Saturday, October 17th, 2020

As I type these words, it’s seven o’clock in the morning and the sun still hasn’t risen. I asked the internet when the sun will rise and it told me 7:14 am. Then I looked out the window into utter and complete darkness and looked back at the internet. Refreshed the page. It still told me the sun will rise in fourteen minutes. I think the internet is having a little fun with me.

Read the rest of this entry »

absolute and total drivel | 8:34 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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Thursday, October 8th, 2020

Just got off the phone with mom, who recalled this memory from when I was but a wee lad:

When it was time for mom to go down to the basement to do the laundry, she would say to me, “I have to wash some clothes. Do you want to come downstairs with me, or do you want to stay up here?” Sometimes I would go down with her, sometimes I would stay upstairs. She said I always stayed where she left me.

One time when she asked, I said I would stay upstairs, so she went downstairs by herself. Then she remembered she forgot something, so she turned around and headed back up the stairs almost immediately.

I was waiting for her at the top of the stairs. “Did you have to wash only one clothe?” I asked her.

clothe | 4:35 pm CDT
Category: Mom, O'Folks, story time
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Monday, October 5th, 2020

I haven’t done any shop work in a long time, mostly because I am very lazy but partly because every project I do generates a huge amount of dust, which makes the whole house dusty because my shop is in the basement, and the house stays dusty no matter how often I change the furnace filter because it just doesn’t move enough air, especially not in the basement. My Darling B’s allergies make it hard enough for her to breathe without me making more dust, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to get rid of it before it spreads through the house. Read the rest of this entry »

cleaner | 6:46 am CDT
Category: hobby, Our Humble O'Bode, play
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Friday, October 2nd, 2020

“Welcome to Star Fleet!”

“Thanks! I’m really looking forward to boldly going to strange, new worlds and doing lots of science and adventure!”

“You’ll have to wear a uniform.”

“I’m okay with that.”

“Here you go!”

“Where’s the rest of it?”

“What do you mean? That’s it.”

“This is a cocktail dress.”

“That’s the official Star Fleet uniform for women.”

“A cocktail dress?”

“It’s a combination tunic and skirt.”

“This isn’t a skirt, it’s a hand towel.”

“That’s why it comes with a pair of hot pants.”

“So my butt’s not popping out all the time?”

“Exactly!”

“And what do the men wear?”

“Trousers and a pullover.”

“Why not a toga?”

“That wouldn’t be very practical, would it?”

“A cocktail dress is practical?”

“It’s easy to wear. Understated. It doesn’t take up a lot of room in your wardrobe.”

“You’re not selling this as well as you think you are.”

“Look, do you want to be in Star Fleet or don’t you?”

“Fine, whatever. Does it at least come with a wrap or a stole or something to keep me warm?”

“Sorry, no. The captain likes to keep it simple.”

“Wait, which captain? Does this have anything to do with Kirk?”

“As a matter of fact, it does. One of his yeomen came up with it.”

“Well that just figures.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s kind of an open secret that Captain Behind-Pincher is one of the grabbiest officers in Star Fleet.”

“I don’t think there’s any cause for that kind of talk.”

“Sure you don’t. The horniest captain in Star Fleet isn’t making eye tracks all over your butt.”

short skirt long racket | 7:02 pm CDT
Category: entertainment, television | Tags: ,
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Monday, September 28th, 2020

Star Trek (the original series) is not the show its fans seem to think it is.

Fans of the show love to yammer on and on about how nothing is more important in the Star Trek universe than equality. Whatever nation you were from, whatever color your skin was, whatever your sex, everybody was treated the same. How does anybody who watches the show even come to this conclusion? The Enterprise had an international bridge crew but the rest of the crew members were practically all white. And even on the bridge, the crew weren’t treated equally. Nichelle Nichols might have held an important role representing black Americans as far as Dr. Martin Luther King was concerned, and I’m not saying he was wrong, but she was an officer and a command crew member and yet essentially all she did was answer the phones. I don’t know how many times all the other regulars except Uhura stepped off the bridge to go take care of some very important business and some anonymous lieutenant stepped up to the command chair to take over the con. I guess a black woman commanding the Enterprise was apparently too progressive for the 23rd century.

Uhura wasn’t the only woman on the show every week who got screwed when it came to rank and position. There were only three regulars who were women but none of them were ever in a position of any authority: Uhura answered the phones, Janice Rand literally fetched coffee for the captain, and Christine Chapel handed scalpels and hypos to McCoy as he barked for them. None of them held rank higher than lieutenant (Uhura wore the single braid of a lieutenant on her sleeves — neither Rand nor Chapel wore any sign of rank during the original series, indicating they were either ensigns or possibly mere “crewmen”). If the crew was under attack, one of the women was usually close at hand to shriek or cringe, usually while Kirk “defended” them by clutching them to his manly chest.

And what’s with the miniskirts? All the women in Star Fleet had to wear go-go boots and mini skirts that barely covered their asses! I’m not slut-shaming people who wear mini skirts; wear whatever makes you happy. There’s no shame in that. Star Fleet women, however, didn’t wear what they liked on duty; they wore the required uniform. And it was only required of women; men did not wear skirts in the original series. Men wore a very practical work outfit: a pullover shirt and a pair of pants (but no pockets — I love the karmic payback going on there) bloused over the tops of their boots. The women, meanwhile, beamed down into every situation, friendly or hazardous, no matter what the temperature, wearing a top with a plunging neckline, a skirt so short they had to wear hot pants under it, and go-go boots! I can’t imagine how that went over on the first day of orientation for female Star Fleet cadets. “Welcome to Star Fleet, little lady. Here’s your skirt.” “What the fuck? This isn’t a skirt, it’s a hand towel!”

After equality, the next most-touted ideal of the Star Trek universe was that the United Federation of Planets was first and foremost a peaceful organization and the Enterprise was a vessel of discovery, exploration and science, and yet somehow an episode hardly ever went by when they didn’t fire up the phasers and start blasting away at an alien space ship. “We come in peace” was followed by “fire phasers” so often that it stopped being funny. Why does a space ship designed specifically for exploration even have weapons?

Whenever Kirk had an opportunity to burn an alien civilization to the ground while monologuing about freedom, liberty, and/or justice, he would burn it down every time. The Enterprise crew discovers a race of humans who live in a paradise provided to them by a giant robot lizard head? Blow up the lizard head. It’s better for them to learn to survive on a planet with man-eating plants than to live forever, happy and content in a utopia.

Spock was supposedly a pacifist, because that’s a significant part of the Vulcan philosophy, yet he rarely hesitated when it came to using force to achieve whatever conclusion his logical super-brain arrived at. He kicked the shit out of his own captain more than once — even beat him to death in one of my favorite episodes (any episode where Kirk gets his ass handed to him is a good episode). Yet he doesn’t want to eat meat because hurting animals is bad.

Every week there was another reason not to buy into the “peace is our profession” bullshit. If they had used their wits instead of their weapons to get out of situations, I’d believe it, but they didn’t, so I don’t.

Those seem to be the two most-revered ideals of Star Trek, the two reasons fans seem to provide most often when gushing about how much they love the show. And it’s not that I don’t love the show. I do! I watched it all the time when I was younger. I still watch it, just not as often as I used to. Quite a few of the episodes hold up well even after all these years; quite a few are worth a re-watch if only to point and make fun of the worst parts of them. It’s still entertainment, but it’s only entertainment. A TV show. It’s not a philosophy. Yammer on about peace and equality and the Prime Directive of Non-Interference all you want, it’s not about that. It’s about selling popcorn.

unpopular opinion | 11:25 am CDT
Category: daily drivel
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Saturday, September 26th, 2020

Wisconsin, you’re disappointing the hell out of me. We were doing so well. What the fuck?

bummer | 5:57 pm CDT
Category: current events, Life & Death | Tags: ,
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Monday, September 21st, 2020

Our water softener hasn’t worked in years (I am that lazy) so quite a lot of minerals build up on the bottom and sides of our electric kettle in just three or four days. I clean it out by adding about a cup of vinegar to a liter of water and bringing it to a boil. Then if I remember, I use the boiling vinegar & water to clean the minerals off something else. Today it was a pot with some calc built up on the inside bottom. I don’t have to scrub it, I just pour it in and let it sit while I wash the dishes.

You know how sometimes you’ll be standing in a room and a spider will come down from the ceiling right in front of you? That didn’t happen today. Today, the spider came down from the ceiling right into the pot of near-boiling hot vinegar water. That spider had the worst Monday ever.

BOILED | 10:20 am CDT
Category: daily drivel
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Friday, September 18th, 2020

One of the cats was scratching and crying at my bedroom door at three-thirty this morning, disturbing what was one of the few decent night’s sleep I’ve had this week, so I slithered out of bed and across the floor, extruded an oily tentacle thin enough to easily slide under the door and snag one of his feet to keep him from running away, then teleported through the door and transmogrified into a ravenous bugblatter beast and diced the cat into bite-sized kibble using my gaping mass of slavering fangs. Revenge is delicious.

gobbled | 6:21 am CDT
Category: daily drivel
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Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

I’ve just given myself the third haircut I’ve had this year, the second one I’ve gotten at home, and the first one I’ve given myself.

I got the first one some time toward the end of February – don’t remember exactly when [Edit: It was January 11th.] but it was before we went on vacation the first week in March. That’s when I went from looking like a crazy backwoods wild man to a vanilla white dude.

The pandemic was in full swing when we got back so I couldn’t get it cut again for weeks after that. Then, when places like barbershops opened up again I was too chicken to go in for a cut. As my hair grew out and I had to spend a lot more time taking care of it, I began to remember why I cut it short in February. Finally, last month it was too hot for long hair and, after begging My Darling B, she agreed to cut it off.

I was very happy with the cut she gave me, but there were a few scruffy-looking places that got even scruffier as my hair grew out. The one on the top of my head in particular was a lot longer than anywhere else. It tended to get tossed around in the wind and provided me with some truly astonishing bedhead this week. No photos of bedhead because the new updated me is funny-looking enough.

