Visiting Wine Country


The Oregon wine country is quickly becoming one of the biggest hotspots in the world for high quality wine and breathtaking scenery.  This is especially true since the recent Napa Valley fires.  (My family lives in Napa, so I might question this distinction, because I am so fond of that valley and its wine, but I  *LIVE*  in Oregon, so there’s that.)

The following slideshow features shots from the Allison Inn, where we were over the weekend.  The animal shots are from our friends’ home nearby, where we stopped briefly yesterday.  (That is she with the green hair…)  😉

Needless to say, it was an incredible weekend!

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The luxury spa and hotel overlooks the Williamette Valley, and has exquisite views.  After our perfect brunch, I strolled the grounds, taking a few pictures, which I’d like to share with you here:


Jetsetting It


Just got in from an impromptu trip.  Don’t you love it that, thanks to modern technology, you can get a call from someone.  Hop a train to the airport in 12 minutes, and be at your destination in another state in a matter of hours?  Cost me under $300 round-trip.  Spent zero while I was there.  Had LOTS of fun….and now I’m home.

Had to get up long before dawn to catch the next flight home, but I made it. Just walked in the door.  Last night feels like a dream….a great big wonderful dream, and I’m all smiles this morning.

The sun is shining today, but it is warm, and not hot, which I love.  I look forward to spending the day with John working on our house and yard. It is so rare for us both to have a day off together.  We’re planning to take full advantage of it.

Big project of the day for me is to prepare the patio to paint it. John will be trimming the hedge.  Tonight….another musical night out.  Looking forward to it.

Thinking of my precious father today.   He was a good and honorable soldier who served his country with pride, and is a generally good person today.  Wishing I could be there with him.

Happy Veterans Day, everyone.



More on my Dragonboat Adventure


Now that I have been a dragonboater for a week, I return with a fresh perspective.  The first thing I can report is that I feel definite changes in my body.  This is a sport that focuses primarily on the body’s core for effectiveness.  I can feel my stomach muscles firming up considerably, after only a week. My upper arms are firmer.  My thighs.  Yes, this sport has its physical benefits, but the practice also has mental and emotional benefits.

The second thing that I can report is that I have had a different caller/instructor every day, and each one of them has told me something completely different.  Hinge at the waist.  Don’t hinge from the waist.  Hold the paddle at the base of the blade.  Hold the paddle higher than that.  Sweep the side of the boat with the paddle. Plunge forward.  Keep the arm straight.  Bend the arm.  Conflicting information galore….but this is not a complaint.  I’m enjoying learning the different options.  It’s just difficult at times.

Three days a week now, I rise long before the sun does to prepare for practice. John loves to go with me and watch from the sidewalk cafe as I paddle across the river .  However, he was in California over the last few days, so I’ve been taking the bus downtown on my own.

There is something about the Portland bus service that makes the experience a good one.  The way the bus driver gets out to help the blind man across the street.  How he or she greets riders as they enter the bus, or thanks us when we leave.  Just one more thing I love about Portland.

The bus crosses the river and lets me out just on the other side.  Then, I walk about a quarter mile throught flocks of resting Canadian geese, and arrive at the Little River Cafe.  Sometimes I get there before it  opens, and I simply sit outside and enjoy the majestic views. Other times, I’ll wander down the hill to the dock and walk to the end of it where I will do some yoga stretches while I wait.

It is stunningly beautiful at this place.  There is a little island, called Ross Island, that we paddle by.  Deer peeked out at us one morning.  Two gigantic blue herons flew inches over our heads.  Flowers everywhere.  Beauty.  Nature.  It is all so astonishing, and especially against the urban backddrop.  It feels like my own little secret right there in the city, but I am far from alone.  There are more than 160 members on my team alone.  This is a popular sport with many different teams with members of all levels.

Everyone converges at the end of the dock by 8:30.  Getting into the boat has become less difficult for me than it was at first.  I feel steadier now.  Getting out of the boat is more difficult, as it is a long, narrow boat sitting DOWN in the water, rather than up high, so to exit, one must climb up as the boad sways.  I’m sporting a big, blue bruise on one of my shins due to an early effort.

