Borrowed from the Poetry Foundation, this poem by Maggie Smith (not the actress) that says it all for me
Good Bones By Maggie Smith
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.


Too many people who adopted pets during the pandemic are returning them, now that they think (mistakenly) the pandemic is over. They’ve been returning these dogs and cats; or they take them to the pound. They wanted the pets to keep them company, to give them something to focus on–often, basically, as playthings. And it’s creating a sudden huge overload of dogs and cats suddenly being returned to these rescue agencies, or just dumped on others. Some of these heartless creeps are probably just abandoning the dogs somewhere, on the sidewalk many miles from home.

These are dogs and cats who have bonded with their adopters–because that’s the canine and feline way–and now they’re being thrown away like old, boring toys. Like video games you don’t want to play anymore. And anyway, shockingly, these animal “toys” had to poop and someone had to clean up after them and they required food and veterinary attention. And…just attention. But the selfish non-empathetic shit-heads who abandon the animals they’d pretended to adopt, have to get back to their lives of narcissism. Animals feel emotional pain. They have minds and feelings. They develop attachments. They have loyalty–even if you don’t.

These people remind me of those who got dogs and cats as accessories, even before the pandemic–often they’re over-inbred dogs who Just Look Cool, like French Bull Dogs. Never mind that they’re more likely to die young from cancer if they’re inbred. OR “purebred,” which is just another way to say inbred, usually.

I’m reminded especially of people who get “toy” dogs, a real category, or “teacup” dogs. Dogs bred to be toys, really. Rife with health problems. Miserable, frightened, trembling creatures. We should not be breeding pets to be toys, to be playthings alone. They should be companions. But the narcissists who adopt don’t understand that. They support vile, in-breeding puppy mills. They got their dogs or cats as part of a fad. Then they abandon them. Maybe, the way some do with goldfish, they flush the teacup pets they don’t like down the toilet…

Stuff that is BUGGING ME today, July 12.

Illegal Pot Invades California’s Deserts, Bringing Violence, Fear, Ecological Destruction, the LA Times tells us – But wait, you say, marijuana is LEGAL in California now. Wasn’t that legality supposed to get rid of the environmentally problematic and dangerous and gang-controlled illegal-pot farms? Hasn’t. Because they simply undercut the prices of the legal outfits. It’s distressing. It pisses me off. Not only in deserts, but in forests in many states, marijuana farms, many of them run by cartels, are poisoning the woodlands with pesticides, herbicides, and trash. They’re tearing up trees and natural undergrowth…And these outfits, in competition, attract violence. Dead men are sometimes found out there, as a result of illegal pot “wars”.

Speaking of violence…A powerful new church is fomenting violence. As per the Washington Post: “A new and rapidly growing Christian movement is openly political, wants a nation under God’s authority, and is central to Donald Trump’s GOP” … Weirdly and ironically called MERCY CULTURE, the church wants an end to the separation of church and state, wants right-wing evangelical Christianity installed (rather like The Handmaid’s Tale) to run the country. That’s right, they want a Christian theocracy.

“The church is called Mercy Culture, and it is part of a growing Christian movement that is nondenominational, openly political and has become an engine of former president Donald Trump’s Republican Party. . .It includes some of the largest congregations in the nation, housed in the husks of old Baptist churches, former big-box stores and sprawling multimillion-dollar buildings with private security to direct traffic on Sundays.” The Mercy Culture preacher inflames fear and pushes his followers into confrontation with the “seductive, political, demonic, power-hungry spirit that uses witchcraft to control God’s people…Beware of a world that preaches toleration of things God does not tolerate.” Imagine these people taking control by violence or through congressional theocratic fanatics. Imagine how they would treat America’s non-Christians–Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, non-Christian native-Americans, atheists. Imagine how they would deal with doubters and critics. They are dominionists, believers in an imminent end of the world and Judgment Day. Suppose they install a dominionist President? Suppose he or she decides that God wants him or her to start a nuclear war?

