Saturday, December 12, 2020

A Quizzical Look at Walls

 

Walls divide. Walls protect.

The Great Wall of China is the longest wall in the world.

People walled-off from civilization are generally poor, and ignorant. It doesn't mean that their not happy.

Being walled-in is a feeling... not an actual wall.

Walls made from curtains, wood, brick, stone, glass, plastic, iron, steel, concrete and adobe. 

There's no end of material to make walls from.

Cardboard boxes make great walls when your a kid playing games that require protection from incoming snowballs during the winter.

Historically, walls leave behind stories for future generations. Examples like The Berlin Wall; The Walls of Jerusalem; The Walls of Jericho; Hadrian's Wall; The Walls of Constantinople; and Trump's Incomplete Wall all give us glimpses of other times.

Try reading Jean Paul Sartre's short story "The Wall" for an inside look at the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).

Or, my favorite short story, "The Rats in the Wall" by H.P. Lovecraft (1923). It first appeared in Weird Tales.

Some walls are built not to divide or hide, but to honor military forces, like The Vietnam Wall; and The Military Wall of Honor in Schenectady, New York.

 As Joseph Fort Newton once said, "Men build too many walls and not enough bridges."

Friday, December 11, 2020

Something To Look Forward To: New 'Indiana Jones' Movie

What America needs right now is entertainment as an escape valve from the stress of the pandemic, and a presidential election from hell. 

Reality has really been shitty. But you know that.

Watching Netflix and hundreds of other entertainment platforms has been the salvation for millions of stressed out Americans.

THE FUTURE

He's coming back! One of my favorite escapism movie heroes, Indian Jonesportrayed by Harrison Ford, has been given the go ahead to produce.

THE RETURN

Disney confirmed that Indiana was grabbing his whip and ramming on his hat for a 5th movie yesterday. It's been 41 years (Wow! It's been that long) since Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. 

The last film, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull came out in 2008, 20 years after the third movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was released. 

Prior to that there was Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (1984).

Indiana's new adventure is due out in 2022, and as far as I can tell it doesn't have a title yet.

Meanwhile, I'll be consuming all of the escapism type movies I can find, joining millions of other Americans.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

A Couple of Thoughts About Dealing With Reality

Reality has always been a problem for people.

That's where daydreams came in. 

Humans physically stuck in harsh environments needed an outlet from their misery. Thinking about being somewhere else more pleasant gave them something to hope and dream for.

But what happens when people can no longer tell the difference between what's real and what's imaginary?

That question is just one of the many dilemmas Americans are facing this year.

Trump and his supporters have challenged every aspect of the election that Joe Biden won with ridiculous court cases that have been thrown out with scorn. The score is: Courts 56 - and Trump 0

Be that as it may, Republicans are defying the reality of the election and court losses to curry future favors. GOP pols are looking the other way as Trump tries to overturn the election results.

We have a constitution and it held up. This time. Barely.

Millions of Trump's followers have suspended reality, like it was negotiable, and have entered into Trump's world. A world where believers don't wear face masks because Trump doesn't, despite what healthcare professionals advise. 

Like Jim Jones followers, Trump followers are willing to die from COVID-19 if he asks them to.

It's difficult to understand how intelligent human beings can get so carried away with an alternate reality that they lose touch with the real world around them.

Daydreams are one thing. 

Massive delusions are quite another.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

We All Need a Purpose in Life

Long story...shortened

I have PTSD, but have learned how to live with it.

Recently, I discovered that I had a purpose again to my life. Frankly, up until now, I didn't think I was worth much to anyone anymore.

I saw myself more as a burden to my wife of 46-years, Shirley. She's a champ. Without her I wouldn't be blogging. More on that in a future post.

The main thing I want to convey today is that I'm now caring for my father (he's 92-two years old) fulltime as his Alzheimer's has been getting worse lately. My older sister was overwhelmed with his increasing needs.

That's when Shirley and I dedicated ourselves to making his last days as comfortable as possible and brought him up to Medford, Oregon where we live. 

Now it's time for me to re-connect even more to humanity. Challenges will come. It's life. We know that. We're counting on love and compassion to carry the days ahead.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

My Evolving Blog is a Work in Progress

 

WORK in PROGRESS

I'm still passing judgement on priorities for this evolving blog.

I'm experimenting with this new format. Not sure I like it yet.

This format will only offer one short subject a day with an accompanying photo. Maybe that's a good thing. People tend to read shorter articles these days.

What do you think? Email me at richarddavestancliff@gmail.com and share your input. Have a great day!



