Poetry Wednesday 76

Want to eat “The Goldmine” at your local Mexican joint?

“The Goldmine”

Feel my temperature rising when the food before me hits my mouth

Fields of gold baked or fried by our friends just below the border on the South

Rivers of molten cheese surrounded by pillows of cooling cream

Realizing now the burn of the chiles are about to make me scream


Maybe I’ll get some with ground beef,  salsa, jalapeños, black beans, and of course cheese

Heard that they sometimes serve it outside the American Mickey D’s

Possibly I’ll just get the plain original version with just cheese sauce and chips.

Probably a better idea, the supreme version causes me to have messy fingertips


Mexican and margaritas; c’mon girl put on a nice dress, it’s a fiesta

We’re just like the dish, I’m overly cheesy and you’re a little spicy

Promise you one day, I’ll make your finger gold and icy

Filling up on all the food in front of me, I’ll be in a food coma ready for a siesta.

A dish better reserved for the late-night eaters— los borrachos

An order has been put in for what sounds good to me even now, some nachos


© Ryan Stroud 2019

A Close Shave

Time to hide the razor?

We’re just a month out from the end of the year. December for many means Santa Claus known for his beard, red suit, and rotund figure. This month is also known for its connection to facial hair and that’s the topic on deck today.

For nearly a decade or more, No Shave November or Movember has grown in popularity among men as an opportunity to celebrate facial hair. A handful of women have also opted to participate in No Shave November by avoiding shaving their legs.

No Shave November is not only about shelving razors and keeping facial hair untouched but also to bring awareness to prostate cancer and other men’s health issues. Many of those growing out their facial hair set goals that if they can reach so many inches with their beard, they will donate an amount relative to the length of their facial hair.

I usually take advantage of the month to avoid shaving and growing out my facial hair. Thanks to my attempted Halloween costumes that required a clean-shaven look I’m only sporting a little more than 5 o’clock shadow. Eventually, it should reach a length that I like. Normally, I’d already have some facial hair and have a head start on facial hair for the month.

Of course, as I’m always challenged by my boyish good looks, the facial hair doesn’t help. I’ve tried shaving more often but it still doesn’t grow in thick enough to my satisfaction. Besides that, my beard usually begins to itch as it grows so I have to apply lotions or beard oil to grow out the beard. Many times, my facial hair ends up looking like former Colts’ Quarterback Andrew Luck with full neckbeard.



Year-round, I have at least a goatee, circle beard or some other facial hairstyle. Male-centered meme accounts usually remind that the difference between a man with facial hair is that a clean-shaven man bears more resemblance to a toddler than an adult man. Of course, exaggeration is a hallmark of memes, but men sans facial hair do often skew a decade younger than their actual age. So that’s the main reason I have some degree of facial hair to age myself up.

I know some women appreciate the smooth skin look and are averse to full facial hair while others appreciate the hirsute look. Obviously, I can’t speak for what is physically attractive about men with or without facial hair, but I obviously aspire to look more rugged than not.

My ideal look would be the well-maintained full beard look but as mentioned it becomes challenging. For clarification, the full beard look I’m referring to is similar to Chris Evans or John Krasinski not exactly the Santa beard. Maybe when I get older, I can grow my beard out and have the distinguished silver facial hair look. At least thanks to smartphone apps and Snapchat filters I can have the facial hair I’d like.

What’s your opinion on beards and facial hair?

History Monday #77

History is made with the 44th President on this day

Hopefully as the calendar has changed to a new month, you are excited for today’s #HistoryMonday entry. Today’s post deals with everyone’s favorite subject—politics. I’ll try to stay above the fray and address the historical implications for the United States and for African-Americans specifically.

On November 4, 2008, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois won the Presidential election over Senator John McCain of Arizona, becoming the 44th President of the United States.  President Obama’s election win marked the first African American elected to the presidency.

Born in 1961 in Hawaii to a white mother from Kansas and a Kenyan father, Obama graduated from Harvard Law School and was a law professor at the University of Chicago before launching his political career in 1996, when he was elected to the Illinois State Senate. Serving for 8 years in the Illinois State Senate, Obama was eventually elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and immediately gained national attention in Democratic political circles.

Pres. Obama was able to earn 365 electoral votes and nearly 53 percent of the popular vote, outpacing the late Sen. McCain who earned only 173 electoral votes and just a little over 45 percent of the popular vote. Pres. Obama chose Senator Joe Biden of Delaware to be his running mate, while McCain’s running mate was Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. Had Sen. McCain won, history would have been made with the election of the first female Vice President. So, the election had historic importance regardless of the outcome.

Campaign staff chose Springfield, Illinois as the site for then-Senator Obama’s officially announcement of his candidacy for president. An Iowa caucus victory in January 2008 propelled him through the primary season to be the nominee over Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Obama’s team built a grassroots strategy for the general election season appealing to voters with their candidate’s natural charisma, unique life story and inspiring message of hope and change. The team also focused on appealing to young and African-American voters who identified with Obama’s demographic similarities. To this end, the campaign took advantage of the Internet to organize fundraising and voter turnout efforts.

Candidate Obama campaigned on pledges to get the U.S. out of the war in Iraq and drastically expanding healthcare access. The 2008 Recession caused Obama and McCain to provide solutions to address the economic struggles resulting from the Recession

President-elect Obama accepted the election victory at Chicago’s Grant Park, acknowledging the historic significance of his victory stating, “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer… It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America.”

fast forward

Pres. Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C. according to the Constitutional process spelled out for the U.S. President. Pres. Obama would accomplish the campaign promise to expand health insurance coverage very shortly after with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” as an allusion to his efforts in the healthcare expansion.

After serving his first term, Pres. Obama was re-elected on November 6, 2012, defeating Republican Mitt Romney to win a second term in the White House. Pres. Obama completed his second term on January 20, 2017.

The election of Pres. Obama as the first African-American President is remarkable since governors, congressmen, and senators of African-American descent had been elected much earlier and often. Many of these political figures were elected within the first decade after the Civil War.

Pres. Obama’s presidency was also significant as mentioned for the historic expansion of health insurance coverage beyond private companies, establishing government agencies to oversee the administration of insurance.

Per his promise to end the Iraq War, Pres. Obama eventually withdrew troops from Iraq ending the almost decade-long conflict in the region. Pres. Obama did also accomplish a significant victory that had eluded his predecessor, by killing Osama bin Laden.

Pres. Obama’s progressive policies drew sharp criticism from conservatives just after his inauguration and saw Republican gains steadily each election cycle during his presidency. This also saw the rise of conservative media outlets that criticized those policies alleging the predominance of mainstream media outlets were amenable with Pres. Obama rather than maintaining independence. The reaction to these progressive policies also led to many voters electing Pres. Trump in 2016 who viewed the policies as unhelpful for the country and particularly divisive.

After leaving office, Pres. Obama has become a pseudo-celebrity appearing on Netflix specials and political conventions. Recently, Pres. Obama has also used his position to endorse candidates in 2018 and 2020. Just a few weeks ago, Pres. Obama endorsed Justin Trudeau for re-election as the Prime Minister of Canada. Surprisingly, Pres. Obama has yet to endorse a 2020 Presidential Candidate, which includes his Vice President Joe Biden, his former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, and fellow Hawaiian Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Do you think Pres. Obama will endorse anyone in the 2020 Presidential Election.

Current Event Friday #80

Eve isn’t the only woman who’s had trouble with snakes

If there’s something strange in the neighborhood, who you gonna call?—The Indiana State Police. This time of year you’d think the answer of Ghostbusters would make more sense, but thanks to an odd story here in the Hoosier State, they might be less helpful. Today’s #CurrentEventFriday is all about what the strange Indiana State Police discovered.

On October 30, Benton County Police responded to a report of an unresponsive woman. As police arrived at the home, about 25 miles West of Lafayette, Indiana they discovered the homeowner being constricted by a python.

Image result for reticulated python

Medics attempted to save the woman’s life but eventually pronounced the woman dead at the scene. The Benton County Police working with Indiana State Police and discovered well over 100 snakes and other reptiles in the house.

The woman involved visits the house several times a week, to help care for the snakes. Interestingly, the house is owned by the local sheriff. The sheriff had previously sold snakes and other reptiles. Indiana State Police are investigating to what extent the sheriff was involved. An autopsy is scheduled later today.

A brief look at this story looks somewhat like the tailing moments of Snakes on a Plane. The film depicts an amateur herpetologist (snake guy) is bitten by a snake at his snake house when FBI agents raid the building to find the list of snakes on the plane and collect antivenom for the snake-bitten victims on the plane. Working with loads of snakes is probably best left to professionals such as zoologists, veterinarians, and biologists in their respective settings.

Snakes can be helpful in dealing with pests around the house and don’t necessarily need feared. Much of the herpetophobia is likely due to historic attitudes about snakes from the Bible particularly references in Genesis and Revelation.

Maybe I’m not as scared of snakes thanks to growing up in a small town in a wooded setting, plus I’m a guy.  We all know little boys are made of snakes and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails while little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice.

I can appreciate a person wanting to have a pet snake, but the number and types of snakes in the house were not merely pets and should be in the wild or in a professionally approved setting for them. I’d guess that the larger snakes, including the alleged murderer the python will be moved to one of those settings.

Was this woman being smart in handling these snakes?

History Monday #76

The city that never sleeps needs a nightlight

In a New York minute everything can change. Admittedly, today’s event took longer than a New York minute, however long of a measure that time is. So, start spreading the news, an important structure demonstrated that its construction brought light to inspire so many including this #HistoryMonday post.

Image result for lady liberty

On this day in 1886, The Statue of Liberty is completed, and dedicated by Pres. Grover Cleveland. Originally a gift of friendship from the people of France in commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and Franco-American relations during the American Revolution, the statue is erected in the New York Harbor just over a decade later.

