Showing 1 - 10 of 124 posts found matching keyword: rant

Dad has been in the hospital since Tuesday.

His colectomy surgery to address lingering problem from his 2018 diverticulosis episode had originally been postponed because the hospital was full of COVID patients (but they later found room after calling in support from the National Guard). Measures designed to prevent the further spread of COVID within the hospital mean that he is allowed only one visitor per day. COVID is stretching hospital resources so thin that staff have been forced to leave Dad lying on soiled sheets because clean and sanitized sheets were not immediately available.

One thing I cannot blame on COVID is Dad's hallucinations, presumably resulting from a combination of medications and lack of sleep. In the midst of a waking dream, he removed all his catheters and drips and tried to tear out his drain. This last bit may have damaged his sutures. He's now subject to a more robust watch by the nursing staff, which in practical terms doesn't mean as much as it might because the staff is already overtaxed tending to patients suffering from COVID*.

The point here is that I'm finding it increasingly difficult not to be rationally furious at every idiot who has participated in extending this fucking pandemic that for 18 months and counting continues to make life both more difficult and more perilous for everyone on the planet.

As I waited to pass screening into the hospital yesterday, the lady working the front desk was trying to be apologetic about the hospital's restriction procedures. "Numbers have been going down the past two weeks. It may be over soon," she said. I said, "I've heard that before." She gave up trying to make small talk with me, a lesson everyone should probably take to heart, at least until we can all talk to one another safely without masks on.

*UPDATE: I've been sitting in the hospital room all afternoon, and the staff couldn't be nicer or more attentive. I should not impugn their Herculean efforts. The COVID era sucks for them, too.

UPDATE 2021-09-26: Today, Dad developed a case of hospital delirium and escaped from the hospital on foot. Full credit to the entire staff, including the nurses who were bowled over by a fleeing, bow-legged senior citizen and the security guards who peacefully returned him to his bed. I mention this so specifically because the hospital staff continues to do a great job under the most trying circumstances. (Personally, I would have let him just keep running, which is the best argument for why I should never work in a hospital.)

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Twitter very helpfully reminds me that today is Batman Day 2021. Explains the site: "Fans pay tribute to the DC Comics superhero on Batman Day, which is celebrated each year on the third Saturday of September." The only problem with that description is that it is not true.

Maybe Batman Day is held on the third Saturday of September since 2018, but it wasn't always. As I have documented elsewhere, Batman Day has been all over the calendar since it was first recognized in July 2014. But that's not the part I'm really bothered by.

The word "fans" in that description is misleading, unless you'd describe the corporations who own the Batman intellectual property as fans. Unlike Star Wars Day, which began as a genuine celebration of its source material before being taken over as a marketing exercise by The Walt Disney Co., Batman Day has never been anything other than a marketing exercise by WarnerMedia.

I wonder if whoever crafted that description for Twitter wasn't having a little fun with the wording. The phrase "pay tribute," which has come to mean a figurative giving of praise, was originally meant quite literally. A tribute is a tax levied on conquered peoples. Give your thanks (and dollars!) to your corporate masters, Bat-fans!

Which is not to say that I don't like Batman or think it's uncool to say how great the Caped Crusader is. I'd just like a little honesty in why we chose today to do it, is all.

Sometimes he's a little too honest
Batman #119, October 1958

Honesty! It's what Batman would want.

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Welcome to the 16th Annual Wriphe.com Batman and Football Month, now with 166% more disease!

A year ago, I looked upon the approaching college football season with trepidation and wrote

I get that the players want to play. As a fan, I want to watch. But just because we *want* football doesn't mean we're in a position to have it. If you're old enough and smart enough to go to college, you're old enough not to let your wants hurt you. If getting this pandemic under control, if ensuring that we break the chain of infections to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors means we have to stay in our homes (or dorms) and forego one football season, we should do that, even if we don't want to. Any other behavior is just irresponsible.

Oh, how naive I was in my youth. Let me show you how much things have changed in the state of Georgia in one year. This is August 2020:

On a roller coaster, we'd call this a bunny hill

And this is where we are in August 2021:

A pandemic so nice, we did it twice
source: worldometers.info

A year-to-year gain of +7,000 cases on a graph that is still climbing! To get numbers like that, you have to be actively trying!

Just like in 2020, I bought UGA football season tickets in the early spring under the assumption that this whole pandemic thing might be under control by fall. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Granted, some things have changed in a year. In theory, the players have all been vaccinated (right?), so they should be safe enough (from COVID if not brain damage). But can the same be said for the fans? There's a non-zero overlap between the group of people who love to watch live football and the group of people who would rather kill children than wear a strip of cloth over their faces.

I'm fully vaccinated and have been since May, but vaccination is no guarantee that I can't get the virus. (If you like to be depressed, Google "breakthrough cases" and "vaccine efficacy decline".) Since we have yet to see any sign that this latest pandemic surge is ready to turn any corners, it looks like I'll be missing out on another season.

