Things to Remember

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James Madison in party mode.

 

Things to remember as 2016 becomes 2017:

First off, everything is going to be alright.  Right up until the moment it isn’t, and since you obviously can’t control that, why concern yourself overly with it. Enjoy the good things. There are many of them.

Secondly realize that in this world we have this thing called entropy, which means that everything goes to hell in some way at some point, and usually in a way that we have not foreseen. Think about it. How much of the shitstorm that was 2016 did you foresee? How much of it was avoidable? And to be honest was it ALL that bad? Somehow I’m thinking there were good things too.

Thirdly, the very concept of shitstorm is invariably in the mind of the beholder. I am sure that there are a great many people who had a really good year in 2016. Just because your candidate didn’t win, there was a higher than normal amount of stress in your world and some of your cultural idols died does not mean it was the worst year ever.

Fourth, there are people out there who had a great year, some for reasons you would find 399px-Jabberwocky appalling. There are millions of people who like the Oompah Loompah for example. Millions. Which is fine. We have this thing called freedom in this country. Don’t denigrate them because of him, or because they think differently than you, or want different things in their lives than you. Find a way to incorporate their lives into yours. They are, by and large good people. Don’t treat them like shit because you think differently from them, that helps no one. They aren’t the problem, you are, especially if you feel the need to be angry at them simply because of their politics. There is more than politics in the lives of most people. And, here’s a hint; you won’t make things turn around for you politically by alienating people you will need to work with later. That isn’t how politics works, not in the real world, regardless of what you think of that. Make friends with your political enemies where possible, hope always exists in places where enemies can become friends.

You will have a very hard time convincing me that 2016 was in some way worse than say the years of WWII, or The years of the great depression or great recession or the civil war years.

Doesn’t mean President-elect Oompah Loompah isn’t an asshole. Doesn’t mean there wasn’t tragedy in 2016. There was. It’s hard to not have tragedy in a world with this many people in it. I’m just saying as 2016 goes the way of the Dodo, have some perspective. You are strong and resilient. This is still America. We are a strong people. Things have gone right in other places. Be thankful for that.

Anger

Bunnies are assholes sometimes.

I for one could say I had a great year. After years of first searching for a new career and then trying to get hired on full time in that career, I finally landed that full time job. Almost shed a tear when I found out I had made it, so long and arduous was the journey.  Let’s see what else. I’m still a runner. Which, for those of you that aren’t, is great for clearing the mind and strengthening the body, and in the long run makes the person who does it tireless. I highly recommend it. If a two hour run ain’t kicking my ass, no way a few extra hours of work will. On top of all that, I’m still married to the most awesome person ever. If you have a happy place to go to, it makes everything easier, and home is a happy place for me, she makes me happy. With that as my sword and shield, I can take on the world and win, without a shred of fear in my heart.

 

So do me a favor America. Don’t dwell on the negative.

I’ll take care of that as I skewer our soon to be asshole-in-chief.

You go find your happiness, I have mine.

I’ll fight the monster. I’m good at it, been doing it for ages, and I enjoy it.

If you want to help as we move ahead, thats great. But pick your fights with the right people. Fight bad policy and bad decision making, not good people who feel and think differently than you. We’re on the road to the future together, let’s travel it as friends.

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But there are some people, nevertheless—and I am one of them—who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy, it is important to know the enemy’s numbers, but still more important to know the enemy’s philosophy. ~ G.K. Chesterton, Heretics (1905)

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The Smallest Pawns in a Large Game

The cuts that are taking place thanks to sequestration are being reported much of the time in relation to large scale programs.  In terms of billions of dollars and the mass effect of the cuts.

But the reality of sequestration is far from what is being reported and being spoken about in the press.

It is instead a story of those in need being forced to go without.  The story of thousands of children, special needs children being told to do without.  Thousands of parents of autistic children being told their kids can go without the programs that they need to give their kids the things they need to get by every day.

There is a reason I mention that.  I have a niece and a nephew, both with autism, both who will be affected.  One is turning 11, the other is 8.  I spoke to my brother today, in passing.  My brother’s son is the eight year old.  The boy loves him some Teenage mutant ninja turtles and Spiderman.  He loves going to school.  He loves his teacher, whose name I forget.  Kisses her goodbye every time he leaves school for the day. I’ve been there to pick im up a few times from school.

He is autistic.  Without the help from his teachers and the school system, funded by the federal government, he would not be able to get the help he needs.

The other, my cousin’s daughter loves her teachers and her shows and toys as much as my brother’s son does.  And she needs them more. Though my eye in these matters is neither precise nor educated, she seems to be more affected by autism than he, and he is not just slightly affected.  Speech is affected.  As is thought.  As is emotional control.  As are almost every basic thing we non affected sentient beings take for granted. These kids work on this and more every day, with help from tireless hard-working teachers who give everything they can for these kids.

Apparently one of the first cuts going through in these parts is in education cuts.  So they are losing that, only part of it to begin with.  Half is what my brother told me when I spoke to him earlier today.

How many times can they turn their heads and pretend that they don’t see?

No.

They know.

They see.

These kids, and by extension “We The People” are pawns in a game of chess played by rich men for the control of the money and power, and of who gets both.  Because of that the face of sequestration should not be the face of corporations shutting their doors, bad as that will be when it happens, and it will happen. It is not masses of people made to suffer.  That can be refused, propagandized, compartmentalized.  Turned into something other.  Political will can turn any full grown adult’s pain into something to be looked down on, turned to advantage by the slick marketing of political will.

It is the face of a child asked to go without.

Asked to go without by the protectors of billionaires, by a rich man’s son for no reason other than the greed of adults who should know better.

Sleep tight, America.

Maybe, Just Maybe

Pic of the day:  Views of Kyoto – #5. Cherry-Blossom at Arashiyama, by Hiroshige Utagawa

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As rivers flow into the ocean but cannot make the vast ocean overflow, so flow the streams of the sense-world into the sea of peace that is the sage.

Far better to live your own path imperfectly than to live another’s perfectly

Bhagavad Gita

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I have been seeking inspiration, or something not entirely unlike that over the last few days for my writing.  I have been watching a lot more movies than usual.  I watched Citizen Kane from back to front for the first time ever.  I had heard it was a great movie but was frankly not moved to watch it before I saw it for the first time a few days ago.   I watched Kon-Tiki.  I watched Gonzo, again.  I watched Matter of Heart, a 1986 documentary about the life and work of Carl Jung.

I’ve been going through ancient Mesopotamian history, specifically an audio-book whose written counterpart was written 98 years ago, in particular the myths of Assyria, Babylon and the Akkadians, with side references to most major cultures around the world.

Maybe it isn’t really a search for inspiration though, or not just a search for inspiration.  Because recharging my batteries might and might not equal a search for inspiration.  And that is what have been doing, recharging.  I could write but I simply haven’t been.  I’ve wanted to, but have been busy doing one thing or another and simply have not done it.

And maybe, just maybe, it is a search not for inspiration per se, but ideas, real ideas that can be regurgitated and retold into stories that I could write, and it looks just by gazing at the particular entries that I am subconsciously looking for something big, something deeper and mythic.  Perhaps because the story I was writing a few months ago, the New York cop/torture/terror story was missing something, something bigger, something deeper, mythic.

I’m really getting the itch to do this!

I’ve got my eyes on a few other movies and books.  One flew over the cuckoos nest (the Ken Kesey book not the movie) and Haxan (a movie from 1922 about the occult and witchcraft) are first on my list.

I’ve got my notebook ready.  I think it’s nearly time to start creating characters, but a little more inspiration/recharging/assimilating  and compiling information about the most ancient and well known of stories is in order, and if a book is going to come out of this a little more inspiration is definitely a good idea.

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That’s it from here, America  G’night.

And We Spoke

I am sitting several hundred of miles from home, with my wife.

We are both sitting at a small kitchen table in her parents house, the house where she grew up from infancy.FatherChristmastrial

Her thoughts I cannot read, she reveals nothing, but she seems more relaxed, less tense than she has in quite a while.

I sit, uncomfortable, at the same table, opposite her.  A medium sized metal chandelier above the table, light blazing brightly.

I am a bit more tense, for a variety of reasons.  This is the first Christmas without my father, and I am away from home.

But my wife had not been up to see her parents in nearly 2 years, I could not say no when she asked to come back to her childhood home for Christmas.

She is that important to me, that I would spend my Christmas away from brothers and my mom, who must be having a really hard time not h421px-Carlo_Saraceni_-_The_Birth_of_Christ_-_WGA20827aving dad around this Christmas.  We all loved that man, deeply.

I almost welled up there when I was writing that.

I called mom yesterday, and we spoke for several minutes.  She seemed fine, but she was also running around, being busy doing last minute shopping for some reason. Maybe she just needed something to do.

I called her today, but she did not answer.  She is supposed to be over at my older brothers house now with his wife and two children.

They’ll have a good Christmas together I think.  Mother and son reliving Christmas’ past, while children create similar memories with their parents.

My wife and I will have a good Christmas together I think as well.

My mind will go back across the years to home where my wife will reminisce about the place she is in, and hope for a better future.

Something we all hope for, most assuredly.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Two Hundred Eighteen Words

Pic of the day:  Head of a Peasant Girl, by Kazimir Malevich

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Knowledge and Wisdom, far from being one,
Have oft-times no connexion, Knowledge dwells
in heads replete with thoughts of other men,
Wisdom in minds attentive to their own.

William Cowper, The Task (1785)

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Viddy of the day:  Plato’s Cave (animated version) circa 1973, narrated by Orson Welles.

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There are a great many better people than I who have written on the subject of the horrors that befell the poor people of Connecticut on Friday morning.

There are also a great many better people who have written on guns and gun control, and mental illness, and what can be done to make ourselves safer.

