…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.

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Another year without a nuclear meltdown has got to be making them rethink the calendars…

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Mornin’ all.

We done went and had ourselves a bit of winter this week. It was sleeting so hard that when I got up the other day that it sounded like a pipe had broken. I had a momentary flashback to last years’ Pipes of Hell winter production before I got a grip and realized that it was a balmy 30 degrees, and the water was coming down from above, not up from below.

I took a look outside. A couple inches of snow, then ice pellets as far as the eye could see. What an awful mess! Fortunately for us, no one had anywhere they needed to go. Kids were home from school, man was home from work. There wasn’t a single reason any of us had to go out.

So of course we went out.

…what? Oh come on. It’s a New England tradition. The plows had already come through, so we weren’t clogging up the roads and getting in their way, and there was almost no traffic. As soon as you can, you get in your car and chug the mile to the local grocery store to make sure every other redneck congregated there still agrees with your assessment that winter is wicked fahkin’ shitty. It’s just what you do. I don’t make the rules, people.

Besides, we were low on milk. Not quite out, but low enough that the morning joe would be tan, not khaki. Couldn’t have that first world problem, now could I? I mean, I chipped a nail this week, too. There’s only so much one person can take.

We’re halfway through the kids’ holiday break. For the most part, it’s been pretty smooth. They needed to clean their rooms to make space for fresh inventory after Christmas. I remember when that meant they played with the rediscovered toys while I sat buried under the heaps of long forgotten treasures, desperately trying to throw out the crap that the kids only suddenly NEEDED because it was time for it to go.

Now, even the littlest pup is old enough to mostly guide himself in cleaning.

I’m not saying I don’t have a couple in the litter who show the same hoarding tendencies I possess. Sometimes I’ll catch the pup sneaking a broken toy under the bed. “What’s that?” I’ll say. “I can fix it,” he’ll protest. “Put it in the trash before you end up with an hour long TLC special,” I’ll tell him, carefully creasing my brow in practiced parental consternation.

Aside from cleaning, it’s been mellow and game-filled. They are my little flock of geeks and got some cool games for Christmas. And while they got out and played before the shit weather rolled in, I can’t say any of them seemed the least bit disappointed to discover that Mother Nature made sure their time was free for digital adventuring.

Pokemons explored caves. Isaacs were…bound? I’m sorry, I don’t really know how that game works. Brain puzzles were solved, and, if the excited tittering wafting from the teen lair was any indication, large battleships were thwarted.

Looks like they’ll have that same kind of morning again today, at least. It’s raining and the snow/ice is getting a fresh, glossy glaze. Hey, I suppose I can’t complain. I mean, it’s the first real sign of winter, and it’s almost 2016.

Can you believe it? Another year out. Pfft, just like that. Seems like I cracked open my free 2015 calendar the nuclear power plant sends to all the folks that live in the potential fallout zone just yesterday.

…true story. Got next year’s unusual bribe all ready to hang in the morning. If the plant ever blows, at least I’ll have the warm memories of all the free calendars they sent over the years to temper my anger at their incompetence and give me comfort. Well, the warm memories and the literal warmth of the radiation…

It’s that time of year again when we look back and reflect on the old shitstorm we’re leaving behind before our hungover asses wake up to the first misting sprays of the new one. Everyone’s recapping the year as only the internet can.

Most sites are linking their favorite lists by category. The news this year was, by and large, fairly bleak. I’m looking through these lists of murders and scandals and jihads and arrests and it’s depressing as hell. There was a link on MSN to the “20 Cutest Internet Cats of 2015.” I was thinking that would take the sting off the hell hole we’re in and clicked on it. True to their word, some of the kitties really did have squiffy wiffy faces. I was feeling more positive until I clicked on the last cat. The last cat on the list looked like Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is now ruining the palate-cleansing ability of internet kittehs. Screw you, Donald Trump. #generalmessageof2015

Then there are the usual lists of celebrity lives that ended in the course of the year. The entertainment sections have lists of actors and singers that shuffled off this mortal coil. The sports section listed “7 Sports Heroes You’ll Miss Next Year.” What a set up articles like that are. I didn’t even know these people existed until you told me, and then as soon as I find out about them, you tell me they died. I was in a world of blissful ignorance before. Any emptiness and loss I now feel for heroes I will never get to know is completely your fault, sports writers. Screw you, too.

Science and tech sections also have their loss articles, but no one reads them. I think that’s probably sadder than the fabricated depression from the sports writers. This keyboard I’m typing on could have been invented by someone who died this year, and I’ll never know. I mean, I *could* know, I guess. I just won’t.

Hey, at least I’m honest.

Aside from the news bits, many of the lists on the internet are sponsored. “Top 20 Hairstyles of 2015,” brought to you by Wen hair care. Just guessing here, but I think these styles are going to be held in place with Wen’s Dr. MacGuillicuddy Formula Super Shiny Impossible-to-Muss All Purpose Hair Shellac Elixir and Floor Polish. They’re also linking their least favorite lists. “Worst Hairstyles in 2015.” Looks like there are many folks out there who didn’t buy Wen. Tighten that shit up in 2016, folks. Just call Wen and ask for “magic hair beans.” They’ll know what you’re talking about.

Here’s a good one. “50 of the Best Cars of 2015.” How about, “80 Great Breakfasts to Start off the New Year.” This is one you cannot miss: “101 Life Hacks We Learned in 2015.”

It cracks me up when I see lists like this. 50 Best Cars…so, like…ALL the cars of 2015, then? I think they just try to one up each other. I think the folks at BuzzFeed brainstorm or interface or idea-share or whatever they call it to try and come up with a list that cannot be topped.

“Let’s see if we can think of a list that will dwarf all other lists,” some asshole in an ill-fitting plaid shirt says as he pushes thick-framed, lensless glasses up his nose.

Stanley gulps, though whether because of genuine panic or simply discomfort the starched bow tie pressing against his Adam’s apple creates is undetermined. “Dave,” he rasps. “You’re talking about…the Golden List.”

The group gasps as one, but Dave is undeterred. He holds up a perfectly manicured hand, mostly to flash the sweet 1986 Casio calculator watch he found at a yardsale that sometimes even works, and the group stills. “Yes.”

The one word gets the hipsters riled enough to forget their corporate catchphrases. “That’s fucking nuts!” someone shouts. “It’s a pipe dream, Dave!” says another.

“This is it,” Dave shouts above the din of the crowd. Everyone settles back down. “I said it in January and I meant it. This is OUR year. We’re not leaving this office until we finally do it. I want everyone to network and give each other input and no one is leaving until we come away with the Golden List.”

