Dave's Journal, Nov2016
Nov.02.2016: Pretty day - warm and (in Boston) sunny.
We just wandered around today. Remembering that it was Chris & Mike's living in Cambridge (a few years back) that got us going into Boston. Before that, it was a rare event; since then, it happens all the time.
No doubt, if we could afford $4000/month (never happen !), we'd live in the Back Bay area. Sell the cars, have groceries delivered, take trains and buses around town.
Today, we had espresso and pastry on Newbury St, where the little birds would eat crumbs almost right out of your hand.
Walking along, there were a few long lines of people waiting to get into some places, while nearby there were open tables and no lines in other (nice) places. It amazes me when I see this; but I think we have become a nation of "foodies" and lots of us need to eat where the magazines advise us to eat. I guess.
There are lots of art / photo galleries on Newbury Street. But, I decided that I'm too timid to walk in and browse around, because I know I have no intentions of dropping $$$$$ on a picture. If these were public galleries, I would be in there, but they are businesses - there to sell pictures. I just don't feel comfortable browsing around inside. Anyway, we just looked in a few windows and walked on.
It rained most of the afternoon. Glad that we got some leaf raking done before that, but the weather is wet and chilly. So, I bought a hat.
Then one thing lead to another, and I downloaded pictures of the hat on a blank dummy, someone's eyes, someone else's nose and a mouth, and spent my idle time creating a new face of someone wearing my new hat.
Ooooo, it's the 5th of November!
People shouldn't be afraid of their governments .......
..... governments should be afraid of the people."
If Trump Gets Elected .....
"V, for Vendetta" is a favorite of mine in the sci-fi genre. (See the masked man a few boxes above here.) It gives a frightening image of a country gone wrong with tyranical governing, fear and an oppressed population.
A "hero" emerges. He kills bad people and preaches revolution.
I watch it every 5th of November (an important day in the movie) and I like it more every year.
But I must say, he can't cook eggs.
Twice in the movie they make a big deal about eggs cooked as you see on the right there (which was actually my breakfast yesterday). He calls it "eggie in a basket" and Natalie Portman drools over it ..... "mmmmm so yummy".
Bullsh#t (pardon my French).
Even with a cover over it, the egg does not cook (in the movie somehow it does cook) and you have to flip the whole thing over and then the yoke gets cooked, which makes the whole method pointless.
My method is better .... you drop a slightly poached egg (sprinkled with seasoning) on top of a piece of buttered toast. If you are a true hedonist, butter the untoasted bread and then toast it in a frying pan so the butter burns a little. And when you put the egg on top, break the yoke and squish it into the bread. Very strong, black, very sweet coffee on the side.
Pre-warm the dish itself in the microwave. Sprinkle seasoning on the egg while poaching.
I am now drooling, and it's clear to me what's for breakfast tomorrow (screw the yogurt and shredded wheat).
Donald Trump Elected President !!
Well actually the voters elected Hillary but the electoral system made Trump the next President.
(Will he complain about how that system is "rigged" ?)
This is the same thing that happened in the Bush vs Gore election. Al Gore actually won the popular vote but the electoral college accounting gave the presidency to Bush.
This kind of political magic trick does not "bring the country together". (So many things need to be repaired.)
Now that the R's control the presidency, the House and the Senate (this hasn't happened since the late 1920's !! ) it will be interesting to see how the next 4-8 years play out. (Not to mention probably 3 new Supreme Court judges to be appointed in that time period.)
On a state (Massachusetts) level, I got a two wishes granted:
# marijuana is now legal for recreational purposes
# farms can't abuse animals (chickens, pigs, cows, etc)
A few weeks back I was amazed to hear someone argue that it's okay to abuse farm animals because they are doomed to be eaten anyway. I still can't wrap my brain around that argument, either on a compassion level or a logic level. Anyway ..... farms can't abuse animals any more.
I also listened to (another person) arguing against legal marijuana because
"people will smoke and drive".
"Oh (says I) .... you just fed me 3 glasses of wine and I'm about to drive home and that's okay with you, but heaven forbid that I pop a joint and drive home? .... Did I miss something?"
For the record (and I have no reason to lie): I never smoked a joint in my life, and it's one of the things I regret not doing (like not dating Diana Rigg, or not landing on Saturn), so I'm thinking that now I can stay within the law and see what the big thrill is.
But I'm thinking of maybe mixing the stuff in with brownies or yogurt or a canoli, because I do have an aversion to burning leaves and sucking in the exhaust gases.
