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Alex Baer

Mulling Day

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Welcome to your Day of Rest, aka A Brief Opportunity to Catch Your Breath Before You Have to Jump Back On the Hampster Wheel.  Me, I prefer to call this Mulling Day -- the only 24-hour period in which the long list of Haftas takes a breaks, and something from the Wanna pile gets to slip into the mix.

The trick in life, of course, is to minimize your Haftas and maximize your Wannas -- a truth known by the ancients, which is to say, known by Trump, by Clinton, and by your boss, for example, and by any hyper-hormonal teenage spawn in your roaring, throbbing, pulsating vicinity.

Meanwhile:  Here, as for you, most likely, the Wannas are always quite modest, and in the same general way the Haftas are not, and are instead brazenly, openly immodest:  the demand for food, water, shelter, medical care, and basic creature comforts (think heat during winter, clean clothes, and a shower once in a while) perpetually hog the first five slots,  never sleeping, always alert for openings in which to pounce and capture,  while niceties such as entertainments, visits with family and friends, and maybe a movie or a nap, are always at the opposite pole of those activity lists.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2016 12:30 Read more...

Hopalong Banshee

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It's the Age of Superheroes, among other burdensome identifiers of today.

(Such titles are the darlings of media and marketing, and are among the clusters and clutter of many clumsy, clunky ways of trying to figure out What On Earth is Happening Right Now, I realize, but it's better than the Age of Ignorance and Arrogance, as titles go -- GOP- and Trumpian-fandom and other related Fox-like IQ-slides aside.)

Perhaps superhero-dom is all the rage because all our problems seem so big, so unresolvable, so permanent, and so unyielding to our constant, hapless tinkering. Maybe it's just the mathematical result and automatic fun which comes from unchecked population increase where, thanks to sheer body-count growth, we still have the same basic percentage of lunatics, fools, morons, and village idiots, but -- Hey! -- where did all YOU yahoos come from? we say.

(Happened quickly, didn't it?  Yeah, it always does, when you're not paying attention, otherwise it wouldn't be very sneaky or stealthy, so says one of my new superheroes, Major Oblivion -- a longtime chum of Captain Obvious and General Mayhem.)

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 January 2016 22:54 Read more...

... And Now, th' Snooze

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Thinking can be dangerous -- thoughts can go anywhere.  Maybe that is why so little thinking is done any longer by the masses.

This is especially true, given the vast array of predigested information sources available to the various publics which still clot and cling together, despite our vast differences, as we start to exit our country's Terrible Twos, as the perspective of world history goes.

Our brains now scurry and scramble for their allotment of junk-food information, whether fresh or stale, direct from the squeeze-tubes of right wing think tanks, from the boiling vats of corporately-cooked fodder, from the overstuffed pork barrels of stout political earmarks.

The watchdog press has been harnessed, debarked, un-fanged, and reduced to handout journalism, repeating whatever overly-massaged, HD-digitized, pre-uploaded 3D press release kits are available for filing fresh, authentic -- and most of all, entertaining -- reporting.

Truth is what you make it, my friends, depending on what you want to hear, depending on which of the many propaganda channels most draws your self-identification, your perceived alliance, calls to your peer group, educational base, patience threshold, ignorance quotient, income cluster, and relaxation rating.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 January 2016 22:49 Read more...

Survivor's Gilt

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It's a wonderful thing, when stuff normally taken for granted goes missing for a bit, then pops back up, reasserts itself, and gets appreciation flowing in your veins again.

Like gravity.

Toward the end of the end of my month-long experimentation with colds, flus, and pneumonia-wannabes, I was thrilled when all those sumpy pockets and pools of rippling gravity faded from the swooping and swerving, eerily unfamiliarly, looking-through-binoculars-backwards, miles-long hallway between bed and bath -- into the Great Beyond, where all the cold and flu products danced in a long conga line, like a 1950s theater intermission moment, when all the popcorn, drinks, and candy bars danced themselves out into the lobby for your happy, refreshing treat.

Those transparent pockets of flexible gravity would ripple like rings in pools of water, but only at the perfect bodily temperature pushing into triple digits -- just as snow will only squeak underfoot at just the right temp,  no warmer and no cooler.  Those patches of sneering hallway gravity were unpredictable, alternating between slick and snide.

Now that I am back in The Tricky World of the Vertical, it's nice to know there's no need to be on lookout for malleable wells and sprouting fluctuations of variable gravity, ready to make you involuntarily lurch and sway.

(Here, I am tempted to ponder the delightfully high value a tavern named The Lurch & Sway might bring in general terms, located anywhere at all, let alone if established in Iowa and New Hampshire, where such unplanned banana-split ballet motions, come balloting time, are painfully traditional.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 January 2016 19:09 Read more...

The Flue Flu: Two Dox to Open

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Despite my flu shot, I've gotten the flu anyway.  The irony is not lost on me, but it's a complex vintage, and one not easily achieved or savored.  For example, part of me wants to feel I have finally gotten my money's worth in a modern-day transaction.

So much for theory, where the shot is supposed to give you the flu -- sort of -- in order to build up some immunity to the flu.  Well, sure.  Got it.

But,  I'm feeling on the wrong end of an old punchline, where this guy in a joke walks in to a drug store and asks, "Have you got anything for a headache?" and the pharmacist whacks him on the head with an SUV-sized wooden mallet.

Only, in my version of the joke, which is set in current-day America, and involves many players, major political parties will collide, generations of wealth will be shed, and the powerful will melt down their long-standing base over the intricacies of the details which fascinate them:  Who built and provided the mallet?  Who were the suppliers and contractors?  What form of manufacture and transportation was used? What were the raw materials?  Was anyone consulted along the way?  Who did the paperwork?  Who was employed, and where?  And, of utmost importance, of course, where there any emails involved?

And so on.

Then, we'd take a trillion dollars of The People's money -- representing a considerable amount of their labor -- and burn it, right in the well of the combined Congress, in a show of who and what is truly important in this country, despite official documents and statements, and then we'd all take the Nineteen Millionth consecutive vote -- hey, they're only a few hundred million dollars vote, you know -- regarding how and and when and where and under what considerations and conditions might The People be entrusted with the dispensing and receiving of Mallet Care.

Last Updated on Saturday, 09 January 2016 22:03 Read more...

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