This blog is dying.
It’s an odd feeling, not having much to say on paper anymore. I have been writing, for better or worse, for over 30 years. Along with music, it is my way of expressing myself because I’m not very good at that in person. I have to wait for thoughts to coagulate into something that I want to put into the world. What I have realized is that I’m a nervous wreck and people freak me out. It’s no way to live, but I am probably stuck with this social paralysis and awkward thinking patterns.
I look over my old writing and I love some of the more passionate work I have done. I did some decent political commentary. Plenty of duds, though. I do hope that this pause in writing is merely writer’s block and not me clamming up for fear that I may say something clumsy. If I can’t do this anymore, how will I communicate effectively? That’s a scary thought.
It’s also just hard to maintain a blog in general. The form has been dead for years. I keep telling myself that I will get back to reading the ones on my ‘roll for commentary, but I cannot seem to get away from social media. I don’t know what the fuck my problem is, but I am probably not alone. I bought a print newspaper subscription to decrease my screen time, but I don’t make it past the op-eds and I don’t give a damn about sports so it’s very nearly a waste of time as social media breaks news at lightning speed…and I guess that is the reason I can’t disengage. Maybe it’s a peculiarly American way of behaving-demanding quickness and convenience. I get my fix easily. However, that all means I feel completely beaten to the punch and before I know it the next story is a click away and I’ve probably moved on from a thread that I should have had a few words to drop about it. I think one of my problems is that I want to have a lot to say about an issue and that’s just not how communication works in the main anymore. Far easier to just drop fifty words on a tweet than search for the meat and potatoes that makes a blog post something people want to see more of. That word counter in the corner there is a harsh master; if I can’t string at least 400 words together that is indicative of a problem.
I can’t help but think my current psychological state is not serving me well. I’m withdrawing from everything that has something to do with other people. I’m almost grateful for COVID because it gives me an excuse to avoid people. Age has weighed heavy on me. Music I used to enjoy now annoys me. I hit periods of hopelessness when everything going on in my inner circle is fine. I don’t know what other medicine I could take to unlock me because I’m on a decent antipsychotic drug that keeps me not nuts and I can’t seem to get the VA to come off further for some much needed anxiety medication.
Many problems. It’s all interrupting my flow.
Being retired is still hard work. Oh, maybe it’s better than a lot of jobs but I have too much time to think myself into a hole. I suppose all this is not my fault; the loss of external stimuli has left me a little empty inside. I just don’t have a lot to say about anything. However, experience says I will be back. Things are cyclical and as my wife says, this too shall pass.
It looks like my days as a writer are coming to an end, if this journal is any indication. Gone are the days when I used to come here three times a day to get something off my chest. Now I go a month without writing. Social media has rendered blogging extraneous, but that’s a lame excuse to stop. The good news is that I am trying to expand my knowledge of the guitar, because even at my amateur level ( I know no theory, or keys, or technique) there are moments where I transcend, hitting that spot where noise becomes an actual expression of feelings.
I must force myself to do this, this writing thing. That’s unfortunate, because now and then I am good at it. My primary target online has been one Donald J. Trump, who is currently “leading” this country via his smartphone. I don’t know how we put ourselves in this situation. Everyone with an intact prefrontal cortex is trying to figure out how we collectively found the absolute stupidest person we have ever run across on this bluegreen ball and made him president. H.L. Mencken knew we were going to do this almost 100 years ago, and oil magnate turned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reported from the field that he could confirm that we had done such.
I tire of the Trump saga. The ending is long overdue, and thanks to the chickenshit lassitude of Congress it will come far later than it ought to. There’s even a possible (some would even say probable given the credulousness of half of the voting population coupled with the infighting on the left) future that Trump will get another term. Lately, I just watch scandal after scandal drift by without bothering much to tarry upon them because no one in power wants to do anything about it. Eventually, Robert Mueller will pull the string that either gets him fired or gets Trump indicted. Wake me when that happens. I will march with you for sure.
