Any of you that know me (I think there are about six of you) know that I am not a fan of supernatural shit. It doesn’t matter if it is a fringe item – like zombies and Loch Ness monsters – or wildly popular, like Christianity. I do not think supernatural events and beings rise to the level of scientific truth.
Superstition is a sub-heading of supernatural. There is no more logic to believing walking under a ladder will bring a citizen bad luck than there is to believing that Bigfoot wanders the woods and has managed for a hundred years to avoid any verifiable contact with humans, left any sign that it eats or shits, and has (apparently) managed to find a mate and breed.
Superstition has sometimes even rational people searching for a piece of wood to knock on if they say or do something they feel may anger the invisible watchers. For example, if somebody says ” I haven’t had a cold for a year”, someone else is sure to say, “Ooohh, you better Knock On Wood.” If someone sneezes, the body reaction to a nose irritant, invariably someone, even a stranger will holler, “Gesundheit” to ward off some evil spirit. If a black cat crosses in front of a person, they will be worried. In fact, they should grab that cat and inspect the article: most black cats have a few white furs somewhere on them. Be careful though. Cats do not like such familiarity and are likely to bite you. Sidebar: I know a lady whose own cat bit her and she nearly lost a finger. Cat mouths are bad news.
Anyway, I advise you to avoid both supernatural and superstition. Thanks for dropping by.
You all have heard of how professional hunters warn their clients not to wound game, as the animal becomes angry and will attack anyone that approaches? The animal, say a Cape Buffalo, ultimately expires from trauma or blood loss. But while alive and wounded it randomly squishes anyone it can get to.
Well, that is the condition of the G.O.P., the Republican Party. Demographics is killing it, has mortally wounded it but still alive enough to thrash about, doing all the damage it can as it slips into the darkness. Simple arithmetic shows that it cannot exist. It is the political choice of Conservative Old White people, mostly male.
Unfortunately for them, the birth rate for that group is near zero, and the birth rate for Young, Liberal, Nonwhites is bounding ahead. You may think the Republicans are dumb because of the way they act and the things they believe. But they are smart enough to see this train coming.
So for some years now they have implemented a simple strategy: we do not have the votes to win at the polls, so instead of changing our policies to what people want, lets just eliminate some of those voters. Make it harder or impossible for the young, nonwhite, and poor to get to the polls, or block them from voting, and we win because our old farts will always show up.
There are may ways to do this: disenfranchise anyone that has ever been in jail, that doesn’t have working transportation, that doesn’t have enough money to hire a taxi, that cannot provide a picture ID that requires taking off from fragile jobs. Purge the polls periodically in the name of non-existent voter fraud so that people have to go through the hassle of registering again. MAKE IT DIFFICULT.
They can do this because they control most state houses, the result of gerrymandering over the years to create secure seats. And as a long term strategy, they try to make the ten-year census as exclusionary of anyone that isn’t an Old White Man as they can.
The good news is that it will ultimately fail: the last skinny old white man’s hand will fall from the reins and they will become like the Whigs. Demographics will win. But for now, it is a struggle. So if you are in the group that is not an old white man, better make sure you vote.
In my case, it means that I have cut my final ties with the data miners. In this case it was poor Google Earth, the last program from them I was using. I actually used GE, as a research tool when writing books to locate things and terrain. But you have to take a stand. I guess I’ll go back to hand-folded paper maps. Hahahahah.
In case you think this makes me a loony, perhaps you are right. It is just that TANSTAAFL is true: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. If you are not paying for a product you are the product.
I don’t mind them making a ton of money. I just want it to be off other people. If they sent me a check each month for use of my habits and data, I would be alright with it. But now I am not on any social media and do not use any “free’ software except Open Source. We’ll see how it goes.
Here is a thing that bothers me a bit and I don’t quite understand who benefits from it.
The word on the street recently was that the actor Scarlett Johansson decided not to play the role of a transsexual person in some movie because she got flak from the LGBTQ community. They apparently claimed that the role should have gone to a real transsexual actor. Does that mean that gay actors cannot play straight men, or that lepers have to be played by actors with real Hansen’s disease? Can straight women not play lesbians? Must serial killers be played by actual murderers? Give me a goddam break. Does acting skill or availability play no part? Assholes. If you fill this role with a real transsexual that cannot act for shit, and the movie flops, who will get blamed? This is political correctness run amok.
And I mean fact fact, not the bullshit ‘alternate facts’ or simple lies. These are NUMBERS and they do not lie. Here is a fact: In the 2016 election, only 60% of the eligible voters voted. You can do this math: That means the 40% of people that could have voted did not.
In perhaps the most important election since Nixon, certainly the most controversial one, almost half the goddam citizens sat home. It also means that about 29% of the electorate put Trump in office.
News people are always interviewing people asking why they supported such and such a candidate. Why don’t they ever ask the other 40% why they didn’t bother to vote. I will cut slack (but not much, because there are people always willing to drive someone to the polls) to those too old or infirm or poor to get ID cards or get to the polls.
But that cannot be nearly half the populace. I want to know why these people refused to participate in the most basic civic function of a Republic. It is easier than Jury Duty. Easier than getting a Drivers License. Yet no one ever holds their feet to the fire. No one ever says, “You sorry son of a bitch. Why didn’t you vote?”
There was an old time SF writer, Robert Heinlein, that wrote several novels that had a society where non-voters did not get to participate. They got basic food and shelter, but had no voice in other civic affairs. He had one where only those that had served in the military got to vote. I am not suggesting we go that far, but there ought to be some cattle prod to use to motivate people to vote.
And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Except that I made that pie chart using a spreadsheet graphing function. It’s a beaut, isn’t it? I don’t mind that the red and blue are reversed, that Republicans like to be called ‘Red’ and here they are ‘Blue’.
I’d like to speak to you today about clown songs. Not normal clown songs, like Send in the Clowns, but songs where the boyfriend (always it was the boy, never the girl) laments being a ‘clown’. This was a short time geologically, perhaps the 1960’s through the 1980’s.
It began, I believe, with the Everly Brothers Kathy’s Clown in 1960, continued through Gary Lewis and the Playboys Everybody Loves a Clown in 1964. The thrust of the songs is that the boy singing is a ‘clown’ for his girl. It’s never made clear what this entails, but it is obviously not a condition he desires. I was a teenager and young adult during this period and I never, not once, called or heard any boy be called a girls clown. I was part of a population of normally rowdy and cruel kids and it never happened.
So how did the songwriters get the idea that there were girls out there turning boys into clowns? And what was in it for the girls? A Clown doesn’t buy more gifts, doesn’t give the girl money. It would certainly not enhance the girl’s appeal to have a clown hanging around her. Did she use the boy as a clown weapon, sending him out to throw confetti from a bucket on rivals or squeeze the bulb of a loud horn to irritate them? I never saw anything like that, and I was an Observer.
This clown thing reached its zenith when P.J. Proby covered the song Clown Shoes, I believe it 1987. Johnny Burnette wrote it in 1962. It is one of the most bizarre songs ever about a boy being a clown for a girl. I won’t put them here, but if you want to be entertained, find the lyrics, or better yet, the song, and listen to it.
But none of this explain why it is that the girl wants a clown, whether she deliberately created one or it was an unhappy accident, and what exactly is so disturbing to be one. I know everyone hates and fears clowns, and cross the street to avoid them. But is that the only reason? I wonder.