Monday, March 28, 2022

This Week in Outrage

 The “Outrage” stories were coming fast and furious last week; there was barely time to digest one before another splashed down to steal the attention.

Doubting Thomas

Is anyone else questioning the timing of Justice Thomas’s little disappearing act? Some bad news broke while he was in the hospital. Maybe he got a “heads-up” that his wife’s texts with former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, were about to become public. And boy, was that ever a kick to the hornet’s nest? It’s not a good look for a Justice and wife, who by their own public admissions are best friends and confidantes, to have the activist half of the duo texting a high-ranking White House official on how best to steal an election. Not to mention it being one whose fallout has been and will continue to be heard in court by the other half. And him being the lone vote to prevent the January 6th committee from obtaining White House records? That’s not even “fishy” or “suspicious,” it’s plain wrong. In retrospect, it reads like an admission of guilt.

It would be nice to think that Thomas will recuse himself from further cases of the like, but we know that’s not going to happen. Republicans don’t care about what looks bad or what may be a conflict of interest. They are interested in the preservation of power, so sod the naysayers. It’s not like Congress is going to impeach him over it. It would be warranted, but it will never happen, not with any lasting effect. The House may pass an article of impeachment but it will be DOA in the Senate.

I don’t know about you but I’m pretty fed up with all these wild hearings full of big speeches and grandstanding, excuses and alibis, but in the end, producing zero change to the situation.

Here Come the Judge

Speaking of grandstanding, I heard some of the confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson last week. What a clusterfuck. The Republicans spent all their time constructing a loud, elaborate house of cards with which they tried to smear the nominee. Their talking points were debunked almost simultaneously, but naturally, that didn’t deter them from insinuating that KBJ was soft on kiddie porn. I don’t know how she found the restraint to keep from going all Will Smith on their asses. (More on that later.)

To me, it makes perfect sense that in the absence of legal sentencing specifics, there are layers to an issue like child pornography. There’s obviously a difference between creating this content and merely downloading it. Yes, the end consumer creates the market, but the producer is the one directly hurting the children. The two ends are not the same. Both are bad, both should be punished, but not necessarily equally. KBJ, the ABA, and other respected judges agree.

To me, it’s like a difference in statutory rape cases. On one hand, you have a grown-ass man having sex with a minor. On the other, you have an 18-year old with his 17-year old girlfriend, who could have been dating for years. Are these two situations really the same? Would they necessitate the same punishment? And hey, if it’s a Congressman from Florida, even the former isn’t even a crime, is it? I haven’t seen any charges filed yet.

Anyway, it was clear that the Republicans on the committee weren’t trying to make a reputable case; they already knew the votes were there to confirm. And they knew that the 6-3 advantage they currently enjoy on the bench would remain as is. And that’s probably why McConnell seems to be allowing Manchin and Sinema to vote with their alleged party to approve.

In turning the hearing into a sideshow, they were merely trying to get their 10 second sound bytes onto Fox “News” so their constituents back home would see that they’re tough on the perverts. They know their base doesn’t care enough to dig for facts, they will lap it up and believe it because they’ll want to. It will only confirm what Fox “News,” QAnon, and Breitbart have been telling them for years. And certainly, they can’t be seen voting for a Democrat-nominated candidate for SCOTUS, not without getting primaried from the Right this summer. Their base doesn’t care about tradition or nuance, they want their guys owning the Libs 24/7.

But they needed some kind of fig leaf to use when they cast their inevitable “No” vote. The Senate’s job is literally to examine a prospective justice’s qualifications for the job, not to evaluate the outcome of potential rulings they may not like.

But what do we keep hearing? “She’s highly qualified but I’m still voting no.” Believe me, the “no” votes were in the chamber from the start. Their participation in the hearings was only to publicize a reason.

