A Conversation with Kennedy

Picking up a technique from Tom Friedman, I decided upon waking this morning that I’d write about an imaginary conversation with former President John F. Kennedy. I thought that might be an enlightening experience for us all. So here’s my riff on how that dialogue would go down.

Me: Thank you, Mr. President, for joining me today to talk about what’s happening in Ukraine.

The Golf Game

JFK: Oh, call me Jack. Everyone here does. Say, you have an uncle named Jack, right? I played 18 holes with him last week at Pebble Beach. He and I were partners in a foursome with Dick Nixon and Rumsfeld.

Me: That must have produced some interesting conversation.

JFK: Not really. But your uncle is a pretty good golfer. We beat the bastards. They had to buy the beer at the clubhouse.

Me: That’s great…Jack. Now, if we could change subjects: can you give me some thoughts about the war between Russia and Ukraine?

JFK: Well, first, let’s get our terms right. This isn’t a war between two countries, it’s a war between a man – an autocrat – and a notion: democracy. That Putin kid is a demented control freak. But this time he went too far. We know it and he knows it. This definitely won’t end well for anyone.

Me: Well, can we talk about that? How will it end?

Not a Soothsayer

JFK: Hey, I’m just a dead ex-president, not some soothsayer. I don’t do card tricks or predict the future. But I can tell you, based on my experience dealing with Khrushchev and what became the Cuban missile crisis, that the Russians are different cats with a very different value system. Hundreds of years of serfdom under a tsar gave them a giant inferiority complex.

Me: So what does that mean for this particular, um .. conflict?

JFK: In your Blog, you often quote that line from Hunt for Red October: “The average Russkie, son, don’t take a dump without a plan.” Well, that’s true of Putin and his military. But his greatest strength is really his greatest weakness. But Joe Biden, bless his heart, doesn’t get that. Because Putin has a plan, Biden the politician thinks Putin knows what he’s doing. He doesn’t. This is pure ego at work now. If Biden was smart – which he is not – he’d call Putin’s bluff and bring the full force of NATO down on his sorry ass. This thing would be over with in a month.

Me: You read my blog?

What a Way to Go

JFK: Hey, can we stick to the topic at hand, please? I’m on a roll here. Listen, just like with the missile thing, something unpredictable is going to make or break this conflict – some hero – or villain – will ultimately decide the outcome. If that little guy – Zelensky? – gets kidnapped or killed, that’s the end for Ukraine. Hell, he could just be sitting on the crapper when an errant missile comes through the window and blows him up. But Putin has to worry that some little guy guarding the door gets mad ’cause his brother got blown up in a tank and fires one into Putin’s left eye. See what I mean?

Me: Are you talking about the Soviet submarines and Vasili Arkhipov stopping World War III?

He did, indeed

JFK: You know that’s what I mean. Nikita and I thought Castro was the problem. But he forgot about the subs and I didn’t even know they were there – so much for the CIA and their intelligence reports. They were wrong then and not much has changed since. So ultimately, the best thing to do is sit back and wait for that random event to occur. But you probably won’t even know about it until well after the fact. Nobody knew about the subs ’til 2005 after Arkhipov was here with us.

Me: So everything is just random? There’s no ‘invisible hand’ guiding us toward victory?

JFK: That’s for me to know and you to find out. But victory – what does that look like? No matter what, forty percent of Ukraine will be destroyed, along with a large chunk of her population killed or badly wounded. That’s always the unfortunate side of conflict. But I think you can have confidence that the Ukrainians will still have a country when this is over. And they’ll have lots of support to rebuild, unlike Syria and Libya. Doesn’t anybody care about the Middle East anymore?

Me: No, not really.

JFK: Hmm..That’ll come back to bite ya.

Me: Thank you for this conversation. I appreciate your taking the time to talk.

That’s what Clemmie told me too

JFK: Sure. Time I got a lot of. Take care and love your children unconditionally.

Me: I’ve heard that before from somebody else with you. Thanks for reminding me.

