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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Death Knell of the Hipster Era...

Death Knell of the Hipster Era...
Paul Ryan is, in many ways, the harbinger of our time, a leading indicator of what is happening to America—despite what you may have read. “Rep. Paul Ryan is "smart" but that doesn't mean he is qualified or conservative enough to lead the people's House. Just like John Boehner, Ryan scores terribly with conservatives, punishes dissenters and demands obedience from conservatives.” (see more at
Serving Wisconsin’s First Congressional District since 1999, Senator Paul Ryan is not someone to be ignored. In case you forgot, he was Mitt Romney’s running mate in the failed campaign against Obama in the last rodeo. Granted, he is the first person from Wisconsin to hold the position of Speaker of the House and he has not been put under the major media microscope , but as responsible citizens we should examine the man who was once considered too far right for most Republicans, and the shift of that opinion to one that now proclaims him to be too far left.
When checking the go-to website for information these days, the average person will find this: “While the Tea Party.. had wanted a nominee other than Romney, it had gotten "one of its ideological heroes" in the Vice Presidential slot... Ryan supports the Tea Party's belief in "individual rights, distrust of big government and an allegorical embrace of the Founding Fathers.”
Now, however, especially since he has grown a beard, perhaps a sham lure to bring unwitting urban hipsters to his camp, right-wingnuts are chanting that they want Paul Ryan’s dick on a stick. Public Policy Polling's new national poll finds “...pretty good numbers for Paul Ryan as he begins his Speakership. 41% of voters nationally have a positive opinion of him to 35% with a negative one. That actually gives him a better net favorability rating than anyone running for President has[!]”
On one hand, the fifth generation Wisconsin native has a great story. According to his own website, “Paul Ryan has spent his life advocating for real solutions that will expand opportunity for all Americans.” Sounds good to me, as he studied economics and political science at Miami University of Ohio. An original Public Ivy League University, Miami was established in 1809. It ranked 82nd in U.S. News and World Report’s top American university list.
Where the water gets muddy for me is his initial embrace of the philosophy of Ayn Rand, and subsequent rejection of it as being too “aesthetic,” or being too concerned with beauty. He said Rand "reduces human interactions down to mere contracts.” One might think that he has simply matured politically, from his days pandering to conservatives in the Objectivist movement, who split from the Ayn Rand Institute, to now when he is second in the line of presidential succession. His time spent witnessing the mechanizations of our governmental process and his participation in town hall-style meetings around country have somehow made him a better person, a seasoned individual in the game.
While I think I want people like him on my team, I still do not trust him very much. When I was an editor for a university newspaper, back in the 1990s, I thought the economic conditions of the 1930s had combined with the social activism with the 1960s. Little did I know, how bad (or good, depending on your perspective) things were going to get in the “Twenty-teens.”
We call the recent past the “Great Recession,” our poorest economy since the Great Depression, when FDR served as President. Obama was elected to be our savior. Whether he has achieved the goals he has set forth is a topic for another discussion. With the rise of social media, social consciousness has magnified. If one wants to be active in a cause, just check out all the funding projects available at gofundme, indigogo or kickstarter. Even I have started my own charity! However, our focus today is on the death of the Hipster era in America.
Guys, when the Speaker of House looks “hip,” we should ALL be afraid. We all know people like Paul Ryan, whether he reminds you of your grandson, fraternity brother, boss or simply THAT guy in church. Now, he is trying to grab more of the middle supporters of political opinion. I guess he has image consultants, and they are trying to get him to appeal to the conscious individuals in the Millennial Generation.
Millennials are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates when the generation starts and ends; most researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. According the Pew Social Report, “the Millennial generation is forging a distinctive path into adulthood. Now ranging in age from 18 to 33, they are relatively unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry— and optimistic about the future.
And one of the largest groups of Millennials are the “Hipsters.” The subculture is composed of affluent or middle class young Bohemians who reside primarily in gentrifying neighborhoods. It has been asked if the whole movement has been a marketing ploy, and with fashion stables like Urban Outfitters having reached their peak, I think it is a good bet that it is. We Gen Xers, the precursors to this generation, are doubting their “coolness.”
Several publications have been saying it is hip to be square again. In a 2009 article, Rob Horning states that the hipster might be the "embodiment of postmodernism as a spent force, revealing what happens when pastiche and irony exhaust themselves as aesthetics." As an original Gen X punk rock grrl, I find myself still wrapped in the post-Beat, gonzo, “I am comfortable with violence” mindset. Fuck hipsters, and now that Paul Ryan has embraced the beard, fuck that too, fellas.
Facial pubes have been all the rage, much to the chagrin of those of us who are follically-challenged. Bushes are the “in” look, as long as they remain above the waist. ZZ Top is making a comeback in cool factor. The wilder and woolier the better, until the Speaker of the fucking House of Representatives tries to get in on the act...
I mean, now that Rand Paul has let his face grow long, I bet we go back to punk haircuts from the fashion forward (my wife, for example). Do you really think your girl is gonna wanna get close to that fur, when all she sees is the philosophical spawn of Satan and Ayn Rand? Really? Start shaving, guys, but keep the pussy bumper...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mental illness is not a crime.

Mental illness is not a crime...

