T-Day Hugs and Kisses/REDUX

I decided I’d take off this week and not post a story, but I wanted to at least say hello and add to the general goodwill in the turkey air and let you know what I’ve discovered this Turkey Day:  I’m grateful to be alive and happy—I am so blessed as a human being.  The miniature post below is an updated Thanksgiving greeting from a couple of years ago.  Enjoy and may your Thanksgiving time be filled with love, joy, gratitude, and peace.

Rockwell Poster

Norman Rockwell Poster

Do you know what I discovered this Thanksgiving week?  None of my “wobbly bits” of my body is on the level where they used to be and many of my old relationships have been shot to smithereens, but I’ve never been happier.   I’m so much more aware of who I am now and where I’m going in life—even if it means some things are dragging on the ground and some relationships that I thought would last a lifetime have had to be kicked to the curb.

So before I get stoned on tryptophan and vodka gimlets with my family, I just wanted to say that I am grateful to have discovered that I’m part of a “we” and not an “us and them” in the family of man.   That may not sound like much, but if you’ve ever spent time in the conservative Evangelical circles I’ve escaped from, you’ll recognize why this is such a major distinction for me.  And if you’ve been listening to the hateful, over-the-top rhetoric of Donald Trump against our American Muslim brothers and sisters, then you will also understand why I am pursuing brotherhood over hatred and fear—grateful to live in a pluralistic country where religious freedom (for all) is part of the Constitution.

Because I am a “we” on a journey with every other human on the planet, I’ve fallen in love with the universal mandate that every religion has at its core but rarely adheres to.  I’ve made it one of my daily meditations and mandates (not just for people who think like me but for everyone I encounter):  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

So let’s all step away from the things that divide us . . .

Thanksgiving John Darkow Columbia Daily Tribune Missouri

Cartoon used by permission: John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune-Missouri/Cagle Cartoons

. . . and thank God for all the blessings we have living in the greatest country in the world.

Eat, drink, and be merry, and let’s all thank God for who we are to each other.  If you are a Christian—hug a Muslim; if you’re straight—hug someone who is gay; if you’re White—hug someone who is Black (and vice versa); if you’re a Republican—hug a Democrat, and if you’ve got a warm home and food, reach out to someone who is homeless and hurting.  Let our only enemy, during this holiday season, be the turkey whose ass we plan to hunt down and roast (or deep fry) for our culinary pleasure.

Oh, and try not to strangle your uncle who only watches Fox News 24/7 and your ex-hippie aunt who quotes everything Rachel Maddow from MSNBC says as you come together for a delicious Thanksgiving family dinner!

Thanksgiving Dinner Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Cartoon used by permission:  Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

 “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer

 “Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more. — Brother David Steindl-Rast

 “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein


Thanksgiving Coma David FitzsimmonsThe Arizona Star

Cartoon used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star/Cagle Cartoons



Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



Posted by on November 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Do you know what I discovered this week?  In the midst of wars and rumors of wars, planes being bombed out of the skies, children being gunned down right and left in our inner cities, four million Syrian refugees seeking asylum from terror, and ISIS revealing themselves to be Satan incarnate, there is now a war on Christmas! Apparently, when I wasn’t paying attention, some Christian evangelist discovered the terrorist plot being promoted by Starbucks.  Those heathens had removed the previous years’ snowflakes, Christmas trees, and ornaments from their red cups.  The nerve!  At first I couldn’t grasp why this Christian evangelist was so outraged over some secular symbols being removed from a paper cup by a secular company, until I stumbled upon what he must have known all along: the long, lost, Dead Sea Scrolls of how a paper coffee cup was sent to save all of mankind.  Now I get it!  This is why Donald Trump wanted to lead a boycott against Starbucks, as well. The long lost “scriptures” made it very, very clear.  How had I missed this divine revelation?

November 13, 2015

Cartoon Used by Permission: Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News/Cagle Cartoons



 1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world of seasonal paper coffee cups.

 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria regarding disposable cups at trendy coffee shops.)

 3 And everyone went to his own town to register their favorite decorative cups.

 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Seattle to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David of Starbucks which started in Washington State.

 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a rather unique pumpkin spice latte bundle. 

6 While they were there, the time came for the latte (affectionately known to Mary as her “little Caramel Macchiato”) to be born,

 7 and she gave birth to her first overpriced, dark roasted beans, known as the “second wave coffee.” She wrapped the coffee in a red cup adorned with Christmas trees, ornaments, and snowmen and placed her precious Caramel Macchiato, Venti, Skim, Extra Shot, Extra-Hot, Extra-Whip, Sugar-Free coffee in that sacred red cup in a manger, because there was no room for them in the coffee shops throughout the land.

Trump vs Starbucks John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune

Cartoon Used by Permission:  John Cole, The Scranton Times Tribune/Cagle Cartoons

 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their brand x unimaginative coffee in plain brown cups at night.

 9 An angel of the Coffee Bean God appeared to them, and the glory of the Bean God shone around them, and they were terrified.

 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all coffee addicts.

 11 Today in the town of Seattle a Savior has been born to you; he is Pumpkin Latte (or Caramel Macchiato, if you prefer).

 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a delicious brew of coffee wrapped in a commercially decorated red cup and lying in a manger with your name on it.

 13 Suddenly a great company of heavenly coffee stores appeared with the angel, praising the Coffee God and saying,

 14 “Glory to Starbucks in the highest, and on earth peace to men and women on whom this coffee makes jittery.”

Grinch and Starbucks Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Cartoon Used by Permission: Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune/Cagle Cartoons

 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to our local Starbucks and see this thing that has happened, which the Coffee God has told us about.”

 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the decorated red cup, who was lying in the manger.

 17 When they had seen the little latte, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this coffee salvation born in a commercially decorated cup,

 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising the Coffee God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told,



(My deepest apologies to the God of the Universe for the misappropriation of the Holy Scriptures.  But somehow I think God has a great sense of humor, so I am not worried.  Can’t say that much about some of his followers who have lost their ever-lovin’ “war-on-Christmas minds”!)

Starbucks and Christmas Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Cartoon Used by Permission: Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle/Cagle Cartoon



I am discovering that if, as a Christian, you are bent out of shape about a secular coffee company choosing not to put pine trees, snowflakes, or Christmas ornaments on their red cups at Christmas, then you don’t know the true meaning of Christmas.  Not to mention the fact that we’ve got bigger issues at hand in our country and the world.  As for those larger more important issues:  For all the Christian politicians racing to the dark side to throw the Syrian refugees under the ISIS bus and to reign down terror on our innocent Muslim sisters and brothers in America (demanding we round them up and throw them out of the USA), then may I suggest that you have a little talk with Jesus and find out what Luke 2:1-20 is really all about.

Gov Refuse Refugees David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Cartoon Used by Permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star/Cagle Cartoons



Kristina Vindiola said she was ringing a bell outside the Walmart to raise money for the charity when a woman took exception to her saying ‘Happy Holidays,’ KNXV-TV, Phoenix, reported Tuesday.

