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TBR News February 8, 2020

Feb 08 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. February 8, 2020:“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.
Commentary for February 8: “I watched Trump’s State of the Union speech and laughed so hard I thought I would have an involuntary bowel movement. The entire affair sounded like someone had taped a group therapy session at an evangelical church meeting and Pelosi’s contempt was very evident. Fat Donald has insulted the wrong people and he thinks that because he has the support of neo nazis and Jesus Freaks, he is a cinch to be reelected in November. This is not an impossible dream in a country where many believe in the Yeti and the Flat Earth but if enough of his enemies get together, such as blacks, Mexicans, woman and others, and vote, Donald will be nothing more than a bad dream.”

Trump aches from his head to his toes
His sphincters have gone where who knows
And his love life has ended
By a paunch so distended
That all he can use is his nose”

The Table of Contents
• The strangest State of the Union ever
• Dead President Walking
• The Jesus Forgeries
• It is near; it is at hand. Maybe tomorrow but probably never
• Top 5 Ways to Avoid Fake Coins on eBay
• The Season of Evil

The strangest State of the Union ever
Trump zigs to the right, zags to the center in a speech that broke all the rules.
February 5, 2020
by John F. Harris
Politico
President Donald Trump likes his superlatives, and you have to give him credit: He definitely earned them this time.
This was the most defiant, most boastful, most ostentatiously theatrical, most overtly campaign-oriented, most am-I-hearing-this-right? outlandish—the most flamboyantly bizarre—State of the Union Address of All Time.
It was also the most disorienting, and hard to categorize through the prism of conventional political analysis. That prism already had lost much of its utility during the Trump Era, and the president seemed to shatter it completely in a 78-minute speech to a congressional audience whose fealty and contempt toward Trump were on display in equal and vivid measure.
Trump long ago lost the capacity truly to shock, but he still has tricks up his sleeve: The speech showed he still has the ability to surprise.
In particular, his speech was notable for the unapologetically zigzag quality of the messaging. The usual rubric is that national politicians face a choice of mobilization or persuasion. One choice is to energize the partisan base with sharp-edged rhetoric and cultural and ideological scab-picking. The other choice is to blur lines with round-edged appeals to voters who aren’t on board but might yet be coaxed there.
Trump refused the choice. In keeping with the more-is-more spirit of the speech, he did both.
Steak tartare a la right wing was on the menu. There were pledges to defend gun rights and fight abortion rights with a national ban on late-term abortions, repeated denunciations of “illegal aliens,” vows to “never let socialism destroy American health care.” There were eight references to God and an injunction to “remember that America has always been a Christian nation.”
Most notably, there was an invitation to broadcaster Rush Limbaugh, recently stricken with lung cancer, to stand in the gallery and be draped with the presidential Medal of Freedom by first lady Melania Trump. The president extolled Limbaugh’s “decades of devotion to our country,” as though he were a latter-day Walter Cronkite and national unifier, rather than one of the creators of the insult-laden, indignation-oriented, attack-focused brand of conservatism that gave rise to Trump.
But the speech was also replete with rhetorical outreaches designed to expand the coalition of Trump voters in this reelection year. He talked about what he has done to reduce poverty and unemployment for African-Americans and women. He sounded like any Democrat when he said, “We will always protect your Social Security and we will always protect your Medicare. Always.” He talked of increased funding for Alzheimer’s care. The denunciation of abortion was preceded by an appeal for $50 billion for neonatal research.
Impeachment was not mentioned. But it infused every aspect of the evening. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to welcome Trump to the House with the traditional words saying she has “the high privilege and distinct honor” to present the president. She extended her hand to him but he didn’t take it.
And, in the evening’s most viral moment, she ripped up her copy of Trump’s speech on national television as soon as he finished speaking. She said that was “the courteous thing to do considering the alternative,” without specifying what that alternative would be. She said her gesture was appropriate given that the speech was a “manifesto of mistruths.”
The evening, including some of the 2020 campaign events surrounding it, highlighted the Democratic dilemma in responding to Trump, whose impeachment has coincided with the highest approval ratings of his presidency (49 percent in the latest Gallup survey, just 2 percentage points away from the majority approval that has eluded him his entire time in office.)
Last weekend, two days before finishing atop the Iowa caucuses, Pete Buttigieg was asked by a Council Bluffs voter how he proposes to take on Trump. He answered, “I’m going to respond without becoming what we’re fighting.”
The same weekend, a spokeswoman for former New York mayor and current presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, in an obviously orchestrated statement, said Trump “lies about everything: his fake hair, his obesity, and his spray-on tan.”
Democrats have already reconciled themselves to the fact that Trump won’t be removed from office by the extraordinary means of impeachment — his long-expected acquittal in the Senate was anticipated for Wednesday, just a day after his appearance — but the speech highlighted that he won’t necessarily be easy to remove through the traditional means of elections, either.
Imagining themselves at a party convention rather than on the floor of the House, at a ritual in which partisanship is standard but usually presented slyly by applauding or withholding it, Republicans greeted Trump’s arrival with a chant of “Four more years!”
Perhaps the greatest obstacle to that is Trump’s self-absorption: Even a sympathetic voter could not conclude from Trump’s Twitter feed that he cares more about that voter’s travails than he does with his own vanities and vendettas.
At big moments, when speaking with a carefully prepared text, Trump has shown, as he did again last night, that he can marshal coherent arguments about what he has done for average Americans. His recitation of economic figures included a denunciation of “the failed economic policies of the previous administration” (during which the current recovery began) and a claim that as a nation, “We are advancing with unbridled optimism and lifting our citizens of every race, color, religion and creed very high.”
The speech reflected Electoral College strategy in way that was barely veiled. Trump ventured into hemispheric politics with a boast about slowing or reversing Barack Obama’s policies on normalizing relations with the dictatorship in Cuba, and also with his boast about leading an international coalition against “the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.” The leader the United States recognizes as legitimate in Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, was introduced in the gallery (one of the occasions during which Pelosi and Democrats rose to applaud).
The Cuban and Venezuelan communities are important in the pivotal state of Florida. When Trump claimed how his administration’s efforts have reduced opioid deaths, the states he cited were Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin—regarded by strategists in both parties as the states on which the election is most likely to hinge.
Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, was in the gallery with wife Ivanka Trump. He has been one of the main voices in the Trump reelection circle pushing outreach to African Americans. He believes that men in particular might be open to Trump’s appeals, and even a minor dilution of the Democratic lock on this constituency could have huge implications in closely contested states. “To expand equal opportunity,” Trump trumpeted, “I am also proud that we achieved record and permanent funding for our nation’s historically black colleges and universities.”
At times, the evening came off as a daytime TV set. Trump saluted the sacrifices of service members overseas, and the family members striving in their absence back home, by recognizing Amy Williams, whose spouse, Army Sgt. First Class Townsend Williams, has been in Afghanistan. Then Trump said he had “a very special surprise” for Amy Williams: Her husband’s deployment was over and he arrived in the gallery to hug her.
Over the top? A garish spectacle? The point is hard to argue. Some Democratic strategists claim Trump’s relentless controversies and self-promotion have exhausted the country, creating an opening for change.
But if turns out that Trump’s old instincts are sound — that his brand of disruption can still attract enough loyalists to compensate for the people it repels — Tuesday’s speech was a reminder that 2020, like 2016, will be a whiplashing and narrowly decided campaign.

