Monday, November 30, 2020

Things that make me smile - Haitian West Point Grad

 So...I saw this article float by by LinkedIn page.  Did a quick search to determine that it was legit and found the below story on the Washington Post.  Give it a read.  It's very heartwarming.  And, something that reminds us of the good in our country.  Something needed during 2020.  

tl;dr: From a Haitian slum, Alix Idrache first encountered American Soldiers when they were assisting Haiti after a devastating earthquake when he was a child.  He knew then that he would become an American Soldier.  And, he did.  Recently graduating with honors from West Point.  Now he is off to flight school where he will learn to fly Chinook Helicopters.  



Friday, November 27, 2020

What I am Thankful for - 2020 edition

 Wow...this year has really been different.  Makes one take a step back and think of all the things we have taken for granted.  Every year at Thanksgiving, I try to reflect on the things that I am grateful for.  This year, that list looks a bit different. 

Let's just get my family and friends out of the way as a given.  I am always thankful that I have been blessed with amazing people in my life.  

But, I want to reflect on more this year. 

This year I am grateful for the following:

  • Healthcare workers.  Recently, I heard someone say, "Did you know doctors and nurses can quit?"  I mean, I knew that, sure.  But, I didn't really think about it.  They can quit.  But, they haven't.  They are going to work every day, in full PPE, taking care of people at risk to their own health and the health of their families.  These people are the heros of 2020.  Thank you for doing what you do.  
  • Desmond's teachers.  Last year, nobody really knew what they were doing.  We were all winging it, hoping that things would be back to normal in the fall.  They weren't.  But, Our Lady of Guadalupe Middle School stepped the Eff up!  I can not overstate how active they have been.  Remote teaching is challening, I am sure.  But, they are doing it!  And, not by simply sending a list of assignments.  Desmond is "in school" from 8:30 - 3 every day.  Granted, it's via the internet, but his teachers are right there, on screen, teaching class and answering questions.  I went into the year wondering if it's worth it to pay the $800 a month for remote learning we could offer Des for free through public school.  The answer is 1000% yes!  This is levels above.  Desmond will be absoultey be ready for 7th grade. 
  • Owen's teachers.  The Mount is another story altogether.  Because they are part of an assisted living facility, they haven't had to close.  And, while many kids have been pulled out by their parents, nothing has been made easier for the staff.  They have to wear masks ALL DAY.  They have to communicate with parents via email and phone instead of in person.  And, they still have to deal with all the gooiness that is a toddler and their 20 toddler friends.  And, Marie, the Director.  Bless that woman!  She gets hollared at every day by parents that don't think they're doing enough.  They are doing their best, and their best is pretty damn great. 
  • Delivery workers!  Mail men and women, UPS drivers, Amazon delivery, etc.  Your companies (Amazon in particular) are profiting off of this pandemic while you are the ones putting yourselves in harms way.  By doing so, you are keeping us all socially distanced.  It seems like such a mundane thing.  But, we would be screwed without you.  Grocery stores would be packed, even more restaraunts would be forced to close, and Christmas would be cancelled!  Thank you for bringing us everything we need. 
  • Scientists.  The geniuses bringing us a vaccine with unheard of haste!  It's been less than a year and the state of Washington is talking about delivering vaccines to the most at risk people and front line workers by Christmas!  Thank you for the sleepless nights and all the time away from your families!  Thank you for also pushing ahead dispite the insults being lobbed at many of you from the most powerful person on Earth.  You are selfless and we are grateful 
  • Everyone that follows the rules.  Mask wearers, social distancers and those that stayed home for Thanksgiving.  Even with a vaccine, this virus is going to hang on for a LOOONG time if people can't start following the rules.  To those that wear their mask in public, thank you!  To those that stay 6 feet (or more) away from me and my loved ones, thank you!  To those that thought of our country instead of themselves and opted for a meal at home instead of a meal at Grandma's, thank you.  This all sucks.  But, American's have been known for coming together and sacrificing for the greater good...until 2016.  But, for those that care for others, thank you for what you do. 
I feel like the end is near.  We're in a really shitty time at the moment.  But, part of me feels like this is a last ditch effort by the darkness that has been consuming us the last few years.  Covid is spiking, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  How far away is the light?  I think it's closer than we realize. 