Monday, November 30, 2020

Taking a Blog Break: New Format/ Direction Coming Soon For AS IT STANDS

 

Pandemic Diary - Day 151

Dear Diary,

The election is over and so is my political crusade against the Trump regime.

It also means that I'm reducing the political content in this blog to one-third of what it was.

In addition, I'm reducing the coronavirus coverage and ending my Pandemic Diary format on December 12th.

Some Background on this Blog

The name of my first newspaper column while in college (1975-1979) was, AS IT STANDS. It was a silly play on my last name, but has endured for 43 years - in one form or another.

When I became the editor of The Desert Trail (1983) Newspaper in 29 Palms, California my college column found a new home throughout my journalistic career.

Photo on left: I'm sitting on the left (pointing a finger) at some guy (can't remember his name) who was running for judge in the county.

It was on live radio (1985), and the host (in the middle) was Gary Dainuagh. 

It was my first foray into political reporting, but certainly not my last.

AS IT STANDS has appeared in daily and weekly newspapers for 24 years. 

During that span, I was the managing editor of a group of five newspapers in Palm Springs. From there I went on to become a publisher of three newspapers in Northern California. 

The last time my column was in a newspaper - The Times-Standard, (Eureka, Calif) was April 1, 2012 (here's a link to my columns there).

The next home for my traveling column was this blog. The rest is history. Look to the right of this page and you'll see all of my past posts.

I'm taking a blog break and will return with a wider variety of content. Hopefully, something for everybody. See you again on Saturday, Dec.12th.

Peace out, dude and dudettes!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

What Does a 'Joker' Spider, a Pigeon, and a Dormouse Have in Common? Unique Stories

 Pandemic Diary - Day 250

Dear Diary,

I'm always amazed when scientists keep finding new species amidst the extinction of hundreds of others daily.

A recent example is the discovery of the "Joker" spider. Yup. That Joker. Batman's longtime nemesis (shown above). 

The newfound spider wears a striking red-and-white pattern on its back that resembles the Joker's unnerving smile with his white facial makeup. At least that's what the person who named it thought.

It's debatable.

Under Not All Pigeons Are Created Equal

What do you think a pigeon is worth these days?

Recently a Belgian racing pigeon (who knew they raced?) fetched a record price of 1.9 million dollars.  

Meet two-year old "New Kim" (Shown above) who set a new world record price at an auction in Knesselare, Belgium on November 15th.

Really Embarrassing: Glutton Dormouse Trapped in Bird Feeder

The dormouse that you see crammed into this bird feeder was apparently plumping up for the winter.

He did such a good job that he had to be rescued after becoming so chubby he couldn't escape.

All was well however, when someone eased him out and he waddled to a nearby hedgerow.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Things You Don't See Every Day: Rampaging White House Raccoons to UFO Confirmations

Pandemic Diary - Day 249, 

Dear Diary,

Things you don't see every day department:

Recently CNN's Joe Johns was live on camera when he was suddenly attacked by a marauding raccoon in the front of The White House.

His reaction; "Frickin raccoons man! God, again! It's the second time. Jesus!"

Apparently there was a gang of wily raccoons who took up residence on the White House lawn. The rascals were an ongoing problem, attacking numerous news crews filming in the dark.

Federal authorities reacted by setting traps for the raccoons using marshmallows as bait. (who knew?)

This effort was recorded by a White House producer for NBC News who shared some fun footage showing Secret Service agents trying to wrangle a raccoon from a tree.

Warning! Don't try to catch a raccoon up a tree in your yard. Not only is it dangerous, it's stupid. Unless of course, it's a matter of national security where trained Secret Service agents agree to help.


A TTS Academy concept for a vehicle embodying the technology of UFOs. 

Space Force News

A couple of weeks ago a former high ranking DOD official confirmed UFOs are real. 

(Long pause)

After leaving his post at the Pentagon, Luis Elizondo claimed that an official UFO Program exists.

Luis told assembled reporters that, "We are planning to provide never released footage from real US Government systems...not blurry, amateur photos, but real data and real videos."

Since then, Luis officially marked the launch of To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science (TTS/AAS). The goal is to release game-changing information about UFOs and to make one of their own.

Frankly, it's hard to tell if this is a really serious effort, or the works of a bunch of college educated conspiracy kooks on crack. 

A lot of "ex- government" types have banded together to prove there are UFOs, and to copy the alien technology behind them.

That's assuming any alien contact will be peaceful. No way of know that until it's too late and the planet gets invaded.

Just saying. I wish this aspiring collection of scientific stalwarts well in their efforts. If all goes according to Hoyle, the universe will be our pearl some day. 

