Redress – for October 19, 2020

Jerrod Winkler, head of the NBA Owners and Players Association, was understandably curious as to why, and more so how, a hodgepodge group of individuals had managed a one-hour slot in his schedule. From the disparate membership roster, he certainly assumed some charitable effort or some social cause the NBA certainly could reap good press from with an established relationship. Sorely needed right now.

This became obvious to me as soon as I sat in one of three oversized leather chairs on the other side of the ornate desk Jerrod sat behind.  His telephone was ringing madly but he graciously ignored it, as much as one can ignore an insidious device notorious for poor manners and a complete lack of shame.  While I was asking a few minutes reprieve before we launched-off on my, our committee’s purpose, we’d been interrupted at least three times by Jerrod’s assistants poking their heads into his office excitedly asking for a word with him. He shooed them away and smiled at me benignly, gratuitously.

The reasons my associates were late escaped me. I was reluctant to start the meeting without them.  Since we’d worked so hard to get the meeting on the books, difficult in that we were as cagey as Democrats in keeping our reasons for the meeting obscured, I feared I’d have to go it alone.  I dove in.

“Mr. Winkler…”

“Jerrod, please.”

“Of course, Jerrod, our group looks to negotiate a more equitable demographic on NBA teams.”

“What?  I’m afraid I don’t understand.  We have an exceptionally high proportion of minorities on NBA rosters.  I’m sure you recognize that.  I thought you were looking for NBA sponsorship for some cause.”

“In a way, we certainly are.  Demographically speaking, you do not have adequate representation of, if you’ll pardon me for the racial slur, white persons on your teams.  That is an issue we seek to have you support us in redressing.”

“What?”

“Our group wants the NBA to achieve an ethnic mix more in line with actual American demographics.  Pardon me again, but Black America is over-represented.”

“African Americans play better basketball than white people.”

“That’s irrelevant, sir, and not the whole of it”

“It is not irrelevant!”

“Indeed, it is.  Precedent dictates you adjust, make allowances.”

“For example?”

“Universities adjusted entrance exams and qualifications to achieve parity for minorities.  Not cheapened, sir, adjusted.  Qualifications were altered to accommodate ethnic variances.”

“This sport…  It’s by talent, not ethnicity.  Jumping, shooting, blocking…”

“Precisely, sir, I’m glad you understand.  You will have to adjust your qualifications and even some rules of the game.  Lower basket heights for different ethnicities.  Penalties for stuffing balls into the hoop and for jumping above a certain height from the floor’s surface.”

At this point, one of my fellow committee members entered Jerrod’s office.  “Mr. Winkler, this is Lucinda Joorgeson,” I said.  “Lucinda, this is Mr. Winker, NBA OAPA Chair.”

“Pleased to meet you,” said Lucinda, seizing and shaking a dumbstruck Jerrod’s hand. “Those who know me call me ‘Yorgy.’  You can too.  I think we’ll be working a lot together. It’ll be easier.”

Jerrod found his voice. “You aren’t serious about the NBA playing more white people on teams…”

“Indeed, we are, Mr. Winkler.  But our real concern is that there are zero women on NBA teams.  We desperately need you to address that.”

“But women are, well, women, and the existing players are, well, men.  Big men.  There is the WNBA, you know?”

“That’s that separate but equal thing that doesn’t go over very well.  Women tried that.  They’re getting the ‘separate’ part but not so much the ‘equal.’  Salary, endorsements, airtime, all that.”

“They’d get hurt and…”

“We’ll address that.  Like we’re doing with the NFL…”

“You spoke with the NFL?”

“Just came from there. That’s why we’re late.”

“I bet they set you straight.”

“They tried.  In the end, they recognize they haven’t a leg to stand on.  We’re discussing changes in rules; twenty player teams on-field, ten women, ten men.  Different yardages depending on who carries the ball or catches a pass.”

“The women will get hurt.”

“And it will cost penalties and immediate points on the scoreboard, if the men violate the man-man, woman-woman only contact rules. We’ll work it out.”

“It will debase the game,” asserted Jerrod.

“Not the issue and not really our concern,’ said Yorgy.  We’re looking for parity, recognition and equal shares of the rewards.”

Just then the two missing committee members popped through Jerrod’s door.  I announced: “Mr. Winkler, let me introduce Rabbi Feldstein and Juan Gonzales.  Gentlemen, this is Jerrod Winkler, Chair of the NBA OAPA.”

Jerrod, who to this point was standing as if to go toe-to-toe with Lucinda (a contest in which he was hopelessly outmatched) sank into his chair, “Oh, good lord!  What next?  Major League Baseball?”

“Actually,” suggested Juan,” the MLB is doing so much better than the NBA and NFL, except as far as the women are concerned.  But we still will talk.”

This is of course, all you Amelia Bedelia’s, a flight of fancy.

If you’re curious, take a gander.  The beauty of Wikipedia citations is that Wiki articles footnote primary sources.  Have fun.

NBA

NFL

MLB This one is just fun to watch

NHL Who cares?

If you want it all digested

To judge for yourself if Yorgy, Feldstein, Gonzales, et al have a case:

US Census Be careful here, persons completing the digest leave you to assume that since  50.8% of the population is female, why of course, 49.2% is male; a slur of major proportions for self-declaring individuals.

Groceries – October 16, 2020

Once again, it was time to trip to the local chain grocery to resupply. Not critical.  Just routine, so as not to “suddenly” be out of flour, sugar, coffee, or such.  And fresh veggies.  Limited shelf life, you know, necessitating trips to the grocery every week to ten days, those veggies.

A year or so ago, I liked grocery shopping.  Enjoyed the aromas of fresh produce, in-store baked goods, and yes, the coffee!  Not anymore.  With social distancing, periodic unexplained shortages, and devious sourcing and variety substitutions, grocery trips went rapidly from pleasant, to tedious, to dreadful.

To this point, the Missus, who also likes grocery shopping (or any shopping, really) had agreed I should complete the odious task alone. Why should two suffer needlessly?   Lately things have been easing-up.  The Missus felt she’d like to get back to enjoying and helping with that little detail of life.  I allowed it possible with no small degree of trepidation.  Off we went.

