Thursday, December 17, 2020


Sound like anyone we hear about in the news daily?

Here's to hoping that he, and those who enable him and blindly support him as elected officials, are held to account for their treachery.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Wisconsin’s $4.1 billion Foxconn factory boondogg…

This was one of the early cons pulled by trump, shortly after taking office. He and Scott walker put together a deal for the "8th wonder of the world" and it collapsed spectacularly, but with little fanfare.

But it didn't get much press, and so it went unnoticed by the true believers.  There are a lot of elements to this story, and I'd suggest you read them (and more), but the part that struck me was that this was a Taiwan-based company.  Taiwan has a contentious relationship with China, but still still is reliant on China.  So when trump decided on a trade war with China, he undercut this relationship. Because, of course he did.

Anyway, there's a follow up story here:

And another story on CNBC. 

And of course there was a human toll that the guardian reported on:

Walker, trump, and others were only in it for their own selfish reasons, assuredly money.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Predictable. Supreme Court rules in favor of the constitution

As I noted in a post earlier, it seemed unlikely the scotus would rule in favor of Texas in their suit against other states.

There was no constitutional issue at stake, and the states themselves run elections and had already worked through the courts up to the Individual state Supreme Courts. Constitutionally, that was the way this should have been handled.

And because of "equal protection," the states can run elections however they see fit. As long as they are running free and fair elections that don't favor one group, party, or location, they can apply the rules in whatever way suits them, so long as it fits within the general guidelines set forth in the US constitution.

And never mind that the down ballot races were not questioned by anyone. This was strictly about trump. A peculiar argument indeed.

And so, the court declined to hear further arguments, apparently with no dissenters, meaning it was a 9-0 decision; with all 6 "conservative justices" in concurrence. Justices Alito and Thomas had suggested letting Texas proceed with their suit, but with no other remedy. Had this been accepted, this would have meant that the vote would be certified, but Texas would have an opportunity to prove that they were harmed. But no other justices signed on, so this idea died.

I decided to slip into the rabbit hole of reaction, and read through some of the comments from maga-aligned folks. I would summarize what I saw thusly:

* some comments were wholly unintelligible. I mean through misused words, misspellings, and unclear statements, I really didn't understand what they meant

* the notion of civil war, which I first heard rush Limbaugh talk about a couple of days ago, came up frequently.

* as expected, there were a lot of comments about "the swamp" and how the Supreme Court had been subverted. Even though there are 2 justices who nearly always support pet conservative causes (in Alito and Thomas), and 3 others who trump appointed in this term. Seems logical to me...oh wait. No it doesn't.

* there were many, many mentions of prayer and god and how he would correct this action ... somehow

* a lot of name calling, and flat out saying that Biden is corrupt and communism or socialism (I think people get confused on what they mean) is coming to the United States and they are going to take your fredoms!

* there were claims it's not over, and trump would go over the courts heads, declare Marshall law, or otherwise stay in power (perhaps using Jedi mind tricks or magic?)

* some commentary was about how the democrats spent so much money to look into Russia interference (they even had a very specific number, 47 million repeated, which seems odd) while "not caring" about this election. [also remember that through several actions by mueller, the us government seized funds that entirely paid for the investigation, so technically no taxpayer dollars were spent]

* I read a lot of parroting of the maga talking points; the typical things you hear from trumps allies, or Fox News. Everything from not understanding voting machines, how elections work, mail in ballots, affidavits, etc to wild claims of mysterious voters fraud that everyone can see!

It was a peculiar set of reactions, and in some ways I truly feel for them. 4 years ago, the people who saw through trump felt similarly aggrieved, though I might argue that Russian influence seems to have been somewhat real....nevertheless, losing sucks. Especially if you are passionately for (or against) a candidate.

But that does it. The electors meet on Monday, and vote.

Trumps latest coup attempt

Never, ever forget this entire con, the grift, the whole grab for power was about money. Sure, he could peddle influence, and there may have been reasoning behind some of his efforts to undercut the constitution. But in the end it was still about money.

Even now, the way he suggests people help him is about putting his hand in their pocket another time (and to maybe keep it there once he leaves office).

The bigger supporters around him see it; the gravy train is ending. They're all making a last plea to sell "something" before he gets evicted.

Anyway, trump loses at every turn, including the Supreme Court. So he makes a plea for "a patriot" to help him.

Enter the AG from Texas. He files what amounts to an absurd lawsuit before the Supreme Court that Texas was harmed in voting in 4 other states because "reasons" and wants to throw out mail in ballots and vote totals in some heavily democratic districts.

Mike pence goes out to a rally and says "god bless Texas" as though his god cares what happens in politics (and isn't this the reason we abandoned the Anglican Church?)

Several other states pile on (someone referred to them as confederacy of states which seems apt) and agree that some of these voting machines and methods used for mail-in balloting are flawed. Except that in most of the states they either use the same machines or the same methods in mail-in. But they were won by it's okay there but not somewhere else?

Anyway, this is a (very) long shot, but you knew that. Otherwise why would you be here? Texas may not even have standing and can't show how they were aggrieved. And, as I've mention before "original jurisdiction" cases have to meet certain criteria, where one state is harmed in some way (typically interstate commerce) and if there is another avenue to litigate they have to go there first. This was litigated in each of the 4 states own supreme courts and that was appealed to the us Supreme Court, which dismissed it.

So what gives? Why bother? Obviously there is money at stake. Don't forget that Trump holds the purse strings to the gop funds. Many of these republi-cons sold their souls for access to that money and don't want to screw that up.

But for this Paxton guy from Texas it's deeper. He's under investigation by something called the FBI, for corruption. And yesterday, while he was glad handing with the trumpster in DC (attending a covid spreader event if you like), a subpoena was served on his office in Texas.

For him this is about more than money. This is his opportunity to do a favor for trump to keep up the illusion that the election was stolen, and keep the money rolling in. Assuming he loses in court, it also means this "deep state" got to the justices on the high court, too. Talk about a trump headline that lets him take in more cash...

And in exchange, I have no doubt that pences "god bless Texas" message was an overture of a forthcoming pardon.

This is what you voted for, people. A con man. And that is exactly what you got.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Helping others

Its the holiday season, so we're seeing more about organizations that are setup to help others.The likes of the Ronald McDonald House spring to mind.  

And I don't have anything against this program, rather I think its great.

But my question is: why? Why does it exist?  Why do we have a system that treats seriously ill children with such disregard that they have to go to what amounts to a crowdsourced program to help?

