Mixed signals…

I grew up in a part of Maryland where it’s possible to stand in one spot and see well into both Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Inter-state rivalries were common and a “mixed” relationship could easily mean one part of a couple was a WVU fan and one cheered for UMD. Most people are (reasonably) good natured about it.

Confederate_Rebel_FlagWhile I was home, though, I saw something I couldn’t bring myself to reconcile – Flying side by side from someone’s shed were the West Virginia state flag and the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia (or what the internet is determined to call the “Confederate Flag”).

I don’t mind state pride (even though this individual was flying the WV flag over the sovereign soil of the great state of Maryland). Flying the battle flag doesn’t bother me (even thought, again, we happened to be standing in a part of the country that was never even tangentially represented by that flag). What annoyed me to no end, of course, was that the West Virginia flag and any flag representing forces of the Confederate Flag_of_West_VirginiaStates of America are, historically speaking, mutually exclusive. They’re so mutually exclusive that the entire state of West Virginia was created in order to make that fact absolutely clear to everyone who may have been confused.

The voice in my head who just wants everyone to have some semblance of logic supporting what they do urged me in the strongest possible way to pull over just to ask the guy in the driveway what, exactly, was the point he thought he was making. The other part of my brain, the one given over to self preservation and not wanting to get my ass kicked by a redneck yokel told me to just keep moving… so I did… but I’m dying to know what kind of tortured logic is banging around that guy’s head.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. LED lights. Apparently the previous owner of my house had a stash of incandescent bulbs. I wish I’d have known that before we closed so I could have asked him to throw them in with the sale. Now those “leftover” bulbs are failing at the rate of about one a week and I’m trying to replace them with LED bulbs as much as possible. The projected energy savings is a nice perk, but I’m really a fan of the idea that it could be 10 years or more before I need to replace the bulb again. It should be an easy enough process; go to store, buy appropriate wattage replacement, install as needed. It should be, but it’s not. There’s apparently no such thing as a “60-watt bulb” anymore. Now you’ve got bizarrely small wattages, concerns about the right “color temperature,” lights that change color all together, bulbs with built in speakers, and remote controls. Great. That’s lovely, but honest to God all I want to do is go out and buy a basic light that will sit there and look like the old GE 60-watt incandescent that we’ve used since humanity got around to “capturing” electricity… and I’d like to not pay $14.97 for the privilege.

2. “Banning” the Dukes of Hazzard. Look gang, I don’t like the fact that some pansy executive decided to take a 40 year old televisions show out of rotation because the way a car was decorated might offend some viewer’s sensibilities. That being said, it was a business decision. No one “banned” the Duke boys. You can’t blame this one on POTUS, the government, or anything other than a TV network trying to avoid having people send them a raft full of letters and calling them damned dirty racists. Not a decision I’d have made if I were the TV Land Vice President for Commercial Programming, but you’ve got to stop running around saying something was “banned” when it wasn’t. It makes you sound like a moron.

3. Shark attacks. It may come as a surprise to many people, but sharks (for the most part) live in the ocean. They can often be found feeding in the same shallow areas along the surf line where people tend to congregate in the summer months. If you decide to jump in to the shark’s natural environment understand that you are assuming a risk wherein you are no longer the apex predator. The natural advantages we humans have on land don’t lend themselves to the water. Life is all about assuming (and trying to mitigate) risk in everything that you do. It’s a game of chance and percentages. Even in North Carolina the chance that you the individual swimmer are going to become the main course are awfully slim when you consider just how many people are in the water with you. I haven’t run the numbers, but I’d bet that the drive to get to the beach is far more likely to end in a fatality. Just something to think about as the media get themselves up in arms about sharks just doing what they do.