So, I am still on TikTok. It’s actually kinda fun. In the native language, I guess I am mostly on ‘political TikTok, but I pretty much talk about whatever I feel like at the moment, just like I do here. I don’t dance though; that does not happen.
It’s an interesting challenge, trying to make a point in 1 minute or less.
Ironically, I am experiencing this constraint as a sense that the format is too long. See, I’ve never prepared my speeches or classroom lessons on a word-for-word basis. Some technical points, sure, I spell them out precisely and read them off a note, but most of my public speaking is off the top of my head. I have a general script in mind and improvise my way through the details. If I feel like I flubbed a point, I just take a minute to restate it. That’s what I normally do. With only 1 minute per video, however, that just isn’t an option. So, every word counts. The trouble is that I can’t seem to speak for 1 whole minute without screwing something up. So, the fact that I have only 1 minute means I have to make it through a whole minute. Oh the paradox!
So, Moni comes up wondering what I’m mad about. It’s my own fumbling tongue.
Yes, I know, you can record a TikTok in segments. I still think the better vids are all-in-one takes, and anyhow, I like the challenge. …except when I flubbed it for the umpteenth time in a row.
Anyway, one thing I do not like about TikTok is the lack of any useful curating features. I might be missing something, but at the moment, I don’t see any means of organizing vids and bundling them up into themes, etc. So, I am going to do that here, at least with a few selected vids. Yes, Isome of these may appear in more than one category. I plan add to this page from time to time, unless I wake up one day and say to Hell with all of it.
I am mostly doing this for myself, just to keep track of what’s what, but I sorta hope, someone finds a few of my vids amusing at least. If anyone is curious, I hope you enjoy the content.
One of the worst things about Christmas is watching people work too hard at Christmas. People do it in different ways, but they do it all the time.
Normally a moderate man, my father once Christmased up a big decoration for our rooftop. It was pretty cool, and as we lived just off Highway 18, people all around Victor-Valley, California certainly noticed it. So, of course he tried to top himself the next year, and again the year after that. I don’t recall when it got to be too much (though it might have been when we moved to a colder place). I do remember at least one year when the whole thing was more trouble than it was worth, …to him, I mean. The stress was apparent. Afterwards, we settled for a few strings of light.
And it was good!
Of course, Christmas lights can be a whole other kind of Hell. They could be a really special Hell back in the 70s. Hell, it was Hell just being my dad’s assistant in the annual battle of the Christmas lights. One bad bulb could ruin a whole string, and some of those could hide really well. I swear some would work only when you tested them, but when you moved on, they just conked right out. The struggle to find the one bad bulb was just the battle you fought after the one to untangle the strings in the first place. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen some amazing Christmas displays. Really wonderful stuff! I only hope the people who made them actually enjoyed working on the project.
…and I suspect there have been a few who didn’t.
And then of course there is the competitive gifting. As they say, it’s the thought that counts. Yes, but money too expresses a thought of its own, a thought that doesn’t go away just because we sometimes talk like we don’t care about it. So, we dollar-up our Christmas love and double down on the price of our holiday thoughts whenever possible. It isn’t just the individual presents though; the spectacle around that tree can be a project in itself. That project got out of hand more than a few times when I was a kid. I noticed the beauty of the result, and I enjoyed playing with more than a few of those gifts. If I noticed the crankyness of the tall people around me, I didn’t always make the connection.
Some people just try way too hard to fill the space under the tree with as many gifts as they can. It really doesn’t have to be a mountain of packages that will take all day just to get through.
Well, for some people it does, which is precisely when Christmassing up the gift-giving gets to be a bit too much yule-tide cheer.
…and more than a few folks end up paying the cost of the holidays off well into the new year, the interest paid on credit cards being just one more holiday gift.
Hell, if a corporation can be a person, I suppose, it can receive a holiday gift just like the rest of us! It can even get that gift in the form of 21% interest paid well into late Spring.
And then there the tree itself! It can always be bigger, can’t it? At least it could if it weren’t for the ceiling, but then there are ways to flesh out the total tree display. You can Christmas up a tree a little more each year, making it bigger, brighter, full of more tinsel, decked out in brighter ornaments with each passing holiday happening.
A well decorated Christmas tree can be a beautiful thing.
Getting it there can be more trouble than it is worth.
Did I mention that special ornaments have a special way of falling from a tree branch? Seriously, the chance of breaking an ornament is directly proportional to its cost multiplied by its sentimental value.
…and the cost of the carpet.
And then of course there is the baking! A few Christmas cookies can be a lovely way to celebrate the holidays. But of course you don’t just need the sugar cookies (though you need lots of those). You also have to have the cinnamon stars, and those powdery white cookies too. Don’t forget the chocolate candies, and the hard candies! Maybe, some…
Give it a rest!
You’ll be too tired to eat them!
It’s funny, the way this holiday with all its themes of family and sharing can bring out the worst in people. Black Friday doesn’t seem to produce a body count anymore, at least I hope not, but the holidays can still deposit a whole butt-load of stress under the tree. Between the fake war on Christmas, obnoxious relatives at the dinner table, and the usual holiday loneliness some folks experience this time of year, the holiday season can sure produce a lot of strife and misery.
I suppose that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Make a point of any virtue and you create a special room for a little vice to grow. What makes Christmas especially troublesome is just how earnest people can be about it.
We really do work at this damned holiday!
At least some do.
