Galvanized iron is GI. G.I. is Joe. Joe is coffee. Coffee is Mud. This is all clear as mud or clear as day, depending on how galvanized your irony is. So many words to sort through looking for truth. On March 9, 2018, Science Magazine reported on an analysis of Twitter posts from 2016 and 2017 in a search for how false news spreads. My spoiler alert is the key scientific conclusion: lies spread much faster than truth. This is not surprising but it should be. I guess we like lies that fit our biases. Outrageous lies make for more excitement. Clearly I need a strategy of planting lies if I want my Blog to go viral. But wait, that has been my strategy all along. I just need to find some bigger and better lies, the more implausible the better. That is difficult in today’s environment where Rudy Giuliani just announced that Congress will be proposing the annexation of North Korea and South Korea to the corresponding Carolinas. As part of the deal, Iran will be deeded Puerto Rico in exchange for transfer of Shirin Ebadi’s Nobel Peace Prize to Donald Trump. Roseanne Barr will replace Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Details will be provided by the attorney for Stormy Daniels.
Write what you know. You get that advice early in any writing venue whether a class, a publication, or a conversation. But as Jason Gots says, “If you’re a drunken, brawling adventurer, like Hemingway, no problem.” Technically, if you have emotions, you could probably analogize them into a fictional writing adventure and still be following the spirit of the quote. I intended to write what I knew in a novel about baseball scorecards. Afterwards, people tried to help me improve by suggesting I write what I know. They were really saying, “The part of your book I read sucks and you do not know what you are talking about.” Two things I know better than baseball scorecards are toe nail fungus and canker sores. But I lose readers every time I blog about those topics.
My six year old granddaughter Zofia spent Memorial Day dropping eggs off our deck. She and her Dad are preparing for the Egg Drop Challenge at Somerset Elementary. The school apparently wants the eggs to break as they will be dropped from 60 feet in a lander that can be no more than two pounds or ten inches in any direction. Banned substances include glass, metals, chemical containers, plastic containers with screw on lids, Styrofoam, wood, packing peanuts, foam, bubble wrap, store bought packing material, parachute contraptions, gases (other than air), splattering substances (e.g., jell-O, peanut butter, liquids, fruit, vegetables), flammable substances, and so on. The egg has to be easily inserted and removed from the lander. Students with engineers and scientists at home will do well. We are a family of lawyers so we just file complaints about the rules like in this Blog posting. I watched a failed attempt by Zofia when a mere ten foot drop broke the egg. My advice to her: Just take an egg to school, kiss it, hand it to the official, and say: “I do not need a lander. I am going to take my chances with my lucky egg.”
High schools classes now teach students hard facts of life. One pregnancy scare tactic is an exercise where students carry around doll babies that simulate crying and maintenance needs at inconvenient times. Others students scour want ads for jobs and apartments to rent and hypothetically budget for food and other necessities. Health classes teach proper hygiene, emphasizing precautions like washing your hands. As with many good ideas, these impressive lessons can have unintended consequences. I am not surprised by young adults who are uninterested in babies if their experience is with a cranky, lifeless doll. I was exposed to six younger siblings and even that did not teach the joy of a parent’s connection to a real child. Budgeting for the hard realities of jobs, rent, and food teaches many lessons but one of them is to never move out. My 14 year old grandson has special needs that make him susceptible to obsession with specific things like weather forecasts and elves on the shelf. His new fear of germs has him rubbing his hands raw with constant washing and panicking at the sight of a fly. He uses napkins to touch door handles when leaving doors open for flies to exit. Of course, that makes for an unintended consequence within an unintended consequence as our open door policy results in many more immigrant flies than the few who wander out.
I do not have the courage of Melania Trump. I lend my name and support to charities like a foodbank warehouse or a ministry for the addicted. Not too much controversy in those causes. I shy away from controversial life and death agendas as alluded to in yesterday’s Blog. Melania takes on cyber bullying as her cause even though she knows it will subject her to endless criticism and mockery considering her husband is the bully poster boy. His condition is terminal but that only makes it more compelling for her to highlight the fight for the hearts and minds of the generation that includes her son. Ancestors of slaveholders should not be rebuked for opposing slavery. My wife is married to a narcissist but she should not be required to get a divorce before criticizing Narcissus and trampling on his flowers. Fortunately for me and many others, she has not targeted narcissists but has instead focused her energies on helping children with special needs.