Life remains beautiful.  Hard.  But, still beautiful.  I am grateful to get to live it.  

Thank you for reading!  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

(disclaimer - photo is from 2019 as I am not allowed to reveal the 2020 photos, yet)



Friday, November 20, 2020

One year to prepare for life with a teenager!

 So, last week, my big little dude turned 12. 

Twelve. Years. Old. 


I don't think it's a surprise to learn that I kinda like this kid.  He's going to be taller than his bonus mom by this time next year.  

12 is an interesting age.  It's a conflict.  One second, I am completely impressed with his maturity in one thing or another.  For example, I don't remember what we were watching, but something I was watching made me say, "Wow!  That guy has some cajones!"  

Desmond: "Dad...what are cajones?"

Me: *internal monologue* "Dammit...why is he always listening?"

Me: "Uh...well...it means balls." 

Desmond: "Dad...why can't you just say he's brave?" 

Me: "Don't you talk back to me Captain Woke face!"  *oh, sorry...that was also internal monologue*

Me:  "You're right...thank you for correcting me."

Then, 5 minutes later, I'll find him raging, fighting back tears because the dog ate his Lego minifig.  One of about 600 of his Lego Minifigs.  

He recently became a certified Scuba Diver!!!!

But, roller coasters are too scary. 

He's getting straight As!

But, still manages to forget to turn in completed homework.  

There is no doubt that he is my kid.  He shares many of my traits (laziness, ADD, a desire to play video games when we should be working). But, I remain proud of him.  He is doing very well in school, despite the challenges of remote learning.  He achieved Orange Belt in martial arts and he remains active in the sport.  He regularly texts his grandma (he's better at it than I am).  And, he is wonderful with his little brother who ADORES him.  

I feel like we are at a pivotal moment in his life.  Like this is the last we will see of little Desi.  He's going to continue to grow and mature.  He's got his pals that he loves to spend time with.  In spite of the lockdowns, he still chats up these buddies up regularly.  It won't be long before he's driving and staying out late and *GASP* dating.  

He's a good kid.  We're lucky to have him.  




















































































Thursday, November 19, 2020

Is it time for the GOP to die?

So...I have continued to follow all this post election nonsense.  You know, the nonsense of a lame duck president refusing to acknowledge his obvious (and fair) defeat.  

It's been hard.  I mean, the guy I wanted to win WON!  It's been 16 years since the person I voted for for President actually won the election.  I should be thrilled, right???

Well, here's the thing.  

I was really hoping that, once it was clear who the winner was (and, let's be real here...it's clear. If you're one of those that actually thinks there was some kind of fraud that is putting Biden in office, I really encourage you to read a book sometime.  And not one written by Mark Levin), that the GOP would start to back up their last 4 years of garbage.  The last 4 years of bending over to the bully that beat them.  

But, nope.  That is not happening.  In fact, many of them are doubling down. 

Remember how much we loved Rudy in 2012?  He was "America's Mayor!"  He could have gone down in history as the greatest and most loved Mayor ever.  Sure, he had faults.  Sure, there were reasons to criticize.  But, he led us through 9/11.  I remember him appearing on Saturday Night Live as he was leaving the mayor's office.  Tina Fey was there, almost crying, asking him to stay.  That's how bi-partisan the love for Rudy was. 

Now...Rudy Giuliani is a mess.  Perhaps I should cut him some slack.  Word is, he is making $20k a day to peddle conspiracy theories and take up taxpayer time and money on a lost (and dangerous) cause.  But, that's not something "America's Mayor" would do.  That's something an asshole would do. 

