Sunday Spectacle: What Caught My Attention Last Week (29Jan2017)

THE WRITING PROJECT: Yesterday was a new moon and the beginning of the writing part of my writing project. Yay! I met my quota this weekend, so… so-far-so-good. I still don’t have a title, but the working title is Death in a New Age. Meh.

I’ll keep a running tally of words in the right-hand column.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!: Saturday was the lunar New Year and we begin the Year of the Rooster (more accurately the Year of the Barnyard Fowl, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring).

I’m not sure what we should expect from a Year of the Rooster, but Wikipedia tells me the rooster (along with the ox and snake) is “hard-working, modest, industrious, loyal, philosophical, patient, good-hearted and morally upright, but can also be self-righteous, egotistical, vain, judgmental, narrow-minded or petty.”

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IN THE GROOVE: It looks like this blog is settling into a groove of weekly updates. I’m sure there will occasionally be other posts, but probably not so many. So, if you want to subscribe to receive these posts by email (in the right-hand column), I suspect you’ll only get one (and sometimes two or three) emails a week.

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LOCAL POLS DO GOOD: On the home front my state Representative and some of her colleagues walked out of a presentation on immigration when the Florida House Republicans trotted in an anti-immigrant bigot in an attempt to “hear every side.” Do we really need to hear the side of hate, cowardice, and bigotry? (The answer is No.)

Here’s the letter she sent to the Speaker of the House.

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AMERICA FIRST: This isn’t the first time there’s been a party promoting America First.

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THE MOON: Moon Express gets permission to send rocket to the Moon and gets funding.

Moon Express is a Florida company.

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THE THRILL OF FASCISM: Wired has posted some text excerpts from Geek’s Guide to the Universe podcast interview with Bruce Sterling. I read Pirate Utopia at the end of 2016. I thought it was terrific, but I think most things Sterling writes are terrific.

“If you’re under fascist occupation, there’s very little question that you’re suffering a lot and that they’re really bad. Even though they’ll propagandize you and so forth, their contempt for you—their racial contempt for you and their cultural contempt for you—is so overwhelming that you never believe that. But if you’re inside the fascist tent, it’s all about patriotism, and the allure of self-sacrifice, and how we’re bringing civilization to other people, and we’re resolving age-old conflicts in our own society by uniting around our great leader, the Duce or the Führer, and it’s actually exciting, it’s thrilling. You go out into the square and there’s like a hundred thousand people all around you, they’re shouting for the same thing, they’re making the same arm gestures. There’s tremendous light shows, fantastic music. The women are excited, even the five-year-old child thinks it’s great, your grandparents are overwhelmed by the pageantry. You really feel like your civilization has gotten up on its feet and achieved something fantastic.”

Here’s a review of the book if you want to know more.

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WORLD’S BEST SUGARY WINES: Eric Idle posts The Australian Wine Sketch.

Of the sparkling wines, the most famous is Perth Pink.
This is a bottle with a message in and the message is “Beware.”
This is not a wine for drinking. This is a wine for laying down and avoiding.
Another good fighting wine is Melbourne Old and Yellow, which is particularly heavy and should be used only for hand-to-hand combat.

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MONSTER BRAINS: For more than a decade Aeron Alfrey has been curating an amazing collection of illustrators who deal with the monstrous and macabre. Definitely the kind of independent project you should donate money to.


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EDITORIAL: It’s not enough to oust Trump. Being polarized helps the Trumpistas more than it hurts them. Along with the outrage we need real solutions to the problems, real or perceived, that brought Trump to power. So, while we need to dedicate energy to the #resistance, we also need a vision of what a brighter future looks like and a clear defensible plan for creating that future.

Not every supporter of The Donald is the enemy. HRC mentioned the basket of deplorables, but the other basket, forgotten by the media for the sake of a soundbite, are those…

“…who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”

So, to that end, one of the challenges I’ll set for myself for this blog is to be more solution-oriented and maybe try to keep the freaking out to a minimum (at least on this webpage).

Seriously, take care of yourself.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde

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