Sicker Than Fiction, and the Stop and Gawk Effect

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Although I have recently expressed my disdain of TV news, even I can be reeled in by gratuitous displays of the macabre. Especially at 5:45 AM. Though details are sketchy, the scuttlebutt has it that several vehicles ran over this poor woman’s corpse before cops could stop traffic and retrieve what remained of the remains.  What I’m wondering, is how does a dead body end up in the middle of the Interstate at 5AM?  Was it foul play or perhaps a more grandiose version of the phenomenon where socks, shoes, clothing and furniture mysteriously end up on the side of the road?  Who (excepting toddlers and possibly teenage boys) just randomly tosses a shoe out on the freeway?

one shoe

The appearance of a dead body in the middle of I-71 is far more unusual than the normal trucker bombs, occasional shoe, or piece of furniture commonly observed on the berm. I am sure there are a plethora of details yet to be unearthed from this rather grisly occurrence right here in beautiful central Ohio.

I am also sure that commuters coming into Columbus on I-71 northbound were not terribly happy about being rerouted around the outer belt.  That could add 20 miles to some commutes depending on where you’re coming from,  your knowledge of the city, (there are ways much shorter than official detours) and where you need to end up.  I used to be a parts driver years ago.  I know the short cuts, back ways and plenty of alternate routes to get just about anywhere in the greater central Ohio area.  I had to learn them long before the days of GPS, though I will say GPS can make back road traveling more interesting.  Just a week ago Saturday I discovered a nice little back road route to get from Lancaster to Reynoldsburg without having to go all the way to I-270 and then having to head back east again.

I-270

One thing that is universal about metro areas is the stop and gawk effect.  Whenever there’s an accident in the road it seems as if everyone has to slow down and stop and gawk at it.  As much as I really get pissed when other people do it I find myself doing the same thing, only worse, because I’m the weirdo trying to assess the damage to the cars.

moose-car-accident-2

That Grand Am was totaled.

There’s a sort of karmic justice in this one though.  This is just another reason to avoid those regions too far north for human habitation.

On a more serious note I have to wonder why it seems so compelling to observe the misfortune of others.  What is the allure of human pathos- ranging from scandal to physical damage to death itself?

I’m also wondering, though I’m not surprised, why there is such a lack of compassion and public outcry for the murder of Christopher Lane from the self-appointed “leaders”- Al Sharpton and Obama most conspicuously- in the black community.  Jesse Jackson did offer some pap about “living in peace” with each other, and how he “frowned” on this incident, which was something more than nothing.  It was better than him officially condoning “killing whitey,” for whatever that’s worth.

nothing_to_see_here

Apparently the murder of an unarmed white guy by three black thugs just doesn’t carry the moral outrage of a black thug getting killed by a white guy defending himself.

When will we as a country and a culture get past the race baiting and the sensationalism attached to racial issues?

obama_illegals_undocumented_democrats

Why can’t we see past Obama’s race and impeach him for his blatant incompetence?!

Obama isn’t entirely to blame for the racial unease in this country.  He is partially a result of it- white liberals voted for a black guy to appease their own guilt over how black people were treated in the past, and he got overwhelming support from black people, many of whom wrongfully think anyone who keeps the government handouts coming and/or is black (or claims to be black) themselves is “on their side.”  Of course there was a heaping helping of voter fraud in there as well.  He may have won in 2008 somewhat honestly- but certainly NOT in 2012.

Voter-Fraud-21

So more than half the country loathes this impostor president currently squatting in the White House.   But Obama knows he can get away with anything up to and including murder (remember Benghazi…) because he can always instill the fear of race riots should “his majesty” be deposed.

If only there were racial equality in this country- then it would not be a problem impeaching and more importantly, removing the Worst President in American History.  It would have happened long ago – in fact he’d never have been elected to begin with- if he had been white.  Had Obama been (or claimed to be) white, his woeful lack of qualifications and experience would have made him unviable as a candidate.  “Not enough gravitas,” the naysayers would bleat, had Obama been or claimed to be white, but the affirmative action candidate gets a pass.

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When will this train wreck end?  And why am I compelled to stop and gawk at it?

More importantly when will we judge people on the content of their character rather than giving them a pass because of the color of their skin?  I’d really like to know.

