May
03

 

I like the concept of this bit, speaks to me and my – I feel older while realizing I’m not that much older – sense.  I’ve been known to get on a couple “kids these days” soapboxes, and perhaps reminisce about a prior time – that was not that long ago.  Maybe things change faster now. or maybe that’s a reflection that comes with age.

“back in my day:”

They used to make things that lasted… fridges, appliances, turntables, furniture… things were made of quality.  not plastic and junk that will fall apart in a couple years.  Or, technology-wise, the throw-away culture… you have a perfectly good phone, and yet you need to get the latest one because it’s the latest one?

or, back in my day, I remember a life before the internet.  “Kids these days” are born now with the internet, smart phones, etc. already in existence. or, for that matter, born after 9-11.

I’m not a comedian so I doubt I could phrase any of mind remotely comedically.

Back in my day, if you wanted to ignore someone face to face, you wouldn’t look down at your phone, you’d put on headphones.  (or, ever classic, just silent treatment them and pretend they’re not there.)

(can’t find the clip, but when Amy Sedaris was doing the late night rounds promoting her crafts book Simple Things: Crafts for Poor People, she showed up with a fake knitted cell phone, which she used as a prop – I found it delightful.)

back in my day… hmmm…. back in my day, if we wanted to angrily vent about the world, we didn’t get on the internet and blog about it, we drank a half pint of something and yelled at the wall…

no personal experience whatsoever…

 

 

May
02

My current favorite legislative tracking site, Countable.  It explains bills, past and current, in layman’s terms, bipartisan pros and cons, allows me to weigh in, allows me to send my representative and senators a message on whether I am for or against, and gives me my representatives’ voting record in real time.  Hopefully this is more handy than petitions.  (also an app, for those so inclined)

I guess, for no particular reason, starting off very divisively…

Abortion:

The climate surrounding this feels like they’re saying, “It’s legal, but exploit every loophole you can so it might as well not be…”
H.R.7 – No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017
and summarized in layman’s terms, pros and cons, on countable, here

and/or, “This is beyond abortion, this is about tanking Planned Parenthood’s other services as well…”

I suppose it’s ultimately about shoring up the evangelical Christian base to secure votes.

Should a Regulation Preventing States From Defunding Abortion Providers be Overturned?
conclusion: yes.  passed house (230/188), passed senate (50-50), president signed into law 4/12/17

Congress passed and now enacted an overturning of a law that would have protected federal funding to Planned Parenthood.  Bear in mind that federal funding already can’t go towards abortion due to the Hyde Amendment.  So this legislation will make it legal to deny funding for other services Planned Parenthood provides (contraception, pap smears, etc.).
[see their website for a long non-abortion list of services, including cancer screening, trans health, STD testing, help with body image dysphoria, etc. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/]

moving on to the topic of:

Congress

Those things don’t count because the President was in his last year and/or days of office…because, why again?

This (above) is one example of legislation under Obama being swiftly overturned, more easily than usual, by implementing the Congressional Review Act.  (and yes, this act was signed into law by Bill Clinton, but while it was only used once prior to 2017, it has currently been used 13 times by the current administration)  My hunch is that this act was originally meant as part of a check and balance review process, to keep a check on legislation after it’s been passed, to “review” it.  But that now this act is being intentionally exploited as a tool to undo what the Obama administration did.

Given making it easier to reverse legislation from the past 60 days (which could be up to a year as they only count the days in which Congress is in session), and given the Republicans not even holding a hearing for Merrick Garland, because he was nominated by Obama when Obama had one year left in his presidency, it makes me think that the opposition party believes that the last year or so of a president’s tenure don’t count, for some reason.

I say, whether a party platform I like or dislike, that the president’s entire tenure – presuming they are not impeached – counts.  Decisions made in the 11th hour should be just as valid as decisions made within the first 100 days.  Now, granted, say this means Trump’s administration passes something atrocious two days before he’s out of office.  and these loopholes could mean that maybe if the Dems win the next presidency, they could more easily undo that than earlier policies.  even still, it doesn’t make much sense to me.  I say all days of the president’s term count.  So I think that (a) we should overturn the Congressional Review Act, since it is being exploited for this purpose, and (b) enact legislation that says that Congress must hold congressional hearings for Supreme Court nominees – as is their job – no matter when in the term the presidential nomination is made.

