*What* societal gun violence problem?

Seen at Burlington International Airport today:

I don’t know if it adds anything to the story to mention that I was wearing a Virginia Tech t-shirt at the time.

But other than my snarky title for this post, words more or less fail me.


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Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

I apologize to everyone for being a tiresomely annoying, self-centered, whiny, attention-whoring, angry, malicious jerk.

I wish I could make amends to everyone I’ve harmed.

Since I can’t, I am planning on more-or-less permanently deactivating all my social media accounts.

If, in the short term, you would like a personal apology, let me know. It’s always hard to know if a personal attempt at amends will actually make things worse, and that’s the last thing I want to do.

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Clinical Depression

cauldrons of lightly chilled mayonnaise

I don’t think I’ve ever come right out and thanked my friends and co-workers and family members for being understanding and tolerant where my clinical depression is concerned. I’ve been mostly focused on saying “Look, I know what a huge drag I am, I’m sorry.” But I do appreciate people who tolerate my periodic descents into maudlin woolgathering and breast-beating, and who attempt to understand how frustrating clinical depression can be.

Thank you all.

For what it’s worth, I am on medication (citalopram and buproprion) and I think it helps; on occasion when I forget to refill my daily pill minder and start procrastinating and saying “I’ll fill it tomorrow” I start feeling really down. But the medicine doesn’t make me feel normal; I still have days I feel so bad that I could just cry.

I am not currently seeing a psychotherapist or counselor. I have seen several in the past, and got some benefit, especially in terms of coaching me how to avoid fighting with my wife and how to avoid conflict. None of the talk therapy I’ve ever gone through has helped with the clinical depression. There are people that talk therapy helps, and people it doesn’t help. Obviously, failure to benefit from a particular therapist may mean that the therapist/patient relationship isn’t optimal, and one shouldn’t just give up entirely based on that. But I’ve seen quite a few therapists over the years, and I can’t really say that any therapist helped me deal with the maddening attacks of the blues that I get.

Reputable sources agree: talk therapy doesn’t always work, and it’s not for everyone.

It would help tremendously if I worked harder at getting a lot of regular exercise. I’ve gotten almost none for a few years now. Obviously, there’s a vicious circle there; because of the depression, I don’t exercise, but because I don’t exercise, I’m probably more depressed.

Maybe I can do something about that as warm weather comes to Vermont. Ideally, I’d go out and get some exercise this week after work since I’m in Lubbock, Texas and there’s definitely no snow on the ground here. Unfortunately, I’ve got too much work on my plate right now; I need to get out of here at the end of the day and go back to my room and just keep on working, and even if I didn’t, I’d probably just curl up in a dark room.

I feel like a failure and a loser for my inability to make inroads on my depression, but at least most/all of you seem to understand what I’m experiencing, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.


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Two things you don’t want to get confused

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Mister Sour Mash

Remind me sometime to tell you the story of how I walked into a bar in Virginia to ask directions and two hours later stumbled out, having somehow won the title of “Mister Sour Mash”.

I hadn’t even known that there was a “Sour Mash Pageant.”

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Unchecked Power: Vermont Edition

I submit for your perusal two screen captures that you might find amusing:

This’ll be my third year as Weigher of Coal for the town of Richmond, Vermont. I haven’t had to weigh any coal yet, and since the town doesn’t have a set of municipal scales, I’m unlikely to be asked to do so, but on the other hand, I don’t get paid anything for holding down the office.

Carole got asked today to continue on as a town Fence Viewer, but in defense of that office, she actually has gotten asked to come out once or twice and rule on fenceline disputes along with the other town Fence Viewers. The town is supposed to have three, but right now has only two. If you read this, and live in Richmond, contact the town manager!

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What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen up for bid in a charity auction?

A (very) long-time cow orker of mine, Brian, is running an online auction to benefit the Montessori school that he and his wife run. Since the school is located in Essex, Vermont, and the items were donated by people in the area, they’ve got a lot of things like ski passes and restaurant meals for restaurants in our area, but if you want to take a look and/or bid, feel free — all comers are welcome:


The auction lists the usual gallimaufry of items, from clothing, baby goods, meals at restaurants, ‘experiences’ such as throwing out the first pitch at a minor league baseball game, you name it. Go take a look, then come back.

Obviously, when you’re running a charity auction, you go around and bug local businesses and interested parties to see what you can get them to donate. Within reason, you take what you can get, trying to avoid having an auction that consists of nothing but grandparents’ unwanted costume jewelry. Sometimes you get good stuff. Sometimes you don’t. (I believe I once saw a “$1000 Off The Costs Of A Funeral” item up for bid, contributed by a local mortuary. Assign that to the “good stuff” or “not” category as you wish.)

The danger, of course, in running a charity auction is that the amount of time you spend begging businesses and supporters for donations is time you couldn’t spend on other activities, and sometimes, you lose money. I used to be on the board of a state non-profit which always held a silent auction at the annual conference. When we factored in how much time it took our development director to solicit and pick up donations, we flat-out lost money. (It didn’t help that none of the items up for auction were of the showstopper type; people rarely fight to be high bidder on lovely knitted caps). Result: no more annual conference auctions, and I don’t recall anyone complaining about the absence.

Last year I went to a bingo night and silent auction at a local school and one of the local bait shops had contributed a five pound bucket of live bait or nightcrawlers, your choice. The same auction offered a coupon good for $100 worth of taxidermy services. Carole won a certificate good for a deluxe auto detailing from a local shop (which, as it happened, really did make her car look like a million bucks) and I won a $50 gift card for a restaurant 45 minutes from our house that I still haven’t used. A different auction was responsible for my winding up owner of a wooden two-tiered serving platter/centerpiece that I have basically no real need for and a $50 certificate off services from the local wedding cake baker. (Some people will bid on anything.)

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen up for sale at a charity auction? Did it sell? Did you buy it?


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