Suicide Squeeze is a baseball expression I have been accused of using incorrectly in my book of the same name. Visitors sometimes find my Blog by searching on the word suicide, so David Goodall is theoretically an appropriate subject although way too serious for my taste. The 104 year old Australian scientist voluntarily ended his life earlier this month even though he was not suffering from a terminal illness. I was sad he could no longer use his unusual gift of age and good health when I remember my brother’s desperate but unsuccessful attempts to live just six months longer with his terminal condition. My gut reaction is as illogical as consuming all the food on my plate because people are starving on the other side of the world. I tend to project my own over developed fear of death with a personal squeamishness about terminating life whether by suicide, abortion, capital punishment, or prohibitions against resuscitation. I could not personally pull those plugs or triggers. But I seem to be at peace with others who do since I do not attend protest vigils for Ted Bundy or harass those who make different choices for themselves. Such incredibly complex issues are coated with nuance. For example, I have always favored the concept of a personal suicide when the alternative is a murder-suicide where the perpetrator takes other victims with him.
I am always surprised at how many people my age are doing serious biking. I see them in groups cycling on trails I run where I do not find many aged runners. I amuse my running partners who are in their 40’s by exclaiming, “Those are my people!” Only a half dozen runners over 70 ran the recent Mercer Island Half Marathon (the oldest was 74). Yet many of my senior friends are still taking week long bike trips. I have tried to join them but cannot keep up. When I tried to decline the invitation to join a bike tour this August, I was lobbied with data that claims cycling adds a decade to your life. I replied asking about the decade start point and whether you can tell if you are already nine years into it. I thought my questions were wittily rhetorical but I received a response that directed me to get the details from the devil. The devil’s executive summary: bicycle leg pumping takes pressure off the heart. If only I had taken biking seriously, I would be over 80 today with that extra decade.
I have not lived in the Seattle city limits since 1974, so I pay little attention to their mayoral races or other political issues. My Mom shamed me into doing surface research while she was alive. I did not want to look ignorant or apathetic in front of her although at least one of us knew I was both of those things. When the Washington Post and Fortune Magazine started writing about Seattle’s Head Tax, I did not even know what it was. I could not believe the city would tax people on the size of their head. And apparently I was right. They are actually taxing companies based on employee head size. Or size of employees or employee size or something like that. The tax is $275 per head pending final approval from Amazon. This is extremely cheap for a head. I would not part with mine for less than a six figure offer. The proceeds should amount to about $48 million dollars per year which will go to the homeless in Seattle. But not on a per head basis. They probably will not see a penny after the siphoning is completed by the fat heads.
This page intentionally left blank. That is an odd sentence you occasionally see in thick boilerplate documents prompted by government regulations designed to overwhelm you with knowledge of your rights. All the pages might as well be blank because nobody actually reads all the gibberish. The protections actually cost the recipient money since all the production, printing, and mailing costs are ultimately going to be paid by guess who. But my real itch is threefold. 1. The correct phrase should be: This page intentionally left blank except for this sentence. 2. Now I have to assume every blank page without a disclaimer is an error and that I am missing important information. 3. For consistency, I believe pages should contain additional warnings such as: This page intentionally contains lies, misrepresentations, doublespeak, alternate facts, and/or typographical errors.
We celebrate many milestones, whether birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, or even the shadowy groundhog day. One significant day goes largely un-celebrated: the day that marks the exact halfway point in one’s life. My Dad was 40 years and 36 days old on May 10, 1965. My high school was holding a graduation ceremony in less than three weeks and Dad was wondering more about whether I would be invited than about the beginning of the second half of his life. My Mom hit her halfway day at age 47 and 127 days on December 21, 1969. She was too busy preparing for Christmas to take much note of the day’s significance. It would be the first holiday season she would spend without her eldest child who was living in Virginia with his new bride. So many passages to mark, so little time to celebrate.