31 October 2019

[Perrin Lovett] - The TPC Halloween Spook-tacular: “DUKE MARSHULA” *Brought to you tonight by LIME CHIP! Soda

The TPC Halloween Spook-tacular: “DUKE MARSHULA”
*Brought to you tonight by LIME CHIP! Soda

The Mor-Doh Pa$$, Newtonvania, a minute till midnight…

It was a cold, dark, dreary, and other foreboding adjective-laden night. An electric current haunted the cold, listless air. Young Ellis Harkersaps stared blankly at the dark, imposing figure, seated astride the imposing, dark horse. The neophyte solicitor’s lips quivered and quaked as a voice spoke words - words, cold, dark, and raspy - to disturb the dreary, electrified, miserable, lonely, et cetera evening vapors,

‘My Toyota is fast and my wives are hungry, my friend! You’re late.’

The stagecoach driver removed a gnawed cigar from his mouth, spat, and replied, ‘Geesh, muh Lard. Blimey, but it was a smidgeon to nab dis Angleshman from tha arms a them haggard gypsy Uber womans.’ He spat again and made exaggerated I-talian-esque hand gestures.

Upon receiving a polite, yet dire invitation from the horseman, Ellis Harkersaps departed the coach and stepped into the hollowed-out shell of a rusty Yaris coupe, rigged strangely behind the menacing, opaque horse. The coachman cracked his whip, cursed when the frayed leather ribbon snapped in half, and slowly plodded away. Ellis thought his captor-driver might have, in parting, called after, “Go Dawgs!”

Along a dark, narrow, winding, worn, untidy, ill-kept, and completely unsafe-looking path, the horseman led poor Ellis. Somewhere beyond sight, deep in the darkness under a sky without moon or stars, a cat mewed mournfully. Upon crossing what felt like a crumbling speed bump, the driver announced,

‘At last, my young friend, we are arrived at the magnificent CASTLE MARSHULA!! It is, you must know, available for rent, some weekends, via Air-B-n-B. Local taxes and moderate cleaning fees apply…’

The demented driver pulled the heap away at a crawl. Ellis surveyed the manor and huffed under his breath, ‘Castle?! Looks like a common, condemned and abandoned Rite-Aid…’

‘I heard that.’ A gravelly voice echoed from somewhere.

Ellis rang the bell. And waited. He rang once again. And waited. Thrice he rang. There was no answer. His fourth attempt was a knock, soft but firm. Finally, a shiver meandering down his back, he began kicking the cheap plywood door and screaming, ‘Goddammit! Let me in! It’s cold out here.’

The door opened. There, in the doorway, just inside the door, on the floor, stood, with a slight slouch, a bearded man in a dark caped-outfit. His terrible appearance almost made Ellis relish the cold out of doors. But, the sinister figure spoke kindly, if roughly,

‘Welcome, young Harkersaps of Porterdon. I am Duke Marshula. Welcome to my squatter’s pa… my little home … sweet home. Enter cheaply and leave a little of the cash you bring.’

Ellis unwisely entered and the Duke escorted him back to where the manager’s office in an old Rite-Aid might have once been located. 

‘Weren’t you the guy just driving that junker? Anyway, I have the figures and forms you requested, Duke.’ Ellis spoke with a shudder of intrepid hesitation and through an imperfect countenance.

‘No, no, my young friend. No and no. I pay my, uh … driver uh, very well! And, for you - first, a little Newtonian hospitality. Perrinfield. PERRINFIELD! YOU IDIOT! Bring refreshments! For our victi… for our guest.’ 

Presently, there appeared a most shabbily dressed, lurching, stumbling figure of a man, bent and untamed to gaze upon. Ellis noted his budget-saving resemblance to the coachman. The troll carried with him a poor attitude and an ax. The toad spoke,

‘Hell. Jus got in… Well, not times like tha pressed net. I’ll quarter him up like a spring goose!’ He laughed a hideous cackle of maniacal insanity, his left eye rolling wildly.

‘Perrinfield, NO! Not yet… The wine?’ The Duke remonstrated, his palm covering his face.

