Dear Democrats

You whiney cry babies. How many of you voted? How many of you DID NOT vote? Because if you did not vote, you have YOURSELF to blame. Yes, you, you lazy-ass, do-nothing whiner.

Piss and moan all you want, but inaction made the difference in this election. Couldn’t be bothered to take a few minutes to register to vote? Or maybe you registered but couldn’t be bothered enough to take a few minutes out of your oh-so-hectic schedule to vote? Really?

I inconvenienced myself for, oh, maybe 15 minutes on Election Day. Could have spent a half-hour in line voting early at the Board of Elections. Point is, I went to all that trouble to make myself heard where it counts. Facebook doesn’t count. Bumper stickers don’t count. Votes count.

How about you?

Chances are the ones I want to reach with this shame will never see this because you’re far too busy doing whatever you waste your time with.

Point lost on the pointless.

Well, what government we get we deserve.

Thanks a lot.

Ass hole.

Control + Alt + Delete

PC users know that control + alt + delete is the universal command to restart your computer. And now my life needs a restart.

Time to reboot. Control + Alt + Delete.

This has been a long time coming. After years of struggling, we’ve come to the point that we have to start over. A series of setbacks, mistakes and a bit of bad luck have brought me to this point.

My house is a perfect metaphor for my life: It’s slowly falling apart and in a few months, the house will be gone. I don’t expect my life to be “gone,” but it will soon be radically altered. Goodbye house, goodbye marriage. Hello, bankruptcy.

This didn’t happen overnight, and rebuilding a life doesn’t happen overnight. But it happens nonetheless.

After a pretty good run as an editor for Knight Ridder newspapers, things went south. Newspaper circulation and ad revenues declined dramatically in the 2000s, and many media outlets (not just newspapers — TV and radio too) were forced to make radical staffing cuts. And guess who found himself on the chopping block? That happened after Knight Ridder ceased to exist, the result of combined revenue loss, competition from Internet sites, and unrealistic profit demands from institutional stock holders. Really, maintain a 20 percent profit margin in 2006? McClatchy acquired Knight Ridder, then sold off the less “desirable” papers in the chain. So in the course of a couple of months, the Akron Beacon Journal changed hands twice. Enter the new owner, who saw the books and realized he’d paid too much. And you know what that means: Chop, chop, chop.

And so I bounced from assignment to assignment, with some occasional gaps in between, picking up anything I could find in a mostly crappy economy. Our finances suffered, saving was wiped out, and the marriage suffered. There’s plenty of blame to go around for that, but my wife was accustomed to a certain level of comfort — not extravagant, but solidly middle-class — and that existence evaporated. Poof! Gone. She blamed me for that.

It finally reached the point that she said, “I can’t do this anymore.” Can’t argue much with that. Quite simply, we have grown apart over the last few years. We don’t have fun together; we don’t do much of anything together except squabble.

So, control + alt + delete.

Then a funny thing happened recently: Saw an opening for a copy editing job in Elyria, not too far up the road. Yesterday was my first day on the job (Talk about burying the lead!). And at one moment last night, I thought to myself, “I am among my people.”

The reboot is happening.

 

About that ebola thing

I’ve had a lot of fun jesting about the ebola virus mass hysteria ever since somebody came down with the frightening disease in the United States. I joked that I got ebola from pumpkin spice latte, and probably a half-dozen other suspicious parties. Until today. Suddenly the contagious disease has a local connection or two. And people are frightened.

Public Enemy No. 1

Public Enemy No. 1

So a healthcare worker who had contact with the ebola patient who died in Dallas  visited family this week in Tallmadge, Ohio (an Akron ‘burb), including some who work at Kent State University. She was diagnosed with ebola after she returned to Dallas via a plane that flew out of Cleveland. The CDC says she had no symptoms while on that flight or  while visiting in NE Ohio. BUT, given the CDC’s recent performance in dealing with the ebola scare, it has a bit of a credibility problem. Was she really asymptomatic, does ebola really only transmit via bodily fluids, is it only contagious after symptoms begin to show?

Suddenly folks in Akron and Tallmadge and Kent State and anyone at Cleveland Hopkins Airport are worried about being exposed to this super-scary virus.

OK, to sum up:

One person has died from ebola in the United States. Thousands have reportedly died in continental Africa during the recent outbreak and it is not showing signs of slowing down. The CDC says the virus is only contagious via direct exposure to bodily fluids of an infected patient and that the U.S. healthcare system is vastly better prepared to contain any outbreak than the Third World is.

BUT (You saw this coming, right?):

What if the ebola virus mutates? What if we don’t really know all there is to know about this bug? I mean, ebola is a relatively new phenomenon, unlike smallpox or chickenpox or measles or the flu or the common cold. Or even AIDS. Many of these viruses can be transmitted through the air or surface contact. And many of these can be transmitted before any symptoms begin to show.

This is direct from the CDC website:

“A person with chickenpox can spread the disease from 1 to 2 days before they get the rash until all their chickenpox blisters have formed scabs.”

So what happens if ebola mutates to the point that it is transmissible 1 to 2 days before symptoms begin to show? What if it can be transmitted via a sneeze or a doorknob?

Well, then we might have cause for mass hysteria.

Those of us around in the mid-1980s and early ’90s remember the AIDS scare. At that time getting HIV/AIDS was a guaranteed death sentence. People feared it was transmissible through mosquito bites (it’s not) or kissing or simply shaking hands (not and not). Medical research improved after a few years, drugs to combat the virus became more effective and prevention of the spread of the disease got better. But in the meantime, a lot of people died. I lost several friends.

It’s still pretty early in this saga to suggest this is the next bubonic plague or one of the flu epidemics that killed millions of people in past outbreaks.

And as many pundits have correctly pointed out, thousands of people die each year from the flu and car accidents, cancer, heart disease and so forth. Yet these deadly afflictions don’t trigger mass panic.

A year from now, this could turn out to be meh, whatever.

Oh, and I just learned I got ebola from a squirrel in my yard. Little bastard!

 

Almost prime-time fall colors

Today’s colors weren’t quite the grandiose colors I’d hoped for, but you could find colors in the smaller picture. Behold:

Purty in yeller

Purty in yeller

I heard this repeated plink! plink! plink! in the woods. It was acorns trying to assassinate me. Vicious bastards missed me every time

I heard this repeated plink! plink! plink! in the woods. It was acorns trying to assassinate me. Vicious bastards missed me every time.

 

These apparently albino pumpkins have been left in the field. Seems kind of cruel.

These apparently albino pumpkins have been left in the field. Seems kind of cruel.

These bugs seem to be hogging the wilkweed, which I'm told is a mainstay for monarch butterflies. I'm fairly sure this is milkweed, but I could be wrong. Any botanists out there?

These bugs seem to be hogging the wilkweed, which I’m told is a mainstay for monarch butterflies. I’m fairly sure this is milkweed, but I could be wrong. Any botanists out there?

fern amid fallen leaves

Now

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about

hawk 2

little daisies

little purple flowers

Everybody do the Locomotion

Everybody do the Locomotion

milkweed

mirror pond

poilpoe flowers

poilpoe flowers

Poilple Majesty

Poilple Majesty

red berries detail

 

red leaves with flower

red tree

Smashing pumpkins

Smashing pumpkins

white flower detail

Whi

White wispies

More white wispies

More white wispies

Just look up

Just look up

 

 

Green Eggs and … uh, no ham

So I had the eggs and the food coloring. But the ham was not to be found in the pantry or the fridge. So we’ll make do with taters. Which, it turns out, do just fine, thankyouverymuch. With all due apologies to Dr. Seuss …

Green Egg Batch

I know, it looks pretty disgusting. But give it time …

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. Or something like that

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. Or something like that

Hmmmm

Hmmmm

And now for the pretentious presentation, featuring sloppily drizzled ketchup

And now for the pretentious presentation, featuring sloppily drizzled ketchup

... and a suggested serving for leftovers. Or, why I can't come in to work today. Ewwwww

… and a suggested serving for leftovers. Or, why I can’t come in to work today. Ewwwww

Meanwhile, an eaves-dropping (literally, it dropped from the eaves) spider spied on my culinary misadventures …

Spider sense is tingling!

Spider sense is tingling!