What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. I left the house a little later than usual. Where the street I live on dumps out into the local county road parents and their SUVs were stacked up like cord wood. There they sat, engines running, more or less blocking the road, and making sure their little princelings had enough heat while they waited for the school bus. It was just below freezing, not exactly polar explorer weather. Basically a decent coat and a good pair of socks would have been enough to make it tolerable for a few minutes. I can’t help but remember my own childhood where if you didn’t walk to school you at least walked to the bus stop – and that’s back at a time and place where temperatures below freezing weren’t cause for any particular alarm, being part and parcel as they are of the winter weather season. These kids have never been allowed to run through the woods throwing rocks at each other and it shows.

2. ISIS brides. The last few weeks have been thick with reports of women and girls who ran off from western civilization for the fun and adventure of becoming ISIS brides. Now, with the dream of an Islamic caliphate collapsing around their ears, they come out of the woodwork claiming to have learned the error of their ways. Here they come crawling “home” after years of providing aid and comfort to the enemy. I’m not a scholar of international law nor does my heart bleed for their reaping the results of traitorous decisions. They wanted the wonder of life in the belly of the beast, the best thing that we can do now is let them have it.

3. Fentanyl. I keep seeing news stories wherein a drug ring has been busted in possession of enough  Fentanyl to kill 375,000,000 people. Look, I know we can’t really aerosolize the stuff and indiscriminately launch it from a mortar tube, but maybe we hold back on making these arrests for a hot second. I mean, look, people are basically awful so with enough of this floating around in the underground economy it seems to me the problem with those who habitually associate with a culture of heavy drug use could significantly reduce the demand side of the market by simply dropping dead. If a subset of the population is committed to continuing  to inject a substance they know full well may kill them more or less instantly, I don’t feel any moral force compelling me to intervene between them and and their apparent desired end state. I’d rather spend a much reduced budget on saving the small minority whose exposure to fentanyl or other high powered narcotics is accidental or that happens in the line of duty. Don’t tell me I never see the bright side, damnit.

To whom much is given…

Because of talent in some particular field, some people are set above all others. It happens in all walks of life: politics, sports, academics, and yes, especially in the entertainment industry. Maybe it’s crass to say this, but I have a hard time finding sympathy for those who achieve these heights and then actively try to undo their success through bad behavior, drug abuse, and general hard living. While I can be empathetic to family and friends who have lost someone, I can’t get on board with efforts to lionize that person by choosing to ignore the decisions that lead them inexorably towards untimely death. Ultimately, we all live and die by the decisions we make. I’m less sympathetic when a so-called celebrity falls to their own bad decisions than I am for the tweekers on any street in West Baltimore. They, at least, didn’t have much of a choice to begin with.

So yeah, while the news channels are screaming that this is a big deal, all I’ve managed to see is a someone who was given the world and decided to throw it all away. Maybe it is a situation worthy of our collective sympathy, but I’m just not feeling it.

Coming home to roost…

Any time you make assumptions, you run the risk of having them not play out as you expected. It’s something akin to writing a check based on the hope of having future income. If, for some reason, your income flow stops, those checks are going to bounce and when that happens often enough, your creditors are going to come looking. If you’re exceptionally lucky, your creditors aren’t men like Sammy Gravano or John Gotti and you’ll still go home at night with your kneecaps and phalanges attached.

Over the last few months, we’ve been trying to sell a bill of goods. More particularly, our leaders at pay-grades above reality have been writing checks on our account and the bills are about to come due. We’re told to prepare to defend a pie-in-the-sky promise that was made for us by higher authorities. It might not be a show-stopper, but it is going to make the rest of this week a royal pain in the ass.