I am sorry

This blog is ending on this site because this new editing tool is utter shit. I do not suppose I can complain, because it was free. But I am sick to death of people thinking that something needs to change because they haven’t changed it in a few weeks.

The old way worked fine, I could find everything I needed. This sucks.

Good bye.

Tagged

No Deep Thought Today

After 11 hours I ain’t got much braining left.

I did have a disappointed inspiration today.

Back in April, with my tax refund and a sore, sore back and arms, I gambled on a suggestion a co-worker made and decided to “splurge” on a “gaming chair” for my work-from-home situation.  The thing is, I knew better.

I spent $70 on a fairly exotic-looking “gaming chair” that was race-car inspired.  That is, it had a nice lumbar support, adjustable arms and back, and looked comfortable.  But the forebrain was being driven by the hind end, not the hind brain.

About a thousand years ago, or so it seems, when I did my first “work from home” gig in the early 2000s, I managed to find a warehouse sale of used office furniture at Podany’s.  About 30 years ago, now, I was working for an organization where one of the guys managed to get a fantastic deal when a local bank shut down, he took his pickup to the sale, and picked up (ha!) for $5 a chair a half-dozen nice, heavy, thickly padded and upholstered executive chairs.  I bought one off of him and used it in that office until I left that company, and I brought the chair home.  And I used it until we moved from the apartment to our home.

And my wife made me throw it away.  I regret many things I’ve given up as we’ve moved – some of the biggest regrets are that chair, my nice hiking boots that were still in fairly good shape, and my first toolbox that got left in the house when we lost that.

But getting back to my rear end, and chairs in general, I learned many years ago that there are essentially two sorts of seats.  There’s the hard plastic bucket sort, which is what most office chairs fall into, a plastic, reinforced platform that has a layer of padding placed on it.  And my ass isn’t very friendly with those sorts of things.

I learned that those sorts of chairs like the one I bought for $20, the ones with springs and open air padding below your behind, are much more comfortable to my behind.  And I learned that those sorts of chairs are both expensive and extremely comfortable to long-haul work days.

Where we hit the oh crap point is when the chair meets the desk.  Um, duh.  But in this case, quite literally.  My work-from-home desk is a modification of the first real “at home” desk I built in my married life.  I built it some years ago when I was using a computer at home for the first time.  My father had gone out and purchased off the sales floor one of those flat-pack desks before Ikea came to this country, and we assembled it and used it, for a while, before I moved out of my parents’ home.  The desk I built was a reaction to the problems I had with that old desk.

The first thing is that the table top is actually all the same height, so the computer, the monitors, and the rest of the stuff are all right there.  And it’s deep.  Rather than the typical work desk you might find, in the current incarnation, it’s three and a half feet from front of the desk to the wall.  Yeah, that can be a problem finding space for it, but it makes it very nice to rest your forearms on when you’re typing.  Or mousing.  Or anything else.

Because it’s made out of rather (at the time, anyway) inexpensive “construction” lumber, that means it’s mostly pine and plywood.  In fact, the desk top I’m currently using is MDF.  Medium-Density Fiberboard, which is smoother and flatter than plywood, and harder as well.  But it lacks structural strength, so the 3/4″ thick MDF Top is supported and braced by a 2×6, flat, below it.  That doesn’t flex, so that keeps the desktop where I need it.  But it also means that the below-desk clearance from a 28 1/2″ desktop, going down, means that from the bottom of the desktop to the floor, I have a net total of 26 1/4″ between hard floor and bottom of the desktop.

Which is where the great “oh shit” comes in, because my most comfortable office chair, the one I’m sitting in right now, is 27 3/4″ tall from floor to arm top height.  Which means I cannot push this office chair under the desk – without removing either the arms or the wheels.  Neither is a particularly good option.

But then I started to look at it.  The arms are held to this chair by four bolts.  Two on the bottom of the arm, and two at the back of the arm.  The side arms are sort of open squares, which provide airflow from the sides, which is nice, but they aren’t adjustable.  Being a tool guy and a tinkerer in general and someone who likes to engineer his own solutions to problems, I see an opportunity here.  And so I’m going to see what I can engineer for myself that would give me air flow from the sides, adjustable arms that would increase the use and comfort of the chair, give me the ability to raise and lower arms on the chair so I could slide it under the desk, and still use it.

