I Voted. Now What?

Like most Americans my age. I’ve been brainwashed to believe that if you don’t vote, you’re scum. Maybe that’s true. Or not.

I tend to vote. When you vote in Georgia, you get a sticker like the one shown here. It’s mainly for people who will be out and around and can wear it proudly on their shirt or blouse to remind others that they’re flirting with becoming scum if they don’t get one of these stickers. Legally. That means not buying one from some guy on the street. I think the street value is 50¢. That tells that people don’t mind looking like scum and might even be proud of it.

Since voting is seen as a duty, you don’t a bell or get any wings when you vote. Maybe you stay up late watching the election returns and find yourself getting angry when the scum candidates win.

This year, Democrats voted because they were scared of “the red wave.” Republicans voted because they were supposed to cause “the red wave.” The red wave never came. The Republicans took over the House as expected and the Senate is even, pending several runoff elections including my state which, as Reuters said, “Runoff election in Georgia may decide fate of U.S. Senate, again.” This year, we’ll have a December 6th runoff between incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

I may not vote. I don’t like either candidate.  Since I don’t, I safely voted for the Libertarian candidate to keep from having to vote for either of these guys. Now they’re back again in a runoff. Sorry guys, better scum than voting against one’s conscience.

My wife and I haven’t talked about the runoff yet. If she votes, I’ll drive her to the polls and sit in the car to read more of Kathy Reich’s Déjà Dead. Then my wife will come home and wear her sticker around the house to prove that I’m lower than whale shit. But I won’t care because whale shit nourishes stuff in the oceans while these Senate candidates will if elected, ruin the country in their own devious ways.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of contemporary fantasy, magical realism, and one satire:

Etc. and &c.

  1. Fabiola Valentín (Miss Puerto Rico 2020) and Mariana Varela (Miss Argentina 2020) – CNN Photo

    According to CNN, “A former Miss Argentina and former Miss Puerto Rico shocked and delighted fans by announcing their surprise marriage on Instagram.” I don’t claim to understand it, but I do like imagining the horror of some who hear the news. In fact, some people will be so ticked off, they’ll probably whine on Facebook that they weren’t consulted. They did check with me and I said it was all right.

  2. Just in case it matters, I’m drinking Scotch while writing this post. I’m usually drinking red wine, but I got so excited about the news from Fabiola and Marianna, I broke out the good stuff.
  3. Our HRV finally starts up now that the dealership sheepishly admitted that they had sent the car out the door without checking the battery–which turned out to be crap.
  4. Yahoo “news” reports that we can “Save on JLo’s Booty Balm and other celeb faves at Sephora’s Beauty Insider sale.” I lived my whole life without knowing there was a product out there called Booty Balm and wish I were still innocent. Seriously, do people need to hydrate their butts? This stuff is supposed to fade imperfections for a “smoother-looking booty.” And, it’s clinically tested, so we know this product is based on science rather than magical thinking. I notice, however, that when I was looking at the Booty Balm ad, I didn’t see any before and after photographs of treated Booty.
  5. Fox News reported that “Biden blasted for new warning about ‘threats to democracy in midterms: ‘Their rhetoric is all a sham'” “During Wednesday night’s address, Biden focused his rhetoric on Republicans, asking Americans to vote for Democrats to protect democracy.” I like the old days when both major parties were trying to protect democracy. My feeling is that both parties have gone over the edge. And so have the news organizations that worship them.
  6. According to the Associated Press, “Musk: People banned from Twitter won’t be restored for weeks.” The story says that “Elon Musk said Wednesday that Twitter will not allow anyone who has been kicked off the site to return until it sets up procedures on how to do that, a process that will take at least a few weeks.” For me, this info is filed under the I don’t care category. I don’t need Twitter to survive.
  7. The New York Times reports that “The New Covid Boosters Are Incredible, and Everyone Should Get One.” I can’t say any more about it because the dreaded paywall showed up before I could read the editorial column. I have no idea whether the author works for Pfizer or Moderna or the CDC. I’m not rushing out for a shot (other than Scotch).
  8. According to a roundtable on The Onion, “As the oldest commander-in-chief in the history of our republic, the current president’s age demands a vigorous discussion to settle the question: Should President Joseph R. Biden run again?” This seems to be the consensus: “So go ahead and spit on me. Strangle me. Strip me naked and dog-walk me across the cement floor on a metal leash. Threaten my wife and children. Hell, murder my entire family. Nothing—nothing—will break my resolve. I will never reveal whether I believe Biden will have the mental and physical ability at 81 years of age to retain the most powerful office in the world.”

