28 May 2019

A 2020 Message to the Democratic Party

In 1980, they told us, ‘Yeah, we know about Carter, but we have to keep Reagan out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 1984, they told us, ‘Yeah, we know about Mondale, but we have to get Reagan out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 1988, they told us, ‘Yeah, we know about Dukakis, but we have to keep Bush out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 1992, they told us, “Yeah, we know about Clinton, but we have to get Bush out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

1n 1996, they told us, ‘Yeah, we still know about Clinton, but we have to keep Dole out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 2000, they told us, ‘Yeah, we know about Gore, but we have to keep Bush out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 2004, they told us, ‘Yeah, we know about Kerry, but we have to get Bush out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 2008, they told us, ‘Yeah, we know about Obama, but we have to keep McCain and Palin out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 2012, they told us, ‘Yeah, we still know about Obama, but we have to keep Romney and his healthcare plan out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

In 2016, they told us, ‘Yeah, we know about Clinton, but we have to keep Trump out of the White House.  Maybe next time we can have real change’.

For 2020, when they tell us, ‘Biden, Harris, Booker, Gillebrand, Buttigieg, O’Rourke, Bennet, Klobuchar, Delaney, Swalwell, Ryan, Williamson, Moulton, Castro, Inslee, Hickenlooper, Messam, Yang…,’ we say, ‘NOT THIS TIME, MOTHERFUCKERS!’.

WE are the Resistance, bitches, and our fight isn’t about politics, it’s about survival, period.  For us, unlike you, it’s not about the Benjamins, but about life, liberty, and the pursuit of existence, about liberty, equality, and justice for all.

P.S.: And now, a word from the actual Resistance to Namby-pamby No Impeachment Nancy:  Do your goddamned job and #ImpeachTheMotherfucker.

25 May 2019

Boyce Station Railroad Depots, Hamilton County TN

Boyce Station Depots, 1850-1980

This is a list and basic description of the seven known depots that have served the community of East Chattanooga in Hamilton County, Tennessee.

Boyce Station Depots, 1850-1980

1st Boyce Station Depot:  Pre-Civil War depot built by Western & Atlantic Railroad (W&A), also known as Old Boyce that became the center of a prosperous community whose growth was stunted by the war.  The depot on the left bank/south side of South Chickamauga Creek just north of Harrison Pike afrter it crossed Sivley Ford.  The depot burned in during the fighting in 1863 and the community dispersed.  In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the W&A had a signal stop here called Kings Bridge Station.

2nd Boyce Station Depot:  First post-Civil War depot, built by the W&A in 1870.  Probably small as it was used as a house after it was replaced (the 1887 news article said the newer depot was one-half mile “above” the old one, speaking from a Chattanooga POV).  It was roughly in the northwest corner of the Curtis Street-Sims Street intersection.

3rd Boyce Station Depot:  Built by W&A at the end of Roanoke Street in 1879 on the west side of its tracks north of Wilder Street.  This was the Boyce Station depot to which the Belt Line was built in 1889, and was initially used by the Cincinnati Southern Railway .  From 1880 to 1884, the name changed to Amnicola Station to match the post office before reverting to the former name, but both names were used interchangeably on tickets and railroad schedules for the rest of the 19th century

4th Boyce Station Depot:  This was built by CNO&TP in 1881 after leasing the Cincinatti Southern Railway from the City of Cincinnati.  It was on the east side of the CNO&TP line next to the W&A’s Amnicola Station depot just north of Wilder Street.  In 1892, the railroad dismantled, transferred, and reassembled it at Whitely, Kentucky, at which the railroad returned it its previous sharing of the Boyce depot, now with the Nashville, Chattanooga, & St. Louis Railway (NC&StL) which had leased the W&A from Georgia.

5th Boyce Station Depot:  Built by Southern Railway (SOU) after 1894, it was much larger and more posh than its two predecessors.  In addition, the Belt Line (now electrified and currently run by Belt Railway of Chattanooga) no longer ended at the depot, but close by, just to the north of the intersection of Roanoke Street and Wilder Street.

6th Boyce Station Depot:  SOU built this depot in 1913 to replace the previous one which burned in 1912.  It stood between the CNO&TP line and the W&A line.  NC&StL ceased using it early in the Depression while CNO&TP closed it in 1938, ending long-haul passenger service to Boyce Station. 

7th Boyce Station Depot: Operated by CNO&TP, this was an agency station, a type of freight depot with an agent, which in railroad terms means someone available to deal with public pricing services.  It closed in 1980 to consolidate with DeButts Station.

21 May 2019

Mother of Dragons

Those who protest that the action in Game of Thrones Season 8 was rushed should remember that it was, in effect, the latter part of Season 7, and that to judge the pace one ought to go back and watch from the beginning of the earlier season.  In reality, the final season began when Daenerys Stormborn arrived at her family’s original home of Dragonstone.  The six episodes of what is “officially” Season 8 are really the action at the end of a thirteen-episode season.

* * * * *

Every great storyteller, whether it be oral or in literature or on screen small or big, is at their best when they hold up a mirror to we the audience and show us ourselves reflected in their tale.  And if we don’t like what we see, it’s only natural and fair and justifiable to blame the one holding up the mirror, right? 

