Friday, December 30, 2016

Time Goes By So Fast ...

...it's the end of 2016 already. I have the rhythm of this job down pretty solidly, so now the problem is fitting in life around it. I have an hour in the morning and perhaps two in the evening, which are absorbed if I hit the Y or Toastmasters - wise uses of my time, to be sure.
I use technology (the roomba, washing machines) to extend my capabilities but nothing can really compensate for being alone.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Boxing Day 2016

I had planned to spend the day after Christmas relaxing around the house, cleaning and puttering. Since Kiara was home, I asked her help moving the chest of drawers out of the laundry room, up into the Green Room. When I was in the basement, it was a symbol of my lowly state, using something Ginger had left behind, but after its year in exile, it was now just a nice thing that looked well in my bedroom and served a purpose ... even if it, like me, had a past.
Around 5 I got a text from Mushroom Eric saying he had books to donate. I had skipped my usual cycle due to the holiday, but this was very convenient. I zoomed right over to Pegasus and was soon in a discussion of our respective holidays. It turns out he's familiar with the area around Gail's farm and inn. Perhaps he's check it out next time he's there.
Emma was in the back and we started discussing books but somehow it got onto TV. Her take on some of my favorites seems to lean heavily on her work as an editor - the way that the characters work together technically explains some of my reactions to them emotionally. This was interesting.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Post Christmas Day 2016

If I write every morning, I can write either about the events of the night (at this stage of my life, little enough) or of the day before. If I do the latter, it seems more natural to backdate the post so it appears I write that evening.
This Christmas morning Eric was smoking on the front step. I had given him a ride home from Kat's annual Christmas Eve party, but we talked so much through Everett that I clear forgot the turnoff and while initially I was annoyed, I realized that I needed to be more social and try a little conversation. It was really pretty interesting as we are now both on the windy side of age 50 and have hard-earned wisdom to share at a time where it might actually make a difference.
For example, we can be frank about the effect of being whipped as children - he much worse than I, and it shows.
I was in the grip of my annual seasonal allergy - there's something that releases into the atmosphere near the end of the year that my body spends three days fighting, and the best I can do is sleep it off - otherwise I might have pulled an all-nighter just talking. I was careful to text the housemates that Eric would be crashing upstairs and remind him the basement was theirs and off-limits to us - drawing boundaries is really important - and then I slept pretty solidly. In the morning Eric and I talked for another hour or three while I did casual cleaning. When it was time to drive the girls to Convington, Eric turned down the offer of a ride, saying he wanted to explore and adventure - maybe the busses were running, maybe he'd just walk - a thing he's really good at. Eric's in a better place than he had been for a while. Losing his wife (common-law wife, but life nonetheless) was really hard, and I don't think the circumstances with her family helped at all, but he's carrying on and has found ways of dealing with the bipolar/depression he inherited and the PTSD he was given (it's a nature/lack-of-nuture thing) and he seems to have work and plans for the future which is good.
The Covington trip was uneventful and I returned without the benefit of navigation, discovering a few roads I had not seem before - likely not the most efficient trip but that's partly the point, am I right?
The rest of the day was me and the cats. The Hoover Roombaclone fascinates them as it delights me. It is getting a solid workout this first week at home, as there is more than five years of cat hair - I sweep weekly or better but there's no denying this new broom replacement sweeps clean.
The allergy is a good enough reason to turn in early. I am along but for the cats, and they're just as happy to have me stay in one place so they can demand attention.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve at Kat's

Every Christmas Eve my system Kat throws a family gathering, and it's something I would not miss. I had a good excuse this year, because my seasonal allergy is kicking up something fierce, but this year is more special than most, for a sad reason - my brother-in-law Jim is dying of cancer and while he never complains where I can see it, nobody is happy about this and he worries about his family. So I have to be there, not to say goodbye because that's not what he wants, but because just because.
When I got there, they had just gotten back from a Seahawks game, and Jim got his jersey signed by a bunch of retired players. He's going to retire that jersey now, I'm sure. Brad Kirby brought out the Jim Beam and we all toasted.
The joy of the evening was Ryder, one-year-old son of Stephanie and David. He's active and cheerful and likes to roll around in the wrapping paper, pick up the plastic canes full of nips and take them to his mother, and open and close the ring boxes someone had put a Seahawks ring in. It was interesting to see him figure out the box; he knew that it opened but the way he held it by default was with his hands in the middle, so he didn't have enough strength to open it. He then moved his hands to the edge and that gave him the leverage to open it and look inside. He did this at least three times while I watched and he showed me. He's a bright boy, which is not surprising considering his parents.
There was lots of food, more than anybody needed. For the gift exchange I got an "ugly sweater" kit which looks kind of interesting - I have almost a year to assemble it for without doubt I must wear it to next year's party at Kat's.
I gave Sue and Caellie a ride home, and then intended to give Eric a ride home but we talked clear past his exit so what the heck, we talked more when I got home and he'll crash in the guest room.
It was a good party.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Is It OK To Love A Recliner?