Pulling into the mega-grocer’s parking lot I noticed it was now enclosed in a six-foot chain-link fence.  That fencing channeled vehicles into a single line, leaving appropriately social-distanced customers to single file through a now small, guarded entrance.  Out of our automobiles, the single-file herding paradigm held.

Finally inside the building, there were no broad aisles and neatly partitioned “departments” – fresh produce, canned and boxed goods, meats and seafood, housewares, and “HBA.”  Shoppers were funneled into a serpentine pathway defined by plastic tape oddly akin to yellow “crime scene – do not enter” markers.

“Gee things have changed!” said the Missus.

Indeed.  We seemed more to be in a damned cafeteria of sorts.  A school lunchroom. We were in a line approaching a stainless-steel serving rail fronting glass-covered stainless tables loaded with buckets and trays of prepared foods.  I guessed foods.  Aside from familiarity with what it should be, there was nothing suggesting edible, no aromas of any sort.

One of two uniformed keepers of the entry accosted us.  “Dine in or carry out?” she asked.

Thinking I’d missed a sign or a news article on the grocery’s morphing into a cafeteria, I balked.  A spirited discussion ensued.  I’ll spare the details.  The Missus must have answered the question correctly as she passed forward, as did the next two “customers” while I negotiated.  Something I said was interpreted as an admission of defeat and I was admitted though now fourth in line behind the Missus.

We serpentined or whatever one does wiggle-waggling from point A past points A1, A2, A3, through An to point B.  Three hundred and fifty yards to cover twenty feet. The Missus knew the secret. I did not.  She passed through.  I was waylaid again.

A large woman challenged me. “Dine in, or take out?”

“Does it make any difference?” I asked. “I’m not here to eat.  I’m here for groceries.”

“That’s how we do it now.  What did you tell the woman at the main door?”

“Think I told her, ‘Yes.’”  I lied.

“That’s not an answer.”

“It is.  My wife does that to me all the time.”

“Dine in or take out?  I have to give you the right color napkin.  That’s how the servers know.”

I was tempted to continue this bit of edification but instead replied, “See the lady ahead in line giving me that panicked look?  I’m with her.” 

I was granted entry with a red napkin.  The bodies in front of me permitting, I shuffled forward along the tubular stainless-steel rail.  At the first serving station, I guess, a person of indeterminate gender growled at me.

“You want meat?”

“What is it?” I asked.

“I dunno,” the voice managed.

“Chicken?”

“I dunno.”  A conversationalist.

“Okay. Do me.”  Something emerged from the grey murk and moved toward a big red plastic tray. You know the kind – an exaggerated TV dinner tray, four compartments separated by pointless little ridges meant to keep dry from wet and green from brown, or in this case gray.  The something was huge. “Not that one, it’s too big,” I complained.

“Allasame size.”

“Looks bigger to me.  Not sure I can handle all that.”

“Same size. Made by machine.  Meat pressed onto a bone.”

“What kind of bone?”

“I dunno.”  Back to that again.

“Look,” I began but was interrupted.

“Sir, you take this if you want meat. You’re holding up the line. Or I’ll call security.”

I frowned.  She called security.

Security arrived by sliding one position to her right in the line behind the counter, abandoning her post working vegetables or whatever was next on the menu.  She, I think she, was tall and skinny and looked like she’d already had a bad day. 

“Is there a problem here?” she asked in a masculine voice better suited to Ollie Ogre beneath the drawbridge.

I lied.  Again.   I was beginning to feel like a Democrat.  “No.  I’m just waiting for my chicken and…”

“Meat.” Tall Skinny corrected.

“What kind of meat?” I risked asking again.

“No one knows. Just take one.”

“Okay. We’re good here. I’ll take that piece of meat.”

Tall Skinny went back to her abandoned position.  The chunk of whatever grey meat hit the tray, obviously my tray, with a decided metal clang. As the serving tools looked like solid plastic, coquettishly matching the trays, I determined the clang was from something inside the ersatz meat.

I shuffled to the right. Tall Skinny asked me, “Which vegetable?”

“What’s the green one?  Green beans?” I figured it was safe to ask since Tall Skinny and I already had a relationship.

“Dunno,” she said.

“The yellow?  Squash?” I pressed.

“Dunno.” 

I began to suspect the service staff tried to distance themselves from intimacy with the menu.  Perhaps part of their wage was dinner in-house and they really didn’t want to know.  “What’s it smell like?” I asked.

“Doesn’t smell.”  Tall Skinny growled.

“What do you mean?” I pushed.

“No smell.  Someone might be offended if it did.”

“How about allergies.  Think about that?”

“Not an issue.  Hypoallergenic.”

“Oh.  Gimme a little dab of both.”

“Can’t.”

“Little dabs.”

“Can’t.”

“Okay. You pick.”

“Sir!”

I caved.  “Okay. The green.”  If Tall Skinny had to call security on me, I wasn’t prepared to see the next step up the security ladder.

The Missus, ahead of me, kept looking at me and shrugging.  I skipped the next station by simply shaking my head.  It was stuffing or potatoes or sawdust, I wasn’t sure.  I was sure it didn’t look like something I wanted to even think of eating.  My tray shuttled down to what I assumed was the dessert station.

A slow learner, I began. “What’s that?”

“Dessert.”

“Really? Pie? Cake?  Flan?” 

“Dunno.”  Back to that.

“You taste it?”

“No way!  Not me!  You want some or not?”

Apparently Tall Skinny had been watching.  A new version of security arrived at the dessert station in the person of a short wide woman clad in an apron wielding a four-foot long spoon capable of stirring any witch’s cauldron.

“Sir,” she began in a voice directly from every six-year old’s Wizard of Oz nightmare, “is there a problem here?”

“What is that?” I asked, pointing to the curious goop.

“Why do you want to know?”

“I might decide to eat it.”

Short Wide made a scrunched-up face, snatched the dessert server’s ladle from her, scooped a blob of whatever and plopped the red-brown-orange doughy looking stuff in the largest unoccupied compartment of the tray, handed the ladle back to the server, spun, and walked away.

The Missus had managed to aside herself until I arrived at the register.  I watched as an attendant poured my goodies into a boxy cardboard thing that immediately started to leak. The empty tray was unceremoniously chunked into a trash bin.

