This is why I’m not a writer


I just haven’t felt like writing. The noise of life is too deafening.  The readers, few that they are, have demonstrated more interest in my co-parenting and other personal topics than in politics, which is loud, everywhere, and  therefore unavoidable. And I feel I should write about theses things,  rather than my own solipsistic mewling.

Things are crazy now. An isolated, paranoid, and vindictive child holds the keys to what he wants to make his kingdom. We watch astounded. Everyone accuses everyone else of lying, and thinks that that makes things equal. I begin to wonder if the US is a failed experiment:  If the Constitution can allow this, how can we ever make it right? Anyway, I could go on, but, as I said, you can find worry like this anywhere, and probably better written (The New Yorker has been great).

The sun is actually out, and we haven’t seen it in a while, so I think that I’ll take some sunshine over fretting.

portnoy

Another problem I’ve been having: I  have to decide who I want my audience to be? I guess the big question for every writer who has children is,  what will they think when they come across my writing one day, and am I okay with that? I’m in awe of some writers’ abilities to be brave and bold. I’m am neither. I could don’t think that I would have ever–as a child of living parents and children–had the guts to write Philip Roth’s line from Portnoy’s Complaint:

“I fucked my own family’s dinner.”

Good golly, and what great book.

 

Remember Yevgeniy Nikulin, the Russian hacker involved in a tug-of-war between the Washington and Moscow?


prague_heroThis is reposted. Nikulin is supposed to be in court in Prague on Tuesday. Will this hit the American Press?

We wrote about him last February, and wondered why the only articles we could find were in La Reppublica (Italy) and The Guardian (UK). He finally made it to the mainstream media in the US this week.  That link is to Newsweek, and it’s also on the websites of Reuters and the Daily Mail. It’s not the New York Times or the Washington Post, but it’s a start.

His trial was supposed to take place this week in Prague, where the Czechs are trying to decide which country to extradite him to: the one where he allegedly stole a few thousand dollars online (Russia) or the one where he is accused of the massive hacks of LinkedIn and Dropbox. Nikulin is claiming that the FBI was willing to let him off the hook if he confessed to hacking the DNC and Hillary Clinton. While I maintain a healthy skepticism of government, this seems pretty unlikely. It also seems a little strange that Russia is going to the mat over a mere petty criminal. Deals do get made, criminals are let off the hook, but what upside is there for the FBI in giving this guy immunity after Twittler had already won the election? My mind can run rampant with all sorts of theories, but I’m wondering how it would sit with LinkedIn and Dropbox if Nikulin got off scot-free, in addition to being set up with life in the US. And that doesn’t even touch how angry half of us would be if he turned out to be one of the DNC hackers and was then rewarded for it, especially by a president who would not want this information public (and nothing stays secret for long in the White Sieve House).

Washington is Burning


and Der GropenFührer wants you to think that he built the fire for making s’mores. Get your marshmallows ready!

It’s all too much. Everything is getting crazier by the minute.

Meanwhile, in the news you may have missed:

The first US soldier killed this year in Afghanistan was buried. 

Remember Yevgeniy Nikulin, the Russian hacker involved in a tug-of-war between the Washington and Moscow?

We wrote about him last February, and wondered why the only articles we could find were in La Reppublica (Italy) and The Guardian (UK). He finally made it to the mainstream media in the US this week.  That link is to Newsweek, and it’s also on the websites of Reuters and the Daily Mail. It’s not the New York Times or the Washington Post, but it’s a start.

His trial was supposed to take place this week in Prague, where the Czechs are trying to decide which country to extradite him to: the one where he allegedly stole a few thousand dollars online (Russia) or the one where he is accused of the massive hacks of LinkedIn and Dropbox. Nikulin is claiming that the FBI was willing to let him off the hook if he confessed to hacking the DNC and Hillary Clinton. While I maintain a healthy skepticism of government, this seems pretty unlikely. It also seems a little strange that Russia is going to the mat over a mere petty criminal. Deals do get made, criminals are let off the hook, but what upside is there for the FBI in giving this guy immunity after Twittler had already won the election? My mind can run rampant with all sorts of theories, but I’m wondering how it would sit with LinkedIn and Dropbox if Nikulin got off scot-free, in addition to being set up with life in the US. And that doesn’t even touch how angry half of us would be if he turned out to be one of the DNC hackers and was then rewarded for it, especially by a president who would not want this information public (and nothing stays secret for long in the White Sieve House).

The Most Popular Posts of April

Defying sense, once again.

