Make America America Again

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Make China...–from The Week magazine

The infamous MAGA hat continues to annoy me to no end not only because it is this President’s logo but mainly because of what it implies.

I, for one, can’t imagine a more progressive and hopeful country than we were with Obama in office.  That MAGA has the gall to suggest anything different is ridiculous.

At the Minnesota DFL’s annual Humphrey-Mondale Dinner, the keynote speaker, Senator Corey Booker, reminded the room of the values that have made such a wonderful country. Things like global diplomacy, open borders, public education, affordable health care, diversity-always-growing and many other characteristics.

If there is anything that needs radical change, it is to rid the United States of this mean, hawkish, and, actually, very confused Administration. In other words, Make America America Again.

Try a little kindness (on an airline flight)

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Related image

I am sure you have noticed, when you are leaving the plane, one flight attendant and one pilot standing at the cockpit door.

Say this next time:

To the flight attendant: “Thank you for your excellent service.”

To the pilot: “Thank you for getting us up and down safely.”

I am going to do that on my next flight. (Then again, I tend to over tip as well.) But remember, they have a hard job. Plus they have to be ready for all kinds of urgent or emergency situations. Their job is intense, too. Sometime Google “humorous flight announcements” to get an idea of how some of these workers try to at least lighten things up. They also become the brunt of the joke many times because passengers can be super annoying.  (One of  my favorite examples of this is a YouTube video of the flight attendant trying to deal with electronic devices.)

Stop and consider all the people in your daily life who “serve” you in pretty much thankless, and under paid*, jobs. Then think of the ways in which our health and safety depends on them. Why not try a little kindness?

 

*(Incidentally flight attendants make a lot less than you might think. The average is around $20 an hour and as glamorous as you might think the job is, it is not easy work. Pilots make a decent wage but driving these modern jets with all the high tech involved is challenging  and even more so when it’s back-to-the manual-controls in an instant. Remember Sully?)

 

Aging Together

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How do you explain aging to a 30-year-old? It is, after all, something you have to experience.

On the other hand, you could learn from an “old” or, as I like to call it, an “aging” person.  Most of us –see what I did there?– are more than willing to share what we have discovered. (Caution: If you start us talking, it is tricky, in most cases, to get us to stop)

I pondered this quite a bit earlier this year as we saw our wonderful Eeyore-we called him Sorske most of the time- come to the end of his feline life journey. I often compared us, he struggling to breathe and I walking with arthritis pain.

We both used tried and true survival instincts, mostly unconscious, such as moving around, eating, checking out the weather on our iPhone. (I made up that last one. Sorske never got the smart phone concept)

I learned a lot from him because he kept doing the cat things like sitting in front of my recliner waiting for me to pick him up or finding some very hidden place to curl up for a nap.

On one of his very last days he did a very familiar thing, a poignant moment for me

Sorske helping

He came over while we were putting together an IKEA cabinet, walked out on the box and “offered to help.” I grabbed my phone to make sure I got the shot above.

It may sound cliché, but aging is not easy. Things that got us here like exercise, weight control, keeping humor intact, are harder and harder. One way I do it is to remember the last 6.2 miles of every marathon I ever ran. It was a lot more fun before I hit that wall but the race is a race. 20 miles isn’t the end so I didn’t stop.

Does all this help to understand, young people?

 

…goblin, hobgoblin, gnome, halfling, demon, monster, bugaboo, ogre…

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TROLL: a mythical, cave-dwelling being depicted in folklore as either a giant or a dwarf, typically having a very ugly appearance.

INTERNET TROLL: a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages…with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement.

CONCERN TROLL: a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the troll claims to hold.

 

OK, enough with the definitions! I find Wikipedia addictive and keep following links from one article to the other, sometimes learning but more often getting lost in my curiosity. The above “troll” explanations are a good example of this. I already knew what an Internet troll is but I discovered that “it ain’t as simple as that”.

I went looking because I continue to be startled at how vicious these anonymous ogres can be. What I discovered is that seeing a stupid, mean comment is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

For example, a million troll bots that work automatically can skew any topic and confuse even the sharpest social media user.  Then there is the bullying of young people, which has been documented to have caused suicides. And what about the Russian interference in our last Presidential election?