‘Hack him, Perrinfield. Get him drunk, Perrinfield. Pick him up from the bus terminal, Perrinfield. Was I ever born under a bad…’ Perrinfield disappeared into the gloom outside the parlor, muttering and cursing as he went.

The Duke looked up through his gnarled fingers, sighed, and coughed. He was just inquiring as to the rights to, and necessary bribes for, a used hand-cranked printing press, Ellis Harkersaps waiting eagerly with an excuse quickly contrived, when three buxom young women in scandalous attire entered the little manager’s office/formal dining room.

They all three chanted in alarming unison, one voice, bitterly sweet but sweetly bitter: ‘Perrinfield has cracked the crockery! Your guest voted for Obama! But, no attention have you showered upon us. No shower. You, yourself, have never showered! Not even a leaf for a morsel as supper.’

Ellis noticed the spectral women all wore matching tied-up Braves jerseys and Tammy Faye’s makeup. He moved to speak but found that he was rooted to the ground, rooted as if with the roots of a plant. Perhaps a tree. A pine, no less. A stout one. His mouth was parched. It would admit no answer of snarky rebuke. The Duke spoke for him,

‘Young Harkersaps, these are my brides - Besserelda, Kayladith, and Ann’azalea. Three … are my brides. We are old-school LDS… I will accept no bamboozle.’

Ellis swayed as if to swoon. Just then, the ghostly women repeated their demand for a “morsel.” The Duke howled out a laugh that shook the bowed and water-stained tile ceiling. He trailed off into a coughing fit, though he was able - just barely - to lift up an old Tupperware bowl for the inspection of his polyamorous Bravo babes. ‘A taste, my loves.’ He hissed, still hacking malignantly.

I recoiled within the shrouded confines of my own mind. A play of life and death unfolded before my frightened eyes, red with tears of fear and hate. The strumpets made for the Tupperware like school girls to a coin-operated cigarette machine. From out it, laughing as they did so - most disquietingly - they raised up a wrapped bundle of swaddling cloth. I knew then, as I know and remember now, what was held neath those ragged coverings. Their fangs bared, their mascara smearing, the lecherous ladies seized upon the helpless rancid baby cabbage. It emitted the most pitiable squeak as it’s putrid leaves sagged and flapped. Belching! Snorting! The fiendish wives descended on the rotten little vegetable. The taste of my lunch, previously consumed but only that very afternoon, filled my dry gullet - particularly back where the taste buds register tones harsh and bitter. I mean it was damned unpleasant. I thought to scream and run away. Instead, I leaned against the wall and yawned, contemplating my forthcoming resignation from the less-than-lustrous firm of Dewey, Cheatam, and Howe. In an instant, the doomed soup-fodder met its grisly fate. I shedded a single tear as somewhere, far away but yet near enough to not be so far, too far, a produce clerk cried out with the angst of demise. “The cat will have that one. And, so much better the so with,” I thought. The women burped and rolled on the floor. Off-putting enough was that. But the Duke! His eyes! Never has any Member of the Congress witnessed upon the innocent world such boredom! Such rank malaise! Perish the very notion that in that Rite-Aid, within that veritable castle prison, that I should endure such such and such … of this and that.

Luckily, at that very moment of sheer exhaustion of trope and poor taste, Perrinfield reappeared, bearing forth a two-liter bottle of plastic, within which resided some generic soda concoction, likely bought on sale, woefully expired, and now utterly flat. He announced dejectedly,

‘My Lard. Mas’ Mark, er … Angleshman. Wenches… I give you the night’s drink - Lime Chip Soda!’

