Blogger at the home of a Forgotten Man

By John Ruberry

Donald J. Trump’s presidential honeymoon with the media lasted sixteen minutes, which was, not coincidentally, the length of his inauguration address.

Since then, the media, with a few exceptions, has been relentlessly attacking the president, and by media, I’ll use the definition Rush Limbaugh gave this morning to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, which is ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today.

I’ll add one more–a big one, CNN, sometimes called the Clinton News Network.

The media is striking back with an assault on the presidency not seen since the height of the Watergate scandal.

And Donald Trump is fighting them–and the media can’t ascertain why much of the public, their public, is siding with the president.

Because conservatives don’t like cheaters.

Among the damning revelations from the John Podesta emails hacked by WikiLeaks was clear evidence of collusion by some of these allegedly neutral outlets during the 2016 presidential campaign, most notoriously when CNN analyst Donna Brazile twice supplied a planned question to the Hillary Clinton campaign prior to a CNN-hosted debate with Bernie Sanders.

Viewers of those two CNN debates were cheated by CNN, which employed Brazile, as they rightly expected the Clinton-Sanders matchups to be, let’s use a popular term from the time when several Chicago White Sox players conspired to throw the 1919 World Series, “on the square.” Sure, Brazile, was fired, but only after she was caught the second time feeding a debate question to the Clinton machine. That says a lot. Oh, where did Brazile learn of these questions? Did they come from a low-level CNN staffer?

Liberals, with the possible exception of the most ardent members of the growing socialist wing of the Democratic Party, dismissed Brazile’s cheating as just the way the game is played, which is not how White Sox fans greeted news of the 1919 fix broke a year later.

Before there was fake news there was a fake World Series.

Here is my conservative-or-liberal litmus test: If you were angry–or still are angry–about media collusion with the Democratic Party during the 2016 campaign, they you are a conservative. If you are not, they you’re a liberal. It’s that easy.

Which explains why the media, again using the definition I gave earlier, is astounded that Trump not only attacks them millions of Americans are cheering him on.

After dutifully reporting on media collusion immediately after it was revealed, the media promptly ignored the scandal–their scandal–which is not the case with Russian interference, and yes, alleged hacking of the election by Russia of the presidential election, whatever that entails. It probably entails nothing. WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, repeatedly insists that Russia was not the source of the hacked Podesta emails.

Okay, you skeptics out there, you are probably thinking to yourselves that I am citing only two examples of CNN collusion, and that done by an analyst, not a reporter.

Still still for a moment. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper, both of them anchors, the latter is the network’s Washington correspondent, were caught colluding by WikiLeaks. Other colluders captured in the WikiLeaks net were the New York Times and CNBC’s John Harwood, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, Glenn Thrush, then of Politico and now of the New York Times, and Brent Budowsky of The Hill.

When Trump said on the stump “the system is rigged,” the colluders proved him right.

The Forgotten Man and the Forgotten Woman, that is, the people who play by the rules and try to make an honest living under increasingly daunting odds, elected Trump, despite the rigging.

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

And the cheating media still can’t figure out why most Americans despise them.

You Democratic cynics are probably still thinking, “Everyone does it.” No they don’t. Very few media outlets are conservative ones, so the opportunity simply isn’t there for Republicans to collude. The only instance of GOP collusion in a presidential campaign I can recall is George Will’s vague self-described “inappropriate” role in the 1980 Debategate micro-scandal.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Yesterday was the first Time in a VERY long while that you did not see a post with my byline was not on this blog, instead RH – NG36B ‘s loving tribute to his seven month old daughter Rebecca. When the news came here Wednesday evening that Rebecca had unexpectedly died I made the decision, to provide an update to Saturday’s post concerning her condition. Instead I made a private announcement to our writers & asked our substitute writers to prepare posts for today in the event RH decided he needed some time off here. He responded that he wished to continue to write then penned, well typed, tribute and asked when it should go up. We decided it should be the lead post yesterday. It received a strong response and continues to do so.

