The Day the Music Died and Other Tragedies

I watched the Patsy Cline biopic the other day and it reminded me of all the talent that’s been lost due to stupid decisions by a pilot. Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Richie Valens died because the pilot was not qualified to fly with instruments only. Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas died for the same reason and the fact that the pilot was an amateur (only 160ish hours flying). Stevie Ray Vaughn and the people in that helicopter died because the pilot decided to fly with near zero visibility and promptly slammed into a mountain seconds after take off.

In all three incidents, the pilots were to blame for flying in very poor conditions. These deaths were all 100% avoidable.

I have 27 hours of flight training, which is just past soloing. My father had over 1000 flight hours and was instrument rated. It is incredible to me that people would board an aircraft when the weather is obviously terrible. And it pisses me off that a pilot would go ahead and fly despite lack of training and obviously terrible conditions. Even with instrument ratings, there are still times to avoid flying!

My father had a Bonanza A36 (4 passenger plus 2 pilots) that he flew regularly from E TN to his restaurant in MO. Only once did he (with my mother!!) attempt to fly in poor conditions. It was cold and icy but he took off after deicing. Once you are above the weather, ice is not an issue. BUT they had to land in KY because the ice had compromised the plane’s handling before he could get above the weather. He told me about this and how scared he was – it was early in his flying years. That was the last time he ever flew in bad conditions. Later on, even after getting his instrument rating (IFR means he can fly without seeing the ground which is VFR or visual flying), he was still very particular about when he would fly.

I suppose all the pilots above might’ve been in a similar position, perhaps they’d never flown in such dire conditions and didn’t realise how bad it really was. But two of these guys were professionals. I expect more from someone with 700 hrs of flying! (The Buddy Holly pilot was a pro, but even HE flew in IFR conditions when he was not qualified to do so. HUBRIS.)

I won’t take a commercial flight if the weather is bad. If they have to deice the damn plane to get it off the ground – NOPE. My ass will not be on it. I don’t even like flying in the rain!! One time we flew to Detroit and they hadn’t cleaned off the goddam runway! We skidded several hundred feet upon landing. Most ppl didn’t even know it, BUT I DID. I was LIVID when we got off the plane. Luckily the weather cleared up by the time we flew back. Just damn.

So, hey kids, just don’t fly if it’s questionable. Seems pretty logical to me. I don’t care what the pilot or airline says, if you feel that the weather is too bad, don’t get on the plane.

Alternatives to FB

Someone posted about an alternative network to FB today and it sent me down the rabbit hole to explore what’s out there. I’m aware of several networks that have been created in the last few years, but none can seem to scratch FB’s dominance. In an effort to encourage others to leave FB – even if I can’t due to adminning umpteen pages – here is the comment I made to the Parler person with lots of links and info.

A while back, some folks were going to WT Social. It’s by the Wikipedia guy. And some others went to MeWe. Yet another is Ello. I don’t really endorse any of these, they are all MEH. However, I’ll go to any network (that is not right wing) where my friends go.

So where y’all wanna go? WT Social ELLO is MY vote! (changed my mind after looking them over)

Mastodon and the other decentralized platforms are a PITA to use and I don’t like them. I’ve got a Mastodon account, but it’s just too much work to use. I deleted the phone app and haven’t been over there in ages.

Yes, I’ve got accounts on all these platforms, fwiw. Perhaps I shall go forth and see if my accounts are still working… I like to jump on all new things to get my preferred handle! If you don’t know it, I guess you don’t know me that well, eh? LOL

Here is a very extensive article on the various FB alternatives; BTW, this site has SHITTY info for sites, hosts and domain registrars. I DO NOT ENDORSE this site in the slightest. I can confirm that the social network list is accurate, however.

And FINALLY: I have confirmed that Parler is a right wing/T**** network. I would not use it nor do I endorse it. I’ve also seen that MeWe has been the network of choice for MAGAts who are trying to organize their stop the election shit. So I’ll probably delete that account here shortly. I want NOTHING to do with any network that is a nest of ignorant T**** followers.

Pandemic Reading List 2020

More of an end of year wrap up, but I thought I’d revive my reading list blogs. If nothing else, perhaps it might encourage others to READ MORE. Here is a list of the books I’ve read this year plus the few stragglers from 2019 and a short opinion of each book. No particular order (I’ll try to follow the order in the photo).

Reading Lolita in Tehran, A Nafisi. This book is excellent. It begins with Dr Nafisi describing her underground reading group for females from her classes at Uni. Which is fine, it’s mildly interesting. She also gives a lot of literary analysis of various books such as Lolita, etc. BUT about halfway through, she goes into full memoir and describes Iran before and during the Islamic takeover. This is very eye opening and VERY RELEVANT to the bullshit we’ve just seen in the US. We are much closer to a religious regime here than most would like to admit. She also describes the war with Iraq, which was eight years long. Then Dr Nafisi circles back to her group of women and shares more of their stories. The best part of the book is definitely the memories of Iran pre-Ayatollah. Overall, this book is sad and about loss – of friends, of liberty, of her country. Dr Nafisi finally leaves Iran with her family to come to the US after enduring 17 years of Islamic rule in Iran. I think every American should read it and see that YES the unthinkable CAN happen. Iranians really did not realise that the Republic of Islam was taking over. It’s the frog in the pot scenario, which is also happening here. We may have beaten back the hillbillies THIS YEAR, but they are here to stay and we should NOT forget about their hateful desire to control this country and everyone in it. Sharia laws are not just for Islam, you know.

Almighty, D Zak. In progress. About the Manhattan Project.

Full Throttle, J Hill. Short story collection by Joe Hill. EXCELLENT. He definitely has his daddy’s writing gene!

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, D Sijie. Historical fiction novella. It’s about two boys sent for “reeducation” during the Chinese Revolution. An engaging, short read in which you’ll learn something about the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Recommend.

Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2, T Wilbur. Picked this up for fun, it’s chain restaurant recipes deciphered for the home cook. Fun!

The Girl on the Train, P Hawkins. I saw the movie a while back and thought I’d read the novel to compare. The novel is SO much better, of course. It delves deeply into the protagonist’s alcoholism. It’s also in an English setting. Very good read.

Halfway to Each Other, S Pohlman. I picked this one up because it’s about a family who moves to Italy for a year and I thought I might glean some info about doing that. Eh, not so much. It’s a memoir of a rich uber Christian family who takes a year OFF and goes to Italy. They are quintessential asshole Americans who barge into Italy without bothering to learn a single word of Italian. Ugh. I learned that Italy is pretty lax with their immigration documents, tho, which I already knew. It was not really worth the read.

Dark Places, G Flynn. Yes, this is the author of Sharp Objects, which was a mini series that blazed with Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson, and Gone Girl, another good movie AND book. I’ve not read Sharp Objects yet, it’s in the stack. Anyway, this is Flynn’s third book and it’s a great character study, but a bit slow. It’s a decent read.

And the Trees Crept In, D Curtagich. This is a YA novel to the core. The most interesting thing about it is the unique typesetting. Otherwise, it is slow and repetitive. Read if you like YA.

Red Scarf Girl, L Jiang. This is a memoir from the Chinese Cultural Revolution, written by a woman who lived it. It is stark and very sad. The brainwashing of young people during the Revolution was really horrible. Read if you want to learn about how countries can be taken over by fascists. A cautionary tale.

The Space Between Us, T Umrigar. This is a memoir about growing up in India when the castes were very much enforced. The woman who wrote this grew up when the caste system was being dismantled, so her views were different than her parents and family. Interesting if you like learning about other cultures, as I do.

What Happened, H R Clinton. I read Hillary’s memoir Hard Choices and I enjoy her style of writing. This is about the loss in 2016 and I found it to be heartbreakingly honest and infuriating as well. Everyone should read this book. She does not pull punches about how she was treated, nor about the mistakes she made in the campaign. Highly recommend.