Aha! .... while I did not vote for a president, Deb voted for the Libertarian, Gary Johnson. About 61% of Massachusetts voted for Hillary & 34% for Trump. In our town, 51% voted for Hillary & 42% for Trump. Across America, it is projected (when the final count comes in) that about 1,000,000 more people voted for Hillary.
We are a certainly a divided country - very mad at each other. I sometimes think it was a mistake to combine the original colonies into one country under a federal government.
I have a copy of The Federalist Papers (Alexander Hamilton, et al) somewhere around here. I'll have to read them and see exactly what the reasoning was to unite the states under a central (federal) government. I can hear Hamilton's voice ..."Well it seemed like a good idea at the time."
Presidents in my lifetime: Truman (D), Eisenhower (R), Kennedy (D), Johnson (D), Nixon (R), Ford (R), Carter (D), Reagan (R), Bush (R), Clinton (D), Bush (R), Obama (D), Trump (R) ..... 6 D's, 7 R's.
They come and go, and usually 50% of the country "voted for the other guy".
A Woman's Work is Never Done
Deb, I made this new desktop picture for you .....
The People's Republic of Massachusetts
That's what we'll call it ("PRM" for short) after we secede from the US. We're labeling the movement #Massexit, similar to #Brexit with the British exiting the EU.
I hear that California is working up a similar #Calexit movement.
Actually 6 states successfully filed petitons to secede after Obama won in 2012. They were denied because there is no constitutional provision that allows a state to secede. But you know, we have Elizabeth Warren (see the poster above) to lead our charge, so don't laugh too too loud.
A Few New Yorker Laughs
After playing beanbag toss at Emma's college . . .
Testing out Mike's hammock design today.
Duct Tape E-reader & Phone Case
It's very fashionable in a guy.in.bluejeans.&.workboots kind of way.
Updated design to hold my book reader and new cell phone. Velcro lock strip, felt interior, enough duct tape to stop a 9mm hollow point.
(Like the guy said in the movie ..... "I just ain't got the words".)
I picked the finalists for my 2017 calendar. It took longer to do this than I expected - could not decide to go with a theme or with a variety of subjects. I went with a variety.
I realize that I need to get out and shoot more interesting scenes. Just snapshooting my way through life is fun, but I do need to make more serious pictures than I have been these last two or so years.
Deporting Undocumented Immigrants: Civil War?
Will the federal government order the roundup of 2-3Million undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions?
Who exactly would do this - the Army, local police (they say "no"), state police (they say "no"), the national guard, private mercenaries?
Wouldn't they need a court order for each and every home they invade? And what if the guy is not in the building when they kick the door down?
Are they really going to track down 3million people who don't want to be found? How much $$$$ will that cost taxpayers?
What if armed white militia groups from (say) Montana or (say) Oklahoma get the government contract to invade homes in (say) Boston, Brooklyn, Miami, Chicago ..... can you imagine this?
What if the state police or the National Guard are ordered by the Governor to defend the state against the invading federal troops or hired militia? What if a state hires another armed militia to defend against the invading federal militia?
What if the states or cities legally object in court to the invasion of federal troops (some have said they will do this)?
If an immigrant has already been imprisoned for his crime and paid his due, hasn't he paid his legal debt to society?
What good does it do America to deport an old guy who has supported his family as an under-the-table under-paid janitor or landscaper for 40 years, because he was busted once for smoking marijuana back in the 1970's?
If he has a wife, grown kids and grandchildren who are American citizens, isn't deporting grandpa an unusually cruel punishment for them?
If his family stays in America and they go on welfare and Medicaid (because his income is lost), is that better for us than leaving the guy alone?
If he is 60+ years old, with grown Americam-born kids and grandchildren, and he worked under the table for 40 years cleaning toilets, how much sense does it make to deport him?
It is established law that every person (even non-citizens) on American soil is guaranteed due legal process. Every undocumented person is a court battle.
If the ACLU steps in (they already have) and promises to defend these guys in court (there are 1Million of these guys in California alone) wouldn't that jam up our courts for maybe 20 years???
Is the "solution" actually worse for America than the "problem" is?
Is this adding up to a Civil War?
(Don't laugh too too loud.)
News Outlets & my annual plug for the Christian Science Monitor
I get my daily news input from a variety of internet sources, across a moderate political spectrum of moderate right (Fox "news") to moderate left (MSNBC) and points in between (CNN). This election campaign year has highlighted more than ever how incendiary these news sources are; especially if you only read the headlines and first paragraph. The headlines are worded to grab you and keep you on the web page, and they are always incendiary, or at least provocative. It's disgusting; it's very polarizing for We, the People; it makes our blood go up even before we start reading.
