Earth Day Celebrations
Humankind = the human race / humanity
Spring is here, but why so much fear?
Uncertainty in the face of sensing what is near.
Leadership lacking, human trafficking. Mental illness abounds.
Yes/No, Up/Down. Turn ourselves around and around.
I watch dystopian future films and see us now living in the creation of that future depicted in the story. What generates a horror-filled future of human alienation and automation in the form of drones programmed with advanced AI to do what humans should do on our own? It begins with pitting corporations–do-anything-to-advance-its- goals type of entities (whether by lying, cheating, and/or bullying)–that have been given the power of personhood to create and propagate rules and regulations over powerless, singular human entities . It continues with self-aggrandizement by the corporate entities who create lunatic leaders overseeing the existence of humankind. Many countries wish to roll up their carpets, shut their borders, and place a demagogue in power to the tune of “isolationism will help us.” No. What helps humans is to be connected to each other, through and across borders, through and across cultures, through and across religions.
Humans repeat, repeat, repeat. This story has been told and unfolded since 9000B.C. The only difference now as the self-proclaimed “most intelligent species on the planet” over this list of amazing animals is that we have proven that our intelligence is simply not so. We are the only species clever enough to build myriad ways that threatens all life on our entire planet and stupid enough to carry it out with brazen willingness.
- Republican AGs file on behalf of Exxon claiming climate investigation is a ‘witchhunt’
- Timeline of the North Korean nuclear program
- Why America wants drones that can kill without humans
- Fracking America: Sacrificing Health & Environment for Short-Term Economic Benefit
- Fracking and issues around global warming
- so many more terrible stories
We must avoid our fatalistic, savage tendencies. We are not the worst murderers among the animal kingdom, check this out. However, we are the only ones to plan, create, and execute plans to kill on a massive scale and we are, again, teetering dangerously close to that end.
Let us learn more about ourselves, our species, our humanity to build upon what is great and good. Let us lead ourselves away from the madness that besets a few of our fellow humans and guide everyone to positivity.
- National Geographic show: The Great Human Race
- Humans Affecting Biodiversity
- Humans and Learning
- Humans make maps
- Humans make art and music
- Humans Make Music
- The Arts and the Definition of the Human
- Henri J.M. Nouwen:
“What makes us human is not our mind but our heart, not our ability to think but our ability to love.”
KNOWING that I was meant to “be here now” as I sauntered down the street with the goal of obtaining quarters for my laundry; I walked past a newspaper kiosk to see the SF Weekly with Rebecca Solnit on the cover page. I opened the door to find an empty kiosk save the one copy they put in the front holder.
Take a moment to check out Rebecca Solnit, a prolific author and brilliant mind whose oeuvre covers history, feminism, wandering, social change, and so much more. The SF Weekly article by Zack Ruskin titled: Quantum of Solnit – Charting the landscape behind Rebecca Solnit, one of San Francisco’s singularly literary voices, reveals the depth of her integrity in words covering some of her books, essays, and articles.
Some (weakly) pull-quotes:
“I love that, that sense that the stone was thrown into the water a while ago but the ripples are still spreading out and we don’t know for sure.” and
“I was snatching the teddy bear of despair from the loving arms of the left.”
A couple that I find more intriguing with regard to her latest collection of essays, The Mother of All Questions: (from the introduction) “There is no good answer to how to be a woman; the art may instead lie in how we refuse the question.”
“…but, at its best, social media is what its users make of it, from the Arab Spring to this feminist insurgency, activists have created a sort of Greek chorus to the dramas and of our lives and world.”
Solnit in Infinite City: “Every map is a guide to finding the desirable and navigating the dangerous. California was imagined as the island at the end of the world, because that’s how the stories went and because they needed an island. Every map is a treasure map, every island a Treasure Island.”
I was introduced to her writing by my dear friend, colleague and composer Lenny Carlson who gave me her book: A Field Guide to Getting Lost as I was about to embark on a solo, 30-day trip to Europe in 2015. I was swept away by the traveling bliss accompanied by her thoughtful prose. I carried it from cafe to resting place opening several new pages a day to digest little bits.
