Why I am not walking the dog.

Arizona is under curfew tonight, so I couldn’t walk the dog even if I wanted to. 

What dog? Regular readers may ask. Hang on. 

Let me just say that this curfew is inexplicably state wide. So sitting here in Phoenix, I can argue whether it’s helpful, but I could at least follow the logic of it. If I were sitting in Gila Bend or Ajo or Snowflake, I would – I would probably find another reason not to walk the dog. It’s somewhat inconceivable that they are enforcing it in those places. 

Ducey’s order has so many exemptions the only thing it actually prohibits is protesting, and therefore would not stand long in court.  For example:

[Exempted:] Individuals traveling directly to and from work; attending religious services; commercial trucking and delivery services; obtaining food; caring for a family member, friend, or animal; patronizing or operating private businesses; seeking medical care or fleeing dangerous circumstances; and travel for any of the above services.

So not only could I plausibly walk this dog (though it would be a stretch), I could absolutely go to the topless bar down the street, which is now open despite the state having met basically none of the actual criteria the CDC set out for opening.

Last month, while we were under a more defensible curfew,  was the year anniversary of acquiring my 2015 Subaru Forester. I bought it at 48k miles. It just ran past 85k. That’s 30k miles in a year and probably not sustainable. 

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A year and 30,000 miles later my opinion hasn’t moved much: with the exception of the turning radius and the sound system, it is an upgrade in very way from my poor old Kia Soul. I’ve had some off-road adventures with it,but most of my miles are on the highway, where it is, actually, above average. 

I consistently get in the mid 20’s for gas mileage. Her preferred cruising speed seems to be 80 mph. I’ve become pretty adept at shoving things into it.

Even so, I had a moment of mild crazy and bought a second vehicle.

  • It is troublesome sharing a vehicle with Rey (for both of us) and
  • I really do need a back-up vehicle as Ruby is staggering into older-vehicle country and
  • I need to tow a trailer from time to time, and that is not in the Subaru’s wheelhouse so

I bought a 2001 Dodge Dakota for $4600 cash.

KIMG1433

The yet unnamed truck – priced as if dealer’s fee and tax did not exist.

And – I got what I paid for. 

The brakes are wonky – and likely about to fail. One of the headlights is out. The cruise control is long gone. And it overheats. I’ll know more once I get it to the mechanic. 

But its a truck with a tow hitch. And the first vehicle I’ve bought with cash since the 1980’s. 

KIMG1422

“Get down, Pipa! Now!”

Rey’s persistence at the pound yielded a 3 year old boxer named Pipa, who scares the crap out of my poor cats, and moves shoes and other objects around the house at random. When Rey is home there is a steady background of the phrase “Not for Pipa!”

I am convinced that the dog means no harm to the cats, but my cats are emphatically unconvinced. How do you train courage into adult cats? I do not know. So they hide outside except for a few hours in the early morning when the dog is firmly ensconced in Rey’s bed.

The kitten is not afraid. This is why I have some faith in Pipa. 

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Fireball is helping…

A small fluffy kitten Rey dubbed Fireball has wandered into the house and made herself at home, and plays with the dog.

My cats are also scared of the kitten. I dunno. 

 

WORD COUNT:

In the past seven days I:

  • Edited 20k of the 64 novel, in hopes to have a beta-read copy soon = 2000 words
  • Designed, drew, and colored two badge art proposals for MaricopaCon = 200 words.
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Not the finished product.

  • Edited about 10k words of the rulebook forGo Action Fun Time= 1000 words.
  • This blog = 1000 words. 

 

That’s 6000 out of 5000.

 

I’m still not walking the dog. That’s Rey’s job.

 

Now we know. 

 

Logical Enemies

There are concepts that are the logical enemies of other concepts. Some are obvious: good is the enemy of evil, smart is the enemy of stupid, meetings are the enemy of sanity. Here are few worth considering in detail:

As a quick memo to the US Senate: Perfect is the enemy of Done. If you’re not comfortable with the terms, put a time limit on it and pass the damn thing.

We’ll come back to this.

Sanitary is the enemy of sustainable. One thing I learned when my mom went through chemo-therapy is that modern sanitary practices make great use of the disposable nature of our technology. Yeah, you can sterilize the dishes, but it’s even better to throw them away. Yeah, you might be able prepare pre-packaged meals in your own kitchen, but even better is having a commercial kitchen prepare it, and bring it to you – in disposable containers. (As long as it’s hot!)

