Monday, October 19, 2020

Playing Greatest Hits for Biggest Shits

 Oh, yeah, the right wing noise machine is at it again, trying to recapture that 2016 high with a lurid story about Hunter Biden's laptop, basically rehashing the Anthony Wiener laptop story.  The evidence free conspiracy theories are all of a kind- this new one even alleges that, besides incriminating evidence of collusion with China, there is video of Hunter Biden torturing and molesting children.  This is just like the Wiener laptop hard drive, reputed to have contained a video of Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin cutting a child's face off before sacrificing her to  obtain her sweet, sweet adrenochrome.

It's lazy and stupid, but these are lazy and stupid people.  The supposed source of the data is a Trump supporter with a sketchy story about obtaining the data on Biden's drives, and the promoter of the story is Rudy Giuliani... even convicted felon Bernie Kerik is trying to recapture his fifteen minutes of fame by jumping on this lurid fantasy, tailor-made for the QAnon crowd.  The reporters at Rupert Murdoch's New York Post tried to keep their names off the byline. Flimsy evidence be damned, though, idiots have been spreading it on social media.

Like the Hillary/Huma video, evidence of Biden's crimes will never come to light, since it's all made-up nonsense.  That being said, Hunter Biden has lost my vote!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Socially Distanced Contact Sport?

 Yesterday, I went to my volunteer coaching gig, with a sort of prop, a sadly deflated old basketball I borrowed from my neighbor Georgie,  who has a knack for destroying balls.  The plan was to use the ball as a proxy target, standing in for the feet that we sweep in several judo throws.  The sad shape in which I found the ball was a boon, I didn't want anything that would roll far.  We formed the kids into a circle and we passed the ball around using our sweeping techniques.  At one point, a six year old girl who hadn't studied with us raised her hand.

"Yes, young lady, what is your question?"

"Is this a real sport?"

In the back of my mind, I thought, "Not this year, kiddo, not this year."  As my actual response, I turned to my great and good friend Frenchie (the man who took my profile picture, who is, of course, Italian) and we decided to break the social distancing mandate for a while in order to show the kids what the sport is all about.  We went through the throws we were mimicking with the ball, the o-soto-garis, the ko-uchi-garis and o-uchi-garis, the de-ashi-barais... this allowed us to seque into ukemi, the techniques we apply to fall without injury.  

We spent quite a bit of time falling and rolling, on a soccer field rather than the mats we usually work out on.  Even as I rolled and slapped the ground, I kept on thinking, "You're going to feel this tomorrow."  Yeah, today involved a couple of aspirin and a nigh-scalding shower before I was functional enough to head to work.

After our classes in this not-quite-sport-no-not-this-year, we met with the two heads of the program and conferred about the rest of the semester, and probably year... with the colder weather coming upon us, and the impossibilities of social distancing indoors, and the unfeasibility of disinfecting equipment between classes, next Saturday is going to be our last session for the duration of our current crisis.  We typically run twenty weeks from October to March, this year we experimented with an eight week September to October session.  We worked hard, and we succeeded, but COVID is a bigger enemy than we are equipped to handle.

One thought that has been in the back of my mind for a year is 'don't be that guy'.  Last year, when an artistic director wanted to bring lanterns into one of our buildings, it was 'don't be that guy who is working when the building catches fire'.  This year it's 'don't be the guy who spreads COVID-19 to twenty or thirty six year-olds'.  We can't socially distance a contact sport, gimmicks and props notwithstanding.   I haven't set foot in a dojo since March 10th, the soccer pitch judo was an expedient, a somewhat soreness-inducing one, but the experiment has run its course.  Next Saturday will be melancholy, but the right choice is to go on hiatus, or in this case you could call it medical leave.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Baby Bear!

Longtime readers will know that I have a fondness for woolly bear caterpillars, the larvae of the Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella).  Ordinarily, I find the charming caterpillars while they are approximately the length and girth of my pinkie finger, a pretty hefty size for a caterpillar.  Last Monday, I found the smallest woolly bear that I've ever seen:

Look at that wee, precious beastie!  If it's lucky, it will bulk up on a variety of plants (no specialist like the monarch here), becoming the cute, finger-sized chunk that I am used to seeing, then freeze solid during the coldest winter days, ready to thaw out in the spring and develop into a pretty yellow moth.

As I've noted, I have a fondness for these little fuzzy buddies, and I was overjoyed to see one this small... next year, I think I'll have to keep my eyes peeled to see if I can spot the eggs of this charismatic moth.

