The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Monday, November 28, 2016

Life Post 11/9: Don't Criticize Without a Plan

There have been a whole lot of armchair critics in the post 11/9/16  world. It seems that every time someone or some organization offers suggestions on how we can be helpful to one another, somebody rises up with a scalding critique of that attempt. Safety pin wearing comes to mind. It's a simple gesture letting others know you are a safe person to approach if you have a crisis or feel threatened. Simple, direct, understated. One article that followed was so full of abuse and self-hatred it was amazing.

My humble suggestion is to behave in a variation of what your mom and Cowboy Bob used to say, if you don't have a constructive alternative to the suggestion offered, don't say anything at all.

It'll make life as we have to live it now in the U.S. a little more bearable.

Thanks.

Life Post 11/9: 5 Ways to Disrupt Racism



Please watch and internalize these approaches. In the U.S. and Britain after their respective elections, these approaches are absolutely necessary.

Life Post 11/9: Standing Against Hate

Here is a link to a guide from the Southern Poverty Law Center on standing against hate. There have been far too many hate crimes reported since 11/9, with many hateful people feeling empowered since the election. Here are useful ways to counter that hatred. Silence, ducking our heads and rushing by, fearfully doing nothing so as not to draw attention, all of that and more is the equal of saying YES to hate and all the violence that comes with it. Please read and share:

https://www.splcenter.org/20100216/ten-ways-fight-hate-community-response-guide

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Life Post-11/9: If Your Guy Won ... Don't Be a Hypocrite

Grief takes time
Let's all do our part to try to keep some semblance of civility in the Trump era.

If your guy won in the election, good for you. You have a right to feel happy, to feel in some way vindicated, but don't be a hypocrite. Here are a couple simple definitions:
a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs. 
a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements. (Thanks dictionary.com)
Don't ask a great many grieving (yeah, really, actually grieving) American voters who thought their gal would be the better choice to suddenly rally around "our" president, come together, pray for that president, and generally put on the happy face. That's just plain insulting in the light of the last 8 years of history.

Let's try to remember all the Republican obstructionism of everything President Obama tried to do, the YUGE number of times Republicans tried to repeal the ACA (so what is your alternative anyway), the overt and covert racism, the birther movement, all the conspiracy theories, and the great many vile things your guy and a whole lot of followers (I hope not you dear reader) said and did during this most damaging and damnable campaign season. Don't forget the incessant investigations of Hillary Clinton that turned up a grand total of zip, zero, squat, while spending whole wheelbarrow's full of American tax payer dollars for these political witch hunts. 

I could go on and on about the right wing media you all have generated with all its twisted fairly tales about the other side, stories so black even the Brothers Grimm would have flinched away from them. But I won't. In the weeks and months ahead, I'll strive for civility myself. However, I have to be honest with you. If your guy tries to implement the threats he made on all sorts of minorities and on women, I'll be in the streets with the protesters. 

So, really, don't be hypocrites. If this offends you, well, that I can't much help, because I'm not going to feign some attitude you'd find desirable right now. I'm not going to be a hypocrite either. 

I will try to love you and everyone else because I'm a Christian. But as a Christian, sometimes in that love you have to speak truth to power. Let's try for civility, let's try to listen to each other, let's try to find some way to heal together. But, if your guy won, give the rest of us voters time. We really do have to work through our grief ... and grapple with our fear over what this nation is about to become. A lot of us see absolutely no good coming of this election outcome. That IS life in the post 11/9 world.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hair Cut Advice for Balding Men

This is for the guys with thinning hair. Mine's been going for a long time. It's gone from the crown in the back and thinning all across the top. Nope, won't get hair plugs, no wigs, none of that.

From time to time when getting it cut, I tell whoever is doing the job to trim the top and don't leave anything long. I know I'm going bald. I don't want any comb-over hair waving around in the wind like a demented octopus. But, you know, you get tired of saying that and think you're being paranoid, so you stop. Then one windy day, you see the waving hairs.

So, instead of getting mad, I asked the next practitioner of the fine art of hair cuttery if that needs to be said every time. I was given an emphatic yes. Hair cutters don't know how we of the thinning hair crowd feel about our baring heads and so they err on the side of caution and cut long, leaving that dread comb over look.

If you don't want that, take it from the expert I asked, ASK each and every time for them not to leave you with comb-over hair. You'll be glad you did the next time the wind blows.

11/9 What WE Have Done

Well, it's happened. We've elected a populist with no practical experience in governance. I'm not going to try to tell you all the things pundits far more accomplished than myself have said. But, let's look at this. Notice how the Republican politicians in D.C. are rallying around the president elect, even those who spoke out strongly against him. Are they just spineless pols (note the "just")? No. They have learned a powerful lesson. Mr. Trump has a weakness for flattery. So, butter him up now, before he steps into the highest office in the land. Once he's there, manipulate the hell out of him. All these experienced power brokers will eat him for lunch. Like Jimmy Carter (a far more experienced pol, governor of Georgia but with no Washington experience), they will be able to keep him from doing a great deal of what they don't want done and steer him toward what they prefer.

