In Which We Talk About Things and It’s Very Important

So, it was great to be invited on to a local Guerilla TV show by Chuck Livecchi of Udicci.tv.  Co-host Tess Padmore was great to talk with, and we even got Dave into the conversation on short notice.  I am always horrified at how I look on camera, but life is full of adversity. We had some fun in this hour, shit got deep once in awhile; you should watch it.  It will change your life.  I’m not sure how, exactly, but I can say with confidence that your life will be different if you watch this, than if you...

Merry Christmas! Still stuck in a Dickens novel.

Oh, man, I read some crappy, bullying internet comments disrespecting Home Health Aides and Home Care Assistants as “bullshit jobs” a little while back, and I am so ready to unload on them.  But now I can’t find them.  I thought they were on this comments thread about the Fight for Fifteen for fast food workers, but they’re not.  Though there is some first-rate toxic bullying on display here if you want to see it. Now, I want to be gentle with people.  I understand you worked really hard to not get very far and be deep in debt, and you’re feeling insecure about what little you have.  And it’s easier to take those feelings out on people less powerful than you than on the more powerful people who are the reason you’re so threatened.  I respect how good you are at whatever you feel important about- it’s fantastic and should be appreciated.  Pray continue being justifiably proud of it.  But if it’s the basis for bullying people who can’t pay their bills making sandwiches, and declaring that this is evidently as much as they’re capable of as human beings, so let them suffer, maybe a few deep breaths and a long hug would do you good. In that paragraph, I’m responding specifically to the tone of that Fight for Fifteen thread.  Please just bear with me for the rest of this post and grant that somewhere on the internet, there was a similar one about the work I do right now, which I’m now going to talk about because that $#!t is personal. See, I’m a Home Care Assistant....

Not bad for a bunch of collectivists…

If you know me, you’ve probably already heard me talk about this, because it’s something I happened to be in the vicinity of that I’m pretty star struck by.  I’m sharing it again. David Koch wrote a WSJ editorial not long ago, saying something about how “the collectivists do not have good answers,” and also things about freedom and his commitment to it.  Here’s a nice takedown, if you’re interested. It’s a long running argument in the US about the meaning of the word “freedom,” which is important because it’s supposed to be our thing.  Rather than get into that, which other people have already done a great job of, can I just tell you a story about what we collectivists have come up with? When I started the University of Rochester’s excellent Postbac-Premed program, I needed a student job to make ends meet. After a flurry of conversation about various great opportunities, I settled on editing video interviews with prominent chemists (is that an oxymoron?) for Rich Eisenberg, then Editor in Chief of Inorganic Chemistry. It’s quite something to work with someone of Rich’s stature on conversations at this level while going through General and Organic Chemistry.  I felt like someone had handed me A Tale of Two Cities while I was just learning the alphabet.  They are fascinating conversations I’d highly recommend geeking out on.  Even if you don’t entirely follow the chemistry, they’re a helicopter view of decades of incredible work, and it’s worth appreciating how much these folks have done for us.  Here, check out Tom Meyer– he’s a man after my own heart, with ideas worth hearing...

The Tree With Healthy Boundaries

This year is the 50th Anniversary of Shel Silverstein’s book The Giving Tree.  Given how deeply implicated Shel Silverstein is in the magical Christmas mornings of my childhood, this is a big deal to me. I recently came across this NY Times Book Review discussion of it. “As for the argument that “The Giving Tree” is somehow a commentary on the ways humans ravage the environment, I mean, maybe? ” says Anna Holmes, founding editor of Jezebel, which I love, and am therefore annoyed about how annoyed I am by this. OF COURSE THAT’S WHAT IT’S ABOUT! WHAT ELSE DO YOU THINK IT’S ABOUT? Anna also brings up the common idea that it’s about “man’s inhumanity to woman.”  I think it’s about that, too.  But she’s not sure it’s an indictment of that.  OF COURSE IT’S AN INDICTMENT, THAT’S WHY EVERYBODY’S SO BUMMED OUT BY IT!  Reality ain’t all puppy dogs and unicorns, and storytellers don’t owe you a happy ending or a pat moral.  Declining to give them, in fact, strikes me as a mark of integrity, though notoriously not so much box office success. The final insult comes from President Obama’s economic adviser Betsey Stevens blaming the victim in this whole tragedy- “If only she’d set limits, she wouldn’t be a stump today!” I’d like to gently but exasperatedly suggest that humanity’s ravaging of the environment (and the increasingly terrifying consequences) and a culture of violence & disrespect toward women are closely related.  You can find a conversation in the air to that effect, and I think it’s important.  The trees aren’t going to give us a lecture.  There’s no lecture coming. So this...

What good is this extra-strong Charmin now?

Ugh, I started a new toilet paper roll, and you know how sometimes the two plys don’t stay together right when you first try to get it started, and you end up with this wonky split-toilet-paper situation?  I’ve got that. Also, I’m getting evicted at the end of this month.  I hate everything sometimes. This too shall pass.  But first it shall be a pain in your ass.  On with the show. Right, so one reason you might have found this post is that you followed the link from Kickstarter and wanted to know the details of how a polite, upstanding young fellow like myself came to be facing eviction in a few days.  Thank you for your interest. There are two parts to that conversation:  Part 1: Business  $2145 is currently outstanding to my landlord.  Not real happy about that, but it’s the product of trying to keep plowing forward under conditions of uncertainty. I don’t know what else you do in life; everything’s insane. $1440 would cover January and February rent, and bring me current.  My landlord thinks this is a pipe dream, and it probably is.  But I’d like to not move if possible, and stranger things have happened. $3585, then, if in hand shortly, could possibly stabilize my housing situation. One way to think about this is, $4,000 would be twenty bucks from 200 people.  I know more than twice that many people on Facebook alone, and c’mon, is The Unionizer not sweet? WE CAN DO THIS, INTERNET!  THIS IS A THING WE CAN DO! Part 2: The Whole Story: Things Fall Apart, and you keep...