The sex-change fad

AT TIMES, I am so perceptive I stun myself.

Last week, I left a comment on someone else’s blog to the effect that sex change, or transgendering in NewSpeak, has become a fad. That inspired another reader to call me a rude word. I am unrepentant. I had no specific evidence, but I keep my ears to the ground on cultural issues, and the ground had told me that transgendering is now a fad.

New ImageAnd, by Jove, a few days later the New York Post published a piece on this very topic, that transgendering has skyrocketed in the Western world over the past 10 years, especially among teenage girls, that demographic most susceptible to fads.

And schools, radical as they now are, push this issue.

Public schools peddle gender ideology with a fervor that would make a preacher blush. — Abigail Shrier in the New York Post.

Did you know that some schools stage assemblies to celebrate “gender journeys”?

Good God Almighty!

Not just schools but social media “gurus” promote this. The teen years are difficult at best, and the considerable angst felt by adolescent girls hitting puberty is now being used by the nuttier elements of society, especially the LGBT people. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of gender surgeries for girls quadrupled in the United States. In the United Kingdom, “gender dysphoria” among teen girls increased 4,400 percent in a decade.

The girls are not coming up with this nincompoopery on their own.

You can read the disturbing piece in the New York Post right here.

Grace died

THE LETTER from the probate court in Maine landed in my post office box this week. Grace had died back in June. Grace was the second part of Marty & Grace, my two lesbian aunts.

Grace was not really my aunt. Marty was, my father’s sole sister. Grace was Marty’s “partner” of countless decades. I was probably around 10 when they found each other, so Grace was a part of my life almost from the beginning, though we did not see each other much, Marty & Grace, because they were Yankees.

booksMarty was an adopted Yankee. She fled the Confederacy in her 20s and only returned to visit. She and Grace lived in Philadelphia for many years. Then they retired and moved to Deer Isle, Maine, which really is an island. They bought a small, white, clapboard home and never left.

My second ex-wife and I vacationed in Montreal once in the 1980s. While there, we rented a car and drove to visit Marty & Grace in the white, clapboard house. It was my first and last time in Deer Isle. We ate lobsters.

They were a very interesting pair, though I can tell you that I never really liked Grace. There was something defiant about her, not a rare quality in lesbians. I far preferred Marty, who was always upbeat. Of all my relatives, and there have never been many, Marty was most like me, or perhaps the other way around.

She was adventuresome. She took flying lessons but never got the license. I did. She worked in universities and for the American Friends Service Committee, chaperoning young people, exchange students, to and from Europe. Grace worked at the Philadelphia Library until she retired. She was also a noted Emily Dickinson scholar.

Her — apparently quite valuable — collection of Emily Dickinson books is being donated to Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Longtime readers of this website and its predecessors will have noticed the quote of Emily Dickinson in the right-side column. Grace had nothing to do with this. Pure coincidence.

Grace was in her late 80s when she died. About a decade ago, she began losing her mind. I don’t recall ever hearing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Perhaps it was a garden-variety dementia. When she became too much for Marty to care for alone in the white, clapboard house, she was moved into a nursing home.

She ceased to even recognize Marty.

On Christmas eve of last year, Marty died in bed in the white, clapboard house. During the earlier years of her “retirement,” she had been a professional binder of rare books.

Grace has now met Emily Dickinson in person, and Marty is binding books for the angels.

Zapata Tales, revisited

THOSE WHO HAVE passed through this corner of Mexican cyberspace for more than three years will remember its previous incarnation, The Zapata Tales.

That old boy is gone now, offline, but I took a peek recently and found some photos and other items I will share — reissue — today. Some things are worth repeating.

Let us start with a post, the final one, from The Tales. It was also where the title of this website originated — The Unseen Moon, which came to me out of the blue even though I have since seen it used elsewhere.

* * * *

The Old Wolf

It had rained most of the night, but not now, so he stood quietly so not to waken his mate. He left the cave to trot the short distance to the overlook. Clouds were clearing and he sat on his haunches and viewed the incredible distance, the morning valley below and the faraway mountains.

They had left the old home because Homo erectus became more of a worry down in the valley. Now they lived in a different cave that was very high and well hidden. Homo erectus was no threat here.

They lived in peace, eating the occasional rodent and rabbit that were becoming more difficult to catch. He was not as quick as before and gray covered his snout. One fang ached now and then.

His mate, whom he loved so, had caught a burr in a back paw. She never got it out, and it festered. He did all the running now, and sometimes he came back to the cave breathing heavily.

wolf-8978911But with a rabbit. He would always have a rabbit or something like that. It had to be done if they were to eat and continue.

