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Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Nov 23, 2016 - 12:10pm PT
When you simply have to have a fix…

Great Falls Basin is an obscure climbing area near the godforsaken town of Trona, California. Low elevation and a sheltered location make Great Falls the refuge of last resort when you need a climbing fix and the weather everywhere else has gone to hell. When the wind blows and the rain turns to snow in the mountains and the high desert it’s time to gas up and head for Trona.

Chased out of the Kern Canyon by a winter storm, Maya and I arrived at Great Falls Basin. The sun was setting and the desert peaks behind us were casting the long "seven mile" shadows out across the Searles Valley. Over the next range to our east was Death Valley with its hotel, gas station, Rangers and tourists. But here Maya and I were alone. I set up the tent back in some bushes and we gathered sticks for a fire.

A couple of miles away a telltale swirl of dust revealed a vehicle working its way up the sandy road. Eventually whoever it was would arrive at our campsite. I stuffed a few shells in the 12 gauge, racked one in the chamber, and set the weapon discreetly aside. If we were the usual group of three or four dirtball climbers I wouldn’t have been so worried, but it was just the two of us, and Maya is drop dead gorgeous. I felt like an idiot for bringing her here.

To my relief the approaching vehicle turned out to be a jeep driven by a BLM Ranger. He parked and got out. He looked at my Nissan sports car. “You might want to drive down before dark, the road’s pretty tricky and that’s not exactly an off road vehicle.” Maya came walking out from the tent. Ranger man’s jaw dropped. “We’re planning to stay through tomorrow; it’s a good place to climb when the mountains are stormy.” The Ranger made no attempt to conceal his thorough examination of Maya. “Yeah, I’ve heard the climbing here is okay. I’ll just be on my way then. You two be careful.” He walked back to his jeep, then turned to face me. “Do you have a gun?” “Yes Sir.” “Good… Good. Have a good night.”

Sometime later I was over at Maya's place for dinner. I watched her cooking, doing each step with care. We sat down at the table and looked at each other. "You know Kris, the problem is that when I look you in the eyes I can see that you are not sane."

Again a cold storm engulfed southern California. Riding in Guy Keesee's VW van I watched the boarded up stores and café's as we rolled through Trona. The only open businesses were a gas station and a well-fortified liquor store. We passed a school; what kind of hell would it be to grow up here? The air was fouled by a borax refinery, the only reason for the town's existence. The last time I had been here was with Maya, and I felt a twinge of the broken heart I thought was behind me.

A few miles past Trona we turned up the sandy road toward Great Falls Basin. The road ends at a large open area. Guy parked the van, we stuffed our packs full of climbing gear and hiked up to a nice ledge under a granite rock-face. Since the van didn't lock I had my pistol in my pack for safe keeping.

A few minutes later the Good Doctor rolled up in his shiny new mini-van. He joined us on the ledge. After exchanging greetings he noticed my pistol case sitting on a rock. "What are you doing with a gun up here?" "The van doesn't lock. And besides, if someone screws with the cars I can put a shot across their bow."

The Good Doctor surveyed the large sand parking area. "From up here you won't even be able to tell where the shot went."

The gauntlet was thrown. "Doctor, Sir, from here I can drop one right through your windshield." "Kristian, I've been practicing at the range, I am quite sure that a pistol is useless at this distance. I’ll wager the pink slip on it. You get one try. Make the shot and the van is yours."

I took the Berretta out of its case and checked that it was unloaded. I sighted the shot. The downward angle was tricky. Mr. Keesee, who until now had been otherwise occupied, took an interest in our conversation. "Kris, go for it. I've seen you make harder shots." After sizing it up I was pretty sure the shot was good. "So Doctor, would you prefer the passenger or the driver's side?"

I was playing games now. I had already decided against taking the shot. There was no favorable outcome. I could miss the vehicle entirely, proving the Good Doctor right. I could miss the windshield but damage the vehicle elsewhere, perhaps penetrating the radiator. But most likely I would make the shot, probably the least desirable outcome. The Good Doctor had been known to go off the rails at times, and he was physically my superior in every way.

