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.

May 24, 2019 Food Security And Health

On May 24, 2019 NPR presented Sarah Bowen of North Carolina State University, Sinikka Elliott of the University of British Columbia and Joslyn Brenton of Ithaca College. Their book is ” Pressure Cooker: Why Home Cooking Won’t Solve Our Problems and What We Can Do About It”. They said “But inequality is baked into our food system. If good health depends on eating real food, it’s time to make sure all families get the support they need to eat well. This means making healthy food more affordable, but it also means addressing the other challenges families face: for example, by guaranteeing workers a living wage and fair working conditions and by investing in families through universal free school lunch and subsidized child care, so that parents don’t feel like they’re doing it all on their own.”

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 19, 2019 Blumbers

HBO Reviews

There is lot on HBO these days.

Barry

Bill Hader and Henry Winkler lead a great cast on a dark journey. A veteran hit man considers switching to acting. Tarentino meets Saturday Night Live.

Game of Thrones

Never watched it. I usually wait until a series is over. I then watch the first and last episodes. If it is worth it I watch the whole thing. That is rare. Frankly I already know a lot about medieval Europe and the reality is much stranger than fantasy. The good news is it is finished.

Chernobyl

An environmental catastrophe is denied by a powerful Russian elite while millions of people suffer. Quite a lesson. Some very brave people sacrificed themselves to save the rest of us. Years later we learn their story. The scariest moments are simple like a dead bird on a sidewalk or a flashlight going out.

Veep

It started out surreal but could not keep up with our current Surrealty. Kind of a warning of how weird things are right now.

Wyatt Cenac Problem Areas

Funny approaches to serious issues. Love the retro set.

Gentleman Jack

The story of the very real Ann Lister in 1830s England. If you studied gender issues or were there at the revolution you probably know about her. She left a large amount of documentation to future generations. I like the song played over the credits.

Behind her back
She’s Gentleman Jack
The Yorkshire lady of renown
Ever so fine
Won’t toe the line.
Speak her name 
And gentlemen frown.
At Shibden hall
She had them all
The  fairer sex
Fell under spell.
Dapper and bright 
She held them tight
Handsome Ann
Seduced them well
Gentleman Jack
Oh Gentleman Jack
Watch your back
You’re under attack
The husbands are coming 
You better start running
For nobody likes a Jack the Lass
Jack the Lass
Jack the Lass
No one likes 
A Jack the Lass
The code is cracked
Your bags are packed
The knives are out 
For Gentleman Jack
 
Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.
 

May 12, 2019 Blumbers

Lunar Library

Full disclosure, I am a charter member of the Long Now Foundation. They try to think about how to communicate with future generations, including launching time capsules into space. Last month an Israeli Beresheet lunar lander crashed on the Sea of Serenity. It contained data from Long Now’s PanLex and Rosetta projects in its Lunar Library. It is not the first time they have tried this. One time capsule was placed in Elon Musk’s Tesla and launched into solar orbit back in February of 2018. Also, a Rosetta disk is already on the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. According to Long Now’s Executive Director Alexander Rose “If the Lunar Library remains intact, then all the analog and digital knowledge contained in the 25 layers currently resides on the Moon, perhaps for hundreds of millions of years to even billions of years.”

Imagine that. Imagine backing up everything you have ever written, every picture you ever took and having it seen a thousand, million or billion years from now. You would get the last word from a lost world.

By the way, this marks the twenty fifth anniversary and third version of this website. That is a lot of content to back up.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 5, 2019 Blumbers

Scooter Litter

A disabled veteran uses an electric wheelchair to get around San Francisco. Lately he has found sidewalks littered with abandoned electric scooters blocking his path. He had several ideas on how to deal with them. The first was to put a cow catcher on the front of his device similar to what you would see on a steam locomotive to push the debris out of the way. The second idea was a using a small crane with a electromagnet commonly used in scrap metal yards. The third idea was to outfit his device with large monster truck tires to drive over the top of abandoned scooters. I suggested an app which would identify whoever abandoned a scooter on social media.

Copyright 2019 DJ cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 28, 2019 Blumbers

Candidate Census

Right now there are over twenty people running for president of the United States. At this rate, maybe the big question on next year’s census should not be “Are you a citizen?” but “Are you running for president?”

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 21, 2019 Blumbers

Falternative

On April 16, 2019 Dave Davies of NPR’s Fresh Air interviewed Bill McKibben about his new book on climate change “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?” Middle East and Indian inland countries are experiencing heat wave temperatures reaching 129 degrees Fahrenheit for weeks, making life dangerous or impossible. The coasts might be cooler but are experiencing more destructive storms. By 2050 humans will only be able to perform seventy percent of the work they use to do, including raising food. Drought is forcing farmers to move north as refugees and wildfires to wipe out whole towns. When it does rain, it floods more and faster. “I mean, in the end, this isn’t a fight between Republicans and Democrats or environmentalists and industry. It’s, in the end, a fight between human beings and physics. And physics is poor at compromise, doesn’t negotiate easily. We’re going to have to do what physics demands.”

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 14, 2019 Blumbers

Tax Day

US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said taxes are the price we pay for living in a civilized society. You help millions of people when you do. Sometimes yourself.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Mar. 31, 2019 Blumbers

California Rising Sea Levels

On March 23, 2019 in Mother Jones, Nick Bowlin reported “The Vulnerability of California’s Coast Is Terrifying.” Patrick Barnard of the US Geological Survey headed the study. Pacific storms can surge several meters on top rising sea levels of at least one or two meters by 2100. “A quarter-meter would endanger more than $30 billion in property—and more than 150,000 Californians””In that scenario, researchers expect that $150 billion in property and 600,000 residents would be impacted by flooding. And if sea level rise approaches three meters by 2100, an unlikely but possible scenario, more than 3 million people would be exposed to flood risk.”

Brett Milligan of University of California-Davis “San Francisco Bay would need to spend up to $450 billion on climate-adaptation projects—including higher seawalls, infrastructure protections, wetland and shoreline restoration, flood control and more—to defend itself against an extreme storm if sea levels rise by two meters.””Cities and officials need to realize that retreat from the coast is inevitable in some areas, and that retaining all low-lying areas and current infrastructure is unlikely” said Milligan. “There are lots of cities thinking about this study and assessing their vulnerability,” said USGS oceanographer and study co-author Juliette Finzi Hart.

“Rich homeowners may be able to rebuild, or move to higher ground, Barnard said. But others might lack the financial capacity to rebuild or relocate. Already, natural disasters have been shown to disproportionately impact economically disenfranchised communities and people of color. Milligan called it the hardest question: “How are we going to provide equitable solutions?”

Time to sell the beach house… in Fresno.

Copyright 2019 All rights reserved.

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