Category Archives: Blogs' Archive

Cecilia, You’re Breaking My Heart

You learn  something new every day.  Today’s lesson came early in the morning.  I have an 8 o’clock class in Vršovice, which would actually be a lovely  neighborhood except for the fact that you have  to go  uphill in any direction to get out of it and that’s depressing.  It takes me about 40 minutes to get there – two stops by Metro, and then  about 15-20 minutes by bus.  When I get off the Metro, I always pick up a copy of Metro magazine because I like to do the Sudoku puzzle, and it’s free.

Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel

The challenge, any more, is not just to finish the puzzle.  It’s to finish it within that 15 minute bus ride.  Today I was successful, with minutes to spare, so I took a glance at the 5 trivia questions at the side of the page.  I don’t usually do so well on these.  A lot of the questions are about obscure Czech stuff (How old was our oldest Olympic competitor at the  1924 Olympics?  What year was Krkonoše national park established?)  Still, it’s multiple choice so I just go ahead and give it my best shot.  I consider it a win when  I actually understand the question.

One of the questions this morning was  ‘Who is the patron saint of musicians?’  One of the possibilities was Cecilia and I chose that because I like the Simon and Garfunkel song (Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart, you’re shaking my confidence daily…) and it was the right answer and I realized the song might  be about something entirely different than I thought it was.

They were singing about the muse leaving them, they were singing  about writer’s block.  I suppose it’s still  possible they were singing about some girl named Cecilia, who changes boyfriends rather quickly, but I like  my new interpretation better.

Unless I hear from either Mr. Simon  or Mr. Garfunkel that I am wrong, I am going to assume I am right.  You learn something new every day.

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Racism Can’t Last Forever

I don’t  really want to write my blog about Ferguson tonight, because I’ve been arguing about it all day on facebook, and I’ve become certain of one thing.  That no one who holds an opinion on this is likely to be convinced of the contrary opinion.  And also, it’s done.  There will be no trial.  Even if Darren Wilson gets sued in civil court, even if the  protests continue for another month or two, it is over.  Once again, justice was not done.

O.K., that’s two things.

But, since we were talking about race (and we were.  it is all about race.), this is a good excuse  for me to present my theory of why racism will eventually become extinct.

1.  There are approximately 7 billion people on Earth.

2.  Let’s say 1% are of mixed race.  I’m pretty sure it’s way higher than that, but it’s hard to estimate.  The world is a big place and some  are ethnically blended and some places, like Iceland and Japan, are extremely homogenous.  I choose the 1% figure for ease of calculation.  Read on.

3.  1% is 70 million people.

4.  Let’s say 25% of those 70 million are part of couples of child-bearing age and gender combination.  That’s about 17.5 million people.

5.  We’re going to work with an arbitrary number again at this point, one to one, replacement ration.  What can be assumed is that the ration of procreation among this segment of the population should be the same as the  single-race breeders.

6.  Children of mixed race couples have 3 possibilities.  They can breed with a member of one race, the other race, or another mixed race person.

7.  The children of those who breed with one race or another are of mixed race, plus those who breed with other mixed race partners.

8.  Every decade or so, the percentage of mixed race children in the general population will increase by .3.

9.  That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s cumulative.

10. Some day all humans  alive will be so mixed up, and have people with a different ethnic appearance among their close family members, that no one  will be able to ever say or do anything  racist if they ever want to be invited  for Thanksgiving again.

11.  On that day, all the Sneetches will forget about stars.

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4 Poems

It hasn’t been a dynamically productive day, I taught two classes, worked a bit on my book, accompanied Isabel to her  ballet lesson, and helped Sam a bit with a homework assignment, but I did get four poems written, so I feel pretty good about  that.

The first two were responses to things on facebook.  Some may  argue that that is an inappropriate usage of  rhyme – certainly, it tends to kill a thread – but I like doing  it, and a rhyming comment can outlast whatever transient conversation it’s in, in the  same way that a single song is often greater than the musical it’s in.

First was a thread about how everybody using social  media to jump on one  person kind of sucks, but the thread had veered off course and become about feminism, and feminist’s well known  lack of a sense of humor, and the original poster was trying to get everybody  back on course, so I wrote this:

Once the so called ‘thread’ gets started
Once the train of thought’s departed
There’s no human way of knowing
Which direction it is going
Once the subject’s in the breeze
It will go where it will please
So, it seems a bit myopic
To shout at people “Stay on topic!”

Then, on a thread about how teardrops are different depending on whether they are tears of joy, sadness, or onions:

There is room in the world for science
There is room in the world for art
Observing drops of water
Is a lovely place to start

The next  two were  written while waiting  for Isabel’s ballet lesson to finish because, seriously, you have to find something to do to kill that  hour, and you have the additional advantage of  a machine that  dispenses coffee for only 10 kc.  So, there’s this  one:

There are  plenty of fish in the ocean

there are plenty of fish  in  the seas

there are infinite words on infinite pages

and billions of birds in the trees

There are infinite  doors to open

with an  infinite  number of keys

there are more movies that have been made

than a person ever  could see

the aspects of our  existence are  more

than raindrops when it rains

than a thousand beaches’ grains of sand

than flowers on  the plain

Everything is infinite

in infinite time and space

but the universe stays  together

because everything’s in  its place

 

and this  one, because they’ve got lots of  kids’ drawings lining the walls:

Kids draw pictures, they’re pretty bad

but, they make their parents glad

they say “Oooh, that’s pretty” and that’s O.K.

but they never throw the damned things away

When kids grow up, and they’re no longer kids

they don’t want to see  everything that they did

 

That’s it for today’s blog.  Good night.