As for my pal Lenny, check out the testimonials of those who find him as fabulous as I do! You must take one of his music classes at City College of San Francisco. Everyone I know who basks in his tutelage has become a better person for it.
One last treasure that I implore you to include in your daily routine (still life with computer): Chrome Momentum Dash. It’s free. It’s a joy to wake up every day to see what new high-res picture of some part of our beautiful planet lay before me all day as I work. Each new tab you open in Chrome reveals this lovely productivity extension. Today’s is below:
It’s 12:47p and I have a day of writing before me…
Then you discover that you could have done something different. You could have learned from history. You could have made more intelligent choices as to where to source your information. You could have gathered every scrap of evidence you need to make the case that those in power have no regard for you nor your future nor the future of your children.
GREED runs amok in Washington and America will crash and burn shortly if we do not take steps to educate those who turn their noses to learning. 45 said that he loves uneducated people: “I LOVE the poorly educated!” and they love him.
While he and his family grab all of the riches that the position as the leader of the free world will give him and his brand for his remaining time before impeachment (which is becoming more clear every day), the uneducated will have toxic air to breathe and polluted water to drink and kill any growth in their fields as the one thing truly protecting them becomes gutted: The Environmental Protection Agency.
Check out the conservative think-tank Heritage Foundation’s plan to gut both the EPA and the Energy department. THIS is terrorism. This type of mindset will be the undoing of America and if that isn’t terrorism in the name of corporate greed, I don’t know what is.
I just wrote this earlier on my other page:
As you read the words at the link and of various other quotidian postings from a host of others, it’s important to remember to keep up your health, stamina, and mental state by pushing through what may bring you down about this seeming dystrumpian future before us and have you find your inner light. Let that light burn brightly for the resistance that lay ahead. We have a lot of work to do. EVERYONE around the world who galvanized their inner steam yesterday needs to awaken every day with a mission. We must keep apace with the ongoing deliberations and obfuscations during this coup of the U.S. government. SO, stay strong. Eat well. Live like there is no tomorrow. Be kind to each other and spread love.
Artists enrich our lives through sharing their talents morphed into things that we can view, hear, touch, see, smell, and use.
- the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
- the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance.
- the conscious use of the imagination in the production of objects intended to be contemplated or appreciated as beautiful, as in the arrangement of forms, sounds, or words.
- (of a person or action) clever or skillful, typically in a crafty or cunning way.
- showing creative skill or taste.
Synonyms: skillful, clever, adept, adroit, skilled, ingenious, crafty, designing, dexterous
An artist’s life, often rich with vibrant experience, sometimes lacks the capacity to fund that life through the work of art. Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings, popes, and the wealthy have provided to artists such as musicians, painters, and sculptors. Catherine the Great was one of the most renown and celebrated patrons of the arts.She enthusiastically supported the ideals of The Enlightenment, thus earning the status of an enlightened despot. As a patron of the arts she presided over the age of the Russian Enlightenment, a period when the Smolny Institute, the first state-financed higher education institution for women in Europe, was established. (Thank you to my astute friend, Wikipedia.)
Sadly, I ponder about the state that our artists live in given that capitalism has crushed the idea of patronage which seems to be so important to a health society. We have plenty of money in the U.S. among the corporations that happily send their $$ offshore to bank accounts in tax friendly countries to save paying taxes in the U.S., yet their isn’t enough to feed the poor and provide shelter to our homeless many of whom are “starving artists”. It’s appalling to me that artists have to create their own makeshift tenements like the one in the horrific Oakland warehouse that caught fire and caused more than 30 deaths some of whom were the young burgeoning artists of the Bay Area. It appalls me that a braggadocio nation like America can overlook the income to poverty threshold among artists with conservative think-tanks working for than 15 years on efforts to defund the National Endowment for the Arts.
And though national poverty rates are on the decline, San Francisco County had the highest poverty rate in the Bay Area, with an estimated 12 percent of its population living below the poverty line in 2015. Santa Cruz County followed with an estimated 11.3 percent poverty rate; Alameda County, 11 percent; Contra Costa County, 10 percent; San Mateo County, 8.4 percent and Santa Clara County, 8 percent.