I guess I should have spent that ticket money on a new, larger television. I may be in my bunker for a long time yet to come.

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My father was supposed to have surgery this past Tuesday to finally address complications resulting from his diverticulosis in October 2018. It didn't happen.

We've spent most of the past three years dealing with his heart issues, which made doctors uneasy about intestinal surgery. First an artificial valve, then a pacemaker, then another pacemaker.... Now that those are resolved, Dad was all set to finally put (most of ) his abdominal issues to rest. Unfortunately, things continue to work out not as planned. This time, the hospital had to cancel. It seems they ran out of room.

Late this week, Piedmont Hospital Newnan was forced to call in the National Guard for help against the latest surge against COVID-19. They didn't need that help back in January, so that tells you how bad this wave is. According to one report, they are booked to 125% of capacity, with the Emergency Room waiting room converted to temporary overflow COVID-patient holding.

(Side note: They say that most of those currently ill with the Delta variant weren't vaccinated. I wonder what the overlap is in Georgia between those who chose not to vaccinate and those who have no health insurance? I'd ask a high school student to draw that Venn diagram, but masks are optional in Coweta County schools, and I don't want to end up in the hospital myself.)

Both Dad and I like to think that one day he'll finally be fixed enough to avoid his current monthly visits to a urologist and surgeon. Maybe so. But the way things are going, it doesn't look like it's going to be any day soon.

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A regular op-ed columnist in the local newspaper — a former police officer — recently decried potential firearm regulation legislation using the justification that more people die annually drowning in swimming pools (2,616) than in mass shootings (446). That's a great point.

His argument convinced me. I mean, who cares how many innocent people are shot to death when there are people drowning? Obviously, if you don't want to drown, don't get in the water. And if you don't want to get shot to death, don't go to the grocery store. Problem solved!

You know what else kills people? Falling down. According to the CDC, falling killed 39,443 people in 2019. It'd be ridiculous to outlaw gravity, right? Handrails and walls are for pussies! If I want to wear shoes made from banana peels and K-Y Jelly tubes, that's my God-given right.

The next time someone assaults someone in a massage parlor or movie theater with 10,000 gallons of chlorinated water, I promise I'll support swimming pool control legislation.

Remember, kids: It's not guns that kill people. It's swimming pools.℠

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Dictionary.com made news this week by defining "supposably" to mean "as may be assumed, imagined, or supposed." That's the same definition typically ascribed to "supposedly" ("according to what is accepted or believed"). There was a time in my life I would have been bent out of shape about this.

Where I come from, "supposably" is not a word. At least, it's not that word. According to my trusty Websters New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (2nd Edition), "supposably" should mean "in a supposable manner." However, it has been used as a mispronunciation of "supposedly" for so long that some 21st-century lexicographers have finally thrown up their hands in defeat.

I have a personal connection to this word because my father has always uses supposably when he means supposedly. In his case, I think he does it because it bothers me. Dad's a real tease that way. (See? It's not my fault. I have been trained to be argumentative by a parent who thinks its fun to fly red flags in front of bulls!)

The reason I'm not a raving basket case over this new definition is because A) I've been reading a lot lately about the bizarre and often counter-intuitive developmental history of the English language, and B) the world is in such a state that if I let myself get worked up over words these days then I'm really going to need to start drinking. The meanings of English words have been meandering for centuries and will continue to do so for so long as someone is still speaking the language. I need to remember that the important part of language is understanding one another, not clinging to arbitrary rules of pronunciation.

That said, I will continue not using "supposably" in my own writing. Even in the 21st-century, a man's got to stand for something.

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I feel like the recent announcement that Hasbro is dropping the "Mr." and "Mrs." from their Potato Head toys is something that I should be blogging about. It's exactly the sort of inconsequential bit of nostalgic pop-culture bullshit for an overgrown man-child to rant sarcastically about.

However, in 2021, if I make a joke about a plastic potato no longer having a penis, that means I qualify to be a panelist on Fox News. Good grief. (Fun fact: Fox News much prefers their plastic potatoes to have vaginas as God intended.)

These days, everything is a political weapon. From which fast food you have for lunch to which comic books you read to whether you take steps to prevent the spread of disease, every goddamn thing is now a cudgel that someone will use to drive their agenda against you.

Has it always been this way? Was I just not paying attention before? When did everyone get so sensitive? Wokeness is fucking exhausting. We could use some laughter to break this tension, but someone is sure to take that personally.

Way to suck the fun out of a toy, everybody.

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Four days before Christmas, while the nation was busy with other, bigger problems, the Virginia-sponsored statue of Robert E. Lee was quietly removed from the U.S. Capitol.

