Preach!

From Margaret and Helen, a couple of wonderfully erudite, supposedly old ladies I’ve been following since the Bush nightmare. They don’t post all that often, but when they do, they slam it out of the park:

helen-mug1FROM HELEN:

Margaret, I watched that jackass in Cleveland and lost my voice.  I saw a Presidential nominee paint a picture of an America I don’t know and have never known. I tried to respond but I couldn’t find the words. I watched his wife lie to a reporter saying that she had written every word of her speech.  When she hadn’t, I watched the media say it wasn’t her fault. I tried to respond but couldn’t find the words.  I listened to children who have known only life’s riches praise a father who had made his riches by cheating others.  I tried to respond but I couldn’t find the words.  I watched an audience shout down a Senator when he told them to vote their conscience.  I tried to respond but I couldn’t find the words.  I watched amazed as Trump got more popular rather than less and truly I couldn’t find the words.   But last night, I watched a battle-worn President who had been unjustly treated and unfairly maligned rise above it all.  I watched Barack Obama, my President, paint a different picture, a beautiful picture of hope, kindness, forgiveness and humility.  And now I am going to respond because I have indeed found my words.  Screw you, Mr. Trump.  You better give your heart to Jesus because your butt is mine and I plan to kick your ass from the bottom floor to the top floor of Trump Tower and then down again.   As I live and breathe, you will never be President.  Never.

I have always said that even when I watch my P’s and Q’s, I can still spell bullshit.  Eight years ago, Sarah Palin walked onto the world stage and American politics hit a new low.   I saw a bitch and I called her a bitch.  She spewed hatred, fear and ignorance better than any hillbilly I had ever known. I have no regrets for calling her a bitch.  Palin was a joke.  Trump, however, is no joke.  He is the real deal.  He is the bitch to rule all bitches.   Trump has an ego the size of my ass (and trust me when I tell you that is one yuuuuuuuuge ass).  Everything he does is for selfish reasons, fueled by greed and motivated by power.

Salty language and a strong opinion don’t bother me.  Saying what’s on your mind is usually a good thing.  Usually.  But what’s on Trumps mind isn’t fit for human consumption. It’s just hatred, fear and plain old racism.  He put together a carnival in Cleveland to make the case that America has become a horrible place that no longer has time for political correctness.  But I am here to tell you that speaking your mind and being politically correct are not mutually exclusive.  Political correctness is having the emotional intelligence and decency not to use language, evoke images or take actions that marginalize, offend or otherwise insult people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.  Kind of sounds like something Jesus would support if you ask me.

The America he described is not the America I know.  In fact, it’s not the America anyone knows.  The rest of us know an America of hard-working, compassionate people who no longer have time to hate and who don’t aspire to harass and humiliate their fellow countrymen.  The America we know wants to end poverty, end war, educate our children and take care of our elderly. We welcome diversity because we are and always have been the world’s great melting pot. Our America has been and always will be great.  Trump sees America as some ugly girl just waiting for him to take her to the prom.  It’s bullshit and we all know it.

Trump takes offense that President Obama and Secretary Clinton don’t use the expression Extreme Islamic Terrorist,  suggesting, I guess, that all Islamic people are terrorist but some are just more extreme.  Funny.  Whenever another old, white man blows up an abortion clinic, I don’t hear anyone calling him an Extreme Christian Terrorist.  Why?  Because you don’t attribute the bad actions of a few Christians to the entire Christian faith any more than you should attribute terrorism to the entire religion of Islam.  You don’t, of course, unless you are trying to stir up a bunch of ignorant mouth breathers that have been drawn to the talk radio/Fox News/Sarah Palin/Michelle Bachman brand of Republicanism that is today’s Republican base. Trump’s America seems to be one filled with roaming bands of brown gypsies raping and pillaging at will. I guess the view from Trump Towers is somewhat skewed when you watch Fox News and listen to talk radio all day. To him, there is evil in anyone who doesn’t bow to his perceived greatness.

Trump is partly right.  Evil is indeed alive and well in America. It’s just not as widespread as he would like to scare us into believing. It seems to be alive and well in about 4% of the population –  roughly equal to the number of votes cast for Trump during the primaries.   Coincidence?  I think not. And funny enough, the worst of them all decided to travel to Cleveland last week.

Donald.  You sir are no Reagan. You are no Kennedy. No Clinton. You are no Obama.  You aren’t even a Bush. You are a self-aggrandizing, hatred-spewing, lying sack of shit.  And yes, I realize that my name- calling is just as bad as yours.  But I am not running for President.  You are.   So be a man and act like it.  Sadly, I sincerely doubt you can.

The Republican Party, the party that likes to think it has a monopoly on god, family values and patriotism, owes America an enormous apology.  Palin was bad enough, but Trump is inexcusable.  I mean it.  Really.

maFROM MARGARET:

Helen, you had better sit down for this. I have news. It’s happened and we’ve both lived to see it. After watching three nights of the Democratic convention, my Howard woke up this morning and told me that he, a dyed in the wool Republican, will be voting for Hillary Clinton in November.