“A Children’s Bible” Review: Huckleberry Redux

My friend Martha recommended I read Lydia Millet’s “A Children’s Bible” because of its dystopian overtones. Martha’s a fan of my book series “Suffer the Children”, and likes to point me to other dystopian pieces of writing. I woulda said literature, ’cause it fits in the rhythm of that sentence, but this book ain’t. Literature. So what is it? Aha..let’s talk about that.

The Book’s Cover

First, let me say I read the book in one day. So what does that mean? Good news: it was quite readable. Not so good: it wasn’t a very long book, so it was easy to consume in a day. Bad news: it was predictable. Those of you who know me know I loathe predictable. If I can say what’s gonna happen next, I’ll throw that little book across the room.

But no, I didn’t throw ACB. It redeemed itself with one tiny mystery/allegorical reference that tamed my throwing arm. When you read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Did it fit? Not really. But who cares? Ok. Enough of the introduction.

The Book’s Cover

I am forever indebted to the New York Times film critic A.O. Scott for a rather long essay he wrote about how most modern fiction is really YA fiction – young adult. It’s a great essay if you want to read it; google A.O. Scott essay, “The Death of Adulthood in American Fiction”, published in 2014. I tried writing a blog post way back when about it, but was appalled at how inarticulate I was on the topic. But now it’s forming the foundation of what I’m fixin’ to write: Lydia Millet is channeling Mark Twain in the writing of “A Children’s Bible.” It’s “Huckleberry Finn” for the new millennium. Huh?

Twain wrote the book detailing the adventures of Huck and Jim in the late 1800’s, but the story is set in pre-Civil War America with a runaway slave being protected by a young child. They encounter crises along the way, but prevail in the end. Evie, the protagonist of ACB, is a young child protecting her little brother Jack from perils both human and environmental. Jim the slave is wise in the ways of man and nature. Jack is wise in the ways of nature, well beyond his years, and gains insight into human nature with Evie’s help. Adults are drunken idiots in both books: Huck’s father Pap and all parents in ACB succumb to the siren song of alcohol, rendering them all useless in times of crisis. The children must prevail. Boy oh boy, if that isn’t YA fiction, tell me what is?

And yet, ACB was deemed one of 2020’s ten best by critic Scott’s employer. Really? That’s as good as it gets for that year’s crop? Clearly there’s a crisis here, but it isn’t slave hunters or hurricanes: it’s the dearth of good ADULT fiction in the world today.

But that’s really no surprise, is it? Who wants to work hard reading a great piece of writing anymore? Easier to read fluff or predictable, dystopian-tinged short books with vague endings. Clearly, Lydia read A.O.’s essay, and decided if you can’t beat ’em, why not fulfill their expectations? Here’s how he ended the essay:

Kinda Says it All, Huh?

A crisis of authority is not for the faint of heart. It can be scary and weird and ambiguous. But it can be a lot of fun, too. The best and most authentic cultural products of our time manage to be all of those things. They imagine a world where no one is in charge and no one necessarily knows what’s going on, where identities are in perpetual flux. Mothers and fathers act like teenagers; little children are wise beyond their years. Girls light out for the territory and boys cloister themselves in secret gardens. We have more stories, pictures and arguments than we know what to do with, and each one of them presses on our attention with a claim of uniqueness, a demand to be recognized as special. The world is our playground, without a dad or a mom in sight.

Yes, Virginia, that’s the essential storyline of this ‘top ten of the year’ book. Oh my God. We are truly lost.

Strain in Paint?

I was too tired to write this after working by myself from 8 to 11 Friday night, so I’m talking about it now on Sunday morning.

The tale of the botched Blue Paint

Generally, our customers are pleasant people just looking for a little help or a custom color for their project. However, for the second time in two months, I had a customer that I felt was dangerous. Remember the first episode with the botched blue paint job?

This one was female, about mid-twenties, thin and intense. She asked for a paint with good coverage, so I showed her the Marquee brand, one of our most expensive. She got angry, and wanted to know if there was a cheaper brand. I took her to the PPG/Glidden aisle, and she accused me of trying to rip her off by selling her the higher priced brand.

