Mike Cornelison

Letters from the Lunar Outpost

One who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is intelligent among men.
- Bhagavad Gita, Sanskrit Poem Incorporated into the Mahabharata (c. B.C. 400)

Outside of flagging down three hombres to help me carry my daughter like an Egyptian princess in her wheelchair 40 yards down the beach to reach the glass bottom boat ride, my favorite part of our Cabo vacation was definitely the fishing trip.

01-fishing-departure 02-departure

It was still dark when we arrived and the sun was just beginning to rise as we headed out of the harbor. It seemed like the boat had just barely got wet when Jesse got a tug and began a good ten minute battle reeling in a beautiful dorado.


I had read how the dorado changes color from a neon green or gold in the water to random processions of silver, blue, gold again or dark green when you bring them aboard, but it’s one thing to read about it, quite another to see it in person.

So right off the bat, Jesse was just beaming, “AH, the open water, I love it!” Yeah sure, the guy who just made his catch is laughing and cracking jokes and loving life, but I’m looking at Richie and I can tell he’s seething just the same as I am, we’re trying to keep it in check, but we’re both staring intently at the ocean and all we can think of is my fish is the next one out there and I’m going to get it so help me God.

It was a good hour before Richie got his bite, his dorado was just slightly smaller than Jesse’s fifteen pounder, but out of the three of us, Richie was by far the more experienced fisherman and he made quick work of it, reeling it in like a pro in maybe half the time it took Jesse.


After a good couple hours, we had made our way far down the coast and we began the return back from our half-day tour. Mentally, I began preparing myself for the possibility of being the only one to come back empty-handed and I began trying to remind myself that grown men are not allowed to feel sorry for themselves or sniffle and pout.

I finally got a bite, but the little thief had managed to help himself to a free sample of my bait. The next time I got a bite, the sucker managed to get the entire fish off my hook.

Now I was getting despondent, just trying to keep my facial expression in check, but then came the next bite. It was my first time fishing, but Richie was coaching me quite well, pull that fishing pole back and in the very next motion, start reeling in the slack you created with the pull. I did this and then did it again, but then I noticed there was very little resistance, in fact, I didn’t even need to pull back and fight it, I could just reel and reel and reel it in I did.

It was a tiny little fish, they call it a bonita and it was quite beautiful, but I felt ridiculous with my little fish comparing it to the 15- and 12-pound catches my friends had made – so I made a joke of it, posing for the photo with an aggro “HELL YEAH, MAN!” look on my face.


At least I’d caught something though, I told myself, but my friends were cool and they said don’t worry, next bite we get, that one’s yours as well.

It ended up being a beautiful dorado, somewhere between the size of Richie’s and Jesse’s. He put up a good fight, leaping up out of the water at least three times. It was a glorious thing bringing him aboard and in that moment, right there, my very first time out fishing and I was hooked. I’m already wondering where we can find fishing excursions here in So. Cal. that can compare to the fishing trip we had in Cabo.


Coming back to our Villa, we realized we had done things completely backwards – we waited to go out fishing until our last full day and now we had three dorados and a bonita sitting in ice in our kitchen sink and just a matter of hours before we left in the morning.

Well, even that part of it ended up beautifully. I’d been frequenting the gift shop at the resort regularly for a daily supply of beer and I told the lady there that we had some extra food we couldn’t bring home and I asked her if she was interested. She seemed not interested at all, but she asked, what do you have? I told her we had a dorado. You should have seen the way her face lighted up when I mentioned the word dorado! So I was very happy to give her my catch. (It also hit me pretty hard to imagine that all the people working at the resort were living right there at the Bay of Cortez and yet a fishing expedition or even fresh dorado at the market was like a luxury they couldn’t afford.)

Richie’s dorado went to the resort’s pool guy Paul who we had a lot of fun hanging out with and the final dorado worked out for everyone, because the sushi guy at the restaurant island in the middle of the pool was more than happy to take the bottom half of the fish in exchange for filleting the rest of the fish and making some sushi out of it.

