Monday, October 31, 2016

We Get Stickers

You really have to hand it to FBI Director James Comey - amid all the calls for his resignation or impeachment, someone has finally united Republicans and Democrats.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Chilly Days In Primitive Pennsylvania

And after four days of field work in Eastern Pennsylvania, through rain, through sub-freezing morning temps, through cold blustery days, I'm finally back, safe and sound, and warm in the company of my cats and the comforts of home.

You can see my shadow in the photo above, lower left, just above the word "days."

Friday, October 28, 2016

My Office Today

The rain stopped and it's clear and sunny, although now it's also windy and cold as well. Unfortunately, though, this is the last day of field work at this site and I have to go back to a brick and mortar office Monday.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

My Office Today

The weather in Eastern Pennsylvania lived up to its 100% chance of rain forecast all day today, plus it was chilly (40s), but still, it was a unique experience on a unique day.  Another experience survived, another challenge risen to and met, another day that's now but a memory and a pair of wet shoes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I've had enough of this election cycle ("call your doctor if you have an election lasting more than 12 months").  I'm up in the cool climes of Exton, Pennsylvania, for a few days of job-related field work, getting away from it all.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Even though it's inevitable that Trump will lose the national election, there's even a possibility that he will lose red-state Georgia.  Georgia hasn't selected a Democratic Presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992 (then quickly switched back to Bob Dole in '96), but the latest polling here has Trump up by a mere 2.5% over Clinton (48.3%-45.8%).  They were dead even for a couple of weeks back in August, and as Trump's campaign self destructs, Clinton may climb back up again.

Friday, October 21, 2016

We Get The Wider View

Money doesn't buy happiness.  Donald Trump looks to me like the most miserable person in the whole wide world.  Would anyone really want to trade places with him?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

We Get A Ride

Why, then, am I losing my equanimity and criticizing one presidential candidate so severely, while giving the other a free pass?  Why am I showing preference for one thing over the other, and not just accepting what is for what it is?

Because, if Trump were to be elected, which is looking pretty unlikely now, but if he were and years from now someone were to ask me what I had done to try and stop it from happening, and then asks why I didn't use this public forum to alert whomever I could about the clear and present danger, what would I say if I don't speak out now? What could I say?  As a matter of fact, I might not be permitted to say. . . 

But Trump won't win.  One of the world's biggest bookies, Ireland's Paddy Power, is so sure that Hillary Clinton will win next month's U.S. presidential contest that it has already begun to pay out more than $1 million to people with bets on its books in favor of Clinton. 

As asteroid passes closely but avoids hitting the earth.  The San Andreas fault and the Cascadia subduction zone hold off for another day.  The sun doesn't explode and go all red giant on us.  Trump isn't elected president.  We gave praise for these small miracles and express gratitude for the avoidance of disasters.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

To all my Republican friends and readers:  Trump is right.  This election is completely rigged and there's not a thing you can do about it.  Your vote is meaningless. You might as well just say home on Election Day and not even bother casting a vote.  Don't vote for the President, don't vote for Congress, don't even vote for as much as the Dogcatcher - maybe a complete and total boycott of the polls will send a message to the corrupt system.  But if you do insist on voting, be sure to show up on November 28 and cast your ballot.

To all my Democratic friends and readers:  Hee, hee, hee!  Shhhh!

Monday, October 17, 2016

We Get Florida

According to the Tampa Bay Times, around 200 people walked out of Amy Schumer's Tampa show on Sunday night when she called Donald Trump a “orange, sexual-assaulting, fake-college-starting monster.”  

Schumer was met with loud booing about halfway through the show when her routine switched from her trademark self-deprecating sex jokes to more topical matters, including gun control and the upcoming presidential election.  "Stay the hell out of Florida," an angry audience member yelled.

Really, folks? You couldn't have guessed Amy Schumer's political position before the show? You never saw her act on television?  Amy Schumer, the distant cousin to Democratic U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer?  The survivor herself of sexual abuse? You didn't think she'd take a swipe, like just about every other comedian these days, at The Donald?

Or were you just waiting for the opportunity to display your fake outrage, and walk out, flash-mob style, in a choreographed protest?

Good gracious, how is this nation of ours going to pull itself back together after all of this?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

We Get Athletic

Regarding our previous posts about Presidential candidate Donald Trump, let's be completely clear about one thing: it would be incorrect to say that Trump has buddha-nature.  

