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

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Mornin’ all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s bleak, my friends.

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

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

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

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

Not one goddamn bit.

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

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

I like that.

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

And isn’t that a wicked pisser?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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If anything, Fred sat on a mammoth to mine the quarry.

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Mornin’ all.

I just read a statistic that makes me sad.

41% of adults in America believe human beings probably coexisted with dinosaurs.

“Um, Bethie? Are we just going to pretend it hasn’t been forever since you’ve posted?”

…is there a problem with that plan?

“I’d kind of like to know where you’ve been.”

Life was shit for awhile. I had my hands full. It’s hard to type when you’re sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the other shoe to drop while simultaneously ducking a falling piano. But it’s getting better. I can juggle a few things at a time again. Eye of the storm and silver lining and yada yada…

FORGET THE CLICHES!!! DIDN’T YOU HEAR WHAT I JUST SAID!? How can you possibly sit there so calm and collected when 41% of Americans believe human beings roamed the earth with dinosaurs? Nearly half! 14% believe we “definitely” did, while 27% think it was “probable.”

Nearly half of the adults in this country think the Flintstones was a history lesson .

I’m weeping into my coffee, folks, and not just because the miasma wafting off the top of this nasty brew makes it burn every time I inhale.

“Made your own coffee this morning, did you?”

Yep. If I go into convulsions, send help.

Gawd that stat is depressing. And I don’t just mean in a general “I fear for the future” kind of way. It’s a huge step backwards, and while there have been other leaps back in recent years, this one cuts deep.

As a kid, I loved dinosaurs. LOVED them. I had dino books, knew the stats of all the cool ones, had several dinosaur figurine sets. I had this really cool set of glow in the dark ones that I used to put under my sister’s blanket to scare her at night. They were pretty bitchin’.

You know what I never learned as a child of the 1980’s, with no access to the internet and the world of knowledge it could provide? I never once learned that dinosaurs roamed the earth with people. Didn’t happen. Not a single dino set came with cavemen. There were precisely zero cavemen pictured in the dinosaur books I read, and if you went to school and talked about dinosaurs, you were encouraged, not hushed up.

41%. Damn.

I was very lucky as a child to have academically-minded parents. Frequent readers of this blog might remember me mentioning a time or dozen that my mum was a librarian for most of my childhood. My dad was an engineer, but his degree was in geology with a side passion for paleontology. We grew up hearing about the geological history of the earth and what the changes did to the various incarnations of dominant organisms through the eras, and were always encouraged to learn more on our own.

I still have some of my dad’s fossils. There’s a huge one he chipped out himself when he was a young adult that he was so proud of. Wide and flat and kind of shaped like Kentucky, it was a section of a lake bottom that had fossilized through the eons, locking in dozens of small plants and animals that had settled into the mud upon death. I take that one out and look at it a lot. I rub my fingers over the biggest trilobite, the one that has some very inept chip marks from his untrained chisel in the rock around its base.

I can remember sitting with him at the dining room table before bed in my Underoos and robe listening to him point out the different species. I was probably six at the time. He had a magnifying glass and was carefully inspecting every inch of his prized treasure, even though he knew each millimeter of that chunk of geological history by heart. I remember it clear as day, the look on his face, his excitement at having that slice of the earth as fresh and sharp then as it was the day he found it.

And even then, I knew without question that humans didn’t live with any goddamn dinosaurs.

What happened, America? When did we get to this point where 41% of you refuse to grasp what a 6 year old with the attention of a tse tse fly knew to be fact?

You know the answer. I know the answer. Everyone knows the answer, even if they won’t say it. Religion. We’re in the grip of a blind religious fervor at the moment and people are froggy to get all het up about anything.

I never understood why science and religion can’t coexist, at least on some level. Take whatever religion you follow, whichever deity. Now, think of every new scientific discovery as proof that your Creator is even more clever than you imagined. Voila. Easy.

“That’s not how it works, Bethie.”

Why not?

No, I mean it. This is a serious question. Why doesn’t it work that way? Why is a new scientific discovery scary? Or a lie of the devil? Or inherently discordant with a singular creator?

The plain truth is that it’s not. Or, at the very least, it doesn’t have to be.

Is it a matter of fear? The discomfort the unknown brings? Or is it simply easier for people to cover their ears instead of learn, absorb, and adapt new information into their ethos?

Damned if I know. I’m just a blogger hopped up on too much caffeine trying to type through the spasms and twitches.

