Wisconsin blue wave

This morning, Wisconsinites woke to great news. Our long, agonizing, state-wide nightmare has finally come to an end. Scott Walker, our hapless governor was voted out.

Additionally, barring a recount, we have a Democrat as Attorney General and our great Senator, Tammy Baldwin, successfully defended her seat.

A lot of money was spent by the Koch brothers and other out-of-state Tea Party special interests to spread lies, fabrications, and racist fears, but in the end, intelligence and truth won the day and the sun has risen over our state, filling us all with hope and a promise of a better future.

Maybe the pendulum is finally swinging back to sanity.

Huzzah!

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Vote dammit

Tomorrow is Election Day in the United States. It’s a mid-term election, meaning traditionally no one bothers to vote because it isn’t a Presidential election.

This year though, Your Vote Matters as if it were a Presidential election.

Why?

Because if enough of us Vote Democrat, we could swing the House and Senate back to the side of good and prevent the further erosion of all our rights and freedoms that the Orange Turd and his facist cronies are slowly taking away.

Don’t kid yourself. This most likely will be the most important election in your lifetime aside from 2020.

We already screwed up in 2016 when we allowed all the bigots, racists, homophobes, and misogynists to put the Orange Turd into the White House, where he has systematically taken the USA backwards using Executive Orders and a colluding GOP.

Tomorrow’s election won’t get rid of the Orange Turd, but it will swing the pendulum back a bit, preventing any further erosion to all the gains our country has made over the last 100 years.

Who needs to vote?

Everyone who has lost their rights due to the current facist regime.

Are you a woman? You need to vote!

Are you a minority? You need to vote!

Are you gay or lesbian or part of the LGBT community? You need to vote!

Are you a worker? You need to vote!

Are you any religion other than Christian? You need to vote!

Are you elderly? You need to vote!

Do you have pre-existing.conditions? You need to vote!

In fact, anyone who isn’t named Trump needs to vote because all the changes he has been making benefit only him.

We need to descend upon the polls enmass like an overwhelming blue tsunami to sweep as many Democrats into office as possible.

And if any if you can’t be bothered to vote whatever happens then, any further erosion to our democracy, is your fault.

Your vote does matter.

Use it wisely.

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Randomness for a Friday

Friday Haiku

These are not the same

Refugees are NOT illegals

They seek asylum.

Here’s how it works

There is a difference between illegal immigrants and refugees.

Yes, they are both crossing our border.

The difference is (and I’ll wait until you get paper and pen to take notes. Ready? Good.) crossing our border to seek political asylum does not make you an illegal immigrant.

In fact, crossing the border is a requirement to petition for asylum. You can’t seek political protection from another country while still in that country. You have to get out first, which means crossing the border. And the United States can’t provide protection until they are within our borders.

Once inside our country, they are permitted to stay and apply for asylum (Form I-589) within one year of their arrival.

So, everything Trumpy the Clown and his fascist regime are doing to these people seeking asylum — tearing families apart, putting babies in jails — is wrong, inhuman, and inhumane.

Internet Sales Taxes

The Supreme Court of the U.S. overturned a 1992 SCOTUS ruling that prevented sales taxes being collected by states from Internet merchants that didn’t have a physical presence in a state.

The thing is, this will hurt all the small merchants, not Amazon (which Trumpy is having a war with), because they already collect sales taxes on their direct sales.

Trade Wars

It won’t be anywhere near as exciting as Star Wars, no blasters, no spaceships, no light sabers, but the Trade Wars are coming to a pocketbook near you. Be prepared.

Trumpy the Clown’s idiotic tariffs on metal imports is causing a backlash among countries we’ve traded with in good faith for nearly 75 years.

The EU is going to slap 25% tariffs on U.S. motorcycles (like Harley-Davidson needs that!), denim, cranberry juice, and peanut butter.

Not only will Trump’s tariffs cause prices of nearly everthing to rise for American consumers, now American goods won’t be purchased in foreign countries because they’ll cost too much affecting the security of Americans jobs.