“You wash those?” I asked the cashier, who looked to be Short Wide’s twin sister.

“No,” she replied.

“Recycle them?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Sanitation.”

The Missus interrupted what was going to be a learning experience for me.  “I’ve already paid,” she said, “let’s get the hell out of here!”  That bit of cursing would cause the Missus no end of grief.  At some point, she’d probably eat a bar of soap as an act of contrition.

In the car, the Missus found a towel to catch the leak from her cardboard box thing as she held it in her lap.  She stuck a grotesquely fat knife/spoon thing made from as much plastic as was in any of the serving-line ladles into the box.

“How the hell does that work?” I asked.

“Not very well,” she replied, lifting a taste to her mouth.

“What’s it taste like?”

“Tastes like nothing with a weird oily feeling.  Maybe a little bitter.  No taste, really, or smell. Why would they do that?”

“So not to offend anyone.”

She took another bite and screwed up her face monstrously.  “Ugh!”  She rolled down her window, and very much unlike the proper woman I married, pitched the whole container out the window.  Grabbing my box or whatever, she tossed that out the window too, quickly rolling the window up to keep the rejected “food” from managing its way back into the car.

“We have chicken in the freezer at home,” she declared.  “And rice in the cupboard.  Stop by my sister’s farm.  We’ll beg some tomatoes from her garden, and I’ll put something together.”

As directed, I stopped.  Missus’ sister was delighted to get rid of some of her surplus.  The Missus put together a most delightful Chicken Cacciatore.  Oddly, it looked like chicken.  Smelled like chicken.  Tasted like chicken. 

We’re looking for a new place to shop groceries.

Of course, that was a flight of fancy.  I dunno. Insomnia and maybe something I ate.  Not Cacciatore; last night was grilled pork steak with steamed broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower – recognized all of them.  Everything at present is so far from normal, I suppose frustrations just stretched life into a goofy aberration.

You know, like we used to do with Silly Putty and the Sunday funnies? You remember Silly Putty?  No?  You remember the Sunday funnies in the newspaper?  No?  Newspapers, you see, printed news aggregators, were the way we used to read the news.  See, there was this kid who’d bicycle past your house daily, throwing a rolled-up newspaper onto your porch.  Or into your rosebushes, or if it was raining, into the ditch in front of your house…  Yes, printed.  On actual paper…

Nine-sixteenths – October 14, 2020

Chasing parts for a pump repair back at the farm, I found myself downtown last week.  Passed by the always open bay door of Pauli’s Auto Repair Shop. 

There’s no Pauli there anymore. 

Pauli was Dave’s dad, a widower for years.  As a matter of fact, I can’t myself remember Dave’s mom and I fancy Dave and I grew up pretty much two halves of the same walnut. I’m not sure Dave remembers her either.  When I bump into him and we chat – this, that, and the other – Dave talks about Pauli, but has never that I recall mentioned his mom.

Folks drove from the city to have Pauli’s mechanics do auto repairs – after warranties expired, you know.  Pauli and his men were, you could guess from that, the best around, and Pauli kept prices reasonable and always shot straight. 

All the bad jokes and reality of fathers set in their ways and sons smarter than their fathers bumping heads aside, Pauli did okay as a single parent.   Better than okay, Pauli did a fine job with his only son, Dave.  When not playing baseball, basketball, or football, or across the county in debate competition, Dave worked in Pauli’s shop.  And learned.  He was a natural. Got it honest.

Dave deferred college for a stint in the service, then doubled-back to the state university.  Jump-starting his studies in the service, he quickly finished his undergrad work and got himself into law school.  That ended when Pauli suffered a massive and immediately fatal heart attack.

Dave took over the shop.  No more law studies.  Reckon Dave loved his pop more than anyone knew.  Kept the shop going to have his pop somehow still there.

Anyway, passing by, late in the afternoon last week, quitting time, I popped into the shop to jaw with Dave.  His men were washing off grease and grime, done for the day.  Except one, who was working on a bicycle a kid had brought to the shop with a chain that kept slipping loose.  Pauli’s does those kinds of repairs free, fast and on-demand. 

Quitting time aside, Dave had his head inside the hood of that old Chevy – Pauli’s pride and joy, now Dave’s.  Dave junior was helping Dave.  Already learning from the master.  He spent, from what I’d seen, a lot of time in the shop, not yet old enough for high school sports. Or debate. Or law school.

Dave twisted his neck so he faced across the engine to his rollaway tool chest and spoke to his son, “Davie!”

“Yes, Pop?”

“Hand me a nine-sixteenth boxend, would ya, please?”

“Yes Pop.”  The lad tiptoed to see into the open drawer he knew would hold the requested wrench.  He grabbed one and turned to take the three steps to his daddy but dropped the wrench.  It clattered singsong on the cement the way every mechanic – Fred Flintstone, Fred Mertz, Fred McMurray, you, and I would recognize.

“No, son. I want the nine-sixteenth.  That’s a five-eights.”

I noticed Davie had not handed the wrench to Dave.  So did Davie.  Davie picked the wrench from the floor, examined it, smiled, and promptly headed back to the tool chest.  He dove into the upper drawer again.

Taking the few steps necessary to hand the wrench to his daddy, Davie asked, “Daddy, how’d you know I didn’t get the nine-sixteenth?”

“Easy, Davie, from the sound.  What you dropped was clearly a five-eighths, combination.  Sounds different.”

All Davie could reply was, “Oh.” 

Frankly, that’s exactly what I was thinking.

Dave has been working in the shop so long he’s developed mechanic’s skills beyond the comprehension of most mortals. So it seems.  Can’t help but think he’d have been one hellova lawyer.

At the Co-op – October 12, 2020

Clayton and I were sitting at the gathering table in the elevator office, chatting one thing or another waiting for our weight and moisture receipts when Jackson came through the outside door from the big silos, dripping rainwater everywhere.

“Jackson!” I commenced to pester him, seeing how’s he’s such a tight ass, so serious all the time. “Looks like it might be raining out?”

He came back as I’d expected, a little peeved over the obvious and hard put to find humor to make his young personality fit in with the old timers usually hanging out there.  Old gaffs like Clayton and me.

