The Watering Hole, Monday, November 14th, 2016: Coping?

This is how I’m getting through each day since the election:
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This is our Open Thread to start the week – how’s everyone else coping?

The Watering Hole, Tuesday, Nov 8, 2016: Election Day – VOTE!

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It is the official policy of The Zoo since its founding to not endorse any political candidate or party for elected office. (But if you can’t figure out where most of us stand or how we intend to vote, you probably haven’t been paying attention.) So there’s one question I have for anyone reading this:

If you have already cast your vote, or intend to cast your vote, for any Republican, for any office, at any level of government (even local), could you please identify the candidate and office (include state and pertinent district – congressional or assembly) and explain why you’re casting a vote for that person? I truly want to understand. In my own home state of New York, most of the Republicans in this area are pretty moderate. I know many of the local politicians personally and they’re decent people. I don’t vote for them usually because they run unopposed. And since you can’t lose a race running unopposed if you vote for yourself, there’s no reason for me to vote for any of them. But they do a decent job, and I have no serious complaints. But my focus is more for the national level, and Republican control of any level of our federal government concerns me.

I ask that you not give vague and ambiguous platitudes like, “I support the Constitution.” (How so? What do you feel is being attacked? And what evidence can you cite for that?) I’d like to know the reasons why you wish to vote for a Republican, but I should caution you that the reasons you cite may be challenged by me or by others who post here. As a general rule, we tend to adopt the tone of the person commenting. If you start out exceptionally rude or with name-calling, I can’t promise you any civility in return. But if you’re polite, I promise you I will be, and I can safely vouch for the regulars here that we will be respectful as well.

Please, help me understand. Because I can think of lots of reasons why you shouldn’t, and I hope there’s time to talk you out of it.

This is our daily open thread. Please be sure to vote.

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 7th, 2016: “Trouble sleeping?”

With the most consequential election of my lifetime now just one day away, a scene from Star Trek: Next Generation’s “Best of Both Worlds” Part 1″ keeps returning to my mind. It takes place before the battle with the Borg, as Captain Picard paces through the Enterprise, and finds Guinan alone in Ten-Forward:

Guinan: “Trouble sleeping?”

Capt. Picard: “It’s something of a tradition, Guinan – Captain touring the ship before a battle.”

Guinan: “Hmm. Before a *hopeless* battle, if I remember the tradition correctly.”

Capt. Picard: “Not necessarily. Nelson toured the HMS Victory before Trafalgar.”

Guinan: “Yes, but Nelson never returned from Trafalgar, did he?”

Capt. Picard: “No, but the battle was won.”

Guinan: “Do you expect this battle to be won?”

Capt. Picard: “We may yet prevail. That’s a… a conceit. But… it’s a healthy one. I wonder if the Emperor Honorius watching the Visigoths coming over the seventh hill truly realized that the Roman Empire was about to fall. This is just another page in history, isn’t it? Will this be the end of *our* civilization? Turn the page.”

I wish that I had the calmness, almost equanimity, with which Captain Picard views the possibility of approaching doom and the likely takeover of the United Federation of Planets by a heartless, merciless “race.” I cannot view a similar fate for our country without a feeling of utter dread.

“We may yet prevail” as Picard says, if by “prevail” one means that Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the Presidency. If that happens, in my humble opinion, we the sane will have only one night, possibly, to feel the relief of dodging a bullet. As long-time students of politics and human nature, particularly ‘American’ human nature, we Critters and Zoosters and other reality-based folks are all too well aware that a final election result which denies Donald Trump the Presidency is just the beginning. There inevitably will be a barrage of ‘bullets’, figuratively at best, to continue to dodge. And it may well “be the end of *our* ‘civilization’.”

Guinan offers hope of a sort:

Guinan: “This isn’t the end.”

Capt. Picard: You say that with remarkable assuredness.”

Guinan: “With experience. When the Borg destroyed my world, my people were scattered throughout the universe. We survived – as will humanity survive. As long as there’s a handful of you to keep the spirit alive, you will prevail – even if it takes a millennium.”

And while Guinan could be right, that “[t]his isn’t the end”, I wish that *our* people were able to scatter throughout the universe. “Humanity” may survive, but will it still be recognizable as “human”?

This is our daily Open Thread–talk me down?

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 31,2016: The Bonfires of Samhein

Two thousand years ago at this time of year, Druids would gather on the Hill of Tlachtga in medieval Ireland to light a bonfire that began a ritual throughout the country. The light would call on other people to light their own bonfires. It was the start of the season of darkness, and people celebrated with dances and feasts around the fires. The fires were to honor Samhein (pronounced sow-in), the god of Darkness and Winter. Many of the rituals associated with the celebration in America of Halloween can be traced back to these Celtic ones. You can learn more about all of these at Smithsonian Magazine.

