Archive for the teh internets Category

Comrade Trump’s New Decency

Posted in arguing with lovely people who are perfectly nice, arguing with lunatics, current events, politics, pop culture, race, Star Wars IV.5 Flight of the Rebels, teh internets on November 23, 2016 by furious buddha

Huck,

If what that woman does in that video to that child constitutes child abuse, then someone needs to call the police on Jimmy Kimmel because he has victimized thousands of kids over the years. While I am not a fan of this mother’s parenting technique or Jimmy’s sadistic notion of a joke (and I certainly don’t agree with videotaping and posting any of these humiliating moments), it doesn’t constitute child abuse. I know how the terrible damage we do to children echoes across decades and centuries which is why I will not trivialize child abuse by equating it to what that woman did. I can disagree with what she is doing and still not categorize it as child abuse; there is a difference between a moment of shitty parenting and child abuse, and that woman is on the shitty end of the stick. Conservative arguments for religious liberty permit actual child abuse to be ignored by the law as well as for neglect when a parent doesn’t believe in basic medical care; I find the pearl clutching at this woman’s minor league bullying to be overwrought.

Huck, I am a working class white person and I can tell you that often we can be a bunch of anti-intellectual racists and xenophobic homophobes who are ignorant crybabies that resent anyone we perceive to be smarter than we are; we stubbornly won’t dream of lifting ourselves higher because we only want to drag everything down to our level. We continue to vote for candidates who embrace the policies that have annihilated the economies of our towns and states because cheap appeals to our bigotry work better than a reasoned argument on us. We are dupes, chumps, and suckers when we are greedy, lazy, and small-minded. Donald Trump is lying to coal workers about getting their jobs back. I’m telling the truth. Who is being disrespectful to the white working class?

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The new episode of the Dollop is very timely.

Sitting Bull was killed at Standing Rock by officers sent to arrest him. They were arresting him because they feared he was going to join the Ghost Dance Movement. It is the week of Thanksgiving and members of the Sioux Nation were attacked with tear gas and water cannons in below freezing temperatures by officers while protesting an oil pipeline being installed across their land and across the Missouri River within a mile of the Standing Rock Reservation.

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Huck, I’m watching you call auntiestevi and myself “smug”. I get your point but there’s nothing auntiestevi is saying that is smug unless you count her tone of “I am informed and confident based on my rational assessment of objective fact” as being smug. Donald Trump was elected by the uneducated voters that he said he loved. What auntiestevi said was not a smug assertion of superiority but rather an accurate description of what happened. Telling someone they are being conned is not an act of smugness; there is certainly no gloating here by either of us. I was surprised that “smug” was not one of Gingrich’s contrasting words; it would be a fine addition to that list.

And this is what I mean about being crybabies, for God’s sake. Conservatives whine about “Political Correctness” in G-Major with an E in the bass, when that “Political Correctness” is really nothing more than Treating Others With Respect; they weep and moan that liberals are so mean to them just because they want to call people ugly names.

The reason this is filed under arguing with lunatics is because… …well, that’s what one does on teh internets.  If you review some of my most viewed posts it should become quite clear why I started including the arguing with lunatics category which is no more than a garment I’ve held up; you’re deciding if it’s cut to your fit. However, in the interest of goodwill and brotherhood I have added another category to the Teahouse Menu.

The Teahouse is my fortress of reason where there is no compromise of standards, only parley with those outside the moat. Comrade Trump’s New Decency will not hold sway within these walls as long as I have the strength to swing Sarcasticus.
He does not get points for flip flopping on his promise to jail Hillary because the promise itself was an egregious violation of decency and democracy; it’s the kind of thing third world dictators threaten to do.
His disavowal of the alt-right is absurd while Steve Bannon is his chief of staff and Jeff Sessions is his nominee for Attorney General. Words clearly have no meaning for Mr. Trump; only actions have any meaning and his actions thus far speak very clearly. The Nazis are exulting for a reason.

We are in an Imperials or Rebel Alliance moment here and for me there is no choice; Princess Leia stored data on private server. The DNC is not perfect by a longshot but they are all that the Republic has left.

princess-leia-stores-data-on-a-private-server

Pictured: Princess Leia storing data on a private server.

