Posted on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021
I'm just going to get this out there... not a fan of JaBiden.
I never wanted Joe Biden as my president. I definitely didn't want ex-prosecutor Kamala Harris as my Vice President. And Hillary Clinton, who is the very model of a garbage politician, was nowhere near my list of desired presidential candidates when she was shoved down our throats last election. But my thinking that she's "garbage" isn't saying much because 98% of our politicians are lobbyist-fed garbage as far as I'm concerned. So long as MONEY is allowed to corrupt our politics and buy off the government, the entire system is garbage.
But my loathing of Biden, Harris, and Clinton pales in comparison to how much I outright despise President Trump. His every single move was made to exclusively benefit himself, corporations, and the über-wealthy wealthy... in that order. Anybody who says otherwise has never actually looked at what he did for his four years in office and asked "Who does this really benefit? He exploited people's ignorance, bigotry, and Faith to screw us all.
So, yeah, I'm saying good riddance to Trump and will be very happy to say good riddance again when JaBiden leaves office.
Good Lord. How in the hell have we gotten here? That Trump and Biden are what we end up with as our leaders is is both inexplicable and sad. It's like the bar is now so low now that nothing will surprise me any more. Big Bird winning the presidential election in 2024? Yeah, sure. Whatever.
But what really gets me is how people become fanatically devoted to politicians in the first place. They're just people... not Jesus... or The Beatles. It makes zero sense... and I'm saying that about both Republicans and Democrats. I was absolutely bewildered by the Cult of Hillary Clinton. What was it about her that had people so consumed? And we don't even need to talk about the Cult of Donald Trump, which is even more bizarre to me. I mean...
Um... well... that's... unique? Is the word I'm looking for? Photo from the European Press Agency
From what can be theorized, anybody this devoted (yet this different in their varying ideology) are just all hating the same thing. Hate is what binds them together. It has nothing to do with loving their country, which was made quite clear when they assaulted the police, stormed the Capitol, tore down the American flag, then raised a Trump flag in its place. I mean, aren't those all the things that anybody who truly loves the USA would say are a bad thing?
What's amusing (for lack of a better word) is the sublime ignorance which is driving all this.
I've heard more than a couple times how people are branding this as a "revolution." I keep hearing things like "This is what had to happen! When we declared our independence in 1776, did we write a letter to the British telling them that we were going to be America? NO!! We went to war and kicked them out!"
Except... um... yeah... not so much.
The entire history of American Independence is well-documented, if anybody should care to investigate it. In actuality we wrote a rather important "letter" and did indeed "send it" to King George of England by publishing its text in colonial newspapers. It's called the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps you've heard of it? From what we know, the letter arrived in Britain via papers in Belfast the month after it was signed. It was all a formal affair, and the British even published a rebuttal to it and everything.
Also? There was massive support for the Revolutionary War. Like everybody in the colonies was behind it. This wasn't a splinter group who wanted to break away from England... absolutely everybody wanted it to happen. So a handful of people buying into completely unfounded election conspiracy theories which have been disproven over and over and over again... and even been disproven by Trump-voting Republicans... does not a revolution make.
I mean, I'm not happy Biden is our president either... but holy shit! SEDITION?!?
And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm having another idiopathic angioedema attack. Half of my tongue has swollen so large that I am having difficulty swallowing. Which is a bummer, because that's he only way I can take huge loads of antihistamines in order to stop it from getting so large that it chokes me to death. What I'm having to do is crush them into powder, mix with water, then use a straw shoved way back in my mouth to get them in me. How fun!
My evening will be spent propped up by pillows with an epi-pen in my hand, just in case.
And, assuming there's a country left when I wake up in the morning, I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings for the United States of America.
Posted on Friday, January 8th, 2021
I got up early this morning to get some work done before feeding the cats and running into Tourist Town to do some grocery shopping. Early morning shopping is the best shopping because the store is so empty. But also? My cupboards and refrigerator are low on staples, so I was excited about having food in the house again.
The other big draw for my grocery shopping today was a coupon I had which gives me $11 off a total of $110 or more. That's 10% off... on top of the other coupons I have. I love it when opportunities like this comes along, because it's the one time I allow myself to buy stuff that's not on sale. But you have to be careful. One penny under $110 and no discount for you. I kept careful track in my head and got to $120 (actual total $116.88), so way to go, me.
Along with a shiny new iPhone, I changed my service plan with AT&T. My new phone can do 5G, my service plan didn't have 5G, and even though I probably won't see 5G any time sooon where I live, I'd like it available when I travel (assuming I travel again). AT&T had a deal where I could get my two lines for $65 a line (with auto-pay and paperless billing enabled), and I'd actually be saving money in the long run over what I had, so sign me up...
Before (virtually) signing on the dotted line, I went over the details of what I would be charged very, very carefully with the phone rep. I wanted to be darn sure there weren't going to be any hidden fees above what I was already paying. After a very patient person went through everything with me... twice... I changed my plan to the new $65 per line.
My previous bill was a mess. I had no idea what was going on because AT&T jerks you around with pro-rated billing and activation fees and other stupid shit that I had no way of understanding. But then today my current bill with none of the extras arrives. And I looked it over very carefully. And, wouldn't you know it, only ONE of my lines was $65. The other was $75...
So I online-chat with AT&T and explain the problem. After pulling up my account, I'm told this:
I see that you have been charged for monthly service charge. That is why you got high in your bill.
I explain that my bill very clearly shows one of the lines was charged $75. Then I get this:
I see that you have been charged $65 for one account and $65 for another account. But this time they have added $8.33 for one account.
I then have to tell them that I am looking at my bill and it clearly shows one line is $75, so I don't know where they're seeing both are at $65. I don't care what the fees are showing, the amount per line I was quoted (and which is still showing on their website) is NOT being honored.
After a while of them "looking into it" I get this:
Yes you are right. Sorry for that. Let me go ahead a note to change that for you. So it will not reflect in your next billing cycle.
Look, I really want to give AT&T the benefit of doubt here, but I see this shit ALL THE TIME, so it's tough not to be cynical. I signed up for a new plan so I could get 5G at $65 a line (if I use auto-pay and paperless billing, which I do). but I'm charged $75 for one and $65 for the other. And the ENTIRE TIME I'm chatting with customer support, I think back to my grandmother and mother being easily confused by pages of bills that are designed to obscure how much YOU'RE ACTUALLY BEING BILLED FOR, and I know beyond any doubt that they would have just paid the overcharge month after month because they didn't know any better. And if they did call customer support, they undoubtedly would have believed the bullshit about "extra fees" and not pressed the issue any further.
This is rage inducing.
And I cannot help but ask... is AT&T doing this on purpose? Do they make their billing statements confusing and encourage auto-pay and paperless billing so they can rip you off and have less chance of being caught? I am seriously outraged right now. I'd dump these assholes in a second if other carriers were any better... but they're all the same, aren't they? So what good would it do?
If the Democrats in power want to make me happy after they're done sucking off the lobbyists lining up to pay them to betray US citizen interests... FIRST they can put us on permanent Daylight Saving Time so we're not dicking with the clocks twice a year. THEN they can pass an act which forces all these asshole companies to not hide all their charges when you sign up for shit. The price they advertise should be the price you pay... AND IT SHOULD INCLUDE ALL THE FUCKING FEES AND OTHER BULLSHIT THAT **NEVER** ALLOW YOU TO KNOW WHAT YOU'RE PAYING BEFORE YOU COMMIT TO A CONTRACT!
But you know what? AT&T probably shovels millions upon millions upon millions to politicians so they can just keep doing exactly what they're doing. Which means nothing is going to change any time soon. Our politicians won't do anything to threaten that sweet, sweet lobbyist payola now would they?
