How many times can I say ‘moist’ before you just can’t take it anymore?

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Mornin’ all.

We got some rain last night. I’m hoping that it’ll break this heat wave, but at the moment, it looks like it just made things more moist out there.

I can’t believe I’m saying it, but the air is moist. Warm and…moist.

“Ew, Bethie. Stop saying that word.”

Can’t. There isn’t a word more appropriate for the ickiness. Walking outside yesterday was like walking into a limp, warm, moist sponge.

And now, though cooler, it’s so moist out that the light from the street lamp at the end of my drive is struggling to illuminate anything else. There’s a dense, moist miasma hanging around and…

*squeak of chair*

Wait. Where are you going?

“I’m out.”

Okay okay! I’ll stop saying it!

“*quirks the eyebrow of dubiousness*”

I promise. Besides, you don’t want to leave today. I have some delicious cake to share. Look at it. Smell it. Mmmmm. It’s not a bit dry, either. In fact, one might say it’s…

“*GLARE OF WARNING*”

…at the peak of freshness!

“…”

Cake?

“…*sigh*…”

Come on. Sit back down and have a slice. I was only playing. You wouldn’t want to leave anyway. I’ve got the band ready to go and I thought we’d…

“*plunks down in the chair**grabs a slice of cake* Stop grossing me out already and get to the…

* * * HEADLINE ROUNDUP ! ! ! * * *

You jumped the gun, man. No one was ready! The band blew the intro, and the dancers legs all got tangled. Look, I know I owe you for the whole m-word debacle, but just sit there and eat your cake and let me run this, okay?

“*waves fork in my general direction*”

Philipe? Could you be a lamb and put down your tuba to help untangle the ladies? I think the rhinestones on their fishnets got twisted together. Thanks.

Okay, now that the cluster of dancers is in Philipe’s capable hands, let’s get to the Roundup. For those who don’t know, the world itself has become entwined and tangled. Every day the news seems more and more horrible. However, once in awhile, there are headlines that crack me up. Like the streetlamp outside my window, these beacons of ridiculousness shine through the moistness of society.

“…Actually, I’ll allow that one. Continue.”

Thank you.

Sometimes the headlines are dumb. Sometimes they’re poorly worded. But more often or not, they just give me a mental image or a gut reaction I feel I need to share. As always, the headlines themselves are completely real. I just supply the snark.

Everyone up to speed? Excellent. Let’s get into it…

– Trump to Clinton: ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’

I missed Mr. Nice Guy? When was Mr. Nice Guy?!?

– Doherty Breaks Down Over Breast Cancer Battle

Pfft. Weak. Suck it up, Shannon!

editor’s note: Sarcasm, people. The tone of the article was snarky and sassy, as if a woman battling breast cancer has no right to get upset about it. Sarcasm, the second best -asm there is.

editor’s note about previous editorial note: I didn’t make that line up. I saw it on a t shirt and it always stuck with me. Heh.

– Trump: I Wish Ivanka and Chelsea Weren’t Friends

Holy shit stop the presses!!! Trump and Clinton AGREE on something!!

– Trump: I Wish Ivanka and Chelsea Weren’t Friends

I’m not surprised. I imagine the thought of a positive influence in the lives of his children terrifies him.

– 2 Chicago Officers Relieved of Powers Since Death of Suspect

“Relieved of powers?” What an odd way of putting it. It’s almost as if the media has grabbed hold of a national narrative that seems to sell papers and decided to disproportionately fuel an issue that’s actually not nearly as bad as they have made it out to be or something. Weird.

editor’s note: Shit, really? Okay, guess I have to say it. I’m not anti cop. In fact, I’m VERY anti BAD cop. But, I’m also pro facts, and the fact is, FEWER people are killed by cops now than they were in the past. You want to cringe? Look at the stats from the 1970s. Is it an issue? Yep. Is it as dire as it seems? Nope. Is the media running with it because it’s so much easier to point to an authority figure instead of the thousands of citizen on citizen murders that are the real problem? Oh, no. No WAY they’d POSSIBLY do that.

