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Humidity for Days

Posted on October 11th, 2019

Dave!Sometimes having a house that's smarter than you are is a real pain in the ass.

As I mentioned yesterday, my "smart home" keeps nagging me that the humidity is low, but I've been too busy to move all the tools and junk that are piled in front of the whole-home humidifier so I can turn it on. Then come the afternoon my house got even more freaked out about its precious moisture levels and was all "ZOMG! I'M AT 22% AND I SHOULD BE AT 36%! DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS HUMIDITY ALREADY!!!" And so I moved just enough crap that I could use a stick to poke the "on" button...

Thanks to the steam that immediately started blowing through my vents, the humidity reached acceptable levels in just four hours. And now my house is happily maintaining the humidity it wants and no longer bothering me...

I left work early today to take down my DirecTV satellite dish, patch the holes, paint over the holes, cut down the flowers and trim the shrubs, clean the security cameras, disassemble the Liter-Robots for cleaning, hose out the catio, bake bread, clean the guest room, wash clothes, steam clean the cat feeding station, make a grocery list, wash out the garbage and recycle bins, dig for winter clothes I can donate, clean out my tool boxes, and gather books for the library book sale.

Instead I took down the DirecTV dish, filled the holes... then watched El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie on Netflix. Not long after, I heard that Robert Forster, who appears in El Camino, had died. He's had many notable roles but my all-time favorite is in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, where he's fantastic at conveying so much without even saying a word...

Amazing. And now I have to go watch that movie for the 100th time. Rest in peace, sir. You will be missed.

BUT BEFORE WE GO...

Though I would take Elizabeth Warren over President Trump (hell, I'd pick Pee-Wee Herman over President Trump)... I don't know that I would want her as President of the United States. But then I see how deftly she handles homophobic bigotry, and have to wonder if she might be the person for the job...

Kinda the perfect video to land on National Coming Out Day, isn't it?

   

Going Down in Flames

Posted on October 4th, 2019

Dave!

And so the murderer of Botham Jean has been convicted and sentenced.

I have many, many thoughts on this matter.

Primary of which is that 10 years for murdering a man in his own home while he was sitting on his couch eating ice cream, then not administering any kind of first aid, then lying your damn ass off about what happened... is not nearly adequate punishment. Not even close. I also feel that a judge in a court of law handing over a Bible to her as she's carted off to prison was fucking abhorrent. Does the judge do this to everybody, regardless of what faith they may already be keeping? Is it really her fucking job to try and convert people to Christianity in her courtroom? So much for the separation of Church and State.

But setting all that aside... Trevor Noah, not surprisingly, has a beautiful take on all this. He is one of our great thinkers, and has a way of looking at things and discussing things which is entirely on-point. Just watch this...

I can't really add anything to that and sound like I'm being rational, so I'm just going to let that be the end of it. A plea for compassion really should be the final word here, and I hope one day I can get to that point. Peace and healing to Botham Jean's family and friends

And then there's everything else that's going on. I mean, holy shit are things fucked up right now.

I don't even want to get into the whole impeachment issue. I'll just say this: If it were President Obama who did these totally illegal acts... illegal acts which President Trump has fully admitted to and confirmed ON LIVE TELEVISION... what would the reaction be from Republicans? They wouldn't stop at impeachment, that's for sure. They would be calling for a firing squad on the White House lawn. The hypocrisy here is beyond my ability to even conceptualize. There is hard evidence that President Trump has abused his office multiple times, but in every case people continue to believe his lies and bullshit. The same people who call themselves "patriots" and claim to want to "drain the swamp." PRESIDENT TRUMP AND HIS ADMINISTRATION IS THE FUCKING SWAMP!

Oh well. Maybe it's for the best he stay in office and (hopefully) get voted out next year. Because I fully admit that the idea of a President Pence scares the shit out of me. That vile moron is fucking insane. And that is not hyperbole. He is certifiable. I honestly believe that it is 100% a possibility that he would order a nuclear strike on the Middle East because he thinks Jesus will protect the United States. That's the kind of bat-shit crazy stuff he literally believes. Along with government-sanctioned persecution of anybody who is not a straight white male Christian. Mustn't forget about that. Of course now evidence is surfacing that Vice President Pence was up to his eyeballs in the Ukraine scandal, so maybe they'll both be removed?

One can only hope. The entire fate of this country is at stake.

And speaking of which...