At least not in my State. Senator Patty Murray is OWNED by the medical lobby, and we all know how much they just LOVE to obscure costs in their billing. Major surgery results in pounds of never-ending bills that are intentionally confusing so you just shut up and pay. Which is exactly the kind of behavior our politicians crave... "I'll shut up just so long as you pay."
God bless America.
Posted on Sunday, January 10th, 2021
Free speech has consequences, which is nothing new to bloggers like me... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Colosseo! My mom's favorite landmark is the Roman Colosseum. She asked to visit it every trip we made to Rome which, I believe, was four times (it was a cruise stop twice and a trip stop twice). I'd ask her why she loved it so much and she'd say "I don't know... I just do." When I told her that maybe she was a gladiator in a previous life, she thought that was funny and started telling people that when showing this photo...
Because of this, I very much wish she was still alive, because Rome is renovating the Colosseum, and I think the idea of being able to stand on the floor of the Colosseum arena would be so thrilling to her that we would have definitely made a fifth trip once it was completed. This is really, really cool, and I'd love to be able to visit again. But it won't be the same without my mom there to share it.
• LEGO! I have to say... whomever works in LEGO advertising which came up with this ad for a "Make Your Own MiniFig" game apparently doesn't have the same filthy mind that I do, because, well...
Is that a hotdog in your pants, madam, or are you just happy to see me?
• PERFECT! I've watched this TikTok more times that I'd ever admit. It's hilarious because it's true...
Though I'd argue the point that this is how girls make coffee, because I see plenty of guys doing essentially this. And given my distaste for coffee, this would absolutely be me as well.
• Cute Gay Shit! TikTok is so much more than funny coffee memes. There is some genuinely touching stuff on there that gives me hope for all humanity...
And just KNOW that this gentleman gets lumped in with people he’s condemning because of how he looks and talks. You know it. God bless you, sir.
• NEWSFLASH! FORBES: Close To A Worst-Case Scenario—Former CDC Director Issues ‘Horrifying’ Outlook For New Covid Strain. If your balls don't shrivel up after reading this, then you probably don't have balls. But you are alive if you're reading this, balls or no balls, which means you should be horrified that there are still people not taking this shit seriously. Protect yourself. Protect others. This has catastrophe written all over it.
• Specs? Apple is the most ridiculous fucking company. They want to make their products as simple to use as possible by taking all the "tech" out of everything. Which is fine. EXCEPT YOU CAN NEVER MANAGE TO GET ANY FUCKING SPECS FOR ANYTHING THEY SELL. Will this cable work for charging? I dunno. What is the maximum transfer rate for this cable? I dunno. Can I quick-charge with this cable? I dunno. What about the charger? I dunno. Can you at least tell me if it is USB-PD compliant? I dunno. They literally tell you NOTHING in their support docs or on anything in their entire store. — If you want to shield your customers from scary tech-speak, fine. But at least have the fucking information SOMEWHERE for the people who need to know this shit. Their solution for everything is to say "Well, if it doesn't work, you can always return it." Which is an astound attitude to take considering that it wastes my time and their resources, and I'm getting seriously tired of it.
• Apolitical! My existence right now:
REPUBLICANS: You're just a Democrat shill.
DEMOCRATS: You're just a Republican shill.
ME: I AM NEITHER A DEMOCRAT NOR A REPUBLICAN! I DON'T UNDERSTAND THE NEED TO WORSHIP POLITICIANS AND FALL IN LINE WITH A POLITICAL PARTY RUN BY WEALTHY ASSHOLES THAT ARE PROPPED UP BY WEALTHY CORPORATIONS WHO DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT US! WHY CAN'T I JUST BE A NON-PARTY SHILL?! WHY DOES MY SHILLNESS HAVE TO BE ATTACKED LIKE THIS? I AM A SHILL FOR ALL HUMANITY! AND A SHILL FOR CATS! TOWANDAAAAAAA!!!
Because, like, how could you not be a shill for floofy bellies like dis?
Stay frosty out there, my friends.
Posted on Sunday, January 24th, 2021
A new era may be dawning, but some things will never change... because an all new Q&A Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Does the stair shelf you built for your cats work?
Yep! No falls since I installed it! Jenny has never been a banister girl, so she just walks along it on occasion. But Jake still lays up there all the time. Especially in the Summer when the sun shines on it. Since the catwalk I built adds a couple inches to the width, he's a lot more comfortable laying on it, and like to prop his head on the ledge to watch me and Jenny on the stairs. This, along with the catio, are two of the best things I've made to keep my cats safe and healthy.
• Which meal service do you like best?
Are you talking between Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon and "Hello Fresh," the two I am currently using? That's actually a very good question! Both of them allow you to skip weeks (which I do often because they are expensive) so when I do order, I have been bouncing back and forth. Comparing them in a face-off is actually a good idea for a post. I'll do that sometime in the coming week!
• Japanese knives RUST... they are NOT stainless steel!
Yes. When I reading up on knives, this was brought up many, many times. I made my purchase with my eyes wide open. I expected for rust to appear. But it was still the best knife for what I would be cooking, and I just made a mental note to be sure and wash the blade after every use. And I've never seen rust. Until one day I did! I went into a Google panic, found out the easiest way to deal with it was a Rust Eraser, ordered one, and then found out it wasn't actually rust before the eraser ever arrived. It was a piece of food that I didn't get wiped off and only looked like rust. Since I first got it a year ago, I've never seen a speck of rust and my Rust Eraser hasn't even been taken out of the wrapper. My MAC Chef's Knife and Bread Knife are from their "Professional" series which is "rust resistant" but will still rust if you don't wash and dry them immediately after use. I also have some "Original" series knives which are supposed to rust more easily but, as I said, I've never seen any rust on them because I keep them clean and dry.
• Are you still playing Animal Crossing?
Sadly, no. I haven't had time. And I'm scared to look and see how many weeds I'll have to pull in order to get my island back. It's a great game and helped a lot when we were first under quarantine, but I was spending 2+ hours a day playing it and had stop because there were other things I need to do with my time. Might pick it back up one day and just force a time limit so it's not consuming me like it was. Now I've got TikTok for that!
• Where's your Bernie meme?
Ummm... right here!
My house is kept fairly cool in the winter in order to save on heating costs, so Bernie judging me for the temperature... along with Jenny (and Jake, who has clearly turned his back on me)... seems appropriate.
• Are you finally happy now that Biden is president?
No. No I am not. As I have said quite a few times now, Biden was never my guy so I'm not "finally happy" that he's president. I am, however, elated that Trump is no longer president. So there's a big difference there. I won't be truly "happy" until all the career politicians and other assholes who exploit their office for personal gain at the expense of the American people are out of office. I will also be happy once all the pieces of shit who have so severely divided this country are out of office. Alas, what this would take is the American people WAKING THE FUCK UP and realizing that they are being majorly played. But that takes thinking for themselves, and we all know that this is not something we seem to be very good at right now. So... here we are.
• Where's the first place you'll go once you can travel again?
Well, odds are I won't be traveling for work or for volunteering again... at least not any time soon... so it will likely be a personal trip. My guess is it will be one I've been planning for over a year with friends to Maui. We have unfinished business there that we need to take care of. Otherwise? Not entirely sure. It will take a while for the world to get back to normal and I have no idea where my life will be by then.
And that's the last of my answers to questions I've been asked.
Posted on Tuesday, January 26th, 2021
I have been trying to wrap my head around the logic behind attacking workers who have to enforce mask mandates. They have literally NO control over it. They don't control what elected officials dictate... they don't control what their county dictates... what their company dictates... what their manager dictates. So screaming at them with your anti-mask tirade when there's nothing they can do just makes you the worst possible kind of asshole.
