Monthly Archives: September 2015

Pope Francis in America

by Dell Franklin


Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Our great author, John Steinbeck, who appeared to have little use for religion, might have liked this Pope. Steinbeck was all about the little guy who was not blessed with great physical strength, intelligence, drive and luck. He felt those who possessed these rare gifts should try and help those without them, for life and survival was so difficult, the world so merciless and unfair in many cases. I believe this Pope believes those with these gifts should be humble, compassionate and generous, not arrogant, greedy, selfish and inhumane.

So what must this Pope think of us, as a country, when he certainly observes our burgeoning oligarchy disguised as a democracy. What must he think about super pacs supported by billionaires like the Koch brothers, who despise our safety nets and wish to turn the entire country into a company town tossing crumbs to the over-worked peons? I had a political science teacher back in 1962 who warned our class that the greatest threat to our then thriving democracy was capitalism unchecked, in that it would evolve to the degree where money and material items and the trappings of wealth could become more important than our humanity.

So what must the Pope think of the mean-spiritedness of conservative Catholics like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and a few others so gorged with acrimony and persecution they actually want to de-fund Planned Parenthood and Obamacare, which have been created to help people without the means to help themselves and are therefore cast as parasites so un-American they are dragging down “America’s Greatness”? What must the Pope think of Donald Trump’s cannibalistic rhetoric, his racism, his bragging, his arrogance, his propensity to intimidate and make people feel small, and the mobs of strictly white hordes steeped in stupidity who idolize him and wish to see his ideas put into action?

Did the Pope see the Republican debates, where a Carly Fiorina displayed a hypocrite’s adoption of a lie to make her point about fetuses to curry favor with fanatics? Does he see people running for our highest office who are stooping to the lowest, most selfish and cynical common denominator so that in the end they can actually shaft these misguided and misinformed fools whose votes they seek? Did he notice those running for office in America fawn over him for political advantage and that their behavior is nauseating?

I’m sure this Pope assumes our people are good, not that we have become a crumbling empire ripe for demagogues, and that we are thinking only of our own self-gratification instead of the future of the planet and the concern for those with disease, are homeless, and who suffer daily and seem to feel they have no way out of their situations—here and everywhere throughout the world.

This Pope, who has rankled those bishops in the Vatican that have feathered their own nests with luxury and avoided confronting the sexual abuse of children by their priests and generally behaved like expedient politicians above the people, eschews the trappings of his mantle and associates himself with those who worship what HE, as Pope, represents.

What they should really worship is the man himself, Francis. One wonders, do those at the Vatican who for centuries reveled in the luxury, politics and pomp of their mantles despise Francis for so blatantly eschewing these rewards and driving around in a tiny Fiat? Do they feel he is embarrassing them, show-boating, and a fool? Or do they realize that Francis, having seen the world at its worst and walked among the downtrodden, would feel ashamed of himself to wallow in materialistic success while those still suffer. This Pope leads by example.

This Pope has an aura of greatness, such as we’ve seen in people like Franklin Roosevelt, Churchill, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, in that whole civilizations liked and trusted these people and would follow them anywhere. Like those fore-mentioned, there is an inclination to feel Francis is one of those very mortal beings who come along once in a lifetime and is special and will make a difference if we just let him, if we listen to what he says, and follow him.

In Cannery Row, Steinbeck’s main character, and in many of his books his personal mouth-piece, Doc Ricketts, sits and watches a parade pass by in Monterey, Calif., and observes some bums and talks to a man named Richard Frost.

‘It has always seemed strange to me,” said Doc. “The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

The Pope would know where he stood with one of our greatest writers. Donald Trump and those running for office and fawning all over the Pope would probably call Steinbeck a crackpot and probable communist. What about the rest of the country? What do we really think of what Steinbeck said and what Pope Francis preaches as we exalt him? §

Dell Franklin writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., where he lives with his dog Wilbur. His work can also be read online at

Open Letter to Pope Francis

From a Christian reprobate

Dear Pope Francis:

I’ve fallen from grace.

