Toughness Training for Life: A Revolutionary Program for Maximizing Health, Happiness and Productivity, which changed my life.

Loehr’s thesis is that you can develop everyday habits that will help you cope with life’s stresses. His approach includes physical activity, mental focusing, and developing healthy personal habits (such as healthy eating and avoiding smoking, drugs, etc.). Once these habits are ingrained, they become valuable tools through which you will overcome life’s travails.

Physical activity, mental focusing, and developing healthy personal habits are exactly the tools my friend and her family in wartime London relied on; in their case they also relied on their Faith as part of their focus.

Why is this approach important?

From his more than 30 years of experience and applied research, Dr. Loehr believes the single most important factor in successful achievement, personal fulfillment and life satisfaction is the strength of one’s character. He strongly contends that character strength can be built in the same way that muscle strength is built through energy investment.

Rather than counseling, vigils, safe spaces and coloring books, I recommend that colleges across the nation hand out copies of this book and make it required reading. Add that to Pete’s approach and you might get your students to become realized persons.

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.


Robin of Locksley: Touch him with that [blinding iron] and you’ll get an arrow through your throat
2nd Royal forester: You’re a bold fellow aren’t you?
3rd Royal forester: Think you can kill all three of us?
Robin of Locksley: If I have to. [throws a load of bread in the air & hits it with an arrow] Now untie him, and then leave.
1st Royal forester: Well our Duty doesn’t include getting ourselves killed, you can have him, for now.

The Adventures of Robin Hood: The Coming of Robin Hood 1955

Yesterday I asked some difficult questions concerning a Hillary presidency and then updated it linking to post by Scott Adams that said in part

As far as I can tell, the worst thing a presidential candidate can do is turn Americans against each other. Clinton is doing that, intentionally.


As I often say, I don’t know who has the best policies. I don’t know the best way to fight ISIS and I don’t know how to fix healthcare or trade deals. I don’t know which tax policies are best to lift the economy. I don’t know the best way to handle any of that stuff. (And neither do you.) But I do have a bad reaction to bullies. And I’ve reached my limit.

I hope you have too.

I learned about bullies very young thanks to my brother Dominic.

It was the 60’s at St. Anthony’s school and there was a bully who had been picking on the other kids horribly but when he decided to pick on my brother Dominic he, showing the attitude and fearlessness that he would hold for his entire life, fought rather than knuckle under.

Dominic wasn’t particularly big or strong, he was nothing special and the Bully beat him up pretty bad…

…but Dominic gave as good as he got and while he lost the fight the bully was in such bad shape that not only did he stay away from Dominic who seemed completely indifferent to pain, but didn’t pick on the other kids in school from that point on. It was the ultimate Rocky 2 moment

What did that teach me? It taught me that you have to stand up for what’s right, that the best way to stop a bully or a thief or someone looking to intimidate you is to make sure that the cost for sai bully is more than they’re willing to pay.

Yesterday I wondered aloud if conservatives are oppressed by a Hillary Clinton administration how would submitting be better than resisting? I’m very curious as to my brother Dominic’s opinion on the matter.

Incidentally Dominic never changed. From that day to his retirement last year nobody ever messed with him again, not during school, not at his job, not anywhere. He’s enjoying a quiet life with his family but even in the tough neighborhood where he lives, a neighborhood that most of the other Sicilians left long ago, nobody messes with him, the price for doing so is too high.

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This is exactly what happened:

Yesterday afternoon in sunny and hot Miami my friend answered the doorbell. I kept an eye from the window.

An average-sized man in his thirties, wearing a pink polo shirt and khakis, holding a clipboard, immediately said hello in Spanish, and asked her if she was [her name], registered at that address. She said yes.

At that point I moved closer to the entrance but he could not see me. I could hear the conversation very clearly. The entire conversation was in Spanish. He spoke very clear, native-speaker quality Spanish.

The man did not identify himself nor did he declare any affiliation with any political party or committee, polling organization, or business of any kind.

He handed her a cell phone with questions that he claimed were “on the issues affecting our community”, but the list of five questions in English were all negative statements about Donald Trump, “I do not like how he treats women,” “I do not like his stance of immigration,” among them. The statements were in large enough bold print she could read them without her reading glasses. He asked her to check the ones she agreed with.

Her reply was that she does not answer political questions, and gave him back the phone. She had to repeat this a couple of times, until the guy finally realized he was getting nowhere.

He then asked her if she would prefer that no further polls be conducted at her house. She said yes.

The man, still speaking Spanish, pulled a sheet of paper from his clipboard and asked her to fill in a form, telling her that, if she signed that form, she would not be approached again with any polls.

My friend was not wearing her reading glasses so she took the form indoors. I went to the door (this is the first time he saw me), excused myself and locked the door.

I did not stop long enough to see whether the man carried or wore any ID tags or anything showing any affiliation. None were apparent at first glance. I just wasn’t going to leave an unlocked door unattended.

I looked at the paper my friend was holding. It had three copies on one page of a form saying, in English,


followed by some more text in English, and three lines for the respondent to fill in their name and address.

Again, I repeat, the entire conversation was in Spanish.

But the form was in English. Only in English, with no Spanish translation anywhere.

I read it to her aloud, returned it to her and she opened the door, gave back the form to the man, and told him she did not appreciate being mislead. He asked her what she meant, and she told him that the form was a pledge to Hillary, not a do-not-call request.

He had the nerve to ask her why wouldn’t she pledge to Hillary, to which she curtly replied that she would not pledge for any political candidate since her vote is private. “Even for the best candidate?” he asked. She again said, “my vote is private.”

At this point, the guy thanked her, said good-bye and left.

I don’t know – and certainly I’m not about to ask – who she’s voting for, but Hillary did not make any friends there yesterday.

Parting questions: If there’s no intention to deceive, why no translation on the form? Why no disclosure of who he works for? Who is behind that survey?

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

UPDATE DTG: I just read this piece and I don’t think Fausta gets what’s going on here. The reason for the form is obvious and that reason is fraud.

  1. Step 1: Go door to door in the spanish community for the purpose of getting signatures on a form pledging the non english reading voters for Hillary Clinton with the name and address and an authentic signature
  2. Step 2: Submit absentee ballots in the name of the above person for Hillary Clinton.

If the voter doesn’t show at the polls, perfect, they’re absentee ballot is counted for Hillary no questions asked.

If they show up the vote and attempt to vote causing said ballot to be questioned for any reason the signature sheet is produced.

This is actual fraud straight up and every person in that neighborhood is being targeted, and you can bet if it’s done at your friends house it’s being done everywhere else.

Fausta your friend needs to call the Florida AG and the local media STAT.

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Loco motive.
Loco motive.

by baldilocks

While the intrepid Peter is covering the Trump campaign in New Hampshire, I’m not inclined to cover either Himself or Herself should either come to Los Angeles in the Last Days (ahem) of the 2016 Presidential election cycle—unless asked. Of course, it depends on who is doing the asking.

Actually, this is not new for me. I’m more of a “this is what happened and this is what I think it means” or “an odd notion occurred to me today, which lead to this train of thought” sort, than a documenter of campaigns. Now don’t get me wrong. I appreciate what campaign documentarians do; it just isn’t my cup of tea.

So, instead of climbing aboard the Trump or Clinton trains, I bid you, once again, to climb aboard the baldilocks Train of Thought—a vehicle which almost always has an unexpected destination, even unexpected by the driver.  Sometimes, the Engineer keeps the destination to Himself.

Has anyone else noticed that it is becoming more and more difficult to communicate with others? Recently, I’ve lost friends over the most innocuous of statements.  It’s almost as if there’s a voice whispering into the ears of some, and that voice is saying something like “she hates you/he’s lying to you/they blame you.”

Those who seem to be heeding the voice are men, women, young, old, black, white, brown, yellow. All of them are ready to be angry over real offenses. And, if they can’t find a true offense, they will make up one.

This phenomenon reminds me of a dream I had last year—one I may have mentioned before. I was in audience as God and the Devil were having a conversation. I couldn’t really see them, but I could hear them.

At first, they were speaking in a language I couldn’t identify, much less understand. (I’m guessing Aramaic.) Then, God stopped talking and just looked at the Devil, while the latter was saying the same word over and over again. Somehow, I knew what the word meant.

“Felon, felon, felon…!”

The next day, I looked up the etymology of the word felony and found the Early English Law definition.

any crime punishable by death or mutilation and forfeiture of lands and goods.

According to the Bible, the Devil stands before God, day and night, accusing humanity of being sinners worthy of death—of being felons.

Every time I get into or witness an argument where unwarranted accusations are being slung, I consider these things and wonder what is being whispered into the spiritual ears of the accusers.

Chugging on!

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>baldilocks

Many people are writing about the fifteenth anniversary of the Islamist terrorist attack on America. Garrett M. Graff has a compelling article at Politico, ‘We’re the Only Plane in the Sky’ that tells the story of that horrible day by those in the Bush White House.

September 11, 2001, profoundly changed my view of the world.
On a personal level, it brought home how ephemeral life really is – especially since my birthday is on September 13th.

Ephemeral as it is, a responsible adult’s life has inescapable obligations and commitments, and we all enjoy pastimes in our valuable spare time.

Which brings me to the subject of pro football.

As a University of Georgia alumna, I loved UGA football while I was a student. I loved it while in college because of the social scene and the general enthusiasm of a football weekend, but to this day my knowledge of football is patchy at best. (Indeed, years ago my coworkers were annoyed that one week I won the football pool, but I digress.)

I do understand, however, how one develops a passionate interest in a sport, an activity, or a subject. I hope most people do; indeed, it is a poor life that does not experience a passion for something. In that sense, I fully understand why people are football fans even when I don’t know much about the game itself.

Likewise, many people  are passionate about politics.

Once you combine a passion for a sport with political statements, such as the (maybe?) intentional grounding plans for September 11, no less, tempers will flare, big time.

The excellent Argentinian movie The Secret In Their Eyes (not the American remake) explains a soccer fan’s passion in this scene. At the end of the scene, however, the actor says, “There’s one thing a guy can’t change, Benjamín. He can’t change his passion.”

The thing is, you can change you passion, not only once, but many times, in your lifetime. Ace explains:

It’s Not Give Up Something. It’s Choosing Something Better.

Ace both quit smoking and gave up watching football, because they became zombie habits (emphasis added):

For me, i didn’t stop watching football to make some political statement. I just realized it was a habit I wasn’t particularly enjoying — it was a Zombie Show I was watching. One of those shows you keep watching long after you have stopped taking pleasure from them, just because you’re in the habit of watching them, and they’re still on.

Zombie habits are just bad habits. If you’re not really enjoying something that takes up hours of your life: stop. You will quickly find some better things. The mind wants to be engaged and to have fun. You will find fun.

Ace is not alone in this realization, of course. Political-activist football players and teams are risking, as Juliette mentioned, that

A large portion of the NFL’s audience won’t put their monies out for this sort of thing.

