She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink

So while I remain “blissfully single,” this definitely struck a chord. Very well written. I relate, on so many levels.

Must Be This Tall To Ride

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It seems so unreasonable when you put it that way: My wife left me because sometimes I leave dishes by the sink.

It makes her seem ridiculous; and makes me seem like a victim of unfair expectations.

We like to point fingers at other things to explain why something went wrong, like when Biff Tannen crashed George McFly’s car and spilled beer on his clothes, but it was all George’s fault for not telling him the car had a blind spot.

This bad thing happened because of this, that, and the other thing. Not because of anything I did!

Sometimes I leave used drinking glasses by the kitchen sink, just inches away from the dishwasher.

It isn’t a big deal to me now. It wasn’t a big deal to me when I was married. But it WAS a big deal to her.

Every time she’d walk into the kitchen…

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There is No Justice For Tamir

  This is from a Facebook post of mine, earlier today: “This injustice has changed me, radicalized me, and infuriated me deep down into my soul.

This is our America, but today, it doesn’t really feel like it.” The previous quote is from: Tamir Rice / Emmett Till

My heart is hurting so badly that even today, I find tears running down my face, for no other reason than the fact that there is no justice for this child. There is NO JUSTICE FOR THIS CHILD. I say again, child. Not even a teenager. Racism hurts us all, the oppressor, as well as the oppressed. I cannot sit by and say nothing, because to do so, by tacit agreement, is to take the side of the oppressor. Let me also state, clearly, and emphatically, that anyone who believes Tamir would have suffered the same end if he was white is either a) lying to themselves, or b) blind and ignorant in the worst possible way. We, being members of the privileged class (whites), are brought up to have faith in our justice system in this country. How, I ask you, can anyone, regardless what the color of their skin, have faith in a system that is inherently racist; a system where the deck is always stacked? I wonder, will we, as a nation, ever heal? Will we ever exemplify the words in our Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness? Where is Tamir’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness? 
I’m finding it very difficult to find good in the world today. I can only try to imagine how Tamir’s family and loved ones must feel. 💔

Please consider signing this petition, asking for Justice for Tamir: Move-on petition

Texans Will Make A Big Decision On January 1st. Do They Want A Burrito Or A Gun?


Ever since the Supreme Court ruled that the 2nd Amendment gave Americans the Constitutional right to keep a loaded, unlocked handgun in their homes to use for self-defense, the pro-gun nation has been trying to push the notion of armed, self-defense beyond the home and into the street.  This strategy has taken two paths; on the one hand promoting concealed-carry licensing, on the other, bringing weapons into gun-free zones.  There’s nothing but anecdotal evidence supporting the idea that a gun can protect its owner from crime, but there’s plenty of serious research which shows the opposite to be true.

open               The latest effort to widen the scope of armed defense is about to be unveiled in Texas with the law allowing open carry to take effect on January 1st.  This law was the brainchild of a former Army Master Sergeant, C.J. Grisham, who parlayed an argument with…

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There’s A Petition Out There You Really Should Sign.


There’s a new petition in town that deserves your support.  It’s a project of the group called Doctors For America, whose founders back in 2008 included a guy named Vivek Murthy whom you might remember had some initial difficulties becoming Surgeon General because of another guy named Rand Paul. I’m playing a little tongue-in-cheek here because I can’t remember another politician who made as much of a jerk out of himself as Rand Paul did by temporarily blocking Murthy’s nomination because Murthy didn’t appreciate the virtues and benefits of guns.  After all, as a physician, why should Murthy or anyone else be concerned about 100,000 gun injuries and deaths every year? Oh hell, messed it up again; we know that it’s people who kill people, right?  When they use a gun to kill someone else it must have been to stop a crime.

cdc                Anyway, to return to…

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Hateful Sculpture in Milwaukee Needs to be Scrapped

Wow, how disgusting.

Matt Sweetwood

Hateful Sculpture in Milwaukee (Shorewood) Wisconsin Needs to be Scrapped

I flew to Milwaukee last week to surprise my oldest daughter on her birthday. Since she was unprepared for my visit, and hadn’t requested time off from work, my son-in-law took me on a tour of the area. The very first place he brought me to was the Village of Shorewood, which is just north of Milwaukee. He wanted me to see the picturesque view of Lake Michigan and a famous sculpture there. I am a photographer and he knew I would enjoy that location.

Instagram @MSweetwood Shorewood, WI Instagram @MSweetwood • Shorewood, WI

Jaume Plensa’s Spillover II • Shorewood, WI Jaume Plensa’s Spillover II • Shorewood, WI

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After taking a few shots of the lake and surrounding area, we walked up to the sculpture. It is an interesting piece of artwork depicting a crouching man, facing Lake Michigan, made of random steel letters. The artist is Jaume Plensa

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“The Atlantic slave trade between the 1500s….”



