*** PLEASE NOTE ***





*** PLEASE NOTE *** I use no other social media, and my comment section here remains closed due to chronic harassment/repeat impersonations by a certain individual. Also, I rarely comment anywhere; when I do, only from this blog as "Chrysalis" or with my real name from email (see correct spelling my profile). If there is ever any question as to legitimacy, please contact myself or Mark via email or phone.


Sunday, October 31, 2021

Friday, October 29, 2021

The 7 Best Scary Streaming Series/Movies of 2021 ...

 

Just in time for Halloween, my top 5 streaming scary movies/series for 2021. 

Now, keep in mind, I haven't watched early-access box office stuff like Candyman yet because it's still $20 bucks, and I haven't seen everything horror yet (but plan to see a couple of things on Halloween, like Boys From County Hell and Censor), so this list may change after that.  

Also, remember this is only based on Netflix, Apple, Amazon, and Paramount (I don't have Hulu, HBO, or Showtime). 

However - unlike the list below, these do include box office via rental on Amazon.

This list is difficult, because though Squid Game and Locke & Key are on my favorites list for the year and could be construed as horror, they're technically not, so they're not included on this list.

Also, I don't care for gore - meaning "slasher" or serial killer films unless they also have a good story - I like mostly spooky/supernatural stuff when it comes to horror.

I've written about most of these before, so search my blog for more about these shows/series - this is just a list.


I made my choice based on based on three things - predictability, either jump scares or chill-giving creepy moments, and quality - meaning not only the quality of the writing, acting, directing, and special effects, but also, if I could figure everything all out within the first 10 minutes (which I often can, when it comes to movies), then it won't be on this list. 


Thus, I give you my opinion of the top 5 best/scariest streaming films or series of 2021 in countdown order.


7.  Evil - CBS, moved to Paramount





Hired by the Catholic church, it's paranormal investigation, done by smart, educated people and atheists (who change their tune).  Though dark, it also weaves in comedy well.  Season 2 took an unexpected and unwanted turn, hoping it gets back on course for Season 3.  


6.  Servant - Apple TV





M. Knight Shyamalan almost returns to his previous quality with this one.  Moves at a snail's pace and I'm still confused, but still watching - mostly trying to figure it out lol.  They're all pretty much nuts, but what is the supposedly Christian cult that Leeanne escaped from actually worshipping anyway? Because they may think it's Christ, but it so isn't, it's something sinister.  Yikes.


5.  The Conjuring 3:  The Devil Made Me Do It - Box Office film, Amazon rental






Not as good as the first two (especially the creepy possessed nun  in second one, which everyone has since ripped off), but not as bad as the critics said, either, still worth a watch.   Loosely based on a true story, a boy who snapped and killed his girlfriend's landlord was the first person to claim demonic possession as part of his guilty plea.  Say what you will about them, but those Warrens were busy people!


4.  Fear Street Trilogy  - Netflix series






Go R.L. Stine!  This guy scared me with the Goosebumps books and TV show, from way back, and he's only gotten better


3.  The Night House - Box Office, Amazon Rental





Once you think you've figured this one out, it twists on you - but not too much.   The ending could've told us a bit more about what happened afterwards, but still worth a watch.


2.  Werewolves Within - Indie Box Office, Amazon Rental





This one is technically horror, but it's mostly quirky comedy - Northern Exposure with werewolves lol. 



1.  A Quiet Place, Part II - Box Office, Amazon rental


 



I don't normally do alien invasion(or zombie) stuff anymore, because I think it's been overdone and I'm sick to death of both lol - UNLESS - it's incredibly well done and has a new story to tell -  and this one does.  

Not as good as the first, but still incredibly well done - brilliant acting by all cast, well written, well directed, solid story :)





Thursday, October 28, 2021

My Favorite Streaming Movies/Series for 2021 (So Far) ...

 I'll probably update this list in December, but I'm not sure much will top it by then (but ya never know - Yellowstone returns in November).

Keep in mind, I don't have HBO, Showtime, or Hulu, so these are  only from Apple, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Paramount.


