Tag Archive: italy

State of the Union

Well, I hate to say I told you so. But Trump has indeed become president. We’ve all had a little over a year to process it. A very long year.

Many of the more affluent Democrats we know did not even think this would be a possibility under any circumstances but were absolutely certain Clinton would win. My husband and I, however, could not help but notice the sea of Trump signs once you venture outside of mostly liberal outline of the city of Columbus, Ohio. Universe help us all.

What to even say about the state of the union? It’s fucked.

The US media will lead you to believe that Bernie, or Jill Stein, or the poor, or even trans people, are to blame for Trump’s win. None of those explanations, of course, make any goddamn sense. (Especially that last one from Colin Jost, the asshole we all want to see punched more on SNL.) I’m pretty sure you can go ahead and blame middle and upper class white people. Or alternately, a completely broken political system that is beyond compromised and who the fuck knows who actually wins anymore? Clinton wrote a lucrative book blaming her loss on a quite silly laundry list that includes everything except herself and her lack of moral fibre. I voted for Stein because I have a conscience and because both Trump and Clinton (who are good friends) are horrible pieces of shit that should not be in charge of anything, let alone a country. I’m not sorry. I’m only sorry that the Democrats in power did everything they could to shove Clinton down our throats when Bernie would have defeated Trump. That is the lesson they should take from this but never will.

We could be living in a world where Bernie Sanders is president of the United States. But we don’t. The nicest thing that I can say about this country is that there are still some places left in the world that are worse. I am very sorry for the people in those places. Meanwhile, most of the people here think if things are going well for them personally, then everything is fine in the world.

In my little world, my husband is out of town on business and I managed to put my back out a few hours after he left. Not sure what I did but moving at caused me searing pain and getting up was next to impossible but I managed a couple times to take care of the animals. I couldn’t sleep the first night and started having hallucinations of smoke coming out of the walls. I’ve been in bed for three days and can now get up without wanting to scream so yay for that. Still taking it easy and thankful to be healing.

Last night I was watching Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is on Netflix and it occurred to me while watching John Cameron walk around a “car boot sale” (outdoor flea market) that this guy gets to go around being British all day long and that seems terribly unfair.

Yes, it is beyond time that I emigrated from this insane country.

On a positive note, my Italian citizenship was finalized last year. On a not-so-positive note, they will not issue me a passport yet because I have to legally change my gender in Italy–a process I have already gone through once in this country. This involves paying an Italian lawyer 500 € (approx. $620 as of this writing) and hoping for the best, as far as I can tell. So that’s on my to do list. After we’ve been married three years my husband will become an Italian citizen also. Then we plan to escape this country for the EU.

If you want to accuse me of being unpatriotic I can’t deny it. There is no love at all for this country in my heart. I have also been accused of not “supporting our troops.” That’s not true–I support their right to lay down their weapons without becoming criminals. I support their right to release information about government misdeeds to the public. I support their right to know the real reasons for wars, for why they are being used as fodder. I support their right not to be tossed away when their service is over. I believe that most people who served/are serving in the military have the best intentions and believe they are doing the right thing, sacrificing for what they are led to believe is a greater cause. My beloved late Italian grandfather fought in WWII and I am very proud of his bravery.

There is talk of Oprah running for president in 2020. Although I don’t agree with her on every point, I would consider voting for her. There have been a few nasty articles bouncing around on social media, saying she is not fit to run because she is a celebrity.

Nonsense.

First of all, it’s insulting to call Oprah merely a celebrity– she is an astute businesswoman who built her fortune from nothing. A background in business is perfectly suitable for the job of president, especially one as esteemed as Oprah’s. Please, puh-lease don’t bring up Trump here– the Mad Tweeter is a TERRIBLE businessman who only excels at bringing attention to himself. He runs his businesses like a crazy narcissist and that is exactly how is running this country now, surprising not me. He was already rich from birth and would be richer if he had just put his dad’s money in an index fund for all the years he’s been businessing.

Oprah is intelligent, diplomatic and extremely well-spoken.

We need a smart and ethical person to be in charge. Politics is not rocket science and there is no President School to learn how to lead this country. Politicians would like you to think their job is so terribly complicated that an average person couldn’t do it. You could argue that the average person would not want to do it, but still.

Luckily, Oprah is not the average person.

It was before my time: Did people go apeshit when Ronald Reagan announced he was running for office? Methinks a lot of people my age and younger don’t even realize he was an actor before he was a president. Well, an actor, then a governor, then a president. Well, an actor, then an FBI informant-slash-actor, then a governor, then a president. Although he is mostly remembered fondly (especially in contrast with Trump), he did some pretty awful things including his incompetence and inhumanity over the AIDS crisis. But I’m not sure you could convince me that he was worse at presidenting than the average Republican career politician.

I think Oprah running is a “big deal” because people are being racist and maybe sexist (or the lovely intersection of the two that Black women have to deal with). I don’t believe there would be such nasty articles being passed around about it if Oprah were a man, especially a white man. Before this, there was talk of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson running, who I would also consider voting for. (Go see Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, by the way.) One could only hope for an Oprah/Rock ticket in 2020.

Let me dream.

Saturn, My Ass

Someday I am going to write an epic rant about the fraud that is NASA, but that day is not today. However, I do need to vent my spleen about something.

Take a good, hard look at this image (click on it to enlarge):

What are some of your first impressions?

You may note that:

  • It is pretty. The news describes it with words like “breathtaking” rather than, say, fraudulent.
  • It looks like an illustration, not a “photograph” unless you have been told that’s what it is.
  • It is indistinguishable from science illustrations and CGI you have seen in recent science fiction movies.
  • There seems to be something wrong with the picture that you can’t put your finger on.

The image above (an unedited copy) is claimed by NASA to be a photograph of the planet Saturn and its rings. Well, more specifically, it’s claimed to be a composite of photos taken of Saturn and its rings by the satellite Cassini. This satellite, a co-project of NASA and the Italian government, took these photos and then suicided into Saturn, we are told.

I will just go ahead and say that any reasonable person examining this image carefully, with an open mind, will conclude that it is, in fact, a piece of artwork, a creation– not a photograph.

Can you spot the mistake the artist made? (Scroll down when ready.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A shadow is not a blackness, it is the absence of light. What you can observe in the photo: The “shadow” of Saturn is a blackness with form that is dissimilar to what we understand of shadows. Pay particular attention to the left edge of the shadow. You can see the shadow has a nice sharp edge against the rings yet you can see the rest of the planet, faintly, below the shadow, which literally makes no sense.

I suppose for the sake of the argument you could posit that the black thing is not a shadow but something else since this is space. What, I don’t know. Or that shadows work differently in space. I would argue that the artist clearly meant that big black blob to be a shadow. They set up the light source (ostensibly, the sun) to be shining a from the top back of the image toward us.

Occam’s razor, folks.

The simplest explanation is that this is an artist’s rendering. More specifically, an artist’s rendering separated out into 9 pieces with 3 layers each, and then stitched back together by someone (anyone) else.

To be crystal clear, I am not accusing the person who stitched it back together of any foul play. I’m saying the original images did not come from any satellite and were wholly created on a computer by people. Actually, probably not even “people”…probably just one single person at NASA whose job it is to create these images at a tiny fraction of the cost of actually building and sending Cassini into space.

Would you know this is a “photograph” if nobody told you that? Can you honestly say this is distinguishable from CGI? Does the shadow look right to you, considering the millions of shadows you’ve observed in your lifetime?

Being a dual citizen of Italy and the US, I am doubly dismayed at this. I have believed NASA to be a fraudulent organization for quite some time now. It’s disappointing, to say the least, that the Italian government was involved in this.