Circus Maximus MMXVI: If you believed they put a man on the moon

13 12 2015

Trump is not a fascist and the US is not Weimar, 1930 or 1932.

Ah, fuck it. I was going to write a big, long post on what is fascism and what was Weimar, but, shit, I don’t think Trump will get the GOP nomination and while the US is a too-violent society, including too much political violence, the parties don’t have paramilitaries which members regularly assault and assassinate one another.

I mean, I might at some point post on Weimar—keee-RIST what a fascinating period!—but the thought of tying that fascination to an explication of the not-fascism of someone who will not be the GOP nominee just makes me tired.

I will say the main reason I don’t think Trump is a fascist is the main reason I don’t think he’ll win: the lack of organization.

Italian fascists: organized.

Nazis: organized.

Trump? Well, he has staff, some of them quite interesting, and apparently a great many paid organizers in Iowa, but how many of those staff and organizers actually know what they’re doing? Even Molly Ball, in a piece generally credulous about Trump’s organization, notes that

To be sure, Trump’s campaign isn’t totally standard: Few of his hires have presidential campaign experience; his Iowa chairwoman is a former contestant on his reality show, The Apprentice. He doesn’t have a pollster or a super PAC. Though his press secretary, Hope Hicks, occasionally tangles with the media, he frequently gets on the phone with reporters to speak for himself in articles about him, rather than deploying a spokesperson.

(She thinks that latter bit is “refreshing”, and that “more candidates should do it”—which, Jesus, is wrong—and thinks that the fact that “Trump just found a bunch of people he liked and hired them, and it’s working out great” means that his organization is up to snuff. Ask me sometime what I think of Molly Ball’s analytical skills.)

He is doing well in the polls, sure, but can he translate that into primary votes? According to this Tim Fernholtz piece, as of October he hadn’t yet purchased data on voters:

“The voter file is a foundational piece for any grassroots campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire,” Patrick Ruffini, a veteran GOP operative who founded digital agency Engage, told Quartz. “If Trump’s campaign were not using any voter file, even after being offered it by the RNC, that would be a pretty shocking statement.”

He and his staffers can talk all they want about his “unconventional” approach, but primary (and general) election voting is a grind: You have to identify people who are likely to vote for your candidate, make sure they actually will vote for your candidate, and get them to the polls. If you lack a voter database, you can’t identify your likely voters, can’t reach out to them, and can’t make sure they actually show up to vote.

Trump staffers are, apparently, getting “bushels” of voters’ names, and they’ve apparently been grinding through them, but it’s not clear how well those names grabbed at rallies and restaurants match up with voter files, and thus, not clear how well his staffers will be able single out those who are willing to say “Go Trump!” to a pollster and those who are willing to spend several hours locked in a room on a Monday night in February.

And even if the rest of the primaries aren’t caucuses, that is, that they do only require a quick jaunt behind the curtain, there are 50 more of them; does he have infrastructure—and is he willing to pony up the money for the staff—to make it to through Super Tuesday, much less to June?

I do recognize that I could be wrong about all of this, that Trump may have figured out how to crack the delegate-gathering process the same way he’s figured out how to crack into the campaign itself. It’s entirely possible that I, in following Jonathan Bernstein, Nate Silver, and the rest on the durability of the old model of successful primary campaigns, am getting it wrong.

