Wednesday, July 8, 2020

keeping a distance

My diet these days is largely cottage cheese, orange juice and an occasional liverwurst sandwich ... largely, in short, gum food while I wait for a lower insert of false teeth (the old one got lost around this maw of stuff) to be shaped.

At the doctor's yesterday, my weight was down to 130. Once, when muscled, I topped 200. Eating is nice, but not that compelling these days. I'm not depressed about it.

The doctor, whom I visited and whom I like, told me that there has been a rise in requests for downers in this time when so many are so lonely at home.  "Eat what you like," he said. "But watch your salt." Naturally, salt is what I crave upon hearing that salt is somehow on the shit list.

Everyone wears a mask ... except Donald Trump, of course. In Europe, various countries have barred U.S. citizens from entering based on Trump's self-centered, lackadaisical and politically-charged posturing. As the Somali security agent once put it on TV when assessing a pirated western oil tanker: "If you do not share your wealth with us, we we share our poverty with you."

The U.S. is being shared with. A third-world country.

Masks give me a case of claustrophobia. They increase my desire for needed oxygen. They hide more of what was already hidden behind Facebook and other healing 'solutions.'

It puts me in mind of the schizophrenic patient once quote in a book I read: "The air is still, here -- the air between the things in the room. But the things in the room are no longer here."

Businesses of the cafe variety are getting clobbered. Churches are being clobbered. "Social distancing" (six feet/two meters) creates yet more rifts and schisms. Sports and their stadia are denuded. News outlets struggle and strain to say something new ... but there is nothing new: the drum beat hums like an impatient principal idly imagining what punishment to mete out. Fingers drumming on a desktop.

I wonder how many bank robbers are rejoicing: "I don't know what s/he looked like, officer. S/he was wearing a mask."

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

bustin' up the neighborhood

There came a day in the mostly-forgotten past, when Hershel, the Korean 'War' (it was never declared as a war and remained a 'police action') vet with a limp who used to live across the street, seemed to have skipped his meds and in an apparent fury, attacked his neighbors' front doors with an ax.

It was the news of our lily-white neighborhood at the time. I missed it all because I worked a swing shift and was sleeping. Hershel hit my neighbor to the south and my neighbor to the north. For reasons I'll never know (perhaps because I once took him some brownies at Christmas... maybe because we occasionally talked books together), my front door remained untouched, un-axed.

Someone eventually called the cops and they took Hershel away. They rebalanced his chemistry. His limp remained the same and his furies, of whatever sort, went untended, I guess. But Hershel's ax cut a hole in the ever-widening gentrification of a neighborhood that was once agricultural and salty with sweat and, dare I say it on Hershel's behalf? -- honesty.

Time passes. Hershel got stuck in someone's kind-hearted loony bin. He had been sent off to war and came back with the marks of war ... dark scars. Men like Donald Trump thrive on guys like Hershel.

Was there ever a greater anti-war plaint than

"I sent them a good boy, and they made him a murderer," cried the mother of one of the soldiers at My Lai (My Lai Massacre 1969).
Imagine! A mother says that about her son! Nine months in the womb. Subsequent years of nurturing and hoping a praying (just like any mother) and some blue-suit, big-mouth, blow-hard ... god, it defies descriptives!

A sense of shame is useful as events wisp off into forgotten-land.

Across the street, a lawn sigh proclaims "you are loved." The sign is part and parcel of Pat's Christianity and, perhaps, kindness.

My sense is that it is best to keep religion out of the business of 'healing.

Just because everyone agrees does not mean something is true.
 

Sunday, July 5, 2020

of boobs, real and imagined

-- If I judge by what I see on TV, the advent of  Covid-19 has been accompanied by a rise in the decolletage among women. Where once boobs were all but exposed, suddenly necklines are more or less at neckline level. Without really going the distance, here is one bit of evidence that others have become aware of some changes.

Strange to think that the word "sexy" in the male vocabulary relates almost entirely to what is covered (and might be uncovered). The drunken Saturday night crowd crowing, "Take it all off!"  to the twinkling strippers would hardly be satisfied if in fact she did take it all off ... hell, that would just be a naked woman. While sexy, that would be somehow less sexy, I imagine, than the roaring male, desire to ...to... to do what? See a naked woman??? To rip to shreds the distance implied by sexy attire??? Is that sort of intimacy really as intimate as implied ... or is it a greater distance?