‘The lady looked at me,’ said Vindiola. ‘I thought she was going to put money in the kettle. She came up to me and said, ‘Do you believe in God?’ And she says, ‘You’re supposed to say Merry Christmas,’ and that’s when she hit me.”—Free Thought Blogs


“In the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.”Pope Francis


“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Starbucks and Christmas FB

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Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.




Posted by on November 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Do you know what I discovered this week?   Something all-encompassing and creepy this way comes!  But before I go into detail, I need to tell you about the new leaf that I’ve turned over in retirement.   It is a personal growth triumph.  No longer am I the anal, A-type, project driven, perfectionist of my youth.  I am living one day at a time—stopping to smell the roses—bending down to pick the daisies, even if I can’t get up again.  I don’t worry about tomorrow—I live for today.  If I do say so myself, I am killing this “mindfulness” thing in my old age!  Every morning, I repeat this mantra from an article on “Mindfulness” from Psychology Today:

I, Eleanor Tomczyk, recognize that “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

Yeah, Baby!  I AM LIVING LARGE AND IN THE MOMENT.  So on November 4th, two days after the state-wide elections and four days after Halloween, I was in my car singing a song of the moment in my best Nat King Cole voice (“The falling leaves drift by the window, the autumn leaves of red and gold…ba-ba-ba-baaaaa”), when I turned on my radio to stream in other Autumnal tunes and almost ran off the road.  From my pimped-out mini-van, 16-speaker-stereo, my local radio station ripped my tranquility to kingdom come when the Randy Brooks song from Hell screeched from every orifice of my vehicle:


Christmas Music in Nov Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Cartoon Used by Permission: Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle/Cagle Cartoons

“NOOOOOOOOOO,” I screamed in horror!  “What the hell is going on?  I still have 6,764 candy bars that I never managed to disperse on Halloween—which I’m in danger of going into a diabetic shock over if I don’t get rid of soon—and you’re trying to tell me that Santa Claus has been sighted running over grandmothers already!  The leaves have not yet all fallen from the trees.”  At that very moment, a DJ broke into the tail-end of the song to let the listening audience know that he and his cohorts would be playing Christmas music 24/7 until December 25th.  “Merry Christmas y’all, and you’re welcome!”

Christmas at Halloween Bob Englehart The Hartford Courant

Cartoon Used by Permission: Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant/Cagle Cartoons

As I checked out the windows of all the stores in my area, they all sported some type of Christmas sale advertisements or giant Christmas trees in front of their buildings (Trader Joes, you know who you are).  When I slowed to a crawl in front of Michaels, there were scores of women rushing out of the craft store as if glue guns and Christmas wreaths were being given away for free.  Each woman carried an average of four giant bags which overflowed with Christmas crap and one women had two artificial Christmas trees—one under each arm.  All the women already looked like they were stressed to the hilt and wouldn’t hesitate to cut a bitch if she got in the way of their 25% off Christmas accoutrement and their car.

Just like that—all my inner peace was gone.  Forget autumn leaves, screw Thanksgiving—what was going to happen to my ability to replenish my Christmas crap (all the old stuff got thrown out when we moved) if I waited until after Thanksgiving as previously planned?  There would be nothing left to buy because Christmas had started on the fourth of November, and all these Mad Hatter grandmothers where buying up all the good shit.  But if I got caught up in this holiday creep, I’d be selling my soul and my mindfulness—my newfound Zen state of living in the moment—all of it would be flushed down the toilet.  I needed help—someone who could put a stop to this madness.  I pulled my car over right then and there and dialed: 1-800-IdamanSC.

ME:        Hello?  Is this the headquarters of Santa Claus?  May I speak to him please?  This is the blogger, ET.  He’ll take my call—he owes me.

After sitting on hold for what seemed like an eternity marked by sixteen iterations of the Christmas ditty, “Here Comes Santa Claus” in the background, the man himself came on the line.

SC:         Well, as I live and breathe, it’s that little rascal, ET.  Have you been behaving yourself?  If I remember correctly, “naughty” was more your MO than “nice.”

Santa I Meme

ME:        Don’t mess with me old man.  You know I ain’t never believed in you, and you know why.

SC:         I’ve told you over and over why I never made it to your neighborhood when you were a tot.  Those were different times back then, and I’ve been trying to make it up to you ever since.  Even Santa Inc. had some racist overtones in the 1950s, which I feel bad about now.  I was blind, but now I see.  Besides, don’t you live a damn fine life now?

ME:        Nothing to do with you fat bastard.  My good life has everything to do with the glory of the birth of the King who you’ve been trying to overshadow since Jump Street.  Speaking of overshadowing:  it ain’t enough that your commercialism has completely engulfed the true meaning of Christmas, but now you’re waging war on Halloween and Thanksgiving?

SC:         It’s not me—I swear!  The competition is fierce and the attention-span of you people is very short.  My subsidiaries—the merchandizers—tell me that we need to start earlier and earlier in order to grab your attention so that they can get you into the stores to spend money.  If they don’t make the shareholders more and more money, the jig is up for them.  You know that. There’s talk that we may start blanketing the Western World with red and green sale signs as early as August next year.

Christmas take over Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Cartoon Used by Permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune/Cagle Cartoons

ME:        Have you no shame?  When did you get to be so callous? Oh wait a minute; you were always like that.  No poor Black child ever saw your fat ass come down our chimney.

SC:         Hey, now.  Let’s not make this a race thing.  In all fairness, I never slid down any poor kid’s chimney.   Think about it.  As to this new push on the Christmas creep, don’t put all the blame on me. Due to the fierce competition for the Benjamins, you Americans now have Mother’s Day creep and Fourth of July creep.  Everybody’s doing it.

ME:        So if everybody ran off the edge of a cliff with their reindeer in tow, you’d do the same?

SC:         What I’m trying to say is if people didn’t buy the stuff—if you all ignored the manipulation of the advertisers and the merchandizers—and lived in the moment, they’d all have to go back to their board rooms with their tails between their legs, and I could do Christmas within the proper timeframe.  Hell, I might even be able to push it way back to December 1st or the like.  Wouldn’t that be something? But I’m just a victim of my times, Kiddo—just as I was in your day when White Santa never made it to the Black ghetto.

ME:        You’re pathetic.  I’ve always hoped you’d turn out to be so much more.  I need you to fight the powers that be.  If not, then who?

SC:         You!

ME:        Me?   I’m only one voice raging against the machine—the God of Consumerism.  If that “god” has its way, Christmas sales will start so far back, no one will be able to tell where Christmas actually begins and the sales end.  We are doomed, I tell you—doomed to always living out of the moment in the “way too soon” timeframe!

