what we can do

During a conversation I had with my Mom in which we lamented the epidemic of shootings in schools, theaters, and other public places, she eventually sighed and said what everyone usually says, something to the effect of “there’s nothing we can do.”

“But there is something we can do,” I said.

“What?” she asked.

“Ban guns,” I said.

She blinked. Apparently she hadn’t realized I was a radical leftie.

“What? All guns?”

“Not at first, no,” I said. “At a minimum, I would start with banning all semiautomatic guns with removable magazines. But eventually, yes, all guns.”

“Well, that’ll never happen,” she said.

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because there would be riots in the streets.”

“I don’t believe that,” I replied. “Every day there’s a new law being passed in one state or another banning abortion, banning books, banning sexual identity. The overwhelming majority of people hate these laws, and yet there aren’t any riots. Meanwhile, kids are being murdered every day and law makers aren’t doing anything about it, something which absolutely should result in massive protests, and yet still nothing.”

“Well the people who have guns will riot.”

“No, I don’t believe they will. People didn’t riot in other countries where guns were banned. Assault rifles were banned in the United States for years but nobody rioted. I think the argument that banning guns will start riots, or an uprising, or a revolution, is propaganda spread by politicians to make you believe banning guns is impossible.”

“What would you do about the second amendment?” she asked.

“Repeal it!” I answered. “Laws can be changed. They’re changed all the time. We’ve repealed amendments before. It’s just an amendment, it’s not holy writ.”

“What about hunters?”

“What about them? If the trade-off for allowing people have guns is letting kids get killed, I say that’s too high a cost. If your hobby is hunting, then find another hobby. If you hunt to feed your family, then learn to set snares or get a bow and arrows. Native Americans survived without guns for generations. Nobody needs guns to hunt.”

“You’d have to be a king to do any of this. You’d never get elected.”

“I don’t believe that’s true, either. Politics is propaganda. Ever time there’s a shooting, politicians flood the airwaves with propaganda: ‘There’s nothing we can do. No law will keep guns out of the hands of criminals.’ If that’s true then why do they pass laws banning anything? The only thing preventing the election of anyone with a platform that includes banning guns is having the ability to spread anti-gun propaganda. If the people who want to ban guns had the ability to flood the media with their propaganda that politicians have, guns would be banned.”

This is a condensed version of our conversation so I could edit out all the cuss words and sputtering I did as I made my case. In the process I made it sound like a lecture, which I hope it wasn’t because I hope I didn’t lecture my Mom, but it mystifies me that honest, sincere, smart people — my Mom, for instance — believe that gun control laws are impossible to enact in this country because Americans will riot in the streets. First of all, no they won’t. Second of all, if they did then how would that look? Hundreds of thousands of armed civilians roaming the streets, shooting their AR-15s at unarmed people? (I’m assuming they wouldn’t shoot at armed people because they’re, y’know, on the same side.) Do they suppose that every governor wouldn’t call out the National Guard to put down that kind of riot? And finally, how’s it better to let them hold the rest of us hostage under threat of getting shot at the mall, movie theater, bank, or school? Spoiler alert: It’s not. It sucks.

Gun control now.


It’s springtime in Wisconsin, and I’m not the first one to say it’s a season fraught with disappointment, nor the first one to say, “Fuck this, I’m moving to New Mexico.” In fact, I’d bet I don’t have anything to say about spring in Wisconsin that hasn’t been said a million times already, but I can’t help observing for the million-and-first time that it sucks.


This garbage heap of grammatical errors was a huge hit as a pop song in the 1980s:

Sometimes I never leave, but sometimes I would
Sometimes I stay too long, sometimes I would
Sometimes it frightens me, sometimes it would
Sometimes I’m all alone and wish that I could
Until suddenly last summer
And then suddenly last summer

If you never leave, that’s called “staying.” You do it continuously. You never stop not leaving. And because you’re always doing it, you are, in effect, doing it just once. You couldn’t do it “sometimes.” If you were “staying” only “sometimes,” you would, by definition, have to leave occasionally.

Which might be what she’s getting at when she adds, “but sometimes I would.” Okay, fine, but then it’s “but sometimes I do.” Either that or the first part is “Sometimes I’d never leave,” which also doesn’t make any sense but at the very least it’s in the right tense. Keep your tenses straight, dammit. Same goes for the second and third lines!

“Sometimes I stay too long” seems a little bit redundant after saying “sometimes I never leave,” don’t you think? I do.

Not sure what frightens her. Never leaving? Or the very redundant staying too long? Something else? Maybe she could be a little more vague? I’m not a huge fan of ambiguity when it comes to pop songs.

“Sometimes I’m all alone” is pretty straightforward, but I have absolutely no freakin clue what she wishes she could. Do. Can’t even take a wild-ass guess. Maybe I’m missing something obvious but I think it’s more likely she’s trying to be mysterious by writing something open-ended and obtuse. Not a fan of that, either.

Speaking of mysterious:

One summer never ends, one summer never began
It keeps me standing still, it takes all my will
And then suddenly last summer

I mean, come on. If it never began, how does it never end? How does that make sense at all? I’m flummoxed.

All that being said, I still like this song. It’s got a really good sound and it reminds me of my college years. What’s not to love about that?


I just saw a car drive past our house on a flat tire. The front right tire was flat flat flat. I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to do that. I can’t imagine why anyone would do that. I wouldn’t do that unless I was being pursued by ravenous beasts. Even in this weather (the temperature outside is fifteen degrees Fahrenheit right now) I would change the tire because I’m pretty sure that driving on a flat would damage the rim beyond repair and maybe even the car’s steering and suspension. What the hell was that driver thinking?


