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Captains, Princes, and Rappers

Posted on April 9th, 2021

Dave!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...

Wyatt Russell as the new Captain America: John Walker.

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. In more recent times, I've been reading story after story of what an incredible human being he was. Stories of kindness towards total strangers. Stories of him just being a decent person to all he met. It's as if the PERSON he strived to be was the best of humanity... while the PERSONA he portrayed in some of his music was the worst of humanity. It makes him difficult to figure out, but also makes me happy to know that he was a genuinely decent guy beneath it all.

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.

   

Ever Stuck

Posted on March 29th, 2021

Dave!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.

Yikes.

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.

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Anger Management for Godhood

Posted on March 25th, 2021

Dave!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.

Except...

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.

   

Un-Cancel Your Own Shit

Posted on March 17th, 2021

Dave!I was born into the beginning years of what would eventually be known as Generation-X. We're younger than Boomers, but older than Millennials, and kinda get forgotten because it's all Boomer-This and Millennial-That. We're stuck in the middle and ignored, which is totally something we're used to. It's how we were raised.

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.

   

Boots Cost Fifty Dollars

Posted on March 10th, 2021

Dave!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.

   

The Sublimation of Bill Gates

Posted on February 23rd, 2021

Dave!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...

TikTok users trying to melt snow.>

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.

   

Bullet Sunday 702

Posted on February 21st, 2021

Dave!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 rendition of the lander lowering the rover to the surface of Mars from NASA.
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 of the Perseverance rover being lowered to Mars from the viewpoint of the lander module looking down at it.
Photo from NASA/JPL - Caltech

NASA even managed to get an orbital view of it happening...

Photo of the lander module plummeting towards Mars, it's parachute deployed.
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!

Artist rendition of the Ingenuity copter on the surface of Mars.
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...

  • Austin Pets Alive! — Trying to keep up with the influx of animals as a result of the storms.
  • Primarily Primates — Rescue primates organization in need of funds to keep doing the work they do.
  • Sea Turtle, Inc. — Images of rescued sea turtles being stacked in cars in an attempt to save them is just the start... organizations charged with housing them are in desperate need.

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...

@dogthatkills

Y’all I just saw a plane fly over my house with a blown engine. Hoping everyone is okay! ##plane ##ohnoo

♬ Oh No - Kreepa

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...

Tweet from Brett Guy saying A few years later and still clueless as to what the point of twitter is...?

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...

Tom Brady tossing the trophy to fans in Tampa.
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...

A T-shirt showing a human being beamed aboard a flying saucer saying GET IN, LOSER — WE'RE DOING BUTT STUFF!

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...

@.ceoofdadjokes

Cheese 😆##heybree ##ceoofdadjokes ##cheesedrawer ##heretoembarassmykids ##marylandgang #

♬ original sound - Jonathan Kung

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...

   

Meanwhile at the Fraudsters and Liars Table…

Posted on February 18th, 2021

Dave!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...

Former First Lady Melania Trump puts the Presidential Medal of Freedom around Rush Limbaugh's neck.
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...

  • So of course Texas Senator Ted Cruz flies to Cancun for a vacation. And why shouldn't he? No matter how much repugnant shit he does, he's always reelected. Apparently the only thing that matters is that he has an (R) after his name. If people don't give a fuck that their representation in Congress is abandoning them, why would he give a fuck about them?
  • And of course Ted Cruz is the one who wanted to deny Federal aid to Hurricane Sandy victims when they needed help. He couldn't understand why Texas should have to send their tax dollars to other states... but, of course, now that the shoe is on the other foot... WHERE IS OUR MONEY?
  • And of course President Biden immediately approved relief. Unlike President Trump who was constantly threatening to withhold funds and deny help to states like California "who weren't very nice to him". I may not be a Biden fan, but God isn't it wonderful to not have a petulant man-baby running the country?
  • And of course Ted Cruz is happy to funnel money to his wealthy buddies at every opportunity at the expense of Texans and all Americans. Remember when he wanted to change the rules so that two Texas fracking BILLIONAIRES could get $35 million in COVID relief funds meant for struggling businesses? Pepperidge Farms remembers. But apparently Texas voters do not.
  • And of course wealthy Texas neighborhoods don't lose power. Texas developed their own power grid so that they aren't under government regulations which force you to have safeguards in place for natural disasters... like freezing cold... because that cuts into the profits of the wealthy few who control the grid! And if that doesn't bother Texas voters, then why would the voters give a shit if all the electricity goes to those same wealthy people?
  • And of course Texas oil millionaires are blaming green energy for the electricity shortfall. Never mind that this is 100% false and power officials have stated that green energy failures are the least of Texas's electrical problems... that blame has to go somewhere! Never mind that places like Canada and Alaska use wind turbines to produce electricity all the time... the problem is not that Texas cheapened out and didn't properly insulate their turbines, it's that green energy doesn't work! Because if my massive wealth came from making sure people were dependant on oil, I'd sure tell people that green energy is to blame for their woes! THEY HAVE WIND TURBINES IN ANTARCTICA PRODUCING POWER. But fuck logic!

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...

Former First Lady Melania Trump puts the Presidential Medal of Freedom around Rush Limbaugh's neck.

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...

A letter from Dolly Parton declining a statue of her to be erected at the Tennessee Capitol because she feels she shouldn't be put on a pedestal with all that's going on in the world.

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...

   

Ruin and Despair in Atlantic City

Posted on February 17th, 2021

Dave!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?"
"Yes."

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.

Mostly.

The news when I woke up this morning was Trump Plaza being imploded and demolished...

The Trump Plaza being imploded.
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 Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City at Trump Taj Mahal as seen looking South on the Boardwalk.

The Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City at Trump Taj Mahal as seen looking South on the Boardwalk.

The All-Star Cafe Atlantic City was there too...

The All-Star Cafe Atlantic City at Trump Taj Mahal as seen looking North on the Boardwalk.

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...

Jenny at the end of my bed.
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...

Planet Hollywood Atlantic City with Trump Plaza behind it.

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.

   

Trans-Gulf Bird Migration

Posted on February 9th, 2021

Dave!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.

   

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