Life is short; you don’t need 9/11 to remind you, even when it brings immediacy to the point. So, if the pastime has become a zombie habit, listen to Ace: You’ll find fun.

And good luck to the NFL guys.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.


disillusionedby baldilocks

It’s an odd feeling to begin to believe that you wasted your youth. It’s what I’m beginning to believe about my own.

Back when I was a skinny little critter, I wasn’t popping out illegitimate babies or selling/smoking weed or selling/shooting heroin or streetwalking or being a groupie to sports/pop music icons. I spent my youth as an enlisted woman in the USAF, and held a compartmented security clearance during the last “battles” of the Cold War.

We won, they tell me.

My DD Form 214—Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty—states that I had these two specialties (jobs): 1) Germanic Crypto Linguist, and 2) Slavic Crypto Linguist, Russian. Long-term training is required for the languages alone; that part comes first. Then there’s the second part of the training, the classified part–the part which one doesn’t even get to experience if something icky is uncovered in the background check. (When that happens, the person is pulled out of training altogether and, if they are lucky, they’re assigned another specialty. Unluckiness gets one kicked out.)

In this other part of the training, we learned all about our security clearances, how to handle classified information, the penalties for mishandling classified information, and what to do when mistakes are made. This very pertinent information is instilled and measured–tested–before any sensitive information is revealed to us.

It isn’t rocket science and, if I recall correctly, it takes only a few days. Most of us had high school diplomas only or a bit of “higher” education and very few of us were over 25 years old. It’s true, however, that we qualified for the specialty because of our measured high ability to remember when to breathe and remember when not to.

After that, there was the job itself. Stressful at times, but the great thing about it was that we knew why we were doing it and we knew who our enemies were–or so it seemed at the time. And after the victory was won, it was comforting to have been a tiny part of that.

Again, so it seemed at the time.

It was good for my personal self-respect to know that I was capable of loyalty and able to keep a secret—and not just because I would go to jail if I didn’t, but because I had given my word. These days, this is called adulting.

There are a few who held the linguist specialty who broke their word; the one referenced in the link defected to East Germany, had to spend some time in prison and, poetically just, is stateless. (Allegedly, he’s here in the USA and is, I guess, just another illegal alien.)

The rest of us are proud of what we achieved…but, as I look at the Labor Day weekend sub rosa news, I wonder whether we really achieved anything.

Hillary Clinton, wife of a former US President, a former US Senator, a former US Secretary of State, and the 2016 Democrat Party nominee for US President herself, has blatantly and openly violated everything for which I and many of my oldest, dearest friends stood.

But she hasn’t been charged with any of the TENS OF THOUSANDS security clearance breaches which she knowingly and willfully committed. She says that she can’t remember anything about it.

My black ass.

And the worst thing is that the investigative arm of this government admits it and will do nothing. She won’t serve time for treason or spend any time stateless. And she knew that long ago, knew before the first server was planted in her house. And now, so do we.

I should have spent the 1980s smoking weed.

BTW: Day 25 of not smoking anything.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>baldilocks

The Wall Street Journal reports on the latest fad: Getting up at 4AM – not because you have to, but because you want to.

When I commuted to NYC from Convent Station, NJ (no, I have never lived in a convent; Convent Station, between Morristown and Madison, is named after the convent of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth and the train station was built during the 1870s to serve the Academy of Saint Elizabeth, now a College), I used to get up at 5:30AM.

I was in bed by 9PM. Then on Saturdays I slept until 10AM. Not being a real-early morning person, the sleep deficit seemed to accrue faster than if I slept from 11PM to 7AM.

I had a long commute, but would get to work at least an hour before official opening time, and was able to have a full breakfast, get a lot of work done, and tend to priorities before the normal interruptions of the day started.

The 4AM crowd, however, seem rather more intense – some recommend sleeping in your gym clothes.

The key to enjoying the early morning quiet time, however, is not sleeping in your gym clothes and rushing off to the gym before the crack of dawn; Rather, the key is being able to have a block of uninterrupted time with no outside distractions, where you can focus on the day’s priorities.

This means you are unplugged (no phone calls, texts, Facebook or other social media), are not available for interruptions, and, in my case, are  not listening to music, the TV. You are exclusively paying attention to the task at hand.

If the only way you can do so is at 4AM, all the more power to you.

However, in my case, I’ve found that – especially when my son was a baby – dedicating an uninterrupted twenty-minute block of time (a “unit”) during the day to a single, focused task was more effective than any other time management technique I tried. With a little practice, you can even estimate (“this will take three units”) how long it will take to get things done.

And you’re not sleeping in your gym clothes.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

I was reading R H’s post A robot could replace your crooked real estate agent and fully understand why he wants a robot to replace RE agents.

You see, I’ve been a licensed real estate agent since the late 1980s. I was active for a few years.

The office I worked in closed over a decade ago. I was young and naive back in the 80s, but even to my young and naive eyes it became clear that some of the people I was working with would do anything for money.

And I mean anything.

The thing is, the ones who really outperformed everyone were the most professional and ethical agents.

Having learned that, when it was time to sell my Princeton house, I had a rather long conversation with the local office’s manager to ask him which of his agents he considered the most honest. He recommended Beatrice Bloom.

Home buying or selling is an extremely stressful, emotional experience. The advantage to having a good agent is that you have an experienced person with professional distance working with you.

It all works best when you are prepared. Here are a number of suggestions:

If you are a buyer:

Talk to your bank and find out what you can afford. Stay in that range.

Decide where you want to live.

If your target area is too expensive, are you willing to sacrifice space for location? Do you rather have a larger house in a nearby suburb instead?

Get as much information as you possibly can over the internet.

  1. For instance, here are the best New Jersey school districts. School district ratings and property values are directly related.
  2. Use Trulia, Realtor.com, and Zillow. Look at their listings, and read all the information on each.
  3. Crime statistics are also available online.

Now is time to interview real estate agent(s). Preferably, ask friends to recommend someone they have worked with. Make sure to check references on any real estate agent you interview. Walk away from anyone who does not meet your standards.

Once you have found a house that seriously interests you, make sure  to check out the flood plains map in city hall before you make an offer.

Have a real estate attorney, i.e., an attorney specializing in real estate. A good real estate attorney may find information on the property (not just the routine title search) that you need to know.

Be there for the termite and structural inspection.

If you are a seller:

Make sure you really want to sell. Set a timeline.

Use Trulia, Realtor.com, and Zillow to view the closing price of nearby properties comparable to yours.

Have a house inspection.

Declutter, clean, and invest in having the house staged. Clean some more.

In order to get maximum selling price, your kitchen and bathrooms must be updated, the house must meet all code regulations, and the entire property must be in pristine condition. Do not expect a buyer to pay top price otherwise.

Be realistic about your selling price. If your listing price is too high, no one is going to buy your house. No one is even going to make you an offer.

Before you list, interview your prospective agent(s), and check their references. Get in writing what services the agent provides (video, brochures, open house) aside from the basic multiple listing service. Beatrice even has an app for house showings that includes scheduling and feedback.

Disclose all known problems or defects with both your real estate attorney, and with your listing agent, before you list. If you know, for example, that your septic tank must be replaced, put that in writing to both your agent and your attorney when you list. You can get sued for nondisclosure.

Don’t be home when the house is being shown.

Once you have accepted an offer, make sure to ask your agent what the schedule is (inspections, mortgage commitment) and verify it has been met.

Pay attention to what your agent and your attorney are telling you.

And how did it all work out?

My Princeton house was under contract within six days from when it was listed. It closed on schedule. Beatrice’s commission was 5% of the selling price. She earned every cent.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.




From sciencenews.org

by baldilocks

So, this happened not far from where I live.


Paramedics rushed to Skid Row after 18 people appeared to have overdosed on a drug presumed to be spice, or synthetic marijuana, fire officials said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the area of 5th and San Pedro streets at about 10:30 a.m.

Officials said 18 people were evaluated and 14 of those were taken to the hospital.

The victims were all suffering from similar symptoms, according to officials, which included altered mental status, combative behavior, and in some cases, seizures.

“We don’t have toxicological confirmation, but it’s presumably spice, which is a synthetic type of cannabis or marijuana. And of course, because it’s synthetic, nobody for sure knows what active ingredients are in there, the strength is variable,” Dr. Marc Eckstein, the Los Angeles Fire Department medical director and EMS bureau commander explained.

Before my homeless stint, I’d never heard of stuff like ‘spice’ and ‘tweaking.’ But 2015 was an education for me. I saw the effects of both—turning relatively normal people into the zombies of recent fiction, except that they weren’t cannibals…that I know of. And regular weed was everywhere. Since the latter is legal here in CA, there are “clinics” all around, and one of the hot topics of the homeless housing was where a customer could get the best high for the most reasonable price. Usually, I’d walk away from such conversations—not for any high-minded reasons, but because they bored me to tears.

Mere nicotine-addicts—like me–and those who would manage to sneak alcohol in were considered relatively straight-laced.

And that brings me to one of the reasons I wanted to stop smoking. It seems to me that all drug addictions bring illusory benefits but, in reality, have only drawbacks. Hard-core illegal drug addicts see these quickly, but we who partake in the legal substances are more likely to fool ourselves for many years, at least until that first stroke, heart attack, car accident, etc.

I’ve mused on my blessings from God many times; one of these is excellent physical health, in spite of battling nicotine addiction for many years. It’s a sin to take a blessing from God and throw it in the trash can, is it not?

Another thing: we are coming into some very perilous times, maybe the End Times. But even if things are not that apocalyptic, it seems that it’s best for each one of us to leave the extraneous habits behind. There is enough useless baggage on our backs already.

Fifteen days. I’m sort of addicted to CornNuts now.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>baldilocks

by baldilocks

Too much sorrow in the world. I want to take a break from it…at least today.

I won’t be grilling this weekend for three reasons: 1) I live in an apartment, 2) I lost my grill and smoker, and 3) my stove is still not connected to the gas source in my apartment.

A few months back, however, I bought an electric burner and replaced my lost crockpot. So I’m finding new ways to cook entrées using that method. They come out pretty good if I follow directions. Plus, it’s impossible to overcook anything with a crockpot—unless you fall asleep and don’t hear the pot’s alarm. And, usually, the pleasant aroma will wake me up anyway.

Plan for Monday: chili. Might have to buy ready-made cornbread.

I’m saving up my pennies for new pots and pans. Especially lamented from my storage loss are three cast-iron skillets which belonged to my matrilineal great-grandmother. Replacing those is a longer-term goal.

Coffee Mugs
Rescued these. How I drink my coffee most mornings.

I was fortunate enough to retrieve my great-aunt’s china and some of the glassware—though not all the latter.

Other musings:

At the end of July, I will end my relationship with my small POD publisher who provides the gateway to get copies of my novel printed and gets them to Amazon and other booksellers. I have no complaints about the publisher, but it’s an economic decision; I can do it easier without the middle-man. Having greater control over my work is a significant issue as well.

