web analytics

Archive for the ‘Main’ Category

Fake Hurricane News

Friday, September 8th, 2017

THE END IS HERE

It’s time to repeat my eternal criticism of the hurricane press: they make things seem worse than they are.

Whenever a storm gets close to Florida, they do their best to make people think it’s headed right for their houses. When a storm moves toward Miami and then changes direction, they wait as long as possible before admitting Miami isn’t taking a hit.

Fake news at its best.

The fake hurricane news people have a lot of reasons for lying to us. For one thing, hysteria increases viewership. When you’ve spent a lot of money gearing your station up for constant hurricane coverage, you don’t want to say things like, “Oops. Never mind.” Viewers will relax, turn off the TV, and go to bed. Here’s another motivator: if they underestimate the thread, people will raise hell later on. The news people don’t want people telling them their homes got messed up because they listened to rosy forecasts and didn’t prepare. In today’s ridiculous legal environment, a station could conceivably get sued. “Dear 96-year-old Effa May here believed you when you said Hurricane Bob wasn’t going to hit her trailer…”

I am no meteorologist, but it looks like they’re lying to us now.

According to the Internet, Irma’s hurricane-force winds extend outward from the center something like 65 miles. That means if you’re over 65 miles away, you will not experience a hurricane. You will get a tropical storm, which means winds of 74 mph or less. The 74 mph figure applies to the 65-mile mark. If you’re farther away, you will get lower winds.

They now expect the center of the storm to be about 100 miles away from Miami when it passes. That means Miami would be 35 miles past the hurricane zone. Nonetheless, they’re claiming it will be like a Category 3 storm in Miami. Category 3 means a minimum of 96 mph, sustained. Not gusts. Sustained. In order for that to happen, the center of the storm will have to be what? Maybe 30 miles away? Come on.

They’re telling us Irma is the size of Texas. No, it’s not. Not the important part. Texas is 800 miles wide. Irma’s hurricane zone is around 130 miles wide. Eyeballing the map, it appears that the tropical storm zone is around 400 miles wide. That’s half of 800. Sure, there may be clouds extending out over 800 miles. Are you afraid of clouds? A cloud 400 miles from the center of a hurricane is just a cloud.

Here is what appears to be true, from a person who is capable of reading a map and doing high school geometry: unless Irma deviates 35 or more miles east of the projected path, Miami will not get hurricane winds. If it deviates exactly 35 miles east, Miami will get low Category 1 winds. If it stays on track or deviates west, Miami will get winds considerably lower than 75 mph.

I survived Andrew. I knew Andrew. Irma…you’re no Andrew.

Andrew’s winds within the Miami area reached at least 170 mph, not including tornadoes. I saw four-foot-thick concrete power poles twisted off at their bases. That can’t happen when the hurricane’s center is a hundred miles away.

A few days ago, we were looking at a 185-mph storm that appeared likely to hit Miami dead center as a Category 5. Now it’s expected to be somewhere around 150 mph, a long way off. Big, big difference.

Maybe I’m wrong, but at least I’m giving you the same facts I pick up from the NHC’s data. Are there secret facts out there that I don’t know about? Are Irma’s winds actually 250 miles wide, making them highly likely to hit Miami? If so, why does the NHC say otherwise on its website?

Of course, hurricanes change their minds. Irma could surprise us. It could go straight through Miami. It could make a hard left and go to South America. It could veer east while staying within the cone of uncertainty. But it can’t stay on course and do what they’re saying it will do, if the wind figures they’re giving us are correct. It can’t be Category 4 in Naples and Category 3 in Miami AND have a hurricane zone 130 miles wide. Not possible.

Maybe Texas is really small, and they lie about it because they’re insecure.

If Irma doesn’t move east of its predicted track, I expect Miami to be fine. A few trees will fall, and a few thousand people will lose power because of the primitive, vulnerable power grid. That will be it. Unless those secret facts come into play.

I’m very glad I have not been watching the news. The few minutes I’ve endured have done nothing but raise my blood pressure and offend me.

I will keep praying for Irma to fail. Things look a whole lot better than they did yesterday. Thank you, God. Your patience is wonderful.

Logistics

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Goodbye, in Stages

It is becoming obvious to me that I know very little about the process of moving from one home to another.

For several weeks, I’ve been packing boxes, giving things away, and throwing things out. I’ve interviewed movers. I’ve found out about having machines and vehicles moved. After all that, I keep learning new things.

Today the movers told me the job takes three days. They pack on one day, shove things into the truck the next, and move on the third. I thought it was a one-day move, which was actually fairly stupid on my part. The drive alone will take them five hours.

If they have a whole day to pack, it takes a load off my mind. It means I don’t have to be prepared perfectly. If there are things I can’t deal with, I can turn them over to the movers.

The Internet issue is still alive. I found an outfit which will sell me a wireless data plan which is not limited to 32 GB, but they haven’t gotten back to me with a price yet. I feel like anything under a hundred bucks is acceptable. The Internet is important. If anything were to happen to my dad, I would kill the TV service immediately, but the Internet is essential.

Throwing out my dad’s ruined 1980’s furniture has been like lancing a giant boil. He paid way too much for it (i.e. more than nothing), so he has always been convinced that it’s fine furniture. The other day I put his sawdust credenza out for the Salvation Army, and he insisted it was a quality piece. Here are some interesting facts about it.

1. The back is hardboard, which is the hard cardboard clipboards are made from.

2. The body is made from sawdust mixed with glue and pressed into flat shapes.

3. Drawers from fine pieces of furniture are held together with dovetails. The credenza’s drawers are held together (barely) by staples.

4. When you bump into the credenza, sometimes sawdust falls out.

I have the 1981 receipt for the credenza. It cost $1000, and it was a floor model. That explains the strange dents and scratches. This is what happens when a divorced man finds a new girl. He buys things no one should ever buy.

Right now, if the right person (someone whose name ends in “Z”) wanted that thing, a fair price would be $150. New. It’s one step up from the furniture they sell at Office Depot, only less durable and more offensive.

Here’s something to think about. His entertainment center is a nice set from Ethan Allen. It’s solid wood. It has three cabinets, total. It’s around nine years old, and he paid $1010. When he bought it, it was new. That was about 30 years (of inflation) after he paid about the same amount for the sawdust credenza. And the Ethan Allen set was not on sale. This gives you an idea of the magnitude of the swindle.

The credenza disaster took place during the Cocaine cowboy years. People in Miami had even less taste than they do now, which is saying a lot. A lot of fake Bauhaus houses went up during that time. They look like tiny versions of cheap concrete high schools. They were filled with glass tables and bright yellow couches. People kept live tigers on their patios, and when they thought of timeless elegance, they thought of orange double knit. It was pretty gross. That’s where the credenza was spawned.

It’s gone with a capital “G” now. I have no idea why the Salvation Army accepted it. I fully expected a rejection note and maybe a bag of dog crap on the porch.

I’m very glad he didn’t see me and my friend Travis dumping his 1987 27″ TV by the curb. I think he paid $1500 for it. In its time, it was the fanciest TV you could find at Circuit City. As far as I know, it was still working when we gave it the heave-ho. You can’t make an older person understand that a 70-pound, 27″ TV that can’t receive a digital signal is no good. As Travis said, even pawn shops won’t take them.

I thought that TV was great when it was new, but then I was also pretty excited about the 512K Macintosh that only ran when it had a floppy disk inserted. What a machine. It had an external floppy drive, and if you wanted to replace the drive, it only cost $385.

