Great Expectations

debate2016-1This post’s well-known title could apply to my Minnesota Twins (who lost their 100th game yesterday), but even someone who’s been a close observer only six years knows better than to have great expectations of the team these days.

It might also apply to the pending NASA news conference about Europa. Many of us are hoping for something along the lines of a mysterious monolith and staying away, but rumor has it that the Hubble telescope spotted the long-absent water geysers. (They were observed years ago, but never since.) ((Update: The rumors were correct!))

But, while those are expectations, considering what’s taking over about a dozen TV networks tonight — what’s been long awaited by so many — the post’s title absolutely refers to the first Presidential debate.

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Send A Prayer

jose-fernandez

And on the Field of Dreams a new pitcher steps to the mound…

Miami Marlins ace pitcher, José Fernández, was killed in a boating accident early Sunday morning in Miami Beach. He was 24 and had been pitching for the Marlins since 2013, his entire Major League career.

And heaven certainly gained an ace starter. During his brief career, his ERA was never above (or even reached) 3.00.

But it’s obviously a devastating loss for his family, his friends and teammates, and for baseball in general. A sad day for all baseball fans.

Rest in pitching, dude!


Take A Knee

I’ve been considering this business of sports figures kneeling during the national anthem…

kneeling

My initial reaction was, “WTF?” But after a bit of thought, I decided I was more,  “Meh, whatever.” It seemed mostly to be going on in football along with some other sports I really couldn’t care less about

(And, full disclosure, I have a definite antipathy towards the NFL; do not like them at all.)

But then I realized that this was both important and right. Civil disobedience is the very quintessence of necessary but painful social change.

We’re noticing. We’re talking about it. This is where it starts, if it is starts anywhere at all.

Yesterday I read a New York Times article[1], apparently a regular thing they do highlighting the best comments of the week on their social media platform.

The first one was interesting, a lady blamed not being shot after being stopped by the police on being white. But it was the second one that really, really grabbed me. It says perfectly what I’ve been searching to say about the taking a knee thing:

Rioting and angry protest … “Why can’t you just peacefully protest?”

Kneeling peacefully … “No, not like that.”

~Darius Ensey (on Facebook)

Exactly. Nail; hammer; head! I can’t think of a better way to put it.

Because here’s the awful thing: When you’re black, sometimes there’s just no winning.

So maybe we should all take a knee and keep talking about this. Hell, maybe we could even do something about it.

Ya think?


[1] I’m a White Lady. Perhaps That Is Why I Am Not Dead., By Lela Moore and Lindsey Underwood, September 24, 2016.


Five-Second Rule

deplorable

Well that didn’t take long!

Multiple news sources have reported on a two-year microbiology study out of Rutgers University (Is the five-second rule real?). The upshot is: Yes, of course it’s not real.

What strikes me is that anyone actually thought it was real. We (meaning pretty much everyone I ever associated with) always understood it as a bit of obvious irony, a self-serving excuse for eating fallen food. If asked, I would have said one would have to be a real idiot to think it was real.

Well,… can’t say I’m surprised.

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The New Normal

crazy-town-exitThe 1991 movie Grand Canyon, which I wrote about recently, in large part is about how insane life has become. In the 25 years since, the insanity has grown. Perhaps most are so focused on just getting through their life, or are so taken up by the distractions and toys of modern living, that they never stop to realize just how really crazy the world has gotten.

I don’t mean the apocalyptic reality presented by TV news, or by the GOP; I mean the sheer insanity of how we go about our business these days, what we accept as “the way things are.”

I mean what we’ve come to accept as normal.

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Movies: Star Wars VII

star-wars-viiSo,… I finally saw the most recent Star Wars movie the other night (it has already made its way to cable; meanwhile, I’m still waiting for Interstellar and Ex Machina to show up). Those who know my value system with regard to science fiction, with regard to movies, and especially with regard to science fiction movies, warned me I that I probably wouldn’t like it very much.

But I already knew that was likely just because of who directed it (same guy who nailed the Star Trek coffin shut), so I approached watching it with very low expectations and without any oxen to gore (since I was never really a fan and never really got into the characters or story).

And even so I still really disliked it. A whole bunch.

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Improbable

xkcd-1732-fragmentOn the one hand, global climate change is likely to make things very — strictly in the curse sense — “interesting” for the human race as this millennium progresses. The effects already are obvious, visual, striking, and — one would think — undeniable.

Randall Munroe, of xkcd, has created another of his brilliant graphics, this one showing the history of climate change. It’s well-worth checking out (do it now). It makes the point in a visually striking, and — one would think — undeniable way.

On the other hand, it’s very — in the usual sense — “interesting” that we’re here at all.

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High Ground

questionsWhen did we change? When did we decide that torture was an okay idea? When did we begin to so tolerate the very presence of nationalism, racism, and gender politics? When did we decide to so forsake the values that defined us as a nation?

Why do we think popular or successful means — even defines — what is right? Why do we cling to clearly false beliefs rather than accepting demonstrated facts? Why do we confuse what we like with what is good?

Where is our moral high ground, the set of values espoused by the founders of the USA and which, until recently, have largely been at the center of our national identity. Where is one of the most important questions of all: Is it the right thing?

What is wrong with us that an obviously unqualified raging narcissistic reality TV show star has even a chance of being elected President of the country? How can we possibly be this foolish? What makes anyone think he can even begin to deliver?

Who will we elect, someone who — like her or not — is clearly qualified to run the country, or an ignorant human monster surfing a wave of hate, fear, and angry frustration? Perhaps more importantly, who are we as a people?

Who do we want to be?

Which way will we turn? Towards the Dark Side? Or towards the light?


Sideband #60: Tick

Sideband ElectrodeA different, more personal, anniversary… Looking back at the five years of this blog (or, for that matter, the many more years of this blogger), I can’t help but reflect on how man- and mice-plans go astray.

Case in point: Sidebands. Originally, as the name implies, meant as out-of-the-norm posts. True of the first few, but by #41 they’d become too inclusive, not much different from regular posts. The idea needed retooling; it was over a year before I posted #42. (And I added Brain Bubbles for minor-topic or very short posts.)

Since then, I’ve tried to restrict Sidebands to extremely technical topics. (For example, #59. I should have made that tesseract post #60, and today doubly wish I had.)

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On This Day We Remember

911-stampIt’s one of those days you remember better than any birthday or wedding. Those were planned; these hit you suddenly, stunning your mind, breaking your heart. “The shuttle blew up!” “The Towers fell!”

The impact was even greater if you saw it happen in real-time. If you watched the shuttle launches. If you caught the breaking news before the second tower was hit. Saw the second plane, realized at that moment, “This is no accident!”

Even if you saw it after, you saw it; saw it as an attack.

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