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In Celebration of Juneteenth

I present to you a little insight to the historical hometown hood of my youth…

The Hubbard House was an Underground Railroad terminus station which sets on a hill overlooking Lake Erie. It was instrumental in helping countless fellow humans find escape from the incomprehensible wretchedness of slavery.

It also sets right across the street from where my old high school used to be.

Unfortunately, during my time growing up in my hometown hood of Ashtabula, Ohio, I didn’t know much about the house, only that it had some vague association with slavery.

I didn’t know because back in my time the history of slavery was barely taught in school. And that which was taught about it, was glossed conveniently over… like the whitewashing of rotted wood.

My real education of slavery didn’t begin until 1977 when the landmark television miniseries ROOTS aired, a story which of course is based on Alex Haley’s hugely important book about his family’s history.

No, during my time the house was abandoned and run down and assumed haunted.

While my old high school has since been torn down, fortunately the community of Ashtabula came together to save the Hubbard House from a similar fate and worked to restore it so that it is now a beautiful and important national landmark of which I’m very proud.

#HAPPYJUNETEENTH
#BLACKLIVESMATTER

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Piddling Over An Abstraction

Have you got five minutes to spare?

No?

No time, you say?

Okay, if you had the time, what would you do with it?

Take your time and think.

I’m in no rush for I, personally, have all the time in the world.

Please stop looking at your watch phone.

Try to judge time’s movement without mechanics.

When was the last time you considered what time even means?

Or time as more than a deadline?

Is a five-minute wait a waste of time for you?

Depends on the situation, you say?

Why?
Continue reading Piddling Over An Abstraction

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KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS

trump-gif-2

You know, in the past, regardless the president in power, it has always pretty much been a constant whine from all the many millions of gun lovers toting their many more millions of guns that their Second Amendment rights are under constant attack by a relentless blizzard of liberal, commie-shaped snowflakes… so their steady stream of bawling blather has always been received by me as nothing more than unintellig-ent/ible, self-flagellating noise.

But now, with our First Amendment rights under a for real attack by Trump and his pack of stooges, it pains me to have to assume that those same Second Amendment Peters who were constantly crying Wolf about losing their rights are now happily standing by, armed and ready, to support and even help facilitate our Wolf-in-Chief achieve his vicious autocratic goals.

Unbelievable.

Seriously.

I never could have believed, and still can’t, that we in the United States of America would ever have to be seriously concerned about seriously losing our First Amendment rights…

But, alas, here we are so very seriously concerned.

So concerned, in fact, that PEN America felt the need to publish an article entitled DEFENDING FREE EXPRESSION: A TOOLKIT FOR WRITERS AND READERS.

If you aren’t familiar with the freedom-defending organization, this is what PEN America is about:

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

★ ★ ★

Here are some “bullet” points from the toolkit for our intellectual self-defense:

Continue reading KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS

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Transgender Community* Trumped by the Arc and Bent of Autocratic Politics

My fury throughout the whole last campaign to and through the election until now has never been much about politics.

Politics in this country, while they have been expanding outward toward the wacky fringes leaving the mostly moderate radicals (the rarity of moderates these days makes us rather radical) like myself quite lonely, have always, and hopefully will continue to, arc this way and that.

Because if our politics are not forever fluid and free to flow this way and that depending upon the tides of our national temperament, then it must mean that someone must have dammed up our river of democracy.

Metaphors… sigh.

Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve read my about page but there you will see in one sentence how I feel about politics and politicians…

To me, politics is simply acting for ugly people. Pretty actors go to Hollywood; ugly actors go to Washington DC.

Consequently, as our politics arc to and fro in this country, our politicians arc right along with them…only always just slightly behind the arc as they forever fail in their efforts to try to predict its toing and froing.

