Aborting Abortion from Politics

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I never thought I'd write a blog about abortion, but here we are.

I was born in 1974, and abortion has been a hot topic my entire life. I’m not here to change anyone’s mind; I’m here to say what’s on mine.

What we’re seeing today is the manifestation of a 1973 ruling that became one of the most politically divisive traps in modern history: Abortion.

Abortion has no place in politics.

There are reasons that reproductive rights are under scrutiny (“strict scrutiny” to be exact) and states like Alabama, Georgia and Missouri are passing off-the-rails legislation.

The U.S. Supreme Court didn’t rule Roe vs. Wade far enough in 1973.

What Alabama is trying to do is usurp control over something the U.S. Supreme Court decided 46 years ago, and it’s time to put this baby to bed twice and for all.

Roe vs. Wade in a Nutshell

Roe vs. Wade is less about abortion than it’s about a woman’s right to privacy and access to legal and safe reproductive control.

It takes us nine months to breathe on our own, but our time on Earth is the real womb. No one makes it out of here alive.

In 1973, Roe vs. Wade set guidelines for state abortion laws. The U.S. Supreme Court segmented their ruling by trimesters, then kicked the entire package back to the states.

In Roe vs. Wade, SCOTUS ruled that states cannot ban abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy. Other than that, they left room for states to customize legislation during the second and third trimesters.

That’s the problem with Roe vs. Wade.

Under Roe vs. Wade, states can ban third trimester abortions unless a woman’s life is at risk, but that’s not what Alabama did. Alabama’s special brand of lawmakers didn’t stop there.

The new Alabama law makes abortions entirely illegal, all trimesters, including instances of incest and rape.

It’s a shitty law, but that’s only a reflection of Alabama.

Roe vs. Wade gave states an inch, and Alabama is coming for the yard.

What Alabama did is in direct conflict with the 1973 SCOTUS ruling in Roe vs. Wade, and any direct challenge to Roe vs. Wade must undergo “strict scrutiny”.

Strict scrutiny is the highest and most stringent standard of judicial review in the United States.

It was bound to happen; this was eventually going to come to a head in the U.S. Supreme Court.

To me, it would make more sense if this happened sooner. Like I said, abortion has been a politicized issue my entire life, but Alabama finally put a stake in the ground in resounding fashion.

Why Do I Care?

It’s a scary time in the United States. We are learning more and more about the problems in this country that are deeply rooted in – and manipulated by – politics.

I’m 44, male, white, and gay. Abortion isn’t an issue that affects me directly because I don’t have a vagina.

What Alabama has brought forth and thrown in our collective face, is a flagrant attack on the health and safety of Americans.

Therefore, I care.

Frankly, whether or not anyone has an abortion is none of my business, but I’ll be damned if I sit quietly in a society whose leadership imposes parameters on anyone’s inalienable rights and their pursuit of happiness.

Let's be honest, nobody gives a crap about unwanted kids after they're born, least of all the parents who don't want to or cannot support them.

Separating Abortion & Politics

Imagine not having to consider abortion when casting a vote!

So long as there are single issue politicians, there will be single issue voters. Certain single issues should be settled at the federal level, and abortion is one of those issues.

A modern day SCOTUS needs to rule whether or not Roe vs. Wade stands. I believe it will, but that’s because people are finally coming out of the woodwork, and speaking up.

Timing is everything and Alabama represents anti-abortion's final strike to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Naturally, it’s worrisome that the U.S. Supreme Court leans conservative, but I feel like I see where this is going.

This is just another issue amplified by endless data and fast technology. Unfortunately, that's how we learn these days. One must weed through the bullshit.

There’s only one way the Supreme Court can go, and that’s to honor a woman’s right to privacy and her access to safe and healthy reproductive services.

They did it once, and they’ll do it again.

And what better way to challenge Roe vs. Wade than with a conservative majority on the Supreme Court that strikes down the state challenging Roe vs. Wade?

Alabama Surprise!