Also keep in mind that this isn't a list of my all-time favorites, just for 2021 - although #'s 1 and 2 on this list would definitely be included in my top 5 all time.

(For the record, the all-time list would include shows like Ozark and Peaky Blinders.)


Also, I believe I've written a little blurb on each of them throughout the year, so you can search my blog to read more about them, this is just a quick list.


My top 5 favorites for 2021 so far are, in countdown order, from good to best:


5.  Kim's Convenience - Netflix - Comedy - Canadian series.






Sad they won't be returning - they were just now getting the American accolade they deserved :(

(However, you can currently see Simi-Liu playing the lead, Shiang-Chi, in Shiang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings, which I haven't seen yet, because it's theater-only, but is a monster hit with both critics and audiences.)



4.  The Tomorrow War - Amazon Original - Sci-Fi/Action - U.S. movie. 





The only one from Amazon to make this list, because it's the only one I felt was box-office quality (though I haven't seen "One Night in Miami" yet, which I'm told is box-office quality, too.



3.   Locke & Key - Netflix - Comic Book Fantasy/Light Horror - U.S. series.





Totally bingeable, dropped last Friday.  The second season is as good as the first, but this series is - maybe even better.  You do have to watch the first season with this one, though, to understand what's going on.



2.  Ted Lasso - Apple TV - Comedy - U.S./British series. 






If people ask me what my favorite show is - which is rare for people to do, these days, because TV watching isn't the same as it used to be - Ted Lasso is my answer :)

Again, season 2 is as good as the first, but this season may have actually topped Season 1 - deserved every one of it's 7 Emmy's, my favorite comedy series. 



1.  Squid Game - Netflix - psychological thriller/horror/social commentary  - South Korean series.






Likely the best streaming series I've ever seen, box-office quality, and in fact, nearly filmmaking perfection - it's kind of Saw meets The Hunger Games - only better. 

And there it is thus, far, folks - let's see if the final season of Yellowstone, coming in November, changes my list by the end of 2021 :)









Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Our First Date, 10 Years Ago Today: Halloween Party at "The Castle " :)


October 26, 2021 - 10 years ago today - Mark and I had our first official date - to a Halloween costume party at Castle Post in Versailles, formerly the Martin Castle, now called "The Kentucky Castle."  




The castle itself has an interesting story.  The Martins began building  it in 1969, then divorced in 1975, so it was never lived in.  Rex Martin then moved to Florida, and thus it stayed empty for 28 years.   He listed it for sale in 1988, but died without selling it, with the castle finally selling in 2013 to R. Post, an attorney from Miami, when it became The Castle Post, a bed and breakfast, which recently sold again, now the The Kentucky Castle, a hotel, restaurant, and spa. 





They've lightened up the interior since we were last there,  removing most of the dark wood, which was perfect for a spooky Halloween party.

However, this is the interior today ...









However, it was abandoned so long, with no buyers, it was rumored to be haunted - so the perfect place for a Halloween party! 

SO fun!


As for our story, though we had briefly met once, it was essentially a blind date, set up by my roommate at the time, Patti (from Long Island, now lives in Tampa, FL), as Mark was her boyfriend Peter's roommate.

Being that we barely knew each other, we didn't coordinate our costumes; thus we were Phantom of the Opera and a saloon girl? lol.  Oh well, at least they were both 19th century.

Forgive the picture quality - the only ones of us together were taken by my roommate, Patty, who was already three sheets to the wind (and truth be told, so were we, as you can tell by ... whatever was going on in this pic... lol





I ... don't know, I have no idea what we were supposed to be doing.  I think the Phantom was supposed to be whisking me away or something. I blame Jagermeister lol.


And here's one I took of Mark, nearly as blurry - but in this one, the blurry works, it makes him look very phantomish and mysterious, descending the stairs ... spoookkkky! ;)





And Patti and Peter, as a Riverboat and/or 20s Gatsby gamblers ....






And the couple that won the contest (their costumes were amazing, though we couldn't get a good shot) ...





