For those who wondered what it would take for Twitter to finally take action against Donald Trump, we now know the answer… an unfounded accusation of murder

A few days ago, for some inexplicable reason, Donald Trump — in the middle of a pandemic that has now claimed the lives of over 100,000 American citizens — decided to imply that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was somehow involved in the death of a young woman who worked in his Florida office while he was a member of Congress. Well, seeing as how American presidents don’t generally accuse political commentators of murder, I thought that maybe we’d take a little time today and discuss what’s really going on here.

First, I should probably start by saying that some part of what Donald Trump said on Twitter was actually true. In 2001, a 28 year old woman by the name of Lori Klausutis did die while working as a congressional aide in one of Representative Joe Scarborough’s district offices. Beyond that, however, everything that Donald Trump has said is a lie. According to the authorities in Florida, there was absolutely no evidence of foul play. Scarborough was not in Florida at the time Klausutis’ death, and, more importantly, an autopsy found that the young woman had died as a result of an undiagnosed heart condition — one which caused her to collapse in the office, striking her head against a desk. [She’d told a mail carrier earlier in the day that she wasn’t feeling well.] But, as we know, the facts have never stopped Donald Trump. [PolitiFact has given Trump’s statements on this matter their worst rating, “Pants on Fire.”]

As for why Trump may have done this, we can only guess. I think it’s likely, however, that it was done in large part to discourage others in the media from saying unflattering things about him during this election cycle, letting it be known that there would be consequences for negative coverage, and that he would stop at absolutely nothing in order to silence his detractors. What Trump may not not have counted on, though, was the fact that Klausutis left behind a husband who wasn’t about to let the politicization of his wife’s tragic death go by without comment. And, starting on May 21, he began a righteous and justified campaign to have Twitter finally do the right thing and take action against an unspeakably cruel and malicious Donald Trump. Following is one of his letters to company CEO Jack Dorsey, demanding that he remove the tweets in question.

It was one of those shocking moments, like when Joseph Welch asked Eugene McCarty in 1955, “Have you no sense of decency?” And it brought people off the sidelines. Even the Wall Street Journal got involved, saying, Donald Trump is not just “debasing his office” when he does things like accuse his perceived adversaries of murder, “he’s hurting the country in doing so”.

The social media company responded by saying that, while they were “deeply sorry about the pain these statements” were causing the Klausutis family, they had no plans to remove Trump’s tweets, as they did not explicitly violate company policies. [Apparently you can insinuate murder. You just can’t explicitly do so.] They company did say, however… as a kind of consolation prize… that they would finally start adding warning labels to the President’s tweets that more clearly crossed the line. And they started doing just that, adding links to two of Trump’s tweets which claimed that mail-in ballots in the 2020 election would be illegally printed, a claim that’s demonstrably false. According to a Twitter spokesperson, these tweets of Trump’s demanded action as they, “contain potentially misleading information about voting processes,” and therefore required “additional context.” Here’s an example of what the Trump Warning Label looks like.

This, and much more, should have happened long ago, but I’m thankful to see that some action is finally being taken by Twitter. I’m sorry, of course, that it took something like Trump’s use of a young woman’s tragic death to make it happen, but at least we’re finally at a point where Twitter has been forced to engage on the issue. And we need to keep the pressure up, forcing our social media companies to hold him to account.

Donald Trump, for what it’s worth, is coming out forcefully against Twitter, telling his followers that the company, by fact-checking him, is “interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election” and “completely stifling FREE SPEECH”. And he says that, as the President, he will “not allow it to happen!” And other members of the administration seem to be behind me. White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany, toeing the Trump administration line, says it’s Scarborough who should be answering questions about this, not the President.

[This election cycle is going to be the ugliest, and most dangerous we’ve seen in America since the Civil War. You can count on it.]

One last thing… seeing as how Twitter has said that it’s alright to accuse public figures of murder on their platform, digital activists are pushing a counter story about a young woman who they say that Donald Trump murdered. I don’t know that I agree with the approach, but I find it interesting. For more information, see #JusticeForCaroline.

