Link Me Up Scotty - Living and Dying Edition

Monday, January 14, 2019


Houston Chronicle journalist and high school chum Chris Tomlinson has a piece on how giving felons a chance to work and live a decent life is what's best not only for them, but for our country as a whole.
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Speaking of leaving people to struggle and die without a second thought, Washington Post Magazine has a piece up on how the high cost of insulin has really painted diabetics into a corner. You know the corner - where you have to decide between buying your insulin and paying your rent. This is a life and death issue (literally) for many diabetics.
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Meanwhile, back at the pharmacy, many drugs that retain their efficacy are being tossed because they're beyond their "expiration date." I read this story when it originally came out in 2017, and it appears that exactly NOTHING has changed since then.
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45's new Attorney General nominee, William Barr, believes Mueller should be allowed to complete his report. Now taking bets on two outcomes: Whether he'll be confirmed, and if confirmed, how long will he keep his job?
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In other news, turns out there's no national emergency along our Southern border, since most undocumented persons don't sneak across the border. "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." ~ John Adams.

Too bad 45's intellectual prowess makes him look like a trained seal next to John Adams. And well, EVERY other President in history, really.
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In a surprise move, 45 has denied being a Russian agent. You know, I don't know if my heart can take all these shocking revelations every day. /sarcasm
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Video of the Day: Randy Rainbow, America's National Treasure, has a few words on 45 and his desire for a wall:


Link Me Up, Scotty - Monday Morning Edition

Monday, January 7, 2019

Virginia Heffernan of the Los Angeles Times has something to say about the current crop of Right-Wing Blowhards and the fact that they're losing their shit over the number of indecorous women in politics these days. She rightly notes that younger women (and their supporters) are now at the point where the traditional thinly veiled misogynistic insult solicits not apologies or shame, but a point-and-laugh response with a side order of public exposure of the dog-whistle. I find this especially gratifying, since these fabulous feminists are treating this bull-pucky with the response it deserves.

Bonus Gratification: If there's one thing that infuriates a Misogynist Right-Wing Blowhard more than not being taken seriously, I don't know what it is.
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From the "Living History" files: WWII Army nurse Elva Bertha just turned 100, and she was there when the Japanese came to surrender to MacArthur.
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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an emerging part of the technologies I design for customer interaction. But I'm far more interested in its medical use, as in this case, where AI is able to detect Alzheimer's Disease in the brain six years before a diagnosis.

Disclaimer: I haven't read the actual study, only this synopsis, so I have no certitude that it's been reported appropriately.
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From the "What comes around, goes around" files.
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Video of the Week: Mongolian band The HU, performing Wolf Totem. 


A Matter of Character and Hope

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Those who know me well know I believe opposing ideas and viewpoints are the heart of democracy. The presence of a "loyal opposition" is critical to keeping any one organization from gaining too much power in a representative democracy.

So my issues with the Republican Party aren't personal. I can disagree with their platform while still understanding their participation in our Republic is critical to its success.

But issues of character are an entirely different matter.

Regardless of political party, I want persons of good character to represent me in public office. Due to the changing tides of political opinion, sometimes those people are Democrats, and sometimes they are Republicans. There are plenty of examples from both sides of the aisle where character has been in short supply, and also examples where character was the hallmark of service. 

Which is why I was so very pleased to see Mitt Romney's January 1st opinion piece in the Washington Post where he criticized 45's character. 

Make no mistake - I disagree with Senator Elect Romney on almost every issue. I voted against him in 2012, and I consider some of his policy positions to be in direct opposition to my own values. I don't want him to be our President, because at this point in the political life of our country it's almost a foregone conclusion that a Democratic candidate would be preferable to a Republican one, given my priorities. 

But I think it's fair to say that in general, he is a man of good character. Which makes him far and away a better candidate for the Presidency than the incumbent.

I have no personal animus towards the Republican Party. I think their platform is misogynistic, awash in white privilege and victim blaming, and profoundly immoral on a number of levels. Given their current platform, it's extremely unlikely I would vote for a Republican for any representative office under any circumstances.* But I recognize their role, and understand its necessity. 

It becomes personal, however, when their policy decisions and platform results in their election of someone like 45 to the Oval Office. Due to their own dog-whistle politics and campaign strategies that build on fear of the Other, they elected the most ill-equipped, unqualified, immature, megalomaniacal person of bad character to ever run for President. And then refused to gainsay him when he went off the rails, again and again and again.

I won't forgive this anytime soon. The Republicans reaped what they sowed in this regard, and I've been waiting and waiting for them to wake up, and turn on 45 as they should have years ago, and bring their party back to seriousness and intelligence. 

Nothing would please me more than to see the Republican Party support a primary challenger to 45 in the 2020 election. Someone serious. Someone intelligent. Someone with a modicum of experience. Someone qualified. Someone with even a blush of good character. 