So, until the 31st, I have a goal of selling one autographed paperback copy per day of Tale of Tigers: Love is Not Game. (Relax, guys. It isn’t a romance novel.) Be advised, in order to get it autographed, you have to buy it from my blog and not through Amazon.  Go here and click on the book cover on the left.

Meanwhile, I continue to piece together, rethink and rewrite my new novel. Interesting factor: I found a number of old writings—up to 30 years in age—and am copying them to my laptop. About half of it is crap, but, with the other half, I’ve been surprised at how many topics I wrote about in my twenties which I developed and posted about on my blog decades later.

Tuesday, I will return to chronicling the End of the World. Maybe.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!baldilocks

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

Michael: My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.
Kay Adams: Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don’t have men killed.
Michael: Oh. Who’s being naive, Kay?

The Godfather 1972

Yesterday at the end of his show Jake Tapper put out a tweet under his show’s account that depressed me a tad.

Now the reason for this depression has nothing to do with Mr. Trump’s words or implications concerning President Obama motives per se.

No the reason is that seven years ago when I started this blog in 2008 that tweet is something I might have sent if a person made such an implication concerning an American President.

But after seven years of watching Barack Obama in action the implication or even suggestion that President Barack Obama, the man whose political career began in the home of a Terrorist, might have a soft spot for radical Islam is so unremarkable that Mr Tapper’s tweet seems almost quaint.

I miss both my previous days of innocence and having a president who is unquestionably on the side of America.

For decades, Americans have relied on Land’s End for three things:

  1. School uniforms.
  2. Warm winter apparel, especially their wind-resistant squall jackets.
  3. Women’s swimsuits you can swim in while your butt remains covered.

I speak from experience.

My son’s school uniforms from Land’s End were made of steel, unlike any of the other brands, to the point that the school had a hand-me-down program when your child outgrew them. Ponder that for a moment: Boys.Outgrowing.Active.Wear.

New Jersey winters aren’t as bad as some, but every so often we would get a couple of weeks of windy, bitter cold where the temperatures would not rise above 20F. I bought the Land’s End windproof, hooded, zipped-and-buttoned coat lined with down and Primaloft™, in black, that kept my arthritic bones toasty-warm.

I think they called it “the commuter’s storm coat” or something to that effect, but it was a wonderful thing. The sleeves had knit cuffs with adjustable bungees. The coat had zipped pockets for everything including your iPod/cell phone and train ticket. It was washable. It came in Women’s Tall, so it fit perfectly.

Of course I looked like I was zipped up in a walking sleeping bag with sleeves. Of course I loved it.

When I moved to Florida the coat was the first thing to sell at my garage sale. Some lucky girl will outlive the zombie apocalypse wearing it.

As for the women’s swimsuits, since I have no intention of becoming a tabloid celebrity, I prefer to keep my derriere covered, thankyouverymuch. Land’s End guarantees it, too.

Today I came across this bit of news: Land’s End has a new CEO named Federica Marchionni who is going to make the brand “fashion-forward.”

Are you nuts?

For starters, I lived in Italy for six weeks decades ago and literally could not find clothes my size. I am 5’9″ and back then wore an American size 6, but every thing (which only came in grey, white, or black) was not available in my size.  At 130 lbs I was too big. So let’s hope FreddieM adjusts to the idea of American sizes.

Then there’s the competition: European brands are making strides in the U.S., most recently Zara. Now, I have bought at Zara and like the look, but would never go there for items 1, 2, or 3 above.  A Zara swimsuit simply will not do.

FreddieM loathes the Land’s End look,

Marchionni is given to describing the company’s proudly fashion-backward line as “ugly” and asks in meetings, “Who would wear that?”

As it turns out, it was FreddieM who came up with the idea of placing Gloria Steinen in their catalog, because (I guess) being pro-abortion, in FreddieM’s mind, is not “ugly.” Bad, bad idea. I opened the catalog, saw Gloria’s photo, and placed it directly in the recycling bin.

So I agree with Kyle Smith, who states (emphasis added),

Marchionni fundamentally misunderstands the company, and maybe the republic for which it stands. Lands’ End is about America. It’s not for walking the runway, it’s for walking the dog. It isn’t for pickup bars, it’s for picking up the kids. It isn’t about the sizzle, it’s about the steak, or maybe even the Ball Park Frank. Lands’ End is small-d democratic: It is a declaration of independence sent to the fashion aristocrats and autocrats who would dictate terms to the citizens. We the people, not the editors of Vogue, will decide what we like to wear. By contrast, Marchionni seems to have a vision of fanciful high-cheekboned swells in a Fellini movie wearing Lands’ End jackets loosely draped over their shoulders while sipping Campari and plucking imaginary grapes out of the air as they speak, but the vision is not, to Lands’ End customers, aspirational. It’s insulting.

We, the Lands’ End people, do not want to look like dissipated Mediterranean cat burglars and femmes fatales. We don’t believe men should ever be seen in Capri pants, nor that stilettos are more useful than espadrilles. As for “boxy,” “boxy” is comfortable. “Boxy” is reassuring. “Boxy” is just fine. Lands’ End clothing does make a fashion statement, but the statement is this: Fashion is nonsense. Fashion is oppressive. Fashion is boring.

L.L. Bean and Columbia are probably sharpening their marketing knives.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

circlesby baldilocks

Let’s talk about sex. Don’t get your hopes or anything else up.

Yesterday, Drudge linked to a Telegraph article entitled “Have we forgotten how to have normal sex?” The author goes on about all the types of things which were once considered abnormal and are now “normal.” And you, know what? Reading about it is, to me, totally uninspiring.

I’m single and will be 55 years old in a few months. Just yesterday I had been thinking about the topic, and the three men I’ve tried to have a relationship with in the last decade— all younger—who were down with the New Normal and decided that I would rather remain single and celibate than have to deal with any of this sort of thing outside of marriage and even within it, if it’s focal point of the union.

Most of this attitude is due to being a follower of Christ, but not all of it. Before my conversion—and even, regrettably, for some time afterward–I certainly was not a good little virtuous girl. But there are certain things I did only with my former husband and I have been divorced for over 20 years. For me, it has always been a matter of trust.

And there’s another matter. The New Normal seems to have become the “real” sex and those of us who prefer the old normal have become “prudish” or “frigid.” I have been labelled both; the latter is laughable, but the former needs some unpacking.PrudeDefinition

Nudity isn’t shocking to this adult. But I really don’t care about seeing anyone nude, even myself. (This will change, should I remarry.) And the Internet has made nudity ubiquitous, tiresome, and nearly unavoidable, especially if one has a social media account. People like Kim Kardashian seem to think that public nudity is “empowering”—as if showing the world that you have the same equipment as billions of other humans imbues power over others. Bored, not shocked.

As for being shocked with matters related to sex, I’m not shocked about the large amount of information I have about the old normal version of sex, nor small amount of information I have about the New Normal versions. However, I just find obsession about orgasm in all its forms to be pointless. Orgasms feel great, of course, but what is the point of making a few seconds of physical pleasure the be-all and end-all of life?

Wilt Chamberlain is reported to have had thousands of women as sexual partners. Many men—and women—have been envious of that “achievement,” even more than of Chamberlain’s basketball achievements. But, to me, Chamberlain’s sexual conquest convey something else: an inability to be satisfied, along with an inability to form any lasting mental, emotional, and/or spiritual connection with a potential mate (Chamberlain was never married.) I find that depressing; it’s like looking for happiness by standing in one spot and spinning in a circle over and over again for decades. Wilt could have consulted King Solomon on this topic.

Consenting adults should do what they want and how they want to, but you and I know that the “not my circus; not my monkeys” attitude long ceased being enough. Then it was that New Normal needed to be approved of and celebrated. But now that’s not enough either.

Now you have to embrace the New Normal for yourself or there is something wrong with you. I refute this for myself and I’ll bet many others do as well, including one man out there whom God has picked for me.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>baldilocks

In Aug 1945 a 23 year old carpenter was sitting on board a ship in the Pacific when he discovered to his delight that there would be no invasion of the Japanese Mainland and neither he nor his fellows would have to risk their lives to support an invasion.

Despite the lure of a promised promotion his bride to be’s insistence caused him to leave the navy, get married, raise 5 children and run several bars and restaurants until his death in 1987. His bride would outlive him by 25 years dying in december of 2012.

That man was my Father

Today there are 33 people between the ages of 68 & 6 who are direct descendants of this man. One of his grandchildren got married last week and at least three more are in their 20’s unmarried (including my two sons).

This week Barack Obama talked of the dead of Hiroshima with words of regret over the Atomic Bombs that killed them.

However without those bombs dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki it’s very likely those 33 Americans Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Agnostics and atheists would not exist.

And they would not be alone, it is expected that the invasion of Japan would have cost at least 100,000 Americans or more not to mention the wounded and crippled.

At 33 descendants each that’s over 3 million americans who might not be here today?

And we aren’t even counting the number of Japanese who would have been killed in said invasion, or the number of Japanese & Chinese and Russians who would have died as the Soviets drove south into China and Korea while the fight for Japan continued on to the bitter end.

I would say that it’s a disgrace that the president of the United States doesn’t understand this, but I suspect that the man who presided over Benghazi objection to the prospect of dead Americans is not what one might have expected from the White House in the past.

But frankly leftists wishing Americans dead is nothing new.

Closing thought: If the WW 2 generation was not in their 90’s would there be any chance in hell that this event would have taken place?

by baldilocks

Originally posted in 2003. Edited.

Around 1998, I was driving home to LA from my reserve unit on a late Sunday afternoon. The seventy-mile trip was normally uneventful outside of the usual crazy California drivers. But this one was different.

One of my close friends/co-workers also lived in LA at the time and, on this day, we left about the same time. This was unusual in itself, given both of our unpredictable workloads: one or both of us often stayed late.

So we drove close to each other, with me in front. At the time, I had a cell phone, so we yakked on the phone a bit, then we hung up and drove.

The van looked just like this.

About ten minutes after we hung up, a van cuts me off. I swore a bit, then slowed down to get off of its rear. The van slows down too. So I change lanes and slow down to avoid what I think is just another of the myriad California idiots. The van, light blue with no side or back windows, changes lanes to get in front of me again. It slows down.

My friend calls me back: “What is this mf’s problem?

Me: (shaken) I don’t know. Did I cut him off?

Friend: No. I’ve been watching the whole time. (pauses) Pull over. And whatever you do, stay in the car!

I pull over to the shoulder and, sure enough, the van pulls over some 100 feet in front of me. My friend pulls over behind me. I’m nervous as a cat as I watch the scenario unfold.

I see the driver’s side door of the van open. A man with dark hair–maybe Latino, maybe not–starts to get out. Then his eyes widen; he jumps back in and speeds off. The van goes over on two wheels, nearly turning over getting out of there. Dust is flying up all over the place. I look in my left mirror and see my friend approaching my window.

