Friday week in review

A Friday Haiku

First day of Autumn

Someone needs to tell Summer

Ninety-five? Really?

Edited to Add: Milwaukee reached 95 degrees Fahrenheit today. Broke the 1937 record of 92 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here we go, Brewers, here we go!

Only 10 games left and the Milwaukee Brewers are still in the thick of the National League playoff race, despite losing two crucial games that would have tied them with Denver for the final Wild Card berth and brought them a game closer to the Cubs.

Win or lose, if they make the playoffs or don’t, this is already one of the Brewers’ most exciting seasons.

For one thing, no one expected this (except us true blue fans). Every so-called experts predicted the Brew Crew would be cellar dwellars, battling it out with Cincinnati for last place. After all, they had that fire sale, getting rid of all their star players, except for Ryan Braun, and filled their roster with farm club no-names. The Brewers were essentially fielding a Triple-A team, or so the experts claimed.

Did the Brewers even see the script for this season? It’s doubtul because they immediately surprised everyone by jumping into first place in their division from the very beginning and didn’t let up until the All-Star Break. Not only that, they led the league in home runs, RBI, and several other stats. For a time, they were the best team in baseball.

In other words, this lowly small-town team of Triple-A ballplayers dared to disrespect the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs as well as the perennial playoff contending St. Louis Cardinals by beating the pants off of them.

And here we are, on the final lap of the baseball season and the Brewers are still in the thick of it. Second place in the division and still within reach of a Wild Card.

True fans couldn’t be happier and even if they miss the post-season, we can’t complain. They did more than exceed expectations, they knocked them out of the park. They’re a very young team and as they’ve shown, very talented with a lot of heart. They have fun and are just plain fun to watch.

Brewers tear off Erik Thames’ shirt to celebrate his walk off home run against San Diego in June 16, 2017.

This season was all about team-building and gaining valuable experience, especially on how to deal with the intense pressure of a playoff race.

Whatever the outcome of the season is, this team is no longer is a bunch of no-names. In a short time, everyone now knows Domingo Santana, Zach Davies, Eric Thames, Travis Shaw, Josh Hader, Corey Knebbel, Manny Pina (Lucroy who?), Orlando Arcia, nerd boy Eric Sogard, Keon Broxton, Brett Phillips with his 80-grade arm and they’ve put the rest of the league on notice. These guys are going to be contenders for many seasons yet to come.

It’s a great time to be a Brewers fan.

Weigh-In Friday

I’m up again by a couple pounds. Sometimes a little cheating is fine, but losing track of how much you cheated isn’t. It’s like trying to keep a mental tally of your finances instead of writing it down in a ledger, then veing surprised when you get an overdraft notice from the bank. “I could have sworn we had more money!” Our minds like to play tricks on us.

I take some solace in the fact that despite gaining weight, my fat percentage still went down and my muscle percentage went up.

The never ending edits

You’ve heard of the Never Ending Story? Well, I’m trapped in the never ending edits.

I would have hoped I was past the creation stage and well into the pokishing stage of my manuscript, but that isn’t the case.

As my editor side goes through my story to correct flaws in tense, fix passive sentences, and so on, my writer side is also going, “Hey! I have a great idea to add here! How about if…”

And it isn’t just one or two scenes the writer side is considering. It’s every crucial scene. New ideas for dialog, for subplots, and setting as well. Some minor, some major. Not edits, but actual rewrites.

Shut up, writer side, you aren’t helping.

Worse, now I’m worried I might have fallen down the research rabbit hole, that never ending time suck where you go to verify one thing only to have that topic lead to another topic and another and another. None related to what you started out researching, but all addictingly interesting enough to draw you in and hold you there. A prisoner to your own desire for more knowledge.

Help me.

The GOP wants to kill us

There is a lot of buzz going on about how scary the recent release of the remake of Stephen King’s It is. But there’s something even scarier on Capital Hill. It’s a two-headed monster called Graham-Cassidy and it wants to kill us all.

Millions will lose their health insurance. Many due to pre-existing conditions (which they say are covered but they really aren’t), necause the bill has no guarantees they can get coverage.

States that accepted Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, would lose their funding, but more importantly and scarier, there will be complete changes to how Medicaid is funded to all states. This is the GOP saying “Fuck you” to the elderly and disabled.