So, it was so dark ... and we may or may not have had too much to drink ... so most of the rest of the pictures came out like this ...




 

What the ... ?!?


LOL - whups!

I'm just saying, mind you, the main hall and staircase actually looked like this at the time, only sans the Halloween decorations (not our photo)  ... 




LOL!

But the picture we took probably more accurately reflected the liquor goggles ;)

(As you can see in the above photos, they've lightened up that room a bit since, but the dark worked for Halloween.)



In fact, the only pictures that came out clearly were the ones Mark took of Patti and me beforehand lol











Yeah, so ... I swiped  Mark's hat later - hee hee! 









Well?  

I liked it better than the little poof-hat I was wearing, which was too small for my big face, and with the wire ribbons, and wayward wire veil and feather, poking everyone.  

As you can tell in this photo, I was annoyed with it from the get-go, the moment I put it on  lol ... 









And here's the first picture I ever took of my husband, Mark :)




Here's to at least 30 more? I love you xo




College Game Day Returns to East Lansing for the MSU/Michigan Game This Saturday ...



 


So my husband just texted me that he found out College Game Day is going to be at his alma mater, Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI, on Saturday, for the big Michigan State University/University of Michigan rivalry game.


Oh, Lordy. 


I texted back, "So ... this means no going anywhere on Saturday, no talking, eating, or breathing, and everyone in the household must wear Sparty Green and White, including Brookie, lest they be damned to hell and God have mercy on their souls,  yes?"

LOL.

I guess we'll go on a hike to see the leaves change on Sunday then :)

All righty, then, I shall comply during football season, but when MSU plays Kentucky in basketball, there shall be a different set of rules, my love - Brookie shall wear a blue and white t-shirt and a green and white bandana or vice versa ;)




Friday, October 22, 2021

Alec Baldwin


(Updated x4, last update, 10/25/2021)





Oh ... my ... God.

While filming the movie "Rust" in New Mexico, Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun that killed the cinematographer (Halyna Hutchins) ...




...  and injured the director, (Joel Souza).  




I'm guessing they were filming a tight shot of him shooting, meaning he would be aiming directly towards the camera as if the other person -  which is why those two were hit, rather than whomever he was supposed to be shooting at in the film?

Okay, so though Alec is hilarious (especially when impersonating Trump on SNL), he's also known to be a bit of a loose cannon with a violent temper -  but he's not THAT crazy, right?


Because keep in mind that the actor never loads the prop gun, and typically doesn't even check it - they trust the prop person to have loaded it correctly, with blanks.



So did the person in charge of props load that gun with real bullets - and was that an accident or-?

The articles don't say, only that it's being investigated.


The situation immediately reminded me of what happened with Brandon Lee in 1993 - Bruce Lee's son, who was shot and killed with real bullets from a prop gun while filming The Crow.  




Neither the actor, nor the person who loaded the prop gun, were charged, and Brandon's  death was ruled an accident, but many people believe otherwise.


______________________________________



Update: 2:24 p.m.
- International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 44 - the union for prop masters, set decorators, special effects, and set construction have announced that the prop gun Alec Baldwin fired had been loaded with live rounds - but that that prop person responsible was not a member of the union.

In fact, there were no members of Local 44 on the set/registered to the product - the production hired outside of the union.

That's never a good idea, for starters.  It's cheaper, yes, but this is an instance of where unions come in handy, you can track and trace.  Otherwise, just anyone off the street, it becomes more difficult.  

__________________________


Update - 10/23/2021- 10:12

So the assistant director, Dave Halls, handed the gun - one of three on a tray - and shouted "cold gun" (which is the typical shout before blank gun is fired, because there's still an discharge/explosion that can injure if too close) -  to Baldwin - but claims that's what he was told by the armament director.


The only other things we do know is that it was low budget, and that some of the crew walked off the set earlier in the week due to working conditions - which were rumored to have been reported to the union, even though, as stated above, they did not use union members, to save money.

There are also rumors of gun safety concerns by the crew, but they have not been substantiated - and it's unclear if these concerns were actually documented somewhere before the shooting, because as stated, they were not union.