This ought to hold me for at least a couple of months.

buzzed | 9:53 am CDT
Category: daily drivel
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Monday, September 14th, 2020

My Android camera phone automatically uploads all the photos I take to my Google account, or that’s how I have it set up. Sometimes it does, sometimes I have to give it a swat on its backside to remind it to back up the photos. I don’t know why it hesitates and I can’t be bothered to figure it out. My laziness is why I have it back up the photos in the first place. Automatic backup is easier than taking the time to download the photos onto my computer and then do whatever I’m going to do with them (mostly nothing).

But it stopped backing up photos last week and when I gave it a swat it still wouldn’t back them up, so I had to go poking around for an hour or so in my phone and in my Google account to find out why. It was because Google only gives you 15 megabytes of free space. You have to pay a monthly fee for more than that.

Or you could do what I did: I walked down to my local Walgreen’s and bought a 64 megabyte memory stick for twenty bucks and started downloading photos from Google onto the stick. I’ve moved a couple hundred photos in the last two days and there are still thousands left in my Google account. It’s rather sobering to think that I’ll never fill the stick even if I move them all.

no room at the inn | 11:20 am CDT
Category: daily drivel
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Saturday, September 12th, 2020

I watched “Thelma and Louise” for the first time last night. No, I don’t know why I waited so long. Sometimes I just never get around to seeing a movie while it’s in theaters and keep putting off when it’s the most popular rental, and then it sort of fades into the background and I don’t think about it again until the brain cell responsible for remembering to watch the movie randomly fires 29 years later while I’m trying to remember why I went into the living room. It’s just the way I’m wired.

I’m not wired for 80s soundtracks anymore, though. The movie was released in 1991 but it has a soundtrack that sounds just like “Top Gun” or “Footloose.” I tried to watch “Footloose” a month or two ago and had to shut it off after twenty minutes, mostly because the dialogue was way too hackneyed for me but frankly a big part of my decision to quit was the cheesy 80s soundtrack, which is strange because I never get tired of watching “Dirty Dancing.” My weird wiring again, I guess.

Aside from the soundtrack, though, I enjoyed the movie, if “enjoyed” is the right word to describe a movie that dives straight into misogyny, rape, and murder in the first twenty minutes. I even enjoyed it in spite of the fact that the ending has been completely spoiled (not trying to point the finger of blame; it’s my own fault for waiting thirty years), the first time I believe a spoiler truly spoiled a movie’s plot point for me. I don’t usually mind knowing details about the plot of a movie beforehand. If it’s a good movie it usually stands up well enough no matter what I knew about it. I’ve known for twenty-nine years that Thelma and Louise drive off the cliff and the end of the movie. It didn’t ruin the movie for me; I still liked it, but I think I would have liked it more if I hadn’t seen that coming.

One speed bump I kept hitting: every time the guy who played the cop named Max, Stephen Tobolowski, opened his mouth, all I could hear was Ned Ryerson from the movie “Groundhog Day.” It was really distracting. But that’s not his fault, that’s my faulty wiring again. I’ll totally take the hit for that. Not for Harvey Keitel always playing the same guy in every movie, though. That’s his fault. My wiring’s got nothing to do with that.

thelma and louise | 10:12 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, entertainment, movies, music
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Can relate.

“If I’m being honest, I don’t know anything about my own religion. I wasn’t raised religious. I had to deduce that shit for myself. So: I’m one of five kids; my parents are filled with anger and guilt. You put those two symptoms in google, you’re Catholic. I tell people I’m Catholic but, you know, I just know I don’t like myself. I *feel* Catholic.”

Liz Miele, from her special “Self Help Me”

.

how to deduce your religion | 9:07 am CDT
Category: daily drivel
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There wasn’t enough rainfall in August to speak of, but September seems to be more than determined to make up for it. It’s been raining for 5 days straight. Maybe 6. The days are blurring together, but I’m pretty sure rain started falling on Monday and although there have been pauses here and there, the rain has been more or less constant since then. Yesterday (or the day before? Blurrr) it let up long enough for the driveway to almost completely – but not quite – dry up before the rain started to fall again.

The forecast calls for more rain today. If it doesn’t stop soon, moss is going to start growing under my arms.

drenched | 9:01 am CDT
Category: daily drivel
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Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Well this is not good …

DHS reported 1,547 positives cases in Wisconsin today. Almost one-third of those (482) were in Dane County, and 395 of the Dane County positives came from the UW-Madison. Open the university, Tommy Thompson said. Great idea, Tommy. Nice going. Good job.

(The tip of today’s spike is only at 190 because the chart is based on a 7-day rolling average. It’ll be much higher tomorrow. Stay tuned.)

wtf | 4:08 pm CDT
Category: current events, daily drivel, Life & Death | Tags: ,
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Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

We passed a seasonal milestone today: the first day after summer when we used the furnace. It’s been cool and rainy for the last 2-3 days, but this morning was so chilly that even My Darling B could not wear enough layers to keep warm, so she switched on the furnace. It obliged her by cycling on and off throughout the day.

Next, the leaves will start to turn & fall. *sigh*

cooling off | 6:45 am CDT
Category: daily drivel
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So much for the theory that if you don’t test as much, you don’t get so many new cases. New cases per day in Dane County and in Wisconsin take a massive jump while testing remains flat or decreases.

spiked | 6:30 am CDT
Category: current events, Life & Death | Tags: ,
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Monday, September 7th, 2020

Pardon me while I … vent.

The guys who put the siding on my house installed the dryer vent on the bottom. It’s basically a flimsy aluminum tube shoved through a hole in the wall with four flimsy plastic flaps to shut out the weather. It’s not screwed or glued or fastened to the wall in any way. Nothing’s holding it in place except the vinyl siding. I found this out when I started poking at it, looking for a way to add a draft excluder.

I added the white dryer vent on the top. There’s been a hole in the wall for it since we moved in. I guess the dryer used to vent out the top but for whatever reason somebody decided it would be better to add a vent closer to the floor. From my point of view, it’s a lot harder to hook up the vent that way. I have to climb on top of the dryer and reach as far as I can, hanging over the back. I’ve hurt myself a couple times doing that but never badly enough to motivate me to move the vent back up top. I couldn’t figure out how to remove the crappy flapper vent without damaging the vinyl siding, though, so today was the day the vents got swapped around.

The upper hole used to be plugged but the guys who did the siding must have knocked the plug out because there was just a handful of fiberglass insulation wadded up in there. Besides the fiberglass, all that was keeping the weather out was the vinyl siding and a layer of plastic. I drilled a series of holes around the edge of the hole, then cut it open with a Dremel tool. The white vent has a heavy-duty aluminum pipe sticking out the back that slid in as if it was meant to be there, which it was, and four construction screws fastened it to the wall. I had to trim the pipe, again using my trusty Dremel, but the hardest part of the whole operation was moving the dryer, which isn’t all that heavy but is rather large and hard to get a grip on.

I stuffed the wad of fiberglass insulation from the upper hole into the crappy flapper vent and covered it with a piece of extruded foam for now. I’ll do a better job of patching that up when I figure out how to do it without messing up the siding.

Almost forgot to mention: I got voicemail from the guys who did the siding. They wanted to know if there were any jobs around the house that I wanted them to do. I was half-tempted to reply with something snarky, like, “No thanks, I’ve already patched up all the half-assed stuff your guys did.”

Venting | 10:40 am CDT
Category: ch-ch-changes, daily drivel, housekeeping, Our Humble O'Bode | Tags:
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Sunday, September 6th, 2020

Frank and Theresa Dentremont had avoided contracting COVID by self-isolating in their cabin on Cedar Lake near Millinocket, Maine for the past four months. Theresa died of COVID two weeks after a wedding in East Millinocket, and Frank remains hospitalized, on oxygen.

The wedding, attended by 62 people, spread COVID to 123 people in a part of the state that was barely affected by the disease. Of the 228 cases recorded in the county, one-third were reported in the two weeks following the wedding.

The consequences have affected nearly every aspect of life: The Millinocket Regional Hospital has suspended all elective surgeries and postponed all appointments and procedures that can be safely pushed back. A local Elks lodge has closed and banks and credit unions have shut their lobbies. The Millinocket Town Hall is shuttered to the public. Even the schools have had to change their plans.


“How an intimate wedding in rural Maine led to the state’s largest COVID-19 outbreak,” by Hanna Krueger and Zoe Greenberg, The Boston Globe, 8/29/2020

To everyone who would say this is no different than a flu outbreak: Fuck you.

Fuck you if you believe COVID is like flu. It’s worse. That is a medical fact. Any grown adult human being should be able to understand the differences between influenza and COVID and to understand why a basic precaution like wearing a mask is not only helpful in preventing the spread of the disease but considerate of other people and a good example for others to follow. Any grown adult who can’t understand these simple things should hang their head forever in shame.

And fuck you if you think Theresa Dentremont probably would’ve died of flu because she was elderly or infirm or was close to death anyway for any reason. She was a person like you. She deserved your consideration, and her husband deserved to hold her hand on the front porch of their cabin until the end of their days, which should not have been decided by a careless idiot who went to a wedding with flu-like symptoms.

To everyone else: Sorry about all the f-bombs, but the delusional thinking I’ve seen in response to this pandemic has made me a tad bit testy.

casualties | 11:42 am CDT
Category: daily drivel
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Saturday, September 5th, 2020

My mother once described a certain person’s defining characteristic this way: “He thinks he’s the cat’s ass.”

I’ve always been especially fond of this phrase as a way of describing a person who was a little too full of himself, even though I was never quite sure what vanity had to do with a cat’s butt. And then …

Then, we adopted Scooter, who thinks his butt is the best butt in the whole world. Not only does he think his butt is the best butt, but he is absolutely positive you would think so, too, if you would only take a long, close look at it, which you will have to do if you let him jump up into your lap. He will insist that you look at it. He will walk back and forth across your lap facing away from you so as to parade his butt again and again across your field of view.