Dead President Walking
January 27, 2020
by C.J. Hopkins
The Unz Review
I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I’m a little worried about Donald Trump. I’m worried he may be on the verge of a sudden, major heart attack, or a stroke, or a fatal golfing accident.
Food poisoning is another possibility. Or he could overdose on prescription medication. A tanning bed mishap is not out of the question.
He could accidentally hang himself during autoerotic asphyxiation, or get shot by a lone-wolf white supremacist terrorist trying to start the RaHoWa. The Russians could spray him with that Novichok perfume.
There are any number of ways he could snuff it.
I don’t mean to sound alarmist, but the Resistance is running out of non-lethal options for removing Donald Trump from office. Here they are, in no particular order …
Resistance Non-Lethal Option No. 1
Resistance Non-Lethal Option No. 1 is winning the 2020 election, which isn’t looking very promising. The Democratic Party is in shambles. According to the polls, their current front-runner is a senile, hair-sniffing, finger-sucking freak who never met a credit card company or a healthcare lobbyist he didn’t like, and who rivals even Donald Trump when it comes to incoherent babbling.
Yes, that’s right, folks, it’s “Smilin’ Joe” Biden, vanquisher of the razor-wielding, swimming-pool-gangster “Corn Pop” to the rescue! As far as I’ve been able to gather, the plan is for Joe to out-“crazy” Trump (and thus win back the “bull goose loony” demographic) by going completely off his medication and having a series of scary-looking petit mal seizures on national television.
That is, unless the impossible happens, and Biden is vanquished by Bernie Sanders (a/k/a “The Magic Socialist”), who Democratic Party bigwigs would sooner publicly immolate themselves than nominate, and who the corporate media are already accusing of being a lying, sexist. communist, crypto-Trump-loving, Jew-hating Jew.
Sanders, it seems, has gone totally “native.” He’s out there, in the heart of the American darkness, like a geriatric Colonel Kurz, operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct. According to the latest reconnaissance, he is building another “revolutionary” army of fanatical, doped-up, hacky-sacking “socialists” that he will lead into the convention in July and deliver to Biden, or Elizabeth Warren, or whichever soulless corporate puppet the party honchos eventually nominate, and then obsequiously stump for them for the next five months. (Or, who knows, maybe Michael Bloomberg will put the Democrats out of their misery and just buy the party and nominate himself.)
The “Crush Bernie” movement is just getting started, but you can tell the Resistance isn’t screwing around. Hillary Clinton just officially launched her national “Nobody Likes Bernie” campaign at the star-studded 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Influential Jewish journalists like Bari Weiss and Jeffrey Goldberg, and Ronald Lauder’s newly-founded Anti-Semitism Accountability Project, have been Hitlerizing him, or, rather, Corbynizing him. Obama has promised to “stop him,” if necessary. MSNBC anchor Joy Reid brought on a professional “body language expert” to phrenologize Sanders “live” on the air … and, as I said, they’re just getting started.
In any event, no matter who they nominate, they have no chance of winning in November. How could they, given the total stranglehold the Russians now have on American democracy? As Adam Schiff just reminded everyone, unless Donald Trump is removed from office, “we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won,” because at any moment Putin could order Trump to pressure the Ukrainian president into investigating Biden’s son’s corruption by refusing to fund the Ukrainian military’s resistance to Putin’s secret plot to occupy the entire Ukraine and use it as a covert base from which to launch an all-out thermonuclear war against the United States (which Putin already controls through his puppet, Trump, and his network of nefarious Facebook bots, which, according to this expert on NPR, are already brainwashing gullible Black people into voting for Bernie Sanders this time, or at least refusing to vote for Biden, like they refused to vote for Hillary last time … which, OK, I know, that sounds kind of racist, but we’re talking NPR here, folks. These people aren’t racists. They’re liberals!)
OK, I got a little lost there … the point is, if the election goes ahead, and Trump doesn’t have an embolism or something, odds are, we’re looking at four more years of Putin-Nazi occupation. Which brings us to …
Non-Lethal Option No. 2
Resistance Non-Lethal Option No. 2 is, of course, the current impeachment circus. I don’t even know where to start with this one.
After three and a half years of corporate-media-manufactured mass hysteria and Intelligence Community propaganda designed to convince the American public that Donald Trump is a “Russian asset” (and possibly Putin’s homosexual lover) and also literally the Resurrection of Hitler, the Democrats are trying to impeach the man for something that most Americans either (a) believe is common practice among members of the political class, (b) don’t entirely understand, or (c) do, but don’t give a shit about.
Seriously, it’s like they held a contest to see if anyone could think of something that would out-anticlimax the Mueller report, and this is what the winner came up with … an over-acted, sanctimonious snooze-fest, the stakes of which could not possibly be lower. Sure, the corporate media are doing their best to cover every twist and turn of the “drama” as if the fate of democracy were hanging in the balance, but everybody knows it’s a joke … or, all right, almost everybody.
So we’re down to …
Non-Lethal Option No. 3
Resistance Non-Lethal Option No. 3 is to whip up so much mass hysteria over “white supremacist terrorism,” “the sudden resurgence of anti-Semitism,” “the imminent Putin-Nazi Apocalypse” (which has been imminent since the summer of 2016), and other iterations of Hitler hysteria, that people can’t really even think anymore, and will join the Resistance and pour into the streets in their millions and demand Trump resign. The Resistance has been at this for over three years now, i.e., casting the neo-Nazi subculture that has always been part of the political landscape as a powerful, worldwide fascist movement that is going to rise up any minute and Hitlerize the entire Western world.
It isn’t working. People aren’t buying it. OK, sure, some liberals are still buying it. But most people aren’t, not anymore.
For example, the hysteria leading up to the recent gun rights rally in Richmond, which according to the corporate media had been infiltrated by “Nazi terrorists” who were plotting to publicly mass murder each other in a desperate attempt to finally launch the “Boogaloo,” or the “RaHoWa” … or whatever.
Apparently, a few days before the rally, the FBI got some neo-Nazis to agree to conspire to murder some people and then violently overthrow the U.S. government with their arsenal of homemade machine guns. These neo-Nazi masterminds were allegedly members of “the Base,” i.e., one of these little neo-Nazi clubs that we’re all supposed to live in mortal fear of now … this one, as it turns out, run by a former (and possibly current) “security contractor.”
The governor declared a state of emergency. Anti-Terror forces were put on alert. A “no-fly zone” was implemented, presumably to prevent the Russians from dropping a division of Putin-Nazi paratroopers onto the lawn of the Capitol. The corporate media warned that it was probably going to be a bloodbath.
Well, the day came and went, and no Boogaloo. No bloodbath. No Putin-Nazi Apocalypse. Just a lot of gun owners and militia types parading around with their guns and gear. Antifa didn’t even show up this time … or, rather, the few “anti-fascists” that did were also armed and supporting the rally.
And that’s the problem with Non-Lethal Option No. 3 … there are only so many times you can have the corporate media scream, “THE NAZIS ARE COMING!” and then not produce any actual Nazis. The Resistance has exceeded that allotment.
Which brings me back to where I started, and my concerns about Donald Trump, and his health, and the assorted tragic accidents that could befall him before we get to November. Because, unless you believe that the Intelligence Community (and the transnational empire it is part and parcel of) is prepared to sit by and allow Donald Trump to serve another four years as president … well, I wouldn’t be sharing any Diet Cokes or riding in any motorcades with him.
I don’t know, maybe I’ve been reading too much of that “conspiracy theory” stuff on the Internet, but Senator Schumer’s warning to Trump back in 2017 keeps playing in my head:
“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”
Relax, folks. I’m just kidding, of course. The Intelligence Community would never dream of doing anything … you know, illegal. The Community doesn’t assassinate people, and commit all sorts of other atrocities. That’s just a thing they do in the movies. In reality, they would never assassinate a president, especially not one they had been telling everyone is a “Russian asset,” and “literally Hitler,” and a “traitor,” and a “dictator,” for over three years.
OK, those are pretty harsh words, but they probably don’t really mean all that stuff. Odds are, they’re just horsing around. They’re a notorious bunch of jokesters, those CIA guys.

