Archive for June, 2017

27
Jun
17

Over the Line Show #81 Black Market Fidget Spinners

This is now one of my go-to podcasts…great background noise while I work on my projects.

The Over The Line Show / Podcast 42

otlgif,

On Today’s Show:

Weather Man Advice App, Jerk Geese, The War On Fidget Spinners, Bernie Sanders vs Megadeth, Catfish Day, Deer Road Kill Rules, Popcorn Wars: John Cusack, Al Capone Auction, Ugly Uniforms For Columbus Clippers, Italian Food And Roller Coasters, Norwegian Penis Rock, Jim Neighbor’s Han Solo, 100,000 Good Will Donation, Bands Banned At The Pentagon

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27
Jun
17

A Rising Surge of Zealotards – pt. fini

zealotards-3

The Dragons.

He continued to smile and handed me a business card with a picture of the proverbial ‘red pill’ on it, a visual reference made popular by the Matrix films. In the movies, those who take the red pill are shown the true nature of things, the true reality that hides behind the alleged facade we live in. Using a red pill graphic is like saying ‘we know the truth others won’t tell you’.

I stared at the card. The blonde man went on babbling stats and information about his organization; His ‘Dragon’s are a group known as Identity Evropa (also known as Identity Europa). I looked at the front of the card again before turning it over, nodding politely as he continued to chat over the background voice of the main speaker on that crackling microphone. Some Trump supporter couldn’t hold his tongue and started bellowing out threats to the group of Trump protestors standing behind the speaker. That brought about a response from the opposition that wore black jackets and scarves across their faces and I just tried to focus over their jeers and the guy on the speaker to hear my Dragon man better. This back and forth verbal battle goes on a lot at rallies and as numb as you can get to it, it is still distracting. I was trying to listen to  this guy dole out more info about his organization, then noticed the back of his business card which had eight other alt-right groups listed, along with their website addresses. Screw it; I could look up the Dragons online mission statement later if I missed out some on what he was saying to me. This list on the card would save me a lot of online footwork. I now had a list of active right wing organizations in support of one another, a good reference sheet for future investigation.

Not all those sites listed on the card had people representing there Saturday, but I was able to confirm ACT of America and Identity Evropa were present. The opposing faction had the Hoosier Anti-Racist group and various onlookers. strays pulled in by the barking voice of the ACT spokesman on the microphone. Police stood around the group but looked more bored than anything, or pissed that they got assigned this job for the morning. Local law are smart to watch for the potential threat of a crowd-especially one supported by individuals who come out on the streets sporting paramilitary garb and toting firearms-but even the cops gave off a vibe like this probably wouldn’t erupt into anything too severe.

Gay Pride was going on just a few blocks away and I asked the man if the Dragons planned to show up for that, wanting to see if they had any antagonism set for that celebration. He assured me that they had no intention of going over there during Pride. That was a relief to me because in spite my fascination watching cute little demonstrations, I did not want to see one that would disrupt such a feel-good, wonderful celebration as Gay Pride. Pride brings happiness to town, political demonstrations typically bring anger and hostility. Let those who play with fire fight one another and leave the rest out of it.

The two groups continued to snap at one another while the microphone crackled on. The speaker brought up a new voice, a rather large lady in a chador who was there to relay her story about being a victim of female genital mutilation and abuse. Later I would remember seeing her chain smoking, sitting among the Trump protestors. I still don’t understand whose side she was on. The lines were getting blurry on that story and whoever she was there to support, she was not as effective as they would have wanted her to be. I can’t recall if it was before or after Mike and I broke away from the crowd for our traditional breather (coffee, evaluate our latest images taken, edit notes) that I heard this new female voice get on the loud speaker and yell out to the crowd:
“They rape the women….they rape the goats!”
That one gave me such a goosebump rush…they rape the goats. Damn, lady, that was brilliant. Her saying that was so monumental, in that moment, that I had to stop and make sure to put that in my notes-verbatim. Play that on the news feed…play that on MSNBC.

