Sunday, November 10, 2019

Book Review: Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream by Nicholas Lemann

Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American DreamTransaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream by Nicholas Lemann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book. It looked at the relationship between politics and economics in US history. It starts with the Organization Man era (when giant corporations were dominant), then the transaction man era (the ascendancy of finance and Wall Street), and today’s network man era, which is still in progress. But the final chapter, the Afterword, had the greatest impact on me. The discussion about special interest politics resonated strongly with me. I have, for quite a while, attributed the rise of right-wing politics to their superior ability to organize and influence. I compare the success of the Tea Party to the failure of the Occupy Wall Street crowd. Or, I compare the success of the NRA to the groups that advocate gun control. Some groups are better at getting organized to make a difference than others; the ineffective groups talk a lot, but don’t get anything accomplished. It’s hard work, and makes politics messy – but if you want to get changes made you have to do it right.

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Autumn 2019

Fall usually happens twice for me. Most of the leaves fall in what I consider the traditional fall months. But not the trees on our parkway. Those leaves always fall after last leaf pickup and usually after the first snow. This year was a little different in that fall occurred on a single day! But, the parkway trees have held true to form.

Birch on the left - Parkway maple on the right. The maple leaves usually fall sometime in December.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Halloween 2019

It snowed, yesterday and today. Our average first measurable snow in this part of Illinois is December 2nd, so we're quite a bit ahead of schedule.

Here is this year's pumpkin, though given the weather I'm not sure how many kids will see it.

Facebook Again!

I have this on again, off again relationship with Facebook. As I write this I’m off; my account is deactivated. I did this because of their recent policy regarding fact-checking political ads. They decided they would not do that, allowing politicians to lie.

However, last night I attended a meeting at the Fox Valley Music Foundation. I volunteer my time to assist with video work, working on documentaries and doing some camera work for their performance venue. At the meeting the executive director mentioned that the foundation would like to push hard on Giving Tuesday, December 3rd. We were asked to share as much as possible on Facebook to promote giving to the foundation. I asked what social media the foundation used and the answer: Facebook and Instagram (also a Facebook product).

I realized, once again, that to be supportive of organizations and friends, I must be on Facebook. The organizations I support: FVMF, OPUS, Waterline Writers, the Batavia Lyceum and others do all their online advertising on Facebook. My friends have events that largely, or only, get mentioned on Facebook. If I want to participate, I must be there.

It frustrates me, that for so many the internet is Facebook, but as usual no one cares what I think or that I’m frustrated. So, I’ll be back on later today, sharing events and posts and trying not to be snarky. 😊

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

First Snow: October 30, 2019

Seems our first sticking snow has arrived earlier than usual this year. Usually we get flurries that don't stick at least once, but this year we jumped right to the sticky stuff!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Playing With My Camera: October 28, 2019

I got a new camera recently: a Fujifilm XF10. It allows me to use things like aperture priority, shutter priority, full manual -- features I have never had in a camera before. I went to the Geneva train station to try out shutter priority. I read that it allows you to take sharp pictures of things in motion.

Probably did not need shutter priority for this shot.

Now I can capture cool looking graffiti on trains, not that this is that great an example.

This shot was with aperture priority turned on. A little blurrier shot.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Book Review: The Outlaw Ocean by Ian Urbina

The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed FrontierThe Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier by Ian Urbina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a really good book. Well written, hard to put down at times, well researched and documented. It was also deeply depressing. It showed me that in a place where there were no laws, or ways to enforce the laws, people could treat each other, and the earth, horribly. Libertarians who think a totally unregulated state would be utopia should read this book. They are wrong.

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Waterline Writers: Sunday, October 20, 2019

Waterline's first event of the season is Sunday, October 20th at 7pm. The event is held at Water Street Studios - 160 S. Water Street, Batavia IL. They're featuring the works of Alan Souter, Wilda Morris, Dan Klefstad, and Donald J. Bingle!!

The reading begins at 7 pm, drinks before if you're fancy. (I'm fancy!)

Writers may bring a 5-minute piece to share at their 8:30 pm Open Mic.

Admission is $5 ($3 for students). Beer & Wine is available - $5.

Trains: October 19, 2019

Taken at the Geneva, Illinois train station.