I guess a tall, imposing black man wearing BDUs (my friend) was a bit more than the van-driver bargained for.

I still wonder to this day what that guy was going to do and who else was in the van. I was obviously military–wearing ‘blues,’–blouse and skirt. Was it an attempted pervert hit or an attempted military hit? Or was it racial? Or some combination thereof? I don’t know and I’m very happy not to have found out.

For this reason–and many others–I believe in God’s right hand of protection.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>baldilocks

by baldilocks

I don’t remember whether I mentioned it here or not, but two of my jobs as an active-duty USAF NCO were these: Germanic- and Slavic- Cryptologic Linguist; those are the titles on my DD Form 214 (Record of Active Duty.) The Germanic part indicates that I was a German Linguist, but obviously there is more than one Slavic Language; I was a Russian Linguist.

My German is still pretty good, but my Russian has fallen by the wayside due to my laziness. That acknowledged, I’m learning a new language: Hebrew. By far, it’s the most difficult of the three.

What the Hebrew language first looked like in my brain

Something I discovered with learning foreign languages. The first one is the most difficult to learn for two fundamental reasons. First, each native language shapes the thinking of the individual and of the culture in which it is used. To facilitate the learning of a new language, one must discard the old way of thinking or, at least, temporarily disable it. It’s sounds a lot easier than it is and it’s why secondary languages are more difficult for those who are older. The native language’s manner of thinking becomes more hard-wired with time.

And secondly, grammar is taught in junior high school/middle school, then ignored. (This may just apply to most beneficiaries of American public education.) For many of us, grammar terms have become a foreign language all its own.

Therefore, though German is the easiest of the three languages I’ve studied, because it was the first, I had the most difficult time learning it.

The first week of the 32-week Basic German course at the military’s Defense Language Institute and Foreign Language Training Center (DLI-FLTC) in Monterey, CA consisted entirely of English grammar. About a month into the course,  I recall waking up in the middle of the night after having a nightmare consisting of a nonsensical blur of German running through my brain. I could not think of one word in English. I didn’t experience that while learning Russian, nor with Hebrew. My brain had been softened up.

For this latest language, it’s necessary to exert a greater amount of self-discipline than with the others—not only because of its difficulty, but also because of the conditions under which I’m studying it. With the first two languages, I was in the military, and learning each language was my entire existence: eight hours per day, five days per week. With Hebrew, I’m doing it voluntarily; it’s a free class taught by my pastor. Being 30 years older than the last time I tried to force a foreign language into my brain doesn’t seem to make much of a difference that I can tell, but having more cares and worries than I had back then certainly does.

Why am I doing it? Because it’s a great opportunity to learn the language with which the majority of the Old Testament was composed and, therefore, get a greater insight into the thinking of the composers and that of the Composer.

Is Greek (New Testament) next? Suddenly, I have a headache.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>baldilocks

by baldilocks

Ever since I’ve returned to the USA from Kenya, I’ve had people ask me how I feel. The answer is “better,”baldilocks but I’ve struggled to find the words to describe what “better” means in this context. And, as you’ve probably guessed by now, struggling to find the words to describe something is unusual for me.

Meeting my Kenyan family certainly wasn’t a First Contact situation, as I’ve mentioned before, but it was like this: I’m normally uncomfortable around people whom I’ve just met face-to-face, but I felt none of that at all. My Kenyan family is composed of sweet and wonderful people and I think we all felt instantly connected.

As for my father, I suppose that some people in my place would be angry about the 50 years of separation and the sparse contact, but I felt none of that—only fascination at finally being able to see the face of the man who is responsible for my existence…and, oddly enough, a bit protective of him.

Here’s something that only the children of divorce/death of a father can gra
sp: growing up being the only person in my family with my last name and, not only that, the only person I knew close by with this name, I’ve always felt isolated. Oh, my American family never made me feel that way, but It was what it was.  With the Kenyans, there is–at last–more than just one Ochieng. (Actually, ‘Ochieng’ is the ‘Smith’ of Kenya.)

I accept and revel in my oddball-ness now, but it took childhood and a good part of my adulthood to get to that point. But, I think that it’s point at which we all arrive, if we’re blessed enough and driven enough to keep moving: that God put each one of us on this Earth for a purpose.

I did feel a little worried about how my American dad felt about all this attention being focused on the guy who missed out on all the hard work. But it was the guy with a different last name than mine who summed up how I feel since one of my lifelong dreams became true. I feel whole.

(Thanks to Asher Abrams)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

Ah, Donald Trump.

The man who has spent millions of dollars in court, suing for eminent domain here in the U.S.A. (and lost) and in Scotland, in pursuit of projects that either fail or are never finished (see the Scotland link).

The same man who sued the guy who correctly appraised the odds on the Trump Taj Mahal’s failure – before the Taj even opened. The same man who lost that lawsuit.

Yes, that Donald Trump.

Now Trump will be spending more time in court (emphasis added):

New York judge decided Tuesday that a fraud case against Donald Trump over his former school for real estate investors will go to trial – raising the possibility that the Republican presidential primary front-runner could testify during campaign season.

New York County Supreme Court Judge Cynthia Kern made the decision at a hearing Tuesday, though it remains unclear whether the case will be weighed at a jury trial – which is what Trump’s team is seeking. Trump attorney Jeffrey Goldman said it’s possible the trial could be held this fall, and Trump could testify.

The fraud case in New York against Trump is not the only one:

Trump University is currently the defendant in three lawsuits — two class-action lawsuits filed in California, and one filed in New York

Trump “could” testify in the New York case, but he is slated to testify in a federal courtroom in San Diego, where he is being accused of running a financial fraud.

Trump never showed up at his so-called “university.” He is not showing up at the prestigious National Press Club where he was scheduled to give his foreign policy speech, opting for the Mayflower Hotel instead, a venue that may be more amenable to his Joan Rivers-like shtick. He will not show up at the Virginia Republican convention this weekend.

He is, however, showing up on every cable TV news channel – not, heaven forfend, on Sunday morning shows with their pesky questions on policy –  especially on the Trump Infomercial Station™, formerly known as Fox News Channel.

Imagine how their ratings will soar when the winner of the Republican primary has to show up in federal court to answer fraud charges.

Hillary (who, mark my words, won’t be in court over her emails anytime soon) herself couldn’t have planned it better.

UPDATE, April 29,
Trump University Hearings Will Start on the First Day of GOP Convention

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

unpluggby baldilocks

Sometimes you have to separate yourself from the Internet for a few waking hours. I do it regularly in service to and in conversation with my God. But I find that it’s also necessary to do it at home; not just to clean your house, to cook a meal, to finish a novel, or any mundane life tasks like those. It’s necessary to do it to keep yourself sane. The speed at which information and events are delivered to us now is so fast that one feels lost. I do, at times. It’s one of the reasons that I don’t try to document news/events as they happen. I’ve tried; it makes me crazy and spurs an ongoing battle I have with anxiety.

I’ve already talked about walking. Usually, I have a destination and/or a task in mind. But sometimes I don’t. Often, I’ll take one of my devices along in order to listen to whichever audiobook I’m in the middle of. (One day I’ll finish one of them.) But, sometimes I don’t.

Sometimes I need to be reminded that there’s a world separate from the digital space which seems endless, always offering, and—best/worst of all—always requesting input. It always seems to want to know what you have to offer. Often, I have nothing.

It might seem strange for a longtime-blogger and author to think this way, but, ironically, my writing comes far more easily after a break to take in the “real” world around me. I say ‘hello’ to the people who live near me and who pass me on the street and the world seems better, if only for a short time.

I’m not pretending that the world isn’t falling apart. I just don’t want to be reminded of it every waking moment. There’s beauty and goodness still out there. Small pockets of it, to be sure. But it’s there. And it makes me feel better for the seeing.

SPEAKING OF BEAUTY: Happy Anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Ingemi. God bless.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>


Two weeks ago my wife’s birthday came up and my planned gift was to drive DaWife to various quilt shops where she could pick up and check out fabric for her quilting our 96 Corolla decided otherwise so we spend a lovely hour at a rest area waiting for AAA with a lovely view of discarded syringes and empty booze bottles but yesterday we tried again this time taking along her sister and her 2014 Jeep Cherokee.

Our first belated stop due to bad directions) was Merri’s Stitches in Portsmouth NH

maine nh 001

I spoke to the owner, you will find at quilt shops that the owners are invariably there.

This would be the first place that I would see a Tuffet. It would not be the last.

From there we went down the road to Seacoast Sewing and quilting also in Portsmouth.

maine nh 004

Again we talked to the owner

She told us about their 2nd location in Maine but while we were heading in that direction it would be too far off our path to make it.

maine nh 006At this point we made the one detour for me. St. Joseph was not open that morning so I could not go through the holy doors to earn the daily indulgence available in the Year of Mercy but my wife checked online and discovered the Immaculate Conception Parish in Portsmouth was named as a place of pilgrimage so the Holy Doors were available there so off we went.

It was dark inside but I immediately noticed the altar

maine nh 011

Even with the altar table in front of it, the Holy of Holies with the blessed sacrament dominated as it should

maine nh 007

I filmed a bit but the lighting was bad

Our next stop planned stop was out of Business so we headed to Maine towards Knight’s quilt shop but on the way we stopped at
York Village Marketplace where my wife’s sister had heard they sold cribbage boards made by inmates that her husband had expressed an interest in getting.

It’s an interesting place, half wood items and half model train/slot racing store, the person there didn’t want to go on camera so I did it myself

The Next Stop was down Rte 1 a bit to Cape Neddick, to Knight’s Quilt Shop where there were more tuffets

maine nh 018

More interviews (the owner didn’t want to go on camera but Debbie did.

and a front porch for Husbands to sit where I took the liberty of recording part of my podcast.

maine nh 020

By then everyone was hungry, the folks at Knights suggested Mike’s Clam Shack in Wells.

maine nh 026

Nobody would be interviewed but the food spoke for itself.

maine nh 024

maine nh 025

The next stop was Kathie’s Quilt Shoppe in Sanford Maine.

maine nh 028

We made it just before they closed but Kathie gave me an interview anyway

and of course more Tuffets which are apparently all the rage

maine nh 029

Our last stop was Marden’s Department store in Sanford Plaza which has a huge fabric department.

What we didn’t know is they actually close early on weekends so by 5 pm we were heading south, but not before I let DaWife and her sister walk the beach in Ogunquit Maine, Hampton New Hampshire and Salisbury Massachusetts so they could say they walked the beach in three states in one day before finishing with Supper at Happy Jacks back home

Now let this be a lesson in two respect. One might argue that it’s rather cunning to give DaWife a gift that involves no cash layout other than what she would spend anyways, but the real lesson is that the investment that your spouse appreciates the most is time.

