Can we actually get through this without a crash?!


Mornin’ all.

My computer is still screwed.

Every time I think I’ve got it, it’s another trip to Crash City for me. I don’t know how long we have this morning before everything locks in a frozen, bitter wasteland, but it’s been awhile since we’ve chatted, and I just HAVE to write something.

I’ve got to be quick, though. I can’t let myself get sucked into a long-winded diatribe, because even if I save at the end of every sentence, the interruption in flow will just seriously piss me off and kick me out of the groove.

Knowing my limitations, I met with my writing pit crew. After a furious session of scribbling Xs and Os on a white board for no discernible reason, we came up with a plan of attack for this Muse. I’m typing as fast as I can. To the left is the coffee, to the right, my forehead mopper. I’ve been doing finger push ups for days and I think I can work through any cramping to bring you a….


*pop of confetti cannon*

Sorry we don’t have the band or dancers today. The pit boss felt that we needed to trim every tenth of a second off this production that we possibly could. I don’t necessarily agree, but he was the one with the clipboard, so….

*achem* *tap of pen on clipboard* *lift of one bushy eyebrow*

Right. I need to stay on track. He suggested instead of a rambling intro I just do my bit in bullet points. We’ll give it a try.

– The internet news sites are full of headlines.

– Some of them are good.

– Some of them are stupid.

– We round up the ones that jump out at us and present them to you.

– With jokes.

Wow. He was right. That was pretty straightforward, huh? I was a little worried about how he’d fit on the team in the beginning after he suggested I only type with my left hand, but I have to say, I’m warming up to…


Oh. Right. Headlines. Wave the flag and we’re off!

– Oprah Stuns with New Weight Loss

It’s GOT to be hard being a public figure in today’s internet trolling society. I’ve got nothing bad to say about Oprah for this one. Good job!

– Oprah Celebrates Turning 62 with Her “Favorite Birthday Gift”: Bread!

A case of bread, actually. Nine loaves. Oprah loses a ton of weight, then one of her “friends” sent her a CASE of bread. Oprah, get better friends.

– Best SAG Awards Moments That You Probably, Definitely Missed

Boy, is that going to be a long article.

– The Final Days of an Occupier

…of what? “An occupier” of…WHAT? Come on. Don’t leave me hanging. I MUST know! An occupier of a house? A car? Time and space? The rotting corpse it has invaded in an attempt to take over the world?

– Stricken Ship Heading for the French Coast

*sniff**sniff* Fine. If you don’t like me, I’ll…I’ll…I’ll run away! *sniff* I don’t need your stupid port anyway!

– Trump Spent Nearly $11 Million on Himself

Someone’s slumming it this year.

– Cyclist Exits Race After Officials Find Hidden Motor

BAHAHAHA!!! I’m sorry. I know cheating is bad, but…BAHAHAHAHA!!!

– Queensland Woman’s Disappearance at Sea Still Troubles Friends

“You know, we thought we’d be okay with it by now, but nope. Still bothered.”

– Curiosity Takes Selfie on Mars

…Still Hasn’t Killed the Cat

– Little Tricks to Feel Happier Immediately

Drugs. It’s drugs, right?

– 8 Bizarre Ways Your Spouse Can Affect Your Health

I can’t be the only one that thinks arsenic better be number one on the list.

This article…

– Reasons It’s So Hard to Lose Weight

…being displayed side by side with this article…

– Reasons It’s Easier to Lose Weight Than You Think

…proves that mainstream news is just saying whatever you want to hear. #conspirizewithme

– Confident Carson Predicts “Shock and Awe” in Iowa

There’s a fine line between confident and delusional. I’m pretty sure Carson has crossed it.

– GOP’s Condemnation of “Sanctuary Cities” Awkward in Iowa

I bet a lot of the GOP’s condemnations are awkward in Iowa.

– “I’m Gay and I’m a Priest. Period.”

Wow, Fr. Ted. I mean, good for you and all, but we just asked if you wanted a piece of gum. “…oh. Uh. *achem* Sorry. Uhhh…is it spearmint?”

– Why Elephants in American Zoos Might Be the New Orcas in “Blackfish”

Whoa whoa WHOA. Hold up. Because I am an American, and this is the internet, I feel compelled to assure the world that we are NOT, in any way, actually replacing orcas with elephants in the unoccupied Sea World tanks. We don’t even give them guns, smokes, and bitches, so no ‘Murica hate, k? I can assure you that the zoo keeps in this country are only abusing the elephants with whips, cattle prods, and spike boards, just like everyone else.

– Wave of Cubans Finally Reach US After Grueling Land Journey

*unrolls map* *looks at Cuba* *looks at US* *looks at Cuba* ….uh…

– “Eyewash”: How the CIA Deceives Its Own Workforce About Operations

I once cleaned a festering wound on my uncle’s ankle that was as wide as a golf ball and all the way to the bone, and if you could just give me some of that eye bleach so I could erase that memory, CIA, I’d greatly appreciate it.

…come on, CIA. Don’t act like you’re not reading this.

– Does Iowa Really Matter? And Should it?

Dayum, Washington Post. Harsh.

– I’m From New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Primary Has to Go

*gasp of indignation* Back off, poser. If you were really from NH, you’d realize that’s all we’ve got!

– Her Pink Taser, Poisoned Hamburger Patties, And an iPhone: The Story of a Wife Who Lured an Orange County Fugitive Out of Iran

I hate a short, vague headlines like this. If they want me to read it, they could at least drop a clue as to what the article is about.

