Category Archives: angry rant

We Are All Gonna Die

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I hope you listened to Joe.  Not just the first part, then got bored and disgusted and turned on Fox News.  I hope you listened all the way to the end and heard the hopeful things he says there.  He is a very good video essayist who uses real science to reason with you about questions that are really about life and death.  One way we may be going to die as a species is through climate change and global warming.  The dire predictions we get from climate scientists, whom nobody seems to take seriously, are becoming increasingly alarming.  If we are too stuck in our own little kingdoms and don’t look the castle windows at the weather outside, we are not only going to have our parades rained on, it will be acid rain, and the parade marchers will get boiled on the hoof as they march.

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Those of us who put too much faith in the Trump Train, burning its beautiful clean coal, are going down to the bottom when we get to the canyon bridge and the train roars off the tracks.  Just ask Paul Manafort after his trial ends, or Jeff Sessions after Trump fires him to make racist sausages out of him to serve at an I-Love-Putin Picnic, what the ride has been like on the Trump Tongue Express.

But, of course, the Pumpkinhead in Chief is not the only reason we have no money and no jobs and are going to be roasted to death in a polluted world.  There is also the little matter of Trillions of Dollars in Debt that was racked up to make the rich richer and people like me foot the bill.

I know you may be suspicious of an interview conducted on RT which is an arm of Russian propaganda in the USA.  But I should point out, if you like Trump, you like Russia already, and both of these journalists, Chris Hedges and David Cay Johnston, are not afraid to tell the unvarnished truth.  That means the mainstream media is uncomfortable about putting them on the air, and those who want to stir up trouble find it easiest to do that by simply allowing access to researched facts and basic truths we are reluctant to hear.

If you don’t believe in the predictions offered by science, it is bound to be because of one of two different things.  Either you see the science and follow how the results of computer models become overwhelmingly dire, disgusting you with a total lack of optimistic outcomes, or you reject science in favor of the oil companies’ rose-colored fairy-tale outlooks where unicorns will consume CO2 clouds and fart out benevolent rainbows.  From where I stand now, broke and old and ill, it doesn’t matter much to me.  In the short time frames we are looking at for global-warming Armageddon, I will undoubtedly reach the end of my natural life.  I probably won’t be around for the horrific-suffering part of how this all is going to end.

I know if you haven’t turned away from this heat-death-of-the-planet idea already, you are probably pretty depressed by this point in the essay.  I know I am.  It does not bode well for my children and any future grandchildren.  But I will leave you with the reminder that we are human beings.  And human beings are complex and able to solve large complex problems.  We put men on the moon.  (Or we did the even harder job of faking it and not letting the secret be discovered for fifty years, complete with space-travel debris on the moon that you can take photographs of from earth with a really good telescope.)  So, just maybe this massive terrifyingly horrible problem can yet be solved in the nick of time.  I do believe in the good that can be found in mankind.  But I also see the corruption and evil.  So hopefully Mark Twain’s final hope for mankind, that this time when God drowns us, there will be no Ark, will be thwarted.  Believe me, I have no wish to die a horrible death.  But I am a pessimist after all.

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Filed under angry rant, battling depression, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, horror writing, Liberal ideas, pessimism

Oyif!!! Life Smacks in the Fast Lane

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I was feeling good after making arrangements to pay off the IRS and both of my hospital bills over time in amounts that I could squeeze out of my present retirement income.  Then a random act of stupidity in the rain deprived me of my ability to earn extra money through driving for Uber.

I was driving north in the rain towards the meal delivery I had from Panda Express.  I was in the left-hand lane driving next to the median on the divided part of Josey Lane.  I was in no way expecting to need any defensive driving measures.  In fact, I wouldn’t have succeeded if I had been able to react.  The other driver turned directly into my drivers-side doors, effectively sealing both of them so they could not be opened.  He told me he didn’t see me in the rain.  I suppose it is possible that was true, but I don’t see how considering how clearly I saw him at the last moment.

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Sudden surprise bangs and damage are not particularly good for diabetics, either.  I got pulled off into the parking lot, canceled my Uber delivery, and had the shakes so bad that I could barely call 911.  My fingers didn’t work properly.

But by the time the ambulance had arrived, my brief battle with shock was over.  My blood sugar checked out fine in the ambulance and they let me talk to the police and then drive my damaged-but-still-drivable car home.

Now I have the nightmare of dealing with insurance and how I am going to pay for it.

My wife tells me that since the accident obviously wasn’t my fault, I shouldn’t have to pay for any of the damages.  Of course, we all know that in the buccaneering world of American insurance, that is not how it works.

