The Day the World Changed

      Two of you may have noticed that I haven’t written much (i.e., not at all) here over the course of the past few weeks.  I’ve been busy doing things like cle…none of your business.  I also took a cross-country trip to Seattle to attend a family wedding and see if the Starbucks there are really better than the Starbucks here (HINT:  they’re not).  Anyway, I waited until today to write again.  It seems appropriate given the deadly serious nature of the day.  This is a reprint of something probably more than a few of you have read before.  Even so, its impact carries through to this day.
      I’ll be back in a few days…

            It was just before one o’clock in the afternoon on September 11th (a sad commentary: we don’t even need to identify the year anymore) when my maintenance supervisor stuck his head into my room to wake me.

            “Sir, someone just flew a plane into the World Trade Center.”

            Minutes later, I watched, horrified, as a second plane struck the South tower.  And then, as both of the monstrously huge structures tumbled to the ground as if kicked by a petulant child.

            My unit and I were participating in a multi-nation exercise at the Naval Air Station in Keflavik, Iceland (this explains why it was the afternoon).  A round-the-clock operation, the Keflavik Tactical Exchange gave us a unique chance to evaluate each other’s capabilities should we ever needed to flex our respective militaries.  Little did we know that we were preparing for a type of war which belonged to the past.

            Because the 21st Century came roaring into each of our lives on that late summer day.

            Naturally, the exercise was immediately cancelled.  Foreign aircrews (funny that I call them “foreign’” since we were actually foreigners, too) beat hasty returns to their home bases.  We were told that American airspace was closed indefinitely.

            Station security forces went into their highest readiness posture.  Watch teams at the main gate beefed up, rings of barbed wire cordoned off perceived sensitive areas, and armed patrols roamed the perimeter.

            My watch teams and I, on the other hand, remained at our billeting.  Only in Iceland for the exercise, we were considered non-essential personnel who’d only get in the way.

            And so we spent the next few days.

            I received a worried phone call from my wife during this time.  She fretted over my safety.  I assured her that I was fine but omitted the fact that I was more concerned for her and the kids.

            You see, my family lived only a couple hours from New York and only a few from Washington.

            The ensuing few days was a frantic search for whatever updates we could glean from the news and how in the world we’d get ourselves and thousands of pounds of equipment back home.

            Most importantly, we desperately wanted to know how we could get into the fight.  Whatever the fight was.

            Four days later, U.S. airspace was opened to military traffic.  As I glanced through the window of the Navy patrol plane which took us home, I was struck at how empty the sky was-with the exception of the one plane which approached us as we crossed into the United States.  It came no closer than a few miles before it disappeared.

            I think it was a fighter aircraft.

            What’s more, the radio circuits, normally full of the cacophony of countless air traffic controllers, were eerily silent.  The only ones “on the air” were the handful which guided us home.  All else were hushed into silence.

            Our route of flight took us just south of Manhattan, well out of sight of land.  At that distance, even at the altitude at which we were flying, it was impossible to see any of the city skyline.

            But, we did see a huge pall of gray-brown smoke lingering in the air like the death shroud that it was.

            As we touched ground at the Willow Grove naval air station, there was nobody to greet us.  There really wasn’t much of anything by way of an acknowledgment that we were back.  Somehow, it seemed fitting.

            After all, we all had something much more important to do.

            Go home to our families.

In memory of:

Commander Bill Donovan, USN

AW2 (NAC/AW) Joseph Pycior, USN

and the thousands whose only crime was going to work that day.

Opinions Are Like…

  

  Oh, forget it, you know what they’re like.  What’s more, everyone has them.  And they stink.

                I leave in the morning on a cross-country trip which will end in Seattle by the end of next week.  I’ve been wanting to drive across the country for quite some time and am looking forward to finally getting a chance to do so.  Not only will I get a chance to see Mount Rushmore, the Mars Cheese Castle, and possibly the world’s biggest ball of yarn, but I’m also eager to see what the non-crazy parts of the nation (with the exception of Seattle, of course) look like .

                What this all means is that I will be virtually off-line for the next week.  So, for the two of you who count on Nit Nats to get you through a difficult day, I regret to inform you this will be the last such burst of inspired greatness until September.  I also paused work on my book, as well-do either of you know I’m writing a book?

                Never fear, though.  I’ll keep a running tally of my doings and whereabouts of where I’m…uh…about on platforms such as Instagram.  So, if that kinda stuff matters to you, you need to get a life you have that going for you.

                Which is nice.

                Since I still need to finish packing for my adventure, I won’t have the time to cobble together a coherent essay on the multitude of issues which afflict our world.  Goodness knows I have a seemingly limitless choice of topics upon which to pontificate, though.

                A joke I read recently puts it perfectly:
                A friend asked me if I had any plans for the fall.
                It took me a minute before I realized he meant autumn.

                Anyway, the following are quick hits of my opinions about that which plague us.  I figured I’d get them in while I had the chance.  And a country.  They could very easily herald the apocalypse, you know. 

                So, in no certain order…

                Apparently, sheep will be allowed to queue up for a Chinese Flu booster shot starting next month.  Hey, fool me once, shame on you.  Try to fool me twice, you can sit on that needle and spin.

                Weak minds thoroughly incapable of logic are running about in a panic due to the resurgence of COVID under the guise of the Delta Variant.  This all while the southern border is wide open and thousands of illegals flood into the country, more than a few of whom are infected with the virus.

                This tells me the administration isn’t serious about dealing with the pandemic.  Tell you what, I’ll make you a deal.  Treat American citizens like you treat illegal immigrants (or vice-versa).  Then we’ll talk.  Until then, eat your masks.

                The Idiot-in-Chief begs OPEC to pump more oil.  I’m old enough to remember when the United States was energy independent.  Last year.

                Voter ID is racist.  Vaccine mandates are not.

                In a similar vein, “My body, my choice” only applies to murdering babies, I guess.  Not when it comes to being forced to inject a yet-to-be-approved vaccine into your body.

                Speaking of vaccine mandates….New York City is requiring them before you can go to a restaurant, gym, or theater.  But, a large percentage of black New Yorkers have not received the jab.  So, Mayor De Blasio is denying these folks access to these establishments.  Will the real Jim Crow stand up?

                Panicked monkey see, panicked monkey do.  Spurred on by unreasonable hysteria, school districts throughout the nation are throwing face diapers on schoolchildren.  Never mind the Johns Hopkins study of 48,000 children which saw ZERO deaths due to the Chinese Flu for those without comorbidities.

                Or that private schools nationwide, which didn’t force kids to put on masks, didn’t experience a significant number of COVID cases.

                Private school kids must be made of sterner stuff. I blame the nuns.

                In response to the Delta Variant, the Mask Police, listening to that insufferable gnome Fauci, are once more beating the drum to swathe ourselves in masks.  Apparently, THAT will teach mean old COVID.

“I thought Delta was on double secret probation.”

                Excuse me, weren’t large parts of the country wearing these ridiculous things for most of last year?  Didn’t the virus continue to escalate during that whole time?