Next up: Climate Change (links and stuff)

 

 

Information about climate change has been removed from the EPA website to “reflect the agency’s new direction under President Donald Trump and Administrator Scott Pruitt.”  This a day before the climate march.

National Geographic:
their climate change hub

National Geographic’s 7 things to know about climate change (a little simplistic, but maybe that was the point – i.e. “it’s here, stupid.”)

6 major indicators of climate change, Popular Science

an NPR radio hour/podcast on the “anthropocene” – mankind’s changing the earth so much geologists argue it could be a new geological era

Hance, J. (4/5/17). Climate change impacting ‘most’ species on Earth, even down to their genome. The Guardian, MSN, (msn.com)

Some data from NASA, so it looks like we’re not quite at the 440ppm or 2 degree thresholds, but at 405.6 and 1.7 respectively.
https://climate.nasa.gov/

How a Professional Climate Change Denier Discovered the Lies…

Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change, New York Times, more detailed than Nat Geo’s starter bit
————————————————-
peer reviewed journal articles:

marine life is declining with climate change as predicted:
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v3/n10/abs/nclimate1958.html

climate change will make water more scarce, (I presume potable drinking water for human population):
http://www.pnas.org/content/111/9/3245.short

increased extinction rates:
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/abs/nclimate2113.html
————————————————–

on the upside:
technology:

stalling strategies:
geoengineering, Popular Science

robots scrub carbon, Popular Science

bacteria that can eat plastic, Science Alert

 

 

Apr
19

 

“So what good is protesting anyway?”

A legitimate question I hear now, and from “both sides of the aisle,” “opponents” and “compatriots” alike.” I have heard this question a lot these days.  So much so that I felt I needed to answer, while also knowing this question is complex and I don’t feel I have an answer.  so, to rephrase, I wanted to put out my response.  I think this is a valid question.

where to start?

I feel opponents say this in mockery and blindsightedness.

a dichotomy of either protesters are unemployed sore losers just trying to get on TV who have nothing better to do or real hardworking folk trying to make a say and taking a stand for what they believe in…

so much bias.

First, I feel I should address my own.  I feel I have been blogging about protest for some time, so  a compilation.  More seriously, I think my views have drastically changed over the years.  In short, from being pro-violence to non-violence only.  And to be be self aware and in all truth to address that.

Also, by “violence” and any support of violence I may have had, I only meant in terms of perhaps vandalism, property damage, and would never condone people hurting each other.

So I went back through my blogs to find what all I said in chronological order.  Before I delve into that, I think it’s probably best to start with defining some terms.

semantics (my personal definitions):
Protest: a gathering of large groups of people in a public place to make a public display of a kind of political statement; could be violent or non-violent

Violent protest: when protesting becomes offensive, angry, and there is vandalism and property damage

Non-violent protest: when protesting is peaceful, more passive…or an active kind of passiveness, you can be angry, but restrain that anger to shouts and chants, no pushing, shoving, no looting, vandalism or property damage, if there is resistance, it is peaceful resistance, such as by blocking a road or sitting down

March: some, notably the Women’s March, are using the term “march” instead of protest, I think to have even more peaceful connotations, and/or to connote marching for something as opposed to protesting against something
https://www.womensmarch.com/mission/

Riot: this could either be a form of a violent protest or not a protest, I tend to think the difference is that protests have a message they are trying to convey, whereas rioting, I think has lost sight of the message or never had a message – anger for anger’s sake, essentially; associated with violence and destruction

so, chronologically:

8/9/11
Punk and protest alive and well…?

I had said:

London riots –
“For many, it’s simply a chance to blow stuff up, steal some stuff, and get a “bit of the old ultra-violence”.  But riots usually don’t start without cause and, though I’m no sociologist, I’m willing to bet it’s a reflection of poverty and anger against a state that doesn’t care.  The only question is whether violence and vigilantism are merited.”

I wrote then:
“The final question, I suppose, is whether rioting actually accomplishes anything.  And I say it does.  From the point of view of the rioter, it’s a long-needed venting, and perhaps provides a sense of purpose.  As a society, perhaps it’s a needed release valve.  Give the masses their revolts every once in a while to keep them in check.  And as noted in the “sympathetic” article earlier (Fletcher, NBC), it grabs public and political attention.  Whether it will elicit political change or improve conditions for the working poor, I doubt it.  But better than nothing.”

