A sundry assortment of musings.

Today I will try my best to not pontificate with my bullhorn on my orange crate in my little corner of the internet as I’m wont to do.

Here we go anyway:

Fearless Girl & Time

And not tick-tock time! On December 1, 2017, I identified women who have joined the company of ‘Fearless Girl’ and Time Magazine’s annual Person of the Year 2017 is The Silence Breakers — more company for what ‘Fearless Girl’ represents. The Time stories are painful — “if you do [speak out], your complaint becomes your identity“¹ — but this is literally facing down a figuratively charging bull.

An avalanche started.

GOP Tax reform.

No taxation with representation! And that would be representation in the form of dollars — Kochs, Mercers, Adelsons, et al.

Representation of voters?

Eh, not so much. In word only. Overall,  suppression is going well. Just show up as an adult, present, able and accounted for and it will not be enough.

We require ID.

Eh?

Hard to obtain an ID?

Well, no worries. Our national experiment in a pluralist democracy may be over soon.

And we’ll return to historically scheduled ‘taxation without representation’ programming shortly.

Trump & GOP Tax reform.

He benefits. But his estate benefits bigglier when he is dead.²

Polling all millenials …

Well this is good news! From The Independent, “a majority of young people in America want a third party involved in US politics.”³ And so do I and I feel young again!

I hope Millenials can organize, identify leadership, establish a party platform and a snappy name. Bring it.

I’m here for you kids.

Project Runway Season 16: A new development. Cliff hangers.

In the run up to the finale, Project Runway featured episodes that ended in cliff hangers and we had to tune in next week to see the runway results.

I don’t know whose idea this was, but stop it. Stop it future seasons of Project Runway.

There is too much drama going on in the regular news cycle and it is hard to keep up.  We do not need more drama in our reality TV show competitions.  We need less.


¹ Zacharek, Stephanie; Dockterman, Elianan; Edwards, Haley Sweetland. “The Silence Breakers.” Time Magazine, Person of the Year 2017. December 2017. Web. 08 December 2017.

² And so do the rest of us. Harwell, Drew and O’Connell, Jonathan. “The many ways President Trump would benefit from the GOP’s tax plan.” The Washington Post. 10 November 2017. Web. 08 December 2017.

³ Sampathkumar, Mythili. “Majority of millenials want a third party in US politics, new poll says.” The Independent. 29 November 2017 19:45 GMT. Web. 08 December 2017 11:40 AM CST.

Aside: In a different political environment, I would also include bullhorn screams at Democrats. After all, we should all be better in our struggle for a more perfect union.  As such, due to the current GOP majority rule, I hold my rage at the Dems back.

Mind.Blown.

Mr. Viva and I were talking about what to watch Friday night and “The Kiss of the Spider Woman” with Raul Julia and, you know, “that woman” came up. And we described “that woman” — Brazilian, beautiful, long hair, great actress — but her name remained unspeakable at the tip of our tongues.

Fast forward less than 5 minutes.

Mr. Viva pulls up FaceBook and Sonia Braga, i.e. “that woman” is in his news feed.

Mind.Blown.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

A sundry assortment of leftovers.

And who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers? If you’re still looking at leftovers in the fridge from Thanksgiving Day, you may want to consider ordering pizza tonight … just sayin’.

White Supremacy Turkeys

The media continues to fall and fail for us. Hard. Over the weekend “all the news that’s fit to print” – The New York Times – included a profile of Tony & Maria Horvater, Ohio Nazi sympathizers. Although the Times stopped short of publishing a wedding photo of the happy couple, we can assume from the first paragraph that the Horvaters like pineapple.

Ugh. The normalization of extremism, hate, fear.  In response to The Times, Twitter user Mangy Jay offered suggestions for future reporting. In the Twitter thread, she breaks down the missed opportunities, the in-depth inquiries The Times took a pass on, and she includes a photo of Traditionalist Worker Party members in their on-duty uniform. Hardly wedding wear. Hardly attire for prom. No, they are scary and threatening and their pineapple slicer was left at home.

