Ed Lake's web page
Time Work cover
If you want my opinion ......
you've come to the right place.
Welcome to Ed Lake's web site!

My latest comments are near the bottom of this page.
You can go directly to them by clicking HERE.

Click HERE to go to the site archives.

A Crime Unlike Any Other book
Available in paperback and Kindle.  Click HERE for details.

Available at Amazon.com

clipper cover, b
Click HERE to access my scientific papers about time dilation, Special Relativity, etc.
Click HERE to go to my Facebook group about Time and Time Dilation. Click HERE to go to my notes about scientific topics discussed on this web site.

My interests are writing, books, movies, science, psychology, conspiracy theorists,
photography, photographic analysis, TV, travel, mysteries, jazz, blues, and ...

just trying to figure things out.

Astronomy example picture big sleep
time article
Available to read on Kindle.  Click HERE for details. I have a fascination with Time and Time Dilation.
Other interests: Movies and Science Podcasts
Click on the above image to view a larger version.

My Latest Comments

Comments for Thursday, December 1, 2022, thru Sun., Dec. 10, 2022:

December 6, 2022 - Hmm.  When I drove to the gym yesterday, I saw that the price of a gallon of regular gas at the station down the street from me had dropped another 2 cents to $2.959 per gallon.  Clearly I need to stop being surprised by unusual changes in the price of gasoline during these unusual times. 

There's probably nothing that demonstrates how unusual these times are than that everyone is waiting to see the election results in Georgia.  It's like waiting to see if Georgia re-elects their current Senator or decides instead to elect a broken record.  How did a broken record get on the ballot in the first place?!  And how can the election be a "tight" race???

The answer seems to be that there are a lot of people in this world - and in this country - who do not want things to be logical.  It is logical that things change over time.  They do not want that.  They want everything to go back to the way they were in the past.  "Make America Great Again!" they shout.  When was American "greater" than it is today?  That's not a valid question.  In reality, they just want things to stop changing.  America was "great" when there weren't so many people around who are trying to change things.

It's just too puzzling for me.  I'm going to end this comment and just listen to some podcasts.  The podcasts I listen to are usually very educational.  What better way is there to spend my free time than to spend it learning about new things and things I never knew before?  Maybe there's a podcast out there somewhere that will make it clear why there can be a "tight" election in Georgia between a Senator and a broken record.  It seems it must have something to do with the fact that some people mostly think logically and some people mostly think emotionally.

December 4, 2022
- Hmm.  When I went out to do some shopping yesterday, I saw that the price of a gallon of regular gas at the station down the street from me had dropped 2 cents to $2.97
9 per gallon.  I don't think I've ever seen the price of gas drop by just 2 cents before.  And a couple days ago I wrote a comment about how in the past few years I've never seen the price of gas drop below $2.999.  When it dropped to that   price, the next change would always be an increase.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the desire to drive around to other stations to see if they also dropped their prices by 2 cents.  However, I did that today and found that other stations were indeed also now selling gas at
$2.979 per gallon.  That tells me that local gas stations may be competing by brand, but they are working together to avoid competing by price.

I'm still spending a lot of time listening to podcasts, but I'm no longer hunting for new podcasts which might be interesting.  I've found enough to keep me busy for years.  That doesn't mean, however, than I won't learn about other podcasts.  While listening to some podcast a couple days ago, they mentioned a podcast I'd never before heard about, called "History of the Second World War."  History is a favorite subject of mine, and I've always been interested in World War II.  So, I did a search for the podcast.  I found it and downloaded a few episodes to check out.  As of right now, it only has 120 episodes, and all seem to be about Europe and the war that Germany started.  There's nothing about Pearl Harbor and the war in the Pacific - so far.  However, my search also found a different podcast called "History of World War II."  It consists of 395 episodes so far, and they also seem to be mostly about the war started by Adolph Hitler, with very little about our war with Japan.  So, I downloaded some episodes of that show, too.  I haven't yet listened to any of the episodes from either show.  I need to find the time.

I definitely need to keep better track of the individual podcast episodes I find to be of particular interest - for all the different podcast series I listen to.  I printed out a list of the first 2½ years of Everything Everywhere Daily podcasts, and when an episode is particularly interesting, I write the word "interesting" next to the episode on the list.  But, I'd have to go back and listen to it again to recall exactly what was so "interesting."

Yesterday I listened to an episode about "The Assassination of President William McKinley."  I marked the episode as "interesting."  McKinley as shot by an anarchist, Leon Czolgosz.  McKinley was also the third American President assassinated in 36 years.

