Category Archives: Thinking and Pondering: Science, History, Analysis and Over-Think

Made to Order

Hello,

I don’t cook that often.

My obsessiveness leads me to constantly rework the same thing over and over and over again until I’m finally happy with the finished product and then I will continue to make that thing and nothing else to the end of my days.

I have a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that is exactly where I want it. The spread is perfect. The chewiness is where it needs to be.

They. Are. Perfect.

Same with the gin martini. I have all the ingredients. I have the ratios. I have it where I want it.

But I don’t get any joy out of it. Just a deep satisfaction that is based more on fulfilling some sort of BS neurosis.

Also, my blog is becoming more and more navel gazing.

I think I’m going to need to do five or six more beer reviews before the thirty days is up.

Anyway.

I don’t enjoy trying new things because it means I have to start that process again. The process of getting it right. The constant headbutting against the wall, over and over again until I get it where I want it to be and then the goddamn relief when I finally do have it where I want it. It’s locked in and I can just enjoy it for what it is without worrying about screwing around with it anymore.

At the end of the day, there’s a part of me that asks what’s the point of doing something at all if I can’t do it right?

Christ, this went to a depressing place for me. I honestly just started this wanting to share my cookie recipe.

Woof.

-D-

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By the Light of A Collapsing Star

Hello,

I want to talk about this article and everything that this article entails.

I’m not going to summarize it.

It’s required reading for this blog entry.

I genuinely and truly believe that humanity is advancing toward the light. We are progressing, as a whole, toward being better.

I am not looking for perfection or utopia or some platonic ideal of humanity, but I believe we will race ahead into the light.

But I do have my moments where I just look at what we’re doing and I wonder if we really are going to make that far. I look at the fact that some people saw this bright young woman who did an amazing thing, a great thing, and decided to try and tear her down because…..jealousy? Sexism? Simple pettiness?

This isn’t a new. It’s not shocking. It’s not even the worst thing to happen today.

But it’s just another example of the blind hate that exists within certain men. They are violently, perpetually enraged at women for whatever reason used to excuse the fact that they’re just spiteful, awful people.

There’s nothing to debate there. There’s nothing to discuss there.

They’re just unpleasant, wormy little trolls who spend their every moment in a fantasy that women owe them something. They live in a fantasy where they are automatically owed everything on a silver platter and how dare a woman take the spotlight.

They’re vapid, shallow, pointless men, grasping for power any way they. They can only exist in environments that pamper them, that coddle them, that tend to their constant demands for attention.

On the one hand, I hate that they’re getting this attention. On the other hand, I feel they need to be dragged out into the light, they need to be exposed. They need to be seen for what they are and who they are. They need to be pilloried and shown that the majority looks at them like a grotesque relic from the 50’s, some creepy cultural artifact that should have been left back in time.

They will never go away, not entirely, but they should be made aware that they are not welcome. Constantly. Repeatedly.

They are not welcome.

We cannot continue to move forward and not address the festering hatred in these small men. And we cannot let just women, just people of color, just trans people, just the oppressed and ignored fight for themselves. They cannot just stand by themselves, trying to be heard over a cacophony of stupid, mindless white men crying out “not all men!”

If you’re a white man, do something  that’s not just excusing yourself from blame. At the very least, the very least, step aside and preach the good works of the people around you. Raise up the people around you. Do not speak for them. Do not talk over them. Make room for them and let them speak and then shut down anyone else who tries to speak over them. Make space for people who cannot make their own space.

I feel I’ve gone far afield of where I started here.

But, Jesus, can we not just let this one woman have this one thing without it turning into some men’s rights nonsense?

Just this one time?

-D-

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One Shot

Hello,

I really don’t want to turn this blog into an anti-vaxxer bashing blog, but, you know what, I kinda do.

Buzzfeed just posted this story and I’m, again, angry.

New York has recently put into effect an order stating that if you don’t vaccinate your kids against measles you get fined $1000. You have to show proof that you are already immune (because you had measles at some point) or that you have been vaccinated.

