I could be angry every day

In my continuing quest to lead a more peaceful life, I have found I could be far more angry than I am today. I’ve cut back on the number of news sites I read each and as well as the time spent reading because it really does just make me angry.

Anyone who has followed me for a long time knows I could mix it up with the best of them when I had a column at the Star-Herald. I’ll always be grateful to Steve and Bart for allowing me to write columns and the occasional editorial. It allowed me to grow as a writer.

We all know the world is not black and white, it’s gray. We used to be able to sit in the gray and have discussions, and I hope we can do that again one day, but that hasn’t been possible for at least three years. In 2017, I sought to get my own mental health under control, I started walking away from the this new black-and-white world we suddenly found ourselves in where anyone who thinks differently from you is supposed to be “the enemy.” This new enemy needed to be talked over, yelled at, called fake news, and whatever other disparaging remark could be hurled in their general direction.

I have written before of my hope to return to writing in the gray, but, over the past three years, I have found I no longer have it in me. I don’t want to be that kind of person. I applaud those who can stick with it even when they feel like they are beating their heads against a wall, but I’m on a different path now and I’m okay with where ever it’s going to lead me.

I am still reading a lot of news. I’m trying to be more selective about what I put in my brain and how I want to nurture my own knowledge and sanity. This is a selection of the things I have read over the past week. You can see why I tire of it all. If you make it toward the end, you can see the cool things happening in the world and the kinds of stories I’d like to read more of as I shift my focus from the negative.

Many of you know I’ve pirated stuff in the past. I’m sure many of you have, too. The piracy scene is intricate, intertwined, and complex. This past week, the “scene” has been radically shaken as investigations spanning 18 countries have resulted in a half-dozen arrests. My stance on piracy today is the same as it was in 1997 – provide people with easy access to your games, movies, tv shows, etc., and you will eliminate most piracy.

With high-profile groups currently targeted, the scene is, essentially, down. It will be back. My thoughts are on the wastefulness of this endeavor from law enforcement. Instead of spending millions of dollars trying to catch people who release films a couple of days early, which studies conclude do not hamper sales, law enforcement around the world could be fighting human trafficking or terrorism.

If you want to read good investigative journalism, read the story from TorrentFreak.

Nebraska is finally going to get medical marijuana on the ballot. I would like to be positive about this, but, we won’t have a logical discussion on the matter because far too many people in this state believe if you smoke dope, you’re going to become a heroin addict. It’s a shame we can’t have a discussion because marijuana is beneficial, especially among folks like me with PTSD. Why is pot illegal? Yeah, that’s right, because of irrational fears of Mexicans.

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I have grown weary of the projection from the White House and the dismantling of everything we have worked for over the past 50 years. I honestly don’t understand how you can claim you are for equality, loving your fellow man, and wanting to help make America a great place to live and a country to be proud to live in and still want to vote for Donald Trump. The man hates women, immigrants, minorities….basically anyone not white like him. I grew up in New York. His bluster has been in my view most of my life. I didn’t understand why anyone would want him on a television show. I don’t understand how anyone who isn’t a white supremacist can support him.

How is Jacob Wohl not in prison for the crap he continues to pull? Every time he is in the news, I think, “yep, this time he’s going to jail.” And then he doesn’t.

The CDC used to be a respectful organization you could trust. I feel myself tense up and grow angry whenever I see those three letters in a headline now.

I feel like we’re back in the 1960s criticizing people for being Catholics. People feared JFK because he was Catholic. Now, one presidential candidate, who can’t find a church without an armed escort, is criticizing another presidential candidate because they don’t practice Catholicism correctly.

I’m an atheist and while I believe all religion has damaging effects on life and we would all be better off if religion didn’t exist, I also know you can separate your religious doctrines from doing what is best for everyone. If you can’t see Jews, Muslims, Christians, atheists, Buddhists, and every other person as inherently equal, you have no business running a country.

Instead of creating a safe space to protest in, police are now actively supporting vigilantism. I have little faith in the police to begin with. This doesn’t help their cause. The guy’s mom drove him across state lines to a protest with a gun. We used to be against vigilante justice. Why are people setting up legal defense funds for him? Oh, right. He’s white. Thankfully, GoFundMe shut this garbage down. Unfortunately, there’s a fund elsewhere still up and collecting money.

