Department of Victory Day
Yesterday marked the second week after my second (Moderna) COVID vaccination. I feel…not quite invincible, but superb, nonetheless.
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Dept Of Shame On The Shamers
I have a…how shall I describe it?…not, love-hate, but more, mostly like/sometimes WTF relationship with certain podcasts. The obsequiousness with which podcast hosts and their guests begin their show ranges from mildly annoying to barely tolerable. No matter the subject, from arts and entertainment to politics and science and comedy, it’s as if the podcast hosts and/or producers all received the same Podcast Handbook which decreed that each show must start with a mutual gushing session.
“I *love* your work!”
“Oh, and *I* love *your* work!”
This week, on standup comic/actor Tig Notaro’s Don’t Ask Tig podcast (one of my regular, mostly like/sometimes WTF listens), her guest was “outspoken journalist/author/activist” Jane Velez-Mitchell. As soon as Velez-Mitchell described herself as a “fellow lesbian/sober/vegan,” moiself girded my aural loins for some particularly self-righteous gushing between Notaro and her guest.. After it subsided, I thought they would get on to the supposed raison d’etre for the show – reading listener’s letters.  It should have come as no surprise to moiself that their mutual dietary sanctimony took center stage, prompted by Notaro, who asked V-M when she became “plant-based.”
V-M told story of the “advice” she personally received from, Howard Lyman, the “Mad Cowboy” rancher-turned vegetarian-then-vegan. Background info: Lyman got his 15 minutes of fame in 1996 on The Oprah Winfrey show, when the former rancher’s comments on the practices of the American beef industry caused Oprah to declare on the air that she was done with hamburgers. (Oprah, and Lyman, later got more than their 15 minutes of famous lawsuits from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association).
V-M said she’d met Lyman when she had her own news/opinion/interview show, and she interviewed him. After the interview…
Lyman and his publicist walked up to my cubicle and said, “We hear you’re a vegetarian.” At that time I was a vegetarian. And I said yes, and they said, “Do you eat dairy?” And I kind of hung my head and because he had just talked about ——– (various horrors of the dairy industry) and I had said ‘yes’ and then he stuck his finger right at my nose and said, ‘Liquid meat!’ and that was the moment I went vegan.”
So. Lyman was able to shame V-M into doing something she probably was headed toward doing anyway. But is that a tactic she would endorse across the board? Subtle hints brazen evidence surfaced in her comments when she and Notaro got to reading letters, the first from a self-described, “time-strapped single mom” who wanted to know how to prepare healthy meals for her nine-year-old son, who recently declared himself vegan “…oh and did I mention that I am also cooking for his ninety- and eighty-eight-year-old grandparents?”
V-M began her advice with,
“But see there’s the inherent carnus bias in the question – that somehow it’s going to take longer to make something that’s vegan, so we always come from that carnistic bias that it’s going to be more expensive, it’s going to take longer …”
Not one complete sentence into her advice and she’s already invented two words: “carnus” and “carnistic.” 
V-M did have some actual advice for the advice-seeker advice re recipes, and getting the child involved re the cooking process, but she had to go further:
“…So, get your child involved in the cooking process, and then you can feed that vegan food to your elderly grandparents so that they live longer, because the best way to ensure longevity is to go plant-based.
So it’s a win-win for everybody; you son is clearly smarter than everybody else in the family….”
The letter writer had said nothing about the grandparents wanting to live longer or that they were seeking a change in *their* dietary habits. Nor had she mentioned her son’s intelligence vis-à-vis that of the other family members. But, because he wants to eat vegan, a vegan evangelist just *knows* that he’s “smarter than everyone else.”
As is the way of vegan proselytizers, V-M took (or made) an opening and ran with it. Reacting to another letter, from a man who wanted to tell his friend that opening a bakery is a terrible idea (the friend is not the best cook and her baked goods are atrocious), here’s how V-M dove in:
“First of all, I hope that if she does create this business that’s it’s a vegan bakery, because you don’t need eggs to make cake, or milk…”
Fellow Vegan Notaro could not suppress herself:
“Or milk! You do not need it! You do not need it!”
“But the bigger thing is, people are on their journey, and it’s very hard for us to steer people on their journey.”
Except of course when it comes to steering them toward vegan land, when it is not hard at all for her to offer unsolicited advice, bordering on shame.
I used the term evangelists and proselytizers, because for hardcore vegans, their philosophy is truly a religion. Notaro and V-M obviously and sincerely believe that their veganism is saving the planet.  There are people who believe – just as passionately as Notaro and V-M believe in the benefits of plant-based nutrition – that all people have an eternal soul, and that a certain god has a plan for that soul, and that nothing is more important than that. How receptive would V-M be toward a conservative Christian who “stuck his finger right at your nose” and told her that being lesbian (even a sober, vegan one) is damning her to hellfire, harming heself and the planet, ad nauseum?