They are doing this because there are now, currently, 300 cases of measles in New York City. Twenty of those cases are in the hospital. Five of those cases are in intensive care.

Now, that’s not a lot of people, although I would argue that any number of people being hospitalized for an easily preventable illness is ridiculously high. But then there’s this fun quote:

“The problem is, there’s nothing more difficult to contain than a measles epidemic,” Peter Hotez, professor of pediatrics and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Texas’s Baylor College of Medicine, told BuzzFeed News. “The measles virus is the most highly transmissible virus we know about.”

So it’s a highly transmissible virus with each person that is currently carrying the virus becomes a liability, especially in a society where people have decided they’d rather not take one shot.

On top of that, there are parents who have decided to have measles parties instead of just vaccinating their children and, in that way, avoid the fine. Here’s what those children have to look forward to:

“The first sign of measles is usually a high fever, which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, and lasts 4 to 7 days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over about 3 days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for 5 to 6 days, and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of 7 to 18 days).” – Borrowed from WHO

Let’s be clear here: Measles can kill. Measles can maim. Let’s look at those symptoms:

“Most measles-related deaths are caused by complications associated with the disease. Serious complications are more common in children under the age of 5, or adults over the age of 30. The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, ear infections, or severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia. Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.” – Also Borrowed from WHO

So….the parents can give their kid one shot or they can get them sick and risk all those symptoms and consequences listed above. Here are the common symptoms of the measles vaccine:

  • Sore arm from the shot
  • Fever
  • Mild rash
  • Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, mostly in teenage or adult women who did not already have immunity to the rubella component of the vaccine
    Borrowed from the CDC

Huh….looks like getting the vaccine is much less risky than actually getting the measles.

Weird.

Wait! There’s a risk of fever induced seizures in older infants! Except that it’s extremely rare and the seizures have no long term effects on the child. Not like measles which can, once again, result in blindness or death.

So, to recap, parents in NYC would rather make their child incredibly sick for two weeks (and risk their child’s death!) rather than get a shot that would prevent that from happening.

This is asinine. This is irresponsible. This is dangerous.

Vaccinate your children, for their own sake.

-D-

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Black Dog

Hello,

There are tricks I have when the black dog is visiting.

He doesn’t do much.

Just sits in the corner.

Which is unnatural in and of itself, in my experience. Dogs are sprawlers when they’re relaxed, just like cats. They don’t sit unless they want something or have been told to do it or both. Left to their own devices, they’re on their backs or on their bellies, not a care in the world.

This one sits and waits and takes up the whole corner of my office.

Just sitting and waiting.

For all I know, he does want something. You don’t visit someone for no reason. At least, I don’t. Dogs are the same way, I figure.

So he wants something and he’s sitting and he’s just…there.

Waiting.

So I turn my back to him and get on with it. That’s all I can do, really. All I’m willing to do, really. Turn my back on him and hope he doesn’t tear out my throat one day.

I feel like that bear guy, sometimes. The one that thought he was their friend and he went out into the woods and filmed them, recorded them, and I know he thought they were on the same page.

Of course, they weren’t.

But the black dog never moves and then he leaves and my office feels a little more open, a little more spacious and I can breathe again and that’s good and right.

I think, in the end, the trick is not to ignore the black dog. He comes and he goes and he makes his rounds, but he is a dog. And dogs are best dealt with scratches behind the ear and walks and trips to the vet.

Gotta take care of my dog, even if I didn’t exactly go down to the shelter and pick him up.

Yeah.

-D-

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Obsession

Hello,

I want to watch every movie that stars Nicolas Cage.

No, that’s not really what I want to talk about tonight.

It’s just the latest obsession.

I get…hooked onto things.

Not just actors, but movies, or tv shows or comics or genres or foods.

I will eat gummy bears every day, multiple times a day for weeks at a time. And then stop eating them and move on to something else.

I will watch one or two horror movies a night, every night, for weeks on end, and then….it fades and I replace it with baseball. Or Doctor Who.

And all I can do is ride out the wave until it ends and then I can pick myself up and start all over again.

