Whaz Up!

What Was That!?! Premier Edition


Howdy y’all!

That popping sound you heard was me pulling my head out of my ass. I realized I had been moping around doing a lot of pissing and moaning about how busy I was and how tired I was of writing about the same issues day-in-and-day-out — yeah, like I EVER wrote daily — week after week, month after long month stretching into year after year.

It seemed like Ye Olde Blogge has yet to change the world. I tell ya, WordPress has some ‘splainin’ to do. “Start a blog,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said. “You’ll change the world,” they said. Hrmph.!

In addition, real life wasn’t letting up, either. Somehow, I realized, in years past, I had gotten a lot MORE done: I had published two to three posts a week, answered comments, and pimped the blog on social media all the while while keeping up with work and family and fun.

Whaz UP!?! Pros and Cons

Something changed along the way, though. One of the things was the Whaz Up!?! column.

Pros
  • Letting folks know what I was up to
  • Pimping other blogs
  • Paying the link backs forward

Those were all net pluses. Also, I could see how many people were actually reading the post as opposed to when I was just putting a blurb in the right hand menu.

cons

It started to feel oppressive after a while and seemed to come to be the main thing I was posting. I got to where I didn’t like it. It was harshing my mellow as the kids say.

By making it a weekly column, it just came to dominate the blog and wasn’t focused on the main things that I really wanted to talk about.

So, here’s the first installment of the fortnightly (or so) new regularly irregular column.

What Was That?

Other than making some blogging decisions, I’ve been busy busy busy. We’ve report cards coming out, so getting everything graded and entered into the new fangled digital cloud-based class and school management program took up way more time and caused way more consternation — and profanity, which isn’t always a bad thing — than when we kicked it old school and kept a ledger book of attendance and grades and filled out a paper report card.

We also had parent teacher conferences, which are always fun, and I mean that… sincerely. Stop sniggering, you. I like meeting parents and talking about their kids and how they’re doing. You learn so much about your students and their families that way. Believe me, you’ve got an “Ah ha!” moment for each one.

We had our school’s open house day where parents visited, students performed, food was served, and the faculty demonstrated our various and sundry academic abilities. In other words, we spent hours in the heat doing and saying the same things over and over again while parents were barely entertained. In all it was a good event. It went smoothly. There were interesting things going on all over the school. Here’s hoping it wasn’t a super spreader event.

We’ve been trying to get La Petite Fille to complete her assignments for school so they can be graded. I could be a dentist for all the effort it has taken. The closer to graduation we get, the more resistance there is. We’ll have formed a blackhole by June at this rate.

We have a friend visiting from out of town, so I might could just do some intracountry travel with him. That could be fun, but also take me away from the blog. You know busy stuff.

Pimped Blogs

These are folks that have done me the honor of linking to my blog posts. I’ve enjoyed visiting their blogs and reading their stuff. You should do. And, leave a sign of life while you’re there. Every blogger appreciates it.

  • UNSCREWING THE POLLS. BobCabKing’s Scrappings of the Day segment is a daily fragment of a column that I could get behind. There is just so much out there. Take this one, accessing people using their favored communication method, i.e. texting, just might could give more accurate results than every other method. Can’t wait to hear Nate Silver whine about this! (Of Cabbages and Kings).
  • ICYMI Tengrain runs a piece about our fAvOrItE senator, Joe Mansion telling Fortune 500 CEO’s that Medicare, Social Security, and other safety net programs are going broke and dragging us under and need to be “fixed.” I guess, the fix is in unless we can increase the Senate majority by two and keep the House. (Mock Paper Scissors)
  • SAME BUT DIFFERENT! There’s lots of talk of fascism coming to America, but what will America be like under fascism? Fascinating question because for white Americans, it won’t be very different… just less diverse, but who’s going to notice that, amirite? (Homeless on the High Desert)
  • NOT GOOD PERSONAL NEWS is happening over at friend-of-the-blog’s Burr Deming’s blog. Spare him a thought and a prayer if you have any to spare. (Fair and Unbalanced)
  • JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE… to go back to the Antarctic, ANOTHER gay penguin couple has adopted ANOTHER orphaned penguin chick to raise. Maybe, God isn’t homophobic afterall. (Scottie’s Playtime)
  • CASTRATE THE COUNTRY, get fired! That’s what happened to MSNBC’s Tiffany Cross, when she suggested cutting off America’s dick, Florida-De Santis-Trump-Lidl’ Marco et al. take your pick for America’s dick. Talk about cutting off your dick despite your face. Mike’s Blog Roundup is being curated by driftglass. (Crooks and Liars)
  • UM… UH… BOO? It’s a spooktacular round up of spooky meme’s! (Infidel 753)
Huzzah!
Jack

Image Attribution

Starting line” by Jon_Marshall is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Categories: Whaz Up!

