RHYTHM METHOD

lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown


The poem I’ve written below is based on the “Five Principles for Getting through the Trump Years,” given by Alice Walker in her speech at a reading in La Manzanilla, Mexico two nights ago on February 20, 2017. I was fortunate enough to be at that reading where she and four other excellent writers also talked about subjugation, prejudice, inequality, poverty and the importance of kindness, open-mindedness, acceptance and education in bringing our country to a better level of fairness to all.

I’ll talk about some of the other poets and storytellers who told their tales in a later post; but for today, and since it fit in with today’s prompt, here is my take on Ms. Walker’s wonderful talk.

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Rhythm Method

You’ve got to listen to the beat.
Shake your booty, pound your feet.
If you want to survive the day,
the rhythm method is the way.
It’s been said by smarter folks than I
that it’s the way that we’ll get by
in times we think we won’t survive—
the way we stay fully alive
in spite of voters who were hazy
and voted in a man who’s crazy.

Instead of listening to his bleat,
until the time of his defeat,
first and foremost, kindness will
help us to swallow this bitter pill.
A close connection with nature might
help us stay strong in the fight.
Respect for all those elders who
just might be another hue:

native tribes or Africans
brought unwillingly as hands
to shore up our economy
and build a country for you and me
while they paid the awful fee
in poverty and slavery.
It’s time to set our people free!

Gratitude for human life,
both theirs and ours, will allay strife.
In times like these, less than enhancing,
“Hard times demand furious dancing!”
One wiser and more in the groove
than I am, says that we must “Move!”
James Cleveland sang “This too shall pass,”
Turn on his music and move your ass.

Thousands of people dance along
this wonderful old gospel song
in her mind’s eye and I agree.
While we are waiting, you and me,
for enough others to see the light
and step in line to wage the fight,
we have to keep the joy in us
in spite of this unholy fuss
that seeks to keep us frightened and
prisoners in our native land.

Instead of knives and swords and guns,
defeat the tyrant with jokes and puns.
Comedians will save the day
and keep us laughing on the way.
But in the mean time, move your feet.
Feel the rhythm. Feel the beat.
If this nation has a chance,
perhaps we’ll find it in the dance.


The quotations above are all from Alice Walker’s talk. In prose form, here again are her five principles for getting through the Trump years (or hopefully, months.)

1. Kindness, which can keep us going through these unkind times.

2. A close connection with nature.

3. Respect for our oldest biological ancestors including native Americans (specifically those at Standing Rock), Africans  (who survived the fierce physical brutality of slavery) and Europeans such as John Brown and Susan B. Anthony.

4.  ‘Move!  Hard times demand furious dancing.’ Reverend James Cleveland sang, “This too shall pass.”  Get a recording of it and dance to it! She has an image of thousands of people dancing to this wonderful gospel song.

5. Maintain gratitude for human life.

She ended by relating the importance of meditation, which she described as a means “to rediscover the blue sky that is our mind,” and by stating that one way we can overcome the constant bad news with which our oppressors drug us is to learn the bad news first from comedians. This, perhaps, is one way for us to get through this dark period in our history.

The prompt today was rhythmic.


Please read the original post on Judy Dykstra’s brilliant site: Rhythm Method

WHACKADOODLE VIRUS

I have some solid armor on this computer. Not only the version of anti-virus that comes with Windows 10 (which I had been using for years before it became part of the system), but also Malwarebytes to pick up any slackers. Between the two, I haven’t gotten a virus in a long time.

Today, I popped over to YouTube and  voilà! One virus ahoy. “IF YOU TRY TO REMOVE THIS, YOUR HARD DRIVE WILL FA … ” except it never got through “fail” because it got whacked by both virus blockers in one heavy hit and down it went. Sadly, it left Chrome messy. Time to delete it. Chrome doesn’t deal well with being “a little bit broken,” so unless you are planning to deal with its “little bit of brokenness,” you have to take it down and then, put it back.

This isn’t a big deal — usually — because while it takes a few minutes, Google gets itself back in business fast. But, I had to dump not only Google, but all its “pieces.” I would have to depend on Google to restore itself. Once I was sure I’d gotten rid of the viral page, I deleted it the rest of Chrome. And all the little pieces of it, what they call “the backup” stuff. I took it all the way down and suddenly, there was a screen.


Why did you delete Chrome? — Me: Virus 

Do you want it back again? — Me: Yes, please.

Click here. — Me: I clicked there.


Thinking about two. Don't ask why. Just ... two.

Thinking about two. Don’t ask why. Just … two.

No problem if I had the slightest memory of the password I used. I wrote it down because who doesn’t write down their passwords? But I wrote it in my gmail account. Which was the thing I couldn’t get to because …

This is the moment when you usually threw your hands in the air and scream “I GIVE UP!”

No more. Now, before I had time to find a paper and pencil, the phone was ringing. And there I am, trying to wrench the top off my pen so I can write down the number. Phew. Got it!

I put in the numbers and in went Gmail and Google. After a while, as I passed some time checking the new settings (Google is always new), everything came back.  The whole kit and caboodle. Though I’m pretty sure I’ll have to replace every single password for all the sites I use, but it was time to dump them anyway. Remind me I said that.