In the fairness of pointing out my hypocrisies and/or change of opinion, now, in 2017, I believe protesting has to be non-violent.  And I see why.  If you loot, vandal, break things, the only message you are potentially sending is that you are the bad guy.  and/or you encourage negative stereotypes against you that your opposition may have already had.

I think whether or not to riot is a more complicated issue than to only look at it dualistically.  There may be some potential pros to rioting.
(and again, for the record, if I ever do write that I advocate violent protesting, I am thinking of the word violent only as it applies to property damage, never to people…which, by the way, is again why I shouldn’t use the word violent…)

ok, so I think there may tentatively be some pros towards either rioting or violent protests, with the caveat that the violence in question only occurs to property and not people, living beings…
1) it grabs attention; people argue that they have peacefully protested again and again and again and never got news coverage, but once there was violence, news coverage
2) a societal release valve, which, historically, societies have needed, to keep the masses and governance in check, a release valve to let out tensions with socioeconomic classes etc. which might keep anger from getting so high that revolutions occur

but cons to violent protest and/or riots
1) you get news coverage, but negative news coverage; and maybe that’s worse… instead of sending a message to your opposition that you want change, you unintentionally send the message to your opposition that you are the bad guy, and it strengthens their position, not yours
1b) as they say, don’t become the hate you are fighting against
1c) some argue that peaceful protest can be more powerful and send a stronger message
1d) if there is a large group of people peacefully protesting and a small group inciting violence, they ruin it for everybody due to what the media is going to focus on and exploit and then the public thinks all the protesters were violent
2)ok, you do need some kind of release valve, but yelling and screaming and breaking things is likely not to elicit change to solve the problem… I think, on a personal level, you need to allow yourself to be angry or sad and let it out in some kind of way – maybe for some that’s getting drunk, or others going and punching a heavy bag, or going to a protest to chant… but then, after getting the rage out, move on to figure out how to channel that towards now fixing the problem instead of only complaining about it… it is very easy to criticize and very hard to create solutions…

 

10/19/11
remember Occupy Wall Street?

I think the problem with Occupy Wall Street was that they were too vague.  They intentionally didn’t want to have a leader so as to speak against the hierarchical power structure, and to be a co-op instead.  But how can a movement coalesce without a leader?  (maybe it couldn’t then, but is now, notably with Black Lives Matter, but also the Women’s March Movement, groups that are more co-op than revolving around one leader)  Occupy Wall Street fell apart, I think, because they didn’t coalesce around specific principles and a specific platform.  So it did become an umbrella for people who were angry, about any number of things, and was too general to be able to push to the next stage of trying to change the system.  or so it seems.

3/5/14

Pussy Riot!
They were mentioned on NPR just yesterday when the speaker was talking about how protesting can be effective with even just small numbers of people.

Pussy Riot today, KQED, NPR

and that brings me to somewhat the present, the 2016 election and its aftermath:

11/20/16
protest and participate:
https://oddlittlerants.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/protest-and-participate/

1/10/17
bitterness right after the election:
January 10th, 2017
https://oddlittlerants.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/venting/

January 20-21, 2017
Inauguration Day Protest and Women’s March Protest

1/30/17
protesting the 1st Muslim ban:
https://oddlittlerants.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/actions-against-muslim-ban/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcxGPjtV3DY

Tax Day protests:
https://oddlittlerants.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/tax-day-march-chicagoland/
Naperville, Chicago suburb:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/news/ct-nvs-trump-tax-rally-naperville-st-0416-20170415-story.html
Chicago:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wC30rRnpQDM

violence in Berkeley, CA and protests nationwide:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyJkh7utzf4

planned protests for

4/22/17, Scientists’ March/Earth Day March
https://www.marchforscience.com/

4/29/17, People’s Climate March/1st 100 Days
https://peoplesclimate.org/
—————————————————————————

So many protests, so little time.  So what’s the point?  Beyond being cathartic for the participants, and/or a means to feel you are doing something, if nothing else, they are a visual display to the outside world that some of the public disagrees with various policies and political regimes.

