happy christmas! have some birds.

happy 2nd day of christmas! know what i can’t understand? people who take their christmas decorations down the day after christmas. don’t they realize that the christmas season has just begun??

so here’s the deal. the 12 days of christmas? no, it’s not a marketing ploy to rack up sales 12 days before christmas. it’s the liturgical christmas season between dec. 25 and jan. 6, the epiphany (you know, when the three kings* visited the baby jesus in bethlehem).  unfortunately, all the hype for christmas happens a month before christmas, and the season itself is practically forgotten. 

so, let’s take a look at how the christmas season plays out. before dec. 25? it’s actually advent, the time of waiting and preparing your heart for jesus. each sunday we get to light an additional candle on the advent wreath, purple, purple, pink, and purple, until christmas arrives. my friend melissa, a liturgist at a catholic church and sponsor of this post**, actually runs purple and pink ribbons on her tree until christmas, when she decorates it. i remember growing up on the tree farm and having one family come out on christmas eve to cut down their tree. 

so what happens during the 12 days of christmas besides a very rich lover sending you a bunch of birds? here’s what we’ve got for the 12 days of christmas:

12days

The first day  is Christmas, the celebration of baby jesus’ birth. it’s also a day you traditionally give your loved one a partridge in a pear tree.

The second day is Boxing Day and is also known as St Stephen’s Day. he was the first christian martyr. and two turtle doves.

The third day celebrates St John the Apostle. three calling birds.

The fourth day is the Feast Of The Holy Innocents – the day when people remember all of the baby boys who were killed by King Herod in his search to kill the Baby Jesus. four french hens!

The fifth day is remembering St Thomas Becket – he was the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th Century and was killed on December 29 1170 for challenging the King’s authority over the church. fiiiiiive goooooldeeeeen riiiiiiiings

The sixth day remembers St Egwin of Worcester, who died on December 30 717. he was known as the protector of orphans and the widowed. six swans a swimming.

The seventh day (New Year’s Eve) celebrates Pope Sylvester I. In some eastern European countries New Year’s Eve is still known as Silvester. seven geese a laying.

The eighth day (New Year’s Day) celebrates Mary the Mother of Jesus. (this is also a holy day of obligation, which TOTALLY BLOWS when you’re up all night revelrying. eight maids a milking.

The ninth day honors St Basil the Great and St Gregory Nazianzen – two important fourth century Christians. nine ladies dancing.

The tenth day is the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus – this marks the day Jesus was named in the Jewish Temple. ten lords a leaping.

The eleventh day  celebrates the Feast of Saint Simeon Stylites who spent 37 years living on a small platform on top of a pillar in Aleppo. (WHAT ON EARTH. this might need some more research.) eleven pipers.

The twelfth day, January 5, is also known as Epiphany Eve – it’s the day before January 6 which is known as the Epiphany. 12 drummers drumming.

many countries in europe still celebrate the 12 days, but in the US it’s practically forgotten. once dec. 25 rolls around, it’s sayanora christmas.

what i’d like to start doing? i wouldn’t mind celebrating christmas like hannukah is celebrated. each night get a small present or do something fun, with the big party on ephiphany (which makes total sense since that’s when the kings came with their GIFTS).  OR, for those families who have multiple christmas parties and people to exchange gifts with, why not do it during the 12 days FOLLOWING christmas, during the actual season? 

i know that the retail marketing has got us all hyped up and wound up and grabbed by our wallets, but it wouldn’t take much to make the christmas season part of how we celebrate christmas. and i’ve said it before: i wouldn’t mind seeing more off-color christmas celebrations become more mainstream. like actual caroling, or something equivalent to trick or treating. or krampus  (hee heeeee!). i feel like christmas has gotten too ooey gooey and blown out of proportion and saccharine. 

*or two, if you’re the kings at my mom’s house. one got beheaded for coming out of the closet (hannah was playing “kissy kissy” with two kings, and being ceramic, one broke.)

**(she says not to take her too seriously. i had to school her on what the triduum*** was her first year as a liturgist.)

*** the three days before easter: holy thursday, good friday, and holy saturday. 

oui oui

i did some research on the paris agreement/accord/whatever since i wanted to know more and figured you might too! 

the most incredible thing about the PA is that every country is taking care of its own business of its own accord and is actually doing it, with 202o as the goal start date. each country sets goals to combat climate change, and all countries except three have signed on of their own volition because IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

for the record, nicaragua at first decided not to sign the agreement because it wasn’t RADICAL ENOUGH. the president said 90% of its energy will be renewable by 2020, and they wanted countries to be punished for not meeting goals. (they’ve since are considering reconsidering because they don’t want to be lumped in the same category as the ridiculous US.) the US, of course, is out because trump. and syria isn’t a part of it because syria’s a war zone. 

so.

