I spend most Saturdays (weather allowing) at my screened porch, when I’m not doing chores. I was reading Robert Bidinotto’s latest thriller, Winner Takes All, when Juliette asked if I could fill in for her today, so here I am, posting from the porch.

It’s a beautiful, quiet, warm (80F, 49% humidity) and sunny day in Central Florida.

And I am thankful.

[I’ve been thinking a lot about thankfulness recently, not only because of Thanksgiving Day, but also because I’ve come across a person or two who spend every waking moment – they really work hard at it – in a purposeful bad mood. Lest you think I’m charitably inclined, my reaction is that of mild annoyance alternating with feigned indifference, since, to paraphrase Dean Wormer, “fat, ornery and stupid is no way to go through life.” But I digress.]

Good reads are one of the things I’m thankful for.

I highly recommend Winner Takes All. I met Robert Bidinotto years ago at CPAC, before he started writing thrillers. He was already known for his article “Getting Away with Murder” in the July 1988 issue of the Reader’s Digest, but I didn’t match the article with the face until later. The article,

stirred a national controversy about crime and prison furlough programs during the 1988 presidential election campaign, and it’s widely credited with having affected the outcome of the election.

It was about Willie Horton.

Robert brings his reporter experiences and his writing skills to his novels (in order): Hunter, Bad Deeds, and Winner Takes All starring Dylan Hunter.

You’ll enjoy them for the quality of the writing, the action, the nice details (Robert incorporates the family of foxes from his real-life back yard in Winner Takes All), and the well-developed characters.

The only warning (and you may – or not – be thankful to hear this in advance) is that the three novels are highly addictive and you will not want to put them down.

Unless, of course, you have a chance to fill in for Juliette. You can help her out with the laptop repair bills.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

I’ve never met Andrew Klavan, and probably never will.

I have met Robert Bidinotto, though.

Yesterday I was reading Robert’s excellent article, A vote for #Neither, where he spells out my feelings exactly (emphasis added),

I realize that an election is merely a tactical decision, almost always between less-than-ideal options. Oftentimes it is a choice for the lesser harm. But — and I’m being stone-cold serious — in a choice between Trump and Clinton, I have no clue who would cause the greater long-term harm to America or to my own values and interests. An unprincipled populist demagogue, whose answer to all problems, foreign and domestic, is an international trade war — or a pathological criminal with a progressive agenda? We’re not talking about two characters who would continue the status quo of steady American decline. We’re talking about two human wrecking balls. Each, in his or her own way, would accelerate American decline in a host of political, economic, and cultural ways.

I post only that paragraph, but you must read the full essay. He describes how we end up rationalizing our self-corruption individually and as society.

No wonder I’m going through Denial, anger, bargaining, depression . . . but no acceptance – or, as Prof. Jacobson put it,

A Trump versus Hillary general election is lose-lose.

So fight on Ted. To the end.

Still, it’s a struggle to not succumb to negativity, and that’s where Klavan comes in. Yesterday’s podcast is titled “Cruz is Desperate – And Should Be!” After picking Carly for VP,

Cruz added he will soon pick out the tie he’ll wear to his inauguration speech, and some new carpeting for the oval office.

and there’s even a Bernie joke, which starts out,

Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, has fired much of his campaign staff. He says the move is in keeping with his principles, because the staff started with high, unrealistic hopes, and ended up unemployed so now they have a better understanding of how socialism really works.

Klavan is smart, quick and funny, but what I like about his show (which I have already recommended) is that he reminds us on every show of a deeper truth: the Lord commands us to be joyful,

“Rejoice always”

Don’t sign on for “one long life of misery.” as he puts it.

Happiness, in many ways, is a series of conscious choices, a search for the people, the work and the things that uplift your spirit.

Bearing this in mind, this weekend I’ll meditate on Psalm 118, especially on verse 24,

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Notice how it says “we will rejoice”, not maybemight, perhaps, but we will. Politicians come and go, but those are words to live by.

Bonus: Ethel Merman & Donald O’Connor

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In other news,
I updated Wednesday’s post, “See you in court”,

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

Klavan will never run out of material!

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