Category Archives: Politics

No Context For You – December 01st

A dark month, December. The days get shorter, the nights get longer, the temperatures drop, the winds howl, the rains arrive.

Is it any wonder that at the solstice we celebrate, no matter the religious or cultural justification?

Do we think we can frighten the night and the cold away with frantic noises and celebration? Do we as an “enlightened” people simply recognize the results of axial tilt and recognize the circumstantial passing of a defined point in the calliope of Newtonian mechanics? Or does it even matter?

We’ve made it through 11/12ths of this 2018 ordeal. Let us gather our strength to finish strong and bravely meet 2019 head on.

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Filed under Disasters, Paul, Photography, Politics

No Context For You – November 22nd

Thankful for many things on this American Thanksgiving Day…

…yet also conscious of how many items include the concept of “thankful that it’s not so much worse and hoping that this time next year it won’t be this bad.”

Adventures can be simple things and exhilarating.

The big adventures, the ones that make front page headlines day after day after month after year – technically exhilarating, but usually not in a good way. The Space Race fifty years ago was one of the good ones. The current political situation and climate change (in general – brush fires, hurricanes, blizzards in particular) are bad.

Let’s all hope that next Thanksgiving we can all be thankful that those crises are less threatening than they are this Thanksgiving. And let’s all spend the next 365 days doing what we can to make that happen.

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My Voting Experience

No biggie, actually – but there was a unique experience.

At the old house, our polling place was usually at the elementary school that was literally 250 yards down the block. No hardship involved. Now it’s a mile or so away, so still not much of big deal.

It’s a big church auditorium, so there are actually three or four precincts voting there. You go to the pink table or the green table or the yellow table or the blue table… When I pulled up about 6:30 after getting out of work it looked like a 15-20 minute wait in line. Not so! That’s the line for folks who didn’t know which table they were supposed to go to or who wanted to get a provisional ballot. There were plenty of polling place workers who were more than happy to help steer those of us with our voting materials straight to the table we needed. It took 30 seconds to get to my table.

I gave them my information, signed in, got my ballot – and things got odd.

Behind me I heard someone talking to the polling place worker at the table. It was a young guy, maybe 20, asking if he could vote. But he didn’t know if he was registered or not. He didn’t think so, but didn’t know. I think it was pretty obvious that he was a first-time voter and very confused about what was happening and what he was supposed to be doing or have done.

The polling place worker was telling the guy that if he hadn’t registered to vote, then he couldn’t vote. Better luck next time. The kid was about to leave.

When someone intervened, interrupted, and got involved. Somewhat surprisingly, I realized it was me.

One thing that I’ve seen over and over and over in the last few weeks is that California is a state where you can walk up, register, and cast a provisional ballot on the spot. You just have to ask for it.

The kid obviously didn’t know that. Unfortunately, neither did the polling place worker. Fortunately, I did.

So I politely corrected the worker and pointed out what I had seen hundreds of times in the past week from reputable and neutral sources. He disagreed, said that he had never heard of that. So I went and got the supervisor for our section, who said, “OF COURSE that’s the law, obviously! OF COURSE this guy can vote with a provisional ballot!”

The supervisor was very helpful and quick to verify that the kid could vote and then walked him through the process.

I went and did my voting, and finished up about the same time as the kid did. As we were leaving I was repeatedly thanked for helping by both the kid and the polling place supervisor.

That felt great, but I don’t think that I did that much. Better than the thanks was knowing that this young man got to vote for the first time in his life. And that he was excited about it. And that despite his anxiety and uncertainty, he carried on anyway and got it done.

It was a good day to vote. I hope you did as well.

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Vote Like Your Life Depends On It – It Does

Not much else to say. Here in the US we’re on the eve of the midterm elections. You all know what’s going on and who’s in the White House.

If you’re at all legally eligible, please go vote tomorrow. This will undoubtedly be the most important election in our lifetimes.

Two years ago we were stunned, blitzed, caught off guard by the complete abandonment of norms by one of the two major parties. (I would argue that when all of this is said and done we’ll see multiple major figures in jail, possibly for high treason, but that’s a different argument for a different time.) Two years ago we were bombarded with arguments of, “How bad can it really be? It’s just going to be business as usual! You’re totally over reacting!”

Now we know how bad it can be. Actually, we’ve seen glimpses of it – if not checked now, we’ll find out that this was just the pre-season.

