Tuesday, February 11, 2020

coronavirus/Spanish Flu

Exclusive: Public health epidemiologist says other countries should consider adopting China-style containment measures
Coronavirus – latest updates -- The Guardian
Spanish Flu 1918
Am I the only one sitting here wondering when -- if ever -- anyone is going to mention the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 -- an outbreak that by some estimates took a third of the world's population despite widespread efforts to keep its ravages under wraps?
The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet's population—and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans.

From where I sit, the current coronavirus sprang (as from Zeus' head) up in the midst of the impeachment of the U.S. president, a mishmash of presidential primary kerfuffle, a question which lies Donald Trump will wholesale today .... where did the coronavirus come from all bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed?

It seemed to come to light out of China (which isn't usually a bright lamp of transparency) where the rulers had to concede that last weekend's Chinese New Year travels (usually enormous) had been stymied, streets were emptied and everyone seemed to be wearing a mask.

Monday, February 10, 2020

milti-tasking is bullshit

... and the sooner you learn it, the sooner you'll get one thing done right.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

being right

Being right is a good thing, but it is not the only thing.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

overdose credo

... if one's good, two's better.

Friday, February 7, 2020

discredited conovirus doctor slain by disease

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese doctor who got in trouble with authorities in the communist country for sounding an early warning about the coronavirus outbreak died Friday after coming down with the illness.
The Wuhan Central Hospital said on its social media account that Dr. Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist, was “unfortunately infected during the fight against the pneumonia epidemic of the new coronavirus infection.”
“We deeply regret and mourn this,” it added.

a small question

True or false?

Thursday, February 6, 2020

mobile homes

Is it just my watching of too many TV ads or is it true that the push for people to buy mobile homes/trailer homes is on the rise ... in some apparent segue from "micro homes," the she-she building of 7-900 square-foot tiny houses ... and this by turn in the wake of real estate prices rising and rising across the country?

Living in an affordable house is no easy matter for someone trying to find somewhere to live.

Makes me free-associate to nobles and peasants.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Unpack the messages...?

Unpack the messages....?

Named after the famous folk song which translates as The Cockroach, La Cucaracha is an exhibition of new photographs by South African artist Pieter Hugo exploring death, sexuality and spirituality in Mexico
Pieter Hugo: La Cucaracha is at Huxley-Parlour Gallery, London, from 19 February to 14 March.
All pictures © Pieter Hugo

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

daily life

For the past week or so, U.S. President Donald Trump has been hanging around with the wealthy nations of the world in Davos, Switzerland. The trip has put the president outside the impeachment- hearings bomb zone being aired ... and aired and aired and aired ... in the U.S. Senate.

Trump did manage to squeeze in a visit to Benjamin Netanyahu, erstwhile prime minister of Israel, who is being chased by those who want him nailed for various forms of corruption at home. Israel cannot indict a sitting prime minister, so there are those seeking to unhorse him and then nail his ass to the floor. Another dictator resting on the laurels of a staunch, right wing. The right wing flourishes. "Anti-Semitism" is once more twisted into a box that makes no reference to anyone less than a pure-bred ("the chosen" -- kinda like the "aryans" as it seems) Jew.

In the midst of all this, American basketball great Kobe Bryant died with his daughter in a helicopter crash yesterday. Even I, who doesn't care much about basketball, have heard of Kobe Bryant.

Is all this confusing? Trump will escape Senate censure ... too many well-off donors have been blessed by his tax cut on the wealthy and it is they who emplace 'democratic' representatives. The U.S. is for sale and the salesman of the month is ... Donald Trump -- the man who could find a price tag for damn near anything.

The moral sociopaths foregather.

Friday, January 17, 2020

shards of a sea chanty

Woke this morning with...

.... just the first stanza ... enough to make me look it up.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

getting my age straight ... I think

Today, thanks to a kindly money guy who has what change I have to jingle under his advisement, I learned that I was almost 80. "I know you hate labels, but ..." he prefaced his observation about my age ... "almost 80."

This is more serious than it sounds to any serious-minded person. I had lately been unsure if I were "69" or "70" ... and "80" was in the mix as well. Bill ironed those wrinkles out in our phone chat this morning. Bill has an adding machine and seems to know how to use it. I don't trust my math  skills AND there's no longer much I can do about the facts anyway.



