Thursday, December 31, 2020

Last Gasp: 2020 Stumbles to a Close

It hasn't been pretty.

As fireworks go off tonight in a socially distanced Times Square in New York, and super spreader New Year parties violate CDC instructions, we've come to the last gasp of a terrible year.

Good riddance 2020

The only bright light in the last 364 days is we elected a new president despite Trump's attempt to overturn the will of the people. Democracy stood tall and he failed to tear the system down.

Tomorrow is a new year

I have high hopes for Biden's administration. Unfortunately, Trump and his minions are dead set on creating chaos right up until inauguration day.

Despite Trump's feeble and pathetic plan to steal the election in January, his final attempts are doomed to failure.

2021 will be a year of reckoning for his past crimes, both as a civilian and during his presidency.  

It will be a long process restoring our government back to the days when the world respected the USA. 

The task will begin on January 20th.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Year In Review Cancelled: No One Wants To Remember 2020

Usually at this time of year I run a Year in Review post. 

Due to what a hellish year it's been I'm cancelling that tradition which dates back to 2008.

If you want to see a re-cap of this miserable year turn on your TV or roam social media platforms. They're packed with events we'd rather not remember.

This year will only be remembered favorably by the wealthy and the Wall Street elite. They all made a killing (financially) while the rest of the country suffered through a pandemic (over 330,000 deaths and counting), food shortages, and economic blows (like losing jobs).

It's hard trying to put a happy face on 2020. Reality has been too harsh. Who wants to remember our sociopath/narcissist president trying to steal the presidential election?

Yes, there's lessons to be learned next year, but showing a montage of the carnage for entertainment doesn't interest me.

Experts in all fields, under the new Biden administration, will have their hands full correcting the mistakes and blatant damage Trump has wrought upon our nation.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Another 2020 Moment: Trump Awards Himself the Nobel Peace Prize

This year has been norm shattering. Many things in our society will never be the same again.

The list is too long to run here, but the top three reasons why our lives have changed forever are; the pandemic, Trump trying to steal the presidential election, and an economy in free fall.

Again, space doesn't permit me to run all the crazy things Trump's done this year.

After watching the video Trump shared Monday, I am submitting it as a great example of what Americans have been putting up with.

In an awkward attempt to congratulate himself, Trump tweeted a montage of his supposed accomplishments (most in his tiny brain). 

The most amusing claim was he won The Nobel Peace Prize. Of course, he didn't, but that didn't matter. He's shown (in a doctored photo) holding up a certificate alongside some real Nobel Prize winners.

A caption below states, "Trump stands for peace" as the logo for the Nobel Peace Prize fills the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

It encapsulates Trump's entire reign; lying and revoking reality at every turn. 

In an interesting result to his latest self-serving promotion, he violated intellectual property law; copywrite and trademark infringement violations.

It's a re-occurring theme throughout Trump's presidency. He's used music from groups and individuals in rallies without their permission. His 2016 and 2020 campaigns used others intellectual property rights with impunity.

Don't expect the Nobel Foundation to go to court over this infringement however. They don't want anything more to do with Don the Con, or his alternate universe.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Looking For Laughter in the Waning Days of 2020

Laughter has become a rare commodity in 2020.

The reason, as we all know, is the worst pandemic to hit America in over 100 years, a crippled economy, and a president that's completely out of control.

It's tough getting guffaws when people are wondering where their next meal is coming from, or if they'll be evicted from their homes. 

Despite the massive wave of challenges there are still people who manage to laugh. My theory is humor is in our DNA.

I got a good laugh today after reading about some guy back east - where the snow is coming down like a solid white blanket - who gave his neighbors (and social media) something to laugh about.

He used a flame thrower - I'm not making this up - to melt the snow on his driveway. The kicker was he dressed up like cousin Eddie in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

What a hilarious sight - seeing your neighbor wearing a white bathroom and snow cap with flaps swinging a flamethrower from side-to-side by his curb.

Classic

The point is, I'm always looking for a good laugh. In the Era of Trump this is almost Mission Impossible, unless you make an effort to turn away from all the shiny objects Trump waves every day.

If you can't find anything to laugh about around you, don't be afraid to look for comedians on TV and social media. I consider them First Responders for people who are bummed out.

Laughter is a balm for the suffering soul. It's a power that shouldn't be underestimated. Especially when times are dark.

I take heart with poet Robert Frost's quote; "If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane."

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Now Is Not The Time To T-P Houses

Public Service Announcement:

"Due to the cost and scarcity of toilet paper T-Ping trees in peoples yards is illegal for the foreseeable future."

Of all the challenges that this pandemic has poised, the weirdest has to be our obsession with having enough toilet paper.

Store shelves have been devoid of toilet paper off and on since March. Every now and then there's a sudden panic (like during the current surge), and retailers like Costco and Walmart have to limit purchases to one package per customer.