Why isn't there a better way?  We are a first world nation, and can and should be helping those in need.  It should not come down to McDonalds founding an organization that takes in contributions for its existence - and purpose of helping those who simply can't help themselves and through no fault of their own were born with some nebulous "pre-existing condition"

The NFL is stupid

They put some protocols in place, and worked at having a plan for covid cases.

And then, when it came time, they mostly eschewed the plan in favor of money. Early on, they tried postponing games, but they seemed to realize that would impact the playoffs. They had a plan to possibly expand the playoffs, but they seemed to realize that would impact the Super Bowl.

So instead they just threw caution to the wind and are doing some really dumb things that affect the quality of the game in favor of the short term revenue to be had by just playing.

This week, they trotted out a Broncos team that had not a single QB on the roster. Can't sign anyone because that rule they enforced. Can't delay the game because..reasons! So a high school game was played. And it was dreadful.

Then the ravens had positive tests so they pushed them out as far as they could, and they took the field with some number of active players (well below the threshold they set) and the team hadn't practiced. So this one looked more like lower tier college. Again, bad football.

What a stupid mess. As I've said before, in general, for entertainment, the nfl is okay. But, you can't expect much from it, and certainly you can't root for a team. That's pointless.

So keep your crappy product, nfl.

I've spent not one dime on anything of theirs for a long time now. And this year just reminds me that was the right thing to do.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Now that’s absurd.

Man that crazy lady (Powell) got me to thinking about the lawsuit she filed in Georgia to decertify the election, based on nothing, and demanding it simply be handed over to Trump....

Someone pointed out that since she technically doesn't work for Trump, she might not have legal standing. And the suit is absurd anyway.

So I was wondering if I could do the same thing in florida to try and get a court to just hand it over to Biden based on "so many words" ...

I could wear a tinfoil hat and stand outside a landscape company and let something drip down my head, and get in the news cycle.

Maybe say I personally saw Fidel arriving in Miami and voting a bunch of times for Trump.

Tell me how that's different.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Plug-In Hybrids Under Attack By Environmentalists | CarBuzz

Hmmmm. I've been saying for some time that a hybrid is a kind of a hack. Yeah it gets you better gas mileage, but it's not really helpful in terms of environmental friendliness or going electric. And it's really a way for the car companies to take advantage of tax breaks.

Apparently I'm not alone in my thinking...

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

“They want to change our way of life”

During the election cycle 8 years ago, a guy a knew was adamant that Obama had to be defeated so we could return to our way of life. I really didn't understand what he meant. His point eluded me. Was it racist? Based on his policy?

So here we are in 2020 and the point has been coming into much sharper focus. In fact, there was a local non-partisan race with three contenders a few weeks ago.

One decided to go full-on maga. She tied herself to trump, to the republicans, and generally made it a partisan position.

She won, and people scratched their heads. How did she do it?

But a high school student who was working on one of the other campaigns astutely said "[she was saying] if you don't vote for me, your way of life will be taken away."

And that's exactly what the guy meant 8 years ago. And what many Trump supporters have decided all of this means.

It was/is a battle for the soul of this country. Braggadocio, American exceptionalism, white privilege (even if it's unstated), and fear are the way he won and why 70-something million people voted for him.

Listen to the words. Socialism=bad. BLM=bad. Foreigners=bad. Anything that strays from whatever form of religion they believe=bad. "Our" way of life has been twisted to mean anything that the wealthy want it to.

I mean, the sad reality is that trump and many of the other so-called leaders don't care about people, they only care about themselves. Think most of the most ardent supporters would ever get an invite to go to mar-a-lago? I suppose only if mar-a-lago was the name of a landscaping company.

And as for caring, gee as the G20 summit (which would have been hosted in DC if not for the pandemic) kicked off, trump was rage tweeting about the election again. And when the leaders met to talk covid, he went off to a tee time. Because he simply can't be bothered to govern or care about real world issues. It is all about him. And after all, that's the way it's been the last 3 11/12 years, so why start now?

Who's way of life? ...And people caught in the cult of personality still can't see it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Stop the spread: wear a mask

I still can't believe that (a) our government sits idly by as the pandemic spreads and it does literally nothing to learn about it, achieve any sort of success in returning to something close to normalcy, and otherwise just promotes stupidity. And (b) that people as a result still refer to it as a hoax and won't wear a mask. One of the easiest things to do, for yourself and the good of the nation, is to mask up. And instead people give all sorts of reasons why they won't.

But here's the thing. Look around and see where things are maybe getting a little closer to normal and ask yourself why that is and why they haven't had any outbreaks attributed to them.

And I'm not talking about stupid things like restaurants opening. I'm talking about examples like these:

1. Air travel. The airlines know they have to fly in order to make money. So they gave it a go. Told everyone they have to wear a mask, and have been trying little things beyond that. They've even kicked people off flights for not wearing them. And no outbreaks directly tied to being on an airplane, as far as we can tell. What does that tell you?

2. TV production has kinda,sorta returned. There are new episodes of some shows and things are moving along. Again, money is the motivating factor. But the crew all wear masks, and as much as they can they have actors social distance, and they do covid screenings on the regular.

3. Disney World reopened in a limited capacity, enforcing 100% mask wearing. There are screenings for temperature. Plus some amount of social distancing makes this successful. There have been no reported outbreaks from cast or guest related to park going.

4. Yesterday, I was reading about a school district in the northeast that reopened. They are enforcing masks, and social distancing as much they can. But they have had some outbreaks. The upshot, though, is that they are rigorous about contact tracing and knowing how the outbreak started. And what did they find? Every outbreak was linked to sports or some situation where students gathered together after school hours - and nearly every case, they weren't wearing masks when around others.

Theres also a reminder that basketball bubble worked in the late summer because they isolated the entire NBA and played through the season. They even used some custom monitoring devices to learn something about possible spreads. Because everyone in direct contact was inside the bubble had been tested and anyone near the bubble wore masks, they avoided a spread. Sure, a bubble is mostly impractical in the real world. But we *learned* something from it that we can apply if we so choose. (The bubble was at disney world, so surely part of disneys success is based on learning).

Anyway the key is to try things to figure this out; to learn along the way. To in many cases let the money guide you. These are all industries where $$ are at stake, so they are finding a way.

Some smarts, maybe a little tech, some government investment, and a mask mandate would speed all of this up.

And for Pete's sake, take it seriously!

And in the meantime: wear a mask people!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

In case you wondered about this “hoax”

These two charts tell a bit of a story. One country takes it seriously, while one state does not.

