Saturday, July 2, 2022

Today is 'I Forgot Day' in Case You Forgot

Don't feel bad if you forgot today is "I Forgot Day."

This day is for you and me. There are no recriminations for not recalling what happened years ago, or hours ago.

As a 71-year-old man I'm glad when I remember things, but I think it's important to celebrate a no-pressure day where I can be excused for my faulty memory.

While we may be surrounded with calendars, whether physical or digital, we still forget important dates, occasions, and tasks. That's why today is like a pardon for being human.

So, Who Came Up with the Idea?

This unusual holiday was created by Gaye Anderson, from DeMotte, Indiana. 

She started this holiday because there was a period in her life where she was having a hard time remembering simple things like her kids' birthdays and wedding anniversaries.

However, instead of being bothered with her forgetfulness, she created this day to just relax and well, forget.

In addition, this day is meant to encourage people to apologize and make up for all the events and occasions they might have forgotten. The idea is also about adopting action plans that help us remember things.

With a memory like Swiss cheese, this day is always a real challenge to improve my retention rate which is so low on the Richter scale it barely registers from day to day.

Have a great day... and don't worry about it!

Friday, July 1, 2022

Flying the 'Unfriendly Skies' in the 21st Century

Once upon a time a certain airline coined a slogan that made it famous. Do you remember, or have you ever heard the jingle 

Fly the Friendly Skies?" 

United Airlines used that slogan from 1965 to 1996 then dropped it. I think air travel was starting to lose its luster around then for numerous reasons hence goodby friendly skies.

The days of efficiency and warmth at United Airlines and their competitors are long gone in the 21st Century. Air travel has turned into a hellscape for travelers.

Pandemic mask regulations turned air travel into a nightmare for passengers with people freaking out about wearing their masks and causing flights to be sidetracked. Assaults have become commonplace in the last two years. 

This July 4th weekend travelers are watching their flights vanish in a chaos of cancellations because the airlines can't handle the massive demand. There are not enough pilots, air traffic controllers, steward and stewardess, ground crews, and on and on.

More than 1,500 flights in the US were cancelled yesterday and many more cancellations are expected this weekend.

This chaos can be blamed on the pandemic. Airlines were downsizing due to lack of customers, and they were encouraging pilots to take early retirements. Apparently, no one planned for the day the pandemic was no longer an issue and customers would return.

You don't want to be in an airport anywhere in the country today. There's a lot of pissed off people who spent significant amounts of money for their first weekend escape in two years who are watching their plans collapse in crowded airports.

All but two of the 13 major airlines have higher cancellation rates this year compared to pre-pandemic averages in the same time period between 2017 and 2019.

On one hand I get it. People want to travel. But it seems to me the odds of flying are a risky proposition this year. Turn on the news for confirmation. I'm just saying there's other methods of travel.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Welcome Ketanji Brown Jackson: The First Female African American Justice Starts Work Today

Ketanji Brown Jackson is taking her place on the Supreme Court today. 

I hope she has a hard shell because the group she's going to be working with are detested by a majority of Americans.

The Supreme court she's joining has the worst popularity ratings the institution has ever experienced. Only 25% of Americans have confidence in SCOTUS. The prior low was 34%. In other words, only one in four Americans believe the Supreme Court is legitimate and trustworthy.

It's like joining the infamous Chicago "Black Sox" baseball team the summer after they were caught cheating. Getting respect will take years and a new generation - or court in Jackson's case.

A new term begins in three months.

Jackson's supporters say that her time serving on the low courts has prepared her for the high court and a divided multi-member body. 

The point is she's not going into the job with her eyes closed. She's fully aware of the conservative takeover but believes she can make a difference someday.

By all reports, Jackson is looking forward to her career. I wish her all the best in her fight for justice.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

A Fairytale Fail: Trump's Fictional Fantasy Unraveled

When we last looked into Trump's fairytale about the 2020 election being stolen, it appeared his lies would prevail with his loyal minions continuing to enable his false narrative.

Then one of the minions in the White House had a "Go to Jesus" moment and decided to point out that the emperor had no clothes.

Ex-White House aide to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Cassidy Hutchinson, pulled the veil back on what Trump was actually doing on Jan. 6 as the Capitol was being assaulted by his supporters.

The reality that Trump was the Pied Piper that lured his rabid followers into an insurrection was laid out in great detail by Cassidy who had a ringside seat to his fatal fantasy.

When White House counsel Pat Cipollone told Cassidy that "we need to make sure that this doesn't happen" referring to Trump going to the Capitol, she realized just how deranged he was. 