The Book of Gutsy Women, H R Clinton & C Clinton. (not pictured) This is a collection of women chosen by Hillary and Chelsea as examples of strong, brave women throughout history. They each chime in on how that particular woman helped shape who they are. I have to say, my respect for Hillary (and Chelsea, too) has grown immensely since reading her books. Highly recommend.

The Testaments, M Atwood. The wrap up of the Handmaid’s Tale and the fall of Gilead. It was ok. I dunno, since we’re living a nascent Gilead right now, it didn’t do much for me. It’s good to have an ending to the saga, tho. Which is sort of the issue I have with the show of the same name. They need to wrap it up, June has already done WAY more than I think would be possible under a regime such as that. If you want an ending, read this book. It’s still Atwood, so the writing is excellent.

Southern Heirloom Cooking, N J M Haydel & H McQueen. Another fun little cookbook I picked up at Goodwill. I like to get anything with old Southern recipes in it. This is a family recipe collection and VERY familiar!

The Art of Cuisine, Toulouse-Latrec and M Joyant. YES, THAT Toulouse-Latrec! This is a cookbook he wrote in ’66 that was translated by Joyant in ’66. The copy I have is a first edition with library dust jacket. It is full of sketches and illustrations by Toulouse-Latrec, which I LOVE. The recipes? Eh, a bit weird for me. LOL They ate a lot of stews back then in France.

Flight or Fright, edited by S King and B Vincent. This is a collection of airplane related horror stories edited by Stephen King. These stories are from various authors. Entertaining!

Two graphic novels: Starve Vol 1&2, a chef based story that is suspiciously close to Bourdain. I liked it a lot!
Screwed, a fun romp with a Frankenstein feel.

Gwendy’s Button Box, S King & R Chizmar. A short novella with a twisty story. Loved it!

If It Bleeds, S King. This is another short story collection from King. Excellent as always. He is a MASTER of the short story.

The Tiger’s Wife, T Obreht. A Chinese fictional novel written by an author originally from Belgrade. It is a first novel and very well written. She weaves a lovely tale with ancient legends and spirit animals.

Song of the Jade Lily, K Manning. This is a historical novel as well as contemporary. She weaves the story of her family (1939) with the current life of one of the main characters (2006). I love me some historical fiction and I loves me some Chinese history. Lovely book!

The Mind of the South, W J Cash. Abandoned. It was just too dated and dry for me.

The Happiness Project, G Rubin. Abandoned. It’s 2020 with a fucking pandemic. Just NO. Too pollyanna for the current times.

The Institute, S King. I’ve read a lot of King this year! This one links to Black House and Hearts in Atlantis via the children used as Breakers. King as his prolific, wonderful self.

Sharp Objects, G Flynn
Dry, Shusterman
Within These Lines, Morrill
Vinegar Girl, Tyler
The Aviator’s Wife, Benjamin
The End of All Things, Scalzi (I think I need to read the others in this universe first, this might be on hold.)

Dear Hillbillies

I’ve not had much to say about T**** and the election. It’s been said by, well, EVERYONE and I didn’t feel I had much to add. For straight up good info and commentary, I recommend Jim Wright ( This is more of an open letter to all hillbillies out there who are going to vote for that lying, cheating, misogynistic, racist, fascist piece of shit.

First, let me explain my definition of hillbilly. I grew up in hillbilly E TN, so I know the typical definition. MY definition is much wider and includes anyone anywhere who is militantly ignorant, backwards and generally hateful to any people that are not just like they are. So, pretty much that encompasses MAGAts and the whole of the wacked out conservative Christian right.

Now that we are all clear on my definition of hillbilly, let me tell you why I have such a high level of contempt for them. I got into it with my asshole hillbilly neighbor and he got seriously butthurt. The best way to piss off a hillbilly is to call them one! He planted his T**** sign in his yard in response to my Biden/Ossoff signs and I called him a hillbilly on FB. He then sent me a threatening text (“Who the fuck you calling hillbilly?”) so I promptly blocked him from my phone and all media. Then he got another T**** sign and put it facing our house right on the lot line. SO mature.

