We have reached the final Friday in November. This didn’t post in the early morning as usual because I cooked Thanksgiving dinner, and when my husband and I both ate too much, and I took two naps, and I tried to get some serious word count completed for my NaNoWriMo. And then I slept in really late today to make up for getting up early to start cooking.
There are so, so many news stories I bookmarked in a week that in normal years is a slow news week. And I’m just so tired of being outraged that I’m not sharing most of them today. The grifter-in-chief is doing the equivalent of breaking all the windows of the house and setting fire to the house he’s being evicted from and it’s just so painful to contemplate what a sore loser can do. If you’re as tired as I am of this, scroll past all the stories and watch the video entitled “The Kind of Story We Need Right Now: Alligator Puppy Rescue.”
So let’s get to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories about crooks, and liars, and other deplorables, five topical videos, and five fun videas (plus notable obituaries and some things I wrote).
To all my readers outside the U.S.: Happy Thursday!
My fellow Americans, if you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you’re having a happy one. The point of this holiday is supposed to be to remember the things in our lives for which we are thankful. For most of my life I have been all over that idea, because I’ve had a pretty good life. Even though ever since puberty, when I first realized that I was gay, I have lived under one existential threat or another, I still could see the many good things and good people in my life. The last four years have represented a far worse series of threats to the life and well-being of everyone who isn’t part of the 1% and/or white, cis, male, straight, conservative, and well-off enough to stockpile assault weapons.
And while the recent election is ousting the wingnut-in-chief, I think it’s a little early to celebrate. Because the angry white nationalists and their allies have been feeling emboldened for the last few years, and now many of them think they’ve been cheated. So the single worst overt threat to the future of the Republic may have been technically beaten, but the war goes on.
Knowing what is hanging over us makes it so easy to get on the anxiety treadmill and just keep running in place.
Which isn’t what today is supposed to be about. For our mental health, it isn’t what we can spend all of our time on.
So, here are things I’m thankful for:
my smart, sweet, sexy, super capable, long-suffering husband
cocktails (it’s 2020 everywhere, drink when you want!)
sci fi books that tell of hopeful futures
people who help other people
videos about haw to make cocktails
people who make art, music, and other creative things
the cute birds that visit my bird feeder every day
people who take care of us when we’re sick
my eccentric, sometimes infuriating relatives who probably find me even more bewildering than I ever do them
not having to spend any holidays with (especially) the most infuriating relatives this year
audio and video conferencing services that let me spend time with friends despite quarantine
people who work retail
people who write fanfic
people who love
my kind, clever, cheerful, hard-working husband (who definitely deserves to be on this list twice!)
people who vote
radio and wireless technologies
people who fill the world with joy
kittens and puppies and tigers and otters
teddy bears and mousies
people who review and recommend books
have I mentioned my handsome, good-natured, patient, shrewd, funny husband (who definitely deserves to be on this list three times!)?
friends who will group text with me while we’re all yelling at the same football game on the TV
the many almost magical computing devices that I can now wear on my wrist, carry in my pocket, and otherwise use to bring a wealth of information and possibilities that were barely imaginable when I was a kid
all my wonderful friends—who are talented, kind, giving, and clearly the most patient people in the world, because they put up with me
Thank you, each and every one. Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today or not, I hope you have a wonderful day full of blessings, because you deserve it.
I keep wanting to write about lighthearted stuff, but I keep reading the news about millions of people jamming the airports and how all the testing sites are overloaded with people who think if they test negative it’s safe to get together for the holiday. And it’s just, we’re never going to get this thing under control and the deaths are going to keep piling up, if everyone keeps thinking that it’s okay to take a little risk. You’re not risking your own life! You’re risking the lives of people you love and care about! Of course, if you’re even a sporadic reader of my blog, you already know this. Still, I keep feeling the need to put this out there, hoping it will give one more person the courage to say to their family members pressuring them to get together, “I don’t want to participate in the possible murder of grandma!”
I need to change topics.
How about a bit of a laugh at my expense?
So, last Friday after I updated my NaNoWriMo word count I told myself I could take a break to watch the new episode of Baby Yoda and His Space Dad. Wait. What? You’re telling me that isn’t the title of the show? Are you certain?
Anyway, afterward I didn’t quite feel like writing after all, and the next thing I know I was binge watching season 2 of Umbrella Academy. And I stayed up far too late doing it, which means I slept in later than I meant Saturday, which means that I didn’t get started on finalizing the grocery list until late, and then I had to run to the store later than I meant. And it being the last Saturday before Thanksgiving, the store was quite crowded, and there were all sorts of weird things they were out of.