So congratulations! You made a waiter at a cafe break down in tears. And that wasn't good enough, so you started shouting homophobic slurs at him, because apparently you feel his life isn't hard enough already. So... we get it. You are outraged that you have to wear a mask. And you are grossly intolerant of homosexuality. But making this poor minimum-wage earning kid completely break down doesn't win you any victory points. It just shows people how cruel, heartless, and utterly bankrupt you are as a person. You had the opportunity to reach out with kindness and understanding to a young kid just trying to earn a living during these difficult times, but instead you decided to destroy him for no reason over something he has no control over.
Whatever you're taking that allows you to sleep at night... can I get some? Because I haven't been sleeping so well lately and this sounds like it REALLY must knock you out.
Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2021
You ever notice how when millionaires and billionaires are making money on the stock market... while retirement funds for average American citizens are tanking... that we're told this is "just the way it goes?" I sure noticed when my retirement investments lost over 1/3 their value a while back. But then do you also notice how when millionaires and billionaires are losing money on the stock market... while some average Americans are managing to finally win for once... that all of a sudden everything gets shut down to "protect investors?"
If you haven't noticed, just check a news site.
And to understand what's going on, just watch the movie Trading Places...
We here in the United States of America live in a "free market economy." Except when wealthy people are losing money. Then we suddenly don’t. And our government has been fighting to keep it this way all along. They wouldn’t want to piss of the people who OWN their corrupt asses, now would they? The USA... home to the best government money can buy! That's us.
I used to be outraged by this shit. Now I just shrug it off because it's so unsurprising.
Politicians are constantly touting Dow Jones Index numbers as an indication of how the economy is doing. In truth, it's only an indication as to how wealthy people are doing. And yet we've been conditioned to think that it actually means something to us. "Sure you're working more for less, but just look at those Dow numbers!" It's just like how we've been conditioned to think that market regulations which prevent corruption and exploitation are a bad thing.
This morning I went to see how the $25 investment I made as a goof was faring. I was expecting it to be wiped out. So you can imagine my surprise when I see this...
Boy. Can you imagine if I had invested $10,000 instead of $25? I'd have $146,540. Of course the idea of me having $10,000 laying around to invest is hysterical, but a boy can dream can't he?
I'd gladly take some of my $366.35 and buy some AMC Theater stock or some GameStop stock to help keep their value going up... but the iPhone "Robin Hood" app which holds my portfolio has suspended trading of both AMC and GME "to protect investors." AKA "to protect wealthy people."
I'd be outraged that I'm being prevented from buying something in a so-called "free market"... but I'm just going to shrug it off. Again. That's kinda what you have to do when you're not rich enough to ignore the rules.
I mean, Robin Hood has been hit with a class action lawsuit for this bullshit, but do we really expect that to go anywhere?
Shrug it off. Shrug it off. Shrug it off.
Posted on Sunday, January 31st, 2021
I don't mean to alarm anybody, but this is the last Bullet Sunday of the 600's... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Good News, Everyone! After a shitty year of all bad news, it's nice to know that there's a best-case scenario happening right now... People Who've Gotten Both Shots Simply Aren't Getting COVID. And when they do get COVID because it's a mutant strain or whatever... they aren't requiring hospitalization and don't suffer such damaging effects. Nice! Much love to the scientists and researchers who have been working overtime to get us a vaccine.
• Residential! Alan Tudyk is one of my favorite actors, and I was pretty stoked when I randomly happened across his new series... Resident Alien. This is a comic book series I've glanced at, and I had no idea it was being adapted for television. As you'd expect, Tudyk is flawless at playing a quirky alien trapped on earth in disguise as a doctor, and I really loved the first episode...
The premise is pretty darn good, and it will be interesting to see how they play this one out.
• TikTok On The Clock! AMAZING tip for getting more coverage when painting! Thanks, TikTok!
Oh yeah. That's a painting trick I can use!
• Reelection Matters! Still no comment by Patty Murray or Maria Cantwell on Wall Street trying to protect wealthy hedge funds over average Americans? I may die of unshock. Can’t upset their wealthy owners who bankroll their campaigns! Stock manipulation is fine... when rich people do it. Markets are free... until rich people lose money. Wall Street makes the rules to exploit the American people to benefit our wealthiest citizens. And the minute it doesn’t, they change the rules. And Murray and Cantwell are still fighting for that status quo, apparently.
Say... here’s an idea! We know Republicans can’t win against our senators in Blue-Blue Washington State, but what about another Democrat? A Democrat not content to have Washington State sit on the sidelines or take a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to stuff going on Right Now?? A Democrat who doesn’t check with their owners before acting? A Democrat that charges into battle for Washingtonians AS SHIT IS HAPPENING. Because hand-wringing after the fact is getting SO tiring. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was going on interviews, posting to social media, and had a live Twitch feed yesterday to address Wall Street protecting wealthy hedge funds over the American people. Where were our Senators? Planning their re-election campaigns, probably.
• Change! This right here is what I love about TikTok in a nutshell...
some things just change #fyp♬ SHIFTOKKERS ONLY - Koko
Cute story and a SpongeBob Squarepants reference? Yeah... sign me up.
• Flyover! Last night my Apple TV went to screen saver while I cleaned up my filthy kitchen (I swear, that onion/poblano Quesadilla filling is lethal). As I was sitting down I saw that the screen saver was flying over Buckingham Palace which is pretty easy to recognize. Then they keep flying over London and I see that so many of these old buildings have amazing car parks inside! I had no clue when I visited the Churchill War Rooms museum that they had this gorgeous rotunda car park within their walls...
Image taken from Google® Maps Satellite View
Isn't this amazing? And the more I explored, the more interior car parks I found. That's pretty cool. I've seen some of these in person, but never knew how prevalent they are.
And that's a wrap on Bullet Sunday No. 699.
Posted on Monday, February 1st, 2021
Last night I was reading an article from 2018 which said that artificial neurons compute faster than the human brain. This, coupled with the fact that we can already build robots which are capable of acting substantially faster than humans and, well, you can see where this could become a problem on down the road.
Skynet is gonna be real, y'all...
But the more I thought about it...
...the more I kinda embraced the idea of creating robots that are smarter and faster than humans. Think Gort from The Day The Earth Stood Still...
Gort is from a race of robots which were created to police the galaxy and halt any aggression they run across by immediately terminating the aggressors. To make sure they are able to do this effectively, they have been given absolute power over everything and everybody... possessing horrifying weapons to carry out their task. As if that weren't enough, they are also nigh invulnerable to all harm. Long story shot... you do not fuck around with them. Nor do you risk disrupting the peace because it would be your ass that gets vaporized.
Seriously, how handy would it be to have these robots patrolling the planet? Vaporizing assholes and idiots who make this planet such a miserable place to live.
And so I say "Bring it on."
Heaven only knows that robots wouldn't do a worse job of things than we have. And if we all end up extinguished because we can't curb our violent ways? Well, that's probably for the best.
Posted on Tuesday, February 9th, 2021
Last night I fell into a Google rabbit hole of Trans-Gulf Bird Migration articles that blew my mind so thoroughly that I was in danger of mental collapsed. It started with an article which stated that there's a bird that has a better handle on predicting hurricanes than any meteorologist and spiraled from there.
And, for me at least, even more difficult to grasp than a weather-predicting Veery Bird is how the tiny thing can keep flying long enough to cross the Gulf of Mexico in the first place.
Some migratory birds can remain in flight for months. Months! They eat, sleep, drink, and mate in the air. The only time they spend time on earth is to lay their eggs and raise their young. Then they're right back up there again. This article from Audubon discusses the Common Swift flying for ten months straight.
And don't even get me started on the albatross. Because holy shit.
Along the way some scientist guy smacked down disbelief in these creature's ability to stay aloft for so long with "Do you act this amazed by a fish who spends its entire life swimming? This is what they were made to do." And while I get their point, my brain is still "Well, yeah, but fish are buoyant. They don't flap their fins to stay floating, they only flap to move, don't they?" I mean sure there are wind currents and such that make it so an albatross can stay airborn for 5 to 10 years, but still...
