Avoidance.

I’ve been avoiding politics on Twitter. I unfollowed a bunch of journalists that habitually retweet each other. I’ve blocked a few extra keywords from appearing in my timeline. I’m using the Twitter app the make the platform less appealing to me and I no longer wear pearls; lest I won’t clutch them during the Twitter Outrage-Du-Jour.

In short, I strive to throw water on the raging dumpster fire of the platform instead of gasoline.

It’s not that things are getting any better, quite the opposite. We are rapidly heading into the age of “The Handmaid’s Tale”, but so many in society are incapable of separating reality from reality television or dystopian television shows and movies in general, it doesn’t really matter anymore. Honestly, I’m tired. I just want to nap until someone else, anyone else, takes the high-chair in the Oval Office.

American news broadcasts are useless. There is no reporting anymore; it’s all speculation, conjecture, and opinion. I follow Al Jazeera and the BBC.

I don’t want to be part of this team sport we call politics anymore. I want to be part of a sane society that encompasses the world.

It’s a shame I’ll probably never see it in my lifetime.

Truth.

A friend from high school posted this on Facebook. People need to read this:

Okay, I have resisted fb for weeks, but I just need to state some truth that many of you are not aware of.

1) Our Big (her husband –J.P.) is a federal attorney, not an immigration attorney, but someone who knows his way around federal court. He is trying to reunite children with their parent, and we are in TX. Children have been moved all over the country without any records being kept. There is a federal court order to reunite these children with their parents, but the administration is unable to find these children.

2) Under international and federal law, any human that sets a foot on USA soil is entitled to due process. For you morons who do not understand what that is, look it up. Google is your friend.

3) 90 percent of these parents were seeking asylum. For you morons stating seek it from your home country, one cannot seek it from one’s home country. Political and religious asylum must be pursued from inside the United States. That is the law. A woman and her five year old son were seperated AFTER once she crossed the border, she flagged down border patrol and asked for asylum. Not someone looking to buck the system. But someone looking for a better life. That is what America is. Why would people flag down Customs and Border Patrol if they were not trying to do the right thing?

4) 99 percent of people let out of custody, follow through with their court appointments. If they are not granted asylum, they are deported.

5) yes there were children detained under the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations. They were UNACCOMPANIED MINORS. Also, children that were with adults who may not have been actual cbildren of the adults crossing the border….meaning sex trafficking or kidnapping. They were detained as well.

6) Whatever you think is okay, think if your child was taken from your arms. Think about it. Think long and hard. Think about being in a situation that was so desperate, that you decided to travel 3000 miles with nothing but the clothes on your back and a couple of bucks in your pocket. I am a mother. I would never move my children unless their lives were in danger. These mothers are heros.

7) Before you complain, UNDERSTAND THE FUCKING LAW. AND UNDERSTAND HOW THE PRESENT ADMINISTRATION IS BREAKING IT

8. ) If you are a mother, and accept this, shut the fuck up. You have no right to speak. Any mother that accepts this is despicable.

Defriend me, hate me, whatever you want to do but you are dead wrong.

9) It is easy to be white in this country. So many of you are so afraid. White people not understanding white privilege is like a pretty girl saying, “Why is everyone so nice to me??”

10) I can always understand conservative viewpoints. I get it. But this broke me. Kidnapping children for political gain is not only disgusting, but evil, and people will pay.

11) The real haters will never get this far. The people who accept this despicable, hateful treatment of children will never read this. Why didnt they? They are cowards, and do not care about the lives of BABIES. Cowards.

Pay Attention.

This photo has been making the rounds on the Internet for the past two days. It was taken aboard the Southwest Air flight from New York to Dallas that lost an engine, which took out a window, causing a rapid depressurization of the cabin of the Boeing 737. One passenger was partially sucked out the window and unfortunately did not survive the flight. The captain and first officer safely landed the airplane in Philadelphia.

I immediately noticed the three folks using the oxygen masks in the front of the photo were wearing the masks wrong. I also wondered, who was time to take photos when an airplane is in an emergency descent with a hole in the side of the fuselage?

It’s very important to pay attention to any safety demonstrations or information on every flight. I don’t care if you’ve flown the same route on the same kind of airplane every week for the past decade. The flight attendants are taking the time to educate every passenger on how the safety equipment of that particular airplane works and where to go and/or how to potentially survive an emergency. You may be the seasoned traveler, but the people around you may have no idea on what to do. You might need to help someone. Pay attention, every single time.

I am a private pilot. I fly airplanes. Every time I take a passenger up I review the safety features of the airplane I am flying. Even when I’m flying a flight instructor, I ask them if they have any questions about the the operation of the safety equipment in the airplane. I’ve watched airline pilots flying in the back of commercial flights. They pay attention to the safety briefings.

You need to as well.

I’m still a little surprised that people were taking photos while the airplane was in the middle of an emergency. The cynical side of me wondered if someone saw a cash opportunity by selling the photo to the media. I hope that wasn’t the reason for taking this photo. But I’m still really stunned the three people shown using their masks were using them wrong. You can even see the picture on the bag under their nose that demonstrates how to use the mask. I’m sure it was covered at the beginning of the flight.

