Category Archives: Death Of Common Sense

Insanity & Stupidity On The Upswing – Again

Officially, the United States has over 963,000 deaths from COVID so far. That’s a very conservative number, due in large part to states such as Florida very deliberately undercounting COVID deaths. The actual number is almost certainly more than twice that.

And yet, almost every state has gotten rid of most mask mandates, except for possibly in hospitals and on public transportation. Businesses can still put their own mask mandates in place, but few if any will.

“The pandemic is over!” Bullshit. Anyone who thinks that is a fucking idiot. In the US, while the numbers from the “fourth wave” caused by the Omicron variant are decreasing, we still have something like 1,500+ deaths a day.

A! DAY! 1500!

Boy, we freaked out of our minds over 2,977 deaths on 9/11, didn’t we? But now we’re losing that many of our family and neighbors every 48 hours and no one cares.

What brings this to the forefront and has me so pissed off tonight?

The grocery store yesterday morning.

After over two years of almost 100% compliance with masking requirements, things changed in an instant with the lifting of the mask mandates. It’s been a week or so and last week there were still mostly folks all wearing masks, one or two not, but this week? It’s over folks. Even here in blue California where the loudmouth idiots protesting masks and vaccines were a vocal but very tiny minority, this week the masks came off.

Maybe half of those in the store (besides the employees) were masked. Maybe.

Next week I expect it to be less. And less the following week.

Okay. Whatever. I will continue to wear a mask at all times indoors in any public place, but that’s just me. And a small minority of other sane folks.

For the politicians and those at the CDC who caved to the insane rantings of the vocal minority, I have a question:

Now that you’ve let go of the reins and gone to useless “recommendations” to stay masked, what are you going to do when the numbers start climbing exponentially again?

The genie’s out of the bottle. Pandora’s box has been opened. There’s no going back.

When we’re back to infection rates and hospitalization rates and death rates that make the fourth wave look like a picnic (and remember, we’re STILL at rates that would have horrified us during the first wave), how do you re-start mask mandates and get any compliance whatsoever?

Herd immunity? Never going to happen.

At some point enough people will die, and the health care system will be overwhelmed enough to collapse, and the morons still won’t wear masks, but enough of them will die slow, horrible deaths so that the rest of us can get on with our lives and do what we need to do to stop this.

Until then…


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March Madness & The First Strike Option

I had every intention of starting off friendly, cooperative, maybe even upbeat with March. Just like I did with February. Look where THAT got me, but I’m an eternal optimist. Let’s start by encouraging March to be the very best March that it could be!

That approach lasted all of about ten seconds.

March had other plans, and announced its presence with authority…

(In case it’s too subtle, I’m the guy in the white shirt, March is in the brown shirt.)

I did NOT see that coming!

You might remember that last night I was trying to finish uploading payroll at the end of an extremely long day. I was writing a post because I had gotten booted off of the payroll site about 22:30 because they had shut down for “maintenance” but would be back “shortly.” I (foolishly) assumed “shortly” would be some time period, say, of less than an hour. SURELY less than two hours. WRONG! After I posted I kept trying until after 01:30 before I gave up and went to bed.

After something on the order of maybe four hours sleep, I was back on the computer and finishing data entry, looking and feeling my best. Semi-conscious at best, I managed to get it done and avoid that disaster. (Folks tend to get cranky when they don’t get paid on time. Go figure!)

Still without a shower, breakfast, my other four hours of sleep, or anything resembling a civilized existence, I was leaving my computer to go get at least two of those things when I noticed the count of unread emails in my personal email. It should have been on the order of a dozen, not ten times that. WTF?

There’s a flood of emails from Match, the dating website. As I said, WTAF??!!

Someone has obviously set up a new account on the dating site and put in the wrong email address. This has happened before with several kid’s education type sites (online math & science tutoring) and with several French websites. (I don’t speak French, so that’s my first clue in that case.) Match is a new one.

However “Kate” described herself she must have hit all of the hot buttons for every middle aged, (presumably) single, horny black guys in the Deep South. They ALL want to meet “Kate!”

Alas, none of their passionate attempts are going anywhere, much like most of the red-feathered finches in the back yard, hopped up on hormones and the endorphins that lengthening days bring. All of those guys are now ending up in my Spam file, and they won’t even make it to there once I set up a filter to simply delete them.

I attempted to contact Match through their customer support email address. There’s five minutes of my life I’ll never get back! They sent a standard response with several dozen FAQ’s and answers, none of which had anything to do at all with my issue. Thus, the kill filter!

