Sweeping the Chalkboard

The worst personal rejections come when those who meant so much to you show how little you meant to them.


Relationship neutron bomb—I survive but the friendship, memories, interest and good feelings don’t.


“How long have you known him?
“Fifteen years.”
“What’s the one thing we should know about him if we offer him the job?”
She lowered her head smiling. Pausing for a moment she then stared hard at the questioner and warned, “He doesn’t suffer fools gladly.”


At the precipice, my muscles and sinews struggled mightily to pull up the rope. With each slight pull, I felt a great weight at the end of the rope. With one last desperate pull of strength, I was able to reach the end of the rope. To my shock, there was no one, nothing attached. I had struggled desperately at great effort to save what I thought valuable, but it did not exist, it was imaginary.


Photo by Dids-Pexels

Her silence to my inquiry communicated nothing but told me everything.

EAB

Political Potpourri

Why should I worry about the future? Political, religious and cultural groups are pushing an agenda to return to the way things were in the mid-1960s when I was in my teens. Intolerance, racism, sexual repression, discrimination, and religious fanaticism are making a return thanks to Republicans and the Supreme Court, though I’m sure they have never left.

In my almost eight decades of life in the United States, I have seen so much improvement in our technology, medicine and science. Sadly I have not seen the same level of improvement in our national character.

Studying American history after November 21, 1963 is like reading a tragedy. The previous four Presidents before that date were successful ones: FDR, Truman, Eisenhower and JFK. The next four Presidents were LBJ, Nixon, Ford and Carter. They were responsible for the Vietnam War, Watergate, Nixon’s pardon and Iran hostage crisis. Since 1963, we have been involved in unnecessary wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Starting with the Reagan years, we have hollowed out the middle class in this country and made it much harder for young citizens to achieve the “American dream.” The United States has largely lost the immense respect it had in the world after World War II.

Was the last great national achievement of this country the moon landing in July 1969?

So many Americans are content to being entertained as opposed to being informed and educated. Those Americans are like professional wrestling “marks”. They are gullible to the most ludicrous story lines and pontifications…

Today’s Supreme Court has the same credibility as a moral, ethical, judicial and intellectual authority and arbiter as the Vatican.

While many in this country seem to celebrate individual success stories, one senses that many in the public secretly revel more in the failures, scandals and downfalls of those individuals. The media like to highlight the successes but love to cover and commentate on the downfall.

“Next time the National Anthem is played, every woman and girl should take a knee.” Cheri Jacobus, writing on Twitter

I think that you may receive a more accurate projection of your money and finances from a carnival fortuneteller then a certified financial advisor.

Roe vs Wade Overturn: First Thoughts

A leaked draft opinion indicating the Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that guaranteed abortion access, sent immediate shock waves throughout the United States, as many Americans braced for a future without reproductive rights that had been established for nearly a half-century.

NYT 5/3/2022

First Thoughts:

This development is probably bad news for the Republican party as it pertains to the midterm elections. The GOP was looking forward to significant gains in the House and Senate in the upcoming November election. I sense that there will be a significant political backlash and rise in political activism among women.


I think that many Democrats and liberals who decided to stand on the sidelines for the November midterm elections will now get back into the game.


Regrettably this story will push back and minimize coverage of the war in Ukraine. I hope that Americans will still support Ukraine with the fervor that they have shown so far.


This purported decision by the Supreme Court will further deepen the cultural, political and social rifts that plagued this country. I fear there will be political violence and terrorism created by this decision.


This decision will spur further discussion on how to limit the Supreme Court’s powers and also bring back ideas on increasing the size of the Court. I don’t believe that any of these discussions will generate any results.

Senescence Round 6

For older guys, Pickleball: Exercise = Viagra: Sex

Ukraine: Their legislators are dodging bullets.
USA: Our GOP legislators are dodging ballots.