Ten percent of art school graduates make a living from their artwork. We benefit from their output whether they earn a living or not. We need to find ways to fund the arts and allow them to flourish to the betterment of our society. It is essential to fund artists and their artistic expression in a first-world nation.
I leave you with this from The Artist As Debtor–The Work of Artists in the Age of Speculative Capitalism: “If you all believe, as we imagine you do, that art allows us to reflect upon the world, that art is a public good, and that artists are lifelong learners and active civic agents then you likely desire artistic expressions by people of every class, race, sexuality, age, ability, and gender expression. Audre Lorde writes so beautifully about how the arts can be a place to share “revelatory distillations of experience” and how the arts have the power to foster understanding and empathy. We can say that every arts graduate we know, regardless of their debt burden, tells us that they couldn’t imagine going to school for anything else. Why is this?”
Lovely deep red hue of seeds eaten a few evenings before Dia de los Muertos invoke the perfect blood-tinged visuals of the Halloday to come. October 31st–that which America has co-opted into a brand known as Halloween where temp superstores rake in the cash from Chinese-made replicas of all things ghoulish plastic. Cutting the pomegranate in half created a scene from Psycho. Here’s the picture to prove it:
Gross, right? It’s just one simple slice into a Punica granatum and now I’ve got Freddy Krueger and A Nightmare on Elm Street 16 filming in my kitchen. This brings me to a tip for you, dear Reader: forget the who-knows-what’s-in-it toxicity of the face paint you buy at the aforementioned superstore. You want fake blood to decorate with? Cut open a pomegranate, let it splatter all over your shirt and use the drippings on your face and limbs when you go out this weekend. Best thing about this? Eat the damn seeds (between 200 and 1400 of these sweet/tarts inside of any given fruit) and you’ll find yourself in a luscious world of good health. Not bad for Halloween weekend, eh?
So let’s take a walk through some of my local favorites of this time of year: the pumpkin patch. Clancy’s is the closest to me at 1620 7th Ave out where the inner Sunset neighb touches upon the Haight. Take a walk through the link and then get away from your desk and take the family directly to it. Fun abounds on this rainy SF weekend. For my East Bay pals, check out the Piedmont Avenue Pumkin Patch–always a good time for the littles. If you’re a bit older or have teens, check out Fruitvale-Oakland’s Dia de los Muertos Festival. Ready for a swell drive? Then check out the NOT_TO_BE_MISSED Half Moon Bay area offers several amazing choices of Pumkin Patch locations . If you’ve never been, definitely head there this weekend for some pure October delight. (Don’t worry that you missed the Festival a couple of weekends ago…it’s better to go when it’s just a regular Halloween weekend.) Highway 92 west can get a bit clogged, so put on your favorite mix tape (er, playlist) and be ready to crank it up. Another alternative is one of the latest releases of Books on Tape, Testimony by Robbie Robertson looks particularly interesting as does Carrie Fisher’s Princess Diarist.
Have a fantastic (and safe) weekend and feel free to take a few moments to watch the quickly made, latest, short film of, by, and for my students and colleagues: “It’s Him“. Please share it widely.
This exploded from me as I awoke this morning:
and I dropped this beat on top of another from a cool Norwegian named Paul last night expunging thoughts with my creative night light:
as well as this little vocal piece with the trappings of disjointed music made using Properllerhead’s TAKE app on my iPad: All Fall Down.
Earlier this summer, I wrote this song about the NRA’s SICK JIHAD.
Negative feelings and imagery ruin my being since I have to wake up to the O-shaped horror mouth of a UNpresidential candidate spewing his Nazi vitriol on every broadcast medium. This leaves me completely obliterated. I can’t image 4 years of his daily hell storm. We must eradicate our country of his soulless fury and send him out to an exoplanet far from our galaxy on one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Ultimate Spaceship V2.