…and 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.”

Now, ain’t that a bitch??!!!! The above statement was brought to you by your favorite hosed-down version of history Textbook publisher McGraw-Hill or in other words, the ‘lily-whited assed version of the Africa-to-America slave trade that was really not slavery at all. You see, according to McGraw-Hill, the Africans got into boats when they heard that there were good paying jobs for all and they rowed to the shores of America, got processed, was given citizenship papers and was put to work on ‘agricultural plantations’ that paid them a decent wage. In fact, this version rivals my own. Read my version and then decide which version is more believable.


First Edition: The Unedited True Edition of Black History

Introduction: First of all, forget everything that you have never read in the…

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Conservatives’ solution for Gun Violence is School Militarization, and Michael Moore’s last words

The Secular Jurist

By Robert A. Vella

The insanity of America grows worse.  Faced with the embarrassing choice between an epidemic of mass shootings which are endangering the lives of their children, and the mounting pressure to enact gun control laws, conservatives – true to their authoritarian nature – are resorting to the militarization of the nation’s schools as an ultimate solution.

Seriously folks, conservatives would rather turn America’s schools into police-state prisons than allow even a modicum of sensible gun control measures.  If that isn’t insanity, I surely don’t know what is.

From ThinkProgressHow Indiana Is Tackling Mass Shootings Without Gun Control:

The safety standards [Mason] Wooldridge [co-founder of Our Kids Deserve It, a group that works to promote what many might consider aggressive school safety standards] is working to implement in Indiana schools are no ordinary measures. [clarification added by TSJ]

They’ve already been implemented at Southwestern…

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When Sorry is not Enough: An Open Letter to All Parents of Children Lost to Gun Violence

I’m tired of sorry. It’s time for action. Who’s with me?

To All Parents Who Have Lost Children to Gun Violence:

I will no longer say I’m sorry for what you’ve been through, because sorry is not enough.  Sorry won’t make you feel any better. Sorry won’t dry your tears.  Sorry won’t bring back your beautiful children.

I was sorry on 12/14/12, the day of the Newtown tragedy.  I have been sorry every since.  But not much has changed, in fact the incidents of mass shootings are getting more frequent.

I was so sorry that I started a facebook page called Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown on 12/19/12.  I have been saying sorry to those in Newtown ever since.  And though I know that many of the residents of Newtown follow my page and appreciate what I’m trying to do, it just isn’t enough.


Sorry is just a way of trying to make myself feel better.  It is a…

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The Wealthfare State

No, that is not a typo. Let me explain. First of all, this morning I read an article in The Washington Post, explaining the double standard of requiring the poor to prove they are deserving of benefits. Currently there are all sorts of legislative bills out there that will prohibit things such as buying steak and seafood (Missouri), spending money on tattoos and cruises, and, God forbid, do not spend that money at strip clubs (Kansas). Of course, as I have written about recently, Kansas seems determined to win the award for “most backward state” in the nation right now anyway.

So, what is wealthfare? Well, the use of public roadways is wealthfare. Enjoying the (dubious in some places) protection of local law enforcement is wealthfare. Having access to a public library is wealthfare. Pell Grants for students…wealthfare. Tax benefits for homeowners…wealthfare. And, as the article points out, farm subsidies paid by the government, definitely wealthfare – although the article terms it “the submerged state.” But Medicare…weathfare. Writing off business trips as business expenses? Wealthfare! 

Wealthfare is a sociological term that is used to describe the ways in which all Americans, or wealthy Americans (depending upon the benefit), benefit from government “handouts.” Because, let’s face it, that’s what they are, whether or not we want to admit it. 

From the article referenced above:

“The second issue with these laws is a moral one: We rarely make similar demands of other recipients of government aid. We don’t drug-test farmers who receive agriculture subsidies (lest they think about plowing while high!). We don’t require Pell Grant recipients to prove that they’re pursuing a degree that will get them a real job one day (sorry, no poetry!). We don’t require wealthy families who cash in on the home mortgage interest deduction to prove that they don’t use their homes as brothels (because surely someone out there does this). The strings that we attach to government aid are attached uniquely for the poor.”
The following graph comes from this article (referenced in the above article) The Submerged State in One Graph.


That graph clearly shows what I am calling wealthfare as being far greater than welfare in what it costs our government. So…the next time you are tempted to call out the poor for being “on the dole,” stop, think, and recognized that you, too, are on the government dole.

~ Jan

In Memoriam

   The photo above is of my only sister, Marilyn Diane Hobbs, with my dad, taken when Marilyn was five months old. Marilyn was 19 months older than me, and we were so very close. But life seldom turns out the way anyone expects, and in the case of my sister, that was to be especially true.