“Would you live your life over again if you could?”

I get that I’m supposed to say “yes” as a way of expressing the feeling that I have no regrets, but this is a dumb question no matter how you slice it.

If I could live my life over but I wouldn’t know that I was reliving it, what would be the point of that?

If I could live my life over and I knew I was reliving it, but couldn’t do anything to change it, I suppose that would be all right for the good times but when it came time to relive the parts that sucked, HOO-boy, I’m not sure I’d survive it the second time around. I’m kind of a nervous wreck to start with. That’s just the personality I’ve had the luck to draw. Coupled with that, I have one of those memories that makes me relive the parts of my life that sucked at random. “Hey remember that time you did that really embarrassing thing that everyone saw you do and they all said ‘geeze what’d you have to do that for?’ and you’ve never been able to live it down? Remember that?” If you’re around me and you see me grimace or hear me say “oh shit” out loud for seemingly no reason, that’s what’s happening to me. There are especially cringey episodes of my life that I have relived in memory several thousand times. If I were to literally relive my life, I’d probably ruin the good parts of it getting tied in emotional knots as I waited for the sucky parts.

Now, if I could relive my life and I knew I was reliving it AND I could change it, I’d definitely jump at the chance to enjoy the good times, maybe make a few more of them, and to iron out the bad times so maybe they weren’t so bad, or even to eliminate them if possible. Who wouldn’t say yes to an opportunity like that? But that’s not the point of asking the question, is it? The point of asking the question is so that I can affirm I like my life just the way it all turned out. But if I were to literally relive it in a way that allowed me to change the cringey parts, well, it wouldn’t be the life I had, would it? It’d be a completely different life because everyone has regrets they’d like to correct, and if I went back and corrected mine, I’d go down an entirely different path than the one I went down originally.

It also has to be said that if I could relive my life and I could make changes to it, I’d probably generate a whole new set of regrets that my neurotic brain would randomly force me to recall over and over, on top of the old memories of the previously-committed cringe moments, which I’m pretty sure I’d still have to recall even if I managed to make them less cringey or even if I overcame them. I know my brain pretty well at this point and I don’t see why it wouldn’t keep bringing up shit like that even if it didn’t happen the second time around, because it did happen the first time so I didn’t actually erase it, see? See how that works?

So no, I wouldn’t relive my life over if I could. Living it just the once was plenty satisfying for me, thanks anyway.


“Since we first spoke with Kurt Klomberg, he resigned as the Dodge County district attorney. Klomberg sent an email to colleagues announcing he was stepping down as of January 13th, and heartbroken over the collapse of the Dodge County prosecutor’s office after retirements, resignations, and no new full-time attorneys accepting positions.”

[Klomberg:] “That left me alone to do the work of six attorneys after February first. My family has made many, many sacrifices for me to do this work. When we were fully staffed, I was leaving before my children would barely get up in the morning and I was coming home after they went to bed. I saw no end in sight. I was concerned about my own health and also about the fact that I can’t do that amount of work without committing serious malpractice.”

How is it that the legislature can leave vacant offices of public prosecutors and public defenders? Why is the legislature not required to raise the pay of these public officers of the court to a level that will keep these positions filled?

guys not guys

I don’t know why I care about this, but I do: Why do we say “Hi, Guys!” when we’re talking to a bunch of men and women? There’s no way that works in reverse: You would almost never walk into a room and say “Hi, Gals!” if men were present, unless you wanted to make fun of the men, or insult them. You would never, and I mean never, refer to men as “gals” without irony or malice. And yet it’s a commonly-held belief that “guys” refers to men and women. I wonder why that is?

Just kidding. I know why that is. It’s a rhetorical question.


I don’t believe anybody’s recycling the plastic and cardboard we put in our recycling bin.

I still take the time to separate ‘recyclable’ material because it makes My Darling B feel better. And okay, I suppose that maybe, just maybe, there’s a tiny inkling of a chance that somebody somewhere might be grinding up a tiny percentage of the plastic bottles to make shopping bags or flip-flops. Maybe. But honestly I think they’re throwing 99 and 44/100ths of the recycling in the landfill.

That’s it. That’s my crazy conspiracy theory.


Heard a Christmas carol on the radio for the first time this season while driving to the bakery. Always a traumatic experience. Now I’ll have to deprogram at least half a dozen radio stations from the presets on the car radio. The van’s easier — I’ve got about 50 of my favorite CDs in there so I’ll probably just listen to those until the week before Christmas, which is when Christmas music is supposed to start AS EVERY SANE PERSON KNOWS.

a question

While reading the morning news I came across this question from The Guardian: “we’d like to hear from US voters about the issues that are deciding their vote. Why are you planning on voting the way you are?”

Good question. I know who I’m going to vote for, but nobody’s ever asked me why, so I haven’t formulated an answer until now.

I’m voting for the Democrats, and it turns out the reasons are simple and pretty straightforward.

Republican candidates on my ballot have gratefully accepted Trump’s endorsement. I won’t have anything to do with anyone who would shake the hand of that liar.

Republicans not only say they want to tear down the government, they do it. They defund every branch, they fire as many employees as they can get away with, and they rewrite government regulation to make everyone in government except them powerless. Their stated goal is to get government out of your business, but the effect is to leave only the elected officials in power with very little oversight, or no oversight at all.

I’m voting for Democrats because they’re the only practical alternative to Republicans. I could cast my vote for another party as a “protest vote,” but frankly the only protest I want to make at this point is keeping Republicans out of office, and the only way to do that is to vote for Democrats.