Censure and the Insurrection

I just sent this off to my senators (both Democrats, naturally). While I cannot expect them to personally read it, someone in their offices might….

Dear Senator:

Like you and all decent people, I was appalled at what happened yesterday (January 6). I am relieved to know that neither you nor any of your colleagues or staff were harmed in the insurrection.

However, I have a feeling of dismay that the entire disgraceful and shameful day may be passed over without any action being taken to punish those who, if they did not incite the events, at least aided and abetted them.

By supporting and even promoting the baseless claims of a fraudulent election, these Senators can be legitimately accused of seditious conspiracy (18 U.S. Code § 2384):

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO)
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN)
Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS)
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN)
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)

I understand that it requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate to expel a member. I am too pragmatic to expect that to happen.

A Resolution of Censure, however, only requires a simple majority. I STRONGLY encourage you to pursue that option.

At the very least, the senators listed above should be stripped of all their committee assignments. I don’t think you need a vote to do that.

2020 in Review

Well….

That was….a year…..

And as usual, it’s time to review the past year at Pure Blather.

I managed 55 posts. Fewer than previous years, but not as few as I thought. The Olympics were postponed; the baseball season was cut short; I didn’t find as much inspiration to talk politics as I thought I would (I had very little to add to what the mainstream sources were saying); I didn’t have the handful of posts about vacations and travel…. I probably just wrote about some of the “filler” topics I keep in reserve. I do need to refill that reserve – it’s pretty empty right now….

Even though I had my fewest posts, I still had the largest number of visitors (3,339) and page views (4,464) ever. A big surge since last year, too. Maybe I’m just promoting this place a bit more – at places where people are going to read my comments and stop by here for a visit.

That self-promotion must have affected the Top Five Post for 2020:

5. Baseball is Killing Itself (June 5) – 23 views
4. Those Election Maps (November 6) – 27 views
3. Movie Review: The Gamera Trilogy (May 8) – 50 views
2. Scrooge & Marley (December 8) – 68 views
1. The Gallifrey Conundrum (January 29) – 109 views

How else can one explain one of my last posts of the year getting so many views? I did brag about “Scrooge & Marley” quite a bit – I’d say it’s my favorite post of the year.

“Indiana Jones and the Top Men” is still my most viewed post all time. No other one is even close.

I’ve had visitors from all over the world. I’d like to have a “per capita” number, but that’s a bit much to ask from WordPress when you’re too lazy to figure it out yourself. But it is kind of odd to find that you’ve had 31 visitors from tiny Singapore, and only 3 from all of Russia…. Eh, I shouldn’t spend too much time on that. Who knows how many of those are actual humans and not bots….

As far as 2021, we’ll see. I’m hoping the libraries will open up so I can have access to real books and not just e-book versions of things in the public domain. It would be nice to talk more about baseball – and the Olympics. I’m hoping I’ll be able to keep up the one post per week rate, but if not….blame it on my trying to learn this new and annoying “Block Editor” here at WordPress.

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

There’s a lot to like about this time of year. But one thing that always annoys me is that people start publishing their “Best of the Year” lists well before the year is over. I understand that they need to get their articles out there, and that when we put up our new calendars, everyone is looking forward rather than backward. But with two or even three weeks left in the year? That’s plenty of time for things to happen. I get that you may want to give your writers the holidays off. But that’s no reason you can’t write up the articles and then publish them in the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Anyway, for me this will be my last post of 2020. I haven’t posted as frequently as I have in previous years; I can only note that I almost always get five or six posts out of reporting on my vacation – and this year, well, travel was out of the question. The baseball season was drastically shortened, so that took care of one source of inspiration. Libraries have been closed for most of the year, so my reading has dropped off (you’ll note that most of the books I reviewed were public domain works that are available for free online).

I also found I didn’t really have much to say about the presidential campaign and election that wasn’t already said in the real media – and better than I could have done, anyway.

So I’m going to take it easy for the next two weeks. Watch some movies online, read some more free e-books, and figure out how to use this new editor at WordPress. Typing text is easy; it’s going to be formatting and adding media that’ll be the hard part.

Enjoy whatever holiday you’re celebrating, and I’ll see you on the other side!