I was shopping around for a recliner to help with my presumed sleep apnea, when I saw Costco's offering. It was about the price I'd been expected. It was leather rather than cloth, but I'd been told leather last longer so perhaps I'll give that a try, and it was electric rather than manual - a luxury but perhaps worth it. It even came with USB ports in one arm which puzzled me, but I suppose that's the style.
I say in it in the store, and was sold. Instantly. My body said, "Yes, I want a recliner. Take this one."
There was no way the box was fitting in my Saturn, so I called Dan and he said come on over. He was just finishing up a brake job on his truck so my timing was pretty good. He helped me wrestle the thing into my house - one thing Dan is really good at is packing and moving stuff - and all it cost me was a Costco rotisserie chicken - Dan does not like to cook, so giving him prepared good is what he wants in payment, and why not?
It's working out well. I slept very soundly every night. It's still got that new leather smell that I don't like but I think my concerns about that are more related to my seasonal allergy - at least I hope it's not the leather - and I've slept very soundly in it. I don't wake up except to pee; I having woken up with the racing heartbeat and I don't have that background feeling of anxiety that I had just assumed was part of being my age.
I don't see an improvement in my blood pressure yet. I need to give this a solid month and also implement a more serious dietary reform because I conclude whether the problem is solved without a CPAP.
In the meantime, I am really enjoying the better sleep. I really like the recliner. I don't love it as I love my cats, but in its chair way it is worthy of affection.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

DAV 23 End of Trusteeship

Saturday December 17, 2016 was the end of the Trusteeship of DAV Chapter 23 (West Seattle) and the election of a reform slate of candidates.
The meeting began with the Trustees turning over the meeting to an official from National, who read a list of 10 conditions for ending the Trusteeship. We had all heard they were coming but didn't know what they were, and were worried. There was nothing to worry about; the 10 conditions were all things that we should be doing and should have been doing all along, such as getting the Service Officer Program regularized, with posted and official hours. In some cases the conditions appeared to be direct responses to things in the reform slate's letter to National, such as emphasizing that the Chapter exists to provide service, not merely as a social club for its members. Maybe it was a coincidence, but anyway the conditions were welcome, at least by the reform group.
The next step was the election, presided over by National in a professional but good-humored way. The Bylaws in effect were from several decades ago and included several provisions no longer in common use at DAV (such as including a Judge Advocate on the executive board); one of the conditions was to bring the Bylaws up to date which would almost certainly eliminate the superfluous positions, but in the meantime we had to follow the rules in effect. Whenever there was a question, the official would read the pertinent section from the Bylaws and that was a pretty professional way of handling things. It certainly made it impossible to disagree with the ruling!
During the election, there were several moments of humor. Whenever there was a problem with the voting or a lost pen or anything, someone would say "The Russians Did It!" and everyone laughed.
The first balloting was by writing names on slips of paper, which sounds straightforward but don't worry, there were ways for there to be problems. Three candidates were nominated for Commander - one candidate was "Ron Bryant" and another candidate is "Roy Brimley". Some people wrote R scribble Br scribble had to be decyphered. The reform slate had intended to nominate Mr. Bryant but when snap elections were called he was on his annual residence out of state. The reform posse then picked Mr. Williams but word didn't get around so both reform candidates got nominated, splitting the vote. Fortunately for reform, Williams got one more vote but it was a near thing.
But that didn't end it. The list of all members included 23 who were present. 24 ballots were counted. We were all surprised. It seemed inconceivable that anyone would vote twice, but a count is a count.
The National official conducted a second balloting. This was complicated because one more Member had come in the door; the official admitted the member and ruled that the doors were now closed; anyone else coming in couldn't vote for the rest of the meeting.
For the second ballot, there were 24 members present on the membership roll, and 25 ballots. Now we were REALLY confused; it just not seem possible that someone would cast two ballots both as a matter of fairness AND now with everyone watching what was going on. The National guy ruled we needed to go with a raise-hand ballot; he pointed at each of the Members in turn, who then voted. Result: 25 votes, out of a list of 24.
More puzzlement. Finally by comparing the names on the list to everyone in the room it was figured out that one long-time member, who had a valid Chapter ID card and everything, had have been assigned to Chapter 23 Wyoming instead of Chapter 23 Washington State. Since he'd never lived in Wyoming the National officer ruled this this was a clerical error, the member's vote was counted, and the tally finished at 25.
Since I'm in the Auxiliary I did not vote, but the Officer running did not necessarily no this nor would it have been prudent to make assumptions, so when he pointed at me, at first I waved him off but, when he asked if I was abstaining, I said "Not Eligible" - more words than I've spoken aloud at the last six meetings.
The Reform slate took the positions of Commander, Senior Vice Commander and Treasurer; the old guard retained Junior Vice Commander and Chaplain. The other positions - which would be eliminated when the Bylaws were reformed - were tossed around like hot potatoes until various people agreed to hold them, just to satisfy the rules. The election the adjourned, and new Commander elect held a brief meeting. He made it a point that everyone was allowed and encouraged to speak up, and several people made various comments. That seemed to be a good start; we will not agree on everything and that's actually a good thing, but open conversation is the basis of a healthy organization like this.
The meeting adjourned and then people just hung out talking for a long time after - another good sign. Upstairs the Department of Washington was conducting a training of some sort, making good use of this building for the first time but surely not for the last time.
All in all, this was a good day. The Chapter is on its way to health and service. I am proud to have helped with written advocacy, putting the ideas of the reform group into a written form that the national office could understand. Often people who are experts in their subject matter area are just not great at expressing their facts and intentions in a way that effectively advocates for their position, but that's ok - that's what I do when I can.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

