Friday’s Random Tater Thoughts

In an effort to avoid doing something productive on my day off , but with no one topic I want to address, I bring you another random collection of Tater Thoughts. I know you are excited.

Powerball:  Unfortunately, I did not win the Powerball this week. This means I have to continue trying to be a productive member of society with a job and stuff. I do have a plan if I ever win, though. I wouldn’t quit my job right away. That would be too suspicious and people might figure out I’m rich and want money. I would keep working for a little while and then one day overreact to something, go on an epic rant about everything that has ever annoyed me over the past 20 years and storm out. Of course, now that I’ve posted this everyone will know if I do this then I have become wealthy. Time to come up with a new plan.

Weather: I know that 70 degree weather in February should be a reminder that global warming is real and a serious problem, but I can’t help being very happy about it. The older I get the more I hate the cold and the snow.. I would happily move somewhere where 70 degree February is the norm, but I also don’t want extremely hot summers. I fear, though, that I will be in Maryland forever.

Political Stuff: This week the Trump administration ended the Obama guidance that schools should allow transgender students to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity.  A good portion of the people out there who agree with this move somehow believe the untrue assertions that this will reduce the rapes that have or will occur if transgender students are given the right to use the restroom they want. I have yet to see any reports of any rape stemming from these policies. Many people also applaud the move because they hate, fear or don’t understand the transgender community. What you need to understand is that other people’s’ rights should not depend upon your personal feelings, your religious beliefs or, really, anything to do with you.

Civility: Lastly, let’s talk about civility. This election season and the first month of the Trump administration has been marked by a lot of harsh words, insults, etc. I know that people are angry about the election and about most of what the Trump administration stands for. I know people on the other side feel empowered by the win and think the rest of us should just shut up already. Passion about your beliefs is great and I’m all for protests, calls to Congress, posts on social media, etc to make your voice heard. I will continue to post when I have something to say about political issues. I hope my friends continue to post their thoughts as well, from both sides of the issues. What I would like to see less of is –

posts from incendiary/slanted news sites(Infowars, Breitbart, Occupy Democrats) designed to make people mad instead of inform

name calling. you can get your point across better and get people to listen more with reasoned debate without insults.

dismissive comments – if you just tell me to shut up and deal with it, call me butthurt, sheep, etc I will stop caring what you think. This does not help at all. feel free to disagree, but disagree with facts and debate, not this stuff.

hate – this one most of all. Way too many people out there saying Muslims don’t belong in our “Christian country” that people in the LGBTQ community are mentally ill, unnatural, etc and don’t deserve to be treated equally. Too many reports of racist and anti-Semitic violence and vandalism. Too many attacks on people who aren’t like you. Please stop. You say we are a Christian country, but then you act like the complete opposite of a Christian.

Disagreement is good, but we will get nowhere if we can’t learn to disagree and debate civilly

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The Perfect Match – Photo Challenge

This week’s photo challenge is to post a picture of a good match. I will admit that I cheated again and went to an old picture because what else could a Kentucky boy post for this than RC Cola and a Moon Pie.  My family laughed at me when we stopped to buy snacks for vacation one year and I was excited to find Moon Pies. I still love them.

 

moon

 

 

via Photo Challenge: A Good Match

Reentry Is Hard

This weekend was the first weekend in a while where I was actually able to relax.  To make it even better, it was a four day weekend. I didn’t do anything exciting. On my birthday leave day on Friday I went out and got some free food from Panera and Dickey’s and watched a movie on DVD. Saturday was so uneventful all I remember is that I took the dog for a walk and watched a basketball game. Sunday I went to church and out to eat with the family for a late birthday celebration. Yesterday I spent hour scanning pictures from 2001. Even so, the four days off makes it really hard to think about heading out in a few minutes to reenter the real world.

I don’t hate my job. I don’t hate working. I’ve just reached the point in my life when I am ready to move on from the career and to the retirement phase of life. I would even take the ability to work from home. Actually, I think I’ve always been at this point. I would have gladly been a stay at home dad if it had been feasible for our family. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never been a career focused person. I do my job to the best of my ability and I do apply for new jobs/promotions when they come up, but I’ve always been someone who would quit to stay at home if given the opportunity. I think this got more pronounced toward the end of my time at the jail. Corrections has a 20 year retirement, so I spent the last few years of my time at the jail watching people I worked with retire knowing that I still had 10-15 years left. I’m closer now, but not close enough.

So, I head back to work today but I would much rather be one of the people who have the ability to spend their morning with friends at Panera instead of heading off to another day at the job. Reentry is hard.

Yet Another Political Post

There are a lot of troubling news items coming out of DC recently. So many that a lot get lost in the shuffle.Someone created a website to help people keep track of the happenings.

https://whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com/

I know some will be offended by the profanity in the title, but it isn’t any more obscene than some of the news listed. So, with all of this going on I decided to write about the three recent things I have found most troubling lately.

