What happened to the reblog button?

Why did WordPress take it away?

 

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Political ideology and the Overton Window.

overtonwindow

I’ve realized over the past year that political ideology is not a straight line, but more of a circle.

If you move too far to either extreme, whether it’s the far left or the far right, you wind up in pretty much the same place:  an oppressive, centralized government, removal of individual freedoms and rights, and suppression of the free press and free speech.   Authoritarianism and totalitarianism is not limited to the far right (fascism).  It also occurs on the far left (communism, which is found in places like China and North Korea, and in the old Soviet Union).

The only difference between fascism and communism is that in fascism, the corporation, a religious organization, or a group of oligarchs become the government and set all the rules.  Dissent is not allowed.  There are signs of this happening in the United States today, and it has already happened in Russia (after a brief experiment with democracy once the Soviet Union fell).  Authoritarian Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran are also examples of fascist regimes, as was Hitler’s Germany.    Eventually, free enterprise is undermined or suppressed.  In communism, the government itself rules over everyone’s lives, all production is centralized, and free enterprise is not allowed.

Trump’s “food boxes” program reeks of communism to me.    It’s the kind of thing you used to find in the old Soviet Union.   Rather than encouraging personal responsibility by allowing the recipient the dignity and empowerment of making their own food choices (at the same time, boosting the economy and business because food manufacturers and stores make money through SNAP purchases), it gives the recipient no choice and puts that choice instead in the hands of government bureaucrats.

There’s an interesting concept called the Overton Window. This means that as a society moves farther to the right (or the left), what seems to be the “middle ground” also moves farther to that extreme.   The Overton window slides along the scale as public attitudes change.  This is why extremist policies at either end begin to seem normal over time.   A policy that once seemed “radical” or even “unthinkable” begins to seem more acceptable to more people. At the same time, attitudes at the other end of the scale that were once deemed “popular” or “sensible” to most begin to seem unthinkable.  But no matter what extreme a society winds up adopting, tyranny and authoritarianism ensues, and even this can become normalized.

Over the past four or five decades, America has moved farther and farther to the right, and this includes Democrats, who have moved to the right as well.  In fact, today’s Democrats are much more like Republicans of decades ago.    FDR-type Democrats (common during WWII and the early post-war years) are rare today, and are often accused of being socialists.

OvertonWindow (2)

 

A healthy society is always a balance between the right and the left, though it may tend to lean slightly one way or the other.  Extremes on either side only lead to tyranny and misery for most people who have to live under such extremist regimes.   Democracy requires bipartisanship and cooperation between parties.   In my own opinion, a European or Canadian style of democracy works best, but you can be a little farther to the right and still have a healthy, prosperous, and vibrant society, the way America used to be not that long ago.

Extremes of any ideology never lead to prosperity and happiness.  They always cause a nation to eventually fall into tyranny and finally, ruin.

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A new blog for people who are single and on disability.

My blogging friend, Ruby (“rubycommenting”), has started a new blog called Single and On Disability.  

In her first blog post, she writes:

I started this blog for myself and for others like me who may be single and on disability or even for older folks who are single and retired because I found out it amounts to pretty much the same thing, lots of free time and a low income. I used to be married and there was more to do, but, when I got divorced found myself in a no-mans land not knowing what to do or how best to survive. Ive learned a lot since and plan on talking about how I fill my days and live cheap to improve overall quality of living in this journal type blog.

Ruby has several other short but practical posts up on her blog, and I’m sure she will be adding many more in the near future!

It’s good to know there is a blog that addresses the challenges and issues facing disabled singles, a group that is too often neglected and ignored.

Please take some time and visit her blog!

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How I stopped worrying and learned to love my hair.

 

blonde

I rarely — or maybe never? — write posts about beauty and fashion.    There are plenty of bloggers — most of them much more glamorous and fashionable than I — who write about those things much better than I do, so I leave the stuff about hair, clothing, dieting, and makeup to people who are really into that sort of thing.

I’ve always been a geek and an introvert, and I like being comfortable more than being fashionable.  I have never owned a pair of high heels, for example.  Kitten or low heels, yes, but spike heels? Hell, no.  I hate them.  They’re torture.   I can’t wear them because of my wobbly, easily-sprained ankles (the result of a figure skating accident when I was 15 — yes, I used to figure skate, and I wasn’t half bad either.  I’ll write about that sometime soon, I promise, even though I have no photos of me skating).