A round of “oohh’s” and “aahh's” floated lazily about the place. Ellis Harkersaps angstily fingered his pocket revolver. Most horrifically, a cheesy music began, as if from nowhere, though still heard herewhere, starting low and then rising to a headache-inducing screech. Perrinfield started singing - out of tune - being soon joined by the others, plus a multitude of assorted oddities, previously unseen:

It's confounding...
Lime is beating...
Sadness makes it roll... 
But, listen, Bitches…
(Nothing is wronger)
My pockets have a hole.
I remember joining the Lime Corps,
Slinking those slouches then.
The wackness would hip me.
(And the Noid would be mauling)


It's zucchini.
Constipation, flee me.
So you can't knee free; no, not a squall.
In belabored distention,
With liberalistic dissention,
Well deluded; Tom T. Hall.
With a clip of a rip dip,
You're into the LIME CHIP!
And nothing brings greater shame.
You're priced out of cremation.
Like it’s a bargain libation!

Against his better (maybe worse) judgment and to his eternal regret, Ellis Harkersaps began to toe-tap along, his fingers snapping to the alarmingly catchy if completely moronic tune. All was well until, quite suddenly, all parties noticed the label on the green plastic soda bottle. The music died. Hearts stood still. With one voice of terror, pain, confusion, lust, agitation, fear, sorrow, worry, fear, envy, yadda, yadda, and morose, they all cried out:

“IT’S DIET!!!!!!!”

Ellis Harkersaps crashed through the back door - just punched a hole straight through it - his being one of dozens of hasty exits from the dilapidated, abandoned - now, re-abandoned - squatter’s palace of doom. Alas, just when the story was getting “good,” the party ended. Another condemned wreck of a building left standing amidst the ruin of another Eve of the All Hallowed. But, it was not yet the end, entirely…

For, seeking shelter from the ghastly spectacle of Sanheim, there entered into the Duke’s deserted castle-drugstore, the Vispoli family, recently disembarked from Anytown. While the children, Ruthie, Bryson, and Lizzie, plundered the remains of the pharmacy cabinets in search of dat fix, Todd and Claire examined the wreck of the back room, where once, if I forgot to mention this earlier on, there might have been a manager’s office. Might have been. Standing on a dank cabbage leaf, Todd exclaimed to his sleepy bride, ‘A bottle of Diet Lime Chip! Glory be.’ Under his breath, he added, ‘And, an ax…’

[Commence, here, in your head, either “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon or “Pet Sematary” by the Ramones - or RHPS’s “Time Warp” - that one’s probably stuck, right?].

***Please note that in the telling of this tale, no literal limes, baby cabbages, cranky English majors, or upon-a-time residents of the SGI Plantation were harmed in any way. A show tune might have conceivable been plagiarized, but that’s about the worst of it. Oh! And, Bram’s gothic - looted that too. But, hey, he’s dead and the copyright’s run so heck with it, eh? That’s the worst. Well, that and the concept, execution, etc.


30 October 2019

Ronnie Johnston, the Right Man for the Job: An Editorial Endorsement by Kayla Leasure


By: Kayla Leasure, TPC Contributing Writer  

I’m excited to publicly declare my support for Ronnie Johnston in his bid for reelection as the Mayor of the City of Covington.

The Mayor of Covington, Ronnie Johnston

My personal experience when engaging with Ronnie has always been delightful. He is very approachable and an honorable man. His experience, passion, and kindness makes him the perfect choice.

He has invested his own time and money into the revitalization of the downtown Covington Square. He continues to actively work on several large projects to facilitate smart growth, and has keen insight on the economics and development of our city.

I am proud to endorse Ronnie Johnston for a third term as Mayor - a man who cares for Covington!

Kayla Leasure

29 October 2019

Perrin Lovett: The Substitute, the First Novel by Perrin Lovett (and other matters)

THE Book

At long last, she’s here - my first serious foray into fiction and a comprehensive story featuring everyone’s favorite spook turned teacher, Tom Ironsides.

