Politics vs. Technology

The whole point of the cartoon, as edited above, is that Republican politics is still mired in 1800’s mentality. That the structures that politics are limited to amount to a covered wagon instead of a starship. Parties being in control of the political system is a large part of that problem. Getting past the 1800’s thinking of Republicans is the first stumbling block to fixing the shit we live in.

Just FYI, the dank meme above was originally a cartoon indicting the harnessing of the internet to FCC regulations. 

I don’t think that was the problem with lumping the internet under FCC title II. Those regulations could have been updated if we had a working political system. Updating regulations is preferable to selling ourselves to information resellers, making us all nothing more than targets for marketing more stuff, stuff that most of us can’t afford. Net neutrality is going to have to come at the expense of ending the internet of the wild west, where any fraudster is capable of dreaming up a pyramid scheme that encompasses millions if not billions of people.

That covered wagon is just as much a representation of the mentality of people who think that anarchism is freedom as it is the current Republican mentality that we have to rely on an authoritarian government to get what we want out of life. All of our ways of thinking need a good brooming in order to rid ourselves of ideas that have lived past their times of usefulness.

Facebook comment 1 & 2


Editor’s note. Weirdly, the member that posted the image thinks he’s defending Stormtrumpers with that image. Indicting liberals. Every time I turn around I am surprised by the rock-hard political stupidity of the average American. If there is a political group that worships at the altar of money and power, that group is the Republican party and their Orange Hate-Monkey president. How that re-edited image could possibly be seen as indicting liberalism is beyond me.

It’s been three years now. In order to get a sense of the history of what OHM means, I will link a few crucial posts. I wrote The Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) when it became clear that the Republicans were going to nominate Donald Trump.  I wrote The GOP Cuddles Up To the NSDAP when the GOP refused to ostracize the OHM for his dangerously xenophobic populism. I wrote Caveat Emptor on the day Trump lied with his hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the US constitution. I wrote Bullshit is Bullshit on the day I stopped even trying to catalogue the blatant disregard of the truth by the OHM. It mystifies me why people still listen to him, and why the OHM still holds the office of the president. #MAGA means Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans. Anyone who believes differently is a MAGA themselves, otherwise known as a Stormtrumper, h/t to Berkeley Breathed.

Existence Is

The AtlanticA 97-Year-Old Philosopher Faces His Own Death – Jan 14, 2020

What Is the Point?

Herbert Fingarette

Each person’s existence carries its own meaning, this much is clear to me at age 56. I’m not likely to get anywhere near 97 years of age. The genetic and social burdens I carry will probably kill me long before I make it that far. But who knows? I certainly don’t. I plan to live for as long as life brings me joy, and not for one minute longer if I can arrange that.

Like the veteran philosopher, this amatuer philosopher has pondered the meaning of existence many times. I cannot come up with a reason for life beyond the one I gave in the first sentence. Either you find your meaning for continuing for yourself, or you don’t. If you don’t, your existence is liable to be shorter than the person who can find that reason for themselves.

People without purpose tend to wither away. When I was stricken with illness that wouldn’t kill me, but rendered me incapable of continuing to indulge my passion for architecture, for designing and building, I came dangerously close to doing just that. It was the interference of family and friends that kept me here, allowed me time to find new purpose. Otherwise I would have been gone years ago.

A few years ago this week, I held my dying mother in my arms, and wept at the cruelty of the world that would kill this noble woman this way. Kill her with a cancer that she refused to treat. She felt it was the end of her time. And so it was the end of her time. And so it is for all of us, if we allow it to be. Or not.

Or not.

Accept that you know next to nothing about life and living. Savor each new thing, each new day, as if it is your last. Never miss a sunset if you can help it. Catch the first sun’s rays when you can. Breathe in life and then exhale it to enrich the world around you. Each and every day is a new day with new things to learn. Existence is its own purpose. I wouldn’t have it any other way, myself.

RAnt(hony)-ings

Submitted to the Atlantic. Featured image link, another bridge/sunset from Bing that I had to track down.

Connectivity – Take 1,178

I lost connectivity. It feels like it has been over eleven hundred times. If I’m feeling even more vexed, it will feel like more times. I blame LG for this. This time, number 1178, was definitely all LG’s fault. I have a new phone. A new LG phone. I had an LG phone before last week, but now it is a new, five day old phone.

The new phone required me to take four days off from doing just about anything else other than trying to get data from the old phone to the new phone. A task that proved fruitless to the very end. That is the short version of the story.

The family switched from Ting to T-Mobile sometime in 2019. I liked Ting. I liked it because it was cheap. But then the prices went up, and our usage went up, and the Son started watching movies on his phone at college, and suddenly we were spending enough on cell phone charges that we could probably save money going with a standard carrier instead of a minute and data swapper like Ting. So we bit the bullet and changed to T-Mobile as a family, and I got a new LG phone to replace the Motorola G5 that inexplicably didn’t have NFC capability on it.

