Archive for the Uncategorized Category

The Shouting

Posted in Uncategorized on November 8, 2012 by a4synapse

$390 million: spent on: WHAT? Then there’s schadenfreude. We won’t indulge in too much of that, it’s unseemly. Now, we get to watch a new civil war and some grisly self-evisceration. Watching a group of supposedly intelligent people suffer a very rude awakening is instructive and humbling. It’s a prime example of ‘believing what you want to believe’.  Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of folks.

It’s one thing to be stupid. It’s quite another to be self-righteous about it. They deserve this comeuppance.

Mendacious Mitt

Posted in Uncategorized on October 31, 2012 by a4synapse

We’re in the final sixteenth of the race to the election. I am, sometimes to my sorrow, a high information voter. I read the wonkies and try to understand statistics, probability and the laws that govern our elections.

There is something affectionately named: low-information voter or ‘late-decider’. As of this post, many polls of varying respectability show that the race is tied or within the margin of error nationwide. What interests me and shows a distressing carelessness, is that a nationwide poll (and it doesn’t matter if they’re registered or likely voters) is irrelevant, and this ought to be stated at the top of the article.

Tied: 50% feel one way, 50% feel the other. And I think I speak  for everyone: Half of the respondents are completely ignorant and wrong. If the other guy wins, we’re on the road to disaster. Only X can save us.

Only we can save us. That’s where the ‘demo’ in democracy comes from. Having spent considerable time attending local government events, I can say with some authority that 80-90% of the persons who attend local government have no clue how government works.

The Romney campaign has promulgated two lies that it demonstrably feels will garner votes among the low information late deciders.

1. The Obama administration sold Chrysler to Fiat and the Fiat-Chrysler corporation is planning to relocate Jeep production to China.

2. The Obama administration has eliminated the ‘work’ part from the welfare to work equation that originated in the Clinton administration.

This guy lies if he thinks it will get him what he wants. So vote for him. He’ll tell you what he thinks you want to hear.


Posted in Uncategorized on October 24, 2012 by a4synapse

Yes, I’m a puzzle addict. The first I remember was a square wooden puzzle. Word puzzles (if the yellow house is next to the house where the dogs live, what house is next to that?). Beat Tetris, beat Mario Bros. Terrible at Space Invaders, although it cost $ to play. Sudoku regular and sudoku with the 16 squares. Was never able to solve Rubik’s, but never tried really. Quit sudoku; quit snood; can’t quit spider solitaire, though. It just keeps dragging me back in.

Someone thinks that Tetris addiction stems from our need for order. I’ll go along with that. But I know that it is rooted in the deep-seated need to control. What interests me is the tickle in my mind, usually while waiting for something. It’s impossible to control sometimes, and it’s abetted by the ease of opening a game.

NYT front page: NY Islanders to Brooklyn (yay!), credit card breach at Barnes & Noble (is nothing sacred?), gloomy notes on the election and the risk of destroying middle class living standards, and an unarmed man was shot to death by a neighbor: because he was in the neighbor’s garage at the time, no charges were brought.

This drives me to solving puzzles. I know that’s a sorry excuse. At least I’m paying attention.


Posted in Uncategorized on October 8, 2012 by a4synapse

Less than a month before the election. Everyone has an opinion; why not? New polls nearly every day. Known road markers are the veep debate, and the two presidential debates. I agree that Romney was on his game for the first; I’m not sure what it means. I do feel that anyone who changed their opinion of this election based on the debate is not paying attention to long term trends in this country. The most objectionable opinion I’ve read is the one(s) about how maybe Obama doesn’t want the job anymore. To which I say: you have no clue what he deals with; so STFU.

W. M. Romney is the zelig candidate: the nowhere man.

There is only one poll that matters; it’s semi-amusing to read the hand-wringing prognostication that fills web pages every day. It’s also becoming tendentious and self-fulfilling on most sites. It’s like watching someone scratch their excema.

Labor Day

Posted in Uncategorized on September 3, 2012 by a4synapse

Today is the beginning of fall and the campaigns. Read an interesting piece at Business Insider (here) about the general health of the economy and how it’s making slow/steady progress. What’s interesting about this piece is the drilldown and some attention paid to instant data and some clues. Also, there are a lot of acronyms/indicators that are mysteries to me.

Several recent themes remain dominant. While global shipping rates suggest weakness, the US data remains generally positive. The long leading indicators of bond rates and housing are slightly to signficantly positive. Consumers have rebounded from their early summer slump, despite higher gasoline prices. But those same higher gasoline prices may be impacting new staffing and initial jobless claims for the worse, and gasoline usage is slightly down.

Read more:

The other matter pertains to the emotional temperatures of RNC participants. This piece from The Atlantic by Richard Lawson recounts his adventures in Tampa. He relates that he began with the best of intentions: resolving to be open-minded and tolerant. By Wednesday evening, his best instincts had fled in the face of the ‘undertoad’ (thank you, John Irving).

You realize, watching this seething mass of people, that the secret, the economics stage show, is for us, on the outside. All the fiscal talk is for our benefit. Everyone in that room really knows what’s being spoken about: Getting lazy poor people off their teat, sticking it to those gays, making sure we don’t have to pay for some slut’s sinful abortion. For all the cheer and cowboy hats and smiles and Christian blessings, this is an angry, aggressive group. And they are, or at least have been chosen to represent, nominally half of us. Half of us here in this country.

So, neutrality be damned, that’s what I saw last night. A churning sea of something truly scary. The shapeless leader at the top of the pyramid may be a wishy-washy cipher, but those that make up the rest of the structure are yawing rightward to a truly frightening degree. And what’s most terrifying about them is the way they mute their own indecency, wrapping it up and tucking it into the middle of platitudes and generalities, for the purposes of these televised events. Sure all the coded stuff is pretty easy to decipher, but it’s still coded, it’s still deliberately obscured. As if even they are, at root, scared of their own darkness.