Donald Trump is buddha-nature, and there's not a single cell in his body which is not a pure manifestation of the buddha.  Every word that comes out of the Donald's mouth is itself a direct expression of the buddha-dharma.

I'm still not voting for him, though.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

We Get Camouflaged

Shhhh!  We're hiding from Uncle "Small Groping Hands" Donald!

The ninth woman publicly accusing Donald Trump of groping and inappropriately kissing her has now come forward, bringing his numbers up into the Bill Cosby levels.   Frankly, we're not surprised - we've always suspected him of being a serial abuser.

A Facebook friend and Trump supporter (yes, I'm still friends with people I disagree with politically) noted on line that he thought it was more than a little suspicious that people "only now" start accusing Trump of lewd behaviour, being as it is just 30 days before the election.  "No one was calling Trump a sex offender before this, just like no one was accusing him of racism up until the election."

We'll set aside the issue for now of why women are reluctant to come forward with allegations of abuse, but really?, you think no one was calling him racist before this election?  What about the Federal prosecutors way back in the 70s who filed suits against him for racial discrimination in apartment rentals?  How about the millions of Americans disgusted and offended by his racist "birther" claims against the American president?  Your ignorance of the facts, my friend, does not exonerate him from the accusations.  We've long known Trump was a racist - we just didn't know he'd ever get so dangerously close to the Presidency.

As for the sex abuse claims, I lived upstate New York in the 80s and frequently heard him on the Howard Stern Show boasting about his "success" with women.  We've seen him go through a series of trophy wives, and watched, appalled, as he even sexualized his own daughter.  Everyone knew he was a dirt bag - no one did anything about it because until recently, no one thought he mattered.

Donald Trump is a hateful, disgusting, incompetent old man, unfit not only for the Presidency of the United States of America, but for life among polite company and society.

Friday, October 14, 2016

We Get A Wall Built

Accused of groping random women and caught on tape bragging about it, Donald Trump has doubled down on his personal attacks on Bill Clinton, apparently because it's easier for him to run against Bill than his actual opponent, Hillary.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

It appears, at least right now, that Trump's presidential campaign is over.  The tapes of his bragging about the unfettered privilege of the wealthy and his groping of women, all of the women coming forward saying they were victims of said groping, his inability to talk about anything other than himself, all appear to be his undoing. It's hard to imagine how any candidate, even Trump, can come back from all this.

But while all this is deplorable, these aren't the reasons I'm so appalled that he got so dangerously close to the Presidency.  I'm not offended so much by his vulgarity, his xenophobia, or his greed as I am by his narcissism.  Not only is every rally, every debate, every speech all about him, but he's the only candidate I've ever seen in my lifetime who so blatantly appears to want to use the authority of the most powerful office in the world solely for the benefit of himself.

He claims to have no financial backers and thus is beholden to nobody, but how has no one noticed that he's very much beholden and interested in the fortunes of the Trump Organization?  He's the only presidential candidate I know of who refuses to put his business into a blind trust if elected, but instead admits that his children will run the company while Dad's away.  Even Cheney's ties to Halliburton were less obvious than this.

With regard to his dispute with the judge assigned to his fraudulent Trump University case, he's not only stated that the judge is inherently biased because he's got a Hispanic last name, Trump's also said that if he becomes President, that judge had better watch out.  No candidate before has ever, as far as I know, threatened that he planned to use the Executive Office to settle old scores, or would interfere with the Judiciary for the sake of his own business interests.

He's said that he would jail his opponent, Hillary Clinton.  Not only does this sound like the actions of a Banana Republic dictator, but it also sets a very dangerous precedent - while many before Trump have claimed to be all for "law and order" (cough, Nixon, cough), no candidate has ever threatened to use the Presidency as a punitive tool against an individual American citizen.

It goes on and on.  It's clear that Trump has absolutely no idea about the Constitutional separation of powers and that he thinks if elected he will be some sort of tyrannical "Boss of America."  It makes me think his supporters don't want to be governed so much as ruled.  It makes me think that fascism is very much alive in America.  

It makes me think . . . .   

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

We Get Inappropriately Placed

Like a great many weary Americans, I cannot wait for this Election Season to be over.  I don't know how much more braying I can tolerate from that jackass of a short-fingered vulgarian from New York, or the racist, misogynistic, and homophobic, not to mention just downright counter-factual, support offered by his mouth-breathing, deplorable followers.

