Category Archives: Politics

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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Filed under Politics

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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Filed under Movies, Politics

First Light

Among this week’s crises (some of which approached almost comic proportions, like where you want to raise your weary eyes to the heavens and plead, “Really? REALLY? That’s just lazy writing!” – line blatantly stolen from the new “Deadpool 2” trailer because it’s freakin’ hilarious) were a terminally ill phone, which lead to the move up to the iPhone 8 Plus.

Of course, with a new, much better & faster smart phone comes a new, much better & faster camera. Let’s be real – they’re actually pocket-sized high definition video cameras that can take really good still photos with a supercomputer attached for kicks and a phone tacked on as an afterthought today. Oh, and they play music.

Alas, my train of thought has derailed once again.

Given the new phone and a foggy, dreary grey morning on Tuesday morning, the first pictures to come out of the new device were of the flag hanging in our front yard.

It is not lost on me that our house’s flag might well be an accurate symbol for the current state of our country – faded, a bit tattered, beaten up, feeling a bit worse for wear, adrift in a fog with no clear direction in sight.

As with the phone, perhaps it’s time for a replacement and upgraded flag. While we’re at it, let’s keep working on that upgraded and refreshed country as well.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Photography, Politics

…It’s Just Than I Can’t Seem To Say It Without Sounding Like A Madman!

Which is frustrating when I’m trying to be witty and wicked and clever and deep and urbane and wise.

These days, however, the bar for being a madman is shifting around so quickly, it’s tough to keep track of.

As I said to someone the other day, I had always hoped that when the hallucinations overtook me they would be more entertaining than this! I wanted Escher or Willy Wonka or Dali. Even Jackson Pollock.

Instead it’s work here, stress there, work AND stress there, and a government that more and more resembles a Three Stooges movie.

Wait.

My apologies to the Three Stooges. They were far, FAR more organized and sane than our current government.

The point being that I’ve worked hard for my collapse, I’m tired of waiting for it, and when it gets here I want it to be entertaining, not boring and scary.

My fellow Americans – we deserve a better class of nervous breakdown!

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul, Politics

A Thousand Stories

Well, here we are at the end of 2017. In a year where it felt like my head was spinning 24/7, my year-end thoughts aren’t any more organized, but I would like to take the opportunity to throw out a semi-organized rant. With that in mind:

2017 – what a cluster fuck!

It’s not that there weren’t any good things at all. To me it seems that it’s the contrast between the highs and lows that was the killer. The highs were higher but fewer and further between. (The August total solar eclipse, “Hamilton,” seeing Depeche Mode at the Hollywood Bowl, to name a few.)

Meanwhile, the lows were just unrelenting and grim on several fronts. Both my day job and my volunteer job at the CAF had time and workload pressures all year that were like trying to stuff ten pounds of pickles into a five-pound pickle bag.

Over everything was the current US political and social crises. Looking back at the year in that light, the “good” news is that the economy hasn’t collapsed and we haven’t gotten involved in a nuclear war. But on both topics there’s a feeling of impending doom and the fear that the next word in the conversation is “yet!”

When that’s your standard for “good,” i.e., not having thirty or forty million people unemployed or not having three hundred or four hundred million people dead, it’s hard to feel giddy about the accomplishment.

Personally, one comment stood out and has stuck with me as I’ve been spinning and trying to juggle priorities with too little time, too little sleep, too little money, and too much stress. At one point this year, while trying to sort through priorities at work, my boss commented something to the effect of, “You probably have a thousand stories written, but none of them have a final chapter.

That stung – particularly because it hit so close to home. She was offering an honest, constructive criticism and I never thought that she meant it literally. (I don’t even know if she knows that I write or have written.) But in the broader sense she’s absolutely correct – at home, at work, and at the CAF I do have dozens and dozens of various ongoing tasks at any given point and it often takes forever to actually get them finished. Some never get finished, just dropped to the wayside, with the intent to get back to them “soon.”

So while I won’t be making any New Year’s resolutions (for all the reasons that make them artificial and useless and a waste of time) I will be trying to remember to be more focused and to always be more conscious of the “finish line” in any project.

For example, largely due to time pressure, there are a dozens of “loose threads” with articles I’ve written here. Have I shown any more of my series of travel pictures lately? A quick search shows that my New York pictures had parts #14 and #15 posted in April, part #16 posted in May, and part #17 posted in July. Since then…crickets.

What’s up with that?

Did I ever share the full stories and pictures and video from the eclipse in August? That would be a big, fat “no!”

Focus.

I’ve written about running marathons and how I’ve found it to be about 33% physical and 66% mental. If you do the training, you know that you can run that far and you have a decent idea of what sort of time you can accomplish, along with a goal that you would like to push yourself to. Despite that, there will be a dozen times (or a hundred) along the course where your body just wants to quit. Your brain is being assaulted by stimuli and pain and it would be just a short jog along the path of least resistance to simply pull over and get on one of those buses that will take you back to the finish line.

But mentally, you have to have trained yourself to Keep. Going. Anyway.

You know that the finish line is out there and until you reach it, you Will. Not. Stop.

One of the things I found after starting to run was that I could use that same mental ability in other, non-physical aspects of life. Such as handling an overwhelming work load or an impossible deadline.

I’m not doing that now.

In both the physical (running) and the non-physical (getting a project done) worlds, it’s a pain in the ass, a full on horrible bitch of a time when you’re in it. You HATE it. But it is so incredibly satisfying when you hit that finish line, even more so if you’re able to meet or exceed your goals. So while you swear during the process that you will NEVER do this again, that sense of accomplishment will call you back. Especially if it’s something like work or something you’re passionate about. You’re going to be doing it (or have to be doing it) anyway, so why not set a goal, hit it, and get the self-satisfaction of the accomplishment?

I haven’t run in a while. I’ve lost that discipline, and it shows in several ways, most of which I’m not satisfied or happy with. I need to get it back.

Focus. Regain that “runner’s mentality.” Reach those finish lines.

Write those final chapters.

Even if that doesn’t help get rid of the festering cancers we have in Washington and their legions of vile sycophants that are now crawling out from under the rocks where they’ve been hiding, at least I’ll be in better shape to fight them, both mentally, physically, and financially.

Kick 2018’s ass!

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Filed under Paul, Politics, Running, Writing