The Easy Way Out

“Sometimes nothin’ is a real cool hand,” said Paul Newman in the film which took its title from that line.  That can be interpreted more than one way, I suppose, but here’s one significant thing that happened today.

It was my  last class.  I was burned out, they are 2nd graders, 7 and 8 years old, and I  spend far too great a portion of  it pulling children out from under desks, asking them to  get down off the  tops of  the desks, trying to get the silent ones to say something and the rest of them (by far the greater number) to shut up.  One exercise  I have become dependent on, maybe over dependent, is flashcards.  There are any number of ways you can play, but with this group basically they are all just shouting out whatever the picture is and I’m happy enough that most of them know words like  ‘elephant,’ ‘apple’ and ‘window’ that all ambitions off  teaching things like full  sentences drop by  the  wayside.

Well, if that  wasn’t abdication enough of my responsibility to teach the ungrateful little ankle-biters English, one girl, who is of the doesn’t talk much camp, asked if she  could be the one to show the cards; in  essence, to play teacher.  Not wanting to be and , too tired for an argument, I said yeah, sure.   Of course that  meant that a whole bunch of other students immediately made the same request, and now could not  be denied, because once you’ve  opened the door, you’ve opened the door.

Basically, all she had to do was say “Ready, steady, boom!” as she flipped  over each card (they can all do the Mr. Watson impersonation pretty good) and decide  which kid to give the card  to when  they all  shouted out the answer at once.

But, that’s something.  Also, it gave me a chance to stand at the back of the room, move around a bit, and keep the ADHD contingent under some semblance of control.

I wouldn’t say  it was a great lesson, but we got through it without me actually screaming, and most of the kids had a good time, which is important.  I don’t want them to think learning English isn’t fun.


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A Lawsuit to Watch

It isn’t over  until  we win.   This explains why Bernie  is still  out there, fighting for medicare for all, while most Democrats are doing diddly squat outside of whining.  Because we  are still  trying to win, and they are still  crying about their well deserved loss.

It’s a slogan I quite like, because it gives  me hope for the future, long term.

My short term hope is a court case which begins tomorrow.  It’s the class action lawsuit that was  brought against the DNC back in June, before the Democratic convention even, by  people who donated to  the DNC and are pissed off that that money went straight into the Clinton campaign.  The suit claims that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the head of the DNC at that time,  and her staff overtly violated article four, section 5 of the DNC Charter, which says “The Chairperson shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness between the Presidential candidates and campaigns. The Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process.”

I sure hope the court rules against the DNC.  I doubt that anybody’s going to jail, but if it’s at least entered into the official  record that they cheated, that will make things a lot  easier.

If the court  finds against us, which is a definite possibility,  (right is on our side, but courts are capricious institutions, no doubt about it) then our struggle  will  continue.  Because it will not  be over until we’ve won.

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The Range of Political Thought

Well, Helena’s take on the French election:  “Macron?  Sounds like the cookie.”  She meant macarons, which are not the same as macaroons.  Anyway, I don’t know much more about him, except for the  fact that his wife was his drama teacher when  he was 15 and she was well into her 30s, but they’re still together and  all  power to ’em, and the all  important fact that he  is not  Le Pen.
If I’d known nothing at all about Hillary , I might have  supported her as well, but we knew what we knew and it  was unacceptable.

But, it makes me think about the  difference  between left and right, and here’s how I see  it:  Right wingers believe that  it’s every man for  himself, you are responsible  for your own  destiny, and left wingers believe that we’re all in the same boat and we have to help each other and work together as a team.

That means it’s kind of  silly  either to identify as a complete right winger or a complete left  winger,  because life is complex and the same philosophy doesn’t apply in all situations.  Of course we live and die alone and we are, ultimately, responsible for  our own happiness.  But, if you’re drowning in the middle of the ocean for whatever reason (hey, people drink, it happens), you’re going to want a helicopter to fly by and rescue your ass, even if that makes you a socialist, which it does.

Contrariwise, you can be left wing to within an inch of falling over  the edge, you still  don’t want the government to take ALL your money.
When you think about it, almost everybody  is within the two extremes, which is why they’re called extremes.

So, let’s talk issues.

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Just Another Parking Lot

Hard to write with all the noise,

a flat full of screaming 14 year old boys.


Not really that extreme, two of Sam’s friends from the football  team (they lost today, 0-2) are spending the night, so of course  they are playing sports on x-box.  It’s hockey, so  I  guess that  counts as doing something not football, but not much.

Still dreary weather, off and on rain, I went for a walk earlier today just to smoke a joint outside, into the wild area between us and the river, and had to go all  the way back, to where the trees start, because otherwise it was too windy to get started.

There was a large rectangle of leveled dirt, big enough for a building and, as it’s that section of ground, that part of  town, where they seem to be putting up one new, modern  building every couple of  years, marching inexorably upriver in what  seems to be a 50 year plan or something, I immediately began speculating, but then I realized that it’s probably destined to be a parking lot, although there’s no road there yet, there’s a putting green right around the corner, and a boat tie-up right there, which had some big disco boat berthed there last time I looked, so a parking lot would make sense.  Oh, well, that’s progress.

What beautiful thing will they build in this spot?
Oh, fuck, it’s a parking lot

Still, the dreary weather.  This is a bizarre thing, it’s been more than a week now of seriously close to winter temperatures, I think if you get out of Prague they’ve actually had some snow.  It’s sort of  like an Indian Summer, (or Grandmother’s Summer, as they say  here), but in reverse.

Again, oh well.  It has to end soon, that is a law of nature, and then all  will be well.

