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genxlib's Journal
genxlib's Journal
October 3, 2022

Search and Rescue on the Ground

Many of you know that I am on a Search and Rescue team as I reported from Surfside last year. I have also written about 9/11, Haiti and Katrina in the past as well.

My team is out there now without me as I am on a medical leave for a minor back issue.

I thought you would be interested in these videos they are posting from Fort Myers Beach. Typically, this is a FEMA team but within the state of Florida, we can be mobilized by the State while more FEMA teams are brought in from outside the area. That is the case this time and was also the case at Surfside.

I miss not being part of it but I am proud of the work my team is doing.

July 28, 2022

Meeting a Childhood Heartthrob?

So have you ever had a chance to meet a childhood heartthrob later in life? Someone who was larger than life and you simply adored in your youth (usually with a healthy amount of hormones involved)?

So here is my story.

I was a child of the seventies (born in '66). As a red-blooded American boy, I absolutely loved Olivia Newton John. I mean who didn't? She had the look, the voice and I was crazy for the accent. She was already well known for her music when she did Grease in 1978. I was 12. I was smitten.

Fast forward to 2001. If you remember some of my posts, you may recall I am involved in Search and Rescue for FEMA. I was at 9/11 with my team. I was on a meal break in one of the many cafes set up for the rescue workers when they brought through a USO-style group of celebrities to meet the rescue workers.

Next thing I know, Olivia Newton John sits down right next to me. I was sitting at a table with about 7 other guys. Real rough and tumble firemen types. I kept up the façade for about 10 seconds before I just melted into a gibbering fanboy. I just didn't care what they thought. This was Olivia Newton John after all. The funny thing is that after I broke the ice, they all reacted the same way. She was very kind and gracious and still beautiful. I was still hooked even after nearly 25 years.

So what about you? Ever have your childhood dream crush drop into your real life?

PS I also had the chance to meet Al Franken there but that is a story for another day.

July 17, 2022

Hope this pro-choice legal action gets some traction.

Unitarian and Buddhist ministers are joining a rabbi's legal fight against Florida's new abortion law


Two religious leaders — a Unitarian and a Buddhist — plan to join a South Florida rabbi's legal crusade challenging a new state law banning abortions after 15 weeks, arguing it violates the state Constitution's right to privacy and freedom of religion.

The retired Unitarian Rev. Harris Riordan and the Buddhist minister Maya Malay confirmed they will file a lawsuit in state court next week, echoing arguments from Rabbi Barry Silver. Silver intends to file his own amended complaint next week along with Rabbi Arthur Wascow, the founder and director of the progressive Jewish organization the Shalom Center.

"We are excited to expand this lawsuit to include outstanding representatives of the Buddhist and Unitarian traditions," Silver said. "Maya Malay and Harris Riordan are wonderful teachers of their own traditions and have dedicated their lives to improving the world for people of all faiths and religions.

"We look forward to building coalitions with people of all faiths and backgrounds, including atheists and freethinkers, to repair the wall of separation between church and state and to unite the people of the world to protect human rights and save our precious planet," Silver added.

The Unitarian Universalist have always been strong on social action. I know this particular Reverend personally and proud of it.

June 28, 2022

HIPAA is going to be severely tested in the post-Roe world

The witch hunts that are bound to take place are going to get ugly.

At the end of the day, it seems like actual medical information is going to be needed in order to actually establish any potential "guilt" (and I use the term very loosely and only in the framework of something being against the law).

Where this "evidence" of wrongdoing comes from is going to get very complicated.

May 26, 2022

The police need to pick a side

The police are taking a lot of well earned criticism in Texas.

My view on this might be a little more nuanced than most people because I know a lot of heroes. Those of you that know my posting history know that I have spent time with rescuers in 9/11, Haiti, Surfside and others. I know what heroism looks like. I also know that not all people that look the part are able to act the part when the shit hits the fan. I get it.

But here is the thing. It is time for the police to pick a side.

Either you are on board with the 2nd Amendment crowd or you push for gun restrictions.

If you are on board with the 2nd Amendment crowd then our expectations are that you think you can handle policing that kind of nation. Including all the danger and deadly situations that it puts you in. If that is your position, we have the right to hold you accountable when things go wrong.

Otherwise, just admit that you are overwhelmed in an arms race and cannot effectively police a nation like this. Become an advocate for restrictions, licensing, background checks, a modern traceable registry and all the other things that would make it so much easier for you to do your job.

Be a part of solution or you are part of the problem.

You can't have it both ways.

May 24, 2022

Ok, I will say it

The Constitution is a FUCKED up document.

Any document that enshrines guns as a national religion is fundamentally flawed.

I am tired of towing the patriotic line. Days like today don't give me much to be proud about.

I don't care if people want to call me un-American.


To all of you defending the constitution by saying it is all about the interpretation...well yeah sure. That is what we are left with. But it is fucked up to have it there at all. Why elevate gun ownership above every other physical object. It simply has no place in the document at all and has been a source of misinterpretation all along.

