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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Here I Am. Again.

Things were pretty ugly on Facebook leading up to the 2016 election. Revelations about Facebook algorythms, data mismanagement, and the explosion of misinformation led me to leave that social media platform. Fast-forward to 2022 and the muskification of Twitter and I've left that platform too.

What's an author (on a lengthy hiatus, but an author nonetheless) to do? Publishers and agents insist on a social media presence. As I've described in a previous post, in the world of publishing today, the cart of "fame" (or at least notortiety) has to come first, before the horse of actually producing something worthy of said fame. But I digress...

It's been a long and complicated past few years. I'll get to that in another post. In the meantime, this--my blog--and my website are it for social media. I can cull through the news, dig deeper than the ill-researched posts and sound-bites found elsewhere. I can synthesize and evaluate legitimate news and parse out the noise from the fact. You know...apply critical thinking, that sorely rare bit of intellectual capacity that humans have been granted, but mostly turned their backs on.

And while pondering that, I came across another member of my tribe. Michael Krivich, author of Perceptions, Observations, & Musings of an Old Man. Look over his blog. It's worth a few minutes of your day. Tear yourself away from the inanity dominating the world of information, and read some thoughtful, insightful commentary on the world we live in.

A few of my favorites:

Stop Taking the Bait and Falling for False Dillemma Fallacies


Why I Am Afraid to Tell You Who I Am. You Might Not Like It, And It's All I Have


What Does Make America Great, Again--Mean Exactly? 


Stop Pretending Your Racism Is Patriotic


Has WWIII Begun? Time to Reactivate Your Critical Thinking Skills


And so many more excellent pieces. Have a read. 

Oh, and this, too. Because...he's not wrong.

Then, check in here periodically. Hopefully, I'll be more regular in my posts as I get back into a routine that includes writing so I can finish the final book in the Chupacabra Trilogy and the long-awaited "Rattling of Bones."



Sunday, October 28, 2018

Can we try to "Make America Good Again"?

Far be it from me to lay claim to any special abilities to see into or predict the future. It's not like it was difficult to anticipate events of the past week (or indeed, all of the vitriol and atrocities spoken and committed by Trump supporters over the past 2 years).  Anyone with a pulse and two functioning brain cells could have foreseen this 36 months ago at the start of the campaign season, could have offered guarantees of the outcome if they'd only been paying attention and applied the smallest inkling of critical thought to the last presidential election. What we've seen in the last week, is the culmination of all that #DonTheCon campaigned for--to make anger, ignorance, and lies in defense of stupid white men the law of the land. Yep, that was the entire platform.
Image result for idiots
#MAGA "Morons are Governing America."

As I said, I can't claim to have any special skill in prognostication, but I did write about this way back in June 2018 HERE, about how our current #NotMyPresident "leader" and the GOP are creating homegrown terrorists. And HERE writing about the beginning of the end of the US as a beacon of freedom.

I just didn't go far enough in shouting out a warning about what was coming. Perhaps I was in denial--we'd never let the racism, hatred, bigotry, and discrimination get so bad in this country that we'd ever again see two black people hunted down and killed, as they'd been back in the civil rights era, would we? No! We'd never sit idly by while some maniac wound up his sycophants to such rabid heights that they'd attempt to murder political opponents. Of course not! Not in the USA. That sort of nonsense happens in third world countries, banana republicans, and Russia, but never here. And certainly, as the champions of freedom around the world, the country that charged in and liberated the concentration camps, freeing the Jews, gays, political dissidents, academics, and all the other thinking people that Hitler had to suppress and murder so he could continue to spread his evil and lies, we would NEVER allow persecution like that in our country; never allow attacks on and the murder of Jews in Synagogue. Not here.

Until now. Until the past 3 years---starting with people accepting this insane man as a viable candidate to the highest office in the land. Our slide down this slippery slope into the hell our country began with people making excuses. "Give him a chance." Despite there being zero evidence that he deserved a chance as he belligerently railed against and made fun of liberals, the media, the disabled, women and anyone and everyone not an old, white, conservative male. Those still holding out any defense of him by the time the election rolled around were delusional. There was no other possible reason to continue supporting him after the vile campaign he ran. My favorite delusion comes from the "christian" Right (aka fascists): "I don't like the man he is, but I like his policies." WHAT?!? His policies are every.single.thing.Christ.Opposed. So, if that's your reason for supporting him, congratulations. You failed Sunday School. You failed Christianity 101. You failed at being a good human being. Stop deluding yourself. God knows you aren't fooling her or anyone else.

But some still did, and when he won, they offered, "The office will change him, he'll rise to the dignity of the position." Within days, he shouted down reporters doing their jobs, urged his crazy followers to attack those reporters (and indeed, anyone who questioned his propaganda), and blathered on about "fake news" each of the many times he was caught in a lie. By November 15, it was clear to everyone (again, everyone with the capacity for thought) that no, he isn't going to rise to the expectations of the office. He's lowering the bar for our country and the position to the least common denominator--his supporters.

As if "Pizza Gate" wasn't ridiculous and pitiable enough for every single person in the world to see what a lunatic was in that office. Didn't we all laugh and say, "no one could possibly be stupid enough to believe that!" But his followers did. One even charged in, single-handedly, rifle at the ready, to save the day. What sane person could believe such a preposterous and obvious fiction, much less act on it?

Image result for idiots
Words to live by.