My level of energy gets me through the entire practice without exhaustion.  However, I am definitely ready to head home when we reach the shores again.  I always feel invigorated and happy from the dopamine and adrenalin surges that come with an intense morning workout.  This lasts throughout my day.  The world simply looks a little brighter.

Yesterday was sunny and warm.  Of course, I forgot my hat.  I am a pale-skinned woman who gets sunburned easily despite slathering myself with sunscreen and wearing protective clothing.  Ah, well….a small price to pay for so much pleasure.  I feel so happy, like everything is really falling into place now.  Contentment. Joy.  Peace.  Love.  Happiness.

I did it!


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Today, I started training for dragon boat paddling. It was magnificent.  We met at the Little River Cafe downtown near the Willamette River.  I introduced myself to a few people as a newby, and managed to piece together enough information to get started.  Everyone was very nice and helpful.

Once seated in my practice boat, I kept my ears open for Carolina’s instructions.  She was our caller.  However, I kept my eyes on Peg, who was the woman seated in front of me.  (That was what I was suppoed to do.)  I followed Peg’s lead.  She is experienced, and a good example to follow.

We rowed out along Ross Island.  It was surreal to be out on the water making a team effort at that beautiful early-morning hour.  We paddled by a crane rookery and say blue herons and their offspring, which was a thrill for this nature lover.  We were surrounded by beautiful trees and nature, but in an urban environment…so we paddled under two freeways and could see the downtown skyscrapers.

The workout was good.  To paddle, you have to extend one leg, tuck in the other leg, and turn from the waste, and you bury the paddle straight down into the water and pull with your core.  Many instructions that are easy to confuse!

Soon, I will be ready to train for the dragon boat races, an iternational festival that is celebrated in Portland each year.   Here is a little video of our launch spot and what the festival looks like.  This was from five years ago:


A Boatload of Happiness


My life has really changed over the last 6 months or so, and in some profound ways.  I can’t remember ever being as happy as I am right now.  Things are falling into place in my life, like ducks in a row.  Actually, they’re not “falling into place…”  I’m PUTTING them into place.   Some I can talk about here.  Others are top secret…for now….

This story begins with my decision to strive for greater work-life balance.  I am not the only person who depends on my paychecks, so I’ve been working my fingers to the bone putting in insane hours, sometimes not taking a day off for weeks…..until recently.

I just saw my life slipping away from me, and I got really sad about it….but I’m not much of a whiner.  I’m more of a do-er….so I set a plan into motion.  I wasn’t making art at the rate I like to incorporate art into my life, so I joined an artists group.

The group is expensive, and it only meets two days a month, but there is something about the cost that  really makes me commit to going.  I concentrate on producing good work while I’m there, and it puts me into the right mindset.  However, the best part of all, is that it has connected me with a great group of supportive women artists who stimulate my mind and make me laugh, and who give me great critiques and suggestions.  I’m really loving this experience.

It was through one of these women that I got involved with the dragonboat art show.  I attended last year, and was blown away by how outstanding it was.  I really wanted to enter a piece this year, so I did….and it was accepted….and it’s hanging down by the Willamette in a beautiful little cafe called, “The Little River Cafe.”  The show’s opening was last Sunday, and when I was there, a thought started to nag me….and it’s something I followed through on.

Starting this Monday, I will be an official dragon boat paddler!  I officially joined a club that meets 3 mornings a week to paddle down the Williamette, race sometimes, to participate in water parades and to do all things related to the ancient Chinese sport of dragon boating!  The group consists of a fun bunch of open minded/hearted folks who come from many different walks of life to join in and have fun.  They do other things besides boating.  The group hikes, goes out for meals together, attends lectures, kayaks and does a boatload of other fun things.  So yay!  My husband is relutant to join.  Says it isn’t his thing, but that he will go to some of the events with me.  I think he eventually WILL join, but we’ll see.   (He is ten years older than I, and has a heart problem. )

I have been attending A LOT of musical events lately.  Went to see Motown sensation, Bettye Lavette,  Shook Twins,  Rae Gordon Band….Rae Gordon Band….Rae Gordon Band….Went to a Kwamie Alexander lecture.  I’ve been going here and there.  Working in the yard.  Working on the house.  Still writing…writing…writing….and conducting research for two different companies.  Still putting my own business together.  Just feeling good.  Smiling a lot.  Enjoying the moment….AND  looking forward to the future. 🙂   I’ll post dragon boat photos in a future post.