And he will hip-check you, which is his way of asking you to pat his butt. Not pet, although he would like that, too, but he really likes it when you pat him on his butt. He does not like it nearly as much when you pet his head or any other part of him. Butt-patting is his jam. You would be his best friend forever if you would pat his butt for hours and hours.

I am not especially fond of cat’s butts. When it comes to cats, the kind I appreciate most is one who will sit in my lap, purring quietly while I scritch behind his ears. Scooter is not that cat at all, but I appreciate that he gave me a clearer understanding of the phrase, “he thinks he’s the cat’s ass.”

the cat’s ass | 8:16 am CDT
Category: Mom, Scooter | Tags: ,
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Saturday, August 29th, 2020

I was standing at the kitchen counter the other day making coffee when my bare feet picked up a stray shard of glass from one of the many water glasses Scooter has broken in the past weeks. My Darling B and I have a habit of leaving our water glasses unattended, and Scooter has the uncanny, possibly supernatural ability of knowing when we have left them unguarded, leaping up onto whatever table or shelf they’re on to lap up some water from them, and then often knocking them over when one of us returns to find him drinking from our glass, whooping “WHAT THE HELL, SCOOTER?” loudly, thus frightening him into scampering away, upsetting the glass. Most of our water glasses are durable enough to survive getting knocked over onto its side, but not falling from a table to the floor. The ones that fall farthest tend to explode into the tiniest of pieces which get scattered to the farthest corners of the room. No matter how carefully we sweep up after a catastrophe like that, there’s always going to be a few stray, toe-jabbing chunks lurking where you least expect to find them.

I’m not sure how a shard of glass made it all the way to the kitchen. Scooter hasn’t broken a glass in there recently, but maybe it was hanging out there since the last time months ago. However it got there, it wasn’t very big and we’ve gotten used to stepping on glass, so when it pierced my foot I almost unconsciously picked it out, tossed it in the waste basket and went on with brewing coffee. I had only just poured the first soak and was waiting for it to drain while I made myself a cup of tea. While the tea was steeping I filled the coffee cone all the way to the top, then flipped half-asleep through the news while I waited to collect the first run of coffee. The dripping from the cone slowed so I filled it up for the second and final time, fished the tea bag out of my cup and turned to throw it away, and that’s when I noticed the floor was awash in gobbets of blood! The glass must have poked just the right spot to open a vein. It looked like I’d been slaughtering chickens in there! My tea had to wait while I staunched the bleeding from my wound, wiped the blood off my feet, and mopped up the blood from the floor, easier said than done as a lot of it was already congealing.

gobbets | 10:10 am CDT
Category: daily drivel
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Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

I finally had enough of long hair, so I asked My Darling B to mow my head. I had not had a haircut since mid-February so it had grown so long and so thick that it was starting to feel like wearing a horse blanket on my head. The “before” picture doesn’t show how much hair I have tumbling down the back of my neck. As the temp and the humidity today climbed into the high eighties, I decided to grab the clippers and give myself a shearing. I’m not as flexible as I used to be, though. No matter how many different ways I tried to reach the back of my head, I wasn’t entirely confident I could get it all. And there was an awful lot of hair back there.

So I asked My Darling B for some help. She really didn’t want to do it on account of The Big Hair Oops of 2001. She used to trim my hair between haircuts until one afternoon just before I had to be at an important meeting she took a divot out of the hairline just above my neck. Luckily, I was able to catch the barber as she was closing up shop and talk her into taking one more customer. She was not surprised at all by the story I told her. “It happens all the time,” she said. “I’ve seen much worse.”

Today’s clipping turned out much better. I snapped a #8 comb on the clippers and promised that was as short as I wanted to cut it. It was still a lot of hair to cut off. “Are you sure?” she asked, more than once. When I finally managed to convince her, she swept the back of my head with one stroke, then stopped and said, “Oh my god that’s a lot of hair!” I started to say, “Good,” to encourage her to go on, but she didn’t need any more encouragement from me. “Too late to turn back now,” she added, and dove in again. After a dozen or so strokes there was enough hair on the floor to stuff a pillow. All I had to do after she finished was trim around my ears.

I could probably get away with not cutting it for another six months, but having it this short is like my own personal air conditioning so I’ll probably give it another mowing in a week or two.

clipping | 6:40 pm CDT
Category: barber, random idiocy
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I used to work with a guy who was, shall we say, a teller of tall tales. Any story he told would start out believable enough, but would quickly morph into such an outrageous and obvious truckload of manure that after hearing only a few of them, I would often roll my eyes or smirk at him but he would never waiver from claiming he was telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

An example: He told me a story about growing up in the Philippines that ended with he and his father fighting off pirates until they each came marching home with severed heads to spit on pikes over the front door of their house. The story he told might not have ended exactly like that – my memory’s not so good any more – but it was so close as to make no difference at all.

So when he ambled up to me at work one day, opened a tupperware full of cat turds, and offered me one, I didn’t feel I was being rude at all by refusing. He had about a dozen in there, on a bed of kitty litter. It’s like he didn’t even trying to disguise them.

“They’re really tasty when they’re fresh,” he said.

“I’m sure they are, but I just couldn’t.”

“You don’t like shark?” he asked.

“It’s all right,” I said casually, leaning a bit closer to the Tupperware and sniffing. “What’s that?”

“It’s shark,” he said, rolling his eyes as if I were stupid.

I had a good, long stare at them to confirm to myself that they were clearly cat turds. “Is not,” I said.

He seemed taken aback. “Sure, it is. Pan-fried.”

I took another good, long look. I ran through the situation in my head. They looked like cat turds. Tex was known to tell stories. And he was, after all, a Navy guy. I never met a squid who wouldn’t relish telling his buddies how he got a zoomie to eat a cat turd. “C’mon, buddy. Those are clearly cat turds.”

He appeared to be genuinely shocked. “It’s shark. My wife’s recipe. They’re delicious,” he said. He did not, I noticed, pop one in his mouth to prove it.

“No, thanks.”

“But it’s just shark!” he insisted, somewhat desperately, I thought.

“Thanks anyway.”

I guess it could’ve been shark, and even though I like to give most people the benefit of the doubt, I’m still glad, looking back on it now, that I didn’t find out the hard way.

akula | 4:49 pm CDT
Category: My Glorious Air Force Career, random idiocy, story time
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020

I was listening to “Paper Doll” by The Mills Brothers the other day when I thought, “Hmmm, it’s been a while since I ruined a song.”

“Paper Doll,” when sung by The Mills Brothers, is one of my favorite songs ever. It might even be one of my favorite songs when sung by other groups, but I wouldn’t know because The Mills Brothers sing it so well that I haven’t gone looking for recordings by other groups. The harmonies, the pace, the phrasings are all just flawless. It’s a lot like Nat King Cole’s recording of “Stardust” – why would I go looking for recordings by other artists when I’ve heard the one, true performance?

“Paper Doll” is the classic heartbreak story: Guy feels so bad about his recent breakup that he swears he’s through with women forever, so what he’s going to do – and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this is just poetic license – is get a paper doll to replace the girl who left him, because a paper doll wouldn’t leave him. Of course it wouldn’t – it’s paper. Paper dolls are also usually no more than eight inches tall and literally two-dimensional, so other than the total fidelity it’s not going to be a very satisfying relationship.

I’m going to buy a paper doll that I can call my own
A doll that other fellows cannot steal
Then all the flirty-flirty guys with those flirty-flirty eyes
Will have to flirt with dollies that are real
When I come home at night, she will be waiting
She’ll be the truest doll in all this world
I’d rather have a paper doll to call my own
Than have a fickle-minded real live girl

Okay. Seems a little sulky, but who hasn’t been there? I’m sympathetic.

I guess I’ve had a million dolls or more
I guess I’ve played the doll game over and over

Hold up a minute – you’ve had it with women because the ones you know get stolen by flirty guys, but here you are telling us you’ve had a million dolls or more? I’m suddenly a lot less sympathetic.

I just quarreled with Sue
That’s why I’m blue
She’s gone away and left me, just like all dolls do

Listen to this guy – he’s had a million dolls, all of which have left him, and he thinks they’re the problem. I have to wonder.

I tell you, boys, it’s tough to be alone
And it’s tough to love a doll who’s not your own

I’m not sure what’s going on there. It’s tough to be alone and to love somebody else’s doll at the same time?

I’m through with all of them
I’ll never fall again
Hey boy! What you going to do?

At this point I’m thinking: If he’s had a million dolls or more, he’ll definitely fall again. Statistically, it’s got to happen.

paper doll | 2:05 pm CDT
Category: entertainment, music, play, random idiocy | Tags:
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Friday, August 7th, 2020

the radical left agenda

take away your guns
destroy your second amendment
no religion
no anything
hurt the bible hurt god

he’s against god
he’s against guns

he’s against energy, our kind of energy

ah

I don’t think he’s gonna do too well in ohio

radical left agenda | 6:46 am CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy, yet another rant | Tags: ,
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Sunday, August 2nd, 2020

Time to play “What’s wrong with this meme?”

So for starters, Trump’s visit to Mount Rushmore was, in fact, a celebration of white supremacy, and I know this because I know Trump is a colossal racist and Mount Rushmore is a monument to four of the most famous executives in charge of a country founded on white supremacy. Just to make sure everyone got the idea, the sculptor carved their faces into a mountain that was considered a sacred monument by the native Americans who were nearly exterminated through a centuries-long campaign of genocide. So I think the “celebration of white supremacy” is pretty much a fact.

I mean, I realize Mount Rushmore is touted as being a monument to democracy and so on and so forth, because that’s what they taught me in school and that’s even what I believed for so many years, but it’s also a monument to white supremacy. That’s not an incorrect description of it.

And it’s not incorrect to say Trump stood before two former slave owners, or that he stood on land wrested away from Native Americans. That’s factual, too.

