Six Years from Now

My Medicare benefits ran out, because democracy died the day that Trump won back the presidency and the whole world seems like it has been flushed down the toilet.  Russia has taken over most of Europe and China is now in charge of most of Asia.  Immigrants are no longer allowed into the United States and every citizen that wants to vote has to show proof that they own a gun.  Women, minorities and the gays have lost all of their former rights, as America is being made great again.  From my viewpoint, it doesn’t look so great, that is unless you are rich and getting all of the tax breaks that were recently instituted.  America is no longer divided, as it is against the law to speak against the president, and everyone must bend a knee when they invoke his name.  Everyone defends him and nobody will ever turn against him, because he instituted a total ban on abortions, and everyone knows that the previous election was stolen away from him.

I can’t stand the way the world has become, so I just took seven hits of acid and turned on the Doors song ‘The End’, to try and enjoy some mind-altering side effects and hopefully have a life changing experience.  I can picture my end and it is beautiful.  I am driving down this endless highway riding on a snake that is seven miles long.  The snake asked me if I would like to go faster, and I told him that we should try to set the world on fire.  The snake went faster and faster swallowing up everything in his path and I was lighting fires behind us trying to burn everything to the ground so we could start over again.  I started singing Billy Idol lyrics which I got all wrong, because I was so messed up on drugs.  I sang, “There is nothing good in this world and it is a nice day to start again.”  The snake swallowed up Trump, but he spit him out because of the nasty taste and then the red hatted MAGA people shot us with machine guns.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #176 which asks, “What will your last day on Earth be like?”

Thunderstorm

I guess I watch TV more than I should, probably spending 4+ hours watching it every day.  Yesterday there was a power failure which only lasted a few seconds, but my TV lost its WiFi connection.  I was still able to watch cable TV, but I couldn’t get an internet signal to my smart TV, so I was unable to watch Netflix, Prime, Paramount+, or HBOMAX.  I started watching game of Thrones on my vacation at my nephew’s house and I got hooked, so I just added HBOMAX when I got back.  I have been using computers for over 35 years, but I am not a network guy, although I am familiar with a lot of the terms.  I was able to get it reconnected after about an hour of tinkering around with it, and then I started watching my show again.

  • What country do you live in?
    USA
  • How many televisions do you have in your home?
    3
  • On average, how many hours a day do you watch TV?
    4+
  • What kinds of programs do you typically watch (e.g., news, sports, movies, dramas, sitcoms, reality shows)?
    News during the day and movies at night.
  • Do you watch programs as they are aired or do you record them and watch them at other times?
    I hate commercials, but I suffer through them to watch live news.  I watch shows at my convenience, but I never record anything.
  • Do you mostly watch “network” TV? Premium cable channels (e.g., HBO, Showtime)?
    I only have one premium channel which is HBOMAX, but I stream that, as it is not part of my cable package.
  • Streaming channels (e.g., Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple+)?
    I am a streamer and I watch Netflix, Prime, and Paramount+.
  • How often, if at all, do you use other devices than television (e.g., computers, smartphones) to watch programs?
    Never, but yesterday when my TV was not connected, I thought about it.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #175 which asks the above questions.

Words Per Post

In 2017, my average words per post was 565 and in 2018 that went up to 726.  2019 dropped down to an average of 500 words per post, but I had 574 for 2020 and 520 for 2021.  For 2022, my average words per post is 533 so far.  I have decided not to write any more posts that I feel are insignificant, so I am avoiding a lot of the prompts.  I have my favorite challenges that I try to enter and I don’t feel a need to respond to everything.  When I first started blogging, Fandango made a suggestion that I should write shorter posts, saying that readers don’t like posts that are too long, but I don’t give a flying monkey about my readers, as I realize that I am never going to be popular.  I see people make posts here that do nothing but promote themselves and they get hundreds of likes, but there is nothing in their content that should deserve that.  Others write about all these insignificant things that go on in their daily lives, or how they struggle with their sanity, and they also seem to be very popular, and I don’t want to write about that and I don’t care to become popular.

If a post is interesting, I will continue to read it up to the point where I get bored.  Any post over 1,500 words is eventually going to become uninteresting at some point and therefore should be broken down into smaller segments.  I found it fascinating that Fandango identified Melanie as being a long post writer and I think this is because some people need to explain everything.  Melanie is a regular in my Song Lyric Sunday challenge and she always feels compelled to reexplain the suggestions for this challenge and show what the upcoming prompts are going to be, which is totally unnecessary, as nobody needs to read things that are redundant.  She could cut down 250 words out of every one of her SLS posts by omitting this content.  Melanie is not the only blogger that does this and this need to overexplain things by adding superfluous information, as this happens all the time and it can become overwhelming.  People should stop over explaining and ask themselves if some things are really necessary.  It can be difficult to satisfy readers, as they are looking for information, but they don’t want you to share too much.

Short and sweet wins the race, but I don’t mind longer posts if they have something to say.  I try to avoid sharing my opinions on most things and I am not seeking acceptance from anyone, or trying to reassure myself that I am right, so I write my posts till I am done saying what I have to say.  Some of my posts may be too long, but I need to convey the necessary information and I don’t enjoy writing under word count restrictions.  Every one of my posts could be rewritten and made shorter, by cutting some stuff out, removing unnecessary details, and focusing on the facts, but I have no respect word limits.  My only writing constraint is on presenting information effectively and coherently, so I am not a word counter.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #174 which asks, “Do you have a preference with respect to the length of blog posts you read?  Does the number of words in a post affect how you read it or even if you will read it?  What is your average post length?”

Visual Height Intolerance

I have a mild form of acrophobia which is a type of anxiety disorder where I wouldn’t say that I fear heights, but I have sense enough to avoid them.  I can be inside of tall buildings and fly on planes, but I don’t look out of the windows.  I can be comfortable being on the roof of a single-story house, but once it gets to be a certain height, it is not for me, because I don’t like that queasy feeling that I get.  Acrophobia is a bit different from vertigo, as that makes you feel like you are dizzy and everything starts spinning around, but that is also height related.  I just drove over this bridge in Jacksonville and it wasn’t terrifying, but it was a bit scarry for me.  I don’t freak out while driving on tall bridges, as I know that it won’t last long, but I wouldn’t like to get stuck on one.  I think I have always wanted my feet to be close to the ground.  The bridge can be seen at about 2:45 into the video below.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #172 which asks, “Do you have any phobias?  If so, have you had these phobias all your life or have the developed or evolved as you’ve aged?’

Lock Him Up

I have been watching the House Select Committee Hearings investigation on the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack, not all of it, but enough to get a good idea of what is going on.  I do agree that Trump knew that he lost the election, and that he acted like a spoiled sport by trying to unlawfully remain in office.  He made up the Big Lie that he was cheated and that there were fraudulent votes that caused his loss.  While I was watching the hearings yesterday, I heard a report that nearly 6 out of every 10 Americans think that Trump should be charged for the role that he played in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.  There is no doubt in my mind that Trump is guilty as sin and that he should be prosecuted as a criminal for this insurrection.  People are still saying that his actions are alleged, but I have seen enough proof and I think that we need to charge him as a criminal for trying to overturn the results of the past election and for being the leader of this conspiracy.

Fandango made a comparison of Trump with the Roman emperor Nero and that is very accurate, as there was no end to Nero’s ambition.  Nero became power hungry because he was pushed by his aggressive mother, where Trump was always grasping for more.  Nero saw himself as an actor and he thought he was God’s gift to the stage and Trump thinks that he is better than anyone else, so he has to be stopped.  Nero and Trump are both unstable and a lot of stuff is coming out in these hearings to show what a crazy person Trump is.  Nero killed himself, but Trump will never admit that he ever did anything wrong.  The Republicans have made themselves “the party of Trump” and this is going to be a bitter pill for them to have to swallow if Trump is charged and ends up being incarcerated.  We have laws for a reason and people can’t take the law into their own hands, even if they are the President of the United States, so Trump must face the music.  The House Select Committee has stated that they are only involved in an investigation and that it is up to the Justice Department to hold Trump responsible for his crimes, as that is how the separation of powers has always worked.  If the Justice Department is paying any attention at all, they should pick up the ball and do the right thing.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #170 which asks the following four questions, “Have you been watching, or at least following the news about, the Select Committee televised hearings?  Do you agree or disagree with my assessment of what has come out of the hearings thus far?  Do you think that Trump and others who took part in the attempt to overturn the election should be criminally charged and incarcerated?  Do you think that they will be criminally charged and incarcerated?”

Recycling is Complicated

This is more of an economic issue than it is about water usage, but that does play a big part in it.  I rinse out my recyclables because I don’t want them to attract bugs or smell while they are in my garage waiting for the recycle pickup day, and also the fact that my recycling company asks me to rinse the containers.  If I can make a small difference in helping out the planet, I am more than willing to do it.  Recycling seems easy enough, but sometimes containers get really messy and then I will throw them away as garbage, because I feel it isn’t worth my effort.  I read that anywhere between 15% to 33% of what gets put in the recycling bin doesn’t belong there at all and therefore it ends up in the trash, and this makes people feel like nothing that they do to try and help actually matters.

Recycling trucks will pick up whatever you put in the bin, but like everything else in the United States, this industry is driven by profit incentives, so if they can’t make any cash on what they collect, it will end up in a landfill.  Sorting through everything is a process, but if we can keep more materials out of landfills, that will have a positive effect on the environment.  My city uses “single stream” recycling, where all the recyclable materials are placed in the same bin, which makes it convenient for me.  This method makes recycling less complicated for their residents, and thus more household tend to participate in recycling because of this.  Some people are not sure if they should throw the bottle top in the bin with the bottle, or if pizza boxes recyclable or not, so this convenience comes with a price.

Plastic is a modern convenience that we have become addicted to.  The popularity of plastics skyrocketed in the 1970s after The Graduate when Walter Brooke as Mr. McGuire said one word to Benjamin.

Plastics began replacing paper because it was more durable and glass because it was lighter and plastics are not a bad thing, but a lot of it gets thrown away and we need to find a way to reduce plastic waste.  Plastics can be broken down into broad types or categories, but there are hundreds of types of plastic, and they’re not all created equal.  Each type is designed carefully to possess specific qualities and meet the demands of a specific product.  Plastics makers tend to group plastics into two general classes, being either thermoplastics or thermosets.  There are numerous plastic-based products that cannot break down and cannot be recycled and this is why seven standard classifications were developed for plastics.  Plastics are often marked with a little triangle that has a number in it, and some people call this the “chasing arrows” symbol and this identifies the type of plastic resin used in the product.  It does not mean that is made from recycled plastic, or that it will get recycled.  This symbol is supposed to make recycling less confusing, but I studied plastics in college when I took a course on the structure of materials, and I am often confused by it.

Water conservation is important, and recyclables don’t have to be dishwasher clean, as a quick rinse should be fine.  All you have to do is empty them out, get rid of any sticky stuff that clings to the side of the container with a rinse, shake off the water and you can toss it in the bin.  You have to remove the bulk of food residue, but there’s no need to make it clean enough to eat off of.  A more earth friendly of doing this, could be by re-using dish water.  Place your containers by the sink and after you are finished washing your dishes, them clean your recyclables off with that water.  It’s up to all of us to change how America recycles, because we’re all in this together.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #169 which asks, “Most recycling programs instruct us to thoroughly wash and dry the items (other than paper or cardboard) before putting them in the recycling bin.  If you lived in an area that is suffering from a severe drought (as I do), would you choose to waste the water necessary to comply with those instructions, would you ignore them and throw unwashed items in the recycling bin, or would you put recyclable but unwashed items in the trash (landfill) bin?

Anonymity Can Be a Good Thing

I don’t think that anonymity necessarily encourages people to misbehave or to be offensive, as that can be done by people who don’t hide their identities like me.  I misbehave and become offensive all the time, feeling that there is no subject that is too sensitive or taboo for me to write about, but that is just me being me.  Just by being online your inhibitions are lowered and this is known as the online disinhibition effect and as a result of this people exhibit a lack of restraint and they will act in more outrageous ways.  The people who remain completely anonymous and invisible behind the computer screen will feel safer saying certain things online which they would not say in real life, so this makes them bolder online.  When in cyberspace most people (anonymous or not) will loosen up, feel more uninhibited, and express themselves more openly.

Anonymity along with the invisibility that people feel when they are online often encourages them to think that the usual rules don’t apply, so responsibility gets thrown out of the window.  Since there are no real internet police, even though the internet has become a breeding ground for crime, people feel free to do whatever the hell they want to do.  Maintaining anonymity allows people to say things without having to take responsibility for their views.  Being anonymous could prevent hackers from getting access to sensitive information such personal data, credit card transactions, passwords, and banking information.  I don’t think that anonymity necessarily allows people to reveal who they really are, as I reveal myself all the time in Melanie’s Share Your World and I am not anonymous, but it may make them feel better.  Having an anonymous identity removes most of the pressure from what you write, as you probably get less negative feedback.  I think it is good for people who are shy or unsure and it also creates some mystery which might be a good thing.  I have no clue if being anonymous allows people to fantasize about being someone else who they world rather be other than themselves, and that should be determined by a clinical psychologist.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #168 which asks, “How do you feel about online anonymity?  Do you believe that when people are hiding their real world identity, it encourages them to misbehave or to be offensive?  Or does it allow people to reveal who they really are or possibly how they would choose to be and act all the time if they could?”

Debunking Crazy Ideas

People will believe what they want to believe even when information confirms that their beliefs are wrong.  People will see what they want to see, even when what they see has nothing to do with the truth.  Our brains help us to record memories, but at the same time, they let us have imagination, and sometimes the signals get crossed, so people have a hard time determining reality.  Many Americans are now living in a self-created reality because their perception is being controlled by whackos like QAnon or other conspiracy theories, or perhaps they are watching FOX News.

The planet we live on is flat
A growing conspiracy theory says that the Earth is not a globe, but instead a flat disc.  All the evidence points to the Earth being spherical, thousands of pictures and videos support this, but Flat Earthers dismiss everything as being fraudulent.  Our ancient ancestors figured this out a long time ago, by watching ships approaching from the sea.  Since the surface of the sea is slightly curved, they would see the sails before the hulls of the ships came into view.  When people become educated by science, what in the hell would force their thinking to go backward?  Are these people just pretending to think that the Earth is flat, to gain some type of attention?  The Flat Earthers are Christians whose beliefs lie on the fringes of this religion, and they think that the rest of the world is trying to deceive them.

The planet is only six thousand years old, give or take a few thousand years
This was brough up in the 1960 movie Inherit The Wind where a science teacher was accused of the crime of teaching evolution and this movie was based on the so-called Scopes Monkey Trial, which took place in 1925.  This Biblical scholar Irish Archbishop James Ussher went through all the timelines in the Bible and he determined that Creation took place on or about 4004 BC.  The problem with this logic is that the Bible is meant to be stories that can be told to teach you how to be a good person and most of them don’t have a place in reality, especially since there is very little evidence to back up any of these stories.  The Bible does have timelines that can be deciphered if you look at it close enough, but when it says that light was created on day one, it does not say that this day was a 24-hour long day, so perhaps it could have been longer.  There were certainly no clocks around on day one, so it could have easily been much longer.

White humans are superior to non-white humans
White people were in control of everything when America started out and they think that they are more privileged than others.  Some white people think their race has a genetic purity which makes them superior over every other race, but this is just a raciest notion and there are no scientific facts to support this.  The different ethnic groups of humans evolved over time and in the beginning, we even bred with the Neanderthals.  We settled in different regions and became different groups, but no population is purer than another.

The 2020 U.S. presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump
Trump is a spoiled brat and he is used to getting his own way, so he is a poor loser.  He is a master at spreading misinformation and he feels that if a lie is repeated enough times, that it will eventually become the truth.  He decided to cast doubt on the 2020 election results and he has been collecting money the whole time from suckers that believe him.  He has taken in over $255 million in donations from his supporters due to his nonstop fund-raising, and he will keep on taking money from anyone who is stupid enough to send it to him.

Chocolate milk comes from brown cows
Thanks for this one Fandango, but according to a survey seven percent of all American adults actually believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows.  This online survey was commissioned by the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy.  A lot of people lack knowledge about food, especially those that did not grow up on farms, and it seems that all they know is where to get it and that they should eat it when they are hungry.  Most Americans live in cities and these people don’t understand where their food comes from, or how it is produced.

I am shipping Ghosts, Angels and an afterlife because this post is getting way too long, but I reserve my right to discuss these topics later if needed.

Humans and dinosaurs coexisted on Earth at the same time
Dinosaurs lived on Earth for about 165 million years, but they all went extinct about 65 million years ago and this was probably caused by either an impact of a large celestial object or a vast volcanic eruption.  Modern birds descended from a group of meat-eating dinosaurs called theropods and they are considered to be true dinosaurs.  Humans have only been around for the last two million years, so we never coexisted with the dinosaurs.  Amazingly, 41% of Americans believe humans and dinosaurs coexisted and that probably comes from watching too many Meet The Flintstones cartoons when they were young.

Poor people are poor because they are lazy
Poor people are stuck in poverty and that is not because they are lazy.  They probably work harder than any of the rich people do, so this is just a misconception that these poor people choose instant gratification over long-term success.  A pervasive belief in our society is that if someone was able to become successful, then everyone else should also be able to achieve success, but that is very difficult when society is holding these poor people back.  Economic walls have been put in place to make people poor and keep the rich people rich.

Climate change is certainly a real problem, the Holocaust happened, we landed on the moon several times and evolution is much more than just a theory.  There are a whole host of conspiracy theories out there if you are crazy enough to follow them.  Some people don’t trust vaccines and a lot of these same people are refusing to wear masks, which is making this Covid-19 pandemic spread more than it has to.  They complain that the vaccine is dangerous, ineffective and an infringement on their own personal rights and that it could cause their children to develop autism.  Sometimes it is hard to trust the government because they have been caught in a lot of coverups and nobody is being forced to be vaccinated, but these conspiracy nutjobs are only making the situation worse.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #167 which asks if many Americans are gullible or just stupid and I have to say “yes” to both.

A Performance

When public officials say that their thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims of gun shootings and their families, this is basically meaningless, as it is a staged response.  If they really cared about any of these victims, they would pass gun legislation bills, or better yet they should make a meaningful effort to institute real change.  Offering their thoughts and prayers is nothing more than a standard response that all civic leaders offer the public for any catastrophe, including hurricanes, wildfires, mass shootings, and disease outbreaks.  I don’t want to get into an argument about the benefit of prayer, but something must be done, as thoughts and prayers are not really helping any of these situations.  Politicians feel the need to justify their inactions, so when they say these things, it is just a performance.