Christmas too soon FB David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Cartoon Used by Permission:  David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star/Cagle Cartoons



I am discovering that I get why people other than merchandizers want to start the Christmas holidays sooner than later.  Cynicism would claim it is all about the deal, but I think it is something deeper—much deeper.  As winter rapidly approaches, reminding us all that death is inescapable, the imagined warmth and charm of the Christmas holidays seem to push back the melancholy of shortened days and cold, gloomy nights—in spirit and in body.  I once knew a woman who was so into Christmas that she shopped for it all year round.  She would place so many presents under the tree that the over-abundance gave the innocent observer opulence indigestion.  One Christmas Eve, her youngest adult son tried to commit suicide right in front of his family, but his older brother—the woman’s first born—wrestled the knife out of his brother’s hand and stopped the horrid deed.  On Christmas Day, with hundreds of Christmas packages overflowing from under the tree, up the stairs, and into the dining room, the morose family gathered for breakfast—all except for the mother.  No one mentioned the attempted suicide and no one spoke of the stretch marks of pain that had coursed across the family Xmas psyche for years.  Suddenly, bells were heard ringing from the stairwell like the grotesque chimes of a zombie chapel, and the Santa-clad mother—replete with white beard, red suit with a stuffed pillow for the belly, and fur-trimmed Santa hat, cried out:  “MERRY CHRISTMAS MY WONDERFUL FAMILY—MERRY CHRISTMAS TO US ALL!”

It is easier to hide behind the image of the false feelings that Christmas represents and lose ourselves in the busyness of it all then it is to actually deal with the pain of winter within our borders that we call home as well as those warring global borders beyond.  If a family has dealt with its issues all along the way—in the living moment of today—then Christmas will mean all the joy and love that we hope it to be.  So in my new found spirit of “mindfulness,” let me encourage you all:  let’s just get through Thanksgiving without killing each other, and maybe—just maybe—Christmas might be outstanding in its time.

KEEP FOR CHRISTMAS Parker Florida Today

Cartoon Used by Permission:  Parker, Florida Today/Cagle Cartoons



“With mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment.”—Nhat Hanh

 “Mindfulness helps us freeze the frame so that we can become aware of our sensations and experiences as they are, without the distorting coloration of socially conditioned responses or habitual reactions.”—Henepola Gunaratana

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”—Norman Vincent Peale

“Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.”—Dave Barry




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Grinch Meme


Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on November 6, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Zombie Apocalypse (“Encore”)

(This Halloween post is a modified recap of a story from two years ago with updated cartoons and fresh information.  My fears are still the same—having my brains sucked out by Zombies—but I’ve become more intelligent about how to flush them into the light before they scare me to death.  Enjoy!)

Do you know what I discovered this week?   There is something to fear that will destroy you every damn day!  This week it is bacon, pastrami, and a nice juicy med-rare steak or a delicious hamburger.  Apparently, we are all going to get colon cancer and die if we don’t cut these foods from our diets, and I say:  Go to Hell, you fear mongers!  I’ve already had to give up bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, popcorn, cheese, hot peppers, eggs, and butter.  If anyone tries to come after my Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon, you are doing down, Mofos!

Halloween FB Bacon Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Cartoon used by permission:  Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch/Cagle Cartoons

I’ve dealt with enough monsters in my journey on this Earth that I’ve learned how to kick their butts and live to see another day.  (Check out Monsters’ Throwdown* and Fleeing Oz* if you want to read about me in kung fu action against the terrors in my life.)  In fact, after what I’ve been through in life, I have a theory that all fear is simply one thing (or stems from one entity, great and small)—evil—and it reinvents itself and morphs into something else when it can no longer scare the recipient.  (“Maybe this time, by jove, I’ll scare the bejesus out of her, and if not, I’ll have to figure out another ‘BOO’ . . .” )  This Halloween, I’m only afraid of Zombies, but Zombies can encompass many things, which I’ll get to later.

I read recently that scientists equate fear with conditioning, environment, and lack of knowledge.  What scares some people doesn’t necessarily scare others—it depends on how they have been conditioned to interact with that fear.  There is an unethical case study known as the “Little Albert Experiment,” which took place in the early 1900s at Johns Hopkins Hospital by one of their doctors.  The doctor took a nine-month-old baby from the nursery (his mother was reported to be a wet nurse employed by the hospital and afraid to interfere on behalf of her son) and introduced him to “. . . a white rabbit, a rat, a dog, a monkey, masks (with and without hair), cotton, wool, burning newspapers, and other stimuli,” according to Wikipedia.  In the beginning, the baby showed no fear.  In fact, when everything was taken away except a white lab rat, the baby played with it endlessly—stroking its fur and giggling with delight when the rat appeared in the room.  The baby engaged the rat without the slightest bit of hesitation or trepidation . . . until . . . dun, dun, dun . . .  the ersatz “Dr. Mengele” and his assistant introduced a loud clanging sound every time Baby Albert came in contact with the lab rat.  In a very short time, the poor baby began to fear the mere appearance of the rat because he associated his former playmate with the terrible, startling noise which scared him.  Even after the noise was extracted from the experiment,  Baby Albert would try to crawl away from the rat and start to cry.  And get this:  Baby Albert started associating anything with fur and beards as scary and something to be avoided.  Even Santa was to be feared by poor Baby Albert!

Little albert

“Little-albert” by John B Watson – Akron psychology archives. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons/Wikipedia

As I mulled over this experiment, I thought about my own current fears, and I realized that this is what has happened with me and the Tea Party.  When some of my friends became Tea Party members in 2010, I continued to play with them and enjoyed their company because they seemed rather innocuous, harmless little rats and looked rather cute in their revolutionary hats trimmed with tea bags.  But then they started to make all sorts of irrational noises and stupid, meaningless sounds, and pretty soon the sight of them made me cry and afraid to be around them.  I finally had to eradicate them from my life altogether.

Tea Party Deevolution David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star Cagle

Cartoon used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star, Cagle Cartoons

Since my husband and I used to be Republicans (operative words: used to be), I tried to give my friends in the Tea Party the benefit of the doubt in the early days.  But it didn’t take me long to realize that something was very wrong with them, and I figured out what it was:  They were the first manifestation of the Zombie Apocalypse!   I noticed their trademark skills of sucking out brains and eating human hearts when the likes of Palin, Bachmann, Herman Cain, Cruz, and Perry first hit the scene.   I especially stood up and took notice when some of my friends started turning into zombies.  I mean their bodies were still there, but I’d be talking to them on the phone and suddenly they’d blurt out a zombie statement in a staccato-like vocal pattern (something stupid and inane usually accredited to Fox News), and it made me cry just like Baby Albert.

By the time I figured out what was going on with my friends, they were at a point of no return—beyond the pale.  I grew up with zombies trying to mess with me, so I should have known better and seen the signs sooner—maybe I could have saved them.  But now it is too late—they have all lost their minds and are completely brain dead now (final brain suck happened in 2012 after the reelection of Barack Obama—did you not hear their screams?).  Now they are mindlessly rallying around Trump and Carson and have become full-blown zombies.

Carson John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune

Cartoon used by permission:  John Cole, The Scranton Times Tribune/Cagle Cartoon

I know a lot about zombies because I met the head zombie in my basement when I was just four years old.  In my day, he was called the “Boogeyman” and he lived in cellars in the ghetto, while his counterparts lived in the graveyards.  Every poor black child knew of The Boogey’s existence, which is why no child in her right mind spent too much time below the first floor.  (None of this man-cave crap existed back in the day when I was a kid, and the thought that one day I’d own a house with a basement boasting a surround-sound home theater would have blown my little mind.)