Pretend news. The NYTimes just wanted in on the fun. Covering a Nazi sympathizer as normal. Pshht. Stop it NYTimes.

Just stop. 

Mashed potatoes & salty gravy

The first presidential election I voted in, Ronald Reagan won in a landslide.  And my thoughts that the US operates as an imperfect union formed during the Reagan years and I wondered into Reagan and his wild Star Wars defense which bankrupted the Soviet Union and brought Mikhail Gorbachev to signing ‘uncle’ — we are “unable to compete” –at the Reagan White House.  In 1980, Putin would have been 28 years old and in his mid-30’s when Mikhail Gorbachev caved.

And now 29 years later, he’s baaack. Is Putin exercising a long-game against Reagan and the United States with the 2016 Trump Shit Storm Administration election meddling? Check. Megalomaniac installed as Prescedense? Check. Puppetmaster? Check.

Democracy fail? Eh? Regular programming has been interrupted. Stay tuned.

Dressing or stuffing: Druffing

I grew up and “dressing” was the dry bread doctored up on a stove top – “start with a stick of butter” – and maybe finished in the oven. Regardless, dressing did not inhabit the turkey cavity. Stuffing is just that. Dry bread shoved up in the turkey’s body cavity.

Historically, I didn’t care whether I was eating “stuffing” or “dressing” as long as it did not contain giblets.

Druffing. “Start with a stick of butter.” Thanks, mom.

The druffing last week included tasty bits of turkey sausage which is probably a sneaky way of introducing giblets.

And it was good.

Pumpkin pie

So today in the Washington Post, I see that a woman is running against Putin in Russia’s 2018 elections. She may only be Putin’s stooge but still.  Consider Russia without Putin as puppetmaster. Consider Prescedense Trump reporting for duty sir to a woman! (And since I can’t locate the WaPo article, here’s a link to The Guardian on Ksenia Sobchak. And maybe Putin would prefer to deal with Trump through Ms. Sobchak. I know. I know. I’m just sayin’. Could be. Ya never know.)

Perhaps the same hackers who worked on our elections in 2016 could influence their own in 2018? Surely one of them has an opinion on running Russia and who and how best. Or maybe Anonymous is already on it? Hold the pumpkin pie.

Fair elections? Gone. Banana splits for everyone!

Found! Cashews between the sofa cushions

Electronic hypochondria

Since the announcement that net neutrality is up for sale on the chopping block will be a fond memory, it seems my internet has slowed down.

Oh fiddlesticks! Imagination and the power of suggestion. I am always the slowest component in an electronic exchange but that doesn’t mean my electronic devices aren’t preemptively slowing in preparation for the return to exclusively scribbling in notebooks.

Or maybe it’s because of Cyber Monday. All that internet shopping traffic is slowing me down.

When the ride is electric.

When sharing a ride in an electric car, how do you split gas transportation costs?

Asking for a friend.

Compound words vs. hyphenated.

Is shitstorm a closed compound word? Should it be hyphenated?

Again, asking for a friend.

Nearing the end …

… of my scribbling notebook. Notes from the 2017 MAA Conference on the page opposite and upside down of where I’m writing state “Even Chuck Norris can’t square the circle.”¹

And just for today, this gives me pause, makes me smile, and gives me hope.

We can try. We can turn a problem over. We can examine it’s guts. But we can’t explain everything.

Yet.


¹ Dr. David Richeson, Mathematics Department, Dickinson College, presentation “Four Problems from Antiquity,” July 27, 2017. Chuck Norris can’t, but I’m on it! After I find my straight edge, any day now.

Choice: A Thanksgiving Rumination

In this season of Thanksgiving, consider the thankless comparison of measuring wealth by number of dollars. Someone else has more and someone else has less and once basic needs are met, money is superfluous.

