Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Hitchhiker's Guide to America: 2016 Edition

I am not suggesting that Douglas Adams was like some kind of oracle or anything like that. 'Cuz I totally don't think that. *cough*

If you already know where your towel is, then you're a cool frood and we can totally sass a Pan Galactic Gargleblaster sometime, dude, hey, let me know when you wanna hitch a ride with some Dentrassi, those guys don't give a wet slap about anything but food and drinks and having a good time.

If you do not know where your towel is, well...then...

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Today in Portland

BusinessInsider.com
There wouldn't need to be a "policy" to tax CEOs who earn 100x that of their employees if the system worked the way it was supposed to work in the first place. I'm glad they're trying, but does anyone think this policy won't also have some crazy loophole?

These people say "loophole" like it's an Easter egg they happened across to level up in the game of life. Loopholes aren't GOOD things, you know. Loopholes are bad, and they are woven deliberately into the language when they write up the tax policy so that they can be exploited by the highest earners.

That happens, and we all let it. It's bullshit. There is plenty of money for feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless. The system is set up so our combined pool of taxes lift the poor & unfortunate out of poverty as well as build our roads and schools. But the Romneys and Trumps of the world are gaming the system. Tax shelters are more important to these people than shelters for women and poor children. Until the same payroll tax that we all pay is applied to investment income above $250K, then the rest of us still don't have a fighting chance to get ahead here. But good try, Portland, I hope it works. I truly do. ∎

Volume 1, Issue 2


In his wildly popular sci fi account chronicling the end of the world, Douglas Adams imagines a guidebook to the universe that is so massive it only exists in electronic form, you swipe a screen to access anything you want to know about the entire galaxy. This was 1978, you guys. We had vinyl and 8-track tapes, and the OS of my favorite toy was a light bulb. No, not the EasyBake Oven. Lite Bright — you can paint with light, motherf***er.

Lesser men than Adams have been called "Prophet." Respect.

You Can Panic Now

On the cover, in "large friendly letters," the guide said, "DON'T PANIC." In literary circles, it is understood that expression along these lines has the opposite effect. Essentially, Douglas Adams was saying, "Panic." It's like when you tell someone hysterical to "calm down."

In the guide, along with proving that God does not exist, are other helpful tips for navigating the galaxy, such as how to hitch a ride on a passing star ship and where to get laid while planet hopping on a budget. Also, Douglas Adams has something to say on the topic of dolphins.

Artwork by acidebetta
“Curiously enough, the dolphins had long known of the impending destruction of the planet Earth and had made many attempts to alert mankind to the danger; but most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing to punch footballs or whistle for titbits, so they eventually gave up and left the Earth by their own means shortly before the Vogons arrived.

The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double-backwards-somersault through a hoop whilst whistling the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’, but in fact the message was this: So Long, and thanks for all the fish.”
 ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams was writing about the Rapture. Consider "dolphin" as symbolic of intelligent, clever and generally well-liked creatures. Almost magical. Like David Bowie, for example. This isn't something you'll find in Cliffs Notes, but you can trust the stalwart Interpreters of Literature on this one — while you were outside sportsing, we were reading everything and talking about it over our inhalers and various collections of comic books, cards and action figures.

If Douglas Adams was a modern day prophet, it follows, then, that Donald Trump is the symptom of a growing sickness that's been festering since the 1980s. Fareed Zakaria delivered the message that, without an emergency Trumpectomy, the cancer would ultimately destroy democracy. Is it a coincidence that David Bowie died from cancer after an eighteen-month battle? 




Eighteen months from Trump announcing his toxic candidacy, the dolphins began to depart the planet. 

💥
Starman Hitches a Ride
ZIGGY GOES HOME! 

Soooo, mankind might have to come to terms with something right about now: The Rapture happened and we didn't make the cut. 2016 was the end of days. As existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sarte famously opined, hell is other people. We are the "other people." 

Welcome to Hell

Sorry, dude. We tried. Wanna hang? Netflix 'n chill until the apocalypse? There's nothing you can do. I might as well try those hot Cheetos now. 

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

NBS News, Dec 28 2016


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Sherbert or Sherbet?

Discuss.
@StarMarket

Update Jan 10, 2018:
It has come to my attention 
that I was at Stop n Shop 
when I took this photo, 
not Star.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas, everyone.
We put up a quick Joe Show.
Jack & Sally wreath made from
my hula hoop, a Dollar Store greenery, two feather boas and a bunch of ribbons and ornaments.
Oh and the Jack and Sally dolls.
Next year this wreath will hang from October to January.

Friday, December 23, 2016

This year's Christmas card



Losing Your Religion? Consider an Upgrade!

If your thousands-of-years-old religion's definition of "decency" requires you hold hands in fellowship with others so you can hate better, as a group, then you will definitely encounter a great many problems navigating 21st century America. You will, on most days of your life, become offended unnecessarily, and, ipso facto go around unnecessarily offending perfectly decent human beings who were just minding their own fucking business. [See Chapter 1, Mind Your Own Fucking Business.]


A Short Primer 
for the 
Spiritually Conflicted

Here's the thing. Decent human beings simply do not act like assholes in the name of God, or any gods. Given the awkwardness, no one will hold it against you if you find yourself wondering whether or not you should upgrade your religion. To determine if upgrading is the right choice for you, ask yourself the following questions:
  • What are the risks of keeping everything the same?
  • But will upgrading solve my problems? 
  • Do I know how to perform this upgrade?
  • Is it worth it to replace parts?



1. What are the risks of keeping everything the same?

Let's apply a modern analogy. Your phone. How old is your phone? When did you get it? When you got that phone, what were your reasons for upgrading from your old phone? Try this exercise at home. Use extra space if necessary.

Campfire Exercise

Obsolete: Define it to Overcome it

Ask each member of the group to provide three reasons why they needed a new phone: 
  • ___________________ 
  • ___________________
  • ___________________

If you put down "It was too old," that's a good start. If your phone is, say, five years old, your whole world is at risk of becoming obsolete, is it not? And when you got your new phone, ask yourself, did it come with a manual for the abacus, an ancient device Wikipedia suggests came into use in 500 BC? It does not. That would be silly, using such an old manual. Nothing in it applies, does it? Next, carefully compare and contrast the moral code you renew each day and defend with your very life against the reasons why you upgraded your phone...a device that didn't even exist when Generation X was born. 

Whether it's your phone or your bible, 
at some point that lifeline in your hand is, simply put, too old to work right anymore.

What had once been ideal no longer works. Your friends can't connect with you anymore. The platforms you are accustomed to using are no longer supported, even by those who created them, and eventually your operating system will be rendered obsolete.



Bend in the Wind, or Break

When you subscribe to a belief system that suggests, in an infinite universe spanning an infinite number of worlds on an impossible-to-know number of galaxies, that nothing has changed in *infinitaliauries [*See Gen X Anthology], inevitably you're going to encounter a few problems in your life.


2. But will upgrading solve my problems?

If you find yourself becoming ashamed, embarrassed or outright appalled by the terrible way your peers treat people that do not attend your same exact house of worship, or do not live, act, talk or look just like you, then congratulations. Your conflicting feelings are the signal that your intelligence is intact. It means you're actually a decent person. Your heart, as they say, is in the right place. What do you do about it? You have several options.

If you're simply enduring the occasional pang of guilt for ostracizing members of your own family, friends and total strangers that have nothing whatsoever to do with you, and if you've run out of excuses to justify the behavior of your peers and leaders, then the problem can probably be solved by swapping out the components that no longer work.

Other issues have more complicated solutions that may extend further than a basic part swap can fix. For example, if the only reason you don't go around bashing people in the face with a beer mug is because there's a religious book that says not to do that, then it may be that you lack the necessary empathy for all living things, or you may have insufficient education, are gripped with some vague kind of general rage, or are experiencing a combination of all three. Solving this problem with an upgrade may not be possible. Professional help is strongly recommended.
3. Do I know how to perform this upgrade?

Upgrading your religion can be quite simple once you have completed Chapter 4. For example, for the numerous Christian organizations currently still using a bible as their manual, retiring Leviticus and Deuteronomy may do the trick. Please refer to Chapter 4, Section B, Who Is This God Person, Anyway 2: Electric Boolaloo.

Upgrading may also be as complex as finding another religion altogether. Always research a potential upgrade beforehand to determine if it's feasible given your family situation, where you are living, and your level of comfort with embracing a new belief system.


⚠ WARNING
If you become enraged 
when you hear "Happy holidays!"
then please do start small for your own safety.



Community Enrichment Exercises
  • Teach your kids the "do unto others" bit. Ask each child to remember a time when they felt bullied, then discuss as a group what is the bully thinking when deliberately causing hurt to others? Talk about "decency."
  • Push Commandments 2, and 5 through 10, as those are a great start for kids in terms of a general guideline on how to not be an asshole. Swap out 1, 3 and 4 for those "Goofus and Gallant" comics in Highlights Magazine. 
  • Discuss with peers how the bible specifies the exact same punishment for eating bacon as it does for homosexuality. So next church breakfast, observe in a loud voice how odd it is that nobody is actually getting smote down into a slurry of pork and flannel, and maybe pass the maple syrup along with a mildly worded suggestion that you congregates all ease the hell up on the gays.

4. Is it worth it to replace parts? 

While selectively replacing obsolete parts may grant some peace of mind for now, note that you will still be a card-carrying member of a group that supports hateful name-calling, ostracizing, spitting on, beating and killing of fellow human beings who don't happen to be you.

The question you need to ask yourself is this: will replacing parts take you far enough towards inner peace? You love God, and you've read your bible cover to cover, but you're pretty sure that a tragic mass murder at a gay nightclub isn't any kind of fulfilled prophecy. The Deuteronomy example referred to earlier makes for a good exercise, because this is the scripture that is widely interpreted (controversially) as condemning homosexuality.
  
"Their wine is the poison of dragons, 
and the cruel venom of asps." 
(Deut. 32:33). 

But, soft! In recent centuries, the church has swapped out "dragons" for "serpents," lest anyone suspect that this is just a book written by well-meaning thinking people who were using the best information they had available to them in their time and place in history. So who did they ask before deciding that the "dragons" bit was what needed upgrading? Did they ask the cartographers who'd replaced "Here Be Dragons" on the map once they actually went there and found...no dragons? Next time there's a tweak to the language, probably to upgrade "serpents" to "snakes," perhaps it would be a good idea to consider taking some suggestions about one or two other changes. Perhaps your church has a suggestion box. Suggest that human sexuality is far more complex than "gay people are dragons."

Give Yourself Time To Decide

You don't know how far back it goes since your family and community have been using _______________ (insert your church affiliation) as a virtue signal, irrespective of how many fellow human beings are getting marginalized and worse in the name of your church.
Intellectually you know that being _______________ (insert your church affiliation) is a personal lifestyle choice, not something that should be used as a cudgel with which to bludgeon 325 million other Americans into playing a massive national game of "Monkey See, Monkey Do" with you.

Put simply: you know that your religion is yours. You know that it feeds your soul. You know in your heart that you are lucky to live in a great nation of laws where you live free to practice openly and without fear of harm by others. Perhaps in your zeal, you may have forgotten that it is the law, and not your church, that grants you that freedom. You may have let slide in recent years that the same law applies to each and every human being in the country, including those who choose to opt out altogether. Freedom from religion, as noted by the late Frank Zappa, is an equally valid lifestyle.

You can't simply stop being _______________ (insert your church affiliation) overnight. You are so used to hating your neighbor by now that you can't figure out when you learned to act this way.


You Were Taught To Hate, But There's Hope

You can un-learn hate. You have plenty of support if you want to try.

What if you're happier?

What if you take down your self-imposed fence, talk to your neighbor and find out you have everything in common except the deity you were taught to worship, or your skin color or some other thing that happened to you arbitrarily based on happenstance of birth? The worst that could happen is you find out you still don't care for that guy, but for a real reason, like maybe he doesn't recycle or he introduced you by name personally to each of his Chia Pets, in which case, sure, build a real fence and keep an eye out for weird goings on next door. But the best thing could happen, too: fellowship, in the best sense of the word.∎

Area Photographer Plagued By Nightmares
"I guess I was absent the day Sister Eileen taught us God Hates Fags," says local photographer, raised Catholic, name withheld out of fear of the blond kid in the red shirt.



[XCRPT]

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Star Wars Holiday Special : Merry Gen X'mas

Long ago in a galaxy we 40-somethings refer to as "our childhood," there existed a linoleum-tiled, imagination-fueled, cherry Kool-Aid world of motorized toys and remote control toys and really rad high tech toys like Lite Brite and 2XL.