I don’t believe much religious bullshit anymore.

I used to believe the way Kim Davis does, loving the sinner and hating the sin, refusing full rights to those who don’t belong in the Kingdom of God.

Still, I loved those sinners. Enough to track them down and tell them about the Lord.

“Oh, you’re going to give me some of that Jesus crap?” a youthful homeless man with heavy beard, and bright scornful eyes, asked me on the beach where I’d taken to a little street evangelism.  He smiled at me, took a swig from a beer can in brown paper bag. “Listen, kid. Give it up! It’s a crock of shit.”

I knew somehow there was nothing I could say that would convince him otherwise. I left him alone. It took me a long time to realize just what he meant.

For years, I steeped myself in church doctrine, theology, fundamentalism, prayer, good works, and even considered full-time ministry as a young man. I started out with the extreme conservative Southern Baptists, got a good solid education in the Bible, then moved to the spirit-filled charismatic and Pentecostal family where I learned to whoop and shout, “Glory! Halleluja!” and speak in tongues, then switched to the more staid and even-tempered American Baptists, who enjoy family barbecues and picnics, until finally I settled with the Episcopal Church, where my faith journey as a Christian pretty much died.

It died in the midst of a dispute with a mean-spirited bishop, the dissolution of a small church through bitter infighting and petty squabbling, and a host of other church-related ills and bloodletting that’s common throughout the faith world, not just among Christians.

I mostly don’t have anything in common with the church or religion today. I avoid them whenever possible. Yet, I know there are fine and lovely people who believe.

I got tired of talking about Jesus years ago.

I don’t mind when people practice their religion, so long as they keep it to themselves. I don’t mind when they go to church, sing hallelujah, and don’t let their religion turn them into assholes or cause them to muddy the public square with self-serving screeds about gay marriage, going to war with Iran, and barring Muslims from participating in American politics.

I do mind when religious hucksters turn politics into a circus not unlike a Scopes monkey trial, where they subvert not only civil rights and the separation of church and state, and intelligent political dialog, but access to knowledge and information, and the freedoms of certain citizens.

I’ve always understood God wants everyone to be free, and love is the driving force, the compelling narrative, of that story, which ends with redemption. I don’t buy the damnation story, or that gays can’t be married; it’s sounds too much like ISIS.

So, I guess I’m a Christian reprobate, or as a good Calvinist would say, “a sinner who is not of the elect and is predestined to damnation.”

Oh well, I’ll do the best I can to live fully every moment of the time I have left here and won’t fret about whether I can marry my gay lover, or whether I’m going to heaven or hell. But I would, nonetheless, Holy Father, appreciate your blessing because I’m a rogue who needs love too. §

Stacey Warde is publisher of The Rogue Voice. He can be reached at

Trump and the cobra

COMMENT.TRUMP.COBRAby Talmadge Jarratee

The Donald showed his first signs of mealy-mouthed weakness at the second round of GOP debates when instead of sticking to his guns and not denying what everybody with any measure of eyesight knows—that Carly Fiorina is an ugly woman with an even uglier, nastier soul—backed down and actually told this miserable hating beast she was “beautiful, and that she was a beautiful person.”

Good God, the woman drips venom. At any moment as she speaks you expect some kind of exorcism to occur and a blood-dripping, claw-handed, serpent-tongued monster to slither out of her gut and begin screeching a death knell at the lot of us. This bony python with the CEO-slick huckster delivery, who accused Hillary Clinton of being a liar while spewing saccharine balderdash about watching a fetus twitch into death in her tirade to abolish Planned Parenthood, was no more than a vulpine overture to the pitiless money-bags and operatives in the Reagan Library hungry for Trump’s scalp.COMMENT.TRUMP&fiorina

This ghastly apparition of a female had to work overtime not to curl up her lip in a contemptuous sneer ala Dick Cheney as the poison fought to ooze out of her. Can one imagine the ambitious male hides having to work for and answer to this cold-blooded human icepick in a corporate structure, realizing immediately it was all about revenge against a male race owning the signature advantage to get to the top—a penis? Trump should have gone to sleep kicking himself in the ass for backing down like a pansy to this shrew, for breaking down like the gentleman pansy Jeb Bush and having the laugh-out-loud gall to accuse her of being beautiful.

