Posted on February 14th, 2020
As much as I wasn't a fan of Valentine's Day before, I am especially not a fan now.
I've been trying really, really hard to change my attitude about stuff that just doesn't matter (like Valentine's Day) but it's proving incredibly difficult. In a day and age where everything is shit that's impossible to escape, even the little things can be completely overwhelming.
In the State of The Union address a week ago, Cheeto Jesus said "I am thrilled to report to you tonight that our economy is the best it has ever been."... then a couple days ago he cut Federal employee raises that were scheduled because of "serious economic conditions." So which the fuck is it? Do we have the best economy that the entire universe has ever known... or is it in the toilet? Like most things in life, both statements are probably true. For billionaires and mega-millionaires, the economy is the best it's been in decades. For everybody else, it's not so great. Partly because of rising costs. Partly because we keep losing things that our taxes have traditionally paid for. Take, for example, libraries.
The presidents current crusade includes cutting funding for libraries. The only way some people can afford to read books is to borrow them from the library. The only way some people can afford to watch movies is to borrow them from the library. The only way some people can afford to get the news from newspapers and magazines is to borrow them from the library. The only way some people can have access to the internet or a computer is to use them at the library. BUT POOR PEOPLE DON'T MATTER, SO CUTTING THEIR ACCESS TO EDUCATION, ENTERTAINMENT, AND A WAY TO COMMUNICATE, FIND A JOB, OR JUST FUCKING EXIST IS NO BIG DEAL WHEN BILLIONAIRES NEED TAX CUTS TO PAY FOR THEIR GOLD-PLATED TOILETS, RIGHT?!?
And then there's the little things. Like the desire to live free from deadly diseases. As you may have heard, the Coronavirus is a big deal. Currently in China, but it could end up wrecking havoc here very easily. Then there's the looming threat of old diseases coming back, which scientists warn could be unleashed from thawing permafrost. And yet President Trump is wanting to slash funding to the Center for Disease Control. It's madness.
But we've got billions to transfer to the ineffective and idiotic "Wall" President Trump is hellbent on constructing. Hope it can stop diseases from getting through.
But anyway... Happy Valentine's Day...
For past year's Blogography Valentine cards, click here!
Posted on June 26th, 2019
...love won out and The Supreme Court decreed that marriages were equal in the eyes of the law. Washington State had already legalized same-sex marriage by then, so I was already attending weddings, designing invitations, and celebrating with friends who had wanted to get married, but couldn't because they were told they had the wrong body parts. But now Washington marriages would be recognized in all 50 states, and it was a happy day for everyone.
Except for random people who still aren't happy unless they are shitting on somebody else's happiness. Never mind that two other people getting married doesn't fucking affect them, they don't like the idea of people with matching genitalia getting hitched, so they think they (or their religion) should get to dictate how other people get to live their lives in a country which was founded on personal choice and freedom of/from religion. And now there's talk of marriage equality being overturned by The Supreme Court, which is ludicrous, but not surprising. Next up? Overturning Loving vs. Virginia, which legalized marriage between two races. And why stop there? Next up? Making it so only Christians can get married and only in a church ceremony. After that? Only people with money are allowed to marry. Then only people with money get to have children. Then only people with money get to vote and own property. And why not bring back slavery? This country was built on it, after all.
This lapse in logical thinking is bizarre and makes no sense, but bigotry never does. Oh well. Keep hating, if that's your thing. Meanwhile, everybody else will be moving on...
Or rather, I should say continue moving on, because same-sex marriage is hardly a new concept and has been around as long as history has been around. But bringing logic into the argument never seems to do any good with haters, so I'm going to go make dinner now.
Posted on June 5th, 2019
Lost yet another friend today... an internet friend I had grown quite fond of. He had been in poor health for quite a while but I never thought of him dying, so it still caught me off guard. Grant was a good guy who served his country and would help people out whenever he could. He was also damn funny. He will be missed.
Nine years ago or so, I remembered drawing a Davetoon of Lil' Dave as a "Bunny" for Grant's birthday. Probably not the kind of manga he was hoping for, but you have to draw what you know...
Grant at work during his younger days...
Thank you for your service, sir! I wish the government would have taken better care of you after you risked your life for their decisions.
2019 is not shaping up to be much of an improvement over 2018, the worst year of my life. I guess that point where everybody you know starts departing this earthly plane is coming earlier for me than it does for everybody else?
Doesn't seem fair, but it does feel typical.
Posted on February 14th, 2019
For the first time in nearly 40 years, I didn't buy any flowers for today.
When I was young, my mom would give me money to buy flowers for my grandmother on Valentine's Day. Once I started earning money of my own I carried on, buying grandma flowers every year until she died in 2015. Because of that, it's tough not to think of my grandmother whenever February 14th rolls around. Even those years I had a girlfriend and would load her up with flowers and candy, it was still my grandma's holiday.
I would sometimes buy flowers for my mom, but every time I did she would tell me I should save the money for our next vacation instead. And so I did. Mostly. After she couldn't travel any more I started buying her flowers for Valentine's Day again in the hopes it would brighten her life a bit. Lord only knows she could use it given that her days were spent being confused and confined to a building.
