Graybyrd's Quick and Dirty
Thu, 03 Sep 2020
States this week have been notified by federal authorities to prepare distribution centers for Covid-19 vaccine, set up and ready by November 1. This year.
Scientists and health officials have previously been unanimous in warning us that vaccines must undergo a rigid, time-consuming process to be tested; to be proven effective and safe. The most optimistic estimates put such a timeline as mid-2021. Next year.
The timing raises eyebrows. All states be ready just before election day?
So if Spouse & I are notified to appear at the local vaccination center for our shots, is that a good thing or... not so good?
Was it rushed? Sufficiently tested? Is it safe? Is it so effective as to justify the risk?
Would you hesitate? For yourself? Your wife? Your children? Your grandchildren?
Fool me once, bigger fool you. Fool me twice...? No. I think I'll pass.
Trust. Without trust nothing is possible.
Sat, 22 Aug 2020
For years I've believed and shared the belief that the greatest sin is lying.
Does that seem odd? What about murder, thieving, lust, envy, and the host of other sins we're warned against; some so egregious that stern laws and punishments exist to dissuade transgression.
Lies in advertising, business, and politics have become so commonly accepted that campaign and marketing promises are considered a game; "only a fool takes them seriously!" It's all accepted with a nod and a wry grin. Politicians are expected to make glorious promises, lies, that everybody knows are lies but are accepted as feel-good fodder for the sky-blown rhetoric of the moment. Party platforms are accepted as ephemeral promises made to appease anxious but gullible voters.
So we're conditioned to go easy on lies and liars. "No big deal," we hear. "Everybody does it. It's all part of the pitch, the message, the social grease of daily life. You're expected to check it out, make adjustments, and don't get all hot and bothered about it."
Until it comes to trust.
"The check is in the mail." Everybody knows that's a joking reference to a common lie. Expect the check but don't hold your breath.
The thing is, we've learned not to trust. Except when it comes to vital services: Doctors. Banks. Public utilities. Pension checks. Prescription drugs. Groceries. There we have a basic need. We must trust.
But if trust is betrayed: a bank cheats; a doctor operates while intoxicated; a bag of spinach is deadly; a pension fund defaults. Trust is exceedingly hard to restore once betrayed. One cannot easily trust again. Without trust the foundations of life crumble.
Nothing is possible without trust. Think about it.
Take the U.S. Postal Service. Note that name: "service." Not "business," but service. Mandated in the U.S. Constitution as a fundamental service to unite the people and serve the democratic foundation of our government. To serve us all from every city to all remote corners regardless of wealth or situation.
Until recently, that is.
People trust reliable delivery of prescription drugs to maintain health and life. Lately they're arriving late, after the on-hand supply runs out. The consequences are dire.
Seniors trust the monthly arrival of pension checks. They have rent, mortgage payments, water and power and heating bills to pay, groceries to buy. When checks are late, mortgage and utility payments are late; meals are missed.
In Maine this week news networks report that thousands of live chicks are arriving dead. The trusted on-time deliveries of mail-order chicks are delayed and chicks perish in the shipping cartons. Rural people have long depended upon and have trusted that live poultry chicks to restock their flocks would come from the hatchery via U.S. Mail. It has always worked. It has been affordable and trustworthy. But not now.
When medicine fails to arrive before it runs out; when checks fail to arrive before payments are due; and when shipments of chicks arrive dead... will we remain so trusting?
Will promises of 'better next time' be trusted?
Recent claims that massive changes in U.S. Postal policies and operations are to achieve greater economy and efficiency appear to be deceptive at best and lies at worst. What now of trust?
Deceptions, half-truths, and lies destroy trust. Without trust nothing is possible.
Tue, 11 Aug 2020
Good morning. This is Acme Satellite Services. How may I direct your call?
To the service department, please.
May I enquire regarding the nature of your call, sir? Is this a request for service; a complaint regarding service; a request for modification of...
It's a protest about NO service, ma'am. Now please connect me to yer service department!
There's no need for rude interruptions, sir. Please wait one moment while I connect you.
90 seconds of "Over the Rainbow" Muzac (c) follows
Acme Satellite Services Service Department, JJ Finlay here. How may I help you?
Services? How come my effin' TV 'n' Internet service is cut off. It went blank just this morning. No warnin' or nuthin', it just went blank!
I see from your account ID listed with your calling number that your service was ordered terminated at 0400 hours this morning for... lets see here... oh, yes. Non-Payment On Account. That's very serious, sir, and will invoke substantial reconnect fees if you wish to reinstate service, sir.
But I mailed this month's invoice and payment a week ago! I have my check register copy of the check I sent!