-- Yesterday, I thought to get a haircut. But barbers are on the epidemic's shit (transmission potential grows in the barber's chair) list so now I need an appointment. Today, I asked my wife, who likes shopping, to check around for a store-bought set of clippers. "Fuck it!" sez I, "let me just take it all off. Ain't nobody looking and it saves the bureaucratic hassle."

My attitude does not help my former barber to return to cash-flow city -- an economic infusion, however small, into what amounts to a languid and languishing economy. I would like to help my barber, but bureaucracy is a luxury item I am unwilling to invest in. So ....

When I was 11, my mother took me on a trip to Italy. It was 1951 and summer and close enough to the end of World War II (there were bullet shells still littering the bottom of the sandy sands where I swam in the Mediterranean) so that when she dropped me off at an Italian barbershop for a crew cut, my mother's passable-but-imperfect Italian could not convey what a crew-cut might be like. She returned after whatever errand she was running to find me in the barber's chair with a reverse Mohawk ... one buzz-cut strip from forehead peak to rear neck nape in accordance with military custom (short-shorter-shortest) ... there was nothing to do but cut off the lot. The cut hair was a quarter of an inch long. And now, so many years later, I'm looking to do the same again -- cut the lot off and skip the extras.

-- Got out my curmudgeon's regalia yesterday and wrote to the Public Broadcast System's news outlet asking if anyone had heard anyone, anywhere suggesting that U.S. President Donald Trump was a "clear and present danger" to the United States. It's a little late, I realize, but still ... Trump continues to go from here to there without wearing the mask that many people are wearing as a small attempt to curb the spread of the disease. He plays on racial divisions. He encourages ignorance. He is a divider of people. In Trump, you can see why Romans, among others, waxed wary of the herd and crowd.

Wasn't it Lincoln who said approximately, "You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." It surely does get tiring putting fools in the catbird seat, allowing Republicans to renege on their promise for a healthcare plan, etc. etc.

Is there anything Trump can do other than die? As he pretends towards a second term as president?  The Republicans got the tax cut they wanted from him. Put that together with the tax cut they got from George W. Bush ("the shrub") and ....

The rest is old orange rinds and volume.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

oyez! oyez!

I wonder if it isn't a kind of linguistic cuticle or perhaps has a kind of harmony with the finality of the dropping guillotine (ka-chunk-thunk!) ... how did the old French "Oyez! Oyez!" wrangle its francophile/Norman ways into long-term, latterday common court parlance?

Latin? OK. Greek you can kind of imagine. But a French twist rattling through the annals of jurisprudence? Are there other examples? I can't think of any.

English courts use it.

The Supreme Court (U.S.) employs it.

"Oyez! Oyez!" -- Listen! Listen! Shut up and listen!

First of all, it sounds weird with its (English) willingness to pronounce the 'z' as if it were in a comic book.... "oyezzzzz." Second, the English can be notably snooty about their neighbors across the channel. On the other hand, the French (merci Lafayette!) did help the colonies put the Brits in the revolutionary bushes ... maybe it's a nod to that bit of assistance.

I can't think of another French word that has held on so long without being eclipsed by some rotund bit of Latin or similar solemno-phone. How did that happen? I dunno. Maybe, lacking much history, the U.S. wanted to seem a bit kulturni.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

sayonara chochka

Yes, Virginia, shit flows downhill.

In Northampton, Mass., USA, my current hometown, one of the city's cash cows -- Main Street parking fees -- has been eased, apparently in a nod towards Donald Trump's suggestion that businesses should be given space in which to bounce back. (And you thought Trump never did anything nice for you! :) )

This city is awash with chochka shops ... pinch pottery, unfettered use of the word 'artisan,' paintings, comfortable, expensive and hand-stitched shoes, 'bagels' that hardly resemble a dyed-in-the-wool bagel outside its shape, and other tourist-friendly sales.

It's nice to remember that no rich person ever got that way by being nice.

Northampton is pretty much a lily-white environment with restaurants that aren't really as 'Indian' as you might suppose or hope, not really as 'Chinese' as you might think or wish, etc. Lesbians and LBGTU folks find Northampton a pretty friendly place. Colleges and their sometimes well-heeled inhabitants dot the horizon... which is one of the reasons 'Chinese' and 'Indian' have a taint of white bread lifestyle, a Chinese restaurant owner told me once. You want the real McCoy? New York City is 175 miles to the south.

