Vermont Ho!

What kind of idiots would take a medically fragile kid on a ski trip to Vermont in -9 temperatures? Oh, that would be us. All is well. More later.

Thoughts on the New Hampshire Primary

Bernie won, of course, but he was a loser in the news cycle, because his win was expected, but wasn’t as large as he wanted.. The biggest winners were Mayor Pete and Klobuchar. Biggest losers were Biden and Warren.

Biden’s poor showing wasn’t a huge surprise. His age and declining mental facilities have been on full display for a couple of months now.

Warren’s poor showing was a surprise. She sounded like she was ready to cry last night. I do feel bad for her, because she has put in 101 percent effort into this campaign. Why didn’t she do well? Were her politics too close to Sanders? Is she annoying people, who see her as another Hillary?

Another big winner wasn’t even the election last night. It was Bloomberg. People are starting to think that he has a shot, if moderates are showing up to vote.

Your thoughts?

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I feel the need to redeem myself with some fun links, after that last post.

We’re going skiing in Vermont this weekend, so I’m ordering some new boots.

Steve read my old post, Blogosphere 2.0, that showed up automatically at the bottom of a more recent post. He thought it was an interesting snapshot of the Internet ten years ago.

On my reading list for later, David Brooks article in the Atlantic about the nuclear family.

Dan Drezner on the Donald Trump.

New Hampshire predictions?

The Light of the Tiny Screen

Steve looked up from the paper on Sunday morning and said, “Ross Douthat is on a roll.”

In his long Sunday op-ed, “The Age of Decadence,” Ross touches on the nihilism that I wrote about last week. He writes,

The truth of the first decades of the 21st century, a truth that helped give us the Trump presidency but will still be an important truth when he is gone, is that we probably aren’t entering a 1930-style crisis for Western liberalism or hurtling forward toward transhumanism or extinction. Instead, we are aging, comfortable and stuck, cut off from the past and no longer optimistic about the future, spurning both memory and ambition while we await some saving innovation or revelation, growing old unhappily together in the light of tiny screens.

Like me, he doesn’t see political revolution, just stagnation and corruption. He has a few lovely anecdotes — The Frye Festival, Thanos, Uber — meant to highlight the lack of new ideas and the frauds that dominate our world. I have another one.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle emerged from their Canadian igloo to give a speech at a JP Morgan event in Florida last week. According to the gossip blogs, which are always right, they made a cool million with a talk about Harry’s difficulties dealing with his mother’s death and his years in therapy. Apparently, three different countries covered the security for them.

Now, it’s a sad tale, but Harry is the hardly the only person in the world who lost a parent at a vulnerable age and now goes to a shrink. JP Morgan paid him all that money along with a private jet, because he was catnip for super, super, mega rich people, who would then invest money in their bank. Famous people want to meet famous people and then swirl all their beautiful money together and make more money.

The only people who seem to really be bothered about these sorts of events are the basement dwellers who comment on those blogs, who seem to have an unhealthy obsession with this couple. (To be fair, they also hate Prince Andrew and have some very juicy gossip about Uncle Pervy as they call him.)

I have been saddened by the post-presidential Obamas, who seem to have also cashed in on these sorts of events. They aren’t exactly Jimmy Carters quietly building houses for poor people in their spare time.

And as an army of publicists create Instagramable moments for the masses, things are getting worse. Fiddling, while Rome burns.

With a child with special needs, I go to a lot of presentations about how to navigate the system for adults with disabilities. And it’s all bad. As long as Steve and I are around, my kid will be fine, but what happens when we’re gone? What happens if his brother can’t fill the void? What happens to individuals that don’t have parents that have our resources? The lack of any sort of safety net in our country is terrifying. It keeps me up at night, which is when I read the gossip blogs.

I sort of want to delete this post. Pessimism is bad for one’s brand. Screw it. Publishing.

Bedroom Reno

It’s Girlie Friday, so let me show you the before-and-after of our quickie bedroom redo. Basically, we just pulled the wallpaper down. I got a $150 headboard on Wayfair and a new duvet cover at Pottery Barn. We put in a new light fixture. That was it.

I know I still need more art on the walls, but I usually take forever to figure out what’s going to go where. Art will happen eventually.

The first picture is the real estate picture from the original owner. We just dumped our stuff in the room seven years ago and then really did nothing. The furniture are mostly hand-me-downs from dead people; the chair and side table are new.

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I don’t understand the Bernie Bros who say they’ll vote for Trump, if Bernie doesn’t win the nomination.

I loved this discussion of transaction costs, because I’m the Queen of Transaction Costs. Ian needs a reading tutor? I’m the one who finds a qualified person, schedules it on the calendar, puts out little snacks during the tutoring session, and then writes the check. We’ve got a hole in the side of our house? I’m the one who finds qualified contractors (and not rip-off artists who want to charge us 9-1/2% interest on some financing deal), schedules a time during the day when we can discuss needs, researches the benefits of Hardie Board versus vinyl, looks at Pinterest boards to determine the best sized windows for our style house, and so on. I do get grumpy about this from time to time. But, seriously, the transaction costs of getting guardianship for Ian is shameful. Poor parents could never do what I’m doing.

I have some lovely fabric that I was saving to turn into a throw pillow, but I think I’m going to frame instead. Yes, you can frame fabric.

With only 45 minutes between the reading tutor and special ed basketball practice, I made this quickie chicken recipe last night. The video is good, and has a few added touches. I did burn my hand pretty seriously when I forgot that the handle of the pan had been in 450 degree oven, so don’t do that.

Who watched that hour long victory speech yesterday afternoon? Whew.

Big Boy has been at college for two weeks now, and I’m missing him a lot.

When People Stop Caring

For the past couple of days, we’ve had some serious health issues to contend with here at Apt. 11D. It would be in bad taste to talk publicly about those issues, beyond some notices in the comment section for regulars, but let’s just say that those problems have been all consuming.

Iowa, the State of the Union, and the impeachment verdict have gotten only cursory attention from myself. When I haven’t been busy with doctors, I’ve been anesthesizing my brain with romance novels, gossip blogs, and dark chocolate. If someone like me — an over-educated news junkie — isn’t paying attention, that’s bad news. It means that nobody else is paying attention.

Part of the hubris of any blogger or political pundit or hyper-tweeter is that they feel that they can make a difference through their words, no matter how small and insignificant their blog may be. We all think we can change the world, and that’s why we do it. If I’m feeling powerless, that’s bad news. It means that the ordinary people don’t feel like they matter.

Only 172,000 people showed up to vote in Iowa, after a year of hard work and money by over a dozen candidates. And that was before the counting fiasco. How many people will bother to vote next time?

Compared to other political moments, like the Kavanaugh hearings, the impeachment hearings didn’t attract many viewers. Maybe because the outcome was obvious. There was no drama.

Random thought: Would John McCain have made a difference?

All this is important. We have an unhinged president who is running our country like he’s at the wheel of the white SUV with OJ Simpson along an LA highway. He’s reckless, stupid, and selfish. He doesn’t obey the unwritten laws that have kept politicians in check in our country for two centuries, never mind the written laws. I fear that our nation will never recover.

The worst tragedy is what happens when people stop paying attention. When people like me get caught up in our personal lives — no matter how serious and real — and don’t turn on the television, stop tweeting, stop writing, then that’s when democracy dies. Yes, the world keeps spinning. Yes, our problems are real. But those problems will only get worse, if our political system goes to hell and stops doing the little that it already does for our most vulnerable.

So, I’m shaking myself out of my personal crisis and getting back to business.