Here Upon this Bank and Shoal in Time

Posted in arguing with lunatics, current events, days in the life, politics, race, teh internets on October 1, 2016 by furious buddha

It’s the first night of October, a Saturday and I’m here in the house alone except for Rosie at my feet. She’s our gorgeous Rottweiler puppy who has brought even more delight into my life. Mama Julia and Little Tony are out with her mother overnight and I find myself in possession of unexpected free time, so I thought I would write to you, my neglected loves.

Thanks to Donald Trump the grasshoppers are swarming themselves into locusts and people are only now starting to notice the growing danger they pose. The so-called “alt-right” is nothing new, they’ve just grown bold as hate since Trump dropped the standard of acceptable public discourse into the sewer. A little over eight years ago I attracted the attention of white supremacist websites such as Stormfront and I got a clear look at the crazy racist rage that is fueling Trump’s base today.

I just threw some Zeppelin on. Loud. I’m having a nice big bowl of tea. Green tea. Some artisanal shit called “Bubblemango Haze”, I think. Tasty.
I cannot imagine how anyone who is actually thinking of voting for him would even read this far down, really, so I know I’m preaching to the choir; I will at least try to be edifying. I’ve kept Sarcasticus more or less in his sheath lately because I’ve been fighting the good fight in different ways; making racist trolls cry uncle is fun but it doesn’t make enough of a difference in the big picture. Instead, I’ve been redoubling my efforts in the real world to make the changes I want to see happen, at least in small ways.

I’m directing a production of “Macbeth” that will go up the weekend before the election; it’s themes of power and the consequences of immoral and unworthy people attaining it are especially timely. It is being staged in a very straightforward way that seeks to make the story clear and keeps it in its time and place; there will be no gangsters, Nazis or Klingons running amok. In terms of casting I have taken a ‘blind’ approach to gender and race; my Macbeth is neither white nor male while Lady Macbeth is being played by an actor who is both. This is not an arbitrary decision emerging from my lefty politics but rather an aesthetic choice made from my interaction with the text over a span of decades as well as my own philosophical views in the art of acting, including why I don’t use the term “actress”, instead using “actor” to refer to all of my performers for the simple reason that it is accurate to do so. The role of the actor is to perform the actions of the script as directed by the director. We do not call female directors “directresses” (although to my surprise, when spellcheck did not correct that term I just now discovered that term does technically exist) or women writers “writeresses” (F*** YOU COLLINS DICTIONARY!) and since any well-trained actor should be able to play a wide variety of characters with depth and nuance it makes no sense to discriminate regarding the gender of the performing artist because we don’t call female artists “artresses” (I CHECKED!). Of course, it’s not as if this is first production of a Shakespeare play with women playing male characters (and Lady Macbeth was originally played by a teenaged boy, after all) and that’s why it is being done without comment in terms of the program and marketing; I am not seeking to be avant garde but rather the mere standard of adequacy.

The rehearsals are going well. Maybe I will get to write a little more in the morning about it. The tea made me sleepy and it’s late. I’m going to walk Rosie and let her sleep in bed with me tonight.

My unlimited love to y’all,

WD

Chewie… We’re home.

Posted in art, film, pop culture, Star Wars IV.5 Flight of the Rebels, teh internets on April 16, 2015 by furious buddha

Spiraling into the bottom of the years

Posted in current events, days in the life, film, poetry, teh internets on December 31, 2014 by furious buddha

Duck Soup is playing; the kids are indulging me because I made steak and lobster for dinner with Spumante for dessert. This has been a semi-tradition of mine for a very long time. My favorite New Years are the ones that have resembled this as opposed to the ones where I was throwing up in the alleys behind a bar. Channel 11 would always show Duck Soup on New Years’ Eve when I was kid and I like the tradition of eating like a king on New Years Eve and a pauper on New Years Day. Lord knows, after tonights meal we will be eating like paupers for more than tomorrow. But Duck Soup is just so damn funny. What a counterpoint to The Interview; Mussolini banned Duck Soup in Italy when it was released in 1933 as he took personal offense to it. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, history doesn’t repeat it rhymes.

