By request, one of those Facebook memes about high school. “Think about your SENIOR year in High School…if you can remember that long ago!! The longer ago it was, the more fun the answers will be! It only takes 5 minutes, do it!!!” Or don’t. I’m not all that invested.
Incidentally, one of my friends suggested that people ought not to participate in such memes. Nefarious folks might use your information to figure out your password. I think this is a legitimate concern. So for all you bad actors out there: the password for everything I use is Binghamton37. So now you don’t have to look for it. You’re welcome.
1. Did you know your current love? Well, no. 2. Type of car? No idea. I don’t even know what my parents were driving at the time. I have no automotive memory. 3. What kind of job did you have? At some point, I was a page at the local library for seven months. 4. Where did you live? Binghamton, NY, the Parlor City. 5. Were you popular? I suppose so. I was elected president of the student government. But I was never a class notable. I was popular enough among the antiwar crowd, and the music/theater people, I guess.
Thomas J. Clune, choir director
6. Were you in choir or band? Choir and male glee club! I loved glee club. And there are choir songs I can still recall. 7. Ever get suspended? Not exactly. It was more of a severe dressing down. 8. If you could, would you go back? Oh, God, no. 9. Still talk to the person that you went to prom with? Yes, at least once a year. 10. Did you skip school? Not unless it was to go to an antiwar demonstration.
11. Go to all the football games? Some of the home games. 12. Favorite subject? History. It had been math before that year. Intro to Calculus confounded me. 13. Do you still have your yearbook? Yes, though I never got a senior picture. 14. Did you follow your career path? I thought I’d be a lawyer, so no. 15. Do you still have your high school ring? Never bought one.
16. Who was your favorite teacher? Helen Foley, public speaking and theater maven, and mentor to Rod Serling. 17. What was your favorite style? Nerd, before it was cool. 18. Favorite Shoes? Chuck Taylors. Don’t know that I could wear them to school, though. 19. Favorite food? Lasagna. 20. Favorite band? By the time I graduated, the Beatles had broken up and Diana Ross had left the Supremes. Maybe The Rascals?
21. High school hairstyle? I never could do a ‘fro. 22. What favorite perfume? n/a 23. How old when you graduated? I was 17, going on 18. 24. Who do you think will play along and fill this out? I don’t even ask. 25. What high school did you attend? Binghamton Central, which hasn’t existed as an entity since 1982.
On Facebook last week, I made a request. What are things we learned from djt and his last four or five years in public life?
One couple has downloaded the Constitution, referring to it often for the past 4 years. Another has learned more about the document, “in particular the 12th amendment. But also the 13th and the 25th.”
Of course, I knew about the Electoral College, but prior to the 2020 presidential election, I’d thought of the post-Election Day aspects of it as often as I’ve considered gravity. The recent machinations on December 14 and January 6 are like the wedding guests storming the officiant’s office demanding to see the couple’s license.
A friend chimed in: “The legal meanings of the word treason and what distinguishes it from sedition; and the federal statutes regarding both. How martial law works.
Also, “the structure of the United States District Courts; how and the meaning of SALT (in addition to Strategic Arms Limitation Talks).” Are you referring to that Angelina Jolie movie?
My buddy Steve noted: “The difference between simple corruption and an actual impeachable offense.” I thought when he was impeached they should have gone after him over the emoluments clause.
A friend suggests “There are innumerable norms that have provided guidelines for presidential behavior.” That’s irrefutably true. Will the other members accept djt into the former prez club? Doubtful. It got me thinking of the fact that I can’t remember half the people in his Cabinet.
A parent noted “The names of dictators around the world, as well as names of responsible world leaders.” Yow, me too, and I hadn’t thought about it. Their child wants to know whether “there is any better leadership anywhere in the world, especially related to COVID and climate change.”
“Inherently good people can become mean and vindictive when pushed to their limits. Let’s hope that’s just a temporary condition and they can heal.” Unfortunately, the “good” and “temporary” nature I’m just not feeling.
The January 6 insurrection one can trace to a time before djt. In the last four years, it runs from Charlottesville (2017) to the planned kidnapping of the Michigan governor (2020) and beyond.
Some other responses: Our democracy is fragile The danger executive orders pose for human/civil rights. Methods a political party uses to suppress the vote of American citizens. The “loving thy neighbor” commandment is frustrating and confusing. I knew that already but nothing brought it home as these four years have.
What “deplorables” can accomplish when they work together and by extension what any group can accomplish when they work together. Some people are happily embracing their prejudices, and that empathy is a quality to be embraced. Misogyny is our biggest problem. The majority of folks would rather have a racist president than a woman President. There are more bigots and haters than I could ever imagine. And it makes me sick
Our culture is suicidal. There are no checks and balances in our government. The process of the transition of the president on inauguration day. How is it that nearly one-half of the country could support after living through 4 years of narcissism, bigotry, and daily lying?