So much winning.

What am I up to?

Usually on random Friday’s I also give summaries of what I’m doing on the fitness front, the writing front, the ADHD front, and so on.

Unfortunately, Trumpy the Clown and his band of idiots have gotten me so angry (and this shit should get you angry as well), that I just don’t have the energy left to write about things I enjoy.

I mean, sure, I’m still working on my weird western. I just put together a new exerciser which helps work my core as well as arms (here’s a pic),

and yes, my lower back, triceps, and pecs are killing me now, and additionally, I’m coming down with a summer cold that I blame on the fascist regime in the White House because of all the stress they’re putting America under, but otherwise, I’ve nothing really left to say.

End Note

I hope you have a good weekend. Here’s a song that I hope is upbeat enough to cancel all the negativity that is thrown your way.

Since that song was so short, you get a twofer this week.

Keep resisting. #Impeach

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Random Friday

Friday Haiku

Two dictators met

An unstable maniac

And Kim Jong-un too.

Research Woes

OK, I never have research woes, I love doing research. My woe is that when I wrote the first draft of my 1869 weird western, I didn’t research the history of train travel as I should have.

Therefore, in my current manuscript I have the man in charge of the train as the Engineer. Unfortunately, as I’m doing research, I’m finding that the Engineer is only responsible for operation of the locomotive engine itself. The actual man in charge, the captain of the entire train so to speak, is the Conductor.

Therefore, as I’m transcribing, I’ll have to change most of the references to the Engineer to the Conductor. No biggie.

On my lunch today, I’ll run to the library to see if they have anything on the history of coal-powered steam locomotives and how trains themselves operate.

Milwaukee tenth worst?

USA Today recently published a study that ranked the 50 worst cities to live in. Milwaukee came in at number ten.

My response? Fuck you.

Milwaukee has it’s problems, yes, but I take umbrage to impersonal number crunching. By their numbers, high crime rate, high poverty, depressed home values, Milwaukee came out tenth worst city to live in.

Again, fuck you.

Numbers don’t tell any of the story.

Does Milwaukee have a high crime rate? Yes. There are 15.53 violent crimes per 1,000 residents. But those crimes are restricted to a relatively small area.

There are many safe, and beautiful, neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Simply crossing into the city limits won’t make you a crime victim. I’ve lived here all my life and have never been a victim of crime (unless you count having my lunch money stolen in seventh grade).

Poverty? Yes, we have that, no denying it. Milwaukee was once a great industrial city and like all major cities in the Rust Belt it has struggled with poverty since the loss of those manufacturing industries.

And Milwaukee is slowly rising from the ashes, repurposing, refurbishing, and replacing old abandoned factories and warehouses. The Menomonee River Valley, once booming with industry, became a blighted eyesore for decades. Now, much of it has been returned to nature as part of the Henry Aaron State Trail that extends from Lake Michigan nearly uninterrupted out to Wisconsin State Fair Park.

Abandoned warehouses and factories along the Milwaukee River have been converted to high-end residential, commercial and recreational venues. All accessible by the over 3 mile long Riverwalk.

Starting this fall, the newly installed light rail (trolly) system will begin operation.

The city isn’t sitting still and this study’s numbers don’t show that.

Numbers also don’t tell you how urbane Milwaukee is. We’ve always had a world-class zoo, a top notch natural history museum, and an art museum now housed within the beautiful Quadracci Pavilion designed by Santiago Calatrava.

The Calatrava designed Milwaukee Art Museum at night

Milwaukee is home to the world-renowned Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (with the incomparable Megumi Kanda as the principal trombone), as well as the Milwaukee Ballet.

The MSO will be, in fact, spending $89 million dollars to renovate the abandoned Warner Grand Theater building (a once beautiful marble and bronze Art Deco style 12-story building built by Warner Brothers; it was one of the finest theaters in the nation in 1931) on 2nd and Wisconsin Avenue for their new home as part of an continuing effort to revitalize Milwaukee’s downtown.

