Vote Blue 2020

Vote Blue 2020

Thursday, March 31, 2016

For Once He Will Be Right!

This thought has been with me for awhile. I have shared it with a few close friends. I figure I should put it out publicly. I haven't seen or heard anyone else say it. Mark my words!

I do not think The Short-Fingered Vulgarian will make it to November. I don't know how or why, don't know the particulars, but I do not think he will be President. Not only won't he be President, he will stand-down before the election. I don't think he really wants the job. What started as a whim or an "ego-fluff" has now gotten a little too serious.

Government: I do not believe he knows what it does, or how it works. And he doesn't care. I think he's going to walk away, stand down. He has to figure out a way to do it so it doesn't look like his failure, he is a winner, and winners don't fail, but he will figure it out.

He doesn't really want the job! It's one he's not qualified for, one that he is ill-suited for - it's gonna start to get really, really uncomfortable and kind of ugly for him as we get closer to November.

I predict he walks away. It will be a grind, a chore. No fun. He doesn't want to work hard. He does not want to "earn" it. He will get bored. And pissed off. He will take his ball home. He will hold a press conference and he will tell America that it just doesn't deserve him. For once, he will be right!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Practice of Effortlessness!

Meditation. A means of "transforming the mind." It is probably the most important practice I've ever come across.  And I have practiced it "religiously"  for many years. I do wish I would have come across it much earlier, I didn't take it up until my early 20's. Then I dropped it, and then took it up again with a determined passion in my 40's.

There is something wonderful about dropping the "needing, wanting, grasping" for a period of time. To find the silence, an inner calm and peace. It's pretty effortless. The effort of effortlessness.

A simple, humble practice. Transforms. Yes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fiona Apple's Affair!

We've been watching the Showtime series, "The Affair." As my Mom says, "It's soapy!" It's not bad, mildly diverting, some of the main characters are quite annoying, but it's well-written, well-acted, and kind of keeps you guessing.

But the truly extraordinary thing about the series is the opening credit sequence. This is an art-form all it's own. And this art-form has been elevated by some beautifully rendered sequences over the years. I think of Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire (Brian Jonestown Massacre), True Blood (Jace Everrett doing a Chris Issak imitation), True Detective (Season #1 The Handsome Family, Season #2 Leonard Cohen).  Excellent use of image and sound.

Add the opening of "The Affair" to the list. Fiona Apple. It's beautiful, haunting. It's kind of the profundity undergirding the "soapy" hurly-burly of the show. The song and imagery has clung to me like a midnight cloak. 

"I have only one thing to do and that's to be the wave that I am and then sink back into the ocean..."

Monday, March 28, 2016

Varieties of Bullshit!

I do have experience, real-world experience, with people like The Short Fingered Vulgarian. Yes, he does represent a "type."

Classic bull-shitter. I came across many of these kinds of people in my business-world experience. Corporate executives. Salesmen. Full of confidence. Big personalities. Strong-willed, goal-oriented. Deal-makers. Rain-makers.

Their lack of knowledge was not a problem. Personality characteristics: vim & vigor, brash, bold, brazen. Full of it. And never wrong. Can not be shamed or embarrassed. No backing down. Always going for the win, or the close.

Lots of hot-air. Huge egos. Their audacity was always impressive. Their lack of conscience, or any sense of humility a powerful tool. Often, essentially, they would believe their own bullshit. Totally. And that was a great asset.

Like they say, you "can't bullshit a bullshitter." The bullshitter basically thinks everything is bullshit. The world, and all the things and people in it, are reduced to just varieties of bullshit. A good bull-shitter, the consummate-pro bullshitter, thrives in the land of bullshit.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Resilience. We all need more of it. To bounce back into shape after something bad happens. You will be bent, pressed, stretched,  folded, stapled, smacked, jacked, racked.  You must try your best to bounce.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

What Happens Can't Unhappen!

Unless I'm missing something, what happens, happens, and can't be un-happened. This becomes obvious pretty early on, and grows more significant as your life flies by. The happenings pile up. And in that pile there's lots of things you wish you could make un-happen, but that doesn't seem to be the way that things work in this dimension.

