Apr
6

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A New Kind of Hero

If the line of action figures that comes out in the fall does not include healthcare workers and grocery store clerks, I am going to be pissed. During the spread of the pandemic across the United States, these people are not just performing a service. They are saving lives while risking their own. They are doing it for not very much money, either in most cases.
The emergency rooms in some U.S. Cities are full. There are not enough ICU beds for patients who need ventilators. Doctors and nurses are dying pretty much every day. In one of the most epic failures of all time, all levels of government failed to prepare for what we have told for years now was going to happen. There is no enough personal protection equipment for front-line workers. EMT personnel are putting their life and risk every time they enter a home to help the sick and the dying. Most of them will tell they are scared to go to work. It is a war zone, and the casualty rate has been climbing.

At least medical personnel knew this was possible, that they could someday face this type of pandemic and crisis.

What about the 22-year clerk at the grocery store while she is working her way through school. Or the retirees who pick up shifts at a grocery store or pharmacy to make ends meet? They didn’t sing up for this shit, and especially since if they are lucky, they are getting paid $12 an hour. But they are doing it. They are stocking the shelves every morning and disinfecting the entire damn store at night. At a time when a single sneeze or even a touch can kill you, they are doing the job, making sure you can get food and maybe even some paper to wipe your ass.
I want to see the superhero grocery store clerk action figures that just worked a double two night in a row nurse action figure, the young pharmacist with student loans to pay and a dozen sick people in line, or the exhausted and terrified EMT worker. These are the heroes of our day.

I have had some people (on the very rare occasion I leave the house) tell me that customers are rude and even abusive when they cannot find something they want. If you do that, you are the worst kind of asshole. When you must go to the store, be kind. Be grateful.

We are in a war. These folks are the last line of defense, keeping us all fed and trying to save our lives.

Mar
28

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Resurrection!

 

 

 

The Church is resurrected!

This is mostly for my own sanity as I feel the need to rant, rave, and express my profane inner being as the world goes completely and utterly fucking mad around me. Stocks are crashing, people are dying (see how I have my priorities straight there?), and the Tiger King is trending. I have no problem imagining a scenario that ends up with the end of the Great American experience, and I am strangely okay with that if it happens. The Absolutely Convinced have broken from their cages and dominate the world right now. The sheer number of instant experts on epidemics, economic, and supply chain management is hard for a mere mortal mind to imagine.
And where the hell has all the toilet paper gone?

The world is going to look a lot different after this current panic. I will be glad to see the end of causal hugging as I have never really been much of a fan. Until there is an actual effective vaccine, I probably will not be heading out to any concerts or baseball games. I can watch all that in my living room with having to worry about some stranger’s sneeze sending me to the ICU or the morgue. Bonus round there is I can have a hot dog and a beer for a total cost of about $2 buck with all the condiments and not a $20 bill. Better yet, I can have a steak and a high-end bourbon for about what the dog and the beer would have cost at the stadium.

I had one friend suggest that companies will rethink the need for office space when this is over. I really don’t think that will be the case at all. I have talked to several business owners that are complaining about the drop off in productivity in the past few weeks as workforces went home. People need supervision for the most part. That inner urge to fuck off runs strong in most of us, and it’s a lot harder to fuck off when the boss can see you through his office door.

The cruise ship industry is probably fucked. You will never get me on one of those floating death boxes again. I am not a fan of cruises anyway, but after this. I am sure there will be a lot of other folks who feel the same. Once the world is open again if I feel the need to watch severely sunburned Midwesterners annihilate a buffet while consuming lite beer from breakfast until bedtime because they paid for a drink package I can go down into the Keys without risking exposure to whatever filthy little virus has leaked out Africa or Asia and found its way across the world on a ship from which I cannot escape.

None of us will ever again be caught without at least 50 rolls of toilet paper.

There is a hope that we will figure out what is really important in life and treat each other better. I was very hopeful that this would happen after such a dangerous time. Then the weed wore off.
The insane part of all this is that a whole bunch of folks think this is all overrated and a whole bunch of other folks that think they will all die very soon from the virus. The rest of just wish the other two groups would stay home and stay off the damn internet. All this quarantining and recognizing that we may be wiping our asses with coffee filters before long is stressful enough. It is hard to enjoy surfing the web to keep your mind off the fact that the allegedly greatest nation on the face of the earth did not prepare itself for the possibility of something scientists have been telling us for years was absolutely going to happen.

