All posts by X Teri

Shamway

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While I worked at Cargill, one of my white coworkers approached me with his pitch. He was enthusiastic in his approach. What he didn’t know is that I saw him coming from a mile away and was already calculating how best to both amuse myself and learn something from him in the process. Being poor granted me the ability to avoid spending all my money foolishly; most of mine went for rent, pico de gallo, and an acre of french fries.

I’ve been thinking about some of my shenanigans due to the Showtime show, “On Becoming a God in Central Florida,” starring Kirsten Dunst. It takes a darkly comedic view of MLMs.

I invited my coworker Mitch (not his real name) to come to my residence. At the time I lived with a co-worker from Cargill. He owned a trailer in a park in Johnson. This is the trailer that would later give me the opportunity to say, “A plane crashed on my house.”

Mitch left his car running in the driveway, a common tactic used by converts to the scheme. As I listened, my roommate Ray shook his head in wonderment. He lived for years in California. As a result, his exposure to MLMs was vast. Later, he shared some of the stories of friends who had ruined themselves with such endeavors. I let Mitch do his pitch without being too problematic. It almost killed me. At the end of the first phase of his pitch, he asked me if I was interested. “Yes, but I’m more interested in how this ends for you, in three months or a year because it is going to end. Badly.” Because he’d spent a great deal of time with someone in his upline, he had a pat answer to redirect my point. I then said, “One thing I noticed is that you didn’t identify your company by name at any point. That’s one of the key warning signs for a pitch.” Mitch became nervous. I stood up and shook his hand and told him I wished him the best of luck. “Think of this as a training exercise. I’ll make a list of things that caught my attention.”

Ray stood up and told him, “Your pitch is pretty good, Mitch. I’ve heard a lot of them. But I recommend you quit now and start your own business or do your own thing before you spend a lot of money to make $10.”

Later, I gave Mitch a list of critiques. I made my comedic recommendations alongside my serious ones. He took the list. He stuck with the program for several more months, although after a couple of months, he began to drastically talk about it less. He quit Cargill without notice. Months later, someone told me he lost several thousand dollars buying his merchandise before quitting the MLM.

Over the next few years, I went to several pitches to see how much creativity might be involved. As you would guess, not very much.

Later, as people approached me with new opportunities to own my own company, be my own boss, I varied my responses from amused to indignant to gauge how it affected them. They couldn’t understand that I’d already peeked behind the MLM curtain. I asked them all, “Name one person you know who made the kind of money you claim. I want to talk to them.” No one ever gave me such a name, at least not a reasonable one. “I’ll follow up with you in a year. I hope you strike it rich. I’m rooting for you. And you should feel free to tell me ‘I told you so’ when you do!” No one ever did.

The same was true with timeshares and other similar high-pressure sales. One of the best I ever witnessed was in Mexico during vacation. The presenter was incredibly adept at countering every conceivable question or insight. Discovering that I spoke Spanish, he tried the ‘divide and conquer’ method. I switched to ‘batsh!t crazy’ mode and completely destroyed any means he tried to get back to normal. I ran down the clock and many of the other participants/victims joined me in ruining any chance we’d be stupid enough to buy a timeshare. Despite the free souvenir blankets, ponchos, bottles of tequila, and free meals, I finally got him to admit that each session paid for itself with only ONE person or family signing up. His usual success rate was 1 in 5, much higher than the average. This interaction was one of many that reminded me that when a person argues after the first “No,” you’re being manipulated and it is best to flee by any means necessary.

I learned long ago that you can’t convince a person in the cult of an MLM to listen to reason; they must finish the fatigue and finish line of their own accord, often after weakening countless friendships and connections.

One MLM currently going the rounds had to disclose that less than 2% make more than minimum wage doing it, and very rarely can someone live on the income generated. Most quit after losing more than they ever earned. Having a family member or close friend involved in any MLM is exactly like having a used car salesman living with you.

All of us have experienced the agony of a social media friend getting started in an MLM. The cringe factor is immense. Many of us have learned that it is impossible to tell them they are making a mistake.

MLMs are like religion; those involved want to do all the talking and seldom wish to hear your input.

All of us universally cringe when someone gets snagged by the tendrils of the promise of easy money.

As with some religious views, don’t make the mistake of trying to get people to see reason. They have to discover it for themselves.

