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Steven Harper

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P1 cleaner than your church shoes, ah [16 Feb 2017|11:05pm]
I try to watch as many of the Oscar-nominated movies as I can before the Oscars. Why I do this, I don't really know. Probably for street cred.

Saturday night I watched Hell or High Water, which is nominated for Best Picture but is one of those which has very little chance to win. It kinda struck me as a No Country for Old Men lite. It stars Jeff Bridges, who, as you may or may not know, is one of my least-favorite actors. (Fans of The Big Lebowski can start writing their hate mail now.) However, I actually liked him in this role, affected Texan accent and all. He actually reminded me of a person you would probably encounter at any barbecue restaurant at any given time in this state.

I still hate Starman. That movie was a piece of crap.
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How can you ever hope to know just where you are? [09 Feb 2017|10:55pm]
About that Super Bowl...

When there are two teams playing and I don't particularly support either one of them, I arbitrarily pick one to root for to make the game more exciting to watch. I'm not going to bother recovering the statistics, but more often than not, the team I choose is the one that loses. (I got it right last year, though!) It would be good not to rely on me to make your bets in Las Vegas.

This year, I went with the Falcons, and if you saw the game, you might have thought I made the right choice up until the third quarter. I noticed on Twitter that they had something like an 86% chance of winning at that point. I wonder if the person who made that tweet also predicted the presidential election.

Then came the most epic comeback or the most epic crash and burn in Super Bowl history, depending on how you look at it. Another year of picking the wrong team for me. Will my losing streak continue next year? Only time will tell.
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I used to be disgusted, and now I try to be amused [02 Feb 2017|10:31pm]
I finally got around to watching Captain America: Civil War because, as someone who didn't grow up reading comic books, I feel like I've missed out on a lot. (I did read "Archie" comics. By the truckload. I must have had nearly 100 books. They've all been lost to antiquity, except for one. Still not gonna watch "Riverdale" though.)

As I normally do whenever I watch a movie, afterwards I head over to IMDb to check out the trivia and goofs, which have mostly become an un-moderated free-for-all these days where anyone can post anything without the tiniest shred of relevance. One "goof" in particular caught my eye, where it read "Ant-Man violates the law of conservation of mass because..."

And then I just lost it. Well, not really, but... I'm sure Ant-Man does violate any number of physical laws, but you know, ANT-MAN IS NOT REAL. Superhero movies are not based on true stories.

But you know what was based on a true story? The Blind Side, and Sandra Bullock won a freaking Oscar for that. Man, I hate that movie.
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But these cuts I have, they need love to help them heal [26 Jan 2017|10:42pm]
The first inauguration I remember watching was George H.W. Bush in 1989. I was in second grade. Our teacher brought in a crappy 13-inch black-and-white TV with an antenna so we could watch it. (Knowing what I know now, I seriously doubt she voted for him, but I suppose it was important to her for us to watch the process.)

Next, of course, was Clinton's first in 1993. I didn't see it live, but I vaguely remember watching highlights on Channel One. (Anyone remember that?)

Clinton's second in 1997 was on MLK Day, so I would have been home from school, but I don't remember watching it. I probably did, though.

For George W. Bush in 2001, that was on a Saturday. I was a sophomore in college. Again, I probably watched it, but I don't really recall.

GWB's second in 2005, I was in grad school (round one). I may have been in class at the time. No distinct memories.

For Obama's first in 2009, I watched the whole thing. I was filled with all the hope he had inspired. I felt happy to watch it.

Obama's second in 2013, I wasn't quite as happy but still enjoyed watching it.

And then... I know many people refused to watch the inauguration this year. I was of a divided mind myself. I decided what I would do was not watch the swearing-in or the speech, but I would watch everything from the luncheon onward. I don't regret my decision, but I think it goes without saying that I was not filled with any of the hope I had eight years ago. I am still having a bit of a time wrapping my head around this whole thing. I'm just hoping if I do another recap like this in 2021 that things will be different.
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Tony Romo still boils his ribs [19 Jan 2017|10:59pm]
When I first started this journal all those years ago, one of the things I spent a lot of time doing was analyzing Dallas Cowboys games. They weren't all that good back then. I spend considerably less time doing that these days, even though they tied their all-time best record this year.

