Writer by trade. I makes da words purdy.
My #meetHubski interview is here.
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If you enjoyed that, I think you would really enjoy City of Oranges written by my friend Adam.
In it, he goes to the city of Jaffa, and speaks to Christian, Jewish, and Muslim families that have lived in Jaffa since before Israel became a state.
He then represents each of their perspectives, perfectly even-handedly, and lets the people speak for themselves of the city and community they remember, and how it has changed.
Better than anything else, it shows the deep divisions that separate these people, but - at the same time - how close they are, as well. The whole of the Middle East, summed up by three families in one small town...
I had the realization that the comix I was having such a hard time finding (Brian Wood's "DMZ" series, issues 7-12) were probably available online, and I had a shiny new iPad, so... BAM. I downloaded them.
And then I walked into a record store on Tuesday... and bought two books. Chrissie Hynde's autobiography, and a bio of Motorhead that seems to have some new stuff in it.
I also picked up all of my friend Adam LeBor's spy series, and my other friend Olen Steinhauer's spy books, too. They were both good friends of mine back in Budapest, who were working on their first books at the same time. (Olen also has a TV series in production with some big names in it...)
The WPA Program was kinda like this. And many countries have compulsory military service.
I think every American should spend maybe 18-20 in public service, and earn a basic wage. Let them go crazy when the crazy is most crazy, and make them do good honest work for their fellow man.
Then let them loose in the workforce, better human beings.
- ...the masks aren't really necessary...
Even more importantly, everyone NOT wearing a mask can see everyone who IS wearing a mask. Rooms becomes WAY more interesting when you aren't "performing", and just being genuine, because then you can watch everyone else performing.
Which is really everyone just announcing their own insecurities at the top of their lungs. Like monkeys in a cage, man...
- What is it precisely that makes you stand out as the owner of the venue?
My guess is that it is my comfortable "air", or posture. That I'm just chilling. Not "performing" or putting on an act. That's generally the sign that someone owns the joint, and is just enjoying watching people interact in their space.
At least that's my guess...
I've been noodling these ideas for a while now, as a dude rapidly approaching 50.
Up until my mid-30's, or so, I had to constantly be surrounded by noise and action. I was so afraid of being alone with myself that I constantly sought out Things To Do, and packed my schedule with All The Things.
In my early 40's I experienced a realization that I had been a bad relationship partner due to this failure to look inside. So I spent basically a year alone, with myself, learning about me. Probing my thoughts. My life patterns.
And I found it.
One week I went from being panicked about having "nothing to do", to simply being at peace with myself, and enjoying time alone. No music. No TV. No distractions. Just me, being with me.
And I gotta tell ya... a calm came over me that was deeply profound. And it is something I can still tap in to at a moment's notice. I can simply shut down all the noise and chatter, and just BE. Absorb the world. Breathe. Be comfortable.
The results have been interesting... I have friends, many of them, but I don't spend much time with them. But when we do spend time together, it is rejuvenating. We may do nothing other than sit and chat and watch the sun set... but both of us will find a deep inner calm we needed, and got in each others' presence.
I also find that people now assume I own every venue I am standing in. If I go to a bar, or a party, or a fundraiser, or a restaurant, or any sort of gathering, people will mistake me for the organizer/owner. "Hi, I'm Marcy. Is this your place?" or some other similar comment will be made to me by multiple people throughout the event.
There is something about someone who is fully present, and not "performing", that makes people think you own the place.
It is truly weird.
As my wife and I have "nested" in our house, and messed about a bit with the garden, and gotten into a good CSA that delivers us fresh food to cook every week, I find myself happier and happier to simply sit in a chair in my back yard, and look up at my Douglas Fir tree, and simply BE.
(Note: I do also go to live shows, like on Saturday, and drink far too much with old friends from elementary school who I haven't seen in years, and I have a fantastic time there, too. So I don't think this is a repudiation of other people's lifestyles, or anything, it is simply me finding my "comfortable place" in any situation, because I am comfortable in my own skin. I think. I dunno...?)
Friends are great. Being your own friend is an inexpressible joy.
This man, in cahoots with Rupert Murdoch, have created the shitty news and political environment we have in America today.
And this was their GOAL.
It wasn't an unintended consequence of their good intentions.
They started with this decades-long plan, and tirelessly executed on it, turning Americans against each other solely for profit and the power to manipulate and destroy our Constitution.
Slobodan Milosevic did this to Yugoslavia, simply by pitting neighbors against each other. He died in The Hague while on trial for war crimes for his actions.
Ailes and Murdoch are celebrated by the Republican Party.
The party that has destroyed America.
Oh... and when they increase your debt right at the time you are least able to pay it (when you are unemployed)?
Yeah. Bankruptcy doesn't help.
Sallie Mae has protected student debt from bankruptcy protection. So even if you go bankrupt (I have many friends who have), the day after you get out of court, having lost all of your belongings and job... there's a bill from SallieMae for your student loan payment in the mailbox.
Due in 30 days.
Welllll... the problem is that the ISPs will build systems to collect the data NOW. By the time a new administration comes in, they will have enough data to profile you for the next 10 years, if not for life.
And if you think they will turn off these capabilities in the future... yeah... that's not gonna happen. They will say that they are not tracking that information, but they will. And they will just use it in sneakier ways.
I know this because I was a sysadmin for email systems for the Federal Government.
Client: "Can you read my email?"
Me: "No." (lying)
Thanks for the compliment, but my situation is not at all unique in my peer group. Most people I know are still making student loan payments, actually. People making six figures.
For me the situation is a bit different, since I didn't actually go to college until my late 30's. Then realized I hated the industry, and went off and started my own business, and then the economy tanked, and I defaulted for years and ... yeah. It went on and on and on.
The student loan payment system is designed to make it difficult to pay off. If you over pay, they play games with the extra money, instead of applying it to the principal. If you lose your job and miss a few payments, they sell your debt to a debt collector (who is actually the same company, just a different office) and add thousands of dollars to the principal, effectively increasing your debt right at the time when you can't pay.
Eventually, their games break your will to fight, and you just pay your monthly payment via auto-pay, which is designed to ensure the loan lasts far longer than it needs to.
So, say $200/mo leaves your account automatically on the 15th of every month, and will until you are well into your 60's. Possibly longer.
There are two types of people who get their student loans paid off quickly: Those who come into some sort of cash windfall (death of a relative, or whatever), and those who monomaniacally focus on learning every detail of the byzantine internal operations of SallieMae (or whatever the company is called nowadays) and pore over every single monthly statement and bill, and make regular calls to the company customer service department demanding that the extra payment they made gets applied to the principal and not the interest, and ... it tires me just to think about it.
Pissing away a couple hundred bucks a month on a shady bunch of fucksticks empowered by the Federal Government and the politicians that despise you, is all part of becoming an adult.
Hip Hop Evolution is an excellent dive into the foundation of hip hop, and how it became a Thing.
From Cool Herc's original party, right up to Fear Of A Black Planet, this series is fascinating.
It also nails my favorite period of rap, so I was singing along with everything they played! My wife stared at me wide-eyed through most of it...