Shame on you Donald, Ivana must be shocked!

Meanwhile, as Fiorina, who IS tough, and scarily so, zinged daggers at the Donald, the male hides on all sides of her tried to act tough, a pathetic charade among 13 guys who’ve probably never been slapped in their faces in a lifetime. Bush, like your most stooped owlish lackluster lecturing professor pedant, forced a little anger at the Donald for insulting Mexicans and therefore insulting his wife, a Mexican, and demanded an apology to his wife, which the Donald, back in attack mode, scoffed at. Cruz, with the face of an implacable jackal, in full alarmist war-mongering paranoia, vowed to tear down every accomplishment by Obama his first day in the White House and go after the terrorists. All these tough guys are fearless of Putin, whom Fiorina said she would not bother to confront and would possibly be the only one of this crew Putin might fear of losing his nuggets.

Rubio, a little boy talking loudly and carrying a twig, was forceful for the pundits, venting the appropriate threats at our enemies while tight-roping the Immigrant Debacle. Pencil-necked Walker’s attempt at making a splash with his finger-pointing toughness so reeked of overheated rehearsal that you wanted to send him to drama school. A Brownie point for Christie for imploring in his mannish way to Fiorina (who feels she can get away with it because she’s a woman) to stop interrupting him like she had everybody else. Huckabee had his moment with Jesus while viewers went to the fridge for beer or the cupboard for a stiff one. Only Paul made any sense in his pacifist neutrality and critique of Bush’s wayward wars, and Kasich, a reasonable hick, who did make sense, was overwhelmed by the Cobra. They were mostly ignored.

Only Carson communicated with the velvet glove in soft-spoken terms, the witch doctor, who does not believe in evolution or climate change, claims homosexuality is a choice, among other idiocies, and, like Clarence Thomas, is that white black man the GOP loves to stuff down the throats of Democrats. He came off as a truly mature, humble human being, if a drastically misguided one guaranteed to please the uninformed.

At the end, instead of trampling all over each other in their reverence of Jesus, they were  trampling all over each other in reverence to Reagan when in truth not one of them even slightly resembles a man with true leadership qualities and are basically a stink in his nostrils. Watching them fawn and gush and beam with pride at their idolatry of and so-called conservative devotion to the great savior, a real Republican of the Nixon-Eisenhower era should have wanted to slap some sense into their mean-spirited faces.

As for Trump? Same old bilge flood of empty platitudes and promises, sheer mindless nonsense aimed at his clamoring morons, his yawning boring insipid performance drawing new endorsements in former tantrum-throwing tyrannical troglodyte NFL player and coach Mike Ditka, who now works for the ESPN hydra, and pretty-boy quarterback with the New England Patriots, Tom Brady, married to a high fashion model and living in a palatial estate and too arrogant to attend Obama’s White House to celebrate his team’s Super bowl victory with his mostly black teammates.

I’m sure, if Trump’s still in the running come February and the football season is over, he’ll have these two boneheads on the stage with him raising their fists in victory.

As for the Cobra? Time will tell. It’s like the monkey going up the flagpole—the higher up she goes, the more you see of her asshole. §

Talmadge Jarratee writes about politics and occasional sketches of San Francisco and, because of his views, may soon be homeless. For more on Talmadge, visit

Warmongers and warriors

‘I love war, let’s kill somebody’CULTURE.WARMONGER SAMURAI

by Stacey Warde

I’ve spent most of my adult life studying the ways of a warrior and unlearning the ways of war.