Otherwise, most of the things being complained about were typical even with union members, though now against the law - 14-hour days, extreme working conditions, etc. - it's just that it's rarely reported for fear of retaliation.  
 As mentioned in the Val Kilmer post, the director is king, even if a total asshole - and if you tell, you'll never work again.


So ... some lingering questions ...

First - was someone seriously  that unhinged and  that disgruntled with the director that they actually wanted to murder him?


Okay, that's a possibility - BUT -  just because the crew walked off the set earlier that week doesn't mean they were targeting him for murder and hit the cinematographer instead.


But there's a pretty big chink in that theory chain.

Because IF it's true that one of the crew's concerns was with gun safety - it would mean they were actually trying to warn the director, who ignored the warnings - not target him. 


But we don't know if that rumor is true, it could just be hindsight cover story - so it would take a documented grievance of lack of gun safety somewhere, dated before the shooting, to clear the crew of responsibility - which would be unlikely, since as already stated, they weren't union members. 


(**See update on this below with link - there was a report filed on October 16th of gun safety concerns**)


Also, why Alec Baldwin's gun in particular?


Because even though the scene being filmed at that moment was a tight shot of just Alec, I'm sure the overall scene didn't have his character shooting a gun at nothing - the scene likely involved gunfire between him and at least one other person, maybe more.

Now - whomever the script had him shooting at likely had their tight shots filmed at another time, maybe even be on the set, especially during COVID. 

Because what people don't know is that movies aren't filmed in order of the script.  Often, they'll film all of the scenes involving certain actors in the first six weeks, then let some finish their scenes and go home, keep some, and bring in the other actors. 

In other words, Actor A and Actor B film all of their scenes together in the first six weeks, regardless of order in the script; then Actor B and Actor C film all of their scenes together in the next six weeks and so on.  In fact, sometimes actors in the same film never even see each other if they don't have scenes together.   It's a matter of coordinating schedules - especially during COVID, this is true, to have minimal amount of actors working closely together, and for too long, on set. 


Regardless, my question is, why Alec's gun, during his tight shot VS. one of the other actors, during their tight shots, with their guns? 

Now - it's possible that Alec's scenes were just scheduled and filmed first, versus the other actors with guns in the shooting scene - and they were only a week in - and thus it just happened to be the first scene with a shot fired and thus just coincidence it was Alec's gun.

Or not - because typically, the lead actor's scenes aren't the very first scenes filmed -  the cheapest scenes which are either without actors at all, with scenery, or cheapest actors are typically filmed first  -  but as mentioned, it  does also depend on schedule coordination, especially with COVID, and the film did seem to break norms out of budget concerns.


The plot thickens and we shall see ... 


I love it how the right-leaning press is trying to find ways to blame Baldwin that don't even make sense, simply because he hilariously parodied Trump many times on SNL.  

Things like, "Alec broke the first rule of Hollywood - never point a gun at another human being."

Lol, oh bullshit - you will if the director tells you to, b'God, if you ever want to work in Hollywood again -  and clearly that's what Souza told Alec to do, aim at the camera, so  even that aspect wouldn't be Alec's fault - that aspect would be on the director, instead.

How do you think they get those close-up shots of people with guns pointing directly at the camera - you think the cinematographer and director just walks away from the rolling camera?


No, they do not - ever - the film used is too expensive.


Do you think the actor set up/directed the shot?


No, he or she did not.











Unless of course you're also Clint Eastwood, but Dirty Harry was before his directing days, and Don Siegal directed those.







Now, you may say, "Well, it's often slightly off to the left of the camera."


Erm - where exactly do you think the cinematographer and director are sitting, anyway -  directly behind the camera, one behind the other in a straight line?

No, they typically are not.

Apparently, Halyna was shot in the left chest near her shoulder, with the bullet passing through her, hitting Souza - meaning they were close together, likely with Souza was hunched behind her, on one side of the camera. 

Because the viewer lens is almost always on the side of the camera   - usually on the left, so right-handed cinematographers and directors can hold use their right hand to adjust the settings or hoist the camera  up on their right shoulder.