Just before he was executed, Czolgosz stated,
“I killed the President because he was the enemy of the good people – the good working people. I am not sorry for my crime."
Hmm.  Today I don't think we would call Czolgosz an "anarchist."  We'd probably call him a "Right Wing Radical".  The episode also contains this tidbit of information:
After three presidential assassinations in 36 years, steps were finally taken to improve presidential security. Agents of the Treasury Department, known as the Secret Service, were immediately assigned by congress to provide protection for the president, and that became permanent in 1902.
Before McKinley's assassination, apparently no one thought that the President might need some kind of security force for protection.  It took 3 assassinations in 36 years to change their minds: Lincoln in 1865, Garfield in 1881 and McKinley in 1901. 

December 2, 2022
- When I drove to the gym yesterday, I saw that the price of a gallon of regular gas at the station down the street from me had dropped another 10 cents to $2.99
9 per gallon.  The last time gas was that low was when I filled up on January 2, 2022, eleven months ago.

I don't know if I feel angry because I didn't wait another day to fill up, or if I should be happy that the price went down again.  But I don't really think emotionally, so it just makes me curious as to whether the price will go lower on the next change or go back up again.  My records show that the price went down to $2.99
9 a few times in 2021, but it would then go back up again.  It never went below $2.999.  I suspect that is what the future holds.  So, if I had checked my records before filling up this time, I would definitely have waited a day or so.  And, the facts and evidence seem to say that the next price change will be upwards.

But while the "facts and evidence" may accurately show what happened in the past, they don't always accurately show what will happen in the future.

Meanwhile, the number of reads yesterday for my science papers were all positive.  So, I'll have to wait for awhile before I can decide what all those "negative reads" I discussed in yesterday's comment were all about.

December 1, 2022
- The price of a gallon of regular gas at all the stations near me is now $3.09
9, the lowest price I've seen in many months.  I filled up my tank yesterday at the station just down the block from me, even though I still had over half a tank full.  I wanted to fill up before the price went up again, but mostly I wanted to fill up because the temperature outside was 22 degrees Fahrenheit.  It's better to keep the tank full at such a low temperature so that there isn't much air in the tank that can condense into water and ice.

I'm still listening to a lot of podcasts, but I think I've reached a point where I'll just be listening to my favorite podcasts, and I'll no longer be hunting for interesting new podcasts.  If I'm listening to a podcast and someone mentions another podcast that I've never heard of, I might check it out, but otherwise I've found more than enough podcasts to occupy my time.  What I really need to do is keep better track of the podcast episodes that are of particular interest, in case I might want to refer to them or listen to them again.

I also need to think about how long I'm going to continue with this web site.  I created my first web site back in the early or mid 1990s.  It's purpose was to expose fake photographs I was finding on the Internet.  Then in 2001 I shut down the fake-photograph site and created a web site to keep track of all the information about the anthrax letters that were mailed right after 9-11.  I stopped updating that site when I created this site on January 1, 2015.  It's main purpose was to promote my books and my science papers as I continued to look for problems and mysteries to study and try to solve.
Recently, I've noticed a new "mystery," which is also somewhat of a problem.  Since April 21, 2016, I've been keeping track of how many people have been reading my science papers.  On July 19, 2019, I saw my first negative number.  How can you have a negative number of readers?  Since then, I've seen negative numbers appear from time to time, but there wasn't much I could do about it.

Then, a few days ago, things really started going nuts.  I keep track of the "reads" on a spreadsheet.  Here what that spreadsheet now looks like:

science papers views

I'm mostly getting negative numbers (which I enter in red and bold).  On Tuesday I had a running total of 1,424 "unique" reads for my paper about The Reality of Time Dilation.  (A "unique read" is a read by someone at an IP address that has never been logged before for that paper.)  On Wednesday I had a running total of 1,421 reads, 3 less than the day before.  And, as you can see, with the exception of my paper on Stationary Points In Space, every paper has recently had negative numbers.

Vixra.org has a FAQ page which has this question and answer:

Why does the document download count sometimes go down? Can't you fix it?

We only want to count downloads by real people, but documents are also downloaded by search engine robots for indexing purposes. To remove these the system looks for IPs which download many documents and then removes them from the statistic. Sometimes a robot IP is only identified after it has been counted previously. The count then gets adjusted down. We can't look into the future so there is no practical and legitimate way to fix this other than to take away the popular usage feature altogether. This is why other repositories do not provide similar statistics. It is just one of many reasons why such usage counts cannot be perfect. Authors must just accept this as a consequence of the imperfect counting method used, or ignore the count altogether.