This is the worst of the Trumpcare repeal and replace bills yet!

Call your Congressperson. Complain. Give them an earful that we’re tired of their conservative bullshit. Save the ACA.

Unless you want to die.

TheRump wants to kill us too

If there is one thing this week has shown, it’s how much of a divide exists between the deplorables and the rest of the world.

The great orange turd addressed the United Nations in his own inimitable style. In other words, he appalled all civilized people everywhere with his ignorant and bellicose rhetoric, threatening to destroy another nation.

But not everyone was shocked or appalled by TheRump’s insane patter. On the contrary, my Twitter feed exploded with praise for King Cheeto. “It’s about time we had a real President who stands up for Murica!” They want him to destroy a nation. Any nation. Do they look different from us? Speak some funny language other than English? Kill ’em! Kill ’em all! They think going to war should always be our first option in negotiations. Diplomacy is for wimps.

It should come as no surprise the trumpettes admired his angry posturing, his childish namecalling, his chest pounding and threat displays and saw them as something to be proud of. And that’s why Hillary appropriately named them deplorables.

Currently reading

Last night I was digging through my To-Be-Read pile of books and came across “Weird Tales: The Magazine That Never Dies,” an anthology of short fiction that had appeared in that magazine over the years, edited by Marvin Kaye. I picked it up and started reading and couldn’t put it down. I’ve always enjoyed pulp fiction and Weird Tales had some of the best by some of the great writers of the day, like Ray Bradbury, H. G. Wells, Fritz Lieber, August Derleth, L. Sprague de Camp, Robert Bloch, Tanith Lee, H. P. Lovecraft, and Richard Matheson to name a few.

I leave you with a song

For your listening pleasure, a song with which to start your weekend and also to ring in Autumn.

So fell Autumn rain, washed away all my pain, I feel brighter somehow, lighter somehow to breathe once again

So fell Autumn rain, washed my sorrows away, with the sunset behibd somehow I find the dreams are to stay

So fell autumn rain

From “So Fell Autumn Rain” by Lake of Tears

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Friday Roundup

Bad Friday Haiku

Friday makes me glad

It means the weekend is here

And I can sleep in

Obamacare Haiku

They tried to kill us

But Obamacare still lives

Fuck you, GOP

More rain, less run

This was a bad week for running. It rained Tuesday and Thursday so I didn’t run (yes, I know I have a treadmill) and today I just felt blah, which seems to becoming a usual feeling.

I just seem to be lacking in energy. Maybe I need to take some vitamins and minerals. I know I should take more Vitamin D to compensate for all the rainy cloudy weather and to counteract my S.A.D. And I just read that potassium, calcium, and magnesium deficiencies (brought about by exercise, thyroid problems, and taking a diuretic for HPB) can cause cramps, which I’ve been getting in the soles of my feet lately.

Usually I do take a multivitamin, but I ran out a while back and they’re so damned expensive.

My favorite multivitamin was by OneSource for Men 50+. They had a whopping 4,000 IUs of vitamin D3 (take that, S.A.D.!). And they were inexpensive, about $5 for 60. But for some inexplicable reason, Walmart discontinued them.

One-A-Day, Centrum, and Nature Made can’t hold a candle to OneSource. So I need to find a substitute.

Any suggestions?

Weigh-In Friday

I went up 0.4 pounds. I blame the lack of energy and the gloomy weather, which makes me eat more. (Did I ever mention how much I love Cheetos?)

If only I had a powerful megavitamin to take. Damn you, Walmart!

Beginning a new hobby

If you read yesterday’s blog post (and if you didn’t, go read it now. We’ll wait. Hmm hmm hmm hmm *hums theme from Jeopardy* Oh, you’re back? Good.) I mentioned I was interested in, or reinterested in, learning how to draw.

Here is my first attempt at a chair:

I did it all freehand (no rulers or straight edges) with a mechanical pencil. It’s basically a visual copy (meaning I didn’t trace it) of an exercise in the drawing book I checked out from the library.

As you can tell, I need a lot of work on understanding three-dimensionality, particularly perspective and shading.

“What about your attempt at an apple?” some reader shouted. Yeah…. No. That really shows how poorly I translate three-dimensinal objects into two-dimensional renderings.