Of course, I still watch all their games (it's incredibly hard not to do that in the state of Texas) even if I'm not quite as rabid a fan as I used to be. Which leads me to my point: It was incredibly hard to watch their game on Sunday. What a heartbreaking loss that was. I can't tell you the last time I got that emotionally invested in a game.

I can only hope next season goes as well as this one. Will Tony Romo be playing for the Texans next season? Only time will tell.
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There ain't no doctor that can cure my disease [12 Jan 2017|10:45pm]
This is probably as political as I'm ever going to get, so you've been warned. I don't hesitate to acknowledge there are many, many people more knowledgeable about these sorts of things than I am, so you've been warned.

I've been reading about the possible impending repeal of the Affordable Care Act. I am fortunate enough to have health insurance that doesn't come from it, so I likely won't be affected, but something that happened to me could be much worse for others. I refilled one of my prescriptions yesterday, and I got a message from the pharmacy that my insurance wasn't covering it. Therefore, instead of the $6 I normally pay, I'd be on the hook for $835. Fortunately, it was only a clerical error and things were cleared up, but I couldn't help but think of the people who actually would have to pay that much for one of their prescriptions every month. Who can do that? Nobody I know.

I don't see how anyone could consciously be against a program to help people in such dire straits. Unfortunately, there are lots of things that have been happening recently that I can't understand. It boggles my mind.
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When I was down, you just stood there grinning [05 Jan 2017|10:28pm]
So I see certain people are trying for a LiveJournal resurgence in 2017. It's got a Facebook group and everything. Here's hoping that takes off.

I, for one, have been in some sort of fog all week. This can happen when the holidays throw things off. Monday was a de facto holiday, which meant things were supposed to be back to normal on Tuesday. Except I spent all day Tuesday thinking it was Monday, and the cycle repeats. I think I know what day it is now.

You know what's a scam? Printer ink. I almost never print anything in color, but somehow I'm always out of colored ink. The printer that I have won't even let you print in black if one of the color cartridges is expended. That means another trip to the office supply store where the music playlist is stuck in 2013 to buy ink that somehow manages to drain itself. Maybe I should just buy a new printer every time that happens. It might be cheaper.
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Never let [expletives deleted] ride [29 Dec 2016|10:26pm]
Here we are, nearing the end of 2016. Many are regarding it as one of the worst years in history, what with the political upheaval and the deaths of so many beloved celebrities. Those things notwithstanding, 2016 has been rather uneventful for me. I don't say that as a bad thing, as I'd rather it be uneventful than full of things I'd rather not have experienced.

Of course, I have no idea what 2017 will hold. I can only hope that at this time next year, I can say it was uneventful as well. Or, maybe, that it was the best year of my life so far. One can only hope.

Happy New Year.
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Friends and relations send salutations [22 Dec 2016|11:54pm]
The time has come for my annual Christmas message. As usual, I have been giving thought to what I would say in every spare moment for the past few days. Here goes.

As this year ends and 2017 is set to begin, many of us are faced with the same uncertainty we have been faced with for the past few weeks. To think that there is any chance of achieving a sense of normality is seen as heresy by many. What is certain is that we are on the cusp of events that no one has seen before. The thing is, every year brings us things no one has seen before, and we have managed to survive so far.

What I can tell you is that as we forge on, we must not lose hope. An ancient book tells us not to be weary in doing good, for we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. That, I think, is very important to remember especially at this time of year.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
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Beatniks and politics, nothing is new [15 Dec 2016|10:44pm]
I was really looking forward to Christmas Cookies ice cream from Blue Bell this year. I haven't had any since it's been reintroduced, because I've had enough bouts with food poisoning to last me a lifetime. I figured this would be as good a time as any to jump back into the fray.

That is, until I read some tweets stating that due to "unforeseen circumstances," there will be no Christmas Cookies this year. Yet they'll still have these BS peppermint and hot chocolate flavors. Hot chocolate ice cream? That's not just oxymoronic, it's plain moronic.

