Posted by: David | January 12, 2021

Insurrection, Siege, Riot … Whatever

Trump invited people to attend this event, scheduled for the same time as the joint session of Congress. Coincidence? Of course not. His son, some other has-been, Ghouliani and then he himself whipped up the crowd with his standard patter of lies about the corrupt election, the same old deep, white resentment and that secret sauce, the subliminal confrontational imagery. Toward the end of nearly 11,000 angry, rambling words he said exactly this:

Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. And after this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down– We’re going to walk down. Anyone you want, but I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol–

Okay, so he didn’t tell people to bring pipe bombs, zip ties or other weapons. Plenty of plausible deniability down each rabbit hole. But considered at large it’s certain that Trump and his insane clown posse did their very best to arrange things in such a way that would nearly guarantee a riot and invasion of the capitol. The intent was to disrupt the certification of the Electoral College results.

Turn your cameras, please, and show what is really happening out here because these people are not going to take it any longer, they’re not going to take it any longer.

He also said “I’ll go with you …” and “I’ll be there with you …” which most transcriptions found online seem to omit. But I heard him say that, in real time, and knew damn well he had no such intention. Snake slithered back to the White House to watch his cunning plan unfold on TV. He likes to watch TV, kinda like Chauncey Gardiner, in the 1979 film by Peter Sellers, Being There. What he’d hoped for, Pelosi and Pense to be carried out of the Capitol in restraints, to be hung on the rickety gallows or to endure whatever torture the manic throng would deliver, thankfully that didn’t happen. Is it any wonder he and Pence paused their conversation for some days? Now there is an imaginary conversation for the ages …

Hey dude! Thanks for trying to KILL me! WTF bruh?!
Oh come on Mike, you know I was just being sarcastic!
My daughter was there too, y’know? Why you gotta be that way?
Jesus Mike, it wasn’t me! Oh sorry didn’t mean to curse your Jesus’s name. It was those morons that voted for us! They’re OFF THE HOOK! They just don’t get LAW AND ORDER! WTF, amirite?

He was probably not all that shocked that the outcome wasn’t what he’d hoped it would be. Because he’s gotta be used to that after a lifetime of failure and despair. Here’s what I’d like most to happen, knowing that it won’t. I’d like to see Trump forced, under duress if necessary, to admit to all his supporters that he’s a liar, and that he’s been lying about the election for months. That the democrats actually won the election fair and square, same as he did in 2016. An apology for bungling the pandemic would be nice too. Finally, an admission that he is NOT the Messiah, Rambo, The Terminator or even Chuck Norris. That he’s a failed businessman turned reality TV star with possibly psychotic delusions of grandeur and a ruinous insatiability. That he doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ or any other god, and that he doesn’t even know how to hold a bible.

Stolen (borrowed) meme image from the interwebs …

Finally, since I’m fantasizing, that he’s going to rehab to quit his fast food habit, and counseling to try to figure out how his parents ruined him. Maybe take a mindfulness class, get some fresh air … like Jack Nicholson when his character revealed his devilish nature to the churchgoers in The Witches of Eastwick. At the end of that film, you may remember, the devil shriveled into a winged phantasmagorical entity, then vanished like a bad dream.

CGI wasn’t so great in 1987, but you get the idea.

Please light a candle, say a prayer, sit in meditation or whatever other positive energies you can come up with to assist our flailing nation. This is the denouement of a nightmare set in motion long ago by Wall Street, Madison Avenue and the eternally bloody macho daydreams of Hollywood. We will survive. Amen.

Posted by: David | January 2, 2021

Mindfulness Is Not That Hard

Around the end of 2019, at the recommendation of some friends, I started daily practice of mindfulness meditation, using a smartphone app called Insight Timer. Today is the first anniversary of using it every day. It’s free. Really! They’d love for you to buy the MemberPlus plan, but you have access to thousands of guided meditations without that. Having someone tell you in your headphones exactly how to meditate, is not only free, but stunningly easy.

Common misconception that blocked me for years: Meditation means stopping all your thoughts. NOPE. Your thoughts don’t stop until your heart and brain do. So, unless you’re dead, there’s not stopping that train.

No mantra chanting, hand clapping, eastern esoterica or other overtly spiritual content if’n you don’t want that. Plenty of Buddha if you do. Or Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna … name your favorite flying spaghetti monster (shoutout to atheists) … Mindfulness practice helped me get through 2020 without any pills, surgery, amputations or other invasive procedures (there was, however, an unfortunately large volume of vodka). Fifteen minutes (my minimum) every morning of attending to breath, trying not to get caught up in the story lines of the tumultuous thought-tumbleweeds blowing through my dusty old noggin. A few times a month these tumbleweeds woke me in the wee hours, twisting my stomach in fearful knots, terrified by what our idiot president would be doing next … or when the civilization-ending asteroid would thump into the sea …

Wish I’d started this years ago. It wasn’t magical, but subtle results were noted in just a few weeks. It was a very pleasant surprise as very little effort was required and nothing was expected. A little less anxiety, a little more ability to avoid the expectational spectrum, evaluative index, the Central Scrutinizer (thank you Mr. Zappa) … whatever you want to call it … you know what I mean. That part of your mind that’s always telling you how to feel about shit. The Judge. Simply put (I know, too late for that) I was more able to resist being swallowed by irritability. Guess you could say I was 10% happier!