The burning question is why TOILET PAPER?

I can see why Lysol and other cleaning products are highly desirable... but toilet paper?

According to experts who study weird shit like this, toilet paper has become a symbol of safety and preparedness during the pandemic.

Cases of hoarding toilet paper have been reported throughout the country since March. 

At one point early on, toilet paper was so hard to get (when retailers were caught off guard without enough supplies) it was selling on the black market for $ 3.50 a roll.

One crazy incident that comes to mind (in April) happened in a Costco in Seattle, as employees were unloading a pallet of toilet paper. It was as if the neat stacks of white rolls was hit by a swarm of piranhas! 

Enough!

What's the matter with people? Everyone just needs to take a deep breath. I assure you there's more important items to hoard than toilet paper - take any food for instance.

Look at it this way; people have managed to wipe their bums for thousands of years - without a roll of toilet paper.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

A 'Fake' President Determined to End Year and Term on a Low(er) Note

Trump retreated to his lair in Florida several days ago to golf and tweet lies while the nation was reeling under a pandemic and economic disaster.

Since Trump lost the election he ceased to pretend to be a president for the people. His wrath and grief know no bounds.

While unemployment benefits end tomorrow for millions of cash-strapped Americans, Trump was complaining last night that glossy US magazines have not featured his former pole-dancer, and wife Melania, once in four years.

As Americans hunkered down at home enduring a holiday diminished by the pandemic, an imminent government shutdown looms.

Hope for a relief bill has been repeatedly dashed by a grieving Trump who wants to punish the world for getting legally kicked out of office by a majority of voters.

Trump's revenge is punishing all Americans. Even his supporters. That should come as no surprise to anyone; he only cares about himself and has demonstrated that throughout his disastrous presidency.

As Trump played golf on Christmas Day at his resort, over 3,000 people died from the coronavirus. As he chatted with his buddy Lindsey Graham on the links, the total number of COVID-19 cases exceeded 78 million.

To make sure Trump ends the year on the lowest note in his pathetic term, he's refusing to pass a bipartisan $900 billion COVID relief package to bail the country out.

As Trump huddles with his cronies plotting how to overturn the election at Mar-a-Lago today, a five day count down towards evicting millions of Americans from the homes begins. Without help they'll start off the New Year homeless.

After four years of Trump's fake presidency relief is in sight next month when Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20th.

Until then, the country will have to endure Trump's remaining days as he leaves behind a nation crippled from his ineptitude, corruption, and division.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Wishing You a Merry Christmas

                       Merry Christmas!

Wishing all my visitors a special Christmas this season.

Regardless of the pandemic the spirit of Christmas lives in our hearts.

May your day be full of grace and love.

                             Above all

Peace on Earth and goodwill to all!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

'Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus and He's Still Coming Tonight'

This Christmas Eve is unlike any other in our lifetime.

Traditional large family gatherings are discouraged by the CDC as more than 325,000 people in the nation have died from COVID-19.

There's at least 19 million cases of the coronavirus is surging during this winter of our discontent.

Christmas dinner at most homes will have at least one empty chair, a result of the deadliest virus to hit the U.S. in a 100 years.

While some children will sleep tonight and dream about Santa Claus, others will dream about food, warm clothing, and a home where Santa can find them.

In spite of the challenges the pandemic brings, millions of Americans will make the best of it and will carry on with the spirit of Christmas to guide them.

Sadly, many families are ignoring the CDC recommendations not to travel and have large family gatherings. The result will be more empty chairs at the table next Christmas.

In spite of everything:

"Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus (wearing a face mask) and he will be making his appointed rounds tonight."

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A Cookie Competition That's Gone National To Bake For Essential Workers

I don't know about you, but I needed some inspiration today.

When I read about two dad's (Photo-Jeremy Uhrich and Scott McKenzie) who had a friendly cookie competition that turned into a nationwide movement to bake for essential workers, it rang the bell!

Good news. Something positive.

Their story has been featured by CBS (link to entire story

I found the story interesting at  several levels.

1. It was two men who started the cookie cook-off

2. Their story launched a movement honoring essential workers

3. They formed a FaceBook Page - Cookies for Caregivers and there's even international interest in their charitable movement.

Sometimes it's hard to find inspiration with so many challenges facing us all. When we do, we should celebrate humanity and remember we're all in this pandemic together.



Monday, December 21, 2020

People Are Getting Numb as The Grim Reaper Walks Among Us

                         I saw it in Vietnam

People who treated thousands of deaths like an ordinary occurrence, reducing all the pain and suffering into a military data bank to study.

Now, in the face of the biggest mass casualty event in American history, COVID-19 stalks the streets yet many people ignore the virulent virus and try to go on like nothing is happening.

Despite warnings from the CDC, people are still making holiday plans, ignoring face masks, or debating how seriously to take the virus, or whether it's all a hoax.

