Coffee heat rising

Not Dead Yet…

Nope, I haven’t croaked over from covid-19 yet (though the accursed ragweed allergy was so exuberant this spring I came within an inch of running to the doc to get tested). Haven’t been killed in any protests — yet (though the temptation to riot in the streets is great: see b’low…)

The past couple weeks have rendered me incommunicado with…gasp!…work. A large and interesting project from a client is in-house. I should have turned it back to her before this, but a few other small distractions arose. And I’m nuthin’ if not easily distracted.

Three typical distractions this morning:

Her Majesty

The current battle in the Ant Queen Wars is in full sway. Her Majesty’s soldiers took possession of the kitchen counter, a matter complicated by the fact that I supposedly am not going into grocery stores and Home Depot…and I have no ant traps. Ordered up a package of bait that seemed to be highly reviewed.

Junk! The Queen’s minions recognized that stuff for what it is. So now we have another brand on order from Amazon, one that I’ve used before and…why didn’t I order that in the first place? Ohhhh well.

I thought the troops were entering the field of battle through some opening in the Cave of the Dishwasher, and so this ayem planned to call the handyman to pull the washer out from under the counter so I could sprinkle some DE under there. But by the light of dawn, the laydeez trail became visible: they had discovered an entry beneath the security screen on the side door to the garage. From there they marched across the floor to the kitchen door, where they managed to penetrate to the battlefield despite a thick piece of insulation along the doorjamb.

This was good. DE is not something you want to sprinkle liberally around a kitchen, and especially not on a counter — not unless it’s food-grade DE. This is swimming-pool DE, not something you’d normally choose to play with. But in the garage? WGAS!

So I bombed the trails across both entryways, handily repelling that battalion.

***

Earlier, it was out the door with the hound. We got out at 5 a.m. — hot and muggy even at that hour. The weather we’re enjoying is what I would call July weather. Usually in June it does not reach 112, and June is normally quite dry, so that the mornings and evenings are highly tolerable.

Not so, now: an hour’s walk through whatever that is out there turns into an uncomfortable traipse.

As we’re trotting homeward, a crazy lady hauls up behind us, yapping away as loud as she can yap.

I hate that. Most women do not know how far their voices carry outdoors, and so even normal conversation can be annoying from quite a distance. But this wasn’t conversation — she was alone. Finally I realized she was talking to herself in a loud voice…. But no…she wasn’t talking, she was singing. Sort of. More like squawking. She was moving faster than the dog and I were walking (which was as fast as I could chug along), and so instead of falling back, she was gaining on us.

At the corner of Neighborhood Lane and Feeder Street NW is a house where I often stop to chat with the residents. Butch is usually out puttering in the yard or the garage, with his wife Marge coming and going. If I can get to them there’ll be some safety in numbers, and if we have to we can go inside their house until the lunatic moves on. I don’t see him in his usual domain, but expect he’s in the garage.

As we come abreast of their house, the garage door opens and out comes Marge. I ask if I can hang around for awhile, and we wait together until the Loony Tune goes around the corner and heads south on Feeder Street. By way of polite small talk, I ask how they’re doing, and SHE says she just got back from taking Butch to the hospital for brain surgery.

Say what? She’s pretty upset, and I can tell you that she’s one tough lady.

She says that several years ago, Butch had three small tumors called meningiomas removed from the tissue that surrounds the brain (the meninges…hence meningioma). She said two of them were benign but one was ambiguous — not quite cancer, but not NOT cancer, either. As a result, he went through forty rounds of radiation therapy!

Holy crap!

What had her most upset right this minute was that because of the covid terror, they wouldn’t let her go in with him, and they will not let her visit him.

***

And in other news of how national events touch our lives… When Ruby and I got home, I picked up yesterday’s mail delivery as we walked past the mailbox. What do I find in the day’s catch but a pretty little check-sized envelope from the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service.