I know not what to do or think to be honest.

Mute horror can be the only reaction.

There are times that insanity cannot be helped or stopped, no matter how hard we try.

Gun control, as much as it may help in some way, will not bring the dead back to life.

Nothing will.

And that powerlessness is the problem.

Everything that we are as humans screams to be able to do what we cannot.

To save those who were lost.

To fix that which cannot be fixed.

So we sit, and ask why,

And find no answer.

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That’s it from here, America. G’night

Ten Minutes (Let Her Be)

She wants to be alone so I let her be. 

She and I can be in the same room at the same time, only a few feet apart and still be essentially alone.  She buried in her “work”, and I in mine.  Nevermind the simple fact that neither of us is actually working, nevermind the fact that both of us are not actually trying to ignore one another, at least not on the surface.

She has a new toy that she is deeply enamored with, and is fighting with the damned thing, and after fits and starts seems to finally be winning.  She seems to be unhappy with something or other and begins cursing at the thing and threatening it.  I giggle mirthlessly at this, I know I’d be doing the same thing, but I keep the giggle short and entirely to myself. 

I am lost in thought while aimlessly looking at bloomberg news checking up on E-mail, as it is that time of day.  I notice in my e-mail that I received a response back from someone regarding a job.  I go to see what I have to do to contact them.  I have to call them before 5:00pm.  I look at the clock and begin to curse a bit myself, if only in my head.  It’s 10 minutes after 5 at this point.

I get up from the computer, curse the thing as I turn it off.  I came back from a run about 30 minutes before this and I get ready to do some light exercise.  She looks at me as I get up to get ready to sweat some more and announces that she doesn’t need distractions and not to bother her. 

So I don’t.  I know better that to temp a hungry shark.  I don’t even acknowledge her and begin to work.  The first set of squat thrusts has me out of breath but it feels good.  The shirt I am wearing at this point, a fresh one as I have changed since I got back from my run, bounces around on me a bit and looks a mess after just one set, like the damn thing never wanted to be on me in the first place, so I tuck it into the faded and partially bleached shorts that I’m wearing. 

She’s cursing the new toy, her new phone actually, and I go and do my second set.  Better than the first.  The first set always hurts my shoulders, I couldn’t tell you why, except my shoulders have been a mess since I was around 20, and that was a lifetime ago…

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night

It’s A Beautiful Day, Enjoy It While You Can

Pic of the day:  Woman with a parasol, by Claude Monet

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Aloof with hermit-eye I scan
The present works of present man —
A wild and dreamlike trade of blood and guile,
Too foolish for a tear, too wicked for a smile!

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ode to Tranquility

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The sun is up and I am writing.  Kind of an odd thing for me to be doing, I usually write at night after all, the daylight is normally for more active and outdoor pursuits; running , walking and the like.

I haven’t run in three days, might run later, before the sun sets.  Not 100% certain about that though.  Running is fun, I really do enjoy it, but I guess I am getting old.  And what I mean by that is that I no longer have the urge to go out there and break my ass the way I used to out there.  The fact that almost every run hurts on some level somewhere makes it harder to enjoy.  I need new running shoes, that would make things less painful, but I haven’t the money to buy even a crap pair of shoes at this point.

I’ve sent all the resumes out to all the places that I could find that looked like their needs (art handler/mover) and mine (a job that pays enough to pay the bills) meet in such a way as to make both of our lives easier.  Sad to say that there were only two places that met those not very stringent requirements.  Well there was a third but it looked like a scam to me, and I never give my Soc. Sec. number to anyone without knowing who they are.  I try to send in as many resumes as I possibly can to as many places as I can, and I am not done for the day, but I am done for the moment.

Quizzes and form filing is a hairy pain in the ass that has to be dealt with when doing this stuff.  Not difficult, not by any stretch of the imagination, but the person doing it gets little out of it.  99% of the time I never even get a call back from these people.  Low incentive tasks are not the stuff that dream jobs and careers are made of.   Putting this crap out at the very beginning of the process of getting the job doesn’t to my mind bode well in any way whatsoever.  These places can do better, but they don’t, because they simply don’t get it.  I am more than just a machine to move your stuff, dammit.

I’ve gone to the store to get all the things that my wife and I need to live our lives that we didn’t already have around the apartment. Not much stuff, a few small things.  I never spend a lot of money when I go out on these errands.  I hate spending money, especially as I barely have any at this point in my life.

So here I sit, writing…

When I should be out there enjoying the beautiful day while I can, before winter shows up in earnest, before the inevitable full time work shows up making it impossible for me to do while the sun is up.

I’m going to head out to run in a little bit (pain be damned) and then back to the job search.  I’ve been staring at screens all day, and I hate when that happens.  Too much of that in my life, too much sedentary crap, just sitting around staring at words on screens while life is passing me by.

Enough.

I have things to do.  I can write more later, and I will.  Much work is there to do yet on the novel I was working on, much work.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.