Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Update

Wandering Coyote yet again!

I heard from Martha last night.  Charlie is on the mend, but the going is slow.  He is not happy in the nursing facility at all and he & Martha are referring to it at "a nut house."  He is very committed to getting better so he can get the hell out of there and go home.  Martha is hoping for Friday but there is no firm date for discharge.  After discharge, they are hoping to get a daily visit from a nurse so Charlie can have care at home.  He still does not have the strength to walk or use the laptop, hence my updating you once again.

That's about all for now.  Over and out.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another Update!

Hi Everyone. Wandering Coyote updating you once more!

I heard from Martha last night.  Charlie is being discharged from the hospital today and will be moving to a nursing facility temporarily until he is strong enough to come home.  Martha reports that there has been considerable improvement in the last three days, so she hopes he's only at the nursing facility for a week or so.  Once he's settled in, he has requested Martha bring him the laptop so he can connect to the internet himself, which is great because a few days ago he didn't have the strength to do that.

So there you go!  Good news!

Monday, June 21, 2010


Hi everyone.  Here is the latest news.

Charlie is having a very hard time breathing & it is taxing his heart big time.  Currently, he requires a special machine to help him breathe, but even so, it's difficult.  He will be discharged from hospital this week into a nursing facility where he will have 24 hour care and the machinery he needs to breathe.  He is unable to sit up or walk around, but at the nursing home he will have access to his laptop, and if he has the energy he does read all your comments.  He is very overwhelmed by everyone's love and concern.

That's all for now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Night Update

Happy Friday everyone.  It's your official Charlie Updater, Wandering Coyote here.

I just had a missive from Martha with a brief update.  Charlie has encountered some complications, unfortunately, but he is able to sit up in a chair now, which is a good thing.  He doesn't have the energy to use the laptop now, so he won't be checking in on the blog himself for a while.

As always, Charlie and Martha appreciate all the great, supportive comments!  And I will continue to update all of you as information comes in to me.

Incidentally, because there seems to be some confusion...I am a woman, and my personal blog is here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Good evening Charlie friends & fans.  Wandering Coyote here again.

I haven't heard from Martha today, but I did get an email from her about 24 hours ago to say that Charlie is still in the hospital and there is no discharge date in sight as of yet.  Martha did say that she is bringing a laptop to the hospital so, if he feels he is up to it, Charlie can check in here.  Once again, from what I gather from the emails, he is receiving excellent care from the various staff and specialists where he is receiving treatment.

Thanks again for all your supportive comments, everyone. 

Over and out until next time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Hi everyone,

Wandering Coyote again.

I have had a missive from Martha and Charlie is hanging in there.  It sounds to me as if he's getting good care, even though Dr. Lung does not practice at this particular hospital.  It also sounds that Charlie is being his characteristic snarky self, which I think is an excellent sign!

Thanks for all your comments and support everyone!  I know Charlie & Martha appreciate all of it!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Message from Charlie

Hi Everyone,

This isn't Charlie posting, it's his friend Wandering Coyote. I just received an email from Charlie's wife, Martha, asking me to post here on Charlie's behalf.

Due to breathing difficulties, our dear Professor B. Worm has been admitted to the hospital.  I was asked to tell you that the ambulance didn't give him the full siren treatment and that has made him feel a little put out.  Martha is with him now, and has said that she'll update me when she can.

We all know Charlie isn't the praying type, but I would like to encourage all of his friends & readers to muster all the positive energy and vibes they possibly can and send them all his way.  I know he will be able to feel that.  I know I am definitely squeezing all the good energy I can from my cynical body and flinging it to Arizona with gusto.

I will update you more when I get the word to do so from the boss...Martha.

Love you, Charlie!  And you, too, Martha!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Why do I do this with my "scribblings," literally bare myself to the world using my real name? I understand anonymity and respect it, especially for women and predators. I, however, have nothing to hide, and I prefer that my readers be able to relate to the real me. If I can touch just ONE heart to let it know that it's not alone, then my purpose is accomplished.