Three different times as I was trying to maneuver through the crowded store while maintaining social distance, I found myself feeling very judgmental of people with carts overflowing with things that looking like the ingredients of an enormous Thanksgiving feast. And the third time I had that thought, it was as I was putting a can of cranberry sauce into my nearly overflowing cart. And since I was just buying stuff for a Thanksgiving dinner with just my husband and I, maybe I shouldn’t assume other people weren’t also planning just to cook for the immediate family that already lives together, right?
I eventually got into the checkout line and my huge cart of groceries turned into about three dozen smallish plastic bags of groceries. Which took a few minutes to transfer to the car. I got home, carried the first bunch of bags up, told Michael I was there, and went to haul more up. The third or fourth trip down I got to the car just as Michael was pulling a bunch of bags out and saying, “I think that’s everything.” I did a quick check, then locked to car and followed him upstairs.
Saturday night we were hosting our monthly Writers’ Night (virtually), and I had just enough time to put all the groceries away and start dinner cooking before I needed to log into the Discord server.
We had a good meeting. Three of us had things to read and there was a lot of fun talk about Thanksgiving recipes. Then we shut down early as several of us wanted to do more NaNoWriMo writing.
An hour or so later, when I was getting out a fresh can of La Croix, I realized that I didn’t remember putting my prescription away. So I looked around the kitchen, assuming I had left the little brown paper bag with the paperwork and one bottle of pills in it somewhere in there. I couldn’t find it. I double checked in the bathroom to make sure that I hadn’t put it away and simply forget.
I search around the kitchen, dining room, living room and so forth for a number of minutes. I check in the fridge because it would be totally in character for me to pull the prescription and a bottle of milk out of a grocery bag at the same time and put them both in the fridge.
I’m starting to panic. This particular medicine only has a $5 co-pay, but the non-insurance prices is about $1200 for a month’s supply. Not something you want to lose. So reluctantly I go tell my husband that I’ve lost the prescription, and he comes out of the computer room and spends a while looking.
Now I am very certain that I saw the pharmacy bag inside one of the plastic bags we carried in from the car, but Michael decides to go check the car. He didn’t find anything. We’re both still looking underneath things and so forth. I gather three older pharmacy bags that I should have recycled weeks ago, carefully shake them before wading them up, and comment that I shouldn’t leave those laying around.
Michael then asks, “Oh? Is it a brown paper bag we’re looking for? I thought it was white…”
This prompts me to go outside to check the car. While I’m peering in the back compartment, feeling around among the reusable grocery bags that we can’t use anymore because of the pandemic, I think that it would be better if I had a flashlight. But I didn’t, so I looked in the dimly lit car for another couple of minutes before going back upstairs.
We’ve looked pretty much every possible place. I woke up my computer and started researching if there is a way to pay the medication cheaper [That answer by the way is, technically yes. With a coupon I found a place I could get a month’s supply for merely $580… which is still prohibitive].
Michael says that he’s going to check the car again. I open my mouth to suggest a flashlight, but he already has one in his hand.
A few minutes later he comes up and cheerfully announces he found it. In face, he found an entire small plastic bag which contains the pharmacy bag plus three other items: two cans of a cold brew coffee latte I like, and a jar of Tillen Farms Fire and Spice Marschino-style Cherries.
He explains even with the flashlight he almost didn’t see it. The bag and fallen behind suff and one of the plastic handles was sticking up with he could see it.
Now, the laugh. Several hours earlier (in the middle of the Writers’ Night call) I had been suddenly struck with the realization that I didn’t remember putting away the Fire and Spice Cherries (a vital ingredient for my official Thanksgiving Cocktail: the Spicy Manhattan), and I had even spend a couple minutes looking at the places where it ought to be.
And even before than, just as I was turning on the oven and firing up Discord, I had been annoyed that I couldn’t find the can of cold brew Double Espresso I had bought because I didn’t feel as if I’d had enough caffeine.
But I didn’t remember either of those missing things once I noticed the prescription wasn’t where I expected it. If I had, I might of realized that we were looking for more than just the one pharmacy bag and its contents from the grocery run.
I had apologized to Michael several times for being the absent-minding misplacer yet again. He countered by saying it was his fault. “I was the one who said Ive got the last of the groceries, after all.”