That was when the fun started. The first LG-Q7+ was always flaky. It kept giving me operating system errors and crashing at unexpected times. I dutifully tried to troubleshoot the poor thing for several months, tweaking this, changing that, reloading this or that application. No luck. Then one day it decided that it couldn’t take pictures anymore, so the LG-Q7+ that was my first-ever cell phone provided by a carrier’s plan had to be replaced.

Fortunately or unfortunately its replacement was another LG-Q7+. The LG-Q7+ is not a bad phone. Personally, I think it runs circles around the Motorola G5, and that’s just because I can use it to do electronic transactions without having to dig for a card. But because it was another LG-Q7+ I thought that this was a good time to try the LG Mobile Switch software that I hadn’t bothered to use when I changed from the Motorola to the LG the first time.

That first time I set it up? I just fired up the smartphone, selected language and country options, then I told Google it was my new phone, and Google set it all up for me in about a half-hour. It was fast and easy, but I was never certain that letting Google set it up hadn’t been half the problem that the first LG-Q7+ was having with it’s memory.

So, silly me, not allowing something that works stand in the way of trying something new, I loaded up the LG Mobile Switch software and set it to copying and transferring the dozens of gigabytes of data that I have on my phone. I wanted this to be a straight copy from phone to phone, so I didn’t bother to associate the new LG phone with my Google account in advance. I figured it would know it was my phone after it initialized the new installation. This was my first mistake.

After I got the data transferred, the Switch software coughed up an error. It said that it couldn’t transfer Amazon music to the new phone. I figured I’d just install it on my own when I had the new phone up and running, so I pulled the sim card and SD card from the old phone and popped it into the new one.

It started up fine, but then I noticed that some of my data from the old phone didn’t copy. Data that wasn’t in Amazon music. Data that I couldn’t transfer on my own. My Google Fit data, specifically. So I started the transfer process again, thinking it was the error that caused the data glitch. This was my second mistake.

The second data transfer completed without error, but when I looked at the phone records I realized that the data had been duplicated, and the Google Fit data disappeared when I opened the application. This is the point where I should have stopped, reset the new phone, and let Google know that I was trying to set up a new phone, starting the process by accessing my Google account first. Had I done that (this was already two days into the four day torture session) I would probably still have my Google Fit data.

I didn’t do that. Instead I deleted data from the individual applications (!) and started the transfer process a third time. I figured that I was only clearing data from the one phone, it wouldn’t affect the actual data on my old phone. When the process completed the third time, I still didn’t have the data I wanted. What was worse is that when I went to check the old phone, I watched as the data was deleted from it as well.

The weird part was that a phone that wasn’t currently connected to the internet in any way, didn’t even have a sim card in it, could get instructions to delete data and then delete it. My best guess is that the command was transferred during the brief moments that the phone was on the network to do the third transfer, and that the data purge was simply waiting for me to fire up the app the next time, which I did.

I tried resetting the old phone to factory specs and then reinstalling the data from an old backup, but the damage had been done already. The data in the backup had also been deleted; or if it hadn’t been deleted, it was deleted when it was sent to the new installation. What was worse is that the LG Mobile Switch software still hadn’t duplicated some of the other data that it should have copied, if it was actually doing what it promised to do.

So on the fourth day I reset the new phone to factory specs and downloaded the backup from Google to the new phone, just like I had done the first time with the flaky first LG-Q7+. Annoyingly LG Mobile Switch insisted that I allow it to copy data from my old phone, even though the old phone had been reset to factory specs and returned to T-Mobile the day before. I had to figure out how to get the software to stop bugging me to copy data, which meant telling it “yes I want to copy” and then canceling out of the process after it got to the start screen.

It would have been nice if the LG Mobile Switch software had prompted me to log into my Google account as a precursor to starting the copy process, so as to let the dumb new user know that logging into your Google account was going to be required for the process to be successful. That would have been a big help. Not being so willing to try new things just to be able to screw up in new and interesting ways (and then write about the process) would also have kept me from accidentally deleting seven-ish years of fitness tracking from my Google account.

I started writing this on Monday, February 3rd. I got the new phone on Thursday, January 30th and started setting it up that day. As I started writing, I was logging into the last of the hundred or so apps that I have on my phone. What this experience has taught me more than anything, is that I really need to do some weeding of old apps from my phone. Not having to wedge data on to tiny old phones has made me lazy over the last few years. I really don’t know what all those apps do, or why I have them other than I thought “oh, cool” while listening to a TWiT or TWiG or All About Android episode, and then forgetting I installed whatever it was after I finished fiddling around with it. Why is it that everything requires regular cleaning, even the tech?

Looks like I’ll be duplicating the data collection that my doctor requested me to do about two weeks before I changed phones. I had just finished entering the last set of data into Google Fit and just needed to copy it and upload it to his website. If only I had done that first. If only.

