Saturday’s Theme Music

Today, we remember the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. While it happened around 5 PM in the SF Bay area, I was over in Japan. Stationed over in Germany just outside of Frankfurt, we were waiting for the World Series to start. That year’s series featured the Oakland A’s and its neighbors across the bay, the SF Giants. That led to nicknames like the Bay Series, the Bridge Series, etc. We were pretty excited in Germany because we were going to be able to watch it live via satellite. That sort of thing was just becoming more common for us in the military. Now, it’s pretty much taken for granted.

The film and report from that earthquake were another mind-blowing reminder of nature’s strength and human fragility. We build these things thinking they’ll be ‘forever’. Nature comes along and knocks them over with a hefty shrug. Watching on television, we saw the baseball stadium shake and said almost as one, “Holy shit.” It’s a military expression commonly used back then.

I ended up stationed in the SF Bay area, arriving in Feb, 1991. We visited Santa Cruz the next year. Its streets and businesses were still recovering from the earthquake. A drizzly day, seeing all the destruction which still remained stilled our spirits. Businesses and people were coping and regrouping.

As I remember that earthquake and those times, I remember songs, too. One of them is “Stand” by R.E.M., a catchy song with silly lyrics. “Stand in the place where you work, think about directions, wonder why you haven’t before.”

It was like, whaaat?

Friday’s Theme Music

Haunted this morning by the Killers’ 2004 song, “Somebody Told Me”.

Basically, talking ’bout/thinking ’bout the current political environment in the U.S., I concluded with sour cynicism, anything goes in a place like this. And that led to The Killers’ song.

I especially always enjoyed the lines, “Somebody told me, you had a boyfriend, who looked like a girlfriend that I had in February of last year.” It never fails to amuse me.

An Abundance of Caution

  1. In headline news, COVID-19 has mostly been impersonal. There are always anecdotal stories. Some of those are about non-believers who turned out to be carriers or were involved in a superspreader event. They now regret calling the novel coronavirus a hoax and not taking action, as family members and friends actually sickened and died, just as they were warned, or, they experienced serious health problems themselves. That’s what it sometimes takes to open people’s eyes.
  2. Herd immunity was given another boost via the Barrington Project. Interesting idea but when you look at the numbers involved and the impact, it’s a scary idea. Pursue herd immunity and you’ll endure higher hospitalizations, packed ICUs, and higher death rates. In theory, your economy will be better and life will be more ‘normal’.
  3. Want to talk about Sweden? Go ahead. I’ve already checked them out. Their mortality rate is fifth highest in the world, behind Spain, the US, UK, and Italy.
  4. States, of course, are interested in herd immunity, especially those states where COVID-19 is already surging. This includes Idaho and South Dakota. South Dakota was home to several superspreader events and took little to no actions. Now COVID-19 is raging across the state.
  5. Florida, naturally, is also interested in herd immunity. They’re embracing that science after defying all other science.
  6. Meanwhile, we’ve had a few big names contract COVID-19 and die. Now more people in the rich, powerful, and famous circles are testing positive. We’ve already had Donald Trump, his wife, son Barron, and twenty-five other people (or more – I quit counting) associated with a WH event. This doesn’t include the Secret Service agents protecting the POTUS and family; they don’t tell how many of them get sick. But today brings news that Kamala Harris is canceling some events because an aide and another associated with her campaign tested positive. So did Alabama coach Nick Saban, along with Atlanta Falcons staff.
  7. Several U.S. Senators and a few mayors have tested positive. The senators usually make news because they’re Republican and refuse to either notify others, quarantine, or wear a mask. I guess a few of them require their loved ones and family to contract the illness and suffer before they’ll be more serious about it.
  8. The Atlanta Falcons news comes on top of other NFL COVID-19 news. Cam Newton, Patriots QB, has ended his COVID-19 quarantine. The Tenn. Titans won their first game back after being off for sixteen days due to dozens testing positive in the Titans org.
  9. “An abundance of caution” is the NFL’s new tagline this year. Whenever something COVID-19 related is announced, the the press release usually has the phrase “an abundance of caution” in it. That includes two stories today. One that the Falcons have closed their facility after at least one, but maybe four, have tested positive. Two, Odell Beckham, Jr, a Cleveland Browns wide receiver, was sent home with an unspecified illness “out of an abundance of caution”.
  10. COVID-19 is havoc on the NFL’s schedule, of course. After creating and promoting Thursday Night Football, there’s no Thursday Night Football this week. That game was moved to Sunday. Meanwhile, we did have the standard Monday Night Football, along with Tuesday Night Football this week. They’re also talking about adding an eighteenth week to the regular season.
  11. One of the big headlines today is that Europe’s surge of daily new cases are now higher than the United States. The UK and EU are talking lockdown again. Some are speculating this is the second wave. Out of an abundance of caution, we’re stocking up on food and supplies, continuing to wear our masks, and social-distance. Of course, we have that privilege. Too sadly, there are many in society who don’t.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Chose “Better Man” by Pearl Jam (1994) as today’s theme music. While it’s focused on a woman’s predicament, the song is all about rationalizing decisions and choices. As we approach election day, what better song to summarize the challenge? Many who voted for Trump in 2016 because they couldn’t support Hillary Clinton for POTUS. That most of the reasons that she couldn’t be trusted were outright bullshit, they went with the flow.

