Saturday, September 23, 2023

There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics


The full quote — “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics” — has been attributed to Mark Twain, who himself attributed it to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who might never have said it in the first place.  In 2020's America, this phrase takes on even more meaning with the misinformation circulating in "conservative" information bubbles.  False information is being spread by certain "Newscasters" in order to keep pliable masses supporting people who don't give a damn about their welfare.

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Recently, I watched a YouTube video by Steve Shives featuring a political candidate who spoke the GOP's "quiet parts out loud."   Sadly, this fictional candidate's speech is too close to the truth for comfort.  For example, I was once "defriended" by a transgender woman who stated that New York's abortion law protected abortions up to and including the 9th month of pregnancy. There is a certain ignorance and suspension of reality in such a belief.  If a woman carries a fetus into the 9th month of pregnancy, she likely wants the baby to be born.  If there is an abortion, it is likely to be to save the life of the mother.  The same type of misinformation was said when the GOP bashed Obamacare - most people kept doing to their doctors of choice, and it reduced costs for the states that expanded Medicaid. Worst of all was our 45th president claiming that "secret evidence" proved that he won the election. People died in the January 6th 2021 assault on the Capitol building because of this man's lies, and yet, he still walks free.

The "Religious Right" has lost many of the cultural battles it has fought recently, and they are now focusing on Transgender people as convenient targets.  How does it hurt people to amend birth certificates when Gender Corrective Surgery is performed?  Yet, in some states, this change is banned, leaving many transgender people in a state of legal limbo.  What about transgender medical care, preventing TG youth from having an incorrect puberty?  Does this hurt the larger society?  Even going to the restroom can be a problem, as many states have passed "Bathroom Bills" which restrict people to use only those restrooms associated with the gender people were associated with at birth.  Being transgender, I can't risk seeing friends in Texas because of laws like this.

We must be on the alert when false information is being spread about us.  Even if we are in stealth mode, we must always speak out against the lies spread by our enemies.  Although it is a small segment of America which is out to attack us, it holds disproportionate influence over one of our two major political parties.  We can't let that one party win while radicals hold control of that party, as it is an existential threat to us.

Truth doesn't always win out.  People who believe in the truth must fight lies whenever their seed reaches fertile ground.  Take on the fight, and fight hard - our lives depend on it!



Friday, September 22, 2023

Swedish death cleaning - American Style


Have you ever looked at a messy apartment and congratulated yourself for getting rid of a lot of the clutter? That's how I felt yesterday after a closet clean out session.  In addition to rationalizing what I'm keeping in the closet, I have given it greater organization for future storage.  

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Some of the things I found in the closet were tools needed for painting and for bathroom tile work. Although I will likely hire out most of the future work of this ilk, it pays for me to keep some of these tools around - just in case.  Next, I found 12 bottles of distilled spirits, all of which I intend to give away over time.  The bottles are properly sealed, and will likely have retained their alcohol content after 30 years. Then, I found enough clothing to fill 2 large donation bags - which went to the donation center today. What I found most interesting is the amount of makeup supplies that I've been keeping in reserve for future use. I never realized how much stuff I bought planning to use, and then stored away as my makeup needs changed.

I will soon need to clean out my storage compartment, so that I can make room for things I don't need in this apartment on a regular basis.  For example, I want to rotating out-of-season clothing between the apartment and the storage apartment, so that the apartment (and its closets) doesn't feel cramped anymore.  Part of this cleanup will be the disposal of a 600+ Vinyl LP collection  I don't play these albums anymore, and I want to see them go where someone might enjoy them.

In both the apartment and the storage compartment, I have some cut glass decanters which have never been used.  I know that 2 of these decanters in the apartment were wedding presents, but I'm not sure of the others that are in the storage compartment.  There will be a tinge of sadness when I get rid of these items, as I will be feeling sad for hopes that died with my wife.  The decanters are among many items I have which provide connections to my late wife, and going through all the clutter has stirred up both memories and feelings.  The more "valuable" things were when my wife was alive, the more feelings I will need to deal with as I dispose of those things.

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Given where things are now, I'm starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.  There's a part of me that wonders what my late wife would be doing had I been the one to pass away.  But I'll never have answers to those questions.  All I can do is move forward, so that I have a place that I can be proud to have guests in again.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Cleaning out a closet - not much to say about today.