Each state has two statues in the Capitol, most in the National Statuary Hall. But the hall isn't large enough for 100 statues, so some had been moved to other locations, including the Crypt below the Rotunda. It's called the Crypt because it was originally intended to be the final resting place of the mortal remains of America's patron saint: George Washington. That made it a fitting place for a statue of Washington's great-grandson-in-law.

The statue is being moved to a history museum, which is frankly a far more suitable location for the man famous as leader of the slave-owning armies in the War Between the States. It'd be nice to say that Lee's statue was the last Civil War remnant in the Capitol. However, Statuary Hall still includes monuments to Confederate Colonel Zebulon Vance (sponsored by North Carolina), Lieutenant General Wade Hampton (South Carolina), General Joseph Wheeler (Alabama), Vice President Alexander Stephens (Georgia), and Jefferson Davis (Mississippi). Maybe you can see a theme there.

Prior to this year, I believed we should preserve all works of art, even those that could serve as political propaganda for causes of hatred. While I never thought such pieces belonged in the same building as the working seat of government, the current political climate has me thinking that maybe museums are also too public. There are very clearly too many in this country willing to use the imagery of the past for their own political purposes without regard to the damage they inflict on others. That's just plain wrong.

The ancient Olmecs, like us, used to make giant statues of their leaders. Then, when the leaders fell from power, the statues were disfigured and buried so that the people could move on without being encumbered by old grudges and failed ideologies. I'm increasingly of the opinion that might not be such a bad idea.

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Welcome to the 15th Annual Wriphe.com Batman and Football Month, now with 80% less football! Past Septembers have included travelogues of my adventures attending UGA football games in Athens, GA, (and occasionally elsewhere around the South), but there will be none of that this year. (Thanks COVID-19!)

I find I'm not excited about football this year. I mean, I haven't been excited about anything the Miami Dolphins have offered in decades, but college football is usually another story. My ennui is probably COVID's fault, too. What is there to get excited about when everything we've seen in the past six months points to a significant disruption in schedule? Do I really need entertainment so badly that I'm willing to watch football players get sick and die needlessly for the sake of a game?

The Big Ten, Pac-12, Mid-American, and Mountain West conferences have all decided that the risk to fans and players alike is too great to play football in 2020, but the SEC is pushing ahead despite already having the highest percentage of cases per population (31 per 100k) of any football region in the country. As I've already said, I won't be attending. "It Just Means More℠" makes a fine motto, but let's not get carried away.

Maybe I'm just a snowflake. Maybe everything will turn out fine. It might happen. Sh'yeah. And monkeys might fly out of my butt.

In the meantime, I'll be following the advice of a billionaire philanthropist who doesn't have a financial interest in selling me football tickets.

I live in a basement. That's like a Batcave. Kinda.
It's easier for him. His parents are dead.

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After weeks of discussion about how they could continue playing sports in the face of an unabated pandemic, the University of Georgia is now scheduled to play Auburn on October 3 in their first home football game of an unusual SEC-only season. Theoretically, I have a ticket. At least, I paid for one back in February.

While they have announced that all attendees will have to wear face coverings "over the nose and mouth" while entering, leaving, or moving through the stadium, the University has yet to announce any actual plan for dividing the 93,000 seat Sanford Stadium into socially distanced sections. There are about 58,000 season ticket holders and nearly 20,000 student tickets per game in a usual year. Obviously, the stadium will seat far, far fewer than that this year. I imagine that only the richest donors will get seats for all 5 games, but I can't imagine why they would want them.

(My bad. There are only to be 4 home games. What would be the 5th home game is the Florida/Georgia game, still scheduled to be played in Jacksonville.)

That first football game is still six weeks away. Since the start of this mess, there has been no six-week period with an overall decline in cases in America. Students have only this week returned to campus, so the inevitable explosion in COVID cases is still on the horizon. What will things look like that first October weekend? Based on recent history, it can't be anything good. In fact, Georgia Tech has just declared Georgia to be the state in the Union in which a person is most likely to be exposed to the virus. Whoo-hoo! Let's play some ball!

I get that the players want to play. As a fan, I want to watch. But just because we *want* football doesn't mean we're in a position to have it. If you're old enough and smart enough to go to college, you're old enough not to let your wants hurt you. If getting this pandemic under control, if ensuring that we break the chain of infections to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors means we have to stay in our homes (or dorms) and forego one football season, we should do that, even if we don't want to. Any other behavior is just irresponsible.

Go Dawgs. Go home. Football will still be there once we're all healthy enough to play it.

UPDATE 2020-08-19: I woke up this morning to find an email from UGA Athletics informing that I am to be granted the opportunity to attend 1 home game not of my choice. Alternately, I can opt-out of attending any games and either A) transfer my donation to help fund the skyrocketing costs of the university's attempts to play games during the ever-worsening COVID-19 pandemic or B) be refunded my 2020 donations "before the end of the calendar year." I think you can guess which I chose.

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To be continued...

 

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