How to explain this? 

I just don't get it. 

Psychologists who have studied genocides and mass disasters claim something happens to the brain when fatalities reach high numbers.

What happens, according to experts, is that the deaths have been hidden from sight, even from family and friends. 

The causalities become a mountain of corpses and people find it hard to focus on individual bodies.

As we track the virus's progress in daily bar graphs people begin to dehumanize the victims in apparent apathy.

Another explanation for ignoring the Grim Reaper; instead of a single discrete event - like the twin towers collapsing on Sept. 11, 2001, the pandemic has unfolded as an invisible, slow creeping, chronic hazard.

Over time, our brains gradually tune out the danger. 

This is a time when empathy is crucial to helping others cope with the challenges from COVID-19 and a crippled economy. 

All Americans have a duty to recognize science if they want to save our society, our friends, and family. Let's not pave the way for the Grim Reaper any longer.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Litigation Nation: Ready To Sue No Matter How Stupid

Our society is lawsuit happy

Always has been, but in the era of Trump frivolous and malicious lawsuits are filed every second.

You need look no further than our presidential election this year. Over 80 lawsuits filed in swing states shows Trump lawyers didn't win one. Not one. All thrown out with scorn from the judges.

The lawsuits weren't just frivolous in the normal sense of the word... they were malicious and without a shred of evidence in every case. They all sought to disenfranchise voters.

The definition of stupid is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result each time. That's been the case with the Trump minions still clinging to his lies about a rigged election.

Trump has spent a lifetime weaponizing lawsuits; most frivolous and only a tactic to stall his accusers in court hoping they'll give up eventually.

3 more quick examples

1. A man sued the Kardashians and Kanye West for conspiring with Al-Qaeda. A Montana judge tossed the lawsuit with distain.

2. Talking about judges; Roy Pearson, a D.C. judge filed a lawsuit against a small dry cleaner over a pair of wet pants for $67 million dollars.

Long story short, the lawsuit was tossed and so was the judge who wasn't reappointed to his position.

3. A guy named Webster Lucas sued McDonald's over a napkin incident so stupid I won't repeat here. The kicker is he's seeking $1.5 million for undue mental anguish. The case is still in the courts.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Cutting in Line: Only Bullies, Dweebs and the Wealthy Do It

It starts early in our lives

Learning line etiquette in grade school is one of our many introductions on how to behave in a civilized society.

You don't cut in line. Clear as crystal right?

Not so fast 

I can remember a bully in our third grade class who always made a big show of cutting in front of lines. It seemed like he had this power to elude a teacher's attention while being a shithead.

Karma caught up with him one day when he cut in line right in front of the tallest girl in school. The bully got his ass kicked by a GIRL and swore off cutting before she released him from a stranglehold.

Sometimes, in the course of shopping or waiting in lines at theatres dweebs try to cut in front of you and pretend they don't know what they just did.

Called on it, they try to laugh it off as a mistake and slink away.

Some lines are more important than others.

Some lines can be a matter of life and death.

As a limited amount of vaccine to fight COVID-19 is available right now it needs to go to front line workers in hospitals and emergency services (fire and ambulance).

There are some exceptions however. Politicians high up on the political hierarchy are getting the vaccine for national security purposes.

Each state decides who will be prioritized to get the this first batch of vaccine.

While the nation continues to see record levels of new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths, wealthy patients in Southern California are offering to pay top dollar to cut the line and be among the first to get vaccinated. 

Doctors are reporting wealthy patients offering to donate up to $25,000 to the hospital in exchange for an early shot. Who knows how many celebs got away with this scheme to cheat average Americans?

I don't like bullies. I scorn dweebs, but when it comes to entitled assholes with money who think they can buy their way through life, I get real disgusted. Some things never change.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Where in the Real World is Trump?

Raise your hand if you remember the "Where in the World is Waldo?" game.

Guess what? It's back... with a twist. Everyone is asking "Where in the real world is Trump?"

Since Trump lost the election he has checked out from his duties as president and has been spending every waking moment trying to subvert democracy and overturn a fair election.

Where is Trump after the announcement of one of the biggest security hacks against America's vital infrastructure by Russia?

Where is Trump on the coronavirus surge across the nation?

Where is Trump on a relief bill for hard hit Americans?

Where is Trump as the government gets ready to shut down tonight?

Where is Trump hiding in the White House? The bunker?

The only clues we have are Trump's around- the-clock grievance tweets coming from an alternate universe.

In this version of Where's Waldo there are no rules, and few clues. 

Trump just pops up out of nowhere and spreads conspiracies' like a deadly virus.

It's like the movie Groundhog Day where every day repeats itself, but with a Trumpian twist of chaos. He peeks out of his bunker daily long enough to repeat the same grievances verbatim.

Unlike the original game where there's an ending when you find Waldo, the Trumpian version has NO ENDING.