Don’t take that as a political position, by the way. I hate both political parties equally. I changed to Independent several years ago and have no plans to join another one unless I make good my threats to start the “Leave Me the Fuck Alone” party. The Libertarians come closest, but most Libertarian gathering I have attended fall somewhere between Comicon and a Drug rehab reunion of backsliders with a few folks who would feel right at home drilling with the militias up in Idaho training to fight off the black helicopters.

When the history of the coronavirus is written, there will be blame for all the politicians of all ranks and stripes. The lack of preparation for a Pandemic-or a chemical attack that might have been like a pandemic- is stunning. Plans were written. They were even adopted at some levels of government. Elected officials said, “Yup. That’s good, Lets do that.” Then did nothing.
As I watched the debate over relief legislation work its way through Congress, I would like to say that politicians set aside their partisan dogma and passed the bill. I would like to say that, but I don’t have that much weed. Both parties postured while in the background they were trying to direct some of the trillions of dollars of relief to their favorite
Religion has shined during all of this as well. Several Mega Churches are having services with thousands of people watching, and the Pastors promise to pray away the virus if any of their flock gets the virus and falls ill.

Folks, Jesus is going to be very busy, what with all the wars and other human suffering going on in the world. There is a good chance he won’t be able to make time for someone who got sick because that is site don gathering a build with thousands of the potentially infected people to give their money to a preacher who will have a hard time deciding which of his house she should have his limo driver drop him off at when services are done.

Did you hear about all the mega-rich Super Churches opening their doors to help or sending checks for all the medical supplies that will be needed? Neither did I.

Folks, this is a wartime situation. The enemy is a microscopic buy, and we are all the front-line soldiers. We don’t even have to charge a hill or fall on a grenade to save our buddies. There is no boot camp.

All we have to do is stay at home. Read books, binge watch the Tiger King, stay drunk, do whatever the hell you want. But do it inside your house or in your back yard. Maybe some of you will get it right, get to know your kids, call your parents to check on them often, fallback in love with your spouse. I hope it works that way, but even if it doesn’t stay in the fucking house.
There is a lot of posts on social media about how busy obstetricians will be in the aftermath of all this. Do you know who else is going to be really busy? Divorce lawyers and urologist that specialize in vasectomies.

Let me clear all this up for you. The virus is real. It is killing people. Given the gross level of incompetence displayed over the years and in the early stages of the current pandemic, there is a good chance the government can’t save you.

What can save you- and everyone else that you give a shit about?

Staying in the damn house.

I also saw a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that found that only buying the amount of toilet paper you need and leaving some for the rest of us. Even better, buy one extra roll for grouchy old bitch across the street whose husband died a few years ago and whose kids cannot find the time to visit. You don’t even have to talk to her. Put on the porch, ring the bell, and run home.

We have seen some amazing acts of kindness during this mess. People are shopping for elderly relatives and neighbors. Taping Teddy Bears to the front door or in the window so neighborhood kids can go on a bear hunt. Filming concert and entertainment videos to keep folks from going crazy in their homes. Skyped pub crawls. Checking on elderly neighbors. Neighborhood sing a longs though open windows.

Be like those people.

If you can’t, at least don’t be a dick throwing coronavirus parties and buying dozens of packs of toilet paper,

 

 

Nov
22

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Thanksgiving Reflections

I do love me some Thanksgiving. We usually have fairly loud ones around these parts with lots of noise, way too much food and a liberal amount of bourbon and wine. I love Thanksgiving so much I will even watch football tomorrow just to keep the tradition alive and our guests happy. My wife wanted to do the pay per view crackling fire so I am really thankful for friends that want to watch football so her natural good hostess tendencies save me $19.99. We have a total of 10 tomorrow which is just about right, maybe even a little on the small size. We have enough food and booze to feed a small army and grand times would seem to be indicated. Best all I do not have to buy one person a gift.

