Monday, June 24, 2024

Mid-Year Meme Dump!

I’m preparing this ahead of time because, by the time you see this, I’ll be sitting on a beach earning 20% on vacation. So what better opportunity than this for a MEME DUMP!

Now I can finally do something with a bunch of pictures, cartoons, and memes that have been collecting digital dust in the Bluz Vault while I figure out how and when to use them. Let’s start with:

Current Events

From the Baltimore Sun, quite some time ago:

Still true.

Republican use of Voter ID is 100% attempted voter suppression. No matter how they dress it up, likely Democratic voters get the shaft.

Another persistent lie. The 1% have been dying for access to Social Security money for generations but will do backflips to avoid paying into it any more than the pittance that they do.

And because it’s Stanley Cup Finals season…

The Cup can be won or lost tonight (as of this typing.)

Hannibal Shyster

Put the secret documents in the fuckin’ basket!


It’s a wonder anyone takes this thing seriously.

It’s like going along with adults who have “deeply held beliefs” in the Easter Bunny. (I was going to say Santa Claus, but we know that at the root of it, there was a St Nicholas who actually existed.)

It’s unanimous.

Goofy Shit

From 1984 to about 2005, (before I knew anything about the effects of sodium on the aging body) I had a package of Ramen noodle soup every morning for breakfast. This could have happened to me.

This one just made me laugh.

From Bluz Sister. In my case, that fridge would be in a beachside cabana somewhere.

Courtesy of Bluz Uncle Joe. My only nit to pick is that on the Classic Rock example, the drum solo only comes with the live show.

I’ll be seeing quite a lot of these over the next week, I expect.

See you all on the flip side!

Monday, June 17, 2024

How To Rig the System (to get what you want)

There was a big article in today’s paper about the lengths that forced-birth enthusiasts are taking to overturn the will of the people.

From inside today’s Baltimore Sun. Click the pic to embiggen.

The evangelical right has taken notice of how statewide referendums enshrining or defending reproductive freedom have passed easily in seven out of seven elections. That’s bad for their brand. So what are they doing about past and future referenda?

·         Contesting and removing signatures.

·         Creating competing ballot initiatives to confuse voters.

·         Filing lawsuits over language used in the measures.

·         Doxxing people identified as canvassers for abortion rights.

·         Allowing campaigns to convince people to withdraw signatures already provided.

Notice how none of their strategies involve trying to change people’s hearts and minds, or reason with anyone. Instead, they’re just going straight to manipulating the system to create minority rule.

The issue referendum is about as pure a democratic measure as we have. It’s not a matter of personalities or politics, but merely taking a measure of what citizens think about an issue that affects their state, county, and community. What the majority says, should go.

How toxic is it that when faced with a clear message from the populace, a small but loud set of zealots intend to substitute their own narrow view over that of a significant majority? They don’t care about people’s values or morals; they are bent on installing their own.

That’s as undemocratic and un-American as you get.

I can see why they do it, too. They have a hard time winning on science, facts, or reality. They can’t even win on morality, not in the big picture. When championing the rights of a small blob of cells over the free will of the women carrying them, without taking a single step to help that same organism once expelled from its mother, it’s a massive dent in their claims to value of “life.” No food benefits, no day care, no medical care; none of it is supported by their political party. And that’s where all the high-minded outrage of the “sanctity of life” collapses.

But rather than take the “L” and look for solutions (like actually providing some of those things for children and mothers) they instead try to rig the process to force their beliefs on an unwilling majority. They know that spending money on children will never fly with their own party bosses, who are only interested in siphoning money upward, into the coffers of their rich friends.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Floaters - Round Two

With the success of my first surgery for eye floaters (aka a “vitrectomy”) two months ago, I was eager to get the other eye done. And this time, there would be no need for an air bubble to be injected and then dissipate over the next 10 days. (They had to do that the first time, to protect an area of the retina I’d already had repaired.) I expected I’d be able to see clearly again, right away. When I went back for my 1-month follow-up, I practically did cartwheels when they told me they could get me in to do the other eye the next week.

I should have known better.

The surgery went even more smoothly this time than it did the last. There was no long wait beforehand so I was in and out in 90 minutes, again with a plastic guard taped over my eye.

When I went back the next day to get the bandages and shield removed, I had fairly decent rudimentary sight. It was hard to tell because they had to dilate me again. But I could at least get several lines on the eye chart.

That night, as I was watching TV, I experimented a bit. With my right eye, it looked like I was watching HDTV, with everything crisp and clear. With the newly repaired left, it was like watching an old, non-HD TV. Not perfect, but serviceable. Considering this was the day after surgery, I was thrilled.