Whether it is skincare products, essential oils, nutrition drinks, or clothing, it is never worth it. I am still waiting to get to know one person who has made a living from it. I certainly know a lot of people who have lost their social media friends by abusing their connections with these ‘business opportunities.’

For just an hour a day and $43,543, I’ll teach you how to do the same.

The Never-Ending Yard Project

 

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Using only hand tools, I cut down several trailers of trees, brush, and nonsense the neighbor behind me allowed to encroach. I paid a nice Latinx gentleman I found on social media to haul the mess away. He, among several others, said he’d throw it all over the fence if it was his property. Despite making a living off doing such jobs, he told me he is constantly annoyed by how many people leave it to others to clean up their messes.

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The above two pictures of the back fence ‘before’ actually look better than they should. The condition we received the property was actually much worse. These are after I did a considerable amount of cleaning, cutting, and hauling. That’s a shame, considering none of the mess belonged to me. It’s typical for many areas of Springdale, though.

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The above two accurately represent the way I received the property, despite what the builder promised. The City of Springdale doesn’t really do much to property owners who fail to maintain their lots, even when utility access is involved. That’s a great thing if you’re accustomed to living in an unkempt jungle but not so joyous if you’re trying to enjoy what you have. It was this way at my last house on Cottonwood. We paid several thousand dollars to improve it, especially so for those who don’t maintain their property.

The ax I bought recently at Tractor Supply nearly took my head off. I have one remaining stump along the slovenly neighbor’s back fence. Because I wanted to make a sunflower box in that area, I have been waging war with the stump a little bit each day. It’s winning but I’m incrementally reducing its width, depth, and strength. I was counting down the number of swings I’d give it that afternoon. When I reached the penultimate swing, the ax split and the head surprisingly came up several feet. I’d like to say I dodged it. However, it was over before I realized what happened. (Which is often true in life as well.)

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The next day, I decided to put the sunflower box almost all the way to the left end of the back fence instead of waiting to buy another ax or stick of dynamite to eradicate the stump. I did buy another ax yesterday, though, one that is almost unbreakable. We’ll see if that holds true. I’m still surprised that I was using enough force to break a rugged ax like the one I bought at Tractor Supply.

This morning was cool and windy. Unlike most days, I didn’t go out until after 7. Despite the haze of the Sahara dust, I spent a few hours adding more 12 x 12 painted stepping stones, installing a whiskey barrel planter for daisies, another birdhouse, as well as a couple of other miscellaneous things. I also climbed up to one of the previous birdhouses and stuck a finger inside. The nest therein felt a bit odd to my finger. I didn’t fall off the ladder, though.

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My cat Güino enjoys sitting in the kitchen window, both to watch me as I continue to add things to the back yard, as well as to twitch at the dozens of birds and squirrels that now visit us daily.

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Though the above picture is from a previous stage of my project, the top arrow indicates the picnic table feeder that the squirrels love sitting on. The bottom arrow points to a bird caught in the picture as I snapped it. I’ve discovered that there are unobserved animals in several of my pictures. No Sasquatch or Godzilla appearances yet, though.

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A closer view of the picnic table feeder. I used a horizontal board to allow me to screw the table to the 4 x 4 post in more than one location. I’m not a fan of the ornate birdhouse on top of the blue pole. My wife took this picture this morning and cropped it. We throw a combination of shelled bird peanuts and human peanuts out, as well as putting them in the picnic table feeder.

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The above picture shows the whiskey barrel crate planter on the right, as well as few more stepping stones I placed going left to right. We discovered that a couple of the squirrels sometimes dangle upside down from the upper board to drink from the birdbath.

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Normally, I’d say I’m not a fan of these kinds of planters. My wife got it, so I decided I’d better find a place for it. I put a decent amount of lava rock in the bottom to both reduce the weight and the amount of soil needed to fill it.

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From the back left corner of my yard. I took this picture after a great deal of cleanup on my part, especially removing the horrible barbed wire and chainlink that languished there for a couple of decades.
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Another picture from when I had initially started adding color to the yard.
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Another one from when I barely started.

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This little bird flew into the window one morning. I coaxed him back around the house and finally up to the top of the fence. He finally flew into the safety of the trees, but inexpertly, like an over-sized plane struggling to get aloft.