Tagged as: , , , , , ,

46 replies »

  1. Just took a long walk with a teacher friend who I hadn’t seen since August. She’d texted me saying she barely made it through October. Whatever that meant, it couldn’t have been good so I invited her on a walk. She’s fine but said It’s been rough dealing with a student population that got hit hard by various hardships and lack of socialization during the pandemic. Teachers have been on the front lines dealing with a wounded population and they are still dealing with the aftermath of two years of stunted development. Just wondering if part of your lack of motivation stems from this. However, don’t forget that we all have our ups and downs. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Carol!

      Last year, I was exhausted from all the stress. I had a very restful summer in Paris — Thanks for the tip, by the way. We loved it! I thought I was more than ready for this year, but everyday is just exhausting. Some of it, a lot of it? is the amount that the kids don’t know that they should’ve learned in previous years. For example, I had to teach my 6th grade science class to measure with a meter stick and even what a meter is. The kids’ social behaviors are worse.

      Social media has caused us to lose some of our face-to-face social skills, like turn taking in conversation. These kids have lost their classroom skills. They don’t know how to talk to each other, to me, or how to behave in a class. Trying to model and teach and manage all of it has been exhausting.

      Hopefully, it will be getting better as we go. Hopefully, it will be like riding a bicycle or speaking a foreign language, most of it comes back once you try it again.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the shout out. Doing the SCRAPINGS posts, I’ve noticed something in the science and even more so, the sociology/psychology sites with the “Gee Whiz!” studies items. I look at the headlines and go, “DUH, y’all just noticed that?”. We are at the mercy of publish or perish in the world of those who aspire to tenured professorships. Ask a question to which you already mostly know the answer intuitively, and design a study to prove it. I find myself hoping for more counter-intuitive results.

    It is kind of a radical idea for a pollster to go where the voters are hanging out rather than insist that the voters come to them where they hang out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!

      The publish or perish world does not make for good science. We need to hear about what didn’t work and why just as much as we need to hear about what did work. And, as ridiculous as it sounds, we need to verify that our intuitions are right about how things work. Intuition has been hit and miss with its accuracy. Sometimes old wives’ tales are right, and sometimes they aren’t. But, staking careers on it all, makes it too high stakes and too tempting to cut corners, ignore important less glamorous areas of study, and focus only on that which gets funded.

      Reading Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight tells me that pollsters have been working hard at figuring out how to sample the population better and more accurately. Cell phones, social media, and active avoidance of pollsters have all made it harder to do.

      Here’s to hoping that the polls are all wrong.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

      • Some of the polls are sure to be wrong. The question is which ones. And we can also expect that virtually every election at every level which a Republican has lost will be challenged and we will enter the season of recounts, audits, and threats.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s just the thing isn’t it? It won’t be over even if the Dems route the Reps in ’22. Dark money funding all of the campaigns, law suits, organizations, and astroturf groups will keep the threat hanging around.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’ve been wondering how many Republican candidates who ran on The Big Lie because otherwise they would have lost the primary, even though they knew it was not true will just go ahead and concede if they lose. Of course, if they do, they will have to find a new political home, like Liz Cheney.

            Liked by 1 person

            • There must be two classes of Republicans now. One class who spouts the Big Lie and all of the grievances, but knows it is all bullshit. And, the other who spouts the Big Lie and all of the grievances, but believes it and is angry about it all. One is shrinking and the other is growing, I’m afraid.

