Thinking of Nhi Nguyen and Cam Thi To

Nhi Nguyen, 11, had just started at her first school in the United States. She didn’t speak English, but could understand everything, and she hated missing days when her mom and stepdad were arguing, according to a family friend.

Last weekend, her new life was cut short.

She was found shot to death, along with her 39-year-old mother, Cam Thi To, in their Northwest Albuquerque apartment Sunday.

Police believe To’s new husband, 45-year-old Trinh Tran Van, shot and killed them before killing himself.

Friends of the family and police say he had a history of abusing her.

To met Van while she was still living in Vietnam and he lived in the U.S. She wanted a better life for herself and her daughter, according to family friend Thu Doan.

To knew Doan’s mother from their village in Vietnam and, when she moved to Albuquerque, she began working in the woman’s nail salon in Grants. She worked seven days a week, commuting from Albuquerque, and sent a regular stream of money back to her family in Vietnam…


Kaepernick ignited a firestorm last Friday by refusing to stand during the national anthem when it was played before the 49ers game against the Green Bay Packers.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick explained to NFL Media in an interview published Saturday…

“I think it’s — personally — not a good thing,” Trump said on the “Dori Monson Show” on Monday, as BuzzFeed reported. “I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him…

What Donnie The Hypocrite is really saying:  “I’m gonna run for president and complain about how we need to make America great again. But if others want to make America great again by standing up against racism and discrimination, well then, fuck you.”

#DonnieTheHypocrite #ISitWithKaepernick #NoMoreDrugWar

The Peace-Be-With-You Superpower

Even though I have an award-free blog, sometimes a friend will challenge me anyway. And on the few times that I’ve answered a challenge, I’m notorious for not following the rules. Some things never change. 🙂

Lisa wants to know:  Which or what super power would you want and why?

I don’t think humans were meant to have any kind of superpower. I have a feeling that if any of us were given a superpower, we’d somehow, I dunno, accidentally destroy the planet. (Not that we need superpowers to do that.)

But just because I’m a realist, that doesn’t mean I can’t play.

My first thought was that I’d like to be able to heal. Then I thought that I would specifically like to have the ability to see inside a person’s brain, find the areas that aren’t working, and fix them. Thinking further, I could easily imagine how this superpower could backfire, possibly creating more problems within the brain. After all, could any superpower be stronger than the human brain?

And now I’m back to my belief that humans shouldn’t have superpowers. If you think about it, we already have superpowers. Why do we need more? Oops, I forgot we were playing a game…

When I was young, I had to pretend to be Catholic at church every Sunday. At one point during the mass, the priest would direct us to turn to the person on each side of us, shake their hand and say, “Peace be with you.” The person would reply, “And also with you.” It would’ve been nice if people really meant it, instead of just saying it by rote.

I’ve decided that I’d like to have a Peace-Be-With-You superpower. I’d like the ability to create peace wherever I go, whomever I encounter. If another person has any bad or violent thoughts, with just one look from my tired, blue eyes, all those thoughts would disappear. Cease to exist. Poof! I would smile at the look of bafflement on people’s faces, then they would shake their heads, as if coming back to the present, and smile back at me.

My superpower would be transferable with each look, and so peace would then spread throughout the world, from person to person, city to city, country to country.

We would never have another war. And we would all work together to live happily ever after. The End.

And because I don’t follow the rules, I’m picking two superpowers. I would also like to be invisible, like Lisa, because I think it would be loads of fun. 🙂

(Photo taken by my sister — and cropped by me, #croptilyoudrop — at the 2013 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.)

In my search terms: “can chronic pain go away”

First, let’s define “chronic” and “intractable” pain:

Wikipedia: “Chronic pain is defined as pain that has lasted longer than three to six months, though some theorists and researchers have placed the transition from acute to chronic pain at 12 months. Others apply acute to pain that lasts less than 30 days, chronic to pain of more than six months duration, and subacute to pain that lasts from one to six months. A popular alternative definition of chronic pain, involving no arbitrarily fixed duration, is “pain that extends beyond the expected period of healing.”