– Man Sentenced As Habitual Felon

Once you’ve been convicted of a felony in this country, you are forever a felon. So by this logic, EVERY felon can be sentenced for being a habitual felon. You know how I said “no ‘Murica hate” before? I think I have to lift the moratorium.

– Fugitive Found in “Elaborate Tunnel System” Under Trailer Park

DUDE. A trailer park with an elaborate tunnel system?! Sign me up!

– High School Student with Toy Gun Suspended

Good! The ONLY reason to bring a fake gun to school is to cause trouble and make yourself seem like a badass. Period.

– Body Part Dealer Rented Infected Cadavers to Students

wut. Every single part of this headline is just wrong.

– Social Robots May One Day Help Your Doctor

Antisocial Robots May One Day Help Your Lawyer

– This is Why No One Can Own The Moon

Because it’s the FUCKING MOON. Why does it even need to be explained?!

– Scientists Predict Human Thought in Real Time, Nearly Every Time

If this doesn’t raise the hair on the back of your neck, you haven’t read enough sci fi. Knock it off, scientists, before I’ve got to make a time traveling robot to fix this mess you’re trying to create.

– Europe Launches Space Laser Data Satellite

I stopped reading after “Space Laser.” SPACE LASER!!! Pewpewpew!!!

– Norwegian Woman Says She is a Cat Trapped in Human’s Body

I call BS. If she really was a cat trapped in a human’s body, the only thing she would say is “Meow.” Check and mate.

– A 99-year-old Woman Wakes to Exotic Animal on Her Chest; She Screams, It Screams

…we all scream for ice cream! Yay!

– Lucky Thai Dolls “non-human”, says Aviation Authority

Did that actually need to be declared?!

– 2016 Campaign A Season of Discomfort for US Muslims

I don’t think the Muslim population is alone in discomfort this election cycle.

– Two Escaped California Inmates Believed In San Jose

Those poor fools. Everyone knows San Jose is only a myth.

– NASA Would Take C3PO to Space, but Not R2D2 or BB8

WHAT. That’s BULLSHIT! Let’s start a petition RIGHT NOW. #fairnessforALLdroids

– Your Laminate Floor May Be Toxic

So, you know, stop licking it.

– Answers to 7 Burning Tax Questions

1. Actually, it’s a common misconception that petroleum is the best accelerant for burning paper. You want to start with bees wax…

– Earn $90,000 a Year Working for the Government…At Burning Man

Kevin does this. Kevin is a fahkin’ narc. Don’t be like Kevin.

– The Inside Story of How Ted Cruz Won Iowa

He was a douche, but not a total douche. That’s some hard core poli-sci.

– The US Army Wants to 3D Print Customized Food for Soldiers

Two words: soylent green.

– Va. Tech Students Held in “Awesome” Girl’s Death

Totally upstaging the “rad” 7-11 burglary, the “bitchin'” car heist, and the “cool” vandalism.

– NYC Homeless Shelters Rack Up 21,400 Code Violations

I can’t believe that a city in the US has so very little consideration for the safety and well being of its homeless population. They’re usually so warm and welcoming.

– World’s First Robot Run Farm to Open in Japan

This better mean that it’s a farm where old robots go to run around in the field happy and carefree before they die, because if it’s actually a story about robots being in charge of growing our food, then I’m out. I’m done. No more science.

– DNA Got Kid Kicked Out of School- And It’ll Happen Again

Ivy league? Because that seems about right. DNA gets those floofy poodles kicked out of Westminster every year. It was just a matter of time before the owners of the allegedly purebred students took a page from their recreational book and applied it to maintain the integrity of those hallowed halls.

– Dadaab: The City You Cannot Leave

And with a name like that, who’d want to?!

– Judge Gives Man 5 Days For Child Porn, Rails Against Harsh Sentences

Anyone else thinking the judge’s hard drive needs confiscating? NSA, get on that.

Don’t act like you’re not reading this, NSA.

– Orange County Jailbreak was “An Embarrassment”, Says Sheriff

Top story in today’s No Shit Gazette.

– 5 Things You Need to Know this Tuesday

I didn’t read it. Cuz I’m a rebel.

– Carson to Take Break from Campaigning After Iowa Caucus Loss

Yep. Pretty much the same results as the last “shock and awe” plan we witnessed.

– Could These Shapes on Mars Have Been Sculpted By Microbes?

Don’t be ridiculous! They were sculpted by Martians before their environment became toxic and they were forced to settle on a neighboring planet.

– Britain Approves Controversial Gene-editing Experiments

NO. Stop it. Stop it right now! Do NOT edit genes! Stop predicting our thoughts. Don’t make 3D food. Absolutely NO robot farms. Go back to curing diseases and creating plans to re-colonize Mars. Leave the humanity-ending ideas alone. We’re doing just fine on that end without your help.

Thus concludes a Roundup for Tuesday, February 2, 2016. Now, I’m not making any threats, so get off my back, FBI (pfft, don’t act like you’re not reading this), but that furry little rat better not see his shadow. We’re getting an easy winter this year, because even Mother Nature herself realizes just how bitchy she was last year and cut us some slack. I’mma be super pissed if a rat in a hat changes that.


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


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…”


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.


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?”


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.

A sick kid, a dead mouse, and a broken window walk into a bar…


Mornin’ all!

I got up to one “awwww” thing today, which was so much better than the not “awwww” thing I found when I woke up yesterday.

The awwww thing today was a note pinned to the hallway outside my bedroom from my 9-year-old. It said, “I threw up in the night. It did not feel good. ūüė¶ ” Now, why is this “awwww”? Because he could have just knocked on my door, ya know?