A Minimalist Approach, Sweat Tsunami, and What Really Matters

fail

And people wonder why I don’t trust the media.

The more I read in the news, or worse, the more TV news I’m subjected to, the more I discover that most of it is not only insanely trite and boring, but also not very applicable to me.

Kilauea-Volcano

Unless that volcano is erupting in my back yard, or my bed is above that 500 foot-across sink hole, I’m inclined not to give a rat’s ass.  I really don’t need to know about it, either.

I will be so glad when the Y pool is opened back up again (this is week 2 of 2 weeks of scheduled maintenance) for two very good reasons.

scandal-abc

I hate TV news.  I’m starting to get Don Henley’s point.  Even if I am listening to my headphones, the various news networks are plastered on the TV screens in the machine room, and they’re captioned. That wouldn’t be so bad, except I am compelled to read anything in print.  (This is one of the things about hyperlexia that can really suck- that compulsion to read everything that’s in print.)  For me, visual always trumps auditory.   What I hear never drowns out what I see.

I am coming very close to hitting my personal vapidity overload threshold.  I could care less whose school is on delay, what cologne my dogs should be wearing this season, and the less I know about Obama’s vacations and Obama’s flagrant violations of the Constitution,  the more sane I can try to remain.

fundraiser

Obama is thoroughly corrupt and loathsome.  I don’t need to keep on observing the media’s attempts to make him look good.

There really isn’t much in the morning news that has any sort of relevance in my life.  Now I know why I don’t watch it voluntarily.  I know most of the normals watch TV news- which is why it’s on during the morning workout hours- but the way I’m wired there are certain things I can only take in tiny doses, such as the Kardashians, gay men who try to tell me how I should dress, and natural disasters in divers parts of the world.  I get what news I really have to have on a need to know basis, usually online.  That minimalist strategy helps me turn down the mental noise.  Why should I get my undies in a bunch over things I have no control over?

gay fashion

No self respecting straight man would be seen dressed like these two- not even on Halloween.

Even though I have my coping strategies, being on the spectrum makes it easy for me to overload and get overwhelmed and depressed, so I have to make a conscious effort to try to be somewhat careful what I load up in my head.  It either has to be practical, or at least funny.

sweaty

The other thing I sort of dislike about working out on the elliptical machine vs. swimming laps in the pool is I hate sweating and I hate being hot.  After 40 minutes on that machine,  my clothes are completely soaked and one can actually wring the sweat out of them which is absolutely disgusting.  Even though my morning workouts are always followed by a thorough, insanely soapy, and ultimately freezing cold shower, that icky sticky sweaty feeling is nasty while it lasts.  Not to mention my clothes- they go directly in the wash when I get home.

I see people wearing workout clothes for more than one day at a time and I sincerely hope that either a.) they don’t sweat like I do, or b.) they’re washing that stuff out every night.  I’m not OCD or a germophobe- at least not to extremes- but my workout clothes are absolutely unwearable after one workout until they’re washed again.

Body-Solid-Elliptical

40 minutes of exercise is 40 minutes of exercise, but it’s a lot more pleasant in the pool.  At least then all I have to wash off is the chlorine.

I am thankful to be able to have a Y membership, don’t get me wrong, but it can be frustrating when I have to shift to a different plan.  I don’t mind doing the elliptical now and then as a change of pace, but every day, and in the summer- not so much.  In the middle of winter it might not be so bloody hot.

At least I’m working out. I don’t look like the buff chick on the machine up there but at least I don’t look like this:

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The Curious American Fascination With Royalty, and Other Strange Vestigialities

Queen Elizabeth I

Is that a weasel or a ferret?

I never knew Queen Elizabeth I was enamored of weasels or ferrets, (the creature on her arm is an ermine- a polite name for a variety of weasel) but in Elizabethan times I’m sure a lone member of the Mustelidae family wouldn’t have added much to the general pestilence of the court. Bathing wasn’t terribly high on the priorities of most Elizabethans.  Royalty did bathe more often than the peasantry, who I would assume would only get a good douching in a rainstorm.  I think the royals did bathe relatively often- once a week or so- and they did have access to perfumes and soap.  I shudder to think about toileting arrangements for the masses and their livestock back then though.  No wonder all those people died from typhoid and cholera.  Not to mention the plague, which has recently been identified in a squirrel population in California.  Too bad it’s the wrong kind of squirrel population.

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These aren’t the squirrels to which I refer.

I’ve always thought it a bit strange that Americans still seem to be enamored of British royals.  Truth be told today’s royal family- the Windsors– (or should I say Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) are probably more German by ancestry than anything.  The name change to Windsor was in response to anti-German sentiment surrounding WWI.

King George V

Germans with English names.  Sort of like Steve-o, who has an English name, but has more German ancestry than the rest of the family.

Today’s royalty are more or less figureheads with no political authority, but back in the days of the American Revolution, kings (and sometimes queens) held the power of life and death for their subjects.  Yeah, that kind of power would be kind of cool, but it could also lead to all kinds of witch hunting and cronyism and the mysterious disappearance of political opposition.  Oh, the Obama administration rings a bell, at least as far as the scandal and sleaze factors go.  What’s worse about  Obama is whatever privileges he thinks he deserves were usurped via dishonest means (i.e. only natural born American citizens are eligible to hold the office of the Presidency) as well as egregious voter fraud.  I haven’t forgotten about that- and I’m not going to either.  History will prove me right in the end.

The fascination some people have with today’s royals to me is a sort of a modern-day hold out of the fairy tale myth of the all-powerful ruler.  The closest thing America has to royalty (don’t even think the Obamas, even though they think and behave as if they have royal entitlements) is the Hollywood crowd.

I think the British royals to be far less sordid than Hollywood, and far more admirable than the Obamas.  The royals (unlike most of Hollywood) even have some redeeming features, such as sponsoring legitimate charities, and serving in the military.

I don’t see the Duchess of Cambridge out there screaming about “reproductive rights” (aka: abortion advocacy) while at the same time crying crocodile tears and telling everyone that eating meat is murder. I don’t hear of the Queen telling her subjects that she could have been Trayvon Martin 30 years ago either.  I can see where she might show some affinity for Elton John, as he and the Queen share similar taste in hats, but I can’t see her claiming Trayvon.

anthony weiner

Now this guy is back in the news.  Wiener. Wiener. Wiener.

I don’t think I would vote for this guy- except to piss off Hillary Clinton.  She probably has a bigger unit than him, so she shouldn’t be too upset.  If I really want to sausage-gaze I think there are better endowed specimens than Wiener (in spite of the name) to be found online.   Then again it’s one thing if women are requesting sausage shots from our friend Mr. Wiener, and quite another if the sausage shots are being sent unsolicited.   To me it wouldn’t be nearly as perverted if the women are asking for the pics.   Then at least they’re getting what they deserved.

Now, for a guy to just randomly send a portfolio of Mr. Happy to every female for whom he has contact information, either he’s a 13 year old pulling a rather sick prank, or that’s a cry for attention.

dancing-hot-dog

Am I the only one creeped out by dancing food? Especially dancing wieners.  Wiener. Wiener. Wiener.

Wiener. Wiener. Wiener. Wiener. It’s just fun to say wiener.

I’m not a snake.  I don’t prefer to consume my prey whilst it’s still alive. I don’t want my food to dance. Especially wieners.  I want my food to remain perfectly still until I decide to move it from the plate to my mouth, unless of course I’m eating Jello.

Things That Suck #361: Weenie Commentators, and #362: Assorted Ass Pilots

Disclaimer: I like Will Ferrell.  The character he portrays in Anchorman, Ron Burgundy, is a humorous depiction of the douchebag that lives inside just about every newscaster.

It’s inevitable.  Whenever there is some kind of highly visible public tragedy there has to be at least one highly visible public figure who says something so asinine you want to bitch-slap him or her through the monitor. Usually there are several such weenie commentators, as they start repeating each other ad nauseam once one weenie commentator rears its ugly head.  I try not to watch TV news too much as I am prone to anxiety and depression. At least I can pick and choose a bit more getting my news online.

Most of the crap in the mainstream media is exactly that- “Crap” with a capital “C”-so sickeningly politically correct and skewed to reflect one particular world view that it lacks any kind of substance.  Don Henley said it back in 1985- crap is king, and we all love dirty laundry.  I don’t think even Don Henley had any idea just how stupid “journalism” would eventually become, although he was spot on as far as humanity’s flaming desire to see the carnage broadcast live and in color.

I hate to admit it, but even though I try not to have that “stop and gawk” mentality, I do too.  It’s human nature to go past an accident scene and try to determine if anyone’s injured, if it’s anyone I know, and worse yet for me, because of my automotive background, I’m actually assessing the damage to the vehicles.  Saturday I actually came upon the scene of a car/motorcycle accident.  Those seldom turn out good.  The motorcycle was in pieces, the front end of the car was pretty much hosed, and the guy that was on the motorcycle ended up motionless on the pavement.   I figured if he wasn’t dead he was probably close to it.  I’m glad I was wrong.

There is a reason why I don’t ride these things.  Note the damage to the Explorer is comparatively minimal (though that front fascia, fog light, bumper reinforcement, core support, radiator and condensor will cost you.)

I found out today that the dude involved in Saturday’s accident actually got off with relatively minor injuries, though he was life-flighted to the trauma center.  He got sent to the trauma center because he was knocked unconscious, and God only knows what kind of brain injuries and internal injuries and broken bones can happen to someone thrown off a motorcycle.  Especially if you’re not wearing a helmet.  ER staff have a name for motorcycle riders who choose not to wear helmets: organ donors.  This guy dodged a bullet so to speak, and what he does with his motorcycle riding in the future is up to him.  I wouldn’t ride one of those things but hey, if you want to, knock yourself out.

Society is not obligated to protect people from every possible stupid thing they can do.  Shit and stupidity are the two most common elements in the universe, and even the most intellectually astute among us are not going to avoid either one entirely.

One of the beautiful things about individual freedom is that you are entitled to be stupid to a degree.  No one should have to tell you the coffee is hot, that you shouldn’t smoke crack, or that riding a motorcycle without a helmet is a bad idea.  But no one should have the “right” to sue because of pouring hot coffee on themselves or because of their own negligence.  No one else should be obligated to bail others out of the consequences of their own stupidity.

Another situation that disturbs me is when a weenie commentator excuses a person’s criminal behavior based on their past experiences.  I am appalled every time that some ass pilot gets a pass for everything from armed robbery to mass murder because “he/she had a bad childhood.” So you peed your pants and your peers called you “Pissy” when you were seven, so you decided to go on a killing spree 20 years later and take out people who never knew your sorry ass from Adam’s housecat?  I have no sympathy for dumb shit like that.  Neither should anyone else.

Do you whiz your pants when you’re executed by lethal injection?

I had a shitty childhood.  I got my ass kicked every day.  I was lucky to get three hots and a cot- and didn’t always get that.  Big freaking deal.  Does that give me the right to go fire bomb the WalMart for failing to have English speaking cashiers on duty when I need to buy a jug of Pennzoil? Give me a freaking break.  No one owes me a damned thing, and what is the point of taking out my misdirected feline aggression on others?  I’m fortunate in that my cats get along well and don’t fight- but what good would one cat beating up a completely innocent cat do?

Isabel is not impressed.

It disturbs me that the media almost immediately wants to exonerate people who get caught doing the most ghastly things.  I understand in this country (and this is probably unique to the US) that a suspect is innocent (according to the law) until proven guilty.  I don’t think criminals should be tried and convicted in the media (though they often are, and often wrongly) but when someone’s caught red-handed, on camera, committing an atrocity, let’s not just start in making excuses for the alleged criminal.

I don’t want to hear about some ass pilot who molested kids but he’s “not responsible for his actions” because his Dad beat him.  Bullshit.  Yes, life cut you a bad deal.  I’m sorry to hear that.  Welcome to the club. Now get with the program, learn from history, and figure out how to be a decent human being.

I also don’t want to hear from the ass pilots who scream and cry on either side after a shooting incident that either a.) everyone who is not a convicted felon should run out and buy a gun (I am a believer in the 2nd Amendment, but whether or not to carry a gun is an individual choice) or b.) guns should be banned, like in the UK and other parts of the world.  Screw that too.  Both of those views are too extreme and uncalled for.

Gun laws aren’t the issue.  By definition, a criminal is one who breaks the law.  How many criminals are going to give a rat’s ass if guns are suddenly made illegal?  They don’t give a rat’s ass about the law, otherwise they would be law-abiding citizens.  Outlawing guns would simply create a black market much like the one already in place for illegal drugs.  That “war on drugs” is going so splendidly, ‘ya know?  Why not expand it, and expand the crime that naturally follows?

Why not expand the concept of personal responsibility, and enforce the notion that individual choices and individual actions have consequences?

 

Twisted, Torrid and Tawdry, for the Love of Dirty Laundry, and Friends or Total Strangers?

For being introverted almost to the point of being antisocial, I surprised myself in taking the initiative to go to my class reunion dinner.  There were activities planned for the entire weekend, but I know myself- a little social interaction goes a long way with me, especially in potentially awkward situations, and even more so in potentially awkward situations involving  other people and too much alcohol.   I can’t drink in public for a number of reasons, and I get enough of drunk-watching-as-entertainment at home.  I did party back in the day, but it lost its charm long ago.   Maybe I’m strange, but 25 years is a freaking long time, and I live in a completely different sphere than I did in the wonderful world of the mid-1980’s. 

Spuds is in the G&R, the stars are in the heavens and all that, but I’m not the same.  Me, circa 1986, would not even vaguely recognize me, today.  The 1986 me would probably be running for cover, screaming, “HOLY SHIT, I’ve become my mother!!” 

Some of the people I graduated with are almost exactly as I remember them.  Others have been dealt with even more cruelly by time and circumstance than I have been.  Some- or I should say most- I’d never recognized at all if not for the name tags.  Especially the guys.  I got there a bit early so I could watch people trickle in and perhaps gain my bearings.  I was shocked at how old some of the guys looked.  Jerry is 12 years older than me, but a few of these poor guys looked as if they had 20 years on him.  As cruel as it may sound, one thought that went through my head was, “Who are these geezers, and what happened to my friends?”

I don’t mean that in a malicious sort of way.  I know only too well that time has been rather cruel to me as well, even though I was never much to look at to begin with, and have always been proportioned like a mutant troll.  I am sure that not a few people looked at me and wondered what the hell happened.  I think in some ways we are all wondering just when we got so old.  I know I sort of expected everyone to look the same as I remembered, which isn’t terribly realistic. 

It is sort of sad in a way that I’ve really not kept touch with people over the years.  I do care, but I get busy, and I spend far too much time catering to Jerry and his high maintenance needs.  He made it very clear long ago that he really doesn’t want to socialize with any of my friends (frankly, I think he’s afraid of them seeing him when he’s shitfaced and acting like a horse’s ass) and I don’t socialize much anyway, so as soon as you know it, everyone I used to know is a geezer/cougar too, and their lives and circumstances have all changed. 

I made it a point not to get embroiled in anyone else’s scandals or juicy bits.  If someone were to investigate, and the more inquiring minds likely have, they can uncover all sorts of rather twisted, torrid and tawdry dirt on me. I’ve done my share of stupid things and made my share of really bad decisions.   Don Henley said it back in 1985- “We all know that crap is king, give us dirty laundry…”  The thing is I don’t have the heart to hold a 25 year grudge toward anyone, or to dredge up anyone’s sordid past. 

Over all, I think it was a healthy thing to reconnect for a moment, but above all, to be reminded that the past is exactly that, and for the most part, it’s a good thing.   I’m a lot more comfortable with myself now- although being in a room with close to a hundred people I’ve not seen in years did keep me more on guard than usual.  (Yet another reason why temperance befits me!) I did see some people in a different light which was also a good thing.  I may not have been one of the Beautiful People, but the line between me and them is not quite so well defined anymore. 

In some ways I like to think that I may have made some new friends. Even though I may have known them years ago, people change.  I am not the maudlin, huggy-kissy type.  I don’t  have the talent to just take up a decades-old conversation where I left off as if it were yesterday.  I don’t remember names well (I do a bit better with faces) and I know to some I might seem aloof, but even though I refrained from hugging and kissing, it was nice to see people again. 

I just couldn’t bring myself to swig on the community bottle of Boone’s Farm (acck) either.  I’ve had a pathological aversion to drinking after others (especially on a glass bottle) ever since I was about four, and my sister used to grab my pop bottle, take a big swig and backwash into it.   The thought of drinking other people’s spit and/or pre-chewed cud is one of the few things that just really completely gross me out.

I did have to take a pic of the “I Love Them Crabs” drink holder.  That is classic.  Some things do remain the same.