Ex, narcissists, politics, Twitter

Bon Jovi to the rescue?

Mmm’kay… now that some time has passed, I have found something fresh to write about. But first, I want to write a “micro post” about a topic that isn’t pertaining to the blog post title.

I just read an article in the Washington Post about former Surgeon General Jerome Adams and his wife, Lacey, who suffers from melanoma. They’ve had a tough time of things, because no one wanted to hire Dr. Adams once his term ended. He’s being negatively affected by Donald Trump, who has a habit of turning everything he touches to shit. Lots of people think Dr. Adams deserves to suffer for working for Trump. I disagree. For one thing, I’m grateful for anyone who tried to do good things while working for Trump. I think Adams was one of those people, even if I don’t agree with his politics. I’d also like to think that most people can redeem themselves somehow. Adams made some unpopular decisions and was a little too wedded to social media during his tenure. But I don’t think he’s an actual Trumper. This is a Black man who had the chance to be the Surgeon General. Can anyone blame him for taking the opportunity, even if it was under Trump? Maybe he really did think he could make a positive difference.

Lacey Adams has melanoma and wants to get the word out about it. That’s admirable. People should support her and her husband in that mission, because it could save lives. Someone had to be Surgeon General under Trump. It doesn’t sound to me like Dr. Adams should be punished for that job, which someone did have to do. I’d rather Adams was in that position than some Trump flunkie. His career shouldn’t be forever tainted by Trump. Let’s save that punishment for people who actually kissed Trump’s ass and actually promoted his disgusting agenda. The Adams family have three children to support, and they need to be able to make a living, in spite of their dealings with Trump. Otherwise, what happens? They end up on the dole? Adams has useful skills. We should let him use them to help people. Because he actually CAN help… unlike Ex.

Now… moving on to the title, as Bon Jovi doesn’t have anything to do with Dr. Jerome Adams.

Ex is back on her campaign to save the world. Even though I quit Twitter, I can still see things she tweets. And, once again, she has big dreams of making the world a better place. A few months ago, she wanted to travel the world with her autistic son. Now, she supposedly has more altruistic plans. Behold Ex’s latest tweets:

Of course she needs sponsors… She can’t teach social workers anything, except maybe as a real life model for abnormal psychology.
Can you help Ex, Bon Jovi? Send her some money? Help her find sponsors? Oh please… like Poland needs her kind! Ex doesn’t work, and lacks the experience to do a project like this– supposed master’s degree and doctoral aspirations notwithstanding.
That’s an admirable theory… too bad she doesn’t practice what she preaches. In fact, she doesn’t practice much of anything.

And she’s all about politics, too. She can make the world a whole lot brighter! Just ask Mayor Pete!

Whatever you say, Ex. Because your own life has worked out so fucking well.

I know what some people who read this might be thinking. Why does it even matter to me? Well, for one thing, I find these ideas ridiculous, and they gave me a good laugh. For another, I live in a country adjacent to Poland and I don’t want that woman anywhere near us. She’s already proven in the past that she’s not above tracking down Bill and presenting a sob story. I don’t think she’d do that again, as long as I’m around, but I still don’t want her coming over here. She needs to stay in her little corner of the world.

I’m not actually worried that she’ll do this stuff, though. She’s the queen of big ideas. The ones she sets in motion usually fall apart, because she lacks the ability to follow through properly, and she has a terrible deficit in the ability to predict setbacks and disasters. What could possibly go wrong? She never asks herself that question, and her plans usually land her in predicaments that don’t only affect her. If, by some miracle, she did come to Eastern Europe and try to do something, she’d probably be laughed back to the US in a hurry. When she does manage to start on a project, she almost always loses interest in it. This usually happens after someone has invested a lot of money on her behalf. Ask Bill about Mary Kay, Nutrisystem, Walmart, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I also have serious doubts that she can handle living in austere conditions, particularly the ones that Ukrainians are dealing with right now. I lived for two years in Armenia in the 90s, and it wasn’t easy. I was a lot younger then, and not addicted to the Internet. Ex is in her mid 50s, has a severely autistic son, and people in her life of whom she needs to maintain control. I don’t see her dropping all of that for a mission to Eastern Europe. However, she probably would like to have some people slipping her some cash… you know, for her “project”. It’ll get spent on her mortgage or whatever cheap trinket she feels compelled to buy for herself to help fill the empty void of her psyche.

