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Keep your distance, keep your masks.

Asleep in my recliner, I dreamt that my wife was was at work, and she'd be home any minute now. I don't remember anything else about the dream. Not sure there was anything else in the dream, only the anticipation.

When I woke up, I was still looking forward to her arrival, any minute now. It took perhaps thirty seconds to remember that she wasn't coming. Best damned thirty seconds of the day, though.

#109

Tuesday,
March 1, 2022


When I leave this apartment, I hope Stephanie still comes home in my dreams, wherever home is.

♦ ♦ ♦

In an uncharacteristic fit of concern for my health 2-3 years ago, I spent $25 buying a very old, very large, very heavy exercise bicycle. Since then, I've put perhaps five miles on it — and always yesterday's mail and last week's magazines.

I'm certainly not packing the exercycle, Goodwill says they don't want it, and it's not worth the hassle of selling it, so hauling it to the trash was a scary huge amount of exercise for me. The damn thing is eight feet long, weighs at least two hundred pounds, and has no wheels. Somehow I got it down the hall without ripping the carpet along the way, and without dragging scars into the sidewalk outside. Hell of a workout, though, and I'm fearful that my back will protest later.

And someone wanted an exercycle. It was gone the next time I carried a load to the dumpster.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Behind Steph's collapsible wardrobe, what to my wondering eyes should appear but an oversized pizza pan, brand new. She'd bought it perhaps ten years ago, when she'd wanted to try making a pizza from scratch. She never got around to using it.

And it occurred to me, pizza was a staple of my life from adolescence, but I haven't had even a slice since Stephanie died. Frozen pizza generally sucks, and if I'm calling for delivery I'd generally rather have a sub sandwich or Chinese. But I didn't want to toss out the pizza pan before it lost its virginity, so I bought a pepperoni & veggies bake-at-home pizza from Aldi.

Ate the whole thing for lunch. As expected, it was disappointing. And the brand new pizza pan was permanently stained.

♦ ♦ ♦

Vladimir Putin is an autocrat with nuclear weapons and an economy under existential threat. That’s a frightening combination. 

Putin made the threat more explicit on Feb. 27, announcing that he was putting Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert, citing new economic sanctions slapped on his government and “aggressive statements” by NATO leaders. According to Defense One, it was the first time either Russia or the United States had raised its nuclear alert level since Washington did so during the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War, nearly a half century ago. 

How Joseph Stalin starved millions in the Ukrainian famine 

The word 'famine' sounds like a force of nature, like a flood or fire, but of course, it was on purpose. Ukrainians call it the Holodomor, combining the Ukrainian words for 'starvation' and 'murder'."

While the world watches Ukraine, Moscow is making moves in neighboring Belarus, too. 

Belarus may be preparing to send its soldiers into Ukraine in support of the Russian invasion, perhaps as soon as this week 

Putin's long table 

Putin has had several publicity photos snapped at a curiously loooong table, where he sits alone at the head, and men billed as his "advisors" sit in a clump at the very distant other end of the table.

My half-assed opinion is that the distance suggests mental instability, but everything Putin says and does shouts bonkers, doesn't it?

"Go fuck yourself back to Russia."

♦ ♦ ♦

In a few weeks, I expect, America's leadership will say "Oops, please put your masks on again." I'm beating the rush, and leaving my mask on, whenever I'm in public.

Relaxing the mask rule baffles me, honestly. Even if COVID-19 has run its course, the pandemic is over, and the bug doesn't mutate into something horrendously deadly — which seems mighty optimistic for the 2020s — so what? The tiny inconvenience of wearing a mask still helps prevent catching the flu or a cold, or measles, tuberculosis, whooping cough, or the next dratted disease from a bat. 

♦ ♦ ♦

Fear of a Black Muppet:
Why Sesame Street dropped Roosevelt Franklin
 

He was my favorite Muppet, man. I was still watching Sesame Street at an age well past the target demographic, but lost interest about the time Roosevelt Franklin was fired.

♦ ♦ ♦  

Doc Bronner's Soap supports ketamine therapy for workers, and an end to the war on drugs 

It's good soap, from a good company.