                What’s  more, aren’t lunatic asylums like Hawaii and Oregon experiencing crazy COVID case numbers?  Haven’t states like these lead the charge for face coverings ever since this nonsense started?

                Huh, weird.

                I categorically do not deny the existence of the Wuhan Flu.  I categorically deny the idiotic efficacy of cloth masks and lockdowns.

                The unemployment rate dropped again last month.  Huzzah!  That must mean the Administration’s jobs policy is right on the money!!

                Or more people aren’t filing for unemployment since they’re sitting on their fat asses while collecting government checks.

                Everything costs more.  That wouldn’t have anything to do with the feds printing money like it was going out of style, would it?  To those eschewing actual work while feeding at the trough, congratulations.  I hope you’ll enjoy hundred-dollar loaves of bread.

                I have a real problem with organizations such as Tunnels To Towers holding their hands out to help American heroes while Uncle Sam funnels millions of dollars to Pakistan for gender studies.

                As stated here before, I was all for pulling our troops out of Afghanistan.  I saw nothing there worth a single American life or billions of our treasure.  We’ve got our own shitholes to worry about (I’m talking to you, New York City).  In this, Donald Trump and I are of the same mind.

                That said, the demented muppet in the White House could not have botched this withdrawal any more badly.  First, he stated when the United States would be saying sayonara to the graveyard of empires.  Seriously, what kind of abject moron sends that kind of signal to our enemies?  Oh, I forgot, the moron who lives on Pennsylvania Avenue.

                Second, call me crazy, but isn’t it…crazy…to leave millions of dollars of military equipment behind?  Or, at least not destroy it?

“Whoa, wait, your shittin’ me. They left an Apache helicopter?”

                Third, since when is it standard military doctrine to pull the military out before civilians, be they contractors or Afghan nationals who helped the Americans?  Or have any kind of plan to help these people out besides, “Yeah, good luck with that?”  Seriously, what kind of moron…oh, yeah.  Got it.

                Joe Biden’s complete cocking up of a withdrawal which needed to happen may very well be the lasting legacy of a senile doofus who not only deserves to be impeached but deserves to be thrown out of office.  People will die because of this doddering old fossil.

“Wow, the guy makes me look like Winston Churchill. At least people didn’t die when I was preside…oh. Never mind.”

                Of the presidents who have been impeached throughout American history, he is the only one who merits this fate.  It’s a crime that past impeachments have been partisan kabuki theater shams.

                NOTE:  While Richard Nixon was not impeached, I’m confident he would have justly been had he not resigned.  The others?  Mere political hand jobs.

                Well, that’s it for for now.  Like I said, I still have a little packing to do.  And my skivvies aren’t going to jump in the suitcase themselves, you know.

                I’ll see you both again when I return.  I just hope there’s something left to return to.

                Thanks, Joe.

God bless you. What was the question?”

 

No Pennies Please

“The sign said ‘NO PENNIES PLEASE!!!!” You’re probably a Trump supporter, aren’t you?”

                In two days, I will have moved.  Thanks for asking.

                As such, I’m surrounded by dozens of  boxes.  That which was neat and orderly only a few days ago is now a manic disarray of things tossed into that box, things tossed into that other box, and “Eff,  where do I put these things?”
                FULL DISCLOSURE:  “Neat and orderly?”  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

                Even though I’m only moving to the other side of the city, effectively it’s not much different than moving to the other side of the country.  Stuff gotta be put in boxes, yo.

                Anyway, one of the last things to be broken down and packed away is the “Nit Nat Nerve Center.”  I had determined that you, my two faithful readers, deserve the very latest in hard-hitting journalism and quality writing that would cause Ernest Hemingway to weep.

                Or whatever this is.

                I’m not sure when the “lights” will come back on.  Perhaps only a matter of days.  Perhaps a little bit longer.  You see, my son asked me to watch his dog next weekend.  Since he lives a hundred miles away, that may cause some difficulty for me to get another Nit Nat post out.  Maybe I’ll take my computer with me.  After all, it’s a laptop so…

                What does all this mean, you may be asking?  Well, what this all means is that today’s post may be a little shorter than normal (much like me).  Also, I don’t plan on doing a lot of in-depth thinking or make cogent arguments in favor of my position.  Come to think of it, you’re probably wondering if I ever have.

                Whatever, let’s get on with it, shall we?

            During the days when I had brown hair and didn’t need Pepsi to burp, I was a bit of a wise aleck.  Yeah, I know.  Not a lot has changed.  Except the hair.  And I now consider nine o’clock the new midnight.

            Plus, not everything works like it use…THAT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

            Most of the youngsters today wouldn’t recognize the 1970s.

            The fashion (dear Lord), music (I’m talking to you, disco), and pop culture (e.g., “Pet Rocks.”) are proof positive that drug use spilled over from the 60s.  Millennials today would scoff at how primitive we seemed back then with our pay phones, rabbit ear antennas, stick shift transmissions, gas shortages, and incompetent boob in the White House.

“Ya’ll miss me, don’t ya?”

            Hmm, come to think of it, kids today may have an inkling of what it was like fifty years ago.

            If the Bee Gees put out a soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever 2, though, I’m outta here.

Wait, I just checked the interwebs. There apparently was a sequel to SNF. The unforgettable Staying Alive had John Travolta and maybe, probably, some disco in it. Who cares? The joke stands.

            Yes, yes, I know.  Maurice Gibb is no longer with us, so a new soundtrack is very unlikely.  I also know there will never be a Beatles reunion tour.  I just didn’t want to bring that up.  You heartless bastard.

“Stayin’ alive, stayin’ aliv…well, this is awkward.”

 

Too soon?

           One of the countless differences between then and now is that most of us own EZ Passes.  While tolls on the highway still (and always will) exist, most of them require the little transponder on our windshield to use the road.  This makes things easy for us as we laugh at the poor schmucks stuck in the pay line, even though (at least for me), the state could raise tolls and I probably wouldn’t even know it.

            Kids today will never know the panic of digging for change in the (unused. hopefully) ashtray so they could continue on to the Jersey Shore.  Or getting off an exit before the toll so they could drive twenty miles out of our way to avoid tossing a quarter at the booth.

            I’m sure many of us “of an age” remember the little exact change baskets at each toll.  Much like today’s EZ Pass, these little gizmos gave us a chance to laugh at the poor schmucks who had to wait in line to break $50 so they could hand over a quarter.

            Now that I write it…they had a fifty dollar bill?  Rich pukes.

            Anyway, I remember one such group of tolls at the exits/entrances for the Virginia Beach Expressway.  The main toll was a quarter, but if you didn’t go through there, these gave the state a chance to at least grab a dime from you.

            Obviously wanting you to toss a dime into the basket, each was labeled “NO PENNIES PLEASE.”  I’m sure I could have tossed a quarter into the thing and I’d get the green light allowing me on my way. No way was I going to give the Old Dominion twenty-five cents, though.