But that’s just so him. Everything about it was my little MacGuyver. He had no paper, so he snipped open a toilet paper roll and flattened it out to write the note on, found a thumbtack somewhere in his room, and pinned the note right at my eye level where I’d see it when I opened my door.

Again, he easily could have just knocked.

Ah, but he’s one to take care of things himself. Poor little guy. Guess my plans are scrapped for today and I need to run for ginger ale before the teens head out for school.

The not awwww thing was a gift from kitty. Dead mouse (not to be confused with deadmau5… *glow bracelet fistbump*). She left it at the bottom of the stairs for me, presentation style. It was sitting in the middle of a plastic grocery bag (her favorite thing in the world) with a black sock placed right next to it. I’d like to think that the smelly, dirty black sock was an intentional artistic addition to underscore the fetid morbidity of Death. As soon as I heaped on the praise, though, she sat down and started licking her ass, so she’s probably not a deep artistic thinker after all.

ZOMG. WAIT! Maybe the ass licking was a living art piece, a biting commentary on the entire event summed up in one controversial and provocative performance? I mean, when you think about it, could there really be a more succinct statement on the terrible emotions one must deal with when there’s been a death than the horror of licking ones own ass??


I’m glad we have a mouser. It’s getting colder, and the mice are getting bolder. The cold weather is kicking off some deep instincts, not just in the mice and Rembrandt Kitty.

*author’s note: Yes, I, too, found it a bit odd that I went with “Rembrandt Kitty” when I easily could have taken the opportunity for punnery. I’m not saying that “Picatso,” “Meownet,” and “Renrawr” weren’t given serious consideration. In the end, though, I decided that if Kitty was going to be all high brow, then perhaps I, too, should take the more mature route.*

Around these parts, the first time you see your breath in the morning, something deep inside says, “SHIT! WE WASTED SUMMER!!!” You start looking around in a panic at all the things you can’t do once the snow flies. You can’t fix that car. There’s no way in hell you’re getting concrete poured on the one stair that mysteriously disintegrated once it’s sitting under six inches of snow. The garage still needs cleaning. The deck is a mess. And let’s not EVEN talk about the plans you had for that broken window.

The cold hits the ancient internal “go” button.

That’s good in a way. I mean, the shit really does have to get done. It’s not about the beauty of the home…it’s about the knowledge that if a foot of snow lands on that deck, you won’t have a deck once it melts. These are NECESSARY repairs, not weekend do it yourself projects to give the joint more curb appeal. These things have to happen, and time is tickin’.

On top of that panic, there’s the incessant obsession to gather in a hoarder such as myself. I’ve mentioned before that the apples highlighted my hoarding thoughts. It’s so much worse when it turns cold enough to wear a cardigan in an un-ironic manner. The empty spaces in the cupboards fill me with a sense of dread. It doesn’t matter how much food is around those empty spaces. There are EMPTY SPACES people! It’s a CRISIS. We will STARVE if I don’t cram those cupboards!

This year it’s particularly bad.

I think since the man’s schedule is still all up in the air and there are many changes afoot, my system is trying to compensate by over-controlling other aspects. Food is only one of them. Then there’s just the general need to acquire and prepare for the times when we “can’t.” Can’t afford, can’t get to, can’t find…

See? I get it. I know and understand my compulsions. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t giddy as a schoolgirl at her first dance when the junk shop heaped tons of shit in the free pile across the street yesterday.

“…oh, Bethie. *sigh*”

I got tiles! TWO boxes of them.

“And what are you going to do with two boxes of tiles?”

Look at them. Have them. Know that they’re there in case I need them. Oh! And a fun crate! It’s got such a cool shape.

“Did you need a cool-shaped crate?”

Actually, that one I can legit use. It’s very wide one way, and tall and skinny the other. It’ll be perfect for holding the paintings I’m doing, a place to safely store them before sale. So *pfflllbttthhh*.

The urge to get the rest of the stuff from the pile was almost overwhelming. There was a chair that has just a bizarre vibe that drew me to it. I kept staring at it. No, I did not go over and get it. No, I won’t today if it’s still there. I’ve already got one chair project going, and don’t really have the space for the that. I don’t need/can’t fit another. There was also a pile of unusually shaped cinder blocks. I have never seen cinder blocks that looked like them. I couldn’t think of a real purpose for those, so they, too, stayed put.

I’m trying, folks. I really, truly am. I blew it on the tiles, but the crate will honestly help with an organizational problem I’ve been having.

I got the first layer of concrete poured on the stair yesterday. I need at least one more layer, but I thought it best to do a series of thin layers since it’s cooler out, and since I really don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Landlords didn’t fix it, and I was sick of turning my ankle every time I left my house. Three of the household guys suggested I use the tiles on top of the stair and make it look fancy, because:

a) they get me…

b) they know how hilarious fancy stairs leading up to our just-this-side-of-a-tar-paper-shack house would be.

Could you imagine stepping onto icy tiles, though? Yikes. I’ll have to find another way to make an ironic statement about my home.

When I was a kid, I saw a house that was decorated with political messages. Not in my town. Over towards where my grandparents lived all the way on the other side of the state, a good two whole hours away. The owners would paint huge messages on the clapboard siding.

Shit. Was that over by my grandparents? Bah. Who knows. I was a kid. Somewhere in NH there used to be a very political house.

…or was it in Maine? Ya know, it could have been Maine…

Anyway, I could do that. Instead of going with the ironic fancy route, I could be more blunt and write things like, “I refuse to live my life under the imperialistic constraints of a straight roof!” or, “Is the foundation really warped, or is YOUR perception of it the problem?” You know… make people think.