There was a thing on TV. I think it was on the Sunday NBC shows about passwords and how no matter what the people in the biz say, passwords are personal and often, there’s a whole story in each password.

Is that true? Are all of our passwords in some way part of our personal story? I think my early versions of passwords were likely stories. But now? Time has required I include capitals and numbers and at least one expletive, so my passwords are memories of times from a long time ago — with expletives and numbers jammed impossibly between.

Sort of almost memories.

HOME IS MY HIDEOUT

I would like to say the home wasn’t always like this, but that would not be true. Home has always been my hideout. From the first time I finally I got a place of my own, it has been my staging area. This is where I put on the bells, whistles, and makeup I needed for work. That was back in the early days when offices required we come to work all “dressed up.”

Now, they don’t care, as long as you show up at all. This is a big improvement. But I might wear makeup anyhow. Just because.

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Home is where the comfortable furniture is. Where the dogs hang out. Where I can cook and cozy up with a book or a camera or whatever interests me. Now, more than ever.

It used to be where I came home when the day was done. Now it is where I am, unless something else invites us away for a while.

Home is good.

HIDEOUT | DAILY POST

YOU’RE NOT A MAN, YOU’RE A CHICKEN BOO – BY TOM CURLEY

So as the surreal non-reality show called Real Life continues, I’ve been reading and hearing  all sorts of people saying variations of the same theme.


“Is this real?”

“Are we in some kind of Tom Clancy novel?”

“If you wrote this as a movie nobody would buy it. It’s too unbelievable”

“Can I actually save 15% on my car insurance?”


The idea for this blog popped into my head a couple of days ago. I thought it was a “tad out there”. Even for me. Then “Ole 45” staged a “so called “press briefing”.

reutersgettyimages.com

reutersgettyimages.com

After watching it I realized that my idea wasn’t a “tad out there” at all. (And I am rather proud that I’ve managed to use the word “tad” in two sentences). It was so crazy that even on Fox News the first thing the reporter said after it was over was. (and I’m not making this up) “Well all righty then.”

defensesystems.info

defensesystems.info

We are not living in a Tom Clancy novel. We are not living in a badly written movie.  We are living in an episode of “Chicken Boo”.

youtube.com

youtube.com

I have to assume most of you at this point are going “who”? It’s understandable. Chicken Boo was a recurring feature on a brilliantly funny cartoon show from the 1990’s called “The Animaniacs.”

You can get the whole series on Netflix. The show was written as much for the adults as for the kids. Chicken Boo was a minor feature of the show.

The premise was simple. Boo was a six-foot-tall chicken who lived on a farm. Because of this all the other chickens ran away from him because he was, well, a six-foot-tall chicken. So every episode, he would run away and try to fit in with humans by putting on a disguise.

youtube.com

youtube.com

And it always  worked!  He would become the CEO of a company, a famous actor, a politician, etc.  He never talked. He just clucked. He never acted like a person. He acted like a chicken.

imgur.com

imgur.com

People adored him, except that one person would always go “Hey! That guy’s a chicken!” And everybody would laugh at him. Then something happened that would remove the disguise, like his glasses would fall off. Everybody would look wide-eyed and scream. “That’s a CHICKEN! At this point they would all turn on him and drive him out-of-town. As he walked off into the sunset they would play the theme song.


Chicken Boo, what’s the matter with you?
You don’t act like the other chickens do.
You wear a disguise to look like human guys
But you’re not a man; you’re a chicken, Boo.


Over the last week it seems that the press, the media and most people I’ve talked to have been surprised to notice that our “so-called” President IS ACTUALLY REALLY HONEST TO GOD NUTS!

What fascinates me is the “surprise”.  It’s like they’d just seen the end of the first act of “Springtime For Hitler”.

Pelaimilie.wordpress.com

Pelaimilie.wordpress.com

It’s been right out there in the open ever since he started  running. Just like in the cartoon, lots of people adore him.  And one

Politifact.com

Politifact.com “This guy’s a chicken”.

or two

nbcnews.com

nbcnews.com “Uhhh … This guy’s a chicken”.

or a few hundred thousand people are going “Hey! That guy’s a chicken!”

cnn.com

cnn.com HEY! THAT GUY’S A CHICKEN!

I went online to look for an episode. This is the first one I found. This is an actual episode. Made over 20 years ago.

It’s amazing.! You have to watch it. It’s only a few minutes long. Yes, the wig is the disguise. If you don’t have time to watch it, here’s a quick re-cap. Boo is pretending to be a Russian Ballet star who has defected to New York to work for the New York City Ballet .  His entourage and his director gushes over him while one press reporter asks “Are you a chicken?” He goes on stage and everybody loves him until his wig falls off and everybody screams “That’s a chicken!”  The audience leaves in disgust and the director kicks him out into the street.  As he walks away you hear.


You wear a disguise to look like human guys
But you’re not a man; you’re a chicken, Boo.


