Part Deux: The Legend of Mochi Mazer

Living with a hyperactive 12-13 week old Havapoo puppy named Mochi is an exercise in Barely Avoided Disasters…otherwise known as BAD. Even tho we scour the floors and living areas daily for health hazards and items forbidden to teeny tiny teething pups (basically everything), she still manages much like hardened criminals in prison to secretly acquire dangerous contraband and hide pieces of it in her cell, er I mean cage/crate. I’m talking about cleverly random but clearly hazardous items like a shirt button, a small shard of broken glass, a closed safety pin, a rubber band, pillow tags, and a punctured plastic sandwich bag. Is she planning an Alcatraz type escape attempt? Is she busy fashioning shivs and shanks late at night with her tiny razor sharp teeth and furry little paws while we sleep? One cannot know for sure with this miniature mastermind we call Mochi Mazer. What I can say for sure is that she remains utterly adorable while tempting fate and torturing us into questioning our fitness as puppy parents.

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Mochi Mazer the Adorable Havapoo and Criminal Mastermind Puppy

Once a quiet corner of whitewashed cabinetry and staggered kitchen tile now better known as Cell Block Z…home to one of the most incorrigible yet super cute toy puppies on the planet. Only the most adorable and alternately most vicious Hannibal Lecter like pups and serial escape artists are relegated to this Southwest Style Super Max canine correction facility in suburban Atlanta. Mochi Mazer is one of them.

On the outside an adorable ten week old miniature puffball and Toy Havapoo… but on the inside a scheming evil genius with the psychological manipulation skills to already dominate her sweet but gullible 10 year old Black Lab sibling Harmony either by making her 1) swallow her tongue like Miggs in the movie Silence of the Lambs 2) hand over her prized once a day dental stick or 3) just do her never ending adorable bidding…which includes consigning herself to being Mochi’s live chew toy 24/7.

Yes Mochi Mazer may only possess a 3 lb. canine body and a tiny puppy brain the size of a spanish walnut but she can already multitask like a criminal mastermind by plotting, executing and then covering up a brutal physical assault on a peace loving Pooh Bear stuffed animal all while still looking incredibly cute. Imagine being able to do that while simultaneously whining and begging for human food like pancakes and bacon that she has never even tried and certainly isn’t allowed to eat. The crime in question was committed swiftly and without mercy using extreme cunning and apex predator instincts on par with an adult Velociraptor as depicted in Jurassic Park. Clever Girl.

To wit: Yesterday Mochi “I want pancakes and bacon” Mazer ripped Winnie The Pooh’s stuffed animal face off even as He/she/them/Pooh sat on the bedroom floor silently pondering Existential philosophy and Zen Buddhism. Like Travis the enraged benzo-addicted alcoholic chimpanzee that tore visitor Charla Nash’s face off just for fun, Mochi Mazer pounced on Pooh and in a short time left him both non-sentient and without many of his well known highly recognizable facial features. Thanks to modern reconstructive surgery and Dollar Store superglue Winnie will recover to live a normal Disney animal lifespan but is destined to suffer lifelong physical and psychological scars including Complex Toy Story PTSD. Mochi Hannibal Havapoo Mazer on the other hand and much like the notorious honey badger in the YouTube viral video “just dont care” and “dont give a shit”.

Even now she is looking adorably cute as others slave away picking up her stinky poop, wiping up her little pee puddles with truckloads of valuable paper towels, laying down hundreds of square feet of overlapping doggie diaper pads, and fruitlessly attempting to fix a growing list of household items and valuables that Mochi breaks, bites, and tears into a million pieces just for puppy fucks. Tune in for future episodes exploring the devious mind and endlessly antisocial behavior of Mochi Mazer.

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CaptCliff Channels Captain Kirk

Stardate 5.2.2021: Some time after leaving the Trillium5 galaxy cluster around Stardate year 2003 we passed through a Lorentzian wormhole and spatial anomaly completely unknown to the Federation and reemerged in 2021 AD, a parallel universe and confounding dimension in space-time that resembles our home planet but on closer inspection seems to be a twisted version of Earth, one in which life is less like “a box of chocolates” and more like an uber demented Reality TV show…a kind of hyper exaggerated mock-up of human life at it’s ethical and moral trickle-down worst.

For example, simple logic and critical thinking appear to be nonexistent among a vast number of the planet’s current inhabitants. Contentious personal opinions and highly polarized viewpoints seem to be the norm. For a relatively advanced species living in a technological modern age it’s difficult to understand why these people choose to believe in absurd unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and endorse medical and scientific quackery versus proven science. Mr. Spock finds it “fascinating” but I frankly want to just punch them in the throat. Alternatively, former drug addicts and college dropouts like the My Pillow guy are considered to be a trusted source of high level political and military intelligence. In similar fashion, popular people on social media called “influencers”are perceived as highly credible authorities even while they spout disproven theories, false innuendo and scientific nonsense.