  1. Who reads this shit, anyway, another blog page where the writer muses that all these blogs of people going on about their personal lives is really of very little interest except to the writer, yet posts about it attract more readers than actual information
  2. B & W, early ’70s, a few images of colorless life around the time of junior high.

And because nobody celebrated with me on the last occasion, we’re proclaiming another National Urinate on Mitch McConnell Day! Woo hoo!

IMG_0317


About what I should be posting.

In the meantime, one cartoonist’s view of the Rapture. Hmmm, maybe I should convert.

The Great Snatch

Parable of the Leaf Blower: No wonder we’re fucked.


The weak thinking that people apply to just about everything shows how little we’ve advanced, and why we won’t probably won’t get out of our current morass. I’d point out the inanities of the arguments, but, really,  it’s not worth anyone’s time.

From Facebook, a  “N. Neighbors” page, devoted to the residents’ concerns in a certain area.

Citizen 1:

OK, it’s the first really nice day in a long time, and I can’t sit outside because of the leaf blowers. There bad for noise pollution, bad for the environment, and the put allergens back into the air. Yes, I KNOW it’s easier than raking, but given how long I hear those things buzzing, they can’t be saving much time.

Citizen 2:  I was thinking the same thing this morning as I watched a few guys blowing dirt, leaves and debris off the sidewalk into the street and up into the air. To me – this does nothing but move the mess around unless you sweep it up and dispose off it properly.

Citizen 1:  The guys next door have been at it for an hour. No dust protection, no sound protection.

Citizen 2:  <dead link to MA state site on leaf blowers>

BLOG.MASS.GOV

Citizen 1:

Leaf Blower’s Emissions Dirtier than High-Performance Pick-Up Truck’s, Says Edmunds’ InsideLine.com

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — December 6, 2011 — A consumer-grade leaf blower emits more pollutants than a 6,200-pound 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, according to tests conducted by Edmunds’ InsideLine.com, the premier online resource for automotive enthusiasts.

Mr. Non Sequitur:  Gee, I’d be happy to be home by 4 o’clock listening to anything, on a work day!

Citizen 1:  Not if you worked from home.

Mr. Non Sequitur:  I would love to work from home. But since I do physical labor, I can’t!

Citizen FU Oh, get a life. Leaf blowers will be here forever, and they are FAR, FAR, FAR FASTER than raking leaves. I use one for 3-4 straight weekends in the fall, my neighbors do likewise, and more power to them. But, gee, I am just oh so sure that they are (goes on to blame “Odumbdumb” for “believing” in climate change,  says how he would have banned leaf blowers had he stayed in office. He follows up with the usual invective against “snowflakes.”)

Leaf_Blower_mouth-560x397

Citizen 1:  Oh, you’re a climatologist? Cool! Where did you get your degree?

Mr. Non Sequitur:  OMG Tony, everything isn’t Obama’s fault.
But snowflakes need to relax too.

Neighboress:  Glad, Tony, that you are a member of the entitled crowd. Are you sure you are old enough to operate a leaf blower or is it the toy version

Neighboress:  Definition of snowflake for those who feel the need to make this political.
snowflake, a supposedly derogatory term used by people who need to carry a gun to buy a sandwich

Mr. Non Sequitur:  Don’t carry a gun, but don’t want to dictate to others not to. Just trying to stay middle of the road and see both sides.

Neighboress:  Well said, Stephen. No wonder Washington cannot work together….we, the people, cannot even find a middle road.

Mr. Non Sequitur:  Without getting run over in it!

Neighboress:  😞

 

Neighboress:  For what it is worth, life is too short to not enjoy every day. Sounds are part of every season.

Yet another neighbor: The constant sound of leaf blowers drives me nuts!!!

Mr. Dismissive #firstworld problems.

Citizen 1:  Responses that are just name calling (and possibly baloney)? Don’t get me started.

Confused:  You got to be kidding me!

Citizen 3:  Happy Spring!

Mr. Non Sequitur:

< picture of fountain in Mr. NS’s yard>

Neighboress:  You turn that way up and have some fish jumping and you might drown out all other noise

 ‘Nother Neighboress: Leaf blowers aren’t faster unless you’ve got a giant one. They’re simply less labor. I spend less time raking than my neighbors do with their blowers. I agree the noise is irritating.

 

Mr. “I love my tool”:  I am a proud owner of a very large backpack blower and I can say they are unquestionably MUCH faster than raking or any other method. If anyone disagrees, feel free to come to my yard in the fall and try taking the entire thing with piles of leaves in less than 5 hours. As where I get the entire thing done in 45 min with the blower. I have woods behind my yard and blow them to the back.

Yes it’s loud and yes it’s a gas engine, but time is money and I’d much rather spend that time with my family or doing other things than raking leaves all fall.