He now has a funeral to plan and pay for, he does not have a tip jar at his base site but if you follow him on facebook I’m sure you can contact him about helping out if you wish or to send him direct condolences.


Of of the things about RH’s tribute to little Rebecca is how well it answers one of the oldest questions in Christianity: “Why does God allow bad things to happen”

Many of us spend a large part of our adult lives influencing, or trying to influence, those around us. We read books, we devise arguments, we make PowerPoint presentations, and we argue on Facebook. And yet here I had a little girl, not even a year old, who came into my life and changed everyone around her, including people she never met. Her broken heart was changing those with hardened hearts.

She did it without words, without slides, and without a social media account.

It truly was never about her. It was always about us, about making us better. And even though it took her death for me to realize it, I’m glad that I did.

There are those who would argue that a Down Syndrome child’s live has no value, that it’s would be better to have said child killed in the womb than incur the costs, both financial and emotional, of bringing such a child into the womb. I submit and suggest that perhaps we’ve needed them as much as they’ve needed us and the crass, narcissistic society that we now possess is the price we have paid for making children like Rebecca disposable.


There was actually a 2nd death in our blog family, although with two big differences.
1. Technically she wasn’t in our family at the time of her death.
2. She came back.

Old friend Zilla of the Resistance, one of the grande dames of the blogging world who I last saw several years ago in a hospital bed in very bad shape contacted me a few weeks ago and provided me with an update on her situation filled with good news, although not good enough for her to return to daily blogging. I immediately invited her to join our merry band here and she accepted. Her 2nd post since her return to blogging was yesterday. This is quite ironic as she was on my initial list of bloggers to join my magnificent seven but was too ill and weak to consider it at the time. You will see her here Friday evening for as long as she wants to stay and her health continues to permit it..


You might have noticed that old friend Jerry Wilson who wrote here occasionally has returned and is now writing regularly here. You will find him here Thursday Evenings. We are pleased to have him back and look forward to his posts from the left coast which tend to be non-political but as we’ve learned there is much more to life than issues in the political world.


After writing about weighty subject turning to the Press’ tantrum over Donald Trump’s press conference seems completely anti-climatic. Because of my sleep schedule I didn’t see the President’s press conference when it happened only the outraged reactions of the media to it. When I finally went online to watch it seemed to me (as it did to others) that the media description of this event bore no resemblance to what actually happened. It’s the same backwards reaction they had to his speech opening his candidacy.
This would explain both President Trump’s willingness to confront them head on the death of their credibility with the public.

Never before has Glenn Reynolds statement to the BBC about 90% of the press giving the other 10% a bad name rung more true.

The contrast on how the media has handled their “loss” vs how RH has his is notable and speaks volumes.


Now the death of credibility:

Listen to this speech via Milo, from a Bucknell Student (in introduction to Christina Hoff Summers appearance there) who upon receiving an open email from a professor at Bucknell university calling conservative and libertarian students “racists and fascists” and saying they should “Pay a deep and lasting price” for having Milo speak on their campus last year, Asked said professor in a return email what he meant by a “steep and lasting price”.

The professors response was…interesting.

The university’s decision to not only back the professor but go along with his explanation to them that “a deep and lasting price” meant, “engage me in calm and peaceful discussion” sends a clear message that inciting violence against conservatives and libertarians who do not support the goals of the SJW community will be tolerated but questioning said incitement will not.

A lot of masks have been falling lately and the totalitarian campus left have proved like totalitarians everywhere that they love free speech until they are in power and then will crush it.

Thus dies free speech at the University


Continuing on this theme it’s worth replaying Andrew Breitbart’s response six years ago to a question at an event in Lexington Mass that I covered to what happens if the left decides to resort to violence:

“We outnumber them and we have the guns”

I’m really thinking that the left and the media is hoping and praying for us for some of these anti-milo, anti-trump and anti-conservative rioters to get themselves killed by a conservative in fear for their life, and would like it even better if they can provoke the police into doing so for the sake of their cause.

