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Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 05:54 PM PST

G'bye, dKos. I will miss you.

by davidseth

You might recall this. Dimly, if at all. Your Bloguero took a blog hiatus back on October 8, 2012. Why? As your Bloguero stated in his recent TTFN message:

Well, I'm going to go off and have an adventure or two, and do some different things for a while, and so I probably won't be seen around here for a month or so. Maybe longer. I'm fine. There's nothing wrong. Everything is good. It's just that it's time for a new adventure. Or two. In the material world.
Yes, your Bloguero did break his silence a few times.  
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Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 07:12 AM PDT

Turn The NY State Senate Blue!!!

by davidseth

For decades the New York State Senate has been in Republican control.  And now, in 2012, it is entirely possible with your help to turn the NY State Senate Blue.

It’s really simple. Republicans have a thin majority in the Senate. In newly created Senate District 43, the Republicans have held a raucous, circular firing squad primary.  Incumbent Roy McDonald committed the apparently unpardonable sin of voting for gay marriage in the State Senate, and that vote, in fact the only real issue in the primary, led to his defeat and the nomination of Kathy Marchione, an anti-gay, T-party ultra-conservative by the thinnest of margins. After the primary, Governor Cuomo said he’d endorse McDonald on another line, but falling in line as Republicans are supposed to, McDonald then withdrew from the race. And he endorsed his former rival, Marchione.  This means that there are many alienated, angry, moderate voters in the District who will not vote for an extremist.  

The Democratic candidate in District 43 is Robin Andrews.  She won an historical election as the Town Supervisor in Claverack, Columbia County in 2009.  She became the first Democrat in more than 30 years to be elected in that Town. And she’s been serving on the County Board of Supervisors as a result of that victory.

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Sun Oct 07, 2012 at 06:56 PM PDT

TTFN

by davidseth

I was thinking that I'd just walk away, and stop posting for a while, and that I'd come back in November, after the election, and see whether I felt like posting and/or commenting. I could just go. Quietly. Disappear myself. I leave aside any speculation as to whether my not writing would be noticed.

Then I thought that might be rude. I mean: I've been here on and off since November, 2006, and I've written 8,139 comment and 432 essays. I've been sitting in that chair in the corner of the collective living room for a while. Sometimes I left my beer bottles on the floor, sometimes I had flowers and poetry for others. So maybe the right thing to do is to say something before I get out of the chair and just up and leave.  Something like this:

Well, I'm going to go off and have an adventure or two, and do some different things for a while, and so I probably won't be seen around here for a month or so. Maybe longer. I'm fine. There's nothing wrong. Everything is good. It's just that it's time for a new adventure. Or two. So, while I'm gone, it's ok for somebody else to sit in my chair. To take it over, make it your own. It's comfortable. And when you sit in this corner, it's ok to be erratic, and even cranky sometimes. Just try to be entertaining, ok? That's it. Well, I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead.
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Note: This essay was originally posted at NION in 2008. That site no longer exists. And it was reprised and updated in 2011 at The Dream Antillles. It was expanded to form a central part of my 2011 novella, "Tulum".

Once again, your Bloguero notes that it is Columbus Day Weekend. Your Bloguero often takes ten days off at this time. Why? Funny you should ask. Your Bloguero has two short answers: it's his Birthday. Your Bloguero was born exactly 399 years after the christening of Cervantes in 1547. Also, your Bloguero cannot abide the celebration of Columbus Day, which he sees as the beginning of the subjugation of this hemisphere. The last is best expressed in this 2008 post:

   
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The Church In Baracoa, Cuba

Across the Caribbean from desde Desdemona is Baracoa, a small town inaccessible by land from before 1500 (when Columbus first landed there in 1492) until the 1960's. In 1512 Baracoa was the first Spanish settlement in Cuba. It's like Macondo. The lush forest of the Sierra Maestre and El Yunque, the tallest peak in Cuba, tower over the town. The town is nestled against the warm ocean. North of town is Maguana, a beautiful, white beach, shared by tourists and occasional foraging pigs.

Join me in Baracoa. We can celebrate Not Columbus Day together.

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Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 09:26 AM PDT

Big Bird And The Safety Net

by davidseth

   
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Apparently, it's nothing personal at all. Willard actually likes Big Bird, or so he says, but ut oh, the aging Avian Television Star learned he might be out of a job during last night's boring, ill managed, stupefying debate. That's not how pink slips are traditionally delivered to aging, professional employees. You might even expect better form from a guy who likes to fire people. And has experience at it. Lots of experience. But anyway, so it is, in a country without enough decent jobs and towering, long term, probably structural unemployment, that BB might soon be out of a job, allegedly to create other jobs. Jobs for others. Talk about redistribution. BB is just another aging teacher about to be excessed.

