Taking Note of a Few Things: The Patience is a Virtue Edition

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Life has been a blur the last few months, to say the least. Packing up, moving, making a U-turn in life and returning, and trying to settle into a new life are just a few things I have had to deal with. I have barely had the time or interest to take note of the rest of the world. Now that I do, let’s see if it has changed much.

FOX News has been taking it on the chin of late. Of course, they have themselves to blame which might be why they are paying three-quarters of a million dollars to keep their public followers from knowing all the facts about their involvement in feeding a false narrative to the public over the 2020 election. Facts are not something FOX News has ever been big on, but now that they have shown the extent they will go to maintain precious viewership, can we all agree they’re willing to do and say anything to win the cable news ratings.

Fox News Logo courtesy of Fox News

It’s easy to see why FOX wins the news ratings on cable. While CNN has plenty of left leaning news providing competition as well as the FOX audience to overcome, FOX News has no one who leans right to worry about. All they need to do to win the cable ratings race is to continue eliminating conservative competition. It’s like an election where the right runs one candidate and the left runs a dozen. FOX zeroes in on a very narrow perspective and when they win the ratings war it comes across as they have a powerful following. However, when you add up the total viewership of those “left wing wackos” from all the other news outlets, FOX’s viewership comes up short. However, in the end, they win because advertisers only care about how many viewers will see their commercials.

When it comes to our gun problem, I think we can say we have found a way to protect our school children. While school shootings are still a problem, we are now seeing more mass shootings in places other than schools. Why is this?  Our leaders have failed to do anything to curb gun violence and we have become numb to the headlines that seem to appear daily involving mass shootings. The reaction of the general public now is, “Thank God it did not involve any school children,” when a mass shooting takes place at a nightclub, place of employment, or concert.

The look of freedom in Texas

COVID has been declared no longer a world crisis and is pretty much viewed as a thing of the past. Until a new strain comes out and sweeps across the nation or planet, life seems to have moved on from what shut down the planet not that long ago. However, besides the millions of dead and just as many more left with long term COVID effects, we have a national emergency with mental health as a result of having to be locked down so much.

Loneliness, of all things, is now a national health problem and is contributing to increases in suicide, depression, anxiety, and scores of other mental health issues. Give someone who feels detached from the rest of the world access to guns and you are bound to see an increase in mass shootings. Combat the problem by fighting any and all things to do with gun control and your politics end up adding to the problem and not the solution.

Is Biden all that bad? Democrats do not seem all that enthused with him running again and it may be because he is old, or it may be because his leadership style is calm, steady, and leads by accomplishments and not empty words. When I was younger, his style was considered steady and reassuring, but in a world where younger voters seem to thrive on drama, have short attention spans, and think the nation needs to make a huge leap left instead of continuing with steady gains, Biden comes off as out of touch.  It doesn’t help that the right remains fixated on a guy with orange skin who wants to toss out our constitution and usher in a reign of terror for anyone who is not white or Christian. Biden’s leadership has seen the right implode while he has invested into our most neglected areas. In another four years, under his leadership, the far right will be a dying breed and we will be glad we stuck with a leader who demonstrated why patience is a virtue.

If you are frustrated by the general higher price of pretty much everything and think there is a presidential candidate who will change all of this, you are wrong. Inflation will eventually slow down again, but by the time it seems like it has, you will realize prices never returned to where they once were. Once consumers have become used to the price of things, companies have no incentive to lower them. Get used to those eight dollar boxes of cereal. They’re here to stay.

I wrote in detail about my first ketamine experience. Let’s just say my second one made the first one seem dull and uneventful. I should add, Ketamine therapy without the help from a master yogi is pointless. Clearing a cluttered and busy brain is easy, just like it is easy to clear out a cluttered garage. The challenge is keeping it uncluttered and that is where the yogi comes into play.

Illustration by Tim Forkes

My decorating style can be described as minimalist. I gave up on my living area and left it bare most of the day. I have two lawn chairs and that’s about it. However, in the morning, it becomes my gym simply by sliding out the equipment I have stored under the stairwell. As for decorating, I simply hung two curtains to hide my gym equipment when I am not working out.

The crowning of King Charles might have made for good TV viewership, but I do not get the fascination people have with the royal family. To me, watching an old man who has never had to work a day in his life while sucking on the tax payer’s tit with a crown of gold and jewels placed on his head is nothing more than a reminder that we’re all peasants to the world’s wealthiest and nothing more. Keep in mind, at one time the sun never set on the British empire. When it finally did, much of what was once theirs was left in disrepair and on their own for decades while the royals continued to live in luxury.

If you are one to marvel over the crown and royal family, you have no business complaining about the top one percent in this country. We may have ushered in a new system of rule when we broke from England, but it hasn’t stopped us from creating a system that rewards the wealthy without expecting anything in return from them while punishing the hard working citizens who just want a chance to enjoy life a little instead of worrying about whether they can afford going to a doctor.

