FORMERLY PASSIONATE BLOGGER WITH MUSIC

PASSIONATE | THE DAILY POST

It’s at moments like this that I realize — I really am getting old. Passionate. When I started doing this four and a half years ago, I was passionate. Undisciplined and all over the place. Writing too long, leaping from subject to subject without any connection. Angry one day, mellow the next. Ranting about wrongs and politics … and (please forgive me!) philosophy. And then just dropping the whole thing and taking a lot of pictures of autumn leaves.

I was so passionate about absolutely everything I probably contradicted myself a dozen time a week, but who was counting?

A double round of cancer and massive heart surgery later, we are in the middle of the most horrendous political kerfuffle in my lifetime … maybe in the life of this nation … and I’m beginning to feel numb. Passionate? I can’t even seem to raise a decent head of steam. I know who I’m voting for and why I’m voting for her. I know who I’m NOT voting for and why I could never, ever, under any imaginable circumstances vote for him or anyone remotely like him …

But there’s not much passion behind it. Unlike 2008 when I was wild with energy and excitement because finally, after years of plodding, this country was going to make a major breakthrough. Progress! REAL progress.

I wasn’t blogging in ’08, but by 2012, I was full bore into it. I don’t know whether to be proud or a little embarrassed at my naked excitement at that election. I went from nothing to 100,000 views in just a couple of months …

And the election ended. Gridlock began. The air went out of my bubble. It got grim and ugly. I got sick and spent a year pulling myself back from the edge of the edge. I didn’t want to get down in the trenches and duke it out with people with whom I disagree. I didn’t even feel like bothering to call out the crazies for being crazy.

This time around, I think people should be smarter. They should be able to use their own brains to see what’s what, and why they need to do whatever they must to keep this country a place in which we can all live. The amount of blind hate … passionate hate … based on assumptions, rumor, innuendo, racism, and a weird combination of a sense of white entitlement combined with an obvious belief that Those People have stolen “their” country.

How do you talk to people who are irrational? Who don’t care whether what they believe is true or factual? Who think being passionate is exactly the same as being right?

The answer is: I can’t. Instead of prodding me into wanting to confront the devil in the Orange Hair, I just want it all to go away. Wake me when it’s time to vote. Tell me what happened when it’s over. Let me know if I’m going to have to wear a yellow star on my clothing or my husband and I will have to go into hiding because we are a mixed race, mixed religion, intellectual couple. Both born and raised in the Devil’s own city of New York (or, as we call it, our home town) … and him with 40 years working as one of Those People — you know — media maggots. When comes the fascist dictator to power, we are going to be exactly the kind of people who go up against the wall first.

Why not? They’ll probably gut social security and we’ll be out on the street anyway,.

Is anyone else feeling that somehow, we are living in the worst of times … and you’re numb? Your brain has given up? You’re hearing Phil Ochs in your head humming “I ain’t marching anymore …” and wonder where have all the flowers gone?

EPHEMERAL AND FRAGILE – WORLD ON THE EDGE

Just about 8 weeks ago, The Daily Post’s “word du jour” was “frail,” I wrote about it. Today, the word is “fragile.” Call me crazy, but the two are pretty much the same.

English contains millions of words. So you guys and gals in the “Daily Post” central office? I’m pretty sure that there’s no reason to duplicate one-word prompts. Grab a dictionary. Plunk it on the desk. Let it fall open to any page. Avert your eyes and blindly point a finger. Voila! A word will pop out and will probably not be a synonym of the word you used a few weeks ago. Just saying.

If you do not own a dictionary, consider buying one. Even two.


This hideous election year keeps slouching towards the edge of the cliff. We’re getting mentally numb. Exhausted by hot air and endless meaningless rhetoric. Personally, I feel like I’ve gone to some weird parallel earth where it looks like home, but all the rules are different.

Watching the American political system blow itself up long since stopped being amusing.

apathy quote

The awful truth of Trump is that his followers are not following him. They are following the idea of what they think he represents. It is, to say the least, a bizarre choice to be a representative of “the little guy” in our political structure. This is why they don’t care about “fact” and figures. They really don’t care whether or not he has been stealing from everybody to make himself richer or lying about everything to make himself someone he most assuredly is not.