So now I can honestly report that I am physically okay, and financially in worse jeopardy.  Such is the way the life of Mickey is apparently intended to work out.

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Computerrific Discombobbula

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Technology is supposed to be your friend.   But the last few days have proved repeatedly that computers are definitely not Mickey’s friends.  They don’t seem to like him even a little bit.

The problem seems to stem from making the mistake of taking my beloved old laptop to Iowa.  My daughter was the only family member who could go along on the vacation to see Grampa and Gramma.  And her laptop now consists of a broken laptop body with no keyboard linked to a wifi-linkable keyboard and wifi-linkable used-television monitor.  That computer was not exactly in a portable condition.  I suggested she could replace the sticky-used-chewing-gum connections when she got to Iowa, but she wouldn’t risk it.

So the decision was made to take both my old laptop with the barely living battery and my backup cheap Walmart laptop for her to use.  We made it to Iowa with my beloved old laptop still able to boot up on the barely living battery.  I had tried to replace the battery by purchasing a new one directly from HP online.  But it was delayed enough that we couldn’t get it before leaving.  Still, the car trip didn’t completely kill the dying battery I had.  So I used it to save and edit pictures from the Wright County Fair and write my daily posts while visiting in Iowa.  A successful trip by internet-addicted idiots according to the uninformed standards I was apparently judging it by.

But on returning home to Texas, disaster struck totally by laptop.

First of all, the dying battery expired as soon as I tried to fire up Old Beloved on our return home.  And then I learned that the battery I had bought to revive it was an out-of-stock discontinued item at the HP factory.  My order had been canceled.  They gave me a line on a company that provided discontinued parts, but I did not have the money to swing that at the end of the month.  So that went on hold.

My backup laptop had now become my new Old Beloved.  But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember any of my old passwords for practically everything on the internet.  So, I spent a week recovering online accounts on my new Old Beloved.  That was hectic and un-swell.  But I reached a point where most of my August bills were paid or scheduled to be paid, and I was settling into my old routine again when I discovered the terrible mistake I had made.  My daughter had keyed everything on the new Old Beloved to her Google account.  I had been saving all my new passwords to her account rather than my own.  Oh, beehoofadoo!  Whoever would’ve thought that such world-rattling consequences could befall me because of such an innocent mistake?  There was a point at which I had no way back into my email account because it was no longer tied to my cell phone or current computer, and there were no means for recovering it, not even by using voodoo.  Then I happened to remember an account I had set up solely to get back into Pinterest in 2016.  I was able to log back into that and use it to get recovery codes for everything that either I or my daughter had destroyed or deleted because of the Google mix-up.

Last night my beloved daughter wanted the old password for our Hulu account to put it on her Frankencomputer, and after all I have been through in my own personal cyberwar, I nearly lost it.  Fear not.  My daughter still lives with her eardrums intact.  And no damage remains from the top of my head blowing off that couldn’t be fixed with duck tape and super glue.

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Scary Uber Stories

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After driving for 45 minutes today, I discovered that I had earned only $4.16.  And this after having the air conditioning give out once, having the engine overheat twice, and having to change which direction I searched for building number 210 three times before I found the guy’s second-floor apartment and delivered his 40 chicken nuggets and two large orders of McDonald’s fries.  Normally when it takes that long to deliver food over more than 10 miles of city driving you make more for the effort.  But they don’t start paying you until you pick up the food, and from home to Ronald’s place in Irving, Texas was easily eight of the ten miles.

Really scary story, huh?

But that’s what Uber driving is like.  It is benign sort of slavery where you use your own car and gas money, your own car insurance to protect you from Texas Bubbas in Chevy pickups, and your own wits to survive and deliver hot food in the punishing Texas summer heat.

meethxx234569The worst experience I got from this summer’s food delivery came at the hands of a fellow school teacher.  I had to deliver faculty lunch to an elementary school in the last week of summer school classes.  It was a large lunch with two bags of burgers and a tray loaded with drinks in flimsy cardboard cups.  It was a short drive from the restaurant to the school.  But when I got there, it was a school with many entrances and kids playing on two different sides of the building.  I went to the door I thought the Uber navigator was directing me to.  I knocked.  When I got no answer, I called the lady who ordered everything.  I told her I was at the west door.  She told me that I had to find the main door on the south side of the building.  So I managed to juggle the two sacks and the easily spillable drinks to three different doors on the south side, all locked.  I called again and was told I must have the wrong building, so I went to the school building across the street and found an office building with only kindergarten and daycare kids present.  I called again.

“How can you mess it up so badly?  Our food will be cold and we have no time left to eat it.  And you are at the wrong building!  None of the other Uber drivers had this much trouble.”

