Signing Off


Imagine with me for a moment please. My family and I settle inside our passenger’s quarters for another voyage gladly anticipating the next chapter of our lives, occasionally apart, but more so together. We’ve left port heading out of the Bay into the Atlantic. Seas are fairly calm this late hour. All of us sit to exhale for the journey, until our eardrums are pierced…

Ka-BOOM!

Debris flies everywhere. Everything jolts and falls breaking. We look at each other stunned, puzzled. Barely three seconds tick-off…

Ka-BOOM!

The floor and walls shutter as we are thrust upwards! The entire ship lifts up out of the water as if bouncing from a trampoline. The alarms and bells sound-off and the Captain yells over the loud-speaker system:

“ALL HANDS ON DECK! ALL HANDS ON DECK! MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS! LIFE-VESTS ON! LIFE-VESTS ON!

I lunge up to the cabinet doors labelled “Life-preservers” and grab all three—in a flashing thought to myself, How odd there were not more preservers. Odder still the word “preserver.” For how long? I throw one to Mom the other to my sister. I’m confounded as to WHY they are frantically grabbing makeup bags, laptops, perfume bottles and phones! STOP I scream. There’s no time for petty things! Get the damn vests on NOW! You must save yourself, your body! That’s all that matters right now! Pfft, how very basic a concept in life and yet, so disregarded.

I manage to reach the main deck through greyish smoke, bells and alarms screeching, and crewmen scrambling frenzied in every direction. At the main deck I turn to the port side: a white foamy trail visible leading straight to us. I turn to starboard across the dim, late evening horizon on the outer Chesapeake Bay. Another white air-bubble trail of those hidden “deadly fish” straight at us. Just an hour and a half ago we left the mouth of the Elizabeth River and Norfolk, Virginia Naval Shipyard and out to the Bay. No sooner had we left port, pass beyond Nags Head and Cape Hatteras, we’ve sailed straight into a German U-Boat ambush lying in wait as dusk passes into dark. How did the patrols and lookouts miss them!? Those tiny stealthy periscopes barely out of the water?

Minutes earlier one would’ve heard in the Kriegsmarine U-boat Control Room:

Los eins, Los zwei, Los drei! Seconds pass… Schlag, Schlag!”

I imagine another third or fourth Nazi fish missed us. Lucky? Depends on how many seconds or minutes we have remaining afloat.

~ ~ ~ § ~ ~ ~

Back to real life now; no more daydreaming or night-dreaming. But it has been like a bad dream last Sunday then Monday and since. The difference between now, August 19-20, 2021 and those twilight evenings just off the U.S. east coast in 1942 are as follows.

Eins, my Mom, sister, and myself are indeed Americans, long long generational Texans, seven and eight to be exact. But we were not attacked by a foreign enemy like the German Kriegsmarine Wolfpacks and their deadly, coordinated U-boat torpedoes.

Zwei, we were attacked (not physically, yet) and have been attacked by Americans, of all people, fellow Texans. Our naval refugee ship was our entire family estate—left to us remaining three survivors from my late father and my paternal grandmother; a portfolio that once impressed a few CPA’s with bulging eyes. It was attacked (or seized?) and has gone missing.

And Drei/Three, my Mom’s three-year domestic partner has gone dark, off the mental reservation and evil toward her forcing my sister and I to get her out of there FAST and safe. We did that last weekend and early this past week with whatever we had in our pockets—see #2 above.

I cannot begin to describe what these last 10-12 days have been like. Nor do I have the luxury now if I wanted to. I’m writing this post rather fast over two nights between 1:00am–3:30ish AM, I think, despite being exhausted for the last two weeks. Ah hell! Who tha F*CK am I kidding, I’ve been exhausted for damn near 18-19 months. My personal health has not improved, but instead suffers significantly.

It seems we are beginning to receive daily, more and more Public Emergency Alerts (there’s 5-7 different types in Texas) blasted over all cell phone networks and TV/radio newscasts. I received two different alerts in a 3-hour period night before last on my phone. In my near 60-years of life I don’t remember getting so many Public Safety or Public Emergency Alerts month after month for 16-18 months straight. Speaking of which, it deserves mentioning that part of why conditions here and elsewhere are exacerbated by chronic, incompetent leadership. Point and case, our defiant Texas Governor (R) who has never been personally supportive of Public Safety and Health during this pandemic, just received very bad test results. Read this breaking news article ripe with irony and dimwittedness. I chuckled and could only shake my drooped head at him and his supporters. On another front, some school principles and ISD’s are being forced to sue our Texas Governor and his Administration.

