Sunday, January 31, 2021


The weather has actually been good enough for the past few days, at least until the evening--meaning that it has not been constantly flooding down rain for a change--to allow me to visit my customary coffee spots on the beach and in the town of Sanur. Today's stop was at Bread Basket, a pleasant little cafe on Jalan Tamblingan, and while there I picked up a a little newsletter called Sanur Weekly. This isn't much more, really, than an advertisement pamphlet for local restaurants, bars, and shops, with bits of local news popped in here and there. 

 One article in particular caught my attention. Follow The Rules Or Go Back Home was the headline. The short piece detailed the unhappy fates of three foreign residents, two Americans and one Russian. Leave it to Americans to win the foreigner expulsion prize, right?

In the first instance, an American citizen, and her girlfriend (whose nationality is not mentioned) had stayed in and travelled about Indonesia during the months of the pandemic, ignoring the various safety protocols along with the rules, it seems, of the immigration department regarding the proper permissions that should have been obtained. Not such an odd thing, probably, and probably not something that would have attracted much attention had they not posted the details of their transgressions and bragged about it on Instagram, which caused outrage among Indonesian netizens and prompted an investigation by authorities for violation of their stay permit. It was discovered as well that the woman was working locally while on a tourist visa (a no-no), and (horrors) that she and her friend were lesbians. Also a no-no, homosexuality being against the law in Indonesia. Not that anyone normally pays any attention. But the couple had made a point of posting liberally about this relationship as well (clueless, or at least careless about the local laws and customs, I guess), and so this suited the government authorities just fine, providing as it did just another reason to support deportation. The two women were deported to their home countries. 

In the second instance, the newspaper tells us that the foreigner deported was "a Russian influencer", although I have no idea what this means. The man's crime--in the first place driving a motorbike in the ocean (and I'm not sure how one does that) and then filming the crime while hosting a party wherein none of the guests were wearing masks or following protocols such as social distancing--was enough for immigration to deport him. 

In the third case, a US citizen had simply overstayed his visa, and then, for some reason, decided to be uncooperative about solving the problem with immigration authorities. Perhaps he had thought, as some foreigners do, that there is no such thing as an authority in Indonesia. Say what? They have authority in their own country over western people? Yes, they do. And so bye-bye to this American too. 

To be honest, I was not aware that very many foreigners get deported at all--but these three were just in the space of one week. Nonetheless, I doubt whether anyone would get deported if only they made some reasonable attempt to observe the laws, follow the rules, be aware of the culture. It's not that hard. Or is it? A friend of mine who owns a cafe in Canggu (a heavily populated tourist district) told me the other day that the westerners there are by and large refusing to wear masks and often throwing a bloody fit when asked to do so. No doubt they believe that in this foreign land they themselves are subject to no laws. Well, good luck with that. I for one am not about to press my luck, nor do I have any reason to be other than cooperative and obedient to simple regulations, either in this country or in any other. After all, the wages of sin is death--or, in this case, deportation. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021


 A shadowy Democratic party cabal is responsible for kidnapping, molesting, and eating children. School shootings in America were 'false flag operations'. Parents, family members, and officials who say that children died are lying and have safely hidden away the children. The California forest fires were caused by a secret Jewish space laser. The 2020 election was fraudulent despite the findings of multiple investigations, recounts, and court judgments nationwide. 

These are the fevered imaginings of tenants in a lunatic asylum, right? 

No, they are the views of our Republican congressional representatives, and at least some of which are held by millions of others in our terminally sick society. With threats lurking such as these in which they believe, no wonder they need their guns--although, to redirect a phrase used by one House Representative, a bullet to the head would be quicker. 

Quicker than what? Quicker than trying to make people see the simple truth--for one who truly believes in these twisted fantasies is forever lost to the simple truth. 

I cannot help but remember my old friend Mike in this connection. Mike started out as a pleasant enough man, a good friend, and yet in the course of time he became increasingly fixated on wild conspiracy theories, to the point, finally, that he would talk of nothing else. Every day it would be a new theory, or a new twist in an old theory, each trapped in an increasingly convoluted, self-negating, contradictory web of alternative realities. It was like being fixed on the number 23, as in the old Jim Carrey movie. All of these derangements were somehow truths, and would somehow explain themselves eventually. If I tried to hone in on one fallacy, Mike would simply shield it by shifting to another fallacy altogether, which, as often as not, directly contradicted the first. But, you see, at this point, contradictions don't matter, logical analysis doesn't matter, proof by example doesn't matter--because the truth, you see, the ultimate truth is hidden from all except the madman, and the rest of us are just part of the problem. 