“Ya think, Walter?” That was all he could come up with.

“Looks like,” chirped Clayton. The old man actually giggled.  

Clayton and I left Jackson to shed rain gear and try to get himself comfortable.  At least somewhat dry for his turn to wait while the machinations of the Co-op office staff made-up numbers.

“So, as I’m understanding, Walter,” Clayton picked-up where we’d left off when the outside door opened, “you fancy yourself a breast man?”

“Do.” I acknowledged.  “Legs and thighs are okay, but gimme a shapely breast, I ‘m a happy man.”

We had, not by design, just by happenstance, Jackson’s undivided attention.

“Why’s that?” asked Clayton.

“Well, prefer’m young and tender, but you know, a mite on the generous side.  Something you feel comfortable wrapping your lips around.  Warm, a little bit of give, but solid.  Yes sir, firm, tender, and ready for a bit of a nibble.”

I thought Jackson’s jaw actually thumped when it hit his chest.

“All well and good,” countered Clayton, “but seems to me legs, thighs especially, is the way to go.  Substance. Make a man feel he’s getting into something worthwhile.”  


“You’re talking about…” stammered Jackson.  “I mean right out here in the open, ladies present and all…”

Clayton and I looked at each other.  Little-boy grins simultaneously lit our faces. 


I put Jackson out of his misery.  “Chicken breast, Jackson.  I favor the light meat while Clayton likes the dark.  Chicken legs and thighs for Clayton.  Breast meat for me.  Simple enough.”

“What the hell’d ya think we were talking about, Jackson?” asked Clayton.  The old codger smirked while choking-back a threatening guffaw.

Evelyn, the high school Co-op office intern, poked her head across the half-door ledge to signal me my paperwork was ready.  I left to get it, gave it a cursory glance, and stuffed it in my shirt front.  When I reached for my raincoat, still dripping like a sweaty kid stacking hay bales in the mow in July, Jackson had collapsed into the chair I’d just left. 

Jackson looked at once confused and amused that two old gaffs like Clayton and I would talk about what he thought we was talking about.  Maybe just a bit disappointed that it wasn’t that, like maybe we could teach him a thing or two.  I dunno.  No telling. Maybe.  Clayton’s been married nigh onto forty years.  That doesn’t mean a damned thing, but I ain’t asking him.  Me, I’m still a bachelor, one reason or another.  And again, that don’t mean much.  Comes to fried chicken and well, you know.

“Walter,” started Clayton as I turned to leave, “Loretta and I will be setting the table about seven.  Fried chicken will be hot.  You know ain’t no one fries chicken better’n Loretta.  I’ll have the potato salad ready.  Stop by Jeanine’s Café and pick up one of her fresh pies on your way to the house.”

“Cherry?  Apple?”

“Both.  Braun and Larry maybe not go to Castleberry’s for the auction this evening.  Rain and all.”

“See you, Loretta, and the boys then, Clayton.” 

I pulled my Stetson over my noggin, opened the door, and stepped out into the rain.

Righteous Flood

The rains poured down, they soaked the ground,

And turned the dust to mud.

It never quit, just let up a bit,

What next, a righteous flood?

Last spring had sprung, no cloud here hung,

To bring us farmers rains.

We killed the weeds, and drilled the seeds,

But got little for our pains.

Last summer too, the rains so few,

The crops just shriveled here.

Sure, clouds rolled in, we waited then,

We watched them disappear.

Now lakes are full, the rivers too,

The dam’s about to break.

When rains slowed some, by then dad gum,

The ground no more could take.

The rains did stop, that steady drop,

But left behind the mud.

The ground’s just juice, to no good use;

Here comes that righteous flood.

© SPWilcenski 2020

You missed it. A rant. And another one. Pay attention. Oh. As usual, NSFW.

And the Winner… – October 9, 2020

I like fluff

The results are in. No other conclusion works.  Cotton candy sells.  Don’t offer a balanced plate of good veggies, healthy protein, just enough beneficial fat, and cool, hydrating water. Don’t even try offering a grilled steak, a loaded baker, a smidge of broccoli drizzled with cheese, and a glass of red. 

What ya need is peanut butter stuffed pretzels.  Chips & dip.  Bowl of ice cream.  Biggie Bacon Burger.  Good stuff.  Makes you eschew (had to do that) healthy choices.  Everyone knows veggies and balanced portions are tasteless and unfulfilling.

Give’m pictures.  Don’t even have to fit the theme.  “What she said.”  “Love ya!”  “I heerd that!”  Lawsy, leave all the brains in neutral. No-o-o, don’t ask for engagement.

Disguise your presence.  Everyone races to “me too” sympathy for the underdog, so as to appear, appear, mind you, to understand, commiserate, and maybe have you believe they experience similar circumstances.

Guess I see it.  There’s enough disappointment out there.  Folks want to escape.  But they don’t want to work too hard at it.  Noted.  Fun, fun, fun!  Pap.  Spoon-fed.  I-V anyone?

Lacking genuine class

I was watching this lady on television.  Looked decent enough. Her attitude turned me off.  Condescending.  Self-righteous.  Smug. Would have you believe she’s part of the intellectual elite.  Don’t think so.

She did try to make me think I should relocate to California.  She said it was a lovely place.  She hopes to make the rest of this country more California-like.  Her cadre, she said, worked hard make California what it is today; says they can do the same for the rest of the country.  So I gave it some thought.

Fires. Earthquakes. A high degree of government interference in your personal life.  High cost of living.  Well, shucks, if that’s the only bad good stuff, could be okay.  I mean every locality has some difficulty.

Thought some more.  Even the disreputable “news” sources report all but movie stars, politicians, and sports figures are leaving the state in droves.  There could be a reason.  Might be many.  Buckle-up…

People quite literally pooping in the streets.  Huh?

Taxes there are out of sight.  Well, that’s everywhere. I mean, ain’t it?

Gonna outlaw carbon fuel automobiles there.  Atomic cars?  Wind power cars?  Solar? I mean I hear tell the state has what they call “rolling blackouts.”  Which for those of you who sleep most of the day, that means everyone takes turns doing without electricity.  So dependably charging your Tesla or Prius will be iffy.  Assuming, that is, three hundred or so miles describes the top-end of your travel requirements. Wanna maybe investigate a bicycle but be sure they are low-psi tires accounta air-taxes.