I'm sorry, sir, but my record shows that the payment arrived four days after the service termination deadline.
Well, maybe so, but that's not my fault! First off, I mailed it to arrive on time, before your payment deadline. Check the damn postmark. And while we're at it, your invoice arrived barely in time for me to get a payment back to you! How about them apples?
Sir, Acme Satellite accounts policy is firm. We send invoices a full 15 days prior to payment deadline. Check the postmark on your billing envelope and you'll see that we strictly adhere to the date requirement.
Well, what about the postmark on my payment envelope? Don't that count fer something?
No sir, it does not satisfy the requirement that payment is due no later than our service continuation deadline. Your payment arrived after the deadline. I'm sorry, sir, but our policy is firm. Your service is terminated and if you wish to reinstate you must send a new service order and a certified check for... lets see here... $147.97 plus tax plus certification fee plus service call fee... that would be a total of $283.55. Make the check payable to...
NO DAMNED WAY, you effing crooks! You're tellin' me that your invoice can be late cuz the damned Post Office was slow, and that don't count! And you're tellin' me that I can mail my payment early, and if it arrives late because the damned Post Office was slow, and that COUNTS AGAINST ME? You're playin' the post office delays both ways, in your favor and against me? How's that fair? And you want nearly 300 bucks to put my service back? And what happens next month? You bust my ass again? Because I can't send your damned invoice payment until I get it and that guarantees you'll get my payment AFTER the deadline?
That's pretty much it, sir. Welcome to the new U.S. Postal Service reorganization and efficiency standards, sir. We're pleased to support our Presidential efforts in bringing American services into line with global standards. Is there anything else I may help you with? Do you wish to order a reinstatement form? We can mail it today. You'll be expected to return the request to arrive here no later than two weeks from today... or it will be null and void. And don't forget to enclose that Certified Check for $283.55. Please be aware, if it arrives late, there will be an additional $124.95 late re-application fee. Have a good day, sir.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020
Washington (CNN) White House aides reached out to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem last year about the process of adding additional presidents to Mount Rushmore, the New York Times reported.
According to a person familiar who spoke with the Times, Noem then greeted Trump when he arrived in the state for his July Fourth celebrations at the monument with a four-foot replica of Mount Rushmore that included his face.
Noem has noted before Trump's "dream" to have his face on Mount Rushmore, the Coolidge-era sculpture that features the 60-foot-tall faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.
According to a 2018 interview with Noem, the two struck up a conversation about the sculpture in the Oval Office during their first meeting, where she initially thought he was joking. "I started laughing," she said. "He wasn't laughing, so he was totally serious."
"He said, 'Kristi, come on over here. Shake my hand, and so I shook his hand, and I said, 'Mr. President, you should come to South Dakota sometime. We have Mount Rushmore.' And he goes, 'Do you know it's my dream to have my face on Mount Rushmore?'"
Trump also toyed with the idea of adding himself to Mount Rushmore in 2017 at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio.
During his July Fourth speech to supporters in South Dakota, Trump fiercely defended Mount Rushmore -- which activists and native tribal leaders have long criticized for its history and purpose -- saying it will "stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers, and to our freedom."
"As we meet here tonight there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for," Trump warned.
A White House official noted to the New York Times that Mount Rushmore is a federal, not a state monument.
GB Comment: As Trump continues to show, it only takes an Executive Order to accomplish things 'federal' so don't be surprised if funds are shifted, contracts let, and work begins at Mount Rushmore ... as soon as that pesky matter of the Great Wall of Trump is resolved ... or not. Maybe, both?
Reports from confidential White House sources confirm that a seance conducted in the Lincoln Bedroom contacted the spirit of Nancy Reagan's spiritualist, Joan Quigley, who served as White House Astrologer and Psychic Advisor from 1981 to 1989, the entirety of both Presidential terms. She has confirmed that it will "go away forever" on September 23, 2020, a "most auspicious date," for on that date as the Solar Furnace rises above the Continental Ley Line, the exact Annual 12-12 Balance between day and night will be realized and Flux Line Emissions will be released, eradicating the virus from ocean to ocean.
She confirmed that spiritual vibrations had been focused on the White House for a number of months since the viral pandemic had started but it proved extraordinarily difficult to penetrate the Presidential Consciousness. A frantically-enlisted Great League of Spirits was called to reinforce the effort and they eventually prevailed.
"It was this energy from the Otherworld, focused by Etheric Mind Shaping upon the nation's leader, which caused him finally to get the message that the great American nation need worry no longer.
