Farmer Orville was mowing his vast lawn when I visited this morning. He turned off the machine and waved me toward the porch, where we sat in the shade and talked. The farm dogs, Ruby Puppy, Bud and Reba, reeking of stuff they had rolled in, in the north field, lay at our feet.

I told my friend about the finches in my yard being so tame, they land on my shoulders and sing, and I imitate them. Yet another finch nest has been built over my car in the carport roof, and soon baby finch poop will rain down.

“You know why they built there?” Orville said. “They are aiming for your bald head.” He slapped a knee and did his little sit-dance.

The half-acre of blackberry bushes was already pregnant with berries red and plumping up. In a couple of weeks, those sapid jewels will be ready for sucking and tongue smashing. Ninety tomato plants were rising up in wire cages and getting ready to flower. Cucumbers and squash were planted, and so was kale.

The barn cat strutted across the yard with a dead baby bluebird in its mouth. Orville shouted, “Hey, you, cat!” The cat dropped the bird and ran for the barn. Reba loped to the body, tossed it in the air, and swallowed it whole.

“I hate to admit it,” Orville said, “but you are a good writer. We liked that article on them Tuskegee Airmen.” By we, he means his wife Quilt Queen, who has decided that cookies aren’t just for winter anymore. She is baking for the Memorial Day weekend.

Quilt Queen teases me relentlessly about being a bachelor. She believes men need marrying. She decided Orville needed marrying just after he came home, from the Korean War. He had prospects in the heating and cooling industry. (We’ve driven together on I-270, as he points to building roofs where he installed the air conditioning. His favorite story is about fixing a furnace problem for a stark-naked woman who followed him around her house.)

Orville chewed on a toothpick and looked at me. “Don’t let my compliment go to your head.”

Midwesterners don’t approve of compliments. Compliments are unseemly, the recipient in danger of taking himself seriously and wanting more. My father was the anti-compliment giver. He preferred witticisms like, “You, worthless piece of shit.” This was intended to toughen me for life’s journey, and it worked. I hear that sentence every day of my life.

Orville is a humanist in Lutheran’s clothing. And he is my stand-in father. He knows it; I know it. Though, if I were his literal son, I would have been born when he was eleven.

Today, I walked home with a bloody arm scratch from Ruby Puppy, who believes that I should carry her fifty pounds of squirm, and a compliment firmly in my memory, from my stand-in father, confessor, story teller, tomato hater-tomato grower, and damn good friend.

There is no moral to the story. You might be tempted to call a friend and compliment him or her. It won’t compromise your inner “Babbitt” or convert you to godless Communism. Think of it, on Memorial Day, as putting a dab of spicy, liberal mustard on your conservative picnic sandwich, next to the deviled eggs and Beverly the Quilt Queen’s potato salad:

“Wow, Bev, you outdid yourself this time.” And Quilt Queen, awash in compliment, waves a dismissive hand, all the while aglow.

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Talking Texting

The legendary Chicago newspaper columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner, Mike Royko, once received a letter from a tourist who had been visiting from California. The man and his girlfriend had taken in a movie. By his own admission, they talked through the presentation. Then some real Chicagoans sitting behind the avocado suckers told them to shut up.

California Dreamer’s letter claimed that Chicagoans were rude and uncouth, and that a man seated behind them had slapped him on the head. Rest assured, the West Coast couple were never coming back. What did Mr. Royko think? And was the ruffian incident worthy of a column, about city manners?

Indeed, Royko reprinted the letter and then gave a response. In essence: You’re lucky I wasn’t there. I would have assisted the ruffians and dragged you and your Valley Girl out of the theatre and pummeled you and doused you with California wine and forced you to drink Old Style Beer.

Which brings us to Mr. Brandon Vezmar of Austin, Texas, who is suing his blind date for $17.31, over their attending a 3-D showing of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Mr. Vezmar, who paid for the tickets, said that his date (an online blind date) pulled out her smart phone and began repeatedly texting.

He asked her to stop the texting, citing rudeness, and when she refused he suggested she go to the lobby. Not only did the woman go to the lobby, she walked through the lobby, out the door, and off she drove. By the way, she was Mr. Vezmer’s ride.

What would Mike Royko say?

I donned a tin hat and robes last night and burned some incense, and I was able to channel Royko’s therapist, Dr. I. M. Kookie, who graciously called Royko in heaven and told him about the blind date incident. First, he had to explain to Royko what a smart phone was.