I grew up during the Vietnam war in the midst of air fighter squadrons, the roar of jets blasting and taking off from El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, and the whoop-whoop of Chinook helicopters from another base closer to home, all done in readiness for war.

My formative years were steeped in war talk.

I heard the nightly body counts from Walter Cronkite and wondered why that was so important.

I learned that the “good” guys don’t always win, that not everyone likes war.

Countless Marines, sailors, and soldiers from all over the country  patronized local bars and liquor stores, returning to their quarters drunk and happy. They looked strong and tough, if not a little weary.

They were boastful and rowdy and rash, belligerent and angry. More than once as a teenage boy I had to fast-talk my way out of a fight with one who always wanted me to know for some reason that Marines will kick your ass.

It wasn’t until much later that I learned the difference between a tough guy, or even a soldier or a Marine, and a genuine warrior.

By warrior, taken mostly from the Japanese samurai tradition, I mean one who has mastered himself. He has honed himself like his sword—sharp, swift, capable of delivering blows. His spirit is strong and generous. He rises above and prevents conflict. He doesn’t oppress others. He is kind and quick and steady. He is fierce and formidable.

My understanding of the best warrior is the one who stops conflict before it begins. He has the skills, training and heart to care enough to confront without rancor or bellicosity or violence. That way, few people get hurt and precious resources do not get squandered or destroyed or taken.

Fortunately, I’ve avoided combat and kept my fisticuffs to a minimum. I know plenty of guys who love to fight. I’m not one of them. I may be combative, but I try to avoid bloodletting as much as possible.

I began my fascination with war, as most American little boys do, growing up with war. I had barely started grade school in 1965 when a family friend shipped overseas to Vietnam, a jungle dangerous and dark, full of mud and men in black pajamas who wanted to kill you. He showed me black-and-white polaroids of him and his buddies camped out in the middle of the jungle, their army issue socks and skivvies hanging on a clothesline behind them. They stood together, arms around shoulders, cigarettes hanging from their mouths, crooked smiles. I stared at the photo, studying the detail of plants behind them, which I’d never seen before, and the spooky darkness between their massive leaves.

“Did you kill anyone?” I asked him earnestly, wondering what lay beyond the jungle darkness.

He took the polaroid from my hand, gave me a squinty look. “We don’t like to talk about that, son.”

"RAMBO" David Settino Scott (

“RAMBO” David Settino Scott (

A boy in this country discovers quickly that he’d better learn how to fight because, one way or another, there’s a bully or a commie or a terrorist who’s coming after you and you’re going to have to show him you’re not afraid, you won’t back down, and you’ll do what it takes to knock the bejesus out of him. You have to take a stand, or find someone who will take it for you.

I scrapped with most of the boys I grew up with. We argued, pushed, shoved and sometimes fought. As I grew older, the gaming and roughhousing got more risky, bloody and brawling, so I decided to pursue wrestling, organized and competitive, and learned quickly, as dad liked to say, “There’s always going to be someone who’s better than you, son.”

Still, it was as important as ever to develop a killer instinct, to go after blood if necessary, to make it on the mat against other wrestlers, and eventually to make it in the world. More than a killer’s instinct, I learned how to endure, how to give and take a beating, to experience pain. This has always made me think twice about getting into a fight, unlike many of our leaders.

My interest in the combat arts grew as much from curiosity as it did from environment, from growing up in the U.S., where militarism and warcraft permeate nearly every aspect of our culture. I wanted to know it as well as  anyone else. I didn’t want to just play but be a soldier, and I was encouraged by friends and family to do it.

Joining the Army at 17 made sense because, like so many other young men at the time, I had nothing else going for me, and I could reform myself, study a craft and improve my limited opportunities. It became a rite of passage, where boys become men who learn the art of warfare.