"God damn arrogant American!" Mike shouted the last time we parted, then stormed away on his bicycle like the wicked witch of the west. 

Truths, facts, sober counseling are not effective tools against delusion, for they only threaten and anger. There is no cure. 

I'm sorry to tell you, but there is no cure for this. 

I've seen Mike on the street since that time, some years ago now, but we did not speak again until just recently when we both happened to pull into a small grocery store lot at the same time. 

Awkward, yes. "Hello, Mike," I said as I removed my helmet. "How's life?" 

And do you know what Mike's response was? Mike's response was to instantly bring up yet another conspiracy theory. Not hi. Not how are you. Not a bit of small talk. No. Something about a stolen election and a lot of trouble coming soon. 

Good Lord. 

I'm afraid that we cannot wait for people to be enlightened. To be deprogramed. To be reasoned with. No. The only answer, sadly, is expulsion.

And that's the bad news really, isn't it, as far as the infection in our own government goes, because the Republican party has clearly shown that it is not big on the idea of expelling nitwits from the ranks--even the one who incited a mob to attack our capital.

Monday, January 25, 2021


 Once again, my front teeth have fallen out, making for a weekend of subsisting on soup and oatmeal, and this evening, thankfully, I will be back to the dentist. I had really begun to enjoy eating again, after a fashion anyway, with my dentures, but the dentures are useless without those few teeth to anchor them in. The problem is, once they glue or whatever they do to put these teeth in, they don't seem to want to stay for very long. Don't know what else could be done though. Perhaps they could use an implant for one of the teeth (the one that the dentures attach to), but that, as I understand it, is a rather expensive option (I seem to remember hearing a figure like 20 million for one implant, or about 1500 US dollars. Yikes). In any case, I'm hungry and I want my teeth back! 

On to the Superbowl

 Well, I was 50 percent on my NFL playoff predictions. Most importantly, Kansas City is going back to the Superbowl, having beaten the Bills rather soundly, but unfortunately Tampa Bay beat the Packers and will be going for the NFC. I keenly dislike both Tampa Bay and the Bills, so at least I will have someone to root for in this bowl (I had feared that maybe the Bills and the Buccaneers would go, thus making for a dreary matchup, as far as I am concerned). Both of these quarterbacks facing off in the upcoming Superbowl, Mahomes and Brady are incredibly good and both seem unstoppable. So what's gonna happen? Well, I have to choose the Chiefs as my Superbowl pick, but, to be honest, the teams and the quarterbacks are very well matched up, so my pick is down to nothing more than dislike of the Buccaneers. 

Go Chiefs!

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Play Ball!

 It has been raining all the day long here in Sanur, which has been inconvenient because I have been wanting to go out and get the free coffee customarily offered to Starbucks card holders. There is a big difference between going somewhere in the rain in a car and on a motorbike, believe me. But anyway, I finally gave up on waiting, for the rain had merely increased, donned my long rain smock and plowed through the weather to the mall. 

Upon arriving and announcing that it is my birthday, I was told that the former practice had changed and all that was offered now was a free slice of red velvet cake. "But I don't want a cake," I said. "My wife just sent me a cake this morning." 

Happily, my barista friend Ishac took over and I ended up getting both a coffee and a cake. Oh well, it's only once a year (although the cake Louis sent will last for some days to come). 

Other than that, I am looking forward to the NFL conference playoff games on Sunday (Monday here). This year features two teams that I dislike, the Bills and the Buccaneers, pitted against Kansas City and Green Bay respectively. I am betting on Kansas City and Green Bay to win, though the reader should be forewarned that I am usually wrong. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021


Yesterday, Donald Trump left the capital in a final fog of lies, summarizing all those great things that actually did not happen during his presidency. It was the same old tripe, rendered after all these months and years to nothing more than meaningless blather. 

And then he was gone. And, as it seems to be, suddenly irrelevant. A totally new atmosphere seemed to fall on the capital and on the nation--new, and yet familiar, tranquil. Old, reliable patterns slipped back into place, words and traditions and attitudes that we could recognize. The war is over, the dawn is rising, and peace, one prays, will reign again.