Stanley hitches up his high waisted acid washed jeans he’s totally wearing ironically, duh, and takes a deep breath. “You do know that’s the top, right? That’s the pinnacle. If we create the world’s most comprehensive list, it’s all downhill from there. We’ll never be able to beat it.”

Dave removes the annoying empty frames, stares long and hard at his expectant hispt-herd, and finally utters, “Then we go out in a blaze of glory, my friends. Who’s with me?”

50 cars. 80 breakfasts. 101 life hacks… I tried to do a Google search for “longest compilation lists,” “longest year end wrap up lists,” and “longest dumb lists of shit that happened in 2015,” but I simply confused the Google Overlords. They still think I want a list of armed conflicts near large rivers. Should make my autofill even more interesting next time.

Things happened this year. More things did not. We were great at realizing problems, but really shitty at fixing them. We’ve got to work on that in 2016. We’ve had some deaths, some more personal than others, and some births. Folks set records, smashed records, invented records, and some even recorded records, though they won’t just call them “records” anymore and that’s super annoying. There was a lot to 2015.

I look back on the news, the media, the trends and stories and pop culture ebbs and flows. What do I want to talk about in terms of the year we’re leaving behind? I have spent the year blogging. I got most of it out of my system when it happened. Something grabbed my attention, I hopped on and “Mornin’ all-ed”, and walked away feeling lighter and freer. I generally don’t need to recap, since it’s all archived and anyone is free to look back on their own if they want.

However, there is something nagging me that I need to get off my chest before I can move forward. Somehow I missed the news when it came out, and then it became awkward to talk about apropos of nothing. But that’s what year end round ups are for, right? It’s a time to have one last chance to air your grievances before you close the calendar, throw it away, and start fresh.

With that in mind, here’s Bethie’s Huge Annoyance of 2015. I’m not even going to try and compete for the Golden List award. It’s really simple. Just one thing.

This:

hoverboard

THIS IS NOT A HOVERBOARD!!! It doesn’t hover. It doesn’t even come CLOSE to hovering. It’s on GODDAMN WHEELS for crying out loud. It’s AT BEST a crooked skateboard. It’s not innovative. It’s not the “future”. It’s just a board with spinny wheels on it. WHEELS. No hovering capabilities whatsoever. The emperor is naked and it’s time someone stood up and said something.

STOP CALLING IT A FUCKING HOVERBOARD!!!!! GAAAHHH!!!!

*exhausted panting* *deep breath* *slicks back crazy wayward lock of hair* *clears throat*

There. NOW I’m ready for 2016.

Thus concludes the last Musing for 2015. I say this every year, and every year some dope ignores the good advice. If you want to usher in 2016 by getting utterly shit faced, cheers! Now, grab a couch. A floor. Be the huddled mass in the bathtub moaning all night. Whatever you do, DON’T DRIVE AFTER YOU DRINK!! Any is too many. I hope everyone gets to wake up tomorrow morning with a headache, cotton mouth, and a nagging suspicion that the lampshade and goat weren’t actually a dream…

Is a stolen quince still fancy, or can I eat it with my pinkie down?

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Mornin’ all.

Kitty did something new this morning. Normally if she wants me to get up, she bursts into my room like a furry dust devil, dons lead boots, and pounces on my chest. While I struggle and gasp, trying to get both my breath and my bearings, she whips off the lead boots and becomes my tiny cat again before rushing to give nose bumps and purrs as if nothing nefarious just happened.

That’s not the best way to wake up, but at least I get nose bumps. And I’ve grown accustom. It’s pretty much the status quo.

This morning, though, she bucked the system. Instead of jumping on my chest with her leaden Feet ‘O Doom, she got on my chest without me even noticing. She must have just tiptoed up on me, because I never even noticed that.

No, it was the repeated soft paw slapping across the face that woke me up.

*Bap*. *Bapbap*… …*BAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAP*

Still got the nose bumps and purrs, but damn was that disorienting. I wasn’t sure if I was waking up in my own bed or if shit went down in the night and someone was trying to bring me ’round to rally and lead my people to victory.

I suppose if that were the case, it probably wouldn’t have been a cat waking me, huh? Or, at least, I hope not. If shit gets so desperate that a CAT has to be waking me up, I’m fairly certain all hope already jumped ship.

Right now, Kitty’s currently sitting on the back of my chair, purring, yet flicking me in the face with her tail. I guess it’s just going to be one of those kitty days. Lemme just go move all the breakables to lower shelves.

Who am I kidding? I’ve got 3 teenagers and a 9 year old I’m convinced is part firecracker. All my breakable stuff broke YEARS ago. Do your worst, Kitty.

Driving the youngest to school the other morning, I noticed that one of the houses near the school appears to be completely abandoned. The yard has really grown up, the dirt drive is mostly weeds, no lights, no cars. Unfortunately, that’s nothing new. I’m guessing it might be a foreclosure…there certainly are many of those around town, even on that particular street. That is the Desirable Neighborhood.

I don’t know how things work where you live, but around these parts, we don’t have sales tax or state income tax. To make up for this deficit in budgeting, we have inSANE property tax. The tax rate is set by the town, and assessors come ’round once in awhile to check the property and make sure that either your hunk of shit is still a steaming pile, or your epic mansion is still quality enough to put dollar signs in the budget committee’s eyes.

I personally live in a section of houses that used to be factory homes. For a lot of years, there was a huge leather tannery right down the way that employed a lot of folks and wanted to keep those folks beholden to the company (translation: they employed immigrants fresh off the boat and took advantage). Many companies did this before the government and unions said, “Uh, you can’t force folks who work for you to turn around and give you their entire paychecks. Pretty sure that’s called slavery, and fairly certain we don’t want that happening.”

If you go into any older town in New England and head toward the local river, you’ll find remains of an old factory or mill that’s either gone to Nature or has been turned into a quaint little antique shop. In the direct vicinity of the defunct factory or mill, you’ll also see a neighborhood of older looking, similarly styled, not-at-all fancy homes with small front yards and an overall utilitarian appearance.

And you thought suburbia was a new concept!

Anyway, we live in one of those old factory houses. It’s probably around a hundred and fifty years old…somewhere in there. Since these homes were built to hold as many poor people as possible, they were not maintained very well. Turns out, poor immigrants who worked their fingers to the bone and breathed in the combo of rotting animal carcasses and harsh tanning chemicals all day didn’t really have that Martha Stewart urge once they clocked out. These homes weren’t built to look nice. Or, really, to last. It’s why ours has a half-assed foundation that needs frequent attention to keep the whole house of cards from collapsing.

My neighbor’s house is quite similar. All the houses around are quite similar. We’re directly on the main road, because that would have made it very easy for the Polish immigrant employees to find their way to work every morning, and also close enough to the factory for the land we’re on to be considered crappy.