I get it that the meme is supposed to make us all grab our chins and go, “Ohhh, so the media tips one way for liberals and the other way for conservatives, ergo they’re blindly driven by an agenda.” And I suppose that might be true, if those stories were out there.

There aren’t any citations in the meme, but the only CNN story I could find that used the phrases “white supremacy” and “former slave owners” when describing Trump’s July 4 speech quoted Nick Tilsen, a citizen of Oglala Lakota nation and founder, CEO and president of the NDN Collective, a nonprofit organization supporting Indigenous people, so it really wasn’t CNN saying those things, it was Tilsen. Not that I think it matters. It’s factual. CNN was reporting the facts. That’s not an agenda, that’s journalism.

I couldn’t find any stories at abcnews.com about Bill Clinton visiting Mount Rushmore in 1996.

There was just one story at CNN.com about Barack Obama (I only searched using the correct spelling of his name – I’ll only go so far when researching this kind of thing) visiting Mount Rushmore on 2008, but it didn’t use the word ‘majestic’ to describe the monument.

And I couldn’t find any stories at CNN.com about Bernie Sanders visiting Mount Rushmore in 2016.

If the writers who created this meme read the stories they claimed said these things, I should have been able to find them. I think they started with the story about Trump, and made the rest of that shit up. I think this came out of a meme factory in Russia, because it’s all over Tumblr, Reddit, Facebook, something called iFun – name a social media platform, it’s there, but I can’t trace it back to a source.

I wonder if Russian meme factories are agenda-driven?

what’s wrong with this meme | 3:01 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel
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Sunday, July 26th, 2020

You want to know what’s been stuck in my head on a loop all morning? Probably not, but I’m going to answer that rhetorical question anyway:

person woman man camera TV

I went paddling on the lake this morning. I put in early, before all the bleepheads started roaring around in their power boats, so I could enjoy the stillness. And I did. It was very quiet, very calming. And the whole time, my brain kept repeating:

person woman man camera TV

I paddled around for about two hours, paddling across Wicawak Bay after putting in on Frost Woods Beach. I used one of the channels through the Belle Isle neighborhood to get to Lake Monona, turned south to cut back across the mouth of Wicawak Bay to the southern shore, then followed the shore to the Yahara River. All around the bay I enjoyed the sight of ducks with their ducklings, turtles basking on logs in the sun, herons sweeping through the skies after launching themselves from low-hanging branches, and

person woman man camera TV

godDAMNit!

I just want a little peace and quiet on my day off. A day where the idiot in chief doesn’t mess with my head. I guess that’s not possible now.

I even dreamed about him last night. I dreamed we were watching him on TV. He was falling from a great height, many hundreds of feet. I don’t know what he fell out of or why, but the cameras were zoomed in on him tumbling through the air. He wasn’t flailing or yelling or doing any of the dramatic things falling people do in movies; he was falling like a sack of potatoes, tossed one way, then the other by the passing wind. Then, just before he hit the ground, the camera pulled back. We could somehow hear the thump he made, even though he was quite a long distance from the camera.

I turned to My Darling B and said, “You realize this means Pelosi is president now.” She nodded, speechless because of what we had seen. (I don’t remember any part of the dream that would have explained what happened to Pence.)

The dream was so startling that I woke up right after that, and it was so vivid that I almost woke up My Darling B, still slumbering next to me, to ask her, “Did Trump fall out of a plane or something today?” But I was also still so confused by the sudden juxtaposition of my dream on reality that I simply laid there thinking about it for several minutes, and it eventually dawned on me that it was only a dream and Trump was still very much alive.

And probably still bragging to anyone who will listen about passing that stupid test two years ago.

pwmctv | 10:36 am CDT
Category: current events, dreams, random idiocy, sleeplessness, yet another rant
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Friday, July 24th, 2020

Dear 15-year-old me:

I’m 59-year-old you and this is the sort of thing we do to pass the time while self-isolating during the pandemic. Yeah. The pandemic. I don’t want to jump straight into that, if you don’t mind. I mean, I’m not going to totally blow it off; I’ll get to it eventually. Just not right now. Baby steps.

I don’t know how these things are supposed to work. Does this letter show up under your pillow on some random day after your fifteenth birthday? Or does it show up in your mailbox like a regular letter the morning of your fifteenth birthday? The fact that I don’t know doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I can’t remember a lot of things that happened when I was fifteen, so first things first: Keep a journal. A diary. Whatever you call it, get something to write on and write something, anything at all, every day, even just one sentence about that day. I can’t tell you why yet, but trust me, you want to do this.

Speaking of things you want to do, start working on your dad to chip on the flying lessons. He’ll do it if you sell it to him the right way. Like, you know how he wants you to go to college? You absolutely should go, so promise get a 4.0 GPA if your parents chip in 50% for flying lessons. They don’t have that kind of money, but they’ll chip for some fraction of your expenses if you deliver good grades, because your mom thinks it’s pretty great that you want to learn to fly. She’ll talk your dad into helping you out, and anything is better than nothing.

Here’s an FYI about that 4.0 GPA: you’re not that smart. I mean, I’m not. Maybe *you* could be that smart, I don’t really know. I didn’t try very hard for good grades. Sort of the point of this letter, right? To warn you not to make the mistakes I made? Well, I know how much you hate to study, believe me, and I know how much you want to piss away the afternoon playing pinball instead of doing your homework. But promise good grades, hen work your ass off for at least a 3.4 – that’s an attainable goal. Even I managed to do that. And guess what? Mom and dad were happy with that.

Why am I talking about college in a letter to 15-year-old me? Because you’re taking flying lessons now, and you should keep on taking them, but you have to get better at math to fly. Ugh. I know. You think math sucks. Well, it’s not math, it’s you. You suck at math. I don’t know how to say it any other way. I still suck at math, but I’m better at it because I had to be. I had to learn math years after high school – pretty basic stuff, stuff I would have known if I gave it more attention in high school. You’re gonna hate it, but you won’t hate it as much later on if you just pay attention now.

Speaking of paying attention, you should not only give your full attention to your flight instructor, you should try to be his friend, because he’s a pretty great guy, which you’ll realize years down the road. He seems a little odd now, but all adults seem pretty odd, don’t they? Like, really weird? Yeah, that doesn’t change as you get older. Everybody just gets weirder, and avoiding them doesn’t help you get over it. And Bill’s not the weirdest guy out there. Really, he’s one of the best guys you know right now. Learn everything he can teach you about flying, learn all his dad jokes, ask him how he’s doing today, *talk to him,* he’s really very interesting. And keep in touch after you move on from this place in your life.

Your best friend’s dad, the guy who gave you your first ride in a plane – you should keep in touch with him, too. You’re going to not want to, and I’ll tell you why in another letter, but if you do, he’ll appreciate it in ways you can’t comprehend right now. Okay, that’s going way past the line I wanted to stop at in this letter. The fact that he introduced you to flying is a rock-solid reason to stick by him and learn from him, and from all his friends who have planes, and especially his friend Don who builds planes in his garage. You should spend as much time with them as possible. Hang out with them a lot more when you go to the fly-in. Drooling over high-performance planes is fun now, but show them how much you’ll work to get behind the stick and they’ll draw you into their circle, teach you everything they know. That’s how Pete Conrad went from sweeping hangars in exchange for lessons and worked his way up to walking on the moon. You don’t know who Pete Conrad is, do you? You only thought you were smart about the moon landings. Go look it up.

By the way, there’s a space station, and I mean A SPACE STATION with an international crew of six people orbiting the earth as I type these words. It’s not impossible that you could be part of that crew – *if* you learn math and *if* you learn to fly, and those are not impossible things to learn. Believing you can work on a space station seems like science fiction to you now, but reality has a funny way of sneaking up on you. Like for instance, I’m living in a world-wide pandemic is kicking the shit out of the United States because American voters thought it would be a good idea to elect a con man president who rose to fame because his television show was a hit in spite of the fact that he couldn’t find his ass with both hands, a map, and a flashlight. Sounds like a Phillip K. Dick dystopia. Which reminds me: Get your hands on all the Phillip K. Dick you can find. I discovered him too late to appreciate him. I think maybe 15-year-old me would have loved him.

Well, 15-year-old me, this has been fun but I have to clean the bathroom. Sorry, but I let it go way too long and it’s pretty gross now. I still put everything off until way past the last minute. Maybe that’s something you can try to stop doing. Just an idea. I’ll be back with more later, promise.

dear me | 2:53 pm CDT
Category: current events, damn kids!, Life & Death, random idiocy, this modern world | Tags:
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I’ve got a little fold-up cart I use to wheel my kayak from our yard to the lake and back. You can pay anywhere from fifty bucks to hundred dollars and more for one of these little carts; I paid fifty bucks because I’m a cheapskate. The cart served me well for many years until one day about a month ago it just couldn’t any more. I took the kayak down to the lake, paddled around, and brought it back home. Fully intending to take it out again the next day I left the kayak on the cart; normally I would hang on a pair of J-hooks and stow the cart in the garage. Well, I didn’t take it out the next day, or the next. In fact, the kayak sat on the cart for a full week before I noticed it was leaning a little farther to one side than it should have been, and when I checked to find out why, I found the hub of one of the wheels had broken off. I guess it could bear the weight of the kayak for short trips to the lake and back, but a full week of that was just too much. Well, I probably would have broken down if I’d had to carry a kayak for a week, too.

I ordered a new pair of wheels through Amazon; I’m pretty sure they shipped from China because it took more than a week for them to get here. If they’d come from an Amazon warehouse here in the states, they would’ve been on our doorstep half an hour after I hit ‘send.’ I had to make a slight modification to the cart to put the wheels on, a project that took all of 30 minutes, but I couldn’t take the kayak out that day because it was Thursday and I had to do some work for the office that evening. It sure would be nice if I could retire again and stay retired this time.