December Memes

It is a dark time. But we can still laugh.


No Feet On The Bed

In an experiment to curb my presumed sleep apnea, I tried sleeping on my vintage chaise longue.
It's a handmade bed or couch that I bought from Mercer  Island Thrift Store, since Kris had always expressed a desire for one. She had the thrilling image of resting there sipping fine drinks and playing the lady. She left it behind in the divorce.
The person who donated it said that it had come from a grandparent who had said it came from a Colorado saloon in the late 1800s. I don't know, but the wood work definitely looks hand made. The upholstery is modern and aweful but it is understandable that it would have needed to be replaced. I fancy thinking that this had once graced a bawdy house. It sat unused for a year until I tried it last night.
I can rest comfortably on my side and I'd hoped that its narrowness would discourage me from lying on my back and snoring. This worked somewhat. At first I slept on my side and awoke little. But around three I awoke on my back with the dry mouth feeling and my feet hanging over the end. It's not going to work as intended but it was a worthwhile experiment.
The cats were puzzled by this. Imp settled for sleeping on a nearby shelve where I had deliberately set a towel. Arthur jumped on my and nuzzled as usual but declined to take the shelf near my head. He has his opinions, that's all. The other cats came and went, perhaps as interested in this new arrangement as concerned about the puppy. Life goes on, I'll find another way to deal with the apnea.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Now I Am A Dogfather. Or Doggrandfather.

Kiara and Nessa have talked about getting a dog some day, but not yet. I'm ok with that; they're great with animals. I really appreciate their care for the cats. Yesterday the dog appeared. Technically she is "only" being fostered, but there is about zero percent chance that she won't stay as a permanent member of the family. Nessa got her through some contact at the hospital that knew this puppy needed a home. My role was to give Nessa and the puppy a ride home from the hospital.
The pup is a Chihuahua Dauschund mix, about the size of a small meatball grinder. It'll be interesting to see how she gets along with the cats. I'm sure they'll adapt, although Arthus may spend even more time upstairs, which is fine with me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sleep Apnea Possibile?