And yet, here we are. It's difficult to fathom how far we've sunk so quickly. Did the majority of the German citizenry feel like this in 1933? Had they spent the previous few years thinking "He'll change," or "Someone will do something about this"? Did they feel terror when they knew Hitler's  claim that communists were behind the explosion at the Reichstag was false? That it was just a means to an end, allowing him to easily manipulate a willing legislature--through fear and promises of "greatness again"--into turn over power to him and the Nazi party? Did they feel a terror similar to what so many of us here and now feel when similar claims--"it was the liberals," "it's the democrats"--echo from the mouths of lunatics like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and anyone at Fox News? They spew their blatant lies, misinformation, and innuendo, casting blame and aspersions on those of us who are mortified by these events, those who are targeted by the GOP's new brand of "nationalist" nuts, decrying as victims the criminals behind these attacks.

Let me state this in no uncertain terms: every single one of these acts was perpetrated by a Trump supporter, by "nationalists" like Trump proudly proclaimed himself to be just a week ago. That's what the EVIDENCE and FACTS--and even the words of the perpetrators themselves show. Yet, there are those who will still believe the conspiracy theories spewed by the propaganda machine that the White House has become because it feeds their anger and justifies their violence and hatred of their fellow human beings.

Will we, the people, act in time--in mere DAYS--to save our country from them?

I certainly hope so.

Until then...as I've asked in astonishment many times before: How can anyone still support or defend this immoral, lying narcissistic lunatic? While each time I've asked in the past, I've been amazed and disgusted to hear people still suggesting he and his supporters deserve the benefit of the doubt, this time, there is no doubt. If you still support this man, this party, and this direction for our country, you are not a good person. You are an evil, mean, despicable person with a black heart and soul. You can no longer hide behind the shield of "voting for my beliefs." Your beliefs are clear and what you believe in is being a spiteful, violent bigot. Your vote shows what you believe, and it's ugly. It's shameful.

I will never again underestimate the depths of ignorance and hatred rampant in this country.

Perhaps in the upcoming midterm election and in the next presidential election, we should elect a leader who wants to "Make America Think Again." I'd even he happy with someone who wants to make America GOOD. It would be lovely if we could live the way we perceive ourselves to be, as we break our own arms patting ourselves on the backs for being "God-fearing" and a "Christian" nation. How about we get back to just not going out of our way to hurt anyone and every who doesn't look like us? How about we at least stop proudly striving to be idiots?


Monday, July 9, 2018

It's BAAA--AAACCCCKKK

What do hurricanes have to do with Kentucky? Find out in my essay, "Searching for Kentucky After the Storm" up at Sunlight Press.

It's Back! Hurricane Season, that is. Time (well, past time, actually) to start thinking about those things we all meant to do, promised we'd do, had every intention of doing as the storms were barreling at and over us last year. You know the list: buy and install hurricane shutters; get a tune-up for the generator; get solar panels; have the trees pruned and remove damaged trees; clear leaf litter from the drainage ditch in the front yard.

Barnacle Bills after Hurricane Klaus (1984). Alas, it didn't survive Marilyn (1995).

Expert procrastinator that I am, I haven't done those things yet. I'd better get a move on because Hurricane Season 2018 is upon us.

As always, hurricane season puts me in a reflective mood. I used to be able to rattle off the names of the 11 hurricanes and tropical storms I've been through, but with time, the order and names are getting fuzzy. The lesser storms get forgotten. Those storms that became minor inconveniences in the larger scheme of things fade. A few days of candlelight, rerouting around flooded streets, work, schools, and businesses shut down for a few days. Then life goes on.

Crown Bay Marina, post-Marilyn, 1995. (Where some nice crew on a megayacht let me
use their satellite phone to call my mother and assure her I was safe.)

It's the big impact storms that are never forgotten. The ones that leave us without power and phone for months. Those that rip the roof off the house like it's a toy. Those that leave body counts. Marilyn. Georges. Maria.

Even from those storms, eventually, recovery does become recovered. Sunlight Press has published my personal essay Searching for Kentucky, about that process of going from recovery to recovered after hurricane Marilyn in the US Virgin Islands. I hope you'll stop by their site to give it a read.

Along the same lines, this poem, "Hurricane," by Mary Oliver, captures a similar sentiment on her hurricane and recovery experience in 2017's Hurricane Harvey.

One for the "great minds" category: once we were able to make it from our houses to town after Marilyn (1995)
my bestie Julie and I pulled into the parking lot in FrenchTown at the same time. We're pointing to our miraculously unscathed vehicles, and drinking tepid beer from Cafe Normandy, where they were trying to drink all the stock from the coolers before they got too warm.

Finally, please don't forget that although we're now in the 2018 Hurricane Season, there are still a lot of recovery efforts going on throughout the Caribbean. Here are some links to some worthy organizations that could use a hand. Please consider making a donation to one of these.

In the US VIRGIN ISLANDS

Humane Society of St. Thomas helps to rescue, care for, and find homes for stray and abandoned animals on St. Thomas.

Animal Care Center of St. John was destroyed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, but are still working to help the animals of St. John as they rebuild.

St. Croix Animal Welfare Center was also destroyed by Hurricane Maria but is in the process of rebuilding.

In PUERTO RICO

Defensa Animal de Rincon is a Puerto Rico nonprofit working to help the dogs, cats, and horses on the island. It is 100% funded through donations.

Second Chance Animal Rescue of Puerto Rico is a nonprofit that rescues, rehabilitates, and finds homes for abandoned and abused dogs rescued from the streets of PR.

And this blog post at The Conscious Cat lists some other organizations that are working to help the animal population affected by Hurricane Maria in PR.