              Jack

              Liked by 1 person

                  • I am noticing that we are hearing little talk of stolen elections (other than some of the MAGA hard core in Arizona). Trump himself put a lid on it by saying not to blame him for some of his endorseees losing. That’s no surprise. He only cares about one election, his own. He will still announce he’s running soon. He can’t not. The question is when DeSantis will announce. Once he does, that fight will get very, very nasty, very very fast. I think part of what we see in this election is wide spread Trump fatigue. Outside of the MAGA core, many people are just tired of him and his drama. DeSantis and others see it and the opportunity.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      I saw somewhere on social media that he was blaming Melania for pushing Oz on to him. This whole year has been a complete and utter disaster for Trump. His legal troubles are coming home in droves to roost. DeSantis just keeps getting stronger. And, the election was a disaster that the Repubes are happy to blame on him (It was partly him for foisting such horrific candidates onto them just to satisfy his contrarian ego, but it’s really the Republicans’ fault for letting him, just like’s been from the beginning.)

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The speciality of the narcissist is blaming someone else for their failures. I read where Trump may have said to a reporter, “If Republicans win, it is because of me, but if they lose, it’s not my fault,” or something to that effect. If it is true.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I saw that report too. It is entirely believable. Reports of the chatter among the GOP are that it is not being well received. I think it is sure to show up in campaign adds from DeSantis once he announces his run for ’24.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      Trump’s value added to the GOP stock was two-fold: (1) bring in new voters and (2) normalize anti-democratic beliefs and behaviors. He did both of them. However, now, the anti-democratic fervor on the right is pretty widespread, he’s not needed to bust those norms. And, he hasn’t been able to bring in enough voters to win an election since 2016. That’s three elections where the Republicans have lost nationally and now one where they’ve had substantial set backs at the state and local level. Right about now the power players are asking themselves what he is good for.

                      The problem is while he can’t add much value, he can take away a lot of value. It remains to be seen whether DeSantis or any of the other wannabe pretenders to his throne can maintain or grow the base.

                      In some ways this last election saw the GOPs worse nightmare come to life. Dems won with a coalition of PoC, women, liberals, and youth votes. There were substantial wins at statewide offices for Dems. None of the anti-democratic secretaries of state won and many of the Big Lie proponents lost. Only a few incumbents won. I don’t think a single Big Lie spouting challenger won.

                      This is the demographic change that Republicans have been scaring each other with for decades. Their gerrymandering and voter suppression only worked in a few states and then not completely provided that Warnock wins in Georgia.

                      While 57% of white people voted Republican nationwide, we can begin to see that the rising tide of demographic change is reshaping that political landscape.

                      It’s probably the most optimistic I’ve been in a long time.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • After 2008, the GOP did that postmortem pointing to the need to adapt to the demographic change. The party base went the other way when the saw a black face in the White House. If the Democrats can hold the line or make more gains in ’24, the GOP will have to cut the MAGAs loose, or the (relatively) sane conservatives will need their own party.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      The demographics will eventually swamp them as long as elections are actually fair. Thus, their desperation to destroy democracy and usher in a single party pseudo democracy. I’m listening to Rachel Maddows’ “Ultra” podcast about the American Nazis of the 1940s making a serious run at overthrowing the government. It sounds amazingly like our present day situation. The rhetoric. The tactics. The goals. The personalities. The motivations. The foreign influence.

                      I hope we can push this one back just like we did then. It just goes to show that we’ll never be free of those with the impulse to establish an authoritarian regime.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The authoritarian urge has a long history. In fact, the record of it comprises most of written history. And whenever an identity group feels threatened who have resources, it is irresistible for some to make the try.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      It probably is in the nature of authoritarianism to seek to divide and oppress. Authoritarianism probably attracts a disproportionate percentage of dark tetrad personalities, which means exploitation of others to get to personal ends.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I think so. The dark personalities are clearly drawn to authoritarian ideas. It applies not only in politics, but also in business and personal relationships. A current example is Elon Musk’s behavior at Twitter.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • My take on Elon Musk is that he’s bipolar. He probably has more than a few Dark Tetrad personality characteristics, but there is evidence in his behavior, remarks, decision making that suggest he is manic right now. All of those rash and reckless decisions that are causing real harm to his $40 billion dollar investment that threaten to bring down his entire enterprise really strongly suggest mania.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • He’s narcissistic enough to believe that he doesn’t need help and that he really is special. He’s psychopathic enough to be free from empathy an guilt. And, he’s sadistic enough to enjoy fucking up people’s lives.