(i mean, even north korea’s on board. really, DT?)

the countries that are a part of the PA have agreed to some stipulations:

  1. they want to hold the increase in global average temp to below (like, way below) 2ºC above pre-industrial levels. ideally, the limit would be 1.5ºC pre-industrial levels. (pre-industrial means pre-1750.) for the record, pre-industrial average world temp was 13.8ºC (56.84F) and in 2014, average world temp was about 0.8 C warmer than that. so, the world’s countries want to keep that at 1.5º or less, with AT MOST, 2º.  (remember average world temp does not mean average MN temp. when idiots huurrr durrr about global warming when it’s -15ºF, please just roll your eyes so hard they end up in the snowbank across the street.)*
  2. they want to make sure that climate change does not affect food production. there are a lot of people on the planet, and we need to feed them (preferably NOT corn, but we’re using that as an example ugh). think about the impact of a global increase in temperature on the US bread basket – all those plains may just end up being desert that doesn’t support food production. insane weather patterns also affect food stores, as there may be droughts or floods.
  3. and finally, the first-world countries recognize the benefits they had with the industrial revolution and how coal and other polluting methods to create the standard of living they now have. through this agreement, the countries that had that benefit will help out the developing countries to make sure their paths to development is a greener one. 

witheartha couple important points:

this is completely voluntary.

and there is no repercussions if a country drops out or doesn’t meet its goals. 

THAT’S how serious the world is taking this. 

so, here’s DT’s quote on why he decided to leave the PA:

“The agreement is a massive redistribution of United States’ wealth to other countries,” Trump said. “It’s to give their country an economic edge over the United States. That’s not going to happen while I’m president. I’m sorry.”

let’s talk about that massive redistribution of US wealth. that’s how point 3 above is handled. the developed countries that had the advantage of early development are going to commit $100billion a year to help the developing countries and overall greenification of the earth. in march last year, the US gave $3billion to the green climate fund, and as of now, there is $10billion in it. i believe it works as a grant system. it will also directly help countries most affected by climate change, like small island countries.  

now, here’s a wrench i’m going to throw in the system. heard of the international monetary fund (IMF)? i feel like this is a perfect thing for the IMF to jump into. the IMF is “189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.”

if there’s ever a time to use the money in the IMF to do all those things, i think this is it. as of 2016, the IMF had about $668billion in it. 

anyway, that’s an argument for another day. 

so, once DT announced the US withdrawal from the PA, it’s not like we suddenly aren’t in it. part of the provisions, even though it’s voluntary, is that it will take a good four years for the US to get out of it. a country can’t even begin withdrawal proceedings until it’s been in the agreement for three years, and after the withdrawal has been sent, it will be active one year after it’s been filed. the earliest the US can get out of the PA? Nov. 4, 2020…the day after the next presidential election

(seriously, all this brouhaha may be for naught.)

so, that’s a lot of political information on the PA and doesn’t really go into what countries are actually planning on doing as far as greenification. i was listening to “pod save america” this afternoon, and it already looks like china and india are well on their way to exceeding their goals, and china’s on its way to becoming a global leader (bye bye US as a global leader). but that’s another post. meanwhile, 400 new coal jobs were added in may in the US. we’re nowhere near 2011 levels of coal employment, and i doubt we ever will be. laid off from a coal job? time to go back to school and learn a new trade. like solar panel installation and upkeep. and that’s also another post.

REMEMBER: this is the only earth we’ve got. if the earth goes to pot and is inhabitable for humans, WHAT ELSE MATTERS**? who cares about the economy, refugees, travel bans, and especially transgender people in bathrooms. GET IT TOGETHER, PEOPLE.

*do you NEED a post about the science behind climate change? i mean, there are a TON of peer-reviewed sciencey environmental studies out there you can look at. and 97% of scientists agree that it’s human-made. that’s the same effectiveness as a condom when used correctly. you take those chances, so why not these? (also, you’re making cleaner air and water and a better place to live – is that REALLY so bad, even if climate change isn’t human-made?)