Disease, of course, doesn't care much whom you bed down with It doesn't mind what dangles from whom. But who's buying chochka these days?  When city residents dutifully don the requisite masks meant to inhibit corona-19 ... well, "shop till you drop" falls away in the rearview mirror.

But the city needs money and parking fees raise a lot of it, so cutting parking fees is not a joke for the city of Northampton. People need their gig-economy jobs. They need to get out. They need to get away from the kids. They need to feed the kids. I sometimes think that, in the midst of this worldwide epidemic, it is the lack of touching and proximity that will kill people quicker than any 'distancing' quarantine or other draconian rules.

Yes, Virginia, gravity is as gravity does.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

peas and honey

A ditty my mother taught me when I was little:
I eats me peas with honey.
I've done it all me life.
It makes them taste so funny, but
It keeps them on me knife.

Facebook and Donald Trump

The 'social media' have their agenda like every other 'socially-conscientious' entity ... NOT.

"Facebook," one of my least-favorite entities, seems to have an unsurprising take on Donald Trump.

High-minded 'connectivity' dontcha-know!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

the gig economy

Taken in the aggregate, arson is a pretty good crime.

For one thing, of course, the evidence is often consumed by the crime. For another, insurance companies may bemoan their arson losses after so many years of blithely collecting payments, but the fact is that an arson investigation is more expensive than it is worth to the company's bottom line. It is cheaper to write it off and go back to collecting payments.

Of course, there is always some dimwit who, as I once saw in a post-fire folder, claims an entire room and its furnishings when the room was not part of the extant structure.

There are a few tips for the would-be arsonist (don't forget the roof, for example, make sure no one is at home, etc.), but otherwise arson is not a bad gig.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit if arson claims began to rise in these parlous times.

Monday, June 29, 2020

re-entering nature

A couple of nights back, my son returned from work to find a skunk in the driveway. A skunk in the driveway and rabbits sitting still as salt on nearby lawns and lawns going untended ... and bit by bit, it feels as if nature were reclaiming the land.

Still as salt.

The U.S. unemployment rate hovers around something like 15%.

An old clip on TV showed one of the giants of industry addressing the advent of advertising with the observation that "advertising is the art of getting people to buy what they don't need."

The world is filled with stuff that people don't need but somehow must have...'you know, the back-scratcher that will simultaneously scratch your balls or other hidden itch-factories.'

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

tearing down statues

It's like swimming in wet cardboard ... the thick, viscous slime of staying in, staying 'safe,' staying unlinked and un-connected. The TV purveys an endless litany of same ol' same ol' and the president runs around without a mask.

Down south and elsewhere, people are busy ripping down statues of those who made the Confederacy great. Wrong move, I'd say. Let the statues stand as a reminder of the mistakes of the past and the need to acknowledge mistakes made in the past. Will tearing down a statue of Jefferson Davis or Andrew Jackson or whomever root out slavery or the viewing of a black or brown person as inferior? No. Was it a mistake? Yes. Was it in aid of making money? Yes, among other answers. Is there a man alive who has not made mistakes and then been forced to shoulder that responsibility? Hell, even the former Nazis (under some duress, I admit) kept the gates that proclaimed in wrought-iron, "Arbeit macht frei..." over the entrance to a concentration camp.

Leave the statues alone.

Look in the mirror.

This is not blaming-the-victim claptrap. I figure it rather as an act of adulthood. The past cannot be undone. Remembering and honoring mistakes is better than thumbing a nose. Did I fuck up? You betcha! Now what? Let's not pretend. Fuck all the kum-by-ya nonsense ... this mistake is mine and I made it. Can I do better? I sure hope so, but acknowledging my ever-present capacity to make the same damned mistake again is part of the mix.

Precepts are precepts not in order to lop off the responsibility, but in order to nudge and remind me of precisely how vulnerable (and perhaps interesting) I remain.