Bad Things Happen with Paint Sometimes

At this point, I started to get a really bad vibe from this woman. I suggested she take the Behr color chip she’d selected and go for a PPG color instead, since it’s usually not a good idea to mix colors and brands – you’re never quite sure it’s going to be exact because of the different components of the paint. She picked alternate colors, and after I’d mixed her paint, demanded to know why she couldn’t have the Behr color in her PPG paint. I tried to explain to her that it wasn’t a good idea, but all I really wanted was for her to just go away. That’s how bad she made me feel in her presence. The strain I was feeling was quite intense, just from standing within two feet of this woman.

Finally, she left. After my heart stopped racing, I wondered if this woman had that effect on others? If so, I speculated on how many opportunities she’d missed out on with her attitude and behavior. Even if I’d wanted to try to help her mix colors, my brain had shut off by then: I was incapable of thinking through how to give her what she wanted.

Karen..Ouch

So I suppose it all goes back to the old adage about catching more flies with honey than vinegar. In her mind, she likely thought she was being assertive. Based on all I know, she was displaying the kind of aggressiveness that earns the name assigned to this type of women: Karen. Ouch.

Recall the incident in Central Park with the woman, the cocker spaniel and the bird watcher. The same kind of behavior my customer exhibited got that woman the temporary loss of her dog, the permanent loss of her job and likely her reputation. Obviously that doesn’t happen very often, but I think it’s illustrative. If you doubt me, just start to type into Google the words “woman in Central Park” and the search engine will finish the entry “with dog Amy Cooper”. Then you’ll be referred to other incidents in her life involving lawsuits, loans to married lovers – sheesh!

So If my Karen is anything like that Karen, her life is a mess anyway. So the lesson for me is: recall that Karma is a bitch, so she will get her comeuppance sooner or later. But wait a second. Is it possible I’ve acted like this in the past? Why, I believe I have, relative to some flooring at – yes, you guessed it: Home Depot. So maybe I need to learn from this experience, and think about it before I take my frustrations out on someone who’s trying to help me. ‘Nuff said.

Leaky Eye Fixing Hospital

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Kirsten was in the hospital this past week having her gall bladder removed. Robin was in the hospital the latter part of the week having her heart looked at. Erik the Younger was at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. They determined he needs surgery on his leaky eye, an artifact of one-too-many blasts from Iraq. Talk about bad Karma, eh? The gals are now sprung and home resting, so at least for a bit, all is well. We shall see.

The Unvarnish’t Roof

We are hangin’ on the horns of several dilemmas at the moment. First and foremost: we have a serious roof leak that must be addressed. I’ve mentioned this before, but after last night’s heavy downpour, the message has been reinforced bigly.

Hantiles Solar Roof Tiles

I asked the roof rep to investigate the potential for including solar in a replacement roof. Now I know solar doesn’t pay if you are just adding an array of panels to your existing roof. But if I’m going to replace the whole thing, has the technology come far enough to have it included in the roof tiles? Obviously more research is needed here. In the meantime, just finding the source of the leak is tricky. Erik thinks it might be at the peak where the gables and valleys meet. Given how full the attic is with insulation and ac ductwork, it’s difficult to ascertain the leak’s exact location. Again, more research needed.

The Issue Du Jour

Then there’s the question of how to pay for it. We have an appointment on Wednesday to talk with PNC bank about converting the HELOC which is about to expire into a 30 year mortgage. But the dilemma we face is that most of the interest has already been paid on the HELOC. If we let Wells Fargo convert it into a 15 year mortgage, most of our payments go to principal instead of interest. A refi puts us back at square one again, with most of the albeit smaller payment going to interest. But going with a 15 year, accompanied by the ever looming potential for significant increases in insurance costs, may pose a cashflow problem. More research needed. Fortunately, we have plenty of time: it doesn’t convert until September of next year. But with interest rates rising – temporary or permanent? Sigh. So many dilemmas.

Then there’s the question of work. Right now I am working because it gives me stuff to write about. But if inflation is with us for the long term, does that mean I’ll need to work for the money to make ends meet in this new world of ever increasing costs for things like food, fuel and – oh my – health care supplemental insurance? I guess these are issues all us elders are having to face in the not-too-distant future. But it’s here and now for us. Your perspectives would be appreciated.