The basement of my childhood was a dirt floor and housed the wringer-washer and the giant furnace which fed on coal that slid down a chute.  I imagined The Boogey lived behind the furnace and practiced his brain-sucking and heart-munching techniques on little kids who were unlucky enough to be sent down into the basement for punishment.  I am one of the few who ever saw him in the neighborhood and lived to tell the story.

It still gives me chills.

Boogeyman Meme

Motifake Demotivational Poster

The floor of the basement of my childhood was made of packed dirt, and it is my theory that the house had been built over a small family graveyard.  The walls were stone with rough beams in the ceiling.  There was only one light at the top of the stairs that cast shadows here, there, and everywhere, but especially against the coal chute next to where the vegetables had been canned and stored.  One night I was sent down to the basement by my guardian from Hell to fetch a jar of pickled okra.  Even though I begged and pleaded, screamed and yelled, I was still threatened within an inch of my life to do as I was told.  So I tip-toed down the steps, across the basement floor as quietly as possible, hoping The Boogey was out on his nightly rounds, and we wouldn’t run into each other.  My heart pounded so loudly that I could hardly hear myself think.  I deduced that if I was as quiet as a field mouse, I might escape the head zombie’s detection.  I think my plan would have worked too, but the furnace let out a sudden fiery red blast that scared the shit out of me, and I screamed and dropped the jar of okra which shattered all over the floor in front of me.  At that very moment something brushed across my feet, and I swear that I saw the silhouette of a monster’s reflection on the jars of vegetables.  His hands began to crawl up my legs, and faster than I could say, “Oh Lord Jesus, help the poor child,” I turned and took the basement steps in what seemed like a single bound as The Boogey’s other hand scampered over my shoulder and slid down the front of my overalls and went back into the darkness.  I didn’t stop running until I ended up in my bedroom under the covers on the second floor, and I didn’t stop screaming for an hour.  I got two beatings that night for refusing to go back down into the basement to fetch another jar of okra, but it was worth it because I know what I saw and so did my caretakers, which is why none of them went into the basement after dark—ever again!

Scary Basement

Scary Basement

Until this day, I can’t go into any basement—including my own—unless there are plenty of windows, and all the lights are on (and I do mean all).  I never encountered The Boogey again until the election of our first black president.  Suddenly, I started hearing of zombie uprisings bearing the name of The Tea Party who were instantly disrespectful and disruptive to our Commander in Chief (remember the Zombie that screamed out “You lie” in the middle of President Obama’s State of the Union address?).  And every time the Tea Party Zombies seemed to have been beaten back, another surge would happen and a new leader would emerge:  first Palin and Bachmann—and now Cruz, Trump, and Carson.  I can’t prove it, but I think the Boogeyman came out of hiding in the basement of my house, and he started recruiting for the Tea Party zombies which is why my friends bit the dust to the TP extremism so easily.  I don’t know whether it is because Halloween is just around the corner and we’re headed for a Zombie Apocalypse that I think I’m beginning to see them everywhere, including in the Republican presidential campaigns, but sometimes on a foggy night I think I can see them amongst the trees waiting for me—trying to get ahold of my head and heart like they did some of my friends, and I am afraid—very, very afraid!

Zombies Appear Meme knowyourmeme com

Courtesy of


I am discovering that I might be onto something with these Tea Party wingnuts being the first of the Zombie invasion.  Seeing the destruction they’ve done to our country these past eight years, the Tea Party Zombies make about as much sense as the Boogey Man did in my basement as a child.  But if you turn on enough lights to show them up for who they really are, they will actually turn out to be just rats hiding in the dark amongst the pickled okra and canned string beans.   

Anyway, all this talk about zombies is really making me feel kind of weird—so I think I’ll go and lay down and take a nap.  In the meantime, Happy Halloween to all my readers, and keep your brains and hearts safe from the zombies because the Tea Party would love to suck out your brains and eat up your heart so that you can no longer think or feel anything for your fellowman!

American Poor vs Paul Ryan Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Cartoon used by permission:  Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune/Cagle Cartoons


“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”—Plato

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”—H. P. Lovecraft

“Fear can be good when you’re walking past an alley at night or when you need to check the locks on your doors before you go to bed, but it’s not good when you have a goal and you’re fearful of obstacles. We often get trapped by our fears, but anyone who has had success has failed before.”—Queen Latifah

“I think zombies have always been an easy metaphor for hard times. Because they’re this big, faceless, brainless group of evil things that will work tirelessly to destroy you and think of nothing else.”—Seth Grahame-Smith





No Sleep Monster Meme

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on October 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Do you know what I discovered this week?  My body has been taken over by an alien, and it has gone into full-scale rebellion against my heart and mind.  I woke up this morning with a Charlie horse in my ass that won’t quit, and all I did the day before was squat to remove two—say it again: two—stray weeds from my garden bed.  I also have some type of weird crick in my back.  I have no idea why it happened.  All I know is that right before I temporarily turned into the Hunchback of Notre Dame, I must have pissed off the gods somehow when I had the audacity to wear my favorite five-inch heels to a social event for two hours and fifteen minutes.  (The nerve!)  Don’t even get me started about the Nazi torture that happens to me if something drops on the floor these days, and I crouch down to retrieve it.  When my brain tells my legs “You can resume standing, now that you have the object in hand, Sweet-cheeks;” my body doesn’t budge (it sticks as if frozen into place), and some demon on my shoulder falls over in gales of laughter at the spectacle of it all!  I don’t pick up anything that falls on the floor anymore.  If WW (“White and Wonderful—my husband of 36 years) doesn’t pick it up, then it will stay there until the cleaning service comes (every other week).  The last time I did try and pick up a dropped grape, I couldn’t get back up and had to do a barrel roll over to the stove and pull myself up with the ol’ right hand on the oven door, left hand on the counter, and a double-turn-grab on the freezer handle to set myself aright.  Doing so knocked my back out for hours.  OMG!

WTF people!  Can someone tell me what is happening to my body?

Getting Older

I HEARD THAT!  And I am not interested in getting older, thank you very much!  This is not what was advertised.  When I turned 65 a couple of years ago, I was told that I would be entering my “golden years.”  The word “golden” implies that one will be “rich with splendor,” “radiant,” and marked with “splendor and grace.”  Being unable to walk without a slight waddle from side to side because my joints are so stiff from sitting at a dinner table or after a long drive does not spell splendor and grace to me—I’d call it one pratfall away from disaster.  I’m only 67 years old, for God’s sake.  According to Hollywood, 67 is the new 47!  I should be running marathons, going sky diving, and leaking my chubby-ass sex tape on the Internet.  If these are the actions of my body at 67, what will it do at 87?