Since 2015, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps — yes, that’s its official name — has donated more than $23 million to drug advocacy and research organizations, according to corporate documents. They include scientists researching the healing properties of the club drug Ecstasy, activist groups that helped decriminalize psilocybin “magic mushrooms” in Oregon and Washington, D.C., and a small nonprofit working to preserve habitat for peyote, the hallucinogenic cactus central to some Native American spiritual traditions.

Over the years, the company has also spent millions on efforts toward cannabis legalization, including litigation that in 2018 helped reverse a federal prohibition on the cultivation of industrial hemp.

♦ ♦ ♦

An Iowa farm girl’s pen pal was Anne Frank. A tiny museum remembers their brief correspondence. 

Only when Otto Frank replied in October 1945 did Juanita and Betty learn that 15-year-old Anne had died in Bergen-Belsen in February, after contracting typhus, and that Margot also died there that month, shortly before or after her 19th birthday. Otto survived Auschwitz, but his wife Edith died in January, likely of starvation.

And not until Otto's letter did the Wagners learn that their pen-pals were Jewish.

♦ ♦ ♦

One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time...

climate
cops
Fox News
Republicans 

♦ ♦ ♦

 Mystery links  — Like life itself, there’s no knowing where you’re going:

—①—
     —②—
          —③—

♦ ♦ ♦
 
♫♬  Sing along with Doug 
 
♦ ♦ ♦
3/1/2022 
 
Cranky Old Man is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.
 
Tip 'o the hat to All Hat No Cattle, Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.
 
Extra special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S., and always Stephanie...

26 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your memories of Stephanie. Always they make me smile or cry or both.

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    Replies
    1. They do that for me too. And grazi. If I've passed some smidgen of that along to you, then the writing isn't in vain.

      Delete
  2. The CDC late last week published a database of United States counties with each county rated green/yellow/red for its relative indoor safety. Unlike the Qanon folks, the CDC shows their work, so if you don't like their algorithms you can plug in your own. The CDC folks say that healthy adults can meet in small groups indoor maskless in green and yellow counties.

    I've been attending a small twice-monthly dinner with old work friends for 25 years or so, and they emailed me last week saying, John, you can come back now. The CDC says it's safe.

    Well it isn't. We live in one of five red counties in the state of Washington (and the only urban one). These idiots were/are infotech professionals and can't take the time to do a simple database lookup.

    jtb

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    Replies
    1. Smart on you, not going to those dinners just yet. Hope you clicked 'reply' and 'splained the facts.

      If someone had surveyed me before COVID-19, I would have rated CDC very highly, as a federal agency quite competent at what they do. They're the best we got, yeah, and I turn to them because where else am I gonna turn, but we've seen enough bonehead announcements and decisions from CDC since, maybe they shouldn't survey me at this time.

      My county is almost 80% vaccinated and 70% boosted, which still says to me, one out of five people walking around are Typhoid Mary. Yet CDC says our risk is low, and their listed recommendations are only to get the booster, and get tested if you have symptoms.

      Also, the map annoys me. At the state level there's plenty of room to show county names as you're clicking toward more info, but they don't show county names. Took me twenty clicks to find my county. Grumble, grouse.

      Delete
    2. The CDC, with their green/yellow/red system, seems to be grading on the scale. A pandemic, it seems to me, is one of those times when absolute grading is appropriate.

      Seems like a good time to stay home during the day, then take Patsy Cline's advice and go out walkin' after midnight.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiKsAuv7O7c

      jtb

      Delete
    3. Shoot, I got Patsy Cline right, but typed "scale" when I meant "curve". My brain was the last component on me that functioned more or less, and now that's going too.

      j

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    4. There's no way to get Patsy Cline wrong.

      > now that's going too

      Hope you're mostly kidding. I haven't noticed any decline on your part, and it's amazing how much we have in 'reserves' so to speak. Meaning, I started noticing my own decline years ago, but even with reduced cognitive function we're still doing OK.

      Delete
    5. Seriously, cognitive function and memory are two elements of intelligence. It's the latter that I'm wrestling with and it pisses me off.

      Thankfully, I still remember the Cowboy Junkies covering Ms Cline gracefully. . .

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XikRDErgbW0

      Johano

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    6. Gets very frustrating when something's beyond memory's grasp, I know. Hope it's only a minor recurring damn-it frustration for you.

      For my wisecrack about Michelle Pfeiffer I spent two minutes staring into space thinking c'mon I know that name, but I had to IMDB her.

