Monday, August 2, 2021

It's on Thee and Not on Me

 As the COVID resurgence picks up speed and the CDC updates their recommendations again, the race is on to deflect and reassign blame. Here’s a new one to me:

I think closing off a Southern border is a great idea. Here’s where it should be.

Technically there should be a few northern states blocked off too, but I wanted a nice smooth wall there.

So that’s the new strategy now… it’s the immigrants’ fault, and not all the pinheads who refuse to get vaccinated because they value the “freedom” to spread a contagious and sometimes fatal disease rather than endure a mild inconvenience. Plus they get to “own the libs,” which will be a nice thing to put on their grave markers.

Even though I saw this meme on a conservative friend’s timeline, I wondered if he or anyone really believed it. Then in looking at the comments, I was disturbed to see that they do, with great intensity. Note the following exchange in confronting someone who noted a mild rebuke:

Illegal voting caused the spike in the Rona, huh? I guess there’s a twisted path there… if Biden hadn’t “stolen” the election, he wouldn’t have been in place to demand that the US transport disease-riddled foreigners into the soft, white underbelly of America, to infect all those noble, red-hatted MAGAs. [Massive eye-roll]

I was about to write off to a fever dream the rest of this nonsense about clandestine overnight flights, but then I realized what they were referring to. In order to alleviate the congestion at the border processing centers, they were moving detainees elsewhere for processing. In other words, traffic control. Republicans were complaining about conditions at the border (as soon as their guy was no longer in charge) and now they’re complaining about how it’s being fixed.

Conservative outlets like Judicial Watch are pushing this hard, the way they push all crime stories when they involve minorities. In looking through their site, I didn’t see a single story on white-collar crime of government grift. Just gang members here and shootings over there, a killer who they found was an immigrant, around the corner.

The part that’s missing from this insane narrative is how these detainees, who moved from one controlled facility to another, translate into a massive COVID spread. First of all, it’s a huge assumption that they’re all COVID carriers. I would suspect no one is going anywhere without being cleared via testing. Why? Because the current administration is taking the coronavirus seriously. It was the former guy who was so cavalier about it, even after catching it himself. (And then getting himself and his family vaccinated.)

Secondly, these detainees wouldn’t be interacting with enough people to cause a virus spread like the ones we’re seeing now. What do they think is happening, someone’s sprinkling these people across towns and villages like so much parmesan cheese? Sneaking them into VFW halls after hours?

And lastly, if the MAGAs were vaccinated to the degree that the rational people are, the spread wouldn’t be as serious.

This is all blame deflection, just like it has been from Day One. “It’s not MY fault… blame those foreigners for the ‘China’ virus!

The other rationale I keep seeing is “medical freedom.” The MAGAs are finally realizing that there’s an argument to be made for bodily autonomy. Unfortunately, they’ll never apply it to women’s reproductive autonomy. As far as I’m concerned, if someone is against the COVID vaccine because it’s a personal medical decision, then they forfeit their right to be anti-choice when it comes to abortion, without being a fucking hypocrite.

They can’t even argue about protecting innocent life if they’re this willing to disregard the innocent lives to whom they transfer the ‘Rona. It’s all about the “me,” not the “we.” They’ll take their rugged individualism right up until they’re taking up time and resources in the ICU.

***

I think it’s a bunch of these same cement-heads that are raging about Simone Biles now. I don’t know exactly what’s going on with her, but neither do these couch jockeys. It’s not like it’s unprecedented for an expert at something to “forget” how to do it. In baseball alone, I can think of three players who went through mental blocks where they could no longer perform the basics of their jobs.

Two years after starring in the 1971 World Series, former Pirates ace Steve Blass found himself completely unable to throw a strike and ultimately retired early. Cardinal Rick Ankiel had the same problem and had to remake himself into an outfielder. Dodger second baseman Steve Sax all of a sudden couldn’t get the ball to first. They even named it “Steve Sax Syndrome.” So it happens.

With Biles, a momentary lapse in concentration can get her maimed, considering the danger of the tricks she’s attempting. Whether it’s physical or psychological, if someone is unable to do their job to the level of their capability, it behooves them to step aside for someone who can.

Sure, a defensive lineman can force himself to keep playing on a broken ankle or something, but that only means the opposing offensive lineman is going to eat him for lunch. How does that “toughness” help the team?

I give her a ton of credit for doing just that and not trying to “tough it out,” and tanking the US’s team scores in the process. She allowed someone else to step up and compete. I think to do otherwise is just selfishness. And criticizing her for it is even more wrong-headed.

I also suspect that if one of those lithe little blonde gymnasts had the same issue, the criticism wouldn’t be nearly as severe.

***

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Dusty Hill, bass player for ZZ Top. Their music was a staple of our rave-up “Barn Parties” of the 80s. In fact, the famous song LaGrange almost singlehandedly turned my dad from going “Turn that shit down” to “Hey, turn that up!” (That, and You Shook Me All Night Long.)

When we threw a party, we wore out LaGrange, Tush, Tube Snake Boogie, Pearl Necklace, Gimme All Your Lovin, Sharp Dressed Man, and Legs. All were great for jamming or dancing.

Their live shows were legendary; a tremendous mix of spectacle and boogie. I’ve seen them four times, on consecutive tours from 1983 to 1994. Watching Dusty and guitarist Billy Gibbons fall into perfect unison was to observe two guys who knew what the other guy was going to do before he did, like old masters.

Dusty was by far the better technical singer. He could really belt like he did on Tush, Party on the Patio, Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers, and I Got the Six (Gimme Your Nine). And his backing vocals really rounded out their sound on the ones Billy sang.

Billy Gibbons said that Dusty would have wanted the show to go on but I don’t know how they’re going to do it without him. Oftentimes, bass players are like tinker toys and can be replaced without anyone seeing or hearing a difference. I don’t think that’s the case here. They may be able to find someone to fill the gap sonically, but it just won’t look like a ZZ Top show without the little bearded guy on the left.

RIP, Dusty Hill. We’re lifting one for ya tonight.

Source

Director’s DVD Commentary: This post was written mid-last week, as I’ll be on vacation all of this week. If any facts or references have become dated in the interim, I offer my apologies. From the beach. With a drink.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Homeless Thoughts - The Spy vs Spy Edition

 I don’t have a lot to say on any one topic today so we’re going to bounce around a bit.

As a follow-up to last week’s post about the COVID Anti-Vaxxers, I wanted to discuss another meme I saw over the weekend, that’s as dishonest as it is dangerous.

