=sigh= I've drastically cut down on the number of political posts I drop on my blog because there's nothing new to say. On top of that, it always makes people mad because I am critical of politicians no matter which side of the political divide they get their lobbyist money from.
But recently something has been dominating the news cycle which has really bothered me, so I'm just going to dump my thoughts here for all the world to see and let the chips fall where they may. And that "something" is Impeached President Trump bragging about being able to pass a cognitive test like it's certified him as some kind of very stable genius.
As the caregiver for my mother through her dementia, it's a test I'm painfully familiar with.
Far from an IQ test, the test our impeached president is referring to is designed to be a screening tool for diagnosing cognitive decline and brain-related problems. It looks like this...
This is the Montreal Cognitive Ability Test. I'm not positive this is the version of the test my mom took but, if it wasn't, it was very close to this. She took it twice. And watching her struggling to get through it is something that still haunts my nightmares. The first time she attempted it she pretty much failed at everything, and it was all I could do to not break down into tears right there in the doctor's office. I was so close to her problems that I wasn't seeing them for what they were. It was this test that put everything into perspective for me, and it was gut-wrenching. I am having anxiety just remembering back to it.
The second time we got through question three and there was really no point in going any further. That time I did break down in tears, but it was after I had excused myself and somehow made it to a stall in the men's bathroom.
Ironically I remember her taking the tests like it was yesterday because my cognitive abilities are (assumably) mostly okay.
The first question has you running through a maze of characters which are alternating numbers and letters of the alphabet. The challenge is to get them in alternating order, which anybody with a brain can manage easily. Except people with an injured brain, of course. Despite having it explained to her twice, my mom connected the numbers and ignored the letters. The next question asks you to draw a 3-D cube. Even if you don't have artistic talent this is something people can copy fairly easily. My mom managed to get a square okay, but then it was just random lines.
Next you have to draw a clock with the time set to 10 past eleven. This might be tricky for some but, again, a person with normal cognitive function can draw a circle, put a tick at 12 O'clock and 6 O'clock, draw in the 15 and 45 minute ticks, then put two ticks between the ticks you have. Then you draw the little hand and the big hand at the appropriate time. This had my mom completely flummoxed. She got a kinda-oval shape, but then just started drawing random lines really close together, and she had to be coached to get that far. I think the hands she drew weren't even on the clock face.
Then you have to name some drawings of animals. Mom blazed through these with no problem. At the time of her first test her long-term memory was in pretty good shape.
Next is a memory test where you are given five words and asked to repeat them back. This is where things can get tricky. If you just throw five random words at me, I won't remember them at all... likely not even five minutes later. But if you tell me I have to remember five random words, then I can do that no problem because I use memory association. FACE • Okay, I am picturing a woman's face. VELVET • Okay, the FACE is Isabella Rossellini and she is rubbing a piece of blue VELVET on it. CHURCH • Okay, we pull back from Isabella Rossellini's FACE being rubbed by blue VELVET and she's sitting on the steps of a CHURCH. DAISY • Okay, Isabella Rossellini's FACE is being rubbed with blue VELVET as she sits on the steps of a CHURCH which has a DAISY growing in front of it. RED • Isabella Rossellini's FACE rubbed by blue VELVET as she sits on CHURCH steps with a DAISY growing in front of it and a PeTA nut job just drove by and threw RED paint on everything. FACE, VELVET, CHURCH, DAISY, RED. Got it. My mom, of course, couldn't get through the list at all. She couldn't remember a thing, and this was all really confusing to her.
Then you repeat some numbers and have them repeated back... and have to clap when you hear the letter "A" when a series of letters are read to you. Then you have to count backwards from 100 by sevens (which, is something I can do easy enough, but it takes a minute!). My mom just kinda stared blankly and couldn't be coaxed into even attempting any of this.
And now we're finally to those last five VERY HARD QUESTIONS which has Impeached President Trump thinking he's some kind of medical miracle.
When Impeached President Trump brags about five fairly simple questions being "very hard," I am understandably concerned. Everybody should be. But more than being concerned, I am very, very pissed off. Whether your brain is cognitively functional or not has absolutely nothing to do with whether you're an evil asshole or not! Do I think Joe Biden could run through this test and get 30 out of 30 correct? No. No I do not. Do I think that Impeached President Trump actually got 30 out of 30 correct? No. No I absolutely do not. We will never see that test. And even if we saw that test, there's no guarantee whatsoever that it's the actual test or that he wasn't coached all the way through it. That's politics. And as thrilling as it might be to see Joe Biden and Impeached President Trump go head-to-head in a cognitive test when I think that they both have demonstrated that they have cognitive issues... that isn't going to get us anywhere. It's not going to tell us which special interest groups are buying them off. It's not going to tell us what they'll be fleecing off the American people's hard-earned tax dollars. It's not going to tell us what back-door deals and shady cronyism their administration will be party to.