So, they're removing views by search engine robots?  Does that mean search engine robots are suddenly accessing my papers more frequently?  Whatever the answer, it looks like there isn't much I can do about it - except to continue to watch it to see what eventually happens.

Comments for Sunday, November 27, 2022, thru Wed., Nov. 30, 2022:

November 28, 2022 - While driving home from the gym this afternoon, I finished listening to a 1-CD audio book titled "A Black Hole is Not a Hole" by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano.

A Black Hole is Not a Hole

I "borrowed" is from my local library years ago and finally got around to listening to it.  It's another science book that I borrowed without realizing it was meant for fourth to seventh graders.  But, like the other such book I borrowed, it's still a very good book and great for listening to while driving.

My only problem with the book is the same problem I'm having with all books that mention black holes.  The book says there is a point of "infinite density" at the the center of every black hole.  I see that as a very dubious mathematical claim, not a scientific claim. 
I need a solidly logical scientific explanation of how that is possible.

Other than that issue, it was an enjoyable 75 minutes of listening time.

November 27, 2022
- I definitely need to find something better to do than just listening to podcasts all day.  On the other hand, listening to podcasts can be very educational, and the one thing I probably enjoy most in this world is learning something new that is also interesting.  For example, I've always found conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists to be very interesting.

Back on November 13, I wrote a comment about Jordan Klepper's excellent podcast on the conspiracy theories which claim JFK Jr. is still alive. Since then, Klepper has produced two more excellent podcasts, one titled "Pizzagate: Are Democrats Harvesting Children’s Blood?" and another titled "The Early Internet & 9/11 Conspiracies."  I've listened to them both, plus I listened to episode #240 of the "You are Not So Smart" podcast which was titled "QAnon and Conspiracy Narratives."  And then I read the Wikipedia article about "The Pizzagate Conspiracy Theory."

It's difficult to imagine a crazier conspiracy theory than "Pizzagate."  I find it difficult to accept that anyone would be dumb enough to believe that Hillary Clinton and others operated a child sex trafficking ring out of the basement of the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant in Washington, DC.  Yet, one guy from North Carolina was so certain it was true that he entered the shop carrying an AR-15 type assault rifle and shot off the lock to a storage room, believing it was the basement door.  The restaurant has no basement.  Of course, conspiracy theorists then claimed that the shooting incident was "staged" by the owner to further mislead the public and cover up what was actually happening there. The owner of the shop and his employees have received hundreds of death threats.  

Conspiracy theorists seem to have dozens of different Internet locations where they can promote or discuss their theories.  But "theories" is probably the wrong word to use.  The term implies that facts were examined and fitted together to produce the idea. Most conspiracy "theories" are actually just "baseless beliefs" and "baseless claims."

Evidently "pizzagate" began because the owner of the restaurant once exchanged emails with Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, and those emails ended up on Wikileaks after they were stolen from Clinton's computer.  For those who hated Hillary Clinton, it was enough for them to start dreaming up absurd claims as a way of attacking Clinton.  And others who also hated Clinton would see those absurd false claims as "proof" that their hatreds and beliefs were justified.

I see it as further evidence that some people think emotionally while others think logically.  Most people may do both, but there are plenty who seem totally incapable of understanding logic.  To argue with them is viewed as a personal attack.  On The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Jordan Klepper often gets them into discussions where he questions how they arrived at their beliefs.  The discussions always end the same way: The Believer simply walks away when he or she is shown to have beliefs which are totally contradicted by other beliefs he or she also has.

But there are also those who simply make up some false claim to attack someone they hate.  And then they start discussing the false claim on the Internet as a way of spreading the misinformation.  And others who hate the same person see the false claim as verification for their hatred, so they start discussions on other Internet forums.  If you have a thousand people who believe a false claim, anyone who tries to look at facts will just be seen as someone who a thousand people say is wrong. 

I definitely need to stop listening to podcasts about conspiracy theories. 

I mostly listen to science podcasts.  Unfortunately, there is one area of science where I seem to disagree with thousands of scientists.  I see no reason to believe that the universe began at some point of infinite density or that a black hole has some point of infinite density at its center.  It is totally illogical to me.  As I see it, the only reason to believe such a thing is that it works mathematically.  And no scientist will discuss it any further than that.  It's frustrating to hear that same dogma repeated over and over and over, with no one even questioning it.

It seems logical to me that Dark Matter and/or Dark Energy can be at the center of a Black Hole, since no one really knows what Dark Matter and Dark Energy are.  Scientists only know it exists in our current universe.  They have determined that roughly 68% of the universe is Dark Energy, Dark Matter makes up about 27%, and the rest - everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter - adds up to less than 5% of the universe.