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I bought an orb for my wife. The cat watched in amazement as it transitioned through the colors.

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The hibiscus has done well. Dawn was reluctant to spend so much on something for a plant. It’s flourished, though, and blossomed at least once a day since we repotted it.

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Coming home this afternoon, I put the components of a gag gift on the bed. He pounced on it, preventing me from assembling the gift box. I could have used the rubber mallet on him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye, Dear Rug

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I have some unusual habits. For instance, I’m not a fan of a rug outside of the shower. Few people have good ones and others tend to smell odd. I’d rather clean the floor. Since the only product I use in the shower is a bar of soap, I don’t have the usual array of issues most people have in their bathrooms.

A few years ago, however, I spent a good deal of time making a personalized rug with dozens of pictures of people I know on it. It did cost a bit, but I wanted something personal and colorful. Once it arrived, I couldn’t bring myself to place it outside the shower, so I put in front of my bathroom sink.

A couple of people seemed unhappy that their faces were on a rug.  I promptly ignored them. If they couldn’t see the honor in having their faces emblazoned on a bathroom rug, I had nothing to say to them.

After years of faithful service, the rug has succumbed to hazy, indistinct detail. For that reason, I’m going to discard it.

I considered leaving it someplace, perhaps on a neighbor’s porch. It would be a great story if said neighbor recognized someone featured on the rug.

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I modified the famous bathroom scene from “Dumb and Dumber.” It’s on a 16X20 wood panel I had custom made. People are surprised when they use my bathroom and discover that it’s real. (See below for shower curtain explanation on the right…)

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This is my infamous Jesus/ Zach Galifianakis wood panel outside my bathroom. People often notice that something isn’t quite right about it but struggle to figure out exactly what.

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The above picture is the one I designed to be my shower curtain. It’s huge. I paid a bit for it to get it correctly sized. I still wonder what the tech who made it wondered as it was fabricated. I forget how odd it looks to be people who’ve never seen it. As with most of my other decorations, a lot of people think I’m joking about how I have things decorated.

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The above chalkboard is outside my bathroom. As you can see, it currently holds a drawing of my cat Güino my wife made. I added a Trump fart to the cat. That seems to be the only relevant news lately.

 

 

 

Easy and Creative Birdhouse Pole

 

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My backyard is a nascent work-in-progress. Only recently did my neighbor to the rear even pretend to maintain his yard. I cut down a couple of trailers of his horrible brush and ‘trees’ and hauled them off. He then put up a cheap fence across the back.

If you are looking for a creative and relatively easy way to erect a birdhouse pole, I have one for you. You can control how high it is. I’ve learned through experience that the taller ones draw the birds more rapidly. If you can place it near something that provides cover, you’ll have better luck. If you have a neighbor who does not want to see your birdhouses or hates anything creative, this is your chance to tower above his or her boring fenceline.

First, visit Lowes, Home Depot, or anywhere else you tend to spend five times more money than you planned due to the array of cool things you find when you visit. Go to the plumbing section. First, choose a couple of 3″ or 4″ wide PVC drainage pipes. They are usually white. 3″ pipes are easier to handle. 6′ lengths will fit into cars and other vehicles easier.

Since I recommend that you get two 6′ lengths, you’ll need a coupler of the same size. If that confuses you, all it means is that it is a collar, usually about 4″ high that you use to attach the 2 long pieces together. Not that you would need to, but you can buy a specialty saw for cutting such pipes; a common hacksaw works perfectly well, too. If you use a collar to connect 2 6′ lengths, you won’t need to cut anything.

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Additionally, if you want to easily attach the birdhouse to the finished pipe, I recommend that you buy a drain flange to attach to what will become the top of your pole. The advantage of such flanges is that they are flat on top and have slots and holes for screws to pass through in any direction. Once you finish your pipe, you can use a ladder to mount just about any birdhouse to the top of your finished pole. Some flanges have mesh on the top. Any of them will work if they look like the picture I’ve attached.

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Before putting a metal collar on the base and attaching a birdhouse.

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In the above picture, I draped my neighbor’s fence with a cloth to prevent paint from hitting his fence.

