Umm, Wow…

I knew my prognostication skills were limited, but it looks like all the professional pollsters got this one wrong too.

President Donald Trump.

Fuck.

I feel like I’m being punked. The election results caused stock markets all over the world to tumble. I’m afraid to even look at the beating my 401K just took. If the markets don’t bounce back from this, my future retirement just got pushed a few years further down the road. But losing money is nothing compared to all the other things we are probably going to lose.

I’m sure it will be interesting and entertaining to see how our new preznit explains away all the things he has promised that he can’t actually deliver. (I bet we will eventually hear him say something along the lines of “I never said I was going to build a wall.”) But there are some frightening things that he can make happen. Off the top of my head:

He has promised Obamacare would be the first thing on the chopping block. No reason to think he won’t keep that promise. So millions of people will soon be without health care.

Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives has for years been using his magical mathematics to justify destroying Social Security and Medicare, under the guise of “improving” them. I bet the bill is already written to do so. And you gotta know reality teevee preznit will sign it.

There is already an opening on the Supreme Court, and likely to be others during the next 4 years. We are about two god-botherers away from abortion and gay marriage and no telling what else becoming illegal.

Hunker down and hang on, Amurka. A lot of damage can be done in a very short time. This country may be unrecognizable in a few years.

Hillz Making History

Back in February, I made a rather bold prediction

…here’s how I see this election going down. Hillz will carry about 45 states in giving reality teevee guy an epic beat-down, and on her coat-tails the Democrats will re-take control of the Senate. Then, upon taking office, she will nominate Michelle’s husband for the empty Supreme Court seat the Republicans refused to fill. All around the country, Republican heads will pop like teenager’s zits. It will be glorious to behold.

Well, I may have been a little overzealous back then, nevertheless I did my part to make my prediction happen today. The obligatory:

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I’m still very confident that we are going to elect our first woman preznit today. And I think the Democrats have a pretty good shot at taking the Senate. But despite the fact that one of our political parties nominated a raging buffoon, the race is still going to be close. Hillz is not going to win 45 states. She is probably not going to win Misery, and she almost certainly won’t win the county I live in. Too many assholes like the owner of this truck I spotted in the parking lot of the Home Depot last week.

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Without ever laying eyes on the owner, I can guarantee you that truck belongs to an overweight, angry, late middle-aged white guy. (Yes, I realize I am describing myself, but I look this way ironically.)

Anecdotal evidence that the people of Misery will seize the moment and put us on the right side of history: (1) Voter turnout at my polling place is the highest I have personally ever witnessed. (2) I saw a real old-timer, probably in his late 80s. After filling out his ballot, he rolled by me in his wheelchair on his way to the ballot box, and I noticed he had filled in the bubble next to Clinton/Kaine. It made me smile and left me holding onto a sliver of hope.

Killing Time In The Upper Midwest

My travels with the Salt Handler’s Inspection Team have brought me to Grand Rapids, Michigan, home of Gerald R. Ford, the only person ever to be Vice-President and President of the United States without being elected to either office. That fact, and his pardoning of his predecessor, Richard Nixon, is about all I remember of preznit Ford. I was busy wrestling with puberty at the time. Forty years later, I mostly wrestle the black dog.

But that’s not what I came to talk about. When I’m on the road, I’m always looking for activities to pass the time not spent in the salt mines. Most anywhere I go, I can find a course to play a round of disc golf, but most of the courses around here have a problem. See if you can spot it.

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No, it’s not the goose shit everywhere. Well, that is a problem, just not the problem. The first two courses I played here were situated along the river, with numerous canals and lagoons like the one in the photo. It makes for a beautiful park, but a difficult disc golf course. After donating $30 worth of discs to the Michigan wetlands, I started seeking out another source of entertainment. I found this.

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It’s not something I ever would have done at home, but now I can cross going to a comic-con off my bucket list. It was… interesting. I saw witches and wizards and Wookies and Wolverines, Batman and Robin and Spiderman and Spiderwoman(?) and Wonder Woman, several Star Trek landing parties, Jedi Knights and Stormtroopers and Gamorrean Guards, and many, many creatures and characters I didn’t recognize. I would guess the top two costumes were Deadpool and Harley Quinn. (I was dressed as a late middle-aged white guy wielding a $4 kosher dog.)

I also spotted something that took me right back to when Gerald Ford was preznit and I was a latchkey kid watching our old black and white teevee after school.