That’s how you get to year 28 of a marriage


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A week doesn’t go by without an article on millennials, i.e., a person born in the 1980s or 1990s. A lot of the articles despair, as Matt Vespa does,

My generation is a disaster, politically.

The PuffHo even tars the whole generation with the same brush, Millennials Now Bringing Their Parents Along On Job Interviews because (emphasis added)

. . . 8 percent of recent college grads brought their parents along to an interview, according to an Adecco survey cited by the Wall Street Journal. What’s more, a full 3 percent actually had their parents sit in on their job tryout.

Heavens to Betsy! You mean, ninety-two percent of millennial interviewees went on their own?

About 13 percent of recent college graduates said they got a job through a parental connection, according to the Adecco survey.

And eighty-seven percent didn’t have parental help getting hired? What are things coming to? People of my generation wrote whole books in praise of nepotism!

Full disclosure: I am the mother of a millennial.  So let me be blunt: If your child cannot go to a job interview without having you in attendance, you have, at least in that aspect, failed as a parent. Yes, the article mentions that

employers are catering to that tendency by hosting “Take Your Parents To Work” days and inviting them to open houses,

but your child will do very well to go out and get interviewed without bringing you to chaperone. Think of it this way: Old enough for a job, old enough to interview by her/himself.

The subject of millennials sells because of many reasons, but it’s starting to wear thin.

As a mother of a millennial, my experience has been that,

a. Millennials enjoy being lumped into that demographic about as much as I do when lumped into the “boomer” category, that is, not at all.

b. They complete college in four years, hold jobs during high school and college, take part in community activities and sports to greater or lesser extent, and don’t go around bragging about it.

c. The millennials I’ve been in close contact are clean, polite, professional, and dedicated to their work. They don’t live in mom’s basement. They pay their bills on time. They eat salad and veggies out of their own volition like the grown-ups they are. They are earning your respect.

d. Many have already started their own families.

e. Not one of them would even think of having mom and dad tag along to interviews.

As for their politics, even Matt Vespa acknowledges that Millennials bolt from socialism once they become employed and start making money. Or, as the saying goes, they get mugged by reality, just like everybody else (except for Bernie Sanders, who, at age 74, is too old to be a millennial, or even a boomer).

So, gentle reader, keep in mind these are young adults you are talking about, not the spoiled brats the media insults for the sake of readership.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Pedestrian-Crossingby baldilocks

Today I walked to the library to print out the postage that Amazon sent me so that I could return a non-operational shredder that stopped working after a few months (yes, I oiled it). Then I walked over to a UPS store to send the package. It was a nice little trek.

I’ve been without a car since the summer of 2014. LA is not like eastern cities. If you don’t have a car, you’re almost nothing and many drivers treat you like it, especially if you’re pulling indicators of your car-less status, like a rolling backpack or a personal shopping cart. I use both regularly, after having injured the entire right side of my body while carrying a heavy load on my shoulder. Ah, old age.

When I get rich, I’m going to set up a camera on some busy corner to document and snitch on all the drivers who barely miss—or hit—pedestrians as the latter are crossing the street with the right-of-way. Usually, this happens when the driver is making a right turn. But I’ve had more than one driver make a left turn right in front of me.

There are nice drivers, however; those who stop when I’m trying to cross an intersection where there is no signal and even those who mess up because they didn’t see me and apologize when they realize that they’ve erred. And it could be worse; I’ve seen what Nairobi pedestrians have to deal with.

Outside of dodging drivers, there’s an interesting side to long walks in big cities: the small businesses to which one is necessarily oblivious when driving down the street. Capitalism is still breathing, even in California. Call it an upside.

Being stripped of many of my material possessions has opened my eyes to many things—my own obliviousness, for one.

Plans: more walking. My legs hurt, probably from yesterday’s walk. I’ve been sitting around too much.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>


by baldilocks

Originally posted September 17, 2010. Some re-editing.

After I posted Discover the Networks’ “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Strategic Goal for North America” on my Facebook page, one of my friends–a friend in real life–pointed out that Christianity has history of conquest and forced conversion as well.

I don’t mean to pick on my friend, but I felt it necessary to reiterate my response here (edited):


[In order for an individual to examine the tenets of his/her faith], one must look at the foundational work establishing that faith.

Before the Bible was made available to the everyday Christian, the Church leadership–meaning the Catholic Church–dispensed doctrine interpreted in whatever manner it saw fit.  After Johannes Gutenberg, the Bible was made available to all who could read it.  It is no accident that Christianity was radically transformed and Reformed after that.

The same is happening to Islam with respect its adherents and its doctrines.

One of the Founders of these two religions commanded his followers to love God with all one’s heart, soul, strength and mind and to love one’s neighbor as self; the other commanded his followers to convert non-believers at the point of the sword or make them pay the unbelievers’ tax.

As each set of followers have become more and more familiar with the foundational doctrines of the two sets of religious belief, they have begun to behave more and more in accordance to those doctrines: one set has become less totalitarian almost to the point of zero and the other more aggressive and violent.

The Bible and the Koran are objective documents with historical contexts readily available in this information age.  It is up to the individual to make himself/herself familiar enough with both–if desired–in order to come to a cogent conclusion.

My friend mentions the genocides committed in the name of Jesus. Of course, the crimes of the prior millennium’s Christian missionaries are well-known and acknowledged:

Christian missionaries of Europe fell into error and sin back when they were bent on converting the natives of all lands–not by the act and desire of leading others to Christ, but by making Christianity about something other than Him, His Sacrifice, Resurrection and the purpose thereof.  The missionaries bound up Christ in themselves and their own ethnicity.

Those crimes do not take anything away from the quality of the Gospel; they only speak to the quality of the human beings preaching it.  Again, were such missionaries following Christ’s teachings or ignoring them when they trampled non-Christian cultures?

This subject reminds me of my repeated assertion that it’s necessary to be able to analyze information rather than simply to gather and regurgitate it.  The will and ability to do this has become essential—not just to “win” an argument, but for personal, national, and spiritual survival.

Happy Resurrection Day.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>


by baldilocks

Jiggety-Jig. I’m back in Los Angeles and with a fair amount of sleep under my belt, though I expect to take another beauty nap today.

What can one say about the trip of a lifetime? First of all, that one week is far too short a time for such a visit.

Oh, and traveling is a headache and a half—other than KLM Airlines, which believes in feeding its charges well and leaving them alone for the most part. Note: if you are ever flying out of Jomo Kenyatta Airport, make sure your flight leaves in the evening and make sure to leave for the airport five hours ahead of time. The airport has five layers of security checks—understandable, in light of the many deadly Islamic terror actions which have been carried out in Kenya since 1998—but, along with the usually international flying procedures, they take a lot of time.

And don’t even get me started about LAX.

My father and my 21-year-old nephew, Philip, Junior, met me at Kenyatta Airport to see me away back to Los Angeles.Ochiengs

Philip, his sister, Sarah, their first cousin Jeniffer, and Sarah’s 4 month-old son, Kyle, were assigned to babysit their American auntie during our trips back and forth to Rongai and to Manyatta and I feel so blessed to know these young members of my family. (My next trip: Albuquerque to see my American nieces and nephews.)

And I have a few souvenirs.








The elephant fruit bowl, the fan, the continent-shaped jewelry box and the animals are gifts from the family. The elephant-RINO symbolism in the tiny, carved animals is mere serendipity. Notice how I posed them.

I plan to see Kenya again before the end of the year and that’s what I’m working toward as I finish two books.

I called my mom this morning. Mothers are so funny. She had called me on the 28th while I was in the air sounding all worried. (My cell has no service outside of the country.) I’m 54 and a USAF retiree. It certainly isn’t the first time that I’ve been abroad. But my mom worries, still. That’s my mom.

And now I will have two dads wondering aloud when I’m getting married again. Life is good.

(Thanks to Asher Abrams–the author of this trip. Friends for life.)


Sojourn in Kenya: Surveying the Ancestral Lands
Sojourn in Kenya: Acorn Meets Tree

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>


by baldilocks

I spent two days at my father’s ancestral lands in Manyatta, Awendo–no Internet–on which his permanent house is being built. Judging from the time it takes to get back and forth from Nairobi by car, I had originally though this land was 400-500 miles away from the capital, but I’m used to interstate highways. Slightly less than 300 miles takes longer on two-lane paved roads and the occasional bumpy, dirt road. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Father and his wife live in Rongai, but Manyatta is his birthplace and the place to which he will eventually retire and be buried, like his parents and several other relatives. We went to Manyatta because also on the land is the home of my only brother, Charles, and his wife, Lillian. Surround that parcel of land are other parcels belonging to various members of the Otani-Ochieng clan. The land originally belonged to my father’s father, Nicanor Otani[1], and his brothers.

It’s weird for this American to know that there are ancestral lands for my family. But my life has been a half-century of weirdness.

There are two large gates to the land, one for Father and one for my brother. There is electricity in but it’s spotty; we spent several long time periods having our faces lit by oil lamps and flashlights. There is no central plumbing or gas yet, but there is a well and family cooking is done the old-fashioned way.

Fresh Water
Fresh Water
Cooking without gas
Cooking without gas

I think my bro could teach American preppers a thing or two. He also has chickens and cows, but it seems to me that no self-respecting Kenyan man-of-the-land is without at least four cows. I saw so many herds while on the road that I will be thinking about steaks for a month.

Aside from a night during which my intestinal tract reminded me that, no, Toto, we are not in California anymore, the time was fascinating and heart-warming, if a bit bewildering. The day before I returned to Nairobi, all local family and friends gathered to meet me, honor me, and welcome me home.

More photos from Manyatta here and here.

[1] Among the Luo, it’s not customary to take the last name of one’s father. Each kid gets his/her own last name. The name is determined by the conditions under which the child is born, i.e. morning, noon, night, raining, etc. The last name also varies in the spelling with regard to gender: girls’ last names begin with A, boys’ with O. With Western and Islamic influences, many Kenyans use their fathers’ last names, but some still don’t. However, even those who use the European system of naming still have a “middle” name; more accurately, a surname and a patronymic.

My brother. This was the first time we had met in person. Ever.

Since I was born in the US, I was given my father’s last name, but I have my own surname: Akinyi. It’s permissible to call me by this name alone, but in my family, it can get confusing. One of my sisters has the same surname.

And Luo have taken their own spin on the name game. My brother’s name is Charles Otieno Ochieng and his oldest son is named after his grandfather: Philip Ochieng Otieno, Jr. Of course, everyone calls him Junior. Between the surname and the patronymic is the unspoken “son of/daughter of.”