“Wouldn’t your landlords object?”

Well, see, here’s the thing. The house has been peeling for years. It should have been painted at least five years ago. They ignore the problem by refusing to walk over to this side where the damage to the paint is very apparent. True story. That way they don’t have to look at the paint and can pretend it’s still perfectly fine. What they can’t see, they don’t have to fix, right? I think that’s how landlording works.

In order for me to make tall statements on the clapboards, I’d need to first prepare the surface. And that would mean a free paint job for them! If they don’t care about piles of peeling paint, I highly doubt they’d give two shits about a few words.

There’s a flaw in that plan, though. I could paint all the words I wanted and the real statement would be totally lost on the Landlords. They wouldn’t get it. They honestly would just be jazzed that they didn’t have to hire a painter after all.

Someone’s already done it, too. That’s another drawback. Someone else has already painted their thoughts and feelings on their house. I guess if I’m going to passive aggressively shame my landlords in a manner that would go completely over their heads, I should at least be original about it.

Maybe I could do inlaid tile work around the broken window? It’s facing the road so everyone will see. I’ll lay the tiles out, then surround them with gold painted filigree work to highlight the absurdity. Picture it. The paint will be peeling all around it. The window broken and askew in the rotting frame. And yet, a peek of Taj Mahal level opulence…

“Whoa. I’m not a home improvement expert, but wouldn’t that take a lot of time and effort?”


“…for what is essentially an inside joke that pretty much no one will ever understand?”

You do realize that all you’re doing is talking me into the idea, right?

“*shakes head* You have issues.”

So, so many.

Thus concludes a ramble for Tuesday, October 13, 2015. It’s light out. I’m not going to look across the street and see what’s still left in the free pile. I don’t need it. Right? I mean, who wants a stupid chair, anyway? A stupid, unusual, different, captivating chair. Heh. *breaks out into a sweat*



Mornin’ all.

Has your favorite brand of sunscreen ever just stopped working for you?

Last year, I had no problems with it. This weekend, we had a fun trip to a local dam and an afternoon of pickning fun with friends and family. Sunscreen was applied, reapplied. The older I get the more sensitive to the sun my skin has become. I don’t usually get a sunburn, but if I don’t put on sunscreen, I’ll itch. And itch. And itch all night long. So I’m not one of those “oh, yeah, I kinda waved the bottle around me before I went outside” sunscreen users. No half-assing it, that’s what I’m saying. I put that shit on thick.

After the long, fun day, we packed up and I was about halfway home by the time it dawned on me that I was decidedly uncomfortable. Couldn’t do anything in the car, especially since I was driving. Fortunately, the hydraulic suspension system we have decided to blow a line in the engine and spray hydraulic fluid all over to give me a billowing, smoky distraction to take my mind off the burning. Thanks, Car! Always lookin’ out for me.

So we get home. Unload, get the kiddies wrangled to change out of their damp, sandy swim trunks, and then it’s my turn to get a look at myself in the bathroom mirror.

Is “borscht” a skin tone?

Ugh, folks. UGH.

No outdoors for Bethie for the next few days. I guess that leaves me with a few “to do” choices:

1. Play my video game.

2. Clean.

3. Make an art.

The problem with the video game is that I rage quit yesterday afternoon, but accidentally did so after it auto-saved in a really, really bad spot. I’m surrounded by aliens, all of which are way stronger than my character, and I’ve got shit for ammo, a depressing fact I discovered when I picked the controller back up a little later. It’s going to take patience to get my character out of there, and I just don’t know how much of that I’ve got.

I *could* clean. I suppose. But… um… well, there’s… *brain robots scramble madly through files to come up with a viable excuse* Oh, wait! I know! Okay, so I mentioned the hydraulic line blew on the wagon. While the car is technically drivable, with no hydraulic suspension, the rear end is solidly locked WAY up high, making the car bounce all over the road when I try to drive it.

“Uh, Bethie? What does any of that have to do with cleaning?”

Well, if I start to clean, I just won’t stop and I’ll need to take trips to the dump, which I can’t do in the broken wagon. Darn.

“But, you could mop and shit…”

THE CAR IS BROKEN. I simply cannot clean. Oh well, nothing to be done for it.

That leaves art. I’ve got a painting project to wrap up with the youngest pup. We made paper mache birds to hang in his room, an owl and an eagle. We’ve just got to finish up the detail painting and hang them. That’s a good one to work on for the morning. It’ll get me pumped up to do some different kind of artwork.

I picked up a bunch of posters from the free pile at the junk shop across the way yesterday. I like to take an ugly or boring print and add to it to make it fun and interesting, and there was a box of about a dozen huge, high quality prints, mostly from museums. Score! I can totally deface those puppies. That sounds like fun.

Oh, and I forgot the most important “to do” on this morning’s list: Wait for the New Horizon’s up close Pluto shots to finally come in.

I’m not kidding. I will be refreshing NASA all day until I see some Pluto glamor shots.


Why? WHY!!?? Are you…have you…don’t you…. !!??WHY??!!

For the first time in human history, we are going to get a close shot of the furthest planet in our solar system.

“Bethie, Pluto is not a planet.”

WRONG. They demoted it to a “dwarf planet”, keyword “planet.” So even the idiots that demoted Pluto recognized that a large body that has three moons is most definitely a planet. Also, the closer New Horizons gets, the more NASA and their ilk are being proven wrong. What they thought they knew about Pluto is bullshit.