Dish towels are the enemy of sanitation. If you’re immuno-compromised, or just trying to get past a virus, you are way better off using paper towels.

Security is the enemy of Productivity. I see this all the time on construction sites: guys getting paid $X/hour waiting for some one to find a key so they get get into the otherwise empty room and continue their jobs.  But I have seen this happen in much more developed and supposedly functional work spaces – where no one can get where they need to go to do their jobs.

Or they are not authorized to help a customer.

We are not and never have been besieged by a constant invisible menace of terrorist criminals. Most things stolen from (non-retail) businesses were stolen by employees who had access anyway.

Another thing I see all the time while we’re on this subject: The reason the temp of the over-hire just stare at you when you ask them to go get the thing is that they do not have keys. You’ll have to give them yours and trust they’ll come back with both the thing and your keys.

Distrust is the enemy of Society. If we are going to work together to solve a problem, we have to able to trust each other. There is no other way. On any large scale this requires trust in basic institutions – whether they’ve earned our trust or not.

If you do not believe government is ever helpful or that media is every truthful or that you have any obligation to participate in a collective action that you do not wholly believe in, then you are as part of the problem. You might as well be an active criminal.

But if I have to explain that to you, you didn’t read this far. Too many words.

Speaking of too many words, and getting back to perfect vs done:

WORD COUNT:

I am editing Taliesin’s Last Apprentice (because it is finally written). I have yet to settle on a formula for word-count equivalent, but I should be done by the end of the month.

(TLA is the sequel to The Beanstalk and Beyond).

That is basically all I did writing wise last week, and all I expect to do next week.

Next month I final edit One of 64.

In May I expect to do a full edition of Go Action Fun Time

I still have a job (I work off-site anyway), and things would have to get three orders of magnitude worse and stay that way for that to become imperiled. But our slow season has gotten slower, so I expect to actually make real progress editing.

Unsurprisingly,  there is no upcoming event, either game or festival wise, that I have enough confidence in to announce at this time.

Stay well.

 

 

Explaining Rules is Hard

First off, let me get to this before upcoming events make it all quaintly irrelevant:

I plan to vote for Elizabeth Warren in the upcoming AZ Prez Preference whatever (which is not the regular state primary). I am a wonk, and she is the wonkiest of the wonky-wonks, and I am going with my people here. How often does a genuine wonk make it this far?

I would not, however, bet money on her.

My Approved Portraits

“I’d explain it to you – but you’d die.”

Bernie Sanders got 50%+ of the Latino vote in Nevada. If he duplicates that in Texas or California, he’s the nominee. Because math.

And for the partisans hyperventilating about the stigma of socialism, let me be clear: anyone who doesn’t understand that Democratic Socialism isn’t Communism is voting for the other side anyway.  Trump is Lord of the Ignorant, and you aren’t going to get those votes away from him.

It’s hard to sell new ideas – even to smart people, but they are your only plausible market.

Marginally related, I have made a couple of tweaks to the core Go Action Fun Time Rules. That’s going to be the rest of the post, so if you don’t care, thanks for getting down this far.

Go Action Fun Time : “We Are All Sam…”

Saturday – Feb 29, 2020 – my house. 6pm. Because leap day is for time travel. 

AllTheSams.jpg

GenCorp Base 29 is under siege, and the VP in charge of the base doesn’t care. And the inhabitants … well, they’re only clones. Clones aren’t really people, are they?
Are they?
They are, but the Problem is that they are small parts of something much more frightening.

Games will take place in my west-central Phoenix residence unless we find someplace better. It is a house. There will be cats. I will pay for pizza. You are on your own for beverages – or if you somehow do not like pizza.

For this episode only I may grill meat earlier that afternoon, and all would be welcome to it, for I will grill a lot. You would still be on your own for beverages.

There will likely be fire and libations afterwards for all interested.

The event on MeetUp.   The event on Facebook. 

I have simplified the Plot Point development formula, particularly as it takes place after initial character creation.

  • Gone is the formula. The new formula is just new value times the multiplier. The multiplier depends on what sort of ability you are increasing.
  • You can only increase any ability by one between any two episodes. You can increase multiple abilities by one, but you can’t go as far as +2. I could make a logical case for this, but slowing it down just feels better.
  • When you initially create the character, it’s still the multiplier/point. You can just buy them up in any order and as far as you want to pay. The previous value of the ability does not affect its cost.

