If I Didn’t Show You, You Wouldn’t Know It Was Clean

A little over a week ago, our washing machine gave out, again. Prior to failure, it had made a strange noise whilst spinning; then, it stopped spinning and then intermittently spun. I ordered a new washing machine on the Internet because I wanted it delivered sooner rather than later and didn’t know when I could make it to shop for a new washer. The delivery still took a week, but it was scheduled for yesterday.

So I moved the old washing machine to the garage where I can repair it at my leisure and have a back-up washing machine or I can store it for a number of years until I–or my heirs–get someone to haul it away.

I took the opportunity to move the dryer out as well and to wash the floor beneath them. So the floor is clean-clean (or is it clean/clean) for the first time since we moved into Nogglestead eleven years ago.

Forgive me while I immortalize it here. You, gentle reader, undoubtedly know the feeling of pride when you clean something that nobody will ever see, and you try to think about how to steer conversation in that direction or to draw attention to the normally unseen area when you have visitors. At least, I hope you do. I certainly do, but not that often (see also eleven years between floor washings).

And, as a bonus, I can knock an item off of my whiteboard.

I organized my whiteboard with those categories sometime around 2014. A couple of times, I’ve gotten in and vacuumed lint and whatnot, but I’ve never completely washed the floors since I wrote the task on the whiteboard.

Somewhere early in the century, I had a whiteboard in a cubicle that I used a lot for tracking work tasks, so I got one for the home office, too. However, in the intervening years, that whiteboard has not been in reach of my mammoth desk, so I’ve ended up not using it much. Nor, apparently, knocking off the tasks on it.

But I will eventually remove the one about cleaning the laundry floor. Or just leave it on the whiteboard for a while, until I need to do it again.

Book Report: Westminster Abbey by Trevor Beeson (1987)

Book coverThis book report is likely to look a lot like the book report for Windsor Castle.

I bought this book at Calvin’s Books in June; I don’t know if I will watch a lot of football these days, so I have decided to flip through these travel books as a brief interlude while I read longer works. And my response to this book is much like that to Windsor Castle: Wow.

The book has text describing the history of Westminster Abbey along with its various renovations throughout the centuries. The pictures depict the rooms, the effigies, the tombs, and the artifacts you can find on site. And as with Windsor Castle, I’m almost moved to go see it. I suppose I should sooner rather than later, although that’s not necessarily possible in the short term. The pessimist side of me suspects before long it will be a mosque. Although when one factors in historical scope, “before long” could be a hundred years.

The Dying Time Continues

I predicted last November that I was entering a dying time much like my family experienced in the late 1980s, where a number of family members (my grandfather, my grandmother, my step-grandfather, my step great grandmother, my cousin, and assorted great aunts) died in a short period of time. My aunt and stepmother had cancer, and I pointed out that the generation above mine was entering that sixties through eighties age group and might be coming to the end of their retirements (which is what the Wall Street Journal’s Complete Guide To Money called death, although much of my extended family, even in that age bracket, are not actually retired yet).

My aunt died at the end of November. Although treatments seemed to put her into remission, my stepmother passed this summer. The best man from my wedding died this spring.

And my sister-in-law has passed away unexpectedly.

She had had what should have been routine surgery last week and might have been discharged too soon. After a weekend of illness, she collapsed on Tuesday morning. My brother performed CPR on her, and although they restarted her heart at the hospital, she was nonresponsive and unlikely to recover. So after her daughter and sister arrived from different parts of the state, my brother decided to discontinue the life-preserving means–she had no brain function–and she passed. I spent most of the week across the state, supporting my brother as he tended to the immediate after.

My manager at work just lost her mother to cancer, and I said it was the hardest thing. Throughout the week, I reassessed what actually was the hardest thing. When my mother was sick and in the ICU, I had the power of deciding if and when to discontinue life support. I thought that was the hardest thing. Then I watched my brother actually have to make the decision, and I thought that was the hardest thing. Then I watched him tell her children that it was time, and that was the hardest thing. Then I watched them tell her nine-year-old grandson that Grandma was in Heaven. So it’s all the hardest thing, one hardest thing after another.

I was not especially close to my sister-in-law, so I was not acutely grieving. At times I felt like an intruder while her family group huddled together, but I think it helped my brother to have someone of his generation there for support. I hope so, anyway. I could only play the role of the wise old (too soon) man who stoically understood grieving and could warn the others of what they would experience. I told them that the grieving would come and go; that my brother made no mistakes and was not negligent leading to his wife’s passing; that to watch someone you love grieve is almost worse than your own grief, as the fear of pain is worse than actual pain; that little things would set them off; that at some point, you will start to go on with life, and might think you’ve forgotten her because you’re no longer actively in pain, and you might feel guilty about it, but don’t; and that the first year will be filled with milestones such as her first birthday without her, the first Christmas without her, and so on, which will make it all real again. I think I helped; but they are only words, but hopefully sympathetic ones. I never know if I’m helping or not.

