Tuesday, April 20, 2021

I'm Done Laughing at Biden.


When I sent the photo of my "No Billionaires" window, I inadvertently left in a link that connected the photo to a Randy Rainbow song from a previous blog. It was "Mr. Biden, Bring My Vaccine," to the tune of "Mister Sandman, Bring Me a Dream."

I got two responses from people who clicked through to the song. One friend found it delightful for the second time and got a little lift for his day. I went back and listened to "Mr. Biden" and loved it all over again.

HOWEVER, then I read the OTHER friend's email. She found Randy's mocking of Biden "cynical." And when I thought about it, I had to
agree with her.

(Folks, I am having the damnedest time with the formatting. I seem to be confined to two columns. So I shall put random garden photos in the left column.)

Many of us understandably got into the habit of ridiculing President Trump. It helped us keep our sanity for four years. But we succeeded in firing him, and we now have someone in the job who takes it very very seriously.

Remember the moment Biden was sworn in? I cried with relief that the nightmare was over. Admittedly, at that moment I didn't realize that the mass psychosis induced by Trump would continue. But STILL, the NIGHT-MARE OF PRESIDENT TRUMP IS OVER!

And as far as I'm concerned, Biden is doing so much better than I ever could have imagined. Truly, I thought his Presidency would doom us to the same old, same old of accomodating mealy-mouthed Democrats. And his Inaugural Address about "unity" did not bode well. "Unity" sounded like an excuse for Biden to compromise on anything that might threaten the GOP and the ultra-rich in the LEAST. BUT...

Who woulda thunk it? Not I!

He's appointed some truly great people. All his "unity" nonsense has gone down the tubes and up in smoke -- praise the goddess! He's going mano a mano against the Republicans AND Putin! He's giving stipends to all families with children for the first time in our history. He's in the process of creating a 21st century New Deal. He's actually going to end our involvement in Afghanistan.

Of COURSE he's made choices that I thought are wrong. He's made mistakes. OF COURSE we need to continue to hold his feet to the fire on progressive positions.


Yes, you could say that he almost invites ridicule with his telling of stories that mock himself and his sometimes spectacular clumsiness when he's reaching for rhetorical heights.

But considering he's doing his damnedest to save the world, I think we should....

Cut him a break!

Can't we find his inappropriate self-mocking stories endearing? Can't we smile fondly when he trips on the stairs up to Air Force One? Can't we gently correct our good old Joe when he says that Republican efforts at voter suppression "make Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle"? That is not only awkward but completely incorrect and diminishes the seriousness of the Jim Crow era. BUT THE IMPORTANT POINT IS OUR PRESIDENT IS WORKING LIKE HELL TO STOP THESE VOTER SUPPRESSION LAWS!

Now, fighting voter suppression could be considered self-serving, because voter suppression makes it less likely that Democrats will win elections.

But getting us out of Afghanistan? That is a principled stand. Joe will certainly lose votes for that decision in the next Presidential election.

Yes, it would be lovely to have a President who could inspire us with flights of oratory like FDR. But FDR wasn't perfect either.

I'm savoring this moment.

I just wrote "FDR wasn't perfect either." I never thought I would write those words about President Biden. Ever since Bernie Sanders withdrew from the Presidential race, underneath all the emotional ups and downs I experienced since then, I had a sense of doom. I felt -- no, KNEW -- that the Democratic candidate for President could not possibly be equal to the enormous task before him. He had to not only undo all the destruction of Trump, he had to turn the country in a new direction. Bernie could have done this. Biden couldn't.

I was wrong.

HALLELUJAH, I WAS WRONG! We've got the President we NEED!

It turns out that Biden has been open to progressive ideas in a way that was unimaginable. Let's praise him and the incredible progressive movement and progressive Democrats in Congress who have led the way!

And while it has turned out to be relatively easy for Biden to turn to the left, he has more experience than anyone alive in getting things done in Congress. Could Bernie have done so well without the kind of insider knowledge and strong relationships that Biden possesses? I don't know.

What I'm saying is: We're lucky. The man for the job is IN the job!


Bloggelinis, feel free to disagree with me! As you can see, I learn from you.

Please treasure yourselves. Terry

Monday, April 19, 2021

Just a Little Castro Ramble


There aren't many places in the world where you can find a nice young man knitting while lounging in the window of the barbershop. But the Castro is one of them.

