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JOURNAL 2021: Insurrection, Trump, COVID (complete book)

San Francisco author Joseph Sutton digs deep as to why so many Americans refused to believe that Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the 2020 election. It’s just one of many subjects Sutton deals with in this yearly journal. Other subjects include COVID, vaccinations, his three favorite Bay Area sports teams, his life as a writer, being 80 years old, and climate change.

Monday, January 4, 2021It Ain’t Over
“It ain’t over till it’s over,” said Yoga Berra. That’s exactly what Donald Trump believes. He’s trying every trick in the books to change the 2020 election results. Before the election took place, he said it was rigged. He said the same thing before the 2016 election. He lost the popular vote in 2016 but lucked out and won the Electoral College vote. This time he lost both the popular and Electoral votes. The man will never admit defeat. He even upped the ante by saying he won in a landslide.

Trump is doing everything in his power to hold onto the presidency. He was caught red-handed when he tried to persuade Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, in a conversation that Raffensperger recorded, “to find 11,780 votes.” Thank goodness Raffensperger, a Republican who voted for Trump, stuck to what a Secretary of State’s job requires: to properly count all the votes.

The only thing that matters to Donald Trump is not the welfare of the United States but the welfare of Donald Trump. The man has no moral compass. He is what you call an opportunist who found a gold mine in fomenting racism and hatred in this country—for why did he plant it in people’s minds way back in 2008 that President Obama was not an American citizen?

It will never be over till it’s over with Donald Trump. He’ll keep lying to his dying day. As a young man he learned this type of aggressive behavior from his mentor, Roy Cohn, who was Senator Joseph McCarthy’s lawyer during the “Red Scare” of 1950s. Cohn’s philosophy was, Always be on the offense. Never admit a wrong. Always put the blame on others.

Cohn’s philosophy rubbed off big time on Donald J. Trump.

Thursday, January 7, 2021 – A Date Which Will Live in Infamy
To paraphrase President Franklin Roosevelt on the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941: Yesterday, January 6, 2021—a date which will live in infamy—the Capitol Building of the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by a mob of insurrectionists.

I sat and watched in disgust for 12 hours the beginning of the insurrection to its aftermath. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, gave thousands of thugs the go-ahead to breach the symbol of our democracy by telling them, “…if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

What does the insurrection stem from? White nationalism. The whites see they’re losing the country to people of color and they have had enough of equality and diversity. So a mob of a couple of thousand burst into the Capitol Building, desecrating it, thinking that they were the true American patriots, thinking that the 2020 election was a fraud, and still eight Republican senators and over 100 Republican House members who ran for safety from the mob thought the insurrectionists were in the right by not accepting the results of the 2020 election.

It was right in front of us, right in front of the world, that Trump lost the election by seven million votes and the Electoral vote by a large margin, and he still won’t admit defeat. The man is not in his right mind. He’s unhinged and extremely dangerous. He really needs psychiatric help. This one man is taking a gigantic toll on American democracy.

I predicted three years ago in my e-book, Trump Times, that Donald Trump can be compared to the psychopathic villains in Superman and Batman movies. Trump, in my opinion, is a psychopath, except this is not a movie, this is not fiction, this is reality where America is presently in danger of losing its democracy. Donald Trump has made fools of almost 40% of this country. That 40% will follow whatever he says. There’s no doubt in my mind that he detests such unthinking, irrational followers—on the other hand, he must cherish them for doing his bidding.

I truly believe the only reason he has so many followers is that he knows this country is racist and he’s continually pounded it into those warped minds. “Build a Wall” and “Make America Great Again” means white people two or three decades from now will lose their majority status in this country. The racists and bigots believe they have to take a stand now since they have a president who is on their side.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 – Certifying Joe Biden
The House of Representatives has drawn up a resolution to impeach Donald Trump and will introduce it tomorrow in the Senate.

It’s been a crazy week. Eight Republican senators and 139 House Republicans, early in the wee hours of the morning on January 7, after the mob was cleared out of the Capitol Building, voted against certifying Joe Biden as president. Those congress people could have lost their lives if the mob had gotten their hands on them, and yet they still voted to say that the election was stolen from Donald Trump. The election was not stolen, it was the most secure election that has ever taken place in this country. In some swing states the ballots were counted two or three times and not one violation was found. The eight Senate Republicans and 139 House Republicans who swore allegiance to the Constitution were instead swearing allegiance to the biggest liar on the planet, Donald Trump.

If the Senate meets and discusses the impeachment of Donald Trump, and they vote to convict him, that means that Donald Trump can never run for president again. He will be treated as the traitor that he truly is for the rest of his life.

When Joe Biden received the necessary Electoral votes five days after the election, all Trump had to do was CONCEDE and the country wouldn’t have gone through as much division and damage as it went through—and is still going through. It will be a pleasure to have Joe Biden as our president; it will be a pleasure to have a stable human being occupying the Oval Office.

The COVID vaccine has begun to be distributed to those 65 years of age and above. Let’s hope that my wife Joan and I, both of us 80, will receive it within a month.

From what I read in the San Francisco Chronicle, a total of 375,000 Americans and two million world-wide have died of COVID. Will we ever get back to our normal lives? I don’t know. The pandemic has changed the world. So many people are out of a job, but at the same time new jobs are being created, like grocery and parcel deliveries.

Saturday, January 30, 2021 – Irrationals
The last time I wrote an entry in my journal was on January 12, eight days before Joe Biden was sworn in as president. Thank goodness he was sworn in, although 25,000 National Guard troops had to protect the Capitol from another insurrection. That’s what one psychopath created by not conceding the results of the 2020 election. And he’s still creating trouble in the country after setting up shop at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. He isn’t allowed to communicate on Twitter or Facebook anymore because both social media outlets won’t allow lying and inciting of riots on their platforms. He still holds power because he has a huge following of what I call Irrationals, along with complicit Republican politicians. Why are those politicians allowing Trump to get away with his lies? Because they see him holding sway over a large chunk of Americans and want to be carried on his wings.

It’s so nice to have Joe Biden as our president. He’s doing everything possible to help the country get back on its feet again by getting free vaccine shots into arms, by opening schools and businesses, by helping the environment, and by helping race relations. I wish Joe Biden all the luck in the world.

Life is practically the same every day. I wake up around 7:30, wash, dress, read the San Francisco Chronicle while drinking coffee and eating oatmeal with two cut-up fruits and a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt, go to my desk, eat a small snack early in the afternoon, work till late in the afternoon, go for a walk in the neighborhood, come home, pour myself a shot of bourbon, eat dinner, watch the Golden State Warriors or the news on CNN and MSNBC, get ready for bed, read a book in bed, fall asleep, wake up once or twice in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, to start the whole cycle over again.

Joan and I are scheduled to get a virus shot this coming Thursday, February 4, 10 a.m., at San Francisco State University.

It hasn’t rained much in California. The forecast is for another year of drought. There are close to 40 million people living in California with many droughts behind us and many more to come. President Biden and the Democrats realize climate change is happening and are trying to do something about it, unlike the Trumplicans, who deny scientific evidence.

