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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fluorescence

Wonderland Walker by kevint3141
Amongst other things, in these insane times, we need courage.
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
~ Lao Tzu
Without The Amazing Bob, courage is harder to gin up. I am still loved and still love though. Lucky – that's what I am. Persistent as all Hell too.
I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
~ Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird 

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.
~ Coco Chanel

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.
~ Nora Ephron
TAB named her Coco after Coco Chanel
for clear and obvs reasons. Of course.
There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.
~ Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Here, Here! With tiny-few exception, when people have tried to take advantage or hurt me in some way, I get angry – courage grows in that pool of bubbling ire.
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
~ Mark Twain

With enough courage, you can do without a reputation.
~ Margaret Mitchell
Hah, I never had much of a rep – rather, I’ve always had one for being different, a little odd and fluorescent. Ya know, stand back, she might bite OR get too friendly! EEK! Chomps and/or presumptuous buddy-buddying have never been terribly likely but…well…I guess I come off as a scary old harpy, eh?
If I'm a harpy, why don't I have cool wings like this. hmmm?
We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it.
~ Che Guevara

This puts in mind the brilliant eulogy which Heather Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, just gave.
What is there that I can do to make the world a better place? What injustice do I see and want to turn away?
"I don't want to get involved." "They'll be annoyed with me." "My boss might think less of me." I don't care. You point a finger at yourself like Heather would have done, and you make it happen.
You take that extra step. You find a way to make a difference in the world.
Full text at the link
 
I don’t really want to become normal, average, standard. I want merely to gain in strength, in the courage to live out my life more fully, enjoy more, experience more. I want to develop even more original and more unconventional traits.
~ Anaïs Nin

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
e.e. cummings
I'm standing at the door of my 59th birthday, trying to give myself credit for having lived my life, to date, true to myself.
At times the world may seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe that there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may in fact be the first steps of a journey.
~ Lemony Snicket

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Flightless Swine

Two quick important, fact filled reads:

Senator Al Franken’s Facebook post where he quotes the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens’ speech which outlined the reasons Confederates were going to war. (Hint: Stephens puts it out there in plain, heinously egregious words.)

And Charles Pierce’s post from yesterday.
For three days, whatever sensible people remain at Camp Runamuck have been trying to find some way to run damage control on the president*'s initial, ridiculous non-response to those events, whereupon, on Tuesday, the president* stepped up to the mic and blew all that work into tiny bits.
Pierce isn’t poo-flinging, he states verifiable truths. Ya know, like real journos do, as opposed to 45’s pet dimwits who are nothing more than fantasists and thralls to that blindingly narcissistic, vile pile of diseased rat excrement.

After the Orange Menace’s initial both-sides-did-it and Nazis-are-nice-people horseshit, a few Republicans came out against the violence and murder done by the neo-nazi/KKK scum in Charlottesville. Considering their voting records and words prior to this heinousosity, as well as their actions during Obama’s brill presidency, I’d have to be a complete nimrodian moran to buy their anger and indignation now.

To paraphrase Captain Renault in Casablanca, I’m shocked, shocked to find that disingenuous cover-yur-ass snow-jobs are going on in here!

Here's one example – Jeff Flake.
The title of his Politico post is: “My Party Is in Denial About President Trump.” In the first ‘graph he states “With hindsight, it is clear that we all but ensured the rise of Donald Trump.”

Gee, ya think?
“It was we conservatives who were largely silent when the most egregious and sustained attacks on Obama’s legitimacy were leveled by marginal figures who would later be embraced and legitimized by far too many of us.”
Oooo, Flakey feels bad that their genie’s escaped the bottle. Gosh, hoocoodanode that when you drop a match into a pool of hot gasoline, you get a rabidly out of control conflagration? Us sane types got that but, sadly, our country, née humanity’s not jam-packed with same.

Just FYI, Flakey voted Trump’s Republican party line 93.5% of the time. He voted to repeal the ACA. Why is he trash-talking his President and now? Well, Jeff’s up for reelection in ’18 and, while he’s not a terribly bright bulb, he’s got preservation instincts well in gear. He can see the writing on that wall that'll never be built. He can see the vast unpopularity his party’s just beginning to rock. And yet, he votes in near lockstep with the rest of ‘em.

Joining Flake in the strong-words-no-action ranks is Cory Gardner (who's also voted in line with Trump 93.5% of the time), Orrin Hatch (voting 95.8% with his boy Trump), Ben Sasse (93.6%) and Li' Marco Rubio (95.8%). Pardon me boys, if I doubt your sincerity, backbone and humanity.

With the Senate in recess, the more brave weasel boys and girls may be having a Town Hall or something. Here are a coupla good sites that'll show you where and when in your area:
Resistance Recess Events
and
Town Hall Project

Paul Zombie-Eyed-Granny-Starver Ryan will have a Town Hall at the Racine Theater Guild at 8:00 PM, Monday the 21st. The theater’s located at 2519 Northwestern Ave in Racine. Just FYI.

What about Mitch The-Corrupt-and-Craven-Turtle McConnell? I haven’t found a thing. Doesn’t look like Flakey’s got anything on his docket either.

Hmmph, I guess talking to the folks who pay your salary just isn’t that important to them.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cat TV

After work yesterday, Jen, Oni and I sat on the porch, sipping our adult bevs, watching the waves, the big dogs as they ambled by and the leaves shivering and glimmering in the late afternoon sun. It was Big Chill Time and that’s exactly what we were doing.

Coco sat on my lap and didn’t make even one escape attempt – SUCH a good kitten! Then Skitter came to Jen and Oni’s back door to check on us. She looks, in this pic, like she so wants to join us BUT Skitter does NOT like being outside and she’s, most def, not a lap cat.

Despite being born wild and free to our happy visitor cat Trixie, (and living outdoors until she was ~ eight months old), Skitter is not keen on grass, trees, flowers, wind (unless it comes from that box thingie in the window, ya know) or dirt. Nope, Not. At. All. Like me, Skitter's not a camper, not an outdoor girl. She enjoys watching the wild world but it's gotta be from a safe, warm, dry distance.

One day, curiosity got the better of her and she slipped out the back door. Panic (hers) ensued. She ran, frantically, in circles, up and down the driveway. In cat speak she was clearly shrieking “What the fuck IS all this shit!? Where the hell am I? WHERE is my warm bed? What happened to my litter box? GET ME BACK INSIDE!” Jen, the only human she allows close, was finally able to catch up to our poor freaking babe and was able to pilot her back indoors. PHEW! Crisis averted.

Back on our porch though – Coco and Skitter had a stare-off. Did they want to meet? No, no, no. Both enjoy the hell out of watching other creatures as long as they don't come too close. Neither of our feline overlords is terribly trusting. I totally understand.

Our visitor beasts – Ghost Cat, Umlaut, the raccoon and skunk families and the occasional wildebeest – are endlessly fascinating for them. It’s Cat TV.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Slight Change of Plans

My berfday’s later this week. Since it falls on a weekday and everyone’s gotta work, Jen, Oni and I planned on a Saturday outing – a mini road trip. And then Charlottesville happened.

This Saturday here in Boston, there will be a march and demonstration – Fight Supremacy! Boston Counter-Protest & Resistance Rally. Why?

On that day, August 19th, White Nationalists are converging on Boston Common to reinforce their white supremacist ideology and attempt to intimidate queer and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, POC) communities.  
 
Organizers of the White Nationalist group are calling it a "Free Speech Rally.” Yeah, pardon me all to Hell and back for not buying the whiny butthurt, my Free Speech is being infringed BS.
nota bene: You boys have always had free speech. NO one is taking that away from your precious snowflake selves. Possibly, and mebbe you fellas ought to write this down, it might just feel like that because there's a lot of us who aren't keen on your I'm-white-so-I'm-king-of-the-mountain-and-all-toys-are-MINE horseshit and we're calling you out, loud and proud. Oh yes we are. That awesome free speech thing? It's a two way street, just FYI. 
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
The Declaration of Independenceoh swoon!
They (the “Free Speech Rally” folks) say they’re not connected to the organizers of the deadly Charlottesville armed power play, but some people who spoke there are also scheduled to speak here in Boston.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says his office is looking at legal options to try to stop the planned rally and says the group has not yet received a permit. (source)
Matthew Heimbach
James Alex Fields Jr.
Meanwhile outside the courthouse where James Alex Fields Jr., Heather Heyer’s alleged murderer was being booked:
…white nationalist Matthew Heimbach barged in on a gathering of reporters and accused them of being "liars" and insisted Fields was "scared for his life" and tried to portray him and the other white supremacists as the victims.

"The nationalist community defended ourselves against thugs," Heimbach insisted. "These radical leftists...they are the one who came to kill us."  (source)
Heimbach's scary "thugs."
Gosh, something tells me that Matty’s used to getting loads of special treatment and lots of participation trophies. Maybe his mommy can give him a second helping of ice cream today (vanilla, of course) and that’ll make it all better.

Yeah so, back at my birthday plans, if the counter-protest is on, that’s where we’ll be. As long as no one drives a car into us, we can always stop for birthday martinis on the way home. There WILL be cake!

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
~ Nelson Mandela

It's just 206 days into the train wreck of 45's incompetent, insane, white supremacist, griftasaurus presidency and already:
the White House this week firmly insists President Donald Trump is determined to seek a second term... (source)
And, on the Left, the Purity Posse faction has gotten right to ripping up Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. Harris and Booker haven't said, flat out, they’d run but, ya know, why not start the Most Virtuous Unicorn Tests now?

Could we all please concentrate on being here now, fighting the battles that will move us closer to fine? The 2018 elections are a fuckton closer than the next presidential election and, if we're very good and eat all our veggies, maybe we can flip the House. What this involves is getting out the goddamned vote. VOTE! Find and support challengers to key Republicans. Who is running against Ryan, the zombie eyed granny starver? (Randy Bryce – union iron worker, Army veteran, cancer survivor, human) Ted Cruz?(Beto O’Rourke) Orrin Hatch? (possibly Jenny Wilson) Who’s up, who’s vulnerable in your state? Get involved while it's still legal.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
~ Ghandi
On Charlottesville and the KKK/Neo-Nazi in Chief's statements/position, a lot of mega talented wordsmiths have spoken.

Like John Scalzi:
Denouncing Nazis and the KKK and violent white supremacists by those names should not be a difficult thing for a president to do, particularly when those groups are the instigators and proximate cause of violence in an American city, and one of their number has rammed his car through a group of counter-protestors, killing one and injuring dozens more. This is a moral gimme — something so obvious and clear and easy that a president should almost not get credit for it, any more than he should get credit for putting on pants before he goes to have a press conference.

And yet this president…
It's not just the Orange Menace – the entire Republican Party owns what’s happened in Virginia. Sure sure, some have come out and *gasp* publicly criticized Dear Leader. They've done the same at other heinous moments in this, our national nightmare, but that's all they domake frowny faces and say they're concerned. The most McConnell’s said in the past is "I think it would be helpful to have less drama emanating from the White House,"
Gee, that’s the absolute best you can do, you iniquitous humonculoid turtle?!
Charles Pierce writes:
Nobody in the party he (Trump) purportedly leads has shown any willingness to do anything more than moan about how Troubled they are at what he's doing. 
Now that their pet Nazis are out wilding and murdering will the McConnell/Ryan led, theft prone suits do anything about Trump and his gaggle of white nationalist sphincter headed thralls? I'm not holding my breath.

Steve M. of No More Mister Nice Blog:
We know now that when Trump says or does something deeply offensive, it's unreasonable to assume that it will ruin his political career. Insult women, slander Gold Star parents, attack John McCain for his POW years -- no problem. Everyone in the base may not share those opinions, but none of it is ever a dealbreaker. So why should Trump condemn white racial hatred when part of his base clearly shares that racial hatred (...), while the rest of the base literally cannot be offended by anything Trump says?
Treasonous Trump should be removed from office NOW and all his appointees, including the awful Supreme Court pick, should be fired. The Republican Party's making sure that ain't gonna happen though so it's up to us.

