To Fight For The Simple Truth (2017Jan31)


Sunday, January 29, 2017                                        3:11 PM

If people of a different gender, race, religion, or birthplace engender feelings of superiority and of fear—you should own that as your personal weakness, rather than try to legitimize it as public policy. It’s okay, you know—people don’t control their feelings, their feelings control them. Finding kindred spirits who collude in your rationalizations only encourages you to hug them more closely. The fear and ego remain clearly visible to the rest of us—hard as you may work to blind yourself to such ignorance.

Don’t work towards making your weakness into a part of our public discourse—work instead towards understanding yourself and these illogical feelings. And just because your daddy or your priest tells you something’s so, that’s just ignorance become a legacy of tradition—that doesn’t alter its incorrectness.

Stop looking around for enemies to blame—the torture inside you is your own. No one is going to find your happiness and make a gift of it to you—you have to find your own—and the answer is inside your head, not out there. Gripping tightly onto every external excuse, you strengthen your hate, increasing the distance between yourself and any hope of happiness.

The smile on a poor kid’s face isn’t due to he or she having all the things they want—it is there simply for lack of the bitterness and venom that experience is waiting to lay upon them. If we can gain experience without accepting the temptation of blame, we can retain some of that happiness, even into old age. People are not the groups they belong to—it’s pretty simple.

Human nature causes conflict. Individuals often conflict with each other. Trouble has many origins—categorizing people for the purpose of blaming groups only helps to camouflage the true causes of conflict. So when we seek to blame a group for a problem, we not only trumpet our weakness to the world—we actually strengthen the causes of our unhappiness, by masking them with ignorance.

The people who gain power and grow fat off of the status quo watch with glee, as all their neglect, posturing, and corruption get a pass—overlooked by the rest of us, as we foolishly fight amongst ourselves.

Sunday, January 29, 2017                                        5:43 PM

FB Comment:

Surely the humor of your argument doesn’t entirely escape you? We men eschew murder in theory, but will fight for our ‘rights’ or our ‘honor’, thousands opposing thousands, upon battlefields bathed in blood—it is justified. But a woman, about to lose her hopes, dreams, and plans for her future, due to an unplanned, unwanted insemination—oh no, there’s no justification for women to remove those potent cells before they become viable. Her fight for freedom is ‘murder’, simply because those cells have the potential to become a person. But all men’s actual murders—the heaps of corpses produced by war and whatever other nonsense we get up to—each dead body a waste of his mother’s nine months of travail, not even counting her raising to adulthood every one of the corpses—that’s all necessary, honorable, explainable. Men are justified—but not women. Funny, right? Try to be reasonable. I fear the theocracy you appear to dream of would be a little too ‘good’—for men.

Sunday, January 29, 2017                                        7:49 PM

What am I doing? I’m not teaching. Teaching requires a willing student—these people assume they know as much as I do, which may be true in a general sense, but not necessarily true of a specific subject. But that’s a fine point that goes by the boards—and with thinking that sloppy (and that’s the average, give or take) it’s no wonder that these back-and-forths on Facebook are such an exercise in futility.

The key is that word ‘social’, in ‘social media’. People type things onto social media in the same way that they converse—mostly for the pleasure of hearing their own voice. I, as a writer (of sorts) mistake all this typing for writing. I may be thinking very hard about what I’m writing, but nobody else is—they’re socializing, they’re having fun, they’re spending time.

No wonder they think nothing of saying the most horrifically ignorant things, but burst a blood vessel when I allow myself to be, shall we say, brusque. ‘You’re so rude! I don’t allow name-calling on my posts.’ You can be as big a monster as Trump, as long as you remember to be courteous at all times. But calling stupid by its proper name is beyond the pale.

I don’t think I have the patience for this. I got onto the Internet because people had begun to give me a pain in the neck, and interacting with other nerds as disembodied entities was fun. But now, everyone’s on the Internet, with pictures and videos and ‘brief biographies’—I might as well be hanging out in a bar, as far as the social thing goes. It’s worse, really, because in a bar you can walk away from the assholes. I’m one of the few people still doing this at a computer terminal—most people are doing this stuff by phone—so we don’t even have that in common any more.

You can see where the biased-feed problem comes in—I’d be glad to only interact with the people I like—but by creating a way for that to happen, Facebook has also created a dark space, where the ignorant and hateful can find each other, unify, and congratulate each other on how well they all agree. And that peer-reinforcement makes any kind of idiocy into a mighty cause.

FB Comment:

My resolve to confront Trump-supporters whenever and wherever has prompted many of them to decide they can’t stand the heat, and have blocked me. I know this because I see a lot of my friend’s threads, where they are debating someone who isn’t ‘there’. Apparently, these cowards only want to argue with friends who won’t be brutally honest about their ignorance. Well, if they support BLOTUS, I shouldn’t be surprised if they prefer their ‘truths’ censored and managed.

FB Comment:

I love these memes falsely claiming that Obama or Clinton did something equally criminal to Trump’s recent fuckups—the funniest part is, they seem to think that these false equivalences settle the debate. I guess they never heard of that ‘two wrongs’ thing….

Tuesday, January 31, 2017                                                3:38 PM

This whole social media thing is like a National Park that’s been overrun with so many tourists, discarding so much of their trash to the point where the beauty is hidden behind a lot of human garbage. The Religious Right started all this crap with their ‘teach the controversy’ BS—the PR version of covering your ears and shouting “La-la-la-la-la-la….” They, of all people, should know what happens when you start to deal with the devil. And if cutting yourself loose from science and reason is not making a deal with the devil, I don’t know what else could be.

Large numbers of people earnestly latching on to friendly-seeming misinformation being spread by a small group of hypocritical thugs—it’s not really PR anymore—it’s a lot more like Psy-Ops—as the Russians have apparently noticed, and jumped on board with.

Americans are used to fighting for liberty, freedom, and human rights—who knew we’d ever have to fight for the simple truth? And introducing such toxic mind-fucks into the seemingly harmless playground of social media—evil genius! Those of us who’ve spent a lifetime taking honesty for granted had better get our acts together.


Our Fallen In Yemen   (2017Jan29)


Sunday, January 29, 2017                                        10:51 AM

Well, it’s become real—or is it ‘realer’? The first Trump administration counter-terrorism operation in Yemen has ended with the loss of a US serviceperson. Blood has been shed. We can all hope that Trump’s phone call to the grieving family will prod him into taking this job slightly more seriously, now. All this time, all this campaigning, and Trump is finally confronted with the fact that America is the arsenal of freedom—and freedom ain’t free.

Not that Trump is much worse than the rest of us. Will that fallen soldier be headline news all week? Or will he have sacrificed his life for his country while his country neglects to so much as notice, beyond a column in the New York Times? Will our armed services personnel retain their sense of duty and honor, while 99.9% of their countrymen obsess over inaugural crowd sizes, or repealing health care coverage for twenty million people?

Who would have thought that an elitist egomaniac who slaps his name onto any building he can find, in pursuit of brand-recognition, would discover that his name on a building (now that he’s the leader of a nation which ISIS is sworn to attack) makes that building a somewhat uncomfortable stopping place for most people? It’s ironic that his family’s businesses are now in a position of hoping that ISIS, Boko Haram, and others will repeal their fatwas against the USA and ‘replace it with something better’.

Then again, America’s pride in being ‘the land of the free’ is going to take a hit, what with Muslim bans, 2,000-mile walls, repealing women’s right to choose, and attacks on the fourth estate (if not facts themselves). Perhaps our armed services will lose their loyalty, not because they fall unnoticed, but because the country they defend no longer exists. Up until now, they operated on the premise that the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots (and tyrants—but let’s not get the Secret Service all het up). But without the tree, why bother with the watering?

If America becomes no different from any third-world dirt-hole, why would we even bother getting excited by the thought of invasion? Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss, right? According to Trump, our elections are a farce, anyhow—anyone who didn’t vote for him voted illegally—or whatever conundrum that fevered head came up with. So, we’re not really a democracy. Add in the voiding of the Constitution, and the trashing of our tradition of welcoming immigrants and refugees—and it’s not really America anymore, is it?

Just add a new SCOTUS appointee who hails from 17th-century Puritan Salem, as a cherry on top, and you’ve got a whole new country. All we need now are people willing to die for it, and people willing to live in it.


Digging Out   (2017Jan29)


Sunday, January 29, 2017                                        1:00 AM

Spencer gave me a music book for Xmas—piano arrangements of works by Joe Hisaishi, a famous composer of anime films by Studio Ghibli and video game music, he’s also issued some albums. I’m loving getting to know this stuff—the melodies are fantastic, but bear with me—it’s not every day I get new sight-reading material and it’s still unfamiliar ground. I plan to post covers of every piece in the book, eventually.

I’m still digging myself out from under the profusion of photos received and recordings made during the holidays and the rest of this month. Today’s posted videos include one from a month ago, and three from a week ago—but they also include over one hundred photos that I’ve just gotten to processing. So, nothing in today’s posts is recent except the effort.


You’ll excuse some of the holiday photos—there’s still mostly nothing but baby pictures, so you can live with a few ornaments. That baby gets cuter every time I look. I barely listen to myself play the piano on these videos anymore—I just gaze at my adorable granddaughter and remember her recent visit.


