Three Days Off-Grid, Me and The Mueller Report

Heceta Head Lighthouse is one of the most dramatically beautiful lighthouses in the country. Just a mile or two from Sea Breeze cottage

Heceta Head Lighthouse one of the most dramatically beautiful lighthouses in the country. Just a mile or two from Sea Breeze cottage. Oregon’s “Emerald” coast has surprises around every turn of the road. Go Off-grid

Three Days Off-Grid; Me and The Mueller Report

Just a Little Insanity

By D.S. Mitchell

Ocean Diver

My bags were packed and loaded in the car for an off-grid get away

My bags were packed and loaded in the car for an off-grid get away at the Oregon coast.

The beach house was reserved. My bags were packed and loaded into the car. The plan was to pick up my favorite partner in crime at 10:oo a.m. for a few days away from Castle Gerimortis. The ad promised off grid quiet. No cell phones, no television, no internet. I went to bed eagerly anticipating the time away. I woke up about 3:30 a.m. from a dead sleep making ocean diver sounds that reminded me of the song, Aqualung.  After coughing up half of my right lung, or maybe it was my left lung, I laid back on the bed and focused on my funeral plans.

Too Hot To Handle

My cheeks were on fire, and the back of my hand was singed as I touched it to my forehead. Maybe I should take my temperature? Where had I put the thermals? No, the thermostat.  No, no, the thermometer. Where had I put the thermometer?

Dog Clippers And Souvenirs

Remembering that I haven’t had a fever in at least 20 years made me question if I even owned a thermometer. After stumbling about the bathroom in fevered confusion, pulling drawers in and out. I finally found the damn thing in the bottom of the drawer with the dog clippers, and a souvenir from a 420 celebration three years ago. It was one of those glass and mercury affairs that they haven’t made since Woodstock.


OMG, my temperature was 101.6

I must be dying. My temperature was 101.6.  

After cleaning with soap and water I stuck the old glass stick in my mouth and waited. I knew I’d need to wait at least three minutes for a result. Such co-ordination of knowledge and action failed me. With fiery anticipation after a mere minute, I pulled the thermometer from my mouth. OMG it had already registered 100.9. Oh, no. Now I had to shake it down and start all over, because I knew my true temperature must be much higher.

Waiting For The Rapture

I went back to my bedroom, located my cell phone and set the timer. I laid down on the bed. Remembering the school nurse always said, “keep your lips closed tight.” Following that advice from childhood I laid there waiting.  When the phone beeped, I jerked it from my mouth and turned it over on its side, adjusting it to the light I saw a reading of 101.6. I put the thermometer on the bedside table and closed my eyes, waiting for the rapture.

Beyond Zombie-dom

I must have passed out from lack of oxygen to the brain. At 8 o’clock I was summoned back from zombie-dom by a fit of coughing severe enough to loosen my back teeth.  Apparently, death was not as close as I had hoped. My fever seemed to have broken and I found myself staring out the window as dry-mouthed as a desert wanderer and as tremulous as a puppy who had just missed the newspaper. I wondered if I could stand up. Maybe I should at least wait until the latest round of the chest splitting coughing passed. Once the most recent coughing spasm subsided, I was ready to stand.

Sun And Surf

Spring Breakers had nothing on me

Spring Breakers had nothing on me. I was going to be off-grid on Oregon’s Emerald coast

Mustering the strength of a college freshman headed to Virginia Beach for Spring Break I forced my feet to the floor and was reassured that the spinning room had not effected the solidness of the planks under my feet.  I may not be a college freshman, but the thought of sun and surf urged me forward.  I slipped on a black T and canvas colored shorts. The outside temperature at the mountaintop was hovering at 40 degrees, but I have a great heater in the car. I debated my ability to drive. I guess we would soon find out. The next thing I see is Dave grinning at me, saying, “Hey, Sweetie.”


