Posted on November 25th, 2020
You can't stop progress. Or whatever passes for progress now-a-days.
Seattle has some iconic landmarks... The Space Needle... Pike Place Market... The Seattle Public Library... it's a unique city with a unique and interesting history (and if you want to know just how interesting, then the book for you is Sons of the Profits: There's No Business Like Grow Business. The Seattle Story, 1851-1901).
One landmark which Seattle recently lost was the Elephant Car Wash sign. I've seen it many, many times driving into the city... usually on the way to The Seattle Center. The sign has been there since before I was born...
Image taken from Google Maps Street View
Image taken from Google Maps Street View
But now it's been taken down...
Image by Alan Berner / The Seattle Times
It was inevitable that it had to come down one day.
But it seems strange that I've outlasted it. At least at this location. It's being moved to permanent display at the Museum of History and Industry. I am trying to picture driving down Denny Way and it not being there.
Maybe it would be best if I just circumnavigate the location in the future so I don't have to?
That way I can stop progress just a bit. If only in my head.
Posted on November 24th, 2020
There's a meme running through TikTok of people recording their face before and after watching a short animated film on Netflix called If anything happens I love you. It's parents dealing with the aftermath of their daughter dying in a school shooting.
The "before" shots are mostly TikTokers with a normal look on their face... or whatever passes for "normal" now-a-days. The "after" shots are always people in emotional distress... crying and looking helpless. Some people even recorded an occasional reaction during the movie. Bawling their head off halfway through and whatnot. Suffice to say, there's a lot of crying going on in TikTokLand.
And while I thought it's a lovely little feature with excellent animation and really nice music... I felt... nothing.
Well, maybe I felt anger. It's tough not to be angry when there are people so damaged that they would shoot up a school, and we have a society content to let it keep happening. Mental health problems are stigmatized and mortally underfunded in this country, and that just fuels our horrific, upsetting, terrifying, and profoundly sad violence-laden world. Unfortunately, this is exactly what our "normal" is now.
Well... then-now. Not now-now due to school closures during the pandemic. Probably future-now though, because we never learn a damn thing.
And it's because of it that I feel mostly nothing when I see the raging debate over guns reignite once again.
I've gone over my feelings on this subject many times before on this blog. Banning guns is a painfully short stop-gap measure which will ultimately fail. We are this close to being able to 3-D print an assault rifle in the comfort of our own homes. THIS. CLOSE. So unless people are going to be monitored 24-7 to make sure they aren't crafting weapons in their basement to use or sell, we have a serious problem on the horizon whether current weapons are factored in or not.
I don't pretend to know what the answer is, but it doesn't take an Apple Genius to see that diffusing the hate that's escalating every damn day is a good start. Whether that happens by getting our leaders and media to stop being such hate-mongering assholes... working mental health into our education curriculum... destigmatizing mental health problems... making it easier and free to get mental health assistance... providing better monitoring of those with a violent history... stopping creation of conditions which drive people to the kind of desperation which can result violent acts... or one of a hundred other things. Because if we don't start doing something Real Soon Now we're in some deep shit. Or rather we're in deeper shit than we already are.
But hey. We can't even get people to wear a damn mask so the moisture from their breath isn't spreading a potentially lethal virus. How the fuck are we going to get people to give a shit about the mental health of other people or, more importantly, themselves?
Good luck with that.
Because just like people who only believe that COVID exists when their lungs are failing, they're not going to give a shit or think it's a problem... until it happens to them.
Posted on November 16th, 2020
Yesterday Washington State's governor released a new lockdown measure in the hopes that the latest wave of infections sweeping the country won't overwhelm our hospitals. As you can imagine, there's some serious outrage happening here. I have no idea what else they're supposed to do. Are we just supposed to ignore the pandemic until people are dying in the street because the health care infrastructure is maxed out? Daily death tolls keep climbing even though doctors and scientists have a better handle on things and people have a better chance of surviving now. What this means is that more people are being infected than ever before and COVID-19 is spreading faster than ever before. Something has to be done.