Now it's possible that our human perspective is so limited, partial, and even false that this business of happening and unhappening is just a great misunderstanding. I suppose we need to leave it to the astrophysicists and cosmologists, and philosophers and dime-store comics to sort things out.

So until we learn otherwise, there's "what happens." And that's all we get. What happens. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Another One in a Long Line of Other Ones!

It takes an astrophysicist to remind you that you are just stardust. In the grand picture, you are distantly related to those bright, burning orbs deep in the distance in the black night. But you are also distantly related to the dust sitting under the kitchen table.

Distantly related to the great and not so great. So above, so below.

Yesterday was raw, cold, a hard rain, and it made you wonder about your fate. Wandering thru the streets, leading little furry animals on their daily constitutionals. How did things come to this? Was it "faith or fate?" Or a little of both?

Does all the credit and blame sit on my shoulders? And just why haven't I added up to the person that I thought I'd add up to? There has been no grand plan that I can discern. Things went well, things went bad, and I tried to improvise an answer, and some days I'm just glad to wake up relatively intact.

Is that enough? For a life? It's mine, whether I want it or not. I do want it, but it's not exactly what I expected. But then again, who am I to complain? I'm part star, part dust. And just another one in a long line of other ones.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Ambivalent About Other People!

"I vant to be alone." - Greta Garbo

"Life is people." - Bill Fay

"Hell is other people." - Jean Paul Sartre

A new study tells us "Smart People Would Prefer You Went Away." It seems that many "smart people" are pursuing some larger goal, and other people are kind of a distraction.

I do think sometimes it's much more fulfilling to be onto something bigger, some goal or task, or dream. Other people come and go.

On the other hand, no man is an island. We do need other folks in our lives. It helps to really have a few really important, close people in your life.

But maybe not too many people. You need space, and time, to do something really, really important. Or all consuming. If you can find something in which to occupy yourself.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Power of the True Idiot!

Okay. You are worried you are becoming obsessed with The Short-Fingered Vulgarian. This isn't a pleasant thought. You'd prefer not to think about him. Way too much video & ink, way too many pixels, have been wasted on him.

But, he is dangerous. Why is he dangerous? Many of our fellow citizens (around 45% of GOP primary voters), have thrown their support to him. They actually want to see him as President of the USA.

The Short-Fingered Vulgarian is supremely confident in his superiority. He doesn't see how clueless he really is, this is a dangerous thing for sure.

This is mind-boggling. Disturbing. The Short-Fingered Vulgarian is truly an abomination. He should be laughed out of the room. Laughed off the public stage. Laughed into complete oblivion.

But instead he is being embraced by fellow Americans. And you think these people must be idiots. Willful idiots. I don't think he is tapping into anger so much as idiocy. And it's really hard to argue with an idiot. You can't shame an idiot. 

A true idiot believes he is a total genius.  There lies his power...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"My Hands are Normal Hands!" - Hah!

Maybe the attention, the fascination, the hubbub can be explained: The uncanny ability of one human being to be simultaneously horrifying and hilarious. Both disgusting and ridiculous. 

The fascination of watching a human being so confident in their abilities, when it's apparent that their abilities are actually severely limited. It's like an always repeating car crash. Can't take your eyes off it. You know you should. You know it's bad for you to spend any time gaping. But you are compelled, and beyond your better sense, you can't resist.

But I suppose a car crash isn't funny, so maybe more like a Big Shot, dressed in an improbable tux, always slipping on a banana peel, and falling into a puddle of mud. And rolling around in the mud like a baby pig.  Yeah. And the Big Shot doesn't realize he's rolling around in the mud like a baby pig. He thinks he Mr. Big Shot. A winner in everything. Hah! Maybe more like that... and your eyes are riveted to the spectacle. Can't stop watching...

Yesterday The Short-Fingered Vulgarian insisted to the Washington Post Editorial Board that "My hands are normal hands!"

