What’s with all of this “First World” ranting?

Warning: this will not read as you think (and there is one or more expletive contained herein).  

I’m not standing up for the whiny rich people with their wireless problems, but rather for hard-working people like myself who have issues from time-to-time that I want to rant about and have been called out by comrades with this statement:  “That’s such a First World problem.”  Sometimes it’s shortened to “First World” in a shout out.

I happen to be a very lucky soul who was not born in the Sudan, nor Syria, nor Bangladesh, nor any of the other horrific areas on this globe where human beings harsh out a life of strife.  I was not born wealthy either.  I’ve grown up in a middle class, solid-work-ethic family and I have worked very hard long hours to maintain a middle class life in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S.

So don’t call me out on a “First World” rant when I simply want to let out steam. We have people going absolutely bonkers all around us because they withhold their feelings until they burst.  Yes, gentlemen…I’m talking about you. If I were Kim Kardashian or some other nitwit who has happened to be born into a life of luxury and somehow made myself famous for doing absolutely nothing, then you can call out my “First World” rants. But since I’m not and I get pissed at my iPhone on occasion and want to spout about it, leave me be.  It’s my right and I’ve worked for it!

Life is strange these days and I KNOW I’m lucky that it’s not like being bombed kind of strange or mentally flogged by a factory line boss.  It’s strange in this “First World” living among the zombies who have moved into the neighborhood and are renting or buying up all of the buildings and driving out the low-wage earning artists and musicians.  It’s strange when your phone suddenly loses contact with the mothership.  It’s strange when your shit doesn’t work the way it did yesterday. I’m going to let it out when I feel it and if it’s a First World problem, then so be it.  Just shut the (beeeeeep) up about it already!

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A Neighborhood in San Francisco

 I sit here housesitting in the peace and quiet of a neighborhood I have never spent time in nor thought to.  I’ve been in the Bay Area since 1980.  I have driven by this part of San Francisco hundreds (maybe thousands?) of times and seen it as I peer south when driving on highway 280 just as it veers off from highway 101 south after the Cesar Chavez exit.  I always thought:  “Look at all of those houses out there all lined up in perfect rows from hillside to hillside.” It never occurred to me to pull off and look around.  

It’s completely residential here and the houses are quite unique though they don’t look that way from the freeway.  It’s a working class neighborhood where many of the homes have been handed down through generations of families and THAT must be why it’s so clean around here.  As I have walked around the past couple of mornings, I realize that people care for their sidewalks and upkeep and it’s really tidy in front of the homes and in the streets.  Not so in the neighborhood I live in where the techies have taken over just a couple of miles north of here.  This neighborhood is the Mission Terrace.  And it’s oh, so quiet.

One of the big benefits of this home is having Balboa High School across the street which is NOT in session right now, so I’m sure it’s quite different around here when the teens travel to and fro in their quotidian school lives en route to classes, the library, gymnasium, tennis matches, football games, etc.  It’s a HUGE high school with a MASSIVE California Mission style classroom building that is grand and beautiful.   The wiki states 1400 students and 63 teachers.  Founded in 1928. Then I read these lines:  “Balboa is a comprehensive school located in an urban working class district. It educates a greater proportion of the city’s disadvantaged and minority students relative to other city high schools…In the last decade, Balboa has experienced a turnaround and has improved its reputation and academic performance.[6] The school achieved placement on Newsweek‘s “America’s Top Public High Schools” list in 2007 and 2008.[7]”  Fantastic!

Yesterday, my friend Hugh and I traveled 3 miles northwest to the Alemany Farmer’s Market to pick up food items to cook up for lunch. I learned that the Alemany Farmers’ Market was founded in San Francisco on August 12, 1943. It was the first farmers’ market in California. We had a great time buzzing about tasting various things to add to our veggie smorgasbord and meeting some delightful people in the seller’s stalls. Saturdays from 6a – 3p.  Check it out.

 Anyway, the home is swell and quiet. The cats are mellow and easy.

 I could be anywhere…

But I’m enjoying a nice staycation here in a home filled with books. Joyous that.

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Stand UP for Democracy

What better place to feel the power of democracy than at the local level. We have 85,000 local governments in the United States that are comprised of democratically-elected officials.  A short Wiki description of the word democracy states:  “a system involving distribution of political power in the hands of the public which forms the electorate, representative government, and freedom of speech.”

Elected officials serve the will of the people in a representative government and this is the heart of a democratic system; one that America staunchly pushes outward to other nations in turmoil. As America flouts democracy proudly for the world to see and emulate on this day, democracy in my own personal sphere and that of thousands of citizens around me at the local level has been pushed aside for the rule of one unelected official, a Super Trustee “With Extraordinary Powers” who forces his will at my college.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors sets policy and provides guidance for the 72 districts and 112 colleges that constitute the system. This Monday, three days after we celebrate American Democracy, the following Board will meet to vote on a resolution that seeks to continue the rule of one at City College of San Francisco. President Manuel Baca, Arnoldo Avalos, Jena Barrera, Geoffrey L. Baum, Natalie Berg, Joseph J. Bielanski Jr., Thomas Epstein, Lance T. Izumi, Danny Hawkins, Deborah Malumed, Henry A. J. Ramos, Gary Reed, Nancy Sumner, and  Colin Van Loon along with State Chancellor, Dr Brice W. Harris will meet on Monday July 7th, 2014 to vote on several items brought before them, one of which concerns a very undemocratic resolution recommended by State Chancellor Dr. Brice Harris: Action Item 2.1    Reappointment of a Special Trustee for San Francisco Community College District.  You can read the resolution here.  The college has already experienced more than a year of the autocratic rule of one unelected official whose “extraordinary powers” denied the college public viewings of official “board” meetings. In non-public meetings, rules and regulations were passed that included a huge salary increase for the top-tier administrators just months after denying faculty by continuing pay cuts at a pre-2007 level salary in what is arguably the most expensive city in America.

