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September 25th, 2018

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

- I'm on a constant lookout for TV to watch. I like to have something on in the background so I burn through things pretty quickly. I've been through Netflix and Amazon and pretty much everything on network TV. So if anyone else is into obscure gems, may I suggest the Canadian redneck comedy series Letterkenny. First two seasons are on Hulu now, so you don't even have to drive to Saskatoon to see it anymore. Pitter patter, let's get at 'er.

- This unfinished tumor is still attached to the back of our house. For anyone considering renovating a significant portion of their domicile, may I suggest you just move instead? I'm relatively happy about this at the moment because after weeks (WEEKS!) of inactivity, we've had people around hammering and sawing and making progress as of late. Not much in the way of visual, I can see it coming together progress, but progress nonetheless. The bar for this thing making me happy is on the floor, so it doesn't take much.

- If you haven't been following that on the insta, I also painted a mural for the BDGF's classroom, officially served 20 years at the U and purchased our very own seat at the Michigan theater. I'm told we can't control who sits in it, though seems like we should given what we paid for it.

- Sure seems like the entire world is giant, inescapable tire fire most days. And I of course never want to diminish the tenacity and diligence it will take by each and every one of us to fix it, or at least get back to a point where every god damn day isn't an embarrassment. It's National Voter Registration Day, so get out there and figure it out. You should know that it's fixable, because a.) we are the majority and b.) the rest of the world is with us. Remember that if we get things right in November, it'll just be Cheeto Mussolini that's the laughing stock, not America.

- Finally, had a birthday the other day. Too old to have a party, too young to celebrate still being alive. It's a pretty meh day anymore, more likely to cause consternation than celebration. But that's OK. I eschew all major holidays anymore. The BDGF's littlest makes me birthday cards though, so not so bad a day.

bday card

Posted 3:52pm
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August 30th, 2018

What did we know, and when did we know it?

I love college football. The reasons are complicated. Mostly it's because my dad and by extension my whole family did. Even my mother paid attention (which is not a sexist statement, it's just you'd never imagine she personally would have known what football was if not for my dad). It also has a lot to do with my high school friends. I would have been fine to talk about comic books, but then I would have been talking to myself. So I learned to care about sports. Then I got to college and it really mattered.

Again, it was a something to relate to people about. Plus I spent an obscene amount of money to go to school, so I took (and continue to take) every Michigan victory as a personal one. I've often compared it to religion. For me anyway. It's as close to blind faith as I get. It's a part of who I am. Intrinsic at this point.

So what to do when your beloved institution goes sour? To paraphrase Dan Savage, if kids got raped by clowns at the rate they do by priests, we'd shut down the circus. What would I do if was Penn State Alumnus? What if my allegiance was to Ohio State or Michigan State or Maryland? Yeah, all of those teams are in the same half of the same conference as Michigan. It's fucking depressing.

And all those scandals barely touch on the inherent danger in the sport. Would you let your kid play football, knowing that it could permanently injure their brain? It's easy for me to say that I wouldn't give money to the Catholic church or any of the above mentioned schools if my allegiance lied there. I hope if Jim Harbaugh did what Urban Meyer did and the University's response was equivalent, I'd give up my season tickets. I don't know how I'd live with myself otherwise.

Maybe I'm being naive. There's evidence that this kind of shit has gone on forever and now it's just out in the open, like racism under Trump. But once it's irrefutably out, you can't support it anymore. I mean you can, people do and just chose not to care. I suppose you can argue Penn State has worked to fix its problems. But Durkin is still at Maryland, Meyer is at OSU and Michigan State has thrown it's hands up over the sexual assault of 100's of its students. It'll be hard to not have that in my brain as I watch football this year. For now though, I'm still watching. I hope these things are fixable, because I'd hate to give it up.

Posted 3:43pm
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August 3rd, 2018

The best person for the job

In the wake of the last election, there are those that argue that the way forward is to back centrist candidates with broad appeal. There's a sense that splinter third party candidates cost us a Democratic (and democratic) president. That we can't afford to back someone in a primary that is ultimately unelectable like a Bernie Sanders.

I get the anxiety. I'm as pissed at Bernie bros and people who voted Green or Libertarian (or not at all) in the last election as I am at Republicans. And there is nothing more important than electing as many Democrats as possible in November. I also more or less agree with everything in the paragraph above. Except for the centrist part.

I'm voting for Abdul El-Sayed on Tuesday. I think he's the smartest candidate, which is always a great start. He's young and hungry and compelling as hell. Most importantly, his political views and ideas most resemble my own. That's how you're supposed to use your vote.

People will say that it's impossible for a Muslim to be elected Governor of Michigan. To those people I point to the 44th president of the United States. I certainly was wrong about his electability. Others say he's too liberal. This is the falsest of arguments. This state and this country are liberal. Our problem is turnout. A candidate that has a compelling narrative that they can sell to their constituents is how Democrats have always won. If Trump backlash can't get progressive Dems elected, then we've got bigger problems than which we are willing to admit.

That last sentence may be unfortunately correct, but I'm not going to drive straight down the middle out of fear of it. Gretchen Whitmer is fine. She's smart and capable and most likely I will gladly cast my vote for her in November - if for no other reason than God help us if we elect Bill Schuette. But that's the fight for next Wednesday. Right now I'm going with the right person for the job in my eyes. That's what primaries are for. How can be ask our representatives to do what is right and to vote their conscience if we don't?

Posted 10:19am
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July 31st, 2018

Je rentre a Montreal

"Go to your happy place" has become a trite and even hackneyed joke you say to someone in a bad situation, as if imagining yourself on a beach is going to somehow make it better when say, the government is eroding your civil rights. I'd roll my eyes (at least) if someone tried to convince me that the key to happiness is positive visualization. But I do have a happy place. I just have to physically go there.

At this point the BDGF and I are practically in a thruple with Montreal. I never would have imagined falling so hard for a city, but here we are. Look! That's our view you guys! Everyone speaks French! There's 5 festivals going on at any point in time! People are polite and caring and it's a city of two million people where you can walk alone at night.

Chances are you're sick of hearing me talk about it. I doubt I ever talked about my kids with such affection. But I love it that much. Especially right now. I mean Ann Arbor is super liberal and has culture and yadda yadda, but Orange 45 is still president here. And there's no national healthcare.

Maybe French Canada isn't for you, but may I suggest a long vacation? Anywhere. Distract yourself. Get off the internet, at least for a bit. Practice some self care. Visualize your best self. Hell try whatever it takes to center yourself and recharge your batteries. We've got a fight coming up. Maybe we can Make America Canada Again?

Posted 2:17pm
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