If you spend a couple of minutes in the plumbing section of your favorite home improvement retailer, you’ll discover that they carry a huge variety of couplings, bends, and assorted connectors. These allow you to deviate from my pictured “straight pipe” example. You can add s-curves, cross branches, and several other options. PVC is used to create a variety of things because it is able to be modified by length and direction so easily.

You’ll also want to buy a small metal can of pipe cement. It’s cheap. You apply a bit around the circumference of the couple, pipe, or flange that you attach to the two pipes that create the pole. If you have a glue-sniffing addiction, you’ll need to be careful at this point.

To create the pole, glue the pipe coupler to one end of one PVC pipe. Glue the pipe flange to the other PVC pipe. After a few minutes, glue the two pieces together.

You’ll have one 12′ pole with a flange on the top. A foot or two will be concealed below the ground.

For the ones I make, I usually spray expanding foam into the ends or glue plastic into the sections so that they don’t fill with water. It’s not required.

You can see my previous extremely helpful post regarding digging holes to cement such poles in place. Burying and Cementing The Pole

Once the pole is cemented into the ground, you can get a piece of curved metal to cover the base. They sell them at home improvement stores. Such a piece of metal can be found in the HVAC section or the construction section. The pieces I buy do not quite reach all the way around the pipe. The gap is concealed by my placement of it toward the back. I use screws to attach the pipe sheath to the PVC pole. Clamps will work if you buy ones large enough. I don’t always buy exactly the same type of pipe. For the one pictured, I face the crimped portion below the surface of the soil around the base of the pole. If you were so inclined, you can cut the pipe to varying lengths and/or cut away the crimped portion.

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You can see in the picture that I also have several 8′ x 4″ wooden posts buried in the ground. They’ll hold fence panels, multiple feeders, birdhouses, and plant hooks in any direction.

I learned the hard way that it is much easier to paint the poles and posts after cementing them. I paint them before adding soil or covers around the base of the poles. I use spray paint. All the major retailers carry a huge variety of types and colors. As you can see, I prefer to use a variety of colors so that it appears that magical unicorns have visited me. Bright, crazy colors aren’t for everyone.

 

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The above post holds a picnic table-inspired bird feeder. You’ll quickly discover that the squirrels will also love these, too. They often lay flat in them to feed. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll see one sitting on the opposite side of the table; in such a scenario, the squirrel appears to be sitting at the table eating. I attached my picnic table with an additional piece of painted wood to allow for support screws to go underneath in three places.

If you carefully pre-drill holes in the PVC pipes, you can attach other things to it as well, such as themed metal art.

In a later post, I’ll tell you how to use these pipes to make elaborate wind bassoons and wind instruments.

 

 

 

 

 

Against Popular Advice, Dig Yourself a Hole (A DIY)

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Need to install a fencepost, birdhouse pole, mailbox, or your ex-boyfriend upright on your property? For the latter, it is more efficient to dispose of his body in a large body of water using an impermeable tarp and dumbbell weights. (There’s a precise scientific reason for those details, so don’t skimp to save a few bucks. Lawyers are very expensive. Good ones are, anyway. Stupid ones are free.)

You’ll need to buy a bag or two Sakrete or Quikrete quick-setting concrete mix. If you’re using it to set PVC plastic pipes, it takes much less than a traditional wood post. If you’ve never used Sakrete or Quikrete to set posts, this is an ideal way for you to learn to use it. It doesn’t take as much strength as you would imagine. Leveling such posts is easier than it seems, too. If you’re not concerned with the idea of ‘level,’ forget I mentioned it. If you’ve ever bought a Rausch-Coleman home, you know what I mean.

It’s better to have extra quick-drying cement mix than you’ll require. In most places, it is about $6 a bag. If you have leftover dry mix, pour it in the back of your neighbor’s pickup truck. That last part is a joke.

Employees in the outdoor, masonry, or construction part of your local home improvement retailer can answer questions for you. It’s best to pretend you’re poor as you approach them. Feigning stupidity works well for me, too. They’ll know to avoid trying to up-sell you on things you don’t need for the project.

If you’re a day drinker, you’ll soon discover that none of those concerns come into play at all.

If you are not attaching fence panels, very heavy items, or lopsided weights, you should be less concerned about getting it exactly right. You’re going to be nervous the first time you use fast-drying cement. There’s no reason to. If it turns out horribly, you can also have a teenager drive over the post or pay him/her to take out his aggression on the ruined pole with a sledgehammer or your mother-in-law’s banana bread recipe.