But I don’t think so.

~~~

And fucking hell, I just wrote an entire fucking post on this man, even after saying I wouldn’t bother.  Sucked y’all in with that ‘fascism bit’ and taking a turn at ‘organization’. Man. Sorry about that.





Listen to the music: It’s as easy to learn as your ABC

9 09 2013

Oy, what a mess.

I have arranged and re-arranged and re-arranged yet again (and again and again. . .) how I organize my cds. When they were still all in their jewel cases they were kept on a homemade cd rack; to find a cd meant scanning the shelves.

I’d always kept the pop and classical & opera cds apart, but went back and forth on where to put the blues and jazz cds, as well as the soundtracks. Sometimes I’d mix them all together, sometimes I’d keep the blues and jazz separate, sometimes the blues stayed with the pop while the jazz occupied its own space.

This was a manageable problem when I had a couple of hundred cds, but as that doubled (and then trebled), I kept messing with the order. I’d create categories (pop-blues-jazz-world music-soundtracks-electronica-compilations) then wonder what to do with a jazz soundtrack (e.g., Kansas City) or electronic world music (Finnish Ambient Techno Chant). At one point I separated out all of the women—which did not work. At all.

Once I got rid of the jewel cases and moved the cds into boxes—I never wanted to do the sleeves thing, both because I wanted to keep the cd “covers” & inserts and because I didn’t want to keep shifting everything every time I added a cd or decided to reorganize—I kept at the rearranging and sorting and segregating, even though it made less sense to do so once I realized it was easier to print out a list of all of my cds than flip through them looking for a particular artist or band.

Still, I kept to a basic schema of pop/blues-soundtracks-jazz and classical (which, of course, did not jibe with the organization of the printouts). The problem with this organization, however, was that I almost never listened to anything that wasn’t pop-blues: it was the bulk of my collection, I knew it best, so when I’d flip through the cds, I’d start with the pop and never go beyond that.

Thus the mess: This past summer I simplified the non-classical side, tossing everything all together. This has been great, actually, as I make my way more-or-less alphabetically through my collection—I hear more in the mix-up—but has temporarily wrecked my record-keeping of this “listen-to-the-music” venture.

It should be (mostly) smoothed out in the next round, but this one? Oy.

100. Patsy Cline, The Patsy Cline Story
101. Eddie Cochran, The Original Eddie Cochrane
102. Bruce Cockburn, Stealing Fire
103. Cocteau Twins, Heaven or Las Vegas
104. Leonard Cohen, I’m Your Man
105. Leonard Cohen, Songs of Love and Hate
106. Leonard Cohen, Songs From A Room
107. Leonard Cohen, Ten New Songs
108. Coldplay, A Rush of Blood to the Head
109. Holly Cole, Temptation
110. Holly Cole Trio, Don’t Smoke in Bed
111. Colleen, the golden morning breaks
112. Shawn Colvin, Steady On
113. Shawn Colvin, a few small repairs
114. Paulo Conte, Best of Paulo Conte
115. Continental Drifters, Vermillion
116. The Coral, The invisible invasion
117. Elvis Costello and the Attractions, My Aim Is True
118. Elvis Costello, All This Useless Beauty
119. Elvis Costello, When I Was Cruel
120. Susie Arioli Swing Band, It’s Wonderful
121. Susie Arioli Swing Band, Pennies From Heaven
122. Louis Armstrong, Pure Louis
123. Chet Baker, my funny valentine
124. Big Chill
125. Big Easy
126. Blue Note Festival, Touring Artist Sampler
127. A Chorus Line
128. Mary Coughlan, After the Fall
129. Mary Coughlan, love me or leave me
130. Mary Coughlan, Uncertain Pleasures
131. Cranberries, Everybody else is doing it, so why can’t we?
132. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Chronicle
133. Baku Beyond, The Meeting Pool
134. Stephen Barry, Original
135. Jane Birkin, Arabesque
136. Ketil Bjornstad and David Darling, The River
137. Ray Bonneville, Gust of Wind
138. Jeanie Bryson, Some Cats Know
139. Bill Charlap, Stardust
140. John Coltrane, Impressions





Keep it loose, keep it tight

28 08 2012

Sorry for the light blogging, but I had to get my shit together.

This is how I am: I let things go, then reel ’em back in.

Not my hang-ups—Hera forbid I would let go of my hang-ups—but various tasks and maintenance and organization. Papers proliferate, folders flop about, and the miscellany of work and life moulders on benches and shelves and. . . anywhere, really.

This is a minor problem during the school year, but it worsens in the summer (when I’m not teaching) because, well, I hate everything in the summer and am utterly unwilling to do anything which might improve my surroundings and thus, my mood.

