Signs You Are A #MAGAt

I know in these trying political times, it can be difficult to parse out all the hashtags out there. Are you puzzled over what you should get your knickers in a knot over? Do you look over your shoulder to see if people are making fun of YOU? You’ve wondered aloud “Am I a MAGAt?” I am here to help. Because I am a giver.

If you are wondering if you might be a MAGAt, take this short quiz.

  • Do you refuse to wear a mask because no one can tell you what to do! Because FREEDOM! ‘MURCA! though you honor policies that dictate “No shirt, no shoes, no service” and generally keep your pants on in public?
  • Are you experiencing any of the Kubler-Ross stages of grief because Parler is gone?
  • Do you believe that bakers should be able to refuse to make wedding cakes for gay couples but that Amazon, Google, and Apple are fascists happily stomping on free speech?
  • Have you had one or more accounts deleted by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LiveJournal, WattPad, or MySpace?
  • Do you have 10 digits following your Twitter handle because all your other accounts got removed?
  • Do you believe with all your heart that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen, despite complete and utter lack of evidence, despite courts from SCOTUS down to Sbarro at the mall throwing out suits due to lack of evidence just because Spanky the White House Clown said so?
  • Did you put the erection in “insurrection?”
  • Are you currently angrily typing “There IS no ‘erection’ in the word ‘insurrection, stupid!”
  • Is Fox News too leftist for you?
  • Is your heart full of hate?
  • Do you have a “Fu#$ Your Feelings” shirt but are crying because someone called you a MAGAt?
  • Have you used the word “cuck” in casual conversation?
  • Do you wish harm on politicians who voice disagreement with your leader?
  • Have the only parts of the Constitution you have actually read been the First and Second Amendments?
  • Is the racism of your leader not a deal-breaker for you?
  • Do you cheer when the current administration rolls back protections for marginalized people and the environment?
  • Do you believe the phrase “Black Lives Matter” means that no other lives in the rest of the world amount to a hill of beans?
  • Do you think kids belong in cages because their parents committed a misdemeanor?
  • Are you genuinely afraid of the Biden Administration because you are certain paybacks are hell?
  • Do you laugh when followers of the opposing leader cry?
  • Do you genuinely believe that the administration has done a great job?
  • Do you admire Spanky the White House Clown because he says all the things you wish you could say?
  • Are you upset or angry that you can’t leave a comment on this blog and didn’t realize that just by visiting, you move the blog up in SEO ranking?

Friend, if you answered any of the above questions in the affirmative, there is a good chance that you are a MAGAt. The only treatment for this condition is to push the button behind your left ear to re-engage your brain and head to a surgeon to see if they can reboot your empathy.

It’s A New Year. Now What?

It’s a New Year. You’ll have to excuse my lack of enthusiasm. I used all my confetti when I actually found bakers yeast at the grocery store.

Like many others, I kind of built up 2021 as being a magical demarcation in time, that line in the sand where the bad cannot cross. I invested in a beautiful new planner a few months ago. And when I say invested, I mean it. The thing cost me $50. It is a tome, weighing in at maybe more than my mini dachshund, but it prayerfully walks me through my goals for the coming year. I was scared of it delaying gratification, so that I put off opening it for several weeks after it arrived. Can I really meet goals that I set? Maybe? YES, I CAN! And what better time for new goals than the new year, am I right?

But what I didn’t see coming? I no longer have any goals. I was set to make a plan to pay off the house, build my Ebay business, submit more writing to various publications and competitions, hatch more Spider Tortoises. After spending nearly a week in the hospital following my husband’s emergency surgery, after a cancer diagnosis, a lot of stuff has slid off my goal list. It’s hard to get stoked about building a business. I have bigger fish to fry. Or maybe smaller fish.

Now my lovely, $50 planner seems as big as a Bible and just as esoteric. Things are a little overwhelming right now, and I’m not even sure how to begin. It’s hard to think about building a business when it’s hard to even get out of bed. But it feels like defacing a fine book to put in the milestones that are actually achievable. But let’s get real. For right now, I need to dial it back a notch if I’m not going to be curled up in the corner sucking my thumb. And forget about looking at a whole year. Seriously, one day at a time is about all I can deal with.

Instead of giant goals that threaten to smother me in my sleep, I’m making some smaller, daily goals. Yep, I’m lowering the bar, but the bar is adjustable for a reason. I’m not looking to do a Fosbury flop to break a world record. I just want to get OVER it.