The study’s numbers also don’t show that Milwaukee has a thriving festival season. The highlight is Summerfest, a monstrous ten day music festival featuring some of the top music acts in the country. We are also home to many ethnic festivals, some the largest such in the nation, for example, Polish Fest, Germanfest, Festa Italiana, Mexican Fiesta, Bastille Days, Greek Fest (which once was held at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Greek Annunciation Church until it grew too large for those grounds), Pride Fest, Irishfest, African Cultural Fest, and Indian Summer, to name a few.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our two professional sports teams, the Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks (who will be moving into a newly built arena this fall as part of a major redevelopment of the downtown sporting district).

And the depressed housing market? We like to call it affordable, thank you very much.

So this study can take it’s number crunching and it’s bullshit “worst” rankings and shove them up their collective ass.

Milwaukee is a great place to call home.

Congnitive Dissonance

One of the most bizarre statements I’ve heard comes from Trumpanzees. Basically, the reason some of them love Trumpy the Clown so much is because he “gets under the skin of liberals.”

That’s it. They support him because he irritates progressives.

It doesn’t matter to them if he colluded with Russia to help influence an American election.

Doesn’t matter to them that he’s destroying the environment. That his policies with the EPA are poisoning the air, water, and the land we live on, and now he’s relaxing asbestos regulations so we can all enjoy lung cancer.

Doesn’t matter to them that he’s passed a tax plan that not only doesn’t help the lower and middle class, it literally benefits only the rich, while it balloons the deficit to obscene, never before seen levels.

Doesn’t matter to them that he has alienated all of our nation’s allies while snuggling up with every two-bit dictator and totalitarian government, thereby destroying decades worth of friendships.

Doesn’t matter to them that he has excused Kim Jung-un’s repressive totalitarian dictatorship where 120,000 political prisoners languish in North Korean prisons, has executed over 300 people including one of his uncles (not to mention personally killing his Defense Minister Hyon Yong Chol with an anti-aircraft gun at a military school in Pyongyang, in front of an audience), by saying “a lot of people have done bad things.”

Doesn’t matter to them that he is normalizing bigotry and hatred or that he’s has, and has had, white nationalists in his cabinet, or criminals, or that everything he does is designed to profit him ornhis family, personally.

Doesn’t matter to them that he’s an ignorant buffoon who has no clue how to behave as President and is embarrassing all of us on the world’s stage.

Doesn’t matter to them if Trumpy the Clown is trampling on the Constitution or that we’re losing our rights to free speech, freedom of the press, fair elections and the rule of law.

Doesn’t matter to them how much Trumpy the Clown destroys our democracy, or our standing in the world, or anything.

No. None of that matters to them. All that matters to these assholes is that he’s getting under our skin. As long as we’re annoyed or uncomfortable with everything he says or does, they’re happy. They are consumed by their hatred of us and it blinds them to every evil thing trump does.

If you think about it, it’s flattering, really, because it means we’re the ones getting under their skin.

Final Word

Well, I think I’ve ranted enough for today. I’m exhausted, how about you?

I guess it’s time to send you off to the weekend with some upbeat music.

Enjoy and keep resisting.

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Random Randomness on a Friday

A Friday Haiku

Rain rain go away

And you had better not freeze,

No ice ice baby!

Weigh-In Friday

Good news. I lost two pounds.

*Does the happy weight loss dance*

Now if I could only figure out what I did different this week from last. Although, I did buy a medicine ball and I’ve been doing various exercises for my core with it.

Writing and OCD

I don’t know if I really have OCD, but I have ADHD-induced obsessiveness.

I’m refering to yesterday’s blog where I mentioned I was sinking into a research quagmire because I felt a scene needed a humorous anecdote to balance a tense moment where my MC is combating a demon, specifically the Egyptian demon Ammit, the devourer.