Donald Trump (Orange Head to my husband) has never missed a meal. Never even had the experience of living on a budget, much less being poor. He knows no history (or grammar) (or arithmetic). He has never performed any public service. He doesn’t see the difference between “fact” and “I made it up.” He doesn’t consider “not telling the truth” to be lying because to him, words are just noises you make with your mouth.

To me this behavior signifies he believes in nothing. A man completely without principles. A racist because why not? He doesn’t care. It doesn’t matter to him because other people are unreal puppets. We do not matter.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has run a lackluster campaign. I like her. A lot. But she has made one unfortunate choice after another. Her discomfort in revealing personal information borders on a phobia. If she weren’t running for president, it would be understandable, normal, and maybe even admirable.

Not today. Politics in the 2000s is trench warfare, not intelligent debate.

Harbor flag

As for truth? Politicians lie. Big lies, little lies. Hillary dodges around truths she find uncomfortable, but I doubt Trump would recognize truth if it whacked him on the head.

As a nation, we are fragile. The things we have always stood for are at risk. Freedom is the most fragile, the most ephemeral thing. You won’t realize how much it meant until you lose it.

theodore-roosevelt-25-10-22

The current focus on personalities rather than issues makes it impossible to focus on stuff like climate change. Finding viable alternatives to fossil fuel. Keeping what’s left of our air and water breathable. Narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor. Dealing with crumbling infrastructure — not just in cities. Everywhere. Roads, rails, and bridges are crumbling. We need to invest and repair the broken bits while it’s still repairable.

We need a sleeker, user-friendly health care system where drug companies don’t have the power of life and death. Ultimately, our government needs to protect all of us. Equally. To balance security against freedom.

None of these are small issues. There are no easy fixes. Nothing will get fixed — by either party — until we have a government that recognized we are on the same side. We will, as they used to say in a wilder west, hang together — or we will hang separately.

How fragile are we? It’s just the future of the world at stake. No worries, mate.

THE DAILY POST | FRAGILE

RADICAL RABBIT – JUDY DYKSTRA-BROWN

I really couldn’t say this any better, so I will let Judy say it for me!


Radical Rabbit


655c2b8020db1d3c020343288ee27074painting by James Hollis. Available on etsy

Radical Rabbits

Radical rabbits jump the  stump
and conservatives with one big jump,
but they’ve been known to butt and bump
such right wing radicals as Trump.

This right wing radical, slightly crazy,
seems to leave some voters hazy
and spin their judgement upsy-daisy,
making their thinking super lazy.

Radicals aren’t all on the left.
Extreme’s the warp but not the weft.
One loose of tongue and good at theft
might leave our country most bereft.

If conservative’s your bent,
when you hear him spew and vent,
would you wish him to be sent
to D.C. as your president?

Radical’s found on either side––
right and left of where you bide.
Please cast your vote for a bonafide
choice that is not suicide!

Radical rabbits may be slightly
more to the left than you deem rightly.
Still their motives shine out brightly
and they are not half as unsightly!!!

Yes, you guessed it.  The prompt today was “Radical.” The electricity went out as I was writing this so I hurried to get it posted. Wish I’d had a bit more time for rewriting and perhaps I’ll do so later, especially for that last line which only scans if you read it as intended––with the stress on “they, not, as and sight!” Hope to find a better solution when the lights come back!!!

See the full original at: Radical Rabbit on lifelessons.

STUMPING THROUGH AMERICA

A stump speech is a standard campaign speech used by someone running for public office. The term derives from the early American custom in which candidates campaigned from town to town and stood upon a sawed off tree stump to deliver their speech.

Stump Speech – Political Dictionary
politicaldictionary.com/words/stump-speech/


Two candidates. One like no candidate we’ve seen before and I pray we’ll never see again. Stumping through America. Fascinating in a terrible way. Like a demonic dance of death played out before television cameras. Orange Head will not make the world a better place. It will NOT be great. If he got to run the place, we’d be lucky to come out of it no worse than we went in.

