Thursday, September 20, 2018

Friday, September 14, 2018

Bella Ciao

Marc Ribot - "Bella Ciao (Goodbye Beautiful)" (feat. Tom Waits)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Louder Than a Bomb - Parkland Poets

Yes, I'm POSITIVE.

It's no secret that I intensely dislike "motivational posters".  For the most part, they engage in some simple-minded feel-good cliches that are totally useless in the face of real trouble.  One of my LEAST favorite sayings is "you are responsible for your own feelings", and it's variation, the misquote "no one can make you feel bad without your consent."

Let's break that down for a minute, once again, because it's been a while since I've posted on this, and it's something I feel especially relevant with what's going on today with the horrendous civil rights violations experienced by Blacks and Hispanics in our country:  When something terrible happens, it's NATURAL to feel bad.

So, if someone shoots your dad because he's Black driving in the wrong neighborhood, or if someone deports mom who's been living here for over a quarter century, you're (a) not giving consent and (b) going to feel awful.  It would be clinically abnormal to feel good as a result of something like that. 

So no, we are NOT 100% responsible for our own feelings, as I imagine a lot of people who have evacuated and are watching their homes be pounded by Hurricane Florence today have probably discovered.

But we ARE responsible, to some degree, with what we do with those feelings.  Yes, feelings can be so overwhelming that we physically shut down.  Sometimes we just need to feel those feelings before we can channel them in some positive way. 

I like this poster because it acknowledges that sometimes things are bad, and, perhaps, because it doesn't nail down what a "good attitude" is.  I don't think it's about being Little Suzy Sunshine" when it comes to tragedy, but a good attitude could be one that simply does not yield to defeatism.  It may be an attitude of righteous anger (like the Parkland students turned activists), it doesn't have to be some zen-like acceptance of whatever evil caused the trauma.

And let's face it, most of these inspirational posters are made for financially secure white people, who's worst day involves not finding parking near the entrance at Whole Foods, or finding out that the Pumpkin Spice Latte hasn't been released at Starbucks yet.  Sure, people, suck it up. It doesn't need a response, it needs you to chill.

Of course, I hear all the time that we don't know how intensely the other person feels about the things we feel are trivial, however, I'd say that as irritating as those things are, standing in a long line at the supermarket shouldn't be as emotionally charged as having a flat tire on the highway shouldn't be as emotionally charged as being attacked in a bus because of your skin color. 

Perhaps, in some ways, these motivational posters can be a test.  If you can feel good about what happened, count yourself privileged in that you have trivial things to get upset about. If you can't, understand that you are not to blame, for your feelings, and, when possible, channel those feelings for change.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Today's Whale Watch.

Today Cay and I drove down to Monterey Bay and boarded The Blackfin for a 4 hour whale watch.  Despite having a cheap point and shoot, I was able to get a few decent photos... a little under 100 of them.  It was a good day:  about 20 Humpback whales, 2 Blue whales, a Minke, about 1500 or so common dolphin, about a dozen harbor porpoises, a few harbor seals, a WHOLE LOT of California sea lions, a couple sea otters, and all sorts of birds, including a couple types of gulls, sooty shearwaters, brown pelicans, and cormorants.  A few birds I just couldn't ID at the time. Birds aren't my specialty (I may pick myself up a Sibley's Guide to Birds of Western North America for Christmas... or just get a better phone and upload the Cornell Labs bird ID ap)

Anyway, I couldn't POSSIBLY choose just a half dozen for the blog post, so I made a little slideshow/video.  That light streak under the water in one of them?  That's a Mola Mola.  Hard to photograph with what I had.  You'll also see some sea nettles in the photos.



At some point I'll likely post some blogs with individual pictures. There are several photos that can be used to ID the whales, a few unique features on some of the whales worth pointing out, and I'll probably also want to post about the importance of sea otters, as well as some posts about jellies. But that's all in the future. Monterey Bay is about 3-4 hours drive, which means we were up at 4 am this morning. The rest of the evening (what little there is) will be spent relaxing and dreaming of the next trip.

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