Women 2020

Facebook – Strange Women Lying in Ponds Distributing Swords
(yes there is a group for that. I don’t know if they created the image)

It could just be shortened to women in 2020, but I’ll take whichever.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Dennis The Constitutional Peasant

I mean, if I went around sayin’ I was an empereror just because some moistened bink had lobbed a scimitar at me they’d put me away!

Monty Python (the line itself)

The 2016 version as I posted it four years ago on Facebook.

Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie

I was just on Youtube looking for this video.

onedeadtrollEvery OS Sucks – Jun 10, 2011

In response to a friend who said in passing “every browser sucks.” He’s using Microsoft Edge on his phone now. I won’t be installing it again because of Bing .

RAnt(hony)-ings

I let the video play in the background while I went back to doing other things, and the next video that Youtube auto-queues for me after Every OS Sucks is this one. I had to go back and restart the video just to watch the full machine in action.

OK GoThis Too Shall Pass – Rube Goldberg Machine – Official Video – Mar 2, 2010

…it may just be a thinly disguised ad for State Farm insurance. That’s hard to say. What I do know is that it is hard to figure out what is real anymore these days, and it is getting harder to do everyday. Even the advertising pretends to be something other than advertising.

Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie was one of those groups I found on MP3.com back in the day. I bought their albums and listened to them over and over on family car trips. But those halcyon days of yesteryear are gone just like every OS that didn’t suck. MP3.com is just another crap website looking to scare up click traffic now. No original content. The Three Dead Trolls are now just One Dead Troll. Wes Borg (Youtube channel) is the one remaining troll.

Artists. They can’t maintain websites when they can’t find permanent residence or pay bills. I mean you have to entertain us all, even when you can’t feed yourself. Keep being funny man!

TEDx TalksHow the Robots Will Destroy Us: Wes Borg at TEDxVictoria – Dec 18, 2012

Homelessness is real. If you become homeless, what is real becomes the things you can’t avoid. Prevent homelessness. Buy an artist’s work when you can.

Daily Beef: Essential Oil Isn’t

It’s all the rage these days. You can’t swing a dead cat on the internet without hitting someone trying to sell you essential oil.

Our presenters will explain how to build a daily immune boosting routine, how to manage digestive issues, how to use oils during your pregnancy and so much more! Plus, we’ll have a special guest talking about why we created the Online Oil Oasis. You won’t want to miss a single minute!

DoTerra promotional information

Mother was into essential oils for the last few years of her life. Right up to the point where the cancer she refused to admit she had killed her. Part of her insistence on doing things the natural way was from her early education in Christian Science. At some point during her life she shifted god into nature and was convinced that living naturally, organically, was good for her. She did fine with that belief until she started denying the findings of science.

It is a common delusion. Much more common than Christian Science itself is. Most people think organic and natural signify good things until you point out to them that poisons are natural and organic. They are simply natural or organic poisons. Too much water can kill you, as the most basic example. Organic simply means that whatever the product is, it once was alive. Natural means that it can be found in nature. That’s it. That is all that the words mean.

An essential oil contains the smell of the thing. That’s all they are, the smell conveying particles of whatever is infused into the oil. There is no more and no less to the product being marketed as essential. Marketed as something you need or require, need or require being mistaken for smell (essentia) Essential, not essential. It smells like something, not you need that something.

The real problem I have with essential oils is the exaggeration of their effects. If the only claim that proponents of essential oils made was “this smells good, I think you’ll enjoy it” I wouldn’t be writing this at all. That’s not the case, though. The benefits of essential oils are exaggerated because exaggeration sells. Websites like this one make extraordinary health claims like curing colds, asthma, bronchitis, hypertension, liver congestion, heart palpitations, depression, and boosting your immune system (what does that even mean?).Other websites make fanciful claims like “restore your body’s natural energy balance” – a claim so bad it’s not even wrong.

Skeptoid

Every time I go on a Meniere’s help group or talk to a layperson about my disability, almost without fail, someone will suggest I try some essential oils because they will fix whatever problem I’m complaining about at the time. Never fails. These days I have to actively restrain my own desire to lash out when whoever it is looks down their nose at me and pronounces the phrase essential oil.

I’ve tried essential oils. I still have some DoTerra oils that mom had amongst her possessions when we cleaned out her apartment. Tons of DoTerra branded products from vial purses to empty sample containers to dozens if not hundreds of different types of oils that she had read somewhere did this or that for her.

The Breathe formulation does open the sinuses when rubbed under the nose. Several of the essences in the formulation are known astringents. Astringents cause the skin to tighten, opening passages in the sinuses if you rub the oil under your nose. This is a known effect discovered by science. This isn’t because it is natural or organic, it is the chemical formulation that has this effect, an effect that can be duplicated artificially if needed. It’s simply cheaper to get the essence from the natural source. If it isn’t cheaper there are artificial manufacturers out there supplying the cheaper product. The chemical process will still work exactly the same, and you can save a buck at the same time.