  • Take a shower
  • Make necessary appointments
  • Print out paperwork for necessary appointments
  • Fill out paperwork for necessary appointments
  • Eat at least one real meal
  • Do a load of laundry
  • Put on clean clothes (WOOT! I can cross this one off! Today, anyway)
  • Pick up kid from school
  • Read something. Anything. The back of a cereal box? Count it! The ingredients list? You got it!
  • Watch twelve episodes of Pawn Stars
  • Avoid politics. I keep thinking that I just need to hang on until the 20th, and the nightmare will be over. Watching the GOP misbehave does me no favors.

I think sometimes we set up ourselves to fail when we put so much weight on the new year. It can be a blank slate, but really, so can tomorrow. What’s important is not that we’re moving forward. Even treading water beats moving backward. Sometimes standing still is progress. I will hold my ground. I might even decide to put on something other than sweatpants. Not today, though. I’ve done enough.

I did go out today and bought Lumen a new bed.
And now her goal is to get it back from Penny!

Does the new year feel different than the old one for you? What are your plans and dreams for 2021?

For the record, I am fine. Just really, really tired. This is going to be a blip on our radar. Even the surgeon said “Eh, you’re strong and fit. You’ll be fine.” I’m just tired. And cranky.

Be Careful What You Wish For

I discovered that I am magic and have the power to grant my own wishes. I did not know this, or I’d have been more careful. Apparently the wish granting is less “I Dream of Jeannie” and more “Monkey’s Paw.”

It started on Christmas eve. We were expecting a cold snap, complete with a dusting of snow. Lovely! I was dreaming of a white Christmas and all that. The paw twitches. Ha. Dusting of snow, my hind foot! Try five inches. My neighborhood is uphill both ways, and here in the South, our communities don’t invest a whole lot in snow equipment. I got my white Christmas, sure. But then I also got a mile walk in the snow and a three hour wait for someone to haul me to work on Christmas.

German shepherd in snow in the light of a streetlight with a boy in a University of Tennessee Hoodie (I know. Hoodie in the snow, but it's his fault if he gets cold), and a woman in yellow coat smiling at camera
Don’t judge me. The kid decided he wanted to leave the house in a hoodie. Eventually, I gave him my gloves.

Husband always gets a little glum at the holidays, especially this year since we’re socially distanced from extended family. I wished he would quit his bellyaching. The paw twitched. He did, but it involved emergency surgery to remove the source of the bellyache.

Husband and I had wished for a little getaway, just the two of us. The paw twitched. We got it. But this is the worst hotel ever. It’s the most expensive hotel we’ve ever stayed in, but the only thing on the room service menu is ice chips, and the good drugs are only given to one of us. I am pretty sure the bell hops are vampires because they sneak in here in the middle of the night and steal blood. And sometimes urine. That last one has me puzzled. I learned everything about vampires from Twilight, and they didn’t cover pee, Maybe it’s a wolf thing?

I think we might be staying in the Hotel California, because we checked in, but they won’t let us leave. Well, they don’t seem to care if I’m here, but it’s not a fun vacation if husband can’t sight-see with me And since we’re still in our hometown, so there aren’t that many sites TO see. So here I sit, watching The Office and texting home to make sure the children haven’t gone feral.

We wished for more time together. The paw twitched. Now we have nothing BUT time. A type A personality and type… Z? locked in one room together for days on end. Husband keeps telling me how to clean, and I may have threatened to smother him with his advance directive.

I’m hoping that we’re back on track soon, and that maybe my wish-making was just a 2020 phenomenon. I’m going to be careful not to make any more wishes, just in case there is any leftover 2020 floating around. I might try again in February, but not like I did last year, when I wished for travel and the whole world went to hell.

Lumen wishes you the happiest of new years. She didn’t know any better. Sorry.

Who Needs Coffee When You Can Sun Your Bum?

I hate waking up. Once I get my feet on the floor for good, I’m fine. It’s just getting to that point that is a challenge. I can “just one more snooze” myself all the way to noon if I think I can get by with it. Even with coffee, by midmorning, I am made of yawn. That’s all about to change, though, thanks to Metaphysical Meagan.

I am going to have to odd, because I just… can’t… even.

