Five Questions About Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday has come and gone, and – surprise, surprise – Joe Biden and Donald Trump are clearly in the driver’s seats for their respective parties. It seems like, now, we’re finally going to get the last movie in the Grumpy Old Men Trilogy: Grumpy Old Men Go To Washington. 

Fun Fact: Donald Trump at 77 is older than Jack Lemon when he died, and Joe Biden at 81 is older than Walter Mathau was when he died, so this could technically be “Extremely Old Grumpy Men Who Are Lucky To Be Alive and (mostly) Ambulatory Convince People There Really Are No Better Options.” But I imagine that one would be hard to fit on a marquee.  At some point, I’d like the opportunity to vote for a candidate who wasn’t eligible for the Senior Citizen discount at Denny’s when Nixon was president. Until then, we will do our best with what we have. 

My good friend, Jamie Greening, has asked that I address FIVE BURNING QUESTIONS about Super Tuesday, specifically, and the election in general. He’s doing the same on his blog (which you can read here). So here we go. 


I guess that depends on what you mean by MAGA. For some, MAGA is synonymous with white supremacy, racism, sexism, and all the other bad -isms you can imagine. For others, MAGA is simply “the Trump faction of the Republican Party.” For others, still, it’s something like “an American, nationalistic approach to conservatism, currently spearheaded by Donald Trump. 

There are almost as many definitions for MAGA as there are for genders now, except that people don’t ask what your MAGA pronouns are when you speak it. They just make decisions about your moral turpitude based on THEIR interpretation about what MAGA means, and respond accordingly. Much like the Fashion industry, current TikTok trends, and anything Kanye West has tweeted in the last year or so, it’s all very confusing and likely has no basis in Reality. 

So, when I think about whether this was a Big Win for MAGA, I have to think about what it means for Trump in this election, what it means for the Republican Party and conservatism overall. 

For Trump, this was an obvious huge win. It was a big, massive, but, but it was an expected, massive win. The only place Nikki Haley won was Vermont, which is not exactly a Republican stronghold. You have to be somewhere left of Stalin to carry that state in the general election, so there’s a good chance this was more “Socialists Behaving Badly,” than an actual groundswell for a Trump alternative. 

For the Republican Party, it means they’ve clearly and decisively selected Trump as the standard bearer, but I don’t think it means they’ve solidified Trumpism as the prevailing party philosophy. I haven’t seen a lot of articles from Republicans or conservatives discussing what Trump’s policies mean for America post-election and into the future. It’s mainly just “Trump can beat Biden! Yay Trump!” And I think this stems from a pre-2016 election mantra I heard often. “We need to elect Trump so we can keep Hillary out of office and define who will be on the SCOTUS bench,” people said. No one was saying “Trump’s economic and foreign affairs acumen is sublime.” Whatever happens from here on out, this is Trump’s last rodeo. The Republican Party specifically and Conservatism in general need to work out their respective identities. Trump is many things, but he is not an ideological leader. The Republicans haven’t had that since Reagan, and it’s not been morning in America for a long time.  

At present, the Republican Party is whatever Trump says it is. Once Trump is gone, they will need to figure out who they are again. 


First off: props to Haley for sticking around so long. She had the only true and possible path to victory out of any of the candidates. If the Republicans are going to start figuring out who they are post-Trump, they need a diverse set of ideologies to choose from. Haley was that for this election cycle. Unfortunately for Haley, all she succeeded in was proving that, in response to the question of whatever the Republicans will become, “Not Nikki Haley” seems to be the first and easiest answer. 

If there can be unity between her supporters and Trump’s supporters, Trump might gain some ground with moderates, but I don’t see him going that way. One of the biggest criticisms of Trump I’ve seen from conservatives is that he wasn’t strong enough in response to Fauci with COVID and with members of his administration that undermined his efforts. To reach toward the middle with a selection fo Haley for VP would be to make that same mistake, at least in the eyes of his most rabid supporters. 

I expect Haley to drop out of the race and become an answer to some of the more obscure questions in Trivial Pursuit 2025 edition


TLDR: Yes. Very much so. 

