Shriekback US Tour Kickstarter!

Not sure who's still on this and following me, but it can't hurt...

Shriekback (my favorite band ever) is raising money for a US tour!
They are a truly magical band... I saw them once and it was a powerful spiritual experience.
Potential tour dates:

20th San Francisco

21st San Juan Capistrano

22nd or 23rd San Diego

24th Los Angeles

25th Chicago

26th New York City

27th TBA

28th Philadelphia

29th TBA

TBAs will be east coast... possibly even DC!
If you can't contribute, please boost the signal.  Especially if you do Facebook or Twitter.  The campaign could really use a boost...
  • Current Music
    "Lines from the Library/Over the Wire", Shriekback

Shriekback playing live: update

From Shriek central:

"Please forgive yet another email from us so soon but our Kickstarter...

...campaign to get us playing live again has, to be frank, stalled at £26k - and to make this
thing viable we need another £9k.
It's close but, in the All or Nothing world of Kickstarter, it will not do.

If we don't hit our £35k target by the 15th then all bets are off.
No gigs, no rewards and everybody gets their money back.

We massively appreciate the generosity and - yes - affection that has produced
the present sum but we're asking you to see if you can find a way to pledge more.
Or pledge at all, if you haven't.
Or get someone else to (millionaire pranksters, louche oligarchs, be creative).
It is an outrageous demand, we realise that.
However, it was a lot of organisation to get to this point, and, if the campaign fails - realistically - it's unlikely we'll
do another this side of the End of Days."

Thinking of upping my pledge...

How to Persuade People Who Don't Want To Be Persuaded

Monster Alice and I are fans of the Freakonomics radio show and books.  Dubner and Levitt are consistently thought-provoking (and entertaining), although I don't always agree with their conclusions- there's a bit of "when all you have is a hammer" approach to some of their work...

That being said, they do come up with some things that are worth remembering.  I just finished reading Think Like a Freak, and there was a chapter in it titled "How to Persuade People Who Don't Want To Be Persuaded".  It seemed like a useful set of guidelines in this day and age.  Note:  not everyone can be persuaded.  You don't have to persuade people who can be persuaded.  Not every situation is worth your time and energy- choose your fights.

Anyway, briefly summarized:

1. Persuasion is hard.  A person's deepest-rooted beliefs tend to be based on ideology, peer pressure, and other non-rational processes.  It's very hard to get at them rationally.  It doesn't do you any good to have the best reasoned and most factual argument in the world if it doesn't resonate for the recipient.

2. Don't pretend your argument is perfect.  The recipient will always be able to poke holes in it... and they may be as smart as you are or even smarter.  So be aware of the flaws and the potential unintended consequences.

3. Acknowledge the strengths of the recipient's argument.  You can find things to strengthen your argument in it... and it also teaches you about your blind spots, your areas where you are being non-rational.  Also, if you ignore someone's argument, why should they engage with you at all?

4.  Keep the insults to yourself.  This follows from the above... name-calling makes enemies, not allies.

5. Tell true stories.  Not simple anecdotes, but frame your facts in a compelling narrative- and resist the temptation to use hyperbole and unsupported claims; check your facts and make sure your news isn't fake.  Stories hold someone's attention far better than dry statistics.

As I said, not everyone can be persuaded... but it's good to have an approach in mind.
  • Current Mood
    thoughtful thoughtful

"Listen with an open heart, and try to understand"

So, today was the last live broadcast of the Diane Rehm show.  For thirty-seven years this show has been one of the best things in radio journalism.  She was and is a model of integrity, compassion, kindness and insight; she welcomed the whole range of opinions and viewpoints onto her show and was a model of fairness and open-mindedness.  But there has always been a core of steel to her- she insisted on truth, politeness, and forthrightness from her guests and callers- one of her signature lines to an evasive guest (often delivered with increasing asperity) was "But you still haven't answered my question!"  Her show was the epitome of hospitality, with rules for host and guest alike- and as the show's motto said, one of her guests was always you.

She expressed a lot of hope for the country and our democracy, but it was predicated on her belief that we should engage with each other, recognize that, no matter how much we may disagree with each other, we should "listen with an open heart, and try to understand".  I think that's vitally important. Yes, we need to fight, but we also need to remember that our opponents are people too.  Not everyone who voted for Trump is in the "basket of deplorables".  Demonizing and "othering" people you don't agree with- that tactic poisons everything it touches.  Disengage from the "Internet Outrage Machine".

Of course, sometimes our understanding will be that we need to walk away.  Trolls, hateful people, conspiracy theorists- some people are wasteful to even engage with.  Compassion and understanding doesn't have to mean acceptance or indulgence.  We have to choose our fights.

And (to use another of her favorite phrases) stay curious.  Get out of your silos- read, watch, and listen to things that challenge your assumptions.  Beware of confirmation bias and epistemic cocooning. Learn to recognize fake news and refuse to spread it.

I'll miss her on NPR, but I'm glad that Ms. Rehm will be continuing to be active with a new podcast; and she will no doubt be involved with other causes.  I have great hopes for 1A, the replacement show.
  • Current Mood
    thoughtful thoughtful

So the shortest day came

So the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!

- Susan Cooper
  • Current Mood

Dia de Los Muertos in Oaxaca 2016

So, we went on this tour in October/November.  It was wonderful!  We:

- visited three different cemeteries and laid flowers on/lit candles at some of the untended graves
- went to a parade where we weren't spectators, we were participants
- took a cooking class
- ate a lot of good food (and in my case, a grasshopper)
- visted a traditional weaver and a mezcal factory
- visted an ancient Zapotec site
- went to many museums

...and took many many photos!


Papa Legba, Guardian of the Gate
You who travel with dogs, open the gate.
Mighty Anubis, Lord of the Sacred Land, hear me.
Wepwawet, Companion of the Soul, hear me.
Bran and Sceolang, Hounds of Fionn, hear me.
Blessed St. Roch, patron saint of dogs, hear me.

Accept Your child Judy Bats into Your presence.  Bless her and heal her and keep her.  Guide her off into Outbakistan to walk the land like Caine... maybe she'll finally catch a squirrel,,, maybe she'll know what to do with it when she does...

She was a good dog. Let that be known through all the worlds.

It was no surprise, really.  She was getting slow and creaky and confused, starting to dwindle away, and we knew that we wouldn't have her when we got back to the cabin this spring.  She took a sudden decline this past week, and this evening it was manifestly clear that it was time to send her off into death.  She was surrounded by love and was in no pain when she went.

It hurts, and it will for a while, but we'll be all right.

Hail and farewell, Judy.  We'll miss you.

Job opportunities at my workplace

This is only of interest to people in the DC area, but I'm not limiting it to that friends group (since someone out of the area may know someone in the area...):

"Close Up is looking for engaging Program Instructors to deliver our exciting programs in Washington, D.C. by teaching and leading diverse groups of students from schools nationwide through our structured civic-education curriculum.  Program Instructors instill students with an understanding that a healthy democracy is absolutely dependent on an informed and engaged citizenry. Instructors utilize the city of Washington, D.C. as their classroom. In addition to functioning as educators, Program Instructors help manage the total experience for students, many of whom are away from home for the first time. To apply visit:"