– Latest Pokemon Go Worries: Sex Offenders

I can’t say I’m surprised. Look at Mewtwo. That ass is thick as fuu….

– 4 Simple Tricks To Beat The Heat…And If They Actually Work

What the hell kind of article is this? What even IS this bullshit? Have we really gotten so lazy as a society that we allow this type of “journalism” on a mainstream news site? I mean, this list could literally contain anything. “Stand in front of an open oven! It won’t work, but it’s something you could try.” My head hurts.

– This Test Will Make You Rethink Ice Cream

Do you like ice cream? If you answered “no”, then you probably should stop eating it. Thanks, Buzzfeed!

– Trump: I Wanted to ‘Hit’ Dems’ Convention Speakers

WHY IS ANYONE VOTING FOR THIS KINDERGARTENER!!!???

– Muslim Blasts Extremists At Friday Prayer With Christians

…perhaps not the best use of words, there.

– Russia Accuses Google Maps of ‘Topographical Cretinism’

BAHAHAHAHA!!! “Topographical Cretinism??” Oh, Russia. You so zany.

– Brussels Can Still Sweat the Small Stuff

You may be worry at your leisure, peons. So said Bloomberg, so shall it be done.

– North Korea Says Decision on Nuclear Tests Depends on US

Awww! The world’s second most annoying toddler wants some attention. It’s okay, Unie. We still know you’re a bad ass. Yes, who’s a wittle bad ass? You are. YOU are! Now go eat a cookie and let the grown ups talk.

– Report: Cops Mistake Krispy Kreme Glaze for Meth

So many questions, so little desire to actually have them answered. I’d much prefer to go with the scene in my head of a guy hoarding a baggie of glaze crumbles while Barney Fife freaks the hell out.

– Clinton Wooing Blue Collar Workers With Bus Tour

Then let the “blue collars” actually on to the bus to see your “humble” ride. The gauntlet has officially been thrown down, Hillary.

– Officials Encourage Travelers Not to Shun Florida for Zika

I’m with the officials here. If you’ve ever read the news, there are far more valid reasons to shun Florida than the off chance of getting a virus. Come on, people. Let’s keep it real.

– Don’t Play Pokemon Go on the Railroad Tracks, Bulgaria Says

Holy shit I never would have thought of this strategy. Thanks for the pro tip, Bulgaria.

– Pence Slams Obama: Politics Is No Place For ‘Name Calling’

Is this guy for real? I mean, is this guy literally a real human being? That’s an honest question. I NEED to know. He’s an android, right? Because there is no way in HELL a real person could possibly have the chutzpah to try and say this when Donald Trump’s name is on the same ticket.

– Her Shot: Clinton Share Vision of America Straight Out of ‘Hamilton’

I thought panders were rare? Didn’t I read somewhere that panders were getting scares in the wild? Maybe China could have some of ours. Seems we’ve got plenty to spare.

– Mass. Motorist Drives Up Utility Pole After Following GPS in Vermont

Cliches become cliches because they’re true…

*fistbump to New Englanders who understand*

– 4 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About GPS

1. GPS directions are difficult for Massachusetts drivers to understand…

– Facebook Agrees to Refunds for In-app Purchases By Minors

How magnanimous of them to follow the law. Gee, that Zuck is a real stand up guy.

– You Can Buy A Sentry Robot for Your Home

I. Need. This.

– Elon Musk Says You’ll Be Able to Decide Who Can Use Your Self-driving Car

Sooo….like a regular car, then?

– ‘Rain Bomb?’ Seriously? This is the Kind of Thing That Gives Weather Reporting a Bad Rap

Show of hands: Who would read an article about a “rain bomb”? Everyone’s hand is raised, Washington Post. Jealous much?

– Sony Releases Playstation VR Space Requirements: Is Your Room Big Enough?

