A Klick Klack Kitty Cat Memory

Klick Klack ChristmasI sure do miss having Klick Klack Kitty Cat around.  It has been a few years since she raced ahead of me and is now chasing birds in Paradise, but we can still keep our memories, right?

Klick Klack and I were quite the team.  Boy, were we ever.  We should have taken our act on the road, but to tell the truth we only had a couple of gags.   They were good ones though.

One of my favorites — and I think one of Klick Klack’s too — was the phone gag.  The Lovely Nona and I had been dating for a long time and we were still dating, but then…well she was unhappy with me for some reasons, I forget exactly which reasons, and whatever the case, I presume she was angry because she moved out to live with her friend Nelly and well…

Anyway, when she would call from Nelly’s I’d answer — “Hello?” — then turn to Klick Klick Kitty Cat who was usually on the couch chewing on something recently deceased.

“Hey, Klick Klack!  Guess who?”

Of course Klick Klack said nothing, that was the genius of her performance, but I’d give her the time she needed then answer:

“Noooo, Klick Klack!  It’s Nona!’

It worked every time.  Nona had a very distinctive way of pronouncing my name and it sounded especially sinister when she was impatient, but usually there was a  touch of laughter in her voice.  I guess I kind of miss Lovely Nona, too.

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Here’s an Idea…

Responding to a Facebook post where I embedded an honest comment about Sean Hannity (“Trust me on this one…that guy is nuts.”)  a friend asked “What’s wrong with Sean?”

It strikes me that this is a great opportunity to write a book:  “What’s Wrong with Sean Hannity.”  If I had even a drunken interest in Sean Hannity, I might consider this.  Alas, I can think of nothing more pedestrian and dull.  However, some people might both find Hannity somewhat interesting and willing to tell us what’s wrong with him.

Maybe his mother has nothing to do.

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Little Updates on A Little Tour

On April 16 I started a 90 day experiment.  Really it is just a commitment to a few projects.

First, I am writing no less than 60 minutes a day on an idea of fiction I have been playing with for too long.  So far I have stuck to that pledge with today appearing to be my first stumble.

United States

Then I am weighing a couple ideas, both of them new blogs.  A website to drive Democratic voting this fall is one option.  If good smart people get out to vote, this country has a fighting chance, and the vote this fall might be one of the most important votes in generations.  Losing more state legislatures to the GOP and — god forbid — the losing the United States Senate would be disastrous.

The second blog idea is a bit less grand.  I simply want to live up to my promise to plan and edit, maybe start something new to compete with local lifestyle or political bloggers…something that gets noticed.  Perhaps I can take a big chance and be the only man in Minneapolis brave enough to ask what’s the big deal about Dessa.

I do have a handful of things working on a Little Tour, but I fizzle.   Slump time.  Maybe a list of what I haven’t finished is enough.  Here they are:

A post critical of our national cult of terrorism.  In particular, I question the scope of public tributes to events like the Boston Marathon bombs.  It’s a sensitive subject and one where I likely in the minority, but I see things out of balance.  More than 1000 Americans die because of violence in this country every month.  It’s the public spectacle of what we call terrorists attacks that let even those not directly affected feel the role of victim.  To some extent I think it exploits the crime and creates a level of fear that isn’t justified.   And certainly should not be celebrated.  I draw an analogy to the medieval danse macabre.

Dessa Darling

Cover of Dessa Darling

The other post comes as I continue to read Thomas Piketty‘s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.  Despite what some critics are saying, this is a fairly objective assessment of the way wealth accrues and inequality grows.  In this post I am trying to draw analogies with every day experiences, things I hope people will recognize directly from experience.  But I am finding this to be more complicated than I expected it to be.

Finally, I am writing about the mainstreaming of political naivete.  We’re really becoming a regressive culture.  A glaring example is the death of meaningful activism.   The abuse of irony and cynicism — which I have posted here — is at the heart of it, I think.