                      What a great combo.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yep, and mania just amps up all of that, especially shutting down any self-reflection that he might be making any mistake. Of course, this deal suffers the basic problem of any leveraged buyout, the need to somehow make the taken business which was available due to low profit margins, pay the debt taken on to do the deal. There are reports that the banks (some of the biggest) that loaned the $13B are selling the loans for as much as a 60% discount. That is not a vote of confidence.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      The whole thing really does stink and begs the question of regulation of social media. We have not even begun to get sufficient safeguards in place for all of the harms that social media can cause. Twitter was unique because it gave much more direct access to people who had accounts. You can potentially directly interact with POTUS or movie stars or reporters and media organizations. It was much more personal transmission of opinion and thoughts than most any other social media platform that I’ve been on. It also was a very effective organizing tool for communities.

                      So, Musk’s gutting of Twitter seems much more calculated and possibly conspiratorial (at least in his own manic delusions) attempt to rid the rightwing and their authoritarian move of a potential obstacle.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Twitter has been a double edged sword politically. On one side, giving populist authoritarians (Trump) and purveyors of disinformation a direct channel to the ears of many, and on the other side, facilitating organizing and movement building for anti-authoritarians. The question arises whether it is possible to have one without the other. And, in whose hands would regulation be put to define the harms to be mitigated and benefits to be encouraged?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Part of the Twitter story is the banning of accounts like Trump’s and MTG’s who propagated mis~ and disinformation. And, labeling other erroneous content as erroneous. It isn’t a perfect rebuttal to the disinformation of our times, but it helped. It wasn’t completely under control, but it was better. Now, it is just running wild and free, so everyone on Twitter is at the mercy of trolls and bots.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • And, what happens on Twitter doesn’t stay on Twitter, especially when it is said there by someone seen as newsworthy.

                      The free speech absolutist, which Musk claims to be, believes that in a perfectly free market of ideas, the best ideas will prevail. He forgets or ignores, or probably doesn’t understand, that an exciting story can generally win over boring facts and critical thinking. And, there is the question of which ideas he thinks are the best ones.

                      Musk is an engineer, which is not greatly different from being an architect like the fictional John Galt.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      But there isn’t a free market of ideas. Too many cognitive shortcuts involved. If there were a free market of ideas in which only the most accurate and functional would win out, we would never have had Nazi Germany, for example. Just like economists assuming people are wholly rational in their spending decisions, such an assumption cannot predict behavior because it is predicated wrongly.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Exactly. The incentives built into most of our social media system favors the immediate emotional response, and against the pause between that reaction and action (the click, the like, the emoji, the share) that allows critical thinking. The market of ideas becomes a market of emotional triggers.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I can’t believe that someone in Musk’s position doesn’t realize the disingenuousness of what he’s saying. He should know that it is a free market of emotional triggers and little else. We should also be taking steps to protecting ourselves from it, but, of course, because it serves the personal interests of a few, we are not.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • When it is ideology versus facts, particularly in the case of the beliefs of a mind bogglingly rich narcissist, facts lose. And, he is a engineer, not a behavioral economist, and he doesn’t care. As long as the social media are making their profits from selling advertising based on clicks and keeping people on the platform for as many hours a day as possible, and selling the data of those people, they will not change. If Musk manages to utterly destroy Twitter, there might be some small hope of change, but not much. The usual way to reign in a dysfunctional market is government regulation, but governments regulate according to their needs and beliefs. Those most interested in regulating content on social media are, of course, authoritarian.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Most people will see Musk’s destruction of Twitter as a one-off caused by the obsessions and delusions of one man, not as a problem that the entire industry faces. Given the amount of dark money influence in our government, we shouldn’t expect our government to take action anytime soon.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • We see the pattern again and again, about social media, gun violence, racism, etc.. Focusing on the individual actor or incident hides the systemic problem, especially when most people are not trained to think systemically.

                      Then, as regards characters like Musk, I’ve been wondering, if a microorganism like toxcoplasmosis can do this to a wolf, how might that common infection affect another social species forming hierarchical social systems with a focus on male leadership?
                      https://www.npr.org/2022/11/27/1139307778/what-makes-a-wolf-leader-of-the-pack-new-research-says-its-parasites-in-the-brai

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      This isn’t the first time Toxoplasma gondii has been implicated in affecting the host’s behavior. It seems like it has been suggested as a source of schizophrenia and reckless behavior in people and fool-hardy brash behavior in rats when exposed to cats. I could see the role of recklessness making it more likely that a wolf would become an alpha. It could also have a foolhardy affect on someone like Musk, too. One thing about Musk, he’s obviously being someone’s useful idiot.

