Department Of All Of Us Probably Already Know This…
Why Five Ratings Are Almost Meaningless
Dateline: last week; 7:45 am-ish;  returning from a morning walk; listening to a podcast. At the end of the episode one of the podcast hosts says, without a detectable tinge of shame as per the audacity of her blatant hyperbole-scrounging:
“…if you like this podcast please, go online and give it a five-star rating.”
I do like the podcast. But, as I understand it, a five star rating means that the rating system being referred to goes from one to five stars. Now, moiself can like something and give it three or four stars instead of five.
Why not sign off with, “If you like our podcast please consider writing a review of it on ____.” Don’t tell me how you want me to rate it; you might as well just write all the reviews yourself.  If all the reviews are five stars then five stars isn’t anything special.
Repeat after me, class: if everyone gets a trophy, no one *really* got a trophy.
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Department Of Breaking News…
I do not refer to retirement of Tom Brady. C’mon, who ( certainly not moiself ) gives a FF about a multimillionaire football player, simultaneously the winning-est and cheating-est in his sport, hanging up his helmet (thus stopping both the winning and the cheating, I presume). Yeah, sure – make an announcement. But over and over….
Once again, I digress.
And why, you may ask, were the hosts and/or guests of The View talking about the Holocaust? I didn’t see the show; apparently the subject was a Tennessee school districts’ banning of the holocaust-themed graphic novel, Maus, and the subject took off from there.
And yep, when I read what Goldberg said I thought, Whoa; she blew it. But when I read her explanation/apology – about how she thinks of race – I realized that there’s more to it that meets the eye…or ear.
“In a later appearance on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show on Monday, Ms. Goldberg apologized, explaining that, as a Black person, she thinks of racism as being based on skin color but that she realized not everyone sees it that way.”
(ABC Suspends Whoopi Goldberg Over Holocaust Comments)
On The View Goldberg posited that The Holocaust was about “man’s inhumanity to man,” and that since “these are two white groups of people” (Germans and Jews) The holocaust “was not about race.” Apparently she didn’t realize how much and specifically the Nazis considered the Jews to be a race, even if scientifically that isn’t true.
IMO, one of the greatest errors in cultural anthropology was the creation of the term, “race” (yet another gift to civilization from the British, who considered the Irish to be an inferior race). If I ruled the world, we’d get rid of that classification. There are no races, save for the human race – with a variety of ethnicities and cultures….
However, the Nazis didn’t know or care about *other* definitions of race. And like many – if not the majority – of us, it seems that Goldberg knew *what* the Nazis did, but not the reasons *why* they did what they did.
And if moiself may digress for a moment, it’s funny (to me) to be writing that word – Whoopi’s last name – in terms of this discussion. The EGOT-winning actor/comic/author talk show host, Whoopi Goldberg, was born Caryn Johnson, and chose a Jewish surname for her professional name. Holy meme confusion – and now, with this brouhaha, does this mean that Caryn who became Whoopi has become a Karen?
Not for a moment do I think Goldberg is antisemitic, or racist against Jews. I do think that, like so many of us, she was either ignorant of and/or misinformed about the Nazis’ justification for their “Final Solution“: i.e., she mistakenly thought it was religious or cultural prejudice which drove the Nazis. Indeed, Nazi speeches and literature were peppered with the language of Christian Nationalist hatred of the non-Aryan/non-Christian, but their primary, anti-Jewish focus was the Jewish “race,” not religion.
The Holocaust seems to be, in some cases, fading into the pantheon of Really Bad People In World History. People remember that the Nazis were the baddest of the bad – they killed 6 million Jews and 5 million other people belonging to groups they didn’t like – but forget (or never fully knew in the first place) the ideology behind why they were the baddest of the bad.
* Hitler and other Nazi leaders viewed the Jews not as a religious group, but as a poisonous “race,” which “lived off” the other races and weakened them.
* …the Nazi Party…political agenda…embodies racism. It demands racial purity in Germany; proclaims Germany’s destiny to rule over inferior races; and identifies Jews as racial enemies.
(excerpts from Holocaust Encyclopedia: Nazi Racism)
* The Holocaust saw Nazi Germans systematically persecute Jews on the basis of an ideology that saw Jewish people as an inferior race and a threat to other races.