Hah! This makes you laugh out loud. Quite mirth-making... but then, the horror of it all comes streaming in.  I do think the only way to deal with this phenomenon is to find your sense of humor. But this sense of humor should be wielded like an ego-busting weapon. We must puncture this balloon of absurdity.

Horrifying and hilarious...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Party of Losers!

Maybe it's not so surprising that a good portion of the GOP has fallen for the obvious Con Man. Vulgar? Yes! Brazenly lying? Yes! Over-promising? Yes! Full of hot-air and bluster? Yes! Spouting poison - violence & blatant stupidity? Yes! These are not flaws, but features. A candidate for folks who have given up caring about their party, their Country, and want to wreck it.  The party of losers, looking up to the Big Daddy Winner! Who will not be fixing anything, but will be gladly breaking everything! "The future is bright with the flames of chaos!"  Yes, and the margin call on this "nonsense debt," and "hate debt" "appears impossible to cover." Hah!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Still Alive and Doing Everything You Want Iggy to Be Doing!

It's not often, once in awhile, there's a news story that makes you happy: A kid is found safe, a lost dog is reunited with it's family, a philanthropist gives away money to a worthy cause, the good guys chalk up an improbable win.

Or Iggy Pop kicks off a new tour and record at SXSW.

This story made me so happy. A good one for the old guys. Iggy is 68 years old. Still singing. Still taking his shirt off. Still jumping into the crowd. So surprising! Not only is Iggy still alive, he's still doing everything you want Iggy to be doing. And it's not just a nostalgia act - a new record, new songs, a new collaboration with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age.

And you think, yes, Iggy and QOTSA actually makes perfect sense. Here they are playing their first single off the new record. New Iggy Pop. Everything is right with the world!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Time to Renew!

Time to pare back. Time to clean house. Time to cut things to the bone. Time to identify the useless, the dysfunctional, the old, the obsolete. Time to let go the things, and people, that don't pass muster. Down to the essentials. Time to renew. To recharge. To reset.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Less Panic, Less Talk...

You realize so much of our media culture, our social media, cable TV, radio, etc. is geared to hype the panic. Panic sells. Panic is interesting. Panic = ratings. The Short-Fingered Vulgarian plugs right into our culture of panic. 

We really need less panic. More thought. More wet-blankets. Less fanning of the flames. Sober. Clear-headed. Boring. Wonky. Less sure. More hedging of our bets. 

It's a complicated world, a complicated existence. Things are unclear. Murky. Strange. Hard to decide what happened, and what to do about what happened.

We need more silent contemplation and less riffing off the top of our heads. Less Twitter. More silence. Biting our tongue. Thinking before we speak. That would be refreshing and counter to the general drift!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Panic! Panic at the Disco!

Panic. Panic at the Disco. And Panic everywhere else too. 

I had to talk down a friend last night. Yes, it looks like the Short-Fingered Vulgarian will win the GOP nomination, yes, he is a frightening human being, no, he would not be good for America, or the world.

Let me go out on a limb right now and say that NO, the Short-Fingered Vulgarian will not be President. He will not be King. He will not. I promise. Don't know how exactly it will all play out, but I predict that the Short-Fingered Vulgarian will implode before the November election.

He walks away, stands down, implodes, goes up in flames, whatever. So no panic!  

And no to panic everywhere else too. Our social media world seems to drive us all crazy. So many things to panic about, but you know, sometimes it's best to just take a deep breath, and let all the hot air and huffing and puffing come and go.

So many little panics fizzle out... what looks like sizzle ends in fizzle... relax people! Chill!

BTW - the Hacktivist Collective Anonymous has declared "war" on the Short-Fingered Vulgarian. I say, "Go get em tigers!"

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Quite Muddy!

In college I started out as an English Major, but then I came up against the Forsythe Saga, and decided, I had enough, I did not want to spend my life paging thru musty old books I didn't relate to, so I changed majors - I jumped into Psychology.

