Today is an exciting riddle. I have written 1287 consecutive daily Blogs since August 22, 2016, and yet this is the first time I have ever posted on February 29th. This is one small step for a Blogger but one giant leap into more idiocy. My next step will be to lobby for February 30th, last seen in the Soviet Union in 1930 and 1931. Sweden celebrated it in 1712 but most people view a 30th day in February like a two dollar bill. Strange because: (1) eleven other months harbor a 30th day without controversy and (2) one and five dollar bills have no circulation problems. The world will little note nor long remember what is said here today but a small group of readers on deathbeds long in the future will rue the time they wasted reading these epistles and playing spider solitaire. Eric G. Wilson explains why people read my Blog in his book titled Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck. Apparently he sheds light on why we cannot look away but I have been too busy binge watching Better Call Saul on Netflix to read Wilson’s book. I think his title says it all anyway. Brevity is the soul of wit after all.
Month: February 2020
Discounting each contender’s biased assessment of him or herself, Democratic candidates for President have arrived at a clear consensus that they are all flawed and none of them can defeat Donald Trump. So no candidate can unify the party, let alone the country. This is not an unusual outcome, given the nature of the political process in the United States. I am not proposing anything different. I am merely justifying my apathy which is fueled by repetitious soundbites that fail to project the spontaneity intended. Voters are regularly dissatisfied with the absurd work product of elected officials and go to extremes trying to get the attention of the culprits. True outsiders are hard to find but more should run for office because they channel frustrations. Goldwater on the far right and McGovern on the far left captured agitated voter blocs. They bucked sad stereotypes that Helen Keller once derided as choices between the famous literary figures “Tweedledum and Tweedledee.” Both Barry and George unintentionally gave an appearance of unifying the country because they were so soundly trounced. Donald Trump never found his Tweedle but was actually elected as frustrations grew like compound interest on a debt. This is especially bad news for traditional candidates like Jeb Bush and Joe Biden who are no longer considered 2024 front runners.
Ash Wednesday was yesterday but I fell behind and did not post about it. In fact, I have filed for an extension and plan to observe Lent in August when I have more time and can complete it in less than 40 days. I could not parade around with ashes on my forehead anyway because I recall a stern Biblical warning about performing religious acts only to attract the attention of others. While researching my extension petition, I was disheartened to find another admonition: “Let us not be taken unawares by the day of our death, looking in vain for leisure to repent.” I know I am a narcissist who thinks everything is about me but that Bible does always seem to be speaking directly to me.
Suspicious Old Man
When time came to drive home my granddaughter’s second grade classmate from a play date, the two girls bolted out the door. They claimed they were running to the friend’s house and started up the steep hill. Normally I would call their bluff because I like exercise. But we were under time constraints and my granddaughter would eventually lose interest in completing the very hilly two mile round trip. But the girls took off and I could not coax them into my old truck while driving along side them on our block. So I drove ahead two street crossings and parked illegally on a side street right in front of the stop sign. My hazard lights encouraged other vehicles to go around me. Eventually the girls were at the point of crossing in front of my truck. A left turner was waiting and waving at them to cross. After they lurched back and forth in confusion, I began screaming at them to get in the car in a manner menacing enough to be mistaken for a tornado warning siren. The girls finally scrambled into the truck. I was now furious that I left a kidnapping trail. Hopefully the left turner has thrown away my license plate number after not hearing about any missing children in the past week. My lesson learned is to start dressing better and shaving when I am babysitting.
I was recently trying to back into a narrow spot in a snow filled Crystal Mountain parking lot. The complication was an over sized vehicle in the space directly across from the one I coveted. My 40 year old son was getting exasperated at my failure to properly follow his instructions from outside the car. My timidity was rooted in a bill for over $600 I received the previous week to replace both of my truck’s broken taillights after lending my Toyota Tacoma to aforementioned son a few times. An inconvenienced walker finally was able to squeeze by the RAV4 I was wrestling back and forth and he commiserated with my son (of all people) with the mocking question, “Where did he come from?” I wanted to scream after him that I covered the question of where we all come from and where we are going in my February 13th Blog posting. I kept my mouth shut because I was fairly certain he was not intellectually capable of grappling with the depth of those queries. To be clear, at that very moment, I made the interim decision I was going to another parking place on down the road.
Meet Prince Geoffrey
I once thought Doris Day’s parents should have named her Mon. Her older sibling could have been Sun and the younger one Tues. Later, I learned her real name was Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff. Her father’s infidelity led to a divorce that wiped out the possibility of four additional siblings. Whimsy was still available to the Kappelhoffs who could have christened their three children Kappelon, Phibeta, and Sky. My suggestions might induce teasing or harassment. However, “Kappelhoff” was likely no picnic when Doris changed it in 1939 at the suggestion of orchestra leader Barney Rapp. He felt it was too long for marquees and he admired her rendition of “Day after Day.” He did not have a double standard because he shortened his own name to Rapp from Rappaport (his admiration of Rap Music is disputed). These days Royal German names are being sold for 80,000 to 800,000 euros and more, according to the February 10th edition of Bloomberg Businessweek magazine. You can be adopted by a Royal in need of cash and your new name is legally binding. The purchased moniker appears on all formal German documents, including driver’s license, credit cards, passport, and even a new birth certificate if you so desire. Since this is all a sham anyway, I am skipping the step of paying the fee. I am now holding myself out as Prince Geoffrey von Stamper to fill the vacuum created by Prince Harry.