Joe Saying it’s So

You know, I always liked that Joe Biden spoke his mind. Yes, it led to what some consider to be “gaffes,” but you know where he stood. So when at the end of this weekend’s speech, he said For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” I was all for it. I mean, it’s obvious, isn’t it? The pictures and video we’ve seen on TV are bad enough; remember that he’s no doubt seen much worse, from classified briefings. He was basically reacting to all the shit he's seen and calling a spade a spade.

I understand why his office has been trying to walk it back because they can’t allow the perception that the US is aiming for regime change. But we are, because that seems to be the only way this war will ever end. And Putin knows we are, and he’s been telling their citizens that for years. So what’s the difference?

Granted, this is one more thing the Republicans are going ape-shit over because it can be filtered through their pre-ordained plot to cast Biden as a batty old man, but really, what else would they do? If Biden had said, “Hell no, we’re not trying to knock Putin out of power,” they’d go ape-shit about that too. They have no qualms about arguing either side of an argument with Democrats.

People always complain about politicians being full of shit, or never saying anything of substance, or giving canned responses. It’s a shame that when one of them breaks the mold and says something heartfelt and honest, he gets shit for that too.

Bad Will Hunting

This brings us to the main story of the weekend, the thing that has pre-empted every other conversation, where last night at the Oscars, Will Smith walked up on stage and smacked Chris Rock upside the head for making a joke about his wife. No question that it made riveting TV. (From what I understand… I wasn’t watching. Hell, Walking Dead was on!)

Is this really what it’s come to? We’re just allowed to go smack people who say things that displease us? If so, for Pete’s sake, let’s get this ethos onto the Senate floor! There would be a line starting outside the building leading straight to Ted Cruz.

Will Smith should know better. I mean, he’s known for delivering devastating put-downs during interviews, going after wives, mothers, and whatever strikes a nerve. It’s awfully thin-skinned of him to lash out when someone does him the same way. Not to mention that he went after a dude half his size. I wonder what his reaction would have been if it was THE Rock rather than Chris Rock who told that joke. I bet his ass would have stayed in his seat.

Or it could have gone like this:



Monday, March 21, 2022

Time After Time

Once again, it’s time for the semi-annual brouhaha over changing the clocks! OK, it was time two weekends ago. But now one half of Congress, who never passes up an opportunity to pander (especially if they don’t have to federally fund it) has passed a bill to make Daylight Savings Time permanent.

Whether it passes in the House is another story and they seem to be having doubts. That’s an amusing turnabout… The Senate is supposed to be the sober body of deliberation, keeping the knee-jerk House in check.

Perhaps they'll remember in the 1970s when Congress did this same thing as a 2-year experiment, and the public hated it so much they repealed it before the term was up. It seemed people didn’t like sending their kids to school in the dark for such a long time.

If this does pass and become law, how long do you think it will be until it becomes grist for political attack ads?

The Democrats want your kids to go to school in the dark so they can be killed! Which is better than them getting there safely and learning CRT!

Personally, I don’t care what they do about the time. I can’t believe everyone gets so worked up over something they’ve experienced every goddamned year of their lives. We’ve been doing a time change for more than 100 years. It’s just something we do to try to keep our daily lives in the shrinking “sweet spot” of winter daylight. It’s not perfect but it’s hardly unbearable.

I really only feel for those who have to get up and go to work on that Sunday morning after the “Spring Forward.”

That used to be me, back in my retail days. And do you know what? I got up and went the hell to work. It’s no different than if I were to have gone out to a party or concert on Saturday night and got in late. You just do what you have to do.

I’m sick of all the pissing and moaning about it. Just STFU and change your clocks. It’s not like you’re working on a road crew. It’s just not that big of a deal. It’s an hour.

So if they make permanent Daylight Savings Time, or permanent Standard Time, or leave it alone, I just don’t give a shit. Either way, it will get light, it will get dark, and we still have to get up and go to work. Sometimes it will be light out when we go out or come home, sometimes not.

