Women Of A Certain Age

Women Of A Certain Age

We are Survivors of a hell of a lot. . . .

Women of a Certain Age, are survivors

Women Of A Certain Age

We are Survivors

By Anna Hessel

We Survived 

4 years of “The Donald”. Shoulder pads. Bouffant hair. Bodysuits that snapped down there. Mullets. We survived 45. Eighties fashions; including spandex and neon. Girdles that were never Spanx. Fighting for the ERA – we continue to survive this one. Thigh cream. Trump “presidency.” Platform shoes. Bell bottom pants that did nothing for our bottoms.

Nair For Short Shorts

Short shorts themselves. We survived 45 (and I’m not talking about the age…). Push up bras – some of us are still surviving this one. Aerobics classes at the ladies gym in brightly colored leg warmers. Jelly sandals. Ironing our hair with clothing irons. “That” administration. Velcro hair rollers (I actually still use mine!). Setting our hair on orange juice cans. Class photos, precursor to drivers license photos. Drinking from the garden hose.

The Trumpster

Suntans courtesy of baby oil and iodine with no SPF in sight. Junior High, High School, and College. Many of us survived childbirth, terrible twos, and raising teenagers. Gym class in uniforms that resembled prison garb. “Agent Orange.”  Powder Puff football games. Cheerleading skirts. Pageants with swimsuit competitions. Bridesmaid dresses. Rotary dial phones. Land lines. Twenty-six foot telephone cords. Beepers, and pay phones. Polyester pantsuits. 4 years of “The Family”. Paisley floral prints. Granny boots with ruffled dresses.

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26 Fascinating, But Useless Facts

26 Fascinating, But Useless Facts

By D.S. Mitchell


1. Marilyn Monroe, the 1950-1960 sex goddess, had 6 toes on one of her feet. See. None of us are perfect.

2. Did you know a cockroach can live for up to nine days without a head, until it starves to death? Who knew?

3. An Ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.

4. Women blink twice as often as men.

5, No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.

6. Leonardo Da Vinci invented scissors. Thank God! Man and woman lived on this planet for 200,000 years before someone invented scissors. They seem so basic, so necessary. How did people live before scissors? Amazing.on so many levels.

7. Our noses and ears never stop growing, while our eyes remain the same size for life.

8. A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

9. Whether protesting or electioneering, petitions can serve as important democratic tools, such as when  California governor, Gray Davis was recalled in 2003.  Arnold Schwarzenegger famous body builder and movie action hero took his place in Sacramento.

10. Some species of piranhas are vegetarians, while all butterflies are carnivores.

11. The most shoplifted book in America is the Bible. I wonder what that says about us as a society?

12. Rats can tread water for three days without stopping.

13. All the clocks in the movie Pulp Fiction were stuck on 4:20.  I know what 4:20 means to me. I wonder if it means the same to Tarantino? Probably. Sit back, light up.

14. Mosquitoes are attracted to the color blue.

15. There are 13 witches in a coven.

16. Abraham Lincoln’s first choice to lead the Union Army was Robert E. Lee.

17. “E” is the most used letter in the English alphabet. “Q” is the least used letter.

18. Fingernails grow 4 times faster than toenails.

19. November 15th is National Clean Your Refrigerator Day.

20. Cleopatra was Greek (Ptolemy), not Egyptian.

21. The colder your bedroom the higher the chance of having a nightmare.

22.  Cornelius Vanderbilt was born a farmer’s son who left school at age 11 and despite his lack of                education went on to become the richest man of 19th century America.

23. Oprah Winfrey, a black woman raised by her grandmother, sent to juvenile detention at 13, an unwed mother at 14. Oprah went on to TV stardom and stratospheric wealth in the 20th century.

24. The most common spoken word around the world is “O.K., ok, okay, or, k”  It can be heard from New York City to the tiniest rain forest village.

25. “Jiffy” is an actual unit of time. So when Mom says she’ll be there in a “jiffy” she really means in 1/100th of a second.

26. It takes six months to build a Rolls Royce……and 13 hours to build a Toyota.

Okay, there you go. 26 Tidbits of Fascinating and Useless Information. Use it as you will.

The Human Need To Reunite

The Human Need To Reunite

By Anna Hessel


Getting It Together

We all have a basic need to reunite with those who are important to us; there are many types of reunions: high school, college, and family, being some of the most popular.  We see television, movie, and band reunions, all of which bring together memories which allow us to reminisce about times gone by.