Like so many things this year, it makes one confront one’s own mortality and reflect on what one has done and what one has left undone. Unfortunately, every marker of mortality this year has not made me act much better.

Eesh, and don’t I feel a little sompy making it all about me.

Why Is He Known For A Valediction and An Ode On A Grecian Urn, But Not This?

It’s the twenty-first century, and this is the Internet. John Keats should be best known for “To a Cat”:

Cat! who has pass’d thy grand climacteric,
     How many mice and rats hast in thy days
     Destroy’d? How many tit-bits stolen? Gaze
With those bright languid segments green, and prick
     Those velvet ears – but pr’ythee do not stick
     Thy latent talons in me – and tell me all thy frays,
Of fish and mice, and rats and tender chick;
Nay, look not down, nor lick thy dainty wrists, –
     For all the wheezy asthma – and for all
Thy tail’s tip is nick’d off – and though the fists
     Of many a maid have given thee many a maul,
Still is thy fur as when the lists
     In youth thou enter’dst on glass-bottled wall.

I came across this one about a third of the way through the complete works of Keats that I’ve been reading off and on for a couple of years. It’s actually a collection of the complete works of Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley, so the Keats is not the half of it. Dude died at 25 and left almost four hundred pages of poems sometimes double-stacked on a page (but sometimes “Endymion”). Me, I’ve written two poems in the last ten years (but but sold one for $100 bucks, which is a feat neither Keats nor Shelley can likely match).

I suppose I need to drag myself with a pad of paper to the coffee house in Republic one of these days (Black Lab Coffee, even though there’s a new location of Classic Rock Coffee out there, but Black Lab was there first and supports the Pregnancy Resource Center as we do). Otherwise, I am likely to hit twice Keats age with only a hundred and something pages of poetry for posterity.

Who Needs A Facsimile?

Full-Sized Commodore 64 Remake ‘The C64’ Now Available for Preorder.

After all, I already have five:

as well as a Commodore 128 that I received from blogger Triticale, the rye and wheat guy, may he rest in peace:

So, actually….

I might need one as I haven’t lit one of them up in a couple of years, and as modern televisions and monitors make the video connections tricky, and as old 1541 floppy drives are notoriously dicey….

(Link via Vodkapundit on Instapundit.)

You Can’t Spell Chutzpah Without “Huh.”

Editorial: The protests didn’t kill David Dorn. A criminal did — with easy access to a gun.

Yeah, um. But:

It’s practically meaningless to ask where he got the gun, since anyone in Missouri can privately purchase a gun from anyone else with no questions asked. Missouri’s Republican leaders, like their congressional counterparts, have made sure of that by opposing universal background checks for all gun purchases.

Because the Post-Dispatch already has its point to make–the protests are peaceful, guns are bad–it doesn’t matter if the convicted felon and continuing criminal got his gun through the means–private sales–that the Post-Dispatch wants to flog or whether he got it through other means which are illegal and would not be stopped by more laws restricting the law abiding but not convicted felons and continuing criminals. The editorial writer does not need know whether he stole the gun, got the gun from someone who illegally purchased the gun for him, received the gun as a gift from a fellow criminal, or bought the gun from another convicted felon who should not have had the gun, either, and would not have run a background check if the law required it. Knowing it might have made the editorial impossible.

So, yeah, it’s not important to the canned editorial the newspaper opened.

In the real world, though, even if this law were in place, hobbling law-abiding citizens, this guy would probably still have gotten a gun.

I Will Need This In A Couple Of Years

Sign language interpreters at metal concerts.

Actually, I am in pretty good shape for a couple of reasons. One, I have not been to the gym lately, so I have not been listening to metal at max volume in earbuds much this year. Second, I don’t tend to go to actual metal concerts because in my youth, metal heads tended to give me the business, so I avoid them in large groups.

But still.

(Link via Neatorama.)

But I Like The Current Model

Ad:

While I can understand why some people would like a different or new model in their bathrooms, I am still well pleased with the existing model, pictured here as seen modeling the IMAO Nuke the Moon t-shirt. Which, yes, is the clothing line that she modeled with Michelle Malkin.

You know, she looks like that today. Which is amazing.

Wait a minute, I have just been handed a note: Apparently, remodeling does not mean getting a new model for–it means something like repainting and updating the fixtures. I have never heard such a thing, and we certainly have not done anything like that at Nogglestead. I should look into it.

