Monday, October 18, 2021

It's the Stupid, Economy

 OK, let’s hop back into Debunkery mode, shall we? Because the disinformation campaign never sleeps.

There are two distinct points that make this bit of wishful thinking worthless.

First of all, the writer must never have received even a basic education in how government works. They fail to realize that the very basis of our Constitution is a representative government. We elect people and they represent our interests. (OK, in theory.) That’s how Congress works. We cannot have a government run by 330 million people. This brings us to the second immovable object:

330 million people won’t agree on anything. Ever. That’s why we have representatives in the first place. Representation is sliced and diced to cover very local interests, as in the House of Representatives, and State-wide interests in the Senate. We vote for a President to represent national interests.

So by definition, there will always be someone who disagrees with whatever is going on.

Yes, we pay them to do it (again, in theory, if “we” means the rich donor class.”) It’s up to us, the voters, to keep our reps honest and if they’re not doing what we want, or if they’re only answering to the moneyed interests, vote them out. Just keep in mind that one side wants one thing and another side wants something else. Just because someone isn’t getting what they want doesn’t mean the system doesn’t work.

If there’s a downfall to the whole program, it’s that the Big Money Donors spend their big money trying to convince people that what the donors want is good for everyone, regardless of whether it’s actually true. (Example: Tax cuts for us? That will trickle down eventually. Direct help for you? That’s Socialism!)

Or if unable to convince people to vote directly against their own best interest, distract their attention with other incendiary topics to keep their attention away from the degree to which they’re getting screwed. And speaking of, there’s this:

This is just completely and verifiably false. It’s an out-and-out lie that counts on the target audience desperately wanting to believe it and also not knowing any better. They seem to forget that many others of us were alive and conscious in 2019 and remember how totally Not Great the economy really was.

Two years ago wasn’t even the best economy of the decade. You have to remember that the stock market alone does not represent the whole economy. It’s just the part that’s important to the rich people so they can keep socking away dividends.

In 2019, unemployment was fairly low because people needed multiple jobs just to stay afloat. Stagnant wages are not an indicator of a thriving economy (except to business owners). Big businesses were flush with cash because of the massive tax cuts granted them by the Republican Congress in 2017, tax cuts that were never paid for and never resulted in any measurable rise in jobs or wages. The companies just pocketed the money or bought back their own stock.

The only way to grow an economy is to water the grass. Put money in the hands of people who will spend it on goods and services. When the merchants see the increase in business, they put on more staff. When more and more places are doing well, the pay goes up, and the cycle continues.

They’ve tried the top-down method at various times in recent history, with Reagan, with Bush the Sequel, and again with the former guy. Each time, the economy did NOT roar to life, but times got significantly worse. Because in each instance, the rich took the money and kept it. The only trickling down is when they piss themselves laughing at the rest of us, especially at the poor working slobs who voted their guys into office because they were afraid of whatever boogeyman they were sold during the campaigns.

And aside from that, the gross mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 snuffed out any forward momentum the economy might have had.

Here’s another one that’s just plain false. Consider:

·        Eliminating polio, smallpox, measles, and every other disease we wiped out because everyone had to get vaccinated

·        Ending slavery

·        Segregating schools in Alabama and elsewhere

·        Legalizing same-sex marriage

·        Bringing down road deaths by mandating seatbelt use or motorcycle helmets

·        40 hour work week, holidays, and workplace safety standards

·        Environmental clean air and water standards

·        And other things I haven’t thought of yet in the 5 minutes it took me to come up with this list

All of these things were forced on a segment of the population that resisted, like racists, homophobes, rich business owners, bikers, and kids who hated needles. In each case the forcers were the “good team” and the others were not. The greater good was served and there was no evil power play or nefarious plot to reduce our “freedom.” It made the country safer and fairer to everyone.

And yes, when some people already have the odds stacked in their favor, the last thing they want to see is a fair playing field.

Tough shit.

Here’s another one that completely misses the point.

It’s because there IS a pandemic that a hospital has the need to ensure their staff is ready and able to assist for the long term and not lose staff to death or disability. Not to mention make is less likely to have people actively spreading the disease they’re all trying to fight. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who’s in the medical profession and resists such a well-tested and proven vaccine should seek other work because they lack the basic ability to do no harm.

And in America, there’s also this thing called “Liability.” Such a facility could go broke paying the damages to people who were infected because they allowed unvaccinated or unmasked people to mix with staff and patients.

Another Dad Story

My dad loved to mess with people. It was always something harmless, mostly just mind games. I learned at the foot of the master. These are a couple of quick stories from our time in the Columbus OH suburbs. (Source post: $#*! My Dad Did.)

One of the first stories I remember about Dad messing with people was when I was in early Jr. High.  We lived in a cookie-cutter suburban neighborhood and some of the neighbors were known for being a little fussy.  At one get-together early in our tenure there, one of the neighbor ladies was talking about how she heard that another neighbor wanted all of his underwear labeled by day, so it would wear out evenly.

Dad said, “Don’t laugh… I have labels put in my underwear too…” He paused before delivering the punch line…  “January, February, March…”

They gave us a wide berth, after that.

We got along really well with our next-door neighbors though.  They were some nice, down-to-earth West Virginians.  Dad once complained to him about his own abysmal golf game.  (Dad was never much of a golfer.)

I don’t know why I even have clubs anymore, for all the good they do me,” he said.

Later that spring, the neighbor was out in his back yard and happened to look over at our garden, which was right alongside our chain-link border fence.  Dad had his tomato plants staked to his golf clubs.

The neighbor thought that was the funniest thing ever.  “Why in the world are you using golf clubs?” he asked.

Puts iron in the soil,” Dad answered.

For the rest of the summer, whenever the neighbors had guests, he’d drag them out to the back fence to show them his crazy neighbor’s garden.

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Texas Shuffle

 No, this isn’t a post about the political situation in Texas, it’s about last weekend when I found myself traveling there for a wedding.

One of my oldest friend’s daughter, Kyrie, was getting married. I’ve been her “uncle” all her life. I’ve written about her or for her so many times before, I call her my Muse. The Elf and the LeprechaunLetter to a 16-year old Girl, Letter to an Incoming College Freshman, The Pros and Cons of the 80’s, and the time she took me on a tour of her college town, which was MY old college town.

