All too quiet on the Eastern front…

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Mornin’ all.

As it turns out, this week had a couple life lessons in store for me.

First, never buy McCafe coffee, no matter how good the sale or how big the coupon. I’m not talking about the cups of it you get at McDonald’s. That’s fine. Rather bland, but overall fine. I’m talking about the cans of grounds you bring home and brew yourself. Those are not fine. They not bland, either. The grounds have a distinctive tinny taste with light notes of rotting tree bark and a bouquet of dirt. Avoid it. Learn from my mistakes.

The other big thing I learned this week is that “empty nest” is going to royally suck when it happens. The littlest pup is on a school trip until Friday afternoon and I am finding myself adrift. It’s been compounded by the offspring formerly known as Teen Prime (still working on a new nickname) and my man having closing shifts all week. That leaves just me and Teen 2.0. And the cat. And maybe a mouse, but I don’t hear him this morning so the cat may have erased him from the equation as well.

RIP Stuart. *pours a bit of peanut butter out for the homie*

It’s a quiet week in my natural habitat and I do not like quiet weeks.

Ah well. The littlest pup is only 12. I figure I still have at least six years of the older kids slowly moving away to get acclimatized to the Impending Quiet Years. I’m just not a fan of the preview.

Shit coffee, quiet house, another round of “where did the cat stash the body” on the horizon. *sigh* You know what we need? A pick me up. Cue the go-go dancers. Strike up the band. I think we need a…

* * * HEADLINE ROUNDUP * * *

Let’s give it up for our new dancer, Chaz! He auditioned over the summer and has been training his ass off. Judging by that split, I’d say the hard work has paid off! Bravo Chaz! Welcome aboard!

You all know how this works, but let me fill in any newbs. I scour the internet for news headlines that pop out at me. I feel like I have to start mentioning that I try my best to stick to actual news outlets. Fake news breeds funny- but also fake- headlines, and that’s not what I want. I pull from sources like MSN news, Yahoo News, CNN, local channels, Fox, BBC… Big and classically “respectable” news outlets. I’m not looking for intentionally bad headlines. I’m looking for mistakes, poorly worded snippets, or just a regular old headline that conjures a scene in my head I want to share. All of the headlines are real. I just supply the commentary/snark/screen play.

*glances at Chaz, still bowing on stage* Um, can someone come get Chaz so I can get right into it?

*quick little flurry of activity* *Chaz takes final bow while being pulled off stage with a giant hook*

Sorry about that. He’s new. Shall we begin?

– Omarosa Releases Tape of Sanders Agreeing With Trump’s ‘Lies’
Is it really “earth-shattering” if the secret recording contains the same things Sanders publicly tells the press every single day? I guess the take away is that Sanders is as dumb in private as she is in public.

– Trebek Has Beard and We Have All Sorts of Questions
What questions could you POSSIBLY have? It’s a fucking beard. It’s self-explanatory.

– Doctors Reattach Girl’s Leg Backwards So She Can Dance
Moonwalk level: MASTER

– Georgia School Reinstates Paddling As Punishment
Calm down, guys. They’re *only* allowed to administer “three licks on the bottom with a wooden paddle not to exceed 24 inches in length.” It’s not abuse if it’s state sanctioned, right?

– Principal Paddled Elementary Students So Hard They Bruised, Parents Say
WHAT *clap* THE *clap* FUCK *clap* DID *clap* YOU *clap* EXPECT!?! You gave the school permission to beat your child. News flash, genius: If you hit a six year old with a wooden paddle, it’s going to hurt them, you ignorant, abusive son of a bitch. MAYBE DON’T LET ANYONE BEAT YOUR CHILD WITH A STICK, M’KAY??!!!

– Yellowstone Hit By Global Warming
Would be weird if it wasn’t. That’s pretty much how the “global” part works.

– This is Why You Shouldn’t Pop Advil Like Candy
Oh holy shit. Have we really reached a point in society where the news needs to tell people the difference between medicine and candy??

– Trump Admin Wants to Make It Easier To Release Methane Into the Air
Look, I hate the guy, but when someone’s as full of hot gas as Trump, you kind of have to let him vent it.

– 1 in 5 Floridians Say They Won’t Evacuate for a Category 4 Storm
Oh, Florida.

– Candidate After Siblings Endorse His Foe: ‘Stalin Would Be Proud’
I’MMA TELL MOM!

– Woman Stole Ambulance, Led Cops on Chase for 39th Arrest
It was the big 3-9, folks. She had to do something special.

– Rainbow Flag-burning Priest Removed from Church By Cardinal
You burn a flag, you get kicked out. You rape some kids, you get promoted. Hard to figure out your line, Catholics…

– No Whispering, Just Horses and City Kids, Learning On A Farm
“Now listen up, you lilly livered city slickers. I don’t care what you’re used to in the ‘hood. Out in these parts, we don’t tolerate any of that namby pamby sneak talky *air quotes* whisperin’ *air quotes*. Do I make myself clear?”

– After ‘Sexual Racism’ Accusations, Gay Dating App Grindr Gets ‘Kindr’
In a nutshell, folks are gobsmacked that a hook up site where people browse for booty calls based on nothing but superficial three second views of a selfie might breed an unhealthy environment of snap judgments and biases. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying sites like Grindr shouldn’t exist. Get your freak on. My problem is with the people pretending to be surprised and offended that the whole thing is biased and judgy.

– Purdue Holds Gender-neutral Homecoming, Honoring ‘Royalty’ Rather Than King, Queen
Or maybe just have a fun party where the point is a good time for everyone and not a popularity contest? Could do that, too, ya know. #WokeFAIL

– Greek Beach Completely Covered in Giant Spider Webs
Aaaaaand Greece is over. It was a good run, guys. We’ll remember you fondly.

– Annual Oktoberfest Kicks Off in Munich With Beer
WHAT? BEER at Oktoberfest!? How in the hell did Reuters score such a scoop?

– Young Catholics Shun Modern Life, Embrace Religion in U.K.
“Should we cloister ourselves and shun modern life, Pip?” “I don’t know. I’ve heard about the baby raping, but did you see how woke the church is when it comes to burning pieces of cloth?” “Indeed, my good man, that shit is dope.”

– Man Accused of Kidnapping A Woman And Masturbating On her After He ‘Choked Her Out’ Is Given ‘One Pass’, Won’t Serve Jail Time
Accused? He pleaded guilty. He admitted to offering a woman a ride, then taking her to a secluded area so he could choke her unconscious and jack off on her incapacitated body. He admitted this. And the judge believed that in the year since he had turned his life around and said this is his “one pass.” He got time served and probation. And this woman gets a lifetime of terrified flashbacks and legitimate anguish. WHY DON’T VICTIMS REPORT? Maybe because the system and even the fucking media STILL slants these things against those victim. Sometimes people take shit too far in their outrage. I get that. But when the guy pleads guilty, only gets probation, and the leading headline from a supposedly liberal news organization like The Washington Post still classifies it as only an accusation, HOW am I wrong to be angry on behalf of the victim??

– Critics Say Race and Privilege Helped A Wealthy Teen Beat A Murder Charge
I’ve already got a headache from rolling my eyes this morning. I can’t even anymore.