Yesterday, as some of you might know, we received a nationwide notice that starting September 20th, all of us already vaccinated must get COVID-19 Booster shots (Pfizer, Moderna, and others). I may have heard too that booster shots must happen eight-months(?) after your last shot. Perfectly fine. I will be first in line asap.

Nonetheless, all of this pandemic catastrophe and needless premature deaths (latest count: 641,459+) should’ve/could’ve been so much better handled in federal and state governments way back in Dec. 2019 and certainly Jan-Feb 2020 when we knew it would arrive. Then as soon as humanly possible all Americans should’ve been lined-up by the thousands—with masks and 6-10 feet apart, or inside their vehicles—at clinics/sites, grocery stores, pharmacies giving vaccinations back in March-April 2021. But stunningly none of this happened. 🤦‍♂️

Okay. So here we are then, me and my family. Life-vests on as we bob up and down. How long do life-preservers preserve? Those two torpedoes were lethal. The Drei/Three sealed our ship’s fate. The SS Strange-Miller is done. Gone. Her survivors now belong to the sea. Eighteen months or longer has just been too damn long, too damn much, even with COVID Relief handouts. What good are the handouts when predators are everywhere, legal and illegal, seen or unseen, they are sometimes right in front of you in broad daylight.

This I know. In desperate, extreme times, people become animals increasingly resorting to various forms of cannibalism. I’ve witnessed it several times in my life. History repeats it time and time again like a broken record. Yet, we supposedly civilized people continue to pretend it’s business as usual, oblivious to the warning signs, things disappearing, or denying the data because it feels good to do so. We’d much rather ignore the jagged-pills scribbled on the wall or in flashing neon-lights, but we will swallow them, whether willingly or fighting and refusing. They will go down the esophagus or the trachea if not addressed early, or immediately, and addressed effectively.

To explain a bit further in my cryptographic style what this blog-post means, and the American naval ship leaving port, the U-Boat Kriegsmarine commands in German, and the imagery I’m hoping to convey, is that for you I have shared in a metaphor and pseudo dream so you all might at least gain a blurry resolution and surface understanding. There is no need for me to go into the full minutia because after two direct torpedo hits, there simply isn’t enough time.

In fact, I have asked myself a few times the last few days, Why do I need to write and publish this post? Anything? Why spend these critical evaporating seconds and minutes—particularly fighting WordPress’ overly cumbersome writing-drafting model—to even bother during these last moments? WTH is wrong with me? Is that what the HMS Titanic’s telegrapher tapped-out along with the stringed musicians played during her last moments? HAH! And besides, who enjoys listening to or reading a chronic loather’s whining for 16-18 months and how things have to change before… “ka-BOOM! ka-BOOM!” It is now, All hands on deck.” It seems an imperative return to “normal” is not quite here. Maybe it was never to be.

What IS certain is that I am now past Fire-control and squarely into (overboard?) Acute Survival Mode for us three. It is because of current circumstances I’ve also decided to disable the Comments below. Apologies. In all honesty, given the situation(s) and what they demand, I have no minutes to spare to blog or reply to any blog-comments beginning in a few hours. It’s likely I will not have any time to follow all the blogs I follow and engage on. I’m sorry everyone. Pffft. After 11+ years on WordPress that’s a first for my blog. And do not think/hope this is not dead serious happenings and events. It happened.

Despite my long fight, our fight, it has happened. To say things are “dire” would be exceedingly understated. Mom, will not suddenly turn 40-years old and vivacious again. I cannot reverse the last twenty-years of our lives, my life, not after these two-three blind-sided hits. This portion of my life (WordPress) cannot continue. I want to cry, to go postal on many things, some specific people (but I best zip that), to keep fighting this reason-based, science-based, secular good fight, but there’s no time for me to do so anymore. All hands on deck for these seemingly final moments.

Eh, I guess a farewell such as this serves a purpose, maybe, no matter how brief or vague. Better to know a little of fate than getting silence, or a MIA telegram. The mayday signals have faded and are now finished. I can barely type or keep my eyes open.

Signed off, until… (blip – L.O.S.)


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Why? What For?

I am going to be frank. These last 16-18 months have been hard, VERY hard here in Texas and the U.S. And it is not just me.