She currently lives in Houston, teaching 3rd grade. Her wedding site was going to be right between 3 cities, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. After consulting Google Maps, Austin seemed to be the closest so I decided to fly in and out of there.

The flight in would be non-stop, from Baltimore to Austin. On the way back, the only non-stop was at 6:30 AM. So to make a 6:30 flight, I’d have to be at the airport at 5:30, meaning I’d have to leave the hotel around 4:15, meaning I’d have to get up around 3:00… the morning after a wedding.

Um, no. Not doing that. The next best option was an 11:50 AM flight that routed through Houston for a 3-hour layover. Not the best, but the other choices were worse.

My buddy, known here as The CFO (Chairman of Fuck-Off, which is the title I’d give him if I ever won the lottery and needed dedicated staff to handle all the donation requests and business “opportunities”) was going to be my personal Uber driver.

Our first stop, after grabbing lunch, was to visit the statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan, which we easily found along the river.

A monument to the greatest guitar player I ever heard.

On the way into town where the wedding venue was, we passed a sign that I just had to document. I had no idea I’d be anywhere near this place.

My immediate thought went like this: “Oh I gotta send that to Dad, he’s gonna love… ah crap.”

He would have loved it, had he still been with us. I’m still getting used to him not being here. It’s a process. But I always thought the ZZ Top song “LaGrange” was responsible for turning him from “Turn that shit down,” to “Hey, turn that up!” That Texas boogie just goes right to your groove center.

Now, I’m not going to go into all the wedding bullshit. I mean, no one wants to hear about a lot of wedding stuff for people they don’t know. Suffice to say, it was a beautiful event, the bride was stunning, and I definitely had to swallow hard a couple times.

I’m just going to talk about a couple of things.

First, a deer showed up at the rehearsal dinner. I know we were in a rustic environment but who expects a little deer to amble over to mix with the crowd?

Bambi with the bride’s niece.

Bambi works the crowd.

It was unreal… you could walk up to it and it would just look you over, smell your hand and sometimes rub its head on your leg. A few times it reared up on its hind legs, but the grownups learned they could just put a hand on its neck or chest and it would stay right there.

Eventually, they tried to get the rehearsal in, but the deer wouldn’t leave.

I think we should have called him John. Deer John. Or, John Deere. Whatever.

The ceremony was to be under that amazing tree. Note the deer, making himself at home. Obviously, it was used to interacting with people, probably mistaking us for oddly-colored, misshapen deer.

Eventually, one of the facilities people managed to run it off. Or kidnap it to release later. I’m not sure which.

The wedding wasn’t until 4:30 on Saturday, so the CFO and I had some chores to do that morning. The bride wanted a thing at the reception where they had a bunch of mini Polaroid cameras for the guests to use. The idea was to take random pics, caption them on the bottom, and then pin them to a bulletin board. She had four wine corks with push pins stuck in them so they looked like plastic porcupines. But the base of the push-pins took up too much room on the small photos, so she sent her Dad out to find hatpins to redo the corks. So the job fell to the CFO and me to repopulate the corks with the hat pins.

We started with great enthusiasm, which waned as the minutes dragged on. So this was the “finished product” we later presented to the bride.

She should have known better than to give the two old dudes a crafting project.

The main task of the afternoon was to construct The CFO’s father-of-the-bride speech. He had a couple of key ideas and stories he wanted to get out so with my background in radio broadcasting and public speaking (in my college days), it was up to me to mold it into something resembling a coherent speech.

We spent about three hours in my hotel room working on wording, delivery, and getting the notes down on cards. Our stated goal was to make life miserable for whoever’s speech followed. I made him do run-through after run-through, and we’d tweak wording or emphasis, or add a gesture. We had a lot to figure out regarding how he was going to do some of the “stunts.” It was grueling and at one point he probably wanted to take my head off. But then, deep down he knew I was right, so to his credit, he kept plugging.

As it turned out, his was the opening speech.

Here are a couple of the better bits:

·        [CFO takes out giant stack of note cards] I had some remarks prepared but the Kyrie told me I couldn’t talk about her dating history. [Tosses giant chunk of the note cards down on the table.]

·        I want to offer congratulations to my incredible, talented, beautiful daughter and… um… uh… uh… [from a plant in crowd: “Dom!”] Yeah, thanks.

·        The first time they met, it was in Put-In-Bay. Dom was puking into a bottle… and my incredible, talented, beautiful daughter said, “Someday I’m gonna marry that…”

·        Now, for the primary stunt. The CFO spoke about how it had always been his own job to protect his little girl, but now it’s falling to the groom. Then came the big moment.

But remember, I know some very dangerous people. [Three red dots appear on the groom’s chest.]

All of whom have a “particular set of skills.” [Two more red dots appear on the groom.]

Some of whom are here tonight. [Three more dots light up the groom, who now has eight “sniper targets” on him, which were, in fact, laser pointers handed out by The CFO to select guests.]

But I’m sure it won’t come to this.” [Dots gradually disappear.]

·        Kyrie told me I had to say something nice about the groom. I couldn’t come up with anything, so she made me a few suggestions. [takes new set of cards from jacket pocket]  Let’s see… Nope…. No… No… Uh-uh… {tossing each card over shoulder] Nope… Hell no… Oh here’s one. He’s got a nice beard. [Back to cards] Nope, Nope, [giggling] uhh, no. [Reads card closely, leans over to bride] I am NOT saying THAT. OK, he’s going to inherit a killer Mustang someday.

·        Then in closing, he actually said something nice (at my insistence) and welcome the very good-natured groom to the family.

My friend, this speech killed. They would have carried him off on their shoulders if he wasn’t so busy picking up all the cards he tossed. And I was standing right beside the Best Man, who had to go on next and was NOT happy about it. Mission accomplished.

Sunday was getaway day, which I expected to be a breeze. With the three-hour layover in Houston, I planned to stream the first half of the Steelers game before hopping on the flight home. Such a fool I was.

After the CFO dropped me off at the Austin airport, the first thing I did was check the big board. Lo and behold… my freakin’ flight to Houston was canceled. I looked toward the Southwest Airlines desks and the line was massive. (Mine wasn’t the only canceled flight.) I knew that if I got in line then, it would be hours before I even got to talk to someone, and all the better alternatives would already be taken.

I checked the Southwest app to try to rebook, but all remaining flights for the day were listed as “unavailable.” So were all the flights for the next day too. Talk about playing "Texas Hold'em. So I was well and truly fucked.

