1. Douchebags who litter. Driving through the historic summer tourist trap of North East, Maryland I was following a SUV towing a jet ski who eventually turned into one of the local marinas. There’s nothing unusual about that this time of year. Also not unusual, because people are mostly awful, was the fact that the passenger kept throwing cigarette butts and trash out the window. I assume, because of the jet ski, that these people enjoy being outside and on the water… which is about 50 yards away from where the last butt fell. That’s the head scratcher, for me. Where exactly to asshats like this think their ash and trash is going to end up the next time it rains? Then again, that question implies that they’re the kind of people who bother thinking at all and that’s probably a poor assumption on my part.
2. Online marketing. I brought home my newest pup over a month ago. While I appreciate the mission of the several dozen rescue organizations I looked at prior to that, I don’t now need to see the animals that are currently available… every time I log in to a social media account. It feels like the algorithms should take into account that the average person, regardless of how much they’d like to, is not going to adopt ALL the animals. Rest assured when the time comes I will seek these organizations out… but just now you’re wasting their marketing dollars by targeting me.
3. Panic as management strategy. I assume there’s a time and a place for panic. I’m not entirely clear what that time or place would be on an average day, though. Losing your head and making shit decisions as a result doesn’t feel like a best management practice. Especially when there are stacks and stacks of paperwork that tell you how to respond to almost any conceivable situation. I haven’t read them all… but I’ve read enough of them to know that flailing your arms and calling all hands to the pumps isn’t usually featured prominently as a how to recommendation.
Well, it’s been nice pretending that I have all the time in the world to dink around the yard, troll every junk shop in three counties, and put my feet up to read whatever happened to strike my fancy. However, due to the completely unreasonable need to generate income in order to continue to provide food, shelter, and medical care for myself and my four-legged dependents, time is about to return to its usual status as my most precious commodity. Maybe that means I appreciate it more, but it’s a theory I’d be perfectly happy to put to the test as early as practicable.
I’ll be back at it tomorrow, making the devil’s bargain of time for money. I know I needed the down time, but I’m equally sure that whatever restive effects I’ve earned will be reduced to near zero sometime before the clock strikes noon tomorrow. It’s about as unavoidable as the rising sun. At least that first roll of the eyes won’t arrive as a shock. I know it’s coming.
Until then, I’ll make the most of the peace and quiet and enjoy one last afternoon unfilled with total asshattery. If there’s anything that long stretches of free time teaches me it’s that I can’t value those highly enough.
Most people feel awkward telling truth to Power. It’s uncomfortable. It may make you unpopular. Like bitter medicine, the recipient will likely not enjoy the experience. Power will either blame or resent the messenger.
However, what you need to know about telling truth to Power is that every now and then you get to see Power’s face contort into the worlds most perfect scowl… And that moment makes all of Power’s bitter, condescending asshattery almost feel worthwhile even if just in the moment.
Some people just naturally lean towards accommodation and giving people the benefit of the doubt. I’m not one of those people. If you fail to follow instructions or otherwise don’t get to do something because you couldn’t be bothered to get after it the first dozen times you were told what needed to be done and the date by which it needed to be accomplished, I tend to have no sympathy. The higher up on Olympus you sit or the more important you think you are are all factors that garner even less sympathy.
Alas, I’m told I have to play nice and contort myself into all manner of painful positions to be accommodating… at least to some people. The number of people who think the date when something is no longer available or the words “sold out” don’t apply to them is simply staggering. Collectively getting people past the idea that they are some kind of special case would, in my opinion, go a long way towards correcting the general asshattery with which anyone with half a brain or a quart of common sense has to deal with on a daily basis.
1. Protocol. Apparently over the last week we’ve had royalty in America. The reason I know this is because on several occasions, I ran across articles written to advise my countrymen on the proper manner of bowing before the future English sovereign and his future queen. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Brits – their television, their sense of humor, and yes, even their quaint old fashioned notions of nobility… but here in the States, we’re citizens rather than subjects. On points of procedure for when it’s appropriate for an American to bow to the future monarchs of a foreign power, even one with whom we have a long and special relationship, the correct answer is simply “it isn’t.” We’re Americans. We don’t dip our colors and we don’t bow to royalty (or anyone else for that matter).