There’s basically nothing true in this text. Again, we have idiots bending statistics to suit their nefarious needs. What they’re doing is twisting percentages… you know, like if one thing happens out of a sample of 100 and there were zero the last time, you can claim a 100% increase. The Washington Post explains it better:

The more vaccinated a population, the more we’ll hear of the vaccinated getting infected. For example, say there’s a community that’s 100% vaccinated. If there’s transmission, we know breakthrough cases will happen. So, by definition, 100% of outbreak cases will be among the vaccinated. It will just be 100% out of a smaller number.

Cue Israel. They are one of the global leaders in vaccinations; 85% of Israeli adults are vaccinated. So, say we have the following scenario:

With an infection rate among the vaccinated of 2% and infection rate of 13% among the unvaccinated, this would give us an efficacy rate of 85%.”

No matter which way the Anti-Vax people try to twist it, 99.5% of COVID deaths in the US are among unvaccinated people. Their claim of 40% new infections among the vaccinated is pure fiction. I wish the danger they’re causing was as well, but alas, that’s all too real.

Here’s another alarmist meme from the weekend:

Of course Socialism won't be attractive because it's completely and willfully misrepresented here.

I can see a couple of ways to go at this. First off, how the hell do they get taking 70% of a salary to give to others? That’s total BS. Any money that’s taken from us to disperse to other programs (Federal taxes) is 25-35% on the average taxpayer. Even if you add state taxes, you still don’t hit 70%. So the example falls apart right there.

Or, one can compare it to our current system, where (to stick with the example) you get $10 from cleaning the bathroom, then have to spend $6 on housing, $3 to $7 (or much more) on medical expenses, $2 on transportation to and from the bathroom (call it a Hallway Tax), and you still haven’t paid for dinner yet. So now you have to clean another room just to eat, keep the lights on and the cable/internet/phones working.

Conservatives would rather endure a system like that than cope with the idea that someone of whom they do not approve might get help that they, themselves, do not.

One might argue that cleaning the bathroom might be worth $15, but conservatives wouldn’t like that either because military members have to clean bathrooms for less.

Again, I posit that the very rich sponsor memes like this to ensure that nothing ever interferes with their place at the top of the economic heap. If The People ever demanded a fair shake, it would be very costly for the 1%, so they ensure we spend our time fighting with each other rather than turning our attention to them.

***

I’m glad Nancy Pelosi told Kevin McCarthy to shove two of his nominees for the House Insurrection Investigation. There’s no question that the nominations of Gym Jordan and Jim Banks were meant to disrupt the examination of evidence and turn the panel into a sideshow. We’ve seen Jordan’s act before, basically acting like a zoo monkey, making a lot of noise and flinging poo around the room.

If the Republicans wanted an actual bipartisan investigation, they could have had one months ago when a full Congressional Investigation was proposed. But now, they shot that down in near-unanimous fashion. (Six GOP votes for it.)

So, you can’t play nice? Screw it, we’ll do it ourselves. And I like that she’s still nominating a couple Republicans to sit on the panel. It must be hard to find one who’s actually looking for the truth about how it happened and who was behind it. And for which Congress members gave guided tours of the Capitol Building to the future insurrectionists. I know there are some Representatives with their sphincters in a knot over wondering how THAT is going to play out.

***

I love the Olympics. Sure, they probably should have postponed these games some more but as long as they’re on, I’m gonna watch.

I started watching the Olympics in 1972 and have enjoyed them ever since. In fact, I’ve written about them a few times before, with my Top Olympic Moments, and general thoughts on the 2018 Winter Games, where I noted that bobsledding looks like a lot of fun, but only if you’re the driver. For everyone else in the sled, it’s like being smuggled into a drive-in movie in the trunk of a car.

There’s also one on the 2014 USA/Russia hockey game, with a nod to its famous predecessor in 1980, and one on how there’s so much more whining about the results than there used to be.

I started watching over the weekend and it was like being a kid again and watching the ABC Wide World of Sports, only it went all day. It’s still too early in the games for much of an analysis tonight, but is it me or is NBC going commercial-happy with their prime-time coverage. I swear they go to commercial every 5 goddamn minutes. I know they paid a lot for broadcast rights but for the love of all that’s holy, how about actually showing the action? It’s not like there's not something going on at all times!

I had one suggestion though, for the opening ceremonies. I know they always do something in keeping with the cultural traditions of the host country. How cool would it have been for them to have Godzilla light the torch with his fire breath? That would have been epic. Maybe they could have had Blue Oyster Cult play and bring their stage monster, if it still works. Just retrofit it with a flamethrower. Easy-peasy.

***

Last week I got to do something I’d only seen alluded to in movies and on TV and I’m quite proud of myself.

See, my cell phone has service from Sprint, which recently merged with T-Mobile. Ever since spring, T-Mobile has been bombing me with messages imploring me to upgrade my phone to take advantage of their new 5G service. But the thing is, I like my phone and I don’t want to change it.

I’m not one of those “phone freaks” who has to have the latest and greatest at all times. I’m still on my second smartphone since 2015, the iPhone 8. It works perfectly well for my needs and I like the thumbprint ID. I don’t want a newer one that has face recognition, that’s I’ll have to pick up and raise when I want to turn it on.

About two weeks ago, they called me to try to get me to upgrade and for once, I actually picked up. After his spiel, I asked, “When you do go 5G, will my phone still work at all?

Yes. But only on LG” (Whatever that is.)

Then that’s fine, I don’t need an upgrade. When my phone stops working, I’ll let you know.”

End of conversation.

Then last week a small package showed up, from T-Mobile. It was a new SIM card, to install in my phone so I can get their 5G service.

Oh, so NOW they admit they can adapt my phone rather than force me into an upgrade. HA! If I hadn’t been an obstinate prick, they would have soaked me for hundreds of dollars for a phone I didn’t want.

So now, the cool part… I had to change a SIM card.

That’s one of those things you always see in spy movies and stuff, when someone doesn’t want to be tracked on their phone, they change the SIM card.

Not having looked at my phone in years without the case, I had no idea where the damned thing went. Luckily there were some simple instructions. As I got down to it, I felt like the Mission Impossible theme song was playing in the background. Or maybe Jack Bauer was out there waiting for my signal to reappear.

Dammit! We’re running out of time!