*looks at his readers faces*

Fine. Here. I told you it was atrocious.

Who laughed? I distinctly heard someone say, “What the hell is that on top? A window?”

This I did from memory, as I didn’t have an actual apple to look at. I have always had trouble interpreting circular objects, such as balls, cones, and cylinders, in three dimensions. That’s my attempt to show that side of the apple is shiny (and curved). I think I saw that effect used in cartoons.

Oh, well, back to the drawing board.

Scout Jamboree

As a former Scout Leader, to say I’m appalled by the speech TheRump gave to a group of Scouts is an understatement.

This man-child simply cannot talk without it being about how great he thinks he is or how terribly he thinks he’s being treated by the Free Press and other political opponents.

Every speech he gives is filled with lies, half-truths, hatred and paranoid vitriole; such content might almost be considered appropriate for his normal audience of supporters, which is usually brain-dead, deplorable racists and mysoginists, but these were CHILDREN!

These weren’t potential voters (not for several years) and they certainly weren’t there to attend a partisan political rally. They were there to have fun. Learn various outdoor skills, like camping and woodcraft. To exercise their bodies and minds.

Not to listen to the incoherent, rambling ravings of an orange turd cursing, attacking his rivals, and insulting a former President of the United States.

Now can we start impeachment proceedings?

Obamacare Repeal

The Republicans have been trying to repeal Obamacare since day one. During Obama’s presidency they voted over 50 times to do so. And failed every time.

Last night was their latest attempt. It failed as well.

These failures must really gall these old white men. Deep down in their white-hooded souls they’re seething with racist rage because all their attempts to sponge away the legacy of this uppity black man, to whitewash the shameful memory of a black man ever having occupied their White House, have been twarted.

And to all their failures, the best response is:

Fuck you, GOP.

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Zen and the art of driving stick

It was 1940 and Oldsmobile introduced the “Hydra-Matic,” the first automatic transmission. They sold something like 200,000 units and it was that same year the very first case of road rage was documented.

Driving automatic

Drivers of these new-fangled automatics began to suffer a disconnect between themselves and their vehicle because they found they had too much time to seethe over every single road incident and perceived wrong.

Drivers of stick, of course, were more zen-like, tranquil in their oneness with their automobile. They were absorbed in the moment, hands, feet, and mind all focused on the very act of driving, and didn’t have time to waste on frivolous external stressors.

That first incident of road rage occurred on Route 66 somewhere between Holbrook, Arizona and Williams, Arizona. 

Pepper McHilheney,  a spitball pitcher returning from a loss that had raised his ERA to an astronomical 37.3, was driving in his brand new black Olds Hydra-Matic, fuming about being tossed out of the game because he beaned the ump with a fastball after said ump had called the 90th ball that inning, when along came Biff Melonmeister, a traveling anvil salesman out of Davenport, Iowa, driving a similarly equipped Olds, but in cream, who was worrying that if he didn’t find a blacksmith soon who needed a new anvil how was he going to make his next car payment, when he inattentively cut off Pepper.

Pepper, of course, beeped and shouted, “Get your head out of you ass!” while making obscene gestures with his free right hand that, had he been driving stick, would have been otherwise occupied.

Biff, seeing the gestures, returned several of his own, because he too had a free right hand.

Soon the two were racing side-by-side down Route 66 cursing and throwing hand gestures at each other until tragically for both Olds involved, they went off the road and crashed into some shrubbery.

The two drivers extricated themselves from the bushes, gave each other the finger again, and fisticuffs ensued.

Meanwhile, Irving Potash, driving his trusty old 3-speed stick on the column two-tone Nash, went by and said, “Dudes, chill.” He then responsibly returned all his attention to driving and made it to his destination safely, on time, and with a smile on his face, proving the adage: a stick in hand is worth two birds in the bush.

There are many more anecdotes about the superiority of stick drivers to automatic, but a recent survey by the prestigious Institutus Ferretatus proves it best.

According to their study, drivers of automatics have a higher incidence of heart disease, hypertension, headaches, and are more likely to die of a heart attack, stroke, or road rage incident. Additionally, they are more hostile and impulsive compared to their stick driving counterparts.

Stick drivers on the other hand, live longer, have significantly lower stress levels, are much happier, and of course, are much more fun to be around.