It was once mildly entertaining and even funny in a cynical sort of way, but now it's just painful to behold and embarrassing to contemplate. 

I've resisted the temptation to offer counter-points to his off-the-wall accusations because the failings of his logic and positions are so obvious to even the casual observer, but now I'm angry that my resolve has left me and I'm at the point of writing even this much.

Godspeed and quo vadis, America.  We'll get through this eventually, look back, and wonder "what the f*#k was that all about?"

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Time Dilation

Impermanence works both ways.  What I recently thought of as "new" music was being played as background music at the supermarket. But on the other hand, what I thought was an "oldie" playing on t.v. was actually a relatively new song.

HBO is promoting a new show featuring Sex and the City's Sarah Jessica Parker, and their promo spots feature a song I recognized but couldn't immediately place.  Since it sounded so familiar, I thought that I must have heard it years and years ago, like maybe back in the 80s.  Could be Marshall Crenshaw, I don't know.  But it turns out to have been a song from the 2013 album On Oni Pond by the experimental Philadelphia band Man Man, who we saw at the 2014 Shaky Knees Festival here in Atlanta.

Coincidentally, the video for the song consists of nostalgic film clips, so somebody else obviously got an oldies vibe off of the song as well.

What was once new becomes old, and what's old is new again.  But that doesn't explain these recent experiences.  It's hard to describe, but one thing I've noticed about growing older is an effect I call "time dilation." I now have memories that are 10, 20, 30, even 40 years old, but that still seem as fresh in my mind as memories of last year, so on one level, 1975 seems as recent and relevant to me as 1995 or 2015.

I no longer feel constrained by the so-called consensus "present," but instead my "present" has expanded, dilated if you will, to include not just days, weeks, and months, but whole decades. I can keep the decades straight in my mind, and I'm well aware that Sex and the City is no longer on the air or that name dropping the show is not considered a hip reference this day and age, but I can still enjoy (and I do mean enjoy) a much larger sense of "the present" than the ephemeral "present" of my younger self. 

I'm present in all time, past and current, and while it's always the eternal "now," that "now" has gotten a whole lot larger over the years.  

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

We Get Illuminati

They were playing a song by the English indie pop band Allo Darlin today as background music at my local Publix Supermarket.  It was followed by Marshall Crenshaw before the music slipped into the background again and out of my consciousness somewhere near the yogurt aisle.

This is disturbing.  I don't think of Allo Darlin as "background music" and their songs certainly aren't "oldies" - true, they disbanded this year, but their recording career was between 2010 and 2016.  I've seen them perform here in Atlanta at The Earl and 529, and they're what I've come to consider as "new" music after some five decades of listening to all manners of other music, but now my "new" music is supermarket background sounds.

I hope the band members get royalties from this.  They seemed to be nice people.

For what it's worth, I remember when Marshall Crenshaw was considered "new" music, and when he first played Atlanta in the early 80s, he performed at the notorious 688 Club, then the au courant New Wave and punk rock club.   I've had three decades to relegate Crenshaw in my mind to the "oldies" category and it wouldn't have surprised me one bit to hear him as Publix background music, but Allo Darlin was a bit of a jolt to the system.

Impermanence is swift and everything changes.  What was once new is now old and what we had yesterday is gone today.  If we cling to the present, we find ourselves in the past.

On the positive side, the supermarket's background music is getting better.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

We Get Dismissed

Woo-hoo!  Got dismissed from jury duty after only  half day of waiting around the courtroom.
For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course, that's Moses, not Jesus.  I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere. "Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom?  "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon?  Give me a break! 
- Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, October 03, 2016

We Get Jury Duty

Arggh!  I've got jury duty tomorrow!  Couldn't get out of it.

It seems like I get at least summoned just about every year, and this year I have to actually show up downtown for duty.  

A long time ago, the Buddha described suffering as not getting what you want or getting that which you don't want. How much I torture myself and how much I suffer over getting jury duty tomorrow is entirely proportional to how much I cling to a) not wanting jury duty, and b) wanting to be free of jury duty, neither of which I really have control over, even though we all like to imagine that we're all in control of everything ("master of my fate, captain of my soul" etc.).   

If I decide to just go with the flow of things and see what unfolds, it might no be as unpleasant an experience as it would be if I resist and grimace all the way through the whole process.  Let's see how well that attitude holds up at 7:00 am tomorrow morning.