And so I’m thinking.  And I’m going to probably end up building some odd sort of conglomeration that will be an utterly comfortable chair.  Which likely means that once I complete it, the pandemic stay-at-home-and-work-from-home order will come to an end.  Go figure.  But I gotta be me, and look out for my sore hind parts.

It’s Your History

I suppose that most Americans are somewhat ignorant of their own history.  While that is no excuse, it is about time that elsewhere in the world, we recognize that the history we should be ashamed of occurred elsewhere as well.

And by that, I mean things like slavery.  I am something of a modern man, which means I really do not have the ability to understand where the idea of slavery came into accepted thought.  And by that I mean when I see someone who does not look like the image I see staring at me when I look in a mirror, I do not think that person is anything other than a person.  I cannot grasp the idea that it would ever be acceptable to treat a person as anything other than a person.

I do accept judging a person by their actions and words, but I do not accept judging a person by their simple outward appearance.  Sure, I find some people attractive, while I find others repugnant.  But I do not equate “unattractive to me” with anything other than “well, they’re not my preference” – I don’t assume that because I do not like their outward appearance, they’re something less than I am.

But somewhere in history, someone decided because someone was on the losing side, they could be owned by those who won whatever it was they were fighting about.  I’m fairly certain that was the initial root of what we now call slavery.  Because your side lost, you must be a lesser human, therefore I, as one of the winners, have every right to mistreat and abuse you and the other survivors, goes the thinking.

And as that’s probably the root of it, I guess that it somewhat makes sense that it continued for so many years.  But when we finally stopped accepting things as simple truths and began looking at them critically, it should have been fairly plain that it was wrong.  And yet today we still fight this battle about who is better than someone else.  And yes, I understand that there are people who simply prefer to deal with people who look like them.  That is their choice, certainly, but it does not mean that they are better or worse than the rest of us, nor are the people whom they choose not to accept as equal any less equal.

So what the heck am I going on about, you’re wondering?  It seems that like many other intelligent places in the world, England is now struggling with some of the episodes of their own past.  And in that, their history is getting a little more light shined into the corners than apparently some would prefer.

And I get it.  As I watch the decline of America, in part due to the present leadership which is utterly unqualified and incapable of leading, and in part due to our inability to accept that in this day and age, it’s about damned time we start looking pretty seriously into our long-held beliefs and doing something about improving the systems we’ve assemble.  But I can understand some of what England is experiencing as I have friends who live there, and I have some sympathy for those who are about to experience another great upheaval which was brought about through sheer stupidity.

And yes, I understand that even stupid ideas need to be examined.  What is going on in Britain right now is pretty much the equivalent of an entire economy slicing it’s own jugular.  This is coming about thanks in part to the whole “Brexit” mess, which for those of you who’ve spent the last decade or so under a rock, has come about because the small-minded British mouther-offers who refused to accept membership in a greater community for greater advantage managed to convince a number of people who did not understand the implications that this idea of leaving the European Union would bring back the good old days.

I am not English, I have never been there, lived there, or am likely to go there.  I’m not a big vacationer, and I have a very hard time justifying an expensive trip for “fun” with my limited means.  I mean, I am doing much better economically than I have been doing pretty much ever.  I’m still not making the kind of money I once did, when I was fairly successful in my previous IT career, but I am making enough to permit me to buy groceries, pay the bills, and at the end of the month, there’s very little “which bill gets pushed to next month so we can keep X on/running/going.”

That said, both of my parents were very much “Anglophiles” who enjoyed a great deal about Britain and British history.  And while I am something of a fan of some of British history, I’m no where near the student I should be in order to appreciate much of their history, but I know and see enough to understand that Britain was once the greatest power in the hemisphere, and the things they did when they were that great power are inevitably coming back to haunt their present.  Much like their present leadership is setting them up for the undoubtedly ugly exit to their experience in European unity, and I fully expect that, in twenty years or so, more intelligent, more thoughtful, and more capable British leadership will bring the people of Britain back together behind the idea of joining a community that is seeking to insure that everyone manages to survive and continue to get along, economically and in many other ways.

But to get back to the whole point, I found an article on CNN which had a number of people upset with the fact that the British National Trust took a look at history.  As I understand it, the National Trust is something of an historical society which looks about the country for pieces of history which it feels should be retained.  Now, let’s keep in mind that here in America, most of our history is written within the last two to three centuries.  It does not mean that there’s not more history we need to explore, by any means, but we need to understand that when it comes to the land we think of as England, they’ve had people living there and recording their histories for easily ten times as long as we have.