It’s been a long week—but I used the time to get my backlog cleared, so it wasn’t a total loss. I needed to have a lousy day or two, just to convince myself that photo-shopping picture after picture was a pleasant enough way to pass the time, compared to the rest of what was going on around me—so, there’s no cloud but has a silver lining, once more.

I long to return to a time when I play for the camera, process the video or videos, and post them to YouTube—all in the same day. This playing catch-up is for the birds—and I’ve got a crick in my neck from repetitive keystrokes during the hours of photo-shopping. I’ve gotten to where I prefer receiving videos of the baby, rather than a slew of photographs—much less processing involved for five minutes’ worth of background graphics.

Enough shop-talk. Sometimes, I swear, I type just to hear myself think. This blog is supposed to at least try to be interesting.

Media, Boycott Trump’s Media Events   (2017Jan28)

Saturday, January 28, 2017                                               2:55 PM

There’s only one thing that would turn Trump supporters back around as quickly as they jumped on his bandwagon—and he’s doing it. All that crazy talk during the campaign got his followers revved up—but only a lunatic would actually plow right ahead with all the silliness that sounded great at a rally, but actually creates major problems, once you’ve taken office.

That is to say, it was bad enough he talked so loose about serious issues, like some cartoon character, but to actually play fast-and-loose with the ship of state—well, all I can say is, ‘He’s gonna need a bigger goon squad’. And he’s not just re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic—he’s actively widening the gash in the side of the ship. But that’s a bad turn of phrase—America had been doing pretty good, all things considered—and, had a competent President been elected, allusions to the Titanic would not be involved—I should say, rather, that Trump is the iceberg itself, destroying one of mankind’s greatest creations, merely by sitting his fat ass in the Oval Office, where clear, deep water should be.

His most delirious grasp for power is his antipathy towards video evidence, photographic evidence, reliable information sources, and journalism. Trump really thinks that he can shape information flow so completely that the truth will remain hidden for the next four years. As with all his activities, one is confused as to whether laughter or weeping is the appropriate response. These alternative-fact worker bees on the alt-right can say black is white, night is day—and that will confuse people for a time. But their lies cannot change a person’s income, lies cannot create jobs, and lies cannot reduce the stress and violence that affects so many Americans they were willing to gamble on what they thought was a ‘loose cannon’.

I might have gone along with all that ‘loose cannon’ BS—if Trump were a real maverick, an independent spirit with his own ideas about the status quo. But that is not the case here—Trump does not have his own ideas, he has delusions—Trump is not an independent spirit, he is an entitled bully who mistakes his wealth for validation. Britain is struggling to crawl out from under their big Brexit mistake, but we have to own our big mistake for four long years—no do-overs.

Still, remain calm. Once Trump gets bored, he may just sit around tweeting for the remaining three-and-a-half years. One way we could help make that happen is if the media stops giving him their full attention. After all, they could rightly point out that they are not in the business of interviewing people who always lie to them and insult them—and that’s a pretty accurate description of Trump’s administration. They could still report to the people—all they’d have to do is report on what the Congress is actually cooperating on with Trump, what other departments and agencies are being affected by Trump’s directives, and how other foreign leaders are reacting to him. They don’t really have to talk to Trump or his minions at all—especially considering what they’ve been getting out of them so far.

We know what Trump is like. How do you think he’d feel if no one came to the White House Press Room anymore, or bothered covering his ‘press conferences’, or giving him interviews? He’d probably feel almost as bad as he’s made the rest of us feel. Media, do the right thing—start giving Trump all the attention he deserves. And if you can’t do that much, at least stop putting his fucking lame-ass tweets on the front page every other damn day.

America Foisted   (2017Jan27)


Friday, January 27, 2017                                          10:07 AM

What Trump doesn’t understand is that “America First” sounds fresh and exciting to him—because no one else has used that phrase since the American Bund, whose motto it was, were exposed as Nazi fifth-columnists in the 1940s. “America First” has been—and to all appearances remains, as Trump uses it—the rallying cry of Fascists, Racists and Anti-Semites. Just because Trump is ignorant of History doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

He compounded his ignorance by using this motto, mere seconds after taking the oath of office—which he apparently wasn’t listening to himself doing—because the oath clearly states that he is not to preserve and protect our boundaries with big walls—his job is to defend the Constitution.

And this is why it is dangerous to put a dummy in that office—America is not a patch of dirt that we love—it is a collection of principles written down by our founders. America is an idea—if you throw out the ideas, we’re just a patch of dirt, no different from anyplace else. Animals fight over territory—Americans fight to defend their ideas.

That is why ignorance in America always fancies itself as an ‘alternative point of view’—those who hear ‘freedom of speech’ as a simple rule, rather than a complex idea, will naturally use that rule to counter ideas against which they are incapable of arguing cogently. In the same way, the ignorant tell us, “He won. Get over it.” They do not see that having the Electoral College legitimize their mistake, making it official for four years, does not make their choice any less incorrect—or dangerous, sad to say.

I have even heard it said that a man who lies so profusely as BLOTUS may not be lying, so much as deluded enough to believe his own lies—which, to me, only begs the question: which is worse—a congenital liar or a raving lunatic? Well, fear not, America—by all evidence, it would seem that we have elected a man who is very much both.

What is so very striking about BLOTUS is how proud he is—I have always wanted to feel pride in my accomplishments, as any normal person does, but I never realized that it is possible to be proud as a personality tic, devoid of any cause or achievement. His dismissal of the real accomplishments of others, and of the nuances of allegiance to a Constitution, rather than a piece of property, are just the flip side of that empty-souled, dim-witted persona.

The Time-Space Orchestra   (2017Jan26)

Thursday, January 26, 2017                                              9:21 PM

The Buds-Up Time-Space Orchestra was delayed last week by a cold my partner caught—but Pete’s all better now, and here’s another fine mess he’s gotten me into. Seriously, though, I think some of it came out pretty good.

We almost didn’t get to the music, what with discussing the craziness in today’s politics—things are getting weirder, and not in a comfortable way. Eventually, however, we were able to move along to the Gershwin brothers—the song “Clappa Yo Hands” is one of their unfortunate efforts to force a patois onto the lyric—but it’s a nice song.

Then we tried Yellow Submarine and Yester-Me Yester-You Yesterday, both of which I suspect we’ve done before—but we mostly do the covers to warm up for the jamming (at least, I think we do) so no harm done. It’s hard for me to follow a professional drummer when I’m goofing around—add sight-reading and the results are suspect at best. But it’s fun to try—maybe don’t call the covers ‘music videos’, call them videos of us having fun—that’s the idea.

I’m pretty happy with the two improvs—I tried to play along with the drumming and mostly managed it—and the music isn’t awful. Five stars, as far as I’m concerned. Well, it’s been quite a day, what with the playing and the processing and the posting to YouTube—so, th-th-that’s all, folks!



Stupid In A Crisis   (2017Jan24)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017                                                7:46 PM

I’m exhausted from responding to alt-right trolls on Facebook. I know that nothing that happens on Facebook matters worth a damn—and I know I’m never going to change the mind of any of these hysterical jingoists. Still, with things as they are, whenever any of that pro-Trump idiocy appears on my feed, I’m going to keep on responding, contradicting and insulting the people who post it.

I didn’t use to. I used to look at their stuff and say to myself that no one could ever be so blind as to be taken in by the charlatan and his creepy minions. But the Electoral College has proven that I was wrong about that. So now, whenever I see a stupid, thoughtless post in support of criminals who just happened to get elected—I post a reply of my own. I don’t want to—I’ve got better things to do—certainly nicer ways to spend my time. But I will no longer let these lies go unchallenged—even in the wasteland of Facebook.

Is it wrong of me to insult these people? Under ordinary circumstances, yes, it certainly would be. And if they are truly so deluded that they believe in Trump, it’s actually cruel of me to torture them with my scorn. But a lot of these people are just feeling the oats of their misogyny, racism, nationalism, and plain old resentment over how shitty their lives turned out. The miserable irony of it is that they have been conned into staunchly supporting the very people that keep their lives so miserable.

Can you imagine it? These rich, powerful people—who can create major changes with the stroke of a pen—accuse the poor, the sick, the displaced, and the immigrant of causing all our troubles. These cynical pigs stand there, with their hands on the switches, their fingers on the buttons—and they expect us to believe that the most powerless, vulnerable people on this earth are causing the problems. It’s beyond tragedy—it’s even beyond farce.

Their eagerness to smear anyone who stands against them is a sure sign that they have no conscience, no real concern for anyone but themselves—they echo the true accusations we make against them, like little children—yet enough people were taken in by this childishness that he won the Electoral College.

So, I apologize to all you people who I may call Stupid (and other things) over the course of the next four years. Please understand that I wouldn’t insult you without reason—you have been stupid, you continue to be blind and ignorant to the real threats, and you show no sign of wanting to become un-stupid in the foreseeable future. If the situation allowed for me to be polite enough to ignore your empty-headedness, I would gladly let it pass—but stupid in a crisis is a real danger, and I don’t have the luxury of etiquette anymore. However meaningless and futile my comments and posts on Facebook may be, they are my only point of push-back against the cretins—besides, evil pisses me off.