President Trump has threatened more than a couple times to declassify "devastating" information on the Democrats in yet another quid-pro-quo situation... this time to stop Democrats from investigating him (which is totally what an innocent person would do). Can I just say that I totally hope he's not lying (again) and this information exists and he will actually release it?

One can only hope. The entire fate of this country is at stake.

Selective outrage at illegal abuses of political office along party lines is worse than no outrage at all. If there's one thing Americans should be united on, it's that ALL these corrupt mother-fuckers need to go down in flames. Sure that may be the vast majority of politicians in office, but they can be replaced. So bring it on.

   

Bullet Sunday 629

Posted on September 15th, 2019

Dave!I had to add a blanket to my bed last night but it's still toasty warm up in here, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Since You're Gone. I was saddened to learn that Ric Ocasek, lead singer of The Cars died. I first became acquainted with the band after their second album, Candy-O, was released in 1979. The Vargas pinup art on it remains one of my favorite album covers. Apparently Vargas came out of retirement to paint it because his niece was a fan of the band...

The cover of the album Candy-O by Vargas as performed by The Cars. It depicts a red-haired woman laying across the hood of a Ferrari 365 GTC/4 dressed in a sheer black body suit.

It was from Candy-O that the track Let's Go came, which is still one of their best songs. Two albums later they would come out with Shake It Up and explode in popularity all over again. Thanks to some innovative videos on MTV (at a time when MTV still played music videos) their fifth album, Heartbeat City, was the peak of their popularity. One album later we got Door to Door and The Cars would disband. They came back together in 2011 for the album Move Like This, and then it was all over. Through it all, there was Ric Ocasek. He had a solo career, sure, but it was as the voice of The Cars that I knew him and loved his work. Interesting to note that nobody knows his real age. According to conflicting sources, it's either 70 or 75. Not knowing for certain seems about right when it comes to Ric! Thanks for the music, sir, you shall be missed.

   
• Staten Island Funtime. CGP Grey has, without a doubt, my favorite YouTube channel. I anxiously await every new video he posts. Awesomeness like this is why...

If you haven't watched every single one of his videos, what are you waiting for?

   
• Count on It. Time until this deranged individual gets caught in a bathroom stall with an underage male prostitute? 5... 4... 3... 2...

   
• Phone Problems Well this is pretty sweet...

Cool Catch, Bro.

   
• Filibustery. So the Senate wasn't designed by the founding fathers to be a dysfunctional shithole after all. We made it that way...

Is there any doubt... any at all... that we need to scrap the idiotic institution that is our government and start over with something that actually works and truly represents the people of the United States of America? Something without all the stupid fucking waste we have now which exploits our time and money to ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT? What we have now is just people elected to nothing and being extremely well-paid for doing it.

Tonight John Oliver took an interesting look at "legal immigration"...

And so... "legal immigration" is actually another phrase that politicians use for "no immigration"... unless your daughter is married to the President of the United States of America, of course. Hope The First Lady's parents enjoy picking crops, cleaning houses, and working the brutal, thankless jobs which are customarily filled by immigrants. Thanks to mass deportations and constant threats, those jobs are readily available. Oh... wait a second... never mind.

   
• Dumb Dumb DUMMMMMB. And speaking of this dysfunctional government... could it possibly get any more stupid than these absurd Democrat "debates?" They make the party look like its run by idiots. Which, let's be honest, it probably is. Though, in their defense, they're no more stupid than the Republicans propping up the dumbass that's currently occupying The White House for re-election, so I guess we're all fucked. Again. Democratic leadership will manipulate things to pick whomever they hell they want to run... and Republican leadership will continue to endorse a total fucking lunatic who only gives a shit about his own personal interests. Try not to be shocked by the predictability of it all. Though, odds are, you don't have the money it takes to get to decide how this country will be run, so being shocked is about all you have left. Sorry for ruining that for you.

   
See you in a week, sports fans.

   

Bullet Sunday 627

Posted on September 1st, 2019

Dave!Labor Day may be tomorrow but the party starts now, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Hurrican Dorian. The images coming out of the Bahamas have been terrifying. And now parts of the Georgia coast are under mandatory evacuation...

A map shoing category 5 hurrican Dorian off the coast of Florida looking scary.
Map from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Dorian is tied with a hurricane from 1935 for the highest wind speed at landfall... a staggering 185mph. I hope that's the only horrible record that ends up being broken.

   
• Lover! A lovely video for the very pretty title track off of Taylor Swift's latest album...