The Evils of Socialism aren’t so Evil

One of my jobs is that of a professional fact checker.  I just rated a right-wing article about the “evils” of socialism, and it made my blood boil. This is propaganda that goes all the way back to WWI, and it is NOT based in truth! When people discuss the evils of socialism, 9 times out of 10, they don’t even understand what socialism even means.  Arte California
Socialism is an economic system in which the means of production are collectively owned, usually by the government.  Arte California
Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned. By means of production, I mean everything—land, tools, technology, and so forth—that is needed to produce goods and services.
Both socialism and capitalism have distinct advantages and disadvantages. Neither is “evil.”
Some nations…those that are, in fact, most successful, in terms of taking care of their citizens, providing great healthcare, education and citizen benefits, combine elements of both capitalism and socialism. These are the social democracies, while their combination of capitalism and socialism is called democratic socialism. I consider myself to be a democratic socialist. It differs from both capitalism and socialism.
All of the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland) are social democracies, as their governments own important industries while their citizens enjoy much political freedom. Each nation has the three branches of government with which most people are familiar—executive, judicial, and legislative—and each nation has a national parliament to which people are elected by proportional representation. I believe this is the best way for America to go.

Twitter Mocks a Fool


After spending Monday nursing a ragegasm, trump began Tuesday with a Tweetstorm sounding off and playing the victim.  I know someone like this guy.  You can catch him with a gun in his hand and he will claim that someone else put it there.  Arte California

Twitter was quick to respond to the president’s tweets with their own fact-checks as well as morning mockery.  Arte California It was so much fun to see and read.  This CRIMINAL will soon pay the price for his foolishness.   I told trump that his claims were fruitless, but he wouldn’t listen. 😉  I have a Constitutional lawyer by my side who has explained why Mueller is right, every step of the way.  It’s great to have a great legal mind (from Columbia University and Harvard Law, no less!) on hand to answer any questions that I might have.   NBC executive producer Christina Ginn sent Trump an explainer about what attorney-client privilege is and the limitations of the rule that allows for a “crime-fraud exception.”

“Because of the potential damage to legitimate attorney-client relationships caused by these mass seizures of records, U.S. Attorneys are trained to explore alternatives to these warrants when evidence is sought from a practicing attorney,” the primer explained. “One alternative would be a subpoena, which allows the attorney to search for and produce the documents. The fact that the FBI opted for a raid without notice suggests prosecutors believed less-intrusive measures might result in the destruction of evidence.”  Stacy Alexander Arte California

MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski noted that such privilege is “dead” once evidence has been found of a crime.

Bloomberg View executive editor and Trump biographer Tim O’Brien noted that typically when Trump is tweeting with all capital letters it means he’s concerned.

You can read the rest of the tweets below:

And from the “nice Donald Trump” parody account:

Ahhhhhhhh.   There’s nothing like the sickley sweet smell of justice in the morning…


Update….sort of….not…


Spring is here, and I have so much going on that I’ve not had a chance to sit down and update.  (Charlie!  I’ve received your messages….just no time!!  So sorry.  Will try to call soon!) This is simply to say that I’ve not forgotten all of you, my loyal readers.  I promise to make the time to update soon.  Stacy Alexander Arte California

Leaving no (kidney) stone unturned…


I am rarely sick.  In fact, I’ve gone four years without so much as a common cold…..that is, until this past week.   I had felt a tiny bit of soreness in my kidney area for a few days, but a week ago, I stood up, and was met with a thunderbolt of pain so intense that I immediately fell to the floor.  It was that bad.

This is the fourth time in my life that I have had kidney stones, as I am genetically disposed to them, despite my effots to eat a diet that helps stave them off.  They simply happen every few decades, and there doesn’t seem to be much I can do about them.

In the past, I have had the ultimate medical treatments for them, which made me feel crummy for several weeks afterward, and was traumatic, to boot.  However, this time, I decided to go the natural route.  One week later, I’m so glad that I did.

