About Me

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I'm a single Mormon Democrat, an NPR & BBC news junkie, a dog lover, opera buff, bookavore, migraineur, knows just enough about technology to be a danger to myself, fan of James Bond and Godzilla. 

Micah 6:8; D&C 11:20 

"do justly, walk humbly, judge righteously."

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Truth is Out There and It's Never Been More Wonderful!!

So, Mulder and Scully came back last night! Woo-hoo!!! I was so excited last night I actually think my pulse went up.

However, I think my local station didn't think I could handle the truth as they cut away to Modern Family (ack!) at 8 pm PST. Why did they think putting it on directly after the football game was a good idea. I could understand if it had been aired on right after the game. But how many people watch the game after it's over? You know, all that garbage with the Fox Sports guys and the confetti and everything? Don't most football fans turn off the TV once the final second is over and we know who won? Yes, Carolina fans may have... but still...

But, I digress. I haven't felt this excited about a TV program since... well, since May 19, 2002. (And I didn't even really like the last few seasons of the X-Files. The first 4 were the best.)

But, now they're back! Full disclosure I am an unrepentant 'Shipper! So, of course, I am looking out for  all the interpersonal stuff you can get between Mulder and Scully.

So the bits I did get to watch were great last night. It's not only seeing them again. It's hearing that great banter. I missed their arguments where neither one gives an inch. And Skinner! CSM! (Though I'm not sure about the smarmy Fox News guy.) Too bad Krycek couldn't come back, it's been a long time since I saw Mulder beat the crap out of a guy.

The bits they dropped. Mulder talking about "for better or worse". And what kind of depression was it that made them break up? Were they actually married? Are they still? After all, Scully's a Catholic.

But that's the joy of the X-Files. We never get all the answers. When they were on before I would have people at work ask me all these questions. I had to laugh. If you want all the questions answered, you were watching the wrong show.

So, I am just excited about this. Can you tell? My heart is speeding up just thinking about the X-Files. Even if it is a short redux. Just having stories this good and characters this wonderful is such a change from all the dreck you normally get on tv. Hopefully my heart will stand up to it!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Angry White People With Guns

I noticed I haven't written in over a month. So I thought I'd write a short note. Happy 2016! I have many wishes for 2016 but I don't think we'll get it. I'd hope for a less angry, less violent, and more tolerant America.

Many people say the American Dream is dead. Maybe that's true. But maybe the problem is Americans with the values of America are dead.

Look at the anger out there. But it's also the hypocrisy. When women, black people, gays, etc, express their anger they are met with intolerance. Yet, now we have a group of white people taking over a bird refuge in a rural eastern Oregon county -- a group of armed people -- met with no resistance. They spout the tired diatribe against an overreaching federal government.

They have a lot of sympathy from the Fox News crowd. But I ask you to do a little thought experiment. What if they weren't angry white ranchers with guns?

What if they were angry black  people with guns? We live in a society where police (or civilians even) can shoot and kill teenage black boys (not quite men) for appearing to be carrying guns. Where school police can violently pin a teenage black girl to the ground for refusing to put away her cell phone. Where the mentally ill are shot and killed for throwing rocks.

Yet, these men go around open carrying weapons and no one bats an eyelash? As near as I can figure there are several differences.

One. Race, of course. We are not post racial. Maybe we are nearing post racial. Or maybe we are in the death throes of racial. It is dying hard. And it is fighting back.

Two. Federal vs local law enforcement reaction. Perhaps it is because the federal government feels keenly this sense that it is hated. That it is distrusted. Maybe they remember what happened after Waco and Ruby Ridge, after Elian, et al, and they want to tread lightly.

Whatever, these people that go on about an imperial or fascist Obama administration need to look at this. If it really were, wouldn't more people be "disappeared" as happened in many Latin American dictatorships? Or "purged" as in Stalinist Russia? Oh, and how about that "they're going to take our guns away?" crap? I'm still waiting... I've been waiting since the Clinton Administration. All that has happened is more crazy white people are stockpiling more guns than most Army posts have.