1. Pluto’s moons are actual moons, not simply asteroids floating nearby. The five small moons DO orbit in a regular pattern, meaning that Pluto has enough mass and spin to create the gravity needed to pull and keep objects in an orbit.

2. Pluto has not only polar ice caps, like any self respecting planet (albeit, methane and nitrogen ice), but an intricate surface, with possible mountains, cliffs, and canyons. Previously, it was assumed that Pluto was no more than a large asteroid that got locked into orbit. Now it seems that Pluto has developed the features we associate with an actual planet. Frozen liquid. Perhaps some sort of internal activity which would lead to the formation of mountains, the cracking into canyons…or flowing water to create these features. Which it shouldn’t have. Logic dictates that it can’t, not so far from the sun. And yet, there are some truly intriguing findings. A real beard stroker.

3. Pluto is larger than NASA thought. Pluto is right on the outskirts of the Kuiper Belt, a hodgepodge of celestial junk milling about on the fringes of our solar system. The logic behind Plutos demotion was that there were other bodies in that belt, specifically Eris, that could be larger. Up close, personal measurements have proven that Pluto IS the largest object in the Kuiper Belt (to date…I mean, the Kuiper belt is HUGE, and there may be some hulking behemoths in there somewhere).

The closer we’ve gotten, the more info we’ve gathered, shattering assumptions about Pluto. And now, New Horizons will get just 7,750 miles away. I know it sounds like a lot. But folks, New Horizons has putt-putted for nine and a half YEARS to get there. It’s already covered almost 3 BILLION miles. 7,750 is nothing.

Okay, let’s put it this way. The moon is 238,900 miles away from us. Think of how much we can see with the naked eye on a clear night, how many details. Now, zoom that image in 30 times. Blow the visible moon up 30 times larger in the night sky. Imagine the details we could see then! Why, we’d be able to see the secret alien landing strip at that point.

It’s happening at 7:50 a.m., my time. And I cannot wait.

What am I really hoping for?

Well, the writer in me really, REALLY wants to see some native critter waving at us, though I’m fairly certain that won’t happen. I’d like to see details of the remains of a true environment. Scars on the land from water, or dormant volcanoes that prove there was once a nuclear heart to the now-icy beast. I want to see something that will re-open the conversation about Pluto.

They’ve already seen so much that there WILL be a push to reinstate it as a full fledged member of our solar system, but I think it’s going to take more than what they’ve discovered so far to give the argument any really substance. Sure, I could start an internet petition. I’m betting it would get tons of signatures. Scientists don’t tend to care about internet petitions.

“Bethie, why do you care so much? It’s a dwarf planet because it is a dwarf.”

Because what the hell is size when the body is spherical, has an orbit around our star, has moons which, in turn, orbit around it, has polar ice caps, has the same geological markings of the other planets in our solar system…

The ONLY reason they demoted Pluto was because it was small. But that does not mean it’s not a functional member of our solar system. If it looks like a planet, and acts like a planet, and has the same magnetism as a planet, then it’s fucking planet.

“But if we say that, then we’ll have to start including other large bodies, like Eris.”

Maybe. And what would be so bad about that? If further investigation into Eris proves that it, too, has the same planetary markers we’ve established as a baseline for our other planets, then why not add it to the list?

When we demoted Pluto, we took a step back. We demoted it based solely on one factor, and that’s just bad science. Hopefully we’ll see something great when those pics come in. Hopefully Pluto will once again get the respect it deserves.


Thus concludes a nerdy Musing for Tuesday, July 14, 2015. I’m off to get more aloe lotion while I wait for history. You know, I wouldn’t have gotten this sunburn on Pluto…

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



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.


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?


“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.



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!


*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…


“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….”


“…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.


“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.


*snap* Out.

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


*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?”


“…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?


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!

Did I just see go-go dancers lining up?


Mornin’ all.

I got up this morning to a Phil Collins song playing on the radio *gak* and weak coffee *shudder*. A most dubious beginning.

Now, I can look at this as an omen, a harbinger of the bad day to come. Or, I could look at these early morning events as the cosmos clearing the deck for me, getting the bad shit out of the way in a timely fashion so I can go about my duties without a cloud hovering above.

I’m going to choose the latter, simply because my second cup of weak ass brew is literally half full, and that’s GOT to be a sign.

Besides, things have improved. Bananarama is playing at the moment, so I don’t have to suffer through Phil Collins anymore, and I’ve started a new pot of real coffee, the kind my iron gut has become inured to over the years.

Yesterday was a busy car work day. We got a door painted, a brake booster tested and re-“o”rigned, and the shiny new beastie charged and started. Boy, is that a nice little car.

“The one you paid a few hundred for?”

Yep! Deal of the friggin’ century…and I’m not just saying that because it was cheap. It wasn’t just cheap, it was unbelievably cheap for what it is. Paint’s nice, interior’s beautiful, no rust, all the parts are there and they work. It has a shifting issue…the floppiness of the shifter leads me to believe it needs new shift bushings, and the color of the transmission fluid tells me it needs to be drained and given fresh fluid and a new filter. Also, if the fluid’s that dark and old, chances are good that a lot of crud has gunked up the gears inside the bell housing and will need to be…


…oh. Right. Sorry. We have a deal about automotive details, don’t we? Fine. I’ll just nutshell it for you then. We have never gotten one of these old diesels in this nice of a condition before, and this is the least we’ve ever paid for one.

Okay, car talk over. Hey, could have been worse. I could have talked about sportsball.