Well, there it is, the state of the nation at 4:57 EDT on 11/3/22.

–Malcolm

Sunday’s Miscellany

  • I’ve started another Kathy Reichs book, this one titled The Bone Code, and am finding these fun to read. Booklist says this 2021 novel is “A-game Reichs, with crisp prose, sharp dialogue, and plenty of suspense.” It’s a nice change of pace from Dan Brown’s Inferno which I just re-read and a welcome distraction from the mid-1950s resources about the KKK in Florida (mentioned in yesterday’s post). Hmm, it feels a bit warped saying a book about the autopsies of badly messed up people (think of the TV show “Bones”) is a lightweight distraction from KKK atrocities.
  • It appears that using Grammarly is making my bad spelling and copy editing worse because now I don’t have to try to spell the words right when an approximation of the word brings me the correct spelling out of nowhere.
  • I’m happy to report that after four days, our new Black & Decker drip coffee maker is still working. In years past, I used to write the birth and death dates of our coffee makers on the engagement calendar to track how long they lasted. Yes, I know, in this Internet age, we’re totally old-fashioned using an engagement calendar. I suppose the fact that I use this kind of coffee pot with Maxwell House coffee is another habit that proves I’m old-fashioned. But then, what do you expect from an old guy?
  • Here’s an example of writing about one’s traumas in order to help people suffering through similar experiences: “She survived a mass shooting — then created a graphic novel to help others.” More and more writers and readers seem to be discovering this truth nowadays. “It took Kindra Neely years to seek help. Seven years ago, she survived the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, where a gunman killed eight students and one professor, and injured eight more. She has now shared her experience in a debut graphic novel, Numb to This: Memoir of a Mass Shooting, hoping that it will help others.”
  • As most of you know, I’m cheap and buy swill-level red wine at the grocery short for $10 or less for a 1.5 L size. So it bothers me when the Biltmore House tempts me with a wine sale that includes free shipping from Asheville. I’m not a fan of the so-called standard 750 ml bottle because it’s an expensive way to buy wine. And yet, Cardinal’s Crest is my favorite. We’ve been going to the Biltmore Estate since the 1980s and always stop by the winery to stock up on good stuff to drink. We don’t go for the wine, of course, but for the beauty of the estate and the history and architecture of the Biltmore House. If you’re ever in Asheville, NC, you must stop by this wonderful tourist destination for a visit even though it’s a bit pricey. It’s well worth the time and cost

–Malcolm

That fried egg for breakfast

Before falling asleep at night, I have grand plans to cook a fried egg for breakfast. After all, that’s what I got used to as a child, eggs and bacon in a cast-iron frying pan with the grease saved in a small metal container on the stovetop for later.

Looks good, but over easy would look better – Wikipedia photo

But then when morning comes, I’m too sleepy to cook an egg–over easy with a few red pepper flakes scattered over it–much less having to wash the frying pan afterward. So, I toss two Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits in the microwave for 58 seconds and there’s breakfast.

A lot of things are like that fried egg for breakfast. The idea sounds good, but then when it comes time to do it, it’s simply too much trouble. When it comes down to it, most chores are too much trouble as are the more important things in life.

After a trip to Scotland, my brother said that nobody there knows how to cook a fried egg over easy or over medium. If you ask for it, they don’t know what you’re talking about–and still “don’t get it” after you explain how to do it. “Lads, it’s like anything else you fry on both sides!”