The New Store In Town

Behind the Burger King, the developer built a little retail building that sat vacant for a very long time. It doesn’t have lot of visibility from the street, and it’s not very big, and it’s only really there offset in front of another shopping center because the developer had room for it. So it sat vacant for years, which is roughly the time it takes the Burger King in front of it to process a couple of orders (no kidding–one time, we went into the store, and we stood for ten minutes while the team tried to handle one drive through order. I have no idea what they ordered, but we left before anyone even stepped to the counter to take our order).

The logo above the door and on the street signage says F45.

I spotted the new signage and pointed it out to my youngest as I was taking him to school this morning. “F45. I wonder what that is,” I said. “You can’t tell it from the name.”

As a matter of fact, the only thing I could think of was a store full of items pointedly against our current president. I mean, we get a lot of roadside stands down here selling things with American flags and Make America Great Again on them. So why not something with anti-Trump stuff in it?

However, with only three months before the election, it’s a lot of floor space and professional signage instead of a vinyl banner. So I looked it up.

F45 is a gym global fitness community (with a link on the home page offering franchise opportunities.

It’s an interesting time to open a gym, but getting the signage out and prepping the space while the pandemic rages might mean they’re ready to go when the restrictions life.

What a world we’re in that the first thing I think of is something politically derogatory. Or maybe it’s not so much the world as it is me.

My Facebook Feed Is Like My Musical Library

That’s an animated GIF of Judas Priest singing “Breaking the Law” in someone’s comment on something followed by a WSIE post about Count Basie.

Kind of like how my home library is all female-fronted metal bands like Amaranthe:

(Can I call Elize Ryd a metal songbird?)

Followed by jazz songbirds like Nicole Zuraitis:

Clearly, Facebook has been listening to me. Or I interact with a lot of metalheads and follow a lot of jazz stuff on Facebook. FALSE DILEMMA! Like metal or jazz.

I Would Be Outraged, But….

Young people don’t trust anyone who uses this punctuation mark:

Periods may be coming to a full stop.

While older texters may consider the period an innocent symbol that a sentence has ended, digital natives consider it a triggering form of aggression. The punctuation problem ignited over social media recently, with Gen Z and millennials agreeing that ending a sentence with a period is overly hostile and, worse yet, extremely uncool.

“Only old people or troubled souls put periods at the end of every sentence,” wrote digital culture journalist Victoria Turk in her book on digital etiquette, “Kill Reply All.”

Instead… I will aggress… the subset of young people… who are triggered… by digital dots… and I vow… to use ellipses… BECAUSE I AM MEAN.

If you cannot trust a digital cultural journalist peddling her own book, whom can you trust?

Book Report: Sixth Column by Robert A. Heinlein (1941, 1999)

Book coverThis Heinlein book comes from a 1941 magazine, a 1949 book edition, and then a fifth Baen paperback printing from 1999. That is to say, the book was in print fifty-eight years later. The cover has a retro-video game look to it that might make you think this is one of the juvie rocket-jockey things, but it’s not.

The story picks up at a secret Rocky Mountain military lab where a messenger finds that most of the scientists are very recently dead. Only a handful have survived some sort of accident, and the messenger was to tell the lab that it was to act independently as United States military command (and the country) had collapsed under an invasion from the Asians, who are apparently a blend of Communist China, Japan, recently amalgamated India, and elements of the Soviet Union. The messenger takes command, and the remaining scientist discovers that one of his colleagues had discovered another natural force somewhere between electromagnetism and gravity that can kill people by race/genetics as well as provide power and work miracles. So to resist the occupying army, they start a new religion and hope to make an effective stand before the occupiers realize what’s going on.

An interesting premise, and a bit talky in that Heinlein way (but not full of sex, as that’s decades away). However, the book does use an awful lot of slurs for Asians from slant-eyes to flat-faces and more (I couldn’t get away without putting them in as I have typed other ethnic slurs whilst talking about books in the past). You know, I am an old man now, so I come from an age where I can recognize that, when this book was originally published, the United States had just defeated an Asian power, the communists had taken over China, and people knew about the Mongol hordes. So I can accept the language as a product of its time and not hit the fainting couch or the streets in protest.

So a quick read, an interesting premise, talky, and prone to describing a military enemy in dehumanizing ways.

KY 3 Journalist Again Expands The Boundaries of Battlefield

Dozens of Battlefield neighbors gather to sign petition against proposed zoning:

A large plot of land that once was supposed to be a school is now drawing quite a bit of concern from neighbors who fear it could soon be the home of a large apartment complex.

Back in 2019, Springfield Public Schools sold a 34-acre property south of Harrison Elementary School. The property was sold to SPI of Springfield, LLC. While the property is currently zoned for singly family homes (R-1), the developer initially requested it be rezoned for multi-family homes.