In 1976, the Soviet “threat” kept spreading across the globe and I signed for a three-year stint as an Army Ranger to contain it; we were a light infantry strike unit whose mission was to destroy enemy communications and supply lines. We trained for terrorism and kidnappings, and conducted rescue operations in the desert. We drilled and trained hard, preparing for any likely scenario involving terrorists, guerillas and regular combat troops. We were given plenty of opportunities for honing our killing capabilities.

I took a course in explosives from Sgt. “Boom Boom” Mattoon, Ranger demo expert, and an advisor in the 1967 Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, to broaden my kill potential.

“I got da record for blowing up da most churches in Vietnam in one day,” he boasted.  “So listen up, and listen good!”

He demoed the explosive magic of C4, a putty-like substance kids would love. Roll it up in a little ball, or light it with a match and cook your meals and it won’t explode, but stick a blasting cap in a brick of it and you can take out a church.

“I love war, let’s kill somebody!” a newbie to the unit said after “Boom Boom” detonated a charge.

You could always count on at least one person, usually someone who’d never seen combat, someone who didn’t really know what they were talking about, to make these comments. They were usually the first to wash out of the Ranger unit.

Even my father, as I was preparing at 17 to go into active military service two days after my 18th birthday, advised me: “Son, you either kill or be killed.”

Not many days later at a seedy hotel in Los Angeles, dizzy from the realization that in the morning I’d get on a bus to the airport with dozens of other young recruits and fly to New Jersey for basic training, I found a pay phone on the street and in tears pleaded with my mother, “I don’t want to go!”

“It’s too late now, son. You made your decision.”

The military did not train me to be a warrior. I learned that much later. I learned instead how to be a tactician, how to plan an attack and kill. It takes so much more to be a warrior, to be a voice of reason in the heat of combat, to see the futility and stupidity and waste of war, to be diplomatic and prevent war from happening in the first place.

Unfortunately, we don’t have that in this country.

Rather, we have warmongers, not warriors, who love to talk about killing and war. They talk a big talk, men of dubious reason, lacking humility, pounding the war drums, who have no experience as warriors, and lead others into hell. Don’t listen to them. Listen to the ones who have mastered themselves, the true warriors, who know how to stop war before it starts. §

Stacey Warde is publisher of The Rogue Voice.

Trump’s blighted white men


Donald Trump’s blighted white men, spawn of the “greatest generation,” who endured our worst economic Depression and World War II, are the prime pawns in his quest for the presidency. Trump’s blighted white men are the most spoiled, petulant and fortunate generation in American history, the inheritors of free education, an awesome safety net, powerful unions, opportunity for employment in both blue- and white-collar industries, and the overall advantage of being white instead of black so that they were guaranteed automatic employment. Trump’s blighted white men are vigorously on board with his insane and cruel attacks on Mexican immigrants. Trump’s blighted white men, who would in most cases deny with vehemence that they are racists, fulminate against a black president named Obama because he wants to allow “a bunch of undocumented Mexicans” in the country and tax the rich “so unemployed lazy niggers can live on welfare,” even if these white men in almost all cases have everything they ever wanted and need nothing more because they lived in an era where everything fell into their hands.

Trump’s blighted white men are the most spoiled, petulant and fortunate generation in American history.

Many of Trump’s blighted white men, and perhaps the most vitriolic, are those fat flabby red-faced golfers in ball caps and white mustaches who congregate at gyms or coffee shops to vent the poison built up in their craws because of Obama and complain that the government is the enemy, as declared by Ronald Reagan, their idol. The government provided this crew with just about everything the New Deal and the Great Society created, only to turn on it after they became flush. The trouble with Trump’s blighted white men is that they have it so good and are so bored in retirement that they need something to bitch about, something to feel persecuted about, something to hate, especially those who grew up in an era where everybody on their side of the tracks was white, and the blacks and browns lived across those tracks in another world they did not know or want to know and feared as they would aliens in the same xenophobic way they now do immigrants.

