On the Final 28th of December of the Decade

The year winds down haltingly to closure. With this, I sort through myriad revelations on the past and predictions for the future. The positive me searches for refuge from the gloomy girl who awakens in a state of moribund prophesy at the end of every year. THIS year also marks the end of a decade which has had numerous ups and downs on a personal and a geopolitical level.

I promise that for every downer, I shall provide a glimpse of shimmering light of positivity. Let’s begin with something wondrous! The stunning Hummingbird with more than 300-species among them bedazzle with shimmering color. Scroll through this beautiful Audubon presentation of “Jewels of the Sky.”

The pages of Cornell Ornithology Labs provide another fabulous space for bird-lovers to keep up with the soaring beauties above us.

Wealth Inequality

What of the ever increasing greed of the few who ravage our planet for profit while assuring the throngs of American Fox News-ites that deregulation has boosted the economy to make a better world for them. How on earth does ruining habitats around the globe help any of us? This “boost” of the economy didn’t help the middle or poor, but the already extremely wealthy plutocrats and oligarchs:

World’s 500 Richest People Gained $1.2 Trillion in Wealth in 2019: Analysis

“In the U.S., the richest 0.1% control a bigger share of the pie than at any time since 1929.” (Bloomberg analysis)

Top Ten Richest Americans in 2019:

  • Jeff Bezos: $114 billion
  • Bill Gates: $106 billion
  • Warren Buffett: $80.8 billion
  • Mark Zuckerberg: $69.6 billion
  • Larry Ellison: $65 billion
  • Larry Page: $55.5 billion.
  • Sergey Brin: $53.5 billion
  • Michael Bloomberg: $53.4 billion

Extraordinary Thinking

Human ingenuity at its best: growing a 500-acre forest in the middle of Egypt using recycled wastewater. While you read this amazing story, take note (and bookmark!) the Good News Network. Here are more good news reports from April of this year at another positive news website, One Tree Planted, which gives you live updates on trees planted around the globe. We all need more affirmative news in our lives and these sites are packed with the best type of news reporting–on human kindness, cleverness, and joyful living.

Education in Reverse

The changing tides of education “reform” prove to be a bipartisan cauldron of bad ideas. Californians now experience the magical Community College system in reverse to the days of a Junior College as orchestrated by the State Chancellor’s Office. The number of graduates and students who transfer to university are “disappointing,” according to Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the system chancellor, in his “state of the system” presentation in March of this year to the Board of Governors.

Well, here’s an interpretation, Chancellor: the unemployment rate has been at historical lows for some time and many jobs do not pay nearly enough to allow for a decent living in many California cities. So, some students take the courses they need in between multiple jobs and finish when and if they can. There are not many who can fit 12-16 units of coursework per semester into a busy work life, yet this is what the State Chancellor’s Office pushes for. What could be more disappointing than cutting nearly 300 classes at City College of San Francisco this past November on the eve of Spring 2020 registration with the bulk of the classes belonging to Older Adult Ed programs, Art, Music, and Physical Education? The reasoning as stated by CCSF Chancellor Mark Rocha: “So that we can graduate more students of color.” Hunh? WT…? How does slashing courses in art, music, and physical education equate to graduating more students of color? It’s maddening, confounding, and disheartening all in one fell swoop. We can’t only blame Betsy DeVos and the G.O.P. for our education woes.

Reading

I’d be willing to bet that book reading goes up this time of year with all the winter storms and the fires burning in a wood stove. Nothing punctuates the feeling of hygge better than a fire and a good book. Here are a few best of lists:

I have one more end of year and decade writing left in me.

Stay tuned.

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ONCE AGAIN

Once again, thousands of bellies fill with dread.

Once again, one human wreaks havoc with a greedy agenda.

Once again, a small group sits in fear as they hold the real power, albeit by wielding it as a tiny keychain flashlight in an abandoned 30,000-foot warehouse trying to find a clue.

MomentumDash on the morning of November 28, 2019

Once again, I feel like a quiet lighthouse on a distant shore beaming a signal of help.

Once again, the people respond sending a distress signal to the ones who hold the key.

Once again, the deafening silence sends the belly into turmoil of knots and nausea.

Once again, we need to all reach into our inner Jack Reacher.

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Where On Earth Did She Go?

Breathing.

Breaking.

Mobbing a beat.

Had to release and let go of the quotidian diatribes of the mind in a bind to dig in. Having done so; I’m now done. TOASTed. FINISHed. I will be diving into the scorpion realms of myself to repose and compose for the next 30-ish days/nights. I have pages of material to chisel away and to sculpt into something coherent.

