The US in Decline

So I'm tooling around the internet, minding my own business, when this pops up:

As numerous US states introduce bills that would require or encourage ‘Bible literacy’ classes in public schools, President Trump has given the proposals the thumbs-up, calling the idea “great!”

Lawmakers in six states have introduced ‘Bible literacy’ bills, aimed at encouraging high schoolers to brush up on the Old and New Testaments alongside their regular subjects.

Um, didn't we already go through all this, like, fifteen years ago or so? Of course Florida is one of the six states, natch, so I guess its time to dust off my copy of The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and get serious about my Pastafarianism. I must admit I've been neglectful of worshiping His Noodly Goodness lately, but I just remedied that by polishing off an entire package of ramen.

Speaking of which, am I the only one who cannot eat ramen without thinking of this movie? Right? Guys? Hello? (sigh....)

Anybody remember when Google's motto was "Don't be evil"? I realize that we all now know that was never anything but a lie, but this is completely over the top:

Google and other online ad companies use intimate personal information like political beliefs, religion, sexual orientation, and even diseases and disabilities to target users for advertising


In response to a TechCrunch article republishing the category lists, Google released a statement claiming they prohibit advertisers from targeting based on “sensitive categories such as race, sexual orientation, health conditions, pregnancy status, etc.” They do not explain why multiple categories under each of those headers can be found on their “Publisher Verticals” list.

This is all passed around to internet advertisers through something called "real-time bidding" where basically anyone with the cash can get a list of people who did Google searches for information on AIDS or local drug treatment centers. The US government could care less, of course. Whatever the multi-nationals want to do is perfectly legal, even when it isn't. However, more civilized places like Europe are at least starting to push back. We'll see how far they get before the Great Orange Gollum tries to do a Venezuela on them.

And then we have the whole shit-storm over some Catholic kids in DC wearing MAGA hats. The original "narrative" (a word that is now synonymous with "damned lies") was that a bunch of over-entitled white male punks surrounded a Native American medicine man/chief and proceeded to mock and threaten him. The response of the Tolerance Brigade was the typical intolerance we've all come to know and love, with so-called adults declaring that 16-year-old kids should be punched in the face and thrown into a wood chipper. The entire narrative was shown to truly be a damned lie by the simple act of watching, in their entirety, any of the dozens of videos of the sad-ass episode that were posted within minutes of the actual event. Every word out of Mr. Native American's mouth is a lie; he is no kind of medicine man, chief, leader or anything else. He's some homeless vagrant who also claims to be a Vietnam Vet while never having stepped foot in Vietnam. Meanwhile, the real instigators of the entire dust-up, a bunch of loons who call themselves the Black Hebrew Israelites (think Westboro Baptist Church in blackface), have been... er... white-washed out of the entire "incident" by the MSM. But no matter; the Tolerance Brigade is also psychic! They know exactly what those little MAGA-ty shits were thinking! Even though they did absolutely nothing other than act with a maturity far beyond their years by refusing to be provoked, they still deserve to be punched and thrown into a wood chipper.

So get comfy on the couch, kids and grab some popcorn because the US decline is entering the bat-shit crazy phase.

  • Current Music
    Lloyd Williams - Shama Lama Ding Dong

Medical (Mal)Practice in Pasco County

So one of the things I was supposed to do after getting out of the hospital was to "immediately" make follow-up appointments with all 27 doctors who allegedly were involved in my care while I was an inpatient. Obviously, the word "immediately" means something very different in the medical industry than it does in the rest of the universe, because I've been out of the hospital for two weeks and I'm still trying to get see some of the doctors.

But the real treat was when I tried to make a follow-up with my cardiologist, which was "VERY important!" according to the hospital staff. Well, it may have been VERY important, but it was also impossible. We called both of the cardio practices affiliated with Adventist Healthcare (owners of the the local hospital) and were told the same thing: "We don't take self-pay patients. Our fees and test are just too expensive for someone like you to pay." We tried to explain that no, we don't have insurance, but we have somehow managed to pay all of our bills in full for the last eight years. No joy. Cardiologists are different than every other specialty.

Uh huh. Right.

So we tried another tact; we explained we were in the process of getting me on Medicaid as part of the whole disability thing. "That doesn't matter. We don't take Medicaid either."


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  • Current Music
    Tears for Fears

Good Riddance 2018

This is late getting posted because 2018 decided to suck right to the very end (and beyond). I have been physically going downhill fast since around the middle of October. I nearly died Christmas Eve trying to take a shower. I probably should have gone to the ER then, but there was no way I was going to force my parents to spend Christmas Day in the damn hospital. I had to do Medical Stuff (tm) the day after Christmas anyway, so while we were in the general area, we tried to get something resolved. The whole thing spiraled out of control until I ended up in the ER. Unlike previous times in the ER, there wasn't any messing around; I was admitted and in a room within an hour of walking in the door.