            But, I wondered…would pennies even work?  After all, the warning said “please.”  It didn’t say ‘NO PENNIES DAMMIT!!!”  So, one late night, after visiting an Oceanfront bar church, I scooped up ten copper discs from my Monza’s ashtray.

            I patiently waited.  Luckily, since it was late, no one was behind me.  I heard the machine go “CHUNK A CHUNK A CHUNK A CHUNK.”  It took a few seconds, but I was eventually rewarded with a green light.  Off I went, warmed by the thought that I wasn’t a compliant sheep.  When confronted by bureaucracy, I just said “NO.”  Virginia got ten cents from me, sure, but they sure didn’t get no dime.

            Incidentally, the main toll also had a similar warning.  But, while I successfully used twenty-five pennies in that one once, I wasn’t willing to wait that long again for the “CHUNK A CHUNK” to finish.  Nor were the line of cars behind me.

            Sure, I’m a rebel.  But, I’m not an asshole.

            What’s my point?

            Well, I’m going to put this quick and simple.  Like I said, I am moving and don’t have a lot of time.  Bad enough I wrote much more than I planned.  

            Fear Porn and sweat pumps are starting up again because now there’s a Delta Variant for the Chinese Virus.  Fretful ninnies are dashing about in a panicked sweat that “OH MY GOD, WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!” unless we once more return to throwing face diapers on our faces again.  Even those who received the vaccination.  Of course, this causes me to wonder…what was the point of getting the shot then?

            As far as whether I have been vaccinated or not, that’s nunya.  The two of you who are regular readers may recall that as standing for “None Ya Business.”  Actually, it’s short for “I Don’t Believe That’s None Ya Damn Bidness.”

            You’re welcome.

            While it may be more contagious that the regular garden variety Wuhan Flu, hospitalizations and deaths haven’t spiked.  Also, didn’t cases skyrocket when everyone was required to wear a mask? Little logic and critical thought here.

“Uh, excuse me. If you’re serious about ending this pandemic, why are you allowing THOUSANDS of people across the border who haven’t been tested?”

            At this point (and that may change any day), mask use is recommended (unless you are a federal worker and, thus, work for the Idiot-in-Chief), so I take that as “WEAR A MASK PLEASE.”  But, even if it becomes mandatory, I’m willing to suffer any repercussions for a stance I took back in the 1970s.

            I will just say “NO.”

            Wow, come to think of it, this post is just as long as any other post I’ve written for Nit Nats.  I do tend to run my mouth, don’t I?  Oh well, sue me.  I gotta move.

UPDATE:  Interestingly, there are no tolls on the Virginia Beach expressway anymore.  In fact, it’s not even called the Virginia Beach Expressway.  Although, since I have EZ Pass, I have no idea how much it costs in tolls to visit family in New England.  Thank goodness, because my car doesn’t have an ashtray anymore.   

Looks Good On Paper

Rockin’ that dad bod.

                David Harbour is an American actor who plays police chief Jim Hopper in Stranger Things (I probably should watch that show.  I bet I’d like it) and has recently appeared with Scarlett Johansson in Black Widow as the Red Guardian.

                In a July 3rd interview with the pro-socialist British newspaper, The Guardian, Harbour, among other things, expressed admiration for the views held by his Soviet super-soldier.  After all, he said he was big into Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Chekhov while in college.  That apparently gives him mad Russian cred, so he must know what he’s talking about.  He simplistically wishes we could live in a kindergarten-type society rather than the one in which we live now.  That way, everyone could share everything with each other instead of killing each other to get “stuff.”

Wrong Chekhov

               

Ditto.

That’s more like it.

How could anyone disagree with the concept of socialism, he genuinely wonders.

                Of course, like many other out-of-touch elitist scolds, he fails to grasp the incredible disconnect that his net worth is about $6 million.  Or, roughly, about $5,800,000 more than me.

                Mind you, I DO NOT BEGRUDGE HIM THAT.  Hey, if you can parlay whatever talent you have into serious cash, go for it, big fella.  I’d love it if Nit Nats gave me the wherewithal to afford to super-size my meal at Wendy’s.

                The problem is, if viewed in a vacuum, I kinda agree with him, typical Hollywood hypocrisy notwithstanding.  I implore the two of you reading this (one of the reasons I can’t buy large fries with my spicy chicken) to hear me out.

                Merriam-Webster, one of America’s most trusted dictionaries (well, as trusted as these things can be) offers up the following definition:

                Socialism:  A system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed.  Oh yeah,  and socialism also requires elimination of private property.  So there’s that.

                Put simply, to quote Karl Marx (a lesser-known Marx brother), “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

                Even more basic…”All for one and one for all.”

Okay, seriously, now we’re getting silly.

                Personally, I’m a big fan of Captain John  Smith’s credo of, “Those who do not work, shall not eat.”

Okay, this is the real John Smith. But the actual one wasn’t blonde. Or sounded like Mel Gibson.

                But, for the time being, let’s just stick with Marx and his likeminded numbskulls.

                If lived strictly by this utopian ideal, then, sure, every day would be kindergarten. 

                “I’ll trade you my baloney sandwich for your peanut butter and jelly.”

                “Cool beans.  Hey, how ’bout we give Jimmy some of your Cheetos?  All he has is pea soup in a baggie and a few pickle slices.”

                Problem is, when this textbook definition is brought out of the college classroom or hookah lounge, it runs smack dab into a reality which comes crashing like a wrecking ball.  And that wrecking ball has a name.  People.

                If every person on this planet genuinely wanted nothing more than to help their neighbor, if we all pulled for the common good, then socialism (or even its ugly brother brother, communism) would be ideal.

                Be honest.  When has that truly worked for society as a whole?  You know, without that troublesome death of millions?

                Let’s look a little smaller into this, instead.  Think about it, aren’t families small socialist units?  Don’t parents strive for the greater good of all, without question?  If a child has needs, don’t the adults rush to their aid?  Then, as the children grow, don’t they nurture those who nurtured them?

                NOTE:  There is no denying that not everyone falls into this category.  Some families are screaming dysfunctional nightmares, to be sure.  However, while most aren’t the Waltons, neither are they the Bidens.  I hope you get my point.

“Absolutely, The Waltons are responsible for that evil racist Walmart.”

               

“Whoops! My bad. I like ice cream.”

If the world operated like a [functional] family, churches, or similar charitable organizations, then the principles championed by Karl Marx would make sense.  We would all link arms, sing Kumbaya, and never think of anything other than what is best for each other.

                I honestly wish that were so.  But, it is not.  And never will be.

                There will always be those who will seek to game the system.  They may have the ability to work, but if they can benefit from the work of others, then, by all means, they will benefit from the work of others.

                “That socialism thing is meant for thee, not for me.  I’ll keep my three houses, thank you very much.”  I’m talking to you, Bernie Sanders.

“But, they’re just small mansions.”

                If you doubt that, how is it that far too many people are content to sit on their ass at home, receiving money from the government when “Now Hiring” signs dot the landscape?  How is that otherwise fit-looking looking individuals haunt the medians of our streets with their hands out, hoping to score a few dollars from those shamed into handing them a few bucks?