Or in other words, I’m currently living in an older home in my neighborhood.  It was probably built in the 1950s or 1960s or so, which makes it between fifty and seventy years old.  A friend of mine once lived in a house in London where the building itself went back easily three centuries.  Here, the very few things we have that are that old aren’t in regular use any more if they were in regular use for three centuries.  And most of that comes from survival.  That is, the people who originally pioneered and settled this land did not bring on their backs giant bags of supplies.  They didn’t carry the stone mason tools they were going to use to build a castle – they carried the axe they were going to use to cut down some trees and build some simple shelter, and a gun, which they were going to use to catch some game and keep them alive.

But to get back to the point of England, apparently there are some people upset because the National Trust flicked over a few rocks people had preferred not to look under because when you are a former great power with gigantic colonial holdings, you will discover that some of the folks who made you that great power also did some thing that we today consider terrible.  Things like conquering entire populations, holding slaves, exploiting people whom they’d never seen before, and using resources in ways that today we frown at because we understand that the resources are limited.  Back then, it was hard to understand that we were on a small blue marble in space.  Back then, we lived on a vast, largely unexplored planet, which led some to believe that because they knew where they came from, they were civilized, and those whom they’d never seen before were less so.

And while I grant you that even today I have a hard time looking at a civilization which regularly sacrificed living children to their idea of a deity in order to insure an adequate harvest still qualifies as a civilization, I do understand that modern ideas of science, productivity, and survival are completely due to our own advances in knowledge – and that’s because we’ve had the luxury of a stable, reliable, affordable food supply.

Because if you look at history, much of the trouble we’ve managed to cause one another has come from the competition for resources – whether a true competition, or simply a concern that someone else might have more than we have because they look a little better off – so we want their – or if it was a true shortage, well, that’s for history to decide.

Our present differences in ideology and theology and general acceptance of one another will undoubtedly look stupid if we manage to survive into the future.  But as we have now managed to perfect the weaponry available to one another, we are no longer a threat to the fellow next door, but a threat to each and every person on this planet.  If some madman decides he must control the world, and is willing to do whatever it takes, let’s face it – we’re all dead.  Between the simple invention of gunpowder to the nuclear weaponry all over the planet today, we also have the more terrifying specter of diseases and chemicals that will kill instantly.  And while they are far more uncontrollable, they do exist in part because back in our own history, we fought one another so savagely that those tools were thought necessary.

And some of that savagery grew from colonial times, and built the great houses of Europe.  You don’t build a castle because, well, you want to show up in the pages of Good Housekeeping.  You build a castle to protect the most precious assets you have – mainly your own arse, and that of the others whom you love and you believe will continue to lead that which you have managed to protect in your lifetime.  And you build it because there’s enough of a significant threat that it makes sense to pile up these rocks and stones because there’s someone out there who will walk right up to you and end you if you aren’t adequately protected.

So yeah, some of that idea grew out of a couple of brothers in caves not being able to figure out how to get along, but the simple fact that we have enough capability and resources on this planet today to feed each and every person on the planet and provide for their shelter and safety has gone long overlooked.  Instead, we have people upset because someone reminds them that the folks who built this great looking home did so with spoils and profits which came from a population that was being under-used, in their sense, and they decided to exploit them before someone else got around to it.

History is not made by folks like me who sit behind a computer most of the day doing a job.  It’s made by people who go out and try to do things to improve the place they live, the people they love, or the planet in general.  And some times, that struggle is to oppose someone who is doing something we generally find unacceptable, whether it’s abusing resources, owning people, or exploiting something which we feel shouldn’t be exploited, it is what it is.

There are some truths I accept as basic human decency – a human should be permitted to live as they choose, as they prefer, and to do so in a way they continue to be safe from the threats of their environment.  It is unacceptable to prevent that person from being able to do so – you don’t burn down their tent, their house, or whatever it is they live in because you do not like it.  But I also think that if you are unwilling to work to provide what they need to survive to those people that which you are attempting to be a part of means you’re part of the problem.

But here, having wandered far from the initial premise, I find it rather sadly humorous that some folks in Britain are upset because they’re being reminded of their history.  What makes them pathetic is the part which they decided to ignore their history and become indignant when reminded of it.

Look, I come from people who left central Europe in the late 1800s.  Some left Switzerland, some left lands that are now part of Germany, Poland, and France.  So it is entirely likely that some distant relatives of mine found themselves in Nazi concentration camps, and also likely that some of my relatives were forced to join the Nazi party.  And even more repugnantly, some were undoubtedly ardent members of that horrific organization.