I got my degree, but I always thought Psychology was not really a science, just a weedy, dorky, kind of human art - humans trying to make sense of humans. And it was a activity organized by madmen and dreamers, and people just making shit up - BF Skinner, Sigmund Freud, CJ Jung - and then after all the hubbub, there was finally the onslaught of the Druggies. All that talk therapy was washed away by the heavy use of pharmaceuticals! 

Anyway, this is a long way to this article - "What Psychology's crisis means for the future of science..." it's all "false positives," and "puffs of smoke." So much of psychology seems like counting angels on the head of a pin. 

Psychology - the whole thing is pretty much a mirage - bias, seeing what you want to see when you want to see it. What to believe? What do we know? What can we know? It all gets quite muddy...

Monday, March 14, 2016

Bully Power

I suppose it's not surprising that people will do anything to get elected to higher office. And it's not surprising that folks will stoop really, really low, that they will gladly appeal to the worst instincts of others, if they think that will translate into votes. Usually it's all done with winks, nods, and code words, but it is a long-time political tactic. Not always successful, but a tried and true strategy.

The bleaker the times, the more gloom, and hardship, or uncertainty, or terror in the air, the uglier it can get. That seems to be the mood this time around. There is a real ugliness in the land. And The Short-Fingered Vulgarian is not afraid to jump right into the heart of the ugliness. Maybe this ugliness was triggered by the election of Barack Obama. Many of us hailed this as a great step forward, but it seems that many angry white folks found this a step too far.

So in one puffed up, buffoon-like entity we have all the worst aspects of our species tied up and neatly packaged in a Celebrity Hot-Dog; racism, Xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogony. And there is real power to be conjured in appealing to hate, resentment, fear and revenge. Power. Bully power. 

The Short-Fingered Vulgarian seemed like such a flawed vehicle, I for one thought he would flame out pretty quickly, but I underestimated the depth of hatred in the hearts of many of my fellow Americans. You must always remember the is a deep yearning for the Big Man, the Bully. The white Bully! People cried when Stalin died, when Mussolini and Milosevic breathed their last breaths.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Conduit of Ugliness!

Yes, I do think "The Short-Fingered Vulgarian" lit the match! Intentionally. He is whipping up the crowds, using their emotion - the hatred, the anger, the frustration. That's the brand!

And the fire is raging. It is amazing to see folks jumping right into the fire. You wonder where this goes. Does it ramp up into a major fire-ball, or fizzle out? I think: no one really knows. Yes, it does remind one of George Wallace.  And that didn't work out so well. The Short-Fingered Vulgarian is the conduit for some real basic ugliness now flaming up in the land.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Dark Circus!

If you read the great Vox article on "authoritarianism," (see previous post), you know that issues of "law and order" are triggers to activate the authoritarians in our midst. I do think "The Short-Fingered Vulgarian" has been using protesters at his rallies, as props - it's all kind of like a Jerry Springer show, a scripted interlude, meant to excite and entertain the crowd.

The Short-Fingered Vulgarian wants to use the violence, or the expectation of violence as a tool. It's kind of a dangerous game he's playing, but I do think, that he thinks, it all makes the TV show that is his campaign, more compelling.

It spilled out of control in Chicago. But as Kevin Drum asks, "who will the public blame?" Don't really know yet. There is a dark, circus-like nature to all of this, there is the level of entertainment, a pandering ridiculousness, and a deep ugliness that lies beneath it all.

Welcome to your America!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Authoritarian vs. Anti-Authoritarian!

This article from Vox about the "Rise of American Authoritarianism" seems so important, so of the moment. An absolute must-read.

I was blown away by the thorough analysis. In-depth. This is an example of the type of web-journalism you yearn for, hope for - it's needed, essential. Illuminating! You learn about the topic, the study, how the study was conducted, what it tells us about our political scene today, how it relates to other Authoritarian movements and the improbable rise of the Short-Finger Vulgarian (see previous post).

I am distinctly NOT an Authoritarian. Put me in the Anti-Authoritarian Camp. It just comes naturally. Ever since I was a wee lad. I remember being on the playground, there was the Bully, and then the kids who followed and egged on the Bully.