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Mark’s Covid Diary… May 25, 2020

Last year on Memorial Day, my son and I discovered a giant vernal pool teaming with tadpoles at Riverside Park, so we thought we’d go back today in hopes of finding more. While we didn’t find any frogs or tadpoles, there was plenty for us to talk about. Among other things, we saw a family stranded on a dead tree in the middle of the river, about 100 rotting carp scattered across the park, and a half dozen or so kids climbing on a play structure that was still partially roped-off with caution tape. [The play structure had been roped-off in response to the fact that an easily transmittable infectious disease has already claimed the lives of 5,240 Michiganders. Apparently, however, the families of these kids didn’t see any reason to comply with the guidance of public health officials.] It was a surreal scene. Dozens of public safety officers coordinating a rescue, parents watching as their kids essentially play a kind of “pay it forward” version of Russian roulette, and the smell of bloated fish rotting in the heat wafting through the air. But it was nice to be out of the house, and away from the computer, where I’d been reading about Donald Trump’s well-deserved golfing vacation. [Presiding over an economy in collapse, and the death of nearly 100,000 constituents isn’t exactly easy, you know.]

If you’ll recall, Donald Trump often criticized Barack Obama for playing golf when he was in the White House. In fact, Trump promised on the campaign trial in 2016 not to do the same thing if elected. “Because I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to go play golf,” he said. Well, at this point in the Obama administration, Barack Obama had played 98 rounds of golf, and, according to CNN, over that same amount of time, “Donald Trump has now spent all or part of 248 days at a golf course.” The Biden campaign, to their credit, just released an add about Trump golfing while the COVID-19 death count fast approaches 100,000 in the United States. Trump responded by saying that it was worse when Obama did it, and that, when he does it, it’s for “exercise”. [Obama, I guess, golfed for other, more nefarious, reasons.]

Donald Trump, for what it’s worth, also criticized Joe Biden’s handling of the H1N1 swine flu outbreak during the Obama administration. Alluding to the approximately 12,000 Americans who died in 2014, he called the White Houses’s response to that outbreak a “total disaster,” apparently unaware that 12,000 is a much, much smaller number than 100,000.

So, yeah… Donald Trump, from a golf course, criticized Barack Obama’s golfing, when, in fact, Obama golfed significantly less. And he then attacked Biden’s response to H1N1, on the eve of our crossing the 100,000-dead mark, completely ignoring the fact that nearly ten times as many have already died from the pandemic he’s been presiding over… a disease, by the way, that he once said would “disappear” as if by a “miracle”. [He also seemed to accuse former Republican member of Congress Chuck Scarborough of murder, but we’ll have to leave that for another time.]

Three months ago, on February 26, Donald Trump said, “The 15 (cases in the United States), within a couple of days, is going to be down to close to zero.” And, as of today, we have 99,742 dead in the United States. And we still don’t have a comprehensive, federal plan as to how to address the spread. In fact, based on the photos I’ve seen this weekend, it looks as though we’ve collectively decided to just sacrifice our elderly and infirm, and get back to business as usual, no matter what the cost. And, yes, I hold the President responsible for this. It would be one thing if he just failed to offer leadership from he golf course, but he’s been actively fighting on behalf of the virus, by insisting that states be “liberated” and businesses be reopened against the advice of public health officials.

So, back to the park…. Thankfully, I didn’t witness any tense confrontations with the police over the use of the playground equipment, like we saw a little while ago in Idaho, where an anti-lockdown activist was arrested for removing caution tape and encouraging her kids to climb on playground equipment, but it was still disturbing to walk by and see the torn caution tape fluttering in the breeze as kids played, apparently with the consent of their nearby guardians. Given that there were several dozen officers in the park, tending to the family whose inner tubes had gotten hung-up beneath the Cross Street bridge, you would have thought that one of them might have said something, but I guess they weren’t looking to spend their Memorial Day as a viral video clip on social media. [The people stuck under the bridge were rescued by police officers in a motor boat that was brought in on a trailer. By the time they were gotten out of the river, my guess is that there were close to 20 fire trucks, ambulances and police cars on the scene. And, for what it’s worth, I’d say that fewer than 10% of those on the public safety officers on the scene were wearing masks.]