The Digestzen has ginger in it. Ginger has long been used to calm digestion. I prefer chewing a Gin-gins to the grassy flavor of Digestzen, and excessive oil in the stomach is an agitant all in itself. Have a ginger ale. It’s all natural.

I can (and probably eventually will) go through every single oil that people offer to me as something that will fix my vertigo and dizziness. Mom offered me dozens when she was still with us. None of her magic concoctions worked. I wanted her concoctions to work, which is half of the necessary equation. The other half, science, simply wasn’t there to put the treatment over the line to make it effective. If it didn’t work when mom dispensed it, it isn’t going to work when a stranger suggests it. Zip it before I lose my temper and tell you what I really think of your woo.

Dear Republicans. What Does Trump’s Cock Taste Like?

This should be the question that every pundit asks every Republican who won an office in the election on November 6, 2018, since every one of them swore fealty to King Trump in order to win their elections. The question should be asked every time they hold a presser. It should be asked every time they are seen in public. It should be asked in front of their wives. Their children. Their families. Everyone needs to have the blatant corruption at the heart of every Republican victory last night spelled out in the most graphic, disgusting terms possible. Trump can get away with the shit he says every day? Ask that fucking question every fucking day until they crack.

“what does Trump’s cock taste like, Mr. Senator? Mr. Representative? Mr. Secretary?”

Maybe, just maybe, they’ll fucking wake up then. But I doubt it.

In the meantime. The weasel will try to squirm out of harm’s way. The Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) has already signaled that he’ll play ball with the Democrats. Nothing doing. Not unless he turns states evidence on all his Russian contacts, fires all his children, divests from all his businesses. And when I say divest I mean sell every one of his properties to the highest bidder with all proceeds going to pay off the design and construction professionals he’s screwed over the last forty years. He has to agree to replace his entire cabinet with people who will not attempt to undermine their departments. Essentially he has to agree to congressional oversight of everything in the presidential administration, and he loses control of the military. He has to rubber-stamp everything the congress sends to him and he has to tell all his supporters how much they’ll love it.

Oh, and he also will have to insist on IRS prosecutions for the entire DeVos family.

If. If he does all of that, he can stay president for two more years. No running for re-election either. Take your pension, sit down and shut up after January 20th, 2021. If he doesn’t go for all of that, the anal probes start moving in on January 20th, 2019. Or he could just quit now and take his chances. It’s all up to him now. Let’s see which way the weasel runs.


I spoke too soon post-election. Ann Coulter and the Joey Goebbels of AM radio, Rush Limbaugh, scared the OHM into demanding congress do his bidding instead of trying to do something that made sense, like bow to the will of the majority of US citizens. He said (paraphrasing)

Build my wall with your money since Mexico won’t pay for it!

Unsurprisingly the answer from Nancy Pelosi and her majority of the House has been no. Also unsurprisingly, the art school turtle,

THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART – FACES OF DEBT – 9/14/2010

Mitch McConnell, refuses to do anything unless the OHM tells him to. So the OHM shut the government down. He, the president, the man charged with keeping the government running, turned the government off. Probably the most impeachable act we’ve seen a president do, ever. Another history-breaking action from this, the most corrupt, the most fraudulent, the most ridiculous president in the history of this country.

The standoff cannot last, and the OHM will not be getting money for his wall from the Democratically lead house. They know what kind of thief he is already. If the shutdown doesn’t end in less than a month, I predict impeachment hearings will begin to be discussed seriously. The only thing standing in the way of the government reopening is the idiot sitting in the White House not doing the job he was elected to do.


The government stayed shut down from December 22, 2018 until January 25, 2019. 35 days. For more than a month, there was no United States government. Let that sink in. There was no capacity to do anything that required the federal government to operate for almost the entire month of January, 2019. The president turned the government back on at that point. The house passed some meaningless legislation so that the OHM could save face, and he grudgingly allowed the United States to continue to exist, until he changes his mind again.

…and the outrage rolled on through the year of 2019. Trump’s new flunky, AG William Barr, ensured that the Mueller investigation ended. AG Barr then lied about what was in the report, and refused to re-characterize his assessment of the report even after Bobby-Three-Sticks testified before the House. Mueller said in very precise terms (paraphrasing)

If you want him punished, you (the House) have to do it.

Weirdly, people keep telling me Mueller didn’t find anything. That isn’t what I heard in his testimony. What I heard him say was he found a lot of stuff. He just couldn’t prove any of it as a prosecutor tasked with building a case against Donald J. Trump, because that guy is the president and a president has to be impeached. That is the prosecutorial remedy for bad presidents.