Imagine how they might take over. Heavily armed far-right Christian militias. From the Washington Post article: “There were always prayer nights for the cause, including one where church members laid hands on Fort Worth’s sheriff, who sat with a Bible in his lap and said that the problem was “the demonic battle of our lifetime” and told those gathered that “you are the warriors in that battle.”


Today I’m just gonna use this clip from this article that everyone should read. Follow the link after you check this out. How clueless and absurd have we become?

Consider the experience of Philip Howard, who sat down to read a printed edition of War and Peace in 2010. Halfway through reading the brick-size tome, he purchased a 99-cent electronic edition for his Nook e-reader:

As I was reading, I came across this sentence: “It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern …” Thinking this was simply a glitch in the software, I ignored the intrusive word and continued reading. Some pages later I encountered the rogue word again. With my third encounter I decided to retrieve my hard cover book and find the original (well, the translated) text.

For the sentence above I discovered this genuine translation: “It was as if a light had been kindled in a carved and painted lantern …”

A search of this Nook version of the book confirmed it: Every instance of the word kindle had been replaced by nook, in perhaps an attempt to alter a previously made Kindle version of the book for Nook use.

What’s BUGGING ME TODAY, July 6.

Republican candidates back Trump’s election lies across the 2021 and 2022 maps. You’ve heard about that, probably. The ones who hope to flip Dem to GOP in 2022 are surfing on the tidal wave of Trump’s lies. They’re hanging ten, they’re shooting the curl on the gurgling surge of those lies. Hoping to ride them right to office. (Many of them are Qanon idiots too–and it turns out Qanon suckers can get elected by this ignorance-haunted electorate.) Also, polling shows 60% of Republicans profess to believe Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, despite those lies being disproven over and over and over in court. And here’s the deal with these people surfing on Trumps Tidal Wave O’ Lies: Most of them know it’s a lie. But they don’t care what damage is done to democracy as long as they and their side comes out the winner. “Sure, that Hitler’s a jerk but if I tie myself to him he’ll pull me into power with him!” Some of them are evangelicals of the sort who think, weirdly, “God wants us to lie about this for the greater good”. Never mind the Ten Commandments’ “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” As for Trump:

On July third, speaking in Sarasota, Florida he said: “If you say it enough and keep saying it, they’ll start to believe you.” And in his book, years ago, The Art of the Deal, he said: “I play to people’s fantasies. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.” And since according to his ex-wife he used to read MEIN KAMPF, by ol’ Adolph H, in bed…and since according to the historic record his father was prominent in the KKK…Trump probably knows this famous line from Nazi Joseph Goebbels: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” He’s been paraphrasing that line himself for years. Probably he learned about Herr Goebbels at his daddy’s knee. “Son, let me tell you what ol’ Joe Goebbels used to say…” A new book, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost, quoting John Kelly, reports that Trump told Kelly: “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things…”

Meanwhile, I’m bugged by residential area use of major fireworks on this past–on every— July 4 weekend. (I live in benighted Southern Washington State, where rules aren’t rules.) The noise terrifies my dogs, robs me and my wife of sleep–it really does sound like a war is going on around here–and on a record-hot summer it risks starting a fire. Here’s just a sample of this last weekend’s fireworks delights across the USA:

Sadly, young Matiss Kivlenieks, a 24 year old goalie for the Columbus Blue Jackets died July 4 from a fireworks mortar blast and chest trauma…Someone accidentally (probably drunkenly) shot the fireworks the wrong way.

Two Chicago police officers were shot and injured while trying to break up a crowd during a Fourth of July celebration in the city, authorities said Monday. The injured officers included a female commander, who was shot in the foot, and a male sergeant, who received a bullet wound in the leg while trying to disperse a large crowd shooting off fireworks. Some in the crowd stupidly felt that their “need” to detonate illegal fireworks was more important than human life.