This is my all-natural routine for ridding myself of the monster kidney stones. I can personally attest to the fact that it works, because today, I am pain free.  I used a miraculous herb called, ” chanca piedra” in the form of a tincture by Herb Pharm called “Stone Breaker” and it really worked.

One dropperful into 8 ounces of water three times a day.  Raw cranberry juice and lemon water, also.  No sugar. No processed foods of any kind. No spinach.  I meditated, rested, listened to binaural beats….and by today, which is day #7, I feel 100% better.

Before trying this, or any kidney stone remedy, please see your doctor first, and discuss your options.


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What are Chakras?

There are as many different philosophical approaches to Chakras, around the world, as there are different countries and cultures.  Although there are many more, there are seven most commonly known chakras in the human body.

They consist of :

The Root Chakra represents the foundation and the sensation of being grounded.
The root chakra is located at the base of the spine or tailbone area.


The sacral chakra represents the human connection with others,  and the ability to accept both old and new experiences.
The Sacral Chakra can be found approximately 2″ below the navel, around the lower abdomen.

Solar Plexus

The Solar Plexus Chakra represents the ability to feel more confident and in control of situations and of life generally.
The Solar Plexus Chakra is found in the upper abdomen area in the stomach.


One’s ability to love and care for other sentient beings, both generally, such as showing and feeling compassion, as well as in a romantic sense
The Heart Chakra can be found in the center of the chest, just above the heart.


A person’s ability to speak and communicate with others is guided by the Throat Chakra, which is located in the throat itself.

Third eye

The Third Eye Chakra guide’s the ability to focus, and the ability to see, focus and comprehend situations.
The Third Eye Chakra is also often focused on when meditating or when trying to achieve astral projection or out of body experiences.
The Third Eye Chakra can be found in the middle of the forehead, just above and between the eyes.


The Crown Chakra is used when one wishes to be fully connected spiritually.
It is located on the very top of the head.


All chakras act as a valuable part of the human body’s energy system.  It acts similarly to an energy grid, which connects one person to another,  to the world around each person and situations humans find themselves in.

Why Do People NOT Choose Feminism?


Thank you for visiting my Arte California blog!

I form my opinions by listening to ALL sides of an argument.  I don’t just listen to people who agree with me.  I also listen carefully to those who do not agree with me, and I carefully consider all sides before I form my own opinions.  That’s what a good journalist does.

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I figure that with as many followers as I have,  there must be some of you who are not feminists. I am writing an article about why one might choose NOT to be a feminist. This discussion is open to feminists and non-feminists alike, but I would really like to hear from non-feminists who oppose feminism.  There will be no snarking. No name-calling. No meanness. No one is going to attack you for your opinion.

I want to hear your opinions and to learn why it is any woman (especially) but man, also, would choose NOT to be a feminist, because when I think about it, I can’t think of even one rational  reason why one would not be. Please begin by telling me what feminism even IS to you, in terms of your understanding of it. Your input will be very much appreciated.

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Looking forward to an adult discussion, so do comment generously, even if you have no personal opinion on this matter, but know of someone else who does.  I’m interested in what their rationale is.

If  this is a sensitive topic for you, and you would prefer to write to me privately, rather than post as a comment here, that will be fine, too.  I always like to hear both sides of things.

The Oregon Coast


There are simply not sufficient words to describe the beauty of the Oregon coast!  Even “stunning” undermines its graceful beauty and breathtaking scenery.  John recently surprised me with an unexpected getaway, and I put together a little slide show to show what we’ve been up to over the last 48 hours with our dear friends, Peter and Toni, in Newport and Depoe Bay, Oregon.  Enjoy this slideshow, and my other Arte California posts!   Subscribe for regular updates.

Nurturing Creativity


You know, you don’t have to spend a ton of money in order to do something creative each day, and I think that it’s very important to do something….anything that is creative, each and every day.  We are teaching this lesson to Ingrid, who  often goes out with me for duo photo shoots.

