You’ll meet an army of me

18 05 2014

Oh, good, a chance to run my favorite picture of Hillary Clinton:

Image by Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Again, I like this shot because it freaks out all the right people.

And, again, I neither support nor don’t-support Clinton’s run, and if she does run, I don’t know that she’d be my candidate. I don’t have to decide now, and so I won’t.

But I bring up her possible candidacy now because Karl Rove has stated that Clinton’s age and health are fair game if she does run.

I agree.

I’ve stated before that I have some concerns about her age, if not at the outset of her presidency, then certainly by the end of a second term. The presidency is an impossible job, so all other things being equal, I’d rather someone younger than older.

The catch, of course, is that “all other things” are rarely equal: I’d vote for someone older with better policies than someone younger—Rand Paul, say—with worse policies.

Anyway, I’ve repeated ad nauseam that anything goes in presidential elections, that the only standard for any line of attack or defense is “will it work”.

And this is where Rove gets in trouble. It’s not that Clinton’s age or health in any way “should” be verboten, but that raising the issue in the wrong way can snap back at’cha. Saying she continues to suffer from a brain injury and might have dementia is dumb, and claiming she was in the hospital for a month when it is easy to confirm that she was not is super-dumb.

Which means it’ll be harder rather than easier to make this point later, if she does decide to run.

Which means this play didn’t work.

Anything goes: meet super-dumb.

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And as we wind on down the road

31 10 2013

There are certain pleasures to becoming an old fart.

When I was younger, for example, it was important to be sniffy about music: to hate country music, for example, or to repudiate all hard rock once I became enamored of punk.

I wasn’t wrong, back in the day. Getting all wrought-up about music and books and poetry and politics was crucial to the development of my tastes, and helped me to figure out what and why I liked what I liked, and what these songs and poems and stories meant to me.

I’m a dialectical kinda gal, learning through contrast and movement, so it makes sense both that I embraced a THIS-NOT-THAT sensibility toward music (love rock, hate rock), and then a yeah-it’s-all-right reconsideration.

No, I ain’t running out to pick up any Foreigner records, but I no longer feel the need to reject all that my teenaged self loved.

And so, this:

My sister had Dreamboat Annie, which I thought was the bee’s knees, and Zeppelin, well hell, Zeppelin. Then I Developed Taste, and even if I couldn’t sneer quite as completely at Zeppelin as I did at Heart, well, I couldn’t really listen to them.

Now, though, those taste buds are tired of rejecting tasty bits just because it’s what I’m supposed to do.

Fuck what I’m supposed to do. This is a damned fine rendition of a classic—if you’re going to use a chorus in a rock song, this is how you use a chorus in a rock song—and I happily popped this up to full screen to watch and listen.