There's so much amazing stuff happening in this world and yet we seldom take the time to look and I'm not sure why. It's probably the internet's fault. Though, in the internet's defense, I only found out about all this stuff because of the internet, so I don't know.
All I do know is that Ill be digging out my bird feeders from storage this weekend. Who knows how far that bird appearing in my front yard has flown to get here. It might could use a bite to eat.
Posted on Sunday, February 14th, 2021
It's Valentine's Day, the world's gone crazy, winter storms are striking, and I just drank my last can of Coke Zero, but all is not lost... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Let it Snow! It's snowing! And every time this happens, I think back to this TikTok, which is one of the funniest things I've ever seen...
i was talking about the snow shut up♬ original sound - goofs
It's getting to the point where I'd rather watch TikToks than television.
• Ryan! I swear... if Ryan Reynolds wasn't completely killing it as an actor, he could easily make a mint as a media consulting company. His every ad endeavour has been amazing...
The fact that he did this particular ad on behalf of a charity is just icing on the cake. I guess you can understand the reason my cat's full name is Jake Ryan Reynolds Simmer.
• Munchin'! There’s a woman with a pet duck called “Munchkin” on my TikTok. The duck’s most favorite thing is to go through the drive-thru at Dunkin’s for a cup of ice water. Over the past several weeks she’s been taking Munchkin to different drive-thrus, and today she FINALLY took her to Sonic, which has the most amazing ice ever...
We do not speak of the time that she took Munchkin to Dairy Queen and they refused to give her an ice water. Guess I'm not bothering with their duck-denying asses any more.
• SELECT ITEMS! My morning was ruined this past Tuesday, thanks to Cutlery and More's 20% OFF Sale...
"20% OFF! Wow! How awesome!"
"SELECT ITEMS? Crap! Well... mayyyybeee...."
By manufacturer request? How can a manufacturer keep you from just putting your entire store at 20% off? This blows. The only things I want to buy have been excluded from their sale.
• Norge! Will Ferell had a Superb Owl commercial which promoted General Motors electric cars here in the USA and complain that Norway is currently #1 when it comes to fuel-free automobiles. It was basically a disturbingly funny look at how far the US is behind much of the world, and Will is angry at Norway because of it.
And now Norway responds...
What's so incredible here is how the original commercial typifies American response to most everything. We're #1. We're the best country in the world. No other country is better than us. Except when they are, and then we have to obliterate them. Whereas Norway's response is so typical of them. Smart, playful, educational, and delivering a smackdown in a way that's tough to really debate... yet not so harsh that it alienates Americans entirely. It's absolute insanity to think how stupid, gullible Americans have been conditioned by our wealthy corporate overlords to believe that the horrific state of this country is inconsequential to us being "the best" at everything. Which it is... for our wealthy corporate overlords. We are an incomprehensibly wealthy country, yet the vast majority of that wealth is exclusively in the hands of precious few people. Believing that this makes us the envy of all the world is the height of such laughable hubris that I'm surprised Norway can even deliver their response with any semblance of a straight face.
• Controversial Colors? The stuff I learn on TikTok could fill volumes, thanks to amazing content creators like this...
Weird, cool, and enlightening. That's pretty much TikTok in a nutshell.
• ENTITLEMENT OUTRAGE! Boy, the butthurt is strong on Facebook this past week. I watch six "traditional" television channels... HDTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, Bravo, VH1, and Hallmark (anything else on my TV comes from a custom streaming service like Netflix or Disney+). All of those traditional channels can be had on my $20 Philo subscription, which is SO cheap. I USED to pay $126 per month for satellite that was packed with channels I didn't want and never watched! I am saving over ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS a year by going with a package that fits exactly what I want!
Now some of these channels... namely those under the Discovery umbrella like HGTV... are offering their ENTIRE FUCKING BACK-CATALOG for popular shows... PLUS all-new exclusive content via a streaming service called discovery+. This is like a fucking all-you-can-eat-buffet for somebody like me who loves their programming and could watch them over and over and over again. And now I can. For $5 a month. Glorious!
I just took advantage of a discovery+ promo to get a YEAR of ad-free for $60 (usually the $5/mo. price comes with ads). It's a gift subscription special, so I gifted it to myself! I could not be happier. So imagine my unshock when I look through the comments on the Facebook post advertising the special and see "STOP NICKLE AND DIMING US!" and "NOPE! NOT PAYING YOU ONE CENT MORE!" and "I ALREADY PAY FOR CABLE, YOU'RE BEEING GREEDY!" and "IT'S A PANDEMIC AND YOU'RE SCREWING PEOPLE!" — And I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa. This isn't lifesaving medicine... it's fucking TV shows for Christ's sake. AND, on top of that, Discovery STILL broadcast their regular programming over satellite and cable packages if that's the way you want to go. The only thing you miss out on it the exclusive content. But even that's not a big deal. Wait for all the episodes to air for a show you want to see, spend $5 for a single month to watch them, then cancel before it renews the next month. But NOOOOOO! That requires people to stop being fucking idiots.
I honest to God don't get the entitlement bullshit I see every fucking day. People feel ENTITLED to entertainment TV shows? Seriously? Ironically, half these people are probably just fine with health care costs bankrupting them instead of having Medicare for All be paid out of our taxes... but tell them they have to pay for new episodes of Fixer Upper? TOTAL FUCKING OUTRAGE! I cannot with people on the internet any more. It just keeps getting worse and worse and worse.
• IT'S EVERYWHERE! And lastly, before I go, here's one more TikTok that slayed me this weekend...
That's me cleaning up cat vomit the rare times that it's happened. To go through this every day? Yikes.
And now I suppose I should think about cleaning my house. Or not. It's not like I'm having visitors any time soon and my cats just don't care.
Posted on Wednesday, February 17th, 2021
Last night I got a call from a good friend I've known for over a decade. And the way you know that they are a good friend is that I actually picked up. There's only a dozen people that I will interrupt my busy pandemic lifestyle to talk with, and he is one of them.
"I'm starting to worry about you. Your texts and emails have you sounding down."
"More down than usual?"
I assured him that I'm doing just fine despite the pandemic completely changing my life, we shot the shit for a half hour, then said our goodbyes.
And I totally get why he called. COVID is happening, the world has gone to shit, and the light at the end of the tunnel is probably the headlight of a freight train. This is a friend who knows first-hand about my struggles, and it's nice to know that there are people who care enough to check in on me like this.
The centerpiece of our conversation was me explaining that there's a difference between wanting to die and being apathetic about dying. I don't want to die, I just don't care if it happens. For the time being I have cats that rely on me, there's some things left I'd like to do with my life (or try to do), and I'm not ready to check out just yet. So I'm good.
The news when I woke up this morning was Trump Plaza being imploded and demolished...
Photo from the Associated Press Newswire
This brought up memories of my first and only trip to Atlantic City back on July 17, 1999. I was working in New York City and ended up with a free day and nothing to do. Ultimately I decided that I would go to the Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City for lunch so I could check it off my list, then head back to The City. The cheapest way to do this was via Greyhound Bus. Not the best way to travel, but I had survived far worse.
I managed to get a window seat half-way back, then sat there as the bus started filling up. Eventually a woman walked up and asked if she could sit next to me. I said "No problem" and she replied with "Thanks. You look like the person least likely to grab me or assault me." The only thing I could think to say way "Um, thanks. I guess?"
The next three hours were spent talking to my seatmate and new best friend. John F. Kennedy Jr. had died the previous day and she had to get out of The City. He had been the golden boy of NYC, was much beloved there, and things were just too depressing for her. A nine hour distraction was just what she needed. Like me, she had booked the 8am departure (arriving 11am) returning 2pm (or something like that). Along the way she had quite a lot to say. I remember almost none of it. I do remember her talking about how she had moved to a new church and signed up for choir. When she got her robe, she was dismayed to see that it was all white. "So there I am in all my Blackness standing there in the whitest robe I've ever seen..."