Old People Butts thefunnybeaver dot com

I am a Baby Boomer, and even though I “technically” know that death is inevitable, like most of my Baby-Boomer fellow travelers, I never expected it to happen to me.  Because this is where all these aches and pains are leading:  Death.  Right?  My body is slowly but surely breaking down and going back to whence it came—dust unto dust.  As the great Martha Beck says, “I knew death was inevitable, but I had hoped an exception might be made in my case.”  As I brooded over this nasty road I was traveling down, I decided to drive to Ohio and visit a friend who is twenty years my senior, and who lives in an independent/assisted living home.   At 87, my friend seems to be handling the inevitable pretty well.  I talk to her every week.  She used to be a travel agent and traveled all over the world, but now she is stuck in the independent portion of the old folk’s home.  But she never complains—is always cheerful—and I hoped she’d have some pearls of wisdom to help me with the last third of my life.  You could have knocked me over with a feather when I discovered what I discovered when I talked to her.

ME:        My friend, I am really having a hard time with this aging thing.  Every day there’s some new thing happening in my body—some breakdown no one warned me about.  How do you feel about being 87?

FRIEND:  How do you think I feel?  It sucks!  I never expected to live this long.  If you had told me when I was your age that I’d live to be 87, I would have laughed in your face.  I am legally blind, can’t completely control my bladder (when I have to go, I have to go—right then and there—there is no such thing as holding it!), and I can’t hear unless people shout (even with hearing aids).  Since my heart attack two years ago, I can no longer go for long walks.  A long walk these days is down the hall to the dining room or across the building to the multi-purpose room to play Bingo.   My everyday companions are the people who sit at my table for lunch and dinner.  Two of them are nonagenarians and the third is an octogenarian.  All three of them have lost their minds.  I think the nonagenarians are having sex—at least they invited me to their wedding on Monday because they didn’t want to continue living “in sin,” but then on Thursday, the female announced that the wedding was off because she has decided she is a lesbian.  Her befuddled fiancé looked like he was going to burst into tears and left the table to go watch TV.  The octogenarian who sits at my table hides her jewelry and then complains all through the meal—each and every meal—that the shifty-eyed nurses have stolen her stuff.  I tell her every single day right before I turn off my hearing aid:  “Ain’t nobody stole your crap, Delores!  You just forgot where you put it, again!”  My only consolation is that my mind is still sharp as a tack.   But as for all the rest of what is happening to me and around me . . .  As the kids say:  “It sucks, big time.”

Cat in the Hat on Aging Refrigerator Magnet ebay dot com

Cat in the Hat on Aging Refrigerator Magnet from

ME:  Noooooo, say it isn’t so!  But you took care of yourself.  You ate right and you exercised.  This isn’t fair.

FRIEND:  Who ever said life was fair, Kiddo?  I thought that was the number one lesson I taught you growing up.

ME:  [Sigh!]  What do you miss the most from your younger days?

FRIEND:  Everything!  Driving, reading, traveling, talking without a lisp—my dentures can’t seem to stay stuck to the roof of my mouth—a career, husband and friends (all dead, dying or losing their minds) . . . just about everything.  By the way, tell your children to take care of their teeth.  No one tells you how much you’ll miss those suckers once they’re gone.

ME:  Any advice for me on this last leg of my journey?

FRIEND:  Take it one day at a time, Baby. Count your blessings (gratitude is a great equalizer).  Do what you can do, and what you can’t control (i.e., your leaky bladder, your teeth hanging lopsided in your mouth, and people sounding like guppies talking to you underwater)—don’t fret about it.  If you can afford it, buy yourself stock in Depends, denture adhesive, and hearing aids.  And always remember:  When you wake up in the morning, and you don’t find your name in the obituaries, it’s gonna be a good day!

Senior Moments Yaakov Kirschen Dry Bones

Used by Permission: Yaakov Kirschen, Dry Bones/Cagle Cartoons

A visit with my wise friend did not help me.  I was more agitated than ever.  As I tossed and turned that night in my sleep, I kept whimpering, “Dylan, you were right: I will not ‘go gentle into that good night … I will rage, rage against the dying of the light!’”*

As I thrashed about in my sleep, I dreamt that I ran into the specter “Old Age.”  The androgynous person was seated on a park bench staring at me with an amused expression as I approached.

OLD AGE:  Hey there, I hear you’ve been looking for me.  What’s happenin’?

ME:  What do you mean, what’s happenin’?  You know exactly what’s happening!  My body is falling apart.  75.4 million Baby Boomers and I have a bone to pick with you.  Our bodies are imploding and we’re dropping like flies.  I used to be able to run long distances (three miles every day and twelve on the weekends), teach all day standing in four-inch heels, leap tall buildings, and trip the light fantastic with my man.  The last wedding I went to recently, I danced for two hours in two inch heels, and the next day I had to have a rubdown in Mentholatum Ointment and soak in a hot bath for an hour just so I could walk without doing the zombie crawl.

OLD AGEWhine, whine, whine.  Here, have a little cheese with that whine.

ME:  Shut up, smart ass.  And don’t even get me started about cheese.  Did you know that somewhere during the last year I became highly allergic to cheese but didn’t know it?  You know how I found out?  At the same aforementioned wedding, while dancing to Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk You Up” I shit my pants.  Yessiree, crapped my drawers in my fancy-dance wedding outfit right on the ballroom floor! At first I thought my husband had farted, but he didn’t have his old man fart-face look.  (You know that look old men get:  “keep on dancing or walking, honey … nothing to smell here …”) It didn’t take me long to figure out that the cheese from the reception had done me in, and it was disgusting.  I wondered why people kept breaking off conversations in mid-stream with me and moving all the way over to the other side of the reception hall in search of “some more of that delicious Vermont cheese.”  (You couldn’t have let this happen to me in the privacy of my home?)   So I can no longer eat gluten because I have Celiac disease; I can no longer eat sweets and starches because I have diabetes, I should stay away from salt and alcohol because I have high-blood pressure, and now the one thing I depended on that was safe to eat when everything around me contained gluten and sugar, you stole from me.  I hate you, I hate you, I hate you, Old Age!  You threw lactose intolerance at me—in the middle of a wedding!  HAVE YOU NO SHAME, MISTER?

Every Baby Boomer I talk to hates you too, and they all have something that ails them.  By the time 75 million and counting of us are in our 80’s, there’s not going to be enough nursing homes, walkers, hearing aids, or Depends that Social Security dollars can buy to keep us up and running.   Let me shout it from the rooftop:  I HATE THIS STAGE OF LIFE!

Baby Boomers Getting Older Cardow, The Ottawa Citizen

Use by Permission: Cardow, The Ottawa Citizen/Cagle Cartoons

OLD AGE:   Hey now—look on the bright side.  I haven’t been cruel to all the Baby Boomers.  The Rolling Stones are still performing and they are older than you.  Mick Jagger is 72 years old, 140 pounds, and still has a 28-inch waist.  He can still jerk across the stage with one leg in the air while singing “I can’t get no satisfaction” and then segue into “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” like it was the 1970s.

ME:  Oh no, you can’t fool me.  That bag of rock-n-roll bones probably has to soak his entire body in Epsom salts for hours after he performs.  I bet you that Mick Jagger secretly wears a special designed Depends under those skin tight pants, too.  Either that or he did so many drugs in the 70s that his bowels are pickled and his bones are calcified to such an extent that he feels nothing and he never poops.  But I don’t believe he doesn’t suffer from you, Old Age.  You’ve cursed him like you’ve cursed us all.  Mick Jagger’s got the old age plague of a crumbling body—we just haven’t heard about the details yet.