Once we broke away and came back, we could pretty well tell how the rest of this demonstration would go. it would be just like the other string of protests we have seen down here recently-very little bark, no bite. My synopsis on this particular event could be summed up by what I saw during the latter part of the day. The Alt-Right supporters stood there shouting “Donald Trump!”, as the opposing side stood there and yelled “Fuck you!”. They did that back and forth for a minute or so and that’s about what our entire country is doing right now, just standing there, facing one another, while one side shouts Donald Trump and the other side yells fuck you.
This is what our world has become.

Welcome to the Church.

24
Jun
17

A Rising Surge of Zealotards – pt. 2

zealotards-2

Driving to the rally gave Mike and I time for psychological motivation. Our interest in attending these dramas is to witness the great human clash, the artform society unfolds at these events, whether gripped with emotion, or banality. Mike has been doing photography around the U.S. and abroad, won awards for his work and can’t stop this addiction of his. I get to witness his dance when he passes through crowds for that one certain moment to capture, some little…something, that goes by in a blink.

My preparation typically includes getting notebook and camera ready, pens and additional pens and usually medicating myself with something before leaving. As avid a fan as I am covering events like these, crowds put me on edge. I’ve attended too many horror show rock concerts throughout my life that got out of hand; I’ll never forget a particular nasty two day concert in Sedalia, Missouri, where the crowd baked in the sun and bad acid made it’s round through thousands attending. We both know how ugly crowds can get, and how quick it can go down, so part of that prep Mike and I have is to make sure and have our sixth sense set to read the mood of any situation. You don’t want some asshole, jacked up on emotion and Red Bull, running up and smashing your camera, or to be swept up into a mob fistfight-should one break out.

We closed in on a parking spot and walked a few blocks to the event. The rally was to start at ten and by the time we got there it had been going for about twenty minutes. I could see a group of close to a hundred, if I tallied all sides represented at the Capitol building. The closer we got, the more clear an audio blast from a cheap hand held microphone became. It was being fed through a small amplifier with a cracked speaker; the speaker blistered on about the evils of Sharia law. The speaker faced one political group that held ground on the sidewalk at the corner of Washington and Capitol Ave., supporters of Donald Trump, while behind him stood those who would oppose the Crimson King, standing in defiance on the front lawn of the Capitol building. The Trump camp had people carrying flags; an American flag, a yellow flag with the ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ snake and a couple flags with symbols I was unfamiliar with. The opposing crowd held no type flags or signs that were too memorable to me. Typical protesty things, but nothing gripping. They did harbor a few anti-protestors garbed in black, quasi-anarchist jackets and wearing scarfs to hide their faces, aiming for that Sandinista freedom fighter look. I went up and asked one of them the name of the group they represented (i.e. those in the black/scarfed outfits) and he became too evasive with an answer. He wasn’t going to commit to saying he was a part of any affiliated group that might wear black, blah blah. Mi hermano asked another black dressed face attendee and they said they just came dressed like this because it looked radical, or something equally as mundane. Mike gathered shots of the masked crowd but I became drawn to the group with folks wearing American flag bandanas over their head and decked out in military camo uniforms toting semi-automatic weapons. I wanted to find out about the two flags with unfamiliar icons on them. The icon was shaped like a triangle with lines leading into the middle from the points of the outside. One flag was white symbol on a blue back background and the other was blue symbol on a white background. I even asked Mike about it and he was unfamiliar with it as well.
“Why don’t you go over and ask them?” he suggested, and I did.
I went to the closest foreign symbol flag holder, a young man dressed like a potential Aryn Nation type or White Supremacist; black short sleeved shirt, Levis, shit stomping boots and a pair of dark shades. His hair was blonde and cropped short, his skin was pretty alabaster and I bet if those glasses came off, his eyes would be blue. Now, stereotyping is one thing and I don’t like to judge a book by it’s cover, but some times, a stereotype look on an individual helps prepare you for a situation. This guy definitely looked like the perfect male model for a White racist organization. I wanted to give him an opportunity to speak, regardless of how extreme he or his affiliated group might be. There were enough dicks there that morning trying to start fights, that wasn’t my purpose. I came to be educated.

