And a Little Bit About Some Other Stuff

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Married Filing Jointly





Thanks to a Vegas chapel and H&R Block, Joe and I have new pet names, or insults, depending on circumstance and inflection.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

If It Ain't One Thing It's Your Mother

JoAnna and her brood
hanging out on West 57th
c. 1982
Today is my mom's birthday! I called her first thing this morning to wish her a happy day. Because it's a Saturday, Louie doesn't have to work, so she has the whole day planned. But first, out to breakfast.

We set a time to talk next week. When we do I'll ask how today's plan turned out. There is always a story.

JoAnna, aka JoAnna PajamaMamacita, or Jo, is just over 16 years older than I am. If you are currently navigating the world with a teenage child, ask me about having one of those creatures for a mother. I have stories, man. And so does JoAnna, both from the perspective of being a teenage mom and then, in the blink of an eye, raising an intense teenage girl. Two tempests in the same teapot.

We agree that the years have been a wild ride. Even when we were spinning in the same direction the two of us could collide and make thunder. Sometimes we fought, sometimes we just didn't talk. There was a lost decade in there when we spoke not a word.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Key Change

There should be a name for the phenom where, every couple of years, you marvel at how many mystery keys you carry around.

Where do all these mystery keys come from?

You toss old, obsolete keys every Key Purge.

You toss the  laundry room key from two apartments ago.

You toss the key to a freight elevator located in a building that's been demolished.

You toss what might be a key to a gym locker, or it might be for the mailbox from the building where you worked six years ago, or else it unlocks a piece of luggage you're not sure you can even find right now.

You keep only the essential keys. But now you forgot why they were essential.

Quite the nagging worry, innit. Middle of the night, can't sleep.

You locked up something a number of years ago, but you don't know why you did, what it was or where the hell it is now.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Volume 1, Issue 3


The first fifty days of the new administration have ushered in an emotionally supercharged period in modern America. In addition to worrying for our own safety and that of our friends, neighbors and family, we're also being bombarded on every front with a stultifying volley of truths, lies and clickbait video. 

"The indicators are all there," says Dr. Harry Chopin Savage, Big Data analyst and lecturer,"that most people just feel like giving up even trying to have a normal conversation, because every conversation eventually turns to what is essentially the biggest national embarrassment we, as a people, can remember."

Experts Warn:"Lucid Zombie State" Looms in Nation's Future


Experts warn that the stress of navigating 2017 America is beginning to take its toll. The concern is that a prolonged existence in a world in which provable lies are taken as gospel will lead to a kind of nationwide mental fugue, a "lucid zombie state."

Savage and other experts say that the massive effort required to act as though everything is normal is an incredible strain on the psyche,"both as individuals and as a society," says Savage. Professor Savage is an industry leader in the science of Urban Civilization, currently touring colleges and universities to talk about the long term effects of relentless mental stress on people living in medium-to-large cities.
"Lots more porn, lot less talking. Basically, basic human decency is at risk. Basically. The emotional toll for keeping a civil tongue anymore is quite high. On the surface things seem fine. But things are not fine. This ague state may not be the end of the actual world, but this is a big enough catastrophe that America as we know it won't be the same ever again."

Dr. Savage suggests considering the ongoing effects of a generation raised to lunge beneath their school desks as children, and that would "save them" from a bomb that would vaporize a whole city. "Those people," suggests Savage, "were never quite right, and now risking the mental well being of another generation. We're all in permanent ready mode, like feral animals tensed for fight or flight, only there's nowhere to go. There is no desk."

Anti-Social Media


A Facebook poll reveals that 2 out of 3 Americans think that even the conversations with those who share their beliefs are stressful to have, even online, so for the most part people just stop having them. This emerging mode of alt-communication has effects on the data science used to measure public sentiment. Social media analytics, used for everything from marketing to other kinds of marketing, are in a twilight quickening. Studies reveal that most studies reveal no useful data whatsoever.

"I'd buy stock in image tracking tech now," says an inside source. "People are so worn out that they just try to avoid talking anymore so they are using Stickies and Gifs. Along with that, we suspect unprecedented levels of sarcasm in the 25 to 65 demographic. We skew for sarcasm correction in the 18 to 24 group, but this is a whole new ball game."

"How do you discern what somebody means by a posting a Gif of a dog taking a shit. Do they mean "that's a relief?" Or do they mean "I just can't hold this in anymore" or do they mean "What you said just now is dog shit? We're just not there yet with the image sentiment data science."

Figuring out what the hell anyone means anymore as the world spins crazily off its axis is the job of next-generation, advanced Big Data. Stalwart Halfrunt, team leader at Deepthought, explains the problem. "It is question of contextual speech analytics -- that is knowing your sentiment, not just tracking key words you write on the Facebook, on the blogs. Before, you could tweet out "Great job, Kansas!" and we count you in as a big supporter of all decisions Kansas. Now we can tell if you sassing, but remaining to integrate and very very very difficult as source of truth are up-votes, likes and shares for "Great job, Kansas!" How to figure out who peoples are agreeing with words, and who peoples are liking joke? I mean, Kansas is terrible dump. Given Kansas, the Dorothy would like better I think Oz."

One Nation Under Duress


Any casual conversation online can escalate quickly into a knock-down, drag-out brawl between people that, in theory, are supposed to like each other. We are one nation, under duress, violently divided.

Harvard Community Affairs Consultant Dr. Sandy Vajaynaya agrees. "You want to have a normal conversation with an old friend, but then you find out her single issue with Hillary Clinton was that the candidate advocated for nine month abortions," Vajaynaya says. "I mean, if you're a single issue voter, shouldn't you at least bother to make sure the "issue" is a real thing?" Incredibly, this is a verified account. Randolph resident Jolee McGuffen, 48, did cast her vote for the Republican candidate based on the October 2016 debate, during which Mrs. Clinton's opponent did make such an accusation. "Hillary can say that that's OK, but it's not OK with me," McGuffen bragged.

"But," marvels Dr. Vajaynaya, "it's a complete lie. I mean it's not a matter of opinion. It literally never happened. That idiot voted us into this disaster based on a thing that never happened."

"If allowed to go on at this pace and intensity, the mental stress will virtually eat your brain," says Harry Chopin Savage. "Nobody knows what's true and what's a blatent lie anymore. I mean, the guy openly mocked a disabled person on national TV, the video got shared around to millions of people all over the world, yet his supporters persist in saying it never happened." Savage points out that the November 2016 incident, during which the Republican party leader contorted his hand into a crumbled fist locked against his chest in an imitation of New York Times journalist Serge Kovaleski, would have meant the end of the presidential race for literally any other candidate. "Goddamned Mother Theresa wouldn't have gotten away with that," Savage says. "The Republicans have constructed a seemingly impenetrable panopticon of alt-facts, a bubble inside of which truth fizzles and the lies, repeated by the leadership and parroted by millions of followers, become the new reality."💩

Related

Wikipedia Passage on noted journalist Serge Kovaski