Line in the sand

I may have been a faithless blogger here, but I’ve been pretty faithful to Twitter for the last few years. I feel I should apologize for that because of all the others who also left long-form blog sites for Twitter and Facebook, but you’re probably not looking for that. I’ve had a lot of fun on Twitter, and a lot of it has admittedly been frivolous so not worthy of a LiveJournal or WordPress missive.

But I’ve just about had it with all the bad actors on Twitter, the Nazis and other far-right instigators, oppressors of women and black people and other minorities, uncivil arguers, and others who’ve only seemed to grow in numbers and vehemence in the last few years. Sure, their opponents often reply in kind, just as vulgar and obscene in their word choices, but — that’s the way social media goes.

The worst of the bad actors, though, includes Twitter itself. I’ve read many accounts of individuals who, in trying to combat the bad guys on the verbal field of battle, are disciplined by Twitter’s enforcement staff and automated tools. What appears to happen is, the person who disagrees with a Nazi is mobbed by bots on the Nazi’s side, with multiple reports submitted to Twitter with the result that it’s the anti-Nazi who gets bounced from Twitter for a day or forever. At this point, the honchos at Twitter just shrug. They do nothing to the initiators, who live to spread their filth another day.

I’ve just about had it.
I posted that today. I enjoy Twitter a lot. It’s fun. I rarely use it to promote controversial viewpoints, though I’m sure people know where I stand on most things because some of my views seep in. So if Twitter was suddenly cut out of my life, I would miss it. But sacrifice is what makes a statement or action mean something. So if I’m not satisfied that Twitter is mending its ways, I’m quitting it.

They could go a long way by getting Donald Trump off the service, to be honest. But I just want to stop seeing people getting bounced for behavior less egregious than the haters and would-be destroyers of the society we think we have.

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… moment of silence …

Charles Bruce (Bruce Charles) Montney
Judy Cloutier Montney
Gertrude Strachan
Peter Cooper
Vern Davis
Rosemary Gilbert
Charles Sanderson
(David) Blair
Sean Fitzgerald
Heather Price
Anna Dougan
Owen Fite (Owain Phyfe)
Bill McGettigan
Donald Cloutier
Shirley Slaughter Cloutier Karns
Delores Hill
Tina Lewandowski
Daniel Majewski
Dennis Hull
Robert C. Thomas
Wilhelm Heine
Ernest R. “Butch” Cloutier, Jr.
Charlotte Cloutier Lewandowski

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Remember me?

Here’s a bullet-point sort of post to try to cover ground since the last time I posted, which I guess was mid-May? Of 2017, smartypants.

– Dave was here Memorial Day weekend, and we saw our last Detroit Symphony concert of the season, which included Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony, Faure’s Pavane, and a new violin concerto performed by James Ehnes. At the close of the Rachmaninov, not only was Dave bawling, but so were the two ladies seated in front of us, so we all stood for five minutes and had a good cry. It was so, so good.

– Five weeks later, Independance Day weekend, I went to visit Dave for his birthday.

– About two weeks later I went to the Hiawatha Music Festival in Marquette, and spend time with the Ott Lake Rambler, Mrs. Rambler, and what young Ramblers as are left in the house, along with other folkie/college friends. The OLR and I grabbed a few minutes after a storm went through to play three fiddle tunes for his video cam, and they’re on YouTube here, here, and here. (It was a little cold, and our hands felt it.)

– Two weeks later, Dave needed a chaperone for a medical procedure, so I was back in Clarksville for that.

– And two weeks after THAT, Dave and I went to Goodlettsville, Tennessee to see the total eclipse of the sun. It was awesomely awesome. I thought I had a photo ready to go for this, but I don’t, plus my camera wasn’t up to the task anyway. Believe me when I say it was awesome, even from the parking lot of a Kmart which is where we were.

– But, the same weekend, his mother passed away at the age of 94, after about seventeen years in nursing facilites due to dementia.

– Somewhere in there, my blood test numbers fell off a cliff (only they went up not down) and I had to start taking insulin. The last three weeks have been spent trying to get doctors and pharmacies to give me the right prescriptions as we’re “titrating” the dosage. Short-term, that’s been a frustrating and depressing experience.

– Meanwhile, the rest of the world was … oh you don’t want me to write about that.

– I have over a thousand names in my family tree on now. Woo-hoo! I know, collecting names is not really the main point of genealogy, but it is kind of fun. Most of my roadblocks are still there, unfortunately.

So that’s the summary of a summer and then some. I’m hoping to be writing more regularly now. I doubt I’m going to write every day in November, as I’ve tried in the past few years, though.

