Monday, August 31, 2020

Cats Rule The Internet


I’ve been noticing lately that the number of cats “accidentally” strolling into Zoom calls has skyrocketed.

No doubt this on-purpose accident is to further their agenda.

Once again, cats assert their internet dominance.


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Retreating Into Nostalgia


Trying to do yoga in 2008

I remember the neighbor telling me to enjoy the moment because teenagers can be hell -- don't think she had pandemic, Trump, and on-going protests on her mind at the time. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Support Your Local Anti-Racists


Today I set a personal record and attended two protests. Perhaps this level of involvement is the new normal – I sincerely hope not.

The first was outside the post office in Hillsboro, an action calling for strengthening and supporting the post office so we can have a safe and fair election in November.

The action was sponsored by Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence and was well attended by middle-aged women and senior citizens. Most drivers honked as they passed, showing support, and throwing a wave or two. Only a few Trump supporters drove past.

The next protest was to counter a rally by white nationalist in downtown Portland.

As soon as I arrived the violence started. Water bottles began to be hurled from side to side, with lines like a medieval battle with shield walls and helmeted warriors. I saw a skirmish and saw what looked like a stream of water arc out from the crowd with MAGA hats, black and white American flags, and Blue Lives Matter signs. By the time I figured out what it was, the pepper spray had drifted the twenty yards and my eyes, nose, throat, lungs were on fire.

I immediately retreated to the back to clear my head.

When I returned, the white nationalists were retreating while being heckled by anti-racists with megaphones and a drum corp.

Soon the Portland police became involved, throwing flash-bang grenades and setting up their own lines of defense. They announced that the assembly had become unlawful and those who refused to disperse were in danger of injury or arrest

I followed the drummers up a side street only to encounter a cloud of tear gas. I had not brought a respirator, not believing a protest occurring in the middle of the day would deteriorate to a riot. Live and learn.

I beat a hasty retreat, believing everybody had got what they wanted from the day’s activity.

The Racists carried guns, both long and pistols. Above, a man points a pistol, apparently displeased those assembled did not honor his white privilege. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

85 Nights of Protest


Since the protests began 85 days ago, I have been filled with revolutionary zeal that our system of public safety and law enforcement needed dramatic change. Although this thought is still forefront, the length and ambiguity of night after night of protest is beginning to worry me.

Local Black leaders have called on the most extreme protesters to focus on Black Lives Matter issues and avoid confrontations – to no avail.

I worry that the momentum the activism this summer has brought will be squandered and the public will demand that the police get even more money because it is clear that no matter how awful they are the alternative is worse.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Minor Injury Brings Worry


I enjoy summer. I have activities I like to do. I like the heat, the sweat, the possibilities.

When the middle of August rolls around I am reminded that the clock is ticking and the last hot day, session on the river, bike ride in only Lycra, may be at hand.

I stubbed my toe wading in the river a few days ago – a minor injury – but one so painful it brought a limp to my walk.

I’ve since learned that riding a bike is fine. I suspect the toe will be improved in a few days and I just need to chill out.

Considering the mayhem of recent weeks/months, I count my blessings and am grateful for having been able to get outside a bit.

I’m going to ice the toe down and figure I’ll tape it up in a few days if the wind blows strong.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Anti-establishment Becoming Establishment

Scary to think what happens outside of the 10-foot perimeter. 

 Today is the 79th day of protests in Portland. Every night and most days since May 28th have seen some sort of Black Lives Matter gathering.

Humans, being adaptive creatures, can get used to just about anything, even a civic culture of tear gas and clashes with police. This tendency to adapt explains why we slowly became acculturated to a militarized police force and ignored police violence against minorities.

Now the public is getting accustomed to on-going protest and the counter-culture is becoming mainstream, so the snark is starting in earnest.

The pizzeria gets in on the action.

Monday, August 10, 2020

This Is What New Parents Looked Like in 2003


Protest Bread


New Seasons Raleigh Hills bakery
New Seasons Raleigh Hills bakery

From Wikipedia:

In The Conquest of Bread, Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) points out what he considers to be the defects of the economic systems of feudalism and capitalism and why he believes they thrive on and maintain poverty and scarcity. He goes on to propose a more decentralized economic system based on mutual aid and voluntary cooperation, asserting that the tendencies for this kind of organization already exist, both in evolution and in human society.

The Conquest of Bread has become a classic of political anarchist literature. It was heavily influential on both the Spanish Civil War and the Occupy movement.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Quaint Stereo

In high school and college, I liked music. Loud.

I had big speakers, which may or may not have produced good fidelity. But they were able to play music at a high volume.

Parts of that initial stereo accompanied me to foreign sojourns, and back again to the States. When we bought our first home in 2002, I still had the idea that a big stereo would soon grace our abode. In the meantime, I used my ancient receiver and a small, cheap pair of speakers.

We bought another house in 2006, this one had a fancy sound system left in it. Double cassette deck, turntable CD player, amplifier, pre-amplifier, audiophile speakers, and a switching box to port the sound over wires to different parts of the house.

As the years wore on each component broke in turn. In 2011 I tried to repair the speakers and amplifier, getting rid of the cassette deck and CD player. By this time, I was plugging various devices into the amplifier to play music that was stored in electronic formats.

A few years later the speakers, with their beautiful cabinetry, were stands for drinks and a Bluetooth speaker, which sounded really good playing my music stored in the cloud. I admit my ear isn’t sensitive to the nuances of recorded music, the convenience of the set-up outweighing any devotion to puritanical snobbery.

All the wires and speakers in the house, and other stereo gear, became just anthropological oddities.

I listen to music almost daily when I work at my desktop computer, a small sound bar fills the room just fine with music that has enough fidelity for my tin ear.

And on those days when I want to wake the household with some inspiration, it gets loud enough. 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

1991 Revisited

I was looking through a scrapbook (blogging wasn't a thing in 1991) and found a few pictures from the protests President George H.W. Bush caused when he came to Portland to help local Republicans fundraise.

He received a villain's welcome for his waging the Gulf War, failing to address the AIDS epidemic, and for his pro-life stance, among other things. 

I was only visiting the town but I caught some of the protests. A few daytime protests with puppets and street theater seem tepid when compared to our 24/7 hard stance which has lasted over 60 days.

But perhaps things weren't as bad as they are now.