And you, if you’re sneering? You wish you could sing like (D’oh!) Nancy Ann Wilson.

~~~

h/t Bluegal aka Fran at Crooks & Liars





They was a rapping the flat scat

11 02 2013

Since I only have small thoughts in my head right now, just a few quick hits:

On the pope’s smell-you-later:

Too bad he’s not stepping down as an atonement for the abuse scandals in the US. And Canada. And Mexico. And Ireland. And Australia. And Belgium. And. . . .

As for who comes next, pfft, more of the same.

On Chris Christie’s weight and Hillary Clinton’s age and (god help me), the 2016 race:

I won’t be voting for Christie for policy reasons, but, yeah, if he could be my candidate, I’d be concerned about his weight—just as I’ll be concerned about Clinton’s age if she decides to toss her bra into the ring.

While I think extra weight or extra years are not and should not be barriers to most jobs, the presidency is an impossible position, one which presses down on whoever holds it with tremendous force. All other things being equal, I think younger and fitter is better than older and unfitter.

Of course, all other things are rarely equal, and I’ll take a 69-year-old Hillary over a young ‘un like Marco Rubio—just as I’m sure Republicans would have voted for a fat Christie over a trim Obama.

Either way, I’ll have no influence on who the parties pick in 2016, so this is just so much spitballin’.

What the fuck is going on with Lindsay Graham and Benghazi?

Is it really all just about staving off a primary challenge from the right? Does he really think that THIS will protect him if some mouth-foamer decides to come after him?

Jeez. Get a better issue already.

Winter storms should not be named.

Call me a traditionalist.

Okay, back to weight:

I gained this fall and winter, and am now stepping up my workouts to try to wrestle myself back to trim.

The problem began when I hurt my back in October: While I was only out of the gym (biking, weights) for 3 weeks, I pretty much stopped my out-of-gym workouts. Yeah, I still managed to put in a few laps around Prospect Park on my bike, but I completely stopped running.

And then, y’know, holidays, and I was working at an office, and my mom sent me cookies and bars, and blorp: there it is.

So now I’ve added some at-home free-weight lifting, and I’ve started running again (which I prefer to biking), and I’m paying more attention to my diet—more veggies, fewer carbs—and not eating past full.

The problem, of course, is the usual one with any kind of change: I want to see results RIGHTNOW, and when I don’t,  I haz a sad.

Yeah, yeah, suck it up.

On changing my default from “stay” to “go”:

This has been good, and I’d like to do more. I’ve seen three (cheap) Broadway shows with friends, and I’ve drunk a lot of Guinness—good for the soul!

The downside? I’ve drunk a lot of  Guinness—not so good for the bod.

Yeah, whatever: no need to be a fanatic.





Running to stand still

18 11 2012

What is the line between acceptance and resignation? Is there a line?

I do not accept my body.  No, wait, that’s not right: It’s my body, and it feels like my body, and some parts are fine and some parts are not, blah blah.

But it is rounder than I would like and I wonder if this is what inevitably happens with age or with the shifting assertion of my Absurd and Beat genes or if this is simply the result of my unwillingness to give up cheese and beer and chocolate or to work out more than I do.

If it is a battle of wills, then my will for my kick-ass home-made peanut butter bars is kicking my will for a taut ass.

I’ve been going to the gym for over two (three?) years and have “progressed”: I am stronger and my muscles have more definition and despite my recent back-induced sabbatical, I’m confident that this trend will continue.

Why the scare quotes for “progress”? Because in this context I’m not sure what it means. Is progress about gaining strength, or staving off decline? Is it about being healthy for my age, or to be healthier than others my age—to be healthy for someone younger than me? Is there some point at which I won’t add be able to add more weight, to increase my speed on the bike or treadmill or loop around the park? Will it be progress simply to be able to do anything at all?

I’d like to run the New York marathon some day, and to do that I will train, with a clear goal in mind (finish within a respectable period of time).

But I’m not now training for that marathon, I’m training for. . . huh: I’m not training at all. I want to look better and feel better even if I don’t know what “better” means, I know that it’s not what I look like now. I’d like to be leaner, tighter: I’d like my discipline apparent in my body.

Ah, and there it is: my discipline is apparent in my body.

*Sigh*





Reason will not save us. Or maybe it will.

13 03 2011

Like wiping an eraser across the land: The New York Times allows you to see before and after satellite photos of the devastation in Japan.

Stunning.

~~~

The planet does not care about us. Nature does not care about us.

Any care in this world begins and ends with us.

~~~

Errol Morris does not understand Thomas Kuhn.

Part of this non-understanding is due to Kuhn; part of this non-understanding is due to Morris.

(I am not the only one who thinks so.)

~~~

Judith Warner confuses the consequences of inquiry with inquiry.

Michael Bérubé is not confused, but did he really not understand the implications of epistemological nihilism?

I am not a genius—repeat, I am not a genius—yet even I, as a 2nd or 3rd-year grad student was able to suss out the political dangers of such nihilism.

I wrote a paper for a course on the philosophy of knowledge in which I (budding-but-not-yet-full-epist-nihilist) noted that the slipperiness of fact was a constant problem which must constantly be confronted. That “fact” and “evidence” and “reason” could be used as weapons meant that one must be ready to contest the deployment of such weapons.

This was a problem for me, for awhile: If everything is up for grabs, how can one move?

I solved this particular problem by moving.

Yes, there’s more, much more, involved than this, but this isn’t the place for an explication of my solution. I brought this up simply to signal my recognition that, yes, this is a problem.

I’ll try to dig out the particular paper, but I believe I used an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which Captain Picard is tortured by a Cardassian; his torturer, in an attempt to break him, wants him to say that there are five lights when there are only four. Upon his release, he turns to his torturer and emphasizes that there are, in fact, only four lights.

Later, however, he admits to Counselor Troi that he did see five lights.

Given that people can be coerced into not seeing what is in front of them—that truth as an intersubjective activity means that it is vulnerable to domination—means that truth is subject to political debate.