Later, back down at the cars, I took out a box of rejected lacquer masters used for making vinyl records, a by-product of my professional career in the music business. These aluminum discs are covered with a thin coat of black lacquer, and they make excellent targets. When hit, the lacquer shatters around the bullet hole and the shiny aluminum is easily visible. So I set one of these up on the far side of a wide wash. I didn't pace off the distance, but the shot was long enough to make my point, and it was downhill. The disc looked tiny, but it was easy to see against the sand.

The Good Doctor stood next to me smiling. I took my first shot. A plume of dirt popped up left of the disc. I relaxed, reset my grip, and shot again. Just off the right edge, I couldn't get any closer without hitting it. The third time was a charm. The Good Doctor, seeing that this group was entirely within the size of his windshield, slapped me hard on the back and thanked me for being a gentleman. Guy sat there shaking his head. "You should have done it. It would have been epic." He wasn't kidding. He really meant it.

"Maybe so, but why would I want a van with a broken windshield."

The Good Places
Mar 10, 2017 - 12:37pm PT
"With the election of Donald J. Trump, we at the NRA anticipated a precipitous drop in gun sales", said National Rifle Association President Wayne de la Pieux. "With a Black President vacating the White House, we expected our base to feel less threatened that the Feds would come for their average 16.4 firearms per household."

"As a trade group and the most effective lobbying force in Washington, we warned everyone who would listen that lean times were ahead," he continued. "But that was before Mr. Trump's nationwide traveling roadshow, 'Rape, Race and Smear the Queers', aroused a whole new segment of gun purchasers.

"A gun show at historically all-women Barnard College witnessed petite Emily Roth-Brown toting a slick Savage 12-gauge pump shotgun with seven shot extended magazine and a sawed-off barrel.
The young lady told our NRA interviewer 'I studied tai-kwan-do for the last ten years, but ten minutes' instruction with this baby, and a would-be rapist will be looking at major reconstructive surgery'.

"Down in sunny Southern California, every Juan, Luis and Reynaldo was mobbing 'Black Guns Matter', a firearms superstore just east of I-5. Instead of wiring home (Mexico) their paychecks, this Friday, they'd splurged on a couple Chinese SKS assault-style rifles and a Glock pistol.

"In gay-friendly Austin, Texas, the hot new salsa bar, 'Purple' held a "get-to-know' ice breaker at a nearby indoor shooting range.

"We in the firearms industry have found a whole new benefit to Mr. Trump's historic victory at the polls. And we thank him for it," concluded the NRA's Mr.de la Pieux.

The Good Places
Mar 28, 2017 - 07:13pm PT
**President Trump "Crushes" Sixth Graders' Fishing Contest
Mr. Trump proudly piloted a smoke-spewing diesel-powered icebreaker (reportedly on loan from Russia) around six-acre Lake Waskaaskabmidjiik ("White Presidents who drown in this lake are never found"), Minnesota. On Sunday, Acting President Trump literally killed with his record-breaking Least Perch, weighing in at 220 kg (700 lbs), by his estimate.

"My competition. They're kids, basically. Kids. Losers. Some of them are under four feet tall. Four feet tall. Some can't even walk. If this is affirmative action, I don't know. Most people don't know."

"Eat this thing? Not on your life. Closest I get. Closest to fish. It's Chicken McNuggets. Ketchup. Ketchup and a fork. These fish. Like this record fish I just caught. Would you believe I was standing on the poop deck of the 'Aleksandr Nevsky', great icebreaker. Mr. Putin. Great leader. He gave it to me for winning the White House. Record-breaking all the way. Mr. Putin. I don't know him, by the way. Take that, Sally Yates! Not! Mr. Putin and I toast each other with alcohol-free vodka. One day, I'm going to take Vladimir on Air Force One. Air Force One. Jared told him about the 'Roy Cohn Rubber Room' on the 747. That's right. Rubber Room. And he's hot to try it out. Mirrors on the ceiling. No seat belts. He loves the younger set. Real young. Russia-America. We see eye-to eye. I like them young, too. Believe me."

