Saturday, August 31, 2013

Day Off

Yesterday, thanks to serendipity and work scheduling, I had the day off and mostly to myself. I used some of the time to go for a nice walk through the local (more or less) trail system, enjoying part of it I had never seen before.

That includes this pedestrian bridge over one of the many state highways in the area. In person, it's a bit more impressive. The path leading up to it is about six stories in elevation change, according to my FitBit.

One side leads to a hotel and office park. The other, to nice houses, new construction, and a trail that follows the power lines. Not a lot of nature, but a decent walk, what with the elevation change and partial shade.

I really loved listening to some music and having time to myself. Today, if I am very lucky and my partner the least bit cooperative, I'm going to an actual nature area where our dog can go swimming.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Other countries' politics - Germany

The political issues I care about are, generally speaking, uniquely American issues. That's why I enjoy watching other countries have their elections. I don't have to get all upset and grouchy over anything any party over yonder touts or believes. I can be objective and observe with some degree of pleasant detachment. This is especially true of Europe where I can agree with most major parties on most major issues, to a degree.

So Germany is electing a new chancellor, from what I gather, sometime next month. If I understand the system right, they then build a government with enough power to get things done. If they fail, they vote again in a few months, but a lot more unhappily? I envy them that because with only two parties and some wingding groups, the US government has been unable to get anything done for some time now.

So one of their big newspapers, Sueddeutsche, which I read in my eight-year-old level German primarily because of how high it comes up in the Google search for German papers, has a quiz that people can take to find out which Party their opinions most closely align with. Quiz here, enjoy!

Despite my US political leanings, which gambol between liberal and anarchist, I actually align most closely with the CDU and CSU, not with the traditionally cool SPD, which gave us the magnificently earnest, human, and mildly heroic Willy Brandt all those years ago.

Gratuitous Brandt pic:
My German ancestry is rather limited to a few lines on my mother's side, but I have always had an affinity for the language, cuisine, and music. And, alas, for the politics, in as much as I could ever understand the post-war German world.

That said, I am tempted to retake the quiz via Google translate and see if perhaps there has been a misunderstanding. I mean that tongue in cheek. I probably would be a conservative over there.

Anyway, good luck with the election. I wish I could get more mainstream coverage over here. In English. On television. Pooh.

Macht's gut!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Government okays laziness and gluttony

That's right. I am a little pissed about the government getting a little too useless to bother saying-no to drugs these days. State's rights are an iffy proposition to begin with. I believe we fought a war on the subject and yes, the state's rights side lost. I know. My ancestors were there.

So marijuana. Not a good idea.

Here's my take. In graduate school, I had this psycho professor who was my adviser, my thesis adviser, and my employer. Call this the dark trifecta, if you will. Anyway, he did A MEGA TON of Mary Jane. It made him super-forgetful. Like he would tell me to do things, job and school-related, and completely and utterly forget later after I had worked pretty hard to get these things done. I could never tell when he was so high that I should blow-off the requests, so I got pretty bad burnout from the experience of sometimes trying to do the impossible and then coming back, exhausted, but successful, to confusion, derision, and...well, annoyance from him.

I started hating users then. I hate them now.

If he had kept it together, I probably would have had a very different life than the one I have now. That life might include a lot more scholarship, travel, and personal satisfaction. It might include better salary and benefits. It might include a lot of things that he destroyed for me because he just couldn't keep it together while using.

He's probably destroyed other people's lives since then. Because he has tenure, I seriously doubt he destroyed his own, no matter how bad he got. I don't know.

I've always hoped he would get caught by Virginia's finest with more than an ounce or whatever and jailed. I makes me feel better. This could still happen, for sure, but I doubt he would serve any real time without the feds being pro-useful citizen too. I doubt it would make any impact unless he did serious time where he had to bargain for favors and...well, I think we know what I'm looking for here.

So, yeah, I'm major league disappointed with my president right now. I might vote for the other guys next time, if they can make me believe they'll fix this.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Celebrity victim blaming

I don't actually follow the lives of any celebrities. I got that fetish out of my system as a dorkish teenager and adolescent who wrote letters to favorite actors and musicians - for the record, the most gracious and cool was Lou Gramm of Foreigner, who wrote me a letter I still have tucked away somewhere.

Anyway, even though I'm not into celebrity culture or even normal Facebook-style interest in popular culture, I still live in America, so I still know that Michael Douglas says his wife's pussy gave him throat cancer. True or not, really?? This is something a guy wants to put out there about his hot, much younger wife? Because...I'm seeing this as a terrible idea. And judging by the news today - they're splitting up, apparently - I'm not entirely wrong here.

