Jesus. Politics is just out of control. I’ve not really been reading the papers–just sort of skimming. Other than the occasional NY Times article. 

But it seems abundantly clear that we are doomed. I’m not sure America ever really did have a high point, given our violent and racist origins. But we are definitely in the middle of a fuckstorm of idiocy. Too much crazy shit to get your mind around really. Anti-Vaxxers continue to kill people and stress our sub-par medical systems. GOP continues to refuse to help anyone but the rich. And do all they can to keep people of color from voting.  Democrat progressives and moderates can’t seem to find enough common ground to pass any legislation in spite of having both houses of Congress and the Presidency. 

Anyway…….I’ve no energy left on this topic. Just easier to accept that we are fucked and see where it all comes down in the next decade or two. 

First week in Worcester last week and back again this week. Gig is off to a good start. Even though I have no reason to be concerned about my ability to do my work, I never take it lightly. Not for a second. So I was ready and got my shit tight and we are off and running. This will likely be a 2-year gig. A lot of work to do and the hospital staffs are stressed from 18 months of COVID. So it will be a slow burn–just need to keep everyone moving along the right path until we get there. So far the people I am working with are keen and seem a mature management group. That makes a huge difference.

I met a couple of scab nurses at dinner one night. They had just finished a 12-hour shift at St. Vincent’s. One from FL and one from CA–flown in to cover for the nurses here who are on strike. With a general nursing shortage around the country, it must be costing a pretty penny to bring in traveling nurses from all over the damn place. Whatever happened to solidarity? I didn’t want to be too nosy, but was pretty curious why they decided to cross the picket line rather than stand with their brothers and sisters. Money I suppose. 

We were sitting at the bar and our server was terrible. That was our bonding moment. We kept flagging down servers walking by because the bartender was ignoring us. The food was below average. House wines sucked. Besides the service, food quality, and drinks, it’s a not a bad place.

I tend to listen to the talking dickheads at one cable network or another in the morning while getting ready for work. This morning, I noticed a flood of commercials, funded proudly by pharma, encouraging people to call their senators and congresspersons to tell them not to support Biden’s plan to allow Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate better drug prices. And people are probably just dumb enough to do it–they will call and ask their senators and Congresspersons to not make drugs more affordable.

One of the democratic senators opposed to the plan is Arizona’s Krysten Sinema. She accepted $750,000 in campaign donations from Pharma companies and now just can’t muster the moral courage to do the right thing. The WHO ranks the US health care system as 37th in the world. This in spite of our spending considerably more than anyone else on the planet.

Moderna gladly accepted $2.5B from the government to develop their vaccine, but now are refusing the government’s request to provide vaccinations to developing countries at cost.

Pharma companies are really the worst. Shameless. Absolutely shameless. Fucking pirates. I hate them. Not the people that work there, but the executives that lobby congress to retain their license to steal from the poor and disenfranchised and take every opportunity to exploit their positions for maximum shareholder gain.

I’ve done some consulting work for J&J and Baxter and GSK over the years. I enjoyed the nice hotels and extravagant expense allotments. So my hands are not completely clean. 

My life seems fine. I am blessed to have good work. A great family. Mostly healthy. A smart and beautiful woman to hang out with. But all around me I see the sadness and suffering of people less fortunate. And our political system at best ignores them and at worst contributes to their hardships. 

Systemic and oppressive (and deadly) institutionally reinforced racism by our police and governmental institutions. 1 in 7 children in America live in poverty (70% of them children of color). Meanwhile our ultra-rich have vastly increased their wealth the last 20 years. Sabotaging our own efforts to combat COVID. Our cities are full of homeless and mentally incapacitated and we look the other way. We simply ignore them. Our education system favors the rich and punishes the poor–ensuring poverty remains a cyclical sentence of hardship. We kill around 20,000 of each other every year with guns and adamantly defend our right to do so. Every decade or so we invade and bomb the fuck out of a 3rd world country to flex our biceps a bit. Our criminal justice system is fatally flawed and ensures the poor get screwed and the rich get away with theft and murder. 

And of course we are staring down the barrel of a global climate disaster that will fundamentally alter the existence of millions of species including our own. And we’re doing fuck-all about it.

People say, rightfully, that we are politically divided. But the last time we had any real unity in the country was just after 9/11.  George Bush had a 70%+ approval rating–not because he did anything smart or heroic or impressive as a leader. But just because people were emotional. So we took that unity resulting from 3,000 deaths and killed 100X that many by illegally invading two countries. We killed, maimed, disrupted, displaced and tortured and poured $10T or so down the drain, only to see those two countries return to pretty much the same state they’ve been in for hundreds of years. 

The UN estimated that over 100,000 innocent civilians were killed in Afghanistan over the last decade or so. A great many of those by US drones–including 10 innocent bystanders just a few weeks ago. Some asshole from a 1,000 miles away looking at a tv screen decided to hit a button and bomb and kill 10 people including 7 children. Proud to be an American.

So probably best if we don’t have unity again anytime soon. We seem to do less damage to others at least when we are divided. America is like a large stupid blind giant wandering around the world, unable to contain its anger and clubbing anyone it wants. We are good at destruction, but always lose more than we gain in our arrogant and heavy-handed invasions (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan).

I thought we were done with politics? Politics is inseparable from the human condition, so sorta hard to live and not at least acknowledge it once in a while. 

Brittany and I spent the weekend at Black Dog Ridge. Very relaxing time as always. We went to town and visited our favorite dogs. Alex, the dashing silver schnauzer at the antique store and Harper, the gangly young Irish Setter at the bookstore. Of course we both bought books. Who can visit a bookstore without buying something? Certainly not me. 

I bought Colson Whitehead’s new book ‘Harlem Shuffle’ and Brit bought a kids book for her niece

Mom is hosting a Dutch oven cook-off in October so we did a test run on a chicken pot-pie. It was good. Damn good. I will make a few tweaks to that and Brittany is working on a dessert recipe. We will be contenders in what is sure to be a tough field of seasoned cooks. 

Brittany indulged her pyromaniac habit by tending to the fire, and of course, made s’mores. Always s’mores. And they were great on a beautiful late summer evening. 

Sunday morning I met Kenny the builder who will be tackling our remodel and expansion. I trust him. He has the vibe of a good professional and I’ve seen some pictures of his work. I’m slightly obsessed with getting that work done. I want BDR to be the place it deserves to be. 

Brittany and I went to a wedding of one of her colleagues and it was nice. A beautiful event. We had some drinks and  dinner and met some cool folks. Afterwards we went to Alibi for some fancy drinks and then a drunken Uber ride home.

Allen and I got out for a 200 mile ride around Hocking Hills on a very beautiful Saturday a couple of weekends ago. Allen charted a lovely course of curvy and hilly back roads. We ended in Somerset and met Brit for a late lunch. I’m trying to organize another outing with a few more people on the 16th.

It felt good to put the BMW through paces. We pushed a little. It felt good moving the big machine side-to-side and leaning down into the turns. I didn’t scrape a peg but wasn’t far off. We were responsible but ran hard enough to remember the old days when we thought our bodies were indestructible and took every turn like we were auditioning for a Marlon Brando movie. A nice day. There are some beautiful parts of Ohio and we are about to enter the season of color. Pre-October as the Morbid girls would say. 

Why do we sleep in the bed, but on the couch?

Humbly submitted.

No other news of note. 

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