Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Peace on Earth? Good Will Towards Men? 2017 Was The Antithesis Of The Christmas Spirit. Thanks, Mr. President.






7 Days until Christmas. 8 Days until we're bombarded with reminders of what 2017 brought. Certainly no "Peace on earth nor "Good Will toward Men. "Retrospects" of the year’s events will abound, and for most Americans the pictures won’t be pretty. 

This week may be a time for people to slow down, look inward, meditate before the onslaught of memories of the year.  This is especially true for people in the LGBTQ, Muslim, immigrant, Hispanic and African American Communities. Actually for people in any vulnerable group. And the Year of Trump has created a lot of vulnerable communities.

“Peace on Earth”? "Good Will Towards Men”? These Americans have to make their own Christmas sentiments because they cannot in all conscience join Trump's America for Christmas. 

To be more direct: There is absolutely no way one could link those phrases to a Trump Christmas. From before last Christmas, when Trump almost single-handedly erased 50 years of U.S.- China relations with a diplomatic blunder worthy of Dan Quayle.  Peace on earth? ...

through internal bickering and firings. petty tweets, lies and deceit, to an air thick with treason and corruption polluting the Presidency- Good will towards men? 

This Presidency, this political aberration is a mockery to Christmas and the true Christmas spirit.( Link to old article)

Of course, Christmas is bright- for the gullible and believers in Trump’s fantasy. For the Alt Right and White supremicists who’ve never such a forceful “voice” befor. For the Christian Right who envision abortion and gay rights  fading from their  worldview/Christofascist    spectrum of self-righteousness. 

For all others, the brightness, the joy, the altruism of Christmas must be scaled back, must go inward, must be more quiet. Yes, it must recede into its own shell so that it can emerge clear and bright (and even a bit tacky/glittery) in the New Year. 

My husband stand and I believe in what you might call “snuggle therapy”: we hold our bodies close and together for a long time and sometimes we whisper “you and me against the world”. We wanted our Christmas angel-bear tree ornaments to reflect snuggling instead of kissing, but it would have been difficult to position them  on the tree without looking like they were doing something else. But notice that they are definitely focusing on each other while engulfed in the glitz of what could be a metaphor for a Trump Christmas.

Maybe American communities need a form of "snuggle therapy" this Christmas: holding themselves closer, quieter. Sheltering themselves. Observing (but not necessarily participating in) the raucous - and fake - Trump Christmas. Meditating upon the past year. 

Healing.

While meditating on 2017, HOPE should still be an element. Many of Trump's supporters are finally waking up to the fact that Trump and his administration are nothing like what they thought it would be. HOPE has always been a powerful coping mechanism. In my case, for example, it can divert the angst over the year with some humor, so here's my Christmas wish for 2018:

Since Trump has decreed that there will be more visits to the Moon - "What would we do without space?" - what better Christmas present for him next year than to make him the first person to colonize it? With an attractive plan to build a hotel/casino/golf course and, of course, a boutique for Ivanka, he would make a killing!




And the sweetest thing about this gift: we could send The Donald off with a blessing:

"May God bless and keep you, Mr. President -far away from us!*

7 DAYS

This week, individuals, families, whole communities should practice their forms of "snuggle therapy" by being as close to each other as possible. And safe, for the time being, from the onslaught of "retrospectives" and thoughts of more ugly scenes to come.

This following video Christmas card was produced primarily for the immediate neighborhood and friends, featuring a Garden everyone views as a community-builder. From the Meditation Station to the acrylic rock heart, it is looked upon as a sanctuary - a place of peace and reflection. It represents the Christmas spirit all year round. It is our building;s "snuggle therapy." Notice that the Christmas tree is lacking a star on top - that's because the true light of Christmas comes from within.

It serves as my Christmas card to everyone.





 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

* a line borrowed from Fiddler on the Roof the story of which has some odd parallels to our present situation.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Saturday: The Apocalypse. Sunday: Gays To Celebrate With A Street Fair And Beer Bust!





God's going gay for the Apocalypse
Taking a break from Trump Messiah sycophant-ism the "prophets" of the Christian Right are warning of Saturday's coming Apocalypse.