I dress like I walked off a time machine from 1994 — worn old jeans, cargo pants (yes, I still love them because I like lots of pockets), sandals or slouchy ankle boots, plaid flannel men’s shirts (I have about 4), T-shirts (though as I get older, it’s getting harder finding T-shirts that are flattering).   If I wear a dress (rarely), they are almost always loose and high waisted floral numbers (flattering to my “comfortable” figure), worn over leggings, black tights, jeans, or black pants.   (I don’t do pantyhose — I hate them).   It’s all very ’90s, though “being ’90s” was never my intention.   You can still get away with looking ’90s, but looking ’70s/’80s will get you some weird looks (and ’70s/80s clothes are NOT comfy).

Unlike about 99.9% of other women, I have never owned a little black dress.   And I don’t care.  I will probably die without ever having owned one.  Is that sad?

Truth be told —  and I hope I don’t sound too snobby — but minds fascinate me more than bodies. That said, I’m still a girl and sometimes I like to indulge in…the pretty externals.   So here is a post about my hair.

Whew, this is going to be a lengthy hair story.   I have a complicated relationship with my hair.   It’s mostly been a hate relationship, but I think I might finally have found peace with my hair and am learning to love it, or at least like it.

hairage5

Towheaded at age 5 (1964).

I was born nearly bald, but the hair that grew in during my first year was white platinum blonde — and it stayed that way for a long time, probably until I was at least 8 or 9.  My hair was also terribly fine and tangled easily.   It had no weight to it at all, and as it was never stick straight, it was prone to frizzing from the slightest bit of humidity.  People used to compliment me all the time on my “angel hair,” but I hated it.   I hated being the blondest person in my class, and I hated the fact I couldn’t grow my hair long like my friends — because it was so fine it would break off at the ends and become a stringy, knotted mess.  I remember crying when my mother impatiently tried to comb it out, and then she’d yell at me for allowing it to get so tangled and knotty, but I couldn’t help it!

As a result, my mother kept my hair cut in a pixie or other short style, or if it was allowed to grow out, it was worn in two thin ponytails on each side tied with yarn, but it never got beyond just below my shoulders.

hairage7

Age 7.

I remember envying the girls in my class who had long, thick hair that fell like a curtain down their backs.   I envied their Clairol Long and Silky conditioner (or was it cream rinse?)   At about age 14, I demanded my mother buy me some Long and Silky, even though my hair only just touched my shoulders.  Using it made me feel more normal (and the stuff smelled good), but it did nothing for my thin, pale, easily broken hair.

Growing up in northern New Jersey and later New York, I felt odd with my blonde hair.   It had darkened only a shade or two since I was a baby — the color was no longer the platinum of my early childhood — by my early teens had developed a slight streakiness, with the underlayer being a slightly darker medium blonde.   If you had to give my color a name, you would probably call it champagne blonde or beige blonde with medium blonde lowlights, but I still hated it.   Most people thought my hair was beautiful, and they couldn’t understand why I hated it.    How could I explain at the tender age of 15 that I felt…too white?    Most of my friends in my New Jersey and New York neighborhoods and at my schools were of Italian, Jewish, Hispanic, or some other darker-haired, darker-skinned heritage,  and so I felt self conscious and so conspicuously white — and that was not cool!

1970slongandsilky

Long and Silky ad from the 1970s.  I wanted hair like these girls!

Another problem I had with my blonde hair were the inevitable dumb blonde jokes that were always directed my way.   I was book smart and usually made high grades, but I was also very sensitive and the jokes hurt my weak sense of self-esteem and began to make me feel like maybe I really was dumb after all.   I felt like I had to make a big show of being smart all the time, in order to prove that I could be blonde and also be smart.  It was very stressful always having to prove myself.   I felt like, because of my hair color, people just didn’t take me seriously, and treated me like I was stupid, even though I wasn’t.  I hated feeling like I had to be on all the time, and couldn’t just be myself, because the real me might come off stupid and make those dumb blonde jokes true.

To this day, I don’t understand why blonde jokes aren’t considered racist or at least politically incorrect.  But people still tell them, and seem to like them;  even other blondes like them.  In fact, some blondies seem almost proud of being seen as “dumb blondes” but that was never me.   Maybe you have to have a healthier sense of self to be able to appreciate such jokes if you’re a blonde, but in my teens, I had dismally low self esteem and could not laugh at myself.    I cringed when I heard those jokes, and felt like running away in shame.