Now - these days, where the director stands depends on where the  attached digital side-monitor sits - it could be right, left, above, below, or centered on the middle of the camera itself, and its location is often adjusted for the shot.  

 
















Most of the time, the digital monitor is also off to one side, like the viewer lens - which would means it would actually be safer for you to point the gun directly at the actual camera lens, rather than to either side.  


And how many scenes have we scene "Mexican stand-off" situations, where at least three people in a triangle (or circle, if more) are pointing guns at each other, shot with a wide lens, or even shot above, to illustrate the formation/situation? 



Reservoir Dogs, Quinton Tarantino




Face-Off, John Woo

Did they CGI the actors in?

I don't think so lol.

I'm pretty sure they really were all pointing actual guns at each other (supposedly unloaded or loaded with blanks). 

So don't tell ME the director never tells you to point the gun at the camera or another human being, that's total bullshit - and very odd that it's the right-wing press trying to blame Alec himself.


Now - keep in mind, there is no particular love lost from me for Alec - as I've said before, even though I think he's hilarious (especially playing Trump), I also don't understand why people keep hiring him, when he's clearly a verbally-abusive loose cannon with a violent temper, versus black-balled people like Val Kilmer or Alec's ex-wife, Kim Basinger - or need a conservator like Britney Spears, hm? ;)

(The answer to that is two-fold - not only because he's a white male, but because unlike Val Kilmer, as long as he doesn't verbally or physically abuse/likely ass-kisses the directors and makes them laugh - but other than that, we don't know why.)


I'm just saying, despite his violent temper, in this particular situation, having just a little bit of knowledge about how movies are filmed (having been in one myself at age 11), he is actually the least likely person to be guilty of the crime, rather than an accessory victim of it.

That doesn't rule him out, I'm just saying he actually carries the lowest probability of guilt for the crime, knowing how films work.  



__________________________________________


Updated 10/23/201 - 3:31

Okay, so a couple of my questions above may have just been answered.

Because indeed there was an actual documented report filed regarding gun safety concerns on October 16th, after 2 accidental fires  - NOT involving Alec Baldwin - in fact, 5 days before Alec shot Halyna and Joel.

(The articles do not mention more details about who shot those 2 "accidental firings," actors or crew).

Now, as I said above. earlier today, if a report was filed substantiating the crew complained about gun safety before the walkout or as part of the walkout - it would mean that most of the crew actually tried to warn the director of a problem, but he ignored them - which would be a big chink in the "the crew dunnit" theory chain.

(Of course, that doesn't rule out the possibility that one lone crew member was mental.)

Also, the question above about why Alec's gun versus others doing tight shots with guns in the scene may have just been answered - because, in fact, there was filming with shots fired going on at least 5 before Alec's shot his scenes, also with firing problems. 

So now the question becomes whether or not Alec Baldwin was aware of the two previous accidental firings by the others before him or not, before he shot?

If Alec was aware of these two accidental firings last week by others, then yes, he would be at least partially responsible for not rechecking his own gun/having his gun checked for live rounds first, despite what the assistant director said. 

If he wasn't aware - and I'm going to say there's a 95% chance no one told the big-name actor about gun problems a week before he filmed his scenes, for fear of scaring him away from the project lol - then no, he isn't responsible.

In that case, if those two accidental firings on the set were before he arrived and filmed his scenes, and no one told him, then the director,  the assistant director (who handed the gun to him and shouted "cold gun"), and whichever prop person loaded the weapon would all be liable/held responsible, whether intentional or not. 


____________________________


UPDATE 10/25/2021

So the 2 reported/documented "accidental firings" prior to Alec's arrival were NOT used in prior scenes filmed - they were used in target practice.

Thus, the chance this was really was an accident is still on the table - but so is the chance that it wasn't an accident - neither can be ruled out, at this point.

Regardless, if I was the director, I would put a ban of live rounds anywhere on my set - not because I don't believe in the right to bear arms, because I do - but to prevent the possibility of something like this happening, because these guns are NOT meant to be used for self-defense, hunting, or as target-practice toys between scenes, they're meant to be used as props only.






Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Good Personal Health News :)

 

Still prediabetic -  but my A1c dropped, and my estimated average blood glucose level was now normal range - just one more push and my A1c should be solidly back to normal range. :)

 Also, my LDL cholesterol dropped and my HDL rose :)

Now I just have to find a way to fit in daily exercise rather than just three-times-a-week cycling and a walk on the weekends -  I think that's the ticket for the rest, dropping back to normal levels.

I can't change my diet much more (I didn't eat sweets much anyway), but I stopped all pop 3 months ago,  also no pasta, potato chips, or bagels;  minimal fruit (unless with fiber and/or protein), rare bread or potatoes (usually boiled) - so daily exercise may be the ticket here (it's known that a 10-minute walk after meals can drop your blood sugar 10 points).


After losing my COVID/menopause cravings weight gain of 23 pounds,  I was back to my pre-COVID baseline, and have lost two more pounds since I last wrote about it 2 weeks ago with a picture of my scales (losing roughly a pound a week, which is the the healthiest way)  - so now I'm down 19 pounds (with a goal of 115, which was my usual weight until 10 years ago, hovering around 121 since until COVID/menopause)!

Again, can't say it enough, but 18 of those pounds were lost in the last 3 months, after stopping all soda, rare bread, zero pasta or chips, more active  in general since vaccinated last Spring.  

Whew!



FDA Authorizes Moderna and J&J Booster Shots, As Well as "Mix-and-Matching" of Boosters ...

 


The FDA emergency-authorized Moderna and J&J booster shots today, also adding that all three vaccines could be "mixed-and-matched" - meaning if you received the initial dose or doses of one, the third shot could be of another vaccine. 


The next step is the CDC will vote and publish its public guidelines for use - they can vote along with the FDA's labeled indication for population, or decide upon their own, which is rare (though it nearly happened with Pfizer's booster, as the CDC's independent advisory panel recommended broader usage than the labeled indication, but the CDC chief overrode them and stuck to the FDA label).

Though the FDA's label for the Moderna and J&J's booster are somewhat broader in population than Pfizer, the FDA still provided restrictions on who can get the vaccine.

However, the FDA's independent advisory panel voted unanimously to move towards vaccinating the general public with boosters of all three vaccines possibly in November. 

The reason for this broadening of population since Pfizer's authorization is because Moderna's study was a larger and more comprehensive than Pfizer's, definitively proving not only that the efficacy of all 3 vaccines wane over time, with J&J's vaccine waning the fastest, and Moderna's lasting the longest.

There was some evidence that a third booster of Moderna improved immunity at least temporarily (however, we don't know for exactly how long yet, that will take a phase 4 real-world data study after the initial clinical trial).


HOWEVER, in addition to not having longer-term efficacy data on the boosters, there have been no studies on the safety of mix-and-matching, we're just assuming based on waning immunity, so this is  pretty shaky, not-entirely-data-based ground we're walking on - but Moderna's study did definitively prove what the Pfizer study did not - that the efficacy of the first rounds do indeed wane over time. 


Thus, I want Moderna, I always did lol.

However, good luck getting it, here in Kentucky  - they ran out before they got to my age group, the first go round :/







 

Monday, October 18, 2021

FDA Moves to Allow Crossover/Mixed Vaccination Boosters ...

 


Like I said this morning, in my post about Colin Powell - and as I questioned in an earlier post on boosters - moments ago, the FDA is now moving to the vote to allow people to cross-vaccinate, meaning if you got the J&J one shot and want Pfizer or Moderna's booster, it's possible you could have it. 

This is because after Pfizer's small study not showing definitive outcomes with results in the efficacy of boosters, Moderna then came in with a larger and more comprehensive study, proving their vaccine  lasted the longest of the three and protected the best against variantsand J&J's vaccine (which is a basic "live-strain" vaccine rather than mRNA-based like Pfizer and J&J) had the shortest-term efficacy of the three vaccines - but also, and most importantly, Moderna's study proved that all 3 vaccines waned in efficacy, over time.