I can’t believe the elderly female governor of Alabama signed a total abortion ban to begin with, much less one that includes instances of rape or incest.

At the highest level, Alabama’s governor is merely a tool.

When Pat Robertson comes out saying your anti-abortion laws are too extreme, you've bitten off more than you can chew.

That’s a whole other issue for Alabama to figure out.

Hey Alabama! Your governor just signed a law obligating a woman to give birth to her sibling in the event her father impregnates her. What the hell Alabama?

That’s literally mom-daughter sisters or mom-son brother/sister relatives. Boy or girl, it’s a weird relative to have.

And you thought gender fluidity was confusing.

Are you going to welcome the new arrival into your family with open arms? Forget Roe vs. Wade, let’s talk about the life of the child. What if they’re gay? I don’t think Alabama thought this through.

Oh yeah, they only care about clumps of molecules and incarcerations.

My Prediction

As if the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe vs. Wade for whatever Alabama’s bringing to the table. It doesn’t make sense, and I don’t see it happening.

Alabama’s trying to make a mockery of the U.S. Supreme Court and SCOTUS needs to come down hard.

If they don't, God help us all.

Roe vs. Wade will not be overturned.

The U.S. supreme court will not overturn a woman’s right to privacy. That’s unconstitutional.

There will be a dissenting opinion from one of the conservatives, but Alabama will be struck down by the conservative leaning SCOTUS, and it won’t be a 5-4 vote.

Then what?

Inalienable rights should not be up for debate in Washington (or any state capital for that matter).

Perhaps politicians can focus on things that belong in politics, items such as foreign relations, fiscal policy, national security, defense, education, veteran services, and healthcare. You know, things that contribute to the overall betterment of society.

Maybe figure out how to be pro-life for the living.

When People Play God

I want politicians who are pro-humanity, not against it, and ones who don’t use religion as a tool to legislate.

The more negatively (and aggressively) anyone infringes on the inalienable rights of others, the worse off they will be, eventually.

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have...

Each of us make decisions on how we handle ourselves when faced with adversity. That’s how we learn where we stand and which battles to hold dear.

Abortion is a deeply personal, inward decision for a woman to make for herself. Nobody, especially lawmakers, has the right to prevent her from making her own decision, I don’t care what church you go to.

To legislate otherwise is unconstitutional, and that’s why abortion has no place in politics.

Abortion has nothing to do with anyone else besides the woman in charge of her own body, health and life.

It’s ok to fundamentally disagree with the concept of abortion. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one. It’s that simple.

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He Gave and Hath Taken Away

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For 15 years my former company, et alia, provided me a sense of job security, until that security was taken away.

Self Made Storyteller laid the foundation for this story. Here's a little more background and context.

At et alia, our “good times” emerged in cycles, each one increasingly larger than the last – both in good and bad ways. None were as monumental as the final cycle. It ended in spectacular and rapid fashion.

The stakes were high that cycle, which spanned from 2009 to 2014.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

The next opportunity was risky, and at the expense of personal financial stability.

It’s give and take, only you don’t take anything. You receive.

Welcome to Devilish Smirk.

Facts of the Matter

et alia had a good run, but a sad ending. What I didn’t realize at the time was the “why” behind its demise.

Extraneous forces were hard at work for years trying to accomplish something. What, exactly, wouldn’t be clear for a while (i.e. years after et alia’s dissolution).

What’s amazing about et alia’s demise was that we were extremely well positioned in our niche within the SAP ecosphere, much to the chagrin of others in the industry.

et alia developed CREW, the SAP’s vertical industry solution for construction, general contractors, specialty trade contractors, and project-based services. All the while, building a database of industry trade secrets from which to develop the Intellectual Property that would ultimately be stolen and sold around the world.

To our face, SAP told us that CREW was their “go to market” solution for construction and project-based contractors. They would tell customers the same thing if any expressed concern about et alia’s longevity due to its size.

“Help Us!”

Every time SAP reached out to et alia for help, they had their tail between their legs. We called those opportunities rescues. A rescue was necessary when SAP initially fell on their face in front of a prospect.