As to the actual message being sent out, again, as above, it gets muddled.  By the news coverage.  and by the bias of those perceiving it.  whether you are inclined to believe that these are people speaking out against something or whether you think they are angry sore losers.

The violence that occurred with a small group at the DC Inauguration tended to disproportionately dwarf the thousands of peaceful protesters who were there, more or less.  But also, the Inauguration protests were dwarfed by the massive Women’s March the next day.  (which I’m ok with)  My experience, having been at both, was that the Inauguration was the anger and despair and frustration, whereas the Women’s March was positive, encouraging, enthusiastic, a sense of unity and people standing for something, as opposed to against something.

But even still… what of it?  I think the Women’s March was big enough and peaceful enough that it couldn’t be ignored.  I think it has merit in turning that momentum into a movement and ushering many people to continue to be politically active moving forward: forming meetings in your neighborhood, attending townhalls, writing congressmen, etc.

“Why still have protests?  He’s elected, what’s done is done.  we get it, you don’t like it…”

well, maybe to continually keep up the momentum, instead of just accepting things as they are.  and there are continual ongoing issues to be upset about, from civil rights to climate change to healthcare to various legislation.  Maybe the protests are a way of keeping the momentum going.  You need to be doing other things (townhalls, writing congressmen, etc.) but the protests can be events that continue to generate energy, continue to show public resistance visually.

I guess what I’m coming around to is that you have to do more than protest, to really make effective change.  but that protests can be useful for getting people involved, keeping people involved, and showing the public how many feel. But yes, we need to do more.  and also work on what image is being projected (specific platforms, nonviolence).

To that end, I’ve written about other actions to take, as well as maybe trying to bridge some of the divides through discussion with opposing sides:
.
generating conversation:

switched at birth discussing racism
Indivisible Radio (npr)

actions to take:
https://oddlittlerants.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/action-for-the-day/
https://oddlittlerants.wordpress.com/2017/02/25/specific-legislation/
———————————-

I think that’s about all I’ve got for now.

p.s. I kinda feel like Lewis Black:

 

Apr
10

ok, so, it’s circulating around about a man being dragged off a plane, United Airlines, at O’Hare, today, 4/10/17.

some time today, I heard a little bit of this on NPR.  The bit I heard didn’t seem empathetic to the man taken off the plane.  There was brief audio of screaming, and then a calm reporter saying that just because you purchase a ticket, doesn’t mean you have a right to be on a plane and that the airlines can remove you for any reason.  So I was wondering, to myself, what happened.  was this some belligerent passenger?

What I further heard was that this flight had

a) overbooked

b) four staff members needed to be on this plane, thus four passengers needed to de-plane

c) that first they offered passengers one deal if they volunteered to leave

d) then they offered passengers another deal, doubling the money – and still no one volunteered

e) then they chose 4 people at random

f) 3 left

g) the fourth said he could not, he was a doctor and needed to leave now to get to his patients

(one witness account said this man and his wife stood up to volunteer earlier and then sat down when they realized the next flight going out would be too late)

h) insert whatever scene occured

and that’s the last I heard on NPR

 

as follow up hours later, I heard that

a) this man was able to re-board said plane (there is footage of him running up aisle, clinging to a curtain, repeating “just kill me, ” and “I want to go home” (or “just take me home” – something similar)

b) I also heard, though vague, that then all passengers were taken off the plane for an investigation to occur

c) I heard that one staff member was placed on leave

hours later, I got to see some video…

far from seeing some belligerent passenger, I see some police seem to apparently drag some passenger forcibly up from their seat, roughly, and then drag him down the aisle.  they must have bumped him into something and bloodied his lip.

This raises so many more questions…

ok, in positions where you may have to use show of force, health care and the like, I personally know there are many stages that are utilized before you go to this extreme version of force.  There are various tactics.  Which are taught.  Which are legal.  Talk calmly to the person.  “show of force” – bring a bunch of people to just stand there and look intimidating. and so on.  basically many stages before you lay hands on a person.  and then, even when you do lay hands, there is a proper manner to do so.

granted, we lack a lot of context in 20 second clips.  But I get the feeling the full spectrum of this was not performed.  i.e. escort the person out, there should be ways before force is used.