Longer: Joe Biden is in trouble, but it’s trouble of his own making. The economy. The border. Foreign affairs snafus. That creeping feeling that he’s in decline. He has a lot to answer for this time around. Both candidates do, but Joe’s questions are more pressing. It will be interesting to see what happens. 


For the longest time, I’ve been expecting Joe Biden to drop out. When Jon Steward came back to the Daily Show and, right out of the gate, attacked Biden due to his age and declining mental faculties, I thought, “Well, now that Jon Steward has said it, it’s cool to say it, and all the Democratic news outlets will start pushing for him to step down.” 

That largely hasn’t happened. Jon Stewart isn’t young and hip anymore (he’s 60), and the news outlets have, instead, chosen to focus on Trump’s alleged decline. So who knows? 

I could see someone convincing Biden to step down. His declining state is clearly the most egregious, but I don’t see that happening. Absent Obama finding a loophole and running for a third term, I don’t see anyone in the Democrat Party with enough OOMPH to seriously challenge Trump in the general. 

Trump is in it for the long haul. No one will tear him out of that role. He’d have to have a heart attack and actually die from it and, even then, I think he’d find a way to run. 

Biden sticks with Kamala. If there’s going to be a change, it will be at the top. 

Trump, I think, will go with someone like Kristi Noem or Tim Scott. Personally, I’d like to see him pick J.D. Vance. But only because JD Vance is from Ohio. I’m from Ohio and I like it when hometown folks do well. 

Alright. That’s it. Go check out Jamie’s post on these same questions. Have yourselves a great week and, as always, don’t break anything.  

Predictions for 2024

My good friend and fellow scribbler, Jamie Greening, shared his predictions for 2024. As is my custom, I respond to his and then share some of my own. Here we go!


Jamie Says: The war between Israel and Hamas will expand into open war between Iran and Israel, which will increase support for Israel in the United States and the West.

Joe Says: I can see the war expanding, but I see more international support of Hamas, particularly among Slavic regions, Southeast Asia, and some of the more liberal parts of the US (the coasts … and Austin). I see the media trumpeting Israel as oppressors enacting genocide and THAT winning over lots of folks in the middle. So that, when the war DOES expand into a larger, regional conflict, Israel will be alone, particularly if Biden and/or unnamed Dem wins the election. Yeah … I know how this plays into some people’s eschatological views. But whatever. It’s what my crazy brain sees. Israel v Iran turns into full blown WW3 in 2025. 


Jamie Says: War in Ukraine will end in the first half of the year as Ukraine cedes claims to the Donbas region and the territories taken by Russia in Crimea in 2014 while Russian agrees to withdraw troops and promises to not hinder or oppose Ukraine’s full entry into NATO, thereby protecting the rest of the nation from further incursions.

Joe Says: I see the war ending soon, very early in 2024, and I see Ukraine bending to Russia’s will. I don’t see Putin allowing them entry into NATO. I think Ukraine will become a puppet state for Russia. This, too, will be part of WW3. 


Jamie Says: There will be an overthrow of the Communist rule in China.

Joe Says: I don’t know what you’re smoking, but I want some! China asserts increasing maritime control in 2024 and pushes for reunification with Taiwan in 2025 or 2026. 


Jamie Says: Contrary to the way it looks now, neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump will win a second presidency in 2024.

Joe Says: I have a hard time seeing Biden running much less winning next year. He was … off … in the 2020 election and his mental decline has continued. I think the drumbeat for someone else will increase and we’ll end up with a race between Gov Newsome, Gov Whitmer, and Secretary Pete Buttigieg. I also think that Michelle Obama is today what Colin Powell was in the ’90s. She would win in a landslide if she ran. but she won’t. On the R side, I have a hard time seeing anyone pushing Trump out of the way. DeSantis is the clear normie front runner, but I think the push to charge Trump with anything and everything under the sun will embolden his support and push him through to the nomination. I see a Trump-Haley win over a Newsome-Buttigieg ticket in 2024, but Pete Buttigieg wins a Senate seat shortly thereafter and will be a contender the next time. 