And I'm not the only fan of the song. Keith Urban did a beautiful cover while performing at the Washington State Fair...

I think 1989 is still my favorite T-Swifty album, but Lover is a close second. Tracks like this make it so. I know I'm late to the party here (1989 was the first time I had even heard of her), but I never cease to be impressed with her talent, wit, charm, and intelligence...

Such a remarkable person. Continued success to you, Miss Swift.

   
• Parade! A true leader celebrates all the people they represent. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes that to heart, as you can see from his taking part in this Pride parade...

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marching in a Pride parade with rainbow flags, fun, and confetti.

Meanwhile, our leadership is doing everything they can to strip rights from our citizens. A depressing state of affairs for the so-called "Land of the Free."

   
• Rowl! Exceptional production values, gorgeous cinematography, beautiful costuming, and mind-blowing sets don't mean shit when your story is bloated and boring. It's like they took a 90 minute movie and stretched it out to 8 mind-numbing episodes. That's Carnival Row for you...

A poster for Carnival Row showing an industrial Victorian background with Orlando Bloom in formal wear being confronted by a woman with dragonfly wings hovering before him.

Guillermo del Toro, who was originally going to be working on Carnival Row, dropped out because of his movie obligations. Don't know if it would have made any difference, but his impeccable pacing and storytelling were much needed here. It's like they had the sets and all the costumes and such and wanted to get as much use of them as possible even though there wasn't enough story for that. Pity.

   
• Frexit! NOT AT ALL REDUNDANT! Unless France pulled a Frexit and is no longer a part of Europe?

A brown bag wrapped which says Artisan European Style French Bread on it.

I have yet to try any of that Asian style French bread, but I'm sure it's delicious.

   
• All The Gs! The advent of 5G wireless is going to be a huge game changer once the mesh that's required to have it work seamlessly has been built. That's a long ways away, but it's still an intriguing technology in its infancy. If you don't know what that even is, here's a fantastic video from Marques Brownlee just for you...

Pretty amazing stuff. Imagine having blazing internet available everywhere for all things... and what will come from that.

   
• Another Day, Another Mass Shooting. My first thought used to be "How many people?" But now my response has evolved to "Where did it happen this time?" Once I realized that this was how my brain was wired to react, I was disappointed in myself. It feels dismissive and disrespectful to those who just lost their lives. I could excuse it by saying "There's already been so many people killed, does it really matter how many more are added to the list?" But the answer is "yes." Every fucking one of them matters. It's when we start viewing the deaths as statistics instead of people that we lose ourselves. Unfortunately for all of us, those who can actually do something are long lost already.

I remember when the NRA was for responsible gun ownership and wanted to make sure that guns didn't get into the hands of people who shouldn't have them. I also remember when President Reagan was an advocate for that ideal. This was before the NRA was overtaken by gun manufacturers with lobbyists who buy politicians and give them an agenda to encourage as many gun sales as possible... regardless of consequences.

I support the 2nd Amendment. I also support the right of people to go through life without getting randomly shot by some toxic asshole with a gun. Going back to the original mission of the NRA... gun safety and responsible gun ownership... would go a long way to help these two things coexist. Alas that ship has sailed. We don't even pretend that human lives are more important than gun manufacturer profits anymore. What's worse is that people don't even seem to care.

   
Only 23 days of summer left... make 'em count!

   

For the Good of the Country…

Posted on August 8th, 2019

Dave!Like everybody else I have opinions.

Unlike everybody else, my opinions seem to get me into trouble entirely too often. Which is why I should probably just keep my big mouth shut. Problem is, I can't seem to do that.

And there's nothing like political opinions to bring on the rage and hatred.

I get it from both sides because I am not a fan of Republicans or Democrats.

Right now I'm much harder on Republicans because they unleashed this idiotic piece of shit president on us and that's always good from some Right-Wing-based anger. But my criticism of some of President Obama's stupider moves always guaranteed copious amounts of Left-Wing-based anger, so what can you do? Since keeping my big mouth shut doesn't seem to be an option, I guess I'll just have to bathe in the hate. Like my hero Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars movies*...

Deranged Emperor Palpatine looking particularly evil.

One topic that never fails to incite hate from all corners of the internet is talking about gun violence. Regardless of where you stand, somebody will hate your opinion. This is perfectly understandable given how lots of people are dying because of them. Gun violence is a persistent threat to every American, and temperatures are bound to be running hot when you debate how to solve such a problem in a country where gun ownership is at our foundation.

