Fringes UnHinged

Lessons!

Smack dab in the face, clarity arrives:

Smack Dab in the Face

Now, let’s have a hot cup of tea and consider a few things about thoughts and the requirements that lead to thinking. To learn is to acquire wisdom and being wise requires a life in love with learning and lessons. A singular most fantastic attribute of Homo Sapiens pertains to the size of our brains: [from Wiki Human] “Advantages that explain this evolutionary success include a relatively larger brain with a particularly well-developed neocortex, prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes, which enable high levels of abstract reasoning, language, problem solving, sociality, and culture through social learning.  They are characterized by erect posture and bipedal locomotion; manual dexterity and increased tool use, compared to other animals; and a general trend toward larger, more complex brains and societies.

The Latin translation for Homo Sapien is “wise person”.

Here is a more troubling line from the Wiki:  “The ingenuity and adaptability of Homo sapiens has led to its becoming, arguably, the most influential species on the planet; it is currently deemed of least concern on the Red List of endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. (font color and italics, my own)

Take one more sip and put that cup down. Think about this: 49% of the populace who support a particular candidate running for President didn’t go to college. A large portion of Americans have little to no desire to grow their minds and they actually feel disdain for those who do. This makes them extraordinarily easy to manipulate. America and the world face a human who suffers from a psychiatric disorder wishing to take over the White House; a man who can be described as anything but telegenic has been enabled to use technology to compel a population to pay attention to him. History repeating in the worst way befalls us. (Click the hyperlink; you’ll find it interesting. Note the date is July 2015 and look where we are now…)

I fear that we are at the precipice of a full-scale social war in the United States. The 2016 election changes everything no matter WHO becomes elected. The unhinged fringes have become unleashed and are resolved to give access to one man they think can save them. What type of thinking occurs in the minds of these particular people? Fear, anxiety, aversion. No self-respecting woman would support this candidate, and a plurality of Republican women do. Any American who actually thinks would not support a man like this who wishes only for the power in the title. The problem with this particular human is that he is on the brink of having the ability to put us on that endangered species list.  Europe knows it, and is experiencing a similar swelling of nationalism from the populist right, with unhinged fringes gaining power.  “Hello, Norbert, Boris, Marine, Sylvi, Kristian, and Geert.  {insert feeling of “shudder to think” if they all become elected…}

What can one do to inform, influence, and inspire fellow humans to open their minds to learning? I believe that every one of us “humans who think” should turn to technology to broadcast the wonders of education and preach the beauty of mind expansion. We must triumph over ignorance. We must excite, affect, and embolden the masses to activate their brains. Otherwise, stagnation and manipulation will destroy America and the world very soon.

Make an effort. It may well be our last.

To the media: notice I’ve purposefully left the person’s name out of this blog save for the hyperlinks. It’s damn well time that you do the same.

demagogue-h-l-mencken

A quote from Mencken…ironic, eh?

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We’ve Already Lost

‘Tis a depresso-matic title, I realize; but think about this: we are all bantering about the various readings, tweets, FB posts, insta-thisesandthats about this damned election and it’s not even officially summer yet. I know that your eyeballs are as exhausted as mine and you’ve put your finger in your ears to shut out the noise at least ONCE this week. Corporate media ruined America and we experience the depths of its depravity several times a day as it infiltrates every corner of our digital and electronic being.

The America that used to be (and was never EVER great, Donald) has long passed its prime and reflects a tattered postcard of the land that once was. Oh, how we try to remain civilized. Millions of us actually care about others and live by a code of positive reciprocation. What we see and hear in the media and what the entire world watches is a nation lost in its own reflection. Truth is, when I really look at it quite directly, I see a nation of graft and shaft. It hits one everywhere and from all angles:
our job(s), the cost of our home life, our mental health, the cost of all health, e-purchases, avoidance of e-purchases that end up on our credit card anyway, life on the internet, our wallet, the cell phone, another new cool device that keeps crashing, spam emails, spam scam sales pitches, (add to this list in the comment field if you like)…
I get email for everything from “30% off Viagra and Cialis” spam mails to “Dental_Implant_Finders, Cremation Costs, Senior Apartment Listings, Proactiv For Acne”… I’m 53-years-old! I’m neither a senior nor a teenager with acne nor male! 789 spam mails in the past 2 weeks. It’s not just absurd, it’s depraved.

