Calliope Valentine

Ancient Greek: Καλλιόπη/Kalliopē; "beautifully voiced", "Chief of all Muses"

A Conservative-Leaning Hobbiest Blogger’s Conundrum: Be true to thine self, or pay the rent?

                         “Voicing an opinion, beckoning reasonable debate, encouraging a place for all at the table.  These, and many other communication devices used by groups and societal participants when actively self-governing, seem to have become depressingly weaponized”.

6/11/18 update: An employee of CrossFit was FIRED for expressing his belief that “Pride” (who decided that a word like pride could be highjacked from our lexicon?) is a celebration he chooses not to support, because he is Christian. Well, Muslims don’t believe in same sex unions, either. But let’s not split hairs, right? Freedom of religion is supported by the right to pursue our happiness, in whatever form we find that.

With the considerable weight of social media influence held firmly in a liberal ideology fist-hold, those who dare question the far-left groupthink mentality experience the basest of bullying tactics. Even though a solid half of Americans, and their global supporters (Shout out to #MAGA/Making Armenia Great Again) share a bunch of basic beliefs, including the rights guaranteed in the Amendments of the Constitution of the United States, conservatives are punished at every turn.

I ask: why would it make a difference what my politics are, unless someone wants to make it an issue? My reply involves the idea that we might mandated to enroll in an insurance scheme that takes our money and bets that they provide enough abortions that they won’t have to pay for prenatal, delivery and the life cycle of another subscriber. I have an issue with that, but don’t assume, it may not be for the reasons you have already decided. The reason is because what happens to those at the end of their life if death/elimination is considered a healthcare option? Do I want to bet against my future self? No, I do not.

Thrilled at the outcome for the Christian baker, whom the Supreme Court absolved of the sin of denying a customer service in his own establishment. Nevertheless, it seemed begrudgingly delivered by the Supreme Court, and weaponized as a media tool. Isn’t diversity the very notion that we are to be celebrated for our independent thought and cultural customs? I lived as a guest in Saudi Arabia; there I abstained from eating pork. Their house, their rules. We learned that if the cast of “Seinfeld” wanted soup, they best follow the Soup Nazi’s rules.

But, before I digress: Joy Reid is a bad/good/bad example of how each stroke of a keyboard (or stylus pen) can, and probably should, come back to haunt oneself when one’s self declares themselves a “social influencer” or even a “journalist”.  Be sure you are willing to own that thought, at that time and any time you are asked. Character counts. Integrity counts. Mistakes happen.

The lines are blurred when we brand ourselves endlessly by the choices we make and what we chose to declare about ourselves, understood by others through a series of “likes” or limited emoji emotions. C’mon, who doesn’t wish a BS option when confronted with a post of Chelsea Clinton promising to save us from ourselves? Or is my bias showing? TBH, I was thrilled that H.R.C. was offered the Secretary of State position. Oh, I thought, she has all these contacts and will do such much good. So, maybe I am bitter and feel used.

The rudimentary fundamentals of Anthropology 101 include the idea that we are all biased, based on a number of factors that are often out of our control. Personal ideology is ethnocentric. Ethnocentricity can be checked through a process that includes agreement amongst those involved as to the purpose, circumstance and intent of the speaker. This often involves reasonable debate, and an agreed-upon context. These components of the process of reflexion are cyclic, and involve several points of interaction where agreement is reached.

In a cyber environment, an overwhelming onslaught of facts, opinions and new information makes it difficult to gain perspective and understand the intended context of a frame of reference. However, this is where we are in time, and those snippets of archived thought can and will be used to judge your character, not always fairly.

if you work for the government, if you teach, if you work for an institution, or in an industry that holds their ideology above your personal opinion. I had tweeted something about the CNN talking head’s “whitelash” comment in 2016, nothing overly inflammatory ( I thought ) and a prospective employer – a smallish PR firm in VA – texted me a screenshot of my tweet and my offer of employment was withdrawn. Not gonna lie. I was, in rapid succession, shocked, angry, defiant, and finally somewhat amused and chagrined. Thank GOD I didn’t move to only get fired on the first, or second, day.