2. Sweats. In conversation many months ago a friend was shocked when I mentioned something about not having worn sweat pants since some time in the George H. W. Bush administration. She was shocked – possibly appalled – at my lack of concern for issues of comfort. In an effort to show that I do occasionally try something new, I picked up a pair recently and was duly impressed by their level of comfort compared to my usual Wrangler jeans. I supposed the biggest problem is I’m not exactly the type to go through the day just lounging about. Generally I’m doing something even if never leaving the confines of historic Rental Casa de Jeff. My real problem was what the hell you’re supposed to do with all the ephemera that usually ends up in my pockets – a pen knife, my phone, keys, etc. Sure, they were plenty comfortable, but I found myself trying to reach into pockets that weren’t there for objects that over the course of the day ended up scattered all over the house. As far as I’m concerned that level of inconvenience is too high a price to pay for a stretchier pair of pants.
3. The 113th Congress. The honorable members of the House of Representatives once again are spending the dying hours of a continuing resolution haggling over what amounts to peanuts in terms of the federal budgetary process. While no one is seriously talking about another shut down at midnight tonight it’s a possibility at the outside if they can’t find their way clear to passing a CR to cover the next few days while they rehash the omnibus spending bill before them. That they finish this way sums up the totality of this Congress nicely – even unto the end they’re collectively incapable of exercising one of the very few responsibilities entrusted to them in the letter of the Constitution. How very typical. Asshats, one and all.
1. Purpose. I don’t think everyone needs to go around all day every day at 1000 miles an hour with their hair on fire, but I do think we would all be better served if people would at least drive with a sense of purpose; as if getting from their point of departure to their destination was actually important to them in some way. Instead, what I find most every afternoon is a mass of people wandering the highways and byways as if they haven’t a clue where they are, how they got there, or what they’re supposed to be doing. Even if we can all agree to move with purpose between the hours of 4:30 and 7:00 PM, I truly believe the world would be a better and more harmonious place.
2. Flashing Lights. While I’m on the topic of roads and transportation, this might be a good opportunity to give everyone a refresher on flashing traffic lights at an intersection and what they mean to you. Red, almost universally means stop yes, even when it’s flashing. Unless Mr. Williams taught me the wrong skills lo those many years ago in drivers ed, yellow flashers hanging above the intersection mean proceed with caution. It should be noted here that it is not an alternative method of telling drivers to stop. Sitting in your car at a flashing yellow light yelling at me while I’m sitting at a flashing red makes you look like an asshat or maybe more like an ignorant skank. Possibly both.
3. Doubt. I like to ponder. Having the time to sit and think has always been important to me. Unfortunately I also have a tendency to spend an inordinate amount of time dwelling on slights both real and imagined. I’ve been afflicted with that particular problem since I was a kid. Although I’ve learned plenty of coping skills to keep those rough edges from showing too much, I still feel it acutely. I hate how even a momentary doubt can seep in and color every other thought and decision for days on end. I hate that I sometimes take counsel of my fears despite all my best efforts to the contrary. It’s without question the one element of my personality that I’d most like to change.
1. The occasional bout of insomnia. I usually sleep like a brick, but twice this week I had the opportunity to see 1AM, 2AM, 3AM and then the final alarm at 5AM. Much as I’d like to think I can get by on two hours of sleep a night, you’re safe in assuming that I can’t. It might be ok when it’s a one off, but when it happens back to back, by the second day I’m worse than useless. If there’s a redeeming quality it’s that I generally sleep well the following night. It’s still a hell of a price to pay for a good night’s sleep.
2. Runaways (and the people who let them). Speaking as a dog owner, sometimes they just get way from you. I got it. Once Maggie squeezed through the 1/4 open back window of the truck and bounced off the pavement at a gas station somewhere along the interstate in middle Tennessee. Fortunately, she didn’t make a dash for it. That’s the only time either one of these fuzzballs was ever really in danger of getting away. As it turns out the black lab who made himself in my yard last night belongs to a family two streets over. The lady who lives across the street saw him in the yard after I left this morning and returned him. She said that was the 5th time this summer. I’m not sure why you’d bother to have a dog if you’re not interested enough in them to make sure they don’t wander off in the first place. It seems the first or second time they were returned by someone else these people might get the message. One more example of why I like dogs more than people. It’s a pity such a good looking and sweet pup gets to spend his life with asshats.
3. Motivation. I’m not sure where it went this week – probably the same place my ability to sleep has disappeared to, but wherever it is, it needs to make its way back. I’ve got the proverbial laundry list of things I want to do this weekend and not so much as the first drop of will to get them accomplished. As much fun as a good weekend on the couch sounds, not having anything to show for it will just piss me off come Sunday night.
