Sunday, October 30, 2011

Truly Random Thoughts

•  We got down to freezing (32°F) this morning.  I think that's our first freezing temperature of the season.  (According to our digital thermometer, at least) it is consistently colder (and hotter-- let's just say "more extreme") here than whatever is forecast for our zip code.  

• We had an evening fire a week or so ago.  I can't even remember the last time we had an evening bonfire.  This one reminded me how much more magical a fire seems at night, with the golden sparks flying against a darkened sky.  We should do that more often.

  Crocheting with strips of t-shirts is kind of tiring to your arms when you've been used to crocheting with nothing thicker than worsted weight yarn.  I'm finding new muscles-- and then wearing them out.  I would suggest crocheting rag rugs as a upper-body-building exercise, but unless you can crochet with both hands, you might end up a little unbalanced... 

•  Going back to crocheting with regular, worsted weight yarn when you've been wrestling with thick strips of fabric and a fat hook is an odd sensation.  The yarn is so thin!  It's so slack and unresisting!  Next time, if I remember, I'll go straight from crocheting fabric strips to crocheting thread, just for the "Alice in Wonderland" feeling of having suddenly grown into a giant.  ;o)

•  We fixed up the dog pen yesterday afternoon.  (One of the posts had rotted and had to be replaced, and the pen needed a good weeding in spots.)  Now it should be all fixed up for times when they can't be inside or have the run of the whole yard.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

"The People's Microphone"

So far, I've resisted all impulses to comment on "Occupy Wall Street", but really, this "people's microphone" thing?  This thing where (apparently, because they lack a permit to use bull horns) the crowd repeats (word for word, a phrase at a time) what the speaker is saying so that everyone can hear what s/he is saying?  It's awfully creepy. 

Then there are the interviews with the "occupiers"...  (And yes, I know that you can find clueless people in any group.  But still...)

Interviewer:  What are you here protesting today?

Occupier #1:  Uhm... Um... Uh... I'm protesting, um... I can't do this, I'm sorry.

Interviewer:  Well, let me ask you another question.  What do you hope to achieve by this protest?

O #1:  Um, what I hope to achieve is just to get our voices heard, you know. Just...

Interviewer:  Can you give me an example of what you want to say as far as your voice being heard?

O #1:  Uhh... Um... Meh-- like, I'm sorry; I'm just-- I'm ju-- I'm just-- I'm just I'm just mentally all over the place.  I'm really tired.  I haven't slept in two days, you know.

...Blah blah he doesn't have a shelter and doesn't want to sleep in the rain...

Interviewer:  And what are you hoping to achieve?

O #1:  Um...You know, right now the protest is just in its, uh, early stages, so... You know, right now we're just all about getting out there, you know.  Making, uhm... Yeah, just........ Um... No, that's it; I'm done. 

Then (after being asked), the dude admits that he's tried to, erm, "have relations" while he's been out there, but it was a no-go, because he had no tent.  (Man, those Occupier chicks are so demanding!) 

Interviewer:  What's more important to you, sir--  smoking weed or getting a job? 

O #1:  Getting a job so I can use the money to buy weed.  

Later, the interviewer talks to a female Occupier...

Interviewer:  Uh, what are you protesting here today?

Occupier #2:   Uhm, we're struggling, so, you know? 

Interviewer:  You say you're struggling, but you girls are in good shape, and you have the abilities to hold down jobs.  Do you think it makes more sense to get a job than to waste your time sitting around here filing your nails? 

O #2:  Um, f**k working for the Boss.  I'd rather make my own money; like, I could control... how-- how much money I make, when I make it... as long as I work hard enough.  

Hm.  Sounds to me like Ms. Occupier wants to be her own boss... like a business owner... an entrepreneur, or something.  But wouldn't that make her, like, you know, evil, or something?  I mean, like, what if, um, she decided she wanted to make more money than was, you know, fair?  And, like, how would she even know how much was fair?  Ugh, this is confusing!!  Well, anyways, being your own boss is probly alots of work an' stuff, you know?  So maybe not...

Interviewer:  How can we fix this economy? 

O #2:  ...I say abolish money.   (...someone in the background chimes in with a "yeah!" so she gets more fired up...)  We don't need money... in order to establish a good living-- like, there's enough food and supplies to go around for everybody, except...  It's-- it's f**ked up how we have to pay to live, you know?  You know what I mean?  If we all just rationed s**t out, you know, no one has, like, more than the other-- I mean, I guess... my idea-- my ideals-- I-- I like to live life more like Commie-Socialists?  ...But it's like... It's f**ked up how we-- we have to slave in order to live.  

Oh.  My.  Gosh. 
I mean, you know people like this exist, but to actually hear them speak (or in your case, read a transcript of their words)... Good ga-rief.  Ok, I'm going to go bury myself under a pile of laundry and pretend I don't live in a world where scary-stupid are out to impose their crazy ideas on the rest of us. 

Yes, these are the brilliant minds of tomorrow, and they're ready to lead! 