Finally. On december 19, 2019 Donald John Trump was impeached by the House of representatives. It was then that speaker Pelosi proved she was the canny operator that everyone says she is. She held the impeachment articles until after the Christmas holiday (Die Hard Christmas) so that the Senate would have had time to think about the job before them, and possibly get an agreement to call the witnesses that are needed to prove the case they’ve built against the President. That process is going on now, so I have moved this article forward in time to the day the House Managers began presenting the prosecution’s case in the Senate. That date (for the later clarity of this article, so I don’t have to re edit this fucker again. Editor) is January 22, 2020.


Side note. On January 14, 2020, the new P.M. of the United Kingdom (soon to be just the Kingdom of England and Wales once again. After Brexit that is. AB? Editor.) the infamous Bojo is also on his knees sucking Donald Trump’s cock. I wonder if he has an opinion about the flavor? The BBC reports that Bojo wants to Replace Iran nuclear plan with ‘Trump deal’. That’s rich. Like there will be a Trump deal with Iran short of full-out war. Yeah, that will happen.


I’m watching the case being put before the Senate as I write this (January 22, 2019, 6:30 pm) I decided to move this article forward to the date of the impeachment trial in the Senate while watching the endless arguments yesterday (01/21/2020) over the rules that the Senate would follow during the trial. I have now updated the article with links to some of the OHM articles I’ve written since the 2018 elections. Time to get busy watching this rare political event unfold.

C-SPANU.S. Senate: Impeachment Trial (Day 3) – Jan 22, 2020
Facebook – PBS News

…but make no mistake. If the Senate acquits the OHM without calling witnesses, every Republican Senator who votes to acquit will have taken their turn at sucking the President’s cock. Every. One. Of. Them.

More importantly, every one of them will be investigated by the next president who takes control of the office, and that investigation could very well be conducted by foreign governments interested in seeking favor with the president of the United States. They should probably think pretty hard about acquitting the OHM. You never know who the next person who holds an office might be. Just ask Barack Obama if he’s happy about his current predicament. Ask him if he thinks the future turned out the way he wanted.

BTW, it has been 3 years, 2 days, 13 hours and 22 minutes since Donald Trump should have been removed from office. It will have been a bit longer by the time you read this.


Editor’s note. I edited and moved this article forward for the first day of impeachment prosecution arguments (day three according to C-SPAN) because I wrote this article after the Democratic midterm victories thinking that we would see a change in the OHM’s behavior after the drubbing he suffered in that election. Once again, I was wrong. Against all the evidence of history, the Republicans and their president have continued on their merry way pretending that they haven’t got anything to worry about. The government shutdown derailed my train of thought, and I forgot about this article until I went back over the year’s articles trying to decide what I would use to anchor this first day of testimony that so many of us have been waiting for, for over a year. Finally, that day has come.

Witness to Three Impeachments

Zoe Lofgren is one of the impeachment managers who presented the Articles of Impeachment for Donald John Trump to the Senate and will be part of the prosecution of the Houses’ case for impeachment.

She was elected to the House of Representatives in 1995, and was on the Judiciary committee when the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton was being conducted.

She was an aide to Representative Don Edwards (D-Calif.), who sat on the House Judiciary Committee in 1973. She was sent to Washington to work on a bankruptcy bill but was swept up in the Nixon impeachment inquiry.

Everybody got sucked into the tornado that was the impeachment inquiry. I was a law student, so I wasn’t running the show, but I did work on it. You had a sense of how historic it was, how serious it was. But to be present was both an honor and also an obligation, and to be able to play a small part in something, it felt profound.

Washington Post

So she has a unique perspective on the subject of impeachment.

1A – Rep. Zoe Lofgren On Impeachment, Then And Now – January 18, 2020

I remember when Bill Clinton was impeached. I remember that I was pissed off for having to explain what a blow job was to my then seven-year-old daughter. I understood that Bill Clinton had broken the law. I also understood that what the Republicans were doing was entirely for show. They had no intention of acting on the evidence against him in any real fashion; or perhaps they knew that the charges they could bring against him were insufficient to have him removed from office. They just wanted to embarrass a popular Democratic president, and perhaps keep the next president from being a Democrat.

Morning Edition – The Senate Trial Of Bill Clinton – December 19, 2019

…a task that they weren’t capable of pulling off without the help of the Supreme Court. I knew that if they had been serious about getting Bill Clinton out of the White House, they would have called him on fraternization. But then most of them would also have skeletons in their closets that they wouldn’t have wanted dragged out into public after conducting that trial.

What Bill Clinton did was a crime. However the crime was engaging in a sexual relationship with a direct subordinate, which should be much more of a crime than lying to the grand jury about the sexual relationship. Worse, it was apparently a common practice of his to engage in sex with his subordinates, as other women took pains to testify about. Even to sue him over.