Have I completed the research and continued with my almost finished edits on my novel so I can start having it beta read?

No. To show just how obsessive I can be about being as factual and historically accurate in my fiction, even an urban fatasy faerie tale, I’m reading the entire text of “The Egyptian Book of the Dead.”

Just so I can write one short paragraph.

Tell me that’s normal behavior and all writers do the same thing.

Please?

Wisconsin is rejoicing

Yes, Wisconsin is rejoicing, or at least the intelligent part is.

Paul Ryan, who has represented Wisconsin’s first congressional district, is retiring.

What will the legacy be of Ryan’s 20 year career in Washington? One of complete and utter failure.

Looming largest for the people of Wisconsin was his total inability to prevent the closure of the Janesville GM plant, which had provided significant employment to the area for 90 years.

Ryan will also be remembered for not having the balls to stand up against Trumpy the Clown with his insane outbursts and unpredictable shifts on every position that have made the United States a laughing stock to the rest of the world and has put us on the brink of nuclear war against two countries, so far.

Ryan, who for 20 years was touted as the Republican’s budget wunderkind despite never being able to pass one of his budgets, will now be remembered as the architect of the most financially ruinous budget ever passed, one that screws the middle class, widens the gap between the rich and the poor, all while crearing a fiscal conservative’s worst nightmare of an out-of-control deficit reaching record heights never before imagined.

Good riddance to bad rubbish, as they say. May Kharma make Ryan’s retirement as financially uncertain and and terrifyingly insecure as those of the elderly he has screwed, and tried to screw, over the years.

Once more for those in the back, social security insurance and Medicare are not entitlements, they are benefits we pay into throughout our working life.

Paul Ryan will not be missed.

Smart missiles, stupid leader

On April 11th, Trumpy the Clown tweeted: Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!

The next day, he then tweeted: Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our “Thank you America?”

Wow. Trumpy the Clown sure has Russia guessing now, doesn’t he? “Will he? Won’t he? Golly gosh! The suspense is unnerving.”

When Trumpy’s lawyer had his office raided and files detained, Trumpy went on a twitter rant: “Attorney-Client privilesge is dead!” and “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!”

He’s also ranted about his wall, about sending National Guard troops to the border, how our relations with Russia are the worst ever because of Meuller and the “Fake and Corrupt Russia Investigation.”

And today he’s ranting about Comey, calling him a “proven LEAKER & LIAR,” how everyone in Washington thought he should be fired (at least every one of the voices in Trumpy’s head, anyway), and so on and so forth.

Anyone else see the striking resemblance to Captain Queeg from “The Caine Mutiny?” Trumpy the Clown is sinking deeper and deeper into an arrogant, self-possessed, delusional paranoia. I predict he will soon tweet: Aah, but the strawberries that’s… that’s where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt and with… geometric logic… that Crooked Hillary, that leaker Comey, the conflicted Meuller, and the Fake News are all out to get me and ruin America! But the people know I’m great… the best President… better than the failed Obama!

Sad!

It’s sad that we allow him to destroy the dignity of the office of the President of the United States and our country’s standing among the world community.

Forget impeachment.

Guys! The 25th Amendment is there for a reason: to rid ourselves of unstable, dangerous people like Trumpy the Clown.

Last word

It’s the weekend. It should be Spring, but it isn’t. Not that I’ve ever really seen a Spring here in Wisconsin. Maybe once, back in the 1960s, I think we may have had a real Spring with warming weather, April showers, and May flowers.

Either that, or I have a false memory courtesy of Al Jolson.

I do know that for as long as my wife and I have lived where we can plant flowers around the house, which is about 20 years, we’ve experienced a May where the ground was thawned enough and there was no danger of a killing frost to allow us to plant only a handful of times.

Despite my haiku suggesting otherwise, I’m never surprised or disappointed when it’s still cold in April or May. This is Wisconsin. Wisconsin doesn’t care what season your calendar says it should be.

