Douglas.

Tonight Earl and I watched Hannah Gadsby’s latest Netflix special. It is called “Douglas”.

We both found it very funny and very enjoyable. I love the way Hannah communicates with her audience. I get her. I get her humour. There’s a whole spectrum of comedy out there and Hannah sits right in a place I can identify with. It’s a wavelength thing.

Is “identify with” correct syntax? I think with is a preposition and if you’re writing informally ending a sentence with a preposition is completely acceptable. I tend to write informally. Even when I put a “u” in humour.

I do recommend “Douglas”.

Diversity.

Graphic from a random Google search.

I didn’t know Juneteenth was a thing until well into my adulthood. I don’t know the exact date I became aware of Juneteenth but I do remember thinking it was odd that we didn’t learn about this sort of thing when I was in school. It seems rather important. I know back in elementary school it was extremely important for me to know the history of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers back when dates were in the B.C. range, Marie Antionette did something, and of course George Washington was the first president. Oh! New York was one of the original 13 states. Modern-ish history was always raced through late in the year: there was one World War, then another, then a couple of other wars, and Jane Fonda did something, but now it’s time for your final exam. That’s pretty much how all my civics classes went. My school had an accelerated Social Studies program for sophomores and juniors; college bound students tended to skip World History I to take World History II and American Studies I as a sophomore and American Studies II and Ethics as a junior. I remember Regents students took American Studies while non-Regents students took American History. I don’t know why there was a delineation or what the difference in curriculum was. Maybe they learned about Juneteenth in American History. The accelerated program moved the New York State Regents Exam to January of my junior year, which helped balance exam loads in June, I guess. We didn’t even talk about Juneteenth in Ethics, even as we sat with our desks in circle and discussed the merits of various things in society. Gays? Some would counter not equal. Juneteenth? Never came up.

Over the years I’ve quipped that I came from a town that had no racial diversity. None. We didn’t even have a Chinese or Mexican restaurant until well after I graduated in 1986. Today I got to wondering if I was just not remembering things correctly so I went through all of my yearbooks, grade 8 to my senior year. Among all the smiling faces of classmates of various teenage years, there was one non-white face amongst the smiles two years behind me. Her name is Tammy and I vividly remember her with pleasant memories. She doesn’t appear after her eighth grade photo; I don’t know where she went to. She lived down the road from us in town with her mother, her older brother, and younger sister. I remember kids being mean to Tammy and in my obnoxiously present ignorance I could never figure out why they were being mean. She was nice, had a great laugh, but she could be as tough as nails when she needed to be. I liked that about her.

So out of approximately 1200 students, aside from the occasional AFS Exchange Students that would drop in once in a while, we had three non-white members of the student body. That’s 0.0025% of the student population.

Small wonder I don’t remember them discussing Juneteenth in what I sometimes jokingly call “snowy Alabama”.

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What The Font.

Let’s face it, in technology years I’m very old. I’ve been online in some way since early 1986, when I used my Commodore 64 and a 300 BPS modem to connect to the online service GEnie. To this day I’m still not the biggest fan of point-and-click or touchscreens, especially when it comes to everyday tasks like managing email or scheduling meetings or conversing online. If there is a command-line interface available I’m going to try to use it (unless there’s media involved). Hence, one of the reasons why my love affair with Linux never ends, though I do use other systems all the time. With Linux I can just get back to a classic interface and go with it.

It’s probably because of my weird tendency to focus and fixate, but the use of certain fonts in applications can be a distraction or an inspiration. When looking at columns of numbers I want the font to be simple, consistent, and I feel best when it has a “classic” look to it. I detest “Courier New” found in Windows but I *love* “Courier” found elsewhere.

When working with databases at work I use a variety of Database Management programs but I always set the default font to one that I purchased, and that’s called “Amateur Typewriter“.

I like Amateur Typewriter because it strongly resembles a font found on sales receipts printed by NCR cash registers in the late 1970s (the first scanning cash register, the NCR 255 being one of them).

Amateur Typewriter is not identical to NCR’s typeface on those old impact printers but it’s pretty darn close. And this gives me a geeky-comfortable feel during the workday, which in turn makes me very productive.

Sometimes it’s the little things that can make all the difference in the world.

Neighborhood Support.