Should we be concerned (hint: the answer is yes!)

Maybe it’s just me, but...

I find it kind of amusing that team Trump is replacing key positions in government with "loyalists"

Look, it's concerning in many ways that he's replacing key people, as though he's preparing to stage a coupe of sorts.

But it's the term they're using that amuses me. The term Loyalist comes from the revolutionary war. At the time, people still loyal to the British monarchy ("the crown" in common terms) were referred to as loyalists.

The term has evolved a little and generically means loyal to the ruling party. But here, in our form of government, which specifically fought against the British, the term still resonates.

Especially when the person in power throws it around as though he's a wanna-be king.

And BTW, about 30% of the population around the time of the revolution were loyalists. Much as about 30% of our population is all-in on maga.

And guess what? 240 years ago, the loyalists lost and we grew as a nation.

This chapter is still being written....

Thursday, November 12, 2020

This is simply awesome.

The PA lt governor throws shade at the TX lt governor.

Frog Protection

As I hear more about the supposed "election fraud," I keep thinking about this ad. Maybe they went to the landscape company to get supplies in order to build a pen for the frogs?

Monday, November 9, 2020

About that election

First off, I find it ... amusing? ... that the same group of people who said in 2016 "Hillary lost?  oh boo hoo, get over it snowflake!" are now trying to find any and all ways to support trump, going so far as to create wild conspiracy theories and odd notions. 

I've heard a lot of these, which I'll enumerate here.  As always, think about what they mean.  Do they make sense?  If you heard them in any other context would you think they seem reasonable?

  • There was massive voter fraud committed across states (wow, that would take what amounts to a coordinated effort, wouldn't it?)
  • There were "ballot harvesters" in big cities, collecting "trunk loads" of ballots to be manipulated and counted (anecdotes are great aren't they?)
  • Dead people voted in large numbers (for the record, in many elections this does happen, but the numbers are in the 1-2 people range; not anything that will alter anything)
  • There was some (insert agency, party, deep state) way to change votes either using a handlheld device or a "supercomputer"
  • The big tech companies don't like trump and led some sort of conspiracy to manipulate the vote, because they have that kind of high techy, techy stuff AmIRight?
  • Postmasters hand cancelled and back dated mailed ballots, meaning there was a widespread conspiracy AT THE POST OFFICE to commit fraud (the same post office that didn't want to deliver ballots at all, remember? and there are so many levels of supervision because its union that its dizzying; and besides changing dates on cancellations is not as easy as some people think)
  • Illegal aliens or other unregistered voters voted, or people voted more that once.  That seems a matter for the supervisor of elections would have dealt with when using their established process.
  • And of course the more generic "there are videos of..." (insert whatever silliness you want) showing that there was voter fraud.  But no one has the actual videos often because "the internet took them down"
And for any of these where someone committed fraud, there will be an investigation and charges, as necessary. 

There's also a video of Joe Biden saying he committed voter fraud, from back in October. Smoking gun, right?  Not so much. Context is very important.

And so most of what's been said doesn't have a leg to stand on, really.  States will count and certify the vote, based on their rules.

But wait, Trump is suing in some states to try and win, right?

Lets consider that for a moment.  The lawsuits he has filed in a couple of states amount to challenging some of the votes, but its debatable whether that number of votes in a particular state would be enough to change the vote total *in that state* to have him win that one state.  And the candidate still has to get to 270 votes to win.  That means that team trump would have to overturn 4 states in order to get that.  In other words, he has to have success among four different states in changing the outcomes.  

Does that seem likely?  He hasn't even agreed to fund a recount in Wisconsin for $3 million.  What does that tell you?

And there's another "minor detail" that the Washington Post caught yesterday.  Team trump is looking for other people to contribute to the legal fund to sue states.  But it says down in the terms, that 40% of the money raised will be used to pay off campaign debts (you know him renting an arena to hold a rally, or catering for the staff, paying some employees like Ivanka, or any expense that they had).  Remember I told you before that he magically used $800 million before the election started in earnest, and now they are out of money, and have to still make payments.  Congrats if you give to this cause, because you are being conned one last time.

Of course, some people just expect the Supreme Court (which trump appointed 3 members of, so he controls them right?) will simply rule to do...something....invalidate the result?  Agree to toss out ballots?  hold a new vote? Simply make trump president?

Oh if only it was that simple.  Even the most conservative on the court are "constitutionalists" and understand that document is the foundation.

Yes, in 2000, in Bush v Gore the court kinda, sorta decided the election from this point of view.  But consider that there was one specific lawsuit, from one specific state, with one specific legal argument presented to the court.  And they ruled on that.  

Florida changed the method of voting after that, showing how specific that ruling was.  The punch ballots we used to use were problematic - whether a hole was punched all the way through or not was *the* central theme.

The high court will usually only take cases that have made their way through the lower courts, which have a specific constitutional or national issue. But they can agree to take on a national case under "Original jurisdiction" if it meets certain criteria, and 4 judges agree to hear the case.

But its not like they can just ask the court to intervene.  The aggrieved have to present a writ of certiorari which requests them to intervene and presents a cogent legal argument as to why they should intervene.  Specific evidence, not a conspiracy theory, or hearsay must be presented.  You have to have facts and a reason for asking the court to step in and hear the case (like the recount in florida where they asked them to help define what a punched ballot looks like).  They can simply decline to hear it if its not a constitutional issue, or not well reasoned.  

And, if they agree, then it comes to presenting your facts of the case, and then presenting oral arguments where they will grill the lawyer who is asking for their help (and the person defending, too).

But remember that states rights are constitutional as well.  Equal protection allows for voting methods to vary from state to state, and each state can administer it as they see fit, as long as they are fair and consistent and have not made changes that favor one group of voters.

Much of the stuff that team trump is arguing is about the mail-in ballots - and states decide how they are administered.  It was open to everyone, but Biden voters favored this method, while trump voters favored in person voting.  There is a verification process in each state, with the supervisor of elections validating that ballots were legally mailed, and then those ballots were returned and signed in accordance with their rules.

So would team trump ask them to hear what amounts to 4-5 specific cases, one for each state? Or just one that was a generic argument that mail in ballots are bad?  Come on, seems absurd to me.

Quick aside: while in line to vote, the lady behind me was telling a friend on the phone that she had an absentee ballot at home, and if the friend wanted to pick it up and vote that way, she'd give it to her.  The reason I mention this is because this illustrates the total misunderstanding people have about voting by mail.

