Archive for football

Messing with Texas

Posted in erotic, fashion, fetish, FLICKR, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, pinup, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2013 by cliffmichaels






Texas Chics – Texas WomenTexas Renaissance Festival – Texas Women (Hot & Sexy)Model Mayhem Texas – Tejas Chicas


For photo credit and license click on each image

Read all of VISIONS

Large DC House w/Veto & View – Cheap!

Posted in FLICKR, memoir, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, politics, religion with tags , , , , , , , on August 5, 2012 by cliffmichaels



Photo by dcJohn, subject to this creative commons license

I’ve been a Democrat since I was eighteen.  Raised by conservative parents in conservative parts of the country (east Tennessee and Southern California),  I aped my parents’ politics. My first year of college at Swarthmore opened my eyes. The Vietnam War was the primary reason, of course, but there were others. A lecture by a economics professor influenced me. He had been an economic advisor to FDR. The battle over Medicare was raging in 1966. His observation that we already had “socialized” medicine (“the sick rich pay for the sick poor”) helped change my view of how government should work.

By the end of the ’66-’67 school year I was a card carrying, bleeding heart liberal. I believed in an expansive role for government to alleviate suffering and level the playing field for the poor and minorities, and to curtail the rough edges of the free market system. Of course, at the same time, I believed the government was conducting an immoral and pointless war, but I naively thought the war was a blunder of our leaders and not intentional malfeasance.

In any event, I’ve remained a Democrat – a liberal Democrat – the rest of my life. I’ve even run for office twice (in a Tennessee county that skews Republican by better than two to one). When it comes the the Democratic party my attitude mirrors the one I have about the University of Tennessee sports teams: mindless, hooting fanaticism.

As I’ve written before, however, when the season’s over – or before it begins – I’m cynical, and know my beloved Vols are mercenaries looking out for themselves and are mere cogs in the big money, shamefully corrupt,  college sports machine.

It’s the same with the Democratic party. It grows ever more corrupt. Largely captured by corporate interests, the party’s prior concern for the poor and disenfranchised has faded nearly away. With Teddy Kennedy’s death the last influential liberal voice in the party was stilled. The few bona fide liberals left are largely ignored by the party leadership. Every two years we are admonished to be good little boys and girls and turn out and pull the Democratic lever in the  voting booth (and we usually do).

Whenever I hear anyone accuse Obama of being a socialist or liberal my laugh is a bitter one. Obama is a cautious moderate. His proposed policies echo Republican positions of the seventies and eighties. Obamacare? Weak beer: a thousand page gift to big pharma and the insurers. Don’t even get me started on his embrace of Bush’s tactics in the War on Terror and his refusal to bring to account the architects and practitioners of torture. No,  Obama’s no liberal, not even close.

The one percent may own more of the Democratic party than they do of the Republicans. The GOP is increasingly under the sway of the Tea Party. Unlike liberals in the Democratic fold, Tea Party fanatics keep knocking off establishment backed candidates in primaries. The extreme right has forced its party’s leaders to embrace its positions. The Democratic leadership ignores liberals’ positions. It’s telling that the single payer – Medicare for all – healthcare option was never on the President’s health reform table. In the struggle to pass a bill Obama and the party’s congressional leadership moved ever rightward: the Public Option was dropped, the attempt to rein in drug prices was dropped.

The truth is this: by and large we now have two corporate parties – one pro-choice and one pro life (corporations could care less about abortion)  – one for Bible thumpers and one for proponents of gay rights and marriage equality (another matter of corporate indifference)  – and one dead set against tax increases and the other only wanting to restore the tax rates of the nineties for the top two percent (business would prefer the former but could live with the latter). We have two parties who favor the endless War on Terror, the need to curtail civil liberties and the abandonment of the poor (war’s good for business, the poor not so much).

Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

FLICKR GROUP: The White House

Flickr Search: DEMOCRATS

dcJohn’s set Protests

Read all of VISIONS


Posted in history with tags , , , , , , on February 26, 2012 by cliffmichaels


I’m a diehard Big Orange fan. I watch every Tennessee football, basketball, and women’s basketball game I can. When my teams win I feel great; when they lose I feel sad…

Now, I know big time college athletics is corrupt, a sacred cash cow with a thousand teats spewing money.  I know most of Tennessee’s football players hale from out of state, just mercenaries here only for the chance to get the big bucks in the NFL. I know its the same with basketball. “Show me the money!” My late (first) father-in-law put it best – he was a huge North Carolina fan – “they may be sons of bitches, but they’re our sons of bitches…”

Somehow, however, once the kickoff happens, or the opening tip, I willfully  forget what I know and avidly root for our brave boys in orange as they struggle against those villains in red, or blue, or gold. Go Big Orange! Go Big Orange!!

I have the same schizophrenic attitude about America. I was born and raised in the good old USA. I love our flag and our other national icons. I grew up cheering John Wayne in countless war and western flicks and reading sanitized history textbooks glorifying  our very checkered past (how amazing it now seems that native Americans were portrayed in popular culture as savages who attacked us without provacation). My country right or wrong! I was your typical flag waving, toy gun toting, jingoistic America kid…

Then I went up north to college and began to learn about a different America. The catalyst was the war – the Vietnam War. I learned our troops weren’t the wholesome samaritans sacrificing to save our brave Vietnamese allies as I had been led to believe…  I learned the Gulf of Tonkin incident – the justification for the massive escalation of the war – was a government lie. Later I learned about My Lai.

Then came Nixon and Watergate; we all learned our government was venal at the very highest levels. Now we know our national legislature is awash in corporate and insider cash that buys influence and more. Now we know our government still lies about the need to go to war. Now we know our nation has caused the death of tens of thousands of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now we know our national leaders have condoned and forgiven torture, sanctioned due process free detention and execution of American citizens.

A near majority of my fellow citizens applaud torture (when we are the torturers). Despite the lessons of Iraq, my fellow Americans want war with Iran and care next to nothing for the Palestinians. Our police beat protesters and spy on Muslims. An alarmingly large slice of America believes our President is an alien (in both senses of the word).

Around the world people are repulsed by our policies: the uncritical support for Israel, our bellicose support of tyrannical regimes, and our smug sense of entitlement on the world stage. But I still love America, its red, white and blue flag, the White House, the Washington Monument, the Star Spangled Banner, apple pie,  spacious skies, and amber waves of grain.

When we invaded Iraq I was aghast. I believed the war to be immoral and stupid – but when the war kicked off I started rooting for the troops all the same. How like a game it was! And our team was winning, really running up the score!

I rooted for our brave boys the same way I root for the Big Orange.


Photo by fusky, remixed by me, both images subject to this creative commons license 

Fusty’s most popular images


Read all of VISIONS

Pigskin Pulchritude

Posted in erotic, fashion, FLICKR, lingerie, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, Sexy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2012 by cliffmichaels


Photos by John Pozadzides, subject to this creative commons license

FLICKR GROUP: Girls of the Gridiron

Read all of VISIONS

Where’s My Peach?

Posted in FLICKR, history, memoir, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, tennessee with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2012 by cliffmichaels



Writers and poets have written of aging for thousands of years. Some decry life’s twilight; others embrace the dying of the light. Some of their words ares profound, others banal or saccharine . None of their prose and poetry helped them avoid age’s bitter, irreversible culmination.  They all died in the end. Some are remembered; others remain unknown.

 Now its time for my lament.

When I was fourteen or so, in September (or was it April?), I was wandering around a nearly deserted municipal swimming pool on an overcast morning. With no girls in skimpy swimsuits to admire, I mused on my life. I felt wonderfully old. I was now Fourteen! I was a teenager! I carefully shaved every other week or so. I thought about my future. In a year and a half I could get a learner’s permit and learn to drive; In four years I’d graduate high school then be in college and, I hoped, no longer be an skinny, acne plagued virgin. When people asked how old I was I’d proudly announce fourteen and they would feign surprise. “You’re almost a man,” they would tell me with a condescending smile, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

My speculation that sweet morning took me further into my uncertain future. It seemed utterly impossible that in the year 2000, so amazingly distant in time, I would be fifty-two years old. Fifty-two? It was unimaginable, like imagining I’d move to Jupiter or Mars. My father and mother, who were of course old, were just forty-two and thirty-eight. None of my high school teachers were that old. I knew really old people of course; my grandparents were in their early seventies; somehow they didn’t count. It was as if to my teenage mind they belonged to a separate, barely noticed, race of gray headed creatures.

In 1966, at eighteen, I graduate high school, then spent the summer working frantically to lose my virginity with last minute success. In 1969 I turned 21. Legal whisky! College graduation and admission to law school. A year away from my (first) wedding. Am I an adult now? Is that a good thing?

1974: Out of law school, married four years. I was in awe of those older attorneys who seem so – lawyerly. 1978: thirty, old enough to be a judge but still young enough to feel childish and chase, and catch, women.

In 1988 I turn forty, a sobering number. Can I really be that old? I dread some sniggering friend giving me a bunch of black balloons.I am thankful I still have a full head of brown hair with no trace of gray.

1998: I attain the impossible, chilly age of fifty. I try to tell myself its a mistake, but I can’t make the math come out right. I can no longer deny I am middle aged. At my high school reunion everyone talks of disease and grandchildren.

And then, in a blink, comes 2000 and I look back at that awkward fourteen year old boy from the other end of time’s tunnel.

Now another decade plus has slipped quietly by and I find myself answering the question, “how old are you?” with words that taste of ashes: “I’m 63.” My interrogator feigns surprise, smiles then tells me I look so much younger. I want to slug her… She thinks I’m old! I’m on the verge of telling a young client, “I’m old enough to be your father,” when I realize with bitter shock I am in fact old enough to be his grandfather. No one calls me young man anymore. I wonder if people know my teeth are made of plastic.

I am not old!  I am not old!!

My face has somehow, and I’m not quite sure just when it happened, sagged here and there and  wrinkles have crept across its once smooth and hairless flesh. My body has, when I wasn’t paying attention, grown surprisingly fat and flabby and parts of it refuse to work quite as well as they did before.

The number of my pill bottles crowd the bottom shelf in my medicine cabinet. My young doctor talks of cholesterol, liver enzymes, and my elevated blood pressure; he always listens carefully to my heart and feels my calfs for swelling. Hair sprouts from my ears and nose. I still have most of my hair but gray has spread alarmingly far above my temples. There are splotches on my wrists. I try to ignore the stiffness in my legs and the aches in my hands and shoulders. The slightest pain in my chest sends me into panic.

 But I am not old.

My father, when he was about forty, told me he had never felt old, never reached an age when he felt like an adult and put away childish thoughts. He told me at first he had been surprised by this, that he expected to reach some age when, magically, he would become an adult. He  said it would probably be the same for me. I wasn’t so sure; I wanted badly to become an adult both inside and out. But he was right.

Inside, where it really counts, I am still that underweight, half grown, pimply kid. Can I pass the math test tomorrow? Will she go to the dance with me – I wish she was better looking – will she let me touch her tits? Should I go out for football again? Will my parents discover I’m drinking beer? I wish I was more popular – I feel so invisible sometimes…. Will this year never end?  I am still insecure, still aroused by beautiful women, still able to play the fool, still so anxious to impress, and still haunted by chronic self-doubt. Behind my crinkled face my mind remains unchanged from when I was young:  still eager to play, still able to view the world with wonder.

Or at least it seems that way.

I am sixty-three; in twenty years I will be in my eighties. If I live that long (should I be cremated or buried? How many people will attend my funeral? Who will speak of me?) Will that distant me still feel the same? Who can say?

 But I am not old. I am not old. At least not yet…


MY FLICKR GROUP: Faces of Maturity 

Photo (not of me) by Étienne Ljóni Poisson, subject to this creative commons license

Read all of VISIONS

Are You a Lib’rul?