Hot DAYUM, think I: this must be the ballyhooed second stimulus check! Must drive this thing up to the CU the minute they open, since the money bin is running dry.

No.

Not so much.

Rip open the envelope and find A CAMPAIGN LETTER FROM THAT BASTARD TRUMP RAVING ON ABOUT HOW WONDERFULLY HE AND HIS FELLOW REPUBLICANS (who, yes, dear fellow Republicans, do carry around his mud on their shoes) HAVE WANGLED THIS MUNIFICENT $1200 PAYMENT FOR US.

Holy goddamn shit. Excuse my language but it’s mild compared to the phrases passing through my mind.

Yes. That Bastard used taxpayer dollars — that would be your money and my money — to crow on and on about the CARES Act “which I proudly signed into law.” He personally loves you so much that he is “pleased to notify you” that your $1,200 payment (which, BTW, arrived here two weeks ago) is on its way.

Well. Does that mean he’s sending another $1200? Or is he just so stump-dump unaware he doesn’t know the money has already been sent out? Or so goddamned outrageously corrupt that he figures he can get away with sending out campaign mail on the taxpayer dime?

How is it possible to express my rage with the present State of our Union? If it were not 104 degrees at 9:00 p.m., I would cheerfully join the rioting mobs. Only be sure to wear a football helmet. Did you see where a couple of cops shoved a 75-year-old man off his feet and busted his head on the pavement? They were about to walk away and leave him there, as you can tell by a bystander’s video, when several onlookers told them they’d better call an ambulance.

And how did you like Der Wannabe Führer waving a Holy Bible around (upside down, aptly enough) on the steps of a church whose clergy and members could not agree less with his bastardry?

Oh, dear God. No wonder I’m not getting anything done. Back to work!

Life in the ‘Hood: Never a Dull Moment

Just got in the door from a lovely, quiet evening doggy walk, along about 9:30 when along comes the roar of a cop copter. They’re buzzing the corner where SDXB used to live and the street where I used to live — about three houses up the way from the present Funny Farm.

At least, so it appears: but folks commenting on the neighborhood Facebook page say the scene of activity seems to be up on Gangbanger’s Way. Whatever: evidently they’re chasing somebody.

Tiresome. There’s always some damnfool thing going on around here. Of course, that’s what we call Life in the Big City. Okay, I get that. But sometimes I wonder if it’s not time to move away from the Big City. KJG and Mr. KJG have moved to Payson. It’s nice and quiet and foresty up there.

And…it snows in the winter.

Never snows in Sun City, of course. But I don’t suppose this latest frolic inclines me to covet living in a ghetto for old folks.

Rarely snows in Fountain Hills. But it’s as far away from everything in my life as Sun City is. Not as far as Payson, though. But too far to drive into town is…when you come right down to it…too far to drive into town. Doesn’t much matter how much too far.

Bunch of brilliant neighbors — teenagers, probably — are partying in the street up on the next road to the north. “Who, us? IQ points? We don’t need no steenking IQ!”

WhatEVER.

Sentimentalia

Walking the dog at dusk through a 1950s-vintage neighborhood, you remember the things that were different when this place was new. Of course, the time was different and the place was different. Ras Tanura was not a big city — far from it. But San Francisco was…and much there was different from what this big city is today.

Skies were quiet. Even in San Francisco, the skies were quiet. When a plane flew over, everybody stopped what they were doing and looked up, amazed, to watch it pass. Tonight a cop helicopter buzzed constantly over Meth Central all the time Ruby and I were walking through Upper and Lower Richistan. Back in the Dark Ages, there were no cop helicopters. There were precious few helicopters anywhere, and most or all of them belonged to the military.

Adults did not ride bicycles.

Few people walked for exercise, and no adults ran — at least, not on the paved streets. But people probably did walk more as part of everyday life, at least in major cities: public transportation went everywhere and was reasonably safe. Not everyone owned or needed a car.