The lady behind me requested the ballot; it is assigned to her.  If she herself were to return it after voting in person, the mail vote would be discounted, because her voter registration was already used (and if she had already mailed it and stood in line, she would have been told at the polling place that she had already voted). If her friend mailed it back, she would either have to leave it unsigned (wouldn't count), sign it herself (wouldn't match, and wouldn't count), or have the lady who received it sign it, but it would be discounted as though she mailed it herself.  And anyway, technically speaking, that's voter fraud.   

So it seems unlikely the supreme court would agree to hear a case based on a shaky, or non-existent legal argument of how a state handled mail-in ballots.  I can't see that there is any demonstrable proof of a conspiracy or a coordinated voter fraud effort.  So those surely can't be argued.

So in the end, this is all a ruse.  Why is team trump doing this?  I would suggest its for two reasons: the aforementioned raising of money, and also so trump can abandon the office while not "losing" - it was stolen from him and he can say that people love him and "he had more legitimate votes" than Biden.  

Its better than the alternative: he's a LOSER and we fired him. 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

You’re fired!

There's a scene in the movie "the running man" where Arnold Schwartzeneger is being sent into the game. Richard Dawson is the game show host and asks Arnold if he has anything to say:

Arnold "I'll be back"
Dawson "only in a rerun"

Which is kind of how it feels to have trump lose the election.

He was right, though, there is a lot of winning going on. It just took a few years to get here.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Sometimes I just have to laugh at the world

In 2016, there was evidence that Russia had interfered in our election. What they actually did (or didn't do) is a mystery. There were - and are - a lot of questions.

We do know that they ran a sophisticated disinformation campaign on social media. We also know that several voter databases were breached. And we saw some unusual vote totals that couldn't be readily explained. Was there something to it, or not?

There was some investigation done afterwards that suggested that the machines themselves were easily hackable and vote totals could change. But there were hurdles, like the proximity to the voting machines, that needed to be overcome. So this was unlikely.

More likely was the possibility that there could be some shenanigans somewhere along the transmission of votes from polling stations to the state supervisor of elections. Though again this was a bit of a long shot.

So in the end, we simply don't know what they did.

Now I admit to being intrigued by the whole thing, and spent (way too much) time looking into it and following other threads. I was part of a very loosely knit group that was seeing if there was anything there.

Other than the few items I noted in the first paragraph, there was no evidence to support anything. It was all supposition.

But here's where things get funny. Like many that were looking into it, we presented anything we knew to the public.

And immediately got shouted down as being libtards, or grasping at straws, looking for excuses, being sore losers, etc. How can there have been any sort of vote manipulation, interference, or Russian influence?

They couldn't get it.

And then 2020 comes, and Trump loses.

...And suddenly those same people who had accused us - after we had done some amount of research over several weeks after the election - are saying a few days after the election that there *was* voter fraud of various kinds, and that votes were changed. Some people even have said there are devices the cia used to change votes at the polls.

To me it's hysterical. They could NOT accept the *possibility* that there was influence in 2016, even after much investigation. But in 2020 there IS absolutely vote manipulation.

Yeah. People are stupid.

Cult of personality indeed.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Phineas And Ferb Song Were Watching And Were Waiting

This week, it felt like there was a lot of this...

Cult of personality.

Sound familiar?

A cult of personality arises when a country's regime – or, more rarely, an individual – uses the techniques of mass media, propaganda, the big lie, spectacle, the arts, patriotism, and government-organized demonstrations and rallies to create an idealized, heroic, and worshipful image of a leader, often through unquestioning flattery and praise.

Rarely an individual. Unless you’re in the US and got sucked up into his gaslighting shenanigans 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Zoom Performance "Alexander Hamilton"

We need more great stuff like this!

What? Then they’d have to give refunds...

This scene sticks with me, especially during the pandemic.  All sports had “a plan” for dealing with covid, but most ignore it when it suits them.  We planned to shut down for 2 weeks! We planned to isolate players! We planned to cancel games! We planned to use backups as needed!

But, ya gotta win AmIRight? And refunds? That’s hilarious. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The Ocoee Massacre

Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the Ocoee Massacre, which is believed to the largest scale voter suppression activity that happened in the US. 

You can read stories about it, like this one

Or read a more newsy type report here

Or catch a 45 minute documentary film here:

But, the truly remarkable thing is that it did remain essentially unknown, and not talked about, for nearly a century

It was not taught in florida schools. I had a vague, very fuzzy, recollection of some mob scene, directed at blacks, somewhere near Orlando. But that's it. 

And in a way, shame on me for not knowing. I lived in another little town very close to Ocoee for a year or so in the early 90s. I went into the rebuilt Ocoee a few times. But didn't know it's history. 

I was aware that in that area, miles from downtown Orlando and the theme parks, racism ran high. There weren't many blacks in the area I was living in, and there weren't many whites in the area around apopka. 

It was strange to me, but I never asked questions. I just went about my business. I guess I assumed that it was somehow a vestige of the old south. 

But now that I'm removed from it for 30 years, and we're at the 100th anniversary of the events, I have to look back on it and shake my head. 

As I said, racism ran high in the area. It bothered me a lot at the time, but I just shook it off. 

Maybe now I'm beginning to understand what it means.

Take a few moments and read about the history and see if you can start to appreciate all that happened there, and what has happened since, and why "Black Lives Matter" is something relevant today. 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Tweet of the day

If you are an every day American, who lives somewhere close to paycheck to paycheck, or maybe have a little savings, why in the world would you vote Republican?

They are not interested in you, only enriching themselves and their friends.

It's time to stop defining yourself as a member of a party and start thinking about your own future, and that of the next generation.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Sciencing at home

This is cool. Use a bar of chocolate, a microwave, and a little math to determine the speed of light. We need so much of *this*

Sports and covid intersect

Baseball had a plan that they "followed" very haphazardly. It was just a mess all season.

So last night, it's game 6 of the series. Some player for LA had previously had an inconclusive result, so they tested him yesterday morning.

The results came back positive in the 2nd inning. But they decided to leave him in the game until the 8th - when news leaked about his positive test. Gotta try and win AmIRight?

He was taken out, and was told to quarantine, which apparently meant just going into a room in the stadium, and then coming out to celebrate with the team after they won - naturally sans mask and hugging everyone.

So the sham of their protocol was on full display.

There was a thought that the mlb was probably glad it ended in 6, because having to deal with an outbreak before game 7 would have been problematic.

