Thoughts

Whaz Up!?! Have You Seen My Passport?


Howdy y’all!

ICYMI: The Week at Ye Olde Blogge

We had two terrific blog posts this week. The first was remembering that dear old political wit and charmer, Molly Ivins! Her death seems just like yesterday… and if she were alive today…

The second one looked at all the ways an election can be subverted and stolen… by the GQP!

Apparently, Ye Olde Blogge’s full-time citizen life is taken up with all the #COVID19’s all the time now. Last week during our week-without-walls, two grade levels were exposed to #COVID19 including the one I was with, so I spent a week in quarantine with La Petite Fille. Luckily, neither of actually acquired the infection. Here in Cambodia, the number of omicron infections continues to increase, but like other places, the number of hospitalizations and deaths is not climbing as fast. In other #COVID19 news, we can now get a fourth shot, second booster, of either Moderna or Pfizer.

In all things infernally frustrating and taking away from the real meaning of life, blogging, I have two significant entries:

  • I MANAGED TO LOSE MY PASSPORT at the end of last week. It disappeared, I’m fairly certain, inside the house. We got to the point where we, literally and systematically, looked everywhere. It ain’t here. Probably found its way into the trash and got taken out. I’ve initiated the replacement process, which necessitates a visit to the US embassy.
  • REPORTS ARE DUE THIS WEEK which means that we need to write said reports. Time spent writing something that is not the blog detracts from the time available to write the blog.

Anywho with all this other stuff, I’m probably off my fragile blogging game this week. I’ll try to get posts up. It has also put me off my reading.

The Week’s Reading

There were a surprisingly large number of articles in the commercial press that I reacted to with, Hey, this would be great for Whaz Up!?! Usually, I don’t find THAT many articles in the MSM and offbeat press, but not so this week.

Big Media Sources

  • HISTORY LESSON: From the esteemed historian, Heather Cox Richardson, we get a brief history lesson of the origins of our belief in and practice of equality-before-the-law and all-people-are-created-equal. Seems the 6 January Insurrectionists for all their fapping to the Revolution are more like traitorous rebels of the Old Confederacy than the valiant revolutionaries of 1776. (Letters from an American)
  • mRNA TECH FOR THE WIN! The mRNA technology that brought us the Moderna and Pfizer #COVID19 vaccines and which has been under development for about a decade or more has been used by Moderna to develop an HIV vaccine, which has entered the human testing phase of development. Good news, y’all! Science delivers… AGAIN! (Medscape)
  • HA! I KNEW IT! New research suggests that MAGA Nation simply adjusted their moral beliefs so that they were closer to Trump’s. It is cognitive dissonance all over again. People who liked Trump just adopted his moral views. Interesting study. Interesting finding. (PsyPost)
  • PERFECT STRANGERS is Netflix’s first attempt at Arabic language entertainment. Let’s just say that the moralistic critics are less than impressed. Everybody else seems happy enough with it, though. This is a good read giving an interesting opinion on whether art should imitate life or life, art and sounding a lot like our own tsk-tsking moralizing conservatives. (New Lines Magazine)
  • HOLY MOTHER OF — AH! MY PENIS! In a horrifying story of home remedy meets erectile dysfunction, a man and his partner attempted to “cure” him of his malady by placing a straw — perhaps that little thin straw that comes with WD-40 — into his urethra and attaching the free end to a can of insulation spray foam. I’m already crying, I don’t know about you. The accident part happened when his partner “accidentally” discharged the foam. Oh, but wait, there’s more. t filled his urethra and bladder with the hard stuff. But, it gets worse! He didn’t seek treatment for three weeks! Now, with the foam removed, he’s awaiting reconstructive surgery and he probably still has erectile dysfunction. Yikes! (Neoscope)

The Blogs

There are some great things being written in the blogosphere every day. Here’s a bit of what I’ve read.

AI-INSPIRED TAROT CARDS. While not a blog per se, it is something that I devoted a bit of time to this week. Someone has been training AI to make tarot cards and publishing the results to Twitter. They are as intriguing as they are weird. Let me know in the comments.

The Friendlies

Huzzah!
Jack

Everybody needs links, so share share share…

…this post with someone you love or like or know exits or have only just met! It’ll do ’em a world of good!

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A friendly comment always does a body good, you could try that.