I was always with the kid who was being beat. Always on the side of the Underdog. I got some bloody noses too. And I ate my share of dirt. But the Big Man Bastards could not keep me down.

I worry about my fellow Americans. They seem to be rallying around the Big Man! That really is the worst of us coming to the fore! Get it together folks!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Short-Fingered Vulgarian Rides the Wave!

We will no longer refer to him by his brand name, we will no longer use the "T" word. From now on he will be known only as "The Short-Fingered Vulgarian."

Dangerous? Yes. Vulgar? Yes. Does he have the Political class and the Media machine by the "short and curlies?"  Yes.

I stumbled into watching his press conference after his Michigan primary win. Performance art of the highest order. Funny, absurd, jaw-droppingly entertaining. The man has no shame. Which is a super-power that he wields with impunity.

He riffs off the top of his head. Says anything that pops into his mind. "I can do Presidential!" He compared himself to Lincoln. Think: Julius Caesar, Ghengis Khan, Mussolini and Putin! A confident strongman!

You can't buy that kind of confidence. He's a salesman. All bluster, bravado, bullshit. You wonder if he really knows what government is, what it does. You also wonder if he has a clue about business. 

He's got money and celebrity. And as Matt Taibbi tells us, the Short-Fingered Vulgarian is unstoppable because American elections are just badly-acted TV shows. The media just can't turn the cameras off. So the Short-Finger Vulgarian is riding the wave! Look out!

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

We Can All Be Poets and Geniuses!

A long-form improvisation. "Yes... and..." that's our lives. We can thank Del Close for making it an art-form too.

As a "creator" of theater and music, I think this is a great notion and one to hold dear...

"Treat your audience like poets and geniuses and that's what they'll become. - Del Close

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Tom Joad of the Animal Kingdom

It turns out I am the "Tom Joad" of the animal kingdom.

It you have tooth, claw, paw, whisker, beak, feather, tail, fur - I am there for you. If you are down, if you need a pick me up, if you need a meal, or a treat, a walk, or a romp, if you need to frolic, or just some mad play, or some exuberant rough-housing - I am there.

I am your confidante, your bosom buddy, your consigliere, your keeper, your fellow-traveler.

I will love you. I will care for you. I will laugh at you. I will talk to you, I will keep up a rambling, ever-morphing monologue for your entertainment, I will say everything that pops into my head, I will tell you everything. I will treat you like my confessor and I will confess everything. Absolutely everything. I will keep a stream of conversation going, even if you never answer me except with long, soul-full looks.

I will travel from one part of town to another to be with you. You will be my purpose, my mission, my job. I will only fully live in your animal glow.

You need me. I am there...

Monday, March 07, 2016

We Can Only "Inter-Be!"

Monday morning, still stuck on Thich Nhat Hanh...

"Often, when we say, “I love you” we focus mostly on the idea of the “I” who is doing the loving and less on the quality of the love that’s being offered. This is because we are caught by the idea of self. We think we have a self. But there is no such thing as an individual separate self. A flower is made only of non-flower elements, such as chlorophyll, sunlight, and water. If we were to remove all the non-flower elements from the flower, there would be no flower left. A flower cannot be by herself alone. A flower can only inter-be with all of us… Humans are like this too. We can’t exist by ourselves alone. We can only inter-be. I am made only of non-me elements, such as the Earth, the sun, parents, and ancestors. In a relationship, if you can see the nature of interbeing between you and the other person, you can see that his suffering is your own suffering, and your happiness is his own happiness. With this way of seeing, you speak and act differently. This in itself can relieve so much suffering."

Sunday, March 06, 2016

How to Love!

How to love. 

Isn't that our great quest? Our mission. Our purpose.

You expect it should come naturally. It doesn't. "Love is a learned dynamic interaction." It comes to us via "osmosis and imitation."

How to love. How to increase love. Zen Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh gets to the essentials, the elemental level of our lives. Read it. It could change your life!

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Look Up!

