Know s*it Sherlock! The 3.5 % solution!

For love of wordplay, the phrase “no s*it¹ Sherlock” recently resolved itself into “know s*it Sherlock.” Know s*it.  ‘Know’ the homonym of ‘no’ turns the snarky phrase “no s*it Sherlock” into a cheer for furthering one’s education — “know s*it Sherlock.” Know, know, know!

Sherlock Holmes required a 7% solution.

And as an information junkie, I am happy to report that 3.5% of a solution is required to shake this current s*itstorm of an administration apart.  From my new favorite periodical — The New Hampshire Gazette A Non-Fiction Newspaper, Grab Me, I’m Free! Vol. CCLXII, No. 16, April 27, 2018, page 2:

“If enough people stand up to the status quo, eventually it will cave.

“The question is, how many people would that take? According to researchers Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, not as many as one might think.

“They found that ‘no campaigns failed once they’d achieved the active and sustained participation of just 3.5 percent of the population — and lots of them succeeded with far less than that.’ “²

Whoa! What!? If we throw the 3.5% solution at the 2016 election turnout, an additional 4.8M resisters need to participate and march their feet to the polls to effect change.  And though we may not participate for the same reasons —  a metaphorical herd of cats — pick your protest issue(s), make your voice heard, and at election time, make your vote count for change you believe in. Shoot, if you look at the number of votes Jill Stein and Gary Johnson peeled off in 2016, we’re there!

And like it or not, I offer the contemporary Tea Party as a recent example of effective civil resistance. The Tea Party formed in January 2009 after the election of President Obama. Although never a formal political third-party, the Tea Party organized, endorsed, and elected Senators and Representatives that formed a coalition within the current GOP.  And while verifying this assertion, I tripped across this nice essay obituary for the Tea Party by Matt Kibbe, one of the original Tea Party organizers.

The rise and fall of the Tea Party happened within a decade more or less. Horrified as we were, they affected real political change.  And treated us with Ted Cruz. And now their adjunct-cum-Emporer Prescedense Trump. And the damage done by the Trump Prescedensey internationally just this week and the week’s not even over, will persist longer than a decade.

Participate. Encourage others. The 3.5% solution is within our reach.

Know shit hope, Sherlock.


¹ s*it: I recently blogged that s*it looks French and sounds French if pronounced ess-EEE.

² Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan authored the book Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, Columbia University Press, December 2012.

³ The following are links to lists of issues and a gentle reminder, issues persist regardless of administration:

Pick one or two issues from the lists. Get involved. Be involved. Stay involved. And above all, be kind.

 

 

 

 

 

Time-lapse: Happy Mother’s Day!

Well, I am a people watcher reporting from the bleacher seats! And last weekend I watched a crowd of graduates which included Frood,¹ process their way into an auditorium, receive their diplomas, and process their way back out.

I recorded time-lapse videos of the event — the crowd is in place, the chairs fill; the chairs empty, the crowd pours out. The view from the bleacher seats. Parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, the all of us smooshed into a ceremony in celebration of a major milestone and achievement!

Enjoy! Or not …

I was interrupted during the filming of the procession out, but smacks! Look at that crowd in the bleachers on the other side of the auditorium MOVING on OUT, that yellow of the empty seats pops!


¹ Frood is still not her real name.

At wealth’s end …

Monday morning over coffee and I am waving goodbye to Jeff Bezos who has walked so far out on the pier of net worth that he is crossing his own ocean and did I mention I’m all in for mixed metaphor?

Jeff Bezos net worth today is approximately $130B. Stratospheric net worth. Net worth expressly worthy of expression in scientific notation¹:

Jeff Bezos’ net.worth ≅ $1.3 X 10¹¹

And it has been reported that Mr. Bezos doesn’t know what to do with all that net worth which disappoints me.  At the end of the pier in which his peers lag behind him by ∼$40B, at the pinnacle of wealth, at wealth’s end, Jeff Bezos doesn’t know what to do with all that net. Worth.  Casting about with rockets and a 500′ clock that operates off the earth’s thermal cycles, Jeff Bezos with more money than God Warren Buffett, appears to be searching for some sentimental hygiene

And aside: A clock that works off the earth’s thermal cycles?