I leave for home tomorrow. Final trip log(s) will be here or at baldilocks on Tuesday at the latest, assuming I’m awake by then.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: Her Kenya Trip Expenses, Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>



While Baldilocks is in Kenya I’ve had a busy day. After mass moved furniture for DaSon #1 moving out Covered the Governor making an appearance in a local race (That will go up tomorrow) and did some legwork for a local pro-life republican, didn’t get a chance to get our email blast out till 6:30 which likely explains why for the first time in a while we’ve seen a day when our DaTipjar and our $61 a day goal hasn’t moved a bit. We’re already behind 20 days for our annual goal and with the layoff I’d hate to see it our backlog expand so if you are both able and inclined I’d really appreciate it if you’d help us close that gap by hitting DaTipJar.

Olimometer 2.52

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by baldilocks

Nairobi, Kenya 2/24/2016 12:00 AM:

This post is mostly a stream of consciousness and mostly an excuse to post a few photos. The bulk of the really good photos will be posted on Saturday, for reasons specified below.

I arrived here on Monday at 8:00 PM, Kenya time, and slept great that night in a queen-sized Hilton Nairobi bed, but jet lag still hit me hard on Tuesday afternoon. My Kenyan parents have extremely comfortable couches.

Nairobi traffic is a vision of Hell. My young nephew-in-law, Samson, got out of the taxi and put his body on the line for the second photo.NairobiTraffic (1) NairobiTraffic (4)

My father lives in Rongai. He is small-statured, slim, and upright in bearing. I’m slightly taller than he is, but that’s probably due to his age. (I’ve noticed that my American parents are shrinking too.)  I’m much taller than my three Kenya sisters because my mother is tall.

JulietteandPhilipOchieng (2)

Father cares for his wife, Miss Jennifer, with the help of my sisters Lucy Adhiambo and Judith Aluoch. (Another Kenyan sister, Janet Akinyi, lives in Texas.) As a result of several diabetic strokes, Miss Jennifer is an invalid. Having taken care of my great-aunt in her last years, I empathize greatly.

Nairobi has an old crumbling feeling. The people, however, are the opposite. Young, hard-working, friendly and incredibly handsome. And I don’t just say that because I look like them. I’m just as grateful for my American heritage as of the African, but because of the former, I missed out on the smooth, blemish-free skin. And it has only been since reaching my 50s that the battle of the zits has been won. Mostly.

As far as I’ve seen, if there are morbidly obese people here, they don’t come out in public. Most everyone seems slim and graceful. I flew in on the Dutch carrier, KLM Airlines, and noticed that middle-aged Dutch people are mostly in good shape, too, not to mention really tall. O-beasts must be an American thing.

Ochieng House (1)
Ochieng House in Rongai

I was introduced to one of my two grand-nephews, Kyle, four months old.

Juliette and Kyle (5)

Tomorrow, I get to meet Nigel, two-years-old and one of the two stars of my Facebook page–the other being my American nephew, Jacob, also two. I guess there are three stars now!

My father and I were interviewed yesterday by a KTN reporter named Wilkester Nyabwa—a lovely young lady–for a human interest piece on our reunification. It will run on Saturday, Friday in the USA. I feel a tad bit like…not an imposter…but unworthy of all the hullaballoo made here in Kenya about my visit. I’ve long known that my father was famous on this continent, but felt removed from it. Not anymore. Fame makes a man think things over, to misquote a recently deceased philosopher.

Oh and my father and I exchanged copies of our books. That was really cool!

Ochieng Books (3)

For the next two days, my family and I will be away from Nairobi and out in our ancestral province. So I will be away from all things Internet, but it will be the opportunity for the best photos! Yes, I’m taking my anti-malarial meds and have my insect repellent handy.

My family members are all sweet, kind and funny. They all speak English, with Kenya having been a British colony, but I don’t yet have an ear for their accents and I did notice that, sometimes, my B-Girl/Valley Girl twang goes by them as well. It’s fun.

Everyone here tells me welcome home. Well, America is my home and always will be. But it’s nice to have two homes…and two wonderful families. Of course, it’s really just one big family.

To be continued on Saturday.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: Her Kenya Trip Expenses, Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>


by baldilocks

The trip had to be postponed for a week while I got some necessities in order. So now I’m leaving on the 21st of February and will only stay for a week.

My brother, Charles Otieno–who I have not yet met in person—has my schedule all planned. Family and more family. I’m praying for no jet-lag. (Aside: I had no jet-lag after my two trips to Germany, but when I traveled to Japan, I was dead tired for a week. I’m think that the direction of travel makes a difference; at least, I’m hoping that’s the case.)

All of my American friends and family are very excited about this and, of course, I am as well, though I have some trepidation. Besides the family factor, I did not comprehend the magnitude of my father’s fame in Kenya and my family tells me that the trip is a really big deal there. I’m naturally introverted, but I’m hoping to squash that. I want to represent my country—the USA—well.

There has already been a cultural misconception about the trip. As most know, I’m raising money for the trip’s expenses—something that is pretty commonplace among bloggers. But after Kenya’s Daily Nation reported on the fund-raising campaign, Kenyans assumed that I was asking them to fund my trip. That was definitely not my intention. I plan on correcting more misconceptions when I get there, but remember Kenyans are not the only people who misconstrue things and run with them.

Other than that, the campaign has gone well, though the GoFundMe goal has not been reached and I don’t expect it to be—not for this trip. But I think that there is already enough. Thank you for your generosity.

PREVIOUSLY: Destination: Kenya

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>


by baldilocks

Being blessed with great health and energy for almost all of my life, I found it disconcerting when I began to get tired at strange times in the day—like 1PM. The cure? Vitamin C and lots of it. An orange, a half of a grapefruit, the juice of a small lemon and a kiwi a day seem to have fixed the problem.

Blood Oranges. Disconcerting at first, but really good for you.

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? We all grow up being told to eat citrus fruit and to drink a lot of fruit juices. Well, I don’t drink juices—or soda—because they have too much sugar in them. I don’t even buy bread that has more than one gram of sugar in it. (The only area in which I break this rule: coffee.) Keeping sugar out of my diet has kept me from getting too humongous–a battle which members of my family fight, especially the women. So, I had been inconsistent in eating the good sugars. No more and those grapefruit(s) are tasty!

Another natural remedy I’ve used for a couple of years: apple cider vinegar. Members of both sides of my family also suffer from high blood pressure, beginning in the late 40s and I was no different. My pressure had been very low before that, but I noticed the up-creep; I was always right on the borderline of hypertension. I did not want to take prescription medication, so I searched online for natural remedies and consistently found a daily recommendation of 2 tablespoons of ACV with 8 ounces of water. Now, every time I go to the doctor and my vitals are check, my systolic is in the 120 range and my diastolic is in the 60-70 range. (I drink it with a straw so that it doesn’t damage the enamel of my teeth.)

I don’t recommend doing any of these things without doing your own home work first and checking with your doctor. I mention them merely because it seems to me that God has provided many of the cures for nagging issues and signs of aging (I’m 54). We only have to be looking for them. And in the age of Obamacare, it’s always a good idea to be looking for ways to avoid the healthcare system.

I also wonder whether much of the craziness we see around us stems from vitamin, mineral and other dietary deficiencies. Well, excuse me now; I think I need a burger. Beef.

Kenya Trip Wishlist at Amazon.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>


by baldilocksbaldilocks

UPDATE: The trip dates have been changed to 21-29 February.
ORIGINAL: In less than two weeks—February 14th–I’ll be going to Kenya for the first time, courtesy of an old blog fan-friend who prefers to remain anonymous for now. As I said here, it’s a dream come true. To give you some background on my life and some context on my upcoming trip, I’m linking to one of my very first posts at Da Tech Guy blog, Stranger Than Fiction.

  • I was born in August of 1961.
  • My biological father is Kenyan and of the Luo tribe; my mother is American.
  • My parents met when both were attending the same American college.
  • My parents divorced when I was very young; afterward, my father returned to Kenya.
  • For half of my childhood, I was raised by older relatives of my mother.
  • My mother suffered from ovarian cancer.
  • My maternal grandmother died in 2008.
  • One of my half-sisters is nine years younger than I am. She is married to a man of a different race than she.
  • I am left-handed.

Some of these things may seem familiar, if innocuous. But one thing is certain: all of these things are also part of the biography of a man named Barack Hussein Obama. And some of the dissimilarities have symmetry.

  • I am a woman.
  • I am a conservative.
  • Both of his parents and his step-father are dead. Both of my parents and my step-father are living. (My mother survived her bout with ovarian cancer and yet another battle with that evil malady; my father, Philip Ochieng, appeared in Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary, 2016: Obama’s America, and was a friend of Barack Obama, Sr.)
  • I was raised by my great-aunt and great-uncle in the first half of my childhood. President Obama was raised by his grandparents in the last half of his minor years.


Here’s the important question: which one of us is the Bearded Spock?

My father and I will be meeting face-to-face for the first time in my memory; he returned to his home country when I was an infant and I did not hear from him until the Internet Age when, at age 35, I went searching for him online. As it turns out, he’s a famous journalist on the entire African continent and, while I’ve achieved only a modest amount of fame through writing, it’s for certain that this acorn has very many attributes of its tree.

Philip Ochieng2
Philip Ochieng

Philip and I have not spoken to each other during most of Barack Obama’s presidency. Yes, it’s about my opposition to that presidency, to that person. But my father is approaching the beginning of his ninth decade on earth and I am eternally grateful that I will have the chance to honor my father at least once.

More in the next post. Oh and, yes, I’ll be posting from Kenya during my two-week sojourn.

ADDED: Kenya Trip Wishlist at Amazon.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>


There’s been some hints on twitter in terms of what’s been going on with me physically lately but I’ve not explicitly talked about it so as I’ve unexpected found myself with a day off, and home at 3 am on a sunday morning instead of at work let me explain.

What started a few weeks ago as a constant noise in the ear developed into fierce pain, dizziness, swelling in the ear, trouble keeping balance, and nausea to the point where I did something I hadn’t done in decades, went to the doctor. He was so shocked to see me show up in the office (no appointment) complaining of sickness on my own he actually found time to see me without much of a wait.

He initially diagnosed an ear infection which seemed to make sense, prescribed a course of antibiotics & told me to rest a few days saying if you’re not much better in under 48 hours to come back. As I wasn’t & DaWife wouldn’t let me wait a 3rd day she took me down and they hit me with IV antibiotics in the hopes of getting ahead of things.

We left the Doctor’s office & hit a local restaurant because I hadn’t eaten in two days when I noticed the straw felt wrong in my mouth, one side of my face had spontaneously collapsed, I looked with Popeye without the pipe, my wife fearing an allergic reaction (I have no history of allergies to anything short of liberalism) rushed me back where I became a sight of popular attraction curiosity among the staff and medical students who immediately arranged for me to be admitted to St. Vincent’s hospital in Worcester at once.

I hadn’t been admitted to a hospital in over 30 years and the only room they had was in the ICU. After a giving me a set of physical tests and examining me it turns out I have something that my own Leominster based Doctor had read about but never seen, Ramsey Hunt Syndrome.