WARNING: There is a graphic description of panic attacks, which are nearly impossible to put into words, but it could be a trigger to those who suffer from them. I suggest that section be skipped.

* * *


A world I never understood
How can a boy grow up in an alcoholic family that is a family only by the name lettered on the mailbox out front, a family that terrorizes its young with a house built of shards of glass and shifting floors and mirrors that never stand still, a family that is a minefield of lies and broken promises and broken everything, a family where faces and voices and emotions are as fluid as shape-shifters, where words slash like blue steel, where secrets are hoarded like precious jewels and then, when the boy is sixteen, he willfully turns his soul over to alcohol, to the same poison that is killing him from without, to the same venom that has been killing him from the very beginning?

To a terrorized boy who gazed into cracked mirrors, who navigated rolling floors while tiptoeing through the fragments of brokenness, whose emotions were as fluid as a shape-shifter’s without ever assuming any kind of shape, and whose soul was dying anyway, alcohol was the perfect answer because. . .

. . . for the first time in my life, I was experiencing pleasure instead of pain, a feeling that neither God nor any human being had ever been able to give me. No one, absolutely no one, knew how much I was hurting inside my mind, or how incredibly scared I was, or how fuckingly lost and how fuckingly alone I was in a world that I did not understand, that I was never ever a part of, and that I was never quite sure even existed.

Alcohol, like all my boyhood books before it, was an escape. But while reading was an escape from others, alcohol was an escape from me.

I just wanted me to leave me alone.

* * *

It didn’t work. Wherever I went, I went with me.

Me and my shadow. Two of me but never twins, never a pair and never a match, not a soul double but a soul ripped in half. Two halves more sick than the whole, each half with its own sicknesses feeding the sicknesses of the other half.

Panic. Without any warning I am suddenly overcome with indescribable terror and the little boy inside me starts to scream, louder and louder and louder, “I have to get out, I HAVE TO GET OUT, I HAVE TO GET OUT!” and I try to get out of my mind because I am going mad, I am losing control, I am puking and shitting and sweating all at the same time, I have to get away  from me some way, any way, both physically and mentally, I want to rip my head open and tear my mind out because that is where the voice, my voice, is spewing its filth at me, “You’re worthless, you’re all wrong, everything about you is all wrong, you are bad, everything you do is bad, every decision you make is bad, you’re nothing but a mistake, a freak, a bad joke,” like a tape on fast-forward but perfectly clear played at warp speed, and I suddenly know with bowel-emptying dread that there is no escape, that if I thought I was hurting and scared and fuckingly lost and fuckingly alone before the booze then I haven’t seen anything yet, big boy, welcome to the big-time and the big-top where it only gets worse, where the merry-go-round stops for no boy big or small and hold on tight, boy, because I’m dizzy and I can’t stop trembling and I’m drowning in sweat and I have to throw up again and my gut explodes and the shit is pouring out of me until there is nothing left and several agonizing minutes after the little boy started screaming . . .

. . . the panic attack is over.

That is, until the next one.

* * *

The big time, the show. Alcoholism. For twenty-five years. One of the slowest suicides in history, except my soul refused to die. It cannot die because it is eternal. I have no proof of course, nobody has proof, but I believe it all the same. Otherwise, why am I still here? Otherwise, why did I choose to live? Otherwise, why did I become the decent and good and loving person that I am now?

I make no excuses for my alcoholism. I blame no one or no thing for my alcoholism. It was not a flaw in my genes, nor was it ever a physical disease which is a lie, nor did my sorrowful growing up make me drink. No one or no thing ever forced me to drink; the decision, no matter how wrong, no matter how ill advised, no matter how incredibly stupid, was my decision alone. I am solely responsible for all of the chaos and carnage I caused to myself, both boy and man, to the girl-woman who loved me because she never stopped believing that I was loveable, and to all of the innocent people I did or could have harmed—or killed.

No excuses. No blaming. Responsibility for my decisions, for my actions, and for my behavior is mine. Anything less and I would be a lie. My hard-fought hard-wrought recovery would be a lie. My whole life would be a lie.

But I’m not a lie, and my little boy knows it. He lies within my breast, comforted, and he is at rest.

