In my heart, I’m a radical. In my brain, I’m a pragmatist.

That’s my political philosophy.  You want to aim high, sure, make the world fair and happy for every individual, but you also need to work pragmatically with people to take steps to get where you want.  History tells us that sudden change is almost certainly accompanied by violence, lots of it, and no one wants that, right? Sure, some revolutions may be necessary, but not while I’m alive, okay?  Leave me out of that.

You say you want a revolution? What if these guys aren’t on your side?

Now, if I post the above statement about violent overthrows on Facebook, everyone who sees it will interpret it their own way, and they will either agree with, or hate what I say. That’s right, hate.  That’s what you get on social media.  Don’t seem very social, do it?

Facebook is a great example of why social media is a curse, mostly.  Frankly, we should all quit Facebook because of its policies and screw-ups, but we don’t. Why? Because all our friends are there, in one place, all together and accessible.  Some real friends, some not, but friends.  Old friends too. I had like three old friends before Facebook. I’ve reconnected with people I never intended on getting rid of in the first place, and of course, a few that I did.  But even some of them have evolved.

Posting a political statement on Facebook, or most of the social media, is just a waste of time and emotions.  You will get “likes” and blow-back.  You can get into an argument with someone who is ostensibly a friend, but not after he or she opens his or her big fat mouth to oppose your view in a way that seems a little overblown, or better yet, just plain stupid.

For example, if I post something that reveals my feelings about the current situation, there’s a guy I went to high school with who will jump right on there, and then I’m spending a day arguing about something, an argument that will result in precisely neither of us, or the people who follow along, changing his mind.

The reason it is waste is not only the time and effort it takes to have an argument with someone who is sounding more and more like a total ignoramus with each response and will never agree with anything you say, and the high blood pressure and anger one must endure to keep that up. That’s bad enough.  Now you’re all worked up, you hate this other person even if you don’t want to hate him or her, and you’re sitting there waiting for what you know is coming: the next nasty response, which will come, inevitably, because no one wants to lose the argument.

But mostly, it’s a waste because YOU WROTE IT. That’s right, you dummy, you wrote a post about politics. For, against. Whatever it is. Even a little joke will get blow-back and nastiness.  But you want to make a statement, you say?  Good for you. You want to voice your opinion publicly? You have the right to do so.  It’s a free country.  So far.


Take a good look at me.  I look like a liberal Democrat, that’s even if you don’t know me.  At least I think I do. But anyway, if you do know me, then you know EXACTLY how I feel on all of these issues, even if we didn’t speak about them. You know me, so you can kind of extrapolate what I believe from what you know. When I post something on FB, normally I might get 10 likes, 20 if it’s good or funny.  If I tag someone it might be more. Point is, that’s posts about parties and concerts and food and sunsets.

If I post about politics, I think about seven people see it, one or three “like” or “love” or “cry” or “mad” it, and that’s it. This is exactly why you shouldn’t waste your time, or mine. The 7 people who see your post, whether brilliant or ignorant (your post or the people), already know what you think, and the rest of Facebook (profanity coming here) could not give less of a shit about you or your thoughts.

That being said, I miss Al Franken.

al franken



No, no, not that Bugs.  Insects.  My Hierarchy of Insects.

Bugs.  We all hate bugs.  Mostly. Some people find them interesting or even beautiful, and I will admit, the viral video of a walking stick insect walking on an actual stick is fascinating.  And when outdoors, I am a great admirer of spider webs.  They are incredibly beautiful and fragile structures, and great to photograph.

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This was outside our window, which is fine. It’s beautiful. This spider ended up fatally biting the neighbor’s chihuahua. Just kidding.

Indoors, however, all bets are off.  Sure, if there’s an opportunity to remove the insect rather than smash it and put it In the garbage disposal, I’ll do it. Daddy long legs are harmless and they eat other insects like mosquitos, so why kill one? Because I don’t want it up there in the corner, hanging there just looking at me.

Ever try to move a daddy long legs with a paper towel?  You need the delicate touch of a master jeweler, or a mohel or something.  It’s almost impossible to get it outside intact.  Moths too, especially the larger ones, I’ll give it a go.

When a moth is the size of a small bird, one tries not to leave a footprint in it. I wear a size 10.5

They say if you brush off that powdery substance on their wings, they can’t fly and they’ll die anyway. Is that true? So what, I’ll give it a shot because, let’s face it, a moth has a much better chance of surviving a little powder loss, as opposed to being crushed by the bottom of a slipper.

But brown moths (the ones that invade the pantry)? Dead on sight. Ugh.

Ants are also fine outside, but inside?  Dead.  Anything crawling inside, no matter how many legs? Dead. Roaches? Scream and then dead.  Scary black or brown spiders? Ditto.

Giant grasshopper plotting takeover of Malibu from high in the Santa Monica Mountains.

But outside?  I love to watch ants and even spiders do their thing.  But not in my space.  I know, it’s cruel to some extent, and it is not unlike playing God on a very tiny scale, but it’s as close as most of us will get.

The above being said, let’s consider the unique case of the cricket.


Crickets are considered good luck in some cultures, and the Chinese even have cricket cages (I think it was them, please don’t hate me if I got that wrong). Out here in Woodland Hills, we have a lot of crickets.  And so, if the screen door is open, a cricket might hop in.  Which is not good because then when you go to bed, all of a sudden you will hear a cricket chirping… and it’s too loud.  It’s… INSIDE.

A cute, vaguely Asian cricket, Cri-kee.

Okay so now you have this insect in the house keeping you awake, and it’s not cute like Jiminy.  I mean, it wasn’t enough for the Chinese convince us that crickets are good luck, but then Disney has to go anthropomorphize this bug into a cute and intelligent being?  And then again in Mulan with this Cri-kee? If you get a good look at one, you will see… an insect.  An insect you don’t want in the house.

Not so cute, is it?

So there it is: you want to get rid of it, but you can’t kill it, or it’s bad luck, so you get a cup or something to trap it in, but when you trap it, the cup is upside down so now what?  My method is good: get a paper towel, put it on top of the cricket, then VERY, VERY GENTLY pick up the cricket.  You don’t put any pressure on it, just close the paper towel around it.  Then, run outside and release.  Of course, when you try to catch them, you will see just how high they can jump.  This method works well with small lizards also. Large lizards?  Use a towel. Trust me.

We’re gonna need a bigger towel.  This is my photo. Rattlesnake. Not sure why I got so close.  Oh yeah, zoom lens.  I may be dumb, but I ain’t stupid.

Usually at the end I ask what we’ve learned today, and the answer is usually: not much. But today we learned a lot. Mostly about how to get rid of bugs without killing them. But also about why Facebook is fine to locate and communicate with friends and family, especially those you may have lost track of and who live far away so you can’t actually see them which would be much better. We also learned that no one really reads your stupid political posts, so shut the f$%k up.

Have a great week everybody!  No political posts. Just vote, okay?

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