Abilities reduce Difficulty in addition to adding to the roll – at least for uncontested tasks. Each +1 reduces the Difficulty by one dice (and inverse for negative values).

See? That’s a pretty straightforward concept that proved hard to write with any grace.

Maybe that’s why I admire warren. She’s pretty good at just that.

But she’s rolling against a lot of dice.

WORD COUNT:

The actual last chapter of Taliesin’s Last Apprentice – 2nd draft (transcribed into the Word). = 2000 words.

Editing Go Action Fun Time for the above rule changes, two column format, and moving Powers to the front of character creation = 2000 words

Writer’s group = 500 words

If I had written this yesterday, I would have been over quota – but I’m under by 500 words.

 

This version of Warren would be up by ten points – just saying.

Now we know.

A few quick notes because this blog is not dead

I have been on the road for the past five days, both personal and business reasons, so I might be a bit punchy. What follows are items worthy of note, but not, of themselves, worthy of their own posts.

A memo to my conservative friends, mostly the ones on Facebook: Venezuela is not a dumpster fire because it is socialist. Socialism is just the paint on the dumpster. It is a dumpster fire because the Maduro administration is both corrupt and incompetent. (Compare with his predecessor Chavez, who was merely corrupt). Somalia has almost no socialist programs. Sweden has a good deal more. If I have to explain how that deflates your analogy, you are not the world-savvy observer you claim to be, are you?

It is totally worth it to fill the car with snacks at the start of a journey rather than relying on gas stations as you go. Rural gas stations suck. Get a good cooler and load it up in civilization.

I mentioned to a couple of people the importance of the Jumping Frog Fee for designers, and they just stared at me blankly. I may or may not have promised to e-mail the link to this trove of wisdom, but I totally forgot who these people are.

So: The Jumping Frog Saga from 27B/6.

Also, while three hours at $75.00 does equate to $225.00, the total cost to recreate and sent your business card artwork would be $450.00 due to the Jumping Frog fee.

Before I sent Go Action Fun Time off to print, I had a moment of clarity regarding the introductory material and the cover art – deciding I could do both better. (You can see the cover art in question on the previous post.)

Perfect is the enemy of done but I can do better, so I will.

Due to travel and its distractions, word count is disastrously low this week, but we did update Are We Lost Yet ? about Bloody Basin Road. 

Now we know.

 

Vet Bill exposes the limits of generosity.

I haven’t paid the vet bill yet, but that day is certainly coming. First some housekeeping.

There’s been a bit of hiatus, I know, but most of what I have learned involved things off-limits to this blog: romance, finances, and the details of my day job.

Updates from the most recent posts: My back is healed. But I have long experience with these things, and was never worried – just annoyed.

I sold zero books at either KABAM or the Las Vegas Book Festival. But we have already learned that is not the point.

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Hualapai Mountain trail.

I did get a hike in around Kingman, and a bit of an adventure coming back from Flagstaff for day-job reasons. Those are at Are We Lost Yet.

Brazen Wonk has election endorsements, in case you are relying upon my opinion to inform your vote.

In the last few days, though, I have had  a lesson in the limits of generosity.

Earl brought home a cat he found on the highway. (Earl is my “room-mate”).

And this would be fine and even noble if:

  • He actually lived here or
  • He had the means to support a pet.

Since neither is true, has has brought me a cat to live indefinitely in my home at my expense.

I have named the cat Vet Bill. She’s about 7 months old, black/white/grey/and generally adorable. She comes (inexplicably for a street rescue) with a carrier, a litter box, and food bowl.

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Vet Bill meeting condition #1

You can have her right now if you want. I’ll even split the cost of spaying her.

See, I have two iron rules about creatures living in my house at my expense:

  1. Pee where you are supposed to
  2. Get along with the other residents. All of them.

Vet Bill sees Daphne, my daughter’s rabbit, as her lawful prey, and stalks the aging bunny relentlessly when she is free to do so. True, the other cats will torment the rabbit from time to time, but these episodes are occasional and short-lived.

Vet Bill has made stalking that poor rodent the focus of her life, and I do not have the time or skill to mitigate that. So she basically lives in the closet when either Earl of I aren’t around to police the living room. And she is on pace to live outside when (if) Earl goes off to Louisiana, as he plans to do by the end of the week.

I will not add chasing the cat into her closet to my morning or bedtime chores. She will live outside (or rather, in the garage) before I put either one of us through that.