Some of the time, these toys were entertaining for a solid hour or two. Most of the time, we made our own entertainment. Like Shock Tag. A shag rug, socks on your feet and at least one sibling to shock with your finger is all you needed. A kid in the mid-to-late 1970s America could make a pretty good time out of not-much-at-all.
Our first tablet.

The adults made their own fun, too. They had to -- their shows and news came on TV at specific times on specific channels, and the TV went off overnight. I need you to understand: I don't mean the TV got turned off. I'm saying the transmitter shut down its signal and went to static until morning.

Friday, December 16, 2016

It Was An "I Want Yule" Party

On Saturday afternoon, The I Want You opened for the Weisstronauts' annual holiday bash. Joe and I took the opportunity to host a lovely after party.

e-vite by Edward Gorey & Michelle DiPoala
An "after party" that starts around dinnertime is about my speed. That's not an "aging scenester" thing. Even when I was the right age to head out to someone's basement at 3am after band load-out, I didn't. I pretty much always wanted to go home and jettison my bra and let the silence supercede the deafening ring of rock and banter. I loved going out to rock shows, but my love affair with "silence" burns quietly eternal.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Saturday, December 10, 2016

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. - Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Company Holiday Gathering

One of the great many benefits of a small company, especially a fierce little start-up, is the chance to make new friends. 

It's a perfect, awesome winter night in the North End. 

Cheers, y'all. 💝

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Smile When You Bless The Gagh!

Some are born dorks. Some achieve dorkness. Some have dorkness thrust upon them.

Today on Deep Space Nine (Netflix), Worf told everyone that the legendary Klingon warrior Kahless had said "Great men do not seek power, they have power thrust upon them." I yelled, "That was Shakespeare, mofo!" Then I messaged Joe this outrage. He was at work. So he said, "I'm gonna go find some lunch." What he meant by that is, "You're a huge dork." Later when I explained in greater detail, knowing that he wanted to hear the whole thing, with pictures and footnotes, he said "You're a huge dork," and then added "...but you're MY huge dork" and made me a cup of green tea.

Santa Is A Klingon

Painting of Kahless the Unforgettable,
from the Memory Alpha Wiki.
"He was the first Warrior King and Emperor of the Klingon Empire."
You guys. I should not be finger-wagging about a Klingon on this, the feast day of Saint Nicholas. That's like watching Rudolph and telling everyone that Santa is a giant, skinny-ass dick. Okay, I DO do that when we're watching Rudolph. Santa is a tool.

The fact is, Saint Nick is our only Klingon saint. Lots of parallels between the works of William Shakespeare and the Klingon ethos, with an extra tie-in around the winter holidays because Twelfth Night is a Christmas play. The figure of Saint Nick is said to have inspired Santa Claus and maybe also Krampus. Compounded, this is a mythical figure who is honorable, yet ruthlessly rigid about the line between right and wrong, one with a beastly nature who is quick to punish those who have acted badly, but who respects and rewards those who act with honor? Can you show me how Santa is not a Klingon?

Fa la la la la, la la, la laaaggghhh!

Who Said It? The Klingon or the Bard?

1. "Great men do not seek power; they have power thrust upon them."

2. "If we are mark'd to die, we are enow to do our country loss; and if to live, the fewer men, the greater share of honor."

3. "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."

4. "Today is a good day to die."

5. "Go honor the valiant who die 'neath your sword, but pity the warrior who slays all his foes."

6. "By the doom of death end woes and all."

7. "You cannot loosen a man's tongue with root beer."

8.  "A man cannot make him laugh, but that’s no marvel -- he drinks no wine."

9. "Life every man holds dear, but the dear man holds honor far more precious dear than life."

10. "Honor is more important than life."

Painting of St. Nicolas, our only Klingon Saint.
"Smile when you bless the gagh!"



Friday, December 2, 2016

Cheers

I usually feel too old for Refuge Cafe.
Every time I go in there I can't help but think of how it used to look as Herrell's, such an Allston landmark.
But the young barista made the hell out of a hot chocolate for me today.
This was like a hot fudgey milkshake.
Well done. 

Hello Kitty

Neighbor kitty.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Throwback Thursday: 1991

College of New Rochelle, New York

Someone sent me this photo. I'd never seen it, but I think it's the stage in Maura Ballroom.
I've got a vague recollection about being one of the students addressing some prospective freshmen,
or maybe it's an alumnae event.
I know it's not a party.
Those were my "not a party' flats and black velvet scrunchie.

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