 

But before we even get to that point…

on why this occurred in the first place.  Overbooking.  I heard this is a common airline practice.  ok, fine.  but if you allow overbooking, you then have to have measures in place for when that backfires.

two) the staff needing to be seated.  When you seat a plane, I am pretty sure they seat essential people first and on down the chain. first staff, then veterans, then disabled, then first class, etc.  So you may have bought your ticket and it is still their fault they overbooked, but at least you are stopped at the terminal, and not on the plane.  Why didn’t they seat the staff first?

is this what happens when airline employees are late to work?  I had this moment where I thought, shit, what if I was a flight attendant and for reasons – my laziness – maybe hungover, just running late, traffic, I showed up late to work, too late to hit that first boarding call and yet – because job – I have to be on this flight, and then this happens.  cue major major guilt.  and note, ok, if airline staff, never never ever be late to work ever…

so one, don’t overbook.

two, seat staff first.

three, ok, you offered the amenities.

four, then you drew at random.  what was that random?  (I’m sorry, but given the climate, was it pick at some non-white person?) I would like to see the process at this point, at least let me see you roll a die or something.

five, ok, when person number four says they are a doctor, why not announce that – hello passengers, we chose people at random and this person is a doctor, is there any person willing to volunteer in his place? offer that.  and then, hell, do another random to pick another person.

and, last but certainly not least, ok, you are going with this guy, so many other things you could have done besides this physical force.

which brings me to, “my America.”

maybe I was sheltered, naive, blind, privileged, I don’t know.  I know it wasn’t like things were all perfect and then Trump and hellscape.  I knew things were pretty shitty.  even when I didn’t personally experience it, I knew about discrimination. and so on.  but the election, Trump, all that entails, was a new degree of awakening for me.  oh, this is my reality.

kindof like, I knew it was shit, but I had no idea it was this bad…

I wake up.  I think, what might someone from another country think of the United States right now.  and then I groan and cringe.  We drone strike hospitals, we launch nukes, we tell other countries to de-nuke while we ramp up, we oust democratically-elected leaders to put in tyrants who help our corporations, we get into wars with other countries for oil…all that… we have stark racism.  We also attack people who try to stand up for civil rights.  A large part of our country wants the freedom to openly discriminate against LGBT, and black people, and non-Christian people, and Hispanic people and so on.  We want to build an f–ing wall… not because it will do anything, but out of rigid isolationist symbolism.  We thrive on hate.  We attack other countries for tyranny and prop it up ourselves… but I’m being grandiose and far too over-simplified.  in short scale… the country I live in kicks a man off a plane for speaking Arabic.  it turns LGBT refugees away, escaping a country that would kill them.  hell, it turns all refugees away.  the country I live in apparently doesn’t care about nepotism or conflict of interest or the environment or science or facts.  the country I live in has cops shooting unarmed people and the cops are rarely arrested and often not convicted and we deny any semblance of the idea of racism.  the country I live in mocks people who want to try to stand up for civil rights.  the country I live in violently drags a man off a plane…

and I wake up and think, yeah, America’s not this great land of the free, is it?  it can be pretty tyrannical and brutal and, arguably worse, hide it under a veneer.

as to this incident.  no, I still don’t know all the facts and context.  I applaud the appalled woman who called this out.  and also, ironic for luddite me, the people whipping out their cellphones – video – live video – street journalism, is maybe a real and valid truth we need.  Maybe if I dare to come into the 21st century, this personal big brotherism that I hate can also do good.  cell phone video and twitter and such do put out some truth and make cover ups harder.  …but….

anyways, just some immediate and uninformed two cents…

on to said video…

first I saw:

a witness account:

one of NPR’s accounts here

another youtuber’s legal analysis:

thus far…

Apr
08

What party/political spectrum are you quizzes:

  • Pew Research Center’s two-party spectrum quiz
  • GoToQuiz’s much more broad political compass quiz
  • (I’m sure there are countless others, I took one around election time from isidewith, which was American and generally two-party with some others, very exhaustive, covering the issues – to what degree there were – from this last exhaustive and maddening election nightmare that doesn’t end…but I liked that the quiz allowed you to put in varying degrees of answer, not just yes or no, with a category to write in your own, points for nuance)

 

With the Republicans having won across the board in all branches of US government, the Democrats are probably struggling with an identity crisis.  Maybe the Republicans are as well, divided between more hardline Tea Partiers and more moderate Republicans, although most seem to have coalesced as a solid bloc around Trump and their platform somewhat seems to be hardline evangelical Christian social positions, pro-corporate interests, and whatever it takes to win.  I used to have much more respect for Republicans in the past, and you could have sold me on some fiscal conservancy issues and more moderate views, but not any more.  Not in the Trump era.