Once I wrestled it out of the case, I saw a very small covered slot on the side. I needed to take the poker they supplied, (it looked like a paperclip with one pointy end), and poke it into the tiny hole in the slot cover, to pop out the drawer. Once done, I just had to swap the SIM cards, which are a little smaller than the chip on your credit card. I noticed that one corner was cut, so there was only one way to put it in. Of course, in the process of doing that, I dropped the chip right beside the one I just took out, which gave me a moment of panic. What if I mixed them up? Luckily, I found a small T-Mobile logo on one of them, so… crisis averted.  

So, I managed to get the chip back in the phone, reboot it, and voila. I have a phone again, albeit now with “T-Mobile” in the top corner rather than “Sprint.” I'm ready to save the world.

Now watch me crack the screen next week.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back to the 1800s

 As predicted, the COVID turnaround is turning back around again thanks to the Delta Variant and the dumbasses who reject the vaccine for partisan reasons. From what I’ve read, over 99% of new COVID cases are coming from unvaccinated people.

Of that lot, I’d guess there are, like, 5% who have legitimate medical reasons for vaccine avoidance. The rest are victims of MAGA politics, misinformation, and their own limited capacity for reason. You know, Freedom!

Or as Andrew Dice Clay used to say, “NObody tells me what to do, not even ME!

Nope, freedom is just too important to let some pencil-necks at the CDC tell us red-blooded Americans to get a shot.

I say if they really want to be free, they should also ignore stop signs, one-way street signs, guard rails, smoke alarms, weight limits on elevators, and keeping one’s hand and feet inside the ride.

In red states, there’s a better than average chance that when they careen through an intersection, they’ll hit another like-minded citizen.

The GOP has never had a problem with causing suffering among others, given their stances against insurance, SNAP benefits, Welfare, unemployment payments, and so forth. Might as well get a taste for themselves, by eschewing the needle.

I’m sorry, but if someone willfully rejects the COVID vaccine and then contracts COVID, I have zero sympathies. None. Don't care. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a much-needed gene pool correction.

As a matter of fact, since the Republicans opened the door to weaponizing the Rona by withholding testing supplies from blue states back in the early days, maybe we should engineer some of the same for them.

We have to pick out spots though… killing off 25% of Republicans in a state like Alabama only means that the Dems will lose by 20 percentage points instead of 30. To be effective, we’d have to work in swing states. Like holding giant MAGA super-spreader events in central Pennsylvania, or rural Ohio. Let them have a nice rave-up with yelling and singing with religious fervor, while all mashed together massive cheek to jowl.

Don’t laugh; this may be our best hope of counteracting the spate of red-state voter suppression laws. We should get someone like Jim Carville on it right away.

Source

Now let’s run through some quick debunkery, shall we?

No, these numbers tell you nothing, other than people can use statistics to “prove” any point they want. Here’s why this attempt is bullshit:

Gas prices up 45.1%. I and many others have pointed this out before but the reason the percentage of gas price raising is high is mainly that they’re comparing it to a time when it was extremely low due to the lack of demand because of COVID. Nobody was traveling or vacationing, causing a glut of gas, causing a deeply discounted price.

People are getting out again with summer traveling which caused demand to rise, which caused prices to go back up. Plus there was that gas pipeline shut down a couple months ago, which hurt supply in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. It’s just simple free-market economics, which Republicans usually revere (unless they can use it to make a bogus argument to pin something on a Democratic president. Note that this president, nor any other, had an effect on what’s going on with the price of gas.)

Used car prices up 45.2%. Remember last week when I told you I manage a fleet of cars for my employer? It’s that experience I lean on to debunk this point. Used car prices are up because most auto manufacturers are shut down and have been most of this year. That’s due to an industry-wide microchip shortage. Modern cars have so many bells and whistles anymore that any day now, they will be taking your blood pressure. And all of them work because of microchips. So, without cars in production, new car stock flew off the lots at the onset of COVID recovery, putting used cars at a premium. It’s more supply and demand at work. And note again that no president had anything to do with the microchip shortage. Microchip-producing facilities were shut down due to COVID, plus one of the main manufacturing plants burned to the ground in a fire. This is another bad faith assertion, the argumentative equivalent of throwing mud at the wall just to see what sticks.

Consumer Price Index up 5.4%. I’m no economist or anything but it seems to me that this is very similar to the gas situation. Prices were down last year (aside from groceries) because no one was going anywhere or shopping for anything but essentials. When prices are way down due to an event, the prices returning to where they were will always look like a big price increase percentage-wise. But it’s just the market correcting itself. It’s not proof of some kind of vast political price-gouging campaign.

The numbers tell you everything you need to know about a Biden presidency… Subsidize millionaires and billionaires with radical spending that crushes working families with skyrocketing inflation. Seriously? Democrats are subsidizing the rich? Bitch, please. Subsidizing the 1% is basically the GOP’s platform, it’s their Prime Directive. Why else did they pass a huge tax cut for them and scraps for us? Why else did they just cut tax law enforcement from the bipartisan infrastructure deal? Why else clamor for cutting regulations that keep businesses from poisoning the earth or killing their employees?

Biden is the first president in a long time who’s going to bat for the middle and lower classes. The infrastructure bill is going to help them immensely, but at a cost to big business. That’s the poison pill for Republicans, one they’ll never willingly swallow.

But they can’t admit that, so they make up tweets to point the finger at their opponents, accusing them of doing the very thing they do themselves.

I had to look this one up to see if this was Eric Carmen the former pop star, or just someone similarly named. It appears it’s the former, but I can’t tell for sure because his Twitter account is gone. But this excerpt has been circling around of late and it’s too dumb not to address. It reads like it was written by Eric Cartman.

The thing is that there’s really nothing true in the whole message. Nothing. There are too many successful socialist countries to pretend that they’re all some kind of futuristic dystopia. Do people have to give up their religion in Canada? Do the Danes have no liberty? Do the Australians have no dreams?

Of course they do, and they also get health care without having to go into bankruptcy. Do they all lay around all day watching TV? Of course not. They still have jobs to go to, most of which pay a living wage.

This is just another case of the very rich trying to keep the applecart upright so that they can remain the very rich, at the expense of everyone else.

Eric Carmen should go back to being all by himself.

Charlie Daniels has apparently spent so much time trying to be the Country version of Ted Nugent that he died of a stroke last summer. And apparently, he forgot all about the years between 2009 and 2016, because no one did more to discredit, distort and obstruct a president than his very own GOP. “Our number one goal is to make him a one-term president.” Remember that?

