Cumberland Falls, Cumberland Falls State Park, Honeybee/Corbin, Kentucky


**PLEASE NOTE** - I use no other social media and my comments are closed due to persistent harassment and impersonation by one individual - sorry :(

Monday, January 31, 2022

Naughty But NICE and the NHS ...


(Edited -  content added, PS x2 added)


Just taking a break from a transcription of a marketing interview with a British payer, who is doing an unofficial, informal marketing pre-launch evaluation of a new drug that is due to launch soon, to give a small vent about something which rubbed me the wrong way today.

Without giving any details about the drug, the company involved, or what this person's actual relationship is with NICE and the NHS, let me just say first that this person is, by far, the most insulting person in my 2 years of transcribing these interviews, which again, are international - BUT - done in that stereotypical British "I'll sound so polite that they won't even know I'm being insulting, Americans are too stupid" sort of way.

Now -  although I agree with him on his clear distrust for American pharmaceuticals and that the cost of new drugs by U.S. pharmaceuticals is too high, when the efficacy isn't justified - AND - I agree with him that  our  U.S. healthcare system is largely backwards in comparison -  his insults didn't seem to be limited to just American Big Pharma, but Americans in general, blanket generalizing them.

He also had no clear understanding of how it works here, and thus made a lot of assumptions - such as that there is no cost-effectiveness analysis done for new drugs at all, in America, when actually there is - it's just that it's done by private commercial payers rather than just the government, and thus more individual rebates comes into play (which he does seem to have some  rudimentary understanding of).

Additionally, I didn't agree with this (paraphrased) assumption,  after having personally transcribed at least 20 of these interviews internationally, over the last month:


"Both the KOL (key opinion leader, the expert clinician) and myself did not agree with the definition of "refractory," in these patients, so I'd suggest your company, which I'm assuming is American, adjust your definition of refractory to fall in line with our definition - and I'm quite sure that if you used the Oxford English Dictionary, it would side with us."



Oh - we have to take sides, now, British VS. American?

I don't think so, but all righty :)


The Asian-British-accented interviewer - meaning you could tell that English was not her first language, but she spoke with a British accent, with touches of an Asian accent - just rolled over it and distracted him with another question - but here's what I have to say about that ...



"Okay, for starters, A**hole - a word which we all understand the meaning of, whether or not it is included in the Oxford English Dictionary - since this interview is double-blind, you have no idea whether the company is American or not, because we do interviews for international and even multinational companies as well.  In fact, I don't even know who the manufacturer is, or from what country. 

Secondly, the Oxford English Dictionary wouldn't help us, here, because these are medical definitions that may vary according to disease state, not basic English-word definitions. 

Lastly, and most importantly, despite what the Oxford English Dictionary says, let me assure you, after having transcribed 20+ interviews for this drug, even clinicians within your own country cannot agree on its definition, because there are no published guidelines on the definition in this particular disease state, in any country. 

In fact, the disease itself relies predominantly on patient-reported data rather than data from objective measurements.

That is the entire point of this interview, which you clearly missed  - to poll expert clinicians in this field, along with payers, knowing that there are subjective interpretations of the medical definition of this word, in this particular disease state - in order to at least try to get a general consensus for what the interpretation of the word "refractory" means to them, as opposed to the literal definition, so that it can help with subgroup analysis and assigning cost based on prevalence.

Thus, you may take your pompous, presumptive, arrogant  British arse  -- mind you, since we're apparently blanket-generalizing/stereotyping into little boxes everyone from certain countries, the British being notorious for their for getting bogged down in semantics and their obsession with proper English usage and definition, to the degree that they lose entirely the bigger picture and the plot -- and get thee to the Oxford English Dictionary yourself, to look up the definitions of the words "subjective" versus "objective," so that you can now evaluate if perhaps you might have these two definitions confused for one another?  

Cheers! :) 

 

 

Thank you, that is all.  I feel better now :) lol


PS - Interestingly, after he began thinking the manufacturer might be Swiss, instead of American, he softened a bit lol.

In fact, he softened so much that the interviewer asked again, since he was feeling "kinder" if she could try for the price point testing now.

He still said no, but interesting lol.

In fact, once he thought it was a Swiss company instead, he softened so much that he actually complimented an aspect of the American system - which doesn't occur as much as he thinks it does - and is actually a feature that I think makes things worse - which is incentives or deductions for physicians for hitting or not hitting quality metrics.  

First of all, the quotas that doctors have to reach of how many patients to see in one day - which is becoming universal - sacrifices much needed quality time for patient care to quantity for the almighty income dollar. 

Another aspect - which only a few health systems have implemented, and not the majority - is to give incentives for patient improvement, when patients are notoriously noncompliant - you can never be sure that  patients have truly have taken their meds at home, like they say they are, or exercised and followed their diet the way they said, either - and whose fault is that, then, that their health condition has not improved?  It's certainly not the physician's fault, it's the patient's.

And yet the only thing this British guy liked about the American system was this new sacrificing quality of care for quantity dollars?

Treating healthcare like revenue generation isn't going to help the overall systemic problems, and it isn't something to be praised - sorry.

Now - may I just say, it's a double-blind interview - even I have no idea who the manufacturer sponsoring the marketing interview is (but I could research the studies and find out).

Also, the aspect that made him now think it was a Swiss company, instead of American, or a multinational corporation, for that matter - isn't unique to the Swiss, like he thinks  - in fact, it's new value-based agreement offering that all pharma companies are considering, and the Swiss didn't even come up with it lol.