But I took today off from work because I’d planned to do a little traveling this summer, maybe take the kayak up nort dere to do a some paddling where I couldn’t hear highway traffic. Maybe I could’ve done that anyway – lots of people are traveling, camping, carrying on as normal – but I can’t shake the idea that it’s not responsible to travel unnecessarily while the pandemic is killing a thousand people a day, so I took the days off but stayed home instead of traveling.

I carted the kayak down to the lake for a paddle this morning. The new wheels work great, by the way. Oldest technology in the world, why wouldn’t they? I got solid tires this time around so I wouldn’t have to worry about getting a flat, which really happened to me a couple times. It’s a trip that’s all of four blocks long and somehow I got a flat tire, twice.

There’s a public park with a beach at the end of the road where I usually put the kayak in. It’s normally deserted, or every once in a while there’s maybe one person there playing fetch with their dogs. This particular morning, though, there was a teenage girl with a clipboard wearing a t-shirt with “STAFF” across the back, surrounded by pool floaties. There was just one kid in swim trunks but clearly she was expecting a lot more. “Swimming lessons?” I asked her. “No, day camp,” she answered. Wow, day camp. I don’t know why that surprised me more than swimming lessons. Either one would have seemed more that a little risky during a pandemic.

I paddled slowly across Wicawak Bay, then out onto Lake Monona. I had no thought about where to go until then and decided on a whim to paddle all the way across the lake to Monona Bay. It’s a pretty big lake and I’d paddled across it two or three times but I had never before gone straight across the lake and under the John Nolan Parkway to visit Brittingham Park. Looked like today was going to be the day.

The lake was warm as bath water, or at least the surface water was; there was just enough of a breeze to cool me off and clear away the stink that rose off the weeds, but not enough that I had to fight it; and the sky was a deep, dark blue over my head, fading to pastel blue at the horizon. I could have asked for a more perfect day to go on a long paddle, but why? This one was as good as perfect.

I’ve got a lake kayak. It’s twice as long as the kind of kayak you would get if you rented one from a lakeside vendor. It’s very sleek and moves through the water with very little effort, so even if I’m just dipping the paddle blades in to keep moving, I move about as fast as a person can trot. Even so, after I passed the markers at the entrance to Wickawak Bay there weren’t a lot of cues along the way to give me a sense that I was moving. There’s a big white buoy a little ways out from the bay with the warning “ROCK” painted on it. I usually make that my first way point because it’s easy to see from the bay. After that, all I can to is draw a bead on the highest bridge along the causeway and keep the bow pointed at it.

There are three or four bridges along the causeway, but there’s only one bridge high enough to get under. The other bridges leave maybe a ten or twelve inch gap between the water and the deck beams and I’m sure lots of people on paddle boards have squeaked under them on a dare, but I wasn’t on a dare and didn’t feel much like scrunching way down into the cockpit. Much easier to glide under the high bridge.

Beyond the causeway bridge, I still had to cross a small lagoon between the John Nolan Parkway and the Wisconsin Central railroad to get to Monona Bay. The railroad trestle is a bit of a tighter squeeze but not crazy tight; there were people on stand-up paddle boards ducking under it without trouble. The worst thing about the trestle is the smell; they’re dripping with creosote to prevent rot, and even from a distance they reek of it. Thank goodness for a freshening breeze.

I didn’t go all the way around Monona Bay, just as far as the edge of Brittingham Park before I started to make a long, slow turn back toward the railroad trestle.

staycation | 6:31 am CDT
Category: daily drivel
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Monday, June 29th, 2020

Mom called me last night while we were having dinner. “Call you back in about ten minutes,” I promised her, then for the next ten minutes tried and failed not to think about why she might be calling me.

Mom doesn’t call me. I call her. It’s one of those unspoken agreements. When she does call me, it’s usually because she’s got something important to tell me. And with everything as awful as it is, I was more than a little anxious about what it might be.

So I bolted my food, then called her. Turned out she just wanted to tell me her cabin fever is the worst it’s ever been, which was a huge relief. We commiserated for a while, sharing our stories about not going anywhere and not doing anything, with an added dash of oh my god what’s wrong with people thrown in for flavor. It was a nice call. Thank goodness.

a nice call | 5:38 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, Mom, O'Folks
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Sunday, June 28th, 2020

There’s an old friend I reconnected with on Facebook a year or two ago. One of the things I liked a lot about Facebook when I signed up for an account was reconnecting with people I knew way back when.

Another one of the things about Facebook, a thing I’m not a big fan of, is finding out the people I reconnected with might not be the kind of people I thought I knew way back when.

This guy I knew from high school, for instance. Almost all his posts have been photos of his grandkids, post about his job, jokey stuff – nothing you could consider provocative at all.

This afternoon, he posted a propaganda video from Turning Point USA, which was posted to Facebook by Donald Trump Jr.

I’m a “live and let live” kind of guy. Believe what you want to believe, it’s none of my business – except for just one thing: if you’re repeating lies for any of the Trumps, I will get up from the table and quit you. We’re done.

that moment when | 6:37 pm CDT
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Scooter the cat is back home after a three-day stay at the emergency veterinary hospital. We don’t get up to a lot of exciting things during our self-imposed lockdown, so this is what passes for exciting around here nowadays.

I had to take Scooter to our regular vet on Tuesday morning because he looked like he was having some trouble peeing. The vet thought he was suffering from an inflamed bladder, took samples of various fluids to be tested, and sent him home with painkillers. He seemed to be a little better that night.

He slept all day Wednesday, which wasn’t like him at all. I called the vet, but she wasn’t too worried. She figured it was a reaction to the trauma and the drugs.

I woke up early Thursday morning, round about five o’clock, made myself a cup of tea and was sitting down to drink it when Scooter barfed. I didn’t really want to leave my tea but I figured cleaning up cat yak would take only a minute or two. I am so stupidly short-sighted sometimes.

Scooter’s yak was a weak pink color, like it would be if it had some blood in it. Scooter himself was crouched in a corner of the room by himself, and when I went over to see if he was all right I noticed there was a spot of pinkish drool on the floor in front of him.

I could take him to his regular vet when the clinic opened at eight o’clock, three hours after he barfed, or I could load him into a cat carrier and whisk him away to the emergency animal hospital stat. If I waited until eight, I would spend the next three hours obsessing over what exactly was hemorrhaging inside him, which would probably give me heartburn and age me at least a couple years, so into the cat carrier he went.

The emergency vet said his bladder as big as a lemon and she wanted to stick a catheter in him right away so he could pee. He was having kidney problems, too, and she could see bladder stones on his x-rays. He had to stay overnight at least until they were sure his bladder was okay, he was peeing normally, and his kidneys recovered from the trauma.

Those bladder stones would have to come out, too, but his regular vet wouldn’t be available until sometime next week, so we gave the emergency vet the go-ahead to schedule him for surgery as soon as they could. They did that last night.

He was well enough to come home this morning at eight. He was a little frantic at first because apparently he hasn’t eaten in a while, which checks out: they would have stopped feeding him some hours before his middle-of-the-night surgery, and he was in recovery right up until I picked him up, so he might have gone as long as twelve hours without a meal. After slowly & carefully dishing out a few servings of soft food, though, he seems to be a lot more like his old self.

He has to wear a one of those big collars that makes him look like a cat stuck in the middle of an umbrella, which scares the hell out of Sparky; he won’t even come out of the basement if Scooter’s around.

what passes for excitement | 1:27 pm CDT
Category: Scooter | Tags:
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Friday, June 26th, 2020

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but “Trump cannot lie his way out of a pandemic. And the pandemic keeps reminding him of that” is not a hot take I can gin up a lot of enthusiasm for. Call him a two-bit grifter all you want, but he did in fact bullshit his way into the highest office in the land. I don’t admire his ability or hold it up as an example to be imitated; I’m only acknowledging he has a history of failure after failure, and after each one, he has lied his way back into a position of power. He’s proven he can effectively lie his way out of any debacle he’s ever been involved in.

There’s the tiniest chance the pandemic might possibly turn out to be the one huge fuckup he can’t lie his way out of, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

damn lies | 6:20 am CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy, yet another rant | Tags: ,
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Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Today’s episode of “A Closer Look” starts off with a single copy of “The Thorn Birds:”

A few minutes later, two more books have been added to the stack:

  • “The Thorn Birds 3: Things Be Getting Tornier!”
  • “The Thorn Birds 2: More Thorns”

The stack gets a little higher in the next scene with an all-anagram stack of “The Thorn Birds,” including:

  • “The Borsht Rind”
  • “The Third Borns”
  • “The North Birds”

Then the stack becomes a lollapalooza of goofy free-association versions of “The Thorn Birds:”

  • “The Born Turds”
  • “The Torn Shirts”
  • “The Sworn Words”
  • “The Thin Boards”
  • “The Shorn Brads”
  • “The Corn Nerds”

And finally, the stack turns into a random pile of books we’ve seen in previous episodes, including:

  • “The Thowd in the Bone”
  • “A Blockwork Thornge”
  • “198Thourn”
  • “The Picture of Thornian Bray”
  • “The Thord of the Rings”
  • “Thorntnoy’s Complaint”
thorn birds 6-25-20 | 12:01 pm CDT
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Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

Sparky went to the vet yesterday. Did. Not. Like. It.

Or at least I thought he didn’t, because he howled all the way there. He was fine when I put him in the cat carrier, but as soon as I put the carrier in the car he started to howl like he’d been stuck, and he kept on howling all the way to the vet. It’s a twenty-minute drive. He howled even louder when I tried to calm him down by talking to him.

So when I got there, I figured I ought to warn them that Sparky was not in a good mood at all. He was a feral cat when we adopted him but he’s always been the sweetest little guy. Not the friendliest, kind of skittish, but very sweet. Still, I wasn’t going to be in there when they opened the door on the carrier, because of COVID-19. I had no idea how he’d react, so I mentioned to the vet tech who came to the car to fetch him that he was a little on edge.