All it will tell us is whether they can remember what a lion, rhino, and camel are.
But my biggest takeaway from all this brouhaha is that there's a serious stigma against people with brain and memory problems. I read the comments on these news stories and it's mostly people making fun of Impeached President Trump or Joe Biden because they (allegedly) have cognitive decline. Which is to say that they're making fun of my mom. And as I sit here and type these words my heart is aching.
I am not going to lie, though. I absolutely do this too.
I try not to. I know better. And it's never necessarily to make fun of people, but more to offer armchair assessments as to somebody's mental state or cognitive abilities from a clinical perspective when it comes to the responsibilities they have. I've said that Joe Biden looks like he's sundowning, which may be true... but it could just be him attempting to speak when he suffers from a stutter. I've said that Impeached President Trump scares the shit out of me because everything he says is insane and he's got his finger on the button to unleash the nukes... but it could just be him being an evil, disgusting excuse for a human being. I honestly don't know.
As always, all I can do is try to be better about not stigmatizing mental health.
Even if I fail in the attempt.
Which I do a lot.
Take my trying to eat better, for example.
Yesterday I had to go to the grocery store because I needed an onion and a few other items. While I was there I passed by a display of sugary bakery products that were on sale. These are things that I just can't eat any more... most of the time I don't even want to eat them any more... but I saw a box of raspberry jelly donuts and was immediately intrigued. When I was in college, I was eating a box of these things a day. But as of now? I haven't had a raspberry jelly donut in decades.
I bought a box of course. If I'm careful and eat them in moderation they're not going to kill me, right?
Yeah... I ate half the box that afternoon and downed the other half this morning for breakfast.
But I'll try to do better tomorrow, I promise.
This morning as I was walking towards my car, I heard loud ruffling... then felt something smack me on the side of my head. When I looked up, I saw a large quail flying up to the carport roof. "Help. I'm being attacked by a giant quail." I yelled.
Nobody came running to rescue me.
The bird just sat there glaring at me as I slowly backed away.
So I got into the car... slowly... then drove off.
Things just went downhill from there. And when I finally came home from work, I admit I took a good look around, thinking that the big quail would be there waiting for me. But he wasn't. Apparently he had other people to terrorize.
As if the evil geese weren't enough to worry about. I swear, sometimes living in the wilds of Redneckistan is enough to drive me crazy. I may be a vegetarian, but right now I'm wondering which is more delicious... quail or goose. Forget Turducken, it's time for Gooquaiken.
Assuming they don't get me first.
What the deuce?
As anybody who has read Blogography for any amount of time already knows, I positively loathe Pat Robertson. The bastard is bat-shit crazy, and regularly says stuff so outrageous that you have to question his sanity. Except I don't question anything. I know he's insane.
He's so insane that I put him at the very top of my "Are You Insane?" self-diagnosis chart back in 2006...
And "crazy" is the least of his sins. In January of this year, I wrote "It's not just that Pat Robertson is a stupid, hypocritical, uncaring, opportunistic, lying piece of shit, it's that he's just plain evil." This was in response to him saying the Haitian people made a pact with the devil in order to end French colonization, and that's why God decided to devastate the country with an earthquake. Like I said, evil. He's right up there with Nancy Grace and Ann Coulter...
Then today something astounding happened.
Pat Robertson took a time out from being an evil lunatic, and actually had a moment of lucidity...
Like I said, what the deuce?
Much like Pat Robertson, I don't condone drug use. I honestly think it leads to more problems than it will ever solve for the vast majority of the population. But, so long as people don't abuse it by driving while high... and so long as they smoke their marijuana in the privacy of their own home where I don't have to inhale it... who gives a shit? Should we really be spending billions of dollars to incarcerate those who would rather get high off pot than drunk off alcohol? If people want to get high and aren't harming anybody else, then they should be able to do that. It's called "freedom."
And who knows? Not only might the legalization of marijuana save us on prison costs... it might also save us tons of money in the "war on drugs." Maybe if people can get legally high, they won't have a need to turn to harsher drugs that are harmful. That would be swell.
And let me tell you... if pot were legal, I'd be buying some right now.
That's about the only way I can deal with the fact that I am actually agreeing with something that Pat Robertson said.
Today was an incredibly challenging day, as all the things I need to do my job ended up failing... internet... fax... voicemail... pudding... everything... it was disastrous.
Especially the pudding. I took a tub of my beloved Snack-Pack Chocolate for my traditional afternoon treat only to find that it wasn't sealed properly. So my pudding was all dried out and totally un-pudding-like. I thought about stabbing it with a pencil and licking it like a Tootsie-Pop to get my fix, but I didn't want to get some kind of stale-pudding-related-disease, so I reluctantly threw it out.