                Full Disclosure:  I readily admit that I don’t know the full story behind every panhandler.  Some of them may not genuinely be able to work.  Some of them, on the other hand, may be making a killing off guilt-ridden motorists to the point that a dishwashing job looks lame by comparison.  Call me heartless, but I look straight ahead when I’m stopped at a traffic light.

“Go ahead, go ahead, keep moving. I think the Denny’s down the street is hiring.”

                In the abstract, socialism looks darn appealing to the likes of millionaires such as Harbour, who thinks that if you make a cup of coffee at Starbucks, you should own Starbucks.  I wonder how his tune would change if he was required to divide the fruits of his labor among those who want nothing more than to play video games in their basement.  For it is then when the abstract will become very real to an idealist.

                Once again, I don’t believe he should share with lazy slack asses.  Why should he?  And I’ll bet he doesn’t believe he should, either, if push came to shove (and it never will). You though?  Yeah, you should totally give until it hurts.

                Here’s the thing, though.  I would most definitely help the helpless.  Just as I definitely would not help the feckless.  Screw those guys. To me, it’s “teach a man to fish” not “give a man a fish.”

Or however you interact with fish. I won’t judge.

                A great number of good people see socialism as the panacea to what they perceive as the evils of capitalism.  They honestly believe that we should all pull together, that if we only did it right this time, socialism would bring paradise to a troubled world.

Yeah, they’re idealist dreamers, but they’re wrong. So, until we can come up with something better, I’ll stick with capitalism, thank you very much.

                I’ll bet you that many Cubans would agree with me, too.      

The Great Unmasking

“STOP SMILING AT ME, YOU RACIST!”

                Where does the time go?

                It seems like only a month since I wrote a post about masks.  Mostly because it’s been a month since I wrote a post about masks.  Since then, I have attended another wedding.  This one was for my nephew and was attended by up to one hundred guests in Long Island (New York still having crazy limits on indoor gatherings).

                Essentially….

                What’s more, I’ll be going to another wedding in Seattle at the end of August.  I plan on not dying there, as well.

                At the time I wrote my column last month, I expressed my opinion that the more people see other people with their features uncovered, the more they will gradually follow their lead and shed themselves of the idiotic face diaper.

                Just as it was a gradual covering of the face (reluctantly gradual for the likes of me), so it will be a gradual return to normal.  It’s human nature to watch the other guy stick his toe in the water before you follow suit.  Not me, mind you.  If a sign says “recommended,” that’s all I need.   

                As cases of COVID drop while the vaccination rate climbs, more and more folks have divested themselves of this modern-day Scarlet Letter. We’re actually able to smile at one another again, while at the same time having to resist the impulse to stick our tongues out at rude salesclerks.  Or, in my case, shave and use mouthwash.  To say nothing of not being able to disguise a cold sore anymore.

                There are some holdouts, to be sure.  A day never goes by that I don’t see someone sporting the mask.  Inside and among other people, I could maybe understand (but not agree with) their reluctance.  Despite CDC guidance, though, they continue to hold on to their badges of subservience, no doubt feeling superior that they are doing so.

“Some haters just refuse to follow the science.”

                There even remain those who insist on wearing  (sometimes double) masks when outside by themselves.  Or, heaven help us, driving alone in their cars.  More than a few of them have had vaccinations.  Which begs the question, why in the world did they even get the vaccine?

                I really am curious about what their end game is.  Will they ever feel safe?  Are they vainly holding out for the complete eradication of diseases (even those with a much higher mortality rate)?  Do they honestly think they will never die?  Seriously, I don’t get it.

                Still, if we are to insist this is all about personal freedoms, I suppose it’s also their freedom to look like jackasses.  As long as you don’t try to push your slavish devotion to the State on me, hey, you do you.  Plus, I’ll make a deal with you.  I promise to not snicker at you.  I’ll still think you’re a knucklehead, but I’ll keep that to myself.

                I will say, though, that I am loving this gradual return to normalcy.  It became second nature to throw a mask on whenever I walked into an establishment.  Even though I felt it was a ridiculous trampling of my rights, there was no way I was going to force a store’s employee to correct me.  They  had enough problems.

                Outside, though?  Especially away from crowds?  Yeah….NFW.

                Well, I’m happy to report that it has now become second nature for me to walk inside most businesses bare-faced.  Where once it had seemed odd to not wear a mask, now it seems odd to wear a mask.  I’m surprised that it was a relatively quick shift in my mind set, but I’m thrilled about it.

                Unfortunately, as a Multi-Venue Consumption Transportation Representative (for Uber Eats), I am required to wear a mask from start to finish regardless of vaccination status (once again, what was the point of the vaccine then?).  Technically, that means I’m supposed to have my face covered even when I’m alone with the food in my car.  Technically.

                Now, dropping meals off is one thing.  Most times, all I need to do is leave it at the front door.  Except when I’m delivering alcohol.  Then I have to check for sobriety and ensure that they are old enough to consume said booze.  No customer has ever worn a mask when I’ve done so.  I do, of course, because that’s what I’m required to do, but I don’t care if anyone else does so.  As long as they’re not hacking up a lung or licking my face, it makes no difference to me. 

                For other deliveries, many people want me to leave their food at the door because, incredibly, they’re skittish about personal interaction.  Yeah.  Whatever.  Although, to be honest, I think this has more to do with millennials not wanting to pause their video game or put on pants to answer the door.  Once again, whatever.

                It’s when it comes to actually picking the food up that I feel self-conscious that I’m masked while most (even staff) are not.  In fact, I feel kind of silly at times and wonder if the other customers consider me a sheep who is terrified of catching a virus with a 98% survival rate.  I want to hold up my hands and insist that I am supposed to wear a face covering, even though I think doing so is just so much political kabuki theater.

“Wait, did I read that right? 98%? Yer shittin’ me. Pussies.”

                In fact, I was at a restaurant last week which purports to be the international headquarters of yummy breakfast foods when an elderly gentleman gently reminded me that masks were not required for those who have been vaccinated.  I smiled (although he couldn’t see it) and told him that I was aware of that.  However, my job requires that I still do so.  And there was no way I was going to run the risk of some Karen (they’re still out there) snapping my picture to send to Uber along with a nasty note that I want to kill Grandma like a New York governor.

                Another instance this week occurred after I made a delivery at an oceanfront  hotel room.  Since I was “on the clock,” so to speak,  I had my mask on.  And, since the drop-off point was on the eleventh floor, yeah, I’m taking that elevator.

                After I stepped inside and the doors started to close, they were stopped by one of the ladies from housekeeping.  She took one look at my mask and, apparently feeling I was a nut who was scared of his shadow, stuttered that she would take the next car.

                Scoffing, I waved her in and explained that I didn’t believe in that nonsense.  But, as a food delivery worker, I had to continue to play the game.  I insisted that she join me for a pleasant sojourn to the lobby.

                Once I stepped into the oven of a late June sun, though, I whipped that mask off as if it were burning me.

                I hoped no one noticed I hadn’t shaved that morning.