Three. This is the rural West as opposed to the inner city. People are used to seeing people with guns out here. Also, you run across a lot of really crazy people out here in the wilderness. They only get crazier in Alaska, I think. Sometimes I think we need to have a special state or territory for these people. Where they can be allowed to roam and make their own rules and, well, let evolution take its course. Keep them away from polite society.

Recently the Mormon Church had to distance themselves from these people. Why? Well, Cliven Bundy must be Mormon for one. His son's name is Ammon. If he's not Mormon, he read the Book. Second, Mormons have always had a strong anti-government, self-reliance, libertarian streak. (I mean if the federal government hounded you out of your homes and killed your President and Prophet? What would you think?)

Mormons like to say they respect the laws of the land. The leadership of the Church has to say that. And I think most Mormons do. The professional class of the Church. But the others are still living in the 18th Century.

Does anyone read my blog? Does anyone have any thoughts? Comment! Let me know you're out there.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Poetry and Existentialism

Yes, I'm nearly 50. And some days I look back and wonder where my life has gone and why I haven't done more with it. There are many things I regret, but two things that I regret are not enjoying poetry and existentialism.

What, you say? Aren't there more important things you regret? Sure, there are. But these are the ones that I've been thinking about recently.

First, poetry.

I've heard and read reviews of poetry. I've known people that really love poetry. That become intensely moved and even cry after reading poetry. I'm not one of them. I look at them and think, that rhymed nicely.

Now I do become moved by stories and novels. Ask my sister, I cry all the time while watching movies. 

But I just don't get poetry. I always wonder is it me? Or did I not have the right education? Is there a class I could take to help me understand poetry? Or am I just missing a certain bit in my brain that "gets" poetry.

Secondly, existentialism. This came to me after a conversation with my mother about the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry. 

I told her I didn't see what was so special about it. She said it depended when you read it. That it was existential. I had to laugh. I don't really like existential films either. I just don't get what they are trying to do and say. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

It's Blowin' In The Wind

This week that old song by Peter Paul & Mary is going through my mind. 

"How many times must the cannonballs fly before they're forever banned?"

"How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see?"

"How many deaths will it take 'til he knows that too many people have died?"

"The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind."

I found myself asking once again those questions after this week's tragedy. I also ask myself why it's okay for a lone white man to kill people (or at least understandable) but so-called terrorism is beyond the pale. Also, why is it not terrorism when someone  (or the police) kill black men on the street without challenge or cause? Why is it not terrorism when someone decides that women should not take control of their own bodies and kills everyone at a women's health clinic? Why is it not terrorism for people to openly carry assault weapons to do their grocery shopping? 

I use Twitter a lot these days. To keep up with news and with like minded people. I spoke out against current gun policy and asked for simple common sense reform. Well, the gun rights "nuts" were out there and their views were spewed out with contempt at me. I wonder just how many people have to die for them to change their views? Or would they have to lose a loved one?

What did I ask for?

A discussion and admission that we are having a problem. 

Now, even though I do not have a gun nor want one, I do believe that guns should be allowed. A person may want a gun - a handgun - in the home for protection. Women (especially abuse victims) may want one. Guns are used in hunting. I think these are all understandable. 

However, there are some things I think can be dealt with. Things that any sane person should be willing to talk about.

Stockpiling weapons and ammunition. Now how can you think this is alright? But the gun people on Twitter didn't seem to think so.

"How is it your concern how many guns someone owns?"

They also like to say that gun reform kills. 

They refuse to acknowledge the problem we have or that I have a legitimate concern. They preach responsibility yet they preach personal responsibility. They have the right to defend themselves, their property, their family. They do not care about the rest of us.

Another issue for me is the type of weapon. A gun designed purely for killing people and in bulk at that is not a gun for the average citizen. It is a gun used for war. These should be outlawed or, at the very least, restricted heavily. There is no reason for someone to own one.

Yet they answer yet again. "Why do you care?"

Try telling them that I care because I could be a victim. What do they answer? "No, that's the criminals that do that." Uh-huh. Right. Yet another libertarian answer. No regulation. Just punish for the crime. Or they might say "who decides what guns I can have?"

