#ThursThreads : Week 522 – This Is The Way The World Ends

There was nothing in the meat department. It wasn’t a surprise. There hadn’t been any fresh meat in over three years.

There was nothing in the dairy department either. No cheese. No milk. No fruit juice. Nothing. Again, it wasn’t a surprise. Those shelves had been empty for at least a year. Honestly, I’d lost count of how long it had been.

Paper products of any kind? None. No paper towels. No toilet paper. Nothing. Just empty shelves.

Beer? Soda? Wine? Gone.

All they had were cans. Peas, corn, apple sauce, spam, and a few other odds and ends. That was it. And it was all limited to one item per customer. They took your name and credit card information down when you paid. You couldn’t come back until the next day. They sent that information to other stores so you couldn’t shop there either.

“This is the way the world ends, isn’t it? We all starve to death. Slowly.”

I thought about the prediction of the collapse of civilization a team of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had made in 1972 that our civilization would collapse in 2040. It said we were using the food, land, water, and other resources of the planet, faster than the planet could replenish them, and we would run out of resources.

I knew, waiting in the checkout line to pay for my little collection of cans, that we’d done exactly that.

240 Words

It’s Week 522 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the stories in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.


A Letter I Won’t Ever Send.

Tuesday, 19 July 2022.

Hi, Reba.

Well. I did write a letter. On 24 April 2022. I never printed it out and mailed it.

It’s now 19 July 2022, and I’m writing this, knowing damn well I won’t print it and mail it, because it screams at damn near everything you believe.

I’m here, in Virginia Beach, watching the heat wave in the South and Southwest, and I’m choking back laughter. Strangling myself as I try to keep from laughing out loud. I have no sympathy for the “Great State of Texas”. I’m waiting for the power grid in Texas to totally fail. If not this year, then next year. Because. That’s how the Texas state government works.

Everything there is centered on “reduce government red tape, and interference, in daily life. But, that flies in the face of almost 10,000 years of history that tell us, left to itself, money wrecks everything, and everyone.

Texas in it’s “infinite wisdom” formed it’s own power grid, so it could get out of being regulated by the federal government. This has resulted in Texas freezing its ass off in February of 2021, and it’s resulting now in Texas having a great meltdown, and bordering on having a total failure of its power grid. Why? Because. Money.

You have worked for big companies, and for small companies. You work in real-estate now (or you did last year). It’s all about the money, and “risk management”. Risk management is a joke when it comes to the magic words, “Climate Change”. (Aren’t those two words banned in Texas?) Risk management says, in simplified form, “Plan for 90% of the risks. The other 10% aren’t likely to happen, and it costs more to plan for them than it does to deal with them if they actually happen.”

When it comes to a power grid, and to power generation and transmission, this means the companies involved plan for a range of temperatures shown in the history of weather records to happen 90% of the time. The weather than happens in the other 10% of the time isn’t normal weather, and it costs too much to plan for that, and to build the power generation system, and power transmission system, to be able to handle that. The costs of doing so would require the companies to raise prices to consumers. Consumers would abandon ship, and find sources of power that are cheaper.

It becomes a race to the bottom. Where minimal expenditures are allocated to power security in extreme weather conditions, in order to keep the daily power cost low, and profit as high as possible.

There’s also reliability. By building for normal weather conditions, it’s easier to build a grid that costs less to maintain, and to repair. Maintaining and repairing a grid that operates at 110F or 120F is far more expensive than maintaining and repairing a grid that operates at 90F.

The result. Texas has a grid that’s designed to be amazingly efficient, and profitable, at normal temperatures. But. If the weather does anything abnormal, and that abnormality last for a few days, it becomes glaringly obvious the grid can’t handle it.

Presto. Texas is staring at a possible total failure of its power grid. The best part? Texas is the ONLY state staring at such a failure. You don’t hear about this kind of even in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Arizona. Because. Those states are all part of the national grid that is regulated by the federal government. One of the things the federal government mandates is that the grid be able to operate under extreme conditions.

Texas, in it’s “infinite wisdom” has removed that requirement from its power grid.

Ah. Texas. Conservatives. Libertarians. Free Enterprise specialists. Capitalists. Never gonna learn. Never gonna figure it out.

There are other topics on which I have oceans to say. Like, the states. In 2015, I declared, on Facebook, and on Twitter, that we were going to reach a point where you would need an American Passport to travel between states in the US. Like, to cross from Virginia to North Carolina, and then from North Carolina back into Virginia. I did not continue, but I also expect car inspections, and luggage inspections, to make sure you aren’t hauling contraband across the state border, where contraband is specific to the state you are attempting to enter, and where there will be at least 50 definitions of contraband, and what qualifies as such.

Can you imaging how well the trucking industry, and the airline industry, are going to deal with that one?