Well, it took about a week, but I think all of the carp that left the Huron River when Riverside Park flooded, are now dead. You can just see a few in the foreground of this last photo, but there were about a hundred others floating around the pond. [You can kind of make some of them out if you look hard at the above photo. You can see the sun reflecting off of their bloated, floating bodies.] Yesterday afternoon, there was just one dead fish. So all of these must have died in pretty quick succession. I was surprised to find this many dead today. Arlo and I watched a fly fisherman catch one yesterday, and my impression, after talking with him a bit, was that these lagoons had pretty much been fished out. We didn’t see any sign of fish jumping, and he’d told us that he and others had already pulled a lot out, returning them to the river. And I don’t know how successful they were, but these fisherman were preceded by an army of young people with nets, who were out on Saturday, trying their best to save as many as they could. [At one point, Arlo and I counted 8 people with nets in the same small pond.] I guess, though, these 100 or so had evaded capture… Again, I think there’s probably an analogy to be made here between the carp that left the river and the folks who encouraged their kids to all go down the same slide, but I’ll leave that to you.

One last thing… Alro and I, later in the day, enjoyed a double feature of The Music Man and Indestructible Man, talking about what a mash-up of the two (The Indestructible Music Man) might look like. Professor Harold “The Butcher” Hill, we reckoned, would have come to River City seek out the men that had sent him to the death house, sell them musical instruments, and then break their spines in half, all while singing and dancing. [If we could have stayed up later, I would have added either The Omega Man or The Man Who Came to Dinner.]

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A maskless Donald Trump visits Ypsilanti for a taxpayer-funded mini-rally and celebrates the “good bloodlines” of Michigan’s most notorious antisemite

Donald Trump was just miles away from my home today. Ostensibly, he was here in Ypsilanti to talk with Ford Motor Company employees about their efforts to produce ventilators in response to the COVID-19 crisis, but the event had almost all the earmarks of a Trump campaign rally. [Trump hasn’t been able to hold rallies over the past few months due to the pandemic, so he’s been getting more creative.] I’d rather not dwell on it too long, but here are three things that I found of interest.

1. Donald Trump, while inside the Ford plant, refused to keep his mask on, in violation of company policy, as you can see in the following video. According to reporting, Bill Ford personally requested that Trump wear a mask, and the president put one on for a moment, only to remove it shortly afterward. According to CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang, Ford officials were caught off-guard when Trump removed his mask. “The expectation was that he would keep it on for the entire visit, and officials were surprised when he took it off,” said Jiang. “Trump said he was given a ‘choice,’ but no one from Ford said that.” This, of course, comes just one day after Ford announced the closure of two plants because workers were testing positive for COVID-19, and not long after news broke about several White House employees testing positive for the deadly disease. Here’s Donald Trump being asked why he didn’t care enough about worker safety to wear a mask?

[Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel called the President’s actions, incredibly disrespectful.” She went on to say, “Anyone who has potentially been recently exposed, including the president of the United States, has not only a legal responsibility, but also a social and moral responsibility, to take reasonable precautions to prevent further spread of the virus.”]

2. Donald Trump told those in attendance that, years ago, he’d received a “Man of the Year” award in Michigan. There is, of course, no evidence of this ever having happened. In the whole scheme of things it’s a really small lie… and no one died as a result of Donald Trump having said it… but, as it speaks to his pathology as a sociopathic narcissist, I thought I’d at least mention it. [#JohnBarron]

3. Donald Trump, a known believer in the theory of eugenics, praised the “good bloodlines” of Henry Ford, the industrialist credited with disseminating the antisemitic text, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, throughout America in the 1920s, and opposing our country’s entry into World War II, blaming the conflict on “international bankers,” by which, of course, he meant the Jews. [Ford, by the way, has the distinction of being the only American noted by name in Hitler’s autobiography, “Mein Kampf.”] I’ve heard it suggested by Trump’s supporters that, when he said “good bloodlines,” Trump was just trying to acknowledge that the auto company had stayed in the hands of the Ford family since its founding. And I suspect that’s the case, and that he wasn’t trying to argue that Henry Ford was some kind of Aryan superman. But how fucking stupid do you have to be to bring up the “good bloodlines” of a known racist who was once given the the Grand Cross of the German Eagle by the Nazis? That’s just not something that a competent leader does. [If I had more time, I’d be scouring the archives of Ford’s notoriously antisemitic, conspiracy theory-filled Dearborn Independent tonight, looking for use of the word “bloodlines”.]

