Friday, April 20, 2018

Atomic Zygote--A Great Name for a Band

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Today's my birthday.
Spring is a good time to be born. You're birthday's usually pleasant, weather-wise, at least

I have the dubious honor of having been among the first post-nuclear zygotes to come into existence here on Terra..
I know this since, having been born 4/20/46, normal term, I had to have been conceived on or about July 16, 1945.
That was the date of the Trinity shot, the first atomic bomb test, in the desert between Alamogordo and Socorro, NM. My dad was home on his first (and only) "leave" of the war, since Jan, '43. My parents were in Santa Fe, where his parents lived, and which is about 125 miles--as the crow (or the atom) flies--north of the Blast.
Whence, a great band name was born: Atomic Zygote.
It is also the official, inaugural date of the "Anthropocene Epoch," the date from which the traces of man have become the ineradicable part of the geological record of the planet. Mankind's existence is forever stamped in the Earth. There's a song about itThe site is open for visitors twice a year, one day in May and one in October.
July 16, 1945 C,E.
The pylon in the photo marks the spot. It had rained that morning.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

No Going Back...

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Lord Dampnut, the Doucheviks and the whole GOPhux have "crossed the Rubicon." That is, they are "all in," and they're not backing up a single fucking step. They have taken measures from which there is no way back.
And Woody'z pretty sure that our vaunted, touted 'System of Checks & Balances'--which have done fuck all, so far, to restrain Lord Dampnut--won't save us, this time, because they CANNOT: they were never devised to deal with such a scenario as this... We, the most powerful Empire ever to bestride the planet, have "shit the bed." We have done that for which there is NO "undoing." There's the old adage...
Ol' Pal and worldly observer Prof. Wombat (Michael Kempster) opined:
"(T)he Constitution and the law have proven themselves utterly inadequate to stop a determined, ruthless, relentless minority party from seizing control of every lever of power in the country.
"And a constitutional convention, which would again be constitutional if called by the states under Republican control, would be the death of the republic, nothing less."
And folks call me a "fatalist" and a "nihilist" and a "cynic" and a "pessimist" for harboring--and worse, expressing--similar observations and conclusions.
But it seems to me one would have to be willfully ignoring the signs and portents NOT to have such concerns...NOT that there is anything ANYBODY can do about it.
And, anyway, what could possibly go wrong?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Racial and Gender Privileges Overlap A Lot.

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The Male Privilege Checklist
An Unabashed Imitation of an Article by Peggy McIntosh
(Source: Expository Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 2.  Copyright © 2001 - 2002 Barry Deutsch.  Permission is granted to reproduce this list in any way, for any purpose, so long as the acknowledgment of Peggy McIntosh's work for inspiring this list is not removed25 .)
The Male Privilege Checklist
1 My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favour. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed.
2 I can be confident that my co-workers won't think I got my job because of my sex - even though that might be true.
3 If I am never promoted, it's not because of my sex.Image result for white privilege
4 If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won't be seen as a black mark against my entire sex's capabilities.
5 The odds of my encountering sexual harassment on the job are so low as to be negligible.
6 If I do the same task as a woman, and if the measurement is at all subjective, chances are people will think I did a better job.
7 If I'm a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are so low as to be negligible.
8 I am not taught to fear walking alone after dark in average public spaces.
9 If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.
10 If I have children but do not provide primary care for them, my masculinity will not be called into question.
11 If I have children and provide primary care for them, I'll be praised for extraordinary parenting if I'm even marginally competent.
12 If I have children and pursue a career, no one will think I'm selfish for not staying at home.
Image result for white privilege13 If I seek political office, my relationship with my children, or who I hire to take care of them, will probably not be scrutinized by the press.
14 Chances are my elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex.
15 The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more likely this is to be true.
16 I can be somewhat sure that if I ask to see "the person in charge," I will face a person of my own sex. The higher-up in the organization the person is, the surer I can be.
17 As a child, chances are I was encouraged to be more active and outgoing than my sisters.
18 As a child, I could choose from an almost infinite variety of children's media featuring positive, active, non-stereotyped heroes of my own sex. I never had to look for it; male heroes were the default.
19 As a child, chances are I got more teacher attention than girls who raised their hands just as often.
20 If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether or not it has sexist overtones.
21 I can turn on the television or glance at the front page of the newspaper and see people of my own sex widely represented, every day, without exception.
22 If I'm careless with my financial affairs it won't be attributed to my sex.
23 If I'm careless with my driving it won't be attributed to my sex.
24 I can speak in public to a large group without putting my sex on trial.
25 If I have sex with a lot of people, it won't make me an object of contempt or derision.
Image result for definition of white privilege26 There are value-neutral clothing choices available to me; it is possible for me to choose clothing that doesn't send any particular message to the world.
27 My wardrobe and grooming are relatively cheap and consume little time.
28 If I buy a new car, chances are I'll be offered a better price than a woman buying the same car.
29 If I'm not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are relatively small and easy to ignore.
30 I can be loud with no fear of being called a shrew. I can be aggressive with no fear of being called a bitch.
31 I can ask for legal protection from violence that happens mostly to men without being seen as a selfish special interest, since that kind of violence is called "crime" and is a general social concern. (Violence that happens mostly to women is usually called "domestic violence" or "acquaintance rape," and is seen as a special interest issue.)
32 I can be confident that the ordinary language of day-to-day existence will always include my sex. "All men are created equal…," mailman, chairman, freshman, he.
33 My ability to make important decisions and my capability in general will never be questioned depending on what time of the month it is.
34 I will never be expected to change my name upon marriage or questioned if i don't change my name.
35 The decision to hire me will never be based on assumptions about whether or not I might choose to have a family sometime soon.
36 Every major religion in the world is led primarily by people of my own sex. Even God, in most major religions, is usually pictured as being male.
37 Most major religions argue that I should be the head of my household, while my wife and children should be subservient to me.
Image result for black lives matter illustration38 If I have a wife or girlfriend, chances are we'll divide up household chores so that she does most of the labour, and in particular the most repetitive and unrewarding tasks.
39 If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, chances are she'll do most of the childrearing, and in particular the most dirty, repetitive and unrewarding parts of childrearing.
40 If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, and it turns out that one of us needs to make career sacrifices to raise the kids, chances are we'll both assume the career sacrificed should be hers.
41 Magazines, billboards, television, movies, pornography, and virtually all of media are filled with images of scantily clad women intended to appeal to me sexually. Such images of men exist, but are much rarer.
42 I am not expected to spend my entire life 20-40 pounds underweight.
43 If I am heterosexual, it's incredibly unlikely that I'll ever be beaten up by a spouse or lover.\; and finally,
44 I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.Image result for white privilege explained comic

