Trevor Noah Rocks The House

Few celebrities would draw a crowd as large as Trevor Noah during a busy Friday lunch hour in the workplace.  However, thousands of folks jammed the room for a chance to hear Trevor passionately speak about his atypical childhood living in South Africa, a time filled with challenges that few of us have experienced.  Born to a black mother and a white father, who left the family quickly, his tough upbringing in a society where he didn’t quite fit anywhere shaped who he is and how he views the world.  He was a fascinating and animated storyteller describing scenes from his new book, “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood”, a memoir of the observations of his childhood in a country when apartheid was unraveling.

trevor

Drafting off the “celebrity” status of a friend of mine who scored us front row seats, I got to view the talk up close and personal with no obstructions.  Thank you my friend!  Being that close allowed me to really observe the facial expressions and hand gestures of a wildly entertaining comedian who not only elaborated on his book but also shared his views on the craziest election any of us have ever seen but one that he predicted.  How might you ask could anyone foretell the “Coming of Trump”?  Growing up in a third world country, Trevor saw first hand how leaders would prey on people’s fears and anger, championing their darkest prejudices out loud in simple-to-understand sound bites.  Trevor told colleagues early on that Trump would go far in the election process given that he was a reality TV star of questionable morals who knew how to speak and connect to these uninformed voters, lying and promising them whatever they wanted, playing the “outsider” vs. the government who has forgotten about them and their economic struggles.

Similar to what Gloria Steinem told the audience when I saw her recently in Boise, Trevor also was emphatic that this segment of society that is following Trump won’t go away after the election no matter who wins and will need to be heard and their issues addressed for the country to heal and move forward.  He also suggested that what the U.S. needs is more than 2 parties to allow for more choices.  Should Bernie run as a Democrat?  No-he’s a socialist.  Should Trump run as a Republican?  No-he’s a nut but also probably a nationalist or alt-right candidate.  I get it but not sure this change will happen anytime soon.

Trevor elaborated on his other observations from this election cycle:  watching Trump move forward in the primaries was like having a front seat row to a “charismatic car crash” and that if he were elected, it would “press pause on all progress” that Obama has made the last eight years.   That people like Trump can “create” facts on the internet that people believe as gospel is flat out scary to Trevor.  The public is “engaged in a bubble of misinformation” the likes of which we have never seen before in the U.S.  Trevor takes his job seriously on The Daily Show because, as one attendee related during the Q & A, most millennials get ALL their news from The Daily Show.  To that comment, Trevor said,  “Comedy is the spoonful of sugar to make the news go down.” and “Laughter is the medication to get through it.”

While I enjoy comedy and, God knows we all need to laugh more, the stress of this election has been hard to take even when delivered by a comedian as smart and funny as Trevor.  Tuesday it will all be over.  Vote.

The Seattle Times review today of Trevor’s book was very flattering-read here:  Book Review

An Afternoon with Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem showed up in Boise, Idaho on Monday afternoon.  Amazing.  Sadly, there aren’t a lot of Dems who are courageous enough to live a Blue life in a Red state so the crowd to see her was small.  It’s hard and it’s discouraging to fight the tidal wave of Red.  We did it for 14 years in Coeur d’Alene and while there are more Dems in Boise, especially in the North End where we have a house, Dems are still a major minority.   For the few who showed up yesterday, they were treated to an intimate hour with an awesome woman who has and always will make a difference.wp_20161017_15_49_19_rich-2

As Mayor Dave Bieter, a Dem, announced to the audience when introducing Gloria, we were all in a “safe place” for the next hour spent together surrounded by Hillary election signs.  Let’s enjoy it.  “How many of you have been in a room where you were the only Democrat?”  Hands up EVERYWHERE.  Just as I have often been the only women in meetings at work, you learn how to snap to the norm of being the outsider and understanding no one will listen to your ideas.  Just the way it is.  You never give up and you keep working hard.  That’s what Hillary does and I respect her for it.

Gloria spoke of the election and how Hillary is the most qualified candidate there ever was or probably will be but, since she is a woman, she has always had to justify her desire to do good work and aspire to be a First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State and now President.  A man with ambition like that would be regaled as a strong leader, the woman a pushy bitch.  Not fair but true.  As far as her views on Trump, he is “a con man and not a successful business man” as he would like to boast and have everyone believe.  Gloria comes from NYC and has seen his shenanigans up close and personal.  She knows.wp_20161017_15_54_45_rich

When I asked her how we would need to heal as a country after Trump has brought out the violent, racist rhetoric that has frightened us all, she gave an interesting reply.  The people supporting Trump are revealing their truth about themselves so we can have the opportunity to address the real underlying problems–their feeling of white entitlement and living in the past waiting for jobs vs. proactively preparing for the jobs of the future.   Gloria quoted Gandhi, “The truth is revealing itself.”  Those well-paying but hazardous coal mining and logging jobs aren’t coming back to Ohio and Pennsylvania and Idaho.  We need to train those workers to take on new roles and spur the economy.  Let’s not lie to them that once Trump makes America great again that he can restore those jobs.  He can’t and he won’t.  Period.

Gloria reminded us that Trump doesn’t represent the majority of the people and has always had a hard time polling above 40%.  We can’t give him power to speak for the people of this country.  We can’t let hate trump love and kindness and real conversation about what we need to do to further our America that is already pretty damn awesome.  Thom and I often reflect that if more people had passports and travelled widely that there would be a deeper appreciation for how great America already is.  Once you have seen the pollution in China or seen how hard the citizens of Hanoi work to just eat and have a roof over their heads, you can thank God that we have laws and regulations here that keeps Americans safe to breathe the air, eat the food and work in a healthy environment.  We are blessed and our government system, while not perfect, protects it’s citizens.