From there the rest of the day was “nibbled to death by ducks” levels of stupid annoyances.

The MLB owners and players aren’t even talking and the owners have started cancelling games, so I’m seriously pissed at both. Probably 3/4 owners and 1/4 players, but still.

The Russians continue to try to provoke WW3 and I’m horrified that their next tactic, even if it’s not lobbing nukes at everyone, might be horrific crimes and autocracies against the Ukranian people. If that doesn’t depress the crap out of you, I don’t know what will.

And an Illinois house that I’ve been seriously lusting after on Zillow, like a LOT of house lust, got sold. We weren’t ready to pull the trigger and that opportunity is waving at us as it pulls away.

So, March…

We are not off to a good start, you and me.

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Take Care

Hey, y’all! You know all of those tips and suggestions that you get about internet security and safety that you’ve been ignoring about 99% of the time?

Now’s the time to take every one of them incredibly seriously 24/7/365. The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! And you can bet your ass that they’ll be scattering spam and phishing and ransomware out there like cluster bombs. Touch one of those by accident and you’ll be extremely messed up for a long, long time.

So remember:

NEVER open an email of any kind unless you know who it’s from. Hopefully you’ve got a spam filter that these malware laced little threats get put as a first line of defense. If so, assume that everything in there is in there for a reason. And even if something slips through to your regular email box, be suspicious of everything.

NEVER go to a site based on clickbait. C’mon, folks! Be smarter than that! Why do you really care for two seconds about Kanye or Taylor or Beyonce at all to begin with? You all know what these things look like. With what’s going on in the world right now, one of these days real soon now it’s going to take you not to a mindless site filled with vacuous celebrity drivel but instead to something that’s going to lock your computer and erase everything on it.

It seems obvious but I know folks who have fallen for it recently – NO ONE WITH THE IRS, FBI, POLICE, CIA, M6, YOUR BOSS, OR ANYONE ELSE IS COMING TO COLLECT A BILL WHICH YOU CAN ONLY PAY OFF IN GIFT CARDS. Okay, so this isn’t necessarily part of a Russian World War III plot, but you’re more likely to get one that almost kinda sorta looks like it might be legit in the near future. IT’S A SCAM!!! Trust me, if the IRS is going to come after you, you’ll get something legal IN THE MAIL. If the police or FBI want you, they’ll just kick your door in. If it’s a creditor, they may make your life a living hell, but they won’t be paid in gift cards.

Make sure you have a good anti-virus program, make sure it’s running, and make sure that its definitions are current.

Make sure you have a full backup of your computer and make sure that it’s offline and not going to get locked and/or corrupted at the same time your computer does. Better yet, get three external hard drives (hell, you can get 10+ terabytes for about $130, and drives over 20Tb are now available) and make three backup sets. Keep one at home (NOT plugged into the computer), have one nearby but not at home (can you store it at work? can you and a friend swap holding onto each other’s?), and have one way off somewhere (do you have a family member in another state?) where it can’t be touched.

As the above proves – BE PARANOID!

My computer holds tens of thousands of photos, video, financial documents, not to mention all of the entertainment content (music, videos, publications, books, and so on) that I’ve purchased over decades. One mistake, one idle moment of curiosity instead of paranoia, and I’ll be staring at a screen with that laughing skull thing that Jeff Goldblum had on the alien mother ship in “Independence Day” while forty years of content goes away.

I would be seriously pissed for the rest of my life about that. (When our car got broken into in Montreal and my briefcase stolen back in 2004 they took a couple of memory cards full of photos that I’ll never get back again and I’m still pissed!) I choose paranoia instead.

Actually, it’s not paranoia – there really, REALLY are folks out there who are and will be trying to mess up my life like that. And yours. And everyone else’s if they can. It’s random, it’s evil, but it’s happening.

It’s war. Literally.

Be smart, be prepared.

And start yesterday.


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Random Season Changes

It seems that with the pandemic and work-from-home thing for 18 months and feeling busier than God 24/7/365, the “seasons” have cut loose from their traditional moorings. As a result it’s feeling more and more like daily life in the Twilight Zone.

One thing here in California is that it seems to now be open season for the GOP television ads on the gubernatorial recall to be shown on every channel all day. (I’m assuming – there are a LOT of channels I don’t watch, and never will, but they seem to be on every channel I’m watching. I must be their target audience.) I’ve seen them for four different candidates already today. It invokes absolutely no surprise to see that each one is a bigger douche canoe than the previous one.