Why do I say this will happen? Because, it already is beginning. Since the tossing of Roe V Wade by the Republican Court of the US, multiple states are looking to forbid travel across state borders by pregnant women, under the guise of enforcing their state laws concerning abortion.

There’s the opioid fiasco. Where chronic pain patients are dying, and are committing suicide to escape their chronic pain, because the federal, state, and local governments have been prosecuting medical personnel who prescribe opioids for pain management. This has resulted in people who need the opioids to manage their pain being denied the medicine they require. Presto. There are people dying, and committing suicide, to escape their pain. It is also worth noting that this shutdown of opioids as a prescription medication hasn’t slowed down the overdose rate of fentanyl at all. In fact, the overdose rate of fentanyl has continued to grow, and has set records in each of the past 2 years, and will very likely set records again in 2022. Because. It’s not prescription opioids that are the problem. It’s illegal fentanyl, manufactured in people’s homes, and empty warehouses, and on ships at sea, and in Mexico, Central America, and South America, that are the problem. The reason they are manufactured, and sold is because there is a high market demand for them. Oh, look. Capitalism in practice again. Providing a product the market wants, whether or not that product is legal.

The reason there is a high demand for fentanyl in the US is because US Society drives people to seek escape from their daily lives, from the misery of “working like a slave to make Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zukerburg filthy rich, while I live in poverty.”

In 2016, I pretty much declared that banning opioids would work a lot like banning alcohol did in the 1920s. Remember that little experiment of the US? It was called “prohibition”. Remember how that went? And how well that worked?

The problem is NOT morals, ethics, religion, whatever. It’s how US society works. That’s the problem. Fix what’s broken in the US society, and you magically cure the fentanyl abuse problem.

No one will ever fix it, because “it’s complicated”. You can’t fix it with simple black and white legislation. You can’t fix it with simple “write a law” behavior. You can’t fix it with “make everyone go to church on Sunday, and find God,” which is an entire topic of it’s own, and I won’t talk about it right now.

You can fix it by fixing what causes people to seek to escape the misery they live in every day. But. There’s no admission that people live in misery, so that’s not going to happen.

More from the Roe V Wade fiasco. Ever hear of Methotrexate? It’s a drug used in the treatment of cancer (of various types), and in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, and an entire host of autoimmune diseases. But. See. Methotrexate can be used in the abortion process. So, presto! Now, the idiots of life want to band Methotrexate, totally. Pretty much condemning to misery, and in more cases than they care to admit, death, a lot of cancer patients, and autoimmune disease patients. All in the name of “protecting the sanctity of human life!”

See. I’ve rambled enough. I’ve said a ton of things, and they are things I won’t ever put in the mail, and send to you. Because. They fly in the face of your political and religious beliefs. It’s that simple.

There are reasons I was gone for almost 40 years. There are reasons most of my relatives, especially those on my fathers side of the family, have not heard from me since the early 1980s. There are reasons I don’t visit Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and other states, except when Pat drags me to them.

There are reasons I wrote, in the last message I sent you on Apple Messages, “We’re done.”


We have nothing to talk about. At all. There can be no meeting of the minds. No compromise, unless it’s all on my side, which isn’t going to happen. No rational discussion of anything. Your own words still ring in my ears to this day. “Trump was an awful choice, but he was the only choice.”

I told a lot of people that I know a lot of “Republicans and conservatives who would vote to put El Chapo in as US President before they would vote for a Democrat.” I stand by that declaration.

Yeah. I probably won’t send this. Because. What would be the point?

#ThursThreads : Week 520 – Play The Long Game

I really hate those two words. Perseverance and patience. Standing here looking in the mirror, seeing the emptiness, the soullessness that looks back at me, from where so many pieces of me are gone.

“Play the long game, right Doc?” That’s what my doctor taught me. Take a walk, put on my music, mow the lawn, weed the garden beds. Keep moving. Get a shower, have a glass of water, or tea. Eat three meals a day. Keep a schedule. Go down the list, and check things off as you do them.

One step at a time.

One day at a time.

“Play the long game.”

Staring at my eyes in the mirror, I wonder if what’s gone ever comes back. Maybe it stays a barren landscape, nothing but bare dirt, and cold, hard rock, with no life at all. Maybe it sits between me, and whatever hides on the other side of that desolation I can see in the mirror.

I don’t know.

I put my earphones in my ears, set my music player to play randomly. One song after another. Endlessly. I look at those empty eyes again. Straight into the barren, desolate landscape I know is there.

While the music plays, I see wildflowers growing there. A clear blue sky, with no dust storms in it. Wispy white clouds floating in that sky.

“Maybe…” I stare into those lifeless eyes again, “Maybe that’s what I’m supposed to do. Fill that emptiness myself.”

245 Words

It’s Week 520 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the stories in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.