But I am having more fun writing my unfolding work of fiction. Typical for me, though, I find myself getting excited, distracted, and breaking off to search for other things.  It isn’t enough to write a story, I need to outline a play, for example.  One wonders where I might be today if I had met a responsible adult years ago.  Me, however, I wonder if it is too late!

I’m going now to see if I can find anything by Dessa on YouTube.  They say write what you know.

 

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Politics, Sarcasm, and the Decline of Meaningful Discourse

Sarcasm...

Sarcasm… (Photo credit: mallix)

I am following a thread a friend posted on Facebook telling everyone that she finished her taxes and sarcastically added that she wanted Barack Obama’s phone number because she had “a few things to say to him.”

Sarcasm is the language of sincerity today.  Does my friend have a few things to say to Barack Obama because she’s happy to pay her taxes?  Just asking that question is feigning a level of irony that today’s sarcasm doesn’t permit.  Of course we don’t have taxes today because Barack Obama is president any more than we would have taxes if Mitt Romney were president.  However in an era when sarcasm speaks truth, we can easily conclude that it is more likely than not that if Romney had been elected, my friend would not be asking for the president’s phone number.

Sarcasm blends with sincerity so seamlessly that one might have a hard time seeing any political power in irony anymore.

Consider a comment posted on my friend’s thread.  He wrote:  “if you were single with a few kids…you’d be in tax heaven…but since you work and give a shit…. you get screwed.. unfair.” 

Sarcastic or sincere?  Clearly there is strong sense of cynicism here, however it isn’t difficult to understand what is being said here and thus it a statement of strong sincerity.  Suggested here is the idea that a single woman with kids would get tax breaks, which is probably true.  (Families with children get breaks, too.)   However, the comment suggests that single mothers don’t “give a shit” while women who work do.  So the worker get’s screwed.  Unfair.

What is said by being unsaid is the now-familiar “takers” argument, a sincere dose of cynicism if there ever was one.  My friend enjoys a comfortable income and lifestyle, it’s hard to imagine that she would think living on a working wage — or less – just to take advantage of tax breaks is “fair”.  No one would take that option.  That argument is ironic sarcasm, but in a world where irony coexists with reality that is irrelevant.  As a result these common sense counter examples go unheard.  More than that, they cannot be heard, they don’t resonate.

Thus the political power of irony — cynically suggesting to these people that my friend giving up her successful career and lifestyle to “enjoy” the benefits of lower taxes is absurd — has no play.  Serious discourse is dead.

 

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Another Sign That Things are Different

Bad behavior has always been with us.  We’ve always had trouble with juvenile delinquency, domestic violence, gangs, and just run-of-the mill coarseness and rudeness.  In fact when something bad happens — a shot up movie theater or mall, a student killing rampage in a school — we’re told that things are more or less like they have always been.  We just have better news coverage now.  So all of this increased bad behavior is something like all the extra tornadoes on the plains.  It’s always been there, but now we have people out there to see it.

Student Photo

Is it safe to get sandwich?

I don’t buy it.  Not for a minute.

First of all, when I was a kid — here I go again — we didn’t have metal detectors and police officers at our school and I can almost guarantee if some crazy kid shot a bunch of his classmates somewhere in the country we would have heard about it.  We didn’t hear about it.  It didn’t happen.  And that was a time when you might be able to eat in a shopping mall food court with some dignity, manners, and not think about the occasional mall shooting.

Those were the blessed days.

But if you need a sign that things have changed, look at today’s college students smashing stuff up to celebrate a sports victory.  And if you REALLY want to see how things have changed, look the embarrassing and disgraceful behavior of some students at my alma mater, the University of Minnesota.

Last night the University of Minnesota men’s hockey team defeated the University of North Dakota — as we all knew they would — in a semi-final game to advance to college hockey‘s Frozen Four championship game this weekend, students converged on Dinkytown and caused trouble.  They were celebrating.  Any rock-throwing and car-stomping celebrating is plain stupid.  Even 7-year olds know better (they still do, right?).  But really, guys, a semi-final game?