It’s a form of shingles, based on the Chicken Pox virus (although the Russian based doctor at St. V’s made a cultural faux pas when explaining, saying I had herpes. That’s technically correct as the Chicken Pox virus is of that family but it provided a comic moment when I answered loudly “I have WHAT?!“. The wife and sons still regret that they were behind me & did not have camera phones at the ready).

My Doc missed it because until the Bell’s Palsy in the face is the classic sign of it. It’s viral so antibiotics are totally ineffective so I was put on some new anti-viral drugs (side effect of dizziness which added to my already unsteady footing) and a steroid anti-inflammatory for the ear inflammation (which apparently when your on it has interesting psychological effects so my own doc ordered a follow up to wean me from it before hey made me more wired than I already am). To a guy who doesn’t take aspirin it was weird to be on lots of meds

So I spent a week out of work in bed contagious and when I went back I was careful my boss & my co-workers kept a close eye & was given the OK to leave if wasn’t up to it. All my free time has been spent resting or online. I didn’t realize how bad I actually looked till Friday when I went out to a breakfast haunt I normally frequent and everyone was staring, they thought I had a stroke because of my walk and face.

The Doc checked on me Friday I’ve been slowly regaining control of the facial muscles on the right side of my face, I can whistle again, my balance is much improved and as of this writing I can with great effort close my right eye while leaving my left eye open (when I can blink alternatively at normal speed I’ll know I have it all back). If you haven’t seen me in some time you’ll instantly notice is wrong by my eye but the improvement seems steady.

On the down side I’m still getting the occasional stabbing pain in my right ear, but it only lasts a few seconds, the ringing in the ear has continued unabated (it’s particularly loud in settings like Eucharistic Adoration where there is no other background noise) and as I said I don’t have complete facial control. Doc said he expects these to go away but it could be six days, six weeks, six months or never, but there is nothing here that I can’t deal with after all it could have been much worse.

On the financial side our post Obamacare insurance is really bad so I’m worried about what the very short admission at St. V’s will cost & I’m out a week’s pay & hadn’t accused much if any sick time.

The most frustrating thing about it all is timing during the golden time of the most interesting primary season there has ever been I’ve been effectively grounded. It’s one thing to take a 15 minute drive to work late at night when there is no traffic, it’s another to drive to NH to cover primary events in my condition. Fortunately online other than my always horrible grammar none of the symptoms are apparently and my mind is no more diminished than my liberal friends always thought it was.

However if you’re wondering why I haven’t been on the ground lately up North as you might have expected, now you know.


The good news is that while my face has not fully recovered, web traffic has. January 2016 marks the 4th straight month of recovery and the doldrums of 2014 & early 2015 seem completely behind.

The bad news is DaTipjar has not recovered to 2013 levels yet. With a $62 a day avg goal as of Jan 30th we’re reached where I hoped we’d be January 7th, just over 25%.

Given where the economy is rather than where the MSM pretends it is and that it is January both are understandable and to those who have kicked in (particularly subscribers), thanks much.

If however you have not & are both able and inclined I’d really appreciate it if you’d help us either close January strong or start February stronger by hitting DaTipJar.

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It’s the season of listicles, which tend to drive me to distraction, which in turn explains this post.

Abroad, 2015 may mark a trend in Latin America away from the pernicious “21st Century Socialism” of Hugo Chavez and his Foro de Sao Paulo buddies. After the defeat of Cristina Kirchner’s hand-picked candidate in Argentina,  the new National Assembly in Venezuela, and the possible impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, the three countries could improve.

I am skeptical, however, since I don’t see a great popular groundswell towards rule of law, market policies, small government, accountability, or business-friendly environments. Argentina’s new president, Mauricio Macri, seems to be moving towards that direction; he has his work cut out for him.

Let’s hope the trend continues.

Here in the U.S. I expect a tumultuous 2016. Obama is not yet done in his goal of fundamentally transforming the greatest nation in the history of mankind, mostly because he probably does not hold our country in such regard. In an election year, the Washington Cartel may grow desperate as non-insiders keep rising.

For the economy, Tyler Durden predicts that 2016 will be no fun.

As mankind is wont to do, we live in uncertain times.

Men can gird their loins, but what’s a woman to do, then? (WARNING: The next two paragraphs are on self-advice.)

For starters, do the most relaxing thing every day. The most relaxing thing was taught to me by my tai-chi instructor: Stand in the Vitruvian Man stance, focus on your breathing, and take s-l-o-w deep breaths where  you raise and lower your abdomen muscles. For quicker results, if you are at home, do this lying down on the floor (no, not on the floor of public spaces, ugh!). You can do it for a few seconds, for one minute, or for as long as you want. Works for me.

Now that you did that, learn to say no: A Policy of Saying ‘No’ Can Save You Time and Guilt. If you are working yourself during the holiday season into a frenzy such that you are thisclose to burnout, you are doing it wrong. Years ago, I decided I wasn’t going out on New Year’s Eve because of the drunks, and have enjoyed New Year’s Eve much more ever since.

(End of self-advice section.)

Regardless of what we predict for 2016, may Our Lord bring us and our country a joyful, prosperous and blessed year.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog. She does not make New Year’s resolutions.


If you go to the official Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign website, you will find a list of “7 things Hillary Clinton has in common with your abuela,” preceded by a page asking for your email address and zip code since “Grandmothers are the best.”

It’s a slap in the face to all Americans, regardless of their ethnicity.

First, the breach in etiquette: In all Spanish-language countries, you have to expect that bringing up to complete strangers someone’s mother (tu madre) or  grandmother (tu abuela) directly in the familiar (tu abuela instead of su abuela), especially without using the more genteel abuelita, will be taken as an insult. I don’t know how no one in the campaign, the focus group, or the chain of people coming up with this list could not have realized it.

Compound the breach in etiquette with this,

She isn’t afraid to talk about the importance of el respeto (especially when it comes to women) …

for a double whammy of ironic, patronizing cluelessness. As a native speaker of both English and Spanish, I’m fine with R-E-S-P-E-C-T, thank you, regardless of gender.

The list then completes the Hispandering checklist by showing Hillary with Marc Anthony,

Everybody loves abuela—even this guy.

in a photo taken during his recent Miami concert, which her campaign touted as the start of their Latino outreach. I’m glad I didn’t dish out $100+/ticket and truck all the way to the American Airlines Arena for an entertainment event, just to see her clamber up the stage. I was not alone; she was booed.

No, not everybody loves Hillarybuela.

The Christmas week  timing is exquisite, too, as Christians celebrate with their families.

For non-Hispanics and Hispanics alike, there’s the fact that throughout their lives, most grandchildren love each of their grandparents for their uniqueness. Your maternal grandma is different from your paternal grandma;  you realize it and appreciate them as you learn that both of them love you. Any outsider comparing themselves to them deserves immediate dismissal.

Let alone that the question, how does being a grandmother uniquely qualifies anyone aspiring for President of the United States?, lays bare the fact that Hillary is running only because she’s put up with Bill all these years, and their deal is that it’s now her turn. Nothing else in her entire life uniquely qualifies her. Hillary – who may know who Mary Pickford was – is too old to call herself “America’s sweetheart,” so she settles for “America’s grandmother,” opportunistically changing the latter word for Hispandering.

I won’t debase my own Puerto Rican grandmothers by listing the thousand ways Hillary Clinton could never measure up to them, closing this post instead with a bit of advice from Mexican political analyst Leon Krauze, another one to whom Hillary is definitely not his abuela,

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

By A.P. Dillon

It’s been just over two years since I joined Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent 7 team and I can barely believe how fast the time went. I’ve written an article a week on topic ranging from exposing far left networks to Obamacare and Common Core to key political races.

The time has flown, indeed.

Looking back at my previous Thanksgiving articles from 2013 and 2014, both are just as relevant this year as they were when I wrote them. Perhaps even more so as we watch the Special Snowflake Olympics unfolding in campuses across the nation and an agency within our federal government has gotten into the business of dictating where students can and cannot go pee.

Back in the day and over the course of history in many places, people often sought refuge from the woes of everyday life by going to the movies.  However, even that refuge has been taken away to an increasing degree with celebrities on political soap boxes and films weaving in various politically correct themes instead of actual plot lines.

Social media is littered with half-baked narratives, political leaders trash each other and the public, television has become a modern outlet for newspeak and even our schools are substituting social justice over actual academics at an alarming rate.

Where does one turn to for refuge these days?

The home. That’s where you find it. The home is the first and original refuge.

The home is more than just a refuge, though — it’s where lives are created, fostered and nurtured. The home should be defended, honored and respected. The home is the family. The home and the family are what we all should be giving Thanks for every single year.
The home and family extend beyond our own more often than not. Most of us probably don’t realize that or see it in that light.

Well, I do.

liberty miniI give thanks for my own home and family, but also for the one I found here at Da Tech Guy. I give thanks to Peter Ingemi for taking a chance on me two years ago and for the collection of people he brought together as his Magnificent 7.  I will always be your Bernardo – wanted for crimes against Liberalism, Peter.

It has been a privilege to be a part of this refuge and I humbly thank everyone who has read or inspired my columns here at Da Tech Guy over the years.

God Bless and be Thankful.

DM7 small LL1885A.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of LadyLiberty1885.com.
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review, Civitas Institute, StopCommonCoreNC.org, Heartland.org and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885

For the last several days we’ve been hearing about students at Missouri and Yale about how oppressed they are.  These are people getting a high level education at great between 10-40K a year a lot of it paid for by loans & grants or if they are at all athletic scholarships. and many of these schools will even have jobs available on campus to supplement their income or college costs.

Yet we’ve reached a point where they are actually face such a small  physical or personal risk that their biggest worries are insensitive Halloween Costumes:

Erika Christakis reflected on the frustrations of the students, drew on her scholarship and career experience, and composed an email inviting the community to think about the controversy through an intellectual lens that few if any had considered. Her message was a model of relevant, thoughtful, civil engagement.

For her trouble, a faction of students are now trying to get the couple removed from their residential positions, which is to say, censured and ousted from their home on campus. Hundreds of Yale students are attacking them, some with hateful insults, shouted epithets, and a campaign of public shaming. In doing so, they have shown an illiberal streak that flows from flaws in their well-intentioned ideology.

in Missouri their campus police are asking people to report Hurtful language

The Missouri University Police Department (MUPD) sent an email to students Tuesday morning urging them to call them and report any hurtful speech they encounter on the campus

I want to contrast these people to my father.

By the time he was of college age, he was in the Navy, serving in the pacific on an ammo ship in the largest war in history only a single kamikaze hit away from never coming home.  Before that he had been working for 10 years in paper mills and as a carpenter during the depression never even getting to high school let alone college.

When he got out of the navy he worked hard all his life until he physically wasn’t able to anymore, and even at that point he was taking care of his ill mother in law & fixing anything in sight.  He didn’t live long enough to see me married but he did live to see me engaged.

