Friday, March 25, 2016

Hello Life, Goodbye Berkeley

Today is my final day in the Berkeley apartment where I have lain my head the past five or so years. Time to move on (again).

For the immediate future, a bit of West Coast travel. Portland for a conference. Weed for a cat-sitting stint. Las Vegas for a poker boyz sojourn. Then the South Oakland hills for a couple of months, the first stop of my new permanent, impermanent state of being undomiciled.

I will be staying with friends and family who for a variety of reasons are looking forward to a tall, bald, middle-aged man in their guest room

Why the lifestyle? Some of you have asked.

I would point out that I have a fairly well-worn reset button as far as my place of residence. I've been doing this for a very long time, only now am I declaring it a lifestyle and, of course, writing a book about it.

For the remainder of this year the fuzzy travel itinerary goes like this: Oakland, Weed, Shakopee, Ann Arbor, potentially Boston and Washington DC, before ending the year in Florida.

Come 2017 . . . watch here for hints of whatever emerges from my personal intentional fog.

Friday, March 18, 2016

We Got Old

Last Tuesday demonstrated just how old my generation has become. We gave into the fears of age and voted for a corporate hack over a true revolutionary. Back in the day with another war raging and dividing the country we supported Eugene McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy and George McGovern. Now the 60+ plus "liberal" vote went to pro-war, pro-death penalty, pro-Wall Street Hillary Clinton.

Another Clinton, nearly another Bush. What happened to us?

I am disappointed in my peers and I am surprised. Have memories faded over the years or have aging fears and 401Ks become more significant than the progressive values we once held together?

I get it that enemies foreign and domestic are on your minds. ISIS, ISIL and all the other threats seem too big and scary. And Hillary has experience with those demons. She bombs them and supports right wing leaders to suppress them.

At home, Trump is looming but poll after poll have shown that Bernie beats Trump by a much wider margin than Hillary. You get no excuse on the home front.

So, to my aging Boomer friends, I say and will say again. I am disappointed in what the years have done to our values and to our fervor. Where did it all go? Why did so many of you, of us, never even look at Bernie Sanders.

I leave you with this memory. When we were protesting Vietnam, do you not remember how it was us (the young) against them (our elders). Families were divided. Parents and children did not speak.


U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders is getting 80% of the youth vote.

How can we not remember when we were right where those kids are today.

Do you think we were wrong?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Some Thoughts on Addiction

What do you think of when you hear the term - Addiction?

Heroin? Drugs? Perhaps, alcohol? How about nicotine, sex, shopping or gambling?

"Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance or engages in an activity that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health."

One often hears: "We're all addicts" or "we all have addictions."

Songs are written about it.

"You might as well admit it, you're addicted to love." - Robert Palmer

"There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes." - John Prine

Addictions come in all shapes, forms and sizes. Some we cope with, others destroy us. Many of them simply chew up the fabric of our lives.

Take the Internet and it's death eater - Facebook.

I'm on a sabbatical from FB right now. Even went so far as to delete my last several months of posts, comments and likes. Addictions not only steal brain cells,  kill relationships and undermine well-being; we often overlook the ones that are just time sucks.

Minutes, hours and days can be consumed by the internet. Television, well admittedly in somewhat of a Golden Age right now, has spawned so many orphans (Netflix, Hulu, Roku, Sling, Amazon Prime) we can binge watch shows that haven't even aired yet.

Regrets, I've had a few but into the future the only Time Bandits I'm allowing in my world are those from Monty Python and Kim Stanley Robinson.

Oh, and Game of Thrones when it comes back

and the Coen Brothers

maybe PokerStars

but that's all

except for Ben & Jerry, which is a whole other addiction . . .

composite photo by Stephen McMennan

Friday, March 04, 2016

Size Does Matter

I was watching the primary results on Super Tuesday and heard something intriguing.

Let me be clear, I watched seven or eight channels, flipping between them to avoid having to listen a single word out of the mouth to any of the candidates or a single syllable from the foaming lips of Wolf Blitzer.

Amidst all the idiocy and repetitive obviousness, I did hear one compelling argument.

One of the talking heads said that in several of the crossover primary states, where voters could select which party primary to vote in and where independents could also vote, he identified three groups of non-republican-party-members voting in the republican primaries.

Group A: Pro-Trump all the way, including both independent and true crossover democrats.

Group B: Anti-Trump all the way, voting for Rubio, Cruz, Kasich, Carson or Beelzebub.

Group C: Anti-Republican independents and democrats crossing over to vote FOR Trump because he is the weakest candidate in the general election.

Obviously, Group C voters are my favorites. I have advocated for forty years that each and every vote in a presidential election should be a protest vote against the two party monopoly. I have voted Green, Independent, Socialist, Peace & Freedom and probably another couple now defunct third parties. I will do so again, unless the FeeltheBern movement finds a way to undermine the democrats heavy-handed anti-democracy tactics.

Let me be clear to all those with email, phone and face-to-face access to me. If Donald and Hillary are polling neck and neck on election eve come November, I will not be voting for her, never.

It can't be said often enough - when you vote for the lesser of two evils, you still get evil; even when one of the evils is a jack-booted specter of disgust.