*sniff* No. *sniff sniff* No it is not. *lone tear*

– Pokemon Go Can Help Address Psychological Disorders

Wait, what? No! That’s not actually what the research shows. In fact, it’s not even “research” so much as one doctor’s opinion! The game could possibly help in cases of mild depression or anxiety because it takes one’s mind off their problem…TEMPORARILY. Gawd I hate irresponsible headlines like this! Don’t stop taking your meds no matter WHAT Pikachu tells you!

– Yorkshire Wants its Own Emoji to Celebrate the County

Okay. Like, no one’s stopping you. Why do you feel the need to appeal to the masses for support through the media? Just…make one. Do you not know how this works, Yorkshire?

– Larry the Lobster, 110, Spared From the Pot, Died on the Way to Retirement

Candlelight vigil for Larry! Don’t mind me if I just put a pot of boiling water over my candle. Could I see Larry for a sec?

…too soon?

– Barack Obama: I Don’t Eat Exactly Seven Almonds Every Night

Someday when your grand kids ask where you were and what you were doing when you heard that President Barack Obama sometimes ate 9 whole almonds in ONE sitting, you can tell them about this moment we shared. I proud to be part of this with you, my friend. We’ll get through it together and come out as a stronger nation.

– ‘Donkey Whisperer’ Translates ‘Eee-aws’ Using Technology

I mean, I guess? Who’s going to refute it?

– Father Lets 8-year-old Twin Daughters Feed Pet Gator Pizza, Cookies

Do you see what I mean about Florida? #don’tsweatthevirus

– The Pokemon Go Baby Name Boom Has Arrived

I will punch you in the face if you name your kid Charmanda.

And finally, the headline of the day:

– Trammin’ In the Name of the Lord: Pope Takes A Ride

Trammin’.

In the name of the lord.

*sniff* Beautiful.

Thus concludes a Roundup for Saturday, July 30, 2016. The sun is up now and it’s still looking fairly miserable out there. Maybe it’ll clear off? Hopefully?? Or maybe it’ll just be another moist…

*DOOR SLAM*

…fair enough.

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…ok, that was a very pretty sunrise. But still.

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Mornin’ all.

I wanted to sleep in a bit today. I wanted it so bad I could almost taste the cotton candy atmosphere of Dreamland. Apparently my eyes didn’t get the memo because they popped open and insisted on staying that way. Instead of having tea on a paddle boat filled with circus side show stars (legit recurring dream of mine…and yes, it IS as epic as it sounds. We all have top hats.) I’m wide awake on dry land with zero side show friends, drinking what may just go down as the Worst Pot of Coffee of 2016 at 4:30 a.m.

Eyeballs… WTF? Why you gotta ruin shit all the time?

I guess it’s not their fault. The brain controls them, after all, and right now my brain is a’whirlin’ and a’zippin’ and a’poppin’ over shit I can’t change. Don’t you just hate that? Isn’t that the worst?

I think the next step in human evolution should be an instinctual awareness that there are things outside the scope of our own control that the brain will automatically classify as “not worth dwelling on”.

You know, I think I might be onto something here. Hey, scientist friends…how do I get the ball rolling on this “evolution” thing? Do I need to start an online petition or something? I need a grant, don’t I? Some kind of funding. I bet I need a research team.

Ugh. This seems like it might be more complicated than I thought. Damn you Pokemon for making evolution look so easy.

(…and while we’re on the subject, let me add a spare 2 cents I’ve got lying around: For the record, I’m all for Pokemon Go, though I don’t play myself and never will. I’m a gamer, sure, but I’ve never been able to get into Pokemon. However, any game that gets people up and out and makes them WANT to move and interact with other humans is BRILLIANT. Yeah, idiots are still being idiots. Yeah, some people are taking advantage of those idiots. And the dudes who fell down the bluff and got hurt probably really need to reassess their priorities in life. But the game is hands down the most revolutionary thing that’s come to the gaming world in a long, long time. Kudos to the brilliant bastards at Nintendo. I tip the top hat I wish I had in real life.)

