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Entries tagged politics

Taiwan is a country

22 October 2021 16:08

And a really neat-looking one. I'd really like to go some day.

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Before you get mad on the internet...

20 January 2022 11:06

Remember that there are troll farms, and other concerted efforts to make people upset.

Practice gratitude and compassion instead.

Happy New Year!

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Thinking of You, Ukraine

24 February 2022 20:13

Tonight, the "Green Building", or Bank of America Plaza in Dallas, TX is lit up in the national colors of Ukraine.

Bank of America Plaza Tower lit up in Ukraine's national colors

I love Ukraine. It's one of my favorite countries that I've visited. I've travelled from Lviv to Kyiv via rail, and back via regional jet (or vice versa -- I can't remember). I saw churches, military installations, book festivals, cold war relics, ancient forts, and lots of tough, kind-hearted, speak-your-mind type of people. Theirs is a culture that blends East and West, old and new, and has a distinct character unlike anywhere else.

Russia's Putin seeks to destroy and assimilate this culture into a second CCCP. The man fancies himself a warlord. A nuclear power with a truly medieval brain.

Ultimately, this will end up very bad for Putin and Russia. The Ukrainian people are tough and resilient. They won't let their country go easily. And after it's all said and done, nobody will want to be seen doing business with Russia. Unfortunately, there will be bloodshed and senseless violence in between now and then.

The Ukrainian National Bank is accepting donations via SWIFT. You can get the information on how to donate from their official website. As the Ukrainian government websites have been under attack, I will mirror the information for USD donations below. Please consider donating to help the Ukrainian people defend themselves.

For USD remittances:
SWIFT Code NBU: NBUA UA UX
JP MORGAN CHASE BANK, New York
SWIFT Code: CHASUS33
Account: 400807238
383 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10179, USA
Funds will be wired into account No. UA843000010000000047330992708

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Blue Planet

21 March 2022 18:05

Blue and Yellow digital watches displaying different times

These cheap knock-off Casi-faux watches remind me of something very important. We're farting around on a little spec of dust in the universe. Everything is impermanent, and in the greater scope of the universe, fairly insignificant. We don't tend to consider this, because it's a little depressing.

I've been in a weird mood for the past month. I've been dismayed about the death and destruction being caused by Putin in Ukraine. I've been worried for my friends and associates there, and trying to reach out and check on people without pestering them.

Then I feel like something of a grief-imposter, as though I'm making somebody's horrific national tragedy about myself because I saw a pretty building once. Like somebody who uses solidarity as a fashion accessory. A big ol' phony.

And all the while, I forget to live my own life. My hobbies, work, and relationships suffer, because I'm paralyzing myself with not only scrolling through pictures of bombed apartment buildings all day, but negative feedback loop of self-doubt.

I think the best thing that I can do -- other than giving what I can to Ukraine-related causes -- is live my own life and output positive energy into the universe. One day the situation may be reversed, at which time, I would only want the same from my friends an ocean and a continent away.

Please consider donating to Ukraine's military and humanitarian funds -- now accepting credit cards!

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Jackbooted Agents of Walmart

30 June 2022 23:15

It's been getting rather hot in our apartment, owing to an unseasonably hot June and the fact that our apartment's window panes were built with early 20th century materials. On my way back from my photography class at the local community college, Patrick asked me to pick up a few of those wonderful little Honeywell circulator fans. It being rather late in the evening, Walmart was just about the only option at the witching hour of 10:00 PM on a Thursday.

On my way, I was joking with my mother on the phone about the kinds of things that can happen at Walmart. In her locality, there was recently a burning car in the parking lot of the Walmart there. When the fire was extinguished, the trunk was found to have contained a murder victim. I joked that if this were to happen at our Walmart, they would probably bring the car in and restock it among the rotisserie chickens, not before sticking it with a by-the-pound Deli sticker, of course.

Indeed, Walmart has achieved such massive economy of scale that a store could allow just about anything to go down on its premises, and stay in business. Oh, except let a paying customer leave with their property. Enter the Walmart Jackboot.

For stomping necks all the way down the runway.

For stomping necks all the way down the runway. Image, logo courtesy Walmart.

I paid for my three fans at the self checkout, which stares you down with a camera, bright light, and screen for you to see yourself being surveilled, as you exchange money for goods. I strolled to the store's only open egress, which had a receipt checker stationed at it. He motioned to see my receipt, and I politely declined. It was hardly a few seconds before I heard the, until now, somewhat unfamiliar sound of a purposeful loss prevention jog coming up behind me. An off duty sheriff's deputy stood in front of me and my three fans, blocking my exit. What I suppose was the manager stood beside her.

"Sir, you're going to need to show me your receipt."

Once again, I politely declined.

"Sir, it's Walmart policy that you have to show your receipt before you can leave."

So I was detained, then. I made a stink about it, and in a hasty decision that I now regret, showed her the receipt.

"See, was that so hard?"

I explained to her my position. These fans were my property. I am not under obligation to show her my paperwork. She had no right to block my exit.

"You're free to go, bye sir."

Yeah. You're free to go. I'm not a free person in between the time I exchange my hard-earned money for a few fans to cool my home, and the time that I show a Walmart Jackboot my papers. Within that window, I am a man without a country, no rights, and no freedom of movement. If I do not comply, then they'll stick a deli sticker on me and stock me among the rotisserie chickens.

I joke, but this is a lesson, perhaps a window into the future. Agents of the state demanding papers to make sure we did nothing wrong. Unwarranted searches being applied as the individual Walmart Jackboot sees fit. And if you're not okay with that, then you're the Karen making a scene (both the Walmart Jackboot and the night manager had to stop themselves from calling me some sort of name, I assume either "Karen" or "bitch").

The fans cost $0.03 more at Target. Three pennies is the value you're getting from the Walmart Jackboot. Is that worth it?

(Of course, Target has their own skeletons.)

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