If you’ve never used the stuff, once you learn, show someone else. It seems too easy.

You’ll want to dig a hole about a foot wide for a 4″ post. If it’s larger, it will cause no harm. You might need to use more Quikrete or Sankrete, though. You’ll want the hole to be 18″ – 24″ deep. Honestly, you don’t have to go much past a foot if you’re putting in one of my PVC drainage pipe poles, but it helps to make the hole as deep as possible – and doubly so when you’re placing a wood post. If you watch YouTube DIY videos, they’ll blather on endlessly about ratios and radius. Ignore that.

Most people also mention avoiding digging where all the utility lines are. This seems like overkill if you’ll pardon the pun. If you need more excitement in your life that includes random chances of death, you should dig with glee and abandon.

Utility companies have a number for you to call in the event you’re not seeking immediate death. If you want to kill yourself slowly, get an internet package from Cox or AT&T.

While I’m at it, let’s talk about post hole diggers. You don’t need one. A good shovel and a spade will do the work nicely unless you’re putting up a border wall in Afghanistan. Don’t waste your time making an elegant hole. You’re just going to fill it in again. The one exception to this is if you plan on digging trip holes in the local golf course. In that scenario, keep the hole as clean as possible.

You’ll need somewhere to dispose of the dirt you remove, too. Holes result in more dirt than most people expect. If your lawn isn’t manicured and professionally maintained, you can scatter the soil over a large area of your yard, removing all the rocks and debris from it. If your neighbor is often gone, just shovel it over the fence instead of his or her yard in the dead of night. Since you’re reading a DIY I wrote, it’s safe to assume that you are drinking and lack any sensibilities.

My preferred method is to put the extra dirt in a tarp on top of my Ford Focus. I then drive until I find a dump truck and pass it. Once I’m ahead of it, I slowly pull the release cord until the dirt, rocks, and debris come out at 70 mph all over the dump truck’s windshield. I estimate I’ll be even with those evil bastards in 20 years.

Additionally, this method is often referred to as both ‘green’ and ‘felonious.’

Semantics.

Quick-drying cement comes with directions on the back in case someone thinks it would be an ideal thickening age for soup. It’s absurdly easy to use.

You don’t have to wear a mask or bandana when you pour quick-drying cement, but it doesn’t hurt. I’ve seen some cartoonish outcomes and gritty teeth while watching people pour it quickly or during high winds.

If you fill the hole around your pole carefully, you’ll see that you have plenty of time to do it without help. You can use a garden variety level to check each side of the pole as the cement sets and hardens. It hardens fairly quickly – in about the same amount of time it takes your father-in-law to become set in his ways.

You can cement a pole without anyone helping you if you’re interested.

Note to self: replace cremation urn contents with quick-drying cement and observe the effects on those standing nearby during the scattering ceremony. (And hope for rain…)

Beth Goodrich’s Pumpking Fudge Recipe

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Noted Conway author and chef Beth “Beets” Goodrich finally agreed to share her secret pumpkin fudge recipe after two decades of silence. It’s true in the 90s that she may have inadvertently poisoned a few people. We all need a chance to learn from our mistakes, though. Other than a slight twitch when she’s talking, you might not know how hard she worked to get past her initial failings as a cook. Six boys survived her cooking so it is presumably safe to say she’s ironed out the kinks and emergency room visits.

While we all know Beth through her writing, I’d like to take a moment and explain that her nickname “Beets” arose from the insistence of her well-meaning friends and family that beets taste anything like other than a mouthful of dirt. She can quote numerous scientific studies that prove that beets taste like a mound of desiccated spiders that’s been mixed with Appalachian dirt and powdered. Much like really large white guys were often called “Tiny,” so too did Beth get crowned as “Beets.”

Pumpkin fudge is a ‘real’ thing, even though it may at first seem to one small part of a complex and elaborate prank, one devised by San Francisco hipsters. You’ve probably heard it mentioned in whispers at a church social or in the open cafeteria lines of your state penitentiary. Most fans of pumpkin fudge tend to be easily excited and often have concealed carry permits. If you’re one of the few people who don’t like pumpkin fudge, refrain from mentioning it out loud unless you are in a Siberian cave that’s been sealed close by a nuclear explosion.