Stick drivers today are known as “the seven percenters” because only about 7% of Americans drive stick. These seven percenters generally lead healthier and happier lives than the other 93% of drivers.

So next time you’re in the market for a car, consider the stick. Your heart will thank you.
#savethestick

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Who really is the worst president evah?

“Obama is the worst president since WWII!” That’s the takeaway from a recently released poll, which, I’m sure, Fox News has been covering gleefully non-stop.

But lets think about that. Earlier today I showed you why you should dismiss this particular poll. Now, let’s consider each president and judge them on their merits, shall we?

Harry S Truman. Here was a man who not only couldn’t afford a middle name, for most of his life he couldn’t even afford a period after the S! That’s right. He had to borrow one from the editors of the Chicago Style Manual. And just try to forget that he dropped not just one, but two atomic bombs upon fellow human beings as the only solution to ending the war. Years later, he was overheard saying, “It never occurred to me to just say, ‘Please.'”

Dwight D. Eisenhower. Great general, bland president. I mean, does anyone have any impression of him beyond the slogan, “I like Ike”? I’m stiflingly yawns just thinking about him. Seriously though, he created the Interstate Highway System, NASA, and despite Al Gore’s claims otherwise, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which led to the Internet. And even though he created the communist domino theory that was used as justification for entering Viet Nam, he redeemed himself by being opposed to Joseph McCarthy and his communist witch hunts.

John F. Kennedy. A war hero (who hasn’t seen the movie “PT109” starring Cliff Roberton). He had a gorgeous wife and still got to sleep with Marilyn Monroe. He was the only President to win a Pulitzer, until President Obama. He created the Peace Corps. He challenged America to put a man on the moon and we did it. He brought a youthful style and vigor to the Presidency that was definately missing from the Eisenhower years. We call his presidency Camelot, for God’s sake. JFK was everything except bulletproof. He was so charismatic the nation still mourns him a half century later.

Lyndon Johnson. The only reason JFK picked him as a running mate was to win Texas. Had he given serious consideration to “a heartbeat away” JFK would have picked someone intelligent. Only two things come to mind when people think about Johnson, if they bother to think about him at all, and that’s how he would lift his basset hounds up by their ears and how he constantly showed his appendectomy scar while saying, “Not as cool as a bullet in the head, but its all I got.”

Richard M. Nixon. The “I am not a crook” crook. Highlights of his presidency include opening communications to China and saying, “Sock it to me?” on “Rowen and Martin’s Laugh-In.” The lowlights include Watergate, 18 missing minutes of tape, and having a running mate in Spiro T. Agnew who was an even bigger crook than he was. Nixon single-handedly destroyed the nation’s faith and trust in it’s government in general and.the office of the President in particular.

Gerald R. Ford. If not for Chevy Chase falling down all the time, we never would have even noticed someone had replaced Nixon. People would say, “Who is Chevy Chase imitating?” “The President.” “No. That’s nothing like Nixon.” “Nixon resigned. He’s no longer President.” “Dude! That’s far out.” Ford’s legacy is his “WIN!” program, which stood for “Whip Inflation Now!” It was a program designed on the wish theory, that if we all wished hard enough, the economy would improve. America did wish hard enough and Ford failed to win reelection.

Jimmy Carter. Carter was a surprise victor in the 1976 election. America wanted a Washington outsider, so they elected an unknown peanut farmer. What they got was a rerun of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” featuring the zany antics of Carter’s drunk brother, which included marketing “Billy Beer,” while the President himself fended off attacks from a killer rabbit while lusting in his heart. And on a serious note, lets not forget the Iran Hostage Crisis and the rescue attempt that went horribly wrong with helicopters crashing and burning in the desert, which was no surprise since Carter had slashed the military budget and everything was held together with bubblegum and bailing wire.

Ronald Reagan. The Great Communicator to some, the Teflon President to everyone else because it seemed no matter what stupid shit spewed out of his mouth, none of it stuck to him. Here is a brief list of the bullshit that happened on his watch: Iran/Contra. Catsup named a vegetable. Nancy running things via astrology. Referring to the Soviet Union as the evil empire and the infamous announcement, “We begin bombing in 5 minutes.” The Invasion of Granada, so strategically important to America. Trying to outspend the USSR in defense, including billions wasted on a pipe dream known as Star Wars. Tripling the Federal Deficit in the process. Nearly 11% unemployment. Giving amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants (you decide if that’s a plus or minus). Funding Islamist mujahidin fighters in Afghanistan in a shadow war against the Soviet Union, and in the process creating the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. Cutting the taxes on the rich from 70% to 28%, which forced him to raise taxes on the Middle Class 11 times to make up for it. Raiding the Social Security Trust Fund and leaving a note that said, “IOU $2.7 trillion, Love Ronnie.”