All I'm looking for is some reason to believe that Black Holes do NOT consist of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, and the universe did NOT begin when highly compacted Dark Energy and/or Dark Matter suddenly began de-compacting.  I see no reason for it all to have been compacted into a single point.  It might work mathematically, but, until we know exactly what Dark Matter and Dark Energy are, it's simply not logical to believe the entire universe can be compacted to a single point of infinite density.  If it is possible, I'd like to see an explanation of exactly how it is possible.

Comments for Sunday, November 20, 2022, thru Sat., Nov. 26, 2022:

November 24, 2022 - I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2022
- While eating breakfast this morning, I finished reading another book on my Kindle.  The book was "What if?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions" by Randall Munroe.

What If?

It wasn't a particularly enjoyable book.  The questions were too obscure to make the answers truly interesting.  For example:
What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent of the speed of light?
What if I took a swim in a typical spent nuclear fuel pool? Would I need to dive to actually experience a fatal amount of radiation?  How long could I stay safely at the surface?
Nevertheless, I managed to get through it.  But I can't recommend it. 

November 21, 2022
- While driving to the gym this afternoon, I finished listening to CD #12 in the 12-CD audio book set for "The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West" by David McCullough.

The Pioneers

I don't remember when I "borrowed" the book from my local library, but it was undoubtedly several years ago.  At the time, I thought it was a book about pioneers in the American West - like Colorado, California, Texas, Montana, and so forth.  Actually, it's mostly about the first pioneers who ventured away from the original 13 colonies in 1788 to explore and settle mainly in the Northwest Territory, a wilderness northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.  Much of the book is about the settling of Marietta, Ohio, which is on the Ohio River and is the first town created in that wilderness area.  The "wilderness" consisted of beautiful trees of all kinds and fertile open land that was perfect for farming.  And, of course, the settlers built barges and boats to explore the Ohio River to where it reaches the Mississippi River, and from there all the way to New Orleans.

This is American history I never read about or even heard about before.  I assumed that people from the original colonies moved west, but I never thought of them moving into Indian territory in Ohio, dividing the territory into 1000 acre parcels and then building homes and towns and forts and cities and schools and universities.  All the tools needed to set up a lumber mill would be transported by horse drawn wagons.  And, of course, there were battles with the natives who had occupied the land for thousands of years and considered it theirs. 

The book ends where most books about the "American West" begin, with the Civil War.  

I found it a very interesting book and can highly recommend it.

November 20, 2022
- I keep wanting to write something about the Darrell Brooks trial, which ended on Thursday with Brooks being convicted of six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and 61 counts of reckless endangerment.  He was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences, plus more than 700 additional years in prison (17½ years for each of the 61 counts of reckless endangerment).  It was all the result of Brooks driving his SUV through a Christmas parade in downtown Waukesha, Wisconsin, back on November 21, 2021.  Brooks' argument:
"People are going to, like I said, believe what they want, and that's OK. This needs to be said: What happened on Nov. 21, 2021, was not, not, not an attack. It was not planned, plotted," Brooks said, adding later: "This was not an intentional act. No matter how many times you say it over and over, it was not."
Four psychologists evaluated Brooks earlier this year and found that "he suffers from an anti-social personality disorder but not a mental illness."
"It is my opinion that mental health issues did not cause him to do what he did on Nov. 21, 2021, and frankly didn't play a role," the judge said Wednesday. "It is very clear to me that he understands the difference between right and wrong and he simply chooses to ignore his conscience. He is fueled by anger and rage."
According to another news report, in addition to the six life sentences for murder and 762½ years for reckless endangerment, the judge added three years each for two bail-jumping convictions and nine months for domestic battery.

Brooks didn't just plow his car into a large group of people.  According to the prosecutor,
“He hit one, kept going. Hit two, kept going. Hit three, kept going – all the way down the street."  And it was all recorded on TV and on many smart-phone videos.

While the entire trial was broadcast on TV, I only watched the bits of it that were shown on the evening news.  It was fascinating to me because Brooks would constantly interrupt the judge and the prosecutor when they were speaking.  Brooks argued that what he did was none of the prosecutor's business.  And he would endlessly and repeatedly disagree with everything the judge said.  Brooks claimed what he did was not illegal according to the Sovereign Citizens Movement.