The Jesus Forgeries
February 8, 2020
by Benjamin Dova

The traditional view sees Christianity as the creation of a single man, Jesus Christ. This view persists even today. It is true that Jesus, at least in “enlightened” and “educated” circles, is no longer considered a deity, but he still held to have been an extraordinary personality, who came to the fore with the intention of founding a new religion, and did so, with tremendous success. Liberal theologians hold this view, as so do radical free-thinkers; and the latter differ from the theologians only with respect to the criticism they make of Christ as a person, whom they seek to deprive of all the sublimity they can.
And yet, at the end of the eighteenth century the English historian Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (written between 1774 and 1788), had ironically pointed out how striking it is that none of Jesus’ contemporaries mentions him, although he is said to have accomplished such remarkable feats.
“But how shall we excuse the supine inattention of the Pagan and philosophic world to these evidences which were presented by the hand of Omnipotence, not to their reason, but to their senses? During the age of Christ, of his apostles, and of their first disciples, the doctrine which they preached was confirmed by innumerable prodigies. The lame walked, the blind saw, the sick were healed, the dead were raised, daemons were expelled, and the laws of Nature were frequently suspended for the benefit of the church. But the sages of Greece and Rome turned aside from the awful spectacle, and, pursuing the ordinary occupations of life and study, appeared unconscious of any alterations in the moral or physical government of the world.”
At Jesus’ death, according to the Christian tradition, the whole earth, or at least all of Palestine, was in darkness for three hours. This took place in the days of the elder Pliny, who devoted a special chapter of his Natural History to eclipses; but of this eclipse he says nothing. (Gibbon, Chapter 15).
But even if we leave miracles out of the accounts, it is hard to see how a personality like Jesus of the gospels, who according to them aroused such excitement in people’s minds, could carry on his work and finally die as a martyr for his cause and yet not have pagan and Jewish contemporaries devote a single word to him.
The first mention of Jesus by a non-Christian is found in the Jewish Antiquities of Flavius Josephus. The third chapter of book 18 deals with the procurator Pontius Pilate, and says among other things:
“About this time lived Jesus, a wise man, if he can be called human, for he worked miracles and was a teacher of men, who received the truth gladly; and he found many followers among Jews and Greeks. This was the Christ. Although later Pilate sentenced him to the cross on the complaint of the nobles of our people, those who had loved him remained true to him. For he appeared again to them on the third day, risen to new life, as the prophets of God had prophesied this and thousands of other wonderful things about him. From his comes the name of the Christians, whose sect (phylon) has continued to exist ever since.”
Josephus speaks of Christ again in the 20th book, chapter 9,1, where the high priest Ananus is said in the time of the procurator Albinus to have brought it about that:
“James. The brother of Jesus, said to be the Christ (tou legomenou christou), together with some others, was brought to court, accused as a breaker of the law and delivered over to be stoned to death.”
These pieces of evidence have always been highly prized by Christians; for they come from a non-Christian, a Jew and Pharisee, born in the year 37 of our era and living in Jerusalem, and so very well able to have authentic facts about Jesus. And his testimony was the more valuable in that as a Jew he had no reason to falsify on behalf of the Christians.
But it was precisely the exaggerated exaltation of Christ on the part of a pious Jew that made the first passage suspect, and quite early. Its authenticity was disputed even in the sixteenth century, and today it is agreed that it is forgery and does not stem from Josephus. It was inserted in the third century by a Christian copyist, who obviously took offense at the fact that Josephus, who repeats the most trivial gossip from Palestine, says nothing at all about the person of Jesus. The pious Christian felt with justice that the absence of any such mention weighed against the existence or at least the significance of his Savior Now the discovery of his forgery has become testimony against Jesus.
But the passage concerning James is also dubious. It is true that Origen (185 to 254 AD) mentions testimony by Josephus concerning James; this occurs in his commentary on Matthew. He remarks that it is surprising that nonetheless Josephus did not believe in Jesus as the Christ. In his polemic against Celsius, Origen cites this statement of Josephus about James and again notes Josephus’ unbelief. These statements by Origen constitute one of the proofs that the striking passage about Jesus in which Josephus recognizes him as the Messiah, the Christ, could not have been in the original text of Josephus. It follows at once that the passage about James that Origen found in Josephus was also a Christian forgery. For this passage he cites runs quite differently from what we find in the manuscript of Josephus that has come down to us. In it the destruction of Jerusalem is said to be a punishment for the execution of James; but this fabrication is not found in the other manuscripts of Josephus.

