Friday, December 30, 2005

Public Repentance

I want to publicly repent for something I said last night to my dear wife, Kathleen, about her son, my stepson. It was cruel, cruel, cruel and I can't take it back. I could blame the brandy but I won't. I'm just a bastard and sometimes my remarks can be more cutting than a chain saw.

You always hurt the one you love, especially cooped up in Mexico for months with no respite. I have never spent as much extended time with any one person as I have with Kathleen; I think she is the only one who could put up with me. She's certainly the only one I could live with in close quarters every day and still smile at her face in the morning and be grateful for her sweet company. After six years I'm still desperately in love with her.

Propinquity can sometimes be a curse, however, and we don't take enough breaks from each other, ending up in a rut wondering what to do each day. But this is no excuse for the cruelty of Craig. I was trained by a master, my father, and I can't seem to entirely escape his training, especially when my judgment is impaired by demon rum, just as his often was. Now my poor darling's eyes are swollen and she wants nothing to do with me, for which I don't blame her.

I was evil, I was cruel, I was careless, I repent. I trust she will forgive me but I doubt that will be soon. Each wound we inflict on each other runs the risk of diminishing the love and trust we bear a little more, something I dread more than death. Her love is the greatest gift I have received in this life and I spit in its face last night. I don't deserve Kathleen.

"Pray for us sinners at the hour of our death."

In grief and repentance,


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Great New Year Sayings!

Some are stolen, some are original. The challenge is to cite the stolen.

I haven't given up on fame; fame has given up on me.

Katie phone Holmes.

Everybody talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.

Golf is a good walk spoiled.

The problem with this world is that there's too much me to go around.

Some people are so dumb I wouldn't tie my horse to them.

There are worse ways to get through a war than a quart of scotch a day.

Give me liberty or maybe I could trade it for increased security, invasion of privacy, and a pointless war?

Surgery kept me young, but alas, drugs aged me.

San Miguel, home of hip hip fractures, the largest outdoor mental asylum in the world: where half the people are on drugs and the other half should be on medications.

Just because I strangled my mother doesn't make me a bad guy.

The Ramones were great unti they went punk.

The only way to insult a pig is to eat it.

A good day is when you pull the sheet off your own face.

Lick Ass and Eat Crow are not Indian tribes but the surest way to corporate promotion.

The chief source of human conflict is that each of us expects others to be like ourselves and judge them accordingly, as in: "Why aren't you writing a fucking blog?"

Distracted from distraction by distraction.

For once, then, something.

It ain't over until the fat lady gets off you and you get paid.

A rut's just a grave with the ends kicked out.

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts then every day would be Christmas.

Let's keep the '$' in "$Mas!

The mantra of the uncommitted: "I'm not religious, I'm spiritual."

Better a eggs without bacon than a soldier without an -ism.

OJ: squeezed until innocent. .

Michael Jackson, also innocent, should be credited with expanding the concept of a petting zoo.

To a blind men we all look alike, to a deaf man we all sound alike; an aardvark does not notice us because we are not ants.

Alzheimer's? Fughedaboutit.

In the bad movie we call life I drink to keep other people out of focus.

If I were rich we wouldn't be doing this.

You catch more flies with heroin than honey.

Zippers for the impatient, buttons for the shy.

Every bee-bee gun should come with a dead sparrow.

Celebrity deprivation will be the new disease of the century.

Jews don't control Hollywood, their lawyers do.

To be saggy, bald and fat does not necessarily mean you're a baby-boomer, though the odds are good--if you're wearing diapers you might still be a WWII veteran! Too bad the generation that saved a continent could not save __________.

If you love something let it go; if it comes back, humiliate it.

All the wisdom for today,

C.E. Chaffin

p.s. "Give Dobey the Jaguar."

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Ravings from Mexico

It´s that time of year again, as opposed to that time of month, which affects fertile females under forty-five, roughly, and I do mean roughly-- though the implantation and successful pregnancy of a sixty-something Italian lady not long back did stretch the stretch marks of my nugatory obstetrics. Nugatory. Like that word? Amend your nescience and anoint it as your vocabulary word for the day, O idiot blogees!

They say you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, but at this time of year, there being no flies to darken my blog, I take the liberty of insulting my absent audience, the same kind of audience the Pope afforded me.

Chinga bells, chinga bells, chinga all the way!

(Best sung in a Mexican bar where the patrons are spoiling for a fight from cheap tequila.)

I do want to wish all you who are not reading this a very Merry Christmas and say to those who are,¨"Get a life!"

And no, I will not take the Christ out of Christmas just as I won´t take the spike out of egg nog nor the Shrike out of Hyperion (by Dan Simmons) Great book, btw, for a late Christmas gift; for non-fiction I always recommend Denial of Death by Ernest Becker, though this may be a bad time of year to market the notion, being concerned with nativity and all, but remember "In my beginning is my end" which adorns the container of Eliot´s ashes at East Coker, and was also the motto of Mary Queen of Scots, though I wonder if it´s just about sitting down to dinner.

We´re having a nice repast of smoked turkey tonight with our Mexican hosts, in whose rooms we´ve now stayed for over four months. (Yes, Virginia, we are paying customers.) Luckily I left my guitars and desktop computer with them else there would be more to recover from the dastardly maid who is extorting us for the rest of our stuff, still unreturned, her fat ass still not in jail--but it shall be, O it shall be, if my name isn't the Gringo Grinch!

Carlos, the dueno of the posada, is a very intelligent man who likes to torture Jehovah´s Witnesses and Mormons. After he twisted the Witnesses he now innocently asks his Mormon instructors how there could be steel, cows and horses in Mexico before the Conquistadores, as their holy book recounts. I think they reassure him that this land, second only to Egypt in archeology, just needs a few more lucky digs to prove the theory of the lost tribe of Nehi, who instead of promoting soda supposedly crossed Asia and the Pacific to make those cool pyramids.

Still, how can you not like Mormons? There´s over a million here in Mexico and more official temples than anywhere else but the US. They even admit now that their founder had faults, perhaps why he was taken out of jail and lynched, in part for sleeping with his follower's wives. The revolution may eat its children, but I guess that David Koresh gene has some survival value after all.

Funny how the rules never apply to the prophets. Even Mohammed changed the rules in the Koran, where he made an exception for himself in order to marry his daughter-in-law, a practice he had formerly forbidden. The Koran is even more boring than the Book of Mormon, btw, so I recommend neither for your Christmas reading list.

I wander far afield where no angels sing inside my head. Which reminds me of Aldous Huxley´s wonderful essay, "Wordsworth in the Tropics," where he rightly asserts that if Wordsworth had grown up in the Congo he would not have honored the benevolent God of the English countryside, rather bloodthirsty demons as did Mr. Kurtz.

"Mr Kurtz, he not dead. He live on in delusion of Iraq. He live on in Mormon missionary zeal."

Again, how can you not like Mormons, whose skinny ties always remind me of David Byrne of The Talking Heads? That short-sleeve-white-shirt-skinny-black-tie look "could never die while you´re near me." One Mexican convert here was quoted in the paper as saying that he first followed Mormon missionaries around because he was so impressed by their ties, which in this climate certainly qualifies as a miracle. How The Book of Mormon can explain horses is another question, but hey, when did faith depend upon facts? That only applies to historical religions like Christianity (sadly not to Neoconservatism).

Hey, I better lay off the Mormons here before the ghost of Joseph Smith lays on my wife. Wonder if he still has the golden plates or just a bridge? Dental work is cheaper down here, you know.

