Hey, hey, they got away

Driving back from dropping the young man at his job at 4 am, which was supposed to not be a thing anymore as a condition of his return to that place, the rock stations grow dreary, I switch to classic rock and hear “Take the Money and Run,” which I’ve never been able to like, though I got the album it was on for Christmas when I was 11, but it does no good to turn on NPR at that hour; makes a person start thinking about things and then sleep is hard to reach, and I decide for the umpteenth time it isn’t just because he rhymes “what the facts is” with “the people’s taxes,” but that I don’t care about Billy Joe and Bobby Sue at all, or anyone who makes a man sing “Hoo, hoo, lord,” as a matter of course, even from back in the 70s when people had the misguided idea that was okay to do in a song.

And it’s followed up with “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits, so now I’m about to slip into an existential fog, something I’m always poised on the edge of anyway, when I turn onto our street to find the young rabbits just sitting in the middle of the road, and one of them swiftly exits stage left, but the other nervously bounces back and forth directly in front of me for a hundred yards, and I have to crawl behind it, even turning into the driveway in front of me in confused panic before finally heading back off to the yard and what I can only assume will be relative safety. 

So now I’m awake anyway, but it isn’t a good thing for me to be, with that idiotic song rolling through my brain, the ceiling fan ticking lightly in constant rhythm against the motor casing, birds beginning to chirp outside my front windows, and if I’m not careful, thoughts about things will start creeping into my head. I don’t know how you insomniacs survive these nights with all the gloom and road kill and bad rhymes which accompany them.

Let's cancel out that tune, at least. 

 


Still "fertile" after all these years

Unlike those women in 70s and 80s TV dramas who were crushed when they learned they were entering their crone years, I’m growing impatient to get there. My daughter says it’s taking awhile because I’m ridiculously fertile and Nature won’t let go of such a prize, but you know, I have the front yard and the garden areas and things grow like mad even when I don’t wish them to; this being the yang side of a green thumb, still, now and then when it’s been a few weeks I grow hopeful, only to realize it’s been about two weeks since I started contemplating how cyborgs share physical intimacy, and then I got a pimple, and this morning I spent half an hour lining up my sewing things with great precision, and this afternoon I baked six dozen chocolate chip cookies, and now I have cramps. Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 12.29.50 PM
But I have a mild, completely illogical fear about it all, and I’ve been wondering if there is any possible way to psychologically prevent yourself from getting to menopause. I remember reading a girl will usually continue growing in height for two years after her cycle begins, and that’s how it was for me, and then you see, my mother got sick and then died two years after reaching menopause, and somehow it seems rather like a parallel; end of physical growth to end of new life growth. Darktubbies
On the other hand, it’s now been a little over forty years since I started having these cycles, and I’ve had perimenopause symptoms for nearly seven, so I am still quite ready to let it all go, even if some odd internal segment of my brain fears what might come next. 6a013486cbda64970c014e5f6ab7ef970c-800wi


I'm gonna vent here a little bit and maybe lose a "friend" or two.

Same people who were sure 15 years ago that everyone (except themselves) on the web was a raving psycho pedophile with a fake identity joined right up at Facebook shortly after that using their real name and town and school and place of employment and now they're mad because they never bothered with privacy settings and it turns out they should have. Oh, let me footnote this right here not in a footnote and say, yes, I agree, of course they should be mad. Be very mad!

However. They gave away the keys to their car and then got upset when it wasn't in the driveway the next day. Fark_8N1eG3ZhW4nW7xJ34l8Ewem1Pbg

As my IT-type friends online would say over and over again, if these companies are giving you the service for free, you are the product, or at least the advertising. There’s only a limited amount of trust you can put in that relationship. Are we all giving more than we get? Sometimes it's a tough call.