And Lindsey Graham.  I used to have so much respect for this guy.  He and my man Johnny Mac were tight!  Together, they were mavericks!  Bucking their party when the party was being stupid (campaign finance and immigration to name a few).  Now...he's just another Trump toady.  Not only did he chip in money to help Trump fight this completely fair and free election, but now he is potentially facing an ethics investigation for trying to persuade Georgia's Secretary of State to toss out legally cast votes.  This former acolyte of the greatest statesman of my generation is purposely trying to disenfranchise voters. 

And then there is Michigan. The home of my ancestors!  Where the Wayne County canvassing board is intentionally made up of 2 Republicans and 2 Democrats to ensure it's bi-partisan.  Where the 2 Republican board members voted to NOT certify the counties votes.  AFTER suggesting they would certify the votes of all the cities EXCEPT Detroit.  Did you know that Detroit has the largest percentage of black voters in America?  Oh, well now you do.  And two white Republican canvassers are trying to eliminate their vote because the amount of votes cast doesn't match the voter roles.

(Side note...this happens everywhere. Imagine for a second a group of volunteers, often elderly, juggling voter after voter during a pandemic, restricted to a certain amount of time while the eyes of the world are on them.  Is it really surprising that these don't match?  Another reason to support mail in voting.  But, not a reason to disenfranchise an entire city.)

(Side side note...the canvassers quickly changed their vote after EXTREME public push back only to come back this morning, after a phone call from our lame duck president, to "recuse" their vote.  Good news is they're out of luck). 

Anyway, this all continues to depress me.  The dumbification of America continues.  Somewhere, at some point, Americans got stupid.  It's not just the right.  There are a TON of dummies on the left.  Dummies that boycott JK Rowling for having an opinion.  Dummies that want to cancel Chris Pratt because something he liked on Twitter MIGHT imply that he voted for Trump.  Dummies that think it's actually a good idea to shut down our police departments. 

But, here's the thing about the current GOP.  They have given in to their dummies.  You can cry all you want about how liberal the Democrat party is.  But, they elected Biden.  They didn't elect Bernie or Warren.  And, as much as you want to cry about how Kamala is the most liberal senator based on her less than 1 term in a Republican Senate, it's simply not the case.  What is the case is that Republicans, the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ike, and Reagan are ok with undermining our democracy.  They are ok with casting doubt on our election systems.  Decades of gerrymandering haven't worked, so now they're trying the courts.  And THANK GOD our courts are throwing them out.  Checks and Balances ARE working.  At least for now. 

I stopped calling myself a Republican when Trump won the nomination in 2016.  I said that I refuse to be part of a party that promotes a person like this as it's leader.  It's not who I am, it's not what I stand for and I won't be part of it.  I've been holding out hope that they would swing back.  Swing back to the party that nominated John McCain and Mitt Romney.  Before the Tea Party had claws.  Before InfoWars and QAnon.  

I was having socially distanced beers with a buddy last week.  He asked, "When did things change?  When did people just start accepting things because someone said so?"  I don't know the answer.  When did bile from a reality TV star become more important than science?  When did the ego of a thrice married womanizer become more important than our electoral process?  When did we start accepting the word of a serial liar?  For real.  I don't know.  I try to have intelligent conversations with people I think are intelligent only to find they have swallowed every last drop of what has been fed to them.  Without question.  

Well, keep sucking, GOP.  It might be time for you to go and just enjoy your cult while the big kids figure out how to fix our country. 







Thursday, November 5, 2020

Statesman

I can't stop watching the news.  Nothing has happened in 24 hours, but I can't pull myself away.  

Things are looking good for Biden.  It's not done, but it's looking positive that we will boot President Asshole into the trash bin of our history along with Joe McCarthy, Jefferson Davis and Benedict Arnold.  