Citizen 1:  You may use it for 45 min, but in a given neighborhood, it’s entirely possible that they are running for nearly the entire day.

Mr. “I love my tool”:  Haven’t experienced that yet. On any given house, a landscaping crew spends approx 15-20 Mon and moves on. This time of the yeah when you get spring cleanups and the fall where you get the same are the exceptions but otherwise during the summer they …See More

 ‘Nother Neighboress:   If your time were really that valuable you could pay someone else to blow them for you. 😃

Mr. “I love my tool”:  Saving 45 min to have someone else do it (and paying them) vs. Saving HOURS by using the machine… …slightly different.

‘Nother Neighboress:   I rake our yard in a couple of hours. Plus I enjoy it. I’m never going to strap a gas powered device to my back.

Mr. “I love my tool”:  That’s great. It’s your choice. My yard could not be raked and either dumped or bagged in a couple of hours when the leaves are down.

Ms. Reductio:  Do you people cut your grass with a pair of scissors too? Come on.

Citizen 1:  No, but a rake doesn’t move one leaf at a time, either.

Mr. “I love my tool”:  The argument that a rake isn’t that much slower than a quality leaf blower is never going to hold water with anyone who has a good amount of leaves in their yard.

 

 

Mr. “I love my tool”:  Everyone Crusades against leaf blowers but no one says everyone should use reel lawnmowers instead of gas powered ones.

Citizen 1:  OK, they are still noisy, polluting, and dust/allergen dispersing, which is the main argument.

‘Nother Neighboress:   I think there should be mufflers on them just like cars.

Mr. Non Sequitur:  Actually, they do have mufflers. It’s more of the sound of the fan that you hear.

‘Nother Neighboress:   Something that muffles the fan noise then. I meant a noise reduction device that makes them quieter.

Citizen 1:  Clearly, I’m not an outlier. There are plenty who think like I do. But I love the idea, “It’s my property. I’m gonna do whatever I want,” being posted on a site that uses the name “neighbors.” Why don’t they just change the name to “People who live in N.     but don’t really give a sh!t about what other people think.”

Mr. “I love my tool”:  Wow Citizen 1. Because people don’t agree with you, they don’t give a $it?

Unless you cut your grass with a reel mower, you drive an electric car, you walk or bike to work, recycle EVERY single piece of plastic, glass, cardboard, etc, only use items such as cups, plates, etc that are made from recycled material, use rain barrels to minimize water wastage, I’d hold out before dishing out the judgements.

Citizen 1:  Done with this. I was deluded to think to think that there might be a middle ground.

‘Nother Neighboress:   What middle ground are you looking for exactly? I’m not a fan of the noise either, but I feel like my neighbors get to do what they want as long as they’re not out there unreasonably early or late.

 

Regarding Syria: The US Is at a Crossroads. . .


and we don’t have much time.

With hindsight, we screwed up in Rwanda. Nearly a million people were killed with machetes in what was a genocide that outsiders could have prevented.

On the other hand, we screwed up in Iraq, overturning a brutal dictator, but in the end making things worse (the karma due Dick Cheney falling instead on others who didn’t deserve it). Libya, where we “led from behind,” isn’t going so well.

The Assad regime in Syria is murdering its citizens. Should we stop it? Can we stop it? If we decide that we are able and willing to stop this slaughter, how will we do it? What will we do when things don’t go as planned, because we can be assured that they will not go as planned? We can’t count on our current Commander-in-Chief for moral leadership. Drumpf just received Egypt’s dictator, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and praised him in spite of el-Sisi’s dismal human rights record. (Also, it’s worth noting that if Drumpf had been in the Armed Services he would have been court-martialed for his adultery–which he boasted about–if not more. It’s doubtful with his foreign ties to dubious regimes and characters that he would have even received the low-level security clearance required to be an officer.)

And who will pay for this? The Iraq war was paid for on the credit card, and Afghanistan continues to fester, although on the whole most Americans ignore it except when they piously say “I support the troops” or stand oh-so-reverentially at a sporting event. A war requires a tax. That’s worth repeating.

A War Requires a Tax. 

A large one, and it needs to be progressive, with war profiteers and the underrepresented (in the military) wealthy bearing a larger part of the cost.

More importantly: How many American lives are you willing to pay for this?

We’re not even having the discussion. Time is running out. I want to help Syrian civilians, but to do so means occupying Syria for, I imagine, at least a decade. Will this make things worse? Will our allies help us?

Put Gorsuch on the back burner (where he deserves to be). If we are who we say we are, we should be debating this in Congress all day, every day.

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