So, yeah. Let's just be extra cautious for a while until we have a vaccine in the new year. Hopefully serious illness rates can be slowed down enough that there's hospital beds for those who need them. This is not some evil master plan to control people, it's just a common sense approach to dealing with a population containing people who refuse to wear masks and refuse to be careful, thus fucking it all up for the rest of us.
Man. Can you imagine if we had just locked everything down for two solid weeks and rolled out massive testing back in March? Maybe then we'd be like New Zealand who listened to science and have all but eliminated COVID-19. Twice.
Oh well. It is what it is... our response was our response... and now we're paying the consequences. Again.
Story of my life, Year 2020.
Posted on November 9th, 2020
When it comes to conspiracy theories and other crazy-ass crap, I assess everything according to an internal "Implausibility Index." I kinda have to, because I believe in things that are outside our ability to experience (or even conceive of), but fully believe in science and observational fact.
Flat Earth "Theory" has an Implausibility Index of 10.0 because you can literally observe that earth is a globe with your own two eye-holes. People have been doing it from before the time of Christ. Heck, Eratosthenes (a Greek mathematician) even calculated the size of the globe we live on by measuring the length of a shadow in two different far-apart places at the same time. It's just utter nonsense to think that the earth isn't a sphere and has been for thousands of years. But here we are.
I've never quite understood why people would willfully ignore loads of empirical evidence to believe in things that simply are not true. The only thing I can guess is that they just don't want truth to be true so badly that no amount of observable fact can change it.
Things like aliens or ghosts don't hit a perfect 10 because how can we really know? Their existence could be unobservable with our current abilities and technology.
I've always given God an even 5.0 because while I have always believed that there is something "more" than us (and choose to call whatever it is, "God"), I fully acknowledge that the idea of some omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God sitting up in the sky judging our exploits to be a bit farfetched. Wouldn't He, by possessing such abilities, automatically be above such petty nonsense? Especially since He made us how we are? God I hope so. It's for this reason that I can give Pat Robertson attributing hurricanes to gay marriage an Implausibility Index of 16.875. It's beyond all rational thought... entering a realm where the word "implausible" loses all meaning.
I don't know where I put the claims that Democrats "stole" the election yet. It's not a perfect 10.0 because, well, I don't put anything past politicians. It's a dirty, filthy game where power is the prize, and historically we all know where that leads. But the number has got to be really high. Probably in the 9's. It just doesn't make sense that Republicans like Mitch McConnell would still be in power if Republican votes were tossed out. It doesn't make sense that Republicans would gain seats in The House if votes were faked for Biden. It doesn't make sense that there will be a run-off election in Georgia if Republican votes were being suppressed. None of it makes sense. And every time somebody has cried "FRAUD!" it's been debunked (seriously, people, step outside your bubble and Google that shit). Odds are much higher that even Republicans were getting sick of President Trump's crap and wanted him out... but still wanted their state offices to be held by Republicans. That's not fraud, that's Republicans wanting a better presidential candidate to vote for.
Heaven only knows I understand it because I have voted Republican locally and Democrat nationally for decades. Locally Republican because the area where I live is completely fucked by Democrats or, even worse, forgotten by Democrats after Election Day.* — Nationally Democrat because the Conservative ideal of the government staying the fuck out of people's lives is ironically not embraced by Republicans. In my mind the votes just kinda balance each other out... even though my vote doesn't really matter in the end because Washington State is insanely blue for state and federal government and Eastern Washington is insanely red for local government. My vote just never matters all that much despite what you hear on television. Even this time where I refused to vote Republican out of protest. I am more than sick of President Trump's crap, and could not bring myself to support anybody who wasn't outright denouncing his outright lies and heinous behavior.
Two-party system and all that crap. Not like Republicans or Democrats are letting go of that any time soon.
*I used to be an Independent, but finally registered as a Democrat so I could vote for the Democratic candidate in primary elections which would fuck us over the least. It hasn't worked, of course. Democrats over in Olympia who fuck us the most time and time again still manage to get elected. Apparently Washington State, as a whole, just reeeeeally likes getting fucked by our politicians?** You got me.