**in all seriousness, the earth don’t care. we’ll get wiped out and the earth will live on for millions more years and not give two hoots about people. but i’m sure you care, at least for the next 50 years or so. #humansnowhereearthdontcare

Sources: wikipedia, wikipedia, and pod save america.

i’m a state worker. i belong to a union. contrary to popular belief, i do work a lot. that said, the republican-controlled state legislature decided to put language in the MN state agencies funding bill to cripple bargaining rights for wages and health insurance.

i’ve worked in private sector and now in a unionized environment. at my current job, i know i’m getting a fair, equal wage (you can actually go online and look me up – go ahead). my health bennies are pretty awesome. and guess what? i actually am a full union member. after seeing what happened at roch comm and tech after the new president came in and tried to clean house, i consider it a small price to pay for the knowledge that the union has my back if i’m ever unfairly let go.

and after five years, i’m actually pretty proud to work for the state of MN. and i’m proud to be a union member. now, if i were to go back to the private sector, i’m not going to cry about it; i work hard and i do good work, so i know that any job i hold is because i’m good at it. but after seeing 8 rounds of layoffs at my last private-sector job, i can easily say that i will take my union state job over that. 

i wrote to the governor to ask him to veto that bill. gov. dayton is a pretty pro-worker governor, so i’m fairly confident that it won’t pass. and after seeing five emails come through about this, i’m sure state workers all over are calling and emailing him to get rid of that bill. to all anti-union people, i get it. you think your employer does a fine job, and it’s probably so. but are you willing to quit when it’s not doing so fine? that’s what unions help with. i am still ambivalent about unions in general, but i’m glad i have one. 

power

this past weekend i visiting melissa in her new house in rinkadink north dakota. traveling more south of fargo and little more west was a different experience; there are more hills, a little more softness to the landscape. it made me want to head a little more south and little more west and go to the black hills or head just west and go to mandan. 

when i visit melissa, i have conversations that i don’t have with anyone else, save for something similar with my brother on the philosophical level. one thing we talked about, which i’d never really considered before (and probably should have) is the idea of women being more powerful than men. i’ve thought about that over the past couple days. 

the gist of it: men don’t want to control and conquer what is already weaker than them. now i’m not sure i 100% can get behind this idea; i think men wan to control and conquer what threatens them as well as what is more powerful than them. but i am open to the idea that women are more powerful than men.

but what is that power? if it is what i think it is, sexuality, therein lies a problem. why is sexuality such a means of power for men? why is the mere presence of a woman, or being alone with any women a la mike pence, such a hard thing (heh) for men to deal with? why did paul/augustine/other church dudes hold women in such disregard? 

if being in the same space as a woman brings on sexual thoughts that a man can’t control, that’s the dude’s fault, not the woman’s. and thinking about a woman in an impure context is going to bring about eternal damnation, right?

so, because men can’t control their sexual thoughts, then perhaps the next best thing is to control the thing that is causing such angst in the moral life. lovely.

what is the real problem here? maybe it’s time to take a look at why a species that is, at its core, sexual, promiscuous, and polygamous, holds beliefs that having sexual thoughts, a completely natural human thing, is bad. 

on an aside, i was listening to a ted radio hour on mpr today and heard a portion of this guy’s ted talk. now i’m going to read his book!

it goes both ways

i’m pretty passionate about the first amendment, if you haven’t figured that out by now. a lot of left-leaning people generally are pro-first amendment and make a big deal out of it: see the recent marches, etc. but what baffles my mind is when they can’t see that the first amendment goes both ways. you get to say your piece, and the other guy does too. THAT’S HOW IT WORKS.  

exhibit a:

Screen-Shot-2017-01-25-at-10.25.07-AM

is it ok to punch a nazi?

this guy, whose name i don’t know nor do i care to know, was giving an interview. he is a white supremacist, aka nazi. someone came up to him mid-interview, punched him, and ran away. 

twitter exploded. every liberal person i follow on my feed had some pithy 140 characters about how it’s american to punch a nazi. how punching was too good for the nazi. how they wanted to punch nazis all day long.

and my mouth dropped open, thinking, what on earth is wrong with you people? this guy is talking about his nazi ideals, which he is entitled to think and talk about as long as he doesn’t use them to infringe on anyone else’s rights. and someone punched him.

if you brought up the first amendment to any of the it’s-ok-to-punch-a-nazi people? well, hellfire was wrought. you basically had to shut down you twitter account forever at that point. 

i unfollowed my fave web cartoonist (questionable content!) because he would not shut up about how he didn’t want to hear that punching nazis was really an affront to the first amendment. and many of his followers would twitter-attack you if you wanted to make a case.

the nazi has every right to speak out about his beliefs as long as he isn’t infringing on someone else’s rights*. his opponents had every right to speak out against him as long as there are no personal threats (that’s fighting words, kids). OR, his opponents had every right to turn around and ignore him. 