Dorado sushi just an hour from having been swimming in the ocean – it was the best fish I’ve ever tasted.

Oh yeah, it was just my first time, but I can claim it with full sincerity: ¡Soy un pescador!

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Fireworks at Lake ElsinoreI’ve had more than my share of encounters with the police, most of them under pretty mundane circumstances and definitely none of them ever came close to the seriousness of what I was accused of last night.

The day before, we headed out to go camping for the Fourth of July weekend at Lake Elsinore with my buddy Jesse and his daughter, his friend Edgar and Edgar’s girlfriend. At 104 degrees, it was hot enough to make your brain feel mushy as you walked around the camp site and it was all I could do to drink enough beer to stay ahead of the heat. In heat like that, you don’t even get buzzed, you drink your beers down and then just sweat them all right back out.

As the night drew upon us, we settled in for the fireworks show. After a life spent of watching city-approved fireworks shows, this time we happened to set up camp on the opposite side of the lake from the official show and instead we were treated to a show that California fireworks law could only classify as neither safe or sane. A lot of people must have sunk a lot of money into fireworks and it was fun because you never knew where the next volley of fireworks was going to come from.

So yesterday, it was Sunday, the fifth of July, my friends left for home along with the vast majority of the couple hundred other campers and by 5pm when the guy on the golf cart began making the rounds to check to see who had paid through Sunday night and who needed to get on their way, we had gone from half a football field of tents and vehicles to only our family and maybe half-a-dozen scattered other groups of campers.

The night before, the air mattress had lost its air and we were flat on the ground by the morning, so this night we left the tent to sleep in the SUV. We were fast asleep when a knock came on the window around midnight. It was the Sheriff. That will jolt you awake in an instant. I put the window down. “Yes, officer?”

“We had a report of a dead body being dumped in your car.”

“A dead body?”

“Yes.” The sheriff has his flashlight on me, his partner had his flashlight scanning up and down through the vehicle.

“A dead body?”


I was flabbergasted, but after the initial shock wore off, I was able to piece it together. “Someone must have seen me placing my paraplegic daughter in the car. As you can see, she’s alive and doing just fine.” And right on queue, little Megan chimes in with a big happy, “Ahhhh!”

The cop began apologizing, I said no worries and I told him he was just doing his job, but even after I said that, he still apologized two more times. It’s a rare thing indeed to see a police officer that apologetic, but Megan has a way of making even the toughest guys tender like that.

After the sheriff left, my wife and I just looked at each other bewildered and shaking our heads and then we began laughing. We wondered how on Earth anyone misinterpret the scene like that, but then I thought about how it was dusk when I put Megan in the car and how the half-light might give a sinister look to things, and then we both laughed as we imagined the absolute horror those other campers must have been experiencing if they really believed what they thought they were witnessing to the point of calling in the cops! “OH MY GOD, THEY’RE PUTTING A DEAD BODY IN THE CAR!”

Wow, my life has had some pretty crazy twists and turns, but never in my life would I have imagined getting fingered for a murder.

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We celebrate New Year’s Day, we celebrate New Year’s Eve, but how about a little pause to reflect that on this day, July 2, we are at the midpoint of the year?

July 2 is the 183rd day of non-leap years in the Gregorian calendar. This day is the midpoint of a common year because there are 182 days before it and 182 days after it.

How quickly the year seems to slip away, right? But here’s the good news: today, July 2 marks the official midpoint of the year, so even if it felt like you had already blown it with some of your goals for the year, you still have half a year to get that shit done!

Happy Midpoint's Day

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Rock Hudson

This is Rock Hudson. He was a bit before my time and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie he starred in, but I do remember very clearly in 1985 when news broke that he had died of AIDS, and that’s when I first became truly aware of the real story of who Rock Hudson was and the secret life he had lived.