I digress.

This weekend, I plan to take my mother’s mink to the Salvation Army. I saw a website that said old minks could bring as much as $400, so I was hot to put it on consignment, but then I found out it was not the $400 kind of old mink. It’s a stole from around 1970, and they sell on Ebay, all day long, for under $30. Makes me wonder why women don’t snap them up. They still look good. I guess they don’t want filthy hippies throwing red paint on them and forcing them to draw their pistols.

If my sister ever hears that I gave away the mink, the ensuing explosion will probably show up on seismographs. Last time she mentioned it, she thought it was worth a bundle. If we were still communicating, I would offer it to her, but when you commit felonies, get yourself ejected from rehab (again), and fall into society’s cracks, you pretty much give up the right to be informed about the disposition of your mom’s worthless old furs. I won’t be giving it to her, so it won’t be going to the dump or the pawnbroker like my mom’s gold Rolex or my grandmother’s wedding ring.

I was going to keep the Mom-era knickknacks from my dad’s house, but the more I think about it, the more I think I should cut a lot of them loose. Some are not very tasteful, others won’t fit in a traditional Southern house, and the rest are reminders of a dysfunctional past. I would throw out the bed my mom and dad bought after they got married, because it was my bed during many unpleasant years, but my dad is still attached to it.

Maybe he’ll forget about it, and if that happens, it’s gone.

The way you look at an heirloom depends a lot on the way you were raised. If your childhood was happy, heirlooms are treasured souvenirs of a golden age. If your childhood was like mine, you will want to burn most things that are over ten years old. The very thought of burning them is refreshing and redolent with hope.

I’m torn about discarding my sister’s college diploma. Obviously, she doesn’t care about it, or it wouldn’t have been lodged in my dad’s house since 1981. She didn’t care about her law school diploma or oath of attorney, which I set out for her when she moved out of the house she ruined. Those went to the dump. She left them where I put them.

When you have an abusive relative or former lover or whatever, keeping objects on which they have claims is like giving them permanent tickets to your presence. That diploma is like a beacon that gives out a homing signal that attracts swarms of stinging insects.

I believe in shedding my skin. Some bits of the past should be preserved, and others should be cleared away, fast. I gave away my mother’s clothes the week she died, as soon as I could get them in the car. If anything happens to my dad, his clothes and every troublesome possession he has will be gone in a week. All the things I wish he would get rid of…out. A house is not a mausoleum. The dead should be remembered and honored to some extent, but keeping things the way they left them is sick and evil. The dead move on, and we should, too. They’re not in heaven, burying their faces in our old jackets and sweaters.

I’ve rambled enough. Time to set about twenty pounds of my own clothes apart for donation. Goodbye, 1988. That jean jacket never came in handy the way I thought it would.

Scarface’s Hand-me-Downs

Monday, August 7th, 2017

Won’t Rest Until I have a Green Headboard with Recessed Blacklights

I am getting ruthless with ridding myself of unwanted furniture. There are a number of items I never want to see again, and the thought of having the new house befouled by their presence–and paying for it–is a little too much for me.

Yesterday I took to Craigslist and looked at bedroom sets and dining tables. I found some very nice stuff. There was a considerable amount of cardboard and sawdust furniture worthy of IKEA, but there were a lot of pieces I would not be embarrassed to own. It looks like you can furnish a bedroom with tasteful furniture for $600 or so. I’ll post a couple of photos.

I can’t decorate, but I have some rudimentary clue as to what looks good and what belongs in a cathouse or frathouse. I think the things I found will work okay.

Just for fun, I decided to check Craigslist in Miami. This is not a classy town, so I figured I was in for some interesting viewing. My neighbors did not disappoint. Generally, the furniture was less tasteful, and some was downright bizarre. If you want to sell a purple entertainment center with white hardware, Miami is the place to be.

Take a look.

Lovely, right?

In the Ocala area, I found a very interesting bedroom set made by Berkey and Gay. The owner thinks it was made by Berkley and Gray. It has twin beds. I’m not sure what to make of it. The furniture itself looks pretty cool, and it has to be old, because the company went out of business a very long time ago. Here’s the problem: it has little pictures of fruit painted on it.

I don’t know if it came that way from the factory or what. Being a man, I am not sure whether the fruit paintings are acceptable. If they’re not, can the fruit be removed without ruining the patina?

Maybe it’s a little too antiquey. I can’t tell.

Sometimes a normal sexual orientation is a disadvantage.

I thought it would be a good thing to have in a spare bedroom, in case friends with kids visited. In the South, you can get away with a certain amount of antiques.

I found some dining tables that aren’t scary.

Here’s a bedroom I could live with.

I’m starting to think it might be possible to have a house that looks okay. That wasn’t in the original plan, but maybe I can pull it off.

Walk-Through Finished

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Written on August 3

Too-Perfect House for a Very Imperfect Man

This must be what the day after you go to heaven is like.

Again, I am forced to post this after the fact, but still.

This is a Thursday. My dad and I just went to the final walk-through at the farm he is buying. The sellers took us through the whole place. I am floored.

The place is spotless. It looks like a new house. The interior doesn’t even need to be painted. Some areas are carpeted, and the carpet is new. The seller gave me a three-point attachment for the tractor, free, with a pointy thing on it for lifting hay. I found out later it was called a “bale spear.”

There is a ton of storage. I won’t have to throw out my toys. Like I was even considering it. I guess I could just have the movers take everything both of us own, and then I could store it all and then reduce it at my leisure. Some of it would probably look nice in the fireplace on a cold February evening.

I’m going to take an entire floor for myself. My dad can do all the damage he wants downstairs. He can turn it into the TV-Watching Shrine for the Southeastern United States if he wants. I’ll be upstairs waiting for the Rapture with my hobbies. The house has an intercom, believe it or not, so whenever he wants, he can summon me, and like Lurch, I will appear and solve his problems.

The area where the farm is located is nicer than I remembered. It has a little altitude, and that supposedly improves the breeze. The land is hilly, although the farm itself is fairly flat. The traffic is light. The roads are in great shape. There’s a lot of green, especially after a rainy July.

I still have to get moved. I don’t care. I’ll get it done if I have to carry everything up there on my back.

My dad is concerned he won’t have anything to do, but since he has had nothing to do for two years, I don’t think his gripe will turn out to be well-grounded. If he’s not bored now, he never will be. I’m looking into opportunities for him to socialize. Marion County is jammed up with geezers, so I’m quite sure I can find amusements for him.

The seller says we can kill the property tax by selling hay or by getting goats. He raised cattle, but they poop the place up. That’s a good thing if you need manure, but it’s not like manure is hard to come by in horse country. He said mature Boer goats would be very happy on the farm, but that it was not a good idea to have breeding stock, because coyotes eat the kids. Down side: no baby goats. Up side: I may have coyotes for rifle practice.

He said he lost one calf to coyotes. What ever happened to the old days, when they stayed out west where they belonged?

Tonight my friends Leah and Scott will be swinging through again on their way back from Sarasota, so there will be a lot to talk about. I’m overwhelmed.

Apparently, God does not mind doing surprisingly nice things for you, when things line up right. I think my blessings are related to the fact that I haven’t given a dime to a preacher in several years. I feel like God is using me to make a point.

Tomorrow we close, and then–wheeeeeee–back to Miami for a while. It will end. I will remind myself of that over and over, the same way I’ve said the same thing to myself when I’ve had the flu or severe diarrhea. Like severe diarrhea, every visit to Miami eventually ends.