It’s a sign of a truly spoiled society when we’d rather change 100 years of rules regarding time rather than spend 5 minutes resetting our clocks twice a year.

We Have Clearance Clarence

Gosh, if only I could come up with paragraphs about guys named Roger and Victor, I’d have the world’s greatest set of sub-headings in a single blog post.

Alas, this is merely about Justice Clarence Thomas falling ill. I read that he would not be there for today’s scheduled hearings but he would still participate in the decisioning.

This doesn’t surprise me in the least. I guarantee he already knows how he’s voting on whatever case it is. From listening to recent court arguments, it seems like the justices are more interested in drawing out arguments that support decisions they want to make than calling balls and strikes as they’re thrown.

Hearing of his hospitalization immediately made me leap to “what if?” As in “What if he goes the way of Scalia?

Man, that would trigger a knockdown drag-out in Congress, not only for his replacement but Souter’s as well. Republicans like their three-justice advantage. Bringing it back to 1 + Roberts would not sit well. I’d expect them to do everything in their power to prolong and delay the search and approval processes, no matter who is nominated. All they have to do is run out the year, which they can do without even trying hard, and then should they win the Senate back, kill another two years until they recapture the presidency. I’m not even exaggerating. Mitch McConnell was on record six years ago as saying he’d bottle up any Clinton nominee for her entire term.

Unless, of course, President Biden were to nominate someone to their liking, in which case, what’s the point of even winning the presidency? We’ve seen who they like and they’re reprehensible. The fact that they allowed the Texas abortion law to stand means they will stop at nothing, even disassembling decades of settled law, just to ensure states have the right to end abortions. I’m not just talking about abortion law, but laws about who has standing to sue whom. They just opened it up for literally anyone to sue anybody over anything, regardless of involvement. If they don’t shut that down, just watch how it plays out down the road.

More Bullshit

This was a headline from my Yahoo News page. I didn’t even read the article, nor will I link to it. It’s just too easy to debunk. Ahem…

Yes, the US doesn’t “Seem Prepared” to you, Fox “News,” because they do not want their response to a Russian nuclear attack to be made public. Why would they want the Russians to know any details of what they would do? Why give up the element of surprise? Why let them prepare for a hit on any single place?

I guarantee there are detailed plans, if not cast in stone, then being actively developed. It would be criminally negligent not to do so and this isn’t a negligent administration. There is a whole team of generals and military analysts that work on this shit regularly. I’m sure it’s all hands on deck there, what with this sociopathic tyrant and his nuclear arsenal on high alert. They’re just not clearing it through Carlson and Hannity, like the Former Guy.

More Stuff

I touched on this two weeks ago, about all the stuff one collects over a lifetime and the difficulty in figuring out what to do with it once the collector is no more. And it going through my Dad’s stuff, we’ve found some really odd things. Nothing bad, it just makes me wonder what it was that made him keep various items.

Dad used to have this wooden humidor to preserve his cigars. Then after he gave them up, it turned into a kind of treasure box, one where he’d store various meaningful odds and ends. My brother brought it back from Florida a few weeks back so we could look through it together and the contents were fascinating.

He had a selection of pictures in there that I found interesting. Most of them, I’d never seen before. But it wasn’t that they were remarkable in any way. I was puzzled by why he kept them there, rather than with the hundreds of other photos in the house.

One was a shot from a party I had for my work-friends at the record store. Just a pic of several of them dancing with two of my best friends. Another was a shot of random people sitting out by our yard swing. Half the people had their back to the camera, no one was looking, and I couldn’t tell who some of the people were. And there was a shot of Dad sitting on the porch with one of my closest friends. That one I understood, because my buddy died in 2001. He and my folks were very close.

He also had a picture of my brother dressed up for Halloween, when he was in middle school. My brother said, “Maybe not so crazy about Dad keeping this one.” He was dressed up as a woman, with lipstick, one of my mom’s dresses, and a couple balloons stuffed down the front. I’d love to run it here, but I couldn’t do that to him. (Besides, it’s his birthday today. Happy birthday, Brotha!)

