Debt Rattle February 14 2022


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    D Benton Smith


    You’ve been leaving out the “hunch backed” part of the moniker, please reinstate. “hunch backed lizard sucking . . . ” has a much better ring and rhythm to it. Rolls off the tongue with a right proper adamance.

    Veracious Poet

    Well thinking out loud online immediately after an epoophany isn’t something I normally do, although it seems to work for certain word salad personas on a daily basis ~ I need to absorb & process insights spiritually before broadcasting, to avoid brain farts 😉

    One thing that is certain, there are Givers & Takers, but mostly it’s a combination thereof…

    Trying to suss out human nature from the primordial amygdala to the “evolved” cerebral cortex is only one aspect of finite existence, although it may preclude enlightenment into the Infinite when it becomes the core focus.

    From time-to-time, I have been the beneficiary of many “givers” in my life, especially early on, who shared the most precious gift of all with me ~ Their Time & Love.

    Moreover, I have been affected by “takers”, not always in an adverse manner, many times as a cautionary tale through detached observance…

    Often I reflect back on the heartfelt generosity of an elderly widow that lived next door to us when I was in 2nd-3rd grade back in 1969-1970 ~ She was born on a Nebraska farm in the 1890s.

    There was a genuine earthy love that she exuded, that nurtured me though a dark time ~ My mother’s second husband had abandoned us for a sugar momma, while my mother was pregnant with their only child, placing us on welfare in a low rent area of Fullerton…

    I wish I could remember her name, but I can still feel her spirit, treating myself & another boy to bags of spanish peanuts + money to watch movies during the matinee showings at the Fox theater downtown (driving us to & fro, as well).

    The money & snacks were secondary to the loving care she bestowed upon us, a light in the darkness that countered immersion in a culture of “takers” ~ She always had a kind word of encouragement & a smile that would melt the Grinch’s heart…

    The other day I was packing my SUV with groceries & noticed a $20 bill on the ground on the passenger side of the car parked next to me. When I stood up I saw an older man in the drivers seat, so I knocked on the window to ask him if his wife was in the store & if she perhaps had dropped the money ~ He was awestruck by my honesty (I could see it in his eyes), but that was the “right’ thing to do in the Now (I intuited the whole scenario in a micro second).

    I was not “entitled” to that money, it was not mine ~ I learned from my mentors (outside of my family) that lying, cheating, stealing are not The Way, to be happy in the Now with whatever I have to work with…

    But I also witnessed others that chose the darkness of their self-obsessions, the sickness that crippled them, although they usually didn’t think so.

    Evil is a choice culminating from a gradual succession of lesser choices. It never sleeps, and is always open for business…

    Western civilization’s evil choices have resulted in Mass Formation Psychosis, something many of us have been aware of for a long, LONG time now.

    The path out of this (If we survive it), is patience, tolerance, kindness & love.

    I truly wish I could be hopeful for humanity, but it seems to be getting darker & darker as the malady unfolds…

    Still walking on the sunny side of the street,



    “You’ve been leaving out the “hunch backed” part of the moniker, please reinstate. ”

    I am such a cad. I know. I’ll remember from hereon. But… you haven’t given ME a special name. Maybe you don’t really love me? Maybe you’re just toying with me? Is that why I found a $20 bill under my pillow?

    Michael Reid

    @D Benton

    I’ve followed Kunstler for probably 15 years or so, even had a few email exchanges with him, and throughout that time he has consistently held to his mantra that he doesn’t believe in what he calls ‘conspiracy theory’.

    I’ve always found that a bit maddening about him but have chalked it up as a personal blindspot, which I believe we all have in one form or other.

    He is friends with Dr David Martin who couldn’t be more hard core ‘this is a planned premeditated depopulation holocaust” and recently podcasted Martin on his site.

    KunstlerCast 352 — Another Lap with Dr. David E. Martin Investigating the Origins of the Covid-19 Vaccines

    KunstlerCast 352 — Another Lap with Dr. David E. Martin Investigating the Origins of the Covid-19 Vaccines

    Listen to it

    Believe me, Martin would have called he out on it in some fashion, he is a nobullshit kinda guy if you have ever listened to him.

    Kunstler rarely provides me anymore with info I don’t already know, but I still find his writings amusing.

    Look at Bobby Kennedy having very cordial interviews with Tucker Carlson and Glenn Beck. They absolutely don’t see eye to eye on many matters but come together to discuss urgent matters of common interest, the way public discourse should be.

    The Gulf of Tonkin incident was totally faked and lead to an eleven year war that killed over a million people. It was labeled a conspiracy theory that it was faked for decades. The list is to long to count of things labeled conspiracy theories that later were found to be true.

    You are witnessing what I consider to be a premeditated global mass murder with a weaponized pathogen and yet even two years into it and amazing number of otherwise ‘intelligent’ people just refuse to acknowledge something like that could be possible.

    Over the decades I’ve personally met and talked with many veterans of WWII, they are all gone now, including my own uncles and father who were all in frontline combat. Several of the WWII European vets I listened to had liberated concentration camps. They could not speak of what they saw for decades because when they came home nobody, family or friends, believed want they told them that they had seen with their own two eye. Nobody

    Probably because what they told was so horrible and terrifying to people listening that they could not even imagine such cruelty or depravity existing in the world they were familiar with. And most of these vets just clammed up and stopped even trying to talk about it.

    The mere thought of some hideous behavior frightens some people into a cognitive trance or a mental bunker of some type. Just look around now at that phenomenon manifesting in the Western World.

    Makes me just want to scream at some people point blank to their faces to suck it up and snap out of it, but I know even saying that would scare them even deeper down their own rabbit hole mental bunker.

    D Benton Smith

    Awright, one last smooch on the cheek and then we gotta get a room. I hereby dub thee, “The Boz” .


    You can demonstrate if you don’t violate the new laws that I made
    Suck it up I’m the boss .


    A rough view of where the story continues — as readable sequential narrative text, not a jumble of notes — so far:

    “Merry Christmas, Robin. You didn’t think I’d forget, did you?”

    It was a card. Hallmark. But the inside was covered with white construction paper painted over in highlight marker colors. It said:

    Dear Santa:

    I need a reason to believe in all this crazy shit.

    Harry Krishnas,

    Robin Morrison

    I’d mailed it a month ago helping my godchild write a letter to Santa. I’d slipped it in before sealing the envelope. She’d wanted to do it but little kids cut their tongue.