But what about the Democratic party?  Where will the electoral losers and minority congressmen go from here?  and what will constituents do?

People are divided (clearly).

a) keep the Democrats, work with the Democrats, help them become less corrupt – Justice Democrats, Bernie Sanders’ and Elizabeth Warren’s Our Revolution

b) introduce a third party, (fourth, fifth…) perhaps a Progressive party, reform the government to help strengthen third parties and try to get away from the two-party system

c) replace all of Congress, “post-partisan” – not Democrat or Republican or third party, but finding good people across the board, who adhere to certain values, to overhaul all of Congress – Brand New Congress

d) to hell with the Democrats, double down with more traditional hardcore third parties like the Socialists and the Communists – Answer Coalition, Communist Party, Socialist Party,

e) or “simply” uniting swaths of people together in anti-Trump groups, Anti-Trump Army (facebook), the Women’s March

And as for what people should do, there are various grassroots organizations floating around

a) Justice Democrats, mentioned above

b) Women’s March Huddles

c) Brand New Congress local organization, BNC’s local organizing toolkit

d) Indivisible Guide

and then, individually, staying informed, participating in town halls, contacting congressmen, voting in local elections, participating in protests, or canvassing, or trying to generate conversations with people who hold opposing views from you, or weeding out distractions and fake news from verified sources, balancing paying attention with giving yourself a break from it…

Information Portals:

on voting:

following legislation:

News sources:

outside your bubble:

contacting congressmen:

Related Links/Books:

 

Apr
06

Ok, I’m listening to WONC (89.1) (Chicago suburbs) their Vintage Rock hour right now.  I have a penchant for garage rock aka psychedelic rock, so it’s right up my alley.  and tonight’s DJ is on fire.  I love when they do obscure stuff and not just the typical.  and that seems to be on point tonight.

first:

then:

on that last song, I thought I heard bits of modal… too tired to get into it now, but modal was a precursor to modern Western keys, associated with, say, Gregorian chants, Dark Ages etc., and I think it saw a resurgence in the ’60s, most notably Scarborough Fair (Simon and Garfunkel) – what I wouldn’t give to have lived in the ’60s – but that’s a whole other rant…would it seem better, would it seem worse, the rose-colored glasses and nostalgia and showing what I take for granted now and so on… but moving on… so, anyways, this theory I had that the ’60s not only saw a resurgence in folk (insert populism, things, in regard to civil revolutions), but this resurgence in modal Dark Ages-type music…why, how… anyways, I thought I heard a hint of that with this last song.

one other rant, yes, a whole lot (most) of garage rock bands are one hit wonders at best.  (I still love them).  but yeah.

on to this DJ, Vintage Rock is playing Queen’s “Ogre Battle” at the moment.  Once upon a time, I -naive- told my friends that I basically hated Queen.  that was because all I knew of Queen, showing my age and naivete and the times, was Bohemian Rhapsody and a couple other major hits, which were far overplayed, and since I heard them so much…so I said, then, I definitively didn’t like Queen.  My best friend at the time persisted, I just needed to really hear them.  and he did, end of story, convert me.  Sean of the Dead’s use of “You’re My Best Friend” helped.  But my friend sold me with The Game album, specifically “Dragon Attack”.

and then “Don’t Stop Me Now” has a lot of memory and nostalgia and all attached to it for me. and, of course, Queen and Bowie’s “Under Pressure,” fuck Vanilla Ice – though, to many, me unfortunately included, he introduced people to that song he ripped off and short changed. (also, Bowie collaborating with everyone)

so yeah, Queen rocks.  I wish the radio would stop with the Bohemian Rhapsody and play some other stuff.