So again, for Christmas, another gift item is a ticket to Mexico for dental work. Mexicans have clever hands and make good dentists; just don't ask them to think diagnostically or they´ll make up a reason to save face. ¨"Yes, it was a chupacabra´s bite that ultimately deformed your wisdom teeth." I'm not kidding about this, as any of you who certainly did no read my link below to ¨"Dead-End Thinking" don´t know. If you say to someome in Mexico, "Yesterday I saw a green pterodactyl," they will receive the news as if you mentioned the weather. Everything here is simply believed. Which reminds me of a conversation I had with one of the lawyers I fired, though not for her faith.

"My parents are Christian," she explained with some trepidation.

"And you?" I asked.

"Oh no!" she exclaimed. "I´m Catholic. Those poor Christians only get Jesus while we have Mary and the angels and all the saints."

Hard to argue with the advantage of a spiritual smorgasbord. Mexican Catholicism truly skirts polytheistic idolatry, but then in the U.S. we have opinion polls, so what´s the difference?

Having said all I want to say and then some, I hope this Christmas note leaves you in fine spirits, or if a teetotaler, perhaps with a contact high. Wish you could smell my breath through the internet ether.

"I do, I do, I do believe in Christ! Just not in flying monkeys!"

Thine as ever,

Dr. Chaffin

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Wandering Mind Approaches Christmas

A wandering mind is a terrible thing to put shoes on.

Yesterday I found myself brushing my teeth while sitting on the throne. Never multi-tasked that one before. Which reminds me when I was peeing at MacDonald's once while drinking coke from a straw. The symmetry astounded me.

I hate to be disappointed, so here's a short Christmas list:

For George Bush, a wife smarter than he.

For Dick Cheney, a lesbian daughter who gives him some undeserved credence with the left.

For John Ashcroft, Tommy Chong sent to prison for an obscure, ten-year old law never tried before.

For carpetbagger Hillary Clinton, a new shift to biblical values.

For John Kerry, a bunch of murky medals.

For Andy Rooney, abstention from Botox.

For Conan O'Brien and Lyle Lovett, big hair.

For Bill Frist, the hochmut to think himself a neurospychiatrist, expert in Schiavotology, instead of the lowly heart surgeon he is.

For Americans, to continue freely giving away the rights their forefathers bled for in exchange for an empty promise of security against a foe who can never be stopped.

For all young female celebrities: lots of preggie talk.

For aging female celebrities: more Botox.

For Brad Pitt: bad hair.

For all Hollywood: bad hair, known in LA as the "urban survivor" look.

For the Simpsons: that Maggie never talks.

For Paul McCartney: no hit song.

For eminent domain: more strip malls.

For Rachel and Jacob, red hair; for Keturah, determination; for Sarah, more starring roles in theater.

For Howard and Elisa, lots of money!

For Dobey, lots of indecision and obsession and good people skills.

For Chris, exquisite taste.

For Elvis and Gidget, long hair.

I'll stop there and take a breath, seeing as how I went from celebrities to immediate family.

But I think all the Christmas wishes above will surely be granted.

Now about my blood pressure: the doctor treating me here, who cannot be myself as my insurance company rules (even if I am the only competent doctor in San Miguel), has me on a beta-blocker and a diuretic--with some success--and my mood seems to have notched up a bit since BP control has been better. Then beta blockers do make me sleep more and worry less, though they have also induced depression in the past. Then I have my trusty Lamictal. And my appetite has been outstanding. Despite this my jeans still fit by sliding under my pot belly. I don't wear a belt because my lumbar spine hurts too much, so my fashion is to tie a scarf between two loops of my pants to tighten the waist beneath the spare tire.

Face it, ladies and germs; as we age it's not the weight, it's the gravity and the sagging skin. Anyone seen Jack LaLane lately? Not even the original juice man can escape. And trust me, as a doctor, I have rarely seen a young women with flawless skin from head to toe--always some blemish or secret pocket of seborrhea or cellulite.

C'mon, people, give up on People and Hollywood and all the stick-figure nonsense ideal of health. Feel good, look good. Quality not marketability. (Then I have two brothers in advertising for which such advice must be anathema.)

And how am I doing? As if you care! I'm burned out on writing about Eliot; must re-group before the final issue of Melic. I consult with patients here out of the goodness of my heart, but never knew before that an 80-yr-old wheelchair-bound by Myasthenia Gravis would have a mind flexible enough to make psychotherapy and hypnosis worth doing.

As my insurance company knows, in these charitable endeavors, it is my sitting limit of two hours that trumps my employability as a physician, except as a courtier lying on a velvet couch. "Peel me a grape, Principal Financial." This is why I have to write fast during my alloted two hours, as I just wrote this in fifteen minutes. I can write a decent sonnet in fifteen minutes. I bless my verbally talented parents!

Deceased, I hope they read this, though I'm told the dead are a tough audience except here in Mexico where they are party animals. "Folded into a single party," as Eliot wrote.

Any Hortonhearsahoo, Merry CHRISTmas! (I did that for Hillary) to all my blogees!

CE aka Dr. Diego

p.s. My poetry is quoted in a new antropology text for bipolar culture being published by Princeton Press. Can fame be far away? Harummph!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Plethora of Exciting Links!

First, some nuts and bolts. I've changed the settings here so you shouldn't have to create your own blog to post a comment. Also there is a verification requirement to type a few letters in order to prevent spam.

Now back to Mexico. Some of you may not know that I've written a number of cross-cultural columns on this magical land for various journals. Here are some links. I tried to make them click-on links in this blog format with no success, so if your computer is like mine you'll have to go to all that work of copying and pasting the sites in--apologies in extremus!

"Escape from LA"

"Yes We Have No Bananas"

"Dead-End Thinking"

"Borges on Basketball"
(one of the best things I've written)

"The Doctor and Dysentery"

"From the Land of Burros but No Asses"
(Probably the funniest, written by my alter ego, Dweebler Cramden, "The Gigolosaurus.") Here's an excerpt:

"Now for Mexican women, most of whom are mestizos of mixed Indian and Spanish descent. It’s a sad, sad fact, but Mexico should be known as the land of flat asses. Pancake keisters. Nalgas de tortillas!

The more Indian blood in a woman here, the more likely it is that properly heated, her posterior could iron my dress shirts without leaving a single crease. Most mujeras are built squarely and carry weight in their bellies and limbs without an extra ounce to donate to that great hemisphere of feminine supremacy, as typified by Serena Williams, whose marvelous plum adorns the American sports pages. I don’t know if she’s an athlete in bed, and though a little anorexic, I’d take her if she’d have me, though we might require a few extra pillows.

I have several theories to explain the tortilla butt of the average Mexican woman. Chief among them is the fact that I have yet to see, much less sit upon, a cushiony chair or couch since coming here.

I had some new publications to promote, but this blogging software stole it away. Besides I've already inundated you above with over 10,000 words of links, but I promise, with a blog-back guarantee, that if you read all of them you will laugh out loud at least three times.

Hostage in Kafka's Mexico,


Friday, December 09, 2005

I Grow Old

And how should I presume? And how should I begin?

"I grow old, I grow old,
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled."

Actually I only wear jeans. My good clothes are being held for ransom by our former maid, as any of you know who've troubled to read this saga. But age, age, yes--these last two years have aged me precipitously. I have developed high blood pressure. When we got back to Mexico last December with only a liter of gas and five pesos, my pressure was 190/110. As BP meds are over-the-counter here, I have tried Cardizem and Zestril with varied success, but I know I need to stop drinking altogether as that is my highest factor. When I give up drinking the only drug left to me will be caffeine. Thus I'll end up like all my Nordic relatives in Minnesota, who invariably ask for coffee at cocktail hour. Our own Chaffin family tradition is to get "half in the bag" at cocktail hour and then decide whether to exercise the "full bag" option later, which our father frequently did. To find him early in the morning curled up in a fetal position always seemed so strange--that such a large and loud man could look so much like an infant. But "The child is the father to the man."