I joined Twitter in 2007, Facebook in 2009, Google Plus in 2011. I turned my one word name into two for Facebook, and then altered my email address preferences so Google would recognize that name as me, because at first it was strict about making sure you were really you. Well, this is the me you get, love it or leave it.Photo on 1-24-18 at 6.03 PM #2

I would tell people at the Plus about the page settings and user preferences over and over again, how to find them, how to use them. Every time there was an update, I’d go check mine again and remind other people to do the same.

Facebook privacy settings were awkward at first, but they got better over the years. You can tweak the preferences for 30 minutes if you bother to go look at them. And they are continually reminding you of them unless you do everything completely public 100% of the time, I guess.

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They knew most people wouldn't check, I expect. Caveat emptor, whoop-te-doo.

MOST IMPORTANTLY TO ME, I became so angry when news and blog sites switched to Facebook login for comments and shopping and etc. I wrote emails to every one of them that I used, telling them I would no longer use them if I had to use my Facebook log-in. It did no good. Few other people seemed to care, and I was a weirdo for refusing to play along. Later, people rolled their eyes when I protested over and over again that I didn’t want to give Facebook my phone number. Well, they still don’t have it and when I downloaded my data from them, they had not been able to mine my texts and calls.

I use a separate browser for Facebook. My only other log-in with this browser is this blog. There’s only so much you can do, and in the end we'll all be drinking Victory gin, but, at least for now, why not do what you can? Why hasn't that been obvious all along?Fark_62S-dmXSGaLs_nJrnPNaTDsf-Yc

I have one single friend on Facebook who’d remind people that those quizzes which log into your Facebook stream are just mining your info. I don’t know if anyone else paid attention to him, but his occasional warnings were reminders to me to double check what I’d shared lately. DXJtXFMWAAE5M5G

I’ll tell you who knows a lot about me. Amazon. Hah! But the one difference that is worth it for me, for now, is what I get in return. What do I get from social media in exchange for what they give me? I get to know a few people a little better, and that’s a fine thing. But it wouldn’t be worth giving up all my privacy for it. I don’t know why anyone else ever thought it was. At least with Amazon, I get a good deal on spray starch alternative and vitamins. It’s a devil I willingly bargain with. For now. In this era, we must choose our devils wisely. Control is more and more just an illusion, but if you never even bothered to retain any to begin with, you are definitely partly to blame for the mess “we’re” all in. You went from EVERYONE IS EVIL to TAKE ME I’M YOURS in the time it took to fill out a brief form, and now you’re unhappy about that. I repeat myself over and over again to a crowd of nearly none, but context and moderation are always good partners, and trust is something that should be earned by degrees. Did you put on your own blindfold? Eyeball

I'm still using Facebook, which I signed up at purely to keep in touch with my sweet younger older brother, who never quite got the rest of the internet. (not to make my older older brother feel left out. different case, is all.) But my time and energy belong to me and I say who gets to share some of it. I don't have a good answer for people who feel molested by their Facebook experience—despite the fact that it might seem I'm being cold-blooded about it, I really do care about you and agree this is all dreadful—except to say that you don't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater, just clean the tub and be sure to use a thermometer next time you fill it. Cagespectre


2017 Christmas/Wintry Music Mix

Each year I condense my twelve hours of Christmas/winter music into a playlist of two, for cooking time, etc. If I had to listen only to a few artists for Christmas, I’d choose Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Vince Guaraldi. Probably. But fortunately, that is not required.

This year I decided to do a sort of theme: “definitive” versions of most famous songs. It’s not concrete. I can’t do concrete. But semi-solid, anyway.

I would wish for a really good vocal recording of “Carol of the Bells,” if I were to change one thing. Otherwise, this is a fine compendium of what I’ve got on the ol’ iPod. I chose three different versions of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” though, because I am very in the mood for that, and because I can’t decide on only one. Usually one voice gets it better than the other. My newest version with Lee Ann Womack and Harry Connick, Jr. is not my favorite arrangement, but it sure is nicely balanced vocally and other ways...


Willie Nelson and Lady Gaga both do it so well, they really ought to record one together. She’s worked with his son, but it isn’t the same sort of thing.