As a friend of mine said "it's like putting your hand on the stove over and over again just to see if it's hot"


Saturday, October 24, 2020

What the Saints, and the Superdome, Mean to New Orleans - The Atlantic

It's funny. I went to a fair number of games growing up, in the orange bowl, and the JRS in Miami.

I had season tickets for a number years and generally enjoyed myself.

But then I outgrew it. The price, the heat, the length of the day, and the realization that it was about money and nothing more undid my excitement for going.

And so I gave it up. Yeah it was a fun lark, and sure, they can have at it and maybe some will enjoy it.

But the experience is very different. And nostalgia is great, but you can't live in the past.

The experience at home is so much better and you can still have friends over if you like.

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Amazing Randi

Sadly he passed away yesterday, and I think Penn summed it up well. 

I had been an admirer of Randi's from an early age. I liked magic growing up; the notion of illusions and patter, to really sell those illusions, intrigued me.

I think the first time I became aware of Randi was on an episode of "Happy Days"

But it wasn't until a few years later, when he started talking and writing about debunking mishigas,  that I really became somewhat of a fan. 

He was using his understanding of illusions to show how easily people are manipulated and set about trying to take down the biggest of the charlatans. 

In the mid 1980s, I was attending a magicians convention and Randi was a speaker. After one session, I started chatting with him and got invited to lunch. My dad and I tagged along, and it was ... well ... amazing. He was fascinating and had led an interesting life. 

We exchanged contact info and stayed in touch a little, then my brother hung out with him a couple of times, and my mom almost went to work for him as an assistant. So we sort of, kind of, knew him. 

But he was always a little standoffish, and a little odd, truth be told. And when I saw the Penn Jillette movie "an honest liar," I understood he was even more interesting and deeper than I ever knew. And maybe a little weirder. 

Anyway, I saw him a few times over the years, at speaking engagements and the SCIOP events we attended. And one time, we happened to be on the same flight, so we chatted before boarding. 

Each time, he was as pleasant as ever, though he didn't specifically remember me. 

I was intrigued by the work he was doing. Always thinking rationally and asking others to do the same. 

I was glad to have met him. I was saddened to hear of his passing. 

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Statistics are hard! (Whine)

We hear numbers all the time. And in particular, as it relates to COVID, there's a lot of noise among all the numbers you hear.

And oddly, interpretation of them became a partisan political issue. One person says X and the other says Y and they both support the assertion using statistics.

The media try and "pick a side" and try and report on what they see, but they wind up just reporting on either X or Y and never really question what they are reporting.

It's that way here. In Europe. And in most of the countries where you have an educated population and a healthy GDP. I guess that's how this goes?

Anyway, I heard an Australian broadcaster yesterday who had the audacity to not just report on what he saw on a series of graphs but to ask "why?" ... and that question led to some deeper insights in what the number means.

Look, when it comes to COVID you have some key metrics: number of cases, number of hospitalizations, and number of deaths.

And people argue about whether the death was COVID-related or if there was some underlying factor. Or if the person died of "something" but never got tested for COVID. So is the number accurate?

It's easy to get confused.

But here's the thing: if someone tested positive for COVID and died, then they died *of* COVID. Yes, there may have been an underlying condition. And that condition may have contributed to the persons death. But would they have died from that condition at this time if they didn't have COVID?

This is an infectious disease that does amplify and exacerbate some conditions. And it is worthwhile tracking these conditions so we understand the virus. But to dismiss the deaths as not Covid, when someone tests positive is trying to promote an agenda.

I heard a state medical examiner explaining that it evens out anyway, which makes some sense. Some people may never have been tested. Some may have died of other causes. But the fact is they died.

You can see how hospitalizations might be similar.

Now to infection rate. There's a problem here. You get tested and... hey you're positive! Now quarantine yourself and maybe we do contact tracing, and maybe not. But you are just a data point - unless you get sick.

If we took the actual testing seriously, invested in more rapid testing, took the time to understand that a positive or negative test on its own isn't particularly helpful - the jury is still out on your ability to transmit and what positivity actually means - then maybe we could do something meaningful with the info.

But as it stands? Not so much.

So in the end, we get a stand-alone number of positive test results. It would be helpful to actually know the rate of transmission. To understand this number in the context of number of tests administered, or against the population on the whole.

And then, perhaps the most meaningful thing we can use is the number of deaths stacked against the positivity rate.

That statistic may be useful.

I have been looking at the (reported) tests administered. That's about 80 million. With a population of 330 million, that's roughly 1/4 of the country's population that's been tested. Some people have been tested more than once, so if we assume something like 40 million real people; and that takes us to closer to 1 in 8 people being tested.

Probably not enough to really understand the spread, and do something meaningful, but it's a start.

We also know the number of positive tests. It sits currently at about 8 million. Or close to 10% positivity rate.

But here we get stuck again with the numbers because we don't know some things about how frequently people get tested, or how that relates to the population, or where they got tested (say an urban or remote, so you don't know if there's an outbreak), or the transmission rate.

It's an indicator. But on its own it's not the most meaningful number.

As an indicator, it would suggest only 2.5% of the population has tested positive. Perhaps less, given the number of people who get retested.

But as it's based on the testing rate, that's probably not accurate or fair. The rate will go up if there's more testing. That's how math works.

Now the death rate against the positivity rate is meaningful. If we take the ~270k (.27 million to keep the units the same) Covid related deaths against the 8 million positive tests, we are at about 3% of the population who have died as a result of the virus.

But here's something interesting. Back in the July peak, the deaths vs positivity rate was about 2%.

So something is happening. What, though?

And you may realize that this virus has mutated since it was first discovered, so that makes the statistics less meaningful in a way.

It just keeps us guessing.

This is where we really need an organization like the CDC to step up and do their job, reporting accurately and consistently and tracking the spread. That's what they are chartered to do.

Unfortunately, though, the dumbass in the Oval Office decided to neuter them and further politicize everything about the spread.

He's now saying "we've controlled it and eradicated it" which is dishonest and misleading.

Even the stats can't support that.

So I suggest you question what you hear. What does it *mean*? Is it useful
On its own?

Don't get bogged down in the stats you hear or see. Think logically about why this piece of information is being shared.

Five Ways Marco Rubio Is Just Like Scooby-Doo

Plus he'll get into any cockamamie plan in exchange for a Scooby snack. 

And he stood on a stage after parkland and talked about his desire to keep taking money from the nra, saying in effect, "and I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!"

Five Ways Marco Rubio Is Just Like Scooby-Doo

Five Ways Marco Rubio Is Just Like Scooby-Doo

Many have wondered how Senator Marco Rubio, a cowardly Miami native legally classified as a mollusk, remains so popular in Miami despite doing absolutely nothing for anyone in Miami. After a careful review of the Senator's record and talking to the men who used to hang out in the Tropical Park bathrooms that knew him as a youth, we discovered that the qualities that keep Rubio relevant are the same ones that skyrocketed Scooby "Dooby" Doo to popularity all those years ago.

Here are 5 ways Marco Rubio is just like Scooby-Doo.

They're both cowards

Scooby-Doo's cowardice is one of his defining traits. He runs from every problem he faces, whether it be a ghost, a monster, a bath, or personal responsibility. While Scoob's cowardice can get in the way, and indeed, sometimes instigates antics among his gang of meddling kids, he always redeems herself once Velma gives him a Scooby-Snack which gives him the courage needed to save the day.

Marco is also a coward unwilling to protect his constituents by standing up against his party's dog whistle immigration policies and is too petrified to criticize literally anything Trump has ever done. Like Scooby, Marco Rubio knows he is a coward, which upsets him, and he occasionally tries to eat a Marco Snack for courage. Unfortunately, "Marco Snacks" are just croquettes from Vicky's which are so oily they tend to just make him tired and not brave.

They both believe in consolidating wealth at the top

Senator Rubio loves low taxes and is a staunch believer in trickle down economics. The economic policies he supports lets the rich exploit the efforts of the working class by funneling profits up through essentially tax-exempt corporate entities. This is exactly like how Scooby-Doo uses a very-long straw to secretly suck up his friends' milkshakes before they notice, even though they did all the work of getting the milkshake because dogs can't buy milkshakes.

Scoob at least is honest and direct with his theft and says "ROUGH ROUGH SARRY, FRED" after he laps up Fred's sandwich with his tongue. Marco, on the other hand, is not an honest thief and would steal Daphne's pig to give to the butcher without any shame or even inviting her over for lechon.

They are both totally divorced from their ethnicity

It's a well-documented fact that "Scoob" is a DINO (Dog In Name Only) who spends all his time with humans who keep him around only for the sake of saying they have a dog. He's clearly treated as lesser than his peers, with only shaggy making any attempt to understand dog culture.

Marco-Doo is the only prominent Hispanic Republican in the Senate, with the notable exception of Ted Cruz, who is such a hated twerp he would definitely be Scrappy-Doo by analogy. Rubio, like Scooby, totally eschews his Hispanic heritage and culture only displaying it when he wants to bark at the cat of communism.

They both have brown hair

In Scooby's case it's more like fur and he has a lot more of it since Rubio isn't a dog and is going sort of bald too. But either way, brown.

They're both two-dimensional characters obsessed with taking down 1960's era villains that don't pose a threat to anyone anymore

For all his faults, Marco Rubio, like Scooby-Doo, just wants the people who own him to think he is a "good boy, yes he is, a very good boy." And like his cartoon counterpart, Marco Rubio thinks the way to achieve affection is to fight 1960's-era villains. For Scooby-Doo, this makes sense since he is a cartoon character from the 1960's. But Marco Rubio isn't a cartoon dog from the 1960's, he is a U.S. Senator.

And Fidel Castro is dead.

Bit even for all of his posturing about Castro and the problems with communism, Marco wants so desperately to have his tummy rubbed by the white man in the ascot that he is willing to ignore Trump's dealings with Castro and the Cuban government over the years. What's worse, with all of his obsession with what has happened in Cuba or Venezuela long ago, he ignores the many issues happening back home in Westchester where he may or may not used to have gotten handjobs from strange men in the Tropical Park bathroom in the 90's. Zoinks.

Friday, October 16, 2020

About science

I saw it several of the comments on Nyes video, and I've heard it before, "he's not a scientist"

Which always make me bristle. Anyone who studies science is, by definition, a scientist.

And what is the definition of science? The systematic study of the world.

And a scientist is someone who studies the natural world or has training in the sciences (of which engineering is one of these sciences)

And how does one do this? Why using a systematic approach with a little thing called the scientific method.

Failing to grasp these basic principles illustrates the problems we face. People are uneducated and don't care. They dismiss science rather than accept truths.

You want to debate the causes of climate change? Go right ahead. But when the evidence suggests there are changes in climate - more (and more destructive) storms, patterns that are outside of the norms for when winter starts, ocean temperature rise, so changes to ice sheets - those are things that are demonstrably happening. And we can and should study them and understand the consequences and act accordingly.

Put aside your conspiracies or thoughts of some kind of deep state. And act in our own best interests, as humans who exist on this planet.

Of course, that's just one example. There are more things like that to consider.

Go out. Observe. Take notes. Learn. Grow. Maybe try a simple experiment yourself just to see how easy it is to study something and draw a conclusion.

21st century Flat-Earthers? 'What?' Bill Nye talks science and exploration

I realized a few days ago that while I have an intense dislike (perhaps hate) for trump and people who support him, back him, and otherwise enable him, my biggest problem is that he is distinctly anti-science.

You can say whatever you want about his policies and attitudes about a variety of subjects, but at its core is the fundamental problem that basic facts, the observable universe, doesn’t matter. At the core of it all is this sort of weirdness where he saying “what are you going to believe - your own eyes, or what I’m telling you?”

Science is the one truth, and if we can’t support that, then we really have nothing. Flat earth, really? Anti vaccine? Anti science? If that continues to build, then we really are doomed as a society, perhaps as humans.

So like I say “stop the insanity!”  Don’t dismiss science and fall into the stupid trap.

And by the way, he points out that Article I, section 8, clause 8 of the constitution reads:

  • To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

    I would agree that this is one of the bigger problems as it relates to people being anti science. They are so aligned with Murica and our constitution... but only when it fits the narrative. Being anti-science is unAmerican!

    Monday, October 12, 2020

    Regeneron CEO: Trump ‘is a case of one’ and ‘weakest evidence’ for Covid-19 treatment

    "The president's case is a case of one, and that's what we call a case report, and it is evidence of what's happening, but it's kind of the weakest evidence that you can get," Schleifer said.

    Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone. 

    Saturday, October 10, 2020


    Orange on the outside.
    Hollow on the inside.
    Must be thrown out in November.

    Thursday, October 8, 2020

    Covid drug given to Trump developed using cells derived from aborted fetus | Coronavirus outbreak | The Guardian

    This is the kind of shit that makes me laugh aloud.

    "Abortion is bad! We have to ban fetal tissue use!"

    It's used to literally save his life and...everyone is happy?!

    And then he says everyone should access to this treatment.


    Dumbassery is alive and well!

    Tuesday, September 29, 2020

    Trump Secretly Mocks His Christian Supporters - The Atlantic

    I've long suspected that this was part of the con. On the one hand it was genius to get the evangelicals on your side. On the other it was utter nonsense. In exchange for money, promoting their brand, and leaving them alone, he got an endorsement.

    But didn't give two shits about them or their religious beliefs. This was a play to get some people to promote him and call him the messiah.

    So when he said his favorite part of the Bible was "all of it," what he meant was "don't know, don't care, but just support me"

    Congrats people of faith who blindly support him and forgive his un-Christian characteristics. You were duped, in much the same way your religious leaders dupe you.

    Monday, September 21, 2020

    Are Masks Just For Liberals?

    The article is interesting and worth a read. But the accompanying photo? Wow.

    For a generation, the tag line has been a talking point on abortion.

    And now that republicans have made it their call-to-arms to eliminate abortion, this becomes more relevant.

    We are a stupid society.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson - "Do you believe in god?"

    This. As I’ve said before, religion is fatally flawed.

    Saturday, September 19, 2020

    Crushed tomatoes

    My wife asked me to pick up a can of crushed tomatoes. Is this what she meant?

    Monday, August 31, 2020

    People am stupid

    I just saw something pop up on my YouTube home page, where some "pastor" was saying we've been lied to and that the cdc just spoke the truth.  He called out this line in a report:

    "For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned."

    And went on to talk about how this is all a hoax,  because only 6% of the reported number died front it, and see, it's nothing like we are told.  Mask wearing doesn't matter.  And the classic "I've never known anyone who was hospitalized."

    We are clearly being lied to!

    What I'd suggest instead is that the issue here is that he (and others like him) don't know how to read a chart.  Hey, the headline sounds good, why dig any deeper?! This is a failing of many to just accept one thing you hear without context, because it fits your narrative.  It's a failure to understand how "cause of death" is recorded.  And it's also a failure to understand basic science.

    What this actually shows is that some of the underlying conditions many Americans have contributed to the higher-than-the-rest-of-the-world mortality rate.

    I'd ask: do we have more deaths from these conditions than we had in previous years? The answer is yes, and therefore it's accelerated due to coronavirus.  You might argue "they might have died anyway," and that may be true, but it's missing the point that that they also had coronavirus, and that’s what is shown -  but Covid was still the ultimate cause.

    They are just listing other conditions, because that what scientists do when they’re trying to understand what’s going on.

    It’s so hard to counter stupidity.

    We're doomed....

    COVID-19 Provisional Counts - Weekly Updates by Select Demographic and Geographic Characteristics

    Sent from my iPad

    Friday, August 28, 2020

    Ascent Of Man, episode 11 - Knowledge Or Certainty

    In the 70s, Jacob Bronowski did a series called “the Ascent of Man”. The series is really quite good.

    But this piece of storytelling is really deep and thought provoking.

    Another thought on Religion

    I was thinking more about my posts regarding religion. And maybe I'm wrong. Christianity isn't what it once was: a belief in an all powerful god who guides humans in some way.

    Instead, it's become about Republican Jesus(tm) who is a white, gun-toting, self absorbed fellow who is in it for the cash.

    That's what today's Christianity posits. And if we see it through that lens, then I reconcile peoples faith with what I see.

    It's the 10 generally accepted recommendations (footnote: try not to break all of these at one time, and if you do, then make sure there's a darned good reason, like money).

    It's stories about how a guy lived his life as a messenger for how you can pay cash to get in the afterlife.

    It's about people preying on you while they ask you to pray.

    It's absurd. And it's why there's a picture of Republican Jesus(tm) with his hand on trumps ass. Or maybe he's just reaching for his wallet!

    Now it makes sense.

    The messaging around Covid is wrong.

    I read this article about the Covid messaging, and, yeah, Our messaging is totally flawed.

    But here's the funny thing: as I look back to March, when we first got sent home in order to "flatten the curve," the rational part of my brain knew this was just to get us on the right path. It wasn't the final answer, and there was still work to do. 

    But the emotional part, that feeds on stories, news, and my own desires to go about my life saw it differently. Sure, we'd still have things in place, but we'll come up with better methods for testing and tracing and be able to balance. 

    And as I look back, I realize that the emotional part was a little wishful - at least in part because of the messages we were getting. 

    My rational brain kept telling me that we were in this for the long haul. And people are inherently selfish and stupid. And there was nothing whatsoever being done to effectively manage the spread. 

    And I can see why people don't get the science part. It's an unseen "enemy" and their odds are generally good. And there's no sensational story here. No villain to hate. So it's easy to go with the emotional idea. Reopen the economy! It's a hoax anyway!

    But I keep going back to the realization that a plane disappears with 150 people on board and it's a mystery that captures everyone around the world. Around 4,000 people died on 9/11. And we changed security and people were okay with it. 600,000 Americans died in WWII and we were motivated to deliver, to ration, to work toward something. 

    We're at just under 200,000 dead from the virus. 10s of Millions infected. 

    And we're arguing over whether we should wear a mask. 

    You bet messaging is wrong. 

    Thursday, August 27, 2020

    A follow up about religion

    When my dad died a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about religion and how there is surely no merciful god.

    Today, the husband of an aunt died. He had an untreatable form of cancer, and was dealing with it as best he could.

    He was a good man. He gave of himself and lived his life righteously. People loved him, and sort of like my dad, people were inspired by him. 

    And here's the thing. He was a man of god, and considered himself to be a good Christian.

    And yet he got sick. He suffered. And he passed away.

    Meanwhile, there are unhinged narcissists who live on. Without suffering.

    So if you still believe in this god, then you've been duped.

    This is not a merciful god. And the jokes on you.

    Fuck that noise.

    Wednesday, August 26, 2020

    The GOP, Trump, and the election

    Sometime in early 2017, the GOP agreed to fold its campaign role into the Trump campaign. So essentially they act as one unit. 

    It makes sense in some ways, I'm sure. One go-to place to collect campaign funds and coordinate election efforts  

    But, it's much deeper than that. Now, all the money, all the data collection efforts, and the mechanics of a party are controlled by the trump campaign. 

    To a large degree, this explains why the GOP is so complicit with the guy:  their re-election hopes, and the ability to manage voter information and open up "the war chest" belongs to Trump. As we know, he only helps people who kiss the ring. So they are, for lack of a better way to say it, tethered to him. 