I did not include the photo of Miss Meagan’s daily routine because this is a family show. But (butt?) it’s on the great, wide web. You can look it up.

To summarize, Metaphysical Moron Meagan has been studying the Tao of the derriere, or something like that. And she swears by her tried and true technique to improve life. Did you know that 30 seconds of direct sunlight on your howdy-doody is like a whole DAY of sunlight with your clothes on? And the reason Meagan knows this is because 30 seconds is probably all she gets before the neighbors call the cops again. They are so unenlightened!

Meagan attracts people who are “on the same frequency and wavelength” as her by tanning the ole tushy, too. After you brown your downtown six times, you qualify for a free “I Tan My Taint, Doo You?” t-shirt, available in six shades of brown. Pick yours up at Big Wally’s Yurt down on the corner. It’s so great to meet other like-arsed people, you know?

Still not convinced? Meagan promises “surges of energy!” And I’m totally sure it’s, like, metaphysical energy, and not, like, a sunburn on your stink hole. But either way, it’ll wake you up. And it “connects you to the earth!” Slap them glutes down on the asphalt and see what I’m sayin’!

You can “attract your desires and intentions, too.” As long as your intention is to attract flying insects and the occasional looky-loo. It also “prevents leakage of your chi.” We wouldn’t want that leaking out of your backside, now would we?

Bronzing your badonkadonk is an “ancient Toaist practice that has been around for a while,” unlike other ancient practices that are very recent. You can totally trust it. She learned all about it from a guy who cleans himself with dirt and advocates increasing your body’s voltage. Now that I think on it, he might actually be an eel. Shine on, friend.

Is the only sunny spot your driveway? No problem. Don’t worry about the neighbors. When they catch you shooting a moon, you can explain you’re really just catching the sun! Invite them to join you! You’ll be the toast of the HOA.

Now, remember to start small. Meagan says “the goal is NOT to tan your butthole.” Yeah, Meagan, that’s your goal. Gotta get that bunghole summer ready, amirite? What’s a little skin cancer of the keister among friends?

So what are you waiting for, friends? Put your tooter in the air like you just don’t care! I reserved us a spot at the park!

Satisfaction not guaranteed.

The 17 Stages of Alexander Hamilton

After listening to the soundtrack to Hamilton approximately three times a day for a year, I decided I should probably get around to reading the book it was based on. Unfortunately, it was out of my price range until the day I found it remaindered for $5. I think they were selling it by the pound. This thing is a tome. But no pain, no gain, right?

But be forewarned. This book is a process.

Stage 1: Oh, my gosh! I’ve finally got the book, and now I will understand what the musical is talking about because I know so little about his role in history! Whee! I am not throwing away this shot!

Stage 2: Wow, this book is, like, really long. On my e-reader, it’s 1300 pages. I might be reading this for a while. Eh, what else do I have to do?

Stage 3: Gosh, Ron Chernow can write! This is so, so good! That poor little boy, abandoned and orphaned!

Stage 4: Wow. I’ve been reading for a couple of weeks already, and we’re not through the Revolutionary War yet.

Stage 5: Dude writes a lot of pamphlets. A man of many words is Hamilton.

Stage 6: More pamphlets. I did not see that coming. It’s been three weeks, and I still have 800 pages to go.

Stage 7: Another pamphlet. Or seven. Or 31. I’ve lost count. Along with my will to live.

Stage 8: I am glad this book is good because I am pretty sure I will never get to read another one in my life. Oh, look. He wrote another pamphlet. Did not see that coming.

Stage 9: Wow, Burr is a snake in the grass (sorry, snakes)!

Stage 10: YAY! I’ve read 800 pages! Oh. I still have 500 to go. Annnd there’s another pamphlet.

Stage 11: If Dude writes another pamphlet, I might shoot him myself. I have to finish this book so I can finally get the soundtrack out of my head!

Stage 12: The author just mentioned that Hamilton has only a few years left. I might throw a party.

Stage 13: C’mon, Burr! You gonna let him get by with that kind of smack talk? You should call him out for his big mouth.

Stage 14: The DUEL! We’re here! Yay! Click, BOOM!

Stage 15: Oh, gosh. He’s dying. Don’t die! Live, man, LIVE!

Stage 16: I… finished it. Don’t talk to me for a few days. I need to grieve.