But you already knew that, didn't you?

Thursday, December 17, 2020

People Who Deny Reality: What's Really Motivating Them?

Denialism: "In the psychology of human behavior, denialism is a person's choice to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth."

I've always enjoyed reading and watching science fiction stories, and stories of fantasy worlds and movies.

I started young, but seldom got confused between reality and alternate realities, regardless of the story or movie, because I could ask an adult if they were real, or not. 

Adults, from my parents to teachers, made sure we lived in the real world where opinions and fiction are not facts. The sky was blue, and the grass was green. End of story.

Until Trump was elected president.

By now, Americans and the world have discovered that Trump not only lives in his own universe he brings in his supporters like sheep bleating any lie he advances.

How did a con man brainwash so many Americans? We may never know the full answer.

By offering alternatives to facts many people can live in a comfortable bubble of denial against anything they don't like.

What I'm trying to understand is how people I know and love got caught up in the chaos created during the Trump regime.

It's tough watching those who you care about take an abrupt turn against reality because of poison politics and Trump's war on the mainstream media - which he casts as Fake News. Dictators around the world have since followed his example.

Thus far I've only mentioned Trumpies, but there's other Americans who have been denying reality with regularity lately.

The Anti-Face Mask mob, and the No Vaccination crowd.

Both of these groups have something in common - they do not believe in science. Their influence has been amplified by Trump's bully pulpit of science denial.

One last thought; fear is a motivating factor for anyone... to a point. You don't have to fit in any of the above categories to deny reality.

People with mental health problems struggle with reality throughout their lives. 

It's difficult to pinpoint why people decide to go off track and deny reality. I'm sure there's more examples, but the bottom line is the brain is a fragile thing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

MacKenzie Scott Has Been Quietly Giving Away Most of Her Fortune to Charities

If the name Mackenzie Scott doesn't sound familiar, maybe it should.

She's the former wife of the one of the richest people in the world... Jeff Bezos. But that's not why we should all know her name.

She's become a financial angel to charities throughout America by giving away the majority of her fortune.

Four months ago she gifted $1.7 billion to 116 organizations nationwide. She followed that up Tuesday and gave $4.2 billion to 385 organizations; and there's more to come.

At a time when the coronavirus and the economy are major challenges, Scott has given to Goodwill, Meals on Wheels, YMCA and The United Way, the NAACP, Global Fund for Women and hundreds of other organizations to make life easier for Americans.

So on behalf of all average Americans, I'm thanking her for her generosity and humanity.

There are other billionaires that donate to good causes and we generally hear about them - Bill Gates, etc al, and recognize them as household names.

It's time to add Scott. She deserves it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

A Season of Hunger: 1 in6 Children Live in Food- Insecure Households

Millions of Americans are more concerned about where their next meal will come from, than the political chaos under the Trump regime.

Food banks are running out of supplies in every state. If not for volunteers who gather and distribute food to the needy, things would be even worse.

The fact is since the coronavirus hit the effects of lockdowns has increased hunger across the nation.

Last year more than 35 million people experienced food insecurity. Experts say this year there will be over 50 millions Americans looking for help to feed their families.

With multiple federal aid programs set to run out soon, many pantries fear they will run out of food.

The crisis is acute. Congress has to get it's act together before the year ends before it gets worse.

The number one thing Congress can do is to pass an economic relief package ASAP. Food is a basic human right and hunger supersedes so many things.

Here's a link to key statistics providing all the challenges Americans face today to put a meal on the table.

Monday, December 14, 2020

The Day Has Arrived: Electoral Votes Are Being Counted

 

At long last. 

The day has arrived when the final act of the 2020 election is completed.

This morning the first results have been recorded by Vermont's electors who cast their three votes for Joe Biden. Later Tennessee cast it's 11 electoral votes for Trump.

This count will be happening throughout the day. Normally it's the least controversial part of a presidential election.

Not this time.

Trump and his minions haven't stopped their assault on fair elections yet. Today crowds of Trump protestors are defying reality and refuse to believe the election is over.

In other words, Trump and his base are poor losers. Their attempt at subverting democracy has failed at every turn. Over 56 judges have ruled against the frivolous lawsuits filed by Trump supporters since Nov. 3rd.

The final slap-down came from the Supreme Court when it refused to entertain Trump's lawyers baseless accusations.

Sometime this evening Biden will address the nation following Electoral College certification. The message? Time to move on from the distractions by a segment of losers in our society.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Something to Look Forward To Every Week: The Sunday Comics

Growing up there was one thing that I looked forward to every Sunday; the Comic section.

While my Dad read the news sections, and my Mother read all the ads, I always curled up somewhere and feasted on the comic strips.

They were in glorious color. Full pages of hilarity that made my Sunday mornings fun. I eagerly followed the adventures of Alley Oop; Barney Google and Snuffy Smith; Blondie; Buck Rogers; and Flash Gordon.

