Live it up, rip it up, why so lazy?

25 05 2017

I got home from picking up final papers and projects and began singing Supertramp’s “Fool’s Overture.”

No, I have no damned idea why.

This was my first Supertramp record—only it wasn’t mine, it was my sister’s. I don’t how often she played it, but I used to lay on the floor of our (finished) basement, stereo speakers on either side of me, and listen to the hell out of it.

I didn’t listen to the whole thing again, don’t know if I’ll ever listen to an entire Supertramp song again, but, y’know, in case you were wondering what you were missing. . . .

(Yes, I’ve been missing. Still working on that.)

Anyway. Memory is weird. Life is strange.





Misery

1 05 2017

Colds suck.

I know, I know: everybody gets ’em, everybody hates ’em, ain’t nothin’ special about ’em.

That’s part of the suckage of the common cold, innit? It’s just such goddamned ordinary misery.

A serious flu and you take to your bed, achy and feverish and wanting nothing more than to be unconscious, but a cold? Yeah, you’re achy and you want to sleep, but you can mostly also do whatever it is you usually do, just with more breaks.

And if you’re not knocked flat on your ass, it’s easy to think, Oh, yeah, I’ll be better soon. Only the damn thing lingers. One day you can’t stop sneezing. Another day and it’s all Give Me Fever, and the day after that you swear you’re going to cough your lung inside out.

And then you think, Oh, okay, I’ll be better soon, and STILL WITH THE COUGHING.

At one point earlier today I wondered, hopefully (!), All this coughing: maybe I have walking pneumonia?

I do not have walking pneumonia.

No, I’m just bored and impatient and tired of being tired and crabbing like any middle-aged crabby broad would do.

Just enough with the fucking coughing already, though, okay?





Oh, the dragons are going to fly tonight

6 04 2017

And so the president has launched 50 Tomahawk missiles against Syria tonight.

I’ll say the same thing I said when the previous president was considering launching airstrikes against Syria: “I don’t know what the hell to do about Syria.”

And when that previous president chose not to strike?

The situation in Syria seems to me a case of stumble-recovery. I didn’t think the drawing of the “red line” regarding  chemical weapons use was that big of deal, not least because there were multiple responses besides that of a military strike. (And as for the alleged loss of presidential/American credibility, well, christ, if actual air strikes on Qaddafi didn’t deter Assad, why would threats do so?)

Assad is a menace, no doubt. Did he gas (again!) his people? No doubt. Has he ruined his country in order to preserve his own rule? Yeah, he has.

It is not at all clear to me, however, that anything that the US may do, short of invasion, which would change anything. Sending missiles might make anti-Assadists feel better, might cheer the hawks, might bolster those who think the strike shows “resolve”, but beyond that, what?

Was this a one-off? If so, to what end? If not, then escalation?

Assad is supported by Iran and Russia, so unless the Trump administration is willing to take them on—and pray to Athena it is not—it is difficult to see that this will appreciably alter Assad’s behavior. He will continue to bomb his own people, continue to starve them, continue to kill them.

Chemical weapons are a horror, at a level beyond that of barrel bombs and blockades, but they are not the only way to kill.

So, we’ve “punished” Assad for his chemical attack, but it is enough to deter future attacks?

I don’t see it. I didn’t see it when Obama proposed it; I don’t see it now.





Ramble on

3 04 2017

Oh, hey, hi! Hi! ‘Memba me? I ‘memba you! Hi!

Yeah, no good reason for the light no posting. Reasons, yes, but not good ones.

So what’s new?

WELL. I bought a new coffee machine. An expensive, fancy-pants coffee machine that readers of a now defunct website (ie, Gawker) declared their favoritest coffee maker.

I’d bought a cheapo coffee maker oh, a year ago, and never really liked it. That it was cheap didn’t bother me, but it was too small (Heyyy, why not get a 5-cup pot?) and every time I filled the water re-cept-a-cle I dribbled into the filter.

(Yes, I could have filled the water, first, then plopped in the filter, but THAT’S NOT HOW I DO THINGS—at least, not coffee things.)

Anyway, I didn’t love it, but it worked, so, whatever.

But then I saw the defunct piece on the expensive, fancy-pants coffee machine and I thought about my unspent Christmas money (why yes, I’m middle-aged and my parents still send me Christmas money—don’t yours?) and it was on a little sale (i.e., under the threshold at which I’d buy it) and so I bought it.

And. . . it was fine, at first. It has an insulated carafe, which I thought Whoo-hoo, no more burnt coffee (burnt and flavored coffees are the only bad coffees), and that first cuppa was, well, it was really nice.

But the second was a bit. . . not hot. And the third, even more not-hot.

Huh, I thought. And then thought no more.

Next day, same thing. And then, instead of just staring out the window with my lukewarm mug o’ joe, I took a look at the coffee maker. Whereupon I noticed that there was no warmer.

Huh.

Makes sense, really: the carafe is supposed to keep the coffee hot. But it didn’t, not really.

No problem, I’ll just return for the one with the glass pot. At which point I began reading the Amazon comments which I apparently completely blanked on before buying the damned thing, and lo, there were the observations about not-hot joe!

Well, what about the glass pot option? Glass pot breaks. Many commenters: glass pot breaks.

Me: That’s no good.

And then the weird little shit about this model—the filter sits directly on the carafe, there’s no place to store the lid when the coffee’s a-brewin’, and then no place to store the filter when the lid’s on, the carafe realllllly likes to hang on to that last bit of coffee that I otherwise insist belongs in my mug—all of the stuff that I shrugged off in those first, delirious days of fancy-pants coffee making, all of that was no longer charming and do-able but annoying and oh-my-god-I-paid-how-much-for-this-fucker.