Does that mean I’m not horrified by what the Nazis did in Europe?  Hell no.  Does it mean I will ignore it?  I will not.  But what I am horrified about is the current Presidential election in this country where both the repugnant incumbent and the challenger seem to be willing to ignore the American Concentration Camps which were formed on the border, where parents and children were separated for coming to this country.  That, I find utterly unacceptable and hope to find a way to make sure it never happens again.

To Win, Or To Win Respect

The thought smacked me straight in the forehead this morning.

There are some people who have the self-confidence and self-sufficiency to choose their path in life to win the respect of others.  Or, in other words, their lives are built around core principles which illuminate their choices and prove to others the validity of their lives.

We all know people like that.  People who aren’t often drawn into disagreements, but rather are the sort of folks we seek out to settle those fights.  The people who can through logic and wisdom point out the facts we’ve overlooked or the wrong decisions that were made to bring the situation to a boiling point – and they can diffuse the problems.

Then we know the other sort.  The person you don’t tend to leave a half-consumed beverage, or half-eaten piece of cake, or five bucks on the table.  It’ll be gone when you get back, and they never saw who did it.  Those who practice this behavior often remember to wipe their lips, pop a breath mint, or hide the money in their shoe, so when they’re searched, they haven’t got it.

But the realization was that the second sort of people inevitably are operating from a position of weakness.  And those folks are the folks you can easily identify.  They sometimes find themselves at an advantage, and when they do, things do not go well.  They loot the candy jar, empty the fridge, clean out the wallets and bank accounts, and somehow it’s not their fault.

And so, when I looked at the news this morning, I realized that the people currently in power really aren’t the powerful people.  They’re the small individuals who managed to somehow convince others that they could be their champion.  Thing is, what is almost always overlooked is that when a weak person is put in a position to manage resources or systems, they seek first to hoard the spoils so they can have something when the inevitable fall comes.

And that’s how it’s pretty easy to identify the weak and the strong.  A truly strong person reaches out to those who are or feel weak and offers them some comfort, assistance, and validation.  The strong look to build up the weak because they know how terrible it can be when you are someone who lives in fear of losing that which you’ve tried so hard to accumulate.

And there’s the real problem.  When the game is stacked against you it’s pretty damned hard to even play, let alone compete.  And if you look around today, our economy is rapidly developing not gaps but canyons.  There are some few folks who have accumulated a terrible amount of money.  And because of the system we have now, they are not carrying their full share of the load to support our government, and our society.  Honestly, when you look at someone like Elon Musk, who is, it is said, in line for his fourth billion-dollar payday this year, I have to ask if there’s really anyone on the planet worth even ten percent of that total PER YEAR, let alone forty times that in one year.

I’ve long made the case that in this country, it is well past time we need wage controls.  I would very simply link them to a pay ratio.  And let’s be fair.  We’ll say that a CEO’s annual total compensation – that is benefits, salary, bonuses, options, and etc – all of it – should be tied to the pay rate of their lowest-paid employee.  And yes, I do feel we’ll probably need to indicate that “employee” would be anyone who worked in any way, shape, or form, for the organization.  If you are the CEO of ACME INDUSTRIES, your entire staff includes the contractors and others.  So if someone works for your firm in excess of 32 hours per week on average, for at least nine months of the year, including their paid vacation time, they are considered a full-time employee.  And so if you’re the CEO, your total compensation should be limited to 100 times that of your lowest-paid employee.

Why is that fair?  Well, lets say your company has a wonderfully profitable, fantastic year, and you believe you’ve earned a million-dollar bonus.  Ok, all right, that means that your lowest paid employees will also receive a $10,000 bonus – and obviously, the rest of your rank and file should receive bonuses that would also reflect their contribution – and thus be probably larger than the bottom of the ladder, but hey, it’s your company.

What good would that do?  It would first off spread the wealth around a little bit more – because Gordon Gecko, that fictional figure who was meant to be a cautionary tale and the bad example, sure as hell isn’t the American Dream.

Because there’s the other side of the whole thing.  If you keep accumulating the wealth and there are more and more who find themselves with less and less, there are many examples throughout history of how poorly that worked out in the end.  And I think you can figure out what happened to the really rich.  The unfortunate thing today is that very little of that “rich” is actual, tangible assets.  Very much of it is imaginary money.