UPDATE:  The loons from the World Health Organization have consulted their Magic 8 Balls and issued dire warnings about the spread of the Delta Variant of COVID-19.  They recommend that people continue to wear masks, especially indoors, regardless of vaccination status.  Well, giddy up, here we go.  Will Delta end up placing us back on Double Secret Probation? 

I hope I’m wrong.

Till Unmasking Do Us Part

Not the actual wedding party.

                For the two of you who breathlessly await one of these, I apologize.  I was at my son’s wedding in Blacksburg, Virginia this weekend.  Perhaps not surprisingly, a movement is afoot in that small western Virginia town to rename it “Burg of Color.”  Since the college, Virginia Tech, is out for the summer, I think the effort will fail due to an overwhelming amount of brain cells.

                NOTE #1:  I’m kidding, but seriously, would it surprise you?

                NOTE #2:  Incidentally, if you are breathlessly awaiting one of these, might I suggest intensive psychiatric help?

                In any event, it’s been more than three weeks since I wrote anything besides personal checks.  Things have been busy, and I now find myself at my son’s and new daughter-in-law’s house in Richmond, watching their dog.  Who has a remarkable ability of licking himself.  Sigh…if only…

                Anyway, the wedding was a blast.  Happily, nobody got injured or arrested.  This all despite the fact there was an open bar.  There were more than a few hangovers the next morning, I’m sure.  Not me, you understand.  As father of the groom, I held myself to a high standard of gravitas and dignity.

                This was not the case the evening before at the “Welcome Party” held at a local brewery, mind you.  Somewhere that evening, I lost the power of speech.  And my pants.  So there’s that.

                So, what’s the point of this entire screed, you might be asking?  That is, if you’re still with us.

                My point is that I didn’t see a mask the entire wedding.  Okay, sure, the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam (He of the Blackface), rescinded the Commonwealth-wide mask decree the Friday before.  A lot of private businesses are still allowed to require patrons to don the face diaper, though (by the way, I have zero problem with this.  If a private entity wants to go this route, do).

                The only time I saw a proliferation of masks was at our hotel.  That was cool with me, even though quite a few times I just didn’t wear one (same went for a lot of guests).  I kept it with me just in case an employee asked me to throw it on.  No way would I give them any grief about it.  None did.

Wrong mask

                The existence of vaccines has resulted in this shift.  I’d go for the reemergence of common sense, but okay, whatever.  I’m just thrilled to be able to walk around without a piece of cloth hiding my face.  Although, it was nice being able to hide my cold sores and not have to shave on a regular basis.  Still, I’m happy.

                The skeptical among us wonder whether this has anything to do with the Idiot-in-Chief’s botching of just about everything besides eating ice cream and sniffing little girls.  Removing mask directives could be a way to distract people away from the seemingly countless disasters coming from Washington.  Maybe, maybe not.

                Establishments have posted notices that if you have been vaccinated, a mask is not mandatory.  Of course, this requires all people to be honest about their medical status.  Personally, I think that’s placing a whole lot of faith in humanity.  If you doubt that, how many people do you actually think pay attention to “55 MPH” signs?

“I do. Especially on sidewalks. Oops. Pooped myself.”

                To ensure compliance would involve asking folks to produce proof of their vaccinated status.   HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…yeah, good luck with that.  So we’re clear, if ANYone asks whether I got the shot or not (hasn’t happened yet), I’m prepared to answer “Nunya.”

                NOTE #3:  For those who do not know-“None Ya Bidness.”

                I hope to see an increasing number of bare faces in the coming weeks.  I honestly feel that the more people ditch the diaper, the more other people will feel comfortable with ditching the diaper.  Just like before it was mandatory, when people put on masks just to fit in with the crowd, so it will go in the opposite direction.   Although, if I see “mask not required” at the store entrance I have no trouble sticking that nonsense in my pocket.  I’ll admit, though, that some folks may be hesitant to do the same.  That said, I maintain that the more people’s faces you see, the more comfortable you will be joining them.

                Disturbingly, I’m seeing the response to this entire episode becoming political.  My goodness, why?  Is common sense, logic, and critical thought dependent on whether you’re a donkey or an elephant?  For some, it apparently is.

                Likewise with the fact that the states leading the way are largely governed by Republicans, despite being accused of “Neanderthalism” (I made that word up.  Feel free to use it).  Even though places like Florida and Texas have lower reported cases of COVID-19 while eschewing the mask than the sideshows of, say, New York or California, the Left beats the drum that Red States are irresponsible.

                For pity’s sake, numbers don’t lie.  What’s more, the same people who bleated “follow the science” (we won’t get into the fact that science isn’t infallible all the time here.  I’m talking to you, Al Gore) aren’t following the science now since it doesn’t fit in with their narrative.

                Incidentally, what’s even more disturbing?  I wonder how many people wouldn’t be leery about getting the vaccine had Donald Trump been reelected (I won’t get into whether that’s true or not here, either).  Call me cynical, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Republican Party would then be leading the charge into shot clinics.

                After all, it was his administration which aggressively green-lit the things in the first place.

                To be seen as a mask-wearer is to be seen as a Republican “Anti-Vaxxer.”  I really wonder what the case would be if the shoe was on the other foot.  Like I said, call me cynical, but I ‘ll bet that many in the Democratic Party would be bitching about the vaccine.

                In other other words, if Ron DeSantis thinks the sun rises in the east, Nancy Pelosi would demand a special commission to determine if it’s so.

                Oh, and if you’re wondering whether I got vaccinated or not?  Nunya.

Those Who Will Not Work*

*should not eat

                As happens every time I write one of these, the biggest difficulty I face is trying to decide on a topic.  To be sure, there were plenty of possibilities during the Trump Administration.  I realized that idiocy never sleeps, no matter who is in the White House.  Eating Tide Pods, lectures from Hollywood scolds, and never-ending bitching from the likes of Morning Joe and the chimpanzee class carried on in spite of the Mean Orange Man.  Who, while demonstrably better than the demented muppet we now have, wasn’t perfect himself.

                I’m talking to you, Space Force.

                Still, I have an even greater number of things to discuss now that we have the Idiot-in-Chief and Her Royal Scabby Knees in office.  The border, skyrocketing taxes, “wokeism”, China, Russia, Iran, and the aforementioned dementia make for a veritable cornucopia of lunacy.  Not to mention the Left losing their shit over Caitlyn Jenner throwing her/his/whatever hat in the ring for Governor of the Circus of California.  Just because Ms. Jenner has the balls to declare herself (okay, I’ll just pick a pronoun already) a Republican.  Incidentally…balls?  Not sure.  Don’t know.  Don’t want to know.

                Today, though, I’ll talk about the erosion of the American work ethic.

                A couple weeks ago, my girlfriend and I had lunch at a local “Mom and Pop” restaurant.  Eschewing chains like Wendy’s, Burger King, or, God help me, McDonald’s, we decided to actually sit down to eat rather than ordering cheeseburgers at the drive-thru before pulling into a parking spot.