Election - 2016_election_banner_1Hillary would try to fix it. Can she? Would the opposition allow her to fix anything? I don’t know, but there’s at least a small chance that something might be made better. I think she knows what better is. More than I can say for the other one.

What a clown show American politics has become.

Turn on your TV. Watch them stump for election. Watch your hopes and dreams get stomped in the process.

STUMP | THE DAILY POST

PLAN B – RICH PASCHALL

A King Brothers Tale, by Rich Paschall


It was a beautiful late summer day in the mountain resort town.  It was a high sky, whatever that means, deep blue with no clouds to be seen.  It was warm and the breeze was light.  The town was not crowded with tourists in this off-season, although many wealthy people had just arrived.  A few pesky reporters were buzzing around as well.

A so-called secret meeting of the Brothers of Freedom had been called.  The group’s members were composed of a series of conservative “Political Action Committees.”  The annual meeting was chaired by the King Brothers and their committee played host.  The topic was their common political interests in the presidential election year, but presidential politics would play only a small role in the meetings ahead.

While most of the billionaires had slipped quietly into town, including the King Brothers, a few were followed by reporters who smelled a story in the making.  This intrusion of the press was a great annoyance to the Derrick and Chauncey King, and they planned to keep the press away from their important meetings.

The ride to the resort

The ride to the resort

The Kings not only reserved an entire exclusive resort for their meetings, they actually bought the place. This assured they could control every aspect of the three-day conference and social events.  The men were a bit dismayed to find that their meetings in the capital went unnoticed, but now many miles away the press was at hand.  They blamed this on a few careless members.

When the meetings opened the first day, the Kings acknowledged a failure to deliver in the presidential race.  Chauncey looked his most disappointed as Derrick addressed a large gathering of the top one per cent of the country.  “While we were all prepared for continued success after our brilliant victories in the off-year election, we were saddened by the poor performance of the team in the presidential primaries.  This has forced us to dismiss key members of the team and refocus our efforts elsewhere.”  In other words, campaign strategist and architect of the off-year victories, Cal Rhodes, was “thrown under the bus” along with other staffers.  The Kings do not tolerate failure.

Following the opening address, there were “break-out sessions” for the members to attend.  The topics involved a variety of issues important to the billionaires at hand, banking regulations, oil exploration, foreign trade, pharmaceutical regulations, insurance laws.  Yes, the main reason of the gathering was to decide what candidates to support.  It was also important to see which of their issues a candidate would support in return.  This was the essence of the “quid pro quo” of political support.

Each day of the event brought important discussion on the candidates, and each evening brought lavish dinners.  Since the participants each paid a hefty fee to attend, they of course expected the finest food and wine in return.  On the final night of the conference, Chauncey had the entire group served the ridiculously expense Pierre Jouet wine from France.  Most found it quite delightful.  A few found it distasteful and ordered beer instead.  Those people were looked down upon by the Kings who would make a point not to invite them to future social events.

The conference seemed to end on a high note.  While they would not spend any of the hundred of millions at the disposal of the various groups on a presidential candidate, they did have a plan for the election year.  They all seemed satisfied they were taking the only possible course of action.

The King Brothers stayed for one day past the conference conclusion, as did some of their most important allies.  The brothers marveled at the fresh and invigorating air of the outdoors and reveled in the mountain scenery.  This caused Derrick to remark on the final day, “I do not see what all those climate people are whining about.  Who could ask for a better environment than this?”  It did indeed seem like the air and the countryside were pristine, at least to these guys.

The perfect environment for planning

The perfect environment for planning

On the evening of the last day, as Derrick stared at the mountains from their balcony, Chauncey pointed out with a bit of a giddy tone, “There are still a few bottles of Pierre Jouet we should drink with our operatives.”  At that, the boys went to a downstairs meeting room where a handful of men were waiting.

The leader of the group had conducted many successful campaigns simultaneously for the opposing party, but had switched sides to work for the Kings.  As Chauncey succinctly put it, “Everyone has a price.”