© Perrin Lovett

© Perrin Lovett

Tom, of course, is a retired CIA Paramilitary Officer. Now, he faces what may be an insurmountable challenge - confronting America’s failed or failing “public” schools - an extreme man for an extreme mission. Follow his adventure through an academic year as he deeply investigates the happenings in one particular fictional system. Being who he is, he also stumbles across a continuing series of cases and events that relate back to his previous employment. Several flashbacks keep the action moving, like the following a preview of the beginning of Chapter One, At Home Far Away:


Belgrade, Serbia, April 1, 2001, the wee hours…

Five men stood or sat in and around a used Mercedes T1 Transporter van. The early morning air was cool, a little wet, but bearable, not that comfort had anything to do with their line of work. The team leader sat between the rear doors, which were wide open to provide a view downhill to the compound. He raised his satellite phone as he gazed down at the house through a night vision scope. Continuing his observation, he spoke, ‘Some of his drunks are staggering out of the veranda. The cops are kind of humoring … pushing them aside. They’re about to bring him out. Now. You want us to take the shot?’
A muffled, warbling voice instructed from the other end. He cut it short,
‘Been here for over forty hours. He’s coming out in a second. Do you, or do you not … want him dead?’
The electronic voice from Virginia warbled away.
‘Got a twenty mike-mike ready to roll, here,’ the leader said without breaking his stare, even as he reached around and patted the barrel of an older Soviet ShVAK-20 autocannon, ‘If it’s dead, then I need to move over kind of quick like.’
More warbling.
‘Okay, shit! It’s not like they have any evidence or cause for this arrest. Not here, certainly not at the Hague, not even our guys. Yeah! Who the hell wants to bother with a trial?’
‘Save it. He’s coming out. Between four officers right now.’
The hardened paramilitary operations officer watched as heavily armed police escorted a handcuffed Slobodan Milosevic, first and now former President of the Serbian Republic to a waiting car (one of five, as he counted them). ‘Last chance. I can still light it up…’ He was cut off in turn.
A stern voice spoke through the receiver, a little clearer to his hearing than to that of his men, ‘Negative! Watch them drive off and then get out of there. Green Ops will make sure he arrives at Central. We’ll have him in Tuzla tomorrow. Stand down and prepare for evac. Go ahead to the rendezvous point. You’re done.’
‘Roger that. Black Delivery, out.’ He folded the phone closed and watched as Milosevic was tucked into the back of a car that sped away immediately. He spoke to his team, ‘Okay, boys and girls, field trip’s over. Load it up and let’s get clear.’
As he stood up, he patted the barrel again, ‘Birch, does this thing even work?’
Before Birch could answer, five small-arms shots rang out in the distance. The team wheeled around and rescanned the general area of Kuca Misosevic. Silence followed. There were a lot of guns out and about. It was probable that someone at the house had vented a little frustration. If it was something else, then Green Ops and the locals could deal with it. Either way, the men counted their work as finished.
‘Yeah. There’s a party over there… The twenty? Kinda glad we don’t have to find out, Tom,’ Birch replied with a smirk. ‘You heard the man. Let’s move out.’
With all parties and equipment secure, the van slowed crept forward towards the road. A SEAL support newbie, a huge man that Tom and Birch thought sort of looked like a tree, was at the wheel. Tom spoke to Birch quietly on the makeshift back seat, ‘Somebody’s really confident about this nab and extradition. I don’t think they ever intended to assassinate him.’
Birch answered softly, ‘They did, or at least it was plan B. But, yeah, money buys confidence. G-team’s spent a small fortune convincing Dindic. He’s our guy now. We’ve spent even more with the ICTY. The banks don’t aim to lose. Ever.’
‘You can say that again,’ Tom said with a shrug and a little louder. ‘Was this another grand waste? Rather than play collection agent for Basel and the IMF, I’d prefer to track down some of the al-Qaeda chatter. Something’s moving. Wonder what the money men know about tha…’