      I don't wanna be like my grandmother, who couldn't hardly remember a dang thing of the here and now but vividly remembered her dalliance with some banjo player.

      Or maybe I do. The dalliances way back when were better than the here and now.

      Not trying to be flippant, man. I just never try not to be. Good luck sincerely. :)

      Delete
    7. Turns out that the worst thing one can do is worry about it. I write more stuff down and, for the pain in the ass they are, thank God that she provided Google. And I joke about it way more than you do. It's not bad yet, but I let the few people close to me know that I'm apt to forget.

      On a related topic, I don't know what the first thing you notice about somebody is, but I learned in psych class 50 years ago what the last thing you forget about somebody is, and I think it's still true. Wanta guess?

      j

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    8. Her laugh, her smile...

      Also true but a little less seriously: There was a guy I didn't like in the 1980s, and I can't remember his face or even his name, but I'll never forget that he owes me twenty bucks.

      Delete
    9. Your answer was way better than my late Psych prof's. I have no idea whether he's alive: the guy just couldn't manage to show up on time. But poetry and love beat psychology every time.

      j

      Delete
    10. The dead rarely show up on time. Poetry and love beat almost anything, that's an answer, but you didn't answer the question you asked, man — what's the last thing people forget about somebody?

      Delete
    11. I wasn't being coy. Your answer was genuinely better in almost every way. The psychologists say it's the person's gender. That answer now has two problems, thanks to you. (Gender fluidity is the other).

      You might be a cranky guy, but you're a romantic cranky guy. I guess that's why I landed here. You left the light on.

      jtb

      Delete
    12. Yeah, I know the moth joke metaphor is moth-eaten, but I use it from time to time to honor the memory of Norm Mack Donald (as Letterman called him). I suspect it of conveying deep truths, but sometimes I'm wrong. Sometimes I'm not even close.

      j

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    13. Seems to be nearly unanimous among people I love and respect, so I know I missed something by not paying much attention to Norm MacDonald.

      It's probably another indication that I'm living in the wrong era, that I didn't take "You left the light on" as a moth metaphor. I thought it was a Motel 6 reference.

      Remembering gender fluidity… I hear and read a lot about it, but I've only known three people who've switched sides (as more than drag performance art). Still, considering how few people I've really known in this world, three is a lot.

      It's disconcerting to spot someone across a crowded room, know you know them from somewhere, and slowly realize what's changed.

      Delete
    14. I am definitely not knowledgeable in this area -- I really haven't a clue; but there are gender shades today that don't go as far as trans. These manifest themselves in pronoun preference and other identifiers. Somebody fifty years younger and a lot more socially connected can probably explain gender fluidity to us old people. I was just starting to understand he and she.

      j

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    15. Why did the Googs put a delete option under my comment?

      j

      Delete
    16. Now they're under ALL my comments. Help.

      Delete
    17. Gender fluidity — like you, I don't quite grok it, but whatever makes folks happy is fine by me. Seems very complicated, like CSS or influencers, avacados on everything, or seven-dollar coffee, so leave it for the next generation to figure out.

      Delete
    18. I've always seen the 'delete' option under everyone's comments, but that's because it's my blog. Makes it easier to remove all the casino spam.

      Readers should have the 'delete' option, but only for their own comments. Second thoughts and all.

      Delete
    19. OK, they're gone this morning. But when they appeared last night, they were under my old comments as well as my new ones. Are they still here under my new comments?

      Delete
    20. Yes, and when it appears under my new comments it also appears under all my old ones. As if I were thinking, "Well, that's a crappy comment. Maybe all my comments are shit."

      OK, don't worry about this stuff now. You gotta get to Seattle. I'll live with whatever you Google gives you. This problem doesn't rank right up there with Trump blowing Putin. Man, I hope those pissing hookers were worth it. I guess The Pissing Hooker could be a sequel to The Happy Hooker. Perhaps either it's too late or I'm too old.

      John

      Delete
    21. Trump and Putin and the pissing hooker, I hope it eventually makes the news. Not that it would matter — drench Trump in all the world's hooker pee and American Christians by and large will still worship him more than Christ.

      As for the 'delete' link, it *should* be there, under all your comments, but I hope you'll never use it.

      Delete
  3. I'm right there with ya regarding masks for the same reasons you stated.

    ReplyDelete

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