No, my fury for the most part has been directed solely at Trump and his bent towards authoritarianism; which means then that the more he contorts himself into a true to life autocrat, the more he is strengthening his power at the expense of my freedoms…

Continue reading Transgender Community* Trumped by the Arc and Bent of Autocratic Politics

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Putin Signs Law Banning Curse Words in Arts and Media

What the fuck is going on in Russia?

Note: not much of a curser, but after reading this felt the strong desire to express my freedom of…expression, however cursed it may be; and also to express my solidarity with our overly suppressed and oppressed and newly vulgarless Russian brothers and sisters. Curse on…

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Sons of Anarchy: Hollywood’s Shakespearean Expression of the American Way of Life

FILM | TELEVISION | DRAMA | ACTION
SONS OF ANARCHY
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

Sons Of Anarchy

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and since I am American I must, like all Americans are doing across the nation and all over facebook, offer my thanks.

There are many things for which I am thankful: my family, my health, my freedom, football (football, the real kind, not soccer), you know, all the standard things a standard American is standardly thankful for.

But in addition to those standards, I am also thankful for the miracle of technology, for it allows me to experience right from my easy chair such wonderful, and cheap, mind melting joys like this and this and Netflix.

And I am especially thankful for Netflix, for it allows me to watch movies and television shows and documentaries and even some cartoons “on demand” (which is a very American way of putting it, no?).

And, of course I’m thankful for Hollywood, too, for without Hollywood, how else would I and the rest of the world know what it truly means to be an American?

And because of Hollywood, and Netflix, and technology, and my health (and all the free time it affords me), I just spent the past three or fours days (I’m not exactly sure how many it was because by the second day it all became a blur) watching a delightful, family show called Sons of Anarchy.

Well, it may not necessarily be a show you would want to watch as a family, but it is undeniably a show about family and the many challenges a typical — and non-typical — family faces.

Yeah, I know, as usual I’m late to the party. Four seasons late, to be exact. Season Five is already close to a wrap. Unfortunately, I will not be able to see it until sometime next year, probably right before Season Six kicks off; that is, if Netflix graciously makes it available for me to watch.

So much for “on demand” I guess.

Anyway, now, after that marathon of anarchy and mayhem I willingly subjected myself to, I can’t stop thinking, “What the hell just happened?”

You know, I’m not really sure. After four straight days of watching four straight seasons of head bangin’, rock n’ rollin’, face tattin’ motorcycle clubbin’, gun runnin’, drug slingin’, porn flickin’, bombs explodin’, race baitin’, back stabbin’ drama, I’m not sure of anything right now.

Except that the show is good.

Really good.

Once again, Hollywood did what it does best: exploiting, romanticizing, and glamorizing the most extreme of man’s deviant nature.

Hollywood did its job so well and the show is so good I gave it a Netflix rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

I briefly considered giving it 5 of 5, but it does have a few superficial flaws; however, over the entire well thought out and executed arc of the show, those flaws mostly become forgotten.

But for the curious, here are a few of the annoyances I noticed:

— A bizarre Irish Republican Army connection that put a bit of a drag on the pace and feel of the show for one of the seasons, season two, I think.

— A couple of cheezy reveals, especially at the end of season four, that pissed me off.

— Chuck Hunnam’s British accent. Mostly it goes unnoticed, but it is noticeable. It especially gets thick when he is talking with/screaming at Irish dudes.

But other than those minor flaws, the show is a masterpiece, as in Masterpiece Theatre.

Well, perhaps not but speaking of theatre — dammit, I’m American! — speaking of theater, Kurt Sutter, the show’s genius creator, is in no way shy about the show’s obvious draw off of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. For example, we have our conflicted prince (or Motor Cycle Club Vice President), we have our surrogate father king (or MC President and step-father of the VP), we have our ghost of the dead former king and father of the prince (or a manifesto written by the dead former MC President, which is found and read by the son/VP of said dead former MC President, and which conflicts said son/VP even more).

There are more parallels but I think you get the point.