And every time there's another mass-shooting (which, let's face it, is all the time now) a blog post I wrote two years ago titled Second Amendments and Horse Shit starts getting clicks.

And an awful lot of hate.

Eventually I had to turn off comments on the post because it seemed like all the non-regular-readers didn't have anything constructive to add to the conversation (something I'm always in favor of)... they just wanted a place to unload their hate.

  • People against gun ownership of any kind hate that I support the Second Amendment at all, even though I painfully lay out why it really doesn't matter if I do or I don't thanks to impending technology advances.
  • People for gun ownership of any kind hate that I would place restrictions on the Second Amendment, even though I detail why it's a stop-gap measure that's critical to keeping gun ownership viable.
  • People who want to put all the blame for gun violence on mental illness hate that I am advocating for the mentally ill or could possibly suggest there could be reasons other than mental illness for mass-shootings.
  • People who advocate for the mentally ill hate that I "blame mental illness for gun violence" which, while not entirely accurate, is my fault for expressing myself poorly (see below).
  • People who detest the NRA hate that I dare to say anything good about the organization, even though I clearly state that the only things I ever liked about them is what they used to be.
  • People who love the NRA hate that I dare attack them for being a bunch of psychopaths who have abandoned their mission of safe gun ownership in lieu of radicalizing this country to a highly dangerous degree at the behest of the gun manufacturer payola.
  • People who fear technology hate that I am advocating for investment in technology to help save us from gun violence when this will just result in technology enslaving all mankind.
  • People who embrace technology hate that I am "spreading fear about technology."
  • And then there's the general hatred which gets directed at anything and everything you can imagine... from me wanting higher taxes (huh?!?) and daring to say that Ronald Reagan favored restrictions on gun ownership (he absolutely did)... to my "attitude" and using the word "cock" multiple times. You name it, I'm catching hate over it.

What's weird about all this? Back when I wrote that entry I worked hard not to appear biased, and tried to find talking points everybody can agree on. That was likely a mistake, because too much of it can be taken in different ways depending on the biases of the person reading it.

If I were writing the same post today, I wouldn't bother trying to be so careful. I would totally call out President Trump as a racist white supremacist asshole who is constantly inciting violence against immigrants, and must be at least partly to blame when these violent white supremacists keep mentioning him as inspiration when they commit these heinous acts of gun violence. I'd likely also talk about how ironic it is that we are losing so badly to white supremacy when this country fought a fucking world war to end the Nazis. And I'd definitely mention exactly how stupid it is to blame video games for mass-shootings when countries like Japan and South Korea play video games at a far higher rate than we do, but they don't have a violence problem like we do.

I'd also choose a different approach in discussing mental illness as it pertains to gun violence. A part of my thinking was that somebody who picks up a gun and tries to kill a massive number of people must have mental issues. But that's a pretty shallow armchair analysis. During times of war soldiers are convinced they need to pick up a gun and kill a bunch of people, so what about that? I'd argue that killing civilians when you're not at war is a distinction that's hard to miss. But when you've got The Commander in Chief of the United States Military essentially declaring war on immigrants and saying that the "immigrant infestation must be stopped for the good of the country"... isn't that pretty much the same thing? If you agree with what the president is saying and feel it's your patriotic duty to "fight the immigrant invasion," then no mental illness is required... just hate.

In any event, I want to be perfectly clear that I categorically do no believe that all persons battling mental illness or who are dealing with mental problems are prone to violence. That would, in fact, be absurd levels of hypocritical of me. Shallow armchair analysis aside, implying this might be the case was not my intent, and what I said about eliminating the stigma of mental illness and being more proactive when it comes to mental health in this country still stands.

Sometimes when laying out your opinions, mistakes can be made. And while I'll never apologize for having an opinion, I'm definitely sorry about being guilty of unclear, incomplete, or plain wrong statements I make when stating my opinion.

I may be one of the smartest humans on the planet, but I'm still human, after all.

   

*Apparently Palpatine is going to play a part of the new Star Wars film: The Rise of Skywalker. Assumably in flashbacks since the guy is like... dead... and everything. Or maybe he comes back as a Force Ghost like Obi-Wan? Can Sith Lords do Force Ghosts? I guess we will have to wait and see.

   

Life in These United States

Posted on August 7th, 2019

Dave!Yeah.