Kenneth Copeland and all the other anti-abortion folks need to shut the fuck up. If you are not a pregnant woman, you don’t get a right to decide if abortion is right. That is a choice between a woman and her doctor. No one else. Also, why the hell do people still listen to this old gasbag?

The Republicans have decided whatever Donald Trump says is their platform. Literally. Joe Biden has a platform. It’s one which I can get behind.

I am grateful for the work of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. I am happy with their latest work in Puerto Rico.

Since September 2019, in direct contradiction of well-established constitutional law, officials at the Luis M. Santiago School, a public school in Toa Baja, had reportedly organized, led and coerced students to participate in mandatory 50-minute Christian prayer sessions on school property every other Monday during the school day.

The pentagon is planning on a $2.2 billion cut to military health care. Where are all the “support the troops” people now? Why have you not been protesting in the streets?

And, now I’m angry, again. I’ve reduced my political reading by about 90 percent and, but still find myself getting riled up over the blatant lies and hypocrisy (looking at you Jerry Falwell) from so many people. So, here’s some good news I’ve read over the past week.

During the Syrian civil war, a bunch of assholes destroyed the Temple of Bel in Palmyra. A massive project to create a 3-D image of the temple is underway. New Palmyra is asking you to upload your pictures and put them in the public domain to help.

There’s a cool new study out about how older adults with major depressive disorder have been quite resilient during the pandemic. Reddit had a good discussion with some anecdotal details.

In another study, exploding stars may have caused mass extinction on Earth.

As I near my one month mark away from social media, another report finds Facebook is a global threat to public health. Damn right it is.

That’s a loaf of bread from Herculaneum. You can make a loaf of this bread by watching Max Miller.

How did the bread get that way? The pyroclastic flow that covered the town was reported to be 800-900 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to killing people and animals, the temperatures killed bacteria as well. When everything settled down, Herculaneum was now under 20 meters of silica-rich ash, which had eliminated any remaining nutrients and preserved the bread.

People slept on comfy grass beds 200,000 years ago.

It seems every six months or so, I read a new study about how some people don’t need eight hours of sleep every night.

This week is the Belgian Grand Prix. It’s my favorite Formula 1 race. It’s also, sadly, the first anniversary of the death of Formula 2 driver, Antoine Hubert. Pierre Gasly made a special helmet for this week’s race honoring his friend. Honestly, I cried when I saw the helmet, especially if you know the story behind their friendship.

WARNING: graphic video

Juan Manuel Correa, who was also involved in this horrific accident, continues to improve. Although I thought the introduction of the halo made F1 cars look stupid, the halo saved at least two people’s lives that day. You can argue it also saved Correa’s life as his car skidded upside down across the track.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. I’m sure you can see how, over the span of a few days, we are bombarded with so much bad news. It is designed to put you in a negative mindset and keep you there as it whips you into frenzied hatred before you can stop to think rationally. I’m just not going to be a part of it anymore. I could be angry every day. I’m choosing not to.


Saying yes to drugs


The precipice of October


  1. Donna Thompson

    I was very happy to see the email in my inbox this morning, Irene, about your latest blog post. My comment is in overall support of your continued journey towards mental and emotional wellness as well as your departure from social media. I feel you. I walk a tight rope every day now, trying to balance my need to stay informed and interact with sane, rational people, and avoided the inevitable land mines that are everywhere. Best wishes to you! Keep writing please.

    • Irene

      I will keep writing. This week was a more difficult week than usual, but I made it through okay. I have been debating on this post for several weeks and found I couldn’t focus on the other things I want to write, here and elsewhere, until I got it “out of my system.” It is hard to not be on social media. I want to know what people are doing, but I can’t seem to balance that with all the other negative aspects of it. I know that, at least for the next three months, I won’t be on it. After that, I’ll reevaluate things, but I don’t see me going back. I’ve already felt and observed too many positive changes in my mental health. I will keep writing. Of that, you can be guaranteed. 🙂

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