                Unfortunately, though, we were told there would be about a twenty-minute wait.  Not because there were an inordinate amount of people queuing up for their signature souvlaki gyro (which is awesome, by the way).  No, it was because a shortage of staff impacted the number of diners who could sit down and be served.

                When I asked the hostess (who happened to be the owner-short staff, remember) why this was so, she told me that, despite a number of openings, she could not get people to work at her restaurant.  Not because she was a Simon Legree who used a cat o’ nine tails to motivate her workers to keep the unsweetened ice teas refilled.  But, because potential employees didn’t want to work.

                We quite rightly mourn those hundreds of thousands of our family, friends, and neighbors who were taken from us by COVID-19.  I consider myself lucky that neither I nor any of my family fell victim to this cruel scourge which traces its origins to a lab in China (which is why it’s not called the “Polish Flu”).  Whether by accident or by design,  the damage it wrought will be felt for years.

                Luckily, several types of vaccines have been developed and we are starting to see some easing of the draconian restrictions placed upon us.  Some more than others (e.g., Florida), but some.  I refuse to believe in the efficacy of masks (aka “Face Diapers”) to arrest this plague, and I fear they may be with us for quite some time, but things look a little brighter.

                NOTE:  The wisdom of taking a vaccine to combat a disease with a 99% recovery rate is another topic for another time.

“Hasn’t affected me.”

                One of the biggest reactions to the Coronavirus pandemic was the shuttering (in some cases, permanent shuttering) of many businesses in a thriving economy.  Part of me agreed with this approach in the early stages because we had little idea of what we were dealing with.  Then, as time went on and I realized this wasn’t the second coming of the Black Death (or “Death of Color”), I supported opening many of these businesses back up.

                Unfortunately, on the way to reopening, more than a few people remained uneasy about returning to work, especially those which dealt with the public, specifically the restaurant business.  Personally, I think these folks are cowards.  Unless a customer is sneezing on you or giving you a bear hug while coughing up a lung, I fail to see that you’re in any greater danger than catching a very bad cold.

                Okay, I could be wrong and probably more than a little insensitive.  I’ll grant that.  I see many people who are still genuinely terrified.  It makes me sad that they have put their lives on hold, but I shouldn’t doubt their sincerity.

                However, there are those who find it’s more financially advantageous for them to stay home, collecting unemployment, rather than waiting tables, slinging hash, washing dishes, and, yes, teaching our kids.  Unemployment compensation is $600 a week.  This, incidentally, works out to $15 an hour for a 40-hour work week.

                Golly, where have I heard that figure before?

                Not only that, but those collecting unemployment are not expected to report in on their success, or lack thereof, of finding work elsewhere.  Instead, once they make a claim of unemployment, they will continue to suckle at the teat of the federal government until the “emergency” is over.

                This practice may change sometime this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Uncle Sam extends this practice indefinitely to further solidify a dependency class.  Bread and circuses, if you will.

                The result of this is a number of people who refuse to work.  They see nothing wrong with getting something for nothing.  Who cares if someone else’s taxes pay for their lack of drive?  The suckers will always be there.

                The only problem is that when fewer people are pulling a wagon loaded with more and more of these slack asses, eventually the mules will drop dead of exhaustion.

                I have zero problem with helping those who cannot work.  I do have a lot of problems with those healthy individuals who stick their hand out for a handout.  Teach a man to fish and all that.

                A funny line in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” was, when asked why Cousin Eddy was unemployed, Ellen Griswold replied that he was “holding out for a management position.”  Well, I have serious doubts that many of these leeches at the public trough would work if they were even given a management position.

“Pfffttt! As if.”

                In an odd sort of way, while I would never accept something for nothing, I can see their point.  So, how about placing limits on their never-ending vacation?  If you’re not going to decrease the amount of unemployment (it should be decreased, but I really can’t see that happening), what about insisting that recipients actively search for work?

                It’s not the taxpayer’s responsibility to subsidize perpetual good time rock and roll and happy times.

                In the meantime, I plan on visiting that restaurant owner.  Maybe I’ll submit an application.  I’m not as young as I once was, but I remember how to bus tables. 

Nature Abhors a Vacuum

                And not just because it sucks.

                After twenty years of war, the United States is withdrawing from Afghanistan.  Declaring that the American military has achieved its military goals, Joe Biden set a date of September 11th as the final day for our servicemen and women to leave with honor.

                Before the Idiot-in-Chief sends them to another war zone.  Bank on it.

                Never mind that Donald Trump had already set a date of May 1st.  Heaven forbid that the Biden Administration does anything that the evil racist Orange Man did.  September it is, then.

                I’m of two minds about this.  If pressed, I view the ending of our involvement in that shithole as a good thing.  After all, there’s nothing there worth an American life.  In fact, if it were up to me, I’d pull every American out of every country in the world.  Let them take care of themselves.

                Going into Afghanistan made sense back in the fall of 2001.  Dear Lord, when I write that down, it brings home how long it’s actually been.  The United States had been brutally attacked and thousands of innocent people were slaughtered, including two friends of mine.

                Something needed to be done to deny safe haven to the animals who would carry out a such a heinous massacre.  Along the way, the Taliban stranglehold on the country was decapitated.  Some semblance of freedom slowly burgeoned among the Afghan people.  Good things.

                But then, as in Vietnam, an American presence began to be perceived as the norm.  Ostensibly there to train local forces to prevent a fundamental Islamic resurgence, it was felt that only American muscle could adequately safeguard the region.  Moreover, the national military could not bring the type of air power punch that the Americans could.

                Haven’t we seen this movie before?   

“The horror…”

                That may be all well and good, but we’ve got our own problems.  Mostly of the “shoot yourself in the foot” variety, but if you put your masochist hat on and watch the news, you’ll see any number of troubles on American shores.  I won’t list them all here (not enough room), but you get my point.  We’re not living in Mayberry anymore, my friends.

Afghanistan sucks, tho…wait. This is Portland? Never mind.

                Then, I stop to think about that vacuum thing.  Does anyone doubt that, after we pull out of that troubled country, the Taliban will roar back into power?  Or, worse, a group sponsored by Iran?  An Iran which clearly has no love for “The Great Satan.”

                It’s a scenario eerily reminiscent of Vietnam.  The enemy we had beaten back and held somewhat at bay, took over the whole shooting match (probably an unfortunate term) once we pulled the flag down and got onboard the choppers.  Thousands of lives, millions of dollars wasted.

                And God help the poor bastards who helped us.  Human decency demands we take them back with us.

                Of course, I’m not saying throw good money at the bad.  Refusing to admit a mistake is what got Lyndon Johnson into trouble.  The problem in Vietnam was not the lack of a stated goal, but the lack of a will to do what was needed to get it done to see it through.  When the need to “go Roman” was apparent, we chose to “go French.”

                The problem in Afghanistan was that, beyond dismantling a terror network, there really was no stated goal.  Make the country a democratic stronghold?  Establish a bulwark against Iran?  China?  Russia?  Prevent a repeat of 9/11?  Ensure the viability of the poppy trade (ah, my cynical side bursts through)?  All of it?