**Could actually be said of the entire country, it would seem.
Posted on November 8th, 2020
The election may be (mostly) over, but don't destress just yet... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• FAME! One of my earliest blogging friends is Heather Scarbro Dobson (formerly of Coal Miner's Granddaughter). She's an author and paranormal investigator living in Georgia. We've met up several times when I was in town for work and I've been on two investigations with her. The first was to Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky in 2011 (which I wrote about here). It was on that trip where we saw a board that had photos of all the "famous" paranormal teams who had investigated there. I knew none of them. But one of the photos stood out because it was a glossy, fully-staged production which had a team of brooding, pouty badboys... and it was autographed!
I mentioned to Heather that their tagline might as well be "Bustin' Ghosts and Breakin' Hearts!" And ever since then we've been joking back and forth about who the sexiest member of the team was. She picked Chris, I picked his brother Brannon, and we've had a faux fight going on ever since...
I mean, seriously, Brannon is totally the hottest, amiright? Anyway, Heather writes about the time that we met up in Jefferson City to go on an investigation with The Wraith Chasers in her new book, Recollections of a Future Ghost...
Naturally I wrote about the trip here on Blogography. If you want to read about it, here's your link.
• Count! I laughed way, way too hard at this...
The best part about visiting Australia is the Australians.
• Chappelle Show! Just like after the last election, the host for Saturday Night Live this election was Dave Chappelle. He is one of my most favorite comedians because his form of insightful commentary illuminates in a way comedy so rarely does...
"Don't let hunger dictate your life" is almost prophetic about where we're headed.
• Trebek! Many times, the host of a game show just has to rely on their personality to get the job done. It's not like Pat Sajak requires anything past the bare minimum of smarts to get through a game of Wheel of Fortune. But the host of a show like Jeopardy really has to be on their toes. They have to review all the clues prior to the show. Be sure to grab the right clue from 30 clues. Read the clue in a fluid way that makes it easy to understand. And be sure to pronounce even the most complex words from clues correctly in order for them to be correct. On top of having a winning personality. Alex Trebek has done all this by reading the answers on Jeopardy in the most brilliant way possible for years. That alone deserves kudos... but the fact that he was such a good sport about being lampooned over it all was what made him so beloved...
Trebek was parodied for years on Saturday Night Live, but the best bit was when the Alex Trebek himself made a cameo appearance...
Business Insider did a really cool behind-the-scenes with Trebek last year...
But my favorite appearance out of everything he's ever done? When he was a man in black on The X-Files...
What a sport. I've been watching Alex Trebek on Jeopardy for most of my life... and was saddened that he passed away at 80 years old today, losing his battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He was a truly great and talented personality and will be missed.
• Masked! At this point, I don't know why anything more on this subject needs to be said, but here you go...
Science has laid it all out on the table. There it is. Masks can halt the horrific effect of the pandemic and save lives. But too many people refuse to fucking listen, so here we are.
• Maya! I tell you... every single time I see Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris speak, all I can think of is just how totally on-point Maya Rudolph's impression of her is...
I sure hope that this means we'll be seeing more of her on Saturday Night Live!
• Burn! Soooo... is Bernie Sanders psychic?!? No. He just saw what so many people saw was going to happen...
"For whatever reason?" Come on, Bernie. Democrats were specifically told by Biden to vote safely by mail. Republicans were specifically told by Trump to vote in person. What happened is exactly what was always going to happen given how Republicans were cutting into Post Office operations, restricting drop-off locations, and doing whatever they can to delay or eliminate votes coming by mail... up to and including calling those votes "illegal" with no evidence at all. What's funny is that they also dictated in some states that votes couldn't be counted as they were received, but instead had to be counted after Election Day... once again to provide the illusion that votes were being "found" after Election Day. It's such a transparent load of bullshit. But that's politics for you. Don't hate the players, hate the game for allowing this kind of stupid shit to keep happening.
And that's your election coverage for this fine Sunday.