Or – ideally – someone can come get her, and save her from my cruel tyranny. Seriously, I’ll split the vet bill with you. I know a very reasonable place.

Two things before anyone lectures me on kitty-whispering:

  1. I have never gone out and gotten a pet in my adult life. Every animal I have ever lived with has either squatted at my residence until I gave in and started feeding them, or has been abandoned on my doorstep by previous caretakers.
  2. All I hear is “I’ll come take the kitten off your hands…”

Actually, I will cheerfully deliver her.

Now we know.

 

WORD COUNT:

Two drafts of a chapter revision for Taliesin’s Last Apprentice = 2000

AWLY? Post about FR237 – The Bumpy Back Way into Sedona = 1000

Thursday night writer’s group = 500

Submitting One of 64 to a publisher = 500

Creating a video about my hike to Point Reyes National Seashore =1000

Writing the accompanying AWLY? blog (which goes online Thursday) = 1000

The waiting and the leaving

I’m leaving tomorrow for a week. That’s the lead. It’s not life changing, but I am fairly excited.

I’m being sent to a 3 day class in Berkeley California. I am driving there, starting tomorrow, because I like camping and hate airports. Also, my company is indifferent as to whether I expense the mileage or the plane fare.

I can’t expense extra hotel days, which is fine, because I have campgrounds sussed out. At the end of the blog I’ll add the Google map. But that is a notion, it is not a guarantee.

I imagine I’ll have learned some things when I get back.

Meanwhile, I have been waiting for things.

I am waiting for new glasses. My current ones are scratched to shit, and I kinda dread driving across country with every headlight a halo, but that will not stop me.  At the optometrist, I learned that I do not have glaucoma, but I do have thick corneas, [640 something, I know not what. Most people are 500 something] which distorts that annoying puff test. So I got to sit through a super annoying ultra-sound on my eyes.

That’s the price of a good optometrist, I suppose.

I have been waiting for Menasha Ridge (the publisher of my hiking guides) to tell me what exactly happened to Are We Lost Yet?. There’s a link on the sidebar – so you can see the WordPress error statement that has replaced my longtime hiking blog.

Hopefully, I will have some sort of update when I return. I plane to do some hiking, and would like to have some established place to write about it.

I’m waiting on the inevitable teacher’s strike. Happily, I do not have kids in school. (Universities aren’t the issue). But I do get to watch a political class that rose to power partly by demonizing teachers and glorifying ignorance come to terms with the actual consequences of systemically starving the main reason the state government was chartered in the first place.

I have zero consequence that our good ‘ol state legislature can come up with anything before endless summer starts early.  I could go into how the state legislature has not been in compliance with the state constitution on funding standards for decades, but that would be Brazen Wonk territory, and I still have things to pack.

I’m waiting for the season premier of Westworld, but I’ll be at Point Reyes National Shoreline instead. I have been here before. Now I go alone, of course, and have been re-configuring the camping supplies for just one person. That has proved sadder than I expected.

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Bongo at Point Reyes in 2016.

I have been waiting for my taxes to be filed. There is a delay on the part of the party I am still legally entangled with. No one’s mad – I’m getting a little money back, but not enough to change my life. But I need the paperwork back to I can settle my house insurance refund and  – yeah, I’m bored writing this sentence.

I won’t itemize it here, but even with the travel days, I should end the week at 4500 words.

Here’s the map. I come back to Phoenix either late April 28 or early April 29.

Links and a memo to the lawnmower boy

First, some relevant links, because my stranger essays (like the one below) are an acquired taste.

At Are We Lost Yet? I finally posted a Behind the Hike on Sterling Pass and the Vultee Arch north of Sedona.

At Curious Continuity, we expanded a little on the Robots and AI’s vs your crappy job.

I have a new blog, Brazen Wonk, which will become my outlet for political posts. I am not shy about my politics, but as this thing transitions towards an author blog, I did not want my wonkish rantings cluttering up a blog about life’s lessons learned, and writing announcements. Just as importantly, I’m trying to build an overall narrative about the importance of moderation in a democracy, and I do not want to clutter that up with random musings on lawncare, or the antics of octopi.

The latest is about the Gorsuch confirmation battle.

Bored? Sober? Penny has updated Wine Hobo with profile of Pillsbury Wine Company in Cottonwood, and their invaluable listing of wine related events.

