My Lousy Month

Hello. I’m using a Android tablet for this post and will be doing so until things improve. My laptop’s processor don’t work right. A few weeks ago it stopped working altogether. My local guy got it working but now the video won’t come out. The screen works but there is no video getting to it. No graphics card and everything runs off the processor. Can’t hook up to a TV to get video neither. It just died like that.

I have a car that severely needs maintenance. New ball joints and brakes, plus a wheel alignment and a new tire. You know how many Americans can’t afford a $500 emergency? It me.

I pulled a muscle in my leg a few weeks ago while going to the pool at the health park. I couldn’t work out because I needed to rest and elevate the leg. I actually missed working out. I only went back yesterday because it finally felt like it was up to the challenge. As I get older, I heal slower.

I need an dentist appointment NOW. One of my teeth is showing gum erosion and it hurts to drink cold liquid. Only started hurting this weekend so maybe there is still hope for my mouth.

Do you know how hard it is to find a dentist who will accept Medicaid and Medicare? Eyes and teeth are not covered for the most part. Why would they be? It’s not like they’re part of the human body or something.

All of this adds up to MONEY, which I do not have. You see why this is a problem. I can’t work and I have to depend on the monthly disability check I get which covers living expenses (barely).If I had some money I don’t know what I’d do with myself. I might get an eye exam and a new pair of glasses. I might buy a new pair of shoes or a full tank of gas.

I just remembered that my electric bill is due in a week. I’m rooting for a meteor to hit me straight in the head.

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Some People Should Go To Hell

Some things I have heard discussed in regard to the case of Brett Kavanaugh, Supreme Court nominee and accused attempted rapist:

  • Bill Clinton
  • Ted Kennedy
  • The Duke Lacrosse team scandal

The people who bring these subjects up seems to run the gamut from “what about those guys – weren’t they guilty” to “Kavanaugh’s not guilty because women lie sometimes”. And I know I don’t have the energy to yell at these people so I can’t imagine what it’s like being a woman.

A lot of women have been attacked and say as much yet nobody ever takes credit for those attacks. I don’t have any reason to disbelieve women any more. Once upon a time, I wanted to believe that rapes and sexual assaults didn’t happen. I wanted to rationalize why someone would make up an accusation. What is there to gain? And eventually I realized there’s nothing to gain. There’s no book deal or movie deal or TV series or whatever. You can’t spin being a victim of sex crimes into an entertainment career.

I was in denial. Because they do happen. Sex crimes happen all the time. Rape, battery, molestation. I was molested as a kid and I didn’t tell anyone until last year. How could I not understand why someone would not come out for so long after an attack?

So in the abstract, I understood there were people who reflexively didn’t believe women accusers of rape but it took this week for that to come into focus. A guy I’ve known since high school kept pushing the Duke Lacrosse comparison to me, where a group of athletes were falsely accused of rape by a woman who stripped at a party they threw.

He was equating the Kavanaugh case with the Duke Lacrosse incident. Talked of ruined lives. What can be worse that that? Lives ruined by false accusations.

I would have asked him to name one of the Duke guys but we were on Twitter so I blocked him.

All I know is if the guy who molested me had the chance to be an elected official or Supreme Court justice, I might have a grudge myself and might want to do something about it. I don’t know know what relevance any of this other stuff has to do with this particular case. I also don’t know what urban crime in Chicago has to do with preventing school shootings. I don’t know how to argue with people who are intent on diversion after diversion.

It’s not my job to argue with them. They’ll have to come to a realization sooner or later. It took me some time but I came around. And if they can’t or refuse to, they can go to hell.

Water Foul

Three days a week, I go to the Healthpark to do water exercises. I go to the therapy pool and alternate days between upper and lower body exercises. It’s a routine I’ve had since May and it has made me healthier and happier.

My left front tire went dead flat Sunday night after a trip to the store. My mom texted me in the early morning to tell me it was flat as she left for work. It was so flat I couldn’t drive anywhere. The wires were sticking out of from the tire rubber. I needed a new tire and it would cost me about $110.