I'm wondering if Colin Powell's death spurred this along, because I knew it was being discussed, especially with 80-year-olds who were fully vaccinated being mostly the ones actually critically ill/dying of the variant (although the unvaccinated are still 11x more at risk) - but now, they're  pushing forward with this sooner, rather than later?


PS - Here's a new chart from the CDC, which shows the risk of death from COVID versus other causes to older Americans, vaccinated or not.




Note the risk of death from COVID VS. other causes of death for age 80+ is almost double for the unvaccinated, and the risk of death from COVID is just one-third to one-half the risk of death from other causes in the vaccinated, over ages 80 and 85+, respectively.









(Sigh) Doctor's Office Waiting-Room Political Conversations ....

 

So I went to my doctor today, to get my blood sugar and A1c checked (as I'm prediabetic), after losing my 23 COVID pounds and being back down to baseline weight (121 pounds) -  and after my visit, I went to sit in the lab waiting room.

I feel like I handled this pretty well (after finally learning how to), but things went like this:


Old Man on my Left:    "Well, he's cutting all of the energy programs, so of course the price of gas is going up."   

 

Middle-Aged Lady on My Right:   "We need to get him out of there.  He doesn't know what he's doing."


I'm just sitting there, in the middle of them.


Now, I'm  thinking to myself:  "Where's my phone? lol.  I want to pretend to be too engrossed in it to notice or get roped into this conversation.  I'm about to get my blood sugar checked and I don't want it to spike from THIS shit, today, I just don't want get involved and don't want them to involve me."


 

Old Man:  "How much do YOU pay to fill up your car?"

 

Oh, shit - too late. 


Me:  "I think about $35?"

 

Old Man:  "See, Biden's making the price of gas go up with cutting back oil business for that environment bullshit. That cost comes back on us, see."

 

Okay, well, first of all, the president, Republican or Democrat, always gets blamed for gas prices, though the president has shit to do with gas prices - gas prices, like insurance rates, go up based on that gas corporation's whim, and most environmental policies that aren't done through EOs (which have very little power) must be passed into law through Congress, and they haven't yet.

But I didn't say that.

And yet he was still looking at me to say something.

 

Me:  "Well, higher cost of energy is true, I guess.  They also go up immediately, any time there are problems in the Middle East, that's the first thing oil companies do, justified or not, it's their excuse -  and you know, Afghanistan."

 

Old Man:  "Well, he messed that all up, too, didn't he?  Man is incompetent, them poor people over there in Afghanistan."



New Man comes in and sits across from me, looks left and right, then rolls his eyes with a sly smile at me.

Good - I now have an ally, in the room, if this goes too far South  - literally lol 




 

Me:  "I don't know, I agree with Biden in that I don't think there was ever a good time to pull out, but we should - but it was messier than it needed to be, that's for sure.  Not that I have the answer as to how it should've been done."

 

New Man:  "Nobody does, that's the thing.  We complain a lot, but nobody wants to admit what you just did - they don't have the answer, either."

 

Old Man:  "Well, I sure as fire have more sense than that idiot."

 

Me:  "Well, my husband is a retired Army ranger, who knows a lot more about this stuff than I do, and he says we've been there long enough, nothing's getting better, and they didn't want us there anyway until after we said we were leaving, we weren't accomplishing much, and there was no good time to pull out - but he agrees it could've been done in a less messy way."



*Crickets* - that shut them up, for sure - because I'm quite sure not a one of us sitting in that room was a former Army ranger. 



You see, when in Kentucky, saying, "My husband is a retired Army ranger and he says ..." is a bit like those old EF Hutton commercials, where everyone stops talking and listens? lol.



Me (continuing):  "I just think it's odd, everyone was all anti-Muslim, "fear the Muslim" and now, suddenly, those same people supposedly care about "the poor people of Afghanistan?" 
"I've always cared about the people of Afghanistan, but this isn't really about the poor people of Afghanistan anyway -  this is about oil rights and always has been." 
"So perhaps we need to start investing in other energy sources besides oil - then there'd be less conflict in the Middle East, at least over oil -  but then there's still religion to fight about, I guess lol."

