Halloween

BOO!

I… I mean… hello?

Many of you may have noticed that Halloween is coming up.

Pic of witch hitting tree

When I was a wee little tyke, back in the days before fire, nearly all the little children in my tiny home town would go out on Halloween to trick or treat. My town was small enough that we felt safe, and most of the children were allowed out to roam the neighborhood alone or with an older sibling. Those were great times, but I remember every year my mother making us promise not to eat any candy before we got home so she could check it to make sure it hadn’t been tampered with.

She never checked it.

At least I don’t remember her checking it. I do remember she wouldn’t let me eat the occasional fruit that was given out. She was very concerned that apples would have a razor blade shoved inside, for some reason. Which kind of makes me wonder why she just didn’t insist on chopping the apples into tiny pieces before letting me eat them. Of course there was almost no chance I was going to choose an apple over all that candy, anyway, but still…

Sweettarts, Snickers, and even nerds were all wonderful. Apples, not so much. What I didn’t like was all the butterscotch candies people would give us back then. Or those weird, gooey, generic orange and black nasties that we would get. I know some people love those, and I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. Ooh, and candy corn. Ugh. I never, ever, ever, ever liked the stuff. Still, I was happy to get it, because that way I would have loads to pass off to the adults when they came digging through my candy, and that way I could share and still get to keep all the good stuff:)

I really don’t remember what I dressed as most years. I have a really vivid memory of only three of my costumes ever. One was a bunny, when I was very small. I had a fluffy outfit, furry ears, the whole works. And it was about forty degrees that year and snowed, so we barely went trick or treating, and I had to wear a big brown coat over my costume. Not to mention the fact that my dad had to carry me (remember, I was pretty little) so I wouldn’t get too messy in the slushy snow.

Another year my parents bought me one of those plastic costumes from Walmart. Yeah, it was kind of last minute or something, and I think we had to pick from a small selection maybe, because I wound up as Oscar the Grouch. All I know is that I couldn’t see out of the mask at all.

Another year I went as a ninja. I had a homemade costume, made by my mother and my sister, and a pretty convincing wooden sword that we borrowed from someone. Except my mother and sister didn’t quite understand–despite my repeated attempts to convince them–that a ninja costume was supposed to be tight. So half the time people told me I was a very convincing grim reaper.

I think the last time I went out trick or treating was around fifth or sixth grade. It just wasn’t fun anymore for me after that. I was at the age where embarrassment overrode the need for candy, maybe. I don’t know.

Anyway, everyone have a safe and happy Halloween!

Horror Games

Hi everyone!

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about some of my favorite old video games that I used to play when I was younger. I’ve always loved games in the horror genre, when they were done right. The Silent Hill games were my favorite, but I also have good memories of the Resident Evil series. I think these games can be credited for a lot of the style of gameplay we see in games of all genres being released now.

The other day we were out at a thrift store, just searching around for hidden treasures. Some of you may already know from previous posts that this is one of our favorite pastimes. Anyway, I stumble across a copy of Resident Evil for the Gamecube.

Image of cover for Resident Evil Gamecube game.

Hm. No price on it, though. So I asked the worker there and she said $2.

Oh really?

Well, ya know, for just $2 I couldn’t exactly turn it down, now could I? Oh, but it gets better. They were having a sale that day, so it was actually 50% off of that. So yeah, $1. Seriously.

We snagged it up. We have a Wii at home, so we knew we could play it on there. And the game discs, box, everything is all in great shape. The only thing we were missing is the memory card so we could save games, and it turns out MicroCenter had those for a good price.

So yeah, we’re going to give a shot. Just in time, too, since Halloween is coming up. It has been so long since I’ve fought against the Umbrella Corporation, and I can’t wait to have at them.

Wish us luck.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Fixing The SCOTUS Selection Process

Hello!

I try very hard not to get too political here, otherwise I could let things devolve into me spewing my political views on everything. None of us want that, trust me.

But the past few weeks have once again made me give some thought to how we select our Supreme Court Justices. It’s messed up. The process maybe worked (and I would like to stress maybe) in past times, when presidents and senators acted with more honor and patriotism, but those times have gone away long, long ago.

