Thursday, July 26, 2012

...Like George and Weezy

There were, at least to my memory, three black television shows that qualify as old school classics. Yes, I realize this leaves off What's happening? and Different Strokes, but the first really didn't resonate with me and the second was really more of a mixed show than just a black show. And I'm at the age where the Cosbys and the rest aren't old enough to old school. Five more years.

Those old school classics were the The Jeffersons, Sandford and Son and Good Times, in that order. And while Sandford and Good Times explored what it was to black in America in the 70's from what was the more common envisioined perspective assumed by the masses (i.e., struggling), the Jeffersons stood firmly on the other side of the fence. They were the pre-Cosby's, only with a bitter taste in the mouth east NY attitude. And at the center of it all, unabashed and unafraid was George Jefferson played by one Sherman Hemsley.

He wasn't particularly Sidney Poitier suave or Billy Dee handsome. But Sherman Hemsley did something I don't think either of those celebrated men could do: breathe an actual life into what was originally supposed to be an black upmarket Archie Bunker.  But even in an age where you had to go along to get along, even as George Jefferson grasped for next rung up, he realized that there was more to it than success. 

It was the 70's, so Sherman Hemsley played a minstrel to some degree. But he played it from the wrong angle. George was not only a braggadocio, he could back it up. He was the polar opposite of the long maligned image of Stepen Fechit.  George walked out of the tennis club that wanted him for a token member. If getting what he wanted meant meeting not as equals, then he would try another way. Sherman Hemsley's version of George was the next level we all aspired to: Bold, successful and upmarket... at least it was what we wanted before rap music showed up.

It's odd to say it this way. Sherman Hemsley passed. But George Jefferson died. And I hope he's gone on to that dee-luxe apartment in the sky.

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Last Musings on Aurora... (I hope)

This is a political post. 

Let's not make this tragedy political.

This was the spin that immediately emerged from those who looked at the events in Colorado and thought not of the loss of life or the senselessness of it all, but saw the possibility that at the end of it all, something might have to change.  And yet mere hours after it occurred, after they implored those who might suggest change not make it political, we heard the distinct rumblings of their own peccadilloes. From the common refrain "guns don't kill people" to the fanciful idea that if someone else there had been armed it would have, ironically, ended with movie style heroics.

First, one part is correct. Guns don't kill people. Guns are a tool, and tools are useless without users. But to make the argument as one of my conservative FB friends did less than 24 hours after it happened,  that "cars and bats also kill people, but no one stops you from driving to the ball game" mis-characterizes the whole situation.  But this is the misdirection employed by those seeking to enshrine the second amendment? The comparison is unwieldy at best. Cars are regulated out the wahzoo, and you can only drive them in certain areas called roads. And whereas bats aren't has heavily regulated, walking around with one on your shoulder all the time makes the rest of us real nervous.  Guns are tools, but they should be regulated. And regulations here wouldn't infringe upon our right to bear arms, much in the same way that some regulation on free speech and the right to assemble don't infringe upon our constitutional rights to those things. 

But It's the second idea that really scares me. That if someone else had been armed, the shooter could have been stopped sooner and lives would have been saved. This is a fantasy that deserves a dismantling as quickly as possible. Say, the theater held 300 people, and for this exercise... 25 are armed. In the middle of the film a man emerges and first throws tear gas and starts firing. He is heavily armed...and wearing body armor.  Of the 25, let's say 5 realize discretion is the better part of being out gunned and keep their guns in holster. But 20 people pull out weapons. In a now chaotic situation. Surely having terrified people blinded by tear gas in a dark room full of screaming running people waving loaded pistols ready to fire will make things safer! How many of them  would be nerves of steel sharpshooters? If just half of them fire off two shots and miss, how many more people get hit? Especially since now the bullets are coming from more than one direction. And if they hit him, then what? He was wearing as I stated earlier... body armor.  It may have fazed him for a few seconds...but he wasn't about the scamper away. A few of those brave souls, drawing attention to themselves would have gone down. 

And before it starts this situation isn't comparable to the armed man who stopped the robbery in Florida a few days earlier. Those thugs were there to rob and used violence only as a threat in a well lit room. Here, the criminals intent was to kill...nothing more. Threatend, they ran away. Here, we don't know what he might have done. He might have decided to go out in a bigger blaze of glory.