Scrooge and Marley

“A Christmas Carol in Prose” by Charles Dickens has got to be one of the most popular short novels of all time. It’s been adapted hundreds of times; the story is a simple one of personal growth and redemption – and there’s extremely little religion in it.

It also helps that it’s old enough to be in the public domain, so anyone can do whatever they want with it.

Most adaptations neglect to expand on one part of the story. True, it’s not really that important, but let’s take a look at it anyway.

What sort of business is Ebenezer Scrooge in, and can we discover anything new about the character by examining that aspect?
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A Krampus Mix For You

It’s that time of year again.

This year, I thought I’d do something different – and make a playlist of songs about people who aren’t that keen on the holiday, for whatever reason. Or songs to that effect.

There’s nothing gross. Aside from being overplayed, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” is pretty sick, when you get right down to it. Nothing depressing here, either. They may be great songs, but Stan Rogers’ “First Christmas” and Tom Waits’ “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis” are rather bleak….

I also note that animated TV shows have been doing some fun things in this vein; I’ve included three songs from that medium.

Oh, and to heck with Festivus, and Krampus is already tired. If you want to do something different for the holiday season, there are plenty of other non-standard Christmas traditions out there – like Wassail – that are available for you to try.

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Cheating

The new Hall of Fame ballot is out, and it’s not very impressive. There are no new superstars on it; the best candidates are holdovers in their next to last year: Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens.

While all their numbers warrant inclusion, they all have problems.

Schilling is an unmitigated jerk, and hasn’t shown any signs of moderating his comments. Bonds and Clemens have been accused of using performance enhancing drugs, and have yet to come clean about it.

Whenever their cases come up, Bonds and Clemens are always accused of being “cheaters”; and, according to their detractors, that should automatically disqualify them from Hall of Fame consideration.

But what is “cheating”, and should it be an automatic disqualifier?

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The 2021 Hall of Fame Ballot

It’s that time of year again. The 2021 Hall of Fame ballot has been announced.

With no obvious inductees this year, pretty much all of the discussion will be about Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens – for reasons that I don’t intend to go into here.

As seems to be a typical thing for me, I’d like to have a round of applause for the “new guys” on the ballot. You need to have been in the “bigs” for at least ten years; to last that long is a significant accomplishment. And even if they don’t make it to a second year on the ballot, they’ve all got something in their careers to be proud of.

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On the 2020 World Series

Let’s get the obvious thing out of the way first.

Keven Cash’s decision to pull Blake Snell turned out wrong; there’s no denying it. He’ll have to live with it for the rest of his life. It would behoove us though to at least look for reasons why it might have been justified before we start collecting feathers and heating up tar.

The biggest one that comes to my mind is that the Rays offense had been totally shut down. They blew some scoring opportunities early, and then could manage only a single baserunner over innings three through six, and only one more after that. If the Rays were up 3-0 or even 2-0, leaving Snell in would have been a much easier call. But in a 1-0 game? It’s much safer to take a pitcher out one batter too early than one batter too late. And it’s not like the game ever got away from the Rays; a two-run deficit is not impossible to overcome. But again, the Rays’ offense failed them.

Meanwhile, in a game with so much inaction on the field, one finds oneself musing on other things.

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What is it About Halloween?

Why do we love Halloween so much? It’s the second biggest – in terms of “stuff” that happens around it – holiday after Christmas. All the decorations, TV specials, food and drink (and candy!) that only comes out in October…. What is it about this one day that has no significant “reason” to exist (like Independence Day) or “cause” behind it (like the spring festival of Easter) that brings out all the Jack-O-Lanterns and Haunted Houses?

Perhaps it’s that the occasion is so attractive to so many people for so many reasons.

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Kittens!

If you’re like me, you’ve been running at an above average level of stress for the entire year. I’ve found some relief by hiking around nearby nature centers and birdwatching. I can’t have pets in my apartment, so observing wildlife is the best I can do.

But what about at night, or in bad weather, or when I’m at work?

Webcams to the rescue!

I’m an unrepentant cat lover (take a hike, dog people! (grin)), and thankfully, there are a couple of cat rescue places that have hooked up webcams so people like me can watch kittens napping 24/7.

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