The merry-go-round has come to a stop.

* * *

The Unknown Woman
It was 8:10 a.m., July 7, 1988. I was standing on the sidewalk with my suitcase by my side, waiting for a car to take me to the airport. Walking toward me was a woman I had never seen before. She stopped and said, “Going home, huh?” “Yes,” I said. “Let me give you a hug,” she said. “Okay,” I said. “You’re trembling like a leaf,” she said. “I’m scared,” I said. “I know you are, but you’ll do fine,” she said. “Thanks,” I said. And then she walked away.

She was right. I did fine.

That was the day I completed a thirty-day alcohol treatment program in the California desert. It was the day I started my life all over again. It was the day I had my first spiritual experience.

A hug by a total stranger on the sidewalk. It doesn’t sound like much, but in those few moments the Unknown Woman taught me that spirituality is about people. For the short time she held me I felt one human soul, hers, reach out to another human soul, mine, and touch it with love, and kindness, and understanding.

Selfish person that I am, I wanted what the Unknown Woman had.

* * *

Change can only come from within; no one can fix me except me. I embarked on a years-long journey of introspection. I studied me with a mental magnifying glass, including the deepest parts of my soul where human darkness lay. And that was where I found the answer. Because of all the pain and shame during a quarter century of drunkenness, I had never forgiven myself. Never once during my life had I ever told me that I loved me.

If spirituality is about people, then I was working with a one-sided equation. I could not give my whole Self because my Self wasn’t whole to give. After several years of sobriety I had missed the major component of true recovery: That I must forgive myself. That I must accept me and love me for who I am. That, as I am, I must work on changing the things about me that I can.

I believe spirituality is this: It is acceptance, both of self and of others, purely and unconditionally. It is relationship, the giving of me, wholly and freely, to my fellow human beings whenever they need me. It is understanding, not only of the empathic kind, but also from hard experience. Only then can there be the touching of my soul to another.

Only then can I be the Unknown Man.

* * *

[For anyone who would like to leave a private comment and preserve your anonymity, email me at callahanc1 AT]

[The link to TechnoBabe's post as a keepsake for me.]

Monday, June 07, 2010

It was Bound to Happen

THIS is the #1 bestselling non-fiction book in America:

The full title is Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything.

A blurb from

"Your relationship with food, no matter how conflicted, is the doorway to freedom," says Roth. What you most want to get rid of is itself the doorway to what you want most: the demystification of weight loss and the luminous presence that so many of us call 'God.' "

Bullshit on unbuttered toast. Sooner or later, it was bound to happen: A huckster who would connect weight loss with God, or God with weight loss.

So who the hell is Geneen Roth, other than a mouthful of teeth that frequently uses the F-word? Nobody. She is not a degreed or registered dietician. She is not a psychiatrist or psychologist versed in eating disorders or "emotional" eating. She is not Dr. Phil in a female package. What she is is a predator who is skilled at fattening her bank account at the expense of very vulnerable women (and men, who are also reading this book).

The problem is, women (and men) already feel a deep shame and disgust about themselves when they are unable to lose weight. By bringing God into the equation, I believe the shame and disgust will skyrocket. Roth, through her book and seminars (more big bucks), is offering heaven on earth to very few women and men who will be able to achieve it.

Roth is playing a dangerous game with vulnerable people. She knows as well as anyone that, for any kind of a diet to work, and to keep the weight off, a person must make a life-long commitment and constantly be vigilant about what they eat. It take an iron will, as my friend Kim Ayres will attest.

Few are able to do it. With the dozens of self-help miracle diets out there, why is it that obesity continues to increase instead of decrease? Because dieting includes a lot more than watching what one eats—it includes exercise, a support system, a change in attitude and, most of all, getting a "handle" on one's emotions. The latter is a huge task in itself, especially without some kind of professional help or group setting.

So what do you get for your $13.20 US that promises "almost everything" in its weighty 211 pages? Nothing, as an Amazon reviewer says,

Really! This was the answer to weight loss forever?????? At least I can say that it is the worst book I've ever read. Now I have a hardcover of a book I'm ashamed to display in my bookcase.