Kudos to the captain, first officer and rest of the crew for doing their job, doing it well and bringing the flight to a safe conclusion. RIP to the passenger that lost her life when pieces of the engine came through the airplane.

Please, pay attention to the safety instructions, every time you fly.

Jeep.

I was making a right on red turn on the way to the airport this morning. The intersection was adjacent to an expressway ramp, so I pulled out slightly to see around the guiderail and stopped to make sure traffic was clear.

That’s when I felt a big “bam” and my Jeep was rammed from the rear by a white mini-van.

I pulled to the side of the road, saw that the corner of the Jeep was messed up and walked to the van. The first question out of my mouth was, “is everyone OK?”

Everyone was OK.

We exchanged contact and insurance information. The man driving the van apologized. I found the license plate that had been ripped off the rear quarter panel and wedged it between the high-mount brake light and the spare tire. I took pictures of everything and actually shook hands with the driver that hit my beloved Jeep.

I then continued my journey to the airport, took a few minutes to calm down, contacted Earl (who handled the stuff with the insurance company) and had a great flight today.

Brawling.

Nothing embraces both the spirit of the Thanksgiving Holiday and the celebration of the birth of Jesus like beating the crap out of fellow consumers during a festive holiday shopping experience. Onward Christian Soldiers. There are deals to be had.

From the Washington Examiner.

Black Friday fight in Alabama causes mall to close early
by Steven Nelson | Nov 24, 2017, 10:26 AM

A group of fist-flinging young women forced an Alabama mall to close earlier than expected Thursday night.

The Riverchase Galleria near Birmingham planned to remain open until midnight ahead of the popular Black Friday shopping day.

But a fight involving at least two women forced the mall to close early at 11:20 p.m., Al.com reports.

Footage shared on social media shows pairs of jeans on the ground and a table flipping over as police move to detain the women. A widely shared video doesn’t show what started the fight, but shows its resolution.

The video shows one police officer grab an uncooperative woman in an attempt to detain her while two other women remain seated, watched over by police and a security guard.

“Go to jail!” a male voice says in the video, as many shoppers watch the altercation’s aftermath.

WBRC-TV reporter Clare Huddleston reported on Twitter that the incident occurred at the entrance of the Buckle clothing retailer.

Huddleston reported hours after the encounter that local police told her nobody was arrested for the fight.

Police “say this fight was personal between two females. Had nothing to do with Black Friday sales,” Huddleston reported. “Thankfully no injuries. No arrests made.”

1 Comment

Slam.

Our local Mariano’s (supermarket) has a grand piano near the checkout lanes. When I first heard the piano music on our way into the store, I assumed it was some automated thing plunking out the holiday music the weekend before Thanksgiving, which in itself is an irksome thing because the hordes of people at Mariano’s at the time were clearly there purchasing food for their upcoming Thanksgiving Feast, not items for the frenetic exercise we call “The Christmas Holiday”.

I tuned out the piano.

As Earl and I made our way to register six, I noticed that the grand piano actually had an elderly gentleman installed on the bench and while he appeared to be three months away from becoming a Disney Animatronic Amusement, he was actually playing the piano and had apparently been hired to do so by the fine folks at Mariano’s. By the way, Mariano’s is nice but it ain’t Wegmans. Just sayin’.

So as we are standing there in line at register six, the guy is playing lively Christmas tunes on this grand piano, while I’m staring at our impending Thanksgiving dinner and hauling it out of the cart and up onto the conveyor belt. I’m not a fan of Christmas music to begin with but it makes me especially surly before the Thanksgiving holiday. Honestly, early Christmas music is a constant reminder that the joyous time of the year is now force fed to the masses through ads, sales, and constant reminders that you are a bad Christian if you don’t abandon your family at 6:00 PM on Thanksgiving to head out to the mall to buy lots and lots of idiotic things for your loved ones.

As we waited our turn for our impending Thanksgiving dinner to be whipped across laser beams and into bags, the elderly Billy Joel then crossed a line, a very deep line in the white sand, because we don’t have snow yet. He started playing “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music”.

I nearly leaped over registers six through ten and slammed the grand piano cover on his bony little fingers. “My Favorite Things” Is. Not. A. Christmas. Song. Yes, it has been performed as a holiday treasure (not buried, but it should be) for the past couple of decades because it talks about woolen mittens and brown paper packages. Yes, Barbra Streisand croaked it out on a holiday album. Yes, Julie Andrews sang it once with a Christmas Tree in the background on a kinescope black and white variety show in the early 1960s. But the fact of the matter is, everyone knows the song from the movie version of “The Sound of Music” and it’s used to calm a bunch a sea urchins down during a thunderstorm, which is wild in itself because I doubt that thunderstorm was the first thunderstorm to pass through Austria in the 1940s.

It irks me enough to make quote the Reverend Mother, “What is it, you cuntface”.

