ONE THING, ANOTHER THING, AND THEN … ONE MORE THING

Garry’s computer went down, but that was okay because he could use my other computer. The Kindle went down, but that turned out okay because Audible fixed it and then Amazon fixed it more. But when my computer went down this afternoon, that was NOT okay. Not even a little bit okay.

First, there was a download. Turned out to be a BIOS download, but they didn’t mention this little detail to me and in any case, it didn’t matter because it blew out all my recovery backups. I have my photographs on hard drives, but the rest of my world is online.

It blew out Photoshop — the one from 2008 which had been running fine, thank you.

computer gargoyle

It also blew out my sound, but after a bit of jiggling, I got that back. It blew out both of my C-port adaptors. They were cheap and I can cope with stuff that cost me ten bucks. Brand new. But when she told me the jpgs weren’t working and I had to call the company that owns my cameras, I got a little crazy. I was trying really, really hard to be normal, you know? I was trying to not breathe hard, not scream in panic or anything. I was doing okay, but that was it for me.

I said “It’s a FREAKING JPEG. It’s not a fancy schmantzy super special thing that comes with my fancy camera. It’s a JPEG. A lousy little JPEG.”

We eventually worked our way around to the point where she admitted there had been a lot of calls today, all pretty much like mine with people screaming “WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY COMPUTER?”

So — everything is working. Except I don’t have software. For pictures. I do, however, have Photoshop on Garry’s computer and the guy from the computer shop is fixing HIS computer. To be fair, Alien is pretty sure they can get me a version of Photoshop, too. It’ll just take a couple of days.

I’m just saying … it was one thing. Then, there was another thing. THEN, there was THIS thing. I’m totally freaking nuts. Except the computer is working … minus the lack of software. Maybe we’ll get that fixed too. Oy.

DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU

We used to live in a constitutional Republic. It’s a kind of representative democracy in which the Electoral College stands between the citizens and the final result of elections — like a water filter in a well. It’s supposed to keep the big lumps of dirt out of the system.

It isn’t working. Not the filtration on our well — that’s working fine. Our water is clear, cold and tastes as good as water can. It’s the government that is broken and getting more broken by the minute. Somehow, a huge lump of dirt strolled right past the filters and took the reins of power. We’ve got ourselves our very own despot! Holy shit! How did this happen?

I was not even a little surprised that Trump’s minions refused to obey the order of a Federal judge. Why would he? Why would they? He has declared himself outside and above the law and his followers have said YES! We want MORE!

He has declared the constitution obsolete and invalid. His followers have cried Lock them up! Shoot them down! Ban them! And all we said was “Can he do that?” while he did that. Then, we shook our heads sadly.

By “them,” the minions really mean us. You, me, and anyone else they don’t like. Reporters and writers. People with not white skin and anyone who doesn’t go to the right kind of church. We are the declared enemy. If we write stuff about him and he doesn’t like it, we are in his sights. Uh-oh!

We are in trouble. Proof positive this morning that the forces of the law are not going to protect us. They’ve declared that they’re with him, the one who is above and outside the law. Forget all that constitutional gobbledygook. Number 45 is calling the plays and he wrote his own book in sentences of 140 characters or less.

For all of you who skipped history because it’s irrelevant to “real life,” this is a full chapter out of the Adolf Hitler playbook. This is how it’s done, how a minority bullies the majority into kneeling down to a dictator. He does not need the consent of the majority, only that they be too spineless to stand up to him. A powerful bunch of thugs at the helm and a shipload of weak, indecisive “oppositions” who are bound up in not wanting to “make waves.” All the thugs need do is for their opposites to do nothing long enough to let them get a firm grip on the military and enforcement arms of government. Later should opposition develop a spine, it’s too late. The powers of darkness have taken over the army.

They’ve got the weapons and the power while we have gallant words. Which historically, have yet to bring down an armed dictator.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

PRINCESS LEIA AND THE WOMEN’S MARCH: A FITTING TRIBUTE TO CARRIE FISHER

A fitting tribute to Carrie Fisher.

womens-march-1

A little less than a month ago, on December 27, 2016, actress Carrie Fisher died after suffering a heart attack on a plane. Her death was followed the next day by that of her mother, Debbie Reynolds. The world, especially that part of it which (like me) was brought up on Star Wars as a staple of our pop culture, deeply mourned the loss of the classy lady who not only played Princess Leia in the movies but epitomized her. This article is not an obituary for Carrie Fisher. If you want one of those, I highly recommend the touching piece by the Burning Blogger of Bedlam giving tribute to “the people’s princess.” I loved Princess Leia. You loved Princess Leia. We all admired her courage, determination and grit. Carrie Fisher, who went through a lot of hard knocks in her life, will be greatly missed.