Also in the box, we found a lot of ticket stubs for various concerts and sporting events. He had one set of tickets wrapped up in a printed itinerary from when he and my brother went on a “Cathedrals of Baseball tour.”

He had a newspaper obituary for Jessica Savitch, who was a network news anchor. Dad always liked her.

And then there were these:

My brother said the Truman one was worth about $100. I guess Dad was always politically active and once again, demonstrated that this apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

I remember back when I was in, like, 2nd grade, after seeing placards for Richard Nixon tacked up to a bunch of phone poles along my way to school, I came home and announced that I was rooting for Nixon in the 1968 election. “NO, you are NOT,” Dad replied. 

I don’t remember what he gave me for a reason. I was 6, for Pete’s sake, and I only wanted to root for Nixon because he had an X in his name. I’m sure it wasn’t his foreign policy positions or opinions on labor relations.  He probably just told me that he was a bad man. 

But I do remember a year later when I asked him what the difference was between Republicans and Democrats. Dad told me, “Republicans want the rich to get richer and Democrats want the poor to get richer.” Let me tell you, I never saw anything in the following 50-odd years that ever contradicted that statement.

The one thing among his junk box collection that puzzled me the most was this:

A half a pack of gum? Seriously? This has to have been from the mid-1970s, judging from the packaging. And I remember chewing this brand of gum a LOT because it was the one kind we were allowed to have. Personally, I used to chew the grape flavor. I always carried some with me to school, so I could give some to a girl I was sweet on. But soon others noticed that I always had gum and consequently always asked me for some. I could never say no, so I usually obliged. I swear I spent my whole allowance on Bazooka sugarless. Eventually, in high school, I switched to Grape Bubble Yum and you could smell me coming down the hall 30 seconds before I got there.

But I wonder if he even knew it was there. I mean, why not just chew it, maybe back in the early 80s? And if it was too old to chew, why keep it? Did it belong to someone special? Was there a story to go with it? So many questions.

It’s to the point that if I had 5 minutes with him right now, before I could even ask him about his favorite moments in life, or biggest regrets, I’d have to know, “Why the hell did you keep a half pack of gum for almost 50 years?

That will be one of my life’s eternal questions.

Happy Belated

A retroactive Happy St. Paddy's day to you all. Please enjoy this as much as I did. I just wish I would have seen it sooner. And admit it, everything goes better with Samuel L. Jackson.

Monday, March 14, 2022

A Lot of Hot Air About Gas

With Russian social media trolls occupied elsewhere, I wonder if meme creation on behalf of the fossil fuel industry is being outsourced back to the US, because they seem to be even dumber than usual of late. For example:

The only thing the Russian oil pipeline and the Keystone XR pipeline have in common are the use of pipes. It’s funny that to conservatives, if only we hadn’t killed work on the Keystone XL pipeline, we’d all be bathing in oil right now. Gas would be 15-cents a gallon and plastic would be free.

But in reality, the “Russian Oil Pipeline” refers to the EU and other allies refusing to buy Russian oil, due their invasion of Ukraine. That’s a huge hit to the Russian economy, because while they may be flush with oil, they can’t eat it. It’s a massive exertion of pressure on Putin and his oil oligarchies.

The Keystone XL pipeline was intended to bring Canadian shale oil from there to our gulf ports, for refining and export. There’s already a separate branch of the pipeline that comes in for our own use.

Furthermore, this Canadian oil is low quality and not meant to be turned into gasoline. So the whole issue of our energy independence suffering for lack of this pipeline is ludicrous. It makes zero difference to the price of gas or our oil reserves. But you wouldn’t know that by listening to Republicans bitch about it. Their ignorance on the subject is either willful, or simply the regular kind. Maybe if they had some Democratic friends, they might learn something and wouldn’t need to ask such stupid questions.