Ultimate Snack-Pack FAIL!
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.
There's a lot of FAIL! going around now-a-days.
With every passing day, I detest FOX News more and more. It's not because their "news" is so heavily biased and filled with exaggeration and lies... it seems like all mainstream media "news" today is tainted in one way or another. It's because they consistently and constantly claim to be fair and balanced while they're pushing their obvious political agenda... THAT is was pisses me off. But what's even worse is that their viewers actually believe it.
At least once a week here in redneck rural America I either overhear or am drawn into a conversation because of some outlandish shit that FOX News has unleashed. This past weekend, it was the outrage over possibilities of terrorist funds being used to build the Islamic community center and mosque planned two blocks away from Ground Zero on private property. Maybe it's true. If it is true, I don't like the idea of terrorist money infiltrating American lives any more than anybody at FOX News does... but the heavy bias at FOX leaves a lasting impression that this is typical of Islamic endeavors and all Muslims are secret terrorists, which is total bullshit, of course.So imagine my non-shock when I watched The Daily Show last night, only to learn that FOX News itself has been funded by THE SAME SOURCE they're so pissed off about with the "not-so-Ground-Zero-mosque"...
I'd hold my breath waiting for FOX News to get all "fair and balanced" and explode with outrage that FOX News has terrorist ties, but I don't fancy the idea of suffocating to death.
The Daily Show's inescapable conclusion that FOX News is either EVIL or STUPID seems solid.
I am embracing the very real possibility that they're both.
I don't care if people watch FOX News. If that's where they choose to get their "news" because it best aligns with their needs, more power to them. I just wish more of the people devoted to the station would question what they learn there rather than accept everything as the "fair and balanced" reporting they're being sold. Like ANY news source, nothing should be taken as gospel.
Especially when the people providing the information which shapes your viewpoint are evil and/or stupid.
Irony. It can be so ironic sometimes.
Yesterday I waxed poetic about suffering withdrawals from my beloved Patatjes Met (Dutch Fries with Mayo) and my never-ending quest to find something to satisfy the cravings now that I can't have them anymore.
Then today I was forwarded a positively reprehensible rant on how hungry children should just just eat from a dumpster, and had to seriously restrain my rage to keep from typing "FUCK YOU, RUSH LIMBAUGH, YOU VILE PIECE OF SHIT!" in huge letters on a blog post and clicking "publish." Which would have been bad because I accept he represents a point of view for a large segment of the American population, and has a right to spew his crazy-ass shit just as much as the next guy...
Except... not this time.
I am extremely fortunate that I've never had to go hungry. It's something I try to be thankful for every day. But I have worked with an organization that helps people who do go hungry, and it's from this perspective that I can say Rush Limbaugh doesn't know what the fuck he is talking about. He is so far beyond stupid... beyond ignorant... beyond crazy... that my mind just boggles that anybody could be this depraved when it comes to children.
Let's break it down, shall we?
A companion story from AOL News: "Record Number of US Kids Facing Summer of Hunger. With the sc-rewl (school?) year ending in communities across America, more than 16 million children face a summer of hunger." Now, Michelle Obama told us they're all so fat and out of shape and overweight that a summer off from government eating might be just the ticket.
Kids are fat and overweight because A) Society has transitioned to a sedentary lifestyle of video games and other "activities" which lack physical exercise, and B) Healthy foods are hideously expensive, but government subsidies make shitty unhealthy food cheap, so this is what people buy. But this is neither here nor there, because there are kids in poverty who don't even get the shitty unhealthy food to eat.
But, even if this weren't the case, this is still a horrible thing to say. Kids... WHETHER THEY ARE FAT OR NOT... should not have to go hungry in the wealthiest nation on earth. Put on a healthier diet? Sure! Taught to exercise? Absolutely! That's what Michelle Obama was talking about. But starve? Are you fucking kidding me? Jeez what an asshole.
This, of course, takes into no account that the parents, I guess, just can sit around and let their kids starve. Why if the kids don't do it, they're gonna starve -- if the schools don't do it, the kids are going to starve.
God, this is just -- we can't escape these people. We just can't escape them. They live in the utter deniability of basic human nature. They actually have it in their heads somehow that parents are so rotten that they will let their kids go hungry and starve, unless the schools take care of it.