So next, I have to put these in the correct listening order! And if I had infinite energy, I’d make a YouTube playlist of them to share, but I do not. Here I have shown both the album the song is on, and the original recording year for the older ones in case you want to look up a few. Holidays2017


I dreamed about William Holden early this morning

And then forgot about it until I saw this tweet from James Hamblin Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 9.05.51 AM

I dreamed I was walking with a friend in a large park on a warm autumn afternoon, and we saw Bill Holden, who looked a bit worse for wear, but not bad, and I was saying to her, "no, don’t ever get involved with a man who has a drinking problem," but I ended up talking with him, of course, and by the way, I think my brain scrambled some stuff from this movie I watched last night called Battle Circus with June Allyson and Humphrey Bogart; a Korean war story which should have been good but wasn’t,

then later, I was sitting in a big crowd of people, and I saw him appear again a short distance away, looking like a wrung-out mess, but he went into the shower tent run by an old Chinese lady, and came out clean and sharp and wearing a crisp white button-down shirt.

You might know how I feel about a handsome man in a crisp white button-down shirt (and also correctly-tailored trousers and suitable shoes,) but still I tried to ignore him when he caught my eye and grinned that dreamy grin. 

So of course I did not actually ignore him; I followed him through the park as he strode past the crowd, only at one point he disappeared on the other side of a little copse and I thought I lost him, but when I'd made my way through the trees, he was lying face down in a pool! I started to freak out, as one would, when he raised his head and laughed, saying he thought it would be a good joke.

In real life this would not endear me to someone, but in my dream, I carried on as though that was part of the plan, and helped him find something to dry off with. I wish I could remember more of the scenery, because then there was a large bed, not as large as my fabulous Hollywood king, but pretty large, and he asked what my sleep number was (THANKS, BOB AND TOM SHOW,) to which I replied, “no idea, firm, I guess,” and explained how I have a firm waterbed because there's a heater in it, and he told me you can get heaters for beds like this, and then we lay down side by side, but a big lump rose in the middle, as it had turned into a waterbed which needed burping. I lay quiet and still for a moment, wondering what to do next, when he said something like, "This bed shouldn't be so uncomfortable."

So I pulled back the covers and showed him where and how you burp a waterbed. This needs to be done once or twice a year, and then you add a special chemical to it, but anyway, we did that in the dream, and then a friend showed up and asked what was going on, and then I woke up. 

My dreams with men in them usually end up like this, and the world is a strange place right now, so I don't blame that lady with her ghost. 

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Perspective, ritual, and the "plus ça change" of life, baby, when it's cold outside

We're sort of holding our collective breath right now, aren't we?

Before women were seen as independent souls who could live on their own, before reliable birth control for women, before shame-free access to it (you might not know this, but many doctors asked the woman if her husband gave her permission for it, and if she wasn’t even married? Well.) and before this society admitted in my lifetime that even good women desire sex and have climaxes, there was a ritual that had to be followed. Bobandjoan

People were so naive in the previous century. He was taught he had to seduce her. She was taught to say no (but actually also to allow him to think he sometimes won what she also sought, and yes, that’s as messy as it sounds,) and plenty of people, both men and women, knew so little about sex, it boggles the 21st century mind. She had a lot to lose, though, and had to be so careful with whose apartment she might end up in. Yes, there was a whole lot of pretense, but it felt necessary. Montgomery-gaynor-franchot
Of course, there are still people filled with startling levels of ignorance about sex and relationships, and also of course, people willing to believe every new thing they read without critical reasoning or a healthful amount of skepticism.

Anyway. If you had to talk in code, why not enjoy it? It was a dance, a game, and both sides knew that the woman was still in control of how it played out. That is, both sides with most people, because most people are not awful. And so we have 1940s romantic comedies to sigh over. They show us what ordinary people hoped to be, what they hoped life would be.  Junebride
(Film noir offered a bleaker view, though.)