Is this a mean spirited missive? Maybe. And I know some people think I’m an asshole for writing about her. That’s fair enough, I guess. But in my own defense, I have spent the past twenty years watching people I love being screwed over by her and her ridiculous antics and harebrained ideas. I figure she must have run out of local supply, since she’s constantly hitting up people on Twitter for money or “sponsorships”. And maybe someone will see this and know to steer clear, although I kind of hope astute people can smell the crazy for what it is.

I wonder if Mark Hamill has spotted the pattern yet..

Anyway… I doubt there’s much Ex can do in Poland and/or Ukraine, other than go shopping… But that’s not stopping her from “trying to help”. Maybe she can, someday, redeem herself. But unlike Jerome Adams and his wife, she’s not made much of an effort to change her ways. It’s the same shit, different year, different victim… and in the long run, the same stupid results.

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love, marriage, music, politicians, politics

Happy anniversary to us… let’s hope Putin and Trump don’t make it our last…

Last night, as we were having a much too spicy dinner from Lieferando (food delivery), Bill and I read about how a missile somehow struck Poland near the Ukrainian border. A couple of people were killed. Bill, being in the business he’s in, immediately got concerned, since Poland is a member of NATO. This morning, I’m waking up to the news that Biden says the missile was likely not fired from Russia. The missile was apparently Russian, but may have been fired from Ukraine or somewhere else. Still, it raises the fears of people who worry that World War III could be on the horizon. It’s especially bad that this happened in Poland, where there is a US military presence. Three years ago, Bill and I actually went to Poland for our anniversary, because he had to work there for a week. I’ve come to love Poland, and its people.

I’m also learning that– BIG SURPRISE– Donald Trump is running for president again in 2024. Of course we knew this would happen. Trump won’t stop trying to be president again as long as there is breath in his bloated orange body. I just hope he does his part to stop DeSantis from being president. It’s time we moved on from the whole Trump schtick and elected people who are young and smart enough to do a good job, and people who actually care about others, instead of enriching themselves and getting drunk on power.

I suppose history is being made right now. It’s always being made, actually, but some times are obviously more historic than others are. This time will probably be very historic in the future. Maybe it will even be on par with the Hitler era. But I hope it won’t… and I hope we can enjoy our anniversary weekend in France. James Taylor was able to play his show in Stockholm last night, although I don’t know how it went. He’s going to Copenhagen next, then will appear in Frankfurt, if all goes well. I always find great comfort and solace in James Taylor’s music. I always have, especially when I was much younger and suffered acutely from depression and anxiety. I know he had those demons, too, and his actually led to a stay at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts… a place where Ex once stayed, too. I don’t think her treatment was quite as effective, though. In any case, it seems that James is suffering less from mental health issues now, and more from things like COVID… which is another bad thing that makes life more difficult for all of us.

We need to bring back Bobby McFerrin.

I think what helps me to cope is realizing that there have been times that were as bad or worse than now. Or maybe it was always as bad, just in different ways, and the scope of badness depended a lot on where a person happened to be at the time. I’m sure, for instance, that World War II was more horrifying for Europeans than it was for Americans. And the same would be true for World War I. It looks like the same would be true in case of World War III, since it seems to be provoked by Putin. But there were things going on in the United States during those times that would also make life harder. Having a corrupt, incompetent, blowhard fool like Trump in charge again would certainly make things worse for many of us. Those who like Donald Trump are blind and ignorant to who he really is. I just hope there aren’t enough of them to put him in power again. I am optimistic, though, thanks to last week’s elections. We showed that most of us are not that stupid… at least not anymore.

There’s nothing any of us can do about the missile strike in Poland, so there’s no reason to worry. But Bill and I can have a nice time in France, and then, hopefully, enjoy James Taylor one more time. I hope it won’t be the last time… but again, none of us are getting any younger. There’s always an asshole lurking in the midst, waiting for the chance to step into power. I fear Trump less than I do the more polished looking turds who are waiting to seize the chance to get in power. Trump, at least, is brutally honest about who he is. We’ve all been warned. And maybe he will prevent a slicker version of himself from entering the White House. Meanwhile, I hope we can elect someone who can do something about Putin, who really seems hellbent on world destruction. He’s a much bigger threat and danger to the world than Trump is, especially right now.

