Think Local . . .

Have you had enough yet? Are you "over it"? The whole thing? The entire Presidential Election? Yeah. Me, too. Here's the worst part - you still have 223 days until it will be actually, you know, "over". And then there are four lonnnnnggggg years until we get to go through all "this" again.

I love politics. I have since I was a young boy. I've never been horrified by or embarrassed of politics or politicians. These folks, by their nature, are megalomaniacs and sociopaths (they woke up one day and decided to run to be the most powerful person in the world, folks, what did you possible expect?). Yet here, on the eve of the tenth Presidential election in my life time (and seventh that I've actively watched and enjoyed), I can tell you that I'm way over it. WAY over it. The name calling, the stupidity, the least-common-denominator-chasing, the media globbing attention on to whore candidates and then wondering why people are giving them so much attention. The "status" being attacked as though the very nature of political work (not "power" - "work") doesn't REQUIRE some institutional knowledge, devotion, and pragmatism. ALL of it.

So here's what I'm doing - SOMETHING. I've come to realize something very, very terrible. As BAD as 2016 is (in terms of general quality of candidates, discussion, candor, ideas, and reason-to-believe) 2020 is going to be way, way worse. If Freshman Senators and first-time-candidates aren't doing it for you and the elder statespeople of politics want nothing to do with the show WHO will run the next time? And will they be any better?

In the meantime you have big political money and long-term strategy at play with modifying the very funnel and path to power. Forget buying a President like they did in "Prez: Corn Dog in Chief" (which is a hilarious, wonderful, and charming read). These forces are doing it the more patient way. They are buying dog catchers and school board members, state legislators, and sheriffs. We now have candidates who, by their nature, are coming in to politics at the small/local level with a loyalty to money and influence and power-seekers who wish to remain clean handed.

You see where I'm going with this? We need to do SOMETHING, people. If you don't like 2016's presidential candidates (and we wouldn't blame you) think about 2020 or 2028. Or, heck, 2040 (the first Presidential election a child born today will be eligible to vote in). Are you scared? You should be.

Pay attention to your local politics. Attend city and council meetings (or at least read coverage of them). Get to know your state legislators and your Congressman. Understand what an Attorney General actually does. Remark on the real influence Secretary of State can yield. Think about who they are, what they want, who they really represent, and what drives them to office. Then decide if you want them there because - no matter what - we, ultimately, have an equal say/share of power in who actually gets there. But we have to vote. In 223 days.


Tradition . . .

Amid the chaos and turmoil of the recent death of conservative-leaning legal giant (and eloquent bastard) Antonin Scalia there was something small and quiet that I adore - tradition.

While there is no question his death took on the decidedly "political" tone of DC (and that is both regrettable and expected) there was also something else very "DC" about his death . . . the actual logistics of handling it.

There were coordinated statements, the President addressing the nation on a Saturday evening, the media scrambling, colleagues and opponents opining about his "larger than life" self, etc. That is the "tradition" of death in DC. Then there is the other tradition - the pomp and circumstance. I don't care who you are, what you do and don't believe (politically) and what you do or don't feel about Scalia the man - the thought of his former clerks (almost every, single one of them) in black suits in parallel lines standing silently in front of the Supreme Court awaiting their former mentor's coffin is a sight to behold. There is such formality and randomness in this tradition. The thousands of dollars in airfare, the Brooks Brothers suits, the shoe shining, the reunion of Chet and Skippy and Pennington IV (aka Pence) at the hotel bar are one thing. The interruption of life is another thing. But - there they are - tradition.

Of course this was a total of ten or fifteen minutes in what has stretched on to be weeks of the final great DC tradition . . . fighting over everything and being awfully transparent about the mourning of a man not mattering as much as the mourning for a conservative justice in an otherwise well-split court.


Song of the Day / Playlist . . .

I've been listening to less music lately. I think I've shifted over to podcasts more and more and I think, in general, my musical preferences have sorta frozen and I just like to listen to the stuff I like over, and over, and over again.

That said . . . here is a playlist from the winter. Some good, old fashioned, song of the day greatness.

Please to enjoy.


Quinoa . . .

I want to talk with you about one of my favorite absurdities in the world . . . food trends. You know what I mean - the grapefruit diet, the Atkins diet, the Hollywood Cookie diet, the I-decided-I'm-allergic-to-gluten-trend, the Kale movement, the no-sugar diet, the soy milk thing, the farm to table push. 

Let me be clear - I don't care about any one of these food trends as a one-off (that is a lie, I resent most of them on principle alone) but, collectively, I think they are just about the most ridiculous things imaginable. I get why peg-rolling your jeans was cool in the 80s. I get why boy bands were hot in the 90s. I get why smart phones and buying books digitally were immense in the 00s. I get why throat tattoos had their time in the sun a few years ago. I get all that. 