We’re hearing so much every day these days about the men who got away with being awful to some degree or another for far too long. They didn’t understand or didn’t/don't even care that the dance has changed or that the music was sometimes only in their own head.

In 2017, we still want to dance, because it makes the walk home more exciting, but we get to set the terms out loud, not through code. If a man thinks her no is a tentative “not yet” or "yeah, keep going," he is hearing a language that hasn’t existed for a long time, but the truth is, it never did quite in the way these creepers think it did.

Even “back then,” the men who are in trouble now for treating women badly were the men Mother warned you about. It wasn’t actually about “nice girls,” at all, but about nice people. A nice mature adult male still knew when no meant no, or at least, “let’s get to know each other better first,” “let me make sure I can trust you with the risk I’ll be taking,” because he would read her body language, her expressions, the tone of her voice. He was also a human who didn’t want to hurt someone he might care about, and he knew she was taking a risk he didn’t fully share. He might push a little, but knew how to recognize a push back. These guys we’re hearing about now never were nice guys, never did care about whether they were being pushy; taking something not freely given, and then tossing it aside when they were done with it.

They were taught, particularly in the era of movie westerns, that men are all head, women are all heart, that men can take what women must give, and that “sensitive men” are weak men. And of course, they are wrong, all wrong. (A sad fact about that is how some of the "sensitive men" thought they had to play a tough or sexist cowboy role that didn't suit them, and it led to a few misunderstandings about who we all are. We are working on fixing that, because it wasn't any good for anybody, and it was bad, bad social science.)

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 9.51.18 PM

 

Sadly, though, there are probably always going to be creepers. It’s high time and good that society is starting to root them out; the ones with a little charm or a lot of power were allowed to get away with it for far too long. But they're not going to be exterminated for awhile yet, if ever. There's a lot more education and head smackings to be done. Cornfield

But, and this is where my thoughts are leading, historical context demands that we don’t confuse them with ordinary hopefulness at the end of a 1949 or 2017 date, which is why I once railed about the misguided ignorant rants over “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Life is complicated, but it has a far, far longer history than you or I, our country, or what we call “modern” civilization. We should keep improving our wheels, but it’s important to remember we didn’t invent them, and the surfaces they run on have changed in every era. Guinan

And, we should be so, so glad many of your grandmother's (my mother's) daily struggles are history now, but it's okay to see the good and great in her time, as well; to see it through her eyes, and not only our own. This makes us smarter and better at creating a strong framework for our lives. Then we can exhale again.
Wave


It keeps me stable for days

The song “Cars” by Gary Numan changed everything for me. At least, that’s how I tell it in my head, looking back over the years. Like everything stopped, looked up, and gasped, and then nothing was quite the same as before, and never would be again. The first time I heard it was a pivotal moment, akin to the first time I walked up the steps at Penn Station and stepped out into the filtered sunlight of 7th Avenue, where the air felt charged with life and possibility to such an overwhelming degree, I needed to stop on the sidewalk to gulp it in and let it begin to settle over my skin.

Okay, to be fair, when I got home later, I did feel I needed to shower away the light filmy grime of the city, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to go back and experience it all over again, as soon as possible. I was a slightly different person forever after that, or just a little more of who I already was, perhaps.

The song gripped me cleanly, but otherwise much the same way. Still after all these years, I hear it each time as though I’m opening a gift. I can’t describe the gift in concrete terms, though. It just somehow made a lot of things okay, made me know I was okay, and as my son so eloquently puts it, “This song sounds like the theme to a 1980’s Chinese movie action montage, and that is a wonderful thing.”

On the more linear track briefly, it’s funny how many young people don’t even bother to drive cars now. We cloistered ourselves in them for decades, for good and for ill, and now they are cloistered in their bedrooms with a phone or a tablet, instead, the world at their fingertips, to both experience and to shun. Me, I still like to drive, my car is still my tiny kingdom. I’m no more or less alone than I ever was, wherever I am.

