Thursday, October 15, 2020

News and Updates

1. With a hearty two-fingered salute to der Sturmtrumper and his minions, lackeys, enablers, cronies, and sycophants, I have cast my ballot here in Our Little Town and have done my mite for defeating Fascism in America.

2. We have nearly three weeks left to go in this, and der Sturmtrumper and his minions are getting ever more desperate. Buckle up, my fellow Americans. It’s going be a bumpy ride.

3. In other news, neither of my arms work anymore. Well, that’s not quite true. They work. Kind of. But they feel like they shouldn’t. I got my flu shot yesterday, and that always takes a day or two to calm down. More relevantly, on Sunday Kim and I went over to the local Chain Pharmacy and got shingles vaccine shots. Now, I understand that this is important. I’ve seen people with shingles and I know why you should do whatever you can not to have that happen to you. And Kim’s shot went well. Mine, on the other hand, was administered with a ball point pen. Even the pharmacist was a little taken aback by it. “Wow,” he said. “That wasn’t a very sharp needle.” That much, I replied, I had figured out.

4. The cats are still discombobulated, but for the moment they’re discombobulated downstairs and not in a “cleanup in aisle four” sort of way so we’ll take it.

5. I’m actually entirely caught up with Great British Baking Show episodes now, and it is kind of a bummer not to be able to turn on the television and see episodes I hadn’t seen yet anytime I wanted to do so. I know they’re working through a new season now and I’ll watch it one week at a time with the rest of the rabble, but it’s not the same. Fortunately I have discovered that The Guardian liveblogs all of the episodes, and it’s been kind of fun going back to the old seasons (still rather fresh in my mind) and reading along that way. I miss Selasi.

6. This is the most decorated our lawn has ever been for Halloween, mostly because we left that up to Lauren and her friend Aleksia. A couple of hours of work and at least one trip the dollar store, and the lawn is festooned with styrofoam grave markers and solar-powered pumpkin heads, the tree in the terrace is covered with tiny plastic ghosts, the bushes have cobwebbing, and there is a little projector that shines moving ghosts on our living room blinds from dusk to about 11pm, so we do have to remember to shut the blinds lest the ghosts dance about the bookcase. This is on top of the election signs – why Halloween and election day come so close together is an interesting historical question but it does lead to some odd juxtapositions. We’re not really sure what we’re going to be doing on Halloween proper – handing out candy to strangers seems a bit rash in the current environment – but we’ll see what happens.

7. One of the Instagram pages that I follow (and don’t bother asking to follow me – I’ve had that account for two years and have yet to post anything so it’s probably not worth your time) is a person who posts odd maps of things, which is something I have always enjoyed. They’re not American, so whenever they decide to ask contributors to send them song recommendations for review I discover a whole trove of things I’ve never heard of before. Today one of them was a really catchy, kind of 80s-punk-rock-feel of a song that you can easily imagine being played in clubs in any industrial downtown area in the world and whose title, translated from German into English, is Fuck You and Piss Off. The Germans do not go for subtle, really. I genuinely enjoy the song except that the band itself seems to have some links to the German far right, and while they do try to refute those links in interviews it does give me a bit of a pause. On the one hand, I firmly believe that art is not responsible for its creators – that a lot of great art is created by assholes and if you can’t get past that you’re going to miss out on a lot of treasures. On the other hand, everyone has their limits and Nazis are beyond mine. The song itself doesn’t seem to be political, and of course any song whose refrain starts out with “You’re an asshole / you’ve always been an asshole / you’ll always be an asshole / nobody likes you” can be applied to a whole lot of odious people in any number of fields – for all I know it’s a breakup song. Mostly I’m just enjoying the music and trying not to think about it much beyond that, which is a lot easier in a foreign language.

8. We’re careening through the American Revolution now in my US1 class. I love this unit. It’s my field of specialty, after all. And the whole idea of a mass uprising against a corrupt and authoritarian madman who is imposing tyranny by using power to crush liberty (essentially the colonial argument for the Revolution in a nutshell) is a much easier concept to wrap one’s head around these days for some reason.

9. Things that have gotten lost in the shuffle over the last two weeks:

a) We’re edging closer and closer to a quarter million Americans dead of coronavirus thanks to a corrupt and incompetent regime more concerned with holding onto power than safeguarding the lives of American citizens.

b) Der Sturmtrumper’s taxes are damning evidence of a criminal enterprise on a global scale and a staggeringly broad national security risk.

c) the GOP is ramrodding yet another unskilled partisan hack onto the Supreme Court in a transparent effort to undermine American democracy and chip away at the foundations of the republic, and their base is thrilled.

d) a right-wing terrorist group very nearly kidnapped and executed a sitting US governor (and was apparently angling for a second) and the president had more criticism for the governor than the terrorists.

e) American passports are still worthless because this country has collapsed so completely that the civilized nations on earth want nothing to do with us.

Are we great yet?

10) The weather is cooling off and it is definitely tea weather. I mean, it’s always tea weather as far as I am concerned, but there is weather you can drink tea in and there is tea weather and we have definitely edged into the latter. Cool air, grey skies, darker afternoons – my kind of time.


LucyInDisguise said...

2. After 365,680 miles I just had the shock absorbers replaced on the big truck. You're suggesting that the next 27 some-odd days (weeks?) are going to wear them out again, aren’t you?

3. I have had less than lousy luck with flu vaccines. Six times I’ve tried. Six times I located and captured the worst flu strain in the land. It is for that reason, I’ve given up on flu vaccinations for myself. I have never caught the bug in the years I didn’t get vaccinated. (Doctor says I’m just plain weird.) My Viking gets stabbed consistently every year. She’s only had to deal with the flu five times in the last 34 years.

