Posted by: bkivey | 12 July 2021

“In The Shuffling Madness”

Local businesses have pretty much stopped requiring masks, to the point where businesses that do obligate their customers are at a competitive disadvantage. A large grocery store chain went mask-free during the Memorial Day weekend, and didn’t exactly advertise the fact. They just took down the mask signs a month before the Governor made it official. In my view: no sign, no mask. And for the month of June I would be the only person in the store maskadaisical.

People are also finding out how much power the Federal government has to dictate behavior. Mass transit requires masks, due to Federal funding making up a large part of ‘local’ transit funding. Any long-distance conveyance requires masking. And that, folks, is looking like ‘temporary’ coming up on ‘semi-permanent’, and sliding into ‘permanent’. I will not wear a mask on transit. That particular imposition has gone from ‘maybe acceptable’, to ‘irrational’. If someone needs to see me badly enough, they can wear the mask. It truly would not bother me not to step onto a commercial flight again. Not an absolute mandate, but I am really resistant to the idea.

The post was motivated by an AP article today concerning California’s public school masking rules for the upcoming academic year. The People are not impressed. Governor Gavin Newsom is already facing a recall election, and rather than take a decentralized approach, he has gone to his roots as a Liberal, and decided Everyone Is The Same. When you can’t think, you have to rely on rules and tropes. Which got me to thinking about a song. With sincere, and maskless, apologies to Ian Anderson (‘Locomotive Breath 1971 Jethro Tull)

In the stifling madness

They have the COVID breath

And just by breathing

They are dealing death

They’ve got the Fauci gospel

Open at Page One

You thought you were American

But they’ve got you on the run

You’d better just mask up

Midway (2019)

A friend had a duplicate copy of this movie, and I took a look. I’d seen, and have, the 1976 production, so was interested to see how this fared.

I was impressed. A superior effort to the earlier movie, mostly in the pacing and the nearly-equal inclusion of the Japanese side. ‘Tora, Tora, Tora’ and ‘D-Day: The 6th of June’ come to mind as similar treatments. The history is mostly accurate, including a scene showing director John Ford filming for a movie during the battle. That little tidbit wasn’t in the 1976 film.

There were about six months between Pearl Harbor and Midway, and the movie represents that compressed timeline. It’s not all military; there are some scenes from the home front, but the movie never drags and the plot is advanced, as well as giving some motivation to the characters.

As there isn’t a lot of WW II equipment laying around, the ‘scenery’ in the movie is nearly all CGI. I have complained about the comic-book effect of wall-to-wall CGI, but in this case, like ‘Apollo 13’, the animation serves the story. Still, there is an awful lot of it. It’s very good, and not particularly distracting, unless you realize what you’re looking at. No help for it, and necessary to this type of movie. For all the hardware available, WW II movies may as well be ‘Star Wars’.

Acting is good, and dialogue is credible and naturally delivered. Everybody is smoking. In bed, in the office, at the table, in quarters, at the gas station (probably). I liked that the officer’s clothing had a rumpled appearance, as if they were living in their uniforms. And at that time, likely so.

32 producer credits. 32. For this particular movie, all of the crew should take a bow. A well-done effort.

Freaky Friday

Last Friday I was driving a company vehicle (a van) on US 26 East, minding my own business in the left lane in bumper-bumper traffic, when a violent event happened close aboard the starboard side. I’d been hit, and not gently. I’ve been in enough car crashes to know what happened, and pulled over to the meager shoulder next the barriers. Engine off, flashers on, and got out to have a look. I thought they’d hit me from the rear, and as there is a substantial bumper, and I only saw small dent, thought things weren’t that bad. And then I saw the right side of the van. Looking to the right, I saw what was left of the car that hit me. A good chance it would be rejected by a junkyard; not much salvageable. The left side of the Honda Civic was crunched, and the left front wheel tucked under.

No photos, because I was in a mild state of shock (car accident), and taking pictures is what law enforcement does. And four (!) of Beaverton’s finest did roll up. I was concerned with sorting out the commitment I now could not keep, and figuring out how to ameliorate the situation. The van was a loss, as the cargo door was forcibly impacted to the body, and now useless. Limping it back to the office, It seems the frame is bent, and no surprise there. It’s totaled.

The offending car was blocking the center lane, and I coned off the van and the car before police arrived. The driver was laid across the seats, unconscious. The airbags had gone off, but his face was going to need work. I didn’t feel real sorry for him. I was going to feel a hell of lot less sympathetic in the next few minutes.

A couple of people stopped; one guy just to make sure everyone was breathing, and another guy who witnessed the accident and stuck around for the 5-0. Emergency response was fast, and the scene cleared in about 20 minutes. US 26 is the main east-west artery connecting Portland to the communities west of the Hills, and first responders get plenty of practice.

I still did not know what happened. The Honda approached from the right rear, and I never saw it. I asked the witness what happened, and he barely told me before the police snagged him for a statement. It seems the car was in the right lane (3 lanes at this point), and came barreling across three lanes of traffic and hit the van. As the driver was bundled into the ambulance, an officer told me that he’d said he was subject to seizures (on medication), and remembered getting in his car, and nothing else.

The police provide forms to exchange information, and this driver had the infamous ‘NONE’ insurance.

Let us recap:

  1. An individual with a known history of blackouts drives a car
  2. They do not have insurance

My only recourse is to a) file a claim with my company, in essence, filing a claim against myself, or b) don’t file a claim. Now, I check all the insurance boxes, because it’s cheap enough, but my rates go up because this asshole can’t be bothered to insure themselves. I have to replace the vehicle. I have to rent a vehicle until a replacement can be found. I have had to move jobs around; which is a fun exercise. The burden is all on me, here. Yeah, this cat is doing jail time, but no consolation, here. He ran into me, and I’m the one paying for it. Does that seem right, to you?

On the side, a former employee happened to drive by the scene, and sent me a text. Judging by the condition of the Honda (3000 lb car, meet 6000 lb van), he thought I might be seriously injured. No. I drove away, and Shawn Rene Maricoli didn’t. I call that a win.

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