When asked by a former Bernie supporter how to vote in this election, she encouraged him, as a lifelong socialist herself, to follow Bernie’s lead and support Clinton.  Bernie did what he felt he had to do and was successful in raising important issues like college debt. Together, he and Hillary have found a compromise with a real chance of working to reduce debt for those in need.  That’s Hillary’s strength and why she will be a good President.  She understands mediation and finding a middle ground to get shit done.  God love her and let’s get out the vote to make sure that a President Trump never happens in his or our lifetime.  I’m.  With.  Her.  wp_20161017_15_27_22_rich

Fun Friday Happenings in Seattle!

Despite a busy work day on Friday, I managed to squeeze in some shopping at the new and “only one in the world”  Amazon Bookstore at University Village that just opened up and then joined the “IT” crowd at the Seattle Art Museum REMIX event in the evening.  Fun in Seattle despite a dreary day!

Seattle Art Museum Remix Event on Friday night-dancing, art and music!
Seattle Art Museum REMIX Event on Friday night-dancing, art and music! What’s not to like?

While working at UV, my team and I tried to get into Din Tai Fung for lunch but to no avail–still widely popular (also in China!) this dumpling superstar restaurant had a one hour wait time at 11:30 a.m. just after opening.  WTF!!!  They’re good but they’re just pork dumplings people!  Okay for tourists and leisure shoppers to wait it out but, on a work lunch hour, not so much for us.  So we traipsed across the street to another place that probably loves being so close to Din Tai Fung because it gets people like us who can’t wait.  After some lovely fish tacos, I just had to check out the Amazon Bookstore that was all the rage in recent national headlines.  Thom shared with me some source that quipped, “first they killed the bookstore and now they’re wearing their dead skin”– pretty graphic but true.  As most online retailers are learning, you can make a lot of money online but it doesn’t replace the experience of being able to serve customers face-to-face and hear their feedback.

Each book has a sign with reader review and upc code
Each book has a sign with reader review and upc code
Amazon Book Store at University Village was hopping on Friday
Amazon Book Store at University Village was hopping on Friday

The Amazon bookstore is not a comfortable place-no overstuffed chairs or cafés like Elliott Bay Bookstore, my favorite on Capital Hill, though they do have ledges by the window to perch on uncomfortably while checking out the merchandise.  Message here is:  stay but not too long-buy our stuff and get the hell out for the next customer.  Their hardware takes up the center of the store, Kindles and such, but the true star of the store is the authentic, not electronic, books that beg to be bought and curled up with on a rainy Seattle day. I actually liked how the signs for each book feature a customer review and their endcaps have delightful curated selections like “if you like George R.R. Martin, try these” or “if you enjoy series, try these” which helps guide voracious readers like me who are always looking for new material to consume.  I finally had to put a halt to my Amazon Kindle book habit as it was costing $100ish a month.  I turned to the Seattle online library lending of Kindle books which, while not a huge assortment, still helps feed my reading habit for free.  Reading is one of life’s pleasure however you enjoy it but there is nothing better than a cozy bookstore–just don’t go to the Amazon bookstore if that is what you want.  Try Elliott Bay or Third Place Books!

Elvis Costello would not be happy that his book is categorized by Amazon next to Donald
Elvis Costello would not be happy that his book is categorized by Amazon next to the Donald

On to the evening’s entertainment!  After work I trotted home and changed into my evening attire to check out the Seattle Art Museum REMIX scene.  I found out about it through a Meetup group I joined, Seattle Arts & Culture Events, that lets you know about cool stuff happening around town.  We got a $5 discount on the $25 tickets for the 8 p.m.-midnight event “after hours” at the museum.  We showed up around 8ish and there was line stretched down the block to get in-what a crowd!   This is definitely a place to go not only with a date but also to meet and greet new people, i.e. pick up someone.  The crowd (about 2500 people, mainly 20-30ish crowd) was dressed to the nines-we even saw a stylish guy with the whole pirate ruffled shirt thing going on paired with a jacked and jeans.  Somehow he pulled it off!  Kudos to him! While the majority of the guys were still rocking jeans and major plaid, the ladies were going all out with dresses and fierce heels.  Very rarely have I seen such a display of fashion in Seattle.  Loved the people watching!

Renoir's portrait of Monet, my favorite artist.
Renoir’s portrait of Monet, my favorite artist.

What is REMIX?  A packed house for the quarterly event enjoying adult arts & crafts, bands, drinking (on the lower level only away from the masterpieces) and celebrity-led tours.  We joined Lorrie Cardoso, founder of our meetup group, as she led us around sharing her favorite and least favorite pieces of art.  She was not a huge fan of the golden urinal in the Modern section of the museum.  Agreed.

Our tour guide shows us her "least favorite" piece at the SAM-the gold urinal
Our tour guide shows us her “least favorite” piece at the SAM-the gold urinal

We had planned to enjoy the Impressionist exhibit anyway so this gave us new perspective with her guidance.  Since most of the pieces in this collection are from the National Museum of Art in DC, we had already seen them but Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, etc. never disappoint no matter how many times you are lucky enough to view them.

We were probably the first to leave around 10 p.m. just as the dancing was getting going but it had been a long week and we had a long walk home on a beautiful fall evening.  So thankful, as always, that we live in a great town and are able to enjoy wonderful experiences.