The sovereign citizen movement (also SovCit movement or SovCits) is a loose grouping of litigants, activists, tax protesters, financial scheme promoters and conspiracy theorists, who claim to be answerable only to their particular interpretations of the common law and to not be subject to any government statutes or proceedings, unless they consent to them.
According to one source:
The roots of the movement are racist and antisemitic. It was founded by William Potter Gale, former member of the John Birch Society. Potter formed a group of antigovernment Christian Identity adherents who mistrusted state and federal officials. They believed that non-white people were not human, and that Jews possessed a satanic plot to take over the world.
So, it seems a near certainty that Brooks is another Trump supporter.  It's just that Brooks' crimes technically had nothing to do with politics.  It also appears that almost everyone in the sovereign citizen movement has his or her own ideas about what is right and what is wrong, and what is legal and not legal.  The only thing they all have in common is that they do not like having anyone - particularly any government agency tell them what they can and cannot do.  They'll follow some "leader," but they won't accept everything the "leader" says.  It's just that, as a group they can make more noise than as individuals.  If they achieve some goal as a group, they can then begin fighting among themselves to keep the group from telling them what they can and cannot do by themselves.

The ultimate goal seems to be chaos, i.e., a world in which every person establishes his own laws, and everyone else is required to obey those laws.

Comments for Sunday, November 13, 2022, thru Sat., Nov. 19, 2022:

November 15, 2022 - I'm still listening to podcasts almost every day, sometimes for 3 or 4 hours per day.  Yesterday, I listened to an Everything Everywhere Daily podcast about "The Great Peshtigo Fire" of 1871.  In terms of loss of lives, it is the greatest fire in American history.  It happened in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, on October 8, 1871.  But most people never heard of it.  The census of 1870 showed the population of Peshtigo to be 1,749.  It is known that between 1,200 and 2,500 people died in the fire.  "The total damage from the fire scorched an area 50% larger than the state of Rhode Island."
Since I live in Wisconsin, I've heard about that fire before.  But what I hadn't heard about was that several other large fires occurred on that same night.  There was one in Sturgeon Bay, about 20 miles from Peshtigo. And there were others in or near Alpena, Holland and Manistee, Michigan, which killed several hundred people and destroyed some small towns.  And there was a fire in Port Huron, Michigan, that killed about 50 people.

Lastly, there was a fire on that same night that nearly everyone has heard of.  It was The Great Chicago Fire, which killed over 300 people and left 100,000 homeless.  According to legend, that fire was started by Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicking over a lantern, but, in reality, no one knows how that fire started. In fact, no one knows how any of those fires started.  Here's a map of their locations:

Fires of 1871

The podcast mentions one theory: "On October 8, 1871, fragments of a comet or a meteor broke up and rained down upon the Midwest around Lake Michigan."  and  "It would also be consistent with some of the eyewitness accounts which described fire raining from the sky, and entire blocks igniting at once."

The fires may seem pretty far apart on the map above, but if you draw a circle around them, that circle gets pretty small when viewed on a map of the entire United States, and much much smaller when viewed on a map of the entire earth.  It's a lot of major fires to start all on the same night in one relatively small area.

November 13, 2022
- One of the five late TV night talk shows I routinely watch is "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah."  On Thursday's show they mentioned a new podcast about conspiracy theories.  It's "Jordan Klepper Fingers the Conspiracy."  So far, there have been only 2 episodes, an introductory episode that is less than 2 minutes long, and a 45 minute episode titled "Is JFK Jr. Still Alive."

Wow!  What a fascinating show!  I think it may be the first podcast I've ever listened to twice.  While the first episode's title is about JFK Jr., the episode is actually about all sorts of conspiracy theories, who promotes them, and why they are promoted.

JFK Jr. died in a plane crash in the Atlantic Ocean about 7½ miles from Martha's Vineyard, Mass., on July 16, 1999.  His wife and sister in law were also in the plane and also died.  Their bodies were recovered on July 21.  Somehow, this has all turned into a QAnon conspiracy theory and it is believed by many theorists that JFK Jr. didn't die in that plane crash and is still alive.  I vaguely recall that a lot of people thought JFK Jr. was going to make an appearance beside Donald Trump during a campaign 2022 visit to Milwaukee, but he didn't show.  There's also a news story about how JFK Jr. was going to appear during a Trump campaign visit to Arizona in early 2022.  Here's a quote about the subject from one on-line site:
Some conspiracy theorists have held the belief that John F. Kennedy, Jr., an attorney and the son of President John F. Kennedy, is alive and is working with the QAnon movement, which holds that Democrats and public figures are a part of a Satan-worshiping, pedophilic occult.