I don’t have any new photos worth posting, but you can expect some when we take possession. Believe that.

Now I’ll relax before dinner. Time to lie back and think about tractors.

Walk-Through Eve

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Written on August 2

Closing is Near

I can’t post this entry tonight, but I wanted to write it anyway, while the details were fresh in my mind. What is the Christian life without testimony? A great product with no advertising. Tonight I will advertise.

I’m in Ocala, at a hotel. It’s more like a motel, but “hotel” sounds nicer. Day after tomorrow, my dad is closing on the new house. We have a walk-through tomorrow. I’m not posting this tonight, because it’s a bad idea to go on the Internet and tell people you’re not home.

I drove us up from Miami today. Not the most pleasant trip. It took quite a while to get my dad ready to leave. He has traveled hundreds of thousands or millions of miles, and he used to have it down to a science, but he complains that he has forgotten it all. We had to get all his stuff packed, and there was some resistance to my suggestions, so I worked with him to get it done his way. For some reason, he didn’t pack last night, so it took us around 45 minutes to get him into the car.

Once we were on the road, he wanted to stop for lunch about 3 1/2 hours after breakfast, and he had to make two other stops, so we didn’t make record time. I have to drive everywhere now, except for little trips he makes in Miami, so today I had to drive us the entire way, while coping with whatever problems he had.

Along the way, I texted some friends to let them know I was on the road. One family I know moved to Orlando a couple of years ago, and another couple moved to Kissimmee a few weeks back. I also emailed Leah, the new sister God gave me several years ago. She lives in Pensacola. Leah texted back and said she and her husband Scott were helping a family move from Pensacola to Sarasota. They would be going through Ocala. She said we should try to meet.

I texted her a little later, during our lunch trip to Cracker Barrel. She and her party were at a Cracker Barrel, too. Funny.

After a while, we coordinated again, and it turned out she would arrive in Ocala about 15 minutes after we did. We made it to the hotel and checked in, and 15 minutes later, I met Leah and Scott in the parking lot. How crazy is that?

We decided to go have food. I was a little concerned that my dad would dominate the conversation and keep it off of God, because he does that. To my surprise, he didn’t want to go. He wanted to go for a walk, which is something he can do safely here. We took off for Bob Evans!

Leah and Scott were helping her friends Eddie and Nora move. Eddie is a missionary. He felt God was telling him to move to Sarasota, which is apparently a fairly Godless area. Not a surprise, given the large number of arty people who live there. He and Nora decided to sell their house and go, and suddenly, over the last few weeks, things fell together quickly, and they were free to go. Their old house sold fast. Here’s something weird: their son and daughter, who look to be about ten and eight, were all for the move. Kids always hate moving, but before their parents were sold on the idea, the kids thought it was the right thing to do.

We sat down and ordered, and while the waitress was fussing over us (same waitress I had last time I went to this Bob Evans), I said I was going to do something for someone, and they thanked me, and I said if God was giving me a house, I could do this for them. Guess what the waitress said? “Amen.” Like it was normal for Christians to come in and talk about God with the wait staff. Because it probably is. I love this place.

We had a great talk, and we shared testimony. We caught up. It was wonderful. And the kids were so well-behaved, I didn’t know what to think. Miami kids scream in restaurants, and they get up and run between the tables.

Here’s part of the testimony I gave. I have a young friend named Travis. We get together for prayer. He studies at the University of Miami, which is close to my dad’s house. Travis knows Leah. Travis is not in the greatest financial shape. I told Leah and the group I had been praying the other day about the problems I would have getting my dad’s house in order for renting after the move, and that God had given me the answer: hire Travis to house-sit. He could let contractors in and make sure no one steals. He would have a little extra income, plus free rent, and I would be released to get the move done.

I said I wanted to take a picture of the group, just to mess with Travis. I was going to text it to him. I got up and took the picture. As I sat down, I said it was going to freak Travis out, and before I could sit down completely or send the text, the phone rang. It was Travis, asking how the trip was going. Of course, I had to send him Leah’s regards. Travis has been watching things come together supernaturally all through my efforts to move, so of course, he was bowled over. I let him know I could guarantee him a place through the month of September, so in addition to the shock of hearing about Leah, he got some very, very good news which took a weight off his back.

Scott and Leah and the crew said their goodbyes at my hotel, and they took off. They’ll be coming back through tomorrow, so maybe we’ll get together again!

I went to my room, and I saw I had forgotten my sleep mask. I need this thing. Hotel rooms are full of big LED’s that burn all night. I got hooked on masks because my rude Miami neighbors have bright security lights under their eaves. I went to CVS (I know the way to CVS!), but they were out of masks. Went to Walgreen’s, and the lady who worked there could not have been nicer. She knew the aisle and shelf where I would find a mask. I got to the aisle and found the masks. They usually cost $9. They were marked down to 99 cents. I bought two! You can’t beat that. Nothing else I saw there had the giant orange sale tag. It’s like they knew I was coming.

It has been a good day. Wouldn’t you agree? By the way, my friend who lives in Orlando called me back and said he was coming to help me on the day of the move, and he means it. It will be great to see the family. I’ll never get his kids out of the pool, though. That’s a given. They may move in.

I suspect more strange things will happen tomorrow. I certainly hope so.

I wonder how wrong we’ve been about God. Just how good IS he? How much should we dare believe?

I forgot to buy dental floss. I wonder if it will be on sale when I find it tomorrow.

I would wish you a great night, but you can’t see what I’m typing tonight, so I guess I’ll just say this: happy trails.

Polo!

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Still Here

Just blogging to confirm that I’m alive. Some wonderful things have happened over the last few days. Can’t go into detail today, but you will read about it soon.

Human Pachinko

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Disturbing Visit to IKEA

What an experience I had today. I shopped at IKEA for the very first time. It was the most dehumanizing shopping experience I have ever had.

Where do I start?

First of all, there is one cramped entrance to the huge parking garage (you have to use their garage), and in order to get in from the north, you have to make a U-turn. That’s stupid.

After that, you find yourself in a poorly marked garage which probably contains 8 acres of space. I parked on the ground floor, figuring that was where the store entrance was. Because most store owners want to make it EASY to get into their stores.

I walked up to the entrance, grabbing a cart along the way, and it turned out to be the entrance to a bank of three elevators and some escalators. The store was not on the ground floor. You’re supposed to get into an elevator…with your huge shopping cart. I am not making that up.

I got into an elevator and went up a floor. I got out. No store. Okay. I waited for another elevator. They don’t have big signs telling you where to go. You have to guess.

Went up another floor. Got out. Went to something that looked like an entrance. It turned out it was the entrance to some kind of indoor playground for kids. Who takes their kids to IKEA to play? Lunatics, I guess.

I stopped a salesperson. I said, “How do you get INTO this place?” She told me to get on the elevator and go up one more floor.

On the next floor, I found a store. I pushed my cart (with one wheel that kept trying to turn) into the entrance. I found myself confronted with one department of the store, from which there was no escape that didn’t involve going forward.

You won’t believe this unless you’ve seen it, but IKEA forces you to go through the entire store in order to get your product. It’s a one-dimensional store. It’s not like Target, where you can always move in one of two directions. It’s like being trapped in the intestines of a giant beast. You go in one end, and you visit every twist and turn until you come out the other. There are a few minor deviations, but that’s the story.

I went through the entire floor, held up by endless people who clogged the narrow aisles and barely moved, and when I got to the end, I had not seen sheets. That’s what I wanted to buy. I asked another salesperson, and she said I was on the wrong floor.