On the other hand, the cars we did have were unsafe at any speed.

Food, by and large, tasted good. People didn’t eat anything like as much flavorless packaged foods as we do today, partly because that junk didn’t exist in such vast quantities and partly because we didn’t go out to eat all the time. It took a huge marketing program, launched in the late 1950s and continuing through the early 60s — plus the advent of fast-food joints — to get people out of their dining rooms and into restaurants. Of course there were canned foods, which were considered less than ideal when factory-made. And Bisquick (how could one live without it?). But it wasn’t until the late 50s that we got TV dinners, an early precursor of today’s ubiquitous processed foods.

Women cooked. Girl children washed up after meals. Women and girls cleaned their own homes, washed the laundry, and ironed clothes. Men kept the car running and maintained the yard and house.

In the 1950s, people typically had three or four children — hence the sprawling three- and four-bedroom homes here in the ‘Hood, which started its life as a suburb. If you had three bedrooms, you could accommodate several children no matter what their gender: the girls went in one bedroom, the boys, in another, and the parents resided in the master bedroom. If the house had two bathrooms, you were really set.

Fleets of helicopters were not needed because middle-class and upscale neighborhoods were not infested by drug-addicted criminals, though that didn’t mean crime was nonexistent.

People did not stroll around in public yapping at the top of their voices into cell phones. The only person who had a wrist radio was Dick Tracy.

We had newspapers in those days, wads of newsprint (with funny strips!) delivered to your door every morning, seven days a week. It was considered safe for young boys (and sometimes girls) to go out on their bicycles at dawn to bring your paper to your house.

Children played outside in yards and streets. No one felt a parent should lurk outdoors watching them at every moment. Kids ranged far and wide on their bicycles: also without parents feeling they had to watch over the kids’ shoulders every moment.

Schools were not prisons. No locked gates kept out bogeymen waving automatic rifles. And while yes, the occasional flask of vodka was passed around among a certain set of kids, no recreational drugs were ever in evidence.

After dusk, most people were parked in front of their televisions. Access to television was free, off the air — one did not have to pay for a cable or a dish to watch one’s favorite shows.

Only the wealthy had swimming pools.

There was no covid-19 to fear. Instead, we had polio epidemics and nuclear bombs.

A decent man was in the White House. His name was Dwight Eisenhower.

 

 

Meditations in the Time of Plague

So how long have we been officially locked down? Nigh unto a month? And a couple weeks before that we who had any brains were wary enough that we were effectively self-locked down. How long, all told? I’ve lost track.

Over the past home-bound weeks, I’ve slipped into a kind of goofy daze. Have managed to keep the house reasonably clean — that’s something. But otherwise have loafed, loafed, and loafed some more.

Consequently, I’ve put on 10 pounds!

So as of today, it’s back on the diet. The dog and I walked, briskly, for an hour this morning, and will do it again this evening. And tomorrow morning and evening…and the next day’s morning and evening…and the next day’s…

Who would think you burn 10 pounds’ worth of calories driving around town, walking across parking lots, climbing into the choir loft once a week? How?

On the other hand, I haven’t purchased gasoline since March 1st! Today is April 18, and the car still has 2/3 of a tank of gas. I normally buy gas once or twice a month. At this rate, I certainly won’t have to get a fill-up before the end of the month, and probably not then.

A tank of gas that lasts two months? Wow!

The main reason for this has little to do with my own desire to hunker down and everything to do with my son’s request that I not leave the house, especially not to go into retail stores. I’ve honored that, especially since he’s willing to do the shopping. It also, in theory, gives me an opportunity to experiment with merchandise delivery services, though so far I haven’t done so because my son is doing all the running around.

So this is one of several little revelations: if I’m not running to AJ’s whenever I happen to be at the church or in the mood, if I’m not trotting hither, thither, and yon for no very good reason but instead organize trips to serve specific needs, not impulses, probably there’s no need to buy gasoline more than about once every two months. Indeed, if I were to have groceries delivered, most of my driving would be mooted. And since a tank of gas costs about $30, that could represent a considerable savings.

Next revelation: Halellujah brothers and sisters, and thank God for Costco!

Because of my habit of shopping at Costco, which pretty much forces you to buy lifetime supplies of staples and household goods, I was bloody well not about to run out of anything that mattered. Except, of course, for toilet paper. I happened to have a half-dozen rolls of Walmart’s Best in the house, but since I prefer the Kirkland brand, it was by sheer chance that I wandered into the Deer Valley Costco on a Friday just as the TP frenzy started. And sheer luck that I happened to walk into the paper goods department in time to grab the third-to-last package of the stuff.

Thirty rolls will, as they always do, last me for several months. So will the nine rolls of paper towels that I happened to have remaining from some earlier Costco run.

Those paper towels will last me even longer now that the next little revelation has dawned:

Why am I using paper towels all the time, anyway? Yeah. Why???? When I was growing up, my mother and I didn’t have paper towels. We used dishrags. Anyone remember those? You had a square rag for kitchen and bathroom cleanup, and for washing the dishes. You didn’t throw it away when you were done using it. No. Hang onto your hats, young folks: you washed it!

You used paper — newsprint, actually — to wash windows and to wrap garbage. That was about it. Oh — and to write on, of course. In those days, people could write. With pens and pencils.

Well, I happen to have about 30 microfiber towels just about the size of a classic dishrag, courtesy of Costco. Thank God for Costco! So I tried using one in place of the wads of paper towels I pull off the roll, swab around, and then toss into the trash. And lo! It works. It doesn’t just work, it works handsomely. It absorbs more moisture. It cleans the counter better. It shines the brightwork better. And…should I say it again? It goes into the washer, not into the landfill.

Revelation the Fourth: Life in These United States is one hell of a lot more precarious than we think it is. (Why do these things seem so obvious to me now?) The present public health horror could not have happened at a worse time, with an ignoramus in the White House play-acting at being President — or Emperor, or King, or Tsar, or Führer, or whateverthehell he imagines he is — while craven interests that do not have the public’s welfare at heart work behind the scenes.

In the absence of good leadership, the covid-19 contagion has brought our country damn near to its knees. We’re looking at a recession that will at best rival but more likely exceed the Great Depression.

Do I really need to point out that Europe is not on its knees? And neither is China. A failure of leadership at this juncture — at just the wrong time — is likely to prove catastrophic.

And that is not an exaggeration, my friends.

Revelation the Fifth: The Mormons had it right. Stemming, as it does, from a rural culture, the Mormon church urges its followers always to be prepared and stocked up for a rainy day. What’s a rainy day? Could be just about anything: a year when the crops fail…a tornado that takes out the farmhouse and barn…death of a breadwinner…loss of a mother…a lost job…a Great Depression…a flood…a drought…a tornado…a Civil War…a devastating contagion…a moron in the White House… The message appears to be that you need to make yourself, at least to a credible degree, ready for hard times.

My dear ex-husband had a law partner, Monroe McKay, an extraordinary man, who, after a stint directing the Peace Corps in Malawi went on to become a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals justice. Monroe was a good Mormon boy — on steroids. One of the interesting things we learned from him is that he and his wife always had a year’s worth of supplies stocked in for themselves and their nine children.

They had a pantry closet in which Monroe had installed shelving on a slight angle, slanting downward toward the front of the closet, with a lip at the bottom to serve as a block. At all times, they kept a year’s worth of canned goods on these shelves, the cans arranged on their sides in rows, so they would roll forward when a can in front was removed. Thus if you took out, say, a can of tomatoes, a dozen more cans behind it would roll down behind that can. When you next went to the store, you would buy a new can of tomatoes and put it in the back, up at the top of the row. In addition, they kept large bags of pinto beans and rice.