Friday, March 9, 2018

Anosognosia, Revisited...

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Ex-Prez LowBarry, apart from his election, was kinda disappointing to Black Americans. The author of this article, a senior prof of Af.Am. Studies at Duke, thinks so. Obama didn't "do enough to mitigate economic inequality," it is said.
And it's true.
Tho, of course, much of which he would have been prevented from doing by GOPhux majorities after 2010, even if he'd wanted to...
But he also lacked the will:
Back in '08, after the election installing Obama, I wrote the following:
"HOW nominally reasonable, normally intelligent people could ever THINK that the real owners of the country--oligarchs, plutocrats, aristos-- would EVER turn management of THEIR "property," or the system of its administration, over to somebody--to ANYBODY--who wasn't utterly, totally, and completely trustworthy; to someone who posed even the tiniest, remotest, slightest, slimmest CHANCE of undoing the least jot or tittle of their immensely profitable, unimaginably powerful status quo? Unthinkable.
No. That's preposterous! Who could believe such a thing?And it didn't happen, here, either..
Thus, "thePrez-elect" MUST already have faithfully demonstrated to the relevant authorities that he neither will, nor even particularly wants to, upset any plutocratic or hegemonic applecarts, or otherwise in any way disturb the Owners in their well-earned rest...
And to ignore or deny this quite evident set of facts is a text-book example of "Anosognosia."

