* Angst, Sadness, and Stagnation.
Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning in Lithia, Florida, on Friday, May 27, 2022. It is a hot late spring day – another reminder that meteorological summer (June 1 to August 31) begins next week. Currently, the temperature is 85°F (30°C) under mostly sunny skies. With humidity at a sticky 73% and the wind blowing from the south-southwest at 9 MPH (15 KM/H), the heat index is 92°F (33°C). Today’s forecast is typical for the Tampa Bay area; we can expect scattered rain showers and a high of 91°F (33°C). Tonight, light rain will affect our area. The low will be 73°F (23°C).
I didn’t sleep well last night; I had yet another bout of insomnia that kept me awake till well into the wee hours of the morning and I woke up before 7 AM Eastern Daylight Time. I feel tired – no shit – and my thoughts are all over the place.
I planned on writing a review today, but that’s not going to happen. I enjoy writing reviews, and if I had the self-discipline and mental focus for it, this blog would primarily be devoted to my opinions about books, movies, TV shows, music albums, websites, Star Wars collectibles, and computer games. I was a reviewer on Amazon for three years – unpaid and mostly unsung – and Epinions (which was the first site where I received some money for my scribblings) for a decade. It’s my favorite “genre” to write in, followed closely by what is known in the news biz as Op-Ed content.
But see, reviews take me a long time to write, especially if my environment is not, as they say, optimized for being creative. Yesterday I wrote a review of a Star Wars action figure I received for Christmas last December, and even though I knew what I wanted to say and have developed a format for reviews of that type of product, it still took me – I kid you not – over three hours to do from the first draft to finished review.
Three hours, Dear Reader. Three. Freaking. Hours.
That’s a lot of time and effort expended on a blog post/slash review that was written for no upfront or “upon publication” pay – just the potential for some ad-generated dough sometime down the line – and with no guarantees that people will read the damn thing.
I wrote that Star Wars action figure review for two reasons. First, I didn’t want to write an angsty post about the Uvalde Massacre, school shootings in general, or American culture’s deadly love affair with firearms. I was already sad, angry, and mortified by what happened on May 24 at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas; an angry, vindictive, and gun-obsessed 18-year-old boy bought two near-military grade rifles – legally, I must point out – and after telling a few people via social media that he was going to shoot his grandmother and then shoot up an elementary school, he went ahead and did so.
The grandmother survived but is in serious condition at a local hospital. 19 elementary school students, two teachers, and the gunman did not. Additionally, Joe Garcia, the widowed husband of slain teacher Irma Garcia, died on Thursday from a heart attack.
23 deaths – 22 direct and indirect victims of 18-year-old Salvador Ramos’ violent desire to harm innocents, plus Ramos himself – in a small town in Texas, a state that is hosting the National Rifle Association’s convention this weekend. A state, I might add, where many of its citizens vote Republican and are enamored with the “good guy with a gun’ mythology.
I’m too tired to look up statistics and news stories about mass shooting events in the U.S. that have occurred so far in 2022. Suffice it to say that 10 days before the Robb Elementary School shooting, there was another mass shooting incident in Buffalo, NY, where another angry 18-year-old boy killed 10 black people and wounded three more at a Tops Friendly Market Store. His motive? Racial hatred fueled, in no small part, by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson’s overheated rhetoric about “the Great Replacement Conspiracy.”
And if that wasn’t bad enough, there is a politician in my home state of Florida, a former casino business owner turned state legislator named Randy Fine whose shtick is to get attention – mostly negative – to get people on both sides of the gun control issue hopping mad for his own political gain.
I don’t want to devote much time to Fine or his “articulate version of Donald Trump” musings on social media. He makes me ill to my stomach, quite frankly, and I’m glad he’s on the opposite side of the state from me. But let me show you how vile and unapologetically pro-gun this dude is
Here’s a screengrab of a tweet Fine posted early on Wednesday, May 25, the day after the Uvalde Massacre:
I saw this post on my Twitter account on Wednesday morning. I replied to it – there were far more replies than the 8 indicated in the screengrab by the time I saw it – so I know that this is not a fake tweet. It was on Fine’s Twitter account for a long time on the 25th. However, it was gone when I checked on it yesterday; I don’t know who removed it. Maybe Twitter Support took it down. Maybe Fine did. And frankly, I don’t care, although I am glad that people took screenshots so that this lowlife clown of a GOP politician could not say, “I did not say that!”
Edited to Add: Sharp-eyed Internet sleuths and Snopes.com confirm that the hateful tweet was created by a parody account and not by Randy Fine himself.
Nevertheless, Fine is still a disgusting bottom feeder from the Trumpist wing of the GOP.
Not that Fine is the type to deny it; he relishes the attention that his aggressively “pro-2A” tweets get. Later on the 25th, Fine posted a tweet that many people interpret as being a not-too-veiled threat of violence against President Biden; that tweet still stands, and Fine loves baiting the press and Democrats with snarky, macho gun-fanatic commentary.
So, yeah. With a war raging in Eastern Europe pitting Putin-controlled Russia against most of the world, political divisions in the West polarizing everything, the global climate change crisis, inflation hurting global economies, and the uncertainties – and disillusions – in my personal life, it’s no wonder that I don’t sleep well or have the creative impulse and sense of belonging I had in 2019.
But, hey. At least I still have Star Wars to at least get my mind off things. Today, Disney+ “dropped” Obi-Wan Kenobi, a six-part miniseries that will reunite actors Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader) in their iconic roles for the first time since 2005’s Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
Disney+ released one-third of the series – two episodes – today, with other installments coming out once a week on, I think, Fridays. I will probably watch at least one episode as soon as I take a shower and change into fresh clothes.
After all, I do have Disney+ in my own account, even though I hate watching stuff in my room. My 4K UHD TV is the largest set I’ve ever had in my room – 32-inch screen – but it’s the smallest in the house and has not been connected to the soundbar I previously used with my older HDTV flatscreen.
Anyway, Dear Reader, I better go. It’s now early afternoon – I’ll be damned if I’m going to change my intro and weather forecast now – and I do have a few things to do. So, until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.
 There are two ways to categorize the four seasons: the traditional “astronomical” method based on the summer solstice (which occurs between June 20 and June 22, depending on the calendar year. In 2022, the summer solstice, or the day of maximum sunlight in the Northern hemisphere falls on Tuesday, June 21). Then there’s ‘meteorological” calendar, which divides the seasons into “hottest,” “coldest” and “transitional.”
Per Spectrum 1 (Louisville, KY) Chief Meteorologist Wes Callison in Do You Know When Summer Begins:
Climatologists and meteorologists break the seasons down into simple three-month cycles based on the calendar and the annual temperature cycle.
Meteorological summer falls during the hottest three months of the year, which is typically June, July and August in the northern hemisphere.
The coldest three months of the year in the northern hemisphere are traditionally December, January, and February, which we call meteorological winter.
The transitional seasons make up the other six months, which consist of March, April, and May for meteorological spring and September, October, and November for meteorological fall.
Using the meteorological seasons makes it much easier for meteorologists and climatologists to analyze seasonal statistics, which is crucial information for agriculture, commerce, and many other parts of the economy.
 Opinions and Editorials. I was my college newspaper’s Opinions Editor for one semester back in the mid-1980s.