I was asked today “Why do you insist on living where you live?” The mere fact that the question was asked was indicative of the ignorance of the person asking. They obviously did not know, could not comprehend—not that they really tried—to have any clue WHY I live where I want to live and WHY I live the way I want to live.

Does it really take such brutal honesty, in their face words, to infer upon them WHY I am who I am and I am where I want to be right now?

Yes.

I have learned over many decades that yes, it does indeed take frank, BLUNT honesty to make many people see, to understand what it means to “be true to one’s self.” And isn’t that what a life well lived is all about? To live true to self? To live in a way that impacts not only others, but also makes yourself whole? That you BELONG in this time, right here, right now if you are acutely aware of your place and purpose… with everyone you are with and your family?

I say yes. Actually, I scream YES!

What else is living life for(?)… with those you deeply love and care for and try to play your important part in the big scheme of everyone in this time, in this moment?

~ ~ ~ § ~ ~ ~

About a week ago I FINALLY went—physically—to my needed in-person doctors follow-up appointment. It had been over a year since I was able to do so. I suspect MANY people were not able to physically, in-person, see their physician… because of the whole COVID-19 disaster.

A week later, after blood-work and necessary lab-work my doctor felt necessary to obtain, for understandable causes that he was seeing in most all of his patients, he wanted additional tests with my blood-work. Unfortunately, a lot more money too for this lab-work. But it was very needed. Most intelligent people/patients understood that going over 1-year without physically seeing your physician and not being able to give your blood to them… was critically important.

My physician reentered my Exam Room and asked, “I would like to also test your Vitamin D levels. Is that okay? It is an additional cost of X-amount of dollars (not cheap), but I really think it is important to check. Is that alright?” I replied yes of course. “I expected the entire gament of whatever you wanted” I said to him “in this overdue visit. That’s fine.

Those results have come back. Not only were they not good, my physician said “Dwain, they are horrendous.

Apparently the healthy range for a person’s vitamin D level is 30-100 (ng/mL). My doctor told me mine was a dismal, shocking “9.” I could hear it in his voicemail to me.

If you do not know why vitamin D is important to our health, allow me to briefly explain. WebMD.com explains Vitamin D Defiency this way:

If you shun the sun, suffer from milk allergies, or adhere to a strict vegan diet, you may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight. It is also occurs naturally in a few foods—including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks—and in fortified dairy and grain products.

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Traditionally, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue doesn’t properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. But increasingly, research is revealing the importance of vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems.

Needless to say, prolonged vitamin D deficiency from not being out and about, in the Sun, with or without others (strangers included) is NOT GOOD for a healthy human life. Well DUH, right? But that hasn’t really been so possible for the last 16-18 months has it?

But in indirect ways I knew this was the sort of sacrifice the team HAD to do. I have been a recluse, a hermit basically, for the last year and four or six months. Why? Because that’s public health & safety. Plain and simple. I also wore a mask every time I HAD to got out in public for necessary life-priority items. I also stayed at least 6-10 feet away from anyone—despite the fact that many DID NOT do that and worse, were not wearing a god dayum mask! Which disturbed me and kept me inside, alone, out of the Sun (for vitamin D) so that I would not contribute MORE death, MORE hospitalizations to overrun, overburdened hospitals and ICU’s.

Despite my happy sacrifice for “the team,” for the public, for a known recovery and possible elimination of this god dayum viral pandemic, I am now Vitamin D Deficient along with 4-5 other medical conditions exacerbated by this virus. This is not to mention the OTHER ripple-effects, impacts (financially) this continued pandemic has caused… because Texas and America DOES NOT have enough “team players.

For the rest of the world, PLEASE PLEASE do not call us by anything other than the Disunited States of America. We have far too many egotistical, self-gratifying imbeciles to be worthy of a name, an honorable team-name such as the UNITED States of America. No, that has disappeared many years ago because we prefer to nurture, promote, and celebrate individuals, those who do whatever they fucking wish “In the name of freedom, liberty, blah blah blah…” and NOT for a greater good, but instead for their own benefit, their own ideology, their own patriotism, wealth and political party. God Bless America and God Bless our opulent Wealth—Screw Everyone Else.

Que the national anthem… “Star Spangled Banner” of American Self, Self, and more wealthy Self. Dog eat dog and screw everyone else. We are the nation everyone wants to immigrate to. HAH! How very very funny and yet, incomprehensibly a Catch-22. Ah, maybe it’s just Texas. 🥴


By the way, I am trying very hard to finish my family vacation posts with pictures, videos and tales of joy, laughter, and foolery of our adventures to the beautiful Mackinac Island, Michigan. Unfortunately, many extenuating circumstances here keep impeding this progress—all due ultimately to new COVID-19 variants and their ripple-effects everywhere in life. Plain and simple.