I wallow, in other words.

Well, the school year is about to begin, and although I am still in the midst of the August mugging, the necessity of pulling my teaching shit together prompted me to begin pulling my apartment together. I bought—even though I really don’t want to buy any more stuff—a couple of shelves, moved a pile of books off of the floor and on to one set of shelves, and cleaned up my sweater pile with another.

Then I attacked a mess of papers lurking about my desk, recycling a bunch of stuff and filing the rest. There’s more to be done, but at least the remaining piles are sorted.

And then—oh, yeah!—I had to update my syllabi, print out notes and class rosters and check on just where my classes would be meeting. Terribly embarrassing to show up in the wrong classroom.

Do I sound excited for the school year to begin? It’s because I am!

Yes, your bitter, sarcastic, foul-tempered and foul-mouthed blogger actually enjoys teaching!

Don’t hate me because, while I do hate everything in August, I don’t hate everything all of the time.

And I have a tidy apartment to prove it.





Oops, I did it again

15 10 2009

Yes, it’s been out of hand for awhile.

Years, actually.

The endless searching, the belief I found The One, the infatuation, the comfort, the dissatisfaction. . . and the search begins anew.

No, I’m not talking about men (or women); it’s all about the bags.

I admit it: I am a bag whore.

Not handbags, not purses—oh no. Backpacks and book bags, with the occasional duffel thrown in.

It started in college. I didn’t really need a bag (or sac, as I would say when I lived in Montreal) in high school; I kept pens and whatnot in my locker, and simply carried my books under my arm. If (ha! when) I went out, I simply tucked my driver’s license and cash in my pocket, along with a house and/or car key.

But in college, well, no lockers. So I needed a bag—truly. I may have started with a backpack, but I think the first was a book bag, navy, canvas, with a large inner pocket, two smaller pockets,  a zippered flap covering those pockets, and a slot in the back for a magazine or newspaper. The strap was cotton, no cushion. I can even picture the store where I bought it, in the little mall by the Southeast dorms on the Madison campus.

Did I mention I still have this bag, complete with red anti-apartheid ribbon still wrapped around the strap?

There were more, of course. I’d go back and forth on the flap vs. no-flap, and between bags and backpacks. More pockets, fewer pockets; expandable, trim; large, medium, small; rugged, lightweight; easy access, security. A bag for every preference. Almost all of which I still own.

That I was (still am?) a hiker only added to the bag fetish: What was suitable for the trail was not so much for the library, and vice versa. And then it was about day hikes vs overnighters, frame vs frameless, more pockets, fewer pockets. And then the panniers for my bike. . . .

Incorrigible.

Yes, I know there is No Perfect Bag, only the best bag for the occasion.

But still. I yearn for the bag which combines security for my wallet and keys with easy access for everything else, which is durable and lightweight, which has just enough but not too many pockets, which allows me to be organized and flexible and never ever ever hassled by the bag itself.

That I keep my bags (and no, I don’t know how many I own) helps me deal with my restlessness. When I tired of my 15 (or so)-year old Land’s End bag, I could switch to my five-year-old REI bag. But then I thought, well, I’m kinda in a backpack mood. But the packs I had. . . sadly, no, nothing was quite right.

I’ve had pretty good luck with the SwissArmy bag line (yeah, I know: brand-loyalty-is-for-suckers, but that’s simply a caution against mindless repurchasing, not experience), but couldn’t find one to fit my current needs: smaller, decent wallet security, good main space, with enough-but-not-too-much secondary space. I checked Staples (two of them!) and then an obscenely expensive bag store on Broadway and Ninth (?). Hell, I even popped over to KMart to peruse the packages.

Nothing.

I gave up, bought my Cortland apples at the Greenmarket, then headed to Target for cat food (and Oreos, if you must know).

And then I found it. A ‘woman’s’ bag, i.e., a bag meant for a smaller torso, in disgusting pink and reasonable blue. Not too big, not too small, juuuuuust right. And inexpensive, to boot.

So another infatuation begins.

If only I would spend as much time looking for dates. . . but then again, I don’t suppose I could just pile old boy- or girlfriends in my closet until I was ready for them again.