Ironically this whole “#resistance” nonsense sounds very familiar:

You hear it from the stump, you read it in their papers and in their resolutions, that if Mr. Lincoln is elected the Union is to be dissolved. Here is a constitutional party that intends to violate the Constitution because a man is constitutionally elected President. Here is a constitutional party that proclaims it treasonable for a man to uphold the Constitution. If the people constitutionally elect a President, is the minority to resist him?

That’s Sam Houston in Sept 1860 advising Democrats not to revolt over the election of a Republican via the electoral college, and a few months later he had some words for those who thought violent revolution was a good idea:

They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche

What is it about Democrats that they turn to violence and revolt if a republican wins the presidency without a popular vote majority?


Speaking of the death of things this post at Declination via Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit shows the death of irony (warning this post is….interesting)

In my DJ career, I have spent a great deal of time in communities and scenes that normal folks would regard as underground. For many years, I DJed BDSM parties, Fetish events, and the like. I’ve DJed warehouses and clubs with no names, buried in the wreckage of abandoned industrial parks. The marketplace of sex is one which I know exceedingly well. I’ve been DJing these scenes for the better part of 20 years.

To quote Blade Runner, I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe
.
As that commenter lamented, so I’ve seen first-hand. These SJWs, the radical feminists who spend their lives fighting the Patriarchy? They come to my clubs to be beaten senseless on crosses, chained to them by men dressed in uniforms very reminiscent of the Nazis. Yes, it’s a thing, as anybody who has ever been to a Goth club can attest. They demand to be tied up, burned, bruised, and battered.

Go on social media, and you will see SJWs telling us that Nazis are everywhere, that they are evil, and foul, and legion. They are in the White House, they are on Youtube, they are on Twitter, they are in Video Games. Nazis, everywhere. And so they march out into the streets, the Black Bloc, Antifascists engaging in what Tom Kratman calls a bit of political theater (not unlike Fascists once did).

But at the end of a long week of fighting the cisnormative heteropatriarchy, they come to be beaten by men dressed as Nazis, to the gritty beats of loud Industrial music in the depths of an Industrial park.

I suspect that this is actually more well known that folks let on.


You might not have thought it was possible to take a post about a movie paring a 72 year old actor with a 44 year old love interest and connect it to election 2016 and the attacks on Steve Bannon but then again you might not be Stacy McCain:

Steve Bannon is a conservative populist, period. Only if you’re a cult disciple of Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse can you believe that an American conservative populist is necessarily a crypto-fascist. Yet dozens of reporters keep publishing stories that depict Bannon as a Nazi fanatic — because Trump is literally Hitler, of course — and this is merely the logical sequel to the failure of Hillary Clinton to fulfill the media’s fantasy narrative, The First Female President of the United States.

That narrative was as flawed as the idea of casting Robert De Niro as a washed-up comedian who scores with a woman 30 years younger. And the whole problem with the narrative that the media are using as the script for their sequel, Literally Hitler, is that it involves liberal journalists writing stories with their fellow liberal journalists as the intended readership, just like having Helen Mirren’s husband direct a show-business-themed comedy starring Robert De Niro was so obviously a made-for-Oscar project. People aren’t lining up at the mall cineplex to pay $8 bucks to watch The Comedian, and the media’s bulls–t script for Literally Hitler isn’t going to make people line up to vote Democrat.

I’ve known Steve Bannon about as long as Stacy McCain has, I’ve interviewed him at CPAC before and I hope to do so next week during my return to CPAC after a two year absense.

Is this the death knell of De Niro’s career?


Finally I was going to close on why the next regeneration of the Doctor should not, despite all the buzz and the SJW warriors of the left & the BBC insisting it should be, but that got to be very long so it will be it’s own post, here is a preview:

4. As anyone who has followed the Doctor on TV or in books or via Big Finish knows, the Doctor is constantly getting captured and chained up in dungeons, and prisons and getting tortured. One the Doctor is a woman how do you deal with the inevitable possibility in fact probability of rape? How do you explain it away? How do you get that to play on what is supposed to be a kids show?