Until… I remembered that the CFO was on his way to Houston at that very moment, heading back to his daughter’s apartment. So I made a quick call to see if he could come back and get me to bring me along. Luckily, he wasn’t too far away yet. He was back about 15 minutes later.

Long story short, he got me to the airport about 40 minutes before I had to board my original second leg back to Baltimore. Eventually, I learned that Southwest had a massive amount of cancelations over the weekend. Many people were stuck for days, as I would have been, had I not had two unreal pieces of good fortune: my buddy already heading to Houston and having a 3-hour layover that gave me enough time to call an audible via automobile. I got home at the time I was originally scheduled, unlike so many other poor slobs this weekend.

What I wondered is why I hadn’t heard about the cancelation before I walked into the airport. I mean, I have the FlightAware app… why didn’t it tell me? I checked the phone popups and didn’t see one. But then I scrolled down some more and there it was. It had come in around midnight the night before. And I didn’t have email notifications activated, so by the time I got up and looked at the phone, the flight notification was pushed down, out of sight.

If I’d have known about the cancelation earlier, we could have skipped the trip to Austin and just moseyed down to Houston at our leisure. Oh well. I got off light… I can’t complain.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Know Your Clientele

It’s funny when memes start to repeat themselves. I just saw this one turn up last week:

I can almost just cut and paste my previous debunkery of the meme which similarly complained that the COVID shots were free so why aren’t they giving away insulin and chemo?

The answer to that was:

1)      They don’t give away chemo and insulin because this is a capitalist nation and medical care is run for a profit. That’s the way conservatives want it. You can tell because every time a Democrat tries to help lower the cost of medical care or insurance the Republicans kibosh it by screaming about socialism. Do you want low-cost medical care? Vote out Republicans. (Which they won’t do, because that would be an admission that they’re wrong.)

2)      Neither cancer nor diabetes is contagious but COVID is, so there is a risk of disease infecting the entire nation, if not the world. In a national emergency like this, providing free vaccinations is the right and decent thing to do.

3)      Is that really a coherent argument, that we shouldn’t make one treatment free if we can’t do it with them all?  This isn’t like bringing gum to class; this has national repercussions. It would be nice if we could, but the last time someone tried to formulate a full-scale national medical policy, Republicans shot it down so hard it took another 15 years before anyone would even consider doing something with medical care again.

4)      All put together, this is just another hollow argument meant to sow doubt about the COVID vaccine because it’s something Democrats are for.

For this particular meme, the “contagious” point falls away, but I’d also add that there’s no other way for the makers of methadone to make money. Do you think the heroin addicts have cash to spend on methadone?

No, the only way to make money is for the drugmaker to sell it to the government, to provide to the addicts. And as long as we run a for-profit medical industry, the drug companies will need to be paid. Do you want to change that? Support Democrats in favor of a Single-Payer medical system, like the ones run by every other developed country in the world.

That’s the society we want? Street-side police executions for any or all lawbreakers? That’s life in a Communist dictatorship, not America. At least it’s not supposed to be. We’re on our way, led by people who support memes like this.

Look, when a possible criminal resists arrest with lethal force… pointing a gun or wielding a knife, I say they get what’s coming to them. If they’re dumb enough to draw on an officer, they get what they deserve. But those aren’t the cases that people hold marches about.

People protest over the killing of handcuffed detainees, or people just sitting in their cars. They march over people being killed over minor offenses like traffic violations, selling single smokes, passing a bad twenty, or just having a bad attitude. They protest when police become judge, jury, and executioner.

So when the knee-jerk police apologists want to put their idols on an unimpeachable pedestal, just remember that the original police report said he died after a “medical incident.” From the police report:

The officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.”

This was the official record, up until the video came out. They obviously forgot to add that the “medical distress” was caused by their officer’s knee on his neck for 9 minutes. And this is just one example. I just wonder how many other travesties occurred in the shadows, without the illumination of video.

Police are supposed to be held to a higher standard, not behave like the criminals they pursue. Without that higher standard, they’re just a paid hit squad.

That’s why we can’t apply this dumbass logic.

This goes hand in hand with the other one but I’m going to take it in another direction.

Police officers choose to go into law enforcement. Not everyone chooses to become parents, especially in this day and age, and ESPECIALLY in Texas. There are qualifications to fulfill to become a cop. There are none to become a parent. Geniuses and idiots alike can become parents.

So, there are a great many kids who don’t have the benefit of having even one stable, caring, knowledgeable parent, let alone two, to advise them on the finer points of police interactions. So maybe it’s not a bad thing for the police to bear the greater burden of behaving better than kids who literally don’t know any better.

There are a lot of factors at play here, poverty, education, subpar housing, and lead paint. It’s easy to sit on one’s big, suburban, well-fed White ass and opine about the raising of children in a world they’ll never see, let alone understand.

Bluz Life

Another story from my dad, who passed away last month. He was always a big proponent of donating blood. He was always proud of my brother and me for carrying on with blood donations when we were kids and ever after. When I blogged about some of my past blood donations, he added a story of his own, in Comments.

The first time I gave blood was at Duquesne University when I was in my junior year. My Principles of Statistics professor was sick in Mercy Hospital and a call went out for blood donors. My frat brothers all passed on it, but I was not comfortable in that class and felt a duty. So I went down to the hospital and gave a pint.

Later that semester my professor called me in and was thankful, and said no matter how bad I did on the final, I was going to get a C at the worst. YES there is a God!

Follow-up at the final exam, fellow frat brothers were sweating, and I mean sweating. I got up and left about 30 minutes into the 2-hour exam. My blue book was blank, except for a note reminding him of our deal. I think I could have passed it, but I had other exams the same day. Great memories of a blood-giving experience some 50 years ago. Dad

Monday, September 27, 2021

Wade Garrett Would Roll Over in His Grave

Last week we laid waste to a bunch of factually challenged anti-vax memes that I’d gleaned over the prior weeks. But there were others as well that covered some other well-worn misconstrued subjects. Might as well air those out too.

You mean eighty million three hundred and sixty, don’t you? Or aren’t you keeping up with the headlines? Every time the Republicans try to make a case for fraud, they either get laughed out of court or add to Biden’s vote count. So why on earth Biden’s vote tally so hard to believe?

I mean, other than because you don’t want to?

