I imagine I will still be processing the juggernaut that is Dahvi Waller’s Mrs. America, from production, to artistic license to individual performances when the next season of The Handmaid’s Tale debuts toward the end of this truly momentous year.

I know there have been some complaints.  I think some of them may be valid.  I’m thankful and so far somewhat proud as an American that very few have been racist, sexist or political in the scope of the production itself.  But then ‘Parasite’ just recently also made a rather comparable and comparably outstanding accomplishment.   And I suppose Canada is not quite ‘exotic’, lol.

It begs the question, could Mrs. America have actually been made in America in 2020?

I’ve had various opinions on the ERA over my years and only scantly remember women and perhaps my mother talking about it somewhat frivolously during the early eighties.  Divorce and single parent homes made it an issue, even for those that don’t remember their U.S. History classes very well.

The imminent issue presently I think must be trans rights.  And suddenly the false polarities may finally be switching out for the real ones… and I have to say, I don’t think that is necessarily good news for anyone.


I actually really do like Putin.  I love Putin and Myedvyedev’s style as uniquely and authentically Russian.  Putin has all of the characteristics of a cultural icon and folk hero, and possibly monarch.  I would say Putin makes me think of a classical action movie star, if Russia had real movie stars.  I know that sounds a little odd to many other westerners who often think of Russians as basically a kind of joke, which is at least kinder than what they think of Trump.  What do they call it, the modern monarchies, they install on tropical islands and still in Africa in some places…  an institutional monarchy with a bicameral republic?

I just don’t think Putin makes a very good politician or president.  In so many ways he is just a continuation of the old guard. I mean I’m sure most of the blame goes to the KGB, like in the U.S., Homeland Security and what’s gone on at Guantanamo are shameful nightmares, but some of us know the real blame belongs to the CIA.  So it’s not so different in Russia.  What we see in Putin, is tenfold behind the closed doors and parlor rooms of the federal ‘agents.’ Or you want to flip that back again:  Putin is just no better than Gorbachev or Yeltsin.  That’s not to say the Soviets worked or ever made things truly classless, but Russia has a chance and has had one for a while now to be a completely modern socialist, capitalist hybrid country and still it fails, and why? I mean Russia could be the Sweden, Switzerland or even Australia of eastern Europe and Norasia, but instead they’re still opting for Greece or Romania.

Is that all Russia aspires to? I guess it’s what Putin aspires to at least, anyway…

CW Heroes

Rose seems like a completely satisfactory actress.  I don’t know how to explain what is missing from these shows to their contemporary fans.  I think DC characters are just kind of in this weird limbo, partly because of the success of Marvel and partly because of the success of Zach Snyder, both entities arguably have wildly different paradigms for comic book stories and heroes than conventional DC storylines.

Snyder and CW take these stories almost to a faux ‘dark’ place, emulating the likes of Marvel, X-men and Avengers,  because they fundamentally don’t understand Marvel, or DC?  Or either,  I don’t know.

I think it’s also a Millenial thing… where the world itself has just gotten so dark, that there’s this strong urge to funko popularize everything, when the way that was done OG style was more like Precious Moments figures.  Where there really was a completely wholesome, redeemable and redemptive side to even the darkest of personalities.  This was before the likes of Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman would probably have ever been considered mainstream.

I don’t actually think there is a way to put a positive spin on Snyder’s vision for DC or Superman,  but I do think there are ways of making better villains, and exploring reversals of morality, sometimes necessary for examining ethics under finer, closer or better lenses.  And if I ever wanted to make Superman an excellent villain, or the Joker a completely reedeeming and redeemable hero,  I’m sure I would ask Snyder for his input.

And for like a split second in 2015, Stewart & Fletcher et al, got it just right with Batgirl of Burnside.  Almost even like what Sabrina is now trying to be, or the very final fifth season of She-Ra and also failing at.  But at least the writers for Sabrina,  and finally at the end, She-Ra are even trying…

Simple Meditation

The Importance of Knowing Ourselves

Meditation practice awakens our trust that the wisdom and compassion that we need are already within us. It’s vital to help know ourselves: Our rough parts and our smooth parts, our passion, aggression, ignorance, and wisdom. The reason that people harm other people, the reason that the planet is polluted and people and animals are not doing so well these days is that individuals don’t know, trust or love themselves enough. The technique of sitting meditation called shamatha-vipashyana (‘tranquility-insight’) is like a golden key that helps us to know ourselves.

Breath Awareness

In shamatha-vipashyana meditation, we sit upright with legs crossed and eyes open, hands resting on our thighs. Then we simply become aware of our breath as it goes out. It requires precision to be right there with that breath. On the other hand, it’s extremely relaxed and soft. Saying, “Be right there with the breath as it goes out,” is the same thing as saying, “Be fully present.” Be right here with whatever is going on.

Being aware of the breath as it goes out, we may also be aware of other things going on—sounds on the street, the light on the walls. These things capture our attention slightly, but they don’t need to draw us off. We can continue to sit right here, aware of the breath going out.

Labeling Thoughts

But being with the breath is only part of the technique. These thoughts that run through our minds continually are the other part. We sit here talking to ourselves. The instruction is that when you realize you’ve been thinking, you label it ‘thinking.’ When your mind wanders off, you say to yourself, ‘thinking.’

Whether your thoughts are violent or passionate or full of ignorance and denial; whether your thoughts are worried or fearful; whether your thoughts are spiritual thoughts, pleasing thoughts of how well you’re doing, comforting thoughts, uplifting thoughts, whatever they are—without judgment or harshness, simply label it all ‘thinking,’ and do that with honesty and gentleness.

Gentle Touch

The touch on the breath is light: only about 25 percent of the awareness is on the breath. You’re not grasping and fixating on it. You’re opening, letting the breath mix with the space of the room, letting your breath just go out into space. Then there’s something like a pause, a gap until the next breath goes out again. While you’re breathing in, there could be some sense of just opening and waiting.

It is like pushing the doorbell and waiting for someone to answer. Then you push the doorbell again and wait for someone to answer. Then probably your mind wanders off and you realize you’re thinking again—at this point use the labeling technique.


It’s important to be faithful to the technique. If you find that your labeling has a harsh, negative tone to it, as if you were saying, “dammit!” that you’re giving yourself a hard time, say it again and lighten up. It’s not like trying to shoot down the thoughts as if they were clay pigeons. Instead, be gentle. Use the labeling part of the technique as an opportunity to develop softness and compassion for yourself. Anything that comes up is okay in the arena of meditation. The point is, you can see it honestly and make friends with it. Although it is embarrassing and painful, it is very healing to stop hiding from yourself.

Knowing Yourself

It is healing to know all the ways that you’re sneaky, all the ways that you hide out, all the ways that you shut down, deny, close off, criticize people; all your weird little ways. You can know all of that with some sense of humor and kindness.

By knowing yourself, you’re coming to know humanness altogether. We are all up against these things. So when you realize that you’re talking to yourself, label it ‘thinking’ and notice your tone of voice. Let it be compassionate and gentle and humorous. Then you’ll be changing old stuck patterns that are shared by the whole human race. Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.

From Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living (Shambhala Publications) by Pema Chödrön.