I walked up, smiling, and asked about the symbol on his flag and who it represented. His stoic face turned to me and grinned. That grin was cold, hard steel…made me think the eyes behind those glasses might not be blue; maybe they were ebony black, like the eyes of a Great White shark.
“We’re the Dragons” he said.
(contd.)

21
Jun
17

A Rising Surge of Zealotards – pt. 1

zealotards-1

The Transgender social event in downtown Indy I went to was over on Wednesday. Three days later came Saturday morning, the morning of Gay Pride celebration in the Circle City. The Gay Pride Parade and after-party always brought happiness, love and acceptance for those attending. I was certain this year would be no different, other than the fact that a previous engagement would have me busy and unable to attend the downtown excitement. It was a minor little something that I could get out of, but the responsible thing to do was go ahead and follow through with the appointment and leave Pride to the rest of the town. That was my intention and I could have lived with that decision, but then a last minute online posting of a rally at the Indiana State Capitol building sponsored by ACT of America sprang up in my online news-feed. Now it would be the Right Wing’s turn to take to the streets and march, carry those banners and chant their creative little slogans. I couldn’t pass that up.

I had been to about a half dozen rallies down at the Capitol building but they were all geared to crowds of Progressive thinkers, Liberals and Democrats who wanted to protest the reign of Republican bullies and the curse of the Crimson King, Donald Trump. This was my first opportunity in a while to see the other side of the U.S. political coin. Not since Trump’s local rallies during this last election campaign had I been privy to witness groups of Republicans, Tea Party members and Nazi wanna-bes, gathered for purpose of defeating the Left-wing. I felt the need for an update on where the mindset of a non-liberal voter was at this point. Their choice had won the election (or perhaps the one they opposed lost) leaving everyone else to sit and stew in the beginnings of a bizarre new rule here in America. The era of Trump had begun. The cracked bell sounded and the sycophants charged in behind their leader…kind of…at least they fell in line, goose-stepping their way to the tune of a different lay of law. Newly elected Vice President, Mike Pence had been a heinous Governor for the state of Indiana and many Hoosiers were glad to see that religious despot leave; not so glad to see him become Vice President, though. The problem was, now, those people would be bound in the psychological cocoon of hatred they had for Pence, but it was being put in check by an even more ominous hate they had for Donald Trump. Pence stood quiet in the background and let the Crimson King do his worst. There was little outward opposition from House Republicans or Senators. Bills and agendas were being introduced by Trump that seemed to reek of cruelty for our citizens, but everyone sat tight-lipped.

Now once a strong surge of political power begins to take form, the common people supporting that leader will revel in delight, pretty much flaunting it in the face of their opposition. This seems to happen no matter which side of the political spectrum takes charge. Back when the Democrats took charge and Nancy Pelosi took her turn as Speaker of the House, Democrats and Progressive voters did it. Reagan youths were snobs in their own time; it must be part of the human condition. The difference this time would be that the winning party’s supporters were not left-wing thinkers. These weren’t tree huggers or Environmentalists or Pro-Choice Advocates. This time the winning side has gun toting, self-claimed Christians and xenophobic/homophobic small town American W.A.S.P.s from all over. This isn’t the debate team from school out there that won the election, it’s the fucking bullies. It’s the guys and girls who slammed kids heads into lockers, or threw a rock at someone and called them a ‘fag’.

I need to stop this digression into my observations of the different voting classes in America-at least, for now. My objective to go witness this rally and report to the Church-this was critical. I had to postpone that appointment and go witness this performance, live and in person. The main subject for the rally was to protest Sharia law being accepted (legally) in the U.S. and to get people to sign up to help thwart it. I was ready to grab my camera and hear their argument and be educated and entertained. This looked like it might get good. I’m always open for a big crowd demonstration, human drama at emotional moments like that can be pure ‘art of horror’ for me. I made contact with mi hermano, Miguel, and we were off.