The state criminal cases are proceeding regardless of what Biden or his Department of Justice decide to do. It infuriates me that we got four years of Bengazhi hearings that never turned up any wrongdoing, but people argue that Congress should just ignore the violations of the emolluments clause of the Constitution, the bribery and corruption, the multiple violations of the Federal Anti-Nepotism Act, the multiple violations of the Hatch Act, ignoring when Russia put bounties on our own soldiers (and then lying and trying to cover up when it was uncovered), withholding medical supplies from states whose governors he was angry with, illegally sending troops into cities whose local government policies annoyed him, the crimes against humanity including children being left to die in cages…
I think at the very least Biden should call for the appointment of an independent counsel to look into some subset of the many treasonous things Trump and his cronies did.
You can’t let such blatant disregard for the law go.
“The Mercers, if you’re not familiar with them, are the money behind Breitbart and other wingnut propaganda efforts.
The whole thing boils down to a “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality. You’re either on board with spreading any and every bit of wingnut propaganda (pre-election: Hunter Biden’s laptop was a major scandal being overlooked by legit new media who were in the bag for Biden; post-election: the election was rigged against Trump, but, somehow, not rigged against House, Senate, and state legislature Republicans) or you’re the enemy.”
Here’s is a screenshot of a message from one of the owners of Parler explaining just what kind of fine people are signing up for the service:
And it isn’t just people who think a photo of poop is an effective argument. Related to the article above about the Mercers funding this, it was reported back in January that anyone they identified as not being in the alt-right tank, or anyone who challenged any alt-right arguments, were being banned: As Predicted: Parler Is Banning Users It Doesn’t Like.
None of this should surprise anyone who are had extended interactions with the rightwingers who scream about free speech. Because it is clear that their definition of free speech as always been that they get to say whatever they want, and they get to shout down anyone who disagrees with them. Contrariwise, they think censorship is when other people push back on things they say, or when private citizens or private companies choose not to amplifly their opinions or allow them to use our forums for their opinions.
And when I say “our” I am including me. I just love those comments that I sometimes get from people demanded that I approve their comment full of racist and/or homophobic and/or misogynist and/or anti-semitic BS in response to something I posted. It’s my blog, I moderate comments. If you try to leave a comment it tells you that you will be moderated. If you want to spew that hatred on your own blog, go ahead. On your own blog.
If you want to have a good faith, respectful discussion, I can do that. But I’m not going to publish your irrational, counterfactual hate. And that’s all Twitter or Facebook or the others are doing when the (very inconsistently) enforce their rules. The sad thing is that Twitter and Facebook and the like actually bendover backwards to let alt-right wingnuts post their hate and vitriol. But that’s a topic for another day.
We have reached the third Friday in November. Our long national nightmare isn’t quite over, but we can see the ending from here.
There are so many fights we still have to win, but I am convinced we can do it. Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance—a day to remember our trans siblings who are no longer with us, and to pledge ourselves to fight for a world where we no longer need to memorialize those who have been taken from us.
So let’s get to the Friday Five. This week I’m not breaking rules, but I’m breaking traditions. This week I bring you: five stories about the transgender day of remembrance, the top five stories of the week, five stories about the pandemic, five stories about sore losers, five stories about haters and other deplorables, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things I wrote).
I don’t live in one of the states that have run out of hospital beds due to the pandemic and is trying to ship COVID patients to neighboring states… yet. But like everywhere else in the U.S. we’ve been experiencing a big surge in cases. So this last Sunday the governor announced a return to earlier restrictions. In door dining is once again not allowed (I still don’t understand why anyone would do that–we’ve been sticking with take out or contactless delivery if we’re not cooking for ourselves). The only restriction that will change my current behavior is that occupancy levels in essential retail businesses is ratcheted down to 25% occupancy. Limits at that level will mean we’ll be back to lining up outside the store and trying to keep 6′ apart in the line.
Which we were on Monday when I went to Costco. I arrived close to opening, I was masked up, had a list, and was hopeful to get through the trip quickly. By the time I got to the front of the line, the guy managing the line said: “I feel like a bouncer at a rock concert!” The woman in front of me said something along the lines of “You’re the guy to know!” and then something else I couldn’t quite make out from 6 feet away and over the sounds of the rain. The guy managing the line then said, “Everyone’s being cool about it, even those that were caught by surprise.”