Goo Goo Dolls playing now. Sweet! I think the radio station is apologizing for it’s earlier Phil Collins gaffe, as well it should. And my pot beeped, signaling that the stomach-searing brew I usually start my day drinking is ready. See folks? Optimism isn’t just a concept made up to tick off pessimists. We started out rough and managed to turn it around with a positive attitude and an upbeat outlook.

“Uh, Bethie? The radio just plays on a looped pre-determined track, and you ran out of the crap coffee and had to make more. The same things would have happened to a pessimist.”

…don’t harsh my mellow with your logic. Here, take a cup of this fresh coffee and relax. I made it myself!

“*sip* *pfffbbblllppt*”

Mmm, right?

“That’s not coffee, that’s…that’s…”


“I can feel it dissolving my tongue.”

Don’t fight it. It’s better if you just accept your fate.

“Oh god…I think I accidentally swallowed a little…I can feel it spreading in my belly like hot coals.”

Yeah, uh, you’re probably going to want to get somewhere safe for awhile.


Oh dear. I didn’t know you had such a delicate constitution.

“Delicate constitution my ass!! It melted the coffee mug!

Whoa now. I see you’re one of those folks who gets a bit cranky when they’re under the weather.


Maybe I can do something to cheer you up.

“Like giving me an antidote?”

Silly mortal. There IS no antidote for a proper cup of coffee! No, I’m talking about lifting your spirits. Putting you in the same good mood I’m now in. Want a fresh baked muffin?

…I can tell by your blank stare that’s probably a “no.” Also, I can’t help but notice the smoke coming from the gum holes where your teeth used to be. Maybe I did make it a wee bit stronger than I intended…

“YA THINK??!!”

So if food’s out, then the only other way I can think of to put a little pep in your step is to bring out the go-go dancers and strike up the band for a….





Did you see the snazzy new bedazzled dance costumes on the ladies? And the way they glittered in the morning light?

…come on. Don’t sulk. I know you’re still upset and probably in a fair amount of agony, but it was only coffee. We *have* to be close enough so that we don’t let a little coffee ruin our friendship. Look, I even had the band wear top hats. You’ve never been able to resist a good top hat.

“…*grumble* *mutter* *sigh*…fine.”

That’s the spirit! Give the dancers and the top hatted band a round of applause so we can dive in. As always, I scoured the entire internet (or at least a small corner of it) for headlines that are awkward, weird, misleading, or simply put a funny image in my head. The headlines are 100% HGMO free…I just beef them up with free range jokes. Shall we begin?

– Illinois Man Backs SUV Through Garage Door, A Longtime Wish

Admit it…you’re desperate to know the rest of his bucket list now, too.

– America Searches for Its Pay Raise

Have you checked between the couch cushions?

– To Understand Rick Perry, You Need to Meet His Wife

Question: If Rick Perry were “Ronda Perry”, do you think any editor ever would allow the headline, “To Understand Ronda Perry, You need to Meet Her Husband?” Food for thought.

– Why Australia Has A Walking Fish Problem

Because it’s Australia, where animals spend their lives trying to think of new ways to terrify humanity.

– This PB&J Hack Will Save Your Pants

PB&J…hack? *smh* I…I…just can’t.

– Yellowstone Urges Tourist Common Sense Amid Bison Attacks

I guess the bison don’t want snuggles, folks.

– Pentagon: 51 Labs in 17 States Got Suspended Live Anthrax

Oh, ‘Merica. *sigh* *but not too deeply, because, you know, anthrax*

– TSA’s Competency Questioned After Failed Safety Tests

You mean a group of folks dragged off the street and given minimal training while being paid slightly above minimum wage might not be the most secure force against the war on terror? Huh. Whoda thunk?

– For Green Activists, Arctic Drilling Could Be the Next Big Thing

“Fighting against the whole California drought was a good idea, but it just didn’t pan out. I mean, did you know that California has DESERTS? You have no idea how hot and sweaty it is to protest in LA. So we’re like, ‘Let’s find some shade, man,’ because this global warming is a total bummer. Alaska or bust!”

– California Student Gets OK to Wear Eagle Feather at Graduation

…wait…ONLY an eagle feather?

– Gay Conversion Therapy Court Case Begins: ‘Jonah Lied- They Made it Worse’

So am I to believe that the dude came out of the program “more gay?” Is that…is that even a thing? And if that’s the stance he’s taking, would he have been a-okay with the program if he was “less gay” after? So many questions…

– Cybercrime Experts Try to Outwit Hackers

OH, is that what they do? Thanks to the No Shit Gazette, another great mystery of life has been unraveled.

– Killed By Her Back Alley Butt Implants

I’ve got to be honest. While the image in my head is amazing, I’m a little hesitant to share. I mean, someone died. But…butt. You see my conundrum.

– Duggars on Molestation by Son: ‘We Felt Like Failures’

Wait. Hold the phone. Are they…are they actually trying to garner sympathy after they covered up REPEATED instances of sexual abuse for a year and a half before they went to the police? Seriously?! Yes, Duggars. When you let your daughters continue to suffer after your son has repeatedly admitted to molesting them because you don’t want your precious boy child to get in trouble, you ARE failures.

– California Boot Camp for At-risk Kids Leaves Some Injured

Lazy, spoiled teens who are suddenly forced to go through military training can’t hack the physical strains of being insta-soldiers? Weird. It’s almost as if you’re saying that children aren’t just short adults or something.

– Marine Sanctuary in Jeopardy

Now is the time to step up, America. These men and women fought for our nation. If anyone has the right to roam free and wild in a protected wilderness, it’s them. Help a free-range vet today.