Christmas can really be too much!
Among all the other hazards of Holiday Hell, the ones we all know, there is also the hazard of those trying too hard at this Holiday. We don’t talk about this holiday hazard too much, I don’t think, possibly because it doesn’t give us anything to fight about. The fake war on Christmas gives us that, at least. Holiday depression shapes up a good story to tell a therapist, a bartender, or at least a divorce lawyer, but being up till 6am putting the holiday cheer in proper order just seems too natural to some of us. Obnoxious relatives give us gripes to last the whole year. Those we will tell our friends, perhaps even the friends we will gripe about with our relatives over Christmas dinner. Hell, Holiday hell, gives us a lot to gripe about, and a good gripe is a gift well given. But working too hard at the cookies? There is nothing to complain about there.
Perhaps not, but there ought to be a little cautionary tale in the matter.
For those who may be in the midst of trying to put together that bicycle before you go to bed tonight, still struggling with a troublesome string of lights or just working at another pan of cookies, don’t forget to save a little time to enjoy it all.
Save a lot of time to enjoy it.
Someone I love is downstairs working a little too hard to clean up an already clean house so that we can enjoy it tomorrow. I better go see if I can help her.
One of the first things I did when I moved to Barrow was walk out onto the tundra with my little Backberry phone and try to get some pictures of a snowy owl that stayed out behind the college here. He would stare at me as I approached and then fly away just as I was almost in range for a decent photo, only to land a hundred feet or so away and stare calmly at me as I repeated my efforts. I almost got some decent pics of that guy. All day, I almost got them.
There was something the way that owl just watched me approach. It was a forgone conclusion. It wasn’t going to get THAT close, so he was in no hurry to fly away. He took off just as I was about to get close enough for a decent pic, and he went just far enough to re-establish his own comfort zone, and incidentally to tempt me to engage in one more round of effort.
These days, I have an actual camera. I’m still a bit clumsy with a lens, but my camera is smart enough to compensate for some of my photo-foolishness, and the result is a (hopefully) passable batch of owlitations. Most of them were taken the summer before last. This year, there just didn’t seem to be enough hot lemming action to draw a big owly crowd. Anyway, …owls!
At times, it seems like there is no real difference between the Democratic Party and that of the Republicans. At other times, the difference seems loud and clear. In other moments you can practically see the gap between the two parties widening.. South Dakota Governor, Kristi Noem’s response to Joe Biden up above is one such moment.
Scratch that: It’s two!
First we have Joe Biden suggesting that he will help struggling Americans once he becomes President.
Then we have Kristi Noem reminding us of the old Reagan quote to the effect that the worst thing you can hear is that someone from the government is coming to help you.
By 2 moments when the gap between Republicans and Democrats widens, you might think I mean, first Biden’s comment, then Noem’s, but I don’t. I mean the Reagan quote and then Noem’s use of it. Those two references reveal the ever-deepening cynicism of the Republican Party.
It was Reagan that really embedded the libertarian themes in modern Republican politics. He did so through folksy statements like the one Noem’s quoted above, statements which contributed to a growing sense that government couldn’t be used to solve real-world problems, and a sense that this view was as natural to any real Americans as life itself. Through statements like that one, Reagan took the GOP in a direction which would become ever more hostile to American government. What might have sounded like skepticism at first, the response of those unconvinced in the efficacy of government aid, has become ever more strident, until we have now reached a moment wherein the faithful cannot bring themselves to imagine the possibility of that government could do anything but hurt people.
The trajectory that takes people from this modest skepticism to the fanatical anti-government stance we see in so many today is a simple shift from figurative speech to literal interpretation. One has only to take Reagan’s clever turn of a phrase literally. One has only to mean it, and to mean it literally.
One of the ironic things about Reagan’s anti-government rhetoric? It came from a fan of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the architect of the New Deal, a President who did more to insert government into American lives than any President in American history. Reagan was fond of saying he wasn’t the one that changed; it was the Democrats, but this is plainly not true. Reagan changed from a man who could celebrate a champion of big government to one who preached against government programs every chance he got.
Statements from Reagan like the one Noem chose to quote above helped to build a new anti-governemnt ideology that now underscores the ideology of modern Republicans. Those seeking government aid are not merely wrong-headed, they are a source of positive evil. You can see this world view in Newt Gingrich’s contract With America, and in the careers of every pundit with a prominent place in the right wing echo chamber. You can also see it in the Oklahoma City Bombing, and in the rhetoric of local ‘militia’s’ all over the United States. More to the point, you can see it in Noem’s glib dismissal of the possibility that a new President could actually help the American people during a time of crisis.
What we see in the modern GOP is a cult which takes Reagan’s maxim quite literally. This is not mere skepticism; it is a pious confrontation with evil itself, or so they imagine. What they see in any effort to use the power of government to help Americans is nothing less than a genuine attack on the American people. The horrors they imagine to follow from government aid are more real to the true believers in the Republican Party than the realities of Covid19 or its economic consequences. The possibilities of government aid seem more terrible to them than the actual deaths of their friends and family. We are thus left with a political party that not only fails to take reasonable steps to combat a pandemic, it actively resists those efforts and even takes steps (such as Trump rallies) to endanger more people.
What does it take to make sense of the Republican Party and its refusal to take responsible measures in combating this life-threatening disease? One needs only to take them at their word.
People like Kristi Noem do not think government can help people.