These days, Trump’s blighted white men claim the country has been taken away from them, which means that from the beginning they felt the country was strictly theirs, belonging only to white people who controlled the government and the money and tossed crumbs to minorities. Suddenly, today, Trump’s blighted white men are surrounded by blacks, Mexicans, Central Americans, Asians of every stripe, Indians, and mixes of all these nationalities, and it is all confusing and depressing to see their once powerful populace shrivel as the dreaded Muslims and immigrant criminals close in on them and scare the shit out of them to the point they might in the future need armed security in their neighborhoods or at their gated communities, not to mention their arsenals of guns.

Truth is, Trump’s blighted white men, who claim THEY are the great American work ethic and symbols of the great American dream and responsible for making this the greatest, godliest country in the world, are recipients of huge pensions and inheritances and a culture that enabled them to reap great rewards while not working half as hard as their parents and ancestors or any of the hated and dreaded immigrants, and especially the Mexicans, who work so hard and are so hungry that the blighted white men, whose children and grandchildren spend most of their time either talking on cell phones or fidgeting with ipads and seem to accept minorities, homosexuals, transsexuals, same sex marriage, abortion and immigrants, have become perplexed and apoplectic.

Truth is, Trump’s blighted white men are either the most uninformed or stupid people in the country, so much so they are prime prey for demagogues who usually prey on the poor and desperate but in this case have the greatest scapegoat in the American history of demagogues—Barack Obama. Trump’s blighted white men are in a frenzy over Obama, even if the country and their finances were in shambles because of the boob they voted for, George Bush, and are now flush again and out of danger and the country is much better off as they express their hatred of government and the man responsible for bailing their asses out.

I am 72 and grew up with this lot. They all seemed so content and happy with their cars and girls and trendy clothing and jobs at the local diner or department store or Disneyland, in my case. Who would have thought such a cheerful, care-free generation of young males would turn into this intolerant, up-tight, stingy, glum, mean-spirited legion of malcontents. One of my best friends, fellow jock who taught high school English and coached baseball in Orange County, has had a falling out with all his fellow coaches and golfing partners and career-long friends, all Republicans. He told me a story of visiting an old football friend in a small town in Wyoming, where he refused to bring up guns and abortion and the government, just so they could get along and talk old times.

“We were driving along, and this guy, he’s the mayor, and he sees a rabbit on the side of the road, he pulls over, jumps out, shoots and kills the rabbit, just leaves it there, jumps back in his truck and says, ‘that’s for fucking Obama, the motherfucker ain’t taking away MY guns.”

Almost all of Trump’s blighted White men, who will end up following him to hell, deserve the hell he just might produce, and are leaving a legacy they ought to be ashamed of. §

Talmadge Jarratee writes about politics and occasional sketches of San Francisco and, because of his views, may soon be homeless. For more on Talmadge, visit

Wilbur and The Pirate

city life.wilbur&pirateby Dell Franklin

Randy Crozier, or “The Crow,” or “The Pirate,” does 98 percent of his drinking in Schooner’s Wharf, a restaurant bar overlooking the beach and pier in downtown Cayucos, population approximately 2,500. Crozier is short and round as he is tall, sturdy legged, bushy-bearded, neon-eyed, red-cheeked, hair straggling out from under sweat-stained ballcap, and known to emerge from hangovers so monstrous most people would be hooked up to an IV in a hospital room and go straight to work after his first cigarette and securing his coffee and roll at the local coffee den, where he has been observed indulging in such terrifying coughing fits some have suggested calling an ambulance.