Anyway… I smell breakfast cooking, and I have a couple of chores to do before we can light out of here for Alsace. I’ll probably write while we’re in France, because we’ll have the dogs with us, and that might limit our ability to do a lot of stuff. But I do look forward to the change of scenery, and some lovely new wines… Maybe we’ll fit in a few tastings.

Happy Wednesday! By the way… this song played on my HomePod last night. It seems almost weirdly appropriate. Wonder what ever happened to Bobby McFerrin… I was in high school when this was a hit. Time flies!

1988… things used to be better, right?
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animals, complaints, dogs, modern problems, Trump

Today is a day I’ve been dreading, yet anticipating…

Today’s featured photo is of the moon, which I didn’t see last night… If it had been out, maybe being repeatedly forced to get up in the wee hours of the morning might have been more interesting for me.

It’s finally Thursday, which means that today Arran gets his second chemo IV push treatment of Vincristine. All week since last Thursday, I’ve been giving him Prednisolone, which truly is a wonder drug. However, it also has some significant side effects that can be quite annoying for both man and beast. For most of the past week, Arran has been handling things like a trouper. But as I wrote yesterday, the steroids are now causing some noticeable side effects that are interfering with things like my being able to sleep. Arran has to go out often, because the drug makes him pee a lot, and he constantly wants food, because the drug makes him hungry.

Fortunately, today we will start giving him 5 milligrams less Prednisolone. I also see, based on the schedule the vet gave me last week, he will be getting it less often. For instance, tomorrow, he won’t take any medicine at all. Saturday, he’ll get the reduced dose of Prednisolone and the Endoxan (Cytoxan) chemo tablet, then he gets another day off from the drugs on Sunday. I have noticed that the drugs have been very effective. A week ago, he was having trouble eating, had low energy, passed slimy, mucousy, bloody poop, and was shivering a bit. He was also in pain, as his lymph nodes were very swollen. This week, the lymph nodes have shrunk almost to normal. His eyes are bright. He wants to take walks and eat. His poop is also much more normal.

So far, the Endoxan seems to make him tired, so he’s now resting on the blanket on the floor in my bedroom. In a couple of hours, I’ll drive him to the vet to get his infusion, and he’ll probably spend the rest of the day recovering. However, he will also get to see his favorite person in the world, as Bill has finished his latest business trip and will be coming home today.

Arran and I have both been looking forward to Bill’s return. I’ve missed having him at home, as it gets pretty boring here by myself. We’ll probably get the first bill today, and it may be painful… but I suspect it will be less than what we’d be paying in the United States. Canine cancer is a real drag, but every time we experience it, we learn new things. This is our first experience with chemo, but it probably won’t be our last. It won’t surprise me if what we learn from taking care of Arran will even help us in our own lives at some point. There’s every chance that either Bill or I or both of us will have cancer ourselves someday. And I can almost guarantee that we will have another pet who has it, unless this experience turns me off of pet ownership. I can almost guarantee that it won’t, though. As I have mentioned a few times, we’ve definitely experienced worse pet cancers than lymphoma. At least this one can be treated, and isn’t as terribly painful as the others have been thus far.

In any case, so far, the treatment hasn’t been terrible. I’m reminded of a hopeful book I read a few years ago about a woman whose dog had an aggressive form of mast cell cancer. Both Arran and our previous dog, Zane (RIP), have had mast cell cancer, which is also often very treatable, but then leads to lymphoma. That book, which was written by a twice divorced lawyer whose dog had mast cell cancer, was also about the author’s own breast cancer diagnosis, which happened at the same time. I reviewed the book for the original blog and have reposted it here, for those who want to read about it. Unfortunately, a lot of us dog lovers are dealing with this shit… and a lot of us Google for hope. I know this, because I often see people hitting my post on the travel blog about homemade dog food and holistic help for cancers in dogs.

