I Wuv You!

See the source imageValentine’s card for millennials.

Oh really!

This from a forum called “Psycho News,” or as I like to refer it to: “News From the Dark Cornices of Our Minds:”

“This shouldn’t be a huge surprise. Being objective and impartial is darn near impossible for journalists and all citizens when our cognitive hard-wiring is oriented towards supporting our social group identities when we see and interpret information in the political world.”

Why do journalists report highlight economic news that makes Democrats and Liberals look good while downplaying economic news that makes Republicans and Conservatives look good? Merkley suggests that confirmation bias plays an important part. That means, for the uninitiated, that people tend to select out facts that confirm their beliefs while ignoring facts that tend to disprove them. And he is correct to add that anyone who belongs to a group that thinks a certain way will tend to think the same way… the better to maintain his standing in the group….Group Think…by Irving Janis or down the slippery slope to a 1984 world! Like this:

To think this movie was made in 1927.  Mind blowing!

Democrat newbie, Occasionally Cortez’s mantra? “Don’t bore me with the facts or details. I have the moral high ground so I must be right.”

So why elect Trudeau for Prime Minister? “Well he has such dreamy hair.” one woman responded. Confirmation bias. Nooooooooo!

I remember my “Confirmation” at church. It went something like this:

See the source imageCatholics would get this!

Are woman any different from men? Intellectually, perhaps not, probably superior. But physically? Absolutely not and “viva la difference.” I mean have you ever seen a woman throw a baseball?

See the source image“It’s all in the wrist don’t you know.”                             But then again:

See the source image“It is all in the wrist don’t you know.”

“Everyone and I mean everybody is just a short internal whisper or internal voice away from becoming a psycho.”

“You talking to me?” as I look at myself in the mirror.

See the source image

Why are men intellectually inferior to woman? Well…may be this will help explain the difference:


Progressives aim to destroy our way of life. From “Psycho News” comes this:

“The sexual-harassment policy at the University of New Orleans is so broad that it may effectively ban students from sending each other valentines.”….Geesh

“Are you, yes you, are you talking to me? Well are you? Yo….you?

See the source imageYo baby!

Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes: “Journey to the Centre of Your Mind”

“Psycho-delic man!” Ted Nugent, the lead guitarist in this song and alt right musical icon conservative, always has to be the centre of attention.

Have a great Valentine’s day……………………………Dot!

And to everyone…a good night!

See the source image

And for a very special person out there:



Big Maxx

…Big Maxx’s uncoordinated approach to this game was something to see and experience. Maxx could not and would not stand appropriately in front of and to the side of the square. He would stand off to one side of course and slightly angled off to the left of the square so the pitcher could see his target but held his back against the backstop itself.  Somewhat like a rat caught in a corner with no avenue of escape.  And when the pitcher began his rotation, his motion toward the white chalked square, Maxx would begin to crouch, his whole body as tight as a tight spring and so tightly focused like a panther waiting to launch.  His eyes seemed to be on fire with facial features that were designed only for intimidation.  And if looks could kill, Big Maxx’s sneer could annihilate.

Maxx would position his body so as to present himself with a full frontal aspect to the pitcher. He held the bat in front of his mass, vertically; with just a slight back and forth motion, toward the pitcher.  Not your typical practice swing mind you but a slight to and fro rhythm.  As if to say to the pitcher: “okay asshole, give me all ya got. – if you dare”.  Without having to say a single word Maxx’s physical presence spoke volumes and to a young lad, a young pitcher like me, spelled B-U-L-L-Y.  It was bully-ish like behaviour for sure. Perhaps this was the reputation that Maxx inadvertently, but unintentionally, presented to the world around him.

And when the pitcher finally found the nerve, wound up and fired that ball from about 45 feet way, Maxx in anticipation would turn, and run with the bat still vertical at what seemed like a gallop, toward the ball’s trajectory, but to an invisible spot that only he could fathom in his mind’s eye then swing that bat as bloody hard as he could muster with all of his massive might in a frame that convulsed in such physical rapture and tumultuousness.  The entire evolution was not unlike “Happy Gilmore’s” golf swing.  Most times Maxx missed and fell on his ass but when he connected, look out, that ball was gone or destroyed.  Indeed, I think one of his batted balls is still up there in orbit somewhere. 