Seriously. They have enough room to put the whole store on one floor, but they used it to divide the parking garage into levels. Is that stupid, or am I?

The person who told me to go up one floor was wrong. Somewhere on the playground floor, there was a store which was somehow hidden.

I had been at IKEA for quite some time by then, but I was determined to get my sheets, so I persevered.

I got to the next floor, and I was once again confronted by the constricted concrete entrails of IKEA. Surely this is the most authoritarian store in America. I walked past aisle after aisle of Chinese garbage. After maybe ten minutes, I got to the sheet area. I found my sheets and hightailed it for the exit. Which I could not see. When you’re in the bowels of IKEA, you can’t see the checkout stations. It’s like a DVD you can’t fast-forward.

I got the one of the slow registers, and I asked the guy for a bag for my sheets. He offered me a “green bag” (which was blue) for a dollar. Are you kidding me? Do I need a reusable bag cluttering up my house when I’m trying to move? I turned it down. I made the smart move. I thought.

Got out of the checkout line, and I found myself in an non-air-conditioned room (in Miami in July) with three big elevators and maybe fifty people with carts trying to jam themselves in. I could not believe it. I had four sets of sheets and two sets of pillowcases, and I knew I couldn’t carry them on the escalator. Now I knew what the bag was for. It was a fee for avoiding the elevators.

Miraculously, I made it into an elevator during the first tide, and I got off at P1, which, I figured was the first floor of the parking garage. I looked around for my car, and then I noticed there were tree tops visible over the low walls of the garage. I was not on the ground floor. I guess in Sweden, they number floors downward, starting on random levels.

Back to the elevator bank, which took forever.

Finally got out on the correct floor. Couldn’t find my car. Okay, that was my fault. But by this point, more frustration was the last thing I needed.

Back to the elevator bank. Found the car. Drove home.

I have never had a store make me feel more insulted or unimportant, not to mention claustrophobic. You can’t walk where you want. You can’t have a bag. You’re trapped like an ant in an ant farm. And what about fire codes? If that place burns, everyone in it will die, because you can’t see the exits. You could be a hundred feet from an exit and have to make three turns to find it.

What a disgusting store. I will never go back. If I like the sheets, next time, I’ll order them online.

The merchandise is horrible. I’m sure some of it is fine, but I saw display after display of aggressively inoffensive disposable sawdust and melamine furniture. Who buys this crap? You have to be out of your mind. You spend hundreds of dollars buying a sawdust living room, and then a month later, it has a street value of $75. No one wants used sawdust furniture.

Imagine how cluttered our landfills must be, with all the sawdust and melamine furniture we buy. And the funny part about that is that IKEA preys on the weak-minded by claiming to be green and friendly and gay. How can disposable furniture be green? How can furniture made in dirty backward countries that have a license to kill under the Paris Climate Accord be green?

I felt like a character in a dystopian film like Soylent Green or Logan’s Run. I feel icky inside, thinking about it. My visit made me think of Holocaust victims being herded and sorted on arriving at a death camp. I’m not trying to be funny, either. That’s exactly what I thought of.

I hope the sheets work out, but I will never set foot in that store again, even if I can find the way in.

King Tut Meets Al Capone

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Archaeology Begins at Home

There is nothing like a relaxing Saturday. I’m blowing off steam by cleaning my dad’s bathroom, bedroom, and closets. Resorts should offer activities like this.

Perhaps I jest.

If you have an older relative who is starting to tune out, you are in for interesting times when you have to go in and deal with his or her mess. I am finding things that blow my mind.

I would guess that my dad has 30 pairs of shorts, dating back 35 years. How many are worth keeping? Realistically, maybe seven. Some are too small. Some are worn out. Some are just too short; they gave my mom fits. Some are white.

You don’t want your older relatives trailing along behind you in public places, on sunny days, wearing white. Things show through.

Years ago, he had to have his roof fixed over his hall closet. There was a hellacious leak. Yesterday I was throwing things out, and I found mold on the wall and ceiling. Nice. The ceiling was done, but the mold was not removed. Today I had to clean it out with bleach. Along the way, I found his c. 1982 racquetball racquet plus a Homedics foot spa and maybe twenty pounds of pennies. Grist for the Salvation Army mill.

One nice thing about having absolutely no help is that my word is now law. I have decided which items of clothing he likes. The rest go to the trash or charity. My mother would have killed for this power. I wish she could be here to see me throw out the sheets she bought before she died in 1997. She would stand up and cheer.

I don’t think anyone wants detailed information about his bathroom, but I can say that I threw out maybe two hundred tourist-size hotel soaps and shampoos. He is one of those people who clean out hotel bathrooms every day of their stays. I’ve never understood that. A big bottle of Suave shampoo is three bucks at the drugstore, and it will last six months. Soap runs maybe ten dollars a year, if you’re a heterosexual. I think it’s unethical to take things from hotels just because you can. It’s like scooping packets of Splenda into your pockets at Denny’s. If it was really free, they’d put it out front in an open box.

He will need sheets, so I searched for a good deal. I am disgusted by today’s snowflake sheets with thread counts that require scientific notation. I have expensive dress shirts with a thread count under 200, but you can buy sheets that go up to at least 1800 per inch. Ridiculous. If you’re such a sissy you can’t deal with 200 threads per inch, you should go live in a bubble. I’m no textile engineer, but common sense tells me that the thinner the threads are, the thinner the sheet will be, and the sooner it will wear out. Nobody makes a 300-TC work shirt. Why would you pay more for something that doesn’t last as long?

Maybe I’m wrong. The deep mysteries of sheet making are closed to me.

I finally found good old white sheets at a great price. It’s harder than you think. Guess who sells them. Guess. I’ll tell you. IKEA. You can get queen sheet sets for $25. If you don’t know what a deal that is, look around. Decent sheets from good manufacturers start at around $120. I blame Norma Rae.

The IKEA thread count is 140 per inch. Now that’s a sheet. It ought to last forever. And I’m getting white. The only color a man should have. It matches everything, and you can bleach it. SOLD!

I might go totally nuts and go for the $40 set, with 300 threads per inch, but I am pretty excited about 140. People got by with worse for centuries, and they didn’t mind at all.

Here’s a neat feature IKEA sheets have: the ends tuck in. American pillowcases are open at one end, so if you use slippery bug-proof pillow protectors (also spill-proof), the pillows slowly slide out of the cases while you sleep. European pillowcases keep the pillows where they should be.

I use bug-proof pillow protectors to keep mites out. Over time, they slowly ruin pillows by filling them with allergens. I even covered my mattress with a bug bag.

Sheets are complicated these days. Mattresses used to be maybe 8 inches thick, but now some go 18. For that, you need “deep pocket” sheets. You also need deep pockets to get 1800-TC sheets, but I digress. Deep pocket sheets fit big mattresses, but they’re loose on normal mattresses, so you have to buy sheet straps to hold them on. Annoying.

I found out Coral Gables lets you put one big item of furniture in the trash per week. I think I wrote about that already. I put my dad’s cardboard office credenza out last week. This week, he will forfeit the mattress from his middle-aged convertible couch. Next week, maybe, the couch itself. By spacing it out, I make the couch easier to carry. I am thinking I should keep the cushions to pad things when I move. I’m sure I’ll have to move a lot of things personally.

I’m all rested now. Writing this entry served its purpose. I’m off to IKEA, where I hope they will let me shop even though I’m not gay.