The problem is these fools are forgetting that Doctor Who is basically a kids show about a hero fighting monsters, the last time they decided to go SJW and make the monster Margaret Thatcher is what killed it the first time. As I said on Twitter

Of course I might not be the audience they care about.

R. H. and I have never met, but I am absolutely heartbroken after reading about the news of his beautiful baby Rebecca’s passing.

Read his post, Who it’s really about.

I was going to write today about the usual American and Latin American politics, but . . . politics, money, jobs, culture, are all ephemeral.

This is what life is really about,

Many of us spend a large part of our adult lives influencing, or trying to influence, those around us.  We read books, we devise arguments, we make PowerPoint presentations, and we argue on Facebook.  And yet here I had a little girl, not even a year old, who came into my life and changed everyone around her, including people she never met.  Her broken heart was changing those with hardened hearts.

The Lord called beautiful Rebecca to his side, and her short life has affected many of us, even when we haven’t met. That a child so young can help so many is indeed a miracle.

From the Book of Common Prayer, we pray for consolation,

O merciful Father, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: Look with pity upon the sorrows of thy servant for whom our prayers are offered. Remember him, O Lord, in mercy, nourish his soul with patience, comfort him with a sense of thy goodness, lift up thy countenance upon him, and give him peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And, as we go on our daily lives, may we find joy in what really matters.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

This last week I asked everyone to pray for Rebecca, my youngest daughter. She had gone in for open heart surgery on Wednesday to repair an Atrial Septal Defect. The surgery was fairly routine (at least, as far as open heart surgery is concerned), and considering that Yale New-Haven was performing the surgery, we couldn’t have had a better team. But as you know from that same post, she wasn’t recovering well.

On Monday, I went to work, only to get called back to the hospital. My wife and I arrived and consulted with the surgeons, who said Rebecca had gone into heart block, where the heart doesn’t pump well and blood flow is sluggish. They wanted to install a temporary pacemaker so that her heart would keep working, and the surgeons were very hopeful that she would heal out of it. We agreed, and they wheeled her down to surgery.

Thirty minutes later, the nurse came up and said we needed to go downstairs. We were rushed to surgery, where the doctor came in and said Rebecca had gone into cardiac arrest after anethesia. He asked if I wanted to continue compressions or put her on bypass. Either way, she had a high chance of death. I told him “You walk into that room and make the best damn medical decision, and I’ll stand by you.”

Rebecca’s heart recovered on its own. Pacing wires were placed. The Code Blue paging stopped. We went back to recovery, and the local priest came in and performed an emergency Confirmation. The surgeon told us she was critical, but stable. We cleared our Tuesday schedule and drove home, an hour away from Yale, scared, but confident that things would work out.

We pulled into our driveway and called the hospital. They told us to come back. We made it back at 10 pm. I walked in and the heart rate monitor was reading zero. The doctor had his stethoscope on Rebecca’s chest, looked at me, and shook his head.  I clutched her tiny hand, desperately hoping she would squeeze, but that movement never came.  I spent the next hours cradling Rebecca in my arms and crying.

Everyone was in shock. We had the best team of pediatric heart surgeons, cardiologists, NICU and PICU nurses that you could assemble in America.  Rebecca had been recovering.  Her echocardiograms had all been good.  The pacing wires had been firing.  Everything should have worked.  It was like the A Team of cardiology teams was on her side.  They simply don’t lose people, certainly not kids like Rebecca.  But as the head surgeon later told us, “One minute she was fine, the next she was in arrest and would not come back.”

The next few days made me wonder, “Why?”  I’m used to death.  As a Naval officer, I know that I willingly place my life on the line for others.  I work with other members that do the same thing.  I’m OK with that. But Rebecca?  She was just a 7 month old kid.  She spent too much time hooked up to tubes and wires.  She didn’t deserve that.  Honestly, as a Catholic, it depressed me.  It didn’t seem fair.

So we started planning a funeral.  And a wake.  And a reception.  We filled out forms.  We called people and sent emails.  And all of a sudden, I realized that I had missed the point.

Rebecca’s death wasn’t about her. It was about everyone else.

