This morning I woke to Unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke and so chose to run inside on the treadmill. The good news is the 25-minute run worked its usual endorphin magic and I felt much better afterward. The bad news is that while we’re clearly and obviously experiencing climate collapse, we’re all just going about our daily lives.
By James LeeFormerIP at en.wikipedia
The young people of the Sunrise Movement, desperate for a chance at a livable future, worked their asses off to help elect Biden who, compared to Tr*mp, at least gave lip service to climate change. But is Biden really better than a climate denier when his administration boosts a tar sands pipeline that will cross indigenous lands? (While also, by the way, further enriching the already incredibly wealthy Susan Rice, who is an aide to Biden.) You either believe we’re in a crisis and use the enormous powers of your position to enact policy to mitigate the worst effects OR you say all the right things while continuing to coddle the fossil fuel industry.
Zippy and I planned to head to the mountains tomorrow for cleaner air and cooler temperatures (which I recognize is an absolute luxury not available to most people), but now we’re torn. Because does it make sense to drive to Crested Butte when that area is also experiencing Unhealthy air quality? Will we even want or be able to hike out to see the wildflowers?
Apologies for being a downer, but I cannot pretend the climate crisis isn’t happening. This frog wants cooler temperatures.
As of yesterday, I am eligible in Colorado for a covid vaccine. As of this moment, I’m about to pull out all my hair.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Off and on today, I checked the various sites for vaccine alerts and availability. Every single time, the listings for available appointments were always false. I’d click on the link and get variations of “There are no more appointments at this site.” But just now, I was actually allowed to select a date and time for an appointment and I thought, “This is it!” I made it through the entire process, answering all the questions about allergies, health condition, etc., and then it came time to confirm my appointment. Confirmation? Yeah, right. I got “We’re all out of vaccine.”
I’m very fortunate to be able to commit time to trying to make an appointment. I don’t have an outside job. I have access to a working computer and the internet. If it’s this hard for me to find an appointment, how in the hell are people without my circumstances supposed to get vaccinated?
They’ve had a year to get their acts together on the vaccine roll-out. But the government’s number one priority during this pandemic has been to protect capitalism at the expense of the people, so this vaccine mess shouldn’t be a shocker. I mean, they’re denying us Medicare for All during a freaking pandemic that’s killed 541,000 people so far. People are being evicted and unhoused people living in tents are being harassed by police, all during a freaking pandemic. Our well-being is clearly not the priority.
Still, I can’t help but be appalled how this pandemic has proven (again) that here in the United States, the world’s most expensive health care “system” is the least effective. More than half a million people dead . . . and counting.
I live in Colorado. There are currently four wildfires burning around the state. Here’s a tweet from a Colorado journalist this morning:
I can usually see downtown Denver from my front yard. The last few days the buildings have been obscured by a smoky haze. Right now, I can see the tops of some buildings. But that “good news” is deceptive. I just spent about ten minutes outside, thinking it was okay because there wasn’t a strong odor of smoke. Wrong. I’m now coughing and my lungs are burning.
Just over a year ago, I participated in our Sunrise Movement hub’s first art build. We gathered to create a banner to pressure the Colorado Democratic Party to vote for a presidential debate focused solely on climate.
Our first art build on July 24, 2019. Boulder, CO
Our pressure worked and the representatives for the CO Dems voted YES to a climate debate. However, Tom Perez and the Democratic National Committee shut down our voices. There was no climate debate during the presidential primaries, despite the fact that the majority of people in the U.S. want meaningful action on the climate crisis.
Only two presidential candidates (Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) included serious climate plans in their platforms. Bernie’s earned an A- from Sunrise Movement. The presidential candidate the establishment contorted themselves to install as the party nominee? Well, Joe Biden earned an F-.
My state’s experiencing a years-long drought and record-high temperatures and is literally on fire right now. Except for Rep. Joe Neguse, none of the Colorado congressional delegation supports a Green New Deal. The Democratic representatives all understand that climate change is real, but unless they push for bold and meaningful action, they are no better than the climate deniers in the Republican party.
Meanwhile, Colorado burns.
April 17, 2020.
Can’t tell from this pic
tail-flicking squirrel enraged
I feel the same way
Any questions, please direct them to my manager.
Marcel. June 27, 2018.