Posted on November 6th, 2020
There's a feature in iOS 14 where you can have a "photo widget" on your home screen. It pulls photos from my phone that I see every time I wake it up. Most of the pictures displayed are of my cats because most of the photos on my phone are of my cats. But there are occasional photos of my travels... or my friends... or my mom and my family... or scenery I thought interesting enough to capture. Every once in a while it pops up with a photo I transferred from my "real" DSLR camera to my phone.
This morning when I woke up it was a penguin from my epedition to Antarctica...
I remember taking this shot with perfect clarity.
You are instructed not to approach within a certain distance of any wildlife... like six feet or something. But it's okay if wildlife approach you. It's not like if a penguin walks up that you have to turn tail and run away or anything like that. This happened to me a couple times. The first time was at Hydrurga Rocks where the above photo was taken. The penguin was bobbing along as penguins do when I dropped down to take a photo of him. He stopped, looked my way, then hopped over within a couple feet...
I would have offered him a fish if I had one on me, but I did not, so he gave me a once-over then wandered away...
And so I found myself thinking about this penguin for a good chunk of my morning. What's going on with him? Is he still around? Still healthy? Hasn't been eaten by a seal or something? How long does a penguin live anyway? What's the life of a chinstrap penguin?
Turns out the Chinstrap Penguin AKA Pygoscelis Antarcticus can live for up to 20 years.
So maybe he's still around. Swimming in ice-cold waters. Hunting for fish. Sunning himself on rocks. Doing whatever other penguin stuff that penguins do.
That would be nice.
I know thanks to climate change things are getting tough for arctic and antarctic wildlife, so it's nice to think that he's doing okay.
Or she's doing okay? Males and females look exactly the same and the only way I could ever tell was if they were next to each other since males are larger than females. Which is probably why they are the ones who end up fighting over pebbles to build nests? I should probably look into that one of these days. Maybe the next time a penguin pops up on my iPhone home screen.
Wouldn't want to misattribute penguin outrage.
In Washington State, so long as your ballot is postmarked by Election Day, it will still be counted even if it arrives at the polling station up to 20 days after Election Day. Obviously we are not a battleground state... WA is about as blue as blue can get thanks to the massive progressive voting block on the Seattle-side of the mountains... but, technically, our election is not over until November 23. So when I hear people in Washington going on a tirade because votes are still being counted in other states... it takes all my willpower to keep from telling them to take a seat. If we were a battleground state deciding the election and the vote was close, WE would be potentially delaying things for weeks. But it's all good. The Office of the President doesn't transfer until noon on January 20th.
Save your human outrage for something else.
Posted on November 4th, 2020
And that's all I can do. That's all there is.
So last night I took a sleeping pill, watched a movie, then watched television until I fell asleep. There was no point fretting over whether or not limp Uncle Joe will limp-dick across the finish line with all those uncounted votes... or whether we get four more years of whatever the fuck this is. Odds are the Democrats will hold The House. Republicans will retain control of the Senate. And the president will be whomever they're gonna be.
I did fill in my best-guesses just for fun, however...
At the time I checked my news feed, Arizona seemed likely to be called for Biden... as determined by FOX "News," of all places... so I went with that even though I was truly questioning whether it would actually happen. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania seemed a safe bet for Biden because I read that much of the untallied votes were from larger cities where they tend to vote Democrat.
The big mystery of the night was Pennsylvania. Assuming I guess right on everything except Pennsylvania, that still doesn't seal the deal for Trump's reelection...
So I guess that's all she wrote?
On my lunch hour today, I took a look at Nate Silver's projections and got this...
Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and North Carolina tipping for Biden seems unlikely... but given how crazy things are, I guess anything is possible. I think it will help people accept a Biden win if it's not as close as I was guessing (even though I fully realize his biggest fans will never accept it because he will never accept it). And, hey, none of this is a sure thing anyway. Remember 2016?
NPR, which tends to be more cautious about calling states while actually calling states looks like this...
Which means that if everything trending blue stays blue, the NPR-designated toss-up states won't matter and President Trump will still lose even if he sweeps them (which seems likely, with the exception of Arizona).
So I dunno.
Obviously I have never been a fan of President Trump. I sincerely doubt I will become a fan of Presumed-President Biden. But I can't help but think that I won't be gritting my teeth so much with the regime change that maybe-possibly-could be coming.