And who was it that stormed the Capitol building in a vain attempt to overturn a legitimate election by force, killing Senators, Representatives and the Vice President if they could? (Killing and injuring police officers in the process.) Gee, that was a conservative mob, not a bunch of liberal snowflakes, wasn’t it.

So STFU about who’s “destroying” who.

You know… in retrospect. I’m pretty sure he’s not doing much punditing any longer. Going from a pot-smoking long-hair in “Uneasy Rider” to Corn-Pone Scott Baio is enough to give anyone a stroke.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Lunatic Fringe Benefits

 The former guy got me good and pissed off again last week when he tried to play dumb about paying taxes on fringe benefits, like cars or housing for executives.

"They go after good, hard-working people for not paying taxes on a company car," Trump said.

"You didn't pay tax on the car or a company apartment. You used an apartment because you need an apartment because you have to travel too far where your house is.”

"You didn't pay tax. Or education for your grandchildren. I don't even know. Do you have to? Does anybody know the answer to that stuff?"

I know the answer to some of that. My job involves managing a fleet of company cars that our employees use. My company has branches around the country, so district and regional managers are given company cars for business travel, which they can also drive for personal use.

According to the IRS, a company can “give” a car for an employee to use for business purposes, for free. BUT, any personal use is considered income and therefore taxable.

Our drivers have to report their business and personal mileage every month so we can calculate the value of their personal use, known as “taxable benefit.” It’s a major operation for which the drivers, the accountants, and I have to devote a significant amount of time to get it right, to remain within IRS compliance.

It would be really nice to just blow it all off but a reputable company can’t do that.

There are a couple of ways to look at TFG’s comments.

One possibility is that he knows damn well what the IRS laws are; he’s just used to flouting them like he does with every other aspect of his business. He’s just playing on the (probably correct) assumption that his fan club doesn’t know anything about tax laws on company cars.

But on the other hand, it wouldn’t surprise me either if he really doesn’t know anything about it. It’s certainly plausible that he has his accounting flunkies to work out all the details so he has never had to think about such things. No wonder he’s puzzled… He’s never had to get down in the details before. All he’s ever had to do is say, “Give that guy a car,” or summon one for himself. The details are for the little people to work out.

Speaking of details, let’s go to the debunker portion of this week’s post:

Sounds like solid self-defense at first, but there’s just one tiny detail they overlook: They don’t account for the effect the NRA has had over gun laws and culture all over the country. No one is blaming mass shootings on card-carrying NRA members, but you can’t ignore that through their efforts, gun laws are woefully insufficient to even make a dent in gun-related killings. Even the smallest, most logical efforts to safeguard innocent lives from being cut down are met with howls of Second Amendment hysteria. Like banning people on the Terrorist fucking Watch-List from buying guns, or fingerprint safety guards, or literally anything else that might save a life or make a weapon a bit less lethal.

We have to remember that the NRA exists as a lobbying arm for gun manufacturers. That’s it. Everything else is a side-mission, always secondary to selling more guns!

Because of the NRA, you can walk into a Walmart, buy a semi-automatic rifle on credit and start shooting before the first payment is due. Because of the NRA, people can buy high-capacity clips that have no use in hunting or reasonable self-defense. Because of the NRA, even jurisdictions that do have some kind of gun control laws are unable to stem the tide of killing because of the guns coming in from surrounding areas that do not have such laws.

There is no amount of killing, whether it’s teen partygoers, concert attendees, or grade school children that will deter the NRA from enshrining the right to own any firearm imaginable as a basic human right. The cost in life is irrelevant. The only numbers that count are the monthly receipts. That is the legacy of the NRA.

I also have to laugh at the bar they’re setting, to reap congratulations for themselves. No members murdered anyone this weekend? Whoo Hoo! Hooray for us! Let’s celebrate with a little automatic weapons fire into the air! Our guys went a whole weekend without a murder spree!

My theory is that the weekend in question was over the Fourth of July, so their members were too busy blowing shit up to even bother getting out the guns.  

Just don’t tell the NRA, or they might try to outlaw fireworks.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Fake Patriots

I hope you’re having a great holiday weekend! The good old Fourth of Jue-Lie! That’s the day when social media pages are flush with “easy patriotism,” the kind of token symbolism that passes for true dedication to one’s country. I’m not impressed by sticking flag images everywhere. You want to be patriotic? Support the right to vote without barriers. Support the right to assemble in protest. Support the right chuck religious mythology and support peoples’ right expect scientifically sound solutions to real problems. Any yutz can wave a flag. Supporting democracy is a big ask.

That’s especially true when your team loses. Patriots don’t whine about phantom fraud that’s somehow responsible for their guy losing. Patriots pass the torch with class and double down on voter outreach the next time. Or maybe develop some ideas that garner wider support. Do something substantial, rather than merely trying to convince poor people that poorer people are to blame for their lot in life and rigging the game for the next election. Patriots accept blame for their own actions, they don’t point fingers at others who had no role in their downfall.

You know, if you’re going to storm a government building in hopes of interrupting the implementation of a free election, for Pete’s sake, just own it. Pointing fingers at Antifa or BLM, who had zero involvement with the whole ordeal, is as pathetic as it is embarrassing. No one believes you. Just accept that you’re an instrument of, or support insurrection. Don’t piss on my boot and tell me it’s raining.

Now onto today’s main topic.

I know I’ve mentioned my thoughts on this issue before but seeing such misinformation appearing in print chaps my ass like wet blue jeans.

There are several points of contention regarding this line of thinking.

First, the entire thing is based on the misperception that burger-flippers are the primary (if not only) earners of minimum wage. They’re not, by a long shot, and that upends the very basis of this guy’s opinion. They love to call them “burger-flippers,” but often, the term “Essential” is more apt. You remember the heroes we were celebrating last year, those who risked their lives to put food on shelves or stock drug stores? I bet a significant number of them are working for minimum wage, especially once the “battle-pay” provisions elapsed. Where would we have been without them?

Sure, the military is essential, but how essential is child care when you have to go to work? Lots of child care professionals work for minimum wage.

Another point: Wages for the military and the rest of the public are not related, in that they come from different systems and employers. We can raise pay for military members without having any effect on private sector wages. Republicans can ask for a pay-raise for GIs anytime they want. All they’d have to do is cut back on spending with defense contractors, or maybe kill some of the weapons programs that military leaders say they don’t want or need. (But have to accept because said weapons are being built in an influential congressman’s state.) We spend more on the military than the next 12 countries combined. Don’t tell me there’s no room in the budget for better-paid troops. Lobby your congressmen for that and I’ll be right there with you. But don’t pretend what private employers are paying for minimum wage is a factor.