Sometimes I think I should switch focus and begin to write about my struggles with bipolar disorder. Lord knows that this blog was born in the ashes of a very manic phoenix. I still keep my rants, as embarrassing as they are. They’re part and parcel of me, for better or for worse. Thanks to the VA and a pair of dedicated doctors, I’m coping and if you talked to me today you would have no idea that I lost my mind and got locked up in a loony bin. I have no career despite a four year degree, due to the severity of my illness. Now and then I think that unfortunate, but if I look back, in every job I have ever had I have always managed to disclose that I am not well by my actions or words. I was either the court jester or woefully incompetent at a job, often a mix of the two. Just what every functioning business needs. The Army was a strange but necessary choice for me because I never saw a bridge I didn’t want to burn. I am very lucky to have spent nine years in uniform, because I would never have been diagnosed as chronically ill were it not for the free and comprehensive healthcare I received during my hitches.
Bellyaching is customary in the service, so it’s no surprise to me when I hear soldiers or ex-soldiers criticize the armed service healthcare system. And it’s gotten political. Predictably, the conservatives are itching to fix the problem by introducing the profit motive, as if that ever helped anything. You don’t leave medical care to the lowest bidder, doubly so for the people who volunteer to get shot at for a living instead of you. The reality is that we broke a lot of soldiers in our recent history, and we need more hospitals and more doctors who study things like TBIs and PTSD. We could have improved the veteran infrastructure and a half a dozen other things by upping taxes on the absurdly rich at some point, who, like it or not, are really who our soldiers fight for so you can just zip it right now about us fighting for freedom. But nooo, we had to have tax cuts because Americans are really bad at looking out for each other and knowing where their bread is buttered (or knowing anything worth knowing, as seems to increasingly be the case thanks to a thriving misinformation industry). Anyway, it’s best for everyone that I am home, tending to the house while the wife toils in the insurance business. She’s going back to school at 40 to get her degree so she has more choices. No one winds up in insurance because they like it, unless you are at the top of the food chain selling policies and getting 5 digit commissions. You generally have to have a dick to get that job. So best for her that she gets out before she goes gray.
After a decade of treatment, we are still trying to hit the right pharmaceutical formula to help me be the best me. I guess it’s something I could expound upon that may be interesting to other sufferers of bipolar disorder and anxiety. Maybe I’ll fuck with that. I might also do music reviews of old music because that’s what I buy as a cranky old person-I used to enjoy a little rock journalism. There’s some other, darker stuff on my mind I’d like to get out, but it will take thousands more words to say it correctly and I’ve hit a thousand already talking about what I’m going to be talking about or not talking about. How exciting for you. I hope I screw up the courage and the will to use this thing again and try something.
Regular lurkers here know that I came out against calling things “fake news”.
But he and others have used a bit of rhetorical jiu-jitsu and now “fake news” is news you don’t want to hear or simply do not believe- even if it is true. It’s become one of Twitler’s favorite smears against news organizations who are up his ass. So I’ve decided I’m not going to play this game of what’s “fake” and what’s not and just discontinue use of the phrase anymore.
Now, I also said I wasn’t going to take a swing at a specific left-leaning news site because I am ideologically aligned with them, but I’m about to renege on that. I said that because I think some of the emerging farm team writers generate good content. The best political bloggers of the golden age of the ‘sphere got paying gigs long ago, leaving the medium dormant. Only pikers like me use personal desktop publishing to talk politics anymore. In its place today, we are seeing this second generation of political journalism that is being made possible by social media. These new farm team sites can pop up and piggyback upon each other and proliferate news and opinion on Facebook, where there are opportunities to grab the grail of websites-the click. Money and notoriety can follow.
This has caused, to put it lightly, problems.
When a click is all you are looking for, it’s very tempting to sensationalize your headline in order to get the most eyeballs. People are hungry for breaking news and exclusivity, and if there isn’t any of that around, some sites will simply create it. This is not “fake news” per se. It is merely misleading flotsam. And I think it’s just as pernicious as making things up out of whole cloth.
You’re blacking the eye of left-wing journalism, nay, journalism in general when you write a screaming headline that has the slimmest tangential relationship to the article you are writing.
I had to unfollow, unlike and de-link one of these sites today. Here’s the tease that caught my eye, from yesterday:
All 8 Supreme Court Justices Come Out Against Trump’s SCOTUS Pick
Oboy, the Court is appalled by the machinations of Mitch McConnell to get Neil Gorsuch on the bench at any cost and they are speaking out! Yay!
What’s this? The fucking source material is THREE WEEKS OLD! It’s nothing but a retelling of the fucking story of the Court unanimously overruling an opinion written by Gorsuch. I fucking know about that! Fuck! Fuck this fucking site!
Can you relate?
