Saturday, October 31, 2020








There is a conspiracy afoot. I know about it only because I am taking part in it. 

It has to do with the election.

Do you want to know what the conspiracy is?

I will tell you.

But only if you will swear on all that is sacred to you first.

Swear that you have, or that you will vote.

Actually you have to swear that you have voted, or that you will vote for the desperately needed but frankly pretty crappy conservative candidate: Joe Biden. 

For obvious reasons.

You swore?

Excellent. Thank you.

I will tell you.


I have been working in the heart of the voting process for almost two months of early voting. All day long I answer questions about early voting, the voting rules and procedures, and the voting days to come. I'm not working in Elections and I'm not an election judge, but I work in a library where it's all taking place. This is not just early voting, but on Tuesday we will also be a regular voting location. So I am an observer. And it has been packed here. Right now lines wrap my building and spill, weaving out into the parking lot. So many people have early voted that it has even become hard to predict how busy election day will be. Will voting be light because so much early voting already happened, or will it be crazy like it's been all along?

All of which leads us to the conspiracy.

Voting has been a national disaster. We are in the midst of a Pandemic. Gathering mobs of people in static, indoor locations, where they mill together for long periods of time has spread the coronavirus. The enormous surge in numbers of Coronavirus cases and deaths here over the past month is certainly not entirely attributable to huge early voting gatherings, but they sure haven't helped.

Early voting, and the voting to come, are serious contagion vectors.

But we don't talk about it much because, as sensible people, we are so desperate for people to vote we have to look the other way.

What I am saying is:

There is poison in the cure.









Friday, October 30, 2020

How to use the Internet


You are a busy person.

Or perhaps you're not a busy person, but you don't want to spend all your precious time in this World studying the endless conjectures, science, rumors, and details of this Covid-19 Pandemic.

But you don't want to be ignorant. You still want to know what's going on.

Don't worry!

No, no, you should probably worry about the pandemic. It's pretty serious. I mean, don't worry about not keeping up with all the endless Pandemic news.

I have done it for you!

I have spent a lot of time on the Internet. I have poured over the news feeds. I have monitored the wide ranging public chats of other casual observers, listened to the interviews with epidemiologists, consulted the scientific publishing, poured over the statistics, the hard evidence, the anecdotal evidence, and assorted leaks of information regarding vaccine trials. I have, all from the magical portal of my Internet computer, roamed the vast breadth of up to date knowledge, discussion, conjecture, fear, news, and politics regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic. And I am here, in one convenient location, in a clear and intelligible distillation of available information, to give you a full, up to the minute, advanced, informed summation of local and World statuses regarding this serious public health emergency.

You have, understandably exhausted, turned your attention to a variety of other things, but you would still like to be reliably informed. I am here, without fuss or embellishment, to simply do so. 

Here is my comprehensive, yet simple, concise, but thorough, informed, but digested, completely up to date report on the Covid-19 Pandemic:

It's not looking great.

I'll be back in six months for another update.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Top ten reasons for this list


The Top Ten Reasons for this List


It's self evident! Or is it self referential? I forget the difference.


 Top ten lists used to rule a simpler, more innocent Internet, and we're trying to bring that happier time back. But unfortunately all the other top ten list subjects have been copyrighted.


  The reason is that I had an incredible idea for reason number eight. The rest is just filler.


 I'm still in shock over reason number eight. That can't be true can it? I was so excited to be reason number seven, and now it all just feels... pointless.


 Hi. I'm reason number six. I enjoy water polo, Greek Sculpture, and going out for French Fries. If you're interested in just talking about reasons for this list, or really anything, especially the 1960 Italian Water Polo team, in particular the great Giuseppe D'Altrui who I think is criminally underrated and was key to their astonishing gold medal run, drop me a line in the comments section. I know some great fry places, though most of them are pool snackbars, but they are still surprisingly good!


 Oh, me? Could you come back to reason number five later? I'm not quite ready. I'm preparing something really special. It's going to be great!


 The reason, um, the the reasonls, er, reason, sorry, the reason for this list, ahem, sorry- I'm really nervous- the reason is to, to give, um, to give you an in, an insight into how, or, I mean, the types of ways, really, that, shoot, I'm messing this up, aren't I? 


 Well, this is a farce, isn't it, and I refuse to take part! Reason 10: Self evident means inherently obvious, like this list being a farce is inherently obvious! And self referential means to say or write something about oneself! Reason 8: Get off your high horse! Reason 6: We're not here for the convenience of your social life! Reason 5: You are so full of it. The moment you finished I saw you sneak out the back of this list! And Reason 4: Just take a deep breath. You're doing fine. We're all friends here.