White House staffers, Sean Spicer and KelleyAnne Conway, just after snapping this trophy photo, threw a black hood over the President's head and hustled him into the back seat of a ski-equipped Ford Excalibur limo in an effort to limit his self-incriminating bravado.
whoa, sweet boat uncle donnie!
whoa, sweet boat uncle donnie!
Credit: thebravecowboy

The Good Places
Mar 28, 2017 - 07:16pm PT
Mainstream and Freedom Caucus Republicans brawled on the House floor Tuesday morning. Once tempers flared, laptops began to fly. Anything not bolted down became airborne as Moderates and Conservatives feuded over "Recreational vs Reproductive Sex".

The GOP, with its Big Tent philosophy, has tried to make room for homophobes, racists, hedge fund managers, coal mine and funeral home owners, folks whose evening wear runs to white sheets. Even gays. Idaho's Representative "Wide Stance" Larry Craig, Sen. Lindsey Graham and even former governor Rick Perry, while deeply closeted, find themselves welcome in the Republican party of today.

The real schism arises between those Repubs who support sex for several purposes (the "Recreational Sexists") and the more strict "Reproductive Sexists". The latter group, a dour lot, are reputed to have sired a number of children equal to the number of times they have experienced "sexual congress" with their wives.

The "Recreational Sexists", on the other hand, recognize a variety of uses for the God-given mystery of sex. "Of course, there's reproduction. And then there's stress reduction after a long, hard day of fund-raising, money-laundering and general quid pro quo," explained Rep. Jacques 'Jax' Bier, whose district includes the French Quarter of New Orleans. "Sex, as y'all know, works pretty good for putting the ladies in their place. Don't leave no marks, most generally," he added.

I am writing this dispatch from a trauma room at D.C. General Hospital. In addition to hurling Bibles, some angry representatives hurled expensive pens at their rivals, and I was caught in the crossfire. Don't tell me a 14 Kt. gold pen doesn't leave a mark when Devin Nunes (R-CA) gives it a good old Visalia fast pitch. Hit me in the right ear.

The trauma doctor, a kind, older Sikh immigrant, credited my earbud: "it certainly prevented the 100 gram, pointed projectile from penetrating through the ear drum to the base of the brain, which would have left you an inert vegetable, my son."

I know it may not sound like responsible journalism, but I just have to say that if the GOP Wealthcare bill had gone through last week, I'd be planning my medical bankruptcy right now. As it is, my Obamacare covers my ER visit.

The Good Places
Apr 22, 2017 - 11:41am PT
Mar-a Lago staff stages voodoo doll contest for boss

The international staff of Mar-a-lago, here on a visa program which allows Mr. Trump to pay below minimum wage while taking tax deductions for "Foreign aid contributions", are a colorful lot.

Housed in ethnically and linguistically segregated housing, and isolated (that's right, no cell phones or internet), these wage-slaves hail from nations generally in the bottom ten percent of GDP countries. Think Paucistan, Guacamala, Dagastan Sur, Gnyn, and others.

The Donald's great-grandfather, Christian Johannes Trump, took heed of John D. Rockefeller's skillful use of debt, isolation, threats of violence, caloric deprivation, "company stores", white slavery, forced sterilization and euthanasia to shape a docile work force of zombie-like employees. Said workers, upon escaping from the Trump compound, were often mistaken for semi-humans, even animals, by neighboring German-Americans.

Well, fast forward to Twenty-first Century Palm Beach, and, over the noise of the rising sea-level surf, the low, almost subsonic roar one hears are "the staff". The President's bullet-headed personal security run a tight ship here at Mar-a-Lago, as at Trump Tower and the White House. Blood stains blamed on beet borscht in the kitchen, pay mute testimony to "enhanced enforcement of Mr. Trump's high standards", according to insiders who asked to remain anonymous.

