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