Latest reports are that, should Biden declare victory (which he won't until he is clearly the victor, unlike Trump who has already claimed victory), Trump will not concede.  He'll fight.  Because, that's what he does.  Because he's a dick. 

Hearing this, I was reminded of the greatest public servant of my lifetime.  My Senator, one of my heroes, the man I so badly wanted to be President: John McCain.  

John McCain would have been an amazing president.  Possibly one of the best the country has ever seen.  He valued life, unborn and immigrant alike.  He listened to the other side, he didn't just brush them off.  He was always, ALWAYS country before party.  But, he ran against Barack Obama.  

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not one of those idiots that thinks Obama was the worst president ever.  I didn't agree with him on much.  I never voted for him.  But, he was a good man.  McCain would have been a better president.  But, the time was right for Obama.  There was not a single person alive that could have beaten Obama.  McCain really should have won the nomination in 2000.  Oh well. 

Anyway, my point.  I was reflecting on the campaign of 2008.  And, I recalled John McCain's concession speech.  Possibly the most gracious in my life time.  Certainly, the most gracious that I remember.  Granted, I am biased.  But, I think it's hard to argue that this was a lesson in class.  It is such a shame that our current leader knows nothing of class. 

Here is the speech, for your viewing pleasure.  



My choice has been confirmed!

It's 2 days past election day.  It's no secret to my friends and family and the 2 readers of my blog that I am NOT a Trump fan.  Haven't been since day 1.  I was one of those that knew, KNEW, with every fiber of my being that the Republicans wouldn't be stupid enough to give him the nomination. 

Well, Republicans were stupid enough. 

Then, I knew that AMERICA, wouldn't be stupid enough to elect him president.  I mean, I knew how deeply the hatred of Hillary ran.  But, certainly we could put that hatred aside knowing that we would be electing a dangerous narcissist.  Remember how much grief we gave Hillary for NOT leaving her cheating, womanizing husband???  HAHAHA!  Of course we're not going to elect this serial adulterer!  A man accused of abusing multiple women.  HAHAHA!!  Of course we're not THAT dumb!!!

We're that dumb. 

Now, here we are...4 years later.  Everything I worried about has come true.  Our allies laugh at us.  Our enemies have been emboldened.  Chaos rules the streets.  Oh, but don't worry...the chaos is only those black people complaining about cops.  Don't worry about those thugs.  If they would just stop committing crimes, they wouldn't get shot. ALL LIVES MATTER!

Oh...and, spending is at record highs, too. 

And now, the election has come and gone!  And the winner is....WE DON'T KNOW!!!

We don't know because, still, almost half of the country is ok with this guy.  Over half the country doesn't care about 530+ children orphaned by the United States.  Over half of the country thinks 235k and rising deaths of Covid-19 is an acceptable number.  Over half of the country doesn't mind the constant lies, the hypocrisy or the fact that he's been undermining our American elections system for months.  

But, Americans aren't dumb enough to fall for that, right?  They know that there has been no evidence of widespread vote tampering, right?  That any fraud or error from mail in voting has actually been less than fraud or error from in person voting?  They know because they read, right?  

Yeeah, no...they don't.  Votes are still being counted in most states.  5 states have yet to be called by the news, much less be certified by the respective states.  Yes, our Dear Leader has declared victory.  And, his mob has agreed.  They are trying to storm polling places.  They are taking videos of their lemming friends INSISTING that their vote was tampered with.  And, people are eating it up.  

This, my friends, is what Fascism looks like.

The good news is, the data is trending in a direction that should kick this ass to the curb.  But, we know that won't be the end of it.  He's already suing. And, he's not suing to contest results.  He's suing to STOP COUNTING.  Let's flash back to 2000.  The counts all happened, then the recounts.  THAT'S when the lawsuits happened.  After counting.  This is unprecedented.  He is literally suing to disenfranchise voters. This is disgustingly unAmerican.  

I want this to be over.  




Oh...and I deleted my Facebook page.  More on that later.