you know that episode of the simpson’s where the giant ads come to life, and the whole town sings “just don’t look”? that’s how you deal with a nazi. ignore him.

exhibit b:

fire-berkeley

the berkeley riots

well. i haven’t done a ton of research on this, and my twitter feed was conspicuously silent about this (surprise surprise). i’m really disgusted by this. 

this dude named milo last name is greek and begins with a Y, who is an editor for breitbart and a general right-wing rabble rouser, was scheduled to speak at berkeley, invited by the college republicans. he’s been on tour and in one of his previous engagements, he called out a transgender student by name for ridicule. (hate speech! not cool at all.) students called for cancellation based on his previous inciteful speech, but the president of UCB didn’t cancel. hence a protest. 

here’s what i’ve learned happened based on my minimal research (remember: you can do your own research on this! and make sure to visit multiple sites of varying viewpoints. i visited the NYTimes and the national review.). a professor from UCB pepper-sprayed a woman wearing a make american great again hat. a person in black ran up to a student, said “you look like a nazi”, and pepper-sprayed and beat with a rod. the student who was attacked? definitely not a nazi; he was a muslim from syria. (makes you wonder which side the attacker was actually on…) then there was a fire, and the speaking event was cancelled because people were worried for milo’s safety. 

the best way to have handled this? let those college republicans have their speaker. ignore it completely, or if you do protest, do so legally and peacefully. or go to the speaker, listen to what he has to say, then ask a bunch of questions about why he thinks that. bring your facts and piecharts. but by inciting violence or hate speech, you’re infringing on someone else’s rights. and THAT’S NOT THE POINT of the first amendment.

i saw very little in my twitter feed about this. i remember seeing one tweet about how people were spelling berkeley many different ways and missing the hashtag. but my regular tweeters i follow? not one peep. 

and this is what’s wrong. 

conclusion

if you support the first amendment, you need to 100% support it – no exceptions. if it’s something you absolutely hate, then you speechify/protest right back, but you cannot punch a person, pepper-spray a person, or threaten said speakers. or, best scenario, don’t give them an audience. that’s the ultimate slap in the face when you think about it. there is nothing more irritating to someone with a very hot-button opinion than no one to listen. 

and, lord help me, i’m ending my argument with a quote from the national review. 

Setting aside the question of political violence, our so-called liberal friends should be asking themselves some uncomfortable questions about their participation in a political movement that feels the need to silence critics and to bully institutions into excluding nonconforming points of view from public forums.

the very thing we dirty hippies are fighting for are what we’re showing to be our downfall, in a way. different points of view in public forums is what shapes our country to what it is. i had a coworker once ask me if i liked talking about politics (in person!), and i said no because my views were completely different from his, and neither of us would change our minds. he said that’s all the more reason to discuss politics. by sharing our viewpoints, we can find a middle-ground and compromise.*

*i am NOT condoning nazism as a valid thing to compromise on. remember: infringing on someone else’s rights and autonomy (like, say, nazi human experimentation or exterminating an entire people based on religion) is not in the cards. 

putting the bad in badlands

i have a feeling i will be posting a lot of politiblogs over the next four years. that said, i’m going for a quick run because it’s time to start training for my half marathon. 

life goes on?

brb.

wow i run like the wind when i’m fired up.

let’s talk about what’s happening to the national parks’ social media accounts. and the gag order on the EPA and the USDA. 

today, the EPA staffers were ordered stop releasing press releases, blog updates and social media posts. the USDA’s research department was told to stop releasing press releases, photos, and other public-facing docs. basically everything the public should be interested in, and SHOULD see, they were ordered to stop sharing. *

the head of the EPA said, “We’re temporarily dimming some of the communication aspects of the department while we get it under control, to shape the message towards what the new administration would like to be talking about.” 

(my guess is the new administration would like to shape the EPA to be the EDA (environmental destruction agency) and change its message completely.)

in addition to the halt in public communications, there’s been a hiring freeze, and i’m guessing they will reduce the staff size by not replacing employees in the upcoming boomer retirements. 

in a POSITIVE light, we have some rogue national park service peeps making appearances. first, we see the NPS tweeting about crowd size comparison on inauguration day, which were promptly removed. 