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Dude. That’s the Mach 5. No sign of Spritle and Chim-Chim though.

Flaming Out, Melting Down

Hee hee. Today, Michelle’s husband told the the reality teevee asshole to quit his whining about a rigged election. If this were pro wrassling, that would be a forearm smash coming off the top rope. Followed by tagging Hilz in to finish him off in the debate tomorrow. I can’t bear to watch, but I bet it will be epic.

What desperate accusations and proclamations will reality teevee asshole make next? I’m pretty sure he has bottomed out vote-wise, but he’s going to keep throwing red meat to his followers right up until — and probably even after — Hilz hands him his ass on November 8th.

Speaking of his followers, I went looking around the intertoobz for a quote I had always heard attributed to Mark Twain:

It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.

Well it turns out Mark Twain never said that. Carl Sagan said it better anyway:

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.

I really believe this inability/unwillingness to admit what a horrible human being they’ve attached themselves to is at the heart of all the Trumpkin’s anger. Deep down inside, they know. It’s got to be humiliating.

Refreshing? Not So Much

This is a real thing. Apparently the reality teevee asshole’s campaign is giving it away here in Misery. One of my son’s friends stopped by the estate with a six-pack.

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I had a sip. It tasted like narcissism with a hint of loser flop-sweat. It left me unsatisfied and inexplicably full of rage. I wanted to grab a Mexican Muslim by the pussy and throw them over a wall.

Yeehaw

Well… Come January 1st, we are going Wild, Wild West here in Misery. The Legislature has over-ridden the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 656. Check it:

The marquee section generally allows gun owners to pack them concealed without the need of passing the special training and paying permit fees the state has required since 2004.

As a concealed carry permit holder, who has had that special training, paid those permit fees over the years, and passed the background checks, I am deeply offended — and a little frightened — by the notion that any and all of my fellow citizens are suddenly responsible enough to start going around strapped. This part makes it even better:

Another key change is in the definition of “stand your ground,” which generally protects a person using deadly force to defend his or her home or vehicle. The new law no longer requires people to attempt to back away from trouble in public, as in a tavern parking lot, before using deadly force if there is fear of bodily harm.

I don’t know about you, but I know plenty of people who shouldn’t be anywhere near a firearm. Any time, let alone when they are angry or buzzed. (You might call them hillbilly white trash, I call them family.) An average 6th-grader has enough historical knowledge to know there was a time in Amurka when everybody went around armed all the time. That same 6th-grader can tell you that was before we brought civilization and law and order and the principle of commonwealth to the frontier. Laws were passed to disarm the populace for the good of society as a whole.

When our Legislature first passed this bill earlier this year, I thought it was irresponsible, but I — and the Legislature — knew it was going to be vetoed, so I just assumed it was a symbolic poke in the eye to the anti-gun liberals. The foolhardiness and sheer hubris of over-riding that veto is astonishing. This will not end well.

I could go on, but I gotta roll. Making another ammunition run.

Genghis Con

This summer, as part of my personal mental health regimen, I have been trying my level best to ignore as much of the election season madness as possible. My efforts have been largely unsuccessful. It is difficult to ignore the fact that the Republicans have nominated a Multi-Level Marketing, World Wrestling Federation, reality teevee guy for preznit! It’s like an episode of Creature Features from back in the ’70s, but it’s in color, and it’s real. A giant, orange asshole is in the process of consuming one of our two viable political parties.

I think it’s already too late, but some of the old school Republicans are fighting back, with a sternly worded letter. Many of the signatories of the letter were part of the gang of thugs from the dubya administration that instituted torture as part of our foreign policy, so it bothers me that I agree with anything they have to say, but I really believe America needs to listen to this:

“Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous president and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

I think it is too late for the Republican party because I don’t think there are enough good, decent human beings who happen to be conservative left in the party to wrest control back from the reality teevee guy’s legions of rabid, screaming fascists. A couple of decades of the right-wing noise machine stoking fear and hatred has distilled the party down to an angry, ignorant rump with genuinely no interest in policy or governance. They are ready — eager, even — to tear it all down and blame it on political correctness. What does that even mean, anyway?

