Monday, December 19, 2016

I'm Moving!

I've finally updated my website (using Squarespace which is awesome) and I've moved my blog over there, so please check me out at:


Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Coming Civil War

I've been flying a lot in the past month or so and I've watched Captain America: Civil War a couple of times.  First of all, it's an awesome movie.  And Ryan Reynolds is dreamy.  So bonus.

But there's a line in the movie that's been stuck in my head lately.  The villain says:  "An empire toppled by it's enemies can rise again.  But one which crumbles from within?  That's dead . . . forever."

And I think of the American empire.  There is no external threat that we can't defeat.  But are we tearing ourselves apart, are we crumbling from within?

All of the pillars of American society (Congress, President, Supreme Court, Media, even the Military) have the lowest approval ratings in history.  Structurally America is not at its strongest.

The 2016 election has not only shown the depths of our division at a purely partisan level but also exposed a level of sexism, misogny, homophobia, xenophobia, and racism that is a cancer to the body politic of America.

And not everyone even agrees with that.  People have their own news, pushing their opinions, and facts aren't even facts anymore.  They pick and choose which facts they want to use to advance their agenda.  And more and more, that agenda is not for the common good, but to protect those in power, to protect the wealthy, to protect their position in society.

In the movie, the villain maneuvers Iron Man into fighting Captain America in order to help destroy the Avengers.  And I think the villain (well one of the villains) in the 2016 election was Vladimir Putin.  He used information, misinformation, and cyber warfare to advance his agenda of weakening the United States by making us fight against each other.  And he succeeded.

At the end of the movie, Tony Stark sits alone after the Avengers have fallen into disgrace.  Captain America has stayed true to his ideals and at the end of the movie, it's clear that in the next movie Captain America will bring the Avengers back together.

If America is going to survive, we need to help remember our ideals.  Truth, liberty, and justice for all.  Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Our freedoms so clearly articulated in the bill of rights.  And we need to remember that we are one country, not two parties, not 50 states, but one country.  And whether you live in DC or Kansas, California or Florida, that we are all Americans.  And we need to figure out a way to come together based on these ideals.  I don't know how that happens in today's political climate, but that's what we need to do to avert the coming civil war.    

Monday, December 12, 2016

If Today Is Your Birthday

Let's see what the stars are saying for me this year:

You have a distinctly dual nature that, at your best, makes you versatile, and at your worst, downright confused (and confusing!). While a great lover of peace and harmony, you are also determined and fiery. While idealistic, you mostly have your feet on the ground. In relationships, the need for partnering and cooperating is strong, but freedom also matters to you. You are a natural counselor, offering excellent advice. There is usually quite a bit of drama and colorful emotion in your relationships, whether it’s because you bring this to the table or attract these kinds of people. Famous people born today: Frank Sinatra, Edward Koch, Connie Francis, Jennifer Connelly, Bridget Hall, Bob Barker, Dionne Warwick.

And for the year:

Jupiter harmonizes with your Sun this year, suggesting that you have a stronger than usual desire to improve and learn. This is a fortunate aspect that implies optimism and confidence are with you, and you are able to attract fortunate circumstances into your life as a result. Problems are easier to resolve this year. You can attract happy and helpful people into your experience. Travel opportunities are likely. Matters related to universities, higher education, organized religion, publishing, legal affairs, and foreign interests proceed smoothly. This is an excellent year in which to seek advanced training or to further your education. Sun/Jupiter aspects often correlate with ceremonies that formally acknowledge past achievements. You are likely to enjoy good humor, optimism, and a larger perspective on matters.
You have much enterprising spirit this year, and there can be special professional and personal opportunities. Your faith in your ability to produce and to win takes you places you perhaps never imagined. You are able to see the “big picture”, which helps you to plan effectively. Negotiations, deals, legal matters, reasonable speculation, and travel are generally favored, as are positive outcomes in competitive activities.
You are especially interested in setting goals and challenges for yourself this year, as well as taking the necessary action to meet them. You may meet or interact with others who encourage or inspire you in some way to have more confidence in yourself. Your energy levels are generally strong this year, and your sense of timing better than usual.
You can feel energized and inspired creatively at this time, ready to fight for something you believe in. You find it easier to assert yourself and your desires. Bursts of creativity and energy help you to further your goals. Healthy risk-taking is likely this year, as you are more able to spot an opportunity when you see one. It is easier than usual to break free from habits that have previously held you back from going after what you want in life.
You are enterprising and able to visualize larger goals, but you are also ready to work hard to achieve them. You are dynamic and energetic, but also very realistic.
This is an excellent year in which to advance projects revolving around communications – writing, speaking, selling, and so forth. Your reputation may be enhanced through word of mouth. Making new contacts through learning and mental pursuits figures strongly as well.
Intuition runs high this year. You are more sensitive artistically, your imagination is stirred, and you have an increased appreciation for subtleties. You are inspired and could even inspire others with your words. Some of your hunches could be prophetic. You are thinking more creatively, and express yourself with more sensitivity, compassion, and warmth.
Your creative side is powerful but not always reliable this year. Energy levels can be up and down, so take advantage of the “up” times for pursuing your goals. Your optimism is catchy and draws others to you. Speaking and writing projects go especially well. Your mind is inventive during this period, and you find the most success in areas that benefit from new ideas, methods, and applications.
This year is a period of constructive accomplishment. You are practical and realistic, and your judgment is especially sound. You also derive much satisfaction from practical achievement. It would behoove you to identify and focus on finding pleasure in the simple things that make you happy.
Independent work is favored and competitive activities thrive this year — your passions and enthusiasm run high, and the trick is to channel this extra energy constructively. The period ahead is one of new initiatives, greater self-understanding, and engaging projects. It’s strong for enterprise and connecting with supportive people. You easily find extra energy to pour into your pursuits, although you may be placing a lot of pressure on yourself to succeed at times this year. Pacing yourself will be important to stay healthy and happy. Business and ideas are both practical and innovative.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hillary Is A Killer!

I went up to Ptown for the Thanksgiving week.  I had a nice, relaxing, week, but with the wind it was brutally cold.  But I survived. The wind and the cold reminded me that last year my electrical bill in the winter was insane.  And I wasn't even there.  Per my condo rules, I have to keep the thermostat at 55 degrees so that the pipes don't freeze.  And I guess doing that cost me a lot of money last year.

So this year I thought I would take some time to winterize my condo.  Put weatherstrips down, some caulk around the window, etc.  I'm lucky that there is a hardware store just around the corner so when I forget stuff (which I always do) I can just walk back over.

On my second trip to pick up weather strips, I was in line behind a guy who was asking about  bumper stickers:

"I"m looking for a bumper sticker."  - Random Guy.
"They are all over there," says the Guy Behind The Counter.
"I"m looking for a specific one." - RG
"They are all over there.  That's what we have." - GBTC

"I'm looking for one that says 2016 Election = Disaster." - RG

And then it happens:

"Well that's all we have.  And I'm not sure I agree it was a disaster.  I'm glad Trump won.  Hillary is a killer.  I don't want a killer to be President and Hillary is a killer."

Now I had stood in line minding my own business and was kind of amused about the bumper sticker conversation until we got to the "Hillary is a killer" line.

So Ptown is blue.  Like not even Navy blue.  Try deep indigo blue.  But I'm sure there are Trump supporters there, but the whole "Hillary is a Killer" thing threw me for a loop.

Look, I know there's an argument to be made that she was somehow responsible for the deaths in Bengazi.  But there have been something like 8 official investigations and they all prove she didn't do anything wrong.  And even if she did, I really don't think you can call her a killer.   But this guy was.  Repeatedly.

I stood there and didn't say a word.  The check outline is the wrong place to have any type of real conversation.  And how do you talk with someone who is convinced that Hillary is a killer?   What facts or basic elements of reason could I use at this point that he would listen to and actually consider?  What could I say to change his mind?

So I just stood there until it was my turn, I paid for my purchase and left.  Feeling more than a little bewildered and definitely very sad.    

Monday, November 07, 2016

Why You Should Attend A Gay Wedding Now!

While you still can.

And no this isn't a political post.

I've been honored to attend two gay weddings this year.  And they were both fabulous.  I mean, that goes without saying, right?  But more than that, they both touched me deeply.

Yes I'm a sucker for weddings and tend to get emotional.  Shocker I know.