C2-E6KbWIAA525t

of course we got some screenshots before the ballsy social media peeps in the badlands got the boot.

second, today, the badlands official twitter account** went on a climate change missive, sending up a tweetstorm after the ruling came through to shut up. tweets were subsequently deleted. but major, major props to that social media manager. if there’s any reason to support the NPS, this would be it (you know, besides taking in the splendor of our nation’s natural  beauty while we still can and before public lands are sold to the highest bidder). as a social media manager myself, i highly commend this action, even if it would inevitably mean a firing.

one VERY important lesson to learn about the internet, which DT’s team seems to be missing: when you put something on the internet, it STAYS on the internet. and removing it by presidential order is one way to GUARANTEE everyone sees it.

meanwhile, i will say that DT’s nominee for head of department of the interior, which oversees the NPS, does not believe climate change is a hoax. he also has been against handing public lands over to the states. it’s a low, low bar, but it’s SOMETHING. 

[as an aside, DT has done ONE thing that i agree with – he nixed the TPP. i was not a huge fan of that and wondered why obama supported it.]

and here’s what DT said himself about environmentalism today: “I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist; I believe in it. But [edit: AND] it’s out of control.”

i think you misspoke your conjunction there, mr. t. maybe he’s talking about his personal environment of gold elevators and sketchy hair products? 

*******

*i guess george w’s administration had the same sort of policy so it’s not unprecedented. same thing happened in canada, as well: “There was a feeling that the government was not interested in expert opinion, and I think it’s the same kind of thing that you are probably going to see with the new [Trump] administration” in the U.S., David Tarasick, a senior research scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada (the equivalent of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), said last month.

source to read: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/trump-administration-restricts-news-from-federal-scientists-at-usda-epa/?WT.mc_id=SA_FB_POLE_NEWS

**support the badlands’ twitter: https://twitter.com/BadlandsNPS 

IMG_0371

THIS HEADLINE IS NOT THE ARTICLE

i want to expand a little on what i wrote on facebook yesterday in light of the press secretary lying in a press conference and then the chief of staff saying that his statements were “alternative facts”.

here’s the thing: i’ve taken a 300-level media law class and a 500-level media law class, one at st. ben’s and another at st cloud SU for my master’s. i took journalism I and II at st. ben’s. then i spent almost 3 years working for a newspaper. granted, it was a small weekly, but it was still a newspaper. 

my master’s degree is in mass communication. i had to take a media ethics class to get that sucker. so when i go on and on about the first amendment? i literally have studied it for semesters. then i literally have applied it in my workplace for years, even now as i work in a public institution.

so when the press secretary, who theoretically has taken the SAME CLASSES I HAVE, steps in front of a podium and outright lies to the press representatives about inauguration numbers, that makes your mouth drop open. then when he tells them that “we (the white house) will hold you accountable,” that’s when you literally gasp. 

excuse me, sir. that is NOT how this works. 

let’s review.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble*, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

here are the fundamentals of why the press and media are important.

the press is the watchdog of the government. the watchdog of the press is the readers and citizens. 

if you truly want to hold the media and thereby the government accountable, make sure the news you’re reading is TRUE, FACTUAL, and ACCURATE. i’m not talking about the opinion page. i’m talking about the news. any journalist worth her or his salt will investigate beyond talking points and make sure the news is correct. see something that’s not correct? stop buying that newspaper; call them and let them know why you’re no longer reading them. less readership means less subscriptions and less advertising, which means less newspaper. write a letter to the editor and tell them the information is incorrect and show your sources. call for action from that media outlet. (first make sure it’s not a satirical outlet.) 

readers (YOU), ombudsmen**, and outside organizations are the watchdogs of the media. instead of repeating soundbytes, memes, and headlines, how about delving into the news to see if what you’re seeing is actually the news. if it isn’t, then contact the news outlet. if it is, how about helping them stay in business with a subscription or visiting their website without adblock.

so there’s my two cents. it’s not hard to find out the real news and to stay informed. it takes a little more effort than scrolling past a meme, but you and the people you consort with will be better for it.

*some states are now considering legislation that will make protests (assembly) illegal. that’s the next topic. UGH. 

**an ombudsman is sort of like an internal quality control for a newspaper – a reader’s advocate in some ways. the ombudsman, who keeps an objective lens, will go through all reader complaints and grievances, then check to see if any thing called out as incorrect or checking on stories that readers need explanation on. this is a lot of running around to keep journalists accountable, but it’s a great way to make sure the news is reported correctly. unfortunately, the newspaper ombudsman has gone out of style lately, and probably just when we need it. with readership down, it’d be a great way to keep readers engaged and informed about how the newspaper keeps itself objective and accountable.

party like it’s 2006

a couple years ago i had started thinking about getting rid of my iphone. don’t get me wrong; i love that thing. if i could, i’d marry it. therein lies the problem

the iphone introduced a magical world where every thing you’d ever want to know was right at your fingertips. 

