I took some of the worst photos I’ve ever taken in my life at the kids’ graduation this weekend. It was a time of celebration for everyone.
Nhi, Kevin and David all went to prom this year. It was so exciting that it crossed over into “boring” territory.
Easter weekend, we went up to Madison and did all that biz from the last post. We also went to House on The Rock on the way home and had an awesome time. Here are the photos from that!
Ten years ago, I started teaching these little assholes and now they’re all big assholes.
This Easter weekend we drove up to Madison to take in the town for a day and a night. We then went to the House on the Rock, which is definitely in my top five places in the world to go. We had a lot of fun in Madison; it’s a really cool town. It’s sort of what Iowa City is reaching for (and not anywhere near grasping). Madison is clean, easy to get around and has a really nice human scale. It could live in Madison, not that they’d let me. Behold! Photographic evidence:
Here are some images I took of Kevin playing soccer. They are exactly as exciting as they sound.
If there’s anything we can all agree on, it’s that the American system is rigged. It’s rigged to suppress white conservatives, it’s rigged for the rich, it’s rigged to disenfranchise the left-leaning will of the majority, it’s rigged to crush minorities; whatever you believe, we are all of a mind that there’s some dirty pool afoot.
So, in the name of fraternity, let us do something we all agree on. Let us, as a single nation, rejigger the rigging so the majority of our country benefits. Tip the scales to swell near every sail, right? Since the majority of Americans believe that the current state of things in America favors the wealthy* and Americans want the rich to pay more in taxes**, let’s take back what has been robbed from us with a fountain pen*** and make sure that if things are unfair, they’re unfair to the smallest number of people possible: the wealthy. Make sure that things are rigged for the majority of Americans to prosper and succeed!
A quick example: the top five high-paid CEOs in America make nearly half a billion dollars+. Averaged out, each of these dudes makes about $50,000 per hour. Half a million Americans are homeless. That’s not fair. Charity and soup kitchens don’t help the homeless; homes help the homeless*+*. Every dollar anyone makes over a million could be taxed at 70%. That can be redistributed into housing the homeless across all of America.
To reiterate and wrap-up: things are already unfair. Let’s make them unfair to the benefit of the largest number we can.
***Woody Guthrie, et al 1939
Don’t believe the rich. Never.
If someone imagines you as cattle and only regards you when they’re hungry, they are not to be trusted.
In America, authority issues from the well-spring of perceived success. I think it’s important to look where a person’s success came from and then judge their authority based on that. Someone famous for being smart can be relied on for things relying solely on intelligence. Someone successful within a particular field can be considered a source of information for things pertaining to that field. A climate scientist can be relied upon as an authority on climate. A medical researcher can be considered an authority on matters related to medicine or health.
We must, as Americans, be wary of the rich whenever they are relied upon as authorities for anything. Ever. People do not acquire and keep wealth by being good, kind, just or smart. They acquire wealth through luck, ruthlessness and cruelty. They keep their wealth via savage callousness.
Just think about Lee Iacocca pitching NAFTA in the famous commercials he did in the 90s. He was drafted by Clinton as a spokesman for the controversial trade deal and Americans bought it because of his expertise as a rich guy. NAFTA may have benefited the US on whole, but if anyone was swayed by Lee’s smokescreen, they were swayed irrationally and against their own interest by the assumption that Lee wouldn’t do something that put his business before American’s interests and the interests of American citizens. Rich people will always place the security of their wealth and profit before America or any other country. Lee Iacocca isn’t a patriot. He’s a capitalist. He has no nation. He has no loyalty. He has profit and his personal well-being. He’s a monster. And yet, America was comforted by his advice instead of suspicious. Never forget the knife the butcher is holding. Never forget that they regard you as a resource for them to chop up at will.
Hundreds of years ago, when Steve Jobs was alive, people waited with panicked anticipation for his regular revelations regarding Apple products. We seemed to forget that he was a con-man pitching a product. Messiah Steve Jobs burned so brightly that Huckster Steve Jobs was barely visible. Everything Steve Jobs said was magical and the gifts he gave us every year were so remarkable, it seemed he was doing us a favor by letting us pay him. He sold bullshit. He sold an image. He sold the same garbage repackaged every year or two without regard for the damage it did to the world, without regard to what the cost of maintaining an image was for the consumer, without regard to maintaining value for the purchases customers had already made. Steve Jobs didn’t give a single shit about anything or anyone; he was a liar and a thief. He was a cruel taskmaster and a marketer whose only goal was to move units. What the units were, where they came from or how much suffering they caused were either ignored or left unconsidered. Yet, we regarded him as an expert! He was a helper! He was a businessperson whom we looked up to; whom we aspired to be! Just think of that: children grew up thinking that the illusion he projected was real and modeled themselves after this monster. All over the world, people pined for his mighty wisdom and burned to emulate him in their field. Steve Jobs was not an expert on lifestyle, human endeavor or style, however. He was not good or kind. He should never have had authority outside of selling crap, because that’s what he did.
We forgot that Lee Iacocca and Steve Jobs were salesmen. Salesmen. We gave them authority over things well outside their purview. We lauded them as worthy of our affection and attention. They grasped the reigns of our minds and we let them.
Rich people are not good people. They are no more likely to be just than a camel is to slip through the eye of a needle. When a rich person is trying to convince you of anything, it should immediately put you on high alert. How did they get their expertise in climate, the environment or anything else they’re claiming? Why do they want this? How will this benefit them? How could this end up fucking me over? Why, if they are rich, are they pretending to give a shit about me?
It’s high time we stopped listening to the people giving us the disease and selling us the medicine.
So, Vy and I went down to Austin for a friend’s wedding. It was the same time as Spring Break, so we drug the kids along. These are photos of that dragging.
Picture this: the middle of summer 2018; it’s hot and cold all over; weather is happening from coast to coast; things are not occurring and happening everywhere; two adult men are making their way across the contiguous US while trying to maintain dignity and a positive working relationship.
Alternatively, you could picture SCB and James making their way through the barren American tundra of existential desolation and conservatism while the Britisher of the two politely doesn’t laugh at the Americaner of the two’s fart jokes.