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San Francisco Fever Dream

At exactly midnight I land in the bizarre fever dream of San Francisco. My Lyfts keep cancelling and when I snag one he goes to the Departures gate instead of arrivals and I'm slapped with a no-show fine of $5. I chat with a robot in the app, who waives the fee based on my good behavior in the past, though not without a note of admonishment. At last a Lyft takes the bait of my dangling e-dollars, and I hop in a Line (shared ride) headed for downtown.

Downtown San Francisco at one in the morning is a busy place. Every corner has a crowd of individuals in a wide variance of cleanliness smoking and gabbing and drinking. Some of these parties are lit with the flashers of a cop car. Side-streets and alleys are lined with wheelchairs, or sheets, or sleeping bags, or nests of newspaper in makeshift dormitories. At the corner where my Line companion alights, three men sit on the curb holding a sheet over their heads, passing around a pipe.

In the morning I walk through Golden Gate park. M…
Recent posts

The Birth of the New American Aristocracy: Privileges versus Rights

This is a good article about the metamorphosis of the educated professional class into a new aristocracy, by Mathew Stewart, in The Atlantic.

Worth reading in full, but this paragraph jumped out at me:
The source of the trouble, considered more deeply, is that we have traded rights for privileges. We’re willing to strip everyone, including ourselves, of the universal right to a good education, adequate health care, adequate representation in the workplace, genuinely equal opportunities, because we think we can win the game. But who, really, in the end, is going to win this slippery game of escalating privileges? Nailed it.

The many privileges bestowed upon you by growing up in the aristocracy will give you definite advantages over your fellow citizens, but will not protect you from predatory capitalism. You're better positioned but still vulnerable to asset bubbles pops, medical emergencies, lost employment, and the trials that accompany it. You might be a stronger, faster …

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I recently upgraded to the new version of Gmail. I like it. I like being able to see which emails have attachments. I like the automatic suggestions for responding to emails (even though I don't like it reading my emails). I like the new "confidential" mode.

Unfortunately it has one big problem.

The new Gmail doesn't work.

Now Gmail has always been a little feisty with me. I have an old MacBook, I use Firefox in private mode, with plug-ins like Adblock Plus, Disconnect, and uBlock.

But this is totally different.

Sometimes the new Gmail won't load. I'll wait and wait. One minute. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Nothing. I'll try again, and again. I'll restart Firefox and finally get in.

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Fine, I didn't even want to talk to my friends.

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See, we need spring. Spring is all we got here in Philly. Sure, we do a nice fall, but fall leads into winter and the sun goes away and the days get shorter and the nightmare of Christmas is approaching and you just can't help but be reminded of the fact that you're going to die real soon. So spring is where it's at. You get the birds, and sun, and every day is longer than the last, and it rains but you don't care because it's big and sexy and dramatic with growls of thunder and splashes of l…

The time Venmo stole $15 from me

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I received a text with a link to claim my money. This is already more work than I want to be doing. In case you need a refresher, here's how cash works:

Fine, whatever, I'll sing for my supper. I click the link. It takes me to PayPal and I'm greeted with a message that my payment has been received.

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Donald Trump should absolutely get a Nobel Peace Prize

Re: South Korean president thinks Trump should win a Nobel Peace Prize

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Obama got a peace prize and he presided over years of sprawling, rudderless, American belligerence in the Middles East and everywhere else. He even okayed a new military adventure in Libya with foreseeably disastrous consequences, opening yet another front on the American war on everything and everywhere and everyone.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been in the news lately (though not nearly as much as catastrophe warrants) for her rather quiescent attitude towards ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya perpetrated by the Mynamar military. Now, granted, I am not fully up to speed on Myanmar politics, nor do I know how much power she may actually have. But I do know she's sitting in the putative top spot watching her troops commit a genocide, and sh…

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Likely there are serious types doing CrossFit who would quibble with this characterization, and there's no doubt that the serious types are serious. That ubiquitous American belligerence underpins the official CrossFit doctrine. …