It’s a little bit like sitting down to play Monopoly, but one of the other payers has about twelve game-boxes worth of cash they can spend in the game.

Apes Running The Zoo

I shouldn’t be surprised, really.  But I guess I had hoped that maturity would take hold and our nation would last.  I honestly do not think we’ll get out of the current election cycle in one piece, to be perfectly honest.

It is absolutely disheartening to watch the ass in the White House strut and pound his chest like a little baboon who is unaware the adults are around the corner.  I could hope for a landslide victory in November for adults to be returned to the stage, but this sniveling little infant simply does not see the threat he has become.

In very many ways, any system that has been cobbled together and run for as long as ours has, it requires that a majority of the people who are responsible to it have faith in it that it is being well run, run by adults who respect the rules and traditions, and are looking to perpetuate those rules and traditions.  Faith in a system that is built out of agreements to abide by the rules is pretty much the only thing that keeps a system like this operating.

And when that faith is lost, there’s very little reason for people to continue to follow it.  And I am not yet prepared to call for a revolution, but it is certainly beginning to look like those that are scrabbling to hold on to power now certainly seem to think they may lose it shortly.  And if they are terrified of that, I have to wonder what the hell is it they’ve done that their terrified will come out?

I mean, we have a sitting president who has the portion of government that is supposed to be a co-equal branch of government also attempting to prevent him from providing evidence that, if his assertions are true, will exonerate him.  If, on the other hand, he is guilty, then I completely understand his desire to not provide the evidence.  But at the same time, the history of our republic is that the President is not above the law.  Or, perhaps I should more correctly state that prior to the current occupant, all of the previous residents of the White House at the very least paid lip service to being law-abiding citizens the same as the rest of us.  In the rarest of cases, where the head of the administration lied about what he was doing, and was caught in the lie, he had the decency and good sense to resign.

The current occupant clearly does not feel those rules or traditions apply to him.  That is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, one of his more egregious failings – but certainly not the worst.  The absolute worst thing this man has done to our country is to have destroyed our faith in our system.  He colluded with a number of individuals to use foreign powers to usurp and disrupt an election, to cast doubt on our system, and to this day he refuses to accept the potential consequences of those actions.

In any year other than 2020, this would be something of an absolutely ridiculous movie plot.  The movie would never be made because no one in their right mind would want to see it.  But the saddest thing about this is that the baboon in the White House does not realize that his infantile behavior and specious logic and outright lies are creating an environment that promotes riots and unrest, it causes people to feel less than safe, and this in turn foments further degradation and poor behavior.

If the individuals who currently occupy the various seats of government and policy-making in this country could agree to find common ground to achieve limited but joint priorities, maybe we can all get through this and come out with a better nation for it.  But because we’ve managed to install in the White House an infantile child who does not plan, he only reacts, we get what we’ve got.  And every night as I lay me down to sleep I pray that we are one day closer to real adults beginning the rebuilding of this once-great country that this asshole has laid low.  I pray, I do.

Around The Horn…

After I end my day, I switch computers – from my work computer to my personal computer – and then I check the news.  Much like that meme that went around a while ago, it’s less “let’s see what happened in the rest of the world while I was head down” and more “damage report.”

My wife has the ability to split her focus.  In her upstairs office, the TV is usually running on some news channel in the background.  Down where I work, there is usually a TV running as well – because the cable system provides music without commercials, DJs, or any other distracting interruptions.  The only real disruption to my day is when “Baba O’Reilly” comes on – that which is more popularly known as “Teenage Wasteland” and one of my favorite songs.

So at the end of today, I came in here and plonked down behind the keyboard.  And I see that the Daft Orange Babboon is sticking to his plan to destroy the Republican Party.  I submit once again that any political organization which abandons their party platform to appease their candidate can’t be a true political party, it is rather a personal cult.  And this is America.  Where I didn’t think we were doing cults for assholes.  But I have been wrong in the past, and will likely be so in the future.  But I don’t have to follow the cult of the Daft Orange Babboon.

I also saw that poor Kanye West is still being used by the Babboon.  It appears that they seem to think that if they can make a bipolar man who has no leadership or organizational skills beyond some good fortune he seems to have had, he might be a good way to disrupt the election trend towards the Biden/Harris ticket.

I should think that some people might be tired of being used in such a fashion, but I suppose Kanye’s level of dysfunction does not permit those around him to tell him he’s being played for a fool, being used as a wasted puppet.  But it is what it is, I suppose.

