…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.

Oh, the electronics I’ve fried…

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Mornin’ all.

Boy, has it been awhile or what? We had happenings, folks. HAPPENINGS. And they have royally messed with my Joyous January plans. I’m hoping to get through this without smashing the computer, but after the hell this beast has put me through…

Hang on. I think I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

It was a dark and drizzly morning in early April, one of those days that carries on the winds a feeling of importance, as if the very air itself knew that a pivotal moment of beginning was about to occur. A twinge, a spasm, a gripping pain seared through a woman’s belly, the lone harbinger of…

“Oh dear lord, Bethie. Are you talking about the day you were born?”

…too far back? Hm. Yeah…I can see it now. You’re right. That’s probably a little too far back for this story. Fastforward almost 37 years…

THIS story began on a cold day in January, just a few weeks ago. The breeze carried with it not a sense of importance so much as a tangible fear of frostbite…or, at the least, the slight worry of chilly tootsies.

It was a busy day mostly spent on the go, but I had a half hour before I had to leave to get the youngest pup from school, and a granny square was just itchin’ to be finished. I popped a butterscotch into my mouth, turned on The People’s Court, sat on the couch, grabbed up my crochet, and got to work. I was only a few stitches in when I shivered. Fortunately, we have a cute little faux fireplace heater we got at a great bargain (no, really, half price! Can you believe it? I told Mabel she really MUST get one herself, but you know Mabel. Course, she got that oil radiator ten years ago and is still going on and on about how great the heat distribution is. I suppose I can’t blame her. Look at her husband. I’m not one for gossip, but if I had to choose between the oil radiator and Hank to keep me warm at night, it’s the radiator. How they ever managed to have children is beyond me. The man is an utter pill, not that Mabel ever turned heads on the dance floor herself…)

*Author’s note: I felt that since I was already sucking a hard candy, sitting down to watch The damn People’s fuckin’ Court, and crocheting a granny square, I should just give up and BE an old lady for awhile. Just seeing what’s coming down the pike for me in a couple decades. I can live with it. Back to current events…*

I reached over to turn on the heater and unwittingly set off the Electric Apocalypse of ’16. As soon as my finger hit the “on” switch, everything stopped.

Long and short, our ancient circuit box quit, melting the main circuit breaker switch. If the burnt, melted, and RUSTED wires are any indication, it had been going for awhile.

Because the thing is old enough to have a calligraphied paper label hand-pasted inside, we could not find a new part to fit. The unHandyman that Landlord uses (longtime readers remember both Landlord and unHandy-handyman) got a part from a “guy” in a parking lot.

I shit you not.

He couldn’t find the part, got talking to a guy in the aisle of a hardware store, and met up with him in a shady parking lot to buy a couple questionably legal parts. You have no idea how badly I want to believe they had code words for this illicit electrical transaction.

When he got back here with parts in hand, one was rusted, one was slightly less rusted. unHandyman honestly seemed confused as to why we selected the less rusted part. He said, “But this is probably an original.”

Now folks, you weren’t here, but I can assure you that when he said, “an original,” what he meant was THE original. As in, the very first circuit breaker ever. I was positive the Smithsonian would like to have it back, so we chose the seventy year old after-market part instead. I know that not having a parts-matching circuit panel probably devalues it for collectors, but I’m one of those crazy folks who believes in actually USING electricity in the house. I’m just zany like that.

Before he installed it, a couple things happened…

My bathroom is off my kitchen. It’s small, with no windows. As we had no power, I had a lantern in there so people could see when they needed to use the bathroom. We three, unHandyman, my man, and I were in the kitchen insisting the less cruddy part was our choice. unHandyman said he’d install it after he “takes a pee.” He then proceeded to walk into the bathroom and start peeing. Right there. Not five feet away. DOOR OPEN.

He’s a groaner when he pees.

There is no reason in the world I should know that.

I said, “Uh, there’s a lantern right there…” He says, “Nah, there’s plenty of light.”

With the door open. RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.

The other thing that happened was that my man actually had to convince unHandyman to shut off the main power into the house before he did the job.

The main power lines were hot. They were not the problem. It was the breaker the thrumming, humming electric wires screwed into that was bad. Think about that for a sec. Let the idiocy sink in. The dude was actually, legitimately, 100% planning on taking his metal screw driver and unscrewing the hot, fully functional power lines. He needed convincing NOT to do this.

His plan to keep safe? He was going to “not slip” with the screwdriver, and make sure to grab the part of the wire where the insulation hadn’t completely melted off to steady it all.

I…I just…*blink* I mean, there are no words, right?

We were without power for about 24 hours. Not too bad considering unHandyman had to slip seamlessly into the seedy underworld of black market circuit breakers to get the job done. The lights are on. The after effects, however, continue.

The Surge, as it will now be called for the rest of all time, fried our computer. Blitzed the power supply and fried the hard drive. And before you say anything snarky, we DID have a surge protector. A super fancy one, actually. It did nuthin’. NUTHIN’. So annoyed with CyberPower right now.

Yes, I specifically called out the brand. We paid a mint for that because my computer is so important to me. And YOUR product is SHIT, CyberPower.

“Uh, Bethie? Shouldn’t you be pissed at Landlords instead?”