And here is where Rush Limbaugh proves he's a fucking moron. THERE ARE INDEED PARENTS WHO SIT AROUND AND LET THEIR KIDS STARVE! Perhaps they are drug addicts or alcoholics in no condition to realize or care their kids are hungry... or maybe they're never around to notice... or maybe they are just so poor that they can only afford one meal a day, and that school lunch is what keeps their children from going hungry. Regardless, whether by design or choice, parents are letting their kids starve every day. I've seen it. And even if Rush can't get off his bloated, self-righteous ass and see for himself, he can certainly do some research at child shelters, talk to child welfare workers at our schools, or ring up some children's charities to get his fucking facts straight. But experience has taught him that he doesn't have to. His listeners will believe his fucked-up bullshit whether it's true or not, so why bother with actual facts? Fiction is more inflammatory anyway.
I think, you know what we're going to do here, we're going to start a feature on this program: "Where to find food." For young demographics, where to find food. Now that school is out, where to find food. We can have a daily feature on this. And this will take us all the way through the summer. Where to find food. And, of course, the first will be: "Try your house." It's a thing called the refrigerator. You probably already know about it. Try looking there. There are also things in what's called the kitchen of your house called cupboards. And in those cupboards, most likely you're going to find Ding-Dongs, Twinkies, Lays ridgy potato chips, all kinds of dips and maybe a can of corn that you don't want, but it will be there.
Except when it isn't there. Because your parent or guardian is out getting stoned or drunk (or whatever) and hasn't bothered to buy food in a month and you've already eaten everything... everything... you manage to find in the house (assuming you still have a house because nobody's around to pay the rent). And since school is out and there's no lunch for you, the one meal you get is now gone. And since you're just a kid, what options do you have but to beg a neighbor (or even strangers) for something to eat? Or try to steal food. Or just go hungry because you don't know what else to do. You're a kid, after all. But even in houses where the parents are around, poverty can result in food being scarce at times... even with food stamps and government assistance. The reality is that hunger is all around us. Maybe the windows in Mr. Limbaugh's limousine are tinted so dark that he can't see families living in hunger on the street, but they exist... whether he chooses to acknowledge it or not.
If that doesn't work, try a Happy Meal at McDonald's. You know where McDonald's is. There's the Dollar Menu at McDonald's and if they don't have Chicken McNuggets, dial 911 and ask for Obama.
And if you don't have a dollar... how the fuck can you buy something off the dollar menu? Again, THESE ARE KIDS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT! And the parting shot at Obama? Hey, at least he's trying to do something to help hungry kids... what the fuck are you doing, you worthless piece of shit excuse for a human being? Where's your solution?
There's another place if none of these options work to find food; there's always the neighborhood dumpster. Now, you might find competition with homeless people there, but there are videos that have been produced to show you how to healthfully dine and how to dumpster dive and survive until school kicks back up in August. Can you imagine the benefit we would provide people?
So... hungry kids should just eat out of dumpsters. Got it.
You know, I try very hard not to allow hatred into my life, and my entire belief system is based on doing no harm or wishing no harm upon others. But Rush Limbaugh can just fuck off and die. And I mean literally die. Have another heart attack and just DIE. Slowly. With as much pain as possible. Somebody so hateful that they have no pity for a hungry child has no place on this earth, and I just don't care how that sounds.
Because people like Rush Limbaugh simply cannot win.
They just can't.
If the most innocent of us... the children... have no consideration by the adults who dictate how they are forced to live their lives, then we all lose. Because kids are victims of circumstance. They don't have any choice whether or not their parents are poor... or drug addicts... or don't care for them. And if the best the United States of America has to offer these kids is eating out of a dumpster when they have no food, then we don't deserve the many riches we are blessed with. We don't deserve anything at all... except the cold future that uncaring, heartless, reprehensible assholes like Rush Limbaugh are building for us.
Heaven help us all.
I'm in a little bit of a snarky mood tonight.
And that's making it tough to blog, because saying what's actually on my mind would bring me nothing but trouble. Especially since I ran across some reeeeeaally juicy information about a total asshole who has been badmouthing me to cover his own ass. So now I'm in the unique position of being able to humiliate somebody who totally deserves it, all while eliminating a thorn in my side at the same time. But, alas, I'm just not evil enough to press the button. Sure I like to try evil on occasion... but I don't think I'm ready to turn pro and go full-time...
So I hold my peace.
Take the high road.
Be the bigger man.
The better person.
The nice guy.
And try not to regret that I'm not more evil. Because how will I ever conquer the planet if I can't crush my enemies?
In other news... there's an interesting observation over at Ain't It Cool News...
CW darling "Gossip Girl" pulled 2.1 million total viewers last night, while the final season of the CW's "Veronica Mars" averaged 2.5 million viewers three seasons back.
So The CW cancels Veronica Mars, one of the best shows ever to air on television, and is now doing worse in the ratings with their hottest new show. Well, good. It couldn't happen to a nicer network.
Oooh. I'm more than just a little snarky tonight!