13
Jun
17

Transmogrified – pt. 2

transmogirify

The Lyft driver let me off in front of the IndyFringe building on the far end of Massachusetts Avenue, in downtown Indianapolis. I appreciated the driver allowing my request to smoke pot in the back of her car-as long as I kept the window down and aired it out. They aren’t supposed to be doing that, I take it, and I wouldn’t have asked, but I was running a bit behind and had just found out that day of the LGBT social, so my pre-arrival time to get self medicated before leaving had been nixed. And I wasn’t going to smoke at the event. They didn’t need any more red lights to alert a possible uneasy public.
‘Look over there-the she-hes is smoking crazy rope!’
No, I wouldn’t burden them with that problem. I left the Lyft driver and began walking up to the crowd, feeling a bit off balanced, somewhat from the weed and somewhat from my realization of the spectacle I might be to them. None of these people knew the Reverend, from the Church; None of them knew me as a person, or an acquaintance from the streets of downtown we all tend to wander through. I was dressed casual conservative and could have easily been some huckster there to give the crowd a bunch of shit, like I’m sure they face every day from homophobes, Ultra-Christians and general Nazi-types. They didn’t know of my intention to be more educated on their lives, concerns, etc. as a member of the Indy LGBT scene. They didn’t know I was there to report on this event for my blog. On top of all that, I’m usually somewhat sheepish in crowds and feel out of place in the community-any community-wherever I go. They have medications for that, I know, and maybe someday I’ll start taking more prescribed drugs.
Yeah,  maybe.

I couldn’t have felt more welcome as I meandered through the crowd of blessed, societal misfits. A lot of the crowd reminded me of those fragile, emotional souls I’ve run into at local open mic poetry readings. People who feel different from the categorized ‘norm’ of our society. People battling with emotional issues who quell some of their depression and anxiety by expressing themselves and feeling love from within a kindred clan. Individuals at this event read poems, socialized with one another and as for me, I went with the moment and did what I came there for; I talked directly to the source, the Transgender brother/sisterhood. I met people and took pictures and got to meet the individual in charge of putting this affair on for three years. This was the first time the social had been held at IndyFringe and it seemed to be an ideal location. I asked the man in charge his take on the acceptance (or lack of) from the Gay citizens in Indianapolis. As I noted and stated to him, the online article I’d read reported a recent, small division forming between the gay and Transgender communities. He said the Trans community (if he could speak for them in toto) in Indy felt very much akin to the Gay and Lesbian community in Indianapolis and feels an acceptance of all diverse cultures here. This was a positive thing to hear and now I could dispel anything the online article had tried to startle me with…
Startling online articles.
Oh, how they’ve become a cancer on our society. Certain online sites work so hard to create clickbait that will cause a weakening audience to come back again and again. Perhaps, somewhere in the U.S. there is a city or state or region that show a small growing division between local Gay/Lesbian and Trans groups…but not here in Sleepytown. In spite any tarnished medal this city had been handed by the actions and behavior of our current Vice President and former Governor, Mike Pence, Indy people in by huge percentages welcome a diverse, cultural community. The citizens here are not a barrel full of Old Testament Christians ready to torch the wicked.

The TG social was educational but after I left, I knew I would slowly fall back into the political vat of misery and nonsense taking place in D.C.; the Crimson King continues to romp the globe, mad as a hatter, pissing off dignitaries and heads of countries left and right. Our ineffective Senate and House nervously wait to see what new pocket of chaos Donald Trump brings to their door. Orwell’s classic “1984” seems mild compared to the groundwork we are setting ourselves up for but few seem to fight it. Will anyone stop the spiraling loss of rights and hope in Amerika?
A new beacon on the horizon. Alt-right protesters planned a rally downtown the same day as Gay Pride, the upcoming Saturday…the day I had a scheduled appointment, which would make me miss Pride. My urge rose to seek out in person, that which the internet would try to tell me took place. I decided to forgo the appointment-I could reschedule. I had to seek out the Alt-Right, directly, to witness them in person and hear what they had to say.
…and that happened days later.