Is Senator Elect Romney's OpEd the first salvo in that conflict? I don't know. Was it written and published for self-serving reasons, since Senator Elect Romney has never supported 45 and is positioning himself as a viable alternative in 2020, with or without the support of his Party? I don't know. If someone does challenge 45 in the primaries, will Republican primary voters recognize their mistake and work to correct it for the benefit of all? I don't know. 

But I can hope.

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*I will (and did, in the midterm) vote for a Republican for a non-representative office, where qualification is the key factor in my choice.

My Reasons for Gratitude, 2018

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Smart Man and I celebrated our 20th anniversary with a Western Caribbean cruise in April. While the vacation was wonderful, spending 20 years with my partner and friend is all the celebration I need.

Half way through the fiscal year, I was reassigned to an account that required an engineer with my skill set, and was subsequently given the highest performance mark for the year. I'm grateful to be well regarded in my field and my company, as it helps me to gainsay my imposter syndrome when it rears its ugly head. 

I took charge of my health, shaving 7.4 points off my BMI and 44 lbs off my body. I still have some left to lose to achieve my health goals, but I consider this a noteworthy accomplishment. Mostly I did it for health reasons (my Doc was displeased with my BMI), but not carrying around excess weight is better for my organs, my joints, my energy level, and my outlook.

I went back to school (again) with an eye towards a degree in anthropology. Enrichment learning isn't exactly an inexpensive hobby, and I'm grateful to have the resources to be able to feed the Elephant's Child when I want to.

I was nominated for a "Trustee of the Year" award this year for my service to the Library Board. In my nomination letter, I was paid the highest personal compliment I've ever had: "With self-authenticity that demands alignment between what you say you are about and what you do, Murphy leads the way in 'being the change you wish to see.'"

I completed 4.5 years of service to the local library as a trustee this year. While my service was a labor of love, and it broke my heart to do so, I resigned my appointment because the role was negatively affecting my health and distracting me from other activities I thought were important. But I am grateful to have gotten the chance to serve an institution that meant so much to my Moe-Moe, however briefly.

The Smart Man and I were able to cross off two more ball parks from our list - Wrigley Field for the Cubs, and Guaranteed Rate Field for the White Sox. Bonus gratitude: This time Sister Stacey and Brother JR were able to join us.

We spent two long weekends in Rocky Mountain National Park with Sister Stacey and Brother JR this year. RMNP was one of Moe's happy places, and spending time in the Park makes me profoundly happy, and no matter how long we stay, it's not long enough.

Every year the Smart Man and I donate a bunch of toys to Toys for Tots. We buy throughout the year, and store our purchases in the basement until the first part of December, when we make one larger trip, then take everything to a drop off point. While she lived, Moe always participated with us, using her own money to buy items she could afford for the donation. This year, we decided to include our fabulous niece, who is seven. We gave her a set amount of money, and told her she had to buy for other kids, and buy nothing for herself. That's a tough order for a second grader, and she did great, working hard to understand what was going on and the value in giving to others. I'm grateful to pass on this tradition to our niece, and have the opportunity to help instill the values of generosity, service, and charity to the next generation.

We made it through the year without losing any of our nearest and dearest. After the previous seven years, we're grateful to have had a year where the loss of those we love hasn't ripped out our hearts and left them on the floor. 

Early Morning Conversations

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Brain: Wake up! Wake up!

Me: What?

Brain: Wake up! We have Very Important Things to think about tonight.

Me: What time is it?

Brain: 3:30 a.m. Time to get busy!

Me: Fuck off.

Brain: No can do. Do you remember that time when an adult screwed you over for reasons that had nothing to do with you, and everything to do with their own ego?

Me: Yes. Fuck off.

Brain: Can't do that - we need to think about that 35-year-old incident.

Me: Why?

Brain: Because it's VERY IMPORTANT.

Me: It's really not. While it was painful at the time, I think I can safely assert that I'm over it. It hasn't prevented me from professional success, it hasn't affected how I choose to manage my relationships, and it has no bearing whatsoever on my current life. Why don't we let it go?

Brain: Crazy talk. Let's think about it some more.

Me: Let's not.

Brain: Okay, then let's think about the fact that you don't have pants, shirts or shoes for the two conferences you have in February.

Me: Why? I have a plan to buy what I need.

Brain: But will you be able to FIND what you need? I'm sure you won't.

Me: I'm sure I will. I have six weeks to get the job done. 

Brain: But you don't KNOW that.

Me: Shut the fuck up, will you? I have to work this morning.

Brain: Speaking of work, let's think about some upcoming tasks you're assigned that I'm sure you won't be able to complete to anyone's satisfaction.

Me: I hate you.

Brain: I know.

Makeup tips for women over 50, or how time is marching over my face

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

When I was a younger woman, I didn't take very good care of my skin. Since I was a Whitey McWhiterson living in the tropics and smoked for many years, this has resulted in time marching across my face. Go, me.

