Wednesday, December 19, 2018

My Daily Quarrel with Life: Wednesday, December 19, 2018: Intelligencer

Intelligencer: A great site for news updates. Check it out.

Just one great example: Trump's 7 Mutually Exclusive Arguments For His Own Innocence.

He didn't even know about the payments to Stormy Daniels, but he directed those payments believing they were perfectly legal, and Michael Cohen was just a low-level PR guy that Trump never interacted with, even though there's a tape showing Trump was in the room with Cohen and the yellow-rag magazine arranging those payments to Stormy Daniels.

And so on. Read the article.

Or don't read it, if you're sick of all these lies and all this posturing.

I myself, I keep reading these things, and I keep watching MSNBC (even Rachel Maddow, at times, and for a maximum of five minutes at a time, even though she continues to act like she thinks her viewers are morons who need to hear each of her points a minimum of three times), because I think it's important to know what's going on. Because when the apocalyptic fall of the American presidency comes, sometime next year, I want to be ready for it.

Another interesting thing you can learn from checking the Intelligencer blog every once in awhile: what time the so-called president shows up for work each day, which they figure out by noting what time a U.S. Marine is stationed outside the West Wing doors.

(On Friday, the 14th, when I wrote this, the so-called president showed up for work just before noon. Because, you know, presidential time, i.e., watching Fox News, is more important than pretending to be an actual president. Oh, wait, maybe the less time he spends in the West Wing, the better? Maybe so? Maybe it's like when Congress is on recess? Less damage?)

Monday, December 17, 2018

My Daily Quarrel with Life: Monday, December 17: Leo McGarry

Who? That's what I thought, as I read more stories about the so-called president's so-called search for a new chief of staff, after he has cycled through and ruined the careers of his previous chiefs of staff (not "chief of staffs," you oval office tweeter).

One article mentioned the name Leo McGarry as a model chief of staff. Hmmm, that sounded familiar, although I didn't remember an actual chief of staff by that name, so I Googled "Leo McGarry":

This is a FICTITIOUS CHARACTER on a TV SERIES. So that's why the name sounded so familiar. But this FICTITIOUS CHARACTER has his own Wikipedia page! Check it out.

I feel like I'm living in some Twilight Zone, where a FICTITIOUS CHARACTER has a whole biography and info about his career, with comments from real-life chiefs of staff, such as this, from Leon Panetta: "Any administration that would have Leo McGarry as chief of staff would be very, very fortunate." I totally agree. Because, Hello, Leon Panetta and Wikipedia, he is a FICTITIOUS CHARACTER.

Here is the character, played by John Spencer, in "The West Wing."

Leo McGarry.jpg

Sunday, December 16, 2018

"New Religions" Essay Is "Twaddle"

I just loved reading this article, and I hope you will, too. 

As I read the article "America's New Religions" when it first appeared online, I kept thinking, What is wrong with this guy? Does he even know what the word "religion" means? Does he know anything about religion or philosophy? Did he just have a bad dream? Something he ate the night before? What? 

I didn't think more about it, though, partly b/c I'm not a philosopher and I'm intimidated by people who write stuff like that. 

But someone else has done it, and they have thoroughly roasted the author. And so elegantly! "Twaddle," indeed!

Just one quote from the piece by Mike Pesca: "The essay combines sophistry with circular reading to achieve as pure an expression of pseudo-intellectualism as you will ever read."

Go ahead, read the whole thing, and enjoy! You're welcome!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Chief of Staff

Made my day---I laughed out loud---because of all the amazed and appalled reactions to the idea that Jared Kushner wants to be his father-in-law's (the non-elected president) chief of staff, this is the best:

Jared blew into a paper bag, his skin was slick with sweat, his eyes rolled back into his head.
Robert Mueller put an arm around his neck.
"You can do this, son. You've been wearing a wire for 6 months, its just a few months more."
"But chief of staff? Chief of staff?"

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Eye Surgery Was a Huge Success

I wrote Tuesday night about the eye surgery---a vitrectomy---Jason was to have on Wednesday morning. Good news: The surgery was completely successful, with an amazingly fast recovery, and Jason has even posted on Facebook a photo of his eye. So check that out if you want to; I won't be posting anything like that here!

My Daily Quarrel with Life: Thursday and Friday: Deadlines

This is what I've been working on this week, and will be working on through the rest of this week, some work I need to submit before some deadlines.