Then I noticed the headline that Tommy Devito passed away.  If you’ve seen the movie Jersey Boys, Tommy was the guy always in trouble.  And I wasn’t there, so I don’t know the veracity of the tale, but I can believe the story, as it matches other facts I’ve managed to learn.  And I will be honest – I do like a great deal of the music that Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons managed to put together.  I like vocal harmony.  So yeah, I liked their music.

Rolling over to the local news, I see they’ve released the pictures of the two idiots who broke into an elderly couple’s home and robbed them.  Now, what I know about jails and prisons is pretty much everything included on the Cub Scout tour.  Beyond that, I have to think that the folks in jail are going to take something of a dim view of two husky fellows who chose to pick on little old ladies and gentlemen.  I mean, I would think that if they’d attempted to rob a drug cartel or something, they’d probably get some respect for that, but threaten grandma to steal her early-dinner-out money?  Wow.  That’s some real criminal smarts there.

And beyond that, not much more for me to look at so I can stall until it’s time to feed the dogs.  So I might as well head up now.

Pathetic Last Gasp Of Power

I honestly do not know what I will be doing if the current occupant of the White House is not turfed out this November, followed by a number of rather pathetic people in various other positions of power.

It seems pretty obvious that the government is going in the wrong direction.  It struck me today that, in D&D terms the current occupant of the White House would be classified, by my rules, as a Chaotic individual with neutral tendencies.  While he wants us to believe he is the law and order candidate it is abundantly clear from his own words and actions that he thrives on the chaos he can create which brings him into the center of any and all conversations.  The law and order he values is the law and order which he can find loopholes and ways to avoid being held accountable.

As for the neutral tendencies, I would not argue that he’s seeking a balance between good and evil necessarily.  I believe he is seeking opportunities to call attention to himself, which does not indicate a “good” tendency, but rather leaning towards evil, certainly not good.

But then again, what do I know.  Thankfully I don’t know the son of a bitch personally.  And history will judge him far more harshly than his supporters seem to be capable of doing.  Regretfully, for the moment.  We’ll see as times goes by.

Ideals And Integrity

I suppose I’m hardly a person capable of making a comparison of integrity and ideals, but I learned long ago that any system that is not carefully and capably run is very prone to bad actors using the rules to create bias and prejudiced outcomes.

In my childhood, we had five children in the house including me.  As the oldest and the only boy, I hardly believed anything that was straight “fair” was appropriate.  In point of fact, I found myself doing much of the outdoor work around the house because my father was handicapped.  Aside from garden work, which was my mother’s province where we were all required to help, everything else was my job.  For many years I tried hard every summer to clear the granite stone steps from our yard down to the river.  I spent hours digging at a sand bar which had grown between a spring-fed bay and the main course of the Mississippi River, where I grew up.  And once or twice I was approached by a Minnesota DNR officer who cautioned me at modifying the riverbank. On both occasions which I recall, I pointed out that the sand bar had filled in over the previous forty years after an upgraded dam was built about two miles down river.  Therefore, I was not “illegally” modifying the river bank, I was simply attempting to return it to the original riverbank which had existed before the dam.

Both times in memory, the officers left after I made my point.  I do know that up river from us, a doctor had modified the riverbank using various earthmovers and other heavy landscaping equipment.  The rumor was the four million dollar fine which he was given forced him to sell the property to be able to pay the fine.

But we were talking about fairness.  I didn’t think it was fair for the same helping of whatever – be it main dish or dessert – be given to me and to my youngest sister, eight years younger than I am.  But my mother decreed it was so.

And as I grew older, it was my touchstone.  Perhaps not to each as they need, but to each a fair portion.  As a parent myself, I was willing to bend the rules slightly to make them more what I considered fair.  But in the larger scheme of things I always tried very hard to maintain fairness.

And so I was somewhat surprised when, in 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in February of the year, and yet the Senate chose not to entertain any nominations President Obama would submit for the open Supreme Court seat.  Now, to be fair, my wife, something of a law scholar and someone who was a pre-law major in college, reports to me that the average Supreme Court nomination can take on average 197 days from vacancy to swearing in – which usually happens pretty damned quick after the confirmation so to insure no one changes their minds at that point.  And when President Obama was told that despite 267 days between the vacancy and election day, or 340 between vacancy and the final full day of his Presidency, it seemed to me that this rule was new, unnecessary, but I suppose I figured that the person in charge of the US Senate – Moscow Mitch McConnell – was acting in good faith.