Oh worry not, mon ami. There’s enough ire to go around! I just wanted to give my own product review of CyberPower’s fancy schmancy surge protectors. They’re utterly useless. Don’t buy one. Don’t let your friends accidentally buy one. A dollar store hunka would have done the exact same job.

Anyway, The Surge took down my beastie. It’s limping along now. At first, we thought it was just the power supply and hard drive that took the brunt of the meltdown. Now, though, it seems to be randomly having USB problems and freezing/crashing the computer. I keep tweaking things in the BIOS, and today is the very first day I’ve been able to use this writing program for more than five minutes straight. Some things work flawlessly, though, complex programs you’d think would crash. It’s making it very hard to determine which part is still flaking. It’s vexing.

I am vexed.

We’ll get it figured out. Worst case at this point already happened, right? I lost my hard drive.

Now, I’m not an idiot. I did a full backup on an external drive not that long ago of my documents, music, and pictures. I didn’t, however, save the marathon writing session I was in the middle of when The Surge happened. I had revised a book I was working on and added…god…I dunno, at least 60 pages, maybe more. I was in a writing frenzy and didn’t back that up.

I also lost old emails. I could never figure out how to save them.

…okay, in fairness, that’s on me. When the pc wouldn’t just let me copy them to the drive, I said, “Eh, I’ll figure it out later…” and didn’t. That’s on me. I get it.

But all my emails. *heavy sigh*

I’m a hoarder, right? I mean, I’ve touched on it before that I don’t just hoard things. I hoard songs. I obsessively listen to them over and over. I’ll “hoard” a painting or piece of art I like. I’ll look at it…not just look, but feel a compulsion to stop and seek it out throughout the day, no matter what else I’m doing. Maybe it’s all part of hoarding emotions. I dunno. I don’t get paid enough to be my own therapist. And I hoard emails. I keep every correspondence from a friend or family member.

I mean, ALL of them.

Even the stupid ones. Even the links to dumb shit I’ll never actually look at again. Even the ones that piss me off or hurt my feelings. Especially the ones that make me laugh, or give me a feeling of being around that person, no matter how many miles or metaphysical planes may separate us.

I can replace the other things. Hell, I even have a “it wasn’t meant to be” attitude about the writing I lost. Maybe the cosmos thought the book sucked. I’m actually not that bummed out about losing that. But my connection to folks that are now forever in my past…that has been very hard.

I’ve got the dead drive in my drawer. The thing won’t even spin. Utter destruction on the circuit board. Physically fried. I can’t get power to it. I can’t even trick it into working when hooked up to another system. I don’t have the skills to digitally ninja that shit. So it’s in my drawer. Maybe someday the technology will exist for me to breathe life back into those files. My junk drawer is the cryogenic chamber, my hard drive is Disney’s head.

*Author’s note: Yeah, yeah, I know. But it’s such a fun and horrifying urban legend, why not use it?

That’s the skinny on The Surge and all the frustration that has happened since. Putting in a new main breaker was just a stop-gap. The whole things needs to be readdressed when warmer weather hits. If the main was so bad, you know the rest can’t be faring much better.

What should happen come spring is the complete replacement of all the wiring in the house. What actually will happen is another trip down in our scary-beyond-all-reason cellar with electrical tape to wrap everything we can reach. I mean, rust can only hold wires together so long before it crumbles, right?

Hey, on the plus, I now have an “in” with the black market circuit panel parts dealers in the area. Didn’t have that before. I think I’ll start calling them the Voltaic Underground. When I need a part, I’ll shine a lightning bolt symbol into the clouds. Maybe they’ll let me make t-shirts.

“Slow down, Bethie. No one likes it when a newbie comes into the group and starts trying to run the show.”

…fair enough. I don’t wanna Yoko the Voltaic Underground. If I piss them off, what will I do for the next Surge?

Still, I now know they are there if I need them. It’s a small comfort, but it looks like that’s the only one I’m going to get out of this experience.

Eh. I’ll take it.

Thus concludes a Musing for Saturday, January 23, 2016. I got through this entire thing without crashing! I hung for a minute, swore, and scared it back into motion. Maybe that’s what I’ve been doing wrong. I’m treating this beast with kid gloves when I should be yelling and threatening like I do with my cars. In that case, I better whip out my best old timey sailor impression while I try to upload…apologies if it gets a little salty in here…

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…

I’mma get right to the point today:

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Mornin’ all.

Usually when I see headlines that crack me up or make me roll my eyes, I hop on here and have some sort of friendly – some may say rambling- intro. I’ll tell you about my cat, or my car, or my cat driving my car (boy, do I WISH I could say that!). I’ll give you a not-always-quick glance into my world as we work through the first sips of my horrendous coffee together.

Not today.

Today, we’re shaking things up. I’ve got no funny anecdotes. The silliest thing my cat did was puke all over the dining room THREE times, and I’m sure you don’t want to hear about that. Cars suck, but only slightly less than horses, and none of the kids has done anything we need to applaud or bitch about this week.

So let’s cut to the chase. I’ve already got the go-go dancers ready, the band had a last minute jam warm-up to drown out the radios NON-FRIGGIN-STOP Christmas music, and the coffee just finished growling. Should be safe to drink once the growling stops.