Hmmm. Seems that will be short lived as we burn this muffin cycle to hot, hot, hot.

And time is a man-made construct. What’s up with that Mr. Bezos?

Evidently, on that long walk on a long pier, Mr. Bezos bypassed the reason for the walk. He accumulates steps on his financial FitBit but hasn’t expanded the view past his own wrist. Or casting rockets into the sea. Or a 500′ thermal clock buried in a West Texas mountain tracking time in units of what? What for?

So if Mr. Bezos is fishing for some ideas to spend at wealth’s end, some ways to cast a bit of net.worth for more immediate tangible results, well, here we go:

  • Purchase a country. Or two. Or maybe fix buy Puerto Rico. Instead of Puerto Rico, (Rich Port), we could call it Bezos Rico. Afterall, buy low, put in a little work and flip it as the 51st state, why not? It could be the grandest episode of Fixer Upper.
  • From Twitterer Matthew Chapman: Buy every homeless person in the US a median price home.  This could be an epic Oprah-chart-chanting moment: “And YOU GET a house, and YOU GET a house, and … ad nauseam, you get the idea … ” Mr. Bezos would still have a net.worth of $1.9 X 10¹º (USD)!

  And he would still qualify for the TOP 25 list of Ricos.

Aside: Being a homeowner myself, I am not a fan of this idea on account of the cost of ownership – insurance, utilities, maintenance, it’s a long list and gifting houses, in the end, may just be cruel. So … 

  • Economic experiment! Give each one of your employees a $192,000 bonus and watch what happens! Kill those nasty stories about corporate welfare and Amazon employees on public assistance. And then the stories about Jeff Bezos is one Rich Rico on account of social welfare can stop.
  • My personal favorite: Get creative and start a new currency! Call it the Bezos. Index the Bezos to a combination of US, Chinese, and Euro exchange rates. Seed the new exchange by awarding Bezos with every purchase made on Amazon. It’s a win-win.

Based on the reach of Amazon into our pockets, the Bezos will become currency quicker than you can say ‘mining for Bitcoins!’ Economies thrive on a healthy exchange of goods and services and we’re dying here in the wait for the trickle down of USD.  We can trade up in Bezos.

And another win! Competitively, Alibaba/Jack Ma will be put on what-for-what-just-happened-catch-up-already notice. Jack Jeff it up!

Ah, poor Jeff Bezos. He can’t make a financial move without moving markets, influencing outcomes, turning the tide. It looks lonely out at wits the end of wealth’s end¹

You’re an economic whale, Mr. Bezos.  Go ahead. Make a difference. Jump.

Make a splash.


¹ I love English. Words can be used and repurposed within a geometrically proximate distance of instance — “… net worth expressly worthy of expression … ” Mmmm. Low hum yummy.

² Sentimental Hygiene by Warren Zevon. Totally singable.

10¹¹: 10 raised to the 11th power. Written out = 100,000,000,000

The comfort of old media!

Well, maybe it is not the comfort of old media — see also this post on the New Hampshire Gazette —  but the remembrance of uncomfortable history, the recollection of past events and the effort required to preserve fight for democracy, struggle a more perfect union. Administrations lurch along the long arc of the moral universe in its bend towards justice. And it seems to me we’re on our way to peak lurch, but I digress.

The New Hampshire Gazette, (Vol. CCLXII, No. 15, April 13, 2018) reminds us that Viet Nam Veterans had to stand-down the United States Supreme Court some 47 years ago! There was no comfort. It was complicated. Enlisted troops sent to disrupt the protests were contemporaries of the protestors. It was dirty. And the war didn’t end until 1975.

But Viet Nam veterans struggled the union.

Keyboard warrior-ing away in the comfort of Frood’s¹ living room, I’m reminded by a print newspaper that I have been complacent in the belief that the long arc of the moral universe would bend without any action required on my part. But Black Lives Matter marches, the Women’s March on Washington, the March For Our Lives , voting rights, women’s rights, and all the rest — it’s nice to be complicitly lulled into complacency — are reminders that freedom is protected, guarded, and earned by feet in the street and it ain’t easy. It is not comfortable. It is not without risk to livelihood, life and limb in the pursuit of liberty. 