 

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RIP Marion Barry

Marion “The Bitch set me up” Barry has passed away.  He  was 78, so it was probably just old age.  Not an overdose of crack cocaine.  Not a heart attack from banging too many hookers while  he  was doing the crack cocaine.  He survived all that.  He survived a conviction, and a few years in prison, and served as mayor again.

Marion Barry

Marion Barry

Much like Rob Ford today, there were a whole lot of people who thought he  was just great,  despite all the corruption, and being a total scofflaw and a party animal.

It seems there will always be people in politics like this.  People with flamboyant personalities who are convinced they can get away with anything.  There are a couple of reasons for that.  One is that politics is the natural domain of narcissistic personalities.  Primary Colors is the film that expressed that  best.  When John Travolta, playing Governor  Jack Stanton, who was obviously supposed to be Bill Clinton,  threw his mobile phone  out of the car window, Emma Thompson, playing  Susan Stanton, who was obviously supposed to be Hillary, shouted  “Stop!,” made the driver back up, and had everybody out beating the bushes in the dark for the missing phone.  After the phone was  found, and they were getting ready to drive off again, Travolta/Stanton/Clinton said “Well, you wouldn’t have found it if I hadn’t thrown it there in the first place.”

The second reason is that lots of them do get  away with it, forever.  Most of the people in  Congress today, and at least half of U.S. Governors, are just as corrupt as Barry was, and just as fond of sleeping with people other than the ones they are actually married to.  Probably only a handful of them do as much coke but, seriously, Marion Barry did a superhuman amount of coke.

So, there will be more Marion Barrys, and more Rob Fords.  Because every city has a mayor, and the  mayor’s chair is an absolute magnet for narcissistic personalities, and people with narcissistic personalities think they are so awesome nobody will call them on it if they go nuts.

And sometimes, like Marion Barry or Rob Ford, they get away with it.

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Stop Saying This, Please

One phrase I’m seriously sick of reading is “I don’t care if it was photoshopped.  It was funny.”  I wouldn’t care so much if this was part of the original post.  “I came across this and I know it’s fake but, bearing that in mind, you may still find it amusing.”  That’s honest.

But they never do that.  They post stuff as if it is real, sometimes just to make a joke but sometimes to make a point (it’s better to have a point when you’re making a joke than to get poked when you’re in the joint, I suppose), and then when somebody calls them on it, they come up with this lame “I don’t care” response.

Just admit it.  You got burned.  It happens to everybody.  More and more, actually.  On the great human trek from apelike savagery to intergalactic enlightenment, we are deep in the tall grass of the uncanny valley right about now.  We have the rudiments of the hive mind that will be able to analyze all of the resources on Earth and construct a paradise like the Eloi lived in in The Time Machine, cure all the diseases , send robots and human micro-societies out on ark ships to explore the universe, and spot the difference between a real  video and a fake.

How can you tell?  The one with the flying bed is definitely fake, for instance.  Stuff with people dressing up their dogs as ballerinas is undoubtedly real.  I don’t know.  I don’t have a foolproof method, and I get it wrong all the time.

The point is to be honest about it.  Because maybe  it still would be funny.  Just not if people are expecting us to think it’s real.  That’s not funny.

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The Coming Crisis

I don’t know any better that anybody else what’s going to happen when the grand jury issues its statement in Ferguson, as to whether Darren Wilson should stand  trial for the murder of Michael Brown.  This is not even the trial.  This is the secret trial to decide if there  should be a trial.

To me, it’s a no brainer.  He killed him.  There should be a trial.  He can try to persuade a jury of this ‘feared for his life’ nonsense.

But, that’s not what I expect to happen.  I saw an article today  about how protesters in Ferguson are getting arrested, and I suspect this is pre-emptive.  If a lot of the protesters are already in jail when the news comes down, and the grand jury says “Nah, we don’t need to bother with a trial”  it will be easier for the police to maintain order.  So, I suspect that the Ferguson police already know that that’s what the grand jury will say, and  that means the fix is in.

It figures.  Police all across the U.S. are killing people without any fear of repercussion.  None have been charged.  None have had a trial.

 

 

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They Never Give Up

Some people just never give up.  For over 70 years, they have propagandized about marijuana’s entirely imaginary negative effects.  They said it was fatal, they said it would make you crazy, they said it would cause  birth defects, they said  it was as  addictive as heroin and while they were saying this, they tried desperately to find  some scientific evidence, some shred of a whisper of evidence, that there was something harmful about it.weed

Now, it’s  completely legal in two U.S. States, and Uruguay.  Also, its medicinal uses are finally starting to be  realized.  It should be overwhelmingly obvious to everybody that the original claims were wrong.

But, some people just never give up.  Every couple of weeks you hear news of some recent government study which proves, absolutely, that marijuana is the devil’s rose.  This latest one says that long term, heavy use will make a certain part of the brain shrink. (although it simultaneously increases the connectivity of neurons in that section, so it seems like it should be a draw.)

The headlines screamed “Marijuana May Cause Brain Abnormalities.”  Well, to be fair, they did say ‘may.’  But, the long  and short of it is, they’ve got nothing and, even if they had something, they’d have nothing.  Back when we were hippies, back when smoking pot was a social statement, and not just a pleasant after-dinner ritual, brain abnormalities was kind of  what we were looking  for.  We’d seen normal and we were not impressed.  The  goal was to open the Doors of Perception, to Break on Through to the Other Side, to reach Nirvana, to alter our minds.

That isn’t even  a negative.

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