So you understand: when this latest panic happened, these folks didn’t have to go running around frantically stocking up on whatever they imagined might keep body and soul together. They had already thought it through. And they already had their stockpile.

What do you bet they also had a generator, should the power fail? What do you bet they kept a rotating stock of gasoline, should the country run short of fuel? What do you bet they had a propane stove on which to cook those beans and canned veggies, if push came to shove?

The time has come, my friends, to pay attention to this institutional wisdom. The time has come to get prepared.

You should not have to run around frantically trying to buy toilet paper: you should always have enough in the house to last several weeks or, better, several months.

You should not have to wonder what will happen if the power goes down for a long while: you should have a generator and enough propane to suffice until a major failure can be repaired.

You should not fear running out of food if you have to hunker down in your house for a period of weeks: you should have enough staple foods to last you and your family for a bare minimum of two or three months.

You should not go to the grocery store and find there’s no yeast and no flour on the shelves, to say nothing of no bread. You should have yeast and flour stored in the freezer.

You should not be in a position to run out of clean water should the water processing plants fail or be attacked: you should always have several five-gallon jugs full of fresh water. Once a month, pour one out onto your garden, refill it, and move it to the back, so that you regularly refresh your supply with new water.

You should never run out of detergent and soap and shampoo. You should always have enough in a closet or washroom to last your family several months.

And, let’s be completely frank about this: You should not fear roving mobs of “patriots” rioting to demand that the government shut down or open up under the most irrational circumstances. You should be armed and prepared to defend yourself and your family. And I don’t mean with a baseball bat.

The Strange Benefits of “Lockdown”

So we’re told that the “lockdown” of America’s population — basically urging everyone to stay in their homes, to shut down businesses, to stay at least six feet away from other people (preferably more), to stay away from church services, movie houses, athletic events, restaurants, and whatnot — has apparently begun to work. The coronavirus wildfire is beginning to cool. But we won’t be safe, not a chance, until a vaccine is produced. And when will that be?

“Given the current severity of the crisis, there are efforts to fast-track a vaccine for COVID-19 in as little as 12 to 18 months,” Dr. Abe Malkin, the founder and medical director of Concierge MD in Los Angeles told Business Insider.

A year to a year and a half? As little as? Seriously?

Our honored leader, dumb as a post as usual, craves to reopen the economy ASAP even though at the moment our country has the highest covid-19 death toll of any in the world: 20,000 of our people killed. This ill-advised desire of his is hardly surprising given that we’re headed into a depression the likes of which we haven’t seen since 1929 and that he campaigned on promises of invigorating the economy.

Meanwhile, those who understand economics warn that we’re skateboarding down the tubes at accelerating rates. “The pain will deepen,” opine the august editors of The Economist, “as defaults cascade through domestic payment chains.” Far as I can see, they’ve got that dead right. Recovery from this fiasco in the short term will be miraculous; in the long term it will require fortitude, patience, and — hang onto your hat — intelligent leadership.

If this thing goes on much longer, we could find that the measures we’re taking to save lives could alter the fabric of our society: change the ways we do things permanently.

On the other hand, not all is angst. Let us consider the strange benefits of “lockdown.”

It has given Mr. Trump a royal opportunity to display what a bumbling clown he is. Maybe his performance will move voters off the dime to get him out of office.

There’s almost no traffic! Even at 7 or 8 a.m., I can get across Feeder Street N/W without risking my life. The horrid Conduit of Blight Blvd. is relatively quiet and clear. Driving on a freeway is not the usual nightmare.

I haven’t bought gasoline in a month! And the car’s gas tank is still three-quarters full!

My auto insurer is refunding 15% of this year’s car insurance premium! Hafta say, it had crossed my mind to quietly resent having to pay to insure the tank for the weeks and possibly months that I’m not driving it. Since the cost of insuring that damn Venza is in the vicinity of $750, a 15% refund will go a ways toward next year’s tax & insurance budget.