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No, not a demise, just my writing schedule is untimely. Sorry for the long silence. I’ve had a difficult time trying to convince myself to write, given the current status of things. I’d wake up in the morning, look at Twitter or listen to radio news, and invariably hear something that made me either shake my head or shout “SON OF A BITCH!” and then any sense of normalcy would disappear. It’s hard to write about current events when all you can think is “I cannot fucking beLIEVE this crap.” I mean, I could say that about a lot of things, and my readers would understand; it just gets kind of repetitive and redundant after a while. See what I did there? Anyway.

I’ve been all right, I suppose, except my blood glucose readings fell off a cliff a while ago and now I’m consistently in what the doctor calls an “uncontrolled” state. There will be a test soon to see whether there’s a reason for this beyond my lack of discipline with food and exercise. Beyond that, work is, y’know, work, and there hasn’t been anything unpleasant happening outside of work.

I haven’t been playing music much, but I have been listening and hearing it. A couple of weekends ago I saw one of my heroes, John Gorka, in Ann Arbor, which lifted my spirits considerably. This past weekend I saw Annie Capps and her band in Lake Orion, which was highly entertaining, and she’s such a sweetheart it gives me hope in the world, a little bit. The next night, the young and talented Emma Guzman released her first CD to the cheers and rapt attention of a large audience at the Dovetail coffeehouse in Warren, and I was happy to be there. Keep track of her name; she could go places.

The weather has been pretty nice, except when it has been cold and rainy which covers a lot of days in the last few weeks. Not far to the south there was severe weather and summertime warmth, but we had, like, an inch of rain and temperatures suitable to late March only it was the first week of May. Oh well. Weather varies, y’know?

My main escape, which I’ve been utilizing a lot, is watching my Second Life avatar run around exploring things with his friends or solo, getting into trouble. He got attacked by a werewolf and now he’s getting a little shifty, if you know what I mean. Now if only I could get him out of SL and behind my lawn mower, my yard might look a little better….

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National Poetry Month

It’s the U.S. National Poetry Month (I think the U.K. has it in October?). I always have great intentions, and I always end up writing a post in late April that begins “I always have great intentions….” I haven’t come up with so much as a haiku. But I have been retweeting poems that I see and like on Twitter, so I’ll share them here. Most are images of the text of the poems, which is how the whole poem fits in a Tweet.

April 20 – Advice, by Langston Hughes

April 11 – Endymion, by Roz Kaveney

April 9 – In the Library, by Charles Simic

March 5 – Red Brocade, by Naomi Shihab Nye

February 17 – The Mower, by Philip Larkin

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You’d think that importing the entries to WordPress was enough, but there’s still more to be done:

1. Most of my images that appeared in LJ posts were linked from my Flickr account. But a few weren’t, and were hosted in LJ’s media area. So, I have to move them to WordPress’s media area. I’ve done back to late 2013, so far.

2. YouTube links disappeared from the LJ posts I imported here a couple of years ago. So those have to be relocated — they’re still in the LJ posts, fortunately (except for any that have been deleted from YouTube). 24 April 2017 edit: This has been done back to the beginning of 2013.

For these two points, there’s a limit to how far back I’m willing to go. I mean, who reads old blog posts, especially if they’re largely sort of a diary?

3. I’ve been using my LJ OpenID as a user ID on Dreamwidth, where I have a reading account for a few former LJers who moved there. Apparently OpenID isn’t really a thing for WP, so I need to do something about that — either a new OpenID for DW, or an actual DW account.

4. Likewise, I’ve used my LJ email address on a few other sites. It redirects to my Yahoo address, since LJ doesn’t have real email capability. Need to update that.

5. Oh, crap, I have links lists on LJ in the sidebar. Gotta do something with those.

6. Finally there’s the big sayonara post for LJ. I’m trying to not think about that much at the moment. I read Ursula Vernon’s farewell to LJ; that’s what got me thinking about things, and what got me not wanting to think about things.

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There’s music, and then there’s music

A week ago, I played a show at my regular coffeehouse with a friend, a couple of singer/songwriters with guitars and caffeine. Tonight, I’m going with another friend to see the Detroit Symphony Orchestra play Mahler’s 10th symphony and a world premiere guitar concerto by Chris Brubeck, with Sharon Isbin as the soloist. If that ain’t going from the ridiculous to the sublime, I don’t know what is. 🙂

Last week’s show was pretty good. The friend was Hugo Cruz, and he was getting over a chest cold or allergies that laid him low the previous week. Still, he was able to sing his very ambitious melodies and that was awesome.

I did pretty well, too. The highlight in my set, to me, was an old song called “Come With,” written by New England songwriter David Buskin, which I learned off the radio back in the late 1970s. I played it all through college, and eventually left it while I was writing my own songs. But I didn’t forget it, and about three years ago I finally procured the album it came from, so I could learn it right—there’s a key change that I’d never mastered, now I have. Last Saturday was when it came together completely for the first time since college.

The only bummer was, we didn’t have many people in the audience. We had high quality people, at least.

I’ll probably write about tonight’s concert in the next few days, if you’re curious about tunes with lots of instruments and no words.

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