Oh well, let's let him think that and make an ass of himself and find out the hard way that he's not the smartest detective and economist on the planet like he thinks he is ;)


________________________________


PPS - So today, which is the day after this post was initially written, she's interviewing another payer from another European country, and she switched up the question.  

So the original question was something akin to "Do you agree with this definition of refractory patients?"


Now, she's switched it to, "There's not much consensus on use of the term "refractory" versus "uncontrolled" from a payer perspective;  would you agree with this definition or will you leave that up to the treating clinicians?"

LOL!

Smart girl :)

Because after that, yesterday, she's now spelling out the reason for the question, apparently for idiots, who get hung up on Oxford English dictionary definitions, instead of seeing the bigger picture, that not all clinicians define "refractory" the same way in this particular disease state and patient population, despite what Oxford says  ;)


For the record, he essentially says, "I agree with this definition, as a payer, but ultimately, it's the expert opinions by our KOL clinicians on the definitions of refractory versus uncontrolled in this disease that will influence our final decision."

Smart man, too ;)



Trump Promises to Pardon Jan 6 Rioters: But, Wait ... Didn't He/His Supporters Blame Antifa for The January 6th Capitol Riot?


Video below, but Trump said yesterday:


"Another thing we'll do, and so many people have been asking me about it, if I run and if I win we will treat those people from January 6 fairly ... and if it requires pardons we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly."


Of course, this then can only mean one of 2 things:  Either he's basically finally admitting the Capitol rioters were his supporters - or he supports Antifa - and I'm pretty sure it's not the latter ;)





Now - WHY give this virtual admission now, when the Congressional committee's investigation is getting so close - what's the strategy?

Not because he's hoping they'll go easier on him if he "pleas down" by admitting guilt - and the proof that cannot be his angle is because he's still talking future thinking, about his future presidency.

However, IMO, it is a desperate plea, all right  - but not to the Congressional committee.

Of course it's to his Charles-Manson-level cult supporters - but not just to vote for him in 2024 - he already knows he has that.


Therefore, IMO, for all the reasons I just stated - I suspect this is a desperate, public plea for his supporters to do it again -  storm the capitol again -  either before the  Congressional committee finds him guilty, to prevent it, or just after it  ;) 


This also proves, of course, that Trump supporters consciously knew it wasn't Antifa - that they were consciously lying and spreading disinformation - and more importantly, that they fully supported the unlawful and treasonous violence at the Capitol.


So if Trump and his supporters consciously spread disinformation about the Jan 6 rioters being Antifa, rather than themselves - how can we be sure they weren't also spreading disinformation about a "stolen election" to begin with, hmm? ;)


Or consciously spreading disinformation about anything else, for that matter ... ?












Sunday, January 30, 2022

Trevor Noah's "Born a Crime" ...


(Edited - content and pictures added.)

I love Trevor Noah, I think he's brilliant, insightful, funny, and absolutely adorable :) 

I just finished his book, "Born a Crime," detailing his growing up in South Africa.




For those unaware of his history, his father is Swiss white and his mother is Xhosa black - which was illegal during apartheid, and Trevor was born in 1985 - five years before apartheid ended - thus the title of the book, "Born a Crime." 

(The strain of a mixed relationship during apartheid eventually proved too much for his parents.)

Also, his abusive stepfather shot his mother in the head, after she left him.  She miraculously lived, but his stepfather was never jailed for the crime, he walks free still, to this day - and threatened to kill Trevor, too, which is why Trevor moved to America.

And we're so glad he did come to America :)

Trevor became a stand-up comedian and currently hosts The Daily Show on Comedy Central, after Jon Stewart stepped down.




Though Trevor tells some hilarious stories, I couldn't help but still feel this profound sadness behind them, they're heartbreaking.  IMO, Trevor actually has a very big heart, but you're never going to see it, he always covers his pain and compassion with a joke. 

Besides the personal stories about his his growing up and never feeling he quite belonged to any group,  the things he and his mother had to do to survive, one thing that struck me was something Trevor and I had in common - Trevor came out and wrote exactly what I said in this post - that Christian women without husbands, or whose husbands are emotionally unavailable, absent, abusive, or addicted, often turn their concept of Jesus into a sort of surrogate husband.

In fact, his mother actually said that - that she considered Jesus her true husband, and thus really didn't need one, after Abel. 

Only I went further in my earlier post, than Trevor did - by stating this mentality actually becomes its own form of addiction.


However, though though Trevor doesn't come out and say this directly, he does hint at it -  as he states his mother attended 4 different churches every Sunday, all day on Sunday - including a Rhema-college-based Word of Faith Ministries megachurch in Johannesburg - which is exactly the same wing of charismatic evangelical church that my mother became addicted to - and Trevor became just as confused about Christianity as I did, Jesus versus what Christianity has become. 

(One positive thing I can say about this church, however, was what Trevor said about it - at least all races were welcome.  They still weren't looked to as leaders in the church, unfortunately, in my community, although we did have on youth counselor that was white,  and at least I was fortunate to have black friends in my youth group as well as white, and we all got along famously, we had a lot of fun - until we didn't, because of our youth pastor, but that's another story for another time :)

For Trevor, now tack on how well that fit in with already-existed animistic belief about witches and demons in the region in Zulu and Xhosa culture - plus tack on a South Africa that claimed to be predominantly Christian, but treated people of color in the way that they did, adding to that confusion.

Nevertheless, the book is essentially a love letter to his mother, but a very honest one - both about himself and her and their relationship -  the pretty and not so pretty - all the mistakes, the lessons both learned.