It was about the Yale New-Haven team.  The team of doctors, nurses and surgeons that saw us choose life, saw us pray over Rebecca, and watched her emergency Baptism and Confirmation.  Many of them didn’t share our beliefs on abortion and life.  Some of them do now.  Rebecca had tons of people from Yale that came to visit her even when she wasn’t in their ward or on their floor.  I spied on many a nurse and doctor playing with her and making faces to make her smile.  She touched their lives like no one else could.  Rebecca’s death was about that team.

It was about the Down Syndrome community.  It dawned on us when the Eastern Connecticut Down Syndrome group set up a Go Fund Me page that netted over 1,000 dollars in less than a day.  Rebecca was born with Down Syndrome, and the Down Syndrome community in the northeast mobilized to support us.  So many people that we had never met, or only met briefly, were praying for her.  It brought them together.  Rebecca’s death was about that community.

It was about my Navy command.  My Assistant Officer in Charge told my Sailors the next morning what had happened.  Almost immediately, my Sailors and their families began reaching out, asking what they could do to help.  They didn’t have to.  There are plenty of Navy resources, and often the going assumption is that Navy Officers have it all figured out.  But as one Sailor put it in a text message, “He’s our Officer in Charge, and he always helps us. I want to help him.”  Many of the Sailors had only ever seen Rebecca at the occasional family event, yet they wanted to help.  Our Navy team grew closer.  Rebecca’s death was about my Sailors and their families.

It was about people who lacked faith.  People we didn’t know were suddenly reaching out to my wife.  They said that Rebecca brought them to church and they were praying when they hadn’t done so in years.  A friend of my wife that is a very vocal atheist asked people openly on Facebook to pray for Rebecca.  No clauses in her request.  No “If you believe” or “keep her in your thoughts” disclaimers.  She made a genuine request for prayers.  Rebecca’s death was about her.

It was about our family.  I was honestly frightened about the thought of raising a kid that might live with me forever.  It made me do a lot of research and talk to people.  After meeting people from all walks of life who loved people with Down Syndrome, and seeing kids and adults with Down Syndrome do well in life (even swim the English Channel!), I realized that all life matters, even the ones that we view as disabled.  My kids learned to love Rebecca, despite her being very different from other babies.  Or perhaps, it was because she was so different that they cared even more.  Rebecca’s death was about us.

I realized that I made a mistake.  I focused on Rebecca’s pain.  I watched her cry when she was stuck with needles.  I watched her struggle to finish a bottle because her heart wasn’t strong enough to breast feed.  It made me sad, but what I didn’t realize was that she was changing everyone around her.  My focus on her pain blinded me to how she was an instrument to change those around her.

Many of us spend a large part of our adult lives influencing, or trying to influence, those around us.  We read books, we devise arguments, we make PowerPoint presentations, and we argue on Facebook.  And yet here I had a little girl, not even a year old, who came into my life and changed everyone around her, including people she never met.  Her broken heart was changing those with hardened hearts.

She did it without words, without slides, and without a social media account.

It truly was never about her.  It was always about us, about making us better.  And even though it took her death for me to realize it, I’m glad that I did.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18: 1-5


Rebecca will be buried on Tuesday, with a wake on Monday.  If you are in the Eastern Connecticut area, you are welcome to stop by.  Please follow the link for details.


This post represents the views of the author and does not represent the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.

The words come filtered through digital inkwells; cyberspace cries begging to be heard over the daily din. A tireless worker at keeping the music alive placing her husband in hospice care, his battle with cancer reduced to weary surrender. A friend waiting for his mother to come out of surgery, her diabetes demanding yet another amputation. A contemporary Christian music pioneer huddled with her dementia-laden mother in a friend’s apartment, praying that the panicked repair work on a crumbling spillway holds so they will have a home to return to should the evacuation order be lifted. At such time the Psalmist’s words burn with renewed meaning:

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

Out of pain, joy; out of loss, magic. My father passed away one morning while tending to the shrubbery in front of his house. Before my mother joined him several years later, she unfailingly told of how that morning, as her and my father’s parish priest gave him Last Rites, the largest and most beautiful butterfly she saw in her life gently alighted on my father, rested for a moment, then flew away. Coincidence? Perhaps. Perhaps also a sign of the promised new life through transformation in Christ.