Then Friday happened.

Overnight, I noticed that whenever I moved my eye around, I was getting light flashes, like lightning. It wasn’t something uncommon; that happened a lot following my three prior eye surgeries. So I wasn’t panicking yet. But in the morning, when I took off the sleep guard, my previously serviceable-but-a-bit-blurry world was replaced by a mass of indistinct color. I could not recognize anything I looked at with that eye, other than maybe an outline.

OK, now it was time to panic.

I tried to contact my doctor’s office but all I could get was an impenetrable voicemail tree. Once I remembered to try to “jimmy the system” by pressing “0”, I got a live person and was able to make an appointment for later that morning. Sweetpea was at school and unreachable, so luckily my brother was gracious enough to give me a ride. I sure as hell couldn’t drive.

The doctors gave me the once-over and determined that I’d lost pressure in that eye overnight and the eye had “deflated” a bit. (Picture a football with about a third of the air let out.) They prescribed some more eye drops and set up another appointment for the next Wednesday.

I’d already been using some of the drops but now the regimen was changed: 6 daily drops of the anti-swelling agent, 4 daily drops of a steroid, and 2 daily drops of a dilating fluid. I had to create a spreadsheet just to sort out all the dosing times.

That was the Friday before Memorial Day. Over the long weekend, I started to see some changes. By Monday, I could see that there was a face on the front of a head, not just a pink blob. But there was more. There were also some vertical lines that looked like green tally marks blocking my focus point, so I was unable to read anything. If I stared long enough, the green would disappear but there was still an obstruction, like reading through blurred glass.

The biggest problem seemed to be that all the straight lines I could see… wall corners, doorways, tabletops… were all wavy like they were designed by a kid with an old grade-school compass. Or maybe Picasso.

Looking out at our slatted backyard fence, the slats were bending every which way, like they were guarding a haunted house.

By the following Wednesday's appointment, that was my primary problem. The pressure was back to normal and I could make out some lines on the eye chart (when I looked through the thing with the holes in it, like a colander), but otherwise, it looked like I was stuck living in the movie Beetlejuice.

The doctor was able to show me a good visual of what was wrong. He said that the lining of the eye contracted and wrinkled at the loss of pressure. But it would take time for the wrinkles to “iron out” now with the pressure back to normal. Showing me this helped:

This is a scan of the affected eye. The top image is from after the surgery, the bottom is before it.

See the wavy lines running through the “after” picture? That’s what’s causing the problem. When the lining is smooth, you get an accurate reflection of the world around you. But wavy lining functions like a funhouse mirror and bends the image every which way.

Doc said that this after-affect usually only happens after glaucoma surgery, not what I had. In fact, he said he’d never seen it before following a vitrectomy. Said the odds of this happening were like 100-1.

Lucky me.

When I went back the next week, I could do a little better on the eye chart, but still had the full-on funhouse mirror effect. He said he expected the waves to dissipate over the next several weeks to a couple of months.

There looked like some progress on the scans though:

The top is the newest scan, the bottom is from the previous week

You can see that the lines have smoothed out a bit so there’s some improvement physically, but not much practically.

At this point, all I can do is be patient, because it has to heal itself. He said there are no surgeries to correct it, nor eyeglasses that will compensate. So I just have to sit here and wait to get better while contemplating a possible lifetime of being one-eyed.

Around the house, I can get by. It’s frustrating, but I can function. What I can’t do is DRIVE, and that’s what frustrates me the most. I hate having to depend on others to get around. When I look out at the road, from the front seat of a car, it looks like what I used to see back when I was a college student, driving home from a late night at the bars. I was lucky I found my way home in one piece during those nights. I don’t think that will make a good “new normal.”

I do know that it’s not illegal to drive with one eye, as long as you pass a test. I have to figure out whether it’s better to have wavy but wider vision, or wear a patch and have 20/20, but no peripheral vision to my left.

So I’ll just have to be patient and see what comes next, while I contemplate the nagging question, “Why the hell didn’t I just learn to live with the goddamned floaters?

Monday, June 3, 2024

The Felonious Guy

I presume you heard the good news last week about a certain trial in New York? A jury found TFG guilty on all 34 counts and there was a great rejoicing in the streets! (And like the title says, “TFG” now stands for “The Felonious Guy.”)

I remain surprised that there wasn’t one MAGA intent on jamming up the works, and maybe there was, but the strength of the prosecution’s case could have made an impact. It’s one thing to hear a biased interpretation of the evidence on Fox “News,” but quite another to see the evidence presented with context, in court.