“The plan is simple”, Chauncey began.  “Forget about the renegade who’s running for president. Focus on congressional races.  We’ve got to win as many races as possible. We have to strengthen our hold on Congress.  It’s critical we have enough votes in both houses to stop POTUS, no matter who wins.”  They all nodded agreement.  The meeting lasted well into the night. Which races were up for grabs. Which were a certainty. They examined the polls to see who could be pulled forward. Who should be brought down.

“Money is no obstacle,” the Kings asserted, “The Brothers of Freedom will hold Congress. Whatever the price.”

When they returned to their rooms, Derrick looked at his brother and asked, “If Mr. Bombast really wins, what’s plan C?” After which, there followed silence.

WORDS OF A WELL-KNOWN AMERICAN

Next month a movie about this American will be released.  Is he a patriot or a traitor?  A villain or a hero?  Do you feel the same way about him now as you did two years ago?

How do your opinions compare?

We all have opinions about our country. While some of us are Democrats and others are Republicans, and while some are Libertarians and others are right of the Tea Party, we can generally all agree on certain aspects of the American government and our basic freedoms. Nobody wants our rights taken away and we all want to be good patriots, but what is a good patriot?

constitution_1_of_4_630

“Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country, knowing when to protect your Constitution, knowing when to protect your countrymen…” and nothing would seem more certain than this. That is what one well-known American had to say recently, but not all are in agreement with his point of view.

“How can that be?” you might ask. Protecting the country, the Constitution and the countrymen would seem to be the highest priorities for a true patriot.

He added that we also need to look out for “encroachments of adversaries, and those adversaries don’t have to be foreign countries.  They can be bad policies.” There are many Americans who believe that bad policies are hurting the country. Ask anyone who claims to be in the Tea Party. They will tell you that Obamacare is killing this country. Ask many on the left and they will tell you lack of gun control is killing our children.

But this is not the sort of thing this well-known American is talking about. It could just be “simple overreach and — and things that — that should never have been tried, or — or that went wrong.”

75-liberty-bell-philadelphia-firstread

So the encroachments on our freedoms could be the sort of thing that intrudes on our privacy.  “If we want to be free, we can’t become subject to surveillance. We can’t — give away our privacy,” he told a reporter.

But is that what we are doing? Are we no longer free if we allow the government into every aspect of our lives? Is it right for them to collect data on our computer use, our telephone calls, our visits to neighbors? Shall they put cameras and sound recording equipment at major intersections? Should they fly drones over our houses to see what we are doing? What is to be done to preserve our American way of life?

“We have to be an active part of our government. And we have to say — there are some things worth dying for. And I think the country is one of them.”

The problem would seem to many that the average person is not an active part of government. People do not vote. They do not become educated on government policies, although they may re-post misleading graphics to Facebook. They do not protest the encroachment on the things we think are protected in the Bill of Rights. They do not speak out.

BillOfRights

Some may believe that we have to give up liberties to stay safe, but this American will question whether recent historical events “justify programs that have never been shown to keep us safe, but cost us liberties and freedoms that we don’t need to give up and our Constitution says we should not give up.” It is a tough issue, to be sure. Do you think we should give up freedoms to the government without proof as to why this should be? What about the Fourth Amendment?

It would seem the Fourth Amendment might be encroached upon by some programs at home. Do we really believe “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated?” If so, are recent actions of the government violating this idea?

This American does not necessarily disagree with the government’s need for surveillance but adds, “It’s the dirtiness of the way these things are being used. It’s the lack of respect for the public.”

So do you agree that is the problem with government programs? Are some policies bad, or at least the implementation of the policies, because they do not hold respect for the American people? These matters of government programs and their effects on our lives are a sticky business. Do you think things are worse because Obama is the President? Do you think things were worse when Bush was the President? Do you think we would have been better off with Romney or Mrs. Clinton or even Donald Trump?

Consider carefully and think to yourself how well you agree or disagree with the quotes above? It seems hard to disagree with an American who is defending American beliefs. Do you agree surveillance is necessary for freedom? Are you disloyal if you disagree? Now ask yourself, are you a good American? If you are a citizen of this country my guess is you think you are a good American. Are you a real patriot?

“Do you see yourself as a patriot?” a reporter asked this well know American, now living overseas.