41%. *heavy sigh*

I suppose I should take comfort in that number. Could be worse, right? 41 is still less than half. And it’s bound to improve now that the dinosaur-denying Canadian has zero chance of being our next president. At least we won’t be led by someone whose father pretty much spearheaded the “dinosaurs are lies of Communists” movement. There is that.

Other odd beliefs that fly in the face of proven science are already waning in popularity. Less than a decade ago, 80% of Americans didn’t believe in global warming or climate change, even though it was demonstrably proven in their own lifetime. Now that number is only about 38%. That’s a huge shift in thinking in just a ten years.

Maybe in another ten years, we’ll be back to understanding that there’s no way Fred rode a diplodocus to mine in the quarry.

Imagine the progress we’ll be able to resume making then.

Thus concludes a quick Musing for Wednesday, May 4, 2016. I just want to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to Ted Cruz. By dropping out, he’s pretty much assured the nation of another 4 years with a democrat in office unless the Republicans have a magic rabbit in the hat. Thanks, Ted! I know you get a lot of heat for being the Zodiac killer with a face like a squished depressed muppet, but in my book right now, you’re okay.

If you snooze, you Cruz…

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Mornin’ all.

So my cat decided I was a pin cushion in the night. I honestly don’t know what the hell. My first thought was, “Did Timmy fall down that goddamn well again? Because I swear, if that little asshole didn’t learn to stay away from abandoned wells by now…”

But then I woke up enough to realize that the world around me was in color, I don’t even have a Timmy, and cats are just dicks.

She looked at me with big owl eyes. I looked at her with eyes that could not have been so cute and inviting. She blinked. I refused to blink back, the ultimate snub in the world of cats. She slowly withdrew her paw and tiptoed out of my room.

There was nothing amiss when I got up. She didn’t even have a toilet paper shredding party she wanted to show me. I think she was just bored and wanted to wake someone up. There are four children in this house…why you gotta pick ME?

Speaking of children…

My heart is in a state of melancholy today. I had the Santa talk with the Little Pup last night.

Oh shit. Hang on. Uh…spoiler alert. If you still hold on to the magical belief in a gift-bearing chimney sweep and his mystical flying cervine, then perhaps you should skip the next few paragraphs. I’m not judging you at all and there will be no weirdness between us when you return. Just look for the * and you’ll know to pick up where this leaves off…

For everyone else: We were sitting on the couch trying to fold construction paper circles into sixths to make snowflakes (top tip: dollar store construction paper folds like shit. I mean, in hindsight, that should probably go without saying, huh?) and he said, “Hey, do you believe in Santa, Mum?”

Every parent who’s perpetuated a nine year con knows the icy panic of this moment. The instant sweat on their brow, their minds making the cartoon “hummina hummina hummina,” the struggle to think of what to say. When Teen Prime was not so teen-like and approached me with the same general idea, I had days of anxiety after wondering if I handled things properly.

However, Little Pup is the fourth kid I’ve crushed with the truth, so I’ve got it down pat. I said, “Do YOU believe in Santa?” Because if your child still believes, and you’re like, “Shit no! Santa? Why the hell would I believe in THAT?” well, then, you are an asshole and you better start a collection jar for your child’s future therapy. No, you have to feel the kid out. Each kid is different. Some kids need to hold on to Santa just one more year, ya know? And some kids are ready, and need to know that you’re not going to lie when they point-blank you a question.

Little Pup clearly didn’t believe. He had that look in his eye when he said, “Well, I want to believe in Santa. Some of my friends don’t. And you did have all those fuzzy dice on your Amazon watch list.”

…yeah, okay. My bad. A couple years back he asked Santa for fuzzy dice. You know, the kind that dangle from rear view mirrors in bad 70s movies. Why? Who knows? He’s a little boy. You can’t try to apply logic or reason. Anyway, Santa found an incredible deal on a CASE of fuzzy dice. Apparently, Santa forgot that little snoops look over shoulders, and that Amazon does a real shitty job of helping you hide secrets. THANKS Amazon.

I gave him my practiced spiel, how parents perpetuate the Santa legend to teach kids the spirit of giving and to help the holiday feel magic yada yada. He took it very well. I mean, guys, he’s 9. And he’s got older brothers. I made sure to tell him that he now knows a big secret, and to never tell any little kids that Santa isn’t real. He seemed to like that part of it, that he’s now “in on it”.