Anyway, I don’t want my blog to turn into a canine cancer diary, so I think I’ll move on to another topic. Unfortunately, I don’t have a happy one to write about today, as I’ve mostly been here by myself all week, taking care of Arran and watching the news, as well as YouTube videos about the news. And so much of the news is about Donald Trump, and his multiple legal woes, desperate attempts to avoid accountability, and inflammatory public statements. I can think of two he made recently that were blatantly racist/anti-semitic. It’s hard to understand why a regular person can be quickly “canceled” for doing something like complaining and/or calling the police, while Trump can pretty much do what he wants and get away with it. I am glad to see, though, that there are finally some officials who are at least trying to take him to task.

The other alternative is to read about inflation, high gas prices, and Putin’s war against Ukraine. I have a good friend who was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Russia in the early 90s. He later worked in Armenia, which is where I met him, then embarked on a global career. He married a Ukrainian woman and had two children, then immigrated to Canada, which he was able to do with relative ease, because his mom is from Canada. My friend often posts about what’s happening in Ukraine, as his wife’s family is still there. Yesterday, he posted about a young woman he knew who had worked in a wine store he used to frequent when he lived in Kiev. The young woman was happily married and six months pregnant with her first baby when, the other day, she and her husband, as well as the developing baby, were killed by one of the Iranian drones Putin has deployed to Kiev.

Such a tragic story! People need to wake up to evil of some of the world’s leaders.

I could spend some time reading about Kiev, feeling more hopeless and angry and frankly, depressed… I could read more from MAGA idiots who are bitching about expensive gas. I could engage in unpleasant interactions on social media with people who pop off at the slightest provocation (and in fact, I just had one with someone from the Czech Republic). But, as it’s Thursday, and I’ve been looking forward to, and dreading, this day, maybe I should just focus on getting through the next chemo treatment with Arran. He’s now parked in my office with me as I type this. In an hour, I’ll put his harness on him and head the 2 kilometers to the vet’s office, don a fucking face mask, and get him this week’s treatment. Hopefully, the coming week will go as well, or even better, than last week did. He will be getting less Prednisolone, which may, at least, help me get a full night’s sleep, right?

And finally, I wish to share a funny meme I saw on Twitter yesterday. It about sums up my mood…

This could be plausible.

I did buy a bunch of books this week, too. If I could get through the one I’m currently reading, maybe I’ll have a crop of new book reviews. Especially now that I have the right contact lenses and can read properly again.

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China, healthcare, law

COVID dystopia in China makes me glad to be western…

For the past few days, we’ve been dealing with a minor inconvenience involving my favorite toilet. The toilet, like many in Germany, has its flusher mechanism mounted in the wall. We’d had some issues with the flusher before. At times, the plastic hardware behind the flusher was somehow malfunctioning. In the past, I could usually take the button off and maneuver the innards of the flush mechanism so that it worked properly again. But this time, something broke, rendering the toilet unflushable and irreparable. So now, we have to use the toilet on the main floor until the flusher can be fixed. That’s a bit of a pain in the butt.

Our landlord has assured us the plumber, along with the landlord’s son, who is currently apprenticing with the plumber, will be out this week to fix the issue. I look forward to having the toilet fixed, because it’s annoying and inconvenient to have to go downstairs to pee in the middle of the night. But, I realize it’s a first world problem. We’re very fortunate to be living in a beautiful, large, freestanding home with a backyard. We also have a toilet in the basement that rarely gets used. Things could certainly be much worse. We could be living in an apartment in Shanghai.

This morning, as I was pondering what I wanted to write about today, I consulted CNN. I saw the bizarre news story about the now late Vicky White, a former Alabama corrections officer who helped inmate Casey White escape the jail where she was working. I had seen the headlines about that story and was sort of casually following it. In a prior life, I probably would have been very interested in writing about White and her inexplicable choice to consort with an inmate who, by most accounts, is a very dangerous man. I like to write about true crime, and this story has “movie of the week” written all over it. Maybe I will write about that case at a later date, as new details come out. I am pretty tired of writing about COVID, Ex, and my other “pet subjects”. However, though I am so sick of thinking and writing about COVID, I feel compelled to write about the situation in Shanghai today.

Wow.