PS:
The International Monetary Fund has said the global economy will take a $12tn (£9.6tn) hit from the Covid-19 pandemic after slashing its already gloomy growth projections for the UK and other developed countries in 2020.
The IMF said it would take two years for world output to return to levels at the end of 2019 and warned that governments should be cautious about removing financial support to their fragile economies.
In an update to forecasts published in April, the Washington-based IMF said it now expected the global economy to contract by 4.9% this year, compared with a 3% drop expected in the spring.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Stonehenge discovery

Stonehenge -- the smarter you get, the more your ignorance is revealed. How 'bout them apples?
A circle of deep shafts has been discovered near the world heritage site of Stonehenge, to the astonishment of archaeologists, who have described it as the largest prehistoric structure ever found in Britain.
Four thousand five hundred years ago, the Neolithic peoples who constructed Stonehenge, a masterpiece of engineering, also dug a series of shafts aligned to form a circle spanning 1.2 miles (2km) in diameter. The structure appears to have been a boundary guiding people to a sacred area because Durrington Walls, one of Britain’s largest henge monuments, is located precisely at its centre. The site is 1.9 miles north-east of Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, near Amesbury, Wiltshire.

"bivouac" and "gaslight"


My daughter, her husband, and the mighty dog "Sugar" took a camping vacation over last weekend. "I am not really a camper," my daughter observed in the tone she seems to reserve for stuff she hates. We chatted idly on the phone yesterday about the outing and it put me in mind of bivouacking during basic training in the army.

"That's the second time this week that I've heard the word 'bivouac' " my daughter said. It was just a word she had, previously, no occasion to use. And that put me in mind of the word "gaslight," which had popped into my mind earlier in the day... a good word that I wasn't entirely sure of, so I looked it up. Like my daughter, I had (if that can be believed in this Donald Trump era) little or no cause to use the word and it struck me as a good word that was not deserving of an early grave.

"Gaslight:" ... some occasion to use a little-used term, though in our current era it would seem a rightful, useful word:  

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment, often evoking in them cognitive dissonance and other changes including low self-esteem. Using denial, misdirection, contradiction, and misinformation, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's beliefs. Instances can range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents occurred, to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.
The term originated from the British play Gas Light (1938, but originally performed as Angel Street in the United States) and its 1940 and 1944 film adaptations (both titled Gaslight). The term has been used in clinical psychological literature,[1][2] as well as in political commentary and philosophy.[3]
It was just sort of nice to find that others ran into 'serendipitous' activities (knowing words but not knowing and then all of a sudden, the word flowers to life unbidden.)

Sunday, June 21, 2020

police revisions

Well, it seems I have been put on the local newspaper's shit list since I wrote in a while back and sought to rein in my column-writing duties: Several columns have simply disappeared into the newspaper maw without remark...

Oh well,

Here's the latest un-run maundering:

Strange to think that at the same time others are calling (as in Minneapolis) for the shutdown of their police departments, my son is doing everything he can to get into the police academy in Amherst: He wants to be a cop.
 
He wants to be a cop and I support him. Me, a card-carrying liberal.
 
Why?
 
Because by the time the current chaos shakes out, there is going to have to be someone to keep order and the police, however imperfect, are probably the best instrument of that order. All of the other options I can think of smell of Donald Trump or some religious franchise or of an anarchy that will be more discombobulating than the Covid-19 virus.
 
It’s a little early in the game to say who is best equipped to lead the next parade, but I think it needs to be an entity for everyone. Will this hypothetical leader make mistakes? I think we can count on it – cops (among others) are people too and people make mistakes. OK, so the question is not so much how many, but which mistakes will be made. That, and the willingness to admit to errors where and when they are made.
 
Someone is bound to iron out these wrinkles and I would like to think that my son, mistakes and all, would be part of a ‘solution,’ however fragile. He has wanted to be a police officer for a long time, so … like others … he gets my vote and my best wishes.
 
My son has probably heard enough of my arguments against becoming a cop: every day, you get out of bed suspecting the world – a soul-searing point of view. Now is the time to dive right in. As Winston Churchill once observed, “Democracy is the worst form of government … except for all the rest.”
 
Until someone proposes a more universal solution, I think I will say that cops stand the best chance of helping to turn lemons into lemonade.
 
PS The potential militaristic faux pas may loom large in the police scenario, but compared to the others ... well, it's just a thought.


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

unhappy Americans

As if the world were not already swimming in polls and prognostication, here's another:
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — It’s been a rough year for the American psyche. Folks in the U.S. are more unhappy today than they’ve been in nearly 50 years.
This bold — yet unsurprising — conclusion comes from the COVID Response Tracking Study, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. It finds that just 14% of American adults say they’re very happy, down from 31% who said the same in 2018. That year, 23% said they’d often or sometimes felt isolated in recent weeks. Now, 50% say that.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

skip the news?