There are a few neutral news sources that I know of. Reuters is one of them; the Christian Science Monitor is another.
Disclaimer: I am not religious and I don't agree with spinning the news along religious lines and the CSM does not do that. I like it because:
1. they take a few days for the hot topics to settle down, for more facts to come out, for more cooled-off balanced opinions to be stated.
2. they write up the stories with no one-sided political spin.
3. they always put forward the good side of whatever the reported event is - rather than the "OMG the sky is falling " approach to reporting.
4. they are very likely to show a view of the topic which you won't get from any other source - most likely it will be a more positive and less incendiary report.
But . . . . if you need to read only the news spin that you want to hear, or if you need the news to excite you to riot (on one side or the other), the CSM would not be your best choice.
Climate change / global warming is a Chinese rumor
That's why the arctic is 36F warmer than normal, Siberia is 36F colder than normal and 2016 is going to be the warmest year (around the world) on record - beating out the previous winner, 2015.
Not that you or I can fix this, but it is a fact, not a rumor. For certain, up here, the start of winter weather over the last 10 years or so has shifted at least 30 days later that in the olden days. It was 60F yesterday!!!
Okay, enough morning trivia ..... I have a vacuum cleaner to repair.
We never even got out of our pyjamas yesterday - too cold, windy and rainy outside.
For breakfast, I sprinkled a poached egg with spices and made some stovetop espresso (I'm still twitching); then I watched an excellent HBO documentary:
Fence Facts (at least according to this documentary):
The fence covers only 700 miles of the 2000 mile border.
It cost $3Billion to build the 700 miles.
It continues to cost $2Billion/year to manage (cameras, drones, border guards, equipment, fence repairs) and maintain (the 700 miles).
It has not reduced the flow of illegals by even one person per year (not 1 !).
No act of terrorism within the continental USA was ever committed by a person who came across the Mexican-US border. (Most of our terrorists simply and legally flew into New York City, five were actually and legally born in the US.)
My personal conclusion: In this new age of global terror, we must control who comes and goes across our borders. But literally building a wall is an absurd waste of money and it won't stop people (especially maniac terrorists) from entering the US illegally - won't even slow them down - but it will eat up tons of our cash. I have no idea what a real and effective solution would be, but I am certain that it ain't a 2000 mile wall that will cost $6Billion/year to manage.
Despite that the house is too too small for 17 people, we did very well. The deal was, I said "Find someone to carve the turkey because I hate carving turkeys", so Deb's brother stepped up and carved away.
We had our first fireplace fire of the year - real wood - that was nice. People brought enough food to feed the town. It was a good day.
The post-holiday slowdown took over this weekend - not much going on, besides watching movies and reading (short stories).
I see this morning that Hillary is suspecting she would have won the electoral vote except for miscounted votes and also that Donald is claiming he would have won the popular vote except for rampant voter fraud. - God Bless America.
A Wonderfully Miserable Day for a Funeral
The atmosphere was perfectly awful - cold windy raw rainy.
Anita D., the mother of Deb's long-time friend Debbie F. died a few days back. This was expected, and her daughters (great people) are doing reasonably okay. We got to see people we haven't seen in 25 years.
Connections / Other Peoples' Problems
As much as I try not to, I read news pretty regularly (few times a day when I'm in the house). I am kind of seriously tired of all the bad sh#t that goes on around the world, 95% of which is caused by people, not natural catastrophes. I get numb, I get overwhelmed, I just don't care - I'm curious about the world, but I just don't ( can't ? ) care any more. It's futile, and I have 70 years of caring under my belt that proves it is futile to care.
I mean "futile" in terms of "making a difference" or "effecting a change".
But . . .
There is a wildfire down in Tennessee that is destroying the area of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Normally, to me, this would be yet another catastrophe in the news. One of maybe 20 that I read today, and normally, my mind would just tag it "non-essential and irelevant data" and black it out.
But ..... I once visited these two towns. Maybe 20 years ago, when Bob and Ramona lived in Tennessee. At that visit, I was absolutely amazed at the artistry of the local craftsmen and artists. I haven't seen that concentration of craftmanship anywhere else in my travels.
So ..... suddenly, I am connected to this ongoing catastrophic wildfire. Suddenly, I care, because I've been there and I kind of feel bonded with the folks down there. Suddenly, I am personally upset at this news, sifted out from all the other catastrophes going on around the world.