I think a more accurate meme would read, “People don’t believe I’m real, but they believe the Former Guy got cheated out of the presidency.” Seriously, there is zero proof of intentional fraud in any significant number. People who are just dying to uncover election tampering schemes have rolled snake-eyes at every turn. If the Democrats are as incompetent as Republicans say they are, proof should have been as easy to find as unvaccinated COVID patients in Florida. But no one’s found jack shit.

And if the Democrats somehow WERE clever enough to shift the election without leaving a shred of proof, maybe someone can explain why they let those half-dozen Senate races and a fistful of House races they expected to win go the other way. I’d love to hear that. Yes, tell me all about how the Dems falsely put Biden in the presidency but failed to give him a Congress to work with on passing his agenda. I’ll wait.

It’s truly a tragedy when harm comes to our military personnel. I agree. But things happen to invading armies during wartime. But I’m sure these heroes knew the risks when they enlisted in the Marines, while a war or two was going on. If it was just a matter of signing up and playing video games, everyone would join the Marines.

So the question is, are the lost lives of 13 servicemen and women on par with the deliberate killing of a handcuffed Black man suspected of a minor crime, at the hands of a policeman who is sworn to serve and protect? What is the public cost of the police becoming self-appointed judges, juries, and public executioners? And this is the how many hundredth time something like this has happened in the last couple decades?

Yeah, it’s a pretty big deal because it directly affects the lives of 38 million Black people in our country. The attention isn’t cast on George Floyd as much as on the law enforcement culture that doesn’t think twice about using lethal force on our minority population. Pressure is being brought to bear in efforts to change the way law enforcement acts. And when the next unarmed, handcuffed, Black man is killed in police custody, you can expect even more publicity and outrage.

Tell me, are the Marines being called upon to change their practices or culture because they lost these 13 soldiers? Hell no. It’s a tragedy, but they move on to the next engagement. Always have and always will. It will reverberate among those who knew the victims but you won’t see any calls for institutional change.

The Floyd murder is different because it ripples across every police force in the country. Each one is being watched more closely because of what happened to George Floyd.

I’m not sure why these kinds of issues have to be “ranked” at all, but it’s not surprising that the military fetishist segment would see a “problem” if these deaths aren’t given top billing over most anything else, especially the deaths of some Black “criminals.” And that’s a problem right there.

Your Honor, we have facts assumed that are not in evidence. No one has ever said that a government needs a disarmed populace before it can govern. The US Government can and does carry on its duties regardless. It is a strawman argument and it insults the great Sam Elliot.

The issue is eliminating the senseless mass killings that are only possible because so many people have military-grade semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity clips.

The original statement about hunting is true, no respectable hunter goes hunting with this kind of firepower. Nor is this kind of weaponry needed for standard home defense, self-defense, or anything else. So the question stands, why are these armaments necessary in American society?

And I’ll answer that for you, your Honor. They’re not. They are penile stand-ins for scared white men who fear their impending reduction in power and influence. The People ask you to dismiss this meme as misleading and inaccurate. The prosecution rests.

Tales of my Father

I’m often accused of being a wise-ass and it comes to me naturally. I learned how to screw with people from the best, my father. Dad was a master. I originally posted this story in 2011. Dad always liked when I wrote about him. He felt like the star of the show. This is one of my favorite stories and one I think about every time I’m at a ballgame.

Back in the 70s, when Dad was traveling a lot, he was out in New Jersey on business.  His friend Lou worked in the plant he was visiting so while he was there, they decided to catch a Phillies baseball game at Veterans’ Stadium in Philadelphia.  (Wherever possible, Dad always went to games when he was traveling; baseball, football, hockey... whatever was in season.)

At one point during the later innings, Dad wrote a number down in his program: 45,173.*

Louie saw that and asked, “What’s that for?

Dad said, “That’s what I think the attendance is.”

Lou said, “How the hell do you know that?

Dad said, “Well, I’ve been looking up and down the sections and doing a little math in my head and this is what I came up with.”

Lou let it drop and the game went on.

Then shortly afterward, between innings, the scoreboard lit up with a “Guess the Attendance” game and put up four answers from which to choose.

Lou said, “Hey, there’s your number up on the board!

Some other people around overheard and wondered what was going on. Louie explained to everyone how Dad had made some calculations and came up with one of those exact numbers.

On the scoreboard, they slowly eliminated one figure and then another, until there was nothing left but two numbers: my dad’s and another one. Then the other one disappeared.  Dad totally nailed the attendance figure, right down to the last person.

Everyone around him made a big fuss about it and gave Dad high fives and congratulations.

What no one there noticed was that a guy behind Dad was listening to the game on a transistor radio.  Earlier, Dad had overheard the announcer give the attendance figure and he jotted it down. When Lou asked about it, he just pulled that calculations story out of his ass. He didn’t know it was going to end up being a big scoreboard thing, but when it did, he just went with it. Like I said, something in nature must love a good joke.

I don’t think he ever told Louie where he really got the number; he just let everyone think he was a mathematical genius.

Naturally, that was the wisest course of action.  Remember, they were in Philly. The fans there are not usually known for their consideration or understanding.

Thanks, Dad, for showing your impressionable sons how much fun it is to screw with people. Life lessons don’t come any better than that.

*Director’s DVD Commentary: I have no idea what the actual attendance figure was; in the scheme of the story, it doesn't really matter. I used this particular number because it matched the one in the picture.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Take the Money and Run

With the tragic family events of this month still lingering, I’ve been feeling quite like an exposed nerve, and never so much as when I see people trying to be clever about masks and vaccinations on Facebook. The stupidity is pervasive and insulting. All week I’ve been socking away memes for dissection, for your edification and entertainment.

On the contrary, it is exactly the government’s job to protect the health of its citizens. What do you think the whole notion of national defense is? Defense from outside forces who would do you harm. Not to mention the US government has been in the “health” business since the advent of modern medicine. Vaccination mandates by state and federal governments are why we don’t have smallpox and polio right now. And the only reason measles is still on the board is because of the numbskulls who ducked getting the shot.

So the very premise of this argument is flawed from the outset, long before they tacked on a misinterpreted quote from Ben Franklin that’s been trotted out regularly by so many Freedumb lovers. Franklin was actually describing effective self-government in the service of security as the very liberty it would be contemptible to trade.

Say hello to Mr. False Equivalency! While they probably should ban cigarettes and remove toxins from any and all products, they get away with not doing so because cancer isn’t contagious! That changes the whole equation right there.