Amazon’s Jupiter Fulfillment Center

On the topic of work, I did apply for a job as an Assistant Manager at the Amazon Warehouse. It would be another dimension for the book I’m writing on my work experiences at HD. Obviously I’d have to change the name of the book, currently slated to be “My Year at the Depot.” Maybe instead it’d be “My Year of Working Dangerously” if the rhetoric coming out of the union campaign bears any truth? Oh, well. I doubt I’ll get a nod from Amazon, as their process is still very complicated, even in this new world of labor shortages. I really believe my age works against me, with suppositions about fitness of body & mind. If I do get an interview, should I pursue it, or stick with what I have? Apparently, HD thinks there will be less traffic after Easter, as they only have me down for 12 hours that week. I’d hate for my career to be cut short before the book is finished. I need a full year to make it credible. We shall see.

This One’s the Best

So there you have it, faithful readers. Lots of issues, but time to contemplate. While that’s going on, I’ll keep matching paint and showing where the spackle lives. What a life!

‘Blue’ It Again

I messed up again last night, trying to figure out how to custom mix some wood stain. The font on the bottle is about size 2, and I misread it. As such, I couldn’t figure out what number the base was. There was one bottle left, but since I misread the label I didn’t know that. Then I got busy with other customers, and didn’t tell the guy who wanted this custom stain that I was having trouble locating it. He got mad and left, as he thought I was ‘working on it’.

Clever Disguise, Huh?

Gotta admit, the guy looked like somebody who’d go ballistic and come back to murder me because his 6.5 oz container of blue stain wasn’t made for him. So on a parallel universe, I’m definitely dead. C’est La Vie, y’all.

There were two of us working last night: me and another very nice young lady called A that recently got moved to paint from another department. She’s got three years’ experience with HD, so she’s pretty savvy and learns very quickly. I really like her. But since she’s now better at this paint gig than me, I’m again on the bottom of the pecking order. Well, maybe that’s a good thing for creating copy. Thank you Nora E’s mom for that everlasting reminder.

Welcome to My World

As I sit here, it just started raining again. I suppose that means the roof leak will be reactivated. But this time, the pot is already in place, so I won’t have to open the cabinet under the gas cooktop. Erik thinks the gas leak is fixed, so maybe it’s a moot point about the roof collapsing just before the house blows up. Might be another parallel universe thing?

Which reminds me of something else. Got an email from the roof company, offering some program called Ygrene to help pay for a new roof. Now everybody knows after 21 years, ours is pretty much used up. Occasional patch jobs til now have kept things in check, but it doesn’t appear that can go on for much longer. So Ygrene is a way to let you pay for your roof over time. It appears to be something resembling a MBS – a mortgage-backed security. The investors get a return on their principal, guaranteed by a lien on my house. It’s a way to take advantage of all the equity in the house without affecting cash flow until you get ready to sell.

Another Way to Buy a New Roof

I’ve read tales of people not understanding the rules of the game, thinking they were getting impact windows for free. Instead, sounds like they got a a slick salespitch, eh? The person in question is from Miami, so that may be relevant to understanding the language since so much of Miami is originally from someplace south. Anyway, that person is suing Ygrene because they didn’t understand that the expenditure of $22k became a lien on the property and thus ate into their equity. No more piggybank. Ah well. So Erik & I are trying to figure out which way would make the most sense to get a new roof and manage cash flow. The interest rate looks to vary between 4.9 to 9.6 percent, depending on terms. Obviously the longer term carries the higher rate. Or would a refinance of the entire HELOC plus small second which currently gives us an estimated > 70% equity be the right way to go? I suppose that depends on whether values will continue to increase or whether we’re in for a real estate ‘correction’ as some are predicting. Any thoughts on that would be appreciated.

Ukrainians Praying

That’s it for now – say a prayer for Ukraine and try to stay dry and intact. I’ll do the same.

Interior or Exterior – Paint or Personality?

I’ve finally found a use for the Twitter app after all these years. I put my soothsaying up there, with predictions totalling less than or equal to 280 characters. Not hard to affix what will happen within that constraint.

