YOU KNOW, I’m not sure you lot fully appreciate the extreme lengths your local newspaper man is willing to go to, in order to bring you the inside line on global issues.
I have had to ‘brave’ 90-plus degree weather this week, cross a desert, and walk streets where you know two out of every three people own a handgun.
I’ve even had to drink Budweiser Lite beer, which I can only describe as being akin to getting a cat with a bad case of cystitis to pee into a bottle, then putting it into a freezer until it’s cold enough to freeze your lips off.
At least that sensation takes your mind off the taste for a few seconds. But only a few.
And the purpose of my noble sacrifice?
Simply to reassure their British cousins across the water that the American people are every bit as aghast at the neanderthal qualities of the entire Presidential candidacy line-up as we are.
I was in a bar on Tuesday night as the first USA ‘Super Tuesday’ results started rolling across the TV screen above the bar.
(And for the uninitiated, America chooses the respective Democrat (Labour) and Republican (Conservative) nominees for the Presidential election state by state.
For the Republicans it’s a race between Combover Trump and a bloke named Ted Cruz who, I’m rapidly learning, is even more dangerous than The Don.
For the Democrats it’s Bernie Sanders (their version of Jeremy Corbyn) versus Hillary Clinton, who has more skeletons than clothes in her wardrobes. And she has plenty of wardrobes.
On Super Tuesday a whole raft of states voted. A long way to go but it will be Trump-Clinton.
Back to that bar. On my left Jim, a good ‘ole boy construction worker with fond memories of a month in London back in 1989. To my right Rodolfo, a second generation Mexican from Lubbock, Texas.
Both had guessed that I was Irish, both apologised profusely when I said no, English.
News of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement has been slow making its way to southern California.
As photos and interviews rolled across the screen, both men shook their heads. ‘Embarrassing,’ said Jim. ‘What must you guys think?’
It was the same everywhere. Assertive and successful women who admitted they ‘should’ want Hillary in the White House were literally outraged at the prospect.
‘Anyone except that woman,’ said Lesley.
‘Anyone. Except Bernie Sanders of course. You might as well elect Colonel Sanders and feed the world on Kentucky Fried Chicken.’
Me: ‘But it’s one or the other, Lesley.’ Her husband Steve chipped in, ‘Or Trump.’
She had a sharp kitchen knife in her hands. I swear she looked at her wrists.
Such as there was a common assent on Trump, it was summed up by Stan, who came out west from Missouri 50-odd years ago and hasn’t been anywhere since, unless it involved fishing (he once nearly got us run over by the battleship USS New Jersey).
Stan doesn’t say much, but throws a lot of bulls eyes when he does. “Trump says what a lot of people only say in the bar.
“His biggest vote winner is that he’s not a politician and people have had enough of them, goddamn liars, thieves and hypocrites to a man – and woman.
“But if he does win, he won’t be able to be as outrageous as he has been in the campaign. For a dumb **** (expletive deleted) he’s pretty smart.”
Fingers crossed on that Stan, who also addressed the other elephant in the presidential room. “Man needs to do something with that stoopid hair though...”
I COULD probably stand for election in California right now and do pretty decently. Even by Palm Springs standards – it gets very hot in the low desert – 92 degrees on March 1st was ridiculous. It’s due for 90 today (Wednesday) too.
When I was first here in 1982 I told my mum it was 110 degrees in the shade. She told me to stay out of the shade. No flies on that woman.
Up at the beach where this time of year is usually in the 60s, with the odd 70-plus day, they’ve had a run of summer-hot days to see out February.
Not to worry folks. Locky is here.
I’ve just put the telly on and the biggest news beside the election circus is much-needed weather relief. California is going to get anywhere between three and seven inches of rain by the weekend.
One old friend, Rhoda, is probably standing by her screen door as you read this, waiting to run out and dance in the rain like a child experiencing its first fluffy snow day.
I’m not kidding.
I WAS intrigued by the news that more than 70 doctors and academics have written to the Government calling on tackling to be banned in schools rugby.
They clearly never saw me play. Why tackle when you are an expert at delegating ... and standing next to big blokes who enjoy inflicting/experiencing pain?
But seriously, I have a better idea. Won’t the world be a better place if we at least sack these politically correct buffoons? I haven’t a clue who they are individually, but wouldn’t mind a fair bet that virtually every one is lavishly funded from the public purse.
If we’re looking at building a better, safer world, I have a variety of ideas, starting with these killjoys.
Sacking them isn’t good enough actually. Remove their reproductive organs. Voice boxes too, if we’re serious. Any means of them communicating their stupid, socially-engineered agendas.
If you’ve watched schools or junior rugby, you soon identify the kids who aren’t comfortable with either the sport or the physical contact part of it.
Like life itself, natural selection channels them down a different path. For the others, the kids that love it? They are taught self-discipline, the team ethos, in good clubs they come to terms with life lessons about winning and losing and hard work.
Sure, kids get a knock. Teenagers, adults too. My old mate David Roebuck has been quadriplegic for 34 years after a tragic rugby accident. Those doctors should ask Dave if he regrets ever picking up a rugby ball.
Dave was as good a tackler as you’ve ever seen, but a scrum collapsed. Accidents happen. Kids fall out of trees (although that’s a part of life that’s almost been eradicated). Let’s ban crossing the road. Heck, let’s ban cars. But then we’d have to walk everywhere and think of all the ankle/knee/hip operations we’d eventually need! Could the NHS cope?
In fact if you develop the mindset of these goody-two-shoes, there’s only one inevitable outcome – hold on, you’ll like this – we have to ban sex.
Really. And no, not as well known local Facebook sage Steve Archer replied to me, to avoid wrist injuries, chafing and the like.
The inexorable dream of the medical profession seems to be to live forever, without experiencing so much as a winter cold, sprained ankle or toothache – which is clearly impossible.
Or is it? The child who was never born can’t get hurt by a stray knee or elbow on a rugby field. The old man who never drew first breath, won’t end up being neglected in a badly-run care home.
It’s the only way to avoid death. Avoid birth. Ban sex.
Think of it! The polar bears would get all the ice caps they need. Fresh, crispy, clean air, yummy yummy.
How the greenies would love that (and I’m half expecting an enthusiastic call of support from Jeremy Corbyn).
And if we’re impatient for this ridiculous utopia, why not kick start things with a Reverend Jim Jones-like mass suicide?
Can I nominate our idiot politicians, public servants and 70-odd doctors and academics to get the party started? We’ll all follow right along, honest! If you lot are serious it’s your public duty to set the example.
And I really mean it when I say the world will be a better place...