My preference is to examine the sundry assortment of available choices for basic living that are afforded and available to me. By that metric, I drown in choice.

I am wealthy. And I am thankful.

Choice: Sartorial

When I dress, whether in the morning or for a special occasion, choice abounds.  There is so much choice that sometimes I approach full circle and “have nothing to wear.”

And my choice can include the latest fashion, or comfort, or color, or fiber content. Sometimes choices align and I am all that. And the closet includes choices available for weather across the seasons, and with the exception of the most extreme environments,¹ across geographies.

I am dressed. And I am thankful.

Choice: Daily bread

And not just bread. Grocery stores, food items, restaurants, cuisines. The range of choice available within 5 miles of home can feed me for the rest of my life. A quick peek at Googlemaps turns up 18 grocery stores in that 5 mile radius and that’s not even counting  two Aldi’s!²

In these grocery stores, it will not surprise you to know that I can buy the same food stuff packaged many ways — fresh, canned, frozen, and sometimes prepared in the deli which keeps the kitchen clean. Er. Cleaner.

And the choice goes on. If a recipe uses something a bit out of the ordinary, say, Turbinado Sugar to caramelize on a choice cut of meat, I can find it. And if not near me, I can Google and find suppliers, or Amazon. Out the door or delivered to my door, availability is not a barrier. If I am hungry, it is a choice.

I am fed. And I am thankful.

Choice: Home environmental control

A thermostat is a wonder of environmental control. In the winter, heat; in the summer, air conditioning. The range of temperature, time of day, day of week on our simple thermostat provides a lot of choice.

I am comfortable. And I am thankful.

Choice: A Sundry Assortment

Choice abounds!

Choice of home furnishings and manufacturers or craftspeople.

Choice of public or private transportation; choice of truck or car; new or used; gas, hybrid, or electric; leather or upholstery; color; etc. 

Choice of electronic devices, use, capability, brand. And just take a moment to consider technology in general. As a child wireless communication was mom hollering up the stairs. She is now states away and we can communicate in normal voices on a cell phone. What a wonder.

And fill in your own choice(s) here …  Join me. As you wend your way through a day, any day, celebrate the availability of the choice available to you because happiness is also a choice. And be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Choice: Too much

Finally, a rumination by that great bard, Joe Walsh:

“I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do.”

Life’s Been Good, Joe Walsh


¹ North of the Laurentian Divide or in a belt around the equator.

² Aldi’s. Yes, this is snarky. People seem to love Aldi’s for groceries or meh, not so much. I am in the later category and every time I stop at one, I want to love it. It just hasn’t happened yet.

 

 

A sundry assortment of whoa woe!

This last week the sundry assortment has been full of news that gives me pause to wonder in whoa. And woe in wonder. Shaking my head.

The very same day I was preparing to make the case that Senator Al Franken would make a great choice for President in 2020, Leeann Tweeden reported behavior on his part that is unbecoming a Senator, a President, any grown man.  And since it’s been quite a week, I’ll start my sundry assortment of whoa woe there.

Woe. Senator Al Franken

On vacation this summer I read Al Franken, Giant of the Senate and I was struck that he is a decent man who takes his work as a US Senator very seriously. I like Al Franken.  I was ready for him to run in 2020 because he’d be President af AF. O-kay-ay. That was immature. My bad.

But I was just about to make a case for Senator Franken for POTUS — he’s from the center of the country and not the coasts, populist, great education, entertainment industry experience, hard worker, blah, blah, blah — when, while drinking a fancy mocha latte chatting with my neighbors, Leeann Tweeden came forward with her account of his creepiness on a 2006 USO tour and my little balloon deflated like it had seen a giant dick in the sky a Navy training maneuver.