Reunions in the Media

There are a multitude of films about reunions between old flames and friends – I have watched dozens of these movies on the Hallmark Channel, alone.  I am sure we can all remember “Class Reunion”, “Peggy Sue Got Married”, “Beautiful Girls”, “10 Years”, “The Big Chill”, “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion”, and “American Reunion”, just to name a few.

Novels Too

Multiple novels about reunions fill the book shelves. “The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion” by Fannie Flagg, “After The Reunion” by Rona Jaffe, “The Odyssey of Reunion” by Abhisek Pani, “Blake’s High School Reunion” by Marcia Carrington, “Murder at the High School Reunion” by Steve Demaree, “How to Prepare for your High School Reunion, and Other Midlife Musings” by Susan Allen Toth. There is a bevy of books titled “High School Reunion”, and plethora of ones simply titled “Reunion” or “The Reunion”.  There is even “The High School Reunion Diet: Lose 20 Years in 30 Days” by David A. Colbert – this particular book reminds me of my husband’s ten year high school reunion – lots of preparation on our part to visit three hours with many people he barely knew.

How To Survive Your Class Reunion

Psychology Today has dubbed the high school reunion as “psychological time travel”.  Guideposts Magazine offers several tips for enjoying your class reunion.  A good start is recognizing that many of your old classmates may also have anxiety about attending. A great suggestion Guideposts made was to reconnect ahead of time on social media. Another suggestion was to pick up the old year book and leaf through it, reminding you of the faces, the fashions and the vibe of the time.  When at the event introduce yourself, get up and move around, ask others about their current lives, and spend time with people you didn’t know back in the day.

New Eyes

Definitely avoid heated and divisive topics such as politics, instead focus on the memories. Everyone has experienced setbacks and troubles, as well as happiness in their lives since you knew them.  Allow the passing years to disappear by looking at everyone with new eyes and a forgiving heart.  Don’t obsess about losing that last 10 pounds before you reunite; the fact is  we all age physically, even the prom queen, football star, and cheerleaders.  If it is any comfort, Chicago Magazine tells us, “your 50th high school reunion will be much better than your 20th.  Let’s face it, folks, as we age, we learn to not sweat the small stuff”.

African-American Suffering

Whether called reunions or just “family get-togethers” families have gathered for centuries for no other reason than to celebrate family heritage, faith and fun. Reunions not only give a sense of intentional preservation and family bonding for people, but satisfy a need to nurture. In the United States reunions have deep roots in African-American history, painfully recalling slavery and its toll on family units as they were torn apart and sold off to various plantations.  African-American family reunions may well date back to the Emancipation.  “Information wanted” ads were common in newspapers of the day, and may be the root of African-American reunions as people searched for lost and separated family members.

A Shifting Population

Between 1915 and 1940, a period dubbed as the “Great Migration” close to 4 million African-Americans traveled south-to-north, many heading to New York and Chicago.  The enormity of that black population shift encouraged the growth of family reunions in that demographic.  The significance of extended family formed the idea of the need for togetherness at specific times when all could be reunited.  For more information, please visit the website of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture: #APeoplesJourney.

Today, family reunions in all cultures symbolize heritage, fellowship, and a sense of community.

Ms. Hessel is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists

30 Things To Smile About; Despite Trump

30 Things To Smile About

By D. S. Mitchell

I Underestimated His Evil

I have to admit, I underestimated The Donald. I had predicted a disastrous presidency if Trump won the 2016 election, but I had no idea how totally incompetent and evil his presidency would quickly become. Every day newspaper headlines blast his criminality, his race baiting, his sexism, his xenophobia, his mob-style behavior, yet the Jester of Crime continues to break the law and his supporters do nothing but deflect and promote his lies.

Six Blog Posts A Day

I am finding that there is enough scandal, dirt, and disgust to give  enough fodder for at least half a dozen blog posts every day. It is more and more obvious that the scurrilous and scandalous actions of Trump and his corrupt and sycophant cabinet and his prostituted DOJ needs to end. Sooner, than later.  But I thought, before I start today’s rant on the collapse of American law, dignity and civility, I should deliver something positive and uplifting.