This probably explains why Scotland has been under the English thumb for so long. When a chance came to vote for independence, the idea sounded good but nobody quite knew how to flip a government.

But, I digress.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the comedy/satire Special Investigative Reporter.

I had to mow the yard because I couldn’t find the house–or the cat

I think we’ve had rain for 10000000 days. When it’s not raining, the grass is too wet to mow, and/or the flu we’ve been fighting has kept us inside. I finally cut the grass after supper last night because I wasn’t sure whether I was coming home to my house or a neighbor’s house. Plus, when the cat went outside, he disappeared into the pasture primeaeval.

The grass was not only higher than the cat, it was higher than the mower. Dark clouds were rolling in. Vicious lightning owned the horizon off to the east. I had to move quickly or darkness would swallow the world and I’d run into the black Angus cattle in the adjoining pasture. (Before the farmer put in a new fence, the cattle got out on numerous occasions at night. I could hear them in the yard, but couldn’t see them. When cattle get out, the whole community comes out to round them up.)

The riding mower really wasn’t built for grass this high. Seriously, tall fescue needs a tractor with a bush hog. We used to have one, but the bush hog was shot and the tractor was old, so we sold it off. The mower stalled out numerous times and gulped gas faster than a sailor swigs beer on liberty. So, I ran out of gas before I got done and had to tow the mower back to the garage with my Buick about the time the rain hit.

In the light of day this morning, the yard looks like the cut grass is piled up and ready to bale. At least the house is visible from the road and doesn’t look like an abandoned homestead. I’m getting too old for this kind of crap. At least I had the presence of mind to put the cat in the house and to use the mower’s headlights in case any cows got in the yard. None did, but they raised a ruckus on the other side of the fence.

Frankly, I think it’s about time to hire a landscaping company and hope they show up for work.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell grew up in the Florida Panhandle and sets his stories there.

“Wanda J. Dixon’s warmth and gorgeous singing voice are superb in this story about Conjure Woman Eulalie, which is told through the voice of her cat and spirit companion, Lena. Dixon zestfully portrays Eulalie, who is “older than dirt” and is kept busy casting spells, mixing potions, and advising people–that is, when the “sleeping” sign is removed from her door. Most distinctive is Eulalie’s recurring sigh, which conveys her frustration with Florida in the 1950s, when Jim Crow laws and “Colored Only” signs were routine. Dixon’s Lena is fully believable when she spies around town and reports to Eulalie that rednecks have raped and murdered a young woman. They almost escape until Eulalie persuades a witness to come forward. Listeners will marvel at the magical realism in this story and benefit from the helpful glossary of the charming local dialect. S.G.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016″

I still feel bad about the pirate ship

J, L, and I went out to the farm with Mr. H every Saturday. Mostly, we goofed off, though we did help put in a lot of fresh barbed wire fencing and did other chores as needed. J, L. and I were probably in junior high school, and the farm and its cattle and its deep woods with the branch (creek) filled with water moccasins and copperheads was about as far as Shangri La was from those boring classrooms as we could get in those days when there wasn’t time to spend the weekend sailing in Apalachee Bay.

J and I often carried .22 rifles when we were hiking down by the branch because, in addition to the copperheads, there were dangerous beer cans down in those woods that could kill a guy in a New York minute. We lived down by the branch, J and I, because we both had bedrooms filled with fresh and saltwater aquariums that constantly needed new residents.

L, who was several years younger than us on the day in question had gotten a plastic pirate ship for Christmas and apparently had allowed it to set sail upstream from where J and I were catching crayfish. Out of nowhere comes this ship, orange and brown and riding fine in the swift-flowing water.

Something just snapped because J and I filled it full of lead from our trusty .22 rifles and it sank to the bottom of the branch next to a stump where a copperhead was swatching the action. To this day, I don’t know why we did it. Bored, perhaps. Target practice, maybe. A good laugh, to be sure.