It had actually been a while since I had walked down 18th Street to view the art. It's always changing, as things get painted over. Sometimes I mourn what has disappeared, and I'm so glad I captured its brief life. Other times I'm delighted with the new arrival. For this walk, I was joined by Micki, visiting from Montgomery, Alabama. I was hoping that San Francisco artists would uphold the honor of our city.

A block down 18th, we came upon a gorgeous painting that's been unmolested for a while. Perhaps out of respect for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, this image has been allowed to survive so long. The gold in the painting is stunning. I mean, it COULDN'T be real gold leaf lavished on the side of a building, but it looks like it.

Around the corner from Ruth, a trompe l'oeil vision:
The jacket is worth a closer look:
This mural blew my mind. How long did it take the artist to create Leather Jacket Etcetera? This hyper-real detail is so time-consuming to paint on a prepared canvas -- let alone siding that creates horizontal channels every six inches! And it could well be painted over the next day! But yet there it was, to please and astonish us that day. Adding the high heel to the sneakers makes this mural so very gay. I'm assuming the mural was sponsored by the bar on the corner, Moby Dick, which has some very nice trompe l'oeil marble work. I find a mostly naked man wearing a rainbow mask reclining on a whale to be a perfect image for the pandemic Castro.

There are a lot of wall butterflies in my neighbor-hood. One or two here, five or six there. It's one of the recurrent themes. This rainbow of butterflies is my favorite so far.

This is Juanita MORE!, drag queen and performer. From her website:
  • Juanita MORE! is a denizen of the limelight. For almost three decades, the tireless hostess has blitzed San Francisco with high glamour, drag irreverence, danceable beats, culinary delectables, political activism and a philanthropic heart that has illuminated the entire city. Juanita remains a creation of fashion and glamour, generosity and nerve, inspiring those around her to make a positive difference in their lives and in their communities, doing it all with a timeless elegance and an innovative spirit.

I like the capitals and exclamation point in Juanita's last name. I wonder if I could pull that off --- Terry BAUM! Nope. Juanita is far more ironic than me. The caps and exclamation point have to be ironic.

Juanita seems to pour down into -- or blossom up from -- this beautiful black patch of graffiti. Fans of her magnificence, perhaps?

You know, when I snapped this photo, I was very frustrated with the stripes of shadow. There was
no way to avoid them, and I decided to take the picture anyhow. But now I think they make it a better picture! They emphasize the diagonal of the rainbow flag and the Golden Gate Bridge.

This next one is surrounded by greenery that has become brownery.
"New dawn," "blooms" and "free" are very beguiling concepts. I'm having trouble putting them together. But it's still a gorgeous painting. The colors are luscious.

Trash? Art? How amazing that these three polaroid photos are lying on the sidewalk in this perfect con-figuration, with some kind of white metal something creating a graphic three-sided square on top -- not obscuring any of the the faces at all!

How happy I am to share with you the moment I saw this.

Definitely ART!

Below is a Very Important Garage Door, which has appeared in BAUMblog before. Perhaps you will remember: The intention then was to get you to vote, and the subject was a recounting of times when one vote made an enormous difference in history. Now the election is long gone, and the essay this time is focused on the threat of plastic to the planet. Again, it's information to inspire action:
I can feel the soul of that turtle. Kudos to the person/people who do this work!
I do try to REDUCE my use of plastic. I wash out plastic bags so I can re-use them several times. But it seems impossible to actually STOP USING PLASTIC -- although I believe we must.
Since I was in the Castro when I saw the words "men" and "rape," I assumed this poster was about gay men being raped and I was very confused. I might never have figured it out if Micki hadn't been there. She's a lawyer, therefore practiced at deciphering obscure documents. With her assistance, I realized that this hilarious and brilliant sign is advising men of what they can do to prevent themselves from raping another human being.

What a refreshing reversal from signs warning women to be careful!
I especially like the suggestion to wear six pairs of underpants to make it more "physically challenging" to commit rape. I would think this fabulous sign would be all over town, but this is the only one I've seen.
Yes it is the responsibility of men to stop themselves from raping!

I mean, these are BIG!

James Baldwin trumpeting Judgment -- and he certainly did!

Trump plummeting from the Tower --
and may he plummet forever!

Stacey Abrams meting out Justice -- may it be so!