It was with a sense of amorphous relief that I heard my friend Dave say that he had pretty much stopped watching the news. Ahhh... I wasn't the only one. The epidemic, sweeping the world, the waxing and waning of transmitted illness. The ills inflicted here and inflicted there -- each pretty much the same and yet pretty different in particulars ... over and over and over again. My mind simply cannot process it all or, when it can, it gets lost as to what country or county or city or minority is involved ... or what good will come from processing it all.

Yesterday, I didn't watch TV at all.

I don't think, judging by the TV today, that I missed anything.

Dave has started watching reprise sporting matches -- tennis, football, baseball and the like -- in other years. As so have I. And movies from 20 years ago.

I am too busy feeling relieved to have company to feel guilty. It used to be that watching the news was part and parcel of my day. Now it is becoming the part and parcel of my not-day.

Moving backwards into game shows and B-movies and ... well, anything that claims little or no current turf. Being depressed or soddened with the "overcome" of it all ... well, why bother? The load is lighter when you unload the "ain't-it-awfuls?"

Monday, June 8, 2020

"the end"

I seem to have loved stories forever. Part of the reason is that stories had a "the end" to append and digest. There's a 'thunk' as the last page is turned, the last sentence read. That's it. That's the end. Finis. Wouldn't it be nice if life were like stories ... compact, wrapped-up, digestible ... something you can hold in the palm of your hand. The end. Complete.

But of course, nothing is ever complete.

When I was a kid, it didn't take me long before I recognized after the Saturday-afternoon movie binge that I wondered about this western or that war movie ... "yeah, but what happened AFTER the end?" after the guy kisses the gal, after the sun sets so perfectly?

Stories have an end. They are as satisfying as a good chocolate mousse. Thunk!

But, but.....

Why can't the satisfying thunk be extended further, into the great out-there of real life? Can't there be an extension of John Wayne's heroic and inspiring good guy who does right?

After the end....

Plato, some say, put the words in his teacher Socrates' mouth: "The unexamined life is not worth living." If this is true, what is life like when life IS worth living?

No thunk, I think. But the nostrum itself is glowing with ... uhhhh.... a cozy thunk-dom.

Oh well....

Friday, June 5, 2020

who will keep order?

An old rule of mine, sometimes badly observed:
Whenever there is a problem, the first thing to do is ... slow down.

And so, at the moment, with tensions of all sorts tugging and nattering, I want everyone to return to a neutral corner. Have a good, wholesome weep. Utter the words you find most compelling and heart-felt.

OK ... got that out of your system?

Now, let's get to work: The emancipation proclamation first given and then rescinded by a white master race said, au fond, "all men are created equal." It is hardly a difficult proposition: "all men are created equal." From muzzle to butt plate, that's it. Equality for blacks, whites, browns, women, men ... tous! All men are created equal.

The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 declared, ' "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."' From that evolved the freedom of all.

Someone has to ask Republicans to take a stand. Where do they stand on "all men are created equal?" If they stand with it, they cannot stand with a twerp like Donald Trump. But wherever they stand, they need to be asked and others need to hear the answer.

All men are created equal.

There are calls today for the trimming of police department budgets. Where will things stand if police are no longer a force to be reckoned with? Doesn't someone have to keep order? Who?

"Equality" is not something anyone really wants, if you look into it a little. But still, let's look into it minus what the Brits call the "whinging." I am, and I suspect others are, sick to death: turn any corner and someone's ox is getting gored, someone else is whinging ... lotsa righteousness in the midst of a huge stasis of feeling.

This blog post has no focus. It is essentially a climbing into my rabbit hole and pulling the hole in after me. I turn the TV on in search of news and then turn it off in order to escape its unfocused ministries.

A black man is lynched with a knee on his throat.
Unemployment that would do a tin-pot dictatorship proud.
Covid19, the epidemic chasing around the world ... runs its undaunted course in silence.
People gather and foregather.
Police take a knee in sympathy for those whose equalities have gone begging.
Donald Trump talks in ever-widening ripples of lies and misstatements and the Republicans who want Trump's monied coat tails say nothing, shoulder no responsibility, lift up no honor, and yet want to be seen as blameless. In my time, cowardice was to be shunned; lying was a bad thing; the 2020  presidential election is seen at a distance.
A dictator hovers in the wings, not quite taking shape as yet.