What to make of this? Saturday, November 18, 2017, Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update with Colin Jost and Michael Che, the same bold show that features Kate McKinnon giving Cicely Strong’s right breast a little squeeze during abduction sketches and has featured all manner of outrageous behaviors  including Al Franken as Stuart Smalley over the last 40+ years, noted that “it [the photo of Franken] looks bad” because it “is bad.” Al Franken was 55. Yes, it looks staged, but one of the participants was sleeping and had given zero (0) consent.  Really Al? Really?

I believe Ms. Tweeden. I believe her account. Mr. Franken forcibly kissed and groped her and he didn’t realize he crossed lines.

And I believe him too. What!?

I believe Mr. Franken because Navy pilots flying planes worth millions on technical maneuvers, use their technical skills to draw a giant sky penis. A naughty prank. And Naughty Al the headlining comedian on a 2006 USO tour was caught misbehaving badly. The culture needs to change. His is a perfect example of incidents that do not seem so bad when you are the perp but are indelible for the target, the victim, the innocent tired woman sleeping …

But women have had enough. Or is it time to change that statement to read: ‘women we have had enough’? The incident was 11 years ago and in the interim, Senator Franken appears to be an ally of women. His written apology to Ms. Tweeden seems genuinely contrite.

And we need individual male commitment to change. Does Senator Franken need to resign as punishment for crimes and misdemeanors committed when a comedian? Where do we allow for change? When do we forgive mistakes? Does an MO that includes serial sexual harassment and assault trump one reported incident? Do we hang Al high because we need to start somewhere and with him, we can?

I watch this with hope however misplaced that his career survives, sadness and woe.

Woe. Museum of the Bible

Woe. The half-billion dollar, that’s ~$500Million USD, Museum of the Bible opened up in Washington, D.C. this last week and I threw up in my mouth a little. There are many brands and flavors of Christianity and this one, this building sports the Hobby Lobby version.

And I’m horrified that there are Christians who do not think separation of church and state is important, who think that the state and their religion should be one and the same all the rest of us Christian Muslims Hindus Buddhists atheists everyone not us sinners be damned.

But then as a fan of Gutenberg and the small press, who reads anymore really?

And it might interest you to know that the grand opening gala for The Museum of the Bible was held at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. No surprise here. It is 1.2 miles from the Trump Hotel — an 8-minute drive by car, or an approximately 24-minute walk.

‘Surrounded by Bibles, Mahon said “I just hope this place can stay open.’ “¹

I just hope this democracy does too.

Whoa! Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif) & Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D- NY)

And woe unto Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III sitting in a hot seat.

First up, and addressing the current state of the union, Karen Bass questioned Jefferson B.S, III, the Attorney General of the United States (AGOTUS) on a recent FBI report on black activists promoting or using violence against police officers.  Read about it and watch it here, (The Root), read the full FBI report here (HuffPost).  (Full disclosure: I watched the questioning. I skimmed the FBI report.)

TL; DR? TL;DW? The report referenced black identity extremist groups that are now defunct; incidents against police cited – while making national news headlines — were carried out by individuals who were not members of a black identity extremist group; and most telling, there is no similar report ordered or existing for white identity extremist groups and this is where Karen Bass’ questioning reminding Sessions of the existence of the alt-right and Klu Klux Klan as active white identity extremist groups was so telling.  You could see it right on the tip of Sessions’ tongue. Really. It was like watching a frog realize the water in the pan is boiling …

Second, and addressing past testimony the AGOTUS gave when he was a Senator pushing for the impeachment of Bill Clinton, was Representative Hakeem Jefferies, 8th congressional district of New York. Rep. Jefferies circled Jefferson B.S., III like a python, questioning Jeff B.S. with statements he made while prosecuting a case of a police officer who used “didn’t recall” and how that righteousness justified the prosecution of President Clinton. And then the python started squeezing. Jefferies brought up Jeff BS, III’s own use of the words “don’t recall” 36X at his confirmation hearing, 20X during the current questioning, and “don’t recall” as potentially perjurious. Watch here.