The movie Blade Runner 2049 addresses that to a degree. One thing that struck me about it was the profound loneliness of every character. And the replicants who were inadvertently made to feel special through true memory enhancement were a great parallel to a growing segment of our current society, and our increasingly internal natures.

I’ve always been alone, even in tiny crowds of my own delightful offspring, and so I’ve rarely thought about loneliness. I think maybe it requires a desire for something on the outside that could repair something on the inside. But I’ve never really liked having other people meddle with my design.

Anyway, it’s not as deep as all that. It was just new music, for my new generation, and the electronic tune and rhythm runs through my blood like fuel created specifically for my operating system. It’s not a complex composition; I just feel more alive when I hear it.

Have you ever heard this particular remix? It's sort of my favorite, though my brain tends to not let me have those, and Numan himself has recorded it a dozen different ways. It's perfect driving music.

PS: in case anyone reads this who feels like a deep sort of person. I like pretty much everything he's ever recorded for release. But part of me will always be 14, and I hope the same is true for you.

Living in Zenith

“Being a man given to oratory and high principles, he enjoyed the sound of his own vocabulary and the warmth of his own virtue.”
 
Half an hour spent with “social media” this morning was enough to renew the simmering and dismissive rage of three or four Sinclair Lewis novels, but it does no good. I have neither the talent nor the tenacity to do what he did 80 and 90 years ago, and what if I did? People rarely recognize their own folly; preferring to focus on that of others. I railed for months last year about Buzz Windrip, but I have a tiny voice and this is a real big world.
 
Along a more pleasant train track of thought, it’s symphony season, so I have a reason to be at interesting restaurants once a month for the next few. First up was Zula, my personal favorite, a rare treat, and just diagonally across Washington Park from the reopened Music Hall. I took pictures of our shared dinner, not to impress anyone, but to reenjoy later as I like. He goes out to eat as a matter of course and told me I should order whatever I like since I don’t, so I chose the yellowfin tuna crudo, haricots vert with escarole and this and that, romaine hearts with a very nice dressing, beef tartare, and duck breast with sweet potatoes and French lentils. LdfkgjLdfkgjLdfkgj
 And I had two Corpse Revivers #2, as well. A sumptuous treat.  Ldfkgj
Over at Music Hall, the symphony played Pelléas et Mélisande, with a dreamy minimalist setting for the singers.
 
We both needed a touch more from that set and the singers’ movement, to be honest, to make a point or two more clear. But the music was lovely, the reconstruction of the building is lovely, and it was just a lovely evening all around. I sigh with pleasure at the memory of my beef tartare, breaking the lovely golden yolk on top, and the giddy sensation of swallowing a perfect food. Here is a filtered photo I took in honor of my old cookbooks with their creepy attempts at elegance. 20171021_191744_Film4
Back to the real world online, this month’s particular demand for social justice is taking a new ugly turn. And the people who don’t take it seriously will never take you seriously if you employ tactics you decry in others.
 
All of them perceived that American Democracy did not imply any equality of wealth, but did demand a wholesome sameness of thought, dress, painting, morals, and vocabulary.
 
Oh, but you think the pressure to conform to society comes only from people who can’t see things your way? The new stereotyping is driving me mad, personally. It’s more rigid than ever through the machinations of people who purport to be freeing us from it all. For one example among several: we don’t need sixteen more labels than we had before. We just need people to stop narrowly defining the ones we already have. That includes both you and the people you think are wrong. History and anthropology would teach you that a few other cultures worked this out a long time ago, if you’d take the time to learn some of it.
 
The demand for equality for everybody and the recognition that we are not all the same, but that’s really okay, will not be met as long as Smugness and Ignorance battle each other on top of messy straw heaps. “She did her work with the thoroughness of a mind which reveres details and never quite understands them.”
 