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Image Attribution

“LOST Auction – Ben’s ID, passports, and money” by Doug Kline is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

46 replies »

  1. Hey Jack: You seem to have a knack for revealing the best blogs ands articles of substance to check out. I am also a daily fan of Heather Cox Richardson. I hope your passport replacement goes smoothly.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I once lost my passport, went through all the nonsense getting a new one, then found the original one inside my fathers passport. Sorry you are going through the process again, but at least you will have a new picture in it, and not have to show the one with the bad hair from six or seven years ago. (small blessings). I read the serious stories…my goodness you have been busy finding things for us to read. Unfortunately, the only one I can not get out of my head is the expanding foam in the penis one. I read it to George and he turned green….he IS an RN so of course has a lot of experience dealing with moronic things stuck in body parts from his times in an emergency department…but as he put it “I’m a man, Suze, and that sort of thing is just painful to contemplate”. I am still laughing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Howdy Suze!

      As soon as you run across a story like the foam in the penis story, you have to share it, right? It is just one of those stories that screams for sharing. I can’t imagine what they were thinking when they did it, and I really can’t imagine why they waited to go to the ER after they did it. I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised, though; we live in an age where people prefer to refuse medical treatment for a serious disease and to take off-brand medical remedies and at-home remedies for a preventable and mitigatable disease during a pandemic. Nothing people do should surprise. Perhaps there is hope for us yet that there is still something that surprises us. #SilverLining, amirite?

      I use subscriptions and services to help me keep up and focus on stories so that I’m not browsing the Internet, but looking through what someone else has already curated. It helps. Just like writing little bits of posts and scheduling their publication helps. In a weird way, haveing no time and being incredibly stressed has made my life better. Go figure.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As usual, something I found somewhere else. I posted thus, though, because the original was/is so cluttered with ads it’s hard to read, and I have been having a conversation elsewhere, with a farmer, about avocadoes. Occurs that I should caveat that, though, and will in our next correspondence: that roughly thirty-five gallons of water to produce just one fruit aggregates the life of the tree, which takes about thirty years of water before maturity. Before producing a single fruit. Yes, there have been improvements such to decrease that consumption though not by ninety percent as [ * ] claims, but that’s not the point. The words decadent, and hedonistic come to mind.

    I keep hearing 1) about liberals and avocado toast and 2) accusations of being “liberal” and I’m like “What!? Are you foking kidding me? How can that be possible, when avocado is not in any way shape or form a part of my water-footprint. Almonds and cashews too.

    Bears though on a perhaps universal but certainly American failing: can’t see the forest for the trees, or more accurately can’t see the life of the tree from seed to seed. Most see the life of a tree as that of an adult, without giving thought to all it took to get there, and that once dead is no longer of value, no longer a “tree.” Yet the life of the tree is from the moment that bird pooped out a partially digested seed till the last of it crumbles away into the dust.

    There I go philosphizin’ agin’ … Thanks Jack!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Ten Bears!

      It is remarkable to me that at any given moment, an adult tree has hundreds if not gallons of water stored inside of it. The water is needed to create the pressure necessary to get it to the top most leaves the tree. I don’t think the average person really understands the way trees work. So, those figures about how much water it takes to produce one avocado or almond that people love to spout are generally true for all fruit because that’s just the way trees work.

      My problem with avocados is what it takes to get them to ripen on their way from the tree to the home. They are finicky fruit and if shipped wrong, won’t ever ripen.

      One of the things I liked about being a vegetarian — at least the way that I was a vegetarian — was that I had to think not only about what was in the food I was eating (to ensure that it didn’t have hidden trace elements of animals) but also where it came from and how it got to my table. Most of us just don’t think about our food like that.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Like

  4. Well, that’s an impressive trove for the week (numerous bookmarks saved for later and sharing).

    Similar to the one from Ten on migration of crops, is this: https://www.vox.com/down-to-earth/22906478/food-diversity-extinction-dan-saladino

    Re: COVID: https://scitechdaily.com/vitamin-d-deficiency-linked-with-increased-covid-19-severity-and-mortality/

    Today’s On The Media is not to be missed: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/episodes/on-the-media-read-the-room

    Liked by 2 people

    • Howdy Bob!

      I’ll add today’s On the Media to my already impossibly long list of things to read or listen to. OTM has become a favorite, though.

      I’ve seen those reports about vitamin D, diabetes, and chronic sniffles (allergies) being linked to long-haul #COVID19. Luckily, I’m getting plenty of sun.

      I’m afraid that when the ecosystem collapse comes, it will come more quickly and be much more devastating than any of us are imagining. I’ve been seeing reports on how the biodiversity of plants is directly dependent on the biodiversity of animals. As one diminishes, the other is affected. The reduced number of animals will cause reductions in plant life causing the implosion to hasten.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

      • There’s no such thing as a species not intricately enmeshed with every other species in its ecosystem. If there is a core idea at the root of the present crisis and impending collapse, it is that we humans are an exception to that reality.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That is the issue, isn’t it? We see ourselves as a part and distinct from the rest of nature. We don’t have to follow the rules of the rest of nature. And, by we, I mean white Western culture. Between that and handing all the real decision-making power to the wealthy, we’re about to find the error of our ways.