In just these past couple of days in the news cycle, we see that the scumbag who murdered Trayvon Martin put the gun up for auction as “a piece of American history”. At the same time, F’ed in the Head Ted (Nugent) put out a revolting video  depicting Bernie shooting Hillary with a handgun. (Yes, literally SHOOTING her!) I hope that Bernie sues the bastard.

And all of these words thus far without mentioning the total deafening of our senses by bringing us America’s Biggest Loser to the forefront of the ReTHUGlican primary.  I’ll just post a tweet by Elizabeth Warren:

No, @realDonaldTrump – your racism, sexism & xenophobia doesn’t drive me nuts. It makes me sick. And I’m not alone.

Ditto, Liz.  Nuff said about that.

When one clicks on ANY of the news sites to read about something another barrage of “what to read next articles” hyperlinked in the sidebar attract the eyes:  “Doctor Reveals How To Fight Saggy Skin”, “Look How These Celebrities Have Aged”, websites with names like “OMGWhut” to “TMZ” with inane stories about rich, young multi-millionaires like Kylie Jenner and her failed relationship to Tyga, “[so-and-so’s] Divorce Revelations”, “6 Places That Have Banned the Kardashians”…WTFC?

So, how do we rise above as a nation and defeat this horror show? Well, I tried a little earlier today by subscribing to a magazine called “International Living” which turns out to be a huge scam.  The idea of retirement abroad and OUT of the U.S. tugs at my soul and somehow in the universe of “the internet knows”, I found a sponsored link to this in my FB feed. Dumbass me decided to go whole hog and subscribe. Thankfully, I discovered it early enough to inform my cc company to dispute the charge since I never hit the final send once I saw 3 more items they tried to sell me without my knowledge in the fine print under the submit button – something about a subscription to “Invest Abroad” and other scamtastic periodicals that would have hit my digital inbox for the next year adding to the 789-per-14 day totals of spam.  Well, at least I found this better blog about expats along the old Silk Route length of research.

So while we are all wondering what will happen with a Trump presidency, it really doesn’t seem to matter.  We’re already lost. The Trump-a-thon has been under way for a long time and it shows no signs of a

dénouement.

If you think electing Bernie with his great ideas will change things, think again. One man as President can’t do what he claims. We’ve seen this show over and over and over…

 LostDestinyCalls

 (Thank you ABC and Lost creators  Jeffrey Lieber, J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof, for the misuse of this piece of media…)

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Humanism & Violence

One of the greatest curses of being a writer is that I can never accept anything at face value. I can’t read a news article about a war in a foreign land and blindly accept that my Government’s rea…

Source: Humanism & Violence

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Colluption

Colluption – new word by Dana:

(noun)

the aggregate sum of corruption + collusion + collapse.

the_leviathan__revisited_by_forgottenpurpose

props to forgottenpurpose for this digital art creation found here at Inspiring Mesh.

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Shelter

Six months since the last writing in this particular book. I have at least one dozen notebooks and 40+ pens strewn about all of the surfaces in my apartment, in my school backpack, and my walkabout purse. I have an acute fetish for pens and books that hold court with a tin of colored pencils and a sharpener given to me by my dear Art Department Chair and pal, Anna. She said, “Doodling relieves stress. Thank you for all that you’re doing,” and gave me a big hug. I write and doodle several times per day to file my thoughts and work away at the pain in my soul.

Fast forward to this day: I walk down the steep hill from my friend’s apartment that I’m watching during her trip out of town into a Wednesday morning Castro Street waking up from Tuesday’s extravagance. Someone sleeps in a dirty bag next to front door to Marcello’s Pizza; his skateboard is carefully propped between him and the wall. I can’t help but wonder if he works there. People in service jobs in SF can no longer afford to live in this overpriced city. Many are homeless and hanging on to that cheap job – their last connection to reality.