One prays, yes. One prays that division may be overcome by a new spirit of cooperation, a dedication to government for the benefit of the people rather than a government of endless bickering and insult. One prays for agreement on a basic foundation of decency and propriety, and for a shared intelligence and thoroughness in the operation of those systems that are so important to the thriving of society. Let us never again elevate our worst inclinations, paranoias, prejudices and cruelties to a position of national power, but let the mystic chords of memory, as Lincoln said, swell again, touched by the better angels of our nature. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021


 Wow. The circus of absurdities has become quite subdued lately, hasn't it, following the capital insurrection and the silencing of Trump, imposed both by internet platforms and apparently elected by Trump himself. Despite his removal from Twitter, Facebook, and so on, Trump is quite able to speak if he wishes through his own White House press corps. But it has apparently dawned on him, or on influential aides and lawyers, that he simply cannot restrain himself from digging his own hole deeper, and so at last he has shut up. Hallelujah! Who else out there is looking forward to boring news hours? I know I am. It is as if we had watched over this catastrophe all along in the way that one watches over a sick loved one, hoping every day for signs of improvement, despairing when the condition became more critical yet. Perhaps at last the fever has broken once for all, and we can sit back, take a collective breath of relief. Maybe, just maybe. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sudden Frogs

When I opened the sliding doors to the wall garden this morning a little frog instantly hopped into the house and, being a rather quick-footed little bugger, whilst I am a slow old bugger, proceeded to hop across the floor and under the bed. I don't mind that part, as the doors are generally open the day long and he will pretty surely find his way back outside again. What bothers me is how he got there in the first place. I know I've mentioned this frog issue before, but it continues to perplex me. The wall garden is a narrow rectangular space just at the back of the house. It is bordered by walls that are about ten feet high. So how did the frog get there to begin with? I have theorized in the past that perhaps they come down with the rain, being delivered in such manner somewhat the way babies are delivered by storks. Another theory may be that they simply grow out of the ground, like weeds or vegetables (although, to be clear, I've not seen a vegetable spring up of its own accord as yet). As far as I know, frogs need a pond to hatch in, right? Then again, maybe this is not a pond sort of frog but more of a tree frog sort of frog. For that matter, do tree frogs hatch from ponds or from trees? As I've said, it's perplexing. I guess I'll just enjoy my coffee and forget about it for the time being. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Something In The Air

 Some years ago, I was having a lengthy discussion with my neurologist back in Portland and we discovered during the course of this discussion that we both had an autistic son. As we switched to sharing about that subject, the doctor expressed his suspicion that autism might arise from environmental factors--something in the air, something that affects and alters brain chemistry. 

Taking this idea up from there, I will suggest that something in the air has affected the brains of millions of people, twisting and scrambling intellectual processes to the point that people now believe that attacking the nation's capital, killing or injuring police officers, threatening the lives of government officials somehow constitute appropriate actions. How else to explain, for instance, the unshakeable belief that there was massive fraud in the presidential election when all the evidence in the world shows that there most definitely was not? How to explain the mistaking of terrorism for patriotism? How to explain the wild QAnon theory that evil Democrats are abducting, abusing, and murdering children? Oh, and then eating them.

The problem is not a difference of political viewpoints. The problem is mass insanity. 

I know from my own experience with my son that he could not be 'reasoned' out of his false reasonings. They were carved in stone, quite impregnable to analysis and correction. For lack of any better explanation, 'something in the air' had altered his mental processes irredeemably. One could talk himself blue in the face and make not a single dent in his faith, which unfortunately was invested in notions that were wholly without logical foundation.

In the same way, these Trump fanatics cannot be reasoned out of their delusions. For them, there is no truth that is not a lie, no proof that is not a hoax, no careful explanation that is not a waste of their time. And of course the irony is that every bit of what they are embracing is itself the lie, the hoax, the conspiracy. Indeed, at bottom it is not their fault. They have fallen prey to something in the air.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Come Together

 I was watching yesterday a brief news conference held by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on a New York City street when a middle-aged woman stepped into the picture and began ranting about God knows what. The usual crap, you know? Something about Schumer being a liar and shameful and insulting the cult leader and blah, blah, blah. Reporters, cameramen, and Schumer stood back and silently watched, waiting for her to tire and desist, the way one tends to do when having to interact with any random lunatic on the street. I don't know how the woman was eventually removed, or indeed whether she merely ran out of rant, as the newscast broke away to cover other stories during the interruption. 

And it struck me that, if nothing else, this woman's raw anger alone mirrored the intensity of my own, and of so many others, at deluded people like her, at the foolish conspiracy theories and the QAnon imbecility, at the treachery of our soon-to-be irrelevant president, at the violence visited upon our nation's capital and our representatives and on the officers who sought to protect them. At the shame visited upon our nation. I mean, I am outraged by their outrage! Kudos to Schumer, I guess, for not taking this woman by the collar and trying to shake some sense into her. 

How has it happened that outrage has lost its integrity, its center? Who are these people who would be outraged not by a president who has lied and fumed and foamed and finally incited white supremacists, neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, thugs, killers, and just plain run-of-the-mill morons to carry out an insurrection, but by the honorable and needful intent to correct and penalize such behavior? To me, this is simply astounding and quite completely inscrutable. 