After beaming down to the planet surface our crew attempted to engage the inhabitants in civil conversation and open dialogue to find answers to these vexing questions. It quickly became an exercise in futility. First Uhura was “cancelled” by a rabid crowd of college students for not signing a petition to denounce every “former and future” US President and for not filing both civil and sexual harassment charges against Gene Rodenberry. Spock went insane and had to be physically restrained after initiating a mind-meld with a MAGA hat wearing Baby Boomer dressed like Paul Revere. We left as quickly as we could after our Chief medical officer McCoy was forcibly restrained and branded by Qanon supporters with a makeshift branding iron that said “Fauci Lies”. Near the end we were forced to employ phasers as we held off wave after wave of radicalized Evangelicals and insurrectionists wearing buffalo hats with horns and Confederate Civil War uniforms. It was only on our safe return to the Enterprise that we learned that Donald Trump not only had been the duly elected president of the United States (which seemed wholly implausible) but that he was also planning to be “reinstated shortly”even after having lost the following election by a wide margin. Total chaos seemed inevitable.

Not withstanding the Federation’s Prime Directive to never interfere with the natural development of any civilization, the mere thought of these life forms someday discovering warp drive and being able to propagate their species while going where “no man has gone before” is a frightening as well nauseating proposition far more troubling and difficult to ponder than the Kobayashi Maru Starfleet training exercise. Talk about a galactic no-win situation….

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Quantum Balidity

Quantum Balidity: There are earth shattering realizations and scientific breakthroughs like say Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Then there are powerful insights that finally and definitively answer certain questions that have dogged humanity for eons… however long an eon might be. Today I answered a persistent personal question I’ve had about my iPhone for maybe less than an eon but longer than I care to admit. In fact it bugged the living shit out of me. Why could i NEVER EVER type the word “valid” or “validity” correctly on the first, second or third try even tho I am a one index finger text typer?? Why would it always come out “balidity” or “”balid”? What the hell is wrong with this phone keyboard?? Could it be that I unconsciously miss my timeless stressless vacations to Bali?? Psychologists need to write, type, text and say the word valid a lot as in, “Your feelings seem totally valid… and our time is about up…” or “the theory is reasonably sound and demonstrates rather robust face validity”. Ok, luckily I don’t have to say or type that last part very often anymore…

Bottomline: I’m lying in bed text typing at twilight and I finally got to see the back (palm side) of my hand and typing finger.

Eureka! God I’m dumb sometimes.

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Election Update 2020: Insomnia Edition

ELECTION NEWS WARNING: While we wait with bated breath for final final for sure for sure election results and lest we experience the urge to indulge our collective bloodlust now almost four years in the making, let us remember this. We’re all human beings with our own character flaws and weaknesses. Nobodys perfect …not even President Trump even tho he keeps saying he is perfect over and over. Having persistent thoughts or florid fantasies of Donald Trump stripped down to his whitey tighties and unceremoniously booted from the White House are quite normal…all things considered. Were only human to have such talionic thoughts. Similarly, imagining Donald Trump blind-folded, duct taped, and rubbed head to toe with bloody red meat and rotten fish heads before being released into a pristine wilderness teeming with wolves and grizzy bears is also not necessarily “wrong” or “bad” or even all that abnormal…especially if the fantasy happens to include a National Park that POTUS planned to turn into a multi-use condo complex and Trump Tower. Such creative daydreams are often cathartic and possibly even therapeutic. Perhaps like myself you recently found yourself alternating between watching endless hours of CNN election return “news alerts” and simultaneously envisioning Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller in greasy rags rather than expensive slim fit designer suits being hunted down like rabid dogs and chased through the streets of Washington DC like Muammar Gaddafi. Unusual? Perhaps. Illegal, immoral or unhealthy? Not really.

As a psychologist I can assure you that part of the closure process towards achieving full body and mind reconciliation and radical forgiveness is eliminating judgement of self. That would include freeing ones mind and releasing the accumulated trauma induced “pain body” to go exactly where it needs to go …such as mindfully meditating on an image of unrestrained mobs of bank lenders, dissatisfied creditors, homeless people, Anthony Fauci with a meat cleaver , Hillary Clinton, the Squad, the Hulk, the IRS and 100 lottery winning metoo activists all descending upon the Oval Office with the expressed purpose of taking their respective pound of flesh.

That said, if you have followed my nearly defunct CaptCliff blog or read my imaginary 12 volume psychobiography of Donald Trump you would also know and remember to NEVER EVER EVER underestimate Donald Trump or his uncanny ability to get out of a tough spot whether its avoiding a full congressional impeachment, a maximum security prison sentence, touching someones kitty cat without permission, paying income tax like regular people, or winning and then losing a major presidential election against all odds. He is the guy in the movie who can appear to be hopelessly trapped and completely surrounded but then while pretending to negotiate his own surrender suddenly pivot on a dime and escapes, usually by using a friend, a foe, his own mother, a helpless baby or Mitch McConnell as a human shield. Once in the clear he is then likely to release a swarm of litigous lawyers with specious lawsuits like Air Force One deploying drones and antiaircraft chaff to thwart any and all attacks including out of office criminal complaints, sex assault charges and multiple unpaid parking tickets and alimony notifications.