We are not a country in which one person’s “liberty” is allowed to cause real physical harm to another. There are laws against that. (At least in theory. In Texas, not so much.) So as the two scenarios being compared are nowhere near equitable, this is a completely invalid comparison.

As it is, this writer is pretending there’s no such thing as a transsexual. Transsexuals have been around for as long as mankind. It’s a real thing in some people’s psychological makeup and not just “pretending.” (Aside from the stray pervs who dress as women just to get a look in in the women’s locker room.)

And again, they’re comparing a personal, psychological issue that only affects the person having it, as opposed to a fatal, highly contagious virus. In other words, just word games mean to “own the libs.” People are dying alone because of ignorance like this being pushed. If they want to own the libs, own that.

From this morning’s paper. The timing was impeccable.

 

This is another faulty comparison because the effects of a group gathering outside one time for a few hours versus a group gathering indoors for 6 hours a day, five days a week, are quite different. If one person brings the ‘Rona into a classroom, the whole shebang will need to be quarantined and many could get seriously ill. Plus, they’re freaking kids, who are required to be there. Every adult at the US Open or a college football game knows the risks and chooses to be there. They can also wear masks as well, although I can see by the crowd shots that few do.

Also consider that masking and proximity rules are made by state and local governments, most of which are using business considerations to establish guidelines, not medical ones, or else everything would still be shut down. The Powers That Be want the money flowing again and that takes precedence over public safety.

So yes, by all means, wake the hell up. Wear your mask and social distance. There are no bravery points for flouting the rules and getting sick. It’s getting old.



Why not just call this one, “I Don’t Know How Science Works.” I don’t even have to parse this one. The following graphic is all that’s necessary.

Science, by definition, changes as it goes, always seeking more data and refining its conclusions. It’s not bound by modern conservative politics, where grabbing onto an opinion and holding on for dear life despite evidence to the contrary, is revered.

Bluz Life

I spent last week down in Florida with my mom, helping prepare for her to come back to Maryland and stay with her sons. There were doctors to see, neighbors to ask for help, arrangements to make, boxes to ship, and bags to pack.

But on the bright side, we had to do our best to get rid of all the perishable food on hand, the meat, fish, fruit, bread, and sandwich fixin’s. It was a job for which I was eminently qualified. It’s my “particular set of skills,” if you will.

One of the things I learned I’d have to transport back up north was my parents’ hurricane “getaway” bag, which not only contained all their important documents, (insurance, pension, investment, tax info, marriage licenses, deeds, etc.) but also around $22,000 in cold hard cash. I almost choked.

Now, I’ve always agreed that having emergency cash on hand is a good idea, especially in a hurricane zone, but I think my dad might have gone a bit overboard. But he was concerned about banks losing power or getting hacked, preventing him from accessing his savings in an emergency. And if his car broke down on the road, he’d be able to buy another one with cash in hand.

I did some research and found that there is no top-end limit to the amount of cash you can bring on a domestic flight, although they recommended you give the TSA a heads-up before the bag goes in the scanner. (No way were we going to trust putting that kind of dough in a checked bag.)

I wondered what kind of hassles might ensue with the cash, even if it’s legal. I know they’re always on the lookout for drug mules and money launderers, so I prepared the story I’d tell:

My father passed away last week and I’m taking my mom home with me. This was their emergency hurricane fund. Here’s my dad’s obit from the paper. Here are our driver’s licenses. Here’s HIS driver’s license. His picture matches the one in the obit. See? We’re all family. Hey, put that Taser down. What are you doing with that duct tape?”

Basically, I wanted to show I had a legit story and could prove it.

When I informed the young guy facilitating getting the bags put through the screener, that I was carrying a considerable amount of money, he didn’t really seem to care. He was like, “Uh yeah, take your shoes out of the tray and put them on the belt.”

Now the scanning agents? They noticed. I found that once I got through the body scanner, they were giving my bag a real good looking over on the screen. Then when they sent it down, an attendant took it and said, “Come down here so we can have a look.”

She went right to the cash pouches, unzipped one, and then said, “Can I get a Lead down here?

A manager dude came down and they both started poking through the wrapped bundles. I chimed in that it was my parents’ hurricane money but they weren’t listening at all. Then they stopped the poking, zipped up the bag, and gave it back to me without fanfare, further ado, or a tasing. I don’t know what they were looking for, maybe dye packs. Maybe they thought we were a couple of geriatric bank robbers. Anyway, we got on the plane and home without further incident.

And no, the money is no longer on the premises. We moved it on, right away, to a place whose security system can't be defeated with a biscuit.

In the last posts, I promised to tell some Dad stories. I figured I’d start by letting him tell one himself. The audio comes from 1992 when I decided to record a conversation with my parents, to keep for posterity. You can find the whole story about that here.

This is a story about a train trip Dad took with his best friend, Frank, AKA, “The Lob.”

Director’s DVD Commentary:  “The Lob” is an old-time term for one’s junk.  I have no idea how the guy came by the nickname, (I suspect it was self-appointed), but I’m sure there are quite a number of people that know him by that name only.

The Lob was afraid to fly so when he and Dad traveled together, they took an Amtrak train The Lob always called “The Rattler.” This is what happened on one such overnight trip. Running time is 4:41.


Monday, September 13, 2021

Coping With Loss

You may have seen from my last post that my father passed away last week after suffering a stroke. If you saw that, you'll know how angry I was and remain at the COVIDiots here on the Panhandle, whose selfishness and self-delusion caused my Dad to spend his last conscious days in the company of strangers and not his family. 

As of this writing, I'm down in Florida tending to my mother. We're trying to tidy things up here so she can come back to Baltimore with me at the end of the week. There is no scenario where she can remain in their Florida house by herself.

As such, I'm not really equipped to whip up a post on national current events today. But some of you have asked to hear more about my dad, who was truly a character. I plan to rerun some favorite stories, but probably on off-schedule days and not until I get resettled back home.

Today, I thought I'd show you the notification I put up on Facebook last week, informing our friends and family of his passing. It was a bit of a tightrope to write... I didn't want it to read like an IBM quarterly statement but also didn't want to go full-on clown-shoes. 