OLD AGE:  Well, I can appreciate your point, and I do understand your anger with me.  You have every right.  However, I am nothing but accommodating.  Since you hate me so much, I can offer you an alternative.  He’s just around the corner.  Hey, Death—come on over and let me introduce you to a friend of mine.  She’s dying to meet you.

Rolling Stones Getting Old Cardow The Ottawa Citizen

Used by Permission: Cardow The Ottawa Citizen/Cagle Cartoons



I am discovering that “life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.”  I saw this quote on an octogenarian’s suitcase at the Seattle airport recently.  It is so true.  Every age has something to hinder it—every age has something that blesses it.  When one is young, one usually has strength, beauty and power—but one generally lacks wisdom, grace, and the patience of a wizened old man or woman.  Fortunately, I am not as narcissistic as I’ve portrayed myself in my satirical and slightly exaggerated story.  I am falling apart at the seams, but I hope I’m doing it gracefully.  I do get the joke.  I know that gratitude is the key to growing old with perspective.  Living in the moment is the focus needed to keep one self-balanced, and the “serenity to accept the things I cannot change”** is true maturity.  Life is wonderful for me—not because it is perfect—but because I woke up this morning and my name wasn’t in the obituaries.  It is a great day, in fact!  I think I’ll go dancing tonight!

Old Dogs New Tricks


“You have to age gracefully. And that’s what I love about Keith Richards. That’s what I love about the Rolling Stones. They are aging gracefully. They are falling apart at the seams right before our eyes, and they are doing it gracefully. And that’s the most beautiful thing that we can do.”—Nikki Sixx

“It’s good to be here. Frankly, it’s good to be anywhere.”—Keith Richards (what he says every time he performs)

“A lot of people are living in a dream world – they want to deny that aging occurs or believe it doesn’t have to occur. They’ll hold on to this belief until the moment they die. The reality will eventually hit them.”S. Jay Olshansky

“What helps with aging is serious cognition – thinking and understanding. You have to truly grasp that everybody ages. Everybody dies. There is no turning back the clock. So the question in life becomes: What are you going to do while you’re here?”Goldie Hawn





*Dylan Thomas, Do not go gentle into that good night.

** Reinhold Neibuhr, The Serenity Prayer

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on October 18, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Do you know what I discovered this weekWe Americans are some angry Mofos!  Before the pilot could announce “wheels up” on the plane carrying the Pope back to the Vatican, an enthralled America lost its “thrall” and collapsed back into its proverbial state of rage.   The Holy Father encouraged us to adopt a “spirit of cooperation” and urged “quiet acts of love” to strengthen “the great human family.”  But we are so pissed at each other we barely heard him, and we seemed to forget what he said two seconds after he said it.

Angry Country David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Used by Permission:  David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star/Cagle Cartoons

We’re pissed at Congress (the House of Reps are pissed at the Senate and vice versa), we’re pissed at the President, we’re pissed at our bosses, our spouses, our children, our classmates, our churches, our neighbors, pissed at people who don’t look and talk like us, pissed at people who don’t respond to our overtures or advances, and pissed to the point of murder when we can’t get what we want, when we want it, and how we want it.

I have had my own struggles with being angry in the past (pissed at childhood abusers, duplicitous friends, horrid preachers, racist teachers, and the goddamn Tea Party), but I found a vehicle to channel my anger via my career as a writer.  (Check out my books Monsters’ Throwdown where I kicked the asses of my childhood abusers and Fleeing Oz where I took revenge on the duplicitous clergy who taught me erroneous crap about God, abused my trust, and misappropriated my tithes.)

In fact I’m feeling pretty Zen at this point in my old age, and my anger issues are limited to minor inconveniences.  Right now I am “slightly irritated” and horrified at how the Muppets have reinvented themselves from adorable puppet creatures who used to appeal to kids and adults alike into some horrid adult entertainment on ABC.  Miss Piggy is getting bikini waxes and cracking jokes about her pubic hair, Fozzie Bear is into fetishes and Grindr—I had to look that one up.  Kermit is dating a younger pig, and Zoot is an alcoholic!  Oh for God’s sake!!  Can’t Hollywood leave well enough alone?  Why do they always mess with a good thing?

New Muppets Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Used by Permission: Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch/Cagle Cartoons

But compared to whence I’ve come, life is pretty good.  It takes a lot to ruffle my feathers.  I’m retired; I’ve moved into my dream house with my dream man, and the kids are on their own and not living in our basement (praise God, and hallelujah!).   But when I think too much about the little things that get on my nerves on a daily basis (if I’m really being honest), I do start to get miffed.  The more I ponder them, the more agitated I become.   For instance, if I owned a gun, my two computers would be blown to bits right now, and I would have assassinated my WiFi router two weeks after I moved into my new house because it keeps knocking me off the Internet every five minutes.  Nothing works as it should with my wireless network, and even though I’ve given various computer geeks hundreds of dollars, it never seems to help—they say it’s not them, and even though they fail to fix my problem time and time again, I still have to pay them.  Why?  Because there are no guarantees in the computer-fixit business.  (Ugh!)

The upstairs air conditioner gave out with a house full of company on the hottest days in my new house recently, and it needed freon, a new coil, and a thingamabob, which was fine at first because I have a home warranty . . . except come to find out it only covers 1/10th of the things that can go wrong with a house that is a money pit:  if your door bell stops functioning (for example), tough titty!  (Then there are the repairmen who say they are going to show up for weeks at a time, but are no-shows, because this is a little town in the South—yep, it is a good thing I don’t own a gun.)

And don’t get me started on the moles and the voles who have invaded my property—last count, 42 moles and 500 voles.  I went to bed one night with green grass and woke up the next morning with a completely dead lawn—as in totally brown with plants that looked as if something had sucked the life out of them and turned them into zombie plants. Over the past two weeks, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars trying to eradicate my arch nemeses without killing my neighbor’s cat, the various cute little bunnies romping across my dead lawn, or the myriad birds eating the earthworms that the moles consider their caviar.  There are raised mounds of turf the size of armadillos all across my lawn, and there are so many mole/vole holes in my yard that it looks like Swiss cheese. My neighbors, who all have the same problem, are laughing at the new kid on the block wasting money on products that they know won’t do a damn thing to fix it.   I wish I had access to a gun.  I would shoot a million more holes into my lawn trying to eliminate these banes of my bucolic existence because, come to think of it, I am just that pissed! And knowing me, I probably would shoot my foot off in the process.

Mole meme

But wait a minute, who am I kidding, I have more anger issues than this.  I’m always pissed at the Tea Party!  God, I can’t stand those people!  They are everything that is wrong with our country, and they make no sense, whatsoever.  I have ex-friends who used to be sane and lovable who have now become insane and unlovable because they became Tea Party crazies.  Their misplaced anger makes me angry, and even though they all have guns (they love their guns), the only reason I haven’t waged more of a war of words with these Neanderthals is because I don’t own a gun, and I don’t want to go to Hell for accidentally losing control of my temper in an argument with them, grabbing one of their guns, and shutting down their stupid arguments by blasting a couple of buck shots into their asses.