Even though things have gotten more “normal” in Europe over the past few weeks, they’re most definitely not normal everywhere. Especially in Asia. In Shanghai, residents are being forced to endure incredibly harsh lockdowns in the fruitless quest to quash COVID-19. The situation is really shocking, especially if you’re a westerner. I don’t know how closely my fellow Americans have been following this story out of China. It definitely makes me question if the Asian approach is the best one, even though so many people seem to think they have it right.

Ever since this COVID drama started two years ago, I’ve seen many people hail east Asian peoples as having the “right” ideas about controlling the virus. So many smug, self-righteous western commenters on news articles about COVID have held up east Asians as being so much kinder toward their fellow man. I’ve totally lost count of how many pro-mask people have pointed to how Asians voluntarily and cheerfully wear face masks when they’re sick. Then, those same people accuse their countrymen of being selfish, narcissistic and even sociopathic, because they don’t want to be subjected to ongoing COVID-19 rules and restrictions.

While I completely understand that face masks were necessary, especially in the beginning of the pandemic, and I’m all for promoting vaccinations and quarantines when they are necessary, I can’t get on the east Asia love bandwagon when it comes to their extreme approaches to public health. Especially in Shanghai. This morning, I watched in shock and horror as video footage of police officers in hazmat suits played on my computer screens. The Chinese cops are showing up at the homes of people who have the misfortune of living near someone who tested positive for the virus. Under new harsh guidelines, not only are COVID positive people forced into government run quarantine centers, but so are their neighbors, even if they’ve tested negative. And the police are breaking down the doors to private residences to drag the people away.

According to the article on CNN, pleas from private citizens are falling on deaf ears.

“From now on, people who live on the same floor (as Covid cases) must be transported (into quarantine),” a police officer says in the video.

“It’s not that you can do whatever you want — unless you’re in America. This is China,” another police officer says sternly, waving a bottle of disinfectant in his hand. “Stop asking me why. There is no why. We have to obey our country’s regulations and epidemic control policies.”

The article I linked from CNN shows just how outrageous things have gotten, particularly in Shanghai, but also in other Chinese cities. I realize that China isn’t all of Asia. Maybe it’s not nearly as bad in other Asian cities. But given how many people live in China, I think it’s bad enough. One video shows citizens being forced to hand over their apartment keys so they can be locked into their homes from the outside. Those who refuse to give officials their keys have holes drilled into the walls, so padlocks can be installed on their doors. The video also shows workers installing bars on windows to keep residents locked inside their homes.

Yikes!

The quarantine centers are said to be squalid, and it seems that no one is safe. One reporter described people in their 90s being dragged off to the centers. Another spoke of babies not being allowed on the subway system, because they couldn’t produce negative COVID-19 test results. Local citizens who speak out against the draconian rules are censored. Some people have become so despondent over the endless rules that they have committed suicide. One CNN correspondent said that she’s been locked in a hotel room for two weeks, with one more week to go, before she can go to her final destination of Beijing.

Of course, we don’t have anything like this going on in the western world. A lot of people are legitimately selfish about COVID-19 and the pursuit of their own “freedoms”. I’m not saying that people who completely ignore concerns about the virus are right. I think we all should take reasonable precautions against COVID and other viruses. But there’s a limit to how far people should be expected to go. I don’t think the Asian approach to COVID, or anything else, is necessarily the best. In fact, my heart goes out to the people who are enduring that hell in China right now. I can understand why some people have concluded that life isn’t worth living anymore.

Another story that I haven’t adequately explored is the war in Ukraine. Again… watching and reading the stories about that situation make me feel very fortunate to be where I am. I have read several heartbreaking stories about Ukrainian women whose husbands have been murdered in front of them. Then, some Russian soldiers have raped the surviving women, who then must endure the rumors and gossip spread by their neighbors. I know that if I had the misfortune of being in that situation, I would try to deal with it, as those women have. I would have no choice. But it still seems insane to me… I don’t understand the level of complete disdain for other human beings that has been shown, both in Ukraine and in China. It’s as if they have no hearts for others. It’s just horrifying.

Well… I suppose I should “embrace the suck” and “count my blessings”. Yes, it’s a pain in the butt to have to deal with a busted toilet flusher. But I guess these stories from CNN are a stark reminder that my problems are really first world problems. I have been extraordinarily lucky on so many levels. Reading these stories have inspired a few moments of sheer gratitude.

