The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Maybe we should build a wall?

The Argentine national football team is messing with us in this hilarious promotion:

TPM explains:

“They’re coming from South America. These are total killers. These are not the nice, sweet, little people that you’d think, okay?" Trump continues. "We have no protection, anybody can come in. It’s very easy and it shouldn’t be that way. We need to build a wall and it has to be built quickly.”

Trump's comments about a border wall play over clips of Argentine soccer players scoring a goal and cutting past a defender.

The promo closes with the caption: "The truth is the best they can do is not let us in."

Heh.

I mean, it's only funny until someone loses an election.

Presidential decisions

Five years ago yesterday, President Obama announced to the world that U.S. forces had captured and killed Osama bin Laden. Earlier that night, after making one of the biggest decisions of his presidency, he did this:

Back in September, New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik made the same observation:

What was really memorable about the event, though, was Trump’s response. Seated a few tables away from us magazine scribes, Trump’s humiliation was as absolute, and as visible, as any I have ever seen: his head set in place, like a man in a pillory, he barely moved or altered his expression as wave after wave of laughter struck him. There was not a trace of feigning good humor about him, not an ounce of the normal politician’s, or American regular guy’s “Hey, good one on me!” attitude—that thick-skinned cheerfulness that almost all American public people learn, however painfully, to cultivate. No head bobbing or hand-clapping or chin-shaking or sheepish grinning—he sat perfectly still, chin tight, in locked, unmovable rage. If he had not just embarked on so ugly an exercise in pure racism, one might almost have felt sorry for him.

Then, this weekend, Andrew Sullivan said that the U.S. has never been so ripe for tyranny. I haven't digested his article yet, and I'm probably more optimistic than he, but all of these things are related.

But hey, if you think Donald Trump has the temperament and nuance to be president, you go right ahead and vote for him.

A-Z Blogging Challenge

I didn't participate in the challenge this year, but one of my favorite bloggers, Deeply Trivial, did:

I think the biggest indicator of success, for me, is that I didn't miss a scheduled blog post. There were days when the post came really late, and on those days, I seriously considered just waiting until tomorrow and writing two posts, or just moving a post to a Sunday. But I made myself do it, and it worked. I guess I should apply that same perseverance to other things in my life.

Some lessons learned that I'll applying for the next blog challenge:

  1. Having a theme was a huge help! I can't imagine having to come up with 26 topics on the fly.
  2. Relatedly, writing up a schedule with each topic already identified before April was an even bigger help. I think the problem I encounter with blogging regularly is coming up with a good topic, and I tend to depend too heavily on momentary inspiration to put together a blog post. It might be a good idea to identify certain topics I'd like to cover, and perhaps tie them to certain days or times of year.
  3. I should have written more of my posts ahead of time. Though I did a little of this, most days, I wrote the blog post the day it was supposed to be up, or at most one day in advance. This created a bit of a time crunch. Once I finally did start writing, it was easy to keep the momentum going - I just usually didn't have the time because I had to squeeze writing in between other tasks. Having an evening I devote to writing a few posts wouldn't be too hard if I just make a writing schedule and stick to it.

All good habits in blogging.

They have to be monsters

Jeff Atwood blogged yesterday about the emotional abuse people heap on others over the Internet:

I admired the way Stephanie Wittels Wachs actually engaged with the person who left that awful comment. This is a man who has two children of his own, and should be no stranger to the kind of pain involved in a child's death. And yet he felt the need to post the word "Junkie" in reply to a mother's anguish over losing her child to drug addiction.

Isn’t this what empathy is? Putting myself in someone else’s shoes with the knowledge and awareness that I, too, am human and, therefore, susceptible to this tragedy or any number of tragedies along the way?

Most would simply delete the comment, block the user, and walk away. Totally defensible. But she didn't. She takes the time and effort to attempt to understand this person who is abusing her mother, to reach them, to connect, to demonstrate the very empathy this man appears incapable of.

As one Twitter user said, "falling in love, breaking into a bank, bringing down the govt…they all look the same right now: they look like typing."

CJ Cregg returns to the White House

Well, not really; but this is worth a view.

NPR explains:

Posing as her character C.J. Cregg, who was the press secretary in the critically acclaimed show that ran from 1999 until 2006, actress Allison Janney took a surprise turn on the podium to the delight and surprise of the real White House press corps.

Janney ended the spoof by revealing the real reason she was at the White House: to talk about opioid addiction and what was being done to combat the problem. Her current show on CBS, Mom, deals with drug addiction and its struggles.

"This is a disease that can touch anybody, and all of us can help reduce drug abuse through evidence-based treatment, prevention and recovery. Research shows it works, and courageous Americans show it works every day," Janney said.

This comes on the heels of Bradley Whitford (who played opposite Janney on The West Wing) endorsing Hillary Clinton as "by far the most qualified candidate to run for president in my lifetime."

Deprogramming Fox News viewers

Via (of all people) Dan Savage, if you or someone you love watches Fox News, HearYourselfThink.org can help:

The first step to freeing America from the toxic influence of the Right-wing Media Noise Machine is to pull back the curtain and expose it for what it is and for the harm it is inflicting on our culture, communities and Democracy.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of ammunition to help us in this effort.

We should take heart that we are seeing the beginning of a shift where Americans (including high-profile Republicans) are increasingly aware of, and vocal about, the concerted effort by the extreme Right to manipulate the media toward a radical ideological agenda and the dangerous consequences for our country.

He also recommends watching Jen Senko's documentary The Brainwashing Of My Dad, whose trailer I give you here:

June to March in 12 hours

The Tribune has a graphic up demonstrating how Chicago temperatures dropped 20°C in one day. We went from a high temperature of 28°C at 4pm Monday down to a morning low of 7°C by 7pm Tuesday.

I should mention that I had several windows open Monday night, and closed them around 4am. That helped a little, but it would have helped more had I turned the heat on.

Despite the colder weather, through yesterday I've had six consecutive days of 15,000+ steps, including two of better than 20,000. Today looks promising as well. Fitbit also has a new feature that awards a pip for each clock hour in which you get 250 or more steps, the idea being to get you off your ass. I've got my app set to count from 8am to 9pm. Since Friday, I've had 13 of 13 hours four of five possible days—and today looks pretty likely as well. (The trick is to take Parker for a walk at 5 minutes before the hour, which gets me two pips in 10 minutes.