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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Posted by: David | November 11, 2016

I Should Post Something

I haven’t felt this heartsick since 9/11. A devastating gut punch, and nobody to blame for it. Election night, after it became obvious, I went to bed. Slept horribly. Woke every hour or two with pure dread radiating from the center of my being. Sort of like when a loved one dies, and with each recollection a surge of fresh pain. Oh yes, that happened. That really happened! 

Never hated a politician more in my life than I’ve hated Trump. Oh right, wait, he’s not a politician. He’s a supremely skilled mega-huckster. And a billionaire. I hate billionaires too. Not personally, since I have no friends that are billionaires. So at this point, I hate that I hated.

If I did have billionaire friends, I would tell them to stop. Stop being billionaires! What can anyone do with such ridiculous wealth? How can anyone live with that, while there is so much hardship in the world? How can you sleep? With pills I guess.

And now, The Elephant is in The Room. Elephant, take care. You are very nearly extinct you know. We know that you feel loss and mourning, by observing your handling remains of your departed. You’ve really screwed the pooch this time, but you pulled out your customary victory. Besting the opponent for whom the majority voted. And now you have the job to do. Prayers of the righteous and the damned rise like smoke to guide you.

Make America great again … your huge campaign slogan. Based on the erroneous assumption that America is not currently great. This was your last mistake. You took your lucky break, and broke it in two. Now what can be done for you?

Posted by: David | April 3, 2016

Special Election

I normally abhor writing or even speaking of politics, conversations with like-minded friends excepted. Our inward political beliefs have an organic, chemical quality that makes them hard to change. We tend to pick up our political orientation from whomever raised us as children. So it’s generally pointless to discuss current political “issues”. However, this frightening election is causing much worry- words keep welling up. Words I can no longer contain. And what would be the point of having this blog if not to express my opinions?

My philosophies lean toward the left. Big surprise, huh? I have plenty of right-leaning friends, and plain politeness (thanks Mom!) keeps me from even considering attempts to move them from their Disney-esque nostalgia. Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back to those glorious years after WWII victory, when we alone had The Bomb? When we had just vanquished real, evil enemies; when women, children, foreigners and homosexuals all knew and kept their places, and The Great Depression was ancient history?

Really? Would it be that great? Let’s go a little further back …

As a bystander in the temple when Jesus overturned the money-changers’ tables, I would have cheered him on. Financial instrumentation is lost on me, and where my right-leaning friends scream about the money wasted on those fat, lazy welfare slobs, I scream about the World Police wasting money on ever more deadly (and expensive!) weapon systems. They think of poverty and disease as choices, while I think that choosing a designer for the yacht remodel is NOT a real problem. Money wasted is money wasted I guess- the money doesn’t care whether it’s spent on an aircraft carrier or a hospital.

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Are all the rich guilty? Of course not. Money has a physics all its own, and its gravitation is as unavoidable as that which keeps our feet on the ground. To acknowledge that one can work hard enough to earn a fortune is fine, but when is enough enough, and what happens to empathy, charity and morality once great wealth is achieved? Compassion is much harder to practice in the whirlwind of business. And practically impossible next to luxury. Lamentation: how have we come to this?

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In my home state, where the first primary in the nation is a big big deal, Sanders and Trump won handily. These results were shocking. I knew there was a deep chasm separating right from left, but holy hell!  Could these two presidential hopefuls have ideas any further apart?

Solace lay only in the fact that 50,000 more total votes were cast for Sanders. If New Hampshire were a microcosm of the USA (which it isn’t), then we can hope that the national popular vote will never favor the Blowhard Billionaire. His fans love his projection of authority, truthful or not. What I just don’t understand is how his supporters can think that he’s really any different from the run-of-the-mill “establishment” politicians.

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It’s all so goddamn sad. How have we come to this? How are we so deeply divided? Of that aforementioned nostalgia, at least back then we felt that were on the same side. How will we overcome this awful rift in the collective apprehension of our core beliefs? I wish I knew. But I blame it on Wall Street, Madison Avenue and Hollywood. Roughly in that order. Next up are lawyers and the insurance industry. And we all work too hard.

Posted by: David | March 23, 2016

Reformulations

On approach toward an ominous birthday. Thank heaven for grandchildren! They really help to soften the blows. Thirty was a little iffy, fifty was nothing, but sixty’s approach feels more fraught. Not sure why. It’s been a glide-path forever. Ascending? Descending? All that’s certain is that it’s unpowered flight, at the mercy of time and the wind.

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In preparation for this, some routines have been re-calibrated. For example, underwear. The white cotton briefs worn for five-plus decades have been replaced by boxer briefs. They are black and gray. And surprisingly comfortable.

The weekday breakfast routine has gone from 1/3 cup rolled oats + 2 tablespoons flax meal to 1/4 cup oats and 1 tablespoon flax meal. And the 40+ men’s one daily multivitamin has been replaced with a more accurate (agewise) multivitamin for men 55 and over. The label says to take two, but one per day will be fine.

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Grab the wheel firmly.

 

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