I’m not so sure I took it so well. Maybe I’m the one who wanted him to have just one more year. Gah. Best get this back on solid footing. Things are starting to feel sad. Let’s get the believers back in here and change the subject.

*Spoliers over* *c’mon back*

Say, how about this zany election cycle, huh?

“*turns back around to walk off*”

Oh, now wait a second! Don’t leave again. I won’t dwell on it, I just have a theory.

I think Donald Trump is actually working for the Ted Cruz campaign.

NO! Listen. Who the hell is Ted friggin’ Cruz? Aside from a muppet with perpetual RSF (Resting Sad Face), I mean. No one knows. Here’s this guy who’s not a genius, but he’s not a total moron, either. He’s as middle of the road as the Republican party can seem to get these days. He doesn’t have great policy ideas, but he certainly seems fairly malleable. He’s not a good choice to the public, but he’s not the worst. He’s a former Canadian citizen, for god’s sake! Talk about friendly, eh?

“Uh, Bethie? The birthers are okay with this?”

YES BECAUSE HE’S REPUBLICAN. And it’s Canada, not Hawaii, so. You know.

Besides, who else have they got?

Bush can’t win. He can’t. His last name is Bush. Fiorina won’t win because she has ABF (active bitch face) and the stick is up her ass, not jutting out front, erect for freedom. Christie? Pfft. Nope. Huckabee? Are you friggin’ kidding me with that shit?

The Republicans needed a candidate, one that could actually win.

“But Trump can win, Bethie.”

No. No he can’t. He has high poll numbers, because the pollsters in his pockets are careful about who they poll. If you take a poll of 1,000 known Trump supporters, then you can accurately say that 1,000 of the people polled support Trump. Numbers are very easy. You show ’em a good time, and they’ll put out. Anyone can work numbers.

Working numbers does not equate to reality, though. Trump will not win. He just won’t. People like watching because he’s a one man show. He’s entertainment. Orange, ignorant entertainment. He makes awesome sound bytes and gives plenty of water cooler fodder. That’s being popular, sure, but in the same way that your drunk uncle who stuck his head up the turkey’s ass at Thanksgiving is popular. Everyone talks about him, but no one’s writing him into their will anytime soon.

Trump is America’s drunk uncle. If he is on a ticket next year squaring off against Bernie or Hillary, the democrats WILL win. He’s fun to watch, he makes good tv, but when you’re looking at the ballot and imagining him in the oval office, your hand will honestly slap the shit out of your own face before it’ll let you check mark Trump’s name.

The Republicans don’t want another Democrat in office, no matter who that Democrat might be. They want to take back the white house, and they can’t do that with Trump.

Which they know. Which they’ve ALWAYS known.

Ah, but they CAN use Trump to get a different Republican in that coveted seat. They can use him to make a malleable candidate look enticing to the American public. Let’s conspirize for a few minutes, shall we?

What if Trump has been a patsy all along?

What if the Republicans were like, “Look, Donny Baby. You like money. You like the Republicans. You have no concept of personal shame and we at the Republican party respect that. We’ve got a proposition for you, a way you can help us all. We NEED a Republican in office next term, but so far, the pool of hopefuls looks pathetic. We need you to pretend to run. Get out there. Ham it up. We’ve been laying the groundwork for years, telling people how much better life in this great nation will be if we get a Republican in office. They’re whipped up and scared. The hard part’s already done. What we need from YOU is to go out there and play on it. Throw around a few catch phrases. Dig into those raw and terrified emotions. Keep them hungry for a Republican while we weed out the field. Then, when we’ve got the candidate we think can actually win, we’ll give you the signal to kick it up. Start going off. Say things, outrageous things, mind-blowingly racist things that’ll make our guy look like a fucking beacon of hope in this god forsaken race. We’ll make it worth your while. You want bigger tax breaks? Done. You want permission to build your next casino on protected marsh lands? Fuck the marshes! No one likes herons anyway! Child labor laws getting in your way? Schmild shmlabor shmlaws is what I say!”

I think we have to believe this theory. I think this must be the truth. How else would Ted Whatshisname be skyrocketing in the polls? A no name. A sad no name. A guy who looks like he’d be far more comfortable with a binkie and a blankie than a microphone and a podium. THAT is the man who is leading the Republican race.