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Metric Which Counts... to a Narcissist

To a TV President, nothing matters more than ratings, so the post-mortem for last night's dueling town halls must have sent him into an apoplexy:

Yeah, Trump is a big loser in the ratings.  That is gratifying to see... it looks like people are bored with Trump's tired, repetitive schtick, and wanted to see some sensible policy talk.  Why listen to a buffoon harp on the same old tired topics, slinging the same old lies, when you can listen to actual science-based environmentalism and the growth of green jobs?


In a hilarious own goal, a Trump campaign staffer tried to insult Biden by comparing him to a beloved children's television show host:

Yeah, I watched Mr Rogers as a wee one, and I'll take the kindly, empathetic Fred Rogers (a more genuine Christian than any religious-right fanatic) over Fred Trump's predator son.  "Won't you be my neighbor?" is a better TV catchphrase than "You're Fired!"

I make no bones about supporting Elizabeth Warren in the primaries, but I'll take a kindly, empathetic Joe Biden any day.  Maybe we need a nice uncle in the White House to soothe the widespread nationwide hurts... as long as he has a tough VP and even tougher AG to clean the neighborhood out after four years of a criminal conspiracy.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

From AQony to EQstasy

 It's been quite a day for the QAnon community... The day started on a terrible note for the self-styled 'digital soldiers', with YouTube banning multiple QAnon related channels- those that promote violence, which means most of them.  For a while, 8kun, the fountain of bullshit where 'Q' posts, went dark, but that seems to have been a temporary blip.  The day was a massaQer, videos were taken down, revenue streams were disrupted.

Tonight, however, was a banner night for the QAnon minions, as Donald Trump, known for promoting tweets from QAnon influencers, was asked for his opinion of the conspiracy community, and promoted the idea, debunked by anti-trafficking organizations, that they were combating pedophiles:


This is Qatnip to the Q-people, a senpai noticed me moment.  Samantha Guthrie unambiguously asked the question, and Trump did not denounce QAnon.  It wasn't quite Trump uttering "my fellow Americans, the Storm is upon us", but for people who have waited since October 2017 for Hillary Clinton to be arrested, any little validation is precious.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Kiss of Death

 As late as, say, July or August, if anybody had told me that the largest single denomination in the United States would turn out to be an interfaith death cult led by Donald Trump, I would not have believed them.  Now, with widespread defiance against mask wearing, and populations as diverse as Hasidim and GOP elites holding superspreader events, it's become pretty clear that an almost cartoonish death cult has taken hold of about a quarter of our population, with COVID Commander at the helm, steering straight into perdition.

The latest manifestation of this murder/suicide pact has arisen organically in Trump's recent superspreader rallies, as Trump expresses a wish to transmit the novel coronavirus in a novel way.

It was odd enough when he made a joke about kissing audience members, while not out of the woods regarding his COVID-19 situation, in Florida on Monday:

He reiterated this joke, or whatever, last night in Pennsylvania:

This repetition of a problematic line was enough to get the attention of professional Trump watchers.  Is it bravado?  Trollery?  Flattery?  Who can even tell with this White House whacko?  Would he follow through if his audience took him up on this offer?  Would they really yearn for the liar's kiss that says 'I love you' but means something else?   Trump said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose voters... would he lose voters if he shot someone in the fifth row?

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Three Weeks Has Never Seemed So Long

 Three weeks until the upcoming presidential election, and it seems like an eternity.  I swear, the 2020 time dilation effect is going into overdrive.  Already we have seen coast-to-coast Republican election tampering, from illegal ballot boxes in California to hours-long waits at Georgia polling sites.  Yep, this coming three weeks is going to d-r-a-g on in agonizing fashion.

Since last year, New York State has allowed early voting- this year the early voting starts on October 24.  I typically work on Election Day, because my workplace is a polling site, and someone needs to make sure that the physical plant is up to the needs of the public... for example, one year a poll worker plugged in an electric heater and tripped a circuit breaker, which I had to rectify after telling them: "Light, heat, or voting... PICK TWO!"  This year, I will probably have to make sure social distancing guidelines and mask compliance are met... I am already trying to figure out the best way to ensure one-way traffic through our building for non-handicapped voters (the main entrance is the handicap-accessible, the side ones that I will suggest be used as exits, not so much).  I really want to get my crucial voting accomplished before then.

Three weeks... in a year that seems like it's been a century, time only seems to be slowing down.  I'm sure it'll be over in the blink of an eye, though.