Onward and upward, or at least northward.

Why Can’t Denial Just be for Bad Things?

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Heart Refuses to Believe I’m Blessed

I feel like I’m rehearsing for a play that will never open. I am packing for a move, and I can’t fully accept that it’s truly going to happen.

A few days back, I went to Home Depot and bought 40 small boxes. Home Depot sells moving supplies at acceptable prices. Since then, I have been stuffing boxes with books. I take a box, open it up, tape the bottom, put a big number on it, put bubble wrap in the bottom, and start putting books in. While I do this, I keep a list in outline form on a laptop. Each box gets a numerical heading, and the list of books goes under it.

I have filled 21 boxes so far, and I would guess I have 15 to go. I’m kind of disappointed in my dad’s books. There aren’t a lot of great ones, and some have plastic on them. He must have joined a book club at some point. Here’s how they worked: they offer you one book a month at a good price, and if you don’t make a choice, they send you garbage publishers need to unload. Looks like my dad didn’t make a choice every month.

I have a big collection of math, physics, and engineering books. I have books relating to tools. I have a certain amount of literature, and it’s not John Grisham or Barbara Cartland. It’s real literature. I don’t buy much junk.

My dad has some solid history books. He always found history more interesting than I did.

Maybe 45 years ago, he bought The Great Books of the Western World. This is a big set of books containing every piece of writing a bunch of academics thought a person needed to read in order to be considered educated. My dad wanted to throw them out a few years ago, so I took them. You never know when you might want to get up to speed on Marcus Aurelius. I also have the Encyclopedia Britannica I got for winning my area’s spelling bee. I can’t throw those out. The books remind me that I wasn’t a complete washout as a kid.

If you don’t make a list of the things you move, and you don’t label the boxes, you will be in for a treat when you arrive at your new home. You will have a colossal mound of boxes with contents you can’t identify. You won’t even be able to move them to the correct rooms before opening them.

Every box has five numbers on it. One on the top, and one on each side. No matter which side of a box is exposed, I will be able to identify it. Very exciting.

I read somewhere that movers charge $35 per hour to pack things. It must be great to turn strangers loose in your house, have them box everything up while you sit by the pool, and not have to lift a finger. Unfortunately, it’s expensive, you don’t know what goes into each box, your stuff is packed by people who don’t care if it breaks, and you don’t get a chance to throw out or give away things you really should not pay to move. For me, packing things myself is the way to go.

I am being ruthless with the furniture. The Salvation Army and the dump will be receiving a number of items. It may seem like furniture you hold onto is free, but when you’re paying someone to move it, every article has to justify its existence, because you are paying for it all over again.

My family is dysfunctional. That means familiar possessions aren’t always heirlooms. Sometimes a couch reminds you of the time one of your mother’s friends gave her furniture because she felt sorry for her. A crappy desk can be a reminder that someone always made do with junk instead of making reasonable investments in a pleasant home. There are quite a few things I will be discarding for purposes of catharsis as well as economy.

New questions keep popping up. Example: if the movers take our beds to the new house, what are we supposed to sleep on while the move is in progress? Maybe I should get a couple of air mattresses. Good things to have anyway. You never know when you will have guests. I was thinking of putting a convertible couch in the new house, but I decided against it. They’re heavy and expensive, and they’re terrible as beds. Air mattresses are cheap, and when deflated, each one takes up as much room as a suitcase.

Too bad they don’t make air tables, chairs, and houses.

Air families. Blow them up, enjoy their company, and when they start to get on your nerves, release the air. Actually, they do make something like that, but it’s not quite that wholesome.

The more I know about the new place, the more it seems tailored to our needs. Today a concern hit me. Will the bathroom situation work? I didn’t remember what all of the bathrooms in the new house were like. It would be bad to have only one full bath.

I looked at the ads, and they said it had one full bath and two half baths. Uh-oh. My dad will have the master suite, and that means he gets the big bathroom. I will not want to have to share it with him and anyone who comes to provide care for him. And overnight guests? Forget it. Not workable. Have to put a bucket in the woods by the workshop. Yes, we will have our own woods.

I found the house plans and checked. The upstairs has two real bathrooms. Thank God. Why weren’t they in the online ads? There will be total bathroom separation. I won’t have to push through walkers, hand rails, and other equipment that might pop up in the future, after making an appointment with a nurse.

There must be two hundred moving problems I haven’t thought of yet, but they will be handled. I will…will…WILL escape Miami. My blood pressure will drop fifty points. I will be able to sleep without earplugs. I will not hear salsa thumping on my windows at night. I’ll be able to understand almost everyone who speaks to me. People in restaurants will talk instead of yelling. People in movies won’t talk continuously in Spanish. Episodes of other drivers risking my life in order to save three seconds will drop by 90%. Other drivers may actually use their turn signals sometimes. I will be able to drive 10 miles in 12 minutes instead of 5 miles in 20 minutes. My car insurance will cost less than the car is worth. I’ll be able to take pleasure drives again. The air won’t smell like damp laundry. A McDonald’s breakfast won’t cost 10 dollars. I’ll be able to hire contractors and tradesmen who know how to do their jobs, instead of greedy slackers who promise the world and perform like monkeys in Army LSD experiments.

No leaf blowers! How about that? I can’t imagine life without leaf blower noise.

Cool nights! Miami doesn’t have those. Tonight it’s supposed to be 80 degrees here. Where I’m going, it will be 74, and that’s July. If you live in Tennessee or Missouri, that may not be exciting to you, but 74 sounds wonderful to me. Granted, Marion County is hot during summer days (4 degrees hotter than Miami), but the summer ENDS, and even in August, the average temperature at night is under 72. Hot nights are disgusting. Besides, the sun is less direct up there. The sun here is noticeably less bright than it is in the Keys, and it will be somewhat less bright 300 miles north.

Check this out: I’ll be able to get real barbecue without making it myself. Marion County has a bunch of Sonny’s restaurants, and one is very close to me. It also has one-off barbecue joints. More good news: I’ll be less than ten minutes from a Cracker Barrel. Filled with real crackers.

Miami is a funny place. The traffic is so bad, you defer short trips. If you need something from a place 5 miles away, you may put it off until the weekend in order to avoid killing 40 minutes in traffic. I avoid driving between 7 and 10 a.m. and between 2 and 7 p.m. It’s that bad. Miami has a lot of stores and restaurants, but what good are they if you can’t stand to drive to them, and you can’t stand to call them on the phone because they don’t understand anything you say?

Store Guy: Yo, dica me.

Me: Hi. I’m calling to see if you have Seastar hydraulic fluid in stock.

Store Guy: Yo, whatchoo say?

Me: Seastar hydraulic fluid. Do you stock it?

Store Guy: No meng, no stockeeng. Mareeng sooply estore.

Me: No, I don’t want stockings. Is there someone there who speaks English? Ingles?

Store Guy: [angry] YO peekee Englee! No stockeeng! Comprendes?

Me: I am sorry I made you angry by trying to do business with you. I will now try Amazon Prime, which is what I knew I would end up doing anyway.

You could change that last bit to, “I am sorry I tried to live in this area. I will now move north, which is what I knew I would end up doing anyway.” English speakers have fled this place by the hundreds of thousands. They have a popular bumper sticker here: “Will the Last American Leaving Miami Please Bring the Flag?”

I guess it’s not as popular as it was before everyone left. And how many Miamians can read it?