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want to know how to get to the nearest mcdonald’s? google maps. stopping by jcpenney and wonder if there’s a coupon? google it. grocery shopping at target? cartwheel. need to remember to bring something somewhere? set up a reminder. want to track your runs? runkeeper. need something to listen to during your runs? podcasts and spotify. out and about, see a fake colosseum, and wondering what the downfall of the roman empire was? instant google to the rescue. 

we’ve created this culture of instant information and instant gratification, right at our fingertips. it’s very empowering, very satisfying, and very addicting, when you think about it. 

ten years ago, you’d have to print out directions from mapquest if you were going somewhere new, or look at a map. you’d have to make sure you have your penneys coupon printed before shopping. same with target coupons (as an aside, you CAN print cartwheel coupons out at home and bring them with you). you’d have to carry a small notepad and pen in case you needed to remember something. tracking runs meant timing them and then figuring out distance on a map and then doing some math. ten years ago, you could bring an ipod with you, but you’d have to make sure all your music was downloaded and stored on the device. see a fake colosseum? well, make a note about the roman empire in your notepad to look up later when you get home (via wikipedia OR your encyclopedia if you’re a true luddite). 

not IMPOSSIBLE. but certainly more inconvenient than these past ten years have been.

so why would someone want to go back there? why would i want to give up my iphone? 

nothing pushed me more to give it up than this last election cycle. the constant information, the “always on” aspect of the news, the bombardment of opinions and news or propaganda via social media was completely overwhelming for me. and that rush of just being able to pull out my phone and look was too much to turn away. social media addiction is real and documented; you get a high from checking it. and i know i’ve devolved into a weird sort of ADD personality when it comes to that stuff. if it’s not a soundbite or headline, it’s not worth the time and effort to read. this is how misinformation get spread, and this is how you become a lazy bum. 

it was time to just bite the bullet and start to step away from information overload.

i know the best way to do this is to get rid of my facebook and twitter accounts, but since a lot of my job is involved with that, that step is a bit too drastic at this point. i started to take some steps:

  1. curate my facebook feed so it makes me happier. this meant blocking the people who posted negative (to me) information, unfollowing all news sites, and start following a bunch of pages dedicated to cats, baking, cooking, grammar, writing, books, yoga, and running. i also made sure my starred friends were my like-minded siblings and close friends and relatives so i’d see their posts first.
  2. my twitter feed pretty much WAS curated this way already. i could always count on my twitter feed to focus on my ideals versus FB, which was hit or miss before #1. there are a few political people on there that i should unfollow though, as their tweets tend to get overwhelming at times. 
  3. a couple years ago i had stopped bringing my phone to bed with me. i had been using it as an alarm, but it ended up being more of a “let’s look at stuff until 1 a.m. and i’ll be dead tired the next day.” so i’ve been using an alarm for a while now. 
  4. stop reading the FB comments on MN-based news outlets’ stories. you want to see the cesspool that has become humanity, just go to your local newspaper’s FB page and read comments on a controversial article (i.e. anything having to do with muslims in the st. cloud times). 
  5. no really. just stop. 
  6. STOP.
  7. ok, we’ll start that one tomorrow then.

right now i’m at a better place in my social media feeds. it’s not perfect, and it’s not going to be perfect until i get rid of them completely. even then, my job will require me to look at social media for a while yet.

but i figured one GOOD step would be to get rid of its constantness. which meant setting aside my smartphone. 

now: i’m attached. if i leave my iphone at home when i go out, i feel like i left a body part behind. i was checking FB on my laptop once and picked up my phone TO CHECK FB.

watching a TV show? phone is in my hand. it’s rare that a movie or show i watch at home has my full attention anymore. i’ve tried leaving my phone in the kitchen while i watch a movie, but i’m always thinking about getting my phone to look at twitter or FB or reddit or the latest news.*

i have a problem.