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Science Always

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Oldest Profession in History


This will (hopefully?) be one of my shortest blog-posts in a long while. Yeah, yeah, I can hear some of my regular Followers laughing, Pffft-ing, rolling their eyes, and tossing bouquets of flowers to me on stage for my acting/writing performance of not just lying through my teeth, but flowering me about my illusions of grandeur thinking I could actually write a brief, quick blog-post. Touché. You might win. But I’m going to try. Show your kind approval and praise if I pull it off, will ya? 😉

Yesterday evening I put in a pickup order at a nearby taco-texmex restaurant that is literally 130-yards away from my complex. It’s quick and easy. It’s also a fairly popular mid-range, affordable, family restaurant chain. I was about 5-10 minutes early picking up my dinner (6:00pm). While waiting at the counter, grabbing some lime-wedges to go with my delicious Modelo Negra beers at the self-serve drinks, ice, straws, napkins, etc, wall a STUNNING curly-haired blonde, hair up in a twisty, tight black shorts, summer cork heels, and tight black halter-top, no bra because she was quite endowed and full in the bust-size… walked by, out the front door, past the two gentlemen outside with their survey-stand—for the restaurant or the strip-mall, I wasn’t sure—who couldn’t stop gawking at her as she went by and stepped into her parked navy blue or black Jeep Cherokee for something. I thought she was leaving.

Nope, after about 30-40 seconds she got out and walked back into the restaurant, by the two men again, and down the long walkway in the middle of booths/tables, and to the back near and across from the men’s and women’s restrooms. She rejoined her equally stunning dark brunette lady-friend(?) or dinner companion. She stood up, my breathing paused, and was wearing a skin-tight workout, black with blue accents (in “key places”) shorts and spandex top, also accentuating her model-esque voluptuous physique. Yes, needless to say OR to expound upon they were both hubba-hubba. Your powers of deduction are correct reading what I’m explicitly and implicitly saying and can continue on your own! I mean, everyone in the restaurant would watch them as they moved around, especially the men, much longer than the women inside, patrons or staff. I tried to not be obvious. HAH!

Within 1-2 minutes of those Lookers rejoining each other at their back booth, a young man, say late twenties, early thirties in a tight workout tank-top showing off his finely sculpted neck, shoulders, biceps, triceps, tatted-up, and most likely well-defined abs underneath walked across the entire glass window-front of the taco eatery, pulled open the door and entered. I thought to myself as I watched him, Is there a gym, yoga, boxing club in this strip-mall? No, of course not. The entire strip-mall, every single place of business was already leased. Has been for a long time. Then, instead of walking through the ordering or pickup line as I had done, that very buffed man, glued to his cell-phone as he walked by outside and now inside… went straight to the back where the two super hawt women were sitting. They began to chat, quietly, as if they had been friends for years.

Ahhh, then it all clicked. Everything made sense.

I chuckled at myself and did a mental pat-on-my-back for NOT being glaringly obvious I was taken by and intrigued(?) by the blonde I had seen first. Okay, VERY intrigued. When I was in my youth, I would have been a very gullible, horny Neanderthal boy. I readily admit it. But many life-lessons of love and eros—often not simultaneously I should confess—have since paid off for me. Saved me in some instances. Plus, at my heightened age and wisdom now, I have learned and mastered my healthy, jacked-up blood-flow that once emptied my cranium and flooded south, engorging my groins, thus incapacitating my broader, smarter, more patient cerebral cortex while ignoring the opposite, more primal creative fun cortex, which seemed to be way south. Today, these random encounters of thick eros oozing everywhere, no longer have the kryptonite impact on me they once possessed. It all strokes my ego a tiny bit, makes me proud of my maturity and wisdom presently! It’s damn near foolproof—but I’ve also learned Never say never.

As I walked out of the restaurant with my food and beers back to my residential complex, one of the earlier gentlemen outside the door there (in his 40’s or so) looked at me, I acknowledged him chuckling and said:

“I’ve rarely witnessed “female solicitation” that was so blatant, let alone when their “business manager” walks in and doesn’t bother to be discreet, glued to his phone, and sits with his two staffers, workers, I’ll say Courtesans, and all three of them pretend they own the restaurant.”