    “That’s you, right?”

    I looked at him.

    “Uh, how do you do it, Santa?”

    “I don’t, son. ”


    “What do you mean, ‘I don’t’?”

    “I’m not Santa Claus. No one is ‘Santa Claus’. I’m Nicholas, even Saint Nicholas, although I almost have to take that on trust, historical record, because I lost a lot of my original memories in the course of recovering from many, many head injuries. But I am the man upon whom that myth is centered. Some of the myths are much older than me but I am the one they gathered around as Xtian civilization became the world standard.”

    “Gathered around… like snow on your cape.”

    “I took you for a poet. Yeah, it’s a nice cape, isn’t it? I do remember that I faked my death after my immortality began to show and cause problems. Not to mention the miracles and wonders I caused. Faking your death without leaving a corpse, when you’re as big a man as I am, is difficult. Two men died in order to leave a corpse that would pass for me.”

    “You killed them?”

    “Of course. I do all my own killing. Grave, grave sin to have another man do your killing for you unless you’re, say, fighting together to defend your home or something. It looks like I’m going to tell you my life story. It’s only about 1700 years long. Or old. I normally don’t do it, but I like you. You make me feel like I want to be understood again, something I rarely bother with these days.”

    “This could take awhile, right?”

    “Not really. I can’t remember a lot of it.”


    “Amnesia isn’t the worst part. Just… centuries and centuries and centuries… I get lost in myself. I have nostalgia layered like an onion. The present is like an ongoing déjà vu that changes as it ever has but increasingly feels the same. Not boring, actually more like comforting – but confusing when it comes to telling one’s life story.”

    He began singing.

    “Parachutes, army boots, sleeping bags for two, sentimental jamboree…”

    “Who’s that?”

    “Don’t know, but it’s from your time. It has a nice minor key feels a bit like the music I grew up with. Some girl I shacked up with played it a lot. I think it’s, like, a Beatles tune? I also like the lyrics.”

    “What were your parents like?”

    “I don’t really know. Please. Best you let me talk. Not necessarily no questions, but think twice before asking. It’s touchy in here. I try to live in the present because the past, for me, is HUGE. Great big storage unit full of who knows what.”

    “Firstly, it helps to understand that I’m not really one person. Never mind that there are a million Santas running amok in red velvet giving away gifts and getting stewed on eggnog. I mean: me. I’ve been part of a more-or-less telepathic tag team since I was 44 years old. Somewhere between being possessed and being caretaker. It’s a benevolent entity. Holy Divine. An angel. A seraph, to be exact, although firebird is a much better translation and fits the reliable folklore better than that Biblical stuff. I call it Atse.”

    He grinned, made goggle-eyes, said, “Son, I’m a two-headed monster!”

    He let that sink in while I looked into his eyes with some difficulty.

    He giggled. Santa’s giggles are better than his laugh; it’s shared, not projected like those overwhelming ho-hos.

    “It needed a place to hide. It’s inside me and in this bag somehow even though it’s currently quite safely hidden far from humanity in my old forest home. We’re like Siamese twins, sort of.”

    It was awhile before I realized I’d just been staring at him, waiting for him to explain. His smile grew very wide, but gentle, lips slightly pursed, and I was sitting inside Santa’s Enormous bag, in his lap. I had just crawled on. It had been instinctive.

    “It’s… an angel, a firebird, is in here?”

    “Not physically. More like a radio transmitter hooked to it is in here. But it has often spent long periods of time in here. Weeks, months.”

    He hocked up a gigantic loogy.

    “Sometimes it’s a scary story, Robin. I mean… really scary. But that’s just life. Mostly it’s a good story. I’m oddly kind of excited to tell it to you. But not here. We have things to do, and you’re heavy on a man’s lap.”

    I crawled off and we shared the sack side by side.

    “Yes, I’m the ‘real’ Santa Claus, which is both more and less than your vision of who that is. But no, I can’t get to all the kids. No one can. Physics, right? They’re still here. A little magic doesn’t erase them, just exploits the cracks in their logic. A localized hyperspace is one thing, but being everywhere more or less at once? No. That sounds more like, uh, God. Giving gifts to children is kind of my hobby, but most of the giving I do is not toys and such; it’s more redemptive, rescue, escape, that kind of thing.

    “Yes, I have reindeer that fly… when lofted in a sling. Not something they enjoy but it has happened. I have good memories, Robin. I have even had a few elves at my service. And on one occasion I actually crawled down a chimney, once, but that was on a bet I lost.” More giggles. “Legends get around. Especially unbelievable ones. They spread better before the printing press, the yellow press, the tabloids, Hollywood, TV, the internet… now rumors spread so fast that legends die, from sheer Darwinian out-numbering, before they can establish a niche in the collective consciousness. I can’t even begin to keep up with the variations on me they put out every year.

    “Do the math, son. No one in their right mind believes Santa is real. What I’m supposed to do is impossible. A billion kids, a fat man down the chimney, runs a socialist workers’ elf colony at the North Pole… nah. Everyone knows that the parents do it. You guys do my job for me. What a lark. Got pert near the whole culture fulfilling the myth, doing my job. It doesn’t get better than that, I suppose. But man what a mess. I worked at Wal-Mart once. I know whereof I speak. But a few kids, every Xmas Eve, get a real visit from me…”


    “But — my helicopter. 1963. That really happened! And… there were muddy boot prints from the chimney!”

    “You know I didn’t go down your chimney.”

    I knew that. But it was impossible not to believe, sitting next to Santa Claus, snuggled inside a magical bag that smelled of everything from roast mutton (I didn’t even know that I knew what it smells like) to cedar wood to styrene plastic (do they still make anything with that stuff anymore?).

    The year I’d gotten that helicopter, Mom and Dad had made muddy boot prints from chimney to tree and back again. (Big brother Steve was, I believe, the driving force behind the farce.) I was 7 or 8. It was hard not to believe then. I was hooked: but I also recall using a certain amount of logic to compare the prints with the tread of Dad’s rubber galoshes.

    “No,” I said sheepishly. “That was a piped gas chimney that didn’t work. Flue’d probably been plugged for years. Like most of them.”

    “Wood burning era done come and gone by the time I stuck that one in your Dad’s back seat.”

    “So – you did give me that helicopter? That’s how…?”

    “Probably. I’m pretty sure that’s how it went. That’s how I did a lot of ’em. They don’t usually lock the car doors going into the big stores, only after they’ve been loaded up. Not back then, anyway. Today they practically put touch alarms on the packages under the tree.”