Thirty years ago, when I was a teenager, my first reaction was, “He was gay! That’s so gross!” Anyone who tells you that most heterosexuals in America back in the eighties didn’t have that same knee-jerk repulsion to gay people is lying. Back in the day, if someone were to seriously call you out for being gay, almost any straight guy would be willing to fight to prove you wrong. That’s just the way it was.

So yeah, I’d be less than honest not to admit that back then, my first thought was, “Ewww, that Rock Hudson guy was a fudge packer,” but even at that young age after hearing about the sham marriage and the straight persona he had to put on, I can also remember thinking, “That sucks he had to pretend he was straight just to land acting roles.”

How much the world has changed in thirty short years! Sure, in the cultures where macho and false bravado rule – I’m speaking of a good portion of blacks, Hispanics and rednecks – things still are the same as they were decades ago where the surest, quickest way to start a fight is to accuse a man of being gay, but we live in an America now where 60% of Americans support same-sex marriage, so the debate is pretty much over. Give it up anti-gay crusaders, you will never tip the scales back in your favor.

I think of being the teenager I was in the 80s and how it used make me shudder with revulsion to think of what gay people do, but now I feel even more heterosexual than I was then because now I know who I am with complete assuredness, so the thought of two men buggering each other affects me not one iota.

Here’s the one thing that’s really starting to grate on my nerves, though – I’m happy for the gays, hurray for them, but I’m getting very tired of the fact that the former Bruce Jenner is getting an award from ESPN for having a sex change when the born-a-he, now-a-she hasn’t competed as an athlete in almost 40 years while double-amputee Iraq war vet Noah Galloway is killing it in 58-hour death races and basketball star Lauren Hill raised money to fight cancer before dying and somehow they were both deemed lesser heroes than a guy who did nothing more than opt for sex change surgery.

I’m getting tired of the fact that every fifth or sixth commercial now has to feature a gay couple, I’m getting tired of the fact that just about every TV show and movie has to have a gay character or some “shocking” scene with two girls kissing each other.

It’s all become completely played out.

True equality for the 2.3% of LGBT in America will have really arrived when the shrinking minority of gay haters are completely ignored. True equality for the LGBT will be when every sitcom no longer feels they need to add the obligatory gay character. True equality for the LGBT will be when it’s not even worth mentioning the next time some pro athlete or celebrity comes out.

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j.edgarAs Rand Paul fights against the forces for the great surveillance state on both sides of the aisle, I just want to bring up one example of why you should never allow our American government to have free reign to collect every bit of data they can on everyone from the famous Americans to the everyday citizen.

When it came to catching criminals, J. Edgar Hoover was a very good lawman. There is no denying that, but J. Edgar Hoover was a horrible human being. He was a blackmailer and a man who used secret files to coerce and steamroll anyone who stood in his way. The fact that he held on to his position as director of the FBI for 37 years, under four Democrat and two Republican administrations tells you all you need to know. The man couldn’t be pried from he place as director because he had dirt on everyone.

I don’t want to live in J. Edgar Hoover’s America.

I was proud to grow up in the America of the 70s and the 80s when I knew that I was living in the land of the free. I was thankful I wasn’t subjugated like the poor souls in the Soviet Union living under a KGB system where a whisper from a neighbor or a rumor from a coworker could have your every phone call tapped and your every conversation recorded. What a nightmare that would have been, right?

Except it came here to America, where reality was, before one brave senator stood up and said no, every single phone call and every single email was collected and stored by the NSA.

What we ended up with was something worse than the KGB. I cannot tell you how proud I am of Rand Paul to stand up to the establishment authoritarians in both parties to stop the surveillance state.

Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one. – Benjamin Franklin

Thank God we had one senator who understood Mr. Franklin’s words and stood up against the vast majority of his colleagues to defend freedom. I stand with Rand.

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Currently Listening To:

Team of Rivals
Doris Kearns Goodwin