God's Ambulance Chasers are changing course
Far from following in the footsteps of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson* (the original Christofascist blame-the-gays theorists), today's Apocalyptic ministers have changed from merely raining bibles on disaster victims to connecting the Armageddon dots, forming a picture of a God totally pissed that anyone, any country would do something so abominable as accept gay marriage

And considering that disasters like hurricanes Katrina and Harvey have been blamed almost exclusively on the LGBT community, it's gonna be a very GAY Apocalypse.

There will be ...

Gay floods



Gay earthquakes




Gay tornadoes



And, of course, Gay volcanic eruptions!



The signs have already been in place:

- a rash of major hurricanes!

- Planet X/Nibiru has been seen hurtling toward us through space by millions thousands hundreds tens of people !

- San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair is the DAY AFTER!

- Fox News changes Sean Hannity's time slot to be opposite Rachel Maddow!

- Robert Mueller has Trump's tax returns!

It's Nibiru, stupid!
Theories abound in YouTube with dozens of "updates" (average number of views - an astounding 250) and signs ranging from homeless genocide to "sightings" are scattered like dandelion puffs across the internet.


The science behind Nibiru might seem a tad secular, but look deeper into the YouTube uploads and you'll see God lurking around. The comments are a testament to man's blessed skepticism:
- It's time for us to stop believing bullshit jus cos a mofucker tell u bullshit wiv a straight look on their face
- OLD SHIT FOR NEW MONEY

- i am glad to see that you dont have any subscribes... rlly. I am not negative perons who want worse for others, but this bullshit cant spread anymore

- For anyone who believes this stuff... WILL YOU PLEASE GIVE ME 1,000 dollars so I can go have fun with my wife for a few days before Nibiru gets here?
The date of September 23rd is also a magnate for armchair Armageddon freaks: the alignment of the moon, sun and planets have alarmed "rapture" believers and exorcists.

Of course,the Mexico City quake is fueling the bullshit fires. So far, God's ambulance chasers are ominously (but respectfully) silent. Just wait. 

Pope Francis, of course, is having none of it: several years ago, after a quake in Italy was attributed to civil unions by a local pastor on radio:
The radio station distanced itself from Cavalcoli’s views and the Vatican has issued a stinging rebuke, saying the idea of a vengeful God was “a pagan vision” dating from “the pre-Christian era”.
Archbishop Angelo Becciu, number two in the Vatican’s powerful secretariat of state, said Cavalcoli’s comments were “offensive to believers and disgraceful for non-believers”.

Alignment of the planets, Nibiru or an angry God, God's Ambulance Chasers have to blame someone, anyone else for the Apocalypse. Gays are the easy target.


Postcript:

Remember Harold Camping?


"God has given sooo much information in the Bible about this, and so many proofs, and so many signs, that we know it is absolutely going to happen without any question at all. - Harold Camping
It didn't.

See you at the Fair on the 24th.






*Robertson warned Orlando, FL of a meteor striking it in retribution for Disnesy World's Gay Day.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Quest For Community - One Attempt To Create A Community In San Franci...



This is just a little effort compared to the greatness that is community-building, but it is nonetheless sincere. 



Using  a garden to form togetherness and alliances with neighbors is certainly nothing new, but if you live in a large urban area, you know the challenges something like this can come up against.



So far, this is still a secret among immediate locals. It is a sanctuary, a spot for meditation,  a welcome place for intimate get-togethers ... and for dreaming. It's slated for demolition in a year or so, and must be taken advantage of by people soon. 



I might include it in a longer post in my own blog.



Please enjoy it. Comments and suggestions (and yes, criticisms) are welcome.



Dan Vojir

Parkmerced resident





Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Miseries of the M: Cursed, Incompetant, or just plain Sadistic?

The Miseries if the M



OR How I Experienced MUNI's Torquemada 


After I read the notice about MUNI's new metro trains the only thing that came to mind was that however bright and spiffy the cars would look, the M line would still be the M line.

The M, by the way, stands for MISERABLE.