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Donald Trump has threatened to harm Michiganders because our elected officials are making it easier and safer for us to vote

Yesterday, saying that “every Michigan citizen has a right under our state constitution to vote by mail,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced that all voters in our state will be receiving absentee ballot applications in the mail. Well, this apparently didn’t sit well with Donald Trump, who tweeted out the following in response.

OK, so here are several things that you need to know.

1. Michigan will not be “send(ing) absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of primaries and the general election,” as Donald Trump asserted. As Benson made clear in her statement, Michigan voters will be receiving “applications,” so that they might request that ballots be mailed to them. There is a difference, and there’s no excuse for the President of the United States to get it wrong.

2. As for our Secretary of State being “rogue,” she’s not. As she pointed out on Twitter earlier today in response to Trump’s attack, her “GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia” just did the same thing. Curiously, however, Donald Trump isn’t attacking red states for making voting safer and easier this election cycle. No, Donald Trump is just attacking swing states like Michigan and Nevada. He isn’t going after Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska, or West Virginia… or, for that matter, states like Utah, Colorado, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon, where people already vote primarily by mail. [Nevada, for what it’s worth, has indicated that they would be sending ballots, and not just applications, to the home of each voter.]

3. As for what might have motivated the President’s threat against Michigan, I think it’s pretty clear. In order for him to win reelection, and avoid criminal prosecution, Donald Trump needs 270 electoral votes come November, and doing that without Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, would be an almost impossible task. And, as the most recent polling shows Biden leading Trump by anywhere from 6 to 9 percent in the state, it’s got to have him nervous. And this probably explains why he’s spending so much time attacking our Democratic governor and urging his supporters to “liberate Michigan”. It’s also probably why he’s visiting Michigan to speak with auto workers tomorrow. And fighting against vote-by-mail here is just one more thing that he can do, which he thinks will drive down turnout. [He’s defended voter suppression strategies in the past, saying that, when more Americans vote, Democrats win.] So, of course he’s trying to make voting more difficult here, putting his name on stimulus checks, and doing everything else in his power to keep Michigan a red state.

4. As for the prospect of this moving us “down (the) voter fraud path,” there’s absolutely no evidence to support this claim of Trump’s. Vote-by-mail happens everywhere, and there’s no research to support that voter fraud is statistically worse in those areas that offer it. While it’s true that it’s true that voter fraud committed by absentee ballot is more prevalent than voter fraud committed in person, the evidence shows that both are incredibly rare. According to Richard L. Hasen, a professor of political science and law at the University of California, an analysis of data over several years showed “just 491 (absentee ballot fraud cases) during a period in which literally billions of votes were cast.” So, statistically speaking, it’s not even worth noting. And, for what it’s worth, this is why Donald Trump was forced to disband the election fraud task force that was impanelled to find any evidence supporting his claim that he would have won the popular vote in 2016, if not for voter fraud. They couldn’t find any evidence to back him up. It didn’t exist then, and it doesn’t exist now.

5. Donald Trump is being hypocritical when he says that us Michiganders shouldn’t be able to vote by mail. He votes by mail in Florida.

6. As for this move on the part of Secretary of State Benson being “illegal,” Donald Trump, again, is wrong. We passed a constitutional amendment here in Michigan in 2018 that allows for anyone in the state to vote by absentee ballots without providing a reason. And, since that happened, a number of organizations have sent applications to voters, making them aware that they can cast their ballots through the mail. As Jake Rollow, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of State, said in a statement earlier today, “Applications are mailed nearly every election cycle by both major parties and countless advocacy and nonpartisan organizations. Just like them, we have full authority to mail applications to ensure voters know they have the right to vote safely by mail.

7. As for what Donald Trump meant in his tweet when he said that he’d “hold up” funds for Michigan and Nevada, no one appears to know what exactly he’s talking about. The best guess, however, seems to me that it has to do with the funds earmarked in the CARES Act. Here, with more on that, is an excerpt from Vox.

…It’s also unclear which “funds” Trump is threatening to withhold from Michigan and Nevada, but he could be referring to “Election Security Grants” provided for in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which he signed into law in March.

The CARES Act appropriated $400 million in funds to help states “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, for the 2020 Federal election cycle.” Michigan received $11.2 million as its share of those funds, and plans to use some of that money to mail an absentee ballot application to every voter in the state. Nevada received $4.5 million and will use that money to transition to a system where registered voters automatically receive a ballot in the mail.