Adding more guns does not necessarily make a situation safer.

We'd all be happy to not politicize this tragedy. That was good advice. Now only if those people who suggested it had listened to themselves.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Moment for Those Lost

"Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."
~ Alfred Pennyworth

It seems oddly ironic that the words of the fictional character in the movie series would be so apt a moment like this. I don't normally address hot topics like this, I prefer to let them simmer in my mind for a while so that I can figure out what I really want to say, but this is not a moment to indulge in that concept. It is tragic what happened in Aurora, Colorado, the loss of life of people who just wanted to hear a story, to escape for a few hours into imagination, and to, again ironically, see good triumph over evil.

I'm going to leave my political points on those issues that arise here, to another post. When reality infringes on imagination, sometimes you need to take a pause and just say a prayer for those hurt and for the families of those lost.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Second Term

This is a political post

I saw something like this on a few micro-blogs I check out from time to time. It looked cool, so I made my own.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

You again?

Ramblings Post #194
We all want attention. But sometimes that attention is the kind that makes the skin crawl or causes those little hairs on the back of your neck to rise. That's a less than good kind of attention. And then there is the kind you can't quite quantify. It's like you're having a party, and you're unsure if you're happy people came, or if it bothers you that they only showed up for the cake. 

Nice Things....Ah...

I get a lot of comments for this blog that immediately get erased. Why? Because first, blogger provides a fairly decent spam filter for tings that are spam and second, if the end of your vague laudatory comment that clearly shows no reading of whatever I posted was actually done there is a bundle of links to handbags or shoes or your site, it's going to be caught by the aforementioned filter. They're currently running rotation working between "love you template", "I got so much information from your site" and "that post was so good." The fake applause is so unsatisfying.

The new popular spambot hot spot is one of my Obama posts that features his name at title. I must get ten comments a day there, all ending with four or five links to whatever the guy running the bot is trying to sell. So they all get swallowed up.  I wonder if its targeted like they do regular commercials.  Interesting fact - you can tell if the television show you're watching considers you its intended audience if the commercials appeal to you. You watching a show and all the commercials are for something you hate? The powers that be have no idea you like it. Now in my case the majority of the links are for high end women's apparel - shoes, handbags, scarves, etc. So this little puppy must be "popular with the ladies."

I know the number of daily comments because for some reason, the comments section updates me every time a comment is left...I think left it set on moderate.... so my phone which gets push email updates me to my "advertising partners" efforts each time. Which gets me all excited that someone is trying to reach me! Maybe even for a job! And then I see it's just another ad push. And I am sad. 

Barkeep, a nice lemonade. Hey, do these spambot hits count towards my total

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

First - Make a plan

Okay, maybe this isn't the best plan. 

I stepped away for a minute, because life comes at you fast. Two months ago I had a plan, and now I'm working on a new plan. Which isn't all that unusual when you think about it. Things happen all the time - you get a flat tire, your date cancels, they are no cheese doodles on the rack, the steak isn't cooked right, your flight is overbooked, and you just deal with it. You make a new plan. That these things aren't completely out of the realm of possibility doesn't make swallowing them any easier. Especially the steak.

Sometimes the new plan is better, sometimes its when you figure out which one the new plan is, you make another new plan. This cycle repeats itself...forever. It's a called life.

Screaming into the electronic darkness. That's what this was when it started. A way to tell my story where it might actually be seen as opposed to random notes on pieces of paper in boxes that will eventually be discarded. My voice...even if nobody ever heard it. Then people starting finding it. People I knew. And at first it was cool. Now I'm not so sure. Semi-anonymous screaming into the darkness is now more like an unlicensed therapy session in front of an improv audience, continually shouting out suggestions.

Not quite what I planned. But then what is?

But you keep moving. Because maybe the storm ends around the next curve. Because sitting still means you remain in the same place, even if there is no storm.  Make a plan. Stick with it. When circumstances change, adapt or die. And I'm not just talking about this meager collection of random thoughts and pearls of occasional brilliance. Occasionally you will need to stand up and go all in, but you got to pick your spots. 

Barkeep. It finally resonates what he meant. "Know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run." Something fruity. Let's mix it up.