As I frequently point out, the right loves to target programs that help the lower and middle classes by pointing out that there’s some other more favorable group that’s being overlooked. But when they have the ability to do something about these “favored” groups themselves, it never happens. They’re only interested in military pay or homeless veterans when they’re trying to kill some other program. Otherwise, they don’t do a damned thing about it themselves.

In this case, they want military members paid more than service workers. But the solution should be to improve the pay of the military rather than to suppress the pay of everyone else. If they want to talk about earning gaps, how about figuring out why CEOs are billions of dollars more important than the people who defend this country. That’s the real disparity. It’s the zillionaires who are overpaid and overvalued. You want to sprinkle some dough around that comes from the CEO class? You could pay a hell of a lot of privates and sergeants from a 1% tax on the top 1% earners. Funny, I don’t hear any Republicans asking for that to happen. But they come out full force against “essential service” workers being able to make a living on a 40-hour week.

They can’t support this illusion in any factual way. That’s why they have to base their campaign strategies around preventing those particular people from voting.

Another point of contention is the lack of recognition that these minimum wage jobs are taken by choice. The author seems to think that it’s their fault for being roped into these low-paying jobs because they lack ambition or education.

But tell me, how are they supposed to get this education if they can barely get by on their wages? How can they possibly pay for school without going balls-deep in debt? The price of college has skyrocketed since I went to school.

I paid my way through college by working service jobs (grocery store, gas station attendant, record store clerk). The minimum wage was only 3-4 bucks an hour, but a semester at my state college was less than $1000. But now, it’s pretty much impossible to pay for one’s own degree just by working service jobs.

And I should mention that every single time the topic of raising the minimum wage was broached, the owner-class predicted price spikes and massive job losses, which never, EVER, came to pass when the wage was raised. The argument hasn’t changed since then and it’s still just as wrong.

Republican opposition to a higher minimum wage is 100% based on protecting profit margin. Business owners want wages low and production high. As was then and ever shall be. But that’s not a popular public argument, so they have to rely on stereotypes and distortions like the author above does. We just have to see it for what it is: a desperate attempt to keep the money in the upper class.

***

On the home front, we’ve had some excitement around these parts, as a family of robins made a nest in the holly bush right by our front door.  I’m sure they felt safe there because holly leaves are full of pickers that will tear you up when you try to handle them.

We’ve been monitoring the progress every day. Then when we came home from out of town last Tuesday, we found they’d hatched. Out of the four eggs, we could see at least 2 babies. So we got used to being yelled at by mama and papa robin anytime we dared use our own front door.

Sadly, our guests came to an unfortunate end.

Late Friday night, in the wee hours, the dog erupted in a barking fit. Sweetpea went out to see what the matter was, and found the dog on the couch, but staring at the front door. Not finding anything worrisome, we went back to bed.

But the next morning, she found that the babies were missing. They were nowhere near ready to leave on their own yet, so we figured that it was a cat or a fox the dog heard, having a midnight snack. Eventually, we found some, well, “parts” lying on the porch, which confirmed our fears.

The circle of life can be a real bitch sometimes.

And speaking of, I never understood all that stuff in the Lion King, with all the jungle animals celebrating the birth of a new creature that was predisposed to killing and eating them. If I was a zebra, I’d be like, “What are you all doing? Let’s stampede that thing out of here before another one of us gets killed! Remember? Last week they got Stan, and Bernie the week before! These things aren’t our friends!

Maybe they just hung around because the songs were so snappy.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Bugging Out

Here in our neck of Baltimore, the Cicada Apocalypse is winding down. Today I could only hear a couple of random holdouts; a far cry from the din we had a couple weeks ago.

The last time they were here, in 2004, I was an apartment dweller. The only time I was outside was walking the 10 yards from my door to the car, and then going to and from the subway, mostly in downtown Baltimore. So they didn’t make much of an impression on me.

The time before that was 1987, when I lived in the Cleveland suburbs working as a record store manager. I was still in an apartment then too and only went from door to car to store and back. Even though Ohio is still in Brood X turf, I don’t think I even noticed.

Before that, it was 1970, when I would have been eight. I remember cicadas as a kid and was fascinated by the shells they left on the trees. They were scary-looking but once I realized they were harmless, it became great fun to chase my mom around the house with them. The noise they made just felt like summer to me.

This time around, I’m in a house with a backyard. It was kind of cool to see the shells collecting on fences and trees again.

Sitting out on the back porch this spring, I had time to pay closer attention to the noise. There were two distinct variations. One was a “whirring” sound like a cartoon spaceship was taking off. The other was the traditional keening… “Weeeweeeweewee…” It got so that it was weird to be out in the evenings when the din wasn’t there.

I figured I’d try to catch a little of the commotion on video, which produced the 15-second clip below. I might have created a more graceful ending but alas, a cicada flew into my camera hand as I was filming. I’m lucky I didn’t drop it on the concrete.

It’s been funny watching these things awkwardly flying about. It’s like they’re a bunch of drunken moths. They just kind of lurch from place to place. It’s hard to see how they get anything done.

Even knowing they’re harmless, it’s still unnerving when one flies into you. I tried really hard not to dance around like I walked into a spider web.

I learned something new one weekend when I had yard work to do.  Whenever I had the lawnmower going, they’d start buzzing me. Then when I switched to the higher-pitched weed whacker, they were all over me. Must be the buzzing sound... they thought I was a big pink monster cicada. Sweetpea was laughing at me from inside, saying they were all over my back. Again, I know they’re harmless, but inside, I’m feeling more like:

One being who most definitely enjoyed the cicada invasion was our dog, Wallace. From the time they popped out of the ground, he set about Hoovering up every single one he could get his lips on. This is a dog that won’t spend 15 seconds outside after he’s peed, but was now taking a half-hour to patrol the yard and police up the bugs.

Sweetpea told me that on their morning walks, she had to pull him more than walk him because he had to stop and lap up every dead, dying or resting bug on the sidewalk. After all this is over, he’s not going to know what to do with himself. Aside from losing the five pounds he gained on the Cicada Diet.

Hey, where’d they all go? I’m still hungry!

So, like I said, they’re pretty much gone now, back into the ground to lay in wait and ambush us again in 2038. I expect to be seriously geezin’ by that time. I’ll be lucky if I can even hear them. They’ll sound like a jet engine and I’ll be going, “Meh, that ain’t loud. You should have heard them in aught-four.”

