completed – back-scratching octopus


This is the final underwater back-scratching team. Hundreds of backs were successfully scratched. Children were delighted, or mystified, or frightened. Next time, maybe an entire squadron of scratchers will be deployed – costume to be determined.


building the back-scratching octopus, part 2


As mentioned in the last post, the octopus must be finished soon. Here are the latest additions.

Draped seaweed – A sea-weedy fabric curtain from a thrift store, cut in strips and hung from a pipe-cleaner collar.

Tentacle holder – Tentacles are pinned to another piece of vaguely sea-like material (this may have been something that tied back drapes) and then hung around the neck.

Sea shoes – Because octopus don’t have human-like feet, this is an embarrassing necessity. I took the sleeves cut from a old green shirt and stretched them over shoes. Hopefully no one will notice that I’m not really a cephalopod.

seaweed1tentacle_collarsea foot


building the back-scratching octopus


It’s almost time for the Solstice parade and if I’m going to scratch the backs of onlookers, there’s work to be done.

Tentacles – Cheap costume tights, stuffed with polyester batting. 10-gauge wire is inserted and bent so they don’t just hang straight down. There are six tentacles because my arms will go through the legs of another pair of tights to make the seventh and eighth.

Suckers – An old bathtub mat made from little disk-shaped plastic pieces was handy. I’ve cut it up and hot-glued the vaguely circular, semi-transparent chunks to the tentacles.

Giant back-scratcher – The same one from prior years. I stripped off the old monkey fur, added green tape and sea-weedy cloth strips.

There are more steps involved before I’m confident that no one will catch on. Spectators should think I’m a real octopus carrying a giant back-scratcher, of course. 



deep in the political swamp, with slimy tendrils around our legs


“Drain the swamp!” was a frequent chant at Donald Trump’s campaign rallies. Then there was an election, and we have the swampiest administration seen in decades, if not ever.

Creatures from the Swamp

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt spent $25,000 on a sound proof phone booth in his office. He took a $40,000 tax-payer paid trip to Morocco to explain the benefits of importing liquid natural gas from the USA. Turns out there’s only one liquid natural gas exporter in the USA, and Scott Pruitt has been living in a condo owned by that company’s lobbyist. And what does this have to do with the Environmental Protection Agency in the first place? Pruitt, by the way, flies first class on our dime because he needs the extra “security” provided by first class.

Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, spent $53,000 on three helicopter trips last year, including one to go horseback riding with Vice President Pence. On another occasion he spent $12,000 for a single charter plane flight from Las Vegas to Montana. By the way, Zinke requires that his “secretarial flag” be raised on the flagpole of his building when he is in the office and taken down when he leaves.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned after spending at least $400,000 on private jet trips for himself and his staff.

In other swamp drainage news, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin spent $800,000 on military plane trips when he could have flown on airlines for $20,000. He requested a military plane for his honeymoon in Europe, but changed his mind when the media (taxpayers) got wind of his greed. He took a government plane to Kentucky for a day trip to watch the solar eclipse. His wife posted a picture of them getting off the plane on Instagram, saying, “Great #daytrip to #Kentucky! #nicest #people #countryside #rolandmouret pants, #tomford sunnies, #hermesscarf #valentinorockstudheels #valentino #usa.” The items you might not recognize are designer clothing.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was stopped before spending $31,000 of taxpayer money for a new dining set. Carson blamed his wife.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior advisor, met in the White House with two large financial companies (Apollo and Citigroup) to allegedly discuss infrastructure and trade policy. After the meetings, Kushner’s private companies received very large loans from both institutions.

The Swamp Master

No one is surprised by the above, except, apparently, most of the people who voted for Trump. They didn’t notice his history of bankruptcies, of stiffing his contractors, of turning to Russian oligarchs for funding his projects, and settling a $25,000 lawsuit brought by thousands of students who’d been defrauded by a scam called “Trump University.” I guess these voters also didn’t notice Trump’s many years of stupidly claiming Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

But now his character must be well-known to even those who supported him, right? I mean, he filled the government with industry lobbyists who now “regulate” the industries they used to work for. Then there are his relations with a porn star and a Playboy Playmate and the hush money,

He promoted and passed a tax bill that would benefit him personally. He even put the presidential seal on golf tee markers at Mar-a-Lago golf course! Called Vladimir Putin and said, in effect, “Congratulations on winning your phony election, come visit me at the White House, and … ha ha … are you going to poison anyone else?”

Haven’t yet mentioned his sliming of a U.S. judge because of his Mexican heritage, his “shithole” country remarks, his “grab them by the pussy” remarks, and his “very fine people on both sides” comment about a white nationalist event. Does anyone still vouch for his character?

It’s no surprise that he would hire like-minded people for his administration. We are deep in the swamp now, and will be lucky if we can get out.

Corruption, not Russia is Trump’s Greatest Political Liability

The Many Scandals of Donald Trump

The Racism of Donald Trump: the Definitive List


evolution of treading on me


The Gadsden Flag – Developed by General Christopher Gadsden used by the Continental Marines in the USA’s revolutionary war:

Image Author: Lexicon, Vikrum

Tea Party/Libertarian Flag – Often a favorite of those who don’t want to pay taxes but would still call the public fire department when their houses are on fire, and use public roads, public libraries, etc. Also a favorite of those who think licensing firearms like cars would constitute intolerable government tyranny:

Don’t Laugh Flag – Satire of the above-mentioned people:

by Clay Bennet, Chattanooga Times Free Press

Internet Meme Versions

Credit: @ayyball/Twitter





good guys with guns



Gun wielding people mowing down large numbers of school kids, church-goers, movie patrons, and night club visitors.


If we made following scenarios true, the U.S would be the safest damn country on earth, according to the NRA and many politicians.

  • School teachers with assault rifles strapped to their backs.
  • Librarians carrying AR-15s.
  • Ministers with a civilian-model “Spectre” M4 submachine sitting on their pulpits.
  • Movie projectionists with sniper rifles.
  • DJs with a loaded shotgun next to the turntable.

We could turn up the safety factor even more by allowing open carry of lethal weapons in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. In courtrooms, let the judge, jury, and audience carry assault rifles for super security.

It may already be legal to carry weapons in some basketball and baseball stadiums — but do they sell guns and ammo at the concession stands? We’d all be safer if they did. Let’s make it happen at the next Super Bowl.

Alcohol, rock and roll, and semi-automatics make a great combo, so the more firearms at concerts, the better. At the symphony, the piccolo players, with their lightweight instruments, could carry heavy, blockbuster weapons, while the tuba and euphonium players would have a handgun that fits in the pocket, because they have to handle larger instruments.

As soon as kids are old enough to hold a small pistol, they ought to be given a tiny G42 Glock handgun for protection (and in case they need to fight government or playground tyranny). 

In 2015, firearms killed 13,286 people in the U.S. (excluding suicides). Where do you think that number would go if we quadrupled the number of people carrying guns?