But witnessing two people profess their love for each other in front of their family, friends and community is a wonderful thing, right?  In both instances the couples had been together a long time.  One couple had been together for seventeen years!  When they first met, gay marriage wasn't even a thing.  Much less legal in all 50 states.  They had loved each other, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, and now after all of these years they finally had the ability to get married!  It was really wonderful and powerful to see and to be a part of.

Soon gay weddings will sort of disappear and there will just be "weddings".  Oh, Tom and Joe met playing flag football three years ago, they got engaged last year, and now they are getting married.  Boy meets boy (or girl meets girl!), they start dating, they fall in love, they get married.  It's just the way things are.  Routine.  Normal.

And that's a great thing where young gay couples just assume they can get married.  Like it's no big deal.  That's such great progress.

But will their weddings have that sense of victory, of justice, of love succeeding against so many odds?

I'm not sure.

So if you get invited to a gay wedding.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

I Can't Sell Science!

So I'm listening to the West Wing Weekly podcast, which is awesome, so I'm slowly re-watching the West Wing.  Which I love.  Such a great series.  And it's really weird to be watching it 15 years later in the current political climate that we have today.

"I can't sell science" says the snarky pollster in response to a comment that the American Medical Association says that addiction is a medical issue.  The argument is that more money needs to be put into treatment, not enforcement.  And Toby responds, "It's science, why do we need to sell science?"

Because we do.  For some reason science has become politicized in a way that sort of just boggles my mind.  You can use facts to justify your opinion or your policies, but the facts themselves should be undeniable.  And we shouldn't have to "sell" science.  

Science is sexy.  Without science we wouldn't have the internet, iPhones, snapchat, you name it.  But for someone reason "science" fell out of favor.  When you can create your own little dystopian version of reality and have "news channels" reinforce that version of reality, then we need to "sell science."  That's just the sad state of affair we live in today.  

But part of my, the decidedly un-Christian part of me, wants to go up to the science/fact deniers and say fine.  If you don't believe in science.  Then no more healthcare for you.  Medicine is based on science.  So if you don't believe in science, then I don't think you should have healthcare (unless it's the purely religious kind where you pray away your cancer and/or use voodoo dolls.  What-evs.)  

Now the even funnier thing is that in this episode, the challenge is that if you shift resources from enforcement to treatment that you'll be called "soft on crime."  So true.  But today there is a common understanding that the  opioid addiction in our country is out of control and both political parties are looking at real, constructive, ways to deal with it.  Based on science.  

Oh the irony of it all. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Go Buy Me A Beer Bitch!

So first of all I want to say that I blame FitBit.

I bought a new FitBit, it stopped working, so I stopped using it.  And then last weekend I spent like 2 hours trying to re-set the stupid thing so it would work again.  And finally success! So now I get those stupid reminders that I'm X steps away from my daily goal.    Bite me.

And so that's why I went for a walk tonight.  Because obviously the 30 minutes I did the on the stair mill didn't count (which I think is total BS).  So on a Friday night I went for an "urban hike."  And no, calling it an urban hike doesn't make it any sadder that I'm going for a walk on a Friday night.

Anyways, I walked up 16th to U St and as I turned onto U St there was a little bodega and some drunk guy was yelling at his girlfriend, "Go Buy Me A Beer Bitch".   Ah, modern love.   The guy was not cute and the girl was meh.  And drunk as well.  It's not even 10PM, should you really be that drunk?

And that's how the walk started.

It was kind of interesting as I walked through the various micro-neighborhoods tand just people watched.  Obviously U St had a plethora of hip young people, gay and straight, at the beginning of their evening.  There were just getting ready to get their game on.  As I made my way down Connecticut Ave towards Dupont Circle, we first start with the older couples who have just finished enjoying nice dinners on a Friday night.  Some older gentleman is smoking a cigar outside of Ruth Chris.  Of course.  By the time I make it to Dupont Circle, the average age has dropped to early 20s.  And very hipsterish.  Sigh.  Really?  Shouldn't there be atleast some gays here.  Then since I still am not close to 10,000 steps, I continue south of Dupont.  Where the big straight clubs are and the very young women in the very short skirts.  I finally decided that I need to head back home to use the facilities after the gallon of mint tea I had after the gym.

Still haven't met my daily step goal.

Bite me.