Bottomline: what we all need to do at this sweat-filled juncture is to take a deep cleansing yoga breath, stay cool, and wait. This thing is STILL not over and we dont even know if this half man half honey badger incumbent president is going to leave. However, What we do know is that he is armed and dangerous, extremely clever, and very likely pumped up on steroids, junk food, diet coke and hydroxychloroquine. As a result, in the current circumstance and with his reptilian “back to the wall” the Trumpster is at his most desperate best and worst. He needs someone and/or something to blame and thanks to Hitler the Jews are already taken. He may well also be in a kind of crazed Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now type unstable mental state. Even cannibalism in the embattled White House is not out of the question. Besides hating to lose one thing is certain and that is that the accidental president of the United States woke up on Friday November 6, 2020 in a really lousy mood only to be told that Georgia, my adopted home state had turned blue. As a result and with many things still in doubt we CAN say with absolute certainty he is not only shitting bricks as we speak but is also more pissed off and ornery than an ill-tempered rattlesnake who’s been rousted from his feathered nest and repeatedly poked with a sharp blue stick, or to be more precise many different sticks by many people of various rainbow colors.

PS. This moment in time is reminiscent of certain similar situations and iconic scenes in history and cinema. Here is one such video that’s been cleverly adapted with dialogue and closed captions to the exact momentous moment that we and Donald Trump find ourself in….

https://youtu.be/71MPsqS7tCkhttps://youtu.be/71MPsqS7tCk

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My 2020 Presidential Election Confession

Forgive me Father WordPress for I have not been to confession for a very long time….

Morning thought: I dont want to be right about this but my bad vibe based on a combination of things over time (and even more so lately) is that even tho its not what the pre voting polls suggest ( which show Biden at least slightly ahead in most states) I’m thinking/fearing Trump will pull off this presidential election much like he did in 2016. There are just too many disparate groups of belligerent anti Biden voters comprised of a heterogeneous hodge podge of apocalyptic doomsday cults, golden shower Sex and Satan worshippers, celebrity jocks, crazed football fans in body paint and loincloths and floridly psychotic pick-up truck driving good old boys with meth mush for brains but legal concealed carry permits and voting privileges. This partial list of handpicked Trump supporters alone have inconceivably come together to re-elect Donald Trump and are willing to say so on and off the record and without even getting pranked by Borat. I even know a few well educated nice people, fellow suburbanites with respectable lawns and fully paid up HOA dues who can express one or two reasonably intelligent thoughts who freely admit that the Donald is likely impotent as well as a horses ass but are still voting for him. Watching, reading, and thinking like a psychologist (or more specifically an FBI profiler of psychopaths, serial killers and predatory rapists) and then quite recently, having creepy dreams about dead crows and a red tsunami makes me fear (if not yet fully accept) that there might just be too many law and order lunatics, complete and total idiots, robotic Republicans who somehow lost their soul and private parts over the last four years, Covid crazy Cartman-in-the-basement Q-anon conspiracy theory dumbasses, White House wannabes, anti-antifa anti-socialist/socialism closet fascists, racist peri-menopausal Karens, tunnel-visioned evangelicals, extreme right wing Jews, Old school American isolationists, American flag waving red hat wearing nationalistic nutbags, Confederate flag waving automatic weapon bearing anti liberal everythings (ALE), Neo-nazi White Power militant bozos, clueless and “proud of it” Covid and Climate Change deniers, wealthy stock market dependent corporate junkies, golf-playing high income execs, finance and investment bank opportunists, and finally strangely confused and misinformed former immigrants (especially Hispanic Americans), etc. ———————————————————————————————Donald Trump may well be a dirty dog malignant narcissist but he’s also kind of a genius at rallying together and then herding his flock like a morbidly obese border collie on steroids…which having tested positive for Covid he might well be taking (translation: hooked on) and has administered before each longwinded mask-free rally by his preferred medical team the demon witch doctor lady and Dr. Morell, er I mean Dr. Atlas the chiropractic radiologist without portfolio or resume. Trump seems outwardly foolish but excels at collecting divergent fools and vulnerable sycophants and then getting each and every one of them to believe that his main opponent (Biden, Harris, etc.) are the EXACT thing they most hate or fear…..just like he did to Crooked Hillary. He’s also a prototypical bully. By all accounts George Bush should have had the balls to come out publicly against Trump by now but he wont (part Bush family values like decency and decorum and part fear/intimidation if Trump should win). Obama on the other hand was free to hit 3-pointers all day long but may have also remained on the bench a bit too long and too late into the 4th quarter even if Biden held a consistent and substantial lead in the polls. Hillary much? Hitler much? Joseph McCarthy much? ——————————————————————————————-Personally I think Biden kept silent (or was kept silent, bound and gagged in his own basement) for too long which was a reasonable early strategy given his tendency to fuck up and say stupid shit as well as the prevailing belief that Trumps forked tongue , foul mouth, bad hair and covid complicity would do enough damage to the general publics confidence in him by November (if not among his Waffen SS thoroughly propagandized fans then at least to undecided and independent voters). However, by not having enough time to demonstrate himself as a competent but not incontinent dementia-free person/personality and well-informed politician-leader (and not just Obama’s older white guy VP sidekick) he gave the big mouth/foul mouth Trump unlimited time to demonize both him and his wayward son Hunter and then throw their cursed and mutilated body parts like so much red meat to all the hate and fear groups and carnivorous individuals listed above. I think nearly everyone would agree including most of Trump’s White House aides, cabinet members, military generals and West Wing staff that President Trump is a truly a “win at all costs” hypercompetitive combatant and no doubt soulless snake oil salesman. He’s like the Wizard of Oz crossed with a ravenous and rabid honey badger. Not only does he have small hands, sharp claws and “just not care” (no f#%ks given) but he will tell you anything you want to hear while simultaneously sizing you up for his Ed Gein/Buffalo Bill skull and skin trophy room at the White House. Ok, that’s it. I just had to get this out and pray that I’m wrong because if im right… it will be ugly and the Covid19 virus will still not “just like a miracle go away” …..even if the liar-in-chief said we are rounding some invisible totally made up corner much like his corner-less invisible border wall that he just told his frostbitten virus-laden followers is “almost finished” (sound of wild cheering and dry coughs). Sorry for the depressing essay but i needed to tell someone….and confess fully for not keeping this mirth and irony infused blog going. Just like Jeff Goldblum in the original Jurassic Park movie I “hate it when I’m right” about such monumental moments and chaos theory inspired quantum entangled historical predictions. This time a really really hope I’m dead wrong.