A third factor contributed to my hair-hatred.  I felt very rebellious toward my narcissistic parents, who seemed to love my hair color more than my talents, my intelligence, or my personality.   They always bragged about how “Lauren was the only blonde baby in the nursery” or “Lauren is the only blonde in her 5th grade class.”  God, how I hated those “compliments.”  They made me cringe.   I just wanted to be like the other kids, dammit.  Why couldn’t they understand this?

hair_rowan

This isn’t a picture of me, but of my daughter at about age 9.  The color of her hair here is what my color was from mid- childhood up until my mid-teens, when I decided to start dying it.  (My daughter’s hair is dark blonde now, and she actually lightens hers).

When I turned 16, I found the solution to my problem.   I decided to dye my hair.  I had a sort of crush/obsession on a girl, Denise, who I thought was gorgeous — mostly for her long, shiny, silky curtain of light-chestnut brown hair with its gorgeous reddish-gold highlights.  It swung when she moved her head!  Mine never swung like that!   Compared to her hair, my hair looked so washed out and boring — it was mostly all one color: pale beige blonde on top with ashy medium blonde undertones.   I also didn’t like the way there was hardly any contrast with my pale skin.   I thought darker hair would make me look more dramatic and bring out my attractive facial features more.

So I decided Denise’s light chestnut brown hair was the color I wanted, and to my shock and delight, my mother reluctantly allowed me to dye my hair that color, although she insisted I use a temporary dye that would wash out in 6 shampoos.   She moaned pitifully and literally cried during the whole process.  “You’re going to ruin your hair!”  “It will never be the same again!”  “People would kill for hair the color yours is, what is wrong with you?” and “Why on God’s green earth would you want to have mousy brown hair?”

Well, as things turned out, I loved the results.  I liked them so much I decided I was never going back to being a blonde.   To my delight, the chestnut color had come out a little more reddish than it showed on the package, probably because it was several shades darker than my own hair (you’re not supposed to darken your hair more than one or two shades, but I had darkened it by about 3 or 4!)   It looked very natural, it actually fell better (because the dye thickened the hair shaft), I could actually grow it long for the first time in my life (due the the added weight), and my friends actually liked it!  They were puzzled about why I didn’t want to be a blonde (because just about everyone in those days was going lighter, not darker), but they had to admit the light auburn color flattered me and went well with my very light skin.   I only had to wear a bit more makeup than usual.  My self esteem improved, and I no longer felt like I had to prove to everyone that I was smart.  No one would ever again call me a dumb blonde!

hairage18

Proud of my new long chestnut hair at age 18 (1977)

Over the years, I continued to dye my hair.   Eventually the permanent dyes were drying it out and making it frizzy, so I switched to safer temporary dyes.  An added bonus of the extra color in my hair was that it actually thickened the hair shaft, and made my hair heavier and fall in a more flattering way.    One reason I continued to use dye was for exactly this reason.   I needed the extra weight the dye added to my hair shaft, which made it look so much thicker and fuller.    I did not want to return to the flyaway, hard to manage fine hair of my youth. The leave-in conditioners that are supposed to add body to your hair had never worked for me, they just left my hair feeling greasy.

Eventually, I began to experiment with other colors: bright red, strawberry, auburn, dark brown, black!  The black looked horrific — I looked exactly like Morticia.   I hated it so much the next day,  I went to the hairdresser and begged them to fix it.  They had to spend 3 hours bleaching my hair, but it never got lighter than a medium reddish brown.   My hairdresser decided to enhance the color I wound up with — a color called Red Setter.   It was actually a dark auburn and looked quite pretty.  Although it was still too dark for my complexion, the stylist had done a good job making it look natural.  It wasn’t perfect, but I could live with it for awhile.

hair_wedding

My hair in 1996 — way too dark here, but not as bad as the BLACK.  Sorry about the poor quality of the photo.

Once, in my thirties, I even decided to dye my hair platinum blonde just to see what it would look like.  I hated it, and ran back out to the store, my head covered with a bandanna, and selected a dark blonde color to fix it.   After that escapade, my delicate hair was a straw-like frizzy wreck from having been so damaged from all the bleaching and dying.   I went back to the hairdresser and got a short cut to get rid of all the split ends and dry frizz.   The result actually looked cute.