I tried to get a wheel alignment but I couldn’t. The ball joints on my car were worn out. Even if my car were to get an alignment it would quickly fall back out and put me in a bad spot with worn out tires. I have a 1999 Town Car and for all I know they have never been replaced.

I went to a shop in Owensboro and was informed that ball joint replacement with parts and labor would cost over $600, which is pretty steep but even a fair price for such a job is going to be pricey.

The whole week had been lost. The car is not in great shape. I still have things I need to do, like working out. I was afraid to go, but I made a difficult decision. I have to go to work out. I have to go to the store. I have to go to the bank sometimes and make errands. I will use the car for those things even though the front end suspension is in bad shape. No trips for pleasure. No Bowling Green, Louisville, or Nashville. It’s a drag but it’s for the best. I’d hate to blow a tire on the freeway at 70 mph.

I woke up today with a great optimism which I haven’t felt in a long time. I had made my decision and I could live with it. I also wanted to go to the Healthpark again so I made that choice. I felt great, even optimistic.

My optimism was rewarded when I hit that pool. It’s a great place to go, especially on the weekends when fewer people are around. My typical routine is M-W-F but I decided not to wait.

Two other people were working out in the therapy pool, but after a few minutes I was the only one. And I did my doggie paddle around the deeper end in happy solitude. I felt like myself again.

After the workout, I went to Wal-Mart. Is it too much to ask that people not abuse the self-scan? If you’ve got a full shopping cart, don’t use the self-scan. Go to a proper register. Yes, I know it’s 6pm on a Saturday. You’re not saving any time in this section.

Untitled Concerto for Essayist & Orchestra (Libretto)

(Libretto to) Untitled Concerto for Essayist and Orchestra 
An Incomplete Composition by Mike Farmer*

(introductory fanfare with clarinet)

Hello there. I’d like to talk to you about the 1999 film Fight Club, directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter. As you may know, Fight Club is based on a novel by writer Chuck Palahniuk.

(soft strings)

As you may also know, the story of Fight Club concerns a man played by Edward Norton who struggles with the humdrum realities of his sales job and materialistic lifestyle while struggling to conquer a nagging case of insomnia. From there, the story gets ludicrous.

In Fight Club, Brad Pitt’s character Tyler Durden attempts to sum up the American condition approximately:

(solemn march)

We’ve been raised to believe that one day we’ll all be millionaires, movie stars, and rock gods. But we won’t. And we’re not. And as we slowly learn that, we struggle to accept it and come to terms with the direction our life is going in . Fortunately while this 1999 movie-film gave voice to that feeling of despair, the technological industry at great expense had come up with a solution to mollify the masses. (timpani roll)

They called it. . . the World Wide Web. They also called it the Information Superhighway. Either way, the Internet allowed us to transmit our individual auras across the vast online continent such as it was at the turn of the millennium. Soon anybody could make their own. . . (trumpet flourish) homepage.

(insert dreamy harp music, with dreamy grand piano following and AOL startup sound samples)

Home-page. Think about those two words put together. Home. Page. Our own personal home. . . (voice pitch begins to modulate downward until it sounds muddled) page where we could share our thoughts, pictures, current developments, past accomplishments, our hopes, aspirations, dreams and even our job resumes.

(analog synthesizer bleeps and hums)

(back to regular voice pitch/clarity) With Internet expanding around the world and technology further making it easily accessible, faster and even portable, each one of us in our own micro-minute way are now able to become stars. Has it made our lives more convenient? Certainly. Have these developments made us happier? I think you know the answer to that one.

(digital synthesizer squiggles and frantic simulated 808-style bass patterns)

Of course! Think about the people who are famous right now. White rappers with jail tattoos. Conspiracy theorists, professional racists and race-baiters, Would-be political pundits and would-be social activists. Failed comedians and pretend models. Many of you are probably thinking to yourselves “Why are they famous? What do they have that I don’t have? They don’t even have any actual talent!” And you very well may have a point. But if it’s any comfort, and it’s a cold comfort, these people are mostly famous on the Internet. And Internet fame as anyone who has been through it can attest, is the cruelest fame of all.