          Jack

          Liked by 1 person

            • Howdy Bob!

              They don’t make them like Jared Diamond any more, do they?

              Back in July I wrote about the greedy defectors who make up about a third of the population. These are the folks who will use more than their fair share of whatever at the expense of everyone else. We live in a time when the greedy defectors among us have populated a near majority of our governing positions and threatening to take the majority. There is no way we can avoid collapse if that is the case.

              One of the things that I find most interesting is how Xi rules China. He knows he can take just enough of the resources for himself and his cronies so that there is the minimum left to keep the masses placated. It takes a unique discipline to not lose your perspective and let greed lead to rationalizing taking so much that the populace isn’t driven to open revolt.

              In other words, though, in the US, we’re fucked. The GQP has so promoted the conditions that support the greedy defector, it’s nearly impossible for us to avoid climate collapse and an end to our government as Maddog Greene put it the other day and conveniently distracted us all by using gazpacho police.

              Huzzah!
              Jack

              Liked by 1 person

              • The greedy defectors piece was excellent. China has accumulated a lot of history, with plenty of cautionary tales about rulers who took too much for themselves and lost the Mandate of Heaven. Western culture tends to glorify those same kind of rulers. Also, Xi is and is surrounded by technocrats, not Libertarian robber barons.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Howdy Bob!

                  I think Xi and his immediate circle have developed a formula for keeping the stakeholders they need to be satisfied and distracted while they play the long con. He’s got to ride the wave of support and try to stay in that sweet spot. His time in office was not always as solid as it is now. I recall, albeit vaguely, a time ten or fifteen years ago, when it looked like he was going to be ousted. It is only been in the last five or so years that he has really entrenched himself as the head of the nation and party.

                  One thing that may bite them in the ass is their commitment to zero #COVID19. Clearly, they fear the problems that can come from numerous infections, sickness, and death, but the draconian and harsh repressive methods they use to contain their outbreaks could seed some real discontent.

                  Huzzah!
                  Jack

                  Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      But having lived in China during the beginnings of the pandemic and still having many Chinese friends living in China are not happy about how severe the government is being. They’ll put up with it for a bit, but they are walking a tightrope just a different type rope than the one we’re walking.

                      I reckon every system has its advantages and disadvantages, and every system allows those at the top to reap greater benefit from it than everyone else. The question is which one is sustainable over the long run and won’t result in the destruction of the planet.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Heinlein observed that any form of government will work as long as authority and responsibility are in balance. Whether authoritarian or democratic, that’s the catch. Those with authority tend to try to avoid responsibility. When it comes to either the pandemic or climate change, the score cards for both types of systems are mixed. These are hard problems when it comes to getting a large population in a complex economy to tolerate the actions and policies that can work.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      I think we may have to face the reality that we do not have the cognitive equipment to maintain a large complex economy. The temptations of greed and hunger for power will always do us in. The difficulty of understanding the complexity of our society will always leave us vulnerable to the charms of a dictator… or at least enough of us that we are willing to go along with atrocities committed against real live human beings and the planet.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Those who offer simple answers to complex questions will always find followers. The way to reduce the number of those vulnerable to them is education. So, we see battles over what is taught in schools and how.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The Republicans have been targeting education for more than a generation. There’s a reason education is mainly funded through property taxes. There’s a reason that the Ivy League schools are so over represented in the halls of government and industry and its student body is predominately from old money.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Higher education became just another profit center for the banking industry. The pendulum has swung about as far to an extreme as it can in many areas of our lives, hopefully, it will start swinging back.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I’ve long been convinced that the shift from defining higher education as a public good to a private good financed by debt for the non-wealthy also came from conservative anger about the student protests of the ’60s. Young people who are building up a huge debt can’t afford to miss classes to go out and protest.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      Making students a profit center certainly has had a chilling effect on many people’s lives. It has stymied upward mobility and locked people into their socio-economic level. Probably not the conscious intent of people organizing the student loan and curtailing Pell Grants and other money for higher education, though.

                      I remember a conversation I had with a fellow on social media shortly after Sonia Sotomayor was appointed to the Supreme Court. One of the objections about her was that she benefited from affirmative action. The fellow argued that because she got a position she “didn’t necessarily deserve or earn” at an Ivy League school some white kid didn’t get it. That kid had a dream of attending that school and we’ve elevated her dream over his.