He then left Nick a whiny VM wanting to know why I was being so mean and if we could “fix this thing”. Nick texted him back, explaining – not apologizing for – our contempt for people who vote for that piece of trash and that if he (neighbor) wants to vote for more hate, division and fascism, he should expect some push back from the rest of us. All the hillbilly could say to that was “Oh, I guess we disagree.” CLASSIC. Yeah, no, we disagree about football, this is far beyond a disagreement.

Why is it that MAGAts cheer when T**** trashes people and they wear Fuck Your Feelings T shirts, but get totally butthurt and whiny when you turn it back on them?

I have NOTHING but contempt for anyone who STILL thinks that fatass moron is good for the US. Clearly you are militantly ignorant and don’t give a fuck about anyone but yourself. These are the things that you think are fine and dandy if you vote for four more years of this shit:

– Immigrants in cages, with babies taken from mothers and women being sterilized without their consent
– Police shooting black people while they sleep in their beds and get no punishment
– Police shooting black people for walking, standing, driving, whatever with no punishment
– LGBTQ+ rights being stripped
– Women’s control over their own bodies stripped (undoing Roe v Wade)
– Putting a hard core conservative Christian on the SCOTUS (Under His Eye)
– White supremacists being supported and called “good people”
– Gun toting teenagers who shoot people are held up as good examples
– Allowing the pandemic to continue on and on when the rest of the world is mostly done because they actually had leadership, unlike here
– National debt has increased by $6.6 TRILLION (with a T)

Graph of T**** debt compared to other presidents and the forecast:


My contempt for hillbillies runs very deep. These are the people that supported Hitler’s Nazi regime. These are the people who will gleefully cheer as this country burns. They take pleasure from watching others suffer. They shit on everything good. They hate ME and ALL my friends, since none of us are “straight”. They don’t believe in science. They are fine with black people being shot in the fucking face for existing. They are fine with people in cages and forced sterilization. SOUND FAMILIAR? It should, this is Nazi Germany happening right in front of our faces. The Handmaid’s Tale is not far from happening if the crazed Christians like the SCOTUS nominee Amy C Barrett get control. Gilead is the goal of these crazy people. Do not doubt that. But hey, hillbillies, it’s FINE as long as the jackboot is on someone else’s neck, right? RIGHT?

So piss off, hillbillies. You are scum. I hope there are enough of us left to stop you from destroying the US. If not, I’ve got my passport, which I can hopefully use one day when the fucking pandemic calms down. T**** has fucked that up, too.

NONE of this is acceptable. I will call out the fucking hillbillies at every opportunity. And, hey, here’s a handy form for you to fill out if you feel butthurt about any of this (you’ll have to write in FB, this is an old form):

Please fill out this form to report your Butthurt!

Gratitude and Motivation

We had our weekly gab session last night. It’s a thing we do every weekend, usually on Fridays, but we started drinking too much, so we decided to stop the Friday thing and have a gab another time. This week, it was last night. It’s like an after action report, we talk about the week and anything else that is on our minds.

Anyway, we were talking about money and how grateful we are that we got assistance for the pandemic. I am particularly grateful that I got into the system, since SO many of my hospitality friends got zip. Thanks to the pandemic money, we not only made it through, but we managed to get money into savings and this helped us rebound from the pub losses as well as keep us afloat for the couple of months neither of us had work. This incident has proven that universal basic income WILL WORK. If people have basic income covered, then they have the ability to SAVE and create longterm wealth. For the first time in decades, people have savings! OH, but the rich fucks call that ‘milking the system’ or being lazy. Yeah, that’s easy to say when you’ve never NOT had a fat savings account.