In a nutshell, I most certainly do NOT live in a Desirable Neighborhood.

Even though we’re pretty much the Clampetts before they struck black gold…

*classic TV fist bump, y’all*

…the landlords still pay a mint in taxes. The yearly property tax on this rundown joint comes to around $2500. That’s every single year.

In fairness, it’s a duplex, so the assessed value is higher than it really should be. It’s considered an “income property”. If it was just a one family, it would be a tad lower. Maybe around $2,000. Still, a lotta money every single year for a rundown row house.

Now, to give you an idea of just how unfair property assessment is, the Desirable Neighborhood is made up of two blocks in one straight strip. The first block is made up of factory housing. About a half mile away from the factory, it would have been for higher level employees. Managers, overseers, that sort. Folks who had earned the right to live far enough away from the factory to get clean air in their lungs at night.

But not too far. Gotta get to work at sunup, ya know.

The second half of the street is comprised of Fancy Homes. It’s been years since I’ve studied the survey maps the Historical Society keeps, but if I remember correctly, the Fancy Homes belonged to the town business owners. You can tell, too. They’re Victorian in style, have large yards with statement piece trees. Though still too shabby to belong in Beverly Hills by any stretch of the imagination, they truly are some of the best homes in town.

They’re right near a school. They’re across the street from the town’s community center. The police/fire station combo sits at the beginning of the street and there’s even a classic old white church that plays bells every evening at 5.

Majestic.

All of these things mean that the assessed value of ANY of the homes on that street is way higher than the assessed value of the same style of property anywhere else in town, even for the row houses that are boring with no front yard and, at best, statement shrubs, not trees.

To give you an idea, if the house we lived in were picked up and moved to the Desirable Neighborhood, our taxes would go from $2500/year to around $5000/year.

We looked into a couple properties on that street because nearly all of them are on the market at the moment. The one we were interested in had a smaller lawn, less overall property, same square footage in the home, same level of run-down-ness…and the house was valued so high that the tax would have been $5,300. Once again, that would be essentially the same thing we’ve got now (minus the duplex “income property” designation) not even a mile away.

Is it any wonder more than half the damn street is for sale right now? It’s insane.

So, seeing a house for sale, or even abandoned, on that road is nothing new. However, what struck me about this particular house wasn’t the home so much as what was in the yard.

Several years ago, the property was purchased and the owners had a dream of making it into some niche orchard. They planted and maintained a few apple, quince, and peach trees. They planted berry bushes and built an impressive box garden. They shipped in bees so they could produce honey and it looked to me as if they were in the process of turning their barn into one of those quaint “New Englandy” shops that pull in all the snotty cheese eaters who can’t wait to see the foliage every year.

Not knocking snotty cheese eaters. We NEED snotty cheese eaters. It keeps the owners of our New Englandy shops in business.

It was clear that someone was trying something new in this town.

The first thing that happened was “concern” being raised by the folks about the bees being so close to the school. As human nature has proven time and again, science and fact were no match for het up rhetoric in that debate. It wasn’t more than a year before I think the owners just got sick of the hostility and the idiots, and took down the cute “Fresh Pressed Honey” sign.

No more bees.

But, they still had the fruits. I talk like it’s an orchard. It’s not. It’s only six trees. However, what those folks managed to cram into the small space was amazing. They also chose their trees carefully. These trees are epic producers. It’s a veritable bounty, folks.

Maybe the taxes got to be too much. Maybe the townspeople got to be too much. Maybe the dream they clearly had wasn’t worth the battle it took to realize. They left. Someone else moved in, someone who did not have the same dream, someone who did not care about peaches and apples and quince.

And now it appears as if even that someone is gone.

The trees are heavy with fruit. They are sitting there, loaded. Kids walk by those trees every day, some of them hungry, some of them itchy to have a juicy bite of the dream that’s been abandoned.

I’ve had my share of apples this year. I can’t even LOOK at those. But the two quince trees…that’s a different story. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking of stepping slightly off the public sidewalk and nipping a stray quince of two.

They aren’t wanted. They’ve been abandoned. Beautiful, top shelf quality food sits on forgotten branches to rot. No one wants them. The custodians of the property, probably some vague yet menacing secret foreclosure society, have ignored the very existence of the bounty. The fruits sit there, alone, unwanted, destined to never live out their purpose in life.

When viewed in that light, I’d be doing the world a favor by taking some of the fruit. It’s noble, really, sacrificing my morals to lift up another life form, to give meaning to the hollowness of their current existence, to make their hard work and devotion COUNT in this crazy, mixed up world, to…

“Bethie.”

…what?

“Do not steal the fruit.”

But…

“.no.”

*sigh* Fine. I’ll leave the fruit. It can rot. Go to seed. Fall to the ground in a poetic allegory that the majority of folks who walk by won’t stop to ponder. I won’t steal the fruit. I promise.

But you have to admit, I almost swayed you, didn’t I?

Thus concludes a disappointingly quinceless Musing for Saturday, September 12, 2015. I mentioned last time that I’m gearing up for writing. I’m not sure if that’ll be this week or next. If you don’t hear from me for a bit, that’s what I’m up to. And if you DO hear from me, you know I’m procrastinating and you should yell at me to put away my toys and get to work. I’d do the same for you.

And through the fog shone a blinking red beacon of hope…

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The crisp air of early morning wafts through a window that was carelessly left open, carrying with it the sweet tang of ripening apples, reminders that summer is always fleeting. Somewhere in the house a teenager stirs, glances at the glaring red numbers hovering on the desk near his bed. He shivers in the chill, groans at the time, and pulls the covers over his face to close his eyes and try to escape his fate.

But, there can be no escape. And as his mother sweetly calls to him to get his ass out of bed right now before she has to come in there and do it herself, he sighs heavily and resigns himself to his fate while his mother does her best to hold in her cackles of unmitigated glee.

Mornin’ all!

This is the scene that will play out in just a few minutes. Times three, that is. Why?

BECAUSE IT’S THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL FOR THE TEENAGERS!!! WOOT WOOT PARTY PARTY WOOT!!

…not for the little cub, though. For some reason, he doesn’t start until next week. However, 3/4 is still a majority. I feel that’s celebration-worthy.

This year, I’ve got a senior in high school. It hit me the other day that this is a thing that’s really happening. *sniff* Teen prime is a senior. How is this possible? Look at me. Do I look old enough to have a high school senior? Uh, ignore the gray hair. Oh, and if you could overlook the wrinkles, that’d be great too. But other than that, I look fresh as a daisy. I’m a spring chicken. I shouldn’t be old enough to have an almost adult!