“Suing isn’t nearly enough,” Royko told Dr. Kookie. “Brandon should have grabbed her smart phone and mashed it into the sticky-candied floor then handed it to the people sitting behind him, who would stomp it until the phone was on life support. Then hand the phone off to a conceal carry guy who would toss it into the air and shoot it. Then all the other conceal carry people – it is Texas after all – would pull .357 Magnum’s and Glock’s and .45’s from purses and underwear and shoes and socks and vaginas and fire at the smart phone. Then pick up the remains and drop them in the blind date’s popcorn.”

Dr. I. M. Kookie agreed. He was, after all, the founder of the Asylumism religion which theorized that Earth’s people were the insane rejects of other worlds.

As for our hero, Brandon Vezmer, I salute him. He showed admirable restraint. He believes that it is about ethics, the poor slob. He won’t give up until he gets back his $17.31. I salute him and all the other men and women who have had blind dates from hell, only to find that the dates looked nothing like their photos, were gaseous, had venereal disease or some such other general nuttiness.

I was Brandon Vezmer once. I went on a blind date with a woman who ordered $40 worth of food at an Indian restaurant – I was paying – then boxed up most of the food to take home. I didn’t sue her. I married her.

That showed her.

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Snakes on a Plane

Breaking News. The White has announced that the plane carrying Donald Trump to a Mideastern summit is a fake presidential plane. The fake plane will land in Moscow by this evening and drop Trump and wife Melania off, with no return flight scheduled.

When handed a note during his press briefing, Sean Spicer glanced at the paper and began shouting, “Yes!” Spicer composed himself and announced that the Trumps will be moved to a luxury one bedroom gulag in Siberia.

Strangely, Vice President Mike Pence cannot be found on White House grounds. Neither can Paul Ryan and every other person on the succession list all the way to Jeff Sessions, who will be sworn in early this evening. The swearing-in podium is being altered to accommodate the elfin one known affectionately as Jeffy the KKK.

When told of the fake plane, first daughter Ivanka is reported to have said, “I already know.”

White House staff cornered Kellyanne Conway in a hall closet and took her to the basement. She was thrown into a room with Steve Bannon, who was sitting on the floor and eating children in a corner. Bannon quoted W.C Fields’ famous line, “I love children, so long as they are properly cooked.”

We have just received word that Senator Lindsey Graham and Vice President Pence have been found clad only in Spanx at a Russian baths in Georgetown, surrounded by naked men getting spanked, and speaking into fake “microphones.”

Sources have told this correspondent that Reverend Franklin Graham, spawn of Billy, not Lindsey, is holding a prayer vigil at the Mall with his flock. It is reported that the sheep are “Quite nervous.” Graham has promised that God is expected momentarily.

When asked for a comment on former president Trump, Senator John McCain called breaking events, “Suspicious.”

The Washington Zoo has just refused to grant sanctuary to a very old turtle named McConnell. A PETA protest is post-positing pizzas to pernicious pols.

The Democratic Party, all six of them, are gathered at a Chipotle and binging on big burritos. They have come to an agreement on a new slogan for the country: “Make America Grate Their Teeth Again.”

Hillary Clinton has been standing on a soap box in Dumbarton Oaks Park and spouting like a whale, about how SHE is the actual 46th President of the United States. The electoral college was rounded up and forced to listen. Afterwards, they voted for Donald Trump.

This just in from Russia: A Russian MIG has intercepted the fake plane ferrying Donald Trump and fired Ted Cruz missiles, which bounced off the fake plane and blew up the MIG. Vladimir Putin has been unceremoniously shoved into a car and whisked away to a dacha. Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak has taken control of the government and named Donald Trump as the Russian Ambassador to the United States. Trump is expected to be in the US by tomorrow.

“It’s only a day away.”

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The Landlord

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Finch,

Congratulations on your two children learning to fly. As agreed, I provided free food for them to keep you from the welfare rolls. There is just one problem. You left a dirty nest in your condo loft, with poop hanging off it like smashed marshmallows. Additionally, my black car is doused with finch poop. Please note: If you don’t clean up the mess, there will be no nest lease next year. (Say “no nest lease next” five times fast.)