Potatocaster Final

I finished assembling the Potatocaster several weeks ago, but I never got around to posting a photo. Here it go:

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I’m pleased with the way it came out. At least in the sense that it came out looking like I had envisioned it would. The project as a whole was a bit of a goatfuck, though. It ran way over budget in money, time and fingers. I estimated $400 and it ended up costing around $650 counting all of my fuck-ups and re-dos. I spent that money a little at a time over something like 3 years. I couldn’t seem to stay interested in the build. (Of course, I had to take a lengthy break when I stuck my fingers in my router.)

And I still have no idea how this thing plays. I plugged it into an amplifier and made a bunch of racket with it, but the only time I took it somewhere to have someone who actually plays guitar give it a test run, the electrics malfunctioned and the damned thing wouldn’t make a sound. Stage fright, I suppose.

I still haven’t decided whether to build a nice display stand for it so that its dust collection capacity can be fully appreciated, or to learn how to play it and put together a death metal band and play some gigs. I’m leaning toward the latter. We shall be called Electric Blue Jihad

About My New Job

Well, it’s a bit of a dog-who-caught-the-car tale. After 18 years in the salt mines, I was getting pretty burned out, so I started looking around for something different. Since there aren’t a lot of options available for … ahem… seasoned salt miners, I should probably consider myself lucky simply to have found a way out of the mine. Especially since the new job came with a nice raise.

But complaining is part of my nature. I was born this way.

So now I’m in the Salt Handlers Inspection Team. I travel around to salt mines throughout the central U.S. making sure all the salt miners, doing the tasks I once did, are doing so in compliance with policy and regulations. I’m still new at this, but I am beginning to get my feet under me.

Perhaps the first thing I learned is that a lot of the salt miners out there in the Amurkin heartland get a little too comfortable in their jobs after a while. And then they get a little loose in their work ethic. My job, as part of the team, is to vigilantly patrol the invisible line where loose meets lazy. We show up at a salt mine on relatively short notice, sporting laptops and cameras and notebooks and red pens, and we proceed to tell the miners every little thing they are doing wrong. And then we take all those things they are doing wrong and assemble them into a nice report, complete with charts and graphs and color photos. And then, we hold a meeting, and in the salt miners’ presence, read that report to their supervisor and a couple of levels of upper management.

Not coincidentally, the second thing I learned is that salt miners tend to get a little resentful when the team shows up and starts dishing out the humiliation. I still feel the occasional twinge of embarrassment for some of the salt miners, but it really is hard to empathize with lazy, fat fucks caught red-handed half-assing their job.

So now I travel a lot. The worst part of travel is… well… the travel. I particularly despise this part:

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Two hours in a plane seat leaves me aching, but only in my hips, back, neck and shoulders. Despite the grueling travel days, the new job is overall less physically demanding than the old one, so there are some good aspects. Did I mention the raise?

I’m never going to really like being away from the bunker as much as I am now, but I think my tolerance of it will improve with time. Though I would always prefer to spend my weekend in my wood shop, I’m enjoying playing new disc golf courses all the time. Here is a pretty good photo of a tight fairway taken one morning last month from a tee box in Fort Worth:

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My weekday evenings on the road should get significantly better when I have saved enough pennies to buy a good laptop so I can properly blog. I can publish a simple post via e-mail using my iPad, but doing it that way I can’t add photos, or blockquotes, or mark up the text with clever bolding and italics and color like I’ve been doing above. For now, I am having to settle for whiling away my work nights eating in restaurants and drinking in bars and watching teevee. It’s rough. But I got a raise.

Change Of Life

I have a new job. One that requires me to spend about 50% of my time on the road. So far I hate it. Because, you know, 50% is like half. This is going to seriously reduce my wood shop production. And, until I can purchase a laptop and get it set up, the only way I can blog from the road is via e-mail drive-by like this one.

I have spent most of the past week stuck in the eternal traffic jam that is Austin, Texas. You couldn’t pay me enough to live here permanently.

It has been a very wet Spring in Austin, and as a result, all the disc golf courses are muddy and sporting knee-high grass. It was already not much fun to wade around in it looking for my discs, and it became even less so after I stepped on a snake about as big around as my forearm.

So this morning I set out early to beat the traffic and find an alternate source of exercise. I found myself on a walking trail around Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin. It didn’t look like a very big lake so I decided to walk/jog all the way around. Upon later googling, I learned it is over 10 miles around that lake. It took about two hours to make it back to my little econo-box rental car, limping and badly chafed. I think I’m going back to the snakes.