***

Jim's family regrets having to tell you today that he passed away this morning, (9/7/21) several days after suffering a severe stroke. It was sudden, surprising, and devastating. We are all heartbroken at his passing, which was far too soon.
He will be remembered as generous, open-armed, and quick to dispense wise advice over drinks, whether it was how to invest your money or respond to a prank. He had a range of friends spanning his 80+ years, from his own school days to the school friends of his children, many of whom considered him a backup, auxiliary dad.
He was the patriarch of a broad family who enjoyed his visits to Pittsburgh or visiting his Florida home to float in the pool and receive his peerless cabana services.
He will be remembered as a man of simple pleasures, like a stadium seat, a fish sandwich, or a cold drink on a hot day. His passion for Pittsburgh sports was passed on to not only his kids, but to others who seemed to have picked up a Terrible Towel out of sheer osmosis.
Jim and Mary Ann together condoned and chaperoned “The Barn,” where a great many 80s kids in NW Ohio came to party and dance or just listen to music, rather than going out driving around and getting into trouble. Many of us had our first encounters with Mr. Jack Daniels, under his close supervision.
Later tonight, if you can, please pour a drink and raise a toast to our father, grandfather, father-in-law, uncle, cousin, and old or new friend, Jim, and let him know he’ll be in our hearts forever.

Pouring the good stuff.



Monday, September 6, 2021

A Death Wish

This post is not going to be pretty, or fun, or at all light-hearted.

Tonight, my father is dying, alone in a hospital room in Florida. My mom may be able to get to him but we’re not sure. No, wasn’t COVID, it was a stroke. He had to stay in the ER because the hospital is so full of COVID patients, there are no more rooms available.

When I called my folks on Sunday, Dad didn’t feel well enough to talk. He’s been feeling excessively tired, and intermittently cold.

Then he took a fall Monday morning and had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance. They said he had a brain bleed, but were unsure if it was from the fall or he had it long before that.

Yesterday they learned he had a “venous angioma,” a tangle of malformed veins, which might have been there from birth. The doctors said the blood thinners he was on might have caused a leak. With treatment, they thought he might be able to leave the next day. He talked to my brother on the phone, who said he sounded confused and wasn’t making a lot of sense.

Then overnight, he had a stroke. The subsequent MRI showed there were at least five places in the brain that were affected, including the brain stem, which affects breathing. His condition is grave. The neurologist said she’d never seen a post-stroke MRI that was this bad.

As you know, Florida is ground zero for COVIDiocy and the epicenter of vax and mask rejection. The state-wide vax rate is over 61% with at least one shot. But that’s propped up by Miami. In my parents’ county, on the end of the panhandle, it’s 34-43%. Hence the full hospitals. Hence my dad spending his last hours far away from all who love him.

I am beyond enraged that the head-in-the-sand bullshit of the Florida COVID enablers forced my father to spend his last conscious hours in a nightmare, all because their “tribe” decided this was the best way to “own the libs.” So this is what I have to say to these redneck fucktards:

 

I don’t care about your anti-vax bullshit. You’re wrong and science is right.

I don’t care about your anti-mask bullshit either. Maybe if you pulled your head out of your ass, your mask would fit better. There is no clever semantics that makes wearing a mask a detriment to health or an assault on your liberty. People are dying alone because you don’t want to be inconvenienced.

I don’t care about your “freedom” bullshit. What good is freedom if society perishes in a cloud of ventilator exhaust? Your freedom stops at the point of infecting other people. If you don’t like it, tough shit.

I don’t care about your “research.” Quoting other idiots who don’t know a viral load from their own commode doesn’t make your “research” valid. You know who’s putting a lot of anti-mask, anti-vax material out there? Russian troll farms. This is even more effective at creating societal unrest than their election trolling and people are literally dying because they believe this bullshit.

I don’t care about the inconvenience of mask mandates indoors. Closed rooms are where airborne particles circulate most efficiently, especially the new variant. Why are you so invested in spreading a deadly virus? Because your overlords at Fox “News” told you to? Do you not realize that their only goal is to prop up rich people and the businesses they run? They don’t care how many die as long as Wall St. has a good third quarter. Your ignorance, as ensured by Fox “News” and the like, knows no bounds.

I don’t care about how strong you think your immune system is. Immune systems are only as strong as they’re trained to be, by limited exposure to pathogens, via vaccine or life experience. The ‘Rona is novel; it’s never been here before and your immune system is completely unprepared for it. Believing otherwise is a death wish; either yours or someone you infect.

Look, at this point, I don’t care if you live or die anymore, I just worry about all the people you take with you and the people who can’t get proper help because the hospitals are filled up with self-destructive morons. You disregard the nearly 665,000 American deaths from COVID but I bet you can’t wait to roll around in all that 9/11 anniversary grief next week and gin up your outrage over the deaths of a mere 3000. Maybe it’s different when you have foreigners to blame.

My father spent his last days alone, weak and scared. I hope you do too. Is that's too un-Christian for you? So is leaving people to die this way.

And if you’re one of the people who also deny the efficacy of vaccinations and masks, but live somewhere other than Florida? Screw you too. How many parents and other family members died the same way in some other hospital because you were too wrapped up in ignorance and meritless bullshit to ensure the safety of those around you? The blood of lost loved ones is on your hands too. Maybe the survivors of the souls you robbed of a dignified death will forgive you. But I won’t. Ever.

 

Director’s DVD Commentary: I wrote this last Wednesday, 9/1/2021, the day my father had the stroke. Since then he was moved to the ICU, then his own room, where my mother and brother could visit, and tomorrow to hospice care. He has remained unresponsive and there is zero chance of recovery. We’re just trying to keep him comfortable and waiting for the end. But that doesn’t change the nightmare that was his last conscious days, a nightmare that was completely preventable.

No, nothing would have prevented the medical outcome, but his last days could have been spent with his wife holding his hand rather than being surrounded by teams of unfamiliar doctors and nurses in hazmat suits.

I’ll have more to say about my father in future posts. He was an amazing man who taught his kids how to be responsible, caring adults. He only had three offspring, but he’s got dozens of kids around the country who look at him as another dad. His loss will reverberate among the hundreds who knew him.

This is the last pic I took of my dad: wearing the uniform of his favorite job.

Post update: My father passed this morning, Tuesday 9/7. His ordeal is over, while we begin ours. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

How to Build a Terrorist

 The frenzy is still on to pin the blame for the quagmire in Afghanistan on President Biden. I suppose the Republicans are so dogged on this issue because they finally have something with pictures they can point to and say, “Ooooh. That’s bad.” And they’re right, in that it is very bad.