We normally played for 2-3 hours then quit. Hot, thirsty, ready to cool off. Then of course came the requisite juvenile male banter:

“So, whatdaya want to do now? Oh, I dunno. Whatta you wanna do? I dunno whatta you wanna do? Oh, I dunno, whatta you wanna do” or something similarly profound, and on and on it went.

Good friends, good cheer and awfully good conversation among us.  You know, judging from Maxx’s and our own literary skills, his physical strength, his hand / eye coordination, his and our conversation skills and diction, boys really are different than girls.

Maxx and I hung out quite a bit for awhile. He was always good natured to me even with his brusque approach to life in general. 

“John”, he would say, “You are my best friend. Hope to all of good hope that we stay good friends, always.”

“Sure Maxx” I reassured him.

In those days all of your friends were your best friends at any given time or another.  You always had a best friend hanging around.  We had some good laughs me and Maxx. In later years I loved to go over to his house Saturday nights, especially during those cold winter months, for his dad had a secret stash of booze in his basement.  Secret, only to his dad of course, for we knew where it was.   

Maxx’s basement was great. His was one of the few finished basement that I knew of in those days.  Only rich people had finished basements, with a wet bar, with a TV room, with a pool table, with a toilet, in the basement for heaven sakes. That was so cool. O’Grunts had a finished basement as well but for good reason. They had eight kids – 7 boys and one girl, plus Mom and Dad.  All living under one roof.  In Maxx’s house there were only four: Mom, Dad, Maxx and his sister.

Do the math. A small post war bungalow, 3 bedrooms and one toilet, small kitchen, even smaller living room and a tiny dining room, with a piano thrown in for Chopin’s sake.  In addition to the normal 3 bedrooms on the main level, Sean’s house also had a bed in the laundry room, a bed in the play room, bunk beds in the furnace room, double bed in the back basement room, another bed in the cold storage room and one bed in the garage. It was great! But, I don’t know how they managed given that the kitchen didn’t have stainless steel appliances.  Mornings must have been chaos.

So Maxx and I would play pool and suck back on a couple of shots. No more. Too dangerous. We didn’t quite smoke yet but the smell would have been a cruel giveaway. Maxx always won. He was damn good at pool. Maxx could also be somewhat philosophical:

“Hey John, do you think I’m stupid?”

Where the hell did this come from?

“Nope, yellow in the corner.”

“Do the other guys at school think I’m dumb?”

“The ones that are still breathin?” I joked “Nope” I continued  “And if they did I doubt that they would ever say it to your face.”

“So, they do then?”

“Nooo, no,” I lied “Sure you have some quirks Maxx. But your English compositions are great.  Everyone cracks up.” and that was the truth.

“I know, but sometimes I just can’t seem to understand what’s going on. What I see and think sometimes comes out as what I think then see. You know what I mean? Things seem to be bass ackwards.  My dad says I should go to Trade School but I don’t want to go.  I have nightmares just thinking about it.  I’d miss my friends too much. I’d miss guys like you and O’Grunts” 

Damn Nuns I thought.

“Don’t worry Maxx, everything will be fine.” Now let’s play pool.

He never brought that up again, at least to me.  Yeah, Big Maxx was somewhat of a lout. He had his problems but was a good guy. I liked him a lot.  Nevertheless we drifted apart after a few years primarily because of his tendency to repeatedly repeat grades. Then one day, I noticed that he wasn’t around at school anymore. And after about a week of looking out for him I finally worked up the courage and asked Ms McFayden – our resident chain smoker – if she knew where Paul was.  Courage, because deep down inside I kinda sensed that I knew his fate but I was afraid to hear the obvious.

“Paul’s gone to Trade School!” she announced.

“Damn.” I cried. 

No, Maxx was no bully.  The real bullies at that school were the Nuns and the Priests.

I lost track of Big Maxx after that. I did run into him years later though.  He was indeed dyslexic and once that condition became clear to him he excelled, scholastically and practically.  On completion of trade school he took an apprenticeship in plumbing. In five years he became a journeyman and did exceedingly well. He went back to night school, earned an undergraduate degree in business then opened his own plumbing business.  He then went on the get an MBA and is beginning to expand his business into a franchise based organization.  All is well with Big Maxx except, as he told me, he still cannot write a flowery English composition…

Home Run Derby

…Speaking of bullies, we had our fair share. Then again, in those days, being a bully or finding oneself at the receiving end of bully behaviour was a fact of life and par for the course.  One just had to get used to it.  Big Maxx was seen to be a bully. But once you got to know him better you, as I did, would realize that his bullishness was a front for a very innocent, simple minded lad. He was big for his age. a six foot, two hundred pound ten year old. I kid you not. He had a deep, throaty, husky voice: a grown man’s voice. Perhaps Big Maxx was, in essence, well ahead of his time and reached puberty at age 5. And his brain hadn’t caught up.  Perhaps Big Maxx knew full well that his true nature would probably find himself at the receiving end of ridicule.  Perhaps Big Maxx was a lot smarter than we realized. Perhaps he was into needlepoint, or crochet. Who knew? Yes, he did have a very difficult time writing those floral sickening English compositions that our English teacher foisted upon us from time to time.  Memorable themes such as: “The Best Sunset You Ever Experienced Last Summer.”  As in describe it!

The girls in our class thrived on this stuff. Maxx? His composition would be aptly titled: The Best-est Sunset I Never Experienced – Ever! And while “Fig” Newton, the tall blond Amazon of a 10 year old girl, who sat the back of the room by the window, would receive accolades from the teacher for her heavenly, descriptive, but eye rolling, lyrical prose, Big Maxx was receiving gut wrenching guffaws. Yikes! Looking back at that I am sure Big Maxx’s stature was such that the electrodes and electrolytes in his 10 year old brainbox had somewhat of a difficult time in the formulation of a thought, a word, or a sentence then transmitting said thoughts into words, sentences, paragraphs that made any sense at all except for him for it was a long way down from his brain to his fingers. Yes, the fingers that ultimately controlled the stylus: that ultimately transcribed his thoughts, his words, his sentences, his paragraphs onto paper.  But he did get a lot of laughs from us: flora for fauna or fauna for flora; paucity for plethora or plethora for paucity, Romulus for Remus, Remus for Romulus and so on and so forth, and forth so and on so.  Perhaps Big Maxx was dyslexic.  

Yes, we would have a good laugh at Big Maxx’s expense, collectively of course, for there was safety in numbers.  For no one, and I mean no one, would ever think of making fun of Big Maxx to his face.  Then again it may be that Big Maxx was a great deal smarter than most of us in that class. More subtle perhaps, stealth-like, in his own personal objection of having to write such poetic drivel. Yes perhaps Maxx, rather than provoke the teacher’s wrath in refusing to cow tow to a ridiculous assignment, he did what he knew best.  Write the God damn composition, but in his own style to appease the teacher into believing or thinking just how dumb he was – or not.

Yet he was such a good sport and a good friend to me: very strong and very athletic in a clumsy, disjointed kind of way.  We used to play home run derby in the park that backed onto his backyard on those hot dusty summer afternoons in the early sixties – some of the hottest afternoons on record I believe.  Hot and humid, hot and sweaty, hot and stinking hot, but we didn’t care. How hot was it?  It was so hot that you could read the front page of the newspaper from the ink transferred on to your forearm after carrying it over your arm for a few minutes.  Even today, during those hot, muggy days of August, a month that my wife dreaded, I thrived on.  Perhaps those days reminded me of my youth, and those seemingly endless days of summer fun playing games such as home run derby on a hot summer’s afternoon.

To play this game, all one needed was a bat, a rubber ball, some chalk, and three players. Oh and a concrete or a brick wall as a backstop.  One player at bat, one player pitching and another player in the field was all it took. Usually me, Big Maxx and O’Grunts, as his house also backed on to the park.  My house was about a half mile down the road.  But no matter as I lived in that park from dawn to dusk or until the street lights began to flicker.  Jimmy-mum never came to play with us as he preferred to look at, read up on, and study muscle cars.  He did not have an athletic bone in his entire body.

The backdrop for our game came courtesy of the Protestant school, which also ran adjacent to the park, but on opposite sides from the houses.  It was straight to hell for all of us.  Those damn pesky black spots. We didn’t care. After all, what was for? Without us those darn black and whites would be out of their ecclesiastical type of jobs. Like the good Catholics that we were we had to keep those priests and nuns employed after all was said and done.  Otherwise, they might have to get a real job. And, I must confess, which I did every week, we did an excellent job of it.

With the chalk, a 2 foot square was etched out on the brick or concrete backstop. That was the strike zone, which was situated about knee to chest high of the average 10 year old.  The batter had to have some trust in the pitcher if told that the pitch was a strike per se. And three strikes yer out. No walks allowed. That would have been difficult to process with just three players. Then rotate: pitcher to bat, batter to the outfield, outfielder to pitcher, and so on and forth so.  You get the pitcher.  Strike out or hit the ball and if you did it had to be in the air because where the ball landed determined a single, a double, a triple or a home run.  Grounders didn’t count, hence the name of the game.  But only home runs counted for points…

Angelic Rocket

…Then there was Jim Reynolds: a tall athletic young man who was very fond of Our Lady of Peace. I say this as he repeatedly repeated the higher grades of the Catholic elementary system, grades six through eight, a plethora of times.  In grade seven, when I first ran into him, I do believe he was sixteen.  He must have been for he smoked and drove a 56 Ford to school. That was cool: to park his beater with the grownups, the teachers, in the school parking lot.  We knew he was a smoker for he always rolled his cigarettes up tight in his short sleeved white tee during the warmer spring weather. Buckingham’s, non filters, seem to come to mind as the cigarette of choice for all young punks at the time. Of course no one seemed to care or to matter in those unregulated second hand smoke days at our school.

A smallish baseball diamond was situated in one of the back corners of our school yard. During the late winter, early spring months, when the last vestiges of snow had all but disappeared and the ground was suddenly covered with trash and rock hard dog shit, we would pull out our bats and balls and set up a game. Teams were not a problem for we played “an up or out” rotational system of play. Somewhat like the Navy’s promotional and downsizing scheme, but I digress. One could remain at bat so long as one did not strike, fly or be thrown out.  You had to be a good hitter to remain at bat. Once you were thrown out or struck out you were in the field and would remain out there until another batter suffered the same fate. Then rotate positions. The only exception to all of this was that if someone caught the ball in the air they would immediately go to bat and the batter would take their place.  

Jim Reynolds may not have been too smart but he was tough. Street tough. And could he ever hit a softball. When Jim came to bat it was pure delight.  He could hit, man he could hit: towering, out of sight fly balls that seemed to go on forever.  No one could match his skill or catch his fly balls.  If you were on base ahead of Jim you were safe by default as a home run was coming in very short order.  I always tried to be on base just before he came up to bat.  

He was a sight to behold.  Standing there full of confidence, a smirk or smear on his face, his lips sometime adorned with a smoke out of the corner of his mouth.  Of course he had to do this by stealth such that he wasn’t noticed by any of the lay teachers. Not the black and whites mind you for they refused to come out during recess, lunch time, before or after school.  I think that this was the only time they could catch a few puffs of their own without being seen by the prying eyes of us turds – as they sometimes called us.  They were probably at prayer but I doubt it.