After each rescue, we thought we’d proved ourselves to the point of loyalty. Sadly, no. We’d find out about yet, another rescue.

What became apparent is that SAP would routinely keep us in the dark about their prospects in deals where CREW’s functionality was relevant and essential. They hated their reliance on et alia.

SAP asked us to use et alia’s CREW system for demonstrations, but never invited us to the demos. They even went so far as to ask us to remove the et alia logo from the CREW demo system.

The partnership agreement et alia had with SAP guaranteed et alia a percentage of the SAP software cost when et alia CREW was part of the sales cycle.

Prospects would often wonder why SAP never introduced et alia earlier, but most times it was too little too late. Then, SAP would blame et alia for any loss because our implementation costs were too high.

If anything, we were on the low end of consulting costs.

Even still, SAP would introduce different implementation partners, sometimes using our proposals, at significantly reduced rates (but better licensing profit).

A past prospect of et alia's notified us when SAP returned with our proposal with a different implementation partner and rates.

But one of the most important customer they lied to was Turner Construction Company.

Again?

At the time et alia met Turner, SAP already lost the account. Turner was ready to sign Oracle contracts in mid-2009 when an et alia saleswoman got her foot in the door at a construction networking event.

Coincidence? I'm not so certain anymore.

Shockingly, Turner had never heard of et alia. They didn’t know et alia had actually developed functionality that SAP wasn’t able to show because they didn’t have or develop their own functionality.

Turner invited et alia to demonstrate what we’d built so far. Once they realized et alia had developed the functionality that SAP was unable to address, they put their Oracle signing on pause.

They gave et alia 30-days to develop a list of enhancements on top of what we demonstrated.

We returned in 30 days and demonstrated Turner’s requested enhancements on top of what we already had in CREW.

With that, Turner canceled their Oracle signing and began negotiating with the SAP team that Turner kicked out in the first place.

Then SAP came back to et alia in an effort to renegotiate the software license commission agreement we already had in place.

Ultimately for Turner, according to SAP, they discounted SAP software for the Turner licenses approximately 98%. That’s what they told us. et alia still received roughly $900,000 (which was 20% of the discounted list price).

Convenience has never been so obvious.

Pillars of Importance

A life without learning isn't much of a life at all. That's what happens when threading together the frayed cluster of a rope's loose ends.

What et alia did in the SAP industry helped expose the level of economic crime and fraud in the SAP sales process and subsequent implementations.

No wonder they wanted us as far away from the licensing side of SAP software...but they still needed to sell systems internationally, in construction and contracting.

Now, what others in the SAP world say is anyone’s guess. We had what felt like “good cops” purporting to be champions of et alia, and others who did nothing to mask their disdain for everything about us.

I’ll let et alia’s track record speak for itself. This is not a comprehensive list. These are important highlights of et alia’s last six years.

2009

SAP, both in the USA and Canada, booked the biggest et alia CREW deals to date. Turner Construction in the USA, and Churchill Corporation in Alberta, Canada. Turner’s project began in September 2009, and Churchill started in October.

Turner had significant concerns over et alia’s longevity due to its size and they were about to become our largest project to date.

Turner was the primary project manager for the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

After closing both Turner and Churchill, et alia had grown to 100 fulltime employees.

SAP assured Turner that et alia and CREW were their “go to market” solution for construction.

By some accounts, SAP even mentioned purchasing et alia to Turner.

Fun fact: The CEO of the company that purchased et alia in 2014 joined SAP in December of 2009. Turner contracts were signed in September 2009. His responsibility involved developing SAP's own construction solution. They called it Commercial Project Management (CPM). CPM lacked essential project management and complex union payroll functionality that et alia developed in both US and Canadian implementations.

2010

et alia was actually in discussions to sell as early as 2010 based on the Turner and Churchill success. For one company in particular, we had established a “ballpark” number of $20-something million USD. Those discussions quickly fell apart after an abrupt management change within the interested company.