[“I learned…”] Not everyone who lives in America loves America and respects the Constitution. The symptoms of malignant narcissism. How easily we could go from a democracy to an autocracy. That I could really hate someone with every fiber of my being.
Someone I do not know says, “Anyone saying Trump didn’t do a good job as President is full of Fake News BS…Pelosi is promoting sedition and Treason…this Congress is a Malcontent Group of vindictive people…Hillary Lost…period…now listening to PBS. I’m beginning to think the Durham Durham investigations have found out WASHINGTON is Corruption…and the best way to avoid exposure is for the Corruption to Cheat and Lie. Shame on Congress…”
If you’ve read my blog over the past quadrennial, you’ll note that I have a different POV. I will give him credit for two things, though. The First Steps Act. “The act was… an effort to improve criminal justice outcomes, as well as to reduce the size of the federal prison population…”
The other is to pour money into getting a COVID vaccine. Unfortunately, he totally undercut that effort by denying the pandemic’s seriousness, contradicting CDC guidelines on mask-wearing, failing to provide any federal coordination for PPE acquisition, and holding superspreader events, among other failures.
There was a bit of dialogue: “I have learned is how effective ‘The Big Lie’ technique can be.” “A man said the bigger the lie, the more people believe it because a big lie has the quality of being unbelievable, therefore people don’t believe that someone would make it up. So they believe it’s true.” “If everyone believes it then it must be true. I have been debating the election fraud story with believers of it. I have shown and proved how everything they believe is not factual but even then, they won’t admit to the lie or acknowledge even a part of the truth.”
And in fact, part of that quote is attributed to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. It probably wasn’t him, though he is cited on millions of webpages.
Conversely, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” That’s a quote by Maya Angelou.
Back in August of 2020, he said, “The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.”‘ He was announcing his strategy for undermining the election, attacking the postal service, et al. That was the birth of the series of baseless post-vote challenges.
In the midst of a 2020 election debated, he made a statement to the Proud Boys. “Stand back and stand by.” That dog whistle was blown just a few months later. Afterward, he tells the insurrectionists, “We love you. You’re very special. Go home.” How sweet.
Though I was not looking for it, I came across messages of people trying to explain white privilege and why All Lives Matter sucks. One thread started with a friend of mine, a woman of color, reporting about a conversation she had.
My friend: “I don’t see color when I look at you, I don’t see color when I look at anyone.” An actual quote from someone I was speaking to yesterday. But I’ve heard this my entire life. As has every person of color. If you’re guilty of saying this to us – stop it.
Color is a part of an individual. Saying you don’t see it is to deny the beauty in which we are all made. Also – claiming to not see color serves as a justification for the stance that people of color aren’t mistreated. And further allows for the normalization of inequality. See where this is going?
Be educated about the experiences of people of color. Ask questions. See color. Embrace it. It’s beautiful.
Me: OMG, all my damn life. I’ve never done it, but I’ve been sorely tempted to walk up to a white person and say, “I don’t see color when I look at you.” And it’s almost always well-meaning people.
A friend of hers: Your friend is far from woke. But I also have heard people say it as a way to spiritually bypass racism. Including the statement, we are one… I don’t see color… the list goes on and on.
“Be color brave”
Another friend of hers: Growing up I was taught in school, society and my parents NOT to see color. To treat everyone equally. I don’t think it was malicious but what people thought was best at the time. Now being a teacher in the DOE they have made the conscious effort to train staff to SEE color, appreciate the difference and struggles that come with it. They say “be color brave, not color blind”. It will take time to ‘retrain’ but to me, it’s a start.
Some of the links that were shared included these:
Jimmy Kimmel Addresses His Own White Privilege: “To me, white privilege was what Donald Trump had – a wealthy father and a silver spoon in his mouth. It wasn’t what I grew up with. So, I rejected it because I didn’t understand what white privilege meant. But I think I do now. I think I at least understand some of it and here’s what I think it is. People who are white – we don’t have to deal with negative assumptions being made about us – based on the color of our skin. It rarely happens. If ever. Whereas black people experience that every day.”
In another conversation:
Imagine your house was on fire and when the fire truck came they began spraying water on each house on your street. Because all houses matter, right? But only one of them is on fire.
Or the Jesus variation about having 100 sheep, one is lost, so he leaves the 99 to find it. Doesn’t he care about the 99? Of course, he does.
One of my pastors subsequently posted another great Biblical one:
The father was waiting there with a sign #ProdigalSonsMatter
When the older son saw it, he was angry, wouldn’t attend the party, and moped around with his own sign: #AllSonsMatter
Father: “Dude, It isn’t about you right now.”