The subjects ranged from adventure, detective, and humor strips to dramatic strips with soap opera situations like Mary Worth.

Some comic strips ran all week and culminated in a color presentation on Sundays. Little Orphan Annie and The Phantom are two great examples.

Some of my favorite current cartoon strips are Garfield; Peanuts; Family Circle and Calvin and Hobbes.

Some of my vintage favorites are Dick Tracy; Tarzan; Nancy; Beetle Baily; Hi and Lois; Broom Hilda; Superman; Prince Valiant; The Flintstones; The Lone Ranger; Mutt and Jeff; Batman; Pogo; and Andy Capp.

In a time when laughter is at a premium, we can still count on the Sunday Comic pages to start our day out right.

Did I fail to mention your favorite strip? If so, let me know what it is. There's nothing like reader input to know if I'm on the right track.

Have an enjoyable Sunday. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

A Quizzical Look at Walls

 

Walls divide. Walls protect.

The Great Wall of China is the longest wall in the world.

People walled-off from civilization are generally poor, and ignorant. It doesn't mean that their not happy.

Being walled-in is a feeling... not an actual wall.

Walls made from curtains, wood, brick, stone, glass, plastic, iron, steel, concrete and adobe. 

There's no end of material to make walls from.

Cardboard boxes make great walls when your a kid playing games that require protection from incoming snowballs during the winter.

Historically, walls leave behind stories for future generations. Examples like The Berlin Wall; The Walls of Jerusalem; The Walls of Jericho; Hadrian's Wall; The Walls of Constantinople; and Trump's Incomplete Wall all give us glimpses of other times.

Try reading Jean Paul Sartre's short story "The Wall" for an inside look at the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).

Or, my favorite short story, "The Rats in the Wall" by H.P. Lovecraft (1923). It first appeared in Weird Tales.

Some walls are built not to divide or hide, but to honor military forces, like The Vietnam Wall; and The Military Wall of Honor in Schenectady, New York.

 As Joseph Fort Newton once said, "Men build too many walls and not enough bridges."

Friday, December 11, 2020

Something To Look Forward To: New 'Indiana Jones' Movie

What America needs right now is entertainment as an escape valve from the stress of the pandemic, and a presidential election from hell. 

Reality has really been shitty. But you know that.

Watching Netflix and hundreds of other entertainment platforms has been the salvation for millions of stressed out Americans.

THE FUTURE

He's coming back! One of my favorite escapism movie heroes, Indian Jonesportrayed by Harrison Ford, has been given the go ahead to produce.

THE RETURN

Disney confirmed that Indiana was grabbing his whip and ramming on his hat for a 5th movie yesterday. It's been 41 years (Wow! It's been that long) since Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. 

The last film, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull came out in 2008, 20 years after the third movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was released. 

Prior to that there was Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (1984).

Indiana's new adventure is due out in 2022, and as far as I can tell it doesn't have a title yet.

Meanwhile, I'll be consuming all of the escapism type movies I can find, joining millions of other Americans.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

A Couple of Thoughts About Dealing With Reality

Reality has always been a problem for people.

That's where daydreams came in. 

Humans physically stuck in harsh environments needed an outlet from their misery. Thinking about being somewhere else more pleasant gave them something to hope and dream for.

But what happens when people can no longer tell the difference between what's real and what's imaginary?

That question is just one of the many dilemmas Americans are facing this year.

Trump and his supporters have challenged every aspect of the election that Joe Biden won with ridiculous court cases that have been thrown out with scorn. The score is: Courts 56 - and Trump 0

Be that as it may, Republicans are defying the reality of the election and court losses to curry future favors. GOP pols are looking the other way as Trump tries to overturn the election results.

We have a constitution and it held up. This time. Barely.

Millions of Trump's followers have suspended reality, like it was negotiable, and have entered into Trump's world. A world where believers don't wear face masks because Trump doesn't, despite what healthcare professionals advise. 

Like Jim Jones followers, Trump followers are willing to die from COVID-19 if he asks them to.

It's difficult to understand how intelligent human beings can get so carried away with an alternate reality that they lose touch with the real world around them.

Daydreams are one thing. 

Massive delusions are quite another.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

We All Need a Purpose in Life

Long story...shortened

I have PTSD, but have learned how to live with it.

Recently, I discovered that I had a purpose again to my life. Frankly, up until now, I didn't think I was worth much to anyone anymore.

I saw myself more as a burden to my wife of 46-years, Shirley. She's a champ. Without her I wouldn't be blogging. More on that in a future post.

The main thing I want to convey today is that I'm now caring for my father (he's 92-two years old) fulltime as his Alzheimer's has been getting worse lately. My older sister was overwhelmed with his increasing needs.

That's when Shirley and I dedicated ourselves to making his last days as comfortable as possible and brought him up to Medford, Oregon where we live. 