PS. On November 16, 2016 I wrote a CaptCliff blog entitled “How Trump Beat Clinton in Game of Thrones Politics. It also implicitly and imperfectly compared some of Donald Trump‘s personality traits to Julius Caesar and suggested how some of these alpha male power and success-oriented characteristics might explain his annoying ability to avoid prison and win hotly contested presidential elections completely devoid of frontal lobe executive function and genuine empathy.

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My Sad Starbucks Story

A tall sweet young man who worked at my favorite local Starbucks (Abernathy Square) was run over and killed by a drunk driver early this morning.  He was riding his bike on the way to work around 4 or 5 AM. A coworker found him crumpled by the side of the road dead. The inebriated driver apparently temporarily fled the scene but later turned herself in to the Sandy Springs police and is under arrest. I found this out this morning when I drove to Starbucks for my morning ritual breakfast order, ie., “Hey hi, tall Pike’s coffee, room for cream, and a reduced turkey bacon sandwich please..”. 

His name was Marten and he was only 29 years old. Marten greeted me by my first name every single time I walked or stumbled in looking for my caffeine fix.  He struck me as a tad quiet but also seemed very smart, courteous and genuine. By genuine I mean his smile felt natural, real and not at all forced. By smart I mean one of those hard-to-find food and beverage employees who know how to keep the line moving and who remain positive and pleasant even if I’m a total jerk due to lack of sleep, old age, stress, schizophrenia or caffeine withdrawal. In addition, Marten (much like Allen the laid-back but hardworking store manager) was able to put up with my eccentric personality and quirky CaptCliff ways that include my tendency to make a ginormous mess at the cream and sweetener kiosk. I admit to being THAT GUY who cluelessly hogs the space while “doctoring up” their proprietary Starbucks beverage to get it “just the way they like it”. I also admit to sometimes leaving more spilled liquid, straws, sticks, Splenda and vanilla powder for Marten and others to clean up than the disgusting messes drugged-out disco patrons left in Studio 54’s bathroom stalls in the 1980s. I’ve already done a full Mea Culpa in a previous blog for also having swiped tons of Splenda and a small kilo-sized amount of those worthless but supposedly healthier for you Stevia packages. Plus, Stevia cant be all that healthy for you if it takes about 80 packets to make your coffee sweet enough. 

 

Like mindful meditation which I cant do very well due to rampant ADHD and chronic “spilkes” (see Yiddish) there is something calming and wholly reassuring in having a satisfying daily routine like going to Starbucks in the late morning and speed reading the front section of the New York Times on the stores newspaper stand without actually paying for it like normal people.  In my opinion, this particular Starbucks is notable for it’s ability (given its uber-suburban demographic) to do good work (professionalism) while still maintaining a very non-judgmental do-your-own-thing vibe. The good vibes and general sense of acceptance I am referring to seems to be present at this location no matter how quirky, weird, or different someone might seem to be. Such inclusivity and good humor stands in stark contrast to just about every single recent news article I’ve read for free off that newspaper stand. Furthermore, I remember hearing Marten joking and riffing with other employees behind the barista counter so i suspect he was not just a good guy and good employee but probably had a decently dry sense of humor and quick wit as well. What I didn’t know was that he was Dutch and was married. I also didnt know that Marten’s parents live in the Netherlands and that at the same time I was blown away hearing the devastating news about his senseless death they were still possibly not aware of what had happened to their tall slim good-natured son… who also happens to be the same exact age as one of my own sons.