Helen, dear, I have now seen it all and I am planning to wear my Sunday best everyday because I could now drop dead at any given moment. He’s with her. I couldn’t be happier. You should be too. Have some pie. We’ve got this.

Sociopath

Having lived—and blog-bitched my way through—eight long years of Bush/Cheney fucking this country over, none of that ever prepared me for the absolute sociopathic evil I’m seeing spew from Donald Trump and his cloven-hooved—I can’t think of a better word (and apologies to the cute little yellow guys everywhere)—minions.

Just when you think Hair Fuhrer can’t sink any lower, can’t say one more outrageous thing that leaves anyone sane asking “Da FUCK did I just hear?” he does. Today it was the very treasonous pronouncement from the orange one: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Of course he and his bobble-head spokespeople and followers now claim that no such thing was ever said; that in no way was he advocating a foreign power interfere in the U.S. political process by spying on his opponent. Even though it’s recorded right there for everyone to see.

To be clear, as an Atheist, I no more believe in the AntiChrist than I do in the rest of the Christian mythology, but damn if Trump isn’t looking more and more exactly like how followers of it say he’ll manifest. That doesn’t scare me nearly as much as the absolutely fascist turn the republican party—led by Trump—has taken, and how if he and his cronies somehow manage to gain control of this country it’s GAME OVER, not only for people of color, immigrants, progressives, LGBT, and pretty much anyone the human Cheeto doesn’t like, but also I dare say any part of what this country has always stood for.

We don’t need supernatural entities or extraterrestrial lizards wearing human skin suits to bring evil to this world; man is quite capable of manifesting it himself without any outside assistance.

Bush/Cheney scared me, but it now seems benign in comparison to the thought of a Trump presidency. That absolutely terrifies me—as it should for any person who has an ounce of compassion and empathy for his fellow man. This pathological liar and obvious sociopath with control of the nuclear codes? The ability to potentially appoint three supreme court justices? And with Mike Pence as Vice President, who would potentially step up in case Trump is removed from office?

We cannot allow this to happen. The results at the voting booth in November must be decisive and without question. As much as I would’ve preferred Bernie Sanders to receive the Democratic nomination, I am a realist and know that Hillary—with all her flaws, shortcomings, and baggagemust be elected president. Trump—and the resurrected Nazi Party he’s spawning—must be stomped into the ground.

THIS.

At this point I don’t really give a shit about what “the left” wants this election. All this “Hillary isn’t doing exactly what I want her to do so I’m gonna be sad and angry man and I’m not gonna vote cause THE SYSTEM IS SO CORRUPT MAN” shit is so insanely juvenile.

This ain’t 1968, man. The Democratic Party’s platform is the most liberal that it has ever been but I guess the actual substance is too “boring” for some. Some so-called “liberals” are taking this election and this moment in time for granted. Damn shame. Real damn shame. Yeah, you don’t like Hillary because she’s too “detached” and Tim Kaine because he’s “boring.” God, it reminds of the 2004 election when people were like “Yeah, John Kerry is a smart guy but he’s so boring.” Get over it. Why do some of ya’ll need to be constantly cuddled and cajoled into voting? Voting is a civic duty. People marched and died and bled for the right to vote and so many “progressives” are so quick to piss it all away because the Democratic ticket isn’t “exciting” enough for them. It’s all style and no substance for some. DAMN. SHAME.

(Source)

So This Happened

In response to yesterday’s bout of Apple-induced Robopsychosis, last night Ben told me to charge my camera battery. “You’re going to need it tomorrow.”

I pressed him until I got an answer to what he had planned. “We need a day away from computers.”

And so we took a little road trip to Sedona. (I charged my camera’s battery, but didn’t take it; all these were shot with my iPhone.)












We didn’t really do much, but it was nice to get out of the blistering heat for a while and away from our laptops…

OMG

My entire collection consists of only 10 of those individual cubes and I have a hard time knowing what’s in that. As for this, I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like. But it’s beautiful, nevertheless.

Reminds me a bit of Barry Walters’ (another story for another time) collection.

“It Just Works!”

No it doesn’t, Apple. NO. IT. FUCKING. DOESN’T.

I got the bright idea to do some desk cleaning last night, and I ran across three file folders worth of pictures, floor plans, and miscellaneous documents that I wanted to scan. My plan was to do that first thing this morning and then move on to normal my Saturday chores.

So much for those plans.

It has been a day of Apple/Adobe/Canon ROBO-PSYCHOSIS.

I knew that Photoshop had supposedly lost the ability to use a TWAIN scanner driver somewhere between CS6 and the first iteration of CC. (Even with CS6 it required a bit of finagling to get working, but by and large it worked fine.)

I haven’t thought much about it since the arrival of CC, since all the scanning I’ve had to do since that time has been document or line-drawing based. Not exactly rocket science. Apple’s own built-in image capture worked fine for that.

So when I went to scan some magazine photos today, imagine my horror when they came out looking like crap. Apple’s built-in software has no ability to “de-screen,” so everything came out with horrible Moire patterns and no way to get rid of them. FUCK ME SIDEWAYS IN TRAFFIC.

