Not that I’ll take my own advice, but …

My grading for the weekend and most of my planning for next week is done already, which is a good thing, but that hasn’t stopped me from spending most of the morning doomscrolling. And something has occurred to me: this situation being what it is, we literally cannot trust a single thing we hear from anyone at all. Certainly not the administration, not the doctors, not photographs (note that this picture of him “working” involves signing a blank piece of paper, and this isn’t even the first time that they’ve been caught pulling that dumb-ass move,) nothing. Not one word that any of these people say can be trusted.

There are only two things that can be assumed to have some sort of reasonable truth value here: 1) he dies, or 2) he leaves the hospital. Both would be rather difficult to fake, although I’m sure it’ll be at least a day or two before they admit it if he does actually die.

(I paid fairly close attention once Herman Cain went into the hospital, checking in on his condition once every day or two, and they did the exact same thing– dude was in the hospital for weeks and they consistently insisted he was fine and/or getting better right up until he died.)

Anything short of release or death, good news or bad, has to be presumed to be a lie. And therefore there’s really no point in the doomscrolling, because if he does die or leave the hospital once that information leaks out it’ll be everywhere in seconds, so it’s not like we won’t find out.

So I’m going to try and do something else. I’m going to fail, mind you, but I’m going to try.

A possibly relevant anecdote

A note: I am writing this immediately after the post from last night, and the way things are going it is entirely possible that events will have rendered this post out of date by the time it pops. Today is my mother’s first birthday since she passed away in January, and the immediate family is getting together, so I won’t be around, thus the pre-written post. Which at this point is going to be shorter than the disclaimer.

Further, if something does happen and I suddenly start talking about having converted to some major world religion or another, you know why.

I have been thinking about this story for a good chunk of the day: A good friend’s stepfather passed away several years ago. I feel like it was Parkinson’s, but if it wasn’t it was something similar; one of those terrible wasting sorts of diseases that always come with a life expectancy, sometimes expressed in months and sometimes in years, and sometimes can be managed, and sometimes cannot. I remember finding out he had this disease, and asking my friend how long the doctors had said he had.

My friend gave me a number, and then paused, thinking about it. “He’s not got that long,” he said. “There’s no fight in him.” And, indeed, he was gone fairly quickly after the diagnosis.

And, honestly, I can’t think of anyone with less fight in them than the person in the White House Walter Reed Hospital.

In which I explain as far as I know

To be clear, I hope he dies, and I don’t care who knows it, and the notion that he might die alone and gasping for breath from a disease that he refused to do anything to prevent is so karmically beautiful that I almost don’t know what to do about it.

A few years ago, I was trying to not be that kind of person; I have given up that fight. It’s lost. I hope he dies. He’s a terrible person and he’s responsible for hundreds of thousands of dead people and the fact that my mother never got a funeral and his painful, solitary death would be one of the very few 2020 events that counted as positive.

That said, it’s a little bit constitutionally complicated, so let’s run through some scenarios.

If he dies before the election: Mike Pence becomes President until at least Jan. 20. It is too late for the Republican Party to put anyone else’s name on the ballots. They are printed and thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of people have already voted, and state deadlines have passed. However, continue reading.

If he dies before the election, and loses the election: Mike Pence is still President until Jan. 20, there is likely no Vice President named, and Biden becomes President on January 20.

If he loses the election, then dies: As above. Pence takes office until Jan. 20.

If he dies before the election, and wins the election: This seems unlikely but isn’t impossible, and is where it starts getting complicated. The Republican party is in control of both their nominees and their nomination process, neither of which are specified in the Constitution, since the Constitution knows nothing of political parties. Furthermore, remember, you’re technically not actually voting for President, you’re voting for electors who are bound, sometimes not actually legally, to vote for that person later. There would, no doubt, be a quick party convention where someone– presumably Pence– would be nominated for President, along with a different VP. The Party would then inform their electors in the states they won to vote for whoever the person they chose was. This would have the potential to get really, really interesting if the Republicans find out they can’t coalesce around a single candidate, but that goes beyond my knowledge of the procedures involved. This would skirt some state laws that require electors to vote for the person that won the popular vote in that state, but I don’t see actual prosecutions being likely in this case, although that little wrinkle has potential to make this even more complicated if, say, there’s a state that he won that somehow has a Democratic legislature and governor.