The fossil fuel industry is scared shitless over the progress being made with electric cars. You can tell by the lengths they’re going to, to stifle growth and badmouth the technology. Like here:

This is using a basic “strawman fallacy” argument, by taking an opposing position, stretching it far past the limits of reality, and then attacking it as if that’s the actual position. I don’t think anyone is seriously pushing electric cars as a method to eliminate 100% of oil usage. I mean, that will have to happen, but it’s going to take decades, especially with the unified pushback from the oil companies, who won’t let their cash cow be sacrificed until they’ve wrung out every last dollar.

The basic rebuttal to this position is that traditional cars also have to have their components mined or shipped via oil/gas-driven machines. So that part is a wash. But then the electric cars go on to use far less (or no) oil than the traditional cars, thus eliminating x-amount of cars’ worth of emissions.

The real problem here is this position that unless any given solution is 100% oil-less, emission-less, and foolproof, it’s a waste of time and money. It’s not. Every little bit helps and when enough little bits start piling up, it will make a much larger difference.

Climate change is a real thing and is happening regardless of fancy rhetoric and supposed “gotcha” memes. There will be big changes afoot. We can either take it seriously as a country, or be destroyed by our inaction. It may not be my generation, but the ones to come will have to pay the price for oil industry’s insistence on profit over survival.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all that one of the reasons the price of gas is so high is to throw shade on the current administration. They know the Republicans will do their bidding in doing things like continuing subsidies, stalling on electric car infrastructure, lowering minimum MPG requirements, etc. So if they can rake in the cash hand over fist and blame it all on the Democrats, it’s kind of a no-brainer for them. And I think that’s the real reason why we keep seeing easily disprovable memes like these.

It’s Only Rock & Roll

I don’t know why but there’s a part of me that still cares about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I guess it’s just the old record store clerk in me, but I want to see credit where credit is due. And I want to see credit go to the purveyors of actual rock & roll. For example, take this year’s list of those being considered:

To me, the name that jumps out is Pat Benatar. It’s a crime that she hasn’t been inducted already. As far as I’m concerned, she should have went in in 2004, 25 years after her debut album. (Artists first become eligible 25 years after their debut album.) But there were a lot of female artists who have had to wait an overlong period of time before being duly recognized. Joan Jett and Heart come to mind.

Back when I was in college, my girlfriend and I used to hang out with a lot of her friend, many of whom were softball players. Pat was practically their patron saint. They all worshiped at the altar of Pat Benatar. I find it unbelievable that Madonna is in the Hall and Pat is not.

Looking over this list, she ought to be a shoo-in. Hell, aside from her, only 11 of the remaining 16 should even be considered “rock & roll.”  And that’s where I have a problem with what the R&RHOF has become. Call me a dinosaur but I think the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should be for Rock and Roll artists. I know they’re trying to be a big tent, but at this point, the tent is so big it’s not even a tent anymore, it’s the ozone layer. It’s a hard distinction to make, I fully agree. I mean, the early founders like Chuck Berry and Little Richard, and other blues artists paved the way for the creation of rock and roll, so they should go in.

But Lionel Richie, Carly Simon, and Dionne Warwick? Not rock & roll. If there were a Pop Music Hall of Fame, they go right in. Dolly Parton? She’s already in the Country Music Hall of Fame and should be in the prospective Pop Hall as well.

Note: Dolly Parton actually withdrew her name from consideration today because she didn’t consider herself worthy. It’s ironic that to me; in making that statement, she just made herself worthy.

To me, artists like Beck, Kate Bush, Devo, Duran Duran, and Eurythmics are “new wave” rather than Rock & Roll, but I understand the argument for inclusion. It’s another hard line to draw. Personally, I think Weird Al Yankovic is more deserving than any of those acts.

Eminem? Forget it. He should be in the R&RHOF right after they put AC/DC in a Rap Hall of Fame.