As for your sister and brother-in-law, Mrs. Finch, who have taken occupancy in yet another rental property above my car, and are building a nest, please advise them to keep the neighborhood clean. Also, though the young lovers perch on my shoulders and chirp at me like I was a grandpa, I will not finch sit. I am immune to cute.

Dear Mr. Red-tail Skink,

I have your lease ready to sign, for the small hole in my Kentucky coffee tree where you presently reside on a week-to-week basis. As agreed, I have lowered your rent in return for you acting as my pest control agent. I must advise you, sunning yourself on the hole’s rim is risky. A red-tail hawk frequently lands in that tree. The landlord does not assume responsibility if you choose to act like a reckless teenager. Speaking of which, this yard is a smoke free environment. Please smoke in the field across the highway.

Dear Carolina Wren Kid,

You rich punk rock wretch. You must stop singing loudly and bothering your neighbors immediately. We are not amused by your leaving wren porn pictures hanging from your nest. The Robins overheard you boasting that you have slept with over 1,000 wren-girls. Shame on you. This yard is not a brothel. Please advise those rouge-cheeked harlots of yours that they may not stand in the driveway and ask if anyone wants a “date.”

Dear Ms. Mockingbird,

The whole neighborhood knows that you are a music major at Southern Illinois University Aviary (SIUA). How could we not know? That you sing all the voice parts rather frenziedly, reveals you to be that diva we’d all like to kill. We have received complaints from the following unions: Crows, whippoorwills, starlings, red-winged blackbirds and white-capped sparrows.

You may like “La Traviata” at 4 am in the morning; the rest of us do not. Madam, take your “Violeta Valery” elsewhere, or I will call the authorities. The reviews are in. “Ms. Mockingbird lacks depth and vocal range.” Bird World “Her cadenzas scared my pussy.” Cat Fancy Magazine “The opera was over the minute that fat mockingbird sang.” Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

So, mock-mock-mock on heaven’s door somewhere else, or else!

Dear Fuzzy Cute Widdow Bunny Wabbit,

Get the fuck off my property.


Your Landlord

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A Picture at an Exhibition

Photographer Hilda Clayton was standing, camera at the ready. So, when a mortar explosion happened in front of her, she snapped the photo. She died one second later, alongside fellow soldiers, all of them training in live fire drills in Afghanistan. The mortar went off by accident, and the unwitting soldier/artist photographed her own death.

I am haunted by this story. A 22-year-old woman warrior from Augusta, Georgia, in the Combat Camera Company sees something most of us will never see. Did she experience a myriad of thoughts, in that second? Did she say I love you to a sweetheart? Did she call out her mother’s name?

Her family and the military have jointly released Hilda’s haunting image, four years after the incident. A soldier in front of her is flying up and away, hands over his ears. The scorching fire of the blast consumes his feet. Debris and flame and thick smoke fly straight at the camera. This was a training exercise. Are the deaths the worse for that?

All last night, I imagined Hilda Clayton’s final second on earth. All night, I lay awake and envisioned death hurling at me out of smoke and fire. Remember that old folk song, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” Judy Collins sang it to me, all night, in an endless loop. The cat kept waking and touching my face. I might have been singing.

That Hilda Clayton and all soldiers before her were brave, is unquestioned. But, from Upright Man 175,000 years ago, to now, the only thing that has changed are the weapons. We build museums honoring the millions of warriors of the thousands of wars. Is a museum merely a memorial, or is there a lesson to be learned as we ponder and remember our dead? The sum total of it all is not tragic in the classical sense. It is the way we are.

It is the way we are. Which explains Greek gods and Mayan chiefs and Hitler and our own terrorist George Rogers Clark.

Duty to whom? The main accomplishment of all wars is the massive deaths of those who fought in them. We wrap the coffins of our heroes in flags of all nations and call it patriotism. We sing praises and recite epic poems. We write memoirs and receive medals. To what end, other than the end of humanity?

The archaeologists of space/time, upon arriving on our barren planet, will unearth artifacts and enjoy whole careers figuring out the human race. They will come upon “Yossarian” and “Robert Jordan” and “Johnny” and “Candide,” and they might posit that we were mad. They will unearth Arlington and Antietam and Flanders fields and My Lai and the Vietnam Memorial, and they will judge us. They will see no difference between Huitzilopochtli the Sun God and the One True God. They will shake their heads in amusement at Western Civilization.

Hilda Clayton, soldier/artist, died for our sins. Flame engulfed her, and for a moment she was Our Sister of the Sun, and then her atoms rejoined the universe. We will never have the pleasure of doing business at Clayton Photography in Augusta.

“When will we ever learn?”

“We’d be disgraced forever. Mocked for generations if we cannot avenge our sons’ blood, and our brothers. Life would turn to ashes – at least for me; rather be dead and join the dead!” “The Odyssey”

The above might have been spoken by Henry Kissinger, but he’s still alive. He just killed our sons and daughters from his study chair.

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Wet Dreams

Six inches of rain fell yesterday, and more is coming down right now. Boats at Piasa Harbor were upended, and folks who lived alongside Piasa Creek now live in the creek. Farmer Orville’s son Mike showed me a video he shot of Asian carp trying to swim up swollen streams above the Illinois River. My driveway was a robin’s bathtub.

The St. Louis Cardinals have set a record for rainouts in April, more than in the last decade. It’s not just rain; more and more land is covered over by concrete and asphalt, and rain which would have once been absorbed in earth now forms mini creeks, all running into sewers which run into streams which empty into the Illinois, Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

I used to visit Alton from Chicago. On one of those trips it rained every day for four days. I drove to a spot where I often found Indian artifacts, and I hunted in the rain. In no time, my knapsack was full of fossil slabs and flint. And then I spotted a treasure, a beautiful Woodland era arrowhead stuck in the sand on the opposite bank of a creek that was flooding. I know this creek, I thought. I can wade across the flashflood and retrieve that arrow point.

I stepped in the water. And instantly sunk over my head. And boated along, trying to stay calm, the weight of my knapsack holding me under water. I hadn’t drawn a breath, and wood debris – logs and broken branches – banged into my body. Just as I succumbed to my drowning fate, a huge log boated over me and I grabbed it and hauled my head out and gasped for air and thanked about a hundred saints.

I saw a barbed wire fence up ahead stretching across the creek, so I grabbed it, my hands bloodied and face scoured, the log sailing on downstream. I clung to the fence and hauled myself across the shore. There would be a tetanus shot in my future, and some lectures from friends. I never got hold of that arrowhead.

There is the romance of rain. “The rain is falling on the just an the unjust alike but if I had the management of such affairs I would rain softly and sweetly on the just, but if I caught a sample of the unjust outdoors I would drown him.” Mark Twain “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” Langston Hughes “Some people feel the rain. Others get wet.” Bob Marley

How wet was it?

So wet, I handed out Saran Wrap raincoats for the songbirds; so wet that a family of possums begged to move in with me; so wet that earthworms were kayaking down the Sump Pump River; so wet I had to bleach my beard because of black mold; so wet that girls in yoga pants were covering their crotches with both hands.

It was so wet that bullfrogs built lean-tos to get out of the rain; so wet, my scalped squirrel had to make a campfire and heat his nuts; so wet, I caught a five-pound largemouth bass in my yard, so wet, a motor boat just whizzed past me on the highway; so wet Tina Turner rolled OUT of the river.

That’s how.

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After the Storm

I and my cat were sound asleep when my cell phone began beeping a storm alarm. A possible tornado was in the area. The sky turned purple. It might have been a biblical sand storm or a wave off Oahu, traveling at 45 miles per hour. Trees knelt east and dogwood petals blew straight down, covering the front yard like snow.

Lightning bolts ran like race horses and sliced up the Mississippi, striking high on the bluffs. The river was engorged. I switched between channels Four and Five, as the weather forecasters called out the storm line, Godfrey to Delhi to Brighton and on to Piasa and Fidelity. Channel Four pronounced the place names correctly. Channel Five said “Pee-ah-suh” instead of “Pie-uh-saw” and “Deli” instead of Dell-high.”

Emergency vehicles raced up and down Route 3. The epicenter of the storm was the border of Jersey and Madison counties, just two hundred yards from my driveway. Three firetrucks passed, going west.

Weather is not destructive enough to act as a cautionary tale for the human race. We have no predators, save for ourselves. Which is why we wage war. We need high body counts – I think whites secretly pray for high black body counts – to preserve the Aryan Way, the entrance to Walmart. There is nothing to preserve; memory is not history. If one walks three paces, one cannot return to the beginning, only retrace steps which are now future.

