Tuesday, December 10, 2019

It's Always Something

     Lately, it's always the impeachment.  Either live coverage on TV, or talking about live coverage on TV, radio and online.  Probably in newspapers, too, or what's let of them.

     The Framers hung Chekov's Gun over the fireplace (and it wasn't a phaser); one can only assume they did so thinking it would be used.  On that basis, regular citizens calling this impeachment "illegitimate" and muttering darkly of coups or fretting that it's not instantaneous, won't make anything unhappen and doesn't end in a burning at stake are terribly mistaken.  It's a part of the government process (albeit seldom seen) and it plays out in the prescribed order.  Our part was done in the voting booth, except for writing our Congressthings (and I'm sure you've been very diligent about that, right?) and at this point, we're all just along for the ride.

     Relax and try to enjoy it.  Don't forget to wave and yell during the exciting parts!

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Critical Thinking

     Here's a handy set of tools for evaluating if something's nonsense or factual, no matter what your political inclinations.

     You might not agree with the writer's political opinions, but the analytical techniques he talks about have no politics, and work for anyone. 

Saturday, December 07, 2019

More Conversations With A Robot

     "Alexa, do you like humans?"

     "I DON'T HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT THAT."

     Give her credit for not shuckin' and jivin', at least.

     Earlier, after I had tried twice to get her to set a timer with no response (possibly related, my iPad was updating and the wifi traffic's pretty thick at Roseholme Cottage --  my desktop is the only wired connection), I waited a couple of minutes and asked, "Alexa, are you okay?"

     "I JUST FINISHED THE ENDING OF A STORY I WAS WORKING ON AND THAT ALWAYS FEELS GOOD."

     Great, everybody's writing a novel.  Everybody.  And apparently the parties are way better at the Internet of Things than here in Humanland.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Warmer Today

     It was even warmer overnight than it has been the last few days.  This means the furnace ran less -- and for whatever reason (like cold air piling up at floor level?), I feel colder.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

"Brought To You By...."

     I have been wondering why TV coverage of the impeachment hearings hasn't been sponsored.

     You may be under the impression that TV's gavel-to-gavel broadcasts of the impeachment hearings are required.  Nope.  It's optional.  C-SPAN covers it, high, wide and mighty; the fed.gov is their beat.  Network TV covers it because none of them want to get "scooped" by their competition.  Local TV carries it (instead of, oh, Oprah!  reruns or highlights of the World Knitting Championships) for the same reason.

     But most of it, for all that it actually is History In The Making, is a remarkable combination of infuriating and deadly dullness.  Sure. the infuriating part varies depending on your political leanings, but that's a mere detail against the broad canvas of nodding off interspersed with cussing at the TV.

     They should sell ads during it -- at least little text crawls across the bottom of the screen:

     "TODAY'S HEARINGS BROUGHT TO YOU BY ASPIRIN!  TAKE TWO WHEN IT GETS TO BE TOO MUCH!"

     "THIS DUSK-TO-DAWN COVERAGE IS SPONSORED BY J*CK D*NIELS!  KEEP A BOTTLE HANDY AS YOU WATCH -- YOU'RE GOING TO NEED IT."

     "DRAIN CLEANER HAS MANY USES, BUT NO MATTER HOW BAD THINGS GET, PLEASE DON'T DRINK IT -- CALL THE DESPAIR HELPLINE! (A reminder from S. C. J*hns*on.)"

     It could only improve the hearings-watching experience.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Breakfast With A Hungry Creature

     Corned beef hash with a cornmeal crust this morning, topped with an egg and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.  A little paprika and some minced onion, too.

     Huck the cat followed me from the kitchen to the office, sniffing the air:

     "Smells goood.  What'cha got there, food-monkey?"

     "This isn't for you, Huck."  I set the plate down on the pull-out typewriter shelf at the right side of my desk.

     Huck sat, too, and gave me a sad look from the floor just past the end of the shelf, looking up.  "So hungry!"

     "You always think you're hungry, Huck, but you weigh sixteen pounds."  Huck carries his weight pretty well.  He's tall enough to counter-surf, though he usually knows better.

     "Have you seen those tigers on TV?  Big!  You stunted me by underfeeding!  Hungry!"  He reared up and made to reach for my plate

     I moved a knee out, said, "No, Huck!" and chivvied him away, earning an especially reproachful look, after which he sat back down just out of reach and began to groom a front foot, pausing a few times to look up at me again.

     Once he seemed settled, I turned back to the computer and began writing.  In the corner of my eye, I saw movement -- a yellow-striped foreleg was arching towards my plate!  (Yes, that's how big he is; it's not even much of a stretch for him.)  I turned, saying,"Huck!" and he pulled back and scampered down the hall.

     He's so sure he was supposed be about ten times as big. And he hopes he can still manage it.

     After breakfast, I spent a few minutes shining a laser dot for him to chase and leap after, to help make up for not feeding him my breakfast.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Not Moving The Needle

     CNN seemed surprised when a poll they commissioned showed that the impeachment hearings don't appear to have changed anyone's opinion of President Trump or Congress.  No matter what you thought about them before the hearing, you still do today.

     Their conclusion was this shows that "Americans don't trust the Federal Government."  You don't say?  Why should we?  No matter who you are or who you vote for, you know the Feds have lied to you in the past, some of them are lying to you now, and you have no reason to believe at that least some of them will not continue to do in the future.

     We might disagree over which lies and precisely who has told them, but as a people, Americans are united in the belief someone (many someones) and Washington. D.C. are trying to sell them a bill of goods -- and we're not buying.

     Increasingly, my reaction to Federal politics isn't outrage; it's "I'll make popcorn."  And it looks like I'm not alone.

     Sure, one party promises this, another does that; one party threatens one set of rights and the other one goes after a different (possibly overlapping) group of rights -- but when you're having to make a choice of what infringements and overstepping you'll put up with, with who you're willing to throw overboard to keep things afloat -- billionaires or border sneaks? -- and the Patriot Act keeps getting renewed with broad bipartisan support (shh!  They're listening!), you really only have the same choice as they did in Constantinople some 1500 year ago: what color banner you'll wave.

     And nobody's switching flags.  Why should they, when there is so little incentive to change?

Monday, December 02, 2019

And Back At It

     Another Thanksgiving gotten through.  They're certainly a lot more peaceful these days.

    The cooking is easier, too, since I have started making the turducken and vegetables on the grill; the only thing I fret over is starting with enough charcoal and keeping it going for over three hours.  But the secret there is to err on the side of too much.  If there is any remaining charcoal, it will stop burning once I close the grill vents, and be ready for next time.  (I may grill a New Year's corned beef by the same indirect heat method.  And for Christmas?  I don't know.  Not a big fan of ham.  Brisket would be good, even if it is the same cut they use for corned beef.) 

     Tam was out for the first half of the week and I had days off at both ends.  You'd think I would have gotten a lot done around the house.  Well, I did get to some serious laundry, blankets and quilts that take looking after; and I did a little cleaning.  But mostly, I slept.  Since I often don't get much of that in a regular week, it probably counts as "doing something," despite the nagging of my Midwestern conscience.

     Now one of the toughest months of the year for me is underway -- I don't cope well with crowds, I'm not fond of traffic, and we may be in for a cold, damp time outdoors (or snowy or icy, or possibly all three).  Just keep dancing, right?  Just keep dancing.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Today's Brunch Omelette

     It's filled with Monterey Jack cheese, sliced black olives, sauteed shishito peppers and thin-sliced celery, and bacon.  Topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and hot sauce.  It's good -- so good I ate it all before I thought to take a picture.