It’s a cycle I cannot explain (why does one obsession start and why is THIS my next obsession?), but it is exhausting. Thousands of dollars in comic books, hundreds of hours of my life watching Doctor Who episodes. The amount of brain space I’ve devoted to facts about Transformers and dinosaurs, neither of which has proven useful in my day-to-day life, is upsetting.

Sometimes, I wish I could just PICK a thing, if only so my office didn’t look like some weird, elaborate shrine to a childhood I didn’t have.

Instead, I’m about to start watching every Nicolas Cage movie from the beginning.

I’ll let you know how Valley Girl is on Twitter.

-D-

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Be Superman

Hello Again,

One of the most important lessons that we can learn from superhero comics is the idea that we should be like Superman.

Superman is the purest distillation of what a superhero is: someone with abilities decides to use those abilities to help others.

Its not just about fighting crime, because Superman does a lot more than that. He saves towns from floods. He puts out fires. He catches airplanes. He destroys tenement housing to force the government to build brand new housing in its place. He destroys automobile factories in an attempt to promote auto safety.

Sometimes his methods aren’t the best way to tackle the situation, but he does try.

The point is that Superman uses his abilities to help everyone around him. He does not question whether they deserve it or if he should. He has an innate understanding that because he can, he should.

We are all capable of being Superman in some way or another. Because the point isn’t that he’s almost godlike in his strength and speed. The point is that he is able to do something that others cannot. And we all find ourselves in situations where we are stronger, more knowledgeable, have access to more resources, where we can DO something.

If we can help, we should help.

Because that’s how society gets better. That’s how everything gets better. Because we all say that when we see someone in pain, or in need, or struggling, we help.

And this does not diminish when the problem scales upward, if anything our responsibilities grow more when we stop thinking ourselves as individuals and we start thinking of ourselves as a country, a society.

We have so much money.

We have so much power.

We have so much to give.

And our initial response to refugees at our doorstep appears to label as them as enemies, to call them an army, to say they’re diseased, to say they’re rapists, to say they’re killers.

And those are the arguments of the villains. Those are the arguments of cowards. Those are the arguments of people so blinded by their own hate that they refuse to see anyone else’s pain.

We should be better than that. We are better than that. We should be stepping up and opening our doors and leading the way to a better, kinder, stronger world.

What we need to be is Superman.

-D-

 

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An Education in Cruelty

Hello Again,

I am pretty angry about Betsy DeVos and her decision to cut federal funding to the Special Olympics.

I believe that the responsibility of the government is to take care of its citizens. That is its sole function. It takes care of the citizens. We may disagree on the best way to do that or the focus of how to do that, but in the end, that is the government’s job.

It builds roads. It builds hospitals. It supports a police force. It provides schools. All in the service of the public good, because that is the primary goal of the government.

It also funds programs that, while they may be privately run, continue the government’s mission to protect and support its citizens.

The Special Olympics does this. Our society used to be such that the mentally disabled were locked away, shunned, hidden, locked up in institutions and forgotten. We have grown and progressed as a people to the point where we realize that this is unacceptable. You cannot lock up a human being just because they make you uncomfortable.

The Special Olympics provides a way for people with mental disabilities to be seen, to be heard and to be out there excelling.

Here’s their Mission Statement:

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

These are good works. They are doing good works. They are continuing to provide what our government should be providing: support for all of its citizens.

Secretary DeVos is showing that, once again, the Trump Administration does not support good works. The Trump Administration is not interested in supporting all of its citizens and given that President Trump mocked a disabled reporter while on the campaign trail, this is not surprising.

Once again, the Trump Administration proves it is an administration of cruelty and indifference. There is no argument that either the Administration or its supporters can put forward that will not convince me that they genuinely do not care about other people. To allow this, to put this forward as a valid way to save a few dollars, is vile and indefensible.

To agree with Secretary DeVos and the Administration is to agree that people who are disabled do not deserve a place in our society. It is saying that they should go back into the dark place, the secret places where they can be easily forgotten. Because this is just one more step backward, one more step away from the progress we have made to being a better society.

One more step in a continued march backward into history.

-D-

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