Police in Cincinnati, Ohio, said two males, ages 16 and 19, were killed and three others injured at a holiday celebration at a park late Sunday night. The two males were “engaged in a verbal altercation that resulted in the two exchanging gunfire” and the other victims were caught in the crossfire, Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said at a news briefing on Monday. So–July 4 celebration.

Across the country, fireworks displays got out of hand. . .In Chicago, a 19-year-old lost their hand and was critically injured as a result of a fireworks injury, according to the city’s fire department. In Austin, fireworks were blamed for burning multiple homes to the ground early Monday...In Houston, a 29-year-old woman suffered severe facial injuries due to fireworks in a Kroger parking lot. The woman’s injuries were so severe that she had to be flown to a hospital downtown. Meanwhile, a pregnant mom and her 3-year-old son were severely burned by fireworks at a neighborhood block party in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

What’s BUGGING ME today

Experimenting with emblazoning my feelings, my first responses, on semi-regular basis; barraging innocent, unsuspecting readers of my blog with a fusillade of opinions fired from the rusty artillery emplacement of my point of view.

“FRAUGHT!” The word, an old one, is suddenly everywhere; it crops up, early in, in nearly every piece of journalism I read. Someone used it a year or two ago and suddenly every journalist decided it made them seem more educated, more eye-brow archingly astute, to be able to use it. And now FRAUGHT is maddeningly, stupidly over-used. Stop with the FRAUGHT all the time!

Speaking of contemporary reportage, am I the only one disturbed by the sudden installation of advertisements in the form of news articles, across internet journalism? Sections that have hints that they are paid endorsements pretending to be articles–the small print, somewhere, sheepishly mentions it. It’s everywhere now. CNN was an early offender. They’re being imitated by every formerly-legit news site.

Boy Scouts of America settles for $850 million with more than 84,000 sexual abuse victims. 84,000 is a lot–it must have been epidemic and endemic to the Scouts. Did it happen when I was a kid? I was in the Scouts for a minute. Not to me, no. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening. Or …did it start to happen later? How could an epidemic of institutional child molestation just start one day? I do accept the reality of it, yes. But what brought it about in the BSA? I’m glad the Scouts administration, who were obviously careless of the safety of the boys are paying the price. If it destroys the BSA then it’s a deserved destruction. But how did the phenomenon of 84,000 (known!) molestations arise? And how, at the same time, are we allowing ourselves to release the egregious Bill Cosby from prison? Cosby– a serial molester of another sort.

The decision by the conservative block in the Supreme Court to allow voter suppression in Arizona is a horrifying precedent and it will have corrosive repercussions on our democracy. It may be the straw that broke the camel’s back of American democracy. Apparently–from what I’m reading–Congress can’t undo this ethical error. What they’ve done is empower the Big Lie. It can only get worse from here.

And what about people too stupid to see the simple connection between NOT getting sick and having had the vaccine? Local officials are sounding the alarm over an increase in Covid-19 infections just as the nation prepares to celebrate a Fourth of July holiday… In Arkansas, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the nation, cases are surging… “We are now going in the wrong direction yet again with Covid-19 infections here in the state of Arkansas,” said Dr. Cam Patterson, chancellor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “With July 4th holiday coming up and eventually kids going back to school, we have to be concerned that this would be a trend that could continue. And if it does, it would appear that we may be in the beginning of the third surge of Covid-19 here in the state of Arkansas”….The Delta variant has now been detected in all 50 states and Washington, DC…More than 98% of those hospitalized with Covid-19 were not vaccinated!….THE VACCINES WORK, PEOPLE. THEY’RE EVEN FREE! Don’t believe the misinformation. The vaccines are safe. More than 600,000 thousand people in the USA have died from covid and hundreds of thousands others who survived have been crippled by its spread to lungs, heart, kidneys and the brain…Don’t be stupid. GET VACCINATED.