At the end of the day, L asked if anyone had seen his pirate ship. Nobody had. J and I volunteered to help look for it the following weekend. L was so grateful we both felt like shit. Even now, I still feel bad about that toy ship. Only the copperhead knows where it is today.

Malcolm

Good afternoon, riding mower fans

Today’s special event (let’s help Malcolm mow his yard) has been canceled due to hot weather. Even CNN, which normally stays quiet about news it doesn’t like, posted numerous stories about the heat, noting among other things that heat will be bad in the South. Duh. Apparently, the weather system is centered around Mempis. Those of us who live in Georgia think all bad weather begins in Memphis.

I didn’t see much hope for tomorrow or the day after in this news story: The worst of the latest heat wave is expected to be in the South, with triple-digit temperatures possible in Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio in Texas, and New Orleans and Atlanta. And there’s no relief in sight. About 65% of the entire US population will see temperatures above 90 degrees over the next week, and almost 60 million will be sweltering in temperatures at or above 100. – CNN

CNN Map as of two days ago

(For those of you who are unsure just where North Georgia is, we’re 56 miles northwest of Atlanta as the crow flies.)

{Looking at the lame jokes page, I see: “The potatoes cook underground, and all you have to do to have lunch is to pull one out and add butter, salt, and pepper.” It’s probably true along with farmers feeding chickens crushed ice so they won’t lay hardboiled eggs.}

Here in Rome, GA, we no longer laugh at those jokes. However, if EMTs respond to your house because you’re a victim of heat stroke, they’ll take you straight to the morgue where the cool air might revive you. If not, you’re where you’ll end up anyway.

Btw, my apologies to hard-core lawn-mowing aficionados who believe a standard riding mower should be called a “lawn tractor.”

Those of you wondering when the next scheduled let’s help Malcolm mow his yard is scheduled, stop by as soon as it (the sky) starts raining. As always, there will be sweet tea for those doing the mowing and beer for the kids.

Malcolm

P.S. If you look online and see that you can tell Facebook your problems by sending them (the problems) to support@fb.com, don’t bother. Anything sent to that e-mail address bounces back. 

Like Hungry Dogs Staring In The Meat Market Window

We were eating supper with relatives at a mid-range restaurant in Memphis when a solitary man sitting across the aisle from us had a cupcake with a lighted birthday candle delivered to his table. He looked at it for a while, paid his tab, and left. We thought the who thing seemed rather sad and discussed what it might mean. The wait staff passed the table several times, ignoring the cupcake but not the tip.

Finally, the aunt in our family group leaned over, snagged the cupcake, blew out the candle, and polished off the cake. What else could one do? Is there any finishing school etiquette about this?

I tend to notice when nearby restaurant patrons leave with their meals largely untouched. That’s like going into a place like Antoine’s in New Orleans, ordering the best meal on the menu, and then deciding you need to go see a man about a dog–without bothering with a carryout box.

The worst incidence of this happened at a fancy restaurant on I-85 south of the Jefferson exit. Okay, it was at the Chateau Elan Winery & Resort, a nice place that we only went to a couple of times while living in Jefferson since the cost of a meal there was outside our comfort zone.

A nearby table of ten people had a decent meal, then paid their tab and left with about twelve bottles of pricey wine sitting there hardly even touched. Looking at it, we discussed whether we could talk over and take the wine or if a waiter might do it for us. We felt like hungry dogs looking through the window of a butcher shop. We were too stunned to move because there was about $500 worth of wine on the table.

The wait staff didn’t touch it. Seeing it there while we ate just about ruined our meal. It’s been a while since this happened. The fact that I remember it so clearly tells you that it was one of those defining moments in my life–as Dr. Phil might say. I don’t know what it taught me other than don’t gunger after what you can’t have.