A senior and not one, but two juniors. I give it a week before upper classmanitis sets in. Add to that the growing miasma of cockiness the testosterone is creating, and I have a feeling September will be insufferable around here.

Anyone want a month long house guest? Full disclosure before you decide: I don’t do windows, I suck at laundry, and I snore so loud I wake mySELF up.

But, I make cookies.

Lots and lots of delicious cookies.

Seems like a fair trade off to me.

The cub is so excited that he doesn’t start until next week. Teens pointed out that just means he’ll get out later next summer, but he’s 9. Like he cares about “next” anything! We’re supposed to clean his room today so I can get to the closet that contains school clothes. See, he had an idea, and I foolishly let him run with it.

“Oh, Bethie.”

Yeah, yeah. I know. See, I was doing a car repair, and the clever little imp knew I was too distracted to really pay much attention to what he was saying. He said he had a great idea for his room, asked me permission to “just do something real quick.” I waved it off with a “sure, whatever, I’m just inside looking for the damn 14 mm wrench because some sick maniac at Mercedes decided to be the only person ever to incorporate a 14 mm bolt in a system that clearly should either be 13 or 15 like every other thing in the engine…” He saw his moment. He seized his moment. And I…I let him.

“Newb.”

*hangs head in shame*

What he did was set up a tent. Quite impressive, actually, because he not only managed to fit a tent in his room, but filled it with accouterments of comfort. He had a little table, a fan, his water bottle, sleeping bag…he even fashioned a couch out of extra pillows and a sheet. The kid made his own little apartment.

Now, my teens are very smart boys, so don’t take this the wrong way. But if the zombie apocalypse happened, the only kid of mine I don’t have to worry about is the cub.

Unfortunately to make the tent fit, everything got pushed to the side. Since a bed takes up one corner, and another bed takes up the large wall, that leaves the closet. Mounds, folks. We’ve got to dig through mounds and heaps and piles to get to that damn closet.

Oh! OH OH OH!!! Hang on a minute. I just glanced down at the clock and guess what? It’s that magic time! I must go do my duty and wake up my teens for the first day of school. How should I play this? Sweet and annoying? Snarky and annoying? Maybe I’ll sing a little ditty…

You know what? I’m over-thinking this. I’ll just go in there and wing it. I feel confident that I can play it by ear and get the desired results. I’ll be right back and let you know how it went. *chugs coffee for fortification* *takes a deep breath* Unto the breech!

….aaaand nailed it.

I went with, “Boys, time to get up! It’s a school day. Or should I say, COOL day!?”

Their groans of appreciation for my early morning wit are really all the recognition I need.

I hear them stumbling around their rooms in various states of denial. One is already getting dressed. One sounds like he’s throwing every bit of clothing he owns out of his dresser. The upstairs one is no longer moving. Shhhh. Let me listen.

No, he’s definitely not moving. Hang on.

Damnit he fell back asleep! No way. Not happening, bucko. NOT ON MY WATCH.

I told my man this morning that it would be miraculous if I got all the teens out the door dressed, fed, clean and groomed with all of their backpacks and school supplies. Odds are very good that one or more will forget to do one or more of these things. That’s okay. As a seasoned pro in the first day of school biz, I know that some of that list is optional. Not a lot, but some.

All I need to do is to make sure three kids get on the bus with enough clothing to not get sent back home. The rest can sort itself out later.

Now that they’re up, they’re actually getting along. As any mum of a herd will tell you, the hardest thing about summer vacation is that the pups have to look at each other’s faces for months. While my boys get along way better than most siblings, there are limits, especially in the heat.

A half hour, folks. That’s all I have left before I send them off to catch their bus.

It’s a foggy morning. It’s been hot here, but that cleared out with a powerful storm system the other day. Last night got chilly, and turned the leftover humidity to thick fog. I love fog. It feels close and comforting. Sure, it hides the world from view. However, it also hides me from the view of the world. I like that.

And I think if the drone policing trend continues, others are really going to start liking the fog, too.

Have you read about this? North Dakota (of all places) just okayed the use of armed police drones.

Now wait a sec. Put those pitchforks and torches down. Let’s look at the details before we storm the castle.

…or fort? I mean, it’s North Dakota. It might be prejudicial to assume, but I just don’t picture many castles there.

Either way, let’s chill and look at the situation rationally before acting on our gut impulses to revolt and tamp down our future robot overlords.

Everyone knows that police around the nation have been using drones to spy for awhile. More and more, drone camera footage is used in courts to help convict ne’er do well jaywalkers. While the nation is not at all comfortable with those drones, it feels like we’ve kind of accepted them.

However, North Dakota just kicked it up a notch. They are the first state in the nation to okay the use of weaponized drones. At the moment, the drones are authorized to be equipped with pepper spray, tasers, and “other non-lethal weapons.” They’re not loading them with bullets, though that level of ambiguity in the last clause certainly leaves the door open. As long as a drone is trained to shoot at the foot, a bullet could technically be considered non-lethal. Right? I mean, that’s what I’m reading into this.

This…this is a hard one for me, folks.

On one hand, I’m a firm believer that robots have the potential to be our downfall. Call it too many sci-fis with my dad when I was in my formative years, but I just don’t like the idea of artificial intelligence, of putting robots in a position to make decisions for humans. I have a deep distrust of inorganic walking, talking, moving, shooting things. If a human made it, it will not be an infallible system. And if A.I. truly advances to the self-logic stage, we’re screwed. From a purely logical standpoint, humanity is a no win scenario. We’re bad for the environment, we’re bad for other species, we’re terrible to each other. I believe in humanity because I’ve got the part of A.I. that cannot be programmed…emotion. Will a robot? ANY robot?

The other hand contains a few arguments I just can’t seem to shake.

First, there’s the fact that drones are not A.I. units. They are drones. They…drone. Someone programs them. Someone watches through a camera and makes the drone change actions through a series of human controlled inputs. Someone, a person, a living, breathing, thinking being makes that drone perform every single duty.

…right now.

At the moment, it’s a failsafe. But will that always be true?

Another point is that real human police are the ones that are trained to shoot to kill. Many of them have the non-lethal options that the drones will have, yet in the time of crisis, when there’s a choice between killing or simply disabling, they act like humans.

Now don’t get it twisted here. I’m definitely pro-cop overall. I just realize that humans have a very strong survival instinct. We didn’t get to be the alpha species without it! And that survival instinct is what overrides the brain in a split second situation. That instinct makes the hand go to the weapon that is going to make certain the threat is eliminated, not just stopped in the moment. That instinct says, “Kill it and don’t let it have the chance to kill you ever again.”

Is this bad?

No. It’s simply human. It’s just part of being a self-aware meat lump that doesn’t want to die.