The surveyor gentleman replied “Yeah, blatant for sure, huh? It’s the oldest profession in history.

I laughed in agreement and returned a similar sentiment:

“Yep, and not that I have ever thought prostitution should be illegal. It shouldn’t at all! One way or another, we all pay for what we want; monetarily and otherwise.”

He laughed and we parted ways. I heard him say from around the corner “Ain’t that true!

Here’s my rub on life’s most ancient profession—the genders, orientations today don’t matter. Many people are more than willing to throw down loads of cash, credit, assets, emotional investment, whatever it is for that long-term, mid-term, or short-term feeling, dopamine fix all the time. Neurologically human nature will not change for many a millenia. But today, in a conservative, semi-pious or hyper-uptight pious society? There are pros and cons any way you examine it.

Legally, under our county/state marriages and family law, it costs us an insane amount, much more on all levels than you could imagine!!! That might be just fine, but it doesn’t disprove my intimate understanding of human eros and love. Some romantic relationships are great investments with very acceptable ROI’s. Others? Eh, not so much. And some are down right horrific, nasty, and disastrous in divorce court—children aside or not. Am I right or am I very right? Perhaps it is time for human society to evolve more? Be stronger and know we can learn from mistakes of the heart, mind, and the libido, huh? 😉 😛

I welcome any and all feedback, as usual. Just remember, good etiquette and be a little open-minded. A GREAT sense of humor is most definitely encouraged!


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Our Getaway


Today’s blog-post is going to be slightly out of blogging character for me. Well, in the sense that I don’t often unveil amorous secrets behind the curtains of the Professor’s heart, today I am sharing a portion of my private, romantic, sentimental side. WARNING! For any Alpha-hyped He-Man reading this, if you have aversions to being swept away in passion and raptured in the moment, then look away! Read no further! This will not be your pitcher or keg of beer. Sorry mate. No bowed-up pectorals or brawling here.

It may or may not come as a surprise to some of you who follow my blog that I am a sucker for serendipitous enchantment on matters of the heart. If this beguiling moment includes windows of history, windows I’ve been enamored by since I was a boy, then just count to three and ring the bell because I am out, done, a goner. I will be so lost you’d think I was hypnotized or lobotomized. Add aspects of time-travel in the story and like Richard Collier, I will never return. Yes, with hands in the air I confess; my propensity for moments when time stands still is my kryptonite.

Who is Richard Collier you ask?

Funny you are wondering. Elise asked the same question, sort of, and she could barely take a breath waiting for the answer. But I will come back to this moment in time a bit later, hah, apropos teaser intended. What I want to first spill is how our long-awaited family trip unexpectedly came about.

My Mom's Eastern Airlines flight attendant photo, 1958--1962.

For over two years Mom has been itching to travel somewhere. For several years she has yearned to see Australia and her Great Barrier Reef. This has been a long-time dream of hers and her closest sister, her now late sister, unfortunately. Recently though if it was with her domestic partner, or a close friend, or with me and my sister, it didn’t matter. She’s wanted to go before it’s too late, at her advancing age, and medical issues make it impractical. The last three years she has been reminding us how thrilled she’d be to go and experience another part of the world, somewhere, anywhere she hadn’t experienced.

Lately we’ve been pummeled, so to speak, with her getaway-gestures every month, if not every week. The getaway bug-n-itch had had a grip on Mom for some time. I’d say it no longer itched, it turned into a damn rash! Her pleading was unrelenting sometimes! Yep, Mom’s former years as an Eastern Airlines flight attendant (above image) had been reenergized with a vengeance! Mom was once an Eastern Airlines Flight-attendant in 1958–1962, based out of LGA, JFK, and EWR, New York and New Jersey respectively. She wanted to fly a lot longer, but a special surprise from her then boyfriend (my father) stopped those plans after their very “romantic weekend” in San Antonio, TX in the former Robert E. Lee Hotel downtown. But I am rambling and digressing; apologies. Back to our story.

For years we had been tossing around destinations, but never made a final decision. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic along with the predictable outcomes and repercussions the last two-plus years. Pfft, no more elaboration needed on that world catastrophe.

Moving on. Fast-forward now to February 2021, but skipping over our two hellacious winter storms that came within a few hours of wiping out Texas’ entire electrical grid for a long, long, very long time.

