Fifteenkey

A place to indulge my narcissism... and write stuff...

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The Hillary Hate

Son Kyle and I cast our votes on Friday afternoon, so in spite of all your efforts to convince me Hillary Clinton is the devil, she got our vote, but I’m really worried about you. I know that many of you want real change in this country, but the fact that you can somehow rationalize the racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic behaviors of Donald Trump and accept his complete lack of substance on the issues makes me have real doubts about your judgment.

trump-baseThe Trump supporters I know are white and blue collar. How can you support a man that has stiffed working people like you throughout his career by simply not paying them? He also refuses to show his tax returns, a tradition of presidential candidates for 40 years. He likely hasn’t paid much if anything in taxes, but you have, right? If you’re concerned about your jobs being taken by foreign workers, both here and abroad, how can you support a man whose clothing line is manufactured in China and the steel he uses to erect phallic monuments to himself is imported from there?

If you’re a “family values” voter, how is it you can support the man who said “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything. I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.”

In the debate that followed this revelation, he denied ever doing the thing he bragged about. Then multiple women came forward to claim he had, in fact done it to them. Oh, and he also thought walking into a dressing room of partially clad Miss Teen USA contestants was OK, too. He bragged about that to Howard Stern, “I’ll tell you the funniest is that I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed. No men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in, because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it. … ‘Is everyone OK?’ You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. ‘Is everybody OK?’ And you see these incredible-looking women, and so I sort of get away with things like that.”

Oh, and if you’re, you know, a “decent human being” voter, The Donald also mocked a reporter with a disability.

OK, so now let’s look at your case against Hillary. I’ll go with the ones that I read over and over and over and over on Facebook:

  1. She lied to the families of Benghazi victims by telling them the attack was the result of a cartoon Muslims found offensive.
    Some of the family members claim this while others, including the family of Ambassador Stevens say they never heard it.
  2. The email server – The claim is she mishandled classified material and should be jailed for it.
    I’m going to quote Facebook friend Chris Harvey on his thoughtful response to this “scandal:”
    “HRC sent a few emails which were classified, but did not have the proper classified header in the email..i.e. “Top Secret, Classified, Etc”. The header was not present on any of these emails and when she sent them she was sending them to people with security clearance. She did not know they were classified when she sent them. So she isn’t lying when she said she didn’t send any classified emails…because she didn’t know they were…after the fact it has been revealed that a few were classified without the header. This whole email ‘scandal’ is ridiculous. Let’s say every one of her emails were classified…she was sending them to people with security clearance! The horror! There is no indication that any of these emails were ever hacked and it is even likely that her private email server was just as secure as the general email used by the Dept of State. Any classified emails/correspondence is handled on a separate more secure system at Dept of State. Also, I know you, FOX propaganda (I won’t call it news) Giuliani and Trump want to think there is something nefarious about these 33k deleted emails….but you know what…the FBI knows what was on most of those emails…how? Because they were sent to other people at DoS…every email sent by Hillary to someone…so when they did they investigation that got tens of thousands of the other side of the conversation emails. Unless you think she was emailing Putin…there is nothing to this ‘scandal’.”
  3. The Clinton Foundation
    There has been no evidence of any explicit quid pro quo of Hillary Clinton influencing State Department policy as a result of donations by individuals, companies or governments, and the foundation has announced that if she becomes president it will stop taking new contributions from foreign and corporate donors. Oh, and the Clinton Foundation is rated a 94.74 out of 100 by independent charity rating organization, Charity Navigator, and they report 86.9% of the money the Clinton Foundation raises actually goes to charity.

Here’s what I think. I think much of Trump’s support is the last gasp of maintaining a system of white privilege in this country, and the slogan “Make America Great Again” refers to a time like the 1950’s when blacks had to sit in the back of public buses, Latinos were primarily south of the border, and women were home in the kitchen. And that’s where the hate for Hillary Clinton comes from. In a 1992 interview during the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton made a statement that set the tone for the hatred of her by a large base of Trump supporters now some 24 years later…

“I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas. But what I decided to do was pursue my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.”

Some people just aren’t comfortable with strong women who make no apologies about it.

