No.

With the inauguration making it official, and “real,” I had to write something.

Right now we are in the midst of the strangest, most ridiculous moments in United States history that I’ve experienced in my lifetime—and, some say, maybe ever. I don’t know about “ever” but it certainly feels unprecedented. Perhaps people living through the Harding administration of the 1920s, or Nixon in the early ’70s, or hell even Prohibition experienced this same feeling of unreality, unease, and vaguely impending doom that we (the sane ones, anyway) are experiencing now. I don’t know.

What I do know is, somehow we now have a “president” that I don’t believe can or should be considered legitimate. He’s a serial liar, a failed businessman, a misogynist, not terribly intelligent, (probably) a sexual predator, a racist, an Islamophobe, and generally a fascist, with the thin skin of a temperamental four year old desperately craving attention and lashing out when spurned. On top of all of that, he is very likely compromised by a foreign agency.

He has refused to divest himself of his business interests, particularly as they relate to other countries, which raises numerous conflicts of interest and violates the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. He has not nor never will release his tax returns.

He lost the popular vote by the largest margin in history, three million votes, and only squeaked into the office by the loophole provided by the electoral voting system. He now takes the oath of that office as the most unpopular incoming president in history. And now day one has been marked with a flagrant lie about the size of the inauguration crowds, quivering in the shadow cast by the Women’s March, exposing the “president’s” shambling insecurity.

His cabinet is full of crony millionaires and billionaires, racists, extremists, and neo-Nazis with little to no real world knowledge of the jobs they have been selected for, or an active interest in tearing them down. He himself has no grasp of the magnitude of the role nor the knowledge and skills necessary to be the president, and his blundering ignorance and corruption will likely get many people killed.

There is nothing legitimate about this presidency, the campaign of which was run on a platform of racism and lies. The interference from Russia in the process alone should have been enough to overturn the entire election, and the strong possibility of Trump being compromised and under the influence of Russia and Putin should have disqualified him completely and brought him under intense investigation. If there were enough Republicans left with any kind of a spine who weren’t desperate sycophants for power, that might have been the outcome.

Which is why this is so surreal. It was surreal when he announced he would run, but I have to admit I enjoyed watching the Republican party tear itself apart in paroxysms of hypocrisy and degradation as he stood among them, and won. But who would have thought he would actually advance all the way to the general election and have a chance at winning? Well, the racists and the Nazis, I guess.

But had anyone tried to pitch this entire election and outcome as a fictional plot—for a movie or a book or a TV series—it would have been instantly rejected as too implausible, too outlandish, too ridiculous to be believable. But wait! There’s a twist! There are many twists! There’s an endorsement by the KKK! The Nazis are back! The main character is stupid enough to admit to sexual assault while wearing his own wire! Wait, wait, you’re gonna love this one—it’s the Russians and they’ve successfully planted their agent in the White House with the help of hackers and—what? Too contrived?

Except apparently it’s not, and it’s happening now. If you voted for Trump, then you’re complicit in all of this. If you didn’t vote at all, you’re complicit in all of this.

There is no “making America great again” under Trump because he is completely out of touch with the America he is supposed to lead. His “great America” is one where the rich get huge tax cuts while the poor shoulder their burden and die for lack of healthcare. One where the rights of women and minorities are rolled back so that affluent white men won’t feel threatened. This fantasy by the way, one apparently shared largely by the Republican party, is the desperate fever dream of a scared minority of aging rich white men seemingly unable to grasp that the world is moving on without them.

(Alternatively, the desperate fever dream of insular, under-educated whites scared to death of diversity and obsolescence.)

I mean, listen to the rhetoric—“We’re taking America back!” Back from what? From whom? From progress? Prosperity? Oh I know—not back from, but back to… to the dark ages. Anyone who seriously thinks that things were better 50 years ago should immediately lose their computer, their phone, access to the internet, their medicine, their big screen TV and video games and everything else they take for granted that didn’t exist 50 years ago.

And really, I’m worried that Trump will say something crazy on Twitter (again) that will have catastrophic results—or worse, his account will be hacked (again) and someone else will do that. I’m worried about the lack of concern and outright lies about a massive security breach and intrusion by Russia. I’m worried that the country as we know it—this entire grand American experiment—may well be at an end. It’s certainly not the same as it was even a year ago.