The wrongly-named Covid19 virus--it is actually the Luciferous Infectuous Janus 2020 Affliction--will completely and totally vanish. Infected persons are advised to rise from their beds, go outdoors, disrobe, and expose themselves to the healing atmosphere.
Reporters tipped to the news inquired if the President intended to follow her "healing emissions" advice. She refused to divulge any details other than to hint that the White House rose garden is scheduled for a "Presidential Ceremony" at sunrise of September 23rd.
Sun, 09 Aug 2020
Let's find a way to send them all home!
After all, they're just a threat to each other, running around the Halls of Congress, half with masks and half with naked sneers. And they can't seem to agree on anything except that everybody but their side sucks.
So it's got so bad that Dear Leader slips off to his golf course and while huffin' 'n' puffin' 'n' swattin' at that pesky white pellet, a golf cart comes racing up the fairway from the lodge carryin' an SS Agent clutchin' a clipboard and a Presidential Sharpie.
And The Donald grabs the clipboard, flips through the few sheets there, and with a flourish he scribbles his scrawl across each sheet.
"There!" he proclaims. "Four more Executive Orders! The Nation is Back on Track!"
The SS Agent catches the out-flung clipboard, dashes for the golf cart, and races back to the Lodge, radio'ing ahead "It's done! Alert the White House!"
See? Who needs Congress?
Think of the money we'd save if we just put 'em all on furlough and half pay?
And if we missed 'em, we could call 'em back, maybe a few at a time?
Just a thought. Wishful thinking, really.
Thu, 06 Aug 2020
Trump on the stump today shouts that Joe Biden is against God, against the Bible, against all that is good in America.
Is he serious? Or is he cunning, like a cornered ... candidate? (I bet you thought I was gonna say "rat!" Sorry. Too easy. Too pointless. Too true.)
But to the point: Trump is cunning, and I've long suspected as have a few TV pundits that Trump does two things with outrageous, un-Presidential, uncivil rants:
First, he stirs and inflames his base. Not that they need more stirring, but he needs to keep the fires of hatred and resentment alive.
Second, he is distracting and deflecting attention from the real issues. Every minute of air time spent hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing over his latest effrontery, is a minute of air time NOT spent focused on his failure to take decisive leadership to guide the ship of state around the shoals of the pandemic. Not only are Americans dying, but the ship seems holed on the reef and taking on water. Our economy, businesses damaged or permanently closed; unemployed millions now facing eviction, foreclosure, and Depression-era hardship, is sinking and it was the vessel Trump needed for reelection. It and his campaign lay foundered on that reef.
So he distracts with outrageous bluster in public.
I wonder what he says in private to his White House hair dresser?
Read that any way you like: numb to rhyme with dumb or number to rhyme both with dumber and... number counts: horrific death tolls that now splash off our minds like cow piss off a flat rock. Yeh, a big mess with no end. The effect of so much incredible, meaning not credible, horrific news cascades down on us, we're like that flat rock. We don't just get worn down. We become insensate; we shut down. Numb and dumb like that rock. Dumb as in struck dumb, silent, wordless, paralyzed.
Can anyone imagine 1,000 deaths a day? An American dying every 80 seconds, the statistics say? What macabre soul sits with a calculator and punches in death numbers to divide by hours, minutes, and seconds?
But it's a fact. Not a Republican "alternative fact," but one of those hard statistical facts that makes a person a "liberal" for believing in facts despite not wanting to.
How, Donald? Just how is a highly infectious disease that has exponentially spread across the entire nation and now affects millions of us going to just... go away? Explain that!
But no, Trump explains nothing. Because he understands nothing. He's expecting high praise because millions of us will not have sickened and died before the November election. We've lost less than two hundred thousand Americans instead of two million. Great job, Donald!
Yes, Donald, it is what it is. And future historians will give you credit for it. All of it.
Wed, 05 Aug 2020
So, what's with the name? Quick and Dirty?
This is my new "old" place for stuff right off the top of my balding ol' head. Not a "formal" blog; not in the same sense as really serious weblog postings. This is my quick and dirty dumpsite, a place to shove a few lines or 'graphs.
My more formal blog is "Gray Nest" linked here. It's a companion to my formal website, "Graybyrd" that's been laying on the server mostly undisturbed by floods of net traffic for some years now.
My more serious new bucket for writings, stories, poems & guest stuff in "Gray Stuff" also linked here.
So, that's the quick and dirty word.
More to follow.
Advanced age brings a certain privilege of commentary. Whether these are the sage words of a wise old man, or the mumbled ramblings of an old fool ... are left to the reader. This is my work in progress. These are Graynote's diary pages.
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