Swing Dancing

Raquel Stecher was writing recently on her blog about an upcoming documentary titled “Alive and Kicking” (produced and directed by Susan Glatzer) about the culture of Swing in America.  At one point something in her description struck me,

“This documentary explores swing dancing as a community, a spiritual experience, as therapy, as a secret conversation between two people and as a way to bridge the generations.”

…especially the part about bridging the generations. I love that.

As much fun as it is to connect with others from your generation (for me it would be growing up with video games and life before the internet) there is something immediately heartwarming about the notion of shared experiences across generations.

I’ll confess now, I don’t dance. But Swing Dance in particular is one of the many things that interests and fascinates me and it’s a pleasure just to watch others enjoying it (same too for things like chess and sports, or painting with Bob Ross).  I’m also something of a film romantic, often wishing life could be more like movies from the 1940s.  The way people dress and socialize, the style of music and dance from that era.

What a great thing that people could put away their devices for a while and come together for a shared experience, across the many divides that otherwise have a tendency to separate us.

Bonus video: Rock That Swing Festival 2017

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Reference: Out of the Past classic film blog

Published in: on April 5, 2017 at 8:32 am  Comments (1)  
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Observations while driving

At what point in the development of the male* human being does he say to himself, “You know… I am so awesome that I’m going to drive around and just dangle my arm out the window.”

* you don’t tend to get this with females

Published in: on April 4, 2017 at 8:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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Socialism is an idea

Could we live in a world, in a society in which one percent of the population must resign itself to being not obscenely wealthy but instead merely fantastically wealthy, in order that the remaining ninety-nine percent of the population might have a share in the security of knowing that, if nothing else, at least their basic need for food, shelter and medical care will be met?

Could we live in a world, in a society in which people are free to pursue their dreams, be it for greater wealth or merely the satisfaction only of fulfilling their dream, but that whatever circumstances of life unfold have the security of knowing that, if nothing else, at least their basic needs will be met?

Published in: on March 20, 2017 at 8:10 am  Comments (1)  
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An America to be proud of

The United States of America may not be able to fix its broken two-party political system, or the intense polarization that it breeds among its own citizens, but there is a paradigm shift that this country is capable of achieving that would improve the quality of life for every person living in this country.

When we are able to see drug addiction as a health problem rather than a crime problem, and treat it accordingly, ever so much will change for the better.  When homelessness is viewed as wholly unacceptable in all circumstances, because we decide to care about our own safety and well-being as much as we care about having a competent military, and we start actually doing something about it on a national and systemic level, that will be the start of a new America that we can be proud to live in…

…an America that protects its people and takes care of its people.

Published in: on March 17, 2017 at 7:31 am  Comments (1)  
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That Tech Product You’re Working On

Why is it going to fail in the marketplace?  Multiple factors, but here’s one.  You’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that this is an interesting product (or service) because it is a new technology.  Maybe it’s even a revolutionary new technology.  And that’s why people will like it, and appreciate it, and want it.

Some will.

Here’s the part you failed to consider.

The purpose of technology is to address problems that aren’t otherwise technical in nature.

The fact that your product uses technology, or even uses it impressively is incidental.     …even if it is revolutionary.

Published in: on February 26, 2017 at 10:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Factory Farming

One way that we might evaluate the ethics of the meat industry would be through a series of illustrations depicting dogs and horses in the same conditions (by industry standards) as say, chickens and cows reserved for human consumption.

Published in: on December 20, 2016 at 3:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Drug Addiction

A person, for whatever reason, begins using drugs and becomes an addict.  This has consequences to their health and relationships, their job or schooling… it affects their life at every level.  It impacts the lives of those around them.  So we are talking about a person with a problem who needs help and treatment, and most of all a system of support to help them get out of it and begin the transition back to a healthier life.

Except that in America our solution is to compound their trouble by treating them like a criminal.

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…which has the add-on effect of increasing the burden on society by perpetuating the cycle of drug use and the overwhelming temptation to commit crime in order to support the habit.

Published in: on December 14, 2016 at 6:41 am  Comments (1)  
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Justified Pay Gap

If high-level executives are genuinely worth what they are paid then there should be no issue or serious reservations with declaring it to the world.  In fact, the standard practice should be for all Executive Officers to make a public post something like this:

Hello, I’m so-and-so.  This is how much I make (including options and bonuses) and here are the reasons I am worth this amount.  Here also is the median pay of the company’s non-executive employees.

…and then open it up for public commentary.

Published in: on December 9, 2016 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Homelessness is Unacceptable

Why does the wealthiest nation on Earth not even have safety measures in place for those who suddenly find themselves without basic necessities for survival?

There are many dozens of ways (especially in a Capitalist society) that an individual or a family might find themselves without access to shelter, meals, some place to safely store a few possessions.

How can anyone be expected to pick themselves up and carry on when they’re already so busy asking questions like,

Where is the next meal coming from?
Where am I going to sleep tonight?  Is it safe?
…will my children be safe?
Where can we bathe, shower and wash our clothes?
How can we get money for basic necessities while trying to get out of this?
Is there any medical facility that will treat me? What about transportation?
How can I find work and access the internet, or try to start a new career?
What can I put for ‘Home Address’ on this banking or job application?
Most of all, how can we stay together and be safe?

No one, in any civil and wealthy and technologically advanced society should find themselves faced with these questions…

…and have no ready answer available to them.

How can any government, on the one hand, boast about having a powerful military to protect the “freedom” of the people while not even having a structural plan for ensuring that no one should become forgotten and destitute?

How can any nation beam with pride when it can’t (or won’t) even see to the basic needs of its own people?

More on Understanding Homelessness

Published in: on November 27, 2016 at 7:48 am  Comments (3)  
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Accountability on Campaign Promises

It wouldn’t hurt to have an infographic set up in a public-facing venue that tracked progress on campaign promises over the term of a newly elected (or re-elected) President.  Something that could be easily viewed and referenced as a kind of accountability report card for America’s highest office of public service.

Published in: on November 17, 2016 at 10:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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