Category Archives: Thoughts @ Large

•  From now on, when I’m making out my grocery list and I need to buy half-and-half, I am just going to write down half.  Because I think I can remember the other half.

•  Know who cares which team won the Super Bowl three days after the fact?  Pretty much no one except those who played it.  Ditto for so many other heavily-touted achievements and awards in our celebrity culture.

•  We were about to sell a car on Craigslist, and my spouse and I were reviewing the text of our ad.  One angle we came up with: $2oo off the asking price, for liberals.  We were really tempted to throw that in, but it would have alienated most potential buyers in these parts.  (As it is, we did sell it for asking price, 16 hours after listing it, and had to turn away ten other interested parties.)

•  Faith in Humanity Department: When we handed our car over to the buyer, I forgot to remove our garage-door opener clipped to the visor.  We called the buyer a few hours later, and he told us that he had already stopped at the post office to mail it back to us.  We got it the next day.  My guess is that the buyer was a liberal and that we owe him $200.

•  So, we bought our first new vehicle in over a decade.  It has a back-up camera and other modern safety features — very happy about this.  But it has an “infotainment panel” rather than an everyday radio and CD player.  I’ve driven the vehicle 120 miles now and have not yet dared to turn on the radio or play music.  I’m sure I’ll figure everything out sometime.  Gosh-darned newfangled technology.

•  When I was a kid, my mom would walk into my bedroom, or the den, or wherever it was I happened to be reading, and turn on most of the lights in the room.  “It’s too dark in here to read, you’ll ruin your eyes!” she would say.  As it turned out, I guess she was right.

•  By that I mean, one of my eyes doesn’t see colors so well anymore.  My other eye makes up for it.  I guess I have the COVID-19 virus to thank that I can renew my license without a trip to the DMV for an eye test which I may no longer be able to pass.  (But who knows?)  Passing the DMV eye test and getting my license renewed has been a worry of mine for a few years.  But you all need not worry, I see fine to drive and I won’t be crashing into you, or anyone else.  I wouldn’t bring it up otherwise, he says defensively.

•  Meanwhile, as I fret about my driver’s license, right-wing militias plot their next moves.  If the government has priorities, they should be going after the danger that is me.

•  Love is sharing finger-food without a thought.

•  Thanks largely to my spouse’s diligence, I had my first-of-two COVID-19 vaccinations yesterday at Walgreens.  I said to my spouse, Thanks, Biden —  as otherwise, my spot on our health department’s waiting list was April or May.  I was never so glad to get a shot.    It feels like a corner has finally been turned, not that normality is knocking on our doors.  But still, it was an eye-waterer.  Damned newfangled technology.

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•  Say you have a couple of years of extraordinary medical expenses, enough to surpass the 7.5% income threshold that lets you deduct some of them on your U.S. income tax return.  Then the next year or two, your medical expenses are still high, but not quite high enough to meet the deductibility threshold.  As a taxpayer, you can’t help but feel a bit disentitled at that point, even though you should be thinking, thank goodness I didn’t have as many medical expenses.

•  Lest you feel too sorry for yourself, consider: our friends in Great Britain can’t deduct any medical expenses from their income tax returns.  Because they have none to deduct.

•  Although this seems to come naturally to every dog-walker on the planet, I shouldn’t have to befriend your dog in order to make friends with you.  (That goes double for your cats.)  We’re human beings.  We evolved larynxes and language.  We shouldn’t have to rely on voiceless four-legged intermediaries to help us strike up conversations.

•  My spouse thinks our country needs a Robert Kennedy and that Biden is “too ho-hum.”  While I wouldn’t argue, I say we liberals can’t afford to eat our own at this point.  Biden did exactly what we needed him to do, which was to get Trump out of office.  That alone will satisfy me for a lifetime.  I cried with joy watching Trump’s plane take off for Florida.

•  I enjoy the satirist-commenter Bill Maher.  I like his observations and the way he crafts his jokes, even if his tone often misses my mark.  (Too many sex/scatological references — I don’t do that world.)  Thing is, whenever I mention Bill Maher, I always feel like I need to add a disclaimer about not agreeing with everything he says.  Probably because he once hosted a show called “Politically Incorrect” and is known to depart from the liberal line.  Nonetheless, Maher did an excellent piece the other night on how U.S. citizens’ lives are really improved — not by mobs wearing Guy Fawkes masks and wielding spray paint but by dedicated people who spend thousands of hours working on and within the system.  This totally-unexpected display of patriotism on his show almost brought me to tears.

•  My spouse bought us a ticket for the $730 million Powerball Lottery, but it was won by someone in Maryland.  That’s OK.  Swearing in two new Democratic U.S. Senators from Georgia and having a Democratic voting majority in the Senate feels like I already won.

•  When this song by Daft Punk (remember it? remember them?) was played on the radio way back when, I thought sure (and I’m not alone) that its title was “Mexican Monkey” and wondered what the hell that was all about.

•  It’s February.  Can you believe it?  A year ago at this time, Trump was being impeached.  No one was wearing masks.  The nation was divided.  Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, signaling an early Spring.  450,000 U.S. citizens had not died yet.

•  Headwear as signifiers of good, evil and authority.  Compare and contrast:

People with headgear, representing good, evil and other attributes

•  Not to embarrass my spouse (I would not dare do that, with Valentine’s Day coming up and all) but I appreciate her more every day.  We have been getting along better than ever,  even in these confined quarters.  For my part, I have been trying to be more aware of when I’m being a pill so I can stop being so.  For her part, as far as I know, she hasn’t had to be anything other than who she always is and d0 what she always does.  What hasn’t killed us has made us lovers.

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• I was on a kick the last few weeks to reorganize our closets, toss old unused items, clean out the bookshelves and recycle clothes.  It dawned on me that this probably reflects an instinctual response to the chaos of our post-election days, my need for a sense of order amidst the crumble.  I must say that our own closet-cleaning has been nearly as satisfying as our national house-cleaning.

• Trump is plainly unhinged.  That a sociopath like Trump has tens of millions of followers is plainly frightening.

• The fact that I don’t engage on Facebook doesn’t mean I don’t care for you.  It just means that Facebook doesn’t get to decide how I interact with you.  On-demand mundane contact with one’s friends was never an expectation in pre-social-media days.  So what changed?

• My spouse idly asks me one evening, would I ever get a tattoo?  I say, sure.  So she asks, of what?  And I answer, of a tattoo.

• You know life is stressful when watching Judge Judy feels like an escape from reality.

• My spouse said she would vote for me to be president.  I responded that she is the one who should be president.  She said, that would be scary.  I said, not really, you would just have to know whether to single-click or double-click the nuclear button.  We both grimace.

• The CDC just announced its priorities for what segments of the population should get the COVID-19 vaccine first.  From what I see, my spouse and I won’t be eligible until March or April anyway.  That’s OK.  We have the resources, and patience, to stay safe.  Unlike those who have to go to work, who have to care for others, who have to interact with the public, who have to keep the cash flow going to live somewhat-normal lives.  I don’t envy Biden.  Most of America is impatient.

• That the Beatles were a tight band, even at the end, can hardly be disputed after watching this video of the 1969 rooftop performance of Don’t Let Me Down.  What is disappointing, however, is that the late keyboardist Billy Preston, practically the fifth Beatle at that time, has less than two seconds of video airtime in a song that was carried by his performance.  My point: The Beatles were no exception in how egos rule in the music business, just as they do in every other creative sphere.

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