If wine’s not strong enough, Total Wine and More will teach you about whisky.

Finally, an octopus has eaten all of a jellyfish except the part it wants to wear.

You’re welcome.

Now this:

Open Memo to the kids who mowed my lawn

Let’s start by saying you did a decent job of it, despite a number of challenges that you mostly brought upon yourselves.  So this is not (for the most part) to complain about your work. The thing is that I have a lot of experience both in mowing my lawn in particular, and making a good effort at an inherently unprofitable job in general. Here then, is some unsolicited advice.

Some background, since we are sharing this with the rest of the internet: My wife hired you, the twenty something male whose name I did not catch (so “Guy”) to mow our front lawn when you came to the door to solicit that work. Front yard and trim around our wall for $25. Only, we didn’t have cash that day, so she told you to come back in a few days. Then we both forgot about that, thinking that you were not likely to come back.

So you know, knocking on doors looking for odd jobs is tweeker behavior, particularly in this neighborhood. Now, we don’t think anything of the kind now, but that’s the starting assumption you’re going to fight when approaching middle-aged white homeowners.

Tweekers don’t come back. You did. There ends that debate.

You woke me up when you knocked on the door. Ok. It was like 10am, that’s fine. You had another twenty something woman with you, whose relationship to you I could not determine (so “Gal”), and your girlfriend, because you referred to her as such, and an infant child. Also, an electric lawnmower and a gas powered weed-eater of varying functionality.

With that scene set, here’s what I should have pulled you aside to tell you:

  • Bring your own water. Not all homeowners are as nice as I am.
  • If you’re going to mow strangers’ lawns, you need a gas powered lawnmower. Your day went better than it would have normally because I have an electric mower too, and have the exterior outlet and the pile of extension cords to support it.
    • A gas mower means not having to worry about any of that.
    • But if you’re going to stick with an electric mower, learn to over/under the cable. It’s an obscure show biz skill, but it halves the difficulty of feeding an extension cord across a given distance, such as the lawn you are mowing.
    • Star at the coil, and go out from that direction as if vacuuming a rug. The concentric circle method is for gas mowers.
  • I was happy to lend you my trimmer when yours died ( or simply outwitted you – it was hard to tell), but I was not happy to see how it was returned. With middle-aged men, the problem is as much the surprise as the damage. Hiding it essentially doubles your jeopardy. If you break something, tell us about it.
    • It cost just shy of $9 and a half hour of my time to fix it – but it took a week to get the part.
    • Even so, when (if) you come back, be prepared to use your own trimmer.
    • KIMG0128

      No good deed goes unpunished.

 

  • You paid twenty dollars for that diaper.

Let me explain that last. I offered another $25 to do the backyard as well, and you accepted. That work was well done, except I could see where progress stopped. The infant, whom your girlfriend had been struggling to deal with all morning, had filled her diaper, and you had no spares. So you and Gal worked furiously to get it mostly done, so you could go home and change the diaper. I had another twenty dollars of bonus work which would not have taken you long (trimming that bush spilling over the top of my wall – essentially a disguised tip). As it was, I had to wait for my part to come in to finish trimming my backyard.

This brings up a couple of broader lessons.

Leave the family home. They gain nothing by loitering on the sidewalk while you mow the lawn, and you lose revenue you can’t afford (more on that below) when those specious logistics fall apart.  It’s not just you. I have told many young stagehands that leaving early to give their significant others a ride or whatever costs them a half-day’s hourly wage. Is that really cheaper than a cab ride? Young people in love don’t always do that math.

A note for your girlfriend, and all the other SO’s who view their partner going off to work as some sort of threat to the relationship.  We pay you to do the work in part so that you will take it seriously. Bringing your SO to the jobsite gives the opposite impression. Also, useful people will always be in demand. If your boyfriend has nothing better to do with his time than hang out with you, there is likely an unpleasant reason for that.

Here’s your real problem, though. You made a total of $50 for about three hours of work. Split between the two adults, that’s just over $8/hour. That’s not going to get it done. I’ve spent time being twenty something and desperate, and I get that some money is better than no money, but you will starve to death doing lawns like this. There is no upward price pressure. At $60 or more, I’ll do the lawn myself. I am your real competition, and I am really good at mowing my own lawn.

But, as I said, you did a respectable job, and I asked you to come back in few weeks, and you said yes. And if you do, I’m going to ask if you have a working cel phone. If you have one, I’m going to refer you (both of you) to Rhino Staging, because their lowest rate represents a 50% increase in your hourly wage. But you gotta be able to just answer the phone, and you can’t bring your girlfriend.