A few weeks back I had a discussion with a doctor about the possibility of sleep apnea. I awaken frequently (3 or more times a night) usually feeling worried, often with racing pulse and dry mouth. This is consistent with low oxygen levels. I am generally tired during the day - I had attributed this to carbohydrate cycling my blood sugar and indeed that may also contribute. And there's the snoring. This is generally good news. It would be better not to have this problem but if it is the cause of the problem then I can do something about it. I discussed this with a cardiologist with group heath, who basically concurred with the possibility and wrote me a prescription for a sleep study. I am reluctant to go through with the study because it's a break in routine and I'll miss out on the valuable nothing that I have been accomplishing, and yet if I do solve this sleep problem I'll have so much more energy that it'll make up for the lost time. I just have to talk it over with myself and go through with it. I got the bill from Group Health and it was awful! Something like $280 for a half hour talk? I had just assumed this was covered by insurance, but perhaps that's what the HSA is for. The HSA money has to be used and if this is what it's for then, ok, but it seems crazy.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

December 12: Webcast - Saleh v. Bush

On Monday December 12 at 9:00 am, the Ninth Circuit will hear oral argument in Saleh v. Bush et al.; the plaintiff, an Iraqi woman, is seeking a court order declaring the Iraq War illegal under domestic and international law. http://witnessiraq.com/2016/12/05/ninth-circuit-confirms-judges-who-will-hear-argument-on-legality-of-iraq-war/ Saleh alleges that former Bush Administration leaders committed the crime of aggression when they planned and executed the Iraq War, a war crime that was called the “supreme international crime” at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946. A federal statute immunizes former federal officials in civil lawsuits if a court determines that the official was acting pursuant to the legitimate scope of his or her employment, and the district court dismissed on this basis. Saleh is disputing this immunity, arguing that the planning and waging of a war of aggression against Iraq fell outside the legitimate scope of employment of former President Bush and the other defendants. A summary of the case with links to pleadings is available in the About section of http://witnessiraq.com/ The oral argument will be livestreamed and then be available for later viewing at the Ninth Circuit's Youtube channel.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Another One Rides The Bus

I finished my 2nd week back at Treasury and feel good about it. It's not as remunerative as I would like, and perhaps as I need, but it's solid work that I have mastered. That feels good.
The bus pass situation is more complex since they switched over to a two-part system of funding the pass and then having us buy the pass monthly, but I suppose it saves money, so whatever. I am using the morning time to do the breathing exercises prescribed to lower my blood pressure, and the evening time either to catch up on reading to, when I'm lucky, to chat up one of my neighbors who often takes the same route.
Time goes by very quickly this way, so I have to be very organized!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving Mushroom Green Bean Casserole!

For Thanksgiving, I made this casserole to take to Steve's house:

It started with mushrooms from Eric at Pegasus Book Exchange. I'd stayed away from mushrooms for a decade or two, after a very sad bout of sickness at a singles mixer that my former-WSBA pal Eric Schwab had invited me to. I'm just not good at mixing, ate too many mushrooms that disagreed with me, and ended up with a very unfortunate result (...and was never invited back lol).
But after about a year of hearing Eric (bookstore Eric) talk about mushrooms, I decided to give his a try. And wow! they were great.
So when my brother Steve invited me to his place for the holiday and asked me to bring a side, mushrooms seemed idea - I didn't realize he doesn't eat them either. The green bean casserole with onions that so many insist is traditional seemed like a good way to present the mushrooms. I googled some recipes and got nice beans from Costco.
However when I set to work, it was time for substitutions. I steamed the beans - that kept their flavor and texture fine. I didn't have cream for the sauce but half-and-half worked fine with a little cornstarch. I didn't have flour for the roue (or whatever the mushroom equivalent was) but again cornstarch came through, with a little ground flax for consistency. I don't really like the crunchy onions on top - the flavor is nice but the texture seems like plastic. So I made a separate creamy onion sauce and then layered the casserole like bean dip - first panko crumbs, then beans, then the onion layer, then more beans, then the mushroom cream on top. But it looked incomplete.
That's when the inspiration hit me. I steamed more beans and spelled out a message. 
The result was tasty - I'm sure I'll make it again - and it didn't really take all that long to prepare - using good ingredients was probably helpful - but it was the presentation that made it memorable.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Furlough's End