I would suggest, madam, that you use its pages for either puppy potty training or lining the bottom of your birdcage. And that's me being kind.

[I have not read this book and have absolutely no intention of doing so. I trust my bullshitometer to spot a scammer when it hears one. After all, I didn't tend bar for four years for nothing.]

Friday, June 04, 2010

MY Coming Attractions

Shellie, over at her book blog Layers of Thought, regularly does previews of un-released books she thinks will interest her readers. It’s a nice feature that I’ve decided to adapt for this, MY blog.

Instead of previewing books that you might like, I’m going to preview the ones I like. This blog, after all, is all about me, me, and ME. If you don’t like my approach then go see Shellie.

The Whisperers: A Charlie Parker Thriller, John Connolly
Atria Books, 352 pages
ISBN: 978-1439165195
Release date: July 13, 2010 (already released in the UK)

I've met John at a couple book signings and he's a very funny Irishman who loves to talk to us, the readers. Don't be fooled, however, into thinking his Charlie Parker books are Irish cozies. This is the ninth in the series, and each book is more dark and violent than the previous one.

Charlie is a tortured man, an ex-cop turned private detective. Tortured because his wife and little girl were murdered by someone not quite earthly. Literally not earthly as the supernatural plays a larger part in each suceeding book. In this installment, Charlie may have to face his super nemesis, the so-called Collector . . .

The series doesn't have to be read in order, but reading it as a standalone leaves out a whole lot of backstory. The locale, by the way, is the state of Maine—Stephen King territory, but thankfully John isn't nearly as creepy as Steve.

The Glass Rainbow: A Dave Robicheaux Novel, James Lee Burke
Simon & Schuster, 384 pages
ISBN: 978-1439128299
Release date: July 13, 2010

Dave is finally back in New Iberia, LA! We haven't had a good Louisiana potboiler from Dave since Pegasus Descending in 2007; 2008's Tin Roof Blowdown was a heartbreaker about Katrina, more fact than fiction.

In this, his eighteenth outing, Dave is on the trail of a sadistic killer of two young women. But, as always, he has other bayou fish to fry at the same time. His adopted daughter Alafair is attracted to Kermit Abelard, "a member of the degenerate Abelard clan" according to Publishers Weekly. PW makes a more-than-intriguing comparison of the Abelards to Faulkner's Snopes clan—an evil family indeed.

Of the writers listed in this post, Burke is the best of the bunch. He doesn't describe, but rather immerses the reader in Southern Louisiana. Like Connolly, this book can be read as a standalone, but a lot of backstory will be missing. Boy, I can hardly wait for this one.

Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
Scholastic Press, 400 pages
ISBN: 978-0439023511
Release date: August 24, 2010

Reading level: Young Adult

From James Lee Burke to the long-awaited finale of The Hunger Games trilogy. The setting is post- apocalyptic North America, divided into twelve (or is it thirteen?) Districts and controlled by the Capitol — replete with a very evil President Snow.

What makes this series stand out for both teens and adults is Collins. She knows how to grab the reader, and she refuses to let go of her choke hold. Her brilliance shines, however, in choosing a strong female lead named Katniss. Katniss thwarts Snow's every attempt to stop or destroy her as she relentlessly fights for the freedom and reunification of the Districts. For once, there is a fictional role model for teenaged girls.

There will be an ultimate showdown in this final installment, and a lot of questions to be answered. Obviously, the series must be read in order; the first two books are The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, and the trilogy will be available as a boxed set (gifts, anyone?).

Boy, I can hardly wait for this one, or did I say that already?

Moonlight Mile, Dennis Lehane
William Morrow, 320 pages
ISBN: 978-0061836923
Release date: November 2, 2010

Lehane began his commercial writing career with five Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro private eye novels. The locale was Lehane's native Boston, and the books were both gritty and funny as hell. They sold well when they were published and they still do, but after finishing the fifth Lehane swore he would never write about the pair again.