With mass production of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, etc, vaccines finally rolling out once competent federal leadership in D.C. took office January 20th, followed by mass distribution scaled much higher and wider than the previous Administration ever cared to do, getting the vaccines into cold-storage, out to sites, and proper staff to stick Americans twice, our family getaway was back on and indeed probable. Hold your horses cowboys and cowgirls! Now comes a number of new stumbling blocks. I had the honor and privilege to temper Mom’s jet-setting excitement, if that was even possible.

I explained to her and sister that if we were going to make this dream-trip happen and safely, our first major hurdle was going to be full vaccinations for all three of us, in a timely immediate manner at that. Easy? No, not really. In fact, I thought I might have to persuade Mom to postpone our excursion for another year—ugh, after having just done that in 2020 due to the pandemic. Moreover, I knew how formidable it was going to be to motivate my sister to get fully vaccinated soon. I would have to hound her even more than I was already doing! Mom and I have received both our shots, my sister received her second shot this past week. Done! First couple of hurdles behind us.

Skipping back a month, when the three of us were able to finally coincide our three different schedules/calendars and meet for a weekend in mid-April 2021, we toss about places such as the Grand Canyon National Park, Glacier National Park, Sequoia National Park, Gatlinburg, Colorado Springs, Nags Head North Carolina, Portland in Oregon, The Finger Lakes in Upstate New York, and Augusta, Maine. Then I threw into the pile of possible destinations, one of my personal wishes: Mackinac Island and the Grand Hotel. To my dismay my sister and Mom became very intrigued. Mom was immediately sold on the Lilac Festival and the Butterfly House & Insect World, and my sister to the fact that it was an island completely unlike a hectic 21st-century tourist bee-hive rat-race with way too many rude people scurrying by you and over you. After all, she did suffer from panic-anxiety attacks easily triggered by too much perceived chaos. My sister is also an artist and art fan. She still paints when time allows. Mackinac Island has a sizable artsy twist as well, with art shops and an art museum. It seemed I had hit a homerun with my longstanding longshot, teenage dream destination! They had all sorts of questions. They wondered too how I even knew about this island lost in a bygone era. Answering their curiosity, I return to the beginning of this blog-post.

I admitted to them that I have always had a weakness for serendipitous romance, history, the Victorian-Edwardian Eras, and a very soft spot for time-travel stories, books, and films. Re-enter Richard Collier and Elise McKenna:

Is it you?” Woah, I get goose-bumps every time I watch that scene because of what Richard Collier went through to get there with Elise. This 1980 cult-classic “Somewhere In Time” was filmed on Mackinac Island, Michigan because the Grand Hotel and island’s Tourism Bureau vowed to freeze time and banned all modern, polluting, combustible-engine vehicles as well as other “modern” developed fossil-burning machines in order to preserve its uniquely vintage history—its Victorian-Edwardian Age on Lake Huron. There is no other island like it within the United States proper. The island is seemingly and delightfully stuck in time. Needless to say, I was and I am beyond myself, ecstatic to be traveling there with Mom and sister in just a few weeks.

If any of you are unfamiliar with the timelessness of Mackinac Island, MI, then I give you a quick photo-montage (below) followed by a link to the island’s Bureau of Tourism. I hope you too can see why I have always held a special place in my heart for this island… lost Somewhere In A Time not so long ago when finer things in life were patiently appreciated, savored, sought, enamoring, and embraced. I start with images from the movie with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve at the Grand Hotel. Following those images are current photos of the small Victorian-Edwardian town, popular sites like the Butterfly House & Insect World—the place where Mom and sister will spend many hours—tea houses out on grand patios, Al fresco dining spots, Fort Mackinac where I plan to visit, and one location Mom and I plan to lounge many times: the Grand Audubon Wine Bar.

Should you be interested in more details and information about this incredible island, visit the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau. There you can also view online their 72-page guidebook which introduces you to the island’s historic splendor.

We will return home after eight nights and nine days there. Travel will take two half-days. I do hope to bring back with me many photos of our getaway on Mackinac Island. This might be my last blog-post until then, after we return to Austin, TX, then I back up to Dallas. In the meantime, the anticipation is mounting, ugh, as if time is slowing down. Imagine what time will be when we are there!



Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Please Choose From the Following Options


Before I “publish” my next post about our upcoming, exciting family trip and getaway, I have to first publish this post. Why? Because I have a hunch this sort of story or round-about is something most all of us can empathize with in a wide variety of ways and emotions.