Residents in the area are upset by the proposal, which would lead to single-family homes and an apartment complex being built on the land.

People living nearby said the proposal comes with an assortment of issues.

As someone who has passed through the area on a bicycle this weekend, I can assure you that this is not in the city of Battlefield.

That’s unincorporated Greene County. It’s not even within the 65619 area code, which is the Brookline post office located way up north of Republic but curls around the eastern boundary of Republic and includes Battlefield to the east and Clever and Billings to the south (man, they have to go a long way to pick up their packages–it’s almost a half hour at freeway speeds for us). So I have no idea where KY 3 got the idea to call this neighborhood “Battlefield”. It’s more likely to be annexed by Springfield than Battlefield.

Previously, KY 3 extended the boundaries of Battlefield to the north.

I have to be a Battlefield partisan early, as the boundary of the city is the big empty field across the farm road from me, and someday, they might decide to annex Nogglestead.

You know, they used to say, “Good enough for government work.” I think we have a new low standard, “Good enough for young journalist work.”

I’m Glad I Said Something Nice

As you know, gentle reader, we bloggers are a vain lot and we watch our stat trackers very carefully. Personally, I’m vain and disappointed as my traffic is not what it was in the early part of the century when the blogosphere was young. So I can see very clearly who’s coming to the blog (Korean Web crawlers mostly).

Every once and again, I get a search engine hit for a small collection of poetry followed by one or more direct hits to the same page from a different IP and device:

Yesterday, a couple of visitors went to my report earlier this year on The Country Roads and Other Poems.

I assume that a family member of the author searched for his or her relative, found my book report, and shared it with someone else in the family.

Which is why I am glad that I had something nice to say. You might have noticed that my book reports have mellowed over the years, especially when it comes to smaller books or poetry chapbooks. These are real people, you know, and it’s likely that some of them or their descendants might someday stumble across a book report here, and I’d like for them to find nothing but joy in finding that their books or their relatives’ books are being read decades later somewhere across the country.

As it happens, I have seen this visit pattern more than once for As Autumn Approaches, too.

Shallow Fakes

I’m inundated on my Facebook feed with celebrities holding up t-shirts or wallhangings, and I think, Okay, they’re just holding up a t-shirt, probably a green one that the novelty-pushers then edit their particular ware onto it.

Lately, though, I’ve been convinced that the celebrities are not holding anything up at all, and they’re just grafting either the head or the hard and body onto green screens.

What did it was a rapid set of songs on wallhangings.

I mean, at least they altered the hands a little bit, but what are the odds that they’re holding the wallhangings in exactly the same fashion? Not likely. And Tim McGraw and Paul McCartney certainly did not hold these cheap, probably unlicensed, bits of decor at all. They probably don’t even know about it.

What? Stuff you see on the Internet is fake? Perish the thought.

I have never actually bought any t-shirts held by celebrity doppelgangers, so really it’s just more fodder for my foolish comment.

Or I Could Work At A Gas Station, I Suppose

A recruiter reaches out to me, a software quality assurance professional with almost twenty years of experience in IT with an offer I could not pass up:

I could not pass up the chance to mock it.

Jeepers, mister, I could make that much working the counter at a gas station. And I would not have to relocate for that fifteen dollars an hour.

An opportunity this good can only be a scam of some sort.

Book Report: Windsor Castle by Robin Mackworth-Young (1983)

Book coverI bought this book in June. I don’t know if I will be watching a lot of football this year, so I’ve started flipping through the travel books and artistic monographs I’ve bought this year instead during the evenings when I don’t want to read another chapter before bed.

This book, as the title indicates, is a pictorial take-away probably sold at the gift shop at Windsor Castle. Appropriate for its time, it has a couple of pictures of Queen Elizabeth II and the Reagans in it. I saw them and thought that she looked relatively young, but of course she did: It was almost forty years ago, and more than half of her reign has since passed.

I was quite wowwed with the castle. Not only are the rooms depicted huge and castley, but the text delves into the history of the castle which was originally a fortification for William the Conqueror. When I look at American history books, particularly the local ones I tend to favor, I read about some town that goes back a hundred years (or two, I guess, since we’re in the 21st century now). But when your building (well, compound, but that’s a word applied to American outposts smart people don’t like) dates back 1000 years, you can describe how King John laid seige to it or that George III redid these buildings.

Fascinating stuff, and it almost makes me want to go to England to see it. My beautiful wife has been to London and likes it–we’re not the sort that travel internationally easily (although in the past we have jetted off to the coasts of our country), and she would like to go there with me someday. Books like this make me want to go. The madness that is the world makes me really not. Time will tell which wins out. Until then, I have a stack of such books that I bought inexpensively at Calvin’s Books on one of our short, driving vacations this year.