I'm not much of a believer in the principles of Feng Shui.  But I agree with this post, that having a messy apartment, as well as messy closets are bad for someone's health.  Excessive clutter reflects problems that a person has and must be dealt with.  Today, RQS and I attacked the closet in my hallway.

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RQS has been at my place from Friday to Wednesday, and on two of those days, it was too hot to do anything outside.  So, after a mild amount of prodding, I shifted our cleanup focus from making the bedroom neater to attacking the mess in the closet.  By the time we were done, we had 4 large bags to be donated to charity, as well as some garbage bags for the dumpster.

By the time we were done with the closet, it was too late to go out.  (This would have been a day spent as Marian if we had gone out.  But I digress.)  There wasn't much to do, now that Labor day festivities ended.  So we stayed in our jammies and watched a couple of movies and some old reruns. 

Although RQS has to go home to take care of some things, she'll be back this weekend.  Hopefully, we'll again find some inexpensive lobster to boil, and we can have another feast while the crustaceans are in season.  Until then, I'll get back to paying my bills and doing laundry, so that RQS can feel comfortable when she returns.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

How can I get rid of bulky items?


After a decade of forced retirement, I've decided to replace much of the furniture in my apartment.  For example, my sofa is worn out and will be replaced soon.  I have three chests in the bedroom that I plan to replace with two new ones sometime in the next couple of years, and I will likely replace the entertainment center, coffee table and end tables in the living room as well. 

But to do this, I must figure out how to get rid of the bulky furniture.  I have several options for getting rid of the sofa, and none of them are that great, as they will cost me money.  The coffee and end tables can be taken apart for disposal.  Even the chests in the bedroom can be slid down the stairs and "walked" to the dumpster area for bulk pick up.  But the entertainment center poses a problem.  It weighs 450 pounds when empty. and it took 3 people to get it into my apartment.  I will need help getting it out of the apartment, and will likely need to pay a good price to remove it.

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With the above being said, there is another headache I have to deal with - annoying salespeople.  For the most part, I've found people working at furniture stores as of late to be too close to used car salesmen for comfort. All of them tend to hover around, not giving the customer enough breathing room to examine the merchandise in peace.  If you give them ANY information, they will being up the various financing terms, as well as how good their delivery process is.  But, not all of them know their product well, as was the case of one sales person we met about a month ago.  

On a hot day in July, we decided to cross the river and look at some furniture.  Entering the store, we met a fellow from the Indian subcontinent who proceeded to follow us around the store, wherever we wanted to browse.  Shortly after we mentioned what we were looking for, but after a few minutes of browsing, he tried to find an opening to sell us a mattress.  (I need a new one too, but I'm planning on going to Saatva for one designed for fat people like me. But I digress.)  When we sat on an expensive leather covered sofa, he extolled the virtues of the sofa and its construction, not knowing that we knew of another sofa made by the same people with the same frame.  He stated that this was the only one of its kind, not knowing that we knew otherwise.  He was very insistent in trying to make a sale that day, but I brushed him off.  But this wasn't the end of him.

About a week later, I got a call from the salesman.  He sounded upset that I didn't call him back to finalize a sale.  Luckily, the answering machine took the call.  In a later conversation with RQS, I stated why he wasn't going to get the sale.  First, all my credit cards are in Mario's name and I met this man in Marian mode.  But, more important, was the fact that he didn't know his merchandise well enough. We had met a second salesman, this time with me in Mario mode, and he knew his stuff.  This is the person who will get the sale when I'm ready to drop the hammer.  Again, I digress.  This morning, the first salesman woke us up, hoping that we'd answer the land line to set a date for another appointment to close the deal.  Obviously, this won't happen anytime soon....

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The question remains...

How will I end up getting rid of the old sofa?

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

A Trump supporter posted a reply on Mario's Facebook page.


The other day, I posted an image similar to this with the phrase:

Lock him up!
Lock him up!
Lock him up!

And she responded, replying that Biden should be the one locked up.  Regardless of how one feels about Trump and Biden, I am disgusted by both parties' inability to discipline troublesome members when they break the law. I was one who said that Bill Clinton should have been impeached for committing perjury in regard to having sex with Monica Lewinsky.  I was also in favor of going after Bush #43 for unwarranted searches (actually, unwarranted, secret wiretaps) after 9/11.  Yet, I would have given him a hall pass on that if Congress had given him an express OK.  So when the GOP refused to discipline Trump, I was appalled.

Being a member of the LGBT community, I feel at risk by the laws being passed in our most conservative states.  The radical right would rather us not exist, and wants to deny us the medical treatment we need when it is called for, as well as denying us our basic civil rights.  Trump gave the radical right a hall pass to pass laws that would disenfranchise us in exchange for them looking the other way while he cut deals with unsavory characters and with foreign powers.  

The radical right wants to use our existence as if it were a waving red cape at a bull in a bullfight.  To preserve their power, the right's leaders are making us their focus of hatred.  Considering that my acquaintance likely uses Fox "News" as her only news source, I can't help but believe that a reasonably sane person can be corrupted by a steady diet of misinformation that reinforces her existing beliefs.  

I don't believe that our current president is guilty of a crime.  However, I do believe that the son is guilty of a crime for which he had a plea bargain deal, and should have been allowed to cop the plea.  Instead, we will have a trial where justice is not served.  The verdict passed on the son may (or may not) be just, and the trial will be used by the political right to smear our president.  So I closed out the conversational thread by saying that if there is evidence, the father should be tainted.  But if not, the political right should stop stirring up the base with falsehoods.

It saddens me that we no longer have the "fairness doctrine" to preserve objectivity in news reporting.  If this were in effect today, we wouldn't have a nation as polarized as we are now.

Monday, September 18, 2023

A day trip to Albany


The above picture of the Albany, NY Government Mall is a good example of why cellphone cameras will never completely replace the traditional camera - the compromises in lenses used in cellphones tend to result in image distortion that cannot be corrected.   

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Today, RQS and I decided to take a drive to Albany to visit the New York State Museum for a change of pace.  She had heard that some Berenice Abbott pictures were on display, and this was the perfect day to drive North and see them.  So, we started the day with a filling breakfast, and started our trip North. The drive was uneventful, save for my GI Tract issues.  (I won't go into any detail here, save that it delayed our arrival at the museum.)  Even at 80+ mph (people tend to have lead feet on the NYS Thruway), it felt like a leisurely drive.

Arriving at 3:30, we had 90 minutes to explore the museum, and we focused on the modern history of the state.  Of course, there was the now permanent exhibit for 9/11.  But we focused on finding the Abbott pictures - and were underwhelmed when we finally saw them.  Too few were on display to have made this trip worth it for the pictures alone.  Yet, the trip was worth it for the permanent exhibitions which included the contents of a Chinatown store, a barber shop, an early 20th century school room, and more.  Unfortunately, we missed going to the Carousel on the 4th floor, as it shuts down an hour before closing.

All too soon, we had to leave the museum for home   Next time, we'll get there a bit earlier, so that we could have a longer visit and see the whole museum.

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One thing of note: The museum had an exhibit of olden wedding dresses.  If I were to get married again, I want to be the one wearing the dress this time....

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Shopping as entertainment


One thing that many males complain about is the female style of shopping.  Males usually have a good idea of what they shop for, and go directly to what they want in a store, pick it out, bring it to the checkout counter, and leave the store shortly after they arrive.  Contrast this with the female way of shopping.  Most females will enter the store and browse.  Although they know what they want to find, they look at all the available offerings to see if there is something special that may have been overlooked, and then get to the products they wanted to look at.  It doesn't matter whether the woman buys the product or not, as it is the search that seems to count.

Although the above may be an exaggeration of how the two genders tend to approach things, the approaches may relate to our history as a hunter/gatherer species.  Given how males process visual input for moving things, it makes sense for males to focus on a specific target, hunt for it, and then "bag it" to being home to the family.  Females focus more on stationary visual input and the other senses, and this may have given them an advantage when gathering food.  The slight differences in color, smell and taste may make a big difference when gathering food, as being able to interpret the subtle differences in fruits and plants may be the difference in whether one eats poison or nutritious food.

When I started going out as a female, I retained a male way of shopping.  I knew what I wanted to buy, and didn't want to waste any time in doing so.  Now that I'm retired, my style has changed a little - especially in clothes shopping.  I'll browse through catalogs, as well as clothing racks to see if there is something that interests me, and buy things if I find them interesting enough and needed enough.  Shopping is more fun now, as I can openly enjoy using the products of my searches - especially when I'm browsing through a candy store, like the one above.

Can you imagine what I'd be like if I were a Size 18 again?

RQS went home, and I got keys made - a quick post

  One of the problems with going about as a female is that almost everything one carries around during a typical day is carried in a handbag...