 

oh, right, why I thought to start this tonight to begin with.  to begin with, I am not a Bob Marley fan.  Nothing against him, just never was a fan.  But, timing.  This evening, I had just come back from a political meeting/huddle thing I go to, and then I came back, turned on Vintage Rock, the DJ announced someone had requested this song, and this came on the radio:

and I couldn’t help but think… maybe just coincidence.  but did someone request this song feeling political, feeling, given the climate, hey, don’t give up, keep trying, and them requesting this song was their way of getting that feeling out?  maybe coincidence.  if not, message heard.

and, well, I’d like to do likewise.  I used to call in requests… I don’t know what I’d call in… I guess I’d think ’60s and folk and all… an easier go-to might be Bob Dylan.  I don’t know.  I’d have to think about it.  what do I want to convey?  what do I want to hear?  I guess, at the risk of being personal, “not give up.”  what song conveys that?

anyways… things…  but a glimpse, I guess, of WONC tonight. just throwing stuff out there.  to the internet void.

(other thoughts.. I haven’t given much thought to my readership in the sense of what they might like.  I just write to write, more for myself than anything.  I guess my blog is mostly venting my political frustrations.  and I have put the most time and effort into that.  but yeah… also, since Robin Williams’ death, I did vow to try to start an open dialogue, starting with me, so I have, off and on, had my depression blog posts.  and people seem to really like those.  and then I also write about music, which is big to me. though might maybe get the least “hits” – not that I really track.  whatever.  I write more for me, not for “clicks” or whatever.  but I guess it leads to interesting speculation.  I guess I understand why not many people are interested in political stuff… I speculate…most people don’t care or actively try not to, and those that do – the bubble thing – are probably pretty staunch and only want to hear from people who confirm their views, or so we think, more or less.  as for the depression thing, I don’t know about other people, I can only speak for myself.  lonely, isolated, helpless, things.  randomly search the internet, anything, something, just to feel a tiny bit less alone, and/or having tried everything, the meds, the shrinks, what are others going through, does anyone else have anything to offer, and so I seek, maybe send out tendrils to try to connect, and maybe that’s what other people do too… that Police song

I shouldn’t get me started… this whole thing that “we” – us depressed – we truly aren’t alone.  tons of us are.  look at the internet.  go to any group meeting.  talk to enough random strangers.  and yet… hell, as if even when you find some solidarity, you still feel alone.  each an island unto themselves.)

but yeah… I was just posting some music, right?  (groan) and never mind me.

and I see my blog slipping more and more from me trying to be professional to some journal entry, and dangers therein.

blah. things.

so I guess I’ll stop here.

have a good night all.

-me

 

 

Apr
05

I guess I’m not so subtle with the titles.  I was just heading out in my car on this rainy night and caught the latter half of this song on the radio.  new to me.  wonder if it’s a relatively new song, but still has an older feel.  (more on that later…maybe)  I instantly liked it.  came back, looked it up on the YouTubes.

long story short, I don’t like music videos, but I did like this one.

so here’s my song of the night:

Mar
31

I don’t feel (have the energy) to really write right now.  I’m tired.  That grogginess of foggy sleep-brain.  Today I tried and failed to wake up “earlier,” was up for a little bit, then fell into a nap/sleep/depression coma thing mid-day.  still exhausted.  and all I kept thinking, kept repeating to myself, was that I didn’t want to sleep, but all I wanted to do was sleep.  Even with some time and some money, I couldn’t think of a thing I wanted to do.  that’s part of depression too I suppose – in terms of anhedonia, no motivation, no ambition, etc. etc. … anyways, that’s about it.  I think I’ll showcase some others’ points of view.

The song that seems relevant at the moment is John Doe’s “Field of Dirt,” which I can’t find a postable recording of (I do own the CDs…), but a sample is here.

a couple quotes I like:

I heard this from Joy Ladin, a transgendered person, on NPR the other day:

“And I think that one of the blessings and burdens of being trans is that I think all human beings actually are ratios of being and becoming, and that for most of us after childhood, we think of ourselves as mostly being with some becoming. And when becoming takes over, becomes a greater proportion, we think of that as a crisis. It’s a midlife crisis with some kind of religious conversion. Then we’ll settle down again, and we’ll have lives that coalesce.