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communication, complaints, rants

It’s possible to be outraged about more than one thing at a time…

I’m getting a bit of a late start this morning. Those new Comphy sheets I got on Monday are the BOMB. I didn’t think it would be possible for me to like them more than the first set I bought in 2015, but I definitely do. For one thing, I love the fact that they’re navy blue instead of pukey green. For another, they just feel better on many levels. They fit the bed better– the old ones were too big, supposedly to account for pillow top mattresses– and the texture is soft and smooth, but not too silky. I don’t know… they’re just nicer. And for what I paid for them, they really ought to be! Even Bill, who doesn’t care about comfort as much as I do, has commented that he loves them and they help him sleep better.

Anyway, those new sheets were inviting today, since our previously beautiful weather of last week and Monday has vanished. Today, it’s cold and rainy. After breakfast, instead of going to my computer to write, I went back to bed, watched a couple of videos, and started reading my latest book, which made me feel drowsy. So I put the book down and dozed a bit. And now, it’s 9:30am, and I’m finally writing something fresh.

I put up four reposts yesterday, which wasn’t my plan. I had put up one post from the original blog because I was still ruminating on what to write about yesterday. Then I noticed a couple of posts that were kind of important when I initially posted them in 2013 and 2014, and I realized that they were evergreen enough to go up as reposts. And in one of those posts was an old book review, which I like to preserve when I can. By the time I was done reposting and editing, I had spent a couple of hours, and I didn’t figure anyone would be looking for fresh content. Or maybe I just didn’t feel like writing it.

Later yesterday afternoon, I noticed a Facebook friend had posted a “peevish” status update, which appears below:

No disrespect to the person who posted this, but it’s entirely possible for people to be “in a stew” about more than one thing at a time. And quite frankly, I don’t need to be encouraged.

I am mentioning the above post today because I’ve seen similar sentiments from other people about how some people’s priorities are askew. Some people are passively calling out others because we’re discussing incidents like Will Smith’s choice to hit Chris Rock at the Oscars, instead of other issues they think are more important. It occurred to me that I’m a relatively complex person. I can think about more than one issue at a time. I can discuss more than one issue at a time. Though I have both of these abilities, I should be allowed to discuss what I want to without someone else calling me out over it. There’s nothing to say that you have to participate in a discussion about Will Smith’s slap if you don’t want to do that. And there’s nothing to say that I can’t discuss it with those who are interested.

I mention myself in this post, but I don’t think the people complaining about “messed up priorities” were necessarily calling me out specifically. I guess I just want to address how reading those statuses made me feel. It’s yet another weird aspect of our current online obsessed/social media engaged society that baffles me. How is it that we feel the need to chastise our friends, loved ones, colleagues, acquaintances, and perfect strangers about their priorities? What makes us feel like we have the right to criticize others about what they feel like discussing? Especially when they’re doing it on their own spaces? We always have the choice to engage or not, right?

It occurs to me that I am not the type of person who needs to be “encouraged” to be in a stew about anything. I am a card carrying member of the “Easily Pissed Club”. Last week, I was pissed off at USAA… and by the way, I’m still waiting for my new debit card, which they reminded me to activate a couple of days ago. It hasn’t arrived yet, cuz APO sucks. I’m still pissed at PenFed, because I tried twice to open a new checking account with them and couldn’t because of an “error” in their system. Twice, they said they would look into it and contact me again. They haven’t, so I’ve given up on that. Navy Federal took five days to tell Bill that his eligibility documents were too blurry, so we’re still waiting for them to approve him as a member, so I can also join. These are just “stew-worthy” events from my personal life involving my finances.

Then there’s the whole ongoing COVID drama, which Germany refuses to let up on. We were supposed to have “Freedom Day” on March 20, but most of the states opted to continue the ridiculous restrictions until April 2. And now, some city officials are saying they’re going to declare cities “hotspots” so they can continue the restrictions– FFP2 masks required everywhere, social distancing, vaccination checks, and tests. Yesterday, I read an editorial in The Local Germany written by a guy who had gone to Sweden and anticipated coming back to Germany after our so-called non-existent “Freedom Day”. In Sweden, all of the COVID shit has been dropped and, guess what… Sweden’s COVID numbers are supposedly not that different than Germany’s are.