April 8, 2022

This is disturbing (Warning Child Abuse Content)

I know it has become a solid bet that anything the GOP is accusing us of is essentially a confession of their own wrongdoing.

But this is a new low and made me physically ill


According to the government’s evidence, from April 2020 through February 2021, Verastigui was active in an online group devoted to trading child pornography and discussing child sexual abuse. Verastigui shared child pornography videos with another member of the group and made numerous comments about sexually abusing children. Verastigui indicated his preference for babies, saying they were his “absolute favorite,” and solicited another group member for videos of babies being raped. The other group member promptly sent Verastigui a video of a baby being raped, to which Verastigui responded enthusiastically. The other group member then sent Verastigui numerous other videos of child pornography.

Verastigui was part of a chat group involving at least 17 others who shared his interest in child pornography and abusing children that was investigated by the DOJ. This group included another Republican staffer, Trump Commerce Department official Adam Hageman, who was also charged last year with possession of child pornography. Upon his arrest, Hageman's phone “contained at least 33 videos that appear to contain sexually explicit depictions of children, including of prepubescent children.”

In the spring of 2020, defendant Adam Hageman joined a group devoted to trading child pornography and discussing sexually abusing children. There were 17 other members, several of which boasted about actively producing child pornography of children they had access to and then shared that content with the group. Not only did Hageman encourage others in the group to rape children and solicited them to share child pornography, but he also discussed his own sexual fantasies about children, expressing how much he was looking forward to the pandemic being over so that he could go to restaurants and parks and display his penis to kids. Hageman also said the youngest child he had had was 15 years old. And, he said he needed to start “crossing fantasies off his list,” asking for someone to find a dad with a young child they would be willing to “rent” out to the group. Hageman is a danger to the community and should be detained pending trial in this case.

All child sexualization is wrong but I do think that there are degrees of evil. I think we can agree that raping babies and renting kids for sex fantasies pretty much blows the top off the chart.

These people are seriously fucked in the head.

And for what it is worth, the jail sentence is about a quarter of what it should be.

March 21, 2022

Recommendations for Selling a Used Car

Any thoughts on selling a used car?

We have a surplus car now that my daughter is away at college and it is time to pare down. 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid with very low mileage so it should be an easy sale these days.

I am looking for a good middle ground wholesaler. I don't want to get ripped off by the dealerships but neither do I want to deal with a private sale with the issues surrounding time, security and payment. I just want a moderately fair price and to have someone take it off my hands.

There seem to be lots of options like Carmax, Vroom, Carvana, etc. Ultimately, I will likely try several and take the best offer.

Just wondering if anyone has any experience or recommendations.

February 25, 2022

Imagining better priorities for yourself

I really enjoyed this NYT article about setting new priorities in the post Covid world. Maybe I am just a math nerd but he does an interesting job of quantifying our priorities.


We underestimate future possibilities for the same reason we overestimate the time we have left with those we love: our intuition is not very imaginative. It’s a human instinct to believe the life we’re used to is how things will always be, both the good parts and the bad.

Wallowing in regret carries an implicit assumption that we had agency in the past — that we could have had those other life paths if only we had made better decisions. When we think about the future, though, that feeling of agency often disappears, which can leave us feeling resigned and even hopeless.

But the life we’ll be living 10 years from now will largely be determined not by our past selves but by our present and future selves. If we imagine what we might regret down the road, it’s very much in our hands to do something about it now.

This is the good news about being a human. The time we have left with family and friends is not a law of nature like the weeks we have left to live. It’s a function of priorities and decisions.

Much more at the link. Hopefully you won't hit a paywall.
February 14, 2022

Is it just me or did Crypto jump the shark last night

The Crypto companies went all out on advertising spending last night during the Superbowl. This is one of many articles about how they dominated the airways. https://fortune.com/2022/02/03/crypto-super-bowl-commercials-binance/

I will be the first to admit that I don't really get Crypto currencies. It is more than just having a limited understanding of them. I just don't get why they exist in a broad market. It seems to me that they have limited uses for limited kinds of people like criminals and anarchists. All of the rest just seems like hype and the fear of missing out. Which is where the Super Bowl advertising spree comes in to fuel even more hype and FOMO.

I don't particularly have any gripe with the concept as long as they don't undermine actual currency that we all depend on.

But if I am going to adopt any means of currency, I have two major hurdles: A) Confidence that it is at least real enough not to burn me and B) Widespread places where I can use it

I don't see either of those things even close to being true yet. Maybe Bitcoin is conceivable in the 5-10 year horizon but it isn't there yet.

The problem I see is that there are dozens of different crypto currencies and there isn't room for more than 1-2. Meanwhile, the proliferation and ultimate failure of the rest is simply going to undermine the potential of the few.

Meanwhile, the entire argument for crypto seem to be in the speculation and trading realm. Which seems particularly suspect to me. Without a widespread marketplace actually utilizing the currency, it seems even more theoretical than ever.

Or, maybe I am just old.

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Hometown: South Florida
Member since: Thu Aug 16, 2012, 05:52 PM
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