Therefore, this weekend’s forecast of freezing rain, snow, ice, and a winter weather advisory is just par for the course.

Enjoy your weekend no matter what the weather.

Keep resisting.

And, as always, a song.

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Friday randomizer

A Friday Haiku

Daylight Savings Time

Spring ahead clocks this weekend

It’s a one hour tax.

Daylight Savings Time

Yes, this weekend we turn our clocks ahead one hour. The government continues to steal an hour from us every Spring.

When are we going to rise up and demand they stop this irrelevent and unnecessary Time Tax?

Daylight Savings Time might have made sense — to someone — at sometime. But not today. We have electricity. We have energy efficient lights. We aren’t afraid of the dark.

It also makes no sense because they have it during the summer, when the days are longer anyway. How are we saving daylight if we’re already getting more of it?

It’s time to put a halt to this primitive practice.

National Nap Day

On the bright side, Monday, March 12, 2018 is National Nap Day.

It’s your chance to defy the government and get your hour back that they stole.

Protest DST and take a nap on Monday, people!

Try the trombone, they said, It’ll be fun, they said

I’ve been practicing/learning the trombone for a couple weeks now. I’m learning how to read notes on the bass clef, something I haven’t done since I quit piano as a young’un. I practice scales. I’m “taking lessons” on YouTube with “Beginning Band with Mr. Walls.” He uses the Hal Leonard Essential Elements for Band, Trombone 1 book, which I have. And I’m also using a metronome to learn how to keep time as well.

I find that I have good days, like Wednesday, where I was hitting all the correct notes, blowing them strongly and accurately. I was able to play the first partial Bb all the way up to the third partial Bb. I was like, “Yeah! Now I got it!” I felt happy when I finished.

And then last night, my lips just wouldn’t cooperate. I kept double buzzing (unintentional split tones, in other words, it’s like one lip is playing one note while the other lip plays another, or so I read) and nothing I did seemed to correct it. Instead of a good strong sounding note, I kept getting this raspberry-like blaaaaap! wavering between notes.

Those days make me wonder why I bother.

It’s frustrating and I’m not sure how to eliminate it.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse

It’s absolutely amazing. Just when you think trump has reached total incompetence and he couldn’t sink any lower, he says, “Hold my beer and watch this!”

Now he’s trying to spark an international trade war by putting tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

I guess trying to get us into a nuclear war wasn’t good enough for him. Now he wants to bring economic ruin to us all as well.

And speaking of that, when am I supposed to be seeing all this winning in my paycheck from the #GOPTaxScam they passed end of last year?

All I’m seeing is a ballooning deficit, which Paul Ryan blames on entitlements — like Social Security and Medicare — and not his beloved #GOPTaxScam.

I love how the Conservatives have gone from calling welfare and food stamps entitlement programs to expanding their definition to include benefits we directly pay for!

Assholes.

When this regime took power last year I didn’t think it was possible for them to take away all the progress the USA has made in the last 50 years, but they proved me wrong.

But then, I didn’t think the Democrats would be complicit in rolling back all our rights and protections for workers, the disabled, minoritues, and the environment.

I had expected the Democrats to put up a fight, to obstruct and resist. But it seems they lack the backbone for that.

With such wishy-washy leaders in the DNC, I don’t see much hope in stopping the trump crime family and his evil cronies, even if the Democrats take back the House and Senate in November.

Final thoughts

And on that happy note, I wish you all a good weekend, although I don’t know how good it’ll be since we’ll all be tired and cranky from losing an hour of sleep!

As always, I leave you with a song.

Take care. Keep resisting (for all the good it’s done so far). Fuck trump.

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Friday and the week in review

A Friday Haiku

Seventeen shot dead

In another school shooting

Thoughts, prayers, useless.

Another school shooting

You would think after Columbine, we’d have done something. Wasn’t that a horrific enough tragedy?

But no, nothing was done. And Sandy Hook, where innocent grade schoolers were killed. America was sick to it’s stomach by that one.