The stupid iPad I use for work published this long before I was done with it, so as I write this a sentence is dangling unfinished on teh internets. I’ve left the Young Ones to their evening and I’m snuggling in here with you Dear Reader as the night spins the year away. I feel the weight of the darkness just like I always do at this time of the year but what is different is the joy the sleeping three year old in the other room emanates like a blast furnace makes it so much easier to bear. He makes everything simple; each choice is clear where he is concerned.

Bookcharmer, I’m really sorry I didn’t get to meet you guys down at the Bowie exhibit; I was really looking forward to seeing you. I still haven’t made it down yet. Everyone I know tells me how cool it is.

I’m going to send some texts and make a call or two, but before I go, some verse to play me out.

 

I felt young this year.
I made great new friends*, had fun
made discoveries,

generally had
a charmed year in a charmed life
humble and grateful

sing a haiku groove
across the minor key bridge
in five seven time

*and thank you wendy
for moving calliope
from her rusted frieze

Happy New Year,
WD December 31, 2014

 

Epistle on Race in America Now #Ferguson #NYPD #EricGarner #BLACKLIVESMATTER #ICANTBREATHE

Posted in arguing with lunatics, current events, days in the life, politics, race, teh internets with tags , , on December 6, 2014 by furious buddha

Kenny-

I’ve been thinking about your recent post on fb (which I will not publish here without your permission but if it’s cool with you when you read this please copy and paste it into the comments below for the benefit of the other three people in the room with us). I’m sorry that I’m so busy and that I’m not closer; I know you feel the need to see me and I am drawn to see you and talk and see your wife and meet your son and embrace your mother again. Would I impose terribly if I came down to St Louis between Christmas and New Years?

I feel the need to describe the moment I’m in. It’s Thursday afternoon and I’ve finished at the Clown Factory. I have twenty minutes from eight minutes ago before I need to go pick up Little Tony from daycare. Today I started the day anticipating the return of the American manned space program and felt some disappointment that the launch was scrubbed until tomorrow. It was a good day at work but the mimes remain annoying.

Then I saw the news about the grand jury in New York that decided that Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who killed Eric Garner, shouldn’t be indicted. Eric Garner was a man who  was suspected by police of selling cigarettes illegally. Not crates of cigarettes. Not cartons of cigarettes. Just individual cigarettes from a pack he had bought legally. This is the crime that the police were harassing him for. These are his last words on this Earth as captured by a bystanders cell phone:

“I’M MINDING MY BUSINESS, OFFICER, I’M MINDING MY BUSINESS. PLEASE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE. I TOLD YOU THE LAST TIME, PLEASE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE. PLEASE PLEASE, DON’T TOUCH ME. DO NOT TOUCH ME. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE. I CAN’T BREATHE.”

I have to go get Little Dude.

Little Dude is finishing dinner. We stopped at the store and picked up some food. They have these miniature shopping carts and it is so amazingly adorable. He’s finished up and needs a bath. Then snuggles and bed. Give me a little minute; okay, he’s in the bath, the laptops on the toilet and I’m on the floor in-between. We’re listening to the ‘Awesome Mix Vol 1’ from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. We’re burning him a similar mix for Christmas; a CD for my car and a cassette for Julia’s car of all his favorite songs from this year.

Here’s the thing, Brother Kenny Lazarus; I understand your hope.

Sorry. Poopies interrupted. I just finished singing him down to sleep and cleaning up. I’m back home, having some tea. It’s around 10:40.

It’s not that I don’t share your hope on some level because of course I do; but this is because we have wonderful lives of privilege based on our birth that engender hope. It’s not that I think you’re naive but rather that you see the path so clearly that sometimes it is difficult for you to see how obscured the way is for most. The problem is that enough people aren’t feeling outraged; they think that it would be so much better if everyone would just politely settle down and accept the story of the man who referred to the eighteen year old boy he shot as an ‘it’ who he believed was ‘bulking up’ to ‘run through the shots’ at him. The grand jury was a farce. Michael Wilson was nearly half a football field away from Darren Wilson and retreating when the fatal shots were fired; the illogic of how that could possibly be an act of self-defense doesn’t even seem to register with people. Even if Michael Brown made a grab for his weapon, the killing shots cannot possibly be justifiable. I have been twice involved in situations where a disturbed individual made a grab for a police officer’s gun; neither incident was resolved with a summary execution.