    This required some thought.

    “Do you think they knew?”

    “Well, it was wrapped and it said ‘To Robin From Santa’. Lord knows what they thought. But apparently, they were smart and gave it to you. Some of them don’t.”

    This required more thought.

    “It’s hit or miss like anything else, son. My guess is they had some kind of faith or whatever in Santa, because they muddied up some galoshes and stomped prints around the fireplace. It spooks ‘em a lot of times but more than not they go along with it and give the child the gift even if it seems a tad spooky.”

    “Fun kind of spooky, I imagine.”

    “Yeah. They briefly remember the time, when they believed, how it felt. Not that believing in me or the ‘spirit’ of some godforsaken holy day is the point.“

    “Xmas?!? Godforsaken?”

    “Yeah. He bailed, left it to His Son, bailed on Him.”

    It was like meeting God and having Him show you His secret porn collection.

    “Look, I’m the atheist here. You don’t believe in God?”

    “I believe in God, and I believe He left the scene and left us here. That’s what the Bible says and I’m inclined to believe it.”
    to be cnt’d


    bippity-bottity boo



    Junk for two…


    Re: Kunstler

    He has been so wrong, so many times I lost track. I can’t forget him waiting big revelations from that joke of a lawyer Sidney Powel who would release the Kraken of all Krakens, or the results from the recount, or the Muller investigation, or … you get my grip.

    But he is entertaining, I give him that and from time to time really funny. I even twitted some of his aphorisms.

    But I certainly would not form informed opinions based on what Kunstler writes.


    Executive Summary (nobody/read/ listened to)

    “You can demonstrate if you don’t violate the new laws that I made.” – Trudeau

    Veracious Poet

    D Benton Smith


    You speak right to my own experiences. The family background is 5th generation military (or the like), a few farmers and one wild-assed adventurer. I think that as a result of that we all got much higher than average dosages of reality. In my specific case I got a LOT more (almost got involuntarily “OD’ed” on that reality stuff a bunch of times)

    All through that I kept getting reminded, over and over and over to the point that it’s actually starting to sink in, that the path that can get you more or less successfully through Life is incomprehensibly complex, and different for every single person. You just have to let everyone pick their own way through it. I believe that’s why liberty, self determination and open communication must be as inviolate as humanly possible . . . and maybe a bit more.

    This includes matters of the ability, willingness and choice of confronting the actuality of evil. I do think that most people bite off as much as they can chew on that topic. It is just a tragic fact that this level of awareness is not enough in many cases, and those people fall prey to the evils that they chose not to see in time to get out of the way. We can do a lot for them, but we can not decide for them.

    Meanwhile the rest of us do what we can to help some of them to bite , chew and digest enough more than that, and thereby not fall prey.


    Me, I like truth. Just a thing I have. And talking, another thing I do. I have no desire to save humanity from itself because I view that as being less likely than FTL or time travel. I do try to warn people I care about who will, I believe, at least listen.

    My interest in this life is to try and be happy and avoid dispensing personally-induced misery. Luckily, this derangedly quixotic individual met a girl who likes him enough to stick around:



    Sometimes those Glitter Twins wrote mighty fine lyrics:

    Well I never kept a dollar past sunset,
    It always burned a hole in my pants.
    Never made a school mama happy,
    Never blew a second chance.
    I need a love to keep me happy,
    I need a love to keep me happy.
    Baby, baby keep me happy.
    Baby, baby keep me happy.
    Always took candy from strangers,
    Didn’t wanna get me no trade.
    Never want to be like papa,
    Working for the boss ev’ry night and day.
    I need a love to keep me happy,
    I need a love, baby won’t ya keep me happy.
    Baby, won’t ya keep me happy.
    Baby, please keep me
    I need a love to keep me happy,
    I need a love to keep me happy.
    Baby, baby keep me happy.
    Baby, baby keep me happy.
    Never got a flash out of cocktails,
    When I got some flesh off the bone.
    Never got a lift out of Lear jets,
    When I can fly way back home.
    I need a love to keep me happy,
    I need a love to keep me happy.
    Baby, baby keep me happy.


    RE: today’s art – Leonardo da Vinci Saint John the Baptist 1513-16

    Just waiting for Saint John’s finger tip to glow red – he’s in with the right crowd, knows the “big guy” upstairs.

    Without the glow: “I’ll be right there.”
    With the glow: “I’ll be right here.”

    Most believable delivery of a movie line – by the character (Elliot in E.T.):

    “I’ll believe in you all my life, every day. E.T., I love you.”


    DBenton and Bosco, that was my favourite tussle of the year so far. Much LOVE much respect. So much I would like to contribute but this one-armed (non-dominant) typing thing is slooooow.

    Oroboros. Thank you so much for the Martin Name and Shame list.
    If a rat is eating all your beans at the end of the day we must trap it and deal with it. I think chuck Assange in the cell with them so they get a real good look.


    dustin moskovitz


    “Most believable delivery of a movie line – by the character (Elliot in E.T.):

    “I’ll believe in you all my life, every day. E.T., I love you.””

    I realy like that. It must’ve been wild being that kid making that movie.


    Lots and lots of wordy kayfabe in the comments section today. I wonder who benefits?

    Re: Kunstler: he runs the “the perps-will-be-brought-to-justice-any-day-now” bit so often- and so wrongly, so far- that it makes one wonder about various arrangements.


    “So much I would like to contribute but this one-armed (non-dominant) typing thing is slooooow.”

    I’ve been wondering about that thing. Glad you liked the fight. You should see us get mad. Now that’s hilarious. Imagine a fight between Barney Fife and the Cowardly Lion.


    The Boz says ok but he’s only doing it with the fez on. Safe sex still matters, right?

    Surreal Disco Parody Extraordinaire


    Rather like RF “jamming”.


    “Lots and lots of wordy kayfabe in the comments section today. I wonder who benefits?”

    I think that maybe you should look into taking paranoia meds, Bill7. I’m all for skepticism, and don’t mind you thinking I’m a TPTB shill. Makes the movie more interesting. But srsly, you are so far off it’s hilarious. DBS and I met here over a year ago and immediately fell in love, is all. I could supply a zillion email links that show that he and I are real civilians NOT in TPTB employ, but I still think you need to deal with that paranoiac edge. Just joking about the meds: they’re evil. But a good counselor might help.