I listen to and read of the artist Floating Points with his upcoming engagements in Verbier, Switzerland (tomorrow), Athens, Greece on December 7th (my brother’s birthday), and Hobart, TAS, Australia on Saturday, January 4, 2020. (Mon Dieu! The punctuation!) I am envious. Why is my life so enmeshed in the political neverland of Cali higher public ed? Why am I not out there moving, shaking, creating, and embellishing beats? Is this why I find solace in a v-shaped glass from time-to-time? Is this why I have found rituals in the daily practice of water, coffee, tea, and meditation?

I’ve been peepin’ this since my birthday with a craving to compose while twisting knobs of chance and change. Then, I said to myself: “Dana, NAMM is in 50-ish days. Wait to try out the new…”

HEADPHONES, please! Check this mixtape of sonic decades of goodness.

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a Plethora of Wrong

PoW – a Plethora of Wrong surrounds me. Remarkably misguided steps by leadership capsize the ship that has attempted to guide itself back into calm waters by the steady hand of the crew. We have toiled for years. The unpaid labor by people whose purpose is the betterment of the community. Then along comes someone who flips the table, crashes the dishes, and engages in pretend caring while erasing all the progress of the many years work that precedes him.

What good can come about when there is no pre-planning of major events? I live in a throw it against the wall to see if it sticks type of workplace. The problem is that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of peoples lives are at stake. Not in a life or death manner, but rather in a succeed or stay stuck in one’s rotten lot of never-ending debt and not enough money to be free.

The good people leave to find their workflow happiness elsewhere. The dedicated remain as the foot soldiers trying to make the institution rise up to be the best it can be. But we are thwarted by inept leadership. We are thwarted by a governing body that asks no questions. We are impeded by several who care not that they have pushed us back to the place that we worked so hard to fix.

I am a PoW in the PoW

a Prisoner of War in the Plethora of Wrong

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The Miserable Jigsaw of the Chump Administration

I must admit that David Remnick’s commentary in the New Yorker titled “Little Rocket Man” gave me the impetus to write this and I am stealing his words in my title here. When I read,

The increased military display on Independence Day is hardly the most significant piece in the miserable jigsaw that is the Trump Administration.

David Remnick, July 3, 2019

I thought to myself, “Yes. Those two words, miserable jigsaw describe the past 2 years of his presidency perfectly. This miscreant of a human has proven that the American ideal of a leader representing the most free country and people on the planet is a farce. There is nothing he can do or say that will cause enough alarm for America to say “no more” while he is currently in office. He can turn the entire idea of a constitution on its head, rip it up, step on it, squish it into a ball and throw it into the Potomac River and nothing will be done about it. He has proven how EASY it is for a foreign invasion to occur right before our very eyes. He has proven over and over to be a puppet of Putin without even trying to cover it up. What do we do about it? Read the news. Listen to the news. Watch the news. Then we sip our coffee and move on to the next thing in our day.

This horror show in the White House has proven that America is broken.

(not so) Happy Independence Day, America.

Thank you, https://n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com/blog/?p=6847 for the image and blog!

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The King of Countermand

He is at it again

The wanna-be-king who has not a clue

The man with few words due to a subpar IQ

The number of which matches the size of my shoe

He brays and he fingers

His stench ever lingers

Betraying his country with every demand

Then moments later…

A countermand

ALL THE MORE DAUNTING

when poking at Iran

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Birdsong in Kahalu’u Bay_Kona

Adventure awaits as I had read in through a text from my friend one week ago! I had no plans to travel to Hawaii in that moment and it took me 1/2-of-a-day of “Oh, wow! Oh, I can’t! Oh, but I must! Oh, but what about…?” to checking flights and jumping in. I’m normally a planner and not someone to hop a plane to a beautiful island in a moment’s notice. Alas, I’m not the normal me anymore because here I AM!

After I exited the plane and drove to my destination, I was in the sublime blue water snorkeling within an hour because my pal, Melinda, is awesome and she was ready to go.

“Here’s the gear! Try this! Make sure this mask fits right. Let’s tighten those fins…”

It’s not even 24-hours since I arrived and we have witnessed gorgeous tropical fish swimming and eating in the coral (and with them, a ton of their spring babies!), recorded morning birds (stay tuned), and visited the local Farmer’s Market. Wahoo!

Here are a few of the morning birdsongs I recorded. They are in 1-ish-minute segments as the morning sunrise from 5:30 a.m. progressed for one hour. Each new segment presents more distinctive birdsongs. The quick flutters are birds flying by the recorder. Put on some headphones and enjoy!

Birds at 5:30 a.m – they are just getting started at the first hint of day
Birds at 5:40 a.m. – gaining some momentum as the light of day intensifies a bit
5:55 a.m. and a whole new crop of songs enter the landscape
And finally at 6:10 a.m. – even more songs though a bit quieter again
Birds sing just beyond this happy foot.
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