Boy, is the news messed up these days or what? Every day I open my browser and it just seems so doomy and gloomy. I wanted to do some headlines. Folks, there aren’t enough funny ones to even attempt a Roundup. It’s all dead kids and murdered cops and suicide bombs and wild fires and droughts and locusts and mega volcanoes and asteroid crashes that wiped out half of humanity…

…well, maybe not the last couple. You get what I’m saying, though. It’s getting overwhelming, isn’t it?

And then we’ve got November looming. Say it with me: UGH.

Did you hear that Melania Trump just straight up plagiarized Michelle Obama?

Okay, okay. To be fair, I should say Melania Trump’s speech writers plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech writers.

“Uh, Bethie? Maybe we shouldn’t go after Melania. She’s just the wife.”

Welp, the thing is, I’ve spent the last 7 years listening to racist bullshit about Michelle Obama. Hillary was front and center in the press for all of Bill’s drama. Bill is now fair game. Shit, remember how the press (and, admittedly, myself) used to wonder if the hamster just stopped running on the wheel behind Laura Bush’s dead, vapid eyes? Spouses have always been fair game when they’re put on display by the candidates.

Besides, this isn’t really about Melania. The story is really about another stupid campaign slip up from the sock puppet we call a Republican candidate. Melania didn’t write the speech. She just read what Dumbo’s staff gave her to read. If you haven’t heard the speech she gave to the RNC, take a listen. Then listen to a speech Michelle Obama gave to the DNC in 2008. It’s so close that if I were the speech writer, I’d sue.

…er, I’d sue in my mind, anyway. In real life, I highly doubt I’d want anyone to know that I wrote speeches for any political figure. Lawsuits are public record. Couldn’t risk the shame being a political speech writer would bring to my family. I’d go onto the internet and bitch about it anonymously like a mofo, though.

What a mess, folks. We’ve got Chump vs. Godzillary. I’m not happy with either candidate. They’re both slick as shit. Neither is going to be able to keep a single campaign promise because they are both spending their time alienating the people they’re going to have to work with for the next four years just to scramble for one more vote. Both have terrible histories when it comes to critical decision making. And neither one of them can seem to get their head out of their own ass long enough to do anyone a damn bit of good.

It’s bleak, my friends.

So we look to the rest of the world. We take ourselves out of our own backyard and search for a bit of positivity elsewhere. And promptly end up back where we started. It’s no better anywhere else right now. Riots and killings and coups and propaganda and… *sigh*

I know we need to be global and look at the big picture and it’s our responsibility to know what’s going on yada yada. But, sometimes wouldn’t it be great not to? Maybe from time to time what we really need to ask ourselves as a society is this: Would ANY of this matter if you were standing on Europa?

I mean it. Imagine you’re standing on the frosty tundras of Europa. You spent over five years traveling 390 million miles, eating protein concentrate and cleaning the air filters constantly and checking and rechecking and triple checking every damn system log five billion times a fricken day until you just about go mad…before finally, FINALLY descend the ladder to feel the crunch of Europa’s snow reverberate through the sole of your boot and travel up your body in the delicious thrill of discovery.

Does any of the human drama matter to you right then?

Not one goddamn bit.

We’re a blip. A dot. A tiny little speck. There isn’t one single thing humans can do right now that would have an impact on even our own solar system, never mind the galaxy or the universe. If we blew our planet to smithereens, Andromedans would not even know. It would not impact their lives in any way.

Maybe that shouldn’t be comforting, but somehow it is. No matter how terrible humanity gets, we’re the only ones that are going to suffer because of it. So far we haven’t managed to infect the Universe at large.

I like that.

…and, I don’t. All of humanity’s problems right now are caused by humans. We are doing it to ourselves. There isn’t a cosmic plot afoot, no nefarious plan to destroy or disrupt or disband the human race. This isn’t happening TO us, it’s happening BECAUSE of us. And it’s getting worse because we love the gossip. We love the drama. We love to eat up the media that adds fuel to the fire. We WANT to be charged up and angry. We are twitchy to grab up a pitchfork and torch and storm the castle. We’re behaving very badly right now because, at heart, the human race is bored and itchy.