That’s going to get really annoying really fast. I might turn into a crotchety, cranky old man over this one. I might have to limit my television between now and September 14th to “Ted Lasso” next Friday and the Chiefs’ game on the 12th. However, given that the Chiefs’ game is right before the election, the ads might make it unwatchable. Perhaps I’ll listen to that one on the internet radio instead, even if it is on TV.

And Halloween candy went on sale at the grocery store three weeks ago. My first display sighting was on the weekly grocery run on the 8th. I know they get earlier and earlier, but really? A full month before Labor Day and we’re already getting Halloween candy?

Any bets on when the first Christmas stuff will hit the grocery stores? This week?

When my faith in the future of humanity is taking heavy fire from all quarters on a minute by minute basis, this isn’t helping. If you see something on the news about someone going berserk in a SoCal grocery store over Christmas candy in August…

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Long Valley Flowers

Last Saturday we were in Palm Springs. One of the things that I love to do but don’t do nearly often enough is hiking out in the woods and getting out into the wild a bit.

Outside of Palm Springs is the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which goes from the desert floor (at about 2,600′ elevation and 110ºF+) to the top of San Jacinto Peak (at about 8,500′ elevation and 65ºF). At the station on the top there’s a fairly steep ramp that goes down about 100′ to the floor of Long Valley where there are a couple of short (0.75 miles and 1.50 miles) day hike trails. I took the longer, “Desert View Loop” trail.

Along the way I saw these flowers.

They really stand out!

No clue what they are. A Google image search found a lot of African flowers that are bright red and growing out of pine needle ground cover, but the closest I found for a southwest US setting was captioned “scarlet gilia, also called skyrocket.” That ‘s probably not quite correct, but it might be close.

Anyway, when I eventually go out on what I thought was going to be a 30 minute day hike over flat ground and instead spend two hours going 2.5 miles at 8,415 feet including two fairly steep trails going up a couple hundred feet and thin air with (STUPIDLY!! 🤨 Yes, I do know better 😫 ) no water at my age thinking in my poor, pathetic brain that I’m still 25 instead of 65, when that day comes and it finally kills me (I hope that day will be far in the future, but…), plant some of these on my grave. 😁



Filed under Death Of Common Sense, Flowers, Freakin' Idiots!, Health, Paul, Photography, Travel

Before You Freak Out Over The Coronavirus…

…get your flu shot!

It’s indicative of how we’ve lost all ability to do any kind of sane risk management. The new Chinese coronavirus has killed 170 people, which could actually be ten times that – but it’s in a country of over a billion people. There are five, maybe six people in this country who have it and it’s front page news. They’re cancelling flights to China for weeks. Every news hour shows folks coming into US airports and being screened and quarantined.

Five, maybe six people.

And yet the flu kills, on average, over 8,000 people a year in this country.

Not five people. Or six. OVER 8,000. And in a bad year that can double.

Not sick. Dead.

Did you get your flu shot this year?


Then STFU about coronavirus.


Filed under Death Of Common Sense, Health

Twitter Time Out

There’s a story I tell about my childhood transition from six years of Catholic school in Kansas City to the public school system in the Chicago suburbs.

Suffice it to say there were…differences…between the two environments. In Catholic school I was an altar boy, incredibly sanctimonious, indoctrinated into Catholic doctrine, and probably on the fast track to be the first American Pope. A few short months later as I hit middle school in the Buffalo Grove School District I was frantically trying to keep my head above water socially and stumbling through a process by which I might become a thinking human being again.

The punch line to the story is, “I started that summer thinking that if I told someone to ‘go to Hell,’ the ground would open up at my feet and Satan would personally appear to escort me to Hell on the spot. By the end of the summer, I was telling people to fuck off and not thinking twice about it.”

That line came back to me today as I’ve been put in 12-hour Twitter Timeout for “potentially abusive behavior” when the only thing I can think of that I possibly would have done is tell some wannabe bot account to “go to Hell.”

Who knew that my pre-teen psychological terrors would come to life fifty-plus years later courtesy of an overly aggressive Twitter algorithm?

(Warning – my Twitter presence is much more political and swear-ish than this site. I don’t suffer fools gladly, and there are a lot of them over on Twitter.)

Perusing my timeline this afternoon, I ran across this:

Bullshit right-wing propaganda, probably from a bot account. I was in the mood to respond, as I had been to similar subhuman cretins for a while.