Hey, if you’re gonna rip off someone’s storyline, who’s better to rip off than the Great Bard himself (who, by the way, is also accused of being a first class storyline ripper-offer in his own right).

Yeah indeed, it’s a raunchy, guns/drugs/sex-laden American version of Hamlet (heck, to make sure we slow on the uptake Americans didn’t miss the Hamlet connexion, Mr Sutter even titled the last two episodes of Season Four as “To Be – Act I” and “To Be – Act II” for us).

I haven’t watched such a deviantly fine contemporary adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s plays since My Own Private Idaho (yeah, I know — Keanu Reeves. But hey, his “style” of acting works in this flick and, besides, it also has River Phoenix (MHRIP)).

Yes sir (that would be a non-gender specific “sir”), Sons of Anarchy just about has it all; all, that is, except…anarchy.

Sure there’s all the killing and all the other subversion of societal “norms” one could imagine, but all that is done within the context of maintaining a structured and orderly, albeit somewhat illicit, motorcycle club. And clubs, especially those that are guided via vote and majority rule like the SAMCRO is (if you aren’t an SOA fan, you’re probably just as confused about the meaning of SAMCRO as I initially was when I first started watching the show…if you want to know what it means, ask Mr Google like I had to), represent anything but anarchistic ideals.

Clubs, especially those of the motorcycle variety, do not represent anarchy, they represent democracy and freedom.

And democracy and freedom, damn it, represent America!

Yes, the Sons of Anarchy, with its British leading man, and its British-owned storyline, and its Irish Republican Army and Mexican Drug Cartela dependencies and connexions–er, connections, is about as American as any television series could ever strive to be…

Or not to be.

Uhm, yeah…

Oh well, I tried.

While my dubious and corny conclusion may be in question, there is no question that, with Sons of Anarchy, Hollywood has served up yet another feast of a show for us turkeys to feed upon in our unending quest to fill our insatiable viewing appetites.

And for that, I also am thankful.

~~~~

Rating System:
★ = Unwatchable
★ ★ = Poor Show
★ ★ ★ = Average Show
★ ★ ★ ★ = Outstanding Show
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = Exceptional Show
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Toward the Happy End of Legislating Morality

You may be happy or sad over the reelection of Barack Obama.

I, for one, am happy.

You may be happy or sad over the reelection of the Congressional Incumbents.

I, for one, am sad.

And, you may be happy or sad over the historic legalization of gay marriage in Maryland and other states and the legalization of the limited recreational use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington.

I, for one, am beyond happy; in fact, I am completely and blissfully ecstatic.

Now, since I am happily married and have been so for over two score, and since my lung disease prevents me from inhaling any kind of smoke and my high liver counts discourage me from introducing THC into my system by any other means, I do not foresee me benefiting physically in the least because of the legalization of gay marriage and the decriminalization of marijuana use.

But I do benefit from it.

All Americans benefit from it because it represents a new mind set in our country.

A new hope.

Millions of Americans voted in this election to begin the end of legislating morality.

Yes, there will be legal challenges and set backs to these recent advancements toward the protection of our basic human right to live a life as we choose to live it.

Yes, we still have many states to go and many votes to cast before all Americans’s have the right to be human as each sees fit.

But we have just made a significant advancement, an advancement which sets the momentum toward even further advancement, and which minimizes the chance for significant setback.

And I, for one, am very happy about that.

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Ai Weiwei Blogging at Big Think

If you aren’t a Big Thinker, then you are missing out on what Time magazine considers one of the best news and information resources on the web.

And now, Ai Weiwei, one of the most powerful artists in the world, blogs there.

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F### You Motherland I Am A Grass Mud Horse

I wonder if I would have the courage to stand up to a government like China’s as Ai Weiwei has. Heck, I don’t even have the guts to spell out the word “fuck” in the title of this post so I highly doubt it.

Ai Weiwei, image courtesy Wikipedia

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry on LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY from Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry on Vimeo.