Now it's time for me to re-connect even more to humanity. Challenges will come. It's life. We know that. We're counting on love and compassion to carry the days ahead.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

My Evolving Blog is a Work in Progress

 

WORK in PROGRESS

I'm still passing judgement on priorities for this evolving blog.

I'm experimenting with this new format. Not sure I like it yet.

This format will only offer one short subject a day with an accompanying photo. Maybe that's a good thing. People tend to read shorter articles these days.

What do you think? Email me at richarddavestancliff@gmail.com and share your input. Have a great day!



Monday, November 30, 2020

Taking a Blog Break: New Format/ Direction Coming Soon For AS IT STANDS

 

Pandemic Diary - Day 151

Dear Diary,

The election is over and so is my political crusade against the Trump regime.

It also means that I'm reducing the political content in this blog to one-third of what it was.

In addition, I'm reducing the coronavirus coverage and ending my Pandemic Diary format on December 12th.

Some Background on this Blog

The name of my first newspaper column while in college (1975-1979) was, AS IT STANDS. It was a silly play on my last name, but has endured for 43 years - in one form or another.

When I became the editor of The Desert Trail (1983) Newspaper in 29 Palms, California my college column found a new home throughout my journalistic career.

Photo on left: I'm sitting on the left (pointing a finger) at some guy (can't remember his name) who was running for judge in the county.

It was on live radio (1985), and the host (in the middle) was Gary Dainuagh. 

It was my first foray into political reporting, but certainly not my last.

AS IT STANDS has appeared in daily and weekly newspapers for 24 years. 

During that span, I was the managing editor of a group of five newspapers in Palm Springs. From there I went on to become a publisher of three newspapers in Northern California. 

The last time my column was in a newspaper - The Times-Standard, (Eureka, Calif) was April 1, 2012 (here's a link to my columns there).

The next home for my traveling column was this blog. The rest is history. Look to the right of this page and you'll see all of my past posts.

I'm taking a blog break and will return with a wider variety of content. Hopefully, something for everybody. See you again on Saturday, Dec.12th.

Peace out, dude and dudettes!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

What Does a 'Joker' Spider, a Pigeon, and a Dormouse Have in Common? Unique Stories

 Pandemic Diary - Day 250

Dear Diary,

I'm always amazed when scientists keep finding new species amidst the extinction of hundreds of others daily.

A recent example is the discovery of the "Joker" spider. Yup. That Joker. Batman's longtime nemesis (shown above). 

The newfound spider wears a striking red-and-white pattern on its back that resembles the Joker's unnerving smile with his white facial makeup. At least that's what the person who named it thought.

It's debatable.

Under Not All Pigeons Are Created Equal

What do you think a pigeon is worth these days?

Recently a Belgian racing pigeon (who knew they raced?) fetched a record price of 1.9 million dollars.  

Meet two-year old "New Kim" (Shown above) who set a new world record price at an auction in Knesselare, Belgium on November 15th.

Really Embarrassing: Glutton Dormouse Trapped in Bird Feeder

The dormouse that you see crammed into this bird feeder was apparently plumping up for the winter.

He did such a good job that he had to be rescued after becoming so chubby he couldn't escape.

All was well however, when someone eased him out and he waddled to a nearby hedgerow.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Things You Don't See Every Day: Rampaging White House Raccoons to UFO Confirmations

Pandemic Diary - Day 249, 

Dear Diary,

Things you don't see every day department:

Recently CNN's Joe Johns was live on camera when he was suddenly attacked by a marauding raccoon in the front of The White House.

His reaction; "Frickin raccoons man! God, again! It's the second time. Jesus!"

Apparently there was a gang of wily raccoons who took up residence on the White House lawn. The rascals were an ongoing problem, attacking numerous news crews filming in the dark.

Federal authorities reacted by setting traps for the raccoons using marshmallows as bait. (who knew?)

This effort was recorded by a White House producer for NBC News who shared some fun footage showing Secret Service agents trying to wrangle a raccoon from a tree.

Warning! Don't try to catch a raccoon up a tree in your yard. Not only is it dangerous, it's stupid. Unless of course, it's a matter of national security where trained Secret Service agents agree to help.


A TTS Academy concept for a vehicle embodying the technology of UFOs. 

Space Force News

A couple of weeks ago a former high ranking DOD official confirmed UFOs are real. 

(Long pause)

After leaving his post at the Pentagon, Luis Elizondo claimed that an official UFO Program exists.

Luis told assembled reporters that, "We are planning to provide never released footage from real US Government systems...not blurry, amateur photos, but real data and real videos."

Since then, Luis officially marked the launch of To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science (TTS/AAS). The goal is to release game-changing information about UFOs and to make one of their own.

Frankly, it's hard to tell if this is a really serious effort, or the works of a bunch of college educated conspiracy kooks on crack. 