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The object is to stroll down Division Street in Portland, and to photograph every letter of the alphabet sequentially.  These photos are then sold, via Ingrid’s own Amazon account, and are used by collage (and other) artists in their work.  While it’s nice that Ingrid can earn a little pocket money, the more important lesson for her is the art of looking.  This exercise makes her look closely at things, and to really examine and think about them.  This sign was a good example.  She read every word of it, and we had a great talk about it along our way.

Each letter forms its own complete composition.  We discuss things like color, shape, form, edges and other aspects of the design so that Ingrid can get a better overall picture of what the project is about.  She does really well, too!

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It usually takes us around 2 hours to capture the entire alphabet.  There are some tough letters, such as “Q” that can be difficult to find.  We also have a rule that once a letter is photographed from a specific window, one can’t photgraph that same letter from the same window again, so this adds more of a challenge.   I got her this little Pentax camera for Christmas.  She’s so proud of it, and takes very good care of it.

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Sometimes the letters come out fuzzy and out of focus….but that’s ok, too.

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Ta-Daaaaaaaaa!  If you are an artist and would like to use any of the photos in this post only, please feel free.  These photos are not up to our usual high standards, but some of the images are nice.  (I particularly liked the composition of the letter “B”.)


The End of January Already!


I can’t believe the end of January is already here!  This is a great time of year for me, as I always feel a new spark of energy at the beginning of the year, and I find myself being more creative overall.

One of my jobs outside my new company, is that I conduct research for Facebook.  This usually takes several hours each morning, but today, it took ALL. DAY. LONG.  I just couldn’t concentrate.  Received a text message from a friend who had to deal with some kind of ungodly hell this morning, so I was worried, and couldn’t keep my mind on my work.  I finally got it finished, however, and went out for a long walk.

Portland is great this time of year.  We have the big festival of lights down by the river, and many other artistic endeavors that John and I plan to attend (Alvin Aliey!!!)  with and without one another.  I’ve joined a studio group to meet with a GREAT group of women artists once a week beginning next week.  Have steady meetings all week long.  Things are beginning to cook.

It rained in Portland all day, but I like the rain.  I walked far and fast, and marveled about how beautiful it is here even when it rains.  Stopped down the block to visit with my friend, Carol, who recently lose her husband, and spent some quality time with John when I got back.

Made a batch of homemade chili and cornbread.  Served it with chopped avocado, cheddar, corn relish and chopped onions.  Homemade hot cherry pie for dessert.  Perfect food for a cold, rainy evening!

Procured two new corporate clients this week, who have hired my company to go in and coach their employees about ways in which to be more productive, and to also conduct some corporate group meditation classes.   I have already taught two workshops at these companies….big companies….HUGE companies…FAMOUS companies….and they seem to like me. Would be nice if they do…but I’m not really worried about it.

I have a long way to go before I’m going to feel 100% confident doing this kind of work….but I’ll just keep my nose to the grindstone until I can relax more about it.

Started a new art project for an upcoming show  later in the spring. It’s just in the sketching stages right now, but it’s beginning to take shape.

Sorry this has been so rambling.  I’m just tired.  Long day, but a happy one.  Sending love to my friend.  I hope he’s safe.


US Ties to Russia


“I don’t know – it’s hard for me to see any U.S. ties to Russia…except for the Flynn thing and the Manafort thing

and the Tillerson thing

and the Sessions thing

and the Kushner thing

and the Carter Page thing

and the Roger Stone thing

and the Felix Sater thing

and the Boris Ephsteyn thing

and the Rosneft thing

and the Gazprom thing

and the Sergey Gorkov banker thing

and the Azerbajain thing

and the “I love Putin” thing

and the Donald Trump, Jr. thing

and the Sergey Kislyak thing

and the Russian Affiliated Interests thing

and the Russian Business Interests thing

and the Emoluments Clause thing

and the Alex Schnaider thing

and the hack of the DNC thing

and the Guccifer 2.0 thing

and the Mike Pence “I don’t know anything” thing

and the Russians mysteriously dying thing

and Trump’s public request to Russia to hack Hillary’s email thing

and the Trump house sale for $100 million at the bottom of the housing bust to the Russian fertilizer king thing

and the Russian fertilizer king’s plane showing up in Concord, NC during Trump rally campaign thing

and the Nunes sudden flight to the White House in the night thing

and the Nunes personal investments in the Russian winery thing

and the Cyprus bank thing

and Trump not releasing his tax returns thing

and the Republican Party’s rejection of an amendment to require Trump to show his taxes thing

and the election hacking thing

and the GOP platform change to the Ukraine thing

and the Steele Dossier thing

and the Leninist Bannon thing

and the Sally Yates can’t testify thing

and the intelligence community’s investigative reports thing

and Trump’s reassurance that the Russian connection is all “fake news” thing

and Spicer’s Russian Dressing “nothing’s wrong” thing

and the firing comey thing

and the very next day,the meeting with the russians,and the guest starring of kissinger…..

and the letter supposedly clearing him from a law firm that has been

awarded “best law firm in russia”

and now the “gave russians classified intel” thing…..

so there’s probably nothing there

since the swamp has been drained, these people would never lie

probably why Nunes cancels the investigation meetings

all of this must be normal

just a bunch of separate dots with no connection.

—Lane Crothers “

This is the argument right wingers are trying to make with their denial…..that there is no connection to any of this. when you put enough pixels together,it forms a picture. And denial is not just a river….YOU know that. Right?

Good People Don’t Defend a Bad Man


Good People Don’t Defend A Bad Man

At times in this life it can be a challenge to figure out who the bad people are, but sometimes they help you.

Sometimes they do the work for you.

Sometimes with their every vulgar, bitter word from their mouth, they testify to their personal malignancy and they make it easy to identify them.

Generally speaking, there are things that good people do and things good people don’t do.

Good people don’t refer to entire countries as “shitholes”—most notably countries that have given birth to our very humanity; ones that for hundreds of years have been colonized and poached and mined of their riches by powerful white men; countries whose people have been enslaved and sold and forced to come and build your country. 

Good people by any measurement we might use—simply don’t say such things.

Of course good people also don’t say they could grab women by the genitalia, either.
They don’t defend racists and nazis and call them “fine people,” days after murdering a young girl and terrorizing an American city.
They don’t brag about their penis size during debates, or suggest protestors at campaign rallies should be roughed up, or crack jokes about captured war heroes, or make fun of the physically disabled.
They don’t.

Good people don’t tweet anti-Muslim rhetoric in the moments immediately following a bombing in order to bolster a position.
They don’t leave American territories filled with brown skinned people without power for months upon months, after publicly ridiculing their public servants and questioning their people’s resolve.
They don’t erase protections for the water and the air, for the elderly, the terminally ill, the LGBTQ.
They don’t take away healthcare from the sick and the poor without an alternative.
They don’t gouge the working poor and shelter the wealthy.
They don’t abuse their unrivaled platform to Twitter-bait world leaders and to taunt private citizens.

Good people don’t prey upon the vulnerable, they don’t leverage their power to bully dissenters, and they don’t campaign for sexual predators.

But this President is simply not a good human being, and there’s simply no way around this truth.

He is the ugliest personification of the Ugly American, which is why, as long as he is here and as long as he represents this nation, we will be a fractured mess and a global embarrassment. He will be the ever lowering bar of our legacy in the world.

And what is painfully obvious in these moments, isn’t simply that the person alleging to lead this country is a terrible human being—it is that anyone left still defending him, applauding him, justifying him, amening him, probably is too.

At this point, the only reason left to support this President, is that he reflects your hateful heart; he shares your contempt of people of color, your hostility toward outsiders, your ignorant bigotry, your feeling of supremacy.

A white President calling countries filled with people of color shitholes, is so far beyond the pale, so beneath decency, and so blatantly racist that it shouldn’t merit conversation. It should be universally condemned. Humanity should be in agreement in abhorring it.

And yet today (like so many other seemingly rock bottom days in the past twelve months) they will be out there: white people claiming to be good people and Christian people, who will make excuses for him or debate his motives or diminish the damage.

They will dig their heels in to explain away or to defend, what at the end of the day is simply a bad human being saying the things that bad human beings say because their hearts harbor very bad things.

No, good people don’t call countries filled with beautiful, creative, loving men and women shitholes.

And good people don’t defend people who do.

You’re going to have to make a choice here.


Order John’s book, ‘A Bigger Table’ here