Incalcitrant Republican congressmen and women speak now about the need to "come together". Nothing much to see here. Move on. Heal. And by all means, look the other way. 

Right. Well, I reckon that before 'coming together', they themselves are going to need to 'get it together'!

Sunday, January 10, 2021


 As the days pass, it is becoming clear that this attack on the capital in Washington DC was much more serious than it had at first seemed. Up to now, we have been fed the same array of fairly tame photos and videos of the assault--people milling about, hobnobbing with capital police, breaking windows, trashing offices, sporting their various Halloween costumes for the cameras. Now, however, we are seeing and reading many more of the details. An officer beaten to death with a fire extinguisher, another officer crushed, screaming, in a doorway, a woman shot as she tried to climb through a window and into the House chamber, a man with plastic ties to be used to subdue captives, chants for the hanging of Mike Pence and the erection of a gallows for this purpose, a female reporter shoved to the floor, her camera smashed, a methodical invasion and trashing of high office locations not known to the general public but somehow known to these insurgents. This was not a mere picnic for clownish Trump enthusiasts. The clowns, the useful idiots, certainly were present, but only to be used as cannon fodder by the kingpins of the insurgency if the need arose. No, this was an attempt, albeit amateurish and poorly coordinated, to overthrow the government and to put our congressional representatives in deadly jeopardy. There was assistance from the inside, strings were pulled, police agencies were suppressed, and the president himself refused to call in the National Guard--this being done, ultimately, through cooperation between congressmen and the vice president. It was, after all, a close call, and could have been much, much worse but for the confusion and clumsiness of the perpetrators themselves. Astoundingly, many of our representatives in the House and Senate are not seeing the need to remove or impeach. Well, there are only ten days left, they say. But what does that have to do with anything? Does it mean that presidents are allowed to lead insurrections as long as they are at the end of their term? Would such a grace period apply to me or to you if we were to commit a crime? No, I don't think so. Impeachment must proceed. It is a moral imperative. 

Friday, January 8, 2021


 First off, I'll tell you a little story. 

Some years ago, my wife, her son, and I flew to Washington DC to visit my stepdaughter and her boyfriend. While there, we of course took the opportunity to sightsee in the government district. At one point during our car tour, my daughter's boyfriend, who was driving, mistakenly turned down a restricted bystreet near the capital building. Immediately, our car was surrounded by a squad of armed capital officers who had swarmed out of nowhere, weapons at ready. A young couple, their middle-aged parents, and a small boy cannot have appeared to be very much of a threat, and yet one never knows. The police were doing their job just as they should. 

How then does it happen that a violent mob can march unmolested on the capital building, burst in through doors and windows, alternately trash the inner premises and take selfies, climb the walls, raise Confederate flags in the face of the law enforcement presence of all of DC? How does it happen that only a handful of these folks were arrested? How does it happen that when they were finished with their fun, they simply walked away? And how is it that police officers have been recorded taking selfies with mob members. How is it that video seems to show officers simply opening the road barriers for the insurgents? 

Well, these are the questions that are now being asked by congress members and authorities, and rightly so. There is certainly the appearance that this was, at least to some extent, an inside job, a cooperative effort between the insurgents, the police, and even certain members of congress--and that's something that needs to be gotten to the bottom of straightaway! 

At the same time, many news broadcasts and newspaper commentaries have pointed out the glaring disparity between police reaction to the BLM movement and police reaction to the invasion of the capital by these white insurgents. One need say no more, for what is painfully obvious is simply that--painfully obvious. 

The good news is that morons will be morons, and so in keeping with their nature, these particular morons have filmed themselves inside the capital building, outside the capital building, climbing the walls of the capital building, destroying property, assaulting officers, and have even posted photos and videos to their social media accounts. Shouldn't be hard to find and arrest these "patriots". 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

The Victory Parade of Abject Ignorance

 When I got up this morning and turned on my phone, the first thing I saw was a New York Times article detailing the violent takeover of our national capital building, and my first response was an irrepressible burst of laughter. 

For a long while now, our president and our Republican representatives have been playing with matches, never stopping to fear or appreciate the immense stupidity of the common American people. For, you see, our president and our representatives were never serious about this "Stop the Steal" bullshit, aware that multiple recounts and investigations and court cases had clearly shown that there was no steal, that the election in fact was one of the most secure elections in American history. Nonetheless, they continued to spread lies for their own political interests, continued to light matches, continued to douse the grounds with kerosene and gosh I'll be darned if it didn't catch fire. Who knew? 

