Saturday Bag o’ You-Know-What

junior bag dispensers1007-2 PolyUp & at ’em: my Saturday morning motto. My weekly outdoor chores include poop patrol, replenishing wild bird feeders, checking the pool, and just generally looking around the property (describing our yard as “the property” makes us feel prosperous & successful).

Dog poop can be tricky. You clear one area and move to the next, glance back at the first area from a different angle, and there’s some you missed. And this: Schatzi likes to help, and her idea of helping is to follow behind and make more poops for me to rake up.

This morning I expanded my patrol into parts of the back yard our dogs never visit and found some strange scat, possibly coyote. I know they can jump high walls and fences, but I didn’t think they were jumping ours. And what if it was a bobcat? Oh, well, the dogs have been pooping in the back yard for years, and I’ll just have to trust they know when danger is about.

I saw a spider web in time to avoid walking through it with my bare legs. That made me happy, and I hope the spider too. Our pool guy backwashed the filter yesterday. When he does that, he runs a hose over the cinderblock wall by where we keep our garbage bins. I usually find javelina tracks when it’s muddy, but didn’t see any today. It’s been two weeks since their last visit; two weeks since they last tipped over the bins and spread trash everywhere. When we have especially stinky garbage, I drag the bins inside the fence. Javelina, thank goodness, can’t jump an eight-foot cinderblock wall.

The chores are done and I’m back indoors, enjoying my first cup of coffee and watching the bird feeders through the window. The pigeons are always the first to arrive, and then word spreads. Casa Thing is ready for another week.

What else is in Saturday’s special bag?

This election. On Twitter a guy observed it’s like unexpected guests drop by after work and you’re discussing dinner options: some want to call for pizza, some want to kill and eat the others. Even if pizza wins, there’s a problem.

The Olympics. My gosh, NBC’s coverage is horrible, and every night it gets worse. More commercials than Superbowl, puff pieces on popular athletes in place of actual events, a relentless focus on certain events to the exclusion of others, the constant grubbing for ratings. It’s like a visit to a dentist’s office where the only magazines in the waiting room are People and Us.

Simone Manuel. Please don’t misinterpret, but I think the deluge of social media posts about America’s horrible history of segregated swimming pools and beaches is an awfully negative way to celebrate her great accomplishment. Yes, absolutely, we should cheer her success in breaking a barrier, and yes, we must acknowledge our racism … but has it occurred to anyone that all these posts about how things were in the Jim Crow and segregation days are coming across as fun nostalgia to the dinner guests who want to kill and eat the rest of us?

Facebook. All of a sudden the advertisements once confined to the right sidebar are now in the newsfeed, in the form of “suggested posts.” And there are a lot of them, more than what used to appear in the sidebar. Whenever I complain about unwanted advertising, some goody-two-shoes will remind me commercials are what pay for “free” services like Facebook. I have an all-purpose response to that: fuck off. I’ve said for years it would take a lot to drive people (me included) away from Facebook, this wonderful tool that puts us in daily contact with friends, relatives, and family. But this might do it.

Necessary entry-ending uplift. There are three books under “Reading Now” on the left sidebar, and for a change I’m literally reading all three at once. Usually I get wrapped up in one to the exclusion of the other two, but not this time. Sarah Vowell’s “The Partly Cloudy Patriot” is a collection of short columns, ideal for dipping into between other books. I’m continuing my education on the Vietnam air war with a book about the Misty FAC pilots, “Bury Us Upside Down” (a line from a toast every fighter pilot knows). After a break of several years, I’m re-engaging with David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest.” The first time around, Wallace’s suicide was still fresh, and there’s a suicidal character in this novel who is so sympathetic and real I quit reading out of fear it might be contagious. Time heals, as they say, and I’m now ready to finish what I started, including re-reading the parts I read before. Oh, here’s the uplifting part: there’s still enough class-action lawsuit settlement money in my Barnes & Noble account for two more books! To tell the truth, I agonize more over what books to buy with this free money than I ever do when it comes out of my own pocket.

It’s the weekend! Even as a retired person, weekends are still different somehow. I hope that never changes.

© 2016, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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