Sunday, February 14, 2021 – Trump Truly a Traitor
The second impeachment proceeding of Donald J. Trump ended in the U.S. Senate yesterday. He was acquitted. Seven Republican and 50 Democratic senators voted to convict him, but it wasn’t enough. Ten more votes were needed to convict the man who wouldn’t concede that he lost the popular vote 81-74 million and the Electoral vote 306-232.

Donald Trump yearned to be a dictator like Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jung-Un, Erdogan of Turkey and Orban of Hungary. Thank goodness he didn’t get to tear down our democracy, but if one looks at all the trouble he’s caused in the four years of his presidency, he almost succeeded. He corrupted or tore down almost every foundation this country was built on since 1776. He tried everything in his power to bring this country to its knees. The thing is, he still holds power over many in the Republican party.

I detest Donald Trump for what he has done and is still doing to this country that I’m a citizen of. He is telling me that my vote and the vote of 81 million others didn’t count. I knew that man’s character the first time I ever laid eyes and ears on him. He was always all show and no substance. Here’s what I have to say to him: “Away with you, Mr. Trump! You picked on the lowest common denominator to gain your power: Racism. There was another man in 1930s Germany who did the same thing.”

It’s beyond me how millions of people still haven’t figured out this con man who has gamed the American system to the hilt. As his wife Melania once said, “Donald, when he’s in trouble, will do whatever it takes to break out of it.” And he almost toppled our government by inciting a coup, where one D.C. police officer died and dozens more were injured. And who knows what would have happened if the mob had come across Vice-President Mike Pence or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or any other member of Congress.

It took Trump three hours to finally call off the insurrection. Three hours! He could have done it in one minute if he had any scruples. It just proves that he must have rejoiced and delighted in watching his followers ransack the Capitol. That man is truly a traitor to our country.

Saturday, February 27, 2021 – For Joe Sutton. Ferlinghetti
Joan and I took our second COVID shots Thursday. But yesterday I was very tired, my joints ached, and I had a headache. I was completely out of it. I took a couple of Tylenols and had to lie in bed for a few hours. I hear this is a common reaction to the second COVID shot. Joan didn’t have any reaction at all. We’re still going to have to be careful around people. Masks, social distancing, and washing of hands are a must. Joan and I can’t take any chances. Most of the people who die from the coronavirus are in our age group.

Today I was back to my normal self and worked on Journal 1994.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti died a few days ago. He was 101 years old. On NPR this morning, Scott Simon, host of “Weekend Edition,” read from Lawrence’s book, What is Poetry? I called Don Ellis, my former publisher and now my editor. Don published Lawrence’s book when he owned Creative Arts Book Company. I have the book that Lawrence signed over to me. In it he wrote, “For Joe Sutton. Ferlinghetti.” That’s all he wrote. That’s all a writer needs to write when signing a book. Me, ever since I’ve been signing my books for people, I try to make every signing personal. I’m not going do that anymore. I’m going to make it short and sweet like Ferlinghetti did for me: For Joe Schmoe. Joseph Sutton.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 – The Buzz and Vibration
Yesterday our one-year-old grandson Joseph was at our house with our son Ray and his wife Ashley. Among the toys Joseph played with was a plastic bee (the size of a tennis ball) with large rubber wings sticking out of it for a baby to chew on and feel its vibration. Last night I washed the bee and placed it in the dish rack above the dishwasher along with pots and pans.

This afternoon, while I was making a chicken sandwich on the counter near the dishwasher, I heard a buzzing sound. I listened intently for the buzz and opened the dishwasher. The buzz was coming from somewhere inside. It was also vibrating. I pounded on the counter to see if that would stop the buzz and vibration, but it didn’t work. I got on my hands and knees to unplug the dishwasher. The plug was extremely hard for me to reach, what with the garbage disposal and the sink’s J-pipe blocking my way. My arthritic shoulder was being tested to the limit. My two surgically replaced hips were also being tested. I could barely reach the dishwasher plug, but finally, finally, after much stretching and sweat pouring down my brow, I got my fingertips on it and unplugged it.

The buzz and vibration were still going. Don’t tell me I’m going to have to call a plumber or buy a new dishwasher. Damn, damn, damn. I pounded on the counter to put a stop to this nonsense, but no such deal.
Just then Joan came in the front door. Neither of us could figure out where the buzz and vibration were coming from. We were standing near the sink when she noticed the toy bee, partly hidden under a pot, with its large rubber wings vibrating and going bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. It was my pounding on the counter that kept the buzz and vibration going.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 – Sheeple, Zombies
I believe the next yearly journal I’ll be working on, after I finish Journal 1994, will be Journal 2020. 2020 was the year the pandemic started, where Trump lost the election but tried to overturn it. That narcissist belongs in a straitjacket and should be escorted to an insane asylum immediately. I hope he’s convicted of the many law suits that are being brought against him and that he goes to jail for the remainder of his life. How can so many people be on his side when they should know that every word that comes out of his mouth is a LIE. For instance, last week, he said the insurrection on January 6 was not an insurrection but that the people who broke into the Capitol love our country, that they went in waving American flags, and that they were hugging and kissing the police and the guards. He was recorded saying all that rubbish and really said “hugging and kissing.” Does he think we Americans are that stupid and gullible? I guess he does. Those Americans who follow him think the election was stolen even though there were 60 state court decisions saying that the election was on the up and up.

It is said that by the end of April every person 16 and older should be vaccinated. But there are those who refuse to be vaccinated. They’re known as anti-vaxxers—people who believe the pandemic is a hoax or that the vaccine has something to do with our government controlling them. Oh, dear God in heaven, what is wrong with people? There is a world-wide pandemic going on, people are dying, and many people refuse to believe it’s happening. Trump is the main culprit behind all this, politicizing the vaccine and mask-wearing. “If you believe in liberty,” his and their thinking goes, “don’t get vaccinated, don’t wear a mask, don’t let our government control you.” Millions of people are actually following Trump’s lead. My good friend Charles Lewman calls them “sheeple.” New York Times columnist Paul Krugman calls them “zombies.”

Thursday, April 22, 2021 – Two Words
I’m finished with Journal 1994. It took me longer than I thought to polish off 105 doubled-spaced pages. I went over the manuscript five or six times to make it as clear as possible for anyone interested in reading it as an e-book on Amazon Kindle or Smashwords, or for free on my website.

Here’s a letter to the editor I wrote to the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this month:

All he had to say was two words. Two simple words and our country wouldn’t be as divided and fractured as it is today. Two words and our Capitol Building wouldn’t have been breached and ransacked on January 6. Two words and many senators and representatives wouldn’t be kowtowing to him today. By not being present at Joe Biden’s inauguration, he didn’t give a hoot about the peaceful transition of power. His only concern was HIMSELF. The election was not stolen, it was not a fraud, it was not rigged. All he had to say was, “I concede.”

The Chronicle didn’t publish it.