Director’s DVD Commentary: Yes, I know I said I didn’t notice them in 2004, but it just sounds better for an old man to use a year with an “aught” in it.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Debunking a Fact-Free Whine-Fest

I just happened to stumble over some blog material I had stashed in my email “Drafts” folder. Apparently sometime after Election Day, I found a conservative list of complaints and squirreled it away for later examination. Why there were no graphics that went with it, I have no idea. I can’t remember where I found this, only that I copied the verbiage and stashed it in “Drafts.”

Anyway, it’s somewhat dated but still infuriating in its delusion, so let’s have a look. The GOP gripes are in red. (As if you won’t be able to tell.)

I just don’t recognize MY country any longer! What has happened to America in the past few decades?

Our Biggest, and Greatest City gets invaded by Muslims, and we elect them to our Congress and they want to Impeach our President!

“MY country?” Listen, pal, “YOUR” country includes everyone. You obviously misspelled, “OUR country.” Right out of the gate, there’s the religious bigotry. Apparently being Muslim is a disqualifier to holding office, because there is no difference to a MAGA between the twenty-some 9/11 hijackers/conspirators and every other Muslim in the world. “White makes right, baby!” Maybe he never noticed but a shitload of non-Muslims wanted him impeached too. Lastly, I wonder if the former guy might have written this himself. It certainly has his compulsion for random capitalization.

Our Children don’t have any Identities anymore, and our Bathrooms are places for predators.

Really? Unidentified children are on the loose? Or is it maybe that some of them choose identities that he doesn’t like? And show me where attacks in bathrooms have been committed by Trans people or crossdressers? It isn’t happening. This is just a scare tactic accepted as fact. He might as well be ranting about the Boogeyman.

Our subways have become a home for Psychos, Mental Patients, and the Homeless to do their Dirty Deeds. They are so filled with Crime that people fear to use them.

LOL… he thinks this is new?  Where has he been for the last 50 years? (Probably in Montana or something, where the only Subways sell sandwiches.) Although I can’t speak for other cities, but I’ve never felt threatened in my 20 years of riding the Baltimore Metro (subway). Sure there are the occasional panhandlers, smelly people, shoplifters selling their plunder, and loud cellphone talkers, but that’s just a microcosm of the city. It’s just funny that he seeks to blame Democrats for a societal problem that covers decades. (Of course they do, everything that’s wrong is always the Democrats’ fault, right down to Republicans storming the Capitol, on command, on film.) Lastly the only “Dirty Deeds” I know about are done dirt cheap by this guy:

We allow Sick people to cross our boarders ILLEGALLY to commit horrible crimes, and bring in drugs and yet we call the Wall that stops them “Immoral”!

More scare tactics assumed to be true. The statistics show that immigrants, legal and illegal, commit far fewer crimes than American natives. As for being sick? Another big assumption and is especially rich considering the pushback on mask-wearing, spacing, and vaccinations currently underway in red states. Plus, we (Republicans included) considered the Berlin Wall immoral for generations. This one would be no different.

We want more Compassion for the illegal Invaders, yet we have no compassion for our Vets!

The obligatory reference to veterans’ problems, which Republicans constantly bemoan but never actually do anything about it. Invaders? Immigrants are “invaders,” but only from the Southern border, right? They’re only “invaders” if they’re not white. Just more racist bullshit.

We impeached the best President that we’ve had in decades, and vote for a Senile, delusional, useless, inept man to destroy it.

“Best President” by what standards? By the “Most impeachments?” Definitely. Most indictments in an Administration? Absolutely. In fact, all the descriptors used in his previous sentence describe the former guy to a tee. I don’t even have to elaborate. You can come with an instance or several for each one.

We put a person into the second-highest office in the land only because of her gender, and the color of her skin.

Yeah, and after only 45 white guys in a row. The white guys were cheated, I tell you! The fact is that Harris’s qualifications are no better or worse than the rest of her predecessors. (Maybe someone can tell me how abundantly qualified Dan Quayle was.) Hell, she was a qualified as Obama was, plus she served more time in state office.

When if ever will we wake up and see what we have done?

As for what you have done, it takes at least four years just to clean up afterward. It happens time and time again… a Democratic administration has to come in and repair the damage that Republican tax cuts, environmental chaos, infrastructure abandonment, and safety net destruction do to the country. A party that has no intention to actually govern sure fights hard against one that does.

Monday, June 14, 2021

What's the Gift for THIS Anniversary?

Reading the local news last week reminded me of one of my favorite philosophical notions, “When you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one, least of all, yourself.”

A couple weekends ago there were some disturbances in the downtown-adjacent area to Baltimore known as Fells Point.

It’s a party place, kind of touristy, with shops and boutiques, lots of bars and restaurants, many of which have live entertainment. You can join “ghost tours,” which entail visiting the places that are reportedly haunted. It’s right on the Harbor and used to be a working cargo dock and haven for pirates.

Anyway, the good times have been recently interrupted by a bunch of drunken street fights, brawls, and shootings. Definitely not good for business. People are coming out of COVID hibernation and have forgotten how to act around other people.

So the local businesses reached out to City Hall, asking for help. That help arrived in the form of increased police presence, frequent ID checks, parking areas cordoned off, checkpoints coming to and from the area, etc.

Now the Fells Point businesses are pissed about that because they feel they’re keeping their customers away.

For the life of me, I don’t know what the hell they expected the cops to do. How are you going to keep street fights from breaking out if you’re not on-site? Magic incantations? Thoughts and prayers? Barry Manilow music?

And on the other hand, we have other communities charging favoritism, that the police are sent right to the “showplace,” while their neighborhoods (where no one wants to go near without a Kevlar jacket and helmet,) are ignored.

And I guarantee that if a similar police setup happened there, they’d complain about that too. Maybe they’re upset because the police were doing a lot of summons-issuing and just being a general presence. There was a conspicuous lack of surrounding and beating the shit out of people in cuffs. I don’t know if that was due to an overabundance of attention, cameras, or white people.

***

Are conservatives really this dim, or are they just counting on their audience not knowing any better? I saw this on Facebook recently.

There are a couple of things I’d call out here. First is the stereotype of the teenage burger-flipper. That’s what they always call minimum wage workers. But many child care and elder care workers also work for minimum wage, as do the “essential” grocery store clerks, hairstylists, and many others, including agricultural workers who often work off the books and get far less. Millions of grownups work for minimum wage, not just teenagers looking for beer money.