Chicago’s Boystown is about 12 blocks away from our home. I haven’t been down there much since COVID-19 made its debut. The couple of times I’ve passed through it was a little depressing. I’m sure things are picking up as quarantine practices are relaxed a bit. I’m not ready to risk that sort of mass public contact yet.

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Corporations are quick to show their support with Pride colors flying here in the 21st century, and while I have a little bit of cynicism around their displays overall I feel like it helps with the cause.

What I really enjoy is when neighbors display Pride colors. One block in our neighborhood is decked out with Pride colored ribbons, with an extra Black Lives Matter ribbon on top.

It’s good to know we live in such a supportive area. I hope we can be a beacon of hope for the rest of the country.

Masked.

There’s still a ruckus from folks about wearing a mass while you’re out and about in public. I don’t really have an issue with it; wearing a mask isn’t a difficult thing to do, it can’t make a situation any worse, and I don’t feel like my freedom is being taken away when I wear a mask.

I don’t understand the whole “freedom taken away” thing. Freedom isn’t a pie. There isn’t a finite amount of freedom. If a person with a different skin color is treated as humanely as I am treated it’s not like we’re going to run out of humanity. If I decided to become a nudist I wouldn’t expect people to just stand around while I browsed an all-you-can-eat salad bar with my junk swinging around in front of me. No shoes, no shirt, no service. We now add “no mask”. It’s not difficult. People need to calm down.

Perhaps folks need to do something other than wrapping a sock around their nose. My Starfleet mask was less than $20, it will last a very long time, and it does the job of its intent quite well. It’s comfortable to wear and I feel good in it. I feel good in it because it looks good but more important I’m doing a good thing by wearing it. And that’s protecting others from the off chance that I have contracted COVID-19.

The CTA has improved their graphics explaining COVID-19 precautions-related expectations of passengers. I was encouraged to see one of the masked cartoons wearing a Gay Pride themed mask. I like the subtlety. I’m not offended by the bilingual messages, but then again, I grew up near the Canadian border. Some signs north of us had EXIT/SORTIE along the Interstate. No one was offended.

Many states are starting to see record numbers of new cases of Coronavirus. Trump’s solution is to stop testing for Coronavirus.

I’m thinking of turning off my alarm clock so every day is a weekend.

There Is Hope.

I totally didn’t see this coming: “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the 1964 Civil Rights Act barring sex discrimination in the workplace protects LGBTQ employees from being fired because of their sexual orientation”.

The vote was 6-3.

There is hope for 2020. Click the screen cap for the link to the NPR coverage.

Courtesy of NPR.

Local.

We are trying hard to support local businesses in the neighborhood. While many of the restaurants and other businesses have done their best to weather the quarantines and other challenges associated with COVID-19, some places have been forced to shut down. Jeri’s Grill had been open for over 57 years when they made the decision to close; the big note in the window indicates it’s solely due to lockdown related economics.

While I fully support the quarantines and associates social distancing and mask wearing measures, it is a little disheartening to see legacy businesses such as Jeri’s affected in this way.

The Secret Lives Of Waldo Kitty.

In 1975, Saturday morning cartoons featured a partially live action show from Filmation called “The Secret Lives Of Waldo Kitty”. The star of the show, Waldo, is shown in his live action form in the photo above.

Based on “The Secret Lives of Walter Mitty”, Waldo Kitty delighted my sister and me as we watched it on our black and white television set in our mobile home sitting in the middle of a cattle pasture.

Shortly after the premiere of this show we adopted a kitten and promptly named him Waldo, as he very much resembled the live action star of his namesake television show. Waldo was a part of the family, and treated as the “king cat” amongst the number of cats to come and go in our household, for many years. I believe Waldo moved on to his great reward in 1989.

He was a big cat. We didn’t get him fixed until we was six or so years old, so he had this nifty bass-voice “meow” when he decided to speak. A couple of times he disappeared for a week or two at a time. Months later there’d be kittens all over the place from the ladies that swooned over Waldo and he’d feel smug. After he was fixed his voice stayed low and he napped a lot. He’s the only cat that would be allowed to stay inside at night; the others would sleep in the garage. Dad would leave the garage door open a small gap so the cats could get in from the Great Lakes snowbelt we lived in.