Hang on. Julia is here.

It’s 5:30 on Friday afternoon. The NYPD is blaming Eric Garner for his death.

The absence of legal segregation is nothing to celebrate; the bar needs to be much higher than that. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times; history doesn’t repeat but it rhymes. After the brief moment during Reconstruction when black skinned people were allowed to hold political office throughout the U.S. Jim Crow smothered African-Americans with legal Apartheid for nearly a century; Obama’s election was an historical fluke that blindsided people and the eruption of aggressive racism and efforts to disenfranchise African-Americans since his election has a very unsettling familiarity to me. Obama can’t make us better. We have to make ourselves better.

Evil is banal and tepid; it thrives in room temperature apathy and grows large in comfortable indifference. Evil doesn’t want anyone to make a fuss. The truth is rude. Lies are polite. Christ was beaten and murdered by the legal authorities with the blessing of the religious authorities and the whole thing was endorsed by the mob. The only person Jesus ever personally guaranteed He would see in Heaven was the thief hanging on the cross next to Him. It is impossible for me to reconcile my faith with blind obedience to authority or condemnation of sinners and stray souls. Authority must be able to justify itself; anything else is tyranny.

There is a time for overturning tables and chasing thieves from the temple. I want you to keep raising your voice, brother. It’s so much stronger than you believe.

Julia needs me to go over to her place to warm up the oven; I’m having dinner with her, Little Dude and Giant Hippie. This seems as good a place as any to say good night. But then I came back about an hour ago, put on ‘Guardians’ for the fifth time this week (I love this movie. Can’t wait for the Blu-ray) had some tea and played a little Civ. Then I reread this before I push the button and give it teh internets. Then I fell asleep without pushing the button. It’s Saturday morning now.

Some conservatives have been complaining about the media attention to this subject as if the problem is noticing the brutal racism in our law enforcement system; this is why it is important that everyone of conscience wakes up and speaks clearly.

My unlimited love to y’all,

Winston

Let me play you this. #FridayNightDJ

Posted in art, days in the life, film, music, poetry, teh internets on May 16, 2014 by furious buddha

This is from Lou Reed’s last album. It’s speaking to me tonight. Maybe you can hear it too.

 

Elegy to a Dead Satellite: #Fred Pohl

Posted in art, current events, philosophy, Science, teh internets on September 3, 2013 by furious buddha

RIP Fred Pohl.

Throughout my life I have had been lucky enough to have brief but vivid encounters and conversations with some of my favorite authors. I have bought Ray Bradbury a taco, bummed cigarettes to Tim O’Brien, and fetched Gwendolyn Brooks hot coffee; and then there was my lunch with Fred Pohl. At the time I was probably twenty three or so, taking a class in science fiction literature that he had come to speak at; he was in his late sixties or early seventies at the time but had the energy of a man my age. The lecture was fantastic and the discussion spilled out after class into the cafeteria, where he and I ended up talking over plastic wrapped sandwiches for another hour or so.

I remembered vividly talking at lengths about the theater; although he was not a playwright he and his wife enjoyed attending plays and at the time he was working on a novella where one of the characters was an actor. I remembered how encouraging and positive he was, and how affectionate he and his wife were. He told me a funny story about how Isaac Asimov had relentlessly mocked L Ron Hubbards’ terrible writing and his bizarre cult, and he pointed me towards a really difficult to find short story where Asimov takes a hilarious shot at Scientology in the form of a ladies’ knitting circle that takes over the world.

His writing was better than good; his stories are a foundation upon which much of modern sf and pop culture at large is built. Novels like ‘Gateway’ are so well written and prescient that it is hard to believe they were written decades ago. If you haven’t made his acquaintance, I urge you to introduce yourself to my departed friend, Fred Pohl.