– Teacher Uses Toddler to Steal Prizes from Game Machine
The dude shoved his little kid inside the prize drop area of a claw machine and had him climb into the part that holds all the loot to grab as much as he could. What concerns me is not that a man who can think a scheme like that up in the first place is a teacher. I mean, come on, that’s fairly clever. What worries me for the youth he taught is his complete and utter lack of understanding of life in the modern world. Cameras, cell phones, Instagram, Facebook, Google Overlords…there is no way to commit this type of crime in a department store and NOT get caught. What an idiot.

– 7 Year-Old With Terminal Cancer Crowned Homecoming Queen
“BETHIE NO! *slams warning button* IT’S A CHILD WITH CANCER!”

Calm down. I wasn’t going in on the kid with cancer. I was just bringing you today’s top headline in MSN’s “Good News” section. This is the “good news” for today.

“…oh. THAT’S what they consider good news? That’s pretty messed up.”

And now you see why I had to share. I appreciate that you’re quick on the “don’t let Bethie tank herself on the internet with one bad joke” button, but have a little confidence in me.

– This Photo Has Not Been Edited, Look Closer At The Hole
Oh ho ho. Nice try, internet, but I’m not falling for THAT trap again.

– Alabama Revisits Ten Commandments, Hoping For Help From Kavanaugh
This isn’t hard, people: Keep your churchy shit outta my kids’ schooly shit. It’s honestly that simple.

– New Kavanaugh Accuser Emerges
Let’s get real for a second. Why is anyone pretending to be surprised by this rich kid preppy asswad entitled culture that we ALL know exists? YES he was a fucko. YES he was a shithead. YES he could get away with it because his parents’ dollars were big enough to hide behind. Gah. I wish people would drop the “WHAAAA? I never HEARD of this type of culture in OUR America!” act.

– Mattis: ‘The Jury Is Out’ On Women Serving In Combat Roles
No it’s not. Around the world, and throughout human history, women have served ably in combat. Let’s correct this headline to say what Mattis actually means. American Men Continue To Be Butthurt About Women Kicking Ass On The Front Lines

– Bill Cosby Sentenced To 3 to 10 Years In State Prison
Finally!

– Pussy Riot Member Was In ‘Black Hole’ Following Possible Poisoning
Maybe don’t use “pussy” and “black hole” in the same headline. It’s the internet. Just sayin’.

– Iran’s Rouhani Says Trump Has ‘A Nazi Disposition’
Don. DON. Listen. If even I-frickin’-RAN thinks you’re too much with the racism, then it might just be time to step back and reassess.

– This ‘Robotic Skin’ Can Bring Your Stuffed Toys To Life
Aw HELL no.

– Kanye West Says He Changed His Name To Ye
sure. why not. k.

– Ricin Sent to Trump: A THIRD Envelope Containing White Powder Intercepted
Wow. Okay, kids, here’s a quick little School House Rock teaching moment about political basics. If the president dies, the vice president takes control. Stop sending the pompous buffoon poison before we end up with the man who not only wants rich white dudes in power while their women stay barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, but has a big enough brain to figure out how to start making that happen if he gets into a position of real power and control. #Ican’tBelieveI’mSayingThis,ButDon’tPoisonTrump

– Ricin Sent to Trump: A THIRD Envelope Containing White Powder Intercepted
Now that I’m mulling it over, this might not actually be as nefarious as it seems. I think his constituents might be trying to send him a gift, not trying to harm him. If you’re one of the people just trying to send Donny a present, let me help you out. It’s not white powDer that he wants, guys. You’ve added a letter there, see? Easy mistake.

– Trump’s NATO Ambassador Sets Off Diplomatic Incident
Is anyone surprised? *crickets**crickets* Yeah, didn’t think so. Please don’t nuke us, Russia.

– Facebook Inc.’s Instagram App Down In Many Cities
But…but…how will we keep track what people ate for dinner???

– She Had No Sanitary Pads. No One Knew And No One Helped
Hang on. Is someone SUPPOSED to help when you don’t have a pad? Are we supposed to have some menstruary fairy I don’t know about?? I’mma hafta check my woman handbook and get back to you…

– Why Elephants Have Cracks In Their Skin
Because their moisturizing routine is basic af.

– Outside Counsel in Kavanaugh Hearing Told GOP She Would Not Have Been Able To Prosecute With Evidence Available To Her
I love how the GOP is trying to spin this as a win for them. Of course she wouldn’t have been able to prosecute. She didn’t HAVE evidence. At that point, there was no investigation yet. Why would anyone think she could prosecute without being given the opportunity to actually investigate? Just bizarre.

– Enfield’s ‘Dollar Store Grandpa Bandit’ Sentenced to 8 Years In Prison
“Hey, new blood. They call me the Red River Assassin. That’s the Montana Menace, and this here’s the Charleston Cannibal. Whaddo they call you?”

…gramps is in for a rough 8 years.

Thus concludes a Roundup for Wednesday, October 3, 2018. I got to the point in the news where it was talking about the president mocking Ford’s testimony to a crowd that was CHEERING for him while he did so, and I decided I’m done for the day before I make a bad ricin joke. See? I told you I could monitor myself.

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Hey! Remember me?

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Mornin’ all.

Summer has been jam packed with…well, lots of work, many gaming hours with the Littlest Pup, a too-brief vacation to the mountains, and then LOTS of work. I promise to do a big catch up session soon, but my computer has decided to punk me out again. It’s playing the “Crashy Crashy Piss off Bethie” game it loves. But, I wanted to pop in, say hey, and let you know I didn’t forget about your.

Also, to leave some of these….

* * * HEADLINES! * * *

…no catchy theme music or dance routine, though. The go-go dancers are on an Alaskan cruise ship enjoying their summer and the band director is taking a sabbatical to study migratory patterns of the eastern hook nosed vole. Hum your own theme music if you’d like.

You know the deal with the headlines. They’re real. They caught my attention. I feel compelled to share them…with commentary.

– Joy Behar Spends Night in Hospital After Avocado Accident

Handling an avocado is a lot trickier than it might seem. They tend to be top heavy and corner like shit.

– FBI Agent Whose Gun Went Off While Dancing Taken Into Custody

In fairness, nowhere in the rules of an impromptu dance off does it state that you can’t shoot your opponent to win. In fact, many former contestants have used finger pistols in their push for the crown, and I haven’t heard so much as a peep of complaint. I think the dude has a real shot at acquittal.

“Bethie, apologize for that pun.”

NEVER.

– Little Boy Starts Dance Off With Airport Employee

Uh oh. Hope this one’s not packing, too.

– Recovered Tapes Solve a Moon Mystery

I accuse Astronaut Armstrong in the Sea of Tranquility with the core tube.

– Ray Liotta Doesn’t Believe the Woody Allen Assault Accusations

OHHHHH. See, all this time I was basing my opinion of the situation on the statements of the people involved. But, if THE Ray Liotta says Allen didn’t do it, guess I’m gonna hafta have myself a rethink on the subject.