But I don't hate deadlines---in fact, I'm guessing I would get very little done without them.

And, looking for a non-copyrighted image to illustrate this post, I realized I need to make my own image. And Someday*** I will come up with an image for "deadline." However, since I am on deadline for these other projects, I won't do it right now. But I *AM* going to post here a link to this blog post,  "How to excel despite deadline stress," which has a great illustration.

Panic Meter

*** I capitalized "Someday" because it's like it's a regular day of the week for me, like Sunday, Monday, and so on. Maybe I could also call it "Everyday." Or "Deadlineday."

Monday, December 10, 2018

My Daily Quarrel with Life: Monday, 10 Dec 2018

So, another website I think I shouldn't be reading, but that doesn't stop me: New York Magazine.

And here's just one great example of the joy I get from NYMag: the story of Ariana Grande's music video about her breakup with What's-His-Face from SNL, among other things.

Yep, I know oh so well what a low-class person that makes me.

(And, hello, the fact that I even know who Ariana Grande is! And What's-His-Face from SNL!)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

What I was doing over the past week

(....between last Saturday, Dec. 1, when I spent most of the day in final rehearsal for and then the performance of a scene from "The Glass Menagerie," and when we got back home Thursday evening)---just photos, for now:

My Weekend Joy of Life, Sunday, December 9, 2018

What do you do when you're feeling down? When you know you have no "reason" to be feeling bad, but you feel bad anyway? When you just want to crawl into bed (or, as Amanda says in "The Glass Menagerie," "just want to find a hole somewhere and crawl into it and stay there for the rest of my entire life")?

I felt that way yesterday, and then the latest issues of the church magazines arrived, and I sat down to glance through The Ensign. I was filled with peace and joy as I read the articles there. I don't even know where to start with examples, so I'll just include here the link to the whole issue and hope that you Dear Readers will follow this link, to find that joy and peace for yourselves.

Oh, here's one, because Jeff and I are writing a book about science and religion. In the course of contemplating our own work and the writings of many scientists, from Darwin back to Aristotle and forward to the present, we've tried to explain (to ourselves, as well as to readers) what kinds of questions can be answered by science and what kinds of questions can be answered by religion. So, here's a great article in this Ensign about how an Egyptologist figures out what questions can be answered by historical research and what questions can be answered through revelation.

I love the illustrations that come with this article, with the priests getting ready to kill Abraham, and the surgeon evaluating the author's painful knee. So, if you don't follow the link, please do at least enjoy these pictures, and this quote from the article:

In my years of research, I have found academically satisfactory answers to most questions that have arisen surrounding the book of Abraham. Carefully examining assumptions and pursuing knowledge—while placing a premium on revelation as the most trusted source of truth—have helped me find answers to those things I have carefully and painstakingly investigated. I still have a few questions about the book of Abraham for which I have not yet found an academically satisfying answer, based on the current state of Egyptology. But I am not concerned about this. I remember what God told Oliver Cowdery: “Behold, I have manifested unto you, by my Spirit in many instances, that the things which you have written [or, in my case, read] are true; wherefore you know that they are true” (D&C 18:2; emphasis added).      I know, through the same kind of revelation Oliver Cowdery experienced, that the book of Abraham is inspired. I trust that sooner or later the academic process will catch up, and I will find satisfactory answers to all my questions. I have seen this happen numerous times throughout my life and have full confidence that it will happen again in the future. I can expect this not only because of my past experience but also because I trust so fully the revelatory method of learning. I recommend this as a model in everything we do.

Abraham about to be sacrificed on altar

man on hospital bed talking to doctor

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Some Random Thoughts

First, I'm sorry about some of the posts from the last few days that have missing and broken links and weird problems with the background color and the color of the font. I'll try to fix those.

Second, while we were at the coast, I had a lot of time to read, and so, read I did. Then, when we got back, I found a book waiting for me at the library, a book I had placed a hold on.

About this book: The Captain's Daughter, by Jennifer Delamere: when I saw it, I wondered why on earth I would have placed a hold on this book b/c it looks like some crappy romance novel set in the 19th century, and I don't generally read these books. But I decided I must have had some reason ---I usually do! --- so I have wasted a few hours skimming through this book, and, much as I hate to be critical of the work of writers who really do work hard and hate to put myself in the position of being a critic, because as we know critics do work that is much easier than that of writers --- wow, this sentence is waaaayy too long --- I'll just get to the point: I still don't know why I placed a hold on this book and then wasted so much time trying to figure out why I got it. It is a waste of time.