But I think, for trans people, I think that, for me, and I think for many of us, becoming is always going to be a greater proportion than being. I’ll never have enough experience of life as myself, to have that settled, fixed sense.

I do have some things that are much more settled than they were, but I think I’m always going to have this sense of being as something that constantly involves becoming. And I think that that’s really the glory of the human race. I don’t think anybody should write us off. We’re not done yet.”
-Joy Ladin
http://onbeing.org/programs/joy-ladin-transgender-amid-orthodoxy-i-am-who-i-will-be/

My paraphrasing/take-away from that..that you feel better when you are “being,” – when you know who you are – as opposed to when you are “becoming,” the more than uncomfortable feeling, the ennui and so on, that you don’t like who you are, you don’t feel you are who you actually are, or, maybe worse, you know who you actually are but want to be someone else, or some other version of you… waiting to “become”

… whether it’s a teenager waiting to stretch their freedom and find their own identity from their parents, or an adult in quarter or mid-life crisis, realizing you have some job you hate, some life you hate, that you are just going through the motions, that you’re dreams are gone, that you’re not where you wanted to be and don’t want to be stuck here…or some adult moved back in with their folks, stuck in some arrested development new-teenager-dom phase…somehow combines teenagerdom and mid-life crisis together, where you can’t be who you are and/or are waiting to become someone else, or….

and, then, moreover, that some trans people, at least from Joy’s point of view, are always in a state of becoming, which could both be unsettling, but also perhaps a sign of strength and/or another philosophical viewpoint that could be useful to learn from.

 

other quotes:

or there’s this:

 

All images are linked to the respective blog posts I found them from, and then some related blogs from others’ personal experiences:

“Depression Settles at the Bottom”, Opinionated Man

“Depression is a Drag,” Bipolar for Life

“A mouthful of words…,” by HBHATNAGAR, (wordpress.com)

and some art:

 

and for ending on a more positive note, depressive humor:

Mar
30

 

Ok, so, for some there are local elections coming up.  I know it’s hard to get into them.  hell, I’m pretty political these days and it’s only a couple days out and I barely know who’s running and so on and so forth.  Plus, I’m futilistic as hell these days.  Still, I figure I’d better.

I heard Bernie give an impassioned speech about the importance of local elections and getting involved in politics locally, how that may even be more important, in the long run, than the major presidential elections… grassroots change and all.

In any case, a quick how-to on how to find out about your local elections.  I started by finding my local League of Women Voters website (it was actually easier for me to find it by doing an internet-search-engine-of-choice for lwv and my city), but you can also search through their main page here: League of Women Voters, Local League.

The League of Women Voters are non-partisan and their goal is to provide information to help people vote how they so choose.

My local LVW page directed me to Vote411.org, which I found immensely helpful – direct, easy to use, a quick and helpful resource to find out about my candidates and their positions.  Vote411 didn’t have exactly everybody, but between them and my local LVW page, I think I found all the information I needed. Vote411.

And lastly, Ballotpedia.  Ballotpedia is usually my go-to for national presidential elections and perhaps some other congressional issues.  I personally found the site less helpful, as compared to vote411 and lwv, in terms of finding information for local elections.  unless, maybe, you live in a major city.  Nonetheless, I still think they are a good source.

So, Ballotpedia Local Election page and Municipal Elections 2017 in major cities.

Mar
30

Cephalapine by bedowynn

 

Platypillar by thomastapir

 

oh wait, this one’s real (Platybelodon)

 

on to the games:

I haven’t played either of the following games, but they intrigue me.  I guess this is part two of my board game wishlist.  (part one here)

Evolution: A board game where you try to create and maintain many species, can give them characteristics to help them survive, and the risks and pay offs of being an herbivore or carnivore

Beasts of Balance:

I think board games are starting to branch out into multi-media platforms, with combinations of board game and software.  I experienced this while playing the intense puzzle-solving game, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.  Beasts of Balance seems somewhat like Jenga, with a physical stacking component, that involves corresponding software.  I think the artwork and concept is intriguing, and it seems to add a couple of challenges – keeping the animals healthy – that could allow for some strategy, in addition to the stacking component.  A possible downside to this game is if the software doesn’t work correctly – Beer and Board Games couldn’t get the game to work for their first video, but got it to work in their second attempt.