– Ivanka Trump Quotes ‘Chinese Proverb’, but China is Baffled

“Those who rely on Google for ancient wisdom will be called out on their bullshit.” – Confucius

– Tom Brady Pulls a Tom Hiddleston with His T-Shirt

Guys, they both wore t-shirts!!!!! Can you believe it? They so crazy.

– Nobel for Trump? Odds Improved, But Awards Committee May Be Wary

Every atom in my body just threw up a little. I can’t even take this shit anymore. Do not give Donald Drumph a Nobel.

– Trump Says In TV Interview He Trusts Kim Jong Un

He trusts the man who is still, at this moment, committing massive human rights atrocities against his own people. DO NOT GIVE THIS IDIOT A NOBEL!!! #I’mSerious,DoNotGiveThisIdiotANobel

– Defining Historical Moment From Year You Were Born

Of course I looked. The defining historical moment from the year I was born was the release of Space Invaders. Explains a lot about me, really.

– Man on a Mission to Mow Lawns In All 50 States

Holy shit. Has he hit NH yet? Because I’d be willing to help him out and donate my lawn to the cause…

– Nevada’s Most Famous Pimp Wins GOP Primary

Imagine the small talk as he hob-knobbed during his fundraisers. “So I says, Don, I know you like to grab ’em by the pussy and all, but you can’t do that shit for free. Not on my watch. Gotta pay to drain your ‘swamp’, amiright?” #We’reSoScrewedIt’sNotEvenFunny

– Little Green Gems Are Spewing Out Of Kilauea

They are olivine crystals and I WANT THEM.

– Mom Issues Warning About Caterpillars After Baby is Injured

I’ve been saying it for years: caterpillars are thugs. I’m glad people are starting to listen. Spread the word. Those little bastards will fuck you up.

– Tourists Shocked by What They See on San Francisco Streets

Buskers and mimes will leave ANYONE a little shaken. It’s okay, tourists. Just take a minute and breathe. You’ll get through it.

…what? Were you expecting a gay joke? I think that says more about you than it says about me.

– Jerry Lewis’s Massive Gun Arsenal Auctioned

He was gearing up for the next salvo in his life-long war on comedy.

– Trump Vows to Create New Military Branch: Space Force

I can’t help thinking we should probably just let him go ahead with this one. Might just keep us out of WWIII if his attention is focused elsewhere. If you can’t beat ’em, distract ’em. SPACE FORCE!

– Trump Vows to Crate New Military Branch: Space Force

Also, anyone else want to reboot “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” to cover all the relevant Space Force news? …no? Come on. It can’t be just me.

– S. Korea, US to Announce Cancellation of Drills

…but we clearly already know about it. What do you think you need to announce at this point?

– Boat Migrants Rocked by EU Political Storm Start to Arrive in Spain

That’s some old school reporter word play going on right there.

– Musk’s Plans for Tesla Keep Getting Weirder, Putting the Firm’s Future at Risk

Elon. Listen to me. Do not go full super villain yet. We planned on getting cheap space travel and a moon base out of you first. Someone hand him a puppy and an ice cream so he can remember the good in the world that’s worth fighting for.

– Mueller Asks Judge for September Sentencing for Papadopoulos

The orange prison jumpsuit will complement the autumn leaves nicely.

– Everybody Crashes on First Lap at Sports Car Race

I was thinking it had to suck for the racing fans that spent time and money to watch folks duke it out on the speedway, but in a way, it’s almost more impressive than a race when you stop and think about it.

– Michelle Obama Describes Upcoming Memoir

“Uhhh…it’s about my life, guys. Duh.”

– China’s Media Calls Trump Delusional

I don’t know that I’ve ever agreed with Chinese media before. Guess common ground can be found when the right crisis presents itself.

– What’s Behind Tom Arnold’s Bizarre Anti Trump Media Blitz

My guess would be his deep hatred for Trump, but I’m just spit ballin’ here.

– Plymouth Toddler Recovering After Getting Stuck In Rock

How exactly does one get stuck in a rock?

– Alaska Ferry Hit By Breaching Whale, Prompting Federal Investigation

Whales are crashing into our ferries now? Looks like we need another branch of the military! WATER FORCE

“Bethie, we have the navy.”

Yeah. And we have the air force, too. But the air force only deals with, like, planes and shit, not aliens. The navy only deals with boats. The whales, man. WHAT ABOUT THE WHALES??

“…but…”

WATER FORCE ASSEMBLE!

– Plane Takes Off, Falls Into Ditch At Florida Airport

Hang on a sec. The plane got stuck in a ditch AFTER take off? Only in Florida, man.

– Study Warns Fashion Industry Is Normalizing Obesity With ‘Plus Size’ Lines

How DARE those clothing companies make garments that fit us fatties?! What message is it sending when they pretend we’re human beings with feelings and don’t just make fat ass chub monkeys wear burlap sacks? What the hell are they thinking enabling slovenly pieces of subhuman shit to hate themselves just a little less by offering them clothing that actually looks good? OH the HUMANITY!!! THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!!

– Study Warns Fashion Industry Is Normalizing Obesity With ‘Plus Size’ Lines

And why is my fat ass your concern? Really? Why do people get SO angry when fat people are at all happy? You know what you have to do to get healthy? You have to care about yourself. You have to care what happens to your body. You have to feel like you’re worth something. And ya know what? MY study shows that piling on the shame and hate will never, ever, EVER help. Ladies and gents of size, ignore these bullshit articles written by people who are skinny and STILL bitter and miserable. Gear the fuck up in whatever makes you feel good about yourself.

– Hawaii Explosion Had Force of 5.3 Magnitude Earthquake

Oh. Snap. You know what this means. LAVA FORCE

– A Swimming Teacher Fed Up With Seeing ‘Sad’ Kids Has A Message for Parents

“These little dudes are, like, bumming me out, man. Can’t you take them for a happy meal or something before you bring them here?”

– Eric Trump’s Family Received White Powder, Security Added

Wait. Wasn’t that exactly what they wanted?

“PowDer, Bethie. With a ‘d’.”

OHHHHH.

– Clever Uses for Your Unwanted Pennies

I hear that if you save enough of them, you can take them to the bank and cash them in for dollars. Read it on the internet somewhere, so take it with a grain of salt. #LifeHack

– Nobel of Mathematics Stolen Minutes After Being Awarded

I had no idea there was a thriving black market for Nobel prize medals. That’s some high brow thievery right there.

– Nobel of Mathematics Stolen Minutes After Being Awarded

…hang on a sec. That IS some pretty high brow thievery. Like a plot out of a movie. Uh oh. Has anyone seen Elon?

– Gold Lunar Module Replica Stolen From Museum Still Missing

Yep. That’s it. Elon’s snapped. He’s gone full on super villain. Hug your kids, take that last vacation.

The end is clearly nigh.

Thus concludes a quick check in for Friday, August 3, 2018. I guess it might be a bit pointless to make cakes when the end is so close, but maybe the best thing to do is pretend it’s all normal until Elon’s robot army marches in and takes control. Hey, wait. Do robots like cake? Because I may be able to bribe our new digital overlords. Hm…

You call it “procrastination,” I prefer the term “creative time management…”

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Mornin’ all.

When we last spoke, I was about to embark on a mission to clean my house. I got garbage bags, extra coffee, queued up a good podcast, and dug in.

Now, I’m not so sure how it happened, exactly, but I started the day cleaning and ended up welding together a new lamp.

Company will be here tomorrow. TOMORROW. They’ve got nowhere to sit. But at least there will be plenty of light…?

…I don’t know why I’m like this.

While I was cleaning, I found my stash of transmission gears and sprockets, and uncovered the MIG welder. It was nice weather, I hadn’t been able to weld yet this spring, and the urge to smell hot metal was too strong to ignore. I suppose I understand what led me down the path, I just wish I had a bit more fortitude against my own impulsiveness sometimes.

*sigh* I guess anyone coming to my house should know me, right? I mean, there are some things I’m very good at. I’m a good cook, I’ve got a decent brain, even if it’s as little scattered sometimes, I try my damnedest to be kind to other people… And there are a few things I don’t do well at all. I’d say the three things in life I really suck at are being skinny, respecting myself, and keeping the house in shape. In the grand scheme, that’s not so bad…right?

So I have to mad-dash clean today and tomorrow between work shifts. It’s not the first time. Won’t be the last.

I should be doing it right now, in fact. And I’ll get there, but first, let’s get distracted by something else. You know what we haven’t done in awhile?

*cue the go-go dancers* *strike up the band* Let’s have ourselves a good, old fashioned…

* * * HEADLINE ROUNDUP ! ! ! * * *

You know the deal. I peruse the news for headlines that jump out at me. Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re poorly worded, and sometimes they just beg for commentary. I gather them up and present them to you as nature intended. I just add the snark.

Let’s begin.

– African American pastor warns, “Black folks need to stay out of white churches” ahead of megachurch opening

Hoo boy. So much to unpack, so little desire to leave indelible footprints through this internet minefield. Imma step away from this one slowly…

– People have tried to stop lava from flowing. This is why they failed.

Oh, honey, no. If an entire MOUNTAIN isn’t strong enough to stop magma from bursting forth, what in the holy hell do you think YOU can do? Hm?

– Residents voice frustrations at meeting as Hawaii volcano continues to wreak havoc

“I don’t know whose idea it was to allow the magma to flow down my street, but this is a clear violation of my rights as a homeowner.” “Um, ma’am? We can’t control the lava. You do know that, right?” “But I pay taxes!”

– Idaho State University loses weapons-grade plutonium

Some people misplace their keys, some people misplace their elements of mass destruction. Don’t judge.

– Tourists unknowingly toss dinosaur footprints into lake

HOW!?!?

– Man mauled to death while trying to take selfie with bear

Sounds about right.

– Scientists excited by huge New Zealand sinkhole

In other news, a recent survey shows nine out of ten New Zealanders think scientists are dicks.

– Jennifer Lopez shows the world how to rock an exposed leg

I sure hope it was hers.

-McCain’s critiques of Trump anger president’s supporters

*crash* Oof! *scramble* *uprights chair* *mops up spilled coffee* Oh my god, that’s never happened before. I was literally bowled over by that shocking news. Wow. I always thought it was just a figure of speech.

– Jessica Simpson back in her Daisy Dukes

Okay. Thanks for the update? I guess?

– First Lady launches initiative to stop cyber bullying, is immediately criticized for husband’s social media history

I believe Melania is a fairly smart woman who put herself in a stupid situation in life. I think she’s trying to make the best of it, and she’s trying to do something that will make her feel good about this time her husband is spending in office. But I just think the reality of her situation is going to belie anything she could promote for the happiness and well being of the children she’s trying to reach. I actually legitimately feel bad for her in this endeavor. Her critics aren’t wrong here, and that’s sad. #FreeMelania

– Israel offended Japan’s prime minister by serving him dessert out of a shoe

Sometimes it’s difficult to navigate the challenges that arise when two different cultures are trying to come together. It’s often hard to know what’s going to cause offense. But sometimes, some asshole blatantly serves dessert in a fucking shoe. You don’t need cultural context to get that message loud and clear.

– Israel offended Japan’s prime minister by serving him dessert out of a shoe

Sidenote…Who even thinks of that, anyway? Who sits there and has a “eureka” moment that leads them to filling a loafer with tiramisu?? You’re a weird dude, whoever you are.

– In Japan, remarks by finance minister spark #MeToo outrage

The guy was caught on camera asking a female reporter if he could hug her and touch her breasts. I’d like to apologize, Israel. I get it now. #LoafersOfTiramisuToo

– “Heroes” rescue special-needs teen dodging rush-hour traffic

Uh, not so sure why heroes is in kind of sarcastic quotes up there…

– Heroes stop rush-hour traffic to help ducklings cross road

OHHHH, okay. The full stop heroes title is reserved for those who save cute animals, not human beings. Got it.

– Daughter of NYPD hero who died on 9/11 follows in dad’s footsteps

*DANGER* *DANGER* *DANGER* …sorry. That was the new warning app I installed. It’s supposed to help stop me from making completely tasteless jokes on the internet that could have lasting consequences. Seems to be working as advertised. Four and a half stars.

– Teen accepted to 113 colleges, awarded $4.5M in scholarships

Her name is Jasmine Harrison. Just wanted to give a shout out to a young woman who is absolutely rocking life.

– Trump considers benching Guiliani from doing TV interviews

Oooh, Trump’s jelly. Since Guiliani’s been on the team, the press is all, “Rudy said WHAT?” and “You won’t believe what Guiliani’s doing now”. Trump hasn’t been clickbait all week! That’s GOT to be killing him.

– Rubin: What exactly are Republicans running on?

Tears of migrant children. Stronger than coffee.

– Trump: “Every…AHAHAHAA!!!

Sorry. *snicker* Sorry, guys. It’s just, this one is so hilarious that I’m having a difficult time spitting it out. Let’s reset and I’ll try again.

– Trump: “Everyone thinks”…GA HA HA HAHAHAHAAA!!!

DAMNIT! I’m GOING to get through this with a straight face! *deep breath* Okay. *lips twitch* *calming mantra* Okay, I got it this time:

– Trump: “Everyone thinks” I deserve a Nobel Prize

SEE?? *groan* *wipes tear* Now my sides hurt.

– What’s killing the west coast’s young great white sharks?

Ennui. Lack of leadership. Parents who didn’t instill the value of hard work and the importance of goals. It’s a complicated issue, really.

– How salad became a major source of food poisoning in the US

The vegan movement is just a ploy by the Illuminati to dumb down the masses and make us subservient. They’re poisoning you, sheeple. The truth is out there.

– Canadian zoo faces charges after taking bear out for ice cream

I don’t know if anyone has ever Canadian-ed so hard before.

– Massive chocolate spill shuts highway after tanker truck crash

Oompa loompa doopahdedoo, I’ve got another riddle for you…What do you get when your truck has a…FLAT…Tipping and slipping with a chocolatey…SPLAT…

– White House says Iran nuclear inspections must continue

Oh my god I can’t even take how stupid he is. Yes, you gangrenous knob, we DO need to keep monitoring Iran’s nuclear program. THAT’S WHY WE HAD A DEAL WITH THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE. *thumps head on the desk* Someone fix this.

– France condemns US over Iran sanctions

*heavy sigh* That’s fair.

– Students use history books that claim not all slaves were unhappy for ten years

Yes. Yes they fucking were. It makes me sick to think that children are being encouraged in any way to think that ANY person likes being owned as another person’s property.

– Oregon school forced LGBTQ students to read bible verses as punishment

Slavery being touted as “not really so bad”, forcing kids to read the bible, punishing anyone at all for their sexual orientation…what year is this? Did we go back in time???!!!

– Oregon school forced LGBTQ students to read bible verses as punishment

To be clear, the facts as we know them are that these are allegations that are still being investigated. However, an unnamed administrator of the school admitted it to police, which is why the investigation is continuing and will go deeper. I could get on a rant here, you KNOW I could, but that won’t reach the people I want to reach. So, I’m just going to ask this question: How would you feel if your child came home and told you they were forced to read the surahs of the Quran as punishment for having blond hair?

– Dragon float in Disney parade catches fire

…they say, as if realism is a bad thing. Pfft. Some people just don’t appreciate art.

– Scientist: Hawaii lava flow has similar chemical structure to 1955 eruption

It’s the same magma source. Same location. In geological epoch terms, it’s essentially the same eruption. I’m not so sure these science writers know how to science…

– US fighter jets intercept Russian bombers in international air space near Alaska

They were flying planes legally in a zone that’s designated free range…air space they use for military practice, just like us. It’s like kicking the kids from the other neighborhood out of the town park because they brought bats. Doesn’t matter that they are planning on playing baseball. They have BATS. And it’s sorta close to our house. Can’t you see that means they’re going to smash our car windows!? It’s ridiculous. WE were the aggressors in this situation. I will not go back to McCarthy era paranoia. I never thought I’d say this, but I am rejecting the trip in the time machine.

– Nearly two years later, “world’s saddest polar bear” no longer sad?

I didn’t click. I was afraid they’d interview an “animal psychologist” and I’d have no choice but to quit the internet. You understand.

– Family chased by cheetahs highlights the dangers of wildlife parks

No, it highlights the stupidity of humans. #TeamCheetah

– An emergency call center operator tells dying woman that “everyone dies”

It’s graduation season. Some of you reading this may be wondering what you want to do in life, where you’re heading, what will bring you happiness. Here’s a tip for ya…if you hate people, and have zero compassion, maybe don’t be a 911 operator, k?

– Opioid crisis makes more organs available

“Mr. Smithers, I see you’re awake. The operation was a success. You no longer have cirrhosis! But your insurance restricted us to a level 2 organ donation. Got it from the free clinic down the street. You might feel a bit jumpy and edgy. Fortunately, your insurance covers methadone, so I’ll just write you out the scrip…”

– People “outraged” to discover cemetery threw away flowers day after Mother’s Day

Oh grow up. You left flowers on a rock. You already flushed that money down the toilet. Close the Twitter app and put that energy into something meaningful.

– Ukraine: Army dolphins starved after Russian annexation

Russia, heart to heart: Wtf.

– A Vietnam veteran was going to be buried alone. Then a stranger helped find his family.

…and now they’re being buried with him?!?

– Avalanche survivor’s final thoughts: “This could be it”

Final thoughts? She survived. Is she just not planning on thinking anything else ever?

– Astronauts give commencement speeches from space station

If they didn’t tell the students to reach for the stars, I’m going to be very disappointed. I don’t pay taxes to have astronauts drop the ball when it comes to bad jokes.

– You’re reheating your cold pizza wrong

You don’t know me. You don’t know my struggles. GTFO with your pizza shaming.

– Scientist trains spider to jump on command

“Bethie?”

Yes?

“I can’t help but notice that you are now scraping the bottom of the barrel.”

…your point?

“Stop procrastinating and go clean your house.”

But…

“Bethie. *stern look*”

*sigh* Fine.

Thus concludes a Roundup for Thursday, May 17, 2018. I guess I hafta go clean my house now ‘cuz you’re gonna be all mean about it and stuff.

I’ll take a mentally challenged duck over that old confused rooster any day of the week…

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Mornin’ all.

Yesterday when I got home from work, the weather was perfect. It was about 70 degrees, sunny but not aggressively so as the high, fluffy clouds casually meandered across the sky. Birds were chirping, the kids at the daycare next door were laughing as they played outside, the very confused duck who’s been living in what is essentially a puddle in the back yard was yammering in response to the distant sound of a chainsaw.

As the afternoon rolled along and people started arriving home from work, the distinct sound of lawnmowers echoed through the valley.

Those who don’t live in a climate that gets a deep winter might not understand the psychological yuckiness (official term) of being surrounded by dead things for months on end. Everything is brown or gray. The naked trees, the half melted snow banks, the hills…even the evergreens lose their luster and take on a dark, brownish existence.

We had a long and particularly assholish winter this year. The past few weeks were spent searching the crusty piles of dead leaves for tips of green poking through. It wasn’t really until last week that spring began to arrive with gusto. While the trees are still pretty stark, with only a few species popping their buds enough to provide shade, the lawns are really beginning to change the cold, unwelcoming earthen blanket from drab to fab.

We survived the winter, and now we’re rewarded with a green lawn.

Better hurry up and cut that shit down!

We humans are very silly. I LONGED to look out my window and see verdant signs of life, and now that I have the view I craved, I’m thinking about what I need to do for spring time mower maintenance before I can hack it to smithereens.

If there is a Mother Nature, she’s probably very confused. “Hold on a sec. You people asked for grass. You begged me to end the long winter. BEGGED!! And now that I gave you everything you wanted, you’re cutting it down?”

Well, yes. I mean, look at it. It’s…long. And just…so…grassy. Besides, it’s full of dandelions.

“You don’t like the flowers? I grew them just for you. I think they add a little pop of color.”

Dandelions aren’t flowers. They’re weeds. Ew.

“And what the HELL are those big scissors for?”

You can’t expect me to leave the bushes as you grew them. Honestly, what would the neighbors think?

“I worked all winter long to come up with the perfect décor. You think this is easy? You think all I do is wave a magic wand and *poof* it’s spring? It takes time, planning, dedication…are you even listening?”

Hm? What? Sorry, didn’t hear you. I was looking up the cost of spark plugs for mowers. Think I could get away with just cleaning the old ones?

“You know what? You people deserve a long, cold winter!”

…soooo…is that a no on the cleaning?

Hey! Where are you going? Mother Nature? *door slam*

Sheesh. Some people are so touchy.

Thus concludes a quick Musing for Tuesday, May 8, 2018. I am off to not mow my lawn. I have other priorities today. I’ve got company coming in a week and a half and nowhere for them to sit. I’m going to get a shovel and a box of trash bags and start in on the dining room. Yep. I’m tackling the hoard. If you don’t hear from me, that means I lost. Tell my family I love them.

I’m back, and boy do I have a great idea…

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Mornin’ all.

Why don’t people tailgate at craft fairs?

“Uh, Bethie? You okay over there?”

I was driving home from dropping Teen Prime off at work, and an ad came on the radio for tickets to minor league ball games. They were advertising a partnership with stores that sell the tickets, and mentioned that folks should stop in and get tailgating supplies while they were at it. They said something about also not forgetting poster board and body paint to show their spirit.

In New England, we have a series of yearly craft fairs that fill the calendar. There’s a circuit of them, on a fairly standard schedule. During spring and summer, they take place at different outdoor venues, often as part of farmers or flea markets. In the colder months, they’re most often held in the basements of whichever local church draws the short straw.

Except for the Catholics. They don’t do “craft fairs”. Craft fairs are banal events attended by uncouth swine. *sniff* Catholics hold Christmas bazaars.

The people who attend these crafting events are the same people year in and year out. Once in awhile, they’ll drag along new blood, and of course they raise their children in the die hard craft culture. The point is, the craft world has a very dedicated core group of fans who seasonally plan their weekends around attending these fairs. They are just as ravenous as sports fans.

Why doesn’t society allow us to pregame a craft show with the same fervor and dedication as sports fans?

“Bethie, I highly doubt the people who go to these craft shows would be the tailgating type.”

Are you smoking crack? We’re talking about a group of people that gets giddy at the mere mention of naturally dyed wool. Their panties don’t just get wet at the thought of hand pressed card stock, they get BEDAZZLED. Do you think that level of fandom happens without wine? Granny would pregame the shit out of a craft fair if it was accepted by society.

Think about it.

We have grown ass men and women who cover their bodies in paint and glitter while holding up a hand painted neon sign to support their sports team. Paint and glitter? They stole that shit from us! Aren’t those supplies the very BACKBONE of the crafting world? And who do you think makes the snacks for the sporting tailgaters? I bet behind every family’s tailgate tradition was a mum who loved the hell out of her family, her team, and her secret Lil’ Smokies sauce recipe. It’s a no brainer, folks. It’s like this shit was made for the crafting world.

Why isn’t this already a thing??

I don’t often take a stance on an important issue. But, I am going to right here, right now. I am officially throwing my support and the support of this entire blog behind this movement. Let’s take back the glitter and paint. Let’s reclaim our secret kielbasa sauce recipe. Let’s pop open those bottles of Merlot while eagerly betting on who’s going to have a Pinterest worthy table and who’s going to end up on a bad craft sub-Reddit. Let’s cut the bullshit machismo and let the crafters party.

Who’s with me?

Thus concludes a new format Musing that I’m going to try out for Tuesday, May 1, 2018. I’m going to try shorter formats. Life has shifted, and my mornings have become busy. I’m going to see if just a quick blog allows me to pipe up with these million dollar ideas more often.

Can’t tell if it’s the cold or the paint fumes that’s got me feeling sappy…

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Mornin’ all.

Guess what? The world DIDN’T end in 2017!

…um…at least…I don’t *think* it did. I’m holding my face over a hot cup of coffee (the only hot thing in the entire northeast right now) in an effort to keep the blood flowing to my brain so I can type through the -11 degree morning.

“Achem, Bethie. It’s already warmed up to -10.”

Oh. My b. Lemme just run and find my tank top and hot pants.

Anyway, as I was saying, I can actually feel the pitifully small amount of heat radiating on my shivering chin. I can sort of feel my fingertips creak over the icy keyboard that I can see sitting on the desk in front of me. I can hear dueling tv shows the kids fell asleep watching (probably before midnight, though none of them will ever admit it). And I can smell an odd aroma I think is coming from the bathroom wall that we’ve got a space heater aimed towards in an effort to thaw out pipes.

Side question: Can you get lead poisoning from inhaling melting paint fumes? Asking for a friend.

My point is, I think I am observing these sensory inputs. Maybe I am not. Maybe we didn’t actually make it through 2017 and this is some bizarre afterlife.

“Um, I think you should probably move that heater away from the lead paint wall.”

It might be asbestos. I’m not entirely confident I know what asbestos is…

“You’re experiencing some kind of reality, right?”

Right.

“And I’m here, too, right?”

Welllll….technically…

“Let’s just say we made it through and move on before the coffee ices up and we freeze our faces to the rims like jackasses, okay?”

…fair enough. I think we can say with confidence that we may have actually made it through 2017! And if we didn’t, we have no idea. So, happy 2018!

Everyone’s doing this “What I learned in 2017” thing on Ye Olde Booke of Faces. I actually kind of like that. I’m one of those super annoying people who thinks there is something of value to glean from every situation, no matter how shitty. In fact, usually the shittier the experience, the more valuable the lesson.

I learned many things in 2017. I learned that my boys are far more capable than the Mummy in me wants them to be sometimes. I don’t really mean that, of course. I want them to be very capable, independent men. But I still want my little boys. If you have kids, you understand. Teen Prime has taken on a very demanding position at work and is thriving, Teen Beta is in college and broke as shit (as any decent college student do), and Teen 2.0 is gainfully employed and killing it. The Littlest Pup is having himself a great school year, and is finding his voice in my often exuberantly loud pack. And though I still want to protect them all against the trials and tribulations of life, they got this shit. And it’s awesome to watch.

I also learned that 39 years is apparently enough years of carefreely eating shellfish. The Last Lobster was damn good, though. I put the sea bugs on a charcoal grill, right in their shells so they cooked in their own juices. Man oh man, if you want the best tasting lobster of your life, don’t boil it…grill it whole. If at all avoidable, I’d skip the Benedryl dessert, though. Bitter taste, groggy finish. Still, better than dying, soooo… 3.7 stars out of 5

I’m not really that bummed about avoiding Maine’s number one export. I only ate me some lobstah maybe once every 5 years or so as a treat. What does make me sad is that the shrimp toast I tried a couple weeks later yielded a very similar “lack of breathing” result.

Top tip kids: You want to breathe. It’s the preferred method for staying alive.

*sniff* I love shrimp. I guess they got sick of me killing their brethren and finally launched an effective counter attack. Touche, shrimpies. You have bested me in this contest of life, and I concede the match.

In fact, 2017 was the year of general body rebellion. Maybe it’s age. Maybe there’s a genetic component, which seems very likely when viewed with others in my family. Hell, maybe it’s just 39 years of not taking care of myself finally catching up. Whatever the cause, the smiting I took at the fins of The Shellfish of Justice was just the harbinger of things to come. What followed was a couple months of serious stomach pain, until I tried an elimination diet to see if I could figure out what was causing the issue.

“Um, Bethie? Maybe you should just go to a doctor.”

Ooooh, look at Ms. Fancypants over here with her “health insurance”. I don’t work enough hours to qualify for insurance through my employer, I don’t make enough to be able to afford the “Affordable Care” promised to me through legislation, and I make too much to qualify for state assistance. I tried to straddle it, but I’m afraid I am one of the millions of Americans that has fallen into the coverage gap.

If I thought it was something super serious, I’d go to the doctor even without insurance. In fact, my self diagnosis plan was:

– Google

– Trying the reasonable things found on Google in order to eliminate certain possibilities (no, that did not include drinking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar every day, or eating a paleo diet that only kept the average cave woman alive for 35 years)

– Going to a doctor and working out the enormous debt later if steps 1 and 2 failed

They didn’t fail, though. I got a result, the pain stopped, so I really think it was diet related.

I’ve narrowed it down to wheat or dairy. I haven’t had either in many months now, and the stomach is much, much happier. It wasn’t the same reaction as the shellfish…it wasn’t like I was having an “oh shit I can’t breathe” moment after a cheese sandwich. But I was definitely in awful pain after nearly every meal. And since I cut those things out, I’m not.

“Do you miss that stuff?”

I enjoy not doubling over in pain when I eat far more than I miss pizza. It was one of those “I didn’t realize how truly awful I felt until I stopped doing it” kind of life changes. Here’s a surprise: I like not being in pain. I like it so much I don’t miss the things I’ve cut out of my diet.

It’s like when I quit smoking. I quit because I got the flu and couldn’t breathe. It was the first time ever that I couldn’t pull in a solid breath, and it was terrifying. I stopped smoking right then and there and have not once thought “man, I could use a cig.” Not a single time. That’s not a brag…that’s trying to explain how scared I was, how awful that experience felt. The same as sticking tweezers in an outlet, or trying to quick iron your skirt without taking it off first. You get hurt bad enough, you learn.

I’m just not a fast learner about some things.

I guess we’re down to my personal life lesson of 2017. It’s a big, emotional can of worms and there’s no way to say it without sounding like a total douchebag, so I’m just going to spit it out and give myself over to the dark side. I think in 2017 I finally learned that it’s okay to take care of myself.

“UGH.”

I warned you first. I’m going to sound like one of those annoying “it’s time for ME” people, and trust me, I’m not happy about it, either.

“I was only kidding, Bethie. You SHOULD take care of yourself.”

I’ve always had a difficult time doing that. In fact, I kind of perfected the opposite. When I feel bad, what makes me feel better is treating myself horribly. Maybe not always intentionally. Or maybe sort of intentionally with the comfort of guilt after.

I think a lot of people would understand what I mean by that, and if you’re not one of them, then I envy you. I truly do.

I had this realization in the middle of the grocery store health and beauty aisle when I was shopping for lotion. It was the third item on my list, right after “wheat free bread for stuffing?”. Yes, with the question mark, because just writing down such a selfish indulgence was hard for me to do. I found the bread, talked myself into buying it because stuffing is the only reason to eat turkey on Thanksgiving, and moved on to lotions.

My skin is having a very horrible time right now. I think some of it is the weight loss (no cakes, no cupcakes, no cookies, no cheese covered sammies…can’t argue with the unintended results of cutting that shit out), some of it is age, a lot of it is working in a dry bakery… I’m chapped all over my hands and lower arms, and my legs from my knees down. It burns and catches on my sleeves and pants and starts bleeding. I need lotion.

I need it.

And it was so hard to buy. I was honestly in tears.

It just…it hit me, ya know? You ever have a moment when you stop and legitimately ask yourself what the hell you’re doing? I felt so bad for shopping for the foods that won’t hurt me, and buying lotion which – I’ll say it again- I absolutely, without question NEEDED, that I stood in the aisle and started to cry. It wasn’t the four bucks for the damn lotion. I had that in my pocket. It wasn’t about the cost, that was only my justification. It was because I still couldn’t shut that voice up in my head that was saying I was being difficult, needy, high maintenance, selfish…

I can’t do it anymore. I can’t bleed quietly while I convince myself I deserve it.

I don’t know where exactly all these feelings come from. I’ve got some obsessive tendencies I honestly believe are genetic. You all know I’m a hoarder. I’ve made no secret about that. Cleaning out my dad’s place after he died and finding the most bizarre stashes of random shit led me to thinking about things from my childhood…I think he probably fought that beast, too. I also have other harmful tendencies that I would also classify as obsessive compulsions. Perhaps it’s an extreme version of the genetic mutation which allows for altruism as a means of advancing the greater Us. I don’t know. That seems like a can of worms for a different day. As with hard solipsism, it’s a brain exercise that has little to do with reality when you get right down to it. At the end of the day, this is the reality I am experiencing. It’s the reality I at least have the illusion of controlling. How I got here matters far less than what I’m going to do about it.

I have to start taking care of myself. I have to figure out how to do it without feeling guilty.

I’m gluten free. I don’t eat dairy. I’m a douche who covers herself with cocoa butter lotion.

*author’s sidenote: Cocoa butter is UH-MAZE-ING. I got this “healing therapy lotion” for “severely chapped skin” that burned so bad I was fighting back tears for almost an hour. Only after the hour in agony did I read the back of the bottle and found that it had acid and two types of alcohol in it. Who the HELL puts ACID in a cream you’re going to rub on severely chapped skin?!?! Psychopaths, that’s who. Absolute maniacs. After scouring the lotion aisle once again and discovering all the big names are run by horrible, uncaring MONSTERS who get their jollies by tricking you into rubbing your already beaten body with what equates to the classic tequila shot, I found one that didn’t have acids and alcohols in it. Cocoa butter, kids. It’s just cocoa butter. No acid that will sear your already damaged flesh. No alcohol that will continue to dry your skin out further. It just creates a soothing barrier between your tender cracked shell and the cruel, icy world. Learn from me before it’s too late.*

Listen to me. I’m becoming a person I always secretly mocked.

Part of me hates that I’m at this point in life where I realize that I’ve belittled those who treat themselves well because deep down I was jealous that they seemed to deserve being treated right and I didn’t. Most of me hates the fact that it’s taken 39 years to come around to their way of thinking.

We don’t know what happens after we die. People aren’t exactly clamoring to come back and let us know for sure. The one thing we do know is that we’re here now. We definitely have THIS life. I’m hoping for at least another 20 years. I don’t want to spend the future the same way I’ve spent the past.

It’s not really a New Year’s resolution. It’s a New Year’s revelation, one that really shouldn’t be. This year, I’m going to try really hard to stay this new and slightly uncomfortable course. I’m hoping that it’ll get easier with time. And I’m hoping I have the fortitude to keep taking care of myself even if it doesn’t.

Thus concludes the first Musing for 2018. This one turned serious on me. I didn’t intend for it to. I wanted to joke about the cold and maybe do a Roundup. Guess sometimes you just have to go where the winds take you. I do feel a Roundup beckoning, though. Stay tuned. The next one will be fun. I promise.

Ain’t no party like a manger party cuz a manger party don’t stop…

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Mornin’ all.

On the way to work yesterday, I noticed a chicken on the side of the highway. She was just standing there, looking across the road, feathers ruffling in the breeze of the passing cars. Was she considering a brave run to finally answer the age old question? Had she already answered the question and was thinking over her epic journey?

About a mile up the road, more chickens were standing in a field. They were huddled together, clearly planning. It added a more intriguing twist to the story. Did the first chicken escape? Was she lost? Were the others planning to send a search party? Or did I happen on a situation that was far darker? Did she escape? Did she know too much? Were the others considering their damage control options once the coop expose hit the papers? Or were they plotting something much, much worse?

Sadly, I’ll never know. It was a brief vignette in the story of my day that will never find resolution. And I just have to live with that.