Somehow escaping the "staff quarters" of Mar-a-Lago in late March was a fourteen year-old Tokalauan, formerly of Swains Island, pop. 17, in American Samoa. The youth, who asked to be referred only as "Sal", measured five feet, four inches and weighed 100 pounds when rescued from shark-infested waters off Trump's resort. An alert Coastguardsman recognized an inner-arm tatoo "MAL 1439", giving lie to "Sal"'s initial claim to be Hatian.

The Good Places
Aug 28, 2017 - 10:09am PT
Pixie-like Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions may talk all tough and law-and-order, but, truth be told, he's flirting with the law and diversifying his investments by growing marijuana. A long-term profiteer on private prisons, the elfin A.G.Sessions has rustled up dozens of undocumented aliens awaiting deportation to staff his "little grow operation" in an Alabama pole barn on Sessions' own property.

"Now I don't personally partake of reefer, but Mother (Sessions' wife) does like a bit of weed, well, whenever she has to be in the same room with me," Mr. Sessions reported to our "Southeast USA War Correspondent" Kareem al-Khalid.

When asked if his personal pot operation would affect his threats to essentially bomb the pot industry back to the Stone Age, the former Keebler Elf demurred "Nuh-uh.".

This is Kareem al-Khalid, for Al-Jazeera, reporting from Civil War-torn USA.

The Good Places
Sep 24, 2017 - 11:48am PT
Trump Belts Out National Anthem at Super Dome
An expected crowd of 35,000 never materialized. In the colossal sports venue were scores of MLB starting pitchers and NFL starting QBs. They expressed their patriotism by pelting the Prez with a creative assortment of projectiles.
Tom Brady connected with a past-due fourteen pound jackfruit. Other First Amendment objects included gift packs from the Westminster Dog Show, bulging cans of Vienna Sausages, Backwoods "Buck-in-Rut", and bottles of orange hair spray. Three year old Jimmy McSheehee, of Pittsburgh, hurled a Whoopee Cushion.

Mr. trump, after a disinfecting shower, raved about his ratings in a brief Oval Office photo op. Surrounded by some three to four hundred of his security detail, he announced "the patriotic athletes, they showered me with gifts, bigly!"

The District of Columbia Power Company, in support of the nationwide protest of Mr. trump's "rabid and rancid racism" cut electricity to The Executive Mansion for 45 minutes, reflecting also tump's failure to pay his light bill.

The Good Places
Oct 17, 2017 - 12:00pm PT
Incensed that one of President Trump's handlers had stolen albino rocker Johnny Winter's wigs, a sixteen year old boy from Olathe, CO, audibly called Trump "a piece of work". No one, but no one insults The Dear Leader for Life. It's illegal!

Out of nowhere, black SUV's and armored personnel carriers with gun ports converged on the hundred twenty pound Edwin Murphy. Down dropped a rear ramp from the APC, and out strutted "a pocket warrior", the diminutive Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, clad in black from his men's size 4 Doc Martin boots to a Darth Vader helmet purchased in the boys' department of an Army PX.

Having washed out of the military for obvious reasons, Sessions eschewed firearms, preferring his extensive collection of Tasers, stun-guns, and cattle prods. He sneaked up behind Edwin and zapped him good on the back of his neck, just below the hairline. In his high, whiny Alabama drawl, the Police Chief of the Free World boasted "I got you good," as he blew pretend smoke from his Taser.

Four goons with black ICE shirts descended like vultures on meth, zip-tying every part of poor Edwin's body that stuck out of his twitching torso. Now I swear, any one of those former mall cops was of sufficient size to feed a village of a hundred cannibals for a month or more. I've got it from an anonymous sources that all Homeland Security and ICE death-mobiles have multiple microwaves going constantly.

This scene repeats itself all over the USA dozens of times daily. Mr. Sessions can't be everywhere to protect our president's nobility, but literally hundreds of nights on duty in a little Klan suit, lighting afire crosses, and what have you, have imbued the little rascal with an implacable energy for pursuing causes that are, at best, questionable.

