This is the best thing I’ve seen in a long time.

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RIP, your majesty.

For years, I said that if I went to heaven I wold find that the voice of God sounded just like Aretha Frankin. I still think that.

God is lucky. They have the joy of that wonderful, life-affirming music for all eternity.

Rest in peace, Queen of Soul. We will miss you.

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A friend of mine linked to a Facebook page called “Fake Outrage,” and an entry where they showed a “self-stirring cup.” She found it funny.  I do, as well.

The tag line for the short clip was “We all have one friend that is that lazy…” I find this considerably less funny.

I could really use this cup. There are days when I have to use two hands to hold my mug,  and I spill my coffee when I stir it, unless I have put whipped cream on top. I use whipped cream not (or at least not simply) because it tastes good (as one person at my workplace put it, “who doesn’t need whipped cream in their coffee?”) but because it damps out sloshing, making it possible to carry my coffee to the table from the counter without leaving a trail of brown puddles behind me. (Jameson’s helps too, but is not alway practical.)

There are many people with worse disabilities affecting their motor skills than I have, for whom having a cup like this might mean the difference between having coffee or not, or at least not independently. Before I discovered the whipped cream trick, I was having to ask people to take my coffee to the table for me, which depends upon having other people available, and is frankly frustrating and embarassing.

I suspect that many of the people who view this clip laugh at the poor slobs who can’t even be bothered to stir their coffee. All the people in the clip are able-bodied (and young, but that’s a different issue). It doesn’t show anyone with tremors, or Parkinson’s, or any other disability that makes it difficult to control the movements of your hands.

A few years ago, before my tremors got so bad, I too would have laughed at people using a self-stirring cup. It isn’t that I lack empathy, but I lacked understanding. (My friend, who is a thoughtful and caring person, understood when I explained why this cup might be a good idea, and thanked me for enlightening her.)

This ties in with the current straw bans going in place like Seattle and San Francisco. (The worst that I can see is Santa Barbara: it provides for JAIL TIME for repeat offenders, and individuals who need straws have to apply for a permit from the city to get a straw for “medical necessity.” Although they have postponed implementation of the straw ban, rest assured I will be giving Santa Barbara a wide berth when I drive to Southern California in a few weeks.)

According to Julie Andersen of the Plastic Oceans Foundation, “the straw, it’s a small change in our habit. To force a behavioral change to where it actually impacts what you want is going to be harder to adopt.” In other words, forcing everyone — including the able-bodied — to change is too difficult, so lets go for something that is a simple convenience for most but a necessity for some.

Go to hell, lady.

It’s not just the bans themselves, as bad as they are. It is the support they give to a certain brand of self-righteous ideology that ignores the needs of real humans. It’s just a matter of time before servers refuse to wait on people who need straws.

I know, because it nearly happened to me.

My husband were at a restaurant that we USED to go to occasionally. We had gone for their tremendous biscuits and bacon onion jam. We were brought our drinks with no straws. When I asked for a straw, the waitress told me that they didn’t carry straws. When I insisted, she went to talk to the manager, who told her it was because of the sea turtles. (He didn’t come to talk to ME about it.)

At this point I was feeling completely humiliated. I explained that I would not be able to drink my ginger beer unless I had a straw, or else I would spill it all over myself. After some hemming and hawing, she went to the bar, where the bartender had straws. I was nearly in tears. We finished our dinner and got out as fast as we could. Guess where we’re never eating again?

Note: This was in a city that did NOT have a plastic straw ban. How it would have been in San Francisco or Seattle I can only imagine.

It is hard for me not to hate people over this issue. It is hard for me to say, “they’re not bad people, they’re just ignorant. They just don’t understand why this matters.”

Except I know a lot of them wouldn’t care.

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I know, I know.

This will probably be a boring post.

It seems that too many of my posts in the past eighteen months are of the “random bits” variety, but I am having serious trouble adapting to the Trump presidency. I will not question his legitimacy (although given Russian interference that might well be warranted) but I do question his integrity, his honor, and his simple humanity. I do not call him a madman — I do not really see him as pathological, and doing so reinforces the stigma against the mentally ill — but, sadly, I do not hesitate to call him evil. And that is a word I rarely use about anyone.

Then there is the straw ban. Having just gotten into an … not an argument but an increasingly heated discussion with a friend before we broke it off, I don’t want to re-open that can of worms. He referred to the turtle video, and how do you counter that? He said I should simply buy the plastic disposal straws on Amazon, which to me defeats the purpose of the ban.   Perhaps there should be a video of someone struggling to drink without a straw. I might well be willing to do one myself.