I’ve had a bit of a problem with positivity these days, but here goes;

“30 Things To Make You Smile; Despite Trump”

(1.) Building sand castles, (2.) Coming in 1st, (3.) Kids in sunglasses, (4.) Puppies & kittens, (5.) Kite flying, (6.) A freshly painted room,  (7.) “Fish On!”, (8.) Blowing the wrapper off the straw, (9.) Pumpkin pie, (10.) Farmer’s Markets, (11.) Bar-hopping, (12.) Old jeans that fit just right, (13.) My mother’s brilliant smile, (14.) The clatter of skis being loaded, (15.) The aroma of bacon cooking, (16.) The sound of rain on the metal roof, (17.) The imagination of a six-year-old, (18.) Margaritas at midnight, (19.) Finishing the Sunday crossword (without cheating), (20.) Those really BIG M & M cookies, (21.) A shiny, new car, (22.) Roller Derby antics, ( 23.) A job well-done, (24.) A good book, (25.) Daddy’s  quiet wisdom, (26) Another, “Fish On!”, (27.) Day hikes, (28.) A good Twitter fight, (29.) Watching Elizabeth Warren work a rally crowd, (30.) A day at the lake.

How about a few more?

I could probably come up with a few more.  How about ? (31.) Autumn leaves, (32) Michelle Obama (33.) Popcorn and a movie, (34.) Family reunions, (35.) Protesting, (36.) Playing toe Tango, with you know who, (37.) Having the right answer, the first time, (38.) Old time rock-n-roll, (39.) Time alone, (40.) Quiet times, (41.) Teddy bears, (42.) Documentary films.  Ok, enough, enough.

A Sunday Morning

Just a minor distraction for a rainy Sunday morning, but it did take my mind off the continuing chaos and treachery of the Trump administration. If you got a couple of minutes respite, that’s a good thing. Have a gem of a day-D.S. Mitchell

Get Involved

Be sure to get involved politically. Start by registering to vote. Make a promise that you will never miss an election. Every single election will have a very real effect. We can’t save the country from the Don of Crime if we don’t support anti-corruption laws. We must back our investigators in the House, men like Adam Schiff, who are leading the investigation into the underbelly of Republican operatives and dark money contributions.



OPINION: Anti-Intellectualism in the Trumpian Era


Anti-Intellectualism in Trump Era

By Amaya Oswald

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti- intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” — Isaac Asimov

A Cult Of Ignorance

In this country, we have free speech and the common belief that we are all entitled to our own opinions — a phrase I am sure you have heard many times. We use free speech as a defensive rebuttal when someone poses the question, “Why do you think America is the best country in the world?” and we voice our uneducated opinions because we have the right to. Free speech and embracing opinions is undoubtedly what makes America great, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t something about how we are conditioned to believe all opinions are valid that has also made room for “a cult of ignorance.”

Fake News

Anti-intellectualism is most prominently bred into present day American politics through Fake News. Donald Trump coined the term to reference factual news reporting that he doesn’t agree with, and as the term became more popular, the concept has been normalized. It is more commonplace than ever to disengage with opinion pieces or news stories that you don’t like, claim all kinds of facts, statistics, and journalism as incorrect, and disregard factual information when forming opinions. In this way, Donald Trump has popularized anti-intellectualism.

Arrogant Beliefs vs. Democratic Behavior

The idea that my opinion is always valid, even when I have few facts to back it up is what spurs America’s embrace of anti-intellectualism, and it’s embarrassing. According to Issac Asimov, we’ve falsely notarized democracy to mean my ignorant vote is just as good as your fact-based vote, and he’s right: that is simply arrogant, not democratic. In America, we protect anti-intellectuals and people who spread real falsehoods through opinions by saying, it’s just what he believes. Some Trump Lovers have even committed hate crimes (such as, The Pittsburg Synagogue Massacre) bred from anti-intellectualism. Trump supporters hold the arrogant position of what I think is the absolute answer and no one else’s opinion is worth considering. The President displays the same behavior — even though you made a smart point, you are wrong because I am right, and what I believe is always right.

