March 24, 2017

The American White Middle Class Dying Faster Explained. It's not happening in other developed countries. We're also further to the right politically than almost all of them. This is not a coincidence.

March 21, 2017

"Think about it: Trump hasn't properly executed a handshake with any visiting foreign leaders. Before Trump, none of us had any idea that not being able to do the handshakes was even a thing."
--Dave Pell, This is 37%. I really hope Trump realizes how low his "ratings" are. Sad!

March 20, 2017

Arab atheists, tough road to hoe. A part near the end, saying that for a while Islam didn't have as much of a the science / religion conflict as the Christian West did, reminded me of what I read in Karen Armstrong's works about how Christianity kind of hitched its wagon to science in the 1700s Enlightenment, assumed it would withstand the harshness of skeptical experimental review rather than just being poetically true in broad strokes, but as science moved into different places, some parts of the religion could never get over the need to be factually true, so if you can gin up a reason the Earth is only around 6000 years old, you have to start figuring out why God is burying so many fossils, or permitting the devil to construct such a rich and consistent and wonderfully weird tapestry of the geological and biological history of Earth. (Or, and this is the one that threw me off from my simplistic faith, why a monolithic God lets there be so many other religions around, so many good people so misled.)

March 19, 2017

I felt stressed this morning, juggling thoughts and preparation about moving together with Melissa (things are actually going well there, knock wood we are signing the lease on a terrific place Tuesday or Wednesday but of course planning a move is a walk through a forest of a thousand trees of things that could go wrong and might even be my fault for not being smarter about moving) and a BABAM band gig I was running, our traditional under-rehearsed ad hoc selves playing indoors for change, which somehow feels like it should raise the expectations.

A lot of situations will come up that we find stressful. Some of our emotional responses to those can be so stupid -- to quote Natalie Goldberg, "Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important."

Now, *existentially* she's right (John Maynard Keynes: "But this 'long run' is a misleading guide to current affairs. 'In the long run' we are all dead.") -- but there is a subset of these issues that A we wouldn't have control over even if we were our best selves and B ARE pretty damn important, relative to the group of all concerns we have in this life.

And yet; our stress-tastic emotional responses (at least for the stuff that has now snowballed into a life of its own) are only useful in very small ways, just to the extent they can make us more thoughtful and attentive to preventing those situations, whether we're talking fundamentally life-altering things, such as a break-up, where maybe we can be wiser in how we love, or for the merely transient and infuriating, where maybe an alternate route or departure time would avoid this damn traffic.

But in general, we can rely on the higher, more rational part of our brains for that kind of bad-situation-pre-emption, and the stress just makes us miserable, and often dumber. Like I said at the end of February, whether I'm furious about it and making myself angry or accepting of it, the traffic is still there. So why be furious?

There's a menacing line from some belligerent military group "Don't Run, You'll Only Die Tired". The problems I'm facing now aren't gonna kill me... but even if they are, why should I die tired?

I have this version of my best self walking around, taking situations in hand. Hell, recognizing in a lot of ways I'm doing super well, healthy, sweet girl friend, well-paying job I dig, good friends, meaningful camaraderie and ego-gratifying work in my band music making. Sure I could switch scales and compare to some out there "best case of every scenario" version of life where, I dunno, I'm like a mix of Obama, Steve Jobs, Grace Hopper, Isaac Asimov, and Mr. Rogers, but that life doesn't exist, but the one that does has a lot to say for it.
Quote I was reminded of while writing that: "One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!"
--Winston Churchill

March 18, 2017

On my Devblog: i want my own website! now what? a guide for friends of kirk and others
RIP Chuck Berry.

(Great song I discovered for myself last month below- bits of it will sound familiar to Beatles fans where Lennon borrowed)

Related: Melissa thinks it's odd that I don't know of a difference in pronounciation of "Berry" "Barry" or even "Bury"... how distinct are they for you?