And yes, it’s the fucking same thing.
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Department Of Random Thoughts At The Stop Light
I love my Subaru, and am impressed with Subaru’s’ reputation for quality and reliability. But when it comes time to get a new car I know I will not be going with their latest (and largest) SUV, due to my gut reaction when I became aware of the model’s name.
Dateline: Wednesday afternoon; running errands. Moiself was in my Outback, at a stop light, behind a model of Subaru I’ve never heard of. I looked to the right of the six-star Subaru logo on the car’s trunk to see the model’s name: Ascent. My kneejerk reaction/comment, which moiself uttered aloud to moiself:
“I guess that name must have market-tested better than Buttsmell.”
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Department Of The Downside Of Unmasking
Dateline: last week speaking with an acquaintance who works in the personal services industry.  We talked about nearing the end of social/physical distancing, and about getting – or having – to see people without masks again. Moiself listed a few of the advantages of mask wearing, including the fact that I’d gotten used to running errands without feeling guilty for not having washed my face that morning or having showered in three days (distancing + mask…who’s gonna notice?). Acquaintance laughed heartily, even more so when I added, “No, I’m serious.”
I started to mention the return of something else which *wasn’t* missed by millions of women…then thought better of it, and chided moiself for being so cynical. Turns out, others have been thinking along same lines:
So in less than an hour out of the new CDC mask guidance, I just went outside and pulled mine down. A nearby construction worker immediately told me to “Smile.”
I will miss masks for some reasons that are not pandemic-related.
(tweet from @ Sarah_boxer, quoted in the article mentioned below).
For M. ___, the pandemic marked the first time in decades she hadn’t felt any pressure to adopt an obsequious, apologetic smile when asking for help at the grocery or the hardware store or the car dealership. For women, “the smile sort of neutralizes you. It implies that you’re more pliable, you’re not going to give them trouble,” she says.
With the smile suddenly out of the equation…“it made me go a step further. I decided to not be the type of person who asks for something. Instead I would tell them what I wanted. I would say, ‘I need this.’ ” She plans to keep doing so even when she quits wearing a mask.
(“Masks are off — which means men will start telling women to ‘Smile!’ again.”
Washington Post, 5-22-21 )
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Department Of Next Time I’m Going To Shout It To The Cosmos
Dateline: a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Moiself, taking a bus to a job interview….
Oh lawwwdy, those were the days. Out of college, interviewing, no car, dependent upon a sketchy public transportation system. I became convinced that there were signs posted on my forehead and back of my head. These signs, invisible to moiself and normal  bus riders, apparently flashed neon clarion calls to every loud and loony and delusional and horny street person: “Talk to this one – she’ll listen to anything and she loves unsolicited advice.”
Yet again, I digress.
I was riding the bus, passing the time by reading a magazine article. The bus slowed as it approached my stop; I looked up from my magazine and saw a man seated across the aisle, who was staring at me. I stood up and moved to the front of the bus; Staring Man said, loud enough for the other passengers seated at the front of the bus to hear:
“You’d look prettier if you’d smile.”
I muttered as I exited the bus, “And you’d sound smarter if you’d never open your mouth.”
Back in those days, I swore that Weird Al wrote his parody of Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust for me.
♫ Ridin’ in the bus down the boulevard
And the place was pretty packed,
Couldn’t find a seat so I had to stand
With the perverts in the back
It was smellin’ like a locker room
There was junk all over the floor
We’re already packed in like sardines
But we’re stoppin’ to pick up more, look out
Another one rides the bus, another one rides the bus
And another comes on and another comes on
Another one rides the bus
Hey, he’s gonna sit by YOU, another one rides the bus… ♫
( “Another One Rides the Bus,” full lyrics here )
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Department of Poetic License
I write and mail two letters every Friday, one to son K and one to daughter Belle. Just because. They don’t get much in the way of snail mail these days (who does?); I thought it would be a nice for them to get something other than advertising flyers, and a fun discipline for moiself, and that it would give them the opportunity to say holy crap, not another one” and reach for the recycling bin lovingly tuck away these personal missives and review them later with fond nostalgia.
Each letter begins with either a haiku or a limerick I have composed, themes varying from personal to political to the weather or a new month/the passage of time…whatever. Usually I personalize the compositions, but last week they both got the same:
A Haiku For Those Counties Who Want To Leave “Liberal” Oregon
Begone, ingrates, and
take your tR**p-licking mindset
With you when you go.
You diss Portland, yet
have no qualms about taking
disbursed by the state,
from higher earning/urban
cities, to your schools.
Wave bye-bye, and don’t
let the door hit your Proud Boy
asses when you leave.
That purple prose was inspired by a recent event in Oregon politics: the majority of voters who cast ballots in advisory special elections in seven eastern/southern Oregon counties approved measures for their counties to leave Oregon and join Idaho.