Then, of course, is thing that struck me most, in his book - the inequity and immorality of treating people differently because of the color of their skin or their faith, simply how absurd and illogical apartheid laws, ironically called "immorality laws" - that weren't abolished until 1990!




First of all, let me say that I'm ashamed to say that I didn't know about apartheid until college, when it had just ended. Though I supposedly went to one of the best public high schools in the country, no one ever once mentioned apartheid - ever.

It wasn't until I entered college that protests against South Africa were everywhere, and most of my classes were discussing it.

(Actually, I take that back - the first time I heard about apartheid was through music artists, Sting and U2 in high school, but I didn't know the details until college, because certainly, nobody ever talked about it where I grew up.)

I learned then that we came into their country and took over, and legally made them slaves and segregated second-class citizens - and I was blown away that this was still going on anywhere, in my lifetime - but especially in their country.
This is similar to what we did to Native Americans, only Native Americans weren't legally recognized as slaves, and there weren't Jim Crow segregation laws for Native Americans - plus we brought the slaves here.

That isn't to minimize the Native-American experience in any way, their experiences were equally horrific, though different experiences.


Trevor tells you even more from a personal viewpoint, which I researched and verified - that in South Africa still today, though not legally segregated, the way Johannesburg is built, it was meant to stay segregated housing wise, in the way it was built with civil-engineering, including physical barriers to prevent spread -  regardless of if segregation ever became outlawed or not.


So there were four legal social classes during apartheid - white, colored, black, and Indian (meaning East Indian). 

"Colored" in South Africa actually means biracial or mixed - BUT - in order to be legally in the colored class and neighborhood, and  thus have more relaxed apartheid laws and jobs, it meant the racial mixing had to have occurred before apartheid was in place, because race-mixing became illegal in South Africa in 1927, with an even stronger law in 1957 under the "Immorality Act." 

Ironic, isn't it?

Race-mixing was considered immoral, but beating, raping, enslaving, denying them voting and labor rights, and even killing people, because they of the color of their skin, is moral?

What passes for "Christian morality" in some supposedly Christian minds just floors me - it's the polar opposite of Christ's words and message in the gospels. 

And if you're asking if they checked how far back your race-mixing went, they certainly did.

All of which meant because Trevor's parents were of different races, he was literally "born a crime."  

He couldn't say take a walk with his white father and acknowledge him as "Daddy" in public - his father had to walk ahead and pretend not to know him.

He also couldn't walk with his black mother because he was lighter skinned than she was, so they had to borrow a "colored" neighbor to walk next to him so she'd look like the mother and his own mother would look like the maid.


If they did not do these things, they could be imprisoned for five years and fined for breaking the "Immorality Law" against race-mixing - and yes, that included Trevor himself, even as a child, though he had no choice in the matter  :(



Now - you could apply to up your status to colored or white, but you had to pass the "pencil test" - meaning they held up a pencil ruler to  compare your skin to it, to see if you were lighter, and even if you passed, you still had white status, but still with restrictions. 

Wow, that's some serious scientific determination, there, isn't it?

The most absurd thing was when Asians came to town.


Chinese and Korean people were legally given "black' status, but Japanese were given (limited) "white" status - based solely on the fact that South Africa was trying to open trade with Japan for cars and  technology.


Do you think your average flying-squad black-jack is going to know the difference between Japanese and Chinese on the street, getting on a bus, going to a white restaurant, or sitting on a white park bench? 


Honestly, at what point do you realize these laws cannot be observationally ascertained, and that virtually no one is of one pure race anyway, so these laws and mindsets are irrational and absolutely absurd?


Speaking of those flying squads, apartheid police could do whatever they wanted - break in your house and beat you, claiming you had committed some crime, even if you hadn't - they even had the authority shoot you with the same claim, no proof required. 


As we know, regardless of race, there is a strong correlation between chronic poverty/chronic economic deprivation that leads to frustration, crime, and aggression/violence, rather than race - and violent, drug-addled, crime-ridden places like Harlan County, Kentucky, which are 96% white, Republican Trumpers - are living proof. 


Additionally, in South Africa, the government did a very good job of dividing and conquering by using existing tribal feuds against each other to divide and conquer - so of course people of color tried to unite with force and take back their freedom -  who wouldn't?

And the fight for freedom isn't always textbook ethical - and that has nothing to do with skin color.

I'm not condoning that, mind you, but people do what they have to do to survive, especially when violence has been imposed upon them.

The Mandelas sometimes resorted to questionable means, but they got the job done - and South Africa is now legally desegregated - but socially, not so much :(


Just like here in America after slavery, there were Jim Crow laws , and even when they finally ended, that doesn't mean much changed in American minds about people of color.

Sure, you could go in a restaurant now, but that didn't mean anyone had to serve you.

Police can still profile, raid your home, and shoot you, little or no evidence required, just because you're black.


Thus, unemployment in South Africa is high for the same reason - though they can go to college now, who can afford it, and people won't hire them because they're still wishing for slave/cheap labor under apartheid.

Sure, there was 0% unemployment under apartheid - but that is because most worked for no pay or little pay as maids, etc. - duh!

If you were now able to get an education or a job post-apartheid, there was nowhere for you to move and go - because neighborhoods were still unofficially segregated - which had no way to expand or grow or evolve because the way they were built, kept them contained with civil-engineering barriers.


Also while reading this book, I couldn't help of thinking of all the whining and war-like mentalities of Trumpers, over stupid stuff like masks and vaccines - which are for public health safety - versus true restriction of freedoms, like living  under apartheid law, based solely on the color of your skin, just 30 years ago - and still exists in the social mindset today.

Because in doing so, you're only further exhibiting your white privilege, Karen-level, spoiled-brat upset, wanting to overthrow the government, just because somebody made you wear a mask or encouraged a vaccine.

(I really try to refrain from using the Karen moniker -  not because it's not true -  but because we have no male equivalent - despite the fact that most of our  current white male Republicans are are overprivileged. tantrum-throwing "Karens".)



For those of you unfamiliar with Trevor Noah, here's a little sneak peak on a fairly recent return to South Africa, driving through Soweto, as well as visiting his 91-year-old grandmother, whom he calls "GoGo," and still lives Soweto, the same way she always has, with  no indoor plumbing, shared public toilet with no plumbing and all - by her choice, as all her friends and family are there.


She tells a story, here, about what it was like to live under apartheid that chills you to the core - about digging with her hands to plant potatoes, for no pay, and if someone dropped dead from exhaustion, they simply made you bury them aright there in the planting row, digging a hole with your hands, and you had to plant potatoes on top of them,  and kept planting potato in the row - as if the dead person's life was worth no more than a potato :(


She also tells a story, mixed English and Xhosa (Trevor translates, as he can speak 6 languages, partly how he survived) about how the Soweto neighborhood children would run away from him out of fear, thinking he was white and was a blackjack or informant (although she rarely let him play in the neighborhood, because he would be arrested and imprisoned, just for being mixed).

She is so cute and spry, though, an absolute treasure - as is Trevor :)






As for his mother, Patricia, he has stated she will never be on the show, he's still very protective of her, both from his stepfather, who still walks free, as well as from press and social media.

These are the only known pictures of Patricia, two of them before Abel shot her in the back of the head -  the bullet passing entirely through her head, exiting near her nose,  miraculously missing her spinal cord by a millimeter and hitting no major nerves or blood vessels - and walked out of the hospital after four days.






 

Here is a rare picture of Patricia Nombiyuselo Noah, with just the slightest nasal damage from the bullet ... 



Trevor was, at that time, a fledgling comedian and DJ, and because his mother didn't have insurance, he maxed out his credit cards to pay for her surgery. 

And yet, his stepfather walks free to this day, given only community service for attempted murder :(


In addition to knowing that chronic economic deprivation leading to frustration and violence, we also know that there is a strong correlation between openly racist cultures and subcultures and domestic violence - and it is also not exclusive to any particular  race.


For example,  actress Charlize Theron's (who is South African and whose first language is Afrikaans) mother, after repeatedly being ignored for reporting Charlize's father to the police,  shot him in self-defense, as he was trying to shoot both her and Charlize, but she was acquitted.




(Yes, by the way - because of these similar experiences, Charlize and Trevor are close friends,  often collaborating on projects for South Africa - so much so that people have rumored they're a couple, but they are not - Trevor is dating actress Minka Kelly - though Trevor admitted once having a crush on her, Charlize and Trevor's relationship is actually more like brother and sister.)

Not so lucky was Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who the athlete shot and killed in their apartment. 






Thank you, Trevor - you may have been born a crime, but you,  your mother, and your grandmother are miracles :)

Thank you for giving us a personal peak inside your remarkable life and letting us know what it was like to truly live without freedom. 

I'm not sure how much better America treats you, considering there is not even a middle "colored" class, here - you're black if you have any color at all - but we applaud your success despite all your adversity in life :) 


In fact, there is a movie version of Trevor's book in the works, starring Lupita Nyong'o as Patricia - can't wait!






PS - Both Trevor Noah and Dave Chapelle have described the City of Lexington as "The Land of Charming Racism."

Very true - very passive-aggressive racism - which is actually the trickiest and hardest form of racism to combat -  because it's smile-in-your-face-and-praise-Jesus-but-stab-you-in-the-back kind of racism, so that even people of color themselves don't always know the white people here are racist, because the people here can't even admit it to themselves or express it behind closed doors, because it's "impolite" - so often, people of color here have no idea why things turned out the way they did/what the heck happened, because they think the white guy smiling  in their face isn't racist and their friend.

In fact, it's not just race - the entire Kentucky culture is passive-aggressive in general- smile in your face and seem friendly, so as not to be impolite - but stab you in the back or use someone else to do your dirty work.

My husband, from Detroit, gets so mad at some people here, for their  passive-aggressive ways, it weighs on him.

Just today, he was upset about something and I said:

"Believe me, I get it - try living here for 32 years.  Getting mad about this warped, passive-aggressive, backwards, unfair, overly conservative, supposedly "Christian," smile-in-your-face-stab-you-in-the-back  socioeconomic system only makes you look like the bad guy and "uppity" for getting mad at them about it, or labeled as "crazy" - plus if you stay that way over it, you may eventually make honest people of them lol.

 

"The only way I have learned to get through it - and this was just in recent years -  without losing your mind or staying chronically angry - is to redirect conversations to nonpolitical common ground just to get through the situations, and to avoid staying in the anger, you, simply tell yourself - 'Poor things - they simply don't know any better." 
"And they don't want to know any better.  Though very dysfunctional, they're in a in a comfort zone, and southerners are very resistant to change, they fear it like the plague, even if they know it's dysfunctional - both white and black - because the devil you know is better than the one you don't, so why rock the boat? Both races consider you a troublemaker if you so much as question it." 
"And it's not our job to teach them, as if we, as white people, have all the answers anyway - so let Lexingtonians continue to create the same scapegoats, over and over again, then continue to scratch their heads, wondering why things don't improve, until doomsday  - there's nothing we can do about it but vote, peacefully protest , and rant about it on my blog lol - and hopefully, move away when you retire - because there's not enough brave, public support here to change much of anything."