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Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 09:11 AM PDT

I Need A Drinking Game

by davidseth

Tonight, your Bloguero is informed by the voices in his head and emanating incessantly from the television, is a presidential debate. And so, it is incumbent upon your Bloguero, as the host of an impromptu television gathering of the Beery Left Faithful, to propose a drinking game for their edification, their amusement.  

But alas, there is a problem. Your Bloguero is fresh out of the words that should trigger taking a nip (Note: your Bloguero does not recommend a shot per word of high test because of the devastating housekeeping consequences).

That's where you come in.  Give your Bloguero and the soon to be assembled masses some words to work with. You have your Bloguero's eternal thanks.

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Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 02:50 PM PDT

A Feeling Of Sadness

by davidseth

For many years, the rural hamlet of Ghent, Columbia County, New York, had an iconic house.  It was on the main street, State Route 66. It was quirky, and it was an eccentric landmark. It was a small house with a porch. What made it so unusual was that an enormous tree grew through the porch. Looking at the house made it clear: the tree came first, far more than a century ago, and the porch, a later, flimsier, manmade object, respected the importance of the tree and yielded to it.

Many people saw and marveled at the house and its porch.  More than once when I mentioned Ghent, someone responded, "€œIs that where the house has a tree through the roof?"€  Here's a photo of the house from 2011:

   
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Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 07:35 AM PDT

This Vigil Needs Your Support Redux

by davidseth

I posted this yesterday and have decided after much thought to rescue it myself so that it might receive wider exposure. Please consider this re-post an invitation to spread this story, and of course, to attend the vigil.

   
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Martin Baumgold

In the wake of 9/11, on Saturday, September 22, 2001, eleven years ago today, my friend Martin Baumgold decided to stand at the Seventh Street Park in Hudson, New York to demonstrate for peace.  The world needed to find peace, and he saw that. He’s been at it since. Every week. Every Saturday. People have come to stand with him, and they have gone away. New ones have come and they too have gone away.  Usually, there are 3 or 4 or even 5 people standing at the South side of the Seventh Park on Warren Street. Martin is undeterred, he stands anyway.  He’s not the leader of a movement; he just hopes that others will stand with him. But even if they don’t, obviously he’s in it for the long haul.

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Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 01:44 PM PDT

This Vigil Needs Your Support

by davidseth

   
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Martin Baumgold

In the wake of 9/11, on Saturday, September 22, 2001, eleven years ago today, my friend Martin Baumgold decided to stand at the Seventh Street Park in Hudson, New York to demonstrate for peace.  The world needed to find peace, and he saw that. He’s been at it since. Every week. Every Saturday. People have come to stand with him, and they have gone away. New ones have come and they too have gone away.  Usually, there are 3 or 4 or even 5 people standing at the South side of the Seventh Park on Warren Street. Martin is undeterred, he stands anyway.  He’s not the leader of a movement; he just hopes that others will stand with him. But even if they don’t, obviously he’s in it for the long haul.

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Blue Agave (Agave tequilana)

Your Bloguero is a frequent flyer between New York and Cancun’s Airport.  It’s an airport designed so that when you are catching a departing flight, you have to walk through the Duty Free Store. You might even have to walk through three of them, as your Bloguero did this week.  Is that why they tell you to arrive at the airport three hours before an International Flight? Maybe.

Your Bloguero likes to bring tequila home. Specifically, premium, 100% blue agave tequila blanco, which looks clear.  He likes to put it in the freezer, get it extremely cold, and drink it straight up. No salt. No lime. No ice. No nothing. A shot in a really nice Mexican tequila shot glass. The quality and taste of the tequila are extremely important. One does not do this with the cheapass Cuervo Tequila you might find in Gingolandia’s many mall liquor stores. Really. Do not try this with that stuff. Do not.

In the Cancun duty free, they are equipped to let you taste tequila before you buy a bottle.  Remember this. This could be very valuable to you: they will let you taste before you buy. They will pour you samples.

Usually, your Bloguero looks for and sometimes buys a bottle of Don Julio Blanco. It costs about $US26. Your Bloguero likes this tequila. He endorses your drinking it. It easily meets all of his many, finicky specifications. Your Bloguero has also purchased other tequilas at Cancun’s Duty Free.  But first he has to taste them. This is the key.