2011

et alia achieves its highest revenue of any year, nearly $18 million. That was the highest annual revenue for et alia between 1999 and 2014.

2012

In December 2011, Construction Executive magazine names CREW a 2012 Hot Product in Construction. et alia loses its Director of Presales to SAP in January 2012. SAP strong arms et alia into accepting the poach. “Be a good partner, it will be a “win/win” in the future.

et alia doesn’t close another CREW deal for the rest of 2012, and et alia’s rapid decline begins.

2013

et alia’s plunge continues, but sells its final CREW deal. It was a fixed bid, small to midsize construction solution we called CREW Emerging. The customer was LPCiminelli (LPC) in Buffalo, NY. The final bid price was less than $500K, but stretched out over the course of the latter half of the year.

In September, out of financial desperation, et alia offers two executive team members the opportunity to buy in 8% of et alia. One said no, and one bit. The one who bought in 8% was longtime friends with the et alia Director of Presales whom SAP poached in January 2012.

2014

Two companies begin talking to et alia at the same time, Kiewit Construction in the USA (which would change its name to InEight that May) and ILLUMITI in Canada. Somehow, Kiewit became privy to the confidential ILLUMITI discussions (price, specifically), and Kiewit issued a “letter of intent” which halted et alia’s ongoing discussions with ILLUMITI.

et alia sells for the total of its debt with a few dollars on top.

The CEO of the new company is the same gentleman who went to SAP in December 2009, right after et alia and SAP booked the Turner and Churchill deals.

Less than a year later, I was retaliated against for escalating an HR claim to the head of HR (Brad Nicolaisen) who, in turn, forked it over to an HR investigator from Kiewit’s corporate office. The complaint was about the CEO. A week after I was gone, Brad was constructively terminated.

Fun Fact: LPC never fully paid et alia at the time of sale in 2014. The way the purchase agreement worked was that all outstanding accounts receivables were received by et alia, paid to Kiewit/InEight, and paid back to et alia. LPC still had an outstanding balance of nearly $45,000 at the time Brad and I were terminated. We never received that money.

Here in an instant, gone in a flash, what have I done to deserve this?

Suffering is Optional

The past several years have been an intense learning experience about our country and its judicial priorities. What’s clear at this point that the purchase of et alia was a fraudulent transaction, and Kiewit knew it at the time.

The gentleman who signed the purchase agreement knew it, and Kiewit's attorney, who negotiated the contract, but didn't show up to the signing, knew it.

Brad and I never knew that until after we were terminated from InEight.

I wonder what would have happened if we pulled out of the sale once the press release announcing the sale was released hours before the signing.

We made the accusation to Kiewit attorneys that the purchase of et alia was fraud on July 7, 2015. More on that in this story that I published in December 2018, a day or so before the government shutdown.

We’ve had lawyers deter us from proceeding, telling us there’s nothing that can be done about this situation. Eventually, in January 2016, we went to the FBI’s Phoenix office and reported everything we knew at the time.

Later that year, after not hearing from the FBI, we contacted a Russian embassy reporting what we knew to be major constitutional violations against us as U.S. citizens.

Meanwhile, the world is over a barrel while the United States deals with its Trump nightmare.

Plenty of people out there would like historic truths about et alia to remain buried or forgotten, except neither are options.

Whether or not I can make a difference in a corrupt world remains to be seen, but I feel a hell of a lot better not sitting on the facts I know.

This is life, and life is a fulltime job.

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Self Made Storyteller

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It's been a wild ride, but I don't regret a thing. I could have done without a few of the moments, but what's done is done and I wouldn't change a thing.

A Writer’s Life

If you’d have asked me five years ago, today, where I’d be in five years, none of my answers would’ve come close to my current reality. I’d have told you, you were out of your expletive mind.

No way in hell. You're crazy. That would never happen.

It happened. Here we are. Words of expressed reflection pouring from my fingertips.

I began writing in 2015, during the time between losing my job and registering Devilish Smirk.