Third, I was going to write more, but I won't do it now, because I've been thinking about my habit of borrowing and buying books when I don't even know if they're going to be worth reading. At least I borrowed this from the library, instead of paying money for it! I just don't get it.

So, as I noted, more, later....

Oh, one more thing: While I've been waiting for files to be uploaded and so on, I've been skimming through the transcript of James Comey's testimony before two House committees, yesterday, and here's what I'm wondering about that:

What is wrong with Trey Gowdy and the other Republican members of those committees? What is wrong with them? And what do they think they are accomplishing by their idiotic questions? Can anyone tell me the answers to these questions? Because I'd really like to know.

What I was doing a week ago....

....and for the two months before (memorizing, rehearsing, blocking, memorizing, rehearsing, blocking, and so on, you get the idea), to prepare for doing this:

Thanks to Jason for supporting me through all that, and then attending the presentation, and even taking those videos and some stills!

Friday, December 7, 2018

My Daily Quarrel with Life: Friday, 07 Dec 2018

What long-ago good deed did Michael Cohen perform for Donald Trump, which caused DT to hire him (and to stand by him until the poor man finally realized he'd been duped??

For your reading pleasure, here's the answer. Or, better said, a bunch of really good guesses.

One of the best:
Roy Cohn, Donald Trump’s former mentor and friend, called Donald Trump to ask him to his bedside when he was dying. Michael Cohen screened the call so Donald Trump would not have to answer.
Please read all the down down to the comments, which are almost as funny as the original.

Image result for michael cohen
(CNN photo)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

My Daily Quarrel with Life: Thursday, 06 Dec 2018

Shia LaBeof: Elastic Heart

(Sorry, Laura, on your birthday, yet. But I'll make it up to you....)

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

My Daily Quarrel with Life: Wednesday, 05 Dec 2018

Why oh why do I like such websites as this one? --- Wait, conservative friends and family members, don't follow that link!

There's nothing wrong with it. It's just not, let me think of the expression, very high brow.

So I shouldn't be reading articles with titles like:

Megan Fox Confirms She Hooked Up With Shia LaBeouf: 'I Love Him'

(Because I don't even know who Megan Fox is, though I've heard of Shia LaBeouf. And, eeeeww, why would anyone want to know about her hook-up with him?) (See tomorrow's post for more about Shia LaBeouf.)

And here's one:

The Cardi B and Nicki Minaj Beef Is Back and Beefier Than Ever

(Because I barely know who these people are, from the magazines whose covers I read voraciously in every grocery-checkout-line I'm ever in, I don't care about their beef. Do you hear that, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj? I don't care about your beef!

And I don't even care about why some Jezebel writer thinks men should be banned from writing about sex---for pete's sake, I agree with her, but why would I care about why she agrees with me?

Ban Men... From Writing About Sex

And so on, and so forth.

I'll tell you why I like this website, because it's entertaining, sometimes even funny, and it frees me from the non-news I often see on other, "newsier," websites.

Plus, every once in a while, it has a great story, like this one:

Payless Opens Fake Luxury Store, Tricks Influencers Into Paying Designer Prices for Its Shoes

("Palessi," indeed!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

My Daily Quarrel with Life: Tuesday, 04 Dec 2018

Maybe by the time this post appears, it will be a moot point, but I'm going to write it anyway:

What's wrong with Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona)? You would think that he would have grown a spine by now, having quit because he knew he couldn't win re-election, but he's still a waffler.

Check out this article from Politico: Senate Republicans Unload on Flake.

The main point I want you to see is this bit, from the caption to the photo at the top, and also from about halfway through the article:

If he stands firm, Sen. Jeff Flake could unravel months of work from Senate Republicans and the Trump White House. 

"If he stands firm"?????? Oh, please, Jeff Flake, stand firm, just this once! Please! Please? Please! You don't care any more about the bullies on the Republican Right and Trump TV calling you mean names, do you? Just stand firm!

So, here's the deal: If Flake does stand firm to his promise not to let a vote proceed on various crappy right-wing judges the Republican so-called leadership wants to confirm during this lame-duck session, then those so-called leaders, maybe, no, not likely, but maybe, will let a vote go to the Senate floor offering protection for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's work probing the Trump team's series of lies and crimes and cover-ups....