I will not set the stage by going all the way back in time to when computers, electronics, the internet or world-wide-web, WiFi, and artificial intelligence in the early-1990’s began slipping into our human lives and every aspect of our daily and nightly affairs both awake and asleep and whatever affairs are outside of and in between those two states of conscious and unconscious existence. I will spare all of you the gory details of how frequently I’ve had to swap or replace my cell phone and why. That would be a Rated NC-21 by the MPA; not pretty. No, recalling all of my dealings with computerized non-cellular “help” and their stages of actualization, their causes, then one or more effects and sub-effects of those causes and further actualizations these last 26-yeaars would just take-up too much of my brain capacity and waste all of you fine people’s valuable time. “You’re welcome, not “Your welcome” (expletives whispered) as my friendly, get-under-your-skin-like-poison-ivy H. Brawny the Editor corrects me down in his compassionate comment below! 🤨

Instead, I am going to share my most recent dealing with our hyper-techy computerized society, our fun business world, and our ever decreasing private personal lives within both those sectors. Sit back, enjoy, relate, and hopefully laugh at my expense.

THE MAD JOURNEY BEGINS WHEN…

…my old Dell laptop simply could no longer keep up or function properly or efficiently with the non-stop monthly tech advances and weekly, sometimes daily software and hardware “updates.” Yes, I had only owned my laptop for a whopping two years, five months. Remarkably this apparently made it prehistoric, if I was lucky. No, I’m kidding. I bought my Dell laptop in 2015 so it had a supposedly long, happy, hardworking life and was ready for AARP, Medicare Supplements, Social Security payments, and a date with the silicon mortician. Six years people! And if I’m honest, barely five! It was getting decrepit with a walker in 4 1/2 years then wheel-chair its last 12-months. The world had simply passed it by. Well, I’m no Chuck Yeager speed demon and Einstein, but the world actually blew past my geriatric laptop going about Mach-10. The subsequent sound-barrier BOOM was heard last month.

As is the custom in the U.S. and the West, it was time to toss it in the proverbial grave-garbage for a nearby landfill. No, kidding again. I can give the laptop to an electronics retail chain for proper carbon-footprint disposal. Last March and April I began my painful shopping and research for a new, nuclear-powered, light-speed CPU, 800-TB (trigabyte/terabyte) internal memory with accompanying 500-TB hard drive with MS Windows 20.2467. This is apparently what is now required for all modern laptops and cell-phones to manage the out-of-control mandates of internet sites and graphic processors with hyper-hungry memory and resource demands. I haven’t even gotten into the vast amounts of bandwidth required to conveniently stream anything online with your phone or laptop; operative word there: convenient.

Now, skipping ahead to my nightmare ordeal with having my brand new Space X powered laptop shipped via UPS 3-day delivery to my residence. Why 3-day? Because it was only an extra $17 USD. I had chosen and purchased my new Space X powered laptop on a Friday afternoon. I wanted it delivered as soon as possible because my old Dell was literally on a breathing-machine and near comatose. Very little movement or twitching from not-well Dell. But paying more for a Saturday delivery was outrageous so I decided to be patient and wait for a Monday delivery by 7pm or before, guaranteed says UPS for a mere $17.

Because delivering to my residence is within a community complex, tricky for visitors or first-time guests, I registered with my retailer and UPS for text and email updates on the status of my In Transit laptop or Out for Delivery in UPS’s verbiage. I’m very excited and anxious to sign for—or the receptionist downstairs in the lobby to sign for—the taking of responsibility for the package/box away from UPS hands and possible liability claim. I wait. I glance at my phone text messages. I glance at my emails. No status changes or updates. At 3pm and then 4pm the same thing. Five o’clock, nothing new. I take a break, relax and start prepping dinner and pour myself some hot sake. This will go well with my Chinese dish and Japanese sushi. The receptionist downstairs is in fact there at her post. I checked.

It is now 5:54pm and I check the status of my package on the UPS website. This is what it reads:

Delivery failed. The UPS driver attempted to deliver your package, but was unable to. Reason: No one available to sign for package. Another delivery attempt will be made the next business day. Please have someone available to sign for the package.

Logged at 5:29 PM by UPS driver

Quite irritated I went downstairs to the lobby and reception desk to inquire why the UPS driver only just minutes ago found no one here at the desk. There was also another gentleman (resident) sitting on the lobby couch. As is sometimes the case, when the receptionist—who also has other required duties by her employer—must leave temporarily her post behind the desk, so they place a very noticeable legible sign on top of the desk, informing visitors to pickup the phone headset, right there next to the sign, and Dial “0” for immediate assistance or help. I’ve had to do it maybe once or twice myself. The receptionist either answers the phone call or quickly appears back at the desk. Simple, right? However, before I had a chance to do this the courteous lady comes out from the back to help me. I asked her Did the UPS driver come in the lobby, to the desk here about 15-mins ago? She replied no, but she had to step away for about 5-6 minutes. In that time no one called her with the desk-phone there as instructed. She went on to say that the drivers of FedEx, UPS, DHL, USPS, etc, all know to pickup the handset and dial zero when they have stepped away.

Overhearing our conversation the gentleman sitting on the couch in the lobby said the UPS driver had indeed come inside, stood at the receptionist desk for a minute or so when he explained to the driver the sign, and to call/dial zero. Apparently the UPS driver said nothing and continued to stand there another minute or less. According to this helpful man on the couch, he then turned around, walked out and back to his UPS truck and drove off. The receptionist returned to the desk never knowing UPS had just been there with packages… for no more than two, maybe less than 3-minutes until I had come down to talk to her. If my blood was already simmering, it was damn well boiling up now.

Ready to give someone at UPS a piece of my tempestuous mind, I returned to my 2nd floor residence straightaway, spending 15-20 minutes searching, reading, rereading, and wallowing through the mass jungle that was the UPS website of Where’s Waldo information for a correct 1-800 Customer Service and/or Package-Tracking Assistance phone number which finally reached the precise UPS department. I had no other choice of departments to voice my complaint. It’s now about 6:20pm. The extra $17 USD is fast becoming a total loss.

Modern corporate Customer Service & Help Desks – c. 2010–2021

After dialing the eleven-digit number, listening through the 6-7 different options to press on my 4G Android phone, I get to the next computer-voice to listen to those four different options leading me to the Promise Land of UPS satisfaction. Only this computer-voice tells me that I must speak my selection into the phone, therefore, sending me on my way to further computerized direction with the hope of distant(?) satisfaction. The AI voice asks me to speak my 10-12 digit tracking number. She accepts it then a second or two later gives me now just TWO options, A) submit a Lost or Damaged Claim form at their website’s said page—she gives me the URL address—or B) go to their Track A Package webpage with your tracking number. At no time am I given the option late in this juncture to request speaking with a living human being at UPS. If I refused to choose A or B, she politely disconnects with me; hangs up. This happened three times as I was interpreting the computer AI instructions making sure I didn’t misunderstand something. To my further advanced tempestuous mind and rising blood-pressure I did not misunderstand anything I was told by their computer AI and according to all available options, I was indeed stuck in UPS limbo in the machine loop of Never-ever Land, not the Promise Land. Back to square one. It is now past 7:00pm.

I took 10-minutes to breath and slow my pulse as I could feel my blood-vessels in both temples throbbing. I grabbed a lime-wedge, a pinch of salt, and poured myself a double shot of Don Francisco Javier’s Sauza Hornitos Reposado tequila and downed my Elixir de tranquilidad. A few minutes later I was ready to go hunting at UPS again.

Long story and rant shorter, with sheer angered persistence I managed to get a hold of an actual live person “Hassem” at UPS to speak about their lazy-ass, don’t want to do my job delivery driver! After about 25-minutes of discussing everything with Hassem I told him, because I knew our phone conversation was probably being recorded for “Quality Assurance” and his management team and hopefully their management team above them, I said to Hassem in a slightly more intense tone If I could’ve simply spoken with a LIVE human at UPS from the very start, I would not have wasted near 2 1/2-hours wallowing everywhere on the UPS website and inside the never-ending loop called UPS computer AI-voices that never implicitly deduced the most efficient solution to my problem created by UPS!”

When all was said and done that Monday evening, late, when I threw away $17 USD for Monday delivery and nothing but UPS computerized torture, I could not convince Hassem or his Supervisors to make that lazy-ass delivery driver come back out to my residence with my new Space X powered laptop. I was told by them I would have to wait until tomorrow evening, Tuesday, a full day later for my package delivery… oh yeah, by 7pm, “Guaranteed” to be late by 24-hours, higher blood-pressure with advance AI computerized annoyance, and heavy drinking caused by humans who don’t seem to want to deal live with other humans. That’s just the way it is, huh—how our 21st-century hyper-techy American society runs: electronic-driven cold-blooded AI silicon devices, droids, and programs? Pffft! What tha hell was I thinking? That’s change my man, for the better, driven by technology! That won’t change, I guess I’ll que the song…


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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