With Dave behind the wheel we left Portland weirdness for the promise of sunshine on Oregon’s Emerald Coast. The “southern” coast in my vernacular. Our destination, Yachats. Pronounced, Ya-hots. It is usually warmer and less windy than the much closer northern Oregon beach towns of Seaside and Cannon Beach. I bury my head in a pillow and cough my way from the 217 on-ramp to the I-5 Interchange.  I had loaded my makeup bag with a shitload of over-the-counter medications scavenged from my medicine cabinet. Airborne cough drops, Tylenol, sips of cherry Robitussin, Vitamin C gummies, Airbore immune support gummies, and a Super B-complex supplement whose tablets smell like a 5 day old decomposing corpse.

Sea Breeze Cottage

Sea Breeze cottage had a great view of the ocean

Sea Breeze cottage had a great view of the ocean

Nearly four hours later I open my eyes as Dave turned into the driveway of Sea Breeze cottage. The cabin, although sitting on the east side of 101, has a lovely surf view, and the charm of a cottage built over a summer vacation by dad and junior in 1950. Dave the man, unloaded the car, while I wandered uselessly supervising the placement of every suitcase, and pillow.  I grabbed another handful of Vitamin C gummies and fussed and complained as he nodded and grimaced.

In It Goes, Out It Goes

I had read in a medical textbook several years ago that it is impossible to overdose on Vitamin C because your body cannot store the vitamin, any excess Vitamin C is automatically excreted through the kidneys. So, no worries.  Eat away I decide. There does seem to be significant anecdotal evidence supporting high doses of Vitamin C to shorten cold symptoms. At this point I’d try anything, including experimental drugs.

Just The Ticket

That first night at the cabin I fell asleep with little effort. Self-medication in this case appeared to be just the ticket.  My fever broke and I woke up shivering on a damp sheet. Dave was banging doors and proclaiming dog walking time as I shifted from my world to his. Was I imagining it, or could I actually breathe through my nose? I gave it a second attempt.  Hell, yeah. Now if I could just rid myself of that paper crackling sound my chest made every time I took a breath.

A Tug A War

And the winner was the littlest dog

In the man vs dog contest the winner was the 10 lb demon dog

When Dave got back to the house, he launched into a story of animal vs man. He said he would be driving into town now if the dog hadn’t put up an extraordinary fuss when it looked like the morning walk would be delayed. He described a leash tugging affair between a 180 lb man in caffeine withdrawal and a 10 lb demon with a biological urge. The 10 lb demon had won the battle. The image brought a smile to my face.

No Coffee

“Hey,” he said, “you look better. But, you sound like hell. I was going to let you sleep and drive into town and get a coffee, but now you’re up. Feel like a drive? There’s no coffee in the cabinet and we didn’t bring any.”

Close To Criminality

Hearing the call to action we headed up Highway 101 to Yachats “city” proper.  A rustic timbered bistro sat on the ocean side of the highway beckoning us in. When we stepped inside, I was disappointed. The building sat right on a cliff overlooking the exquisite beauty of the Pacific Ocean and the builder had put the kitchen where the picture windows should have been. I would say such an act is close to criminality. We skipped the croissants and breakfast bars and paid for two coffees to go.

Reams Of Paper

The television was showing images of the newly released Mueller Report

All the television channels were showing images of the newly released Mueller Report

As I watched Dave putting his sixth coffee creamer into his coffee cup I was distracted by a television playing in an adjacent room. I walked to the threshold where I could get a better view of the TV screen. A Breaking News story was playing. The sound was turned off. From what I could see ABC news chief anchor, George Stephanopoulos, was sitting at the news desk with a group of men and women. The gathered group was shuffling and reshuffling reams of white papers covered with multiple yellow stickies. I could see other pages were blacked out and lay discarded on the desk.  “The Mueller Report” banner ran in red under the action. I stood gawking at a silent screen.

Fucking Friday

I stepped back, turned, and grabbed Dave by the arm to get his attention, nearly upsetting his coffee cup. “Fuck, Dave. No cell phone. No streaming TV.  We are fucking Robinson Crusoe and Friday”. My voice, harsh from two days of coughing, was rough-edged and irritable. The couple at the table next to the window looked in my direction, but looked away quickly when I sent a laser-eyed response to their unwanted attention.  Sometimes people just know, when it is best not to engage, or comment, and I approved of their renewed interest in their food.