I didn't say much after explaining that my trip was just to visit the Hard Rock Cafe.
When we arrived we just kinda gravitated towards hanging out together for our three hours. The first thing I did was ask somebody where the "Trump Hotel" was at. "Which one do you mean? The Taj Mahal or the Plaza? I had no idea, so I just responded with "Um... whichever one has the Hard Rock Cafe in it?" Turns out it was the "Trump Taj Mahal" across from "Steel Pier" which was a 20 minute walk...
The All-Star Cafe Atlantic City was there too...
After eating lunch, we played slots in the casino for a while. I hit a $70 jackpot fairly quickly off a $10 investment, and poured her out a bunch of quarters so we could keep playing the various slot machines before walking back to the bus terminal. We had a great time. I got the Hard Rock Cafe checked off my list and she got her distraction.
And then some.
On the way back a fight broke out on the bus. Some guy leaned his seat back into some other guy and he was not happy about it. The guys were screaming. The wife of one of the guys was screaming. And the bus driver was screaming for them to knock it off or else he would stop the bus and kick them all off of it. Eventually the matter was settled by the husband and wife swapping seats or something. All my seatmate had to say about the situation was "I knew it. I just knew I wasn't going to get through six hours on a bus without something like this happening!" The rest of our trip was made in silence as we headed back to a city in mourning.
The Trump Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino was one of Donald Trump's many banruptcies and has a rather colorful history... including it being involved in money laundering and being a hot spot for Russian mobsters. Eventually the property was shut down in 2016, then sold to Hard Rock International in 2017. Then in 2018 they reopened it as the "Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City."
As for The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino? Also bankrupted. Also a colorful history. It was originally THE place to be in Atlantic City for the rich and famous. But once the Trump Taj Mahal opened in 1990, Trump ended up poaching his own customers with the newer, bigger, flashier property. Thus the Plaza bankruptcy in 1992. In 1993 Trump somehow made his way out of bankruptcy (do I even want to know how a casino beloved by Russian mobsters managed that?) and started expanding the property... because doubling down in the face of financial ruin is apparently his thing, I guess. But money wasn't the only thing that Trump lost... he also famously lost an eminent domain case against a woman named Vera Coking. Like the asshole he is, Trump tried to get the city to condemn her property so he could buy it and turn it into a limousine parking lot. He failed.
Just as Penthouse magazine publisher Bob Guccione had failed in the 1970's to buy her out of her home. A situation that fans of the Pixar movie, Up, might recognize...
Photo by Jack Boucher for Historic American Buildings Survey, c.1991 (via Wikipedia)
Unironically I also have a photo of the now-demolished Trump Plaza Hotel from my 1999 visit. I took a photo of Planet Hollywood Atlantic City and it was sticking out like an ugly sore thumb in the background...
Trump's rise and fall in Atlantic City is an engaging story, which you can read in this Salon article originally published by InsiderNJ just before the previous presidential election: Atlantic City has a warning for the nation: Donald Trump brings ruin and despair. Salon helpfully added the byline "Trump looted and corrupted New Jersey's gambling mecca and then got out of town. Does that sound familiar?" Why, yes. It sounds very familiar, alas.
It's weird to think of the stuff that's happened in the world during my 54 years, 10 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days on this planet. From the year I graduated, Trump had Trump Taj Mahal ('84), Trump Plaza ('84), Trump's Castle ('85), Trump's Steel Pier ('88), and Trump's World's Fair ('89) in Atlantic City... and lost them all. His consolation prize being that he was elected President of the United States of America in 2016, the same year Trump Taj Mahal (his last remaining Atlantic City property) was shut down permanently.
Oh well. In addition to my dying (among many, many other subjects) I also hold apathy towards ugly buildings being demolished.
I am kinda glad that I was able to visit Atlantic City during Trump's heydey there in 1999 though. America's prince may have just died in a tragic plane crash... but Donald J. Trump, Democrat, was thinking of running for president on a pro-choice Reform Party ticket with Oprah Winfrey as his running mate.
It was a glorious time to be alive.
Posted on Thursday, February 18th, 2021
I wrote about the AIDS crisis that was exploding around me in the 1980's on a blog entry back in 2018. Dredging up the profound sadness of it all is something which haunts me 2-1/2 years later. If you haven't read it, here's your link, but the passage relevant to this entry is this...
"I'm filled with despair trying to wrap my head around what it was like for the gay community. I had friends who told me that they spent years in hospitals. Years. Not because they were sick, but because everybody they knew was sick or dying. I am aghast if I have to attend a funeral once a year. If you were an integral part of a large gay community, you might end up at a funeral every month. — Due to the AIDS epidemic, the 80's and early 90's were a tragic time of sadness and loss for a great many people."
Yes, it was very much a tragic time of sadness and loss for a great many people.
But not everyone.
Rush Limbaugh used to have a segment on his radio show called AIDS Update. He would start playing songs like Looking for Love (In All The Wrong Places) and then enthusiastically talk about all the gay men who were dying from AIDS-related complications, tell AIDS jokes, and have an on-air party because people dying from AIDS. He would read the name of gay men who had died and play horns and whistles in a jubilant celebration of their fate.
I try very hard not to wish people dead or celebrate people dying... but that doesn't mean I'm sad Rush Limbaugh has died.
Far from it.
Rush Limbaugh ruthlessly persecuted, mocked, and exploited entire segments of the population to his fanatical fan base. And LGBTQ+ persons were just the start. He was particularly horrible towards Black Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, the poor, and women... but there was really nobody he wouldn't attack with unbridled glee if he thought that he could turn hate into dollars. He was all the worst things about humanity compacted into a single blob of hate, and his monstrous cruelty is what he was best known for. He told starving children to eat out of dumpsters for Christ's sake.
And he was celebrated for it...
Photo from a Google Search, so I dunno.
So, no, I don't give a single fuck that Rush Limbaugh is dead.
Rush Limbaugh was a worthless piece of shit who left this earth worse than he entered it. He woke up every day trying to find new ways to make it worse. His repugnant influence helped create an environment so toxic that it's literally endangered lives. So I'm supposed to be sad about his passing? Fuck that. Burn in hell you lying, disgusting, monstrous gas-bag.
And speaking of burning in hell...
As you are undoubtedly aware, Texas is in serious crisis. Freezing weather has gotten so bad that people have been without electricity or heat for days. Toilets are frozen and you have to boil water to use it, assuming you can find a way to do so. People and animals are dying...
I could literally spend my entire day continuing the hypocritical bullet points showing how Texas has been conned and gerrymandered into voting for people who literally don't give a fuck about them, but I really need to take a shower and get ready for work.
Okay... just one more, because holy shit...
My guess is that Rush Limbaugh is saving a seat for Ted Cruz in hell at the fraudsters and liars table.
Not that there aren't angels still among us...
Never forget that Dolly Parton is one of the first to step up and help when people are in crisis. She even contributed millions of her own money to COVID vaccine research. Now isn't this the type of person we should want running our government? You'd think so... and yet...
Posted on Sunday, February 21st, 2021
The weather may be hitting hard here in these United States of America, but I will not be deterred... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Ingenuity! I am still in awe of NASA's latest mission to Mars. I have spent hours upon hours pouring over the NASA documentation, briefs, reports, and news about it. One of the things that blows my mind even more than the fact that we can land something on the surface of Mars is how they actually do it. It's actually a sky crane which gently lowers the Perseverance rover to the surface like so...
Artist rendering from NASA/JPL - Caltech
The landing modules that did the heavy lifting... er, landing... sent back a photo of it actually happening...