And isn’t that a wicked pisser?

I don’t want to leave you with the tang of doom and gloom clinging to your taste buds. My god, it’s bad enough that you had to smell the fumes off this witch’s brew I call coffee! Let’s get a bit of hopeful perspective instead.

In the time it took me to bitch and moan about the state of the world, nearly 1,000 babies were born across the planet. That’s 1,000 new lives. 1,000 new chances. 1,000 fresh hopes. They don’t want to fight. They don’t hate anything. They just want to live and be loved, and love in return. They haven’t yet been ruined by bitter people who are desperate to blame someone else for their position in life. They don’t know or care about ISIS or presidential candidates or border wars or drug smuggling or racism or murderers…

Every day, humanity has thousands of fresh starts. Can any other known planet say the same?

Maybe it’ll take one of us standing on the bleak and barren ice fields of Europa, seeing the vastness of nothing that is the rest of our solar system to understand what that really means.

We’re just a speck, that’s true. But, we’re a rare and exceptional speck. And I think that’s pretty damn cool.

Thus concludes a Musing for Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Work today, where I get to make peoples’ dream cakes a reality. …actually, I think I’m just making Boston Cream Pies today, but those are good, too.

Can the smell of sulfur give you a hangover?

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Mornin’ all.

Boy, what a day of celebrating our nation’s independence yesterday!

…for other people. I actually ended up going in to work for the morning to make a wedding cake. I didn’t mind going in, but it did raise a few questions that you’re probably asking as well. I’ll sum up the answers for you.

Yes, the couple was getting married on the 4th of July. No, I didn’t make any jokes to the bride about the irony of shackling herself to another human being on “Independence” Day. And yes, in fact I DO feel that it’s beyond selfish to have your wedding on a holiday.

“Bethie, didn’t we just trash on selfish brides last time?”

Fair enough. I’m just feeling a little testy this morning. I got shit for sleep last night, and I think there are some firework ashes in my morning Joe. To be honest, aside from the slight tang of sulfur on the finish, there’s not a whole lot of difference than the usual morning tar I make…

I’m in a bad mood, and my redneck town put me in this funk. It was the noise. The bangs. The booms. The whizzes and hisses and sizzles.

All.

Fucking.

Night.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I friggin’ love fireworks. We’ve spoken of my pyro admiration before. In fact, if we had even a couple bucks of spare cash this year that did not have to go immediately into fixing the cars, we would have been giddy, fireworking rednecks ourselves.

However, WE would have shot them off at a reasonable hour in consideration for everyone who has to get up this morning and face a regular old Tuesday at work.

Around 10 p.m., the barrage was constant. Makes sense. Late enough to be really dark, but not so late that people will oversleep their alarms in the morning. I could deal with that.

By 11, as I was staring up at the crack in my ceiling that looks like an “H”, I was thinking, “Okay. They’ve GOT to do the finale soon…”

But they didn’t, folks. They just kept setting them off. As the hours dragged, there started to be lulls in the activity. The drunk people got distracted by Stairway to Heaven or some shit and forgot the rest of the fireworks Bubba had in the back of his Bronco. I’d get a few minutes of silence, just long enough to be able to drift off, before Bubba had his hazy “aw shit tha’s what I was gonna do” moment and remembered he still had a bag they hadn’t lit up yet, bro.

At 2 a.m., there was a mega boom that shook my windows. In milliseconds, Panic Kitty raced across my chest, Wolverine claws out.

And then, of course, once the aftershocks of the last redneck-nuke stopped echoing through the valley, I was left trying to sleep angry.

Don’t you hate trying to sleep angry?

