On Saturday, I did not get my Blog posted until after 2:45pm in the afternoon. Nobody noticed I was late. Even I forget to check my site. I might start putting articles by Andy Borowitz in the queue for default posting. Likely he would never find out. If his lawyers do complain, I would profit from free publicity. One recent Borowitz headline: “William Barr Reads Moby Dick, Finds No Evidence of Whales.” Another one trumpets: “Sarah Huckabee Sanders Accuses Media of Anti-Liar Bias.” Just the headlines are funny stuff. I am going to propose a scientific experiment where I publish his material and he posts mine. My hypotheses are: (1) his posts on my site will not break my own highest daily traffic count of 75 readers; and (2) my posts will get him fired by The New Yorker. And this will prove that bad writers will never be widely read and good ones still need a break to be discovered.
I am retired from a 32 year career in the workplace. I used to be legitimately busy when I had a real job even if I was just playing Spider Solitaire on my office computer. But now that I am retired, my sons mock me when I mention how busy I am. Friends and family are sometimes annoyed when I am too busy for people who need help or if I reject a social invitation. Age does cause more busyness by slowing me down and making me do everything twice but more is in play than that. For example, it takes a great deal of time and energy to research and craft even a bad daily Blog for 981 consecutive days. People like Abraham Lincoln can churn those out on the back of a cocktail napkin while the ladies are in the powder room. But my laborious blogging efforts do not qualify as legitimate because I am merely wasting everybody’s time. Babysitting grandchildren is likewise considered an idle pleasure. I need to be making money from advertising on my Blog or by running a day care business to be officially busy. The time I spend researching genealogy, writing journals, and compiling photo albums are more like narcissistic hobbies. Even people who hate jogging and swimming assume that others who do those workouts are goofing off and having fun. Household chores are not a respected busyness. And what about whining? My daily bouts of whining are exhausting time consumers.
A recent Time Magazine interview focused on implicit bias, a more subtle force than outright racism or sexism but just as damaging. I continue to discover my own biases but never delve much into police bias, partly because law enforcement personnel do not circulate in my orbit. I am properly outraged by rogue cops but have not been personally targeted or harassed (implicit police bias works in my favor). Peripheral involvement in Vietnam War protests caused me no trouble. But years ago I occasionally provided scheduled rides for youth requiring late night transportation to a work release facility in an edgy neighborhood populated by street people. While making a drop off at 10:50 pm, a sheriff’s car pulled up behind the old beat up Ford Focus I was driving. The officer sarcastically and contemptuously informed me I was parked in a spot reserved for sheriffs. I saw the sign but the entire street was devoid of other vehicles and my motor was running. My passenger exited quickly and scampered away. Despite the legitimacy of my errand, I went into my deferential survival mode, apologized profusely, and promised in subservient words and manner that I was just leaving. My own suppressed arrogance chafed at an instinct to avoid escalation and submit meekly. I imagined the implicit bias I could activate in the officer if I identified myself as an attorney. On my next mission, I noticed the sign only restricted parking until 6:00 pm. Luckily I did not have that tempting grenade to lob at the time. I suspect I actually received preferential treatment from an officer assuming an illegal drug or sex transaction common to the area. Oh, the tensions of implicit biases continually colliding and exploding everywhere.
Amy Hempel takes the title of her new book from the last three words of an Arab proverb: “When danger approaches, sing to it.” I did not grow up in an Arab household, so I am just now learning this strategy. I have experimented with running from danger, hiding from it, and denying its existence. Those tactics have not worked all that well, so I am planning to sing Coward of the County by Kenny Rogers the next time danger approaches. Of course, I frighten danger by singing any song. So if I panic and cannot remember the lyrics, I will belt out Happy Birthday or Jingle Bells.
Steven R. Gundry, the Gut Doctor, is promoting his new book The Plant Paradox. He likes to tell the story of Jack LaLanne saying to him: “If it tastes good, spit it out.” I am sure Jack was exaggerating to make a point because I expect he endorsed bananas, oranges, and green vegetables and they taste good to many people like me. Jack was the “eat less and exercise” guru who died at age 96 from excess health. If I had known he was going to live that long, I might have paid more attention to him when I was young. I do not remember much about him except he once said something to the effect that you would not wake up your dog in the morning and feed him coffee and doughnuts. Although he viewed that breakfast choice negatively, coffee has been gaining health points recently. And he might be shocked to hear that some owners do feed doughnuts to their dogs. But his point is clever. It fails to account for the truth that many people do take care of their dogs and children better than themselves. I know I find it easier to promote health in others than to practice what I preach. But if I ever bite into a dog biscuit that tastes good, I am going to follow Jack’s advice and spit it out.