A quarter mile from house I stopped this afternoon to help a guy pull two dogs off his collie. I could tell just rolling up on it that his pup was getting worked over and he either had the good sense or lacked the stones to do more than yell and flail his arms like a eight year old girl. Of course my critique of him isn’t the point.
I saw one of those two loose dogs yesterday afternoon running the neighborhood. What I didn’t see yesterday was the foot of broken cord on her collar, telling me that she wasn’t just a dump and run, but she is probably from somewhere relatively local. Fortunately, she was docile and let me chase her off without putting up a fight. The male was more aggressive. He had the collie pinned and tried turning on me as soon as I got my hands on his collar. Now I didn’t have any intention of getting bit myself and God knows I wasn’t going to let go, but I’m not proud of saying I rang his bell with a size twelve Doc Marten under the chin. Wild as he was, I still feel bad about that. At least it stunned him long enough to reconsider his options. He backed off and let the guy to retrieve his dog.
It was obvious from the look of them that they belong to someone. They weren’t thin, but from the look of things, the female of the pair had a litter waiting for her somewhere. She was bold enough to come over for a nuzzle, but wouldn’t let me get close enough to wrangle her before running off. I hope these two find their way home sooner rather than later. I don’t really know what else is to be done, but I’ll give animal control a call tomorrow during business hours so maybe they’ll stand a chance of getting picked up rather than flattened.
With all that said, I think everyone reading this knows I’m as big an animal lover as you’re likely to find. I love furry critters far more than I love people. I don’t blame them for being loose or aggressive. I blame the owner – the asshat who obviously left at least one strong 50-pound dog tied out at the end of a piece of cheap paracord. I hope those two find their way home even if that’s to people who don’t deserve them, because if they make it to this side of the hill and try to tangle up with either of the two that live here, I won’t be anywhere near as dainty as the guy with the collie.
1. Elections. So apparently the good people of Crimea can throw off their Ukrainian overlords, declare themselves sovereign, and promptly ask to be consumed by Russia all within ten business days. It makes one wonder why it takes us 20 months to gear up for a fairly straightforward presidential election in this country. Then again, I suppose it’s simpler when the whole thing is orchestrated in advance and the outcomes are always a foregone conclusion. Of course this whole discussion is pre-supposing that our own elections aren’t orchestrated in advance and the outcomes aren’t foregone conclusions. Food for thought.
2. Cash. Paper money still has it’s place. I think those who herald the death of the dollar bill are a bit premature in that regard. With that said, one of the places where no one has any business waving around paper money is at a toll booth during the peak rush of the afternoon commute. Pony up the couple of extra beans a year, get over your paranoia about tracking your car, and get with the ezpass program. No one needs to deal with your dumb ass dropping your $20 out the window and then being too close to the booth to open your door to retrieve it while they’re trying to get home. The only thing it says about you is that you are an unredeemable asshat.
3. Redaction. A moment ago this space was filled with a third point that was a scorcher. I was poured to overflowing with the kind of snark you’ve come to expect from jeffreytharp.com. Then, sadly, I highlighted every word and punched the delete key. Redacted. Because someone was probably going to get their little feelings hurt and end up being more of a enormous joy-suck then they are already. Some day I will have the chance to say everything that’s on my mind… and when that day comes, woe betide the poor feckless fool who tries to stand between me and saying my piece.
If there’s are recurring threads to this blog, one of them must certainly be my ever increasing disdain, annoyance, and hatred of Comcast. Last year, I argued, cajoled, and bullied my bill for internet and television down to a svelte $97.04. That bought me 80 channels, “performance” internet, and HBO – the one splurge that’s non-negotiable (at least until HBO figures out a way to let people subscribe to them as a service instead of as a cable add-on). When I opened my bill this morning and found the price jumped to $124.09, well, let’s just say that they’ve given me one more reason to be less than impressed with their service.
Sure, business costs increase. Got it. Understood. Yet somehow, I don’t think the cost of delivering television and internet here to scenic Rental Casa de Jeff increased 25% year-over-year. Cutting the cable seems like a more and more realistic option for me every time they dish out such asshattery. Of course I’d still be saddled with a business relationship with Comcast because they have a monopoly on high speed out here in the wilderness. They suck, but sadly are the least bad of a host of truly god awful alternatives.
We can land a goddamned man on the goddamned moon, but can’t seem to come up with a way to watch Game of Thrones and surf the interwebs for less than a C-note a month. Maybe when the Chinese take over they’ll figure this mess out for us.