 

As a father and not as a psychologist or faux pirate web blogger I felt and still feel absolutely awful thinking about Marten’s wife and family and how unbearably bad their day was about to become. Of course I felt even worse pondering my own not-so-very-perfect Narcissistic Starbucks Customer Personality Disorder (NSCPC) including my shameful caffeine junkie reaction when I first saw that the store was closed, ie.,”Shit! What the hell? I need my damn double tall cappuccino!!” Thankfully and graciously (especially for a monster-sized global corporation) Starbucks district managers were there along with a few others to inform customers about the tragedy and assure everyone that the store would reopen tomorrow. 

 

I know I’m not the only Morning Joe coffee customer or restaurant patron who has developed a certain special closeness and family-like feeling towards the ever smiling, ever kind and memorable apron-wearing people in their lives. Somewhat surprising even to myself, however, was that I actually cried like a baby today and got really mad thinking about Marten, his wife, his family, as well as the folly and stupidity of drunk driving. I also thought about  the rest of the staff that now have to collectively pick up the shattered pieces of this young man’s life lost for no goddamn good reason. I guess I’m thinking not just about Marten but about myself and my family too and how there has to be a better way to go on “in good conscience” when terrible things happen like this.  I know I cant solve all the thorny complicated social issues like alcoholism, drunk driving, and everything else that I see and read about at Starbucks, on the 24/7 cable television news or online. But today I just want to think and “mindfully meditate” about Marten. I especially want to understand and acknowledge who he is/was and what he represented in my normally self-absorbed privileged older white guy suburban life. In a world of people blaming each other for anything and everything, people like Marten are working hard, quietly pursuing goals in their life and not complaining. They ride their bike to work and get the job done. These are the unsung heroes and in many ways represent the under appreciated fundamentally “good people” in the world who are gracious enough, humble enough and patient enough to greet us all “equally” with warmth and genuine humanity…. and then serve us warm (or icy cold) drinks and warm crusty croissants and/or turkey bacon sandwiches just as promised… even if we the “paying customers” are grumpy as heck, haven’t shaved or showered yet or are just plain quirky as hell. I miss Marten already.

https://dm2.gofund.me/in-memory-of-marten


Courtesy FOX 5

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. – A man riding a bike was hit and killed by a drunk driver without a license Wednesday morning in Georgia.

FOX 5 reports it happened around 5 a.m. on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs.

Police say a woman was driving without a license and hit and killed Marten Bijvank, 29, as he was riding his bike along the road. Investigators believe the woman was driving under the influence of alcohol.

Police identified the woman as Antoinette Battle. She faces felony vehicular homicide and DUI charges.

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I guess I was right about Marten. This made me cry even more:   https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/gwinnett-county/pedestrian-hit-on-roswell-road-in-sandy-springs/967708237

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My Happy New Year/Hanukkah Prostate Miracle

Besides being the Jewish winter holiday meant to obscure the fact that Christmas is way more fun, Hanukkah (Festival of Lights) is the story of a 2000 year old military victory, a holy temple’s re-dedication and an unexplainable miracle of sorts in the long-storied history of the Jews. Without resorting to actual facts (such as there being no collaborating evidence of any kind supporting the existence of such a miracle), it is a quasi-religious holiday reminding the faithful that “great and wondrous things can and do happen” (Nes Gadol Haya Sham) and that human resilience and steadfastness is deeply rooted in ones belief in God.  In this case we’re referring to Yahweh, the monotheistic deity in the Old Testament that you REALLY  dont want to mess with because he can get in a super gnarly bad mood and turn you into a pillar of salt or smote your ass faster than you can say Santa, schmaltz, or “pass the potato latkes please”.  What does this have to do with my prostate gland ? Good question. One thing is for certain, as portrayed in the Coen Brothers movie, A Serious Man. Everything (at least theoretically) is uncertain  (see below).