We could start of by banning assault weapons, prohibiting and penalizing the possession of a firearm or ammunition unless the individual complies with all licensing and registration requirements, instead of liberalizing or eliminating background checks, passing laws that make it easier to get guns, allowing both open carry and concealed carry and changing the definition of weapons so that they no longer fall under the National Firearms Act.  Many gun control bills are dying without even getting a committee hearing and part of this may be because people don’t want to be controlled, so let’s start calling this gun safety instead of gun control.

I don’t own a gun, because I think that they are dangerous and nothing good ever comes from them, even though many people say they have them for self-defense and personal protection.  I am willing to go as far as banning the sales of all guns and taking away existing guns from all the nutty people that own them, but since that won’t sit well with the second amendment activists, we have to change the Constitution.  The right to life Republicans are trying hard to take away a woman’s right to choose, so we should be able to take away their guns.  Joe Biden is the most anti-gun president this country has ever, and I consider this being a major part of its platform as a good thing, even though nothing seems to be changing with America’s current gun crisis.  We are facing an epidemic of gun violence here and there are also an increased number of unintentional shootings​​ resulting in accidental deaths.  U.S. civilians own 393 million firearms, which is about 46 percent of the worldwide total of civilian held guns and this amounts to 120.5 firearms for every 100 residents.  Enough is enough and nobody can blame Fandango for not being able to contain his anger and frustration.  Mama please take these guns away, because it is getting too dark to see.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #166 which asks, “Do you feel that President Biden’s plea to take action and to do something to stem the rising tide of gun violence in America will have any impact? Or will lawmakers at both the federal and state levels do nothing more than offer their useless ‘thoughts and prayers’, which is all they ever do?”

Embarrassed to be White

I identify as a white person, and I know that I should feel responsible for how people of color are being treated in the United States.  I am not proud that people from my ethnic group think that they are better than any other group of people, and that life is unfair for others because of this.  I see other people and I determine what race they are in, but I don’t discriminate on that basis, because I know that all people are equal.  People take on values as they go through life and a lot of these values are brought about because of the way that they were raised.  I can’t tell other people how they should think, but I am so grateful that my father raised me to not be prejudiced against any race.  I felt so bad for George Floyd when the white cop was suffocating the life out of him, as he begged for his life.  I do see some signs of hope with the Black Lives Matter marches, but the White Supremacists are also allowed to hold their rallies and then you get people like Trump who say they see good people on both sides.  If one side is inspired by love and the other side is inspired by hate, the good people are only on one side.

I am a part of society, so I can’t just sit on the sidelines and watch, so I mut try to do something about the racial injustice, improve something so I can be proud to be a human being instead of ashamed of how others have acted.  Time changes everything and not too long ago the United States was owned by Native American Indians and then mostly white Europeans took over this land.  Did they have the right to do this, or is history written by the winners?  Lately there has been an immigration of nonwhite people into the American society which had largely been dominated by white people and this ideology is seen to be unsettling by racist that inhabit fringes of the internet and it has begun to seep into the mainstream as White Replacement Theory, or Great Replacement Theory.  This theory says that there is an ongoing plot to diminish the influence of white people and the gun nut up in Buffalo used this as his reason to kill 10 innocent people.

Critical Race Theory is a conservative view that is supported by many Republicans, and they use this to challenge liberal views.  This has become the new bogyman for FOX News, and it basically bans any teaching that goes against the white race.  Since racism does not exist without racists, and many Americans are not able to separate their individual identity as an American from the social institutions that govern us, these people perceive themselves as the system.  So, they end up calling the social institutions racist, instead of calling themselves racist.  They want to forget all the problems that America has had in the past, while obscuring that fact that America is not a great place for everyone to love in.

I can’t even get along with my own family, as they still support Trump and watch FOX News, so I don’t think that there is anything that I can do about these issues.  If everyone would just try to get along with each other, this would be a whole lot better for everyone.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #165 which asks, “How do you feel about what is going on in the United States in regard to racism?  Do you see any way of reconciling the concepts of White Replacement Theory and Critical Race Theory?”