Grab a cup and a chair and buckle in for a…

*** HEADLINE ROUNDUP!!! ***

*catchy theme music* *furious up-tempo jazz steps*

Aaaaaand…cut! Everyone give a quick round of applause for the ladies and the band. There you go. Off the stage. Go. NOW.

Yes, we’re doing a Roundup today. For those not in-the-know, the internet news sites are full of poorly worded or misleading headlines. Sometimes they make light of a serious situation. Sometimes, it’s as if the editor fell asleep on the keyboard they’re so confusing. And sometimes they just give this weirdo an unusual mental picture that my inner narcissist must share. As always, the headlines themselves are too legit. The commentary is what might make you want to quit.

Shall we begin?

“Do we have a choice?”

Absolutely not!

-Trump Adds New Target: Ted Cruz

So his hate list is now Mexicans, Muslims, and muppets. “M”ommy issues, Trump?

– Calif. Attacks Raise Fear of Jihadi Wife

Are…are they implying that your wife will secretly go behind your back and join ISIS? Because it really seems like they’re implying that people are legitimately concerned about this…

– Models Devour Buffalo Wings

NAW BITCH. You get pretty bras, cameras flashing on your perfect dimples, and your bunions treated on Prada’s dime after the photo shoot. I get chicken wings. I don’t venture into your world, you don’t cross the line into mine.

– Ultra Modern Homes Fit For the “Hunger Games”

In what way, exactly? They’re half-crumbling? The tax burden imposed by a tyrannical government means the residents will be in constant poverty? Terrified children hide in them??

– Foolproof Secrets to a Blissful Marriage

1. Don’t secretly join a radical terrorist group behind your husband’s back.

– 9 Reasons to Eat Walnuts Right Now

This article is unfairly biased against people who don’t have walnuts. I’m offended. Let’s launch a Twitter attack. #impossiblewalnutdreams

– Rude Behaviors You Can Get Away With in Other Countries

What?! NO!! And we wonder why the rest of the world thinks we’re buffoons!

– Springsteen Fans Upset Over “River Tour” Ticket Prices

Brucey babe. Heart to heart…I know your dream is to have a Scrooge McDuck silo of gold you can swim in, but you’re missing the big picture here. Somehow, against all odds and every sense of reason in this universe, you STILL HAVE FANS. Cool it on the pool of gold and throw those poor saps a bone.

– Funerals for 14 Killed in California Massacre Begin Somberly

Uh…were we expecting something different?

– Syrian Refugees Greeted Warmly in Canada

Yay Canada! It’s got to be awful hard to be so chill in the face of such a global hot button issue. I wonder what their secret is?

– Going to Pot? Canada Leads the Way in Legalizing Marijuana

…oh. Well. That clears things up.

– Diplomatic Pressures Force Syria Opposition to Table

“That’s it! I’ve held my tongue long enough. I can no longer pretend to support this office’s choice of marble top in the conference room. We should have gone with mahogany and if I were a stronger man, I would have said so at the time. There. *sigh* I feel so free.”

– Tokyo Deploys Drones that Use Nets to Capture Drones

We’ve done it. We’ve trained our AI to truly act like humans and defeat their own race. We can pat ourselves on the back as we bow before our new robot overlords.

– Trump a “Disgrace” Saudi Billionaire Says

Yup.

– Donald Trump’s Name Torn off Dubai Golf Course

Yeah, I’d say that’s on par.

NO I WON’T TAKE IT BACK. You knew this was a pun-friendly environment when you signed up. Don’t act all butt-hurt about it now.

– Syria’s Assad Buying “A Great Deal” of ISIS Oil, US Official Says

“And I’m like, what gives, Assa-hat? We called dibs on that oil…”

– Angola’s Global Host of World Environment Day 2016 and its Elephant Population

This is the discussion in the meeting before the publication of this article: “They’re hosting the environmental thing, but that’s not enough to get people to click. We need a human interest side to this story. Bill, if I say “Angola”, what pops in your head?” “Uh…sweaters?” And after much grumbling because Bill is utterly USELESS and would have gotten the ax a long time ago if he weren’t the EIC’s nephew, someone came up with the elephant idea. People like elephants. And they probably live in Angola, right? “Are the elephants wearing sweaters? Cus that’d be sick, brah.” *sigh* Sure Bill. The elephants can be wearing the sweaters. *rolly eyes*

– Farm Worker Accused of “Maliciously” Killing 4 Chickens

Unless you plan on lopping the head off, dipping the thing in boiling water while it’s still thrashing, violently pulling out all the feathers, then spilling its guts on the ground before feasting on its meaty flesh the humane way, leave those chickens alone.

*editor’s note: We here at the Muse are very pro-flesh dining. I wasn’t banging the vegetarian drum. I was merely pointing out the rank hypocrisy of a chicken farmer getting offended at the killing of his chickens. Put down the PETA t-shirt. I don’t want one.

– From A Risky Space Walk to the Top of Mt. Everest

That seems to be the wrong order to me. I know people lose their shit over Everest, but c’mon. Sherpas have been climbing it for ages. There are permanent camps set up for people to take a month long climbing break. It’s got LADDERS chained to the rock walls! Ladder-laden mountain vs. muthafreakin’ SPACE. Priorities, folks.

– How Technology is Redefining the Afterlife

Spoiler: it isn’t.

– Moscow’s Cemeteries to Get Wi Fi

Oh. Well then. I stand corrected.