The shotgun rider, a veteran SEAL, interrupted: ‘Roadblock! Roadblock! Twelve o’clock!’
Tom raised his night vision scope for a moment, peering through the windshield. ‘Guns. Up and leveled! Through it or around it! Go, man, go!’
The big newbie floored the gas and headed for an opening between two blocking vehicles on the right. They were welcomed with a hail of bullets. The van rolled over two shooters and clipped a truck as it blasted through. The primary support agent in the rear opened up with an H&K 416, firing a deluge of three-round bursts. After a split second, he cried to the front, ‘Company! Van and two cars following us!’
‘Secure this shit in, Birch!’ Tom ordered as he hopped over the seat to the waiting ShVAC. ‘And, hey, we’re about to find out!’
The rear agent leaped behind Tom, picking up the night scope so as to act as his boss’s spotter. Birch was scrabbling to get in touch with Force Recon. Bullets cracked here and there on the skin and frame of the now very used van. The spotter tapped Tom’s shoulder and pointed back and right.
‘Ears!’ Tom screamed.
In a deafening second, they both found out that the old gun worked just fine and they lost one pursuing car. In another second:
Another car burst into flames and crashed down a hillside. One more, baby! Tom had a clear, distinctive view of the van through the comically oversized iron sight. He checked the belt and prepared to squeeze the trigger again. The Mercedes lurched and turned hard. He lost his view for a fraction of a second. When the van was visible again, he instantly saw its hood, grille, and front passenger quarter-panel erupt in a shower of sparks. Up in the front, his veteran SEAL was damned good with an AK, even hanging out the window of a speeding van, shooting in the dark. Tom watched the van sputter and grind to a halt in a ditch.
‘Good shooting!’ Tom yelled, a yell which even he had trouble hearing. ‘Guess I don’t get all the fun! Anybody else deaf?! And, WAS ANYONE HIT?!!’
Fortune favored the bold; no-one was damaged aside from ringing in the ears which even decent ear protection couldn’t prevent. Something about not shooting an anti-aircraft gun in an enclosed vehicle… Birch informed that a Marine helo would meet them in about three minutes, maybe one minute after they arrived at the field. The van slogged to a stop, resting on mostly flattened tires, in a patch of mud.
‘E’rbody off!’ Tom yelled. ‘Let’s give the bird something to steer by. Light this heap up!’
The five stood by, wary - watching the sky and scanning the horizon as the Mercedes began to burn behind them. The distinctive sound of an approaching rotar-craft thump-thump-thumped towards them. Tom’s signal flare did its job well. Just then, the younger agent barked, ‘The van! The van’s out there on the road!’ And, given away by headlights and its silhouette, a van was meandering down the street adjacent to their position. Tom stared at it hard.
Birch put in, ‘I mentioned that to the Jarheads during our getaway. They gotta see it now.’
Tom kept staring. Suddenly, he turned to Birch, ‘No! That one’s a different shape and a little bigger. More of a small bus. Tell them to hold their…’
As the Blackhawk prepared to set down near the flaming wreck, its door gun spoke, loud, clear, and mercilessly. **Burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrurrt!** The small bus was cut to burning pieces.
‘Oh, hell.’ Tom started. ‘Don’t tell me that was…’
As the others were pulled into the chopper, Tom stood rooted in the mud. He watched as a screaming child crawled from the remains of the bus. ‘GODDAMMIT! NO!’
He too was pulled, kicking and screaming, into the helo by a sturdy Corporal. The DOD never billed him for the damage he did to the chopper bay. The whole squad, once they understood what had happened, took Tom’s sorrowful view of the matter. It was much worse for him, understanding all the details. The master crooks used the “law” to snatch a smaller crook. Tom and his men were merely pawns. Other pawns had tried to kill them. All of it went with the territory. But, why was it that every single time, some innocents had to die? Every damned time!

