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Talking to Strangers Changes the World

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Resistance Boot camp LogoResistance Boot Camp – San Fernando Valley, CA
Leaders of change-making local activists groups, many formed since the presidential election of November 2016, presented motivational talks and trainings for further actions to a crowd of several hundred at San Fernando Valley’s Resistance Boot Camp.

Jason Berlin, a continually smiling Tom Hanks type in bright blue t-shirt and jeans, is an organizer with Field Team 6.  He said he was warmed by the great turnout and the opportunity to be “bathing in liberals.”  Big applause and big laughs from the crowd were a reflection of the solidarity of the assembled for the cause at hand.

Before charging forth with the strategies and hard work ahead for the 2020 election, Jason took the time to recognize the irrefutable success of November 2018, when the Wave we all worked for crashed into the House and turned it Blue by a margin far exceeding our goal.  “Thank you for saving the world,” said Jason, “We won our survival.”

Everyone who marched, who called, who wrote postcards, registered voters, knocked on doors, “It all mattered.”   Many of the elections were so close they were won by what’s called “field margins,” said Berlin.  Margins attributed to work done in the field.  That’s us.  All of us. “Talking to strangers changes the world.”

The Plan: From now until the primaries, the push is going to be voter registration.  Canvassing for particular candidates will ramp up after that.  Not only do we have to vote Trump out, we have to protect the House Democrats we voted into office November 2018 and flip the Senate as well! There is no taller order, but no work more necessary considering the circumstances of our Democracy.  It’s not lost on any of us.

Field Team 6 organizes regular Voter Registration events and encourages everyone to Volunteer.  Volunteers are trained before every event, so no prior experience is necessary.  There’s even a handy “How to Register Democrats” training manual.

Berlin covers the nuts and bolts, like how to fill out the registration form, plus proper body language (stand with an open posture and don’t hold your clipboard up to your chest like a shield), the importance of eye contact and a little smile.  “So they have to break your heart to walk past you.”

Jason Berlin of Field Team 6

But –  what if you do wind up talking to a Republican?  “Try not to let them see the light die in your eyes.” Another big laugh.

Don’t try to change anyone’s political view, he instructs.  You will be trying to register people who already lean Democrat.  Berlin is always clear about where he is coming from so he attracts like-minded people.  He wears an Obama campaign shirt, and to passersby he calls, “Excuse me, can you help me save the world from Trump?”

Spend a few hours at a community college, farmer’s market or even outside the DMV registering voters, and “You leave with a force-field of self-esteem,” he exclaims.

For more information and to Volunteer, please visit:

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Top 3 Reasons YouTube TV is Better than Hulu Live

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OnBoarded at Last: into the Live TV Stream-O-Sphere

I am happy to report that I have just ditched my satellite service and signed up for Live TV streaming. I realize I am not exactly ahead of the curve on this, but just in case you still have cable or satellite and feel like you are paying too much, here’s one way you can break free and enter the Stream-O-Sphere.

DirecTV: $136/month
YoutubeTV: $40/month
Telling DirecTV to take a hike: Priceless

I didn’t know if I was tech savvy enough to switch from satellite to streaming, but I did know I was fed up with the cost! After a recent fruitless call to DirecTV to see if I could work out some kind of reduction in my bill (I couldn’t), I knew it was finally time dive into the stream.

Did you see the ads for Youtube TV during the last Super Bowl? I went to the website (after the game was over, of course!) and signed up for the free trial.

Television Combatibility Questions?

If your Television set, like mine, is a few years old and not automatically compatible with YouTubeTV, a basic Roku will get those two talking. As long as your TV has an HDMI port, you can use a Roku. The basic Roku model is about $30 and the Roku hook up is simple. You just need to have your smartphone or computer handy so you can activate your Roku online and connect it to your devices.

You can skip this step if you already have a TV with the Roku technology built in. (Good for you!) Of course you might have paid a ton of money for a huge, fancy Ultra 4k TV, but if you are just setting up in a small room, you can snag a 32″ 1080p Roku TV for under $200!

After you activate your Roku, you can move on to YouTube TV. Come prepared with a Gmail account, keep your smart phone or computer handy to activate your free trial and follow the onscreen prompts.

Top 3 Reasons YouTube TV is a Better Choice than Hulu Live

We can’t step into the same river twice, but it’s never too late to enter the Stream.

History Podcast Keeps Me Connected to My Hometown

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I’m one of those born and raised San Franciscans whose heart was left there when they moved away. So, my ears, now residing with me hundreds of miles away, gratefully absorb the weekly Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast — the podcast of the Western Neighborhood Project, a group that studies and preserves San Francisco history, especially of the “western neighborhoods” of San Francisco.

I am continually surprised and entranced by the stories they bring to light of the people and places that existed before, interesting well-known and/or lesser known folks and the homes and neighborhoods in which they lived. These stories, especially of “ordinary” people, remind me that everyone who calls themselves a “San Franciscan,” (including me!) holds in their memories and experiences a valid sliver of a piece of the City’s history.

I especially enjoyed the recent Carol Schuldt podcast. Woody LaBounty’s descriptions of this “Queen of the Beach” acknowledged her eccentricity while a personal, reverential tone shone through. He and his co-hosts succeeded in painting a picture of a rescuer/rebel in all her glory.

It’s too bad that it was the intensity of Schuldt’s connection to nature that made her seem so odd. It made me think about how our present disconnect from nature is what is really more odd.

I wish I had known her — and to be honest, I wish I had known OF her. I lived in the city till I was seventeen years old, but was not a beachgoer, and I am at once thrilled to hear about her and sad that I was not able to enjoy even the knowledge of her existence all those years she was alive.


Eyes in the Cards

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Drew Pearson Topps trading card
Topps Trading Card, 1970s
My way into the romance of football came when I was 9 or 10 years old, and I stumbled upon a few NFL trading cards on the street. Naturally I picked them up. Back in those days (the 1970s, so far gone!) many players posed for close up pictures, and many of those without helmets.

Walter Payton Rookie Card

Dave Casper

I would put row after row down on floor or table and study faces, consider personalities, thoughts, emotions of those players. Some looked angry — game face on — others innocent and hopeful, or determined. Some stood in the 3 point stance and smiled good-naturedly, and one looked up with pleading eyes as if he needed protection.In my mind, I created alliances between the players on the cards whether they were on the same teams or not. And on Sundays I’d watch as many as I could.This was my original Fantasy Football.