I don't get it either.


   
Which only proves I'm sane, I guess.

   

Bullet Sunday 623

Posted on August 4th, 2019

Dave!You may think there's nothing good, just, and true in the world, and you could be right... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Free 2-Day Shipping with Amazon Prime. We have a white supremacist domestic terrorist problem which reached a crisis point years ago. And if the solution is always going to be to throw thoughts and prayers at it... or blame it on video games... or write it off as mental illness which cannot be solved... it will never, ever go away. And as we approach the age of affordable 3-D printing where space-age polymers will allow people to print assault rifles at home, it's only going to get much, much worse. And that day is coming far faster than anybody seems to recognize. So it's probably past time you ask yourself... do you want to continue to elect political leaders who encourage, escalate, and foster an environment where white nationalism can continue to thrive? Or do you want leaders who will foster a more inclusive society where white nationalism has no place? Because make no mistake, Amazon will be shipping those 3-D printers everywhere... including your state, your neighborhood, and your school district.

   
• And Then...

   
• Walt! "In 1955, Disneyland opened. In early 1956, Sherman W. Carter, Jr. took his family to the park and shot this home movie. The video was just uploaded to YouTube on July 1 by a family friend."

I've been a huge Disneyland fan for forever. Seeing it in its earliest, rawest form is mesmerizing.

   
• Superflat! One of my favorite artists, Takashi Murakami, has written an editorial about his influences over at CNN Style. His work has certainly been an influence on me!

Murakami Dave!

It's a really good read, especially if you have any interest in how art gets to be art.

   
• Best Life! Washington State may soon allow non-binary persons to use an "X" on their drivers license if an "M" or "F" isn't how they identify. Of course people are 100% losing their shit over it, which is mind-boggling to me. Why do you care what SOMEBODY ELSE has on their driver's license? How does it affect you AT ALL? Nobody is forcing you to do a damn thing on YOUR license. Which is why this Facebook post encapsulates the issue so well...

Be free indeed.

   
• More Chlorine! No idea how I missed this gem of a story, but it made my day... The Saga of Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Bizarre Relationship With a Miami Beach Pool Boy, Explained. This hypocritical bigot deserves to have people crawling up his ass with a microscope and examining every last detail of his life. Especially if articles like this are the result. After all the pain his words and actions have brought to others, it's about time it's returned in kind.

   
• Club Life! Speaking of hypocritical bigots, this may be my favorite headline of this decade... Mike Pence Fails to Pay $24K Tab at Gay-Owned Club.

   
Looking forward to another week filled with horrors? Me neither. But see you next Sunday.

   

The Consequence of Filler

Posted on July 24th, 2019

Dave!I'm in the future! This post is for Wednesday but I'm writing it on Thursday because stuff happened.

My flight to Boston was great (thanks, Alaska Airlines!). My hotel at midnight was nice. My drive up to Maine was painless. My lunch was very good. My hotel is great as always. But work was pushed back several times over many hours, so I'm kinda in that limbo state that happens when you're sleep-deprived yet having to concentrate on the job.

Somewhere in all that, I needed a snack so I grabbed a bag of Mango Pineapple Mix. I love dried pineapple and mango, so it was an easy choice.

Except...

When I started chowing down, I noted that there was hardly any mango or pineapple taste to be found. As you chew it, it tastes more like peanut butter and raisins...

INGREDIENTS: PEANUTS, RAISINS, SUNFLOWER KERNELS, MANGO, PINEAPPLE, CASHEWS.

Well, shit.

Here in the USA, ingredients must be listed in order of volume. But they don't have to tell you the percentage of each ingredients. For my "Mango Pineapple Mix" my guess is that it's something like this...

  • PEANUTS: 50%
  • RAISINS: 23%
  • SUNFLOWER KERNELS: 18%
  • MANGO: 4%
  • PINEAPPLE: 3%
  • CASHEWS: 2%

So... not really a Mango Pineapple Mix after all. The ingredients might as well have read...

  • DISAPPOINTMENT: 100%
  • SATISFACTION: 0%

Mango, pineapple, and cashews are expensive, so they are used sparingly. Peanuts, raisins, and sunflower seeds are cheap, so they are used as filler. Which is fine, except in this case the filler is so overwhelming that you never really taste the ingredients that the mix was named after.

The product is a lie.

Which is nothing new. Companies lie to sell their crap all the time.

Just like politicians.

