politics, spew, Star Trek

He’s not an astronaut. He’s a tourist.

Apart from JPL’s robot probes, my beloved NASA space program—the source of my childhood’s real-world inspiration to think about our future—has been largely dormant for decades. What replaced it? Several cults of personality, flogged by publicists. 

Billionaires took advantage of our Republican-crippled public infrastructure to build private launch platforms as startup luxury tourist businesses. But that was just Phase One. Eventually, one or more of them will shake out the bugs, lure more high-profile passengers into highly publicized joyrides, iterate on the process, and reduce costs until it becomes demonstrably sustainable.

Now let’s fast forward a century, to when Bezos IV’s workers—who’ll mostly be homeless refugees of escalating climate disasters, recruited to mine asteroids for water and rare earth metals—won’t even have the right to breathe unless they pay for oxygen out of their own slave wages. Feudalism has already returned, and we’re going to bring it out into the solar system with us.

But…but… O Captain, my Captain!

Today, an affluent 90-year-old dipshit tourist took a ride on a luxury liner, and 85% of the middle-class Trek nerds on the planet got moist, believing this was about them. And the true irony is, Bezos’ media network now owns the one fictional franchise that describes this future in the most accurate way.

election, family, politics, president

Your “Shithole Country.”

Dear Cousin:

You voted for a racist, predatory con-man, the majority of whose followers are the same sort of people who exterminated our family. 

They are now terrorizing the Capitol building because they lost an election. After being encouraged to violence by any number of Republican office-holders. And for some reason, they’re *not* being gunned down by militarized police, as BLM protesters were only a few months ago. 

Insurrection and open calls for sedition. To undermine a certified election.

As a reminder: this is not ANTIFA, and it’s not Mexicans, and it’s not Palestinians, and it’s not who our parents called “the schvartzes.” This is domestic terrorism being waged by insane white supremacists. 

Turn off the sound that Fox News is spinning this with. Look at the images everywhere else. Look at the meaningless destruction in what has become a banana republic. 

This is now your legacy. This is the degree to which you have helped destroy what our parents came here for.

And just a small part of it, while we huddle in another lockdown during another increase in COVID infections under a president who tried to ignore it all for an entire year. 

You are part of a death cult. You excuse its excesses with disgraceful selfishness.

We have nothing in common. 

family, politics

Sure, it gets better. So much better.

I’ve posted about this subject before.

My closest living blood relations include one survivor of the Hitler era. They support Trump because “Israel” and because Fox News tells them to, every hour of every day. Between the two sides of our family, we probably lost about half to the concentration camps.

The survivor is likely living on Social Security and Medicaid while voting every two years for people who want to eliminate both.

One of the survivor’s kids married a Madison-Avenue douchebag to escape a narcissist parent. They now aspire to be Manhattanite gentry. Their bratty private-schooled kid is pursuing an MBA.

The survivor’s other kid fell down a Qanon rabbit hole and lost what was left of his mind. I now look back fondly upon a time when UFOs and crop circles were all he preached about.

My family’s great experiment—coming to America for a better life—has failed in spectacular fashion. It took us only one generation to forget everything we were supposed to have learned from the horror of 80 years ago.

One generation for most of us to embrace the rhetoric of our former oppressors by supporting their modern counterparts.

One generation to support an escalation of the new “final solution”: eliminating all those Palestinians who stubbornly refused to disappear overnight in 1967.


fandom, Uncategorized

Good intentions did not absolve.

I was thinking awhile back of a guy I used to consider a good friend, who turned out to be bugfuck certifiable, in the way that publicly-functional people can hold down meaningful jobs that require high skills, pay their bills, attract a mate, and yet still harbor extraordinarily dissociative and conflicting beliefs. All with the superior certainty of self-siloed group affiliation.

Last I knew, this guy probably had about a dozen religions, two of which are Linus Torvalds. Mythologized George Lucas is probably still one. A version of Star Trek as well. At least two became Google/Alphabet’s Android division. One or more might still involve a notional Jesus in some form. Windows likely still figures in that list somewhere, considering his profession.

His devil? Apple, of course. A source of incomparable corporate evil and paragon of theft. I think he conditionally absolved me of my transgressions in this regard because of my own profession.

I miss hanging with him and talking about anything that might not invoke his volatile darkness. It became too unpleasant to navigate past the hidden hazards, and I got tired of demurring to avoid pointless arguments. When not angered by trivial disagreement, he could be a genteel and considerate person.

For her sake, I hope his wife has learned how to manage that volatility. Or counter it with her own. Sagan help any kids they might have decided to have.

illiteracy, politics

And none the wiser.

Sex-criminal mugshots 1680x1108



“…You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of their isolation and of the impunity with which crime may be committed there.”

“…look at these lonely houses, each in its own fields, filled for the most part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser.”

Excerpt From: Arthur Conan Doyle. “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” iBooks.

politics, Uncategorized

Your papers, please.

It’s likely been decades since this country first violated the Geneva Accords that it once helped create. Today our troops fired tear gas at unarmed women and children. They were not a threat to anyone other than white oligarchs who rely upon scapegoats.