My wife and I took two grandchildren on day trips in the suburbs of Seattle during Spring Break while their parents worked. Our version of a staycation was much cheaper than Disneyland and the kids were as happy as ever. Not being in school gets you half way to victory. No homework. If they stay overnight, a liberal curfew. They want one of the chocolate nut spreads on their fruit? Fine. Do not swallow the gum, toss it in the garbage when you finish, but chew all you want. Watch all the Sponge Bob you can stand. On Wednesday the destination was Bothell. The formula calls for a park, a local museum, and big desserts at lunch. On Friday in Edmonds, the seven year old cut short my guided tour of the fishing pier because she wanted to get down on the beach. I am a list person. We had an art gallery to see and a ferry boat ride to take after the beach but Zofia plopped herself in the sand and refused to move, digging holes around herself. She eventually waded into Puget Sound when she knew I was not going to whisk her away. My lists are not even ambitious. No Mount Everest for me but the Friday agenda went incomplete. I walked in circles around the grandchildren so I could at least get my Fitbit steps. Thankfully the grandchildren do not seem afflicted with my obsessions.
On Good Friday, a loud hum suddenly began emanating throughout the house. I eventually found three vents just below the ceiling in three different rooms. I had never really noticed them the last 21 years. I unscrewed one vent cover. The hollowed out space contained a plate with wires connecting to who knows what. An old disabled security system? The carpet cleaner who arrived right when the noise erupted had not connected any of his equipment yet. He did give us free advice that was worthless. A quick check confirmed that all electrical and household systems were functioning normally. My wife suggested that I disconnect the wires to the mystery plate. She is normally the sensible one. So I was shocked at her willingness to risk my further shock up to possible electrocution. I called our last electrician whose number was disconnected sometime in the last seven years. Then I called Bellevue Electric because of some recommendations on the neighborhood chat site. It was embarrassing trying to explain my problem. The dispatch lady said it might take until Tuesday to schedule. However, she called me right back after talking to someone else in the office who suggested I check to see if the doorbell was stuck. It was. Problem solved. She could have sent someone over to unstick it and collect the $200 service charge for passing go. So I guess I will call Bellevue Electric the next time I need an electrician. I figure the first $200 is free.
I stand corrected. I am preoccupied with death and have previously referenced burial, cremation, and cryonics as the choices coming after the phrase “till death do us part.” My El Salvadoran daughter-in-law forwarded me a CNN report that Washington state passed a law allowing human remains to be composted, effective May 1, 2020. My family was discussing this at an Easter gathering and they generally found it grisly and unacceptable from the perspective of personally choosing it. I pointed out that all options were unattractive. I am not exactly elated contemplating burial in a box, burning to ashes, or being frozen for future experimentation. I check none of the above. I need more choices. Maybe time travel to the past. Meanwhile I am taking contributions to pay for the composting of Donald Trump in Washington state on a public golf course where he can be honored by all.
I did not even know what nurdles were until last week, even though I come in close contact with them every day. They are the resin peas used to make water bottles, straws, and other plastics that I do know are dangerous. Now I am specifically aware of a root element of items that are environmentally bad for me. I accidentally changed the channel from Trump 24×7 and learned that activist shareholders are pressing for nurdle visibility. A nurdle spill can release pellets that collectively weigh 150 tons (e.g., Hong Kong 2012, according to the Wall Street Journal). That is mind boggling. Scientists are working feverishly on ways to improve human and animal capacity to survive nurdle contacts. Soon we will all be eating chicken nurdle soup. I am only blogging about nurdles because they have a really funny name and laughter is the answer to everything!
I went 71 years without a Spirit Animal. Then my youngest sister insisted I correct that oversight. Quizzes exist on the internet which guide you to finding your true Spirit Animal but those sites gather your personal information and/or hawk Spirit Animal products. My horoscope pegs me as Leo the Lion and Toys R Us featured me as Geoffrey the Giraffe. My sister wants to know my Spirit Animal so she can tell when I am visiting her after my death. I am worried about the apparent urgency surrounding my selection, especially since my sister seems to be in touch with the spirit world. She might not be taking African safaris after I vacate my human form, so I eliminated the lion and giraffe. I do not want to make contact while caged up in a zoo. I cannot soar like an eagle because apparently that is my father’s Spirit Animal. So I googled the fastest animal and peregrine falcon popped up. With diving speeds over 200 miles per hour, I plan to be outracing Dad. Hopefully, not too soon.