A week or two ago I got the call back to work starting Monday.
There is roughly zero chance I'd get a better job before then, although I'll keep looking. Now that I've gotten past the barrier of getting started, I'm enjoying the networking and application process. It's been impossible, since no-one really wants to hire a guy who is over 60, but hope springs eternally and all that. I'm required to do it as a condition of  getting unemployment compensation (...and unlike a certain mother-in-law I could name, I don't believe in faking it...). Plus the networking is fun. I've met some interesting people!
Now the day before Thanksgiving is not going to be one on which anyone is doing anything related to hiring, and the rest of the week is not going to be any better. I'm concentrating on cleaning up stuff that got past me and preparing the house for perhaps renting a room or two come next year. I'm really not badly off but need to keep my options open. Clearing out and cleaning up is satisfying!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

And Sometimes You Win

Somewhat to my surprise, my writing seems to have helped the local chapter of Veterans' Service Organization I'm with to achieve its immediate goal of getting out of suspension.
 The story is long and complicated and not over yet (...nothing is ever really over...), but basically there was a dispute among the membership, which the losers escalated to the National level, which responded by suspending the Chapter. This struck many as unfair. However, my friends in the organization are not writers; they are talented and accomplished, having done many things far beyond my abilities, but they are not writers and had difficulty putting their story into order, along with the relevant rules, and supporting the conclusion that the Chapter should come out of suspension.
That's where my legal education paid off. The relevant rules were private, not public law, but the mechanics of making an argument were the same. I wrote a couple of letters that were essentially appeals supported by briefs; the first failed, but the most recent - filed only two weeks ago - succeed. I had actually expected this month's meeting to be more of the same denial and delay over the suspension. I certainly did not expect a formal reply to the letter. Instead, we got something better: a letter read at the meeting ending the suspension as of the new Chapter as of interim elections to be held next month.
This was a better answer than we had anticipated.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thanksvegan

I have a problem.  My doctor recommends I move to a vegan diet, to bring my blood pressure down. I don't mind that, really, I'm not wedded to the concept of eating animal products, it's just that I was raised that way and it's convenient. I'm transitioning slowly (... my body does not like sudden change...) with an occasional "meat cheat" which, surprisingly, is less pleasurable than I had thought.
However: Thanksgiving.

 How is there Thanksgiving without turkey? Stuffing isn't stuffing without the giblets chopped up fine. And mashed potatoes - whipped as my brother Joe taught me, with a beater using my variable-speed drill blending cream cheese into the spuds - simply have to be formed into a volcano with real pan-drippings gravy filling the crater. Otherwise, it's just a meal with family and friends.
(Talk not to me of tofurky. I like tofu well enough, but only when it is not pretending to be something it is not. We must be true to our natures.)
Thanksgiving this year will be salmon - the Pilgrims were more likely to have eaten that than turkey anyway - with a double order of the sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. On the plus side, this leaves more room for pie.

Maybe I'll just start with the pie: pumpkin, apple, pecan, rhubarb, lemon meringue ...

hmmm .... 

 ...ya know, I am not sure I have a problem after all!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Let the Electoral College Do Its Job: Deliberate Before Voting!

Well, this is gonna kill any chance I had of getting cooperation from the Next Administration on some of the Veterans' projects I'm working on, but it has to be said:

Under our Constitution, the Electoral College is a deliberative body. Its members ("Electors") were intended to debate among themselves who shall be President, and to vote for whomever they deem most fit.

That this has never happened means only that we have not followed the Constitution.

If the Electors were to fulfill their duty of deliberation, they would consider that they don't know how much Donald Trump owes to the hostile foreign power(s) that aided his campaign and applauded his Electoral win. They don't know what drugs he is taking to control the mood swings that cause him to twitter strange messages about sex tapes that don't exist.

The members of the Electoral College do know that he regularly defrauded people who worked for him. They know that he named an open anti-Semite to be his Chief of Staff. They know that his idea of a "blind trust" is to put his businesses under the control of the same family members who are serving on his transition team, setting them up to trade on insider information or worse.

They also know that the American people did not pick Trump. Clinton got 400,000 more votes than he did. If the American people chose anyone, we chose her.

But the Electors need not choose between Clinton or Trump. The Constitution doesn't say they can't Elect Romney or Ryan or anyone else who fulfills the Constitutional requirements of holding office.