  1. Trump is more concerned with the fact that there were leaks than the fact that the leaks revealed his National Security Adviser had lied about his phone call with Russia. Flynn lied to the FBI. Flynn lied to the Vice President. Trump knew this and only fired him when it was made public. He’s not angry that Flynn had inappropriate talks with Russia. He’s not angry that he lied to the FBI(a crime) and the Vice President. He’s angry that the press reported it. That’s like a cheating husband saying his adultery is not the problem and that the real problem is that the wife looked at his phone and found out he was cheating.
  2. Trump adviser Stephen Miller made the rounds on the TV talk shows and his performance was praised by Trump. During these appearances he said the following “the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.” This was in response to the judiciary ruling the travel ban illegal. Apparently the Trump administration believes his power should be absolute and the system of checks and balances in place should not be recognized. This sounds like a dictatorship, not the United States. The president(regardless of party) should be questioned by Congress, the judiciary, the public and the press. Being elected president does not give you absolute power to do whatever you want without question.
  3.  Representative Lamar Smith,  the Chairman for the House Committee on Science said in a speech on the House floor that it is “Better to get your news directly from the president. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.” This, along with Trump’s constant use of the term “fake news”, is an attempt to get the public to disregard any negative news regarding the administration. If the public ignores the news and only listens to the glowing reports from the president himself then he can do whatever he wants with no repercussions. The cowardly GOP congress will do nothing to stop him so if they can get us to disregard the press and the judiciary they have absolute power. This is scary.

Do your part. Stay informed. Support the press. Subscribe to newspapers. Question what you hear from any source and get multiple opinions. Speak up. We the people are what makes America great.

Happy Birthday to Me

As I started thinking about what to write in my very narcissistic post wishing myself a happy birthday some lyrics from a new Ryan Hamilton & the Traitors song popped in to my head: I’m still not clean, and I’m not sober, I’m just a little bit smarter and a whole lot older” While I am clean and I am sober(usually) I am pretty smart and I am a whole lot older. 

A lot has happened since my last birthday. I changed jobs, leaving the place I had worked for 15 years. I lost my mom. I went to California and went para sailing and lived to tell about it. The United States lost its mind and elected Donald Trump as president. Only two  of those things listed(I said a lot and listed a few. Maybe I’m not so smart) are a  positive and one of the positives(the new job) had some negatives(leaving friends). Hopefully, this upcoming year will be one where the positives outweigh the negatives.

It’s hard to believe that it’s now been 30 years since I turned 18. My 30 year high school reunion is this summer. How did that happen? I don’t feel like I could be 48. Sure, I’m tired more now. I go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. I spend a lot more time at home and hardly any time at all “out on the town.” But I don’t feel old. I just feel boring. Maybe in my case they are the same thing. Maybe I should work on that.

I am inching closer and closer to an empty nest, 50 years old and soon after, retirement. I hope I am inching closer and closer to being a 50 year old empty nester/retiree who spends his time doing fun, active things and not one that watches a lot of TV alone. So, my goal as a 48 year old is to be a 48 year old who does more fun things out of the house. My goal is to be a 48 year old who makes the effort to see his friends he left at his old branch so they remain his friends(if y’all are reading this let’s have coffee/drinks sometime). My goal is to be a 48 year old who is an inspiration and not a cautionary tale. But, my immediate goal for my 4 day weekend(thank you HCLS for birthday leave!) is to eat a lot of free food I got for signing up for restaurant email lists.

 

Expectations

via Daily Prompt: Expectation

Along with the weekly photo challenges, there is also a daily one word prompt for writing. I have not participated yet, but I thought expectation and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand, so today I will make a stab at it.

What are your expectations for Valentine’s Day? Is it a big deal to you? Is it just another day? Has it changed over time? Do you feel more strongly about it than your partner? Do you resent the expectations? Do you hate the day because you are single?

This should be a big week of celebrations at my house. My wife’s birthday is February 12. Valentine’s Day is the 14th and then my birthday is the 16th. Because we are an odd couple and the gender roles are swapped a lot in my house, I feel like I get off easy on the holiday. I would like to do do one big night out to celebrate all three events at once. My wife would rather just do something easy and cheap. Last year we went to Qdoba because you get a BOGO entree if you kiss each other after ordering. This year there is a Kentucky basketball game at 7 so we will likely stay home, eat leftovers and watch basketball.  We do simple cards and a small gift and that’s pretty much it. On our birthdays we go out to eat at the restaurant of the birthday person’s choice, but I generally don’t pick where I would really like to go because my family is picky and I don’t want to go where they won’t be happy. So, the week will not really be anything special. We might eat out more than usual, but that’s about it. It does make life easier this time of year when the expectations are lower.

So, is there a point to the above rambling? Not really. I will say that as someone who is likely going through a midlife crisis and feels like he’s in a rut, some higher expectations in all aspects of life would probably be a good thing. Easy isn’t always a good thing. Easy can make you complacent and boring. Easy can make you take things and people for granted. I shouldn’t wait for someone to have higher expectations for me. I need to have higher expectations for myself.

In the Shadows of Alcatraz

via Photo Challenge: Shadow

So, the photo challenge that I found on Friday moved to Wednesday.  I think they are trying to avoid me. Now that I am following them and will see when the challenge is posted I will try to take a new photo that fits the theme. Since I’m a day behind I decided to use an old photo again. The theme this week is Shadow. I had several pictures that I considered. Some from the mountains, some in the city, but I decided on my “cellfie” from Alcatraz. When The picture was first taken, I was disappointed that it was so dark, but thinking about it I think it fits. Alcatraz is not a bright, fun place. The picture fits what I’m sure the mood would be if I was incarcerated there.

shadow