But that's not my point here. If she has HPV, then she's at risk for cancer too, and therefore, it's kind of ugly to hang her out there for oh-so-public ridicule, isn't it? Some guy infected her (we assume, although HPV is much more lively than HIV and easily spread without very much intimate contact). She infected her husband. He humiliates her. The other guy...he's oblivious, although possibly suffering from genital warts. It's a sad day when 'genital warts' is considered winning.

She's young. With proper and consistent medical care, she'll probably be fine and maybe meet someone less keen on airing other people's knickers in the international press. I'm thinking he should be looking for a nice long-term care facility.

And they were, seriously, such a nice looking couple.

I know his wife's name, but I haven't mentioned it here because even though I'm just an idiot blogger, I don't want to contribute, anymore than necessary, to the ugly press she is receiving. It's principle. More or less.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The purpose, you say?

Today at lunch one of my friends asked me what the point of my whole geritocracy idea was, what I hoped to accomplish with a 'society' rebuilt under those conditions.

Honestly, I'm not a very compassionate person; however, even so, I can see this is something our society, as it is now, fails at. Every time a poor kid gets a free lunch or an elderly person uses Medicare to pay for a bad hip, someone idiot...okay, usually a lot of idiots...bawl about how it isn't fair, that they could have used that money for whatever's bothering them. I hear things like this every goddamn day. Usually from middle-aged white men. Usually from people who have never been poor, hungry, or experienced a major illness.

I think if someone lives to be in their nineties or older, they have experienced or at least witnessed enough of this kind of suffering to have a more finely tuned (or existent!) sense of compassion for their fellow humans. They understand that paying a few extra pennies a year to fight hunger, disease, and poverty is not zomg! unfair. It's what decent people do.

Then why aren't old people out there making a difference now?

Some are. I know volunteers in their mid-to-late eighties. Seriously.

But for the most part, our society warehouses the elderly starting at a pretty young age, especially if mobility issues are involved. For my part, I don't thinking walking around is that important of a qualification for good leaders. I ::heart:: FDR, yo.

We see older people as in the way, especially once they're no longer competitively spry, and as a society we do our best to not see them anymore, either by putting them away or setting up obstacles to participation in public life. Put together, all of that leads to further decline. Sad stuff, folks.

I also don't believe it's suggested much that people do anything but molder in their old age. Maybe the slightest push would do it.

And...yeah, a lot of the elderly in our society end their lives in poverty, which limits their ability to do stuff just as much as it limits everyone else's, you know? Volunteerism actually does cost something, even if it's only gasoline for the car. Usually more.

As a caveat to this issue, this is why ending political campaigns would benefit everyone. It's no longer rich bastard vs richer bastard. Geritocracy helps level the playing field somewhat. Richer people live longer, sure, but then again, the majority of our most venerable citizens are not Fortune 500 people. They're ordinary. Like the rest of us. answering the original question, what do I see as the major benefits here? Compassion, work ethic, civic responsibility, and life experience, not the almighty dollar, informing our country's governance. The implications are pretty amazing, if you think about it.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I went walking today

This is nature. We have a very uneasy relationship. I am not an outdoorsy person by any stretch of the imagination, but I want to be healthy and stay in shape. Gyms and treadmills don't do it for me. I feel trapped. So...that leaves nature.

This picture is just a random attractive span of wilderness I encountered on my walk today. I managed 4.75 miles doing a 15-minute/mile. Not an athletic pace, but enjoyable.

An area near where I live is riddled with walking trails and golf cart paths. I think it would take an adventurous person the better part of a year to see all of it. I'm not that person! Maybe if I could devise a plan, but no, I have too much going on right now.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I can't believe she's not a rescue!

A lot of people try to make me feel shitty about my purebred dog, a German Shepherd Dog from working lines, bred locally from Czech and American stock.

The thing is, I looked at rescue dogs first. The rescue organizations I tried to deal with treated me like trash. I went to an animal shelter to pick-up a puppy; they lied to me and held it for someone else, who ridiculed me when she arrived to pick up her dog. After that, I began researching breeders and found one that treated me with courtesy, dignity, and respect. I got my puppy from that breeder. She is the perfect dog for me and my family, no doubt about it.

I love my dog. Part of the reason I love her so much might be the struggle I just described above.

I think if the first rescue I dealt with had let me adopt a dog from them, I would have taken that dog for granted. Their disdain and ugliness, followed by a slightly more sugar-coated version from the non-breed specific rescues I met with, was like a wake-up call.

The smug ridicule I endured from the lady who somehow put a hold on the puppy I had driven more than sixty miles to rescue and take home? That opened my eyes to character of rescuers themselves. I'll never look at them as altruistic again. They're basically just bargain hunters, looking to beat out other people to have nice 'things' cheap. I doubt they really love their dogs at all.

Of course, people tell me, the breeders were nice to you and respectful! They were selling you a dog!