– Moscow’s Cemeteries to Get Wi Fi

I can just imagine how many dead zones there will be.

…face it, you would have been disappointed in me if I didn’t.

– Twitter Expands Ads to Reach Users Who Didn’t Log In

Twitter, you’re getting creepy. #stopstalkingme,twitthole

– Bright Spots on Ceres Aren’t Aliens Afterall

Fuckin’ duh. We never said they were. Clearly lights aren’t aliens. What we SAID was that the lights were CREATED by aliens, and frankly, your evasion of the facts just bolsters my opinion. LIFE ON CERES!!

“Twitter: @BethReason Didn’t you mean #lifeonCeres? :P”

Ew Twitter stop. I’ve got mace.

– See Saturn’s Funky “Potato” Moon

Yes please!

– How Fallout 4 Took Over My Life– And Gave Me A New One

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.

– Squishing Baby’s Faces is Japan’s Latest Social Media Trend

Why can’t I muster up either confused outrage at the antics, or sympathy for the mush-faced babies? Curse you, internet. You have jaded me.

– British Cops Search for Hoverboard Riding Robber

Shouldn’t take long. They just have to look for the pile of ash. OH YEAH hoverboard makers! Need a little aloe for that sick burn?!

No, seriously. Take the aloe. We heard about your inability to stop your products from exploding and are legitimately worried for you.

– Wild Boar in Germany Adopted By Herd of Cattle

Oh, stop. Who are you to judge what makes a family a family? It’s not just “Adam and Eve” anymore. Sometimes it’s “Hoven and Cleaved”.

*Drops mic*

*dons sunglasses*

*moonwalks off stage*

Thus concludes a brief Roundup for Saturday, December 12, 2015. I need to work on car wiring today. I feel I should have e.e.cummings-ed that statement, and said it with all the apathy I could be bothered to muster. Let’s try that again.

the car wires  rip at my soul with their uselessness

                                            and yet i find myself

                                             loath to fix them

perhaps a fairy will enter the engine compartment

                                          and make the effort to sort

                                          the frayed ends of my life

or maybe

it won’t

Pardon me, but you, sir, are a worm.

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Mornin’ all.

I want broccoli.

And when I say that, I don’t mean I thought, “Hm, wouldn’t broccoli be nice to have with dinner tonight?” I mean, I WANT SOME BROCCOLI TOOT FUCKIN’ SWEET.

…you ever get cravings like that? My man has a theory that if you crave a food to the point of distraction, it’s your body saying, “Hey, dipshit, give me some niacin…” or vitamin C or zinc or whatever that particular food offers in terms of nutrition. I have no idea if science backs that up, but it makes sense.

Not just any old broccoli will do. I want a specific style of broccoli. I want fresh, not frozen, and overcooked to the point of it juuuust barely being able to retain its status as a solid.

My Gram used to make it like that. Boy could she cook.

“Uh, Bethie? Didn’t you just say she made overcooked broccoli?”

Yeah, but it worked somehow. She always cooked her veggies a bit too long, but they tasted so damn good it didn’t really matter. Crisp broccoli would have been weird served next to the perfect roast beef and mashed potatoes with gravy so good you “accidentally” spilled a little too much from the ladle and had no choice but to take another slice of bread to mop it up. Couldn’t let it go to waste now, could you?

Sunday dinners were THE best. All the fam around a gigantic table at the same time with jokes and shouts and laughs. My Mum cutting up our meat and still warning us not to choke, my Dad taking an hour to prepare his food just so, my uncle pulling out the list of 2-letter entries he prepped to play his favorite party game “Initials”, my grandfather rolling his eyes and making expressive faces to say the words he could no longer utter due to illness, my Gram making up for his lack of talking in abundance…

I wonder if I actually want the broccoli for the nutrients like my man thinks, or if I just want one more Sunday dinner of my childhood?

*WAWRma* *WAWRma* *WAWRma*

“What the hell is THAT?”

Looks like I tripped the melancholy alarm. I just had it installed to…

*WAWRma* *WAWRma* *WAWRma*

WHAT? I can’t hear you!”

Hang on. Lemme shut it down.

*WAWRma* *WAAAWWWWRRRrrrmmmaaaa…..*

Yikes. Sorry about that. It’s my new melancholy alarm and it seems that it’s on a hair trigger. It’s supposed to help keep me peppy and lively and not allow me to melt into a sad sack of holiday grouchery. Guess I need to read the manual and adjust the sensitivity. I mean, SOME melancholy is okay, right?

*WAWRma* *WAWRma* *WAWRma*

“BETHIE.”

Yeah, yeah. I’m on it.

*plink* *fzzt*

There. I unplugged it completely for now. Guess I’m on my own to keep myself pepped up.

“No. You’ve got me.”

You know what? You’re right. I do have you. You’ve come all this way to share some teeth-melting coffee and day old pastries and here I am being a self-centric ass. I’m sorry, friend. Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?

“*picks at sweater lint*”

Oh! There is! I can see it on your face! What do you want? Another day old prune danish? You really should only have one a day, but help yourself if you’re willing to risk it. No? Okay, then. A pillow for your feet? A pony? Say the word and it’s yours.

