Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thoughts My Brain Made, 46

This Isn't What They Mean by That

Been wondering why I sometimes wake up with dry eyes that can't focus properly without eyedrops, but this morning I think I found out.

Apparently I've sometimes been sleeping with my eyes, or at least one eye, open (insert cowboy-in-Indian-country joke here), and this morning it happened while I was dreaming. So I dreamed I was awake, in my bedroom, but unable to see anything except what I, still asleep in bed, happened to be looking at.

When you blink and move your eyes, and your head, and even sit up and try to get out of bed, but all you can see is the slightly tilted image of your bedside lamp, you begin to think something might be wrong.

Oh, and what "woke" me in my dream was a loud, repetitive whump that I couldn't locate, and which didn't change in intensity no matter what I did -- but it was my disobedient eyes that eventually drew my full attention. I'd actually forgotten the noise until it stopped. When I woke up for real, still looking at my bedside lamp. And when I looked away from my lamp then, I saw... things other than my lamp! It was a miracle!

This was another of those "sleep paralysis" dreams I've been having on rare occasions throughout my adult life. I'd long since realized they were merely dreams, and now I suspect they happen because my eyes open in that particular sleep state. Most previous occasions it's been in the deep darkness of late night or much earlier morning, but if, say, my eyes in that sleep state are hugely dilated, that could explain why the things I remember seeing during such a dream didn't look as unlit as they did once I came full awake.

Also, since subjective time in a dream is different from waking time, my eyes may have been stiller and thus getting a longer exposure, creating an illusion of more light in the room.

So anyway, as soon as I realized that my eyes felt all scratchy again, I reached for the eyedrops and there was, once again, not a dry eye in the house.

Oh, and the noise? Just my heartbeat.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Key Word Was "Such"

The last line of this post might have misled those who parse language sloppily.

The laying of curses is a purely rhetorical exercise. No actual attempt is made to ensure the desired fate occurs -- at least, not by the person laying the curse. All he is doing is inviting the universe to right itself slightly by imposing an outcome on the cursed, entirely independent of human agency.

The universe, of course, keeps its own counsel on how it will right itself, or whether it will. And with seven billion people casually cursing one another on a daily basis it may be hard for it to keep track. Especially if the curses are received and stored on an unsecured private server in somebody's bathroom (with or without a leopard to beware of).

All that being said, while I have reasons enough to think Mike Pence is an untrustworthy POS, I could see myself voting, this November, for a presidential ticket where he occupied the top spot.

Because your run-of-the-mill untrustworthy POS is neither a flatulent orangutan nor an unindicted serial felon. In 2016 we're all lowering our expectations.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Honesty & Integrity

Found my candidate:





That's a partial screenshot of a picture of a t-shirt I ordered two of Saturday.
The denizens of the Beltway would react to Walt like a vampire to a crucifix.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

I Ain't Mowin' That

While we were in Wyoming, the wife and I briefly considered making a day out of getting Idaho onto her life list. She's never been there, and for me it's been a solid 50 years; my brother and I along with Mom, her younger sister and a trio of cousins all traveled up from Los Angeles to Mom's birthplace in Montana to visit Nana, and our path took us through Las Vegas, a corner of Arizona, straight up through Utah, and across eastern Idaho.

As you might imagine, I don't remember much about the trip, having not yet started kindergarten...

Anyway, we ran the numbers and judged that it would be a really long day getting there and back to where we were staying. An upside was that it would involve finally getting to see the Grand Tetons with our own eyes, rather than having to settle for pictures and video.

We decided not to wear ourselves out just for the chance to buy gas and use a restroom in the Gem State and turn right around and head back. Some other time, Tetons.

Meanwhile, the background image is of Grand Teton herself, fronted with aspens in their fall foliage and (I assume) Jackson Lake in the foreground. You should be able to make out the copyright watermark in the upper right; I found the picture in a Google image search for Wyoming aspens in the fall, shown first. Deserves it.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Whose Party Is It Anyway?