I don't much like trusting outside sources, but Bill has always been a pretty straight shooter who's in a business that insists on the accurate use of an adding/subtracting machine. When I heard Bill's words, I felt a bit like George Carlin's disappointment comedified in his riff on a time when he stopped believing in God. What was he to do? As a former believer, what was he to believe in? He felt bereft. Finally, he said, he decided to believe in Joe Pesche. And I -- I decided to believe in Bill. Believing in others is a poor bet, but Bill is better than many....

So be it. What the hell -- time won't mind.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

pussy aroma

Ranking number 9 on the 10 "most viewed" news list provided by The Guardian's website this morning:

Why is Gwyneth Paltrow selling a candle that smells like her vagina?

Gwyneth [an actress I think] has made a candle called This Smells Like My Vagina for her website, Goop. And, of course, it has sold out.
The Guardian, like the BBC before it, has relied increasingly on rewrites of other news sites lately. It saves time and leg work to borrow other people's stuff. But... but... but.... pussy perfumes? Will every woman henceforth smell like Peppermint Patty? Will the women line up for comparative sniffs? Why is this somehow less gross than Donald Trump grabbing women's genitals?

I liked the commentary.

biggest flower, stinky and ignored

The largest single flower ever recorded was found recently in Sumatra, Indonesia, measuring a reported 111cm (3.64ft) across....
... this giant flower is critically endangered as its forests disappear, and it remains impossible to cultivate. If Rafflesia was a giant animal, like an elephant or blue whale, there would be international efforts to conserve it, but instead it remains largely ignored.

authors offer prize to presidential press secretary

Bestselling novelists Stephen King and Don Winslow have offered to donate $200,000 (£153,000) to a children’s hospital if the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, will hold a press conference.
White House press briefings used to be a regular affair, but the last one was held more than 300 days ago, according to CNN, by Grisham’s predecessor in the role, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Instead, Donald Trump prefers informal huddles with reporters, with his spokespeople appearing on sympathetic television channels to put their points across.
Grisham told Fox and Friends in September that “a lot of reporters were doing [press briefings] to get famous”, and there were no plans to bring the briefing back in the near future.



Tuesday, January 7, 2020

paradox or simultaneity

Is it "paradox" or is it simple "simultaneity?"  Paradox suggests a problem to be fixed. Simultaneity suggests oh-well-that's-just-the-way-it-is.

At issue, so to speak:

On the one hand: "democracy is the worst form of government except for all the rest." Never mind who said it or when or how. The meat on the bone remains and the probable truth remains with it, I think. Governments are a risky business at best. But for all that, the word "democracy" is flung about like some much-loved Teddy bear. One man, one vote. Yum.

On the other hand Baron Rochefoucault's maxim, "the intelligence of the mass is inversely proportionate to its number." Or, the greater the number, the dumber things get.

So ... which is it? I think the answer is both. Both are true and it's just tough-titty who may try to unravel what some call a paradox.

Everyone should have a say. That's democracy. And yet when everyone has a say, everyone ends up saying much the same thing: It's cozier that way. Cozier and yet dumber. Democracy is smarter in some ways and yet its stupidity hangs out like some untucked T-shirt.

Oh well, I'm working on this.....

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

my mother's 100th

If my mother were alive today, she would be 100 today. But since she is not, she is not. Imagine the bummer of being a kid whose birthday fell on a national holiday. Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 26, 2019


When I was a kid, the backs of comic books would advertise, "Use a word ten times in a day and it is yours." And I guess it is somehow fitting to circle back on that invocation.

Why it is, I don't know, but I seem to have a perennial brain fart about the word "desultory." I simply cannot remember its meaning and usage. (desultory:
"1 : marked by lack of definite plan, regularity, or purpose a dragged-out ordeal of … desultory shopping— Herman Wouk
2 : not connected with the main subject desultory comments
3 : disappointing in progress, performance, or quality a desultory fifth place finish a desultory wine")
The word does not flow along my vocabulary circuits. It doesn't fit as other words do. Its music and meaning escape me again and again. Again and again I bump up against the word and fail to get it right, find its home.
I try using it ten times in a day, but the word sniggers like some bad boy with spit balls at the back of the class room. You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man.
I console myself by suggesting that no matter how hard anyone might try, there will always be some strand of understanding left unknotted, unknown and just plain wrong. Go with the flow. But of course the habit is still strong: Improve and understand ... improve and understand ... improve and tara-diddle.
Another thing still unknown.