So how are you? It’s been awhile. I’d “mea culpa”, but you all know two things by now:

1. I work in a bakery. It’s the holiday season. I AM an elf of Santa, one of the Forgottens. No one writes stories about Santa’s bakers. No one tells the heartwarming tales of busy little elves working their little fingers to the bone to make the wonderful cookies and cakes and pies you know and love from your childhood. We really need our own claymation special. Someone get on that.

2. It’s me. If you haven’t clued into the fact that sometimes I can’t write, then you have only been dabbling in this blog.

Anyway, let’s catch up.

My jury duty service is done! I never went in November, because there were no jury trials scheduled during the entire month. I told you I live in a fairly uneventful area. In NH, when you’re selected for district court petit jury, you get two dates. I had another shot at being a responsible citizen in December.

And STILL no one was naughty enough (or maybe their lawyers weren’t prepared enough) to have a jury trial in December, either. I got an email from the court saying I was not needed, that I would be removed from the pool for three years, and thanking me for my service.

You’re welcome? I guess?

I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit bummed out. Not about the cancellation in November, because of the timing. I did a happy dance and immediately texted my boss with a string of excited emojis to express my feelings. But I kind of actually wanted to be of service and participate in the process. Now that won’t happen for at least three more years.

Interesting thing to ponder… I live in a rural area. Even so, the county has a population of around 80,000. Let’s say half are kids. Let’s get crazy and say another half of what’s left are adults, but aren’t registered voters. That’s still 20,000 peoples’ names in this pool of potential participants. Three people in my place of work were drawn for the same jury duty. Doesn’t that just raise the eyebrow a bit? Seems a bit unlikely that it’s a truly random selection process. My place of work isn’t even a large employer in the area. Hm.

Turkey day went fine. It was pretty mellow here, but I did make one kickass feast. Toot toot of my own horn and all, but YUM. We did not shop Black Friday. We worked.

*director’s stage notes: Rocky-esque montage of devoted bakery elves, flash back and forth between happy, carefree holiday shoppers getting rock bottom prices and the elves sweating and slaving over dough rolling…end with placing sugar star on top of cake…is Survivor still around to do soundtrack??*

In other news, they may have found life in space.

“WHAT? Why haven’t I heard about this?”

Because the Cheeto in Chief is a slimey asshat and his comrades are being arrested one after another. Those stories take precedence. (Yep. I said it. Pun intended and I’m not at all sorry.)

Also, because it’s Russian cosmonauts doing the research and reporting, people in the US are very skeptical. Here’s the deal.

Cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station swabbed the outside of our shared tin can. They do this regularly. It’s astounding how much we can learn about our solar system, and, by extension, our galaxy by analyzing space dust. The swabs were sealed and sent back to earth for testing in labs. The swabs were found to contain seemingly foreign bacteria that “was not present” during the launch of the ISS.

To be clear, this is not the first time bacteria and tiny micro-animals known as tardigrades have been found in or on things from space. However, if true, this would definitely be the first time we’ve seen any kind of life accumulate and propagate on our equipment that’s in our orbit. If true, this could indicate that bacteria, LIFE, can and DOES survive a space journey and seed a new environment.

That’s the important part here…the potential that this bacteria seeded a successful colony.

This could potentially be a big step in understanding life on our planet. How we got here. How it started. Abiogenesis is a working theory with successful lab results, but it’s a theory that is not without serious explanatory obstacles. It’s complicated, it takes juuuust the right conditions. Maybe it really was as simple as commuters riding in on a cosmic train. Maybe it’s a combination of both. Maybe bacteria from space interacted with the organisms that arose from abiogenesis. It could be a critical corner piece of our very large puzzle.

…or, it could be a lie. You can’t accept one lab’s results. That’s not how science works.

Let’s run with it, though. That’s more fun. Now, if the scientists ARE being honest, there’s a twist in this plot. They gathered the samples and sent them to earth, where Russian scientist are purportedly growing colonies of this space bacteria for study. Scientists say it “seems harmless at this point.”

Let’s mull this one over for a minute. They found space bacteria and are growing it here. On earth. Right now. And it “seems harmless…at this point.”

Seems harmless. At this point.

I don’t know about you, but that statement doesn’t really instill confidence, does it? I believe I’ve played this video game before. It didn’t end well.

Scientists, please use extreme caution. The second it even hints at going awry, kill it. Don’t try to contain the issue. Don’t try to cover it up. Kill it all with fire.

Twice.

And one more ramble before I go play Mario all day in my jammies.

People are decorating for Christmas, a hobby I fully support. The more the merrier. Gussy it up and make it twinkle and I’m in!

However, one neighbor has…hm…how can I put this?

Lost their damn mind.

Picture this: Ranch style house built in the early 80’s. Small lawn, nicely manicured, free of dead leaves and last summer’s crunchy flower stalks. Decorative trees planted to match a new house have grown a bit too large, making the scene slightly awkward, as if a child has placed their Mega Bloc trees around their father’s model train set. Still, they’re kept neat and tidy, and it’s clear the owners are proud of the property.

The display began years ago, with a simple manger scene in the yard and string lights around the side of the house facing the main road. The manger scene was one of those light-up creches. It was a bit on the tacky side but not one of those Disney-themed abominations or anything, so it was well within acceptable standards.

The owners have added since then. Inflatables, which aren’t my personal taste but do pack a punch to a holiday display. There is a cool sleigh scene done in lights on the shrubs to the right, balanced by a waving Santa to the left. More inflatables joined the repertoire last year. It was a bit overboard, in my opinion, but…okay. I still understood what they were going for.

This year, though. *sigh* This year.

Have you seen those laser lights that are all the rage? Sure you have. If you get cable or watch YouTube, you’ve seen the ads. They’re basically balls with little cutouts all over them, and inside are bright lights. You plug them in, turn them on, and they shine a display on your house. Some are just dots, to give a starry effect, while others cast bright shapes, like candy canes or Christmas trees. They are a cheap and easy way to cover the entire side of your house with lights, and those ads are really working. Many folks in the area are using them this year, including the Neighbors of Questionable Taste.

“Bethie, if you just got done saying that many folks are using them, what’s the problem?”

The folks in question have replaced the baby Jesus in their creche scene with one of these contraptions.

“Oh no.”

It gets worse. You can set some of these devices to slowly spin, giving a dynamic display. You know when a dynamic display doesn’t work? When it’s radiating from the baby Jesus.

I think they were going for a “radiating with a holy light” effect. But it’s multi-colored. And rotating. And casts pictures of candy canes all around. Let’s be real here. Mary and Joseph are kneeling at a manger rave, and I don’t think those wise men are bringing myrrh to this party, if you know what I’m sayin’.

Don’t do this, folks. Don’t turn baby Jesus into a club kid. This is not the kind of “lit” you want your Christmas display to be.

Hey, I’m just looking out for you. I do it because I care.

Thus concludes a catching up Musing for Sunday, December 3, 2017. I’m going to not put on real pants or do anything productive today. Kids know how to feed themselves, right? This elf is taking a break. I’m coming for you, Bowser. Time to fire up the Switch.