(sad trombones)
(percussion mutters)

But the architects of the Internet in the 1990’s had it wrong. It was not nor is it now an information superhighway. Rather it is a Digital Atmosphere. And as Earth pollutes the actual atmosphere with discarded spacecraft, broken satellites and other assorted NASA flotsam. . . so too is our Digital Atmosphere polluted.

(percussion grows louder)
And anybody who seen Fight Club enough times, and anyone who’s ever had to futz and fuss over cellphones, smart phones, data plans, data packages and the rest will tell you. . . to quote the words of Tyler Durden once more, the things you own can end up owning you.

(percussion rises to a crescendo, then halts suddenly)

Social media can drive you crazy.

(ugly dissonant chords)

I am Jack’s blue checkmark.

(END)

*NOTE TO SELF: find someone to compose arrange the musical portions of the concerto

A lost song

Waterlogged

August 3, 2018

 

The path that led me here has blown away

Empty slate tomorrow, sand-swept yesterdays

Some things I recall, some things I ignore

Try to forget things that hurt me more

I remember a coastline, wet steps in sand

Walking through valleys of a peaceful land

Sinking in the swamps, climbing from the bog

Clothes soaked, tattered and waterlogged

No use in trying to go back now

Retrace my steps, I don’t know how

Hot tears run down my cheeks

Every day feels like a thousand weeks

I remember standing on a overcast beach

The other side, dry, fell out of reach

Floating sightless, I cut through the fog

I laid there lifeless and waterlogged

 

You Are Unhappy

To hell with it. Just say it. You are unhappy.

You try to put up a good front for everyone to see. It used to be difficult even long before the days of social media. When you were a young’un and the beeper was still a thing. That’s when you said to yourself, “not going to let myself be tied down like that”. A beeper or a cellular phone phone the size of a brick. These things did not seem like freedom back then. They seemed. . . douche-y?

Beepers faded away and new cellular phones were made smaller, cheaper, and easier to carry around. Suddenly it made good sense to have a cellular phone. They would be good to have in an emergency, which is the kind of thing your mother might say. What if your car stalled on the highway, for example? Take the cellular phone with you just in case and be careful.

Technology made it where the internet could be on our cellular phones. Suddenly you were a big deal. Before then, you had to use the internet at a computer. You couldn’t take the internet with you wherever you went. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves but did he have the Internet on his phone? He didn’t even have a phone, the big prissy-pants.

In less than ten years, America went from largely without these things to incorporating them in daily life. We were taking pictures of our food and using our phones while driving. They stopped being cellular, became cellphones, then became phones, and now may not even be phones depending on what gadget is in use.

And while this may sound like the rant of a curmudgeon or a Luddite, let me bring you back to the beginning where I said: you are unhappy.

You? Yes yes yes you yes yes yes you and you might even be MISERABLE. The rapid development of technology in your daily life has not made you feel better.

You are now able to connect with so many people all over the world. You can check in at a concert you’re at, take a picture from the event, upload it to your IG account with the location pinpointed. You’ve staked your territory. You were there. You can use your phone’s camera to video-record portions of the concert. You can upload that video later to your IG stories or your FB account or whatever social media you prefer. People will like your photo, they will heart it. You will be rewarded for your photo and your check-in and your video, especially if the video shows something out-of-the-ordinary like one of the performers having a meltdown.

Every heart, every like, every notification a short and sharp jolt of excitement to your overstimulated brain. You have been acknowledged, if momentarily. It is nice but fleeting. You are still unhappy.

Something is gnawing at you. All of this has been made for you. This has been sold given to you and you are still not happy. You put up a good front because you see everyone else on your social media and how happy they seem to be. They are going to concerts and the zoo and playing with their pets and going to the park and doing the things people have always done. People will do these things thousands of years from now too, but will they be any happier? That cannot be known.

If we were being honest with the rest of the world we engage with and ourselves, our IG photos would largely be unfiltered and un-retouched and they would be of us slumped on a couch tired. We wouldn’t take multiple pictures of ourselves in the same spot with the same pose just to make sure the lighting was right. We wouldn’t use self-timers to take posed pictures. The pictures we post of our food would be of an entire carton of ice cream or a bag of potato chips or a bologna sandwich and it would look as drab as life typically is.