The web page of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office states the following under the heading, The Governance Process:  “Each of the 72 community college districts has a locally-elected board of trustees. These individiuals are responsive to members of their community. Trustees also oversee the operations and budgets of local colleges within their districts.”

So, you can see that although the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted on a resolution “Urging State Community College Chancellor Brice Harris to Restore City College of San Francisco’s Duly Elected Board of Trustees” and the citizens of San Francisco demand the return of the democratically-elected Board, a group of appointed Board of Governors has the power to deny democracy on Monday, three days after we celebrate America’s most prized holiday.


City College’s Board of Trustees Must Be Restored

Stand Up for Democracy



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Local Democracy IMMEDIATELY!

City College’s Board of Trustee’s Should Be Restored

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“God Fights The Plague” – a must see…

An enterprising and extremely talented young man named Desi Gallegos (18-years-young) caught my attention last eve at The Marsh in San Francisco, starring in a solo performance of his search for the identity of God through interviews of various characters whom he portrays in this moving and funny piece God Fights The Plague.  He is quite captivating and impressive, beginning his artistic run at age 14 with the award-winning Prop 8 Love Stories which he co-wrote and assistant-directed. Desi reflects an old-soul whose characters definitely live through him as he touches the audience with his adaptation of them.

If you’re anywhere in the Bay Area, I highly recommend seeing this performance during the run through Aug. 10th on Saturdays at 8:30p and Sundays at 7p.



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Moving Faster than the Speed of Sound

How it is possible to get it wrong so much more often now?   How many of you are stuck this day/eve with a “I can’t believe they got it wrong again!” regarding your intention on something you’ve just written in a text, an email message, an Instagram, Twitter, FB, or blog post?

We have SO MANY ways to communicate now and in a nanosecond it’s all there for your “feed” group or your one addressee to see/read.  And yes, you can usually take it back and either fully delete or edit (if you put up the thought or media in the first place in a public social media site as opposed to an email sent), but aside from that, how many times are you simply taken out of context?

As for me, it happens often enough that I tend to write a LOT of exposition to be sure the reader “gets my drift” and has no question of my intent.  But I’m finding that rarely solves the problem.  Why?  We’ve become a society of non-readers in all of these extra verbiage and media apps at our disposal.  We don’t want to sit and take the time to read something beyond a 140-character  tweet, so seeing an email post that has 140 words???  People go running for the hills.  Well, that term is dead.  They simply click “next” and off they are into another line of thinking.

Some of you, like me, like to read which is why you’re still here on this page and I thank you for that. The idea I’d like to get across here is that though we have words and audiovisual media at our fingertips every second of the day that we can blast out to the stratosphere at a moment’s notice, remember to stop and take in the messages that others are sending to you.  Read every word, take a sip of your beverage, ponder, then respond.  You’ll be better for it and your writer will be appreciated and understood.

We are a culture that is moving faster than the speed of sound at this point and it will take its toll, believe me, if you don’t slow down now and breathe…



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Cochlear Rest

If you sit still long enough and stop the tapping on your keyboard, you can hear a tiny world around you pushing up against your cochlea which sends signals to your brain for identification.  Directly from the Wiki hyperlinked above: “The cochlea receives sound in the form of vibrations, which cause the stereocilia to move. The stereocilia then convert these vibrations into nerve impulses which are taken up to the brain to be interpreted.”

Now think about that for a minute.  What are you doing to your cochlea right now as you read this?  Are you stimulating it with the quiet of whatever sounds are around you in their most quiet form?  Is your ear canal jammed up with little speaker buds blasting some type of music into your ear to negate the loud din of your commute? Or is it absolutely silent where you are?  No sound at all…

If you answered the latter, then you are far away somewhere on a trip all of us should be on.  Silence is something of a spa day for our cochlea and it would be a lovely and restorative trip to help your two cochleas (yes, you have two ears, right?) take a vacay together and travel AWAY from all sound.  Even if your brain is busy buzzing away as mine is most day and night, it gets a rest when your cochlea isn’t trying to send NEW information in for interpretation.  When the mind can just think on its own rather than run the duality of thinking and pondering while also interpreting, you are giving it a much needed break.  For those with children, I hear you laughing now.  “Right, take a break from the noise!” But teach your children this and you’ll be raising little Buddhas rather than little “Ruddhas”.  (Loud people take up a LOT of everyone’s space.)

Won’t you give your cochleas a rest sometime today?


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