I kept the phone in my hand the whole time he was in there, halfway expecting to get a phone call from a frantic vet begging for help to calm Sparky down. That call never came. Instead, the vet called me about ten minutes later, told me Sparky was healthy and was one of the sweetest cats they’d ever seen, a little nervous at first, but he quickly made friends and everybody was petting him. Well. That was quite a surprise.

When they brought Sparky back to the car, he began to howl again as soon as I put the car in gear, but he seemed to be doing it only to keep up appearances. He didn’t seem to be really into it.

who’s a good boy | 4:39 pm CDT
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Today’s episode of “A Closer Look” starts off with a stack of books on the end table:

  • A Clockwork Orange
  • The Sword in the Stone
  • 1984
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • The Thorn Birds

A few minutes later, “A Clockwork Orange” has been transformed into “A Clockwork Thornge.”

After that, “The Sword in the Stone” becomes “The Thowd in the Bone”

Then “1984” becomes “198Thourn”

And finally, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” becomes “The Picture of Thronian Bray.”

thorn birds 6-24-20 | 11:50 am CDT
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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

Woke up from a dream this morning in which I was taking turns driving a truck. I was supposed to be off-duty, catching some sack time in the back, but the guy driving the truck needed help navigating, so I grabbed a cup of coffee and joined him in the cab with a map.

The cab of the truck was more like the bridge of a cargo ship. Really big. I was standing next to the driver with lots of dead air between the top of my head and the roof of the cab. There was enough floor space to play hockey. It was a big cab.

The map I was using was full-size. Scale was 1:1. I mean, I was looking at a map that was the same size of the road we were driving. It was like I was in a plane looking down at the countryside, only I was in the cab, looking at a map I could hold in my hands that was the actual size of the world. Even in the dream, this seemed a little outlandish to me.

full-size | 3:47 pm CDT
Category: dreams, random idiocy
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I’m pretty sure I’m getting entirely the wrong story from the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.

The story I get is: There are these two good friends, Judas and Jesus. Jesus actually has a lot of friends, twelve of them, but Judas is the one who can tell Jesus stuff the other friends won’t or can’t. 

Judas and Jesus have been best friends for quite a while, know each other pretty well and, up until now, get along even better, but it’s beginning to dawn on Judas that Jesus needs Judas to do something, mmmm, kinda bad. Judas isn’t sure at first what it might be, but he’s getting the vibe it’s something he doesn’t want to be a part of any more.

He tries to tell Jesus about his concerns, but Jesus isn’t having it and he won’t tell Judas why. Jesus will only tell Judas, over and over, “You do what you’ve got to do.” Judas doesn’t like the sound of that. It sounds like he doesn’t have a choice.

Then he makes the mistake of calling the cops on Jesus. This seems like the right thing to do because why wouldn’t the cops want to help Judas sort Jesus out? They know what’s right and wrong, don’t they? (Is this topical right now, or what?)

Well, yes. The cops know the law, and they want to sort out Jesus, but they’re thinking more like with capitol punishment than corporal. Judas figures this out too late (although the purse full of silver should have been the tipoff) and, crushed by the realization that he’s condemned his friend to death, Judas hangs himself.

But wait! There’s more! In death, Judas learns that he was right to feel he didn’t have a choice, because he didn’t! He was set up from the beginning to be the one who literally sells out his friend. This makes him a tad bitter, and why wouldn’t it? Jesus was the best friend Judas ever had, but Judas was doomed to kick that friendship right in the teeth.

It’s one of the most heartbreaking stories I know of a friendship torn apart by events beyond their control.

Jesus Christ Superstar | 6:30 am CDT
Category: entertainment, movies, music, theater
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Monday, June 22nd, 2020

Today’s episode of “A Closer Look” starts off with a single copy of “The Thorn Birds” on the end table:

In the next scene, a copy of “The Bourne Identity” appears on top:

Next, “The Thorn Birds” and “The Bourne Identity” seem to meld into a single copy of “The Thourne Identity.”

And finally, “The Torn Birds” reappears:

thorn birds 6-22-20 | 12:03 pm CDT
Category: entertainment, play, random idiocy, television | Tags: , ,
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Thursday, June 11th, 2020

Woke up this morning from a dream about living in a pandemic (wonder why I had *that* dream?). It must have been a really bad pandemic, because everyone was wearing MOPP gear.

MOPP gear is the protective clothing the military wears to protect themselves against nuclear, biological, and chemical attack. There was a gas mask with a hood that covered your head, neck, and shoulders; a coat and pants; thick rubber gloves and boots; and a set of high-octane epipens we were expected to inject ourselves with if we were exposed to nerve gas.

Every time I was stationed overseas, I was issued a duffel bag filled with MOPP gear, and I had to take refresher training in how to use it. In refresher training, we buddied up and practiced how to put on and take off MOPP gear in such a way that we would not contaminate ourselves with nerve gas.

They never actually gassed us in these training sessions, except for the very first training I went through, and in that case it was some pretty low-grade tear gas. Everybody in every training I went to had a pretty relaxed attitude about how to wear MOPP gear. If they’d used full-strength tear gas on us in any of those training sessions, I’m pretty sure ninety percent of us would have been incapacitated.

And if we’d had to live in MOPP gear for days or weeks on end, the way you might have to in a pandemic, I’d bet money that the ten percent who weren’t incapacitated for being lax would go crazy from wearing the mask all the time. Maybe the new masks aren’t so bad, but the mask I had to wear was like smooshing your face between the cold butt cheeks of a hippopotamus. And the visibility through the tiny goggle lenses was about the same. Claustrophobia doesn’t begin to describe the experience.

contagion | 4:35 pm CDT
Category: current events, dreams
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Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

There’s a section of the social media web site REDDIT called “Am I The Asshole?” in which Redditors will spell out a sticky problem they’re experiencing and ask everyone to either validate their righteousness or dump on their pettiness. Because everything on the internet is a TLA (Three-Letter Abbreviation), you can answer YTA (You’re The Asshole), NTA (Not The Asshole), ESH (Everyone Sucks Here), and a couple other things I’m forgetting right now and am too lazy to look up.

This post is typical:

AITA for not sharing coffee with my husband who refuses to ever make coffee?

Quarantine woes. I (28F) work upstairs and my husband (35M) works from our kitchen counter. Every morning he refuses to put the kettle on or help make the coffee. He says, “I don’t want coffee but if you make it I’ll have some.” When I make it he then wants a full cup! As of late I take the entire french press with me back to my work station and refuse to share with him since he can’t be bothered to even turn the knob on the stove for the kettle. AITA?

So much to unpack here.

First, there’s a lot of backstory missing. Wife and hubby are obvs not getting along AT ALL. Missing is everything leading up to the coffee-making.

Second, lots of passive-aggressiveness going on here. Hubby says he doesn’t want coffee but he does. Wife makes coffee, takes it all upstairs with her. I’d pay to watch that webcam.

Some of the posts describe situations so outrageous they’re would’ve been hard to believe as little as a year ago. As weird as reality has become lately, though, I’d believe almost anything.

AITA | 4:02 pm CDT
Category: random idiocy, this modern world
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Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

Trump graduated from grumpy old codger and joined the tinfoil hat brigade today when he tweeted: “Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”

Trump referred to an incident caught on video in which a protester was roughly pushed aside when he approached a line of advancing police officers wearing riot gear. He had a phone in his hand, which Trump apparently thought was a “scanner.”

The protester lost his balance and fell to the ground, cracking his head on the pavement. One police officer turned and reached for the protester as if to help, but another officer in line hustled him along. The image of police stepping over a 75-year-old man lying on the pavement bleeding his wounds triggered outrage that Trump apparently couldn’t help commenting on.

If a friend of mine tweeted stuff like this, I’d take him aside and say, “Dude, this is the kind of talk doctors combat with powerful antipsychotic drugs. You need to tone it down.” And if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be my friend any more.

tinfoil hat | 6:00 pm CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy, yet another rant | Tags: ,
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I finally found a reality show I like. Not that I was looking for one. I gave up on reality shows almost as soon as they became a thing. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that stiff, self-conscious drama played by terrible actors working with practically no plot almost always added up to a show I did not want to spend more than five minutes on.

Many moons later, I’m a YouTube junkie, and it started with guys who pull junker cars out of garages that are scheduled for demolition, take them back to their shop and fix them up (the cars, not the demolished garages). The guy who got me hooked regularly drags home a Volkswagen that’s been sitting in a garage for thirty years, dumps a little oil in the crankcase, connects a spare battery and fires it right up. I binge-watched his videos for weeks. It’s hard to explain why.

I can’t remember how I crossed over from that kind of fix-up video to boat building, but however it happened, I ended up on a series of videos from Leo Sampson, who rescued a historically significant wooden boat from being broken up, shored it up in the backyard of a friend’s house and started work on restoring it. He thought he’d be able to save a lot of the boat, but what he ended up doing was tearing it completely apart and rebuilding it from the ground up. (Almost. If I recall correctly, the original ballast keel is still on the ground beneath the completely rebuilt hull.) What made it fascinating to me was how detailed his videos were and how clearly and concisely he explained what he was doing. It’s like “This Old House” but for wooden boats. I’m a complete nerd for this kind of stuff.

I tried watching several other video series about building wooden boats, but none were as interesting to me as Leo’s were. He had a special knack for shooting just the right video, putting it together in just the right way to tell a story, and then narrating the story in a way that was really engaging to me. He’s also got wicked good taste in music, which surprisingly makes the videos so much more enjoyable.

While I was searching for and watching other videos about building wooden boats, I also watched videos about sailing boats. There are a metric butt-ton of these and they fascinated the hell out of me for a while because apparently there are viewers who will pay to watch these videos! Yes! A typical video will feature a young couple who sold their house and their car and bought a boat, which they plan to sail around the world. You can like and subscribe the videos, which somehow makes money for them, and you can sign up to send them money regularly through a service like Patreon, and who wouldn’t want to throw twenty bucks a month to a couple in their twenties so they can sail to Tahiti and drink beers on the beach?