Coronavirus is apparently not a slang term for a beer hangover. When I was growing up in the 1950’s, the Spanish flu of 1918-1920 was only thirty some years in the past and researchers were inspired to develop vaccines for a wide range of diseases. The Spanish flu infected 500 million people which represented 27% of the world population. It killed around 50 million people, with some estimates considerably higher. Fifty million deaths. Check out death totals from your favorite War(s) to get a frame of reference. Life expectancy in the United States dropped about 12 years during 1918 as a higher than expected Spanish flu mortality rate hit young adults. Wartime censors minimized early reports of that deadly flu in Germany, Britain, France, and the United States in order to maintain morale. Spain’s transparency was punished with the Spanish designation for the flu. The viral infection was no more aggressive than previous influenza strains but suppressed information, malnourishment, overcrowded medical camps, mass movements of people, hospital limitations, and poor hygiene promoted a bacterial superinfection. I expected an ebola virus out of Africa might lead to the next pandemic. But the Coronavirus has current potential and the advantage that: (1) no one is alive with first hand memory of the devastating Spanish flu; (2) anti-vaccine movements have gained popularity; and (3) air traffic in the last century has exploded the movement of people throughout the world.
Debate and Town Hall hypothetical questions continue to bother me. When Dukakis ran for President, he was pestered to answer what he would do if terrorists threatened to blow up New York City (including his wife) if he did not meet their demands. He deftly pivoted each time to his own soundbite but lost the election anyway. The variables are too many to give a binary answer. On this year’s Nevada stage, Democratic contenders were asked if they would support the candidate with the most delegates if no one attained a majority. Predictably, current favorite Bernie Sanders was the only one of six to commit to that. It should depend. Is the leader two delegates away or hundreds? Is no one else close? Are the leaders separated by one delegate? Did Bernie get his lead and then suffer a heart attack? Did Joe Biden just announce that Hunter Biden would be his Vice President? Did Elizabeth Warren’s tribe just bomb the Tulsa Courthouse on her behalf? Did video surface proving that Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobachar are having an affair? I do not want to support a candidate whose instinct is to make commitments to hypothetical questions without anywhere near enough information. We already have a President who does that. Unequivocal answers to those questions make liars out of politicians. Bernie already committed to reveal more medical records than he can deliver. So what does his commitment mean anyway? Why arm Putin with our useless promises? The candidates have made their positions clear enough, they have records to stand on, and we already know them all better than I can stand.
Ode to Salt
For many months, I have been experiencing a salty taste on my lips. I have not changed my diet nor any of my other habits. I have not researched this topic on the internet for several reasons: (1) I kind of like the taste, (2) I do not want to learn that it precedes a heart attack or is a sign of some health risk, and (3) I feel fine otherwise. When I was young I salted everything before tasting my food: tomatoes, eggs, meat, vegetables. When I had a health crisis in my late 20’s, the salt shaker was one of the first items I deleted. Surely I absorb my fair share of salt already in the food I eat or the salty dogs I drink. The first evidence of salt processing occurred in China and present day Romania around 6000 B.C., some two thousand years before the creation of the Universe. Salt was the most prominent food preservative before refrigeration. It named cities (e.g., Salzburg) and rivers (e.g., Salzach) and overwhelmed the oceans. It was used as currency. But in the wrong context, it can be a disaster. Like if you accidentally add it to your coffee instead of sugar. Or you rub it in a wound. Or you are selected to work in the salt mines. I love sweet and sour combinations. So now my daily breakfast bowl of Grape Nut cereal with added fruit and raisins still tastes good but with sweet and salty flavors.
Forget About It
Sweet Little Rain is a steaming Americano espresso with a fluffy white cotton candy cloud suspended above it so that sugary raindrops melt into the cup. The sticky droplets also fall onto the cup, saucer, table, and fingers of the drinker. I expect Sweet Little Rain is one of those fun novelties that people try once or twice but will never order daily. Remember Slankets (blankets with sleeves) from a dozen years ago? We gave our boys a dust bunny and a hot dog for pets when they were young but that novelty wore off quickly. Dustin ate both those pets which we used as justification for not trusting the boys with more traditional animals. But I am off track again. Some novelties like hula hoops and Rubik’s cubes have just enough staying power to survive as catalog items long after the fad dies down. But frisbees, smiley faces, and the word “cool” all made it big enough to graduate from fad to the mainstream. I forgot what I was writing about so I put on my Slanket, brewed a cup of Sweet Little Rain, and reread the post. I hit the forgettable trifecta!