I went back to my tried and true light chestnut brown.   For a time during the early 2000s, I got the idea to dye the underlayer of my hair dark brown and leave the top layer lighter.  I rather enjoyed the two toned effect, but keeping up with it required a lot of maintenance, which requires patience which I don’t have.   A few years ago, I had a haircut and on a whim, told the hairdresser I wanted the strands framing my face to be blonde and a few other blonde highlights.  This decision surprised even me.  The hairdresser fingered through my roots and asked me why I was dying my hair darker since she thought the original color at my roots was much prettier.  “What’s the point of having blonde highlights when you already have a lovely blonde color and are covering it up?” I felt judged.  I decided not to go back to that hairdresser.  I didn’t like her attitude.  She didn’t understand.

I continued to experiment with different colors, even with pink streaks at one point.  But never once did I consider returning to my natural color.  It occurred to me I no longer even knew what my natural color was anymore.  When I reached my late 40s, I realized that I had been dying my hair for so long I really didn’t know what color it was, and not only that, I could have gone gray and didn’t even know it!

selfie1

A selfie I took three years ago during my adventurous/experimental phase.  Dark brown underlayer, lighter on top, a few pink streaks.  I like this photo of me!

By my 50s, I stopped dying my whole head, because I had noticed that after awhile it always became way too dark at the bottom and lighter at the top, and acquired a muddy, uneven look, so I started dying only the roots.   Eventually the bottom and outer parts of my hair faded back to a sort of golden blonde, not all that different from my original color, just more yellowish.

Over the past year, something strange began to happen to my hair.  Although I was using the same temporary light golden brown color I had been for years, my hair began to take on a purplish cast that I’d never had a problem with before.   Was it the product?  Did they change the formula?  Was it because I was older and the composition of my hair had changed, making the dye take less well than it used to?   Had I gone…gray?

topofheadwet    topofhead1

Top of my head today after shampoo and lemon juice rinse (slightly damp, and dry).

I decided to find out, but the only way to do that was to let my hair grow out and see what my actual natural color was.  After more than 40 years of covering my natural color, I no longer knew what my hair color really was!   So as it began to grow out, I used a dark blonde rinse (Roux makes an excellent wash-out rinse in subtle colors) at first just to try to even out the color, cover any gray,  and make the roots less obvious.

But I needn’t have bothered.   I’ve been growing my hair out now for about 2 months, and using a lemon rinse to reduce the purple tinge of the dyed parts of my hair (which is itself fading).  The color that is coming in is a bit darker than it was when I first began dying my hair in my teens — it’s a medium honey blonde now with the underlayer a darker ashier blonde.   It’s a beautiful color, and I have decided to grow it out.   But the best part of all?  At age 59, I don’t have one gray hair!   I never would have known that unless I finally decided to let my natural color come out of hiding.

hairfallingforward

This is my hair combed forward over my face, and it’s very close to my actual natural color.  Where’s the gray? There isn’t any!

I feel like as we get older, we have less leeway in experimenting with various colors and probably shouldn’t do it.   Young women can get away with trying all sorts of crazy colors — lighter, darker, or even colors like pink, blue and green — and still look good or at least intriguing.  But I feel like for an older woman, straying too much darker than your natural color, especially if you’re naturally fair haired, ages you.

No longer will I worry about dumb blonde jokes.  Dumb blonde jokes are pretty much limited to the young anyway, and I have enough self confidence in my intelligence today that those jokes won’t bother me if someone does tell one.

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Leave Me A Link and I’ll Share Your Page!!

Dream Big, Dream Often

As most of my followers know I am big into helping other bloggers gain more exposure. My goal has been to grow a community of like-minded people and I am part way to my goal.  I am bringing back the open call to leave a link and I’ll share it for you!!

The basic rules are simple: leave me a link to your page.  I’m not sure it gets much simpler.  You can leave as many links as you want and I’ll cycle this post from day-to-day so more people can jump on board.  The link post I’ll create will publish on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.

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I like looking at photos of the inside of other people’s refrigerators.

 

 

Here’s a Fun Fact about me:

I’ve always loved to look at photos of the inside of other people’s refrigerators. I have an unhealthy curiosity about the contents of other people’s fridges.   But it has to be a picture, because in a picture I can sit in the privacy of my own home, silently admiring or judging the kinds of food I see there without people thinking I’m weird or want their food (because usually, I don’t).

My son just received his work bonus and tweeted the above photo of his newly full fridge (you can actually click on it to make it bigger).

This made me far happier than it should have,  because even if he was just some random person and not my son, that photo would have still made me happy.   I just really like looking at photos of the contents of people’s fridges.