Upon learning of his actions in the presidential limousine where he tried to take the wheel away from the secret service driver because he didn't want to go back to the White House, Cassidy was convinced he was living in a fantasy world where lies are truth and truth is fake news.

In order to expose Trump's lies Cassidy took a brave step in cooperating with the Jan. 6 committee. She's already been threatened by MAGA morons since her live testimony yesterday.

It wasn't easy for her to unmask Trump who she supported during her time in office. Yet she did it. Whatever her reason for exposing Trump was I applaud her for telling the truth. That's something few Trump supporters can claim - telling the truth.

She exposed the dark underbelly of the beast, and it was ugly. I can only hope the Department of Justice finds her testimony as damning as I did.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Bad News for Trump: Today's Surprise Jan. 6 Committe Hearing Was Revealing

I was prepared to wait until mid-July for the next Jan. 6 hearing, so it was a surprise to find out that one was suddenly scheduled for today.

The panel has been keeping the hearing's topic secret since announcing it yesterday. The witness list is also a mystery.

I'm not Sherlock Holms, but I suspect their going for the jugular using never seen before-testimony by a Trump insider.

(UPDATE: Here's the hearing)

This is the panel's sixth hearing on the insurrection. The first five laid out how Trump knew he lost the election (the Big Lie) how he pressured Mike Pence to cheat, the role domestic terrorists played in the assault on the Capitol, and the role Congressional lawmakers played in a false elector scheme.

We've seen a variety of witnesses from the Department of Justice, Trump advisors, to two election workers whose lives were threatened and turned upside down because of the Big Lie. 

I think there's another good reason for this sudden turnabout. To be frank, I suspect today's hearing was cobbled together since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs Wade last week in an effort to keep pressure on the Republicans and to fire up their base while feelings are so raw.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Dissecting 'The Good Old Days'

How many times have you heard conversations about "The Good Old Days?"

I lost count decades ago.

(Photo: When I was a one-year-old. Good times) 

The Racial Component

Chances are if you live in the South or parts of the Midwest, you fly a Confederate flag and talk longingly about the good old days in Dixie before the Yankees came. It's a generational thing. Likely, the environment you grew up in those states was rife with Confederate Battle flags on cars, trucks, buildings, and clothing.

Obviously, the white southern version of the good old day's clashes with the reality of slavery and the hell African Americans lived though.

Dissecting the Good Old Days

Social scientists tell us that over time, our memory of an event changes so that we are more likely to remember the positive aspects than the negative ones (referred to as Fading Affect Bias - FAB).

As a parent I understand FAB perfectly. I have three sons (all grown up) but I remember their infant/toddler days with nostalgia. If I want to be honest those days of dirty diapers, endless tantrums, and frequent fighting they exhausted me. Yet, when I see pictures of their chubby little faces it makes me long for when they were little.

This bias isn't news by any means. Ancient Greeks coined the term nostalgia a few thousand years ago. Psychologists believe FAB exists so we can keep a positive outlook on life.

Have you ever remembered a movie from your childhood as one of your favorites, only to see it again and wonder "what was I thinking?"

According to Psychology Today our brains don't like uncertainty. That's why millions of Americans have had such a struggle with the Pandemic. We can't predict when it will end.

However, when we remember the past, all uncertainty is removed. We got the job. We found a life partner. We bought the house. We graduated.

By comparison, the present is scary and open-ended. Part of our longing for those Good Old Days is that we know everything turned out okay, or even if it didn't, we know we got through it.

Nostalgia for the good old days will never entirely go away. Its why artists have written songs about it since the beginning of time. It's only when our longing for days gone by keeps us from enjoying the present that we need to rethink how we're remembering the past.

Guess what? It turns out great when we realize we're living the good old days right now.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

June 26: A Rundown of Today's Holidays - Are You Ready to Celebrate?

Here's a list of holidays in case you'd like something to celebrate today.

America's Kids Day - Kinda generic but still a good reason to celebrate.

Beautician's Day - Got a favorite beautician? Here's a great opportunity to thank him or her for the good job they do for you.

Descendants Day - A good excuse for families to trace their personal lineage. 

International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking - A good reminder to us all that drugs are a real problem in our society but there's hope for those who break away from them.

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture - An opportunity to speak out against torture and those who employ it.

Log Cabin Day - Do you like log cabins? Well, here's your chance to celebrate living in one.

National Canoe Day - Do you canoe? If the answer is yes, get it out and find the nearest river.

National Chocolate Pudding Day - Be part of the in-crowd and celebrate with a big bowl of chocolate pudding. It doesn't get sweeter than that.

Tropical Cocktails Day - This is the holiday I'll be celebrating today. All day. Cheers! 

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...