    Always looking over your shoulder like that s likely to get you into an accident:

    Watch Out for Those Sandstone Buildings

    Not to mention that it’s a wee bit insulting at this point. More insulting to public perception of your intelligence than my ego, but for the record, it’s a pointless insulting alienating exercise in, basically, making an ass of yourself in the process.


    “Re: Kunstler: he runs the “the perps-will-be-brought-to-justice-any-day-now” bit so often- and so wrongly, so far- that it makes one wonder about various arrangements.”

    That’s my take too. I see it partly him catering to his audience’s desire for successful reform, but mostly catering to his own such desire. He seems unable to quit that dream. But I’ve never caught him lying in its support. Speaking of which, get back to us with your pointless kayfabe remarks after you have some basis other your tingling Spider sense of whatevs. Srsly. UNtil then you’re just making shit up. It just makes you look like a shit, and I don’t think that’s what you want: that’s deflationista’s job here.


    @Dr D I greatly appreciate your daily commentary, many thanks and keep up the good work.

    those darned kids

    Crimes against humanity.

    I did appreciate Martins video. More answers and yet more questions.


    Santa cntd

    “Xmas is crazy, isn’t it? No one knows where to find me, everyone’s doing my job for me… it’s wild. I tried out for the lead in Miracle On 47th Street. Said I didn’t look like Santa Claus.”

    “Yeah, you are a bit olive, and that nose is decidedly Mediterranean.”

    “Yeah, if Christ came back I’m sure he’d be rejected for the same reason.”

    “But you ARE real, and you can fly, right?”

    “Yes, with some help. I suppose I was the only human who experienced flight until they invented the aerial balloon.”

    “And you bring toys to kids on Xmas Eve.”

    “Yes. I do. Not many. Did I say every Xmas Eve? Not really. But 9 out of 10 for so many centuries isn’t bad. I rarely fly anymore since radar. Too many trigger happy sky pirates.”

    “And you’re 1,700 years old?””

    “A little over seventeen hundred years old. I really was that bishop in Asia Minor. Place called Myra. Threw money in windows at night. Bought a few donkeys and oxen for farmers down on their luck. Basic stuff.”

    “1,700 years.”

    “I’m quite the mystery, especially to me. Memory isn’t unlimited. There are women I remember loving like I never thought I could love a woman again… I can’t remember their names, mostly. I know how I became ‘Santa Claus’, sort of, I mean, enough to answer these kinds of questions, but…”

    He touched me on the shoulder. “Hey, I knew your Dad.”

    “You did?”

    “Yeah. I tended bar at his hangout back then. Sully’s. Western and 40th. He was dating your Mom. He’d just proposed to her.”


    Santa knew my Dad. Well, my stepdad. Only Dad I ever had. Santa had barroom stories to tell about him.

    It was maybe 6am and cold outside the bag. Near zero. Toasty inside.

    “He was getting the royal treatment from his buddies about getting hitched and all that. He’d promised her he’d stop drinking once they married, and he was soaking it up while he could. There was this one morning. Right after opening time. He came in. Seriously messed up.”

    “Morning? I know he drank a lot before Mom, but in the morning?”

    “Well, lots of folks start a Saturday off with a few drinks but he wasn’t drunk. Just a wreck. Your Dad was a fireman.”

    “I know.”

    “He’d just come off shift. He was… he was a fucking mess. He’d been to a house fire. Placed burned down to the ground. Family. One of the kids didn’t make it. Your Dad pulled him out.”

    “Yeah, I remember when stuff like that happened. He’d be pretty quiet for a week or so afterward.”

    “Yeah, well I knew that house. I’d made a run there. This was a week after Xmas, uh, ’62.”

    “Yeah. They got married in February ’63.”

    “OK. So I kept tabs on him. Followed him some. Pumped him at the end of the bar with some free drinks and got some details. Put that ‘copter in his car that next year.”

    “You’re a busy guy…”

    “I’m Santa Claus.”

    “Yeah.” I grinned. “That helicopter was the best. I ran it nonstop until it busted in — I doubt it lasted a week. We ran it all day. You could make it drop bombs.”

    “The best toys usually don’t last long, or they last forever. Until the kid’s grown up. Some of them go up in the attic and become memories. Still there but no longer toys. There’s something about a parent’s toy that kids don’t like. It’s like the taboo against incest, almost. They know it’s not theirs, that it never can be. It stays in the attic.”

    The wind blew hard of a sudden, startling aloft a newspaper condor. Eyes distracted by the paper’s flight, Santa suddenly smiled.

    “Want to learn how to fly?” he asked.

    “Whoa. Calm down. Like the divorced woman says in the movies, ‘I’m really vulnerable right now.’ I just might believe you can show me how to fly. Mr. Nicholas,” I said, reclaiming some of my moxie, “you’ve got the wrong myth. You’re an ancient miracle, not Peter Pan.”

    “Whatever. Want to learn how to fly?”

    I did. When I was five years old I got a nickel for allowance every Saturday. It would buy a balsa glider. When it raised to a dime, I bought two. When it became a quarter, I bought the rubber-band wind-up version. I never bought anything else until maybe 3rd grade.


    I wanted to fly more than I’d ever wanted anything — to pee after drinking 3 cups of coffee just before boarding a morning bus, to not be seen by the monster in the bedroom closet, to be able just once to explain to someone I loved exactly how and why I did, to understand why they loved me despite all the things I’ve done, or just plain stay sober…

    That toy helicopter was the single best Xmas present I’d ever received: it flew.

    “Yeah. I want to fly.”

    “You really believe I can teach you how to fly, don’t you?” he asked. His eyes were indescribable. Not scary but as compelling as an old dog whining to go out and pee.

    “Yes. I do. I believe. Next thing you’re going to pull out a dying fairy and ask me to clap. YES! I believe, dammit!”

    “OK, OK. Don’t get mad. Let’s go fly.”

    The ventilation grill in the bushes was a big thing, about 6′ by 6′, a square hole in the ground framed by cement raised up about 2′ and covered with thick, narrowly spaced iron bars. Surrounded by tall bushes. It aired the train yards underground; this section of old downtown Chicago was actually a big platform on stilts over the original mud flats where the Chicago River once drained into Lake Michigan before massive engineering detoured the flow of the river into the Des Plaines and Illinois rivers via man-made canals.