Four years later, lot of them seriously claim they still support Trump. That’s why “Better Man” is dedicated to them.

She lies and says she’s in love with him
Can’t find a better man

She dreams in color, she dreams in red
Can’t find a better man
She lies and says she still loves him
Can’t find a better man

h/t to Genius.com

Wednesday’s Theme Music

1978.

This song seemed everywhere for a while, but it’s one of those that’s been put on the bottom of the pile. It doesn’t seem to get much air play these days. Did its mix of acoustic and electric guitars not age well?

“Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)” by Styx rose through my mind’s layers as I read political news from the right about how great Trump is. Absolutely everything, from this young man’s point of view, was brilliant. Trump, to him, is powerful and intelligent, returning the United States to a position of international prestige and influence.

COVID-19? Why, that’s overhyped, as Trump just proved, in the young (his claim – I don’t know how old he is, just his claims) right-winger’s mind. No worse than the flu and already going away. No, the greatest threat to America comes from “libtards” and their willingness to give everything away (he believes “Obama destroyed America and the economy”). Further, Trump’s recent sickness was really just a cover for him to rise up and finally vanquish the Dems and “libtards”.

Okay.

So, yes, reading him, I thought, “You are really fooling yourself.” I can’t say that he’s under a rock; no, he’s fooling himself with his conviction that everything on the “lamestream media” is fake news. I don’t understand how they — these right-wingers who insist everything is fake news — receives the real news. That’s an opaque process. So, I reiterate, he’s fooling himself.

Which brings me back to Styx’s 1978 song, “Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)” from their album, The Grand Illusion. For my part, I think Trump’s claims about what he’s done is just grand illusion. Maybe it’s just me fooling myself.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

Three songs have been jumping in and out of my attention stream during the preceding twelve hours. You may have heard of them: “Purple Rain” by Prince, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart, and “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summers. All were pop hits in their respective years, 1984, 1978, and 1979.

Each had a different reason for being in my head. “Purple Rain” was kicked into mind by a photo of Jacaranda trees in South Africa on Facebook. Purple dominated in beautiful fashion, stirring thoughts of Prince’s song. It’s a glorious, hopeful song from my perspective.

“Hot Stuff” came about from my spicy dinner burrito. I bit into something and my taste buds squeaked, “Hot stuff.” The song then gained traction from its use in the 1997 movie, The Fully Monty”. Four of the main characters are in line in the unemployment office during a low point in the movie. The song comes as background music, and they grudgingly start moving and dancing to it.

“Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” just popped into my head, though. A spoof on the disco scene, the song was ubiquitous that year, heard on television and radio, a staple in humor from people on the streets to late night comedians.

While three strong choices are there as amusement for my head and theme song for the day, “Purple Rain” wins.

Honey, I know, I know, I know times are changin’
It’s time we all reach out for something new
That means you too
You say you want a leader
but you can’t seem to make up
your mind
And I think you better close it
and let me guide you to
the purple rain

h/t to Metrolyrics.com

Yep, the times are changin’. Time to reach out for something new in 2020.

The Twitter Response

A few days ago, Twitter informed me they’d blocked me because I tweeted a fact-check article that said the story being shared on social media about mail-in ballots being found in a California landfill is false. I challenged them because I disagreed with their decison.

Here is the exact headline I used, as copied from the offending tweet:

Viral Image Falsely Claims To Show Unopened 2020 Mail-In Ballots In A California Dumpster

I didn’t link this headline to any article in this post. If you want, you can copy that headline and search for it, as I did. I found articles that came up, confirming what I had tweeted was true in USA Today, MSN, Checkyourfact.com, and other places, including my original source, mediabiasfactcheck.com.

Twitter doesn’t agree. They say that I violated their guidelines. Here’s their copied response from the email.


 Hello, 

Thank you for your patience as we reviewed your appeal request for account, @mwseidel1, regarding the following: 

Our support team has determined that a violation did take place, and therefore we will not overturn our decision. 