It is near; it is at hand. Maybe tomorrow but probably never
A compendium of endless predictions of the Second Coming based on period documents

An untold number of people have tried to predict the return of Jesus by using elaborate timetables. Most date setters do not realize that mankind has not kept an unwavering record of time. Anyone wanting to chart, for example, 100 BC to 2000 AD, would have to contend with the fact that 46 BC was 445 days long, there was no year 0 BC, and in 1582 we switched from Julian Years (360 days) to Gregorian (365 days). Because most prognosticators are not aware of all of these errors, their math is immediately off by at least several years if not decades.
The return of Jesus Christ for His Church will easily be the most important event in Pentecostal fictive history and long before the Pentecostal sect evolved in 1900, empty-headed religious zealots, banging on their empty drums, have been predicting the Second Coming. Herewith we present a brief compendium of the more entertaining prophesies for the entertainment of the reader.
53 AD
Even before all the books of the New Testament were invented, there was talk that Christ’s Return had already taken place. The Thessalonians panicked when they heard a rumor that the day of the Lord was at hand, and they had missed the event..
500
A Roman priest living in the second century predicted Christ would return in 500 AD, based on the dimensions of Noah’s ark. Someone must have used a bad ruler because Jesus did not appear in 500 AD
1000
.All credulous members of what passed for normal society seemed affected by the prediction that Jesus was coming back at the start of the new millennium. The magic of the number 1000 was the sole reason for the expectation. During concluding months of 999 AD, everyone was on his best behavior; worldly goods were sold and given to the poor; swarms of pilgrims headed east to meet the Lord at Jerusalem; buildings went unrepaired; crops were left unplanted; and criminals were set free from jails. When the year 999 AD turned into 1000 AD, nothing happened. Many citizens of the world who had given their property away, but certainly not those who accepted it, were stunned but eventually hopeful that the event would be postponed until 1001. Nothing happened then, either.
1033
This year was cited as the beginning of the millennium because it marked 1,000 years since Christ’s alleged crucifixion.
1186
The “Letter of Toledo” warned everyone to hide in the caves and mountains. The world was reportedly to be destroyed with only a few spared, including the letter writer. It was not.
1420
The Taborites of Czechoslovakia predicted every city in the known world would be annihilated by fire. Only the five mountain strongholds they occupied would be saved from the Celestial Barbeque. This did not happen
1524-1526
Muntzer, a leader of German peasants, announced that the return of Christ was near. After Muntzer and his men destroyed the high and mighty, the Lord would supposedly return. This belief led to an uneven battle against government troops. He was strategically outnumbered. Muntzer claimed to have had a vision from God in which the Lord promised that He would catch the cannonballs of the enemy in the sleeves of His cloak. The prediction within the vision turned out to be false when Muntzer and his followers were mowed down by cannon fire. If one believes their stories, the disintegrated had the pleasure of going to heaven in a number of pieces which God Himself would lovingly sort out just like pious Jewish religious ambulance workers reassembling those fragmented in a Jerusalem bus attack.
1534
A repeat of the Muntzer affair occurred a few years later. This time, one greatly deluded by apparently very forceful, Jan Matthys took over the city of Münster in Germany. The city was to be the only one spared from Divine destruction. The inhabitants of Münster, evicted by Matthys and his men, regrouped and laid siege to the city. Within a year, every one of the strange occupiers in the city was dead. They also had an express ticket to Heaven.
1650-1660
In an England beset by religious fanatics, the Fifth Monarchy Men beseeched Jesus to establish a theocracy. They took up arms and tried to seize England by force. The movement, and most of the senior leaders of it, died when the British monarchy was restored in 1660. Jesus apparently was not listening or was otherwise engaged. Heads rolled, quite literally, as England finally escaped from the unwanted attention of dim-witted fanatics.
1809
Mary Bateman, who specialized in fortune telling, had a magic chicken that laid eggs with end-time messages on them. One message said that Christ was coming. The uproar she created ended when an unannounced visitor caught her forcing an egg into the hen’s oviduct. Mary later was hanged for poisoning a wealthy client. History does not record whether the offended and sodomized chicken attended the hanging.
1814
Spiritualist Joanna Southcott made the startling claim that she, by virgin birth, would produce the second Jesus Christ. Her abdomen began to swell and so did the crowds of people around her. This gathering is similar to certain primitive ethnic groups who see visions of the Virgin Mary on refrigerator doors or reflected on rooming house walls. The time for the birth came and passed with no Jesus appearing. As for the miraculous Southcott, she died soon after. An autopsy revealed she had experienced a false pregnancy. Her followers blamed the Antichrist for this.
1836
John Wesley wrote that “the time, times and half a time” of Revelation 12:14 were 1058¬1836, “when Christ should come” John Wesley was wrong in this matter as well as a number of other items of religious thought he preached.
1843-1844
William Miller was the founder of an end-times movement that was so prominent it received its own name, Millerism. From his studies of the Bible, Miller determined that the second coming would happen sometime between 1843-1844. A spectacular meteor shower in 1833 gave the movement excellent momentum. The buildup of anticipation continued until March 21, 1844, when Miller’s one-year timetable ran out. Some followers set another date–Oct 22, 1844. This too failed, collapsing the movement. One follower described the days after the failed predictions: “The world made merry over the old Prophet’s predicament. The taunts and jeers of the ‘scoffers’ were well-nigh unbearable.” People in general do not suffer fools gladly.
1859
Rev. Thomas Parker, a Massachusetts minister, looked for the millennium to start about 1859. It did not. Parker subsequently was placed in a lunatic asylum when discovered running, buck naked, down the street in Bainbridge, screeching that Jesus was right behind him. What were behind the Reverend Parker were local bailiffs with nets.
1910
The revisit of Halley’s comet to the earth’s bemused vision was, for many, an indication of Jesus’ Second Coming. The earth actually passed through the gaseous tail of the comet. One enterprising man sold comet pills to people for protection against the effects of the toxic gases. Toxic gasses, mostly vocal methane, from frantic Fundamentalists did not need pills. It might have been better if the predictors had used Thorazine tranquilizer pills but as they had not yet been invented, this is a moot point.
1914
Charles Russell, after being exposed to the lunatic babblings of William Miller, founded his own organization that evolved into the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 1914, Russell predicted the return of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was not listening and did not appear in 1914.
1918
In 1918, new studies assisted Russell from extending his predictions to that year. Jesus Christ, or His travel agent, did not oblige.
1925
The Witnesses had no better luck in 1925. They already possessed the title of “Most Wrong Predictions.” They would expand upon it with great zeal and no sense whatsoever in the years to come.
1967
When the city of Jerusalem was captured from the Arab inhabitants by the Jews in 1967, prophecy watchers declared that the “Time of the Gentiles” had come to an end.
1970
