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17
Nov 16

The Reason The Absurdity was elected

Cognitive dissonance well describes what I experienced last week when The Absurdity was elected (I won’t use his name)…Every day I have to remind myself, “Yes, it really happened.”

Maybe the vote was tampered with–especially in the sense of denying people voting at all, or discounting their vote because “they didn’t qualify”, later. But that wouldn’t have worked if it wasn’t close. And why was it close? A lot of people are saying it’s because we don’t understand the frustrated poor (along with the socially conservative well-to-do). But I don’t believe that. I believe it’s simpler than that. I am going with Occam’s Razor here.

I think that while many factors converged–third party snobs, occluded voters–the *main* reason The Absurdity was elected was because there are far more stupid people in America than anyone realized.

I, for one, was in denial about how many stupid people there are in America.


14
Nov 16

Wistful, short review of ARRIVAL

We saw ARRIVAL. This new movie based on Ted Chiang’s award winning novella is the best science fiction film in years, and actually for me is in the top five of the last five decades. I’m still so bummed by The Absurdity being elected, I can’t write a review, really. The movie’s timing is sort of ironic…it did make me feel some hope…

I could talk about a couple of its conceptual antecedents and poke at a few possible weaknesses, but I won’t, because one must not risk giving anything away…I’ll just say that it probably won’t be a hit because while appreciating it doesn’t require the viewer to be an intellectual–that would leave me out–it does require a relatively high level of intelligence, and it’s recently been demonstrated that at least half this country falls short in that department.


10
Nov 16

Who Died?

Took me awhile to recognize the distinctive feeling I have. I feel that someone has died–someone close to me, someone in my family, or someone I would grieve for…

Headlines should read: Millions of People Vote Against Their Own Interests.

 

Who died? Or–what died?


7
Nov 16

Off the cuff review of the DOCTOR STRANGE movie

We saw DOCTOR STRANGE With great enjoyment today. I think we would have once called this movie “trippy”…On Marc Laidlaw’s advice we saw it in 3D and IMAX–normally I don’t “do” 3D, I find it to be usually lame and a pain in the ass, but this time 3D was quite appropriate and worked great. You could dig the film without it but if you can, see it in 3D. One of the primary special effects programs used is something we’ve seen variations of online, right here on facebook, but blown up huge and carried to wild extrapolation. I did not feel it was “too white” or something–Dr Strange was always a white guy, Tilda Swinton (who plays a Celtic “ancient one”, living in Nepal), was very good indeed; Cumberbatch is perfect for the part as an actor and looks just right; Mordo, played by a black actor whose name I cannot hope to spell, is excellent. There are Asian characters, there are Asian settings, but most of all this is …very much like the comic, to me. Not excessively so. Dormammu was quite well done.

I hesitate to say too much…The story works better than comic superhero movies usually do. That’s because they didn’t over amp it, in the first half, it’s fast paced but not too much; there is nuance…The car crash in the film, by the way, is maybe the best dramatization of a big ugly car crash I’ve ever seen…

Some may find the movie’s potent explosions of visuals to be to much too process–indeed, I’ll have to see it again to process it all–but basically, if you wanted Doctor Strange in a big budget movie, THIS IS IT. One of the top comic adaptations ever.

There are two extra scenes in the credits, one toward the beginning of them, one at the end. When Stan Lee does his cameo, note the book he’s reading.


4
Nov 16

Third Party Choices–Smothered Voices

I say this as someone who voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary: People who feel that voting for Hillary Clinton next month is “voting for the lesser of evils” (it’s not the lesser of evils, she isn’t evil)…people who think that it’s important to make a statement by voting for a third party candidate who (in this case) cannot possibly win, thus taking a vote away from the only person who in this situation can stop a neo-fascist demagogue, are people who care about their emotions than they care about the poor–the poor, the working class, will be hurt if *any* Republican gets into office, including Trump who’s against an increase in minimum wage, against food stamps.