So it’s a good first step to accountability. I still don’t think he’s ever really going to get there. I’m positive he never sees the inside of a jail cell. Just the sheer logistics of his situation as an ex-president makes it likely they’ll seek other accommodations.

I said as much in a post last year, that the courts should get creative in finding suitable ways to punish such a suit.

For example, maybe they can ban him from using a golf cart, or only allow him a one-iron and a wedge in his golf bags. And he has to hit from the “lady’s tee.”

They could replace all his gold fixtures with aluminum or tin.

Or they can remove all the ketchup from his house detention and only serve chuck steak, cooked rare.

They can put every TV channel on MSNBC and take away his cell phone.

Or even better, tune the channel to some network that won’t mention him at all, like BBC or something. Maybe Al Jazeera.

OR, eliminate all the news stations and limit his viewing BET.

No spray tanning, makeup, or hair products.

They can limit his visitors to Don Jr. only.

If they actually want him to grow and learn while away, they could limit his TV watching to Sesame Street, in hopes he might pick up a more grown-up vocabulary.

They should eliminate all newspapers and magazines, but fill every room with books. Big ones, with no pictures.

Or if they really want to screw with him, they can take the last 15 minutes of the season finale of Celebrity Apprentice was pre-empted for Obama’s announcement that we killed Bin Laden, and run it on a loop.

Naturally, the GOP establishment is howling it up big time, because they have to. They are obligated to show fealty toward TFG no matter what happens if they want to stay right with their base. And I think their hearts are really in it because they’re terrified that someone might start looking at THEIR OWN campaign finances. If I was the prosecutor hearing all these jagoffs crying about it being unfair to pick on TFG, I’d be like, “OK pal, let's keep it fair and look at some more Congresspeople.” I’d also want a look at the books from a bunch of the rich mega-donors too, because that’s where the real power is. Start looking at the politicians and then follow the money to see from whence it came.

This is likely to be the only trial for TFG. The Republicans have already bent the system to their will to prevent the other three trials from coming to pass any time soon (or ever). As is their custom, they know they can’t win on facts or evidence, so they have to work the system to evade justice. Hence, we have one Trumpist judge who will slow-walk the secret documents case until it collapses, the DA in Georgia under personal legal attack, so to hamper her ability to prosecute the case, and the Federalist Society SCOTUS Six ready to rule that the president had broad immunity, shielding him from prosecution of leading an insurrection against the government.

I can’t believe anyone is taking the idea seriously that Alito or Thomas might recuse themselves from making decisions regarding the January 6th Insurrection. They know it looks bad but at this point in time, they no longer care how things look, including Justice Roberts. They know it’s time to do what they were installed to do, which is protect the Republican Gravy Train of tax cuts and deregulation. They will never step aside voluntarily. I’m sure they’ve noticed that Jeff Sessions still can’t get service at the country club after recusing himself from the Justice Dept. investigation of TFG’s Russia ties.

TFG has also taken time out of his busy schedule of crying about the indignity of having to actually attend his own trial and abide by the outcome, to criticize the Republican candidate for Maryland’s senate seat.

As I’ve written before, Maryland’s Senate seat is critical if the Democrats hope to keep the Senate. Hogan was a popular Republican governor of a blue state and he got that way by not being a Trumper or religious fanatic. So he’s got some heavy math to do here.

If he falls in with TFG, he loses in Maryland, because we don’t play that shit here. There aren’t enough MAGAs alone to put him over the top.

But, if he loses the MAGAs, he needs that many more suburban dads to cross party lines and vote for him. Given the commercials I’ve already seen, he’s trying to pick up crossover Dems. His ads are all about supporting reproductive freedom and not voting lockstep with Republicans.

I hope his opponent (Angela Alsobrooks) starts running spots soon about how it doesn’t much matter how he’ll vote on single issues, but that he’ll count among the Republicans to decide who controls the Senate. And THAT determines a great deal about where we go next. He may not be a wingnut, but he’s still a shill for big business, just like any other Republican. And he can be pressured to vote with the majority just like any other Senator, by waving choice committee assignments in his face or adding dollars to his home state’s budget allotment.

So I’m thrilled to see the RNC hanging him out to dry. Sure, the spokesperson is literally a Trump, but the more they put doubts about him in MAGA minds, the more that may stay home on Election Day, or at least skip on the Senate race.

Director’s DVD Commentary: It took me a bit to figure out how I wanted to play with the new “TFG.” At first, I was thinking, “The Former Felonious Guy,” (TFFG) or the other way ‘round, (The Felonious Former Guy) but settled on just switching out one F-word for the other. I hate when acronyms get too long.