28 November 2015


i should make a christmas list. i should address the christmas cards. i should get out the tree and decorations. i should sweep the floor. i should fold the clothes. i should take the miscellany in my car's trunk to the goodwill. i should stretch. i should brush down those cobwebs around the window in the den. i should assemble the annual family-picture calendar. i should sort all those boxes of loose photos into some sense. i should pay the bills. i should make the bed. i should take a nap. i should defrag my hard drive. i should update my OS. i should dust the cabinet. i should winnow my wardrobe. i should hydrate. i should make a grocery list. i should go to the grocery. i should brush my teeth and hair. i should do some push-ups. i should plan that after-christmas trip. i should answer some emails. i should clean out the junk drawer. i should walk to the mailbox. i should finish that cross-stitch. hell, i should start that cross-stitch. i should get up and turn on some lights in here. i should brew a pot of coffee. i should get out the fruitcake. i should read those magazines i subscribed to. i should watch my shows.

17 November 2015

your bedroll is on fire.

did you hear what john kerry said today?
"There's something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that," he said in remarks at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. "There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of - not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, 'Okay, they're really angry because of this and that.' This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate."
see what he did there? that's right. he fucked up.

see, you can KNOW that there is a difference, but you cannot SAY that there is a difference.

we all want to be safe. maslow puts safety right up there behind air and food. whereas if you were starving, you'd risk your safety for a carrot, if you are sufficiently fed, you will have mental space to consider whether your bedroll is on fire and whatnot.

we all want to be safe, but the world isn't safe. a mastodon could be chasing you. blogger could force you to change your template even though you don't want to. terrorists could shoot you. anything could happen. as much as we'd like to believe it, there is really no safe place.

and believe you me, we want to believe it. the fierce desire to believe we are safe is what makes people say, "i never thought it would happen here..." about some nonsense that happened right under their noses. hostages in the neighbor's basement? couldn't happen here. pedophile priests? not in this parish. terrorist attack? nah. not here.

i mean, sure, if you live in the middle east, you're asking for it, right? if you publish controversial cartoons, or wear a red bandanna in the blue neighborhood, or practice christianity in china... you're asking for it, right? asking for it.

thing is, though, there is no safe place. there is no safe behaviour. anything can always happen here. or, there. or, anydamnwhere. it's not about how WE act. it's about how THEY act, and THEY are just so fucking unpredictable.

so. john kerry is saying what we are all thinking. those charlie hebdo people were asking for it. you might not admit you are thinking that, or even know you are thinking that, but you are. it's not that we mean anything bad about them. as usual, it's not about them at all. it's about us. it's because, if they were asking for it, we are safe.

it's psych 101. without assigning blame to the victims of terrorism, we probably wouldn't ever leave the house.

11 November 2015

yet another blog about the philosophy of welding

in last night's republican candidates debate, marco rubio said,
“Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.”

okay. firstly? the correct grammar is "fewer" philosophers. #sigh

now, that being said, the groups "welders" and "philosophers" are not mutually exclusive. you can be both. it's not like you have to choose one or the other.

furthermore, we could certainly handle more welders AND more philosophers.

a quick google of "need welder" results in dozens of thousands of job listings. welding is a learned skill and welder training is not as common as it used to be, so combine the fact of less training, or, to put it another way, fewer training opportunities -- combine that with the job openings, some significant number of which languish unfilled for literally years, and anyone would conclude that we could use more welders. but welding is a hard sell. welding isn't fun or glamorous. welding is the hot and dirty work of using fire to join pieces of metal in the manufacture of physical structures. it's not attractive, unless you consider jennifer grey in flashdance. now, that's an attractive welder.

a quick google for "need philosopher" doesn't reveal openings. instead, it reveals a metric shit-ton of well thought out articles refuting rubios's words. there are humorous rebuttals, serious rebuttals, footnoted rebuttals, spontaneous rebuttals. that's what philosophers do. i mean, they don't rebut per se, but they consider meanings and manufacture structures to put meaning in context. sometimes they manufacture out of thin air, sometimes they support the structure with other structures.

so. see what i am doing here? welders manufacture structures and philosophers manufacture structures. one is physical, one is mental.

can we do without physical structures? buildings? cars? no.

can we do without mental structures? logic? religion? no.


what was ol' marco up to? well. he WAS in milwaukee, a town of physical manufacturing. he WAS in a high pressure situation, trying to make an impression, a lasting impression, trying to differentiate himself from the others on the stage. what he was doing was trying to connect with the audience in front of him, to garner applause (approval), and with the perceived larger audience of his campaign, to garner approval.

why would throwing shade on philosophers and throwing props to welders accomplish this? not sure... not sure...frankly, i'd associate neither welders nor philosophers with conservative politics. maybe if he'd been up east in the veritable hotbed of philosophy, maybe then he'd have switched it up. who knows.

who knows why anyone does anything, ever?