 Is "one" the best reason? Or is this a non ranked list. I mean, how good of a reason am I expected to be? Do I have to be better than reason nine, because nine was pretty impressive and if I have to be eight slots better I think I'd, wait. What? I'm on now? I'm live?


 Sorry  I'm late. Did I miss anything?

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Nine pictures


I collect many pictures for this blog over time, but sometimes they don't find a place in any particular post. And so on a day like today I go through and find the important ones from the last period of time that didn't find a place.

Then I put them here.

And you can do what you like with them, but you'll have seen them either way, and that's what they were all thinking about all that time they were waiting.


Sure, we'll give them all titles:

Leaves in the old grass

Dead bird in the thorns

Last of the flowers

The private thoughts of blue jays

When the Winter interrupts the Autumn

Stream in Fall

The smoky water


In their best armor

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Why does this always happen to me!


My back and wrist have been hurting me. And my neck hurt so much that I was taking a day off of work. But I still needed to go out for a walk in the morning. So I strapped on my camera, put on my coat, masked up, and headed out the door.

The alley was covered in ice, and after I minced my way carefully through it I realized it wasn't even the way I meant to go. So I turned to the river and headed against the direction I started out in. It was freezing cold out, in the twenties, and I did not feel well. I took a picture here or there, but without much conviction. The flowers are all gone and most of the leaves are off the trees now. There were swarms of interesting little songbirds fluttering about, but they were all so frisky and active I couldn't get any shots of them.

Because it was so cold out the river path was finally almost comfortably empty, but every once in awhile a jogger would come by, breathing and spewing particles and getting me to worry about coronavirus yet again. I climbed down to the river and there wasn't much happening. So I came back up from the river and ventured into the neighborhoods.

I was still cold and I wasn't having much fun. I had taken maybe 12 pictures and knew none of them would be any good. I figured I'd turn right at the street ahead, go down past where the turkeys sometimes rarely are, and continue on home. But just as I got to that cross street a disquietingly loud garbage truck turned right in front of me and began working in an unappealing way along my line of travel.

"Why does this always happen to me!" I lamented. 

Without good options I headed on straight ahead instead.

And found a flock of 30 turkeys.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Election fever







I came into work and one of my co-workers asked "How's your election fever doing?"

So maybe I've been talking about this election a lot. Maybe too much? Didn't I just write about it here yesterday?

I replied "It's about 104 degrees. We're trying to burn out the infection."

My co-worker nodded sagely.

"If we can't burn it out it may end up killing us."

This, as my co-worker well understood, was a code for the infection of Donald Trump and the Republicans. It's easy to talk like this with my colleagues because everyone I work with here is some kind of Democrat.

Well, there is one person...

But the main thing I ever have say to them is "Jesus Christ, just put on your mask!" 

Sunday, October 25, 2020


Trying to reassure myself on a recent morning I noted that the most reliable odds of a Biden victory placed his chances of winning currently at 87 percent. 

I'd take an 87 percent chance at almost anything. For instance it was unseasonably cold out, but I needed to go for a walk because I haven't really been getting enough exercise. I looked up the weather on the Internet to see what the precipitation chances were. Yes, it was cold, but the chance of snow (Snow! In mid October!)  was listed as just 5 percent and soon dropping to 0 percent. The conditions of my walk seemed assured. A one in 20 chance is laughably small and so I grabbed my camera and headed out for a journey through my neighborhood.

At which point it started snowing. 


It was a fluke, I thought. And it would fade as the chance of snow dropped down to its impending forecast of zero.

But it just snowed harder. 

And my point in all this is that I will take an 87 percent chance of a desired outcome anytime and be delighted to do so. But that doesn't mean that 13 out of every 100 times freezing fucking ice won't fall out of the sky and bury and kill everything.

But don't worry. If such a thing happens, against all the odds, then surely Spring will one day come again. 

There is an 87 percent chance of that.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Pandemic kids




I don't know much about kids except for having been one a long time ago and the occasional ones I meet working at the library.

But I have found a small, fascinating thing regarding them in the short history of this pandemic. When required masks were first discussed, and as the idea of them slowly formed up, I remember regularly reading about how of course there was no way in hell kids were going to be able to handle masks, and that it would be obvious to anyone who dealt regularly with kids that we'd have to take into account their complete inability to deal with the strangeness and challenge of wearing a mask.

So I thought: Okay, I don't know kids. I guess this must be true.

But now we are pretty deep into our mask mandates, and I have found that every single kid over the age of three that I have seen at the library has been great at mask wearing. The toddlers I have seen aren't perfect at the mask wearing, but they're not terrible either.

You know who has been terrible at mask wearing?

Old people. 

Old people and Republicans. 

And lots and lots of old Republicans.

As usual in America we worried again about the wrong people.



It might be a feature, not a bug.