Baseless as it is, the theory is that Kennedy is undercover and acting as Q, the anonymous leader who for years posted cryptic messages to "out" Democrats and claimed to unveil a deep state plot against former President Donald Trump.
Trump evidently supports these conspiracy theories simply because they attack Trump's enemies: Democrats and rational Republicans.  But what is truly scary is how many such conspiracy theories and theorists there seem to be.  One group is called "Negative 48," which some sources say is a person who leads the group.  Either way, they convert names into numbers, and believe that the resulting numbers have meanings.  Some conspiracy theorists also believe that comedian Robin Williams is still alive, also a singer named Aaliyah who also died in a plane crash.  And there seems to be some people who go around posing as dead celebrities just to foster conspiracy theories.

At about the 22 minute mark in the podcast, Klepper talks with a college professor and political scientist who discusses the fact that you can find fellow believers for just about any conspiracy theory on social media.  He doesn't think there are any more conspiracy theorists today than there were in the past, but today you have politicians using conspiracy theorists to gain supporters.  Also, today it seems that the news media reports on conspiracy theories more than in the past, when such things were just considered to be nonsense not worth mentioning. 
The show also mentions the 1991 movie "JFK" which was about imagined conspiracies that supposedly led to the assassination.

I don't know when the next episode of Jordan Klepper's podcast will appear, but he calls it a "limited series," which evidently means it will not be a regular series that goes on for year after year.  Either way, I look forward to the next episode.

Comments for Sunday, November 6, 2022, thru Sat., Nov. 12, 2022:

November 10, 2022 - A week ago, I wrote a comment about how the price of gas at the station down the street from me had jumped 35 cents over the day before, the biggest one-day price jump I'd ever seen.  I suspected it was political, a Republican attempt by the gas company owners to generate votes from people concerned about inflation.

The day after that 35 cent price jump, the price dropped 10 cents.  Two days later it dropped another 10 cents.  And three days later, on the day after election day, it dropped another 10 cents.  What was the basis for those price changes if it wasn't political?  I don't think that station fills its underground tanks more than once a month, so it can't have anything to do with how much the station pays for gas.

Meanwhile, I'm continuing to listen to lots of Everything Everywhere Daily podcasts.  However, listening to them in reverse order (newest first) was becoming annoying.  The host was constantly referring to podcasts I hadn't yet listened to.  That was the way the episodes were presented in the www.podbean.com link I was using to download the podcasts into my MP3 player.  And it would have been extremely time-consuming to try to download the oldest episodes first.  So, yesterday I looked for a faster way to download old episodes.  I found that the www.podbay.fm link is faster and easier both ways.  It has an option to reverse the order of the podcasts, so that you are presented with the oldest first.  And the window for downloading is a separate window, so, when you are done downloading, you can go back to where you were in the list, instead of going back to the beginning of the list.  I downloaded 68 old episodes using the podbay link in a small fraction of the time it would have taken me to do it with the podbean link.

So, now I'm going to end this comment and start listening to those older podcasts.  Of the 857 episodes presented so far in the series, I've listened to about 250 of the newest.  And I just downloaded 70 of the oldest.  So, unless I decide to read a book instead, I've got plenty to keep me busy as I continue to try to understand this screwball universe we live in.   

November 9, 2022
- Hmm.  Most of the 2022 mid-term election results are in, and they are nowhere near as bad as I feared.  The creepy Republican who was running for governor in my state has conceded defeat.  He got 47.8% of the vote, while in incumbent Democratic governor got 51.2% of the vote.  The Republican senator who was running for re-election squeaked out a win with 50.5% of the vote.

The write-in campaign promoted by Donald Trump to elect a Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker resulted in Trump's candidate getting about 27% of the vote, while the incumbent got 73%.

In Pennsylvania, Dr. Oz lost his race against John Fetterman.  Whew!

In Georgia, it's still too close to call, but Raphael Warnock has 49.2% of the votes, while raving lunatic Hershel Walker has 48.7%.  If neither one gets 50%, there will have to be a run-off election in December.

In Arizona, rabid election denier Kari Lake has 49.7% of the vote, while her opponent Katie Hobbs has 50.3%.  But only 66% of the ballots have been counted so far.

So, none of those nut jobs who were running to get elected has won, but some of the nut jobs who were running to stay in office are staying. And here is what CNN has to say about Trump's role in the election:
Trump has traveled across the country, stumping for Republicans at huge rallies that mirrored event programs of his past presidential campaign stops — implicitly framing himself as the leader of the party. Now, as Republicans begin to reckon with what the results mean, they'll also have to address whether Trump's agenda will help or hurt in the 2024 elections.

A Trump adviser who has been in contact with Trump's inner circle told CNN that the former president is "livid" and "screaming at everyone" after the results.
So, while the results are mixed, if Trump is upset, that's a good sign. 