There are many of these apps out there for free. Started with the free, introductory week of Ten Percent Happier, then moved to the permanently (hopefully- I’d pay $60/year if I had to) free Insight Timer, which comes from Australia. Many of the teachers have Aussie accents, which I love. In the first few months I was drawn to guided meditations with spacy background music, but then I met Stephen Procter. His sessions are probably 80% silence. His voice is calming but precise. His instructions are basic, flexible and easy to follow. He’s a proponent of MIDL: Mindfulness In Daily Life. “MIDL is also a play on words and points towards the middle balance or ‘Middle Way’ (MIDL Way) as discussed by the Buddha in his first talk given on mindfulness meditation.” So there’s a Buddha mention, but don’t worry, Mr. Procter’s content is more about neuroscience and the attributes of attention than about spirituality. Not that there’s anything wrong with spirituality …

So, have you had it up to HERE with stress and insomnia? Have you eaten ALL the guacamole? Is your attentional posture like the Wheel of Misfortune? Think you can’t stand sitting still? Or can’t sit standing still? Well you are fooling yourself! You’re caught in the story line. Lost in the never ending stream of your thoughts. Maybe that’s okay with you, and that’s fine. I decided to try this easy thing, investing very little, and the reward was more than expected.

Yeah, I’m still destined for the boneyard, but the journey is a little less fraught now.

Light a candle for 2021. It looks like turbulence ahead.

Posted by: David | December 31, 2020

Patriotism Redux

Erm, I guess my blog has risen from the dead. Lucky you! Publishing this post on the last day of 2020. You know what they say, hindsight is 2020! Amirite?

Well, we got through 4 years of dread and chaos and managed to unseat the worst president the USA has ever known. But not before he was able to run his long con on some 70,000,000 unhappy, angry, deluded folks who’s sense of patriotism was called upon to vote for Burning It All Down (oh, but it’s us libtards who hate America!). They’re still working on that. Apparently they think that they can somehow speed up the apocalyptic timetable, the one set in motion by their creator, whose very thoughts they pretend to know.

What the FUCK do we do now? These clowns care so little about the nation that they’re willing to undermine the electoral system that gave them control in the first place. By accident. Or by virtue of the fact that these same 70,000,000 “deplorables” hated Hillary Clinton so much that they voted for a despicable, pussy-grabbing, bankrupt, draft&tax-dodging reality TV huckster instead. Cuz they loved being lied to, right in their face! Somehow, a superlatively ballsy liar turns some people right on! He pisses on the constitution and wipes his ass with the flag of the Divided States of America. Because he cares!

Again, WTF now? The final days of Trump’s term find him bitter and enraged. Following a scorched earth strategy. Imagine him with a gun to the head of lady liberty, IF I CAN’T HAVE HER, THEN NOBODY CAN!! Meanwhile, over on Parler, the berserkers are carrying on like a lawnmowed anthill. Let’s light some candles and pray that they may see someday feel some love and light, and awake from the dark nightmare that the Conman In Chief sold to them. They’ve as much reason to be angry and hurt as we all do, but have chosen only convenient beliefs, a Qaleidoscope of terror and lies. Reality is ready for them, whenever they awaken.

Posted by: David | August 4, 2018

The Black Bow and the BDL

It’s been well over a decade since this blog began, mostly as recreation for a hopelessly wandering mind. Wandering in search of nothing. Or of anything. As luck would have it, a few similarly minded (or UNminded) folks have crossed paths with me here and showed some interest. THANK YOU for visiting this mildewed corner of the interwebs! It’s been a PRIVILEGE to have “met” you, you few kindred souls I would have never otherwise encountered for the distances of space and time between us. (This post seems to have developed some kind of TIC. Sorry about the random SHOUTING. Could be an old age thing. Cuz I’m OLD now …)

Previously, on Thoughts-0-Dave, election 2016 was a fresh, bleeding wound, blade still deeply embedded. Now posting NEARLY TWO YEARS later, waves of words again crashing upon the sand in my skull, tidal thoughts and feelings … pushing the seaweed, driftwood, plastic trash and foam rushing at your feet … OKAY! Enough already! The wound is healed. It took a lot of STITCHES, many changes of dressings … and the pus was just disgusting. EEEW! By the way, “EEEW” is an official Scrabble word. I know right, three E’s?!

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From New Yorker magazine.