The world is replete with social media popoff pissants, fleck and spittle-stained keyboard weariers (SWIDT) on both side of the political divide slavishly serving this week’s website while selfishly sloughing off this lifetime’s marriage. As said before, their mantra is cry outrage! and let slip the tweets of butthurt. The watchword of this generation is peace, but there is naught but self-promotion.

How long will we neglect what matters in favor of trivial pursuits? How long will vapid political prattle supersede fundamental caring and sharing? It is true that knowledge is power; information is vital. We need to be informed and alert. We need even more to offer the outstretched hand. Without this, without love, we are nothing. And all we do is nothing.

by baldilocks

Red Pill–sort of

Since making a public New Year’s Resolution to minimize my time on Facebook and Twitter in order to finish my second novel, Arlen’s Harem, by February 1st, I’ve had minimize my time online in general.

The result is that I don’t really know what’s going on in the news right now, and it feels kind of good–I’m old enough to recall when the news cycle was a couple of weeks, rather than a couple of minutes.

Generally, I take two days off per week from the Internet Race-to-Comment, anyway, and when I come back, I have to spend an hour or two getting back in the loop. Three days of separation from the news-cycle fix nearly puts a news junkie in Low Information Voter (LIV) territory. But now, I don’t wonder why LIVs often seem calmer and happier: they don’t know that the sky is falling and, sometimes, it better not to know. Ignorance, bliss, you know.

The commentary race often gets bloggers in trouble anyway—if one is the slightest bit concerned about accuracy and about being original. That last concern is why I don’t comment on some topics and events—I have nothing new to say about them.

Staying away from shorter communications also has a positive effect on my ability to build a narrative. When I composed the bulk of Tale of the Tigers, I spent much of my non-typing work on it spinning yarns in my mind and connecting them to other parts of the novel. A handy, pre-smartphone tool was an mp3 player in which I could speak my story ideas without writing them down or having to remember them. (I made the grievous mistake of thinking through a story without out writing it down or recording it once…and only once.)

I’ve been semi-newsfree since about the 31st. Obviously, I’m going to have to watch the news a bit in order to post here and at my own blog. But, it feels good to know that I can still spit out 300 or 30K words without being fed by the Matrix.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on February 1, 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

baldilocks

by baldilocks

 

Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? And it should. Many famous people have died this year, some from old age, some from long-term conditions , some from freak accidents, and of course drug overdoses. Most heart-wrenching and thought-provoking were the deaths of mother-and-daughter superstars, Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, within 24 hours of each other. But there were some non-famous deaths as well this year, including the mother of my Kenyan siblings, Jeniffer Dawa Ochieng (spelling correct).

The Truth is that most famous persons are famous for a reason. They accomplished something, if only to make a bunch of people laugh, cry, or tap their feet, making them a lot more useful than many. And many of the non-famous, like Jeniffer Ochieng, accomplished even greater things— being a loving wife, mother and grandmother, for example.

Another truth is that we all have to leave this existence; we all have to die. But what do we do in the interim? Live the best lives we can and count our blessing. For example, a friend who works for an airline gave me a ticket so that I was able to be with my American parents for Christmas. It was a great blessing indeed. (My American parents are in good health, but they aren’t getting any younger and neither am I.)

And after I returned to Los Angeles, I got thinking about my three parents, how happy I am to have hugged each of them this year, and what I can do to make them more proud of me. I found an answer.

In my tagline here at Da Tech Guy, I have been promising to finish my second novel, Arlen’s Harem—first in 2014, then in 2015, then this year. Well, I’ve decided to make a New Year’s Resolution to finish it not just next year, but on February 1st of next year. It’s what I’m going to do, hook or crook.

And if I die before I start my third novel, at least I can say to God that I stepped out in faith and invested the talents that He gave me.

What are you going to do in 2017?

