Friday, December 14, 2018

Happy (Not) Holidays

Couldn't really believe this when I saw it online the other day...on NPR, yet:


For all the recent hype about journalists/the media being "the guardians," perhaps a piece like this more accurately portrays the mission of today's media.  Even an outlet like NPR--which is supposed to be above the fray--has been poisoned by our national malaise...and so, has chosen to add a pinch of poison of their own. 

Why not throw just a dash more hate and negativity out there...our gift to our listeners this holiday season!  

Shame on you, NPR.  Shame on ALL our media.  We're supposed to be better than this.

If you would, with your last breath, strenuously object to being labeled, "enemies of the people..." 

...don't act like it.    

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


By next spring, lord willing and the creek don’t rise, our lives will have taken a definite turn.  In the works at this moment is a deal for a house in Eugene, 1.4 miles away from the family I fled in 2001, to this home-in-exile, in the godforsaken wilds of the Portland exurbs. 

By the time we shake the dust of Scappoose off our shoes and leave it well behind, we will have lived here for almost 18 years.  Long enough to have borne and raised a child to almost adulthood…scary thought.  I wonder…would we have been accepted into the community any more readily if we HAD done that?  Because it certainly didn’t welcome us as citizens and business owners.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  Though I love the geography of the area where we’ve lived for almost 2 decades, the town and the people in it thoroughly rejected us, and I, for one, have hated them right back.

As I look over our tenure here, I realize that there have been few moments of true happiness in this place.  Truthfully, I don’t know if that’s just me…I wonder if I have the capacity to be truly happy anywhere.  But there have been challenges.  There was the disastrous five years of entrepreneurship, and the several years of recovery afterward…the damage done to a marriage that, if I’m honest, was already headed for rocky shores when we crashed it into the café.  In the end, we’ve built nothing here, save a tenuous peace between two partners whose lives continue to creep inexorably apart from one another.

The result has been, for me, an eighteen-year exercise in learning to be alone.  And I have learned some skills in that direction.  I’ve also experienced the pitfalls.  Chiefly, I’ve learned that it’s hard to be alone but not free; to have no one who is really engaged or interested in what you do, but still have obligations to people to whom you are legally or emotionally tied…or both. 

I’ve spent the past seven years trying to stay out of my spouse’s way and find pursuits that interested me.  Living out here in the back of beyond has not been helpful…if I had lived closer to a larger and more diverse community, I might have had more success building a busy and engaging life for myself.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I have been incredibly lonely, 120 miles away from my family and what I consider my “home” in Eugene.  In 2003, I fell into an internet community that went a long way toward easing the loneliness and making me feel valued and engaged, but it  also dissolved…long ago, in fact.  I’ve been on my own for every bit of ten years, tilting at…whatever. 

Instinctively, I’m retreating back to the bosom of my family for comfort and connection.  Since they are the reason I left my home in Eugene, I’m not completely convinced that, two decades later, they will be the source of what I’m looking for…but it feels right.  If nothing else, I’ll be close to a larger community of people more like myself—liberal, educated, thoughtful and with a world view beyond the end of their noses.  So I should be able to find a place of comfort and support, should my family poop out in that capacity (which I am confident it will.)

If all goes as planned we will close on this house…

…on January 10, 2019.  It is meant to be the place where we’ll spend our retirement…the alternative to a cardboard box under an overpass.  It’s really a nice little home, in a nice little neighborhood.  Not exactly what I had hoped for as my ideal retirement cottage. I had envisioned a little house out in the country, with a pond or creek, and birds and animals to enjoy…but the husband was not so much into that. 

So, once again, my dream has been put on a back burner…no, thrown in the firebox and reduced to ashes, since we won’t be moving again.  And I can live with that, I think.  As long as I can have a place of peace and comfort as a base of operations, I should be able to sally forth on (solitary) adventures when I choose.  And the family will at least be closer than 120 miles away.  I think that will be a good thing, too.  Though you never know. 

It’s unknown whether the husband will be inclined to throw in his lot with me at this point, or remain faithful to his number one priority—his job.  It’s worth noting that this whole process was initiated by HIM, precipitated partly by his dissatisfaction with how his employer has chosen to treat him over the past several years.  He’s toying with the concept of “Fuck them…I have a life.”  But hasn’t really brought that concept into his heart and nurtured it.  I’d like to think that it’s finally dawning on him that yanking oneself out of bed at 5:30 AM five days a week and dragging one’s ass to a job that makes one frustrated and miserable might not be a good way to spend the first decade of one’s “golden years.”  But I’m painfully aware that all they would have to do is crook their little finger and give him some tiny hint that he might actually be appreciated, and he would be bound to them for life.   

Yes, this is the same employer that was the catalyst for “our” foray into restaurant ownership all those years ago, at another time when the frustration and futility of the job had begun to wear on him.  The restaurant was to be “our” ticket to the freedom and independence of self-employment…but it was never to be.  Twelve years on, he’s still at the same job, still letting it and his hyper-loyalty to it rule his (our) life.  So I am not inclined to think he’s had some kind of epiphany about his relationship to the job and life in general.  He’s nothing if not a creature of completely ingrained habit; that he might voluntarily give up habits of 24 years at the job is almost beyond realistic consideration.  