People can override this instinct. There are plenty of officers who will do everything in their power to choose the non-lethal option. However, there are also plenty who haven’t had the training or the personal discipline to be able to choose calm, rational thought over the gut instinct of survival at all costs. It’s not a failing on the cop’s part. It’s a failing because of the way we train our officers. We train them to eliminate the threat, put a gun in their hands, then casually mention “Oh, yeah, there’s some other shit there you could use, I suppose.”

A drone won’t be like that. If all the drone can do is act in a non-lethal fashion, then we’ve successfully found a way to take out human emotion in the moment and act with logic. If a criminal is brandishing a knife, and a drone tases that person, the person will most likely drop the knife and real officers can safely move in to slap on the handcuffs.

When viewed in this light, I can actually see the benefits of sending a non-lethal drone to take care of a dangerous situation.

“Ah, but what happens when the guy at the control end gets a God complex?”

Ay, that’s the rub, eh? The person controlling the drone is not there. They aren’t just steps away from the real human being at the other end of the weapon. There’s a disconnect. Without being the one to view the person involved, to get the sense of humanity you simply cannot feel through the lens of a camera, it would be so very easy to keep hitting the zappy button. Or to go on the attack when it might not be necessary.

The very same system that is designed to remove one dangerous human trait makes the world vulnerable to another.

And last, but certainly not least, is the aspect of officer safety. Like cops or hate them, they’re people. Real people with mothers and fathers, wives, husbands, children… In 2014, there were 133 “line of duty” deaths for officers in the US. 49 of those officers were shot or attacked by a suspect. It’s sad when an officer shoots to kill. It’s also sad when an officer GETS shot and killed. It’s a broken system with victims on BOTH sides. It’s easy to forget that when you read the news. These drones would definitely remove more officers from dangerous situations.

This one’s a real poser for me, folks. On paper, the pros of using non-lethally weaponized drones clearly outweigh the cons. On paper, it’s a no-brainer. Use drones. Save lives.

But we don’t make decisions on paper, do we? That’s exactly what makes us flawed, wonderful, impulsive, illogical humans and not simply machines. We AREN’T drones. So should we really let the drones do our dirty work? Or should we instead start recognizing the fact that we’ve gone so far off the rails that MACHINES seem like the only way out, and start really making some hard changes?

The moment a species lets another one take over, they are no longer the alphas. We’re sending in drones because we are too lazy to fix ourselves. I honestly don’t know how that could possibly sit well with anyone.

Thus concludes the Morning Musing for THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! I just watched the bus ferry the teens off to start another year of learning and growing. They were slumped down, heads hanging, the loss of summer manifesting itself in a physical cloud of disappointment that surrounded them. *sniff* Warmed this mama’s heart.

I didn’t wanna, but I had no choice….

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Mornin’ all.

I wasn’t going to do this today.

This was my intended morning agenda:

1. Get up.

2. Get coffee.

3. Remove cat from keyboard.

4. Sip coffee while glancing idly at the news and emails.

5. Finish coffee, then turn on “Escape Pod” podcast and art the morning away.

I got to #4 on the list, then read something so ridiculous, so stupid, so insane that it made me scratch #5 off my mental list and madly scribble a new To Do entry.

Here it is.

5. Get so annoyed with stupid headlines that it becomes necessary to share them with a readership of like-minded people.

Since it was such an abrupt decision, I don’t have the go-go dancers scheduled. I think they’re in Guam tanning on the beach at the moment. Maybe they’ll bring me back a Guamilian necklace or some other Guamling chatchki.

So I don’t have the girls. I also don’t have the band to play the catchy theme music. The head yodeler had mentioned a desire to head up to Wildcat for a gondola ride and a stop over to Clark’s to protest the bears, but ride on the train anyway…

*NH FIST BUMP! 603 4LYFE!!!*

…and I don’t want to interrupt if that’s what they were going to do. It’s cooler up north, and the yodelers tend to get snippy in this heat. Might as well leave them alone until the front breaks. We can do without music and dancers just this once, right?

Right!

I suppose in that case, I’ll just clear my throat… *achem**mememe**loolooloo**bah bo bah* *achem* …and, using my best announcer voice, tell you all that it’s time for a…

*** HEADLINE ROUNDUP ***

*fingers tapping the catchy theme music beat out on the computer desk*

*jazz hands for finishing flourish*

…*crickets**crickets*

Okay, that was lame. Oh well. Nothing to be done for it. It’s what we had to work with on such short notice and it’ll just have to do. God I hope the dancers and band get back before next time. Let’s hope the headlines make up for the bland intro, shall we? I said there were some goodies, and I wasn’t kidding. As always, the headlines I am about to present are legit…I just supply the jokes at their expense. Here goes!

– Landlord Charged In Cecil’s Killing

Wait. I thought Cecil owned his home? Boy, the layers of this story just don’t end.

…and no, that’s not the headline that started this all. I’m working up to it.

– First Almost Fully-Formed Human Brain Grown in Lab, Researchers Claim

Did you know that we share 97.5% of our DNA with mice? “Almost” leaves a pretty wide range of possibilities here, folks.

– US Postal Service Tries its Hand at the Grocery Biz

“After much research, we’ve determined that people like cookies and hate bills. Really, when you get right down to it, it’s a no-brainer.”

Second Yosemite Tourist Diagnosed with Plague

Man. I wish there was something someone could do to stop the plague. I mean, you know, aside from practicing the most basic acts of personal hygiene on a regular basis…

Women Pass Ranger School, but Debate Goes On

Fucking men. No, hang on. I’m not a “feminazi,” and folks are often too quick to wave that particular flag. But COME the HELL ON. The women passed the test! LET THEM BE RANGERS. Unless you’re afraid someone without a penis will do a better job. Is that it? Sad little boys playing big men with guns. That’s all this is about.

– Lobster Population Shifting North; Ocean Warming Blamed

Is it the ocean warming, or are lobsters just getting smarter? “Jeez, Bahb, them fahckers down ta the cape are chappin’ my ass with them wicked stupid traps. They got Linda week before last. What say we go up the way ta Canada? They ain’t settin’ traps up there yet.” “You bet.” “Bitchin’. Let’s go.”

– General Mayhem! Retired 4-Star Army General Slams Chinese Food Delivery Man Against Fridge for Not Taking Check: Cops

Reader’s choice:

You don’t get to be a 4-star general without gettin’ a little mu on your shu.

…or…

Anyone else really, really hope his last name is Tso?

– Dramatic Video Shows Great White Shark Leaping Out of Water to Catch Seal

Hold the phone… Seals can FLY?!

– Stuffed Pig Having Time of its Life While Looking for Owner

No. No it is not. It is a stuffed animal. It has no life and it is enjoying nothing.