As his somewhat overprotective mom, I’m also relieved to see his eating habits seem pretty healthy, based on what I can see there (maybe he hides all the junk food in a different fridge, or in the cabinets).   It looks pretty well organized to me.  He also apparently likes pickles (which I do not).

I guess you could say I’m a tad on the eccentric side, but without our little eccentricities, the world sure would be a boring place.

I’d post a picture of my own half-empty fridge, but the light in it is out.  When I get it replaced (and go food shopping), I promise I’ll post a picture. It’s also dirty so I have to clean it.

Maybe — and I say this in half-seriousness — I will start another blog all that just shows pictures of the insides of people’s refrigerators, and think up funny or snarky captions for them.  I think there might be demand out there for such a blog, if one doesn’t already exist.

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If the devil wanted to kill a religion.

goingtochurch

If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would not be transparent or obvious about it.   If it was Christianity he was trying to destroy, he would not woo people with pentagrams, blood sacrifice, black masses, and upside down crosses, and new commandments telling us to blaspheme God, rape, kill, and steal.   That stuff is from the movies because it’s dramatic and scares most of us.   If the devil exists, he knows being that transparent would drive most people off rather than attract them.

On the contrary, if the devil wanted to kill a religion (say, Christianity), he would package his diabolical agenda in a nice, “Christian” package.   There’s a reason why he’s known as the “Father of Lies.”   He would use crosses and Bibles and images of European Jesus.   He would talk about vague “Christian values” or “the sanctity of the family.”

If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would pick one or two culture-war issues that many religious people  have glommed onto (in our culture, this means abortion and homosexuality) and weaponize them.  This serves a dial purpose: (1) to deceive conservative Christians into believing his agenda is in fact “good,” and (2) to exert control over people, particularly women.  Because  people’s sex lives are so personal (and because these issues happen to be popular “culture war” issues today), these two things can be easily weaponized to instill shame and guilt, so those so deceived believe they are not being controlled but are in fact promoting “Godly morals.”

If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would twist and pervert Scripture so it became its opposite.  This would happen gradually, so the change would barely be noticed.   Values once normally accepted as ungodly or evil — greed, money-worship, sexual abuse, child abuse, pedophilia, rape, dishonesty, and treachery, for starters — would be excused, receive “mulligans,” or even be celebrated and encouraged in some situations.  Dominionist types believe the means justify the ends, which means that immoral or abusive behavior is okay as long as they help to bring about “God’s kingdom on Earth.”  At the same time, values espoused by Jesus in the Bible — charity, empathy, unconditional love, and concern for the poorest and most vulnerable — would be dismissed (at best) or even be called sins (the dominionist evangelical God doesn’t favor those who are sick, poor or disabled, so helping them becomes a “sin”).  This bears no resemblance to anything Jesus taught.    Religion is simply being used as a handy vehicle to promote a diabolical agenda.

If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would cherry pick verses in the Bible to dupe people into thinking his twisted perversion of the original passage is the Word of God.  “See? It says so right here in the Bible!”  Scripture can be — and is — interpreted many different ways, depending on the translation, what we “read” into the passage, and other factors.   Much of the Bible is not as cut and dry as we’d like it to be.   Being able to quote from the Bible doesn’t make you a good person or a good Christian.  Even Satan can roll Bible verses off the tip of his forked tongue.  He could even use some Bible verses to justify evil — and some “Christians” today do just that.

mahatmagandhi

If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would weaponize the religion against those people who most espouse the true values of that religion.  Good and moral people with kind hearts have been leaving the American evangelical churches in droves lately, because what is being preached is diametrically opposed to what’s in their own God-given conscience.  They deplore the hypocrisy, superstition, denial of science and truth, ignorance, hatred, intolerance, emotional abusiveness, and cruelty of the modern evangelical church.  But the devil wouldn’t miss these good people, because they’d all be replaced by those most like himself — liars, hypocrites, narcissists, sociopaths, abusers, sadists, control freaks, and those without conscience, compassion, or love.

If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would encourage believers to destroy God’s creation (in the name of God, of course) and take no responsibility for its stewardship.  He would tell them it’s okay to dump toxic, life-destroying substances in the water and air.    He would tell them that laws that protect them against those who would poison them are bad.  He would tell them that to use the earth sustainably is a sin because it shows a lack of faith in God’s ability to replenish it.   How is this different from telling teenagers it’s not only okay to trash their parents’ home during a party but that to clean up their own mess is wrong because it shows a lack of faith in their parents’ ability to do so?