Why can't companies make things I like?
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There oughta be a law against you comin' around [08 Dec 2016|10:22pm]
I have this bad habit of rolling over things with my chair. A while back, I lost my Internet connection. I couldn't figure out what in the world was going on. I had noticed some trucks from the phone company outside, and I thought they might be working on something. There were no lights on the modem. Hours passed. Then I noticed the modem was unplugged. I rolled over the power cord with my chair and unplugged it. I felt like a genius.

Then, last week, I rolled over a pair of headphones and broke them. I ordered a new pair, waited for them to arrive, and they did. Only then did I remember I had a backup pair. I felt like a genius.
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Kool kar kyrie kay salmon [01 Dec 2016|10:33pm]
I warn you before I get started: I really don't know where I'm going with this. We'll see where I end up.

I finally decided to get with the program, so to speak, and started watching "Game of Thrones" last month. I'm almost done with the second season, as I don't have the stamina to binge-watch and only watch one episode at a time.

I wouldn't exactly say I have a problem with it, but... I guess I just expected it to be better than it is. I'm not saying it's a bad show by any means, but it just doesn't draw me in like "Mad Men" or "Breaking Bad" did. Not that medieval fantasy has ever really been my cup of tea, and also when characters have apostrophes in their names... well.

What's that they say? It gets better? I certainly hope that's the case.
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I am the son and the heir [24 Nov 2016|10:37pm]
Here's this week's Weird Thing That Happened to Me. The other night, one of my neighbors put some shrimp concoction down the garbage disposal, which caused the kitchen sink to back up. This has happened before, but it usually drains out without a problem. Not this time. Also, water started leaking from the dishwasher and I had a mess on my hands. A plumber was summoned to remedy the situation.

Everything seemed to be copacetic until I went to the kitchen and noticed my roll of paper towels was missing. The only way that could have happened is that the plumber took them, unless I ate them while I was sleepwalking. Those cost me 48 cents! Money doesn't grow on trees.

I suppose it's a small price to pay for not having a kitchen full of ankle-deep water.

Oh, and it's apparently Thanksgiving, so... happy turkey.
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Time never seems to really fly (split infinitive, I know) [17 Nov 2016|10:33pm]
It's that time of year when my mailbox is stuffed every week with supermarket flyers advertising Thanksgiving sales. What I have noticed is that they're open later and later on Thanksgiving Day, with Kroger closing at 4:00 p.m. This got me to wondering who eats Thanksgiving dinner after 4:00 p.m. I kinda always assumed most people do as my family does, i.e., eat dinner at lunchtime, around 1:00 p.m. We've always been done before the Cowboys game starts.

I decided to run a poll on Twitter, and 55% of the respondents indicated they eat dinner between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. However, 32% eat between 12:00 and 3:00, with only 14% eating after 6:00.

I shouldn't have been surprised, as Nate Silver told me 94% would say they ate dinner before 3:00.
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They will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem [10 Nov 2016|11:00pm]
I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight
getting lost in that hopeless little screen
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that time cannot decay
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet
Democracy is coming to the USA

Earlier tonight, I heard the devastating news that Leonard Cohen died. His songs have meant a lot to me over the past 20 years. That song, "Democracy," was from his album The Future, the first album of his I bought when I was 15. I didn't really get it then. It sat on my shelf for years until I rediscovered it and much of his other music in college.

It wasn't until six years ago that I finally got it. I had the opportunity to see him in concert, which may very well have never happened had his financial manager not stolen his money. I had no idea what to expect until the lights dimmed and this 76-year-old man skips joyfully onto the stage. He proceeded to entertain us for the next three hours. Elton John said his concerts were like a religious experience. That, I completely understand.

What's more, just last night I was listening to his music. It had been a while, but something told me I just needed to. The subject line from last week's entry? From perhaps his best-known song, "Hallelujah." So you see just a glimpse of the effect this man has had on me. Whither thou goest, I will go.

It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there

It happened. The thing we all thought could not happen, happened. I went to bed late Tuesday night (early Wednesday morning) feeling like millions of other people did, no doubt. I say I went to bed, but I didn't sleep. I couldn't.