They’re people who care about their hurt feelings more than they care about the environment, the biosphere–which will be irretrievably damaged if another Republican gets into the White House, especially if that Republican is Donald “climate change isn’t real” Trump.

They don’t care about women and children who will die in the planned carpet bombing of the Middle East Trump trumpets about.

They don’t care about Democracy, which will be definitively undermined if Trump gets control of the Supreme Court.

They care about taking a stand that will make them feel distinctive more than they care about women who will be hurt by the inevitable erosion in women’s rights when Trump is elected.

They only care that their particular, personal schemata, their philosophy of “if it’s not everything I want it’s nothing” doesn’t take precedence. They fantasize, perhaps, that “Trump’s election will bring about a leftist revolution”–something they actually know isn’t true.

Their decision is completely emotional. It’s anger. It’s not reason. And they don’t care who gets hurt.


22
Oct 16

The Inexorable Approach of Halloween

It’ll soon be Halloween. There’s not much Halloween left in the world, in a certain sense–the traditional, All Hallows Eve feeling of it, the true Sleepy Hollow atmosphere, the harvest moon, the conciliation of coming winter, mellow fruition and gathering mists, awareness of lengthening nights and cowed, bowed-down days …usually lacking in what people do now, because we so rarely gather for Halloween parties, and it’s down to buying a surprisingly elaborate mechanically wriggly special effect of a Halloween decoration, that stalks up and down the lawn declaring in the recorded voice of some underpaid non-SAG actor that it’s going to “drag you into the grave”…and you bought it at Target…But some people clearly love the whole idea of modern Halloween and the chance to put up elaborate displays on their lawn and roof; and there’s charm in that, seeing some guy who never misses church, who totally disapproves of goths when he sees them in July, chuckling with saturnine gleefulness as he sets up big plastic inflatable ghosts toting signs that say “See you at Midnight!” and “Boo!”

If you google ‘why do people like horror’, you’ll see a long list of people puzzling over the question, finally offering the same old explanations: enjoying adrenaline rushes, exorcising one’s inner psychological ghosts and demons–fears, fury, fantasies–an unconscious shield against death, a ritual expiation to quiet troubled spirits but carried out unconsciously in horror stories and Halloween…And it’s pointed out that there are horrific scenes in Homer and Shakespeare, that Goya and Munch were great artists who found dark feelings, fear and madness, creatively significant…

And then there’s the true shudder, like the news from Syria. Horror is a safe way to explore the dark places of life, and to acknowledge death from a careful distance. Zombies, the living dead, the Walking Dead…all about walking dead people which really means, Death Itself Walking. Death stalking inexorably toward you; for though you’re young you’ve been told you’re mortal. And the Walking Dead embody your fear of mortality coming slowly, unstoppably, to…drag you into the grave.

Happy Halloween.


21
Oct 16

Apparently You’re Supposed to Vote for Trump Because He was Given a Lunch

Our Voter’s Pamphlet here includes a section for the Presidential candidates. Clinton’s statement is almost entirely a list of the issues and plans for the country. DONALD J TRUMP’s “statement” tells us he is a success story, that he’s the author of “15 bestsellers” and “Mr. Trump has over 20 million followers on social media…” He claims to have raised millions of dollars for veterans but the only example he gives is “working as Grand Marshal of the 1996 annual New York City Veteran’s Day parade…in front of an audience of 1.4 million viewers…”and he was “honored by the Pentagon” for this by being “given a lunch with the Secretary of Defense”.

Meanwhile, “in New York City, the Trump signature is synonymous with the most prestigious of addresses, among them the world renowned Fifth Avenue skyscraper, Trump Tower, and his ever-expanding collection of award-winning golf course (18 thus far).” The statement includes six lines of generality about his policies, eg ” promote a free market” and “rebuild our military” (which apparently shrank when I wasn’t looking, is no longer Pac Man munching wildly on the US budget)…

Almost all of the statement’s 5 paragraphs concerns things Trump owns, or his popularity. So vote for Trump’s golf courses, and his real estate, and his social media presence. And his having sat in a car and waved at people as Grand Marshal in a veteran’s parade even though he actually wriggled out of military service.