Here’s some free advise about shopping for Tequila in Cancun Airport: Go to the duty free and intend to buy at least one bottle of great tequila blanco to take home. Tell the salesperson you want to buy a bottle of Don Julio Blanco, but you wonder whether they have anything that might be even better.  The same price, or maybe a little more.  Of course they do. What do they recommend? Look:  they have tons of tequila, they have bottles that cost up to $200 per bottle, brands you have never heard of (unless you’re exploring the vast, premium tequila market on a regular basis, or its your job), brands you cannot readily get outside of Mexico, brands that are too small to export. They are justifiably very proud of what they have. And what they have is really good.

The salesperson will respond by offering you some tastes of various tequilas in little plastic cups. They will open bottles and pour you samples.  Note: the samples are going to be at room temperature.  This is salient in deciding what is going to be really smooth when it’s incredibly cold. Some of these are incredibly smooth at room temperature, and have a wonderful nose. Put another way, when you get this tequila really cold, it’s going to be even smoother.  It’s going to be like syrup when it’s cold. You can sip these or chug these samples. They do not care. They probably wish they were allowed to sample. And they will keep this tequila flowing in the little cups until you decide something, or become incapable of making a decision.

Long story short: after 6 or 7 tastes (who’s keeping count) and rejecting a very smooth, expensive Cuervo Reserve just because of its name (read: your Bloguero is a complete tequila snob), your Bloguero bought two bottles, neither of which is made by Don Julio.  Less than $US80 total.  These are now in your Bloguero’s freezer.

No, your Bloguero is not telling you what he bought. That’s a secret for now. And that’s another post.  After your Bloguero drinks the new tequilas and decides whether they are as good as he anticipated they would be, you will learn what he bought. And how he found it.

Meanwhile, your Bloguero highly, highly, highly recommends, if you’re flying out of Cancun Airport, that you have 6, 7, maybe even 8 samples of top of the line tequila, buy a nice bottle or two or three to bring home, and have an extremely tranquilo vuelo to wherever you’re headed. This is the great pleasure of Cancun’s Airport. Do not miss it.  

The title is an homage to Jeff Greenwald’s 1996 classic  “Shopping For Buddhas”.

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cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

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OK. I might not be the perfect person to write about Rafalca and dressage and Ann Rmoney. After all, I have piloted a horse exactly once as an adult. That particular horse was alleged to be the gentlest, calmest, oldest one in her group.  That's why she and I were together. Briefly. I don't think she liked me any more than I liked sitting on her sweating back.

And given an apple recently to feed a different, smaller horse, which horse happened to have the job of pulling a small wagon (don't ask), I arranged for somebody more experienced in horse matters to do it instead of me. I just didn't want to put my clean hands near said equine's toothsome mouth. In fact, everybody is probably more experienced with horses than me. But that does not matter.

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Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 05:25 PM PDT

The Importance Of Being Ernesto

by davidseth

   
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This seems now like an annual ritual. I see a map like the one above. I write this essay or one like it. The hurricane projections seem to be pointed directly at my front door in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. I didn't invite this Ernesto (the last one named that was in 2006), but here he is, threatening a visit. Doesn't he realize that he, Ernesto/Jack Worthing, is supposed to decline this and all other invitations, and instead to say he has to visit his invalid friend, Bunbury, in the country? No? This storm has no lit cred. None at all.

So, once again, it's time to make offerings to Chac and Kukulkan, asking them to spare us, to turn the storm away from us. And it's time to note that indigenous architecture-- palapa roofs, windows without glass-- is the best way to deal with the tropics, and that huge, towering McMansions with glass sliding doors, windows, air conditioning, and tile roofs are just a bad idea. At least if you want to have a house after a big storm. With traditional buildings, after the storm, you just shovel out the sand. And maybe you replace a few palm leaves in the roof.

I've talked about exactly this at length in my novella, Tulum.

And of course, the turtle nests on our beaches will now have to be moved indoors, so that storm does not destroy them.  The turtles are endangered. We do what we can despite the storm to keep them going.

But this isn't about commerce. Or the joys of Mayan architecture. Or what we have to do to protect endangered sea turtles. No. This is about something really big: the fact that this is a small planet, and that humans have raised its temperature, including, of course, the temperature of the Caribbean. And so tropical storms like Ernesto are far more likely. And those of us living on the coasts or near them know that despite whatever the deniers say, hurricane seasons like this one, with more intense storms, are our current reality. They are what we now expect.  They are what we have to deal with.

More in the next few days, when it's clear whether Ernesto is coming ashore here.

Meanwhile, may all be safe, may they find shelter, and may all be well.

_______
cross posted from The Dream Antilles

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