 


New Man:  (*snort* - stifles a laugh.) 

 

Me:  "But maybe that's just me, knowing what my husband went through, and losing many of his friends, I want to save our young men to fight another day.  Just because my husband's indestructible doesn't mean everyone is lol."


Middle-Aged Lady:  "Yep, that's just your love for your husband and others who serve talking, that's all that is. Your husband was over there?"

 

Me:  "Yep, for just a little while, and before that Somalia, the Congo, Latin America in the 80s.  Long before I met him, but I definitely listen to him about this stuff."

 

Old Man:  "Yeah, that's a mess too, in Africa."



Translation?

People with darker skin are bad and need to be monitored by the American military.  

Sigh.  

Awkward lull. 


Me:  "So are you all from Lexington or central Kentucky?"

 

(All):  "Yes."  

 

Me: "I just ask because I know some people travel in from other places in Kentucky and was wondering if the leaves were changing where you are yet, we're late this year." 

 

Middle-Aged Lady:  "I've got a couple of maple trees, just now changing.  I wonder if the gorge is changing, they usually change first." 

 

Me: "See, that's what I was wondering, to go maybe this weekend to see.  Or Shaker Village, my husband is from Detroit, and Michigan can do no wrong, in his eyes, but he loves Shaker Village, that's his favorite place here." 

 

Old Man:  "I haven't been there in 20 years, it's beautiful there, I'm glad you mentioned that, my wife and I should go back."


Mission accomplished - conversation change successful, Old Man less angry :)

There was almost a redirect by the old man, but I know how to deal with angry old men.  

 

Old Man:  "Speaking of the military, Colin Powell died today, did y'all hear about that?" 

 

Me:  "I know! Isn't that crazy?  Talking about my husband being indestructible, I thought THAT man was indestructible.  He did NOT look 84." 

 

Old Man: "I'm 83 and knocking on wood." 

 

Me:  "Are you?  Well, you might be indestructible, too.  You know what it is -  it's that purple mask you got on, must be lucky, I like it."

 

The room laughed, including the old man :)


Old Man (Laughing):  "Yeah, my wife got this for me somewhere. I don't normally wear one, but they make you at the doctor.  It may be lucky after all hehehe." 

 

Me:  "See? She knows.  I want a purple mask, too, then!  Purple is my favorite color anyway." 



And then we all wished each other luck and good days when called back for labs :)


And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how I've finally learned to deal with political conversation in Kentucky doctor's office waiting rooms,  redirecting angry old men, all fired up after watching too much Fox News, who just want something to be mad about - change the subject, find something common-ground and positive to discuss - but most importantly, make sure to make it something positive about them, give them the attention they want, only make it (sincerely) positive - whew :)






General Colin Powell, Dead at 84, from COVID-19

 



RIP, Colin Powell - didn't always agree with him, but at least he followed his personal convictions, rather than popularity, to be sure.


He was fully vaccinated and died of breakthrough infection.

As we know, the CDC has published data suggesting that most deaths from COVID-19 among the vaccinated are over age 80 (thus the FDA's approval of a third Pfizer booster shot for them, with Moderna's on deck for approval, and J&J's next.), and that most people younger than 80 that have been vaccinated have mild symptoms.

The CDC also has published data suggesting that Moderna's vaccine has slightly longer effectiveness (which I posted previously), and is considering allowing J&J people to be cross-vaccinated with other brand vaccines (which you may recall was another question I had in those posts about the third shot, whether we could cross-vaccinate at some point).


So, here's what we know  ... that vaccine efficacy IS starting to wane, and apparently wanes over time, and that at some point, we're going to need something else - hopefully a booster with added genetic variant material, rather than the same exact formulation.

It's possible, even likely, that a third shot of the exact same formulation will at least temporarily boost immunity, it's just the small study didn't definitively prove it. 

This is why we wear masks though vaccinated, people - to at least offer some physical barrier protection.