On Saturday, April 29, at 3:30 pm, my cat and I slept and were awakened by a storm. (I remember.) On Saturday, April 29, at 3:30 pm, my cat and I died from carbon monoxide poisoning. (It was painless.) On Saturday, April 29, at 3:30 pm, my cat and I played and chased each other around the house. (I recall.) On Saturday, April 29, at 3:30 pm, my cat and I caught mice in the field across the road. (Tasted like chicken.) On Saturday, April 29, at 3:30 pm, my cat and I practiced vocabulary. All of it happened. None of it happened. The storm was – n’t.

History, for the record, requires eyewitnesses, quotes. The eye is unreliable, quotes are reported words, words are symbols, memory is not history. We are dangling modifiers and musicians of a deaf universe. We were not, we are not, we will not be.

John Paul Sartre, John Rawls and John Cage walk into a bar and order vodka calamities with stuffed olives, no ice. The bartender is Pope John, the floor swabber is King John, the pool player is “Meet John Doe,” the juke box guy is John Boy. A tornado is coming. Rawls recites his theory of justice, Cage hits bar stools with a hammer, Sartre sings “A Little Help from My Friends.” The tornado blows up the bar, but these guys keep on envisioning.

Pope John calls last call and drops dead; John Rawls downs his vodka calamity with stuffed olives into his lungs, drowned as he sings his theory of “original position;” John Cage reaches nirvana by hitting himself in the head; “Meet John Doe” jumps into a urine puddle in the men’s room; King John falls on his broom handle; John Paul Sartre shouts, “Oh my god, I am dead,” and dies; John Boy says good night to himself – after the storm

And on the juke box, Miss Peggy Lee sings, “Is That All There Isn’t.”

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The sunbathing ribbon snake is draped across a pile of wood next to my storage shed. The snake is three feet long, thick and yellow striped, and its hot pink tongue flickers. I resist the urge to pick it up because of undue stress on the reptile. Ribbon snakes are docile and popular as pets, but I am content to be shelter and host. They eat crickets and other insects and tree frogs.

The hummingbird feeder has been hanging for days, with no takers. At noon, I take a break from writing and step outside, and notice that the feeder has had visitors. I stand in the window and watch. And wait.

On the Genehouse walk, I get a lightning strike of sciatic nerve pain in my right hip. I am only halfway up Stroke Hill, a mile to go to my house. I go on, limping badly, listening to the coming thunderstorm’s bombast. A black pickup truck ascends the road and stops. Would I like a ride? An older guy named Tom drives me to my home, seconds before the cloudburst slams down.

On the river, long undulating ribbons of white pelicans circle Scotch Jimmy Island, porcelain wings gleaming in the filtered sunlight. Great blue herons and snowy egrets ply the shallows and spear fish. In the trees, a murder of crows scream at an enemy, a hawk or an owl secreted in a fir tree. Whitecap ribbons weave between the island and the shore. The background color is hot pink, frost white – dogwoods and redbuds naked and sensuous. The music is spring peepers.

Along the River Road, ribbons of trash – beer cans, plastic bottles, tossed diapers, six pack rings – decorate the shoulders. The downside of birds is their inclination to litter, especially after downing a few Bud Lights.

My mother stands on the water in a shimmery spring dress, a carefree, freckled girl with her arms outstretched and pink dreamribbons woven into her hair. She seems to have forgotten that she drowned on this day in 1972. Now she lives on Ganymede, Jupiter’s moon with more water that is in Earth’s oceans, in a ribbon of moons.

And there are long, shivery dreamribbons of ants, spider webs, leaf veins, sassafrass bark, dandelion seeds, soldier’s medals, fungi, comets, the song of the mythical ash tree Yggdrasil: “our roots forever joined.”

For never.

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Gas v Bomb

We have learned today that gassing babies to death is worse than bombing babies to death. Assad has finally crossed the line. So long as he bombed babies to death, he was okay.

But when President Trump saw those writhing, gassed babies, he was moved to fire amber waves of million dollar missiles. Had he made a warrior’s decision, of course, he wouldn’t have warned Russia ahead of time, which then in turn warned the Syrians, which enabled them to move the scary stuff elsewhere.

We have learned that gassing babies to death is worse than starving babies to death in the Horn of Africa. Trump may or may not have seen tens of thousands of starving babies in Africa, but I’m cynical enough to believe he wouldn’t act no matter what.