While observing college boys using pumpkins as catapult fodder, she realized that pumpkins were not only for insanely dry pumpkin bread that no one really likes or for jack o’ lanterns on Halloween.

After 37 failed tries and one oven that had to be discarded (not to mention burned hair), Beth arrived at her final recipe.

Most of the ingredients are what most of us refer to as “old folks” ingredients such as evaporated milk, corn syrup, and marshmallow creme.

While I hate to be helpful in food posts, I’d like to explain to you what the differences are between evaporated and condensed milk. Both are made from milk with 60% of the water removed. Evaporated milk, however, is not sweetened, unlike its condensed milk counterpart. You’d be surprised how many cooks can’t explain that difference to you.

You should always keep a can of each in your larder. (I’ll explain what in tarnation a ‘larder’ is later after you’ve been put in a coma by reading about cooking.) You never know when a posse of old-timers might come to your house. In such a scenario, you’re going to need some condensed or evaporated milk.

Again, though I loathe being helpful, it is surprising that people don’t know you can add condensed milk to as much water and use it like regular milk in recipes. This can be helpful if you live somewhere without electricity or an icebox. If you hear banjos on most afternoons, you definitely need some condensed milk in your pantry, larder, or cellar. Due to the size of evaporated milk cans, they can also be used as hand grenades in a close fight.

For Beth’s recipe, you’ll need a candy thermometer. I’ll tell you where to stick it later. Beth recommends the combination food thermometer/protractor, in case complex calculations arise. Paradoxically, her Panasonic oven only indicates Celsius, which resulted in some strange issues with her in-laws helping her cook. If you don’t own a candy thermometer, you’re with 65% of the country.

(Related note: biscuits will cook in 2 minutes if you accidentally set the oven to 375 Celsius instead of Fahrenheit. If you don’t catch the error in 15 minutes, your local firefighters will drop by your house unexpectedly to remind you.)

Without boring you with the details of the recipe, I can tell you that even if you don’t like pumpkin, you’ll probably like pumpkin fudge. As in the case with carrot cake, you don’t actually put chunks of carrots in carrot cake unless you’re a sadist, or live in Little Rock.

If you’ve never had pumpkin fudge, call Beth in Conway. She’ll undoubtedly make a batch for you, at no cost, with something like a smile on her face. You can also find her on Instagram by searching for #whoiscookingdinnertonightatthegoodrichhouse.

I know you think I misled you by promising to share Beth’s recipe. I didn’t say I’d share it. I said that she shared it with me. The recipe on MyRecipes is fairly close to what she uses.

Since you’re already voluntarily putting pumpkin in food, you can’t really hurt this recipe, regardless of how you modify it.

P.S. I put bacon in the picture because it’s a known fact that bacon subconsciously obliterates one’s ability to think critically. The fact that you’ve read this far proves it to be true.

My Condition

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Not all my posts make me look good. Here’s one…

I was driving on Crossover, on my way to Lowes to purchase completely pointless items, not too far from the marijuana farm. Some people call it “The Botanical Gardens,” but that is EXACTLY the type of fake name a weed farm would use, isn’t it?

I suddenly had to brake harshly to avoid hitting someone who failed to stop while approaching the main road. Because I was unsure I wouldn’t hit them as they entered the road without stopping, I veered to the left slightly. I don’t always do the ‘veer’ thing if I’m in my Ford Focus. It’s led to meeting some interesting people. It’s hard to say “Hello” when the air is filled with screeching brakes and shouting drivers.

A honk startled me. A white van had swerved to the further left to avoid hitting me from behind. I slowed and pulled over for a second. The white van with an interesting business logo on the side pulled ahead in front of me on the shoulder. I was expecting a giant, angry redneck to emerge. Instead, a woman about my age exited the van and stood about ten feet away from the front of my car. People don’t exit their vehicles unless they are very angry, have bees chasing them, or are in the vehicle with more than one teenager.

“What’s wrong with you?” She asked.

Given that she probably didn’t connect the car running through a stop sign and entering the road in front of me to my swerve, I knew it was pointless. I assumed she was crazy, anyway.

“I have a medical condition! You should be ashamed of yourself” I shouted at her.

“Oh! I’m sorry. What’s wrong with you?”

“Stupidity!” I yelled back at her.