You will not be able to access Twitter through your account due to violations of the Twitter Rules, specifically our rules around:

In order to restore account functionality, you can resolve the violations by logging into your account and completing the on-screen instructions. 

Thanks,

Twitter

The Twitter mediocrity, sorry, bureaucracy, has made their decision. You can tell by the details included in their form letter that it was tediously thorough. They cited the violation — oh, wait, no, they didn’t.

Well, that doesn’t matter. They did cite the rule that I violated, so that I may look it up and learn my lesson from this incident, as I couldn’t find it when I checked their rules and guidelines before. The relevant rule is:

Well, they left that blank, too.

Surely, then, Twitter’s decision strikes me as a thorough, totally impartial, fair, and intelligent decision. Yes, that’s snark. They obviously did nothing of the kind and revealed how little their standards mean, as they couldn’t be bothered with citing anything. I’m too much of a peasant account for that.

In view of this response of theirs, I thought about my response. Should I waste more time fighting it? No, just delete it and go on. Sadly, Twitter’s decision is about the norm for customer service and modern organizations: damn capricious and with little thought.

I do keep in mind, however, that others who retweeted what Trump said often have their accounts locked for using Trump’s exact words, while Trump’s original tweet is just labeled with a mild warning.

As always, Twitter — like other organizations — speaks to power with one standard, and sneers at people like me, truly the mark of a wonderful corporate citizen and a worthwhile part of the social landscape. Sorry, more snark. Just couldn’t be helped. Their response just asks for it.

Cheers

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Musically, I’m living in the past. Not surprising, is it? The music from the past is more connected to me. I used it to celebrate, grieve, love, and learn.

I was also inundated by it in the past. I commuted everyday and took long road trips by car. Although listening to talk radio, sports, and books on tape competed for my attention, many hours were devoted to pop music, including rock.

I don’t commute much any more. COVID-19 has truncated my traveling opportunities. So, I’m less exposed to new music via radio. I could turn it on in the house, but I generally maintain silence through the day. I’m writing and reading, and not interested in distractions. Which is what all those things were on long drives and morning commutes: distractions from the tedium.

Anyway, this morning found me channeling the 1976 Doobie Brothers song, “Taking It to the Streets”. This is a response to the presidential debates last night. “Oh, you. Telling me the things you’re going to do for me. I’m not blind and don’t like what I think I see.”

I always like videos of live shows, when I can, so I’m sharing a 1982 video of their farewell tour. The band’s energy can often be vicariously experienced, and it makes me smile to see them all young and vibrant once again, you know?

Cheers

Locked Out of Twitter

I found myself locked out of Twitter this morning. They said that one of my posts violated their standards. They showed me the post:

FACT CHECK: VIRAL IMAGE FALSELY CLAIMS TO SHOW UNOPENED 2020 MAIL-IN BALLOTS IN A CALIFORNIA DUMPSTER

Oh, no, Twitter. I’ve offended your sensiblities by sharing an article debunking false information being spread? Shame on me.

Yeah, really, shame on you, Twitter. No, no, calm down, Michael; I know someone could have overzealously and erroneously marked this, that this could be simple human error. I know that on an intellectual basis, but on more primal levels, my mind screams, “You don’t want the truth about false information being spread to be put out there? What’s wrong with you morons?”

Naturally, I declined the opportunity to remove the post Twitter found offensive. I read their guidelines to see how this violated them. It didn’t. Again, either someone misread the article, didn’t read the article and made assumptions about it, or inadvertently blocked.

Now — after ‘proving I wasn’t a bot’ by clicking on a box — the matter has been turned over to the bureaucracy. I’ve always hated the bureaucracy. I became a champion of fighting it in the military and continued it in my civilian life after retirement. Like other bureaucracies encountered in governments, banks, Facebook, Google (and Alphabet), whatever, I’ll probably never hear back. They won’t change and rarely admit error. Even less frequently, they apologize for their behavior. Will my account be unlocked? Don’t know. That’s up to them, isn’t it? The bureaucratic beast holds all the power.

Have a better one. Cheers

t

Floof Post

Floof Post (floofinition) – 1. (Archaic) Correspondence delivery that depends on using animals in some way.

In use: “Floof post in the pre-electronic age included carrier pigeon and the famous Pony Express in the western United Floofs.”

2. A blog or social media entry whose subjects is about animals or includes extensive references to animals.

In use: “Floof posts about kittens, puppies, kids, and lambs, seem to dominate the web in popularity as people hunt relief from bad news in 2020.”

3. Vertical element used in fencing where animals such as birds and cats sit and watch the world.

In use: “Post turtle is a floof post used as a metaphor for someone in a position that doesn’t make sense; no one has any idea how the turtle got there, but he shouldn’t be there, and needs help.”

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