Hot Air: Lexicon


Just in case anybody’s confused, a terrorist is a man (occasionally, a woman) with brown skin who claims Islam as his (her) religion of choice.

That is, the act a terrorist engages in must, by extension, be blamed to some extent or another on the perpetrator’s ethnic heritage and religion.


A Terrorist — Of Course

On the other hand, a white Christian cannot be a terrorist. When a man (rarely, if ever, a woman) who fits that description blasts the life out of a few — or a few dozens of — people, it is because he is mentally ill or is a dangerously bitter loner. His act has nothing at all to do with whatever incendiary rhetoric his religion has implanted in his consciousness, such as homophobia, misogyny, and so on.

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Not A Terrorist — No Way

The Pope, priests, ministers, deacons, bishops and other officials of the Christian perpetrator’s specific sect must never be declared complicit in the terror act.

It is, though, perfectly acceptable to mutter, shout, or post on social media hate-laden words to the effect that, “All those goddamned ayatollahs are responsible for this!”

Or, “Them Arabs ought to be barred from entering this country!”

This is one of a series of helpful tutorials on the use of American English. You’re welcome.

The Healing Goes On

Treatment for what was once known as My Olive Pit™ (the brand name I retired last month and am bringing back just for this update) has officially come to an end.

I visited Dr. Wu, my radiation oncologist, yesterday. He verified everything Dr. Allerton, my medical oncologist, told me a week ago: That the collection of pits and peas in my neck, the ones that’d been declared malignant in December and January, had shrunk to insignificant size, representing now only scars and burned-out cinders, thanks to the combined effects of the cisplatin poison and electron beams the two docs had ordered my body filled with.

Wu spent only a few rushed minutes with me, a good sign inasmuch as he had littScreen Shot 2016-05-26 at 10.20.42 AMle to examine and even less to plan for. In fact, there will be no more planning on his part — he released me from his care. From now on, Allerton alone will handle the monitoring of my neck. Wu did say that patients who suffer oropharyngeal cancers (medical code for most neck cancers), if they are to suffer a recurrence, typically will display signs of it within six months of the cessation of treatment. So, it will be left to Allerton to schedule me for follow-up CT scans and PET scans over the summer and into fall.

As our session came to a close, I grasped Dr. Wu’s hand and wouldn’t let go. “I want to thank you for everything you’ve done,” I said. “And that includes all your work as a young kid, learning about cancer and nuclear physics. You’ve kept me alive.”

I get the feeling Wu is a tad uncomfortable with emotional displays. He seemed to want to run away as I gushed. That’s fine by me: I’ve never needed him to hold my hand. I’ve only wanted him to know his stuff so well that his ministrations would make my tumors go away without me losing any parts of my voicebox, tongue, throat, or other neck topographic features I’m particularly fond of.

I hope when Wu went to bed last night, he told himself he had at least one great triumph that day. I hope he slept like a baby. BTW: I — the subject of that triumph — slept like a baby last night.


This one’s a puzzler. Loyal Pencillistas know I’ve been spending my evenings — often five and six a week — sitting at the Paynetown State Rec Area overlooking Lake Monroe. I started doing this soon after I became able to drive my car again in late May. Simply sitting and looking at the water, watching for killdeers and blue herons, snapping my eyes to the right or left at the sound of a splash, hoping to get a glimpse of a soaring fish that’s just nabbed a bug from the surface.

It was therapy for me, both mentally and emotionally. I felt better just for being there.

Soon, I’ll get back into bringing Steve the Dog with me to the lake. I can’t right now; I still lack the strength to control him on his leash. Occasionally, The Loved One accompanies me. She did the other day, probably Friday, when we saw him.

Now, I don’t want to be too specific in describing this man in case I’m all wrong about him. But I doubt I am.

When we drove into the point parking lot Friday evening, a man was sitting in a sporty black car with the door wide open. He was parked in a place that wasn’t a spot. It seemed odd but I was too busy driving to take much notice of him.

“Did you see that?” TLO asked, breathlessly.

“No. What?”

“He was jacking off!”

“Aw, you’re crazy.”

“Well, it looked like it,” she concluded.

That was then. Last night I went down to the lot to my customary spot on the gravel and the very end of the peninsula, overlooking the marina, the causeway, and the long expanse of the lake toward the west.

And who was there, in the same spot he was in Friday, again with his door open? Him.

I was parked, say, 40 to 50 yards away from him. He again had his door open and was just sitting in the driver’s seat. Waiting, apparently. But for what?

I started in on my crossword puzzles, keeping one eye open for birds and chipmunks and whatever other fauna might emerge. I’d been hard at work for about a half hour, really oblivious to anything but my clues and nature. I sensed a presence next to my car.

The man in the sporty black car had pulled up next to me, on the passenger side, close enough so taht I felt my territory had been invaded. He grinned at me.

I nodded.