As the presidential race starts heating up, you quickly realize that all the threats and promises the candidates are making are just filler. Cheap lies they say so they can get elected. Promises, after all, cost nothing. If I were to break down the ingredients for a politician's motivations when running for office, it would probably go something like this...

  • MONEY: 150%
  • POWER: 130%
  • RE-ELECTION: 120%
  • FAME: 98%
  • ACTUAL FUCKING CONCERN FOR PEOPLE: 2%

Yes, I realize that all adds up to 500%, but you've seen how politicians operate... tell me that I'm wrong. And don't kid yourself, that 2% is very much dependent on whether having "concern" will jeopardize their bigger priorities.

The product is a lie.

Which is nothing new. Politicians lie to sell their crap all the time. Their "ingredients" might as well read...

  • DOING THE BIDDING OF THEIR LOBBYIST OVERLORDS EVEN IF THEY END UP FUCKING OVER THE PEOPLE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE REPRESENTING: 100%
  • ACTUALLY DOING THE WORK TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS: 0%

Why American citizens don't give a shit about this obvious scam is beyond me. I see the headlines and marvel at the fact that people aren't rioting in the streets. Take this one, for example...

Trump said he wouldn’t cut Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare. His 2020 budget cuts all 3.

You work your entire life so that one day you can retire. Significant chunks of your paycheck are taken for Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, with the expectation that this money will come back to you so that you don't have to spend your "golden years" living in disease and poverty.

And yet here we are.

If you're one of the wealthy individuals benefitting from the money being stolen from working-class America, congratulations, you got the country you paid for. If you're not one of those individuals, then I hope you enjoy your "golden years" living in disease and poverty. You voted for it, after all.

Change your mind? Here's a checklist for a good start...

  1. Demand term limits for all political offices.
  2. Demand term limits for Supreme Court justices.
  3. Demand abolishing lobbyist payola.
  4. Demand a new, more representative voting system.

That last one is the ballgame. It's also complex and interesting. Fortunately, CPG Grey has you covered. Watching these videos is well worth your time if you're at all concerned about just how badly fucked you are by our current political system...






And... back to work. And my shitty trail mix.

   

An Ode to Reality

Posted on July 22nd, 2019

Dave!I was awakened by leg cramps so painful this morning that I honestly think I passed out screaming. I don't remember. I just know that when I was awakened by the alarm to feed the cats, I could barely walk. The rest of my day was spent downing painkillers in an attempt to be able to work.

This is not a good time to be incapacitated. I've been trying to get ready for my impending travel and there's a strict schedule of events that needs to occur...

  1. Start eating all food that will expire while I'm gone. (1 week prior).
  2. Make sure there's nothing I need to order for the trip (3 working days prior).
  3. Clean the house (and refrigerator) so I don't return to a mess (2 days prior).
  4. Run the dishwasher and clothes washer (1 day prior).
  5. Pack a suitcase (1 day prior).
  6. Charge a spare external battery for my iPhone (1 day prior).
  7. Fill the cat feeder and make sure the time and schedule is correct (1 day prior).
  8. Change my bedsheets (1 day prior).
  9. Empty Litter-Robots and fill cat fountain and feeder (day of).
  10. Set all cloud security cameras to "permanent on" (day of).
  11. Set local security cameras to "permanent on," check the battery backups, and verify hard drive space (day of).
  12. Verify all security system sensors and alarms are armed (as I leave).

When I got home from work today I tried to pack my suitcase but my right leg is still having random spasms, so I thought I'd just give it a rest for a while. Besides, packing is so much more fun when you are throwing everything together as you're rushing out the door, isn't it?

Probably not, but that's reality for you.

I've been thinking a lot about reality lately.

Not reality-reality, but the carefully-constructed "reality" that's been crafted for idiots which the rest of us are forced to live in. I think what got my brain working on the subject was a map that I saw hanging up while I was waiting for a friend to get her hair cut last week...

RELIEF-LIKE MAP OF THE WORLD!

I found it fascinating that they had to put a disclaimer in the title informing you that, while it may look as though it's a "relief map"... it is, in fact, not a relief map but, in fact, a relief-LIKE map.

Which is to say that whatever "relief" you are experiencing from looking at this map is artificially induced. There's no actual depth to it. Things just look that way because it's painted to produce the illusion of depth.

Which begs the question... why the fuck did they need to explain this? Were the relief-map-making companies incensed that people might get confused and accidentally buy a "relief-like" map instead of an actual "relief" map as they intended?