I proceed to the colorful crossing at Castro and 18th Streets en route to a cup of java at Philz Coffee – one of my local faves. A thin, tall man approaches wearing a tattered t-shirt, moaning like someone who lost a child as he crosses my path. Upon second glance, I notice that he’s missing an arm–the short sleeve flaps on his left shoulder. Just then, I look down and see a cement cover on the sidewalk (like those that read Pacific Gas and Electric or SFPUC), but this one reveals the cleanly etched word: SHELTER. The juxtaposition to the visage around me causes my mind to jolt; I wonder how many more years that America withstand this vacuity of emotion in the lives of our politicians. So much suffering with so little care from the right-wing and the neolibs who pander to the masses in lip service.

I walk into Philz where a very positive staff greet everyone and I’m reminded that there are people who truly care about others. This was no fake welcome. These people seem to like each other and their job and want to share their happiness with the patrons  I haven’t seen this in SF in quite some time.  I order a Jacob’s Wonderbar and and an egg breakfast burrito. While waiting, I pull out my little purple notebook and write these words as everyone else around me stares at glowing rectangles of light emitting from their personal spaceships.  After several sips and half of the burrito eaten, I slowly pack it all up and walk out to embark on further journeys through the neighborhood.

I see a young woman covered head to toe in a dirty down jacket with a hoodie pulled up over her head. I stop to offer her the other half of my burrito. She turns to look at me and utters “Thank you”–her blue eyes peering out of ruddy inflammation stretched across a face as skeletal as I have ever seen. As I pass, she stops me: “Did you hear the news? It turns out Kola is Sriracha’s dog! So, I’m getting another one of my own!” Just then the face of a happy, blonde Retriever pops out from a bundle she had near her feet. I smile and continue up the street.

As I turn onto Market, I see two more people whose lives reveal more pain and depravity. I make a note in my voice recorder as the startling reality of the words on one man’s shirt cause me to wince: 

T-shirt: “Butchered at Birth”.  Tears well up in my eyes as I proceed up the street.

The excruciating reality is that the U.S. spends millions on the Presidential elections alone while leaving a large portion of its citizens living in the streets or drinking toxic water. This does not include the State and Local elections. California’s gubernatorial election of 2010 pitted billionaire Meg Whitman against Jerry Brown in a race that costed well into the hundreds of millions of dollars.  Bernie Sanders slams his hands down on the podium about our priorities. The official homeless data for SF can be found here in a telling report.  I read a statistic recently in an article that purports to 7,500 homeless citizens in SF. This July 2015 article discusses that the homeless population is aging and growing sicker each year.  Of course they are! With all of the money funneled into election campaigns, how can there possibly be a nickel left to help the poor with adequate shelter, drug rehabilitation and food? There are success stories of a few cities who work diligently to find solutions:  Salt Lake City, for example.

With an estimated $2.31 trillion of GDP in 2014, California has the largest state-level economy in the U.S. due largely to its population, which ranks 1st among U.S. states. Texas ranks 2nd at $1.65 trillion. This means that California’s 2014 GDP was 40% bigger than that of Texas.” (source:  2014 Legislative Analyst’s Office)

SHELTER

Shelter

Ground Hole Cover: Shelter

 

 

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UnTENable

adjective: incapable of being defended, as an argument, thesis, etc.; indefensible.

Synonym:  baseless, groundless, unsound, weak, questionable.

origin of un + tenable – 1640-50  Middle English

British dictionary definitions:

  1. (of theories, propositions, etc) incapable of being maintained, defended, or vindicated
  2. unable to be maintained against attack
  3. (rare) (of a house, etc) unfit for occupation

Examples:

  1. The status quo is untenable.
  2. Today, educators in America are put in the untenable position to provide equitable learning to all students with neither the proper funding resources nor administrator discernment as to how to manage the resources, both human and monetary.

