Small

I was listening to an interview on NPR with the president of the American Enterprise Institute (a conservative thinktank), who said:

You know, one of the things that I ask when I’m in front of audiences is to do a little thought experiment: What would happen if all of the poor people in America just disappeared? Would you know it if all the poor people in America suddenly disappeared? I daresay that most people listening to us today wouldn’t even know about it immediately. They have no emotional or moral connection to them. … We’ve gotten incredibly good at helping poor people. We could be better, of course. But we’ve gotten terrible at needing people.

And then Jill and I were watching John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” on HBO Now, where he briefly turned the discussion away from politics:

I know the world is a bleak place right now. So we wanted to leave you with a happy story. And it involves Bolivia. [map of South America appears, with a country highlighted as Bolivia] A country you think about so little you don’t even realize that’s not Bolivia, that’s Columbia, except it isn’t, that’s Venezuela [map updates], THAT is Columbia [map updates again], except it isn’t, that’s Bolivia, which is the one we were looking for in the first place. Which one’s Columbia? There is simply no way to know.

I feel sad and ashamed that even though the world is so small these days, I still don’t know very many people in it.

Fake

I got another call from an Indian credit-card scammer today. I had some time, so I decided to play along.

Before he asked me anything at all, he gave me the usual spiel: he has reviewed my credit card history and sees that I pay at least the minimum every month, sometimes more, but that I still can’t make much progress towards lowering my balance. All lies, of course; he’s not really looking at anything. But I agreed with everything he said, and gave him a fake credit-card expiration date and a fake phone number when he asked for each. And then he instructed me to read off my credit card number to him.

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Cheese

Jill and I have become cheese-curious!

Growing up, I had only ever known slices of American and sharp cheddar, mozzarella that comes on pizza, and Parmesan sprinkled from a can of Kraft. But then one night at the Yachtsman Steakhouse, Jill and I decided to order an artisanal cheese sampler. Our eyes, and our palates, were opened. Especially, this was the first time I ever tried blue cheese; the veins of blue mold in it had always put me off, but I closed my eyes and – wow. Where has this flavor been all my life?

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Protest

Today I attended a counter-protest at Planned Parenthood. I’m glad I was there to be a part of the group supporting the clinic, but for a few reasons I was somewhat disappointed by the experience.

I decided to go when Jill told me about it. She’s fed up with the direction that our government is headed; never before has she felt motivated to take a stand, but she felt that now is the time to do something. So when she heard that Nessa feels the same way and was going to support the local Planned Parenthood during an anti-abortion protest, she immediately volunteered, and as soon as I heard that, I volunteered too.

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Away

Jill runs (or walks) a lot of 5K and half-marathon races with her posse, the Sparkle Sisters. (See sparkleskirts.com.) A few times each year, she’ll go away for a weekend at Disneyland or the Space Coast or even at the nearby Disney World resorts with her friends.I stay home alone with the cats and the dog, and I take advantage of the time to tidy up and tackle some home projects.

This is the first time we’re doing it the other way around, though. She and her friends ran the Pro Bowl 5K at the ESPN Wide World of Sports this morning, and they’re running the Celebration half-marathon tomorrow morning. So Jill and seven of her friends are staying at the house … and I decided it was my turn to get away.

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Rogue One

The film Rogue One didn’t sit well with me. It was a hodgepodge of all the best bits from other Star Wars films, but beneath the surface, it just didn’t have substance.

Now that some time has passed since the film’s release and I’ve had a chance to think about it some more, and now that more people have seen it so I’m not at as much risk of spoiling it, I’ll go into some more detail. (Spoilers do follow.)

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