Before dinner, my wife will ask everyone what they are grateful for this year. Rather than just spout the usual family, country, friends routine I actually spent a few minutes thinking about my answer this year. Upon much reflection, I have decided that the proper answer is everything. I am thankful for everything and every moment that came before this moment. The good ones. The bad ones.  The exquisite ones. The shitty ones. Each and every moment that lead to this moment and this place in time.

Think about this for a moment. Dr. Ali Binizar calculated the odds of you being born you and came up with roughly 1 in 10 to the 2,850,000 place. He summed it up like this “Imagine there was one life preserver thrown somewhere in some ocean and there is exactly one turtle in all of these oceans, swimming underwater somewhere. The probability that you came about and exist today is the same as that turtle sticking its head out of the water, in the middle of that life preserver. On one try.”

What are the odds of being born in The United States? Roughly 1 in 50 is the answer. The odds of being born in this era with technology leaping forward and making our lives better and longer? 1 in 400,000,000,000.The odds of someone who was the total fuckball I was as a kid reaching the levels I have reached in my 56 years of being? Incalculable. I will let you in on a little secret. When I was 16 or so the idea that I would live to see the turn of the century at the ripe old age of 39 didn’t seem all that likely to me. The idea that I would live far beyond that with many more stretching in front of (I hope) would have been worth little more than a sarcastic nasty chuckle.

So I am thankful for everything. Every sunrise ( I rarely ever see one of these elusive events but they tell it occurs every morning a few hours before I wake), every sunset, every morning, every late night and every minute between them. All of those minutes lead to this minute in this place with these people and there is nowhere else I would rather be.

Every minute. Everything that happened in all of those minutes.  Every breath. Every heartbeat. Every person.

The minutes spent sitting in a jail cell with shit an blood smeared on the w3alls when I was a young shitbird without a clue.

The ones spent reading learning, expanding my horizons to include things I never dreamed possible

The tears

The smiles

The heartbreaks

The first kisses

The last first kiss

The 6am drives to work after all night with a colicky son

The first time I looked into my children’s eyes

The failures

The victories

The first kiss under the wedding tree

Everyone who ever shared an idea or concept that helped my build my own better world.

Everyone who told me I couldn’t

The ones who took a chance on me when there was no reason to do so

Every composer who worked late into the night working on a song that I enjoyed and even those I don’t enjoy so much- except those of you writing rap music. Seriously-stop that shit.

Every author who shared their stories, dreams, knowledge, and insight to educate, entertain and inspire me

Every inventor who filled around in the garage and made part of my life better, faster, cheaper

Every scientist burning the late night oil in a lab developing products to save and improve my life

Every moment and every person that has touched my life along the way I am thankful for today. Some made my world a better place. Some few did their level best to destroy it and my survival of their assault made me stronger and smarter. Some loved me. Some hated me. Many didn’t actually give a shit about me at all but their passage helped steer me to here in this moment with these people living this life.

I won’t blow smoke up your ass and tell you we live in a perfect world. We most assuredly do not. We have people killing each other over which version of the magic man in the sky we should obey. We have a government that makes pimps, whores and thieves look honorable. That dreaded predator, the American Politician, still strides across the land. As does his even more deadly cousin the Religious Leader. The absolutely convinced still stir amongst us and regularly commit unsavory and almost unimaginable crimes in the name of the children.

No, it is not perfect at all. But it is life. something that is statically almost impossible to have achieved in and of itself.   I am here in this place with these people, living this life and I am grateful for every moment that lead to this moment. Scratches dents, blemishes and all I am me and it is every moment and every person who crossed my path that has made that so.

Thank You. I am grateful.

Pass the gravy.

Clueless Code

On Melvin Pond

Monday, July 17, 2017

When we moved a few weeks ago, I jokingly said that since we had a pond, I was going to call the place Melvin’s Pond and walk around…

The Adam Levine Phenomenon

Friday, May 1, 2015

When we use outrage about what’s happening over there as an excuse to avoid taking care of business over here.

The H.L. Mencken Field Guide to Life-Part 1

Monday, April 20, 2015

Paying tribute to our great forefather.

Happiness is….

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The pursuit of happiness is one of your greatest rights granted by a benevolent deity but it is not just going to come to you like fairy dream on a wave of unicorn farts in the middle of the night.