Sometimes. In order to clear your head. You need to turn from the human comedy to contemplate the heavens. As a human, you can get wrapped up in the human experience, to the exclusion of everything else.

Not recommended.

Look up. Contemplate the Universe. Look at the beauty. Luxuriate in the silence. Take a good look at the stars. You are made of that stuff. Let's check our Brain Pickings for that Most Beautiful Theory...

We must not forget that we live on a spinning ball, that space curves, and that things are not what they seem...

And remember: "The theory describes a colorful and amazing world where universes explode, space collapses into bottomless holes, time sags and slows near a planet, and the unbounded extensions of interstellar space ripple and sway like the surface of the sea."

Friday, March 04, 2016

Trump's Black Magic!

It is fascinating to watch the blood-letting on the right. The GOP isn't so much a political party, as collection of grifters, hacks, con-men, corporate lap-dogs, and blow-hards of epic proportions. 

Something clicked for me yesterday about Trump. His comment about Romney: "He walks like a penguin," really resonated with me. What a funny remark. What a ridiculous thing to say in front of a crowd of people. 

What an indelible image. 

I could see it vividly. Romney walking like a penguin. And in that image, Trump basically destroyed the man! Doesn't matter what Romney thinks, what he's done, who he is... he walks like a penguin! 

That's magic. Black magic. That's using psychic imagery, and projecting it into the world. And changing the world, changing our perception of the world. And you suspect that Romney probably does walk like a penguin! 

Trump is not an idiot, he's not crazy! He does have a method. He uses words very, very effectively. He is the master of the insult: Cruz is a self-righteous liar, Rubio is a sweaty little boy, Jeb is a low-energy lump. 

Of course, Trump is a complete fabrication. He comes across as an idiot, a complete buffoon, but that's just his avatar! He doesn't have a plan or a clue. Policy doesn't matter. He has words. Pointed, deadly words! Trump has trumped us! Pretty fascinating! He has mojo! But Trump your mojo don't work on me!

And just why doesn't the black magic work on me?! I can see it!

Thursday, March 03, 2016

"Walks Like A Penguin!" And "We're made out of that stuff, can you believe it?"

I guess it's sort of impressive just how many people Trump can offend and piss off.  And when he tells us that Mitt Romney "walks like a penguin," I mean, that's bad right?! A penguin? Penguins always seem so awkward and uncomfortable on land. Hell, them's fighting words! What will poor Mittens do?!

And then there are the folks Trump inspires and fires up: The Mike Tyson theory of Donald Trump

Tyson on Trump: “We’re the same guy,” he continues. “A thrust for power, a drive for power. Whatever field we’re in, we need power in that field. That’s just who we are.” Then, Tyson starts to lose me a bit. “Balls of energy. We’re not even who we think we are. We’re fire. We’re made of this crap—water, motion, dirt, diamonds, emeralds. We’re made out of that stuff, can you believe it?”

There is a weird, diabolical brilliance to the Trump thing. He isn't playing the same game as anyone else. He's like a Dark Wizard, a Warlock, working on another level altogether. When he paints the visual picture, the image of Romney walking like a penguin, shazzam Romney is toast, his dignity vanishes in an instant.  Trump is some kind of dark genius playing a game no one else even understands!

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Words of Wisdom from Ray D.

Ray Davies: "Always trust your dreams and stay in touch with the spirit world. We can't make music without it."

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Two Famous Cranks Meet in New Orleans!

One of my favorite parts of Ray Davies book "Americana," is when the famously British Crank Rock And Roller meets the famously American Crank Rock Roller. 

Yes, Ray Davies & Alex Chilton actually meet in New Orleans. Ray goes to Alex's place and sits while Alex reads passages from the novelist Thackery. Imagine that!

And then Alex tells the following to Ray: "Playing songs is ageless; the songs never seem to get old. You can sing a song that you wrote twenty or thirty years ago, and it's like the first time you played it. It makes you feel young, but the reality is, you're getting older, thing are changing inside... somehow performing music cheats age, but the fascination only lasts as long as the song."

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