The Ballad of Lost Potential

April 2020 Over the past several months I've done my best to avoid writing a post on this topic but obviously the effort at deflection is futile.  The issue keeps surfacing in my thoughts over and over again, so I'm going to bite the bullet and get those thoughts out into text.  Maybe then the thoughts will leave me alone.  Here's hoping ... The topic is lost potential.  Just what's that supposed to mean?  It [...]

2020-04-17T03:46:04+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on The Ballad of Lost Potential

Remembering Intimations of Greater Reality

January 2020 My thoughts have turned in the past week to memories of experiences difficult to classify using the categories we commonly operate within in the course of daily life.  I can remember such experiences all the way back to early adulthood.  They form their own thread of continuity over the course of my lifetime.  In my current phase of life with plenty of time to pay attention to such things, I'm intrigued by what [...]

2020-01-24T18:47:50+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Remembering Intimations of Greater Reality

There Are Travel Brochures, Then There’s Reality

January 2020 I just finished watching a "documentary" about Guatemala.  It purports to be factual.  On the basis of that film by itself I'd consider myself a fool for not getting on the next plane headed there, it's so beautiful and inviting.  But the "documentary" is in point of fact an hour-long travel brochure.  I just finished three years of global nomading and one of the earliest lessons to learn as a nomad is not [...]

2020-01-21T23:13:07+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on There Are Travel Brochures, Then There’s Reality

The Battle Against Banality

January 2020 Well, we finally made it to 2020.  About damn time.  I studiously avoided reading the many articles I came across going on about what a crap decade 2010-2019 was.  I was there, I don't need any reminders, thanks kids.  My thoughts have been trained instead on how to made the decade just begun better than the last.  New Year's resolutions obviously won't cut the mustard, what we need is strategy.  We need a [...]

2020-01-29T19:19:09+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on The Battle Against Banality

Year-End Review: Blogging as Consciousness Mapping

December 2019 Well, here we are at the end of 2019.  Finally.  It's been a long haul.  As Charlie Sykes of The Bulwark recently quipped on his podcast, "I don't know whether to bash my head on the desk or take up day drinking."  Since neither of those options is particularly salutary I've taken to writing as a way to confront the hard reality of our times. When I began the blog in 2017 my blogging [...]

2019-12-24T13:25:07+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Year-End Review: Blogging as Consciousness Mapping

Year End Review: Minority Rule? Oh Hell No.

December 2019 Resource Articles: Rigging the Vote: How the American Right Is On the Way to Permanent Minority Rule / Ian Samuelson in The Guardian (UK) (here) What Unites Trump's Apologists: Minority Rule / E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post (here) The Republican Party Is Laying the Foundation for Minority Rule / Egberto Willies in Daily Kos (here) Memos Reveal Scope of GOP Gerrymandering Ambitions / David Daley in The Intercept (here) Why Republicans Play [...]

2020-12-10T07:54:45+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Year End Review: Minority Rule? Oh Hell No.

Year End Review: Oops, Those White Boomers Gotta Go

December 2019 Resource Articles: Boomers Are Not OK / Helen Lewis in The Atlantic (here) The Coming Generation War / Niall Ferguson in The Atlantic (here) The People Who Stole the World / Sarah Mazzetti in The Baffler (here) Our Parents Are Ruining the Entire World / Linette Lopes in Business Insider (here) Baby Bust: How the Boomers Broke America / Politico Podcast with Ben White and Bruce Gibney (here) "OK, Boomer."  It's now a [...]

2020-02-14T17:29:32+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Year End Review: Oops, Those White Boomers Gotta Go

Year End Review: Political Gaslighting

December 2019 Resource Articles: The GOP is Gaslighting America / Joel Mathis in The Week (here) Trump Apparently Thinks He's a Master at Gaslighting / Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post (here) Lies, bulls**t and gaslighting: A field guide to Trump's reality-warping mendacity / Paul Rosenberg in Salon (here) How to Fight the Shifting Impeachment Goalposts / Jonathan V. Last in The Bulwark (here) Trump is Gaslighting America Again -- Here's How To Fight It [...]

2019-12-10T12:34:21+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Year End Review: Political Gaslighting

The “Old But Gold” Approach to Social Media

December 2019 Since Sasha Baron Cohen in a recent public speech (here) dragged Mark Zuckerberg over live coals I figure I have the green light to let rip about my own stance toward social media.  If Borat is getting in on the act, then nothing should hold me back from doing the same.  So here goes with the "Old But Gold" take on social media. I have one advantage particular to people my age: I [...]

2019-12-04T11:39:48+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on The “Old But Gold” Approach to Social Media

Staying Sane in a Mad World

November 2019 The title encapsulates a topic of supreme importance to me at present.  The challenge has always been with us but over the past several years things have gone well over the edge and the job of keeping your wits about you has become herculean.  I write this on a weekend while recuperating from the onslaught of news generated by impeachment hearings in the House, mayhem in Hong Kong, madness in the UK, pandemonium [...]