November 8, 2022
- Back on November 2, after I voted early, I wrote this comment on this web site:

there were four or five Republicans who were running unopposed for minor offices.  I was supposed to write in some name, but I didn't know who to write in.   One such Republican candidate was a puzzle to me, since I've seen lots and lots of signs on lawns promoting him, yet he is running unopposed.  Are the signs just there to try to make sure he doesn't get an embarrassingly low number of votes?  Next week we'll all find out if that happened.
Yesterday, I received a robocall from Donald Trump, and Trump explained (indirectly) why I probably should have voted for one of the Republican candidates who was running "unopposed".)  Trump's call asked me to write in the name of the candidate he was supporting.  Trump's candidate wanted to overturn the 2020 election.  The candidate who was running "unopposed" fully accepted the results of the 2020 election. 

It's too late for me to do anything.  My votes have been cast.  But I now have one more reason to watch tonight's results.  There was one Republican who I thought was running "unopposed," but really isn't, and I definitely should have voted for the Republican who had the courage to disagree with Trump. 

November 6, 2022
- Yesterday, I spent most of the day finishing a book I'd been reading on my Kindle.  The book was "American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy" by David Corn.

American Psychosis

Wow!  What a depressing book!  But it is also very interesting and informative.  For the past couple weeks I'd only been reading it during breakfast and lunch, but a few days ago I decided to spend my mornings and afternoons reading it.   Finishing it would give me something to write about in this Sunday comment.

Among many other topics, the book addresses an issue that most people today seem to have forgotten or never knew:
For a century, the GOP had been the Party of Lincoln and the party most supported by Black voters, while the Democrats had included a Southern contingent tied to slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation. [George] Wallace had been a Democrat.  [Strom] Thurmond had been a Democrat. But in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the tectonic plates shifted.
The late 1950s and early 1960s were when Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy were Presidents.  Theirs was a time when stopping the spread of communism was seen as the #1 task for Americans.  It was also a time when people started looking for signs of communist behavior in their next door neighbors.  Everyone was viewed with suspicion, and every statement was evaluated for signs of communist beliefs.

That led to widespread paranoia.  And somehow the Republicans - Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy being a prime example - began seeing communists and communist plots everywhere.

That paranoia morphed over the years into a fear and hatred for anything that might look like a threat to "the American way" - which included anyone who looked or talked different.  Racism and distrust of foreigners began to rage.  To non-Catholics, the Pope was seen as another dictator trying to take over America.  And when Donald Trump came along, he was viewed as a crusader trying to prevent changes to the American way.  Here's another quote from the book:
Trumpism didn’t start with Trump. It might have been a tough truth for Republicans and conservatives to handle. But the party had frequently relied on racial resentment and patriotic animus to power its way into office. Sometimes it had done so behind a veil of euphemisms and smiles. Yet with Trump as the Republican nominee, the party exchanged a dog whistle for a megaphone. Trump had openly displayed bigotry, validated hatred, and fueled paranoia and xenophobia. He had unapologetically engaged in demagoguery and spread disinformation and fear to rally and rile up supporters. He had emboldened extremists and kooks. He had encouraged and exploited the worst elements of American life. And the party—its leaders and its voters—yielded to him. Trump was not an aberration. He was the soul of the party.
Another quote:
Senator Corker described the situation bluntly: Republicans had become “cultish” and “fearful” under Trump. Trump had transformed the party into an organization with only one mission: him. As Corry Bliss, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC supporting House GOP candidates, explained, “It’s not about ideology anymore. It’s only about Trump. Are you with him or are you against him? That’s the only thing that matters to voters in the Republican base.” The GOP had become a cult of personality.
I look with dread at Tuesday's election.  There are Trump supporters running for key offices in my state, including governor.  And one idiot Trump supporter is looking to be re-elected to the Senate.  The fact that he's generally viewed as one of the dumbest Senators we have seems to be viewed as a good thing by many.  Evidently, it makes him less of a threat, and less likely to make some changes to "the American way."

"American Psychosis" is an excellent book if you want to understand how American could elect someone like Trump.  And since we tend to vote out whichever party is in power, that could mean that we might elect Trump for a second time in 2024.

Comments for Tuesday, November 1, 2022, thru Sat., Nov. 5, 2022:

November 4, 2022 - Two days ago, on Wednesday, I filled up my gas tank.  The price of gas was $3.649 per gallon.  On Thursday, as I drove to the gym, I saw that the price of gas had jumped 35 cents to $3.999 per gallon!  That's the biggest one-day jump in gas prices that I've ever seen!

I wasn't sure if I should be happy because I filled my tank before the price jump, or if I should be worried about what the price will be when I next need to fill up.