We wouldn’t just check in at concerts, sporting events and movies but at the quick care and the pharmacy and the grocery store and the funeral home and all the places we go between our birth and our death. If we could be upfront about ourselves, we would show the warts-and-all of our lives.

Maybe not literally the warts.

We would admit how unhappy we are and how tired we are of trying to keep up that appearance. Because if we are actually living that happy, blessed life that we show in our social media then we’re probably making a lot of people including our friends bitterly jealous.

But if we’re not (and let’s face it, most of us aren’t) then we are lying to ourselves and everyone else and we need to stop it.

That really would be a breakthrough, wouldn’t it?

Uncertainty

I don’t know how I feel right now. Am I doing better or worse, mentally and physically? I can’t even tell anymore.

I resolved at the beginning of the year to stop drinking soft drinks. Nailed it. Haven’t had a soda since the first week of January, not even a diet drink. Cut out pizza and salty snacky from my diet, too. Sweets are a tough one to kick but I’m not eating that as much or as often as I used to, so that’s an improvement. I’ve even been working out for the last three months. Going into the therapy pool and doing exercises that work out both my upper and lower body without hurting my joints. I do this three times a week.

And yet I feel like I am going the wrong way. I feel tired most of the rest of the time. Am I sleeping or eating enough? Everything is changing so fast. I am on three different antidepressants.  Will I need all of them if I continue with my exercise regimen? I’m uncertain and that makes me nervous.

I know it’s a long game but that doesn’t make me any more sure of myself. I’m not confident about most things even if I’m doing more things right than wrong.

Farmer’s Rule

It was not long ago when I said to myself, “You may be on the best run you’ve had in a long time.” Three visits to the healthpark a week were making me feel better, more mobile and stronger. An instructor showed me upper and lower body exercises to do in the therapy pool and I alternate each session between the two.

My mood had improved and I felt the push of momentum in my direction. This is when Farmer’s Rule hit me like a ton of bricks. The rule that says as soon I notice how well things are going for me, things stop going well and I fall back into the dumps.

Perhaps you have your own version of this rule. It’s been a long time since Farmer’s Rule bit me partially because it’s been so long since I’ve actually felt good for a sustained period of time. A few months of activity can mean a lot.

But now I’m back in my low mood, which is my usual state of mind. Farmer’s Rule hit me about two weeks ago and now I’m feeling it hard.

Yet in the face of depression I remain active. Last week, I went out five days in a row. Between workouts and events I had to attend, I was out and about a lot. It might be that the workouts are keeping me going, which is good. I look forward to working out. I would do it four or five times a week if I could afford the gas to go.

Right now I want to sleep more. I don’t want to take care of things around the house. But I want to go to the healthpark. I don’t want to write. Last night, I was looking into the fridge when I thought to myself “why are you even alive”. But I keep going. I am still here. I still want to work out. I still want to live. Mostly because I haven’t gotten the full run out of life. I haven’t done everything I want to do. I want more and more and more. And who else can make that happen?

Let’s Talk Battlebots

This is the content you need today. Take a moment. Enjoy yourself. Battlebots is on the Discovery Channel and if you’re not watching it you are a sucker. Battlebots ought to be the national pastime. Nobody uses HGH, nobody gets a concussion. Fighting robots get destroyed.

I would like to share with you some of the fighting robots from this season along with their owners/builders/operators. If what I write seems mocking, believe me when I say I have a great affection for these robots and the people for making them. It is all in fun. I love this damn show. It is the only show.

captainshrederator

This is Captain Shrederator. Look at this majestic American Beauty ™. In some ways the Captain is just like the USA, in that it’s completely unwieldy and hasn’t had a victory at all this season.

predator

This is Predator and its’ builders, the inspiration for the three nerds in that Simpsons episode where Homer goes to college.

battleroyalewithcheese

This is Battle Royale With Cheese, created by the Shitty Halloween Costume delegation. Notice the rotating blade that looks like a slice of bacon.

