Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Desensitized

As we deal with yet another mass shooting incident here in the US, the question arises again: have we become desensitized to these shootings? Sadly, I think so. They're so frequent that when another one happens, there's the initial outrage, thoughts and prayers, and then it's back to business as usual. The ever-changing news cycle just moves on to the next big thing. Remember when Ukraine was the big news? That's old news now. Yes, we still see coverage of the war, but not like we used to. The media moved on to the next big story: abortion and the Supreme Court, Buffalo, and now Uvalde. It's sad that people can't do their grocery shopping or send their kids to school without worrying that they'll be shot. The violence is out of control in our country.

I have mixed feelings about gun legislation. I grew up in a household with guns. (My father is from the South.) I do think legislation needs to be put in place to allow for responsible gun ownership, but I also know that many felons don't get their guns the legal way, so any legislation wouldn't impact those folks. As I grow older, I've been thinking more and more about getting a gun myself for protection, but the one question I haven't answered is whether I think I could actually kill someone. If it got to the point where I had to pull a gun on someone and the situation was kill or be killed, could I actually pull the trigger and do it? And I won't be a gun owner until I'm able to answer that question with a definitive "yes." Also, if I did get a gun, I'd make sure I took some lessons to learn how to use it properly. I'm not going to "wing it" with something like that. I'd want and need instruction in how to properly operate a firearm.

Some people are crazy and the sad thing is you might not know when that crazy person turns that craziness on you until it's too late. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Where's My Mail???

I'm purposely avoiding blogging about the evilness going on around the country with shootings and everything else right now. Instead, I'm using this post to complain about the US postal system. Ugh.

I have problems getting my mail for two reasons:

1. The mail carrier puts my mail into my neighbor's box (his name is David and mine is Davis, so I guess there's confusion). In any case, if this happens, I have a slim chance of actually getting my mail back because my neighbor is a few cans short of a six-pack. Seriously, there's something wrong with him and I keep my distance from him. On on the one occasion that he got my mail and actually returned it, it was left in the lobby, out of the envelope it came in, so everyone could see how much I owed for a doctor's visit. Thanks, Crazy Neighbor!

2. The main reason I think I don't get mail is not my neighbor, but the US postal system. They just have a lot of shady folks for them these days. Sorry, but it's true. I get a preview of my mail before it's delivered and I was supposed to get my 2023 license tab yesterday. Did I get it? No. I also didn't get some mail from Verizon that was expected. I got mail yesterday, but neither of these two items arrived. I believe they were stolen and someone out there has my 2023 license plate tab and whatever Verizon sent to me. Once, my bank sent a new ATM card to me and the envelope had been opened and it was in my mailbox opened. The only reason it wasn't stolen, I suspect, because it wasn't a Visa/Mastercard ATM card. It was just an old-school ATM card and without the PIN, it wasn't worth stealing, so the postal employee/thief left it. 

I've also had credit card statements not arrive and other things. It's never junk mail that doesn't come. It's always important mail that doesn't seem to make it to my mailbox. I don't even get much mail anymore because of the problems I've had. Most of my statements are sent to me via email, but I do still get some things in the mail, like my license tab. Next year, I'll go directly to the Secretary of State and get my tab renewed. I went today to get a replacement tab since my 2023 one was, apparently, stolen. 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Escape from Alabama

I've been reading about the Alabama prison guard and inmate who are on the run together. This situation is ripe for a made-for-TV movie. I kept reading that the inmate looks like Jon Hamm and he does! He looks like Jon Hamm's estranged brother or Jon Hamm if he wasn't rich and famous but broke and working as a mechanic in some small town. Ah, Alabama. The gift that keeps giving. 

I have a love-hate relationship with Alabama. My father is from there and I have been a frequent visitor to the state all my life. I have also largely enjoyed my time in Alabama. I enjoyed visits to my grandparents' farm when I was a kid and I enjoy going to see my father and other family now as an adult. I'll be there next month for a visit. However, Alabama politically is a nightmare. It's MAGA country. Ugh. I know I'll probably end up moving there if I have to care for my father and stepmother at some point, but I dread the thought of actually living there. I remember being at a fast food restaurant with my father in Alabama and Fox News was playing on the TV screens throughout the restaurant. Uh again. There are things I dislike about my current state (Illinois) also, but at least I don't have to worry about seeing Hannity or Tucker on the  multiple TV screens when I go to get a hamburger from Wendy's or something in the Chicago area where I live. 

Friday, April 29, 2022

No Winners Here

Oy vey, what a week! Is it me or is there an extra level of crazy in the air? Allow me to discuss some of the media hot topics this week.

1. Elon Musk/Twitter Deal: People are losing it over Elon Musk buying Twitter. Someone I worked with asked me about this deal and I told him what I'll tell you: I don't have a dog in this fight. I don't use Twitter. I had an account for 3 days back in 2010 and quickly shut that down. Every time I've thought about creating an account again, I've managed to convince myself that it's not a good idea. Now with Musk taking over, I'm even more convinced that rejoining Twitter won't ever happen for me. Musk checks a lot of suspect boxes on my list: billionaire, odd behavior, white South African, discriminatory behavior at his company, etc. Nah, bruh, I'm good.

2. Johnny Depp/Amber Heard Court Case: I have not been keeping up with the defamation suits between Johnny and Amber, but I have read what's been going on in court. What's up with Johnny's pseudo-British accent? People keep noting that he's from Kentucky. Granted, he hasn't lived there in a long time, but still. British? Is he playing Captain Jack on the stand? He and Amber's marriage sounds like it was a hot mess. Team no one (and that's a shame because I liked Johnny Depp back in the day).

3. James Corden: So Corden is packing it in next year and taking it back to the UK. Don't let the door hit ya on the way out, bloke! This guy is insufferable. I have no idea how he acquired the fan base that he did. Everything about him makes me cringe. He's fake, he's not funny, he's annoying. Even his Weight Watchers commercials bother me, especially the one when he's in the grocery store and the woman who asks about signing up is thin and doesn't need to lose weight! If you're going to have people in a commercial who want to lose weight, then at least show people who are actually overweight! And Corden doesn't look like he's lost any. He's like Oprah as a spokesperson for WW: not convincing. Sorry, not sorry!



Saturday, April 23, 2022

Bad Numbers

Like many folks, I read about the fall of Netflix subscribers and how their revenue projections fell short due to this. I can't say I'm surprised. Every few months, I flirt with dropping Netflix. For every entertaining Bad Vegan/Tinder Swindler/Squid Game series there are 10 other series on Netflix that I wouldn't watch if you paid me. (Bridgerton, anyone? I know I'm in the minority here, but ugh. Sorry...not sorry.) Part of the problem with Netflix is that they threw too much money at people like Ryan Murphy who didn't produce hits. Say what you will about Shonda Rhimes, but she reels in a big audience for her shows. And, when you look at the numbers, she brought more viewers to Netflix for the shows she produced than Ryan Murphy did and she was paid a lot less than he was by the company. But, given the difficulties Netflix is facing now, I doubt anyone will see the kind of deals Murphy and Rhimes got anymore. Those days are over! 

My main issue with Netflix isn't the cost. I only pay for streaming on one device and I feel it's reasonable. My problem is with the content. So much of the stuff they actually produce is just awful. I'm sorry, but it is. Bad movies, series that are stretched to 5 episodes when 3 would have sufficed, and general garbage that should be on a free streaming service rather than on Netflix, that you're paying for. I read Netflix is considering adding advertising to its streaming service. That would probably be the nail in the coffin for me. One of the things that's great about Netflix is the fact that there aren't any commercials to watch. I pay for the privilege of not having to sit through commercials. If I want to see commercials, I'll watch a free streaming service like Tubi or Pluto. And, speaking of free streaming services, my Roku died this week. It just stopped connecting to my WiFi for no reason so I went out and got an Amazon Fire stick. So far, so good with that. I just got it today. I hope it doesn't die on me like the Roku service did after a year. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Speed Trap!

I got a letter in the mail from the City of Chicago's Department of Finance informing me that my car had been clocked going over the speed limit on Western Ave in Chicago last month. The letter provided a link so I could see the video of my car so I logged on to check it out. There I was, speeding away past a Honda dealership. I moved around a slower car, hit the gas, and the speed trap camera got me! Thankfully, since I don't have any other traffic violations, I was just given a warning and not a ticket. However, if it happens again, I'll be ticketed. If I had been ticketed, I wouldn't have even fought it. I was guilty and I would have paid my fine and moved on. Hey, if I messed up, I own up to it. When I moved to Illinois, my sister warned me that Western Avenue is the 7 Mile of Chicago. (Detroiters will understand what this means.) Big sis was right! Western Avenue is the devil, but I should have slowed down. I'll do better the next time I'm on that street.

The letter from the city put a cap on the end of a horrible week. Pretty much every day this week, something happened that pissed me off. People were coming for me at work, I was humiliated by my boss's boss, and then I got this lousy speed trap letter in the mail. Is there a cloud hanging over my head right now? Possibly. Actually, the speed trap letter was probably one of the better things that happened to me this week since I didn't get a ticket. Maybe things are looking up! I certainly hope so. 

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Instant Hotel

I've been watching Instant Hotel on Netflix and I've been enjoying it. I just started the second season today. Watching Australians compete for best Airbnb is entertaining. As someone who will probably never get to see Australia in person (because I can't take that flight), I enjoy seeing the different cities shown on the show. There's the usual reality show foolishness with mean competitors and backstabbing, but at least there's an actual competition going on around all of that and you get to see what kind of accommodations are offered in different Australian locations. The first part of the first season featured a "fussy" gay couple who, to me, were Datalounge posters personified. Hilarious, but so judgmental and bitchy about almost everything. They make for good TV.  

In the second season, I had to shake my head at a married couple where the husband is about 30 years older than his wife. He's in his 70s and she's in her 40s. She caters to this guy and waits on him like a nursemaid. She serves him breakfast in bed, she prepares his meals, she does everything for him. (And it's not like he's disabled or too elderly to do these things himself.) Watching them reminded me of a time I was at a McDonald's one time during a road trip either to or from Michigan. I watched this old guy sit down at a table and wait for his wife to bring their food from the counter. When the wife came, the husband sat there and waited for her to wipe the table down and put his food in front of him before he ate. Why couldn't he have wiped the table down himself while his wife was at the counter getting the food? Because, apparently, that's her job, not his. Whatever, folks. Your marriage, your rules, I guess.