Well never say never because this is a new Kenzie and Gennaro novel. Lehane says he has aged the pair to the current times, but no information is available yet on the plot.

In the meantime, you may enjoy one of the earlier novels: A Drink Before the War; Darkness Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone, Baby, Gone; and Prayers for Rain. They can be read in any order.

Full Dark, No Stars, Stephen King
Scribner, 352 pages
ISBN: 978-1439192566
Release date: November 9, 2010

What can I say? This is Stephen King, the man who people love to hate. Since his retirement from writing, his writing has been uneven. Under the Dome, his last book, hit the mark. But what about this one? The only information available so far is that it's a new collection of four never-before-published stories. At 352 pages, they sound more like novellas—unless they suffer from James-Patterson-white-space-syndrome.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see. You know, Steve is a creepy guy when you watch and listen to him in interviews . . .

So these are MY choices for the coming months, patrician to be sure, but great escapist storytelling. I am tired of the problems of the real world, none of which I can fix and all of which make me angry. Only Connolly's book will be available for the Kindle (so much for e-readers), so hopefully Dr. Eyeball can do something about my failing eyesight very soon.

Here, for your convenience and if you care, are two of my Amazon Listmania! lists:

The Dave Robicheaux novels in order (read 8,696 times)

The Charlie Parker novels in order (Read 2,167 times)

Thursday, June 03, 2010

A State of Hatred, Part II

On May 2, 2010 I posted Arizona: A State of Hatred, providing documentation that the Bill signed into law, the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act", is actually a free license for racial profiling and the denial of civil rights to those with brown-colored skin.

The next day, I posted  an editorial from the The Washington Post by Phil Gordon, the Mayor of Phoenix, denouncing the law as "hateful" thanks to "political opportunists such as state Sen. Russell Pearce (the author of the legislation), and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio." (Maricopa County encompasses the majority of the Phoenix Metropolitan area.)

As it turns out, Pearce was not the author of the law, but merely its sponsor in the State Legislature. In the May 31, 2010 print edition of The Arizona Republic newspaper the author was Kris Kobach, an immigration attorney from Topeka, Kansas.

Kris Kobach

Kobach, however, is not your garden variety attorney who helps immigrants with US work permits or attaining citizenship. On the contrary, he is a member of FAIR — the Federation for American Immigration Reform — an organization recently listed as a nativist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

A May 10, 2010 article by John Hanna of the Associated Press had this to say:
Before the law was passed ... Kobach spent several years consulting with its main sponsor [Pearce]. And he has a $300-an-hour contract to teach deputies in Maricopa County [Arpaio], which includes Phoenix, to enforce immigration policies. [Bold is mine]
Bill Straus, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Arizona office, said in a February 9, 2010 press release, which I have as a Microsoft Word document:
We find it absolutely outrageous that Sheriff Arpaio has chosen an individual with an obvious bias, who works on behalf of an anti-immigrant group to conduct training on immigration law and ethnic profiling. This shows that he is not serious about dealing with the concerns that have been raised about his tactics and treatment of immigrants.
Well isn't this a cozy little bunch. I've shown that all three compadres (excuse me, gentlemen) have links to white supremacist or neo-Nazi groups. This is not immigration reform, but unabashed hatred of any human being who is not White.

Pearce isn't finished, not by a long shot with a willing and compliant legislature and governor — a Republican governor whom we inherited after Democrat Janet Napolitano was tapped by the Obama administration for Director of Homeland Security. Napolitano kept Pearce in check by vetoing and shredding all his bills that sullied her desk. Jan Brewer, however, is a staunch supporter.

The last paragraph of The Arizona Republic's report is totally outrageous:
Next year, Pearce has said, he will propose a measure that would make Arizona the first state to stop the practice of giving citizenship to children who are born in the United States to illegal immigrant parents. Ending the practice of granting citizenship to "anchor babies," as they are sometimes called, is one of FAIR's legislative goals and is supported by Kobach.
Never mind that immigration law is a federal matter; Pearce, Arpaio, and Kobach openly disregard it. And why shouldn't they? The reaction so far from President Obama is a shaking of his head and his usual speechifying.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Odds & Ends, Mostly Odds

This is one of those posts comprised of bits and pieces, fluff 'n' stuff, and digressive bullshit. In other words, these are short blasts of gasbaggery not fit for a full blast of gas.