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In general, it’s been a rough year for CaptCliff and family, one in which I pretty much decided to pull back from social media, friends, political pundits, etc. to introspect and wait for the End Times (Rapture) partly just to see which way my eternal soul was headed, ie. “Omg, Jesus Christ, hey hi……listen I SWEAR to you I always thought you were the real deal!! I’m really spiritually “Independent”, more like a Bu-Jew but I’ve seen Jesus Christ Superstar at least 5 times and…..” (sound of fire and hellish screaming of tortured souls and eternally Damned in the background) and partly because of various age related medical problems that keep reminding me that my physical body, much like my obscure writing, will soon enough be a mummified relic of a life lived, well, pretty quirkily. I dont regret this voluntary withdrawal because I always learn something new. For example, I found out that NOT watching the wholly distorted and dissonant cable news channels cleared up my reoccurring headaches and itchy athletes foot condition. That alone was worth it. However more serious maladies lurked in the periphery of my mind and body. No, I’m not going to let you see into my deranged head space and narcissistically inclined noggin. I’m saving that shit for the CaptCliff Limited Edition (LE) leather bound (self published) set of my pirate blogs. I’m talking about my prostate. If you don’t know what that is……just google it or ask Siri the annoying know-it-all bitch. The bottomline is that a lot of guys my age have “enlarged” prostates which means multiple pee breaks in the middle of the night and/or long laborious urinary failures-to-launch in crowded public restrooms, ie. “Hey buddy are you gonna piss already or are you going to just wait all day for a small fire to put out?”  Still, the aforementioned is no more than mild to moderately annoying and once you do look it up online you can expect endless target advertising and robocalls from every single adult diaper manufacturer and catheter company on the planet… literally for the rest of your life. This much I know. What I didn’t know then was about my PSA score.

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The PSA test is a well established screening blood test to determine prostate cancer risk. When that particular test result goes up over a certain level and stays elevated it’s time to raise the Defcon cancer warning color flag to orange or possibly even red. My PSA test this year was significantly elevated three times in a row. A very attractive female Urology specialist at Emory confirmed my enlarged prostate by digital exam and I thanked her for her soft touch and gentle demeanor. I was frankly expecting something more like Dr. Pol the TV veterinarian sticking his entire arm up a cow’s ass to remove some random bowel obstruction. Anyways, I was worried I had prostate cancer. I went from worrying about my sagging jowls, arthritis and degenerating cervical disk to thinking maybe I was gonna die or worse yet be forced to watch as this faux pirate’s once shiny saber lost it’s competitive edge. At worst, like Blackbeard’s flagship the Queen Ann’s Revenge, I imagined the last vestiges of my vitality and metaphoric manhood unceremoniously run aground and left to rot on a coastal sandbar.

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Long story short….. recently, on the last day of Hanukkah I went back to my new Obamacare and Medicare super-nice older Russian Jewish lady internist to discuss treatment “strategies” including a number of advanced imaging and biopsy procedures. I was already scheduled for a special Prostate MRI scan in January 2019. She suggested another follow-up PSA blood test first just to see if any significant changes had occurred and in passing said, “Dont forget no sex or ejaculation for 48 hours before because it can artificially elevate the PSA score.” I did YE OLDE pirate double-take at the door on the way out (what I used to call “doorknob insights” in my clinical practice) and responded, “Wait, what? Nobody told me about that before. Does masturbation count as sex because besides making bamboo peace pipes in my pirate basement it’s my primary hobby in semi-retirement.” Dr T patiently looked up from my by-now-voluminous medical file and patient notes and said, “Yes it can significantly alter your test result. They should have told you that before.” Bottomline: after several false starts and a tremendous display of physical self-restraint on my part I managed to make it (barely) 48 hours without resorting to my mindful masturbation psuedo-zen practice and retook the PSA test. A couple days ago the results came back. It was normal.  Russian lady doctor said I dont need the zillion dollar Futurama George Jetson prostate MRI or Medieval catheterization procedure involving someone fly fishing up my private parts. It’s a damn Happy New Year/Hanukkah Prostate miracle.

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Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who made miracles for our forefathers in those days at this time.

On the first night only, you’ll also say the Shehecheyanu blessing:

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, shehekheyanu, v’kiyamanu vehegianu lazman hazeh.

Blessed are You, O Lord Our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season Amen.

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The Uncertainty Principle (from A Serious Man):

 