    Below us were train yards. Diesel air blew out of the vent fierce and fairly warm. A piece of newspaper held over it would shoot high into the air. We sat next to it in a break in the bushes, having exited The Bag.

    “First,” he said, “let’s make some coffee.” He pulled a big billy and a wee propane burner from some corner of his sack. He brewed a pot as we warmed our hands around the burner. I was disappointed that he didn’t use some kind of elfin fire. Dragon coals, maybe. We had to sit close around it with our coats spread out to keep the wind off the flames. I was wearing an ancient wool herringbone overcoat that used to belong to my old man. It had great big pockets almost like Santa’s coat.

    “You’re really going to teach me how to fly,” I marveled. “Is… this how your reindeer fly?”

    “They don’t fly, remember?”

    But you can fly?”

    “No.” He shook his head no, laughing. I’d never seen 1,700 year old laugh creases before. The coffeepot started sizzling. “Atse can fly, and Atse carries me in the bag sometimes.”

    “Atse must be big?”

    “Only when it wants to be. It can shrink to a pinpoint — which has saved us countless times from our folly.”

    “Is there a Mrs. Claus?”

    “There was.” He grinned, full and rich and sly. “I’m no saint, I mean, not a celibate one. Who do you think started that mistletoe jazz?”

    “You were an early Catholic bishop. Saint Nicholas. And then you…”

    “A guy’s got to start somewhere.”

    “And now you’re immortal?”

    “I’m still alive. I get a little older, a little younger. Depends a lot on how well I take care of myself and how much effort I make to be happy.”

    I savored the dumb feeling of genuine awe.

    “But… immortal?”

    “I was asked how long I could serve. Said as long as required. It wasn’t the sort of thing you took on lightly, but not the sort of thing you wanted to walk away from. Not and look yourself in the mirror. Here I am. How long we gonna need a Santa Claus?”

    “You mean, like, until Christ returns?”

    He did that Ho Ho Ho thing. Imagine Jim Carrey imitating Darth Vader doing the Mad Professor laugh. You feel happy whether you want to or not. It’s an order.

    “I got my opinions about Jesus, and they’re a long cry from the crap I sold as a bishop, before I became a saint. Me and Xmas didn’t start out together, just sort of fell in step over the centuries.”

    “A saint…”

    He pulled out mugs and poured coffee, handed me a cup.

    “Yes, Robin. A saint. They don’t call me Santa for nothing.”

    But he smiled. Pointed to the coffee.

    “It’s kinda nice to see some real magic for a change, eh?”

    Lord have mercy, yes. It was good coffee. In my state of mind, especially hungover, it was, briefly, everything. Coffee can be like that at 6am in the frigid cold of Xmas morning. I took in deep breaths of the extremely cold air, mouth around a hot mug steaming dark roast, ice melting from my beard.

    “Talk about larger than life. Coffee in the pre-dawn hours with Santa Claus. Am I supposed to remember this come tomorrow or have it fade like some fairy tale, with only a souvenir to remind me? A sleigh bell? A.. a toy?”

    “Huh. Funny thing. The longer I live, y’know, the larger than life I become, the smaller I feel.”

    He looked enormous. Gigantic.

    “Son, I’m just a tiny wee oaf in a big, dumb, red suit that I wear out of cussedness, I suppose. Or devotion. If I really am Santa Claus, and I am, I might as well dress the part, right? Although this is pretty close to what I’ve worn since, oh, 600 AD-ish?”

    “You don’t seem tiny or wee or oafish, Mr. Claus.

    “Friends call me Nick. Life is pretty dang immense. We’re all specks in comparison. A single child’s joy. You know, you never realize just how BIG life is until you’ve spent a millennium or two in it. You never realize how important you are until you stop doing whatever it is you are.”

    “You’re not quitting. Are you?”

    “No, no. Although this year’s been a tough go. But I have given it up in the past. Put it down. This old world gets so dark sometimes… in this century, for example, there was a year or three I put it down,” he said, pointing to his sack.

    “When was that?”

    ” ’43, ’44, ’45.”

    “Oh. The Holocaust.”

    “Holocausts,” he said. “Auschwitz, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Okinawa…” He warmed up my cup. “A guy who can ride a firebird can get around and see a bunch, and radar was still pretty primitive back then. I saw the first weeks at ground zero Nagasaki. But that wasn’t what put me off. Nagasaki was actually my renaissance, my return. I asked quite a few orphans what they wanted for Xmas that year. They all wanted their Mommies and Daddies. I hadn’t cried like that since the Children’s Crusade. It was really really hard not to kill people. But I’ve come to avoid that if at all possible. Well, I mostly did, but it used to be harder to help kids and not kill evil shitholes. Unfortunately, it became kind of a habit for awhile, and I had to break it. Fortunately, by then, a few centuries and the wisdom of Atse and I’m… like Obi Wan in that movie? Oh, I can’t use The Force, whatever that might be, but I can read situations and people so well it’s like I have Jedi mind powers.”

    “Like at the bar. When you laughed. I’ve never felt so much power in a person before.”

    “I’m kind of different, aren’t I?”

    It was silent and cold. Xmas morning, getting close to dawn. I heard a jet high in the stratosphere. Probably a freight plane full of last-minute Xmas presents. It flew west in the morning twilight, catching light from a sun still under the horizon, winked brilliant orange like a lost Xmas tree light finding its way home. The lonesome whistle of a freight plane: times have changed.

    My mug was empty and turning cold. I poured some more. It was a big pot of coffee that he’d made.

    “There was a time when you owned the skies. All to yourself.”

    “Yeah, but things change. Did you know the world needs you as much as it needs Santa Claus?”

    It was true what he said. The world doesn’t need 6-7 billion hungry mouths paving over prairies and bulldozing rain forests, but everyone has it in them to do well. I knew what he meant.

    ” ‘If it wasn’t for us, we wouldn’t be here.’ ” I was quoting my Uncle Gayle.

    Chuckles. Kind of like a grizzly bear breathing heavy over the telephone.

    “You know this world won’t last much longer the way we’re going.”

    I didn’t answer, just looked at him through fresh steam. It misted on my eyebrows, hot and cold at the same time.

    “You know you don’t always get what you ask for. But I try. When I ask a kid what it wants for Xmas – and I don’t promise more than I think I can deliver some sort of goods – I try my best. So I got a bunch of kids new parents those next couple of years. Actually, I do a lot of that. It’s more my real job. This Xmas stuff is just my hobby.”