It comes down to fear and loathing, rooted in ignorance that goes right to the core. I’m a big scaredy-cat and I own it. I know it’s off-putting. Lately I’ve been thinking that’s your problem, not mine. It’s what you do after your wits have left you. There are two choices: retreat into magical thinking or deal. I do both and it depends, really, on the day and what I had for breakfast. So it’s one step forward, two steps back.

This push to exalt individualism and American exceptionalism is a prime example of magical thinking and the accelerant is fear. No joke, we’ve had our wits scared right out of us. The final phrase of our national anthem holds a dark contradiction for me: home of the brave. (an aside: I have to mute the seventh inning stretch now; Kate Smith/God Bless America just seems like the anthem of a theocracy.)

I think I will make something today. It helps counterbalance a steady diet of alarmism.

Extra Long Walk This Morning

Posted in Uncategorized on August 19, 2012 by a4synapse

The puppies demanded it (well, they might have known in advance). We normally go about 3/4 of a mile in a wide open field. It’s been mowed so its subtle contours are showing, which is nice. There is a flock of starlings that lights and then frights, cycling through every few minutes. The dogs are both in a good mood, ambling along the path left by the ATV’s and dirtbikes. The sight of their swaying butts with tails aloft helps my mind adjust to the day.

This morning, we left the field on the other side, crossed the road and did some exploring along the old railroad right-of-way. The railbed itself was converted to a bikepath almost ten years ago and it’s heavily used by walkers and bikers; their voices drift over the thick hedgerow though they themselves are hidden from sight. It’s rough ground here and the deeper ruts harbor water from the rain of two days’ past. A rabbit starts and I am happy I kept Glynnis on the lead. She wouldn’t have caught it; the undergrowth is too thick, but it would have taken some effort to get her back. Then we come out where there is a large soybean planting, which backs up onto a larger corn planting. All looks like it’s flourishing. We turn back.

Both of them love to play in the water, be it ever so dirty. But they also just love trotting along and being a dog.

Back home, it’s time for a nap in the sunny spot on the rug.

Talking to Voters (Potential and Otherwise)

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2012 by a4synapse

I spent three hours yesterday in a campaign outpost making calls and talking with whoever answered the phone. I said my name and that I was calling with ‘x’ campaign. Roughly 60% hung up the phone or indicated in various other ways that they had no wish to talk. It’s August: campaign definition and awareness begins now. It’s a new (they’re all new, now) district. This candidate is running in a district where the registration is heavily against. There is an incumbent advantage and it’s probable that money will stack up fairly evenly. There is also a chance that this district will attract national SuperPAC spending, which would erase those two slim advantages (maybe).

Talked to a couple of idealogues and one demagogue. I was surprised, occasionally by intelligent, open-minded individuals. That makes it three hours well spent. There is a lot of conversation; it’s still hard to find a good discussion.

Because The Night

Posted in Uncategorized on July 2, 2012 by a4synapse

Belongs to lovers.  Because the night belongs to us.

The moon is just past full.  A clear line marches across the lawn: the 50-year-old pine next door is responsible, but I have to walk out across the soft grass to understand where it lurks.

We spend no time with out the night and just the night. Still, as silent as it becomes now. Hums, whistles, machines in the murk.

I went out to the front, meaning to spend the moments staring out. Frank surprised me: coming out of the darkness in his white cloak. Here I am.

How delighted I am you’ve come to join me. Let me roll in pleasure here with you.

Open yourself to this, let it come in and be you.

Walk out with it, embrace it.

We spend no time with the night, but it waits for us regardless.

Kentucky Derby Day

Posted in Uncategorized on May 5, 2012 by a4synapse

I bet (in no particular order):

Went The Day Well: I think he’ll get the distance, love the jockey, love the trainer; think he has the speed and the maneuverability; some question about the surface

Bodemeister: Love the jockey, love the trainer, know he has the speed, pretty sure he’ll get the distance and I think he has the intangibles; will to win and good sense

Union Rags: most everyone I’ve read thinks he might not get the distance because of his sire, Dixie Union; I’m thinking he will because of his trainer (love the trainer, love this jockey); I think he’s a big strong maneuverable horse with tactical speed; he won’t get intimidated and will lay it down in the stretch

Dullahan: loved his last win in the Blue Grass; know he can get the distance; like the jockey and the trainer; don’t know if he’s fast enough, but he’ll be there.

At 5:43, the track appears to be holding up speed; winners are coming off of stalking trips, and one track record was set today by a filly running close to the pace.

Sunday Morning

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10, 2012 by a4synapse

Traditionally, this is the space in which we take stock, consider,  reassess, change or plan to/for. It needs to be quiet and uncrowded. Many of us go to a public convocation of sorts and listen to an accredited person tell us what we should do/be doing/thinking. This has roots that are probably evolutionary and probably inescapable. We probably need to glom on to a group for our own personal preservation.

I was raised in a tradition that was once ‘conservative’ and is now ‘liberal’. And ‘the child is father to the man.’ In America’s current debate, lines have blurred or swapped perspective altogether. I still know what I think, but I don’t want to identify or be identified with the current ‘camps’ but that doesn’t make me an ‘independent’.

Economic, political and social turmoil have confused the hell out of everyone. Technological change has outpaced our ability to understand and cope with that change even as it has enabled our ability to change in order to cope. There is no longer a clear line indicating who is with us and who is against us. We are falling back on old words and the old words are failing us; we are coalescing along what used to be tribes. It’s not working. We even know it’s not working.

‘May you live in interesting times.’ is an ancient Chinese curse.