Can you imagine? This treasure trove of art and politics was all on three blocks of 18th Street! Micki was impressed. I was so proud of my city! We said goodby and then Micki wended her way to her next appointment.

Let's end with a nice bouquet of flowers.

now, dear Bloggelinis! Terry


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Very Very Serious Warning


Very Very Serious Warning


This is one of those rules that is just absolute. It must always be obeyed. Carolyn has told me this repeatedly, and I couldn't agree with her more.

You would think that, if the nuts are not even slightly brown, and the flame is very low, you have plenty of time to go to the front door, get the two newspapers, take the plastic and the rubber band off and then unfold them and glance at the headlines and then trot back to your nuts.

And perhaps you DO have time to do that.

BUT then you see that the Stanford women's basketball team has won the championship for the first time in almost 30 years! And you have to read the article and contemplate the excessive use of the word "heartbroken" for all their previous almost-wins and really feel that's a bit out of proportion to the actual event which is after all just a game. I mean, come on, "heartbreak" should be reserved for something bigger...

You recall the time when YOU were competing in the FINALS of the 1981 Nerd Contest at Marriot's Great America. Not only did you not win, YOU DIDN'T EVEN PLACE! How embarrassing! And what was even more embarrassing, you were seriously bummed out about it, weren't you? So bummed out that you could NOT enjoy the Great America rides, even though you knew you were way too cool to care. So who are YOU to feel superior to the HEARTBREAK of others?

And then you wander back into the kitchen and ...

Definitely edible, at least to someone who almost always burns her nuts. But still, best practice -- really only GOOD practice -- is...

Wait a minute!
Is it possible that none of the Bloggelinis have heard about the infamous Nerd Contest of 1981??!?

Well. The clothing brand, The Gap, was doing a major promotion around the concept of Gap clothes turning nerds into really hip cool people. So they were having lots of Nerd Contests all over California, where the nerdiest man and woman who showed up at each location would be declared the winners of the local contest and would be sent to the finals at Great America, a big amusement park.

So the San Francisco Nerd Contest was being held at Stonestown Shopping Mall, which is now enclosed but at that time was open air. Alice, my lover at the time, and I and Alice's good friend Fred decided that Fred and I should compete at Stonestown. Fred's character was named Grover Wayne Travolta, and he was a disco dance teacher at Pier 39. My character was Scar Tissue and I cannot remember anything about her except her name, which we all thought was hilarious. I must have had a concept. Fred really DID have a great and hilarious and nerdy name and concept.

So we go to Stonestown and there's a platform set up in the main square and people go up one by one and are interviewed. I thought I did pretty good. Honestly, I can only remember the name. Grover Wayne Travolta was after me. Well, when the M.C. heard Grover's profession, he demanded that Grover dance to the Nerd Song! We didn't know it, but they had an actual song, "Do the Nerd," that had been written for this campaign! It was a comic rock song, like "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Something Something Yellow Bikini."

The M.C. puts on this song and Fred grabs me and we start dancing to it. Now, I have an uncanny ability to follow. I can mirror the movements of someone without any rehearsal or preparation. The first time I went to a tai chi class, I went through the whole 45-minute routine without a glitch. I guess it's kind of a psychic surrendering to the energy of the other person. And it turned out that Fred was a great leader! So we danced absolutely brilliantly together!

Needless to say, Fred won the men's competition and I won the women's. That meant we were going to the finals, where the prize was $1000 in clothing from the Gap!

We had done the whole thing as a lark, of course. But as the time of the final drew near, my lust for $1000 in new clothes grew very intense. I had no money at the time. I wasn't dressed in RAGS but my wardrobe could really use some spiffing up. What fun it would be to go shopping with REAL MONEY! And Fred and I were bound to win! People would be blown away by our dance!

Fred and I each got two free tickets to Great America, so Alice and another friend accompanied us. We got there just before the competition began. We wanted to celebrate our certain victory afterwards on the huge roller coaster and other rides.

When it turned out we couldn't do the dance in the competition, I deflated. I was lame. Boring. It wasn't just that I didn't win that depressed me. It was also that I didn't DESERVE to win. The woman who won totally ignored what they told her she could or couldn't do and started bellowing opera in a really terrible voice and wouldn't stop. I mean, she SEIZED the moment!