So while it isn’t fair to judge, and we are all biased, and political affiliations shouldn’t always matter, the truth is that it is important to commit to the values and beliefs that are memorialized, verbalized and shared into the vast nether of it all.  Because it will, and probably should, come back to challenge you.

The Nanny State/Penn State Declares Nature “Too Dangerous” for Students

In an Environmental Psychology class, maybe 8 years ago, we explored effective ways to reconnect with nature, our surroundings, and others with whom we share space. Globally speaking, we all share space. How we come to view ourselves in relation to nature is a product of time, cultural influences, geo-political power plays and other factors – both internal and external.

One increasingly observable factor involves the implementation of institutional/political agenda-driven policy in education.

The history between human relationships and nature is evidenced through architecture, city planning, art, fashion, waste management, child-rearing practices, literature and many more facets of life – and death.  Ralph Waldo Emerson influenced sentiments of peace and inclusion with nature, introducing the transcendentalist movement in the mid-19th century.  The social media of that era comprised a much smaller sphere of influence, based upon literacy rates and social constructions.  The westward expansion of the United States was successful in part because those who set forth were confident in their ability to navigate nature.  Manifest Destiny, a term coined in 1939 by a journalist in the Democratic Review, became a widely held belief that settlers were “destined” to expand across North America. Historian Frederick Merk says this concept was born out of “a sense of mission to redeem the Old World by high example … generated by the potentialities of a new earth for building a new heaven”.  Imagine that. Longing for a new heaven, as social propaganda.

Today, not so. There are certain factions of Americans who seem to be at “war” with multiple, intersectional aspects of nature. Climate change is an issue that is modern, contentious and often high-jacked for monetization, political influence and social power. Another current and escalating social trend is the influence of a “nanny state” which seeks to regulate and administer intellectual thought, physical contact and ideological beliefs about our relationship with nature as a whole.  The whole of nature includes both the benefits and the danger to personal and other property.  Is is ironic that after a protest or rally, photos on social media often emerge of the garbage and damage left behind? Thinking about the Dakota pipeline event. I’m wondering if the organizers consider that “collateral damage”? To further the irony, the printed signs, banners, food containers, etc. have contributed to  “carbon footprints”, and these participants don’t really care enough about their immediate environment to tend to it.

Is it their fault, or a lack of awareness about matters outside their immediate focus that has been institutionally reinforced?

Another case-in-point: A teacher posted to social media her lament about resigning only a few years into a career she thought would be passion. She shared how teachers are forced to supplement their meager budget for supplies of pencils, paper and basic necessities, while also posting a photo of the destruction left each afternoon in her classroom. Photos included books ripped and mangled, broken teaching aids, and damaged school-issued electronic devices. Because teachers are not allowed to discipline these children, due to guidelines that support a ridiculous school rating system tied into funding and an employee’s performance matrix, the lack of self-awareness and personal responsibility of millennials will escalate.

Perhaps this is a component of a larger, seemingly well-orchestrated sentiment that threatens to dominate our society?

The Advanced Placement edition of “By The People: A History of the United States”, published by Pearson, includes in it’s 2019 edition libelous claims that President Trump is an open racist, and he only got elected because most of his voters are also racist. What in the world? Taxpayer-funded education has gone completely rogue – and “Bad Nanny”.

Pennsylvania State University recently made the decision to banned the student outdoor recreation club from going outdoors…a “proactive risk assessment” decided by the officers of Student Affairs and Risk Management. Hiking, camping and other outdoor activities organized by students who are old enough to attend college, drive a car, vote, go to war and such are deemed too dangerous. So, this institution of higher learning allows sexual abuse to flourish in their sports programs, but denies students the benefits of activities that promote self-reliance, time-management skills, social and environmental awareness and inclusion based not on political affiliations and academic interests, but a love of exercise, outdoors and camaraderie?

Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Godparents…

Everyone who has a stake in the future of our American experience: there is much ado about much that has to do with how are children are being manipulated by a political agenda that needs attending to.

thumb_The Texan Sign photo_1024

The Really Good Life

Are we there yet?
Are we there yet?