– Cops: Atlanta Driver Who Eluded Police Not So Fast On Foot

Goddammit, No Shit Gazette. You already got your nod for the day. Stop interrupting real news.

– Extreme Sport of Slacklining Gains a Foothold in Iran

If you’ve ever wondered if things have improved in Iran, let this be the answer for you. Iran has become so safe that their people are now looking for stupid ways to put their lives in jeopardy. That’s progress, folks.

– What Happens When There’s No Road to Kick the Can Down?

Um, then people will find better things to do with their time than kick cans.

– Lincoln Chafee Unveils Presidential Run, Puzzling Longtime Allies

Someone get Chafee a little aloe for that burn. Also, introduce him to some new friends, because DAMN.

– Manchester Peregrine Falcon Chicks Tagged

I’m all for art, but Banksy’s gone too far this time.

– Family Served Arrest Warrants for Cheering

There’s always one in the group that thinks every second of their child’s life needs to be accompanied by hoots, hollers, and bizarre urgings to “rip his head off, Bobby!” Don’t tell me a small part of you isn’t pumping your fist about this headline right now.

– Apple’s Tim Cook Delivered Blistering Speech on Encryption, Privacy

Oooh snap.

– The One Thing You Need to Know to Pass a Polygraph Test

Tell the truth.

Lookee! I can write an article, too! Now…how do I get paid?

– Man Gets Speeding Ticket for Going Speed Limit

About time law abiding citizens get what’s not coming to them!

– Colorado School Bans Gay Valedictorian’s Speech

Because in America, who you love is more important than how hard you’ve worked. #CommonCoreLife

– GOP’s Problem: Millennials Don’t Really Remember Ronald Reagan

Is that really their problem? Is it?

– KFC Is Going to Court to Dispel Rumors of GMO Spider Chickens

Spider chicken: Best. Superhero. EVER.

– Science Teacher Suspended for Using Jammer to Shut Up Students’ Cell Phones

Yes, let’s punish the teacher for actually wanting to have students listen to the lessons. #CommonCoreLife.

– 2 Arrested in Home Invasion; Stun Gun Used On Children

Don’t judge until you’ve seen a toddler use a binkie to shank a bitch.

– Kim Kardashian Says Dress Caught on Fire; Pharrell Saved Her

Dammit Pharrell.

KIDDING. Sheesh. Touchy this morning, aren’t you?

– School Axes Yearbook Photos of Teen Girls Who Refused to Wear Dresses

Thank god SOMEone finally¬†stopped those girls from putting crazy thoughts in boys’ heads with their pants that show a female figure! #CommonCoreLife

– Authorities Unlikely to Stop 2016 Fundraising Free-for-all

Anyone else getting a fantastic image of Hillary and Bernie inside one of those money booths with the dollar bills flying all around, snatching and grabbing and throwing elbows and having it turn into an all out tug of war over the crumpled bucks, and Hillary sneering, “That’s mine, bitch!” and Bernie cackling with glee as he jabs Hillary with his cane and shouts, “MAPLE SYRUP FOR LYFE HAG!!!” ?

…just me, then?

Well. This got awkward.

Thus concludes a Morning Musing, Roundup style for Thursday, June 4, 2015. I’m off to do more of that work you don’t want details about, and I might even listen to sportsball talk radio while I do it. You best have someone take a look at your mouth. I don’t think it should still be sizzling like that…

A somber start to a solemn day…


Mornin’ all.

The day is starting out with a heavy feeling in the air. It’s overcast, with humidity that hints that summer is just around the corner. A thick blanket of dew has covered the available surfaces, and the mourning doves are cooing their haunting moans as they look down upon it all from the power lines.

I’m a writer, and as such, it’s my job to attempt to accurately capture a feeling as succinctly as possible. If I had to put a word to the feeling of this early morning in one word, I’d call it somber.

I think that’s a perfect way for today to begin. Here in the US, it’s Memorial Day, a day when we pause our lives to remember the men and women and, unfortunately, a few children who fought and died as members of our armed forces.

We’ve got a very odd relationship with our soldiers in this country. We need them. Humanity in general has not been able to handle the idea of Utopia. Some whackadoo gets twitchy and itchy and bored and decides the best thing to do to alleviate the malaise is bomb something, shoot someone, or invade someplace.

As long as a sense of self exists in human beings, then there WILL be someone who wants their particular self to be at the top, and will do whatever it takes to get there.

War is inevitable.

“That’s awful cynical of you, Bethie.”

No. It’s just fact. It’s just how our world works, or at least how it’s worked so far. Every single era of human history has been wrought with (and often defined by) battle. Some wars were fought over land. Many, actually. Some wars were fought against oppression; all, depending on which side of the coin you’re on. Wars are fought over religion, which is singlehandedly the most inane reason to kill a bunch of someones, and also fought against religion, which is still wholly unreasonable.

As long as there are humans, there *will* be within us a sense of personal righteousness and justice that *will* differ from others, whatever the cause of the disagreement. And so far, we haven’t grown up enough to realize that we don’t have to pick up swords or guns or missiles in order to come to a mutually unsatisfactory compromise.

We’re getting there, though. Right now, I’d liken humanity to being in our early adulthood. We’ve passed the toddler years, where everything was a temper tantrum. We’ve somehow struggled through the awkward trials of adolescence, when everything was wicked unfair and no one else could possibly understand what we were talking about. Gawd. We are on the cusp of leaving the late teens, where we truly started to think with a broader, more mature outlook, and now we’re standing on the precipice of real comprehension…we acknowledge that there IS a future, that we CAN shape it, and that wars and killing and dying do not HAVE to be the only way to get us there.