“No Amenities Beach”

D.C. Comics, Wonder Woman

D.C. Comics, Wonder Woman from 1941-42

Dave, obviously taken back, said nothing. Apparently, he too was reluctant to engage, or comment on public madness. Climbing back into the rig, I continued, “No I’m fucking serious, what the hell are we doing at the beach? Not even a regular beach. We are at No Amenities Beach.  Why these three days, of all days, do we decide it would be cool to go off grid? We never go off grid! OMG, off grid. Off grid!  If I wasn’t the editor, I’d fire my fucking ass.”

I continued ruminating as we headed south, “How the fuck could this happen? The hottest news story of the last century and we are in the fucking middle of Nowhere Beach.”

Dave turned toward me and said carefully, “Look, the sun is shining, the coffee is good, we are in one of the most beautiful places on earth, and there are at least 300 VHS movies back at the cabin. Time to forget Calamity Politics, Trump’s tragic opus, the Republicans and the Russians. We can save the Republic tomorrow, Wonder Woman.”

I clicked my two gold bracelets together and winked at my bearded chauffeur, “Thanks, Steve Trevor. There is always tomorrow.”


21 Reasons to Smile, in Spite of Donald Trump


21 Reasons to Smile, in Spite of Donald Trump

By D. S. Mitchell

I sat down with computer in lap and began writing my 441 post

Another Post

I sat down with computer in my lap and began writing my 445th post to  Before I started this blog, I worried that I wouldn’t have enough to write about. I mean, it even occurred to me that I might exhaust all my grievances against the Mango Menace within a couple of weeks. I was so innocent. So naive.

TV Has-been

Who would have thought that a TV reality show has-been, would be elected to run the White House like a New York slumlord. How could any of us; with our limited historical perspective, ever imagined the extent of perversion, fraud and corruption that this grifter president could bring to Washington. My God, reporters have an average of a scandal, or two, a day, to choose from. In fact the scandals and corruption news is coming so fast and furious that we have to literally bob and weave to stay clear of flying falsehoods and denials.

Breaking News Feed

In fact, on a really good Friday afternoon two or three of the juiciest scandals in American history will explode on the CNN Breaking News feed.  Yes, every Friday. Like clockwork. I just said American history. It is the most mind-spinning administration of graft and compromise in U.S. history. What other administrations in memory could, in one week, produce more scandals than the Obama, Bush, and Reagan administrations combined.

Hold On

I recommend you hold on to that safety strap. I expect the tempo of the legal battles are about to pick up speed. Subpoenas will be flying out of the House. My “trouble coming” antennae are quivering. We are on a perilous ride, created by the megalomania of Donald Trump.

Choice of Vices

Now it’s time to open a bottle of wine, roll a doobie, or grab a box of chocolates, whichever be your particular vice. Then find a comfortable chair sit back and just breathe. While savoring your wine I am going to share with you some positive and uplifting energy.

Here are 21 Reasons to Smile: In Spite of Donald Trump

  • Astronauts
  • Sunsets over water
  • Wraparound sunglasses
  • The Science Channel
  • Getting the perfect selfie
  • The Muppets
  • Touching toes under the covers
  • Blowing the wrapper off the straw
  • Winning at Monopoly
  • A dog’s cold nose
  • Warm apple cake
  • Winning at Monopoly
  • Old jeans that fit just right
  • The clatter of skis being loaded
  • Drawing a Royal Flush
  • The rumble of a train as it passes
  • The imagination of a six-year-old
  • Your lover’s voice
  • A friend’s hug
  • Daddy’s wisdom
  • Lady Gaga
  • Old yellowed family photographs
  • Denim and plaid

Have another glass of wine. We’ll connect again.


Yuletide Poem

A Twitter friend, @ArcturusOrdo sent me the following image and poem from his 4th book, “Yuletide Sequence”.







Poems are a still

golden mirror

of soul shining

glimpsed in quiet

solitude shared

as words

trailing softly

on the white

page like snow

falling through

Yuletide sunrise.

Calamity Politics is a Progressive on-line news magazine focusing on the Washington DC nightmare with caustic comment and mildly jaundiced opinion. Join the Resistance.


Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Our image of Santa is pretty much the result of an effective advertising campaign. Santa Claus wasn’t always a rotund omniscient gift-giver who circumvents the world on December 25th propelled by flying reindeer, assisted by an army of adorable elves. The Santa we know today, a jolly man in a red suit and full white beard was the vision of Haddon Sundblom. Sundblom was commissioned in 1930 to develop advertising images for Coca-Cola to use during the next Christmas season. Sundblom used the 1822 classic poem “A Visit From St. Nick” by Clement Clark Moore as his inspiration for his new image of Santa Claus. Previous images of St. Nicholas had ranged from a tall gaunt religious man to a tiny elf creature. Moore and Sundblom together created the image of our Santa as a warm, friendly, pleasantly plump humanoid.

The historical basis of Santa Claus is St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas was the renowned Bishop of Myra-a Roman town near Demire, Turkey, around 300 A.D.  St. Nicholas even before he was appointed Bishop was known for his generosity. A well told story was one in which he came to the assistance of a poor man who could not afford a proper dowry to marry off his three daughters. In those times, it would mean that the daughters would remain unmarried, making it likely they’d be forced into prostitution.  St. Nicholas wanted to spare the family any embarrassment yet wanting to help, he traveled to the man’s house in the dark of night, and threw three purses filled with gold coins through the peasant’s window.

After St. Nicholas died he became a beloved patron saint, but during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, the importance of Catholic saints was rejected and St. Nicholas’ popularity dwindled across Europe. However, in the Netherlands he remained popular, living on as a mythical figure, known as Sinterklass, who went from house to house on the eve of St. Nicholas’s name day, December 5th, leaving treats and gifts for children.  Sinterklaas traditionally wore red bishop’s clothes and employed elves, and he traveled with horses that could walk across rooftops.

When the Dutch emigrated in droves to America during the 17th and 18th centuries, they brought the kindly St. Nick to the new colonies, but it wasn’t until the 1930’s that Coke and Sundblom introduced today’s version of the beloved winter visitor.

Merry Christmas.

Calamity Politics is a Progressive on-line news magazine featuring news of the day accompanied by comment and opinion.


12 Stay Young Secrets

I was standing in the grocery check out line when I noticed a special edition Prevention magazine titled “99 Ways To Live To 100” on the rack in front of me.  I bought the magazine and when I got home the first article I read was “Active At 80+”

The story featured 4 amazing women from 81-87 years of age. Each of the women offered 3 stay young secrets. I thought they were good enough to share with my friends.

Alice Rocky 81: Stay Fit Activity, Yoga. Her “Stay Young Secrets”:

Yoga Is An Excellent Exercise To Keep You Young

1.) Spend time with people of various ages. Having a broad social network helps you to feel and act younger, it helps you keep in mind that age is just a number.

2.) Recognize that some aches and pains are normal and natural.  It is your body giving you feedback. Listen to it and change , but don’t stop moving.

3) Exercise your brain. Stay engaged intellectually. Volunteer. Do crossword puzzles.

Ruth Heidrich 82: Stay Fit Activity, Iron Woman. Her “Stay Young Secrets”:

Appreciate What You Can Do

1.) Appreciate what you can do, “whether walking a half mile or doing chair yoga, applaud yourself.”

2.) Go meatless. Ruth states it is the most important health change she has ever made.

3.) Focus on the rewards. Exercise improves sleep, lowers blood pressure, reverses Type 2 diabetes, prevents heart disease and osteoporosis.

Florence Meiler 83: Stay Fit Activity, Track & Field. Her “Stay Young Secrets”:

Finding What You Like To Do Is A Motivator For Participation

1.) Discover your “thing.” “It can be yoga, Tai Chi, swimming-the key is finding the activity you like enough to commit to it on a regular basis.”

2.) Team up. “Exercising with friends keeps you on track and motivated. The National Senior Games’ motto is ‘Fitness, Fun and Fellowship.’ That says it all.”

3.) Believe in yourself. “We are all capable of far more than we think we are, instead of saying ‘I can’t’ say ‘I’ll try.’ Those words can make all the difference.