– Putin Dives in Mini-Sub to Shipwreck Off Crimea

If this doesn’t put a comical Spy vs. Spy image in your head, then I don’t even know why we’re friends.

– Muslim Leaders Sign Sweeping Climate Change Declaration

Sure people might be losing their heads left and right in middle eastern nations, but they’ll be losing them AFTER they properly sort their recycling. #priorities

– Russian Police Get Tough on Illicit Cheese

“I am KGB. I grill you until you talk.”

…stop groaning. You know you love it.

– For Mexicans, Trump’s Bid is Getting Scarier

For AMERICANS, Trumps bid is getting scarier!

– Name Company For Workers Online Contract

Dennis. I name it Dennis.

– Hamas: We Captured Dolphin Spying for Israel!

Enlightened lobsters. Flying seals. Spying dolphins. What the HELL is going on in our oceans?! Scientists, put down your pet brains and figure this shit out before we’re forced to serve our orca overlords.

– Saudi Arabia and Iran: Volatile Political Geography of Oil and Minorities, Analysis

I have to admit that I *do* feel better about America when I read that other regions waste money on bullshit, no brainer studies, too. It’s not just us. It’s a small comfort, but a comfort nonetheless.

– Man Who Climbed Brooklyn Bridge, Took Selfie is Arrested

I think we can all rest easier knowing that this sick bastard is locked up. The streets will be a little less mean tonight. Thanks, NYPD! #priorities

– Finkbeiner Says Merging Government Makes Sense

Can we just stop and appreciate the fact that somewhere in this nation, a politician has the last name “Finkbeiner?”

– Police: Man With Explosive Device had No Anti-abortion Aim

He didn’t seem to care much about animal rights, nationalized health care, or the global effects of longterm drought conditions in central Asian nations, either. Go figure.

– Why Ted Cruz Has the Best Chance of Becoming the GOP Nominee

*can’t type comment…too busy laughing hysterically…*

– Researchers Say “Tree of Life” Actually a “Bush”

The tag line is the real scoop here: The idea is that when incidents of rapid speciation arise, evolution moves so quickly that the genome doesn’t diverge neatly. I have no idea why they didn’t lead off with that in the first place. Talk about a catchy hook, eh?

– Real Flying Saucers: Why Manhole Covers Take Flight in Summer

Because they must obey the call of their people. Fly, little manhole covers. Fly to the mother ship.

– Man in Bear Costume Harasses Bears In Alaska

The authorities intervened. I don’t think they should have. This is one problem that would have sorted itself out.

– Black Bear Destroys Interior of Teacher’s Car

See? Bears deliver their own swift justice. Sometimes the all natural approach is best.

– Buffet Fans Scolded for Leaving Homemade Toilets At Show

If you can sit through the fishbowl at a Buffet concert and be coherent enough to make your own toilet instead of pissing yours pants, you should get a medal, not a scolding. Real talk.

– Taiwan Will Preserve Adorable, Typhoon-damaged Mailboxes

Is it me, or is Taiwan swiftly replacing Japan on the WTF meter?

– Official Wheaties Beer Coming to Minnesota

Wait. I thought the entire point of Wheaties was to provide a healthful start to a healthy day? This is madness. I suppose next you’re going to tell me that Cap’n Crunch is launching a rum line in Florida, or that the Lucky Charm Leprechaun will soon be pimping whiskey in Boston? #funnybutnotfunnybecauseit’sprobablytrue

– The Tallest Building Never Built

Nuh uh. I thought of the tallest building never built. It went a bazillion miles high to Saturn. I win.

– I Am Not An “Alien”

Nope. No way. No aliens here. *gulps* *tugs at collar* Is it getting hot as a glarplunx flardahp in here, or is it just me?

– Maybe Clinton Just Isn’t A Very Good Candidate?

Maybe not…

– Jeb Bush: NSA Needs Broader Powers to Combat ‘Evil Doers’

…but she’s sure as hell better than him!

– Americans Back Federal Funds to Planned Parenthood for Health Services, According to Poll

OF FUCKING COURSE WE DO. It’s an organization that spends the overwhelming majority of its time proving necessary health care of all the naughty bits people don’t like to talk about to folks who desperately need it. It’s 2015. THIS SHOULDN’T EVEN BE AN ISSUE!!!

– Sanders Outpaces Dean’s 2004 Run

Now, if he can only keep from making a funny “blearrrrah yeah” noise on camera… #maplesyrup4lyfehag

– The Meaning of Trump

I honestly, truly, 100%, deep in my heart of hearts believe that Donald Trump is actually just an irradiated pile of silicone with hair.

– Navy Seeks Better Sub-Hunting Technology to Counter Putin

Anyone else getting an image of Putin cackling maniacally while ineptly zipping around the bottom of the ocean in his mini-sub to the Benny Hill theme song? #funnybutnotfunnybecauseit’sprobablytrue

– Second Bangkok Bomb Puts City on Edge

…it took two to raise concern?!

– California Teenager Dies at Rave, Following Two Similar Deaths This Month

But, it’s, like, totally safe. PLUR ‘n angels ‘n shit.

– Africa Could Fit China and the U.S., With Room to Spare

Fifth grade geography is now breaking news. No Shit Gazette contribution for today?

– Idaho Replaces Mile Marker 420 with 419.9 to Thwart Stoners

Okay then. I guess it truly IS a geography-news day. Apologies for the previous snarkery. My bad.

– Probe of Clinton’s Server Could Find More than Just Emails

Let’s just be honest: Porn. That’s what everyone’s hoping to find.

– Bad-boy Kygrios Goes Out After Gasquet Spanking

I see they already found something juicy on Hillary’s PC…
OH COME ON. Don’t act like you weren’t in the gutter with me when you read that. Pfft.

And the headline that started it all today…

– NYC Mayor Signs Anti-Legionaires’ Bill

Wait a minute. Humanity is how old? We’ve had how many deadly viral outbreaks in our history? Untold millions have been wiped off the face of the earth… And no one thought to simply ban a virus before? Sometimes we just make things so hard on ourselves.

Thus concludes a Roundup for Wednesday, August 19, 2015. NOW I’m going to art. Or screw around online. …yeah, ‘prolly that last one.

I know what I *won’t* be having for dinner tonight…

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Mornin’ all.

I was a brave mum yesterday. The eldest teenager (we’ll call him Teen Prime) decided that the electronic gadgets and games he’d acquired through the past few birthdays and Christmases were old news. Can’t blame him. He’d played most of the games through at least twice. He said, “Say, would you feel like taking me up to Game Stop real quick so I can trade a few things in?”