Did you lose your ticket?

jasonWalking around the front of the Lowell Memorial Auditorium last night wasn’t producing, and I couldn’t bring myself to the Boston Garden refrain of “WHO’S LOOKING FOR TICKETS,” so I gave up on selling the extra I had to Jason Isbell and headed in. Off to the left part of the lobby is an ATM, and as I was paying $3.50 for the privilege of using it, I saw a somewhat disheveled woman sitting on the floor with the entire contents of her purse and wallet strewn about her. A real Costanza wallet image. A ticket taker hovered over her. “Did you lose your ticket?” I asked. “Yeah,” she said listlessly. I handed her my second ticket. “It’s a good one. Enjoy the show.”

Sitting in back for opener Josh Ritter, his unfamiliar music was nonthreatening country rock. Toward the end of his set I walked down to my 7th row seat and met Sarah (I think). We chatted a bit through the show. Her son is schizophrenic and went to court today for something.

It was the 3rd time I’d seen Jason Isbell this year, and he never disappoints. Five songs in I heard the line that I was there to hear.

I’m doin’ what I’m on this earth to do

About a month ago my son Kyle came to live with me full time. There’s a story to that, but not for here. He’s where he needs to be and I’m well, you read the line.

Now about that lost ticket. Do you ever feel like you’ve lost your ticket in life? Not me. I feel like I go through life with one of those winning chocolate tickets, but I see so many people looking like life’s just beating them down. Like Sarah. She was pretty down about her son, but really into Jason and called out for one song a few times during the night.  We all have songs we really relate to, and I wondered if she felt like the woman in the song that she wanted to hear so badly. During the encore as the band cranked out “Don’t wanna die in a Super 8 motel,” I headed for the exit. This morning I read the setlist. Sarah got to hear her song. I hope things went OK for her child.

Honoring the victims of 9/11

When thinking back to 9/11 and its aftermath, what I choose to focus on is the humanity we showed each other in the days, weeks, and months that followed, regardless of our race, religion, or politics. Sadly that mutual respect has faded, and we’re more polarized than ever. If we’re ever going to solve the problems we face as a nation, we need to get that civility back, one person at a time. So if we want to pay tribute to the victims of that day, let’s be respectful to each other, in spite of our differences. I’m sure they would if they could.

What are the odds of you?

“That you sit down, and you feel everything. And I cry in these moments. I have this urge of crying, but not crying for joy, not crying for sadness, no reason for crying — crying of being amazed for being alive.” – Paulo Coelho, author of many books including The Alchemist

2001 babyIt took some digging to find this, and I have absolutely no idea of the veracity of the numbers, but one guy calculated the probability of Earth forming in its present life-sustaining state to be less than 1 in 10282(million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion), but let’s not bicker over a couple a few trillion trillion.

So there’s that.

The article above gets into some of the events that have had to happen to make life possible on our third rock from the sun, like:

  • At 93,000,000 miles, it’s just the right distance from the sun
  • Its molten core generates a magnetic fields protecting us from things called “solar coronal mass ejections” that could kill us, or at least fry our electric grid, then we’d kill each other over no wi-fi
  • Our moon creates life-sustaining tides
  • Oh, and Jupiter and Saturn? Their gravitation pull sucks in many a stray asteroid that could otherwise make us dinosaurs

Speaking of dinosaurs, this BBC article reminds us that it’s unlikely we’d be here if the dinosaurs were not wiped out by an asteroid 65 million years ago, or if some frozen comets didn’t deliver water to the planet 4 billion years ago, or if a smaller rogue planet passed on a cosmic slam dance with us, resulting in its bouncing off and becoming our moon…

So there you go. We have a life sustaining planet with a very photogenic moon for romance, but how did we get here, and more specifically, how did you get here?

Well, another guy, Ali Binazir works that out for us. Of course, there are some suppositions here too, but again, let’s not quibble over a few quadrillion. Here’s how Mr. Binazir arrives at the probability of that romantic moon resulting in you or me existing:

  • Probability of your parents meeting: 1 in 20,000
  • They actually talk and have a child: 1 in 2000. (Obviously they did more than talk, but you really don’t need that image, do you?)
  • Probability of the exact swimmer meeting your sperms better half egg needed to produce you: 1 in 400 quadrillion.