The other day I saw a neighbor walking up the street ahead of me. In 2016, that white woman displayed a political sign in support of Agent Orange (something I don’t think I’ll ever forgive or forget), and when I saw her walking along in her red T-shirt I experienced a surge of anger. That red shirt triggered a stream of expletives about how she supported a white supremacist. (Poor Zippy had to endure that volcanic eruption.) Stupid mean people. Stupid red shirt.
But you know what? All the horrible racist people in this country don’t own the color red. Red is a beautiful color. Red belongs to all of us.
Cave Creek Canyon Ranch. May 16, 2019.
And no one wears it better than this dapper Northern Cardinal.
It’s Day 3 of my Fasting Mimicking Diet and I’m dreaming of Wednesday morning when I can eat whatever I want, in whatever quantities I desire. Spoiler alert: it sure as hell ain’t gonna be one cup of steamed broccoli.
But until that glorious morning rolls around, I guess I’ll keep growling like a big ol’ bear.
Yesterday I got zero writing done on my work-in-progress. I was enraged and exhausted by news and events. Late last night I fell asleep wondering whether, in the face of relentless misogyny and violence against women, my idea for a middle-grade novel narrated by a boy was what I should pursue. Maybe, I thought, I should abandon that story and instead write a burn-it-all-down book filled with pitchfork-wielding girls.
Well, I’ve spent the last several hours analyzing and fleshing out the beginning outline for my boy-based work-in-progress and have decided it’s a GO. Not only am I moving ahead with this story, I’m kinda excited about the plot lines. My main character won’t be fighting the power structure, but he is a decent human being.
In today’s climate that’s worth a lot.
Channeling my inner snow leopard.
Last night Zippy and I went to the Bluebird Theater in Denver to hear Parker Millsap. Same as the last time he was in town, Parker put on one helluva show. Unfortunately, also the same as last time there were a bunch of rude people at the general admission/standing venue. So much talking talking talking during the performance. Last year after suffering through two women having a loud conversation in front of us I eventually pointed out that since they weren’t interested in listening and we were that maybe they could switch positions with us. They did, and happily moved their socializing well behind us so we could focus on the singing/songwriting.
Last night it was two men talking in loud voices behind us. When I went over to tell them I couldn’t hear it was incredibly frustrating/rage-inducing to realize that one of the blabbermouths was from the opening act. (In fact, two members of that act were loud and disruptive during the main event). You’d think, that of all people, performers would fully understand proper audience etiquette.
Zebu in summer of 1998
Today is Zebu’s birthday and I’m feeling especially grateful. He (and our other son) spent their entire childhoods with Zippy and me and while those years certainly held challenges, we remained intact as a family. The four of us were never forced to seek asylum, we were never denied refuge, and our children weren’t ripped from their parents’ arms. That kind of unspeakable trauma was never part of our lives. Not because we’re exceptional or more deserving, but because we were fortunate enough to be born in the United States. That’s it. Sheer luck.
Today is Zebu’s birthday and I get to hug my son. I’m weeping for those who can’t.
Roses are red,
violets are blue.
Guns have more rights
than children do.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
The only two things you can truly depend upon are gravity and greed.
~ Jack Palance
This morning I did my twice-monthly volunteer stint with the Denver VOICE. As the non-profit’s Twitter bio states: “The Denver VOICE is a monthly newspaper that provides entrepreneurial opportunities to people who are homeless or impoverished.” It’s a wonderful organization that can help people earn enough money to get off the streets.
Denver VOICE vendor John Alexander
During today’s session at the distribution desk (where I sold papers for 50 cents to the vendors who will vend them for a suggested $2 each), I shared many smiles and laughs. It was a good morning. And then, near closing time, one more vendor came in the office. It was a man who struggles with mental health issues, and today was particularly difficult for him. He became agitated and then emotional. It was heartbreaking to witness someone in such a vulnerable condition.
As I drove home, I cried. For the umpteenth time I thought, “Life is a hard row to hoe.” But then I remembered the GOP greedheads who are rushing through tax legislation that will decimate the safety net that’s supposed to support the nation’s most vulnerable, and my anguish turned to outrage.
How dare they turn their backs on people struggling to keep their heads above water?How dare those politicians enrich themselves and the already uber-wealthy at the expense of the rest of us? And, perhaps most importantly, why aren’t we taking to the streets with torches and pitchforks?
I have a birthday coming up which means my driver’s license is about to expire. I tried to renew it online this morning, but was told I didn’t qualify. This means two things:
(1) I have to go wait in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles and (2) I have to get a new photo taken.
I’m not a photogenic person, however, my current driver’s license photo is pretty good. By that, I mean I don’t wince every time I take it out of my wallet. From my perspective, that’s the definition of “keeper.” That past success should make me optimistic of getting another non-wince-inducing photo, right? Wrong.
- Colorado no longer issues colored driver’s licenses; they are now grayscale.
- Colorado no longer allows people who wear glasses every single moment of their waking lives to wear those glasses in their photos.
- Colorado no longer allows people to smile in their photos.
No color. No glasses. No smiles.
Gee, I can’t wait to see what my new driver’s license photo looks like. Except, I already know what it’ll look like: as drab and unlike the real me as my passport photo which is also No Color, No Glasses, No Smile.
I am so angry right now. Not because I’m vain (I am), but because we’ve become a fear-based society that’s given up our civil liberties in the name of increased security. I don’t know about you, but facial recognition software doesn’t make me feel any more secure. The surveillance state doesn’t make me feel more secure.
I’m debating whether to show up at the DMV wearing my colander:
Other Pastafarians have taken a stand with their driver’s license photos, and maybe I should do the same. The shiny metal would certainly brighten up what will otherwise be a dreary photo.
Grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear.
~ Zora Neale Hurston
Zippy and I just returned from a city council candidates’ forum. We heard from the three candidates running for one of the two seats in our ward. It was my first time attending a ward function.
Ugh. Our neighborhood ward is essentially run by a cabal of older, reactionary people.
Know what? After fifteen minutes trying to arrange my thoughts in a coherent manner for this post, I give up. I can’t bring myself to rehash their disrespectful, clique-ish behavior or the dog whistle language they use to work everyone into a fear-based lather. It pissses me off too much.
Instead, I’m going to escape into my fiction. Some of the characters in my novel are also horrible people, but I ultimately have power over their lives. If I want to load them all on a bus and drive them over a cliff, I can do that. In real life, not so much.
We did a whole lot today: Climate March + MOCO Museum for Banksy/Dali exhibits + Climate March again + FOAM Museum for William Eggleston’s LOS ALAMOS exhibit plus additional photography exhibits, and then dinner out at SNCKBR. (And yeah, I’m totally cognizant of the fact that there are a whole lotta acronyms in the preceding sentence.)
It’s been a good day here in Amsterdam. So good, in fact, that I’m having trouble picking just one image to represent the experience. (To add more pics would result in a marathon blog post, and I don’t have the bandwidth for that right now.) So I’m going to leave it at this quote that was painted on the wall at the Banksy exhibit:
Actually, this is THE perfect sentiment for the day. You know why? The “art” wasn’t just in those museums. It was also on display in Museumplein where all those people gathered to voice their concern/outrage/hopes/etc regarding the climate change affecting the planet.
We’re a creative species, and it’s gonna take a whole lotta outrage + art + action to get us out of this mess. It’s a daunting endeavor. But today, between the civic action outside the museums and the creativity exhibited inside, I truly believe that is possible.
Art is essential to our survival.
Photo by Zebu.
My day didn’t start out that way, but then one email put me in the Stabby bus driver’s seat, and now I’m reaching for pointy implements of destruction.
Best steer clear for a while.
Marched this morning with a couple hundred thousand other people. The day started out cold and overcast (really appreciated the ride downtown on the packed-to-the-gills light rail because all that body heat warmed me up again) before turning sunny and warmer. It was a good morning, and I’m glad my neighbor friend, Kim, invited me to march with her. I brought my camera and captured some of the wit and wisdom of the very large gathering. (Click to enlarge)
In case you missed it the first time.
“They tried to bury us. They did not know that we were seeds.” (h/t and thanks to Jenn Hubbard for translation)
Construction workers above the march.
And here’s me with my sign:
Finally, here’s an overhead shot of Civic Center Park in Denver:
DENVER, CO – January 21: Tens of thousands in Civic Center Park for the Women’s March on Denver January 21, 2017. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)
Kim and I left the march before it reached the park so you won’t be able to find us in this crowd. Turning around was a good call, though, because as we “swam” downstream, we got a good look at THE MANY MANY PEOPLE. It was life-affirming to read the signs screaming with anger, hope, and humor.
We’re gonna need all three to make it out alive.
All pretense is gone
White House is billionaire’s club
They’ve ripped off the masks.
Easy to blame you,
smoldering wreck of a year.
But we own this mess.