The likelihood of the Electoral College doing its duty and actually deliberating their decision before voting is very low. However, it would be Constitutional; it might even be required.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Remembering My Father On Veteran's Day

Remembering my father on Veterans Day. I know nothing of his service except it was Army and near the end of WW2 in the Pacific; he never spoke of it.

Rest peacefully.

---

When I first posted this on Facebook, I wrote that Dad's service was in the interwar period and in Korea; we never discussed it but I always thought that's where he served because he had a "This Is Korea" booklet which impressed me as a kid. Also I'd seen his scrapbook from WW2 and assumed from that he was too young to serve. But in retrospect, he was born in 1927 so he would have turned 18 in 1945, and might have joined early because he never got a high school diploma. Different times.

In reply, my family wrote

Ellen: Dad was a radioman in the Army Air Corp. He was very proud of the fact (and insistent) that it was Army Air Corp, not Army. He had a few stories that he told, the boys would probably remember them better than I.

David: Dad arrived in Luzon, Philippines in early 1945. I was looking at some photo's with him one time and he had a grim look on his face in one photo. He told me the picture was taken about a half hour after he saw his first dead Japanese soldier. He was transferred first to Okinawa (Some interesting photo's of B-29's in his collection) and later to Iwo Jima. His job on Iwo consisted of manually rotating an RDF (radio direction finder) listening for transmissions from U.S. aircraft. When they picked up the signal, they would stop rotating the antennae and press a button sending a signal to the aircraft as a navigation beacon. He told me once he was on duty August 6th 1945, but wouldn't talk anything more about that day. Miss you, Dad.

Kat: I knew it, I always remember mom saying dad was in ww2 not Korean War, that didn't start until 1950. I remember pictures of him in the Philippines and one with him holding a monkey. He was super young

David: One real regret I have in my life is I didn't get a chance to talk to him more about Uncle George, who died in 1945 when his destroyer was hit by a kamakazee off of Iwo Jima. Shortly before Dad passed, I was in Hawaii and went to find George's grave to pay my respects. Alas, he lies in the American Cemetary in Manilla. I had been in the P.I. in 1981, had I known, I would have paid my respects for the family.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

It's Time For a National Popular Vote

This time around, the Electoral College gave the win to the Republicans even though the Democrats got more votes. But next time, it could go the other way around.
The Electoral College was intended to keep the power of deciding the presidency OUT of the hands of the people. An handful of elite "Electors" would meet as a "College" to talk among themselves who they thought should win. The Common Man was looked down upon as not having the good sense to decide, but merely to send his betters to do the heavy thinking. We reject that idea in every other election - so why is it a good idea for the Presidency?
 The Electoral College also means that most states aren't worth talking about. California will always vote Democrat so the Republicans there are wasting their time; Texas will always vote Republican so the Democrats there are wasting their time. And in both cases, the candidates ignore them (...except for raising money.) So the biggest states in the Union get no love from the candidates. Isn't that .... stupid?
A National Popular Vote is the only fair way to elect a President.
 Amending the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College is hard but an "Interstate Compact" could solve the problem - without any action by Congress. Learn more here.

It's Time For a National Popular Vote

This time around, the Electoral College gave the win to the Republicans even though the Democrats got more votes. But next time, it could go the other way around.
The Electoral College was intended to keep the power of deciding the presidency OUT of the hands of the people. An handful of elite "Electors" would meet as a "College" to talk among themselves who they thought should win. The Common Man was looked down upon as not having the good sense to decide, but merely to send his betters to do the heavy thinking. We reject that idea in every other election - so why is it a good idea for the Presidency?
 The Electoral College also means that most states aren't worth talking about. California will always vote Democrat so the Republicans there are wasting their time; Texas will always vote Republican so the Democrats there are wasting their time. And in both cases, the candidates ignore them (...except for raising money.) Most of the campaigning in 2016 involved SIX STATES. Isn't that .... stupid?
A National Popular Vote is the only fair way to elect a President.
 Amending the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College is hard but an "Interstate Compact" could solve the problem - without any action by Congress. Learn more here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

