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Alex Baer

Armageddon Out of Here

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Money makes decisions Sanity never would.  Fear, too.  This adage applies to an awful lot of things, most of them pretty awful -- like politics and Ebola.  These are awful and also awe-filled, but not in a good way.  The critical difference between politics and Ebola?  It's possible to somewhat survive devastating, ignorant decisions by the country in politics, even Bush-league decisions.  Ebola, on the other hand, starts at death, and goes downhill from there.

Both are bad systems, way out of control.  Both operate in a wide range, anywhere from figuratively to literally lethal.  Both score lower than body lice in approval ratings.  Both clog up your TVs and radios.  Plus, there are more similarities at fighting the two than you might first think.

Tell you what I mean:  In my part of the world, when 19 snowflakes, by actual count, have hit the sidewalk around a local TV broadcast studio,  an official Snow Emergency is declared, and live, round-the-clock coverage begins.  The TV station's graphics department is alerted, and, inside of the time it takes to track and catch one snowflake in your mouth, a new, screen-blasting piece of artwork is created for broadcast, as a backdrop for the usual dizzy and ditzy, On the Spot, Eyewitness Action News-You-Can-Use, Eye-in-the-Sky anchor team.

Invariably, the graphic is muted and demure, modestly trumpeting out something like Snow Apocalypse Trauma Center Update Action Desk or something similarly boneheaded and jarring, sporting gigantic fonts touched up with icicle appendages for that chilling, but cutesy, You Are There feeling for the news anchor set.

Behind the scenes, as they are scrambling to get the character generator fired up and hail the Message Crawler Crew back from the tavern across the street, the crack marketing team is warming up in the playpen for a flurry of Snow Emergency calls to area businesses.

Their flaky pitches, of course, are all about the sudden bonus round of nearly endless local advertising time now available, falling like frosty manna from heaven, now that the station has dumped all network programming in order to run Snow Apocalypse coverage until further notice.

This is all done in the public interest, naturally.  Sure.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 22:02 Read more...

Endings

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Yes:  Lauren Bacall.

A landmark, watershed moment of loss, finality.

End of an era much adored.

End of a storybook, starry-eyed romantic pair.

End of a warm, playful, and sly sort of style, grace, wit, charm.

End of a role model and path-maker for women, for people.

Too many ends.

Too many irrevocable lines drawn in the sand.

*  *  *  *  *

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 August 2014 12:48 Read more...

Sticking to the Facts Would Be a Miracle

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I've been wondering about People again, so that already means I'm in way over my head.

A number of areas keep getting jumbled all together for me, which puts me in pretty good stead with my fellow beings, I guess.

It's likely -- I hope -- that comments and posts on various website pages are not accurate reflections of the intelligence level of my countrymen and countrywomen and countrybeings, and all the counterpartbeings in cities.

There are always a number of uneasy, queasy word-wars in progress on any Comments page. Like opinions, as you've no doubt heard from colloquial references to bodily apertures and orifices, we all have at least one.

The subject matter runs the gamut, from those who believe gamut is the lowest note of the medieval scale, to those who think it is a reference to the entire modern scale of musical notes, and then even on to the nonmusical among us who believe a gamut is the full breadth of human emotional range -- and beyond, to the spooky outsiders and transcendentalists who see a gamut as the entire range of anything, of everything.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 21:54 Read more...

Freedom's Just Another Word

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Situation Report:  I steamed my eyelids open again with real coffee, a nice treat for a weekday.  This idle, schedule-less time is a gift from my era.  It is a gift from the same chunk of time that decided a long while ago that I was not only economically redundant, but execrably so, and so, I was added to the Shoals of the Doomed & Adrift -- and then expertly excreted from the highly-lauded realm of competitive, cutthroat capitalism and into the murky lagoons and mired holding ponds of Excess Capacity.

In economics, as in most other areas of America life since, oh, 1960, it's best to fog and cloud the real issues, and all-too-human effects, with cold, distancing euphemisms.  So, the Shoals of the Shredded & Damned are magically converted -- presto! -- to Excess Capacity.  Language is very much like statistics:  What is revealed is routine; what is concealed is essential.

Add to this phenomenon of distancing, by language, to things we'd rather not face, one more thing:  The purposeful, political maiming of language to accomplish the demands of propaganda.  It's why Frank Luntz has Luntzified the language for right-wing think tanks, policy groups, and political hacks, converting the neutral and descriptive inheritance tax and estate tax into the now-infamous, and heinous, barbarian death tax.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 June 2014 21:50 Read more...

Another Day on Planet X

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Here I am again:  I woke up again this morning.  And, once again, I ran through all my available choices.  Once more, I found no basic improvement in the human condition -- nothing astonishing had happened while I slept, no new options had evolved or hatched or arrived in flying saucers, or tunneled up from the deeps.  No thoroughly new way of existing had been birthed, fizzing and crackling into existence from a wormhole's termination point on the surface of the planet nearest my thoroughly beat-up and timeworn footwear.

No, here I was able to again discover life at its simplest:  There was the staying-in-the-rack option, or there was the up-and-at-'em angle.  While there were no new lifeform alternatives presented overnight -- none that I could detect, at any rate -- at least both of the standard choices were still available.  I wake up slow and groggy these days, but I glommed onto that much, sure enough.

Foolishly, I once more pressed the rise-and-shine selection into service.  Personally, I blame my bladder for routinely holding me hostage to this narrowest possible range of wake-up choices.  Once more, my body was holding me hostage to its demands -- and it would not be the last time in the day, or in this life, that it would cruelly limit my preferences.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 June 2014 20:21 Read more...

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