Long story short: Congestive Heart Failure and Kidney Failure. After nine days in the hospital with endless blood tests, CT's, X-rays, ultrasounds, etc., no definitive answer why everything crapped out. The leading suspect at this point is the chemo pill I've been on for the last 18 months or so for my Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, but we won't know for sure until the results of the needle biopsy they did on my kidney Wednesday come back in a week or so. I could hardly breath with all the fluid on my lungs, so when diuretics didn't really help, the lung doctor did a Thoracentesis on my right lung on Sunday, then my left lung on Monday. Between the two, they sucked 5.7 liters of fluid out of my chest. No wonder I got winded walking from the couch to the front door.

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  • Current Music
    Bob Segar

Merry Christmas!!

As has been tradition here for many years (but apparently not last year), I give you some Youtube Christmas Cheer (tm):

And just because 2018 was the Year of Total Suck:

Christmas plans are minimal; we'll start at my parents place in the morning with a few gifts, have lunch at the clubhouse, then crash back here and try to escape in mindless TV or books. We really just ain't in the mood....

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Ticketmaster and Other Scams

Well, nothing horrible happened the last time I tried this, so why not try it again?

One thing using Evernote to write drafts did that I didn't notice right away is change the font size on the post. I wouldn't have expected that to copy over, but it did and I think it makes things a bit more readable. [So of course this time it didn't.] Why everything on the web has to be in 8 point type (and usually light grey text on a white background) has always baffled me since some dweeb started that crap back in 2003. It's even bleeding into real-world printed material. The last channel line-up we got from Spectrum was in maybe 6 point non-sarif text. Really guys?

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Off line Editor Testing

Trying something different; instead of doing my rough draft in the on-line editor; I'm trying out writing at least the first draft on my computer, then copy over to LiveJournal. That way, no matter what happens, I at least have a draft. I've been using Evernote pretty much since the day it was first released for any and everything. I like the editor and it does most everything I would ever need it to do for a blog post. I noticed that LiveJournal has some "off-line" editing tools, but I figured why go to all the trouble of installing and learning yet-another piece of software when I already had something that will probably do the trick. What will be interesting is to see how formatting copies over to the LiveJournal editor. I assume at this point, everything uses some form of HTML for text formatting, but these things never seem to work 100%. Excuse some testing:
This is bold.
This is Italics.
This is just some regular text:
And then a quoted text block. (Oops; can't seem to do that in Evernote.)
Let's give this a shot.

Not horrible. There may be some clean-up, and I'll have to do some poking around on the block quote deal, but I think we have a winner!

  • Current Music
    Los Lonely Boys

Cha- Cha- Cha- Changes (Part Deux)

Well, just ran into my first big gotcha on Live Journal. An entire entry just went away somehow. Not sure what I did, but about two hours of work is just gone. Anyway, what follows is a bad recreation:


Monday night, right in the middle of the House Committee meeting, I told the board of Zephyrhills Moose Lodge 2276 to go fuck itself. I'd taken all the bullshit I was going to take. I'd been telling these jackasses not to make me the lodge Administrator, but it was easier for these lazy assholes to have me slide in by default rather than do the fucking job they were elected to do. It would have been different if it was some kind of emergency situation, but they've known for over 18 months that we needed a new Admin as the old one had taken a full-time job somewhere else and was doing the Admin work on nights and weekends. If we were a more-typical lodge of 40 members up in Elk Anus, Montana, that would have been OK. But we're a $1.3 million-a-year business with over 2,200 members just on the men's side of the lodge. When the old Admin decided it just wasn't working, everything should have already been set. Instead, it all landed on me.

We moved to the sweaty dick of North America for one reason only; keep track of my 80+ year old parents when they were down here in the winter and drive them back and forth to Michigan. All that was the first thing to go out the window. In fact, my parents felt compelled to buy memberships just so they could have fish dinner with me on Friday's. Otherwise, they never laid eyes on me. I never had any time for Debbie. All the work on the house came to a screaching halt. Hell, I couldn't even keep the grass mowed. It was just work and sleep.

Then my health started to go: Massive headaches that no over-the-counter med would touch. Eating was out of the question. Then the chest pains, shortness of breath and swelling legs. The best part was that I really couldn't do anything about it. I didn't have the time to go to a doctor, and the lodge doesn't provide health insurance for its employees, so I've been simply putting up with it. I'm sure that will end well....