Joan Campbell 87: Stay Fit Activity, Swimming. Her “Stay Young Secrets”:

Swimming Is A Year Round Sport

1.) Always have a goal. “It can be anything that motivates you. Goals give you a push”

2.) Avoid scale creep. “If I feel my pants getting tight, I cut my portions. Fish and veggies are my go to dinner.”

3.) Just say yes. “I see daily exercise as an automatic. That way I don’t question it. If I don’t feel like getting out of bed, I motivate myself by thinking how good I will feel afterward, and that always helps me get moving.”

Wow. Some pretty insightful suggestions. I think the information is as good for a 25-year-old as an 80-year-old.

Calamity Politics  is an on-line news magazine that admits to a Progressive bias. Join the Resistance.


Tools To Change Unwanted Behavior

Habits affect us in every aspect of our lives, home, school, work, church. It could be nail-biting, thumb-sucking, over eating, procrastination, avoidance.  Each one of us has habits we wish we could break. How do we escape these unwanted behaviors, when often we do not understand the basis of the behavior?

New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg has written a book that examines the structure of habit, its underlying causes, and the impact of habit on our careers and our personal lives, entitled “The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life & Business.”

Charles Duhigg Has Written A Useful Guide To Breaking Habits

The first part of Duhigg’s book investigates the “habit loop.” The habit loop comprises the “cue” (the situation that stimulates the habitual behavior), the “routine” (the behavior or activity) and the “reward” (the emotional satisfaction resulting from engaging in the behavior).

The key to stopping an undesirable habit is to break down this self-perpetuating loop, according to Duhigg. Breaking down the loop is the key to altering behavior. If you don’t understand the “why” (the reason) for the action it is hard to escape the behavior itself.  As Duhigg writes, “Once you break a habit into its components, you can fiddle with the gears.”

Duhigg also takes a look at the habits of successful organizations. As a business owner, the habits you instill in your staff  go a long way in determining the success of the venture.  He looks at organizations as big as Target and as intimate as the structure of NFL teams. It is the owner’s job to create positive habits in the staff.  If as an owner, you notice a way to replace a bad operational habit with a good one, you have the ability to improve productivity and employee happiness.

Duhigg details four steps to changing any habit. 1.) Pinpoint the “routine” (the habit)  2.) Examine the “reward” that the behavior provides 3.) Isolate the situations that “cue” the unwanted behavior 4.) Develop a “plan” to change the behavior.

Cigarette Smoking Is A Habit That Most People Want To Quit

Lastly, Duhigg says, “You have to actually believe in your capacity to change for habits to permanently change.” With the tools and examples provided in “The Power Of Habit” you should be able to take control of habits you thought were unbreakable. In business and life the ability to change unwanted behaviors is a valuable asset.

Many years ago when I was taking a graduate psychology class I participated in a stop smoking study. The study was very simple. Each participant kept a “smoking journal.”  We were required to make a note of the emotion experienced when we felt the desire to have a cigarette (the cue/trigger), the action itself (the behavior), and how we felt after the cigarette (the reward).

We were required to journal for six weeks. At the end of the six-week period we met with the study designer and talked about our experience, and designed a plan to stop smoking based solely on the journaling information. This all took place forty years ago, but even now I can remember how amazed I was with my reactions to the journaling experience. First, the journaling made me intently aware of the behavior.  Second, I became aware for the first time the situations that triggered the habit. Third, I became aware of the reward. And, lastly, with the information I had learned about the behavior I was able to create a plan to change the undesirable activity.

If I had not participated in that study I may never have been able to quit  smoking, but with the isolation of the “behavior loop” it was easy. In fact, by the end of the six weeks I had stopped smoking and have never smoked again. So, like Duhigg says, break the loop.

Calamity Politics is an on-line news magazine that openly promotes a progressive political agenda. Please join me for comment and opinion as I dissect the political scene in the era of Trump. Join the Resistance.


27 Things To Make You Smile

I love week ends. On Fall and Winter days I hang out with the dog, drink Irish coffees and watch old movies.  On Sundays I try to think of things that make me smile. Here are my 27 things to make you smile.