I got in. The store didn’t seem deserted, but it wasn’t super crowded, either. Most people were being good about trying to observe social distancing. I found the items on my list, got in line, and felt the need to tweet about the fact that I was in line with the only things in my cart being items on our list. The cashier who checked me out opined that the lines outside would vanish completely as soon as word got out that they were out of toilet paper and paper towels.
When I got out of the store it was raining a lot harder than it had been while I was waiting to get in. I particularly noticed that the cardboard boxes my purchases were in were beginning to get noticeably wet in that short time. I quickly loaded the back of the car and closed the tailgate.
As I had been transferring my stuff, another Subaru of similar vintage as ours pulled into the empty spot next to me. I was just turning the cart to roll it to one of the cart return racks when the guy from the other car said, “I’ll take your cart!” He was fumbling to get his mask on.
I replied. “If you want, though it might be awkward in the line.”
He looked at me like I’d grown two extra heads. I shrugged and stepped back to let him take the cart, and he rolled off, grumbling.
I got in the car and before I had taken my masks off my glasses completely fogged over. I started the car and turn up the defrosters. After a minute or two or so I realized that the windshield seemed clear but my glasses were still completely fogged. So I held my glasses in front of one of the defroster vents and waited for everything to clear up so I could drive.
I was just putting the glasses back on when the guy reappeared in the spot between our two cars, empty handed. As he climbed into his car his gaze met mine, and his unhappy expression got more angry (he’d already taken off his mask). He exclaimed, “They’re out of toilet paper!” As if it was my fault, and slammed his door.
I decided to wait another minute, and as I expected he started his vehicle right away and backed out fast.
I drove home at my usual pace. While unloading the goods, I had a little issue with the case of diced tomatoes almost falling apart in my arms as I dashed inside. It was raining really hard. Amongst the bounty I brought home was a 10-pound turkey for Thanksgiving (small enough for just the two of us) and a 10-pound bag of sweet potatoes (there will be several dishes those go into, not just for the holiday). The pantry is also once again well stocked with canned vegetables and related things.
Even though my husband has to go to work each day, I try to limit my trips out of the house. So a trip where I get us enough food to last a couple weeks again if we have to is all right.
On the other hand, I just got a notice from the pharmacy of a refill being ready, and that means over the next week or so most of the rest of my prescriptions will come up. I try to just make one trip for all of them, but sometimes (as happened a couple months ago), when I do that I get a call from the pharmacy saying that they’re going put it back one the shelf if I don’t come get it that day–or assure them that I am coming in soon.
Completely unrelated, I need to finish putting away the Halloween decorations. Should have happened earlier, but, well, time has become a fog.
We have reached the second Friday in November. Half of my brain says that surely that can’t be right because it is obciously many, many, many months past that date–while the other half of my brain keeps hoping that it is much earlier in the year.
I wish I had some words of wisdom, but most days I feel as if I am barely hanging on to any semblance of reality by by fingernails. The fragileness of it all ought to have been alleviated by Trump being trounced in the election, but the evil narcissist is still officially president for nearly 70 more days, so no, it hasn’t.
So let’s get to the Friday Five. This week I an breaking a few rules. But since the rules I am breaking don’t imperil the republic, I dont feel guilty about them. So, the week I bring you: the top five stories that have nothing to do with either presidential campaign of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about the pandemic, five stories about the possible future of our fragile republic, five stories about the evil forces trying to destroy our republic, five stories about the sore loser, five stories about haters and other deplorables, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things I wrote).
“Weird Al” Yankovic – I Lost On Jeopardy (Official Video)
This video needs some context. Weird Al wrote this parody just a bit over a year before the first episode of the rebooted Jeopardy hosted by Alex Trebek was recored. The set shown in this music video is based on the way Jeopardy looked during its initial run during the ’60s and ’70s. Art Fleming, who was the host for it’s entire first run until 1979 appears in the video. Don Pardoe, who was the announcer on this and dozens of other NBC show during the 50s, 60s, and 70s has a vocal appearance. Those you not old enough to remember to old version of Jeopardy by recognize Pardo as the man who was the announcer for more than 25 seasons of Saturday Night Live. This Weird Al song is a parody of the pop song “(Our Love’s in) Jeopardy” recorded by the the Greg Kihn band and reached the Top Ten in 1983. Greg Kihn makes a cameo at the very end in an appearance that evokes the official music video of his band’s song. While technically this Weird Al song has nothing to do with the Trebek Era of Jeopardy I still think it is a tribute to the deep cultural impact the show has had on us all: