Archive for the 'Opinions' Category
So, I often do things on a whim. Some weeks ago, out of nowhere I said to my assistant, Jillian, “Okay, we’re going to the pet store… I want a fish.” Specifically, a betta, true fishy loners. Male bettas kill each other on sight, and females don’t fare much better, save for their brief mating periods. They’re an odd breed. Still, they’re gorgeous, and require very little care aside from their meals. They breathe air from the atmosphere just above the water’s surface, making them ideal for folks who want a beautiful fish that doesn’t take up much space.
At any rate, I’m quite fond of my mysterious little betta, Kell, named after the equally mysterious magician from V.E. Schwab’s spectacular Shades of Magic book trilogy. Kell hides in his skull, or his cave, or rests on his little Betta Hammock. Really, a Betta Hammock, a plastic leaf anchored near the water’s surface so the betta has a place to relax and breathe easy. I bought it because it was pretty, but otherwise I figured it was a scam. Turns out, Kell’s enjoying a nap right now, it’s his favorite furniture.
More tomorrow.6 comments
So, we are now running WordPress 4.7. It wasn’t the usual auto update, which was kind of exciting. I never do the recommended backups, which means that if the install went sideways for whatever reason, I could potentially lose the entire blog. It didn’t happen, a Higher Power seems to want the blog around awhile longer. As for WordPress 4.7 itself, just watch this spectacularly bad intro video…
Honestly, I LOVE WordPress, I wouldn’t use anything else, but that video… David Fincher tells this hilarious story about the first test screening of Seven, these three mid-western school-teachery ladies go storming past him, trying to get away from the theater as quickly as possible, and one of them says to the others, “the people who made that movie should be killed.” A little harsh for Seven, the movie was beautiful, but not NOT fitting for the WordPress 4.7 intro.2 comments
So, I find this kind of fascinating… It seems there’s this shared experience surrounding Julie Hayden. It always starts, “Well, I’d never heard of Julie Hayden, then I listened to Lorrie Moore reading Day-Old Baby Rats on the New Yorker Fiction podcast. I was blown away, the story was absolutely amazing.” We listeners try to find out more about Julie Hayden and find very little, which is depressing, because Day-Old Baby Rats is beautiful. So we dig a little harder, and find a little more. We TRY to scare up a copy of The Lists of the Past, Hayden’s out of print short story collection, and some find it, usually through America’s arcane library system, or they luck out at some vintage bookshop. Either way, whether we’ve found Lists or not, we do whatever’s in our power to make Julie Hayden known again; a blog post, an essay, something. Though, as far as the somethings go, writer, Cheryl Strayed, has gone the farthest. Thanks to Strayed, finding The Lists of the Past is no longer limited to libraries and book resurrectionists, she got Lists re-printed.
It makes one seriously consider the whole ripples in a pond thing. Lorrie Moore started the ripples, everybody I know of who heard that New Yorker Fiction podcast thought the story was gorgeous, and that it was heartbreaking that Julie Hayden went out of print, before her early death. Lots of us tried to do something to bring Hayden back, but Cheryl Strayed really did something. It all started with a shared experience that created ripples that created waves that brought a dead writer’s dead work back to life.No comments
So, some time back I wrote about Julie Hayden, a very brilliant writer who lead a very tragic life that ended too early and so very bleakly. When I wrote about her, her work was totally out of physical-print, and barely available digitally. I was shocked that a Google search turned up almost nothing about her. If not for the New Yorker Fiction Podcast, I never would have heard of Julie Hayden. I wrote my original post so that it might show her life and her work to even one more person. I just wanted to do whatever I could to keep her name around.
Well, every so often I search iBooks for works I’ve yet to own as ebooks. Eventually, everything’s going to be an ebook, it’s only a matter of waiting. Last night, I gave Julie Hayden another search… and I hit pay dirt! Julie Hayden’s first and only short story collection, The Lists of the Past, has been re-published, first in print, and then as an ebook.
I love print books, I really do. Having been published a few times I know there’s absolutely nothing like seeing your name and your work on the printed page, it’s beautiful. I also know print isn’t sustainable. Before Hayden’s death in 1981, her work was out of print. Print is expensive, and unless you’re Stephen King or J.K. Rowling selling a zillion books a year it’s just not worth the cost it takes to keep your book around. It’s math, ice-cold math. It costs money to print your book, and it costs money to store your book somewhere until money is spent to ship your book somewhere. Staying in print is harder than getting your work published in the first place. Print itself is a dying industry, all because of math, but ebooks are lasting.
As an ebook, The Lists of the Past won’t so easily vanish, Julie Hayden will have a chance at being remembered as she deserves.1 comment
So, seeing Donald Trump with President Obama after their first meeting today reminded me of a song by Aimee Mann so much it fucking scared me. The song, Can’t You Tell?, was written for 30 Songs, 30 Days, a collection of music with a political bent.
Mind, she wrote this pre-election…
“That bastard making fun of me in front of all my peers
Those people think I own this town, you’re stripping all my gears
Well guess what Mr. President, I’ll be seeing you
In four years
Though on the campaign trail the papers paint me like a clown
Still all I see are crowds who want to fit me for a crown
I point out all my enemies just so my fans
Bring them down
Isn’t anybody going to stop me?
I don’t want this job
I don’t want this job, my god
Can’t you tell
You try to pin me down but you don’t really try that hard
I throw out any shit I want and no one trumps that card
So dazzled and distracted by your fantasy
Isn’t anybody going to stop me?
I don’t want this job
I don’t want this job, my god
Can’t you tell
You ask about my plan but baby my plan is to win
I wind up all the tops and watch the others keep the spin
You handing me grenades is just compelling me
To pull the pin
Isn’t anybody going to stop me?
I don’t want this job
I can’t do this job, my god
Can’t you tell
The look on Trump’s face, eyes down, looking at his shoes while President Obama was actually being a leader, was disturbing. It looked like he was thinking, I don’t want this job, I can’t do this job… exactly like Aimee wrote him.1 comment
I know that people blame the gridlock in Washington on whoever goes against their political leanings. Democrats blame Republicans, Republicans blame Democrats, some people say both damn parties are bad. Well, on one hand, facts are facts and the facts say Republicans have been a giant brick wall. Back in 2010, Senator Mitch McConnell vowed to make President Obama a one-term President, and he and his fellow Republicans have been voting no on everything ever since. It didn’t stop President Obama from his second term, but it pissed off a LOT of people and gave us a lunatic Republican presidential nominee because those people felt like Washington needed “blown up.” So, for me, personally, it’s really easy to blame Republican obstructionism for our lack of progress on everything from immigration reform to making sure American’s roads and bridges don’t fall apart. On the other hand, I see how it’s also our fault, the American voters, both attentive and not.
Actually, it’s not our fault, YET.
Right now, we can see obstructionism and we can stop it. We have an election RIGHT NOW, and we can vote all these obstructionists into a cornfield. First, we have to decide that in this situation, our parties don’t matter. Politics should be about debate and compromise; folks argue their points, then settle on solutions. That said, we can look at the politicians who are already vowing that if Secretary Clinton wins they will block every single one of her Supreme Court nominees, and say, “No. Simply blocking everything is not okay.” When folks like John McCain threaten that, if we elect another Democratic President, they’ll go nuclear on the Supreme Court, we have to demonstrate with votes that we will not be threatened. We will not accept public servants who refuse to serve the public. The practice of All-or-Nothing politics doesn’t help America. When infrastructure legislation can’t through Congress, something’s wrong. When a party refuses to fund research for vaccines, something’s wrong.
Before you go vote today, if you haven’t already, do a quick Google search, something like; “marco rubio obstruction.” If a search like that nets you a bunch of articles about a candidate saying NO to things America NEEDS, don’t vote for them.1 comment
So, politics can be rough. I mean, a guy nearly beat another guy to death on the House floor in 1856. I’ve never thought politics was all Hello Kitty pillow fights, but I’ve never thought of politics as crude, or low. Politics is important, our lives change because of politics. I’ve always felt that the political process is noble, even beautiful, and Donald Trump is tainting that beauty. He has made it “truly American” to look at all Muslims as terrorists, to mock people with disabilities, to shout profanities at journalists, to say abhorrent things about women, because not doing such things makes you part of the traditional political establishment, and the traditional political establishment is astonishingly evil. The “establishment” is corrupt, it’s full of greed, and liars. So, if you call a lady journalist a lying whore, you’re just being a “straight talker,” you’re a patriot fighting for American ideals.
Trump has made things like this okay…
When calling a journalist “disgusting whore,” becomes an expected part of American political discourse, something has slipped over the edge.
Something has slipped over the edge. Trump supporters say awful things about women because their candidate said such things first. If a man running for President of the United States can say a lady journalist isn’t making a valid point because she “had blood coming out of her wherever,” and still become President, something has gone really wrong. Donald Trump has normalized behavior that would otherwise be considered base, and vile, and unacceptable. We cannot allow Trumpism to become day-to-day political conversation, his words cannot become things parents pass to their children.1 comment
I lost a subscriber, again. I mean, it’s not a steady down, my subs go down up up down up down down up… you get the idea. My subs fluctuate. I just always wonder WHY they unsubscribe. I don’t post a lot, so it’s not a volume thing, I’m not filling in-boxes. It seems like maybe it’s possibly my politics, people generally drop off after I go politics crazy.
Such times we live in… politics used to be fun! At least, I thought so…
I want a WordPress exit interview plug-in, not that it’d change anything I write. I’d just know WHY people hate me.3 comments
Talking about the election last night I got, yet again, “Well, what about the 33,000 deleted e-mails???” The whole e-mail thing really annoys me, it’s just so absurd. Secretary Clinton did something tech-stupid, but not criminal. Technology-wise, the State Department is kind of a mess. It’s a lot of very intelligent, highly experienced people of an older generation, doing an even older job, into which very new rapidly changing technology is being shoe-horned. Tech-set up mistakes were GUARANTEED. Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail server wasn’t criminal, and it wasn’t malicious, it was just dumb. Of course, people still ask,”Why would Clinton delete 33,000 e-mails??? You don’t get 33,000 yoga tips! She’s a crook! Crooked Hillary!” Um, actually, 33,000 yoga tips is pretty damn easy to believe if you do the math…
Okay, I suck at math, but don’t worry, I used a calculator!
The Law: You’re not required to turn over any e-mails of a personal nature, including SPAM to the FBI.
Now, every day I get roughly sixty some totally useless e-mails. I get Facebook, Google+, Twitter notifications. I get iTunes, Twitch notifications. I get Apple ads, Battle.net ads. I get newsletters; Goodreads, MaddowBlog, ATIA, FAAST. I get multiples from each source, particularly the notifications. Then, I get four or five private personal e-mails that I wouldn’t show to anybody, ever, not even for money. Then, maybe I get ten casual personal e-mails. So, let’s say, I get, in my In-box, seventy-five e-mails per day.
Alright, math time!
75 x 365= 27,375
I, little ol’ me, get roughly 27,375 e-mails per year that I would delete before I handed my iMac over to the FBI. That said, rather than some complex shadowy conspiracy, it’s far easier to believe that Secretary Clinton, a mother, would have some 33,000 yoga tips, newsletters, notes about her daughter’s upcoming wedding, and private conversations with her husband that she’d rather delete than hand them over to a bunch of stiff suits. The simplest explanation is usually the right one.No comments
So, if Hillary Clinton is such a horrible disgusting corrupt liar, why isn’t she in jail, or at least out of politics? Well, as I see it, there are three options to consider. First, the Clintons are so wealthy, so powerful, that Presidents, Federal Agencies, judges all bow down to their awesome power. Second, America’s just a corrupt, filthy place. Just the right people in just the right places like the Clintons, particularly Hillary. Two senate elections got rigged for her, people covered for her crimes. We live in an awful country. Third, they can’t take Secretary Clinton down because they just don’t have the tools. There’s no smoking gun, no damning documents, nothing. The first option is just stupid. I can’t believe in theory number two, I have faith in our government, I believe that our founding fathers built something so lasting, because it is good. That leaves option three, if they could have laid Secretary Clinton low, they’d have done it. If the weapon existed, they’d have fired it like the Death Star.
There’s a tactic found in the political Dark Arts manual; throw enough darts at your opponent until one of them sticks on the board. Truth has nothing to do with anything, get down deep in the gutter, do whatever it takes. Bury your opponent in so much trash all your opponent has time to do is dig out, and even after the digging, they can’t help coming out looking dirty. Note the word, looking. Even if none of the accusations are true, none of the darts hit the board, the trash isn’t deep enough to suffocate your opponent, you still call it a win. It’s a win of perception, the perception that your opponent is absolutely guilty of… SOMETHING! This is what we see with Hillary Clinton. The right slings accusations, Republican leadership brings investigations, hearings, you name it. The media has to report, Hillary Clinton today has been accused of… Hilary Clinton is under investigation for… Hillary Clinton just wrapped up eleven hours of testimony during a Senate committee hearing on… People have had to listen to these things for nearly three decades, hence the perception, the false-perception, that she’s done SOMETHING bad. The accusations never come to anything, the investigations never uncover anything, the hearings bear no evil fruit. Sadly, with too many people, none of that matters. All that matters is perception.
The news media does these “voter on the street” segments, they ask kids, first-time voters shopping at Target with mom and dad, who are a Trumpians, So, why are you voting for Donald Trump? “Well, you know, Hillary Clinton’s just a liar, she should be in jail for the e-mails and stuff, she’s like, really bad for America. Trump’s really honest, he tells it like it is, and I like that.” Their moms and dads basically say the same things. That’s not just a coincidence. Also not a coincidence, when pressed, nobody, adults, young voters, nobody, can say exactly what she lies about, or why exactly “the e-mails and stuff” ought to land her in jail. Nobody can give specifics on anything Secretary Clinton has done that’s so corrupt, specifics backed by credible sources. If specifics are given, it’s all from Breitbart, or InfoWars, or The Heritage Foundation, or The Donald himself. Of course, The Donald gets his proof of Secretary Clinton’s corruption from Breitbart, and InfoWars, and The Heritage Foundation, and his own American Horror Story: Freakshow mind. Nor do these people realize that when fact-checked by legitimate sources, Trump’s lies, flat-out lies, total in the eighty plus percent range. Still, his supporters would swear to Christ Himself that Donald J. Trump is the only honest man in politics. It’s all about perception, again, false-perception. The perception is that Trump is a “straight-shooter,” though factually he is not. The perception is that Secretary Clinton is a corrupt liar, though factually she is not. Once perception sets in, it’s a brutal task to shake it. I want to help shake the perception that has been chained and padlocked to Hillary Clinton, but I’m not going to list all her supposed sins and litigate them. The fact that nothing on the list can be proven through a single credible source says everything.
The truth is, if you really look at her life, Hillary Clinton grew up in a blue-collar family who gave her a strong Methodist upbringing which taught her the belief that one should do as much good as they can, for as long as they can. She got into law, could have become wealthy in some private sector law firm, but she went into public service. Working for the Children’s Defense Fund she became aware of a disparity between disabled kids and public school attendance. She learned that schools didn’t accommodate kids with disabilities, so they stayed home, and the schools didn’t seem to care. Hillary took her research to Congress, and ultimately, it became law for disabled students to have access to public education. Some twenty years later, I got access to public education. She’s the first major party Presidential candidate who truly embraces disability issues. That says a lot to me about her heart. She fought discrimination, exposing schools that were supposed to be desegregated, but were not. As First Lady of the United States, after a hard-fought loss to pass Universal Health-Care, she went right back to work, this time successfully championing health care coverage for eight million children nation-wide. She served two successful terms as a New York Senator, fighting to care for 9/11 families and first responders who became ill simply by running toward the burning debris and toxic air to save others. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton reduced nuclear proliferation, fought for women’s rights and children’s rights on a global scale, and helped to finally bring Osama Bin-Laden to justice. She has done a great deal of good in her thirty years of public service, and as President, she’d do a lot more. Nobody’s perfect, but she’s good, which is what counts. As Secretary Clinton says, we are a great Nation, because we are a good Nation.
Donald Trump is a liar, a fraud, a fellow who brags about being able to commit sexual assault because his celebrity allows it. That alone should make him unfit for the Presidency. Still, there’s more. If boasting about physical sexual assault isn’t enough, how about dozens upon dozens upon dozens of instances of verbal assault against women? He’s described women as pigs, and dogs, and bimbos, and losers. He’s said his own daughter, Ivanka, is “a piece of ass.” He’s said, “For flat-chested women, it’s very hard to be a 10.” He’s made racist statements against African-Americans, Hispanics, Muslims. He physically and verbally mocked a journalist with disabilities. Still, people defend him, they rationalize his documented total lack of a morale-compass by saying, “Well, we’re not voting for Sunday-school teacher, we’re voting for President.” That argument doesn’t hold much water either, as Trump has absolutely zero experience in politics, let alone public service. He lacks the basic knowledge that I learned in ninth-grade American Government. His shallow understanding of policy, both domestic and foreign, is astonishing. He doesn’t understand that in America, Presidents don’t jail their political enemies. He doesn’t grasp that you don’t start a shooting war over Iranian soldiers making crude gestures toward our soldiers. He’s never held any form of public office, yet now he feels he’s entitled to the highest public office in the land. Donald Trump has spent his entire adult life in service to one person, himself. He is dangerously unqualified for the Presidency.
Hillary Clinton is a true public servant, she’s everything a President should be; kind, intelligent, level-headed, experienced. Look at facts, not perception, and make the right choice in November.3 comments