The age of the internet has finally allowed us to start making leaps and bounds to the period of understanding and acceptance that will lead to the majority of people settling differences with words and symbolism instead of relying on the old stalwarts of human conflict, Mr. Stabby and Mrs. Kablooie. We can see that it is possible. And, we even want it. As a group, more and more of us are actually truly wanting peace, not just saying it to look good.

For the first time in human history, we can click a few buttons and look into the real lives of the people we’re supposed to hate. We can see the mothers of the particular group we’re shooting while they weep over the bodies of their sons and daughters, just as we are doing ourselves on our own side of the world. We can see smiling babies and grinning old men who are both happily gumming down some fresh fish at a market. We can watch a YouTube clip of a Dad sitting proudly in a graduation ceremony for his kid, and a Mom licking her finger to brush off a smudge of dirt as her daughter rolls her eyes.

For the first time, anyone with an internet connection can see the people we are supposed to hate and fear. And while we used to be able to pretend that every *fill in classically hostile nation or group of your choice* was bad, the internet has proven that not to be the case. MOST of the aforethought “bad” people aren’t, in fact, bad, and we’re having a really hard time hating them enough to send someone to end their lives.

And yet, we cannot ignore facts. As much as we want to think that everyone is eager to join us on this path filled with rainbows and unicorns, we can’t deny that they don’t. There are people out there who still want war, and are willing to attack and kill those who don’t.

It makes for a very awkward relationship with our military. We don’t want to fight, yet we have to. We don’t want any of our guys killing other people, but they must.

See, I’m like most modern Americans. I hate the idea of war. I’m ready to settle everything with thumb wrestling and move on with life. That said, I love and respect the men and women who volunteer to fight the wars we haven’t yet been able to figure out how to prevent.

It’s hard to reconcile the two seemingly dichotomous view points.

Maybe this difficulty is not really that modern of an issue. Did you know that Memorial Day wasn’t an official federal holiday until 1971?


Do you know what other federal holidays were officially observed before Memorial Day? Almost every single other one. The only newly-proposed nationally observed holiday that came after Memorial Day was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, federally adopted in 1983.

It took our country nearly two hundred years to decide that the scores upon scores of soldiers that died to a) get us here, and b) keep us going, deserved an official day of remembrance. Almost 200 years before the very government that sent these men, women, and children to battle deigned to officially acknowledge their ultimate sacrifice. I’m not kidding when I say we’ve got a very odd relationship with our armed forces!

Perhaps that’s why so many folks see today as nothing more than the “unofficial start of summer,” a reason to go to a CUH-RAY-ZEE sale down at Ed’s Auto Barn where they’ll be treated like a king with these CUH-RAY-ZEE deals, or to pull the blankets back over their throbbing heads in a mix of pain and shame at the memories of dancing on the picnic table with their shirt off at the first BBQ of the season. There are a good amount of folks who will see today as nothing more than a free day off.

But it’s not hyperbole to say that today is not at all “free”. It’s not eye-rolling, over-the-top patriotism to stop and remember that there was, and still¬†IS, a cost.

We are a nation because we decided that England could ‘eff off. By the end of our American Revolution, it is estimated that nearly 25,000 soldiers (men and children) died from either their primary wounds or infections from said wounds while they served.

That doesn’t seem like a big number, especially for a war, so let’s put it into perspective. My town has a population of about 4,300 people. In the American Revolution, almost 6 of my entire town’s worth of people died fighting to make us a nation. Six of my whole town…gone.

In the US Civil War, around 620,000 soldiers died. That’s 147 of my towns. Or, all of Boston. Every man, woman, and child in Boston.

In the World Wars, we lost a combined total of around 520,000. 123 of my towns, or all of Tucson. All of it.

And Vietnam, the war that wasn’t a war, the one the US people suddenly didn’t want but our government kept at anyway, saw nearly 60,000 casualties of US soldiers. 14 of my town.

But that’s history, right? That’s in the past.

Our current “war on terror” that began in 2001 and has shifted focus here and there, has produced around 6,700 US military casualties. That’s a town and a half of mine, completely gone. While I’m writing this, the totally slowly grows.

That’s 6,700 volunteers, too. No draft. No compulsion or collusion. Soldiering is not mandatory, as it is in some nations. Six thousand seven hundred men and women not only intentionally enlisted in our armed forces to fight the wars our government elected to join, but paid the ultimate price. They went into service knowing there was a good chance they weren’t coming home, and they went anyway.

They went to stop people from oppressing others.

They went to prevent the bombers from moving across the water to our “greener pastures”.

They went so that our government wouldn’t have to force quivering masses of jelly like me to pick up a gun and defend myself.

I wish they didn’t have to go. I wish there weren’t wars. I wish that terrorists didn’t exist and that every insane despot got the mental help they needed in time to stave off a horrifyingly brutal dictatorship. I wish people didn’t want to kill other folks, and I wish they weren’t getting sick of bombing their own people and looking across the ocean toward ours. I wish so many things. But wishing doesn’t make it happen. Wanting doesn’t keep us safe.

Soldiers do.

We stayed, and they went for us. In doing so, over a million and a half have laid down their lives so that we could keep living ours.

Whatever your feelings on war, please, PLEASE remember that no matter how much you wish war doesn’t exist, it does. Put the mustard down and set the beer-fueled antics aside for a moment to remember that our “free” day had one helluva price tag, and take time today¬†to honor those who selflessly picked up the tab. It is honestly the very least we all can do.

Thus concludes a Musing for Memorial Day mourning on Monday, May 25, 2015.