    And there's a few interesting little things about this Trump campaign running things. First, and most importantly, this is what Brad Parscale setup for him. And when he left, mr-fix-it jack-of-all-trades Jared Kushner took over. They manage all of it, using whatever they feel is right, whoever they want to hire. 

    So when the "tik tok kids" took on the campaign before the Tulsa rally and screwed up their data collection efforts, it not only affected Trump - it also messed with the GOP. No wonder he wants to ban tik tok. 

    But therein lies the bigger problem. If their "solution" to have really bad data is to simply ban a platform, then they they don't understand the internet and ergo likely don't understand what they have. 

    In recent months, we've heard rumblings that the GOP isn't happy with the opaque nature of the Trump campaign. They aren't allowed to see anything and don't know how it's running. All they know is that they are given money at times. 

    Since Trump is nothing more than a common criminal but with his hands in bigger pockets, you have to figure that he's using data collection for his personal causes. And I would guess that the money is being mismanaged in any and every way possible to ensure he gets most of it, personally. 

    So here comes the election. If he wins, then he controls all the efforts in perpetuity and gets wealthy. 

    Assuming trump loses, do you think he'd simply give all that up? I doubt it. He'll either tell the GOP to fuck themselves or he'll sell it to them for large sums of money. 

    But since no one in the gop has any real insight into what it looks like, it could be complete crap. He could be selling vapor ware. Or he may sell a package that gives them things piecemeal and He gets rich. 

    So they have to know that if he loses, they are screwed. 

    So why govern at all? 

    ...which of these outcomes better suits him? Hard to say.  He stands to get wealthy in either case - and can totally screw with his enablers on a whim if he so chooses. 

    As I've said before, I don't think he ever wanted to win. And while he is not the kind of person who would simply quit, if he did, then he hasn't a different kind of outcome. 

    It might be better to just exclaim that everyone is mean to him, or have a "health issue" and just quit. 

    We'll see. But it makes me laugh because these dumbasses in the GOP brought most of this on themselves. 

    Good analysis here:

    Wednesday, August 19, 2020

    In a way it was inevitable, school edition

    I remember hearing something on NPR years ago about progress made as a society.

    They posited that if you were a doctor in the 1800s and got transported to (what was then) today into a modern operating room, you'd be lost. There would be no way to understand medicine or technology. And it's that way for many professions or occupations. The advances we've made would render most people unable to do their job.

    But not so for teachers. If you took a teacher out of a classroom in the 1800s and moved them to today, it would be familiar. You still interact with students, still administer tests, and so on. Sure, the materials themselves may be unfamiliar and there could be a computer in use. But by and large, they could manage.

    In the time between when I heard the story and today, little more has changed.

    So in the spring, we had a pandemic and classrooms were closed and students switched not-at-all seamlessly to online education. It was hit or mostly miss. But the technology allowed for it.

    And now here we are 6 months later. No one gave any thought to what we do when it was school time again. No one committed effort, money, or time to the problem.

    Instead many just wanted us to return to school basically as it was around February. And with no thought given to how to keep kids safe.

    Surely there were things that could have been implemented...but if we use the shooting in parkland a few years ago as a test case, that seemed unlikely. The simple answers - fences and more police - don't solve anything, they just sound nice and make politicians feel good about themselves. And because you can't just put a virus fence up, there is really nothing simple they can apply. 

    And given that in nearly 200 years, teaching hasn't evolved at all, really, then 6 months was never going to cut it in terms of finding practical solutions for teaching during a pandemic.

    We're so stuck in doing things the same, we have no interest in funding education, and the politics of the situation (from large scale, to unions, to the school itself) mean that there's really no possible outcome *today* that's going to be good.

    It's going to take a serious overall of education that perhaps starts with private enterprise (much like NASA is now letting private companies launch rockets) take on the less bureaucratic nature of enhancing, well maybe reinventing, education.

    Hopefully it starts to happen soon.

    We started school today and it's marginally better than it ended last school year. But this isn't the answer. And neither is going back to exactly what we had before.

    Photo from Teacher Magazine

    Thursday, August 13, 2020


    I've been giving a lot of thought to religion lately. As Karl Marx said at one point "religion is the opium of the people" because it gives some comfort in the face of difficult circumstances.

    And surely he's right. People would rather rely on a higher power and look for some kind of divine intervention than have to think for themselves.

    My dad passed away last week. He was a good guy. Never sought attention, fame, or glory. His own brothers-in-law had no idea he invented the things he did, because he didn't brag about it.

    He constantly taught and mentored. He gave of himself. And yet he was stricken with this disease and lost the essence of what he was, and died relatively young.

    Meanwhile, you have people like the orange menace in the White House who have lied, cheated, stolen, lived on vanity and sought fame, never giving back to anyone. And people like him don't suffer through things like this.

    So you talk to religious folks and they talk about god working in mysterious ways, or there being some grand plan, or there's scripture that explains it.

    Fuck that.

    That's just noise. If that's your religion. If that's how your god works, then you are being ridiculous. There's no mercy in that. There's no thinking that god is trying to do anything good for humanity that he supposedly created. And if the Bible is to be believed, and god cast out sin with the story of Noah, then why do good people die and narcissists live on? Seems backward to me.

    And then there's the second piece to my puzzle. My dad was surely not religious. He was born to a Jewish mother and never had religion growing up. Then, as an adult, he looked for a religion that worked for him. We went to a fair number of churches and he found that they were all about profit, rather that prophet.

    At one point, just to prove a point, my dad became an ordained minister from some church. All it took was a few bucks and he mailed away for a certificate. No training. No religion required. If memory serves, the only thing they encouraged him to do was set up his own church ministry and contribute to them.

    That was the end for him. He never again considered religion as meaningful. Now, I said that he got engaged with things because his sons did. And that's true.

    When it was time for me to go to high school, my parents decided the best education for me was catholic high school. So I went there. And to save a few bucks on the tuition, we started attending sunday services and making a minimum donation to the church.

    In a way, my dad went *for me* and not for himself. He never believed nor cared. And he actually never went back as I entered my senior year.

    So it's an enormous joke that's being perpetrated here at the end.

    You see, my mom has several fairly religious siblings. And she asked one who's a minister at an evangelical church to hold a service.

    It annoys me to no end. But I suppose ultimately the joke is on him, my dad would actually laugh at the absurdity of it all.

    Now I just need to think of the right words to say if I'm asked. Snarky but truthful.