A lot of "ex- government" types have banded together to prove there are UFOs, and to copy the alien technology behind them.

That's assuming any alien contact will be peaceful. No way of know that until it's too late and the planet gets invaded.

Just saying. I wish this aspiring collection of scientific stalwarts well in their efforts. If all goes according to Hoyle, the universe will be our pearl some day. 

Quote for the Day; "Those were strange days, now that I look back at them. In the midst of life, everything revolved around death." -Haruki Murakami 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Looking Forward to the Future: 'For Everything There is a Season...'


 Pandemic Diary - Day 248

Dear Diary,

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted."

During this season of COVID in America and the rest of the world, death is at every doorstep as the virus surges out of control.

Mental coping skills have never been more important than now. Depression is widespread amidst the countless challenges we all face. 

At times, I feel like my mental process is bogged down in a thick mud of misery that clings to my thoughts like blood-sucking leeches.

I'm watching my father fade away although he's alive and breathing. Dementia has robbed him of a once sharp mind. He barely recognizes my sister, and I.

His mind is caught in a life loop where his long deceased relatives and friends dwell. The conversations in his head manifest into words that blurt out of his mouth like vignettes from his past.

His condition is worsening as he doesn't remember to eat or take care of himself. We've had to get outside help and now are facing putting him in a nursing home during this season of COVID. It may very well be the last time I see my father alive, because of COVID-19 restrictions.

It's breaking my heart. There is no good ending to this personal story. 

But, I know that I'm not alone in my grief and sorrow. Millions of Americans are experiencing untimely deaths caused by the coronavirus.

Millions of families are faced with similar situations like mine. We're all together in this season of COVID... but it will pass with vaccines and time.

And when the new season comes there'll be healing, physically, and mentally. The human race will survive and eventually thrive.

Until that blessed season arrives we must give ourselves the gift of hope, and a positive mind-set to move forward... one day at a time.

Peace.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving Day 2020: Something We Can All Be Thankful For

 Pandemic Diary - Day 247

Dear Diary,

Like millions of Americans this Thanksgiving, my family has had to make adjustments to the holiday during a major surge of COVID-19 across the country.

That means we don't have family and friends over to celebrate our traditional holiday. It's just the four of us. But we're making do. We're still having a turkey with all the trimmings. And we're talking with family and friends via Skype and phone calls.

Despite the pandemic, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade still happened. It was an abbreviated version - from two-and-a half miles to a one block stretch of 34th Street - with participants having to be 18-years old to participate.

No school bands, but there were some floats pulled by golf carts instead of humans who were social distancing. 

The lineup included Snoopy, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," "The Elf on the Shelf," "SpongeBob SquarePants," and "The Boss Baby."

No crowds this year. Visitors were discouraged. A 2020 reality. Many performances were pre-taped and on TV. 

It's all about adapting to our new realities imposed by the coronavirus. We may not like it, but certain things have to change or there's going to be even more deaths this fall and winter.

I hope your family respected the restrictions on large gatherings today. If not, you may be having a last meal with some of them. The virus has no respect for holidays.

We can still be in contact with those friends and family without risking lives.

There is a light a the end of the tunnel as vaccines continue to get approved in record time. That's something we can all be thankful for today.

Quote for the Day; "I'm thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn't have stumbled across my strength." Anonymous 

Today's Subject: Where Should a Trump Library Be Located?

 

Pandemic Diary - Day 246

Dear Diary,

Today's post was inspired by Michael Beschloss, author, and Presidential Historian.

Yesterday he asked his numerous Twitter followers, "Where should the Trump Library be located?

Here's a collection of responses that are hilarious:

--"You mean Trump Presidential Library and Casino?"

--"The Four Seasons...Total Landscaping."

--"The Hague."

--On the Mexican side of the wall."

--"There are several options here:

1) Moscow (They already have all his important personal papers, so it would save time.)

2) Riyadh

3) Inside an abandoned coal mine in West Virginia

--"Obviously, it belongs at the site of the Bowling Green Massacre."

--Riker's Island Prison

Moving on...

I have a few suggestions for a Trump Library location:

--Why have it located in just one place when there could be a traveling display?

Like a Three-Ring Circus featuring clowns from his administration; interactive displays of bronzer makeup application; the Sharpie pen and map that the weather service was forced to show how Alabama was in the way of a hurricane - when it wasn't; and countless other artifacts that will disgust and entertain future generations.

--In the center of the Florida Everglades. Since Trump made the state his new residence after fleeing New York prosecutors, it's appropriate that his (bookless) Library be located in a swamp. 

--Across the street from Florida State Psychiatric Hospital - Port St. Lucie Hospital. It's also just a few hour drive to Trump's residence at Mar-A-Lago.