In February of 1959, when I was just 13 months old, my sister was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphoblastic) leukemia. In that era, leukemia was always a death sentence. No one came out the other side…no one.

My parents’ Christmas card from the year (1956) that my sister was born.


 Marilyn’s first professional portrait, age five months.


 Christmas 1957, the month before I was born. I had that table and chairs set up until my teens. 


 Marilyn and I, Christmas 1958. She was 2 1/2, I was 11 months old.



 Christmas 1959. Marilyn was 3 1/2, and I was just 23 months old.

A great deal of my first three years was spent without Marilyn, as she was hospitalized so many times. In those days, there really wasn’t much that could be done to help leukemia patients, but my parents tried everything. They even managed to raise the funds for my mom to drive with Marilyn, from our home in North Battleford, Saskatchewan (Canada) to a cancer treatment clinic (that was later closed by the FDA) in Dallas, Texas. That clinic was treating patients with a combination of chemotherapy, which was fairly untested as of yet, along with Hoxsie Tonic (I may have spelled that wrong). The clinic and doctors were branded as charlatans and quacks, even though their treatment made a huge difference.

One of the saddest days of my life happened in my early twenties, when I realized that I could no longer remember the sound of my sister’s voice. I cried, and I cried, because I was so afraid I was going to lose all my memories of her. Of course, I was only just over three when she died. 

Most of my memories of Marilyn are just fragments. I can remember her building a “fort” in the living room, using the cushions from the couch, and getting mad at me, because when I crawled in there, I knocked the cushions down. She cried (we were very young), and my mom explained to me that Marilyn was ill, and that she did still love me, very, very much. Yes, I really do remember that.

I also remember waking up one night, I must have been about 2 1/2, in the bedroom we shared, right off the kitchen in our house. My dad was holding a basin under Marilyn’s nose, necessary to capture the copious amounts of blood pouring from her face. Nose bleeds are a common occurrence in people with leukemia. I know from what I was told later on, growing up, that Marilyn had to be taken to the ER many times for cauterization of her nose, so bad were her nose bleeds.

I don’t really remember the day Marilyn died. After all, again, I was only three. But later on, my mom told me she, my dad, and myself, were all sitting at the dinner table at noon, and she and my dad were talking about going to the funeral parlor. Three-year-old Jan piped up, saying, “Funeral home! That’s where peoples go when they gets died.” (Where did I learn that? Heaven only knows) My mom later told me that she explained that Marilyn had died, and my face just fell. She tried to tell me that Marilyn wanted me to have all of her clothes, and all of her toys, but still I remained crestfallen. Then she told me, “And honey, Marilyn is not sick anymore, and she doesn’t have any more pain,” and finally, I smiled.

My mom felt that I was too young to attend Marilyn’s funeral. In retrospect, years later, she recognized that she should have taken me. Even though I had been told that my sister, my best friend, the only person who could ever tell me what to do – and I would do it – while smiling (!), was gone, it wasn’t until Christmas of 1963, over 2 1/2 years later, that I finally realized Marilyn was never coming home.

The death of a child often causes the breakup of a marriage, and although I will never know if that’s what caused the failure of my parents’ marriage, they broke up in the early spring of 1966. The death of a child often leads to horrible survivor guilt for the remaining child/children, and that was definitely true for me. For years I wondered if my parents would have been happier if it was me who died, and Marilyn who survived. Not because anyone planted that idea in my head, but simply because that is the way a child’s mind works.

This is one of my favorite photos of Marilyn and myself. The reason is because you can see just how protective of me she was, and I’m certain there was no place in the world where I felt more secure than in my sister’s arms.

April is my least favorite month. It was in April that I learned my father had cancer, and 25 days later (still in April) that he died. April is the month when my sister died too. I try, every year, to turn April happy by remembering the good things about my lost family  members. Sometimes it works, and sometimes, not so much.

After my mother’s death in 2005, I paid the funeral home which handled my mom’s remains to get the permits, to drive 500 miles north to my hometown in Canada, and to disinter my sister’s remains, so that they could be buried in the same grave site as my mom’s ashes, in Minot, North Dakota. I felt that it was the last gift I could give both my sister, and my mom, allowing them to spend eternity next to one another.

One final story about my sister. A few weeks before her death, when she was in the hospital, Marilyn asked our mom, “Mum, am I going to die?” Now, my mom’s first thought was, “I’m going to kill those doctors and nurses,” but she responded with something along the lines of “I don’t know honey.” She tried to explain that no one knew, but Marilyn looked her in the eye, saying, “No! Mum, I AM going to die, but I don’t want you to be sad, becasue I will be with Jesus.” Even though my parents were extremely poor at the time of my sister’s death, they paid for a gorgeous little headstone, not much larger than a sheet of typing paper. Here is that headstone, which is now gracing Marilyn’s final resting place, beside her “Mum.”