You may laugh at that, but you shouldn't.

Remember a while back when I mentioned that Mississippi is making it a jailable offense to call non-meat-based burgers "veggie burgers?" This is a primary example of creating a reality which caters to the lowest common denominator. People too stupid to comprehend that a "veggie burger" isn't made from beef... almond milk doesn't come from a cow... and a map with no physical depth isn't a "relief map."

I'd weep for the future but, reality is, the future is now.

I don't mind living in the future, I just wish it wasn't this one.

   

OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IS SHIIIIIT!

Posted on July 19th, 2019

Dave!As I previously mentioned, the organization I work with keeps insisting that I have my measles vaccination verified. Given the way the disease has come roaring back, they don't want us volunteers ending up with it while we're out trying to do good. Since I very much don't want to get measles at this stage of my life, I'm all for it.

So I got my childhood health records together and asked my doctor if I needed to worry. He suggested a measles titer test which will check for antibodies in my blood. Cool.

Yesterday afternoon I dropped by the clinic to get a cost for the test in case my insurance won't cover it (I was told by the charity it may be as high as $60). After I make my request they have to run and get billing codes (5 minutes) then I have to take a seat while they figure out how to bill it out (10 minutes). They then hand me the quote and it's THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE FUCKING DOLLARS!

FUCKING OUTRAGEOUS $375 PRICE QUOTE!

So I call my insurance and ask how much of that will be covered. They won't even speak to me unless I have a "diagnosis code" and an "NPI code." So while I'm waiting for my tires to be changed, I go online to see if there's a testing lab nearby that might be cheaper. Google presents an ad for a $12.95 test...

   
Google Ad for Titer Testing!

   
So when I message my doctor and ask for the two codes my insurance is wanting... I also ask if he thinks that a $13 online test would be accurate. He said "The online tests are accurate and if you can get that done for $13 I'd do that."

And so I did.

There's an $8 blood draw fee I have to pay... and there's no draw center near me. But there's one near the airport in Seattle for when I fly out next week, so no big deal...

   
My Online Measles Titer Test Receipt!

   
And there you have it. The test is going to cost me $20.95, which means that the actual cost of the test is probably around $10 or less. Which means that my local clinic has a minimum $365.56 markup on it. And I believe this calculates out to a THREE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FIVE PERCENT MARKUP!

And it's shit like this that makes my blood boil when it comes to the American "health care" system.

Our health... our very lives... are not in the hands of doctors any more. They're in the hands of insurance companies. Hospitals have to charge insanely high prices to cover the shitload of costs involved in getting their money out of insurance companies... and then add cost on top of that because they know that insurance companies are so powerful that they'll never agree to pay for the full amount it costs the hospital. If hospitals don't charge a shit-ton of money, they'll end up losing money.

Health insurance companies are massively, massively profitable. They are so profitable that they are able to spend billions buying off our politicians to keep our "health care" in the incredibly broken state it's in now... and has been in for a very long time.

So if you're saying to yourself... "Wow. Sounds like if we'd just eliminate health insurance companies and have hospitals bill patients directly for the actual fucking cost of what they do, we'd all be better off! And that's a fair assessment. Except if you end up with a health crisis that's so incredibly expensive that even fair direct pricing is more than you can afford. Hence insurance can be a good thing.

And yet...

The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other country — but not with better health outcomes.

And it's the fucking monsters at our insurance companies that took us there.

In the case of my measles antibodies test, I am grateful that I have options. Far, far, far more affordable options. But my next health-related expense likely won't have many options. Possibly even zero options. And, even though I have health insurance now, I could still end up bankrupted if the problem was serious enough. Because health insurance company profits must be protected at all costs, after all.

And what if I end up losing my health insurance one day? What then?

It's questions like this which have me advocating for a single-payer health care system. Despite the lies we're told, it works well for many other countries. Countries which have health care rated better than ours. And I am done buying the lies of politicians who would tell us otherwise when their asses are bought and paid for by insurance company lobbyists...

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Singapore
  • Solvenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom

Our health care system IS shit. And getting worse. But we don't seem to want it fixed badly enough to do anything about it, so we get what we deserve.

And for some of us... that's a preventable death because we aren't profitable enough to live.

UPDATE: Oh here we go. This is from the UK side of the issue, but it has a scathing commentary on the lies which are being forced on Americans. Thanks to Jan for the video link...

   

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