Stage 17: Wow. So, so good! I…  I think I need to read it again.

 

Notes From the Zookeeper: I’m Positively Giddy

We’re used to making history in our department. Is that bragging? I’m okay with it. Our successes have, in many cases, perpetuated the propagation and potential rescue of entire species. The beauty and frustration of the field of Herpetology is that it is still in its infancy, with so many discoveries yet to be made. But we’re making them, slowly but surely, with research and a large helping of patience.

Our zoo (my curator, Michael Ogle, really) has made some historic firsts. Lots of zoos, our own included, got eggs from their Malagasy tortoises regularly, but not only did they not hatch, they never even began to develop. Embryo development is quite easy to see just by turning out the lights and shining a pen light through the egg. An egg that is developing has distinct veining, and eventually, you can see the shape of the tiny little reptile. It was extremely unlikely that the dozens of eggs produced over the years were ALL infertile. There was something keepers were missing, some cue, some signal. But what was it?

You’re looking at a baby tortoise. An embryo. If I m not mistaken, its head is toward the left. I watched it move. It has months to go before it hatches, and I saw it wiggle. Mind = blown.

My boss (he hates when I call him that!) solidified the gold standard for hatching Malagasy tortoises by reading a field guide and taking a risk. After egg-laying season, the temperatures drop in the wild. Michael speculated that by cooling the eggs to 65F (18C) for a couple of months and then replacing them in an incubator at 84-88 degrees, fertile eggs might begin to develop! He was right!The egg waits until weather warms up to begin developing, otherwise it’s like Game of Thrones. Winter is Coming. There won’t be food when the egg hatches if it starts before winter is over. Michael hatched the first Flat-Tailed Tortoise (Pyxis planicauda) in the Northern hemisphere, with many others to follow.

By applying these same principles to the other species of Malagasy Dwarf Tortoises, our department has had amazing success. In 2006, Michael hatched the first captive Northern Spider Tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides brygooi) in in the world. Heady stuff, right? Now we are headed full circle. Look what happened a couple of days ago!

The first egg from the very first hatchling in the world! She isn’t the first captive-bred to lay an egg, but this is still a significant event for us. And I am trying to hatch an F2 (grandkids of the wild-caught animals) of all three sub-species.

The chances that this egg will hatch are very slim, mostly because the male she is paired with did not figure out what girls were for until this breeding season, so chances are that the space shuttle didn’t quite hit the dock. But it’s an excellent sign. Eventually they will get it right! I have hatched one F2 this year, just 2 sub-species to go, and I now have eggs from ALL of them!

Maybe this is too much information to process. TL;DR A rare hatchling laid her first egg.

This is what’s rocking my world this week. What’s great in yours?

Notes From the Zookeeper: Saying Goodbye

I love to share the good things. There is so much about my job that is good, hopeful, wonderful. I hatch baby tortoises fairly regularly now, I have the privilege of taking care of an Aldabra Giant Tortoise that I met for the first time when I was on a class field trip in the first grade, and my job is never, ever boring. There is so much to learn, so much to question, so much to DO! Happy is when a kid overcomes their fear and pets Big Al for the first time. Happy is when a new baby tortoise hatches and thrives. Happy is changing a guest’s mind about the value of snakes in their yard. But with light comes dark, with sweet comes bitter.

A few weeks ago, we lost Khaleesi, our beautiful female Komodo Dragon. She would have been nine in August. Captive dragons don’t live as long as their wild counterparts, a phenomenon we have begun to understand and correct, but a captive life expectancy is around 25 years. At 9 years old, she was still a young dragon. We are still reeling from her loss.

One Saturday she looked like she was favoring one hind leg. A few days later, she was gone. Necropsy (an autopsy for animals) revealed that she was carrying eggs, several of which had begun to decay. Had the eggs been fertile, she would likely have laid them days, even weeks, prior. Infertile eggs don’t pass through the reproductive tract as easily. Retained eggs lead to infection, and that is what got our girl.

Dog and cat owners can tell you how strong the human-animal bond can be and how much it hurts when our pets die. We loved our dragon the same way other folks love their cats and dogs. She was one of a kind, and we miss her.