And that’s all I have to say about that except here's something personal. I have a neighbor with a 40 foot flag pole atop of which waves a fading American flag. He never lowers it, but never mind about that for now. Beneath it for months last year waved a big black Trump flag. I shuddered every time I went outside.
 
He also had a beautiful maple tree in the front corner of his lawn, which he maintains to a heightened perfection the likes of which only a Toro ad man could conceive of, and earlier this summer during a storm, a limb broke off that tree and it was cut up and removed. A week later, the entire tree was gone. I was so sad, wondering whether euthanization was truly necessary or if he just couldn’t bear the imperfection of it.
 
Or maybe he just liked the excuse that he wouldn’t have to vacuum leaves as often. I don’t know. I haven’t asked him.
 
He’s got a whole life story, you know. He isn’t just a Trumper, and we are all made up of much more than our individual parts can ever suggest. Maybe his ideas about society are all rotten, but he always waves if we’re both out getting the mail at the same time, so he’s also a person, like I am, who likes to acknowledge other persons around him, and maybe someday we’ll exchange something more than pretty politenesses. These days, a black POW/MIA flag that we used to see pretty commonly sits beneath the weather-worn American flag. 
 
This final quotation is from Walt Kelly instead of Sinclair Lewis. I can imagine my neighbor, as a young man back from performing his Service to Our Country, reading Pogo and wondering how to get back to the halcyon world of his childhood.
 
Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly…Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us.

To the Ends of the Sea

Resharing a post I wrote two years about "degrees of separation" to the big event we remember today.

Because of the hurricanes. They are affecting very many people, but me, I'm in the tertiary class. Gas went up for a few days last week. MSNBC is broadcasting weather non-stop and I watch while making dinner. People are retweeting videos and I look at them sometimes. That's about it. I have some friends who are getting rained on a whole lot and whose incomes will be affected by the interruptions. That's the secondary group. And then there are people whose worlds are filled with water and will soon be left covered in mud, some of it salvagable, much of it ruined.

I was filling the car with fuel the other day thinking I could just do that, you know, anywhere I liked. Any time of the day I liked. And that is something a whole lot of people could not take for granted last week and the week before.

While Houston was being covered over in water, there was a great flood in Bangladesh and also Nepal, harming many people, displacing a tremendous number. Some people complained we didn't care about that. Well, we do. We simply cannot care about each event to the same degree at the same time. So we cared about what was going on here a little more than what was going on there. We aren't terrible, just human. No matter how connected we all are via contemporary transportation and communication means, we're still all mostly part of a small group here on the ground where we stand and make our livings.

Sometimes, though, we want very much to be connected to the larger event, and strive to find ways of feeling a part of what's going on. Our everyday lives, for most of us, are not interesting or all that challenging. And we know instinctively that challenges cause us to grow, create, and assess what's really important about life. We avoid the seemingly mundane ones, but are curious about the big events that would test us. Also, we want to feel things. We want to feel strong passions and important sensations, and so we talk of a person we know who is right in the thick of things, as though it puts us closer to the center of the picture, right there meeting the challenge alongside a compatriot.

At the end of the day, though, when it's time for rest and relaxation, mostly it feels pretty good to not have to be tested as others are forced to be just now. Knowing that, I think we ought to appreciate it a whole lot, and also offer assistance in whichever way we can and however it will be best received.

Anyway, here. It has pictures. We Traced the Skyline


the politics of shopping

I’ve been feeling overloaded with media choices lately. I want to enjoy so many different things, I can’t choose between anything, and end up choosing nearly nothing. But that’s not very satisfying.

Anyway, as now isn’t quite working out in terms of “time to deal with that,” I decided to work on the kitchen, instead. I was telling my brother the other day I’ve gotten a lot of kitchen items from thrift shops, and it occurred to me today that those are most of my favorite things.

Long past are the days when I needed enough of everything for eight people and then some. And it’s good to have a wide variety of baking dishes and pans, but there’s plenty else I have that seems a little redundant now, so I'm going to streamline the collection, and keep only what I love and use often or regularly.