Get involved.
Voter registration drives.
Volunteer to drive folks to the polls.
Carpool2Vote is the first ever volunteer based app that provides free rides to the polls for people all across America.  
It's easier to hide under the blankets in a Chianti fueled coma but that's not an option if I want to survive.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Effluvia

It was an overcast but, of course, beautiful morning on Nantasket. The sun, with mondo excuses and apologies, came out just as I was heading home. No prob, a dawn walk on Nantasket, just me and the seagulls, is always deeply restorative. Just what I needed after shelling out the big bucks on Bix yesterday.
~~~
As of yesterday, the mentally ill Orange Menace has been to his golf resorts 49 times during his 204 days as pres. Cost to us taxpayer types has been at least $57,983,150.

Totes worth it, right? WRONG!
~~~
Elvis' bodyguard’s dying confession? Rilly now, is there anyone left who gives a flying shit? Wait...wait, this is the National Examiner – a rag owned and run by American Media Inc. These are the same folks who put out the National Enquirer – a prime supporter of Hair Twitler who gets most of his intel from Fox and Friends, chain-email hoaxes and some guy on Twitter who goes by @SeanSean252.

Waddya wanna bet the Examiner's reporting the bodyguard’s last words as “Obama force fed Elvis the bacon, banana and peanut butter sandwich AND the Diazepam, Quaaludes, Morphine, Demerol, sleeping pills, Valium, monster amounts of Codeine and more sleeping pills. Obama KILLED Elvis!”

Yeh, clearly.
~~~
During our weekend “high tea,” Jen, Oni and I are watching Battlestar Galactica. Yes, again. We are so loving it again too. My fave characters are the wild, resourceful, strong Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff), the calm, focused, cancer battling President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) and the wise and handsome as fuck Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos).

I absolutely despise Number 6, (Tricia Helfer) and Ellen (Kate Vernon) the XO’s just returned skank of a wife. Of course I do – they’re both Cylons and stereotypical vile femme fatales. Ya know, it’s as though the Cylon’s got hold of a Nasty Human Women for Dummies book and followed it right down to the bleached blond, crazy core.

James Callis is the ruled-by-his-wang Dr. Gaius Baltar. He's laughably self involved and easily manipulated – a joke with a lot of power. Huh, just like 45.
~~~
In other viewing news, I just rewatched Fargo. Police chief Marge Gunderson, played by Frances McDormand is BRILLIANT. If for no other reason, you gotta (re)watch it for her fab, endearing performance as a warm, sweet, supportive wife, nobody’s doormat and a blazingly smart detective.

What's on tap for today? More Battlestar, A Fish Called Wanda and, quite possibly, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. There are some days when reality avoidance needs to be kicked up to 11. Amirite or amirite? You know that I am!
This is Floyd. He sez HI!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

CarTalk

My monstrous loaner
It's annual service time for my lovely, wee Bix. The awesome service folk offered me a loaner so's I wouldn't have to T and hoof it all day. Cool – I had a zillion errands and thought, mebbe, since I'd be all the way in Boston already, I could go a bit further and have a walk around Walden. Haven't done that since our Cambridge days. AND, long as I'm out that way, I could hit the deCordova too!

Great ideas, no?

I was figuring the loaner would be some slick late model Smart – like Bix but younger, maybe in yellow, possibly an electric! Yup, I was all thrillingly worked up as I waited for the service dude to bring it 'round. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when he wheels up in this monster huge (relative to my Bix) stylistically boring beast.

Yeah, I ixnayed my big bopping around the Western 'burbs plans. Not only is this hulk MUCH larger than my comfortably small Smart, it’s a very expensive beast. An oopsie in this sucker would set me way the fuck back. Geez, even a tiny scratch would cost more cabbage than I wanted to envision.

Now then, Smarts are made by Mercedes BUT they're affordably priced – even, barely, for me. The starting price, four years ago, was in the $12,000 range. Yes, it’s just a two seater but me and The Amazing Bob didn’t need more than that. In contrast, this temp ride – a Mercedes C300 4matic –  starts at around $41,500. Motherfucking OOF!

According to U.S. News and World Report’s Car Rankings & Advice page:
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class ranks 6 out of 20 Luxury Small Cars. The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class swaddles its occupants in elegant comfort. It’s full of high-tech features and luxurious cabin materials, and it smooths out bumps in the road. It’s not particularly sporty, however.
A “luxury small car.” Luxurious – absolument! It's utterly posh. Small? Not so’s you’d notice. Rather, it could, possibly, be considered small next to an adult bull elephant or, say, a 1960 Lincoln Continental…fer instance.

