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Wednesday 2020.7.1

Observance

It was nine years ago today — July 1, 2011 — that I began my retirement. During the past nine years I have been waking up each morning without the sound of an alarm clock, getting out of bed to make a cup of coffee, and then spending most of the day at home, but still collecting a pay check in the form of a pension each month. I never complain. I am a happy man.

Another Observance

This year the local observance of the nation's July 4th Independence Day holiday won't take place in the community where I live. As in many locations around the country, the celebration was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The park from which the fireworks are typically launched is only a short distance from where I live. I would therefore sit on my deck in the evening to watch them. This year, however, the evening will be quiet. No rocket's red glare; no bombs bursting in air. I'll miss the bright colorful display. It was something to look forward to each July. However, I won't miss the noise.

Reading

On Monday morning I finished reading John Bolton's book The Room Where it Happened. During the latest meeting of our news discussion group my friends asked if the book is a "snooze fest" as reported by some in the media. My answer: "Yes."

In my opinion, too much of the book is filled with Bolton's boasting about his accomplishments while serving as the National Security Advisor. No one, of course, is going to write a book in which they repeatedly criticize themself for their failures; however, some humility on Bolton's part might have made him more likeable. Second, the book was filled with too many details. It was almost a day-by-day, minute-by-minute diary. I might be exaggerating there, but the book might have benefitted from a little brevity. Again, returning to his boasting, it seemed like Bolton was using every detail to demonstrate how excellent an advisor he was to the Trump administration.

Finally, my impression of Bolton as a war hawk who believes any serious international negotiation should first begin with the dropping of bombs has not changed.

Next Up

This week I started reading the book Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy by David Frum. I read his previous book, Trumpocracy. I like him as a writer. To give you some feel of the book, in the Introduction he writes, "President Donald J. Trump did not start the pandemic, of course. But at every step of the way, Trump has acted as if guided by one rule: 'How can I make this trauma worse?'"

Frum says most of the book was written prior to any knowledge of the coming pandemic, and therefore the content is already outdated. That is one problem with reading books about Trump during this time. Prior to this year, Trump was seen as an awful president. Now, with the events since the middle of March, I believe Trump will be discussed in future books as the worst president in U.S. history.

I've made that claim in the past. I believe it more now — and more than ever, I doubt too many conservatives would disagree with me. There will be some, or course, but I see their numbers dwindling. The real reckoning of that number will happen in November when the votes are counted.

Light Bulbs

I just spent $150 on light bulbs. I have a light sculpture in my living room that uses around 40 night light bulbs. It looks like this:

The bulbs are incandescent and it is becoming more difficult to find them at a reasonable price when I need to replace one. Another bulb burned out yesterday evening.

I've been looking for LED replacements, but all the ones I found so far were too large. That changed yesterday. Westinghouse makes LED bulbs the same size, 1.3 inches (33mm) diameter and the same wattage, 7.5W (although they use only 1 watt of electricity). They come in packs of 4 each (I looked for bulk packaging, but I didn't see any); so I ordered 10 packs.

The problem with bulbs like this is that they aren't available long enough. The manufacturer keeps altering them to keep up with changing style demands. Here today, unavailable tomorrow. Obviously, I want all the bulbs in my sculpture to look the same. So I made up my mind I would buy a lot of them if ever I found what I needed.

I'll continue to use the sculpture with the existing bulbs for lighting, but when one burns out I'll replace it with an LED. And I'll probably order a couple additional packs because it's always good to have a few spares. Jake can relate to that.

And, Finally, Here's a Thought

What if both the president and vice president were to become sick with COVID-19 at the same time? What if they were both in intensive care and needed to be intubated, which requires a medically-induced coma? Who would run the country? According to the Constitution, it would be the Speaker of the House. Can you imagine the turmoil in the Senate if Nancy Pelosi became the Acting President of the United States?