Struggling a more perfect union is work. It has been since 1776.  

Buckle up.


And the print media dramatically reminds us that Wolf the Quarrelsome had a style that our current politicians, try as they might to disembowel us, can only aspire to mimic through enactment of policy, laws, and entanglements.

Keep trying, Ted!


And over the weekend at the annual White House Correspondents annual roast, comedian Michelle Wolf the Quarrelsome disemboweled reminded us that the media — the barking dogs in a race to see who can bark loudest but not longest or rightest — are in on the current ugly lurch.

“You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off him.”

Michelle Wolf, April 28, 2018 WHCA dinner

And then to prove that’s how they make their money her point, the media-internet-immediate-Twitter-verse went wild. Apologies ensued from the media to paid pathological liars who pretty as they are or aren’t, lie. Liars in a room full of media barking dogs who can’t take the time to lather find the truth, rinse stick to it, and repeat.

Flint, Michigan is still without drinking water.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Puerto Rico is still without power.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I eagerly await the next issue of the New Hampshire Gazette.


¹ Still not her real name, but it’s growing on me. 

The joy of old media!

Today in the age of news that precedes the facts, I would like to take a moment to celebrate The New Hampshire Gazette, “The Nation’s Oldest Newspaper (TM), founded in 1756 by Daniel Fowle, A Non-Fiction Newspaper.” And this entire post is my shameless blatant endorsement of a paper that has not gone soft due to the whiz-bang-wow of the immediacy of electronic devices.

I did not know of this free and fine publication until Ann tossed me a copy on her return from a trip out east. “You might find this interesting.” And I read it. Front to back. The whole enchilada newspaper. Published once every two weeks, it is a respite from the barking news media. It is social and political commentary and observations made from the distance of space-time removed from the right NOW. National, state, and local news. Not all of the news for sure, but enough. More would just be showing off.

Here are excerpts that make me aspire to write better, smile or outright laugh-out-loud. From Vol. CCLXII, No. 15, April 13, 2018 (my bold):¹

The Fortnightly Rant:

“Now Uncle Sam’s shoelaces have been tied together — by the hand of the GOP.”

“The EPA, now being run by its own arch-enemy, Scott Pruitt … “

“In the perfectly-normal mind of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, … the only proper way for a child to learn is from a perfectly-matched pair of parents — one of each gender, if you please — who can somehow find the time and wherewithal in today’s nuked economy to operate their own single-family school district.”

“… consider Mick Mulvaney and all his works.”

“As a nihilistic representative of corporate chaos determined to clear all obstacles to Wall Street’s goal of world domination … “

Busted by the Flag Police

Issues I’ve read to date, run the feature Busted by the Flag Police — a photo of a desecrated US flag and why its display is not in keeping with the decorum expected of flag handling and display. This issue features a painting by Jon McNaughton of President Trump holding a desecrated flag, “specific charges … will be ginned up at a later date.” Jon McNaughton’s work “would appear to be updated works of Hieronymus Bosch, but for the marked absence of skill, imagination, and wit.”  Supposedly this painting was purchased by that great wit Sean Hannity who, since the publication of this issue, has been outed as a Michael Cohen client. And I laugh.

Letters to the Editor: A Veterans’ Day Parade Done Right

“Just a thought, but as they say, “Nothing’s too good for a soldier, but we give it to them anyway.”

– Dan Mannschreck, Col., U.S. Army (Ret), Eliot, Maine

And I feel a connection.  Dad used to say, “Nothing’s too good for the poor, but we get it anyway.” Hmmm, perhaps he learned this in the army, too? Note to self, investigate.

Admiral Fowle’s Piscataqua River Tidal Guide (Not for Navigational Purposes)

And finally, enjoy a sampling of historical events noted on the back page:

Sunday, April 15, 1992 — Leona Helmsley, America’s anti-sweetheart, takes up residence at a federally-owned Crowbar Hilton in Lexington, Ky.

Thursday, April 17, 2013 — A fertilizer plant located next to a middle school in West, Texas, uninspected since 1985, blows up. Fifteen are killed, mostly volunteer firemen, 250 others are injured.