With people home all the time, the neighborhood is safer: fewer burglaries, fewer car break-ins, less harassment of women.

Delivery services are growing. Getting someone else to bring your groceries to you instead of having to do battle with traffic and crowds is kinda nice. Walmart, Sprouts, Albertson’s, Safeway, Basha’s (a local grocery chain), Fry’s (Kroger), CVS, Walgreen’s, and Home Depot will deliver whatever your heart desires, right to your door. Right now I could order 20 pounds of (much-needed) birdseed from Walmart for a tiny fraction of what the same stuff goes for on Amazon.

Restaurants are turning themselves into grocery stores. In addition to selling cooked meals to go, many are selling grocery items. One proprietor here will sell you a margarita to go, too, with your upscale gourmet “Mexican” meal.

My son has been working at home for the past three weeks. He says his employer, a large nationwide insurance company, has closed and locked its large building in the East Valley. He’s afraid they won’t re-open it. Whether that means he thinks they’ll move their operation to some other city, laying off all their Phoenix workers, or whether he suspects they simply will ask everyone on their staff to telecommute has yet to be articulated. But…

Why not have all office workers work from home all the time? Companies wouldn’t have to rent expensive office buildings — these could be converted into homeless housing or retail space. Or  torn down to provide some green space. All a company would need is a meeting room to bring staff together once a month or so, and private space for one-on-one meetings.

Meanwhile, my neighbor across the street, a high school teacher and English-as-a-second-language specialist, appeared to be relaxing on his front porch the other day, talking into his laptop’s microphone. In response to a quizzical glance, he announced “I’m teaching!

Yep. I’ve done that. Created the Great Desert University’s first online course in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. It surely has its advantages over standing in front of a roomful of students for 90 minutes to three hours.

Why not put schools online all the time? Where schools exist to provide free lunches and baby-sitting services, why not frankly make them child-care centers? For single parents and couples who both have to work, existing school buildings could be converted into baby-sitting facilities with computer hookups to have the kids do their schoolwork online. Is it really necessary to congregate kids in prison-like facilities to teach them?

When I was teaching at the university’s westside campus — a commuter campus smack in the middle of a district where you really don’t  wanna put your kids in a public school — I was surprised to discover that a bunch of otherwise perfectly sane adult students were homeschooling their kids. Nooo, amazingly, they were NOT religious nuts or end-of-the-worlders. These were people who had tried the public schools in that part of town and found them beyond wanting. And because most were working-class folks, few of them were earning so much that one partner’s salary would be sorely missed. Several classmates explained that after doing the math, they realized that if one parent stayed home to supervise their kids’ homeschooling, it actually cost the family budget nothing — and indeed in some cases they came out ahead. This was because if one parent, usually the mother, stayed home, they didn’t have to pay for office clothing, for gasoline to commute, for higher auto insurance to cover commutes to two jobs, for lunches out, for day care, for summer child care, and so on. Not only that, but these people were convinced their children were getting better education — and having taught the products of Arizona’s public schools after they reach our universities and community colleges, I’d say they had somethin’ there. Not one but several of them reported that their kids could get through a whole day’s classroom instruction in two hours, sitting at the dining room table. They said that if they sat their kids down shortly after breakfast, the kids would go through the lessons, do the homework, and finish by noon.

They would then spend the afternoon in field trips, learning projects, music lessons, or other creative activities. Kids had no problem passing the standardized tests and no problem with the SATs.

Think o’ that… As for socialization, the public schools here are required to let home-schooled kids join in extra-curricular activities, so many of these kids were on track teams, baseball teams, band, debate clubs, even football teams. In addition, the Phoenix area has large kids’ soccer and baseball leagues, so there are plenty of PE-like things for home-schoolers to join.

I’m tellin’ you…if this lock-down maneuver goes on for very long, a whole lotta parents are going to figure that out. Why would you put your kid in a prison-like school where they’re going to bring home a disease, a pack of cigarettes, or a baggie of weed…when you could teach them better at home?