Unfortunately, a great deal of harm will be done during this handling. We have already seen detrimental behavior arise at his rallies, spinning off into communities with toxic effect, bullying and violence, hatred and rage against everyone not just like themselves and who doesn't parrot whatever line currently comes into that sleep-deprived entrepreneurs head. It is a dangerous time.

Mr. Trump doesn't believe in science like I do. He thinks climate change is a hoax. He wishes to burn fossil fuel in ever greater amounts. He could very well become our next gigantic meteor. Way down the chain of evolution, the next sentient race may dig up our remains and find out our extinction was self-inflicted and they can ponder what that means for them ... while some of their own argue with the ancient archaeological record, saying it is just another hoax, and the cycle may repeat until the sun expands in its waning years and burns this place to cinders.

I have a recommendation for everyone who had a sleepless election night, who is in agony following 11/9, who watched Hillary Clinton's concession speech with teary eyes, who lives with burning rage because a child of theirs who has voted for the first time (a daughter let's say) reported late that sleepless night on Facebook, "I see who the next president will be and I'm afraid". Work against the toxic offerings of Mr. Trump. Work to see that the U.S. doesn't lurch far and painfully down a path of inward turning nationalistic xenophobia. And for God's sake and our own, listen to each other. Listen to the voters who supported Donald Trump. Get them in quiet calm rational discussion and LISTEN. Discovery where it hurts for them. Discover how and why they feel ignored or threatened. A great many are not the racists, misogynists, xenophobes we want to dismiss them as. Many are hurting human beings just like us, looking for someone, ANYONE who will listen to their fears and perhaps help them in their struggles.

Let's work together to get through this mess together. We may have to get out of our chairs, out from behind our devices, and march to be heard, to draw positive attention We will have to work for peace and justice and mercy. If we continue to tear at each other, hurling only insults, hating for all we're worth, we don't deserve to be the United States of America anymore. If we cannot come together, we the people, and work together, demanding our pols in D.C. and locally actually pay attention to us and WORK FOR US, we will not be a free people much longer.

That's it.

Oh, by the way, here's one other thing to try: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2016/11/our-job-never-changes.html

Lansdowne Baptist Church: Our Job Never Changes: Sermon for November 6, 2016...

Here's a link to an important message for all who are struggling ... And all who rejoice ... Following the Trump election. I personally challenge you to attempt to live differently based on these two commandments!

Lansdowne Baptist Church: Our Job Never Changes: Sermon for November 6, 2016...: Sermon based on Matthew 22:36-40, the greatest commandments. No matter the situation (even in a contentious election season), Christians ...




Monday, September 26, 2016

Plume Observations at Europa NASA Says

Europa. Courtesy of NASA
At the 2 p.m. news conference today, NASA's team states they believe they have recorded plumes coming intermittently from Europa. The plumes were seen in the infrared spectrum using an instrument of the Hubble Space Telescope to its limits to observe the plumes. They believe the broadband imaging technique has recorded plumes, strongly indicating a subsurface ocean envelopes Europa below miles of ice. What makes this an exciting announcement is that such plumes would allow for an analysis of water coming from the ocean below (and its potential for life) without needing to find a way to burrow through unknown miles worth of ice to reach that ocean.

It's technically exciting, opening up tantalizing possibilities ... but not as exciting as finding a monolith on Europa would be.

For all the details, see: http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-s-hubble-spots-possible-water-plumes-erupting-on-jupiters-moon-europa

Sunday, September 25, 2016

American Baptist Response to Unrest

I'm an American Baptist and proud to be part of the most diverse denomination in the US. In the past few months, the American Baptist Home Mission Societies has taken on some really volatile topics and done it with a great deal of compassion and grace. What you read in their work is the very opposite of what you so often hear in the mostly bungled and often confused reports centering on extremists that are always dredged up when some inflammatory quote is needed with which to tar all of Christianity.

Let the following readings counter some of that nonsense and give you some balm and encouragement in the face of the turmoil we currently face. See: http://abhms.org/resources/publications/christian-citizen/ for a digital magazine, the Christian Citizen, dealing with the current unrest in the U.S.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies also had a powerful response following the Orlando night club shootings: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2016/06/american-baptist-statements-following.html

Surprising Discovery at Europa Says NASA

Europa. Courtesy of NASA
I love this kind of story.

Tomorrow, Monday, September 26, at 2 p.m. NASA will hold a news conference to discuss surprising new finding from the moon Europa with all the water believed to be held in a massive ocean beneath its frozen surface. It is believed that Europa's gravitational interplay with Jupiter keeps the moon warm inside, creating a massive ocean with more water than that covering the earth.

With much hullabaloo upon the initial tease from NASA, they had to come back with a statement that, no, it isn't aliens. No, they haven't received a warning to steer clear of Europa from some alien super race, as in the novel 2010.

What we do know so far is that the Hubble Space Telescope has made some mighty interesting observation of that icy moon, something that may well have to do with better proof of the watery realm below the icy shell. One thing scientists have long said is that where there is liquid water there is likely to be life. We may well be on step closer to finding life outside of our bright and shining earth. Tomorrow we'll know for sure.

If you want to see for yourself what little there is to know today, check out the following: http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-to-hold-media-call-on-evidence-of-surprising-activity-on-europa

We'll return to this subject when the big reveal is made. I expect the information to be more "sciencey" than spectacular ... but you never know.