Every day became progressively worse since Monday began at 6:30a. A bulleted list of highlights to showcase the anemic suspension of a soul:
- Monday discovery in my recording studio class that the doors to the studio won’t open without brute force to pull the doors out due to the huge sucking of air that the Winchester Mystery HVAC installation has caused inside. Feels like hundreds of pounds of air pressure to pull the door open from the outside or push it open once inside.
- The recording studio is only quiet when the doors are wide open to the hallway.
- When the doors are shut, it sounds like one would imagine how the whipping blasts of wind resonate atop Mount Everest.
- Rush off before class starts to attempt a load of laundry at SFWash on Mission St not far from the college. Find the dirtiest place I’ve seen in ages making some garage bathrooms look like a better place to launder one’s clothes. Disgust fills my insides as I try a washer. When that is done, I leave with a basket of wet clothes after finding hair and dirt around all of the dryers. Laundry basket is heavy and hard on that pain spot nagging at me from my lower spine.
- Back at the studio and after class I find none of the usual places to put things away that have always been available (until this summer of hell HVAC installation) leaving me to schlep to remote locations yet again. Lower back pulls from the weight of a super heavy mic stand that I extended too far into a crowded room that my body would not fit into. Left work at 10:30p after loading van with a ton of production sound gear for tomorrow’s class at another campus. (15-hour day complete)
- Tuesday morning class is better, but I have to arrive an hour early since I’m unloading a car filled with production sound gear for today’s hands-on lab in the Sound For Visual Media class. I’m already tired by 10:30a after several hours of schlepping and trying my best to be a stimulating educator. Lower back pain escalates.
- Tuesday afternoon, I run from one campus to another to help fellow educators understand how to input information about courses into a new-ish program we are using. Volunteerism begins to wear thin in this second week of this. Beginning to limp a little now from the pain.
- Run between buildings on campus off to another meeting. Pain heightens.
- One hour later, yet another meeting. Education is taxing .(double-entendre intended.)
- I’m home by 7:50p and ready to crash already. 12-hour day complete. Ice pack on the back before tucking self in.
- Wed morning, I have some extra time, so I steam and stir-fry all of the veggies in the fridge before they go bad using great care to try some new flavored oils and balsamic. I’ll have a burrito in the Mission for lunch before a long meeting all afternoon, so this veggie meal will be a perfect evening pick-me-up on break during class.
- Proceed to leave tupperware of food in warm office (HVAC not yet working) to run off to meeting at another campus. Return hours later to no time for self so class begins with the next song-and-dance from Teacher D! Can only leave door to studio open for another night of miking demonstrations because it’s the only way to silence the wind noise that howls in the room when the doors are closed.
- Former advanced audio student and fantastic pianist comes in for us to record and for me to show miking piano techniques. I demonstrate to him why the studio doors remain open during this sound recording (a common “no no”). When the doors are closed the gale winds of the north cause him to double-over in laughter “Oh my God, what the hell?” Yes, it’s frozen over.
- Recording goes well with students feeling happy about their burst of new knowledge this week in lab despite the acoustic nightmare. I drive home at 10:30 somewhat content. I drink 1/2 of a bottle of a Lagunitas Stout with a shot of Bulleit Rye and I’m out like a light.
- Thursday morning comes too fast and I’m off again to class only this time I remember that I’ve left a large tupperware full of cooked veggies in my office at the other campus. Oh no. I’ve wasted food!
- I find every single route to the Mission campus fully blocked like some giant foot has landed in the middle of the city causing traffic for miles through every artery. I remind myself that the city continues to build more and more high rises even though there is not enough room for those already here.
- Mental note taken as I cross no fewer than 6 construction zones near the corners of many streets being upgraded by the SFPUC in an attempt to accommodate a city filled with more shit…literally. Too many people in a 7 x 7 area. That’s 7 miles by 7 miles, folks. That’s it for SF. Greedy Mayor don’t care
- At one particularly long jam of traffic, I check my phone and see an email from my Aunt. The inevitable has occurred. One of my sweetest cousins has passed on to the other world leaving her body riddled with cancer back on earth. Rest in Peace, sweet Cousin.