Friday, April 20, 1971 — Mistaking the National Mall for their lawn, Supreme Court Justices tell Vietnam Veterans Against the War to get off it.

Saturday, April 21, 1971 — In Washington, D.C., Vietnam Veterans Against the War defy the Supreme Court by staying on the National Mall. Park police decline to arrest.  Tomorrow’s headline: “Vets Overrule Supreme Court.”

Monday, April 23, 1014 — Vikings are defeated at the Battle of Clontarf.  High King Brian Boru is slain by Brodir, but Brodir is soon disembowelled [sic] by Brian’s brother Wolf the Quarrelsome.

Friday, April 27, 2017 — “This is more work than my previous life,” says President Donald Trump. “I thought it would be easier.”

Friday, April 27, 1773 — The British Parliament passes the Tea Act. Oops.

Saturday, April 28, 2016 — Ex-Speaker John Boehner calls Sen. Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh,” and says he “never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”

By publication end, I feel all the better for the reading. Smarter, calmer, able to breathe. I’ve been delivered real news and opinion in hardcopy format. Although I knew that Sen. Ted Cruz is a miserable son of a bitch, I was unaware that Wolf the Quarrelsome could be so fatally unpleasant.

And while the US Postal Service is still in business, for the fee of $25, 26 fortnightly issues are delivered to locations other than locally “free”. A mental health break bargain


¹ Footnoting being what it is in this electronic age — I have not discovered a superscript number beyond three (³) in WordPress — all of the indented texts above contain direct quotes from The New Hampshire Gazette, Vol. CCLXII, No. 15, April 13, 2018.

² On the subscription page, The New Hampshire Gazette is also open to donations.

The problem with human resources.

Human Resources. On page 289 of the hardcopy of A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, I tripped across the following description of Russian life in 1938 in a footnote:

“*Stripped of their names and family ties, of their professions and possessions, herded together in hunger and hardship, the residents of the Gulag — the zeks — became indistinguishable from one another.  That, of course, was part of the point. Not content with the toll exacted by means of incarceration and forced labor in inhospitable climes, the supreme authorities sought to efface the Enemies of the People.

But an unanticipated consequence of this strategy was the creation of a new polis. Having been stripped of their identities … would move in perfect unison, sharing in their privations as well as their will to persist. Henceforth, they would know each other whenever and wherever they met. They would make room for each other under their roofs and at their tables, addressing each other as brother and sister and friend; but never, ever, under any circumstance, as comrade.” 

Aha! There it is. Comrade. Stripped of their identities, reduced to comrade.

In a past life as a Project Manager, I wondered why I railed at referring to individuals — people, co-workers, employees — as “resources.” How many “resources” does it take to get a project done? Individuals with work habits and knowledge ranging from novice to master or expert stripped of their identities. Reduced to a number expressed in units of FTEs. Full-time equivalent or full-time employee. How many?

Remember Einstein’s observation? “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”  

Employees reduced to ‘resources’ are a numbers game, commodities, objects. One can be swapped for another. Widgets. They can be counted but they no longer count.

And see also, Orwell: “All pigs are not created equal.

Be kind to one another.


Footnote:

A Gentleman in Moscow is an engaging and delightful read! The first half moves a little slow but by novels’ end, it feels like flying down a hill on a bicycle with no helmet and no brakes.

As I read, I folded the corners of so many pages that my book almost looks like a Reader’s Digest Christmas tree.  Folded pages on top of folded pages … oh well. Mr. Towles is very quotable. Page 68:

“Here, indeed was a formidable sentence — one that was on intimate terms with the comma, and that held the period in healthy disregard.”

Sounds like a description of the type of sentence Viva aspires to write.

A Gentleman in Moscow

– Viva’s hardcopy of A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

A Sundry Assortment: BOLD News

Celebrating Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)!

Oh, so much to woW!

First, congratulations to Senator Duckworth and family on the birth of Maile Pearl Bowlsby this week. Wow! Senator Duckworth is the first US Senator to give birth while in office.

Second, Senator Duckworth is 50 and Maile was conceived via in vitro fertilization. I understand that IVF is time-consuming, painful, and expensive, but what gives me pause is fifty (50). Infants and fifty? Combine the two? I just wouldn’t.even.ever. So, woW.