Saturday, January 29, 2022

Rare American White Pelican Sighting at Our Central Kentucky Park, Plus Guess Which Animal Made These Snow Tracks? :)

 

So the other day, Mark calls me on his way to the barn, saying that he saw a large white bird on the park's lake.  Thinking it was a snowy egret or a swan, he pulled into the park to get a closer look.

Nope, something even more rare in Central Kentucky - an American White Pelican!




You have no idea how rare that is, in this part of the country!

Mark even got a small video of him ... 



Apparently, other people with professional cameras snapped this sighting, which you can see HERE.

This sighting is extremely rare, as they've only been in Kentucky for the past 20 years (climate change), but mostly in Western Kentucky at Lake Barkley - rarely seen more East than that.

As opposed to most pelicans in America, the American White Pelican is a freshwater feeder rather than saltwater, and does not dive for their pray, they fish while swimming :)

So being that I have been uncharacteristically busy with work, this month, when it's usually a dead time of year - we planned on going to find him at the park today.

However, we had a snowfall last night, making it harder to see the white pelican - plus it was only 6 degrees this morning!

Nevertheless, we were not deterred - we bundled up and went out at 8 a.m., but were unable to find him :(

In fact, most of the lack was frozen over, and even most of the ducks and Canadian geese hadn't come out from their warm boxes and nests yet.

We were, however, able to capture a few pics of other lake residents, the few that were out ...







Like Prince Harry the Heron, who presides over the lake, resting by the drainpipe from the creek to the lake - one of only two areas that weren't frozen completely :)

Unfortunately,  even though I wasn't very close and walked very slowly,  my approach still disturbed him he flew away :(







Also, just the few ducks that had braved the cold out yet, this morning :)





And just a pretty little winter scene of the wooded creek area ...




And then ... whatever this is ,,,






Whatever it was, it looks to have either slithered like a snake - BUT ...



If you look closely, there also appear to be small footprints on either side of the slither? (The larger footprints are obviously ours.) 

Though not unheard of for snakes to venture out in winter, they're typically hibernating.

So our best guess was a possum -  with it's bare, wiry tail, dragging behind it?





Whatever it was, the tracks led here ... 





... and neither of us were about to dig around in there and find out! lol. 


We had decided on a possum, yes?

Then we got home, we looked up tracks left by snakes and possums on the net.


So here's a pic of snake tracks in the snow, but they're made by a large snake ... 





And here's a pic of possum tracks ...






Though neither perfectly fit, I'm thinking they more closely fits a possum, considering there are what looks like small snow-covered footprints next the trail?

Then again, the tracks made by a possum tail aren't in one, long continuous, S-curve slither, either, like the tracks we saw.

Perhaps its tail dragged more than usual or it was injured?

Maybe it was a possum with a snake in it's mouth? ;) lol


Regardless, cool tracks!

We'll go back later, when it warms up, and see if we can find Pelly :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Revealing YouTube Comments About "Ozark" and The Actual State of Morality in America - SPOILER ALERT

 (*Edited)

So as I mentioned in a previous post, as a retired aspiring screenwriter (lol), I have pronounced Ozark as the best TV series I have ever seen.

 I was looking for some of Ruth's best Ozark scenes on YouTube, because IMO, Julia Garner has likely become one of the best actresses of our time - her Emmy last year for best supporting actress is only the beginning for her, I suspect ;)

 And no, by the way, that is not her real accent - Julia was born in the Bronx, grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio - but living fairly near the Ozarks area myself, in Kentucky, I can verify that she's got the mid-south, backwoods-redneck, trailer-park accent down pat, it sounds 100% authentic ;)


Just for a bit of background history first, Wendy Byrde (the cool blonde at the desk, played by Laura Linney) first had Ruth's father killed for trying to blackmail her, and now had Ruth's first and only love, Ben, killed - who is also Wendy's own brother.

Why? 

Because he discovered Marty and Wendy's money laundering scheme for a Mexican drug cartel - plus he was bipolar and went off his meds, and thus can't control his judgment, his emotions, his impulses, or his mouth - so she ordered a hit man to kill her own brother.


Ruth already understands why Wendy did it - she  just wants Wendy to admit she ordered his murder to her face.


However, she won't - and in fact, instead of taking responsibility for having him killed, she tries to manipulate Ruth to take the blame, by projecting her guilt onto Ruth,  blaming her for his murder, by letting him out of the mental hospital and not forcing him to take his meds.

Contrary to what Wendy says here, Ruth  does feel badly about that privately, but she's not going to let Wendy see it, because Wendy already knows she does and is trying to manipulate her with it  - anyone who's ever dealt with a bipolar knows you cannot and should not force them to take their meds.

Forcing a mentally ill person  to take their meds is very codependent thing to do - because you are exerting control over them and their choices, when it should be their choice. You can encourage and remind them to take them, even suggest hospitalization, but you should never force or threaten them.

If they are truly in danger of harming themselves or others, then temporary court-mandated hospitalization is an option, but afterwards, it's still their choice whether to take their meds, and I get why they don't want to - though today's meds are better than they use to be, they still complain that they feel numb and don't feel much at all.

In this case, this is the exact reason why Ruth gets him out of the hospital and doesn't push the meds - because not knowing the bipolar drill, he complains he can't feel, he's numb on them.

Also, though Ben was off his meds and couldn't control his  impulses, he wasn't a danger to himself or others, and his hospitalization wasn't court-mandated -  Wendy just took him there and gave him no choice, in effort to use his bipolar status to discredit him from anybody believing him about their money laundering.

Regardless, Ruth was in love with Ben - she did not order his murder, nor even want him to die - Wendy did.

Not that Ruth is a saint -  no one is innocent, on this show.  

She's a lifelong petty thief, and she is directly responsible for her uncle's death, Wyatt's father, as Wendy says - which she also feels remorse for, and vows never to be responsible for anyone's death again, unless it's direct self-defense or true justice - because what law enforcement or lawyer is going to help career criminals from impoverished backgrounds, with just a little more money than they had before, obtain true justice?


Wendy, on the other hand, despite her guilt projections here, is actually the one who blames everyone else, justifies her actions, and feels no lasting remorse - she accepts no guilt at all.  

In fact, Wendy justified ordering her own brother's murder as a sort of mercy killing -  telling herself and that she had no other choice, though there were other options, and continues to blame Ruth for his murder instead of herself, who literally ordered his murder.


Ruth stands up to Wendy and holds up a big mirror to who she actually is, when no one else will (well, except for Darlene, who's just as dangerous as Wendy, just more unpredictable, a loose cannon kind of crazy, rather than Wendy's calculating kind of crazy), seeing past her manipulative/guilt-projecting BS.


Just a forewarning - explicit language in this scene from Season 3 - not for kids.





And the answer is, yes - Wendy most definitely would have someone kill Ruth, after this, if she could - but she couldn't, at that time, because she and Marty needed her - Ruth is the one who figured out how to now launder the money through the casino, by recruiting locals who'd gamble and pretend to win the drug money, making it the money "clean," laundered through the casino, and getting a cut of it.

Now, what surprised me were the comments under the YouTube video - 700 people agreeing with the comment that they agree with Wendy, that Ben's death was Ruth's fault.

I didn't comment, but if I did, I'd say:  


"Erm - may I remind you people that Wendy co-owns a money-laundering racket with her husband for a Mexican drug cartel, and that it was Wendy that literally ordered Ben's murder, her own brother.

Wendy is directly responsible for Ben's death - she literally ordered her own brother to be killed by a hit man, because she feared him screwing up her little empire!   

 

Ruth shouldn't have gotten him out of the hospital, true - but he begged her, and she can't and shouldn't force him to take his meds, which would be sealing her status as a codependent of a mentally ill person. 

Regardless, Ruth never wanted Ben to die - she was trying to find another way - and she certainly didn't literally order his death - that was all Wendy.

 

And hello?  Perhaps Wendy shouldn't launder money for a Mexican drug cartel in the first place and none of it would've happened, hmm?

And if you say Wendy had no choice or be imprisoned or killed by the cartel -  don't forget, the Byrdes had the chance to walk away after they bought the riverboat casino -  but they didn't because Wendy wanted to stay in, get in even deeper - because of her own greed and power hunger.  

And there was the option of sending her brother overseas to a mental health facility - but instead, she directly ordered him to be murdered?!?



And yet 700 people are liking the comment that blames Ruth for his death, by letting him out of the hospital, too?

Honestly, what is wrong with people?

It scares me that people's morality is so skewed - 700 people who  genuinely cannot tell which end is up, here.

The point of the entire show is none of this is moral - morality gets compromised again and again, choices are made, lie upon lie, justification upon justification, until what have you become but - Wendy?

Completely lost on them.

It also amazes me how  many people equate people who make a moral/ethical choice with being "dumb" - far from it - it doesn't mean they're stupid, it just means they have integrity and principles, and won't stoop that low for their own greed, power, or even for their own safety.


The point of this show isn't to admire anyone for criminal smarts, but how screwed up everyone is that enters this world, and how much more screwed up they become as they go along - and no one is going to get out clean or alive - a point which has been completely lost in the audience, who instead, admires the "smartest," richest, and most immoral and violent criminals.


I mean, in this show, no one is innocent or moral, but the people agreeing with the comments saying it's Ruth's fault - seriously?

Wendy is a power-hungry control freak, a manipulative monster and bully, who orders repeat murders, while calmly smiling in people's faces -  no one should be agreeing with anything she says, because despite what she accused Ruth of, she's actually the only character that never takes responsibility for anything she does. 

(Typical female bully for you - some women are power abusers same as men in power - only in a different way.  They manipulate with  guilt trips, often just their own projected guilt,  or using your own fears or weaknesses against you - often doing their nastiest stuff behind your back, using other people to do their dirty work - or threatening you when no one else is around and no one would believe you, because they have more money and power and are gifted at saccharine manipulation.  I  have a family member much like her, only she's not a money launderer lol.)


Now, as for Ruth, here's where we are today - how the comments have changed under this next one 

SPOILER ALERT - stop reading here if you haven't watched this season yet, particularly the final scene of the first installment of this season (the 7th episode of 14, the last 7 coming later this year).

At this point, Wendy is pretending she doesn't know where Ben is and is actually using his "being missing" for PR -  a business deal with a pharmaceutical company, lying and saying that in addition to being bipolar, her brother, Ben, was a drug addict, and that the pharma company she's working with to sell opium too is also building addiction clinics.

The problem is - though Ben was bipolar, he wasn't a drug addict, he never touched drugs - and all of this is flying in Ruth's face on TV.