Given the horrific two-party system that we've married to, I guess that will have to do.
Posted on November 1st, 2020
The ghost and goblins may be gone, but spirits still linger... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Tres Lassos! My favorite show of all time, Ted Lasso on Apple TV+ was just renewed for a third season, even though they haven't started filming the second season yet...
Sad to think that it could be up to a year before there's any more Ted Lasso to watch, but at least there's new Ted Lasso coming. If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth a free trial at Apple TV+ to binge the show.
• Bond, James Bond! Standing out in the news of the week was James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery dying at 90 years old. My first "Bond" was Roger Moore in Moonraker in 1979, but once VHS home video allowed me to see all the earlier 007 movies, I was obviously blown away by the cool-calm that Connery brought to the role...
Though his work as Bond is probably my favorite role, he has plenty of other movies which made me a fan of his work. Of course Highlander immediately comes to mind. Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, The Hunt for Red October, The Name of the Rose, Rising Sun, Playing By Heart, and The Rock were also flicks made memorable because he was in them. It's tough for me to reconcile being a fan of his work with his misogynistic bullshit, however... most famously with his infamous Playboy interview where he advocated slapping women. One could argue that he was a victim of the times he lived in because he said it in 1965, but he totally doubled-down on the idea over two decades later in a Barbara Walters interview. It wasn't until 2006 where he finally tried to walk back his idiotic stance, but an autobiography by his first wife alleged that he physically battered her, so seeing him as anything but an abusive asshole isn't easy. But you could almost say the same for James Bond in general. I guess the only thing left for me to say is "Rest in Peace."
• Happy! Fell down another TikTok rabbit hole while waiting for my clothes to finish in the dryer last night and got this video suggested to me... and I honestly don't know whether to be happy about it or break down in tears. It's heartbreaking to think that there are people who would wish this kind of thing upon a teenager. And yet we just got a new Supreme Court Justice who thinks that sexuality is a "preference" and will almost certainly interpret our laws accordingly. It's tough not to be disheartened by such events, but maybe videos like this one will change hearts and change minds so that we can celebrate people being who they are... and kids don't have to spend their young lives wondering if they will ever be allowed to be happy.
• Human Gaze! Isn't this how The Stepford Wives got started?
Or at least Westworld. In either scenario... not a great day for humanity.
• Maggie! As if the casting of Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher wasn't brilliant enough... this promo for the upcoming fourth season of The Crown has a cover of "How Soon Is Now" by The Smiths attached!
After this, there's only two seasons left to go. Then I guess the monarchy just ends? Or something?
• Semi-Annual! Here we are again... my second of two posts each year where I say that ending Daylight Saving Time is FUCKING STUPID. Either make D.S.T. permanent or fucking split the difference because I am seriously over this moronic bullshit. I thought that Washington State had put an end to the insanity, but apparently federal approval is required...
If the E.U. can pull their fucking heads out of their asses and put an end to this crap next year, why can't the USA? Because our federal government is too fucking busy lining their own fucking pockets and giving lobbyist blow-jobs for fucking reelection cash instead of serving the American fucking people. That's why. Time to fucking overhaul the government so lawmakers do their fucking job instead of become useless career assholes? Oh probably.
• New Mando! I swear, The Mandalorian has no right to be as good as it is. If you like all things "Star Wars" and haven't seen it, might be worth a Disney+ free trial to take a look. The second season just started and the first issue is great...
A better take on Star Wars than the prequels or sequels... and right up there with Solo and Rogue One which I loved. Kind of amazing how Jon Favreau kicked off the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe and is responsible for saving Star Wars. I hope Disney is paying him really, really well.
And that's your post-Halloween bullets for the day.