I also remember when Richard Nixon left office. I was a little older than the daughter was when Clinton was impeached, but I remember the sadness and betrayal that many people felt. Betrayal by the president of the people he was supposed to represent. I don’t know how many of my relatives and neighbors supported him before he was found to be culpable by the tapes he was forced to release to the House of Representatives. But I do remember that Grandma didn’t have a single kind word to say about him, so she wouldn’t say much other than he got what was coming to him.

Fresh Air – An Inside Look At The Watergate Prosecution – February 12, 2020

The Watergate Girl by Jill Wine-Banks

Nixon and Clinton both were compelled to release information to the impeachment inquiry that the House embarked upon against them. Both of them understood that the United States government was not just the president. It was the entire nation, figuratively. The U.S. Government is made up of at least the other two branches of government outside of the executive branch, and it is also made up of all the people who worked in all the branches of government that make up the government. It is and was bigger than any one person. That is perhaps the most telling argument against Donald J. Trump. He doesn’t admit that anything is bigger than he is. I doubt he even has the capacity to understand just how small he really is.

It is that lack of understanding that made these events we are witnessing inevitable. Nixon understood that if he was impeached he would be removed from office because the country had turned against him. He knew that he would face prosecution, and that he couldn’t be pardoned if impeached. So he left office on the heels of his even more crooked vice president, Spiro Agnew, the Bag Man of Rachel Maddow’s podcast.

ART19 – Bagman

…and Richard Nixon was pardoned by Spiro Agnew’s replacement, Gerald Ford.

Bill Clinton knew that what he had done was wrong and he apologized to the country. His behavior since that time publicly has been exemplary. I haven’t had to explain one other uncomfortable thing about him to a minor since that day.

Nixon knew when he was beat. Clinton knew how to appease the people who were rightly offended at his behavior. Donald Trump? He doesn’t acknowledge that others exist or that his behavior varies in any way from the absolute straight and narrow, even when caught red handed lying, cheating and stealing. That has been his standard of practice since I first ran across his name back in the days of Trump tower and the Trump Taj Mahal. Donald Trump doesn’t have the presence of mind to understand just how far out on a limb he is right now.

Zoe Lofgren knows how precarious his position is and hopes to hold him accountable for the crimes he has always gotten away with before. I wish her luck in her endeavor. Perhaps someone exercised caveat emptor after all.

Fresh Air – Donald Trump’s Testing Of America – February 17, 2020

A Very Stable Genius by Philip Rucker & Carol Leonnig

Galadriel

The most underrated of all the characters in Tolkien’s created universe.

Galadriel was born into the glory of the Two Trees, in Valinor. she was born when the Noldor were at the height of their power and knowledge, sitting at the feet of the Valar. She was descended from both the Noldor and the Vanyar through the blood of her grandmother Indris. She was also descended from the Telari through her mother, the daughter of Olwe, high king of the Telari.

The Vanyar elves were the favored of the Valar, who sang Arda into existence at the direction of Eru Iluvatar, the creator of all things. The Vanyar responded first to the summoning of the huntsman Orome. Orome, alone of the Valar to seek combat with the creatures of Melkor in the dark times. Orome, who brought a message from the Valar who hoped to shield the firstborn of Eru Iluvatar from the perils of the world that Melkor had secretly seeded into his song of Arda.

The world lived in darkness when the firstborn came into being. Melkor had destroyed the works that the other Valar had sang into the world as part of their songs, including the towers of light used by the Valar to illuminate their work. All the works that Melkor could not destroy, he perverted.

The only light in Arda when the firstborn awoke came from the stars that Varda set alight before time began. Varda understood Melkor’s intentions before all the other Valar, and contrived to put her creations beyond his reach so that the world would not live in complete darkness after he destroyed the sources of light that were within his reach. Melkor hated the light, and especially hated the stars of Varda that spied down upon him.

Varda alone provided revelation to the elves in their time of birth. This is why all elves revere her, even the dark elves, the Sindar, who never set foot on Valinor where Varda dwells, or saw the light of the two trees. The light that lives on in the Eldar and can be seen by the keen-eyed and those that are near to death. This is what separates the Sindar from the Eldar, the living light of the two trees that resides in the bodies of the Eldar.

The Noldor followed the Vanyar to Valinor. The Noldor were the most powerful of all of the elves, and spent their eons of time in Valinor learning all that the Valar would teach them of the making of things. After the Noldor followed the hosts of the Telari elves. The Telari loved the night and the stars and did not want to go to Valinor, even though they would be safe from the creatures of Melkor there. They stopped short of entering Valinor and lived on the edge of the light, on an island in the great outer sea of Arda.

King Olwe’s daughter Eärwen was the mother of Galadriel. Her father was Finarfin, son of Finwe, high king of the Noldor. She carried the blood of all three of the tribes of the Eldar, and was born in the presence of the Two Trees, whose living light was captured by Feanor in his greatest creation, the Silmarils. This was in the first age. This was the beginning that Galadriel knew.