One stitch was the passing of my father. Diagnosed around Halloween 2016 with pancreatic cancer at age 86, he took it in uncharacteristic stride. Terminal cancer was one of few things I know of in his life that he accepted with little apparent objection. I can’t say enough good things about the local hospice team. They helped make Dad’s exit as peaceful as it could be. He was gone just a couple weeks after president 45 was inaugurated. I swear that the gloom and doom of Trumpocalypse helped to hasten Dad’s exit from this world, to his long sought-after, long joked about meeting with Beelzebub. In Hell. Good for him I thought. He won’t have to watch The End of the World As We Know It.

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Leaving some of Dad’s ashes at a lake he often fished when I was a kid.

(Funnily enough, I remember my republican friends at work playing that R.E.M. song after Obama was elected, Had they actually known the lyrics of that track, they would have realized that it was the chorus alone that gave voice to their feelings of defeat. The rest of that song is about RIGHT. FUCKING. NOW. All I can say now is that I’m glad that even though their politics were far to the right of my own, they were equally surprised by the triumph of Trump. Well looky here! What awful damage a perfect storm of fear, hatred, lies and willful ignorance can do. Duh! )

Another stitch was the digital piano I bought with some of the money Dad left behind. With that piano and the GarageBand app, I was able to accompany myself and leave a series of musical excretions on SoundCloud. I listen to these tracks over and over. It’s a delightful new dimension of, uh, self-pleasuring. It’s pretty shite, undisciplined soundtrack music for really bad movies, but on a nice sunny day at work, walking from building to building on campus, headphones at medium volume, it feels like some curtain opens and the yawning abyss looks less terrifying.

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2017 is the street number of my house. Banner year it was. Toward its end I found myself battling feelings I’d managed to avoid for a couple of decades. Bad, depressing, dead of winter feelings. (Also some pretty wonderful ecstatic feelings. Phew!! Thanks for those … may I have some more?) As luck would have it, many friends came forward to help me out. Really Old Friends. Friends with whom I’d worked for 20 years, friends like good American vodka, and even new friends that I’d never really noticed before. They provided more stitches to close the wound. To help cover that jagged bit of glass with nacre. Yeah I’m not an oyster, and there was no pearl in there. Just a few knobs and dials I could twiddle when the needle shuddered and buried itself on the right side of the meter. What meter, you ask.

The BDL Meter! BDL = Background Dread Level. Like the cosmic background radiation accidentally discovered in the early 1960s, the echo of the Big Bang, after they cleaned the pigeon shit from their radio antenna. We now have a persistent background noise of HORRIBLE CHAOS emanating from the billionaire nostalgic white guys longing for WWII and the 1950s. Hey guys? The 1950s called! They said they’re DONE, and want NOTHING to do with you cherry-picking FUCKS! Try cleaning the pigeon shit out of your hearts. Weirdly, pigeon poop seems to be an obstacle to knowledge. Occasionally.

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They installed the BDL Meter in my abdomen on November 9, 2016, after a sleepless night. It felt just like when someone close to you dies. Like something was ripped from your chest. You keep re-remembering the trauma, that yes, it really happened. Since installation of the BDL Meter, there had been an exponential increase in self-indulgent behaviors of all sorts. Mostly just Deep Fictive Immersion. The idea is to shove that dread into the background. Duh. That’s where dread belongs.

Books, movies, Netflix series, ANYTHING but the NEWS. Always HATED “reality TV”. Now it’s in the White House. Maybe it always was. We morons are easily entertained. Sometimes the deep fiction dive backfires. Sometimes it reflects the non-fictional dread too well. Like The Handmaid’s Tale for example. Season 2 actually broke the dread meter. See my tweet. When the UNwomen were cleaning up the radioactive waste … Holy Shit. Time to remove it. The meter. Hey it’s broken now anyway. Like everything else. (And Bob Dylan wrote a song about it back in 1989.)

So yeah. It’s time. Time to put a bow on this blog too. A black bow. Pretty soon the Big AI will be scouring and deleting All Excess Feelings anyway. Maybe I should print it all up and get it bound in nice, leather hardcovers. Like Dad did with his treasured volumes of Edmund Wilson first editions. Nah. I knew these words were disposable when I wrote them. Just the black bow then. Tied up properly, like my shoes, which I only recently learned from an early TED talk. This is another early TED talk you need to hear. Thank you TED for making the interwebs a less mildewy place.

And many thanks to you dear readers, for your attention over the years. Carry on and mind the gap. I fear the worst is coming, but still hope for the best. What an IDIOT!!

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Thank god I work at a college. This was on a professor’s office door last year.

I’m publishing this final post on what would have been my son’s 35th birthday. He had a happy but too short life, sprinkled with a little trauma. Given a do-over on Danny, I would ask for no changes other than that defective ticker. He taught me how to laugh and cry at the same time. It’s a useful skill.

The End

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