Expecting a tirade or curse, I was surprised when she turned and went back to her van, got in, and drove away. She didn’t even give me a laugh.

I was proud of my impromptu answer.

It is possible to live 20 years without coming up with a rapid-fire quip that both delights and defuses the situation.

PSA For Today, You Say?

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Note: I’m using PSA in this post to indicate “Public Service Announcement,” rather than “Prostate-Specific Antigen.” If you googled that and ended up here accidentally, you are really going to be disappointed.

I have two pieces of actually useful advice today.

First, don’t spit on the carpet, even if it is on fire. And even if you live in a trailer. And it is rented. (Unless you have a double first name.)

Second, almost all Facebook accounts that get cloned are because the victim has his or her friends list visible. There is no viable reason to have your settings permit other people to see your friends list. This is doubly true for women and those who are prone to buying things “As Seen On TV.” If you’re unsure if you are one of those two categories, look at your left foot. Not because it will help resolve your doubt, but because you listen to directions.

Today, I accepted a friend request from just such a cloner/hacker. The person attempted to get me to take the bait regarding the 2020 MUSL grant. I assume that’s something I’m dying to get in on the ground floor. Naturally, I wrote them an increasingly bizarre cascade of replies.

I’m certain that by the time the person read them all, they themselves had become MY victim.

I have two-factor authentication turned on. And I changed my password from ‘password1’ to ‘passwrod1.’ They’ll never figure it out!

This PSA brought to you by Asa Hutchinson’s gardener.

D.B.A.J.

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If y’all aren’t familiar with Boyd Crowder from “Justified,” go watch all 6 seasons and come back. He had a peculiar knack for expressing ideas in such a way that obscenity or erudition could collide and light up a bulb inside one’s head.

Today, while reading another poll/study regarding opinion regarding interracial marriage, Boyd’s voice filled my head explosively: “Nothing brings you peace but the triumph of principles.”

In the last decade, several polls have asked the question about interracial marriage – and some have phrased the issue in ways that allow the person answering to feel more comfortable sharing his or her opinion.

Up to 1 in 6 people still think that interracial marriage is objectionable on a varying number of levels. Obviously, GOP voters are much more likely to say it’s a problem. The bigger problem is that about 1 in 8 Democrats think it’s a problem, too. And about 1 in 10 people would object to a close family member marrying someone of another race.

Scientifically, these people are classified as ‘dumb bastards.’

I’m not color-blind. I also acknowledge I’m a bit of an ass and have some strange ideas. But weird, archaic ideas about this aren’t among them.

I like reading studies about these kinds of beliefs.

Regardless of what else is going on in society, they are an infallible benchmark for the prevalence of prejudice or racism in our midst.

Likewise, when people have a perverted sense of what prejudice looks like (and don’t see their ideas as prejudiced), it’s fascinating to hear what comes out of their mouths or keyboards as they attempt to talk their way out of a painted corner.

As Boyd Crowder said, “That’s what assholes do…
…They get old and die from being assholes.”

I Have A Question

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I’m still waiting for a reasonable, honest answer to this question: why did the State of Arkansas fail to require a Covid test for all healthcare workers?

You’ll note that the Governor goes out of his way to classify correctional carriers and other sectors. Notably absent? Healthcare workers – one of the single most important possible classifications to track.

It has always been in the public’s best interest to ensure that all healthcare workers are tested, yet proposals to do so have been unceremoniously shown the door like a drunken Uncle on New Year’s Eve.

We’re required to get flu shots each year, among other things.

We mandated that non-emergency patients be tested, yet did not conduct a baseline safety test to benchmark how many of the healthcare workers helping them might be carrying the virus.

Knowing how many healthcare workers have the virus would give us insight into the behavior leading to getting it. After all, healthcare workers are presumed to be the most cautious and educated about this sort of public health hazard. Their infection rate leads to immediate recognition of how well what we’re doing is working.

When I point this out to people, they get that recognizable and confused, puzzled look on their faces, the one that immediately indicates that they assumed that sort of thing had happened.

It hasn’t.

This kind of question falls under “public safety and worker safety” guidelines, so I of course am unconcerned about asking such a reasonable question publicly. I’ve asked it at least 500 times in the last two months.

I’m still asking.

It’s the right thing to do, even at this late date.
– X