I should turn in my Scout’s current events badge; I had *no idea* that this issue was A Thing ® . My Not Paying Attention ® may be an example of one of the reasons why the people voting to “secede” did so: they think they play second fiddle to urbanized Oregon (i.e., the Portland and Eugene metro areas ), and that urbanites, such as moiself, don’t know (or care) about their concerns. And, in a democracy, that’s kind of true – the “second fiddle” analogy, that is.
The seven counties that voted to leave, Jefferson, Union, Baker, Grant, Lake, Malheur and Sherman, constitute almost 75% of Oregon’s landmass.
BUT – and it’s a big but here –
BUT…all that land is meagerly populated, as in, only ~ 114, 000 total residents. The state’s entire population is ~ 4,238,000…so those leaving constitute ~ 3% of the total population. Those seven counties poll and vote “red.” And there is, of course, a conservative advocacy group behind this: ” Citizens for Greater Idaho.”
In all the excitement to thumb their noses at those damn liberals, it is likely that the people who voted to leave have not fully considered several factors in joining “Greater Idaho.” Two prime factors are:
* A good percentage of the jobs in those counties are minimum wage. Translation: those counties who want to leave are essentially agreeing to a pay cut for hourly workers, as the minimum wage in Oregon ($11.25) is a whopping four dollars higher than in Idaho.
* Speaking of higher, weed is illegal in Idaho. Are those disgruntled voters trading Oregon buds for Idaho spuds? Those (wanna-be) seceding Oregon counties have made a lot of money from legal marijuana sales (and, in the opinion of some of us, are obviously heavy users of the stuff themselves, as an Oregonian who would vote to join Idaho must be stoned).
Another reason not to miss those who want to go involves something Oregon’s urbanites have grumbled about for years when they hear criticism from the smaller eastern/southern counties:
Oregon is a state that disproportionately gets tax money from its most economically productive citizens — and regions — and which disproportionately spends its resources in economically struggling communities.
(Oregon’s Fiscal Flow)
When it comes to contributing to state coffers and these smaller counties have usually received more, percentage wise, than they give. The much-despised liberal urban areas pay more than their share for the educational and other social services consumed by the smaller/rural areas.
Here is what Citizen’s For Greater Idaho Envision:
Here is moiself’s equally probable pipe dream, of redoing the borders of our entire nation, ever since the re-election of GWB:
Moiself’s personal take on all of this: I’ve no problem with those counties leaving (assuming Idaho is willing to take them). I actually think it would be a good thing, for our country, to see how it turns out. If it is a success (however that would be measured), I hope that California would then consider a split, or four, of its own. 
From what I’m reading, the secession of these seven counties is unlikely to happen, as per the layers of bureaucracy that have to be dealt with. Despite what the citizens of those counties voted for, they are dependent upon the approval of other government bodies: both the Oregon and Idaho state legislatures would have to agree to redefine their respective boundaries and redistrict their legislatures. And then the US Congress has final approval. 
Gee, does this dilemma sound so familiar? The majority voted a certain way; now, the will of the people being thwarted…. Hey y’all in the by-bye Oregon movement, do you now understand why so your fellow Americans want to get rid of the Electoral College?
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Punz For The Day
COVID Pundemic Edition
Why do they call it the novel coronavirus? It’s a long story….
Ran out of toilet paper and started using lettuce leaves.
Today was just the tip of the iceberg, tomorrow romaines to be seen.
We had a run on toilet paper in the USA,
but in Germany there was panic-buying of sausage and cheese – the wurst-kase scenario.
The World Health Organization announced that dogs cannot contract COVID-19; thus, dogs previously held in quarantine can be released.
Yep: WHO let the dogs out.
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May you enjoy the new-car smell, no matter what your new car model’s name;
May you soon (if you haven’t already) celebrate your vaccine victory day;
May you hold the door open for anyone you know who wants to secede to Idaho;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 The podcast is an “advice column” in podcast form, although I wonder how many of the advice seekers are legit, or are just making up letters to get some airtime.
 I’m not sure re the spellings…but does it matter with a made-up terms?
 And as a 99% plant-based eater moiself, I’m in agreement with that idea…but not with how she’s promoting it. And yep, I manage to bake without (dairy) milk and eggs.
 And shame on you for immediately going to Euphemism Land. Think more along the lines of hair salon.
 “normal” as in polite, discreet, keeping their opinions and personal hygiene to themselves.
 It’s ridiculous that the 39+ MILLION Californians have less say in their lives than the 580 THOUSAND Wyomingites as per Senate representation. Such incredible power-skewing is not what the framers of the US Constitution envisioned.
 The U.S. Constitution (Article IV, section 3) allows for states to be subdivided if the affected states’ legislatures consent and U.S. Congress approves,