“…wellll. I have been thinking that it’s been awhile since you’ve done a Roundup…”

*claps hands* Done! *snaps fingers for the go go dancers* *strikes up the band* Looks like we’re going to have ourselves a….

*** HEADLINE ROUNDUP!!! ***

“*squee*”

Wow! Look at the can-cans on those dancers! How do they get their legs so high? *claps* Brava ladies! I see you’ve been spending your time off in the dance workshop. Well, kudos! That was spectacular!

*dancers bow and shuffle off*

You asked for it, and I aim to please! I’ve scoured the internet news sites to find headlines that are poorly worded, in need of serious editing, misleading, or just generally strike my admittedly odd funny bone. I’ve harvested the headlines and will present them to you in 100% organic condition. I just supply the garnish of commentary. Sit back, relax, and I’ll start serving.

– Dallas Woman Charged In Missouri Butt Injection Death

Nope. No details. Make of it what you will.

– Feds Seize Hundreds of Tamales Smuggled From Mexico

Damn tamales crossing our borders taking jobs from Taco Bell chalupas… When will the madness end?

– iPhone 6 Has Problem Apple Won’t Discuss

It’s nice to see that they keep the same “la la la can’t hear you” crisis management plan Steve Jobs implemented even after he’s gone.

– Texas: We Don’t Need Academics To Fact-Check Our Textbooks

They ain’t got no time for liberal hippie agendas like “facts” and “educational accuracy”. #commoncorevalues

– 21-Year-Old Georgia Woman Takes College Exam While In Labor: “My Goals Will Not Be Put on Hold”

The woman had a critical exam to take when she went into labor. Instead of making excuses, she worked on the test through the contractions, saying afterwards that since she is now responsible for another human being, nothing can stand in her way of reaching her goals to make a good life for them. No wiseassery for this one. The woman’s name is Tommitrise Collins and she is our hero for today.

– Why is Israel Encouraging Gun Culture?

Are we really going to pretend to be on a moral high horse with this issue? REALLY?

– Official Study Reveals ISIS Determined to Make Chemical Weapons

Dude, I’ve read some bullshit studies before, but this one HAS to be one of the bullshittiest. What a waste of resources. There is no way in hell we’re going to defeat this enemy if we couldn’t predict this “revelation” without wasting scads of precious time and money. Gah.

– Pink-and-white Gun Linked Suspect to Attempted Robbery

Yeah, the gun was pink and white. So what? Why you gotta focus on the color of the weapon? Thugs like pink, too! #unfairgenderconstructs

– Per Capita, Baltimore Reaches Highest Homicide Rate Ever

Thank god folks are fighting so hard to keep our country safe by refusing to accept refugees! It would be tragic if we couldn’t walk the streets at night without worry.

…oh…wait…

– NASA is Keeping Under Wraps A Secret Mission to a Mysterious Water World

Well they’re not doing a very good job of it, are they?

– Congress Says Yes to Space Mining, No To Rocket Regulations

CONGRESS SAYS YES TO SPACE MINING!!! *ROCKETMAN SQUEE* Do you even know that this means?! #aliens,guesswho’scomingtodinner

(The article called commercial space miners “entreprenauts”. I don’t know if the article writer made that up but goddammit I would have killed to think of that first…)

– Is This a Real Life Lightsaber?

Well now I’m going to be really disappointed if it’s not.

– deadmau5&CHVRCHES to Perform at Game Awards

I think a cat walked across the editor’s keyboard there…

– Turkey Struts His Stuff to Get Spared From the Thanksgiving Plate

12 people looked at thousands of turkeys and selected the one with the best “personality and appearance” to get the Presidential pardon. They held a beauty pageant to decide which turkey wouldn’t be eaten. … … …do you even realize how fucked up we are as a species? Hm?

– Humans Have Rescued Pumpkins From Extinction

I guess all that effort I put in to sabotaging tractors and linking my arms in an impenetrable wall of solidarity when the farmers tried to enter the fields for harvesting back in my college days really had an impact. So lucky to have been there to make a real difference! #fightingthegoodfight

– Gum Returns to Famed Seattle Wall Days After Cleaning

…the same gum? Because I’mma be honest…I only care to read the article if that’s the case.

– While World Leaders are Preoccupied, Cats Take Over the World

*sigh* Welp. It was bound to happen eventually. I’m just going to step out and buy a sack of catnip to offer in tax payment to my new feline overlords.

– Man Films Entire Vegas Vacation in Selfie Mode

Though there have been a lot of competitors these days, I think we may have found the World’s Biggest Douchebag. Someone give him a crown.

– Pastafarian Gets to Wear Strainer on Head in License Photo

…hold off on the crowning. We’ve got a last minute contender.

– Donald Trump Said He Would “Absolutely” Require US Muslims to Register, Shrugs Off Nazi Comparison

Ding ding ding! We have a winner! Can I just put the crown on his head with a drone so I don’t risk getting infected with doucheism?

– Winter is on Its Way

It’s November. So, uh, no shit.

– Carjackers Steal Car with 8-year-old in Back Seat, Then Take Him to School

Poor kid. Here he is thinking he’s got an unexpected skip day, and those bastards go and ruin it. Grown ups suck.

– NIH to Retire Last of Government-owned Research Chimps

Wonder if they’ll get watches and cake?

– Watch an Electronic Tongue Taste Wine

Yuck no.

