Posted by: David | March 31, 2021

Doom ‘n Dread

My previous post whined about PTSD, where the T stands for trump. Sad to say, it’s gotten worse since January. He’s resurfaced, as expected, the way that corpse’s arm bobbed up from the Pennsatucky pond in the final scene of Deliverance. Still uttering those big, fat lies. And the mainstream/social media give him the oxygen he needs to keep his hateful fire smoldering toward 2024. I’m fully aware that I’m providing oxygen too, unable to fully eject the horrid troll from my mind. It’s no longer waking me up at 2 a.m., but that background dread level never went away after DT lost the 2020 election.

Why do I let it bother me so much? Tens of millions of fellow citizens, some with whom I am actually friendly, literally LOVE this exceptional con artist. So they’re afraid of immigrants, and socialism, and elitism! So they hate what scares them. So they gotta have their guns ‘n ammo. So what?! What hurts is their acceptance as gospel every blasphemous utterance. They actually believe he won the 2020 election, that covid 19 is fake, and that climate change is a hoax. Never mind the Q-nuts … they’re too far gone to care about. Like zombies, no hope for them. They used to have The National Enquirer, now they have the internet to get their fix of crazy so much faster.

But what hurts the most is that we’ve ALL been gaslighted. Four years of chaos and lies. The daily angst, wondering what hellfire would next burst from the White House. Four years of devastating lies every day, culminating in hoaxifying the pandemic and trashing a legal election. And this miscreant still commands his “party”! His faithful believe all the lies. To dismiss them all as ignorant is just too easy, and only feeds their notion of us liberals as elitists. It’s more than that. His utterances are supernatural in the way they grab the ears and eyes of friends and foes alike, lodging near the heart, producing delight or disgust. Supernatural.

Alas, what we have now is a standoff of historic scale. Just about down the middle, each side believing that the other wants to destroy the nation. Because I’m to the left, I’ll take my hope from the fact that trump’s hideous behavior disgusted normally reluctant/lazy voters enough to vote against the beast. It’s encouraging that he actually lost the popular vote twice. This is why the right-wingers are working furiously to rig the system against the majority. Apparently they lack appreciation for that fundamental aspect of democracy, majority rule, but wish only to cling to power using whatever methods are available. Sounds like fascism to me. God help us.

Posted by: David | January 25, 2021

PTSD

Post Trump Stress Disorder … yep. It’s a thing. Sure, he’s at swamp-a-lago nursing his bruised ego, a huge undertaking, and now setting up his office of the CSA (C=Confederate). Maybe the insane clown posse are helping. I don’t know about you, but even though they’re out of sight, they are most assuredly not out of mind. They’re not waking me up in the wee hours any more, however I’m all but certain that we’re not done with them. They’re like a black hole, infinitely dark and insatiable, with an event horizon that keeps truth out. Masterful liar, he will never stop. One hard and persistent lie about the election, former president gets right and left to square off, each implacably accusing the other of treason.

There remains the distant noise of gears still turning. The Lie Machine, like that T-1000 robot in the second Terminator movie, liquid metal, frozen and shattered, but reassembling itself for the climactic act. The GOP toadies are still yammering away, spewing the same disinformation, still under the spell. Don’t hold your breath for Senate conviction in Impeachment II. It’s very unlikely, if not impossible. The Big Lie About the Election will continue. As himself is rumored to have said, the GOP and their FOX-watching throng are the best marks, so gullible and so determined to wallow in their post WWII nostalgia. When the USA was top dog, racism was okay, and drunk driving wasn’t even a crime …

They blather on about their constituents’ “concerns” (the 75 million voters they fooled) regarding “fair elections”. Never mind that this wasn’t a concern in 2016, or really ever, in the USA, where election rules and regulations are hard-wired and sacred. Never mind that the “concerns” only appeared after Dear Leader kept lying to them about the election being stolen from him. Sadly, the first amendment really does protect their ill-informed speech and expression. Even after they trashed the Capitol building.

So that is the source of my PTSD. That the persistent source of truth erosion has been slowed a bit is comforting. The nagging feeling that the snake will return for its final act. Thanks, Joe, for the opportunity to catch our breath, and god speed you and your team in your endeavors.

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.

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