“…some potentially abusive behavior…”

I don’t see it. If we can’t call a lie a lie and call a liar a liar, we’ve lost. It’s a bot, so the account should be deleted. If somehow it’s actually a human, they really do need to think about their life choices.

And then I said “Please go to Hell.” I didn’t even remember saying “please.” How is that “potentially abusive?”

About half a second after posting this, I got a message from Twitter:

The only thing I can think now is that it might be coincidental that this notice showed up just as I posted that particular response. I had been on a roll for an hour or so. Nothing anywhere near meeting any rational definition of “abusive” or “threatening”, but I do recall the phrase “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” being used several times. It was sort of a theme for the day, in particular to a string of right-wing, wannabe fascists who think that…

(*breathe*) (*again*)

Let’s say that we strongly disagree on a number of political and social topics and our visions for the future of our country are highly divergent.

In “Bull Durham” (an all-time favorite film) Crash Davis only gets thrown out of a game by an umpire after using a certain “magic word” in an argument. Maybe I’ll try that next time. At least then I’ll know WHY I’m being put in Twitter Timeout!

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How Steven King Novels Start

It’s just a tiny little gap in the database. Yeah, that’s it! Nothing to worry about. I’ll just go that way and see where it goes, because that’s where the GPS is telling me to go. No worries.

But if I’m never heard from again…

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Note To Morons

I’ve recently mentioned those who, beyond all concept of common sense, believe the Earth to in fact be flat.

How do you explain this?

Image from Flight Aware

That plane is flying a straight line to a very good first approximation. It’s the shortest route between Los Angeles and Seoul, while accounting for things like Russian air space and North Korea.

If, from this view, the “shortest route” would be pretty much due west from LAX, passing just north of Hawaii, then why would the airlines routinely fly from LAX, up the US and Canadian west coast, along Alaska, crossing the Aleutian Islands, down the Russian coast, and across Japan? Given that the price of gas is by far the number one variable in the profitability or viability of modern airlines, do you really think they would do this on every single flight for every single airline, just to keep up the conspiracy and illusion that the Earth is flat?

If you won’t believe or trust science and math, then just follow the money.


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This Is My Surprised Face – December 28th

In my Twitter feed I follow the New York Times. (Big surprise!) Not only do I see news articles there, but also links to their travel, movie reviews, health, sports, and other articles.

Just now I saw a tweet with the headline, “Being a couch potato is worse for your health than you may have thought.” In short, the article from earlier this month says that a study indicates that if you sit around on your butt all day and then exercise, you get far fewer benefits from the exercise than if you’re moderately active during the day before you exercise.

That’s not so surprising, but I guess it’s good to actually do the study. They’ll be following up with different groups of people to see if the same applies to the 85% of the planet’s population which isn’t young, male, and white. (Before anyone gets all snarky, besides me of course, I understand the reason to start with a group that’s got as little variety as possible. It eliminates or at least reduces some of the variables that could be affecting the results. Once you have that baseline, then you can start doing studies to change one variable at a time.)

What caught my attention though was that headline in the tweet. “Being a couch potato is worse for your health than you may have thought.” Maybe it’s me, but I pretty much thought that being a couch potato put you on the fast track to an early death, so I’m not sure how much worse it could get.

I’m sure there are people who sit on the couch (or the bed, or the chair, or the floor, or whatever) all day AND smoke two packs a day AND pound back a six-pack of brewskies every day AND gorge themselves on a half-gallon of ice cream every day. Yes, that would be worse than just being a couch potato. Statistically I’m sure those people die forty years earlier than the rest of us, but that’s not what the headline is pointing to.

No, I’m wondering about the implied, “Sure, I’m a couch potatoe (sorry, channeling Dan Quayle there!) potato for fourteen hours a day, but that walk around the block with the dog every other day is going to keep me right up there with the Olympic decathlete who lives next door!”

I didn’t think about it for long. The New York Times’ tweets then went on to mention people and events from our current political and social malaise, where everyone’s not just allowed to believe in their own separate reality and facts, but they’re expected to.

To that extent, the findings of this report might help a few people, those who are still thinking on their own instead of gobbling up every bit of BS from every clickbait site out there on the internet. To the rest of us, well, the thing about having your own reality is that the Universe doesn’t care. Enjoy your couch and your early grave!

Me, I think I’ll make sure I get up and walk every time my watch barks at me tomorrow.



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