Shimoniac Jones

I didn't lose my mind – it fled in terror.

Archive for the tag “common sense”

Auntie Vax

The genesis of this post occurred a few months ago, when I wanted very badly to drive over 900 kilometers to find a woman I’d never met and slap her sillier than she already was. I read an article about this woman who refused to get her newborn vaccinated.  Her pediatrician, family doctor, head of the medical association, the director of the CDC, and the Surgeon-General of the United States of America, have all advised, urged, entreated, recommended, and implored her to protect her baby against the possibility of getting mumps, measles, rubella, polio, etc.; while she was not deaf to their pleas, she just couldn’t comply with their entreaties.

Why did she refuse? Was it religious grounds?  No, it was basically stupidity.

Millions, perhaps even billions, of people have been inoculated against diseases ever since Edward Jenner made the connection between cowpox and smallpox. Arguably one of the greatest accomplishments of the 20th century was the final eradication of smallpox by the WHO.  Who, by the way, recommend vaccination as a safe, effective, and low-cost method of disease prevention.

The primary reason this woman refused to have her baby vaccinated, was because Jenny McCarthy thinks it’s a bad idea. The same Jenny McCarthy who is best known for taking her clothes off for Hugh Hefner and posing nude in his magazine.

On the one hand we have multiple medical professionals, with decades of medical education, research, and experience urging her to get the baby protected from potentially fatal diseases. On the other we have, a celebrity(?).  If Ms. McCarthy has a degree in medicine, virology, epidemiology, immunology, or any other related field it doesn’t show up on her Wikipedia page.

So many children in Canada and the U.S., have gone unvaccinated in recent years that our collective “herd immunity” is breaking down.  We’re seeing outbreaks of diseases like measles at rates unseen since, well, vaccination became common.  The side effects of these childhood diseases can be lethal.

This, I have to call her deranged, woman even admits that she thinks vaccinating her baby might be a good idea, but there are all those websites out there that claim vaccinations are responsible for everything from autism to demonic possession. So she can’t make up her mind what to do.

What I’d like her to do is: give the baby up to someone who can make an informed choice, go to a gynecologist and say `I want my tubes tied’, and stop being a bother. If she wants fact-based evidence that vaccinations work, all she has to do is look in a mirror.  She, and I, are of a generation that was all immunised against MMR, polio, etc., and we turned out okay.  Although I have to wonder if there is something to their fears after all; apparently after being vaccinated, she turned into an idiot.

Pedestrian

Like 99.9% of the car-driving population, I drive to work whenever possible.  I drive the same streets at the same times five, occasionally six, days a week.  I see many of the same vehicles day in and day out.  Also keep in mind I work the night shift, I drive in to work 2200-2230, and I drive home 0700-0730.  Other drivers drive me insane more than occasionally, less than often, usually frequently; but what I’m going to rant about today is pedestrians.

Pedestrians to me are self-propelled travelers.  I include in this category people who are: walking, jogging, running, cycling, in-line skating, skate boarding, cross-country skiing, or even bouncing along on a pogo stick.  I stipulate that legally under the Highway Traffic Act, cyclists are considered vehicles like cars; but this is my blog and if I want to lump them with pedestrians, I should be able to.  So there. 😛

The travelling public, which includes all of us who have to move off our own property at some point in our lives, has a real problem with distraction, and stupidity.  But mostly stupidity.  Let me tell you about a few, only a few of the Nimrods, morons, lemmings, negative examples, and future organ donors that I want to rant about.

First of all are walkers, more to the point jaywalkers.  A jaywalker is a person who crosses a street outside of legal cross walks.  It’s legal, and way safer, to cross the street at corners, lights, and painted cross walks.  As an experienced and successful jaywalker, I can tell you that crossing in the middle of the block need not necessarily be unsafe; so long as you keep your head up, look both ways, choose a sufficient gap in traffic, make your move, and cross quickly.  As an added bonus, making eye contact with oncoming drivers warns them of your intent and they can watch your progress so as not to unexpectedly accelerate, or change lanes, and turn you into road pizza.  You can even cross against the light at a cross walk if you follow those simple suggestions.

That’s not what we get around here.

What we get here are geniuses who dash across a busy road twenty maybe thirty feet from a signalized crossing; because that’s the direct line from the coffee shop on one side to the bus stop on the other. 😮

So let’s recap here, to save yourself maybe thirty yards of walking, you’re going to cross a street thirty feet from an intersection that has two lanes of traffic in both directions, a left-hand turn lane, cars turning left and right from an equally busy cross street, with those drivers looking out for other cars and pedestrians in the legal, and expected, cross walk.

I see.

Did you take just one stupid pill this morning, a couple, or the whole bottle? 😯

That’s bad enough, here’s worse.  If you’re out walking at night, it is generally considered to be a good idea to wear light-coloured clothing.  I wouldn’t consider reflective tape and a bright flashing light to be a bad idea either.  I would especially recommend not wearing black clothing devoid of any light colours or reflective tape, crossing the street just over the crest of a hill, next to a burned-out street light, under a mature tree, on a moonless night, when the identifier ‘African-’ shows up in your description.

Folks, if she hadn’t opened her mouth as her eyes widened, I would never have seen her.  It was lucky(?) that she was almost across the lane, and that I could do a quick ‘left-right’ of the steering wheel to avoid her.  If she had been more in the middle of the lane, she would have ruined my week, and I would have ruined her whole month. 😥

This lady, and I use the term sarcastically, must be on the Dean’s List at Dumb Skool.

I’m going for the Trifecta here, baby.  Worst of all.  Out on the local Golden Mile, we have a couple of discount, off-brand, no-tell motels located across and a little ways down a busy thoroughfare with two-lanes in both directions, with a centre left-turn lane, from a Beer Store.  This road is wide.

The nearest signalized cross walk is maybe a half a kilometre away, along a stretch of road that has no sidewalks.  It really would be faster and safer to just get back in the car and do some creative lane changes to get there, get the beer, and get back.  But no, we get idiots wearing dark clothing, dashing across a stretch of road that isn’t terribly well-lit, all while carrying two cases of beer.

More than once, me, or another driver, has had to brake hard and/or swerve to not turn these Nimrods into impromptu speed bumps. 😡

The topper is that in that same plaza are a couple of pub-type restaurants.  So now we have well-lubricated happy couples, with her in heels, doing the lemming dash across this road at closing time.  What we have here are the valedictorian and salutatorian for Dumb Skool.  What could possibly go wrong?

That was a rhetorical question.  I don’t want to find out.

I really don’t want to run over you pedestrians, but you’ve got to work with me here.  Please don’t do dumb things, don’t make bone-headed decisions, and most of all don’t run out in front of me.

The next category that I’m going to rant about is cyclists.

(N)O Canada

A group of “Prominent Canadian Women” have crawled out of the woodwork to float the idea of changing Canada’s national anthem.  Apparently the line “in all our sons command”, is insufficiently feminist-friendly.

As a son, I acknowledge that the lyrics, as currently exist, do not tend toward the gender-neutral and a small tweak to “in all of us command”, or similar, might be justified.  What asses me up at the moment is the other nuts, wrapping themselves in the national flag, falling out of their trees.

Militant atheists demand that God be removed from the anthem, reactionaries thunder, “but it’s always been that way”, pacifists quibble at the concept of guarding, Feminists cry that it’s male-chauvinist, and Aboriginals…  Well “native land” and all that.

I did some research on the English language version of O Canada.  Trying to find the ‘true’ version is like trying to find the original lineage of a mutt puppy.  I count four distinct versions, not including the one officially adopted in 1980 on the centenary of the original. The original version was a hymn written in 1880, in French.  The first English version wasn’t until about 1906, translated, loosely, from the French by a doctor from Toronto.

It is telling, though, that the French-language version of O Canada has remained unaltered from the original.

Previous to O Canada the de facto national anthem was The Maple Leaf Forever, but it got beat out in the popularity contest, so it sank.  Prior to even that Canadians sang God Save the King/Queen; but only in English Canada, I have no idea what, if anything, Québécois sang.

Given the controversy surrounding this tempest in a teapot, I opined that perhaps we should follow Spain’s example and have an instrumental only anthem with no official lyrics.  I got no takers.

A point here, if there is a point, is that living things change, grow and adapt.  Only the dead are unchanging.

Another point is that if you do somehow have a legitimate beef, express it calmly and rationally.  Do not wrap yourself in the flag and shrilly proclaim that you’re protecting your patriotic rights.

Donor Fatigue

I’m tired of natural and man-made disasters happening and someone coming on the radio, television, or whatever begging, pleading, or trying to guilt me out of my money. If that makes me sound uncaring, so be it. My sympathy gland has dried up.

What sparks this particular tirade is a local event that probably didn’t make the papers outside the area, but encapsulates the whole situation. A local family was burned out of their house, they had no content insurance on the house, and they are now being housed in a motel by a local charity until more permanent quarters can be arranged. They might be able to move back into their house, depends on what the fire investigators and the building inspector find. Hurry up and wait; now you’re in limbo.

The fact that they had no content insurance is only one of the things that stick in my throat. My mother, bless her, has always been a fanatic about making sure that you have insurance. She gave my sister a hard time until my sister got content insurance for her apartment. In fact, as I recall, my parents paid her first few premiums. My mother said, “Budget the insurance with the necessities, because insurance is a necessity.” Later Mom was proved correct as sis was burgled and had insurance to help replace the pilfered items.

A closer look at the family shows that the family doesn’t bear closer examination. It’s a single mother family; I read that with absolute neutrality, I’ve known single mothers where that’s the best choice. Mom is 34 years old, and her three sons are 17, 15, and 13; I raised an eyebrow at this. Of the four people living in that house, no two shared a last name. That final fact turned me off. I’m sorry, as shallow as that makes me, this woman’s lifestyle choices have succeeded in alienating me. The mother works part-time, as does her oldest; kudos to her and him, but too little, too late.