                Don’t know.

                In any event, I guarantee that something will fill that vacuum. 

                I doubt Russia will.  They had their hands full with that place in the 80s.  The Russians may not feel it’s worth the effort anymore, despite the fact that the bordering nations (the “Stans”) were once part of the Soviet Union.  China?  Maybe.  What would it benefit the Chinese?  It’s a landlocked mountainous country, but it has a grunch of mineral resources, including natural gas and oil.  So, yeah, sure, that could tempt Beijing.

“You can be for keeping that pisshole in snow!”

                Iran.  Now there’s the more likely contender, in my opinion.  Or at least a Tehran-sponsored terrorist network.  A network only too willing to dance to the tune of their mullah bandleaders.

                At the very least, peace, love, and Kumbaya won’t break out in Kabul once we’ve left the stage, of that you can be sure.

                You know what, though?  I don’t care.  If people aren’t willing to fight for their freedoms without big brother standing over their shoulder (hell, we’ve got enough of them here), than maybe you weren’t worth all the trouble in the first place.

                Will the United States see a return to the early twenty-first century if we say sayonara to Central Asia?  Are we at risk of another 9/11 style of attack?  Possibly.  To avoid that, it’s incumbent upon us to have a competent intelligence network (I wrote that with a straight face) which can alert us to any nefarious goings-on.  I realize that’s a tall order given the preoccupation of far too many with racist Math books, Fauci-Worship, and plastic potato penises.  We must pull our heads out of the “Woke Hole,” though,  to concentrate on the important stuff.

“This is such bullshit! I never had a penis! Unlike Caitlyn Jenner.”

                I realize that I could be wrong and dangerously short-sighted.  Only though American strength abroad can we guarantee American peace at home, many will contend.  Not for nothing, I’m wondering how safe the citizens of Portland feel?

                After all, we’ve maintained troops in Germany, Japan, and South Korea for decades, they say.  See how we’ve ensured peace?  Murica!

                Well, I counter with that may have made sense in the 40s, but don’t kid yourselves.  It was about the Soviet Union and North Korea.  Those occupied countries (sorry, but that’s what they are) have done pretty good for themselves, primarily on our defense dime.    Like I said, I wouldn’t necessarily have a problem if we bid them farewell, too.

                Far be it from me to agree with anything the demented muppet in the White House does, but it’s time to leave Afghanistan.  Sure, he’s appealing to his base and, yes, he’s going for political theater by calling for it on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on this country.  However, it’s ultimately the right thing to do.

                Trump called for it and I expressed the same thought processes then as I do now.  While I don’t feel like checking who applauded the action then, but condemn it now (partisan much?), my mind hasn’t changed.

                I won’t go so far as giving the Sniffer the benefit of the doubt because he’s looking to score political points.  I’ll just acknowledge that it’s time.

                The big difference between Trump and Biden, though?  I think people in Taiwan and Ukraine have every reason to be nervous.  What’s more, I think people in the United States should be nervous because Grampa Joe doesn’t realize his paper tiger doesn’t even have paper teeth and claws anymore.

The United States wouldn’t be perceived as a weak laughingstock by the bad actors of the world with a President Trump. The dude wasn’t perfect (e.g., tariffs), but he would protect this country if push came to shove. “America First” wasn’t just a campaign slogan to him.

                Now? Well, we may go to war over Taiwan, but we don’t have to worry about racist pancake syrup anymore.  

Are You Woke Enough?

“I’m old, I’m white, I’m woke. In fact, I just got up from my nap. COME ON MAN! If that isn’t woke, I don’t know what is!”

                Seriously. Are you? Bigot.

                Being “woke,” for those who do not know (I was blissfully ignorant of its present meaning for most of my life) was used to describe  literally not falling asleep or as slang for one’s suspicions of being cheated on by a romantic partner.  Surprisingly (once again, to me), it morphed into being used solely in the former sense.  Although, instead of describing narcoleptic misadventures, we were urged to be “woke” to social and racial injustice, especially in the wake of the Michael “Gentle Giant” Brown fiasco.

                It’s much more detailed than that, although not by a whole lot.  I won’t bore you with the excruciatingly long transformation to its present-day idiocy, though.  You’re welcome. 

                Let’s just put it this way.  If someone is sincerely urging you to be “woke,” they are a moron.

                Sadly, for far too many people, “wokeness” has supplanted common sense, logic, and critical thinking in our society.

                The Woke:

                1.  We must all wear masks (nay, two) so that we can get control of the Chinese Virus!

                Common Sense:

                A virus is going to do what a virus is going to do.  What is the end game?  Two weeks?  Two months?  Two years?  Forever?  Hand washing, keeping your distance where possible, not licking doorknobs are all prudent measures all of the time.  And, yes, being locked forever in a hermetically sealed plastic bubble will guarantee you won’t get COVID.  But, I’m sorry, if you are too scared to drive by yourself without wearing a mask, someone must be tying your shoes for you.  Still, if that’s how you roll, knock yourself out.  Just don’t expect me to join you in your mental illness.

                2.  Some people have contracted the Chinese Flu even though they’ve been vaccinated!

                Logic:

                Yes, that is troubling somewhat, but have any of the vaccines been touted as 100% effective against the virus?  No.  So, logically, a percentage will become affected.

                3.  The Idiot-in-Chief claims his mask fetish is not about politics.

                Critical Thinking:

                American citizens may need proof of vaccination before they can go to the ballgame.  But, hey, if you come crashing across the Southern border, who cares if you have the Wuhan Flu?  Not about politics?  Please.

                4.  A crushing tax burden will only stimulate the economy.

                Common Sense:

                ????????????????????????????????????????????????

                5.  Vladimir Putin is a “killer” and we must  ship Ukraine millions of dollars of military equipment!

                Logic:

                Russia will see the United States as an adversary again. Yay, good ole Cold War days!

                6.  The Department of Defense will fund gender reassignment surgery!
                Critical Thinking:

                Rendering personnel undeployable for who knows how long will enhance the military’s primary mission of killing people and destroying things how?

                7.  Solar and wind energy will power the future!

                Common Sense:

                Solar and wind have a place, but fossil fuels are critical to our society and infrastructure.  Unless I imagined the Texas electrical grid shitting the bed.

                8.  We must actively rejoin the Paris Climate Accords!

                Logic:

                Despite being one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, China will not be bound by this agreement for a decade.  Meanwhile, the United States, even though it has substantially cut back on its own emissions, will happily trash its economy.

                9.  Our reliance on fossil fuels is a threat to the globe!  Everyone must do their part!

                Critical Thinking:

                John Kerry took a private jet to Iceland to receive an environmental award.