The origin of UN

a prefix meaning “not,” freely used as English formative giving negative or opposite force in adjectives and their derivative adverbs and nouns (unfair; unfairly; unfairness; unfelt; unseen; unfitting; unformed; unheard-of; un-get-at-able), and less freely used in certain other nouns (unrest; unemployment).         [Thank you, Dictionary.com)

The workload of a teacher far outweighs the load of nearly every other profession in the U.S. save for those in which the pay is actually commensurate with the work as in the legal and medical fields. Such is not the case with teaching. In the past five years, public school educators have been placed in a headlock spending 10 hours or more per day working well beyond a regular laboring life. More than inspiring students to learn, building lesson plans, writing curriculum, grading, setting up labs, writing posts for those whose classes include an online component, keeping up with our students’ lives, and helping them to achieve goals and lifelong fulfillment; our second jobs of unpaid work include massive volumes of data collection about our students that demonstrates exactly what they learn and what they don’t whether they earn an “A” or a “C” or any other grade.  The grading system that has been formerly used to identify the value of a particular student’s contributions to their coursework and measure their “takeaway” is being pushed aside for more drill-down evidence gathering.  We must now keep in check the exact binary code of what they learn and how they learn it, input the information into a system, wait for it to spit back results of aggregated and dis-aggregated data for us to read and discuss…rinse, wash, repeat.

Although we have reduced the classroom output to statistics-gathering, one can learn from the information to apply some changes that may better serve the classroom. The assessments can provide information about a particular assignment that needs further grooming. However, the amount of time it takes to work the numbers and refine can be daunting in an already overloaded schedule.

Faculty who teach at community colleges have varying degrees of extra hours of service per week that they must contractually provide to the school. This can be achieved in myriad ways from Academic Senate committee work to coordinating various aspects of  program offerings. Depending on the committee or the program, this extra service can extend far beyond the service details and add up to what would be considered another part-time job, all for no extra pay – in other words, volunteerism. The act of volunteering generally feels good for the soul and one who volunteers usually receives kudos for such work. However, a huge amount of free work that never ends and increases over time in addition to one’s paid work adds up to OVERWORK. This leads to stress and dis-ease. Such is the state that I have come to in the past two years of over-over-OVER work-work, overwork. (unrest)

Consider volunteerism on a committee that helps faculty achieve best results in writing new and updating old Course Outlines of Record.  Next consider adding membership on the Academic Senate Executive Council that assists with myriad issues pertaining to assistance in the governance of the college with regard to Academic and Professional Matters (aka: the 10+1). Add a full teaching load in a specialty department that includes not only providing tuition in both lecture and labs,  grading quizzes and exams, reading student papers and reports, but also completing written and verbal evaluations of students’ creative work and projects. This equates to a 90-hour-per-week workload for which one is paid 40. (And in our particular circumstances at my college, we are paid less than our 2007 wages in the 4th most expensive city in America.) Unfair

Compare this to several jobs in the same workplace that pay far more than the teacher’s salary, but complete the workday at 5p. There exist many lucky souls who finish by sundown and go home to their families to enjoy the important part of one’s life. Some among the administration’s staff are paid upwards of $40-50K MORE annually than faculty, and their jobs do not include the daunting task of inspiring a student body comprised of a huge population of under-served citizens, preparing students for university transfer, helping veterans who seek education and training on the promise from the GI Bill, first time college students, those aspiring to skills in workforce development, those in need of basic and remedial education, the lifelong learners, and even homeless students. The administrative professional’s job is to support and serve the administration. But I often ask myself why they are paid so much more than those of us who actually bring the students to the college? (Unheard-of) When did the switch occur that an administrative professional earn more than a teacher or has it always been this lopsided? Many of my colleagues read about various jobs posted in HR that are quite enticing because some of the jobs pay far more for less hours spent working and provide an affordable life in this expensive city.

As for me, I am always exhausted. My stomach hurts most days since I carry my stress there and my brain goes off in ticker-tape mode around 3-4a every morning beckoning me to wake up and catch up. Sometimes lately, I think about how nice and freeing it would be to merely swim out into the ocean, past the waves, to drift in the freedom of the big deep beyond.

Then, BLINK!   I wake up…

learning_wordle-716728    swimming-ocean

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The Continually Confounding Saga of Americans

So many ideas fill my brain on a daily basis that cause a quick cessation of my heartbeat that I think I might need a defibrillator soon.  There appears to be an influx of news and stories that hurt my heart and soul much more than ever.  Perhaps it is that I am aging?