She arrived at Zoo Knoxville eight years ago, as a yearling. Komodo Dragons have an excellent sense of smell, so one way to get to know her keepers was to have each of them put a dirty work-out shirt in her exhibit with her a few times per week. Dragons are intelligent, as well, and they recognize individuals by sight and by smell. Very quickly, she had picked her favorite person. Each time the shirts were hung in her exhibit, she would yank his down and sleep on it. Years later, when he had been promoted out of the department, he could still do things with her that none of the rest of us had the nerve to. He could hold her to have her claws trimmed when she was nearly grown.

People were stunned that we would go into her exhibit with her, but she was a pleasure to work with. We always took precautions. She was a wild animal, after all. But we knew her – knew how to read her behavior. We used a Komodo stick, basically a long, thick stick with a fork at one end, useful for pinning a tail, pushing a head away, or cupping the back of a chunky thigh to encourage her to move forward when she was dug in and refusing to go inside. Sometimes she surprised us. Last summer, she learned to pin the stick with her thigh so she could try to whack it out of our hand with her tail.

Khaleesi was very intelligent. Not only did she recognize individual keepers, she responded to each of our expectations differently. Stephen, her primary keeper, didn’t hesitate to open the door to feed her when she was right in front of it. He could get by with that. He had known her longer and had worked with her more. It took her only a couple of tries to learn that if I was feeding her, she needed to go up on a platform under the lights. Considering she only ate once a week, it was a pretty impressive feat on her part.

Intelligence also means curiosity. Any time we brought something into the exhibit that she hadn’t seen before, she would run over as quickly as she could, tongue-flicking to beat the band. I once brought in a temperature gun to make sure the exhibit was warm enough, and tried to climb my leg like a temp gun was exactly what she wanted for her birthday. How could you not love an animal like that?

We’ve been asked quite a bit whether or not we’re getting another dragon. The short answer is that we don’t know. The longer answer is that there aren’t any available dragons right now, and we don’t know if that will change. We don’t even know right now if any zoos are incubating viable eggs. So we wait to see what will go in her exhibit.

We wait. And we miss her.

 

 

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Something Terrible Happened Here

There is only one witness, and he is a little fuzzy on the events that occurred. I understand. I’m sure it was terrifying.

“He went thataway!”

One minute the sprinkler in Big Al’s lot was merrily chugging along, watering the grass and filling his mud hole. The next, this:

What happened? Where did that third arm go?

I looked for Al to ask him if he had seen the perpetrator because he had been hanging around close by while the sprinkler was running. He was all the way in the front of the exhibit. Hmm. That’s weird.

Hey, Al! Did you happen to see who did this to my sprinkler? I’d like to talk to them!

I took the broken pieces out and threw them away. When I came back, Detective Al was investigating the crime scene.

“Wait, Miss Heather! Wasn’t there a sprinkler right here? I mean, um… Someone laid on it. I do not know who. I had never seen them before in my life! I hope you catch them!”

Unfortunately, the case has gone cold. I wonder if we will ever solve this particular mystery. In the meantime, Big Al asked me if I wouldn’t mind starting a GoFundMe for a new bidet. I’m sure he meant sprinkler.

Notes From the Zookeeper: Change Is Hard

I know. Saying that change is hard is about as cliché as it gets. Oh, hello. You’ve read the blog, right? I’m nothing if not a giant cliché. It’s worth repeating. Change is hard. Painful. Awful. Some people thrive on trying shaking up the routine, whether it’s adding a new spice to a favorite comfort food, or visiting new churches for fun. I am not one of those people. I don’t even like to take a new route home. I want the same, and I want it now. And tomorrow, and the day after that… But nothing stays the same forever, and my job is no exception.

Some things never change. Big Al is one of those things. He can always be counted on.

Let me add a little context before I jump right in. Successful zoos (and successful people), are always working toward a master plan – 5 years, 10 years, etc. They spend a lot of time thinking about where they want to be, what projects they want to undertake, what animals they want to exhibit. These plans are what takes a zoo to the next level, and my zoo is no different. We are preparing for a major construction project (more on that in another post), and before site work can begin, our Central American Aviary will have to away. For months (years?) Boss Man Michael, who is curator of both Ornithology and Herpetology, has been been preparing for this project by sending the birds that we won’t be exhibiting anymore to other facilities.