The ‘True Light Church of Christ’ made its claim to fame by incorrectly forecasting the return of Jesus. A number of church members had quit their livelihoods ahead of the promised advent. In earlier time, such deluded creatures gave their property away to their gleeful, non-believing neighbors, donned white nightgowns and stood up on hilltops, waiting for the Celestial Elevator. It never came for them but pneumonia did.
1973
A comet that turned out to be a visual disappointment nonetheless compelled one preacher to announce that it would be a sign of the Lord’s return. It was not.
1975
The Jehovah’s Witnesses were back at it again with commendable zeal in 1975. The failure of the latest forecast did not affect the growth of the movement. The Watchtower magazine, a major Witness periodical, had over 13 million subscribers. Many of them actually are able to read, albeit very slowly, but the majority love the large pictures. However, over 40 million have read the Left Behind books or, as they have irreverently been termed, the My Left Behind books.
1981
One author boldly declared that the rapture would occur before December 31, 1981, based on Christian prophecy, astronomy, and a dash of ecological fatalism. He pegged the date to Jesus’ promised return to earth a generation after Israel’s rebirth. He also made references to the “Jupiter Effect,” a planetary alignment occurring every 179 years that supposedly could lead to earthquakes and nuclear plant meltdowns. Also, there were saintly rumors of the Lost Continent of Atlantis suddenly emerging from the depths of Lake Baikal in Russia, or according to other enlightened cretins, Lake Michigan, New York Harbor, the Mississippi River just off of New Orleans or the main public reservoir of Phoenix, Arizona. There was no rapture and Atlantis never surfaced.
1982
The lunatic fringe was at it again in 1982 when they loudly proclaimed that the world as we all knew it was going to end in 1982, when the planets lined up and created magnetic forces that would bring “Armageddon” to the earth. Astrologers and religious predictors joined forces here and when nothing happened, all of them went back to the Ouija boards. Armageddon is, of course, pure fiction and is not found in the Bible, even in the weird rantings of the lunatic John of Patmos.
1982
A group called the Tara Centers placed full-page advertisements in many major newspapers for the weekend of April 24-25, 1982, announcing: “The Christ is Now Here!” They predicted that He was to make himself known “within the next two months.” After the date passed, they said that the delay was only because the “consciousness of the human race was not quite right…” Obviously, this same statement can easily apply to the mental stability of the Tara Center people. Unfounded rumor had it that Jesus in fact did arrive but was arrested by New York City Vice Squad for unmentionable acts in a public lavatory in Central Park.
1984
The Jehovah’s Witnesses made sure, in 1984, that no one else would be able to top their record of most wrong doomsday predictions. The Witnesses’ record currently holds at nine. The years are: 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1984. Tired of loud public scorn and derision, the Witnesses have modestly retired from the field and now spend their time banging on doors and hawking their magazines, T-shirts and Second Coming bath mats and ashtrays.
1988
The book, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988, came out only a few months before the event was to take place. What little time the book had left to it and its feeble minded readers, it used effectively. By the time the predicted dates, September 11-13, rolled around, whole churches were caught up in the excitement the book generated. Not unnaturally, nothing happened. The writer and publisher, however, benefited greatly from the sales.
1989
After the passing of the deadline in 88 Reasons, the author, Edgar Whisenant, came out with a new book called 89 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1989. This book sold only a fraction of the number of copies his prior release had sold.
1991
A group in Australia predicted Jesus would return through the Sydney Harbor at 9 a.m., March 31, 1991. Rumors are that He was doing the breast stroke in the Harbor but was run over by a car ferry and drowned.
1991
Menachem Schneerson, a mystic Russian-born rabbi, called for the Messiah to come by September 9, 1991, the start of the Jewish New Year. Apparently, Jesus was not listening and failed to appear. The good rabbi passed away and his followers eagerly anticipated his own return. He did not do so.
1992
A Korean group, called Mission for the Coming Days, had the Korea Church in a state of frenzied excitement in the fall of 1992. They foresaw October 28, 1992 as the date for the Glorious Rapture and arrival of the Celestial Ominbus. Numerology was the basis for the date. Several camera shots that left ghostly images on pictures were thought to be a supernatural confirmation of the date. Careless photography was a more likely suspect.
1993
If the year 2000 is the end of the 6,000-year cycle, then the rapture must take place in 1993, because you would need seven years of the tribulation. This was the murky thinking of a number of prophecy writers. They were all wrong.
1994
In the book, 1994: The Year of Destiny, F. M. Riley foretold of God’s plan to rapture His people. The name of his ministry is “The Last Call,” and he operates out of a Missouri that has produced both John Ashcroft and Jesse James.
1994
Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church in Los Angeles caused quite a stir when he announced he had received a vision from God that warned of apocalyptic event on June 9, 1994. Hinkle, quoting God, said, “On Thursday June the 9th, I will rip the evil out of this world.” From a proper reading of Bible prophecy, the only thing that God could possibly rip from the earth would be the Christian Church. Some people tried to interpret Hinkle’s unscriptural vision to mean that God would the rip evil out of our hearts when He Raptured us. As usual the date came and went with no heart surgery or rapture.
1994
Harold Camping, in his book ‘Are You Ready?’, predicted the Lord would return in September 1994. The book was full of numerology that added up to 1994 as the date of Christ’s return. The numbers did not crunch and Camping joined a long list of failed prophets, seers and other mountebanks in blessed oblivion.
1994
After promising they would not make anymore end time predictions, the Jehovah’s Witnesses fell off the wagon and proclaimed 1994 as the conclusion of an 80-year generation; the year 1914 was the starting point. Magazine sales are up but the ashtrays are not doing as well as expected. This group of lovelies is now selling Rapture Travel Suits, matching Rapture luggage and Dramamine pills for the trip.
1996
A self-proclaimed California psychic Sheldon Nidle predicted the end would come with the convergence of 16 million space ships and a host of angels upon the earth on December 17, 1996. Nidle explained the passing of the date by claiming the angels placed us in a holographic projection to preserve us and give us a second chance. His doctors will not let him write any more and even took away his crayons.
1997
When Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed their peace pact on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, some saw the events as the beginning of tribulation. With the signing of the peace agreement, Daniel’s 1,260-day countdown was underway. By adding 1,260 days to September 1993, you arrive at February 24, 1997. Jesus, on the other hand, did not arrive nor were the Elect of the Pentecostal cults shot up into the stratosphere like so many ballistic missiles.
1997
Stan Johnson of the Prophecy Club saw a “90 percent” chance that the tribulation would start September 12, 1997. He based his conclusion on several end-time signs: that would be Jesus’ 2,000th birthday and it would also be the Day of Atonement, although it wouldn’t be what is currently the Jewish Day of Atonement. Further supporting evidence came from Romanian pastor Dumitru Duduman. In several heavenly visions, caused by the imbibing of too much plum wine, Dumitru claimed to have seen the Book of Life. In one of his earlier visions, there were several pages yet to be completed. In his last vision, he noticed the Book of Life only had one page left. Doing some rough calculating, Johnson and friends figured the latest time frame for the completion of the book would have to be September 1997. There were, quite naturally, more bitter disappointments as the time came and passed without a sight of Jerusalem Slim.