Personally, I don’t play dress up games. I spend the entire year trying to make people believe I’m somebody I’m not (just like everyone else) that I don’t feel any desire to add a costume to it on one particular day of the year. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just not for me. Then again, I’m kind of anti-social in a lot of ways like that. I don’t go along with what everybody else is doing, often because I see it as silly and pointless, or possibly even dangerous. (Pokemon Go has already gotten some people killed.) I realize it’s just a diversion and people can find them fun, but sometimes they can become too pervasive and counterproductive to a functioning society. Is it really a good idea that young people gather together in public to stare at their phones? But I suppose the rituals of American Halloween aren’t too terrible. It’s just a good idea that people understand them, and how they compare to one’s own beliefs, especially where Religion is concerned.

For example, if you acknowledge the observation of Halloween, then you acknowledge the existence of other gods since this was a celebration of one of them. For many Conservative Christians, this is against their belief in God as the only God. I hesitate to point out to them that this is not correct at all, and even the God they worship said so. His First Commandment was to have no other Gods before Him. That doesn’t mean to deny the existence of other gods, but just not to put any of them ahead of this particular god (on account of his constant problem with the deadly sin of Jealousy.) But since they celebrate the holiday anyway and perform the pagan rituals, it’s just another example of their religious hypocrisy. I just hope there aren’t too many kids dressing up as Donald Trump. It would indicate a generation of kids totally lost to the idea of sense, reason, and logical thinking.

Lastly, I wouldn’t be me without a little nerd joke once in a a while, so…

Why do programmers confuse Halloween and Christmas? Because OCT 31 = DEC 25.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss ancient gods you’ve worshiped, or any other topic you wish.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, October 29th, 2016: Lighten Up!

Let’s start the weekend with a few lighter political stories that shouldn’t raise anyone’s blood pressure.

President Obama is enjoying himself at the expense of several Republicans in “Barack Obama’s Sweet Revenge Tour” by Tim Murphy of Mother Jones. Here’s an example, regarding the Darrell Issa campaign mailer shown below:

issa_obama-mailerAccording to the Mother Jones article:

“At a fundraiser in La Jolla on Sunday, Obama trashed the California Republican for his mailer. “Issa’s primary contribution to the United States Congress has been to obstruct and to waste taxpayer dollars on trumped-up investigations that have led nowhere,” he said. “This is now a guy who, because poll numbers are bad, has sent out brochures with my picture on them touting his cooperation on issues with me. Now that is the definition of chutzpah.”

Next, The Yale Record has the best non-endorsement-endorsement ever. An excerpt:

“…Because of unambiguous tax law, we do not encourage you to support the most qualified presidential candidate in modern American history…”

The brief piece ends with:

The Yale Record has no opinion whatsoever on Dr. Jill Stein.
—The Editorial Board of The Yale Record

Last, today’s Washington Post has some encouraging news about Trump’s chances in Pennsylvania. Even better, though, the article is accompanied by a photo of Trump talking with Rudy “n.v.9/11” Ghouliani Guiliani – I know, you’re thinking, “why is a photo of two of the most despicable men that NYC ever spawned BETTER than Trump slipping in PA?” – well, you’ll have to see it (it could be worse, at least Rudy’s facing away from the camera, more-or-less.) I commented to Wayne that, knowing Trump, he’d probably try to sue the photographer for taking an unflattering picture when Trump’s combover wasn’t ready for its close-up. Then, of course, Trump would likely accuse Secretary Clinton of hiring the photographer as part of a worldwide conspiracy to expose what lies underneath Trump’s “hair” – and what lies beneath is a large expanse of bare-naked Trump-scalp. “Sad.” Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This is our daily Open Thread – relax, enjoy the weekend!

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 24, 2016: Trump Supporters Need To Learn History

After the last presidential debate, a Trump supporter told Face The Nation host John Dickerson that “morality and values” were important to her.

“Based on what the country was based on,” she said. “I think that the laws that Obama has passed, the way the country has — I call it down turning. Some of the other people are proud of it and happy for it. I personally am against it, the homosexuals, the abortions. All the stuff, I am against.”

Asked if “Make America Great Again” meant to her a return to the time before legal abortion and gay rights, she replied “That’s part of it.”

Perhaps if some if these Guardians of Morality knew more of their American history, they’d be thankful for gay people, and would be more than happy to extend to them the recognition that they are equally deserving of the rights the rest of us take for granted. How many heterosexuals out there have gotten fired for being straight? It so happens that Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand Steuben, the man General George Washington hired to train our Revolutionary War soldiers, the man more popularly known as Baron von Steuben, was gay.

So the next time some Christian Conservative (an oxymoron, as Jesus did not teach a philosophy of Conservatism) rants against gay people, point out that the freedom to rant and rave such a hateful position in public was guaranteed because a gay man brought discipline and structure to our nation’s early armies and enabled them to help the French Army defeat the British.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss whatever you wish. It’s a free country, thanks to a gay man.

LIVE-BLOGGING the Final “debate” in the 2016 Presidential Race…thank goodness

I expect this is what my face will look like by the end of the debate, minus the drool, I hope.

So yeah, do whatever floats your boat here.  You can live-blog, heckle, poke fun, tell jokes, or have a complete mental breakdown, but please NO DRINKING GAMES!!

Am I giving this political debate the respect and seriousness it deserves?  Fuck no, I am not.  This entire election has turned into a shameful mockery of itself, so pfffttttt!

The thing starts at 6 PT, and you can watch it here: