La Frontera 2016

Wednesday 9 November 2016

I have a lot of printed t-shirts hanging in my closet, and I’m usually thoughtful about which one I wear on a given day. Yesterday, working the election polls, I decided to go with my Chicago neighborhoods tee (which looks like this, but on a shirt).

Today, flipping through my shirts, I stopped and pulled down my Camp Mowana “La Frontera” theme shirt. The meaning that we were shared (at least as I internalized it) of “La Frontera” was of a place between, neither here nor there, a place of transition from what was to what is to come. In seeing that word and what it’s come to mean for me in the 10+ years since I obtained the shirt, I decided it was the appropriate way to capture my mood this day. (The shirt is subtitled “Where Jesus Meets Us” for some context for the camp’s choice of theme.)

Sitting here, the day after our citizenry (or at least those of age who decided to vote and are not restricted by law from doing so) went to the polls and elected a man who has shown callous disregard for so many different groups of people, I feel between. We’re obviously moving forward, at least in terms of calendar time, but it’s also clear that we’re in the middle of something big.

While there were likely many people who voted for Donald J. Trump out of animus for specific groups and peoples (Blacks, Muslims, Mexicans, Immigrants, Jews, even women), I suspect that that population alone would not have been enough to propel Trump to the presidency. Instead, there were many who simply turned a blind eye to this part of Trump, taking an “It’s not that important” stance to these issues and focusing instead on his anti-establishment rhetoric and their dissatisfaction with the political status quo when dealing with their (economic) lives.

Whatever the reason citizens opted to vote for Trump (who appears to have not even received the most votes overall, just enough in the right states—but that’s a topic for another day), our country will soon know the leadership of a man who embodies a white supremacist and xenophobic framework, supported by an electorate who at worst find this trait positive and at best find it negligible. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that I believe failing to condone such oppression is unacceptable and as good as promoting  that oppression.)

For me, this time—definitely this day, likely the next two months, but perhaps also the coming four or more years—has all the feelings of what I envision for La Frontera. It will be a time of struggle as we figure out where our country, full of a vast number of peoples with a vast number of beliefs and ideals, goes from here.

How can we create a land where all people are able to live in peace and comfort and seek self-fulfillment? How do we heal the wounds that (not only this election cycle but) our history has given so many of us? How do we listen to one another and recognize that my ability to live a full and valuable life does not depend on others suffering, and vise versa?

There are no easy answers, and (as always) the outcome of this election, no matter who had won, didn’t make these questions any less relevant. After all, it takes more than a president to change a country (see: Barack Obama).

As we move through La Frontera, it is important for all of us to ask ourselves what our role will be in the healing future of our country and its peoples. If you’re seeking a place to start on this first Wednesday after the first Monday in November, I recommend it be there.


An Assortment of Analogies For Our Presidential Choice This Election Cycle

Thursday 3 November 2016
  • Taking a flight while sitting between 8-year-old twins who were not given any in-flight entertainment options, in a seat that doesn’t recline
    OR
    Taking a flight with Amelia Earhart
  • A bowl of soup where the recipe called for 2 teaspoons of salt but where the chef instead made it with 2 Tablespoons of salt
    OR
    A piece of T-bone steak containing botulism, e-coli, and hepatitis A
  • Getting bit by a mosquito
    OR
    Getting bit by a mosquito carrying malaria, yellow fever, and West Nile Virus
  • Microsoft’s Clippy popping up on your screen and asking, “It looks like you’re trying to delete some e-mails. Can I help you with that?”
    OR
    The blue screen of death
  • Being stuck in an elevator while easy listening versions of Miley Cyrus and Drake songs play on a loop
    OR
    Being stuck in an elevator with Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, and Hannibal Lecter
  • Investing in a Samsung Galaxy 7
    OR
    Hoping to turn a quick buck, investing in the Samsung Galaxy 7, by pre-purchasing 1,000 units at 70% retail cost and storing them in your studio apartment
  • Being forced to walk with your family and relatives thousands of miles across the country to relocate on a piece of inhospitable land, only to later be told you’ll have to move again and never having full confidence that some day it might all be taken away anyway
    OR
    Having to take a cab instead of an Uber
  • The bike lane ending so now you have to “share the road”
    OR
    Driving the bus in the movie Speed, in that scene where the bus has to jump across an unfinished bridge, except the entire country is riding on the bus and there is actually no other side of the bridge for the bus to land on

2013 government shutdown reminder

Thursday 30 October 2014

In case you forgot: our current batch of Congressional Republicans shut down the U.S. government for more than two weeks at the start of October 2013, causing hundreds of thousands to temporarily lose their jobs and costing the economy (24) billions of dollars. Remember that when you’re voting Tuesday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik1bdoufPt0


The Greatest Love Actually Take Down Ever

Sunday 22 December 2013

Perhaps with the 10th anniversary of the “classic” movie Love Actually upon us, you’ve seen some of the variety of cons and pros and cons about the movie and other general articles about its applicability. And what it’s all about.

But last week i discovered this one on jezebel.com, and I just had to share:
I Rewatched Love Actually and Am Here to Ruin It for All of You by Lindy West

It is priceless, and you should read it — but I also wanted to share it with those who haven’t seen the movie or don’t want to read the full thing. So below, check out some of the awesome amazing quotes that work just as well even if you’ve never seen the movie and (until the end) are completely lacking name/relevant plot points and spoilers. Enjoy!

***
[AAA] falls in “love” with [BBB] at first sight, establishing Love Actually‘s central moral lesson: The less a woman talks, the more lovable she is.
None of the women in this movie fucking talk. All of the men in this movie “win” a woman at the end. This goddamn movie.
***
[XXX] falls instantly in love with [YYY], which is understandable, because she hasn’t yet exceeded her Love Actually attractiveness word quota. (Twenty-seven. The quota is 27 words before you become Emma Thompson and must be destroyed.)
***
LOVE ACTUALLY SEES NO PROBLEM WITH TREATING ITS FEMALE CHARACTERS LIKE GIANT BIPEDAL VAGINAS IN SWEATER VESTS.
***
This is a movie made for women by a man.
***
To be perfectly honest, Liam Neeson is really acting the hell out of this movie.
***
…but she doesn’t know he exists. Probably because he’s been hanging out with the men of Love Actually too much, so he just sits around being a self-pitying douche instead of FUCKING TALKING TO HER LIKE A HUMAN BEING.
***
Hey, idea: Could someone respect a woman for one second in this fucking movie? Or could we at least confine the misogyny to women who are actual characters in the film?
***
This entire movie is just straight white men acting upon women they think they “deserve.” This entire movie is just men doing things.
***
IT NEVER FUCKING MATTERS WHAT WOMEN SAY. THEY LITERALLY JUST TOOK A LINE AWAY FROM A WOMAN AND REPLACED IT WITH A NONSENSE SYLLABLE. SHE COULD HAVE ACTUALLY SAID SOMETHING AND INSTEAD SHE JUST GOES “MEEP MEEP” AND BILLY BOB THORNTON POPS A BONER.
***
Thanks, Love Actually. Thank you for telling a generation of men that their intrusiveness and obsessions are “romantic,” and that women are secretly flattered no matter what their body language says.
***
[XXX] decides he needs to fire [YYY] because she’s 2 tempting 2 believe. Then he has this Actual Conversation with his secretary:
Secretary: “The chubby girl?”
[XXX]: “Would we call her chubby?”
Secretary: “I think there’s a pretty sizable ass there, yes, sir. Huge thighs.”
Can we not refer to a woman who worked her way up to a job in the prime minister’s office as “the chubby girl”? Also, can we fire the entire government for sexual harassment?
***
[QQQ] is still totally stumped about the best way to force [RRR] to love him against her will. I mean, he’s tried everything. He tried staring at her, he tried never ever talking to her, he tried complaining

OH MY GOD, OR YOU COULD JUST GO TALK TO HER.
TALK TO HER.
TALK TO HER.
***
Love Actually puts a lot of stock in the idea that people are either good or bad. People either love or they don’t, reciprocate or they don’t. The grander the gesture, the greater the crime of not reciprocating. LOVE GOOD. NOT-LOVE BAD. It’s a pleasant fantasy, I think, because if you accept the difficult truth that people are more than just good or bad, then you have to question whether or not happiness really exists. Because if people are more complicated, then happiness must be more complicated, and at that point is it really happiness?
Oh, god, why am I bothering. Actually.

—(POSSIBLE) SPOILER ALERTS BELOW–THE REST OF THESE HAVE SOME SEMI-PLOT POINTS YOU MAY WANT TO AVOID IF YOU’VE YET TO SEE THE MOVE–OR MAYBE BY NOW YOU’VE DECIDED NOT TO IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY

***
So he abandons Christmas dinner with his loving family and flies back to France. The one expression of genuine love in this movie and [AAA] peaces-out to go hump a stranger.
***
He’s like, “I am here to ask your daughter for her hand in marriage,” and the dad is like, “Say what!?” because he thinks [AAA] means his other daughter, who is fat and gross, and that would obviously makes no sense, because women who are slightly larger than some other women deserve to be alone forever unless they’re the size-6 kind of fake fat like [YYY]. Then the dad offers to pay [AAA] to take fat daughter off his hands. [AAA] is like “Ew, no. I only want to purchase/marry HOT women I’ve never spoken to in my life.”
Once the truth gets sorted out, fat daughter says: “Father is about to sell [BBB] as a slave to this Englishman.”
FIRST SENSIBLE LINE ANYONE’S SAID FOR THIS ENTIRE MOVIE.
***
Oh, also [QQQ] has now chased [RRR] all the way to the airport, where he’s broken through security and is leading TSA agents on a “wacky” chase to the gate.
I feel like this scene would have been way less wacky if that was a brown kid instead of a white one.
***
When they get there, [BBB] looks horrified and is like, “What the fuck are you doing at my work!? I don’t even know you, dude! Get out of here! Oh my god, I’M TRYING TO RUN A RESTAURANT HERE. GO AWAY, YOU CREEPY ENGLISHMAN.”
No. Just kidding. She agrees to fucking marry the guy. Forever. Even though they have never spoken.
***
In a painfully fitting finale, [ZZZ] returns from America with the woman he got. He literally brings her back to England with him like a fucking airport souvenir. But don’t worry, [WWW], HE IMPORTED AN OBJECT WITH NO AGENCY FOR YOU TOO. HERE, PUT YOUR MOUTH ON IT.
That’s love, kids.
Oh, wait. Actually, it’s shit.
***


ginger ale in the sky

Saturday 30 November 2013

What beverage choice do you make when they ask you what you want to drink on a flight?

These are pretty much my sentiments exactly:

The Oatmeal: How I interpret my beverage options on an airplane

 

 


band of bikers

Tuesday 29 October 2013

This is seriously too good to be true. Anyone in Chicago interested in forming something similar? I’m totally game.


Banksy as true street artist

Sunday 27 October 2013

(This happened a few weeks ago, so I’m a bit behind in posting, but this is quite amazing.)

If you don’t already know Banksy, you should. He/She (do we really know?) is an artist doing art in public places (mostly), making you think. Banksy is currently doing a residency in NYC with lots of awesome stuff that you can see on the official residency website. The residency is for October 2013, but some pieces are likely to last beyond that, so if you’re in NYC, check it out!

Anyway, even though Banksy mainly does works in public spaces, he/she also has had pieces obtained by museums and individuals, and they are worth A LOT. That’s why it’s so amazing that Banksy set up a little stall outside Central Park to sell pieces at $60 a pop, each worth tens of thousands of dollars, to people that appeared to have no idea what they were getting into. If some art dealer or similar knowledgeable person would have found out, they probably would have tried to clean the stall out (if Banksy would have allowed it… unlikely).

You can read more about this event in a few different articles, too:
Banksy Sold $225,000 Worth of Art at a Central Park Stall for $420
Banksy sells original works worth a fortune for £38 each in New York booth

You can also find out more about Banksy in Exit Through the Gift Shop, a pretty sweet little movie.