Whether the delegates mutiny next week or behave like the docile livestock Loser Trump demands, will determine the answer to that question.

Meanwhile the only party with actual Republicans on its ticket is the Libertarian -- and they're libertarians like Joseph Goebbels was a B'nai B'rith supporter.

I hold out no hope for the convention outcome in Cleveland. The Retrumplicans are now proud to be a wholly owned subsidiary of the Idiocrats. To Cleveland with them both.

Update, July 15: We didn't have to wait until next week to determine that the GOP still belongs to the GOP Establishment which, having dissolved its base and elected another, quashed any hope of the convention's Rules Committee allowing a floor vote on whether delegates bound to Loser Trump could vote their consciences in the first round. Conscience is against their religion.

If they were trying to put Hillary Clinton in the White House I cannot imagine what they would be doing different. It used to be that fundraising off Democrat rule was GOPe's Plan B. Now it's Plan A.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Bittersweet

By the last day of vacation I'm always looking forward to getting home. Not so much this time.

While I miss the creature comforts that await in the house that is my current abode, what I wish is that they were here, so I wouldn't have to go back there to revert to something like a normal life.

Departure will be purely corporeal. My soul will stay.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

In Congress, July 4, 1776
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining, in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasions from without and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops
among us;

For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;

For imposing taxes on us without our consent;

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;

For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offenses;

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies;

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrection among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in our attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity; and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

WE, THEREFORE, the REPRESENTATIVES of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.



[Signed by] JOHN HANCOCK [President]

New Hampshire
JOSIAH BARTLETT,
WM. WHIPPLE,
MATTHEW THORNTON.

Massachusetts Bay
SAML. ADAMS,
JOHN ADAMS,
ROBT. TREAT PAINE,
ELBRIDGE GERRY

Rhode Island
STEP. HOPKINS,
WILLIAM ELLERY.

Connecticut
ROGER SHERMAN,
SAM’EL HUNTINGTON,
WM. WILLIAMS,
OLIVER WOLCOTT.

New York
WM. FLOYD,
PHIL. LIVINGSTON,
FRANS. LEWIS,
LEWIS MORRIS.

New Jersey
RICHD. STOCKTON,
JNO. WITHERSPOON,
FRAS. HOPKINSON,
JOHN HART,
ABRA. CLARK.

Pennsylvania
ROBT. MORRIS
BENJAMIN RUSH,
BENJA. FRANKLIN,
JOHN MORTON,
GEO. CLYMER,
JAS. SMITH,
GEO. TAYLOR,
JAMES WILSON,
GEO. ROSS.

Delaware
CAESAR RODNEY,
GEO. READ,
THO. M’KEAN.

Maryland
SAMUEL CHASE,
WM. PACA,
THOS. STONE,
CHARLES CARROLL
of Carrollton.

Virginia
GEORGE WYTHE,
RICHARD HENRY LEE,
TH. JEFFERSON,
BENJA. HARRISON,
THS. NELSON, JR.,
FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT LEE,
CARTER BRAXTON.

North Carolina
WM. HOOPER,
JOSEPH HEWES,
JOHN PENN.

South Carolina
EDWARD RUTLEDGE,
THOS. HAYWARD, JUNR.,
THOMAS LYNCH, JUNR.,
ARTHUR MIDDLETON.

Georgia
BUTTON GWINNETT,
LYMAN HALL,
GEO. WALTON.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Do Obama and Congressional Democrats WANT Trump to Win?

First they spin an ISIS-inspired mass shooting carried out by a registered Democrat as being the NRA's fault (what else could they do, admit that Obama's inept foreign policy -- conducted by his fellow former Senate Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Kerry -- have utterly failed to defuse the terrorist threat?).

Then they stage a sit-in on the House floor, demanding to vote on a bill that would place Americans' due-process protections at the mercy of presidential political appointees maintaining secret lists.

I'm #NeverTrump, and even I am wondering whether I ought to think about contemplating reconsidering that position.