There had been pups over the years. Those were very happy times, the little ones climbing over his chest and biting his ears. He loved that. But they had gone.

They had found their own mates and walked far away.

This cliff edge where he sat now was a favored spot.  At night he saw the moon, and he howled at it. He didn’t know why he did that. He only knew that he had to, that it was absolutely required.

How would the moon hang in the sky without his songs?

He thought about how he had met his mate so many years ago. They were young together, and they played among the trees farther down the valley. One day she smelled like a ripe pine nut, and they got married in the bushes. She had never given him anything but joy.

* * * *

The years had passed. The pups. Hunting and being hunted by Homo erectus. Fresh mountain summers and cold winters of snow, which were the hardest times. But most times were good. Few were bad.

In both the first cave far below and this new higher home, distant from Homo erectus, they had slept all those nights atop brown leaves with their bodies touching. Their spirit of love had never waned, and it was warming in the winter, cooling in summer.

* * * *

As he sat this morning on the cliff watching the clouds disperse and the sun rising over the distant damp crests, he thought of these things as he did more and more in recent weeks.

And his fang ached.

He stood with a deep sigh and walked toward the cave entrance. His mate would be awake by now, waiting. But she was not. She lay where he had left her. He drew near and nudged her with his old nose.

The cave was quiet. He heard spiders climbing the walls. A hollow sound crept from the farther depths where they had never dared to walk, deep in the cavern. His heart grew chill. His love had died.

He sat and stared at her. He inhaled deeply. He turned to look at the cave entrance where there was more light. After an hour he stood and walked back to the overlook. It was a brilliant morning.

He asked the unseen moon: What am I going to do?

* * * *


Let’s turn to photos now. This is my wife looking at our lake from a very high point about six years ago. I like the woman. I like the lake. I like the mountains. I like the nation, warts and all.

A corner downtown.
A street downtown.
A clay bowl.
A clay bowl.

My first year below the Rio Bravo, before I married, before I built the Hacienda, I drove alone in my shiny new Chevy hatchback to Querétaro. Passing an art shop, I saw this bowl through the window. I bought it.

Today it sits in the Hacienda living room, full of Hershey’s Kisses. You wanna kiss. You know where to find one.

Feet in the hammock.

Years back, I used to spend hours, reading, dozing, daydreaming, marveling, in the hammock on the upstairs terraza. Now I almost never do that. Don’t know precisely why. The hammock is still there.

Cloudy mountains.
Cloudy mountains.

This is not far from our house. We see this every weekday morning when we do our power walk around the neighborhood plaza. Sometimes there are clouds, sometimes not.


A few years back, we had a new cistern dug. I went spelunking with a camera.

* * * *

The Zapata Tales  had a column running down the right side, particularly interesting remarks culled from readers’ comments. I put them there for two reasons: 1. They made me feel good. 2. They were a lure to new readers who might have just glanced about and departed.

Here are just a few:

You never cease to amuse and amaze me.

Pretentious dolt!

You have brought so much joy and a little irritation.

You disgust me (a paraphrase).

Wise, wry writing from a beautiful place.

What a nice piece of heaven you share.

You’re like a drunk uncle.

You’re a right-wing wacko.

God, you are hysterical!

You are a treasure on the electron highway.

There were many more, but you get the idea. I rarely get those types of comments on The Unseen Moon. Not quite sure why. I have mentioned that my mind has changed. One reader, on hearing that confession, suggested seriously that I seek medical help due to senile dementia or perhaps impending lunacy. I have yet to do that.

The Tales  were more lyrical and romantic thanThe Moon.  Life settles down. The Tales  were referenced in Carl Franz’s People’s Guide to Mexico, the tour book popular with hippies who eat brown rice and drink goat’s milk.

* * * *

Remains of monster maguey.
Remains of monster maguey.

I planted this maguey when it was quite tiny. It grew. And grew. And grew. I had to get rid of it. These two fellows first cut the fronds off, leaving the base, which was unearthed and toted away.

I’ll never make that mistake again.


A street in the neighborhood. I could tell you who lives here, but then I’d have to kill you.

Scene inside the Hacienda.
Scene inside the Hacienda.
Local beauty parlor.

* * * *

The Zapata Tales ran for six years. The Unseen Moon has shone for three. The daily readership count is about the same. The former focused on my life in Mexico, the latter, not so much.

Things change. Minds change. I doubt I will seek psychological help. What’s the point?

Old wolves don’t need no stinkin’ shrinks.

I hope you enjoyed the lupine Tale and photos.

It’s going to be a wonderful day.