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by Andrew Turman (Notes) on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 3:03am
I usually avoid the long form. I am Zen Daddy T, master of the Zen Insight, brief but raw and to the point. Maybe I am reading too much Tara Birch or Arne Torneck. Anyway, I do not know how to come at this topic in any other manner.

For the third time since our separation, my ex-wife has decided to suspend contact between my disabled son and I. The first time, I will admit, was probably a good idea. I was pretty unhinged at the time, but days turned into weeks turned into months. Eighteen, in fact. Once I had passed the danger zone, however, my ex- continued the suspension of my parental rights, and I spiraled out of control. To avoid thinking about the situation, I tried heroin. When that didn't work, I tried cutting myself. If you don't understand the need for pain, the need for blood, I cannot explain it to you. Suffice it to say, it sucks. I was also big into binging and purging.

Eighteen months, the first time. I missed two Christmases, two birthdays. I went so far out there, that even I wasn't sure I could make it back. I got messed up with a nymphomaniac psychopath. I went to prison. It was not pretty. I am not doing a very good job at making the reader sympathetic. But wait. If you are still reading, there is a chance for redemption.

I only mentioned the bad things because I understood why my ex-wife was withholding my son from me. I did get to see him graduate, at least. It was under the condition that I could not talk to him, but that was a small price to pay in order to see my son with autism walk the stage with his "normal" peers. But that was a different time.

The second time my parental rights were suspended, it was an arbitrary decision on my ex-wife's part again. We had planned on him coming down and seeing his grandparents. My ex- is big into women's rights and disability issues and there was a march she was planning on attending while I was to visit with our son. Somehow, she got it into her head that I was manic, so she cancelled the visit.

Then, she got into a pissing contest with my father. A pissing contest is never a good idea, because no one wins, and everybody's shoes get wet. Finally, after almost a year had passed, I was able to see my son. At least during that time I was allowed to talk to him on the telephone.

Now, she has done it again. For the third time. This time, no phone calls or visits until further notice. I really do not understand why. I am doing better than I ever, addressing those scabs in therapy, practicing my Buddhism. I am so stable, I recently got married to a really wonderful woman. And perhaps therein lies my problem.

My ex-wife no longer has control over me the way she used to have. I mean, it was a toxic relationship from the start. I was attending a psychosocial rehabilitation program, and she, a recent graduate of Social Work, was part of my treatment team. Nevermind the ethical dilemma, we fought like cats and dogs, even on the day we were married. We got married because she became pregnant (the IUD works only 99% of the time).

I received my Master's degree in the Education of the Exceptional Child because I wanted to be a better parent to my son with autism. I was the disabilities coordinator at Head Start while my son was an attendee. I wanted to make the program better for him, and other children like him. I stayed in a broken marriage for his sake, which was a mistake.

The point is, the only way my ex-wife can hurt me is through my son. I am not alone in this. There is even a name for it: Parental Alienation Syndrome. It is real, and it is awful. Okay, so I have a mental illness. Big deal. Convicts who have abused their own children have more visitation rights than I do.

So, I have to hire a lawyer to see my own son again. I am tired of jumping through hoops and going over hurdles my ex-wife puts in my way. I have a special relationship with my son. When he was young, I took care of him while my wife worked. When I had my major breakdown, and went on disability, I spent lots of time with my son. The marriage was essentially over, so I slept with him in case I was needed during the night. I bathed him, fed him breakfast, got him dressed. After school we went for walks and bike rides. We were very close.

But then I did the unthinkable: I left my wife. I could not stand the emotional abuse any longer, so I left her. I did not leave him. While my faith has gotten stronger, and my emotional health better, there is less my ex- can do to hurt me. Except through him.

I am enjoying a lot of success in life right now. I am taking care of my elderly parents. Zen Daddy T Productions is about to take a giant leap forward. As I mentioned, I just got married to the woman of my dreams. Only a huge part of my life is missing.

If you are a parent, imagine not being able to speak with or see your child, being subject to the whims of a scorned former spouse.

I love my son, and he loves me. This is not his idea. My ex-wife is an excellent advocate, but a terrible mother. In order to get back at me, she is also hurting him. She knows the systems in the state where they reside, and has powerful friends. So. We will see what kind of justice the legal system will offer to a "wounded" parent. Mental illness is not a crime. So why do I have less rights than most criminals?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Empty Pockets

Empty Pockets

~~~for Alfred George

I turn down
Riverwood Avenue
I shake off the mold and mildew in my brain.

I am in
A dream
A night terror.

My heart is beating
Out of my chest
It is heavy, weighted.

I wake up scared
I wake up strange
I feel like nothing in my life is ever going to change.

What was it
About me
You found yourself attracted to?

Was it my blond hair?
My blue eyes?
My laugh?

I used to laugh
A lot.
Now? Not so much!

All I have
Is empty pockets

I used to carry
Rocks and coins
Nails and pens.

All is gone.
My life is gone.
My city is gone.

You took
But never gave
More than you got.

I hope you are
Happy now.
Where you are.

I know
I am not.
My life changed.

I cannot hold someone in my arms.
I cannot love someone with my heart.
I cannot listen to someone without fear.

You did this to me.
Why? Was the taboo
Worth years in jail?

All I have is empty pockets.
Who I am is
All I have left.