Uncle Joe Stalin

But here’s the thing I want to talk about. I tweeted that Putin must think he’s the reincarnation of Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili a.k.a. Josef Stalin. There are some ironies there, but we’ll talk about that in a minute – nah, never mind about his family’s suffering in the Siege of Leningrad. Putin’s likely dismal education precluded him knowing the reality that the west nearly lost World War II in June of 1941. Why? Because Stalin effectively had a nervous breakdown and retreated to his dacha after the Germans attacked Russia in Operation Barbarossa. When his underlings came looking for him, he thought he’d be arrested. Instead, they begged him to return to Moscow and help fight the Germans. Not a very good role model, at least in the beginning, eh?

Tsar Nicholas II, the Last Romanov

Other, broader analyses would suggest that maybe he’d like to be the descendant of the Romanovs. Some segments of Russian society have this notion of a Euroasian empire, built on the Russian Orthodox Church and money from oil. How’s that for a pipe dream? So that would suggest there are elements of Nicholas II personality, mixed with Stalin’s. But that doesn’t really work, does it?

Putin has been analyzed as a ‘dominant introvert’. Stalin was a psychopath. Nicholas was a neurotic. So maybe if you mix those together those two sets of traits, you get a dominant introvert? That kinda makes sense. But as such, Putin lacks the total ruthlessness of Stalin, currently necessary to win in Ukraine and against NATO, which is really the ultimate goal here. Further, two years of COVID was hard, particularly on introverts. Putin had plenty of time to think about his enemies in the west when he was holed up in his palace. It’s pretty clear that’s where this idea of invading Ukraine as a prelude to taking over the adjacent countries, NATO and otherwise, came from. And just like with Tsar Nicholas, nobody could even hint that he might be wrong in this.

Putin or Nukes? Who Goes First?

Now he’s stuck: can’t withdraw and can’t win. What will be the inevitable result? Only one of two possibilities. He will be stopped by a bullet from one of his inner circle. Or he will employ the use of tactical nuclear weapons in a last, desperate bid to take out little Volodymyr Zelensky and Kyiv. Neither option is a good one. But maybe there’s a third option.

Talk about Leaky Gut Syndrome!

I’ve been telepathically working on having him die a ‘natural’ death instead. I visualize Putin with a big zipper between his belly button and his sternum. I unzip him, opening up both sides, revealing his intestines. I take a very sharp razor blade, and slice very carefully through that section of intestine that runs horizontally across the space. Its toxic contents start to dribble out, filling the cavity around his stomach. I poke a tiny hole in his stomach – just enough so that shortly the mixture will become lethal. Then I zip him back up. The question is: how long will it take for it to bump him off? We can only hope it does before he can issue the order to press that big red button to launch the nuke(s). Time will tell.

Speeding White Vans

So I’m on time for work this morning – in fact 15 minutes early – and the front door is locked. After pounding on it quite aggressively, a stocker was nice enough to let “management” know I needed in. Seven minutes later, she – aka “management” – does the 50 yard mosey to let me in. The ultimate in the wrong thing to say came from this “manager”. She said, “You have to be patient. Only SOME people are allowed to have the key.”

This was me this morning

So I’m hangin’ out by myself in a parking lot where a robbery & attempted murder occurred in November 2016. Said attempt was made on two people waiting for the store to open. Did they need to be patient? So much for caring about the safety of HD employees and customers.

Erik was thoughtful enough to wait until the moseying manager came to open the door. But suppose I’d driven myself to work this morning, it being 5:30 AM? And what if something had happened to me – conked on the head and dragged off to a waiting white van, to meet a gruesome fate? Nobody at the store would have seen or heard anything. They’d have just assumed I was late, and a computerized message would have popped up on my phone. That would be the phone in my purse in the speeding white van, with me about to meet my gruesome fate. But the thing is, Erik woulda had a hell of a lawsuit against HD for wrongful death, particularly in light of the previous incident. You know, some good things come from all adversity, eh? When I told M the Elder about it, he shrugged and effectively said, “Happens all the time. Get over it.” Nope.