TL;DW? “The attorney general of the United States of America should not be held to a different standard than the young police officer whose life you ruined by prosecuting him for perjury,” Jeffries concluded as his time expired.  (That whole sentence is a link to a ThinkProgress article. IMO, worth the read.)

And why is Sessions still AGOTUS a-perjurin’ and a-sittin’ in the hot seat? Oh. Right. White Lies, I and White Lies, II.

Woe. Whoa! Trump and the GOP Elephants

When I heard that Trump was lifting the ban on importing elephant parts as trophies from hunting abroad, I thought might be a signal to the GOP that game on! We can import better elephant parts than you. And woe.

But then whoa! There was much outrage on both sides of the political isle, it is reported that Precedense Trump isn’t a fan of big-game hunting, and well this was a spot of good news, yes?

Or no.

As always, it’s complicated.

Whoa! Obamacare enrollment ahead of last year.

Whoa! In spite of the reduction in funding for advertising the ACA Open Enrollment period going on RIGHT NOW, sign up here if you need to …

Enrollment is up 45% from last year.  Whoa!

Whoa! 400 sign an open letter on the GOP tax plan.

400 wealthy citizens signed an open letter to the GOP saying ‘you don’t need to cut our taxes.’

Whoa! So many questions, so many comments, so many thoughts.

Does trickle-down economics not work?

Is it possible for the 400 wealthy to trickle down on their own? Do they not trickle because they don’t know how? don’t know where? Do we need taxes to force them to trickle down? Do they lack imagination when it comes to spending for the social good?

And “trickle on down George Soros!” sounds like a game show.

There is so much to unpack here. Macro economics of taxes meets the “micro”-economics of wealthy households meets the “macro”-economics of some of those wealthy households can’t make a macro move without moving markets. Billionaires need to be careful.

And philanthropy. Where does that fit? Philanthropy is good but does not always benefit the “common good.”

Hmmm, economics. It’s complicated. More. Later.


¹Ortiz, Erik. “Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., opens with celebration amid cynicism”. NBC News. 18 November 2017 7:00 AM. Web. 19 November 2017.

Shameless Hawking.

Okay. Shameless is not a relative of Stephen and this is something I didn’t think I’d do this soon ever.

I opened the Viva Escritora Boutique Vending store on Zazzle with a collection of products sporting my Morse Code design of Black Lives Matter. (You can view products on Viva here or go directly to Zazzle here.)

And before I wrote an explainer and backgrounder on the why, the what, of the design, I thought I should test drive of a Viva sweatshirt or coffee mug myself.¹ So I visited Zazzle today and they are currently running a promotion of 30% off clothing if you use the PROMO CODE:

CLOTHINGSALE

And 15% off non-clothing items!  Not too shabby. I don’t know how long they’re running this promo. And if you don’t like the Viva Boutique wares, Zazzle features a whole lot of other designs by others on many different products² and I guess Christmas is coming so there’s that.

Shameless hawking over.


¹ Ann test drove the prototype and told me to get the Zazzle Viva E. Boutique up and running. So I did.

² I can’t vouch for the quality of all Zazzle products, but I have been very satisfied the t-shirts I purchased over 6 years ago.  Many washes, many wears and someone remarked on the Roswell reference on the front of Mr. Viva’s t-shirt last week. So there’s that.

A poetry moment: The Grand Ol’ Party.

Coincident with the announcement that Barnum & Bailey were shuttering their circus, the results of the 2016 Presidential Election and in response to the writing prompt “a social situation where the participants are all animals,” I wrote a series of poems that captured my mood in January 2017. Based on poetic evidence after the jump, the mood was dark, dark, dark.

Poetry isn’t for everyone. Furthermore, I warrant that this poetry comes with no quality control, editorial assurance, or even artistry.

If poetry is not your read, move along and let us not speak of it again. Continue reading