                10.  The sins of the son have nothing to do with the father!

                Common Sense:

                Okay, in this instance I agree.  I would never want to be held to account for the actions of my father.  I also didn’t think it was fair that more than a few people were condemning Ted Cruz because his dad allegedly had something to do with Kennedy’s assassination.  Now, if Hunter Biden’s monkeyshines have something to do with Grampa Joe…

                11.  Mr. Potato Head is a symbol of toxic masculinity!

                Critical Thinking:

                Mr. Potato Head never had a penis.  Caitlyn Jenner, on the other hand…

                12.  Demanding people show identification before they can vote is racist!

                Common Sense:

                Showing identification before you can receive the COVID vaccination is not.

                13.  Georgia’s Voting Law is racist!
                Logic:

                So, in a textbook example of the bigotry of low expectations, minorities are unable or too stupid to obtain identification.

                14.  Only people who make over $400,000 will see a tax increase!

                Critical Thinking:

                What happens when the cost of business increases?  The increased cost will be passed on to consumers.

                15.  Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game must be moved from Georgia because Georgia requires ID to vote!

                Common Sense:

                Let’s move it to Colorado.  Which requires ID to vote.

                16.  The entire state of Georgia must be boycotted!

                Logic:

                So, CNN will move from Atlanta?

                17.  ORANGE MAN BAD!

                Critical Thinking:

                Elect/select a demented muppet who will raise taxes, kill jobs, and exacerbate racial tensions.  Because UNITY!  The Woke are incapable of recognizing that their guy may not be the right answer either.

                18.  Black Lives Matter!

                Common Sense:

                Of course they do.  As do Hispanic lives, Asian lives, Indian lives, and White lives.

                19.  I got a $1,400 stimulus check because DEMOCRATS CARE!

                Logic:

                Taxpayer-funded, so everyone giddily pissing themselves are receiving their own money.  Plus, how much of the latest stimulus act actually went to COVID relief?  Bread and circuses, my friends, bread and circuses.

                20.  Lockdowns work! 

                Critical Thinking:

                What are the statewide infections/hospitalizations/deaths rates of New York/California compared to Florida/Texas?

                I could go on and on.  When the Babylon Bee looks like a reputable news site compared to the New York Times, you know you’re in trouble.  Examples of woke foolishness are legion; the most difficult job is to decide which one to tackle.

Unfortunately, I will never be lacking for material.

                Notice I mentioned nothing about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

                But, I could have.  

Get Off My Lawn

                Part of the reality of being retired from the armed forces is that we gray hairs sometimes belittle those who followed us as being soft.  Our generation had it tougher than the youngsters (not confined to a single generation, I’m sure Cold Warriors would be called “pussies” by those who fought the Nazis).   More than once I’ve read complaints from my fellow veterans that kids today wouldn’t know a real conflict if it snuck up and shoved a bayonet up their ass.

                I do my utmost not to echo these sentiments.  Sadly, I’m not always successful.   I’ll admit, the “cranky-old-man” vibe is often irresistible when I see Sailors (in camouflage uniforms-I’ll never get used to that) strolling through the local mall glued to their smartphones while holding a cup of kiwi frozen yogurt.  Why, “back in my day” we wouldn’t have been caught dead doing that.

                Never mind that smartphones weren’t invented until after I retired.

                I wonder how the military would do if they were ever called upon to confront an existential threat.  I’m not talking about bullshit gender wars or the fiction of widespread extremism.  And don’t get me started about troops sporting face diapers.  No, I’m talking about an Iranian submarine that decides to slam a few torpedoes into an aircraft carrier.

                Would they blanch at the thought of risking life and limb to defend some ridiculously outmoded idea of freedom?  Worse, would their civilian leadership not deem it a priority?  Like in Vietnam, would the military be hamstrung by a geriatric dope in Washington who can’t even negotiate a flight of stairs?


                While I increasingly worry about those leading them, I can’t help but admire those in the Middle East or who man our warships for months without a port visit.  They’ve done admirably, so I pray we would be fine.  Still, I wonder…


                What would happen, for example, if China finally decided to invade Taiwan?   

“Don’t worry, Dear Reader, he could have said you, too.”

                Speaking of “leadership”…

                It is clear to any student of history that there are many parallels between the decay of the Roman Empire and the arguable decay of the United States.

                In fact, many of these similarities are so clear that they could easily form the backbone of a Middle School research paper.  Moral decline, military disasters, a tax burden spread on a decreasing tax base, “bread and circuses,” devaluation of the currency, deterioration of what it meant to actually be a Roman, and so on were all low-hanging fruit.  When juxtaposed against American society in the 21st Century, the comparison is apt.

                Trust me, when I was in Middle School (we called it Junior High School back then), I wrote such a paper.  My history teacher, while giving me high marks, no doubt thought to himself, “Yeah, well, that’s obvious.  But, he’s only in 9th grade, after all.”

                Whenever the topic would come up, though, I always argued that the biggest difference between Rome and the United States was that the emperors counted on support of the legions.  To them, the military was their own personal branch of government.  True, some emperors were ousted by the army, but they fell at the hands of another man who used his legions as his own enforcers.

                Not so in the United States, I maintained.  The American military had since its inception been apolitical.  The military swore an oath to support the Constitution.  Not some emperor.  Or president.

                So, it is with that in mind that I find Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s mandate that the U.S. military conduct a 60-day standdown to root out “extremism” most disturbing.  Of course, if there were widespread extremism and hatred in the armed forces, I’d applaud this effort.  If this was in response not only to events on January 6th, but to the carnage wrought by Antifa and BLM last summer, he could count on me for support.

                However, it’s not so he can’t.  Even more, since Austin is a Grandpa Joe appointee, yeah, I’m cynical.  Is “extremist” code for “Republican?”  Has upper military leadership, officer and enlisted, been assimilated into the Borg-like collective known as “wokeness?”

                It seems the Pentagon is increasingly more worried about diversity, social engineering, maternity flight suits, and whether we should pay for that lieutenant who wants to cut his dick off than the real reasons for which a country even has a military:  breaking things and killing people.  I’m sorry if this trods upon your tender sensitivities.  Good  time rock and roll touchy  feely nonsense  may be wonderful at Facebook or in faculty lounges, but to quote Colonel Jessup from A Few Good Men, “…we live in a world with walls and those walls have to be  guarded by men with guns.”

                Sidebar, your honor?  Jessup said “men,” but if anyone is qualified to do so when the need arises (not during post-op from a self-imposed mutilation procedure), by all means they need to be allowed to do so.

                I so desperately wish that we lived in a world where walls weren’t necessary (especially around the GD Capitol), a military wasn’t irreplaceable, or that all of mankind shared the same notions as our college campus social justice warriors or hypocrites who give a wink and a nod to these pinheads while grabbing all the power they can.

                But, we don’t.  There will always be barbarians at the gates.  Worse, we have idealists within who would be thrilled to throw the gates wide open for them.  After all, aren’t we all part of the same family?

                Surely, all anyone wants is to embrace the better angels of our nature, you bigot.   Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Josef Stalin, and Saddam Hussein were just misunderstood, is all.

                When you concentrate on things other than why you put a weapon in the hands of young men and women  in the first place, you put them in serious peril.  When you become an arm of the ruling class, you put the entire country in serious peril.

                Those of us who know history have seen this movie before.