Category Archives: Politics

Making Plans

I did some ordinary things today that I was surprised to see felt very much not ordinary. I blame COVID and the last fifteen months of quarantine and pandemic conditions.

First, there was an announcement that Elton John’s final US tour was coming in 2022, and it will end with two concerts at Dodger Stadium on November 19th & 20th, 2022. Tickets don’t go on sale to the general public until June 30th, but there are presale deals for American Express customers, so I was able to get “floor seats” (the stage will be in the outfield, we’ll be sitting on the outer edge of the infield dirt just to the right of 2nd base – which was not ever a sentence I expected to write…) for a very reasonable price. (Let’s define “reasonable” as considerably less than the $500 to $1,000 each, which is what I expected to be paying for those seats.)

So, seventeen months from now, we’ll presumably be at Dodger Stadium seeing Elton John live.

Or at least that’s the plan – what was the world like seventeen months ago and how much has it changed? How “normal” will the next seventeen months be?

Shorter term, the 79th Worldcon (World Science Fiction Convention) will be in Washington, DC in mid-December. It’s normally in August or early September, but a huge problem with the convention hotel going bankrupt due to COVID has caused a change in schedule. It’s also caused the convention to only have about a quarter of the hotel rooms they normally would have reserved. While the hotel room block opened up just on Monday, it’s already sold out. We’ll be staying at the Hilton about a mile away and figuring out how to grab cabs or Uber or Lyft or whatever to get back and forth between the venues. I also went over the schedule with my bosses since that’s a busy time for us and made sure we had a plan for me to be gone then.

So, six months from now, we’ll presumably be in Washington, DC seeing friends we haven’t seen in a couple of years and probably on our first plane trip in over two years.

Or at least that’s the plan – what was the world like six months ago and how much has it changed? On that time scale the changes are mostly for the better, but only because it was so bad at the beginning of 2021. Watching the news, both medically and politically, I think we’re all a lot more sensitive to how fast things can change for the worse and I know that I personally am not convinced at all that we’re completely safe and away from the thin ice.

Yet…

Hope springs eternal. We see threats coming on the horizon, but they’re vague and uncertain. We’re exhausted from the last eighteen months of COVID, and even more exhausted from the previous four years of one political party trying to turn our country into a third-rate dictatorship – yet we’re making plans. Plans for travel, plans to see friends, plans to go to concerts.

It feels normal and simultaneously feels anything BUT normal.

We might need to get used to that feeling, as much as we may dislike it.

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Filed under CoronaVirus, Politics

That’s Better

That’s much, MUCH better.

There’s no magic wand to make the pandemic go away, or to change the fact that for four years the white supremacist evil in our society has crawled out from under its rock to challenge our democracy. But we have adults in charge now – honest, intelligent, rational adults. That’s a big step in the right direction.

A day of celebration! And then back to work.

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Filed under Photography, Politics

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

A few days ago I mentioned a YouTube webcam site called “Hundreds of Hummingbirds.” Normally during the day it looks like this:

But I’ve noticed a couple of times that something’s wrong:

Over there on the right – that’s not a hummingbird. It’s a house finch, like the ones we watched build a nest, lay eggs, and raise fledglings last year.

I guess he figures if he can do the “carrier landing” he deserves a meal. Unlike the hummingbirds, which come in and hover to land, the finch comes in like a bat out of hell and just grabs on. Once in the area they’ll jump from feeder to feeder to feeder, each time going from hole to hole to hole. And I suspect due to the short, thick beak, it’s not getting any food at all since the holes are long and thin and designed for the hummingbird’s beak.

But they keep trying. I guess they figure if all of those other birds are there eating there must be something there to eat. Well… yes and no? Hope springs eternal – I see them there once or twice a day every day.


Speaking of hope springing… It’s about nine hours to go before the next era in American politics begins. Let’s hope that things go peacefully, smoothly, and we can get on with our lives.

Literally.

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Filed under Critters, Politics

Not At The Finish Line

I was thinking earlier about how drained and exhausted I feel on the one hand, while on the other hand being pretty satisfied with getting a LOT of things accomplished and done, while on the third hand being stressed as hell over some looming deadlines that are just kicking my ass.

My first thought was about the accomplishments, and I thought, “Huh, at the end of the actual marathons I’ve always felt at least a certain sense of success for having met my goals. I wonder why that’s not happening now.”

Then I realized that we’re not at the finish line. I can see it from here, at least in a certain sense. We’ve (almost) survived the horrors of the last four years in general and the last year in particular – just four more days to go. And I’ve met a LOT of those goals and deadlines – but I’ve got those others still to deal with. And as soon as those are met I’ve got a couple more lurking right behind.

So this is more like the 20-mile mark when you’re through Beverly Hills and Century City and past the UCLA campus and you’re just coming into Santa Monica. “Hitting the wall.” I sort of hated that.

But I always kept running. And tomorrow I’ll continue again.

Stay safe.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul, Politics

It’s Seen Better Days

…but then again, so has the country that it represents.

This is the same flag that had started to shred back in October with the wind storms that came through. At that point, leading up to the election, it was my opinion that things were pretty messed up and getting dangerous in the United States, so I left it like that as a symbol of the country’s condition.

Since then the wind has continued to shred and wrap, much as the political winds have. Today, of course, that culminated in the second impeachment of a lower-than-whale-shit waste of protoplasm who never should have been within 100 miles of the White House.

But assuming that creature doesn’t do something truly insane and is allowed to do so by enough evil cult sycophants, in 6 days, 14 hours, 9 minutes, and 11 seconds (there’s an app for that!) I think we’ll be in a much better place (albeit with a metric shit-ton of work ahead of us!). I’m sure there will be some champagne, and I’m sure I can swing a new flag as a symbol of that new beginning.