The newest delay in our court case was explained to me yesterday: The civil judge did not know what felony to charge, so he passed the case on to the criminal judge, who increased the felony charge to "extortion," which carries a mandatory prison sentence. Now we wait for the maize-grinding wheels of justice to slouch toward Bethlehem. And as good Christians, Kathleen suggested we visit Maria in prison, if we stay that long.

I did give up drinking for five years around age 40. In looking back I don't think my life was any better or worse, though my health was. And I was definitely less social during that time.

To give you an idea of how I've transitioned into old age, I was playing chess with a friend last night and we were comparing blood pressures with different machines. He's a 65-yr-old former dentist who claims his frequent use of herbal smoke keeps his pressure down; I told him he'd smoke it even if he didn't have a BP problem, but that he sure has a good excuse.

If I play chess and compare blood pressure with my friends, can shuffle board and feeding pigeons be far behind? Then diapers would be a convenience, as I wouldn't have to get up at night. When I stop drinking maybe I won't have to--at least for a while. And I, too, would someday like to terrorize shopping aisles with my souped-up electric wheelchair--my, those hot-rodding chairbound geezers are a public menace!

"Thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season,"

Thine if you'll have me,


Saturday, December 03, 2005

Dog Days

Nothing is more boring than waiting around in interminable uncertainty. On Dec. 11 we will have been here four months, when we only came for a week. We now have the best-connected lawyers in town and the case is in a judge's hands, but there is some question of exactly what felony our maid is guilty of, since the stuff is at her house. I should think kidnapping sufficient, but it's Mexico, and here, more than the U.S., one's home is one's castle.

I stay busy answering psychiatric needs of various folks, finishing my book on Eliot, editing the last issue of The Melic Review, singing in the choir and attending church, and playing some music here and there. "Bloom where you're planted" as they say. Trouble is, we're not planted. I don't know if I'll be here next week! This discourages me from extroverted behavior, though I know I must strive harder for involvement than I have.

Kathleen has been much more isolated. We go out to eat, usually once a day, and she sees acquaintances at our usual haunts but as you know, she can't use the phone, and her friends say "call me" unthinkingly. She had several good friends here at one time, but things change, people get into their own shit--wait, everyone's always into their own shit except for exceptional humans--and so it goes, Billy Pilgrim. Kathleen reads close to a book a day. And she is helping me edit my long essay on Four Quartets.

As for humor, our son, who sleeps in our van, was especially frisky this morning. I correctly surmised he'd been physically serviced the night before after a long draught. Although he attends church with us for reasons unknown, he is not a Christian, therefore fornication is no sin for him. But given my experience with church youth, avoiding fornication has long been deserted as a standard anyway.

Hell, I was a virgin when I got married the first time, and that was my worst marriage. But we shouldn't judge standards by results. It does, however, bug me that the only deacon at our church parades around town with his younger Mexican boyfriend, as the entire Anglican Communion, except for New Hampshire, is opposed to such shenanigans among the sacerdotal ranks. Nevertheless, when he serves me communion I don't scream "FAG!" God uses him like everyone else. It isn't any antipathy on my part, just the feeling that without standards there would be no religion, as there would be no need for forgiveness.

This philosophical tendency in myself and my writing is likely the reason I was a virgin when I got married. In high school I used to bore my dates with discussions of Goethe and Nietzsche instead of telling them how lovely their eyes were. Then I was a pizza-faced geek in any case, but as they say, sometimes even a blind pig finds an acorn.

So here we are, "suspended between pole and tropic," awaiting the slow wheels of Mexican justice to free Kathleen's beloved service dog, Kenyon. We are bored out of our minds, truly. Our apartment abuts a main bus line that turns our lungs into diesel bags. The menu at the posada is so limited we've begun to eat cup of noodles for relief. We buy cheap brandy and mix it with apple soda at night and fade into TV Land; unfortunately, only rarely do we get English captions, which tries Kathleen to no end. Just yesterday I found out our host has a DVD player. But I'm too bored to go to Blockbuster. Maybe I'll get the energy up tomorrow. Who knows?

Meanwhile, keep those cards and e-mails coming to

Anything new is great. My sister sent a hilariouis link to an e-bay sale of leather pants. Maybe I can find the link.

What do I have for e-bay? Nothing; our former maid has it all. May she burn in hell like an Aztec sacrifice that was burned before having its living heart excised. Then she's so fat, they'll probably need a machete and a wheelbarrow.

As a good Christian I don't actually mean the above, but I do have feelings. "Prick me, do I not bleed?" Damn straight. (Wish the deacon was, too.)

Your ever faithful literary doctor,

C. E. Chaffin

Friday, November 18, 2005

New Lawyers Bring Hope?

Hey, blogees. I fired our lawyer Wednesday and hired some lawyers with juice; one is the brother of the mayor, one has a grandfather on the supreme court and a nephew in congress. I don't know which of these politicos I'm supposed to pay but I think it's the nephew in congress since he controls funding to the local ministries.

Anyway, the mayor's brother marched me into the DA's office Wednesday, and as he had some goods on him, the man immediately called his subordinates to get our damn case to a judge. Then in Mexico one never knows if such things are theater to save face or actually happening. But it felt good!

On Wednesday Derek also had to make a statment about the supposed break-in; the public attroney and our attorney (before I fired her) both advised him to say nothing. You can take the 5th in Mexico, too. So the authorities badgered him for two hours and he stuck to his guns, God bless him. "My lawyer told me to say nothing," he kept saying, as they prodded him with questions, unable to believe that's exactly what he'd do.

Funnier was my forty-minute session with the chief adminstrator of the Ministerio Publico. I brought placards in Spanish declaring, "No justice for Americans in Mexico," and, "The government knows the name and address of our dog's kidnapper but hasn't done a thing!" into the entrance hall.

I sat there as all the bureaucrats passed and read the signs. The administrator was soon summoned, and summoned me upstairs, obviously flummoxed by my action. "It just isn't done," he said. "It's not our fault, we're just trying to help you." "We're just a small part of the process."

And I: "But you are part of the government, aren't you? And doesn't Mexico have free speech? Are you going to arrest me?"

"You don't understand--it's just not done here, it won't help."

"If it won't help how come I'm getting all this personal attention from your honor?"

"I'm trying to explain how it is."

"That I can't do it?"

"Not exactly, but there may be a federal law forbidding non-citizens from protesting publicly."

"Really? So the Federales are coming after me and my butt's going to rot in jail?"

"I didn't say that."

"You got kids?"


"If ten weeks passed after one were kidnapped and nothing was done, how would you feel?

"That's not the same! We're talking about a pet here!"

"No, were talking about a service dog, which Mexicans don't understand, as they treat their dogs like furry alarm clocks."


"Guard dogs, underfed and full of worms. You do worm your kids, don't you?"


"BTW, is the public lawyer here to talk with me as we arranged?"

"No, he had to leave on an emergency."

(Right: Mexico is full of emergencies.)

"Ok, why didn't you tell me instead of wasting forty minutes of my time. I'm a doctor, I'll send you my bill."

And with that I left the king of dead-end thinking confused, wondering why gringos are so crazy. I did something no one had done before and no one is likely to do again. But ah, the pleasure of it. How I enjoyed my Socratic ignorance. He could never wrap his brain around mine, poor concrete-thinking culturally rigid unimaginative Kafkaesque functionary!

All for today,


Monday, November 14, 2005

Death by Lawyers

It's come to this: Kathleen has had recurrent bouts of depression over her hearing-ear dog being locked away less than half a block from where we're staying.

Last week while I was sleeping she underestimated her rum intake, went outside, roused Derek from our van where he sleeps, and together they tried to break in to the place-- only to have the evil son of our former maid slam the door on Derek's now blue fingernails.