When Melkor became Morgoth, stealing the Silmarils, killing Finwe and escaping from the other Valar, renouncing kinship with those who kept him captive in Valinor, the stage was set for the tragedy that was told in the Silmarillion. The Noldor left Valinor in pursuit of Morgoth, even though they knew that they had no hope of defeating him, whose power was equal to that of the Valar in the beginning. But they refused to sit idle at the feet of the creators of the world, who appeared to do nothing to right the wrongs that Morgoth enacted upon their creations.

What the Noldor did not understand was that the song had been sung already. The Valar could do only what they had woven into the song of the world before time began. They had agreed to be constrained by the limits of time when they entered into the world of Arda and made it what it was. But they were not powerless, as they soon demonstrated.

It was then that the sun and the moon were created and set in the sky, and Galadriel was there on the beach in Beleriand to witness the first dawning of the moon and then the sun, along with the rest of the Noldor that had pursued Morgoth. She stayed with her brother, Finrod Felagund, as he established one of the longest lasting and largest kingdoms that vied with Morgoth for control of Beleriand. But her desires led her away from the Noldor and their hopeless pursuit of vengeance. She stayed for a time with her Sindarin kin in the realm of King Thingol. But staying safely hidden from the threats of Morgoth’s creatures was what chafed on her in Valinor. So she left Menegroth and passed beyond the girdle of Melian in search of places that were not safe. Challenges that were not hopeless.

At the Telerin port of Alqualondë before the betrayal and the leaving of Valinor, Galadriel met Celeborn, who would become her husband. Her companion and fellow traveller through the ages of Middle Earth. Together they passed beyond the Ered Luin, and so were not present when Finrod fell into darkness. Did not die in the sacking of Nargothrond or Menegroth. Could not be drowned with the rest of the inhabitants of Beleriand when it was destroyed at the ending of the first age. Destroyed in the War of Wrath that saw Morgoth defeated by the Valar and thrust, bound, into the outer darkness.

She and Celeborn lived on through the long millenia of the Second age. She gave birth to a daughter who became the wife of Elrond half-elven, who in turn gave birth to Arwen Undomiel. They witnessed the pinnacle of Noldorian achievements in the harnessing of power within the great rings by Celebrimbor, a grandson of Feanor. Celebrimbor who was betrayed by Sauron when he created the One Ring to rule over all the others, and thereby gain control of Elves, Dwarves and Men. A feat that was denied to his former master, Morgoth. Sauron,who we met first as a mere lackey in service to Morgoth, beaten in battle by the hound Huan who, with Luthien Tinuviel, rescued Beren from Sauron’s dungeons.

Sauron who had been defeated by a dog of the first age, was in turn defeated by the Numenoreans when they came against him in their quests for empire in the latter part of the second age. Galadriel witnessed all of this from her kingdom in Lorien.

Likewise she witnessed the beginning of the third age, when the world was changed, curved, so that Valinor would always be beyond the reach of mere mortals. Changed when the king of Numenor, the descendants of Elrond’s half-elven brother, grew so bold that they challenged the Valar for dominance of Valinor. Sauron had bided his time, worked his magics, had been made a counselor of the king of Numenor. Had put the idea of invading Valinor into the head of the king, hoping to be rid of the Numenoreans so that he could continue his own personal conquest of Middle Earth.

…Only to be caught up in the change that Eru Iluvatar inflicted on the world, his physical form destroyed in the drowning of Numenor. Forced to flee back to Mordor as a mist, where he had to lay quietly reconstructing himself before he could take up the one ring once again. This too, Galadriel saw.

She saw it, because she was the keeper of one of the three Elven rings.

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

The Lord of the Rings

..and so she knew when Sauron had returned. As did the holders of all of the other rings of power. They waged war on Sauron when it was known that he had survived the destruction of Numenor, many thousands of bright elves slain in the course of war. Galadriel witnessed all of this. The fall of Gil-Galad. The betrayal of Isildur. The loss of the one ring to time.

She knew it would re-emerge one day. That story is told in the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings and I won’t duplicate it here. I’m telling this story simply to say that when Frodo sees Arwen glow with the light of the Two Trees in Fellowship of the Ring, I knew immediately that Peter Jackson really didn’t understand the story he was telling. When I watched The Two Towers, I knew that Peter Jackson was no J.R.R. Tolkien. But that is also another tale for another day. I will say only this. Arwen is Galadriel’s granddaughter, Mr. Jackson. A mere wisp of a girl compared to her. She does not glow the way that Galadriel glows, having been in the presence of the two trees. Galadriel who knew true power, in the form of Melkor and the Valar. You should have paid more attention to the lore, sir.