Jamie says: The San Francisco 49ers will play the Miami Dolphins in the Super Bowl.

Joe says: This is the Ravens’ year. Although it will be good to see the Chiefs lose early.


Jamie says: The Seattle Mariners will win a playoff series.

Joe says: You stay positive, buddy! #neverGiveUpOnyourDreams


Jamie Says: In the lame duck session a real, meaningful immigration and border reform bill will finally pass.

Joe Says: See my response to #6.


Jamie Says: Fueled by energy from the Dobbs decision, Democrats will win both the House and the Senate.

Joe Says: I get what you’re saying, but I don’t see the energy from the Dobbs Decision driving this much power. For many on the left, extreme opinions on abortion and trans rights have become the litmus test for acceptance for any candidate the same way ending Rowe was the litmus test for Republicans in the ’90s and early ’00s (and still kinda is) . You have to support abortion up to birth and sometimes after, and trans rights to teach kids graphic sex ed in school and support for puberty blockers and surgeries for kids … or you don’t get elected or have any policy influence.  It’s okay to BE that way on either side of any issue in your personal beliefs, but when you push out the folks seeking moderation and common ground – and the Dems have done that to a large extent on these issues – that translates to a bumpy road, no matter how much energy you have. I wish we could have a serious conversation about substantive due process and its effect on policy and legislation coupled with an actual, science-based analysis of when life begins and how/when we assign rights … but that will never happen because just saying those words means you hate [insert group here] for lots of folks. So, instead, I’ll say Dems lose West Virginia, Montana, and Ohio as the Senate goes Red, while Biden impeachment discussions drive the House blue under a Trump presidency, and we keep dancing our stupid dance over Abortion and Sexuality. I feel very cynical saying all that, too.  #sadJoe


Jamie says: The United Kingdom will petition to rejoin the E.U.

Joe says: Not without ceding almost all of their power and money to Brussels. I think it’s more likely that we see Italy or Greece vote to leave before the UK tries to come crawling back, but I don’t see either happening in 2024.  


Jamie says: Even though inflation is coming down, The Federal Reserve will keep interest rates high.

Joe Says: I see the Fed voting to keep rates steady or cut them in an attempt to spur the economy in the face of an election. I see inflation increasing in 2024 with a housing crash on the horizon. 

Okay. There are Jamie’s thoughts. Now, let me put MY thoughts on the line about what’s coming down the pike for all of us in 2024.


  1. Generative AI (LLM and creation) will further embed itself into society the way social media did two decades ago, and we will get to the point where we cannot extricate ourselves … same as with social media. This will have disastrous effects on mental health, creativity, productivity, and interpersonal relationships. Yeah, I know I did a TED talk on how AI taking over can be a good thing … but I totally reverse myself now. 
  2. Open AI will work with Microsoft to develop the first Artificial General intelligence systems. That’s when things get really fun/dangerous. 
  3. No matter who wins the election in November, there will be riots all over the country. No matter who loses, they will use said riots as an example of how bad the winning team was for America. Things will continue down the same, dark path. 
  4. The Cincinnati Reds will not make the playoffs. The Los Angeles Dodgers will break the record for most wins/highest winning percentage in a season, then lose to the Mets in the NLDS, who will eventually win the World Series over the Trashtros. 
  5. The Cincinnati Bengals will dominate the AFC until Joe Burrow gets injured again in early December. 
  6. A large hurricane will cause billions in damage for either The Florida Gulf coast or the Houston area. 
  7. Pope Francis will pass, and the college of cardinals will elect someone from a little-known diocese where the cardinals are more pastoral in nature and close to the poor and marginalized. There will be a resulting resurgence of faith among Catholics in 2025, following a trend of intra-denominational unity among various sects of Christianity in the next few years.
  8. Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce will break up. Taylor will write an entire album about their relationship. NFL viewership will drop by 30%. 
  9. Threads will overtake X/Twitter as the primary text-based social media. TikTok will continue to destroy our minds and our children’s minds. 
  10. Google begins to fade as the search engine is increasingly unable to detect ai-generated content and therefore becomes useless. This has been a trend since GPT-4 came out. 
  11. AI-powered content farms, producing endless pages of excrement will push out legacy media and even digital media guardians in competition for ad and click dollars, resulting in significant job losses in these sectors. 
  12. Elon Musk becomes a social pariah as the DOJ files suit against X/Twitter for not upholding standards for security and consent review. 
  13. The severe decrease in customer-focused services during and post-COVID by literally everyone except Chick- Fil-A will leave several industries ripe for disruption in 2024, resulting in many up-and-comer business in many industries winning because they simply do things in a way that doesn’t completely suck. 
  14. There will be a boom in Alternative housing, starting in 2024. Skyrocketing home purchases and rent costs will drive many to pursue options like tiny homes, off-grid living, and communal spaces like converted malls and office buildings. 
  15. Starbucks will invest in retail spaces in larger cities to open coffee restaurants that double as co-working spaces for remote and hybrid workers. 
  16. JAmie will do another prediction post at the end of the year, and I will respond with my nonsense ideas. 


