Category Archives: Commentary

Oct. 20, 2019 Blumbers

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” —Martin Luther King Jr.

A friend reminded me what King said in Montgomery Alabama back in 1957. I took it to heart. You do not have to do something extraordinary. You can help a little bit everyday by listening. I met lots of people everyday and started helping them find work. If I knew of a job somewhere I would pass it along. Eventually the people  who got a job would pass along another job for somebody else. I started a card catalog, then a list and finally a database. The  contact information starts with a name, address and phone number. It evolved to include fax numbers, email addresses, websites and social media. All records included their skills. It is a very large list. I joined organizations just so I could help other people find work in an increasingly crazy job market. You get an incredible view of the world when you see it all fit together.

King had a point. In the end, do you want to be remembered as somebody who helped strangers, friends, family or just yourself?

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Oct. 13, 2019 Blumbers

Darkness After Midnght

Last week I got a message from Pacific Gas and Electric saying they were cutting off my electricity starting at midnight. They estimated there would be no power for a couple of days. They said they did not want to start a wildfire like the one that destroyed the town of Paradise last year.

It made me wonder about why we still have electric utilities. In the twentieth century, power generation was a very complicated capital and labor intensive business. You had to have access to coal or oil that had to be brought to a generator by railroad or pipeline. Maybe you had to build a hydroelectric dam or expensive nuclear power plant.  It was all eventually sent by wire on a grid to millions of homes. Apparently you needed a large organization to do that.

In the twenty-first century, you could put a solar panel on every roof to a battery in every building. No complex smart grid. No complex network of power lines to spark from one falling tree. Just a glorified extension cord to power your refrigerator. It would localize any damage and not disrupt entire regions. We could then choose if we wanted darkness after midnight.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Oct. 6, 2019 Blumbers

The Best Defense

Why take offense when it is given so freely?

I heard that people who use social media get depressed. If it does why use it? I am barely on any of them. I use the extra time to interact with people in person.  My failure to read between the lines or even read the bold print online  has been very successful. If there is a problem with me you brought it with you. You will have to tell me directly and in person, otherwise I will never know and just keep right on going. Slights, insults, implications or bullying are never noticed.

Frankly it is easier to have human or digital assistants screen through what few social media I do subscribe. They cannot take it personally and neither do I.

The idea is to be funny and it works.

Note: Did you buy the bus just to throw people under it? I was taught to avoid strange people in vans. Naturally the color fits.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Sep. 29, 2019 Blumbers

Digital Dividend

I taught a college software course. One day a student had no choice but to bring her very young daughter to class. We put her at the computer next to her mother and started the class. It was against the rules but this arrangement made the difference. The mother completed the class and her degree. 

Years go by. Last summer the mother sent me a picture of her daughter graduating from college. She attributed her daughters early experience in our class with her now teaching STEM classes.

It was good news. It is how civilization is supposed to work. The more people you help, the more people can help others. 

Note: You know you are killing the planet when you have a vehicle so large it will not fit in any of your three garages. BTW: Who is still buying Cadillacs?

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All right reserved.

Sep. 26, 2019 SNR

On Sep. 26, 2019 SNR’s Ben Irwin wrote “Outbid On The Side” about the affordable ownership housing program in Davis.

Rachel Becker wrote “Mixed Bag On Plastics” about California’s Assembly failure in ending single use plastics. As of 2017 China is no longer accepting recycled plastic waste.

Special reporter Olivia Monahan.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Sep. 22, 2019 Blumbers

What The Floyd

I was in a record store that was going out of business. I found Pink Floyd’s 1975 album Wish You Were Here in the F’s not the Ps. Obviously some teen age employee thought Pink Floyd was a first and last name. This was funnier because there is a song on the album called Have A Cigar where a record company executive meets the group and wants to know “Which One’s Pink?”

I guess the next question is “What is Pink Floyd’s middle name?

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Sep. 12, 2019 SNR

On Sep. 12, 2019 SNR’s Scott Thomas Anderson wrote “5G for Fighting” about the December 2018 Lancet article stating “Mounting scientific evidence suggests that prolonged exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic radiation has serious biological and health effects.”

A report from Danielle Simone Brand.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Sep. 8, 2019 Blumbers

Successful Failure

Some wealthy conservative billionaires died last month and not many people wept. They thought having the money, big house, big car and connections was a sign of success. In fact everything they did was a sign of failure. They climbed to the top of the heap not realizing it was on the bodies of other people. They made the world a hateful, poisoned place where more people had less money, less education, less housing, less transportation and less vibrant communities. They discovered too late that they could not take it with them and left a mess behind. They succeeded at losing everything. Do they want to be remembered for the most horrible shortsighted thing they ever did? Do they want people to celebrate their life or death?