So no, I can’t look upon this new administration with any sense of legitimacy. No, I will not look past the flagrant lies. No, I will not accept nor respect the authority of the office that respects neither the people nor the office itself. No, I will not accept the hypocrisy of people who for eight years degraded and disrespected President Obama and now demand respect and civility for their spray-tanned elderly reality TV star.

I recognize the divide in this country, it’s very real, and divisive. But it was also heavily exploited during this election with lies and manufactured hysteria, and now the bill is coming due.

No, I don’t want to be that America. We can do better.

My Douglas Adams year

A few weeks ago I turned 42, which prompted my friend Paul to declare I was entering my “Douglas Adams year.” (Though somewhat worryingly, one of his other analogy-years was 33, because that’s how old John Belushi and Chris Farley were when they died… Douglas Adams died at age 49. Hmmmmm.)

Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon2014 was an eventful year, primarily because I wrote a book! The contract was signed around December of 2013, and I began researching and interviews in earnest in January, with a deadline of mid-July. Meaning, I had about seven months in which to complete it—pretty quick, by publishing (and writing!) standards. Following the submission of the manuscript were rounds of edits and proofing, with a publish date of October 21—at which point the rest of the year was a whirlwind of signings and publicity, including the Big Time—a talk and signing at Powell’s Books in Portland!

So now I am the authority on Bend beer and its history, for better or for worse. But that’s okay, because now I have a published first book under my belt, from a real publisher, which opens doors to a second, and third, and more books. For which I already have ideas.

But 2015 is (mostly, since the majority of the year I am 42) my Douglas Adams year, which means I need to be well on my way to figuring out the question to the question of life, the universe, and everything. Or at least inventing a computer to do so. Hopefully that means 2015 will be eventful too!

(So far, so good—mostly with events stemming out from the beer writing, which is a good thing!)

Ringing out 2012

I hope everyone has had a good year; for my part I think 2012 was pretty darn good overall. Obviously if you’ve been following this particular blog for the past year (or more) then you’ll note that I haven’t posted much (once a month, on average); a big part of the reason for that is the amount of time and effort I’ve been putting into my beer blog and Bend blog, both of which I’m very proud of, though it does tend to detract from my personal ramblings here (not to mention actual work getting in the way…!).

At any rate, one of my goals is to get more writing done in the year(s) to come, so hopefully I’ll buckle down to include this blog in that goal.

In the meantime, happy New Year everyone! Let’s toast 2012 tonight and ring in 2013 with fanfare!

The big four-oh

So today—which as I write this, is nearly over—is my birthday, and most people know it was a momentous one: 40.

That’s right, one of the Big Ones. (From 30 onward they all get counted in tens, of course.) What’s funny is I’ve been mentally rounding my age up the past few months anyway, so there’s really not much adjustment now that it’s official. And no, I don’t “feel old.”

But it was a very good birthday, with friends and family and beer and good times. Oh and a cigar and a whiskey or two.

And the Mayans didn’t mess it up, either. But now, technically, we’re in the new cycle of their Long Count Calendar (day 2, actually, since it ended on the 21st), which combined with my 40th birthday seems awfully momentous somehow. That could be a good theme for my next 40 years…

Next up: Christmas!

The most epic spam email ever

So I got this spam a little while back, and I couldn’t resist sharing. Here, in its entirety:

December 21, 2012:
Mayan Galactic Alignment
Once in 26,000 years

Celebrate the end of the Mayan Calendar,
the Sun aligning with the center of the Galaxy,
and the 2012 Winter Solstice.

Greetings ,

The “2012 Mayan Galactic Alignment” celebrates an astronomical event that happens once every 26,000 years.

Join me on a spectacular Cruise and Seminar-At-Sea to the sacred Mayan sites of the Yucatan, where we will gather in grand ceremonies and rituals that close a 5000-year era of darkness, and open a new eon of light – the ascension of humanity.

This is “the place to be on Dec. 21, 2012.”

The Carnival Triumph takes us to Chichen Itza and Cozumel, where we will honor this Time with ritual and ceremony, participate in seminars and healing while at Sea, and celebrate on a world class cruise ship.

On December 21, 2012, the Great Long Count Cycle, which began in 3114 BC, will end. The Fourth World will pass, and the “World of the Fifth Sun” will be born.