The other point is that minimum wage and social security have totally different targets and purposes, so it’s disingenuous to compare them head to head.

Social security comes from a dedicated fund, paid into by you and your employers. Some people WILL be getting $2400 per month because they’ve worked long and hard to build up that fund over their entire working life. The object is to provide a safety net so that people who have worked all their lives can retire without having to live in a box under a bridge. The money comes out of a finite fund that workers pay into. That’s the kind of “self-reliance” Republicans are always going on about.

Are Republicans really calling for people who barely work to earn this $2400 per month minimum? Of course not. Their only goal here is to justify keeping the minimum wage low. This argument doesn’t accomplish that.

Minimum wage is another story. The source of the money is as varied as the number of employers in the country. Employers can pay whatever they wish and they wish to pay as little as possible. Many employers have forgotten that people work to provide a living for themselves, not for the joy of performing manual labor for the entitled class. Prices have skyrocketed over the last several decades and the minimum wage has not. If the Republicans in Congress had approved incremental increases over the years, there would be no need for such drastic action. But they didn’t, because they were afraid it would be bad for the bottom line, so now a correction is desperately needed. And they’re still fighting it. Some things never change, and Republican fealty to the next quarterly report is one of them.

***

I have to wonder about who makes this shit up. Look at this meme:

This one is aimed straight at those who get their information solely from Fox “News” and other propaganda outlets. If they would ever actually listen to the president, they’d be shocked to find a fellow who speaks clearly, directly, and often makes good sense. The way conservative media tells it, the guy is a week away from rolling around in a puddle of his own making.

Considering the nonsense that came from the former guy, they have zero room to poke fun. Even though he’s sometimes informal, President Biden uses a grownup’s vocabulary, as opposed to the 4th-grade, sing-song Dick and Jane bullshit for which the other guy was known.

You think Biden is incoherent? Show me, and it better be good because I can find miles of tape of the former guy talking in circles, making nonsensical and often contradictory points. If I was a Republican, I wouldn’t come anywhere near this line of criticism. But then that’s what they’re known for isn’t it? Calling out others for things they’re doing themselves.

***

I saw this headline this morning on my Yahoo news feed:


Is it bad that my first thought was to think, “Well, that’s redundant." “Arm up” and “get guns” mean exactly the same thing. She’s already padding her list. I say if you’re going to issue a dime-store call to arms on the southern border and advocate summary executions, at least be clear about it. After all, when you eventually go on trial, get convicted, and die in prison, it will probably be your epitaph.

***

I got a text message today from my brother-in-law, who reminded me about an important anniversary.

Way back when, while traveling down I-75 to see my sister and aforementioned BIL, we passed by the Solid Rock Church and beheld the sight of their 62-foot statue of Jesus, emerging from a pond. You could only see Him from the chest up, so technically, it was a stature of half-Jesus. Full Jesus would have been about 124 feet, I suppose. I wonder if they had the bottom half underwater.

We now consider statues of Confederate generals are offensive! I wish we had that kind of sensibility back then. Maybe someone would have lashed that thing to some speed boats and tore it down “Porky’s” style.

Anyway, I thought it to be such a garish and unnecessary waste of foam and fiberglass and so it induced me to write a post about this scam mega-church. (The proprietors of this “church” were as crooked as their statue was ugly.)

Not more than a week later, the stats on that post blew up to such an extent I had to investigate why. I then learned that the statue had been hit by a bolt of lightning and burned to the freakin’ ground! Throughout the day, nine different friends sent me the story.

Such great symbolism with this happening! I had to bang out another post just to deal with the glee. Comments were a riot, and that was where we coined the epithet, “Great flaming Jesus!” As in “Great flaming Jesus, that burned up real good!

And that, my friend, was 11 years ago, today.

Good times!

Monday, June 7, 2021

The Road to Ruin

I’ve never felt such dread before when the party I support is “in power.” I should feel much more content but all I see on the horizon is disaster. It’s not because of shortcomings I see in leadership, it’s that our guys seem to be getting outflanked. That’s what happens when you’re suddenly playing a game with no rules.

The biggest source of anxiety is regarding the 2022 elections, which are being slowly and steadily stacked for Republicans to retake the House and Senate. Red state governments (GA, TX, FL, etc) are busy passing draconian voter suppression laws, no doubt to be rubber-stamped by the current SCOTUS, to ensure their reclaiming of power. Minority-rule power at that. (By which I do not mean rule by “minorities” as the term has traditionally meant, but fewer people on one side of an issue as opposed to the other.)

The only brake on this runaway train seemed to be the prospect of passing the For the People Act, (HR1) which would federally codify voter rights and make it easier to vote rather than harder. In short, it would cut off the red states’ attempts to suppress opposition vote under the guise of “election security,” whose only aim is to “secure” the “election” for themselves.

Over the weekend, Sen Joe Manchin (D?WV) publicly came out against the bill, because he thought a partisan bill would send the country into chaos and end democracy as we know it. This makes no sense to me considering how the red state voter suppression bills are doing that right now. How much will the country be torn apart when state legislatures start overturning elections based on unproven accusations and allegations?

This makes the issue of killing the filibuster moot. If we can’t get the 50 Democrats we have on the books to support free elections, there’s no point in trying to end the filibuster. That’s another issue that neither Manchin nor Kyrsten Sinema support. And now it looks like it’s something we’ll need in two years, if the GOP doesn’t kill it themselves first.

So the only brakes we have on this runaway train seem to have the tensile strength of jello. The only strategy left is for the Democrats to call all this out in public, rally the citizenry, and prepare everyone to dig in to exercise their vote no matter the obstacles. Excuse me if I’m not optimistic about this option. Politics is a huge part of life to me, (you too if you’re reading this) but for huge swaths of people, it’s just not a priority. Certainly not something over which they want to lose a half day’s hourly wage. And that’s exactly what the GOP is counting on in rolling out their fascist “election” rules.

This weekend also saw a new rally from the former guy, who among other things:

·        Rejected the notion that several Democratic-leaning states didn't side with his agenda.

·        "I don't believe it," he said. "I can't believe that some of these states are blue."

·        Alleged that elections in some blue states could be "corrupt."

It depresses me that we live in a world where the ravings of this madman still matter to some people. The guy couldn’t be any more full of shit if he replaced his Big Macs with turdburgers. How narcissistic can someone be to disbelieve that there could be people who don’t agree with him? This is what happens when you’re surrounded by yes-men who want nothing more than to keep their parasitic relationship going.