The house was teeming with everyone yesterday ... all the kids grown and all of them bigger than I was for a Christmas get-together. Everyone together and, from my perspective, everyone BIGGER. How ever did we fit so many people in such and small and littered house?! My daughter cooked a meal for everyone and there were enough calories to choke a horse ... not least some REAL fucking brownies and a cheese cake with caramel sauce that was pure wowsers.

I could tell I was old, the surest sign being that I got a robe and some slippers from Santa and his/her elves. Toasty stuff.

How did everyone get so big? ... an old fart's question. All of them good kids -- healthy and kind in their particular ways. A privilege to be part of their realm. Still not quite sure how I fit in that jigsaw puzzle, but I'm in there somewhere. My wife did the heavy lifting and ... well, it was a quiet velvet day.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

asked and answered

As once, in what I think of as the bomb zone of my beginning of my spiritual quest, I asked the question, so now I have reached my answer and it is satisfactory to me.

The question, posed somewhere between an icy doubt and a deep, beloved yearning was this:

Is spiritual life or spiritual endeavor a crock of shit or not? I really wanted to know and that yearning set me on a 40-50-year quest.

Question: Is spiritual life a crock of shit or not? I didn't want to know for anyone else. The question was a one-off built solely for me. Well, is it, or not?

Question: Is spiritual endeavor a crock of shit or not?

The answer is: Yes.

Asked and, after so many years, answered.


Is it a crock of shit or not?


I cuddle up to this answer today as I was in no way capable of cuddling then: Yes.

I am satisfied, yet issue a warning.

Anyone who might take this blog post as a jumping-off point for some further metaphor or evidence of their own assessment should be wary: If you come within my crosshairs, I will shoot you dead if I have the chance. Literally. Don't be a scumbag!

Is spiritual endeavor a crock of shit or not?


Asked and answered.

Nothing -- no question or answer should be premised on these words. Just yes. Yes. The end.


Sunday, December 22, 2019

"Scar of Bethlehem"

Wissam Salsaa, the manager of the Walled-Off Hotel, pictured with Banksy’s Scar of Bethlehem. Photograph: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images           

Banksy’s latest piece – the artist’s take on a nativity scene – has been unveiled at a hotel in Bethlehem.
The Scar of Bethlehem features a nativity scene with Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus, but instead of a star hanging over the crib there is what appears to be a large bullet hole piercing an imposing grey wall.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Trump impeached

The Democrat-laden U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump last night. No one has promised to take him out behind the wood shed and shoot him ... and put him out of our misery.

The Republican-laden Senate will now have the chance to exonerate the same man who promised to "drain the swamp" and created a new one.

Exhausting and embarrassing.

Monday, December 16, 2019

newspaper for sale; price: $0

An Alaska newspaper publisher is ready to hand his operation to a new owner at an unbeatable price: $0.
Larry Persily, a longtime journalist who runs the Skagway News in the state’s panhandle, is willing to give away the small-town paper to a multi-talented professional who can ensure it a bright future.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Trump gears up to step down?

Niggling and naggling at the edges of my thoughts is the notion that U.S. President Donald Trump is shoring up his political nesting place in advance of his stepping aside from the U.S. Presidency.

Trump hasn't got the balls to lose and the House of Representatives vote on articles of impeachment in the upcoming week/this coming week looks (however scripted) like a loser.

A Senate exoneration is to follow the House vote.

Trump has fewer and fewer whipping boys -- people he can blame and fire for the errors he has made. And like any champ, he would like to go out on top. Or maybe this is all just wistful  wet-dream  thinking. Can anyone imagine his leaving office without saying, "I-told-jaso!"

And castrated Senate Republicans who don't dare to stand up for country or principle would like a safe harbor as they head home for the Christmas break and meetings with constituencies that voted four-square for The Donald.

Maybe someone will write a "Profiles in Cowardice" book ... but it's doubtful.