A few weeks ago, it finally became offically-offical that I was the Administrator and the real fun began. There is a cabal on the board made up of the Governor Richard Riddling, Treasurer Dan Morgan and Jr. Past Governor Larry Robertson that is bent on revenge against the former Admin and his wife. Like cowards everywhere, they wanted someone else to do the dirty work for them; namely, me. At my first House Committee meeting I was too stunned by the unadulterated juvenile stupidity of the entire exercise to do anything. At the second one, I pushed back. Things got ugly very fast and I decided enough was enough.

So now I'm sitting on the sidelines laughing my ass off watching these fools scrambling around like ants whose anthill just got kicked over. I'm especially enjoying all the cries of, "Come back! Come back!" Yea. Right. It could happen, but only under my terms: One, the three people named above are off the board. That's non-negotiable. Two, I come back as temporary Admin while the remainder of the board gets off its fat ass and hires an Aministrator. Three, once the new Admin is in place, I go back to being the Admin Assistant.

None of that will ever happen, of course, so my feet are up while I enjoy the shit show.

  • Current Music
    Iron & Wine

Election Hangover

I stopped bothering to vote a long time ago, but I still get a kick out of watching the circus every couple years. Fortunately, I'm not alone. First up; Dmitry Orlov on Russian meddling:

and then some old-school George Carlin:

Look, it really is quite simple. Nothing you do can possibly matter. It used to be that local governments had some control, but Federalism is a long time dead. Any city mayor or state legislater who dares to defy DC will find themselves quickly brought to heel or squashed like a bug. Even at the federal level, we all saw what happened to Trump when he tried to end our pointless wars, normalize relations with Russia and slow illegal immigration. He was quickly set straight by the unelected bureaucracy.

So lower your stress level. Stop voting. Stop caring. Realize that in a thousand years, no one will know or care who was elected mayor of Miami in 2018.
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Recycling to Armageddon

While we were in Michigan for Debbie's family reunion, I noticed certain of her family members digging through the trash pulling out "recyclables". I tried to explain that since China, in retaliation for Trump's tariffs, had stopped taking imports of American garbage, and that as a result, the nation's "recyclable" garbage was piling up in port cities and "recycling" facilities. A great deal of it is going into landfills. The rest is being shipped to other Asian destinations who don't even pretend to recycle it; they just burn the stuff in open pits. But at least we get to feel good about buying water in little teeny plastic bottles instead of just installing a water filter.

In any case, I thought of that little episode while catching up on my Lee Camp viewing and stumbling across this sweet little bit:

Being an old fart from when all this was called "ecology", I actually know what that little triangle/arrow thingy with the number in the middle means. A triangle was used because it was supposed to represent a three-step process: Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. In other words, step one is quit buying so much useless crap. Step two, when you do buy stuff, think about what it could be repurposed for at end of life. Then as a last ditch effort to keep it out of a landfill, find a way to recycle it. But being Americans, we were quick to realize that there is no profit in buying less shit or reusing our shit. Recycling, however, could be a multi-billion dollar corporate business that is only profitable because the entire population is guilt-tripped into being unpaid labor and most collection is taxpayer-subsidized. The new triangle/arrow thingy now means: Buy! Buy!! Buy!!! Buy!!!! (but only at eco-friendly stores) - Reuse? Are you nuts? What will my hipster friends think? - Carefully sort the result into the proper bins and tell ourselves what wonderful people we are.

The irony in all this is, as Lee Camp points out, we are using more resources and more energy with all this "recycling" than if everyone just went back to tossing everything into a trash can.
  • Current Music
    Green Day

Taking the Plunge

Well, I did it. I paid the $20 bucks to see just what I can do with this thing. The first thing was adding the rest of my links over there on the right. The problem is that I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get the Customize Journal Style without going into Help and searching on "link list". That seems like a cumbersome way to navigate, but I'll be damned if I can figure out how else to get to that page.

I'll get it eventually, I suppose. If nothing else, I'll have to ask the support types how to do it.

Anyway; the reasons we've been incognito for four months.

The first kick in the teeth was, of course, the death of Debbie's mom. We're still trying to get our feet back under us from that one. We do a lot of sitting and staring at nothing, not really interested in much of anything. So we were starting off from a pretty low baseline.

Then we had Debbie's family reunion the first part of August (her mom's family, natch). The drive up nearly killed us, then on the drive home, we ended up stranded with a dead car in the big booming town of Pioneer, Tennessee. We scrambled trying to get the car fixed and/or replaced, but we broke down on a Friday around 10pm and couldn't even get a tow until Monday morning. Meanwhile, Debbie's asshat boss was making threats about how she better get back to work ASAP. (More on those shitdicks in a bit.) We finally got the car running and managed to limp home, but we were both now so far behind at work and at home that it all seemed hopeless.

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