Friday, October 23, 2020

October 23, a history, a joke, and Grape


On October 23rd this blog celebrates the birthday of longtime blog (and personal) friend Grape! We have been doing this for a long time. We do it because:

1. He is our very oldest friend.

2. It is a fun way to share zany stories of youthful hijinks.

3. He is a robust blog commentator!

4. Our dates of birth are only four days apart so it's all part of the grand festivities!

5. We like him.

This year we are going to do a little lookback at what we have covered in this blog on Grape birthdays gone by so that we know where we are in the mythosphere of our history as we go forward.

So far we have written at length about our various following adventures and misadventures:

1. The time we went swimming (accidentally) with hundreds of sharks!

2. The time we took massive amounts of one of the most powerful hallucinogens in the World, peyote, in some bat caves in the Southern California hills, but they didn't work, so we gave up and went bowling. Then they worked. They worked a lot!

3. The Summer we became obsessed with Miniature Golf and reinvented the sport for the ages.

4. The time we saw a herd of magic deer in the most beautiful valley in all of the High Sierras, and a rainbow formed over them, and then lightning struck behind them.

5. The time we almost died while reckless driving down Stunt Canyon Rd.

6. The time we put a rattlesnake in his mom's freezer, then dissected it in the bathroom on a sweltering Summer day as his family became increasingly suspicious.

7. The time we lit a fire while backpacking into the Mountains only to find it still burning when we were backpacking out.

8. The terrible bear and horse encounter of 1982!

That is a whole lot of events to have already covered in this blog!

This is a very old blog to have covered so much on merely a once a year basis!

All of this makes clerkmanifesto a super, impressively old blog.

But not as impressively old as me and Grape! 

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

So happy birthday to Grape!

And check this out, now that photos are legal on clerkmanifesto, I present to you...


Note: Grape is a children's book author who wrote the book "Grape"!

Note to Grape: The above photo would make an excellent author photo for the sequel to Grape that's coming out next year.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Finger injury, the exciting finale


Oh, hi.

You're probably here to check in on how the blog promotion is going.

We promised that if this blog managed to get to a benchmark of one million subscribers I was going to show a picture of my bruised finger. But, I mean, look who I'm telling about the million subscribers and the picture of my hurt finger! You've probably visited clerkmanifesto every five minutes for the past four days to see if we've hit this benchmark. 

I mean, I would've.

But you know as well as I do that one million is a lot of subscriptions.

So let's check in:

On day one we were at 37 subscribers. 

Day two boosted dramatically to 37 subscribers. 

And on day three we dropped a bit (that kind of rapid rise was never going to be sustainable) to 36 subscribers. 

But because day four is the last day to hit our reveal number this is it! Today is the day that really counts, and today is the day we've all been waiting for. 

Did we make it?

How many subscribers did clerkmanifesto get to, and was it enough?

I'm so nervous I feel a little nauseous. I'm all hot too.

Let's just check our subscriber list.

Here it is, day four.

The current number of clerkmanifesto email subscribers is:


We did it!


Oh my god! We really did it!

What a journey.

Thank you.

Thank you to all of you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Million subscribers: The excitement grows!





Ever since we announced that we would show a picture of our wounded finger right here in clerkmanifesto, interest in this blog has skyrocketed. But has it skyrocketed enough? The deal was that we would show this picture of my bruised forefinger if, and only if, in four days, we hit one millions subscribers to clerkmanifesto. 

How does one subscribe to clerkmanifesto?

To subscribe, simply enter your email address to the right where it says "Follow by Email". 

Actually, I have a whole bunch of questions. Is there some kind of FAQ on this clerkmanifesto promotion?

This! This is that FAQ!

How many people are subscribed by Email right now?


Is that number close to a million?

It's closer to a million than it is to minus a million.

Is minus a million a lot?

It's a lot of people not doing something. Like, if we could get a million people to bike to work instead of driving it will save 114 billion barrels of oil every year! So that's minus a million people working to save the planet!

I'm confused.

I'm so sorry, but this is "frequently asked questions" not "frequent responses to my answers to questions".

I'm already subscribed to clerkmanifesto. What can I do to help reach the million subscribers threshold?

I want nothing for myself. Please take all that energy you have to help me and instead use it to solve homelessness in America. I have so much already. Bless you! And don't forget to vote!

I too am subscribed to clerkmanifesto since last year. I did it during a promotion where if I subscribed I would get to ask a question of my choice in an upcoming clerkmanifesto FAQ. Is that what's happening now?

No, good guess, but the next one is your question.

While I was asking the previous question in this FAQ did the number of subscribers increase at all?

Unfortunately no. Someone unsubscribed at that time and the number went down one to 36.

But that's good for the planet, right?