Although ideally the delegates to the Republican convention would give voters a tolerable alternative to Clinton for this November. At this point almost any alternative to the Tang-tinted tyrant would be acceptable.

Almost.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Thoughts My Brain Made, 45

Seems some "conservatives" on Twitter think the delegates to the Republican convention shouldn't mutiny and reject Trump, because Trump would blame the party for it, and with his campaign flying apart before our eyes it would be giving him the escape hatch he wants.

To which I say:
 Of course, American politics haven't been "grown-up" for quite some time. Maybe fixing that would fix the rest.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Twenty Years Ago this Month

When my mother Eileen was in her late 60s, doctors found it necessary to amputate her lower right leg.

The following June, she got on a plane in Sacramento -- alone -- and came to Fairbanks, Alaska to spend two weeks with my wife and me.

Mom had a prosthesis, but it was painful and awkward to use, so she spent most of her time in a wheelchair. This included the Midnight Sun game, where the beer lady made her rounds in the stands telling jokes to the bleachers rising behind the box area we'd claimed.

Completely unaware of our presence right behind her, beer lady told a riddle: "What do you call a lady with one leg? Eileen!" Mom was tickled, but we weren't sure the beer lady would be if she found out so we kept the laughter to ourselves.

A more adventurous outing was our attempt to take Mom to the Arctic Circle, which ended far short of the Yukon River when my flat tires outnumbered my spare tires. Mom needed to relieve herself while we waited for help, so I pushed her in her wheelchair about 100 yards up the gravel road looking for a reasonably level spot to get her far enough into the woods for some privacy, then I retreated to a discreet distance waiting for any call for help. The only call that came was, "Okay, I'm done."

By the time we got back to the car, my wife had flagged down a passing king-cab pickup in which a lady from Anchorage was taking her own relatives to see the Circle. She was kind enough to drive Mom and my wife to Yukon Ventures (now Yukon River Camp), where they managed to get spare tires on which I could drive us back to town.

As we made it back into the Fairbanks vicinity I apologized to Mom for the debacle, but she insisted she'd had fun. Later, when I wrote a narrative of that trip, the dire possibilities that had weighed on me during it caused me to rhyme Jack London by giving it the title, "To Change a Tire." Our gratitude to our rescuers remains undimmed.

We lived in Alaska five years, but those two weeks are the brightest memories. When Mom passed away in 2002, my eulogy included the telling of these two stories because they illustrated so well how inspirational she could be -- and epitomized one of the guiding principles I ascribed to her: "Do something you've never done before."

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Happy Flag Day



Update, July 18:


Monday, June 13, 2016

Thoughts My Brain Made, 44



Friday, June 10, 2016

Whitetail Wildlife

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Titled Mobility, 2

Or, "It Didn't Suck (In Fact I Liked It)"

The Mustache ardently recommends Carmax for all your used-car-buying needs. We've bought two vehicles from the Lithia Springs, Georgia location and been quite happy with both the experience and the vehicles.

And the advantage of dealing with Carmax over that place that lets you buy a car in your kimono is, you get to test-drive your vehicle before you hand over any money.

But what we did today was sell a car, The Hippo. This was the minivan my late mother-in-law got after she moved in with us -- though not from Carmax (that car-buying experience did kind of suck). But Marie was a conscientious car owner and she saw to the recurring maintenance like clockwork. Which is why the Carmax appraiser valued it at almost the maximum Kelley Blue Book number. That was what they offered, and that was what we walked out with.

We weren't at all sure what to expect when we drove up there, but the reality was far smoother and more satisfactory than the best we dared hoped for. So the Mustache also recommends Carmax for your car-selling needs, provided of course the car you want to sell is worth more than the duct tape holding it together.

Now our insurance costs will go down, we'll pay for fewer car tags each year, and it'll be up to someone else to get it smogged, now that it's old enough to need it.

It's a relief to once again not have more vehicles than we have drivers.