When I was in college the closest thing I saw to a rowdy criminal celebration was…well, we had none.  In the 1970s there were some uprisings on campus, but those were in protest of the Vietnam War.  That was a war killing tens of thousands.  Last night was a hockey game, entertaining tens of thousands.  Get a grip!

We’ve come a long way.  You can’t pat your co-worker on the fanny, for example.  But then we’ve gone a long way in the other direction, too.  Maybe theare’s just too much pent up frustration out there.  Or maybe we have just become a bunch of f**king coarse a**holes without any god**mn class.  (I can write that today, right?)

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Look at the Hour!

1625508_10152362743810522_1477558274_nVery much a metaphor for life…I had no idea it is so late.  But it is that beautiful time on the clock, one made so much more obvious when time keeping goes digital:  12:34.  Let us make the most of it.  (My grandparents had a fondness for 11:11.  Presume that’s relevant.)

But there is so much to do.  So much to do.  Say it again:  So much to do.  And I am in a panic because the hour is late, as I should be, but why did I want until now to see the late hour?   Does one choose to sleep, perchance to Dream?  No, we shall soldier on, and only sleep — Aye, dream! — with tomorrow in mind.

So tomorrow, my friends, look for me tomorrow.  Little Tour climbs to new heights tomorrow, guided by the painterly wisdom of Bob Ross and energized by the jaw-dropping simple-mindedness of some of my friends.  (See blurb at right.  Now there, indeed, is the rub!)

By the way, I have no idea where Bob Ross came from, but until tomorrow, just remember what Bob says:  “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

There.  Fixed.  Now Bob Ross fits.

Good night all.  Sleep well.

 

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A Comment about the Oscar Pistorius Story

I know I’ll draw fire from some, but so much about the Oscar Pistorius story disturbs me.  First, to be clear, my hunch tells me that Pistorius is guilty.   I don’t know, was February 14, 2013, the first time Steenkamp went to the bathroom alone in the middle of the night?  If not, why would Pistorius — armed with a weapon — be so frightened, not for his safety, but Steenkamp’s, as he claims?  He did it all for her.  Some caution would have served her just as well.

What if the “intruder” had abducted her and held her in the bathroom?  And how imminently dangerous is an intruder who goes hides in the bathroom?

That’s the point that rubs me the wrong way.  A shoot first, ask questions later solution doesn’t leave room for error.  And even if Pistorius had shot an intruder, not his girlfriend, would he have been justified?  One can think of countless reasons why someone might be in the wrong house at the wrong time, including a mistake.  It happens so often it only remains a big story when a big name is involved.

Just this past year a Rochester Minnesota man shot his grand daughter because he confused her for an intruder.  She was outside the house for a smoke.  That raises the question:  What is an intruder?  Was that once called a trespasser?  (Kids, you don’t want to play ding-dong ditch in that neighborhood.)  Fortunately that woman survived.  Two cousins shot in the basement of a home near Little Falls last winter, on the other hand, did not.  These two had in fact broken into a home, but again was the shooting necessary, even it was supposedly justified?  (Some questions about that, too.)

I wasn’t in Oscar Pistorius’s house on the night he shot his girlfriend and I haven’t been in that situation like.  I have been scared before — no question about that — and I have felt vulnerable and threatened.  I know emotions change the way we experience events and react.  But isn’t that a good reason to rethink all of these “stand your ground” laws that have become so vogue in recent years?

Here is a case drawing international attention and all of that attention is on Pistorius, as it should be, I suppose.  However there is a dead victim regardless of whether or not it was by a miscalculation or not.  And I want to argue that even if Pistorius were justified, even if he had killed someone other than his girlfriend, we could still have a dead victim.  People are being shot — and dying — under the cover of laws that deliver, not justice, but judgment, suddenly and deadly.  Not all threats justify deadly force, especially when that threat is hiding in closed room.  Let’s start talking about that.

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