Truth be told, though, I actually hoping you won’t come back. I’m actually hoping you find something better on your own.

 

Now you know.

 

The More Things Change…

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

First, some rumor control. There has been a rash of stories about border guards detaining people for no good reason, and as much as I would like to attribute that to the Trumpster – this is not new. [Watts ended up convicted of a felony, is barred from traveling in or though the US and paid a fine.]

My wife has given notice at Rhino, and I will miss working with her very much, not only because I (obviously) enjoy her company, but because she was also good at her job.I don’t get into Rhino politics online, but from my perspective – which is abnormally well informed – this situation was 100% avoidable had anyone in charge been inclined to take action.

This is neither the first nor last good employee who has had this experience.

March 7th is her last day at Rhino. She took a new job which starts March 8th.

I have started going back to writer’s groups. I go to Central Phoenix one on Monday nights at Grand Central Coffee Company (where I’m work-shopping the sequel to Beanstalk and Beyond). and an independent one on Thursday Night at the Armadillo Grill – which seems really familiar.  (My old group met there for years, on Thursday night). Join us if your are inclined, and I will try not to spill beer on my copy of your first or second draft. [Links above are to the Meet-up sites which may require registration]

At Are We Lost Yet?  I report on outdoor retailers vs the Utah GOP.

The twice annual Outdoor Retailers Show has announced that it will pull out of its long time home in Salt Lake City Utah in protest of Utah officials support of eliminating federal lands by transferring them to the states.

At Fantastical History, we continue on with giants, exploring my strange (made-up) theory about the Muans and how they became Asuras.

Muans ( a term made up well after the fact) are a race of supernatural immortals native to southeast Asia. Their lost history informs the legends and myths behind the Asura and Devas and Jinn and Oni of more recent human cultures.

At Curious Continuity, I report both facts and wild conjecture about TRAPPIST-1 and its seven dwarves.

Unless we are captured by alien slavers and dragged there, we are not going to be around when (if) human starships reach the seven rocky dwarf planets orbiting tightly around TRAPPIST-1.  Why wait for that – when we can just make stuff up. Come on – NASA wants you to!

And I updated my writer’s resume to try and land a gig writing for Outer Places. So if they made it this far down checking me out – hi guys! The links were sparse because a lot of what I’ve written for the web has since evaporated in 404 unknown host country.

The more things stay the same, the more they change.

Now you know.

 

MORE ON PETER WATTS:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/5497556/sf-author-peter-watts-found-guilty-of-felony-resistance-against-border-guardhttp://io9.gizmodo.com/5497556/sf-author-peter-watts-found-guilty-of-felony-resistance-against-border-guard

https://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/2009/12/12/us_border_guards_arrest_author_peter_watts.html

http://www.tor.com/2010/04/27/sometimes-we-win/

 

 

Q&A about uncalled fouls and Russian hacking

Somewhere in the 1990’s Alonzo Mourning’s Charlotte Hornets lost a play-off game to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. Mourning complained afterwards that Jordan had fouled him on his last shot (which might have tied the game), but it was not called.

Jordan responded (I’m paraphrasing a little here – it was a long time ago):

“Did I foul him on the hand? Hell. I probably got his whole arm. Should they have called that? Sure. But if he thinks that’s why he lost the game, he’s going to lose the next one.”

I don’t remember if the Bulls swept the Hornets in those playoffs, but I know they prevailed. [update: the Bulls won 3-1 of a best of five]

This is where we’re at with the Russian hacking thing.

Is the Russian hacking thing a real scandal?  Yes – in that laws were broken. Even though the material stolen in the Watergate break-in was a non-factor in the 1972 election, no one disputed that the break-in was a crime.

Should the DNC have had better system security? Obviously.

Is this all the DNC’s fault? No. If you leave your car unlocked, it’s still a crime for someone to steal stuff out of your trunk

Does that excuse anything else that happened? No.

Is it as bad as Watergate? No – in that no-one in either Trump’s camp or the Republican Party had anything to do with it.

Did Vladimir Putin order the hack in an attempt to put Donald Trump in the White House? Not really.

Russian hackers who may or may not have been under contract with the Russian government hacked the RNC server as part of a wider effort to hack any political database. This data appeared, somehow, in the hands of Russian intelligence. Putin, it seems, saw it personally and after he stopped laughing, authorized its release to Wikileaks.