All well and good.  Gasoline is over $4.00 per gallon in California.  European countries may consider that reasonable.  Maybe it is. But when it’s a buck-ninety where I am, it looks that something is awry. Pay for pure, sure. But double? Unh. Wait. Nope.

Diversity.  Lots of folks there sans paperwork.  “Undocumented” they are called.  Um, I mean, the “news” agencies keep telling me about them, so that seems to make them documented.  What’s the deal?  I ain’t got no papers. I’m undocumented?  Geeze, I should move to California to be with people of my own type.

Oh, I see.  Offsetting the outflow of middle-class folks.  Suggest they hurry accounta I hear states like Texas are putting up walls to keep Californians out. 

Welfare a humongous thing out there.  Some good by virtue of a contract with the working American people instituted in 1935.  Like it or not. Save meddling by politicians and hawg-troughing, financed. Some not so good, promulgated without any means of paying for it all, with no reason save misplaced ‘save the world’ attitudes.  “Here, I won’t give you my designer shirt for your nekkid back, but see that guy over there, digging a ditch?  Go take his shirt off his back.  Tell him I said it’s alright; the way it oughta be.”

Crime.  Well, ya got crime everywhere.  Real crime and crime in the government, which is the best kind because it’s legal. If not legal, at least it seems, Americans don’t mind it for some reason. Then again, I’m thinking, so much in California is regulated, if not outlawed, you could be arrested for brushing your teeth: prohibited chemicals in the paste, excess electricity use, abuse of water resources, a violation of noise ordinances, and maybe insufficient licensing and permitting.

Vote!  Vote Democrat!  And vote often! [Sorry. I lost my head.]

Il-lee-gal. Your Funk and Wallerstein broke? [Did it again, didn’t I? I apologize.]

Down to Sarah’s Coffee Shop

So I was talking to the boys down at Sarah’s coffee shop. Kind of put it to them tongue-in-cheek.

Luke asked me, “Why the heck would you want to move to California?  I mean it’s almost fall here, and the gnats ain’t gonna be much trouble anymore until the Ogoloochie floods this spring.  Come spring, you won’t pay much attention anyway for the mosquitoes.”

“Well, Luke,” I began, “seems to be such a great place, according to the lady I saw on the television last night.”

“Oh, I seen that show,” Bobby interrupted.  “If that was supposed to be a comedy, Imma spend more time on the back porch tending the smoker.  I didn’t get half the jokes the lady was laughing at.”

“Was what you call ‘satire,’ I think,” suggested Luther.  You know, where you say outrageous things as if they were gospel to see how many unsuspecting fools you can get to believe it.”

“No,” offered Luke, “that was two folks arguing politics and both of them was dead serious.  Not that they believe what they said, but they ‘spect you to believe it.”

“Seen that same show,” Timmy Loggenthorpe said.  “Lady seemed sincere,” he protested.

Luke looked at Timmy with that ‘the boy just don’t understand look.’ “That’s there’s the real danger, son,” he cooed.  “Get your coffee warmed up.  Imma explain a thing or two for ya.  First, what you seen was a classless twit.  Lying by force of habit.” 

Notice, Luke never once mentioned gender.  Or race.  Luke’s not much of a visionary, but he does show a bit of respect, warranted or not.

You missed it

I ranted.  I posted it. Not even gonna tell you where it is. Nah.  This ain’t it.  This ain’t a rant.  This is fluff.  I hid the rant.  So’s not to offend. And not to appear anti-fluff.

Ramble Rumblings – October 7, 2020

Playing fair

Don’t ask me why, but I give equal time to Democranks and Repullicans.  Curious: I bump into a Democrank who impresses me with what s/he writes or says, they begin to make points with their rationalization.  Not often, now and again.  As if they sense it’s time for the kill, they press on saying something stupid, baseless, unsupportable, and were it not painfully and dangerously absurd, laughable. This brings all of what they said before back into question. Besides making me angrier over their lunacy, their intolerance, it frustrates the snot out of me.  How can they be so sane one moment and looney-tunes the next?

Democranks, however, have not cornered the market in stupid.  Fess up, Repullicans.

Repullicans?

Um yep.  They deep-end now and again too.  Problem with Repullicans is they have consciences.  They don’t actually believe themselves when they lie.  Which puts them behind the eightball in overall lunacy points ratings.  Not believing themselves, they are pressed to make others believe.  This makes them ineffective as liars. They prevaricate, but honest to Pedro, they just can’t pull any of it off with a straight face.

Welcome…

The Asian Giant (murder) Hornets to northwest US (Washington state).

The Tasmanian Devil back to mainland Australia.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis. One more reason to malign mosquitoes.  Say.  Liberalism spread by mosquitoes?

Right or wrong

I feel some compassion for the west coasties suffering fires, the north west coasties suffering rampant liberalism, and an America so caught-up in “me, me, me.”  I’m guessing if WW II were today, our allies of the 40’s would be left to go it alone.  Then maybe, horror of horrors, Axis philosophies would be worldwide.  Probably.  Gee, that being the case, today’s misguided liberals, anarchists, and brick-shoppers could taste firsthand what “freedom” is (or was) all about.

Still not sending my money out west to “help.” Ah, but I have no control over tax-funded expenditures, do I?

When I stand for the national anthem, I still get goosey feelings.  Mom, country, and apple pie.  Don’t worry folks, I have an appointment with the doc.  I’ll get some meds to keep that under control.

Amazing 

WP stats:  6 views, 1 visitor, 3 likes, 0 comments.  Get this: one of the one visitor was from Spain with 3 views, and the other one of the one visitor was from Switzerland with 3 views.  I am so-o-o-o glad I am not held accountable for the new math.  Maybe that’s why Democranks can’t grasp reality?  There’s some new math involved? On the other hand, some Repullicans have difficulty with other hard sciences – climatology, epidemiology, and thermodynamics, for example.  Then there are the soft sciences neither left nor right understand – economics, sociology, religion, and ethics.