Now add your momentum to the vibrational energy that culminates in the peak spiritual event of the Millennium – the Winter Solstice, at the incredibly auspicious hour of 11:11 a.m. Universal Time on December 21, 2012. At that time, on that date, everything we know will change. We will enter a new world – a world of Ascension.

Learn more at http://www.mayancruise2012.com

Now hear a F’REE Teleseminar with speakers who will be on the cruise:
http://www.mayanteleseminar.com

Where will you be on Dec. 21, 2012 ?
We know where we will be – At this once-in-a-lifetime event !

HIGHLIGHTS:

– Workshops on the seminar-at-sea, as amazing speakers, such as Fred Alan Wolf, expert Mayan scholars, and enlightened spiritual leaders awaken our consciousness!

– Nightly Skywatch with Richard C. Hoagland, as we view the Galactic Algnment, a once-in-26,000-year event!

– Awesome Rituals, Initiations, and Fire Ceremonies at Mayan temples with Mayan Elders Hunbatz Men and Tomasa Lissell as we prepare to enter the “World of the Fifth Sun.”

– The Sun aligning with Hunab K’u, the Center of the Galaxy, in a spectacular Solstice light transmission and telescope array.

– The precise moment, 11:11 AM GMT, the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar Cycle, witnessed in a Skywatch and Inner Journey to the Galactic Center, and with prayers, meditations, and light transmissions from the Ascended Masters.

– Visits to Chichen Itza and other pyramids and temples.

– Visit to San Gervasio, home of Ixchel, the Mayan Fertility Goddess, on Cozumel, and swim with her dolphins.

– Celebration of the Ascension of Humanity into a higher vibration with music, dance, food, and entertainment on a world class cruise ship.

– Honoring the date December 21, 2012, when the next cycle of human evolution begins, with transformative initiatory rituals by Mayan Elders, and meditation led by Babaji and other ascended beings.

This date is, by far, the epic metaphysical event of our lifetime.
And it comes once every 26,000 years!

Space is Very Limited. Learn More and Register Now at http://www.mayancruise2012.com

Be a part of this vital process, as you contribute your spiritual energy to this keystone event. This gathering can transform the planet at a time when transformation is essential.

You are called to be a part of this planetary ascension of consciousness, at this time, in this place!

Space is Very Limited!
Learn More and Register Now at http://www.mayancruise2012.com
Mention my name when you register.

“This is not a cruise. This is a Spiritual Experience. This is a spiritual awakening that will transform your life. You will pass from an age of darkness into an age of light. Your life will be blessed, and you will never be the same.”
The Immortal Babaji

Mayan Apocalypse cruise. It’s hard to beat that.

Lost planet

Saw this article on Discover.com earlier this month and thought it was really interesting: The Solar System’s Lost Planet.

Nesvorny, who runs computer simulations to study how the solar system evolved over time, kept encountering the same problem: The four giant gas planets, whose orbits are comfortably far apart from each other today, kept violently jostling with each other in his models of the early solar system. Jupiter would end up tugging on Uranus or Neptune and casting one of them out into interstellar space. Obviously, that never happened. So Nesvorny came up with a clever explanation: He proposed that a fifth gas giant emerged from the planet-birthing cloud 4.5 billion years ago. Suddenly his simulations started matching reality. The outer planets still jockeyed for position, but this time Jupiter spared Uranus and Neptune and ejected the extra planet instead.

Not that we’d ever be able to know if this is correct (probably), but it certainly sounds logical. I just hope the Planet X/Nibiru nuts don’t jump all over this as proof of pending doom.

Leap Day

This is only the third Leap Day we’ve had since I’ve started this blog, and this is the first time I’ve made a point of noting it. Aside from being the one extra day every four years (and, technically, only every 400 years on the century marks), the only other notable thing I can think of about the day is that there is a folk tradition wherein a woman asks a man to marry on this day rather than the other way around.

Leap Year itself is more interesting to me in large part because of that “400 years” observation I made above: a quirk in the calculation in the Gregorian calendar which we use. However even that pales to some of the other leap year calculations made in different calendars: in particular the Chinese, Hebrew, and Iranian ones seem especially difficult. I know the algorithm for computing a leap year in the Gregorian calendar, but the mind boggles at the ones for these others.

If you’re lucky enough to have a birthday today, happy birthday! I’ll buy you a drink on your next one, four years from now…

Postscript: Apparently I forgot to push “Publish” on the day itself!