1.) Plan to do something good  2.) A yellow convertible VW bug           3.) Burning up 100 calories per hour, by just existing  4.) Hot baked potato skins covered with melted cheese  5.) The sound of the last load of laundry tumbling in the dryer  6.) Spa towels big enough for two  7.) Spinning spaghetti on a fork  8.) Crescent rolls leafy and hot, dripping in butter  9.) Emerald cut diamonds 10.) The giant Harvest moon of Autumn  11.) Baby’s first tooth  12.) Men in topcoat and hat  13.) Lights of Las Vegas   14.) A day on the boat  15.) Men in uniform  16.) Standing at the fridge, door open, wondering why you are standing there  17.) The soft creaking of wood floors  18.) Getting the chance to brag a bit.  19.) Ceramic mugs of steaming coffee   20.) A well-worn pair of jeans that fit just right 21.)  A bonfire on the beach  22.) Old friends and a Ouija board  23.) “No problem” instead of “Thank you.”  24.)  An Amaryllis blooming on the dining room table  25.) Reserving that special corner table  26.) Midnight snowmobile rides  27.) Knee deep in fallen leaves

That’s it. Thanks for joining me for a few smiles. is an on-line political news magazine pointing a pissed off finger at the actions of the American government.  Call you senator and representative and demand the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump.

Join the Resistance.


Are You Thinking About Getting A Dog?

Dogs save lives in more ways than one. But sometimes we, or the family, are not in the right place, time-wise, geographically, or emotionally to bring a new friend laden with responsibilities into our lives. With the holidays fast approaching, many of us think, “wouldn’t a puppy make a perfect Christmas gift for Johnny, or Jenny Jr?”

Maybe, maybe not.

The time commitment required for a new puppy is often ignored. Before you start looking for that new pup, make sure that you have the time and the energy required to daily commit to your new best buddy. Puppies will need to go out every hour until they are house trained. You or your children will need to be ready to commit no less than two hours daily for play, exercise, socialization and stimulation. Additionally, puppies because they are rapidly growing, need to be fed and watered three times a day.

Continue reading

How To Safely Dispose Of Medications

I was getting packed for my third move in two years. I know, too many, too often, but it was a strange set of circumstances and not worth talking about here. Usually I just go into the bathroom and dump the drawers into a box and then sweep the contents of the cabinet shelves into another box, and voila, the bathroom is packed. But, I picked up the first bottle, a bottle of Aspirin and glanced at the expiration date. Holy Moly, it had expired three years ago. That knowledge shook me up a bit. The next bottle, a prescription for Flexeril, was outdated by 10 months.  I was two for two. Not good. Next,  was a bottle of cough syrup, expired the previous year. I was batting 100%.

If your medicine chest is full of outdated medications or medications you no longer need and you are wondering how to dispose of them I have some information for you.  The best option is to use community-based drug disposal programs. Go to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) website, and use their search tool to find an authorized drug disposal collector in your area.

If you don’t find a program in your area call your local police department or country sheriff. Often these law enforcement centers have disposal programs. As a last resort you may be forced to dispose of them yourself. Please do not flush down the toilet, or sink. These toxins are dangerous to animals, fish and water systems.

Many medications include specific disposal instructions, please follow any specific disposal instructions. The FDA advises that if there are no disposal instructions, do as follows: If the medication is tablets, crush thoroughly. If medication is capsules, open capsules and release contents.  1). Mix medication with used coffee grounds, kitty litter or dirt/sand to disguise the medication making it less desirable to children, pets and drug seekers. 2). Place the mixture in a sealable bag, empty can or other container to prevent the medication from leaking out of the garbage bag. 3) Be sure to obliterate any personal information on the prescription bottle to protect your identity and health information.

In my case, when it was all said and done, I had a shopping bag full of outdated and unneeded medications. I guess I am a “closet” hoarder. Or, just inattentive. I decided to call my local police department and see if they had a disposal program.  The answering officer said they did indeed offer a safe disposal program. I took my bag of meds into the cop shop where an officer dumped them into a secured bin. The officer told me the drugs “would be incinerated.”

Hope this little piece of life experience helps you think before you just toss medication into the trash, or flush it down the toilet. Be a good citizen, dispose of drugs responsibly.

Calamity Politics is an online political news magazine offering, comment, analysis and opinion. We admit to a progressive agenda. Join the Resistance.