When I came here, Miami was full of Yankees, and most people were rude. Then it filled up with people from other countries, and people were still rude. No one ever came and improved the place. Haitians are nice to Americans, but they treat each other like dirt (one of their favorite things to joke about), and they drive as if other cars were invisible. When I arrived in ’69, the nice old Florida people had been moving out for decades . I knew a few. They were great. I wonder where they went. It’s like the Atlas Shrugged of nice people. Maybe there’s a nice-person compound in Colorado, made up of Florida crackers.

We are now filling up with a new crowd, and I don’t know where they came from. They look very, very ghetto. I think they must be South Americans. Not good. Call me intolerant, but no intelligent person wants to live in a place like Brazil or Venezuela. South Americans share my feelings. I know South Americans, and they are glad to be out. They came here, didn’t they? What more needs to be said? The problem is that when too many of them come here, their problems come with them, and Miami turns into Rio and Caracas. Also, it’s one more group for Cubans to not get along with. Cubans don’t like any Spanish-speakers or Latins except the Spanish. And they don’t like black people. Or people who look partly black. Or partly Indian. They are not easy to please.

I better get back to my many boxes. Closing is in 2-1/2 weeks, and the move will not lag it by much.

Next to Godliness

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Relief in a Jug

This is my second day as a member of a caregivers’ forum, and it has worked out very well. Unlike members of other types of forums, the caregivers actually read the questions, don’t insult me and say, “Google is your friend,” and provide useful answers I hadn’t already thought of.

I made a great discovery for bathroom cleaning. I don’t want to go into great detail, but the product is called “Urine Destroyer.” I apply it with a spray bottle from the hardware store. Works better than bleach, believe it or not. I guess the ultimate solution would be to follow it with bleach.

It deodorized a bathroom and also me. I spilled a fair amount of it on my shirt. The perfume they put in it is pretty persistent. I changed shirts and washed, but I think I’m going to smell like a clean kennel all day.

This product is very expensive, but believe me, it would be cheap at five times the price.

Along the same lines, I can’t praise my homemade shower cleaner highly enough. I haven’t scrubbed a shower in months. In the future, I plan to keep this stuff in my dad’s bathroom as well as my own. It is a miraculous cleaner.

Just to repeat, here are the ingredients:

6 oz. Zep soap scum cleaner
1 tbsp. dishwasher rinse agent
1 tbsp. Dawn dishwashing liquid
water to fill 1-quart spray bottle

I found this on the Internet, and I removed an ingredient which was expensive and unnecessary. You spray it on everything after you shower, and you leave it there. It dissolves all the typical things that stick to shower surfaces (over time), and it leaves a great shine and a fresh smell. It makes me seem much cleaner and more industrious than I am.

It might benefit from more Dawn.

I smell like a dentist’s waiting room. I can’t wait for this stuff to wear off.

It would be pretty neat if I managed to take good care of my dad instead of having the county come out three times a week and threaten to take him away because of the filth. With these two products, I am halfway there.

Generally, it is very hard to control other people’s behavior. When you can control things from your own end, it can save you years of banging your head against the wall. The right cleaners and precautions should bring me a lot of peace. We can hire someone to come in weekly and deal with whatever I don’t want to handle.

I am now five weeks from the blessed event. Can’t wait.

We Elected Screwball Squirrel

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

“If Your Enemy is Quick to Anger, Seek to Irritate Him”

Wow. What country did I wake up in today?

Donald Trump just posted a doctored video–humorous doctoring, not typical leftist-media deceptive doctoring–of himself beating a man with a CNN logo for a head.

The video comes from a WWE appearance in which Trump attacked Vince McMahon and did a “ground and pound” on him just outside the ring.

What to say about this?

On the one hand, one of the funniest videos ever. On the other, something resembling an admission that the world has gone to hell.

Of course, liberals are pretending the video encourages Trump fans to beat up journalists. Problem, and I know this will make some people mad: virtually all of the folks who have been caught on camera attacking journalists in the last few years fall into two categories: Muslims and black people. I am sorry to say it, but it’s true. For some reason, people in these two groups are least likely to take journalistic neutrality seriously.

There is one big exception to the rule that conservatives don’t attack journalists, and oddly, he is a new member of Congress. This nut, who was running for office in Montana, grabbed a journalist and threw him to the floor. Also, a politician who was later convicted of some sort of corruption threatened to break a journalist in half, but he didn’t actually touch him.

Trump and other conservatives are constantly accused of encouraging violence against this group or that group, but it never pans out. On the other hand, Al Sharpton and Maxine Waters have encouraged people to riot, and at least one man was murdered as the result of Sharpton’s exhortations. Also, there has been a wave of violent attacks on conservatives by leftists who didn’t really need anyone to incite them. Black people have been known to attack people who simply looked like they might have voted for Trump.

I suppose someone, somewhere, will get a beating from leftists over this video. Trump should have thought of that, as well as the dignity of his office, before he released it. We may see a whole lot of beatings. Thank God I carry a gun. I should probably throw a rifle in the back seat and keep it there for a while.

Here’s one thought I want to get out before everyone else writes an opinion piece: I suspect that Trump just guaranteed his reelection in 2020. Whatever Trump’s failings are, he is right about CNN and the other leftists information censors. They lie, they omit, they exaggerate…they poison our minds with their false version of the truth; their fake news. Republicans are sick of it, and many of us (myself included) have wished we could see a president communicate openly about the press. Trump has finally granted our wish. I believe that in spite of our better instincts, many of us will be so grateful to Trump that we will commit to keeping him in office for another term.

I always longed to see a president open up about bias, but there is a difference between longing for it and thinking it was a good idea. Trump goes farther than he should, and he doesn’t admit fault when he’s wrong and the press is right. Posting this video was silly. It was over the top. I believe it will harden up and enlarge his base, but it will probably heat up the partisan cold war and push us closer to a violent and even more tawdry future. It won’t inspire conservatives to violence, but it will move leftists to ramp up their pattern of physical attacks on us, and that is likely to lead to a conservative backlash that will bring us down to their level.

Before Trump was elected, I said he would be the most entertaining president in history. You can’t fault me there. My prediction has come true in spades.

What’s next? Maybe this week Al Franken will moon Mitch McConnell.

The very existence of Senator Al Franken is proof we don’t care if our leaders have any dignity.

I know of two people who will be very put out about the video: Mika Brzezinksi and Joe Scarborough. This will knock their self-pitying, juvenile bickering right out of the headlines. When you’re an unremarkable person selling a commodity that can be replaced by virtually any unemployed celebrity who can speak, you need to be in the news as often as possible.

Have fun, Mr. President, but please keep appointing conservative judges, helping Israel, and doing what you can for Christians and the unborn. You are going to do whatever makes you happy, but please don’t forget about the rest of us.

More Opinions About Shows I Don’t Watch

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Somewhere Rachel Marsden is Smiling

It’s humbling to admit it, but I was wrong. I mean when I said I was wrong about Tucker Carlson. I was actually right. The first time. And I’m man enough to admit it.

I said Tucker Carlson was not the right choice to replace Bill O’Reilly. Carlson has an unassailable track record of not winning. His shows haven’t done well in the past, and I felt there was no reason to expect better things in the future. When you read The Racing Form, you don’t pick a horse that has never won, unless you see him smoking meth before a race. And bow ties aren’t for normal men. They’re for guys who sell popcorn.