“I do,” Edward Snowden replied.

If I now told you all the quotes above are from Snowden, what do you think of them?  Could your opinion possibly have changed about those patriotic quotes?

Joseph Gordon Leavitt will play the lead in the Oliver Stone film, Snowden.

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU’D SEEN IT ALL

This and That, by Rich Paschall


If you thought you had seen everything in politics prior to this year, then you were in for a big surprise.  The presidential election cycle is like none that has come before.  I hope we will not see it again.

No matter what lies the Republican candidate gets caught telling, his followers don’t seem to care.  They follow him anyway.

Grand Old Party?

Grand Old Party?

If you thought voters could be swayed by the truth, think again.

You will change no one’s vote with your Facebook memes, no matter how cute, accurate, or how well they state the case.  No one will be persuaded. You may as well watch baseball.

The State of Illinois has a Democratic legislature and a Republican governor.  There has not been a budget for over a year and there definitely will not be one until after the election, when we will still have a Democratic legislature and a Republican governor.

Are you tired of politics yet?  No?

Election-2016-sign

Republican senators in tight races do not want to be seen with the Republican candidate for president, especially in states that he is not likely to carry.  Senator Kirk of Illinois is up for election in the home state of President Obama and candidate Clinton.  Yes, she’s from Illinois (not Kenya).  The incumbent Senator will not be campaigning with the presidential candidate.

When I attended the Barbra Streisand concert there were many signs on the doors exclaiming “no cameras.”  Before I went through the metal detector I handed the security guy my cell phone, binoculars and a small case with my camera.

I set off the metal detector at the United Center, but they waved me on anyway after the security guy gave me back my camera and other items.  They probably thought I am just an old guy with a metal cane and there are lots of people waiting to get in.  Now doesn’t that make you feel more secure?

I have seen Streisand before and she had multiple opening acts.  This time there was a brief overture, she walked out, sang The Way We Were, and then said to the audience, “I guess you did not expect to start like that!”  Yes, it was all Barbra.

It is a requirement on the gay membership cards that all gay boys must see Cher or Barbra Streisand in concert.  They must also see Ricky Martin or Elton John.  OK, this might not be entirely true.

In concert at the United Center

Yes, we were WAY up there in the 300 level.  I brought binoculars.

Both Cher and Barbra Streisand are hosting fund-raisers for Hillary Clinton.  This one is absolutely true.

Cher never tours anymore so we must see Streisand and the ticket is très chère.

I have seen Elton John several times.  He is a good showman and always has high energy.

It is probably not a good idea to brag at work about how drunk you get sometimes.

It is not good to get drunk at a work outing because a coworker may take a video with her cell phone.

It is also bad if you get drunk and say uncomplimentary things about your boss on the video.  You never know if the person with the video will post it on Facebook or YouTube — or even email it to the boss.

No, not me.  I’m too busy to go to work outings.

My car has a video screen which is good for the back up camera.  Of course, the camera is not very helpful when drops of water are on the tiny lens.

With a backup camera, I might be able to avoid scratching up the tires and hub caps on the curbs as I have done so much in the past.  Soon cars will drive themselves anyway.

72-Dream-Road-071416_07

My car has 25 preset buttons (touch screen) for the AM and FM radio.  There are that many radio stations in the metro Chicago area, but certainly not that many that I like.  If you touch the screen too often while driving, the next time you start the car you will get a warning that touching the screen too often while driving could be dangerous.  Really?

I can link to my video screen by flash drive or Bluetooth.  I can download apps to my phone then plug it into the USB port so I can have the apps on-screen while I drive.  When the car sales rep explained all this to me I told him I thought it was a remarkably bad idea.

Cars are now about entertainment, just like phones.  I think my car should be about driving, at least for the driver.

The coffee I make at home and at work does not come out scalding hot.  Many fast food places still serve coffee so hot you can not drink it.

If I buy coffee at a drive-thru on the way to work I may not be able to drink it en route, and I have a long drive.

My favorites in the Olympics were the beach volleyball players and the British divers.  Do I need to explain that?

My quest to watch all of the James Bond films in order continues.