Free Lunch

Abigail Wing Chair 6

Today is Veterans’ Day.  Of course, it was originally Armistice Day, celebrating cessation of hostilities in World War I, but WWII and the Korean War rather upended that whole paradigm.

So, as a vet, I learned last night I’ve got a freebie coming.  (In addition to various benefits through the Veterans Administration, for most of which I must be a hell lot worse off than I am now to qualify for.)  Free lunch today at Applebee’s.  Life couldn’t be better!

(It could have been dinner, but we have other plans.)


Something Wrong With This Picture? Department

Picture this sequence:

  1. You are pregnant;
  2. You enter the hospital to give birth;
  3. The hospital as part of its SOP takes blood;
  4. Also as part of its SOP (but unbeknownst to you and without your consent) the hospital tests the blood for illegal drugs;
  5. The drug test turns up traces of opiates;
  6. By prior arrangement with the local child protection agency, the hospital alerts the agency as to the drug test;
  7. Your and your new baby are discharged from the hospital; and
  8. The next day the CPA comes to your home and removes the new baby and your other children because you are using drugs.

It then turns out that a) the test limits were set too low; b) you ate an “everything” bagel the night before and its poppy seeds were enough to trigger the test; and, oh yes,  c) the hospital/CPA conspiracy probably violated your 14th Amendment rights.

This is the scenario that resulted in Lawrence County [Pennsylvania] Children and Youth Services removing Elizabeth Mort and Alex Rodriguez’s 3-day old girl and holding her in foster care for five days.  Until they admitted it was a mistake, that is.

Not surprisingly, some people think there’s a lot wrong with this picture.

In their complaint (PDF), Mort and Rodriguez say the “seize first, ask questions later” policy jointly implemented by Lawrence County and the Jameson Health System (motto: “there’s no place like home”) is not required by state or federal law and represents a conspiracy to deprive parents of their 14th Amendment rights. In addition to seeking “nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages,” they are asking the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to declare the policy unconstitutional.

Sometimes, you just have to love this country.


Cheaper by the Dozen One Department

For those who may be considering purchasing my book, The Box, currently offered on Blurb, I’m pleased to pass along the promotional discount Blurb is offering:  During the order process, enter “PROMO” (without the quotes) on the Payment Options page during checkout and click the “Apply” button, and receive 20% off the price of The Box.

That means, according to my calculations:

$39.16 for softcover
$47.96 for hardcover with dust jacket
$50.36 for hardcover with “ImageWrap”

The promotion expires November 27.


News from the Coming Caliphate Department

It’s been awhile since last I reported any news from the world as it would be under Islamic rule.  Now comes this story out of Pakistan, however, of a Christian woman sentenced to death for defaming the Prophet Muhammad.

Although no one has ever been executed under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws – most are freed on appeal – as many as 10 people are thought to have been murdered while on trial.

Pakistan — another country I probably shouldn’t visit.


Disappeared by Google Department

In my longer version of “Disappeared by Google” I make fairly explicit comparisons to actions of the Argentine Junta during its “Dirty War.”  I was reminded of the horror of that latter time when reading the obituary of Emilio Massera, a leader of the junta and “the former head of the country’s most notorious political prison, where an estimated 5,000 people were tortured and killed.”  Few in Argentina will mourn his passing.

Mr. Massera ran the military arm of the dictatorship the first two years. As head of the navy, he was also in control of the prison camp at ESMA in Buenos Aires. The admiral visited the camp often, overseeing torture, which included rape. The military tortured most of its prisoners and dumped them, dead or alive, into the River Plate from airplanes.


Idle Hands … Department

Time on my hands yesterday evening, so I played a bit.  For your enjoyment, another image of Zaila:

Zaila 6 Variation

How can you not love the contours of the human body?  The hips’ thrust, the spine’s slight depression, the rump’s round sensuality, shadows defining extended shoulder blades, arm thrust up and over, hair seducing us as it falls off, breast defined yet not revealed.  Set against the chaos of billowing smoke.  Ah!


From a dual session I did with her and with Meg, working separately in the same wing chair.

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2 Responses to Free Lunch

  1. Went by Applebees at about 4:30 today thinking I’d try to get my free meal before they got too swamped…but it was too late…there was a line outside the building and there were no parking places left…so we turned around and went to Bob Evans where I paid for my own dinner, but I didn’t have to stand in a line to get free food…I did enough standing in line while I was in the Army to last a lifetime.

    Reminded me of a motorcycle trip out west years ago with my best friend. We saw a Wall Drug billboard that said “Veterans get a free donut and coffee at Wall Drug.” So we went to Wall Drug to get our donut. Walked in, told them we were vets and they served us our donut and coffee, no questions asked. I liked their attitude.

    • Stephen says:

      Thanks for sharing, Dave. I expected the lines would be fierce. My wife is deep into putting together her holiday crafts offerings (knit scarves and aprons this year), so we decided what with dinner out yesterday evening we’d not have time to also do lunch at Applebee’s, so we missed whatever crush afflicted the local restaurants.

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