Selective Anti-Intellectualism

Of course, wanting to win an argument is not the same as anti-intellectualism, ignorance, or arrogance. It is important to be confident and persuasive; but to never actively consider someone else’s viewpoint is a problem. For example, Trump constantly rejects statistical evidence that doesn’t fit into his ideas. One statistic he quotes often is the economy’s improvement since he took office, which is true — at least it was before the shut down. However, if someone mentions his approval rating, he will attempt to degrade its legitimacy, despite the rating being factually true in the closest way that statistics provides. This is a key example of how our president has selective anti-intellectualism, which could be even worse than typical anti-intellectualism. By being selective, Trump pushes his own agenda more forcefully, rejecting the truths of the opposing party and comforting those who follow him.

Normalizing Extreme Beliefs

For two decades, we as a country were moving to cautious speech when in public. We had become increasingly politically correct in our language. Over the last two years that trend has taken a reverse course. People with more extreme beliefs have been increasingly vocal about their beliefs as anti-intellectualism strengthens its roots in this country. Alt-right extremists have felt protected by the President’s beliefs. In Jamali Maddix’s docuseries Hate Thy Neighbor, a “national socialist” in the film remarked that he felt Trump had made him feel as though he could be more open about his anti-Semitic views.

Democracy is Considering Other Viewpoints

Stuck in their own beliefs and belief systems, these white neo-nazis sport swastikas, burn Jewish books, and report that “there should be another genocide.” (“America’s Far White,” Hate Thy Neighbor. Viceland. January 23, 2017. Television.) If the national socialists showed in Jamali Maddix’s docuseries had considered a different viewpoint or wanted to openly learn about other perspectives, their beliefs would certainly have changed at least a little. When Maddix asks a father of two white children if he would have loved his children if he had had them with his previous half-Indian wife, a woman he had loved before he became invested in “white nationalism,” this is clear. “I’m not speechless over that… I’m just trying to digest it,” he said. “I’d like to think no matter what color, what origin of a child, I’d have their back.” (“America’s Far White,” Hate Thy Neighbor. Viceland. January 23, 2017. Television.)

Stop For A Moment

A racist, xenophobic white nationalist who salutes Hitler every day had actually considered for a moment what Maddix was asking, subsequently changing his thought process slightly. By talking to another person with a different viewpoint, he let himself think openly enough to perceive something in a different way than he had before — through a lens of love, rather than hatred.

Political Intellectualism

So, what is intellectualism? Being open to learn and think in a different way; being more empathetic to other people’s situations and lives; considering ideas outside your realms.

Regression Is A Part of Progression

Over the past few years, it may have seemed as though America is regressing more than we are progressing. However, I don’t think I believe this. Instead, I believe in what President Obama said in a speech a few years ago: sometimes things progress a lot and then go back a little just before progressing a lot more. The regression we see today is necessary for growth, and while it is clear that we have had a spike in anti-intellectualism these past few years, there has always been a strain of anti-intellectualism throughout America’s history. Fake news and the rejection of both facts and opinions against our own viewpoints have always been here. It is only 2016 that brought it to the surface.

Twitter And Me

Twitter And Me

D. S. Mitchell

I love Twitter. I hate Twitter. I love Twitter. I hate Twi….I know.  I sound a bit confused in my base emotions surrounding this global social sparring arena, and I am. My relationship with the Twitter platform,  reminds me of a couple bad relationships I’ve had in my life. I hate you, I love you, I apparently, “love to hate you”. There is something to be said about high adrenaline, at times, however it is usually like placing a pile of papers on a table and turning on a fan.  I forgot who said that, but I think it is applicable.

To all of the clear thinking, intelligent, brilliant folks that hope for a more tolerant and inclusive world, I love tossing tweets back and forth, and I love you all. So many caring and committed individuals wanting to do everything they can do, to advance the Progressive agenda.

The ‘I hate’ side of me, comes out when somebody in the audience decides to suddenly join in, by launching a vile attack.  Why would someone chose to do that?  Hmmm. Good question.  Not all vicious attacks come from  paid Russian trolls, I have decided. Is it because the offender didn’t get any nookie last night, or did Mom yell at him,  did he get a bad grade, was he passed over for a promotion, did he have a fender bender?

Who, the Hell knows?  The angry emotions propelling those rapid little finger hits on the phone keys  subvert the medium itself, “I can’t see you. You can’t see me.  So, I will say something disgusting and revolting because there are no consequences for my actions”.  That excuse makes no sense if you are a person with a moral compass.  Each of us are the words we speak, our words are our legacy.