And woW is just Mom turned upside down.

Finally, Senator Duckworth lost her legs in Iraq in 2004. The Black Hawk helicopter Captain Duckworth was piloting ¹ was shot down.

2020? I could vote for a President Duckworth².

Michael Cohen

A search warrant was carried out in the offices of Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer. Lookin’ for crimes:

“There is no “deep state” conspiracy against Donald Trump. Law enforcement officers, federal included, tend to lean right. If they are finding crimes, they are finding crimes.  It’s not ideological (which frankly, can’t necessarily be said about Hillary Clinton).” (@JoyAnnReid, 09 Apr 2018 08:40 PM. Tweet.)

And in his defense, Prescedense Trump blew public kisses Twitter gaskets:

“Attorney-client privilege is dead!” (@realDonaldTrump, 10 Apr 2018 04:07 AM. Tweet.)

“A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!” (@realDonaldTrump,10 Apr 2018 04:08 AM. Tweet.) NOTE, ALL CAPS WAS PRESCEDENSE’s IDEA!!!

And Twitterers responded:

“It’s actually doing just fine unless a federal judge believes there is likelihood that you and your attorney were committing a crime.” (@Judd Legum, 10 Apr 2018 04:24 AM. Tweet.)

The federal judge, in this case, is a Trump appointee.

And with humor.

And with Tang:

“I see Tang the Conqueror hasn’t tweeted since he unraveled at his Syria photo op. We’ll see how long that lasts.” (@eclecticbrotha, 10 Apr 2018 2:30 AM)

I hate that I know immediately the ‘Tang’ in the above reference is not to a drink the early astronauts took into space but refers to the sitting POTUS, President of the United States. And I hate that it makes me laugh.

Ugh.

S*it Looks French.

In an effort to return some class to the public discourse, I would like to propose that instead of editing the ‘i’ in ‘shit’, we edit the ‘h’.  Thus, ‘shit’ becomes ‘s*it.’ It looks French and like the French, we can drop the sound of the ‘t’ at the end of the word thereby softening the whole sound.

S*it would be pronounced: ess-EEE.  There. Fixed that s*it.

Likewise, ‘shithole’ would become ‘s*it*ole.’

‘Shithole countries’ would be pronounced: ess-EEE ol-LAY countries. A musical international mix of French and Spanish meaning so much worse spelled out in actual English.

Bitter Southerner

New York Times editorialist Charles Blow recently tweeted:

“Ppl often comment to me: “You need your own show.” My opinion: Never going to happen. I’m unapologetically black and unapologetically southern (which is markedly diff from northern/western/urban blackness). America doesn’t even believe that the intellectual black southern exists!” (@CharlesMBlow, 14 Mar 2018 03:27 PM)

And so it came to pass that I tripped across the website Bitter Southerner and specifically, the gorgeous photo essay Blue Alabama on the site.

Mr. Blow’s comment combined with the recent spate of southern writers who offer reading alternatives to J.D.Vance’s widely panned Hillbilly Elegy, has made me think a bit more critically about the voices that are misunderstood, caricatured, and drawn as cartoonish buffoons by the media.

In addition to mainstream news alternatives like The Root – Black news, opinions, politics and culture – I share The Bitter Southerner. A quote from their first inaugural membership drive:

“I have yet to find a publication that so capably and gracefully captures the nuance, soul, tragedy, and beauty of the region like yours does. I just wanted to thank you for that.”

And from the About page:

If you are a person who buys the states’ rights argument … or you fly the rebel flag in your front yard … or you still think women look really nice in hoop skirts, we politely suggest you find other amusements on the web. The Bitter Southerner is not for you.

The Bitter Southerner is for the rest of us. It is about the South that the rest of us know: the one we live in today and the one we hope to create in the future.”

My bold in the above. I confess, I wondered. Enjoy!

Or not.


¹ Note to self: Read all three Parts of this story.

² Senator Duckworth was born in Thailand. This might preclude her being President but her father was a US Army veteran who could trace his family back to the American Revolutionary War. (Source: Wikipedia. Web. 12 April 2018)