Monday, December 17, 2018

This Is the Life

This is the view from my bed. I turned the fireplace on when I woke up at 5:00.

It's after 8:00 a.m. I am still in bed in a hotel room that is far too luxurious [and expensive] for me to occupy except that I am doing so on someone else's dime. The seminar I'm scheduled to attend doesn't even begin to check participants in until 10:00.  In addition to starting late, it ends early. I'll wrap up my workday and head to the beach at around 3:00 p.m. 

I'm not complaining.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

An Open Letter to the Principal Occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Dear Donald J. Trump,

Because the Democratic Party nominated Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was considered undesirable to a substantial margin of the voting public, as their candidate for the office of president in the 2016 election, and because a frighteningly large segment of the voting public was both woefully ignorant and willing to ignore any moral principles of which they may have been in possession, you were elected.  A technical minority of voters in the election actually voted for you, but because of the antiquated Electoral College system, we are stuck with you in our nation's highest office until the next election at the very least [barring your resignation or impeachment, both of which seem unlikely]. 

As greatly as it pains me to accept such a thing, you may very well be re-elected, as the stupidity of the voring public is apparently difficult to underestimate. If, however, what seems to me to be a most unacceptable contingency actually materializes and you are re-elected, please do not give credit to the educated women of the nation. Whether you win or lose, very few of us will have voted for you.


Alexis A. Rousseau

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Back in the USA

I am dealing with an ailment and also have overtime that needs to be comped, so I'm back in the states for another ten days or so. My physical capacity is presently diminished, and I've been reduced to watching live coverage of the Kavanaugh confirmation fiasco.  I'd rather be performing hemorrhoidectomies if I had a choice, but I don't have a choice.

When I return to Canada, autumn should be in full force. i'm excited to experience a real Canadian winter. i spent almost a week there in winter a couple of years ago, and I caught a few spring storms when I did my visiting clerkships there, but spending a full winter is an exciting prospect to me.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

While Watching the AntiChrist

This is Marlin, but I couldn't find the guys he put in his TV ad.

I'm waiting around to catch a charter flight back to my new home. Against my better judgment, I allowed my friend to turn the TV to Judge Judy.  local commercials for JJ and similar programming also feature local law firms, sometimes of the ambulance-chasing variety. The commercial I just saw was for Marlin Costello, Attorney of Law. The ad featured several men, presumably attorneys in a law firm, sitting around as very small table, discussing ways in which they could shuffle various cases, drag matters out, create new dealys, and so forth. When one of them picked up the file of a case for which the opposition was being represented by Marlin Costello, the consensus was that they should settle immediately -- that Marlin Costello was not an attorney with whom to trifle. Such may indeed be the case.

Marlin Costello's credentials and skills nothwithstanding, the gentlemen hired to tportray the opposing attorneys look like they were recruited either from some sort of halfway house or perhaps from the new recruit line to an A.A. meeting, long before  time to take any pledge (Do they do that at A.A.?) or learn a serenity prayer.  Whatever is the lamest law school in the nation--probably something online -- I have the most grave of doubts that any of the men protraying the attorneys could have successfully completed the forms to enroll in the diploma mill, much less to have graduated from it, however lax the requirements might have been, and subsequently passing the CA bar exam.  I don't run with an especially elite crowd, but with thirty minutes or so of notice, I could assemble a group of three or four men to portray lawyers in a TV commercial who at least didn't look as though they were just thrown out of a bar in Mendota or Hickman and were perhaps filmed before regaining temporary sobriety.

Perhaps I'm being picky, but I'm confident that you would agree if you saw the commercial. I tried to find a clip but couldn't. Sorry!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Back Home Ever So briefly

This picture is random.

I had overtime that needed to be comped, so I traveled with a friend to the Canadian Maritimes. I'm now in California because my aunt had invasive eye surgery, and I wanted to visit her. I also wanted to visit my new first-cousin-once-removed. i would share her picture but her parents and grandparetns are conspiracy theorists who think the child's identity will be stolen by publishing pictures of their neonatal infant.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Wood Eyes and Hare Lips

It wouldn't be one-hundred per cent honest to say that I haven't had time to author a blog post (I did re-post a link to a vlog just over a week ago) since the first day of June. It would be more correct to say that posting an update seemed an unwise use of the little time I have had between then and now. I traveled, then attended official ceremonies, followed by relocating and starting my new job. I probably should be sleeping now, but I slept this afternoon and am not sleepy at the moment.