Fred, unlike me, was absolutely hilarious even without the opportunity to dance. He didn't place either, but many of the other contestants came up to him after and told him he was robbed.

No new wardrobe for Scar Tissue. I had never been a competitive person and it was at that moment that I realized the fatal flaw in the very concept of competition: Only one person or team wins. Everyone else is bummed out! In fact, the person/team that comes in SECOND is the MOST bummed out! It's worse to almost win, which is why the excellent Stanford team experienced so much heartbreak.

The moral of the Blog is: Always always seize the moment! Then, even if you don't win, you still might enjoy the roller coaster afterwards. Unless you come in second. Then it's almost inevitable that you'll be bummed out -- unless you've done a lot of meditation and have reached enlightenment.

AND if you're a truly enlightened being, you will NEVER burn your nuts!

That's all for now, Bloggelinis. Terry

Thursday, April 1, 2021

EXCITED about INCITEMENT... But then Maybe not..


There's been a lot of discussion about whether Trump is actually legally guilty of incitement to riot for the January 6 insurrection. After all, he didn't actually march down with the mob and lead them into the Capitol. Although I knew he was responsible for the terrible events of that day, I wasn't sure if his actions met the LEGAL definition of incitement. But then I read the ACLU Landmark Cases Knowledge card that you see to the left. I bought a pack of them who knows when or where and found them recently in a box and put them where I was sure to read them, in the bathroom.
And yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court case of "Brandenburg v. Ohio" came to the top. I quote from the card:
A television news program in Cincinnati aired footage from a Ku Klux Klan rally organized by KKK leader Clarence Brandenburg. Along with familiar Klan images of robes and hoods and burning crosses, the program featured excerpts from speeches warning that if the government "continues to suppress the white, Caucasian race, it's possible that there might have to be some revengeance (sic) taken." Brandenburg was tried and convicted for incitement.

In a decision that struck down Ohio's criminal syndicalism statute and overturned a 1927 Supreme Court ruling that upheld such laws, the justices unanimously reversed Brandenburg's conviction. Citing the First and Fourteenth Amendments, the court held that government can restrict only "incitement to IMMINENT lawless action," not abstract advocacy of illegal force. The Brandenburg test remains the standard used for evaluating attempts to punish incitement.
He summoned the mob to the place where Congress was gathering to count the Electoral College votes, at the time that our elected representatives were actually counting them. He incited them to attack the Capitol to prevent the count. He said he would lead the walk down there. While he did not in fact walk with the mob -- undoubtedly because he was too lazy -- he went home to watch the events on television...

So not only did Trump incite the mob to IMMINENT violent action, his INTENTION to do that very thing is made clear by his subsequent failure to act to STOP the mob, because he was having so much fun watching it on television!

I mean, it happens very rarely that a mob is summoned to violent insurrection by someone who has ALL the resources at his disposal to stop the mob's attack -- both by using the media to communicate with the mob and summoning law enforcement to stop the mob. We know those around Trump urged him for hours to call off the mob.

It seems to me that Trump's actions, leading up to the mob storming the Capitol, flunk the Brandenburg test because the occasion was IMMINENT. Therefore, he is criminally liable for incitement to riot. The federal crime of inciting a riot carries a possible penalty of up to five years in prison.

Rep. Swalwell has filed a lawsuit demanding that Trump, Trump Jr. Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks be liable for damages to those who were injured in the riot.

However, no one has attempted to criminally charge Trump. While some analysts say a jury SHOULD decide whether he committed a crime, others say that Brandenburg is about First Amendment rights that would make it difficult to convict. But Brandenburg, according to my card which was published long before January 6, is about whether the occasion for riot was IMMINENT, which it clearly WAS.

So why isn't anyone trying Trump for incitement to riot? DOESN'T THE FACT THAT HE SAT THERE CHORTLING OVER THE VIOLENCE HE WAS WATCH ON TELEVISION MEAN ANYTHING? It really bugs me. Maybe some Bloggelini with legal knowledge can explain to me why there's no point in bringing him to trial. Is Trump not being indicted because everyone feels his hand-picked Supreme Court will eventually let him off the hook, so why bother?

Bloggelinis, I started this blog assuming there MUST be some effort being made to create a criminal case against Trump about the riot, and discovered all this wishy washy commentary. But I decided to modify the blog title and send it anyway. Terry