Okay, the Left rails against Trump.  One man.  Mostly one man.  It requires work to recognize others of the Right evoking the same level of vehemence.  There’s where the Left leads the nation, by golly!  They have Joey, Nancy, AOC, Tlaib, Carey, Harris, Ilhan, Baldwin, Gretchid…

While we’re “defunding”

Let’s defund the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin.  Seems (according to Fox News) on hearing President Trump was discharged from the hospital, she suggested Walter Reed Hospital should be defunded.  If the details of what I read are correct, this lady is off her nut.  Wait.  Works for the Washington Post.  Reporter.  Insane.  Yeah.  Redundant.

Well, why not defund the Washington Post at the same time?

Fox News?  Media Matters dot org suggests Fox News is Right Wing.  Maybe.  But certainly stupid.  Put that kind of incendiary “news” out there, conservative readers are going to blindly believe and start loading.  Not a good thing.  Question, yes; believe, no.  Liberal readers will be inclined to say, “Well, hell yeah!  Defund them sukkas!” and race to grab bricks.   Only way to defund Fox News is to stop reading their horseshit.  That could take a while.

Jim Gaffigan (per Newsweek) a comedian I used to enjoy for his sick humor turns out to be just sick.  Not talking about COVID-19 either.

Overheard.  Sadly.

“Vote! Vote! Vote!”  Gee, he actually came out and said it, didn’t he?  All the Democranks voting three times, gonna be a tough election.

“Joey, why would a Byeden presidency be good for America?”

“Trump bad, Trump bad, Trump bad!”

“Well, there’s always room for opinion, Joey, but can you tell me why a Bieden presidency would be good for America?”

“Trump bad, Trump bad, Trump, bad.”

“Okay, Joey, let’s try this a different way.  What have you accomplished in the past that illustrates your concern for and positive impact on the American economy or society in general for example?”

“Trump bad, Trump bad, Trump bad!”

I suggest

COVID-19 is not the greatest health problem confronting this country.

PSA Ultima chiamata. “Nicole e la capra che leggono libri” è ancora là fuori, in italiano. Se lei leggessi, sarei interessato alla tua opinione sulla traduzione e come si confronta con la storia originale in inglese. Grazie mille.  O no.

Unicorns and Powerpoints – October 5, 2020

Many times before, I’ve said, if you have something for whatever reason you cannot do that you dearly want done or that must be done, find someone already far too busy and approach them.  I’ll go on record suggesting you should ask, beg, cajole, connive, threaten, or couch your “need” in a dare to get a commitment from this person. 

Many times, it’s only necessary you get the idea out in the open, declared.  A commitment is requisite only if you’re insecure or realize what you ask is indeed undoable.

Not unreasonable. Undoable.

This works for one overriding reason.  Oddly, and defying logic, folks with too much already in their schedule somehow manage to get an out-of-nowhere, over-the-top job done.  When finished, it rarely is a half-hearted effort.  Seldom does it fall short of expectation or need.  This has something to do with these machines’ ability to manage time and climb far enough outside their sandbox to aha! a shortcut or piggyback this new task onto one in-progress. Now and again, it’s simply magic.

I recall instances where the too-busy person only shrugged recognition without a solid commitment.  Subsequently, the deed was done without pomp, before, during, or after.

How do I know? Can you see it coming?

Not always, but many times, I have been that all-too-busy individual.  No ego.  Fact.

In those cases, it never occurred to me the presenter was out-of-line, expecting too much, or jeopardized good trade with a momentarily unwelcome demand.  Factually, they were.  It just escaped me.  Neither did I immediately assume I couldn’t make time or recognize what was asked was an imposition.  Irritated?  Resentful?  Sometimes the tiniest bit, depending on timing and who was standing in front of me.  That, though, was overridden by my understanding the requestor had faith enough in me to know I just might pull it off.  Okay, somewhat a bit of ego there, yes.  Maybe that’s what they played on.  Some, I can grant that.  Most didn’t know enough of or understand what they did know of the odd way my mind works to conclude ego or flattery would win the day.

Then and now my acceptance of these requests without a blow-out comes because I believe I can handle anything and everything I or someone else ladle onto my plate.  Challenges are not out of line because I am, after all able to do anything with the possible exclusions of giving birth and yodeling.  Expecting too much?  Nah.  I have superpowers including, but not limited to, the ability to see through windows and walk through open doors. Risking drawing too deeply on a balance of trade?  Nope.  I don’t mind banking a bit of surplus obligation.

Superficially dismissing a request works well for me because if I “refuse” to accept an additional charge, but manage to do the deed, I bank a few kudos – coin I can redeem later.  Failing, well, I didn’t say I’d do it anyway, did I?  On the other hand, if, because I wasn’t paying attention, I openly accept an assignment, I am under pressure to deliver.  And almost without fail, I will deliver, even if it’s necessary to delay a few tasks important only to me.

There are times new projects, new “it’ll only take a minute” tasks are refused by overbooked folks.  I’m not an exception.  It’s fairly easy to tell when my refusal is ironclad.  If I stop what I am doing and inventory tasks interfering with accepting new work, ticking them off on my fingers as I go, your project hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell. 

Should I politely dismiss your assignment, you should continue to look elsewhere, but take heart that somewhere in the recesses of my puny skull, I’m already working on your project.   Don’t belabor your case with an appeal.  Or waste my time. Do cover all the bases, though.

I’m put to mind of a client’s Project Manager, an exceptional dude, who was fond of coming to me for an estimate of how long such-and-such would take.  Except for something clearly requiring a team effort, maybe multiple disciplines, I gave estimates off the top of my head for how long it would take me to do them.  In truth, these weren’t estimates; I knew what I could and could not do, knew my software, and knew the systems I was riding herd on, upstream and downstream.  Happy the candidate project was deemed doable, if my estimate was on the skinny side of a couple of days, he’d ask me to submit specifications so he could put someone else to the work.  He only did that twice.  My answer both times was, it will take me longer to spec the work than it will for me to do the job myself – that’s gonna cost you budget before you even get someone else started: decision time. Third and subsequent times I gave short quotes, he added the project to my list and punished me with a new “understudy.”

Understand, there are times I cannot, dare not, will not, or legitimately don’t care to help.  Those instances are when I am most vocal in my protestations against.  That’s only fair.  The petitioner needs to realize they’d best explore other options.  It has nothing to do with the size shoe you suggest you might apply to the seat of my britches, the cologne you wear, or the frequency of eye-flutter you bring to bear.

Got something you need done?  No one else available?  Don’t know how to do it yourself?  See if you can’t find me.  Or someone else you know who has the same character flaw.

By the way.  Exceptional Project Managers are Unicorns.  Competent Project Managers get in the way, engender confusion, and double project timelines.  But damn!  Don’t their PowerPoints make your mouth water?

Minority – October 2, 2020

 

The neglected minority

Figuring myself – older, white, conservative, male, a two-fisted drinker, oblivious to pro-sports, and fond of broccoli – part of a neglected minority, I did some looking for evidence.1  Turns out I was mostly wrong.  Well, there’s a first.

Males are 49.2% of the US population.  Females 50.8% and slowly increasing, but that hardly makes me ‘minority’ by sex/gender.2  If the census considers the other fifty-six2 genders, that may skew the percentages somewhat but still not enough to make me minority by gender.  Drat!

Look at age demographics. The same reputable agency reports:

  • Under age 18 — 24%
  • 18 to 44 — 36%
  • 45 to 64 — 26%
  • 65 and over — 13%.   

Aha! Clearly a minority at 13%. Since women outnumber men, something less than 6.5% of the population (in 2010) aged 65 and over were male.  The professionals putting narrative around tables and charts suggested increases expected in the percentage of those 65 and older will continue.  I can’t wait. I want my 40 acres and my mule now.

The concept of old and male as a minority loses its zip considering Caucasians represent 74% of the population.  “Race” then, drops the 6.5% figure some but not aggressively. Political orientation is not part and parcel of census data and given what I’ve learned already I’m disheartened and won’t look further.3  I am not effectively a downtrodden minority member.  No mule.  No forty acres.

New direction?

I’m now out of patience hearing complaints from narrow interest groups: youth – students especially, gender crusaders, ethnic bigots, race supremacists, aquarium owners, Republicans, Democrats, religions, and pro and con environmentalists, right-to-lifers, and second-amenders.  With no patience for any of them or their self-serving agendas, I’m less inclined to consider, less inclined to grant legitimacy.  Legitimacy, which in many cases long ago went to dead zero and lately to negative.  Out of patience, my tolerance suffers.  I am every day less and less inclined to stand for this nonsense and certainly not to hold my tongue, lest I hurt someone’s feelings.

Well, then there’s the fact my feelings are hurt that I can’t consider myself a minority and therefore cool and entitled.

Impatient and now intolerant, I’ll not even try for “sensitive” anymore. No more wasting energy holding back on words that provoke some whiny twit over gender, race, color, ethnicity, above-ground pool ownership, or Republican or feminist affiliations.

My previous efforts left me lexicographically impaired.  That handicap still doesn’t put me over the top as a neglected minority.

It doesn’t bother others to speak their minds however inflammatory their words.  Not gonna bother me either.  Not anymore.

Let the chips fall where they may.

1census.gov 2010. Look it up.  The splits, slicing and dicing boggles the mind.  No need for corroboration.  This is Uncle Chuck.  Uncle Chuck wouldn’t lie.

2 Sex/gender? 56, 59, 64, who knows?  Tomorrow it may be 100. 

3 2010 reporting.  Despite tedious statistical slicing and dicing reported, I found no easily discernable percentage of males over 65.  Short of an afternoon of deductive extrapolation, I suggest since as age increases the percentage of females increases, by age 65+ more than the given 50.8% of that population is female.  For simplicity, let’s just go with 6.5% of the population males 65 and older.  Sadly, there also were no statistics on who actively followed sports or considered broccoli palatable, which would further reinforce my desperate claim to minority status.  If you know of a public database supporting queries, tell me.  I suspect however, warehouse granularity will not support an accurate query – green cruciferous vegetable preferences are probably aggregated.

Perfect – October 1, 2020

NSFW: Language, innuendo. ageism.

“How do you identify yourself?” asked the young lady reading the health profile questions to me, obviously concerned that not of her generation, I might be unable to read or understand the complex medical questions. She waited upon my reply, ballpoint pen at the ready to record my answer.  If, that is, she didn’t first have to explain the question to the old duff seated in front of her.

This crotchety old duff, sick to death of the asinine assumptions about the sanity, knowledge, social awareness, and physical abilities of ‘old people,’ figured to take a run at getting her goat.  I admitted it was not gonna be a fair contest. Her attitude pissed me off such that I didn’t frankly give a shit for ‘fair.’

“Well, I generally look in my wallet first thing when I wake up.”

“What, sir?”

“Still got a driver’s license.  Got my name on it.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“Answers your question.  One day, I did mistakenly get my wife’s billfold.  Went the whole day thinking my name was Susan.”

“Sir…”

“You want me to answer a question, ask a question that makes sense.”

“About your sex, sir.  How do you identify?”

“Sex or gender?  You folks have this idea there’s a difference. How I identify is recognizing what I got. Simple as that.” 

“Okay sir.” [Deep sigh]  “How do you describe your sex?”

“Pretty good, all things considered.  Usually about five times a month.  Six, if the missus feels spunky.”

“Sir!”

“You mean to ask me what my birth sex was?”

“Yes.”

“Then ask that.  Don’t be beating about some crackbrained politically correct bush.”

“So?”

“So what?”

[Frustrated sigh] “So what was your birth gender or sex, however you want to call it?”

“Same as it is now.  Unless you want to get into that psyche-identity bullshit.”

“That I guess, is the next question.  First, what was your birth gender?”

“Far as sex goes, I was born male.  If you can’t tell, one or the other of us has some serious issues to address.”

“Um.  Perfect.  Thank you.  Next question.  Do you self-identify as some gender other than your birth gender?”

“Ah, now the psyche-sex bullshit.”

“Sir…”

“Male.  Same as now. Sex and gender all the same.” 

“Perfect.  Thank you.”

“All the ladies say that.”

“Sir?”

“Never mind, you either get it or you don’t.  You don’t.”