Guys, I’m not big on conspiracy theories. It’s not that I don’t believe them, it’s that honestly, I generally just don’t care. We live in a world filled with nosy, sneaky, devious humans. Duh. Plots and ploys and control and subterfuge have been happening since the dawn of time. If you don’t accept that about our species, then you’ve got some serious self-denial going on. At the end of the day, if I’ve had some food, had some fun, and had some snuggles with the ones I love, I’m good. If I had all that and was still sitting here with a tin foil hat on and my guts in a jiggle about the thought of conspiracies happening all around me, then I’M the one with the problem, right?

But sometimes, you take a little step back and look at the big picture and can’t help but see the truth. And the truth here is…

Illuminati.

Clearly that’s the only explanation for Donald Friggin’ Trump and Ted Sad-Canadian Cruz being the two biggest names in our current election cycle. That is some next level crazy and only people with endless money and boredom can make that happen.

Thus concludes your conspiracy for the day for Tuesday, December 15, 2015. You know what I would love to have happen? I would love it if I got one of those polling calls from the Republican party today. That would prove my theory quite nicely. Ah, but now I’ve put them in a bind, haven’t I? What are you going to do, Republican Illuminati? The ball’s in your court.

I roamed and rambled, only without the pesky “roaming”…

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Mornin’ all.

Family Holiday turned out fantastic! Great weather…perfect, in fact. Low 80s, but dry with a light breeze and plenty of shady trees to sit under. Great people. We had a couple folks pop in and they joined the revelry. Great kids, who didn’t have one single argument (except when they played a few rounds of Smash Bros. together, but with five kids taking turns smashing bros, that’s just part of the deal). The food came out awesome *toot toot of my own horn* and the stupid little games we had went over well. The teens at least tolerated most of them. That’s all I can ask! Sunday was perfect.

Yesterday, however, was not. I always say that life is a pendulum. Sunday was definitely the peek of the arc. Yesterday…yesterday was one of “those” days. I suppose if I didn’t have “those” days, I wouldn’t appreciate the Sundays as much. But jeez, Fate. I’m not stupid and you didn’t need to brow beat me. I could have inferred that lesson and still had at least one thing go right yesterday.

It started with the naive belief that I could emerge victorious from a battle with a mutinous appliance. I wrestled with my washing machine. AGAIN. Third time trying to fix it in less than a year. This time, it fought back.

Naw dude, you don’t even understand. It literally fought back. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but when I was unfastening the last bolt to remove the gear case, the whole internal assembly…shifted? Gained sentience just to eff me over? Harnessed the wisdom of a thousand Whirpool senseis to know the precise moment to launch a stealthy counter offensive? Dunno. What I *do* know is that I dragged myself out of the ring and hit the bell with a bleeding finger, a throbbing hand, and bruises on both my leg and my ego.

She won, folks. Long and short, I tasted the acrid tang of defeat. She sits there, looming uselessly in the corner. The outer casing that was sloppily slapped back together is slightly askew, tilting to one side in a sneer that lends an air of smug defiance.

I hate that washing machine. It’s a bubbling pool of loathing in the back of my throat that will not go away. Oh, my kingdom for a wrecking ball!

In the foul mood this clearly brought about, I went to the store. I hit a pothole so massive that I’m not entirely positive it wasn’t a portal to a different dimension. My beastie let out a blood-curdling scrape. I didn’t look. I haven’t looked. I’m too scared that I’ll get down and see a cartoonishly jagged rip underneath. We’re going with the Wile E. Coyote theory on this one and hoping for the best. As long as we don’t look, all is well.

Had to go to the school to pick up the youngest. He got out late, and we sat there. And sat there. And sat there, in the sticky and humid rain that was so hard we could only crack our windows, waiting for some selfless person to let us in the exit line. Didn’t happen. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my two decades of driving, it’s that rain erases all kindness on the road. “You want to get out? Well SCREW YOU! Can’t you see that it’s RAINING? What kind of moron would expect me to stop my three mile per hour escape to let them get to the road first in the RAIN? Pfft. Newb.”

It took twelve minutes. Twelve minutes of sitting there in a hot and steamy car in the rain watching the smirking faces of all the people who wanted to badly to flip me off and laugh as they passed, but knew they had to keep it together because the kids were in the car.

Did I mention the kiddo had to pee?

AND IT WAS RAINING???

Have you ever had to sit immobile in a steamy car in the rain for twelve minutes with a kid who had to pee? I’d rather not do that one ever again, Fate, k thx.

When I finally got out of the parking lot, I almost got pegged by my asshole neighbor who thinks every time he pulls out of the drive he’s suddenly transported to Talladega. He had the audacity to flip ME off for daring to drive on a public highway when HE wanted to peel out. I know. I’m such a douche like that. Then dinner was late, I knocked over an open soda can in the fridge (seriously, who leaves an open can of soda in the fridge? Either drink that shit or dump it out. Bad teenagers, bad.)

I guess what I’m saying is that it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad…

“Achem, Bethie? As your legal advisor, I must interject and stop you before you finish that phrase. You do not have the licensing rights to use it, in whole or in part.”

Oopsie! Almost forgot. Thanks. Let’s just hope Judith Viorst isn’t reading this.

*Author’s note: DUDE I totally mean the exact opposite of that. How flippin’ amazing would it be if Judith Viorst actually IS reading this? If you’re looking, Hey Jude! Don’t take it bad…*

“BETHIE NO!! DO NOT even THINK of continuing THAT one!!!”

*Jeez, chill, man. I said it as an aside between asterisks. Everyone knows an aside can’t be considered in a lawsuit as long as you put it between asterisks.*

“*blink**blink*…you have no idea how the law works, do you?”

*Of course not. I wouldn’t dream of stepping on your toes. Hey, can we just get back to the Muse now?*

Okay, okay, I’ll admit that as bad days go, it wasn’t exactly horrible. It wasn’t even in my top hundred list of bad days. But jeepers, one thing after the other just grates on my nerves, ya know?

Today has dawned with clear skies. I’ll take that as a good omen. It’s also the last day of school for the little one, who is already up and raring to go on the couch, finding it impossible to contain his excitement. I don’t mind an excited kid, but he’s not sticking to Morning Rule #1: No talking to Mum before the first cup of coffee is down the hatch. I’m giving him a pass, because I know just how much he’s itchy for this school year to end. I’ve got my headphones on so I can’t hear him, but he’s bopping around just in the edge of my vision and do you have any idea how utterly annoying that is and…hang on a sec. I’ll be right back.

…back. I handed him his tablet and he is now watching hilarious YouTube videos.

“Digital bribery?”

Stop raising that eyebrow at me because it’s not going to work. I’ve been at this parenting thing far too long to look at bribery as a bad thing. First kid? Nope. Nuh uh. No way. By the book with strict limits and gentle pleading and reminders that he needed to behave for the sake of personal pride he’d feel at adhering to the rules of the house and…

Second kid? FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS RIGHT AND FAIR AND JUST IN THIS WORLD, TAKE THIS MAGIC BOX OF ELECTRIC AWESOMENESS AND GO IN YOUR ROOM AND LET IT ENTRANCE YOU SO MUMMY CAN GET FIVE MINUTES OF PEACE!!

You bet your sweet bippy I use digital bribery.

There were a couple news items I wanted to bring up today, but I’ve already rambled quite a bit, so I’ll be brief.

“Is that even possible?”

I’m going to ignore that remark since your legal guidance has been extremely beneficial this morning. But I’m putting you on notice.

Anyway, the first story is that Donald Trump is running for president.

Let me know when you’re done laughing. Or groaning. Or ranting. Or simply fed up with political stories already and the damn election is still so far away. This is not the first time Donald has claimed he was running for president. Anyone want to take bets on whether he actually sticks with it this time?

Even if he doesn’t, our options are getting broader and broader, huh?

Imma give you a list of our current official candidates:

On the Dem side, we’ve got: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, and Lincoln Chafee.

On the Rep side, we’ve got: Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, Rick Perry, and now Donald Trump.

As well as those, there are several people who are openly still “feeling out” the public before they decide. I don’t like this. I know it’s part of politics, but if you need to spend months publicly “feeling out” people before you decide if you’ll be president, I don’t want you in the oval office. Period. If you can’t make up your own mind on what you want, then I have no time for your ego stroking shenanigans. Someone who gets the job should want the JOB, not just a prom court crown for being popular.

I’m on the fence with who to like among the candidates, though there are plenty to hate. That’s good. I mean, if we didn’t have at least a few controversial scum puppies in the fray, the elections would be a very boring process indeed. Imagine turning on the tv and only seeing GOOD ads! How utterly droll.

“Bethie, did I detect a hint of sarcasm?”

NO-OHHH. None at all.

Too soon to back anyone, but at the moment, I’m kind of liking the cow tipper. MAPLE SYRUP FOR LYFE, HAG.

The second bit of news, which honestly really does relate to the first in a way we, as a nation, really need to consider, is that the border patrol on our south western quarter is now classifying undocumented babies as “illegal workers” in an effort to get them deported faster.

Look, I’m all the way up here in NH. Our neighbor country in my neck of the woods is Canada. Would you believe that we don’t really have a problem with Canadians sneaking over the border? In fact, up here, sneaking is often done the OTHER direction.

Because of this, my life in terms of living with and understanding the day to day effects of illegal immigration from southern nations is very, very sheltered. I get that. I do. And I’m not even going to pretend otherwise. Why should I? My truth is that I live in part of the country that does not deal with ANY aspects of it. So believe me, I know my opinion should most definitely be taken with a grain of salt.

…or should it?

We once painted my Grammie’s kitchen for her while she was away. She loved green, so my dad got a nice, bright green. The sample didn’t look garish or anything and we happily painted the night away. We let it dry and came back the next morning, pleased with how well we did. It wasn’t until someone else came in and saw it and said, “MY GAWD that’s HIDEOUS!” that we were able to step back and see beyond the hours of work we put in to the color itself. It was, indeed, hideous.

But while we were in the thick of it, we couldn’t see that. We were too focused on dealing with the paint and the rollers and covering furniture and masking off the woodwork…we were too focused on the details to see the overall picture.

Electrified gecko, by the way. That’s what I’d now call that color. Hid-e-ous.

Maybe me living in the US outside the divided “war” zone of immigration problems gives me not a sheltered view, but an overall look at the bigger picture that people who are in the thick of things can’t see for themselves?

The story about the babies being migrant workers goes like this. Classically, the forces that handle illegal immigration cases (from cops and agents, to lawyers and judges) don’t really consider babies to be threats.

Oh, how naive, right? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: All babies are just a hair’s breadth away from shanking you with a binkie.

They’ve conned the nation, though, and since folks buy into the “helpless” persona, babies aren’t viewed as a threat, and classically, deportation cases involving babies have been pushed to the side in our system that is overwhelmed and bogged down. The system puts a low priority on deporting babies, and instead focuses attention on captured adults. (And of those captured adults, they really only have the time and resources to really pursue folks who have committed crimes outside of simply being here illegally, or those whom the government has deemed a threat.)

The US border patrol sees the problem differently. Since many people come to the US illegally to have their babies on US soil, thus making the infants US citizens, they believe that cracking down on deporting babies will send a message to anyone considering crossing the border illegally. To make the cases a higher priority and to get more attention, the border patrol has…upped (?) their game (I’m not sure you’d call it that, but they really did go from zero to a billion) by listing the babies as illegal migrants who have done other illegal things, such as receive fraudulent welfare/social service benefits and illegally obtained identification paperwork to seek work. This is a big no-no right now, because the only thing the US hates more than non-working undocumented workers is tax-paying working ones.

In a nutshell, in the minds of the border patrol, labeling babies as illegals looking to steal resources and jobs puts a big red flag on the cases and they’ll be fast tracked and dealt with so swiftly that any expecting parents in southern nations wouldn’t even consider hopping the border before Jr. is born.

There are a couple problems with their theory, though.

First, anyone who is desperate enough to get out of their current situation for a shot at a better life for Jr. will not- I repeat- WILL NOT follow the case law for deportation of babies. They just won’t. They do not care. These are people who are poor or scared or so strung out living the life they have that they are willing to risk death itself for a shot at something that might be better. The decision to come to the US illegally to have a baby is NOT about what they can get from the US, but what they can give their child. Period.

And secondly…THEY ARE BABIES, ASSHOLES. No one, not a single cop, agent, lawyer or judge is going to look at the “rap” sheet of an 11 day old baby (true case, folks. 11 days old. DAYS.) and consider the individual to be dangerous. No one.

We need reasonable approaches to immigration reform, and arresting babies just isn’t it. All this does is make the US look like even bigger douchebags on the international front. Serious problems need serious solutions. I think they just took a company poll, put the suggestions on the Wheel of Fortune, and gave it a spin. That is honestly the only way I can think this idea became policy.

Hold on a sec…this just in. We have a breaking news story. Donald Trump has made a statement on his ideas for immigration reform:

“When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are not sending you. They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs and they are bringing crime, and they’re rapists.”

*crickets**crickets*

Donald Trump, ladies and gentlemen. Your latest 2016 presidential candidate.

“…you got any more of those Maple Syrup stickers kicking around, Bethie?”

Thus concludes a very long winded Muse for Wednesday, last day of school 2015. Honestly, if you stuck around this long, I’m duly impressed! That’s an extra hour of YouTube for you, my friend! Now be a good kid and don’t shank anyone with your binkie while Mummy goes and works on the car…

I’m Beth Reason and I approved the following Musing…

Standard

Mornin’ all.

I’m training my youngest teen to make coffee since the resident baristo is getting older and won’t always be on hand. As I choke down this witch’s brew, I’m thinking I shouldn’t have been the one to train him. He makes coffee like I do now. *sigh* I hope a stomach lining isn’t strictly necessary. I mean, people can live without entire spleens, so I think I can spare just a bit of stomach. Right?

In other news, I got my cover art done.

“Finally!”

Hey, that’s not very nice.

“What? You want a medal or something?”

…well…now that you mention…

“No.”

Eh, it was worth a shot.

I’m okay with how it turned out. It wasn’t my best design, but it wasn’t my worst. And it’s done, that’s the main thing. I got the book formatted for upload, too. It turned out to be harder than I expected to decide where to put the “chapter” links in the table of contents. It was written in diary format, and often books in such a style don’t bother with chapters at all. However, it’s a digital book, and it’s a real pain in the ass to try and remember where you left off if your tablet becomes touchy and reboots itself for no apparent reason and loses your page. You can’t just pppffft your thumb on the side of the pages and turbo-scan the words that fly by for the last line you remember reading. A hyperlinked table of contents is necessary.

In a normal story, the chapter breaks kind of define themselves. A lull in action, or right after a poignant or suspenseful revelation… In diary format, eh. Not so much. Any one of the entries could be its own chapter.

I once read a book on my tablet that had 52 chapters. Now, if it’s a Tolstoy or Michener tome, then chopping the story into 52 manageable chunks is reasonable. However, the book in question was only 168 pages long, including the title page, a two-page long dedication to the two dozen people that helped write the book, a two and a half-page table of contents, AND a foreword.

…and just for the record, that book was HORRID. There was next to no editing done, the story line was a confused mash up of half-thoughts, and the main character was so insipid that I honestly rooted for the bad guy and was disappointed when he didn’t win the day.

There is rarely ever a legitimate reason to have a book broken down into 3-page chapters. Usually authors will do this to artificially increase the page count, making it a cheap way to trick the reader into thinking they’re getting a better value. Pitiful. I never, ever want to be one of those kinds of authors. If my book is going to be long, it’s going to be because I can’t stop rambling on and on, not because of some…

Polly Normalson took a failing construction business and turned it into a Fortune 500 company. It’s this type of fiscal responsibility that residents of New Hampshire need. Polly Normalson, a new hope for New Hampshire. *Paid for by the EEO PAC of New Hampshire*

O-kayyy… That was weird.

*look left* *look right*

Um…I guess we’ll just keep talking?

Anyway, like I was saying, if my books end up being bloated, it’s going to be because I couldn’t shut up, and not because I felt like I had to add some two-page BS gush-fest or fifty bazillion page breaks for chapters. I tend to operate under the notion that if it annoys me, it’ll probably annoy someone else and I shouldn’t…

Bob Everyman was a soldier who fought in the American Revolution. Now a 235-year veteran, he understands the importance of a strong military presence for a proud America and the need for solid values. Bob Everyman, a strong leader for a stronger tomorrow. *I’m Bob Everyman and I approved this message.*

…um…you guys are hearing this too, right? I mean, it’s not just the voices again. Is it?

IS IT??

Polly Normalson has a strong record of modern thinking. She was the first in her industry to solely rely on wind energy, making her company New Hampshire’s first zero emissions manufacturing plant. Polly Normalson, for a cleaner, healthier tomorrow. *Paid for by the Citizens for Cleaner Air*

*sigh*

I get it. It’s that time of year again. Damnit. It’s not bad enough that I’ve got to listen to these political ads at every commercial break on tv…now they’re turning up on my very own…

Bob Everyman has been a strong leader for over two centuries. After saving George Washington from the Red Coats, he served his community by voting for classic American values. He’s proud of his record and his patriotism speaks for itself. *This ad sponsored by the VFW.*

Okay. Let’s forget that they’ve hijacked our chit chat for a minute. I have to say, I’ve lived here my whole life and everyone knows Bob Everyman. They make a good point when they say that he’s served the community with patriotism. Isn’t that what we need, more of those firm, classic values?