10 November 2015

it is not beneath my dignity to climb a tree.

when i was in the third grade, about a month into the schoolyear, the school broke up the class i was in and dispersed us. the word on the playground was our teacher got reassigned to kindergarten. in retrospect, "your teacher has been reassigned to kindergarten" sounds a lot like "your dog has gone to live on a farm". bottom line, we were dispersed.

the morning of the day the dispersal was to take place, my mother told me, "don't you let them put you in with mrs duncan. don't let them put you in the class your brother was in." well, i guess you know the punchline, but hell, i was like 8 years old. i told them my mama said don't put me in that class. it didn't work.

so i was plopped into the already-in-process class of mrs duncan and miss pitts. this was the 70s - open classrooms and teamwork were all the rage. we had a cavernous room strewn with tables that sat 6 per. being the sort of kid that thrives in a library carrel, this was problematic.

but, i found my place.

one of my favourite activities was this set of self-driven reading comprehension exercises that miss pitts had on her side of the classroom. there were three boxes filled with laminated pages. you had to finish box one to get to box two, finish box two to get to box three. the more you finished, the higher your marks. you couldn't just do them all day - you got to do them only after you'd finished your regular work.

i ate them up.

remember SRA? well, this was like SRA, but it was something miss pitts had made. i have no idea why she made her own SRAs. maybe she was a cheapskate. maybe she rolled her own SRAs so that she had more money for chalk. maybe she was embezzling.

ANYWAY. three boxes. box one. box two. box three. to get an A, you had to finish all three boxes.

when we exiled-teacher refugees first arrived in the domain des pitts, ol' miss pitts specifically told us we didn't have to finish all the cards like the other children did. we started late, so we'd be held to a different standard. getting into box three was enough. we didn't have to finish it.

when the time came to fill out report cards, miss pitts conveniently forgot this, resulting in my painfully and tearfully explaining to my parents why i got a poor mark. my memory is that they didn't really buy the "she told us we didn't have to" explanation and simultaneously didn't really care that i didn't get an A.

that school year lived up to its inauspicious start and comprised my first lesson in the fact that adults are untrustworthy assholes. i should never have been in that class in the first place! that's when i decided to never grow up, because i don't want to wear a tie or a serious expression in the middle of july.

09 November 2015


have you heard of NaNoWriMo? it's national novel writing month and is in november. the goal is to write like 50,000 words in november.

it's a cool name because it starts with nano which is reminiscent of nanotechnology which is the study of really tiny things. really smart people study really tiny things. it's not for the weak of mind. so, an association with nanotech is a score because it's an association with smarts. of course 50,000 words is like the opposite of tiny because, you know, 50,000. but still - nano? cool.

it's a cool name because it has rhythm and rhyme. NA. NO. WRI. MO. up-down-up-down - rhythm. NO/MO - rhyme. pronouncing NA and WRI pulls your mouth up the same way. (the first syllable is "na" as in "national". not "nah" or "nay".) NO and MO pull your mouth down the "Oh". it's a roller coaster for your voice, which makes it... (wait for it...)... roll off your tongue. it's easy to say, fun to say.

it's cool because it sounds like nanoo-nanoo, which is orkan for hello, goodbye, i love you, and 50 kinds of snow. it's anything. it's everything. it's wide open and waiting for you to fill it in - with your 50freaking000 words.

NaNoWriMo. cool name. enormous idea.

aye, there's the rub. the enormous, enormous rub. who can write 50,000 words? if you check out my profile page you'll see links from this blog to two deprecated yellow bulbs. i have written blogs and blogs and blogs. and? blogs. but 50,000 words = yikes. i bet all my billions of blog posts don't add up to 50,000 words.

so, what's a girl to do? what about blogging every day for a month. hmm. well, hey, here comes NaBloPoMo.


what the hell?

nablopomo sounds like a mexican building material. like oh-oh-oh. like blow pomo. it sounds like a crime, like a felony. directly in the middle it says BLOP. it's just a fucking hot mess of a word. there's nothing fun and playful. there's nothing to inspire me to blop down a post every day for a month.

that being said, i suck at posting anyway.