All of Clinton’s statement is on the issues–except she includes a line or two of political platitudes about national unity.


18
Oct 16

It’s not just the PRESIDENTIAL race. . .

Headlines: Republicans plan to block any Supreme Court nominee Hillary Clinton would put in play.

Hate that?

Just remember, it’s not only about the Presidential campaign.

If you don’t like Republicans blocking a Democrat’s Supreme Court nominees–

then show up to vote at *congressional races* and vote Republicans OUT. Encourage your friends to register to vote; encourage your friends to put on their coats, encourage your friends to simply note: they must vote the Republicans out.

If you don’t like our enslavement to Big Oil–

then show up to vote at *congressional races* and vote Republicans OUT. Encourage your friends to register to vote; encourage your friends to put on their coats, encourage your friends to simply note: they must vote the Republicans out.

If you don’t like the nightmarish availability of guns–

then show up to vote at *congressional races* and vote Republicans OUT. Encourage your friends to register to vote; encourage your friends to put on their coats, encourage your friends to simply note: they must vote the Republicans out.

If you don’t like the crushing of the middle class and the poor–

then show up to vote at *congressional races* and vote Republicans OUT. Encourage your friends to register to vote; encourage your friends to put on their coats, encourage your friends to simply note: they must vote the Republicans out.

If you don’t like the suppression of science and climate change truth

– then show up to vote at *congressional races* and vote Republicans OUT. Encourage your friends to register to vote; encourage your friends to put on their coats, encourage your friends to simply note: they must vote the Republicans out.

If you don’t like the erosion of women’s rights–

then show up to vote at *congressional races* and vote Republicans OUT Encourage your friends to register to vote; encourage your friends to put on their coats, encourage your friends to simply note: they must vote the Republicans out.


29
Sep 16

Could Russia Take Over the USA Through Cyberhacking?

Is it possible that Russia could take over the USA without firing a shot? I feel a bit sheeplish, as if I might come off like some guy in the John Birch Society, writing that. But we’re not talking about Communists (though we’re talking about a Russian regime that seems to admire Stalin’s methods) or “commie infiltration”. Top American bigshots, Harry Reid, Clinton, Obama, and even the CIA have expressed concern about the evident Russian hacking of the DNC–and indications that Russian cyber agents hacked into the primaries in Arizona. There seems to be some sort of backroom agreement between Trump and Putin; there are enough indications that one can infer it, at least.
And if Russia were to tinker with our voting, even take it over, without anyone being able to quite prove it…would the US Gov actually declare the voting process to be without validity? If the Russians gave elections to right-wingers with whom they may’ve made deals, and the US govt discovered this, wouldn’t the govt risk an uprising if they said, “Election invalidated”?
If the Russians can insert candidates favorable to them–could they actually make backroom deals with those candidates, more candidates than Trump, that give them control over the USA? “You will be ‘elected’, but you must do as we ask…” Perhaps in a few years “congress” would “vote” to merge the USA and Russia.
Paranoia? Maybe. But it’s time to take international hacking of voting far, far more seriously.

24
Sep 16

SCUMMY WEBSITE OF THE WEEK

There are sites that have quizzes like “Can you name the capitals of these 25 countries?” Seeing it on a friend’s page and feeling guilty lately about my geography, I took one such at a site called Matador dot com or something of the sort, and it said I got all of them right. So I should share with my social networks. Here’s a link to… etc. How likely I would get them all right? I knew I didn’t. So I checked with wikipedia and yep I got at least four wrong. (Four of the Five I thought I probably got wrong.) So it lies and says everyone is right so they’ll share, to harvest clicks, to get clicks to their bloodsucking site which I idiotically went to when I was avoiding getting some real stuff done I need to do…

This matador site and others like them need to be busted over and over if needed. Just such contempt for people–and for knowledge.

Speaking of wasting time to avoid getting stuff done, I better get offline and face the music. (I have to write lyrics for something and starting any writing, even that, is hard.)