Bob Everyman wants you to believe that he can lead the nation forward. However, his record shows that he has voted against change 1,432 times in his centuries in office. New Hampshire can no longer afford to keep the status quo. A vote for Bob Everyman is a vote for more of the same. *Paid for by the Committee to Elect Polly Normalson*

Hm. You know what? They make a really good point. I’m kind of on board with that idea now. I mean, think about what the world was like 200 years ago. They didn’t even have Facebook! How can Bob Everyman possibly understand the nation when it’s kind of moved on without him?

Polly Normalson claims that she led a company from failure to success. What she forgot to mention was that in 2011, the Senate Committee for Unequal Pay unanimously agreed that Polly Normalson’s push for structured pay increases caused twelve board members to quit, putting the entire company in jeopardy. Is that really the “new hope” New Hampshire needs? We think not. *Paid for by the Old Boys Network for Bob Everyman*

Whoa, that one was a little harsh and misleading. It’s almost as if Bob Everyman has no legitimate point, so he’s desperately trying to turn a positive situation into a negative to get the votes of the people who won’t take the time to really think about what’s being said. Seems a little low. Well, at least Polly Normalson won’t ever stoop to…

Bob Everyman poops his pants. Do YOU want a leader that smells like a barnyard? *Paid for by the LMNO PAC to Elect Polly Normalson*

*blink**blink*

Well that escalated quickly.

I’m Bob Everyman’s great great great granddaughter, and I am here to tell you that Bob Everyman does not, in any way, smell like poop. Polly Normalson is using insults instead of facts because she’s afraid to face the issues head on. Bob Everyman. He doesn’t smell like poop. *Depends Undergarments is responsible for this ad*

Seriously, did any of you out there honestly believe that Bob smells like poop? Clearly it was Polly stirring the pot. However, in fairness, Bob did sling mud first.

Come on, politicians. Stop slinging mud and stop reacting to it. Do you realize the idiocy of Bob’s response there? I mean, NO ONE thought he smelled. No one. Yet waltzing his however-many great granddaughter out there to say “poop” over and over makes us all think the lady doth protest too much. Jeez. He’s been in politics long enough that he should know what’s happening here. Maybe he really does suck at his job.

Are you tired of the political mud-slinging? Do you want a leader who works hard instead of wasting his time smearing his opponents? While Polly Normalson and Bob Everyman have lost sight of the bigger picture, Jessie Commoner has been hard at work, fighting to resolve the issues New Hampshire faces. Jessie Commoner, the real voice of the state. *Paid for by the NH GPC*

Oooh, fresh meat. I’ve never heard of Jessie Commoner, but you know what? I like his style. He burned the both of them at once while making himself look really good. I don’t know who you are, Jessie, but I believe that may have been a checkmate. What can the others possibly say…

Jessie Commoner claims he’s a real voice for New Hampshire, but what kind of voice is that? Who is this guy? Have you heard of him? Because we certainly haven’t. And did you get a load of his hair? We think it’s a rug. Come on, New Hampshire. We’re already kind of a joke to the rest of the country. Do you really want some no-name with a fake hair piece proving the nation right? *This ad paid for by the Committee to Stop Jessie Commoner*

Ouch. I would not want to be Jessie Commoner today. And just between you and me, I kind of think he does wear a rug. Still, seems mean to point it out. I wonder which of the other opponents ran that ad?

Oh boy. Do you think they went in on it together? I mean, if they could team up for that, maybe there’s really a chance for bi-partisan support in the government.

And that pretty much sums up my hope for this election cycle. There’s so much mud and bitterness in the campaigns already that the very best I can hope for is that the people who get elected can stop neener-neenering each other long enough to slay the bigger threat when the chips are down.

Here in the Green Mountains we’re used to clean air, open living, and free thinking. Elect any one of the men or women running, and they’ll keep…

OH SHUT UP VERMONT.

Thus concludes the Morning Musing for Saturday, October 11, 2014. Only three and a half more weeks of these ads. I’ll say one thing: they certainly make me understand why Mickey Mouse gets so many votes…