Also at this point, Wendy had Ruth's father killed, her own brother and Ruth's first and only loved killed - and additionally, Ruth just found poor sweet Wyatt shot to death - her cousin, who is like her little brother - the only person in this world she truly cares about, by her own admission.

He was killed simply for being with Darlene, who refused to stop growing poppies and selling heroin (competition for the Mexican drug cartel).

Ruth's entire family is now dead -  with the exception of Wyatt's little brother. 

Just a forewarning, she goes uncharacteristically ballistic - keep in mind, though everyone is certifiably crazy on this show for doing what they do, she's not emotionally and unpredictably crazy (like Darlene), she's just traumatized in this scene - because she just found her "little brother" (actually her cousin), Wyatt, dead - now making it her entire family dead - and all of it is related to the Byrdes.

Can you blame her?


IMO, Julia's best acting scene yet - another Emmy on its way?


Again, not for kids - the cliffhanger end from Season 4, Episode 7 - the last 7 of the series coming later in 2022.



Keep in mind, they are all deeply-embedded now, they are all career criminals now - and no law enforcement is going to help any of them, even local since Javi killed the Sheriff, too, so Ruth is on her own.

Well, at least under this one, commenters get it - people are NOW saying, "Go Ruth!" lol




  


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

What Store Would You Hole Up In If There Was a Zombie Apocalypse? ;)

 

This is the kind of absurd sh*t that my husband and I playfully ponder to make each other laugh lol. 

So yesterday, we had to go to Louisville for a mammogram (nothing to worry about, Lexington messed up my appointment and then couldn't get me in again until August, so I called the same health system in Louisville).

On the way back, we needed dog food and stopped at a Tractor Supply.

My husband loves Tractor Supply.  

He could spend all day in there, despite the fact that we do not have a farm.

(we board a horse, and we have a dog, but that's about it lol)





And though we do buy Ivermectin there, it's for our horse for deworming - not for us - we're diehard vaxxers. 

So he went in alone, as we do, during COVID, especially because  though the staff wears masks, most of the people in that store are not vaccinated or wearing masks, plus I know he'd be in there for an hour at least, so I'd sit and read the book I brought in the car (which is Trevor Noah's "Born a Crime," if anyone's interested). 


Thus, the absurd conversation began like this ... 


Mark:   "I love Tractor Supply, you know this.  They have clothes, everything you need for your livestock and pets, seeds and plants so you can grow vegetables and flowers - all they need are guns and you could hole up in here forever, if you need to.  All kinds of fun toys and stuff you could use to defend yourself or entertain yourself for hours, plus  you could use the livestock medicinal stuff if injured. "

 

Me:  "Okay, Mr. Former Army Ranger, but it'd take a while for those plants to grow,  you still need actual food - but the only instant food they have is candy bars."  

 

Mark:  "F*** food, they have supplements and you can eat the plant stalks, you can even eat dirt if you have to, short term." 

 

Me:   "Okay, but since they do not actually have guns yet, what would you do during a zombie apocalypse - ride around after them on a riding lawnmower like, 'I'm coming to get you, Zombie - Die, Zombie, Die! Bzzzzz bzzzz  ... hold on, I'll be there in a minute ... bzzzzz bzzzz?'" 

 

Mark:  "Lol.  I'd put his head in the woodchipper, no more  Mr. Zombie." 

 

Me:  "Yeah - because a zombie is going to willingly put their head in a running woodchipper for no apparent reason lol."


So this sparked more absurd discussion about where we would hole up if there was a zombie apocalypse.


Walmart was the best, most obvious choice, of course.




Okay, we have a love/hate relationship with Walmart, and yet if there was a zombie apocalypse, Walmart has everything you'd need ;) lol



Sunday, January 23, 2022

Investigation Names Suspect in Revealing Anne Frank's Hiding Location to the Nazis ...

 

So there was this news, this week - a cold-case investigation team accused a Jewish lawyer of betraying the Franks and giving them up in hiding, in order to spare his only family the gas chamber. 




To be honest, I wasn't sure what to make of this news, considering all of the evidence was circumstantial, and is mostly based on a short, handwritten note that can't be verified.

So there is the argument that this is BS, and this sort of circumstantial accusation without definitive proof only  worsens the stereotype of Jews - and I get that.

Then there is also the argument that this lawyer was given no choice at all - watch his children die first, then himself, or give up the Franks in hiding - and that the same choice would be made by anyone, regardless of race or faith, to spare your family - and I get that, too.


As for me, I have a lifelong connection to this story, so I'll reserve judgement?  :)

I read the book "The Diary of Anne Frank," I think, in the third grade - and nothing hit me more profoundly than that book, with the exception of sneaking and watching "Roots" on TV.


Once upon a time, back in high school, I was on the Speech and Drama Team.  Though I wasn't very good, as could be testified by my drama teacher (if she was still living), I did a monologue from The Diary of Anne Frank my junior year for my class project - and she told me she rarely cried with scenes, and though I wasn't a very good actress, that one touched her - I was convincing, she could tell the character meant something to me.

It did.

As I said, the story of Anne Frank hit me profoundly, as a child - how anyone, in her situation, could still write "I still believe people are good at heart," after everything she experienced, was beyond me - in fact, I considered this a divine gift - one that I wanted to emulate.

In fact, how many Jewish people in general managed to not hate us after that is a gift from God, it's not human nature - it's a divine gift :)


Apparently, my drama teacher was so touched by my singular decent high-school monologue of Anne Frank that decided to put on the play the next year - only she gave the role to one of my closest friends, Heather M, and I was given the role of her older sister, Margot.

TBH, at age 17, yep, I was a bit pissed and jealous at first - but then I realized that wasn't in the spirit of Anne Frank - plus Heather M. was my closest friend, we were so much alike, like sisters, really - so it made sense that I was her big sister.  And I think Ms. Knotts knew that and that I'd get over it quickly, as sisters typically do, and that I'd eventually cheer on and support her - and she was right, I did :)

Plus, Heather M was the better actress, truly, she was gifted - and when she uttered those famous words, the way she did - we all wept - because like me, she really understood Anne, too.

The final night of the final performance, as the Nazis come marching up the stairs, banging on the door, yelling "Schnell! Schnell! Achtung, Juden, Untermensch" - it felt real.  

We sat there, quiet as church mice, just listening, nowhere to run or hide - and ad libbed what we would do if this was real - in fact, it actually felt real.

So you know what we did?

We held hands :)

Then Heather as Anne, and her real-life boyfriend, Darren (who truly is Jewish), as Anne's boyfriend, Peter, cuddled together.

And then for some reason, right as the Nazi soldiers burst through the door, I ran to into the arms of one of my 5 "brothers" in high school as my closest friends - the actor playing our father, Otto, Mike C (who is a famous stage actor in San Francisco now).


We just held each other like that, in an embrace, in the middle of the stage (which as I said, wasn't planned, and wasn't meant to be center stage, we just ran to each other and met there), as they burst through the door and pulled us all apart to arrest us.

We never did that any of the previous nights - just the last night of the play - and I'll never forget it. 

We were dead quiet and the theater was dead quiet, except for the occasional sniffle.


The feeling that though this was the end, if we were going out, we wouldn't go out kicking and screaming in vain, out of fear and hatred - instead, we would  go out embracing each other, in genuine love for each other :)

Now, I realize that in real life this may not have been the case, with abject terror - but as I said, this last performance was ad-libbed instinctual - and for some strange reason, every single one of us chose to embrace each other until they forcibly pulled us apart, without having preplanned it or anyone saying a single word.

I'll never forget that feeling, ever - it was actually quite remarkable - it was as if Anne's spirit, and God's divine gift of love, were right there with us :)


Unfortunately, my senior year, things took a turn in my family and I temporarily forgot the lessons of Anne Frank - I finally became angry with them, instead of trying to pray it away, blame just my dad for everything.

In fact, I became enraged and bitter, for a couple of years, alienating most of these people from me.  

Not helping was that I watched a couple of my former friends, like Heather, make a run for popularity and behave in ways they ordinarily wouldn't. 

But I don't hold any of that against them -  we were young, we all tried on hats that don't really fit, just to fit in and be cool in high school - especially at my Cincinnati suburban high school full of rich kids.

Plus I know that's not who they really were underneath - just as I hope they know the way I behaved that last year of high school (and a year or so after) wasn't who I really was, and hope they don't those things against me, either :)

(For my part, I have apologized to most of them since. By about age 22, I began to let it all go - I eventually remembered the lessons of Anne Frank, as well as a previous lesson I learned through personal experience with Johnny Cash that the best way to get out of your own pain is to reach out and help somebody worse and went into Social Work.) 

Regardless, despite mistakes and missteps since, I know that every member of that cast was chosen in their roles because of their sense of empathy, their depth of character, their big hearts - because they understood and believed -  and still do to this day, despite momentarily lapses - that in spite of everything, people are really good at heart :)

Well, as for me, let me revise that - I still believe my castmates were and are still really good at heart - and though after that few bitter years, I returned to my Anne Frank philosophy, and perhaps remained overly idealistic for far too long later - I have since created a more balanced and realistic view on that?


I now believe in a more balanced, realistic way - that in spite of everything,,  some people are really good at heart - and to give others the same benefit of the doubt I'd like for them to give me -  and to keep giving the benefit of the doubt, for as long as you can, until they've repeatedly proven otherwise? :)

That doesn't mean you ever stop hoping and praying for them and for change, or that you begin to hate and fear them - it just means you know enough to keep yourself out of harm's way until lessons are learned ;)





Saturday, January 22, 2022

Ozark, Episodes 5-7 ...

 

Just watched episode 7, with the final 7 episodes dropping later this year..  


**SPOILER ALERT**


All I have to say is ... poor, sweet Wyatt :(





Though a maddeningly passive character, the only true moral center of the show  :(


Otherwise, this is screenwriting at it's best, Ladies and Gentlemen -  they have outdone themselves, this season.

In fact, I don't say this very often, but this show is a cinematic masterpiece, truly - such that I now pronounce Ozark the the best TV I have ever seen - absolutely brilliant.


Incredibly smart, creative plot, and though inspired by Breaking Bad, which is a plot we didn't think possible was to improve upon, but Ozark somehow does, upping the ante, with no loopholes in the story, complex, layered characters, brilliantly acted, clever dialogue, suspenseful scene, light, and mood setting by the director, such that  the backdrop becomes its own character,  old-school metaphoric symbolism, like a novel, and last but not least, though I did predict a few events, there were still a few plot twist surprises that even a movie veteran like me didn't see coming - excellent.


I'm the next 7 episodes released later this year will sustain the quality and won't disappoint ... 


PS


Considering this season is the finale of the show, and it's pretty clear that likely no one is getting out of this alive anyway, I really hoped Darlene and Wendy would end up in a room together, with those two crazy B's  tearing each other apart, but I guess that's not going to happen now lol.


Oh, and last but not least ... 

Go Ruth!!!

Take it all down with you.

I mean, could you blame her, at this point?