Then they start preaching the 2nd Amendment. Now, I don't believe the 2nd Amendment guarantees guns for everyone. I don't believe that should be the interpretation today nor was it the interpretation in the 18th Century. But I can't ask Mr Jefferson or Mr Adams.

However, let's just say it does. (But it doesn't.) Why does it have to absolute? Name one other Amendment that does not have restrictions. We do not have an absolute right to free speech. The Supreme Court has limited the rights of search and seizure and the right to a free trial. Not to mention the Voting Rights. So, we should limit our gun rights. 

Coming full circle, just what would it take for a gun rights advocate - nut - to admit that there is a problem? I don't know. The answer, I suppose, is "blowin' in the wind". But, maybe we should treat these people like alcoholics. The first step is to admit they have a problem. Do you know one? Maybe you should send them to a rehab clinic. (Unarmed hopefully.)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Reading Around the World - Don't Ask Questions! It's a Dystopian Oakland!

With this book, I've moved south from Davis, California, to the city of my birth, Oakland.

The book is Gun,With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem and it's a very strange Oakland indeed. It takes place in an unspecified future in a dystopian Oakland. As I say in my review: "It's an Oakland where you need a license to ask other people questions. It's an Oakland where drugs are not only legal, but de rigeur. It's an Oakland were "evolution therapy" has made not only intelligent animals, but also intelligent toddlers, or "babyheads"." 

This is also a noir mystery that Chandler would be proud to call home. I really enjoyed it. 

My next book I will move across the bay to one of my favorite cities, San Francisco.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Wisdom from the Quakers

I discovered a short-lived mystery series by Irene Allen. It features the Clerk of a Meeting of Quakers in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I've always been attracted to the Quakers due to my family connection. I am descended from Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick who emigrated to Salem, MA, in 1637. 

They were persecuted by the Puritans - who, ironically, fled to America for freedom from persecution - because they were Quakers. 

Back to the books, the author prefaces each chapter with a quote from a historic Quaker and one of these quotes is by John Woolman (1754):

"To consider mankind as other than brethren, to think favours are peculiar to one nation and exclude others, plainly supposes a darkness in the understanding. For as God's love is universal, so where the mind is sufficiently influenced by it, it begets a likeness of itself and the heart is enlarged toward all men."

Truly a radical concept! No wonder they've been persecuted! Most faiths, sects, and churches want to consider themselves as set apart or, as the Mormons like to say, "a peculiar people" (1 Peter 2:9). 

Also, it shows the truly evil concept that is "American exceptionalism". I've always disliked it because it seems that people, instead of being proud of the values and accomplishments of our great nation, instead use it to claim that they don't need to abide by the same treaties, agreements, and standards as other nations. 

Any thoughts out there? Please comment below!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Reading around the world -- reading Jane Austen in Davis, California

Moving south from Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California, I have arrived in the Sacramento Valley in Davis -- "the most bicycle friendly town in the world". 

For Davis, I read Karen Joy Fowler's book The Jane Austen Book Club. Other literary Davis natives are Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn), John Lescroart (the Dismas Hardy novels), Deborah Madison (cookbook author), Kim Stanley Robinson (the Mars trilogy), Sean Stewart (Resurrection Man trilogy), and Zach Weiner (webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal).

The biggest employer in Davis is the University of California which has campus there. It is also the home of the California Northern Railroad.

The average temperature (year-round) is 47.8-74.7 Fahrenheit. The highest temperature ever recorded was 116 F in July 1925 and the lowest was 12 F in December 1932. 

Indeed, in the book, the climate is described as follows: 

"The climate in the Valley was classified as Mediterranean, which meant that everything died in the summer. The native grasses went brown and stiff. The creeks disappeared. The oaks turned gray."

The book is very entertaining, especially for a fan of Jane Austen like me. The book even came with a couple fun appendices, one all of quotes of people's opinions of Austen and her works.

The sense of place in the book was very good in places, not so good in others. Essentially the book is a book of people all linked by the wonderful Miss Jane. 

Please check out my review at Goodreads!

The mere habit of learning to love is the thing.
~Jane Austen