The Crow is a stonemason/plasterer/framer/commercial fisherman/hunting guide/farmer and bass player with his own band, the Motowners, which plays in the town’s popular annual 4th of July parade and various ragged festivals in Big Sur. A brass plate on a wooden stool at a particular corner of the bar at Schooner’s Wharf has his name etched on it. He is always clad in sweat shirt with arms torn off, Levi’s faded and frayed with legitimate holes at the knees, drinking sneakers, and ballcap. He keeps a “pirate’s” treasure chest on hand in the bar to supply kids in the restaurant candy, and every half hour allows a girl to occupy his stool while he goes downstairs to stand in the alley across from the sea wall and beach to smoke, cough, and check his cell phone.

Lately Wilbur’s been in the habit of running down trucks with diesel engines and I must apologize to people who are forced to stop in fear of running him over

Photos by Stacey Warde

Photos by Stacey Warde

Until recently, before moving out into the back hills of town, the Crow lived four doors down from me on G Street, where he parked his truck, a 35-year-old wonder that sounds like a tractor and rattles without hitting bumps in the road. The paint job is peeled off, though “Pirate Plastering” is printed on the passenger door that does not completely close and sometimes flies open when he turns a corner. The bed of this truck is as cramped as the passenger seat with tools and debris that Crozier claims, “Only a lunatic would steal.” The spot where he parked for years at a hovel connected to a main house run by Tag Morely, local Everyman, is permanently oiled. To get to this particular spot, the Crow usually passed my large, railed patio before turning right. Wilbur, my 10-year-old, 90-pound Chocolate Lab, who has eaten rubber and wood and cost me hundreds of dollars in vet’s bills, can hear Crozier’s jalopy several blocks away.

The second Wilbur hears it—usually around 3 in the afternoon when the Crow knocks off and is in the process of getting ready for his drinking—he is up and scrambling to the patio, where he paces as the truck gets louder and louder. He paces in circles, then back and forth along the railing, and a touch of drool drips from the side of his mouth, since he lacks front teeth on that side. He spots the truck. He nudges up against the railing and stares as Crozier pulls up. Crozier, at 55, and looking and showing every year of it, takes a while to get out. Wilbur paces some more. By the time Crozier emerges from his truck with a couple of super-sized biscuits from a package from the Dollar Store in Morro Bay, a long strip of drool slings back and forth from Wilbur’s lips as his eyes keen in on the Pirate.

Crozier cackles and points: “Look at Wilbur drool….” He laughs like Santa Claus, and with the same glee he relishes when buying somebody a drink at the bar, he hurls the biscuits up onto the deck, where Wilbur scrabbles and devours both within seconds and returns to the railing to watch Crozier drive off.

Sometimes, in the morning, or even afternoons, I’ll have Wilbur on the street below, ready to walk him, when he hears Crozier’s truck growling toward us. He tears straight at it, blocking the driver at the grill in a frenzy, makes him stop, then lunges at the broken door, drooling. Crozier chuckles and feeds him and moves on, and I must leash Wilbur or he will chase the Crow’s truck down the street.

Lately Wilbur’s been in the habit of running down trucks with diesel engines and I must apologize to people who are forced to stop in fear of running him over and rearing back as he lunges through the window and scratches up doors with paws as he drools for a biscuit. If he sees Crozier’s truck parked anywhere he goes into a frenzy, and I must leash him as he cries. When I go to Schooner’s Wharf and sidle up beside Crozier, I always order him a beer, and he grins and laughs and coughs and says, “Wilbur…I love it when he starts drooling….”

As always, we spend the first 15 minutes or so talking about Wilbur, and laughing. §

Dell Franklin writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., where he lives with his rescue dog, Wilbur, who the vet recently discovered had eaten an old rubber tire and gotten sick. He’s recovering well and still hunger’s for the Pirate’s biscuits. Visit for more of Dell’s work.

