This week I am in New York visiting my family. I don't think of it as "coming home" because Utah is my home now (though hopefully not forever). It's a whole different world here and requires a subtly yet unmistakably different mindset. In Utah, unless you're in a bar (and maybe even then), the logical assumption is that a majority of the people around you are Mormons. In New York, unless you're in a Mormon chapel, the logical assumption is that none of them are. I had also forgotten that while driving here one frequently sees mirages of water on the road up ahead, which vanish when one gets closer but are replenished almost immediately. It's such a common phenomenon that I hardly gave it a second thought growing up, but on returning I realized that it doesn't happen in Utah, or at least not in northern Utah. Even though Utah is a desert and thus presumably a more suitable place for mirages. I should probably look into it.
I hadn't formed much of an opinion on Donald Trump until recently because most of what I knew about him was from old "Bloom County" comic strips, and I couldn't tell if he was really a slimeball or if people just hate him because he has a lot of money. I didn't look much into his political stances because he isn't going to get the nomination anyway and focusing on politics too much only depresses me, since my views have approximately zero impact on anything that happens in this country. But I found out recently that he thinks vaccines cause autism. And that's enough for me to dismiss him as not only stupider than dog vomit, but dangerous to society. I mean, our current administration is no Einstein either, but at least it isn't advocating against one of the greatest innovations of the modern age that has saved and improved millions of lives, on the basis of an unsupported and illegitimate fear that it will make their children end up like me and that they would be better off dead. It's hard to overstate the contempt and disgust I feel for anti-vaxxers, so I should probably leave it at that.
Here, from the "Why I'm not comfortable labeling myself 'conservative'" category, as well as the "Holy crap people like this actually exist" category (though if you have better things to do than read the whole thing, good for you, and I won't be offended if you skip past it. I didn't bother to blur people's names because this blog is no more public than the spot where they posted in the first place and it's not my job to cover for their bigotry):
Ugh. Though in fairness, about four of those fifty people stuck up for human decency. They're the ones with fourteen or fifteen replies telling them they're wrong.
Oh, and now that no one cares about him anymore, here's my take on Cecil the lion. Liberals were wrong for their disproportionate outrage, backlash and media coverage. Conservatives were wrong for acting like it was no big deal because only humans matter. This was hardly the apocalyptic atrocity it was made out to be, but it was still wrong. It's not that lion lives are inherently too sacred to take or that Cecil was a particularly sacred lion just because someone gave him a name. It's that lion population levels have decreased to two or three percent of their levels in the late 1800s, and will become zero percent in a few decades if nothing is done to prevent it. That is why there are rules and regulations in place to protect them, and those need to be respected. (Incidentally, hunting top predators like lions, tigers and bears just seems kind of perverse to me altogether, but I guess that's just an emotional bias talking.)
I read an op-ed from a Zimbabwean student in the US who pointed out that a. most Zimbabweans have never heard of and didn't care about Cecil the lion and b. Zimbabweans like him who grew up in rural areas fear and hate lions for the threat that they pose. I sympathized with him, but defensively killing the lion that was terrorizing his village when he was a child is altogether different than, and irrelevant to, deliberately luring a lion from a protected preserve where he was minding his own business for the purpose of killing him. Lions may cause problems, but wiping out their species will only cause bigger ones. Still, the way that dentist was treated by "compassionate" liberals was uncalled for and unacceptable, though hardly surprising.
On that note, here's a book recommendation: "Last Chance to See" by Douglas Adams of galactic hitchhiking fame. I'm re-reading it now in New York. It's the most hilarious take on critically endangered species that you're likely to ever find, yet still (mostly) tasteful and sobering.
I upgraded to Windows 10 and am mostly pleased except that suddenly my computer brightness settings are reversed but won't go as dim as I like them. Sometimes they're right but usually they're reversed. Does anyone know how to fix that? It's really annoying. Also, is there a way to make old 32-bit games like Math Blaster work on newer computers? Google seems unusually unhelpful regarding these matters. Oh, but speaking of search stuff, Windows 10's search thing is called Cortana. Despite having a name and a gender, she has disappointingly little personality, but she asked me what I want to be called and I said "Sweetie Pumpkin", so she does. Don't judge me.
Well, I'm supposed to be on vacation and I already conveniently took up a lot of space with those pictures (it's not my problem if you skipped over them), so I shall be signing off now and getting back to that book. Bonne nuit.
P.S. Speaking of French speaking, Marie is still around. I haven't written about her for a while so maybe you thought she just kind of disappeared. But she didn't. Here she is in all her redacted glory.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.