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 22, 2019 SNR

On Aug. 22, 2019 SNR’s Foon Rhee wrote “Nickel And Dimed To Death?” about the rising costs of waste removal as a result of 2017’s China Sword policy not to accept any more waste from other countries.

Scott Thomas Anderson wrote “Collapse Of A Coalition”about the California Apartment Association’s spending $500,000 fighting rent control. They and other conservative groups spent  attempted to defeat a statewide rent control ballot measure in 2018.  Despite the spending $76 million, they lost in Mountain View and Richmond.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 18, 2019 Blumbers

Sunfall tm

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has confirmed July was the Earth’s hottest month since record keeping began 140 years ago.” Climate change is real. Political change is too. Why do we pay to dig energy out of the ground when it falls from the sky for free?

Eccdbfkuyaaowne

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 17, 2019 Marquam

Marquam Hills
8/17/2019 9:00:39 AM (14 minutes ago)  
IP: 209.191.189.237 Hostname: 209.191.189.237
Browser: IE version 8.0 running on Win7
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/4.0; GTB6; SLCC2; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729; Media Center PC 6.0; OfficeLiveConnector.1.4; OfficeLivePatch.1.3)
 
Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 11, 2019 Blumbers

Gun Uncontrol

There have been a number of mass shootings across the country. It does not have to be this way. The gun lobby wants to stigmatize people with disabilities. Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency room doctor, associate professor of emergency medicine at Alpert Medical School, Brown University, and chief research officer of AFFIRM Research, a nonprofit focused on firearm injury reduction talked about the dangers of linking gun violence and mental Illness. The result might be discrimination against disabled people. 

As for the shootings, what will it take? What will be the tipping point? Whose child will have to die before we decide to end these tragedies? If you could prevent a tragedy, would you pay that price?

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 4, 2019 Blumbers

Years and Years Fears

Nobody does dystopian like the British. I just watched all six episodes of Years And Years. I would like to think their skepticism is because of their recent battle with Brexit, but there are decades of evidence that this not a recent phenomenon. I point out the 1930s film Things To Come, which was Mad Max in black and white. There was Orwell’s 1984, so sad it was released in 1985. I think the TV film Threads was made about that time and once you see it you will be afraid to fall asleep. About ten years ago Clive Owen starred in Children Of Men which might as well have been a BBC news documentary. Years and Years carries on this tradition where things get worse and worse. It is ripped from the headlines of obsolete newspapers. The heroes fight back but there are casualties. For taking place so far away, the series hits close to home.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 28, 2019 Blumbers

Compact Discstruction

I seldom paid full price for compact discs. I went to used CD stores, flea markets or garage sales. I thought anthologies, boxed sets, collections and greatest hits had more value than twenty bucks for one song. Occasionally you would find very eclectic music intended to be played in shopping mall clothing stores or plumbing conventions.

At that point I had a 100 CD player jukebox with the potential to play over 1000 songs. It became obsolete when I was able to load the music directly to hard drives with the capacity to play thousands of songs. Despite that, I never downloaded anything from the internet. I paid for it fair and square. I liked having the physical media as backup if the hard drives died (that happened more than once). I never uploaded to the cloud or streamed. As technology and business models progressed, record stores began closing.

The day came when one of the last record stores announced it was closing and I decided to browse for one last time. The crowds were crazy and the store was a mess.

One thing I noticed over the years is how hard it is to find used Pat Metheny. People seem to buy and hang on to it. I was looking through the jazz section for Metheny and found a misfiled Johnny Mathis singing the song 99 Miles. I had been looking for that song for years. There it was, like a crystal skull in an Indiana Jones movie.  Online shopping could not duplicate the feeling. A search engine is not as good as searching for it yourself.

Suddenly the lights in the store flashed on and off. It was closing time. I was last in line as I paid a dollar. I stood on the sidewalk as they locked the door behind me.

It is probably the last CD I will ever buy.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Rutger Hauer Dead At 75

Actor Rutger Hauer died in Holland at age 75. He is best known for his role as replicant Roy Batty in Bladerunner 1982.  “I’ve seen things, you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die.”

I’ve seen things, you people wouldn’t believe.

Copyright 2019 DJ cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 21, 2019 Blumbers

Going Forward

I have been thinking about the moon landing and where we are now. Sometimes you can’t go back where you came from because it isn’t there anymore.

