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Mary Arline
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Mary Arline's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, December 1st, 2016
5:37 pm
Matter of perspective
There is no doubt in my mind that Donald Trump's presidential bid was purely the product of his own megalomania. However, I wonder sometimes why Republicans have allowed him to grab their party by the pussy.[*](Sorry, I had to go there; the wordplay was too perfect.) I have several theories, one of which is that they tolerate him because he makes some of their old-school vanguard seem more appealing by comparison.

Take Mitt Romney, for example. While running for president in 2012, he threatened Big Bird on the campaign trail, thereby marking himself as perhaps second only to Fred Phelps as the most evil American who has ever lived. Or so I thought at the time, but Trump makes Romney look like Mr. Rogers, which is ironic given Romney's contempt for public television.

This represents the feelings I had toward Romney in 2012. This represents the feelings I have toward Romney in 2016. What a difference four years makes.

I don't even mind watching Romney flushing away all his credibility by kowtowing to Trump, whom he has previously denounced as a conman and a fraud, in the hopes of getting a Cabinet seat. Just the idea of an actual grown-up, a relative voice of sanity, in the Cabinet is a reassuring prospect--which, admittedly, is a sad commentary in itself.

With that said, I don't think Romney has a chance in hell of being made Secretary of State or getting any other Cabinet post. I think Trump just enjoys making him dance-monkey-dance.[*](There are certain ironies in my making that reference: 1. Trump and Romney actually dined on frog legs, which makes me fear for Constantine's safety; 2. Ricky Gervais is an unlikely Mitt Romney but would make a terrific Donald Trump, insofar as they are both lumpy-faced and evil.)

Current Mood: snarky
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016
7:57 am
Reaping what you've sown
Glenn Beck reacts to Steve Bannon's appointment as Trump's chief strategist.

Well, here are four words I never thought I would write: Glenn Beck is right.

With that said, Glenn Beck, get off your high horse and stop pretending that all this isn't partially your fault.

You're the one who went on TV and drew confusing diagrams on chalkboards while spouting logically fallacious and delusionally paranoid diatribes about "progressives ... want[ing] to control every aspect of your life." You're the one who cheapened antifascist rhetoric by equating everyone and everything that you don't like with Nazism. And when your insane rantings became too off-putting even for Fox News and they cancelled your show, you're the one who compared yourself to Paul Revere, who "got off the horse at some point and fought in the revolution."

Guess what, Glenn Beck: THIS is your revolution. It may not be what you wanted, but this Trump/Bannon regime with its "freedom-from" rhetoric is what you asked for.

You have opened Pandora's box. You have grasped the monkey's paw. As you have sown, so do you now reap.

Now, Glenn Beck, if you're ready to come to your senses and join the good guys' side--if you're ready to fight for "freedom-to" rather than "freedom-from"--then welcome, and glad to have you. But don't be surprised if nobody takes you seriously. You have cried "wolf" just a little too often.
Monday, November 21st, 2016
9:12 am
I wanna be in the room where it happened
I'll admit that I came late to Hamilton, and I regret the time that it took me to get with it, but I am so grateful to Lin-Manuel Miranda for creating this show; not only for providing a beacon of hope in these dark times, but for providing the perfect rhetorical tools to deal with the current political situation.

So, I was interested to see that the big news story over the weekend was that VP-to-be Mike Pence went to see the show and caused something of a stir. He endured some boos from the audience when he entered the theater and, by his own report, said to the family members who were with him, "That's what freedom sounds like."

No reports of him adding, "...and we are going to snuff it out at all costs." So...I guess that's something.

The cast knew he was in the audience and--fittingly enough--decided not to throw away their shot; following curtain call, they addressed Pence directly from the stage, expressing concern about the direction the incoming administration may be taking the country. Go look it up; it's magnificent. Better yet, watch it here. That's what patriotism sounds like.

Trumpzilla apparently wasn't very happy about it, but Pence doesn't seem to mind. Moreover, he's raving about the show itself and telling everyone who asks him about it to go see it. This while certain other Republicans/killjoys are up in figurative arms encouraging a boycott, which is hilarious.[*](It's sold out through August 2017. That's not a boycott; that's sour grapes.)

But the best part of this story for me is the reaction from the other audience members. I can't find video of it now, but there was one lady who was all offended and saying something to the effect of, "I just came to see Hamilton; I don't want to hear about politics!" I'm sorry, lady, but what exactly did you think Hamilton is about? That's like saying, "I just wanted to see Les Miserables, I don't want to hear about poor people!" Or like saying, "I just wanted to see Cats; I don't want to see people in furry costumes crawling all over everything and singing incomprehensibly pretentious lyrics!"

It's nice to have a bright spot in these dark and difficult times, but don't get distracted from the more important stories:

Current Mood: delighted
Sunday, November 20th, 2016
4:52 pm
If you stand for nothing, what will you fall for?
About four weeks ago--i.e., before the election--I watched a program on PBS called "Hamilton's America," which was a documentary about the musical but also about the man whose life inspired it, Alexander Hamilton. To fill in that side of the story, they interviewed not only historians but also current political figures. Here is Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on the subject of The Federalist Papers:

"I've read the Federalist Papers many times over. As an elected official, as a person who takes office by swearing oath to the Constitution, I pretty much want to know what that means, right? And so it's important not only to understand what the Constitution is but to understand what the principles are behind it."
Good one, Paul Ryan! You almost had me going there. You, with your big, blue eyes and boyish good looks and soothing Midwestern cadences, talking about principles as though you had any, talking about the Constitution as though it was something you actually cared about; you almost got me to believe that you were a thoughtful, knowledgable, reasonable lawmaker with the country's best interests at heart. Well played, sir. Well played!

Recently, when the president-elect announced he was appointing a known bigot and demagogue to his cabinet, you were asked if you had any concerns about the appointment. And you said no.

You know what you are, Paul Ryan? You, sir, are Cornelius Fudge. You may not recognize the reference. I would say that you are Neville Chamberlain, but I think that might be unfair to Neville Chamberlain.

To put the matter more clearly, though less originally: You are blinded by the love of the office you hold. You put too much importance on loyalty to your party, rather than loyalty to your country. I tell you now--take a stand now against Trump and Bannon, and you will be remembered, in office or out, as one of the bravest and greatest Speakers of the House we have ever known. Fail to act--and history will remember you as the man who stepped aside and allowed a loudmouth bigot and his fascist cronies a chance to destroy the country we have worked nearly two and a half centuries to build.

History has its eyes on you.

Current Mood: disgusted
Friday, November 18th, 2016
4:57 pm
There's so much to talk about and so little time; I want to address this one before it gets too dated.

I was watching the news about a week ago, and they had a little interview with one of the anti-Trump protesters in New York (I think it was New York), and the protester actually admitted to not having voted in the election as part of a principled stance.

So I can't help but wonder, what exactly was the plan here? You don't vote but you protest the results? Were you going to protest regardless of who won? And if not, is that maybe an indication of a direction that you maybe could have/should have voted? Like, "There's one candidate whose election would cause me to take to the streets and protest, and one whose election would not." Do you suppose you could compromise your principles enough to try and make that latter scenario happen?

I could lecture the nonvoters out there; I could deride them and shame them, but that wouldn't really make any difference, and it wouldn't make me feel better, and--in fact--it would be hypocritical of me because I have empty ballots on my voting conscience as well. So what I would like to do instead is to share, as a cautionary tale, my story about when I decided not to vote.

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My political orientation hasn't changed much since my senior year of high school. I still lean left. I usually vote Democratic in a Republican state. I very rarely win. Sometimes it feels like trying to drain the ocean with an eyedropper. Sometimes it feels like trying to tunnel through a mountain with a toothpick. Sometimes it feels like trying to tear down a brick wall by using my head as a battering ram. Sometimes I rage and cry and scream in anguish to the heavens at the seeming futility of it all.

But I keep voting. Because I don't want a debaucle like the 2000 election on my conscience ever again.
Wednesday, November 16th, 2016
4:23 pm
Hope is a burning thing
Once I got over the numbness of shock last week and started feeling again, I felt bruised, battered, bloody, and beaten. But not broken.

I've been broken before. I know what it feels like. This ain't it.

I remember how I felt in the aftermath of the 2004 election. At that time, I was defeated, despairing, and despondent. It was the worst possible result that I could imagine at the time, and I was ready to give up on hope, on democracy, and on America itself. I couldn't even bear to look at the American flag because, as I remember telling my parents at the time, "it doesn't stand for anything that I believe in anymore."

The results of this election are so much worse than 2004. Infinitely worse. And yet, I haven't sunk into the same depths of despair. On the contrary, all my latent patriotism has set a fire of hope in my soul--a raging, passionate, avenging fire that bears me up as on phoenix's wings.

I am not ready--I am not willing--to give up on America, because I have seen what America can be.

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Current Mood: righteous indignation
Thursday, November 10th, 2016
3:34 am
Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
6:51 am
Where to begin?

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Current Mood: numb from shock
Wednesday, October 19th, 2016
11:40 am
Nothing to add, except that I wish this could be shown on all networks before and/or after the debate tonight:
Sunday, September 18th, 2016
4:41 pm
Parade of Homes in my backyard
As the house on the lot behind mine[*](or one of the lots, because it turns out there are actually two) has been nearing completion, I've been hoping that it would have an open house or something so I would get the chance to see inside it before it's sold and people move in. Well, turns out I get my wish, because it just so happens that the house is complete enough to be featured in this fall's Parade of Homes.

The Parade of Homes happens twice a year, and it's a chance for the local builders to show off the new-construction housing that they have available for sale. And in this case, it must have been a close shave getting it ready in time, because they only just built the back patio on Friday. [*](I heard one of the other "paradegoers" squeal about, "Oh, a covered patio! How nice!" and I was tempted to mention something about it not existing three days ago--but I didn't).

I was going to walk around the block to get there, but then I thought, "That's silly; I'll just cut across the backyards." So I did.[*](I hesitated to cut across the backyards because we got a tremendous amount of rain on Thursday, and the other house's backyard basically turned into a lake, and I was afraid it would still be muddy. But it wasn't. The ground was still a little soft by the front door, but other than that it was perfectly dry.)

Inside, it's a perfectly nice-looking, perfectly ordinary three-bedroom, two-bathroom house.[*](The basement isn't finished yet, but oftentimes the builders leave that for the new owners to do with as they like.) Nevertheless, it's still amazing to me that there's now a complete and livable house where last year there was nothing but grass and weeds, that in the space of less than six months there can be a house where previously no house stood.

It was also illuminating to look at my house from the back windows and see exactly what my eventual neighbors will see. Very educational.

Current Mood: interested
Tuesday, August 9th, 2016
8:41 am
Try harder
First, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I am opposed to doping in sports. To me, it is the rankest form of cheating apart from trying to physically harm or otherwise discredit your competitors.

With that said, American swimmer Lilly King's mean-girl verbal attacks on a Russian competitor smack of poor sportsmanship. It's one thing to speak out for clean competition. It's another thing to bad-mouth your opponents. King has been praised for her "fearlessness" in and out of the pool. To me, "fearlessness" is not necessarily a positive trait and has little to do with genuine courage. But even if I accept "fearlessness" as a positive trait, there's a difference between fearlessness and tactlessness.

As is often the case, Alan Abrahamson expresses it much better than I ever could. You can read his assessment here. However, because this is important and because the article will eventually be taken down from the website when it is time to turn our attention to the Winter Games in 2018, I am reproducing it here for future reference. No copyright infringement intended.

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In a nutshell, Lilly King is being praised for bad behavior, while bronze medalist Katie Meili, who may well be the sweet girl that Lilly King--by her own admission--is not, is being largely ignored.

Then they try to excuse King's behavior by saying that she wasn't aware that her antics in the ready room were being filmed and broadcast to the world. I call bullshit; are they asking us to believe that she's never seen a televised sports event before? Doubtful. But even if we give King the benefit of the doubt and assume that she temporarily forgot herself in the ready room--which I will concede is at least a possible scenario--she gave another sarcastic finger-wiggle in the pool following her semifinal heat, and no one can pretend that that was anything other than premediated and unkindly meant.

In any case, she was reportedly chastised by one of the team's officials, who said, "We really are trying to take the high road."

My response: Try harder.

Current Mood: annoyed
Sunday, June 19th, 2016
9:19 pm
Virtual tour of Sioux Falls
About seven years ago, when I still had a working camera, I took some pictures of some of my favorite places in Sioux Falls. They've been sitting on my hard drive, collecting virtual dust, ever since. I decided I should finally post them. So here, for your enjoyment, is a virtual tour of Sioux Falls. The time is early spring circa 2009.

Falls ParkCollapse )

Terrace ParkCollapse )

McKennan ParkCollapse )

Fawick ParkCollapse )

Old Courthouse Museum and DowntownCollapse )

So there you have it. Thanks for joining me on this trip back through time and letting me share my adopted hometown with you.

Current Mood: mellow
Tuesday, May 31st, 2016
4:33 pm
SculptureWalk 2016
I was going to say that it gets harder every year to vote for just one SculptureWalk entry for the People's Choice award, but then I realized that's not really true. The hardest year was last year; there were so many sculptures that I loved, for so many different reasons, that I just couldn't narrow it down to one and didn't vote at all. [*](That said, I am a little surprised that this beat out Lincoln and son. That will teach me to underestimate the power of cutesy-ness.)

Last weekend I went downtown to see the new sculptures that were put up in April. I had driven past earlier and seen one that I liked, and was all ready to vote for that one first thing, but then I decided that I really couldn't vote for one without at least looking at the rest of them.

I was able to narrow it down to three fairly easily, presented here in numerical order:
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Then I got stuck.

Ultimately, it came down to the one that I thought had the most chance of winning. One thing I've noticed about SculptureWalk People's Choice award winners is that they never seem to be very abstract. Some border on magic realism, but other than that, they tend to be pretty representational. Therefore, I decided that, of the three, Francis would be the best choice.

Crankiness behind cutCollapse )

Now, if I were pick which sculpture I think will ACTUALLY win, that choice is a lot easier. My money would be on this one. However, this one would also be a very good bet because (a) the artist(s) have won more People's Choice awards than any other artists, (b) it was inspired by the Little Rascals, so there's the nostalgia factor, and (c) the chimes are just so much fun to try and play.[*](You can't really see it in the picture, but there are mallets provided for the chimes and viewers are encouraged to play them. It's very hard to resist the temptation.) However, for a dark horse candidate, I'd pick this one. It's leaning towards the abstract side of the spectrum, more in the realm of magic realism, but I think it might have a shot. What it lacks in representationalism, it potentially makes up for in inspirationalism.[*](If that's even a word...)

Okay, now I'm confused: They said that they're discontinuing online voting, but there's still an online voting form. What? I understand the rationale that they want people to go see the sculptures in person, but in some cases that's not possible. I mean, if it was an issue of not being able to maintain the "one vote per participant" rule via online voting, I would understand that, but I strongly believe everyone who wants to should be able to cast their vote, even if they can't make it downtown in person.

Current Mood: appreciative
Monday, May 16th, 2016
2:37 pm
Just for the record...
...I really don't like billboards in general. There are many billboards, across the whole state of South Dakota, that bother me for various reasons: sometimes rhetorically, sometimes ideologically, sometimes aesthetically...some even bother me for all three reasons.

What I don't understand is, why do we have to plaster advertisements on every available vertical surface? Why can't benches at bus stops just be benches? I remember back when I drove to work, I used to pass a particularly garish "Rent This Space!" sign on a bus stop bench, and I was so tempted to rent it just so I could paint it a nice, soothing color that I actually figured out the cost of how much it would take to rent it for a year.

Current Mood: irritated
7:52 am

Without even getting into the issue of what the billboards say, what really annoys me is the fact that there are so many of them. I think they're taking up more than their fair share of billboard space, and I don't think it's fair to the other organizations that want to advertise. I would say the same thing if it were Sanford or First Premier Bank or Avera or Badlands or any of the big advertisers in Sioux Falls using up three billboards within a 50-yard radius--especially when they all say the EXACT SAME THING!

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But then, I am a self-professed Christian, so whatever I say, I'm going to be suspected of having some ulterior motive. What do you think? Am I a narrow-minded believer, or are these people out of line?

Current Mood: annoyed
Sunday, May 8th, 2016
6:06 pm
I need a hero
You know, I figured it might be hard to find Supergirl-themed wrapping paper, but I didn't think that it would be all but impossible to find wrapping paper with the Superman logo (House of El insignia, if you prefer) on it.

I mean, with as popular as superheroes are now, in all forms of media, you'd think we'd be falling all over the stuff. I found basically everything a person would need to throw a Superman-themed birthday party EXCEPT wrapping paper.


Current Mood: mystified
Sunday, April 17th, 2016
10:53 am
"Explore historical artifacts from South Dakota's National Parks"
Thus my Google homepage greeted me this morning, and I was delighted to comply. Is everyone seeing the same invitation this morning, or is it just because I live in South Dakota?

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Current Mood: spring fever
Monday, April 11th, 2016
11:12 pm
They're going to be sorry.

Mark my words, they are going to rue this day. I just wonder how many kids are going to be caught in the crossfire before they realize what a horrible, horrible mistake they've made.

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Sleep well, everybody. I know I sure won't.

Current Mood: numb with horror
Monday, February 29th, 2016
4:22 pm
In like a lion
In weather-related news, we're supposed to get 4 inches of snow tonight. Yuck. I knew it was too much to hope that we were completely done with snow for the season, but I'd rather hoped we were past the significant accumulations.

I was talking to one of my neighbors the other day, and she was talking about putting away her snow shovel for the season, and I was like, "Don't jinx it!"

So it's all her fault, haha. ;)

Current Mood: boo
Friday, July 17th, 2015
8:42 pm
This made my day delightful:

Current Mood: defying frozen wicked gravity
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