2019-11-27T23:44:29+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Staying Sane in a Mad World

Repurposing Heidegger’s Being-Toward-Death

July 2019 It's time for another philosophical side trip into the murky areas of my own consciousness.  Whether or not you go along for the ride hangs on your ability to locate the X on your browser window LOL.  The topic under examination today is a particular stance of beingness I find appropriate to my phase of life -- I'm a retired old f*rt, still with plenty of mileage on the tires knock on wood, [...]

2019-08-01T21:59:59+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Repurposing Heidegger’s Being-Toward-Death

Rocks Are People, Too: Living With the Geology Around Us

April 2019 One of the things we human beings seem to do best is take things for granted.  Our attention span is miniscule in the scope of the wide world.  We forget what we're about as soon as some other bright, shiny object crosses our field of vision.  That tendency is at diametric opposites with the reality and processes of geology.  In geological reality a human lifespan doesn't even show up on the clock.  So [...]

2019-04-22T08:40:17+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Rocks Are People, Too: Living With the Geology Around Us

Having a Life Without Having a Family

April 2019 Here in the Philippines where I've been living for the past two years I've become used to being an anomaly.  The fact that I have no kids is considered so outrageous by some people that they think I'm just making it up.  It's as if kids were like weather -- a given of daily existence rather than predictable products of Cause A yielding Effect B.  After the initial shock there usually follows a [...]

2019-04-18T19:13:33+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Memory Management as a Golden Oldie

March 2019 At my age -- so goes the story -- I'm supposed to be moving more and more toward enjoying my memories.  Following that strategy means, however, that you should've curated your experiences carefully throughout your earlier life so when you hit Golden Oldie status there's only gold to show for your trouble without any dross. Oops.  That's not gonna fly.  So I've come up with another strategy I think will work much better [...]

2019-03-25T08:38:35+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Memory Management as a Golden Oldie

Democracy After Populism: Getting the Ducks in a Row

March 2019 Nobody would contest that our democracy is a messy business, particularly at this point in our colorful history.  2019 got off to a firecracker start with a government shutdown provoked by the big mouths of a few far-right media bullhorns.  It sometimes seems they'd be perfectly happy to see those of us outside their audience disappear so they can have the country all to themselves to create their authoritarian utopia without interference.  The [...]

2019-04-08T14:22:14+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Democracy After Populism: Getting the Ducks in a Row

Has the Presidency Become Too Powerful?

February 2019 The question in the title would be timely even if the "T" word had never become such a fixture in our public life.  The past two years have simply forced an issue that's been brewing for a good while.  It's astonishing, really, that nobody has tackled it earlier since it sticks out like a sore thumb.  What we see playing out before our eyes in real-time is the contest between a traditional conception [...]

2019-02-22T02:57:53+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Has the Presidency Become Too Powerful?

Democratic Socialists: the New Kids on the Block

January 2019 We've long been in need of some new blood in the U.S. political landscape and it looks like we've got it now: the Democratic Socialists have arrived.  Let's say hi and see what they're up to. First of all, let's deal with the "S" word: socialist.  If you happen to live in Western Europe it's a word you're familiar with because it's been around for donkey's years.  When I lived in Germany in the [...]

2019-03-03T13:57:18+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on Democratic Socialists: the New Kids on the Block

Coupling Instrumental and Ambient Reason

January 2019 The standard division of reason into two aspects -- instrumental and value -- has seen us humans beat around quite a few philosophical bushes over the centuries.  I've recently done some research to get a handle on current strains of thought on the subject.  As I worked through the material I realized that my thinking has moved toward a different division of the aspects of reason, one that found no reflection in the [...]

2019-01-19T13:17:43+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

The Sixth Mass Extinction: Kissing it Goodbye

September 2018 Yesterday I got the Kindle version of a book I read a few years ago, The Sixth Extinction: an Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert.  It made a very strong impression on me when I first read it and many bits of information I gathered from it stayed with me over the years since the first read.  Recent research I've done on the Sixth Mass Extinction (hereafter SME for short) brought me back into contact [...]

2019-01-17T23:48:28+00:00By |Social Commentary|Comments Off on The Sixth Mass Extinction: Kissing it Goodbye

Climate Change as a Personal Agenda

December 2018 At the beginning of this year the amount of substantive material in the mainstream media about climate change was scant.  That changed in the second half of the year with headlines about it popping up all over the place.  Even now you have to squeeze past the controversy to get to the information itself.  Going straight to the Science Guys doesn't guarantee success, either, because -- no big surprise -- we're crap at [...]

2018-12-27T21:56:38+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Shifting Perspective 3: Humans and the Microcosm

December 2018 When you learn the facts of the situation, it's really quite humbling.  Microorganisms make up about 60% of the biomass on the Planet's surface.  They thrive in an astonishing variety of environments.  They've been around for nearly 4 billion years of the Planet's 4.5 billion year history.  Their biochemical processes are worthy of a PhD and their metabolic repertoires encompass substances across an enormous spectrum, including some that would kill us humans in [...]

2018-12-27T21:56:38+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Shifting Perspective 2: Humans and the Cosmos

December 2018 My interest in astronomy goes back donkey's years.  During a respite from the work world between 2007 and 2010 I had time to dig into the subject in greater depth than ever before and went hog wild learning all I could, devouring popular science books on the subject with great voracity.  I also read widely in quantum theory and cosmology.  It's all absolutely riveting no matter what scale of reality you choose to [...]

