What I Learned Today – Friday, August 21

I miss being in Boston. I’ve only been a handful of times to run into the office on weekends since the start of the pandemic. On a day like today I would usually take a short walk over to the Boston Public Garden to enjoy the greenery, the swan boats, the botulism-enriched lagoon which is killing off ducks:

Yep, 2020.

Senator Bill Cassidy demanded in-person voting, declaring  “I keep saying you can go to Walmart and be safe, just stand six feet behind the guy in front of you. Um, and why can’t we do that also at the voting booth? Of course we can. ”  After saying that he immediately tested postive for covid-19.

Trump teased a big pardon a few days ago and then made the country do a collective eye-roll when he announced it was for Susan B. Anthony. It’s pretty obvious that Trump has no idea who Susan B. Anthony was and this is one of his aides’ idea to capture a press cycle and troll the libs (that she was charged with voting illegally while Trump screams about dems voting illegally was not lost on anybody). The Susan B. Anthony museum has rejected the pardon on her behalf. Obviously a nasty woman.

Trump threatens to send law enforcement to polling places on Election Day. As somebody who has only voted in Massachusetts their entire life, we always have a cop standing around chatting with the workers there. I already thought this was a thing. I assumed that the a cop was around to prevent some of the more enthusiastic campaigners from getting closer than the legal distance required.

The post office delivers a lot more than just letters, packages, and your Netflix dvds. I had no idea that the USPS also delivers livestock, a little detail I came across in this story about how thousands of baby chicks are dying in transit because of the changes DeJoy has implemented:

At least 4,800 chicks shipped to Maine farmers through the USPS have arrived dead in recent weeks, the Portland Press Herald reported. “It’s one more of the consequences of this disorganization, this sort of chaos they’ve created at the post office and nobody thought through when they were thinking of slowing down the mail,” Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, told the newspaper. “This is a system that’s always worked before and it’s worked very well until these changes started being made.”

This is heart-wrenching. And I’m going to assume that the baby chicks were going to humane farms where they would grow up to be free-range chickens living  wonderful idyllic lives before becoming somebody’s sandwich.

Sarah Cooper is having quite a year. She guest-hosted for Jimmy Kimmel, signed a deal with Netflix for a comedy special, and is currently developing a sitcom with CBS. She also had a segment last night at the Democratic Convention:

Julia Louis-Dreyfus got in some good digs at Trump at the DNC last night:

But Joe Biden’s speech was especially strong. It’s worth watching the whole thing if you have 20 minutes or so. One of the underlying aspects of Biden being the nominee is Trump got impeached in an attempt to kneecap Biden from running against him. Trump is scared to death of running against Biden. This sparks within me great joy:

The Republican Convention starts next Monday if they can get any of their speakers a livestream from Rikers Island.


Since I can’t travel right now, I’ve been relying on some YouTube virtual walks.  Usually it’s for Sunday brunch with some music and a virtual tour of a city playing in the background.  Such as this walk through a market in Aix en Provence:

Be safe everybody and have a wonderful weekend.

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What I Learned Today – Thursday, August 20

Let’s start with something a little different today.  Something beautiful before diving into the raging dumpster fire of current events.

The wonderful art blog, Lines and Colors, examines a still life from 19th century German painter, Emelie Preyer.

Hit the link for the full painting along with the quick look of some other amazing little details embedded in this work.

Florida has now surpassed 10,000 deaths from covid with 5,000 of those deaths happening in the last month alone. And schools are opening.

Steve Bannon was just indicted.  Whoa.  What?

Do you keep hearing a scraping sound coming from somewhere off in the distance? Yes? Don’t be alarmed, it’s just the President of the United States hitting the bottom and determining that why yes, he can indeed go lower:

And new details have emerged about Trump’s desire to trade Puerto Rico for Greenland:

“One time before we went down he told us, not only did he want to purchase Greenland, he actually said he wanted to see if we could sell Puerto Rico, could we swap Puerto Rico for Greenland, because, in his words, Puerto Rico was dirty and the people were poor,” Taylor said, adding that he found the suggestion “beyond galling.”