Photo from NASA/JPL - Caltech
NASA even managed to get an orbital view of it happening...
Photo from NASA/JPL - Caltech
But the big surprise here is that Perseverance didn't land alone. He brought a little buddy with him... the Ingenuity test copter drone!
Photo from NASA/JPL - Caltech
This little helicopter bot is just a test project. It's not really on Mars to do anything except experiment with the concept of using helicopters on the red planet. Not the most mind-boggling thing to happen on this mission, but every journey begins with a single step. What IS a bit mind-boggling is how Ingenuity hitched a ride to the planet's surface. It's snuggled underneath the Perseverance and will be popped off, rotated right-side-up, then placed on the ground as the rover drives away. NASA tested it here on earth, as you can see from this cool video...
The engineering required to make all this happen... and happen under Mars' brutal temperatures and a much thinner atmosphere... is truly a testament to human ingenuity. Oh... wait a second... is that why the little helicopter bot was named Ingenuity? NASA will be holding another press briefing at 2pm P.S.T. tomorrow, and you can bet I'll be watching!
• Help! So much attention is (rightfully) being directed towards the human crisis happening in Texas, and my heart aches for all those who are suffering. But what keeps me up at night are the animals who are caught up in the cold weather danger as well. They are mostly overlooked, and it's gut-wrenching to see the reports coming out of the Lone Star State. A friend has been sharing links where people can donate, and I've done what I can, starting with these three organizations...
Anything you can donate... no matter how small... will be much appreciated.
• Social Media Reporting! United Airlines Flight 328 suffered catastrophic engine failure and was forced to land. And the way I found out about this major news story? It appeared on TikTok as a trending video...
What's even more amazing was the footage of the blown engine from within the cabin...
Planes can fly on one engine and are built to accomodate a blown engine. However... this flight was on its way to Hawaii from Denver. This would have been a very different story if they were 1,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean. I'm just happy it happened so soon after takeoff and that nobody was hurt. The interior video above was shot by Bretty Guy who, ironically ennough, posted this back in 2013...
After having his video viewed millions of times and being picked up by every possible news organization, he probably gets it now. Social media is how we communicate. It's how information (and, disinformation, natch) gets seen.
• NEWSFLASH! Womans Wants Apology After Tom Brady Trophy Toss — Apology? Are you shitting me?!? Because your feelings were hurt over an object you don't own? It wasn't even fucking damaged! It got tossed by somebody WHO TOSSES SHIT FOR A LIVING...
Photo captured from video by WFTS via WCVB.
Good Lord. Nobody... absolutely NOBODY... gives a shit about your stupid-ass feelings over the fucking Lombardi trophy, and absolutely NOBODY owes you shit. Your dad got paid to do a job and he did it. Your ownership... or rather any ownership by your your father... ended the minute the trophy left left Tiffany & Co. — If I bought a Tiffany baby rattle that your dad made and shoved it up my ass, would you be acting this stupid? Oh probably. Because self-important pieces of shit ALWAYS act just this stupid. I am getting so damn tired of the entitlement people feel when it comes to nonsensical bullshit like this. Save your outrage for something that matters... like the current flavor of the month ice cream at Baskin-Robbins or which kitten video is trending on YouTube or some shit like that. If anybody should be dishing out apologies, it should be your pathetic ass for acting like Tom Brady melted the fucker down and took a shit on it while you were holding it. I mean, there's a pandemic going on that's killing people... but Tom Brady tossed a trophy to somebody, so let's all shed tears over that. Jesus Christ.
• Loser! This appeared in my Facebook feed. One of those few times I don't mind seeing an ad because this is hilarious...
If only there was an apropriate place I could wear such a thing. If you do, you can pick one up (in several designs) right here at TeePublic.
• Cheese! There’s a meme going around TikTok which originated with a man going to his refrigerator and asking "Doesn’t everybody have a drawer in their fridge that’s completely dedicated to cheese?" The joke being that he has DVDs stored in his refrigerator...
Since then people have been making their own version of the meme where they have increasingly weird stuff being stored in their refrigerator. — And this whole time I’m like "BOTH DRAWERS IN MY FRIDGE ARE DEVOTED TO CHEESE!!!" And also a third draw which has my snack cheeses in it. My refrigerator is all cheese all the time and it's no laughing matter!
• Va Va Voom! There are two sides to TikTok that I absolutely love and would rather watch than most television shows or movies... Black TikTok and Gay TikTok. Both can be entertaining as hell, and I laugh out loud more often than I'd ever admit. I also end up learning more than I'll ever admit. And while there's some overlap from time to time, they are two very different entities. UNTIL TODAY, THAT IS. I've run into the song Va Va Voom by Nicki Minaj on both sides. It's a song that I've never heard of before. And it ended up being 100% my jam for the weekend...
Banger! Thanks TikTok!
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, bullet fans...
Posted on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021
In my middle school science class one winter, our teacher had one of us run out and fill a beaker full of snow. Once my fellow student returned with the snow, the teacher started up a flame, crafted a snowball, and asked us what would happen to the snowball if he put it in the flame. Somebody raised their hand and said "IT WILL MELT!" at which point the teacher asked to see a show of hands of how many of us thought that was correct. We all raised our hands.
But the snowball didn't melt.
It did start to slowly disappear though. The science teacher then explained that this was due to SUBLIMATION... where something transitions from a solid directly to a gas. We all thought that was pretty cool.
Fast forward to this week where people in Texas are claiming that the unprecidented snowfall is fake and man-made to... well, I dunno... punish Texans for some bizarre reason...
Now, my first instinct was to think "Well, since they normally don't get snow in Texas like this, their science teacher wasn't able to provide the same demonstration that I had as a kid, so I guess this is understandable. They just don't know how snow works." I chalked it up to ignorance, and felt bad for them that concepts like "sublimation" and "soot" were absent in their thinking.
And then I actually watched the video.
"Thank you Bill Gates for trying to fucking trick us that this is real snow. You'll see it's not melting, and it's going to burn. Snow don't burn. Snow fucking melts. No water no dripping no nothing. If I put this shit in the microwave it's going to start sparking because there's metal mixed in it."
I went from feeling sorry that this woman was lacking basic science principles I learned in middle school... to feeling absolute rage.
I will never forgive Bill Gates for saddling us with the shitty Microsoft Windows computer operating system... but he is one of those rare billionaires WHO ARE ACTUALLY USING THEIR MONEY TO ACTIVELY MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE, and I am sick and fucking tired of people making him out to be some kind of evil comic book super-villain because they are idiots who don't possess critical thinking skills.
Bill Gates once said that one the biggest barriers towards having good health care in developing nations was the lack of medical records. And he's right. Because people often get displaced by famine or violence, any records that might have been kept on their medical history are often lost. And how can a doctor provide adequate care without a proper medical history? Gates suggested that perhaps medical records could be put on a tiny chip that could be placed under the skin so that these people would be able to have their critical medical information on them at all times. It was a genius solution by a smart man to solve a very real problem.
Next thing you know this simple concept which can be easily verified via a Google search becomes this sinister plot to microchip everybody so Bill Gates can track your movements. Like he would even give a shit about your boring-ass life. And never mind that everybody has credit cards and mobile phones which make tracking you a piece of cake already, the conspiracy theory bullshit is somehow what people want to believe?
Bill Gates has been using his massive wealth to invest in medical research, medical solutions, and vaccination programs in countries where vaccinations are tough to get. He does all this because he's a genuinely decent human being who wants to leave this world better than he entered it. VACCINES. SAVE. LIVES. PERIOD. and Bill Gates doesn't think that the poorest of humanity should have to go without.