Afterwards the police picked them up and impounded the van.

I woke with my wife, car, stepson and some money missing.

As this was not the first time Kathleen had... err... indulged in an adventure, I didn't panic, I just stayed home and waited. The police called near 2PM; I had them bailed out by 4.

They were more afraid of seeing my face than being in jail. ;-) I was briefly angry but could not stay angry long. I saw that the health of my family was more important than our dog, my manuscripts, or my folder of two hundred or so original songs. So we hope to transfer power of attorney to our friend Carlos and bail, and if I have to come back, I will, by plane or train or automobile-- some day.

Yet, as luck wouldn't have it, our attorney informed us that we cannot transfer power of attorney without obtaining a new FM 3, or resident visa, for which they charged us 4000 pesos to cancel (we were a month late) when we crossed the border. This will take more time, more fees, photos, paperwork-- the usual bureaucracy from Kafka Hell experience. But we shall endure.

Our case, by the way, after two months, is right back where it started, with the investigators. The prosecutors sent it back twice because some detail was missing or some form out of order. Mexicans love to have their paperwork right, then never look at it again, in my experience.

I'm up to 30,000 words in my essay on Eliot's Four Quartets, just two movements from the finish, and I'm becoming a bit peevish with him. Must be overexposure. When he tells us in "Little Gidding" that the self and its attachments both vanish and are forgotten, I ask: "Then why should I read the forgotten attachments of your vanished self, Mr. Eliot?" Grrr....

Anyway, though embarrassed, Kathleen and Derek are fine.

"Pray for us sinners at the hour of our death" (by the hands of Mexican lawyers).

Gotta sign off now and consult another lawyer.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Why My Blog Is a Failure

Here in Mexico at the Bagel Cafe I found a copy of Time with a page of tips on how to have a successful blog. I have followed none of them.

First, you need a lot of links to other blogs and sites and topics to make the search engines.

Second, you need to stay on one topic.

So, a man goes into a blog and asks for some ink.

"We don't serve ink."

"How 'bout some paper?"


"All right, give me pixels on ice."

"We only serve pixels neat."


This passes for humor? Not! I just made it up out of a bad pun. I apologize if you read it.

Who reads this crap, anyway? Gotta stay on one topic... hmmm.....

My one consistent topic is going be well-considered, factually researched and currently hot.

To pic from so many topics--ouch! Yet I have chosen one, the one you're dying to hear about.

My topic, thus, is you. My blog is entirely devoted to you.

How are you? What are your worries? Money, weight, relationships, illness? E-mail me your troubles or bravely post them here.

By the way, Dear Abby died and her daughter's doing the column. I'm so much better qualified! Not only am I a family doctor, I trained in psychiatry.

You can't afford my help. But soon I'll publish my PayPal account.

What's free advice worth, anyway?

Still, my topic is you and your health and happiness.

Ask me anything.

Why just yesterday a man complained to me that his wife thought she was a refrigerator.

I said, "So what?"

He said, "I wouldn't mind but when she sleeps with her mouth open the light keeps me up."

This passes for wit? Not! I stole the joke from some movie I can't remember.

I'm forgetting more and more these days as my hard drive is full and every new memory must replace an old one--like the etomology of aardvark (Dutch for earth pig). Why should this fact remain in my head when I've forgotten my niece and nephew's birthdays? (Sorry, Jack and Gilly)

This blog affords me the opportunity to stay on topic and talk about you.

You, hypocrite lecteur! Mon semblable, mon frere!


CE, the Failed Blogger

p.s. There's a picture up of me now for the brave of heart.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Daily Briefing

Would you trust a Chief of Staff named Scooter Libby? Sounds like a minor character from the Andy Griffith show. And his last name is the first name of my first wife, ecch!

To more serious matters, if I can seriously engage you in a serious discussion about seriousness, which should be taken seriously and by no means should be subjected to any superficial dismissals of its abiding importance, which I herewith most seriously aver, confirm, and opine.

To speak seriously is to speak from the mind and heart and balls, but as I am incapable of Matthew Arnold's "high seriousness" (which is why Milton and Wordsworth bore me), I shall likely remain a very minor poet with a very good sense of humor, however dark my humor may be--which may mean I should be taken seriously for my dark humor.

How dark is my humor? I find death exceedingly funny. Though a Christian I even mock God. Why? Because the Bible says, "Be not deceived, for God is not mocked." If God cannot be mocked I cannot mock him, therefore am committing no sin. My chief complaint of God is that he has much too much faith in us, as if he's gambling our fate on drawing to an inside straight.

My poor hypochondriacal daughter, Rachel, used to ask me when growing up what this or that bump or pain meant. As a doctor, and with a straight face, I would say: "I think it's cancer, dear." Afterward she'd yell at me. So I afflicted my very own spawn with my dark humor.

Seriously, while some rise by their gravity I seeme to sink by my levity. (I stole that line from a curate standing futilely under the miter-tree).

Now, if you'll just bear with me, I'll come up with some truly serious comments as a challenge to my basic flippancy.

On Iraq:

We cannot leave Iraq now or the future troops who die will be robbed of the honor of not dying in vain, like the heroic Halliburton chess pieces that have gone before. How could we deprive them of this honor? It's simply unpatriotic. We must stay the course in order that more may die to prove others did not die in vain, though I have not come up with a precise number yet--I leave that to the Pentagon. (I stole this basic idea from Doonesbury).

Nevertheless, I did write a serious poem about the Vietnam Memorial, which I'll paste in below to prove I can be serious to all serious doubters of my seriousness.

At the Vietnam War Memorial

Black granite stretches its harsh, tapering wings
up to pedestrian-level grass but sucks me
down, here, at the intersection of names.
I forgive, I must, though I wish something
could heal this gash in the earth.

Behold, all theorists, the price of theory:
extreme unction by napalm and blood,
buried whole or in pieces.
The VA grants prostheses
but not minds free of horror.

In jungles tumescent, through villages
of straw, by the Mekong where catfish
sleep in mud-heaven, we tramped,
disarmed mines and flushed tunnels,
shot women and children for potential collaboration,
smoked Thai-stick until stuporous
and still the sound of Charlie
played on every frond.

Beat against this polished rock, America,
this vast projective surface for your sins,
wear your heart out. It's not how many died
but that they died in vain, achieving
nothing except our grief for them.

It's said you cannot write a good poem
until recollected in tranquility.
Let this be a bad poem, bad as the war,
dividing author from reader and reader from page.
Let it drive a wedge between fathers and sons:
let fathers mistake rebellion for disloyalty,
let sons mistake honor for stupidity,
let senators mistake appropriation for commitment,
let mothers confuse waste with sacrifice,
let sisters turn to prostitution to forget,

Let teachers suicide in public in partial recompense,
let preachers castrate themselves for passive assent,
let everything in America that breathes
hang its head in irrefragable shame.
Here is the legacy of your assumptions,
here the necropolis of your dark-suited wisdom:
A city set in a pit cannot be hid..

(published in the Adirondack Review)

Now go have a drink and consider writing a letter to your congressman to get the hell out of Iraq and let the civil war begin until another strongman restores order.

Doesn't anybody at Foggy Bottom read history? I guess they're more interested in writing it.

Seriously Thine,

C. E. Chaffin

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Great Comments!

As you can see below, my blog generates many unselfish comments, witness the two appended to yesterday's note:

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3:41 PM

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So, the commercial engines are already out there, hawking cookies and movies and camcorders on other folks' blogs, and human contact decreases--or should I say machine-human interaction increases?

Yes, I do have the option to limit comment on this blog by selecting a filter, but I won't. Comments by self-promoting software are better than silence.

And to think these programs care more to comment than my own friends and family!

Hey, I'm not proud, I'll take what I can get.

I mean, I didn't complain when I ordered a garlic bagel today and they brought me something else. I did cuss at a woman who cut in line at the U.S. Consulate, however, only to discover she didn't speak English. I assumed she did because she looked like a norteamericano. Afterwards she explained in Spanish and I apologized. But I think some English speakers in the neighborhood gained a new respect for me.

I am so bored. So, so bored. How bored? Look at what I've written. We are here in San Miguel against our will; our lawyer's number was busy today, as were our friends'; I did, however, receive a package from daughter #2 today which I have yet to open, my first birthday gift, I presume. Keturah is such a trooper, real Erickson blood. But if I open the package, what can I look forward to? Another Astros loss tonight?

Maybe I'll end this note with a stream-of-consciousness attempt:

Woe unto the disenfranchised sons of lost time dwelling in the dust of Guanajuato where the silverfish thrive and the eagles are brown, where the parasites are many and the clean water scarce, where sugar skulls are sold to honor the dead and promote Mexican dentists, of which there are too many, but this is hardly streamofconsciousness as I planned-- magnolia butter on a half shell shrimp barbacoated in delicious bacterial membrane lifted from the remains, remains of the day, day of the remains, Day of the Dead, we're all dead and dying, frying, trying to get inside our own heads, blank chambers without bullets, hot lead injection in the medulla oblongata, whatyougotta, Jake LaMotta, middleweights, featherweights, feathers of Quetzacoatl hanging from my unclipped nose, colorful nosehairs, the candy-colored clown they call the sandman.




Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Late Night Movies

Hey blogees!

Last night I watched two movies: first, "Everyday Lives" (Robert Altman), which I'd never made it through before but really enjoyed. Kathleen even turned the light off to desert her latest novel and watch the Spanish captions because she liked it so much.

Unfortunately I had a depressive dream later, haunted by that horrible red-headed singer who featured so prominently in Altman's movie, though she would have been equally at home with David Lynch. Perhaps she reminded me of my first wife, who knows? But depressive dreams are no fun and are always a warning of the storm to come, and it scares me because my meds are already pretty much maximized.

Anyway, the horrible husky-voiced cigarette-smoking narcissist supposed jazz singer is all I remember now from the depressive dream. When it woke me in the night I took half a Zyprexa and watched TV until I fell asleep, and Lo and behold!-- I watched another movie with Roy Scheider and Olympia Dukakis I had never seen, one that reminded me very much of "Mosquito Coast," a movie that came highly recommended from my sibs (long ago) in view of the family illness.

In the movie a long absent father returns and turns his wife and family of adult children into a survivalist cult until they see through him. Interesting if not outstanding, only because it's another study in a crazy but well-meaning father.

We're getting close to the point of simply bailing here and giving a friend power of attorney to recoup our stuff, it's just the dog that's the sticking point, don't want to leave without him... may have to... and I don't want to return... may have to... can't hold out much longer.

Kathleen and I had margaritas and ceviche and shrimp cocktails for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants here, curiously named "El Viking." Must be for the seafood, though there are plenty of flies, as well as two hairless dogs who live on the roof, the very kind the Aztecs used to eat. Why we order seafood there.

All the retirees here are simply extreme. Beware of people who can do what they want, like the idle rich. They may try to make CDs or bar-hop only to find you and bore you, or focus on conspiracy theories, or make everyone call them "Colonel," or claim to be ex-wives of Greek shipping magnates, to name but a few types.

All for today (in a light vein, I hope).

And don't forget your flu shots!


C. E. Chaffin

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Zombies and Kilometers

I started this blog because I had to--just to post at another friend's blog, the usual pyramid scheme for mailing lists and advertisers.

If you go back to the archives of this blog's beginnings you may notice I began with an attempt at humorous essays (with my signature yoking of implausible connections in a myriad of subjects, ancient and contemporary). I liked "Neulasta in My Pasta" a great deal, for instance.

The blog then degenerated into an autobiographical account of our newest troubles in Mexico and our struggle to return to the states.

I called our lawyer today, and of course, she might know something manana.

My birthday, described below, is one to envy I'm sure.

I don't know which is worse sometimes; the disease or the cure.

But as my father was fond of saying, "None of us are going to get out of this alive."

Except Coleridge and zombie fans might argue, the living dead.

And there are many busy dying and not being born.

"Oh how I don't want to be in their number."

And I have kilometers to go before I sleep.

Just a note for today.


Craig Chaffin M.D. FAAFP
Editor, The Melic Review
Doctor-at-large to Gringos who suffer from the treatment of Mexican doctors and all-around nice guy and choir boy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Happy Birthday

To me!

Keep those cards and letters coming.

If it's not about me I don't want to hear it.

(The problem with this world is that there's too much "me" to go around.)

At 51 I'm almost playing with a full deck!

I spent my birthday, yesterday, in bed with intestinal problems, took the cure for amoebas and salmonella, couldn't drink much because of it.

Still off cigs!

I watched a lot of TV yesterday because I wasn't feeling well, but God was good. I got to see three Law and Order episodes, one which I hadn't seen before, two that I had perhaps seen only once. And I fell asleep during The Fugitive. That's good viewing on Mexican basic cable.

My faithful Kathleen spent the day with me.

No epiphanies save slight nausea and a fullness in my abdomen and that I hate Mexico. But you knew that.

Just de-wormed myself a few weeks ago, hope I don't need that again.

I have to take more medicines for parasites than a dog.

Thanks, daughters and friends, for the nice e-cards. I especially like Rachel's, wherein she correctly identified me as the black sheep of the family.

If your life is so boring you stopped to read this, well, what can I say?

"Keep coming back!" as in AA.

Soberly Thine,

Dr. Chaffin, aging neophyte

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Mexican Justice

The oxymoronic title is only a loss leader.

Yet the wheels of justice do move slow, though I think no more slowly than the wheels that have long come off the American system.

I met with our lawyer yesterday, and she told me that now the investigative portion of the case had been completed, similar to an indictment, and the case will be given to the prosecutorial branch, which has three days to review it before she will start pestering them.

On another note, I have been a friend and occasional doctor to a number of folks here, one of whom just died of lung cancer and whose wake we will be attending today at Finnegan's. Yes, in San Miguel there are Irish Bars, German Bars, even two Sushi bars. (Not to mention chocolate bars and bars to progress.)

Today I'd like to thank Brother Chris for his encouraging message and daughter Keturah for my first e-birthday card.

Hard to make jokes about cancer and the dead. I was the lucky guy he went to to ask the inevitable question, "How long do I got, Doc?" Munching my carrot, per usual I was overly optimistic for obvious psychological reasons, though I urged him to get his affairs in order.

The late Jim Bolen was a smart, generous man and a good friend I wish I'd known longer. He was a retired decorator from San Francisco who overcame the stigma of his heterosexuality to succeed in a very competitive field.

And a non-smoker. Yeah, death's a lottery, all right.

And as my younger brother said, "It seems to run in our family." (I fear us Chaffins will certainly die of terminal uniqueness some day.)

On a happier note, I still have the most hair of my brothers and have achieved somewhat of a backwards comb-over, kind of like Jack Nicholson when he was younger--not the horrible side-parted variety. This is what passe for achievement in my life?

Off to the wake. In Mexico the dead are happiest, and they are still with us. In fact, their special day comes up Nov. 1, when the Mayans actually disinter their ancestors and clean their bones with brushes while having a picnic. One of the things I like about Mexico. Who's gonna brush my bones when I am gone? I think that might make a good country song.



Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Brief Update

Brief because the damn computer already ate my long blog entry for today.

The dog was not returned Monday. Kathleen wept mightily but recovered, even though we told each other It's Mexico beforehand so as not to get our hopes up.

Her eyes are still a little puffy but she certainly deserved a good cry.

I did, however, get a favorable child support ruling for our youngest, Sarah, today, as she has moved in with her sister, Keturah, in Long Beach, so my first ex- is not longer entitled to any money! Whoo hoo! (I participated long distance by phone like the disembodied voice of Darth Vadar.)

Meanwhile the Mexican prosecutor is supposedly issuing a warrant today for our evil former maid's arrest. She's hard to miss at 5', 210 lbs., with the face of a monkey, kind of like them flyin' monkeys in The Wizard of Oz that used to scare us as kids.

Thanks Val, Sharon, Elisa and Teresa for your encouraging letters!

I've had to cut back on my new antidepressant regimen because I felt myself transitioning to hypomania last night and today. Seductive illness, this manic-depression. And if my disability insurance company is reading this blog, rest assured I am not treating myself but following Dr. Craig Ross's express instructions.

I'm 10,000 words into my last essay in my series on Eliot, regarding Four Quartets. The previous essays can be found at for anyone interested. I should have a book-length manuscript when I'm done, then hope to find an academic publisher.

Thine as ever,


p.s. My birthday is October 17 if anyone wants to send me an e-card!

The Never-Ending Story

Well, well, well.

The dog was not returned Monday. Instead Maria moved it somewhere else, so that we can no longer comfort the poor puppy with treats and paw rubs under the high, solid steel doors of his prison not far from our digs. Of course, Kathleen wept Monday night and there was no cheering her. I had told her not to get her hopes up because "It's Mexico;" she had told herself the same, but hell, she deserved a good cry-- she's been separated from her hearing-ear dog for nine months and counting. Hell, that's term gestation for human grief!

With pressure from my private lawyer, the prosecutor promised to issue a warrant for Maria's arrest today. They even joked together that she would be hard to miss, since I estimate her cuerpo at 5', 210 lbs. Supposedly this should bring our case up on the judge's docket more swiftly, but It's Mexico.

Thanks for all the encouraging e-mails from Elisa, Valerie, Teresa and Sharon. It's much easier to hit the button and e-mail me below than have to register for your own blog.

I was slightly hypomanic last night and today, so accordingly reduced my antidepressant regimen this morning and am not moving as fast as I was. The key to this illness is balance. Being a Libra, this is the task God has appointed me (in this life) through Nancy Reagan's astrologer. (My 51st birthday is October 17 for any interested. You can always send me an e-card!) I suppose Bush must have direct access or at least an e-mail address for the Big Guy. And certainly our president is a living example of Christ's forgiveness.

Myself, I remain a fan of Henry Kissinger and Realpolitik. Foreign policy isn't, cannot be about morality, rather the balance of power and trade between competing selfish nations (see Machiavelli and Adam Smith, it's all in there).

Then, as some said to me about becoming a doctor, "Who would want to be president?"

Oh well, the alternative, Gore or Kerry (apologies to all my Democratic friends), might not have been any better.
My only question for Bush is whether or not he can achieve President Carter's great watermark: Stagflation and national malaise!

I'll sign off now to go root for the Astros and Angels.

Thanks for all your support!

BTW, I'm 10,000 words into my essay on T.S. Eliots Four Quartets as of today, and expect to reach 20,000, which will complete a book-length critique of Eliot's poems that someday, if I put my mind to it, might be published in book form. You can read all my previous essays on Eliot at

Thine in Truth and Art,

C. E. Chaffin

p.s. My 51st birthday is October 17 for any interested. You can always send me an e-card!

Monday, October 10, 2005

More on dognapping; Slamming Mexico!

Dear Coterie of Continual Fans,

Yes, following my emergency therapy for acute depression I am nearly officially out of it, though the ground remains a little thin under my feet.

Dr. Paul Tournier once wrote that "The tragedy of modern medicine is the fact that patients often get better before they understand the meaning of their illness."

I couldn't disagree more. Biological depression should always be treated as an emergency and stamped out like a cockroach.

The good news is that Kathleen's hearing mold arrived, courtesy of sister Elisa, and upon attaching said apparatus to her external ear, her first remark was: "God, the world is so noisy! Imagine the solitude of the deaf. It could at times be blissful, I suppose. But I'm so happy that she can hear me now when I tell her I think she's cheating at rummy. (Rummy?)

Another piece of good news is that armed with two private lawyers the ADA folded and the police finally forced our former maid, Maria, to open her house for inspection. Our list of possessions was confirmed. The ADA then called Maria and insisted she return Kathleen's hearing-ear dog, Kenyon, today. Some personal possessions may follow in a week or two and then, perhaps, we can finally be free of the clutches of Mexico which has been holding on to my ass like the jumping cholla cactus or the dreaded prickly Mesquite.

Bad place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.

Then I'm in central, not coastal, Mexico. I did like Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. Don't know how long I could take it there, though.

Come to San Miguel de Allende if you want:

1) Terrible smog, traffic congestion, and lethal diesel fumes from unregulated buses.

2) Theft of anything not tied down.

3) Constant attack of amoebas, worms and toxic bacteria, endemic to the area, and spread mainly by the fecal-oral route. Since some are also in the l0cal water supply, washing your hands is not sufficient, and amoebic cysts can live for days on a bus rail. We carry alcoh0l-iodine gel around and I refuse to shake hands with any0ne, including Gringos, instead rapping knuckles as I say: "No amoebas."

4) Worse Mexican food than you can get in LA. Haven't had a decent tamale or taco yet, though the carnitas are good.

5) Rapidly inflating house prices and prices of pricey goods due to the invasion of North Americans, now at least 10% of the population here, mostly retired but still functioning alcoholics, the women of which have gotten cheap face lifts. Call Madame Trousseau.

6) A surrounding ecosystem practically devoid of animal life save birds; I think the Mexicans have eaten everything, though I have seen one lizard and a turtle in over 2 years. Also the mixed catcus-scrub-mesquite flora lacks any verticality; when I visit San Diego even am so relieved by the trees--not to mention the lack of dust and the clean air.

7) The literalism and concrete thinking of the natives, as well as the pretentions to art by retired Gringos who suddenly think they can paint or perform as they pay for classes by other equally inept artists. I try to be polite but wish I could shout: You all suck, suck, suck! (As artists, I mean, not persons.)

Then the booze is cheap--except our favorite form, wine, which is overpriced, and some of the women are beautifully exotic.

I may plaster these points on walls here before exiting.

I've been off cigarettes 40 days and Kathleen for near 20. God bless America and invisible Doonesbury Centurion President Shrub!

My my, if we pull out now we will have wasted all those lives. So let's stay for years than more will not have died in vain.

Thine as ever, over and out,

C. E. Chaffin

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Yes, the black cloud of clinical depression has finally descended on me after a year-and-a-half of bad luck. I know from experience that once my brain chemistry is adequately adjusted, my wife's dear face will look familiar to me again, but one symptom of depression is derealization--the sense that everything is foreign, even the chairs at the restaurant this morning (where I didn't eat), as if every object in the world were new, entirely inexplicable and vaguely sinister.

The last time I was hospitalized for depression, January 1996, I remember how daunting it was to tie my shoes. It took much study, but after a while I managed it. However, the whole process of tying my shoes seemed as if I'd never done it before.

This is one reason I tell folks that ECT is a whole lot better than depression. My memory has been more damaged by depression that my one course of ECT, which restored it back in 1983.

Anyway, in writing about this I escape the feeling for a while. In the formation of words we are forced to ignore inner weather for a moment, perhaps because of the very demands of logic placed on the left hemisphere where depression is mainly centered.

Recent studies also show the use of antidepressants may keep the brain more agile over time, contrary to earlier fears.

I'll share with those likewise afflicted my rules for depression.

First, and above all, be evaluated biologically and enter treatment with the proper medications; wait for the worm to turn, it always does eventually. And if medications don't help a serious depression within two to three months, especially for manic-depressives, I think ECT a very good choice.

Now, behaviorally, here are Dr. Chaffin's rules:

1) It is better to do something than nothing.

2) It is better to do something active than something passive.

3) It is better to be with or around people than alone.

4) Try to set a modest goal each day. Mine is: "I'm going to try not to hate myself too much today."

I try to follow my own advice. Here I am writing, right?

As for the lawyer thingie planned yesterday, the public prosecutor is absent and won't be back until Thursday so we couldn't go.

Kathleen ate some excellent Eggs Benedict this morning. I had one bite and made a lame joke about the current Pope--as close as I came to humor.

I can still read. That's a good sign. When worse I can't concentrate enough to remember what I'm reading.

Here's a poem about depression:

Eternal Recurrence

Psychologists call mania
a defense against depression
but I find that silly.
There is no defense
against depression
and no adequate metaphor
for its recurrence, but I'll try:

You love someone with all your heart.
They are brutally murdered.
After an interminable grief
they magically reappear
and you fall down on your knees
and thank God with tears.

The second time is worse.

After the third funeral
you dread their resurrection
as much as their death
and love becomes a poisonous thing.
You would drive a stake through their heart
if only you could.

Here's a link to where it was published along with others, in Tryst Magazine:

All for now. Thanks for listening.



Monday, October 03, 2005

More stuff

Saw a third private lawyer today, he said the process will likely take months, he's going with me to the public attorney tomorrow to evaluate my progress and make recommendations. Meanwhile Kenyon has been moved to some other house and we can't greet him under the door, hope he's safe, likely is as he is the kidnapper's trump card.

Apparently Maria Martinez, our former maid, now rich landowner by inheritance, thinks we're made of money. We have at present about $3000 to our names. Time was I would have just forked the $9000 over. But not now. And I'm not asking for contributions! Yet the pursuit of Mexican justice has just that sort of Quixotic ring to it that has characterized my life, like being a manic-depressive psychiatrist. Symmetry and irony abound.

Here's the rub: If this takes too long my pension may again be endangered since I must see a doctor within six months back in the U.S., and I don't want to have to return to Mexico for the rest of my natural and sometimes unnatural life.

Also, I have a child support hearing this week where I have to be patched in by phone to Orange County Superior Court. I had hoped to be back for that.

Kathleen's hearing aid mold and tube still haven't arrived; I basically have her sedated at this point as she can't take much more and my Brylcream tube has nearly run dry. Just don't have the energy to grease life anymore. Feel like a pencil stub gouged with teeth marks. Or a butt you steal from a hotel ashtray in a moment of weakness as an ex-smoker. Or a junkie who eyes his fix and says, "Why bother?"

Eeek! Dark similes.

Take out an 'i' and you get SMILES. And Krusty the Klown is a great guy! He's for kids, not ratings!

Maria also has my three nearly complete Simpson Christmas train sets from the Franklin Mint. One was for my Grandson. Oh well.

It may come to our leaving and leaving things in the hands of a Mexican lawyer, which is like storing your antiques on a termite farm, I fear.

Oh well. I don't ask for pity, just understanding. It's therapeutic to type into the void and think someone out there is reading. And you can always e-mail me in commiseration or with worse horror stories at

Thanks, Ralph and Phillip for writing me!

It really helps. I'm not much of a phone person.

Thine as ever,


Friday, September 30, 2005

Continuing in Mexico

The good news? I haven't had a cigarette in four weeks and Kathleen's up to nine days or so. The bad news? We've been fighting, the stress unbearable.

I talked to the Mexican D.A. today and he opined that we should be done in two weeks, max. Heard that before. Because it if takes longer, we gotta move. We live in a crappy upstairs room along a main central bus route where the choice is between diesel poisoning and a heat sauna by closing the windows against it.

I often wake up and throw up. It's been better since I quit smoking, but I still wonder, in my doctor's way, if I don't have some chronic cancer irritating the diaphragmatic nerve and making me cough and then throw up in the AM. Then I haven't been losing weight, which is a good sign, and I've let my hair go a bit and almost have a comb-over.

Being in limbo on a toxic street in a foreign country where we know our stuff and dog are being held for ransom roughly three doors down is no fun. If we go to pet Kenyon under the locked, opaque metal gate he whines and cries. Better no contact, I guess. And how much of our stuff is still there? We won't know until the police check. Today the DA said Monday, providing we get two more declarations from the guys who helped move our stuff in there.

Private attorneys won't help. The process proceeds. Later plans to pay police or brigands or breach the castle 0urselves must be put on hold for now. I don't want to end up in a Mexican jail.

Though you could say I am in one now.

Poor Kathleen. Every day we check to see if her hearing mold and tube have arrived; maybe today. I'm here at the mail place waiting for them to unpack all today's boxes. She is shut out socially without her aid; she needs the volume to match to the lips. I never knew how much it helped before. And naturally this puts a strain, along with everything else, on our relationship, as it's hard for me not to reflect some exasperation when I must repeat something four or five times before she gets it. Writing on paper is preferable I think, and we should do more of it. It's just so damn inconvenient.

But she is being more and more marginalized and isolated and I fear is at the end of her tether. I'm nearly at mine, fighting the onset of depression, haven't entirely succumbed yet, don't want to go down in the black hole, do have medications for prevention, but hey, I am a third-generation manic-depressive and if enough stress accumulates I'm going to go up or down. The disease can always override the medications.

I have not tried to be humorous today. I can't seem to summon enough perspective to let the famous Chaffin black humor shine.

Every dog has its day. Let's pray Kenyon gets his.

All for now, Dog!


Monday, September 05, 2005

Held Hostage in Mexico and Tortured by the Deaf

Writing into the electronic ether today from Mexico, having now been here over three weeks, our return to Northern California delayed by the ransoming of all our possessions including Kathleen's hearing-ear dog, by our former maid who was to watch over them and who herself is worth half a million.....

Incomplete sentence fragment above derived from gerund for those watching. Is anybody watching?

Mexico, land of dreams. Our former maid is mainly Indian blood, denoted by her long braid worn down the back; yes, I have thought of cutting it off, but she might become even more imbalanced.

Whatever you leave with Indians becomes theirs, apparently, at least in her mind. Court crawls forward and prosecutors are polite and investigators are thorough but nothing is done, naturally.

For any who wish to read more on the Mexican mindset I've discovered in my years in San Miguel de Allende, may I recommend a terrific essay in Eclectica by yours truly:

My pulp fiction novel is 60,000 words into the second draft; Jim Zola and I are soliciting for the last issue of Melic, as most of you know; and this is my fourth day off cigarettes.

I claim no glory as they were killing me, literally, especially at this altitude of 6000 ft. where diesel fumes choke the streets and dust rises everywhere. God, I hate Mexico! But I can't seem to escape.

Bad joke of the day, original:

Why didn't Jesus have a dog?

Because he wanted to be man's best friend.


My heart goes out to the victims of Katrina but I swear my first wife was worse.


Kathleen had her purse, with passport and hearing aid, stolen, and now it's harder than ever to talk with her. Hearing people really bore her. Why I keep writing? We have a spare and are awaiting a mold and tube from my sister to restore her 5% bass capacity of normal hearing, which though little, seems to make a big difference. But for now conversation seems too much work for all involved. So we point at things. Ga ga, goo goo.

One comment will give me enough courage to go on blogging. Sorry for the long silence, it was unavoidable. Here I am at an internet cafe with my aching back that pays the bills.

All obsecenities you can imagine put here:

(regarding my luck in the last year and a half.)