    “I have this image of you sneaking kids up the chimney. Wrong, but still. You’re like the Anti-Stork.”

    A few Hos.

    “That’s funny. I like you, Robin. The years between WWI and WWII were crazy. No adoption papers half the time. Where there were papers, they were mostly forged.”

    He pulled a flask from his coat. I declined.

    “One great thing about being a damn near global legend is that no one really believes in you but no one dares deny your existence. Everyone wants to believe in you for reasons they really can’t describe, but they know it’s somehow very important. Another great thing is that when you pull up in a sleigh with four reindeer in train, dressed like, well, how I dress, and tell ’em here’s the child they said they wanted to help, they don’t ask too many questions. None of their friends would believe the truth anyway, or so they reckon, and they’re more right about that than they’re wrong but not so much as they think. Which is sort of sad.

    “I coached them on how to get through all that WWII bureaucratic confusion. Stare that ignorant bureaucrat in the eye and say, ‘I’m telling you the truth. What – do you think Santa Claus brought him to us?’ ”

    “Ho ho ho-ho-ho-ho.” It just came out of me. All hearty and merry. It’s in the diaphragm — of the soul. You can’t fake it but you can make it: I learned that much.

    There was a first glimmer of pre-dawn light, and I was feeling pretty good, numb toes and war horrors notwithstanding.

    “Uh, not to be… you know — what about this Xmas Eve? I’ve been with you the whole time. Any kids get their presents?”

    “Only one on the list this time, but I can’t say for sure. Sun’s not up yet. It ain’t Xmas till the kid wakes up and goes to the tree. This has been a really bad year for me. But I think I pulled one through. One is better than none. By a long shot.”

    We drank one last cup. My ears were frozen. I wanted a joint. The light in the east grew strong and the sky was a crystal bluebell ringing in the cold north wind.

    “Wanna fly?”

    “You’re serious.”

    “No. I’m Santa Claus. Sirius is a dog star. Like Trigger was a horse star. Sure, I’m serious. You spent Xmas Eve getting drunk with a guy dressed up like Santa Claus and now you want him to be SERIOUS?”

    I kept silent and pressed my stare. He pressed back with eyes that seemed able to become bigger than his head.

    “It’s almost Xmas, little boy. Sun’s up in half an hour. What do you want for Xmas?”

    The wind was really blowing now, turning hot coffee into shivering brown ice. You look into those eyes. Then you look into them some more.

    “Santa, I really want to fly. Please.”

    “Wel-l-l, let’s see what old Santa can do for you then.”

    He rummaged in his old bag and pulled out a balsa wood glider still unassembled in its cellophane wrap. Shook his head. Uh-uh. He reached in again, pulled out a pair of old aviation goggles, a white silk scarf, and a leather flight helmet, the kind that wraps around the chin like an old air mail pilot. I’d seen something like them in an old picture of my Mom and first Dad riding a motorcycle way back before I was born a couple of heart-breaks ago. He handed them to me.

    I put them on and my eyes stopped watering from the wind. The leather helmet stopped my ears from stinging from the cold, but I could hear them ringing like sleigh bells in my ear. I was prepared to go to the nearest bridge railing and dive into one hell of a leap of faith. Santa is some crazy shit.

    The last time I’d flown was when I was five years old, not yet in kindergarten. I’d jumped off the edge of the couch and went clear across the living room in a smooth glide and a carpet slide to a stop. No breath was knocked out of me, and it wasn’t until I was in high school that I truly abandoned my belief that I had, somehow, actually flown. It was a miraculous memory that lasted until the gravity of accumulated knowledge and reason finally pulled it down to earth, transforming the sheer uplift of ‘I flew!’ into the bailout of ‘no you didn’t’ but not without the gentle parachute of ‘and yet, I wonder…?’

    Here I was staring folly in the frostbit face, a grown man testing the original power of childish… we don’t know what that stuff is. We only know we miss it.


    “I could use a cape,” I said.

    “I know,” he replied, reaching into that immeasurable bag. It must have been parachute silk, but it was a brilliant bronze color. He unfurled it and the wind caressed its length — at least 6 feet — like a Persian pimp stroking a houri’s hair: ‘You like? You like?’

    It had ties at key points along the edges.

    “Take off your coat.”

    I did, half expecting him to rub some goo on my chest or slip a magic pendant around my neck.

    “Extra weight,” he said.

    We tied it at my hands and ankles. Rocky the Flying Squirrel.

    “It oughta fit. We worked on it enough.”

    He stepped onto the ventilation grill.

    “Launchpad,” he shouted, stomping the metal. His beard blew wild in the wind.

    I stood next to him.

    I’m not a shrimp but I am a thin-boned fellow of lean proportions. Being an alky for all those years had pretty much killed my fat cells. I barely pushed 150 pounds. Losing my overcoat lightened me up considerably.

    “Now hold ’em out. Like wings.”

    I did, and that strong ventilation blast puffed me up like a parachute.

    “Now jump.”

    Jump. Whoa… the blast pushed me up. I felt a bit of roller-coaster stomach. It fired me up.

    “Keep jumping.”

    Anyone nearby would have seen a middle-aged man in a gold cape popping above the bushes every other second.

    “Flap ’em, boy! Flap ’em!”

    I flapped.

    “In time with your jumps! Make ’em count!”

    I placed the down strokes on the uplifts. A little higher, a little higher.

    Santa licked his finger and held it into the wind, grinning like dentures under a black light. He looked really happy. That fired me up more than anything.

    “Now back up to this corner,” he said, pointing to the southwest part. “No, KEEP JUMPING!”

    We’ve all seen vintage B&W movie footage of those comical, Da Vinci-esque autogyro flying gizmos hopping madly into shambles, ornithopters chasing their tail feathers until they collapse, tri-wing birdplanes breaking in half like a karate chop. I was close to that point myself. The wind was really ripping.

    He got in front of me and started jumping with me. Tall as he was, I was looking down on him from the top of each hop with the ground spreading far and wide below…

    He pogoed out of my way, pointed a pistoning fist with a determined forefinger at the opposite, northeast, into-the-wind corner, and shouted, “Now run and flap and JUMP like you mean it, dammit! Straight over those bushes! First star on the east!”

    I headed straight on for dawn.

