Saturday, May 28, 2022

Our greatest public health crisis is the angry young American male

Of course gun control works. It worked in the 40's, when the guns were at war. It worked in the fifties, when gun responsibility was taught and enforced--by parents, no less. The same in the sixties and seventies and eighties, before video games. How riled can you become at pinball? But then society began shifting. The NRA emerged, the country began dividing, children were not taught to respect boundaries. Hate increased. 9/11 happened. The country became more intolerant. Now we need real gun control, like the Brady Bill, the Clinton ban on automatic weapons. The Right and the NRA won't have it, for all the reasons mentioned. And so children and loved ones die, and I see no end.

I wrote this paragraph last night, on Marty Damon's blog, Welcome Words. Grasping straws and hoping some leader would step up and solve the problem. Wanting, like all of us, that currently impossible solution, gun control. Today I read a New York Post column, which is the title of today's blog. The author is Maureen Callahan.

We are continuing to create, she says, more than 20 years after Columbine, young male mass shooters who target schoolchildren. Only in America are we cultivating young men hellbent on killing our children.  "’s probably only another week before another random mass shooting, another round of national outrage and sadness, another collective shrug of hopelessness."

The profile is young, male, angry. Online threats made openly, not on the dark web. Obsessed with guns, violence and first person shooter video games. He is a lone wolf no more, not since the internet. "Now any disaffected young man can become, with anonymous encouragement and advice, a killing machine."

Boys and young men, whose frontal cortex is not mature until age 25 plug into online groups and share grewsome fantasies to rape, kill or commit mass shootings.

After 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security began tracking online chatter to disrupt planned terror attacks, as did the FBI, which began proactively working up profiles of future terrorists. Why can’t the same be done here?

These young men are visible long before they are old enough or strong enough to carry out a mass killing. Teachers see them every day, bullied, friendless, badly broken homes, no support, little parental guidance.

Before the shout of violation of personal rights goes up, why not monitor these on-line conversations and in the end keep the young man under surveillance. If he leaves home armed to the teeth, intercept him at the school, the movie theater, the church, the supermarket. 

This is a blogger note. I believe the first two paragraphs may have a white or yellow or grey background. I believe it's because I used copy and paste.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Don't mess with my peanut butter and other sad stories

I eat the same thing for lunch every day. For real, day in and day out, unless I'm out to lunch. I have half an apple, quartered, smothered in peanut butter. Specifically, Jiff crunchy peanut butter. My grocery of choice does not carry standard Jiff, only small jars of organic, natural. Too expensive for me.

My brother-in-law very kindly picks up a two pack of Jiff for me whenever I ask. Their grocery chain carries the real deal, in the several pound two pack. I can barely lift it.

I needed to open one of the new jars, and hefted to pack from the shelf, cut the plastic binder and then bethought the current Jiff recall I'm reading about. I googled the problem and found my two jars of Jiff were in the dragnet. The news item said throw them out, but that's something over ten dollars. I'd prefer my money returned.

Tom would be in the neighborhood and pick up the jars for return. And I would go to Kreigers and buy one of those tiny organic jars to tide me over. Which I did. The peanut butter aisle had a gaping shortage of peanut butter. There was no Jiff, merely empty rows of shelves. I settled for Skippy, which I do not care for, with its inch of peanut oil on top of the jar. I do hate that!

Please J.M. Smucker, fix your manufacturing problem quickly. Before I'm even an inch down the Skippy jar. I will gladly throw that peanut butter away.

My new car is a new-to-me 2014 Suburu Forester. I have yet to master radio stations and cruise control. Tuning the radio turns out to be not my problem. Every time I got to 90.3 on the FM dial, all I heard was classical music. In desperation I asked my oldest daughter what the heck was going on. Her text:

NPR used to be 90.3, but the Classical station that forever ago was 95.5 before selling that to the Christians is there now. WCLV sold 95.5 and moved to 104.9. Now WCVL swapped with WCPN and moved to 90.3, the old WCPN. To sum up, NPR is on 89.7 Kent (closest) and 104.9 (hinterlands).

All those CVL's stand for Cleveland, which is 45 minutes north of me, and carried a mix of NPR programming I enjoyed. Kent is WKSU, a small town east, in Portage County, with a decent university, but I always felt the NPR station was staffed by college students. WCPN is a commercial station playing classical music. I had far more interest in programming from Cleveland, a town with a world class university, Case Western Reserve, than a farming town with a decent university. 104.9 is River Radio out of central Ohio. That is south of route 30, where the state turns red.

There will not be a test. I barely followed that. This was not a recall, but a lack adequate funding, I am sure. I cannot find any article on the demise of Cleveland's NPR.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Slammed again

In the olden days, when I did a show almost every weekend, I made sure to get a flu shot the end of summer. Now that I have a show coming up on June 4th, I decided to have another covid booster.

It is so easy now. I guess there are more jabs out there than people to have them. I registered and made an appointment online. My arm knew it was stuck; all day it hurt to lift. By bedtime I was dragging. I spent an uncomfortable night. Mizerable! 

At 6:30 I gave it up, got up, stripped my bed and put it all in the laundry. Now I have clean sheets and my summer quilt.

Of all the quilts Jan has made for me, this is my favorite. It was a challenge quilt in her guild. All the participants made a block for one other participant. Jan's theme was summer gardens. There is lots of sunshine today, too, making rainbows on my floor.

That's the end of my news. There's plenty more news, all of it generated by off the ledge idiots who buy into "replacement" theory. There aren't enough adjectives to classify them. Malevolent, misanthrope, narcissist, and on and on. Haters. This is not a foreordained country of white people. Native Americans were here first, and the entire country was settled by immigrants from every country and continent.

My last name, Noragon, is derived from an unpronounceable name of one Hessian soldier sent by King George to fight the Revolutionary War. He had the good sense not to go home. His country of origin was that despised bit of land, Bohemia. Bohunks, they commonly are called. 

I think often of Ruth Bader Ginsburg these days. How she strived to stay alive, to be a voice of reason on the Supreme Court. Each one of us has the ability to help make change. All of us is a nonstoppable force. Here is a quote from this week's Americans of Conscience. I know I could not have put all the words together as effectively.

We have a vote and the ability to influence those around us who can vote.  We have values and stories.  We are connected through relationships. We already know that equality, dignity, and care are important in public life. We don’t need anyone’s permission to speak openly about what we want for the future of the country, our communities, our families, and ourselves. 

The vote is our sole solution to righting the out of control ship. It won't happen overnight; there are many dark days ahead. It may be a teaspoon at a time, but there are millions and millions of us wielding our voting teaspoon.

Time for a nap.

Monday, May 16, 2022

As ready as I'll ever be

Today I put the yellow towels on the shelf. Just over two weeks to the first show and I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

Fourteen colors on the shelf, and I'll probably have one more set done before the show. Next up is khaki.

I've been busy with rehab beginning these last couple of weeks, too. I absolutely must do it. Two months on my back at age 79 was very debilitating. Too bad balance and strength are so slow to return.

In happier news, I've bought a new to me car. My faithful Dodge has succumbed to so many winters outside in the snow and ice. It's rocker panels are rusting away. Shame, because it's still a decent car.

But, it sprang another surprise on me; it has a serious power steering fluid leak. Probably also fairly fixable, but it's time for me to start over. 

The new to me car is a 2014 Subaru. I told it I would take care of it and it must take care of me, for the rest of my driving days. I think we'll be just fine.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Heavy eating and planting

I slept off several hours of yesterday and today. Earlier this week I bit the bullet and stepped on my scale. Down to 105. I know what my dad meant when he said he ate to live. After that awful head injury, food means nothing to me, either, though I did manage to keep my weight at 110 or a little more. Since I came back from breaking the other leg though, I haven't got the weight back up.

Yesterday I decided to just eat my way through, and started with a local restaurant's lasagna, delivered to my door. The side salad was as big as my head, and wonderful. I made it through half the lasagna, and put away the rest for tonight. And I dozed on an off until bedtime.

Today I enlisted my granddaughter, now the garden fairy, and set about the mandevilla project. I've already been weeding the front gardens a bit, so she and I set off after lunch to collect up the necessaries. 

We have red, pink and white, and a salmon colored that isn't a true mandevilla, though it looks very much the same. It took us only about three hours of her hard work and my feeble assistance. I came back in the house and took another nap. She's out with friends. 

Here's a mandevilla at another house. Ours could be that lovely by summer's end.

Monday, May 9, 2022

The silent generation

Those of us born before World War II ended were called War Babies, and fell into Nixon's "Silent Generation". I believe he used the definition. We were rather vocal in the sixties and seventies, to end a war, to celebrate women's' rights achievements, to celebrate civil right achievements. We felt we had achieved and were moving forward.

Not including Justice Breyer, who retires in July, I am older than any member of the Supreme Court. Last night I wrote an outraged blog about the need to fight again, and wondering how to go up against such blatant ignorance as Justice Alito, writing a majority opinion, equating women as not people and claiming babies for an adoption pool.

And then I realized I'd had an enjoyable Mother's Day, leave the blog for today.  Tonight I deleted that post and tried again. And again, the heck with it. There's no fixing the problem except at the ballot box and in a sufficient majority to make all rights the law of the land. Right now the focus must be on registering voters and getting them to the polls.

Do what you can. If you find yourself out of ideas, join Americans of Conscience for a weekly checklist of actions needed in the run up to the midterm elections. 

It's hard for me to believe another week has begun. Better yet, daytime temps will be high seventies, low eighties this week, and lots of sunshine. I have some garden tools rounded up, to work on the flower gardens around the house. There will be mandevillas, too, but not yet. I don't trust the overnight temps to be proper.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

And then they came for us

If indeed the leaked Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade comes to pass, it will only be the beginning of the loss of autonomy. The next legitimacy to be erased will be same sex marriage. After that, or maybe before, the few freedoms secured by transgender persons.

I cannot believe I would live to fight again for my right to make choices for myself.

I want to believe the draft was leaked by a clerk who hoped the roar of outrage would change or withdraw the proposed ruling to overturn.

What to do right now? Write your Senator that the filibuster must be ended at once. Then the Senate, which represents the 80% of the people who support Roe v. Wade can take up stalled legislation to protect the right to abortion and pass it with a 50% vote.

Next, we must maintain President Biden's majority Congress at our mid term elections in November. No "get out the vote" effort has been this important in a long time. tRump's appointees to the court  lied when they said Roe v. Wade was settled law. Gay rights are fresh fruit to go after.

March. Make a great deal of noise. Write letters. Explain to new voters the importance of the protection of their own rights and how fragile that protection is becoming. It is their personal responsibility to secure rights they have taken for granted.

The calendar says spring here, but it's occurring so slowly. The flowers are slogging on through their appointed blooms. I had my first therapy session today. Lord, am I tired!