It’s one of the worst feelings in the world. The brain starts listing every single thing you’ve ever been mad about and you work yourself up into a good old snit. You roll over to get more comfortable, but the blankie bunches and that pisses you off more. The pillow has the audacity to be lumpy and warm, and you can’t get the goddamn fan to blow on your face without your fucking hair breaking loose and squiggling across your nose.

Trying to sleep angry is the worst.

So I got up at 4. More accurately, I gave up at 4. I’m slugging back this sulfur-infused rotgut I call coffee and hoping for the best. When my kids get up for school in a foul mood, I always tell them to go to school and come back with a sweeter disposition. Methinks I need to apply the same annoying edict to myself today.

Looming over us is another major car repair. At the moment I call it major, because we actually don’t know what caused my work horse to begin suddenly veering left and right. I wasn’t in the car when it happened. The man of the house was using my car because it had been acting funny, and he’s had much more experience behind the wheel of a hoopdie than I have. He’s fairly unflappable when it comes to limping home a broken rig, so when he came in the other night literally shaking like a leaf, I knew something was very seriously wrong.

My beastie sits in the drive, slumped down in defeat.

I had someone suggest to me that it was the steering rack. I, too, had thought of it, and immediately dismissed the idea. Not because it’s not valid or possible, because it totally is both. In fact, were I being a realist about it, I believe it’s probably even likely. But, I do not have a replacement steering rack, so it cannot be that.

…that’s how car repairs work, right?

I’m personally hoping we cracked a few major bushings or something, which is also extremely likely. Remember, we only paid $800 for the car two years ago and it was in such rough shape that it didn’t really have a functional floor. I can think of three bushings that could cause dangerously sloppy steering if they fall apart, so let’s hope for that. I mean, I don’t have spares of those on me, but they’re a helluva lot cheaper and easier to source than a steering rack for a 30 year old German diesel.

Teen Prime had his trip to Atlanta! Remember he placed third in the state for a game design competition through FBLA? The nationals in Atlanta were this past week. He said he’s not sure how he placed. They only posted the results for the top 10, and his team wasn’t on that list. He’s not a bit disappointed, though. He got three days in a new city, and seemed to love every minute of it.

I…I think somehow I gave birth to someone who…likes…traveling???

How does this happen? Is this some sort of rebellion? What’s next? Is he going to want to be an ACCOUNTANT, too!?? WHERE DID I GO WRONG???

…in all honesty, I’m very pleased that at least one of the kids wants to go out and see. He wants to go somewhere new and touch and taste. He wants to experience and do and try. And no bullshit, I love that. Somehow I managed to create a human that wants to go beyond the safe and the known, and I think that’s fantastic. Think of the postcards I’ll get!

Postcards are still a thing, right?

Speaking of travel, did you read the news that Juno has made it to Jupiter!? NASA’s latest probe locked into orbit around our solar system’s largest planet in the wee hours. Well, our wee hours. Who knows what the time was on Jupiter? There aren’t really locals there to tell us in which manner they arbitrarily mark “time”.

…or ARE there?

Maybe hidden under all those dark, swirling sulfuric clouds are Jupiterian rednecks scrambling to hide their spent, smoking firework shells from the Jupiterian cops, too.

“Wow Bethie. You really didn’t sleep last night, did you?”

Now, I’m not really expecting to find Jupiterians setting off fireworks. Do you even know the odds against that? They’re astronomical.

“*groan*”

But, there really is a chance we could find evidence of some sort of life forms that exist, or existed at some point in Jupiter’s stormy history. Just a cell. That’s all we’d need to see to help us better understand life.

And even if we don’t manage to find life, we will still be able to fill in some gaps in our knowledge void about why or why not. Juno is about to start sending us digital postcards from 370 MILLION miles away.

Fuck inconsiderate yokels and their cans of powdered thunder. We just sent a robot 370 million miles to unlock the secrets of an entirely different planet. If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is.

Thus concludes a ramble for Tuesday, July 5, 2016. Is it bad that I was only half kidding about “knowing” Jupiterians don’t exist? Come on, admit it. There’s part of you that’s hoping, too…