In the early days of Carlson’s tenure, he did surprisingly well, elating his mom Gretchen and leading me to conclude that I had been wrong. That has changed. Now his audience is smaller than the bizarre group of people who turn up to hear Rachel Maddow screech. O’Reilly averaged about 4 million viewers per night, and Carlson has lost 20% of those wallets. I mean viewers.

Maddow is the Alex Jones of cable news. She never met a leftist nutbar conspiracy she didn’t like. Carlson, for all his faults, is kind of a journalist. You would think he would do better than she does. But he’s bringing up the rear, consistently.

Eric Bolling would have been better. He’s smart. Same goes for Jeanine Pirro. Judge Pirro is probably the closest thing we have to a female O’Reilly. Instead, Fox looked in the fridge and chose the leftover pot roast that had been sitting in the back for several years. Crazy.

Stuart Varney! Is he dead? He would have been good.

To make up for being wrong about being wrong, I will point out that I was right about Megyn Kelly. Her departure hurt her, hurt NBC, and didn’t hurt Fox. Kelly’s star appeal has been exposed as an illusion, NBC is paying a boatload of money to someone who can’t bring the butts, and Fox is muddling along with Five Minus Beckel, which is ahead of Anderson Vanderbilt, also known as Gloria Cooper.

The odd thing here is that I find these stories interesting even though I never watch the news.

Maybe I’m wrong (for real)! After all, as a non-viewer, I base my judgment of the Fox heads on old information. Well, except for Carlson. I watched a few Youtube clips of him at his new job. I think I’m right, though.

I don’t think Kelly will last. She does a perfectly fine job, by the low standards of broadcast journalists, but she is not a big talent. She’s no Bill O’Reilly. Without Fox to propel her, she won’t recover and prosper in a liberal shark tank, in front of confused liberal viewers. NBC will eventually promote her downward into a less-damaging and more obscure role. Then she’ll turn into Deborah Norville. Maybe she’ll suddenly realize she wants to “devote more time to her family.” Then come the infomercials. “Wow, George, your grill really does KNOCK OUT the fat!”

Carlson will stay right where he is, for at least a couple more years. He’s doing too well to fire and not well enough to keep for the long haul. It would be great news for Fox if he showed up to work naked and told his producers he needed time off to build a second home on Venus. That way, they could start over, and Carlson would become a viable successor to Alex Jones. As it is, they’ll have to wait until tuning in at eight and seeing the wrong guy gets to be too much.

Who will Fox hire when Tucker’s time is up? Tough call. I would guess…Martha MacCallum. Someone who has been around forever and is clearly not up to the job. A rusty tool from a very familiar box, just like Carlson. Or how about Bret Baier? A solid journalist who doesn’t have the weight to anchor a show.

Maybe they could go full-bore alt-right. They could have Ted Nugent, killing and dressing a chicken on his desk. Or they could just tape a laser-printed photo of Andrew Breitbart (PBUH) on the wall behind the chair and have Jesse Watters pretend to be his voice.

Whoever it is, it will probably be a bad choice. I don’t think I’ll have to say I’m wrong about that.

Meet Wallace

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

My Emotional Support Rattlesnake

Today, as always, I am watching America disintegrate. The topic that has my attention at the moment: emotional support animals.

Have you noticed that you can’t go into a store or restaurant now without running into someone walking a dog? Over the last few months, these people have gotten my attention. It seems their numbers have increased rapidly. The dogs wear little vests, like the ones real service animals wear. They must be highly trained animals which provide essential help to disabled people, right?

Wrong.

For under a hundred bucks, you can get your dog, cat, snake, owl, lemur, wombat, tarantula, or alligator snapping turtle certified as an emotional support animal. After that, many cowardly business owners will bow to you when you bring your pet–that’s what it really is–into places like the hardware store or the movies. You can get your certification over the phone. You can buy an emotional support dog vest from Amazon: LOOK.

One lady in the reviews describes her ESD as “a 70 pound Rhodesian Ridgeback/Lab mix who is easily excitable around people.” Great. See anything wrong with that?

This is so crazy, even our left-leaning mental health establishment is voicing disapproval.

Is it so bad if animals get to go where we go? Am I an animal hater or what? Actually, it IS bad, and I’m not an animal hater. Emotional support animals (and their owners) have no training. They are not held to cleanliness standards. They bite. They poop on stuff.

Today I read about a couple of animals that pooped on airplanes. DISCLAIMER: Marv (my African grey parrot) has done this many times, but he was in a pet carrier, and no one pretended he was performing a vital service.

One animal, a dog, took two aisle dumps in a single flight. People got sick to their stomachs. What could be better than being trapped in a small space with one of the most fragrant types of poop on the planet? Another animal, a pig, relieved itself on the floor and got itself and its owner thrown off the plane before it took off. Have you ever been around pig manure? The smell really carries. It’s not a wholesome, farmy smell like horse or cow manure smell. It’s funky and gross.

If you didn’t have the straight poop (sorry) on emotional support animals when you got up this morning, now you do. It’s a scam that permits selfish people to abuse the rest of us. Snowflakes who can’t find anything else to complain about are now entitled to make us share restaurant seats with creatures that lick their anuses.

This is good information to have. The other day I saw a scam dog at Home Depot, and I nearly ran a cart over its tail. I thought it wasn’t a big deal, because an educated service dog wouldn’t lunge at me if I hurt it. Now I know that dog wasn’t educated at all. I almost provoked a big German shepherd which probably had as much training and restraint as Charlie Sheen. You and I are informed now, so we can avoid being bitten, pawed, and peed on.

Look how crazy we’ve gotten. We can’t even count on eating our meals in areas free of dog crap.

This is what Americans are becoming. Today it is completely possible that you will see a grown “man” wearing a baby’s romper, sitting in a restaurant, working on a coloring book, with a vicious emotional support rottweiler straining to break its leash and eat the waiters. And anyone complaining about such sorry spectacles risks being treated like Josef Mengele after a sighting at a B’nai Brith luncheon.

Normal people run from nuts and brats now, and it’s going to get worse.

The airlines are trying to limit the insanity. They require “patients” to get current letters from mental health professionals, listing their mental illnesses and stating the need for a llama or penguin or whatever. Of course, a lot of crazy people and crooks have medical degrees, as any savvy Percocet addict can tell you. It won’t be hard for determined, imperious snowflakes to get their documentation.

If I were a seeing-eye dog, I would be really miffed about this. These amateurs will reflect very badly on real service dogs.

Life is no longer permitted to provide any type of inconvenience or unpleasantness, unless of course you’re a Christian, a male, white, straight, or conservative. We get all sorts of unpleasantness. We are not allowed to own bakeries, for example. It’s open season on us, but God forbid you should ask a “medical marijuana” enthusiast not to light up in front of your kids at a park. Not being allowed to get high in a park could be traumatic, so shut up and go home, normal people.

I shouldn’t make fun of medical marijuana. It’s very hard to get a prescription. You have to make a phone call and tell a doctor you’ve never met that you have a headache.

I want an aggressive emotional support chimp that smokes medical marijuana in my safe space with me. Oh, wait. I can’t have a safe space. I’m an old white guy. I’m not supposed to be safe, because any consideration or help I receive is “white privilege.” I’m supposed to be mistreated, because it makes up for the way I microaggress everyone around me simply by existing.

Honest to God, I wish we could all be transported to December of 1941 and experience real problems for a few days, just so the snowflakes would have a frame of reference. They have no idea what a problem looks like, so they try to fabricate them, and they don’t do a very good job. If a white man makes a taco, it is not a problem. If your ball python has to fly in the luggage hold, it is not a problem. The Spanish Flu of 1918…that was a problem. Polio was a problem. The Civil War was a problem. Compare and contrast and see if you can spot the difference between these challenges and the pain of having your high school history teacher tell you to stop showing the boys your nipples.