At the time, I didn’t know how or where to begin, not beyond journaling and work email. Since I rarely journaled and had no job, a “blog” was an obvious choice.

Coming up with the name and securing its space was the easy part.

I still don’t know much about being a writer, other than I spend a lot of time doing it.

Writing requires a long game.

In the beginning, I was curious what writers in history had to say. The message that resonated with me was part of a quote slideshow.

I can't recall the exact quote, but the gist of it is "you cannot begin a story until the last word is written."

Whether or not that’s true, it stuck with me ever since. Its impact has everything to do with my mindset at the time: I had no end in sight.

Photo Credit: Jeff Brezovar

Understanding that, I realized my journey to writing signified a beginning.

I had (and have) a lot to learn about my story. I'm plotting my own unchartered path.

That’s when I registered Devilish Smirk.

I affectionately refer to Devilish Smirk as my hobby blog. It’s my training ground, one of the most important development tools on my journey to become a writer.

That was four years ago, in the summer of 2015. But let’s take it one step further, back to April 30, 2014.

It was a day that would become a significant live PIVOT (Personal Insight Visible Over Time) in my life.

Don't worry, this comes full circle.

Five Years Ago

It was April 29, 2014, on the eve of the sale of et alia, I was in the Detroit airport en route to Scottsdale for the signing.

A sudden last minute contingency was placed on the next day’s contracts. It came out of left field and was non-negotiable.

They placed a $600,000 holdback of purchase price, based on passing an SAP audit necessary for partnership status. That responsibility fell directly on my shoulders.

I accepted the responsibility as if I had a choice. My future was contingent on passing that audit, not to mention $600,000.

I missed my connection and stayed in Detroit overnight. I caught the first available flight to Phoenix the next morning.

April 30, 2014

It was finally the day. Four months of negotiations, meetings, and conversations came to a head. The entire day’s meeting was videotaped, or it was set up to look like it was.

The first thing unnatural that happened was the press release announcing the sale went out several hours before the signing.

I didn't know it at the time, but like the Grinch's heart, SAP's market cap increased by two billion that day.

Complete silence from the newest partner who bought in 8% even though he was about to lose half his investment.

His vocal gripe was his moving package. I wasn’t extended a contract. I was coming over as a straight-up employee. There were no guarantees for me; I was dispensable. They could terminate me at any time.

At one point, the CEO asked me how I felt things were going. Before I could answer, he brushed me off like I didn’t matter.

The last 15 years of my life meant nothing.

Not at that moment in time.

That’s a humbling blow at 39.

Dance with the Devil

The partners of et alia sold its assets along with “all known and unknown lawsuits” to Kiewit Technology, Inc.

Kiewit sent a substitute, contract attorney.

“Ever dance with the devil by the pale moonlight?”

After the five partners of et alia signed the purchase agreement, that’s the actual quote the then CEO of Kiewit Technology, Inc. (InEight) muttered.

He said it once the agreements were stacked neatly in front of him.

As he went in to sign I interrupted him, from across the table, with the rest of the quote from 1989’s Batman by Jack Nicholson’s Joker.

“I always ask that of all my prey, I just like the sound of it.”

The CEO’s ears perked up. He looked directly at me from across the table and said, “Travis, I may have underestimated you. I need to get to know you better.”

Then, he signed.

Immediately, my phone vibrated. It was a text from the et alia attorney who joined us at the table.

"Document that" was all it said.

That night, at dinner, I sat across the table from the CEO. He told me that I had no idea how impactful it was that I knew the Joker quote earlier. He said it changed his opinion of me.

What?

I remember it well since it was the first and only time I ever ate a raw oyster.

Another thing that the CEO told me about contracts, when discussing my lack of one, was that “all contracts can be gotten out of through loopholes.”

That stuck with me ever since.

Seeds.

The CEO went on to say that after I moved to Scottsdale, we’d have to get together at his house for dinner, and he would show me his bat cave.

Fun fact: The CEO is a DC comics fanatic. He has a tattoo of Gotham City on his shoulder and wore Batman socks and t-shirts to work.