Image result for jeff flake
Flake's Wikipedia photo

Monday, December 3, 2018

My Daily Quarrel with Life: Monday, 03 Dec 2018

Robo-calls---what the heck is wrong with these people who make unwanted calls, and think that people like you and me will want to talk to them about whatever they're trying to sell us (or whatever retirement benefits they're trying to rip off of us, or what kind of scam they're willing to perform on some government benefits)?

So, I got one of these calls just the other day, and this company (a local company which I would not trust as far as I could through their lightest-weight employee) called me. The doofus forgot to turn off the Caller ID, so I was able to call back, and, mirabile dictu, I was able to call his number right back, and, boy, did I start WWIII on him.

In the original call---where he dialed my number and put on a sweet young woman's voice saying she would love to help me and/or my family member who, as they had just discovered is suffering from some kind of chronic pain issues---did not let me talk, other than to tell them my age (not gonna do it!) and if I or any family member is on Medicare (why would any sane person tell some robo-call voice this information?).

When I said "No" to both questions---only a "Yes" or "No" answer was acceptable---the robo-voice said thanks and hung up.

So I called back and yelled at the guy for several minutes. Did he know he was violating the federal HIPAA law and violating my personal privacy?

He said, "Sorry, I'm in the middle of a conference call, so I can't talk to you right now."

I said, "Wait a minute! You're in the middle of a conference call, and YOU don't want to talk to ME, because you think I'm never too busy to take your robo-calls? Oh, no, buddy, you're going to listen to this. And maybe put it on speaker phone, so the rest of your crew can hear it, too."

So he listened. (Didn't put it on speaker phone. But listened.)

At the end of my very long rant, I insisted that he write down the phone number he had called, adding that he should be happy that I was stopping for a moment to give him a chance to say that he would do that, unlike the way his original robo-call had not given me a chance to talk, and he listened, and, I hope, wrote down the phone number.

Here's the deal: This company has precisely no care whatsoever for the health concerns of me or any member of my family. They just want us to invest with them, so that they can screw over the federal government by controlling whatever Medicare benefits they think I have.

And here's the other deal: The health records and personal information of some member(s) of my family have been compromised, either by some malfeasance of some medical clinic that some member(s) of my family has/have visited, or by illegal electronic surveillance of phone calls and email messages of some member(s) of my family.

(Note: I did paste here a photo of this company's local office building, but removed it, realizing that while they are willing to call people like me, using illegally obtained data to try to scam us out of our money, they would not be willing for anyone to realize who they are. However, if any of my Dear Readers would like to know what company I'm talking about, just ask me, privately. Or be aware of what is happening in the little town where I currently live.) (Timbuktu?)

And you'll be able to figure it out.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

My Weekend Joy of Life: Sunday, December 2, 2018

Scrub jays, among other birds, like to rub themselves with ants.
Scrub jays, among other birds, like to rub themselves with ants. 442683/PUBLIC DOMAIN

Birds Rub Ants---Huh?

Another great science story, or, as I've written previously, more science stuff:

It turns out that some birds love to rub themselves with ant bodies; and some birds even roll around on top of ants' nests.

From Atlas Obscura, a web site I think everyone should be checking out every day, this article says that although people have been aware of this behavior for some time, and some researchers have studied it, no one really knows why (and maybe there are a few reasons, and/or different reasons for different birds, and so on).

Saturday, December 1, 2018

My Weekend Joy of Life: Saturday, December 1, 2018

Check it out: Don't you love reading about science stuff?

Here's one I keep returning to, just to remember certain small details and to look at the photos and short videos:

Quartz Obsession: Sand Dollars. Check it out, for a chance to read something not-political and not-ugly but in fact, beautiful and life affirming.

Check out this bit, in particular:
Being lean goes only so far in preventing sand dollars from getting caught up in a current. They also have to be heavy. While older dollars naturally weigh more, freshly minted urchins need supplements to bulk up. Really. As they sift through the sand, they search for minerals comprised of metals like magnetite, which they ingest and store in their gut. The more metal they take in, the heavier they become. And the less likely they are to drift away.
Wait, so does that mean you could use one of those metal detectors to find sand dollars on the beach? Or, maybe a magnet? I'll check this out in the coming week, as I'll be having some serious beach time. 

Image result for sand dollar