Intractable pain has been defined as “a pain state in which the cause of pain cannot be removed or otherwise treated and which in the generally accepted course of medical practice no relief or cure of the cause of the pain is possible or none has been found after reasonable efforts that have been documented in the physician’s medical records.”

The definition for chronic pain is very unspecific. I can think of a number of medical conditions that could cause pain to last for months or years, but is then resolved sometime thereafter. As a gymnast, I remember having a pinched nerve in my back, the pain of which lasted for 6 months. Thankfully, the pain did go away. So, yes, using this definition, chronic pain can go away.

I think many chronic pain patients are using the first definition to describe their medical condition, when they should be using the second one for intractable pain. By the time many patients make their way to a pain management doctor, the pain has already become intractable.

There’s no cure for so many of the medical conditions that can cause chronic pain, which means patients should be describing their condition as intractable, not chronic — at least when it comes to pain.

There are many treatment options for a “chronic” pain patient, but there are very few for an “intractable” pain patient. Because drug war. And in case you’re wondering, no, intractable pain cannot go away.

Do you need to laugh?

For those who appreciate dark and insensitive comedy, I suggest the Netflix series created by Jim Jefferies called “Legit.” It’s based on his stand-up routines, so if you liked those, you’ll like this series.

Very few things make me laugh out loud, but this comedian was able to do it:

What do I see? Take a walk with me…





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Cool license plate.

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I also saw a bumper sticker that said:  “I’m Catholic and I vote.”


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Another cloudy sunrise.


It’s a bear riding a rocket (or a skateboard).


A rusted brand.

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A tiny, new friend.


My new friend is fast. Very fast.

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And he doesn’t like people.

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Expensive shoe on Sunday.


Expensive shoe on Tuesday.


Expensive shoes on Friday.


When my son was young and we were living in California, during one school year he lost 6 jackets. One day, I finally had to put him in one of my sweaters. I couldn’t afford to buy another jacket. Then I got a note from his teacher that said, please put him in a jacket that fits him because the sleeves are too long and get in his way.


I don’t know what this is, but I think the aliens put it here.

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May the weed(s) be with you.

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Last night’s sunset at Walmart.



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Rejoice, it’s Friday. Friday is the best day of the week. 🙂

“the state some months pays out more in corporate income taxes than it collects”

Ah, Republicans. Always complaining about deadbeats who can’t live within their financial means and live off the government, yet almost every Republican-run state has budget problems. And how do they fix their budget problems?

Falling tax revenues have left a $654 million hole in the state budget, and New Mexico lawmakers learned Wednesday that the reserve fund for day-to-day government operations is completely drained…

The Legislature is expected to convene next month in a special session in Santa Fe to transfer money to the operating budget from an account containing cash tobacco companies paid to settle a lawsuit…

The state government has done the same thing to money it’s made from the state’s medical cannabis industry (and patients) — sent the surplus to the general fund, while patients wait for months just to get a card because of a lack of staff.

Beyond patching 2016 spending, Martinez believes the budget for the 2017 fiscal year can be reset by cutting state agency spending. She has ordered a 5 percent budget reduction for departments under her control. Vacancy rates at many agencies, including the Corrections Department, already are at 20 percent…

The state Taxation and Revenue Department also reported that big data programs that analyze tax payments by companies are resulting in more refunds due to hundreds of tax credit laws on the books, and the state some months pays out more in corporate income taxes than it collects…

A town in Utah that was competing to serve as the home of a new Facebook data center announced Tuesday it is withdrawing from negotiations with a subsidiary of the tech firm, leaving Los Lunas as the last known candidate for the site.

In announcing an end to their bid in a news release Tuesday, officials in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Jordan cited opposition among state and local leaders to offering a package of property tax incentives to lure the Silicon Valley giant…

The facilities would house long rows of servers and hard drives that store and process vast quantities of highly secure information powering everything from online shopping to streaming movies. While the facilities are an increasingly important part of the global economy, such data centers function more like giant walk-in refrigerators for computers that generally require few people on the ground to keep them running…

Water emerged as a chief concern among Utah officials opposed to the project. Data centers are known to use large quantities of water to keep computer servers from overheating. Authorities in Utah bandied about estimates that the facility would require anywhere from 5 million gallons of water a day to less than 1 million gallons.