On Mr. Big-Name Actor's God-Given Right to Opine

So, actors, musicians, and other entertainers don't like it when the Public tells them they should "stay out of politics"-- meaning that they shouldn't express political opinions.  I mean, how dare they, really?  You (the entertainer) have the same right as any other individual to say what you think-- just like any other person out there.  Okay, I'll agree that no-one has the right to tell any individual that he/she shouldn't voice his/her political opinion.  However, let's be honest about it-- Mr. Big-Name Actor expressing his ardent support for one side or the other of XYZ Controversial Issue is a little different from Mr. Small-Town-America doing the same.  

Difference #1: 
However little it is usually deserved-- however little sense it makes-- Mr. Big-Name has more power-- a louder, farther-reaching voice-- than the average person.  His opinions will reach a much larger number of people than Mr. Small-Town's ever will. 

Difference #2: 
Many people lend too much credence to the words of the famous.  Simply because Big-Name said it was so, the weak-minded will be swayed to support whatever he supports.  It's another way of being cool like Mr. Big-Name-- like going out and buying a brand of jeans just because Big-Name was wearing a pair on the latest magazine cover... or wearing a cologne just because Big-Name's, er, name is on the bottle.  It's unlikely that anyone will vote for Ms. Candi Date just because Mr. Small-Town writes about her on his blog, but if Big-Name tweets about her, it's a possibility. 

Then there are a couple of other aspects of the issue...

Compared to the proportions in the country as a whole, it always feels like the left is (way) over-represented in the pool of entertainers-cum-political activists.  If there were a more even distribution (across the political spectrum) of politically loud-mouthed actors, singers, etc., I think you'd see less complaining about entertainers with opinions.  I'm not saying this means that left-leaning actors are obliged to keep quiet for this reason alone... Just that it makes a difference in people's level of tolerance for opinionated, liberal actors.

As an entertainer, your job is to entertain the Public.  Ultimately, the Public writes your paycheck by buying your music, going to see your movies, and so on.  The Public is your employer, and most employees find it beneficial to stay on the boss's good side (or if that's too unpalatable, look for a new job).  So while you're perfectly well within your rights to spout controversial opinions, it may not always be in your best interest.  Want to be successful in your career?  Maybe you shouldn't actively alienate a large portion of your audience.  Sure, it's your right to say what you think-- and to use your status as Mr. Big-Name Actor to make sure it's heard beyond your circle of friends-- but it's the Public's right to boycott your movies, albums, and TV programs if we don't like what we hear.  A certain percentage may find it-- and by extension, you-- distasteful.  They may not like to think that when they give you their hard-earned money, they're supporting your side of XYZ Controversial Issue though you.

Personally, when I'm thinking clearly, I try to avoid learning too much about entertainers I enjoy, because all too often, I don't like what I read.  I don't want to know that they spend every spare moment supporting something I find abhorrent, because then my enjoyment of the music or TV program is tainted-- and sometimes, I'll even refuse to watch a movie simply because the actor's beliefs bother me that much.   Maybe it's the same for a lot of people.  When they say that actors shouldn't get involved in politics, what they're really doing is begging actors not to ruin this good thing they have going.  ("Please?  I really liked you in Edge-of-Your-Seat Action Flick III.  Don't make me regret naming my pet hamster after you, okay?")

Entertainers (including some pro athletes) enjoy special status in our society.  It comes with certain costs-- mostly in the lack of privacy-- but that's part of the deal.  In exchange, they enjoy fame, fortune, and a multitude of perks.  Also, for some reason, when the average person complains about how unfair it is for Mr. Professional or Ms. Big Business Owner or Mr. Banker to have so much more money than he has, he rarely thinks to complain about the "unfair" paychecks of Mr. Actor, Ms. Singer, and Mr. Pro Athlete.  (Aw, you can't begrudge Mr, Sporty-Pants his wealth.  That dude works hard for his money, and you have so much fun watching him play every week!  Besides, he's part of your team.  He's one of the boys.)  It's an enviable position to be in, really.  Why would you entertainers want to jeopardize that cushy charmed life by upsetting your adoring public?

Anyway, complain as they may, no-one's going to stop you from saying whatever you like, so go ahead and have at it!  You'll just have to learn to live with people saying you should keep your opinions to yourself.  It's part of the job-- like the paparazzi.  Hey, you wanted to be famous, right...?

Monday, October 10, 2011

From Out the Silence ;o)

I don't blog here anymore, it seems. 

The weather lately:  
Windows open all the time. 
(Relative) coolness. 
Please don't ever change; I love you just the way you are. 

Our doings: 
The usual.
Transfering content from old website to new one (slowly, surely).
Yard work (weeding, trimming back trees, building another burn pile).
Teaching myself to knit. (M.)
Working on a new DNN (DotNetNuke) project. (D.)

Molly's doings:
Staring doggedly (ha ha) at counter-top (and a plate of leftover sausage).
Watching from the (open) laundry room window as Donald takes his evening run.

Trixie's doings:
Finding dead rat in yard (ew, where'd it come from??).
Carrying dead rat in mouth.
Undergoing de-rat-germ-ifying. 

Good times. ;o)