If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would blaspheme God by attributing his own dark and destructive nature to that God.   Such a “God” would therefore be constantly angry, war-mongering, narcissistic, compassionless, sadistic, rejecting, hate-filled, and authoritarian.   Such a “God” would favor the most powerful and ruthless with riches and material goodies while meting out unspeakable suffering on the most vulnerable, who he hates.  He would tell us to steal from the poorest to give to the richest.  He would “punish homosexuals” by sending hurricanes that destroy entire cities (that kind of twisted reasoning we hear from the likes of Pat Robertson have no basis in logic at all).    He would call social justice and altruistic behavior “socialism” or even “communism” and ruthlessness and cruelty “law and order.”   He would be a God devoid of mercy or grace.   He would be a God who, were he to meet the Jesus of the Bible, would reject, deport, and even kill him because of his dark skin, poverty, and compassion for the “least of these.”  In fact, there would be precious little difference between that “God” and himself.

If the devil wanted to kill a religion, he would tell believers they must vote for and support a certain highly immoral, narcissistic, and cruel person and tell them they will go to hell if they do not.     He would gaslight those who can see through the hypocrisy and lies by attributing that same false idol’s depraved values and actions onto them.

It’s not just Christianity that has been perverted into its opposite.  The same thing is happening to Islam, once known worldwide as a religion of peace.  The Taliban, ISIS and Sharia Law are extremist factions of Islam that twisted this peaceful religion into a cult of war and death.

I don’t know if I believe in a literal devil or not.  But I do believe in evil, and in the idea that evil forces exist in this world.  The modern American evangelical churches are a hotbed of evildoings in these times.   In my opinion, it’s much better to be an atheist.  I know plenty of wonderful atheists who are extremely good people who always try to do the right thing, so it’s a total myth that a belief in God is a requirement to have morals or a conscience.

How does one avoid being duped into worshipping a false God?  Observe what sort of fruit a church or a religion is bearing.  If they bear only rotten fruit, or their teachings and values are authoritarian; or they talk about hell, death and punishment more than they talk about God’s grace or mercy; or if they weaponize their doctrine against the most empathetic or the most vulnerable; or even if you just feel really uncomfortable in that church or with those people, run away!

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Update about my son’s mental health ordeal.

This is just a quick update about my son, who started suffering severe panic attacks/dissociation episodes and a week later, from near-suicidal depression.

He is doing much better.   It turned out the medication the Emergency Room gave him to control the panic attacks (lorazepam — commercially known as Ativan) had an adverse effect on him and caused the depression.   Since he stopped taking them, he has not been depressed.

He’s been a lot less anxious too, but that may have been job-related.   He was transferred to a different location which is closer to his home, and is less stressful, and he has not had another attack.

He still plans to find a therapist, since he is an anxious person who has OCD and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which my daughter also has).  Having these disorders together makes a person likely to suffer sudden panic attacks.

Thanks for everyone’s thoughts and prayers!  I do think that helped too.

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Meet and Greet: 2/3/18

Dream Big, Dream Often

 

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend everyone!!  Strap on your party shoes and join the fun!  

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

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What if we really are living in The Matrix and are just extras trapped in a terrible TV show from the future?

the-matrix

You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” ―Morpheus, to Neo, in The Matrix.

I read an article this morning that was probably meant to be dark humor but is also an interesting thought-experiment.    Here it is, for your pleasure (or horror):

What If There Is No Reality  — and This is Just a Bad Netflix Series? 

Laugh if you want, but listen up:  we don’t even know what reality is in these United States anymore, so can we say for certain that we aren’t actually trapped in some computer simulation, movie, or TV show intended for a superior race of aliens’ or future humans’ entertainment?

So, what if we’re really just extras trapped in a future race’s bad TV series or computer simulation?

I mean, nothing about our “new reality” seems real. Reality itself (at least as most of us define it) is even called fiction…by some.   In fact, when you think about it, this — TV series (or whatever it is) isn’t even particularly well written.   In some ways, it’s downright laughable and would probably never win the superaliens’ version of an Emmy.  It would probably rate a zero on a futuristic Rotten Tomatoes.  It’s got everything a bad (but nevertheless insanely popular with the masses) TV series could ever hope for:

It’s got one-dimensional (thoroughly evil: no humanizing qualities) cartoon villains and Central Casting heroes.  

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Roy Moore and his little silver pistol.