The Really Good Life…so happy to be back home from the Middle East. Four years is a serious chunk of the life pie. Beyond the current political bickering and this uncertainty of inevitable change, America is a gift that i appreciate with all my heart.

The ability to get great blond highlights, to take my girls to the dog park and enjoy the trees and clean, safe green spaces, to buy a good bottle of wine for a good price (without showing my “Alcoholic Drinks License” proving that I’m a non-Muslim.Hmmm? Was I being vetted and profiled? As a guest in a foreign, Muslim country, of course I was. Their house, their rules) and share it hotel-chain poolside with other random travelers who truly want to talk civilly about current events.

America is good and God is Great. Jobs are coming back, and Americans have more than hope-we have pride.

The Numbers Game


50 Ways to Leave a Lover, 8 Places to See Millennials Misbehaving, 10 Things I Hate About (Whatever), 7 Easy Recipes for Roadkill…

See a pattern? All these headlines offer multiple solutions to a “problem”, or capture the attention of the reader by using lists. It is especially entertaining to pick up a magazine, and try to catch them slacking. “Are there really 432 uses for Vaseline listed in here?” you might wonder.

A respected news channel is currently advertising a feature in which we are treated to the ways in which we are influenced by those in a position of power. Wearing a red tie and using the word “because” in a speech (JFK did it) are examples shared in the program promotional, and as I watched it for the umpteenth time, it occurred to me that the word because is important to this concept of “lists” and “numbers”.

In the absence of a JKF, or the even more authoritative matriarchal framing/response of “because”, which may or may not be followed by a list of reasons, “just because “or “because I told you” carries very little weight with most reasoning adults. We seem to need, or someone has decided we need, multiple reasons and edited choices to feel in control of our own choices and decisions. Psychology and marketing have met, and formed a formidable alliance.

Humans love classifying things. Our brains automatically work to align new information with existing schemas and therefore rationalize data. Humans love to manage time. By quantifying the list, we assign a finite amount of mental resources and physical presence to the task of acquiring the data. The problem of choice is minimized and the problem is solved with less anxiety.

Humans do not love having too many choices. When training leasing agents in property management, I would stress to them the importance of narrowing the list of available units to a manageable size. The prospective renter has only so much time and patience, and will feel more confident making a decision between three suitable apartments, as opposed to twelve or more vacant units. The “paradox of choice”, which psychologists Claude Messner and Michaela Wänke tested in 2011, proves that too many choices create too much stress, and causes human discomfort.

So, how does this translate for those lists that are ridiculously long? On Facebook, I came across an article for 101 ways to use bookshelves creatively. In the process of moving and thinking about crafting new spaces this article was intriguing, however, once confronted with 101 images I quickly backed away because there were just too many choices…





The Muse

Calliope, taken from the Ancient Greek, means “beautifully, or strongly voiced” and is the most powerful of Ovid’s Muses. She is powerfully lyrical and is often depicted with a tablet or a writing device, so I very much envy her mythical powers and the ability to captivate and inspire. So, what are the qualities of a good muse, and how does one go about becoming a muse?

Calliope          In mythology, there were nine goddesses, called muses, that represented or symbolized the arts and sciences. These females served to inspire the creativity of others, and enabled the creative genius to manifest his ideas. Hmmm. It is said that if the muses declared their love for a man, his worries simply disappeared and this honor rendered him more sacred than a holy man. Oh, what the love of a powerful woman can do for a man!

In our modern times, the muse is not limited to the mythical gendered model, but is mostly associated with artistic endeavors. Think  of the mutually obsessed John Lennon and Yoko Ono, or Pablo Picasso and his artistic inspirations. Amanda Lapore, the transgender muse of artist David LaChapelle. Could we dare say that the Kardashian Klan are muses in the arts of fashion and banality?




“A Tribute to Easter”

Feeling the warm breezes and watching happy shadows 
dancing across sun dappled grasses.

Crisp cotton sundresses with open-weave cardigans in soft hues.

Bright, sweet baby carrots and green peas bathed in melting butter 
and sprinkled with fresh fronds of dill weed.
 Happy children dart and dance through the garden
  with birds and bees and butterflies.


Colbie and Zozo welcome everyone. I agree.

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