28 October 2019

[MB McCart] - TPC REAL Politick: #COV, T-minus 8 Days

*ed. note: look for multiple pieces on the Covington municipal races over the next 8 days including two editorial endorsements.

So good to see you again, friends. And for those of us who reside in the realm of junkies political this is an exciting time of the year! While some get their kicks more from the federal or state - or even county - level of politics, to me there is no substitute for the municipal level.

At the city level, particularly with the home city, all bets are off! There's seemingly no rhyme or reason to a lot of it. First off, it's non-partisan, which is truly a great thing. And with the most local level, it's all about real contact & real relationships. You can win just about any election at any of the higher levels if you raise enough cash, but that's just not the case at the grassroots. And, naturally, so many folks know so many other folks in elections like these. There could be a person whose politics may more closely align with your own, but then you realize that you despise them personally & would never vote for them in a million years!

It's just good stuff.

So...C-town. The C-O-V. How do we feel about the politics of the home city? In the words of Randy Newman - "We Love It!"

Current Predictions as of 10/28/19

McKelvey 59% / Floyd 41%

Plitt 52% / Fleeta 48%

Johnston/Horton: "PICK 'EM"

So, not much change in the past week though it does seem as if the momentum is fully with my good friend Josh McKelvey. The other East Ward race seems to keep tightening! Mayor's race? Anybody's game. Don't forget, though, that there is a 3rd qualified candidate in that one....


Speaking of Josh McKelvey, I see a certain noisemaker has decided to dust off the old residency questions that were put to rest two months ago. I'm sure he was put up to it. In addition to impugning the integrity of my Cousin, he's also doing the same to me. Of course, the crazy one that shall not be named blocked me on FB 6 months ago, just like he blocked Josh & several others that would call him out on his B.S., because, after all, he's such a fierce keyboard warrior! Nothing like an ever-shrinking echo chamber, right?

But folks do like to send us screen shots occasionally.

So for anyone out there that's still actually listening to this buffoon, let me make a statement & let it be abundantly clear:

I wrote up this lease for Josh. It's real. And he IS living there & staying there at least 4 or 5 nights a week. I've been there multiple, multiple times. He has his computers there for work. He's got a bed down in the basement. He's got his music, his clothes, all of that stuff. After selling their house a few months ago, it was advised they waited 3 or 4 months to purchase their new home so they could do a few things done to help get them get a better interest rate. A smart financial decision. Plus, Josh & his wife both thought that trying to go through the process of buying a house & moving in during the height of the campaign season while raising three kids all under the age of 5 would be pretty difficult. Regardless, it's been very tough on Josh & his beautiful young family. And it sure doesn't help when folks in their 60's, 70's & older are acting like like a bunch of Junior High kids...

It's pathetic.


Next column: Ronnie Cowan, Ezell Brown & the Steve Horton Coalition? 

- MB McCart

Bess Tuggle's Memoirs of Surviving Children: The Tooth Fairy

I’ve got a news flash!  Did you know there’s more than one Tooth Fairy?

            Yes, friends and neighbors, there are.  It occurred to me many moons ago, but I’ve found that there is a large section of our population that remains unaware.

            When I was little, we had a cute little Tooth Fairy.  Not that we ever saw her, but she had to be little.  She -never- woke us up.  We always put our teeth under our pillow and were rewarded with a quarter for each and every one.  We got up in the morning, reached under the pillow, and had -money-.  We were RICH and PROUD of that gap in our teeth.

            When I had kids, we ended up with an old, clumsy Tooth Fairy.  Wouldn’t you know it?  It took a while to find out about her skills, or lack thereof.  Not sure we would have moved to that area had we known, but alas, there we were and we were stuck with her.

            I think it was on rare occasion our Tooth Fairy managed to sneak a tooth out and leave money.  She just couldn’t seem to do it.  I guess her hands were too big, or her wings too loud, but she couldn’t make the swap without waking a little head.

              It took a few years, but we finally came up the -perfect- solution!  Teeth were placed on the windowsill.  Sometimes it took a day or two, her vision wasn’t that great either, but eventually there -would- be a tooth replaced by money on the windowsill.  She was discriminating in her payoff, too!  If there was a cavity in a tooth, the best you could expect was a dime.  Generally, most teeth were worth fifty cents, but as those molars came out (without a cavity) she’d leave a whole dollar!  Those molars could buy a Match Box car!

            I don’t know what age the Tooth Fairy quits coming, regardless of the area you live in, but she does quit visiting.  We finally get to the point where -we- must have the darned things taken out and -we- pay for it, not her.  To add insult to injury, just when we need it most, she doesn’t subsidize the replacements. 