Four Book Reviews   (2017Jan24)

Monday, January 23, 2017                                                9:36 PM

Of my recent readings, four books have stood out as enjoyable to the point of recognizing their worth and sharing my enjoyment with others:

“Xenophobia” by Peter Cawdron   –   “The Sculpted Ship” by K. M. O’Brien   –   “The Simpleton” by Mark Wayne McGinnis   –   “Feedback” by Peter Cawdron

Below is a re-post of my Amazon reviews for each:

“Xenophobia” by Peter Cawdron


[‘Super 8’ in Africa]

Do not be fooled by the generic title—this book is unique and exciting in many ways. First of all, I love it when a science fiction story starts out as a regular novel, bringing the reader into a real-world scenario both interesting and engaging—meanwhile, very slowly and subtly at first, the introduction of the strange—and the total lack of expectation of anything otherworldly on the part of the characters—adds greatly to the sense of dislocation one would feel, if confronted by, say, an alien—rather than simply reading a story that has an alien in it.

Perhaps I’m over-explaining myself—all I’m saying is that the protagonist, a young doctor working in a war-torn third-world country—and her UN-assigned military team of protectors—have more than their share of drama unfolding throughout this book. The introduction of some kind of First Contact, late in the story, was superfluous in terms of good story-telling. The woman’s struggle is as much about the human condition as anything else—quite gripping, all on its own—and, as I said, the realism of this story only adds to the sense of alienness concerning the visitors from the sky, when they finally appear.

As a child of Clarke, Asimov & Co., I have no set requirement for literary excellence in my science fiction—though when I come across it, as I have done here, I’m very appreciative. What I do demand is that there be, if not originality, at least uniqueness to the concepts or the science—and that is also here, not so much in the ingredients of the story, but in the interactions of the various players and in the frustrating of comfortable assumptions and expectations.

If a combination of the movies “Tears of the Sun”, “Rescue Dawn”, and “Super 8” sounds like something you’d enjoy, then Xenophobia is right up your alley.


“The Simpleton” by Mark Wayne McGinnis


[Flowers for E.T.]

While the representation of a story through a mélange of movies is not something I’m entirely comfortable with, it sometimes seems quite apropos—and in the case of “The Simpleton” by Mark Wayne McGinnis I’m tempted to say that it is a combination of “The Lawnmower Man”, “Flowers For Algernon”, and “E.T.”—with just a hint of “Ender’s Game” thrown in for good measure, at the end.

I thoroughly enjoyed McGinnis’ take on the familiar ‘enhanced intelligence’ concept—it has always fascinated me. That the alien feels concern for enhancing the intelligence of a living thing without its consent is a great doorway to ruminations about the paradox of life being a violent exercise, yet intelligence urges us to seek peace. I appreciate writers who, like Tolstoy, take side-trips into the philosophical in the course of their story-telling.

On the down side, I’ve never been a big fan of the sci-fi trope in which the aliens are too peaceful to defend themselves and thus require us savage humans to fight their war for them. How is that not just using humans as second-hand weapons? But, whatever—it also allows for alien characters who are more savage than humans, rather than less—so balance is maintained.

Being anti-authoritarian, I’m also a big fan of stories where the security forces and the military are so paranoid and knee-jerk violent that they practically doom the planet in their narrow-minded quest to control a situation they don’t understand—so I enjoyed that aspect of this story as well.

I’m very story-oriented—when I read, it is basically just to enjoy myself. This makes it difficult for me to discuss my impressions of a book without a great deal of ‘spoilers’—but rest assured that “The Simpleton” is far less simple than the little bits I’ve given away in this review—and the whole story is complex and entrancing in the way only good sci-fi can be.


“The Sculpted Ship” by K. M. O’Brien


[A Fairy Tale of Space]

Any good adventurer needs a little luck and a few helping hands to make it through the dark forest of inexperience—that is the message of most fairy tales—and it is also the theme of this delightful sci-fi fairy tale.

A young lady who just happens to be a genius at starship engineering just happens across a very special starship that has fallen on hard times. As her quest to get the ship back into the dark parallels her coming of age, she runs into a Star Wars-like collection of good, bad, and just plain odd people—smugglers, bots, royalty, and charm-school matrons, just to name a few.

While there may be little doubt as to what happens next, the reader is diverted by the exhaustive creation of a future society, complete with political intrigue, fashion faux-pas, and space-naval traditions. There is, in some books, such a pleasure in inhabiting the story that the lack of much surprise in the plot is beside the point—we simply enjoy the work of a good story-teller.

I certainly enjoyed “The Sculpted Ship”—I dashed through it, and it ended way before I was ready to let it go. I only hope there will be sequels.


“Feedback” by Peter Cawdron


[Even If You Don’t Care For Time Travel]

Time Travel as premise is not something I care for, most of the time. For one thing, I dislike getting the feeling that I understand the physics better than the author—which has happened to me too many times. For another thing, many authors err either on the side of ‘Time Travel makes everything possible’ or the side of ‘Time Travel can’t change anything’—in such cases, either way, it seems an exercise in futility.

But sometimes, as in “Feedback”, Time Travel is both taken seriously as a physics hypothesis—and is neither let loose to cover everything nor confined to where it hardly matters. In “Feedback” we are treated to a nice demonstration of how a Time-Travel premise can be tweeked into something that both preserves the past and yet allows for human determination to help shape the ultimate future.

This story gives a new level to the term flash-back, as we bounce back and forth from two different story-lines, both equally engaging and both quite distinct until nearly the end, when all things become, at last, not just tied together, but twisted into an infinite loop. And it is a rare book that saves the surprise ending for an extended epilogue—and for that new experience, for this old, old bookworm, I have to thank Mr. Cawdron.

Having just finished reading this enthralling story, I suspect that I could spend a great deal of time poking holes in it—Time-Travel tales are notoriously loose-logical. But this book keeps you moving right along—and it would take a keener mind than mine to have noticed any glaring errors during the course of my reading. And, hey, if it’s good enough to support the willing suspension of disbelief until the last page, it’s hardly fair of the reader to try and tear it apart, after the fact—we’ll leave that to the poor fool who has to write the screenplay adaptation.

I would have to give the author a nod simply for writing a Time-Travel story that I enjoyed. But “Feedback” was more than just acceptable—it was a great sci-fi ride through space, time, and science—and that’s all I ask from any book.

Hardasses   (2017Jan21)


Saturday, January 21, 2017                                               9:48 AM

Hardasses like to rag on the Arts as if one-tenth-of-a-cent on every tax dollar is going to kill them—meanwhile, they wouldn’t give up their Sunday football games if it were they that were getting concussed, instead of their ‘heroes’. These are the same bozos who want to institutionalize Islamophobia, driving hordes into the arms of ISIS just so they can hug their hate ever so close. I think we should relocate all the anti-watchdog advocates to Flint, so they can see what they’re pushing for.

George Washington did not lead a rebellion so that we could each sit back and say, “What about me?”—he was thinking more along the lines of “What about We?” Selfishness may be natural, but when overindulged, it becomes downright un-American—or should I say Trumpian? Listen to me, hardasses—you think you’re being tough? Maybe in a barfight—but in the world of ideas and understanding, you’re all a bunch of whiny little sissies.


You all think you’re so tough, being against the Other. But guess what happens when it’s your own kid—or anyone you really care about? All of a sudden, being gay, or poor, or sick, isn’t the crime you thought it was—suddenly, it’s just a human problem. We’ve seen it a million times—so don’t pretend you’re tough on the issues—you’re just unconnected to them, ignorant of the full spectrum of the human condition. You’re trying to make a virtue of being unable to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

This clown you just elected president is going to embarrass you, just as all your weak-minded judgements ultimately leave you walking around in the emperor’s new duds. His first act as President?—Putting his wife’s jewelry e-store on the White House web page. Signs of things to come. I would have been shocked, if he hadn’t spent the last year showing us how stupid he is.


Dear Mindy   (2017Jan20)


Friday, January 20, 2017                                          10:58 AM

Excerpt from a friend’s email: “….Have a good day. I’m paying for a friend’s moped repair today. I who live on disability’s low end will help a fellow human in need on this day with no expectations of repayment. To me, this is how to spend inaugural day by helping a fellow citizen.


Dear Mindy:

Is there a high-end to disability?

Yes, DeVos is a piece of work. Sen. Franken asked her if she and her family had donated $200-million to the Republican party over the last few years and she said yes. Then he asked her if she thought that had anything to do with her being appointed to a cabinet post and she very haughtily replied that she didn’t see any connection. Then he asked her some technical questions about modern educational methods and testing—and she had no idea what the hell he was talking about.

And all of Trump’s picks, really, seem to be that ‘special place in hell’ for each of the departments of government they’re being assigned to run—it’s Opposite Day at the White House. On the other hand, they match very well with the President who should never have been. And the Congress refusing to do full ethics reviews on his appointees jives nicely with the voters failing to disqualify Trump for his own ethics—or, I should say, lack of ethics. I have no special plans for today—Trump’s inauguration coverage will simply be of a piece with all the news coverage I never watch anymore.

It all reminds me of when I was a programmer—people respected me, at first, because they needed my help with a talking/printing machine that helped them all make money. But when I had made all the programs very easy to use and very reliable, people began to take me and the computer for granted—and all they ever did was bitch about the little inconveniences that came up—or they asked me to make the computer do things that a machine can’t do, etc.