2018-12-27T21:56:38+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Shifting Perspective 1: Humans and the Planet

December 2018 Over the past few months I've been doing a lot of reading in one of my favorite areas: paleontology.  No, I'm not dying to get geared up for a field assignment, I let other people walk the talk -- e.g. Richard Fortey pelted by chill downpours in Scotland as he examines Precambrian schists.  I feel enormously grateful that their discomfort yields interesting copy I can read sprawled on the bed in my jammies.  [...]

2018-12-27T21:56:39+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

The Cloud of Unknowing: Our Native State

November 2018 I've pilfered the title of a work of medieval mysticism for this post because it captures exactly what I want to talk about: what we don't know and how much of our native state is formed by that absence of knowing, of understanding, of certainty.  Curiously enough, awareness of that state requires mental excavation because we overlay it with the certainties we use to make ourselves competent creatures in our daily lives.  It would [...]

2019-07-06T01:44:08+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Capitalism: Excedrin Headache No. 99

October 2018 If you're an American like me you hear very little dinner table talk about capitalism because in the USA it's conflated with Creation.  Now there's a spot of ideological hegemony you'd be hard pressed to outdo.  In the States capitalism is just there, ostensibly God-given and unassailable, like weather.  It's a different story in Europe, of course, because of its longer history and experiential acquaintance with other economic systems.  There's a socialist stream of [...]

2019-04-03T08:41:06+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Career End as a Good Thing

September 2018 Since hitting the retirement zone in 2015 I've had plenty of time to think about my deceased career.  Throughout my working life I thought the workplace was largely bollocks, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.  Death By Cubicle I called it, because that's exactly what it seemed much of the time.  Asphyxiation by administration.  Perishing by protocol.  Turn it any way you like, it had little to recommend itself [...]

2018-12-27T21:57:09+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Stuck Between Country Bumpkin and City Slicker

August 2018 It escapes my understanding why human beings constantly create dichotomies in life, but there it is, the evidence stands plain before us.  What's a girl to do?  Going through some old photos I hadn't looked at in a long time brought forcefully to mind an issue I usually slap down every time it pops up like a jack-in-the-box from its relegation to the dank recesses of my mental real estate.  I'll go to [...]

2019-03-28T04:39:20+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Living In a House of Cards

July 2018 The Emperor's New Clothes.  Hans Christian Andersen wrote an amusing tale for children, yes, but if we extrapolate a bit -- and it doesn't take much -- then we have a model for all sorts of things we adults get up to on a regrettably regular basis.  The split between rhetoric and reality is the fundamental issue, and that split gapes wide in the ideology of our modern world like the maw of [...]

2021-04-25T02:30:50+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Being a Dinosaur Is Jolly Good Fun

June 2018 Another Grumpy Old Man post ... maybe I should change the title of this blog to Senior Moments LOL.  But you gotta work with what you got, so full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes :-)  I'm a dinosaur now, so that's the topic of the moment. Obviously retirement is a major watershed point for everyone with regard to becoming a dinosaur, but I've been thinking about other ways I've seen that process take place [...]

2018-12-27T21:57:39+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Retirement Outside the Box

June 2018 This post is for all you golden oldies out there at the point of retirement or over the edge and into the territory already, like I am and have been for the past three years.  Can it really be three years already?  Jeez, how time flies when you're trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up :-)  Anyhoo, here we are in the year of our Lord 2018 [...]

2018-12-27T21:57:39+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

The Individual, the Collective and the Horns of Impalement

May 2018 Thoughts about the dichotomy between individual and collective have been bashing about in my head lo these many years, so it's time to get some of them down in black and white and see how they look in their externalized form.  Here goes ... We're all individuals and we're all part of the collective which is global humankind.  The conflict between those two levels of reality has been, for me at least, worrying [...]

2018-12-27T21:57:41+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

I Got That Ole Time Irony Way Down In My Heart

April 2018 Holy guacamole, Batman. This is really upsetting. It's all Virginia's fault -- Woolf I mean, we've discussed the various possibilities for her culpability elsewhere. There I was, innocently reading an essay of hers about the uniqueness of de Quincey's prose style, and BAM, it hit me. There's not a drop, not a smidgen, not even a teensy weensy little bit of irony anywhere in her essay. The tone is uniformly calm, cool, elegant, [...]

2018-12-27T21:57:42+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments

Horkheimer, Adorno and Business As Usual 40 Years On

April 2018 View of Jaro, Iloilo (see the Links page for pointers to resources mentioned in this post) Die kritische Theorie erklärt: es muss nicht so sein, die Menschen können das Sein ändern, die Umstände dafür sind jetzt vorhanden. (Critical theory declares: things need not be so, people can change how life is, the conditions for change are present now.) Max Horkheimer, "Traditionelle und kritische Theorie" This quotation from Max Horkheimer (all translations [...]

2021-04-01T17:23:42+00:00By |Social Commentary|0 Comments
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