So there won’t be an aviary. That shouldn’t affect me too much, right? You would think. But because our bird collection is being downsized for the next  of 5-10 years, and because of staffing changes,  the entire Ornithology department is being disbanded, and the Bird keepers are being absorbed into other departments. And so are the birds themselves. Instead of a department dedicated to them, the birds will be cared for by the department they are closest to geographically. And that, gentle reader, is the crux of my problem. Herpetology is getting birds.

Now, we’re not getting ALL of them. And one of their dedicated keepers is coming over to our department and will be the primary caregiver for our feathered friends. But as the boss pointed out, she won’t be working seven days a week. And that means we all have to learn to take care of them.

I don’t *hate* birds, yo, so go easy on the hate mail. But I wouldn’t say I *like* them, either, exactly. Birds are messy, and they are often loud, and those stupid things bite. A lot of them are sharp on every end, too. I would rather be bitten snake than by a bird. And birds are so needy. Did you know they expect to be fed more than once a day? What is up with that? I like my creatures slimy, scaly, and mostly quiet, with a slow metabolism. But I must learn.

Fridays are now my days to shadow Bird keepers to learn how to take care of our feathered friends. I don’t want to resent it because I like to think I am up to learning something new, but, man they’re birds! Last week was my first time on the routine. I learned that our department will be getting a Eurasian Eagle Owl, the only one that reads Winnie the Pooh, I am sure, because he actually says “Hoo!” We will also be getting Western Burrowing Owls, Edward’s Pheasants, nearly extinct in its native Vietnam, Blue-Crowned Laughing Thrush, and White Crested Laughing Thrush. We are not yet sure if we will be getting White-Naped Crane exhibit, so we’re learning their care just in case.

I survived my first day on the job. It was even kind of interesting. The White Crested Laughing Thrush have a chick, and it was fascinating to watch a species with parental care. I stood for a long time watching the three adults in the exhibit picking up meal worms and stuffing them into the fledgling’s cake hole. And the Burrowing Owls were cute. The Edward’s Pheasants were all up in our business, which kind of reminded me of Big Al, and I get to keep all the owl pellets for dissecting. That’ll be cool.

I’ll survive, I know. I may even succumb to the charms of these new, feathery dinosaurs. I hope. In the meantime, I will just have to take comfort in the fact that none of them poops as much as Big Al.

Fans of the Bloggess, Beat the Mid-Winter Blahs With BOOKS!

Let me start by asking this. Did you know that when you create an Amazon wish list, the default address is NONE, unless you click “manage list” and add one? I did not know that. Now you do, too. It’s important for what follows.

So The Bloggess recently hosted her annual Booksgiving, where people post their wish list, and others (usually complete strangers) surprise them by treating them to their book. A group of us are huge fans of hers, and some of us missed it, so we’re going to host it in-house! YAY!

Lumen says books are GOOD!

I was going to create a spreadsheet like I do for the Christmas swap, but we’ve had a death in the family, and I am just not going to have time. But I said I would do SOMETHING, so here it is. If someone wants to create a Google Doc to share or wants to  take it over, let me know in the comments. I can lock comments here and move everything to the spreadsheet. Otherwise…

Here’s how it works:

  • Create a BRAND NEW Amazon wish list with ONE BOOK on it. If you have a preference for e-book or audio, add a comment beside the book.
  • Click on “send list to others,” and copy the link.
  • Paste it in the comments here.
  • If you are international, list your country in your comment so you can find each other.
  • To buy for others, just click their link.

Rules:

  • Only put one book on your list. Only one. If you are hoping to get a book for your kid, too, they need their own list, please. Post them both in a single comment.
  • Don’t add more stuff to the list after someone buys it. I know my Bloggess Buddies wouldn’t add stuff, but it’s best to say it because not everyone that reads this will be familiar with the swap.
  • If you can afford to buy for someone else, please do. It would be fantastic if everyone was able to get a book.
  • If you cannot afford to buy for someone else, don’t feel badly about it.

FAQ

  • Why do I have to create a NEW list? Because if stuff shows up on your list as “purchased,” people get a bad taste in their mouths.
  • To Participate, must I be a part of the Bloggess Buddies group (on Twitter the hashtag says “tribe,” but I am non-native, and I feel more comfortable using “buddy”)? Not necessarily. If you’re a regular reader, go ahead and jump in the pool!

Ya’ll, I will be out of pocket for a while. I cannot promise I can monitor the post. Use your best judgment. Most of you will recognize the folks you interact with regularly on the Twitter or from here in my comments section.