Musings and Mirth
I don’t know about you but most mornings I wake up and think, wow, I’m alive another day. It feels sometimes like Groundhog Day in that the same problems and torments rise up, rinse, repeat. But it is also another morning with a body that works, in a mostly peaceful city, in a mostly peaceful country on an ordinary/extraordinary day. My wonderful father is currently battling cancer. He struggles with the side effects of chemo every day. He says it’s started to mess with his thinking. He’s lost almost all of his hair and his body has withered down to skin and bones. He’s trying now to shrink a tumor and rid his body of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. But he’s alive. He’s here.
It’s Father’s Day. It’s a pre-programmed holiday to make people buy things and buy things we do. No harm done, of course, because what’s wrong with appreciating dad? I think back to all of the ways my dad made my life better, even when he himself felt like he was failing at life overall. He has always been harder on himself than anyone else. His life was never easy. He was raised the son of a single mother, my grandmother, a very early career woman out of Yonkers, NY. My grandmother had grander plans than being a mother and though she helped raise ten of her eleven brothers and sisters raising my dad when she was just starting out as an ambitious, intelligent, beautiful woman was not what she’d had in mind. You did that back then, in 1936 because what else were you going to do? Get married, have kids – that was the plan for most women.
I’ve begun to document my vegan cooking self-taught lessons onto a new section of this site. It is in the beginning stages, of course, and explains why it’s vegan. I find vegan cooking to be fun and challenging, particularly baking. What confounds and attracts me is that a whole new school of cooking is being invented right now to satisfy the many who are turning away from factory farming and dairy either for health or moral reasons. Human beings are adaptable to almost any diet, provided they are getting all of the right nutrients. Eating vegan is probably the hardest of the mainstream choices out there because you get a lot of bang for your buck if you eat meat. It’s kind of like a brown bear who gets ahold of a jar of peanut butter. He can get everything he needs from that jar without having to spend eight hours digging for little insects or eating vegetables. That’s why bears are so motivated to break into coolers and campsites. Humans are the same. They know they can get the bang for their buck with meat — but that doesn’t mean you can’t get what you need if you don’t eat meat. You just have to be diligent and resourceful. Anyway, enjoy.
The night the Boston bombers were hunted down by the police in an unprecedented show of force unfolding on live television there was another drama unfolding online. Several of us were following a police scanner just as they were on the trail of the suspects. What pointed to their guilt, of course, were the pipe bombs they threw at police and the testimony of one witness whose car they had stolen. His life was spared and he lived to tell the tail of who the two brothers were.
At the same time, several threads on Reddit were tracking someone they thought to be one of the Boston bombers. He was misidentified as a young man from India who had disappeared from Brown University one day, leaving behind his cell phone and identification. That news began to seep out into the mainstream and unfortunately I was one of those responsible for using my own credibility as an internet source to pass on this information. Although hours after my own tweets pointed suspicion at Sunil Tripathi, the FBI released the names of bombers, names they probably had for a lot longer than the public had any knowledge of. Moreover, the FBI would have also known that it was not, nor could not be, Sunil Tripathi. They are the FBI, the internet is, well, not.
When the FBI held up the photos of the Boston bombers and asked the public for help, they were expecting people who knew the bombers to come forward. But what they could not have anticipated, what they have never taken responsibility for, what no one has really discussed at all is whether or the FBI is culpable in helping to whip a potential witch hunt by scared and concerned citizens who were using the powerful tool of the internet to track down anyone they thought might be the bombers.
True, they specifically ordered the public to stand down, to do nothing but report information. They instructed people not to act on the public’s behalf. But was that enough? Have we now crossed into a different era where the FBI should be more mindful of what the public might do with such a powerful information tool as the internet at its fingertips?
The FBI released blurry photos of the Boston bombing suspects, which triggered a flurry of activity online by concerned citizens who truly believed they were helping the FBI find their men. When all was said and done, those who went on the various witch hunts were nailed to the wall but no one said anything about the FBI’s role that night. It comes down to this: in the post-911 internet age the FBI – and any government body for that matter – ought to be fully prepared for this kind of thing to happen with regularity should they once again ask for the public’s help. It is a dangerous game where the word “terrorist” is involved. If you’re talking about a bank robbery or a kidnapping – these Amber alerts we all get on our cell phones – we can cull our resources to help law enforcement find the perps. But when you’re talking terrorists we have been conditioned both by the acts of the terrorists themselves (they are willing to die in order to kill their enemy) and by our own government that when it comes to terrorists and us it is truly a matter of life or death.
Yeah, it’s like that.
So, most of the country with their heads not firmly stuck up their own asses or locked onto their television screens worrying about who is going to win Dancing with the Stars, or spending their limited time on this planet fretting and steaming over the latest thing Gwyneth Paltrow said (really?) now knows that Obama put Tom Wheeler at the the head of the FCC. Who is Tom Wheeler you might ask? He’s a former lobbyist for the cable companies whose agenda has included, for a long time now and fully known to our dear President Obama, to rid the internet of Neutrality. You know, that thing that makes the internet one of the last avenues for free and open speech? You know, the internet where someone like me can build a business with nothing more than a modem (1200 baud baby), an internet service provider and a computer hookup. With those three things I could launch not just a business but an entire industry as I helped do in 1999 when the (insert positive or negative adjective here) Oscar Watching industry was born. I could go toe to toe with the giant corporate media congloms. Yeah, me. Single mother living in a guest house in Van Nuys with an infant on my hip starting my own business. Those days are shrinking fast, thanks to the corrupt 1% and their almost total domination of our democracy. Hoo haw.
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