–Malcolm

Ancestors, I guess we’re stuck with them

My ancestors go back to Scotland’s King Robert Bruce so this long after the problems with England (from a Scot’s point of view) I can’t say anything much about the U.K. other than it would have been much better for all of us if Scotland, Ireland, and Wales had managed to stay independent, and without a doubt, those countries need to break away. My wife, who studied English history in school, is rather astonished that I hate Elizabeth I with an unnatural passion, but I feel she was complicit in a lot of bad things including kidnapping and murdering Mary, Queen of Scots.

I’m not the only ex-pat Scot who’s being influenced by long-ago events. My roommate in college went nuts when he learned he’d been assigned to share a space with a Campbell. He said that hundreds of years ago my clan attacked his clan, killing the innocent and raping all the women. “Would I apologize?” he asked. “No, I said, for we improved your clan immeasurably.” He changed rooms. Good riddance.

But, I digress. I guess my wee dram of Talisker whisky turned into a pint of Talisker. What can I say other than, “Duilich mu dheidhinn sin.”

The ancestors that impact my life on a daily basis are more recent. They were farm people, and that’s fine. Being farm people, they ate their evening meal (called dinner except on Sundays when it was called supper) at 5 p.m. Dinner continued to be served at 5 p.m. (or else) even after the farms were sold off and folks moved into town. This habit was passed down to my parents who ate at 5 p.m. even though doing that was falling out of fashion. My wife tells me that her mother (a farm person) and my mother (a farm person) were also “ruined by home ec because it taught them how to cook the kind of meal a farm family would eat along with where all the flatware and glasses and plates and saltshakers should be positioned on the table.

So now I’m hungry at 5 p.m. (You can imagine what kind of hell this caused when I spent a summer in Europe where nobody ate dinner until long after respectable American farm families had gone to bed.)

Since farm families knew better than to swear in public, I don’t swear in public, and still, I find myself pissed off (oops) when I read uncivil comments on Facebook and elsewhere with profanity that was only appropriate in the navy. My ancestors taught me that if you need to swear in public, you: (a) have a limited vocabulary, (b) are scum, and (c) should go to jail. I still believe that even though profanity is often required at home when conversing with the cats.

Early on, I was taught to respect my elders. Yet, those of us who came of age in the 1960s learned not to trust anyone over 30. Since I suspect that my elders, dead or alive, have had too much influence on my life, I tended to respect them less than I should have–unless they were of Scots descent. Even now, people over 30–including me–should be monitored to make sure that haven’t sobered up and/or fallen behind on their meds.

Why? Well, our ancestors (including our parents) have brainwashed us to do what we do. We have no choice. We want to do better, but we don’t know how. My hope is that you discover this influence in your life before it’s too late.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell wrote “Special Investigative Reporter” even though his ancestors said, “don’t do it.”

Cut the crap, Mother Nature, we need to cut the grass

The Problem

Look, we have several acres of grass that are getting so high we can’t see Robbie lurking in it when he runs outside. The cattle on the other side of the fence are looking like they want to bust into our yard and chow down. (It’s happened before.) And finally, we have one of our riding mowers up and running.

But we’re waiting for you, Mother Nature, to get this problem squared away. Maybe tomorrow morning’s projected frost will dry out the wet grass. Yeah, right. On the map, we’re in the upper northwest part of the state (GA) that, at present is GREEN (like our uncut grass).

Our property is really too large and bumpy for these riding mowers. We had an old Ford tractor but sold it off when we discovered the bush hog was shot. Otherwise, it might have helped us keep up with the non-yard part of our property–and saved a lot of wear and tear on these mowers which are held together with baling wire.

Getting back to the weather, the local conjure women know how to clean this mess up, but they won’t help me because they claim I gave away too many of their secrets in Conjure Woman’s Cat. Heck, maybe they’re right even though I fudged the hexes so people couldn’t use the novel as a recipe book. On top of that, Mother Nature’s blocked me on her Facebook page.

So there it is.

Malcolm

P.S. I’ve added a news page to my website. Click on my name to take a look.