The Tea Party Ted Cruzian chooses no words that should fall from the mouth of a Christian.  He supported blocking aid to the families of Flint Michigan who have been literally poisoned by their Republican Governor and his appointed “emergency managers” running the state. When an aid bill came up for a vote – Ted Cruz said, “No” to the lead-poisoned citizens of Flint, Michigan. In a quote from this article: “The main Republican objection to the bill is that they believe that the people of Flint should have to pay for their own federal assistance.”

Really?  This from a Senator whose own state of Texas had just received federal assistance after their own request for such relief.  You have got to be JOKING ME?  No, this is America the (once long ago) beautiful. Remember these lines from the song, Ted Cruz?

“America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

No, I didn’t think you remembered it.  You certainly don’t when you espouse your completely AntiChrist views of the way the budget should be spent.  You are a heathen.  I dare say that whatever Lord there is that may amount to some good would not welcome you to her table.  You can go straight to the hell your types have created here on earth.  A stockade with you bound to it in the center of the town of Flint, MI would be too light a sentence for you.

Katharine Lee Bates, an English professor at Wellesley College,  wrote the lyrics to “America the Beautiful” in 1893 at the age of 33. That’s always been a favorite age of mine as it marked my entree into the global world of the Internet (thus by danaj33 moniker). The song is a little too white for me with the “alabaster” reference, but she was expressing her visions in the travel writing about Chicago and the World Columbian Exhibition (aka the Chicago World’s Fair) and all that she encountered on her trip to Colorado.

And then this:

A line from an article in the NY Times, “What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team” perfectly suited to a revelation I had just this early evening:
Our data-saturated age enables us to examine our work habits and office quirks with a scrutiny that our cubicle-bound forebears could only dream of. Today, on corporate campuses and within university laboratories, psychologies, sociologists, and statisticians are devoting themselves to studying everything from team composition to email patterns in order to figure out how to make employees into faster, better and more productive versions of themselves.

How to make employees more productive.  How quaint.  That appears to be the tent I have been living under at the college that I have devoted my adult life to teach others how to have a fantastic career immersed in the world of sound. But that inspiration that I used to give has been mired in the data collection trough that requires that I prove my self worth to the institution by gathering data right down to the student ID# so that someone can figure out how well I’m getting through to students of various colors.  I’m buried in meaningful conversations and professional development surrounding the wonders of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment and disaggregated data.  I was just pondering this when I realized someting about the 25-30-year-old “techies” who have taken over my once amazing city of San Francisco.  This I wrote in my journal tonight:

After reading several pages in “The Typewriter Revolution” while my brain gently decompresses after a week of teaching with one of the lectures focusing on analog tape recorders and finding my students completely enthralled, I connect some very important dots regarding our young society in America. The shrinking middle-class has much ado with regard to the digital age where everything is “virtual” as we touch pictures of things that once were real and physical items before us.  These are now emulations of our previous tactile experiences.  I exist that interesting ‘tween time when I have the knowledge and experience of living in the truly physical and tactile era of the analog domain of my elders, but also understand, know, and flow with today’s youth and their completely digital existence.  I am sad for them.  No wonder that San Francisco is run amok with these new imprints of adulthood  that I call “insensitives” who have moved here to take short-term jobs that pay well for the moment with most of their earnings spent on $4,000-per-month apartments that push the real SF (workers, artists, musicians, teachers) out of SF.  These “techies” have never experienced a truly tactile domain in their lives so how can one expect them to be sensitive to others?  If they have been living in an artificial game world, then they know nothing of truly sentient experiences.  Perhaps the Amish people become more relevant by the minute?  *SnAP*  Reality Show idea:  Send some techies to work on an Amish farm in the state of Pennsylvania for a month to learn a bit of enlightenment.

OH, and now Mr. Cruz has changed his mind.  My, my, the power of social media!  I think that Preparation H asswipes would be better in the White House.  This man runs for the position of “Leader of the Free World”.  My head hurts.

Americans today:  what the hell have you been ingesting to make your fool minds operate in this way?

america-the-beautiful_nb6782_1

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