So here was Jim. His whole frame permeated confidence, self assuredness with an air of arrogance: shuffling his feet like a rabid dog marking his territory after a good piss. The pitcher, watching him suspiciously as he readied his throw, knowing full well what the outcome was going to be and everyone else for that matter.  Yet Jim, for all his size, and swagger and confidence was not a bully: a show-off perhaps but no bully. We all appreciated that.  For he could have easily kicked the living shit out of any one of us if he so pleased for he looked the part.  He was the “James Dean” of Our Lady of Peace. Slicked back brill ” a little dab will do ya” creamed hair, with a trace of growth above the upper lip, muscles bulging beneath his body shaped white tee.  Blue jeans of course, with the bottom cuffs turned up about 2 inches, showing his bright white socks, as was the style in those days.  He was cool, he knew it, and we all marvelled at that, but in a good way. All of us thought that above all else when we reached the age of sixteen that we would all look as cool as Jim but with hope upon hope to be in a higher grade perhaps.

The ball is ultimately pitched by the pitcher.  It comes his way, straight across the plate. As if on cue Jim swings the bat with somewhat of a floral motion, picture perfect, as if in animation, stepping into the ball with his arms outstretched, his elbows locked, with his eyes focused entirely on the seams of the ball as it comes into his sights. “Whack,” ball upon bat, in the sweet spot, Jim’s cheeks and belly wobble like hard jelly as if his whole body’s energy force is transmitted down that bat and into the ball itself.  The pregnant pause as Jim looks up to the heavens, arms outstretched as if giving lordly thanks and praise, dropping the bat to begin his cool saunter toward first base.  He doesn’t have to run hard for he knows, yes he knows, that that ball is gone.  Like God’s angelic rocket, or a holy ghost of a hit, it soars to the heavens above Our Lady of Peace’s schoolyard.  And we, with our innocence and heavenly gaze, are entirely awestruck and enthralled at the power and the sheer majesty of it all as the ball rises up and into the blue cloudless sky.  A pure white stitched canvass ball set against the backdrop of an apostolic blue, like Christ’s resurrection, rising then arcing its way across the heavens then down and out and through a second floor window of our school.


It was like this all the time. The nuns tried their best to curtail Jim’s prowess. Perhaps that’s why they were praying during recess, but to no avail. They would have loved to expel him but his parents were church stalwarts and sat in the front pew at the 1015 high mass. They were quite rich, quite influential and quite demanding. I am told that his mother was the civilian equivalent to Sister Mary Bernice. I would have loved to have seen that.  It wasn’t long though before Jim did leave us. Trade school we were told. Trade school! That prison and so called parallel universe of Catholic elementary school life. Trade School! Failure in the eyes of the church. Trade School! We all shuddered at the thought. Trade School! Say your prayers every night. If you don’t you might just find yourself at Trade School.  Of course, the female equivalent was Secretarial School, or worse, in later years, Home Economics, code for getting yourself knocked up!  The rest of us, if we were good, worked hard, and said our prayers every night, would be blessed in more ways than one could possibly imagine at the time at the local Catholic private high school for boys. Generalists! Arts and Science! If we graduated from the local Catholic high school for boys we could aspire to be “Jacks of all Trades,” “Masters of Fuck-all” And for all of my efforts I became a real “Jack Tar”, although I wanted to be a proctologist.  Somewhat like a plumber.   Perhaps Trade School would have been a good fit for me after all.

I missed Jim after he left. When he was with us he sat in the back of our class. I can still see him sitting there in the tiny desk, his legs sprawled out, arms folded across his chest, with his Elvis like sneer snickering at no one in particular.  He always had a cig ready to go behind his left ear. He was so cool, and quite funny. Like a class clown.  Indeed he intimidated the teacher and swore like a trooper but he was very, very friendly to us.

Jim did leave a legacy of sorts. All the windows of our school that were facing the schoolyard were fitted out with metal screens. Even today, some fifty years later, those same screens adorn the windows at Our Lady of Peace School.  Someone, not completely in the know, might surmise that vandals, petty criminal activity perhaps, presented a causal relationship to those metal screens.  They would be wrong of course for  whenever I look at the school today with their relative protective screened window coverings – for I knew the truth – I would nostalgically think of Jim and his baseball prowess…