I’d put Benatar, Judas Priest (also long overdue for inclusion), New York Dolls, and MC5 in the Hall. The rest should be celebrated elsewhere because they’re taking up space that should go to living, breathing rock & rollers. Artists like George Thorogood, Bachman Turner Overdrive, The J Geils Band, Meat Loaf, Bad Company, Sammy Hagar, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws, The Scorpions, Boston, Blue Oyster Cult, Jeff Healey, Albert Collins, Lonnie Mack, Roy Buchanan, Johnny Winter, Joe Satriani, Melissa Etheridge, Kiss, and Warren Zevon should all be in the Hall already (although I admit a couple of those are no longer living or breathing.)

Once the Hall is filled up with actual rock and rollers, THEN loosen the parameters and look at some other sub-genres.

I know, it’s all a pointless argument, but I imagine that’s what the Rock Hall wants… people to talk about them. I love talking music. Music inspires passions! And I probably get overly wrapped up in some stupid honorarium, especially in wanting to see it reflect my own musical tastes.

I always try to catch the induction broadcast, usually by DVRing it. That way I can speed by the artists I don’t care for, although sometimes they surprise me. But however it goes this year, I’ll still be playing my music in the car as loud as I can stand it. When I’m at a red light, I always want anyone walking by to look over and think, “Man, that old fucker is rockin’ it.”

Although in reality, they’re probably thinking, “I wish that asshole would turn that shit down”

Monday, March 7, 2022

No Escape

 I’m growing much more pessimistic regarding the invasion of Ukraine ending anytime soon, or without becoming a nightmare of epic proportions. I just don’t see a clear way out, mostly because of Vlad.

He seems to be impervious to outside influence. The stranglehold that’s being put around his country, one that would cripple most leaders, won’t have the effect we’re hoping for, because very simply, he just doesn’t give a shit about anyone or anything aside from his personal agenda. No wonder the Republican power players admire him.

He doesn’t care about his people. He’ll tell them what to think and what to do and any dissenters will find themselves in a deep hole in Siberia before they know what happened. He’s already instituted a new law punishing anyone publishing “lies” (meaning the truth) about the military exercise/invasion in Ukraine, so they're not going to know what's really going on, kind of like Fox "News" viewers. Even when he ran for office, I bet his campaign motto was “You’ll get nothing and like it.” The Putin/Smales ticket.

He doesn’t care about civilians in Ukraine; hell, he’s targeting them on a scale like no other military leader in memory. He can’t be shamed with casualty figures because he gives less than a shit about killing women and children.

He doesn’t care what other countries think. All he wants is to be feared. That’s why I don’t see him backing down, ever. This isn’t the kind of guy who’s going to go, “OK, this isn’t working, the cost is too high in lives and rubles. Let’s turn this thing around and go home.”

Basically, he’s Mitch McConnell with an army.

No, he’s in it until he gets something he wants because the one thing he will not do is accept failure or defeat. His ego will not permit it, so it’s full speed ahead. I suppose it’s possible that he just creates an objective that he can obtain and call a win. With his control over the Russian media, he can tell them anything he wants and make them believe it. Like, “I just sent some of our boys out to pick me up some vodka and cigars and they got a little carried away!

Personally, I think the only way we get out of this is if the Russian mafia has him whacked. He’s stepping on their livelihood and I’m sure that’s not going over well. Of course, Putin knows this too so he’ll be very hard to reach. This is a guy who knows how to be cautious. If you know how to assassinate, you know to prevent being assassinated.

I know there’s a faction that’s clamoring for escalating our military activities, from enforcing a no-fly zone to dropping bombs on Russian troops. I think we need to be verrrrrry careful about that. This is the first time in a long time that we have an enemy that can hit us back on our turf. If we start dropping ordnance on Russian forces, how long before Vlad lights up the west coast? Hell, they’ll no doubt take a shot at Washington DC too. That can easily take Baltimore with it and then goodbye Bluzdude.