America, in the same way, has run pretty smoothly for a long time—and we have taken it so for granted that we’ve elected a man who doesn’t understand the nature of government, the point of public service, or the importance of the Constitution. And I have to agree with you about doing a favor for someone today, as a form of protest—at this dawn of an era of blatant corruption and incompetence, a humane act of any kind is as much a protest as if you marched down Fifth Avenue with a sign on a stick.

And a lot safer, too. If you recall, one of Trump’s campaign promises was to shoot a man on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight.





It’s Getting Hot Out There   (2017Jan19)

Thursday, January 19, 2017                                              8:15 PM

Mid-January and the squirrels were chasing each other up down and around every tree, fence, and power line—as if Spring had come early. It’s hard to enjoy such unseasonably warm weather when it comes the day after the announcement that 2016 was the warmest year ever, which makes it the third year in a row of such record-setting global warming. Worse yet, the Climate-Ostriches are about to take power tomorrow—and they pretend global warming doesn’t exist—so that won’t help us reach any kind of quick conversion to alt-energy.

With four years to not only sit on their hands, climate-wise, but to dismantle whatever progress has already been made in making the USA a leader in global climate response—I’m very troubled. I wonder if Trump will reach 2020 only to find that Mar-El-Lago is submerged, along with half of Florida. We can only lose so much arctic ice before sea levels start to really change—and Florida is especially vulnerable. Not that the entire Caribbean isn’t at risk—but shorted-sighted people need reality to knock on their own front doors.

Here again we see the problem of having too many problems. This climate-change threat is existential, not just for our nation, but globally. Still, we have a hundred other diversions—many of them serious problems also. But the media is not in the business of prioritization. They want to dazzle their audience with variety—not table some dry discussion on which problems need triage before we consider less weighty issues. And the incoming administration—a creature of the media, itself—does not appear to be in the clarification and prioritization business, either.

So we, the citizens, end up watching what amounts to an informational kaleidoscope on our viewing devices, snowed into the inclination that it’s all just too much, rather than getting angry at the lack of leadership—or progress of any kind—from the government. The GOP can’t admit to climate-change because it would make Big Oil unhappy. The GOP can’t admit that Obamacare should be amended, not replaced, because it would make their base realize it was all politics to begin with—not to mention Big Pharma and the Insurance people seeing their profits curtailed. I can’t tell you why they won’t leave women’s health issues to women—that will forever be a not-very-mysterious mystery.

The whole migrant thing—and that ridiculous wall idea—is all pure xenophobia—playing on people’s fears, and their desire to blame the ‘other’ for their problems. Mexicans have been coming and going into America, ever since the places where they cross were still Mexico itself. And there is less traffic across the border now than ever before in modern history. The truth is that immigrants have been and continue to be a part of our economy and culture. The paranoia being pushed by the GOP is leftover panic from 9/11—a cowardly reaction that has already prompted us to two wars and a near-bankruptcy.

It’s about time we got over domestic terrorism. You’re far more likely to be murdered in one of the mass shootings that shame us, as a nation, on a constant basis. What is the point of our security people doing such a bang-up job of screening for terrorists—if the rest of us are still going to walk around looking over our shoulders, ready to panic at the first loud noise? When did we become so damn shy?

So, basically, we have the GOP—who have been sponsored by interests who prize the status quo—telling us we can’t trust the leaders that would work for real change. And now that the GOP’s in power, they’re just going to sit back and tell you that those problems don’t exist—or that privatizing everything will solve all our problems. ‘The money-grubbing is strong with this one’. I think you’d have to be very rich to try to pretend that Capitalism is self-regulating, self-correcting. The market may be self-correcting, in a narrow sense, but to say that Capitalism works better without rules is to confess that you have a scheme to rip people off.

If you were playing Monopoly with someone and they said the game would be better if we threw out a few rules, you’d know they were trying to cheat. Why is the same thing not equally obvious when these fat-cats whine about regulation? They quality-control their products—why should they be so inhumane as to suggest there shouldn’t be quality-control on their employees, their customers’ health, and the good of the community they operate in?

The naked greed and cold-blooded unconcern for collateral consequences was most blatantly displayed with the recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan—and those people still don’t have any clean running water. Anyone trying to deregulate or defund the EPA, or any other watchdog, in these dog-eat-dog times, is not your friend. Too bad our new prez is set to lead the charge to do just that.

Dissent Is American   (2017Jan19)

Thursday, January 19, 2017                                              11:35 AM

The hypocrisy is thick enough to walk on. Lectures appear on Facebook, calling all liberals onto the carpet for not bowing down to the new god of Bullshit, our Pee-elect. I’m told it’s my patriotic duty—that’s it’s self-defeating to disrespect one’s President. As a good American, I’m supposed to accept the judgement of the American people and rally to our new C-in-C—except the First Amendment makes it my right—no, my responsibility—to speak out against bad government —except he lost the ‘popular’ by three million votes—except most Trump-voters didn’t vote for Trump so much as they voted against Hillary.

I know this because when, in my online sparring with Trumpsters, they still reach for that rebuttal—‘well, Hillary is worse’. Get this straight, Trumpsters, the election is over—all excuses from now on have to be made without your fantasy evil-Hillary as an ingredient. You can’t judge people for repudiating his taking office, if you’re still pretending it didn’t happen, too.

And that goes for the entire Republican Party—you goons have the floor, you morons have the power, you crabby farts are now in charge of what everyone else was ‘doing wrong’. While I don’t expect anything from you incompetents, your constituency is expecting real change. And don’t look now, but if you fail (that is, when you fail) there’s no one left to point your finger at. It’s all on you.

Besides, President Obama did a fantastic job—while being protested and disrespected like no other president in our history. So stop yer bitching about us libtards taking it to the Cheeto-in-Chief—if Obama’s legacy is anything to go by, it’ll be a healthy back-and-forth between opposing views. The fact that your ‘view’ is actually blindness to facts, reality, or fairness doesn’t mean you get to Nazi-ize the presidency, or make it a capital crime to insult that bag of crap.

XperDunn Returns   (2017Jan18)


Wednesday, January 18, 2017                                          6:18:47 PM

I’m finally coming back down to Earth—this last holiday was the nicest time anyone has ever had—I got to meet our new granddaughter and visit with her and her Mom and Dad—a nice long visit, but not long enough by half. And, in the confusion, I have neglected to post any YouTube videos for the longest dry-patch my channel has ever gone through.


It isn’t that I haven’t been playing the piano. In fact, some of my best performances ever went unrecorded—played, for once, for the people in the room instead of to the camera.


The baby enjoyed my piano-playing in three different ways—she was charmed when I sang a song to her, she went to sleep faster when I softly improvised, and she loved to sit on my lap at the keyboard and play the piano with me. Had I been in my right mind there would be a bunch of video documenting all this—but I have nothing to show, since the camera was never on my mind—never turned on—it’s a shame, but nothing new—all my best work inevitably happens when the camera is not on.


I miss the baby. She’s the sweetest thing that ever drew breath. And a baby is a fitness regimen—not even having a baby, but just hanging out with a baby—involves all kinds of rolling about and lifting and holding—it’s a lot of work for someone who lies in bed all day. If they didn’t need caring for, babies would make great fitness-coaches for the infirm.

Anyway, it’s back to normal, here at the Dunn’s. Part of this extended hiatus was due to the hundreds of photos and the handfuls of baby videos I’ve been processing, in preparation for including them in the piano YouTube videos. Today, I’ve finally posted four new videos—part of the harvest from my ongoing processing of the visit’s photographic record. And, as a special bonus, I’ve included a cover of Gershwin’s “Somebody Loves Me”, which Bear and I sang to the baby.



I’m Gonna Laugh, Too   (2017Jan18)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017                                          12:08 AM

I think I’m getting a handle on this thing—I’m pretty sure that by the inauguration, I’ll avoid my head exploding. But it’s a big adjustment—losing that reasonable, measured presence at the head of the nation. I had gotten used to the luxury of having the ‘final authority’ be a better man than I am. I had forgotten the patience I acquired while Bush Jr. chuckled his way through his self-actualized shit-storm.

My concern with Bush-43—I doubted he saw the longer game, the problem taken out beyond the short term, or seen in a wider context—I didn’t expect wisdom from Bush, but I expected a modicum of caution and restraint—as a person might show, when responsible for the fate of the world. And indeed it took him the full eight years to cause all the damage of his administration.

The thought of Trump in the same position made me panic because, in Trump’s case, never mind the longer game—he doesn’t appear to see the short game—or the nose on his face, in many respects. He compounds his ignorance with an unstable personality—which could light up the whole ball of wax, in myriad scenarios and in shockingly brief time periods. Once sworn in, I wouldn’t be surprised if he could outdo Bush’s mistakes by an order of magnitude, and in a mere eight months.

I haven’t decided which scenario frightens me more—the transforming of ourselves into neo-Nazi nationalists—or the various forms that World War III could assume. The irony is that now, when the Tea-Partiers have won through, I agree with them—no legislation should be passed for the next four years—Congress should do nothing until they have completed the ethics reviews of Trump’s cabinet appointees (that should take most of four years, anyway, if they do a good job of it).

I’m curious about how the Republicans are going to spin things, now that they have both Houses, and the Administrative branch, and their pick of Supremes—if the employment rate doesn’t rise, if wages don’t rise, if health care and health insurance costs keep rising—who are they going to blame then? I would consider the possibility of their success—if they had offered any clear vision of their version of things.

They’ve been knocking the Dems for so long, so fixedly, that I have to wonder if they’re capable of switching gears, of getting anything useful done. Their present focus seems to be on undoing the Affordable Care Act—most sensible people would want to have a clear model of a replacement first, but everybody has their own style, right?

And it’s all coming back to me now. That was Jon Stewart’s big explosion as a satirist—when Bush was President, if we didn’t laugh, we would have had to cry—and this is certainly still a temptation. But I’ve become so serious about all of this that I hardly see the clownish side of the Republicans anymore.

Plus, we are always tainted by the enemies we fight—in this case, Trump has absolutely no sense of humor—he thinks insults are humor, because he enjoys insulting people—he doesn’t realize that insult-comedy has to be clever to work. And we really can’t expect an appreciation for satire from a man who seems born to be its target.

And so, during this death-march of an election, I slowly but surely lost my own sense of humor. It wasn’t just Trump and his team—the news media as well became a vacuum of humor. When the Trump spinnerets tried to pass off his Pussy-Grabbing comment as ‘locker room talk’, no one behind a news-desk had the dignity or grace to laugh in their faces. And as I watched what should have been farcical, treated with leaden gravity, I lost my sense of humor along with my sense of sanity.

But I’m getting it back now slowly but surely—as people are wont to do when they pass through what they used to see as an upper-limit on crazy. I voted. I blogged. I argued with friends. In my tiny way, I did what I could. But it’s over now—and if I didn’t win my case, I have won the right to sit back and watch my warnings come to fruition. People have a thing about saying I told you so—but I’m fine with it. If you refused to listen and went ahead and cut yourself, I’m gonna go ahead and say I told you so. And, yes, I’m gonna laugh, too.

Trump has lied and connived himself into a position he has no business holding—and I’m going to ridicule him until he leaves that position. If he can make a joke out of this country, I can certainly make a joke out of him. Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it, Donald.

Embarrassed To Be White   (2017Jan15)


Sunday, January 15, 2017                                        12:42 PM

Honesty has gone by the boards—and it’s not just the Republicans, although they are, by far, the most avid spreaders of delusional misinformation. The lies that enrage me the most, however, are the shadowy racist ones—where they lie about African-Americans (especially the President), Mexicans, and Muslims—but they don’t have the guts to admit they believe in White Supremacy. Bad enough you’re a bigot—but a coward and a liar to boot? In the words of the PussyGrabber-elect: “Sad!”

The 2008 election of Obama roiled up a tidal wave of racist hate—but most of it was channeled into thinly-veiled bigotry disguised as political commentary. Nobody was fooled by this—did y’all really think we would take your bullshit at face value? I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump’s first act as president is to commute Dylann Roof’s death sentence. They’re two-of-a-kind, but Roof only killed nine people—Trump will kill us all.

Supporting someone with just half of Trump’s red flags could be, just barely, chalked up to pitifully poor judgement—but to support the entire Trumpster-Fire is plain old reactionary racism—revenge for a black man making it into the Oval Office—and getting re-elected. After Bush went to war by mistake and left the global economy in ruins, you’d think White Supremacy was a dead issue—if that’s ‘Supremacy’, give me a ‘2nd-class citizen’ any day.

But judgement is not the issue. To suggest that you voted for the Donald out of good judgement is to invite me to laugh in your face. We outlawed slavery. We outlawed Jim Crow. But the hate still runs strong in this country—and Trump rode it all the way to the Electoral College.

The most laughable part is when these racists suggest that Obama didn’t do a fantastic job as president. They ignore statistics, they have amnesia about Bush’s trainwreck, they insist that any evidence of Obama’s success is untrue—or they change the subject to the few mistakes he made. You try being President of this overcrowded kindergarten class for eight years and see if you make an error or two.

Then they pretend that this dirt-bag-elect can read a newspaper, or get through a whole briefing without getting bored, or recognize an ethic if one conked him on the head. Please. He’s a perve. He’s an entitled brat. His record of public service is listed here: ‘_______’. Anyone who would vote for this clown is not choosing him for his ability—they’re just voting against Obama’s legacy.

Too late. Obama will go down in history as a great man. Trump will make history too—but not the kind we want to be here to live through. No one with their eyes open is fooled by your cutesy-pie, I’m-not-a-racist, racism. Some days, I’m ashamed to have white skin. I hate the fact that people might look at me, and think I’m one of you assholes.

On My Mind   (2017Jan14)


Saturday, January 14, 2017                                               11:28 AM

You know what’s scary? Thinking—thinking is scary. You think you know what you’re thinking about and then, suddenly, your imagination throws something unexpected into the mix—like slipping with a knife and cutting off a finger—and you think ‘Damn—how’d that get in there?—all I wanted to do was daydream about winning the lottery—nobody said anything about knives!’

Sometimes I’ll be thinking about something—and then I’ll realize—no, that can’t be right—otherwise, everyone would be able to fly—or something. Then I have to backtrack, to figure out when my mind ‘turned off’ onto the dirt road of Crazy-Town, while I thought I was still cruising down Logical Boulevard.

Memory is the worst of all—and it’s not just the blankness where memory should be—like when I run across someone whose name I should easily remember, someone whose feelings will be hurt to realize I having no effing clue what their name is. It’s actually worse when I remember something that didn’t happen—like being friends with someone since high school, and having him point out that he didn’t move into the area until we were in our mid-twenties.

And it isn’t that I have a lot of friends—no, it’s not that my memory is overloaded—it’s just broken. That only embarrasses me, though—the rational stuff is worse. I remember driving while on LSD—I was scared that I would confuse the hallucinations of the road ahead with the hallucinations of the windshield between me and the road ahead. I had to look ‘through’ the windshield hallucinations to see the road hallucinations—I wasn’t worried that the road was purple and crawling with bugs—I was worried about my depth perception being tricked.


They say, “Out of sight, out of mind.” And that’s what memory is like—sometimes I need cues to remind myself of things. But what about when my mind is simply out of order? How is it possible to rationalize things, past the point where they make sense, to a point where they return to nonsense? It’s as if the brain is a muscle—and a muscle has two components: there’s the raw strength of it (which I still have) and there’s the control of it (which is something I’ve lost a handle on). My brain will go after any obstacle in its way—but it lacks the control to discern between breaking through the obstacle, and just banging my head against it, over and over again.

While my specific brain may be damaged, I think there’s a little of these kinds of problems in everyone’s thinking. Have you ever gotten used to calling a friend’s dog, saying, ‘Here, boy. Who’s a good boy?’ Then your friend says, ‘Her name is Sandy.’ But you never stop calling the dog ‘boy’? Once we adjust the settings in our head, they are very hard to change—and especially hard to cancel. We’re likely to talk to people that have left the room; to scratch a limb that’s been amputated; to sit down where the chair used to be.


So, having sat on more than my share of non-existent chairs, I’ve learned to take a good look before I sit down (metaphorically speaking). My mind goes through several extra ‘safety’ steps that other people’s brains don’t need to bother with—and that slows down my reaction time, my absorption time—my cognition is down there, near the level of the mentally challenged. In effect, I have to run a ‘spell-check’ on my everyday cogitations. It’s very frustrating because I can remember a time when I was quicker than average about most mentation.

Brains do amazing things—just like the muscles of an Olympic athlete do amazing things. But, just as average muscles can suffer a moment of clumsiness, the average brain can get things wrong, in a million ways, just getting through a day. It’s odd that we can have so much faith in our own opinions, even when we are well aware that other people have other opinions of which they are equally confident. The sensation of ‘being sure’ of what we ‘know’ is only that—a sensation—it is our defense against reality—because, in reality, nobody really knows anything for sure.

That’s part of the reason I’m so outraged by the present political climate—the whole nation’s greed and xenophobia and media frenzy, really—because the mind is a delicate thing, knowledge is a fragile bit of spun glass. To complicate ‘knowing’ even further, on purpose, with lies and partisanship and secrecy and spin—it’s ludicrous—and only people with a loose grasp of actual thinking would even go down that road. I’m not sure of anything, really—and that’s a problem—but it’s less of a problem than being dead-sure of something stupid.


Worse, when you’re dead-sure of something stupid, you can debate with confidence in yourself, dismissive of opposition—a very winning front. So, we get to where we are now—when the stupidest people win all the arguments in public forums, because they put a better face on their ignorance than the thoughtful people can present against them.

The media helps a lot with all of that—they love the facile, the superficial, the sensational—and they hate the boring drudgery of actual reason and mere information. If you want actual journalism, I suggest a newspaper—the New York Times, for example, makes a habit of journalism—which is why they get so much flak from the incoming administration. But, apparently, they don’t mind—something about First Amendment protection—I hope those evil spin-monsters don’t prove them wrong.


Maturity   (2017Jan11)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017                                          7:38 PM

oldpic-047There’s a coziness to youth—a sense that nothing can invade your home, that you’re safe under your covers. In a warm, snug home, during a blizzard, an adult may be concerned that a window will blow in, that a tree will topple onto the roof, or that the electricity will fail. Young people don’t just leave those details to the adults—they aren’t even aware of such things. They simply enjoy the show going on outside the window, enhancing the warmth and comfort of a lamplit room.