Reality is now looking more and more like this cartoon. 45’s  wig has fallen off and it was concealing a pile of mixed nuts.

pinterest.com

pinterest.com

I figured that I was probably the first person to make this rather obscure analogy. But then I Googled “Chicken Boo is Donald Trump.” This is what popped up.

keith-urban.leadstories.com

keith-urban.leadstories.com

Well, all righty, then.


You wear a disguise to look like a Presidential  guy
But you’re not a man; you’re a chicken, Boo.


Democratic Underground

Democratic Underground

THE NEW PTSD by ELLIN CURLEY

I wrote a blog a while back about how I’ve grown to hate repetitive, routine household chores, like doing the laundry and washing the dishes. But things have changed. The Trump presidency has altered my perspective on a lot of things. Trump and his team have caused political whiplash and existential chaos, which, in turn, has increased my appreciation for the small things in life. Things like the belief in facts, the existence of truth and the joys of a shared reality, at least with my husband. Also, a renewed love of predictability, consistency and reliability – in people and in the world.

72-drying-dishes-081616_008.jpg August 16, 2016So my boring daily slog is suddenly comforting. It makes me feel secure. My husband’s predictabale routines now seem appealing and safe. Almost sexy. Chores are no longer frustrating necessities. Sorting socks is now a calming, Zen exercise. Fitting dishes into the slots in the dishwasher gives me a sense of success and accomplishment. These are the things in life I can count on. I am not helpless in my own home.

My chores also take me away, for a short time, from the onslaught of breaking news from Washington, DC. They give me moments of quiet before the next storm. I deeply appreciate them for the very repetitiveness that had turned me against them before. Boredom is now my friend. I see it as calmness and peace without the negative connotations I used to attribute to it. It’s the antidote to my PTSD – Perpetual Trump Shitstorm Distress!

Laundry

I look forward to training my puppy. Sit! Stay! Come! Good girl! Repeat. No lump in my stomach, no sense of dread. No alternative facts or alternate reality. Just me and my dog agreeing that ‘sit’ means ‘put your butt on the floor’ and ‘stay’ means ‘don’t move until I tell you to.’ Boring, but reassuring and gratifying.

Remy & Lexi

Remy & Lexi

I appreciate my friends more, at least the ones who share my version of facts and reality. My daughter not calling me for weeks is now just something I can count on in an uncertain world. If I continue to focus on the small things in life that give me pleasure and comfort, I just may make it through the Trump years.

BLURRY, AS DREAMS ARE

Whoosh. I was into a dream.

I was at the top of the stairs looking down at my house. Part of the house had bright lights on.

“Funny,” I thought. “Why are those lights on? I should turn them off.”

I grabbed Garry to come downstairs with me and help me figure out why those bright lights were shining. Somewhere, I noticed that we were in a big, attractive brick house that apparently, we owned. Except it isn’t the house in which we live, but it was definitely ours. We got down to the first floor and … blur … we were younger than we are now. Maybe twenty, thirty years? We found the lights and turned them out. I realized that someone I know from the blogging world was living there, too … and so were other people.

That was when … blur … I realized I had no idea where this house had come from or why we owned it. We wandered around the house for a while and it was a very handsome, rather large house and quite a few people were living there. The house was well cared for. Someone was managing it, but I wondered …

Blur … When did we get the house? Where was the money from it going? I thought about it and out of the … blur … came the reality that I recalled I’d seen something which had our name on it. Another mortgage, so this must be that house, but … blur … blur … blur …

I woke up. I lay there a while, so blurry I couldn’t quite get out of the dream. The house. We owned the house. Where did it come from? After a while, back to sleep … and there was blur … another house. In another part of the world, maybe Montana or Colorado. It belonged to a writer and it was a huge house, full of people who wrote books, painted pictures. All people like us. Kind of old, but who used to do artistic things … and I thought “we must have just left our other house … maybe at our age, it doesn’t really matter any more …”

And blur … I woke up again. Clearly there was no further point in sleeping. It was going to be about this house we owned but didn’t own, the house we had moved to, but hadn’t moved to.


DREAM MOODS

New House

To see a new house in your dream indicates that you are taking on a new identity and developing new strengths. You are becoming more emotionally mature.

72-Brick-Sunlight-LR-070216_29

In general, dreaming of new things and new places corresponds to what is new in your waking life. It refers to something that is different or unfamiliar.


At no point did the new house, either the big one made of brick and in excellent condition … or the old, but wonderfully charming house out west … seem to be unpleasant places. There were a lot of “places” to discover, but they were not unpleasant places. Blurry, yes, in the way that dreams always are. Blurry and fuzzy and oddly twisted to form a shape that isn’t “regular.” I looked it up, just to see. I know there are many meanings to things we see in dreams and there had to be an important meaning to dreams and this piece was as good as I found. If you are interested in what things in your dreams may mean, it seems a good place to start checking.

So in the big blur of dreams that come and dreams that wander around our heads for a long time, I’m sure this one meant something. A dream that arrives and will not let go, not even when you wake up from it and then go back to sleep … That dream means something. This dream meant something. I think, maybe, this time, something good.

BLURRY AS DREAMS ARE