            My grandmother’s teeth were replaced decades ago.  They look nice, too.  No more worries about the Tooth Fairy.  My evening routine with my grandmother has always been “Nighty night.  Sleepy tight, and don’t let those bed-bugs bite.  If they do you BITE THEM BACK!” 

            I reminded her that her teeth were in a jar in the bathroom, so I’d just take care of biting those bed bugs for both of us.  While I can.

A jack of all trades, Ms. Tuggle has been a Covington resident since the late 70’s. She's been a K-Mart cashier, cabinet builder, vet tech, office manager for a beef cattle ranch and water well company (where she was able to hold benefits for D.A.R.E. and Scouts), a court reporter, business manager, assistant at a private investigation firm, legal assistant, convenience store clerk, landscaper and elementary school substitute teacher.  Her greatest pleasure is being a wife, mother and grandmother.  Her stories are all real, and all names will be withheld to protect the innocent, and also maybe the guilty, depending on the crime & the Statute of Limitations.  


Your Source for the REAL Story

24 October 2019

[Ellis Millsaps] - The View from Porterdale: Let It Bleed. What Could Happen, The Right to be Wrong & More From the Cranky English Major

His Excellency Donald Trump will soon be impeached by the House. At a trial in the Senate enough Republicans may stand by Trump to keep him in office or they might not. He grows more toxic daily.

 Although the vice president is up to his neck in Trump's corruption, one thing that will not happen is the impeachment of Mike Pence. Although logic might seem to dictate it, Pense’s removal would be a bridge too far for Democrats. To attempt it could augur to Trump’s benefit because Republicans are not going to make Nancy Pelosi president, a job she neither seeks nor wants.

 So we could have President Pence. At that point more Republicans will seek their party's presidential nomination. They aren't afraid of Pence. Willl they get those canceled primaries back?

 Pence might not run but one would assume he would. He probably gets a chunk of the religious right vote but not much else. Everything else is up for grabs. There will likely be a Libertarian candidacy by the first Republican congressman to have the guts to support impeachment, Justin Amash.  He has left the party but they're probably going to be wishing they had him back because he might cut deeply into their eventual nominee’s vote.


 I'm disturbed today by an attack on the first amendment's freedom of religion clause. And no, it's not the Secretary of State's promotion of Christianity on government stationery. Although that's wrong, we're used to that sort of thing and used to dealing with it.

 No, what troubles me is Beto O'Rourke's proposal to deny tax-exempt status to churches who oppose gay marriage.The whole question of tax-exempt status for churches is a controversial one in some circles, but, if we're going to have it, to deny it it to churches based on their religious beliefs is an attack on the first line of the First Amendment. “Congress may make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” In my opinion these churches are wrong, but the Constitution throughout implicitly gives us the right to be wrong. O'Rourke's proposed legislation is an attempt to establish the Church of the Secular Left as our national religion.


 A longtime acquaintance has pointed out to me a couple of trends in the language I hadn't  noticed. She's not an English major but she makes up for that in crankiness.

 The first involves a misuse of grammar, the difference between ”less” and ”fewer.” As an English Major I should have noticed this myself but I confess I have been oblivious to my own misuse.

“Fewer” is an adjective which should describe things that can be quantified while” less” is used to describe things which cannot be. One does not have less headaches than before. One has fewer headaches but perhaps with less pain than before.

 The second is the phenomenon of speakers leaving out the”t” in words like important, pronouncing it “impor-ent.” Since she brought this to my attention I hear it often, particularly among younger women-- and not poorly educated ones either.

 I'm also bothered by the misuse of adverbs on verbs that connote the senses. The president often says he”feels badly” about something. I hear other educated speakers saying the same. It’s sort of like semi-educated people saying’”between you and I” thinking they have nailed it.

“Badly” is an adverb describing a verb (or adjective, but we don't need to go there). To say you sing badly means you're not good at singing. To say you feel badly means you are not good at feeling.

“Feeling” is a little tricky because it can either mean the sense of touch or the mental emotion. You never say “this smells badly” or “this looks badly”. No, he smells bad, she looks bad and you feel bad.