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done on February 1, 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

baldilocks

Anyone on social media has seen thousands of posts blaming 2016 for all and sundry events: Weather, election results, break-ups with girlfriends/boyfriends, and of course, celebrity deaths.

It’s come to the point that stating that 2016 Is Not Killing People is an unpopular opinion, no matter than the writer correctly notes that addictions cut lifespans.

I must admit that blaming 2016 for weather events is a refreshing change from the global warming cacophony. As to election results, books are being written. Romantic relationships sometimes end bitterly, but, if two months after the fact you are still carping about it on Facebook, may I suggest that you seek counseling?

As for grieving celebrity deaths, it’s sad that talented people whose art delighted us and shed insight on the human experience have passed away. It’s also worthwhile to keep in mind that many times we project onto celebrities our emotions, our foibles, regardless of whether that person shares them or not.

Of course everybody enjoyed Alan Rickman’s acting,

George Michael’s singing,

and of course every little girl (and a lot of big girls) wanted to be Princess Leia. But there are people closer to us who inspire is to become our better selves.

My mom, who died in October, at age 96, is one of them. Another one is a gentleman who was on the board of the Princeton studio of Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (now Learning Ally). He was a pioneer in his field at work, a fun and witty guy who answered my five-year-old son’s questions about it, a leader in his religious community, a good friend, father and husband. We lost touch over the years, and I found out about his passing just two days ago. When I looked up his obituary I also found out he was a war hero, decorated with two Purple Hearts.

So let’s lift a prayer of thanks for those who inspire us to be our better selves.

And stop blaming 2016 for everything.

Related:
Christopher Harper on learning from failure.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on Latin America and thr U.S. at Fausta’s blog.

apartmentla
This is not my place.

by baldilocks

I’ve lived in my apartment for fourteen months now. After having spent nine months in homeless housing, I don’t like to complain about my present habitation. And it is not that bad. Nice, relatively quiet neighborhood. Very racially mixed, as I said in my last post. The noisiest thing: car alarms and fast drivers.

I’ve talked before about my homeless sojourn; my first roommate had four AM hallucinations featuring me knocking on the walls and, as a result did things in “retaliation” like threaten my life. And, after I proactively rid myself of her company, my two new roommates were very nice older ladies who liked to sleep with all windows closed. I usually slept with a fan directly on my face and no covers.

Now, therefore, I try to revel in the solitude, the cool, fresh air and the freedom from the need to sleep with one eye open.

The only real problem I have living here is a very slight one: my landlords’ attitudes. Every time I tell them that there’s a problem, they act as if I’ve sabotaged their property.

Example: my front windows were stuck in the closed position for months, beginning just two month after I moved in—in September of last year. I let it go for the winter but when it began to get warm again, I told the owners—a married couple. The man came over and fixed them easily—something I was unable to do because I don’t have the upper body strength necessary. Then he mentioned that the windows had never gotten stuck before. When I said that they simply just stopped moving, he said: “sure they did.” I was silent. You don’t want to curse out your landlord.

There have been three other incidents like this.

I used to be a landlady—owner of a duplex and I lived in one of the units—so I understand about how tenants are sometimes. Heck, the teenaged son of my tenant burgled the battery out of my temporarily out-of-service car while the car was in the garage! I found out when I went to take it to mechanic. (I told him that a functioning battery had better magically appear under my hood in 24 hours or the police would be informed. I assume that he lifted one from someone else.) But to automatically be assumed to be an unreasonable breaker-of-things doesn’t happen to me often.

It kind of interesting to be looked down upon and have others expect the worst of you. Did I mention that these people were black? Losing almost everything I own has taught me that I am not my material possessions. If my landlords are lucky, they won’t have to discover this in the same manner that I did.

No more complaining.

And I have a new video up.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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28 Years ago I spent my Honeymoon with my wife in the Portland Ore / Vancouver WA area. My how things have changed.

You know there was a time when I wouldn’t have even thought it necessary to ask such a question, but given the events of this week that’s no longer the case.

Incidentally, I actually do want an answer to this question.