putting away food stamp groceries
Saturday, April 2 2022
Despite all the rest and complete lack of indulgence yesterday, I wasn't entirely back to normal today, suggesting that the underlying problem really was the second covid booster I'd received on Wednesday. I'm not sure why this was giving me excessive intestinal gas; perhaps that was a completely coincidental issue. In any case, I ended up taking a long nap again this afternoon. But before all that, Powerful, Gretchen, and I had a nice relaxing Saturday morning together, with Powerful (who seems much better these last few days) cooking up vegan sausages and waffles for Gretchen and me and then even contributing a little to the collaborative game of New York Times Spelling Bee we like to play on Saturdays. The panagram was "deviance" (with "v" in the middle), which took awhile to find. I was the one who found it and gave Gretchen an opportunity to find it on her own. She's better at the game than I am, but she soon gave up and just had me tell her what it was.
At some point this afternoon my brother Don called me from Staunton (Virginia) to Donsplain the latest he'd heard about the failing Russian war on Ukraine. But he mostly seemed to want me to look up (and then perhaps buy him) some book he'd been unable to find. I begged out of that by saying, truthfully, that I had a cat on me. (I was in the laboratory beanbag.) Don then mentioned that our mother Hoagie was off at an art show. I asked how she'd gotten there and Don went silent. I then asked if Joy Tarder had taken her. He remained silent for awhile and then said, "Yes." "You're a terrible liar!" I declared. (This has always been true; Don lies so badly that he usually doesn't even try, telling truths even in situations where lying will clearly result in the best of all possible outcomes.) "Did Hoagie get a ride with Sara Whats-Her-Name?" I asked, referring to Sara L. Kesterson, the woman who had once lived across Stingy Hollow Road and had written over $100,000 worth of IOUs to my mother over the course of aboute a decade. Don initially tried to deny that this was the case but then eventually admitted that I was right. He then said that it's Hoagie's life and he has no control over it, which is true. Still, it seemed like I should probably be reaching out to adult protective services again. Or calling Joy Tarder and demanding to know why Sara is allowed anywhere near my mother.
Gretchen and Powerful returned from their customary early-month grocery shopping expedition (taking advantage of Powerful's freshly-replenished food stamp card) as I was attempting to take my late afternoon nap [REDACTED]. For some reason Gretchen thought I should do all the work of putting the groceries away, something she said would help me know what had been bought, which was a clever idea.
The weather had been fairly cool (though seasonable) today, but for about ten minutes in the late afternoon, it was nice enough for Gretchen to drag a chaise longue out into the driveway and lie on it while reading whatever book she is now reading.
This evening, before bed, I watched (or maybe re-watched) the HBO documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, which chronicled (in yet another delightful form) the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and her fraudulent biomedical startup Theranos.
As I watched it, I was struck by the appearance of Dan Ariely, one of the economists interviewed concerning the motivations to deceive by those who operate businesses. He only had a half a beard, which seemed very strange. Was he some sort of fashion eccentric? It turned out that he'd been severely burned as a young man, a life-altering incident that put him on the path to study behavioral economics. Due to that damage, hair can only grow on half of his face, and yet he chooses to grow what beard he can. He told of a fascinating experiment he'd conducted where participants were told to privately and entirely-mentally choose a side (either up or down) of a die that was to be tossed, and then report the number that was on it after the toss, with the goal for the participant being to achieve the highest number possible. Not unexpectedly, people demonstrated amazing "luck" with this game, indicating that they frequently lied about what side of the die they'd pre-chosen. But these lies could be detected with a polygraph machine, indicating telling such lies resulted in stress. But, Ariely said, if he told the participants that they were playing for charity, they would experience the same "luck," but the lies would go undetected by polygraph. This provides a good insight into how people who believe their goals virtuous can shamelessly lie and even commit heinous crimes in furtherance of those goals.
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