…And I also tell this story to observe that of course Galadriel left Middle Earth after the destruction of the one ring and the banishment of Sauron, the retiring of the last of the Ainur back to Valinor. The Ainur being present in Middle Earth in the form of the great wizards. She left because there was no real power left in Middle Earth now that wasn’t transitory. Mortal. Impermanent. The immortal that is surrounded by the mortal can either retire into obscurity, or rise to power at the expense of mortal men. We saw what she thought of that kind of power.

Galadriel, the Great and Terrible.

The Wife said, on reading this “So you finally got to finish that argument, ten years later.” Yes. Yes I have. That’s what happens when you become a writer.

Sailing

Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

Christopher Cross, Sailing

I had a love of old wooden vessels powered by nothing but the wind like most young boys did. Treasure Island was one of the many books I read in grammas collection of old reader’s digest condensed books, on one of my many nights spent sleeping in my dad’s old room.

The idea of something called an ocean was nearly inconceivable to a young child trapped in the middle of the high plains of North America. Much less a story of a deadly life upon the sea. After reading Treasure Island I was young Jim Hawkins evading the pirates in most of the fantasies that I created, if I wasn’t Huck Finn floating his raft on the Mississippi, that is.

I read the full version of Huckleberry Finn when I read it the first time. Mark Twain’s love of travel infected me from the very beginning, and I’ve picked up and read pretty much everything of his that I could get my hands on since then. The beauty of Treasure Island as it was originally written had to wait until I bought a copy for myself back when the Son was hitting reading age and I thought I’d sneak him a copy. But even in its condensed version Treasure Island was enough to inspire a lifelong fascination with ships and the sea.

But when it comes to songs, few songs of the sea can stand up to Christopher Cross’s Sailing. Styx’s Come Sail Away was made and probably heard first, but Sailing expresses the sea-longing that Tolkien ascribes to Legolas and all the Elvish peoples in the Lord of the Rings. Ascribes to them but is really to be felt in the breasts of all people who hear the calling of the sea. Perhaps even in J.R.R. Tolkien himself.

It is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen.

Wikiquote – The Silmarillion

Sailing will make me weep with longing for the freedom of the waves.

When I became a young man, with the weight of the responsibility of the years before me, I sought freedom in the music of pirates like Jimmy Buffett. His freewheeling style, refusing to be categorized by anyone as country or rock or pop or whatever, was my inspiration. I dreamed of taking a trip to the coast and liberating the yacht of some wealthy family or other, and with my friend Wade we would become pirates and drug smugglers. It would be a short life, but a merry one, and the cares and responsibilities of modern life could be someone else’s burden to bear.

But even Jimmy Buffett knew that it was too late to make that fantasy a reality.

Yes I am a pirate, born two hundred years too late
The cannons don’t thunder, there’s nothing to plunder
I’m an over-forty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late

A Pirate Looks at Forty

When it became clear that I was never going to get to sail on the ocean itself, I settled for sailing on the waters of Twin Buttes reservoir near San Angelo. I bought myself a fourteen foot sliver of fiberglass with a nineteen foot mast and tried my best to drown friends and family while mastering the handing of that finicky little boat of mine. The water was a short ten-minute drive from where we lived in San Angelo, and my experiences there were an almost acceptable substitute for real sailing experience. The canvas can do miracles, just like the song says.

But then times got rougher in San Angelo and we had to move to Austin. In Austin the lakes were much farther away. An hour in snarled traffic wasn’t the carefree ten minute drive that made sailing something I could easily engage in anymore. Boat maintenance became a chore that I soon shirked on, and I ended up selling my beloved sailboat to someone with more time and money. Someone who could afford to keep her.

From the North to the South, Ebudæ into Khartoum
From the deep sea of Clouds to the island of the moon
Carry me on the waves to the lands I’ve never been
Carry me on the waves to the lands I’ve never seen
We can sail, we can sail with the Orinoco Flow

Enya – Orinoco Flow

The longing for the sea still calls to me. It called to me today, with a casual reference to my sailboat themed comforter that I gifted to the Daughter ages ago. Calls to me, even though just basic swimming is something I can’t indulge in anymore. I refuse to wear nose and ear plugs to the pool, and when I swim without them I end up with infections that have to be treated with antibiotics. I can only imagine what swimming in the ocean would do to my sinuses.

Just getting on a boat causes vertigo. If I travel and need to take a ferry ride, I have to stay on deck the entire time so that I can see the horizon move and not get nauseous. A cabin cruise would be strictly verboten from a vestibular perspective.

Where it all ends I can’t fathom my friends
If I knew I might toss out my anchor

Son of a Son of a Sailor

What is it about the sea that calls to me? Is it the lulling sound of waves lapping on the sand? Is it that I’m descended from fisher-folk who have always been near the oceans, lived on the oceans? Or is it something more than that?

I thought that they were angels but to my surprise
They climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies
Singing, come sail away come sail away

Dennis De Young