Next thing you know, somebody on the internet decides that vaccines are bad despite history being replete with evidence to the contrary, the anti-vax idiocy movement is started, and Bill Gates is once again painted as a villain who somehow wants to vaccinate everybody so he can get rich or whatever. Never mind that he has so much money that he couldn't spend it in ten lifetimes... never mind that he's done his best to make sure vaccines can be had for free... the conspiracy theory bullshit is somehow what people want to believe?
Bill Gates has been an advocate for combatting climate change. A threat so serious that it is already affecting every living creature on the planet and may one day be our doom. Wanting to divest his investments from contributing factors like fossil fuels, Gates took his money out of oil companies (or whatever) and sunk it into emerging green energy development. He does this because he gives a shit about the world that his kids will be living in.
Next thing you know, somebody who doesn't understand basic fucking science can't melt a snowball with a cigarette lighter, and Bill Gates is trying to control the weather. Ironically, figuring out how to control the weather might be our only option for dealing with climate change if we've reached a tipping point where there's no fixing things. But hey... the conspiracy theory bullshit is somehow what people want to believe?
Being ignorant or uneducated is one thing.
Buying into bullshit anti-science conspiracy theories to vililfy a guy who has invested huge sums of time, effort, and money into helping people live healtheir lives on a healthier planet is another thing entirely.
I am quickly coming to understand how reeducating these people with evidence, facts, research, and logic is a losing battle. They don't give a shit about any of that. They only care about what fits their idiotic narrative regardless of how stupid and absurd. So what to do? If you can't make them see facts or reason, what's left? Tell them to go fuck themselves and move on? Maybe. But too many people are being too stupid for this to be a long-term solution. We've got people who think the earth is flat, for Christ's sake.
In chemistry, SUBLIMATION is the process by which solids (like snow) are converted to a vapor via heat. The vapor can be liquified via condensation, then turned back into a solid via cold.
Outside of chemistry, SUBLIMATION is the act of refining or purifying something to achieve a better, higher state.
I am convinced that Bill Gates has been sublimating into a higher version of humanity due to his amazing generosity and investment into planet earth and the life which inhabits it. He is what wealthy people should aspire to be.
Though why anybody would want to be Bill Gates when some willfully ignorant whack-job who doesn't know how snow works is cursing your name is beyond me. Far easier to just sit on your massive wealth and buy gold-plated toilets for your private jet collection. Sure this just keeps humanity moving ever-closer to its destruction, but at least people don't think you team up with The Joker and Catwoman to battle Batman as you try to loot Gotham City.
Posted on Wednesday, March 10th, 2021
Yesterday I received a notice that the interest rate on the credit card I use to get a discount at the local tire shop chain has been increased to 29.999%. Holy shit!
Thankfully I only use it every 3 or 4 years when I have to get new all-weather or winter tires... and I pay it off in full immediately after I get the first bill... but this is still crazy outrageous for people who can't pay it off in full right away, isn't it? THIRTY FUCKING PERCENT?!?
And this is how poor people are made even more poor... predatory lenders. You're desperate for new tires so you can drive to work. You can't afford new tires. So you have to open a credit account to get the new tires... THEN PAY OFF A MASSIVE INTEREST RATE, which just makes you even more poor? But it's the avocado toast that's the problem. Okay. Whatever.
I am getting really sick and tired of ignorant assholes saying that people trapped in poverty are lazy or want to be poor or it's their fault. In the vast majority of cases, it's just not true. They are doing the best they can as their circumstances allow, and they don't have access to the money, connections, training, or education which allows them to find a better job and escape.
Which brings us to the Captain Samuel Vimes theory of socioeconomic unfairness...
"Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles. But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet." — Terry Pratchett, from his Discworld novels.
Poor people are kept poor because they live in a system which has been designed to keep them that way. Just like it's designed to keep shoveling money to millionaires and billionaires so they can even further game the system in their favor.
Usually by buying politicians so they keep making policy which benefits them exclusively.
But also by buying public opinion to convince us that poor people are lazy and deserve to stay poor.
Posted on Wednesday, March 17th, 2021
I was born into the beginning years of what would eventually be known as
For the most part, I am very happy with being a Gen-X kid. My childhood in suburban small-town America was fairly idyllic and carefree. Both my parents worked, which meant that me and my brother were self-supervised and did whatever the heck we wanted to do from the minute we got home from school to the minute it was time for dinner at 6:00.
We were the first generation to have video games and home computers. We were the first generation to be online and have internet. We were the first generation with mobile phones. It goes on and on. The massive number of personal technological advances that have taken place in our lifetime made for a really interesting adolescence.
But now we're the overlooked generation no longer. We're being called to arms!
On Monday Gillian Turner from FOX "News" said "Cancel culture is spreading like wildfire. There is a call for Generation X to lead the chage to save America from the social media mob. Can they do it?"
Okay, first of all, the question is not "Can they do it"... it's "Do they WANT to do it."
And, second of all, the answer is "FUCK NO."
Stuff I've enjoyed has been canceled my entire fucking life. Dungeons & Dragons, violent video games, regular video games, violent movies, regular movies, comic books, magazines, and a slew of television shows and commercials deemed "inapropriate." And what about the music I listened to? Punk rock, heavy metal, grunge, rap, new wave, and even fucking Britpop was getting canceled... I once had a note sent to my house because a teacher caught me listening to The Smiths on my Walkman! A group of us were sent to the office for listening to 2 Live Crew... IN A CAR IN THE PARKING LOT. Boomers did nothing but engage in "cancel culture" for my entire fucking life just because they didn't like what Gen-X liked.
Gillian Turner is a Millenial. But she's not calling on Gen-X to step up and stop cancel culture for her generation... she's wanting us to step up and stop it for her FOX "News" audience, WHICH ARE BOOMERS?! Yep, that's right... the SAME Boomers who wanted to cancel the fuck out of everything Gen-X enjoyed wants us to go to war to save shit that they enjoyed. Like stupid Mr. Potato Head and crusty old Dr. Suess books and shit.
Which is really stupid to begin with. Mr. Potato Head is still Mr. Potato Head, it's just being put under the umbrella brand of "Potato Head" so that there's a place for "Mrs. Potato Head" and "Potato Dog" or whatever. And the six Dr. Suess books are not being "canceled," the estate and publisher felt that they needed to be "retired" for having racist imagery that society is trying to move past. Which means the two biggest things which have Boomers' panties in a twist right now can't even be defined as "cancel culture" because nobody called for them to be canceled in the first place. The owners are making changes on their own volition.
Hypocritical idiocy like this drives me insane.
I ain't stepping up to save anything from "cancel culture" that has Boomers in an uproar, and it's laughable that I even have to say it.
"Oh dear. Somebody is trying to cancel something you love in the same way you that you tried to cancel the things I loved? And now you want me to do something about it for you? — Ha! Okay, Boomer."
Except, no. Not really.
Posted on Thursday, March 25th, 2021
I bounce back and forth between wanting to know absolutely everything that's happening in the world today... and wanting desperately to know nothing about anything anywhere. But I couldn't live with myself if I turned an ignorant eye to all the crap that's happening, so I do my best to stay informed and wade through the sewage forced upon us by the bullshit media with their bullshit agendas.
Right before my birthday happened, the "big news" of the day was Vice President Kamala Harris not saluting the military detail for Air Force 2 as she walked onto her personal jet to go do... something... or whatever. People were beside themselves with rage over her blatant disrespect.
The President of the United States of America salutes our troops out of (relatively) recent tradition because he is COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES. And even then it's not required OR expected. The Vice President isn’t in command of jack-shit when it comes to the military, so she doesn’t salute them. She's just a civilian in public service.
And yet here comes shitloads of people throwing a fit about it.
Which is like being big mad because a grocery store clerk doesn’t salute our troops, but okay.