At this point, you have to ask yourself just one question: Do you feel lucky?

Of course before Mr. Sperm and Ms. Egg improbably met, all of your ancestors would have had to do their wild thing successfully. The probability of that: 1 in 1045,000.  Ah, but then again we have to do the right sperm/right egg thing for every ancestor in your lineage or you wouldn’t be you… And there’s a 1 in 102,640,000 chance of that. OK, you’re probably not doing math in your head right now, but when you do, the final tally for you existing is 1 in 102,685,000.  You know, ten to the two million, six-hundred and eighty-five thousandth power. Or as Mr. Binazir puts it, “That’s a ten followed by 2,685,000 zeroes.”  Yeah, pretty freakin’ remote.

So when you combine the odds of the planet existing to accommodate all the heroic sex that resulted in you winning the human lottery, you’ve got to be wondering if you’re really taking advantage of this near infinitely improbable gift you’ve been given.

I know I am.

Donald Trump Is the Gift to Liberals That Keeps On Giving

The Election

A little artwork I did last weekend to illustrate the Donald effect. Thanks to Time magazine for the meltdown headshot.

I find it ironic that 8 years of Republican hatred toward Barack Obama (and even longer toward the Clinton’s) has resulted in the nomination of the wholly unfit Donald Trump, who is succeeding in destroying the Republican brand AND putting Hillary Clinton in the White House.

I get some of the frustration. The remnants of what we used to call the middle class have watched their jobs go overseas and to robots, they’ve seen the obscene accumulation of wealth at the very top of our American economic pyramid, and they’ve seen their impotent government doing nothing about it. They’ve also seen the rise of radical Islamic terrorism (I said it!), and they’ve been told by Fox News that it’s the black guys (and now of course Hillary’s) fault.  Hey, Rudy “9/11!” Giuliani recently said there were no Islamic terrorist attacks until Obama became president! Is it in this alternate realty that you support Mr. Trump?

So now we have Donald Trump who has promised to “Make America (White?) Great Again” by building a wall, deporting 12 million brown people, and not allowing other brown people into the country who don’t worship the right god. I’m surprised he’s not proposing shipping all African Americans back to their continent, but given his ambivalence toward David Duke, maybe that’s in the long-term plan. Anyway, for my friends that support the Donald, I’m disappointed that the support of your candidate by a white supremacist and Trump’s tacit acceptance of it wasn’t enough for you to rethink your candidate.  So as a public service, here are a few more reasons for you to reject Trump… What about:

  • His Attack on ex-Vietnam POW, Senator John McCain, in spite of…
  • His dodging of the draft during Vietnam
  • His mocking New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski for a disability
  • His shallow judgment of women (Carly Fiorina, Heidi Cruz, Megyn Kelly)
  • His racist attack on an American Judge of Mexican descent, Judge Curiel
  • His tendency to encourage violence (“Nominate me or there could be riots.”)
  • His conspiracy theory mindset (Ted Cruz’ father involved in JFK assassination, birtherism, election rigged)
  • His admiration of dictators like Vladimir Putin
  • His six bankruptcies
  • His three divorces
  • His refusal to release his tax returns
  • His re-tweeting a white supremacist meme of the Star of David
  • His support of torture like waterboarding and killing terrorist’s families
  • His tendency toward knee-jerk, angry reaction to any perceived slight

I’m sure there are more, but damn, for those of you supporting the Donald, when will your love of country finally trump your Fox-fueled hatred of Hillary Clinton so that this man is denied the power he seeks?  I know none of this will change your minds, but  I had to try.

Every Day can be Music Tuesday Friday

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Pearl Jam at Fenway Park August 7, 2016

For years, new records would be released on a Tuesday.* For example, Pearl Jam’s “Ten” was released on Tuesday, August 27, 1991, nearly 25 years ago… In 2009, the band released a “Deluxe Edition” of “Ten” including a demo cut from 1991 of “State of Love and Trust,” a song I’d never heard. On Saturday I was working in the yard shuffling the band on Spotify to prep for their Sunday evening gig at Fenway Park when the song began pummeling my cochlea. At about the 2:30 mark, I dropped the heavy rake and just listened. You should, too. No matter when it was recorded, you can discover new (and old) music that just lights you any day of the week. Get busy.

* That changed to Friday in 2015

Family Dinner at the Ballpark

There are some people I carry around with me. Always. At a recent Red Sox game, I sat with my family in the “Pavillion Club” above third base. During a quiet moment in the game, I looked across to see us sitting together, probably 40 or so years ago. There weren’t many seats up high back then, and there surely was no waitstaff, nor the money to afford $5.50 franks. On that summer day I made the hot dogs, Ten of them, I believe. With Guldens, wrapped individually in tin foil. I don’t remember the team or the score, just hanging with Mike G,  a lifetime ago at Fenway Park.

Peace Mosaic

Black

Apparently, I’m going to see these youngsters next Sunday night at the old ballyard. I wonder if they still bring this kind of intensity. Do any of us?

Exile on Facebook Street

facebook time suckIt’s day 14, and I’m OK, though she still haunts me. Yeah, I miss the funny updates from some people, and the content curation, but with the presidential circus ramping up, it’s much saner out of there. I had Facebook friends (and family) that support Donald Trump, and others who believe he’s Hitler with big skyscrapers and little hands. In the other corner, some fervently believe Hillary Clinton killed Satan with her bare hands, lied to his family, and now occupies his fiery throne. Others really love like will settle for her. When the Facebook political kitchen got too hot, my college roommate, Phil would post:

“Politics is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.” – Frank Zappa

I searched the interwebs to make sure the quote was real. The actual quote appears to be not so much anti-government, but more anti-politics. Here’s what appeared in a 1987 interview with Keyboard magazine:

Question: “Perhaps many musicians simply aren’t concerned with political issues.”

Frank: “Well, I think it behooves them to have political thoughts, but let me make a definition clarification here. I say politics is the entertainment branch of industry.”

Frank was a bright guy. Here are a few more of his memorable quotes.

Ah, yeah. The Facebook thing. It’s a timesuck, but increasingly the “suck” is that people are just at each other. The political poop just gives people more stuff to throw. It’s not that I don’t care. I really do, but even civil discussions on Facebook eventually devolve into hate-fests.

If we’re the only life in the universe, and we may be, so far we’ve really squandered the gift. I intentionally left out “intelligent,” because there’s too much evidence to the contrary. In spite of the scientific proof that we’ve evolved from a miraculous combination of elements over 13 billion years (about 4.3 of them on our “pale blue dot”), for the most part we’re destroying each other and our planet over “beliefs” (another distraction) and relentless competition to profit from resources that really belong to all of us. Take the military-industrial complex, for example. If you don’t know what it means, you should. It’s why we’ve entered failed wars like Vietnam and Iraq. It’s why we spend $1.5 TRILLION dollars on a fighter-jet that has been outperformed by the 40 year old F-16 jet it’s supposed to replace. And it’s why there are so many guns on our streets. Our “civilization” now is largely about profits for those with capital at the expense of human life for those without.

If I was on Facebook, that statement would invite comments like “fucking socialist.”

So I’m not.

And me, I’m flying in my taxi…

publicarMy mind is a freakin’ funhouse. Last weekend I Ubered around Boston, and then yesterday read news that a guy was killed when his Tesla on autopilot “failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky and didn’t automatically activate its brakes.” Oh, then last night I caught some of Ted2 involving a stoned, hilarious, foul-mouthed teddy bear with the voice of Peter Griffin driving a car into the second story of a barn.

OK, so mix all that together in my Ninja 900 mind blender and dreamland puts me in the back seat of a driverless taxi speeding down “thickly settled” Bennington Street in East Boston to the point that I stretched my left leg from the rear passenger side seat to the front drivers side brake (I can do that now thanks to yoga…) to slow that bad boy down. Next thing I know I’m in a dark barn and I need change for my fare.  A computerish voice says, “It’s in the back.” I crawl into the back and see cardboard boxes with clumps of bills… $10’s $20’s, $50’s, $100’s… No $1’s and for whatever reason, my change involved only $1’s…

I found three $1’s, then walked outside because that barn location was my destination.

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