That’s why in the Revelation of St. John the Divine the so-called saints rejoice when the Satan, the “Accuser of our brethren”, the archangel named Samael who is charged by the One True God with prosecuting before the heavenly court the sins of humanity, is cast out of heaven by the archangel Michael after losing a family feud. 

They rejoice because he is not, in fact, the father of lies, but because he tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Like in the story of the Garden of Eden, for example, where the serpent was the only one of the four characters (himself, Adam, Eve, and God) who told the whole truth.

Top of FormEverything Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen (First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, Mother of Dragons, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, Breaker of Chains) did in this last season of the epic Game of Thrones and in King’s Landing the last two episodes has roots in her story of the previous seasons.

That this is the case which more than one fan realized at the time, a photoshopped meme of Daenerys Storm with her shadow a silouette of Darth Vader made the rounds of the internet earlier in the show’s run.  Some of us, including me, conveniently “forgot”.

The reactions of the rest of the surviving characters too, even Tyrion, who reacted exactly like the former cynic he was who found someone to believe in but was then appalled when the aspects of Dany’s character which he’d ignored manifested themselves fully in the worst way possible.  Remember his face viewing the carnage Dany, her dragons, and the Dothraki inflicted in the Loot Train Attack?

And we are all guilty, because like Tyrion, Jon/Aegon, and the rest of Dany’s followers, we loved her for her strength and because she punished “our” enemies, so much that we overlooked and ignored the signs.  Yes, me too. 

In many ways, Daenerys Stormborn is one of the most inspirational leaders ever to grace literature and the screen, so much that her followers and we her fans willfully made ourselves blind to her deep, deep faults, her arrogance, her mercuriality, her cruelty, her narcissism, her ambition.  Because just as all those faults were real, so too were her sense of justice for those wronged and her loyalty to her friends and followers.

All the signs were there that this, Dany going Mad Queen, would happen; we all ignored them because we loved Dany. 

We cheered when she threatened to kill all her enemies, burn their cities, and take back what was hers (by right of birth, not by earned labor, mind you).

We cheered when she locked people in standing coffins to die of thirst and starvation rather than executing them outright for their betrayal.

We cheered when she crucified the 163 slave masters (not necessarily the guilty ones) in retaliation for some of their number crucifying 163 children.

We cheered when her dragons immolated alive thousands of soldiers in the Lannister army in the Loot Train Attack while her Dothraki mercilessly slew thousands more, ignoring the plain fact that she was doing so not to liberate anyone but to advance her claims to the Iron Throne.

We let it go when she burned Sam’s father and brother alive, not for rebelling but for refusing to submit to her usurping authority, because Sam’s father was such a cunt. 

We  cheered her every move as we marched along with her through passages with warnings written all over the walls the whole way. 

What the showrunners of Game of Thrones have done with Dany’s story is hold up a mirror and show us our true selves.  They showed us that all too often brutal tyrants and cruel masters are enabled by we the people not being circumspect enough to view our rulers with a jaundiced eye when they seemingly act for our benefit while serving nothing but their own agenda.

That is how Lenin became Lenin, Stalin became Stalin, Mussolini became Mussolini, Hitler became Hitler, Mao became Mao, Qaddafi became Qaddafi, Netanyahu became Netanyahu, Aung San Suu Kyi became Aung San Suu Kyi, Mother Teresa became Mother Teresa (way the fuck too many people are in denial about that one), Narenda Modi became Narenda Modi, Vladimir Putin became Vladimir Putin, Roderick Duterte became Roderick Duterte, and Donald Trump became Donald Trump.

An article in The Guardian contained this quote from Game of Thrones star Kit Harington, who played main character Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen:  “I think it’s going to divide,” he said of the finale’s fan reaction. “But if you track her story all the way back, she does some terrible things.  She crucifies people.  She burns people alive.  This has been building.  So, we have to say to the audience:  ‘You’re in denial about this woman as well.  You knew something was wrong.  You’re culpable, you cheered her on’.”

And that, my friends, is the lesson of Game of Thrones.  That is how tyrants who ride populist appeal to power are made and by whom they are enabled.  By us.  We ourselves are to blame.  In the words of Bodhidharma:  If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him, and be your own Buddha.  Be your own Prophet, your own Guru, your own Messiah, your own Christ.

“I never thought that dragons would exist again.  No one did.  The people who follow you know that you made something impossible happen.  Maybe that helps them believe that you can make other impossible things happen.  Build a world that’s different from the shit one they’ve always known.  But if you use that to melt castles and burn cities, you’re not different; you’re just more of the same.” - Jon to Daenerys at Dragonstone, Season 7, Episode 4

As for the actor who played Daenerys, thank you, Emilia Clarke, for bringing such a wonderful and engaging character to life, with all her flaws, and all her angles, terrible and beautiful. 

And the same to the rest of the cast, crew, and writers.  Thank you all for eight wonderful seasons.  

Like so many others, I send special kudos out to Peter Dinklage as MVP for his performance in his role as Tyrion Lannister throughout the show, a supernova among stellar performances all the way around.  And if not co-MVP then very close runner-up, kudos to Lena Headley for her performance throughout eight seasons as Cersei.