                      I think our reverence for rugged individualism casts any systemic problems in a dark shadow making them difficult to focus on and illuminate. We are instinctively drawn to individual causes and characteristics.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Historians and critics of historians have gone around and around for centuries with the questions whether the men (the “Great Men”) make the times or the time make the men. Our Western and particularly American individualism keeps our attention on the shiny objects of leaders and celebrities. The systemic view is difficult and requires critical thinking about the small patterns in population level behavior that express larger patterns. That is why Critical Race Theory is an academic graduate school subject, not a grade school one. Systemic understanding is mental work. Celebrity news addiction isn’t.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Thinking is hard, so halo affect and follow the leader politics. We are living through a time where we are devoid of Great Men, Obama and Biden, aside. Neither are great visionaries. They both have or are accomplishing a lot and more than either currently get credit for. Neither, however, really have risen to the occasion and captivated the imagination and enthusiasm of the public. Although, had there not been term limits in place, Obama woulda probably been a four term president kinda like FDR.

                      We don’t see anyone waiting in the wings to take over the leadership of the Democratic party. There are younger politicians out there, but none of them seem to have the vision necessary to really move the needle and change the times we live in.

                      It is even more true of the Republican party. No one seems to have a clue on how to proceed or what needs to be done in our current situation.

                      If ever there was a time we needed leadership, it is now. No one seems to be stepping up to the plate, though.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The combination of the24 hour news cycle and the clicks economy of social media works against any consistent presentation of a real vision. Add in to that our short election cycles, and you get politicians who are chasing the shiny object of the moment to “stay relevant” (i.e., get on the Sunday talk shows). And having political parties insisting on “party unity” leads straight to “I always voted at my party’s call. I never thought of thinking for myself at all.”

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Party unity is a step on the slippery slope to groupthink which is the root of the problem in the Republican Party. The suppression of dissent is one of worst things about our current news organization. What was that PBS show where they had a conservative and liberal pundit arguing? Crossfire? Anywho, at least a show like that aired both sides of an issue and required the pundits to be at least somewhat factual. It lost out to the increasingly partisan offerings of Fox and MSNBC.

                      If we learned one thing from Brexit, it was that just because a decision was made democratically doesn’t mean it was a good choice to make.

                      Jack

                      Like

  3. Jeez, again it wasn’t me. Another Thom.

    Yeah, I’ve been pretty overwhelmed of late with “why am I trying to save the world when nobody gives a flying fig?” About me or the world; and who am I to think I could save it?

    Who knows, maybe in a million years the next species to arise will mine the layer of asphault, copper pipe and fiberglass cigarette butts of some kind of atmospheric disruptive fuel and perpetuate the cycle. Maybe it’s a naturally occurring part of the life of the planet, have to shake the fleas every now and again.

    Oh, right … the NAZIs. I joke about my math troubles, they are nothing compared to others’, but it is pretty obvious we are on a cusp, whatever happens this week will decide quite probably the remaining course of humanity.

    Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Ten Bears!

      I KNOW it wasn’t you. It was a video of Thom Hartmann. You linked to it, so I linked to your link of it.

      I had seen a Kurzgesagt video on the possibility of ancient civilizations existing on Earth millennia and millennia in the future. Future civilizations looking back at us will see an intense carbon layer out of sync with everything else, for example. But, past civilizations may be harder to detect since the geological record only goes back so far. The entirety of the Earth’s crust has been subsumed into the interior several times since the inception of the Earth, destroying all evidence of whatever existed then. It’s an interesting conundrum. I’ll leave the link in the PS.

      That this election will determine the fate of humanity is probably lost on the vast majority of Americans and the world’s populace. Unfortunately, even if Dems win, the risk isn’t over. If we lose, though, it definitely is over. There won’t be any coming back from it for generations.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      PS “Are There Lost Civilizations in our Past?” https://youtu.be/KRvv0QdruMQ

      Like

Howdy Y'all! Come on in, pardner! Join this here conversation! I would love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.