I was 39 so it’s not like it was a pedophile thing. Needless to say, I never made it to the bat cave.

Another fun fact: The CEO was the CIO of gulf-based contractor, Roy Anderson, who became an early CREW customer, almost immediately following Hurricane Katrina. History.

Over time, the impacts of his actions shed light on motives that began making a lot of other shit potentially make sense.

It was the strangest day of my life; the day we sold et alia.

Set Up to Fail

The 11 months I spent at Kiewit/InEight, I was being set up to fail.

Leading up to the sale, the CEO initially wanted Brad, my co-founding partner, to fire me before the transaction took place. That didn’t happen. When push came to shove, I was at least offered a position.

I don't know what those clowns expected, but I was a co-founder. Sadly for Kiewit, I came with the package.

Even still, the CEO even persisted and regularly informed Brad he was going to have him fire me within a year.

For whatever reason, they wanted me out of the picture.

I passed the SAP audit in June, renewing partnership compliance for one year. et alia received the $600,000 hold back, and I kept my job.

I was promoted twice the latter half of 2014.

At my first review, my manager said, “the expectation was that you’d get here, and you’d fall on your face.”

I was one of three promotions announced in December 2014 for new roles in January.

The review I received in February 2015 was great. My manager was incredibly happy with my performance, his sentiments reflected in the review he wrote.

I never imagined the escalation of HR accusations reported to me, against the CEO, by employees I managed, would result in my ousting.

April 2015 Departures

Brad Nicolaisen laid me off on April 13, 2015. He was constructively terminated on April 22, 2015.

A good place to start for the truth would be Kiewit’s then Director of Government Relations.

Hi Jill.

She only played a role in a few major incidents affecting me. Maybe her side could shed more light on why.

After 11 months and two promotions, they lumped me into a layoff of 30+ employees – some of whom participated in an investigation of anonymously reported HR incident(s) involving the CEO.

All previous attempts to get rid of me failed. They did it that way.

Overnight, I didn’t have anyone to manage, help, or assist. I had had nowhere to be, and no one to see.

I’d spent my entire career bound to the corporate world. After almost 16 years, I found myself jobless without many options.

Certainly, I was not about to return to that industry.

I had mixed feelings about it, but I knew, deep down, I’d rather die than have anything to do with that industry.

Plus, my attention was increasingly focused on other options. And I never signed a confidentiality agreement.

That's the best part.

Making Sense Out of the Nonsensical

I loved to write, but I’d never written anything for myself.

My degree is in Journalism. Of all things. This should come as no surprise. Finally, my college years made more sense.

My college experience was a whirlwind, but I didn’t attribute anything happening in my life because of my degree.

All this time I thought college was for the multitude of other experiences it afforded me. My inner journalist was stoked, but journalists aren’t beloved by everyone in this world.

The End

The end of this story is clear. There’s nowhere to go but up from here.

The events of yesterday matter as much as you make them.

Reel into your core, and have honest conversations with yourself. Look in a mirror if you have to. Eventually, you won’t need one. One day, the scales tip.

I realized the fine line between being careful and careless. Too much in one direction, and the overextended end flips your life in unproductive ways.

It’s hard to be optimistic these days. That’s when I stopped adapting to respond, and started adapting to understand.

It’s a line I toe daily.


The Devil Made Me Do It

I stand up for what’s right, I know how to fight, and that makes me a threat.

Travis Garrod, Devilish Smirk

Five years is a good timespan for the beginning and end of a story.

What the Hell Happened in Scottsdale?

April 2014: Dance with the Devil
2015: Devilish Smirk
2016: Domestic Terrorists Live Among Us
2017: Think Inside the Box, Pivot & Go
2018: Answers
April 2019: Phoenix Emerges from the Colorful Crap Ashes

Reading my stories from the top-down is a reverse version of my evolution, but an evolution nonetheless, but there’s no wrong place to start.

It is a form of Choose Your Own Adventure! Eventually all the stories tie into one another, and yours hopefully makes more sense.