Tea Party Sour Grapes Parker Florida Today

Used by Permission: Parker, Florida Today/Cagle Cartoons

See what I mean?  (I just took my blood pressure after writing that paragraph and it is 160 over 110!)  Good googily-moo! Suddenly I realized that I have more anger in me than I’m willing to admit.  If I’m really being honest, if I had had access to a gun in my younger days, there is no telling when I would have used it during my lifetime.  Probably against the man who molested me at six years old, most likely against my uncle who tried to “mess” with me when I was twelve years old, most assuredly against my longtime boyfriend who I accidentally discovered was married, and I definitely would have shot to kill the myriad number of foster parents who worked me like a slave and beat me for sport.  I would not have been mentally ill during any of those murders—I would have been mad as hell and seeking revenge!  And God have mercy on my soul, but if I had had access to a gun when one of my teenagers was acting the fool—sneaking in and out of the house at night—I might have used it out of fear when I heard the bump in the night downstairs from her sneaking back into the house.  Instead of her getting just an ear full from me, I would have been attending her funeral, and then I would have killed myself due to remorse and heartbreak.

IMHO my dear readers, this is the issue at hand in most American lives—the disease of our hearts and minds that having a gun won’t eradicate, it will only exacerbate!  Too many of us feel we can gain respect, right a wrong, avenge a hurt, end our agonizing misery, correct an abuse, steal other people’s shit, protect our own, and establish power and street cred with a gun.  We can work our butts off to change the gun laws in our country and pour money into mental health care (as we should), but until we examine the state of our own hearts and attempt to mitigate those emotions that so readily cause us to “rage against the machine,” we are all just one easy-access-to-a-gun away from committing murder.   If the bad things in life push any one of us long enough and hard enough—if we become fearful and frightened enough, and a gun is easily accessible, there’s no telling what we might do to ourselves or others.  All of us are a little bit mentally ill in that way.

Gun Violence Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Cartoon Used by Permission: Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle/Cagle Cartoons



I am discovering that there are two types of anger:  righteous and unrighteous.  I am not angry enough about the right things—righteous anger—and neither are the majority of my fellow Americans.  We all need to get angry about the carnage that guns have caused in our communities, but instead of purchasing more guns to try and counterbalance the situation—as the NRA would have us believe we should—we need to come together in such a unified voice that our unified screams will implode the gun lobbies and the NRA.  Nothing is changing because our chicken-shit Congress (as well as Democratic senators from red states) are afraid of the gun lobbyists and the NRA because they fund our lawmakers’ campaigns.  But what if our collective anger (gun owners and non-gun owners alike) pushed Congress to deal with mental health funding, pass common sense gun laws, and modify the Second Amendment to become more relevant to this century all at the same time?  What if the 84 percent of gun owners who say they want commonsense gun laws forced Congress out of their quivering cowardice by refusing to buy another gun and refusing to hunt with a gun (take up the bow and arrow if you want to hunt)?  How about if the gun owners refused to go to gun ranges to practice, refused to vote for anyone who was against changing our gun laws, and refused to buy any more bullets for the guns we own until the laws get changed on those three fronts?  Don’t you think that would get the gun manufacturers’ attention?  If we had the slightest understanding of what Pope Francis charged America with—the “spirit of cooperation” and “quiet acts of love” to strengthen “the great human family”—gun owners would gladly lay down their “rights” in love for our nation so that their fellow Americans would have the right to live their innocent lives uninterrupted by gun violence.  (This may sound simplistic, but at least it is better than doing nothing, and better than offering some anemic prayers after the irreparable damage has been done.)

No matter how you slice it, the onus is on gun owners.  Until they have that Eureka moment of the soul, I’m afraid the slaughter will keep on happening.  I’ll keep on praying along with a lot of other good people across the country, but I don’t think our prayers will do much good.  We’ve long passed that action as a viable solution to America’s murderous gun sickness.  I wonder where the next mass shooting will take place or where the next inner-city murder of a child will occur.  I hope it isn’t anywhere near your loved ones or mine.

Terrorizing Ourselves FB John Cole The Scranton Times-Tribune

Cartoon Used by Permission:  John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune


Gun violence is not a humorous matter, and I meant no disrespect to those who have lost their lives by gun violence.  It’s just that if I don’t find some humor in this madness to point us toward the unmitigated truth in my writing, then I will become mentally ill and shoot somebody.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the survivors and the family and friends of the slaughtered—not only in Roseburg—but across our great nation where:

153,000 people have died from gunshots since 9/11 but Congress refuses to spend money or change laws to thwart this*

Only 3,000 people have died from terrorist attacks, but we spend millions of dollars a year to keep us safe from these*

Did you know that there were approximately 310 million guns owned by Americans in 2009, but the number of people in the United States were only 307 million during the same time period?** Ergo, there are more guns than people in the US.  Sane gun owners (specifically), are you pissed off enough to do something about it besides purchasing more guns?

Gun Control Bob Englehart The Hartford Courant

Cartoon Used by Permission: Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant/Cagle Cartoons



“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”—Aristotle

“The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn’t angry enough.”—Bede Jarrett

 “The whole gun debate needs to be infused with a discussion about manhood. It’s frustrating to hear debates about gun rights vs. gun control, and yet very few people say what’s hidden in plain sight: It’s really a contest of meanings about manhood.”—Jackson Katz

“If we don’t get gun-control laws in this country, we are full of beans. To have the National Rifle Association rule the United States is pathetic. And I agree with Mayor Michael Bloomberg: It’s time to put up or shut up about gun control for both parties.”—Harvey Weinstein

“For those of us who cry out for gun control, our fears cannot be eliminated as long as the country remains an armed camp in which the most troubled among us can find ways to appropriate one of the easily available weapons in all our communities.”—Robert Dallek

 (All inspirational quotes from




*Meet the Press Statistic


Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on October 5, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Do you know what I discovered today?  Pope Francis is in the house, and heads are about to explode! He is due to address Congress tomorrow, and apparently he has slipped in the polls (he dropped from being “liked” by Americans from 76% in 2014 to 59% because he has pissed off people on both the Right and the Left—but mainly on the right).  We are such fickle-ass people.

Well, I really “heart” this pope, and I’m not quite sure why.  I’m not Catholic, but there is something magnetic about him.  Maybe it is because I love Jesus, he loves Jesus, and we’re both just trying to do our God proud by the way we walk the talk—to the best of our ability, which is fallible at best, no matter what people tell you about the Pope’s infallibility.