“Hi,” he said and waited a beat. “So, do you come here to read just like I do?”

Which seemed a strange statement because neither time I’ve seen him did the man have a book or a newspaper in his lap. And, of course, if anybody’s been eyeing me, they’d know I was putting pencil to paper, although I wouldn’t expect anyone to know it was the New York Times crossword.

“Yes I do,” I said, because I didn’t care to correct him. In fact, my entire manner was icy. I knew what he wanted.

“Well,” he said, putting his car in reverse, “have a good night.”

“You too.” Even icier.

With that, he backed away and drove off.

So, he was cruising me. I’m sure of it. Almost certain.

The only doubt I have is the remote possibility he was just being a friendly chap, although the odds of a stranger being so filled with bonhomie that he’d want to pull up to cars in a parking lot just to chit-chat seem prohibitive.

Now I’m left wondering: What do I do?

One thing I don’t want is for my little oasis from the world, my safe spot where I began healing, perhaps the prettiest location for miles around, to become a cruising spot. These things grow like weeds. One guy finds an isolated locale, meets another guy there, and the two engage in anonymous sex. Through word of mouth or social media the rest of the down-low gang learns of the man’s score and others start haunting the place.

There’s a whole code of behavior surrounding these trysting spots. How one parks his car — either pulling in or backing in, whether one leaves his door open, how the second man pulls next to the first man, these and many other indicators serve to let all concerned know who are pitchers and who are catchers. And if I have to explain that, you don’t have much of an imagination.

I don’t want him there. I don’t want Paynetown to become a cruise-fest. A couple of the most pleasant places I’ve discovered in Chicago and Louisville have turned out to cruise spots. The area of Lincoln Park with winding drives just north of Montrose Avenue beach in Chi. for one. In Louisville one afternoon, my pal Dan and I were walking in the area just west of the Falls of the Ohio River. We wanted to see how close we could get to the ancient railroad trestle that spanned the Ohio and maybe even climb up on it. Before we got there, though, a man emerged from the bushes and said hello.

Dan and I both recoiled as if he’d shot a water pistol at us. He seemed surprised that we were surprised.

Trust me, men don’t emerge from bushes to say hello to other men unless they want something.

Something neither Dan nor I were interested in providing.

The Q. remained at Paynetown: What do I do?

My first impulse was to drop a dime on the man. I even passed a DNR ranger and was tempted to pull over and report the incident. Then I had second thoughts. What if the ranger had no idea what cruising was? I’d have to stand on my head to explain it all to him and then he might think I was a crank. Another thought occurred to me: What if I’m wrong about the man? What if he’s innocent as a lamb and I described him and his sport black car in minute detail — next thing he’d know, the law would be harassing him.

I drove home and reported the incident to The Loved One. Remember, she’s the one who first thought he was getting himself trigger happy that Friday evening and I pooh-poohed her.

Naturally, she told me I should have reported him.

Now, I’m almost hesitant to go back down to Paynetown.

Damn. Life is so complicated.

June 14th Birthdays

Charles-Augustin de Coulomb — French physicist who established the law of electromagnetic attraction and repulsion. In a sense, his work on the subject explained why things…, well, just are. Materials either attract or repulse each other. So do atoms, molecules, and sub-atomic particles. Lead is lead, livers are livers, and the screen you’re reading this on exist under Coulomb’s Law, an inverse-square formula analogous to Newton’s gravity equation.

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Harriet Beecher Stowe — A prime example of someone using mass media to change the world. Her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, brought the harsh lives of slaves to previously blissfully unaware whites in pre-Civil War America, jump-starting the abolitionist movement.


John Bartlett — The Massachusetts guy who first published that standard reference tome, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. He was a voracious reader, having consumed the entire Bible by the age of nine.


Robert La Follette Sr. — “Fightin’ Bob La Follette,” from Wisconsin. He opposed the growing influence of corporations over the American government and eventually left the Republican Party to form his own Progressive Party. He ran for president in 1924 and earned 17 percent of the vote, perhaps the strongest third-party showing in history.

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Burl Ives — Beloved singer and actor, known for his 1965 hit, “A Holly Jolly Christmas.” Ives was blacklisted in 1950 for having communist ties. He relented two years later and testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee, naming names. This led to bad blood between him and his former friend, the folk singer Pete Seeger.


Ernesto “Che” Guevara — This guy:


Donald Trump — Pustulant anal polyp.

No picture because he sickens me.

On this date in 2105, Anna Nicole Gaylor died — She was an outspoken atheist and strong advocate for reproductive rights. She started the Freedom From Religion Foundation and established a fund to help poor women pay for their abortions in Wisconsin.

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2 thoughts on “Hot Air: Lexicon

  1. catryna Loos says:

    You should go back to your spot. Perhaps The Loved One will protect you. Dont let it become a cruising area..

  2. Candy says:

    If Trump becomes president, life will be even more complicated, I’m afraid.

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