* * *

Has anyone noticed lately that I’ve cleaned up my language? I wonder what the hell is wrong with me. In real life I’m a fountain of filth, so what you read here is not the real me. Fucking sad, isn't it.

* * *

This is a caption
Some of you have noticed my new, updated blog layout and the comments have been favorable. It is nothing more than “Blogger in Draft,” and I like it. Blogger is gradually creeping up to the versatility of Wordpress, which I’ve learned to use when writing for Worldwide Opinions. Photo handling is vastly improved and lookit, actual captions — but no frames. “Preview” is nice too, showing a post how it will look when the post goes live. Tweak away, my lovelies, without re-posting 22 times like I used to do.

On the downside, YouTube videos are still limited to 440 pixels wide. And don’t even think about fooling around with the template code: this is NOT your grandma’s HTML. I hate the idea of going back to third grade to learn all the new programming techniques.

* * *

As long as I’m on a noticing roll, does anyone ever notice that 99% of Google ads are SPAM? “Free” this and “free” that — there’s no such thing as “free.” I hate the spam ads on YouTube videos, but I guess that’s the price I have to pay to keep YouTube free.

* * *

Google. I made this comment recently on Mami's blog: “I'm not paranoid or anything even close to it, but I just know that Google is watching my every move. Even when the computer is turned off.”

As filmmaker Michael Moore said, “I don’t believe in conspiracies unless they’re true.” Yeah, well, the Department of Homeland Insecurity, disguised as Google, probably watches Michael a lot. When they're not watching me, that is.

* * *

Twitter. I’ve been tweeting for exactly two months now and I think I finally have the hang of it. I only follow nine twitterlings, most of whom are you guys. I use it mainly for promotion of my blog, and to make quick retorts to humorous tweeties. It’s tough, though, really tough, for a gasbag like me to say anything in a measly 140 characters.

* * *

Martha, my Precious Moment, and I don’t text each other, or tweet, or mumble into our secret decoder rings. We communicate, face-to-face and one-on-one. Just the other night we had a deep philosophical discussion that lasted for nigh on four minutes and twenty-seven seconds. Quite a feat I would say, considering that nowadays the average attention span is ten seconds or less. It was great communicating with her, especially if I could remember what we said after the tenth second.

* * *

Martha, the storyteller:

A Fairy Tale

One day, there lived a woman who did not whine, nag, or bitch.

But it was a long time ago, and it was just that one day.

The End

Why are fairy tales always so damn sad? It's no wonder that we all need therapy or an addiction or meds to keep us going.

* * *

Storytelling and blogging go hand-in-hand — or at least the ones I read do. I was shocked yesterday when I heard that Jimmy Bastard, the Bard of Glasgow, suddenly deleted his blog. He was an uncommonly good writer, autobiographically written in Glaswegian dialect, and he faithfully responded to every comment with wisdom and humor. But never say never. He may rise again from the ashes . . .

There’s a new kid on the storytelling block, a sixty-five-year-old youngster named Jerry. His blog is Gently Said, and that describes it perfectly. Read this post, The Miscreants, and see if you agree.

Another storyteller of note is Shawna, or her American Indian name, Flying Eagle Woman. I found this post, Matty Rock Set GO!!!!!!, especially heartwarming.

* * *

Sadly, I must leave you. No, no, don’t have a myocardial infarction. I’m not deleting my blog, but rather going to take a nap. Today is May 31, and if I live until midnight (ten hours away), then I’ll get another Social Security check in June. Should I kick the can at 11:59, I get nothing. It’s all or nothing with the SS, as I like to call it.

And unlike the little captioned sign above, I have no trouble tripping over flat surfaces. Or walking into doorways and walls that refuse to stand still. If we had stairs, I would surely fall down every single one of them. It's an old family trait, as well as a tradition. No, the safest place for me is in bed with the covers over my head . . .