If that happens, school districts will (one hopes) respond by providing extensive online instruction. And then maybe all teachers will be able to hold forth from the comfort of their front patios.

And speaking of change in the offing…

Sheltering in place is about the same as aging in place. This fiasco is giving me a chance to see what will be involved in staying in my house when I’m too old to go out and bat around the homicidal streets of Phoenix, and to figure out how to make it happen, while I’m still “young” enough and clear-headed enough to figure anything out.

Being forced to figure out how to get damn near everything delivered is good preparation for the Aging in Place Scheme. If all the places that are doing home deliveries now continue to do so into the future — and they probably will, because most of them are contracting out the service — it would be relatively easy to stay in your home (assuming no crippling disability) well into your dotage. All these delivery services essentially co-opt the largest part of one’s need to drive.

For other purposes — entertainment, for example, or church, or clothes shopping — Uber or else catching rides with younger friends will do the job.

What’s good about social distancing and self-isolation in your parts?

Life and Death in Dystopia

A friend remarked on the dystopic nature of our lives as they are affected by the ubiquity and inescapability of computers, whose presence has expanded to fill every cubic centimeter of existence. And how, brother!

Sometimes I wonder if the digitization of day-to-day life creates stresses and psychological disjuncts may be responsible for the madness we see around us — specifically, for the ever-increasing number of shootings by crazies. Life was frustrating back in the day…and scary, too — remember those air-raid drills? Everyone had at least one gun in the house — or at any rate, that was true of the blue-collar class in which I grew up.

But no one went out and shot up public spaces.

The mindset has changed, and I think that has happened because of the deluge of passive stimulation, of violent games and TV and movies and music and “entertainment” and hostile speech accessible 24/7, and because of the constant background demand that you respond to negative stimulation through social media, gaming, and incoming images and narratives. We’re blitzed with constant aural and psychological noise, much of it hostile and violent.

And there’s no viable escape from it. Remember when a little kid could sit outside and watch the clouds float by? Imagine a kid doing that today…right!

I mean…when I was a kid, I hated school. I deeply loathed my classmates, the obnoxious little twits who made my life miserable for years on end. I hated my fifth- & sixth-grade teacher (same bitch….she “passed” into the 6th grade along with us, to my horror!). But forgodsake, it never entered my fevered little brain to kill them. Though I would have been pleased if they’d all been dispatched to the other world, making that a DIY project was not even remotely imaginable.

Now we have the lovely situation in which we find ourselves. Today it not only is imaginable, it’s becoming commonplace. And a nutty, disaffected kid like me can find instruction and encouragement on a machine that brings the world to her bedroom.

Result: an ordinary neighborhood church has an armed security team(!!!) who must leap into action to save the lives of what could have been scores of parishioners. Look at this video of the latest outrage (if you don’t mind having your hair stand on end): the guy had some kind of long gun. You can’t see it clearly in this video, but it looks like it’s probably a semi-automatic.

The most striking thing here is that these guys were prepared. The one who shot the sh!thead was a former FBI agent. It wasn’t that a few parishioners happened to pack heat into church: the church had an organized, armed security team

WTF!! We’re in an era where churches and synagogues need armed security guards. Sorta like schools do. And movie theaters. And nightclubs.

Y’know, I can’t even count how many times I’ve sat in that choir loft and thought how easy it would be for a crazy to get a gun into the sanctuary below us. At this time of year, when it’s cold, everyone is wearing jackets…making it easy to hide a pistol.  There are four entrances to that place, not counting the two stairwells that lead to the organ loft. Anyone could carry in a pistol, take a seat, and bide his time. When he was good and ready, he’d have a large roomful of sitting ducks. If he could get into the choir loft (to which there are two entrances), he could shoot at people from above, though choir members would probably interfere with him. Or he could shoot us all in a matter of seconds.

What a world we live in!