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Who is Blocking Medicare for All (Hint: It’s not just the Republicans)

It is becoming clearer and clearer that the Democratic party, as it is currently constituted, is not interested in representing working class and poor people.  It’s also  becoming clearer and clearer that people are sick  of their shit.
It’s a dilemma.  Something’s got to give and they – with lots of money and a lifetime habit of power, which  is more addictive than cocaine – do not intend for it to be them.

A few days back, on the badly misnamed ‘unity tour’ someone asked Tom Perez if he was on board  with Bernie Sanders medicare for all plan.  He waffled on for about 5 minutes, about how Democrats believed  in health care and wanted the best plan and blah blah blah, but that was clearly the wrong  answer.  The correct answer (if they were interested in unity, or if they were interested in helping working  class and poor people, would  have been yes.

Dianne Fienstein came out today  and said she’s not in favor of medicare for all, either.  So, it is becoming clearer and  clearer that the reason the U.S. does not yet have universal health care (remember back when we called it  socialized medicine?) is not  just that Republicans are against it.  A lot of Democrats are, too.

So, we are at loggerheads.  It is  a dilemma.  The Hillary people want the Bernie people out of the party, and the feeling is mutual.  Do we Demexit and hope we can build a viable third party, or do we Dementer, to try and change the party from within?
If I  lived in the U.S., I’d be changing my registration every week or so, just to fuck with ’em.

On a different topic:  People call me a conspiracy theorist, but  there is something odd as hell about New York and San Francisco both having power outages at the  SAME TIME.  I’m  not blaming Deep State, or the Russians, or  the Rothschilds, or  the Illuminati, or the CIA, or the power companies (probably on  the short list, though), or the FBI, or Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump.  I’m just saying it’s weird and there’s no natural explanation for it, what with the two cities  being very  far  apart, and there being large numbers of  electronic  grids in between them which were functioning normally at the time.  Which leaves two possible  explanations: a real stretcher of a coincidence, or  human intervention.  My money (figure of speech) is on human intervention.

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I was reading an article the other day about the causes of addiction.  It’s an interesting subject, and it’s interesting how often people get it wrong, although I’m not claiming to be  an expert or anything.  Any way, I was prepared to read, and then deliver a scathingly condescending reply, because that’s the way I roll.

But, I found myself  saying ‘Hey, that makes a lot of sense.’  The argument was that the better a life you have, based on what the author called ‘connectivity,’ the less susceptible you are to addiction  of all sorts: drugs, alcohol, gambling, cigarettes, you name it.  Big connectivity points were family, children, friends, stuff like that.  A job you  really like and a nice house got you connectivity points, too, I think.

First, as the author fairly pointed out,  if you are happy in your life you’re not nearly as likely to go looking for drugs.  Second, which  was kind of a  surprise to  me, you’re far less likely to get addicted, even if you  do have a wild  weekend with the buddies doing blow in Vegas every now and then

It’s the kind of study that probably could have been done just by accumulation of large  amounts of data, but they did a proper double blind study  and that was the conclusion.

So, it’s psychological after all.  Good  to know.

The main thing I found interesting in the article, though, was the use of  the word connectivity.  It’s true, we’re born connected  into one family and then we start one  of our own, building  new connections all around. We make friends, we network,  we join clubs, we enroll at universities, we align  around various sports teams and we are (in some cases) proud citizens of whatever country we happen to be from.  And we  want to connect  more.

We are scattered all over the place like little  Lego pieces, connecting haphazardly, and in a dozen different  directions, to the  world  we  live  in.  We are gradually  joining these Lego pieces  together  as we  build  a better society.

It’s not just about curing addiction.  It’s about building utopia.

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Bye Bye Bill-O

Bill O’Reilly is finished.  Kaput.  We will not be hearing from  him any more.  Whereas losing politicians seem to hang around and remain influential, a news commentator  without a network is like a pizza without cheese – it just doesn’t work.

I doubt very much that any other network will pick  him up.  If he was  too toxic for Fox, he’s going to be too toxic anywhere else, too.   I suppose he could  wind up at some right wing website like Breitbart or The  Daily Caller, but that  would be a huge  step down  for someone of Bill O’Reilly’s stature.  This was the man who              single-handedly convinced millions of people that there was a war on  Christmas.  Probably his proudest moment.

Of course, his sacking had nothing to do with politics.  Fox  News was perfectly happy to roll  with his ‘war on Christmas’ nonsense, and all  of his hysterically anti-Obama nonsense.  It was the sexual harassment that did him in.

This was not the first  time he’d  been accused of  sexual harassment.  He was not only notorious for  it, he was notoriously bad at it.  Remember the loofah/felafel confusion?  Basically, he  was  talking on the phone to a girl and talking about how much he’d like to use a loofah to jam it up her hoo-hah, which I wouldn’t think is terribly sexy to start  with but at least it has a phallic shape so it’s as good as Bill Clinton’s cigar, I guess, but he  said  felafel, which is deep fried chick-pea balls and salad inside pita bread, basically  a veggie kebab, so that would  be  seriously unsexy and off putting, but he got out of that sexual harassment case by paying the girl a couple of million dollars.

I don’t know  the details of this  case.  Maybe the girl  was asking for more money.  Maybe there was more  than one girl.   Maybe Fox just got  tired of his shit.  After all, there is no shortage of crazy, right wing people willing to say whatever stupid shit pops into their  head while millions of people are listening.
They’ll have him replaced pretty quick  and nothing will change.  Nonetheless, I am happy to see him gone.


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