“Oh, I see. You suggest the ladies find you, um, attractive.  Apparently, you like the ladies too?”

“Some.  Always have.  Even married, I still admire an attractive woman.”

“Why, thank you, sir.”

“Didn’t mean you.”

“Sir?  You don’t find me attractive?”

“Not exactly.  That’d be because I find you, um…”

“Not your type?”

“No.  I find you ugly.”

“That’s unkind, sir!”

“Not really.  It’s what you’d call truthful.  You did ask at the onset that I answer your questions honestly.”

“Yes, but, that’s not one of the questions.”

“You asked.”

“Yes, I guess I did.”

“Suspect you have doubts.  Over-compensate with all that jewelry.  Pierced, I reckon?”

“Yes…”

“Well you missed your ears.  Got one of them dingle-dangles stuck in your nose, one in your lip. You maybe need to get someone to help you get dressed in the morning.”

[Heavy sigh and hesitant frown] “We’ll move on.  Medical conditions: do you have diabetes?”

“No.”

“Perfect.  Is there a history of diabetes in your family?”

“Yes.  My dad.”

“Perfect. Type one or type two?”

“Two.”

“Perfect.”

“No.”

“Type one, then?”

“No.  Not perfect. It killed him.”

“No sir, what I meant by ‘perfect’ was…”

“I know what you meant. It’s a bad habit. Like picking your nose. You keep ‘perfecting’ me after each question, I believe I’d rather you pick your nose, or scratch your…”

“Sir!”

“Frankly, it’s offensive.  Like your habit of twirling that pen between your fingers like a miniature baton.”

“I hadn’t realized.  I’ll stop.”

Perfect!”

L.O.D.D. – September 30, 2020

While I started out to preamble this post with a parody anecdote of a doctor’s visit where I was diagnosed with an ugly but not (generally) fatal disease, something came up to change my mind.  For a little context, I should relate something else that happened about eight or so years ago.

I reconnected with a high school classmate after thirty years without contact.  Life, you know?  We corresponded for several years.  Well-educated and very intelligent, he wrote insightful emails and we argued politely back-and-forth on a number of topics.  He was liberal. As you can guess, I tend to be conservative.  It came out he was gay.  Didn’t bother me, I suppose because before that revelation I learned who he really was and that was dandy with me.  He did not try to convert me to any true religion.  Neither did I attempt to proselytize.  When he visited my city to speak at a LGBTQ convention, he stayed with us here.

He returned to his north Left-Coastie home.  Fast forward, to presidential election time. The last one, not this one. His candidate was treated poorly by his own people, his own party.  This incensed my friend.  Out of the blue [snicker] he informed me he could no longer communicate with me.

What?  I pressed for an answer as to why.  His response went like this:

You, he told me. are conservative.  He elaborated.  Conservatives, Republicans especially, were, and apparently still are. the cause of all the troubles in this country and indeed, in the world.  I was told I was a Republican. 

That was news to me.  I dropped trou and looked. There were no signs that I could see.  But then, what does one look for?  A tattoo?  A birthmark?  Localized swelling?  Excess hair?

Summarizing, because as a Republican I couldn’t figure it out for myself, he said I was a conservative, a Republican, therefore he could no longer communicate with me.

Well, hell, that kinda makes sense to me.  Whoa.  Wait.  No.  It doesn’t.  Didn’t then; doesn’t now.

Nonetheless, I’ve honored my exile.

You understand, I worry over my intelligence, my value as a human being.  If, that is, I am a Republican. 

Then.  There was last night.  The circus.  Three clowns.  I wore out two pencils writing down the falsehoods I intended to follow-up on.  It took less than five minutes after the center ring was occupied to become apparent it was going to be business-as-usual.  Innuendo.  Ignoring facts.  Dodging issues.  Answering accusations with counteraccusations. “You did!”  “I did not!” “Did so!”  “Liar, liar, liar!”

Can we void the political licenses the two (primary) combatants hold?  Bar them from politics for life? 

While we’re at it, can we railroad the Ringmaster off to a cabin in the Northwoods to contemplate his navel?  Perhaps he should have a chaperone, someone to explain to him what his navel is and where he stands a good chance of finding it?  Suspect if he goes looking without a guide, he might end up looking in an unpleasant place.

LODD is what I got

I knew I was ailing, my faculties failing, but didn’t know just what I had.

Went to the doc, imagine his shock, when I told him just why I felt bad:

“Hard as I’m trying, I can’t stop this lying; my friends are all running away.”

“I’m spending a lot, of cash I ain’t got, and looking for others to pay.”

.

“Oh but there’s more, got symptoms galore, each an embarrassing habit.”

“I’m never to blame, I stay unashamed; it’s the other guy’s fault dag-a-nabbit!”

“Facts I deny, and if pushed to say why, I state something even far worse.”

“Doc, a diagnosis, and then the prognosis; am I doomed with this terrible curse?”

.

I peed in a cup, some blood I gave up; the techs there then ran all the screens.

Old Doc sat me down and said with a frown, “It’s L-O-D-D that it means.”

This puzzled me true, and then as on cue, I sneezed a pants-soiling sneeze.

“The truth,” said the Doc, “is here’s what you’ve got, Late Onset Democrat Disease.”

.

“Right now there’s no cure, of that we are sure, the best we can get is remission.”

“If you follow this plan, we’ll do what we can, to waltz this curse to submission.”

He snatched up his pad, scribbled like mad, then sent me off, my mind reeling.

Near home I did stop, at my chemist’s shop, and waited, the wait un-appealing.

.

The pharmacist there, seemed to not care; she struck me a bit of a jerk.

She gave me the pills, to cure my new ills, and with them the ugliest smirk.

That messed with my head, so to her I said, “What is it you find so amusing?”

She said, “Had it once, it stayed on for months, made all of my life too confusing.”

.

The pills that I’m taking, have slowed-up the shaking; I’m feeling a mite courageous.

One fear yet remains, and sorely it pains – do I consider myself still contagious?

Friend’s hands I don’t shake, it’s all for their sake; I ask them to bear with me, please.

Don’t want to spread this god-awful dread, this insidious Democrat disease.

© SPWilcenski 2020