So as the gun toting, slogan shouting mob swarmed in through broken windows, the senators and the representatives ducked and cowered and ran, spirited away to safe locations. So much for standing up for their lofty cause (or any cause other than their personal safety). 

Of course, as I watched these events on video, I did not laugh anymore. The feelings I had were more purely of disgust, repulsion, outrage at every one of these dipshit 'patriots', the grand congregation of the hopelessly ignorant and deluded, pledged to serve a cause based on the demonstrable lies ultimately of one man: the President of the United States--who, by the way, bravely stepped to the mic during the riot to tell more lies! 

All along the way for the last four years we have had, crime after crime, outrage after outrage, the opportunity to rid ourselves of this man--but again, it seemed to those in power, apparently, all just a game, an innocent little power struggle to control the strings of government. It was all just words and misunderstandings and innocent "perfect" phone calls--and all the while, the incurably stupid gobbled those words and grew fat and belligerent. Wait, they believed this shit? Oh yes, they did. This, and more. They fed at the fetid troughs of the conspiracy theories, no matter how absurd, that spawned from the lies that were embraced and repeated by the president himself. Trump became just another word for brainless rage, emblazoned on flags that finally flew above the capital in Washington DC. 

President Obama has put it this way: "History will righty remember today's violence at the Capital , incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation. But we'd be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise." 

And that is the God's honest truth. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021


 Some may notice that I changed the title of the blog, at least temporarily. Trying it on, I guess, to see how it feels. The thing is 'Everyone Here is Jim Dandy' makes less sense now that it did to begin with, because that title came from a book I had written, and which was read by nobody, mainly about multiple sclerosis. It makes sense only to the extent that it is recognizable only to people already familiar with my blog. 

In any case, it doesn't really matter. 

"Practical Paradise" was the title of a column I used to write for the Bali Times newspaper, and that column was more typical of what I tend to write in the blog, featuring articles about Bali and my personal experiences in Bali. Back then, I and my friend, Vyt, both had columns side by side on the second page of the newspaper. Mine tended toward the humorous (although not always) while his tended more toward politics and social issues. We took care, back then, with what we wrote, for we had an audience, you see, whereas nowadays I just kind of aimlessly blab.

In any case, the original title, as I stared at it this morning, just kind of bugged me, so I took my spray can of attitude and sprayed over it.

More Flooding

 It seems that a portion of the flood waters, re-routed by a neighbor, on her own authority, through the installation of an underground pipe, straightaway entered the yard of the house on the far side of the street and then the house itself, such that the old woman who owns that house found herself ankle-deep in water. 

As it happens, this is a rich old woman of some standing in the community, and so it is not surprising that city workers soon showed up to address the central issues of the flood itself. Money talks, as does position. 

Therefore, the flood waters have now been greatly alleviated. A large part of the problem seems to have been the collection of garbage within a pipe which then blocked the flow of water through the pipe. There is also an overflowing drainage ditch on the street behind mine, and, as the land slopes ever so slightly down to the main road, Jalan Hangtuah, this overflow has been responsible for flooding my end of the street as well as the field behind the street. 

I suggested that they plant some fish in this pool for neighborhood recreation, but was told that the water is partly rain and partly sewage, so maybe that's not such a good idea. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Let the Flood Waters Come

With the rainy season this year, which indeed has been a rather soggier one than usual, we've had a constant flood at the head of my street and at isolated spots along the street closer to my home. The problem is that the head of the street is bordered by what seems to be a main irrigation ditch meant to route water flowing from all the nearby fields, and this ditch has collected mud to the extent that there is no longer a ditch. The 'river' of flood waters, therefore, flows right down the street and into the main street, Jalan Hangtuah. The water on the street is sometimes as deep as a half foot, some of it flowing, some of it just standing. 

As no one in an official capacity seems much interested in the situation, the neighborhood community decided to gather this morning and try to shovel the mud out of the ditch themselves, but they were soon driven away from this task by yet more rain. And at any rate, if you ask me, this project would be doomed to failure from the start anyway, as it seems clear that the water from all the nearby fields would feed more mud into ditch just as quickly as it could be removed. Nor am I in any condition to be helpful, given that I have a hard enough time with just walking, let alone trying to bend and shovel.

Ostensibly, I suspect, the local banjar is responsible for such things (banjar being the name for the Balinese administration in charge of the neighborhood), and yet assistance sought from them has as yet produced no results. Ironic, I guess, that the word banjar is so close to the word banjir, which means flood. 

But hey, the rainy season can be messy. It is what it is. Especially in Bali. In fact, that ought to be their provincial motto.