It’s easier to be thoughtless and insulting, when an individual doesn’t have to look an opponent in the eye. I can tell by the tone of the tweets that many of the folks in the cyber world are red faced, white knuckled, jaw grinding angry.

So, all I’m saying is that,  if someone is mad, they should be able to find enough self control, to re-channel that anger, turn it to energy and go run a couple miles, go for a swim, clean out the garage, wax the floors, do the laundry, walk the dog, VOLUNTEER. Get that unhealthy anger out, through exercise and accomplishment, rather than attacking someone 5,000 miles away that you will never see.

Being a bully, whether at work, on the playground, or on the web, is just ugly.  It’s inexcusable. It is disgusting and it needs to stop.

If you are angry and you want to increase the value of your argument, be intelligent, and thoughtful in your comments.  People will listen.  People are ready for fresh and inspirational ideas and solutions.

Anyone can put a string of four letter words together, even me. But, I’m asking that we aim to be better than that.  We are all, in the end, just human beings trying to do the best we can in an uncertain world.

As such, we don’t always attain the level of goodness that we aspire to, but if there is no aspiration then there is no gain.  There  is no improvement or advancement.  If we are going to resort to base instincts, then I suggest we are still cavemen, but now we have technology as our club.

I listen to conservatives, all the time.   I don’t need to agree with them, but I try to listen until they begin attacking, or trying to spin their arguments BACK TWO DECADES to the actions of Bill Clinton’s scandal plagued presidency.

I find it truly offensive that someone who doesn’t even know me, resorts to calling me such vile names as, bi—, sl–, cu–, wh—, as—–.  I feel, that only people who really know me and have evidence to support those epithets, should be allowed to use them.  You know, what I mean.  Save those really nasty words for someone you know that can live up to them.

Twitter should be respected as a great social platform, where people can safely exchange ideas in a civilized manner. A good fight is one thing, but using an outhouse of vile, foul language to shut down the exchange of ideas is really inappropriate. I understand passion.  Passion comes from understanding your goals and developing a sensible plan to reach those goals.  As such, it is not achieved through angry vile rants to someone that has volunteered an opinion on a topic you oppose.

Some people are blaming the impulsive, out of control behavior displayed by the Trump White House, as the cause.  The theory is that “if Trump can do it, so can I” has taken over social media thinking, and on-street hostile behaviors.  I’m not sure I’m ready to jump on the back of that hypothesis.

I am however, ready to ask folks on social media to respect a couple of the basic original Twitter platform objectives of idea sharing and participation in live events, in a safe, albeit, abbreviated manner.  In my mind, it is almost like the old telegraph communications translated to cyber space.

I think sometimes 140 characters is too limiting, and maybe that fact leads to misunderstandings. I don’t know,  I just know that today I felt, I needed more than those 140 characters to express my feelings on this issue.

So, follow me on Twitter, and talk nice.

Calamity Politics prides itself in addressing relevant topics and hopefully opening a dialog for political discussion. The commentary usually consists of a daily, mildly caustic post.  The viewpoint is definitely progressive in nature.  Calamity Politics focuses primarily on the United States political scene.

Remember, if you are against the Republican agenda, or just against the Trump regime; step up and take action.  The action does not need to be earthshaking, but it needs to be done consistently. Write a letter, join a protest march, put a “resist” bumper sticker on your car, call the White House, run for office. Take some action.  It is the collection of many actions that brings success to a movement.


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Viral Deception

By D. S. Mitchell

Viral Deception

An MSNBC pundit said on a Sunday morning news show that Fox News and Donald Trump were spreading disease.  In fact, she said, they were disseminating “viral deception,” or “VD” for short. I loved it. Associating the ‘fake news’ assertions of Fox News and Donald Trump to a sexually transmitted disease made me laugh.  The comparison was honest and appropriate. I hope it catches on.  The Fox News Network has lost significant viewership since the Trump inauguration.  Fox has jumped into the pool of Trump lies with both feet. I think Fox News is a danger to our democracy. Lies and distortion dished out every night must stop. I call on Fox to examine its coverage of the president. Time to move toward a more honest reflection of reality.

Moderated Outrage

Join me at Calamity News and Politics for coverage of the ongoing political outrage. CP is a progressive political blog published from the beautiful Oregon coast. We try to offer education, analysis, opinion and comment. Occasionally you may see a bit of humor. Health care, income inequality, social and judicial injustice and the Trump outrages are front burner issues.

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