In his mind, the mere fact that his opponent got more votes, by default, means they cheated. And what’s worse, he’s convinced his idiot followers, people he wouldn’t let wash his car, of the same thing.

Until this country learns how to deal with objective reality rather than run with intricate conspiracy theories, we’re all looking at a one-man, one-party autocracy in the near future.

And speaking of conspiracy theories, the worst thing might have happened… one of them might have been close to the truth.

I haven’t been following this story very closely so I’m not sure of the details, but apparently there was something from Dr. Fauci’s released emails that make people think the coronavirus was actually created in a lab rather than springing from wet market animal transmission.

Now, the reason I haven’t been following this story is that it doesn’t make a lick of difference. Whether this was a deliberate Chinese plot, (which also killed thousands of their own people), or an accidental release, it doesn’t change the fact that the former guy ignored and downplayed the seriousness of the virus when he knew for a fact how dangerous and contagious it was.

How would the origin of the virus change what could have been done about it? What if China had come out and said, “Here, take that! Die Yankee pigs!” Would the former guy have addressed the problem any differently? Would that admission have removed the need for spacing, masking, and vaccines?

Of course not. We’d be in the exact same place we are now. The former president kicked the problem to the states, told them to deal with it on their own, and then fought them for supplies. He created a political litmus test out of a common-sense health issue and Americans have been dying over of it ever since.

So now, the wingnut brigade thinks they’re onto something since one of their fevered wet-dreams might have paid off. I attribute it to the famed Blind Squirrel observation, in which one occasionally finds a nut.

But now they’re using it as “proof” that the election was stolen and the former guy is actually the current guy. Unfortunately for them, you can’t create buttercream frosting out of manure. It’s plausible that the Chinese were working on a virus, which then escaped containment, either on purpose or not. It’s within the realm of reality.

However, the idea that somehow thousands of illegally cast votes appeared in precincts across the country without leaving a molecule of evidence, thousands more GOP-cast ballots disappeared, never to be found again, but the down-ballot elections were totally unaffected, all the while both Republican and Democratic election officials swear by the counts … that’s what they’re counting on being publicly revealed?

These people really do have their heads in a bubble. And by bubble, I mean that empty space formed amid one’s lower torso.

  

Monday, May 31, 2021

The Long Weekend Bluz

I’m writing this Memorial Day afternoon, well into my second margarita, so please excuse me if this post doesn’t hit my usual bar for clarity and insight. But that’s not really a very high bar now, is it?

First I want to thank the families of those who served, fought, and died in defense of this country. Their family’s sacrifice is not forgotten. I’m doing that first because I have to be careful how I phrase it, because if I do like Kamala did and just wish everyone a happy Memorial Day weekend, I’ll be called a commie, military-hating, no-good foreigner.

You have to be super-careful if you’re a Democrat these days because everything you say and do is wrong, regardless that your accuser has done worse, just because you’re a Democrat. Because the Veep wished people a nice weekend, she’s being disrespectful, but when the former guy said that veterans were suckers and losers, he was taken out of context, or the reporting was wrong, or the leaker was a commie, or he didn’t really mean it, or something, something, Socialism! MAGA!

I saw another classic meme misdirection this weekend, one that comes around every Memorial Day like clockwork:

This is the Republican response to getting anything done for anyone… that we can’t do “X” because homeless vets, etc. The trouble with that logic is that the Republicans never do anything for veterans either. They had control of the presidency and both houses. Did they do anything for veterans? Nope. Nothing that wasn’t already in the works. Not that they didn’t TRY to take credit for it.

All the former guy ever did was sign a VA Mission bill, which allows veterans to have a private doctor if their wait time is 20 days or if their drive is 30 minutes. That’s it. No programs, no money spent. So spare me the dewy-eyed paeans to our veterans. Republicans are done with them as soon as they’ve served their purpose. They only care about using them as a lever against doing something for anyone else.

***

It looks like we dodged a bullet in Texas with their proposed gutting of voting rights, right down to allowing the legislature to overturn election results. It was the most fascist, anti-democracy, anti-American piece of legislation I’ve ever seen. It took the totality of Democratic lawmakers walking out to deny them a quorum to keep the bill from passing.

How much do you want to bet that the next order of business they take up is lowering the number for a quorum to however many Republicans are currently seated? Fucking maggots…

***

Sweetpea has been having a terrible time trying to order a pair of shoes online. She saw an ad on Facebook for some shoes that would help her sore feet so she took a shot and ordered them. When they eventually showed up, they were size 4.5. She ordered 7.5. The invoice showed the correct size. Seems like a simple matter of switching them out, right?

Nope, in their Pidgeon English emails, the company wanted her to measure her feet and provide pictures of the shoes not fitting.

We sent them this shot of the shoe she ordered lined up among her other 7.5s.


That wasn’t enough. They then wanted a picture of her foot on a ruler, because… whatever. Which we sent.

When they finally sent another package, they turned out too small as well. On the size tag, they had 7.5 written in with a marker. When we scrubbed that away, the tag said 6.5. It was infuriating.

And still, they wanted to argue about it, insisting that we send more pictures of her foot not fitting in the shoe and one with a ruler. I think this company may be run by foot fetishists. We resent the ruler shot from the last time. And she’s been very direct with what we see happening and what we expect. It’s obvious that they’re out of 7.5s but they have to send us something, so they try one ploy after another, always throwing up another hoop to jump through… anything to get us sick and tired of fighting about it; just giving up and letting them keep the $50.

Not gonna work though. At least we have the ace in the hole, of disputing the charge with the credit card company. But in the meantime, we’re being entertained by how they try to bob and weave and avoid admitting fault (or… gasp… either fulfilling the order correctly or providing a refund.)

***

We’re grilling out tonight and I was almost really excited about it. Sweetpea came home and said she found wild boar on sale, so I’m thinking, giant fire pit, raging fire and then red-hot coals, with a great beast on a spit.

Alas, she was talking ground boar, which wouldn’t look nearly as impressive on a spit. Not even if I molded it into the shape of a pig.

Director’s DVD Commentary: My apologies to my friend Infidel753, whose activism for meatlessness I respect, but cannot, myself, join. I acknowledge the horrors that go on in slaughterhouses, but remain secure in the knowledge that my food comes from wild hamburger tree groves, standing by vast, waving fields of bacon