Pope Francis Meme

Apparently, Pope Francis has stepped on the toes of quite a few people in America.  Conservatives are passing kidney stones because they feel the Pope has meddled in climate change, income inequality, and immigration issues—areas they think he clearly does not belong (“keep your hands off our Ayn Rand idolatry, leave climate issues to the scientists [except when we don’t agree with the scientists], and shut up about those damn illegal aliens—those bottom feeders who don’t talk ‘American’ and who are stealing our jobs!”).  Apparently, he does belong in our sex lives, and the Conservatives would be more than happy for the Pope to walk softly and carry a big stick while he is in America against the topics of homosexuality, abortion, gay marriage, and women’s leadership in the church.

Liberals appreciate the grace and compassion he is showing toward gays and lesbians, people who have had abortions, and the economically disadvantaged, but the smart ones know that he has not (and never will) change church doctrine one iota where it comes to women in the priesthood, sanctioning gay marriage, and supporting abortion—even for women who have been raped or when the mother’s life hangs in the balance).

There is even a growing contingency in the nutty tongues-speaking wing of the Church who think Pope Francis is the Anti-Christ and will be ushering in the “New World Order” on September 25th (let’s all watch for it—not!)  Of course, these same people thought President Obama was the Anti-Christ, so it seems the Bible literalists will have to draw straws and see who wins the Anti-Christ crown.  (If you Google “Pope Francis Anti-Christ,” you’ll get 425,000 links in under 40 seconds.  If you Google “New World Order,” you will discover that Wikipedia describes it as “a conspiracy theory by Christians referring to the emergence of a totalitarian one world government.” If you Google “Obama Anti-Christ, Muslim, foreigner,” your computer will explode along with your head from all the vile hatred and lies against our poor President.)

Pope GOP and DEMS John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune

Cartoon Used by Permission: John Cole, The Scranton-Times Tribune

I wish I could gain an audience with His Holiness.  If I could I would drag along a few people for a private audience with the Pope to help clear up some things.  I know the White House staff has chosen a diverse audience to hear Pope Francis which has pissed off mainly the Conservatives, but I’d drag a rather eclectic group of people into the Pope’s presence (both conservative and liberal) who aren’t on that invite list just so that he could see how truly gnarly we are as a country and how much we really need his prayers.

Trump and Mammon Taylor Jones Politicalcartoons com

Cartoon Used by Permission: Taylor Jones, (Cagle)

The first candidate would be Donald Trump, and I’d have him restate his bogus claim that he is a true believer (done to capture the unthinking Evangelical vote), and if he’s ever asked forgiveness as a “true believer” (a foundational Christian tenet).

“I am not sure I have [asked for forgiveness—insert mine]. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. . . . I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”—The Donald, a.k.a. “A God Unto Himself”

I already know what His Holiness would say to Mr. Trump:

Popes ans to The Donald

Then His Holiness would probably tell The Donald to give away all his money to the poor as Jesus required of the rich man in the Bible and set up affordable housing for all those who can’t afford to live in NYC even though they work there (he could do this and still have money left over), and truly follow in Christ’s ways.  Can’t you hear the agonizing screams from Trump all the way from here to Calcutta in response to His Holiness’ directive?

My next candidate would be all the people who deal in racism in our country (too many to name here, but, Fox News, Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh, you know who you are).  I’d roll them all up into one giant stinky, sewage-smelling ball and have them present themselves to the Pope as the sheer evil they are while their rhetoric calls forth the demon Bigotry to reassert its stronghold in our country again.

Bigotry Bill Day Cagle Cartoons

Cartoon Used by Permission: Bill Day,

I don’t think Pope Francis would let them utter a word in their defense because he’s seen it all before in other parts of the globe.  He’d simply nod his head with considerable sadness and say:

Pope and Racists

Then he would probably tell the lot of them to “go and sin no more,” and perhaps command them to take a vow of silence for a year or so.  And maybe he’d make them do penance as helpers in soup kitchens, homeless shelters, inner-city community centers, and prisons all over the country until their hearts were broken for the down-trodden and the disadvantaged and they’d forgotten all their racist rhetoric.

I’d also bring along that great atheist liberal, Bill Maher, who I have a love-hate relationship with.  In the interest of full disclosure, I watch his show every week—he makes me think and he is right about a lot of things, but sometimes he makes me throw up in my mouth over some of his comments about God.   (When he’s good, he’s very, very good, but when he’s on his anti-Christian rag, he’s a royal pain in the ass, and he is so smug and arrogant about it.)  I’d encourage him to make his atheist case that he thinks is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, because the truth is, the Pope can handle it and so can God.  And the truth is (unfortunately), some of his observations are accurate, and the church needs to hear them, repent of them, and move on from them.

Bill Maher Meme

Papa Francis would probably listen to Bill, smile, and tell him that he is loved—speaking to him as one does to a precocious teenager who thinks they know it all, but you know that they just need to grow up and open their eyes to see things from a different angle while being enveloped in your unconditional love as they keep on exploring, doubting, and asking questions without feeling condemned.  Besides, if I know anything about this Pope, he can handle the truth.

Pope and Athiests

Then Pope Francis would probably ask Bill Maher to try and give up the F-word for Lent.  It would probably cut Bill’s HBO program down by 15 minutes—enough to add another guest on the panel of his irreverent, but intellectually stimulating show.

As for my personal audience with the Pope, I’m sure I’d whine about my own disillusionment with the church and its involvement with right-wing politics until I got on his ever-loving nerves.   I’d give him a copy of my book (Fleeing Oz), and tell him how it is a humorous template for “how not to do church” and something he should read.  He would probably gently cut me off (not out of rudeness but to save my own sanity and his, and to stop my self-serving book pitch).  He’d remind me of the true vision of what church should be and charge me to be a good Christian by going back into the fray and doing my part to make Christ’s vision of the church happen in my little corner of the world.

Pope says to the Church



I am discovering that there are some things I agree with the Pope on (income inequality, immigration, climate change, and poverty issues) and many things I do not (his opposition to same-sex marriage, women priests, married priests, divorce, birth control and abortion in extenuating circumstances).  But I think the reason I’m drawn to him is because of his love for humanity, his humility, his compassion, and his acts of forgiveness.  And I love his kindness.  I like that he is trying to emulate the life of Christ, and even though we don’t agree on some things, at least we can met on the human ground of love, humility, compassion, and forgiveness.  Just think how much better the world would be if we all could start there.  Maybe he will help us.  Welcome to America, Pope Francis!

FB II Pope Francis

Cartoon by Stuart Carlson:



“If one has the answers to all the questions – that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.”—Pope Francis

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”—Pope Francis

“We have observed that, in society and the world in which we live, selfishness has increased more than love for others, and that men of good will must work, each with his own strengths and expertise, to ensure that love for others increases until it is equal and possibly exceeds love for oneself.”—Pope Francis

“This is me, a sinner on whom the Lord has turned his gaze. And this is what I said when they asked me if I would accept my election as pontiff. I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance.”—Pope Francis

“I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person’s life. God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else – God is in this person’s life. You can – you must – try to seek God in every human life.”—Pope Francis



WANT TO READ THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOKS (“Monsters’ Throwdown” and “Fleeing Oz”)?  ON SALE NOW AT AMAZON!

Pope vs Ideologues Pat Bagley,

Cartoon used by permission: Pat Bagley,



Posted by on September 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


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