The whole issue goes beyond straws, of course. It is representative of the continuing marginalization of the disabled in American society. I am not in a wheelchair, but I am acutely aware every time I go into a building without a ramp. And the law was recently changed so that building owners have six months once someone threatens to sue to fix their buildings. What incentive do they have to change?


On a more cheerful note, on the past four times I went to Trivia, I won twice. As in, came in first. As in, great, now I have two more certificates for large pitchers of beer that I won’t use. Although on a couple of occasions my offspring and I have gone and had a pitcher and talked, which was quite enjoyable. Any opportunity to spend time with my grown-up kids is time well spent.

I didn’t win the game tonight, but I did win the Sex round. Heh.

Comic-Con — yet another event I will never go to. Although I do have a better chance of going there than to the Tonys, Oscars, or Met Gala.

I finally saw the Christmas special that featured Peter Capaldi’s regeneration into the Thirteenth (or is it Fourteenth? Where does John Hurt’s marvelous War Doctor fit in?) Doctor. I’m in love. Brilliant.

I also re-viewed the “Hell Bent,” the Best. Doctor Who. Episode. Ever. Even better than “Blink,” and I used to think “Blink” head and shoulders above all other Who episodes.

Doctor Who. Star Wars. MCU. Battlebots. (Battlebots?!?) I really am a geek, albeit one who came to geekhood late in life.

I love Battlebots because a) it is arguably a sport, b) it involves serious violence, and c) there is no possibility of living beings being injured. That last puts it above football, basketball, and even horse-racing. (I love dog shows for similar reasons, except I am not sure dog shows are “sports,” the AKC notwithstanding.)

Speaking of football, I am no longer going to watch professional football. This is hard for a life-long football fan. I was close to stopping before because the concussion issue, but it was the kneeling ban that pushed me over the edge. I fully recognized that I have that backwards.

Losing pro football feels like I am losing a connection to my father. He died in 1996, but watching football was always something we had in common. Not to mention my two sisters, who are also football fans, and who are probably wholeheartedly in favor of the kneeling ban.

Currently, I find my television viewing switching between Turner Classic Movies, The Science Channel, and (at least until the end of the racing season) “Saratoga Live” on FS1,  with occasional detours into the Cooking Channel, the Game Show Network, and, when I can cope with the news, msnbc. However, in the fall, I have to add BBCAmerica to that mix.

I love TCM so much I joined their fan club. They sent me a really cool black t-shirt. Win.

I wrote my first fan letter to a radio show. If you like wordplay, and are not listening to “Says You!”, you are missing something. I love puns, so it really works for me.  They sent me back a lovely reply, not a form “thank you for contacting us” email.

Sadly, I do have an obsession that takes up far too much of my time: Word Wipe, a game on the Washington Post website. “I recognize I am powerless…”

Now it’s time to go catch up on all the back Jeopardy! episodes I have on DVR.

See you later.


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I have started using the WordPress app, which displays comments in a different way, so I have missed many of your comments and failed to respond. I am sorry, and am going back through several months of posts now.

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A little message of hope.

It’s summer.

Summer is hard… hard as winter is for some of my friends. The long, long days bear down and the blocks of sunshine crush me.

Work and school have carried  me through thus far, but work is ending this week and I just handed in the final project for one of my classes. (I have the final exam for the other one on Thursday.)

The world does not seem to be going to hell in a handbasket; it’s already there. Ripping sobbing children away from the arms of their parents sounds like something from Ceaușescu’s Romania, not the “home of the brave and the land of the free.”

Australia and Canada both had histories of tearing native children away from their homes and having them be fostered in white families. They came to see the error of their ways — I had thought we were beyond that.

And so on… life is getting worse for the people who can least afford it. And in a coversation with a family member yesterday, I learned that other family members were boycotting Disney because “they have gay days and things like that.” I can’t figure out if I am more sad (not suprised, given the family members involved) or furious.

And I can’t help feeling like I spent twenty-five years of my life in a job, only to be downsized. Or turfed out due to mandatory retirement.

And then, today.

Killing time between when I dropped Railfan off for his exam and when I had to drop off my project (we go to different schools) I saw the trees. I saw the crape myrtles: white and pale lavender, the very first crape myrtles blossoms of the year.

These were early.  Crape myrtles usually don’t start blooming until the end of July. They’re late summer blossoms, signalling with hope the changing of the seasons. I love them because they are beautiful, all lacy gentility, but I also love them because they whisper to me.

Their message?

“Hold on…. Hold on…. Hold on…. Change is coming.”

Maybe I should listen to them more closely.

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Not here.

I’ve not been here much, lately. That’s because work and school are keeping me busy. Also, working for an elections office where we are strongly encouraged to keep our politics to ourselves becomes easier when I am not sitting mentally writing my next post about why Judge Aaron Persky should not be recalled.

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