The white poor who support those very rich are themselves inches away from falling into even worse straits, but they still believe in blaming their problems on people even more powerless than they.

I’m still having arguments with evangelical airheads who somehow believe they retain the moral high ground by supporting all this. I’m the fool.

But this is just part of a continuum. We haven’t even gotten near what we should be expecting next; food riots and demonstrations by the newly-poor and dispossessed, put down by armored troops. Some of those who’ll be shot and imprisoned in internment camps might even look like someone you know.

We’ll all be told they’re dangerous subversives.

election, politics, Uncategorized

Midterm Election Day + 1.

One of my Democratic senators (Bob Menendez) was reelected last night despite the fact that he’d been investigated for corruption. His federal trial ended in a hung jury (he’d covered his tracks well), and his courthouse announcement afterwards included a Soprano-esque “To those who were digging my political grave so they could jump into my seat: I know who you are, and I won’t forget you.” Not a guy anyone should want in Congress.

But it gets better.

Reliably, Menendez’ Republican opponent (a pharmaceuticals guy named Hugin who’d raised the price of a cancer drug by something north of 800%) eagerly supported (and received support from) Trump. No amount of calling the Democrat “corrupt,”—in Youtube ads or roadside billboards in two languages—could apparently overcome the taint.

Yeah, my guy sucked and will likely continue to do so. Despite the fact that he votes sensibly on a lot of big-issue bills, his party could still do a lot better for me and my state.

But as much as my guy sucked, the other party found someone who was even worse. It’s part of how they recruit now.

I held my nose and voted. ‘Twas ever thus.

comedy, entertainment, storytelling, theater

On Neil Simon.

Neil Simon wrote the first play I ever appeared in (almost 30 years ago), not to mention one other play that gave me an enormous workout nine years later.

It’s easy to dismiss his writing as comedic fluff, but there’s personal truth in the characters he created. Some broke down before our eyes, others went at each other, hammer and tongs. I played both kinds, and couldn’t help but recognize each as parts of myself. Telling their stories was akin to telling my own.

Hell of a run, Mr. Simon. Well done, sir.

family, illiteracy, politics, Uncategorized

Ain’t We Lucky We Got ‘Em. Good Times.

This won’t be the most coherent post I’ve ever written. I’m too angry for that.
* * *
Remember the WTO protests in Seattle 18 years ago? Whatever the genuine issues were, all you likely saw about the event on television was images of kids throwing rocks and looting stores.
Without the full context of what was being protested, it was easy to conclude who the bad guys were, wasn’t it? Assholes in masks showed up, thinking they’d send a message to someone. All they did was get dismissed.
Remember the police-brutality protests in Ferguson two years ago? Whatever the issues were, all you likely saw about the event on television was riots, looting, and how much an unarmed kid who was shot and killed deserved to get shot and killed. Very little about the atmosphere that Ferguson’s poor citizens live within, every day. It was easy to conclude who the bad guys were. Assholes showed up, either intending to start a violent confrontation to have some fun, or to discredit the entire protest, or thinking they’d send a message to someone.
Three or four weeks ago, I’d never heard the word “antifa.” Now I know it means “a bunch of very different groups that range from peaceful people who have a clear anti-violent message to people with a long list of unrelated grievances, who’ll show up hoping to get a picture of themselves throwing rocks while shouting about nothing relating to American Nazis.” But not to people who feel a need to defend a President they voted for, who has in turn defended those Nazis. That’s not what they believe.
A lot of them—people who should have a longer memory and an awareness of history—have found it easy to conclude that both entire sides are bad, therefore they don’t have to care about either. Their President is looking out for them, isn’t he?
* * *
In many such public confrontations, the ones that the news uses to define an entire category of protester are usually the ones who least represent the central issue. They’re just the handful of assholes who become the visual thumbnail for an entire protest.
But white supremacists and Nazis don’t deserve differentiation. They show up to intimidate, bully, inflict wounds, or kill. It’s people like them who are responsible for the fact that my immediate family is so small. They show up with automatic weapons and riot gear, while advocating genocide of entire races and religions. They want to beat on people they know won’t fight back.
By all means, ridicule anti-fascist protest groups who can’t communicate a clear message, and who indulge themselves with the belief that their incoherent laundry lists of demands, echo-chamber rhetoric, and tunnel-visioned dogma somehow contain the power to persuade the undecided. They’re wasting time and resources, because this problem has already been solved, and some of the many groups they’re protesting already know this.
* * *
Here’s the problem, though. Those assholes who got on the news are the ones who represent the entire issue for the people you might be arguing with on social media. Anyone you’re trying to inform or persuade of what you’re aware of right now is coming back at you with the video of some violent asshole, repeated throughout the day, while a news twinkie repeats the words that ostensibly characterize the entire opposition.
You can say all you like about what Nazis, supremacists, or the Klan believe, represent, or have done. Your friend, acquaintance, or uncle will then What-About you until you realize you’re dealing with someone who feels underserved, frightened, and has undergone some very effective neuro-linguistic programming. They’ve been very effectively distracted by professional scapegoating.
I don’t know how to fight that.