– How to Flirt in Panda: Bears’ Squeaks Decoded

Look, I understand things get boring and lonely in the lab. But scientists…heart to heart time. Cut it the fuck out. Back away from the pandas and watch human internet porn as nature intended.

– Police Pull Over Google Self-Driving Car

Oooh, technological philosophy time. In a world pushing for more of these truly auto-mobiles, who gets the ticket? Discuss.

– Bush Says He’d “Kill Baby Hitler” if He Could Travel Back Through Time

*internal debate raging on whether or not to make Trump quip here*

– Legally Blind Barber Awarded $100K For Wrongful Termination

…but…but he can’t…if you can’t see…and with the sharp scissors near the ears…?? Oh, wait. It’s Massachusetts. That clears it up.

– Carson Compares Syrian Refugees to Rabid Dogs

*sigh* Looks like we’re going to need another crown.

– Firm Reveals No Fat Noodles Made from Trees

Soooo….you made toothpicks?

– “Anti-feminist” Student Reveals He Won’t Party With Women in Case He’s Accused of Rape

That his mind went there tells us far more about him than the “feminists” he’s so against.

– “She Cried When I Gave Her My Boots”: New York Woman’s Post About Giving Her Shoes to Homeless Woman Sees Her Hailed As An “Inspiration” Online

NO SHE’S FUCKING NOT. She’s a media hungry, self-obsessed, attention whore. If you do something inspiring just to brag about it, YOU’RE NOT DOING SOMETHING INSPIRING. You’re just stroking your own ego, and you’re doing it at the expense of someone else.

– Naive Children Believe Everything They Read Online

Uh, is that really just a problem in children? Really?

– Welcome to the Family! Acorn Worm Is Distant Human Relative That Shares 70% of Our Genes

Heh heh. We’re worms. That explains a lot. #VegasSelfieKing #Pastafarianbeinganactualterm #Trump/CarsonCrownShare

Thus concludes a Roundup for Friday, November 20, 2015. I’m off to wake the little cub for a follow up x-ray and then swing by to get some broccoli. Hope the docs don’t care that it’s only been a week and already his cast is a mess. I’m not saying he’s Pigpen exactly, but I highly doubt he’s got a future in any field that requires using a clean room.

Any more additions to the injured roster and we’ll have to forfeit the game…

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Mornin’ all.

I’m just going to warn you right off the bat to stay away from the coffee today. Have some tea. Or water. We’ve got some of the cleanest, purest water in the state. Fresh ice in the freezer. Help yourself.

“So you invite me over for coffee and a chat, and won’t share your coffee?”

You misunderstand.

See the coffee pot? See the melting handle? If you listen closely, you’ll hear the quiet gloop of the glass morphing from a solid to a liquid state under the corrosive properties of the contents within.

It’s been a week, my friends. A long, long week. And it’s not even over yet.

To get through, I stood there this morning and just kept adding scoops of cheap coffee to the machine until my brain began to quake in fearful anticipation. My previous limit was five, and that’s enough to make your stomach pack up and leave in protest.

You know the “big red button?” Turns out, six scoops does exactly the same thing as smacking that button.

As soon as the first drop of devil’s brew blopped out of the machine, a dry, lonely wind began to blow and a tumbleweed rolled across the scuffed wood floor. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to make it to the end of the pot and find a scorpion or worm preserved at the bottom.

I’m not bogarting the coffee all for myself because I don’t want to share. I’m saving you from my fate. #IGYB

Last week at work, one of the teens pulled an abdominal muscle. Because he is

a) male, and

b) teenaged,

he is a teenage male. Anyone who has one of these knows that when they get injured, they will instantly try and prove how unaffected they are by said injury.

Why? Why you gotta do this, guys? Just take the ibuprofen and use the heat pack and lay still for a few damn days. It’s not being a baby to take care of yourself! Gah.

Then my man got the first flu-like illness of the season. He was feeling very crummy, but at least he’s old enough to just take the ibuprofen and use the heat pack and lay still for a few damn days.

Not to be outdone by father or brother, the youngest decided his bones were all way too pristine. First trip to the ER for that one. Frankly, I’m surprised it took so long. If any of my kids can be considered “extreme,” it’s that one. He mushed an arm bone.

That’s how they explained it. It’s a type of fracture that happens when the bone bends too much but doesn’t actually snap. The x-ray looked like someone had just pushed on the side of the bone with something flat, like a ruler. It’s just…mushed.

Gawd that kid is tough. Almost no crying. In fact, the triage nurse and doc in the ER at first thought he was kind of faking. The doc came back with the x-ray results and said, “Well, this is surprising.”

He just doesn’t cry. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t in a ton of pain. I could see the signs. He gets fidgetty. His answers get short and he holds his breath. And he was shaking like a leaf for hours. He just does not cry.

Not in front of other people, anyway.

They give you a temporary cast in the ER now. When I was a kid, a friend of mine and I decided that THE thing to do was play full contact basketball. On a lawn. Yeah, that ended pretty much how you’d expect.

When I got to the ER, they gave me a full cast right there. After a few days, the swelling went down and my ankle could wiggle around in there so much that I think the only thing the cast really did was collect the coins my older sister decided to stick down it to piss me off. And a knitting needle, a broken plastic fork, and car from the Game of Life.