Today (maybe the M line was celebrating 9/11?):

2:55PM: the M was running late as usual, but the crowd at the 19th and Holloway platform was enormous, indicating that it was VERY late. It took 20 minutes for it to arrive (after the digital display said 11 minutes). I would venture to guess that there were more than 120 people packed in the three car train. 

After arriving (slowly) at West Portal Ave., we were told that we were being dumped off (ahem, "transferred") at West Portal, then were told to get off half a block away from the station. It was obvious that the driver was told to turn back to "get back on his schedule" totally disregarding ours. Then we waited another 8 minutes for another train - which turned out to be an M.

Late trains filled with disgruntled riders seem to be the raison d'etre for the M line. So do dump-offs, M trains suddenly turned into shuttles - or Ls or Ks and the attitude that M riders are somewhat second class. These and other maladies of the M have made it the darling of ... Uber.

MUNI's excuses abound:

Traffic? Door malfunction? Body on the tracks leftover from previous train?

Who cares? We've heard them all - the countless excuses have numbed us: we can't believe anything remotely rational.

After experiencing years of this kind of frustration, after years of being dumped off at West Portal both inbound and outbound, hundreds of missed appointments, watching numbers on the GPS boards bounce around like lottery balls, scurrying to catch makeshift shuttles when the Line was shut down, and getting stuck in the tunnel, I was forced to come to this conclusion: the M line is maliciously making its riders miserable.

The M, in other words, runs on sadism.

I've compiled instances with photos giving evidence that M riders are definitely treated with disdain: the "miseries" show that times between M trains are greater than between Ks or Ls and in some instances unbelievable.

Once while waiting at the Castro St station for the M outbound, the board declared "32 minutes" , then, in the space of twenty minutes, THREE almost empty Ks and THREE almost empty Ls came by.

Insultingly sadistic.

Annotated photos of MUNI's gps displays tell the plight of M riders and their daily miseries.



A not uncommon sight: longer waits for outbound passengers. (And no, an M had not just left the station)



Another example: The K had just left, so this K was still arriving sooner than the M. At 11:00AM? Standing at the station for 27 minutes while Ks and Ls stop by is not a fun pastime.

Rush hour: knowing that this particular M is too be packed (because it's late), getting on an outgoing M may take another 30 minutes.



Outbound at the Powell station. In the span of those 7 minutes, 2 Ns 2Ks 3Js passed. Also: both the L and the K were changed from other trains and arrived at Powell within 2 minutes. 



Notice the ridiculous inbound number. Look at the blank K inbound and it's number outbound. Truly someone has it in for the K almost as much as the M.

This time.



10 minutes ago at Civic Center a station an M was scheduled to arrive in 2 minutes. Took the L to a west Portal where the M says 9 minutes.

M in 9 minutes, right? Except it's not an M, it's a shuttle. 

Translation: without riders given any lead time, that M was turned into I a "Castro Shuttle" (probably at Montgomery) people who board at Embarcadero or Montgomery may have no idea that they are only going to west portal, while the people at Civic center have no idea that the next M will be a shuttle. This happens frequently, frustrating M riders all the time - no apologies.

A word about "dump offs" (as I call them): it seems that the M experiences more of these "transfers" than the K or the L. Outbound ones always add minutes of travel due to the fact that the next actual M might not arrive at West Portal for a while. Once, when the M turned into an L at the last minute, riders complained loudly when they saw only three people remaining on the newly minted L train. After a few choice words to a MUNI crew member, an outgoing L was turned into an M. All the while the crew member was laughing.

During an inbound dump off at West Portal, I asked irately why? "They told me to turn around to get back on my schedule." Apparently M riders don't have any schedules of note. 

I almost got snarky when a driver shouted "You'll have to get off. I'm going to the Zoo!" One the tip of my tongue to shout back "Oh dear! I hope your mother's OK!"

May 27 3:45:

19th and Holloway: M inbound just passed. Sign above: "Downtown- 11min" "LRV not running- take M ocean view bus"!!! WTF? 3:56 - M arrives. Confusion reigns.

The gap says it all: note how far the M is FROM Castro station

June 5 2:52PM 19th and Holloway - 3 (yes, 3!!) Ms spaced 2 minutes apart (?!)



