Cursing.

My father rarely cursed. My father was generally a man of few words, but when he did share verbal expressions of emotion he rarely swore. The closest things he would say that would come close to cursing was “Jumpin’ Mice” or “If it’s going to be a pain in the nuts…”, which the latter is probably more crass the cursing.

I followed his lead for the first two decades or so of my life and rarely swore. I can actually remember the first time I swore. It was 8th period gym class in 7th grade. I had dropped the watch from my grandfather’s estate between two lockers in the locker room and I was really bothered by it. When the teacher asked why I had put the watch in this precarious location I simply said to him, “I fucked up”. That was the first time I had swore to anyone other than myself and he instantly knew that I was really bothered by losing the watch left to me by my grandfather.

We successfully retrieved the watch.

It wasn’t until my radio days that I started a tendency of swearing like a sailor. It was the most effective way of communicating with the owners of the radio station because they were yelling and screaming most of the time. I can still remember my father’s wince when he asked why I wanted to leave that particular job and I replied, “because the owner is an asshole”. But the fact of the matter is, my language adapted to the situation because circumstances dictated that the only language they would take to heart was when someone yelled and swore at them. Then again I did witness the husband and wife team throwing a knife across the room during an argument, so swearing was probably the least of my problems at the time.

Michelle Obama famously said, “When they go low, we go high”. In a sane society, or at least in a society that doesn’t consider pajamas as an outfit to wear on an airliner, Ms. Obama’s declaration would be absolutely valid. But we live in a time and place where we are deeply, horribly divided. Truth, the validity of facts, and the elimination of a general moral compass has rapidly distorted our values. We are living in “the low”. To take the high road merely means to tell the truth now, and when bad actors no longer care about the truth, they’re sure not going to understand anything unless you lean hard on your intent, and that means dropping f-bombs to get people’s attention.

Look, I’m not a fan of talking like a sailor. I still have a microsecond of shock when David Rose drops a “fuck” on “Schitt’s Creek” or Patsy and Eddy drop all sorts of profanity of “Absolutely Fabulous”. But this is where society has taken us, and this is how our language is transforming to keep up with society.

A recent tweet passed by on my timeline criticizing the use of profanity on “The Circus” on Showtime. As host John Heilemann responded:

My response? A super condensed version of what I’ve written in this blog post.

I’m not going to walk into a church and start a “blue set” behind the mic at the pulpit. I’m not going to walk into a fancy restaurant and start swearing like a sailor nor am I going to begin a profanity laced litany in a room full of ladies (I still have an ounce of chivalry that I show once in a while).

But when it’s time to call the President of the United States a fucktard, I’m going to call him a fucktard.

Blahs.

It’s that time of year when I’m fighting off the SADs. I’ve been taking vitamins and trying to get as much sunshine as possible this year, but Seasonal Affectation Disorder hits me and I feel like doing nothing.

I keep trying to figure out a way for Earl and me to go on a quick weekend Jeep trip and head south, even if it’s just far enough to get into temperatures in the 40s.

There’s so much to do in the city, even in the winter, and I try to keep busy, but sometimes that wind is just so cold and brutal, the sky is cloudy and gray, and there isn’t an opportunity to fly or really enjoy a nice walk along our neighborhood streets.

I’d give anything to reasonably ride a bike right now.

I do see cyclists everyday, no matter the weather. Even when we had historic lows a couple of weeks ago, someone would go riding by on their bicycle, headed to wherever they were going. I love the fact that Chicago is such a cyclist friendly city. Because there’s some crazy cyclists out there.

I’m sure warmer weather isn’t too far off; we’re only a few weeks away from the beginning of Daylight Saving Time (don’t get me started on that).

I’ll be happy when spring finally arrives.

Soap Opera.

Remember when television schedules were populated with soap operas? They were all the rage when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s. Every afternoon folks were sitting down to watch their stories. My grandmother was fond of “The Edge of Night”. My mother was fond of “Another World”.

Have the soaps been gone long enough for a generation to get surly and start trying to turn real life into a soap opera? Ever since Trump took office I feel like I’m trapped into either a hideous Reality Show (what will the next ‘twist’ be?) or a soap opera.

This afternoon my Twitter feed started populating with something about Bezos Going After Mr. Pecker.

Jeff Bezos Says National Enquirer Threatened To Publish Nude Photos As Blackmail

Interestingly, the MAGA crowd, both human and bots, are going after Mr. Bezos on social media for being rich and allegedly having a mistress.

Because Trump is above all that?

Now I realize we are talking about the National Enquirer here, but there’s a lot of discussion around this story claiming this latest stunt by the Enquirer is being pursued as a favor to Trump because Bezos owns interest in The Washington Post. And we all know the one dipped in marmalade screams “fake news” every time he reads something in The Washington Post that he doesn’t like.

I’m a little worried that all of this endless drama has established a new norm for politics in this country. Now politics have never been that great to begin with, but we have firmly planted ourselves into the depths of the deepest septic tank with this administration.

I feel like the toilet is constantly overflowing.

I’m hoping that 2020 will bring about change and we will move toward some sort of civility in this country again.

Let’s leave the soap operas to Mac, Rachel, and Iris.

Cold.

It is -15ºF with a wind chill of -37ºF during my lunch hour here in Chicago. The wind is out of the west at 15 MPH and there is zero cloud cover. I don’t need a fancy hashtag or scary sounding names like “Polar Vortex” (though I did enjoy one of those at a fast food place a couple of years ago) to relay the information that it’s cold outside. It’s very cold outside. As beautiful as the sky looks, I’m going to refrain from going for a walk today simply because it would not be enjoyable.

I like to enjoy my walks.

The CTA Brown Line is passing by our building with scheduled regularity. Folks at the CTA are working hard to keep Chicago moving. Their Twitter feed shows they’re addressing issues as they arise. CNN likes showing images of train tracks being set on fire to unfreeze frozen switches. Fire gets the attention when you’re browsing a website. It creates more web clicks.

The news outlets have been telling us about these bitterly cold temperatures for a week, so I’m sure most reasonable folks were prepared. Earl made sure we had what we needed in the cupboards and fridge. He’s good like that.

It’s cold out. It’s very cold out. But the sunshine still brings warmth and tomorrow is another day.

Don’t be hysterical. Just keep calm and carry on.

Truman.

Earl and I have been talking about having a cat move in with us here in Chicago. It’s a conversation we’ve been having for the past month or so. I’ve missed having a feline companion since Tom passed away five and a half years ago.

I was a little worried about inviting another cat to live with us since in early 2014 we brought Scooter into our home and he wasn’t really happy. Looking back, Scooter was a barn cat that we moved into a suburban house and honestly, it just wasn’t the right fir for him. I’m happy we were able to find him a place to live where he’d be happier.

So we’ve been talking about finding an indoor cat that needed a good home here in Chicago. We’ve been looking online for the past couple of weeks and today we visited PAWS Chicago. It was there that we met Truman.

There was another couple considering adopting Truman when we first got there. He was super friendly in the room he was sharing with four other cats. The back half of the right side of his body, one of his paws, and under his chin is currently shaved. The Chicago Animal Control folks found him in an alley with a large cut on his right side. They stitched him up, made sure he was doing OK, gave him all his medications, and the brought him to PAWS Chicago for adoption. He was neutered, chipped, and his stitches were removed on Thursday.

The couple that was interested in adopting him decided to go look at dogs instead, so we visited with him for a bit, visited with some other cats as well, and then decided that Truman needed to come home with us.

The records were reviewed, the paperwork was signed, we made a stop at the PETCO across the street to pick up supplies and then we brought Truman home.

We were advised to introduce him slowly to the home but if he felt comfortable just let him do his thing. As soon as we let him out of his box and started calmly walking around the condo mapping out every nook and cranny in his head. He then went back around and did it again.

He helped me put together a five foot high cat condo perch arrangement thing so he has a nice view of the city. He’s plopped himself on both our laps and various times during the night and he’s run around this place at 100 MPH. He’s very curious about every noise he hears but he never runs and hides. He’s very inquisitive.

He also loves chasing the laser pointer light.

The thing that strikes me most about him is he feels very grateful. He’s already showing off a big personality and I like that. I wonder what brought him to that alley to end up with a big cut the runs up his side.

I hope he’s as happy to be here as we are to have him here. Earlier today I had a brief “impression” of our old cat Tom rubbing up against my leg, like it was OK for us to help another have a happy life .

Welcome to the Truman show.

News?

So, is there anything going on in the news today? I hear Ann Coulter is not happy because Trump did not heed her words. She spat a spite tweet and tried to garner more notoriety for herself. Her brand is notoriety.

Earl and I are watching The Rachel Maddow Show this evening. Earl’s been watching the news all day today. During my workday I monitored the slowing down of the nation’s airspace due to staffing issues at key Air Traffic Control Centers in Jacksonville and Boston. Once air traffic in and out of the New York airports started happening, it was only a matter of time before Trump finally caved and realized he isn’t going to get money for his stupid wall.

I unfriended a few Facebook “friends” this evening. They were going on and on about illegal immigrants spreading disease. I think they were thinking the illegal immigrants were coming into their town from Mexico, New York. There’s no way these “friends” had traveled any farther south than the New York-Pennsylvania border. I’m pretty sure illegal immigrants aren’t flocking to Oswego, New York to rip NASCAR opportunities away from the natives. A couple of these “friends” may have been related by blood. I just hit delete delete delete.

When I was younger I never realized the stark differences in political beliefs between my paternal and maternal sides of the family. There’s a reason I’m little bit country and little bit rock ‘n roll.

Apparently Bernie Sanders is announcing his intent to run for the presidency again. Someone needs to tell Bernie that his services are not required. He won’t make the spotlight this time around.

It’s way too early to decide who I like for presidential candidates for next year’s election. It’s interesting to see how the field is starting to fill up. I have pretty middle of the road standards for presidential candidates. Despite my rantings and ravings during this miserable, failed hissy fit of an administration, I am solidly in the political center. Since it’s going to be cold this weekend I’ll probably write more; perhaps I’ll share an updated bullet list of my political beliefs.

It makes for fun reading.

The Best Men Can Be.


Bullying. Harassment. Is this the best a man can get? It’s only by challenging ourselves to do more, that we can get closer to our best. To say the right thing, to act the right way. We are taking action at http://www.thebestmencanbe.org. Join us.

Yesterday, Gillette released a campaign called “The Best Men Can Be”. The campaign includes a short film showing the effects of bullying and other “boys will be boys” behavior and how we influence the next generation of men, and how we can help them become better.

I’m surprised, though I don’t know why I am, at some of the outrage expressed on Twitter about this campaign. There are so many people on Twitter proclaiming that they’re not going to be told how to act in public, accusations of SJW (Social Justice Warrior) activity, and declarations that they’re boycotting Gillette and buying something else.

Gillette is bringing awareness to their brand, I’ll give you that. But they’re urging us to be the best that we can be, and to help the next generation do the same.

Are guys at a construction site really at their best when they’re cat-calling women as they walk by. Are young men really being their best when they bully or beat up on a non-stereotypical classmate who may dress or act differently?

We don’t need the labels and declarations that “boys will be boys”. We need to become better as a society. And any message that encourages us to do so is a great message.

Be The Best You Can Be. Follow this link for further information.

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Snow.

When we first moved to Chicago, we were repeatedly warned about the winters here. They’re cold. There’s snow. They’re long.

Score one for Global Warming.

We are in the midst of our second winter in the Windy City and it’s not nearly as bad as what we experienced back in the Lake Ontario Snowbelt of Upstate New York. And honestly, I’m grateful.

It’s snowing today. It’s probably the first “substantial” snowfall we’ve had this season, but it’s really not a big deal. One of the things that I love about Chicago is that things haven’t really slowed down during the few snowfalls we’ve had. The CTA is still moving, traffic is still moving on the streets, folks are shoveling sidewalks, and no one is raiding Jewels (grocery store) for bread and milk.

I’m finding that folks are sensible about snow here, and that’s a great thing. Earl and I used the weather as an excuse not to eat at home tonight. We met up with Jamie and Chris and ate at a place called Wabi Sabi.

It was wonderful.

Fork.

Earl and I went out for dinner this evening. We went to a nearby Lou Malnati’s. This fork sitting on the window sill caught my attention. I got to wondering as to how long it had been sitting there. Minutes? Hours? Days? Why would someone put this fork on the window sill? Why did the folks cleaning up the dining room not notice it? Is it a symbol to a pedestrian hanging out on the street? Is it a secret phone? Should I speak to it?

So many things to ponder.

Cat.

This is one of my two niece cats. My mother calls her “Sissy”, according to my sister and my nephew, her official name is “Skippy June Jones”. She’s a bit of a hellraiser. I met her for the first time last month and quite honestly, some days we just need a cute cat photo, right?

I mean, I could write about the state of the country but I think I’m better off with a cat photo tonight. So please, enjoy this photo of Sissy with me.