Hollywood: A slap results in one suffering a 10 year ban from the Academy of Arts and Sciences
Washington: An attempted overthrow of the government results in one being the favorite for the GOP nomination for President in 2024

I am a hoarder of cluttered life experiences and emotional baggage including insults remembered, disappointments, unfulfilled expectations, envies, failures and missed opportunities. Time to declutter…

My most irrational belief is that people should act and think like I do.

Most men should be ending their political careers at age 70 not beginning or renewing it.

Voters are doing a poor job of eliminating politicians whose ages may be less than 70 but so are their IQs.

In their teens and 20s, baby boomers crammed to study for exams and finish class papers. In their 60s and older, baby boomers now cram to complete their bucket list while they are still healthy and active.

In their teens and twenties, baby boomers pulled “all nighters” which was staying up all night to study or finish papers. In their 60s and older, all nighters usually represent the hours between 10 p.m and 7 a.m. where baby boomers try to get a good night sleep.

I Got Your Message

The person who I am writing about is a “friend” for about 20 years. I expected that she would be a friend till I died. For some reason, she has not responded to my e-mails or my invitation to have lunch. I’m stunned. She was so helpful to me at different turbulent periods in my life, notably when Chris had breast cancer. Not the first time I have experienced this where I feel frozen out.

******

Geez, it sure has been awhile since we last spoke
So I called your cell phone hoping to catch up.
No answer.
So I left you a short message asking you to call back when you had the time.
No response.

I figured you missed my phone message so I texted you.
I know you are busy but I was counting on you seeing my text
So I drafted a short message asking you contact me when you had the time hoping to catch up.
No response.

We always remembered each other’s birthday so I e-mailed a funny card
I figured you were busy but I was sure this would brighten your day and spark a reply
I included a short message with the card asking you contact me when you had the time.
No response.

No response to my phone message, text and e-mail, so I wrote a personal letter
I figured that even if you were busy, you would take the time to read of my confusion and disappointment on your non-response when you had downtime.
I ended the letter asking you to contact me
No response.

A few months later, I had lunch with another mutual friend
Aware of my numerous efforts to contact you, I was asked,
”Did you ever receive a response from all the texts and messages you sent?
“Sadly I did,” I replied.

Book Review: The Fire is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr. and the Debate over Race in America

What a fascinating and enlightening book! I had seen the Baldwin/Buckley debate at Cambridge on YouTube so I was at least familiar with that event. However, I was not familiar with the backstories regarding the two men and how they influenced the civil rights movement. Buccola’s book provides an excellent historical context around the debate. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I was not familiar with Mr. Baldwin’s contributions regarding the civil rights movement. Baldwin was certainly a very persuasive and excellent spokesman for civil rights.

I was familiar with Mr. Buckley, particularly through his TV show Firing Line which I watched in my much younger years. Though I did not always agree (or understand) Mr. Buckley’s point of view, I was always impressed by his articulateness, vocabulary and presentation. However after reading this book, I am not so impressed by Mr. Buckley. I had no idea about his views regarding civil rights and blacks as human beings. I know it was a different time and many people shared Mr. Buckley’s opinion that the civil rights movement was proceeding too quickly. But I ascribed more intelligence, judgment and reasoning to Mr. Buckley that he deserved. This book opened my eyes to this part of history that I missed.

According to the author, Mr Baldwin’s opinion of William F. Buckley was much harsher…

“Buckley, Baldwin believed, knew better and had the ability to exert a considerable amount of influence in the world. Indeed, Buckley’s work as a guardian of white supremacy was, from Baldwin’s perspective, more sinister than that of the most hardened racists in American politics. Time and again, Buckley’s ends were the same as the racist demagogues he was always sure to condemn; his primary objection to these men was the means they chose to use on behalf of ‘the cause of white people.’ For these reasons, Baldwin concluded, some of the blood shed as a result of the American racial nightmare was on Buckley’s hands.”

The author points out this warning for American politics today…

“The price of victory, though, has been incredibly high. The American Right seems to be in much the same place today as where it found itself over half a century ago. To achieve overwhelming power, conservatives have had to rely on the political energy provided by racial resentment and status anxiety. Much like Buckley, many conservative elites find reliance on such energy unseemly, but they cling to it because they know it gives life to their agenda. For the American Right, the price of power has been a deal with the devil of white supremacy. This was true in Buckley’s time, and it is true in our own.”