On my way home from Smart Heaven, I managed to run most of my errands (only the ones that wouldn't involve parallel parking) and I hit the gym. Yea me but all this driving was done with my adrenaline way up in the stratosphere. I'm hoping that burns calories since I needed an extra cup 'o' Chianti at day's end. HEY, you would too! OK, prolly not. Nevermind.

Given that Bix is now an adult car, bigger things are beginning to need attention. In people years he’d be….lessee now, after one year cars are in their teens, right? At two, they’re young adults. After that, each year equals four human years. Si? That means my Bix is now, more or less, carry the one, in his mid 30s.

What did this year’s annual service reveal? I need a new muffler in order to pass inspection next month. Parts and labor will run me close to a grand – this on top of the general service charge equals ouchie, ouchie, OUCH!

Also, I only mention it but, if a car, my loaner's, gonna be that damn expensive, could it not, please, also have just a smidgen of original style? Something a weensy bit unique like, say, the 1970 Citroën DS 21? I'm not asking for much here, ya know!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Odd Bits

Teen Skunk snarfing Ghost Cat's brekkie
Dreams, books, wildlife and reasons – today is a simple, desultory mish mash.

Dream #1: I was 35 and applying to MFA programs. One at BU, the other at NYU. I got into both. Huzzah!

In real life, I was 22 when I applied to grad schools – only two, just like in DreamWorld – BU and MassArt, both here in Boston. I'd recently come off the carnival road and moved here. Conceivably, an MFA would help me score a much MUCH better, more interesting job – maybe even a teaching gig. BUT I was wholly uninterested in leaving Boston. I just got here! The other bit, did I really want a college teaching gig if it was in Bucksnort, Arkansas or some other tiny burg in the middle of nowhere? Tenured teaching gigs in cool towns/cities weren't/aren't exactly easy to come by.

Conflicted. I was. No worries though, I didn't get into either school. Shortly thereafter I was diagnosed with Nf2 and had my first go 'round with the brill surgeons at MGH. My priorities shifted. Dramatically.

In any case, in my Nf2-free dream I had awesome choices. Stay in Boston and go to BU or head south to NYC? I was on a Greek idyll type island, looking down onto crystal cerulean water – trying to decide. Yes, this was a luxurious dream. I didn't even need to wonder where I'd get the tuition, book and housing cabbage. Somehow everything was all set AND I could ponder it all on an expensive, exotic vaca too.

Given the current daily insanity, I think we all need more Coco pics. Don’t you?
Wow, I don't get magical posh dreams like this very often.

Dream #2: The day was grey, rain threatened. I was trying to get to Heathrow – had been for days, or so it seemed. I was at a bus stop waiting, waiting, waiting. Finally, one came but it went out of service right after I’d boarded and found a good seat. *sigh* More buses came, more boarding and booting went on. It was starting to feel a little Groundhog Day-ish. Given my relatively recent Bizarro World experience at Heathrow, I can't fathom why, why, WHY I'd be trying so damn hard to get there.
~~~
Off the top of my head, my five fave books in no particular order are:
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven – Sherman Alexie
Going After CacciatoTim O'Brien
Black TicketsJayne Anne Phillips
Snow Crash Neal Stephenson
The Good Fairies of New YorkMartin Millar
OK, six:
Motherless BrooklynJonathan Lethem
Tomorrow morning’s list may well be completely different.
~~~
Martin Millar, in his book Thraxas and the Warrior Monks, provides a perfect illustration of why I’m a vegetarian:
...before I can reply a large pig walks by on two legs. It greets us politely. Gurd grips his axe and the pig notices this with displeasure.

“Oh, going to chop me up, eh? That’s a human for you, chop up a pig without giving it a second thought. How would you like it if you were just going about your daily business and someone came along and chopped you up?”

“The human race has been given dominion over the beasts of the field,” says Saint Quantinius from his horse.
“Not by me,” replies the pig and they start arguing.
 Happy Friday. What are your top five books? Tell me.