Now presidents tend to just select someone who agrees with them on a couple of hot button issues, or someone they think will ignite their base and get them re-elected. Same thing with the senators. Very few of them ever really vote to confirm or not confirm based solely on the honest ability of a nominee, and instead it involves more of a political calculation.

So how do we fix this?

I don’t know that I have any more of a reasonable answer than anyone else, but the first thing I think we have to do is get rid of lifetime appointments. That would immediately make a nominee somewhat less scary. No matter your view on Roe v. Wade, the nominee would be gone in a few years and could be replaced, so they aren’t going to be an impediment for the next forty years. Whatever your view of LGBTQ rights, a new justice either blocking those or enabling equality isn’t going to be a permanent fixture for the rest of our lives.

So why do we have lifetime appointments, anyway? Integrity of the system, some say. So that a justice can be appointed and not rule based on what is most likely to keep them in the job. That makes sense, to a certain degree, but what we have wound up with is a bunch of old people sitting there and making decisions based on the ideals of the person and time who nominated them. Not ideal, obviously. But not without some merit, because it keeps rulings on what is and isn’t constitutional from swaying wildly from one president to the next.

So how do we make them less political, but still get rid of the lifetime appointments? I can only think of two ways, and neither of them are ideal, and neither would work completely. Both may be better than what we have, though.

My first thought is that we should let the process work sort of like it does now, a president nominates and the Senate confirms or not, but with some modifications. The modifications would be that the senate would have to have a vote on the nominee within 90 days or else the nominee would automatically be placed on the court provisionally and all other business in the Senate would be held up until the vote could take place. If there is not enough time for the Senate to investigate fully, they could request extensions in one month increments from the sitting president. Another modification with this system would be some kind of limit, say 8 years, as a term limit. At that point, during the next federal election there would be a simple retention vote for the justice. If less than 50% of the cast votes are votes to retain, the justice would be removed from the court. Justices would then face this retention vote during the soonest federal election at the end of each 8 year term they serve. The advantage of this 8 years is that it would automatically take the justice into at least the next presidency, if not beyond.

The other possible change I can think of that would at least somewhat de-escalate the doom and gloom prospects of a nominee would be if they had a flat limit of 10 years. That’s it. 10 and you’re out. Automatically goes into the next presidency, at least, and constantly refreshes the court with new people and new ideas. And we would usually have a mix of justices that have been on the court a few years and new justices, because of the offsetting times that justices retired or were confirmed to the court, which would mean it would slow any dramatic sways in rulings of the court. You’re not going to get a 9-0 ruling in favor of something, then a few years later end up with a 9-0 ruling against, usually. I would also add the variation that the Senate must give a nominee a hearing and vote.

Neither of these would fix the problem completely.

Neither of these is going to keep Senators from making up their minds completely ahead of time.

Neither of these is going to stop the Senate from not doing their due diligence when investigating a nominee.

Neither of these will prevent a president from nominating a completely unqualified hack.

What they both would do is at least limit the damage any one justice can do. They would limit the damage any one president could do.

I guess maybe the one rule that would need added under all circumstances, no matter whether any changes like these were implemented or not, is that if there is a vacancy on the court and a president nominates someone, no other nominee for this or any other Supreme Court vacancy could be considered until that nominee is voted upon. It is absolutely ridiculous that a nominee by a sitting president–any sitting president–could be just ignored. They are supposed to ‘advise and consent’, not ‘sit on and ignore’. And whatever a person’s political affiliations and beliefs are, we should all be ashamed when a nominee is just allowed to sit without so much as a hearing until the next president is in office. That is not how honorable people with patriotic intentions behave.

So yeah, those are my 2 cents (which, because of inflation, is now only worth 1/100th of a cent), and I don’t think any of this is ever going to happen. And it would probably require a Constitutional Amendment, which is almost certainly never going to happen. Too many people would have to agree to give up some of their power with these, and most people in office these days do not have the honor and patriotism to do so. But at least I was able to list the ideas out here, which has been somewhat cathartic, so something was accomplished.

Everybody have a good weekend!