You’re lying if you say you can’t. We have all been taken in by a site that preys on our emotions, imaginations and desires to desperately see something be true. The only truth is they got your click- and these manipulative motherscratchers didn’t worry about how they did it.
So, I have a job to do today. I’ve got to have a reckoning here and on Facebook and separate out the hyped-up chaff that is doing no one any good. As I said, there are some that do decent second tier work, but some are profiting off credulity in an irresponsible, unethical manner. We are living in an age when the outrageous is a possibility, and it’s getting harder to tell truth and nonsense apart because they look the same. So check and re-check before you give these fly-by-night operations more ad revenue.
Very few people come to see me, unless Tucker Carlson is being an asshole. Which, I suppose suits me just fine. I often write because I have to. Most people who have written, paid or unpaid, know how this feels. Especially when you also have a mental disorder that won’t allow you to let go of something when it makes your brain cry.
Facebook has fucked my shit up, as far as the writing gig goes. I spend more posting articles and composing one-liners about things that get caught in the filter than doing any kind of “work” that I can be proud of the first 20 times I read it back to myself. My output during the campaigns of ’16 was much higher than it is now. Hell, I used to sound off three times a day.
Now, the work comes slower. I poke my head up maybe once every two weeks. It takes several days to finish a post. That’s probably OK-at least I know when I am hitting a wall instead of heedlessly blasting through it like in the good old days of steadily losing my mind. Ideas need to age sometimes before they are ready. But it’s not good for a blog to sit quiet for two weeks, either. Constant output is the linchpin of a successful blog. But I have to be honest and know that that’s not what this is. This is a vanity project, even as I attempt to snag a few more eyeballs by uploading to Facebook. It’s for me, ultimately.
Alright. Enough of that, let’s talk about what is pissing me the fuck off today.
It’s really past time that we stopped believing that Donald Trump is an intelligent creature. I tried to tell you this a month ago. But it is still very fashionable, and I assume profitable, to opine that Donald Trump knows what he is doing.
Last night, Rachel Maddow got hold of the first page of his 2005 tax returns.
For something that no one is interested in, it sure made everyone perk the fuck up. It upset the White House enough that when they were asked to verify, they tried to get in front of the story by scooping Maddow, claiming vehemently that what she had was illegally obtained and illegal to publish and that she was desperate for ratings.
These three things are not true. Typical Trump bluster, no facts and petty insults. That’s what Donald Trump does. He’s been doing it ever since he discovered Twitter.
Now, what we all saw was in itself, well…not much. I think we all expected Rachel to be shaking up a martini while chortling over a giant pile of paper that was going to finally bring this White House crashing back to earth. What we saw instead was the front and back of an 11 year old return, which as all you taxpayers know, does not say a whole lot. Concretely speaking, it said Donald Trump paid his taxes in 2005, at the appropriate rates dictated by the AMT law.
The media discussion spun in two general ways after the leak:
- Donald Trump leaked them himself. He did that in order to divert attention from Russia, the wiretap frenzy and the healthcare bill (the investigative journalist who was given the documents admitted that Trump could be the leaker).
- The fact that these documents are in the press’ hands suggests there’s more that can be leaked and that the existence of the leak asks more questions than it answers. It rekindles the debate about why, if these numbers are so innocuous, is Donald Trump so desperate for no one to see them?
It is for those of you who believe in #1 that I write today.
Shut the fuck up.
Just stop slurping all over Donald Trump’s balls giving him credit for being clever. It’s embarrassing.
Have any of you noticed how he governs? He’s a total screwup. Everything he authors or endorses turns to shit. His own advisors and appointees are wondering what his damage is. The only reason Donald Trump is overturning regulations is because the president who he will ultimately be compared to authored them.
Perhaps you should consider his online presence. Donald Trump doesn’t know how to goddamned spell and may only have about 75 words in his vocabulary, the lion’s share of which are inappropriate superlatives and the word “sad” (but he’s “got a good brain”).
If he keeps up at this rate of um, “winning”, he will be what he and other Republicans so badly wanted Barack Obama to be- a failure.
We are not dealing with “crazy like a fox”. We are talking about “dumb like a mailbox post”.