But now she's gone as well.
And I am single.
So no flowers. But I do have my annual Valentine's Day card...
For past year's Blogography Valentine cards, click here!
Posted on July 14th, 2018
We're on fire again and smoke fills the air... but don't despair, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• M-S-G Can You Dig It? Absolutely fascinating...
I don't eat Chinese food hardly at all (it's not very good here, and choices for vegetarians are severely limited)... and yet I've heard the MSG myth forever.
• Monkey Business! In case everybody doesn't know... I put the first volume of Bad Monkey Comix up to read online for free. You can take a look by clicking on this image...
Or you can just click this link!
• New MacBooks! Apple's new "Pro" MacBooks once again lacking the ports that "pros" need to actually FUNCTION in their fucking JOBS. Such a crock of shit. DONGLES! DONGLES EVERYWHERE!!!
I thought that Apple was supposed to be working with pros to find out what they want in "pro" products? I don't think that's true. Otherwise they wouldn't be sticking with a shallow, shitty keyboard and no standard USB ports. At least you get more than one port now. Still no MagSafe, which sucks.
• Science Fact! Tom Bailey's new album, Science Fiction, is here! If you pre-ordered, it has probably arrived (my autographed copy of the deluxe set did!) but you can also listen to it on the usual streaming services. I'm saving my review for another entry, but here's a sneak preview: love it.
• Be You! Oh noes. Roll up on a woman, call her a slut because of what she is wearing, then think that you can then proceed to slut-shame her into submission? Not. This. Woman. Not today. My guess is not any day...
What absolutely kills me about this is how we rave about "American freedom"... but never seem to back that up. Whether it's telling a Muslim woman she's wearing too much... or telling this woman she's wearing too little... everybody is just DYING to tell OTHER PEOPLE HOW TO LIVE THEIR LIVES. Well fuck that. Live your truth. Be who you are. Defy those who would oppress YOUR FREEDOM by defining what it means for you to be free. So long as you're not endangering others, be free to be you.
• Incompetence. I have been trying very hard to keep politics off of Blogography because I don't want it degrading into a comedy of horrors that makes me want to slit my wrists every time I visit my own blog. But things are so bad right now. So bad. And people don't even seem to realize what's happening. The Trump Administration trade fiasco is probably going to damage this country more than anything so far. Companies are already laying off scores of workers because the reciprocal tariffs are making it impossible for them to operate. It's horrendous, and it's just the beginning. From Professor David Honig...
I’m going to get a little wonky and write about Donald Trump and negotiations. For those who don't know, I'm an adjunct professor at Indiana University - Robert H. McKinney School of Law and I teach negotiations. Okay, here goes.
Trump, as most of us know, is the credited author of The Art of the Deal, a book that was actually ghost written by a man named Tony Schwartz, who was given access to Trump and wrote based upon his observations. If you've read The Art of the Deal, or if you've followed Trump lately, you'll know, even if you didn't know the label, that he sees all dealmaking as what we call "distributive bargaining."
Distributive bargaining always has a winner and a loser. It happens when there is a fixed quantity of something and two sides are fighting over how it gets distributed. Think of it as a pie and you're fighting over who gets how many pieces. In Trump's world, the bargaining was for a building, or for construction work, or subcontractors. He perceives a successful bargain as one in which there is a winner and a loser, so if he pays less than the seller wants, he wins. The more he saves the more he wins.
The other type of bargaining is called integrative bargaining. In integrative bargaining the two sides don't have a complete conflict of interest, and it is possible to reach mutually beneficial agreements. Think of it, not a single pie to be divided by two hungry people, but as a baker and a caterer negotiating over how many pies will be baked at what prices, and the nature of their ongoing relationship after this one gig is over.
The problem with Trump is that he sees only distributive bargaining in an international world that requires integrative bargaining. He can raise tariffs, but so can other countries. He can't demand they not respond. There is no defined end to the negotiation and there is no simple winner and loser. There are always more pies to be baked. Further, negotiations aren't binary. China's choices aren't (a) buy soybeans from US farmers, or (b) don't buy soybeans. They can also (c) buy soybeans from Russia, or Argentina, or Brazil, or Canada, etc. That completely strips the distributive bargainer of his power to win or lose, to control the negotiation.
One of the risks of distributive bargaining is bad will. In a one-time distributive bargain, e.g. negotiating with the cabinet maker in your casino about whether you're going to pay his whole bill or demand a discount, you don't have to worry about your ongoing credibility or the next deal. If you do that to the cabinet maker, you can bet he won't agree to do the cabinets in your next casino, and you're going to have to find another cabinet maker.
There isn't another Canada.
So when you approach international negotiation, in a world as complex as ours, with integrated economies and multiple buyers and sellers, you simply must approach them through integrative bargaining. If you attempt distributive bargaining, success is impossible. And we see that already.