Thine as ever,

C. E. Chaffin M.D. FAAFP, Hostage

Saturday, July 30, 2005

My Future Celebrity

Another day for my too-fertile mind to encompass recent events. I do try to limit my thoughts by faithfully ingesting Lamictal and Klonopin for my manic-depressive illness, but they only slightly dampen the amplitude, i.e.--I'm not Napoleon today.

Speaking of Napoleon, did you know that all of Hitler's women attempted suicide, though only Geli, his niece, was successful? Eva and Leni didn't succeed--but imagine the alternative.

I saw a clip of Hitler last night on the History Channel trying to pet his dog at Berghof; the dog was obviously wary but finally submitted to his touch. Maybe we should dog-test politicians, like Bill Frist, who, though no neurologist, opined that Terry Schiavo was alive by viewing a videotape, when we now know her brain was more like the cauliflower that just replaced the brain of Dilbert's boss. To trust Bill's impression of stem cell research thus seems dangerous. Perhaps we could have a dog check for us?

One earthquake predictor actually factors in the disappearance of animals in his paradigm for predicting quakes. And dogs can detect cancer by smell, though why would they want to? Then my dog, Kenyon, loves to roll in seagull droppings or any other unusual, nitrogen-laced brews to impress his canine friends. "Get a load of this" he says. "You ever smell this before?"

Hard to keep up with the canine cologne industry, though being trapped in an elevator with an Arab comes close to the gas chamber for me. Why do they wear so much cologne? I mean, it's not like they're driving camels over here, though they smoke a lot of them.

The recent deaths of four scout leaders in South Carolina by electrocution have been compounded by a scout leader being killed by lightning in Sequoia National Forest. (A scout was killed as well, now brain dead and being kept alive for organ harvest: attention Bill Frist--but first the dog test.)

Six deaths by electrocution, four unnatural and two natural, begs the question: in view of techonology's progress, do we blame God for only 1/3 of these tragedies? As man evolves, God's responsibility contracts. I don't think he's involved in these things at all, though my gay friend disagrees. He thinks the fact that yesterday's roller coaster accident at Disneyland resulted in only fifteen minor injuries a fitting contrast to the punishment of Boy Scouts. Recall that the Disney Corporation was a pioneer in hiring gays and granting benefits to their partners, while the Boy Scouts forbade gays from becoming Scout Leaders. Have the chickens come home to roost? If they have, my dog will soon be rolling in their coops.

Another thought: perhaps Disney's Electrical Parade succeeded in immunizing its employees against lightning. And perhaps Bill Gates' investment in a vaccine for malaria is more cost-effective than a little DDT--not!

Go, Africa! Our strange brand of compassion must puzzle you. Of course our money goes to your tribal strongmen, but that, of course, lends pride to the tribe, if not food. Not even Bono can change that, just as he can't change his music. If U2 has not become a parody of itself then Bill Frist should watch the tape.

Back to Hitler's women. What an uncanny sense he had in choosing them! It takes a true narcissistic personality disorder to unfailingly choose borderline personality disorders for mates. Eva had no identity without him, just as you, gentle reader, have no identity without my blog--though dogs actually like me.

All this was a warm-up for my theme today. I am now selling shares of stock in my future celebrity for $1. Just send it to the PayPal link at and I will send you an e-mail with a stock certificate. I've come to realize that before a book or album of mine reaches a major audience, I must become a celebrity beforehand. That's how it's done nowadays. And you can get in on the ground floor with your contribution now.

I plan to be the first publically held celebrity on the planet! (Naturally my idea will be stolen but you heard it here first.)

And who was the greatest celebrity of the 20th Century? Why, Hitler, of course. It's not talent, it's exposure. He's still bigger than Churchill, Mao, Stalin, Einstein, Elvis, Kennedy or Marilyn Monroe. Imagine if you had shares in his celebrity! A veritable gold mine (my apologies to Jews, Gypsies and communists).

Which proves you don't have to be loved to triumph as a celebrity; it's at least as good to be hated--as long as you bag some air time. Go, O.J, and the Wichita Raders!

C. E Chaffin

Friday, July 29, 2005

Neulasta in My Pasta

Some of you unfortunate enough to watch commercial television may have noticed the new ads for Neulasta, a product for boosting white blood cell counts during chemotherapy.

What you may not know is that one injection costs about $3000--for .6 ml of liquid, which is less than the amount of an ejaculation (which I offer for free, though the Nobel Sperm Bank was shut down--I was refused in any case because William Shockley thought me inferior).

Now this one shot is good for only one chemotherapy cycle, which can mean weeks or less. Four cycles means $12,000. Doctors normally monitor your white count during the process but no doubt will be besieged for the drug for preventive reasons, I assume, in the near future.

For $3000 you should also know the side effects of the drug, which are free-- I mean, if you're concerned about side effects, since you must already have cancer to qualify for the drug, from

adverse experiences occurred at rates between 72% and 15% and included: nausea, fatigue, alopecia, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, fever, anorexia, skeletal pain, headache, taste perversion, dyspepsia, myalgia, insomnia, abdominal pain, arthralgia, generalized weakness, peripheral edema, dizziness, granulocytopenia, stomatitis, mucositis, and neutropenic fever.

Since I already have most of these it didn't scare me, though I'm intrigued by "taste perversion," which, I supposes, strikes to the heart of nature vs. nurture with regard to bisexuality, recently deemed a myth by a Canadian researcher who noted that bisexuals, on visual stimulation, either responded to hetero or homo fare. Then taste perversion could possibly mean that I find Frost sophomoric and am seized by a need to read Jorie Graham, or I suddenly prefer Neil Young's guitar work to that of Jimi Hendrix. The mind boggles but the price doesn't; hard to buy a used car for $3000 any more and pre-owned vehicles cost even more.

Another site cautioned about blue lips and fingernails, but for Goth girls this hardly sounds like a cosmetic bargain.

I noticed the dawn of TV ads for prescription drugs in the early nineties when I was still practicing as a family doctor. They started with arthritis drugs and Prilosec and the like, then moved on to sleepers like Sonata and antidepressants like Lexapro.

Clearly nothing is an invasion of privacy anymore, and the doctor-patient relationship has been supplanted by the marketer-consumer relationship, and profit is king. Profit was always king, I suppose, but the prophets of profit had previously been limited to what products they might hawk on the public airwaves; no more.

It used to be patients would bring in The National Enquirer to ask me about miracle drugs (which were not miracle drugs but drugs of existing classes already being marketed in Europe). Now any illiterate patient can harass a doctor based on a thirty-second TV ad. To help my colleagues I have come up with some antidotes for this plague: Blowitoffazol, Zombine, Upyourassizone, and Idontgivearatsassapine. Sadly I don't have the venture capital to launch them.

Obviously the intended demographic for the sale of this product is high-end, which like the sale of yachts does not suffer in economic downturns. It only takes one: one cancer patient with a low white count or one yachtless billionaire.

Finally, to make my blog current with the news cycle (for which I take Newslasta):

As to terrorism: Why not a drug to eradicate terrorist cells?

As to profiling: Why not a drug to boost black cells?

As to the space shuttle: Why not a drug to secure foam cells?

All for today.

Your Faithful Philosophraster,

C. E. Chaffin

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Welcome, Strangers!

I was trying to post to another's blog and found establishing my own the price of participation.

If you've never heard of me, I'm not surprised.

Sometimes, no often, no frequently, no with the eternal recurrence of Nietzsche, I wish I'd never heard of me, too.

Nevertheless, you can google "C. E. Chaffin" and find more than a few references to my various contributions to the literary net.

Happy to talk, blog, blog, blog.

Thine in Truth and Art,

C. E. Chaffin M.D. FAAFP
Editor, the Melic Review

Unexpected Light

Unexpected Light
Selected Poems and Love Poems 1998-2008 ON SALE NOW!