One solution is not to read any comments at all. But everybody likes to be affirmed so, wow, look somebody said “Great post. Keep them coming.”  Which in turn keeps us scrolling down until a troll destroys the good feeling.

There is no final answer to how anyone can stop this beyond-absurd online behavior. Awareness may be the first step to dealing with it personally but it is like kudzu, ugly and unstoppable without using toxic chemicals. So, we live with it for now, with vigilance and maybe some humor if possible.

 

#MeToo, #TimesUp, Aziz Ansari, and Gray Areas

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I can add very little to Michelle’s commentary although I might try to come at it from a male perspective in a future wordsfromwarren.com blog.

Michelle L. Torigian

downloadI read an account in which a woman with the pseudonym “Grace” details a night of intimacy with actor Aziz Ansari on the website Babe.  The account is one in which the woman agrees to go to his home after a short date.  As the night progresses she indicates her discomfort with his actions, feeling pressured to engage in acts.

Granted, it’s not rape.  It’s not exactly sexual assault.  But there’s something not exactly healthy about the experience anyway.  (Part of the account notes that he “wouldn’t let her move away from him.”)

Reading the article has the potential to give woman that disgusting feeling in their guts – a familiar feeling because of the common experience of many women.

And then The Atlantic releases an article to challenge the integrity of the women coming forward to hold him accountable by a woman-from-another-generation who essentially victim-blames Grace.

We’ve entered…

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Another blog? Why not?

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When I first set up Words From Warren I had the far-too egotistical idea that I could write about marriage. Sure, I had experience, today I have been married 38 years and 7 months, but did I learn anything valuable you haven’t already read somewhere else?

Then comes along the 2016 Presidential election. If I posted a blog during that campaign it was only marginally about marriage. Although not insignificant thoughts because the unbelievable idiot we elected seems to have ravaged the idea of marriage.

I have been tempted along the way to write about pets, felines in particular, veering away from human relationships. I was living with an aging cat who was very beloved and our daughter had a little black bug of a cat that spent a few weeks with us every year at the holidays.

I briefly, very briefly, considered writing about sexuality and even erotica. Even briefer than that!

It would have been easy enough to write about personal medical things. We are incredibly fortunate to have providers at a big research hospital where caring people offer the best in treatment.

Meanwhile, I have had a blog post simmering in my mind for a long time. It is about gender roles. I think I would have a little to add or at least be able to goad my fellow males into thinking more deeply.

So, what it boils down to is simply writing for the fun of it. I can’t think about whether my blog will be read or if my slant on an issue helps at all. I just have ideas that I want to write about and send them out to cyberspace. If you enjoy my blog post or if you hate it, make a comment. I will appreciate it

Who the hell does know what happened?

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“Children, if you are tired, keep going; if you are hungry, keep going; if you want to taste freedom, keep going.”  Harriet Tubman

Hillary Rodham Clinton uses this quote for the frontispiece of her book, What Happened. The words express the spirit of a woman who overcame unnumbered obstacles in her fight to free slaves. Her name became synonymous with the Underground Railroad.

Hillary declares that spirit is what kept her going, not only in the campaign, but in the painful days following the election. It is also what she wants us to know and to heed from her incredible career.

If you were not one of the 65,853,516 (48.18%) who voted for Hilary, you will probably not even consider reading this book. That’s OK. Your trolls will give you all the false information you need. But if you are one of us, her words cannot but lift you up.

The first chapter depicts her first days and weeks following November 8, 2016. She speaks from the heart. She says some days started out OK with a few rays of hope. Other days all she could think to do was scream into her pillow. Did any of us not experience those feelings too?

The book is not all about mistakes in the campaign. It is what she experienced and it is not all gruelling. Her toddler granddaughter always recognized the H with the arrow and said “Grandma”. She also describes the many wonderful people she met along the way.

Her story is blunt about our pervasive sexism and misogyny. “If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.” She has no good words for Trump who is a terrible President. She also calls out the media which insisted on relentlessly reporting about her emails while giving Trump full coverage for his hate and disrespect for just about everybody.

There is deep grief among us that she is not our President. We know, of course, that wallowing in those despairing moments will only destroy us. So we let go of what might have been. We join the Resistance.

 

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