- Class arrival -song & dance with the technology and the gear; where’s my thumb drive with everything carefully prepared and loaded onto it for today’s class? Digging deeper into my bag…Oh no. It’s not here. Is it lost? Did I remove last years tax returns from it? Holy crap, is it floating out in the ether for people to check out and grab? These thoughts go on in the back of my head as I turn back to class to keep the minds moving and excited to be there. I have learned to do 3 things at once in these past few years of hell in the workplace.
- I hang around after class for longer than usual trying to avoid the reality that I know will sink in the minute I’m alone: my dear sweet cousin of 57-years-of-age is gone and the family needs me. Cancellation emails are written with truthful apologies. It’s time to face it.
- I think of renewing my earthquake kit. Life feels too strange and the Girl Scout in me seeks preparedness.
- The Russian Jew in me wants to drink some…not a lot, but just enough to melt away the pain…
“I’ll take my martini black, thanks.”
I’m a heap of stirred-up about the world this day. I awoke to a vision of a Trumptopian future looking a lot like the opening scenes from the movie “Elysium.” With every new day comes a shuddering feeling from seeing his huge O-shaped horror mouth in the news somewhere…EVERYWHERE. His ugh face presence surrounds me and I wonder how I can turn off all media to live off the grid until November. But then, what about after November. This crazed loon will not be going away any time soon. No one I know can figure out why he’s running. He certainly cares NOT about America and helping its citizens in their daily lives. I can’t imagine him waking up at 5a every day to roll up his sleeves to work for America until midnight. That’s not Donald McDonald. That’s not the style of billionaire boy, reality-show hack Trumproast. He has no plans to work for any of us. I don’t even believe that he really wants to be President but rather just wants to show the world that he can get elected. If these Untied States give him a spot in the White House, he’ll play king as he spin passes the rugby ball of important day-to-day work back to Pence while the rest of us are left to form a scrum to survive.
Meanwhile, I continue to ponder at the power of ALEC. Yeah, that’s the cute, hugable shortened name of the American Legislative Exchange Council which has been busy making life in America one right-wing cluster-fuck of Hell. They are working the $$ up and down the election ticket to ensure their stooges are your Governors, Mayors, Senators, and Assembly people. Focus on the word “Exchange” for a minute so that you fully get the picture. Membership in their org brings you a lot of money for your next campaign. What do you have to do in “exchange” for that money? Put through and work to pass their “model bills” which is a nice way of saying legislation aimed at making America the dystopian nightmare of uneducated poor feeding off a media circus of lies while your “representatives” vote to put more money into the pockets of the super-rich. Bill Moyers showcased their evil in The United States of ALEC in 2012 and has been reporting even more about them since. Don’t you just love the sound of “a national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations?” Rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it? Yup, not for me either. The dark green to yellowish-brown fluid called bile builds in my tummy and rises up to my mouth in a reflux just thinking about them. (Sorry, gross. I know.)
Meanwhile, let’s be captivated by the flag-bearing, oily Tongan marching in the parade of nations at the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics in Rio while we worry about the new mutant Super Lice outbreak in 48 states. That’s about as scary as 30-million locusts swarming in Egypt a few years back. I get shivers thinking about that many bugs in the air, but in your hair??? Check out this definition: “The head louse is an obligate ectoparasite of humans that causes head lice infestation. Head lice are wingless insects spending their entire life on the human scalp and feeding exclusively on human blood.” Sounds a little like ALEC, doesn’t it?
All the while the billionaire space club rockets to anywhere-but-here with guys like Elon Musk and Richard Branson delving into space exploration to appeal to their bored, wealthy celeb friends for a ride. Let the Koch-Bros and their ilk buy democracy. The government is messy and unnecessary to most of the uber-wealthy. The rest of us hard-working citizens can take the shaft while the “Beam me up, Scotty.” crowd soars to new heights.
Conjuring up a song for Dame Shirley Bassey to come out of exile to record for the new Jamed Blond flick: “Dr. No RussiaFinger You Only Die Twice on a Moonraker” starring Kanye and Kim.
Good heavens, pour me another…