1998
Numerology: Because 666 times three equals 1998, some people point to this year as being prophetically significant. This incredible information was posted on the internet where it stunned dozens of true believers. .
1998
A Taiwanese cult operating out of Garland, Texas predicted Christ would return on March 31 of 1998. The group’s leader, Heng-ming Chen, announced God would return and then invite the cult members aboard a UFO at group excursion rates, no meals served.
The group abandoned their prediction when a precursor event failed to take place. The cult’s leader had said that God would appear on every channel 18 of every TV in the world. Maybe God realized at the last minute, the Playboy Network was channel 18 on several cable systems, and He didn’t want to have Christians watching a porn channel.
1998
Marilyn Agee, in her book, The End of the Age, had her sights set on May 31, 1998. for the Glorious Arrival. This date was to conclude the 6,000-year cycle from the time of Adam. Agee looked for the rapture to take place on Pentecost, which is also known as “the Feast of Weeks.” Another indicator of this date was the fact that the Holy Spirit did not descend upon the apostles until 50 days after Christ’s resurrection. Israel was born in 1948; add the 50 days as years and you come up with whatever figure you like.
After her May 31 rapture date failed, Agee, unable to face up to her error, continued her date-setting by using various Scripture references to point to June 7, 14, 21 and about 10 other dates. Marilyn then set a new date for the rapture: May 21 or 22 of the same year, Again, she and the dozens of believers who read her works were doomed to disappointment. Eventually, later rather than sooner, Agnes joined the ranks of the Disproven and passed into blessed oblivion.
1999
TV newscaster-turned-psychic Charles Criswell King had said in 1968 that the world as we know it would cease to exist on August 18, 1999. It did not.
1999
Philip Berg, a rabbi at the Kabbalah Learning Center in New York, proclaimed that the end might arrive on September 11, 1999, when “a ball of fire will descend . . . destroying almost all of mankind, all vegetation, all forms of life.” Nothing happened on that date of note except that the Devil was arrested at a sex arcade in Times Square using counterfeit coins in a porn film viewer.
2000
The names of the people and organizations that called for the return of Christ at the turn of the century is too long to be listed here. If there were a day on which Christ could not return, it must have been January 1, 2000. This day came and passed and the waiting multitude did not see Jesus descending on Dallas, arrayed like Solomon in all his splendor. Many had hangovers and the only visions they had on that day were of the double variety.
2000
On May 5, 2000, all of the planets were supposed to have been in alignment. This was said to cause the earth to suffer earthquakes, volcanic eruption, and various other nasty stuff. A similar alignment occurred in 1982 and nothing happened. People failed to realize that the other nine planets only exert a very tiny gravitational pull on the earth. If you were to add up the gravitational force from the rest of the planets, the total would only amount to a fraction of the tug the moon has on the earth.
2000
According to Michael Rood, the end times have a prophetically complicated connection to Israel’s spring barley harvest. The Day of the Lord began on May 5, 2000. Rood’s fall feast calendar called for the Russian Gog-Magog invasion of Israel to take place at sundown on October 28, 2000. It did not. Perhaps Prophet Rood might have considered the annual Harvest of the Floating Condoms from the waters of New York City as an alternative event.
2000-2001
Dr. Dale SumburËru looked for March 22, 1997 to be “the date when all the dramatic events leading through the tribulation to the return of Christ should begin” The actual date of Christ’s return could be somewhere between July 2000 and March 2001. Dr. SumburËru is more general about the timing of Christ’s second coming than most writers. He states, “The day the Lord returns is currently unknown because He said [Jesus] these days are cut short and it is not yet clear by how much and in what manner they are cut short. If the above assumptions are not correct, my margin of error would be in weeks, or perhaps months.”
2003
ARKANSAS CITY (AP) — A Little Rock woman was killed yesterday after leaping through her moving car’s sun roof during an incident best described as “a mistaken rapture” by dozens of eye witnesses. Thirteen other people were injured after a twenty-car pile up resulted from people trying to avoid hitting the woman who was apparently convinced that the rapture was occurring when she saw twelve people floating up into the air, and then passed a man on the side of the road who she claimed was Jesus. “She started screaming “He’s back, He’s back” and climbed right out of the sunroof and jumped off the roof of the car,” said Everet Williams, husband of 28-year-old Georgann Williams who was pronounced dead at the scene. She had been run over by several vehicles, including a long-distance truck. “I was slowing down but she wouldn’t wait till I stopped,” Williams said. “She thought the rapture was happening and was convinced that Jesus was gonna lift her up into the sky,” he went on to say. “This is the strangest thing I’ve seen since I’ve been on the force,” said Paul Madison, first officer on the scene. Madison questioned the man who looked like Jesus and discovered that he was dressed up as Jesus and was on his way to a toga costume party when the tarp covering the bed of his pickup truck came loose and released twelve blowup dolls filled with helium which floated up into the air. Ernie Jenkins, 32, of Fort Smith, who’s been told by several of his friends that he looks like Jesus, pulled over and lifted his arms into the air in frustration, and said “Come back here,” just as the Williams’ car passed him. Mrs. Williams was sure that it was Jesus lifting people up into the sky as they passed by him, according to her husband, who says his wife loved Jesus more than anything else. When asked for comments about the twelve dolls, Jenkins replied “This is all just too weird for me. I never expected anything like this to happen.”
This event is probably the most illustrative of all the great compendiums of Prophesy.
2011-2018
For the past several decades, Jack Van Impe has hinted at nearly every year as being the time for the rapture. Normally, he has only gone out one or two years from the current calendar year. However, Jack’s latest projection for the rapture goes out several years. His new math uses 51 years as the length of a generation. If you add 51 years to 1967, the year Israel seized Jerusalem from its Arab inhabitants, you get 2018. Once you subtract the seven-year tribulation period, you arrive at 2011. Dozens will be energized and will sell off their bicycle training wheels and lifetime collection of dignity pants but again, sad to say, nothing will happen.
2012
New Age writers cite Mayan and Aztec calendars that predict the end of the age on December 21, 2012. This event did not happen, like so many others in this blessed field.
2020
Catering, for votes, to the religious very far right, President Donald Trump showed a meeting of Christian cult leaders a white satin gown he had made that has his name embroidered in large gilt letters on front and back. Trump claimed this was his Rapture Gown that he wore every night in anticipation of being elevated to the arms of the Lord when the Rapture happened. After this episode, all the attendees joined hands in the Oval Office and danced in a circle singing ‘Shall we Gather by the River?.’
2060
Sir Isaac Newton, Britain’s greatest scientist, spent 50 years and wrote 4,500 pages trying to predict when the end of the world was coming. The most definitive date he set for the apocalypse, which he scribbled on a scrap of paper, was 2060. The original scrap is now in the archives of the late and unlamented Brother Pat Robertson. It appears to have been written with a ball point pen which was not invented until 1948.