I have a hunch we're going to need the police ... or if not, then perhaps a dictator of the Martin Luther King Jr. ilk. At the moment, Democrat presidential contender Joe Biden attempts to don the mantle of leadership. A good fellow, but a bit icky. We need a bit more pepper in the stew ... Bernie Sanders and his never-adequately-defined-'socialism' come to mind.

Oh well, time to skim the TV channels ... maybe there's a good rom(ance)com(edy) out there somewhere.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

being hectored

With less and less actual news to report, news anchors and reporters, among others, have resorted to hectoring their listening constituency with virtue and criticism. "Democracy," "transparency," "immorality," "shame," "patriotism," "flag," "we all..." "together," "heroes..." the list goes on and on. Republicans are not heard from at all.

"Hectoring" means to "talk to (someone) in a bullying way." It's tiring. It's too much like Donald Trump himself. Oh, ain't it awful?!

"Hectoring" -- a word I have seldom if ever had occasion to use. I don't like being hectored by either the virtuous or the malign. And I really don't like to see news personnel devolve into a judgment of what they claim to be reporting. I guess news people are about like anyone else -- seeing the potential to lose their jobs, clambering in what may be their death throes to be heard and thought useful or even indispensable.

Treacly, high-school drivel.

one single nut

I hunch that at the core of every spiritual persuasion -- religious and otherwise -- there is a single opalescent nut -- a glowing gem akin to its brothers and sisters elsewhere and yet utterly unique.

It is this nut, in whatever shape and sound it comes, that is the step -- perhaps the last step -- every acolyte or disciple must take. This nut MUST be cracked and it is up to individuals to crack it. Without such action, spiritual persuasions will remain forever immured in books and scriptures and wisdom and enlightenment and ... and... and... utter confusion.

Find the nut and crack it. It's not a group effort. It is an individual effort made by members of a group.

One
single
nut.....

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

a latter-day lynching

On Monday, May 25, 2020, a black man, George Floyd, was strangled to death on camera by a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chavin, who has since the incident been arrested and charged, among other things with "third degree homicide -- a charge that seems to have been made up to fit this incident, but no other. Third degree murder is simply homicide.

The Floyd death has many of the hallmarks of a latter-day lynching.

Floyd's death and the filming of it have loosed a pent-up wrath not just among black citizens. Streets across the country are awash in people of many hues who are sick to death of the crass cruelty meted out not just to blacks but to anyone under Donald Trump's presidential reign. Poverty and the maladministration of justice seem to be at the root. The likelihood that the upper echelons of wealth will be held accountable is small, from where I sit: Let the riff-raff-squabble ... that seems to be the calming hum coming from the choirs with plenty of money as they view those who live pay-check-to-paycheck.

All if this is playing out against a backdrop of corona19 epidemic that has killed hundreds of thousands worldwide and threatens to renew itself even as the rallies persist.

I would be a liar to say I were anything but confused by this tsunami of unrest.

Donald Trump all but (everything is "all but" for him) declared martial law on TV last night. National Guardsmen took a knee in sympathy with the protesters yesterday. The presidential election of 2020 inches closer and closer. The disparity in wealth and poverty hones its edges. I am almost literally afraid to seek out the "news" on TV.

A "latter-day lynching" is what I set out to say as I searched for a period to put on this blog-post sentence. The period refuses to adhere.

Friday, May 29, 2020

hug me, I'm lethal

Across the street, Joe's wife Pat (or anyway I assume it's Pat), has plugged in one of those election lawn signs. It reads, "you are loved." Is that warming? I suppose so. The air is alive with the sounds and sights of what passes for loving kindness. Heaven knows a little relief is warranted as the coastal focus on the corona19 virus shifts away from the coasts and litters the inlands where there is less sex appeal and news organizations are not known for coverage.

A lot of cozy and gushy going on in media and in my neighbor's yard. "You are loved." There are more "heroes" than there are heroes to fill the shoes. Everyone is saying thank you to everyone else. In the midst of a dulling deep freeze, a wisp of warmth. "Courage" is on everyone's lips. "God" lurks and no one asks who might be creating this god.