A Few Post-Election Thoughts

  1. Hillary won more actual votes than Trump; he won the election only because of the Electoral College. Be PROUD that more Americans voted for Hillary than for Trump (...and less than proud that the system really was rigged, so that rural votes count more than urban votes.)
  2. Whether Trump does as he has promised is not entirely certain. He's a habitual liar so perhaps on some things at least he'll just do the opposite.
  3. Do not engage anyone who gloats. Any reaction you give them will give them pleasure and waste your time. Just ignore them; if you like, take 2 seconds to delete the gloat that they may have take several minutes to compose - there's a little victory. If they're family members or whatever, you don't have to unfriend them if deleting their gloating suffices; you might want to stay in touch with family even if they're jerks.
  4. Do not engage in coulda-shoulda-woulda. Whether Bernie could have beaten Trump or whatever No Longer Matters. Any discussion on this subject wastes the precious limited time you have on this earth.
  5. Be kind, even to Trump fans. They're about to get screwed and they're happy about it. That's an illness. The rest of us have a lot of problems coming, and the only people we can count on is each other. If we twist ourselves into unkind souls, the fascists win.
  6. But be especially kind to our friends and family who are especially vulnerable to oppression. They may need us so we have to be ready to help them.
(I'm open for other tips)

Monday, November 07, 2016

November memes

Normally I wait to end-of-month to post my artwork but this is a special, special time - so I'll make this an open post and add as needed.



Who loves a sore loser? Nobody.
It's just strange that the GOP's titular leader loves the commies so much.

I was probably a little too subtle with this one.


Trump's staff won't let him tweet without a minder. Probably smart on their part but also funny. And scary!
An earlier version of "Make Trump Tweet Again". Probably too complicated for punch.

Yeah, I know his real self was probably not the chivalrous ideal he portrayed but the target audience here is people who believed his mythology: do they really want to hang with a perv?

When the Green Party started decades ago, I loved the concept.
But it's been taken over by cultists. And now they're allied with Putin against Hillary?
Weird! But not without historical precedent.

And earlier version of the GOP+Russia logo. Is it too complicated or is it more clear?

You really have to wonder about people who brush off the sexual abuse.
It might hurt their feelings but, ya know, it's indicative of something.

On this we can all agree!

I thought it was funny.
Not many others did. Ha!

Hey!!! One of my works made it into someone's collection.
Yay! And this shows the value of signing your work!


Don't make excuses.
You voted for pussy grabbing.






Sunday, November 06, 2016

Get Out The Vote

After much dithering I finally signed up for one of those online get-out-the-vote programs. Now I wish I'd started earlier - it's easy and fun!
Better late than never, but one time is always preferred.
By way of explanation, I've been doing a lot of writing for a veterans' group I'm helping out, and fighting the battle of Internet Memes - maybe not the most productive use of time but when I get 8,000 shares of something funny I think I've added a little laughter to the world. Finally I'm studying a software utility that might help me with my professional ambitions. It's a full day each day, and lots of lists is how I get it all done - or at least keep track of what is not done.
Through Tuesday, my spare time should be on GOTV - everything else will get by on its own at this point.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Attitudesday

I went over to the VA Hospital to help present the video to the Acting Director and some others. It doesn't work to email the link, since the security system doesn't seem to allow playing vimeo videos or whatever. They all loved it, but to do more gardens we have a gauntlet of paperwork to do. That's ok, now that we've got the idea down we can handle the rest; it's just too bad we don't have something in the pipeline right now. I went back to Toastmasters, basked in the unrelenting positivity, and joined. It'll be good for skills and very good for morale. I was amused to learn that since I'd joined at MassMutual, I was technically rejoining. A pity can't remember even the name of the club, but they'll look it up.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Hallowweinie

Normally I love Halloween - it's a little party at my front door where people come by, speak the ritual words, and thank me for candy. I put out a box or two of decorations on the yard and light a bunch of spooky candles and put on a homemade costume.
This year I've been busy, and I'm not even sure where the decorations are.  I was going to totally weenie out - leave the porch light off, just hide in the back.
But as I was grocery shopping, I reflexively bought a bag of fun-sized Skittles and a bag of Mars chocolates - the latter was a mistake because I blew through half the bag in two days and got that chocolate wakefulness, not a good thing. Maybe one day I'll learn to buy only candies I'll never eat.
I was set up to just hang on my laptop near the front door and pass out the Skittles when Kiara came through with a decorative spiderweb for the lawn. This is all the more remarkable for her utter and ultimate detestation of spiderwebs. We stock an array of sticks in the front and back yard so she can protect herself if Ma Spider has set up shop in her path.
The funny thing about the decoration is that it looked like a bag of cotton fluff so I opened it up and then realized I wasn't actually sure how to set it up. Just because it's simple fluff doesn't mean it's simple to deploy. I read the directions on the bag - spiders don't need directions but then again if they screw up they die, so I have the advantage there - and it turned out to be pretty straightforward. Just as I set the last corner - using handy fallen branches for an extra spooky effect - the first tiny trick-or-treater came down the walk clutching the hand of a parent.
Halloween remains one of the best holidays ever!