“Dad,” my son said. “If you had to choose between a clue or One Million Dollars, which would you choose?”

“I’d have to go with the million.”

“No! That’s the wrong answer! You were supposed to choose the clue!”


My son pulled out the book he was reading: “The Maze of Bones” by Rick Riordan. You  might know Mr. Riordan as the author of the Percy Jackson series. Much like the Percy Jackson series, The Maze of Bones is the first in a series of books where a kid or group of kids are thrown into a mysterious plot calling them to adventure. Standard Joseph Campbell stuff, but in a format that’s easily digestible by kids.

My son eats these up.

He told me all about the story, about the kids who are searching for 39 clues to get what he said was “a very important treasure.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier to just take the money and create your own adventure?” I asked.

“No, Dad. In THIS adventure, you might die!”

I sat back for a moment and tried to remember what it was like to be that age. This is Shaw Kid #4 (aka SK4). He’s only eight years old and, to him, the call to adventure in life is worth more than a Million Dollars. He doesn’t quite grasp the concept of that much money. To him, a million dollars might as well be a bajillion: an incomprehensible amount.

To my son, the call to adventure was worth more than all the money in the world. The fact that the risks might even include death only made it more exciting and, therefore, more worthwhile.

Shouldn’t it be that way for us? Sure, we have to pay the bills and take care of responsibilities. The adult world has to take these things into account. But it struck me how easily I’ve looked past good opportunities that came with some risk in favor of the easy solution, the path well-traveled.

We all have a call to adventure in our lives. We’re probably not being called to fight Greek Gods or search for Clues to unearth magical powers like in my son’s favorite novels, but we do have things we wish we could do … only if. Only if we had the time or less responsibility or if it were somehow less risky and easy to chase these adventurous options.

To chase all of them would be irresponsible. But to chase none of them is another form of death. It just takes longer.

The next time I see a call to adventure, I’m going to consider it. A million dollars would be nice, but the possibility of Real, True passion and meaning in whatever it is I’m doing is worth well more than that.

What do you think? What adventures are you considering?

The Picture – A Free Valentine’s Day Story from Jamie D. Greening

A picture holds a thousand words. But with today’s Free Valentine’s Day fiction, a picture might as well hold millions. Jamie Greening brings us another perspective on the paths love can take across a lifetime with his story: The Picture:

If you fell in love with this one, why not give some of the other authors a chance as well. Check out the sites for ALL of the Fondue Writers: Joseph CourtemancheJamie D. GreeningKathy KexelDerek Alan ElkinsRob Cely, and Dr. Paul Bennet. If you like what you see, why not pick up a few copies of their books? It covers the cost of everything, and it gives us hope in those long, dark nights when we’re dreaming up new stories, that Christmas miracles really do come true.

You might also consider our first collection of short stories, The Covid Quarantine Catina, written during the first months of the Covid-19 lockdowns. It’s available in Kindle, Paperback, and Audio formats.

Dr Paul Bennet will be back tomorrow with another Valentine’s Day short story. Until then, find someone you love, hug them tight, and remind them not to break anything.