Do people really enjoy listening to holiday music before its time? I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less, after all, the National Anthem that we are all so worked up about lately is actually a drinking song called “To Anacreon In Heaven”. Said song is about consuming alcohol and sex. I’ve seen brides and grooms slow dance to Whitney Houston warbling out “I Will Always Love You”, a song about ending a relationship. “Born In The U.S.A.” is about the Vietnam War.

A song about calming down during a thunderstorm repurposed to be about the birth of Jesus? Why not.

Climate Change.

Earl and I were enjoying dinner at 6:00 p.m. Central Time. The curtains were drawn and we had a beautiful view onto our balcony and the cityscape it reveals. Here it is mid-November and we were also seeing flashes of lightning. Not unheard of but not very common for this part of the country in the middle of November.

I’ve been paying close attention to the weather for the past 24 hours in preparation for a flight I have planned for Sunday afternoon. Even the aviation forecasts are describing our weather as a “roller coaster” this weekend, with flashes of autumn and winter taking turns in the same day.

All of this has been leading me to think about Climate Change. Even though the apparent position of the United States is that Climate Change doesn’t really exist, I can’t help but notice the weather feel different than it did when I was a kid. A little less predictable. A little more like a roller coaster. As I chug through the last year of my 40s, I do think about the fact that the really bad stuff probably won’t happen until I move onto the next phase of my eternal journey. I worry about my young nieces and nephews though. What are they going to have to deal with when they’re my age? What will the planet be like? How much of the Continental United States will be under water?

It would be easy for me to think, “eh, this isn’t my problem, I’ll be gone”, but that’s not part of responsible thinking, now is it. We should work hard, give more than we take and do what we can to make the world a better place than how we found it. As “the greatest country on Earth” moves farther and farther away from that goal, tending to one’s selfishness seems to be the goal of the day, I can’t help but wonder what permanent damage we are doing to life on Earth with our collective irresponsible choices.

I hope someday we all smarten up a little bit and start seeing the Big Picture again. It would be a nice change of pace.

Why.

Years ago I was walking into Danbury Fair Mall. Several people were making their way through one of the entrances and a man held the door for the line of six or so people that walked through. I said “thank you” as I passed through, but I had a frog in my throat and it just sounded like a croak. Getting oriented to the mall, the man ran up to those of us in the process of dispersing into our own directions and yelled, “You’re suppose to say thank you! You’re welcome!”. His grandiose gesture brought the gaze of others upon us and we were to feel sufficiently shunned.

This had me wondering, was the man holding the door open to be polite to those of us passing through the entranceway? Was he holding the door open to feel better about himself? Did he need to feel superior in some way? I couldn’t help but think that his gesture was not a gesture of kindness but an gesture of superiority.

I don’t think I’ve ever stopped asking “why”. As a kid I’m sure I was always asking my mom and dad crazy questions like, “why do the power lines always travel in pairs” or “why do they open register 2 before opening register 1” or “why is the first exit in Ohio exit 241?”. I’m always searching for a reason or a justification or a cause for every and anything in the world. Knowing the impetus behind an action or a situation completes my thoughts on it. It isn’t necessarily closure but there’s logic and that brings me comfort. My dad died because he didn’t keep his airplane airborne at a low altitude. There is a second stop sign on the wrong side of the street at many intersections in Chicago because the signs are easily hidden by parked cars. I was the only one of my generation with red hair because the Irish genes on both side of the family met under the right circumstances at the right time to kick off the ginger gene.

When something happens or somebody does something without an apparent logical reason I can be bothered by it. I think that’s one of the reasons why I struggle with some friends and members of my family still being Trump supporters. There is rarely any logic behind anything the Trump administration does. There’s no rationality behind exclaiming Trump is “The People’s President” when the man has never worked a day in life, dodged the draft, openly admitted that he’d sleep with his daughter if they weren’t related, has toilets, heck, complete rooms gilded in gold, has bankrupted several companies, has his own fleet of jets, had his wife imported from the old country and signs legislation that will bring more financial burden to the middle class. In what world is any of that indicative of “a man of the people”.

I can’t figure out why this country is gripped in such hysterics, angst, vengeance, and competitiveness.

If we set aside our egos, stop the grandstanding and take a step back and look at the world around us (instead of focusing on our small speck of an existence we’ve built), it’s really easy to see that we are way off kilter. The only reason I can find for the craziness is 9/11 and the ensuing non-stop wars afterward. There’s lot of chest beating about how we beat the terrorists and we are doing great things in the world, but it only takes a quick glance at the news or social media or the communities around us to see that we haven’t won anything. Watch a rerun of any television show from before 2001 and see how much different we were. Brighter colors. Brighter smiles. Brighter times.

With the constant turmoil of 2017 I have not been able to rationalize any of it, and it’s taking a toll on my psyche. Moving to Chicago has helped a bit; the people here are friendlier, there’s more to do and the skies are brighter more often than they were in Central New York, but it didn’t resolve the logic I’m searching for.

And for a person that needs some sort of resolution or logic or a complete circle of thought to any given situation, I’m ready for these times to end and for us to start acting rationally again.