Over the last 48 hours, I've gone from a feeling of dread to one of uncertainty. One side tells me I have nothing to dread, while the other says I don't dread enough. I am trying to remain cautiously optimistic, yet I hope I'm not being lulled into a false sense of security.

I cannot help but recall the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of California. Then, I wondered, just how many people genuinely thought he was the best candidate for the office as opposed to people who voted for him simply because of his celebrity status. I am wondering the same thing now.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty ship of state
To the shores of need
Past the reefs of greed
Through the squalls of hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on

And as I was driving home today, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" came on the radio. I am sure this was a computer playlist and no human being planned it, but today is November 10. Usually I just post this on November 10 and I'm done with it, but I just couldn't do that this year.

November 10, 1975 the bulk freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior with all hands. This is dedicated to the memory of the 29 men lost that night and the families they left behind.

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I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you [03 Nov 2016|10:35pm]
I often like to think I'm not as addicted to my smartphone as most people are. This may be true, or it may not. Consider the following scenario:

The other night, Halloween night in fact, I was using my smartphone to view a video, as formerly people would do on a television or computer screen. All of a sudden, Chrome crashed and the phone restarted itself. No big deal, right? Except it froze on the Verizon screen. As it stayed there, I realized I was going into full-on panic mode. The power button wouldn't do anything, and with these models, you can't remove the battery yourself. Whatever was I going to do?

Thankfully, I was able to find a solution (hold the power button down and volume up for 10 seconds to reboot and hope like mad it progresses past the Verizon screen this time, otherwise you're probably screwed). It worked, and things were back to normal.

I was born in that time frame that makes me not sure whether I'm part of Generation X or a millennial, but I have come to realize that my dependence on smartphone technology may make me fall into the latter category.

Or maybe it was goblins... Halloween, after all.
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And the sun shines on the bay [27 Oct 2016|10:30pm]
You know what I hate? Changing light bulbs. It sounds like a simple enough task, and I suppose it is... if you're over six feet tall. I, however, am not. Which means, when it comes time to change a bulb, I have to locate a chair or stepladder so that I might artificially increase my height enough to reach the ceiling. Then I have to do the whole thing all over again in a few months.

If only they'd invent a light bulb that lasted for years so I wouldn't have to replace them so often. Thanks for nothing, Thomas Edison.
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I'm up on the presidential podium [20 Oct 2016|10:57pm]
I've become that person. The "Christmas commercials already?!" person. It happened on Tuesday. I was letting the TV rot my brain when it came on. You may have seen it, unless you don't let TV rot your brain like I do. The commercial with the Hershey's Kisses playing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." I like that commercial. I think it's neat. But do we really need to start airing it on October 18?

Back when I used to visit shopping malls more than once a year, I remember when they'd get all decked out for Christmas in early November. I know Christmas stuff usually goes up once Halloween is over. I can usually avoid all that if I so choose. TV commercials are a bit trickier.

Maybe the Amish are onto something after all.
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Meet me in the middle of the day [13 Oct 2016|10:45pm]
You may recall my last visit to the dentist. On second thought, you probably don't. I barely remember it myself. Just kidding. It resulted in me learning, for the first time in 35 years, that I had a cavity. It was one of the worst days of my life.

Today was my first visit since then. I'd been anticipating it with growing apprehension, since last time proved that these things don't always go off without a hitch.

Well, today did go off without a hitch... almost. No cavities. Nothing out of the ordinary. Except I had a different hygienist than usual, and it's kinda weird when she's like, right there next to your ear and her stomach growls twice. And she nicks your lip with one of her sharp metal instruments.

I'll still take that over another cavity.
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Fill up and you don't have to pay [06 Oct 2016|10:26pm]
I did something the other day that I never do, something that I probably should not do.

I commented on an Internet article.

They say you should never read the comments on Internet articles, and this is something I believe wholeheartedly. Nothing good can come of it, and rarely is anything good written there. But this time the article was just so off-base that I couldn't let it go. I had to put my two cents in. Granted, I did everything I could to keep my identity secret to make sure I'm not trolled on any other websites.

I do not plan on doing this on a regular basis, even though the flaming I was expecting hasn't come... at least not yet.
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