So over the last several months, I've spent considerable time and hundreds of dollars trying to decide what I want to do in terms of skin care and makeup for my over 50 skin. This is definitely a first world problem, and it irks me because my beauty regimen has never been complex. Now the carefree days of my youth are over, and I have discovered some truisms and tips that I'm ready to share with the world.

1. When you're young, you think you need a bunch of makeup to look beautiful. You're wrong. I need a bunch of makeup to look beautiful. You need makeup to accentuate your best features or to achieve a more dramatic look. Compare and contrast:

So very DRAMATIC. I think I was 20 in this picture,
and routinely spent about 10 minutes a day (if that)
on skin and makeup.
This required more of an effort. A lot more.
It was taken at this year's Library Foundation Fall
Gala and I can assure you it took a lot longer than 10 minutes.


The interesting thing about makeup as I grow older is that I use a lot more of it, but it looks like I wear less. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, y'all.

2. Living in a dry climate (hello, Colorado winters!) makes most people's skin pretty dry. It makes my skin look like I've been rolling around in ash all day.  I'm now at the point with my skin that in order not to shed a trail of dead skin behind me like I'm lost and need milestones to find my way back to civilization, I literally have to slather my body and face in oil. OIL, FFS. The Maracuja oil for my face is almost $50.00 a bottle, but luckily the body oil is pretty inexpensive because it's intended for pregnant women's bellies. ::insert eyeroll here::

3. When I was younger, I never wore foundation. I didn't need it as I didn't suffer from acne once I was no longer a teenager, and was genetically blessed with good skin. Not so today. Now I have rosacea red, coupled with discoloration due to skin damage (hello, tropics!)*. I used to use a powder, but that settles in my wrinkles and looks gross, plus it exacerbates my dry skin. Then I tried to use a liquid foundation, and it made my middle-age rosacea worse. Then I tried CC Cream on my cousin's recommendation, and it looked weirdly unnatural. I've finally settled on Dr. Jart+ BB Cream. Apparently BB Cream is recommended for women over 50 rather than other foundations, a fact I didn't know until after I'd spent what I consider to be significant coin on other products.

4. I now have dark circles under the wrinkles under the bags under my eyes. What a delight! This necessitates a concealer so I don't look like the town drunk after a three day bender. I use tarte CC undereye corrector, which makes things a bit better, but I don't want to use anything heavier. Otherwise I feel like I'm wearing circus makeup, and no one wants to see that.

5. Let's talk about brushes, shall we? I recently spent $86 on a full set of makeup brushes, a $200 value! (And these weren't even fancy-shmancy brushes - they're the Sephora house brand.) Apparently these tools are MUST HAVES for the competent woman, which just proves what I've always suspected - I am NOT a competent woman, at least in terms of Western beauty standards. I've watched many makeup tutorials to figure out which brush goes with which task, and the set I bought helpfully has the brush function stamped on the brush handle. I appreciate this, even though it makes me feel like a toothless Okie using makeup for the first time. 

6. Also? All this crap takes up a lot of room. Here are my before and after makeup bags from the start of this experiment to today. That's a lot of crap. I think I need to clean out the bathroom to make room for my new part-time job: Skin care and over-50 makeup.

7. Lip color is the bane of my beauty existence, I swear. Remember that whole "I smoked for many years" thing? Yeah. The result is fine lines around my lips which are accentuated when my lip color helpfully bleeds into them and I end up looking like Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. So attractive! This issue has been a tough nut to crack. Lip paint looks better than any lipstick, but neither one is ideal, even with lip liner. Right now I'm using a pale pink lip gloss. 

8. I'm considering a number of cosmetic procedures to help me on my middle-age beauty journey. I already get Botox and injectables (better living through poisonous biologics and chemistry!). Now permanent lip color is high on the list. Nothing dramatic, no filler, etc., just a little color so I can use lip gloss only on a daily basis and not have my lips disappear into my skin or make me look like the Mouth of Sauron.

I'm also considering microblading on my brows. This is a fairly common procedure, and since I over plucked as a young woman, I could use a little help in this department.  
And then of course there's the lower facelift. Because SCIENCE, BITCHES. That one's a few years off, though.

The Smart Man has no input on any of this - it's my body, my face, my skin, etc., and other than having a keen interest in my health, he believes that all these choices are mine to make, without his opinion being a factor. (NOTE: We love this about him.) I've chosen to do this work and bear this expense because while I recognize I'm being influenced by an unrealistic, misogynistic Western beauty standard, I feel better about the way I look when I'm making an effort. But I'm discovering that growing old gracefully is a lot of damn work.

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*Mechanicky Gal tried to warn me about this many years ago, and I started to use an Aveeno product with SPF 30 on her advice, but alack and alas, the damage was already done.

From the Wide, Wide World of Logical Fallcies

Friday, November 23, 2018



When you assume a fringe element of a community of thought is representative of all elements of the community, you are guilty of the Hasty Generalization Fallacy.

Remember, kids, Nazis are to conservatives what Antifa is to liberals. And it's probably a-okay to punch either of them in the face.