Back to the little felon from Olathe, CO. Mr. Sessions, having doffed his helmet, sat in a jump seat in the death mobile and read, like a parson, Edwin his Miranda rights from a vest pocket New Testament. "Ya know, son, if y'all was, um, colored, your life blood would be drainin' out of you as we speak."

The prisoner, pale and trembling, with a bitten lip and cracked tooth thanks to the electric shock, murmured "Yes Sir." His eyes locked on Mr. Sessions, and ran up and down, taking him in. And then Edwin started to giggle. And to laugh. He would have held his belly if he wasn't tied up like a turkey in the oven.

The captive giggled, chortled and guffawed and, breathless, said. "I know you. You're the Keebler elf!"

Zap! Zap! Darkness.

If they want to take my free speech away, by gol', they'll have to peel my teeth and gums offa it.

(Redacted), contributing editor York New Times

The Good Places
Nov 6, 2017 - 06:14pm PT
Late breaking news from the Eastern Hemisphere.

His underground nuke test site in disarray since a collapse which killed hundreds of nuclear technicians, North Korea's leader, Kim Jung Un, renewed a war of words against American president Donald J. trump.

Last month, the North Korean strongman called trump a "dotard", causing search engines, world-wide, to crash as hundreds of millions scrambled to see if the American despot was, indeed a dotard. The answer? Yes, trump is a dotard, doddering and confused.

Monday morning (Tuesday on the Korean Peninsula), Mr. Un pulled out all stops by labelling Mr. trump "a well-marbled, staggering eunuch".

Google, Bing, and Yahoo ground to a halt as the world raced to see how to pronounce "eunuch", as well as to see if Mr. Kim was speaking truthfully, or was resorting to hyperbole.

Our sources both inside and outside of the White House are currently polling 18 out of 23 in favor of "trump is a well-marbled, staggering eunuch".

Now back to you, Ursula.

The Good Places
Nov 12, 2017 - 10:20am PT
Credit: thebravecowboy

The two stared a bit too long for the ICE/Secret Service's comfort. Sgt. Jughead Mongo, and four members of the ICE/Secret Service's Mobile Thug Team cut the two "ill-fated equines" down with an estimated 90 second blast from 16 handguns, 11-24 long guns, and "a big ol' RPG (wire-guided)", and in so doing, kept our White Christian Nation safe for "pseudo-democracy". Thoughts and prayers. "Don't pay to f*#k with us. We're everywhere, and we even got girl agents and a coupla guy agents that don't got them big scalp 'butter rolls' on the backs of they haids. I'm not no violent man. And I'm not no angry man. Just sayin', is all," stated Sgt. Mongo with his 'beadies" bulging and blood-shot.

Sgt. Mongo begged to take his leave. He'd just caught word that a seventy year old woman, a native of Montenegro, living for the last thirty years without documentation in Williamsburg, VA, had been spotted. "Can't have these alien Coloreds runnin' around within range of the White House. So we're takin' her down. Wanna come along?" I told him I had a "vienna sausage/tater tot hot dish in the oven, so I'd have to catch the live video feed this time around."

The Good Places
Dec 1, 2017 - 09:40pm PT
Shortly after his triumphal return to the USA from a really, very fine Asian Presidential Ad campaign, Great Leader trump huddled with A.G.Sessions. The A.G. had just finished perjuring himself to Congressional interrogators. The substance of the meeting of the two predators centered on the three UCLA basketball players whom the President saved from "30-50 years at hard labor' in the Excellent Songgong Rehabilitation Facility in Gangrape, China.

Mr. Sessions said to trump "Them three boys wouldn't last one minute in one of those Chinese toenail factories. You tell 'em that, Mr. Trump, and tell 'em they owe their physcal (sic) health and sexyal self-respect to the fact that you pulled old Z's arm near outen its socket. Showed the Chinese we kick butt. Sir"

The elfin Sessions added "Course, them boys'll never get a job in the U.S.and A., long as you're at the rudder of State, and I got my shillelagh in the water. Hell's bells, we can lock 'em up here in our own great country. Shoot 'em, on a as-needed basis. At long last, it (sic) open season on colored boys, and I swear, my asthma and rheumatism's the best they been since Ronnie Reagan was slashin' the marginal tax rate and pimpin' 'welfare mothers'."

For two powerful men who despised each other, they shared a hearty laugh. The slight Attorney General, as a result of his feet not reaching the floor in front of his velvet-upholstered Queen Ann side chair, consistently spilled his swee' tea (sweetened iced tea), on the carpet, drawing ants. The President, not amused, sipped from his can of Diet Coke and scratched his nuts.

It is not fair to say that the United States of America is adrift. We are on a true and steady heading. No one great mind could have done it alone. Like one of those uneaten fruit cakes, there are many components, components that lead us toward a fatal collision with history. Fixings such as Vladimir Putin, the Koch Siamese twins, Mad Dog Mattis, Donald J. trump, the Steve Siamese twins, Bannon and Miller, and a candied fruit mix of DeVos, Zinke, Perry, Pruitt, Tillerson, Carson, with Mnuchin added as a lubricant and anti-drying agent. Ivanka, Donnie Jr., and Eric, each less than a trace. Hope, Huckabee and KellyAnne to preempt spoilage.

And who benefits from this madness? I suppose the top .1%, numbering at most 320,000 people. Throw in the mortuary owners who specialize in "preventable deaths resulting from no health insurance", and a score of yacht dealers.

Now, mull around in your mind two more figures. The remaining Americans, the scant 320,000,000 folks, who survive on stagnant wages, no retirement, shrinking health insurance, dying Medicare and Medicaid. The second number is 3,200,000. If just one in a hundred Americans has, and uses a pitchfork, there are three million, two hundred thousand pitchforks.

An editorial comment: One pitchfork is an agricultural tool. Millions of pitchforks are quite another thing.

The Good Places
Jan 12, 2018 - 07:36pm PT
Genius Business Man Addresses Debt

President pro-temp Donald trump waited in the 4 million dollar armored Hummer limo as an under-the-table Haitian employee of Mar a Lago scurried into a Palm Beach Get-n-Go Convenience Store for the seventeenth time over the last month. Why was Maurice DuChamps shopping for the president? Paulo Rodriquez, owner of the Get-n-Go franchise, earlier revealed that "Mr. Trump, he is investing in the Power Ball with Power Play, plus the Mega Millions, as he has certain, pues, obligations to the Mafia of the Russians."

A surly black-shirted security fullback sporting a smart submachine gun grabbed Mr. Rodriquez by the throat and pasted a duck tape "silencer" across the man's face, tased him and left a warning letter signed by the president. It looked a lot like those big steakhouse menus favored by trump as he scuttles the USA.

I hid behind, of all things, the Cheetos display, unnoticed by Trump's thug. He rifled Mr. Rodriguez' pockets, stole two packs of Newport smokes and dragged the Haitian employee back to the armored limo.

I don't know how I'm going to relate this incident to my wife, who watches Fox News day and night. I'd best keep the whole incident to myself.

stolen from BGW


The Good Places
May 28, 2018 - 03:48pm PT
Sir, esteem goodbud-dy, royal loyal Americain, Sir,

Has comed to mine attention!! You have, how to say, soft streak when pertane to peoples colored.

Andthen thusly, getsing to "good part" where I asking you to sending many many dollar/rupee to for helping brother mine, Sha-Douchi, getting baling out ov hospital where treating for "only other person infectad by said venerable disease, except monkeys and Americain Presidencetrumps."

Linguage never not mine strongbox, and sensing godliness on your parting, I fell upone knee, both, asking, Sir, for said remittanceance PayPal except.

Praise gods upon your presumed souls in Baghatvannashi Gitmo, copyrights perfectible.

Pygmy Joe Joe, Shrinipur

Post Toasties Script:: Black Beemer 730i no is mine. Belong to "Bad Guy Fil," kissinga cousin Duterte by marriaging.

Above sling of hash protected. FBI, Interpol act upon violations. Just sayin'.
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