Quote for the Day; "Those were strange days, now that I look back at them. In the midst of life, everything revolved around death." -Haruki Murakami 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Looking Forward to the Future: 'For Everything There is a Season...'


 Pandemic Diary - Day 248

Dear Diary,

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted."

During this season of COVID in America and the rest of the world, death is at every doorstep as the virus surges out of control.

Mental coping skills have never been more important than now. Depression is widespread amidst the countless challenges we all face. 

At times, I feel like my mental process is bogged down in a thick mud of misery that clings to my thoughts like blood-sucking leeches.

I'm watching my father fade away although he's alive and breathing. Dementia has robbed him of a once sharp mind. He barely recognizes my sister, and I.

His mind is caught in a life loop where his long deceased relatives and friends dwell. The conversations in his head manifest into words that blurt out of his mouth like vignettes from his past.

His condition is worsening as he doesn't remember to eat or take care of himself. We've had to get outside help and now are facing putting him in a nursing home during this season of COVID. It may very well be the last time I see my father alive, because of COVID-19 restrictions.

It's breaking my heart. There is no good ending to this personal story. 

But, I know that I'm not alone in my grief and sorrow. Millions of Americans are experiencing untimely deaths caused by the coronavirus.

Millions of families are faced with similar situations like mine. We're all together in this season of COVID... but it will pass with vaccines and time.

And when the new season comes there'll be healing, physically, and mentally. The human race will survive and eventually thrive.

Until that blessed season arrives we must give ourselves the gift of hope, and a positive mind-set to move forward... one day at a time.

Peace.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving Day 2020: Something We Can All Be Thankful For

 Pandemic Diary - Day 247

Dear Diary,

Like millions of Americans this Thanksgiving, my family has had to make adjustments to the holiday during a major surge of COVID-19 across the country.

That means we don't have family and friends over to celebrate our traditional holiday. It's just the four of us. But we're making do. We're still having a turkey with all the trimmings. And we're talking with family and friends via Skype and phone calls.

Despite the pandemic, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade still happened. It was an abbreviated version - from two-and-a half miles to a one block stretch of 34th Street - with participants having to be 18-years old to participate.

No school bands, but there were some floats pulled by golf carts instead of humans who were social distancing. 

The lineup included Snoopy, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," "The Elf on the Shelf," "SpongeBob SquarePants," and "The Boss Baby."

No crowds this year. Visitors were discouraged. A 2020 reality. Many performances were pre-taped and on TV. 

It's all about adapting to our new realities imposed by the coronavirus. We may not like it, but certain things have to change or there's going to be even more deaths this fall and winter.

I hope your family respected the restrictions on large gatherings today. If not, you may be having a last meal with some of them. The virus has no respect for holidays.

We can still be in contact with those friends and family without risking lives.

There is a light a the end of the tunnel as vaccines continue to get approved in record time. That's something we can all be thankful for today.

Quote for the Day; "I'm thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn't have stumbled across my strength." Anonymous 

Today's Subject: Where Should a Trump Library Be Located?

 

Pandemic Diary - Day 246

Dear Diary,

Today's post was inspired by Michael Beschloss, author, and Presidential Historian.

Yesterday he asked his numerous Twitter followers, "Where should the Trump Library be located?

Here's a collection of responses that are hilarious:

--"You mean Trump Presidential Library and Casino?"

--"The Four Seasons...Total Landscaping."

--"The Hague."

--On the Mexican side of the wall."

--"There are several options here:

1) Moscow (They already have all his important personal papers, so it would save time.)

2) Riyadh

3) Inside an abandoned coal mine in West Virginia

--"Obviously, it belongs at the site of the Bowling Green Massacre."

--Riker's Island Prison

Moving on...

I have a few suggestions for a Trump Library location:

--Why have it located in just one place when there could be a traveling display?

Like a Three-Ring Circus featuring clowns from his administration; interactive displays of bronzer makeup application; the Sharpie pen and map that the weather service was forced to show how Alabama was in the way of a hurricane - when it wasn't; and countless other artifacts that will disgust and entertain future generations.

--In the center of the Florida Everglades. Since Trump made the state his new residence after fleeing New York prosecutors, it's appropriate that his (bookless) Library be located in a swamp. 

--Across the street from Florida State Psychiatric Hospital - Port St. Lucie Hospital. It's also just a few hour drive to Trump's residence at Mar-A-Lago.

Quote for the Day; "This life's hard, but it's harder if your stupid." -George V. Higgins

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