4. The cats would say that you’re the one who is discombobulated AND in need of a “cleanup in aisle four”.

6. I’m certain that it really is not intentional competitiveness, but my Wiccan daughter is WAY out in front of Lauren and Co. Of course, my daughter’s a witch, so she just conjures up decorations from whatever is lying about and spreads them around the neighborhood. (She’s still working on that whole flyin’ broom thing …)

I have, as always, purchased sufficient quantities of various types of candy to supply the entire county.

And, as always, I have absolutely no intention of handing any of it out. And the pandemic has nothing to do with that.

7. “… a lot of great art is created by assholes and if you can’t get past that you’re going to miss out on a lot of treasures.” I honestly believe you have just stated a fundamental truth of the universe.

8. The first seven words of this paragraph should have a full stop at the end. (Is it seven, or eight if it contains a contraction?) And after the dueling banjos (town halls) last night, the only thing I want to be wrapped around my head is a pillow. With hearing protection. And a blindfold. And yes, I’ll take that cigarette, too.

9a. Study released yesterday suggests that the number is probably higher than 300,000. Significantly higher. But who am I to quibble?

9e. There’s a reason that our (former?) good friends to the North have locked the doors and turned out the lights. And I find it comforting that there are still Humans smart enough to do that.

We were once great. Mayhap we will be again.

Not that we’ve recently done anything to deserve it, mind you.


David said...

2. Well, probably the shock absorbers on your life rather than the ones on the truck, but more or less yeah.

That’s a lot of miles on a truck! My little Pontiac Vibe has almost half that now and I am just hoping to keep it running for another five years, until Lauren graduates from college. We’ll see.

3. I just don’t like needles of any kind, but I gimace and bear it because they seem to work for me. I will say that I find that flu vaccines in general have an odd effect – I get a flu vaccine and for the next 24 hours it feels like I have the flu, so I guess it works. But there you go.

4. The cats have a fine appreciation of who has the opposable thumbs and the can opener and would therefore not say any such thing until after I am dead and they have eaten me.

5. Well, your daughter has a professional interest. ;) Although Lauren has the extra added incentive of her birthday on top of it, so there’s that. I enjoy being decorated though I don’t really enjoy decorating, so really this is the best of all possible outcomes for me.

I have some candy, but I’m not sure how I will distribute it – it must be distributed, as I do not need the sugar, at least not in that quantity. Not that this has ever stopped me before. But still.

7. Thanks!

8. I skipped the town halls since neither of them would change my mind and my ballot is, as noted, already cast anyway. I already know that Joe Biden is a competent politician and a decent human being, even if he wasn’t my first (or second, or even third) choice. And I already know that der Sturmtrumper is a moral black hole, a corrupt two-bit grifter, and a magnet for every shambling zero in America in desperate need of being torn down and replaced by an actual human being. I don’t need to watch tv to know these, so I don’t. I did enjoy reading about them afterward, though, especially the part where der Sturmtrumper got annoyed at being kept at least partially in line by the moderator of his event.

9. Oh, I’d put money on the fact that the official number is deeply undercounted, but the simple fact is that even that undercount is closing in on a quarter million now. And still there are morons who think this is overblown.

Mayhap. At this point I’d settle for good.

LucyInDisguise said...

2. That’s actually low miles for a big truck - mine spends most of its life at high idle while loading or off-loading. The hour meter is currently at 17,000 hours which would equate to very close to 1,000,000 miles if all of those hours were rolling miles.

4. Dogs, on the other hand, do not actually have opinions. They enjoy an enthusiastic joy for life which they convert into food by not being self-righteous assholes.

5. Yeah, but I’m not all that convinced that she’s a ‘good’ witch. :D

I certainly don’t need the sugar, either, but All Hallows Eve provides sufficient cover for my annual binge.

8. I didn’t watch either. But I watched Rachael and her reaction (and the low-light reel) was enough to learn me.

And I love the way you keep trying to apply adjectives and modifiers in a vain search for some coherent way to describe all of the waste that is currently defining our dear leader* and his administration. It’s kinda like watching the losing contestant at a drunken one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest. It just ain’t gonna work, no matter how hard you try.

9. At this point, I’d settle for a wee-bit less malevolent.

I can see a path back to ‘good’. I will likely not live long enough to see this country return to where we were just three and a half years ago. It is my hope that our progeny does not end up rebuilding this country from Its Constitutional Foundation.

Although, upon reflection, that may not be all that bad an outcome.


* What this world really needs is a Sub-basement Case. Upper case and Lower case letters are not up for the task. Still waiting on the Sarcasm & Irony fonts, too.

David said...

2. I suppose big rigs are kind of like fire engines that way – I hadn’t considered that.

8. There are so many fonts we need. Sarcasm. Irony. “Not Enough Whiskey In The Barrel For This.” “I’m Only Responding To Your Email As Legal Cover For When You Get Fired.” So, so many fonts.

9. It’s going to take a generation or more to undo the damage that has been done in the last four years, not least because the people doing the damage have been emboldened and will continue long after their cult leader has departed. I’m not optimistic, but then I’m from Philadelphia and pessimism is my birthright. We’ll see how it goes.

Unknown said...

Back in August you recommended author Claire North. I wanted to thank you for this. I've read 84K and am in the middle of The Sudden Appearance of Hope now. Very enjoyable. Not certain how I hadn't found her before... but like you, I'm and avid and voracious reader and there is only so much time. I often won't pick up an author without a resounding recommendation from another bibliophile.

David said...

Well, I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying her books! I really love her writing. I haven't gotten to 84K yet, but that is only a matter of time. :) So far I think my favorite is still The End of the Day, but that may just be because I have a soft spot for books that feature Death as a character. Everything I've read of hers has been good.

Thanks for letting me know!