It is not so much that Putin likes Trump. It is that he really hates Hillary Clinton. Really. Hate.

Did this cost Clinton the election? No.

First, James Comey did far more damage with his November surprise press conference about nothing. If anyone should be called for a foul – it’s him.

That said, you know in your heart that Hillary Clinton cost herself the election, the way George McGovern was his own worst enemy in 1972. She was unable to present to voters any compelling reason to vote FOR her. Yeah- point to her position papers buried on her website all you want. This is Presidential politics. You have to find a way to deliver your message – deliver, and get them to listen to it.  The message she delivered was “Trump is worse” which isn’t enough in the fly-over states, as we have seen.

Should we, as a country, be concerned that Russia behaved badly? Sure.

BUT –BUT-BUT this is way down the list of the things that worry me about the upcoming Trump administration. While clearly self-serving, Trump’s admonition that we should all move on actually has some merit. That game is over. Look at the replays all you want – the score is going to stand.

BUT again, at least Jordan admitted that there was probably a foul.

 

 

Post Election Memos to my friends left and right

OK – Let’s get this over with. I am done trying to predict anything our presumed President Elect, Donald J Trump, might say, do or accomplish. I have been wrong at every turn. Now, I have not been alone in this, but at some point you have to stop touching the stove.

So I have been largely ignoring all the social media, bliggidy-blog pronouncements about what the future holds in store for our dear republic, because the only person who knows what Trump might do is Trump, and I can’t say with confidence that even he knows. This is a man who will contradict himself on policy within the same press conference, and then later, when asked to clarify, will offer a third, completely different policy, none of which will square with known facts.

I raise my hands and walk away.

A Memo to my friends standing to my left:

Protesting almost never works. How much did the Occupy movement really change anything? How much better is the Middle East after the Arab Spring? You have every right to do this, of course. But you do not have a right to be taken seriously, and no one who isn’t marching with you is taking you seriously.

(Before you start: MLK and his whole movement persevered for nearly a decade, organized politically, and did most of their real damage through strikes. You guys are nowhere near that level.)

If you want to influence the outcome of the game, you must actually play the game – and I mean politics. Right now, you’re just a bunch of rowdy fans in the cheap seats.

(Also before you start: Clinton beat Sanders by too many votes for that to be all DNC shenanigans. By the time Sanders realized he could win he was already too far behind, which sounds like nonsense, but that’s what happened.)

A Memo to my friends standing to my right:

What I can report with some confidence is that those who were hoping that our New Orange Overlord would wipe away all pretense of political correctness have it exactly backwards. If you are or have been a vocal Trumpster, the presumption is that you’re a racist, or are at least more willing to tolerate racism than the rest of society at large. If you don’t care, stop reading here.

But if you do, if you prefer to be thought of as civil , perhaps even tolerant, you were warned, even if you couldn’t recognize, that Trump has presented himself as the most openly bigoted serious candidate we’ve had since George Wallace ran on Segregation Forever in the 60’s. And you have approved that message – even if you voted for him for some other reason.

Now that doesn’t make you necessarily a bigot until … you post that one slightly bigotted thing on Facebook. You may have noticed, then, that anyone who is not also a True Trumpster reacted quickly and harshly, right?

If Trump actually carries through with his most extreme threats policies, it will become increasingly difficult to carry out a normal, peaceful existence unless you are a straight, white Christian male, ideally older than 40. For the rest of your friends – anywhere – these policies represent an existential threat to their ability to participate in society, if not life and limb.

That is a very different level of anxiety and discomfort than name-calling, which is what calling you a racist or homophobe, or islamophobe, or a general bigot amounts to.  And if you’re doing this on purpose, knowing that it will upset people, the name we use is asshole.

So if you openly endorsed Trump, and you don’t want to be considered a bigot by the majority of us who did not, then it is upon you to not be an asshole.

And so we’re clear, “Why do you say Trump is racist?” or “White lives matter too…” or “I don’t think I bigoted by my definition” or any of that tired, old crap will not work with anyone who does not agree with you already. (And if you’re claiming he didn’t mean any of that, I refer you to the top of the post)  The rest of us are exhausted in explaining this to you, and if you try to make us do it one more time, you’re being an asshole.

You live Trump down by being super cool – just as Jesus would want you to do anyway. There is no other path.