Yesterday (January 21, 2017), the day after the inauguration as President of the United States of a fascistic know-nothing who detests women and just about everybody else, millions of people in the United States and around the world–including even Antarctica!–took to the streets to support women’s rights, feminism, empowerment, diversity and to express in no uncertain terms their opposition to the viewpoints of President Trump. I took part in one of these marches, in Eugene, Oregon. Like everywhere else, the crowds that turned out vastly exceeded what authorities expected. There were (reportedly) 750,000 in Los Angeles and over 1 million in Washington, D.C., dwarfing the tepid and pathetic “crowd” that turned out for Trump’s lackluster inauguration. In Eugene I’m told police expected 1,000 marchers. The number who showed up? Over 10,000.

I was struck, during yesterday’s march, by one recurrent image: the face of Princess Leia as an icon of resistance.

carrie-fisher-by-gage-skidmore

Carrie Fisher, as she appeared in 2015. Her outspoken views are part of the reason why Princess Leia resonates as a symbol.

I saw Carrie Fisher’s face in a lot of places. Many people, men as well as women, were carrying signs with her picture (one of them is shown at the top of this article). I saw a woman with the symbol of the Rebellion from Star Wars tattooed on her arm, and I saw a man with a patch of the same symbol on the back of his denim jacket. In one of the most touching tweets I saw about the march, Fisher’s Star Wars co-star and friend Mark Hamill referenced Leia as a symbol of women’s empowerment, linking it to Fisher’s own strongly-professed beliefs during her lifetime. His tweet included an image of a woman, evidently from the Los Angeles march, dressed as Princess Leia.

When women’s rights are under attack in real-life America, can a science fiction princess help us defend them?


Complete original post at: Princess Leia and the Women’s March: a fitting tribute to Carrie Fisher.

WHEN GOD CLOSES A DOOR, HE OPENS A WINDOW YOU CAN FALL OUT OF – TOM CURLEY

I meant to start this yesterday. Yesterday was January 20th 2017. I tried not to watch live TV so I ended up spending the whole day watching episodes of Star Trek.

theatlantic.com

theatlantic.com

BBC America runs them all day long. I soon realized I was watching them because the Star Trek Universe is the way things are supposed to be. The Earth has no poverty. Everybody has jobs. The planet is doing just fine.

nmr.org

nmr.org

The only problems in the 24th century are Romulans and grouchy Klingons.

afortmadeofbooks.blogspot.com

afortmadeofbooks.blogspot.com

But eventually I had to come back to reality. All day today, January 21st 2017, I have been watching live TV. All day. I just finished watching the new President give a speech from CIA headquarters in Washington DC.

It was sort of a stream of consciousness rant. He mostly talked about himself. He pointed out for some reason that he has been on the cover of Time Magazine more than anyone else in history. Yes, he said “In History.” Of course, that’s a lie. The person who was on Time Magazine’s cover most often in history was … Richard Nixon! Why? For being President. But he was on the cover a lot more because of Watergate and the fact that he was the only U.S. President ever to resign in disgrace. Trump may be bad for the country but he’s great for irony.

He then complained about the crowd estimates for his Inauguration. The “dishonest media” were reporting that 250,000 people showed up. He said that he saw maybe a million. Two “sort-of” sentences later he said that he saw at least one and a half million people! Why was he so obsessed with this topic?

trump-protest-rgoldberg-2

Well, as he was giving this speech an actual half million people were in Washington DC protesting against him! There were marches on every continent, including Antarctica. Seventy countries, 673 towns across the world held HUGE protests; 370 cities in the United States alone. At least one protest in EVERY STATE! And here’s the thing that really surprised me.

trump-protest-rgoldberg-4

Photo: R. Goldberg

When he finished, I expected the mainstream media pundits to start dissecting every crazy thing he said and waste hours pointing out why 90% of what he said made no sense. But no, the media just interrupted the coverage of all the protests, aired the speech and as soon as it was over they went right back to the coverage of the protests. They ignored him.

That is when it hit me. The media are covering the real story. It’s bigger than you think.

To put this in perspective, I’ve been in the news biz for a long time. I rarely went out in the field, but on my first time out I covered the anti-Vietnam war protests in May 1970 in Washington DC for my college radio station, WVHC.

Photo: ABC News

Photo: ABC News

It was a big deal. More than 100,000 people showed up. I was up on the stage at the base of the Capitol looking out over a sea of people, shoulder-to-shoulder as far as the eye could see. Then, Country Joe and the Fish sang “The Fish Cheer”. But instead of Fish it was F#@K. More than 100,000 people where chanting: “What’s that spell? F@#K!  “What’s that spell? F@#K!

Aah, the good times. That’s it. Those were good times. Even though we were there to protest a horrible war, everybody was upbeat. It was positive. It was a real movement. It took years of war in Vietnam, a war which had taken thousands of lives to get people to the point where they were willing to get up, get out, and march.