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i bit the bullet. i went on ebay, found a pink motorola razr like i had back in 2006-2009, and i paid $25 for it. i bought a new battery for $30, put my sim in it, and fired it up. 

hello, moto.

image1 IMG_1709 IMG_1710 IMG_1711 IMG_1712 IMG_1713

(yes, i took all these pics with my iphone.)

oh god, it was all coming back to me. i set up the ringer, the wallpaper, punched in the numbers of a few people, and sent a couple texts. called jane to make sure it worked. so far so good. 

then i kept picking it up and looking at it, expecting it to entertain me like my iphone. but it’s JUST A PHONE. the only way it will entertain me is if some real, live person gives me a call or sends me a text. even the TZONE doesn’t work anymore, and connecting to the “browser” brings me to google circa 2006. 

it’s weird. it doesn’t do anything, yet i still keep it on me all the time. i could easily set it on the kitchen counter and nothing would ding or beep or notify or have anything new happen all evening long. it’s bizarre. and it’s all me that’s placing this expectation on it. 

i’ve had it switched for two days now. last night, i left my iphone at work ON PURPOSE. and life was fine. sure, i use my laptop a little bit more, but i feel using a laptop is more intentional than just slipping your phone from your pocket or setting it beside you. you can’t just drop your laptop between your leg and the couch cushion to absent-mindedly pick it up again 30 seconds later; you need to intentionally place it and pick it up. 

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My current iphone screenshot

for now, i still have my iphone, but in a neutered format. i removed a bunch of apps, including my google drive, alienblue (RIP), pokemon, all the games, all the cooking stuff, all the news apps, etc.

i can still use imessages if i’m logged into my desktop mac (laptop is too old).

i kept my running app because i will still use my phone for that, as well as music apps and podcast ap. (i have an extra phone number/sim from tmobile because it was a cheaper package, so it will be the “second line” and my gps.) i kept twitter, FB pages manager, instagram, and outlook for work stuff; i will use it more for work, is my guess. and i kept google maps, my bank app, wunderground, and all my coupon apps (the coupon apps may be deleted soon). you just never know; i may go on vacation and want to use my iphone instead of my flip phone (OR MAYBE NOT??).

what i’ve noticed so far? it may be all in my head, but there is less of a need to check everything all the time. i feel less angry at things i can’t do much about. i don’t feel compelled to check FB just because. and those phantom pocket buzzes? pretty much gone.

what i’m expecting will happen? i’ll print more directions. i’ll have to just guess at some stuff instead of look it up. i won’t be able to check my email constantly. i’ll check FB and twitter less. i’ve pretty much already stopped looking at reddit. 

and if the last couple days have been any indication, my mental health will be a little less angry and annoyed, and a little more hopeful and happy, and it should be rising exponentially the longer i stay away from that iphone.

i’m not saying this is the best thing for everyone to do, but if knowing so much about the world is making you unhappy, this might be a step to take. the question of “would you rather be ignorant and happy or informed and unhappy” always had me ambivalent, leaning toward informed and unhappy. these days? i’m leaning toward ignorant and happy.** 

so i’m embracing my inner luddite. the only way my phone will entertain me these days is if someone calls/texts me, or i call/text people, just like the old days back in 2006. this may be short-lived; this may be a wake-up call and i’ll never own a smartphone again. either way, i’ve already noticed benefits, and if it makes me a little bit happier, i’ll take it for as long as i can.

*not that knowing the news is a BAD thing. i love that i find out a lot of “breaking” news via twitter. generally i know more about a current event from twitter users than from the news.

**this is NOT to say i am uninformed; i generally know what’s going on. but i am not so informed so much of the time and thinking about it constantly. there’s a difference between being informed and inundated.

classy

i watched pres. obama give his farewell speech, and i feel more relaxed about this presidential transition than i have in a while. of course he said the right things the right way, like he always does. he thanked the right people and made them cry (made ME feel a little weepy). despite his occasional stuttering and propensity to say “ta” instead of “to”, he has a way with words to make people feel a little calmer, a little more centered, and a lot more energized.

“I do have one final ask of you as your president―the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago. I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change—but in yours.”

this made me just so happy. it’s why i was drawn to bernie – the fact that americans need to realize THEY have the power. it’s why you call your representatives and make some racket, even if others think you’re a weirdo or you don’t deserve to have a say because they just want to be complacent. being a citizen is not complacency!

if you haven’t seen his speech, i recommend finding it on youtube and giving it a watch. if ain’t nobody got time for that, check out this quote list to get you feeling a little more balanced in life (if you’re like me and have been feeling rather ragey and anxious for a while).

in other news, this flip phone thing is weird. i keep picking it up, expecting it to DO something. i guess you people need to start calling or texting me! things i’ve noticed so far: less facebooking when i’m not at work; less redditing for sure; still use my laptop all the time and keep twitter up. (i watched twitter during the trumpster fire of a press conference this morning, and it wasn’t fun.) still got some work to do, but i’ll get there. 