Now we know that it’s not business as usual. Our entire society and in fact the entire world’s structure is being threatened with chaos.

Now we know that we sadly underestimated how horrific things could get and how quickly that could happen.

So get out there and vote tomorrow.

I’m an old, middle class, cis, white guy. Who lives in California. Except for the exposure to previously unthinkable rights violations and unconstitutional abuses being heaped on my neighbors, I’ll get by just fine.

My grandkids and their grandkids (should there ever be any…) might not fare so well after the current regime tips the planet right over the edge of a climate shift that leaves the planet unable to support a human population at even 10% of the current levels in our lifetimes. That chaos might be a bit tough.

YOU might not do so well if you’re not old. Or if you’re not in that upper 1% economically. Or if you’re not cis. Or if you’re not a guy.

There’s a meme going around which I posted on Facebook. It shows the Nazi wannabes from last year with their Home Depot tiki torches vs. the torch being held high by the Statue of Liberty – the caption says “America – Time To Pick A Torch.”

Tomorrow. Vote. Vote to pick the torch held by the lady in the harbor.

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I Don’t Know How Long It Will Last

I’ve started writing again on my “Paulietics” blog after over a year’s hiatus.

Be very forewarned – it’s all about the nasty shit going on in politics these days (I’m against it) and I swear a lot. I mean, like, A LOT!

I also try to occasionally be clever and make fun of the shit as opposed to simply screaming into the void. Maybe that’s working, maybe not.

Hey, look at the bright side! If I’m screaming obscenities about politics over there, I’m not doing here! So stay here for the goofy stories, pictures, space stuff, travel pictures, and so on! Go there for the vitriol, bile, and hatred!

So very, very much hatred…

Treason’s Greetings!

There’s Been A Theme For The Last Few Days

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Every – Single – Time

It was just a teeny, tiny election. Just our district, one state assembly seat, seven or eight candidates. I’ll bet that turnout was less than 10%.

You’re damn right I voted. I’ve voted in 90% of the elections since I turned eighteen – it will be 100% from here on out unless I’m in the ICU or off-planet.

Scratch that – if I’m off-planet I’ll vote absentee.

I don’t care if the only thing we’re voting for is assistant vice dog catcher. Not voting in little elections “because it doesn’t matter” leads to millions of folks not voting in the national elections and then we end up with the current batshit crazy orange turd in the White House and the spineless, soulless, brainless Congress who are so busy taking Russian and NRA campaign money that they’ve completely forgotten about the Constitution they took an oath to defend, assuming they ever read it or understood it to begin with.

I’m sorry – you say you would like me to stop being so coy and beating around the bush?

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Filed under Freakin' Idiots!, Photography, Politics

Reminds Me Of Someone

Some nights I just don’t have the right feel for music to keep me company while I work, and silence is not really golden, so I’ll see if there’s something to turn on the idiot box that might be background noise. Not as easy as you think – in many cases it’s still “10,000 channels and nothing on.”

Tonight I got lucky. “Dune” was just starting. I had forgotten just how bizarre and occasionally wonderful David Lynch’s “Dune” (1984) was.

I had first read “Dune” in 1973 in high school, about eight years after it had been published. I was enthralled with the book, but at the time figured it would never be made into a movie since the technology wasn’t even close to being sufficient. That said, by 1984 it still wasn’t quite there, but it was close enough for Lynch to give it a damn good try. I think he hit a lot of the high points about the mystique and power politics of the book, but with a book of that density there was of course so much that had to be left out.

Especially over the top in Lynch’s version was Kenneth McMillan’s portrayal of Baron Vladamir Harkonnen. It’s so far over the top that it’s never been a favorite piece of the movie for me. But tonight I noticed something. Maybe it’s because I haven’t watched it in a year or two.

Baron Vladamir Harkonnen.

Evil incarnate.

Batshit crazy insane.

Diseased and grotesque.

A 100% complete megalomaniac, self-obsessed and narcissistic.

Not to mention the extremely orange skin tones and bizarre orange hairdo.

It reminds me of someone…

Maybe Lynch was a bit more prescient than we give him credit for.

So the next time you’re cussing out that certain prominent politician for being a complete freakin’ idiot, instead be grateful! If he had two brain cells to rub together he might be this guy!

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