08
Jun
17

Transmogrified in Sleepytown; Transgressions in D.C. – pt. 1

transmogrified

Transmogrify, by definition, is to transform in a surprising or magical way. This is what a transgender person described to me as their moment of realization about who they were.

An emergency schedule change in my personal life would coincide with Gay Pride, so I  probably wouldn’t be attending this year. I have attended every year since moving back to Sleepytown (‘Sleepytown’-not a putdown, rather a title of empathetic respect). I have tried to cover news and report on the state of things, as I see them, live and in person. I feel it’s important for me to be one pebble in the pond, a tiny ripple of information that grows and spreads. So, there was probably no coverage of Gay Pride this year from the Church, however, I did stumble across news of the Indianapolis Transgender community holding their third annual Trans Pride Social that evening. I needed to go. My need to report what I witness for the Church was impulsive and therapeutic. The horrors being displayed online about what those cutthroat monsters in D.C. were up to had me numbed with politics. I’m tired of being disappointed-daily-by the news of our leaders.
The news.
A dystopian world of madness with no hope; that’s what we are now living in-at least the news being broadcast before our eyes tells us that. I distinguish a big difference between the online world and the one you or I walk around in, physically, but trying to figure out what broadcast news is real and what is portion is fake can be impossible. Quite often, news is blown way out of proportion-sometimes it’s an outright lie….then sometimes, it’s too real to want to believe.

The glut of transgressions being broadcast cover all subjects, all areas of community life; government, special interest, sports and entertainment…but stories being thrown on the news feed via web news and 24 hour news stations work to keep us more scared, than informed. A Recent article I read from some website splash news site said the Transgender community was feeling ostracized by the LGBT network, as a whole, so I wanted to find a local source in Indy to validate that online report, from this town’s perspective. The timing of this event couldn’t have been better. I packed up my camera and notebook and headed to see TransFest (I kept calling it that….it’s the weed talking), where I hoped to get the skinny on the Trans community here.

Online and in our televised news media, someone started a Holy War and now things are heating up. Louisiana Representative Clay Higgins is quoted as saying ‘Every conceivable measure should be engaged to hunt them (radical Muslims) down. Hunt them, identify them, and kill them. Kill them all’. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.’ I wonder if it was a Freudian slip when he suggests to hunt ‘them’, before identifying ‘them’. A recently published picture of Donald Trump standing with Saudi leaders next to some glowing orb makes you wonder what’s going on behind the scenes from the UAE, and how will America be involved? Various (and numerous, by number) leaders throughout the world continue to scoff at Trump and the alliance America has had for years with these countries appears to be in jeopardy. Political and religious turmoil have brought out the offensive attitude of disgruntled Trump supporters and right wing, alt-thinking extremists. Self proclaimed Christians, which now days can mean a variety of beliefs, lash out at members of an Islamic faith, or people of color, or sexually different individuals. Ex-convict and televangelist huckster Jim Bakker gets on air to warn those who refuse to follow the Crimson King, that they will bring about the Holy War with their behavior. North Korea continues to flex it’s muscle at the world, China stands poised. And Russia? No one has any fucking idea about Russia.

So while all this news media madness is in everyone’s face, day after day, a beacon finally arrived for me. The notice I received for a social gathering with the TG community came along and I had just enough time to prepare and attend. This was another chance to be enlightened by reality, rather than some homogenized, pre-taped broadcast of what someone wanted me to believe. My past history with the Trans community was enriched while living in the Denver area a few years back. I had a contract job gig that involved helping a local independent video producer who was working on a documentary about the Transgender community. I got to meet and listen in on interviews with a huge group of TG people from around Denver and all the bullshit they waded through just trying to get by in life. Sad tales of abuse and violence thrust on them. If anyone needs support groups, it’s the Transgender people of the United States. I felt they are loved and accepted by the Gay Community, in general, and even a splinter percentage of the heterosexual tribes, but Trans folk are still a splinter entity of society that has needed help and most often, have been met with opposition and violent rebuttal.

My ride pulled up to the local theater/arts building where the social would take place…(contd.)




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