Yeah...and the rescue groups wanted only about $150 less for the privilege of adopting a puppy - for those who qualified. The only people here not having an adventure in capitalistic enterprise were the animal shelters, and they weren't exactly shining stars of fairness and competence here. I'm looking at you, Gwinnett County.

The kennel that bore and bred my dog was a family enterprise, brought about by a combination of hard times and a love for the breed going back to the proprietors' childhoods. They asked me a lot of questions, but always in a polite way. The interview lasted more than an hour and a half. No one, rescue or shelter, spoke with me for more than ten minutes. When I left their home that first visit, I knew. I just knew.

My doggy and I have been together a little over a year and a half now. I don't want to say that rescuing is wrong. It depends on the person and the rescue group and other factors. I just want others to know that if they've been treated like shit by a rescue, they are not alone and that getting a dog from a breeder isn't the end of the world. And if someone opts to go that route, good for them. Purebred dogs make great companions too.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Now for something more relevant

I saw this on Yahoo! News yesterday.

Basically, it's the United States redrawn so that each state contains the same number of people. The purpose would be, in theory, to provide more equal representation.

This is via

It's not the Times, but it is the Internet. Take it with a grain of salt.

Nevertheless, cool thought exercise. I think it would pair nicely with some of my ideas. :)

By the way, I wonder if people living in a geritocracy would naturally take better care of themselves in order to participate in public life to a greater degree in their later years. Hmm...nice incentive, right? Maybe.

Experimenting with capitalism

This is sad, but like a lot of bloggers, I need to bring home more bacon. I like to think I'm doing well, but my partner constantly reminds me that my paycheck is next to nothing and that all I'm getting from my slave labor is fantastic healthcare....

I'll take it!

Sorry about the adverts. This is just how it is right now.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Give me Geritocracy

In an increasingly polarized federal republic, the notion that one must be either a Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, right or left, red or blue, has become so wholly irksome to me that I am pretty much done thinking that democracy is the only way to go in terms of political systems. Not to mention utter disagreeableness of every single modern political campaign.

So...if I could reinvent the US government, I would turn it into a pure geritocracy. The oldest living person in the US would be president - currently, this is Jeralean Talley of my home state of Georgia. The next oldest, the veep - Susannah Mushatt Jones of Brooklyn, NY. They're both black. I'm okay with that.

My senators would be the two oldest people from my state, who aren't occupying a higher office. My congressperson would be the oldest from my district. The Supreme Court would be made up of the oldest people in the US, not occupying a higher office.

No elections. No political parties. The same rules applied to lobbyist used to protect seniors from unscrupulous repairmen and the like.

What about dementia? My asshole friends always ask me that. I think we would need something like the Reagan Standard. No one can hold high office if they are more demented than Ronald Reagan during his second term. Even then...he was far from a terrible president.

What about term limits? I think they're pretty much self-limiting. Some years, we might have three presidents. Some presidents might serve a full four years. The stock market will sort itself out either way.

And this way, we will definitely get a woman president. And an Asian president. And presidents from underprivileged backgrounds. And presidents who held jobs far different from what we've grown accustomed to since the days when a haberdasher saved us from unending war with Japan.

Those are trifling things, though.

The biggest advantage would be the wisdom, practicality, and compassion that older Americans (seriously older) could bring to the government. Think of the oldest three people you know. I'm hoping they're at least seventy-five; mine are 106, 93, and 92. I deal with a lot of seniors in my line of work. Maybe that's why I have so much faith in them.

Are you still thinking?

Compare your three people to the last three presidents, vice-presidents, and speakers of the house. How do they measure up in terms of... intelligence, work ethic, kindness, moral compass, sincerity, frankness, etc? I bet they look pretty damn good, don't they?

Mine do.

This is really just wishful thinking. The system could never be put into place. Most of the elderly would flat out refuse. Those that didn't...probably retired politicians already and they're not all Jimmy Carters. You know?

Still, I like to imagine our country run this way. I think it would be a big improvement.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Welcome Post

Internet anonymity is an illusion. We all know that. I'm opting not to make myself readily (easily) identifiable, because at some point in the future, I'll apply for jobs and don't want this space to be the thing that keeps my from advancing in my career. You know how it is.

About here: this is a place where I plan to express a lot of things that I have to keep buttoned up in daily life. Some politics. Some society and culture stuff. Some commentary on media, religion, and random topics of even more random interest.

About me: thirty-three years old, female, quasi-married, socially liberal, fiscally moderate, a little high-strung, a little eccentric or quirky. I don't have an agenda for this blog, other than self-expression and therapeutic venting. Occasionally, I may mention a dog.

If you are reading this, thank you. I hope something I write here someday will make someone somewhere feel something. If not, maybe you should grab a book from the library instead next time. Either way, welcome.