In the world of GOP politics, no one bothers to see what’s true or not, they just throw the poo and hope it sticks. And in this case, they’re relying on the fact that regardless of the former guy’s hand in “negotiating” our exit with the Taliban and freeing 5000 Taliban prisoners, the mess went public when Biden was president so it must be his fault. Or in other words, it’s the Hot Potato principle of the fault going to the one who last had it.

Everyone he negotiates with seems to be great negotiators. Is there a country out there that hasn't handed him his own ass in negotiations? (Source)

As I’ve said in a prior post, I think it’s a massive failure of the intelligence community. No president is out there gathering intel, they’re dependent on the military and intelligence agencies, both of whom apparently got things horribly wrong.

It just irks me watching Fox “News” and the GOP meme machine working overtime to make it all about Biden. Like with many issues, anything that (verifiably) happened in the past doesn’t matter, only the message that it’s all the evil Democrats’ fault.

Biden didn’t send his Secretary of State to have talks with the Taliban last year. Biden didn’t release the Taliban captives, including many who are fighting us right now and one who is about to assume control of the country. Biden didn’t slow-walk plans to pull our allies out of there in advance. That’s a new angle I just heard about this week, from our friends at Progressive Eruptions.

The story is that Olivia Troye, former national security staff member during the former guy’s administration, personally witnessed Steven “The Anti-Christ” Miller bending over backward to keep the government from bringing any Afghans into the US, regardless of what they’d done for us. She attests to the fact that there was no plan in place to evacuate Afghan nationals.

“I sat in cabinet meetings about getting Americans and our Afghan allies out of the country. In them, Stephen Miller would peddle his racist hysteria. He and his enablers across the government undermined anyone who worked on solving the issues in getting special immigrant visas (SIVs) for our Afghan allies by undermining the system at Homeland Security and the State Department.

I tracked this issue personally in my role at the White House. I met with many refugee advocate organizations who pleaded for help in getting U.S. allies through the process.

“But we got nowhere because Trump and Miller had watchdogs in place at the Justice Department, Homeland Security, State, and other agencies that made an already cumbersome SIV process even more challenging.

“Trump had four years to develop a plan. We could have used that time to lay the groundwork to evacuate our Afghan allies. They were the lifelines for many of us who spent time in Afghanistan.

“They’d been waiting a long time, all the while under the threat of death at the hands of the Taliban. The process slowed to a trickle for reviews and “other priorities.” Ultimately, they came to a halt.”

But sure, blame Joe Biden.

To me, this story tracks with what we see. The talking heads on Fox “News” keep pivoting between “It’s Biden’s fault these poor people may be killed by the Taliban,” and “But we certainly don’t want them HERE!

They just can’t help seeing everything through that ever-present veil of racism. They claim they’re afraid of letting terrorists in, but tell me, if they really are terrorists, why are you blaming Biden for not getting them out? So then if they’re NOT terrorists, why not allow them to resettle here? The chaff that’s threshed out of this conundrum is racism. They know it and we know it. They just won’t admit it.

The conservatives are basically creating a self-fulfilling prophesy. Let’s say some Afghans end up settling here, somewhere or another. By raging against them nightly and scapegoating them for problems real and imagined, their racist viewers will inevitably start confronting these new immigrants in less than welcoming terms. We’ve already seen how “Real ‘Murcans” have treated Asians as of late and every strain of Middle Easterner since 2001. Eventually, some newcomers will tire of the abuse and want to strike back.

Congratulations, Republicans, you’ve just created a terrorist.

On the other hand, I’d wager if these people are welcomed into the fold and treated with respect, you’ll find most become A+ citizens and unsurpassed supporters of America. We’ll have been their very salvation from a life of abuse and depravity. Not exactly a hotbed of terrorism, is it?

But that’s a non-starter for the Fox “News” brigade, who can’t see past the color of their skins or the beards on their chins.

Monday, August 23, 2021

A Weekend in the Life

 Let’s check… Afghanistan? Still a mess but they’re still working on getting the sane folks out. Both parties still blaming each other. California? Burning. Temperatures? Roasting. Hurricanes? Blowing about all over the Atlantic and Caribbean. So basically, not much is new to talk about. So I’m going to do something I haven’t done in ages and write about the mini-vacation Sweetpea and I just had.

It wasn’t anything big, just a long weekend in my hometown of Pittsburgh, attending a family reunion.

We used to have them every year, like clockwork. But they kind of died out and we hadn’t had one since the early 2000s. Some of my cousin’s weddings acted as de facto reunions but were much dressier. So we put this one in the books late last year when it looked like we’d be done with the ‘Rona by late summer of this year. (Oh well…)

The reunion was on Saturday. We decided to drive out to The Burgh on Thursday, because Sweetpea had an old family friend, a priest, who lives there, so we wanted to have dinner with him while we were in town. Then Friday, we’d head to wherever my parents were staying, after coming up from Florida.

So yes, there were plans… which fell apart almost immediately.

Two weeks ago, we heard from my parents that they didn’t feel safe traveling out of Florida, due to the COVID running wild on the panhandle. (Thanks, Desantis.) As much as they wanted to be there with everyone, they were out.

Sweetpea had texted her friend months ago, letting him know we were coming out. He said he’d plan something fun. But when she texted him last week, he never responded. After days of non-response, she started to worry, so she finally just called his cell.

That’s when she found out he died in early July, out visiting California. (No, he didn’t answer, his cousin’s sister had the phone and was answering any calls that came in, from those like us who hadn’t heard the news. He’d had a massive heart attack.

Well, that was a kick in the teeth. It’s one thing for plans to go wrong, but THAT wrong? We were sad, but we dealt with it. What else can you do?  But it left us hanging out there with nowhere to go on Thursday night. (I hate when someone’s tragic demise inconveniences me.)

I suppose we could have canceled a night of our stay, but I wanted to push on. I didn’t want to deal with the hotel, which I got on Thank You Points, and we already had the dog-sitting lined up and my time off work was arranged. I figured we’d find something to do with our Thursday night and Friday day.

Now let me explain how McDonald's was responsible for our getting stuck in city traffic.