Now I’m off on another tangent. It seems like every third news story I see is about some mom who “shut down” a teacher or principal who asked her daughter to quit dressing like a slut.

Jeff Lebowski was wrong. The bums won!

The world (mainly America) is nuts right now. It won’t be long before it’s insufferable. I’d fake my death and move somewhere safe, but there is no such place.

Russia. I keep forgetting Russia. I don’t know if I can handle their weather, though. They wouldn’t take me, anyway. Unlike the US, other countries require you to prove you will be an asset before you can move in.

Be careful where you step in restaurants, and make sure you stay at least two yards away from emotional support dogs. You should probably start cooking at home more. Let’s face it: we should start doing everything at home more.

I’m really stressed, so I’m going to stop. I need relief. I wonder if I can get a chiropractor to give me prescription heroin.

Pining for Cleanliness

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

Use This Stuff and Your Floors Will be Shipshape

In my quest to become NOT the worst housekeeper on earth, I am always looking for new products to use. Today I thought I’d share some news about an old product.

I am not referring to Pine-Sol. But I will use Pine-Sol to set the stage. Remember how great Pine-Sol used to be? It was loaded with pine oil, which cleans well and smells even better. Now Pine-Sol is crap. They took the pine out and substituted the chemical that gives Fabuloso its characteristic, congestion-inducing stench. I don’t know what that chemical is called, but if you enjoy lying awake all night with your eyes smarting and your nostrils swollen shut, it’s exactly what you need.

I found out turpentine was full of pine stuff. It’s loaded with alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. Together they make up most of turpentine. I started adding a little turpentine to my mop water, and it worked very well. It shines wood floors and leaves the house smelling great.

The other day I started thinking about another pine product: Orpine boat soap. This is a product boaters swear by. It’s a white jelly that comes in a gallon jug. You mix one ounce with 3 gallons of water, and you’re ready to go. It cleans like nobody’s business, and one of its two main ingredients is pine oil. The other is the active ingredient in dishwashing detergent.

Orpine costs a lot. You can expect to pay over $60 for a gallon. But that’s less than 50 cents per mop bucket. Pine Sol, which no longer works, costs almost exactly fifty cents per bucket. You can get a fantastic product with real pine oil and save trips to the store, or you can buy ten bottles of Pine Sol and get inferior performance and zero pine smell.

I ordered Orpine from Amazon, because it was cheaper than local boating stores, and I tried it today. It works great. I am quite pleased with it. I bought the regular kind, not the one that has wax in it.

I found out Pine-Sol isn’t the only cleaner that has been debased. Lestoil has been changed, too. The manufacturer claims they had to take out “volatile organic compounds,” i.e. anything remotely piney, to make the tree-huggers happy. Too bad. It used to be wonderful. I remember using that time in high school when I put Vaseline in my hair.

Long story.

My last Pine-Sol purchase was a really bad deal, because I poured most of it down the toilet. I tried to use it, and the funky smell let me know I was being ripped off. The toilet was my next stop.

You can find 80% pure pine oil in gallon jugs online, but you have to exclude the word “essential” from your search, or you’ll get 9,000,000 results featuring tiny bottles of aromatherapy pine oil running about $20 per ounce. Janitor supply places sell the big jugs. I should try that, when my Orpine runs out in 2025.

I don’t know how much pine oil Orpine contains, but it’s somewhere between 10 and 50 percent. That’s pretty good.

Pathetic Exercises for Pathetic People

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

How I Narrowly Avoid Having to Buy a Mobility Cart

The other day a wonderful thought occurred to me, and I felt I should share it: “There is no exercise in heaven.”

Think about that. Imagine never having to work out again. That, all by itself, makes it heaven.

I am not in heaven, and for a few months I’ve been doing regular cardiovascular exercise to keep me from collapsing in a heap of Jell-O. I found out about a type of exercise that didn’t sound too bad, so I decided to try it, and I’ve stuck with it. It’s called “HIT” or “HIIT,” and I forget exactly what those things stand for. “High Intensity Training,” or something.

The idea is that instead of suffering mildly for 40 minutes, you try to kill yourself for about 5 minutes, including breaks. For example, you sprint as hard as possible for 20 seconds, and then you rest for 10. Then you sprint again. Supposedly you get most of the benefit of long workouts for a small percentage of the pain.

It has worked for me. I don’t know if I’m in good cardiovascular shape, but everything is toned up, and I have lots of energy.

I was thinking about it this week. Who looks better? Sprinters or marathon runners? Easy question. Marathon runners are weak and spindly, with tiny muscles. They look like malnutrition victims. Sprinters are full of bulgy, springy muscle. It makes sense that intense workouts give better results.

I also thought about the demands daily life places on the body. Have you ever, in your entire life, had to exert yourself moderately for 40 minutes, with your pulse at 75% of maximum? Of course not. That only happens when you work out. But how many times have you had to exert yourself intensely for two to three minutes? Thousands, right? Moving a couch. Carrying things up stairs because an elevator has gone out. Moving something heavy across your garage when there is no one to help. What good is a stringy, wobbly marathon runner when you have to dig up a stump with a mattock?

Most people who do cardiovascular exercise are training for something that will never happen. In order to use that type of fitness, you have to enter a race, which is a contrived event. We have to make up challenges that use that kind of endurance.

HIT is supposed to be a heart thing, but it does other stuff for you. As you maintain your workout schedule, you get stronger, so you have to jack up the resistance. That means bigger muscles, without weights.

Another interesting thing: the fact that you work out for 40 minutes at a time doesn’t mean much when you really have to push it. When you work out at a low level of intensity, increasing the speed or effort a little bit will tire you out in a hurry. What if you’re used to brief periods of extreme intensity? What if you go through that five or six times a week? Obviously, your body will be ready the next time life throws you a tough job.

It all makes sense to me. If you want your body to try to repair and improve itself, you have to put it under stress. Piddling around with your pulse at 120 doesn’t tell your body to shape up. It says, “This is only a drill. Relax and have more pound cake.” My body suffers horrible abuse four to six times a week, so it’s always expecting the worst and trying to prepare.

I still hate exercise, but I hate it for much shorter periods, so it’s a win.

When you get old, you quit deluding yourself about 18″ biceps, 5% body fat, and a resting pulse rate of 50. You know from experience that you won’t work out more than a few minutes per day for more than six months. You start looking for moderately effective exercises you will actually do instead of crazy-effective exercises you will give up as soon as they start working.

Look at Arnold Schwarzenegger. He quit working out and grew moobs and a gut. His arms shriveled away. For a long time, I was able to say I had a better body than the Terminator. He started exercising again, but he’ll quit eventually. If he can’t keep it up his whole life, what chance do normal people have?

I use a recumbent exercise bike and an upright bike. The upright bike is for my upper body. I put my chest on it and push the pedals with my arms. Sounds funny, right? Try it and see if it’s still funny. Most cardiovascular exercises do almost nothing for the upper body. It’s startling when you find something that actually puts it to work.

You can have good endurance in one part of your body and be a creampuff in other parts. That’s what happens to runners. Big thighs combined with chicken drumette T-rex arms. The bikes make everything work hard.

I’m still a flubbery old man, but my old-man exercises are preventing me from falling completely apart.

Something to think about, if you hate exercise as much as I do.