If all men are created equal, how come it feels like most of us are taking it on the chin just so a few can hoard more money than they can ever spend in a lifetime?

Philanthropy used to mean giving without expecting anything in return. It seems to me, today it comes with a quid pro quo.. If you do not agree, look at your favorite non-profits and see what the salaries are they pay to board members and then check to see how much of what they bring in actually is spent doing good for others. Most of those board members are already wealthy and don’t need another source of income. Whatever happened to donating your time to a cause? I guess that is another job for us regulars who lack the funds to give our money to.

I really do not have a problem with someone who is wealthy. What I have a problem with is that too many forget the plight of others and before they give to a cause want to know how they will personally benefit. Then they use the power and influence that comes from their wealth to buy off politicians to do their dirty work. If every rich person were more like Bill Gates and saw the good that comes to humanity when you give to the neediest people, guys like me would not get outraged over the lack of taxes our wealthiest pay.

Aren’t there enough things for gamblers to bet on now that we can do away with horse racing? Churchill Downs had six horse deaths during the week leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Forte, the favorite, was scratched after being injured on the track during a Thursday workout. Other top horses skipped the event because you can’t make millions breeding a dead horse. There is enough scientific evidence that shows there will be a greater likelihood of more horse racing deaths due to decades of inbreeding among top horses.

I am still waiting until late August before I bother checking the standings in Major League Baseball. Do their televised games draw any sort of ratings?  How can a game that is just one of one 162 played be of any interest two months into the season? The only reason I can see going to the ballpark is if you have family in town and you need to get away for a few hours to take a nap.

Is this the season Mike Trout and the Angels go deep into the postseason?
(Claudia Gestro)

A month and a half ago I said good-bye to my two mutts, Peanut and Mini. I chose to leave them in Tennessee where life would be more stable and predictable for them. I still think of them all the time and cannot get myself to walk down any pet aisles in stores. Just yesterday, when I woke up in the morning, I said out loud, “Come on gang, let’s get up and get our day going,” like I always did before leaving them.

All go the dogs (James Moore)

An $800 billion dollar apology from the state of California to blacks for all the past wrongs by the state is not just a lot of money, but won’t do any good unless the state and its citizens actually set about changing those wrongs in their practices. Paid reparations are pointless if the recipients do not use them to improve their lives. The state task force might be able to make recommendations to ease the conscience of elected leaders, but real change requires all parties to move forward once payments are made. Otherwise, all of this is pointless.

With yet another mass shooting, this time in Allen, Texas, by a gunman clad in body armor, I wonder how it will be dismissed by Governor Abbott. His love of guns like AR-15’s in the hands of nut jobs can’t always be blamed on the victims being illegal residents of his state. He brings new meaning to the phrase, “Stick to your guns,” while sharing about as much compassion for victims as Hitler showed toward Jews.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott doesn’t care

If California and Texas show how extreme the political thinking is of the far left and right, especially in the previous two comments, I’ll take living in California over burying my head in the sand and refusing to face the reality of a real problem like gun violence. The leaders of California may be a bit weird, but at least they have compassion for humanity. That’s more than can be said for the power players of Texas.

Los Angeles Unified Teachers have approved a new contract that has resulted in a 21% pay raise and an average teacher salary of $109,000.00 a year. As a retired teacher, I can’t help but wonder how a school district the size of LAUSD came up with enough money to increase pay by more than twenty percent? How long has the district been hoarding money to now be able to come up with such a massive pay raise? How many programs sat underfunded while the district accumulated the sort of money needed for a 21% teacher pay increase? While the teachers may be celebrating a big win, there are lots of questions that may need a formal investigation before we get the truth.

Pay raises do not make for better teachers. Sure, some will say they no longer need a second job to pay their bills and will be able to focus more on their teaching. However, a pay increase the size LAUSD teachers just received will inevitably lead to budget shortfalls in many other areas. Non-essential employees are liable to receive pink slips. Programs will likely be eliminated adding to teacher workloads. Schools will be closed and those that remain open will see an increase in students. Retired teachers will go unreplaced and class sizes will increase. A lesser pay increase might actually help the quality of education in LAUSD, but in the end, it would not help teachers pay their bills.

I completely understand why American voters worry about Joe Biden’s age and why they may want someone younger as their next president. However, I am baffled by those who believe Trump has a better mental acuity for the job of POTUS, nor do I understand how voters can actually think we’d be better off with Agent Orange in the White House. The only political drama we have had in Biden’s first term has come from Trump or the GOP. They offer no tangible solutions to our problems and have yet to create any sense that the constant craziness we lived with during Trump’s term in office will be any less if he wins a rematch with old Joe.

Joe Biden
(YouTube screenshot)

Telemarketers, scammers, and thieves whose constant phone calls today are getting a wonderful earful from me. No, I am not screaming and swearing at them. Instead, when they say hello to me, I start to speak to them in what sounds like a cross between some Asian and Russian language. I see how long they remain on the phone before they give up and hang up on me. Why not annoy them rather than have them ruin your day?