On the General Coarsening of Society

Donna and her sister Georgie are back from their 10-day California trip. Last night they dragged me, kicking and screaming, to a quilt show at Tucson Botanical Gardens. The exhibit, put on by Quilt for a Cause, will be at TBG through the end of September, so if you’re a local or if you’re planning to be in Tucson anytime soon, do put it on your list. I was more than pleasantly surprised, and had a great time. Donna had many friends there, and so, it turned out, did I: my riding buddy and motorcycle maintenance guru Ed was there with his daughter Hannah, a student at U of A, along with his wife Sue, a prize-winning quilter.

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Donna & Georgie

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International Man of Mystery™

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Cactus flowers

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Group selfie w/Donna’s sewing guild friend Millie


On the way home we stopped at Mariscos Chihuahua for camarones rellenos, and while there I discovered a type of hot sauce I hadn’t encountered before (if you can’t make out the label, it’s Mexico Lindo Salsa Picante Negra). It’s on my must-have list now. There are plenty of Mexican specialty markets in this little cow town, so finding it shouldn’t be a problem.

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Georgie brought a freeze-pack of venison with her from Michigan, and today I pulled out a roast to thaw. I’ll make it in the slow-cooker tomorrow, my contribution to Mother’s Day. Georgie heads back to Michigan on Wednesday, and then Donna and I will settle in for a long hot summer.

One of my favorite bloggers, Nancy Nall, said this two days ago: “I no longer watch Jeopardy but will start again once this James Holzhauer guy goes back to Vegas. He’s taken all the fun out of the game, at least for me, so someone let me know when he flames out.” Yes, that’s it. I’ve been trying to put my finger on what bothers me about that asshole. She nailed it. I think he’s ruined the show and that it’ll never be the same. I expect other professional gambler types to copycat and wreck other game shows too. Hey, it’s easy money, and isn’t that what it’s all about? The only game show I could ever stand to watch was Jeopardy, and I don’t really give a shit what happens to the others, but this guy, to me, puts a face on the general coarsening of society.

Speaking of bringing society down, why is it that whenever I see a sexually crude, grossly inappropriate post on Facebook, it was put there by a fellow Hash House Harrier? What are we, a pack of sniggering 13-year-olds?

Our neighborhood, grandly called Sunnywood Estates, is a modest subdivision of 34 homes built in the late 1980s. One of the original residents, Bob Hawks, died last year. He was our unofficial mayor, a more-or-less permanent member of the homeowners’ board and the organizer of our yearly 4th of July parade and block party. He could be seen walking his dog every morning right up to the end. There are two dead end streets in the hood (I was going to say “cul-de-sacs” but I looked it up and the plural is “culs-de-sac,” which looks so ugly in print I can’t bear to see it on my blog). Each has a circular common area and roundabout at the end. We’re all chipping in to make the common area nearest Bob’s old house into a memorial mini-park, with a flagstone path and bench. Everything’s done now but the bench. As you can see, Mister B approves.

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I have a love/hate relationship with Google News. Lately it’s hate. Not Google’s fault … the problem is the media outlets Google News links to. You see headlines on Google News, but when you click on them for the rest of the story, nearly everything is blocked. You either hit a subscription paywall or a screen demanding you disable your ad-blocker first. They say we shouldn’t get our news from headlines, but in the online world that’s increasingly all we can get, and it’s a poor way to stay informed. Of all the online news sites, two good ones I’ve found that don’t require subscriptions are Reuters and The Guardian. Both British, yes, but with excellent US coverage, and nothing’s blocked.

We once planned to retire in Grass Valley, California, so when stories about the town appear in the news I always click the link. This one caught my eye: Bizarre Conspiracy Theory Cancels Grass Valley School Fundraiser (there’s a small “please turn off your ad blocker” popup on this site, but you can click it away and actually read the story). The story is off-the-rails insane. Conspiracy nuts have always been with us, but today the crazies (QAnon members in particular) have more tools than ever before—the internet, email, and social media—and with those tools they can do real harm. Have you heard of “swatting“? The Grass Valley Charter School Foundation didn’t get swatted, exactly, but what actually happened came pretty close.

I’m planning to ride to the site of this blog’s namesake and inspiration one day next week. Yes, I’m talking about The Thing?, the infamous roadside attraction near Wilcox, Arizona, about 100 miles east of Tucson. They’ve renovated the place and added new exhibits, and it’s time for a return visit. Yes, I’m bringing my camera, and there’ll be a photoblog.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print, at least for now. More soon!

© 2019, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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2 comments to On the General Coarsening of Society

  • Ann Byrne

    1 – isn’t it interesting that sometimes when we get dragged “kicking & screaming” to something, it turns out to be fun AND there are people we know or things we like! Ross dragged me to a gun show (!!!) in Tucson about 15+ years ago, and it turned out to be fascinating – because there were also antique guns (1600s, 1700s, 1800s cowboys style etc) AND because some clever people realised that other people would be there unwillingly, and set up booths of interest to all (books, jewellery, random stuff etc!)
    PS – in your “IMofM” photo, I LOVE the quilt on the left!!

    2 – Haven’t seen the “new” Jeopardy – I can’t imagine it without Alex Trebek! That show will die a quick death, I’d think, if they do t find a host in his mould….

    3 – You are so right about the puerile hash stuff. The older, and old-fashioned, men-only hashes here in Oz also seem to be into that same line of thought – “if it’s dirty/crude/ it’s a hash!” Yeah no. (And they’re not usually even clever “Playboy” style jokes – they’re “Hustler” & worse. Luckily that mostly doesn’t fly in the mixed hashes. Not that we go much, if at all, any more!

    Anyway – Love the blog!

  • Thanks for the lovely comment, Ann!

    Donna had Jeopardy on last night and I noticed the gambler’s gone. I too wonder how the show will do without Alex Trebec … I also wonder how long it’ll be before he has to give it up. A couple of friends have died of pancreatic cancer, and in both cases they went fast.

    Some of my hashing friends may wonder if I’m criticizing them for things they post, and I probably should rewrite this post to make it clear I am not. One friend had a hash trash removed by Facebook because of some of the hash names in it. Another friend had a hash-related post reported to the Facebook police. Dudes, that wasn’t me!

    The offending post was the sort of thing you’d see in a public restroom stall, a crude joke about anal sex that had nothing to do with hashing. It was posted to the Facebook Hash House Harrier group by someone I don’t know. I didn’t report it. I left a comment saying “Why are you posting crap like this to Facebook?” and left the group. This’ll be the third time I’ve resigned from the Hash House Harrier group. Every time I leave I eventually join again, mainly because I’ve written something about hashing that I want to share with a wider hash audience. And then here comes another crude childish sex post and I’m gone again. Rinse & repeat!

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