My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

I formulate infinity stored deep inside of me…

Nov 16

WordPress 4.9 is upon us

Category: Life

So, we are now running WordPress 4.9… Most of the new stuff is for coders, which I am not. I’m but a writer of words.

I know, I haven’t written in… months. I have a few post ideas, however, maybe they’ll get written.

No comments

Aug 19

Monuments to heroes, monuments to hate

Category: Life,Opinions

You know, until recently I never gave much thought to historic monuments, particularly Civil War Monuments. I just saw war statues, I definitely never broke them into categories; Union and Confederate. I thought they were “historic,” but I never gave any thought to the individual histories behind each statue. Then Charlottesville got me thinking, then Heather Heyer’s death changed everything.

We have monuments to historic figures all over America. Monuments to people like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, both great men, but men with flaws. They owned slaves, which was, sadly, a cultural norm at the time. They did nothing directly to end slavery, but they did help to found our great nation, a nation with a Constitution that all but guaranteed an end to slavery. Our Constitution appeals to our better angels, it promotes freedom and equality, it’s a document that would be read by a someday generation who would see the hypocrisy in slave ownership while swearing an oath to said Constitution. So, yes, we still celebrate our slave owning Founding Fathers, not because they were perfect, but because they were ultimately good.

We have a GIANT monument to Abraham Lincoln, a fellow who, in his early life, was known to speak racial slurs, yet would ultimately put an end to slavery. He saw the powerful words written in our Constitution, rose through the ranks of American politics, and eventually became the President who broke the slavers’ chains. Of course, we honor President Lincoln. Still, slavery wouldn’t go away easily, it was big in the American South, and the South was willing to spill a lot of blood to keep their slaves. Southern leadership broke their oaths to the American Constitution, broke away from the United States to start their own country (the Confederate States of America), and levied a treasonous war against the North. The American Civil War cost the lives of some 600,000 American soldiers, North and South combined, all because some Southern rich white men just had to have their slaves.

After the war ended in 1865, monuments went up to honor the Union leaders and soldiers who fought and died to end slavery, as well as to keep these United States united. These Union monuments absolutely belong, they represent a part of American history that should be remembered, a part of which we should be proud. Almost all of our monuments are monuments to heroes or heroism or noble ideals. Almost…

Unfortunately, we have some monuments that really don’t belong in America, Confederate monuments like the monument to Southern General, Robert E. Lee, a monument White Nationalists murdered Heather Heyer over, simply because she protested against it.

See, a majority of these Confederate monuments went up between 1890 and 1950, funded by groups of white folks, especially women’s groups, like United Daughters of the Confederacy. Part of the reasoning behind these monuments was to raise Southern morale, to romanticize what was really an ugly chapter in the Southern story. However, I think these confederate monuments had a far more sinister purpose, a purpose that even today, nobody in the South wants to acknowledge out loud. They went up during the era of Jim Crow segregation, a time before anybody even thought to march for Civil Rights. These Confederate monuments didn’t go up in war cemeteries, they went up in town squares and public parks, places where they’d be seen. Imagine being black in the South during Jim Crow; you’re not welcome, the Klan burned a cross on your lawn just last night, AND every single day, you have to walk by a monument to a man who had your grandmother whipped to death. These Confederate monuments were built to further delusions of former Southern glory. These Confederate monuments were built to intimidate black Americans.

People who argue for these monuments, like Donald Trump, say they’re beautiful statues. They’re part of American history, of Southern heritage. Absolutely none of that reasoning flies, it only demonstrates an ignorance of history. Germany didn’t build monuments to Hitler & Friends so they could remember their heritage, so they could remember his inspirational speeches, while forgetting he was an evil lunatic. They relegated Hitler & Friends to the history books, filed under The Evils That Men Do, and moved on. Germany worked toward atonement, they did not build monuments that glorified the sins for which they were trying to atone.

Our Confederate monuments are nothing but tools of revisionist historians and symbols of bigotry. They celebrate treasonous war criminals, slavers willing to kill to stay slavers. These monuments are rally points for hate groups, as we saw in Charlottesville, they inspire such people toward violence. Heather Heyer, a young woman who believed in social justice and equality is dead because a bunch of bigots decided a monument to Robert E. Lee needed their protection… at all costs.