Trends and fads are about belonging and the greater culture and the greater sense of "us". That is why every Disney movie makes a billion dollars, every reality TV show is "loathed" but carries huge audiences, and that is why the NFL remains popular. No one is really, truly paying attention to these things or into them. They just sorta "do" them.

Enter quioa. You know what quinoa is? DELICIOUS. You know what else it is? Dumb. Quinoa is a high-protein "grain alternative" that has been a staple of Latin American food for actual ages. Why has it been popular there? Because they had it before Lululemon yoga pants. I kid. No one but American fad-followers is rocking $160 yoga pants so thin you can see the wearer's colon. Nope. They ate it because it was local and cheap and . . . delicious. But then it got "cool" and all the hipsters and idiots and rice-adverse "needed" it in their lives (this was just between tart cherry juice for sleep aid and fair trade honey mustard). It was so popular that the locals couldn't actually keep up. Like any misplaced gentrification of an urban neighborhood this was just people being people and the others suffering.

Well, like everything else the quinoa craze has faded a little bit, the supply has come up, the cost has gone down and everyone will live another day . . . with whatever trend comes next all over their bodies and plates. 


Sunday Funday . . .

The center of an aspirin tablet is the same size as the center of a beach ball . . . the physics, math, and amazing feat of high accuracy archery.


I'm Back . . .

Yes, yes. I'm fine. Yes, yes. It has been weeks since I blogged with any normal frequency. Yes, yes. This is regrettable all the way around because it is a symptom of a larger problem that I'm not keeping up with my commitments and the things that I typically enjoy and prioritize and just make a point of doing. I don't know what is "wrong" (nothing, really). I'm just distracted and busy and frustrated and flummoxed. These things are all manageable. But they've put me - collectively - in a funk that has taken a few weeks to work through. Alas, I'm done with the funk and will resume normal blogging Monday.


Inconvenience . . .

I was listening to a Jewish podcast this weekend (as one like me does) and there was an amazing story about a woman flying El Al who gave up her seat on a flight and then, after discussing the reason why (her gender) decided to sue the airline for discrimination.

I don't, to clarify, think it was discrimination (another passenger made a request to not sit next to a woman, the airline offered the female passenger an upgrade to vacate her seat, she accepted). While this gets at a much larger issue of religion and society (things I won't touch here) it raised a very interesting discussion inside our car (my ladies were with me - one even sitting RIGHT NEXT TO ME).

All three of us had different takes on this situation.

  1. The kid didn't care. That is essentially a quote/the entirety of her comment.
  2. I thought it was handled fine - that the airline coming to ask the woman to move with an improved situation waiting for her was ideal.
  3. The third person in the car thought the fact that the guy was even indulged in this was nuts.
I should clarify this woman loves and is marrying a Jew. This is not about his religion or beliefs. Her concern - which was very well received after she elaborated - was that if this guy doesn't want to sit next to a woman (or a skinny person next to a fat, or an elbow-rest-lover next to an equal-rights-for-equal-elbow neighbor, etc.) then he should have purchased a second seat to ensure he was not next to someone he didn't want to be with.

She felt that to even approach the woman to move - to a better seat or otherwise - was not right and should be avoided. I still think there is a grey area where we can ask people to be kind and giving and accommodating (on a plane, a train, an automobile, or anywhere else) then we should do it. Ask for kindness and cooperation. See if it comes back around. See if it can make life better. 


Abuse . . .

I don't know what it is like to be abused. I have never been hurt - verbally, physically, mentally, sexually - or otherwise - by anyone much less someone I care about and who claims to care about me. I hope and pray that I'll never know the feeling, that my daughter will never know the feeling, that anyone I know and care about will never know the feeling.

Yet I have so many people in life that have endured at least one form of abuse at the hands of at least one abuser. The statistics are heartbreaking, the stories harrowing, the impact profound, the ignorance stunning. I know so many abused and I know so many who chose to ignore or pretend it doesn't happen (ignorance is bliss - as I hope and pray it never happens).

Please, dear people, be aware of and angry about abuse on any level and at the impact of anyone - regardless of age, gender, class, or life position. Be kind and caring. Be open to seeing and hearing the signs. Be ready to help when and where you can. If you are being abused - trust someone. Ask for help. Say or do something. Get out of there. Know that someone will help. You are not alone.


Tuxedo Tips . . .

If EVER the world needed Men's Wearhouse founder and former head George Zimmer and his "I guarantee it", um, guarantee it was Wednesday evening at my local store that lost its way when it lost its leader.

I should clarify - I'm not "manly". I have never killed anything, I can't build anything. I cry - ALL the time. I can tell you, without a drop of irony, my favorite essential oils and I always ask people what the "mid-notes" of their cologne are.

I'm not the least bit "masculine" except when it comes to my clothes. Because make NO mistake the great failure of "man" is not our collective wussification (not a real thing anyway) but it is, instead, the cut of our jeans and the slouch of our appearance. I may be fat, balding, and awkward but I know exactly how to dress my body. And that, dear reader, might be the first problem with me going for a tuxedo fitting.

Wanna hear a story? Sure you do . . .

So I went to have my tuxedo fitting on Wednesday. We had stopped in on Saturday but, between prom season, wedding season, and Commitment Balls the place was an actual, literal mad house so we left and I made the latest appointment available on a weeknight. The mele gave way to utter silence - and maybe the "scrubs" of the staff.

I arrived, on time, and was greeted by a very enthusiastic employee - tape measure and pamphlets in hand - who was unable to find my appointment but they DID have one for Sean Amorg in the system. Yeah. NO reason to presume that person isn't me. But how did the "e" become a "g" when I typed it in? So after that weirdness I got wave two of the perk. This professional was more than happy to help - and by "help" I mean wait until my partner arrived. Partner? Why do I need my PARTNER? If a woman walked into my store and I hinted I would wait until her old man arrived with the money I'd be a jerk. Alas . . .

So upon additional inspection of the computer screen it was determined that my partner (why do they keep saying "partner") was right there in the system from their appointment at David's Bridal. Of COURSE it was my partner's fault that my name was wrong. But then I was told "Don't worry - he (yep, HE) probably just was too excited to spell my name right." Wait, wait, wait . . . this person thinks I'm gay and having a gay marriage in Kansas with someone who went to their fitting at the bridal shop? What is going on here?

So then we cleared up my heterosexuality and moved on to the real pain. My choice in tuxedos was clearly unacceptable. My selected accessories were not right. The colors we chose for the big day seemed strange. My decisions on not having ring bearers or "junior groomsmen" (yes - we are REALLY doing that in the year 2016) was strange. The thought of all the men wearing the same uniform for duty seemed bizarre. This went on for a solid ten minutes. THEN we got into shoes. Let me be very, very clear you can wear ANY color with a universal neutral. ANY color.

Time for the measurements. As I mentioned earlier I am not manly but I know my body and I know the horrifyingly large numbers it puts up. I know my inseam to within a quarter-of-an-inch. I know that my neck is a full inch smaller than the neck in my dress shirts because my torso corpulence is brutal. But despite my strong declarations AND the fact that I was told I HAD to come back in early September for re-measurements I had to let tiny-arms (this employee looked like a t-rex from the shoulder out) take full stock of me AND to correct them at each sloppy, vague attempt to get the "right" numbers. Horrifying.

Next pain point? The party itself. Men, their names, their contact information, their relationships to me and Jesus Christ (that was an actual question - imagine their shock to discover I'm down with G-d way more than J-H-C) and how we could move ahead with getting them taken care of and how they can go to ANY Men's Wearhouse (I swear to you and all that's holy that I'm going to encourage them all to go to Tulsa to avoid this experience) in America to get "served" (that was the word).

So about 40 minutes (felt like eight hours) I was finally free to go. I was tired. I was grumpy. I was stabby. I was never less excited to be alive and in a society that wears clothes. The best part? I get to go back three more times - at least. Ugh.


For Sale . . .

I'm spending sooooo much time online lately looking at random crap and trying to pretend I'm artsy. I'm not. Okay, fine, I AM but only in very specific ways that have nothing to do with the sort of arts and craftism I need to be in this hour of need. You know who IS crafty? The folks on etsy.

I mean there are MILLIONS of great things for sale on that site - many of which are homemade and I love them all. They are either really charming, unbelievably dreadful, or a combination of the two. Here are ten things that made me super, super happy.
  1. The Uterus Skirt - Yep. EXACTLY what it sounds like, complete with pocket. I love it.
  2. Spray the Bitch Away - I never knew "the change" was so easy to manage.
  3. Nearly 650 Pieces of Shoulder Jewelry - I never knew this was even a thing much less such a thing.
  4. Adult Fairy Wings - No. No. I. Said. Nooooo.
  5. Glass Sex Toys - Hundreds of shops dedicated to temperature responsive pleasure sticks.
  6. $330 Salad Bowls - And - if I'm being honest - I think it is worth every penny. So good.
  7. Custom Puppets - Creepy just got a hand up its butt.
  8. Swizzle Sticks - Now make me a whiskey sour and say something tawdry.
  9. Wait . . . WHAT? - If there IS a market for this trinket of movies passed . . . don't tell me.
  10. Stuff From My Childhood - I just called my mother and told her she can get $100 for this.