Still, nothing was done.

Now 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Members of Congress shed their crocodile tears, send their thoughts and prayers, but do nothing while cashing their bribes from the National Rifle Association.

How many more children need to die before the parents and survivors finally rise up enmasse to confront the spineless members of Congress and demand action?

What will it take to wake up our government to the gun epidemic in this country?

It only took one mass school shooting in 1996 for Australia to do something.

Trump sent his thoughts and prayers, then dared to blame the school, the families, students, and law enforcement for doing nothing, knowing the shooter was mentally unstable.

Actually, you orange turd, they did do something. They notified the FBI, but because you rescinded the Obama-era initiative aimed at helping keep the guns out of the hands of the mentally unfit, the FBI couldn’t do anything and the shooter was free to legally purchase the weapon used to commit this heinous crime.

Blood is on trump’s hands, as well as the hands of every congressperson the NRA has bought and paid for.

In fact, trump is also to blame because he is such an intolerate, hatefilled asshole, his attitude has has given the green light to every bigot, racist, mysoginist, homophobe and the like that their type of behavior is now not only tolerated but encouraged. They are out there openly spewing their hate and invoking trump’s name.

The shooter, as it turns out, was a member of a white supremacist group and was trained by them.

He was a homegrown, trump-approved domestic terrorist.

But rest assured, the outrage over this new tragedy will soon pass, nothing even resembling gun reform will be proposed, and the NRA will keep sending out it’s blood money.

Then we all get to pretend we care when the next mass shooting happens.

And gunnuts everywhere get to caress and fondle their handguns and rifles secure in the knowledge that no one is ever going to take their murder machines away.

Weigh-In Friday

I gained a pound, although my phone app for our scale didn’t record it, so we’ll pretend the gain didn’t happen.

If anyone is looking for a poster boy for yoyo dieting… right here.

You did What?

I pulled a shoulder muscle while sleeping. Don’t ask me how, but I woke up Sunday morning with pain shooting through my shoulder blade.

It still throbs today. I’ve been using rubs and taking pain meds (something I rarely do), yet I can’t get comfortable trying to fall asleep and the pain wakes me up when I finally do.

I haven’t done any arm exercises because of it and even when running, because you swing your arms, it hurts.

I don’t know what I did but I wish it would heal already. It’s making me cranky and I suspect because I’ve been sleeping poorly, it is responsible for the weight gain.

The Winter Olympics

I’d be remiss if I didn’t throw a shout-out to all those great athletes from every country joining together in the spirit of athletic competition.

I believe the Olympics should be free of political distractions, so it angers me when pence and his wife refused to stand when the Korean delegation entered. That just made America look petty. His stupidity reflects on all of us internationally.

I guess when he protests by not standing, that’s all right, that’s different when black athletes don’t stand.

I’d also like to point out to everyone who kept reposting a pic of the North Korean leader’s sister throwing eye daggers at pence as if they all approved of it because pence, the fact is, her hate isn’t directed at pence the way ours is. She probably doesn’t even know pence from Adam. She’s glaring at what he represents: the United States of America.

She’s glaring through a lens of hate that has been indoctrinated into all North Koreans since birth that America is evil, the Great Satan, out to destroy their lives, their country, and their very way of life.

She doesn’t know a thing about his hateful beliefs, his prejudices, his anti-gay stance, his belief in conversion therapy, not any of that.

She’s just an evil product of an evil totalitarian regime glaring at her country’s enemy.

In fact, if she knew pence like we know him and how he is part of a great fascist movement bent on destroying the America we all know and love, she’d probably be high-fiving him instead of glaring.

Consider that the next time you feel imclined to share her glare.

And finally, I should point out that Chloe Kim, who won Gold in the Women’s Halfpipe, is the daughter of immigrant parents.

Last word

Go have a great weekend. Monday is President’s Day. Go buy some furniture on sale or whatever it is we’re supposed to do on President’s Day.

I leave you, as always, with a song.

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