It’s important to remember our past, it’s important to mark our wrongs in history books, and teach future generations not repeat those wrongs. We should not build monuments to the perpetrators of our most vile wrongs. Confederate monuments are monuments to hate, there is no valid justification for their existence, no matter how nuanced. The fact that the only people who show up en masse to protest their removal are hate groups is exactly why they have to go.

America is country founded on noble ideals, not vicious hate. Monuments to the Confederacy are one of our mistakes, a mistake it’s time to fix. Now.

4 comments

Jul 20

Lying vs. being wrong

Category: Life,Opinions

So, health care reform was always sort of a political white whale; Presidents chased it, but President Barack Obama was the first to successfully run it down. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) completely changed the American health care system, it was a big deal. President Obama tried really hard to pass a bill that would get Americans health insurance, particularly those who couldn’t have afford it. The ACA has done a great deal of good, and helped a great many people over the last seven years. Still, not everything President Obama promised worked out, for SOME people the ACA has been a hindrance. Now, this post isn’t about the nuances of the ACA, it’s about a piece of shit con-man calling an honorable man a liar, but to set the stage it’s important to note that the ACA developed flaws, and President Obama made promises that went wrong.

Okay, yesterday I’m watching MSNBC, Trump is going on and on about the greatness of the Republican health care bill, just typical Trumpian nonsense. Then I hear something jarring, something that really gets my heart going. Trump says, the ACA was a “giant lie.” He says, when President Obama made certain promises they were lies, that President Obama knew he was lying to America. I’m listening to Donald J. Trump, a con-man who lies easy as breathing, often stupid lies, lies that can be found out by a simple Google search, and he has the nerve to call President Obama a liar… I’m so livid I want to put my fist through the tv.

President Obama governed for eight years without a scandal. I had no need of MSNBC, not during the Obama Administration. He never did anything outrageous, he definitely never did anything stupid. He was bad business for the late-night comics, he gave them nothing to work with, absolutely no material. He was the first President I ever truly respected, truly admired. President Obama governed with a steady hand, he was thoughtful and deliberate… He was not a liar. Maybe because Trump has never spent an honest day in his entire life, he doesn’t understand the difference between lying and beings wrong.

The ACA is a large, complex piece of legislation, something nobody ever successfully enacted. President Obama signed the bill with the best intentions, he told the American people how he thought the bill was going to work. He made promises he thought he could keep. I’m sure there were promises he refused to make because he was certain he couldn’t keep them. He’d never knowingly mislead the American people, his sense of morality wouldn’t allow it. Another concept Trump couldn’t possibly understand. At any rate, the ACA didn’t work exactly as planned, President Obama couldn’t keep every promise. He was wrong on some key points. What Trump didn’t mention in his nonsense speech was that President Obama owned his mistakes. He acknowledged the ACA’s flaws and took full responsibility for them. Above all, he wanted to fix the ACA, but the Republican majority felt that it was better to waste six years trying to kill it. Trump didn’t mention that either.

President Obama never lied about the ACA, he simply ended up being wrong where he meant to be right.

Trump’s default position is LIE, a moral failing he likes to project onto others.

8 comments

Jul 12

Yes, I’ve been on C-SPAN2

Category: Life

So, yesterday I’m watching the health care debate, which is actually really fun to watch, on C-SPAN2, and kind of playing World of Warcraft. I’m in the the middle of a bit of a pitched battle, I’m pretty focused on killing demons, but I hear my name on the tv. I look up and there’s Senator Bill Nelson talking about me and the Medicaid cuts, how damaging said cuts would be to me and all Floridians with disabilities.

Now, I’ll be honest, apparently I was given a heads up via e-mail that Senator Nelson was going to mention me, but being that I was engaged in pitched battles with demons, I totally missed the e-mail. Fortunately, I’m a giant politics nerd, and I didn’t miss it.

I have to say, as a giant politics nerd, being mentioned on the Senate floor, being covered on CSPAN-2, was really fucking cool. Yes, the circumstances are awful, but you have to take joy where you can get it.

7 comments

Jun 26

Enter Cher…

Category: Life

Okay, life has officially taken on a fuzzy, dream-like quality… I was tweeted about and followed by Cher!

I mean, Cher! We need voices like hers in the fight.

9 comments

Jun 25

…and Ryan Gosling read the blog

Category: Life,Tattoos

So, somehow or other, Ryan Gosling got ahold of my blog post about being on The Last Word, and he tweeted about it…

Now, those who haven’t been reading the blog from since way back when probably don’t realize that Ryan Gosling is in my all time favorite movie, Stay. I have two tattoos from that movie, it helped me get through the first few months after I was trached, after Sara left that first time before the last time.

Ryan Gosling as Henry Letham…

“Apparently, I can”
One of my favorite lines from Stay…

Yes, having Ryan Gosling mention me in a tweet meant a lot, it was really fucking cool.

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9 comments

Jun 25

I was on The Last Word!

Category: Life

So, on Thursday I posted a tweet after watching folks on MSNBC talk about how Trumpcare is basically going to DESTROY Medicaid, mentioning who would be affected by the cuts… everybody but people with disabilities. Even after the brutal video showing disabled protesters being dragged from Mitch McConnell’s office, we still weren’t getting much coverage. I posted my tweet, and it FLEW! Rachel Maddow did a story on the protesters, a really spectacular story, and my tweet REALLY FLEW. Then, it was Friday, trach day.

Now, I never sleep a wink the night before trach day, so I’m pretty beat before the fun even starts, and the fun started much later than usual. I didn’t get into the O.R.  until after 4pm. It was actually just as we were headed to the O.R. that my mom got a phone call from a producer from MSNBC… Apparently, somehow, we got invited to talk about the Medicaid disaster on one of my absolute favorite shows; The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (though, Friday night, the equally badass Ari Melber had the helm). I really don’t know how much my tweet had to do with anything, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff I’m fuzzy on, but nevertheless, I was on The Last Word!

I ended up having to have two trach changes, as the first one didn’t take, so I didn’t get out of recovery, out of the hospital, and back to the house until after 7pm. Normally on trach day, I’d eat a little something, take some more pain medicine, an Ativan, and check out for awhile. Friday was extra trying because of the double traches, but I wasn’t going to miss The Last Word. A little juice, Ativan, some medicine after we got to the studio just shy of 9pm, everything was running as smoothly as my Apple Watch. Except… I totally hadn’t written what I was going to say to Ari. Fortunately, words always come to me when the chips are down, I finished typing with, like, fifteen minutes to spare. I simply wanted to convey that we all have hopes and dreams, and though none of our hearts’ desires are guaranteed, the Founding Fathers gave everyone who participates in the beautiful American experiment the right to be free to pursue their happiness. I hope I used the right words.

At any rate, locking people with disabilities away in institutions destroys  the image of America as the Shining City on a Hill.

Being on The Last Word was one of the Top Seven coolest experiences of my really, really, really unusual totally usual life.

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35 comments

Jun 8

WordPress 4.8 is here!

Category: Life

So, we are now running WordPress 4.8, and… it’s nothing drastically different, again. Still, there are some neat new little things, but nothing that wouldn’t be astonishingly boring to most readers.

That’s that, then.

3 comments

Jun 7

WordPress 4.8 tomorrow…

Category: Life

So, WordPress 4.8 is out tomorrow… I’m excited to see what’s new, hopefully something drastic.

No comments

Jun 6

The lyrics game is won!

So, the lyrics game is over… we have a winner! Reader, Eve, rocked out a perfect set of answers to win a bundle of three really spectacular records, The Both, Either/Or Extended Edition, and Mental Illness via the iTunes Store.

Here’s Eve’s display of badassness:

Hi Mike!

Just found your post with story and quizz!

Here goes:

1- Artist The Both. Song: Hummingbird, album: The Both.
2- Artist Aimee Mann, song: How am I different? Album Bachelor No 2
3- Artist : Nirvana. Song: Radio Friendly Unit Shifter. Album In Utero
4- Artist Elliot Smith. Song: Rose Parade. Album: Either/Or. (love that album!)
5- Artist Priscilla Ahn. Song: Lost Cause Album When You Grow Up.
6- Artist Death Cab For Cutie. Song: Champagne from a Paper Cup. Album You Can Play These Songs with Chords.
7- Artist Elliot Smith. Song Angel in the Snow, Album: New Moon. (love that album too:D)

Hope that sums it up! Did I make it?!

Congratulations, Eve, and thanks for reading!

Speaking of reading, if you haven’t had a go at Music in the dark, the flash fiction that started this game, give it a read. I’d love a little more feedback.

 

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