…don’t ask.

My kiddo got a temporary cast in the ER, then went back a couple days later to get his hard cast. He got a bright red one and can’t wait to show it off at school today.

The cast person asked if he was going to let friends sign it. He thought for a minute, then said, “I don’t know. I have some pretty inappropriate friends. I don’t think I want to wear what they’re going to write.”

Smart boy. I hobbled around with more than one Sharpied “fart” on my cast for six weeks.

Because I don’t need anyone else getting sick or injured, I put gas masks and hazmat suits on the other two, then wrapped them in bubble wrap. There were some muffled noises. Maybe protests. Who knows? Couldn’t really hear them through the masks and wrap. Eh, they’ll be fine. I will MAKE them be fine.

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day. Agree with the conflicts and wars or not, we live in a world that requires soldiers. Some other asshole is ALWAYS going to be waving a pointed stick at us, and I, for one, am very thankful for the women and men who willingly put aside their lives to protect and defend our nation. I may be an anti-conflict hippie at heart, but I most definitely love and respect the military. As much as we might want Utopia, we don’t have it. The military keeps us safe when morons try to prove it.

Being Veteran’s Day, there were many posts on Facebook thanking vets. Paying homage. Poems in tribute and all that. Some were well intentioned but eye-rolling in their insincerity. Some were very moving. Some were powerful. I’m guessing all were appreciated by the veterans.

However, I noticed a trend I hadn’t seen before.

People started posting Veteran’s Day posts in honor of military service animals.

Like, “Thank you to the women and men who risked your lives for us, but who I’d REALLY like to remember today is a fucking dog. He sniffed soldier asses and licked his balls with courage. And let’s not even talk about the way he chased that tennis ball in the line of service. I mean, it was an Iraqi tennis ball. Now THAT’S bravery.”

Let’s just forget for a minute that there are zero military service animals looking at Facebook to read your thanks in the first place. Let’s not even bother to address what kind of mental state it takes for a person to post a thank you to a god dammed horse on Facebook. We’ll just accept that in someone’s warped mind, animals have FB accounts and are touched to read messages from average citizens about their service. I’ll sadly stipulate to these facts even though everything inside is now weeping for the world.

All that aside…

Really? We’re really going to dilute the importance of Veteran’s Day by thanking animals? It’s not enough that we keep cutting spending on after care for our vets? Or don’t pay them jack shit? Or rally against them when we disagree with a conflict the government has joined? We’re now going to degrade them further by taking the one day half of America remember soldiers exist and using it to thank dogs and ponies?

I understand that animals play a role in our military. I understand that those animals are loved and respected by the units that utilize them. But it’s not really the same thing, is it?

A pup is born. The breeder says, “Say, now, that’s a swell pup. Let’s give him to the military to train.” The military trains the dog to hone its skills. Maybe it’s a good sniffer and can help find mines. Maybe it’s better at detecting bombs. It could just have a cutesy-wootsey face and be a really good morale booster for the soldiers. Whatever the skills, the dog is just that. A dog. The dog made no choice to be in the military. The dog did not enlist. There was no thought whatsoever given by the animal to the potential consequences of being a military service critter. The pup didn’t worry about the family left behind, or what would happen to the rest of his litter if he died in duty. It just did what it was told to do in order to get a treat and a belly rub.

I’m not saying that the animals of the military shouldn’t be thought of or respected. In fact, when you think about it, what kind of assholes are we to make all those choices and rope OTHER DAMN SPECIES into OUR stupid fighting in the first place!? Why aren’t there robots to replace them yet? We have the technology. Make it happen!

What I AM saying is that Veteran’s Day should be for the humans who knowingly and willingly chose to make such sacrifices. Who could fully understand the scope and magnitude of their choices and still join the line to protect hippies like myself. Who somehow get okay with the idea of dying as long as they can do it FOR US.

It strikes me as such a slap in the face to say to a veteran “Thanks,” and use your very next breath to say, “But let’s not forget to also thank the brave carrier pigeons because their sacrifice was just as meaningful.”

It wasn’t, folks. It just wasn’t.

Thus concludes a quick Musing for Thursday, November 12, 2015. I didn’t make that up, you know. Someone actually posted a Veteran’s Day thank you to carrier pigeons. I…I just…*sigh*

I wonder if cats are still assholes in a parallel universe?

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Mornin’ all.

My cat’s a dick.

This is Saturday morning. With the guy’s new schedule, it’s the one morning all week that allows me to delay contributing to the kinetic energy field of my household. Kitty knows this.

“Uh, Bethie? That sounds a little…”

KITTY KNOWS THIS.

If you have a cat, you understand. If you do not have a cat, this is probably one of the reasons why. Kitty knows. She knows when I’m trying to sleep. She knows when I just want to be left alone for five more minutes. Cats can sense it. They can feel your calm and tranquility and it pricks at their little feline psyches until they MUST do something about it immediately.

So there I was, snoring peacefully like a buzzsaw, and what did the furred she-devil do? She stood by the head of the bed and meowed.

“Awww! Kitty meows are so cute!”

A kitten meowing when it’s got extra milk on it’s squiffy wiffy face is cute. A cat that slips into a fish tank and looks to you and meows one sad, yet singularly perfect response to its current situation is cute. A furry friend that sees you get your video camera out and meows in a way that sounds sort of like “I love you” is…well, that’s not really cute, is it? That’s creepy as shit.