And  Vice-President Mike Pence as president? The artificial-intelligence Christian as president? Well,  let's take one pig-pile at a time.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

rewriting American history

It was my now-dead Army buddy Bill McKechnie who reworked the wit and witticism sometimes attributed to American 'founding father' Benjamin Franklin:
Early to bed
And early to rise
Makes a man healthy,
Wealthy and wise.
McKechnie's rendition -- announced after what I can only assume was a night of too much beer, carousing and giggling:
Early to bed
And early to rise ....
And you never see any of your friends.

Mexicans bridle

Emiliano Zapata: He pissed them off then and he pisses them off today.
A new portrait of Emiliano Zapata has caused a firestorm of outrage for its portrayal of the Mexican revolutionary hero striking a seductive pose – clad only in a pink sombrero and high heels.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

a bit of information


Monday, December 9, 2019

taking a step back

Watching CPAN 3 last night, I could feel a sigh of relief ... I wasn't quite as nuts as I had thought I might be.

Elizabeth Holtzman
There was Eizabeth Holtzman, one-time pepper pot of the 1970's, remembering the impeachment of Richard Nixon (against today's backdrop of a firestorm of impeachment talk swirling
around Donald Trump today).

Listening, I realized how much more courteous and well-argued times were in Holtzman's era. It was important that the country might be injured: Democrats and Republicans all agreed on that. No one was above the law -- Republicans and Democrats agreed on that. It was important to think and to tell the truth ... and however rancorous, no one made a fetish out of stupidity and harming the nation.

The country was important.

That, and it was not up for sale.

Elizabeth Holtzman helped me to breathe easier. No wonder I felt so out-of-joint. Nowadays, everything is thrown away, indecorous, and rude. The law is ... oh well, it's a witch hunt and the country is a Tinker Toy for toddlers. Still, Nixon's was my era ... no wonder I felt weird and confused when the media dove into bed with a man whose most notable accoutrement is his wind-blown wig.

As if to drive some passage-of-time nail home, the Associated Press saw fit this morning to mark the death of René Auberjonois, a character actor with
René Auberjonois
whom I used to play as a kid. Swords and cap pistols and movies in which lusty, male background singing was par for the course. Rene died on Gautama's enlightenment day (some say): Dec. 8. As kids, we imagined we too might be as lusty and manful and sword-swinging. And, of course, sing about it.

Slow it down. Iron it out. Talk about the past because, enfin, it is the past and as such, is apparently confined and ready for shipment into the present.

My teacher's teacher, Soen Nakagawa Roshi once commented, "There is birth and there is death. In between is enlightenment."

Somehow things were and remain more fitting.

Feels like an ahhhhhhh, somehow.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

the search for wisdom

The search for wisdom is a fool's errand.

But since, in the gentler sense, we are all fools... well ... do you have something better to do?

Organize your sock drawer?

Iron your brocade?


Isn't it time to live up to at lease some expectations?

Friday, December 6, 2019


Shinto priest Kiyoshi Miyasaka displays a photo he took in 2006 that shows a phenomenon called omiwatari, or the crossing of the gods, which occurs when Lake Suwa freezes over and two sheets of ice collide.
Found this Reuters piece a tranquil and evocative meditation.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019


Taken from the internet
For once, the forecast for a winter storm that slipped east over the weekend lived up to specs -- six to eight or more inches of snow it seems. It's winter. Lotsa snow.

Long day yesterday doing doctor stuff. Tiring. At around 2:30 a.m., I realized I wasn't going to get back to sleep so I turned on the TV. There was some amateurish soft-core porn to while away the time.

Strange to see the beginnings of movies with a whole lot of stamps of warning and approval. "Brief nudity," "some violence," "adult content...."

Is there really any "adult content" any more? What constitutes "adult content" -- is it a bare bum, uncovered breasts, grinding hips ... the red flags all seem to hark back to more sedate and clothed times. Naked bodies hardly seems worth a nod -- "sexy" after all relates to the coverings, not the uncoveredness. Plunging necklines, popular lately, are being replaced ... how far can anyone 'plunge' before you run out of plunging space and it's time to re-cover and start all over?

I guess the final step will be penises, but when a body is entirely naked, it's just naked, isn't it? Sometimes sexy sometimes not ...