Top 5 Ways to Avoid Fake Coins on eBay
Learn How to Buy Coins Safely From Internet Auctions
by Susan Headley,
About.com Guide
Thousands of fake coins are sold every month on eBay. If coin collectors would follow these five simple steps, not only would they not get saddled with fakes, they’d help put the counterfeiters out of business!
Never Buy Coins From Chinese Sellers
When you buy coins, look to see where the person is shipping the coin from. If it is China or Hong Kong, do not bid! No matter how appealing the coin looks, no matter how great a deal you think you are getting, no matter how good the sales pitch is, do not buy any coins from China or Hong Kong based sellers. Following this one guideline will prevent you from becoming a victim 90% of the time, since 90% of all fake coins on eBay come from Chinese sellers.
Never Buy Coins From Sellers Who Buy From Chinese Sources
Before you buy any non-PCGS or non-NGC coin on eBay, always check the seller’s feedback to see who he does business with. If the seller has done transactions with China and Hong Kong based sellers, do not buy coins from him!
This might seem to be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many dishonest people do all of their buying and selling from the same eBay account. Check the feedback to see who they buy from by clicking on the “Feedback as a Buyer” tab on their feedback page (which you can reach by clicking on the number in parentheses next to their eBay handle). If they have ever bought coins from China, even once, do not buy from them! Most Chinese counterfeiters sell off-eBay after the first purchase.
Never Spend More Than $50 for a Raw Coin
A raw coin is a coin that hasn’t been graded and authenticated by a reliable grading service such as PCGS or NGC. Even though a coin might be in a plastic holder of some kind, unless it is in a top grading service holder, it doesn’t offer any protection against counterfeiting.
It is very difficult to judge the authenticity and quality of a coin based on photographs alone, especially the less-than-expert photos often seen on eBay. And even if the photo is great, who’s to say that you will actually receive that coin? Counterfeiters are known to use genuine coin images but then send out fakes. Avoid becoming a victim by never spending more than you can afford to lose when you buy raw coins on eBay.
Don’t Fall for Stories and Always Get a Guarantee
A favorite practice of fake coin sellers is to claim that they aren’t a coin expert, so you should judge the photo for yourself. They might claim that the coins belonged to a recently-deceased aunt or that they were bought at an estate sale. What these claims have in common is that they usually disclaim responsibility for the authenticity or grade of the coin, selling the coin “as is.”
Never buy raw coins on eBay unless the seller will guarantee their authenticity! Don’t be a sucker for tall tales, thinking that maybe you’ll make a score. More often than not, it’ll be the seller laughing all the way to the bank rather than you, the buyer.
Always Pay With a Credit Card
I thought about making this tip #1, but I put it last hoping you will remember it even if you forget everything else: Always pay for coins on eBay using your credit card! Even if you use PayPal, use a credit card to fund the transaction.
The reason is that under current U.S. banking laws, you always have the final say on that money when you use credit (not debit cards, either; credit only!) The eBay and PayPal Buyer “Protection” plans are weak, and I hear complaints all the time about how difficult they make it to collect on a claim. But credit card transactions can always be charged back as a last resort. Even PayPal cannot override a credit card chargeback!
If you pay with a credit card, the final power is always in your hands.

