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?”

Content and Aesthetics

Aesthetics influences your perception of a blog and if the writing is sloppy, you won’t want to read it, no matter how interesting the content is.  In blogging you start by identifying a topic that you can write about, but this must be followed with proper grammar and correct spelling.  Content gives you the complete story, answering who, what, when, where, why, how the story will be told.  A lot of people seem to enjoy watching the show Keeping up with the Kardashians, which goes to prove that content is not all that important, and this makes me feel that people will basically read almost anything that you decide to write about.  Since there is no accounting for taste, one man’s trash could be another man’s treasure.  People won’t always agree, and it is hard to see why some people like things that others don’t.  I am more interested in what people have to say, than how they say it, but that is me and I am probably in the minority on this issue.

Many bloggers like to write about every event that occurs in their life, and they use their blog as their own personal journal, but most of these blogs are not appealing to me, as I find most people’s lives to be mundane, and painful to read about.  I am much more interested in blogs that are authentic, funny, inspiring, sincere, and ones where I can learn something new, as that is always a big plus.  Fandango has called me the teacher and I do enjoy explaining things, but I am not sure if anyone appreciates the work that I put into my posts, however some people like to learn, especially if the topic is relatable to them.  A writer can create remarkable work, if they can be entertaining, while educating, and adding in some inspiration, in order to hold the attention of their readers.  Every writer needs to develop a style that will engage their readers, because if you lose their attention, they will go elsewhere.

Many people say that everything worth writing about has already been written, so there is no way that you can ever write anything that is unique, but I feel that you could always put a new spin on an old story.  Take your time, put in the work, tell your story and make it interesting, so your readers can go on a journey along with you.  Face your fears and get out of your comfort zone and try to add multiple layers to your stories.  Write about things that others want to read and make your blog your own, as there is only one you, so be passionate about what you write about.  Your presentation style and personality will make all the difference, so always watch how you write things.  Basically, I am saying that to be a good writer, both content and the aesthetics of how you write are equally important.  Do what you say, say what you mean, as one thing leads to another.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #106 Revisited which asks, “In the context of blogging and writing, what do you think is more important: what you say or how you say it?”

Being Jerry

Jerry Garcia was the epitome of being cool.  I read that Alex Turner, the 19-year-old lead singer of Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys was named by NME (New Musical Express a British music, film, gaming, and culture website and brand) as the coolest man on the planet, but a lot of things have changed since they stopped making good music.  Jerry Garcia was able to use his guitar as a channel for God’s voice, and he was able to make a sea of Deadheads part, whenever he was playing.  Jerry tried to challenge the mainstream and he did that with his improvisational jam music.  His band, The Grateful Dead became famous for their live shows, of which no two were the same.  Like Eric Clapton, some of his fans revered him as a sort of god, but all he wanted to do was play music, and get high.  Jerry was far from being a perfect person and he had real troubles which began in 1974 when he tried heroin in a brothel while he was in Europe.  Garcia started smoking the drug and he became hooked on Persian, which is called chasing the dragon’s tail and he had a $700-a-day drug addiction.

I met Jerry once after a show that he played with the Jerry Garcia Band on April 20, 1982 (exactly 40 years ago today, and odd that it would happen on 420, which is a code for smoking marijuana) at the Livingston campus of Rutgers University.  I never expected to run into him, but after the concert was over and everyone was piling out of the gymnasium, my friend Rudy suggested that we go out this other exit, which nobody else was using.  This exit brought us to a narrow back stage corridor where Jerry was sitting down and talking.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I realized that I was going to walk right by him.  I stuck out my hand and said, “Great show!”  Jerry shook my hand, pressing his stubby finger into my palm and he said, “Far out man.”  It was a short encounter, but I didn’t wash my hand for a whole week after that, (no just kidding, as that would be disgusting).

Jerry was a unique soul with a loving spirit and almost everything that I have ever read about him has been positive.  He may not have been the greatest father to his children, or greatest husband to some of his wives, but for the most part, everyone liked him.  Early in his career, he was known for being a charismatic person and when he spoke, everyone listened to what he had to say.  The pressure of being a rock star got to him, as he did not want to be idolized and he didn’t want to be a spokesman for any cause.  He was extremely intelligent and well-read, funny and could be very friendly, and he was devoted to his music.  He tended to ignore his health, always smoking cigarettes, he became obese, and he also fell into a diabetic coma in 1985.

Many people thought that Jerry was going to die from drugs, but died of a heart attack on August 9, 1995 in a drug rehab clinic, oddly found at 4:20 in the morning.  Two of Garcia’s coronary arteries were 85 percent clogged with cholesterol while a third was 30 percent clogged.  The condition likely was related to Garcia’s fondness for junk food, as that hot-dogs-and-milkshakes diet isn’t good for anyone.  Jerry packed a lot of living into his 53 years on Earth, being one of the most gifted musicians of all time, but he had a flaw that caused him to destroy himself.  I feel lucky that I was in the right place at the right time to be turned on to his music, and if I could have walked a mile in his shoes, that would have been one hell of a day.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #70 Revisited which asks, “If you could choose anyone, past or present, and walk that proverbial mile in his or her shoes, who would you choose, and why would you choose that person?”

OMG

Atheism is a lack of belief in any god.  Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.  By these two definitions, I have to agree with Fandango when he said, “atheism is not a belief system nor is it a religion”, and that, “Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.”  I look at Fandango as being a Freethinker and I look up to him for not shying away from what he thinks.  He has embraced his atheism and that is not an easy thing to do these days, and it seems like he is being persecuted for his lack of belief, which he has every right to partake in.  Some people believe in the tooth fairy or leprechauns, and they are never harassed by these small-minded, science-hating individuals that think they know everything.

I think that a more provocative question would be, “Why does the world want everyone to believe in religion?”  Fandango feels that religion was created by men who were desperately looking for answers to things that they didn’t understand.  He is a seeing is believing type of guy, which makes him unwilling to believe without adequate evidence.  If someone could just show him any evidence that there really is a God, he would probably change his mind.  He is not going to take a leap of faith, but he has a moral character and good values and I believe that is the whole purpose of religion.  No person can say what is the truth on this issue, as only God knows.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #163 which asks, “Do you believe that atheism is a set of religious beliefs or is a religion in any sense?  If so, why?  If not, why not?  Or, do you have no opinion on the matter or just don’t care one way or the other?”

I Liked Her Friend

I was crazy over this girl named Pattie when I was in High School, but nothing ever happened between us, because she had a boyfriend, and I respected that boundary.  She was cute and fun to be with and I flirted with her all the time.  Pattie had a best friend named Irene and she was often with us as I walked her home after school.  Irene was a nice girl, but she did not have the body that Pattie did, as she was short and skinny, but she was kind, and she had a good sense of humor.  I basically ignored Irene and later on it dawned on me that Irene had a crush on me, which I didn’t realized, because I paid so much attention to Pattie.

Years later I went to this concert at Watkins Glen and these two girls came along with me in my station wagon.  One of them was Irene and we hung out at the concert.  It was a two-day event and I slept with her on the back seat of my car.  We fooled around, but we did not go all the way.  This is when I finally realized that I should have been paying attention to Irene instead of Pattie.  After the concert was over, I should have tried to stay in touch with Irene, as I think that we could have worked out well for each other.  I never made any effort and I never saw her again.  I probably have dozens of stories just like this, but it is what it is.  Life goes on even after frustrating situations which I believe cannot be changed and must just be accepted.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #162 which asks, “If you could have a second chance at just one event in your life, what would you choose? What would you do differently? How do you think your life would be different now?”