So, after having been called an idiot, I quickly found a playground guardian to ask and was directed to the proper door on the NORTH side of the building.  I apologized and delivered the food.  She made complaints to Uber and told them that my behavior was unprofessional and the food was late.  So my job as an Uber driver was briefly in jeopardy.  I called the Uber driver masters and offered to refund my four-dollar fee to the customer to make amends.  They told me they appreciated the sentiment, but they NEVER give the money back.  So I went home grumbling, dripping gallons of sweat, four dollars richer and an hour’s worth of misery wiser.

I hope you appreciate that I waited four weeks to write this horror story.  It was the only way I could write it without profanity or bad words.

 

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Political Pessimism

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I get tired of being the one whose blood is constantly sucked by vampires.  And I am not talking about actual blood so much as money I need to live.  Every time I turn around another corporate vampire is sticking a fang or a needle into my bank account to exsanguinate it more.  I owe more money than I can pay to the IRS.  I owe a huge gob of money to hospitals for the last two hospitalizations that struck my family.  And these are blood suckings that occurred after I went bankrupt at the end of 2017.  Why do I have these woes from things sucking on my neck?  Well, one thing that is staring me right in the face is how the current government, run by Republicans, is enabling corporate vampires who pump the economic blood out of middle class and working poor people like me and feed it into the gaping bloody maws of ever-engorging CEO’s,  fatbat investors, and wealthy one-percenters.

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You are not going to believe this, but I found an article that says Mitch McConnell is directly descended from Dracula.  You can see it for yourself at this link. So let me expand on this with a list of dire predictions for our economic health and wellbeing generated from my blood-deprived pessimist’s brain.

  • Even though it looks like the Trumpula Administration is about to implode from chaos overload due to porn stars and betrayals by lawyers, it is a very long-lived undead thing and will continue to survive.
  • Republicans will continue to suck trillions of dollars of our economic blood because they will win in a large way due to legal gerrymandering, voter suppression, and Russian assistance by hacking.  The minions of the vampire lords are many.  And at least a third of the American population is zombified to the point that no evil act committed by Trumpula will make them vote against him.
  • Midwestern farmers will all be driven out of business by Trumpula’s tariffs and trade wars with all their most important market countries.
  • The bread basket of the world will be turned into a toxic goo factory by Monsanto (noted vampire brand for GMO-based mind-controlling food substitutes).
  • We will all become mindless zombies and happily vote Trumpula into the presidency for life in 2020.
  • And then the whole world will gradually cook itself through un-combatted global warming into a lifeless orb fit only for the undead.

So there you have my rosy outlook on not only my economic future but that of everybody who is not currently a billionaire blood-sucking corporate vampire.  I say “rosy” only because red is the color of blood which is draining away from my bank account at this very moment.  I know it is an over-exaggerated conspiracy theory worthy of Alex Jones at his top-of-the-lungs shoutiest, but if Trumpula could become president, then any possible horror show could soon be coming to life.

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The Wheels of the Stupidity Cycle

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Sadly, the Flynn Effect is working now in reverse.  If you didn’t know, for decades the collective IQ of the United States has been increasing.  People have been getting smarter.  Improvements in education, health care, and diet had been making it possible for each succeeding class year to score better by a significant and steady amount every year over the students of the previous year.  Apparently, according to recent data analysis, it kept going up through the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and the 80’s.

And then, in about 1991, people began to be born who were destined to do worse than their predecessors.  People stopped getting smarter.  In fact, they not only leveled out, they began to get dumber.  Bummer.  As a teacher who taught during that time period, I have to pause and wonder… was it my fault?

I want to be clear about my use of illustrations here.  Not all of the faces I used in the collage above are actually stupid people.  I am told Rowan Atkinson (who plays an idiot character named Mr. Bean) is actually a genius with a very high IQ.  And some of the faces are not even from actual people.  They are cartoon characters or animals or Donald Trump.  And none of them actually caused the decline of IQ scores.  (Although I can’t prove the actor Brendan Fraser didn’t cause it by making the movie George of the Jungle.)

Economic factors brought about by the Reagan Revolution probably caused the wheel of life to turn back towards the stupid end of the cycle.  Rich people began sucking up and keeping every dollar possible, making themselves impossibly rich, and leaving the rest of us to fight over crumbs.  McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King turned the poorer suburbs into virtual food deserts of no nutritional value in every major urban area.  Schools across the nation have been forced to teach to tests whose main and sometimes only purpose is to prove schools undeserving of their funding so States can shift that funding towards private and for-profit schools.  Starved for proper funding, it is only natural that schools turned from learning institutions into baby-sitting services and uniformity indoctrination centers.  Schools now put out only average and poor students because that was the goal of education reform all along in conservative minds.