Posted on October 30th, 2020
I've always thought that this world was a strange place. Especially lately. There are times when I wake up, run through the news, then legitimately feel like I'm going insane. This morning's dose of crazy was this: The congressional candidates who have engaged with the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Abbie Richards has created a "Conspiracy Chart" which maps out common conspiracy theories based on how detatched they are from reality. It's a fascinating look at things that some people actually believe which she prefaces thusly: "Shaming people who believe illogical things just pushes them further into their radicalization networks. Disinformation is everywhere. We need to teach people how to spot it early. This is my Conspiracy Chart. I think it helps."
by Abbie Richards • Click the Chart to Embiggen
It's that top category that's the most troubling... World ruled by supreme shadow "elites." Once you believe one, you usually believe most.
The level of denial required to literally believe this kind of stuff boggles the mind. Some of them, like "Bill Gates Microchipping," are just gross misrepresentations taken to illogical conclusions. Gates was worried that medical records are often difficult to find for persons in so-called "third-world countries" (if they are kept at all), and it might be beneficial if such records could be encoded on embedded chips so that people always had them always available in the case of an emergency. Somehow that evolved into him wanting to chip and track people, which is insane. Why would he? Whose stupid life is worth that kind of effort? But there are people who believe it despite it not making a lick of sense. Other conspiracy theories require willful ignorance. Simple observation will prove that the world is not flat, but it's an actual thing that people believe just the same.
So what to do? The believers appear to be so deeply mired in conspiracies that presenting them with facts seems woefully inadequate. Take flat earthers... flerfers... as an example. They seem to have excuses to explain away observable fact and simple logic, so what would do the trick? Assuming you could fly them off the surface of the earth into space and show them irrevocably that the earth is a sphere, they'd probably just think you're using NASA-funded mind-control to lie to them or something. I haven't a clue how to combat that.
Reading about conspiracy theories makes me wish I could be so detatched from reality.
At least until we have a reality that's better than this one.
Posted on October 26th, 2020
Not a great day to be Dave, just sayin'.
I worked a half-day on Sunday so I could be ahead of the game when I walked into the office this morning. That was absolute folly, because I was confronted by or Horrendous Monday Problem the minute I sat down and checked my email. Nothing that was my fault or the fault of anybody I work with, mind you, it was a 3rd party problem which is now my problem. In all honesty, I wouldn't be upset about it if I didn't have so much work already on my plate, but here we are. Oh well. It's not like I have anything piling up on my social calendar. Though I really, really need to clean my house.
Other than the impending cascade of work which will be falling on my head over the next several weeks, my mind has been focused on one thing and one thing only today...
Yep... next Saturday before bed we will be "Falling Back" an hour because we're fucking stupid like that. And I am already mortified at the idea of it because after the change all the daylight hours will be happening while I'm at the office. Instead of getting a small slice of sunshine at the end of my work day, I'll be getting jack-shit and total darkness. Which is buckets of fun when it starts snowing heavy.
Honest to God I don't know why people aren't in open revolt and advocating anarchy over the government forcing us to dick with the clocks twice a year. At the very least politicians should be voted out of office for refusing to do anything about it. NOBODY WANTS DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME TO END, SO JUST MAKE IT PERMANENT OR WE WILL FUCKING END YOU! Is that what it's going to take?
In today's non-calling-for-the-heads-of-our-politicians news... NASA announced there's water on the sunlit surface of the moon. As in our moon. As in THE moon. It's not like a lake full of water, it's a relatively tiny amount of water... and it's apparently trapped in glass bead or some crazy shit like that... but it's still kinda a big deal. Water is heavy. Getting water off the surface of the earth is difficult, expensive, and takes a lot of energy. Being able to get it off the moon somehow would be a game-changer for space exploration and building a human colony on the lunar surface.
Given how we seem to be intent on fucking up the planet with the Supreme Court "justices" we're installing, the moon may very well be the only source of clean water we'll have left.
Until we fuck that up as well.
If there's one thing I'm confident of, it's that we will continue to burn down the planet because it's inconvenient to try and save it. If there's two things I'm confident of, it's that we will continue to burn down the planet because it's inconvenient to try and save it... AND we're going to be stuck with senselessly fucking with the clocks forever because politicians are too big of fucking assholes to give a shit about what US citizens want or need. There's lobbyist dick to suck for cash and reelection to think about, and that's all that matters to the pieces of shit.
And to us, apparently, since we keep reelecting them.