*raises hand*

Sorry. Not going to pitch in for gas money if I’m not going along for the ride.

(Full disclosure: I’m pitching in for Leo’s boat because that guy’s got moxie. Watch the first half-dozen videos in the series and try to tell me he doesn’t.)

I’ve given up watching most videos about sailing, but there’s one series I can’t tear myself away from: It’s called “Sailing Uma” and features, unsurprisingly, a young couple, Dan and Kika, and they – again, unsurprisingly – sold practically all their worldly possessions, bought a boat and sailed it across the Atlantic Ocean. What makes their story compelling is that, like Leo, they have a knack for creating an interesting video journal of their journey. They know how to tell a story. They can compose a shot and edit the shots together like the pros. And they are engaging and have great chemistry together that comes across well on the screen. In short, not only are their sailing videos are more fun to watch than any others I have seen, I even look forward to them.

a pleasant distraction | 5:36 am CDT
Category: entertainment, television | Tags:
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Monday, June 8th, 2020

If it’s Monday, this must be the last day of my stay-cation. What have I been doing with it? So glad you asked.

(Just a note: I do not actually hear anybody talking to me as I type these words. Self-isolation has gone on a long time, but I am not at that point in my craziness, not yet.)

I spent a lot of the day yesterday unfucking more of the screwups left behind by the contractor who sided our little red house. I’m assuming that most, if not all, of the actual siding was installed correctly, but I have no experience with siding and how it should be correctly installed, so I have no way to know for sure they did a good job with that unless something dramatic happens, like it peels off in a storm. Fingers crossed, that never happens.

But there are a few things they did that lead me to believe their work is less than exemplary. I mentioned recently I discovered an electrical outlet with something *not quite right* about it, and which I had already spent the better part of an afternoon working to fix. Yesterday, I finished that job after a quick trip to the hardware store to buy a new outlet and weatherproof cover for it.

It was a fairly simple fix: I bought a GFCI outlet to replace the regular one that was in there. It was grounded, but it never hurts to have extra insurance, especially for an outdoor outlet. I had to futz around with the box it was mounted in to get the fat-butt GFCI outlet to fit. All I had to do, really, was take a couple of screws out of it, but to do that, I had to dismount the box from the frame I’d built around it, because nothing is easy when it comes to home DIY projects. After remounting the box, though, the rest was easy-peasy.

While I was at the hardware store, I picked up a second outlet and weatherproof cover for another outlet the contractors left in less-than-serviceable condition. That outlet is in a box mounted in an inside corner of the back patio. When they removed it to tear off the old siding, they broke off all but one of the plastic tabs sticking out from the sides of the box. Normally, you’d securely mount it to a wall by driving screws through all four tabs. With only one tab left sticking out, they screwed it in place with just one screw rather than replace the box, so it would sort of flop around when we plugged in or unplugged from it. In my admittedly amateur but somewhat informed opinion, it was probably not the best way they could have fixed that particular problem.

I also picked up a new outdoor light for the patio. The light over the door was a single old-fashioned spotlight; the bulb must have weighed a pound and a half all by itself. Replacing it was something I’ve been meaning to cross off my to-do list for years, but it’s one of those things that I thought about only when I needed to use the light. Because it was a spotlight, it illuminated just one spot, and because it was a crappy old light fixture, it was rusted into position and pointed at a spot somewhere out in the yard. Not so useful.

Taking down the old fixture, which the contractors had had to remove like all the other fixtures when they did the siding, I discovered they’d half-assed reinstalling that, too, shooting a single construction screw through the base of the fixture into the wall, instead attaching it to the box as they should have done. The box was a good inch and a half inside the siding, so I had to find a couple of very long screws to substitute for the screws that came with the mounting.

All that futzing took a couple hours, so by the time I was done I was more than ready for a cold beer and a few hours in the shade with a book. Time with books & beer is so much more satisfying after I’ve scratched a few projects off my list.

scratching | 9:57 am CDT
Category: fun with electricity, Our Humble O'Bode | Tags:
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Friday, June 5th, 2020

Our boss has a day planner with all our scheduled vacation time in it. At the beginning of each year, she passes a new day planner around and we all take turns claiming the days off we would like to take for the next year. I’ve been working in the fraud unit longest (that’s still weird to me), so I got to pick first. I got all the days off I wanted.

Then the pandemic came and, until today, I’ve been scratching my vacation days off the calendar, because where was I going to go?

The rest of my coworkers have been scratching off their vacations days, too, and it makes me happy to know I work with people smart enough they know they shouldn’t go hang out at Devil’s Lake with the thousands of campers up from Illinois for the weekend. But last Monday in our weekly office staff meeting, the boss wanted to know why we weren’t taking time off. There was nothing but crickets on the conference call for several seconds, so I jumped in to explain that I wasn’t taking my time off because we couldn’t go anywhere.

This weekend, though, I continued, I’m taking the vacation days I had planned, because honestly I could use a couple days away from databases and spread sheets. I’m off today and Monday and I intend to tidy up the house and wash some clothes, but mostly I’m thinking I’ll be relaxing in the shade with a book in my hand and a beer at my side. Make it a proper stay-cation. Play with the cats. Stay up late watching old TV shows.

stay-cay | 3:18 pm CDT
Category: vacation
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Thursday, June 4th, 2020

I typed the word “rigamarole” into an email the other day and got one of those red squiggly lines underneath telling me it was misspelled.

That’s interesting, I thought, because I’m pretty sure that’s a bullshit made-up word. [Turns out it’s not. It’s a word with a long history. – ed] [There is no editor.]

So I right-clicked on the word to find out how my computer thought it should be spelled and found out the all-knowing spellcheck god wanted me to type “rigmarole” instead.

Well. I’m not doing that. Because that’s just flat-out *wrong.* Even though all my dictionaries say I’m wrong, this is one time I’m not going to budge. It’s been “rigamarole” all my life and nobody’s going to gaslight me into changing it to “rigmarole” now. It’s the totally stupid hill I’m willing to die on.

rigamarole | 6:00 pm CDT
Category: random idiocy | Tags:
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From the Wisconsin Department of Health Services web site, updated each day at 2:00 pm:

Wisconsin

  • Wisconsin reported cumulative totals of 291,367 negative results and 19,892 positive results, indicating a cumulative total of 299,111 test results have been reported.
  • Yesterday, Wisconsin reported cumulative totals of 279,711 negative results and 19,400 positive results, indicating a cumulative total of 299,111 test results have been reported.
    • The difference in the cumulative total numbers indicates 12,148 more test results were reported over the past 24 hours, 1,626 more than the median number of tests reported in the past seven days (10,522).
    • The difference in the cumulative positive totals indicates 492 positive results were reported in the past 24 hours, 9 more than the median number of positive results reported in the past seven days (483).
  • Wisconsin reported a cumulative total of 2,739 hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19.
  • Yesterday, Wisconsin reported a cumulative total of 2,700 hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19 the day before.
    • The difference in the cumulative total number of hospitalizations indicates 39 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, 1 less than the median number of hospitalizations reported in the past 7 days (40).
  • Wisconsin reported a cumulative total of 626 deaths attributed to COVID-19.
  • Yesterday, Wisconsin reported a cumulative total of 616 deaths attributed to COVID-19 the day before.
    • The difference in the cumulative total number of deaths indicates 10 new deaths were attributed to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, on par with the median number of deaths reported in the past seven days (10).

    The number of tests completed, positive results, hospitalizations, and deaths have all trended up, indicating a greater number of people are feeling ill enough to seek medical attention:

    covid in WI 6-4-20

    WI DHS update 060420 | 2:00 pm CDT
    Category: current events, Life & Death | Tags: ,
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I’ve been awake since three oh nine this morning, after a dream in which I backed myself into a grey, airless void I couldn’t get out of. I kind of don’t want to go back to sleep when you can clearly remember a dream about suffocating, so I made myself stay awake for a couple minutes, then a couple minutes longer, and … you know how *that* goes.

Funnily enough, it wasn’t me who got sucked into the void, it was Tom Cruise – I mean, *I* was Tom Cruise because y’know dream logic – and if anybody should be able to escape a nightmare scenario it’s Tom Cruise, so really I should have let myself fall right back into sleep to see how he got out of it. Now I’ll never know.

three oh nine | 6:01 am CDT
Category: dreams, sleeplessness
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Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

From the Wisconsin Department of Health Services web site, updated each day at 2:00 pm:

Wisconsin

  • Wisconsin reported cumulative totals of 279,711 negative results and 19,400 positive results, indicating a cumulative total of 299,111 test results have been reported.
  • Yesterday, Wisconsin reported cumulative totals of 263,743 negative results and 18,917 positive results, indicating a cumulative total of 282,660 test results have been reported.
    • The difference in the cumulative total numbers indicates 16,451 more test results were reported over the past 24 hours, 5,929 more than the median number of tests reported in the past seven days (10,522).
      • This is the largest number of test results reported in a 24-hour period since DHS records began on 3/15/2020.
    • The difference in the cumulative positive totals indicates 483 positive results were reported in the past 24 hours, on par with the median number of positive results reported in the past seven days (483).
  • Wisconsin reported a cumulative total of 2,700 hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19.
  • Yesterday, Wisconsin reported a cumulative total of 2,643 hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19 the day before.
    • The difference in the cumulative total number of hospitalizations indicates 57 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, 16 more than the median number of hospitalizations reported in the past 7 days (41).
  • Wisconsin reported a cumulative total of 616 deaths attributed to COVID-19.
  • Yesterday, Wisconsin reported a cumulative total of 607 deaths attributed to COVID-19 the day before.
    • The difference in the cumulative total number of deaths indicates 9 new deaths were attributed to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, 2 fewer than the median number of deaths reported in the past seven days (11).