I shall now share a rather random memory from my childhood for the purpose of illustrating just what a sensitive and odd child I was. My father sometimes tells jokes to my brother and me that aren't politically correct. He did this even when we were very young. He told us a particular joke during a car trip duing the summer between first and second grades, when I was six years old.  I shall retell the joke here, and I hope no one who reads it is offended. 

Once there was a young man who lost one of his eyes either to disease or injury. He wasn't a wealthy man, and so the prosthetic eye he used for cosmetic purposes was made of wood instead of the more modern acrylic. He had self-esteem issues related to his wooden prosthetic eye.

A friend of the man who wore the wooden prosthetic eye encouraged the man to accompany him to a dance one evening so that the man could meet and socialize with females. The man with the wooden prosthetic eye reluctantly agreed to go with his friend to the dance.

Once the two men entered the hall where the dance was being held, the friend pointed out a woman with a cleft lip and suggested to the man with the wooden prosthetic eye that he should perhaps ask the woman with the cleft lip to dance with him; because she herself possessed a physical defect, she might be less put off by his wooden prosthetic eye and more likely to accept his invitation to dance with her.

The young man with the wooden prosthetic eye approached the woman with the cleft lip. "Would you like to dance with me?" he asked her.

The woman's face lit up.  In excitement she exclaimed, "Would I!?! Would I!?!" (Imagine my father's best imitation of a the speech impediment of a person with a cleft lip.)

"Hare lip! Hare lip!" he responded.

My brother and my dad laughed almost hysterically. My mother said, "John, that's tasteless." I burst into tears.

"Alexis, whatever is the matter?" my mother turned from her seat  to ask me.

"Why did he have to say that to her?" I  cried. "She was just happy someone finally asked her to dance. She wasn't trying to make fun of him. Why did he have to be so mean to her?"

I could see my father shaking his head as he probably simultaneously rolled his eyes. My mother sighed, then said, "Alexis, it was a joke. A stupid joke, but still a joke. You don't need to cry about it."

"But she just wanted to dance with him. And he hurt her feelings!" I wailed.

"It never happened, Alexis," my mom continued.  "There was no man with a wooden eye. There was no lady with a cleft lip. And because there was no man with a woden eye and no lady with a cleft lip, he couldn't have asked her to dance. She couldn't have answered the way Daddy said she did. He couldn't possibly have called her a harelip! It never happened."

"Then why did Daddy say it happened?" I demanded.

"He didn't actually say it happened," my mom explained. "He told a lame joke that he probably heard at scout camp when he was about eleven."

I sniffed, and my mom handed me a tissue. "Are you sure?" I asked her.

"I'm absolutely sure," she answered.

"But it's still sad," I sobbed.

"Lots of things are sad," my dad chimed in. "Life is sad, Alexis. Get over it."

"That'll certainly make her feel better, John,"  my mom muttered.

"It's true!" my dad defended himself.

Even though it was only an hour or so before dinner time, my dad pulled into a roadside drive-in and let us order ice cream, which made my brother Matthew very happy.  For roughly the next five years, if we were traveling by car for any length of time, Matthew would ask, "Dad, can you tell that joke bout the guy with a wooden eye and the lady with a hare lip again?" 

Friday, June 1, 2018

A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet. . . Or Would It?

My dad's sisters, for the most part, are not known for possessing exceptionally high levels of intelligence or for using especially good judgment. They seem to have passed these traits on to their own offspring. This is often evident in the naming of their children.

My cousin Lyman, who is the fourth son and sixth child of Aunt Marthalene and her sticky-fingered husband Mahonri, recently announced the birth of his fourth child and first son.  He named the baby Sebastopol. For those of you who do not know, Sebastopol is the name of a tiny town near the the Russian River in northern California. My mom tells me that I've been there, though I have no memory whatsoever of the trip.  I do remember passing through both Guerneville and Jenner (thank goodness Lyman didn't name the kid Jenner), but I'm drawing a complete blank when it comes to Sebastopol. My dad said the family ate really tasty pizza there on a trip through the wine country. The trip happened when I was four, and pizza had not yet made it onto my list of acceptable foods. According to my dad, I had croutons for dinner that night.

The story I heard from my cousin Gina (the iconoclast who tainted the family's otherwise pure bloodline by marrying and coupling with a guy who is half Japanese) is that Lyman and Patience wanted to name the kid Sebastian, but Lyman's wife Patience's twin sister Harmony gave birth two days prior to Sebastopol's birth and named her baby Sebastian.  In Patience's family, it's considered verboten to use first names or middle names by which one is called (Mormons are fond of calling kids by their middle names, often with a first initial preceding the name) that siblings have previously used for their children. If I were Patience, I would have ignored the rule and named the kid Sebastian anyway.  Patience had told relatives during  all four of her pregnancies that her first son was to be named Sebastian. Harmony had four sons prior to Sebastian's birth. Had Harmony truly liked the name Sebastian so freaking much, she presumably would have given the name Sebastian to one of the first four.  The word on the street is that Harmony was just being her usual contentious self in stealing her sister's choice of names.  

Aunt Marthalene, Sebastopol's grandmother,  has been quite vocal in her disapproval of her son's choice of a name for his first son. Neither Lyman nor his Patience have been to California, much less to Sebastopol.  Marthalene sees no problem in saddling children with oddball names culled from The Book of Mormon (Moriancumr), from LDS history and family given names or surnames of her husband's ancestors, some of which qualify on both counts (Lyman, Reed, Boyd, Bradford, Porter, Joseph, Kinnard, Amasa, Kimball, Orson, Hyrum, and Parley), variations of her own name (Marthalette), and a rather outlandish combination of her own and her husband's first names (Rilene).  She has grandsons named Abinadi, Helaman, Ether, Mathoni, and Zeniff, to name just a few. (Marthalene has thirteen sons and two daughters, seven of whom have already begun the reproduction process themselves.)

My mom thinks it's a simple case of the couple attempting to give their child a unique name, though their original choice of Sebastian, while not one the Top Twenty list at any time in the past century as far as I know, is at least not a made-up name. If being unique truly was their aim, they succeeded. My dad thinks my cousin Lyman carries latent anger at having gone through childhood with the name of Lyman.  (My mom says their used to be a commercial for Sprite featuring a mythical fruit called a limon [pronounced like Lyman) that was half lemon and half lime.) Regardless, I'd probably prefer to be stuck with Sebastopol as a name over more than half of the names Marthalene and Mahonri glued on their own kids. i'm not quite sure why Marthalene thinks she has any grounds at all for moaning about it. Hell, I'd rather be named Blitzen Manx or Antarctica Meringue (the names of my Aunt Cristelle's first two children) than any of the names Marthalene used for her children. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Sooner Than You Think: A Prophetic Guide to the End Times (NOT by Sid Roth, though)

I am adjusting to my temporary surroundings at least to a degree. My room is still too small and in too remote a location, but there is a cute little restaurant attached to the hotel, open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., that serves sandwiches on deliciously fresh made-down-the-block sourdough bread and brioche.  The restaurant is basically a crab restaurant, and I would not eat crab unless it was the only option other than Tamsen Donner steak. (That would make crab not technically on my Donner Party List, as only those food items I would reject in favor of death or the consumption of human flesh can be considered to be on the list. Crab is merely a close second to items actually on the list.) I had a most tasty grilled tomato and cheese sandwich on sourdough from the crab restaurant for lunch. (It sounds gross, but the tomato slices were incredibly thin, and the sandwich was actually quite good.) I told the waiter I was allergic to crab, which is a total lie, to ensure that no one would sneak any crab into my sandwich. There's also a very nice bakery, on the same block and same side of the street as the hotel, that serves both baked goods (Duh!) and breakfast and lunch fare. I'll grab something there for lunch tomorrow. 