We strongly believe that universal healthcare and universal base income is the way to create a healthy populace and economy. It’s unfortunate that this country is controlled by rich fuckers and their corporations. This will be the end of the US as a republic. If you don’t have a passport, GET ONE.

But this post isn’t about the fucking government, there’s plenty of that shit all over the internet. This post is about personal gratitude and motivation.

We are grateful to have the cushion of savings and wealth of investments. We firmly believe that anyone can have these things – you do NOT have to be rich. We are certainly not rich by any measurement, but we have created wealth from what little we had. I’m trying to teach my niece how to manage money and it’s not going well. She has been raised by poor people and she is deeply steeped in the ways of poor people. She and her husband do not balance their accounts, they spend until it’s gone and live paycheck to paycheck. MOST people live like this because money management is not taught by schools or parents. Nick and I have taught ourselves how to manage money and save and invest. It’s not difficult! But you do have to stay on top of it and it requires effort and motivation. Which brings me to the motivation part of this post.

Every single thing one does is sparked by motivation. It’s the core of how we operate. The trick is to tap into that well of motivation and stay tapped in to get what you want. It requires effort to stay motivated, trust me, I know. The issue with my niece is not the money, it’s the motivation. She and her husband are not motivated by the carrot of wealth because they truly believe that it is not something they can ever have. They believe that money will always be finite and that’s that. LOTS of people think that way. Hell, I’d say MOST people think that way. I’ve even seen well off people with the attitude that money is finite and you’d best hoard it or it’ll get away. That is not the truth, I wrote about this in another post recently.

Motivation to get out of debt and create wealth is necessary to do the work. You simply must commit to the mundane tasks of logging your spending (we recommend using Quicken) and being in control of your money. Once you know where your money is going, then you can fix it, right? Seems pretty simple. But it doesn’t matter how simple it is if there’s no motivation to do the work.

We have been motivated to start over after the pub debacle. So we did bankruptcy to erase the pub debts and started over. We have zero debts and we control 100% of our money. That’s all you need to start creating wealth – well, that and motivation! We are motivated to create wealth because we are middle aged and we’d like to have a large cushion of wealth for our later years. I don’t say retirement, because retirement is not something that any of us beyond the fucking boomers will ever get. We’ll work until we die. But our motivation is to have enough wealth built up so that we can at least eat the fancy cat food, yanno? ;)

Our conversation last night was about what we want to do now that the pub is off the table. YES we’d love to work for ourselves, but that is not going to happen. Nick’s boss is going to give them raises and bonuses as business comes back this year, so that mess is a little more palatable, at least. We were sitting downstairs with all the games going and I told Nick about MY personal motivation to get every possible game that we have working for MomoCon next year. I am FIERCELY motivated to bring a shit ton of games to Momo to a) show them we have great games and we’re improving our selection and b) ensure that WE will be THE vintage gaming vendor for that convention. I want my beach head. They already treat us great, they pay us, give us unlimited passes and they give us a con room, too. I love them for that. But I want them to feel like we are really working for it and deserve all they are doing for us. I’m sick of sitting around while there are 10 games waiting to be finished. With this year off, I feel that if we roll up on Momo with the same selection we had in 2019, that is just lame. There’s no excuse for us to not have new games with a whole year off.

The issue, of course, is that Nick must do the majority of the work on the games. I can do arts and crafts (cabinet refurbing) but he must get the damn things working. And he’s been fighting a deep depression. I have too, but not as bad as his. So I have to have enough motivation for both of us. I think I do! But it’s tough to keep oneself up while dragging along another. But I’ll do my damn best. Because we have GOT to get motivated and get working. I want that beach head at Momo. Period. I gave the biggest motivational speech I’ve ever given last night. I hope it worked. It seemed to. Nick was certainly moved by it, so I hope that I can kindle his motivation to get this game business back on track. ::fingers crossed::

In closing, the whole point of this post is to perhaps prod you a little bit to find your own gratitude for what you have and your motivation to get past this fucking year and DO something. Just keep swimming! :)