Sunday, June 26, 2022

In search of Happy Places…

When this old world starts getting me down
and people are just to much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of (Sanctuary Too. My truck and camper)
and all my cares just drift into space.

Up on the Roof
Sung by the Drifters
Lyrics by Carole King and Gerry Goffin

Face it, we’re not living in the “Leave it to Beaver” or “Ozzie and Harriet” or even the law and order sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show” days anymore. We have more concerns than worrying about Opie Taylor getting caught in a lie. 

Going about ones business has gotten more complicated. Life is as not simple as it once seems to be. To quote George Clooney from “O’Brother Where Art Though” 

“Damn! We’re in a tight spot!”

On the international scale there’s:

A daily climate change calamity. Flash floods, wildfires and dust storms. OY VEY!

The never-ending Covid Pandemic. 

A rise in chest thumping Nationalism leading to a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Thus triggering all sorts of shortages and further disruption of international trade. Plus the human  misery toll of needless death and destruction. All of this to fulfill another tyrant’s ambitions. (There sure seems to be a lot more tyrants these days too.)

On the National scene:

Speaking of tyrants. 

Trump the Loser who won’t admit as much, orchestrating the demise of democracy. Facts be damned. I want it my way. Sadly enough, a majority of Republicans kiss his ring and go along with this wayward unreality TV show. I can’t wait to see the new Treasury Bills. “In Trump We Trust.”

And furthermore:

The overturning of Roe vs. Wade. Gun owners now have more rights than women.

Hyper inflation.

The now hairline fracture between separation of church and state.

And the Merican Way of Gun Violence.

 And now on the personal front:

Back in August 2019, I gave up the Homeless by Choice lifestyle because…well, i was getting lonely out there. Upon setting up a basecamp in Durango, CO I sought guidance from that NY Times bestseller, “A How To Guide for a Wandering Wondering Jew to Meet Fellow Humans.” 

Chapter One: Immerse yourself in local events.

So I did and still do with a Covid timeout in between. 

I’ve attended: an Earth Day Celebration, the Dandelion Festival, Animas River Days, A Taste of Durango, San Juan Brew Festival (twice), Multitudes of Green Drinks, Durango Film Festival (twice), Bike Durango film and silent auction, a Celtic Festival, iAM Music concerts in Buckley Park, a Durango Trails 2000 Fundraiser ETC, ETC. 

I people watch , smile at the many strangers and generally enjoy myself. Yet, I’m not making any newbie connections. 

Chapter Two: Become a volunteer for non-profit organizations.

I do and did that too.

Book schlepper for the Friends of the Library book sales. When I’m on the job,  I’ll exchange stories/quips with the other hard working volunteers. When the gig is over, I limp away with a sore back and still feeling socially unfulfilled. 

Tree Planter and Fen Restoration Helper for the Mountain Studies Institute. (See above for results, plus multiple bloody lacerations.)

Forest Ambassador for the San Juan Mountain Association. I like this gig. I get to schmooze with mostly Pilgrim Hikers about Leave No Trace ethics. When I notice their lack of water, food and warm, dry clothes. I  break open my BIGLY day backpack. I’ll display to the neophytes what I’m carrying if Mother Nature throws me a four-seam high-heat fastball. 
To spot a Pilgrim, check the socks. Cotton=Rookie.

La Plata County Democrats Fundraiser. I was the guest bartender. Between giving ample pours, many smiles and pounds of Cutie oranges (there’s a lot of scurvy going around) I spoke to my fellow liberals. Social Result? Same as the above.

I commiserated with a Buddy of mine, he said, “Jeff! Don’t take it personally. It’s a sign of our times.” 

Another friend said it all so succinctly when describing a couple we mutually know. “They’re in their own there.” Meaning? In their own world. No need for outside intrusions. 

But I do take it personally. 

Fortunately, the other reason I moved to Durango was for its Four Corner, Colorado Plateau epicenter location to Jeffie’s Happy Places. No matter which direction I point Sanctuary Too, there’s a Jeffie Happy Place: Mountains, canyons, wilderness areas, National Parks and Monuments. It’s all within a half day’s drive of my Durango basecamp. Perfect. 

I don’t feel so alone when my needs are met. Solitude, Silence, Scenery=Serenity.

BUT! I’m pleased to report, I introduced Kwanhanumas to Durango. It was a rousing success. We even had Belly Dancers. 

Baby steps. Baby steps. Maybe one day, folks will ask me to join them for Happy Hour.

Until then, when I’m in a tight spot, I’ll go camping.

All the above photos were taken from Jeffie’s Happy Places.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

When I was growing up in…

the Bronx. Sid (my father) would admonish me. 

“Jeffie! Don’t play in the street. But if you do watch out for the buses.”


“Jeffie! Drink your milk. It’ll make you taller.”


“Jeffie! Don’t get into fights. You’re small. You’ll get beat up.”

Sid never had to say to me. 

“Jeffie! When at active shooter breaks into Ms. Pagano’s class, jump out the window. A few broken bones and stitches are better than taking a round.”


“Jeffie! Make sure you always wear your bulletproof backpack when you walk between classes.”


“Jeffie! When the shooter starts firing, smear yourself with the blood of your classmates and pretend to be dead.”

So what changed?

Second Amendment advocates claim the home grown terrorists  have mental health to the “why” the shootings routinely occur. Bullshit! There are emotionally unstable people all over the world. We don’t own a monopoly on off-kilter citizens. Yet, America is the only country where kids and other innocents are fair game when the nut jobs go about their brutal business. 

Others claim the E-mosey Services (instead of the Emergency Services) response by the Uvalde, TX Police Department led to the carnage. Yes. It was tepid and lame at best. There’s no excuse for it.

My analogy would be a rookie firefighter arriving on scene to his/her first structure fire and exclaiming. “Woe! Woe! Woe! You mean we actually go into burning buildings. I didn’t sign up for this.”
Cops are hired to go after the bad guys, even if it means taking a bullet. That’s what they signed on for.

Both of these notions ignore the obvious. It’s the freakin’ guns that’s the common denominator to the mass murders.

Merica is awash in weaponry. In some states it’s harder to vote than it is to procure an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. My responsible gun owning buddy Steve M. explained the major faults behind the murder and mayhem this way.

 “Wrong age, wrong weapon, wrong clip, wrong reason.”

Will we ever get back to the days when we allowed kids to be kids and play “Ring around the Rosie” without looking over their shoulders? 

I doubt it.

Until we change the mindset of the “right to bear arms” there will be other Uvalde, Buffalo, Newtown. El Paso, Boulder, Aurora, Parkland, Las Vegas, Orlando, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh,San Ysidro   …..and on and on mass murders occurring.

A well armed society is not a polite society. It’s a sick, dangerous and broken one.

If you think I’m upset about this. You’re right.

I still don’t/won’t  own a gun.

Monday, May 30, 2022

I don’t own a gun.

nor do I ever intend to.

I have many reasons. My biggest rationale is a simple one. 

I don’t trust myself. 

Lurking behind this seemingly endless smile is a temper. Before you unfriend or block my emails,  allow me to clarify. I’ve placed this unhealthy emotion in a Fort Knox-like setting deep within my persona. On a Halley’s Comet timeline appearance when I feel my blood pressure rising and my fists clenching, I don’t “stand my ground.” I walk away. Quickly. 

Refusing to own a weapon stops me from making a rash decision which would negatively impact others and or myself.  I don’t need or want the temptation. There are no “do-overs” once the trigger is pulled.

Unfortunately, many macho and macha citizens do not have the same self-awareness and self-restraint as I do. They surrender to their inner Demons, oftentimes with horrific consequences. 

I’ve written two previous gun related blogs, both emphasizing America’s lack of any meaningful gun control measures.

Posted July 4th, 2016

Posted August 12, 2019

Has there been any changes? Of course not. Just truckloads of “Thoughts and Prayers.”

In lieu of recent events in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, TX I felt compelled to write something once again. 
Will this post change gun laws or Americans infatuation with weapons? Of course not. But, I can voice my strong opinions.

A Nation that does nothing to prevent children from being utilized for target practice is no longer civilized. This is incipient Anarchy. 

It will only get worse with the demise of Democracy in 2022 and 2024 when a minority coalition of aggressive, well-armed insurgents wrests control over our Election process. 

The new law of the Land will be “no rules, just individual rights.” 

These photos are the innocent victims of Buffalo and Uvalde. We exist in a Country  where guns have more rights than humans who live, laugh, love and breathe. 

Shame on us.

Are we destined to fly our flag in a perpetual state of half-mast?