I have my phone back. The valets are not low-life thieves. My faith in humanity, Donald Trump excluded, has been restored.  Then again, perhaps Trump is sub-human and therefore needs no exclusion.

Speaking of Trump, I watched Tom Arnold's suprisingly lucid appearance on AC360. I had mistakenly believed  that he is an idiot. He had interesting insight concerning the relationship between his ex-wife Roseanne and Donald Trump; he attributed her downfall in part to her having bought hook, line, and sinker into Trump's bizarre conspiracy theories He also said Trump has spoken quite disparagingly of her in the past and was feigning affinity with her solely as an opportunistic measure.  I can believe that. 

I was texting a relative today, and I mentioned in the text that most of the people who work at this hotel bear uncanny resemblances to one or another of the Kardashians or their hangers-on. I left the h out of Kardashian. My freaking phone offered an automatic correction for Kardashian. Can you fucking believe it?  My phone doesn't even recognize the alternate spelling of theatre for theater, yet it apparently knows who the Kardashians are and how their surname is spelled. If we previously lacked evidence that the world is circling the drain of the universe (though I couldn't say as to whether if it is circling in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction), we now have all the evidence we need in the knowledge that my phone's text-messaging apparatus apparently knows who the Kardashians are. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Earning Money So That I Can Almost Immediately Spend It

I'm not as bad as this guy, but I am suffering mild withdrawal symptoms.

I finished a week of filling in for a calculus teacher in a high school.  In order to be able to pay anyone who was capable of teaching calculus enough to entice the person to take the brief job, I had to be designated as a consultant rather than as a substitute teacher. I was initially a bit intimidated regarding spending a full week teaching high school students, but they wanted to score well on the final exam. They were not out to harass me. 

In just a few days I shall take what I would consider to be a major vacation. I'll be gone for roughly two weeks. I will talk about it after I return.

At the moment I am at a rather swanky "boutique" hotel, though the particular room I was given is less impressive than a room at the local Holiday Inn would have been. The university at which my mom is teaching is hosting numerous students from a university in St. Petersburg (Russia, not Florida). A few faculty members including my mom are hosting the overflow of students. The dorms could accommodate only so many. My bedroom is being occupied by someone else.  No one told me until after I drove here.  My dad went on Hotwire and got a room here for me. He took one of those  "Secret Deals." Next time I shall book my own hotel room.

I would take a picture of the hotel room to underscore just how unimpressive it is except that I mistakenly left my phone in the car.  I'm too cheap to tip a valet to retrieve it for me in the valet-only parking garage but not quite crass enough to ask someone to get it  for me without tipping. I'll have to get through the night without it. (I hope the valet didn't have figuratively sticky fingers.) I'm not nearly so attached to my phone as are many of my contemporaries, but still I feel a bit lost without it.  

I will survive.

St. Petersburg

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Hypotheses of Life

I watched several episodes of The Facts of Life this evening.  I'm certain that anyone reading this is seriously impressed by the cerebral TV fare with which I amuse myself.  Beginning in July, I will have little to no time for frivolity. I'm making up for it now with a vengeance.

A question arose concerning the character "Blair Warner," played by Lisa Whelchel.  I get that the character is totally vain. Are we, the viewers,  however, supposed to consider her to be a total bombshell, or is the joke supposed to be on her in that regard?

Also, I'm curious about her hair coloring. In most episodes, her roots were conspicuously darker than the rest of her hair.  It didn't look like a weave. Instead, it appeared to be a grossly overdue touch-up. The character was quite wealthy. She presumably could afford  hair-coloring job whenever she needed or wanted one. Was sporting noticeably dark roots considered fashionable during the time interval (very late 70's through most of the 80's) in which this show experienced its original run? 

I'm not meaning to take shots at Lisa Whelchel with either question. The scheduling and manner of her hair coloring treatments while on the show was presumably not her personal prerogative. furthermore,  I understand that she took a bit of abuse from the show's production staff over her very normal late-adolescent weight gain.  It happens with a whole lot of girls. If TV production staffs cannot accept it, perhaps they shouldn't work with adolescent females. I certainly have no desire to add to Lisa Whelchel's grief even decades after the fact. I'm asking both questions in all sincerity.