We have learned from CNN, FOX, Nany Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham et al that Trump did a presidential thing, sure proof that gassing babies to death is far more terrible than starving babies to death. Sure.

And yesterday, we learned that Mormons in Utah have issued an emergency alert, that the white baby stock needs replenishing because babies of color are taking over.

To sum it up, babies are pawns.

President Trump appears to have made a spontaneous decision, based on watching gassed dead babies on television, to fire tens of missiles at a pre-warned secondary airfield in Syria.

Guess which stock went up today? Missile stock – of course. (I suspect that countless erections went up, too.) So, rich investors made money off a symbolic bombing because our leader, a thumb-sucking baby himself, saw bad stuff on the news.

If there was money in saving gassed and bombed and starved babies, if there was a dead baby stock on Wall Street that Betsy DeVos and her evil brother Prince, Eric, could buy, the dead baby rate would plummet.

Spontaneity is the new driving force. Logically, that puts the ultimate baby revenger, nuclear bombs, on the table. And finally, we have our Emperor with No Clothes who is willing to pull the trigger. That is a table at which I don’t wish to sit, but then I’m a Liberal, you know, all gooey inside.

Babies are pawns. Babies are pawns. Babies are pawns.

You alt-righters out there, gnashing your teeth and longing for ultimate orgasm – ’cause your old lady ain’t givin’ it to you no more – and the smell of napalm in the morning: Arise! Arm yourselves! Crusade your pale asses to Africa, Syria, Afghanistan, for God and country. Don’t be a TV moron – be a hero. Save the Babies!

Just don’t expect Trump to lead you into battle. Donald J. Trump is no more a leader than I am a clitoris.

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There are certain threads of our moral fabric that are so hidebound and sacred that even a tree hugger like me is devoted to those institutions. Football. Barbeques. Respecting elders. Family. Religion, with which I hold no truck, but I wouldn’t call for its demise – excepting Mike Pence and his First Church of Anal Christ.

But today, that institution of institutions is under attack, that foundation for prepubescent boys and star struck girls, and for men everywhere who dare to dream. I’m speaking of cheerleading, which is more American than apple pie, more wholesome than the Gilmore girls.

Coastal Carolina University has suspended its cheerleading squad, and not because those rascally young women snap each other’s butts with towels. The allegations include buying alcohol for underage athletes, paying others to do their homework. . . and prostitution. The school’s president, Dave DeCenzo, mysteriously added, “a long list of things.”

Okay. Buying alcohol for underage kids is a time-honored rite. Charge Dismissed! I’m not sure why cheerleaders are so busy that they can’t do their own homework. In my last year as adjunct freshman English instructor at DePaul University, I encountered many students who had clearly lifted material off the internet. So, Bad Girl. But, Charge Dismissed!

I know nothing about prostitution. I am reminded of a small Burt Reynolds movie, “Breaking In,” in which a professional burglar discovers a kid burglar already in the house. He takes the kid under his wing. One night, Burt orders two ladies to join them for sex. The next morning, the kid tells Burt he is in love and Burt tells the kid his girl was a prostitute. I’ve never paid for it, the kid says. Take it from me, kid, Burt replies. If you’re ever been involved with a woman you’ve paid for it one way or another.

Hey, Burt said it, I didn’t.

I thought about being a male prostitute in the 70s; money and action were my thing. But my priest, Father Brie Camembert, talked me out of it. Still, I lived my youth as a hippie hedonist, I just didn’t ask for cash.

As for the Coastal Carolina women, we weren’t there. I personally was home watching the naked “Game of Thrones” gals. It was on HBO, so it was art. I say, Charge Dismissed. Maybe take some classes on why boys are boys, and don’t hire someone to do your homework. You’ll be so repelled by men’s programmed brains, you won’t want to have sex ever again. And your girl pals will shame the crap out of you, which is punishment enough.

As for cheerleading, the institution is safe in a Trump administration. Starvation is okay, homeless okay, Mexicans get out okay, old people don’t need medicine, okay. But I am absolutely certain that cheerleading is safe – until impeachment. Trump loves cheerleaders, just don’t let him visit your locker room.

If any leader of cheers feels she needs sanctuary, Genehouse is here for you. To paraphrase Charleton Heston’s National Rife Association speech, you can pry my cheerleader out of my cold, dead hands.

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