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So what, exactly, should we do about it?  Well, the wheel will still turn.  And as all wheels do, the part that is on the bottom will return to the top, and stupid will return to bottom as it obviously has before.

The next century is rife with problems that threaten human life on Earth.  Those problems, like income inequality, climate change through corporate abuse of the environment, the nuclear threat, and Donald Trump, will have to be solved by the next generation’s smart people.  When they do solve all those problems, the world will be better for it… or destroyed.  One of those.

And don’t mistake my meaning.  Stupid people have their own value.  Clowns like John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, and Seth Meyers are doing a far better job of helping us understand the issues of today than the nightly news is.  There is a great deal of fun to be had in watching the cat-and-mouse game of Robert Mueller and Donald Trump (where Trump is not the mouse so much as the cheese the mouse ate to start all the slapstick brouhaha).

And people who are not particularly smart can have great value in an infinite number of other ways.  Simple people may never be able to do calculus, but they can make you smile and feel loved better than some of the sharpest intellects (who often tend towards cynicism and bitterness).

The wheels of the Stupidity Cycle will continue to turn because that is the very nature of wheels. We will eventually be smart again.  We can’t keep getting dumber forever (though we did elect Trump).  And this is a pessimist telling you this.  So if this is completely wrong and off base, remember, I am also trying to be positive about the future.

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Uber Crazy

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I have to admit it.  I have been driving for Uber.  I, like many who are doing the same, need the extra money, and can’t manage any other way.  I wanted to work in a grocery store, or something else where I could put in regular hours and make at least minimum wage to supplement my shrinking pension income.  But my health is not sound enough to hold a job where I have to work every day for a set number of hours.  I am only well enough to work about ten hours a week, and then only when my arthritis isn’t crippling me, my diabetes isn’t making me stupid, and other factors aren’t overwhelming me with upset stomach, psoriatic itchiness making me scratch myself bloody in all the wrong places, or having trouble simply getting enough oxygen to stay among  the living.  Uber works for me because I can go do it any time day or night that I feel well enough to do it.  But the job involves a bit of craziness along the way.

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One thing that makes it crazy is the way Uber drivers have, as a group, developed a somewhat sketchy identity.  Sure, they sometimes aid superhero actors who play Doctor Strange and Sherlock Holmes in saving people from attackers (You know, that Bandersnatch Cummerbund guy).  But they also get tried for raping or robbing passengers.  They get into bizarre accidents and shoot their passengers.  How do you convince the female passenger that it is safe to trust you despite the scruffy beard and homeless guy ambiance you are stuck with due to poor health?  Certainly you are aware that you look like a serial killer, right?

man_file_1061878_uber-driver-be-likeAnd back-seat drivers all have visions of the bloody, fiery car crash you are going to put them through in return for their $5.00 riding fee.

But given a chance, I can drive like a master.  I had a daily commute that was 30 miles long (45 stop lights) one way that I spent hours practicing on before and after school for a total of 4 hours a day for 180 days a year for a space of 7 years.  Passengers have gasped when they see the threats coming at us from two lanes over at twenty-miles-an-hour-faster-than-the-speed-limit, but breathe a sigh of relief when I avoid the impact by several feet.  I watch twenty things at once in Dallas-area traffic.

Lately though, I have been limiting myself to food deliveries. I have a car that. due to a faulty heat sensor that has defied recall repair three times, constantly thinks it is suffering from engine overheating, so that, in order to keep going, I must roll down the windows and put the heater on full blast.  That doesn’t sit well with passengers in Texas heat.  But it means I must endure a high-speed Easy-Bake Oven ride while driving.  And today, when I parked at the main office of the apartment complex and walked the meal to the appropriate apartment, which was as it always is, on the far side of the entire complex, I got locked inside.  I couldn’t get back out through any of the security gates because I didn’t have a car to activate the pressure plates at the exit.  And the Spanish-speaking maintenance man who let me in the place was nowhere around to let me out again.  And the next meal delivery was waiting for me to pick it up at Taco Bueno, not getting any warmer while it sat on the counter. I had to squeeze my jelly belly through the narrow opening between the two sides of the security gate.  This I was able to successfully do only probably because the mad dash through the hot sidewalks of the apartment complex had lost me just enough weight to make it.

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Given the option, I would really rather still be teaching.  Uber driving is a crazy way to make money.  But we do what we can actually do in life, and at least I get a funny story or two to tell about later… if I manage to survive the next Uber drive.

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