What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Listening to US news outlets talk about UK elections. This past Monday Boris Johnson was elected leader of the Conservative Party. He was not, as every cable news program I watched was want to tell me, elected the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Now in every likelihood as the newly installed leader of the majority, he will become the next PM, but that won’t happen until he’s formally invited by Her Majesty to form a government in the Queen’s name. Pedantic? Yes. A technicality? Yes. But details matter when your stated aim is to inform the public about the news of the day… or at least they should.

2. The common cold. It’s the 13th day of dealing with the immediate or after effects of having my latest round of summer crud. I’m fortunate that whatever bug it is usually only catches up with me every couple of years. Even so, I’m left to wonder how the hell, fifty years after we landed men on the moon, we don’t have a better curative for the common cold than rest and drink plenty of water. If I’m paying $15 for ten days worth of decongestants and $9 for cough syrup, it feels like someone could reasonably charge five times as much for a product that actually made you feel better… although at this point, I’d cheerfully pay ten times as much.

3. Hydration. This bit is really a corollary to this week’s second annoyance, but one that feels like it deserves it’s own space. Since “drink plenty of fluids” is part of the generically accepted treatment for the common cold, I’ve been doing my best to follow that guidance. I’ve been drinking easily two or three times my usual daily amount of water (and substituting with something like Gatorade when one more glass of water sounds like the most disgusting and repulsive idea ever). The problem is that drinking plenty of fluids is only the input. For every extra ounce of liquid taken onboard, there is a corresponding increase in the amount of “output” once the body has processed it… which creates a need to get up two or three times through the night to take a damned leak. My position is that the guidance to drink lots of fluids directly contravenes the commonly accompanying requirement to get plenty of rest. Doing the former guarantees that I will not be able to do the latter.

The difficult right…

The obvious direction to take tonight’s post is towards a memorial for Baroness Thatcher. The trouble with having a job and not being able to update the blog in real time, of course, is that the major outlets are already doing a fine job of lionizing the only Prime Minister other than Churchill that Americans know by name. Lady ThatcherI’m not sure that I can add much in the way of new information or even original thought. Still, marking the passing of one of the 20th century’s great statesmen only seems fitting.

​For those of us of a certain age, the world we’ve inhabited all our lives was largely shaped by the Cold War trinity of Thatcher, Reagan, and John Paul II. ​Even though she’d been out of the public eye for more than a decade, with Lady Thatcher’s death this morning the one last living thread connecting us to our much younger selves is severed. Through the benefit of 30-years worth of hindsight, it seems she was on the leading edge of a political movement that got a lot more right than they got wrong. In a career that spanned some truly tumultuous times, that’s as much a mark as anyone could hope to leave.

Long after anyone reading this has made their own final exit from the world’s stage, it will be left to the historians to judge the merits, unencumbered by personal memories of their subjects. The historian in me has a lingering suspicion that our successors will be far kinder to them as a group than their contemporaries have been.

Godspeed, Lady Thatcher. The world is a safer and more free because you chose to stand on principle and do the difficult right rather than ​following the path of ​the easy wrong.