I think what has happened here is that Maddow’s reveal was so superficial (in scope and content), it sent people running for a narrative because we ate some empty TV calories. The AV Club is half-right-this leak would have looked better on the internet than on an hour long show. I can see how tempting it is to search for someone or some entity that manipulated the currently red-hot Maddow into purportedly showing what a good citizen Donald Trump was in 2005. But again, that tale is a poor substitute for what the tax return reveal could not tell. The return ultimately generates yet more questions and I get that we want some damn answers-but we are burning the messenger. It may sound counterintuitive right now, but Maddow has shown that Trump’s hand can be forced-and that he is still highly vulnerable and cannot possibly keep the secrets he is trying so desperately to keep.
Even if I am shown to be wrong-that indeed it was the fabled cunning of the wily trickster Trump once again making us look away from what his hands are really doing-then it will be full scale war between the press and Donald Trump. There’s already insurrection as it is- a cheap stunt like the one some in the media are positing that so blatantly tries to discredit one of their own will be looked at as an attack on all of them, because no organization whose job is to tell the truth is going to truck for long with anyone that sleazy.
It’s Sunday. I’m kind of tired. Go read Why Evolution Is True instead of here. He addresses the creationist “you weren’t there so how can you say it happened” claptrap regarding the distant past. I took a stab at it, but WEIT found the words I was lacking. A small sample:
None of us were there during the American Revolution either, or when Julius Caesar was assassinated. Reader George probably never met his great-grandparents. How can he prove they existed? The same way we find evidence of any past event! If science relied only on things we could see happen in our lifetimes, we would be immensely less knowledgeable.
Science 1, God 0.
Alternately, you can check out what’s on my mental jukebox.
I’d like to take a moment to thank the three regular readers that I have, and the 19 people who are crazy enough that they thought it would be a good idea to put me in their inbox. Since I restarted in January of this year, I have been seen about 300 times. That’s only 10% of what I used to get when I was going out of my mind, but it’s a good start. I have had over 125 unique visitors. And the year isn’t over yet!
This will and will ever be your one-stop shop for the unbelievable from the believers. Thank you for taking even a minute to see me.
You may have taken a peek into my archives in 2011 while you were here. This blog was a conduit for all of my rage and mania. Looking back, some of it was interesting but it was mostly babble from a fevered brain. It’s almost embarrassing, but there it is. I’m leaving it, in case you want to see what bipolar disorder can make a person do.
Now I present the absurd, the stupid and the hopelessness that is infecting our government and our society to you. I hope I am doing an acceptable job.
I take new pills to write. But I wonder if I am in a funk, a major depressive streak, because I have CRS syndrome. And when I speak, I can’t put together a sentence correctly. My communication skills are in crisis. The only place I can function well is at this keyboard. Thinking is a chore.
When you’re depressed, it is easy to doubt your abilities. So self-reported “fuzzy thinking” during bouts of depression is treated with suspicion. However, a new study suggests the description is accurate, concentration and decision making really are affected by mood disorders.
The results demonstrated that depression does not necessarily interfere with snap decision making, but it can. The controls were, on average, both more accurate and faster in responding than either of the groups with mood disorders.
The right posterior parietal cortex is considered important in the brain’s executive decision making However, rather than both disorders showing a similar effect, the control group’s level of activation in the region fell was below those with MDD and higher than those with bipolar disorder, suggesting that either too much, or too little activation can interfere with responses.
It’s already well-known that sufferers of bipolar disorder have different brains than a normal person. It’s good to see that science is studying the “down” fugues that bipolars experience. So excuse your bipolar if you have one. He or she is terrified that this is happening to them.
I’m gonna send you to His Rudeness today. Title:
Shut the Fuck Up and Support Hillary: A Message of Blind Hope
Correct. Get in line, morons.
It seems that I have stabilized.
Feel free to have a look at what I was up to in the fateful year of 2011. I was having a nervous breakdown and on a wild manic spree. It’s unfortunate…all that writing, and none of it was sane. It makes me nervous to carry on, especially since there is virtually no point in writing a political-themed blog in 2015 because all the really good bloggers are now writing for bigger online enterprises. But I guess that’s not my worry. What I should worry about is whether I enjoy it. And I do. Every story leads me to new information. I need not fret about who looks at it or more specifically, who doesn’t. So I’ve cleaned a little house, taken away some of the obvious crazy stuff off the front page, and put in a new theme, which may be temporary. It’s a bit brighter in general, the links are easier to see. It makes me happy, for now. I shall try to stay that way. I am a moonbat, so many will say I am still writing gibberish. Part of me agrees with you. But I’ve been writing for 25 years now for fun. Some people do Sudoku. Some people like to doodle. This is what I do.