Today I watched more than 500,000 people march in Washington. I watched Madonna tell the new President “F@#K You. The news outlets are reporting that these are the biggest and most widespread protests in history. Biggest. Protests. Ever. It’s not hyperbole. It’s true and real and important because …


IT’S ONLY HIS FIRST DAY IN OFFICE!!!!!

The other interesting thing is how diverse the crowds are. All ethnicities. Women, men, young, old. The placards are great. My favorites:

“There is so much wrong, it cannot fit on this sign.”
“We Shall Over Comb”
Photo: R. Goldberg

Photo: R. Goldberg

I can see the baby boomers realizing that they have to get out of their recliners, go out into the streets — and do it again. The thing that keeps coming out is how positive all these marches are. This new “Women’s Movement” has been much bigger than anybody anticipated. I’m not surprised. To paraphrase Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto when he was told of the successful attack on Pearl Harbor, “I feel all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill her with a terrible resolve.”

Photo: R. Goldberg

Photo: R. Goldberg

Many are complaining that a lot of these people:

“Didn’t vote for Hillary”

“Didn’t vote at all”

“Where the hell were all these people before the election?”

You know what? It doesn’t matter. They’re here now. Will it continue? I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s a flash in the pan, either. It’s more like a shot heard round the world — with the whole world shooting.

On January 20th 2017, a door closed.

On January 21st 2017, a window opened. Through that window appeared rays of hope. Right now, that is pretty much all we’ve got. I hope we don’t fall out.

Oh yeah, and don’t take the brown ant-acid.


From Marilyn: A  big thank you to my cousin, Dr. Roberta Goldberg, who actually got up and went out and did her part in keeping American great and keeping America AMERICA.. We ARE great. She took pictures — another thank you!

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

It’s the time of year when I set aside my blogging cloak and don the cloak of book judge. From now until the end of February, I’ve got a lot of reading to do. it means I’ll be visiting you less often and posting less. I’m sure you will all manage with less of me for a few weeks. I won’t forget you.

I hope these books are better than the last batch. I worry about the state of literature.

me sicko 2

I’ve also picked up a miserable head cold. Why is it that I am brave and stalwart in the face of major adversity, but a pathetic whiny lump in the face of a runny nose, itchy eyes, sore throat and all that other stuff? And yes, Garry’s got it too because caring is sharing and we really care.

ALL YOU CAN DO IS LAUGH

The other night, we were watching Trevor Noah on The Daily Show. He was going through the résumé of Mike Flynn, ex-general and current conspiracy theory tweeter who was fired (by Obama) from his Pentagon job for incompetence but is the man Trump chose as his National Security Adviser. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Well, maybe not. Trump seems to have a natural attraction to the apples at the bottom of the barrel.

Not only is Flynn openly anti-Semitic, but he’s a frothing-at-the-mouth Muslim hater. He probably also hates immigrants, Latinos, Black people, and Natives because haters usually run the table and hate everyone. And he believes in every conspiracy, no matter how ridiculous and unproven. Appalling that this guy is supposed to protect us. But the most horrible part was that I was laughing as I watched. I was really laughing. Not a giggle, either. A full, wholehearted guffaw.

Things have gotten so bad there’s nothing left to do but laugh. I find myself yearning for the good old days of Richard Nixon. That’s pretty bad.

The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza put it well: “… what we’ve learned so far about the least-experienced President-elect in history is as troubling and ominous as his critics have feared. The Greeks have a word for the emerging Trump Administration: kakistocracy. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as a ‘government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.’ Webster’s is simpler: ‘government by the worst people.’ ”

I could rant. I could impotently shake my fists at the heavens while shouting expletives, but I doubt it would make me feel better. Nothing is going to make me feel better until this awfulness ends. So … I might as well laugh.

There has always been a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle bigotry, hatred, and racism in this country. What Trump did to win the vote of millions of people was to offer them validation. He told them it’s okay to hate. Okay to blame foreigners, immigrants, Muslims. Those People. No need to sweep the ugliness under the rug. You can let it all hang out. With Trump at the helm, hating is okay. You can hate everyone! Welcome to America, land of blatant bigotry.

“Oh no,” you cry. “They were tricked by faux news and fake stories.” You really think millions of people believed baseless, fake “news”? They are that stupid? Maybe it’s because they liked what they heard. Because it confirmed their own prejudices and preconceptions. Truth, facts, and reality were irrelevant. Individually and collectively, these citizens made no effort to make an intelligent choice. They didn’t care if what their candidate said had any basis in fact or even reality. They only cared that it was what they wanted to hear.

ignorance-stupidity

Those of you who voted for Trump will have a lot to answer for. The only people who are going to thrive under his administration are his cronies — rich people. The rest of us will be lucky to survive with medical care and a place to live.

I think I’ll go get another cuppa coffee. Read a book. Maybe take a few pictures. It’s going to be a long time before I feel safe coming up for air. There is a lot of hunkering down in our future.