If he wins the election, then dies before the electors have voted and the votes are officially certified by the House: The Electoral College votes on December 14, over a month after the election, and then there’s over a month between the Electoral College voting and the actual inauguration. This is where it gets really interesting. Pence still takes office for at least a little while, but I don’t know if things still work the same way as they would if he wasn’t alive for the election. I think they probably do, so long as the electors have not voted yet, the party can still scramble to pull an actual ticket together, and it wouldn’t automatically be Pence.

If he wins the election, the votes are certified, and then he dies: Pence becomes President, and remains President for the second term, as far as I know. For all I know, it ends up in the Supreme Court, because holy shit is there no precedent for this, but I don’t see it coming out any other way.

Not a lawyer, blah blah blah. If you see anything I’ve blatantly gotten wrong, let me know.

Some updates

I wanted to post more pictures of the boy’s room today, but it’s not quite done yet– one patch of wall maybe a foot square needs a touch more paint on it, the tree decals need to all be put in place, and we need to hang his curtains– and for some reason I don’t want to put up any more in-progress pictures. So have a sleepy kitty.

PAINTING! All in all I’m happier with how the project turned out than I thought it was going to be; I spent most of the first day of painting muttering it’s not my room under my breath and looking forward to repainting the entire mess again in five years when he grows out of it, but now that it’s mostly finished I feel like we did a pretty good job. More soon.

VISION! I have this thing going where I either stop paying attention to my eyes or they get noticeably better once about noon rolls around. I’m still kind of frustrated with mid- and long-distance vision, and even close up can be kind of spotty for the first couple of hours after I get up. I had a long talk with a friend of mine who also had the surgery earlier in the week and she assured me that everything was within normal parameters; despite trying to not be impatient about the healing process I think I’m expecting too much too soon.

VAGUEBLOGGING! I hoped I was going to have good news this week. I do not have good news. Strictly speaking I don’t have bad news either, but this is one of those situations where no news and bad news are indistinguishable. I am not very happy with the world right now.

AUGUST! Nobody knows anything. The superintendent’s plan has been radically revised three times in three weeks, the county health department released their own plan, and dominos are falling across the state as more and more districts go to online-only for the first nine weeks, which is the only available responsible decision. Remember: I’m not dying for your child care, nor am I endangering my family, period; and there is no magic switch that flips in August that prevents whatever you’ve been doing with your kids since March from working any longer. We have a school board meeting on Monday and I fully expect to find out at that time that we are online only for the full first quarter, at which point we can reset the clock until we make another last-second decision in October.

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS! I’ve been keeping a pretty close eye on noted dipshit Herman Cain over the last few weeks; turns out that being an idiot about masks earned him a final month of his life where he was isolated from his family and struggling to breathe before he died alone and ignominiously. I hope that hour or two where he was courageously owning the lib orthodoxy by not protecting himself from a highly communicable disease that didn’t know or care that he was a Republican was worth that pain for him. I suspect not. I also wonder how many other people that Tulsa rally killed who aren’t famous enough for us to know their names.

BOOKS! I recently finished Lisbeth Campbell’s excellent debut The Vanished Queen, which isn’t actually out for a couple of weeks. I read a very early draft of this and it was amazing to see how much had changed since I’d seen it. There is a review coming, but I’m waiting for a go-ahead from her to publish it. I’m currently reading Alexis Henderson’s The Year of the Witching, which I’m also quite enjoying but am having some trouble getting into because my eyes haven’t been cooperating when I pick it up. This one will probably get a review too at some point.

KAMALA? Word on the street is that Biden is going to announce his VP pick possibly as early as tomorrow and certainly by next week, and word also is that it’s going to be Kamala Harris, which would be just about the only thing about next week that could lift my mood. Please, goddammit, give me this one fucking thing. Well, this thing and that other thing that you haven’t given me yet, but at least one of them.

In which we’re gonna need a bigger boat

I’ll get to the graphic in a minute; this is gonna be another grab-baggy sort of post. Bear with me.

I just finished mowing the back yard, just in time for it to start pouring outside, so I’m sure all the grass will be regrown in a day or two. I have shared my distaste for lawn work many times before; in fact, bitching about my lawn was one of my first posts around here. My wife, who is more fond of working outdoors than I am, generally handles it; my job is to remove snow, and we collaborate on leaves. You may recall that she broke her foot a couple of weeks ago, which coincided with the weather being nice enough that the grass came back to life; to her credit, she waited for me to figure it out myself that I was going to have to mow the fucking yard and didn’t bring it up until I’d ruined my own day. Having mowed the full mess over the last two days, I have realized something: I feel basically the same way about yard work as I do about writing fiction. I absolutely hate doing it, but the feeling of being done with it is absolutely stellar. I love looking at a freshly-mowed yard. I just don’t want to have to create the conditions to be able to do that. If I ever figure out how to enjoy writing as much as I enjoy being done with writing I will be at Seanan McGuire levels of productivity in six months.