After a long layoff because of COVID, our Royal Flush poker group started playing poker the other night at Don Ellis’ office. What a sight it was to see Don. He’s lost about 50-60 pounds since he was ambulanced to the hospital for a bleeding ulcer several months ago. He lost a lot of blood. He spent four days at Kaiser hospital in Richmond. What spurred his going to the hospital was that he feinted in his hallway as he was going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. He once ran a publishing business that was successful up until the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, but now he guides or shepherds authors through the process of publishing their own books. He’s shepherded nine printed books of mine.

I miss my water aerobics class. The YMCA pool and all city pools are closed due to COVID. In the meantime, I walk every day for a half-hour to an hour to keep in shape both mentally and physically.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 – I Wanted to Be the Hero
I just got home from spending part of the day with my friend Lou Berman. We go for a walk maybe once a month. Lou lives in Palo Alto, I live in San Francisco. We meet in Half Moon Bay, which is the halfway point between our homes. Today we walked at Half Moon Bay State Beach on its dirt path for a mile and a half one way. We then sat down on a bench and talked of many things, but mainly about the 1957 Fairfax High School football team in L.A. when we were teammates. Lou was a guard on offense and a linebacker on defense. He told me his secret to success was going very low on his opponents and picking them up so swiftly with an arm block that they didn’t know what hit them. In other words, Lou used his small physical size and quickness to go very low and then used his strength to lift his opponents off the ground.

I’ll never forget the last high school football game I played in for Fairfax High. It was against our crosstown rival, Hollywood High. The score was tied with about a minute left to play. We were out of time-outs. It’s the game where I threw one of the most beautiful passes of my life, on the run, to Eddie Lingo, way downfield, maybe 50 yards. Eddie caught the ball on Hollywood’s three-yard line and was immediately tackled. The next play, because I wanted to be the hero, I called my play—a fake handoff to our big, bruising running back Bill Peters (6-feet-four, 240 lbs.) going straight into the line and me following in his wake. But I got hit hard by a Hollywood lineman in my already slightly-injured thigh. I barely made it back to the huddle to call the next play for Bill, who scored the winning touchdown just before time ran out. It’s what I said in the huddle after completing that long pass to Eddie that I regret to this very day. “I got us down here; I’m taking it in.” Oh, how I regret saying those words. It was extremely egotistical of me. Because I got hurt badly on the play, I couldn’t suit up for the last game of the season against Hamilton High— a game we lost. If we had beaten Hamilton (they hadn’t won a game all season except our game), we would have been Western League champions and gone to the City playoffs. If I hadn’t called my own play, it’s anyone’s guess how far we could have gone in the City playoffs that year. Damn!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 – The Big Lie
I have an appointment in one hour to give blood. I haven’t given blood since February 2020 because of COVID-19.

I read in the paper today that swimming pools in San Francisco will open in a month or two. Great news. I can get back to the YMCA and move all the muscles in my body doing water aerobics instead of just using my legs while walking. I, along with a lot of other people I know, are salivating to get back into the water.

It was Adolph Hitler, in Mein Kampf, who said the bigger the lie the better, and to keep repeating it over and over again. Trump and his base are constantly repeating the Big Lie that the election was stolen. Will we Americans wake up in time to end this illusory thinking? Or will our precious democracy wither away into an autocracy?

Sunday, May 9, 2021 – Weed is the Cure
I know the cure for hay fever. Weed. Here’s my proof. I took two tokes today and voilà, my nose stopped running and I wasn’t sneezing anymore. I can be a healthy human being again, all because of the devil weed.

What led to my getting hay fever today? It must have been the glass of wine I drank yesterday at James and Irma Johnson’s barbeque party in San Jose (they’re the parents of Ashley, our son Ray’s wife and mother of our grandson Joseph). I know I’m allergic to wine from the beginning of February to the end of May. Wine contains mold and sulfites. I thought I’d take a chance with just one glass yesterday, but it came back to haunt me today. If I ever get hay fever again, I now know what to do.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 – Posterity Reasons
I am 80 years old. I don’t have much longer to live on planet Earth, which is just a speck in a universe so vast that it’s impossible to grasp the limitlessness of it. From here on out I’ll be working on my yearly journals for posterity reasons.

Last night I watched a World War II movie with James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, and Rod Taylor called 36 Hours. It was an interesting film about Rod Taylor, a German playing an American psychiatrist, telling a kidnapped and drugged James Garner that he lost five years of his life after the war when he really didn’t lose any time at all. It was all a ruse to get Garner, an American Army major, to tell the Germans when and where the Allied invasion of Europe was going to take place. It was an interesting plot.

A plot keeps the viewer or reader interested in finding out what’s going to happen next. I consider each of my yearly journals naturally-driven plots, while at the same time they are a history of my life and America’s life during that specific year.

Saturday, May 29, 2021 – A Zen Writer
Joan wanted me to listen to her translation of a part of Sophocles’ play, Antigone. Listening to her translation, I found that Sophocles wrote very flowery prose. His writing is far different than mine. I’m a no-frills type of writer. That’s me. I can’t write any other way. I am not Sophocles or Shakespeare or Faulkner—I’m Joe Sutton. “You’re a Zen writer,” as my therapist Richard Vogel once said me many years ago.

No one should compare oneself to anyone else, for as it says in Desiderata, “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” A person is what he or she is. That’s it. I’m a Zen writer, a no frills-type of writer, and I can’t do anything about it.

Craziness is going on in so many countries around the world. Turkey is becoming a more religious state under dictator Recep Erdogan. A religious country is not a good thing. Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, so many governments are influenced by religion. Even our own Supreme Court, with six ultraconservative justices, are beginning to force their religious beliefs on us. There has got to be a separation of Church and State, otherwise we’re doomed.

Thursday, June 3, 2021 – Places Where We’ve Done Time
Today is our grandson Olby’s ninth birthday. Olby is actually my step-grandson. He lives in Chicago with his father Sol and mother Jang. Sol, his father, is my stepson. When I first met Sol he was six years old. That was back in early 1977. It took a year of our going together before Joan and I decided to live together. Our first place was a house on 21st Avenue and Lawton in the Sunset District. From there, due to our landlord telling us that she was going to move into the house, we moved to a duplex on 17th Avenue and Judah. I soon found out that our landlord didn’t move into the house but rented it for double of what we were paying, which was $400. She lied to me and Joan. I went to a few lawyers and they all told me I should have gotten proof in writing that she was moving in, otherwise it was futile to sue her. We rented the place on 17th Avenue and Judah for $500. It was big enough for Joan, me, Sol, and baby Raymond. But our downstairs neighbors, a single mother and her two teenage daughters were always arguing and making too much noise for us, so we found a place on 15th Avenue and California in the Richmond District. We paid $600 a month for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom duplex.

Joan, Sol, Ray, and I lived on 15th Avenue for 12 years. Then in 1994 we were able to buy a house at 2349 Funston Avenue, where Joan and I are living today. We will probably live here till our dying day. Joan has made the backyard beautiful. I call it “The Garden of a Thousand Delights.” She wants it to look like Monet’s garden in Giverny, which we visited in 2003. I work on the front yard where I’ve planted all drought-resistant plants.