But, you know, I’ve made my peace with that.  If he chooses to continue working in Portland, we’ll get him an apartment close to work and he can have at it.  Truthfully, our relationship works better, these days, when we’re apart.  Which was one reason I established my own living quarters at our catering kitchen (which I’m not so sure I want to give up, even if we ARE going to have a home a short drive away from my “work.”)  We might just be happiest, for the next three years until he can qualify for Medicare, if we live mostly apart and see each other on weekends.  If, indeed, his job lasts that long…as the company is, once again, hanging by an economic thread.  But the separation would most likely be a positive rather than a negative.  I honestly have no idea what we would do if we had to live together 24/7/365…but I suspect it wouldn’t be pretty.

So this last holiday season in Scappoose, and the next couple of months, should be…interesting.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Nothing New

The internet is in a twist brought on by the release of Trump’s thoughts on Saudi Arabia and the Khashoggi murder.

No doubt it is a clumsy, childish, and ill-reasoned argument for avoiding losing Saudi Arabia as a “great ally.”  But IMO it says more about Trumps’s woeful ignorance when it comes to international relations than it does about any corrupt relationship Trump himself might have with Saudi royalty. 

Let’s “never forget” that the Bush Administration gave Saudi Arabia a spotless pass on 9/11, even though 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals, including Bin Laden himself.  Bush’s team, with its bottomless font of experience in matters of international relations involving oil, skillfully and patiently wove the narrative so that it directed the trail immediately away from Saudi Arabia.  At the time, even the American press didn’t mount a consistent and coherent call for the Saudis to be held accountable for the attack.  

The Bush team spent their time and news cycles sowing seeds of nationalism, fear, and vengeance among the general population. After a decent interval, during which the ADD American public could be counted upon to forget the finer details of the attack—like, who actually WAS responsible for it—Bush and his team pushed the narrative in a direction that served their own purpose, which was to establish a democratic ally (puppet) in the oil-rich Middle East. First, attack Afghanistan, and then swing the sword to Saddam Hussein and Iraq—which was their target all along.

We all know how THAT turned out.  But the Bush Administration did have inarguable success directing the narrative exactly where they wanted it to go, whipping the majority of Americans into a bloodlust that would grant Bush carte blanche to carry out any measures he claimed would “keep Americans safe.”

And Trump? Trump has merely taken the baton of GOP protectionist capitulation to Saudi Arabia that has existed for decades.  But he is handling it in true Trump fashion: awkwardly, ignorantly, impatiently…looking every bit the dictator-wannabe in the process, and not really giving a shit.

Perhaps Trump is doing America a service, in this case. He’s displaying in a stark, unvarnished way how the US conducts covert policy on the international stage with respect to oil. No subtlety, so sugar-coating, no misdirection.  Just “Here it is, deal with it.”  He’s showing it for the ugly, dishonest business it is…and we don’t like it much, do we?

So maybe, in future, we’ll be a little less likely to swallow the kind of subtle brainwashing and skillful narrative weaving to which we have been so vulnerable up till now?


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Monday, November 5, 2018

Deja Vu All Over Again

Getting a little deja vu going on in my life, and I'm not sure I like it.  Two years ago, we planned a vacation to Canada that began just after the election.  We joked  that if Trump won, maybe we wouldn't come back.  He did, and we did...but often find myself wishing we hadn't.

This week, we've planned a vacation that once again commences two days after the election.  We're only going north to Washington, so there's no joking about not coming back if the election doesn't result in a true about-face for our national character.

But, honestly, if we don't take back our beautiful country next week, I don't know what I'll do.  I've been angry, bereft, incredulous and depressed since November 2016. I can't think what condition I'll be in if I have to endure another two years--or, god forbid, MORE--of the horrific dismantling of everything good, true, moral and laudable about our crumbling nation.  

I boldly call upon the Creator of All Things to bless us with light, healing, and a return to sanity in the coming election.  We are so desperate for these things.

I Hate What We've Become

We just bought a used vehicle after two months of wading through the cesspool that is the "used car" culture. 

I don't think I could possibly shower enough to rid myself of the stench of that experience.  

Now we are trying to purchase a home to retire in, and it looks like the home-buying culture is permeated with exactly the same sewage.  

I am SO not going to enjoy wading through shit again so soon...


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Will Saudi Arabia Buy Another Pass?

Now it seems that Saudi agents murdered a journalist at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.  Jamal Khashoggi was a voice for Saudi Progessives...and we all know how much the Saudi elite revere progressive politics.  Khashoggi had fled Saudi Arabia in 2017, in fear for his life.

The Saudis naturally lied about what happened to Khashoggi, claiming he left the Consulate in Turkey through a rear entrance.  Their bullshit has since been called out, and now Saudi leaders are rushing to disavow any knowledge of what might have befallen Khashoggi at the hands of "rogue agents."

I personally am sick to death of Saudi Arabia getting away with everything under the sun--from murder to terrorism to bribery to blackmail to extreme misogyny--because it happens to sit upon a mother lode of oil.  

All the more reason for alternative sources of energy to be brought online as quickly as possible...  Wouldn't we all like to see that pack of jackals become completely irrelevant when the world no longer clamors to buy what they're selling?