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2020 Thankfulness Report

When times are shit, it is important to take stock of what isn’t shit.

Besides the pandemic, we are facing some serious issues, but in some respects were are lucky. We have the resources we need to face these challenges.

So, here are a few things I appreciate this year.

  1. I am thankful for my wife. I can’t express this sufficiently.
  2. As always, I am thankful there is something rather than nothing.
  3. I am thankful for all the friends who have reached out to us. I love y’all.
  4. I am thankful I had parents who were kind and gave me a secure home in which I was loved and not judged.
  5. I appreciate my extended family and my in-law family. I don’t agree with a lot of ’em on a lot of things, but they are all good people who would give a stranger the shirt of their back if needed. I love every one of them, and I’m lucky to have them.
  6. I appreciate skateboarding. The skateboard is what I always return to in order to calm my mind and express myself.
  7. I am thankful for Aikido and my fellow aikidokas, though I’ve not been able to practice in 8 months. Looking forward to a return to the dojo when it is possible. I’m thankful for my sensei, who has helped me develop the awareness to know when I’m losing myself and how to get my mind right again.
  8. I am grateful to have made it to age 56. Not everyone does.
  9. I am grateful for my gaming group, old friends I’ve known since we were young kids. There’s a comfort and familiarity with them that only comes from common history and background. All top notch dudes.
  10. I am thankful for our cats.
  11. I am thankful for my profession and my colleagues, whose support has been critical. I can’t believe I was lucky enough to land where I did.

A Taste of Armageddon

The other night we watched an episode of the original Star Trek — A Taste of Armageddon. This was episode 23 of season one.

These shows hold up well.  I don’t watch much prime time TV these days. Actually, I don’t watch any, so this next statement is just me talking trash, yet I stand by it with all the conviction of a Trumper saying no one would ever vote for Joe Biden. Here is the statement…

No prime time show now deals with the variety of topics that the original Star Trek did. From this episode, about a computer-simulated war with real casualties, to overpopulation, to racism and more, this show covered a lot of ground, and did it well.

The versions you see these days, sadly, have much better computer graphics substituted for the special effects shots. They look great, but I’d rather see the old ones. They aren’t critical for the story, and is it really necessary to go back and “fix” everything?

Toward the end of this episode, there’s a great scene where Spock, the ambassador, and three enterprise crewmen run into a room to rescue Kirk, only to find that he has single handedly captured 8 or 9 people. Do not mess with Kirk. There’s also a great Kirk soliloquy I always call ” I will not kill TODAY,” about humankind’s killer nature and our ability to overcome it.  I can’t do it from memory, but like most of these shows I can speak it all right along with the cast.

I enjoy reading the history of these shows and films, and learning a bit about the actors.  Gene Lyons, who played Ambassador Robert Fox in this episode, died at 53 in 1974. This episode was broadcast in 1967, so he only only lived 7 years after this was aired. I suppose he would have been 46 at the time he made this. He looked a lot older ot me. He died of alcoholism. Apparently Lieutenant DePaul was played by an actor names Sean Kenney, who played the disabled and burned version of Captain Pike in the episode The Menagerie. I always figured the same person played Pike in the wheelchair and in the flashbacks, but no.

The idea of the antihero is so played out. Wolverine, Batman, all that stuff. Tiresome. Star Trek didn’t have that. It always lifted the human spirit up.

 

Media-free weekend

Yesterday (Friday, at about 6pm, I started a weekend long social media and news media blackout. I need a break from everything. Going to skate, write, read, and relax, and not worry about things I can’t do anything about. So pretty much what I should be doing anyway.

I’ll post some stuff on Instagram though. Not much there to upset me.

Maximizing Shareholder Value

Recommending this interview with Noam Chomsky, who continues to analyze goings-on with great accuracy.

It is fairly obvious to everyone (with a functioning brain) that Trump is a malignant and destructive person. No surprises there. I did find Chomsky’s evaluation of the role and expectations of corporations to be not surprising but elegantly, simply, and correctly put.

When I was an undergrad and went (with very little thought or self-awareness) to business school, the role of the corporation was taught simply as “maximize shareholder value”. That was it. Sure, we had one “business ethics” course, but it goes without saying there was no evaluation of some of the basic precepts of our system – such as the ultimate goal of maximizing shareholder value. Of course, why would that have been discussed? Would you expect to go to a Baptist seminary and seriously question the existence of God? (no intention here to insult believers by comparing the concept of a loving God to this idea — just pointing out the lunacy of expecting business school to be anything but indoctrination into the capitalist gang-bang).

Anyway, Chomsky notes that the ability of an organization to incorporate is essentially a gift from us, the public, and it’s a powerful gift of course, since it includes limited liability and lots of other perks. And for that gift NOTHING is asked in return. In fact, the notion of corporate structure being a gift from the public is never even considered. In business school it is treated like some immutable law of the universe.

This is the real religion of our country, and a lot of the world. And as noted in this article, it is a religion that is going to kill us.

Skateboards are not weapons

I 100% hate the current administration, hate white supremacists, hate guns, hate abuse of power.

I also 100% hate seeing skateboards used as weapons.

The skateboard is a tool of self-expression. Seeing it used as a weapon in any context sickens me. Skaters – leave the boards at home when you go to a protest. Take something else if you need to defend yourself.

Session

I’m not crazy about skateboarding when it’s really hot outside, but I’ve been unable to get out in the evenings, so today I went out at about noon. It was about 91°F, which is not as hot as it was supposed to get later. I managed to work in about an hour of skating while remaining hydrated. Same old stuff. Me rolling around a parking lot on a fairly big board.

It was just nice to roll.

 
 
 
 
 
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Skating when it’s way too hot.

A post shared by B Loftin (@bloftinsk8) on

Skated

Went skating for a bit today. I hadn’t been on my board for at least two months. My legs felt like crap, and I nearly just went home, but I know from experience that if I’ve not skated in a while this is normal. Didn’t help that it was 1)daytime and 2)hot. Still, I ended up having a pretty good time. I just need to go about about 6:30pm, instead of 3pm.

Here I am farting around…

New stuff

I’m writing this from my new 16″ Macbook Pro. It’s nice to have a new computer. It has been many years since I had a “new” computer. Not complaining. The ones I’ve had have worked well for me. But this is a pretty nice machine. I put Adobe Creative Cloud on it, plus all the usual stuff. Ready to…stay home, stay inside, and do my own thing.

Without going into details, May was not a great month, and I still have a day or so left in it, so there’s still time for it to get worse. Hoping it won’t, as we are both worn out.

 

Twitching

My wife has been watching some comedians play video games on Twitch.tv . It’s an interesting system and their mobile app allows you to easily stream video, so as an experiment I’ve set up a channel and I’m streaming some skate sessions. Just me rolling around.

It saves the videos, which can be downloaded or simply watched again site. Tonight I did an extremely boring one of me rolling around a parking lot. Here it is.

Here’s the link. Sign up for an account and follow me.

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/618274590