Capital L

On Thanksgiving, our six year old son was nearly crushed by a 200lb, metal, lighted Santa Claus decoration. 

We went to the North Georgia mountains for the holiday to do some hiking and waterfall searching amongst the quiet of the pines, away from the hustle and bustle of destination resort town like our hometown of Orlando. 

It was great. At first. 

Then Santa slipped his tension wires just as our son was playing off-path in a park in Helen, GA. We told him repeatedly to come back, but he didn’t listen. The road less traveled was too tempting for him, and he paid the price. Let that be a lesson to all you would-be commencement speakers who quote Robert Grost. As a result, we spent Thanksgiving night in a remote Georgia ER, hoping for the bleeding to stop, and that our son had no brain abnormalities beyond those our genetics gifted him at birth.  

He was fine. No worries.  He DOES have a healthy distrust of Santa Claus now, though. Which is probably a good thing. 

In December, one of the stitches from my cornea transplant (from wayback in 2012) made its way loose. I had it removed, but apparently the place where said stitch used to be is now infected, which is a bad thing for transplants. The doctor says I’m 50/50 on whether I’ll lose the eye. 

“We’ll have to wait and see,” he said. Then, he added: “No pun intended.”

I’ve been here a few times over the years. Cornea transplants can reject easily, especially for those who are prone to rub their eyes with dirt-encrusted hands after wrestling with kids in the backyard. I’m hopeful things pull through. They always have up till now. It just means a few harrowing days of partial blindness and another doctor’s visit next Wednesday. Then, it’s either a few steroid drops and my eye becomes Arnold Schwarzenegger, or a I undergo surgery which will turn me into a white Nick Fury

Whatever happens, I’m living in the tension of waiting for things to return to normal, which is a tension I think we’re all familiar with lately. 

It would be easy to say that I can’t wait for Christmas break to end, for the kids to go back to school and me back to work. There IS a part of me that goes there, just like there’s a part of me that lamented being so far away from home when Santa assaulted my progeny. 

We yearn for normalcy, for predictability. But life isn’t normal. It rarely conforns to the best laid plans of mice and men.

When you focus on being normal, you miss capital-L life right in front of you. Like families laughing at each other when someone forgets to unmute themselves on the now-annual Holiday Zoom get-together. There is joy in the trenches and sadness in the peaks, because Life exists in both places. To focus on returning to Normal LIfe is to miss Life entirely. 

I’m spending the day after Christmas with the kids, watching Miyazaki films and eating popcorn (the same popcorn I got qs a gift from Captech as a gift for  Christmas. Thanks, CT!). Tomorrow, we’ll toss baseball in the backyard. On Wednesday, we’ll find out which path I take with my eyesight and go from there. Nothing I can do about it now, so there’s no point missing out on popcorn, movies, and baseball while we wait, right?

I feel good about this decision. 

An Other Christmas – Kathy Kexel

Aliens and Manger Scenes, Batman!

That’s the first thing that popped into my head when I ventured into today’s Fondue Writer’s Christmas story from Kathy Kexel. But that’s only because my brain is weird and operates in mysterious ways.

Today, Kathy Kexel blends Amish culture with science fiction with political intrigue and the Greatest Story Ever Told to come up with a wonderful tale of foreigners seeking refuge in unknown lands and finding a new place to call home.

There are also cows.

Check out An Other Christmas by Kathy Kexel.

Germany, place unknown | 2011 04 | Dairy cow on the “Kattendorfer Hof”.

If you have the time, please check out the sites for ALL of the Fondue Writers: Joseph CourtemancheJamie D. GreeningKathy KexelDerek Alan ElkinsRob Cely, and Dr. Paul Bennet. If you like what you see, why not pick up a few copies of their books? It covers the cost of everything, and it gives us hope in those long, dark nights when we’re dreaming up new stories, that Christmas miracles really do come true.

If you’d like what you see, you might also check out our first collection of short stories, The Covid Quarantine Catina, written during the first months of the Covid-19 lockdowns. It’s available in Kindle, Paperback, and Audio formats.

Jamie D Greening will be back with us on Wednesday. Until then, be kind to your neighbors, celebrate the miracle of Christmas with those you love, and, as always … don’t break anything.

The Patch – By Jamie Greening

It’s a skilled writer who can, with a mere head fake, encourage you to believe a story is going one way, while deftly sliding the knife between your ribs and into your lungs. There were some mixed metaphors there, but you get the idea.

And, when it comes to today’s Fondue author, Jamie Greening, I would not be surprised if he attempted a linguistic head fake and actually attempted to shiv me. He’s just that good.

See if you can’t get yourself equally thrown for a loop when you check out Jamie’s Halloween story, The Patch.

If you have the time, please check out the sites for ALL of the Fondue Writers: Joseph CourtemancheJamie D. GreeningKathy KexelDerek Alan ElkinsRob Cely, and Dr. Paul Bennet. If you like what you see, why not pick up a few copies of their books? It covers the cost of everything, and it gives us hope in those long, dark nights when we’re dreaming up new stories, wondering if the monsters in our heads matter only to us, or if one day they might come out of the dark to terrify you as well.

If you’d like what you see, you might also check out our first collection of short stories, The Covid Quarantine Catina, written during the first months of the Covid-19 lockdowns. It’s available in Kindle, Paperback, and Audio formats.

Paul Bennett will be back on Friday with another Halloween story. Until then, mind your Ps and Qs, always listen to your elders, and, as always, don’t break anything.

Dark Transit – By Michael DiMercurio

One of the great things about pursuing interests outside your “day job,” is that, beyond just building alt income streams, you get to meet all sorts of interesting people. Because I’ve been writing with the Fondue Writers for the last few years, and because Jamie Greening, Joseph Courtemanche, and I have been working on a few other projects, I got to meet Michael DiMercurio.

I’m going to say this wrong, because I never served, but DiMercurio is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and M.I.T. He served aboard nuclear submarines, saving the world from Communism and doing all sorts of things he can never speak about because of national security issues. He was an instructor at Annapolis and has, since the early ’90s, been a celebrated author of submarine fiction.

“Like Tom Clancy?” you might ask.

Yes, but good and factually accurate.

DiMercurio has written another book: his first in fifteen years. It’s called “Dark Transit,” and I had the pleasure to both read an early copy and listen to the audio narration from fellow Fondue writer, Joseph Courtemanche.

If you like military fiction, if you’re a fan of page-turners, I highly suggest checking out Dark Transit, which is available for pre-order in Kindle, paperback, and audiobook right now. DiMercurio is an amazing author. And this is just part 1 in his Anthony “Patch” Pacino series. I can’t wait to read the rest.

An Acre of Peace Part 1 – by Paul Bennett

A brand new story from Dr Paul Bennett. This one’s about reclaiming something that was lost, and bringing peace to a chaotic situation. Click on the pines to read the story.

If you’re not caught up with all of the Covid Chronicles, worry not! Scroll on down the page for the latest and greatest from all our Quarantined-and-slowly-going-more-insane-than-they-already-were. While you’re at it, check out pages for Joseph CourtemancheJamie GreeningKathy KexelDerek ElkinsRob Cely, and Dr. Paul J Bennett . There is a strong, non-zero chance you will come away happy.

Side Effects – an ABSOLUTELY FREE story from Kathy Kexel

Happy Friday, everyone. Happy GOOD Friday.

Kathy Kexel comes today with a brand new, table turning story about COVID-19 and those most vulnerable. It’s called “Side Effects” and it’s a great read. Give it a shot by clicking on ZZ TOP’s beards below.

That’s three weeks of #CovidCaptivity stories in the books. How’re y’all liking it?

Our original plan was for fantabulous author, Rob Cely, to join the crew tomorrow. However, since Saturdays are difficult for readership (and since it’s the day between Good Friday and Easter … and Rob is a pastor), we decided to slot him to Monday.

#JoPrime (aka Joe Courtemanche) will jump in with a story on Sunday, then Rob on Monday, Jamie Greening on Tuesday, Derek Elkins Wednesday, YoursTruly (aka #OtherJoe) on Thursday, and Kathy Kexel batting cleanup again (as she does so well) next Friday.