I can remember several places that seemed snug and cozy, long ago—looking at the same places today, I might just see all the work that needs to be done, or how threadbare the upholstery is—I’ve been conditioned to want to buy things to improve my home, to look for repairs that need to be made. To be fair, I acquired this partly through hard experience—learning that some home features require maintenance; that an ounce of prevention prevents a butt-load of expense; and that simple basics, like heat, electricity, or running water, can really impact quality-of-life.

The older you get, the richer you have to be to continue the pleasures of youth—the walk through the woods, the swimming, the road trips—we do these things on the cheap, as teens and such. But grown-ups can’t just traipse through whatever property they wander across, they can’t just jump into any body of water, they can’t just up and wander off for a few days. Some can—those who own their own woods, their own pools and ponds, those who have no employer to answer to—their childhood need never end.

People assume there’s a disillusionment process that inevitably happens to people as they mature. Much is made of the fact that we ‘learn life’s hard lessons’. It is framed as if we come to this knowledge through maturity and experience. But I think we’re overlooking a key component of that.


It isn’t entirely that we suddenly see these changes—grown-ups aren’t given the license that young people are allowed—many of the changes are forced on us. I distinctly remember the first time someone hassled me for walking across their property—until that day, property lines hadn’t really existed for me. I spent a lifetime (well, a childhood) walking wherever I needed to go—nobody bothered me. But when a full-grown man walks through your yard, you tend to freak out—and that day I suddenly realized that my ‘youth’ card had expired.

Similar experiences dot the landscape on the road to maturity—walking onto school grounds and being swarmed by security, insisting I check in at the office; realizing, one day, that everyone in the bar thinks I’m a creepy old guy—adulthood is full of these little surprises, none of them pleasant.

So it’s not only that we begin to see the ugliness of the world on entering maturity—it’s partly that the world begins to see ugliness in us—the lack of innocence that comes with the loss of youth. We hear ‘Act your age’ plenty, as children—but it takes on a whole other level of seriousness when, say, the cops inform you that you’ll be tried as an adult. Some of our maturity comes from our experiential learning and growth—but some of it is just forced on us.

Still, I can remember that youthful coziness. I once visited Maine—a road-trip with three other people, in a big old, sky-blue Chevy Impala (that spun out on the interstate during a snowstorm—we were all fine—it spun a full 360, still on the road—we just drove on, severely shaken by it, but otherwise fine).

We stayed with a friend whose rooms were part of an old Victorian place—Joni Mitchell on the turntable, snow outside the window, everybody dreaming of romance and adventure in this New England idyll—with a fire in the fireplace. Drinking tea and smoking cigarettes. It was a timeless moment that has stayed with me—but nothing in later life would ever be, could ever be, as carefree and freshly-discovered as that jaunt to Maine.



What To Expect When You’re Objecting  (2017Jan11)


Wednesday, January 11, 2017                                          8:51 AM

I’m waiting for the day when we can all look back and agree that making Hillary Clinton’s email-server a big issue was purely political—and that any sensible person would have said ‘so what?’ rather than passing her over for the craven citrus cretin. Unfortunately, he now has four whole years in which to perform feats which disgust and appall. Long after he’s given us more-than-enough cause to rue our dismissal of Hil, he’ll be piling further misogynous misstatement upon further malfeasance.

Why do I so confidently expect Trump to do wrong? Because I’m a student—I’ve always been a student. I’ve studied Trump. His past shows him to be a cheat in business, a bald-faced, shameless liar, a disrespecter (and accoster) of women, and a stone-cold racist and Islamophobe. And the campaign revealed (to those of us paying attention) that he doesn’t have clue one about American history, particularly in the area of civil rights—a stranger can tweet out any propagandist nonsense and Trump will re-tweet it, as if quoting Barbara Tuchman or Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Someone with his business history does have a familiarity with the law—but it is an adversarial knowledge, things he learned in the course of avoiding jail-time—that’s a different knowledge base than, say, a constitutional scholar, like Obama.

There’s a fascination factor, yes—people are mesmerized by his comfortable embrace of all things sleaze, the confidence with which he can insist that up is down. But lots of dangerous creatures are fascinating to look at—that doesn’t mean you let them out of their terrariums.

There’s only one real question about Trump’s upcoming presidency. During the campaign, he and his shills managed to spin the truth into a psychedelic hallucination—and get their lies reported as ‘real news’ by certain biased outlets (one cannot call them journalists). So, while Trump is doing the ignorant thing, the unethical thing, and the egotistical thing, he will be breaking rule upon rule—but whether or not the American public will hear it reported, and whether or not they will understand or believe what they hear, is (in light of the election’s shenanigans) an open question. I can assure you he will do wrong—I can’t say with certainty whether we’ll hear of it, or believe it, when he does.

Most people are struggling with the problem of whether or not to pay attention to a narcissist for four years. There’s talk of boycotting his inauguration (a no-brainer from my point of view—bad enough he’s being given the oath—don’t make me watch). On the one hand, the worst thing we can do is reward this pig with the attention he so desperately craves—on the other hand, he’s going to be in the White House—so if we pay attention, it shouldn’t be long before we have grounds for impeachment. He’s like a TV commercial—you want to ignore it completely, but you’re waiting for the show to come back on, so you don’t want to miss that the commercial has ended. We want to give Trump only enough attention so that we notice when he acts in an impeachable manner—it’s a conundrum.

President Obama’s Farewell Address last night was very emotional—he did his best to inspire hope for change, to remind people that Trump is a downward jag in an ongoing story, not the end of it. But I still struggle with despair—Trump alone I could handle (Bush was no prize) but the delusional electorate that allowed itself to be so easily manipulated by hate-sponsored interests—that is a monster that banishes both sleep and hope. Meanwhile, the actual work of government lies gathering dust in some forgotten closet.


Word Search   (2017Jan09)


Monday, January 09, 2017                                                4:21 PM

Over the past year or more I’ve been in a fruitless search for the perfect word or phrase, le mot juste, that would encapsulate the cesspool of objectionable characteristics that is Trump—but I have failed completely. He is disgusting in so many facets that even a paragraph can’t come close to cataloging the entirety of the reek off of him.

Briefly, I considered ‘Ape’, but I didn’t want to give him the honor of sharing what Abraham Lincoln’s critics called him—and besides, they called Lincoln as ugly as an ape—I would be using it, rather, to describe the character, the mental processes, of Trump. But even then, I would be doing a disservice to apes—who, if we can believe Jane Goodall, have far more humanity than the Trumps do. It is a shame though—his hair-color matches an orangutan’s so perfectly—but why should I hurt the orangutans’ feelings?

I liked Trumpster Fire—very witty, and damned close to perfect, since it suggests an entire dumpster full of various kinds of trash on fire. But still, it doesn’t capture the revulsion Trump inspires. Tiny-hands Trump is nice—because we must never forget that the most important response to Trump is laughter. Now that we know he is bereft of decency, we shouldn’t give him he satisfaction of knowing how horrified we are, whenever he speaks—we should stick to straight laughter—that’s what he started with, and he hasn’t done anything to change that.

Yeah, he won the Electoral College by negative-three-million—which is a lot of support—but you have to put that in perspective. We now have an opioid-addiction crisis in this country, with hundreds of thousands of addicts, and tens of thousands of deaths-by-overdose every year—making opioid-addiction our newest addition to the list of ‘leading causes of death’. So if you want to talk about the judgment of the American people, I think you’re in the wrong decade.

Drumpf is tempting—damn, that’s an ugly Old-Country original-family-name for the Trumps—but it’s a little too silly and playful, and I wouldn’t want anyone to think of Trump as some cute lil Napoleon—he’s a full-on Hitler wannabe and it would behoove all of us to never forget that fact. Pussy-Grabber used to be a front-runner, but now it just makes me sad, remembering that he said that, out loud, on every TV—and people still voted for the cretin—so now it sounds more like the death-knell of sanity—President Pussy-Grabber.

People have had this problem for centuries—someone is such a blot on society that everyday words won’t do—we try cretin, fathead, lamebrain, lightweight, loon, despoiler, hoodlum, looter, defacer, dirty, indictable, iniquitous, nefarious, hustler, culprit, bad actor, charlatan, con artist, crook, hypocrite, swindler, chiseler—there are so many words that might apply, but don’t encompass the full chamber-pot that is the prez-elect.

I think I need a meta-word. Or maybe I’m just rushing things. In the not-so-distant future there will be a perfect cliché for what I’m trying to say—and everyone will know what I mean, whenever I say: “Hey, don’t be so ‘trump’, man.”

Maybe you can help, kind reader—I need a word that suggests the malodorous rot at the center of a lost soul, the icy emptiness of an arctic waste, the chaos of a prison gang-rape, and the precious mincing of a self-loving, entitled brat. Please add your suggestions in the comments below:


No Surprises   (2017Jan09)


Monday, January 09, 2017                                                9:49 AM

Donald Trump says he’s ‘not surprised’ the Golden Globes trashed him. Well Donny, neither are any of us—you are trash. And if public-minded performers want to use their spotlight to criticize your lack of character, who can blame them?

But what does he mean he’s ‘not surprised’? Does he mean he saw it coming? Is he saying that it’s no surprise whole industries are against him, that large groups of intellectual and creative people will be trashing him for the next four years? That would make sense—he’s set himself up as the Anti-Intelligence, as his only route to a position where intellectual rigor has often been regarded as a plus. And by trashing thoughtfulness and education, he’s ‘taken sides’ against basically anyone in this country who’s ever read a book.