In all the time I knew him I never ONCE heard him complain about life, about what people said about him or about being oppressed, he talked about being grateful for and to his wife , grateful for his family , grateful for his country & grateful for his Catholic faith and to God for all his blessings.

That’s all the “White privilege” he ever had coming from an immigrant family with nothing, as opposed to a family worth $20 million like the Mizzou hunger striker

I submit and suggest that most of the student’s screaming about safe spaces and trigger warnings would not have been able to cope being on a ship where there was no safe space and a trigger warning meant Japanese planes were attacking and I further submit that thanks to the anti-christian, secular progressive culture that they have sprung from they would not be able to cope with his life after the war let alone during it.


The only pay I get for this work comes from you. My goal for 2015 is $22,000 and to date we’re only at $4400

Given that fact I would I ask you to please consider hitting DaTipJar.

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Star Wars purists are rightfully offended, but is this sexist?

Why should we care?

You, gentle reader, may have reached the same saturation point I have: We are subjected daily to a cacophony of constant whining from a culture of grievance where the aggrieved feel (because we should all be caring about the feelings of complete strangers, lest we be pegged as boors but called racist, sexist, ___phobic, etc.) put upon and want everybody to do something about it.

Now, I strive to treat all with politeness and civility. I was raised by parents who respected themselves and others. As an adult, I came to understand that is part of a greater American value of respect for the individual’s right to freedom and equality under the law.

I may choose to not voice an opinion: there are myriad reasons why, but most of the time I’m not interested in getting into an argument. However, I do reserve the right to my opinion, whether it pleases others or not.

In the current atmosphere of PC/multi-culti culture wars, having an unpopular opinion leads to all sorts of assumptions, where those differing from your opinion will vocally tag you as stupid, “living in another planet” (along with the above-mentioned name calling), and fearful.

Fearful? Take a look: Fear lies at the heart of opposition to ‘political correctness’, because

People are afraid of the power that true equality can give the historically disenfranchised and afraid of having been wrong

That, by the way, is that writer’s opinion, which sounds rather condescending to my opinionated-yet-jaded ears.

Peter Berkowitz, reviewing Eric Liu’s article “How to Be American” in the fall issue of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, points to A Misguided Resolution to the Culture Wars (emphasis added),

Liu envisages a cultural literacy list that would “catalyze discussion and even debate.” It would be many-colored and inclusive, rich with references to movies and music, and to the ethnic, racial, and religious minorities that populate America. In the spirit of progressives’ “living Constitution,” it would be “an evolving document, amendable and ever subject to reinterpretation.”The content of this list would demonstrate that “the essence of American life is that it relentlessly generates hybrids.” So would the method by which the list is produced. It would be “an online, crowd-sourced, organic document that never stops changing, whose entries are added or pruned, elevated or demoted, according to the wisdom of the network.” And it would teach that the story of “diversity and hybridity” is “the legitimate American story.” Serving as “the mirror for a new America,” Liu’s cultural literacy enterprise, he claims, would overcome the conflict between the claims of a common culture and multiculturalism by illustrating that multiculturalism “is our common culture.”

But multiculturalism is not our common culture. Nor is the essence of American life hybridity and diversity. It is the American commitment to individual freedom and equality under law that is fundamental, and which makes possible the bounteous American pluralism that Liu justly celebrates. At this moment of dizzying change, recovery and restoration of the enduring principles at the core of the American experiment in self-government is decidedly more urgent than construction of a document that echoes the clamor characteristic of contemporary public life.

In the cacophony of opinions, Berkowitz finds a fact: You can’t have pluralism without that commitment.

And if you don’t like the Target t-shirt, don’t buy it.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Linked to by The Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!

While it may be true that when God closes one door He opens another, it doesn’t make it hurt any less when the first one smacks you full in the face. And as a cherished friend noted, afterwards sometimes you have to wait in the hallway for quite a spell.

I’ve been spending some time the past few days dusting off my blog, ruffling through various archive sites and text files, reposting one item at a time from its beginning a decade ago. It has always been a site done in fits and spurts, topics varying from politics to faith to music to sports to a talking polar bear. I rather prefer the latter.

Not entirely unintentionally, I’ve never fit in much blogging-wise. Too varied in topic and non-deferential to Kool Kidz Konservative Klub™ members in favored standing for the political world; the upcoming reposts of assorted swipes back and forth with Mary Katharine Ham should go over about as well as a Trump for President t-shirt at a GOP consultants convention. Well, if anyone actually reads them. Which I seriously doubt.

I’m at my best when I’m at my least political. To wit:

There are certain things we learn, or at least hopefully learn, as we pass through the years. A prime example of this is coming to grips with how we are best advised accepting the fact that we should not expect respect for our anger, this coming into play the first time during our tender years any of us throw a temper tantrum without reaping the hoped for reward. Unless a spanking was that for which we had a honkering.

We also learn, or should learn, to not expect respect for our tears, or reciprocation for our love. These are far more difficult to swallow. We are taught from the beginning to respect others, to honor the heralded awesome power of love, and that true love always triumphs while conquering all and overcoming all obstacles. Yet through bitter and often embittering experience we learn how love is often impotent, incapable of swaying others in any direction let alone one which we desire. Those who do not learn this, such as starry-eyed women unshakable in their pursuit of utterly undesirable men believing they can transform jerks into jewels, invariably have their ship of hopes dashed against reality’s rocks. You’d think this would be sufficient to teach us, but far too often we embody insanity by attempting the exact same thing while anticipating different results. The Biblical truism that pride goes before a fall is not exclusively reserved for the outwardly arrogant. It also applies to those of us who, while outwardly modest and/or well-intentioned, sadly overestimate our own ability.

It hurts when love isn’t returned. The illustration of a rejected Savior is hard to understand until we encounter a one-sided love of our own. The other person doesn’t look at you in a special way. He or she doesn’t soften when you’re around. He or she isn’t interested in a relationship on any level save perhaps that of casual acquaintance, one quickly forgotten the moment close proximity is no longer in effect. Perhaps the person does allow you to approach them, but even then only within his or her strictly defined and absolute, non-negotiable parameters. Held at arm’s length? Most definitely. Held in each other’s arms? Never. And yes, it makes life a living hell. An accurate description, for hell’s torment is not fire and brimstone, but rather separation from love.

The illustration in Scripture’s most misunderstood and misapplied chapter states that when I was a child, I spoke, thought, and acted like a child; in adulthood laying these childish things aside. It seems strange to think, believe, and act on the notion that there are times when laying love aside is an act of maturity. More accurately, not so much setting love itself on the shelf but learning how to be at peace with the fact others can and will disregard your love for them.

It hurts when love isn’t returned. There is no escaping, no denying the pain. If there is anything good to be drawn from these times, it is from the empathy gained for those also suffering; and how it makes more real our need to embrace — more accurately, allow ourselves to be embraced by — the nail-scarred hands belonging to the Man of Sorrows well aquainted with grief. He knows. He understands. He comforts. And He never rejects our love.


Sometimes being the misfit hurts. A lot.


Liberals are accustomed to, in true Alinsky form, ridicule anyone with views different from theirs (rule 5).

For instance, it is my experience that, by opposing unfettered immigration, I will be dismissed as a racist spic playing the race card because I lack reading comprehension skills. (One of these days I’ll write a post on how such “Liberals” are irony-poor people.)

If you sincerely believe me to be a racist spic playing the race card because I lack reading comprehension skills, I may respect your right to your opinion to the same extent you respect my right to freedom of expression. I may, in turn, exercise my right in the form of coarse language; after all, one must communicate in a form that is clearly understood.

You will find irony-poor people in large numbers among the political and media elites.

Largely – but not exclusively – because of that, a big component of the current state of political discourse is the existence of an echo chamber: Each side engages in groupthink (there’s a coarse term for that, by the way), with the side controlling the media coming out ahead.

Which brings me to the subject of this week’s RNC candidate forum (as you know, my lack of reading comprehension skills precludes me from calling it a debate).

Pete hit the bull’s eye on what I consider THE most important thing taking place that night:
Fiorina outed the Planned Parenthood organ trading scandal during the largest-viewership show in CNN’s history.

Regardless of who will get the nomination, the fact remains that a three-hour event that was staged and choreographed to be The Donald Trump Show – complete with split screen and “what are you going to reply to what mean Donald said about you” – left the spin doctors spinning the next morning. There is a massive amount of spin going on right now. Most say that the image she described isn’t in any of the videos released because

The video that most closely resembles what Ms. Fiorina described (starting around 3:42 until 6:25, with graphic medical images) features Holly O’Donnell, a former procurement technician at Placerville, Calif.-based StemExpress LLC, saying there was a fully intact fetus after an abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. She said the fetus was in a jar and taken to a lab, where it was prepared and rinsed and put in a strainer. She asserted that a technician called her over, tapped the heart with an instrument and it started beating because electrical currents were still firing.

The woman says she doesn’t know if it was technically dead or alive. The video cuts to an image of a different fetus that came from other antiabortion groups, the Grantham Collection and Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. The former employee said a technician then used scissors to cut the head open to procure the brain.

Let that sink in for a moment.

The more modest, i.e., bloggers, were saying, “how the hell did a woman end up there? Oh that’s right. She has a lot of money and she hates women.”

They forgot to mention Fiorina’s reading comprehension skills, but more than make up by splitting hairs over brain removal practices on living beings. PP is trading on human organs all the same.

If you peruse stories defending Planned Parenthood you will find a lot of them claim the officials are misquoted and the videos edited. In fact, the full footage videos are posted at the Center For Medical Progress YouTube channel. You can read transcripts at the CMP’s website.

Let’s not waste this opportunity. If you blog, I urge all of you to post links to the full-length videos or the videos themselves, and link to the transcripts (if you want, go to my blog and copy the code). Spread it on social media, email them.

Shout it from the rooftops, if you are so inclined.

It’s time to make it “One thing you can never say: That you haven’t been told.”

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Update (DTG): DTG Just in case if some of you are upset at some of the language in this piece be aware that Fausta inquired about it before it was published and I approved it so if you have a problem it’s with me.

Life has a peculiar way of focusing priorities; the one and done playoff loss (again) half a world away of one of your two favorite football teams and your other favorite football team sucking rotten ostrich eggs in the season opener sitting next to the pile of work laundry demanding attention and the text message from a coworker hunkered down in an emergency shelter, waiting to see if a vicious wildfire has spared her losing her home. It is not looking good in that regard. Meanwhile, another coworker and her family are celebrating the daughter’s third birthday at Disneyland.

It is in moments such as these that music, God’s language, becomes ever more vital. We need the release, the reminder of the divine, the voice that celebrates and diverts attention and comforts and whispers it will be all right. We need the words of that song to provide focus and healing, saying what needs to be said yet we can never say. Be it sacred or secular, the divine voice speaks to all with ears to hear, reminding us that there will be a tomorrow and we should never fail to love today. Music is not an escape from reality. It is a portal to what is real.

Some days, you need to hear the wondrous stories.