Both states, in other words, appear to be using the federal funds for the exact purpose laid out by Congress. By making it easier for voters to cast a ballot by mail, the states will “prevent” the spread of coronavirus at polling sites. They will “prepare for” an election where coronavirus might otherwise discourage many voters from casting a ballot. And they will “respond” to the unique challenges a pandemic imposes on voters and election officials.

Nevertheless, Trump is threatening to cut funding to these states — which appear to be using the CARES Act funds for the specific purpose laid out by Congress in that act…

I could go on, but I think you get the point. We’re living thorough a pandemic right now, and the last thing we want to do is to force people to stand in lines for hours, in close proximity to others, increasing the likelihood of transmission. Every sensible person knows this. And that’s why our elected officials allotted funds in the CARES Act to the states, so that they could ensure the 2020 election could go forward safely. Donald Trump, however, doesn’t want to make vote-by-mail an easy option in Michigan because he thinks that it would advantage the Democrats. In other words, he’s putting his personal electoral considerations before the health and welfare of the Michigan people. Just keep that in mind when you see him here in Ypsilanti tomorrow.

Sadly, Donald Trump won’t see this billboard funded by Claude Taylor’s PAC when here’s here in Michigan, as it’s on I-75, but I like knowing that others are.

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Mark’s Covid Diary… May 19, 2020

I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily giving up on the idea of posting longer pieces about specific, god-awful things that are happening in the news. Knowing myself, I think it’s likely that, in the very near future, something will happen that will cause me to go back to my old ways, and spend an entire night doing research into something completely insane, like, let’s say, the President of the United States threatening to cut funding for the World Health Organization during a pandemic. Until that happens, though, I think I’m going to just keep writing about things going on here, in my own home. Not only do I think it’ll be better for my rapidly deteriorating mental health, but, I suspect, when all is said and done, it’ll be of far more interest to future generations than whatever I might have to say about the outrage of the day.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I know very little about how my own family weathered the flu of 1918, the last really deadly pandemic to sweep across the globe. Given that an estimated 50 million people died as a result of that particular flu, you’d think that there would be more written down, but, at least in my family, there’s very little. Out of the four branches of my family represented by my great grandparents, I only have stories from one. I know from my father that my great grandmother, Minnie Wise Florian, used to say that my great grandfather, Curtis Florian, survived the epidemic by staying drunk and working around the clock to tend to the crops of their neighbors in Kentucky. And I know from the writings of Minnie’s cousin, Mattie Belle Wise, the circumstances surrounding the death of my great grandmother’s brother, Grover Cleveland “Cleve” Wise, who died from the flu in 1918. But that’s really all I have to work with… Here, if you missed my earlier post, is what Mattie Belle Wise wrote about the flu coming to Franklin County, Kentucky in 1918.

Things went along pretty well until 1918 and the flu broke out in Franklin County. It was a really bad one. Sunday morning, there at Woodlake, there were seven houses with corpses laying in them. Cleve Wise died one Sunday morning, and their three year old boy died the next Sunday. Cleve went over to his sister’s, Minnie Florian, as they had all had the flu and lived through it. He thought, if he went over there, his family would not (get) it. Carrie was down at mother’s when Cleve was taken sick. She had taken the two babies and went home. In a few days, I went up to stay with her babies so she could go and stay with Cleve. It wasn’t but a few days until Pa brought her home with a temperature of 104. Then, the following Sunday, Cleve died with pneumonia. I went to Carrie’s in November and stayed until March. Then they moved back to Minor Branch. Carrie had a hard time keeping a home and raising seven children. Cleve had his life insured for $1,000, which helped her out a lot.