Waldo took a strong liking to my sister and while he’d lay around with me, if my sister was in the room he’d relocate himself near her. I was fine with that. I laid claim to one of the cats in his harem, namely a long haired black cat we called Cinders, and their offspring “Half Pint” who had the markings of both Waldo and Cinders. Looking back they probably weren’t related but they looked the part so we went with it.

Cinders liked to chew on the strings of Christmas lights I put all over the house and greenery at the appropriate time of year. She actually chewed through the wires on more than one occasion. I remember her shorting out a brand new string of 35 lights purchased at the Rite Aid for $1.99. She had a kitten we named Leo until Leo had kittens and then she became Leona. I mistakenly ran over her tail with the car and it hung limp for a few weeks and then it just fell off. She survived just fine with just a stump of a tail and the vet didn’t find anything wrong after it literally fell off her body.

Truman reminds me of Waldo in attitude. Maybe it’s a ginger cat sort of thing. He enjoys my company on his terms and he’s always grateful for food and treats, but sometimes he wants to relax in close proximity, not near me.

I guess all us gingers are alike.

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ASMR.

I don’t get ASMR. If you’re not familiar with ASMR, it stands for Autonomous sensory meridian response. You can read more here.

An illustration of the route of ASMR’s tingling sensation[1]

ASMR videos are all over YouTube. People basically whisper a regular type of activity in a certain way to evoke these tingling sensations for the listener. The enhanced focus on background and activity noises, coupled with the whispering, is suppose to make the listener feel good.

I’ve tried it a few times and I have felt no such response. If anything, I’ve found it irritating.

If other folks find it soothing and exciting and that it evokes tingling sensations I say have at it. In 2020 we need all the help we can get. I stumbled upon an ASMR video where a man was whispering his way through making a cake but he had a parrot or some other exotic bird making wild screeching noises in the background. I don’t think it’s suppose to work this way.

What does give me these tingling sensations I read about around ASMR is actually watching someone get a head massage. I’ve watched a few barbershop videos where a man is shaved by a barber with a straight razor and the barber massages the customer’s head at the end of the video. That gives me a tingling sensation in my head and I have no idea why. I think it’s because I’ve experienced the same sort of thing once in a while over the years and my brain is like, “hey yeah, that’s awesome!”. With COVID-19 being all the rage I don’t think I’m going to be in the situation to get a head massage after a barbershop shave anytime soon.

So I don’t get ASMR but I do get head massages for the tingles. Whatever floats your boat, right?

Groovy Distraction.

My husband and I are still working our way through “The Mothers In Law” on Amazon Prime. It’s a distraction from the 21st century and all its woes. We’re still making our way through the first season. The quality of the episodes is still quite uneven but it’s improving as we make our way through the trials and tribulations of the Buells and the Hubbards.

It’s interesting to see how hard Desi Arnaz, as Executive Producer and often Director, tried really hard to recreate the showmanship of “I Love Lucy” with this cast, albeit with a late 1960s twist. The writers were all from “I Love Lucy” and while one is working their way through an episode it’s easy to see that while the premise foundation is different, the shenanigans and antics of Eve and Kaye are very Lucy and Ethel. I think the only reason I’m watching the show is to watch Kaye Ballard do her thing in a very large way. There’s some improvisation going on and one of these days I’m going to start calling my husband “Cutes”.

Speaking of Kaye’s husband; while we’re still in the first season he’s being played by Roger C. Carmel.

I can’t help but notice that Roger is a very cute 1960s version of a gay bear, with his handlebar mustache and his hairy chest often showing itself under the collar of his shirt. As I understand it, Roger was part of the underground gays of Hollywood back in the day. He was released from the show before the second season, some say due to contract disputes, other say due to recreational drug use and related activities. He was replaced by Richard Deacon, who apparently was also part of the undergrounds gays of Hollywood. Oh, I do enjoy Roger’s accent as well. I’m so odd.

Much to the chagrin of my husband we’ll continue working our way through “The Mothers In Law”. Desi Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr. made an appearance in an episode or two for us earlier this week. I’m sure they’ll be back again before we’re done with this run.

And can I just say I love the fact that Amazon Prime is bringing back all of these old shows that can’t be found anywhere else. The prints these digital streams were mastered off of are a little rough around the edges but mostly cleaned up decently. I’m happy this little slice of nostalgia is able to live on.