In a couple of weeks it will be Joan’s 81st birthday. Two months after that it will be my 81st birthday. Joan makes organic oatmeal almost every morning. And what I’ve been trying to do, as of late, is to eat only two meals a day, breakfast and lunch. But I find myself picking too much at night if I eat only two meals. It’s watching TV that causes my picking. If I were in my office working on my yearly journals or typing journal entries, I wouldn’t be picking so much. I’d really lose weight much easier that way. But I have to keep up with the times by watching the news on CNN or MSNBC or by watching a Giants or Warriors game. The Warriors didn’t make the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Giants presently have the best record in Major League Baseball.

It’s June in San Francisco, which means it’s overcast. As I write, the sun is trying to break through the fog layer over the western part of the city where we live.

Lily Ramirez, our cleaning lady for the past 27 years, is vacuuming in the living room. We pay her $30 an hour for five hours of work every two weeks. Lily is very reliable and we’re happy to have her. I think we pay her more per hour than any of her other clients. Lily is from Lima, Peru. She became an American citizen several years ago. It’s easy to see that she has Inca blood in her. She raised her son all by herself. Her son is now a grown man and she’s very proud of him. He works for a company where he uses his biology skills that he learned at the University of San Francisco. Two weeks ago, I asked her when she was thinking of retiring. “When I lose my energy,” she said.

Lately I’ve become a fan of Turner Classic Movies. Last night I laughed my head off at a Laurel and Hardy movie where they were moving a boxed, upright piano up a long flight of cement steps to a house on top of a hill. Those two always made the simplest things turn into a disaster. I haven’t laughed as hard as I did last night in a long time. Today it’s Larry David who makes me laugh just as much in his series, Curb Your Enthusiasm.

A few hours ago I was on the phone with my longtime friend Nate Wirt in Seattle. Nate said he almost died a couple of months ago from a bleeding ulcer, the same thing that happened to my editor Don Ellis. Both of them are still gaining back their strength. I found out, talking to Nate, that he still believes Donald Trump should be president. When it comes to politics and religion, Nate and I are 100% poles apart. What is it with him and millions of others who believe the election was stolen? There’s absolutely no proof of such a claim. It’s gone to the state courts 60 times and they all confirmed that Joe Biden won the election fair and square. It’s beyond my comprehension how people still believe the Big Lie.

Friday, June 11, 2021 – The Pandemic Persists
I’ve been extremely busy in 2020 and 2021 going over four of my yearly journal books, 1970-72, 1994, 2007, and 2020. I have an appointment to see my editor Don Ellis on the first day of July to see what we can make of these yearly journals that are already on Amazon Kindle and my website as e-books. Don thinks I should make a printed book of the journals, because when I die, he says, e-books will end but printed books will be in someone’s hands or on a bookshelf.

Thank goodness Joe Biden is our president, although right-wing reactionaries will always be a part of the human race. Those type of right-wingers want a proliferation of firearms, they want to prevent a woman from choosing what she wants to do with her body, they want to treat people of color as an underclass, and they detest the LGBTQ+ community.

Democracy is barely alive in the U.S. because of the dissemination of misinformation and disinformation. So many lies are being spewed. So many Republican politicians are falling in line with the Big Lie.

I feel my age a lot nowadays. When I go for a walk, I can’t walk at a fast pace like I used to because of my arthritic knees. Most of the time I have to force myself to go for a walk, even on a beautiful day like today where the weather is sunny, warm, and breezy.

Speaking of breezy, I find I love walking when the wind is blowing in my face. The air, from off the Pacific two miles away, is clean and contains endorphins that give me energy.

The pandemic persists. So far the U.S. has over 600,000 deaths due to COVID. Just tonight on Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher said we should forget wearing masks and live our normal lives. I like Bill Maher, I like what he stands for, most of the time. But screw him on not wearing masks. I’m going to wear my mask in public until I’m sure I’m safe from the virus.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 – Rhapsody in Blue
Tonight I watched a Turner Classic Movie: Rhapsody in Blue, the story of George Gershwin, who died in 1937 at the age of 39. What a genius that man was. I wrote a chapter in my road novel, Highway Sailor, called “Rhapsody in Blue,” about a man of 33 traveling around the U.S. in his VW bus and he hits New York City and tells of his experience there. I once timed my reading of that chapter and it came out to be 16 minutes, the exact length of time of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. It was my intention for that chapter to be read to Gershwin’s classic.

A couple of times, as I was watching the 1945 movie with Alan Alda playing Gershwin, tears came to my eyes. Gershwin wrote music about his time here on Earth. He wrote purely American pieces, like Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris, he wrote concertos, popular songs, musicals, symphonies, and even an opera, Porgy and Bess. I too write about my time on Earth and try my best to depict the times. I don’t compare myself with any other writer. I’m a man who chose to be a writer, and thank goodness I’ve had the time, the will, and the staying power to be a writer.

The other day I finished my fourth yearly journal book, Journal 2020: The First Year of the Pandemic. I, of course, went over the manuscript of 18,000 words many times. I just wanted to depict what happened that year. And what happened in 2020 was mainly about the coronavirus pandemic, the lockdown/quarantine, the presidential race between Biden and Trump, and the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died face down in the street with a police officer’s knee pressing down hard on his neck for nine minutes. Floyd’s hands were handcuffed behind him as two other officers had their weight on Floyd’s back and legs. A teenage girl took a video of the murder that went viral. It took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and it started a movement in this country and around the world to protest the obvious of what is taking place in this country: systemic racism. The movement is now called Black Lives Matter. And I mustn’t forget the birth of my grandson took place in 2020. My son Raymond and his wife Ashley named him Joseph after me. Joan and I named Raymond after my father. It’s a Syrian Jewish tradition to name the father’s first son after his father, no matter if the father is living or dead.

I watched the Giants play the Angels today. The game took place in Anaheim and it lasted 13 innings. I mainly wanted to watch this Japanese phenom, Shohei Ohtani, who leads the majors in home runs and who pitches every five days. He is the only man since Babe Ruth to excel in both pitching, hitting, and hitting home runs. His fast ball was clocked at 99 MPH. He’s tall, well-built, and strong. In the two games he played yesterday and today, he didn’t get a hit. He struck out three times in each game. Ohtani and Kevin Gausman of the Giants had a pitcher’s duel going today. Each gave up a home run. At the end of nine innings, the score was tied 1-1. The last few innings of the nine played, relief pitchers from both teams pitched. But then came extra innings, and it was crazy. The Angels almost won the game in the 10th inning when there was a very close play at home plate and Buster Posey of the Giants tagged the sliding Angels runner out. Originally the umpire called him safe and that would have ended the game. But with replay being used, he was called out. And so the game went on and on into the 13th inning. Both teams used up most of their players. The Angels had to put a pitcher in left field and used another pitcher as a batter. The catcher for the Angels got a concussion in the 11th inning, so they had to use an outfielder to play catcher. In the top of the 13th inning, the score tied 3-3, the floodgates opened for the Giants. The big hit was a home run by Mike Tauchman, a man who struck out five times in the game before hitting his homer. I was yelling the whole game for him to just touch the ball. Five times he struck out! What a disgrace. But then he hit the home run to start a blowout. Final score, 9-3 Giants.

Saturday, June 26, 2021 – Steve Dessy and Don Ellis
My friend Charles Lewman sent me a text this morning. It was a quote on writing from a famous 19th century writer, William Makepeace Thackeray: “There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen to write.” Charles added these words to Thackeray’s quote: “…or opens up his laptop.”

Truer words were never spoken. That’s why I write swiftly without stopping most of the time, to dig down into my subconscious so I can see what thoughts rise to the top. And so, as I’m doing now, I’m writing at a rapid rate, just to see if any of my “thousand thoughts” will come to anything.

Where are my thoughts now, Mr. Thackeray? I love your quote, and I thank my friend for sending it to me, but right now I can’t seem to catch a thought and make something of it. But that’s OK, because I’m writing swiftly now so my innermost thoughts can rise through the seaweed and flotsam in the ocean of my mind, and come up for air so I can see and feel the sun on my face. What does a writer write when he’s stuck for an idea? He writes what he did this morning.

This morning I woke up, showered, ate breakfast, cleaned up in the kitchen, brushed my teeth, took my vitamins, and here I am, typing on my keyboard. I had thoughts before arriving at my desk to call two of my friends, Steve Dessy and Don Ellis.

Steve Dessy lives in Sparks, Nevada, next door to Reno. It’s a nice area. I’ve been there twice with a few of my friends from our poker group, the Royal Flush. We drove up there to visit with our good friend Alan Blum before he passed away a year and a half ago in a Reno convalescent home. Poor Alan, he had Parkinson’s. Late in his life he tried hard to make a living as a taxi driver, but that was unsuccessful. Before that he was a draftsman for an engineering company for thirty years. Alan was always broke, throwing away a lot of his money on the lottery. He relied, in his last years, on Social Security checks and handouts from me and a couple of other close friends. Steve was a great and loyal friend, setting Alan up at a convalescent home in Reno rather than letting him rent cheap rooms in the Bay Area. Steve is a man who is always happy, possessing a very positive attitude toward life. He’s the manager of the Lexus dealership in Reno. Before moving to Reno he was the manager of Lexus of Serramonte in Daly City. He’s extremely competent in what he does. His wife’s name is Linda.

Don Ellis. Several months ago Don had a bleeding ulcer without knowing it. He fainted in his hallway in the middle of the night and had to stay at Kaiser hospital for four days. I’m going to see Don five days from today. We’re going to meet before the Royal Flush poker group meets at his office. I’m going to pick him up a few hours before we start playing poker because his driver’s license was suspended until he recovers fully from his scare at the age of 79. Don is an idea man. He was once a successful small press publisher. He now makes his living editing other writers’ works and helps them through the process of publishing their own books. I call Don a book shepherd. He’s shepherded many of my books over the years. I emailed him Journal 2020 last week, and we’ll talk about that journal and maybe combining it with my other journal books of 1970-72, 1994, and 2007.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021 – The Past and the Future
I love that quote by William Makepeace Thackeray: “There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen to write.” So what are those thousand thoughts lying within me? I don’t know yet. I’m not worried about it. I know that as long as I write at a swift pace, something will pop into my head that will take me for a ride like, say, riding the waves at Santa Monica beach in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s.

Santa Monica beach. Summer. Hot sand. The cool Pacific. I see my dad in an old bathing suit of his, white with a black stripe on each side. Mom is there. She made lunch for all of us who came to the beach that day. I think it was the only time I was at the beach with my parents. I can still see myself sitting on a blanket, eating a sandwich, looking out over the ocean, and seeing a man waving his arms. I was maybe nine years old at the time. Maybe he’s in trouble, I thought, except I kept the thought to myself.

The other times at the beach I was with my brothers and cousins, and, as I grew older, my high school friends. In high school, a bunch of us would drive down to Santa Monica beach. We’d ride waves or play a game of football in the white sand. It was a great workout to run in the soft sand, especially for me and the other athletes in the group. It strengthened our legs. Then, when we got all sweaty and hot, we’d run into the cool Pacific, knees high, staying upright for as long as possible before an incoming wave knocked us over.

Yes, that was good old Santa Monica beach. Now I live in San Francisco where the water is too cold to enter.

It’s been foggy the past week while the rest of the country boils in 100 degree weather. I heard it was 115 degrees in Portland for a couple of days. I used to live there from the middle of 1974 to late 1976. Climate change. It’s happening. The greenhouse effect. Fossil fuels. There are people who deny that mankind is to blame for the change, that it’s natural, when all you have to do is look at all the cars on the road and all the smokestacks belching carbon dioxide.

The coronavirus and its variants is killing a small percentage of us humans. Today I heard six million of us around the world have died of the virus. There will be many more viruses on the horizon to diminish the world’s population. There will be chaos in the world due to climate change. Great migrations will take place. People will demand that their country’s borders should be closed. I can hear people say, “This is my country, go back where you came from, foreigner.” That’s my forecast. My immediate family of two sons, their wives, and children, how will they survive the chaos? I have faith that they’ll use their brains and will somehow get through it.

Oh, how lucky we are to be living on a planet that has given us life and sustenance. How long will it be before Earth’s natural resources dwindle to zero? If and when that day comes, we’re going to have to recycle EVERYTHING.

There will always be people to try to delay progress. Damn those people. They’re the takers and wasters of the world. They don’t care about the environment, all they care about is take, take, take, waste, waste, waste.

Monday, July 5, 2021 – Four Journal Books
I met with my editor Don Ellis last week and we talked about combining my four journal e-books into one printed book. Don wants me to write an Introduction for it when we meet next. Here’s what I’ve written so far:

One day in January 2020, while walking along the shore of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, this idea popped into my mind: Go over my journals, one year at a time.

Since getting the idea, I’ve worked on my journal years of 1970-1972, 1994, 2007, and 2020. As in all my yearly journals, those years are not only what my thoughts, philosophy, dreams, doubts, and desires were, they’re also a history of what was going on in the United States.

Monday, July 26, 2021 – End of a Friendship
Charles Lewman, who I’ve been in weekly contact with for the past ten years, has ended our friendship because he thinks I betrayed him. Before I go any further, I’ve known Charles since junior high. We were teammates on the Fairfax High School football team. After high school we lost touch with each other until Charles, who was living in San Francisco, unexpectedly called me 10 years ago. He and I had a mutual friend and found out that I was living in San Francisco. Anyway, last month Charles was bitten by a spider while he and his wife Karen were out on one of their daily runs. Charles’ physical reaction to the bite led him to be taken to the hospital where he stayed for four days. The bite infected his whole system. I was told by Karen that his face and body broke out in blisters and that he couldn’t stand to look at himself in the mirror. While he was in the hospital, I received a text from him: “To be honest, I have been praying to die. If I do, know I love you.” Well, when I received his text I immediately called his cell phone and left a message of hope for him. I then called Karen’s cell and told her about the text.

A week later, Charles texted me saying I betrayed him for telling his wife what he had written and that our friendship was over.

I hope Charles recovers from the trauma he experienced, otherwise, it’s probably the end of our decade-long friendship. When he lived in San Francisco, we’d go for a walk once a week. When he and his wife moved down south to the Laguna Beach area nine years ago, we continued to communicate by having a weekly phone conversation on Mondays at 5 p.m. Charles wasn’t in his right mind when he sent me that text about “praying to die.” I hope he realizes that and will someday contact me while he recuperates.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 – Trump Should Go to Jail
Today was the first day of the House January 6 Committee hearing that will try to get to the bottom of how and why the storming of the Capitol took place on January 6. Bravo to the four police officers who testified to the committee, made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans. The four officers were brutally honest and articulate. They and the other officers who fought off the insurrectionists are, as one congressman of the committee put it, “…what America is really about.”

There is no doubt in my mind that the cause of the divide in this country is Donald Trump. He started all this by refusing to concede the election to Joe Biden. He held a rally on January 6 at the Ellipse the day the Capitol was breached. He’s the one responsible for inciting the insurrection and should go to jail for it.

Friday, July 30, 2021 – A Poem to My Friend and Editor
Don Ellis’ birthday is coming up on August 6. We’ve been writing birthday poems to each other for the past 15 years. Here’s the final draft of what I wrote and will send to him on his birthday:

A Poem for Don Ellis on His 80th Birthday
I want to tell Don Ellis of my love and gratitude for
our friendship and partnership.

It’s good to see he’s gaining his strength back after a big, big health scare.
It takes a lot of grit to overcome what he’s been through.
His demeanor shines through like the bright sun.

On his mother’s side are four centuries of Christian Americans,
but along came a Jewish father to end that American run.

Eighty years on Earth,
marrying three times,
begetting eight children,
and those eight begetting his grandchildren.
He loves his large family
as they in turn truly love him.

He writes beautiful, philosophical poems that
others would be happy to read and gain from.
But can you believe that Don,
a poet who once owned
Creative Arts Book Company
that published hundreds of books,
can you believe he won’t even consider
publishing his Berkeley Wisdom poems?

I’m debating with myself. I don’t know if I want to combine four of my journal books into one printed book. If I do print a book, here’s a couple of titles I’ve come up with: An American Life and Myself Upon the Earth. Right now I have four separate e-books on Amazon Kindle and on my website. I just might keep it that way and forego a printed book.

Saturday, August 7, 2021 – Two Letters
I received a snail mail letter from Charles Lewman yesterday. Below is what he wrote and my snail mail reply to him:

Dear Joe,
We have some unfinished business and I wanted to clear it up.

I was very, very disappointed with your call to Karen after my text to you from the hospital. I cannot recall my state of mind but there was a reason I sent it to you. It was my clear intention it was for you, and you alone.

I have no idea what your intention was in calling Karen. She was already in an emotionally fragile state and your call further upset her. She called the hospital and they put me on suicide watch. It took me a half hour or longer to get her settled down.

I have some lingering upset with you over this which I may or may not get over.

This has been a very Life-altering experience and nothing needed to be added to it.

Going forward I wish you all the best in all things.

Dear Charles,
I’m glad to have received your farewell letter. It leaves no lingering doubts how you feel. I can only say I meant well when I called Karen and told her you were “praying to die.” Just a week or two earlier you said to me on the phone that you were going to live to 95. Also, months before that, you were running very long distances with Karen on the weekend. You were in such tip-top shape for a man of 80 years old. Life was always “wonderful” with you. But then, in an instant, everything changed with the bacterial infection and your hospital stay. It must have been extremely traumatic that your body reacted so violently to the infection. I heard you couldn’t stand to look at yourself in the mirror. Yes, I called Karen and told her about your text to me. I didn’t mean to betray your trust, I was thinking only of your welfare, that you weren’t in your right mind for a man who, before the infection, was in such tip-top condition both mentally and physically.

I hope now, after all you’ve been through, that you’re happy to be alive. If not, I don’t know what to say except I hope you will gain your strength back and become the optimistic Charles I’ve known for the last 10 years.

Farewell, Charles. I truly wish you happiness and good health in the years to come.

Sunday, August 22, 2021 – The World is Sick
Two days ago I turned 81. Sol, Jang, and nine-year-old Olby arrived on my birthday from Chicago. Ray, Ashley, and Joseph came over, and it turned out to be the best birthday anyone could ever have, with all our family in one place. Joan gave me a biography of Malcolm X, we all ate dinner together, Joseph was the big attraction, the cute little guy loves to eat and is learning every day to communicate with others. It was good to see that Olby loves his cousin and is with him every minute, teaching him, leading him, watching him.

What’s going on around the world what with the pandemic, the U.S. leaving Afghanistan, and Haiti’s earthquake. All over the world something bad is happening. A few days ago I was reading the Chronicle and stopped reading because on every page, in every country, something negative was going on. The world is sick. I can’t do anything about it except to be aware of what’s going on and to treat anyone who comes into my orbit humanely and with respect. That old Boy Scout oath of being “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent” is how I’d like to be.

I was once a Boy Scout, in the sixth grade at Gardner Street School in Hollywood. Maybe the oath somehow rubbed off on me. Or did I need to know the oath to be who I am today?

Poor Joe Biden is getting criticized from every angle, from the left and right, from Democrats, Republicans, the press, the media, you name it, he’s being put over the coals for leaving Afghanistan without being properly prepared to leave. The Taliban is now in power in Afghanistan. They want to treat women as subhumans and won’t give their people the freedom they need and deserve, all because of their Medieval religious beliefs. That’s why so many people are trying to escape Afghanistan as I write.

The Giants still have the best record in the majors. Yesterday was pure Giants. Behind by one run in the ninth inning against the Oakland A’s in Oakland, Brandon Belt, with one out, drew a walk, and then up came LaMonte Wade, the Giants’ savior this year, to hit a two-run homer that led to the their winning the game. This is constantly happening with the Giants, down and out, and all of a sudden someone, especially Mr. Wade, comes through in the late innings to help the team win a game. It’s one of those dream seasons when manager Gabe Kapler makes the right decisions and the team goes on to win. This is what happens in a dream season, comeback after unexpected comeback. It’s where all the particles are falling into place. It gives the team hope in every game, no matter how many runs they’re behind. This happened with the 2010, 2012, and 2014 World Series championship teams under the guidance of manager Bruce Bochy. It happened in 2003 under manager Dusty Baker. They almost won the World Series that year, but their opponent, the Anaheim Angels, came from behind late in the sixth game and went on to win the Series in the seventh game.

I now have four separate journal e-books on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, and on my website. I completed Journal 2020 earlier this month.

I’m now working on Journal 2008, the fifth journal year I’ve been working on since I began working on my journals in 2020. The year 2008 was when I wrote an essay a week on the writing process. I self-published a print book out of those 52 essays and called it My Writing Year. 2008 was also the year of the Great Recession and when Barack Obama defeated John McCain to become President of the United States.

Sunday, September 5, 2021 – My Stepson Sol
My stepson Sol Sender is out of his mind. He hates his father for leaving his mother 49 years ago. Now he hates his mother because he feels she didn’t care enough for him. This, after 49 years. The man holds grudges. He can’t be reasoned with. I can’t believe that a grown man would just throw away his father and mother like that. Sol told Joan about his grudge against her—that she didn’t love him enough. The only love he said he received was from Joan’s mother, Sue Bransten. Ramon Sender, Sol’s father, left Joan and Sol for another woman when Sol was just an infant. Joan was left to support herself and Sol on her own. And now Sol comes up with she didn’t love him, that she didn’t care for him. It’s hard for me to believe that a son, whose mother gave her all to support both herself and her son, would act this way. The man holds grudges and won’t let them go. His father is zero in his eyes. And now it’s his mother. He refuses to believe she gave everything she had to love and protect him. What is going on in his mind? The past is the past. Forget it already.

From what I hear, Sol is seeing a therapist. What the hell is that therapist doing to him? He or she is supposed to help him and not make him hold grudges.

Monday, September 20, 2021 – What’s It All About?
I was thinking this morning about life. What’s it all about?

I’m in the winter of my life, and right now I couldn’t care less about achieving fame as an author. “What’s it all about?” To try one’s best, every day, that’s what it’s all about to me. Before I started working exclusively on my journals, I used to get my ideas for stories, essays, and books from writing in my journal. That was my life. I’ve brought into the world 19 books, 12 of which are printed and seven by putting them on Amazon and my website as e-books.

“What’s it all about?” Here’s what I wrote in my last printed book, In the Time of My Life, that was published in 2019: “I need goals to strive for. My goals are to be healthy, to tap my fingers on the keyboard to create new stories and essays, to keep my marriage working, to stay in touch with my family and friends, and to be aware and informed of what’s going on in the world.”

Those words expressed what I was thinking 2 1/2 years ago, and mostly what I’m thinking today. What has changed is that I’m not out to hustle my work anymore. My satisfaction comes from going over my yearly journals for spelling, grammar, and clarity and writing new entries in my ongoing journal. I don’t seek recognition anymore.

Thursday, September 23, 2021 – Stymied by Pure Stupidity
What is happening in this country? We have a former president who is doing his damndest to wreak havoc on this country. The man is a narcissist, which means he’ll do anything and everything to be in the spotlight. He’s only out for himself and no one else. For him, it’s screw the United States and the workings of democracy.

He still won’t admit he lost the last election, and now I hear he plans to run for president in 2024. Oh, how I hope, if the Republican party is stupid enough to nominate him again, that he gets his ass whipped badly. Maybe then he’ll quit trying to wreck this country with his racist, bigoted, lying, cheating ways. Maybe. As I’ve already said, he’ll do anything like what he did on January 6, inciting a mob to storm the Capitol to prevent Joe Biden from being certified President. That was an attempted coup on his part. Can you believe that one man can damage a whole country, a country that’s been in existence since the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776? We’re 245 years old and the man wants to tear down the pillars of this country just so he can regain power. The sad part is, millions of people are on his side—his base, members of congress, governors, and other public officials. “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Oh, how my blood boils when I think of Donald Trump, the most dangerous person this country has ever produced. He’s got millions of blind lemmings following him, leading them down a path that no one ever thought possible, the path to Civil War, the path to the downfall of our democracy, the path to dictatorship. So-called intelligent, educated people like Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, six Supreme Court justices, governors like Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbot of Texas, and a whole slew of state legislators—all have fallen under the spell of this one man. Why? So the Republicans can grab hold of their anti-democratic, white, backwards-thinking power again. One man has gained power over others by appealing to their most despicable instincts, even though they all know he’s a lunatic, fraud, liar, and cheat.

I am not exaggerating the present reality that is going on in this country. Oh yes, there are those who are sticking to the rules of the game (the Democrats and intelligent Republicans) to show this country what is happening, but what they’re doing is going up against a man who doesn’t follow rules, who is a rule unto himself.

Trump has led millions to believe that the coronavirus vaccine should not be taken seriously because of a distrust of science and mandates. Freedom is essential, he says. even though the statistics show there’s presently over 650,000 deaths due to the virus in this country and millions more around the world. The facts are right there in front of everyone to see. That’s how unbelievably deceived some people are. They see and hear of the deaths COVID has caused and they still believe it’s against their best interests to wear a mask or get vaccinated.

I shouldn’t have to be writing what I’ve written above, but it’s happening, it’s today’s reality, and we followers of rules and laws are being stymied by pure stupidity.

Friday, September 24, 2021 – The Giants
The Giants are one game up on the Dodgers with eight games left in regular season play. The Giants lost a heartbreaker last night to San Diego in San Diego. They were losing to the Padres 4-0 in the first inning. But they came back, like they’ve been doing all season, and almost pulled out a win. They lost 6-5 in 10 innings. Would they bounce back from last night’s tough loss? You bet your sweet ass they bounced back with a 7-2 win tonight over Denver. But the Dodgers won’t go away. They’ve been nipping at the Giants’ heels for a couple of weeks now. Neither team has faltered. If they tie for the West Division championship, a one-game playoff will take place.

So what thought out of the 60,000-80,000 thoughts a day that go through a human being’s mind can I glom onto? Water. When will the rainy, flooded regions of our country get together with the dry, drought regions of our country and build a water pipeline? If oil pipelines can be constructed, why can’t water pipelines be constructed? It’s a win-win situation for both regions. Less flooding in the east, more water in the west. Win-win.

The two-story house next door us is finished being preened (painted inside and out, floors shined, garden cared for, trees trimmed) for the next buyer. The real estate agent said to me through her face mask that they’ll be asking $1.7 million. It’s a seller’s market. People will surely bid higher for the house.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 – A Welcome Text Message
The Giants, West Division champs with the best record in Major League Baseball this year (107 wins and 55 losses in regular season play), lost to the wildcard Los Angeles Dodgers (the second best record in the Majors with 106 wins) in the fifth game of a five-game playoff series. In the bottom of the ninth, with a man on first, two outs, the Dodgers leading 2-1, Wilmer Flores of the Giants, with two strikes on him, held back a check-swing, but the first base umpire saw it differently and called it a strike, and that’s how a crucial, close game ended. Instead of the Giants winning with a bang, their season ended in a whimper. The Dodgers will now go on to play the Atlanta Braves for the National League pennant.

Earlier today I put my fifth yearly journal on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, and my website: Journal 2008. I created my own cover, uploaded the manuscript, and am charging $1.99, with my share being 35% or 70 cents, if it sells on Amazon and Smashwords. A person, if they go to my website, can read my yearly journals for free.

What’s been going on for the past month? Joan and I got our Pfizer booster. Colin Powell—former Army General, National Security advisor, and Secretary of State under George W. Bush—died yesterday. Trump demeaned him today, just like he demeaned John McCain back in 2016. Trump is fighting a bunch of law suits. America is starting to close in on the Narcissist. The Republicans are afraid of Trump and don’t care about the country, they only care about holding onto office, further enabling the Narcissist to keep saying the 2020 election was a sham. If you repeat a lie long enough, people will start believing it. That’s what the Republicans are relying on to win the midterm elections in 2022.