The book is about 400 pages. If you only have limited time, read the transcript of the debate at Cambridge found in the Appendix of the book.

Resonance

Words, phrases, ideas and thoughts of resonance…

“Moving on, after all, is the favorite American activity. And technology has exacerbated our twitchy consciousness and sensationalist culture. We now live in a world of nothing but distractions, with a blizzard of stimuli.”
Kim and Pete, or Vladimir and Volodymyr? NYT Maureen Dowd 4/10/22

“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson today became the first Black woman to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, in case you’re wondering why the flag over the Fox News building is at half-staff.” — SETH MEYERS

“Today’s today’s housing market has become a game of musical chairs due mostly to the significant inventory shortage,” said Ken H Johnson a real estate economist at Florida Atlantic university. “No one wants to be holding equity, but the trade-offs, moving to a lower cost part of the country, overpaying to own or over paying to rent, are not very attractive.”

“For years, exercise scientists tried to quantify the ideal “dose” of exercise for most people. They finally reached a broad consensus in 2008 with the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which were updated in 2018 after an extensive review of the available science about movement, sitting and health. In both versions, the guidelines advised anyone who was physically able to accumulate 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, and half as much if it is intense.”

Is 30 Minutes of Exercise a Day Enough? NYT Gretchen Reynolds 4/6/22

“Liberalism’s most important selling point remains the pragmatic one that has existed for centuries: its ability to manage diversity in pluralistic societies. Yet there is a limit to the kinds of diversity that liberal societies can handle. If enough people reject liberal principles themselves and seek to restrict the fundamental rights of others, or if citizens resort to violence to get their way, then liberalism alone cannot maintain political order. And if diverse societies move away from liberal principles and try to base their national identities on race, ethnicity, religion, or some other, different substantive vision of the good life, they invite a return to potentially bloody conflict. A world full of such countries will invariably be more fractious, more tumultuous, and more violent.”

A Country of Their Own:Liberalism Needs the Nation Foreign Affairs Francis Fukuyama

Smith-Rock (Round 1)

The big news story today is not the war between Ukraine and Russia or Ginni Thomas or the Final Four teams decided for the NCAA Championship. It was a physical altercation between actor Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars. I did not watch the show but I have seen the slap administered by Smith to Rock a few dozen times on social and broadcast media. I have also heard Smith’s profane threats to Rock to keep his wife name out of “your fucking mouth.”

Everyone has an opinion and here is mine that is a bit different than what I have heard on Twitter or elsewhere.

  1. Smith is 6’1. Rock is maybe 5’7. Smith looks like he is in pretty good shape. He needs to be to garner action adventure roles and movies like Ali. Smith picked on a guy who was not capable of fighting back. Smith was a bully.
  2. Smith slapped Rock hard. What intrigued me was that Rock did not fall or go down. For all of Smith’s anger and physical prowess, he was no Ali. Rock took the hit and quickly regained his composure.
  3. I did not see Smith’s acceptance speech live for Best Actor that he won shortly after this incident. He apologized with tears coming down his face to the audience and the Academy but not to Rock. A spineless crowd reportedly gave Smith a standing ovation. That may have been Smith’s best acting performance.
  4. Smith claimed he was defending his wife from a joke that Rock told and that Smith initually laughed at. Jada Pinkett is no Meryl Streep. Pinkett has courted interest and controversy due to the couple’s open lifestyle and extramarital affairs.
  5. I expect that some loony copycats may assault other comedians at clubs or other venues. Smith got away with it. Rock, to his credit, has not pressed assault charges.
  6. Incidents like this give racists ammunition. They’ll argue this was an example of black on black violence shown live before a national audience.
  7. It will be hard for the Academy to find comedians as hosts with this kind of crowd and fears of retribution if an audience member is offended by a joke.