    The number of tests completed, positive results, hospitalizations, and deaths have all trended up, indicating a greater number of people are feeling ill enough to seek medical attention:

    covid in wi 6-3-20

    WI DHS update 060320 | 2:00 pm CDT
    Category: current events, Life & Death | Tags: ,
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Monday, June 1st, 2020

Well holy shit. The president went on television this evening to announce his intention to be the boss of everything. “Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled,” he decreed. “If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.” As he spoke, a small army of police cleared away the protesters gathered outside the gates of the White House, beating them with shields and firing flash-bang grenades and tear gas into the crowd, which someone had arranged to display on a split screen with Trump, I guess so he would look very, very powerful. After the crowds and tear gas disbursed, Trump marched through Lafayette Park in what I assume he thought was a manly way (former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker praised Trump as “gutsy” on Twitter in what I can only assume was some carefully arranged bootlicking), even though the path Trump took was bracketed by police in riot gear standing shoulder-to-shoulder and he was of course surrounded by Secret Service agents. At the other side of the park, Trump posed in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church holding a bible and scowling for the cameras, looking very much like a Jon McNaughton painting. Five bucks says McNaughton paints exactly that picture before the end of the week.

In response to Trump gassing American citizens in America’s capitol city, Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer released a joint statement, mostly a lot of “we must do better blah blah blah.” The only part that directly addressed Trump’s strongman act was: “We call upon the President, law enforcement and all entrusted with responsibility to respect the dignity and rights of all Americans.” Oh, yeah. Way to go, Democratic ‘leadership.’ I’m sure that made a yuge impression on Trump.

Schumer and Pelosi could learn a thing or two about righteous anger from a rector at St. John’s who was ministering to the protesters at the time the police attacked them with shields raised: “WE WERE DRIVEN OFF OF THE PATIO AT ST. JOHN’S – a place of peace and respite and medical care throughout the day – SO THAT MAN COULD HAVE A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH!!! PEOPLE WERE HURT SO THAT HE COULD POSE IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH WITH A BIBLE! HE WOULD HAVE HAD TO STEP OVER THE MEDICAL SUPPLIES WE LEFT BEHIND BECAUSE WE WERE BEING TEAR GASSED!!!! I am ok. But I am now a force to be reckoned with.”

The rector, Gini Gerbasi, posted her description on Facebook of the event from her point of view:

“Friends, I am ok, but I am, frankly shaken. I was at St. John’s, Lafayette Square most of the afternoon, with fellow clergy and laypeople – and clergy from some other denominations too. We were passing out water and snacks, and helping the patio area at St. John’s, Lafayette square to be a place of respite and peace. All was well – with a few little tense moments – until about 6:15 or so. By then, I had connected with the Black Lives Matter medic team, which was headed by an EMT. Those people were AMAZING. They had been on the patio all day, and thankfully had not had to use much of the eyewash they had made. Around 6:15 or 6:30, the police started really pushing protestors off of H Street (the street between the church and Lafayette Park, and ultimately, the White House. They started using tear gas and folks were running at us for eyewashes or water or wet paper towels. At this point, Julia, one of our seminarians for next year (who is a trauma nurse) and I looked at each other in disbelief. I was coughing, her eyes were watering, and we were trying to help people as the police – in full riot gear – drove people toward us. Julia and her classmates left and I stayed with the BLM folks trying to help people. Suddenly, around 6:30, there was more tear gas, more concussion grenades, and I think I saw someone hit by a rubber bullet – he was grasping his stomach and there was a mark on his shirt. The police in their riot gear were literally walking onto the St. John’s, Lafayette Square patio with these metal shields, pushing people off the patio and driving them back. People were running at us as the police advanced toward us from the other side of the patio. We had to try to pick up what we could. The BLM medic folks were obviously well practiced. They picked up boxes and ran. I was so stunned I only got a few water bottles and my spray bottle of eyewash. We were literally DRIVEN OFF of the St. John’s, Lafayette Square patio with tear gas and concussion grenades and police in full riot gear. We were pushed back 20 feet, and then eventually – with SO MANY concussion grenades – back to K street. By the time I got back to my car, around 7, I was getting texts from people saying that Trump was outside of St. John’s, Lafayette Square. I literally COULD NOT believe it. WE WERE DRIVEN OFF OF THE PATIO AT ST. JOHN’S – a place of peace and respite and medical care throughout the day – SO THAT MAN COULD HAVE A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH!!! PEOPLE WERE HURT SO THAT HE COULD POSE IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH WITH A BIBLE! HE WOULD HAVE HAD TO STEP OVER THE MEDICAL SUPPLIES WE LEFT BEHIND BECAUSE WE WERE BEING TEAR GASSED!!!!

I am deeply shaken. I did not see any protestors throw anything until the tear gas and concussion grenades started, and then it was mostly water bottles. I am shaken, not so much by the taste of tear gas and the bit of a cough I still have, but by the fact that that show of force was for a PHOTO OPPORTUNITY. The patio of St. John’s, Lafayette square had been HOLY GROUND today. A place of respite and laughter and water and granola bars and fruit snacks. But that man turned it into a BATTLE GROUND first, and a cheap political stunt second. I am DEEPLY OFFENDED on behalf of every protestor, every Christian, the people of St. John’s, Lafayette square, every decent person there, and the BLM medics who stayed with just a single box of supplies and a backpack, even when I got too scared and had to leave. I am ok. But I am now a force to be reckoned with.”

“My fellow Americans, my first and highest duty as president is to defend our great country and the American people. I swore an oath to uphold the laws of our nation, and that is exactly what I will do. All Americans were rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death of George Floyd. My administration is fully committed that, for George and his family, justice will be served. He will not have died in vain. But we cannot allow the righteous cries of peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob. The biggest victims are the peace-loving citizens in our poorest communities, and as their president, I will fight to keep them safe. I will fight to protect you. I am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters, but in recent days our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, antifa, and others. A number of state and local governments have failed to take necessary action to safeguard their residents. Innocent people have been savagely beaten, like the young man in Dallas, Texas, who was left dying on the street, or the woman in upstate New York, viciously attacked by dangerously thugs. Small business owners have seen their dreams utterly destroyed. New York’s finest have been hit in the face with bricks. Brave nurses, who have battled the virus, are afraid to leave their homes. A police precinct has been overrun. Here, in the nation’s capitol, the Lincoln Memorial and the World War Two memorial have been vandalized. One of our most historic churches was set ablaze. A federal officer in California, an African-American enforcement hero, was shot and killed. These are not acts of peaceful protest; these are acts of domestic terror. The destruction of innocent life and the spilling of innocent blood is an offense to humanity and a crime against god. America needs creation, not destruction; cooperation, not contempt; security, not anarchy; healing, not hatred; justice, not chaos. This is our mission, and we will succeed, one-hundred percent. We will succeed; our country always wins. That is why I am taking immediate presidential action to stop the violence and restore security and safety in America. I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson, and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your second-amendment rights. Therefore, the following measures are going into effect immediately: First, we are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now. Today, I have strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the national guard in sufficient numbers, that we dominate the streets. Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled. If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them. I am also taking swift and decisive action to protect our great capitol, Washington D.C. What happened in the city last night was a total disgrace. As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily-armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property. We are putting everybody on warning: Our seven o’clock curfew will be strictly enforced. Those who threaten innocent life and property will be arrested, detained, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I want the organizers of this terror to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties and lengthy sentences in jail. This includes antifa and others who are leading instigators of this violence. One law and order – and that is what it is: One law; we have one beautiful law, and once that is restored and fully restored, we will help you, we will help your business, and we will help your family. America is founded upon the rule of law. It is the foundation of our prosperity, our freedom, and our very way of life. But where there is no law, there is no opportunity; where there is no justice, there is no liberty; where there is no safety, there is no future. We must never give in to anger or hatred. If malice or violence reigns, then none of us is free. I take these actions today with firm resolve and with a true and passionate love for our country. By far, our greatest days lie ahead. Thank you very much. And now, I’m going to pay my respects to a very, very special place.”

one step closer | 8:15 pm CDT
Category: current events | Tags: ,
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Sunday, May 31st, 2020

From the Wisconsin Department of Health Services web site, updated each day at 2:00 pm:

Wisconsin

  • Wisconsin reported cumulative totals of 250,103 negative results and 18,403 positive results, indicating a cumulative total of 268,506 tests have been reported.
  • Yesterday, Wisconsin reported cumulative totals of 242,908 negative results and 18,230 positive results, indicating a cumulative total of 261,138 tests have been reported.
  • The difference in the cumulative total numbers indicates 7,368 more tests were reported over the past 24 hours, 2,475 fewer than the median number of tests reported in the past seven days (9,843).
  • The difference in the cumulative positive totals indicates 173 positive results were reported in the past 24 hours, 339 fewer than the median number of positive results reported in the past seven days (512).
  • Wisconsin reported a cumulative total of 2,583 hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, and a cumulative total of 2,563 hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19 the day before.
    • The difference in the cumulative total number of hospitalizations indicates 20 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, 21 fewer than the median number of hospitalizations reported in the past 7 days (41).
  • Wisconsin reported a cumulative total of 592 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, and a cumulative total of 588 deaths attributed to COVID-19 the day before.
    • The difference in the cumulative total number of deaths indicates 4 new deaths were attributed to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, 7 fewer than the median number of deaths reported in the past seven days (11).
  • The cumulative total number of tests reported in the state (268,506) is 4.61% of Wisconsin’s 2019 population of 5,822,000.
  • The cumulative total number of positive cases in the state (18,403) is 6.85% of all people tested.
  • The cumulative total number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 (2,583) is 14.04% of the cumulative total number of positive test results.
  • The cumulative total number of deaths in the state attributed to COVID-19 (592) is 3.22% of all positive cases.

The number of tests completed, positive results, hospitalizations, and deaths have all trended up, indicating a greater number of people are feeling ill enough to seek medical attention:

WI COVID trends 053120

WI DHS update 053120 | 3:30 pm CDT
Category: current events, Life & Death | Tags: ,
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