Every damn day this country gets more ignorant and more idiotic because people are fucking sheep who don’t even know why they’re mad any more. Somebody on TV or the internet tells them to be outraged, so they get outraged. All people care about is whether the outrage fits the narrative they've been programmed with. Facts, evidence, experience, accuracy, and knowledge simply Do Not Matter.
And I don't know what else to say about it except "Well, have at it then. Keep on being that person who can’t help but announce to the world how big of a dumbass they are." — Because what else can I say? There's no changing anybody's mind, and patiently explaining why Vice President Harris didn't salute the guys outside her fancy plane would make zero difference. They would still be outraged.
And can you imagine if she had saluted?
Then the outrage would be SHE'S NOT MILITARY! SHE'S NOT IN THE CHAIN OF COMMAND! HOW DARE SHE THINK SHE IS WORTHY OF SALUTING OUR BRAVE TROOPS! WHAT A DISRESPECTFUL PIECE OF SHIT!!!
Because that's what the outrage machine does. That's all they're good for, apparently.
Which brings me to this bit of genius from comedian Russell Brand, one of the foremost thinkers on the planet (whether you agree with him or not)...
"I mean in England we have a Queen for fuck’s sake. A Queen! We have to call her things like 'Your Majesty!' Like she’s all majestic... like an eagle or a mountain. She’s just a person. A little old lady in a shiny hat — a shiny hat that WE paid for. Or 'Your Highness.' What the fuck is that?! What, she’s high up above us at the top of a class pyramid on a shelf of money with her own face on it? We should be calling her Mrs Windsor. In fact that’s not even her real name, they changed it in the war to distract us from the inconvenient fact that they were as German as the enemy that teenage boys were being encouraged, conscripted actually, to die fighting. Her actual name is Mrs. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
All this drama. All this outrage. All this hate. It's all built around mere humans that used to exist to serve us... but now exist to be worshipped by us. If you are a Republican you are required to worship at the altar of President Regan. If you are a Trump-Republican you are required to worship at the altar of President Trump. If you are a Democrat, then President Obama is your god... with President Biden as some kind of god-adjacent deity or something. And once you've been programmed with which god you'll be worshipping, you are expected to be blindly loyal to them... all while hating everybody's else's god... regardless of circumstance.* Which is how we get to "KAMALA HARRIS IS A DEMON IN LEAGUE WITH THE GREAT SATAN JOE BIDEN AND WE NEED TO BE OUTRAGED WHEN SHE DIDN'T SALUTE EVEN THOUGH SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO SALUTE BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT OUR GOD DEMANDS OF US! (as handed down from on high by Fox News, restrictions do not apply)"
And, I gotta tell you, I'm exhausted by it all.**
If only we could get back to a place where political leaders are public servants again.***
Though, if I'm being honest, I think we've gone too far down the rabbit hole to ever go back. It's going to be politicians as gods, mandatory blind worship, generated outrage, and hate on top of hate on top of hate, from here on out. Which is both sad and inexplicable, because I think if you sat people down individually and asked them if this is what they really want, their answer would be "no." But nobody has time for that conversation. They have to get back to being mad about somebody over something that somebody told them to be mad about.
*Which, coincidentally enough, is how world religions seem to work, but I digress.
**Not exhausted enough to pick a god, but still... I digress.
***Or, at the very least, aren't able to be bought by lobbyist payola... no more digressing.
Posted on Monday, March 29th, 2021
Evergreen's Ever Given super-hauler container ship which has been stuck in the Suez Canal since Tuesday was finally un-stuck. Naturally I've been reading up on all things Suez Canal this week because that's just the kind of person I am.
What's so interesting to me is that the Suez Canal costs loads of money to take your ship through. LOADS of money. Because of how massive the Ever Given is, I would not be the least bit surprised if the fee is millions of dollars. $5 million+ feels about ballpark because that baby is huge. Smaller ships cost less, of course, but given that 50+ ships are going through the canal every day... Egypt is making serious bank. A reported $14 to $15 million on an average day (though I would not be shocked if that wasn't a conservative estimate).
So while it's probably hundreds of thousands dollars cheaper to go around Africa (extra labor and fuel considered), you're losing precious time. Depending on the starting and ending destination, you could be adding anywhere from five to ten days. That's five to ten days your ships are not able to be transporting more cargo. Which means lost revenue. Hence the reason the Suez Canal is so popular. When they calculated it out, they estimate that $9.6 billion dollars in trade was being held up by the Ever Given before operations resumed.
Since the Suez Canal is mainly for freight that travels between Europe and Asia, you'd think that the USA wouldn't be terribly affected. Anything from Europe to the East Coast is a straight shot. Anything from Europe to the West Coast uses the Panama Canal. Then it's vice-versa from Asia to the USA. But global trade doesn't really work like that. The ramifications of the Europe-to-Asia-to-Europe route shutting down will undoubtedly cause all kinds of problems that spill over into the Americas.
As if the world didn't have enough trouble already.
The official cause of all this was chalked up to "wind." In which case there wasn't a lot that the Ever Given could do. At that size, it undoubtedly had a tug or two helping to keep it on course, so you can't even put the blame entirely on Evergreen's captain.
Shit happens y'all.
Just don't be surprised if a roll of toilet paper to wipe it costs more over the next several months.
Posted on Friday, April 9th, 2021
Last night I stayed up until midnight to watch the latest episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier but ended up going to bed instead. The middle part of a story is usually the lull in the storm before the build-up to the finale, and I figured I'd be better off catching up on my sleep.
This morning I woke up early to watch it and was not shocked by anything in the episode. I was happy with the way that it filled in the blanks as to the philosophical differences between Sam Wilson and John Walker. And I want to reiterate again that Wyatt Russell is absolutely killing it as the "new" Captain America. People have been unloading a lot of hate towards the actor and I just don't get it. As I've said all along, the character of John Walker has a specific purpose in the story. And watching Russell build out that purpose is thrilling to watch. He knows exactly where New Cap needs to go and is taking him there perfectly...
I sure hope that fanboys start to understand this so they stop sending death threats(!) to Wyatt Russell. I mean... holy shit. The guy is a very good actor just doing his damn job.
It's been interesting to see Marvel Studios actually treating the show like they billed the show: as a six-hour movie. Now instead of 30 minutes of build-up and world-building followed by 30 minutes of development followed by a 30 minute race to the finale, we get more time to better flesh-out the story and characters while still having all the action beats of a big-budget film. All the subtleties that make The Falcon and The Winter Soldier such a good television show are the first things that would be cut when making it into a theatrical motion picture.
tl;dr... I like what's happing with this series because it's different. It's not just "made for television movies of the same old things.
But enough about super-hero television.
Back in The Real World, Prince Phillip has died at 99 and DMX has died at 50.
Prince Phillip, husband to the longest ruling monarch to ever exist, was a dutiful public servant who was also highly problematic. His history of saying abusive, misogynistic, racist, and bigoted crap is legendary. But of course the tabloids are already blaming Meghan Markle. Never mind that he was 99 years old and in declining health, it was an interview with Oprah that did him in. I swear... people will find a way to blame Black women for anything, no matter how absurd, because that's the default of a society built on systemic racism and misogyny.
DMX, a celebrated rapper and actor, was a hugely successful and talented musician that was also highly problematic. Some of his music was shockingly homophobic... often violently so. And then there were his lyrics promoting misogyny and rape which were roundly (and rightly) condemned. And yet... some of his tracks were brilliantly honest and raw, changing the course of music history in their wake. I practically wore out my CD for his debut album It's Dark and Hell is Hot when it was unleashed upon the world in 1998. It was a great album to listen to when you were mad at the world and wanted to vicariously unleash through DMX's rage. And I was a mad at the world quite a lot back in those heady pre-politically-correct days.
And now I'm headed for a nap in the hopes that the raging headache I've been battling all day will give me a break. It's tough to blog when it feels as though your eyeballs are being pushed out of your skull.