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

Preface
This is in essence a work of fiction, but the usual disclaimers notwithstanding, many of the horrific incidents related herein are based entirely on factual occurrences.
None of the characters or the events in this telling are invented and at the same time, none are real. And certainly, none of the participants could be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be either noble, self-sacrificing, honest, pure of motive or in any way socially acceptable to anything other than a hungry crocodile, a professional politician or a tax collector.
In fact, the main characters are complex, very often unpleasant, destructive and occasionally, very entertaining.
To those who would say that the majority of humanity has nothing in common with the characters depicted herein, the response is that mirrors only depict the ugly, evil and deformed things that peer into them
There are no heroes here, only different shapes and degrees of villains and if there is a moral to this tale it might well be found in a sentence by Jonathan Swift, a brilliant and misanthropic Irish cleric who wrote in his ‘Gulliver’s Travels,”
“I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most odious race of little pernicious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
Swift was often unkind in his observations but certainly not inaccuratre.

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

.
Chapter 80

The days following the removal of Robert Collins were busy ones for all concerned.
Charles Rush was angry that Collins was no longer able to provide him services, even if he had fallen down on performing the most important one. Mitnik, ever eager to increase his hold on his chief client, had engaged a firm of private investigators to track down Cyril Rush, who was now living in San Francisco, and paid them out of his own pocket. Sooner or later, someone would find the obstruction and when they did, Mitnik had in mind utilizing the services of the same man who removed Collins in removing the nephew.
The Chicago police did not like to delve too deeply into the background of their departed comrade but in any case, no leads were found other than several cartridge cases picked up from the floor of the garage and forensics could find no latent fingerprints on any of them.
On the Saturday following Collins’ death, Chuck and Gwen had gone into town for supplies, and while shopping, Gwen had struck up a conversation with a young man in an olive uniform. His badge indicated he was with the state park system and it turned out that he was a zoologist.
Gwen had no idea what this entailed but the young man was reasonably good looking and Gwen enjoyed talking to good-looking men, at least most of the time.
The subject turned to bears and when Chuck found her standing by the frozen food section, he arrived just in time to hear an interesting conversation about the recent local activities of bears.
It seemed that the Federal government park system had instituted a study of a sharp increase in fatal bear attacks in northern Minnesota and parts of North Dakota.
Bears, Chuck learned, were not known to be pack animals, were in general very timid of people and rarely attacked humans. However, in the past two years, more and more bears, mostly black bears, had been assaulting, and very often killing and eating, unfortunate campers and hikers. In the past few months, at least in the eastern part of the county, there had been a number of incidents wherein numbers of bears had broken into deserted cabins and, even more astonishing, into occupied buildings.
The zoologist, whose name was Brian Flannery on the card he gave Gwen, was part of an investigative team whose job it was to track these errant bears, shoot several and autopsy them in an attempt to find out if any physiological reasons for the bears’ aberrant behavior could be found.
A dozen bears had been summarily executed and sliced open but with no apparent abnormalities found. Brian also indicated puzzlement with the fact that bears in that region were not hibernating as they usually did.
Gwen found him attractive but not particularly interesting and the behavior of the bears was of greater interest than he was.
When asked where they lived, Chuck promptly replied that they lived in the western, not the eastern, part of the county. This puzzled the zoologist who had no reports of bears operating in that area.
And then the subject turned to crows.
It seemed that there was an explosion in the population of these highly intelligent and perceptive birds and, as Brian said, there were growing murders of them all across the northern tier states.
Gwen did not realize that a murder indicated a flock and had visions of angry crows attacking elderly farmers and pecking them to death. She had seen an old Hitchcock movie on the same subject several weeks ago on late night television but was relieved to hear the nature of the word explained by Chuck as they finally left the market and the amorous young animal dissector.
“My God, Gwen, you were drooling all over that creature.”
“I was not drooling. I admit he was nice looking but I was really interested in what he had to say about bears. Can’t I have a conversation with someone without you popping up and glaring at everybody?”
“Certainly, but I did not glare.”
“Well, you looked a little mean.”
“I look mean all the time. You said I looked like an eagle and Claude said I have a penetrating eye.”
“What does Alex have to say? Never mind. Alex never says anything bad about you. You could probably shit in the hall and he would just think it was funny. Now if someone else did that, I’ll bet he would make a lot of noise about it. He was such a sweet boy when he came to us but now, the little asshole has got such a mouth on him. And guess where he learned all that?”
“I don’t know, dear.” But he thought to himself:
Probably from you in your sleep.
“He’s not getting nasty, Gwen. He’s just getting over his shyness.”
“Oh, and I suppose that’s why he told me that Lars gets his haircuts in a pencil
sharpener. It seems he was going to ask Lars about some boxing thing and when he discovered Lars was out running around with Claude, he just happened to find some perfectly awful video tapes. And looked at two. My God, a bunch of naked little girls being chased around a tent by some fat guy wearing at least the top part of a clown suit. And the other one had some sweet young thing getting hosed in a swimming pool by her gym teacher. I had no idea Lars liked women that young.”
“I didn’t know about that. Usually, Alex tells me things like that…”
“The little snitch.”
“No, I think if something is wrong, he wants me to know about it. Don’t be so uncharitable, Gwen. Charity begins at homeliness and you are not ugly so why worry about others? There are no little girls around here, except for you, and I recall that you and Lars seemed to have had interesting romps in the past.”
“Not so much interesting as painful.”
“No winged cupids fluttering over the bed, playing on instruments? No choirs singing softly in the background.”
“I can’t even have a decent talk with you without you being so snotty.”
“You mentioned child pornography, dear, let me remind you. Well, now we officially do not know why the bears have made several assaults on our house. I have noticed a number of very large crows flying around but so far, they haven’t expressed any interest in assaulting us. Maybe they’ll get together with the bears, act as guides and point out people to attack in return for scraps. They do that with wolves, you know.”
“Oh thank you for the lesson in animal life for today.”
“You know dear, you have been in an evil mood lately. Is there any reason for
this?”
“Not really. I just feel very negative after the holidays, that’s all.”
“We had an interesting holiday, that’s for certain. Did you ever have a Christmas like that, Gwen?”
“No, I can’t say I have and I certainly never had a New Year’s like that, either, Chuck. Why are you so passionate sometimes and so remote later? Are you ashamed of what you do when you’re being horny?”
“Ashamed? I don’t think so.”
“That business New Year’s eve was completely not like you. I mean that just wasn’t you.”
She looked out the window at the passing snow-encrusted scenery while Chuck tried to hide a smile.
“Oh, I have my moods, Gwen. I guess I was just swept up in the holiday festivities.”
“I thought once that it might be Claude but he’s a lot better built than that. And the only other person who’s as skinny as you is Alex and he’s only a little kid.”
“I guess so, dear, but notice that he seems to be filling out quite a bit.”
“It’s all that rich food you cook. I mean, really, can’t you just cook hamburgers once in awhile? God, French food and fancy wines all the time are going to get me fat if I’m not careful.”
“Well, if you do get chubby, you’ll have lots of company. Ever notice all the fatties when we go out? I bet they hate you for being slim and elegant. And besides, if you look more mature, you won’t have to worry about getting attentions from Lars.”
“Don’t even talk about Lars. Chuck, did you know what was on these tapes?”
“I can guess but I’d rather not.”
Chuck sighed and swing the van around a badly squashed deer.
“Well, it’s better that he watches those things in private rather than go on the prowl in town or worse, down in Duluth. And Alex is surprisingly knowledgeable in some things, although I agree watching tiny tots getting humped by clowns is probably a novel experience for him.”
“What do you mean that Alex knows things?”
She had turned to face him and Chuck had to perform a quick tap dance to change the subject.
“I mean his mother was a very active woman and he picked up things around the house. That’s all I meant.”
She was quiet for a few minutes and then returned to the attack.
“You know, I don’t think Alex should have much to do with Lars. You know how he is.”
“Know how who is? Lars or Alex?”
“I mean Lars. I think Lars would fuck a snake if you held it down. My daddy always used to say that when he was in a good mood.”
“You do know about Lars first hand, don’t you? I remember the time you instigated all kinds of aberrant sex in my bed. I’m still upset about that.”
“Well, that’s what I mean. Suppose Lars decided he liked nice young boys and tried to teach Alex bad habits?”
“I don’t think that Lars is interested in nice young boys and if anything looked like it was going to happen, either you or I would get involved. And I don’t mean in bed.”
“No, I don’t either. I’m not going to talk to anybody about this but since Alex seems to be obsessed with you, you ought to have a fatherly talk with him about such things as sexual predators.”
“Right. Well, one of these days, I’ll just do that. Christ, there’s another pulped deer. Bears climbing our fences, dead deer all over the roads and attack crows poised to dive bomb us with crow feces. Isn’t life interesting, Gwen? Maybe you should have stayed in California. Who knows, with your parents in jail, you might have taken over their business and made enough money to get into the California legislature.”
“Oh fuck off Cyril. The best thing that ever happened to me was you doing a number on those two creeps and getting me out of there. I get royally pissed off at you sometimes but I don’t forget what you did for me.”
“I did keep you from getting in the pool with them, didn’t I?”
“Chuck, you can be such a turd sometimes. Anyway, thanks for all the nice clothes and being a good guy. I wish you’d be a little more loving sometimes.”
“Like New Year’s eve?”
“Not that violent. I was sore for a week. But not as far away as you are most of the time either.”
“When we get back, we can take a shower together if you like.”
“Not tonight. I’m feeling flatline today. Maybe later?”
“Oh fine. Here I am all flaming with lust and you tell me ‘later.’ I’ll go down the hall and watch kiddy porn with Lars, OK?”
“Asshole!”

(Continued)

This is also an e-book, available from Amazon:

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