Several people informed me that they were asked to “friend me” on Facebook. Although I have a Facebook account, I never use it. I was hacked. But what came out of that was good news. My friend Charles Lewman texted me, saying he wasn’t in his right mind when he felt I had betrayed him. He said he’ll call me after he’s all healed.

Thursday, November 25, 2021 – A Whole Lot of Irrational Thinkin’ Going On
It’s been a long time since I’ve written in my journal. Two reasons: a long-lasting sickness and working on my yearly journals. First it was Journal 2008 that I worked on, now it’s Journal 2010.

The sickness started over two weeks ago. The other day I talked to my doctor and he prescribed an antibiotic because my very bad cold wasn’t getting any better. It was truly a bad, bad cold, not COVID. Coughing and more coughing. Lungs making squeaky sounds, unending weakness, and unable to go outside for a walk. I was truly frustrated with my physical condition, which of course influenced my mental condition. So I talked to Dr. Bugatto and he prescribed an antibiotic for what might be a bacterial infection in my lungs. (My lungs are vulnerable since I contracted asthma way back in 1984 while teaching English at McAteer High School, now known as Ruth Asawa School of the Arts. I don’t have asthma anymore, except on rare occasions, like now.) I feel like I’m on the mend after starting the antibiotic two days ago. I have three more days left of taking one pill a day.

Thinking I was gaining my strength and health back, I went for a short walk in my neighborhood yesterday, and guess what? I coughed my ass off. I couldn’t stop coughing. I kept spitting out the mucous from my lungs and nose. And that was good, because today I feel much better.

I think I’ve zeroed in on how I got it, and that was when I drove over to Oakland 16 days ago to play poker at George Krevsky’s house. Before going to George’s, I stopped by my favorite coffeehouse in Oakland, the Hudson Bay Company. I ordered a decaf coffee and was served a small cup that cost $2.46. I was sitting about seven or eight feet from an older woman who started in on a coughing fit. I wasn’t wearing my mask because I was drinking my coffee and thought I was well-distanced from her. But she couldn’t stop coughing. She was coughing so much that she finally got out of her seat and went outside. I think I got sick from her.

I went to George’s house and played poker with six other men. After the game, I stayed to talk with George and Jerry Lipkin. I shouldn’t have stayed because I was feeling extremely tired. The next day I was sicker than a dog.

So here I am, 16 days later, writing for the first time in over a month. My longest streak of not writing in my journal in a long time.

What has taken place in the last month or so? Buster Posey of the Giants announced his retirement. Buster will someday be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The man helped the Giants win three World Series championships in five years playing catcher, and he led them to 107 regular season wins this year, the most any Giants team has ever had. He and his wife now have two sets of twins—one set, a boy and girl, ten years old, the other set, twin girls, a little over a year old. The younger set is adopted and it looks like they have a mix of two races in them, possibly Black and white or Asian and white. I looked it up and can’t find any information as to what the racial makeup of the second set is. It doesn’t really matter. My own grandson Joseph is a mixture of Black and white. My friend Charles Lewman calls him Mocha Joe.

What else has happened? The Atlanta Braves won the World Series in six games. Close to a third of the people in the U.S. believe the presidential election was stolen from Trump. Many don’t believe abortion should be legal, and many believe gun laws are too restrictive. The country is really divided. The Right thinks people like me are out of our minds, while the Left sees rational thinking going down the drain. I’m so disappointed in this country, where the Irrationals are gaining much too much traction. Even the conservative justices on the Supreme Court, those supposed “wise deliberators,” are siding with the reactionary right people. I wish I didn’t have to say it, but I see a big wave of non-thinking blanketing our country. There is so much false information going on. And now with the coronavirus going strong, millions still refuse to get vaccinated. It’s those people who are being rushed to the hospitals and filling them to overflowing.

Friday, November 26, 2021 – The 49ers
Last night I watched the 49ers play the Los Angeles Rams in the ninth game of the NFL season. The 49ers won 31-10. They ran roughshod over the Rams. I grew up in L.A. a Ram fan. I was around nine or ten (1949 or 1950) when I got interested in listening to their games on radio. But when I moved to San Francisco in 1977 I became a San Francisco 49ers and Giants fan, also a Golden State Warriors fan. The Giants built a new ballpark 20 years ago, the Warriors built their new arena two years ago, and the 49ers built their five-year-old stadium down the peninsula in Santa Clara. The 49ers still have a chance to get into the playoffs, even though their record is 4 wins and 5 loses. Do they have a chance? I believe they do, if last night’s game is any sign of a turnaround.

Sunday, December 26, 2021 – The Pandemic is Still Raging
For the past two months I’ve been working on Journal 2010. It’s time to put it on Amazon Kindle. All told, I’ve completed six yearly journals.

Yesterday, Christmas Day, we were at Ashley’s parent’s house in San Jose—James and Erma Johnson. Erma invited her two sisters, her brother and his wife. Little Joe got a bunch of great presents. He received a computer for his age, a large truck, a garbage truck, and an electric train. Great presents for a kid who will be two in a few months.

My mind now goes to the 49ers and their quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. I still have faith in Jimmy G, although he had a bad game against the Tennessee Titans this past Thursday night. The Niners lost 17-14. The Titans are a tough team. I thought the Niners were the hottest team in the league going into that game. They were looking good in the first half, leading 10-0, but then the Titans intercepted two passes and won the game in the last second on a field goal. Right now the 49ers are eligible to get into the playoffs.

As for politics, the Republicans are the do-nothing party. They’re against everything Joe Biden proposes, like the Build Back Better program, and the John Lewis election law. The Build Back Better program would help millions of people get jobs in repairing the infrastructure of the country. Not one Republican senator voted with the Democrats, not even the two stupid-ass Democrats, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Manchin is the senator from the coal-producing state of West Virginia and Sinema is the senator from Arizona. Manchin would help his constituents live healthier lives if they got out of the coal mines and started producing solar energy, except he owns a coal brokerage business where he’s made millions and is backed by the coal industry. And Sinema, all she cares about are her looks and wearing revealing dresses and colorful eyeglasses.

The pandemic is still raging, with a new variant called Omicron that is not as strong as the Delta variant but spreads much more easily and faster. There are presently 775,000 deaths in the country due to COVID. Yesterday at James and Erma’s I was a little worried about getting Omicron because Joan and I had never been around so many people, even though everyone was vaccinated and had taken their booster shots. It seems like this COVID virus will never end. I might have to wear a mask in stores and markets till the end of my life. And then there are those who refuse to get vaccinated. It’s beyond me why they’re playing Russian roulette with their lives.

It’s been raining a lot in the Bay Area. We’ve gotten over 14 inches of rain in a month and a half, which is more than it rained all last year. We were afraid of having another drought, but the rain keeps coming and it’s expected to rain again this coming week. Joan loves the rain.

I wish the pandemic would end so we can get back to living normal lives—except I don’t see it happening in the foreseeable future.

Note: The 49ers, in the playoffs, beat the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers to advance to the NFC Championship game against the Los Angeles Rams. They barely lost to the Rams, who went on to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI (56).