The Main Characters: a shady, bald, glinty-eyed, mysterious Russian dictator (“Vlad”) with a six-pack; an orange skinned toupee-wearing golf-cart-riding not-too-bright Mafia-connected ex-reality show star POTUS named “Trump” (look up the definition of the words “trump” and “trumpery” — no way can he be real!) who runs the country through his Twitter account (and was even gifted a gold toilet to tweet from); the unkempt and unbathed Lenin-loving, racist, anarchist (antichrist?), alcoholic failed filmmaker Steve Bannon;  the smug and smackable Atlas Shrugged-toting Paul Ryan with his deceptively innocent-looking baby blue orbs and Eddie Munster widow’s peak;  the Bible thumping nutcase Pence who calls his wife “Mother” and secretly harbors a mancrush on Trump; a couple of sycophantic constantly lying female supporting characters, whose facial features become ever more twisted and unattractive the more they lie;  the villainous Fred Flintstone-looking fake-news peddling Trump mouthpiece Sean Hannity; Trump’s idiotic and arrogant sons who are always unintentionally throwing Daddy under the bus with their own boneheaded tweets; Trump’s simpering but glamorous daughter and her rich Jewish corporate-elite slumlord husband; an actual Nazi (Stephen Miller) who looks like the undead and is really a self-hating Jew; and finally, a minor character (Devin Nunes) from the middle of Season One known only for his Three Stooges-like stupidity, who suddenly becomes a major character early in Season Two (Plot Twist!)  with his much-anticipated and feared “!The Memo!” which turns out to be not just underwhelming, but a four-page hastily-written nothingburger.   The bad guys, like the Keystone Kops, never stop sabotaging themselves with their desperate and bone-headed attempts to obstruct justice and escape the law.   The good guys (Mueller, Comey, a few others) are ridiculously good  — and good looking.  And tall.  They also apparently don’t talk.

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Saint Bob.

Plenty of other cartoonish characters have come and gone and sometimes have been featured in special starring cameo roles:  the bumbling would-be villain Sean Spicer, mostly remembered for his panicked dive into the White House bushes to hide from the media and later on (after he bailed out) proved refreshingly able to poke fun at himself as a guest on Saturday Night Live; the weak-willed enabler/boot-licker and favorite Trump punching bag Reince Preibus (I gotta give the writers kudos on his name), who is mostly remembered for being the Official Oval Office Fly Swatter;  a sleazy mall-stalking Bible-thumping cartoon cowboy pedophile from ‘Bama with a cartoon cowboy name (Roy Moore, really?) and the horse (“Sassy”) he rode in on; and of course, how can we ever forget The Mooch’s starring role on his own single episode — a TV trope obviously borrowed from The Sopranos.

It’s got a hackneyed theme/plot too unbelievable to be real. 

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Vlad knows the joke’s on you.

The writers of this show must have known how popular James Bond like-characters and Russian espionage capers have always been with modern Americans, so they dreamed up a TV series that had those elements and so many more that we know and love.  And then they gave us an unexpected goodie: they put us in the show! They dropped us right there in the middle of the action, as the confused, overwhelmed, and terrified “American people.”  How sweet of them!   I’m still waiting for my paycheck.

Basic plotline:  The United States Government is covertly attacked and all its institutions dismantled and destroyed by Russian oligarchs (who better than the Russians for covert operations?), led by a power-hungry ex-KGB agent still mad about the Cold War and intent on revenge.   Vlad is as smart as he is wicked though, and he knows how gullible the American people can be, and how desperate they are for “change.”  He realizes the best way to wage war against the United States is not to nuke it from without (like Reagan feared), but to divide and then destroy it from within — by hacking into its presidential election and rigging things (using a flood of propaganda-spewing social media bots and Eastern European fake news mills) to ensure the new president is the dumbest, most embarrassing, most vile, most morally bankrupt — and also the most butt-licking and obedient — character he could possibly install for his coup to be successful.  The GOP enablers look away as if none of this is happening or it’s just business as usual.  None dare call it treason.

It’s got TV tropes and stereotypes galore.

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Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci: Trump staffer or cast member of Godfather Part IV?

The way this all plays out is a disorienting cascade of increasingly surreal and sometimes unintentionally hilarious episodes and vignettes worthy of David Lynch at his weirdest, complete with insane and incomprehensible plot twists completely lacking in credibility or realism; and a crazily revolving door of cast members constantly jumping ship or getting fired.