But for tonight, we’re all still hanging on by a thread.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Photography, Politics

Hibiscus Aftermath

A few weeks ago I posted pictures of the hibiscus flowers that I had taken while putting up Christmas lights. Now that the lights were taken down, I note that the flowers did what all flowers did. And, I guess, all Christmas light displays as well.

The focus and depth of field is just a bit odd on a couple of these photos.

I like it though – let’s call it “different” or “unconventional” instead of “wrong” or “bad.”

I think that’s a lot of us today – exhausted, drooping, trying to hold on, a little bit off, fading, just trying to get by another day. That’s not wrong or bad – it’s just different. As so many have pointed out, and I’ll echo, be kind to yourself these days. There’s a lot of bad shit and it seems to be getting deeper fast – it’s okay if the best you can do is just the best you can do. And remember that everyone else’s Hell is 100% – cut everyone some slack.

Except for fascists and Nazis. (You know who I’m talking about.) Fuck them.

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Filed under Flowers, Photography, Politics

No Context For You – January 10th

I hope your weekend was calm and relaxing. Somehow I don’t think the week ahead will be, on so many fronts.

I don’t think I’m really giving you the finger – think of it more as sharing one with you by accident.

Breathe.

Try to stay calm.

Try to stay safe.

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Filed under Photography, Politics

Buckle Up!

Wow.

I’ve still been busier than God all day – running an accounting department for a non-profit with an eight-figure annual budget means that this time of year is juuuuuuuust a bit hectic to begin with. And then the news alerts keep coming in making my phone sound like a pinball machine…

Here’s something I read from someone I trust (over on the social media side you’ll recognize her as someone I’ve been following and re-posting for about five years or more) and it explains a lot of what’s going – it’s an Extinction Burst.

So the next couple of weeks, i.e., the next eleven days in particular, could get very “interesting.” And by “interesting” I mean that there’s a chance that it could get “dangerous.” Even if it doesn’t come to that, it will most certainly be stressful and there will be moments when our lives might fill up with anxiety.

Take care of yourselves. Take care of each other.

Be smart. Be safe.

Breathe. Drink water. Get some exercise.

If you find yourself getting sucked into the crazy, it’s okay to turn it off. Listen to some music. (Probably not “Hamilton” or “Le Miz” right at the moment, if you know what I’m saying.) Read a book. Bing “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” (There’s probably crying involved with that, but it’s the good kind.) Watch the Chiefs march toward back-to-back Super Bowls.

Oh, yeah – wear your mask. Stay home whenever you possibly can. Isolate. Wash your hands. Don’t forget that in addition to the attacks on our brains and our psyches, there’s a pretty significant attack on our physical wellbeing going on.

I want all of you here, healthy, probably happier, on February 1st. And December 31st. And onward.

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Filed under Health, KC Chiefs, Paul, Politics

Hair

Because I’m still too irate to speak rationally about yesterday’s events (i.e., the attempted coup at the Capitol by the “President” and his cult) to speak without massive amounts of screaming and obscenities (which I prefer to keep off of this site and use on social media instead) I’ll instead blather on for a few seconds about something else that’s been catching my attention the last few days while my brain is trying to revolt and not hear any more horrors.

Hair.

Now, one might think that given my preferred hair style, i.e.:

…and the way I accomplish it in these now nearly ten months of quarantine and lockdown:

…that hair wouldn’t be that big of a deal. After all, how hard could it be to just buzz it down to fuzz? (“BUZZ FUZZ!!!” Sorry, Paul’s brain is experiencing issues…) You cut it all down to one uniform, short length and it all grows back and stays pretty uniform and then at some point you repeat the process.

Right?

Apparently not.

There are either some assumptions in there that I’m not figuring out or my cranial follicles are conspiring to make me insane. Since the rest of the Known Universe is demonstrably working to make me insane, I suspect the latter.

But, what in hell am I talking about?

Well, first of all, let’s talk about the hair around my ears. (And you thought this was going to be boring!) That’s usually my number one indicator of when I need a new haircut since when it gets long enough it starts to tickle and bother me. Now, just a couple of weeks after a haircut, when I was very, very careful to buzz everything down to a uniform length, the hair above my right ear is long enough to be tickling and bugging me – but not my left ear or anywhere else. In fact, it’s still pretty short everywhere else.

Then there’s this SPOT up near the top of my head where out of nowhere in the last three or four days it’s had some kind of bizarre growth spurt and it’s about three times longer than anywhere else. I know for a fact that it was all cut when I last conned the clippers but now out of the blue it’s just almost freakishly long in this one little patch.

WHY? I thought that the pace of hair growth would be pretty uniform, but that’s apparently wrong. Or, again, conspiracy plus Universe equals insanity.

And don’t even get me started on my eyebrows. I believe it was John Scalzi who once referred to his as the “Thufir Hawat starter set.” That’s the track I’m on.

Is it an age thing? Am I doomed to spend the rest of my years unexpectedly sprouting in odd places?

Whatever. Maybe I’ll just start shaving it entirely again. I tried that once and found that it was bizarre (particularly the part down at the end, the incident with the towel) and too much work to maintain. But faced with this madness, it might be the lesser of two evils.

And why are there always only two evils?

Wasn’t this better than talking about politics?

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Filed under Paul, Politics, Random Blatherationings

Did I Miss Anything Today?

Just yelled an obscenity as I realized it’s 23:52 and I haven’t posted today. I’ve been hunkered down with year-end and month-end deadlines from Hell.

Did I miss anything today? Anything exciting going on in the world?

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Filed under Paul, Politics