The heavier masks and vaccination checks aren’t stopping the spread of the virus, and they’re keeping Germans and the rest of us who live here in a never ending psychological morass of fear and doom. While countries all around us are dispensing with COVID rules, Germany stubbornly clings to them. Meanwhile, those of us who are fed up with the onerous rules are going to those other countries for our vacations and, perhaps, picking up the virus there. Or we’re staying here and getting the virus, in spite of the fucking heavy masks, which most people don’t bother to wear properly, anyway.

A guy we buy wine from has been trying to convince us to go to Italy at the end of April. We probably won’t do it because of COVID and the annoying COVID rules that would make such an excursion less likely to be fun. Italy has relaxed a lot of rules, but thanks to the psychological trauma that has occurred over the past two years, I’m just not ready to plunge in yet. I think COVID is here to stay, and our best bet is to get vaccinated, take reasonable precautions, and live our lives. The endless restrictions are not effective and no longer make sense. And they take a lot of joy out of living, too. See? I can be in a “stew” about that, too. I’m sure a lot of people– the guy who inspired this post included– would give me shit about my complaints about COVID. But I mention them, only because he apparently has a problem with people who are discussing Will Smith’s altercation with Chris Rock.

And finally, there’s the war in Ukraine, which of course is a terrible situation. I have never been to Ukraine, but I would have liked the opportunity to visit at some point. I have been inspired and enchanted by the stories of courage that have come out since Putin’s invasion. I also know people who are personally touched by the war in Ukraine. I absolutely feel for the people there. But my talking and posting about it isn’t going to change anything. There’s not a lot I can do about Ukraine, except donate money and items like clothing and shoes for those who have been made refugees. I have already donated some clothes and have made a point of buying Ukrainian products when I can. And I can continue to hear the stories about the war and the people who are affected by it. I can do that, and still have an opinion about Will Smith and Chris Rock. Not posting about Ukraine 24/7 doesn’t make me a morally deficient person whose priorities are lacking.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty goddamned sick and tired of people shaming others all the time. I especially think it’s out of place on Facebook, which is supposed to be a place where people connect. Wasn’t it originally supposed to be a fun activity, reconnecting with old friends and keeping in touch with relatives and such? When did people decide Facebook was the place to try to make other people feel like shit for not having the right “priorities”? Maybe the guy who inspired today’s post didn’t intend to make me feel “bad”– and even if it was his intent to do that, he didn’t succeed anyway. But the tone of that post is pretty shaming, in my opinion. Who put him in charge of policing other people’s reactions to current events?

I think it’s okay for people to have different priorities. Wouldn’t the world be a very boring place if we all talked about the same things? Isn’t it better that we have differing opinions? Can’t we learn from each other by discussing things in a civilized way? I know I’ve learned new things from having respectful conversations with other people. But honestly, most of us don’t need another reason to feel bad.

I also don’t think it’s wrong to have a discussion about what happened at the Oscars. There are even a number of angles that can be explored. For instance, one of my friends thinks it’s possible that Will Smith might have been under the influence of something when he reacted to Chris Rock’s lame joke. She also thinks it’s possible Jada Pinkett Smith might have even instigated Smith’s violent reaction. I don’t know anything about the Smiths’ relationship, but I do know that Will Smith’s choice to hit Chris Rock cast a real pall over what should have been a positive and family friendly event. It wasn’t until yesterday that I heard about how Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli had a touching moment. Wouldn’t it have been nice if we could have heard about that as much as we did about Will Smith and Chris Rock? Isn’t it worth discussing that? As long as it’s all civilized, anyway…

Just re-reading my title for this post, I suppose I could just mention that I think it’s possible to suffer from “outrage overload”. I don’t need to be encouraged to be more outraged. I can handle that condition pretty easily on my own, thanks. And I don’t need more stress or worry in my life. I don’t need more shame, either. I think that’s true for a lot of us. I will continue to expect the worst and hope for the best. A little bit of fun, joy, and lively discussion is what keeps life worth living.

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