Then I started thinking about all the news reports which said that the main concern for most Americans right now is inflation.  Would that mean that most people would blame the governor of Wisconsin for the gas price jump, even though he has no way to control gas prices?   Would the voting public even notice the news stories about how gas companies are making enormous profits these days? 

Did the gas company raise prices in order to make people angry with Wisconsin's Democratic governor?  Do they want to get people to vote for the angry idiot businessman who is running on the Republican side?

Is that a "conspiracy theory"?  No, it's not.  Helping your favorite candidate get elected is not a conspiracy.  It might be price gouging, but a 35 cent price increase from $3.64
9 is less than a 15% increase, which would technically be "price gouging."  So, it's probably "just politics."  

November 3, 2022
- Last night I watched Jordan Klepper Fingers the Midterms - America Unfollows Democracy on Comedy Central.  It was on after Trevor Noah's Daily Show.  Here's the YouTube version:

Jordan Klepper has done lots of interviews of right wingers at Trump rallies and other events, showing how purely emotional and totally illogical right wing thinking is.  This is just may be the first time Klepper has done a full half hour special.

It's kind of disturbing because everyone seems to think we are on the verge of a full scale revolution.  If Democrats win, Republicans will simply refuse to accept it - and they are ready to use their guns to make things go the way they want them to go.

Or the Republicans could win and make things even worse than they are now, which is what they always did in the past.  Then people will get angry at the Republicans and vote in Democrats in the next election.  That appears to be "The American Way."

November 2, 2022
- I voted today.  I've never "early voted" before, but I was anxious to get it over with.  I didn't really vote for anyone.  I just voted against the Republican candidates, because I have no reason to vote against their opponents.  Unfortunately, there were four or five Republicans who were running unopposed for minor offices.  I was supposed to write in some name, but I didn't know who to write in.   One such Republican candidate was a puzzle to me, since I've seen lots and lots of signs on lawns promoting him, yet he is running unopposed.  Are the signs just there to try to make sure he doesn't get an embarrassingly low number of votes?  Next week we'll all find out if that happened.

November 1, 2022
- I've still got about 40 audio books that I "borrowed" from my local library years ago and still haven't found the time to listen to them.  I "borrowed" them back in the days when "borrowing" audio books from a library meant you downloaded the audio book into your computer as MP3 files, and then you burned the MP3 files onto CDs when you were ready to start listening.  "Returning" just required telling the library that you were done, since, of course, they didn't want you to return the CDs that you had burned (or the MP3 files you had saved).  So, I would "return" the audio books a few days after "borrowing" them by just notifying them that I was done.  Libraries stopped doing things that way about a year ago. Now, when you want to "borrow" an audio book, you have to listen to it while connected to the library via your smart phone.

A couple days ago, I burned 3 more books onto CDs, which depleted my stock of blank CDs.  So, I went to Walmart to buy a pack of 100 more.  To my surprise, they didn't have any. 
So, I drove to Target.  They didn't have any either.  So, I drove to Best Buy.  They told me they no longer sold blank CDs.  I asked them if they knew who did, and I was told that I could buy them at the Office Depot just 2 doors away.  And I was pleased to find that Office Depot had shelves full of exactly what I wanted. 

Music CDs are still very popular, and no one expects them to be discontinued anytime soon, but copying them is a problem for the companies and artists who make them.  Is that why it is becoming so difficult to find blank CDs?  Or is it because it is simply easier to listen to the MP3 file on an MP3 player than to burn the MP3 file onto a CD?  Whatever the reason, I hope to listen to a lot more audio books on the CD player in my car.

Meanwhile, this morning I finished listening to the "Let's Make a Sci-Fi"
podcast I mentioned in my previous comment.  It was really enjoyable and educational.  Since I wrote several sci-fi movie scripts years ago and tried for years to sell them, the podcast really hit home for me.  But the podcast was also educational, since they discussed the science and psychology involved in their script.  If we send a spaceship with 200 people to Alpha Centauri, knowing that it will take twenty or thirty generations to get there, what happens when the second generation grows to adulthood and decides they don't want to go to Alpha Centauri? The screenplay also addresses an issue that came up in a book series I read: What happens back on Earth where science continues to advance and they build a spaceship that can travel many times faster than the one they sent to Alpha Centauri?  It means the first crew totally wasted their lives on a mission that was pointless from the start.

There's a lot of other stuff in the podcast that was interesting.  I may burn it onto some CDs and listen to it again someday.

Other interests:

fake picture of snow on
                    the pyramids
 Click HERE for an analysis of this fake photo.

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