I mean, it’s not at all likely that a sitting US Senator, these days, could be a racist.  We’re in the 21st Century, and these men and women have the country’s best interests at heart, right?  It’s not at all like they are small minded little people who want all the marbles in their game, none for anyone else, right?

If it instead becomes true that a pending loss of the White House forces Moscow Mitch, the Chinless Wonder, to push through yet another unqualified hack to the Supreme Court, I do think that the country will suffer for years to come with low quality judicial oversight.  God alone knows how the current Republican members of the Senate can sleep.  Given their preference for a wide open allowance for weapons, I wonder just how long it will be before one of them or more experiences an “accidental” home-made missile strike that destroys their home and the entire neighborhood, but I suppose that is the inevitable that we’re faced with if reasonable restrictions cannot be imposed on the weaponry ownership binge which they’re continuing to approve.

I guess I’m just naive, not incapable of evaluating ideals and integrity.  I sure would like to hope that we might find some form of integrity in our representation.

And Now, We See Character

I would suggest that after the news of the day, we will now see the sort of character that is left in Moscow Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues in the Senate as they confront yet another character test.

As Moscow Mitch suggested upon the passing of Antonin Scalia on FEBRUARY 13, 2016, it would not be appropriate for a lame-duck President to nominate a Supreme Court Justice that late in the final year of his term.

Should Mitch attempt to fast-track a nomination at this time, I think we can pretty well guarantee that our government is utterly and irrevocably broken.

Seems Fair

I guess I am in a bit of a bloodthirsty mood of late.

This story, in the local newspaper’s web site, anyway, details just exactly how dumb an idiot from up north is, actually.

Let’s start at the top.  He shot the black bear with a compound bow.  That is, he put an arrow into a black bear weighing 700 pounds.

Now, I for one applaud this sort of endeavor.  I mean, if you’re looking for a reasonably fair game, taking on a bear with a bow and arrow is right up there on the “not quite but nearly fair”.  Though I would have suggested he first surround himself with the trash as a sort of camouflage, because I mean no one would recognize him in his natural habitat.

But then we toss in the “shot the bear with an arrow” and then left the animal to run away.  If the injury had not been fatal, he would have created a massive monster that might choose to attack people because it was injured and seeking easy food sources.  But nope, the wound eventually became fatal – certainly not an easy or quick death, so we have that going.

And then we get to the really bright points.  He cuts off the head and the paws, because he wants trophies from his kill.  Sure, let’s kill a 700 pound animal that could be eaten by some, and let’s leave 90% of the weight to sit in the woods and rot.

And where our idiot really earns the top crown of his achievement is when he goes on Facebook and brags of killing the bear, out of season, and without a license.  The bear may be dead, but responsible hunters and the state’s department of Natural Resources take very dim views of nitwits like this.  And so this ass is now pending sentencing.

I honestly feel that we need to create a punishment to fit the crime.  And in this case, I will propose that we start by banning this individual from hunting any game animals for the rest of his life.  His obvious depraved ignorance of the rules and decent hunting behavior are exhibits one and two.

And then, to make sure this sticks, we treat him to a portion of the torture he inflicted upon this animal.  I propose that we sedate him and remove both of his hands.  We’ll leave his feet so he can walk away, but remove his hands so he has to remain dependent on others for the rest of his life.

And finally, I propose that we create an annual anti-poaching campaign in which his face and the removal of his hands and his hunting privileges serves as a warning for the others.  He should be photographed every single day he survives, and the degradation of his physical health should serve as a warning to others.

Once we do that, I do think that we owe it to the people who today occupy and own the land the bear was killed on, the natives who regard the bear as a spiritual animal, and I am sure they will have some thoughts on how he can provide restitution to their community – and the bears.  Now, if they choose to feed him to the bears, I have no problem at all with that.

Look, I do not have a problem with people who hunt or fish and eat their catches, or capture their prey by images, rather than ending the animal’s life.  If you hunt and eat it, that’s fine.  If you hunt and take the skin off the animal for your trophy rack, well, there’s where I have a problem.  Let’s make it a fair competition, and you have to stay in the blaze orange, but the animals get a few advantages – like let’s say giving a few of the ducks grenades which are attached to track-back mini-missiles that follow the shot that killed the bird back to where it began.

Should make things interesting.