And now the hard, dull and dulling part kicks in ... the long, slow slog through the unsexy, un-enormous hinterlands of headlines. Everyone's scared to go out and yet petrified of staying in. New York and California have given way to Brazil ... and the United States is stuck with ...?????... Nebraska and Idaho? ... who in the United States even knows where these states are? It's like the Dust Bowl that the coasts ignored because, well, hell, that's out there and it ain't here.

And through it all, Donald Trump is called the "president of the United States." 

In the midst of all this, the presidential election of 2020 edges closer and closer. Where three months ago, that might have been news, now it is hind-tit fodder: Who gives a shit when everyone's wearing a mask and feels pinioned within and without?

A while back, everyone was hoarding toilet paper? I couldn't figure out why then and still can't ... what will hoarded toilet paper do to ease the burden? 

Oh well,  "You are loved."

For some reason, I think Reuters' penchant for printing "recoveries" (a solo act it seems) is important though I'm not sure just why.


Data as of May 29, 2020 6:17 AM (GMT)
Source: Reuters research 

Total COVID-19 cases worldwide
5.82 million
Total COVID-19 deaths worldwide
359,389
Total recoveries worldwide
2.35 million
Highest total cases
United States
1,724,074 cases
Highest death toll
United States
101,372 deaths
Full Global Tracker | U.S. Tracker

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

what if it were enough

What if, instead of wishing more had been accomplished or needed to be accomplished and therefore it were desirable to stay alive ... what if what exists is already enough and it were clearly time to simply hang up the towel?

I hitchhiked across the country twice.
That's enough.
I read perhaps 200 books about the Russian Revolution.
That's enough.
I sang in German and learned to kiss a woman's hand.
Isn't that enough?

Is "more" somehow necessary? Why? Isn't this enough? The cup is full, why keep trying to fill it?

cases and recoveries

Reuters tally:
Total COVID-19 cases worldwide
5.50 million
Total COVID-19 deaths worldwide
345,415
Total recoveries worldwide
2.16 million
Highest total cases
United States
1,667,468 cases
Highest death toll
United States
98,063 deaths

Monday, May 25, 2020

Sunday, May 24, 2020

finally, netanyahu is in court

men imagine, women clean up the mess

Men imagine.
Women clean up the mess.
If not completely true, it's probably close enough to be called true.

Does it matter?
Probably not.
But there is something that seeks out sound bites and nostrums even as it derides them.

Keep it neat.
Keep it clean.
Is anything ever neat and clean?
No way, José!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Hertz, among others, declares bankruptcy

Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection Friday, unable to withstand the coronavirus pandemic that has crippled global travel and with it, the heavily indebted 102-year-old car rental company’s business.
The Estero, Florida-based company’s lenders were unwilling to grant it another extension on its auto lease debt payments past a Friday deadline, triggering the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware....
Under a Chapter 11 restructuring, creditors will have to settle for less than full repayment. Its biggest creditors are banks, but the filing lists IBM, Lyft, United and Southwest Airlines as others owed between $6 million and $23 million each.
Hertz isn’t the first struggling company to be pushed into bankruptcy by the coronavirus crisis. The company joins department store chain J.C. Penney, as well as Neiman Marcus, J.Crew and Stage Stores.

welcome to the age of arson

I think we can look forward to a spike in the number of cases of arson.

Arson is not a crime as perfect as Roald Dahl's imagined wife who clubs her husband to death with a frozen leg of lamb and then feeds the cops who come to investigate, but it has many of the hallmarks of that perfection: the best evidence is consumed by the crime itself.

With hard times in the offing if not upon us, arson offers a payoff that is worth something in a time of little to nothing. The federal government is not supporting the small and middle-sized businesses that buttressed its own sometimes smug being, so burning those bricks and mortar establishments and collecting the insurance has a certain symmetrical justizia.

I think, but don't know, that arson (like putting your head in the oven) was a last-ditch weapon of choice during The Depression. The insurance companies pay off because proving anything is damned near impossible and besides, the payoff money all comes from the small a middle-sized businesses that the recent tax break did not benefit.

The only phrase that comes to mind is, "Slicker -'n' - whale - shit."

Lamb, anyone?

friendless in a friendly world

Doesn't that fill out the picture that is U.S. President Donald Trump?
FRIENDLESS IN A FRIENDLY WORLD