So no surprise—Trump knows his enemies—anyone creative, anyone educated, anyone with an ounce of decency or character—and it would only be surprising if such people failed to trash him for the next four years. He’s created a nation as ‘high-school hallway’, where the bullies rule and the teachers are nowhere to be seen. And like said bullies, he’s apt to make pompous pronouncements, like “I’m not surprised.” As if his lack of amazement takes anything away from the pounding Streep laid on his ass.


For many people, high school was the last time they got away with neglecting to read or study or be polite—perhaps that is what the Trump-voters were seeking—a return to the irresponsibility of youth. And like children, they look at our modern issues and decide whether to blame the ‘grown-ups’ or simply ignore what they say (the ‘grown-ups’ in this metaphor being engaged citizens who actually read newspapers). Trump makes the perfect head-bully in this ‘hallway’—because he encourages all the other kids to laugh at the teachers—that is to say, the journalists, the scientists, women, non-whites, non-Christians—and honest people.

Trump has no use for honesty—he proved to himself, with his campaign, that being honest is for losers. So I wouldn’t expect a single true word out of that sphincter in his face, even though lying-while-president is much more dangerous than lying to become president.

And when I say ‘dangerous’, I’m not talking about any risk for Trump—that’s the beauty of it, as far as he’s concerned. All the horrors he will bring to pass will stalk the majority of Americans—but none of it will ever touch him. It’s like with health care—the members of Congress get their premium health care for free—so they don’t care how god-awful (or simply non-existent) the healthcare for everyone else is.

Trump will cause loss and suffering for all Americans, ironically more for those who supported him than for anyone else, but he will skate off—still a dick, still rich, still an egomaniac. Even the next president will suffer (just as Obama did when Bush shit all over the carpet, on his way out the door) but Trump will just go on enjoying making his shit sandwiches, without ever having to eat one. I’m not surprised.


Nobody Tricked Us !   (2017Jan07)


Saturday, January 07, 2017                                               1:51 PM

Well, it’s off to the races again for the Drumpf-Dupes. They’re scrambling mightily to ‘spin’ the Putin hacking scandal—desperate to deride proof that they were taken in, led like sheep to the slaughter.

I don’t know what these people are experiencing—what must they have gone through? To see the bloated scam-artist leering from his podium—and think to themselves—‘yes, there is our hero’. I don’t know—I don’t think even Putin can take credit for that level of brainwashing. I think he had help from the whores of media—and from that jackass Comey, at the FBI.

But mostly it was years of conditioning—and for that we can all blame the Republicans. Ever since they started a war by mistake and bankrupted the country, they have been on the wrong side, the inhumane side, the greedy side, the unscientific side—for so long that their entire approach is a matter of denying reality, of calling the night the day. They only stop lying long enough to call good, honest people liars—then they go back to lying.

It’s gone beyond dishonesty—the GOP are actively spreading mental illness—a fugue state in which decency is a mistake, insults are arguments, and a greedy, conceited, handsy pig is our new role model.

They’re still talking about their damn wall, when anyone with a brain in their head is long past exhausted with discussing how stupid an idea a wall is. They’re about to cancel health coverage—it’s so important to them that they haven’t had a moment to spare, to plan an alternative. And this is important—it doesn’t matter what happens to all of us afterwards—all that matters is that they cancel health coverage. This is the clarity of purpose of a two-year-old—no wonder they spent the last eight years having a temper tantrum.

The saddest part is that their constituents elected them to have a temper tantrum—they elected them on the understanding that they would not govern—that they would obstruct governance. What is the deal with these voters? The whole idea of democracy is the people change what they’re unsatisfied with—you don’t destroy the machinery of change. No, that’s something manipulative, wealthy pigs try to convince you to do, with their propaganda—you’re not supposed to fall for it, you idiots. And now they’ve got you actually defending Putin, so you don’t look like a gullible rube, taken all the way to the cleaners. Don’t look now, but it’s only going to get worse.


Trump Casts Intelligence Aside   (2017Jan06)


Friday, January 06, 2017                                          10:32 AM

I’ve stolen today’s title from the New York Times headline—because in their piece, they’re discussing his rejection of intelligence-gathering agencies—but I think it is just as important to point out the truth of this headline in more general terms. Trump has an animal cunning, so it’s not that he’s casting his own intelligence aside—he’s plowing the intelligence of others aside as he sweeps the road clear for graft, corruption, and misconduct.

He started by belittling the experience and intelligence of his opponent—inveigling the voters to cast aside their own intelligence and good judgement, and vote as if they were watching the reality game show that gave Trump such prominence among the illiterate. Then he began belittling the importance of the truth—pretending, like a toddler, that saying “Is Not!” was sufficient response to charges that he is unfit to be trusted with responsibility.


Now, the New York Times has run op-eds that discuss the finer points of calling Trump a liar—claiming that it is unfair to accuse someone of lying, if that person is unaware of their own untruthfulness. Now, I’m sorry, but that’s bullshit—Trump has blatantly, grinningly presented us with lie after lie, as if daring someone to prove the truth while the airways remain crowded with fake news and bullshit artists like Kelly Conway. Pretending that he has said these lies often enough to start believing them himself—that’s giving him far more credit than he deserves.

If Trump is faced with the choice of convincing people by reason, and bamboozling them with lies, he obviously prefers the second method. Do you remember his shit-eating grin, while he declared, “Obama is the founder of ISIS”—were we not supposed to see his obvious enjoyment of trashing every decent thing in the course of his campaign? Is it because he’s not so good with reason? Is it because he actually enjoys telling lies? Who knows—and frankly, who cares?

Him and his lackeys have parsed the grammar, inverted the morality, questioned the reality, and mugged their way past the sincerity of all the decent people that oppose them. Trump calls people names—that’s his policy. Trump says the professionals don’t know anything and he knows it all—what an asshole!

What Trump, his coven, and the whole GOP, really, do NOT ever do—is offer solutions, alternatives, plans, or ideas. They are full-on negative—because negative has two advantages—it lets them attack their opponents, rather than debate them—and it allows them to do nothing at all—and pretend that that’s their job.

If the media were honest, they’d be pressing Trump hard about what he’s going to do—he still hasn’t said, in case anyone was wondering. The media should be saying, “Yes, yes—bitch, bitch, bitch—we get it—but what are you going to do?” Paul Ryan won’t say what he’s going to do, either—I don’t mean to imply that the fartbag-in-chief is the only scum coating the halls of the Capitol. Their latest plan is to repeal Obamacare, but have cancellation take effect in four years—taking credit for a victory, without the need to solve the problem—these are the kinds of assholes you voted for—you have no one to blame but yourselves.

Imagine if someone turned seventy years old—never had a thought for public service his whole entitled, spoiled life—and decides he wants to be President. Yes, delusional is the correct term for that. What the word is for those who voted for him—I don’t know. Super-delusional? Yes, Trump casts intelligence aside, alright—but he sure has lots of company.


No More Mr. No Comment-Reply  (2017Jan05)  


Thursday, January 05, 2017                                              4:32 PM

I’ve witnessed the entire cycle. Back in the hippie days, no one ever shut up about ‘issues’ and ‘injustices’. Then there came a time when people got tired of the constant ferment of social friction—they started thinking that they were too busy getting through their lives to ‘blue-sky’ about civil rights and social justice all day. After the Yuppies, there came the Moderates—basically our last three presidents’ terms.

But now the Foolishness, of which Bush-43’s worst faults were merely a foreshadowing, is upon us with a vengeance—and the funny thing about foolishness is that it’s all fun and games until people’s lives are at stake—and then, it’s just plain evil. Hitler was ridiculous, too—a laughably foolish prat—right up until Kristalnachte.

I’ve been civilized (for me) on social media—and I plan to continue being as civil as conditions allow. But I used to tell myself that the less attention I gave to the foolish people, the better for everybody. I would see stupid comments—transparently bigoted, sexist, xenophobic—whatever—or all at once, even—and I would scroll on by. I didn’t want to start nothing—and I knew from experience that the only thing greater than their ignorance is their close-minded-ness—which makes arguing with them a waste of time. Why should I start futile arguments with the brain-dead, especially on some friend’s Facebook post?

But that’s all over now. I still know that arguing with these redneck-nazi assholes is a waste of time—I still don’t want to cause trouble on a friend’s post. But I will not let a single one of these damn hate-bubbles get past again. If I see Stupid online, I’m calling it out—whenever and wherever. Unfriend me if you must—I won’t blame you—I plan to be as abusive as possible towards any and all stupidity and hatred I find online from now on.

If you have Kellyanne Conway’s School of Alternate Reality running inside your brain—then come get some. If you don’t like religion unless it’s your religion, come get some. If you voted for the city-slicker whites-only real estate mogul—come and fucking get some, you insult to the very idea of America.

Won It By Minus-Three-Million   (2017Jan04)


Wednesday, January 04, 2017                                          1:47 PM

Although President-elect Fuckface von Clownstick has won the election by negative-three-million votes, I continue to cherish these last days of Obama’s term. While the disgraceful pervert has yet to be inaugurated, America is still being led by a great man—a man everyone respects—and we can still take pride in our nation.