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Prospectus: 2018

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I'll turn 72 in April. An "orphan" since 2001, my folks passed within a year of each other earlier this Century.
I'll be okay if next year unfolds for me, personally, in just about the way this last one has. I hasten to knock on wood.
For me, inside the walls of the perrara, my life is bearable. My health, apart from my mobility issues, is reasonable for one of my age and exposures. Money's always an issue: I'm mostly, if not broke, then at least badly bent.
But my machines are all functional and functioning. if nowhere near 'state of the art.' I got a new HP desk-top in 2017, and it works well for what I do. Also, I would feel secure taking a 1000-mile trip in either the car ('02 Lexus GS) or the truck ('97 Ranger SLT). I'd like to get a newer vehicle, but I don't NEED one, so I probably won't--absent hitting the lottery..
After some months out of the loop, I now am reinstated in a health-care plan, this one with Humana. I had my introductory appointment last month with the new "group." My new primary care Doc is Ghanaian. I had to take a piss test to have my hydrocodone 'scrip renewed, and I had to sign an agreement that I wouldn't shop around for more controlled 'scrips. Prescription pain pills aren't my failing...That was a new development.
Late last year, I had visits with my heart doc, skin doc, and lung doc, all in the last 6 mos, and none of them said anything worrisome. No open wounds or unexp0lained lesions.
As is usual, I am still plagued by rotten tenants, though usually only one at a time. A Landlord's lot is not a happy one.
Mainly, though, this past year was memorable for the two unbelievable gifts, bestowed on me, in Smoky (aka, Nobel) and TASHA, both of who I am fostering for NMDOG.
It's been just about all the adventure I can handle, anymore, watching Smoker-boy become a real dog. He was a shell-shocked wreck when he landed here. He'd been treated well by his rescuers, but he was deeply affected by his years of abandonment. He barely moved at all the first month he was here: I had to lift him to his feet and lead him outdoors.
TAnd lately, against odds, there has been the positive pleasure of him attaching to me, becoming my dog and me his person. Watching and helping him emerge has been a genuine delight.
And Tasha's, the blonde bombshell/tri-paw, my other canine sprite/spirit. Her arrival signalled the biggest changes in Smokies' demeanor and behavior. She's a handful, strong enough to pull stumps, even though only having three limbs.
The two are just enough.
So, I'm hoping for a "push" in 2018. You never "hit" either (20 or 18) in blackjack, cuz the dealer might bust.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Wasted on the young?

Salome was on the very full playbill the first summer I worked at the Santa Fe Opera, when it was still in the first theater--which resembled nothing so much as an incomplete barn--in '62 (though with Eleanor Lutton in the title role; the image above is from 1967, another staging of the Strauss biblical fable). Those were the first operas I had ever heard and seen performed.
What I remember most, musically, from that summer was the Stravinsky festival that was presented, with the maestro in attendance; it was his 80th birthday, and he and the SFO founder John Crosby were soulmates. (foto, right)
"We" did SIX Stravinsky operas in about three weeks, that summer: Mavra, Le Rossignol, Oedious Rex, Persephone, The rake's Progress and Renard.
This at the same time "we" were also producing repertoire classics like Tosca and Traviata, which the pros could perform in their sleep, but along with Honegger's "Joan of Arc..." and Strauss' aforesaid Salome, PLUS Cosi fan Tutte. It was a constant whirl, and music flooded everywhere, from rehearsal studios all over the "ranch." (foto, below:The first theater, which burned down in '67)
I worked on them all as an apprentice set-builder/laborer, and then as stage-hand moving sets and props at night during the shows. I was there for every rehearsals, and every performance. Always in the back. I knew it was an exceptional experience; I just didn't know HOW exceptional it was. I hadn't remembered this in years, but at the dress rehearsal of Tosca, when having killed Scarpia, she flung herself off the battlement to her death, there was an astonishing puff of dust from the p[adding behind the fall, which exploded in the lights, which was a novel effect, and was unanticipated.
I remember two, other, really outstanding moments, in particular, from my Summer of '62: 1) I appeared on-stage, once, in a Swiss-Guards uniform, filling out the ranks of the chorus in Tosca. And 2), at a cocktail party, I sat beside the Maestro, on the piano bench, turning pages of a score I could not read, while he played and members of the Opera cast took turns singing songs from Porgy and Bess; he nodded to me when the time was right to turn 'em. Didn't say a word.
Ultimately, I worked at the Opera for all or parts of three summers, 62-64, incl...
It was illuminating.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Make Those Responsible, Accountable: A Modest proposal

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As another school shooting unrolls--this one in Kentucky, but it is becoming increasingly immaterial where--a friend, who has grown weary of the perpetual, tragic, preventable, too-frequent headlines, suggests a cure:
Prosecute the PARENTS of kids who take guns from home and use them to commit these crimes, for the same crimes as the shooter would be charged with--if they live/d.
A death sentence or a couple of well-publicized life-imprisonments MIGHT get the attention of the ammo-sexuals and gun-goons, enough to get them serious about locking up their metal phalli when they'r not playing with them.
Personally, I am a firm believer in the instructive power of the well-chosen, well-publicized, well-conducted execution.
I think, for example, the summary execution of a few corrupt bankers would have salutary consequences in the whole industry. A hedge-fund runner or two? Also polluting industrialists: Broadcast videos of  the drowning of a few of 'em in toxic tailings pools might just prompt the rest to clean up their acts.
The Chinese handle corrupt officials in the most impressive and efficient way:
For those who embarrass the regime, they hold a drum-head trial, with a pro forma guilty verdict, trip the malefactor to her or his tighty-whities, give 'em a shove to dige a hole, stand 'em in it, shoot 'em in the head, and dump a bag of quick-lime into the hole with a couple gallons of water and seal it up.

I don't know whether this prevents corruption, but it does positively affect recidivism...