7:34pm - 19th Holloway station: "M Balboa Park 7min and 9 min. M Downtown 10min and 35 min. Talk about erratic!!


6/8- Train #120648. Dumped off at West Portal and took a K. Driver made some bizarre remarks about a horse then whinnied! He left us with "And remember folks, MUNI loves you!!" Groans were audible.

An incredibly weird pile up of Ms WTF is going on 1, 2,3 maybe, but FOUR? Maybe one real M and three shuttles?



10:51 - 7/18/17 just now got on the M - waited on the platform 22 minutes while numbers on the digital display bounced around like balls in a lotto machine.

Conclusion:

Well, I'd love to say, that's all, but it certainly isn't: These things happen to M riders on daily basis. Once, when MUNI got enough complaints, they posted rather flippant, unfunny notices for a meeting: "Is the crowded M crowding your style?" (showing a crowded car with one man obviously trying to cruise another man). The meeting consisted primarily of a "proposed" plan to make the entire M line underground.

But, knowing the rate at which MUNI works, not in our lifetimes.

We know that a slew of complaints will result in the usual sloughed off "sorry for the inconvenience" (I often think that's what they say to people they've just run over), and this rant is really no different, with the exception and it proves that M riders are definitely second class.

The Sadistic M and its Torquemada

As the saying goes "We might as well laugh at this or deserve it." My favorite pertinent quote is from Mark Twain: "Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand." So I've composed a little "Miseries of the M" video using Mel Brooks' "The Inquisition" song as a backdrop. I dubbed in Mel's voice with my own "It's the M Line" lyrics.




Monday, July 24, 2017

My Quest for Community





My quest for community.
using Faeries, a Buddha and an acrylic rock heart.
... for starters

It all started about 5 years ago after my partner died of liver cancer. I had been planting flowers in my little 4x4 plot in the community garden, but longed for a larger space, a more useful space. 

One day I looked out the living room window and saw an elderly lady carrying an enormous coil of hose towards bushes people in the building knew were hers for many years.

She wasn't supposed to have a garden or plant anything back there.  This was a planned residential community of over 3400 units and planting was limited to a small community garden. But everyone looked the other way.

"Ok. If she can do it, so can I".  I spied a barren patch and got to work. 

Like any unfettered project, the Garden began to grow exponentially: a large red acrylic rock heart surrounded by geraniums was followed by a "Faerie Portal", a " meditation station", a CD player and speakers placed behind a large trellis, and a birdhouse made almost entirely of branches from the echium bushes. 

 



Oh, and a "Secret Sanctuary". And an herb wheel. And Beatrice's Lovers Bench. And garden view seating. 

And lights. Lots of lights. 

Building residents asked if the Garden had any special significance. It didn't really, until I thought of a fulfilling purpose: I called it

The 50 Chumasero Memorial Garden - for everyone who has lived and loved at 50 Chumasero. 

I wanted the diverse residents to consider our building as a community. 

Diverse residential areas have come under siege: no matter what location, people of every race, nationality, creed, and sexual orientation need to protect each other from the vicissitudes of a country becoming rife with hatred and violence. 

The Garden has taken a good portion of six years to create and has hosted events like Valentine’ Day photo ops, Easter egg hunts, Earth Day and a children’s Great Butterfly Release. And of Holidays.


      


The Garden's Faeries have gotten into the spirit of community with their latest effort: special lighting and music for residents' birthdays. The results: 





Parkmerced Vision:  


“…a really thoughtful and creative way to approach building community. It’s very pleasing to know that we have residents like you making grass root efforts. We stress community both for the Vision and Parkmerced today and we can host as many events imaginable, but it really comes down to residents getting involved and talking with their neighbors.”

I am also using the Garden’s building (50 Chumasero Dr.) as a laboratory of sorts for ideas regarding a proposed ecology program for all of Parkmerced: last year’s Earth Day, residents were given a tour of Parkmerced’s new sustainable plants, culminating with activities for the kids (receiving the chrysalises to grow the butterflies for release). So far, this proposal has received attention in being nominated for the Golden Gate award from San Francisco Beautiful.

Profile:

From the video “Sustainable Magic of San Francisco”: