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November 22nd , 2016

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- We are the champions! Well, I am the champion! I've been trying to win a Sporcle Live trivia tournament for a year and a half now. My failure for the last year of that has been not being able to actually show up for the final week and secure victory. Last night I finally got to completion. I also managed to do it playing completely by myself for the entire three month run of the tournament, so double achievement unlocked. Of course my family is going to be in town for the state-wide tournament, so that goal gets kicked down the road. Again.

- Hey guys! Twitter is still a fun thing. I promise! There's no hate in my timeline, probably because it's too advanced a social medium for the people of Ohio I grew up with. Last night I got a nice congrats for winning the aforementioned Sporcle tournament:

And you also get to see cool things like this:

Which you should totally go try right now.

- Having fun things to look forward to and anticipate is good mental health advice in the best of times, and when things aren't so hot because your country is about to be led by racists and misogynists, well the distraction aspect ups the value of these 'fun things' to necessary. That's why we are going to see Wicked tomorrow, Hamilton in two weeks and are frantically trying to plan a trip to Montreal over winter break. Go see some theater. Take a mini-vacation. Get tickets to something fun. We have to fight and be vigilant, but we still can have a little fun now and then.

- Speaking of distractions, I want to express my profound thanks to everyone involved with the show Parks and Recreation. I binged the entire series (again) in the week post-election and it not only helped me laugh again but it was the perfect antidote to real life: good people who care coming together, trying to make good government work. Did I say antidote? Maybe I meant blueprint.

- Finally, it's Michigan/Ohio State week. The older I get, the more I become like my dad and gain the ability to take things like losing a football game in stride. This should be seen as a good thing. However, this maturity applies in no way when playing Ohio, and sure as shit doesn't occupy any space in my brain this Saturday. Needless to say it's a big game. Winning would level the playing field between the two schools on the grid iron (Ohio still isn't in the same conversation academically or overall) and this is important to me. My expectations are measured with a backup QB, but this is Michigan/Ohio. I believe in our advantage in the trenches and that it will rule the day. I don't really have any other choice. Hail.

Posted 10:49am
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November 18th, 2016

Rise Up.

I've taken a fair amount of shit over my position on Trump voters in the last week and a half. My reaction to any of the criticisms is 'meh.' If your reaction to Steve Bannon and using the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II as precedent for roundin' up them Muslims is "we need to reach out and work with these people" that's your right. I hope you succeed in changing hearts and minds. But I feel justified in saying 'fuck those guys' because they tacitly endorsed misogyny and racism.

That's not to say I'm going completely negative. I'm not fleeing to Canada and giving up (although mostly because I want to go to French Canada and I'm not yet fluent enough to get in. Yet.) I'm still wrapping my head around what is the best use of my time to help out, but I've decided where my money is going.

- I've set up a monthly donation to Planned Parenthood, because the PEOTUS has bragged about sexual assault and his Veep passed the country's most restrictive anti-abortion laws.

- I've set up a monthly donation to The Trevor Project, because I can only imagine the fear LGBTQ youths in rural areas must be feeling right now.

- I've set up a monthly donation to the NAACP, because the chief strategist of the new White House is a White Nationalist, the PEOTUS has made unabashedly racist statements and hate crimes were up 6.8% last year.

- And I've set up a monthly donation to the ACLU for everything else. I've been a member for over 10 years because their mandate is to defend the civil liberties of all Americans, and Trump just nominated a racist for Attorney General.

I'm not a rich guy, and my donations on their own won't fix anything. But I believe in strength in numbers, and together we are mighty. Let's remind that cheeto dusted, tiny handed bigot that he lost the popular vote by over 1 million.

- I also donated to Foster Campbell. He's in a runoff in a couple weeks in Louisiana and a win would keep the senate 51-49. Read about the hows and whys here and then chip in if you can.

Posted 9:01am
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November 17th, 2016

Fuck Donald Trump.

And fuck everyone who voted for him.

Posted 4:13pm
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November 14th, 2016

All the feels.

I vacillate wildly from anger to sadness these days. I wish I could stop reading about and engaging with the world, but that'd be irresponsible even if I were capable.

Watching a lot of Parks and Rec helps. It's a mindless, funny distraction with a side of nice people working towards good government.

In real life, our President-elect just appointed a racist and misogynist to help him run the country. I have no idea how anyone justifies this as remotely OK.

That's why I consider every person who voted for Trump to be a racist and misogynist. You asked to be led by one, so you're at least willing to look the other way, which implicates you in my book.