Anytime I have to go somewhere, I love to start the trip with some road muffin. And by that, I mean Egg McMuffin. So after packing, I had a couple things to do: gas up, get my road muffins and stop by a liquor store. Neither place is far from the house so after getting gas, I headed to Micky Dee’s. Rolled into the drive-thru about 10:30, only to be told that they weren’t serving breakfast. Shit. I thought they made a big bold move, some time ago, to make breakfast available all day. I guess they folded up that operation quietly. If I’d have known, I’d have left earlier. So while I pondered my next move, I headed for the liquor store. Then vodka in hand, I decided to hit Burger King, which was between there and home. I ordered my usual double whopper via their app, including my specifications. (No ketchup, mayo, or onions.)

Once home, upon digging into my Not Egg McMuffins, the first thing I noticed was an onion. Then upon further inspection, I saw it wasn’t even a double Whopper, it was just a single, with none of my modifications.

Now, I was pissed and angrily commenced to pulling out the onions and wiping the mayo and ketchup off the rest of the stuff, grumbling all the while. Naturally, I had to check the app receipt to make sure I put in my order correctly, and I did. There was a feedback button as well, so I got to express my vast displeasure at having to deal with skeevy ketchup and mayo first thing in the morning. (OK, maybe, like, fifth thing in the morning.)

Anyway, as I was sitting in traffic just outside and then amidst the city of Pittsburgh, I realized that if I’d been able to pick up my McDonald's when I wanted, it would have saved me at least half an hour, which would have made for much less city traffic. It’s all McDonalds’ fault.

We got to our hotel, a Doubletree, and checked in. As we entered our room, we noticed it was marked as a handicap-access room. No big deal, right?

Wrong. Sure there was lots of room to maneuver, but that room was created by removing the furniture! All we had was the bed and a desk chair. It was weird.


 There’s plenty of room for a couch and chair, like we saw in the online pics.

We considered changing rooms, but ultimately figured, we weren’t going to be “entertaining” in there, it really wasn’t a big deal. Just weird. It’s like we could have had a dance party in there.

Another weird thing. It took me at least five minutes to figure out what the hell this thing was:

It looked like a tripod that placekickers use to hold a football upright so they can practice kicks without bugging someone to hold for them, but it was plugged in. I thought it might have been a telescope, but there were no lenses. Eventually, I found a button on the side of it, and lo and behold, it was a desk lamp. Weirdest desk lamp I’d ever seen. Live and learn…

For our Thursday night activities, I got in contact with my cousin, to see if they minded if we came to hang out for a while. That turned into dinner, and by dinner, I mean a feast.

That’s how it is with my family. Anytime family visits, they bring out enough food to feed the Roman Army. We had manicotti, meatballs, roast pork, salad… the works.

And as an added bonus, we got to hang out with the friendliest golden retriever ever. (OK, that’s pretty redundant. I don’t think there IS such a thing as a mean golden.) But come on, look at this smile!

This big boy would sit there and let you stroke and pet him until your arm fell off. Just a big love sponge, with the fullest, softest, most luxurious coat. (I'm so glad our lab doesn't read this blog. He would but he thinks the affairs of humans are beneath him.)

Friday, we decided to poke around my dad’s hometown, a tiny old river town just west of Pittsburgh. It’s basically cut into a mountain. I swear these are some of the steepest roads anyplace not named San Francisco.

We were too full for breakfast so we ended up finding a nice little place for a light lunch. After that, we discovered this town had more antique stores per square block than any place I’ve ever seen. I suppose that stands to reason. Like I said, it’s a very OLD town. I’m sure there have been lots of estate sales, featuring LOTS of ancient stuff.

This was a fountain outside our hotel. Seems to be an homage to “compensating,” I think.

After our walkabout, we went back to the room, cleaned up, and headed for my Aunt and Uncle’s house, for feast #2. It was kind of like the “Pre-Reunion.” Lots of cousins and their families showed up. Dinner featured massive fish sandwiches, as provided by a local restaurant that is known for them. And of course, there was also baked lasagna, sauce and meatballs, veggie plate, pizzelles and biscotti, and other goodies.

By the time we got to the reunion the next day, I’m surprised we could eat another bite. But we managed. We had no choice. Our "reunion" is really just an interactive tribute to comfort food.

The reunion was at a local park, where we had a pavilion reserved. We lucked into a beautiful day and we had a great turnout. As someone who’s always lived far from where my family was, it was great to see everyone and catch up. It’s funny seeing some of the cousins I remember as little kids at prior reunions, now chasing after their own kids.

I’m sure I look far different to them as well. When the reunions started up, I was a teenager and the oldest of the cousins. My brother and I were always picked first when choosing sides for softball or volleyball. This year, I had to sit out the softball game because I knew I’d end up hurting something.

I’ve had rotator cuff tears in both shoulders over the last ten years, both of which have been fixed up with physical therapy. If I played ball, one of two things would happen: either I’d baby it to the point of not being able to throw a ball 20 feet and wound my pride, or I’d get caught up in the moment and let it fly like I used to, and re-tear a ligament. Who knows what I’d tear if I tried to swing a bat?

As they say, Father Time is undefeated.

The reunion rolled on all day and finally broke up around 7:00, after which we reassembled to my Aunt’s house to watch the Steelers pre-season game and have a few more drinks. I’m used to watching my team on my own, with Sweetpea sitting over there in her Ravens gear. It was a nice change to watch the game with my brother and cousins.

We had one more piece of business to attend to on Sunday morning, before leaving town. We had to stop by a local store to pick up Pittsburgh’s famous Isaly’s Chipped Ham and Mancini’s fresh-baked Italian bread. We got the ham easily enough but when we got to the bread aisle, the bread we wanted was conspicuously missing, with several empty shelves as evidence. I didn’t know if they didn’t get deliveries on Sunday, or if it just hadn’t got there yet. But we couldn’t just wait around, so I went to the checkout with just the ham. Then suddenly, Sweetpea got my attention and pointed toward the bread guy wheeling in the bread cart. Not a moment too soon. We took a loaf right off the top and were good to go.

But best of all: before we left I finally found what I’d been looking for.

 Road Muffin!

The drive home was easy enough, with much less traffic than when we came out. I unpacked quickly and then took a nice 2-hour nap. I was beat. (Plus I hadn’t slept well the night before. Forgot to bring my CBD, I guess.)

Dinner was a no-brainer. Ham and cheese sandwiches on fresh Italian bread. Life is good.

Thanks for playing along this week. Next week, it should be back to the usual hot topics and debunkery.