                      The problem with that argument is that the white kid who wanted to go to Harvard could go to another Ivy League school. Their future would be different because of it, but the trajectory of their life would still be about the same. The trajectory of Sotomayor’s life and those of many people in her family was radically altered because of she graduated Harvard or Yale or whichever she attended. And that effect is a net positive for our society; whereas, the white rich kid attending an Ivy League school is just maintaining the status quo.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                • Howdy Ten Bears!

                  There is an evolutionary theory that suggests that we domesticated ourselves by murdering the hyper violent and aggressive members of the groups thus removing their genes from the gene pool. The only way we free ourselves from the destructive force of the greedy defectors is by following a similar method. Unfortunately, our current morays prevent us from doing so. Sometimes, it seems like the only rational response.

                  Huzzah!
                  Jack

                  Like

          • “We are discovering today that several of the premises which are deeply ingrained in our way of life are simply untrue and become pathogenic when implemented with modern technology.”
            Gregory Bateson

            Liked by 1 person

            • Howdy Bob!

              We’ve long known that communities can go off the rails and be very destructive. Our technologies have only become more powerful and farther reaching since Bateson’s time. Now we can destroy the entire planet with our technological implementation of the belief that god made the planet for human kind to exploit and use and our cognitive dissonance can be perpetuated until it is too late by insulated online communities.

              Huzzah!
              Jack

              Liked by 1 person

              • Bateson was not the first to warn us. For instance, this from the 12th Century: “The earth should not be injured. The earth should not be destroyed. As often as the elements, the elements of the world are violated by ill treatment, so God will cleanse them thru the sufferings, thru the hardships of mankind.”
                Hildegard of Bingen

                Liked by 1 person

                • Howdy Bob!

                  Hasn’t that always been the problem with religion, though? The people who gain advantage and power through it, realize it is just a cynical ploy to keep the stooges cowed and inline and they stop heeding any of the real wisdom that it contains. I guess it is the similar to what we’re seeing with the Republicans and their conservative supporters and science. While some are just being incredibly cynical in their push back against mitigating measures and attacking Dr. Fauci, others seem to believe their rhetoric and not really get what’s happening or why. I can’t help but believe that Rand Paul is knows exactly how facetious he’s being, but do Ron Johnson, Ron DeSantis, Greg Abbott? Do those guys know just how badly what they are saying affects people? I still wonder about the motivation and understanding that all of these folks have into their rhetoric.

                  Huzzah!
                  Jack

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Remember what happened when Trump tried to advise getting the vaccine. He got booed. They have pushed the anti-vacs anti-mask line so hard and for so long that they are stuck with it. They made it an article of faith and a litmus test with the base. It’s the same with the Big Lie. Now, if you question or deny any of the BS, you’re a RINO or worse. As some wise man said, it is one thing to ride a tiger, but quite another to get off.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      I guess putting the stopper back in the bottle is a pretty useless gesture once you’ve let the genie out! I see Graham is trying to distance himself from Trump. Maybe the establishment Republicans are done with Trump. He’s played his role as the wrecking ball of democracy. We’ll see how well it works for Graham and McConnell. Probably will work about as well as everything else in American elections, half-assed. We’ll probably end up with a Congress with a narrow majority of one party or the other, which is almost as bad as a Republican landslide.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I saw a headline from NYT this morning that McConnell is actively recruiting anti-Trump Republican candidates. That has to mean he has campaign money to offer. Given what he and Donald have been saying about each other lately, Mitch could lose his Leader position in a Senate GOP caucus with a majority of Trumpists.

                      Liked by 1 person

              • I beg to differ, Jack, the nutballs are right about one thing: it is arrogance, hubris, to think we mere humans ~ planet lice ~ can “destroy” the planet. We cannot. Or more accurately until we build a Death Star that actually blows planets up, we cannot destroy the planet. What we can do is poison the no longer potentially toxic gasses we live in enveloping the only ball of rock we know of we can live on, rendering it uninhabitable to life as we know it.

                Sorry dude, minor quibble …

                Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Jack. Thanks for some good recommendations. I am still cringing from the spray foam story. I hope you don’t have any setback getting your passport. Our government is running slow on somethings these days. Best wishes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Howdy Scottie!

      Yeah, I’m hoping for a relatively painless process. Hopefully whatever dysfunction that has infected much of the rest of the government has gotten to the passport replacement and renewal offices. If not, I guess, I could just use some spray foam on it. Yeow! What were they thinking?!?!

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m afraid that is true, but it won’t be like I’ll have two passports. The old one is already cancelled and can only be used as ID and for satisfying folks who don’t have access to the US database. It’s too bad, too, because I had the easiest passport number ever issued. It wasn’t 123456789, but it was damn close to it.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Like

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