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Hoarders Nightmare

IMG_3072Look I know it’s Thanksgiving but sometimes you just gotta say what’s on your mind. Dont you just hate it when people know you’re a hoarder and you try like hell to keep it on the “down low” but it still manages to reveal itself in all it’s ugly full-monty obsessive-compulsive glory anyways? A little like Ralph Fiennes the lunatic serial killer in the movie Red Dragon who cant help but show his total cray-cray to the trash tabloid writer played by Philip Seymour Hoffman,  “Do you see? Do You See??”
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Here’s the thing: I have like 43 pairs of cheap flip-flips from over the years but there are really only about 20 or so that are actual matched sets. I keep hoping the twenty plus missing foam rubber slippers will wander in on their own someday, dirty and disheveled like a gritty survivor from “How I Survived” or Elizabeth Smart after living 9 months with some hairy middle-aged child molester in his gross perv bunker. I realize thats a rather odd metaphor for a missing shoe but let’s quickly move on… At least 8-10 of the remaining singles in my closet are either worn down to the approximate thinness of a cheap slice of Kraft American cheese or have broken toe-straps that are glued back on with shoe goop and plastic ties from Home Depot. Don’t judge me…yet.
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Today I decided to boldly go where I have never really gone before. I decided to PURPOSELY throw out a single sandal that was one of my favorites. I thought perhaps it wanted to be tossed out or more accurately “let go” since I sensed it felt that life was not worth living without its “sole mate”. Side note to Editor: Sorry Leslie but Im using quotation marks there because that’s some clever wordplay right there and people nowadays are, well, slow-witted due to trickle down stupidity syndrome (TDSS).  Anyways I did it (the dirty deed) and I did it with Blackbeard pirate like panache. I told people who know me and my “quirkiness” (code for insanity) I was going to do it and I even took a dramatic selfie by the garbage can outside. This was a one-and-done deal you should know because I forget to take my trash up to the street quite often. That means the stuff in the big green rolling plastic waste containers outside are basically nuclear sludge and even the fruit flies and maggots die within milli-seconds once  in contact with the decrepit contents.  I know….super ewww.  So after throwing away my favorite orphan sandal I took a victory lap up the street of the subdivision and around the neighborhood cul de sac.  I know that sounds overdramatic but if you’ve watched Hoarders or Hoarders Buried Alive you would know throwing away anything from inside ones hoarder house (including dead squirrels, dog poop and 12 year-old moldy Oreos) is near to impossible. That’s because there are zero executive decision-making grey matter or frontal lobes left in the demented hoarder person’s head. Collecting too much crap has rotted our neural networks and fried our brain circuitry like my mother’s butter and schmaltz sautéed matzo brei. Sorting our socks or cleaning out a refrigerator is like asking us to do quantum physics. The other dirty secret of hoarding is that we often form unusual personal relationships with our possessions. It’s kind of like having imaginary friends in childhood that you talk to except in this case you are conversing with your 45 year-old Frye hiking boots from Boulder Colorado that still fit and remind you of a thousand sweet memories from the past.
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So here comes the good part. After Captain Cliff strolled up the street and back like Julius Caesar returning victorious from Gaul and then proudly entering Imperial Rome by chariot to the cheers of thousands… I decided to double down and go through a pile of old clothes that has sat on the floor of my master closet for about 8 months. Hint: When a hoarder says “8 months” that really probably means closer to 8 years but he avoids overt derision and humiliation by dividing everything by 10. Wait, is that math correct? See I told you our brain is mush. Whatever.  The point is I was on a self-confidence roll and actually thought I would be able to give up clothes in my “skinny” pile, my “semi-skinny” pile and especially in my “I cant believe I was ever THAT fat” pile. Well guess what? As I shifted the pile and started the Keep versus Throw game, ie. “Throw, Keep, Throw, Keep, Keep, Keep, Go eat sandwich, Give Up, etc.”, I spotted something near the bottom that looked suspiciously familiar. It was the errant single flip flop, the prodigal heel and nowhere-to-be-found footwear returned. It looked at me like Harry the Dirty Dog before getting his final suds-filled bath and whimpered innocently,  “Hi, where’s my twin brother? I miss him so much.”  I could have plotzed.
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Look I realize I’ve drawn out this stupid story to a ridiculous degree and most people are more interested in finding a place to throw up after eating too much Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing or are driving the deserted streets of some nameless metropolitan suburb looking for an open store to buy a roll of Tums and half gallon of Pepto Bismol…. but i had to tell someone what a worthless piece of hoarder’s dog doo-doo I am. That’s right. I literally went out to the garbage can barefoot (I suppose subconsciously as penance for my sin) and tried to see if I saw the flip flop that I had so callously abandoned and naively thrown out with the biohazardous trash. Of course one quick look and the slightest whiff of the garbage du jour was enough to send me back inside reeling and wretching uncontrollably. Basically I lied and told the other sandal that he was toast and that his partner had disappeared and was never ever coming back. Then when his grieving insole was looking the other way I put him out of his misery as well. Maybe this is what they call aversive conditioning in behavioral psychology. I just know I aint putting up with that much shit from a cheap ass piece of footwear. Plus, it’s almost time for Black Friday and there’s a thousand more things that I really dont need on sale.
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The Family Dollar Store

Today I did something I’m a bit ashamed to admit. So, instead of quietly pondering my transgression I’ll just tell everyone in the entire universe on social media and on my impenetrable (to human understanding) WordPress blog. For some reason, out of sheer boredom, morbid curiosity or possibly because it only cost one dollar I purchased a plastic plumbing “drain snake” at the Family Dollar store. These are the odd serpentine shaped thingies that people use to get accumulated hair and random gunk out of sinks, shower drains and other inaccessible or unmentionable places. I think my doctor may have used something very similar to it during my colonoscopy exam last month. It certainly felt that way the next day….

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Let me explain to you something about dollar stores.These are places I frequent quite often regardless of whether I actually need anything. In fact it’s best to go there when one is feeling naively content and self-sufficient. That way it’s more startling to discover that you’ve been living your entire life without fundamental equipment and essential products like green styrofoam cubes for holding fake flowers, reading glasses that cause vertigo, blindness and hemiplegic migraines and Australian licorice that doubles as a highly effective bowel cleaner in the form of subsequent explosive diarrhea. As if great white sharks, crocodiles and venomous snakes aren’t hazardous enough they also have licorice which can kill you down under. Actually the dollar store also has branded bowel cleanser tablets that double as a source of non-digestible fiber and a plethora of quasi pharmaceutical products that would cost a fortune anywhere else. I enjoy using the word plethora, dont you? 