This is beating a dead horse, as I've been saying it for months. And I sincerely hope it applies to no one reading this. I have no delusions about my scope of influence or how many readers I have, but I'm so fucking goddamn angry at people's lack of empathy and their short sided solipsism that I need to say it again.

If you voted for Trump, you're a racist and a misogynist. I want nothing to do with you ever again. Don't call. Don't write. I have no need to dress you down should we meet in public, because I'm done arguing with simpletons whose only motivations are their own self interests and hatred of people who are slightly different then their cohort.

Plus, I'm going to be very busy spending my money and wielding whatever influence I have to beat back your hatred, because you are the worst. Toodles.

Posted 4:13pm
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November 11th, 2016

Wormer... dead. Niedermeyer... dead. Leonard Cohen...

As if I wasn't spontaneously crying enough the last couple of days...

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen once referred to himself as a "closet optimist." I think that's why I loved him. The world is a terrible place and you should acknowledge that and even scream about it, as long as you secretly believe deep down it'll get better. Doing that without Leonard around is going to be harder, but he would want you to keep your secret desire.

Posted 2:20pm
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November 9th, 2016

I'm sorry.

I am hurt. I am angry. I am disappointed, disheartened and worried. Both of my parents are dead. This feels like that, the world will be forever harder. I've been through my share of significant breakups. I know the feeling of now what? that sits in your belly full of dread. It's an aimless, meandering panoply of emotions with no place to put them.

Most of all I'm sorry. I want to apologize to the world and everyone in this country who just got fucked. I'm not sure what actions I could have taken to prevent this, but it definitely feels like my fault. I'm a white guy over 40, it's certainly my demographic that did this. For that I am sorry and ashamed.

Of course yesterday I made a big speech imagining what it would be like to have to stand up when it counted. I don't know what standing up now entails, but I'm a feckless asshole if I don't figure it out and make good on my rhetoric. I guess that's where I'm at? Every other time I've felt like this I found a way to keep moving forward. It's hard, but it's all there is.

Posted 10:49am
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November 8th, 2016

Washington. Lincoln. Roosevelt. tbaggervance.

The last 40 years have been a pretty great time to be an American. I personally subscribe to the theory that all things considered, society advances and we are more free and better off that those that came before us, so anyone in their own time can make that claim. With that maxim in mind, and noting that not everything's perfect (by far), we've got it pretty good - thanks to everyone who came before us and worked to make it that way.

My lifetime also has its big "where were you when" moment with 9/11. It could be argued that its the defining moment of a generation, an era. It certainly changed all of our lives. But outside of bloating the government, making airports more unbearable and letting racism be overt and tolerated, it wasn't a call to action. Not for me anyway. I don't want to callously say that terrorism isn't a threat to this country, but I didn't feel that my inaction of not joining a branch of the armed services meant that I hastened our countries rapid descent from being a shining city on a hill.

I've thought about those moments in history a lot lately, largely because of my obsession with Hamilton. What would I have done during the American Revolution or in the years immediately after? What about being 25 in the 1860s? The 1960s? World War II? It's an impossible hypothetical wherein you work backwards to try and justify to yourself that you would have done the "right" thing. To have been part of a historical movement that changed things for the better.

You can probably see where I'm going with this. I'm not remotely arguing that voting for Hillary puts anyone in league with those at the battle of Yorktown or Selma, but for everyone voting today to ensure that Donald Trump never holds public office, yes, you've saved the Republic. Not that we couldn't have done it post hoc had things gone tits up, but doesn't it speak to how lucky we are to be alive right now that we did it without taking up arms? Land of the free and home of the brave indeed.

- Also, here's a youtube playlist I made for you to stream in between results coming in. I promise it's better than a thrill running up Chris Matthews' leg.

Posted 8:54am
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November 2nd, 2016

Guilt by association

"You're known by the company you keep" is something my mother used to say to try and keep me from hanging around kids who had divorced or permissive parents.

When I was a 19 year old deer-in-the-headlights father, my infant son's maternal grandfather told me to cut my hair, lose the earring and dress like an "adult."

I spent a lot of time telling the both of them to fuck right off.

Now that I'm much older, I see their point. I still don't agree at all with their conclusions about my choices, but who you associate with and how you present yourself says a lot about you.

I was wrong about a lot of stuff back then, don't get me wrong. I used language and rhetoric that I now am deeply ashamed of. It's all stuff easily attributed to youth and society at the time, but I can still wince about it, because some of it I knew was wrong as I participated in it, and the rest I could have seen had I sat down and considered it for five minutes.

I eventually got it right. Most of it anyway. I'm still evolving as we all are. I personally like to get there as quickly as possible, for what I think should be obvious reasons to everyone. They clearly are not.

I think the choice you make next Tuesday says a lot about you. You can justify it however you want, but standing with misogyny and racism means you get painted with the same brush, and the best case scenario is years from now you'll feel shame for not sitting down and considering that for five minutes. Or don't. I'm 41 years old and still walk around with the same ridiculous haircut I had when I was 19, maybe I'm the idiot. Just not one who brags about sexual assault.

Posted 11:32am
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October 27th , 2016

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- I love a good boycott. I hate having to keep a list of places in my head that I shouldn't patronize because of their views on this or that, but even if the evidence that they accomplish anything is specious, doing the right thing is its own reward. Even when it's giving up something delicious like Chick-fil-a. When it's something I didn't care for in the first place, like Wal-Mart or Yuengling or someone I know who says Hillary's only success in her life is because of her husband, well good riddance to bad rubbish. Just remember, cutting people out of your life for supporting Trump doesn't just mean individuals. Corporations are people too.

- Election years are rife with lefty protest songs, and 2016 is no different. I personally enjoy both Ted Leo and Aimee Mann's anti-Trump screeds, but don't forget to peruse all of the 30 days, 30 songs project.

- And if you're a lefty activist who can't sing, well then it's your sworn duty to make a get out the vote PSA. Just ask Ben Affleck, Joss Whedon et al , DiCaprio et al, Aziz Ansari, Judd Apatow, Robert Rodriguez, and the CAST OF HAMILTON! Of course that's for us leftys. If you find yourself in a party that rampantly trades in voter suppression, well fuck you. You disgust me.

- Will Ferrell is on an impression nostalgia tour (apparently), using current events to trot out old chestnuts like George W. Bush and Harry Caray. He's still got it.

- Finally, before we exorcise the demons of this seemingly endless election season, we first must purge ourselves of the monkey that is the Michigan State Spartans. Ok, probably an improper use of the collective "we", but I'm going to East Lansing tomorrow to watch a year of collective frustration be unleashed by the Wolverines on a hapless Sparty. It should be more of a foregone conclusion than November 8th. I won't tell you which massive upset would probably hurt more, because it's pointless to talk about things that will never, ever happen. Right?

Posted 10:49am
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October 19th , 2016

O Cananada!

Raise your hand if you are suffering from election fatigue! Me too, and I live for this shit. I've spent far too much time thinking and saying out loud "Ugh. Fuck this country." It's not that we didn't know that racism and misogyny and anti-intellectualism are imbedded into everything we do*, but to have it being openly celebrated by such a large faction of people is disheartening to say the least.

Of course those ideals are setting themselves up for a landslide defeat, but as we've said here before, damage has been done. Hillary could win 40 states, and there will still be a Trump News Network in 2017 and Alex Jones will take the Glen Beck spot for the next 18 months. After we win, there's the aftermath, and that looks like Fox News without their thin veneer of "fair and balanced". Ugh.

But a win is a win even if it's in a fight you never should have been in in the first place. And we're still America. Like (most) every other time before, our diversity and striving to be the better versions of ourselves should rule the day. If you want to be reminded of how good we can be, our neighbors to the North are here with a kind word. Canadians may very well be the better versions of ourselves, and this site makes a great case for it, by reminding us what we're capable of.

*Admittedly, I forget this, or at least how pervasive it is. My little enclave insulates me from the ugliness to a large extent.

Posted 11:28am
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October 7th , 2016

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- Cumberbitches! Wanna know why they cast Mssr. Benedict as Dr. Strange? This is why.

- Vaping is douchey. Yes, I know this. Despite outstanding circumstances, I can still have fun poking at its inherent ridiculousness. Listeners to My Brother My Brother and Me will be happy to see that Which One Vapes? hath become extant reality. Non-listeners can also laugh along playing.

- Hamilton news! Lin-Manuel is hosting SNL tomorrow, and to promote, he returns to Jimmy Fallon's Wheel of Freestyle. It'll put a tingle in your bottom.

- Speaking of Hamilton, the BDGF's littlest gets her xmas present (or rather notification thereof) this weekend.

Why this weekend? Well...

- We're going to Boston! One of my favorite people in the whole wide world has found herself a beau and is getting married this weekend. We figured we could surprise the littlest while viewing some revolutionary heritage, and give her something to talk about to boring adults all weekend. But most importantly, we get to spend time with some of our best friends and celebrate something we are all very excited about. L'chaim!

Posted 10:49am
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