Trump has raised tariffs on China. China responded, in addition to raising tariffs on US goods, by dropping all its soybean orders from the US and buying them from Russia. The effect is not only to cause tremendous harm to US farmers, but also to increase Russian revenue, making Russia less susceptible to sanctions and boycotts, increasing its economic and political power in the world, and reducing ours. Trump saw steel and aluminum and thought it would be an easy win, BECAUSE HE SAW ONLY STEEL AND ALUMINUM - HE SEES EVERY NEGOTIATION AS DISTRIBUTIVE. China saw it as integrative, and integrated Russia and its soybean purchase orders into a far more complex negotiation ecosystem.
Trump has the same weakness politically. For every winner there must be a loser. And that's just not how politics works, not over the long run.
For people who study negotiations, this is incredibly basic stuff, negotiations 101, definitions you learn before you even start talking about styles and tactics. And here's another huge problem for us.
Trump is utterly convinced that his experience in a closely held real estate company has prepared him to run a nation, and therefore he rejects the advice of people who spent entire careers studying the nuances of international negotiations and diplomacy. But the leaders on the other side of the table have not eschewed expertise, they have embraced it. And that means they look at Trump and, given his very limited tool chest and his blindly distributive understanding of negotiation, they know exactly what he is going to do and exactly how to respond to it.
From a professional negotiation point of view, Trump isn't even bringing checkers to a chess match. He's bringing a quarter that he insists of flipping for heads or tails, while everybody else is studying the chess board to decide whether its better to open with Najdorf or Grünfeld.
— David Honig
This level of incompetence when it comes to trade is going to completely and totally fuck us. And make no mistake that we, as a country, are fucked. And this is just trade. We are equally fucked in many other areas. Which leads me to believe that President Trump thinks that the era where America was "great" is The Great Depression.
And don't think that just getting a new president in two years is going to fix the problem. The things that have been screwed up may very well take decades to correct. If they are correctable at all.
• Czech! Came home to see Stripes was on this past week. It was at the part where their unit has accidentally crossed the border into Czechoslovakia and so, naturally, they're all going to die. Amazing how international relations have changed within my lifetime. I've been to Czechoslovakia... and China... and Romania... and other countries it was assumed I would never be able to step foot in back in the day...
Of course... thanks to the ineptness of the Trump Administration, we may very well be going back to those times, so I guess I'm happy to have enjoyed it while it lasted. Pretty soon the only place that Americans may be able to travel is Russia and North Korea.
• Which Brings Us To... So... under President Obama we were the laughing stock of the world you say? What about now, you feckless ridiculous ignorant fuck?
The absurdity of where we are as a country keeps hitting new lows.
And, I think that's enough bullets for a smoke-filled Sunday. See you next week!
Posted on July 4th, 2018
It's hard for me to celebrate the psychotic wasteland that the United States of America seems to headed towards, but I do my best. Despite it all, I still love my country... or rather the potential of my country... so what else can I do?
Try to make it better, I guess.
Not so easy given the way things are, but since when is anything worthwhile easy?
If you're not registered to vote, now's the time you want to get on that.
Posted on June 1st, 2018
Happy Pride Month, everybody!
But especially to my hetero-challenge friends who mean more to me than butter.
And if this isn't the perfect thing to post for the start of Pride, I don't know what is...
Be happy out there, people.
Posted on May 31st, 2018
I had to work across the mountains today which meant getting up at 4:30am so I could be on the road by 5am. Given how horrendously bad Seattle morning traffic is these days, there's really no other option. Gone are the days of leaving at 6am and arriving in plenty of time.In another 5 years, I'll probably be leaving at 4:30am. It's getting that bad.
I wonder how quickly it will end up being faster for me to fly than drive, even when going through security and driving to the airport are factored in?
Whatever happened to the Star Trek future where we get to just beam ourselves to where we need to go?
Probably languishing in some vault somewhere along with the cure for the common cold. Shelved because oil companies and airline companies would become irrelevant.
And don't get me started about flying cars...
Posted on February 14th, 2018
My day started with the mother of all paper cuts and went downhill from there.
Yet another school shooting, this time with 17 dead in Florida. That this will do nothing to deter budget cuts for mental health programs is a given... but, hey, this is our normal now.
Happy fucking Valentine's Day...
There was a bright spot, however.
A while back I saw that Shoshannah Stern's webisode series Fridays had been picked up as an actual television series by Sundance Now. Stern has appeared in shows like Weeds, Jericho, and Supernatural... but her new show, This Close, which was co-created with Joshua Feldman, is something entirely different...
The first two episodes were released today, and I was happy to see that the show everything I had hoped it would be... touching, funny, smart, and entertaining. So many brilliant small moments that add up to something greater. In many ways, it's a shame that This Close is not appearing on a major network, as this kind of representation needs to be seen. But I suppose that's the point. A show like this isn't going to be picked up by a major network.
Maybe one day.
Anyway... if you'd like to check out the series, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial of Sundance Now at their website. You can watch with apps they have for various devices, including Apple TV. If it were rated, I'm guessing it would probably be a light "R" for language and sexual situations.
Posted on July 3rd, 2017