Here are pictures of purchases from thrift shops, mostly over the past six years. It’s not all inclusive; there’s a set of Pfaltzgraff stoneware mugs and saucers, and lots of books and records, and some other things.

In the “liquor cabinet,” all the glassware on the top inside shelf and the blue cocktail glasses above it are from thrift shops, mostly St. Vincent de Paul, though the nice wine glasses are from Salvation Army.

The baking dishes are from St. Vincent de Paul and Goodwill. The stereo components, also. The couch is from Goodwill and the loveseat from Salvation Army. They were perfect when I bought them, but a cat hurt them, annoyingly. They sanitize these things, by the way, by law.

As you look at these few pictures, you will see I have launched into an adjacent personal concern in the midst of them. Bakeware

Some years ago I was discussing this with a friend, and I said, “I buy plenty of things used; why encourage them to make more?” And he said that was very non-conservative of me; the idea of reducing production. Teacupsthere are two more saucers in use elsewhere; also a few crystal bowls I keep perfume and makeup samples in, and things like that.

I’m kind of literal about language, though. If I say I’m “conservative,” I mean it. I’m conserving here, and I do also mean I am personally slow to change. But it is only sensible to understand when old ways and means and things are best, and when it’s better to make some changes or embrace new technology. I conserve, and embrace conservation, at home and in nature, in whichever ways I am able to. I am conservative about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater in terms of new patterns of life, but at the same time, there’s no reason to keep the river polluted just to serve people unwilling to sacrifice a little profit in exchange for the betterment of us all. Mostly I’m driven by logic, rather than by heightened emotion, which always gets people gnashing their teeth at each other, and usually gets nothing done. Antiquedishesjapanese dishes produced in 1912

Thinking other stuff like “all the people matter,” “let’s pool our resources specifically where it can work well to do so,” and “let people decide for themselves the life they are best fitted to live,” I know that’s all been politicized into awkward sports teams that spend all their time arguing with each other. But team sports are not my thing, and dogma is dreary, at best. Glasses

My views are kind of like how our country was set up. When the large group working together can do the best job, okay. When a smaller group works better for some of the jobs, okay. When new is safer and cleaner, okay. When old is still good and serviceable and frugal, okay. What my neighbors do inside their house doesn’t harm me; what they spray on their lawn might. Messyroom

Social justice demands personal context, and that’s so often missing; it’s no wonder people think they disagree even more often than they actually do. It also demands that people stop looking at everything as though we’re in a stadium cheering or booing the other side. We have to live life on the playing fields, not shouting across them from the stands.

For example, I dislike the term "privilege" and how it's tossed out all over the place, but lately I've been noticing that many people who use it completely ignore their own levels of it, and would be surprised if you pointed it out. They are so certain of the issues they tweet about or make “memes” for, they sometimes disregard other concerns right in front of their faces.

Yesterday, this "ironic" Goodwill date thing popped into my Facebook stream again. Maybe you've heard of it. The couple gives each other a $10 limit to buy ugly clothes at Goodwill that they then wear on their date. This particular couple wore late 80s-looking attire and gave each other fake names to maximize their amusement.

I don't exactly think it's such a terrible idea. But I go into Goodwill now and then to look for books or old dishes, and I'll poke through the clothes, also St. Vincent de Paul, where all my household/clothing offerings go, and I watch many women spending a long time going through all the clothes, and I know that they are not doing it to be hilarious, but because they need to spend as little as possible.

Thus, I cannot be amused at the idea of people entertaining themselves with poor people clothing. I feel maybe we have a different idea about liberal hearts and minds. Very many of us have had financial troubles. Fewer of us have desperately hoped to find something to fit for a job interview that won't cost the kids' supper tonight, which wasn't going to be all that great anyway. There is a grim anxiety to poverty that clings to a person like air pollution on a humid day. It should hurt you to witness it or even think of it, if you are as liberal as you say.