Almost every overused stereotype and TV trope is here: torch-bearing Nazis, slippery jet-setting crooks and traitors (Manafort and Flynn), actual Russian spies; the beautiful but unhappy foreign-born First Lady who never smiles and apparently hates her husband; dumb-as-a-brick Southern yahoos straight out of Deliverance, an Attorney General with a name from the 1850s South and values from the same time and place; silent — and did I say tall — White Knights who stand for Truth and Justice; a simpering and spineless assortment of enablers and sycophants who come and go like flies on a pile of drying dog turds; a low level “Coffee Boy” who turns out to be a key player in the Russian caper (Plot Twist!);  an inept and bumbling Congress populated by glowering old white rich guys who would be the first to kick your kids off their lawn (and toss Grandma off her Medicare); backstabbing and stupid minor villains who keep turning on each other; and more chaos and drama than a Kardashian can shake a well-manicured index finger at.  There are shady Mafia-esque characters who would put Don Corleone to shame.

Far in the background — really part of the scenery — is the presence of something called The Resistance:  an amorphous motley crew of racially integrated pink pussy hat wearing folks of all ages who stand behind the tall, silent, and moose-jawed lead Good Guy Bob Mueller who is trying to take down our lead villain (and maybe the whole cabal).  There is also “The Base” — a virtual cult of thug-like Trump worshippers all wearing identical red MAGA baseball caps, waving Confederate (and sometimes American) flags, singing God Bless America, and who go home to watch Fox News every night after a long day at the plant or clerking at the Piggly Wiggly, attending a family barbecue, or rooting for Heather and Gracelynne at the cheerleading tryouts.

It’s got lots of unintentional humor.

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A Spicer in the Bushes is worth 2 gallows humor jokes.

There is plenty of comedy to be had, though most of it is unintentionally funny (and in some cases, not really funny but horrifying in a “this cannot be real” way, so you have no choice but to laugh because otherwise you’d shoot yourself in the head):  Sean Spicer hiding in the bushes from the media, James Comey (who turns out to be a good guy after starting out early in Season One as a possibly-bad guy) hiding in the navy blue curtains in the Oval Office in his navy blue suit; Trump handing Reince Preibus a flyswatter during an important meeting and ordering him to kill a fly that’s been annoying him;  Trump “I’m a high energy person” riding his golf cart in Brussels while other world leaders walked;  Trump curtsying before the Saudi Arabian king and rubbing a mysterious glowing Orb with the Saudi leaders (what was that all about?); Steve Bannon looking as terrified as if he’s just seen the face of Satan while surrounded by the Saudi elite during the Ceremonial Sword Dance they put on to honor Trump;  the “secret meeting” in the Oval Office with the Russians where no American media was allowed (but Russian media was); the ongoing game of “Nuclear Chicken” Trump and the equally unhinged grinning “Little Rocket Man” keep playing on Twitter; Trump sulking and pouting after having been politely snubbed by the leaders of all our former ally nations because of his tackiness, lack of couth, and complete lack of a moral compass.

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Bannon’s worst nightmare comes true.

Recently, I watched a black comedy called “Idiocracy.”  This administration reminds me of that movie, which although made in 2005, was eerily prescient.  It was also uproariously funny.   If you want to howl until you can’t breathe, watch the “Docter Lexus” scene.  That may be our future.   You have to laugh or you’d never stop crying.    But I digress.

I’m more than ready for this TV series from hell to be cancelled.   Give me the damn blue pill.   I never wanted the red one.

Another possibility.

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But did we really?

There’s another explanation for all the weirdness.   Maybe we aren’t actually living in a Matrix simulation or as extras in a TV show from a superalien culture at all.    Maybe it was Y2K.  Maybe it really did happen and we never knew it.  You have to admit, things did start to get weird after 2000.  Maybe when all the computers in the world were set back to “Year One” we never observed that happening because our timeline got crossed with one from a parallel Earth that looks exactly like this one, except that Earth defines reality differently than us captives from the Original Earth do, logic as we know it does not apply, and it’s populated with cartoon villains and lots of other things that seem incongruous, surreal, ludicrous, or impossible to the rest of us.

Maybe TV series and pulp fiction writers have always been able to tap into that other earth’s reality, and now we are all living in it and can see exactly where their ideas came from.  The tell-all book writer Michael Wolff  is able to make sense of it in a way the rest of us rubes from pre-Y2K reality cannot.    He can explain it to us and it starts to make a sort of horrifying sense.  He’s a kind of “rabbit hole whisperer” to the rest of us and that’s why his book is one of the bestselling books of all time.

 

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