Ah, I just heard it: The collective groan of sympathy from other mums of gamers…and the knowing “mmm-hmms” from gamers who’ve been there. For those not in either group, let me explain: One does not simply walk into a Game Stop. There is no such thing in the gaming lexicon as a “real quick” trip to a gaming store when trading is involved.

Knowing this, but trying to be awesome anyway, I said, “Sure. Why not?”

Those three little words set into motion a veritable tornado of teenage activity. The others hopped into action and the games piled high on the table. I was imagining a couple games, maybe the system they didn’t really play anymore. It certainly wasn’t presented to me as An Ordeal. And yet, as the bags filled and the excitement amongst the herd grew, An Ordeal is exactly what it became.

I let myself get suckered, folks. In fairness to Teen Prime, I had an idea of what I was in for. In fairness to me, though, I didn’t realize that they were going to scour every corner of the house to scrape up every possible trade dollar.

I’ll say this…Game Stop does a fair trade if you’re a club member. The teens walked in there with old games and a PlayStation 3, and walked out with a PS4, extra controller, two games, and three Wii games for the youngest cub. Not shabby. It only took about an hour, which in fairness to the clerk was far less time than I expected.

And now I am awesome.

…or was. I mean, they’re teenagers, right? Who knows how long that’ll last? I got them a watermelon, too, so maybe that bought me a little extra time high up on the list.

Speaking of lists, I have a lot on my “to do” today, but I just read an article while I was drinking my morning joe and since I nearly spat the coffee across my screen, I figured there was something juicy to sink our teeth into* before jumping into chores.

* You’re going to hate me for saying that. Just wait….

I was reading my FB feed and a friend posted a link to what has to be one of the most epically WTF articles ever written. How’s your stomach this morning? Are you rock solid?

“Yeah, I’m feeling fine.”

Best grab a bottle of Tums to have on hand just in case.

“Bethie, it can’t possibly be that bad.”

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

A man in Wyoming was stopped for a routine traffic violation. The cop noticed he smelled a little boozy, so he asked the dude to step out for a field sobriety test. The man got out, stood there while the cop asked him questions, and pretended not to see the eyeballs falling out of the leg of his pants.

Read that sentence again.

THERE WERE EYEBALLS FALLING OUT OF HIS PANTS.

Here’s the deal. Mr. Roy Tilbott works for a meat packing plant. Roy likes himself some bovine eyeball soup. However, the packing plant does not sell eyeballs, nor does it allow the employees to take the scraps home for personal use.

Clearly Roy was backed into a corner. They practically forced him to smuggle eyeballs. There was no other option. Not wanting to get caught by his bosses and fired, he figured the best way to get those tasty, juicy eyeballs out of there was to shove them up his ass.

Now, the ass has been used to smuggle many a’thing. Drugs. Weapons. The odd light bulb. But in all of those instances, NO ONE WAS GOING TO FUCKING EAT WHAT WAS SHAT OUT!!!

Guys, he didn’t even wrap them. He just took the freshly de-skulled eyeballs and pushed them up his butt. While at work chopping your steaks and grinding your hamburger.

So there he was, with THIRTY eyeballs crammed up his ass, and just his luck, a cop pulls over his El Camino. Of *course* he drives an El Camino, because he just wasn’t creepy enough with the ass eye soup fetish. He gets pulled over, stands there with the cop, and was scared of being caught smuggling. Folks, you know what Nature makes people do when they’re scared…he shit his pants. Only instead of shit, out came his dinner.

You know.

EYEBALLS.

I can’t help but wonder just what was going through the cop’s head when goddamn eyeballs started dropping out of Roy’s pants and rolling on the ground. That poor, poor cop.

This wasn’t a one time deal, either. Roy has smuggled “several thousand” eyeballs during his employment with the meat plant. Along with absolutely no taste, Roy seems to also have no shame. He gladly shared the details with the press. “I enjoy eating bovine eyeballs and smuggling them out in my colon was the only way I knew how to get them out without potentially getting caught and fired. I put them in soups. They’re beneficial for erectile dysfunction, which I currently battle, but I also just like the texture and taste.”

He says it like it’s so reasonable. Roy, no. If you’re reading this, NO. Just….no.

The cops have no idea what to charge him with RE: the eyeballs. They consulted with the meat packing plant*…

*doesn’t that term just take on a new meaning now?

…to see if they want to charge Roy with theft. He also had in his possession a few large, professional quality knives that the cops aren’t sure if Roy stole. And Roy was drunk at the time of the stop, so there’s a nice DUI for him. I guess in light of the rest of the crimes, eyeballs up the ass is actually the lesser offense.

So what’s going on in Wyoming? Oh, not much. Just a drunk, knife-wielding, limp-dicked El Camino driver shoving eyeballs up his ass to shit out later for his dinner.

Same old.

Thus concludes the most disgusting Musing ever for Saturday, July 25, 2015. It’s Saturday. It’s the weekend! And maybe your life isn’t going the best at the moment. But hopefully, after reading this, you’ll at least be able to thank your lucky stars you never ate dinner at the Tilbotts. Always find the silver lining in life.

O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave…

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americanflag

Mornin’ all.

Last night was very long here, folks. As I sip my coffee, I’m assaulted by the acrid tang of sulfur which lingers heavily in the morning fog. Though the crashes and bangs that rang out into the wee hours are now blessedly silent, the echoes remain in the hearts and minds of those who bore witness, and those who desperately tried not to see or hear. The sun will rise and shine upon the fallout, highlighting the casings and burnt shells that undoubtedly pepper the land.

All over the nation this morning (or afternoon…yeah, probably afternoon for many), folks will rise, rub the grit from their bloodshot eyes, hydrate and carb-load like a champ, and prepare to jump into the fray once more.

Why?

Because four score and 159 years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. And if that’s not a reason to have a national weekend of partying, revelry, and tomfoolery, well then, I just don’t know what is.

Yep, it’s that day when we get to shoot colorful chemicals in the sky to celebrate kicking lily white asses back across the pond. It’s Independence Day!

I love the 4th of July.

And I don’t just mean that I live having a weekend of pop-bang-whizzy-bam, though regular readers of this blog will no doubt remember my fondness for the temporary tattoos of the sky. I love the day itself, the history, the connection.

When we were kids, the 4th meant camping. Fireworks. Fireworks while camping. Family. Picnics. Sand between the toes and lake water dreadlocks that dried in the sun. To a kid, that is the very definition of freedom.

As an adult, the meaning of Independence Day gives so much more depth to the holiday. We had enough bullshit, we drew the line, and we established our own nation. That kicks ass. Of course I’ll wave a flag! Who wouldn’t? A great thing about the 4th is that no matter your party affiliation, EVERYONE gets to be a crazed pro-‘Merican without repercussion or derision. How can that NOT be fantastic?