sawblaze

This is Sawblaze, one of the top contenders to win the 2018 championship. If this team’s story were made into a Hollywood film, the Asian-Americans would be portrayed by ScarJo and Tilda Swinton.

sharkoprion

This is Sharkoprion and yes THE TAIL IS A WEAPON! These old hippies made a robot out of recycled parts, including the spinning saw in the front. Glorious. Yes, they have seen Dead & Company and no it’s not the same without Jerry.

duck

This is Duck. This guy Ducks.

yeti

Here is Yeti. You see that spinning drum? It can get up to 4000 RPMs and it has SPIKES on it. Sometimes it hits other robots so hard that it knocks itself out. It’s the 2004 Jermaine O’Neal of Battlebots.

deviledegg

I dunno, folks.

ultimodestructo

Here is Ultimo Destructo, which sounds like the kind of name a child would come up with. I approve. Children should be naming these things. Sharkoprion is too literary and Battle Royale With Cheese is too clever. Dumb childlike names are cool.

tombstone

This is Tombstone, the big bad of Battlebots. You can’t mess with Tombstone. The guy on the left is the chief builder and he’s as close to a bad guy as Battlebots gets. If this robot could wear a shirt, it would say “I AM A MOTHERFUCKER” and it would beat up strangers on the bus.

kraken

Here is Kraken. What a silly-looking robot. The kids shouldn’t be made to stand near this abomination. This is the server staff that sings Happy Birthday to you at the nautical-themed family restaurant.

warhead

Finally, we have Warhead from the British delegation. This thing looks like a cyborg half-way through a transformation. It looks like a junk sculpture that would be sold to some coked-out investor for waaaayyy too much money.

 
When Shark Week on Discovery is over, you gotta start watching Battlebots. New episodes on Friday. You’ll love it. It’s a way of life.

The Bitch In Matt Bevin

Any last words before I hit the switch 
From the immortal words of one, a bitch is a bitch – Common

Fuck that, ’cause like Common and Cube, I see the bitch in you
And I’m a make the world see it too, motherfucker -Canibus

Matt Bevin has shown himself to be a bitch ever since his election to the governor’s office in November 2015. This has been a long story and it is by no means over.

 

Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is throwing a temper tantrum because a federal judge struck down his plan to add work requirements to Medicaid. His response? Taking away dental and vision benefits from nearly 500,000 people.Splinter

 

What a sad little man Matt Bevin is. He filed for that waiver shortly after he entered office. In the summer of 2016, the state held three policy meetings on the waiver, in Frankfort, Bowling Green and Harlan.

 

By coincidence, I was the very first called to speak at the Bowling Green meeting. I can tell you that literally none of the dozens who spoke at that meeting supported that waiver proposal. The Benefind plan (created during the Steve Beshear administration) was a great example for the rest of the country of how Medicare could help citizens. Kentucky has some of the country’s highest obesity rates, diabetes rates, you name it.
Bevin has dismantled Benefind by coming up with KyNect, and making people work for their health care. Never mind that many Medicare recipients either cannot work or already work full-time but can’t afford private insurance. It either hasn’t occurred to Bevin or it has occurred to him and the bitch in him wants to take it out on everyone.

It’s almost as if people with no government experience shouldn’t be elected to high office or something. Maybe Bevin should have started as a state congressman or dog catcher and worked his way up like most people who want to be in politics but aren’t millionaires.

Being from private business, Bevin doesn’t get that he doesn’t own Kentucky. A businessman buys a property, he wants to knock down some walls, paint some other walls a different color, rip out the carpet, etc. etc. This isn’t his property. He still doesn’t realize that he works for Kentucky.

Or he doesn’t care.

The way I see it, we’ve got sixteen more months of this bitch-made motherfucker before the Kentucky gubernatorial election of 2019. We have to vote the bastard out. He was the canary in the coal mine that brought us Trump and brought Brexit to the UK. I feel with all my heart that as important as the 2018 midterms will be, Kentucky in 2019 is the bellwether for the rest of the country.