Like I said, he doesn’t give a shit about his own civilians if we retaliate, and he cares even less about ours. I’m just saying that the consequences can be devastating, right here within our borders, so no matter how tough we like to sound with our buddies down at the bar, cooler heads need to prevail.

Finances and Stuff

The last few months have been a real learning experience. My father and brother-in-law both passed away suddenly late last year, but left very different circumstances in their wakes. Both handled all of the household finances and bank accounts.

My dad left a considerable trail of breadcrumbs. I already wrote about bringing home his “Go-bag,” containing all their important documents and $22k in cash. He had 2 handwritten pages included, that documented exactly what documents were in the case. He also had a piece of notebook paper on his desk that included (almost) all of his online passwords, plus a few on post-it notes. I know that’s not terribly secure, but it was most useful in trying to work with his accounts and investments. My brother, who works in accounting, was able to put things together fairly quickly.

Sadly, my sister’s husband left no such trail. He had been working on creating a reference for her, but he apparently never finished. She couldn’t even get into his computer or phone. It took a lot of sleuthing from my brother and one of my BIL’s work friends to figure things out and get a bead on how the finances stood.

These scenarios reverberated through our family, particularly with Sweetpea and my brother’s wife. Both were determined not to have such a situation repeat itself. I know my brother and sister-in-law sat down and went over things a few weeks ago.

I had been wanting to do something similar with Sweetpea for ages, pretty much ever since we got married. But it was never a front-burner issue until now.

Back when I was a single apartment-dweller, I got the notion that I’d better leave some similar tracks in case I were to drop dead. Someone would need to know what’s what, so I created a simple Word document that detailed how to get into my phone and computer, how to find my passwords, what kind of accounts I had and where, what I wanted to be done with my stuff, and so forth. I bought an online will, which I completed but never “activated” by getting it witnessed and signed. I posted about all that here.

So all I really needed to do was adjust the document to reflect the needs of my married status and then go over it with Sweetpea. I feel better now, knowing that she knows how to access everything and what to look for. I didn’t want her to ever think I was keeping financial secrets from her. I’d hate for a big chunk of change to end up going to the state, just because no one knew it was there.

The other big issue is the dispensation of “stuff.” Good god, we do collect a lot of stuff, don’t we? My mom and brother were back down in Florida last weekend going through the contents of my parents’ house. You know, what to keep, what to sell, what to donate, etc. Even as scaled back as their place was, there’s still so much stuff!

It doesn’t help that we all collect sports stuff. Dad had a whole curio full of figurines, stadium replicas, framed pictures, autographed balls, etc. My brother and I have similar collections. These things all seem so important to us at one time or another and then, poof. We’re gone and someone has to figure out what to do with all our shit.

My swag shelves. And this doesn’t even include all the Orioles bobbleheads I’ve collected from going to the games. I had to box them up because I ran out of room.

It leads to an internal struggle. On one hand, it’s something that I’ve become a lot more conscious about. I should really take action to try to sell off some of my stuff, while it still holds any kind of value. Even at this point, who would possibly want a Chris Davis bobblehead? (Former Orioles slugger who signed a huge contract and then never hit above .150 again.)

On the other hand, the Mario Lemieux Foundation is advertising another of their charity duffle bag sales, wherein fans can buy Penguins duffle bags filled with bobbleheads, signed pucks, plaques, coolers, and other swag. I’ve bought them before and each time I think, “OK, that’s the last time.” Until I see the next year’s goodies that I just have to have. So it’s a habit I have to break.

Our house is not particularly big. There’s a lot of room in the basement, but as this is the house Sweetpea and her family grew up in, it’s packed with her family’s lifetime of stuff. I have no intention of adding to it. I need to get serious about selling some stuff off.

Does anyone want to buy a Manny Machado bobblehead?