Chris-Christie

“Hello! I heard you talking about political parties, and I thought this would be an excellent time to pop in and tell your…”

Whoa. Hold the phone. What are you doing here, Christie?

“I’m letting your friends know that I’m running for the President of the United States of America!”

No. No no no. I did a candidate introduction weeks ago.

“I wasn’t running then.”

It’s not my fault you couldn’t make up your mind in time for this to hit the press. You missed your chance. Besides, it’s a holiday, not a time for you to campaign.

chrischristie2

“But…”

Nope. Not going to happen. If you’d like to hang around for the party, there are refreshments on the corner table and you’re more than welcome to celebrate with us. But you open your mouth to try and stump up some votes, and I’ll put you in a red coat with a “King George” name tag and you’ll find out how well that goes over in THIS crowd on the Fourth of July!

chrischristie3

*sigh* And stop moping.

Sorry, folks. I swear I had no idea he was going to do this. I wanted this post to be free from politics…modern day politics, that is. I know the problems of this nation are important and they won’t be fixed by ignoring them. But is it really unreasonable to ask that…

bobby_jindal

“Hello everybody!”

…*looks left* *looks right*…

“It’s me! Your friend Bobby Jindal!”

Uh…do I know you?

“Of course you know me. Bobby Jindal. I’m running for president!”

Oh boy, not another one. Look Bob, we’re trying to…

“It’s Bobby. Come on, you know me. I have a presidential campaign bumper sticker. You MUST have seen one of them.”

Can’t say that I have, but that’s neither here nor there. You’re interrupting what is attempting to be a patriotic musing to go with morning coffee.

“I love patriotism! And I heard you mention the problems in this country. If you give me just a moment of your time, I can solve them all.”

*rolly eyes* Bob. You seem like a nice guy, but there’s no way in hell you can solve all the nation’s problems. No one person can. And we’re not even talking about that today anyway. Now, if you’d like some America-themed refreshments, you can stick around and have some.

“Splendid! I love America-themed refreshments! However, did you know that many of these American treats are actually shipped in from other countries? Canadian hands are making the wheat for your red, white and blue cake. Our jobs….”

Bobby.

“…are being sent overseas, and you’re supporting these companies all while you claim to want to celebrate our nation.”

Mr. Jindal.

“Now, I don’t blame you. How could you know? That’s the issue we really face in this nation today. Obamawashing of…”

OKAY THAT’S IT. I’m sorry Bob, but you’re a pill. There’s the door. Don’t let it hit you in the ass on the way out.

“What? You’re kicking me out!?”

I warned you. I told you I didn’t want your politicking today, and you wouldn’t listen.

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“But Christie’s up there!”

And Chris is following the guidelines. He’s sitting there in the corner drinking his coffee and BLUEberry muffin in the firework tiara and red 2015 sunglasses like he’s supposed to.

“I can do that too!”

You had your chance and you blew it.

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*snap* Out.

“*sniff* Fine. I’ll just leave some campaign pins…”

OUT!!!

*door slams*

Yikes. And zip it, Christie. Not ONE word or you follow.

*quiet munching of patriotic muffins*

Okay. Any more interruptions? No? Good. Now, where was I?

Oh, yes. I was talking about wanting one day to be patriotic without having it crammed down our throats that we have problems. I get it, folks. I get that right now we’re a seething cauldron of problems and good intentions gone awry.

But what’s wrong with everyone just putting it all aside for ONE DAY, hoisting the one beautiful flag, and enjoying being a member of this melting pot? Donald Trump went on another rampage yesterday…

“Trump’s here!?”

Whoa, easy there, Chris. He’s not here. Relax.

“But…but…is he going to be?”

HELL NO.

“…are you sure?”

Stop peeking out from behind the curtain and sit back down. I didn’t mean to get you all verklempt. Deep breath, Relax. Easy boy.

“O…okay…I just…it’s just one of my triggers.”

I think we all feel the same, but jeez. Jumpy little bugger, aren’t you?

I just said Tr…uh…He Who Must Not Be Named to highlight my point. Some people take today to be a day of telling us what a shit hole we’re in. They think that by doing it, we’ll vote for them. I don’t know why. I don’t know what’s going on under Mr. Who Must Not Be Named’s comb-over. My guess would be “not much”, because I have to be honest. If any candidate is going to get a nod from me today, it’s the one that stands tallest and proudest under the stars and stripes. It’s the one that’s just as proud to be part of this big old problem as I am.

Look folks. I bitch about this country a lot. Not as much as some, and I certainly never feel like it’s hopeless. I bitch because I’m part of it, and I love it, and I want to see it better. That doesn’t mean that I’m not patriotic.

I have a saying I tell my kids when they’re in trouble. I say, “I’m yelling at you because I love you and I want you to be a good person. If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t take the time to care about how you turn out.”

I love this country. And I care about it enough to be upset when things are going wrong. So it’s not that I don’t want things fixed, or am too blindly patriotic and believe we’re perfect.

But one day. That’s what I want.

No, wait. It’s more than that. I fully believe that it’s what we all deserve. One day to simply wave our flag and be proud. We’ve got problems. We also do a whole lot right. Most of our people have food, hot water, access to medical care, even if it’s pricey. We’ve got roads through the entire country, and enough public transportation that we don’t have to cram people ten deep and five high on the train. Very few people are homeless per capita, and there are even services run by good and noble citizens to help many of those. When there’s a crisis, we come together. When there’s a natural disaster, neighbors help each other out.

Are we perfect? Hell no! Can I just be happy with the good stuff for ONE DAY?

Absolutely.

We’re worth fixing, America. We’re also worth celebrating. For all our faults and flaws, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Everyone always quotes the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. I can’t say that I blame them. It gets a bit wordy and boring in the middle, so the eyes tend to take in that impressive preamble and then scan down to see that John Hancock was, indeed, quite full of himself. But a lot of cool stuff happens at the end. In fact, it’s my favorite passage in our Big Three governmental documents (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights). It’s got some grammatical issues, and I don’t know if the rampant use of commas was a time period thing or if they just felt adding in a ton of extras gave an air of importance… All that aside, this is what founded our nation.

“We, therefore, the representatives of the united States of America, in general congress, assembled, appealing to the supreme judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states;”

In modern terms: Piss off, Brits. We got this.

And you know what? In spite of our problems, I truly believe we still do.

Thus concludes a patriotic Musing for Saturday, July the Freakin’ 4th, 2015. I hope all my fellow Americans have a good day today…and remember, any is too many. If you enjoy your right to booze it up in celebration, take advantage of your buddy’s couch!