Happy Festivus

December 23rd only comes once a year, so let me be among the first to wish you a happy Festivus roughly 25 years after Seinfeld went off the air. Jerry is a weird role model, but of relevance, he quit while he was on top, something that neither 80 something Joe Biden nor 70 something [ptttooooyy] Donald Trump are willing to do. And so the gerontocracy/kakastocracy/kleptocracy/oligarchy that infests not only the so called United States, but also China, Russia and a lot of other apparently relevant countries, just continues, until, I suppose, it doesn’t.

It’s been a while since my last confession, or blog post, or whatever you call this. Life has gone on. The Loquacious Pup is home for the holidays, as she prepares for the next stage of her academic career after a couple of years of the post college work world. Mrs. TD and I continue to hold down our jobs, me going on 20 years at the present one by some point next spring. Our three surviving parents have made it to this stage, all three being older than Biden, two of them at least a decade older. The care and feeding of one of them has dominated affairs at Stately Dog Manor for almost two years now, but that’s what loving people do.

As 2023 goes otherwise, the follow up book to Donald J. Putin on American Exceptionalism remains unwritten, nor have I qualified for the Boston Marathon nor completed 100 miles in a footrace. It goes without saying that GTMO is still open. Nonetheless, this year of 2023 has seen me complete 9 marathons, including my fourth World Marathon Major star at London, with Tokyo scheduled for next year and only Boston unaccounted for. Besides London, these have included my 21st consecutive NYC, my 2nd Chicago, my 5th Marine Corps marathon, my 3rd Sri Chimnoy marathon plus an assortment of 4 in NY, PA, MD and DC. Not for nothing, on the same course as one of those marathons, I also set my personal record for distance this year at 64.8 miles in a 24-hour race, together with 3 other ultra marathon finishes (a pair of 50 milers and a 50-K) and 2 ultra DNFs of more than marathon length, including an early year effort at my dream race in Hawaii which was adversely impacted by, among other things, an abscessed tooth. Thus go my feats of strength. And now onto the airing of grievances.

And so despite my efforts to cheat time by distance running, not to mention distract myself from the unpleasantness of an ever more fractious world, and the stresses of life as I find it, I have also had two major dental events and several major veterinary events involving our 14 plus year old cats, all designed to be almost completely uninsured, and and all quite stressful of the finances of even the upper middle class. And presumably just plain out of range for the peasants.

Which I will allow to be my segue back to the macro again. We have designed a system intended to stress out 99 per cent of the population with the never ending threat of ruination, be it financially or existentially, such as from our omnipresent mass shootings for example. No wonder drug abuse deaths stay nice and high… diseases of despair seem to be our national sport. And it is a bipartisan fetish to make sure this never changes, and certainly has been since at least the 90s when Bill and Hill eschewed voters in favor of contributors and the culture wars and identity politics supplanted economic fairness and basic human dignity and, ahem, DECENCY. Not for nothing are both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump associated with Jeffrey Epstein. Caligula is clearly a bipartisan hero and role model. Not that I want to ever see Donald Trump in power, or frankly, at all, ever again.

I don’t even want to talk about Israel Palestine, even though, before matters GTMO became the epicenter of this blog, that was the hot subject here. I’ll just say that the conflicting thoughts that, one, Hamas is an evil terrorist organization that committed the worst terrorist atrocity since 9 11 on October 7th, two, Israel is now run by quasi-fascist racists engaging in an often illegal brutal occupation over millions of Palestinians and who are now engaging in what could well be described as a genocide in Gaza, AND, three, antisemitism on elite American college campuses is rampant as demonstrated by recent events… these ideas can all be true at once. The last one does seem tailor made to be engineered by an opportunistic Republican billionaire to tear the Democratic coalition apart. Just saying.

And Ukraine slogs on into a war of attrition it is doomed to lose, because Russia has so many more men to throw at this. Too bad Washington and London killed off early peace talks. Better get negotiations going now before all is lost… just saying.

Supposedly China’s superannuated leader told our superannuated leader that he intends to reunify China and Taiwan by 2027. I can only hope, ahem, he means peacefully, as the alternatives usually involve war and probably nuclear war. Yay. Which, along with, in no particular order, climate change, artificial intelligence, loss of arable land and ground water, mass extinction or just plain capitalism continue to threaten all human life if not all life on Earth.

Which is to say, Festivus is supposed to be joyous, or something. So… happy Festivus. Hopefully we’ll all be around for Festivus 2024, but, you know, no promises. I don’t look forward to a nightmare of a national election next year.

In about 3 weeks, we will acknowledge 22 years of GTMO. Which is all to say… we will continue to bear witness to events that can best be described as concerning.

And for the rest of us… happy Festivus.