Speaking of mowing: I don’t wear headphones all that often, so it was already kind of weird that I shelled out so much money for the AirPods Pro that I bought a bit ago– but holy shit, am I impressed by how good noise cancelling works. I wasn’t even listening to music for a good part of mowing the yard; I just had the headphones in with the noise cancelling on and I could barely hear anything. Cue someone hopping into comments to tell me that’s going to kill my ears, of course.


Regarding yesterday’s addendum to yesterday’s first post: I think, based on comments, that it is clear that 1) I don’t know anything about Great Britain or their money; and 2) It is absolutely the way people write about their money that is bullshit, thus Option Two wins. I don’t feel like it is unreasonable to suggest that if you are going to spend a fair amount of your time in a book talking about people’s income levels and how much things cost, and the people you are talking about use a monetary system that is no longer in use and is not exactly intuitive, maybe put a chart somewhere explaining how it works? I’m willing to be accused of shocking ignorance on this, that’s fine, there are lots of things I don’t know, but part of the reason I was able to not realize that the shilling got phased out however many years ago was that nobody ever explains what the fuck a shilling is in history books. They just assume you know there are 3.2 shillings in a Cumberbatch and move the fuck on with the narrative. Put a damn chart in there somewhere!


The feasibility study has been returned, and it turns out I’m not actually able to watch the Snowpiercer TV series without spending additional money. I had heard it was showing up on Hulu, but apparently that’s only true if you pony up for some sort of “Live TV” add-on, and … nah.

I will, nonetheless, bow to the will of the interwebs and watch this program as soon as I can do so without spending money for it. That may take a while, however. In the meantime, Avatar: the Last Airbender is on Netflix and I somehow haven’t finished Season 5 of She-Ra yet so I need to up my TV-watching time as a percentage of my day.


I have seen a couple of different variations of the graphic at the top of this post floating around on the internet recently, as well as a couple of different NO NO THIS IS THE INTERNET BEING STUPID types of counter-posts. Folks, the official CDC “considerations” are right here; feel free to look at them yourself and compare them to whatever version of the graphic you’ve seen recently. The paraphrasing is essentially accurate, and the fact that the CDC, whether they’re calling them “guidelines” or “considerations”, doesn’t actually have the power to make their thoughts law doesn’t really matter. The point is, the fucking Center for Disease Control has effectively said that there is no way to safely open schools. Because these “guidelines” or “considerations” or whatever the fuck you want to call them are impossible, and every teacher and other adult who has ever spent any time in schools knows that. I am done for the year, effectively, and my son’s last day was yesterday (I still have some PD stuff over the next couple of weeks, and grades have to be finalized, but there is no further e-learning this year) and there is a lot of time for things to change one way or another between now and August, but the way things stand right now we are not going to be able to reopen schools this fall. Not safely, at least. I know the person in the White House doesn’t give a damn; that’s perfectly clear, but so far the governors have been more reasonable.


Speaking of governors, I had this conversation with my wife earlier:

For context, Woody Whoever’s last name is not Whoever and he is running for Governor as a Democrat, and he is running such a low-key, bullshit campaign that I literally didn’t know that there even was a gubernatorial race this year until seeing his name on my primary ballot. I do not at this time remember his last name and I’m not about to look it up. I did some quick research before I marked his name on the primary ballot (not that it would have mattered, as he was the only candidate) and he seems basically competent, but Gov. Holcomb is one of the few Republicans I’m aware of who I would also describe as “basically competent.” He’s shit on education, but so is everyone else in the damn world. Obama was shit on education. I’ve voted for one candidate who was good on education policy in the last fifteen years or so and she turned out to be a shitty politician and got voted right out again after her first term. It just doesn’t happen that damn often.


Regarding the headline to this post: when I initially wrote it I had plans to tie it into one of the parts of the post, and it was going to make sense and be at least moderately funny in the way my post titles occasionally are, and I have completely forgotten what the hell I was going to tie it into or how– something about classroom size, maybe?– but I’m not going to change it. “I am an idiot” is definitely a theme of this post so we may as well run that shit straight into the ground while we still can.


3:24 PM, Friday, May 22: 1,590,349 confirmed cases and 95,490 Americans dead.