Hallowweinie

Normally I love Halloween - it's a little party at my front door where people come by, speak the ritual words, and thank me for candy. I put out a box or two of decorations on the yard and light a bunch of spooky candles and put on a homemade costume.
This year I've been busy, and I'm not even sure where the decorations are.  I was going to totally weenie out - leave the porch light off, just hide in the back.
But as I was grocery shopping, I reflexively bought a bag of fun-sized Skittles and a bag of Mars chocolates - the latter was a mistake because I blew through half the bag in two days and got that chocolate wakefulness, not a good thing. Maybe one day I'll learn to buy only candies I'll never eat.
I was set up to just hang on my laptop near the front door and pass out the Skittles when Kiara came through with a decorative spiderweb for the lawn. This is all the more remarkable for her utter and ultimate detestation of spiderwebs. We stock an array of sticks in the front and back yard so she can protect herself if Ma Spider has set up shop in her path.
The funny thing about the decoration is that it looked like a bag of cotton fluff so I opened it up and then realized I wasn't actually sure how to set it up. Just because it's simple fluff doesn't mean it's simple to deploy. I read the directions on the bag - spiders don't need directions but then again if they screw up they die, so I have the advantage there - and it turned out to be pretty straightforward. Just as I set the last corner - using handy fallen branches for an extra spooky effect - the first tiny trick-or-treater came down the walk clutching the hand of a parent.
Halloween remains one of the best holidays ever!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

October memes

This has been a wonderful - and fearful - election for crafting memes. These are all my work although of course I used utilities.
One of my favorite works
- brief, to the point, and funny.
Reacting quickly to Comey's amazingly foolish announcement that someone had received email. He doesn't know if it was from Hillary but she worked for Hillary so that's a scandal.

Not a great joke but even the "B" squad gets court time.




October memes

This has been a wonderful - and fearful - election for crafting memes. These are all my work although of course I used utilities.
One of my favorite works
- brief, to the point, and funny.
Reacting quickly to Comey's amazingly foolish announcement that someone had received email. He doesn't know if it was from Hillary but she worked for Hillary so that's a scandal.

I was surprised I hadn't seen this pun before.
I needed to make art every day to keep the momentum. Alliteration is always there as a back-up idea generator but I'm not sure the results are great. I liked the type face most of all.

OK, I really liked the joke, especially that you have to stop and think about it for a moment.
Now I need to do one with the Queen of Thorns!

Alphabet soup generator from

I love the highway sign generator especially when people ask if it's real.
Also - that joke can be used over and over!

Posted with a link to the interview, which is pure grrrrrrrr!

Maybe I put too much time into this one but it had to be said,
since this is the one newspaper in America endorsing The Donald.

I did this one long ago, and it keeps being true.
I recently got a repost with thousands of "likes". Sign Your Work!

Sorry Los Vegas - not your fault!

Sore Loser Is Sore


Another re-publish of an old favorite. 

Meh.

Who doesn't like cat pictures with a message?

Too many words

In retrospect, I think the chiron needs only the date. But this one turned out pretty popular anyway. Everyone loves to mock a bullsh1tter.

Meh Again.





I see where I was going with this one but the choice of art wasn't best

Re-using a joke. Didn't really zing.

The Trump hat generator is fun!!!
And it's great that we're at the point where misogyny is a losing strategy.

One of the creepiest stories ever
If I'd thought of this early, might've made bumper stickers
This should have been a bigger story but it didn't fly

Second try - Trump laughs at his followers

My first try. Too many words!

Trump is obviously this generation's fascist and his followers love him like a Brother

Putting these two things together ....

The Machado rage tweets were just strange.

Somebody's got a problem with women!

I did this a year ago but it's more pertinent than ever

I don't think I actually published this because I don't think involving the wife is a good idea,
and yet it has to be said - WTF ?