Yeah, it’s racism all the way down.

Trump has called for a boycott of an American company because they won’t let their workers wear his goofy red hat while working:

Another 1.1 million Americans filed for unemployment claims last week. The Senate is still on vacation.

I haven’t been watching too much of the Democratic Convention. My vote has been made up since Trump took office and I figure that any highlights will be echoed enough on social media (And I can confirm as somebody who lives fairly close to the Rhode Island border, they do have wonderful calamari). But last night did have two amazing speeches worth posting.

Kamala’s speech accepting the nomination for Vice President with the pointed phrase, “I know a predator when I see one” at which point everybody went to Trump’s twitter to see how he was handling it. (NOT WELL AND COULD ONLY TWEET WITH ALLLLLL CAPPPPPS TREASONNN  SPYYYYYYYINGGGGGG  HAMBERDEEEERRRRSSSS!!!!)

And President Obama’s speech which is definitely worth watching for the full 20 minutes. He completely eviscerates Trump using reasoning and logic against him instead of badly spelled all-caps tweets parroting talking points from @MagaM0M62.

A boatbuilder has built a vacation home that looks like the Apollo Lunar Module.

What I Learned Today – Wednesday, August 19

It has been over 3 weeks now since the CARES act expired leaving many people who have lost their jobs over the past few months without money desperately needed for rent and food. Trumps executive order which was signed two weeks ago is, as all things Trumpian, a confused mess which most states aren’t prepared to implement and will only provide about 3 weeks of aid. This was front page news until knocked off by the USPS crisis and the convention and now millions of people are left wondering what next? There’s still not much talk about a second stimulus check since the Senate is on recess until September 8th. Unless the stocks start to tank, I don’t think anybody will be in a rush to intervene.

Autumn is nearly here and with it comes the fall semester where students are returning to school and administrators are welcoming them back with warnings to study hard and that death awaits.

The University of Notre Dame has suspended in person classes after 147 students and administrators tested positive for covid-19. I know I am repeating myself here but the coronavirus isn’t going to ignore us just because we keep ignoring it.

A first grade teacher didn’t want her classroom to look scary to her students with plexiglass dividers so she spiffed them up a bit.  It’s posted in reddit’s r/aww and it is indeed cute if you can get past what the baseline horror of opening schools in the middle of a pandemic.

Joe Biden is officially the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. Biden was far from my favorite candidate (I liked Warren and Harris) but now as far as I’m concerned, he’s the only sane choice. I always get comments about third party candidates and the evils of a two party system whenever I post something like this. Sure, two party systems are not ideal, but if Trump gets elected again we may be down to a one party system (according to Trump, voting for a democrat is fraud). We need to vote him out and the only way to do that is to vote for his only viable competitor.

FiveThirtyEight has a list of ways to vote in each state.

Trump sues New Jersey to block voting by mail. In a completely unrelated topic, Trump has cast his Florida primary vote by mail.

The Republicans have now nominated two conspiracy theorists for house seats.  Laura Loomer, previously famous for chaining herself to Twitter’s headquarters, won the primary for the district where Mar-a-Lago broods. Come November,  the Tea Party is going to start looking like a left-wing socialist party compared to this new breed of loons.

America loves guns but hates masks.  How about a compromise?

We always have bananas around the house. Usually they get gobbled up before they can ripen to banana bread level but every once in a while the bananas that get delivered (I still haven’t set foot in a store since April) are already ripe enough that we can’t eat them in time. I made these banana chocolate chip muffins with a recipe I found on the King Arthur baking site. You could probably omit the chocolate chips if you were inclined, but, why would you ever want to do something like that?

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Cynical-C Blog’s Daily Digest, Otherwise

I’ve been playing around on substack and decided to try doing a newsletter for the blog consisting of a dailyish digest called ‘Otherwise’. Subscribing to it will be free of charge and will consist of the “What I Learned” section that I have been doing lately along with some other odds and ends that I happen about during the day. Maybe recipes, maybe cat pics. It’s a mystery. (Don’t worry, I won’t send more than one thing a day. I’m many things, but not a spammer.)

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