Upshot:  those of us invested in particular forms of and inquiries into truth must defend against assaults on those forms and inquiries.

I got this, as a smart-enough grad student, and I’d bet that I wasn’t the only one.

But Bérubé and Warner are shocked—shocked!—that  “it turns out that the critique of scientific “objectivity” and the insistence on the inevitable “partiality” of knowledge can serve the purposes of climate-change deniers and young-Earth creationists quite nicely.”

No shit, Sherlock.

Okay, so that wasn’t very nice. Bérubé  is a lit professor and was busy mining his own particular veins of concern; that’s one of the benefits of scholarship, after all: to forsake the surface and plunge below. Conversely, it was really not such a stretch for me, as a budding political theorist, to have recognized the political implications of anti-foundationalism.

Anyway, Bérubé is now aware that excavations below can lead to instability up top:  “[P]erhaps humanists [read: humanities professors]  are beginning to realize that there is a project even more vital than that of the relentless critique of everything existing, a project to which they can contribute as much as any scientist–the project of making the world a more humane and livable place.”

Just so.

There is more to this story, of course, not least of which is a defense of such excavations given the possibilities of instability; the short version is that the cracks were always there.

The long answer awaits.

~~~

What makes NPR liberal? What makes any media outlet liberal or conservative?

On the Media didn’t quite ask this, but in a segment with Ira Glass (who insists NPR is not liberal), they introduced the possibility that they will ask this question, as well as, perhaps, whether it matters.

Still would have liked to have heard them discuss O’Keefe’s edits of the vid.

~~~

I am old. I like to go fast.

That I put the “I am old” statement first tells you that I blame my age for my hesitations regarding speed.

Whatever.

I took my road bike out yesterday—first time in years—for a coupla’ spins around Prospect Park. Oh, every time I get on this bike I marvel at how quick it is. Unlike my road bike, this baby just sssshoooms when I crank the pedals.

That light narrow frame, those smooth skinny tires, the aerodynamism of the hunched-over posture. . . ack! That light narrow frame means it’s less stable! Those smooth skinny tires are apt to skip across the road! In my hunch I can’t see as well!

Ack!

No, I didn’t wipe out. (I will: I wipe out at least once every biking season, usually because I panic and can’t untangle my shoes from the clips fast enough. I try to have this happen away from traffic.) But the marvel at the speed competed with the concern that things are more likely to go wrong at speed.

Prudence is a fine thing, but so, too, is the exhilaration which follows recklessness.

Anyway, I’d rather not be afraid, and think that the more I ride the road bike, the less anxious I’ll be.

All the shit I have yet to learn and still, all the shit I have to re-learn.

Criminy.





I was so much younger then

16 11 2010

I need an image.

No, not for me—I have my lovely red cube—for my first novel.

I really slacked off on the editing, but it’s done, now. For the most part. One last walk-through. . . .

Anyway, I should be able to post it to Smashwords say, oh, around Thanksgiving, and I’d really like it to have a ‘cover’, and, given that the novel is neither abstract nor experimental, an abstract or experimental image wouldn’t work.

So a photo, or a drawing, something which has some relationship to the setting of the novel itself. I sketched something out, but, well, there’s a reason I work in words. Then I tried searching for images of what I’d want, thinking I could just pony up a licensing fee, but, eh.

Then I thought, Huh, I wonder if I’ve got something which could work in my photo bin. So, after hoisting Tricks and then Jasper out from the pile of photos, I dove into my past.

There are my nieces and nephew as babies. My sister with a perm. My brother with hair. And, jesus, that short-sleeved green shirt I still love? Apparently, I bought that in high school, as there’s a shot of me wearing it in the high school theatre makeup room. There’s K. and M. and me in our costumes from Mame, and, ho, there I am, in a bikini at the quarry.

No, I won’t be posting that one.

I just bought some film for my old Olympus, but, really, most of my shots these days are digital. Will it be the same, in ten or twenty or thirty years to flip through my computer (or online or whatever) archive and see shots of the kitties or my apartment or snow on the fire escape?

Maybe. It is the image, primarily, which pulls me back, and that’s what I’ll see. But I can also tell the different cameras I used in the film shots, the kind of film, the matte and glossy finish. And while I regularly delete bad images from my digital chip, I kept a lot of the old bad film shots—hey, I paid for those!

I’m not slagging the digital, and who knows, in twenty years digital may be old school.

But I’ll never be as young as I was on film.