The kicker is that the embers from the fire were barely cool when some local philanthropist-type was bleating about helping this poor underprivileged, deserving woman. To that end he/she/it had already opened a trust account to defray expenses and pay for moving, cleaning, or whatever. I hardly dare to think of what ‘whatever’ might encompass.

All of this is in microcosm, what I rail against in macrocosm.

When I was younger, I was the most credulous kid you could imagine as far as helping the `less fortunate’. It was about the first time the Ethiopian famine got world-wide airplay and we had celebrities flogging their particular pet charities. I collected my pennies and believed with all my heart that I was making a difference, after all adults were telling me so; and adults would never lie to a child.

Then, two years later, there was another famine in Africa and I gave again with my whole heart remembering the warm satisfied feeling I had gotten before. By the time the fourth famine came around, I was older and jaded; I felt guilty and bigoted for wondering if famines were some sort of African tribal ritual. I later found out that mockery aside, it is. Famines, plagues, earthquakes, civil wars, and inter tribal rivalries decimate and devastate populations and the usual suspects come out crying for aid, for assistance, for more and more money to solve the problem. The peoples of Africa seem determined to follow the same path as their ancestors, no matter that the path leads right over a cliff to extinction. All they seem to know about is handouts, shifting for themselves is something they’ve apparently become unfamiliar with.

This is actually the West’s fault. For decades, the rich West has felt vaguely guilty over its wealth as compared to other parts of the world. Especially a part they exploited vigorously and with great abandon; read `slavery’ and `colonialism’. So, what do you do about that vague feeling of guilt? Simple; throw money at it, get a warm satisfied feeling and go on with your life uninterrupted.

What we have forgotten is that money is not wealth. Money is a concept inherited from the ancients as a method of disposing of a surplus now and gaining a want or need later. Wealth is potable water, food, and shelter. By throwing money at the problem, we’re actually making the problem worse because when more money is available for the same limited amount of goods, the price of those goods goes up. This is called inflation. When you print more and more money to chase the same limited amount of goods because the price has gone up, this is called hyper-inflation. See Zimbabwe as a recent example.

By forcing our solutions onto other peoples’ problems, we make the situation worse and the people we’re trying to help either helpless, or resentful, or both. How do we address the problem? We do that by acknowledging that there is a problem. How do we fix the problem? Can the problem even be fixed? I don’t know, but I do know that you can’t just keep on doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. That’s the classic definition of insanity.

When you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got.

Trafficking

No, I’m not talking about dealing drugs; I’m talking about driving in this city. While many cities talk about how bad their drivers are; my city has some really bad drivers. We have drivers who don’t signal turns or lane changes, weave from lane to lane, fail to yield right of way, run red lights, tailgate, drive too fast, and don’t drive fast enough; and they do all of that within a block. I remember my first experience driving in a nearby city, I was taken aback by another driver’s courtesy. We don’t get that here.
So in the past two weeks I had three iterations of the same scenario. I work the night shift, as you may know, and I drive to work between 2210-2225. It generally takes me ten to fifteen minutes to get there because of the time of day, depending on the season, weather, and other factors. Also because of the time of day, there isn’t much traffic on the road. I’ve driven the same route in the middle of the day and it can take upwards of half an hour to do the same journey.
The point here is that there’s limited traffic that time of night.
The scenario that has been irritating me is this: I’m driving along at my usual sane and rational five over the posted when someone turns right from a cross street directly in front of me. I’m talking about right in front of me. The person then doesn’t accelerate to traffic speed, to the point where I have to hit the brakes hard and/or take evasive action to avoid rear-ending this dill weed. In all three cases, all the offending driver had to do was to wait five or ten seconds for me to pass because there was no one behind me.
The road was empty for blocks behind me.
Then, again in all three cases, the idiot dawdles for maybe a hundred feet and turns right again.
This first time this happened, the idiot turned into a plaza that had an entrance off the road he just pulled off of.
The second time, fair enough, there was no similar alternate access; but honestly, would it have killed him to wait, like, five seconds or so to pull out? There was, I repeat, no one behind me for blocks.
The third time this happened, it was a police car.
I almost rear-ended a police car, because the moron officer decided that pursuing his random patrol was more important than common courtesy and actual legal requirement.
Courtesy and common sense on the roads is dwindling. Drivers aren’t driving defensively any more, they’re too busy, stressed, or whatever to pay enough attention to the road ahead to anticipate changing conditions or unexpected incidents; so that, when they get there, they react aggressively and piss the rest of us off, so that the next time, we act aggressively and piss other people off.
It can become a truly vicious cycle.
The point of this rant, if there is a point, is that we should all look ahead. Don’t drive two feet in front of your bumper. Drive as far as you can see. Look up ahead and see that idiot driver going to pull out of a cross street, watch out for that cyclist who’s only trying to get where he’s going in one piece, and offer courtesy to that guy who really doesn’t deserve it. If nothing else, you’ll confuse the hell out of him.

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