Please respond if you have answers to either or both of my questions.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Repugnant Donald Trump

the famous Trump pout

I am most un-fond of the political posts of others, yet I am exercising my first amendment right to post one of my own. In a way, though, the nature of the post isn't especially political.  My utter disgust for Donald Trump is every bit as much personal as it is political, if not more so.  Virtually nothing about the man is acceptable to me.  I grasp the concept that I have no say whatsoever in determining the worthiness of anyone to walk upon the Earth and to breathe the same atmospheric air as the rest of us, but I don't have to like it. With each succeeding item or anecdote I read about him, I am less amenable to the idea that Donald Trump is entitled to a place on this planet or even in this universe. My utter abhorrence for him is such that it cannot be characterized in a single blog entry. I could type all night and still not convey the essence of my feelings about this most deplorable individual a substantial minority of the voters in our nation saw fit to place in the role of chief executive of the United States of America.

I recognize that not every vote cast in favor of Trump was, in actuality, a vote for Donald Trump.  Hillary Clinton was, to some voters, every bit as deplorable a candidate for our nation's highest office as Trump was to me. At the same time, I cannot comprehend how anything short of, for the sake of argument,  gassing  six million Jews or perhaps having every child under the age of two slaughtered, could render Clinton less fit for the presidency than is the barely human creature who poked fun at individuals with disabilities or makes references to a female TV journalist with ". . . blood coming out of her whatever . . ."

I'm unsure as to the feelings of others in this regard, but to an extent I don't have a great deal of concern what the U.S. president does in his or her private life. If the person is molesting children or doing something similarly nefarious, I could not condone having the person serving as president, but regarding a whole lot of other behavior, I'm not tremendously concerned. I am concerned, however, about what the person says in his or her official capacity. 

We knew who this idiot was before the election.  It's not as though he lived his life in anonymity until campaigning for the presidency, and then we were hit with who he really is after the election. We've known all along, yet enough fools voted for him anyway to give him in excess of the minimum of two-hundred-seventy electoral votes. 

I'm also cognizant of the premise that Vice-President Pence's political stance is possibly to the right of that of the late Barry Goldwater, but I'm willing to deal with the fallout from having Pence elevated to the presidency. If a decent percentage of the eligible voters goes to the polls in the midterm election and votes wisely, Pence could be stripped of much of his power.  Yes, I'm concerned about the fitness [for the presidency] of anyone who would agree to appear on a presidential ticket with Trump, but it's highly unlikely that Pence could be quite so purely evil as is Trump himself..

Trump has boasted, when he was in second grade,  having punched a music teacher in his school and having blackened the man's eye. No one else who would have been present when this alleged assault happened seems to remember it having happened; the account is almost surely a lie. Still, it speaks of Trump's long-standing disrespect both for teachers and for lawful conduct. We already knew that Trump had low regard for teachers, having described them in a deposition as being "very stupid."

I take offense to Trump's statement that teachers are stupid. My mother was a public school teacher for two years while she was in the process of completing her graduate education.  I know what her IQ is. I do not know what Trump's IQ is, but I would wager that my mother's IQ is 1.5 times higher than is his at the bare minimum.  If teachers in general are stupid, as Mr. Trump has asserted, he is, himself, far more lacking in intelligence.

In addition to what I allege is Trump's deplorable lack of intelligence, he is overwhelmingly morally bankrupt. He quite possibly has major sanity challenges as well. Please, get this cretin out of the White House and out of our lives ASAP. 

I don't have photographers following me everywhere and capturing my every expression, but one would assume Trump has to be accustomed to being photographed on a regular basis by now. He frequently has this expression on his face in photographs. I found dozens of shots with his mouth in this formation from which to choose. Does he know that this look is not attractive? (If not, someone please advise him of it.) Why does he not look in the mirror as he makes this pout-like formation of his lips, then make a mental not of what it feels like as he makes this expression, then avoid making this face?  

In all seriousness, Trump's appearance should be the very least of any of our concerns, yet still, this obnoxious pout-like mannerism is most vexing to me.