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So how is this even possible? What i mean is how can a humble dollar store in Atlanta Georgia or in Bumfuck North Carolina or probably even in Idaho (I dont know any actual cities there) sell Ibuprofen, anti- vaginal itch topical cream, iPhone headphones, battery powered chainsaws (ok, that’s a lie) and 5 gallon jugs of lavender scented laundry detergent all for a dollar?? Is it mercantile magic, Freakonomics sleight of hand, or some undiscovered quantum universe/time warp that causes every item in the dollar store to regress to the price of everything including automobiles in 1910 (or possibly earlier)?   I really have no idea. I just know I’m not coming out of there without a whole lot of stuff I dont want, use or really need. Super glue and those watch battery run fake candles are two examples of things I apparently cant survive very long without.
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Here’s the thing. I’m convinced I start my dollar store shopping trips in a conservative manner and with an appropriate even hesitant shopper mentality. Once inside the front door I purposely pick up the conveniently located plastic carry basket with sturdy handles much like the one Dorothy carried in the Wizard of Oz. At that point I’m carefully scanning the store perimeter and thinking to myself, “who the hell needs a big rolling grocery cart in here?” Sadly, ten short minutes later I’m practically skipping down the store aisles like the Scarecrow without a functioning brain or the Tin Man high on trailer park meth and probably lacking executive decision making skills due to ingesting too many poppy flowers. I say this because as an experienced Clinical Psychologist I know it’s not normal for me to be scooping up bundles of unnecessary $1 items off corrugated metal shelves and transferring them by forklift into a rented flatbed truck from Lowes. Apparently, the non-psychologist in me is saying to my over-stimulated brain, “Hey for a dollar how can I go wrong even if I don’t currently need a pregnancy test or multiple sets of ovulation indicator strips?” Nevermind that I had a vasectomy a zillion years ago and lack ovaries of any kind. Speaking of narcotics, in another dollar store  I recently witnessed grown men in wife beater T-shirts fighting over bottles of “nighttime” cold medicine and flu syrup,  allergy pills and “energy” tablets with not so subtle names like Dezadrine. Kinda makes me wonder if “purple drank” the popular ghetto cocktail and rapper beverage du jour that contains alcohol, cough syrup, grape soda and possibly drano was invented in a dollar store by unusually imaginative drug addicts and/or aspiring musicians. 
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It’s kind of ironic because I remember as a kid watching a certain TV game show called “Supermarket Sweep”. It was a remarkably stupid but seductive television program in which grocery store shoppers competed with one another by attempting to get the most “valuable” store items into their oversized grocery carts in a limited amount of time. The clever contestants sprinted for the most expensive products like porterhouse steaks and massive frozen butterball turkeys while displaying abject disdain towards common but necessary store goods like paper towels or toilet paper. Free enterprise capitalism was fully on display in Supermarket Sweep circa 1967. But that was then and this is now. In the family dollar store circa 2018, much like Millennial minded socialism and theoretical communism the consumer playing field and shopping arena is perfectly level and does not vary one iota. Unlike the darkly brilliant Three Dog Night song from 1969 entitled “One”, one is NOT the loneliest number that you’ll ever see or do. In fact, $1 is the ONLY number that you see and you can get a whole lot of funky shit for $11.11…and a virtual truckload for $111.11.
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Anyway look what i just did. I digressed from sharing my drain snake story… as usual. Maybe you dont really want to know anyways. Let’s just say I found things in my bathroom drains and lavatory sink that no man, woman or child wants to see or ever remember. I’m surprised all licensed plumbers dont have PTSD.  In an attempt to clear my tortured mind and unintended X-ray vision (just like Ray Milland in the old sci-fi movie “The Man with the X-ray Eyes”) I seek relief by writing this overwrought confessional. Now I really know what he meant at the end of the campy film when he said, “I’ve come to tell you what I see.There are great and horrible darknesses farther than time itself”. Of course all he got back from the circus tent revival audience was an evangelical mob chanting, “If thine eyes offend thee…pluck them out!”  Maybe I’ll just split the difference and make another quick trip to the Family Dollar store for several three gallon bottles of bleach and some of that Aussie licorice.  Hell, I’ve been a bit clogged up lately myself and it’s all just $1. How could I go wrong?
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https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=AwrEZ66o9sxbxCkAlFAPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTB0N2Noc21lBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNwaXZz?p=man+with+the+xray+eyes%2C+video+clip&fr2=piv-web&fr=yhs-Lkry-SF01&hspart=Lkry&hsimp=yhs-SF01#id=1&vid=597aa9a592b3cccd2e92c8da39045db6&action=view
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