So after doing some Googling, I discovered that there is a fix for even the latest version of Photoshop CC: a TWAIN driver supplied by Adobe themselves! Downloaded, installed where it was supposed to be and…Photoshop immediately crashed when invoking scanning directly from our Canon printer.

GODDAMNIT!

Further Googling suggested a clean reinstall of the printer/scanner drivers. But Apple, being Apple, doesn’t provide ANY mechanism for actually removing old printer drivers. (Just making them disappear from the Scanners and Printers preferences list doesn’t actually delete any files, so you’re left having to go digging all over the hard drive to to rip them out.)

Well, apparently I deleted something I shouldn’t have, because even after reinstallation, not only did TWAIN still cause Photoshop to immediately crash—the scanner option itself was only showing up in the printer configuration when it was physically connected to the laptop via USB—not while it was wireless.

I wasted a good three hours this morning trying to fix this and finally said fuck it and wiped the hard drive, knowing full well that this time I couldn’t just grab my Time Machine to do a full restore; the files had already changed on the latest capture. I could restore my profile, but all my applications would have to be manually reloaded and I was now looking at spending the entire day at this desk and not getting much of anything else accomplished.

THIS IS THE EXACT REASON I GAVE UP ON WINDOWS; THIS SORT OF ROBO-PSYCHOTIC-FUCK-YOUR-ENTIRE-DAY BULLSHIT!

And you know what? When all was said and done and I finally got everything loaded from scratch—the fucking TWAIN still didn’t work with Photoshop. Oh yeah, it worked with Canon’s own proprietary scanning software—a piece of psychedelic-colored crap that looks like it was designed by a six-year old.

And unfortunately, that is what I’m stuck using if I want to get decent scans from magazine or newspaper photos.

At least the scanning option is once again showing on both the wireless and USB versions of the printer, and I have a “clean” install of everything else on my Mac now. BUT GODDAMNIT ALL TO HELL, Apple. THIS is NOT supposed to be how APPLE works!

 

Eleventh Hour Reprieve

This past weekend Ben and I were discussing my impending return to unemployment, and I said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Tony (my supervisor) pulled some kind of Hail Mary Pass to keep me around.”

Indeed, a Hail Mary Pass was thrown on Monday. “Would you be interested in staying around a little longer—through the end of August—to help Paul retrieve old equipment from out in the field? You guys could go out in the morning while it’s still cool and then do your regular duties in the afternoon.”

Hell yes, I would—especially considering recruiters weren’t exactly knocking down my door and Ben and I been wondering how our little household would survive on me bringing home the measly $240/week (less than minimum wage!) that AZ unemployment would provide while looking for other work.

This offer was not extended to the other contractor who came on the same time I did, and while everyone concerned has done their level best to keep him blissfully unaware of this eleventh-hour development, the fact he didn’t show up for work today or notify anyone that he wouldn’t be coming in (ostensibly our last day here) tells me he might’ve found out…

It’s Hot Out There

I’d be lying if I said that after only one year I’d fully reacclimated to the Phoenix summertime heat, because I haven’t. It’s damn hot out there.

It doesn’t help that it’s currently about ten degrees F hotter than it was a year ago on this date. Or the year before that. Or the year before that. Or pretty much any time as far back in my lifetime as I want to go.

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that Mother Earth was tired of our shit and is running a fever, hoping to rid herself of the human virus…

R.I.P.

40 years after the first VHS video cassette recorder rolled off the production line, the last known company making the devices is ceasing production. According to Japanese newspaper Nikkei, Funai Electric, a Japanese consumer electronics company, will give up on the format by the end of the July after 30 years of production.

Declining sales, plus a difficulty in obtaining the necessary parts, prompted Funai Electric to cease production. While the Funai brand might not be well-known in the west, the company sold VCRs under the more familiar Sanyo brand in China and North America.

Funai Electric began production of VCRs in 1983 following the unsuccessful launch of its own CVC format in 1980. While CVC had its strengths—its quarter-inch tape made its machines smaller and lighter than VHS machines, which used half-inch tape—VHS and Betamax were strong competitors.

(Source)

Quote of the Day

A thoughtful, reasoned response to the Republican cray-cray that seems to be spewing from a fire hose lately…

“At the risk of taking Gingrich’s nonsense seriously, just imagine for a moment what translating his proposal into action would mean. The government would round up 3.3 million American Muslims, then “test” them to see “if they believe in Sharia,” a notion about which Gingrich doesn’t have the remotest clue. Sharia is the Arabic word for “law”; there’s no guidebook of official Sharia, and Islamic scholars have a multitude of ideas about how Koranic ideas could or should be translated into civil rules. But even if there were, Gingrich is literally proposing to prosecute thought crimes, as well as jettisoning the First Amendment to throw people in jail for visiting certain web sites. And where is he going to “deport” the Americans whom he decides believe in Sharia to?

Frankly, I think we need to ask just how Newt Gingrich got radicalized, and what caused him to reject the values of the country that gave him so much. Was it some radical cleric who did this to him? Is there a church somewhere in Georgia we need to be monitoring? ~ Paul Waldman, The Washington Post

Go read the whole thing. It’s worth your time.