* The Nazis, and Hitler, went to great lengths to describe and define Jews as a race.
(Politifact, “Goldberg wrongly claims the holocaust was ‘not about race.’ ” )
Goldberg’s misassumption that The Holocaust was not about race is a historical oversight and/or educational mistake, easily correctable. So, why suspend her?
During her appearance on Steven Colbert’s show, Goldberg further explained, re her Holocaust remarks,
“I feel, being Black, when we talk about race it’s a very different thing to me….
But I thought it was a salient discussion because, as a Black person, I think of race as being something that I can see.”
That is a very important, very revealing statement, and (to me) also very understandable. Goldberg is not the first person who, having experienced racism herself, has (perhaps unintentionally) played a variation of the “My people have it worse” or the “*That’s* not racism; lemme tell you what is racism” card.
I’d love to hear that issue discussed in depth. And I think it would be beneficial for everyone who was there during the discussion (whence Goldberg’s initial remarks) to hash it out on the same “air,” so that, for example, the historians and Holocaust experts who called Goldberg to task could share their information and viewpoints with her, and the other hosts, and the audience. After all, isn’t the show she was suspended from called, The View?
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Department Of Gung Hay Fat Choi, y’all.
Earlier this week I and MH were up in Tacoma, where our daughter Belle made us a Yummers ® Lunar New Year feast. Moiself used to refer to the celebration as The Chinese New Year, ® because that’s how I knew about it via demographics.  However, many cultures and countries other than China celebrate The Lunar New Year, and ’tis likely the Tibetans and Koreans don’t care for the *Chinese* new year label.
Moiself doesn’t, of course, “believe in” Chinese astrology, any more (or less) than I give credence to the silly, pre-scientific, superstitious idea that the month/date “alignment of planets and other celestial bodies” (i.e., the western zodiac) on the day of one’s birth has anything to do with one’s basic personality traits and fortune. But, hey, (almost) any excuse for a celebration is fine by me.
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Department Of Monkeyshines
Dateline: Monday, 6:15 am-ish. MH and I arrived in Tacoma yesterday, for a few day’s visit with daughter Belle. We’re up early this morning because Belle wants to do the annual “monkeyshines” search. In Tacoma, around the time of the lunar new year, certain glass artists hide little baubles (monkeyshines) around in public places in city parks and other accessible areas.
MH and moiself are staying for three nights at the McMenamin’s Elks Temple hotel, where I have stayed several times over the past three year.  . It’s a typical McMenamin’s joint – quirky and fun, good food and drink and entertainment and unique ambiance. My one gripe: There is no good parking for overnight guests at or around the Elks Lodge. As their web site says:
“Elks Temple is located in downtown Tacoma, and parking options vary…”
Read: We’re in downtown Tacoma, and your parking options suck.
Downtown Tacoma, like many big cities, is plagued by street crime. There is metered parking in some of the streets surrounding The Elks Temple, a paid lot a few blocks away, but no dedicated hotel parking. So, if you’re staying at the hotel and are lucky enough to find a nearby parking space, you have to move your vehicle every two hours (until 6 pm, when meter hours are over and start again at 8 am). If you go anywhere and come back in the early evening (after 6pm), when the lodge is jumping with its variety of its bars and restaurants and music options being patronized by non-hotel guests, you will not find a space near the lodge, until possibly late at night. Which was the case when we arrived on Sunday.
After we spent some time with Belle, we tried to check in to the hotel but were unable to find any parking. MH circled the building several times, finally let me out to check us in, then found a parking spot a block and a half away, up a hill, within eyesight of the hotel.
Back to the dateline, Monday am: we leave the hotel early, get in the car, and as we are driving to pick up Belle at her apartment, we hear intermittent rattling sounds coming from the back of the car. I say, “Did you pack a box of gravel?” to MH, who was driving. I was somewhat serious, as the rear of the car had been packed with tools and lumber for a project of Belle’s, but we’d cleared the car of all of that the previous night, leaving it all in her apartment, emptying our car save for three bags of emergency supplies. MH replied, “Noooooo….” He looked in the rear view mirror, and barely stifled a gasp. “But our rear windshield is smashed.”