Posted in FLICKR, politics, religion, Sexy, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2012 by cliffmichaels


There are dozens and dozens of horrible chronic diseases in the world. Some will eventually kill you; others just leave you disabled and miserable. Some of these scourges attack your body, some your mind.

The worst of all attack your soul. I suffer from one of these cruel and pernicious maladies – a pestilential horror that withers the mind: liberalism. I have lived with my affliction since I was eighteen years of age, when I discovered arugula and folk music. I fell in with the wrong crowd my freshman year in college and was  soon ravaged by the virulent toxins of belief in equality and a suspicion of authority!

The truth is I was probably already doomed by my choice of college: Swarthmore, an elitist, hotbed of leftyness, political protest and free love (except for me) just outside of Philadelphia. Liberals and radicals were everywhere; rumor had it ninety percent of the teachers were infected by Trotskyism

Before I knew it I was participating in anti-war (Vietnam) rallies, letting my hair grow long, and visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art (but only the modern art wing). Then, and I can scarcely believe it even today, I began listening to public radio, and worse –  reading the New York Times. I lost all self-respect. A southern born white male, I had become a cultural traitor. I hung my head in shame but was powerless to stop my descent into the putrid delirium of secular humanism.

By the end of the school year my infection had become incurable. My parents, good Republicans, tried to save me. I was sent to rehabilitation center in Alabama (the John Birch Society‘s Home for Wayward Youth) where I was forced to listen to country music and watch Dragnet and read every book ever written by Robert Heinlein. Nothing helped. After a personal intervention by William F. Buckley, Jr., failed to shake my faith in Social Security, I was thrown out of the Home late on a Monday night. The next week I joined the Democratic party.

It’s too late for me. But at least I can warn others of the dangers. Here are 23 questions designed to probe you for any signs of inection by the dreaded virus known as progressivism. Five yes answers and you may be at risk of losing some of your faith in Ronald Reagan, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Shawn Hannity; seven or more and you are in peril and must immediately re-read Rick Santorum’s book It Take’s a Family and send a substantial donation to  Jerry Falwell.

Ten yesses or more and you are, tragically, beyond savings.


Answer yes or no to each of the following questions

1. As a teenager, did you actually read the articles in Playboy?

2. Are you convinced Lake Wobegon is a real place?

3. Does your  composter turn you on?

4. Do you think  Tammy Wynette  should have left her man?

5. Do you fantasize about a four way with the Dixie Chicks?

6. Would you rather be damned to the everlasting fires of Hell than live in Mississippi?

7. Do you think birkenstocks are sexy?

8. Was your first wet dream about Jane Fonda?

9. Do you agree owning a Hummer should be a capital offense?

10. Do you believe the Holy Trinity refers to Peter, Paul and Mary?

11. Were you still a virgin when you graduated from high school?

12. From College??

13. From graduate school???

14. Despite all the evidence, do you actually believe Barrack Obama wasn’t born in Africa?

15. Do you go so far as to think Obama is a Christian?

16. Are you still not convinced Obama is the Anti-Christ?

17. Are donuts and hand tools part of the vast right wing conspiracy?

18. Do you know all the words to Kumbaya?

19. Do you agree every single Republican you’ve ever met is a fascistic, moronic, racist, sexist, homophobic, mendacious, drooling capitalistic pig bent on drastically cutting government, eliminating social security, ruining the environment, repealing the 14th Amendment and eating small children (except for your grandparents, of course, who, God bless them, are just demented)?

20. Do you think Dennis Kucinich is too conservative?

21. Do you believe modern conservatives are just Neanderthals who failed to evolve?

21. Do you secretly pray for Richard Dawkins to be named Pope?

22. Do you struggle to remain humble even though you know you are so much smarter than everyone else?

23. Does Ann Coulter haunt your dreams?

Photo credit: Mgleiss, subject to this creative commons license

Read all of VISIONS

A Yen for Football

Posted in photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , on September 25, 2011 by cliffmichaels


Four images from the world of NFL football by Dan Zelazo

All photos subject to this creative commons license  

My Gallery NFL Football 

FLICKR GROUP: NFL Cheerleaders

Read all of VISIONS