Quote for the Day; "This life's hard, but it's harder if your stupid." -George V. Higgins

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

White House to Hold Auction When Trump is Kicked Out


 Pandemic Diary - Day 245

Dear Diary,

Hear ye! Hear ye!

As the official White House Auctioneer, I hereby invite collectors of presidential memorabilia to assemble on the South Lawn on January 21st, 2021, for a two-day sale of Trump's junk that was left behind after he was forcibly removed from office.

Category One 

The Oval Office

Taken from inside the historic resolute desk (made from English oak taken from the HMS Resolute and a gift from Queen Victoria to Rutherford Hayes):

--A deck of playing cards with women peeing on Trump in various famous hotels 

--Videos of Trump and Jeffrey Epstein on Pedophile Island chasing nubile teenagers under 16-years old.

--A pack of Sharpies engraved with Trump's name.

--Obviously a new addition, there was a mirror that popped up from the top right hand drawer with a recording, "You are so handsome! and You're a stable genius" on an endless loop.

Category Two

The President's Residence

--Expected to go only to the most serious collector, is Trump's shitter throne made from solid gold.

--Found in a dresser drawer, a supersize jar of face bronzer make-up, and a year supply of Tic Tac's engraved with Trump's name on them.

--Discovered in the bathroom, a solid gold scale that only went up to 240 pounds.

--12 94" flat screen TVs that surrounded the bedroom

Category Three

The Dining Room and Kitchen

A Trump ware dinner set for 64 people consisting of: 

--Plates and saucers etched in gold

--A massive Centerpiece with naked golden Trump cherubs frolicking in the Capitol Hill bathrooms

--4 gold Salt and Pepper shakers in the shape of a box of Kentucky Fried Chicken

--16 McDonald's themed tables and chairs for four.

Category Four

The Secret Nursey

Background: Many historic (and horrible) decisions were made there where most of the staff couldn't see Trump throwing temper tantrums and acting like a baby.

--A gold leaf crib padded with stuffed hamburger cushions.

--A Big Boy wooden Playpen (with metal bars) made by illegal immigrants at Mar-A-Lago.

--A golden pacifier dispenser in the shape of a golf club.

--A gold encrusted height chair sturdy enough to hold an elephant. The tray is decorated with flying hamburgers wrapped in a Carl's Jr. motif.

Note to All Buyers

All sales are final and permanent. We accept VISA and MasterCard.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Hope Springs Eternal: Enduring 2020- Day-By-Day

 

Pandemic Diary - Day 244

Dear Diary,

In a year where some days feel like a week, Americans are exhausted with 38 days left in an what's been a constant stream of major challenges.

The two biggest challenges have been the pandemic, and a corrupt president unwilling to concede he lost the election.

In the waning days both will be front and center.

The fact that we're faced with a sociopath whose probably going to have to be put in a straight jacket and wheeled out of the Oval Office on a handcart on Jan. 20th, 2021, is discouraging to say the least.

Thanks to Trump our highly valued smooth transition of power was violated and continues to be a dicey subject. Welcome to our banana republic. It only took one con man to pull it off.

So how do we handle the twin challenges facing us all this fall and winter?

As for the pandemic all we can do is to slow down the deadly surge. That requires wearing face masks, practicing social distancing, and good hygiene. Vaccines are on the way next year.

The problem is too many Americans are not following CDC guidelines because they see it as a challenge to their personal liberty, or they're Trump followers who universally scorn science. 

The other challenge, the one threatening our democracy, is a demented Donny. He's going to continue with a scorched earth policy designed to hurt the Biden presidency.

I expect the stupidity to last until January. Meanwhile, taking it day-by-day is the answer. In addition, don't spend more than an hour on the news of the day.

I'd go further than that and exclude talking heads on biased news channels. Personally, I watch the nightly news on NBC with Lester Holt and our local news. Total one hour. 

That leaves you the rest of the day to divert from the madness around you. Despite having to avoid public situations, there's numerous alternatives to making your confinement more bearable.

--Try reading a book. It's a lost art getting rediscovered in the Age of COVID-19. 

--Don't forget Zoom, phone calls, texts, emails and snail mail to stay in touch with friends and family.

--Hobbies. Whatever tickles your fantasy. You might even come up with a way to make money and soften your financial burdens.

--Use humor like a shield against the negativity your exposed too. Jokes, comedies and comedians can take you to a happy place.

Enduring 2020 hasn't been easy. Over a quarter of a million Americans have died from the coronavirus thus far with little end in sight.

Our republic has been rocked by a lunatic on the loose in The White House for four years.

But, there's hope. There's always hope. Americans have been through many hard times in the last 240 years, and we're still the United States of America... despite Trump.

Quote for the Day; "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present." --Bill Keane 

Trump's Walk of Shame Exposed: DHS IG Blocked Probe on Lafayette Sq. Protest

When Trump decided to walk from the White House to stage a photo op at St. John's Episcopal church last June he set the stage for his o...