Then this afternoon, another of those computerized messages popped up on my phone, this time telling me the time I’d requested off to go to Tallahassee in April to see Kirsten had been ‘declined’. Yes, declined. I cannot leave the plantation to go visit my kid up the road. Must be harvest time for the cotton.

Bring Out the Holy Door Key!

If that last statement offended anyone, I apologize. But my point is this: I’m a part time employee of a mega corporation that apparently thinks it totally owns my nether parts. Wow. I know – compared to being blown up in Mariupol, this is trivial. Yes. It is. I acknowledge that. Nonetheless, I will find some creative way to ensure no elderly women meet any dismal fates waiting for the magic person entrusted with the holy key to come open the door. At 5:30 AM.

Milton and the Cake

Back to this morning. At around 6:15 AM – after the store was already open – moseying manager calls us together for a meeting at the checkout area. About ten people show up, and looking at the body language of the designated ten was fascinating to watch. While financial and safety statistics were being shared with the group, I instantly had a mental flash of the assemblage of workers from that movie Office Space at Lumberg’s birthday party. You remember that one – when Milton doesn’t get a piece of cake, adding to his disgruntlement? There were ten Miltons around me – and I was one of them too – already! For goodness sake, I’ve only worked there for six weeks, and already the gild is off the lily. But then I remind myself why I took this job, recognizing that without these sordid anecdotes, my exposé about the inner workings of HD would be boring indeed. So I will soldier on, the goals being to avoid speeding white vans and moseying managers. Sound fair?

Schedule Shaking – Like G paint cans

Yesterday, M with the sparkly eyes told me to watch out for putting a particular brand of paint in the shakers, ’cause they were exploding. Why? The metal in the cans was too thin to absorb the force of the paint vibrations. Now that seems like a real problem to me that should be reported to the manufacturer. But since I’ve yet to meet a rep for that brand, who to tell?

Five Gallon Bucket Weights about 56#

Telling the bosses anything appears to be kind of a waste of time. My boss interestingly enough called ‘M’, told me he was radically changing my schedule. Why? Because another boss put me down for the majority of shifts starting at 5 AM. Since the store doesn’t even open ’til 6 AM, and nothing much happens before like 9:30 AM, that’s a waste of my time. More importantly, I am not available at crunch time. When is crunch time? If yesterday is any indication, it’s from like 9:45 AM ’til about 2:30 PM. That’s when all the contractors come in for five gallon buckets of paint. That’s a much slower production that mixing an isolated gallon here or there. The five gallon buckets are heavy, weighing between 50 and 60 pounds. So we have to get a platform with a grabber, move them individually between the shelf and the mixer, add the tint, close the bucket and put in in the shaker. If it’s a dark tint, that’s a longer shake. I estimate all this about doubles the time for the task.

It also wears us out faster. Most of us aren’t young whippersnappers. Another M – I’ll call him M the Elder – who opened at 5 AM yesterday, left early because he was worn out. Being worn out in the paint department is risky. We all have to preserve our strength so we don’t make any mistakes that could get us – or one of our peers – injured.

Likely Not Gonna Happen – How’s that for a Synonym?

So why am I telling you all this? Because after Sunday, I never heard from ‘M’ again. As such, that puts me in the wrong time slot for most of the rest of the month, as I have 7 more shifts that put me in at 5 AM and then out by either 9 or 11 AM. That means I miss the crunch times. Now I have no problem with that, but really, people! As we are decidedly short handed anyway, does that really make any sense? So I’d say my schedule needs some shaking. But will anybody do it? We shall see. I will report further developments. In the meantime, I will definitely try to avoid that particular brand of paint that is exploding in the shakers. Who needs that?

Rut Roh!

Where is Howard Beale? Haven’t Seen Him on Aisle 8

Remember the character Howard Beale from the movie Network? Sure you do..”I’m as Mad as Hell, and I’m Not Going to Take This Anymore”. Ah ha! Now you remember.

Peter Finch as Howard Beale in “Network”

Howard was losing his job as a newscaster and had a little – well, not so little – drinking problem. So those two facts combined to turn him into a raving maniac who became an instant icon with angry people. That description start to sound familiar? Yeah. We’ve seen this character before.

But here’s the thing: Howard wasn’t the head of a country, and he didn’t declare war and start blowing up things that didn’t belong to him. And that’s what I woke up at 3:16 am this morning confused about. How is it that the world is standing by while one man – yes, one man! One man is allowed to send other men and war machines to systematically blow up buildings and people in a country totally separate from his? Is Russia Putin’s country? Apparently it is.

Sergei the Liar and Vlad the Invader

I was sickened to watch Sergei Lavrov on the news, forced to say bald faced lies that he knew were lies and the Ukrainians he was talking to knew were lies – all at the behest of this one man. Sergei has no credibility now after that. Erik the Elder said it best: Putin pushed all his chips into the middle of the table. He’s going for broke.

And in the process, two countries at minimum will be broke and broken. How is it the rest of the world stands aside and lets this happen? Congress voting to give money to buy arms for the Ukrainians is a day late and several dollars short. It appears that, even if Ukraine survives, it is as destroyed as Aleppo, Syria. Seen pictures of that hell hole lately?

Ukrainian 8 year old killed trying to flee

While all this is going on, columnists write, politicians and former generals talk and still the people of Ukraine die. Why is this OK? Why can’t it be stopped? Why do innocent people have to be thrown into mass graves – right there on television – and it’s just okay? Because the rest of the world is saying, “Well, as long as it doesn’t come to MY neighborhood, it’s ok. I’m just one person. There’s nothing I can do to stop it, so I’ll just change the channel and watch something else. I don’t want to watch those “disturbing images” the news anchor always warns us about before the dead children are shown at a discrete distance. Oh, by all means, let’s keep a discrete distance. Don’t want to see the face of an 8 year old killed by Vladimir Putin.

American tanks invade Iraq 2003

So I’m as Mad as Hell, and I’m Not Going to Take This Anymore. But then I stop and think back to an earlier time. I think back to watching tanks crossing a desert, virtually unstopped when a much larger country attacked a much smaller country. The attack was justified on the basis of a lie – something about the ruler of that much smaller country having something called WMDs? I think back to an earlier time when that same bigger country used precision bombing to attack a much smaller country because that much smaller country was guilty of ethnic cleansing within its borders. Neither of these actions justify what Putin is doing. But it does provide me some insight into a couple of facts. First: how you feel about these acts depends on which side you’re on. And the other is: the world will always stand by and let these things happen. Why? A cynic would say because money can be made from it. A psychologist would talk about men possessed by grievance issues: Hitler and Putin come to mind. But to that dead eight year old, does any of that matter? She’s still not going to have a life. I have an eight year old granddaughter. If that happened to her, I’d see this the same way the Ukrainians now do.

This has to stop before any more eight year olds are killed. NATO has to intervene and push back on this bully. Yes, violence to stop violence. We can’t stand behind eight year olds and wait until the Russians run out of ammo. Do it now. Otherwise, eight year olds in Ukraine will be joined by eight year olds in Russia, suffering because of sanctions and the destruction of the country’s currency. This is wrong. We’re adults. We’re supposed to protect children.

Nelson Mandela said, There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children. That says it all. It’s time, gentlemen. Start your engines.

Oops..

That’s what we call paint that is made in error, so it’s deeply discounted and goes on a trolley at the end of the aisle. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. This is a different oops..

Oops Paint – we seldom have that much

I went in to fix my other ‘oops’ – forgetting to punch out yesterday. I talked with a guy called R, who was kind enough to ‘fix the glitch’. When I told him I’d applied for another job within the system, and needed to inform my manager, he said that S would be in at 11 and I could talk with her.

I called S to tell her. First of all, she had no idea who I was. Second: she let me know that I could not apply for any new jobs until I’d been employed for at least six months. Well, someone needs to tell the HD computer that, because it accepted my application and gave me an ID number to correlate with that application. As I said, I’m sure I won’t even get an interview, but I found it interesting that the left hand/right hand talkin’ to each other thing – or not – is alive and well here. No great surprise, huh? But I did fulfill my duty to inform – just in case. That’s it.