So, glass breaks and annoying shit? No. Next model, please!

An hour or so later, after checking this machine and that (all expensive), I landed on this one. It’s programmable, about which I care not one whit (which is good, given that commenters complain that the programming gets fritzy), but I do like the removable water tank (if only for cleaning purposes), and that I can adjust temps.

And yes, I got the red one. I’m not usually much for red—the color makes me nervous, to be honest—but I thought, Ohhh, that’s nice.

It’s still too goddamned much for a coffee maker, of course, but as this officially counts as A Splurge, I officially Don’t Care.

On the other hand, if I don’t like this one, I’ll go back to the cheap-ass options and spend the difference on a bottle of scotch.





All things weird and wonderful, 56

17 03 2017

Willie Nelson is a goddamned American treasure.

I don’t own any of his cds, and there are only a couple of singles that I could conjure sans Google/YouTube, but man, these duets with other goddamned American treasures are spectacular.

And this one, this one has Emmylou.

Can’t beat Emmylou.





Got my brother down ’cause it’s nothing to me

14 03 2017

I, along with every single other Hillary Clinton voter, am tired of hearing how we, who did not vote for the racist poo-flinging toddler for president, must sympathize, must empathize, with those who did.

Especially when that means they will be hurt by those they voted for.

Fuck that. They’re adults and citizens who bear responsibility for their votes. If they couldn’t be bothered to learn that the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare were the same damned thing, if they voted for Republicans who’ve promised for years and years and years to cut back on the social safety net and cut taxes the most for those who need it the least, if they decided that it was more important to make sure Those Others got less than everyone getting more, then they should goddamned own that.

They are my fellow citizens, my equals before the law and holding the exact same rights as me. I’m not going to treat them as lesser by condescending to them, ‘poor things’.

That long rant-claimer out of the way: they are my fellow citizens, and if I believe, as I do, that we should have universal coverage and more generous welfare for all, that means for all.

I get the impulse behind such monumentally shitty ideas as blue-state secession, but, as Hamilton Nolan points out,

The impulse to bandy about the threat of secession is not rooted in concern for the vulnerable. It is a tantrum by rich people who are angry that their political power temporarily does not match their economic power. Think about how shallow a self-proclaimed liberal’s commitment to social justice has to be for them to say that the proper response to the ascent of a quasi-fascist amoral strongman is to cede him the majority of the nation’s territory and stop helping to support social programs for everyone not lucky enough to live in a coastal state.

More to the point,

It is fine to point out that Donald Trump is a charlatan and the ignorant are his prey. It is not fine to conclude that they should all then be sentenced to die due to the Republican health care “reform” plan.

Nolan goes a bit more noblesse oblige than I’m comfortable with—“The responsibility of the coastal elites is to help those people, not cast them into the wilderness”—but I do think I have a responsibility to the fellow members of my polity.

Thus, if I think a policy—say, universal health care—is a good one, then I’m not going to say “but not for you”, that is, I’m not going to abandon a better policy for a worse one just to punish people who didn’t vote the way I did. Spite’s a helluva drug, but rather too corrosive to indulge with any regularity.

That said, as someone who prefers parliamentary systems to the Madisonian one we’ve got precisely because I think it leads to more “responsible” government—because a party has few structural barriers to enacting its policies, it fully owns those policies—there is a part of me that says, Well, if this is what you want, this is what you get. In other words, if Republican government and policies is what the unemployed coal miners who rely upon the ACA voted for, then it makes sense that they should bear the consequences of their votes.

Except: our system isn’t parliamentary and I’m not a Republican. I think their policies are bad and given that our system does allow for obstruction, then Democrats should obstruct all proposals that would make life worse for Americans and fight for those which make life better.

I think Trump is terrible and his administration a disgrace and the Republicans in Congress mean sons-of-bitches, and entirely too many of their supporters applaud the terrible meanness. Still, I’ll be damned if I let my disdain for them lead me away from what I think is good.

h/t Scott Lemieux





Nothing I try to do can work the same way

9 03 2017

I don’t know how deep these cracks go.

I noted at the end of the last post that I didn’t see what was always there, but the real kicker was less or not just the lack of sight but that I thought I did see: I thought I knew what I did not.

This isn’t just about thinking that racism or sexism weren’t that bad: I knew, knew, that it was bad, but that knowledge had not, somehow, been fully absorbed—tho’ I thought it was.

I hate head/heart binaries, so I’ll go with head/body: I had all of this knowledge tucked safely into my noggin, then the election came along and cracked my skull, and it all flooded down my spine, into my guts, and buckled my knees.

My body was not prepared for the blow.

To put this in less somatic terms, my sense of self is based on some notion of awareness (which, oy, creates all kinds of problems for me. . .), so I try very hard, intellectually, to maintain an awareness of my inability to be aware. I try to keep in mind that I’ll think I know more than I do, so, y’know, best not to run too far ahead of myself. And while I sometimes fail at this I sometimes also succeed, I sometimes remember there’s more out there.

And maybe that’s where I went wrong: Because I did sometimes remember about the out-there, I forgot that there’s also something in-here, in me, which affects how I experience that knowledge. It’s not just or even primarily emotional, but more basic, ontological.

The failure to see is painful; the failure behind that failure, even more so.

I’m fond of quoting Leonard Cohen’s line from “Anthem”: There is a crack in everything/that’s how the light gets in. Maybe so, maybe so. But if the light is to reach all the way down, then so, too, will the crack.

This is not the worst thing, but it is a hard thing. If I can manage it, there’ll be a reckoning ahead.