George Herbert Walker Bush. He was President? Seriously, who remembers this? He got us into the first Gulf War to save our free access to Kuwaiti oil, but it was measured in days, not months or years. If one thing can be said, Bush knew when to pull out (just not always soon enough as we’ll see when we get to the 43rd President.) What defined his presidency was the promise “Read my lips, no new taxes” which became a joke when he broke it.

William Jefferson Clinton. He tried his best to be like JFK, but Hillary was no Jackie-O and Monica Lewinski was no Monroe. He did outdo JFK’s sexual conquests in one regard: Clinton was the only president to ever raise taxes retroactively, thereby screwing the entire nation. Crime decreased every year of his Presidency, while the number of federal prisoners doubled. He inherited the largest budget deficit in American history and turned it around leaving a $127 billion surplus. Came up with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” And redefined the definition for sexual relations.

Richard “I’m a Dick” Cheney. Um. Oh. Sorry. I guess he never officially held the office of president, did he? Nevermind.

George W. Bush. C’mon! Obama came in worst ever when this man-child was in the running? Bush II was an international embarrassment. He was a drunken frat boy who couldn’t even swallow a pretzel without choking. He even barfed on the Prime Minister of Japan. There were no WMDs. He bankrupted us fighting two wars we had no business in, one simply begun to finish what his Daddy couldn’t. If someone went to Hollywood and proposed a movie about an utter buffoon rising to hold the most powerful office in America, no one would have taken a chance on it because it was so unbelievable. But we all lived through it! Dozens of comedians became famous doing Bush II and not one of them had to write any skits, they just had to be him; they’d laugh like him, act like him, talk like him, and quote him, and audiences laughed hysterically. They had to, laughing kept everyone from crying at the realization that the joke was really on America because our leader was one big international punch-line. OK, emotions aside, the Bush II legacy is: He took more vacations than any other president in history. Used torture to interrogate prisoners. Wiretapped millions of Americans without warrants. Outsourced the war to contractors who weren’t bound to follow Iraqi or American military laws. Failed to act on an Aug. 6, 2001 White House intelligence briefing called, “Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S.” The price of oil quadrupled under his watch. He was a Draft dodger. He took Clinton’s budget surplus and spent it like a drunken sailor, leaving Obama a $1.2 trillion hole. Poverty increased by 26.1%.

Barack H. Obama. A President whose entire presidency, even his life’s history, is nothing but lies and fabrications promulgated by right wing spin doctors, bigots, and conspiracy nuts. The opposition blames him for everything that goes wrong anywhere in the world and discredits him for anything that goes right. An obstructionist House blocked any and all legislation, including jobs bills that would actually help Americans get back to work, in a deliberate attempt to make President Obama look bad. He gets blamed for an economic collapse that was caused by his predecessor’s idiotic policies and he gets blamed because the recovery isn’t happening fast enough (again getting blamed by the Republicans as they cause obstruction to anything that might fuel the recovery). So honestly, how can the man even be judged when he hasn’t been given a fair shake? When he’s had these kinds of odds against him? When an entire political party fully admits their sole goal is to ensure Obama fails?

So now that we know their track records, which president should actually be considered the worst, or best, in the last 69 years? If you were honest in keeping score, the ones at the very top would be Eisenhower and Kennedy. The ones at the very bottom would be Nixon, Reagan, and George Dubya Bush. Obama, at this point, should come out in the middle somewhere. Probably closer to the top than the bottom, but seriously, it is far too early to be making judgments upon his legacy. History will remember him for the Affordable Care Act, eliminating Osama Bin Laden, repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” creating new fuel economy standards, and investing more than any other administration in renewable technologies, while battling against unprecedented personal attacks fueled by ignorance, racism, and bigotry.

And there you have it, a brief history of American Presidents since World War II.

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