Trump and the Jesus factor

COMMENT.Donald-Trump-Thumbs-Up-665x385-433x256by Talmadge Jarratee

Just as the 14 incredibly shrinking men and the shriveled wicked witch running for the GOP presidential nomination fawn over and pander to and curry favor with the billionaires usurping the power of the people for money, they are now trampling all over each other as they pander to and fawn over and seek favor with Jesus. All the incredibly shrinking men have made it resoundingly clear that Jesus is THEIR friend and inspiration. Huckabee, the Christ-crazed huckster, appears to have stamped his patent on the Jesus factor, therefore herding evangelicals and rhapsodic worshippers. Whiter-than-white, pencil-neck Governor Walker, whose feeble presence seems a minute notch above Jeb Bush, smugly claims his adoration of Jesus because his father was a clergyman who obviously set hisCOMMENT.TRUMP.HAPPY JESUS son on the course of the single-handed ruination of the state of Wisconsin. Others, like Santorum and Cruz, who would love to abolish all manner of abortion, same-sex marriage, as well as voting rights, Obamacare and anything else that might aid the poor, seem almost biblical in their praise of Jesus.


As a party, the GOP has gotten down on its hands and knees before the sanctimonious American public and observed Jesus as their savior and the moral compass of the Greatest Nation ever in the world! When questioned a few years back at a debate on whether they believed in Jesus, every hand went up, accompanied by beneficent smiles.

The Donald takes another tack. The Donald momentarily notches down from his stern terse nonstop bombastic dominance and sweetly admits he likes church. The Donald says he liked Sunday school, a place hated by most kids growing up because public school was enough and Sunday school was on a par with church and sermonizing when it came to interminable and insufferable boredom. The Donald likes the bible. The Donald talks of his past and current church with the warmth and appreciation of an astute businessman schmoozing a stern and imperious bishop or pope. How else could the Donald fill a stadium in Mobile, Alabama, with a horde of more than 30,000 fat God-fearing white folks and perhaps a three or four black Baptists?

When asked how often he attended his church by a sharp and leery inquisitor of the media, Trump casually claimed “as much as he could,” which seemed odd from a nonstop busy, mercurial, expedient and impatient person as Trump, a person who seems incapable of enduring the humbling of himself before anybody, much less lose the center of attention to a cloaked and gowned ecclesiastic droning on about such stale subjects as sacrifice, salvations, quotes from the bible, and other assorted lectures aimed at guilt-mongering and money-snatching; the former something the Donald will ignore, the latter he will fulfill as he has the coffers of those he needs for future exploitation.

I was starting to really like the Donald in all his swinishness because I felt deep down inside he thought all this Jesus stuff is bullshit,  just another charade by typical phony politicians trained to pose and lie, and would spank these incredibly shrinking hypocrites for their cheesy hero-worship of The Man, because Jesus would never in His right mind approve of their mean-spirited behavior and dehumanizing comments and treatment of immigrants, something an unshackled nonbeliever like I thought the Donald was could get away with.

I wonder if at some point the Jesus punditry so commonly seen on cable news stations

begin issuing doubts about the Donald’s devotion to Jesus. Will they not be happy until the Donald walks among the nut-house zealots as a skulking born-again like the blundering Bush who corralled the entire evangelical born-again populace to win office in 2000 and go on to wreck the country? Like Bush, will he allude that Jesus talked to him about his major decisions, and especially the one to go to war and bomb the living be-Jesus out of Iraq?

This remains to be seen. Trump continues to climb in the polls. He is becoming a brighter and bigger star every day, delivering riveting speeches without notes and showing his mental agility and feel for the podium each passing day as he lands in his own plane and addresses huge crowds as a savior/potentate. The question is, will the Donald at some point feel he is bigger than Jesus? The 14 incredibly shrinking men and the shriveling wicked witch certainly hope so, because it might be their last gasp to jump on him and accuse the seemingly unstoppable and indomitable Donald as a thrice-married, draft-dodging, money-grubbing, sinning heathen.

Talmadge Jarratee writes about politics and occasional sketches of San Francisco and, because of his views, may soon be homeless. For more on Talmadge, visit