2020: Foresight is 20/20

I feel like I’m crawling out of a steaming pile of extraordinarily colorful crap ashes.
*Currently In theaters in the future*

Where will you be in five years?

What were you doing on April 30, 2014?

I can’t believe I was eating a raw oyster, or that I was celebrating anything.

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The Great American Experiment

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Welcome to the Great Experiment!

People got too comfortable playing the game. Picking up where The "Conversation" Game left off...

A lot of what I’ve learned about my life and the world around it makes me uncomfortable.

It makes me happy, sad, elated and doomed – truly doomed – all at once.

It takes us nine months to breathe on our own, but our time on earth is the real womb.

Everyday I learn to adapt, a little more, than the day before. Honestly, that’s all that matters to me.

Life beat the hell out of me before my attempt at beating the hell out of life. Living a life out of hell is worth fighting for.

Hell has no place in my life – inside and out. Real hell.

So here we are, beating the hell out of each other because life and I have a common goal.

My emotions don’t come one by one, they arrive in bundles. Like high speed internet, cable TV, and phone service, the price is too high to start separating my feelings.

If I’ve learned anything on my writing journey it’s that.

The demons are doing jumping jacks now. 

Be the Real Deal

Embrace emotions as they happen no matter what they are.

Feel your moments. Every last one of them.

Live like you were born in an arena. For all intents and purposes, you were. If you were born in America, that’s what this is.

You’ll be shocked how far long ago this was set in motion. More time ago than you can imagine.

For now, let's call them years.

Thunderstruck!

Today, I realize how responsible I actually was as a kid. I’ve managed to justify my earlier existence. That’s the “C” student in me.

It's about damn time! I took that believing children are the future shit seriously.

I discovered a voice and, as a kid, I considered a typewriter a toy.

The Creative Guide

I attribute my evolution to having an open mind and heart.

I remind myself of this simple fact at every turn in this crazy reality.

That’s the only way I successfully began understanding the strange world in which I exist.

There’s only so much time before the thoughts behind this smirk are buried in forever.

Luckily, that's not the direction this is going.
Travis Garrod, Devilish Smirk

The stars aligned. Or not. The planets did. Or didn’t. Whatever it is, it feels like fireworks. Some days. Maybe.

I don’t know.

Moving on.

I feel like I’m crawling out of a steaming pile of extraordinarily colorful crap ashes.

Is it coincidence the Trump conclusion coincides with the final episodes of Game of Thrones which wraps on May 19, 2019 just ahead of the June 7, 2019 Dark Phoenix rise release?

And Sansa Stark stars in both?

Come on!

I’m merely a goose among geese, in a world searching for unicorns.

Don’t get me wrong, unicorns are great! They’re like a horse in permanent drag. However, unicorns shoot rainbows out of their butthole, and they don’t lay golden eggs.

A goose lays the golden eggs.

Where's that goose?

Will Ready Player win? Does Mario finally find his princess? Or prince?

Plot twist!

And all this time I thought I was an owl...
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The “Conversation” Game

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It finally happened; another word made the list of my personal, verbal equivalents to nails on a chalkboard.

It’s a lurking word I’ve noticed inching its way into the everyday Jargonitis of election politics: Conversation.

"Conversation" is the buzzword to be wary of for crafty answer dodging for 2020 campaigns.

The good news is, that’s already obvious.

Don’t get me wrong, communication is key component to building a civilized society, especially a connected one.

I take issue with politicians who refuse to take a stance - for whatever reason. I would never vote for someone waiting for polls to tell them how to think.

When it comes to elections, it no longer matters what candidates say. They’ve had decades to figure out where they stand.

What matters is what they have done and continue to do.

Actions matter more than anything.

Want a conversation? Start a book club.

“Conversations” don’t need to be brought to Washington.

If a politician hasn’t developed an opinion beyond dinner table discussions, they have no business running for president.

That's not to say they have no business in public service. It's just they're not ready for the highest office of the land.