I rode a horse back and forth to school a lot of the time, and I had to go through Carrie’s farm one morning.I stoped by Carrie’s house. She had such a sick headache that she could not (sit) up. All the children had gone to school (except for) Edna (who) was just six months old. I just fixed her two or three bottles, wrapped her up in a baby quilt, and (took) her to school with me. In going, I had to lay down a rail fence for the horse to get over. I could not get off the horse with her, so I just told my horse he was going to have to jump the fence. I pulled up on my bridal and gave him a little kick, and he jumped the fence like he had too. When I got to school, I put her quilt under my desk and gave her her bottle. Never had one bit of trouble with her all day, and, going home in the afternoon, I made the horse jump the fence again. Then, that winter, the flu broke out down where we lived. No one died, but sometime the whole family would all be down at the same time. One family that lived on the hill above us had all five children and the mother and father all down with it. My mother killed a lot of hens that winter. I would take a bucket of soup and go feed a family, comb the women’s hair, fix up their beds, carry in enough wood to do them until I could get back the next day, then I would go back home, get another bucket of soup, and visit another family. Sometimes I would not get home until 2:00 in the morning. My mother said my dad never went to bed until he could hear the horse’s feet on the pike coming home. I kept that up all winter, and never as much as had a cold. That was the winter of 1918. When I stayed with Carrie, I wore a mask over my mouth and nose at all times. The Red Cross furnished the mask and the doctor brought them out to me. The flu was much worse in the winter of 1918. No undertaker would go in the house. When Estel died, Mattie Lee Wise was with me that night. The undertaker brought the casket and set it on the porch. We washed and dressed Estel, (took) him out, put him in the casket, and the undertaker came got him for burial. He died in the same room with his mother. When she came to enough to tell that his bed was made, she just said, “the little fellow is gone,” and then she lapsed into unconsciousness again. It was several days before she really realized he was gone.

That’s all I have from my ancestors. That’s absolutely everything I know about my family’s fight to stay alive during the last pandemic. So, given that, I thought that maybe I’d start recording a little of the minutia of day-to-day life, the kind of stuff that someone like me might appreciate in another hundred years.

And, with that, I’ll start the clock and just ramble for a while.

I went on a walk through Riverside Park with Arlo today. We’d been wondering how high the water might be, given all of the recent rain, and we were excited to find that a good portion of the park had been flooded. So we found ourselves a spot from which to watch all of the fish that had made their way out of the river, and into the park, in order to feast on the tiny creatures that, up until yesterday, had been living their best lives in the super-long grass along the banks of the mighty Huron. [I’m assuming the city stopped mowing because of COVID-19.] After noting how happy the fish seemed, thrashing around in the shallow water that now fills the park, feasting on newly drowned bugs, we started discussing how, in a day or two, once the water had started to recede, how much differently they’d feel, realizing that there was no way back to the river, and that their deaths were imminent. I didn’t want to put the idea into Arlo’s heard, but it occurred to me that there was probably a parallel to be drawn with those who now choose to spend sunny days on crowded beaches, without consideration of the public health warnings. Arlo did, however, draw a parallel to his own life, noting that the fish, right now, were acting like he was a few days ago, when we bought him a subscription to an online math game about wizards who, to the best of my understanding, compete against one another in the field of animal husbandry. At first, he was just in an absolute frenzy, but then things kind of turned to shit for him, in that we had to intercede, take the iPad from him, and put rules in place. Granted, it wasn’t as bad as being left in a quickly drying pool to die, but I can see his point, in that he experienced an incredibly abrupt change in fortune, first getting the game that he’d been begging for, and then having it taken away… Here, in case you’re interested, is what Riverside Park looks like today. By the end of the week, the smell of dead fish will be heavy in the air.

Speaking of Arlo, we watched the 1924 Buster Keaton silent film Sherlock Jr. this evening. I’m sure, at some point, he’ll no longer want to watch the old classics with me, but it’s nice while it lasts.

Oh, Alro also said something today at the park that I thought was worth sharing. We saw this strange golden bug flying around. It wasn’t like anything we’d ever seen before, so we followed it. And eventually we caught up to it. Arlo said that it looked like two small dragonflies attached by the tails, the way dragonflies often are. And this led to yet another conversation about how insects and animals reproduce. Well, at some point in the conversation, he shared the following observation about dragonflies, and I found it to be super beautiful. “Their butts kiss until an egg comes out,” he said.

I should end there, but I’ve got one more thing to say… Linette told me several weeks ago that I did not have the authorization to grow a mustache. A beard, she said, would be acceptable, but she didn’t want for me to grow a mustache. So I grew a beard. And, over the course of the last week or so, I’ve been slowly trimming back everything but the part above my upper lip. And, now, I pretty much have a mustache. She hasn’t caught on yet, but I’ve had it for a few days days now, right in the middle of my damn face…. For what it’s worth, I think that she might be right. Maybe my face is better suited for something like a chin curtain.

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