If you have worked with NASA, you have worked with immigrants. Many were attracted to the United States because of its space program. Some walked through jungles or deserts, ran from tanks, swam through shark infested waters just to work in the cubicle next to you. I know of one woman whose grandfather fled the Armenian genocide to Syria. His son fled Syria to Cuba. His daughter fled Cuba to America. She grew up in Florida and became an aerospace engineer. With a family history like that, the odds that her children would flee Earth is within the realm of possibility.

We need to help each other on our journeys through life.

We need leaders who are not so worried about where we came from and think more about where we want to go.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 14, 2019 Blumbers

In Spite Of Everything

The current president has ordered ICE to start rounding up people he does not like in major cities across the country. I kind of thought that the entire country was a sanctuary for all people, not just people you like.

I always get a little nervous when this happens. Where will it end? Seventy five years ago Anne Frank said “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

Imagine if you knew someone was hiding. Just trying to survive. Would you go to your boss or authorities and give them up? Would you be able to carry that weight? Or would you fold yourself into a ball and close your eyes to the suffering in front of you?

What will you do when they knock on your door?

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 7, 2019 Blumbers

Plumbing Answer

Signs on restroom doors have gotten complicated. I saw solution and I’ll have to go back and take a picture of it. Rather than a stylized picture of a person, it was a picture of toilet. Sometimes the solution is not depicting the user, it is depicting the use.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 4, 2019 Independence Day

Today Americans celebrate when the cast of Hamilton decided that they would not be ruled or influenced by foreign governments or inherited wealth. I’m glad that didn’t happen. Excuse me. What’s that? Really? Well, I’m glad that at least there aren’t tanks in the streets of Washington. What’s that? Really? Oh dear.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun 30, 2019 Blumbers

Website 25

This marks my twenty fifth year on the web. My first website was painfully assembled HTML. Fifteen years ago Doug Wray came up with one of the first WordPress designs that you see here. I hope for many more versions over the next few years. Thank you for visiting. This site continues to do its work.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Empire of Exiles

Empire of Exiles by DJ Cline

As I passed through the houses of others

They showed me their family pictures

Most lived down the street or across town

But others were barely noted

Whispered stories of a lost city

An empire of exiles

Forgotten fathers

Missing mothers

Unknown uncles

Absent aunts

Unkissed cousins

Neglected nieces and nephews

They passed through some golden gate

They were the most colorful leaves on the highest branches 

Carried by the wind to a friendlier forest

Far from the roots of their family trees.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 23, 2019 Blumbers

Crossing the Road

I was pulling out of a shopping center on a hot summer afternoon at a busy six lane intersection. The light turned green but nobody was moving. I looked ahead and see a very small older woman in a traditional wheelchair trying to push her way across the crosswalk. She was in  trouble. Before I could do anything, a homeless man rode up on a bicycle, left it on a corner and helped push her across the street. He left the most valuable thing he owned help a stranger. You know what else? Nobody honked. There is an old punchline about crossing the road to get to the other side. With enough patience and compassion we will all help each other get to the other side.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 16, 2019 Blumbers

Flag Of Many Colors

It is Pride Month. The old divisions and polarities are shredded and rewoven into a flag, with each thread a different person. Reinforcing old divisions or creating new barriers does not move us forward. When some people complain about emasculating this or defeminizing that, those terms are Victorian steampunk. They want to deny someone a job, housing, education or basic human rights because they are uncomfortable. The differences were always there and they will have get used to the rest of humanity. The flag is still there.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 9, 2019 Blumbers

Freedom Anniversaries

The last few days have seen a series of anniversaries for human rights. A hundred years ago American women got the right to vote. Seventy five years ago Allied forces invaded France on D-Day. Fifty years ago the Stonewall riots erupted in New York City. Thirty years ago Chinese students protested in Tiananmen Square. At this very moment there are a million protestors in the streets of Hong Kong. All these events are part of a progression toward greater freedom. If you can read this, it is working.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 2, 2019 Blumbers

Commencent Address

As I look out across all of you here today I am reminded of all those who could not be here. They never had a chance to go to college. Whatever personal goals you have, you should work toward making college free for all. Without the burden of debt, this investment fights poverty. It creates a middle class important for democracy.  

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 26, 2019 Blumbers

Snakes Skates And Automobiles

You see a lot of things in California. I saw a man skating down the street with a large snake wrapped around his left arm. I would have taken a picture but I was driving. I had a lot of questions. Was he on his way to lunch with a fire eater, a juggler and a small car full of clowns? Was it for personal defense? Was it a rescue snake? Was it an emotional support snake? Was he moving the snake away from actor Samuel L. Jackson? Was he just taking it for a walk… or slither?

Copyright 2019 DJ cline All rights reserved.