Birds of a Feather

Everyday on my dog walk, I see all kinds of waterfowl. Of course they were going to make it into my stories at some point.

Today’s political scenario – this level of synchronicity between the media, our government’s behavior, and public reactions – appears categorically unnatural.

Unnervingly.

Turn up the volume and wait for the end.
As if...

Motives can yank anything natural from everything. Let’s see where you stand.

The Cautious Goose Lacks Backbone

Nobody needs a new job title to take a stance.

Today, the same, (and more dangerous), tools are used to uproot political discourse amongst all of us since we were born: Political platforms. Both would have us believe we’re all fucked up.

20 years ago, Columbine happened and we’re still talking about guns. Somehow, sexuality is an issue and the Supreme Court is close to weighing in on whether or not I can be terminated for being me.

Abortion, religion, marriage, love, war, and Jesus are still arguments, and women still only make $0.70 to every man’s dollar, another statistic that appears unchanged from 20 years ago.

In the past 20 years, the Electoral College flipped the popular choice for POTUS results – twice!

What are the odds?

Naturally? Zero. Unnaturally? 100%

The only thing that hasn’t happened, God forbid, is another 9/11. September 11, 2001 will be 18 this year. It’s almost 20.

20 years ago, the Berlin Wall stood in history.

Today, we live in a country declared national emergency over funding of a wall.

Wait…what? Still?

Still.

The Careless Goose Lacks Heart

The presidential field is filled with fodder. I’m trying not to be too critical as there are other ongoing things from which we’re being distracted, so I’ll stick to the main careless goose: Donald Trump.

Trump was elected when Obama was president.

We can’t blame Trump on Trump. Trump happened as a result of something. A lot of somethings. Ever since the 2016 election, it’s been a turmoil spill.

The man who is responsible for “grab ’em by the pussy” in our vernacular is POTUS.

"Never in a million years..."

Welcome to year 1,000,001.

We've got a clean up on all aisles. All staff report for duty.

Pick a poison: Impeachment, resignation, wait, or Civil War? We know where Trump stands.

Our president reminded us how much of a fan he is of General Lee with his most recent defense of his “very fine people on both sides” Charlottesville, VA blunder.

Bill Clinton was impeached 20 years ago. By the same standards, Donald Trump would already be gone.

Before that, though, President Trump must face the music or we’re doomed to repeat something even more unsavory.

If only the Mueller Report would change it's name to either the Benghazi Report or the Starr Report. What would republicans do then? Wait, that already happened.

The Criminal Goose Goes to Jail

Hanging somewhere over us is the truth. It’s been captured. Rest assured things never end well for the criminal.

The challenge about truth is finding it. Once it’s found, it’s better to be on the right side of it, or figure out a way there.

Someone already nailed someone to that cross.

There is such a thing as too little too late.

Karma’s planning her own party. It’s no sweat off her back if she’s late. The last thing she wants to do is disappoint her guests.

The Courageous Goose Doesn’t Give a Duck

The only way out of this mess is to let the mess out of my mind.

The Ill Eagles

America doesn’t soar without Americans soaring.

Would you fly under Trump’s wing in a V formation? Do you trust the lift of the upwash from the wingtip vortices of that HBIC (head bird in charge)?

If anything he's making it harder to fly in this country.

Donald Trump never intended to win the presidency. His entire transition debacle made that evident. That, and his complete inability to keep his most senior positions filled.

It’s been a cascading turmoil slick ever since.

The President is too divisive of a figure at present time.

Plus, I can't imagine there isn't other shit he'd rather be doing. 

I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up resigning. Any advisor to him who’s worth the dirt they walk on would encourage resignation this point.

I’ll be more surprised when this charade ends.

The shark tank smelled fishy before, but now it includes the added downgrade aroma of "carcass rotting in a swamp", which is ultimately what grabbed my pattention.

If it were up to me, this would have been over years ago. But, it’s not. Oh well.

The sooner we rid him from our marred democracy, the better off the country will be.

Mark my words.

What a day that will be.

Until then, brace yourselves for a bumpy ride.

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