The official name of the statue is “Liberty Enlightening the World,” and was conceived by French historian Edouard de Laboulaye during the American Civil War in 1865. Following this conception, French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, designed the 151-foot statue depicting Columbia personified as a woman with an uplifted arm holding a torch. The steel supports for the structure of the statue were designed by Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the latter famous for his design of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The exterior covering of the statue was made of copper. The tablet in Liberty’s hand is inscribed with July IV MDCCLXXVI which denotes the Fourth of July in Roman numerals.

Congress had approved a site for the statue in February 1877 Bedloe’s Island, upon a suggestion by Bartholdi. Harper’s Weekly and other enterprising individuals helped to encourage fundraising efforts to build the statue.

By May 1884, the statue was completed in France, and three months later the Americans laid the cornerstone for its pedestal in New York Harbor. Nearly a year later, the Statue of Liberty arrived with building instructions for the Americans.

As the copper sheets were attached to the statue and the last rivet of the monument was fitted on October 28, 1886, Pres. Cleveland along with numerous French and American dignitaries celebrated the accomplishment.

fast forward

Eventually the pedestal was inscribed with a sonnet “The New Colossus,” by American poet Emma Lazarus with aspirational verses for incoming émigrés in 1892. This was done thanks to nearby Ellis Island, which served as the chief entry station for immigrants to the United States, for the next 32 years. Lady Liberty as the statue has been euphemized, was one of the first sights for new immigrants to the U.S. before being processed at Ellis Island.

By the 20th Century, the copper had begun to oxidize, and the statue took on its now iconic green hue. The torch in the right arm didn’t suffer this fate as it was coated with a golden covering over the copper-plating.

Ralph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World began a campaign in 1916 to illuminate the area and celebrate its importance in New York. Eventually in 1924, Pres. Coolidge designated the statue as a National Monument. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island would eventually become a single entity as a National Monument. By 1956, Bedloe’s Island was renamed Liberty Island.

The statue underwent major restorations in the 1980s, the early 2000s, and even the last decade. A new standalone Statue of Liberty Museum began construction in 2016 that would offer access to many more visitors beyond those that visit the museum located in the pedestal. This new museum opened in May of this year.

Among similar notable statues, the Statue of Liberty is ranked by height somewhere around the 3rd spot depending on the list. Ahead of the Statue of Liberty are a statue dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi’s deputy Prime Minister and the Spring Temple Buddha. The Statue of Liberty is thus taller than Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Michelangelo’s David in Florence, Italy. Nicknamed the New Colossus in Emma Lazarus’s poem, the Statue of Liberty is also twice as large as the original Colossus at Rhodes. The Statue of Liberty is able to accomplish this thanks to its pedestal being nearly as tall as the statue itself. Among American statues, the Statue of Liberty is second in height, being beaten by Birth of the New World/Estatua de Colón located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico commemorating the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World.

Image result for statue of liberty planet of the apes

New York’s iconic skyline is easily recognizable with the inclusion of the Statue of Liberty. Even post-apocalyptic works of television and film feature pieces of the statue as a clue to the location of the characters in the work, chief among these is 1968’s Planet of the Apes. Likenesses of the statue are also included as part of political and athletic logos, including the New York Rangers, the New York Liberty, and the Libertarian Party. References and likenesses of the Statue of Liberty are often paired with Uncle Sam as the female counterpart to America personified.

Have you visited the Statue of Liberty?



Current Event Friday #79

Here comes the bride costume???

It’s the most woke time of the year, with the kids costumes at department stores drawing attention from outraged shoppers. Every Halloween season a new costume is forced to be removed from shelves thanks to complaints. So, we’ll marry the outrage to Current Events for today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

This year’s costume being questioned is a kids’ bridal costume at Kmart. Critics argued that by promoting a bridal costume to kids it encourages the practice of child brides. More woke critics also argue that it promotes antiquated stereotypes of marriage and gender roles.

Liberal criticisms of traditional attitudes about marriage and gender are not exactly surprising. Seemingly, liberals find many costumes offensive that would normally seem harmless. In my honest opinion, the child bride argument is a bit of a reach. Child marriage as a practice internationally is certainly to be decried but the costume doesn’t exactly rise to that level. Little girls like to dress as brides and princesses at Halloween and other times, but it’s usually seen as harmless play. Boys also like to pretend to be husbands, police officers, and firefighters but it’s harmless play for them too.

Kmart pulled the costume from stores in Australia thanks to a Change.org petition that gathered a couple hundred signatures. Some responded to the originator of the petition as being out of touch and excessive for a harmless costume.

Since it’s Kmart that offered the costume, it makes at least some sense to pull the costume. Already an artifact like Circuit City, Blockbuster, and Toys ‘R’ Us in the U.S., the department store can ill afford lost income Down Under.

I’ll admit that I don’t remember hearing much of the outrage about Halloween costumes growing up, it seems to be a phenomenon in the last two decades. It’s possible that as a kid I wasn’t completely aware of outrage, but I’ve seen the same outrage and wokeness as the Internet exploded and millennials came to adulthood.

Girls’ costumes are usually more revealing and even children’s versions of these costumes is no exception. The bride costume is seemingly modest compared to other offerings. Requesting the less modest costumes be pulled would likely be a better choice than the bridal costume.

Should Kmart sell the kids’ bride costume?