But it’s still better than what my cat did this morning!

She said, “Mau. Mau. Mau. Mau. Mau. Mau…”

When I woke enough to mumble, “Shhfuckoff,” she turned up the volume.

“MAU. MAU. MAU. MAU. MAU…”

It was so persistent and annoying that I almost automatically hit the snooze button.

” * GASP!! * ”

Calm down. I said “almost.” The furry beast from hell remains unscathed.

I was looking through the news. Big Mars news this week, though it kind of passed under the radar. NASA sent a probe to study what remains of Mars’ atmosphere to see if it was possible to determine how a once vibrant planet became a desolate rock. As it turns out, solar winds blew the atmosphere away. Things shifted, our young star flared, Mars was in the way and paid the price.

RIP Mars. *dumps a bit of coffee out for the fallen*

“But why…”

Shh. Moment of silence, man.

*hangs head* *kisses fingers* *flashes V to the sky*

Now, what were you saying?

“I was asking why it’s big news.”

It’s big news because it proves several important theories on everything from the extent of the importance of our star, to how our solar system was formed into the kooky bitch we know and love today, to how a planet dies in relation to how it lived before…

Trust me, this is actually quite big stuff. This is the type of data dump that sparks an instant intellectual orgy among scientists.

“Then how come I didn’t hear about it?”

Because media.

NASA held a press conference. They just don’t know how to drop info in a way that gets the average Joe jazzed. They put out a notice that they had some big, big news. And then they held a press conference about Martian climate change and I think the majority of the reporters fell asleep. They wrote small, boring little articles, which most people seemed to scan for the words “alien life” before moving on when they didn’t see that the rover found a Martian baby rattle or some shit like that.

What a bummer.

I wish folks would get excited about this stuff. It *IS* exciting. Okay, perhaps it’s not thrilling in the actual findings themselves. It’s a whole lotta numbers and those suck. What’s truly exciting, and what NASA should have focused on and the media should have made even the slightest effort to convey to the public, is the potential we now have because of this information.

Look, we actually know diddly squat about the universe. Oh, we’re okay at knowing things about our own rock. Not great, mind you. Just okay. Outside our one, tiny little sphere, we don’t really “know” anything. We can observe through a lens and make theories based around those observations. But “thinking” and “knowing” are two different things. Thinking leads to more thinking. KNOWING leads to more DOING.

Every bit of info we gain from our time spent zipping the most expensive RC car and remote controlled drones ever built around a “dead” rock is precious. Each bit of info opens scientific doors that we can’t even begin to comprehend in the moment. And we just got a billion bits of new info. New proof. New knowledge.

The more we know, the further we can go.

The other huge space news that no one cared about was a light.

Now, this is another theory based on an observation. It’s only a theory. But it’s a pretty cool one.

On the edge of the observable universe, there is a light. It is not coming from within the universe. It appears to be seeping in FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE.

“Uh, Bethie? Is the use of capital letters there really necessary?”

HELL YEAH.

Think about it, man. This might just prove the multi-verse theory.

“Multi-verse theory? Shit Bethie. This is getting awful deep.”

I accidentally made the paint stripper I call coffee extra strong this morning. I wasn’t paying attention and scooped too much into the basket and thought, “Well, let’s see where this leads…” Here. That led us here. Have some. Inject some caffeinated molecules into your lethargic body and catch up.

So where was I?

In the old big bang thinking, there was a sea of nothing. That nothing got bored and pulled in on itself and created enough somethings to explode. Those exploded things created our universe and keep traveling out from that single point of origin into…a sea of nothing. You with me?

“*slurp* Yep.”

Well, that theory doesn’t make much sense, does it? How can something be made from nothing? Enter the multi-verse theory. Many universes exist. And perhaps one of them had a dense pocket of matter that got out of control. Maybe a black hole, a giant, epic black hole. Maybe even a worm hole. Whatever caused it, there was such a build up of matter in one tiny spot that it HAD to explode, to bang, to create our universe.

Now, there are those who would say that simply means we’re part of another universe, that we’re a neighborhood in an existing city, that it means that our term for “universe” is simply the problem, that we still really are just one singular universe.

Maybe it’s a terminology problem. Until now, there really wasn’t anything that made it necessary to really explore that. There was no proof either way that there was anything outside our observable universe, so redefining terms and taking a hard look at multi-verses was not necessary.

The light is there. It is real. It can be seen and it either came from us and bounced back off shit we didn’t have any idea existed, or it came FROM that unknown shit itself. Either theory is equally exciting. There is more outside of our “everything” than we thought. Is that part of us? Is that something different? Is this an issue of our universe being so much grander than we thought? Or are we a separate entity among other entities in a vastness we can’t begin to comprehend?

One little light is going to lead to so much.

How cool is that?

Thus concludes and exercise in way too much coffee way too early for Saturday, November 7, 2015. I see by your convulsions that you took me up on the offer to share my java. Please tell me you didn’t drink the entire mug?! …oh…oh shit. Uh, you might want to get to a soft, safe place and lie down. If you aren’t used to it, the aftershocks can be hell. Lie down with a damp towel over your eyes and think happy thoughts. It’ll pass.