Los Lunas Mayor Charles Griego recently told The New Mexican he has seen data indicating the center would require far less water than the numbers reported by Utah news organizations. But Griego would not say what numbers he has seen for water usage at the proposed facility…

Hey, Mayor Griego, did you know we live in the desert?

I guess this state hasn’t learned the Intel lesson — a company that got generous tax breaks and is now a ghost of its former self. And so is the City of Rio Rancho, where Intel is located (but not for long).

Thinking of you, Victoria Martens

Lisa posted the story of Victoria Martens, a 10-year-old who was brutally murdered in Albuquerque:

In a statement, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) called the manner in which Victoria was killed “atrocious.”

“What happened to this little girl is unspeakable,” she said, according to media reports, “and justice should come down like a hammer on the monster who committed this murder.”

Governor Martinez (a former prosecutor and previous Democrat) has been making noise about bringing back the death penalty (for child killers and cop killers) even before Victoria Martens’ murder. I guess that’s the kind of talk Republicans want to hear.

Do you think if this state had the death penalty, Victoria Martens would still be alive?

If the death penalty really worked as a deterrent, I might be for it. But it doesn’t do anything except quench our thirst for revenge and cost a lot of money — just like making drugs illegal isn’t a deterrent to people using them and how the billions of dollars we’ve spent on the failed drug war has just been wasted.

Like in Victoria’s case, meth was involved here, too:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California couple wanted in connection with a woman’s killing and the kidnapping of her three children in the Los Angeles area were arrested Thursday in Colorado. 

Joshua Aaron Robertson, 27, and Brittany Humphrey, 22, were arrested without incident in Pueblo, about 40 miles south of Colorado Springs, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The couple was wanted in connection with the death of Humphrey’s half-sister, Kimberly Harvill, whose body was found with multiple gunshot wounds along a road in a remote area of Los Angeles County on Aug. 14.

Investigators said the couple kidnapped Harvill’s three young children, who were found safe Wednesday in a motel on the outskirts of Albuquerque. Humphrey is Harvill’s half-sister, and therefore the children’s aunt…

Harvill and her children had most recently lived in Fresno and were transitory, moving from motel to motel, sheriff’s Capt. Steve Katz said Wednesday, adding that they depended on panhandling to survive. Harvill was involved with methamphetamine, as were Humphrey and Robertson, Katz said.

The father of Harvill’s children, Kenneth Chad Watkins, killed himself by lying in front of a train last year, according to the Fresno County Coroner…

Three children, now without either parent. You have to wonder what these three kids will grow up to be.

See, Governor Martinez decapitated the mental health system in this state, falsely accusing a handful of providers of wrongdoings and refusing to pay them (in effect, closing them down). While these providers fought to clear their names, the governor gave contracts to out-of-state providers (paying back political promises) to replace them. I’ve read that a few of these out-of-state providers have already gone bankrupt, but I don’t know how many.

Which leaves patients without continuing mental health care, as well as having to deal with new providers, never an easy thing. What was Kenneth Chad Watkins being treated for before he gave up and committed suicide?

Statistics say that meth is even more popular than heroin in New Mexico (but not as popular as marijuana). I just read another study about the 17 states that have medical cannabis programs and how the amount of painkillers, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications have been substantially decreased in these states. But in New Mexico (as well as around the country), drug abuse and overdoses have increased.

I guess all the restrictions on my allergy medicine haven’t stopped the meth epidemic. The opioid war is obviously not stopping the heroin epidemic. Really, the DEA should be fired. Maybe Trump can take care of that.

The drug war isn’t the only reason that kids are being killed:

According to the Washington Post, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said McMorris killed the infant after discovering he wasn’t her biological father. A paternity test had confirmed that fact about three days before the baby was killed…