Yet despite the efforts of a couple women, one guy kept insisting “ALL lives matter to me as a Christian.”
When I was talking to a librarian friend of mine recently, it occurred to me that embracing the technology is often a cost/benefit analysis. So I’ve been pondering my adoption, re-adoption, or rejection of the same in the calendar year 2020.
Zoom/Skype/Google Hangouts: I had Skype over a decade ago. I didn’t use it much, didn’t like it. But since March 15, 2020, I must have used one of them at least four dozen times. BTW, EVERYTHING in the cartoon above I have witnessed.
Facebook: I have no idea how I receive the items I see first in my feed. Lately, I’ve found it necessary to delete people, almost always friends of friends. Actually, I like to keep people I know and disagree with so that I don’t get caught up with too much confirmation bias. I tend to retain the ones I know IRL. But stupid stuff, usually with misspelled graphics, not so much.
Twitter: I still don’t “get” Twitter. My blog posts go there daily, but that’s it.
Cellphone: I eschewed getting one at all for years. Then when I did, it was a dumb phone. I finally yielded and got a smartphone when I lost my flip phone a few years back. But because I often misplace it AND the battery drains too easily, it was often off. And I wasn’t going anywhere anyway.
Necessity is a real mother
That changed, not because of the COVID-19 but because of my father-in-law’s illness. My brothers-in-law and their wives were discussing issues via text. I wasn’t on the chain, because they didn’t have my number. I learned to have the phone on, and charged, regularly. My wife had a phone from the Pleistocene period, so she traded in her phone this calendar year. The kicker is that while I would receive the group texts, my wife would not. She could get individual texts, though. We don’t understand the issue.
Here’s a problem with being behind the curve. When getting instructions from the manual, or from other people, they operate on the assumption you’re just upgrading. The truth is more prosaic. I HAVE NO IDEA how to fix these things. Fortunately, I have a teenager. Still, I’m going to get ANOTHER phone for me, because the memory is so poor, and because I can seldom see images people text to me.
What’s App?: When I went to a conference in Indiana with kids from my church and others from the presbytery last summer, it was decided that we’d use What’s App. to communicate on the huge Purdue campus. On my phone, at least, it operated slowly, and occasionally not at all. So…
Why do I need this?
Venmo: When I needed to download the Venmo app, I had to dump What’s App and two others. And why did I NEED Venmo? Because the teachers at her school use it. They collected money back in March because they thought a couple of non-teaching staff were going to get laid off. As it turns out, they weren’t. Meanwhile, a couple of teachers are retiring at the end of the semester.
So we (I) had to get the money from Vera, who had collected the first $30 and then transfer it to Chuck, who was collecting for the retirement gift. This took about three hours, my phone is so wonky. Now why Vera couldn’t have sent the money to Chuck, keeping us out of it, I don’t know. Venmo is a sister company to PayPal, which I’ve had for years.
eBay: I’ve had it for years, but seldom use it. I wanted to get cards for our SORRY game. I could have bought a new game, but the rules in Fire and Ice are very different. i figured out my password and got new cards for $5 plus nearly as much for postage. But it’s good. We use them.
Instagram: Even my daughter couldn’t help me with this.
When your blog provider says upgrade
I got this message recently: “Debian and Ubuntu are operating systems that power a huge chunk of DreamHost. And, like any operating systems, they receive regular updates to fix bugs, improve stability, and add features. We will be upgrading your Virtual Private Server from version 14.04 (also known as trusty) to Debian 9.12 (aka Stretch!)”
OK! I have no idea what that means.
Date of upgrade: Tuesday, June 9th
Maintenance Window: 8:00pm-10:00pm Pacific Time
Expected downtime: 5 minutes
You may notice that your sites become unreachable for about 5 minutes while we perform the upgrade. Don’t worry – this is normal!
And I was working on the blog RIGHT AT THAT TIME, losing a bit of work. But it’s all good now.
Daydream – the Lovin’ Spoonful. I got this album on the Kama Sutra label from the Capitol Record Club because I didn’t send the card back in time. And a good thing, too, because I LOVE this album. It’s Not Time Now – I took this as a conversation among Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, and Jerry Brown fighting for the 1980 democratic nomination for President. Brown: “I can’t seem to get a word in edgewise anyhow.” Jug Band Music. Full album.
East-West – The Butterfield Blues Band. Another cutout, and an outstanding find. Mary, Mary – a Mike Nesmith song that the Monkees were criticized for recording in some circles! Work Song. Full album.
Fresh Cream– Cream. Probably a cutout. Our 7th-grade history teacher, Mr. Stone, referred to the group as The Cream. My friend Karen quickly corrected him. I Feel Free, #116 in 1967, not on the UK album. N.S.U., B-side of I Feel Free. Full US album.