the 1/5 compromise electoral college

WELP. let’s get political and talk about the electoral college. why? because i THOUGHT i knew why it was in place and actually tended to agree, being a rural person, then i read something that contradicted it, so now i’m out for the TRUTH. in this world of fake news, i’m hoping that katerrific.com can provide you with some facts and more truthiness than trumpiness (read – lies). 

right now, hillary clinton has a popular vote margin of 2.8 million votes. MILLION!! al gore had 500,000 more votes than GW in 2000. GW won by SCOTUS appointment in 2000, and now DT will win by electoral college in 2016. 

at this point, if you live in a less populated state, say, in the rocky mountain region, your vote is one of the most valuable in the country. if you live in a densely populated state on the coasts, your vote is crap. If you live in wyoming, your vote has the same power as about 4.5 new yorkians*. this “everyone’s vote counts”? not true. 

these days, the reasoning behind the electoral college is that if it weren’t in place, candidates wouldn’t pay attention to flyover states and instead do most of their campaigning on the coasts in well-populated areas. 

but is this what the founding fathers had in mind? they couldn’t have predicted the current reach of the country or the populations back when the college was put into place. 

so what were they thinkin’?

well, some wanted congress to elect a president. others wanted a group apportioned to the states’ populations so that there would be no collusion amongst congressmembers. and some wanted a popular vote.

however, there was concern with a popular vote in the southern states due to slavery. they figured the south could have no effect in the election because voting rights were much more extensive in the north (because slaves couldn’t vote; you’d think they’d think that through…). so, in a way, they were concerned about population, just not the one you are currently thinking. 

they set up the electoral college using the 3/5 compromise (which they used to elect population-based congressmembers and figuring taxation).

alexander hamilton’s had a resurgence lately. he thought there were some good things about the electoral college: the electors weren’t federal representatives, so in theory they wouldn’t be able to elect based on party affiliations OR someone influenced by foreign interests. hamilton was also concerned about someone gaining office who was unqualified and more along the lines of “low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity”.

obviously the electoral college has morphed from the 3/5 compromise days, but its unfair representation of people is still has a stronghold. the number of electors a state is allotted equals the total number of congresspeople (number of representatives plus the two senatemembers). the number of representatives states have is kind of wonky, also, and not truly representative of their populations. but that’s another story; we’re talking about the electoral college right now.

we’ve had five presidents elected who’ve lost the popular vote: in 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016. in 1824, no candidate got the minimum number of electoral votes, so the choice went to congress. in 1876, rutherford b. hayes won by ONE electoral vote. in 1888, we have an electoral college situation similar to what we have currently, but with a much, much narrower margin of votes. we all know what happened in 2000 (hanging chads). and now we have a popular vote winner with a margin of nearly 3 million votes losing to the electoral college winner. 

so the current thought is that without the EC, the low-population states wouldn’t get the same attention or representation. guess what – when you think about it, they don’t get a lot of attention as it is. if we’re worried about the general populace not being informed enough to make a logical decision (which the founders were concerned about in the 1700s WHEN THERE WAS NO PERVASIVE INFORMATION DISBURSAL), that is definitely not the case**.

at this point it seems that the EC is so disproportionate that it needs a revisit. when one voter’s say is 1/5 of another voter’s say, that’s worse than the southern states’ 3/5 compromise. our current voting system (and house of representatives) is representing the american people in densely populated states worse than slaves in the 1700s. think about that for a moment. 

that, my friends, is what i would call a degree of disenfranchisement. and what we don’t want to become is a country that stifles its core beliefs of representation. time to get rid of the electoral college† and revisit how the house of representatives is allotted***. 

*http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2012/11/presidential_election_a_map_showing_the_vote_power_of_all_50_states.html

**unless you count fake news, countless lies and promises not intended to be kept, etc. etc. but lack of information or ability to research a candidate is NOT a problem. ability to discern what is correct and is incorrect, probably is.

***another thing low-population states are worried about: not getting the money and support from the federal government they need. i don’t know; at this point, i’d say it’s pretty up in the air who has it better or worse: urban or rural people. besides, urban people contribute WAY more to the tax base than rural areas do because of the number of people. they should, in theory, get more spending, and can get kind of defensive about it. now, i like a decently paved road as much as the next person, but i also know that i spend some time in the cities as well, using their roads. i don’t spend as much time roaming around grand rapids. anyway, that’s also another story. 

†another option could be to allot votes within each state according to whom it voted for. so minnesota’s 10 votes would be like, 6 for clinton and 4 for trump, instead of all 10 for clinton. it would be more in line with the popular vote, and it would allow the third-party candidates to show up on the map and maybe start an insurgence of third-party candidates, which would be really really nice.