MH pulled over, and we got out to see what we hadn’t noticed when we got into the car. Indeed, the rattling sound we’d been hearing were the sounds of the pieces of safety glass, which were still attached to the remaining edges of (what had been) the rear windshield, dropping down onto the inside/back of the car.
At first we thought nothing was missing; no one seems to have gotten into the vehicle or rifled through the glove compartment or anyplace else. The idiot(s) who did it just smashed and moved on, as far as we could tell.  This very thing happened to Belle a few years back, when she lived four blocks up from the hotel: some street asshole disturbed soul one walked along one night, smashing the side and/or rear windows of every other car he passed (but didn’t stop to steal anything from any of the cars). Not long after that, someone did a similar thing in her neighborhood, stealing from the first car whose window he smashed, then smashing the windows of the neighboring cars…just because he could.
Seriously. Apparently this is not an uncommon crime in Tacoma. Lovely.
As you might imagine, this put a damper on my monkeyshines-looking-for spirit. While MH and Belle searched Wright Park in the dark, I half-heartedly followed along, using my cellphone flashlight to look into trees and monument nooks and crannies while phoning various Tacoma car dealerships and auto shops.
I found an auto glass repair shop which squeezed us in for an emergency “wrap” of the rear window space, but they did not have the necessary glass to replace the windshield. Summary of my many calls: Y’all know all those empty shelves and spaces you see at the supermarket and other stores? The car parts industries are having the same supply and shipping problems. As of this writing I am back in Hillsboro, with an appointment to have the rear window of my car replaced…sometime…pending the arrival of the part.
MH and Belle and I went out to breakfast, circa 9 am, after our monkeyshines search.  I informed our son K about our crime victim status, via text, while we were waiting for our food to arrive, and ended with, “Well, at least I’m handling it better than I would have 20 years ago.”
“How would the Robyn of 20 years ago have handled it?”
“With much more profanity.” 
Coda the first: at the aforementioned restaurant – Shakabra, which I highly recommend if you’re ever looking for a yummers breakfast in Tacoma – when our waiter greeted us with the standard (but sincere, moiself truly believed), “How’s everyone doing this morning?” I decided to answer him truthfully. I said something along the lines of “Ok, except for having our rear windshield smashed this morning….” He shook his head in sympathy and disgust, and said, “I’m sorry; I hear that happens a lot in Tacoma.”
Coda the second: Later the next morning, MH and I were discussing what to bring back for K, who was watching our two cats in his Portland home while we were up visiting his sister. We both brought up getting him a t-shirt from the vast McMenamins collection; moiself suggested we ask the Elks Temple staff if we could special order a shirt with McMenamins’ iconic Hammerhead Ale logo, with the hammer striking a car windshield….
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Punz For The Day
I have a sad tale about a European car… never mind.
You don’t want to hear my Saab story.
When we were kids, my cousins used to stuff me in a car tire
and roll it down a big hill. Ah yes; those were the Goodyears.
A thief stole the wheels off my car last night.
I’m working tirelessly to catch him.
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May you handle adversity better than you did 20 years ago;
May you have a stupendous Year of the Tiger;
May you rate this blog nine out of five stars;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 Not Amish.
 Already happening, I’d bet.
 Most of the people I’d known who celebrated it were of Chinese ancestry, and my SIL was born and raised in Canton.
 Although MH has visited the Elks Temple – Belle used to work there – this was his first time staying overnight at its hotel.
 Two days later, the morning we drove back to Oregon, we were transferring our car’s items – which we’d put in Belle’s apartment for safekeeping – back to our car, and discovered that one of our car’s emergency bags was missing. So, the window-smashing asshat got a black bag filled with earthquake and other disaster emergency supplies.
 We – ahem, make that, moiself – did find one! It was a white marble with an orange streak, hidden in the curled tail of one of the Wright Park Lions statues. Not a true monkeyshines, but Belle said it counts: “In addition to glass balls, Monkeyshine items include marbles, ceramic medallions, teacups and ornaments made by Tacoma artists.” (Hunting for Art and Community in Tacoma: the Monkeyshines Project))
 Note the subtle indication that there was not a complete lack of cussin.’