    Airplane pilots will tell you that flying is easy; landing is the tricky part. Maybe so, but in real flying, just you and the wind, the trick is not worrying about how you’ll land, and focusing on flying instead. Part of me wanted, soon as I cleared the bushes, to put landing gear down NOW and make the best of a bad tumble. But that is poor aerodynamics. It messes up your trim, disrupts your airfoil, makes for a sudden stall. I held true to streamline logic, arms wide but slightly delta, feet and forelegs raised slightly back from the knee, head facing the desired direction: up. Don’t look down.

    For a second I had a flash of myself in footie pajamas ages ago. Approaching landfall, the ground was suddenly in sight and I folded my wings, clutching an imaginary teddy bear to my chest. My landing gear.

    It was a smooth landing, although my testicles hurt for awhile. Someone was whooping and hollering. Looking around, I saw Santa’s head popping up and down over the bushes, his beard practically exploding in the wind.

    “You flewed! You flewed! I knewed you could do it!”

    I paced off the distance. My feet are a tad small for my size. I counted 39 toe-to-toes from where my head bonked dirt (hard, frozen, but covered with thick dead grass) and the northeast edge of the ventilation concrete, then I turned around and looked back at where I’d skidded to a halt.

    “This ground looks pretty flat to me. Totally,” Santa said.

    He put an arm around my shoulders. The grass lay tiger-striped in the first rays of dawn.

    “Stone level, son. Grass is flattened every which way, not all leaning in one direction. Rain seeps straight into the ground here, not runs downhill across it.”

    I flew over this stuff, I thought. It didn’t step aside for me so gravity would take longer to win. It was a fair fight. I lasted pretty long before the ground punched me down.

    “I flew,” I said. There was nothing else to say. “I flew.”

    “How do you feel?” he asked me, dropping his hand from my shoulder.

    How did I feel? Is God smug?

    “I feel like breakfast! Are you hungry?”

    Santa caved into himself slightly, then projected a monstrous, punctuated belch. I’d never heard a man ho ho ho stomach gas before.

    “Can you fart ‘Jingle Bells’, Santa?”

    He thought about it, said, “Give me some green eggs and ham and I’ll give it a try.”

    He grabbed his sack and we walked. Today was the one day when his natural guise was the perfect disguise. There’s an eatery next door to Jabba’s Hut. A real cafeteria. You grab your tray, walk the line, point to food you want ladled onto your plate, pay the lady. Mostly old folks here, which is probably why it was open Xmas morning. Everything was great but the coffee.

    He raised his mug. “Merry Xmas, son.”

    “Merry Xmas to you too, Santa.”

    “So now you can fly. Welcome to Neverland. I won’t grow up. Haven’t for 1,700 years. Let’s go fight some pirates.”

    “So: you live at the North Pole?”

    “No, but sorta kinda. I’m commonly stationed up in the general taiga area, but the Andes also make a pretty good retreat. Once upon a time Tibet was the place. Since LANSAT, we move s-l-o-w and CAREFUL.”


    “Atse and I. Remember?”

    “Can I meet Atse?”

    “No-no-no-no-no. You might die. Plus, we’re far away from Atse right now. A few thousand miles as the crow flies.”

    “And you have to support yourself like anyone else, right?”

    “Yeah, more or less. Having the world’s most flexible flying purple felt hyperspace makes for an enormous range of opportunities to make a buck but a fella’s got to work. Even if he doesn’t necessarily need the money. Work’s the mixer. Work is life just as much as joy and sex and sadness and sunrise.”

    It seemed slightly irreverent to ask Santa if he’d ever hauled commercial bulk marijuana in his sleigh, but I did. Just to hear him laugh.

    “Sure. Lots of times.”

    “What kind of work do you do? Hey, imagine a guy asking Santa, ‘What do you do for a living?’ ”

    “Imagine that. Some Santa work of course. Doing the department store Santa gig is always good for the soul even with the commercial creep-out. Thank goodness Xmas comes only once a year. Don’t want to beat a dead gift horse. And I tend a lot of bar. Bars are, imo, the holiest establishments on earth besides an honest orphanage.”


    “A lot of creeps out there. You know.”

    An old, obviously addle-pated man sat across from us, stirring his coffee, giggling at, apparently, nothing. Outside, a wino was beathing the shit out of a wire mesh garbage can. Xmas morning in downtown Chicago.

    “My main gig has always been running pawn shops. Being, eh, ‘immortal’ creates certain problems. Easiest thing for a guy who doesn’t grow old, well, older, y’know, is to pick up stakes and open a pawn shop in another town. No one questions where a pawnshop comes from, nor its proprietor, except the same old tax and license bureaucrats. The best way to stay hidden is to fill out ALL the forms but not stay in one place too long. Haven’t done it for awhile now, but I’ve been tending bar some. I’m looking for this place called Callahan’s, supposed to be out on Long Island somewhere, but who really knows? Ever hear of it? I wanna work there.”

    “You mean… ‘CALLAHAN’S’? Like the one in the stories?”

    “Exactly. The one in the stories.”

    “…. Uh… I don’t mean to tell you what you already know, but it’s make-believe, right? You know. Some guy named Spider Robinson made it up, wrote stories about it…”

    “I know. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, does it? Clement Moore didn’t make me less real even though he got the reindeers’ names wrong. Any suggestions? Ever been anyplace even remotely like it? You ever READ one of those stories?”

    He looked at me intently, like he was serious about finding Callahan’s. A myth hunting a myth. Talking to Santa Claus and nursing a hangover over biscuits’n’gravy and weak coffee requires all the suspension of disbelief a person can squeeze. There’s no room to pull the other one; both legs are already stretched like stilts just to stand up to the Big Guy.

    “Yeah, I read ’em. That’s how I know about ’em. Nick: they’re not REAL. I’ve read interviews with Spider Robinson describing how he came up with the idea for the whole ‘stories in a barroom’ shtick.”

    I was finding it hard to look him in the eye.

    “Yeah, well, I know a little, and I’ve got my hunches. Part of sharing minds with a firebird is that you develop a keen nose for good, evil, and magic. I smell magic. I’m a hope junkie, and I’m telling you, man, where there’s hope, there’s holy fire.” Him calling me man, not son, made me squirm. “I may not find that place until after it burns down, but I’m gonna look for it.”

    My shoulders drooped.

    “You’re serious, aren’t you?”

    “Course I’m serious. I’m deadly earnest. I’m going to find Callahan’s Bar. I TOLD you, boy: we’re not alone.”

    He looked at me curiously, said, “Don’t take it too seriously, boy. Don’t take me too seriously either. But most of all,” and here his eyes did that hugeness thing again, “don’t take any of this too seriously except your friggin conscience, cuz it’s all you have.”

    Santa Claus is looking for Callahan’s Bar, a fictional bar run by a guy on a mission to save the world from doomsday. Often with the help of extraterrestrial beings and such. Santa really believes it exists. That is, he believes it will exist when he finds it. 1,700 years can make anyone pretty dodgy upstairs. Or someone pretty dodgy upstairs can make you believe they’re 1,700 years old? Miracles fade like everything else. Entropy is incessant. The food was finished, the buzz was fading, and magic was leaving out the door like a customer paying with a bad check.

    “You lied to me. I didn’t really fly.”

    “You didn’t?” He not only looked hurt, but genuinely puzzled.

    “OK. For a moment I did. And I thank you from the bottom of my. But… you had me going there, going for… wow. You really are something… Santa.”

    He just looked at me. He who speaks first, loses. Santa didn’t speak. He leaned sideways and farted.

    I couldn’t let go that easily. I clung to hope:

    “But… how did you know about the helicopter?”

    “I know things.”

    “It could have been a lucky guess. But… that helicopter was my favorite toy. I remember it above all others.”

    Santa looked tired. We both needed a nap. I needed… no, I didn’t need an answer. Not now. I was too exhausted. I sat and looked at an old man in a dirty red suit. Thick earnest wool with real fur trimming, a serious leather belt, and weird greasy suede boots.

    Where did this old lunatic come from? A good amount of booze and whatnot had clouded my judgment, not to mention the amazing power of Xmas mythology, but there was an undeniable stamp of genius in this old con artist or former patient at a mental institution. How did he do what he’d done? He’d had all Jabba’s Hut going, and that’s a tough crowd.

    I sat and looked at him, gazing frankly at him like a child looks at their Dad while he’s busy. He wasn’t looking at me but neither was he avoiding my stare. He was looking off into space… or time? I still half-believed he was the real thing, a 1,700 year old wandering saint.

    “Are you psychic?” I asked him. Another dumb question, but at least creatively dumb. A broken man needs a shelter from the storm.

    His grin returned with that sly gleam in his eyes. Twinkling and merry. But he still looked tired.

    “Psychic? No. Don’t read minds, although I’m a pretty good judge of character. What — thinking I read your mind about the helicopter?” he asked incredulously.

    “Well, yeah.” I asked, challengingly: “How old was I?”

    “Oh jeez, boy. I remember a lot of things. I forget a lot of things. How old were you?”

    I wasn’t sure. Definitely 3rd grade or less.

    “You got me there, old man. I don’t know for sure.”

    “Likewise. Xmas ’63. Do the math, son. Next question.”

    “Do YOU believe in Santa Claus?”

    At last I’d asked a smart question.

    “Most of the time. I have recurring identity crises, truth be told. But if you’re asking me if I’m Santa Claus, I already told you, sport. I’m Saint Nicholas. Santa Claus. No brag, just fact. Don’t ask me again. End of story.”

    “I thought you were going to tell me your life story?”

    I knew I’d fucked up.

    “Yes, whether you like it or not, little mister coal in the stocking of his heart. I oughta spank you.”

    “I’m sorry Santa.”


    “Mr. Nick.” I just couldn’t call him by his name alone.
    To be continued


    Major mea culpa:

    “Speaking of which, get back to us with your pointless kayfabe remarks after you have some basis other your tingling Spider sense of whatevs. Srsly. UNtil then you’re just making shit up. It just makes you look like a shit, and I don’t think that’s what you want: that’s deflationista’s job here.”

    I forgot to address that remark at Bill7. Not about you at all, Dimitri. Sorry about that.


    bosco, given that you can be both benevolent and mischievous I kind thought you may be punking Dr, John and DB going in on the

    Nanotubes assemble! Scientists introduce ‘Teslaphoresis’

    Using force (frequency) to arrange matter is neato. Wasn’t sure how to make the quantum leap. No matter, the Martin video was convincing.


    My eyes are shot for the day. Looks like I was responding to the right person after all. G’nite.


    That you weren’t being mischievous.


    “bosco, given that you can be both benevolent and mischievous I kind thought you may be punking Dr, John and DB going in on the”

    I am mischievous and can often send mixed messages simply because I like nuance and depth and sometimes rush their verbal integration, especially since I’m a whore for a punchline or a paradox, but the only way to understand me is to take me as a man who fiercely speaks honestly and naught else to the best of his ability.

    The best way to hide the truth is place it atop a hill, focus searchlights on it, and use the local air raid speakers to tell everyone that the truth is atop the hill. They’ll be so busy looking for the lies they’re sure are involved that they’ll look anywhere but that hilltop.

    That said, this is why I believe it is necessary to spice one’s truth with a wee bit of bullshit — nothing that alters the essential meaning, but the smell of bullshit leads people to dig on that hilltop, and sometimes even notice this truth thing set there.

    Think of me as an autist who just can’t stand the internal cognitive dissonance of lying. I gave it up ages ago. I l love telling the truth: I love telling stories but, just as I love both magical AND rational thinking, I know they must be kept separate in one’s mind.

    Anyway. g’nite.


    TDK: “ a literal prisoner. i can’t get on a plane, train or boat. to enter the u.s. by car or by foot is not allowed.”

    Regarding the US border wall…I have always not supported the walls, always because what is used to keep people out can just as easily be used to keep people in. (This is not to say that I agree with completely permeable borders — letting all in at the southern border is not functional.)


    What is it a computer can’t do?
    Computers could- in a very advanced state- murmer like starlings, but they couldn’t do what starlings can do: leave the ragged, blurry edge that allows other starlings to enter the pattern. The blurry edge is grace.
    The solidarity of the “vaccinated” indicates how good modelers are at modeling murmering, but the resistance is showing their inability to create the blurry edge of acceptance. The blurry edge belongs to the resistance.
    Herein lies the fault of AI; of modeling. It has no grace: both meanings
    The connective mind- meshed with physicality- is what computers can’t do.
    There has been a long-term techno-bias towards those who are logical- who can think like machines. Computers can’t do the really hard stuff: dancing to different songs with different partners….

    Grace (gracious/grateful/graceful) is the basis of my spirituality, such as it is.
    I am valuable enough to give you something. You are valuable enough to give me something I accept, graciously.
    Sorry this is a bit spotty right now.

    those darned kids
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