I know a lot of people want to go along and get along—but the chain is broken. ‘Coming together’ over the victor of any election always seemed inevitable before—but when the disreputable huckster who emerged victorious from this election is a lying, cheating, sexist, racist, ignorant puss-bag who more properly belongs in prison—well, then, ‘coming together’ would amount to divesting myself of any ethical decency, any humane empathy, and any knowledge of the difference between right and wrong.


I don’t plan to break the law—or even disturb the peace—what would be the point? But don’t ask me to feel like a proud, patriotic American again until after that horrendous mess has been cleaned out of the Executive Mansion in 2020. Not that I expect voters to grow an ounce of brains by then—but the Trumpster-fire is special. We have to cede him that much—the GOP will never find anything as creepy, cold, and slimy as the Donald to run in 2020—such excrescence only comes once in a generation.

I shan’t escape him, however—I have no hope of that. The craven whores who run such things will be rolling out red carpets for this clown, letting his Electoral-college/Russian-meddling technical-win be a huge eraser for every ugly, stupid, dishonest, ignorant thing he’s done or said over this past year’s time. They’ll even pretend his history of real estate chicanery and bankruptcy never really happened either. They’ll give this jerk all the respect and dignified attention that people like Obama, Bush, and Clinton earned—just because he snaked his way, through an election-made-game-show, into the same office.


We’ve never had such a low, small, self-regarding pest get anywhere near the presidency before. An honest media would be harping upon the unique, end-of-an-era, end-of-a-dream aspect of his ‘coup’ over reason. But not these shills—they’ll just go on gassing the audience, pretending that Trump has the respectability one normally associates with a President of the United States.

I can avoid the news shows—and certainly the news channels—but there’s no getting around the late-night monologues and comedy stand-up that attends our every political hiccup nowadays—so I’m still going to have this jackass’s leer on my TV more often than I would wish. With any luck, he’ll be revealed as the laughingstock he is, as promptly as possible—and all the clodhoppers who thought they accomplished something by voting for him can crawl back in their holes.


Ceding Power To The Pig (Snort!)   (2017Jan03)

Tuesday, January 03, 2017                                                6:22 PM

20141019XD-StandardsSunday (35)To many people someone like me is going to seem like an alarmist, an inciter, a stirrer-up of trouble—trying to upset the boat when everything is mostly working out just fine. What’s so wrong (I imagine them asking) with the world today—especially with the United States—with the status quo? And truly I have no rebuttal to that—for many millions of people, life is better than it has ever been before, in the history of all mankind. The tremendous lace-work of global civilization, with its titanic industries and giant manufactories, with the endless cycle of tons of material—necessities and luxuries—that circle the globe by sea, by rail, by truck, and by air, the smooth operation of all the stores and shops, restaurants and theaters, schools and hospitals, universities and laboratories—our world is a marvel.

And if the United States of America isn’t the epicenter of that marvel, I don’t know where else it could be. Everything is state-of-the-art: communications, transportation, engineering, entertainment, agriculture, medicine—most of the modern world originated here, if not literally, then in spirit. And I wish us all the best—me, you, whoever—I hope the whole thing outlasts all the neglect and abuse heaped on it by we who have come to take it all for granted.


But, just as a person may be very good at securing a high post, yet have little ability to do the job once hired—it’s looking like the USA was well-equipped to invent the future, but has given no thought at all to maintaining all its healthy ambition, now that Babel has reached thunderbolt-calling altitude.

An older America, full of empty space and potential, loved rapid growth—we suffered boomtowns and cities choking on their own waste—conditions were such that a modern business or local government could never get away with the health risks, the dangers, and the unfairness inherent in an open town, with more traffic in change than in civilizing influences.

And the laws and ordinances that prohibit such chaos today were enacted only after the rush of development had settled and slowed to the point where people started to care about their homes and communities as much as whatever commerce was going on.


Plus, new business in the present would not be filling a void. Today’s new business is far more likely to impinge on some other business’s market. The kind of growth that made America a ‘big-shouldered’ country—that’s all over. And the cracks that allowed people to avoid being imprisoned by Capitalism have all been filled.

When the power of Capitalism was more potential than actual, the idea of ‘every man for himself’ made things as fair as such things can be. But now we have a mature Capitalism, fully formed and, more importantly, entirely owned already—by a surprisingly small group of people. They not only own all the old stuff—they are strategically poised to acquire any new stuff from the puny inventors or entrepreneurs that find new ways to break through the status quo.

But it is not simply a stranglehold on the common man or woman, whose chances of making it big from scratch are on par with winning the Lotto—it is a stranglehold on the culture. Our legislators and our courts spend virtually all their time and energy on serving the wealthy—good governance and justice have become antiques, found only rarely, in tiny, out-of-the-way places.


Our obsession with absolute property is itself a symptom of the stagnation and stultification of mature Capitalism—corporations own people’s likenesses, they own people’s silences—they even pay scientists to do research, insuring that, if they can’t own the truth, they can at least obscure it.

Capitalism, Progress, the American Dream—whatever you want to call it—its job is done. We don’t need to build empires anymore—they are built. We don’t need to access our natural resources anymore—they’ve been accessed. We don’t need to build a Republic anymore—it’s been given infrastructure, industry, wealth, and power—all its citizens can talk to each other, from any place at any time—we are the envy of the world.

Our biggest and only problem is recognizing that the ends our forebears worked towards have been reached—period—full stop. Our job is not to keep hammering our heads against the family wall—it is to take stock of what we have—of where we’ve arrived—and try to find some new way forward. Hopefully it will have something to do with taking responsibility for the deprived victims of our present system. Hopefully it will reverse our present system’s tendency to empower the entitled, elitist pigs, like our fresh-baked president-elect.

Before Sundown, Every Day   (2017Jan02)


Tuesday, January 03, 2017                                                1:03 PM

Congress voted to do something truly stupid the other day—then they changed their minds in the space of 24 hours, and decided not to do that particular stupid thing. I’m not sure which is worse: the poor judgement that first led to the initiative, or the mercurial, chicken-without-a-head nature of this totally corrupt majority in Congress.

But I do not call them corrupt because they were trying to disintegrate an ethics watchdog (created not so very long ago—because of all their corruption). I refer to the corruption of their wetware—the bad programming in their heads. These people get elected through gerrymandering legerdemain and mass media tap-dancing—they answer to sponsors, not to voters. They have no ethical motivation—and they have no need to make even a pretense of it.

They are misguided, thinking that to succeed in politics is to succeed in government. They are misguided, thinking that winning at Capitalism is winning at survival. But what misleads their thinking most often is this idea that having the world’s most powerful military gives us the most influence over the world.

The best idea is always what has the most influence on the world. Our nation’s preeminence can be directly traced back to the best ideas—even our vaunted military is the product of thinking, done in an open-minded society that valued creativity and vision—and many other freedoms.

Our penchant for ownership of creative and scientific efforts is the latest and most deadly infection of Capitalism—first created to protect inventors and artists, copyright and trademark laws now operate as a means for corporations to ‘own’ the efforts of its best and brightest employees, without any requirement to give them equal value in return. It also acts as a shield of legal secrecy about any shady dealings that can be labeled (however pretentiously) ‘proprietary knowledge’.

Monday, January 02, 2017                                                1:11 PM

The airwaves are supposed to be for the public good, but they have become ‘profit centers’ instead. We can weigh, one supposes, the value of all the people employed by the entertainment industry—who support their families through television, and through advertising—against the total lack of value, for the viewer, in any of the garbage that gets broadcast one way or another to the various screens that fill our lives.

The schools are supposed to be for the public good, but now they either snooker you out of your money with fake classes, a la Trump U., or they give you an ‘actual’ education by handing you over to the loansharks. The loansharks will be a bigger part of your future life than the education, in many cases—so now many people seriously consider whether they really want to bother ransoming their youth for the sake of a sheepskin, or whether they might be happier in a trade. That sort of attitude is bound to keep America at the forefront of innovation—he typed facetiously.

Government is, of course, supposed to be all about the public good, but its rules against bribery and corruption do nothing to protect our legislators from lobbyists whose sole task is to influence in favor of special interests. Add in all the nonsense about fund-raising and campaigning becoming the higher priority than the actual job one was elected to do—all bound up with the perceived primacy of media-spending over fitness for office—and you get the kind of ‘democracy’ that we find ourselves stuck with today.

Capitalism goes beyond money and transactions—even beyond a way of life—it is a way of distorting reality, to make nonsense seem oh-so-sensible. Our public forums, our educational system, and our government are all baldly under the sway of the wealthy—one would laugh at the notion of ‘self-government’ were it not for that terribly sour taste in the back of the mouth.

Our interdependence is intrinsic, it is undeniable. Competition is a nice way to introduce energy into our culture’s interdependence—but Capitalism puts the competition before the interdependence. Wealth is a club—and there is no law against beating people to death with it. As we have seen, there’s not even any law against demolishing our values with it. Money makes monsters of us all—clutching our own to ourselves, more worried for our own skins than whether anything has a right or a wrong to it.

People say money is the root of all evil—I disagree. Surely people found ways to mistreat each other before specie was invented. No, I think of money as more of an enabler of evil, an enzyme for cruelty, if you will. If there are thousands of laws protecting our grasp on our money—and no laws that insist that every person be sheltered and fed before sundown, every day—then we have some messed-up laws.