Received in email:
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
A spate of hot, humid days (90+ F) passes sluggishly into the past. Today. my son cut my hair with the clippers and I showered.
In my time, what was once the swelling of a breast displayed discretely in a little decolletage has evolved on TV movies into everything but male genitalia. Naked women, though not common, are now on display here and there. Cuss words are all in order in those same movies -- including the dreaded "fuck," though not, in these days of "black lives matter" sensitivity, the word "nigger."
The Democrat candidate for president, Joe Biden, today chose Kamala Harris, a brown woman from California, to be his running mate. All of the women who were on Biden's list of possible mates were strong people and bound to piss off the incumbent president of the United States, Donald Trump. How nice it is to have Harris, 55, backstopping Biden, 77. The vice-presidential slot is reserved, someone once observed, for a warm bucket of spit ... but it's toasty. She seems like a sharp pencil.
Friday, August 7, 2020
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
-- My diet of late consists largely of cottage cheese, liverwurst, orange juice, Ritz crackers, occasional sweet rolls ... and a few other dribs and drabs of utterly unbalanced ingestions. Last night I had some decent beef. Gobbled it up. And the night before some summer squash/zucchini. A square meal need not be dog food and left-overs.
-- I wear old-fart clothes -- sweat pants, T-shirt, and zip-up cardigan. Since I don't break a sweat, I shower once or twice a week. I seldom go outside.
-- I watch the feeding-frenzy (epidemic) news for as long as I can stand it, but eventually succumb to any old romance-comedy cum canned laughter.
-- I rely on an oxygen pump between fixes of black coffee and cigarettes.
-- I nap.
-- I may be wrong, but I think the word "hero" is blessedly being reduced. \
-- I am sick of newscasters giving me their opinions.
-- And do I look to Zen training for support? Not that I know of.
-- I didn't say any of it would make sense. Just trying to give some sense of one person's pastimes in time of epidemic.
-- I have lain, belly-flat to the earth in the woods, and drunk water that pooled as it sipped from the mountain's edge. A still, slow movement of almost pure black and cool and perhaps tainted by squirrel pestilence or some other, but anyway wet and so smooth as it touched my tongue. I cannot remember if, from that position, the water ran out my nose as it sometimes did for the horses when I would water them. Could I possibly want more than that wondrous touch ... sipping, sipping sipping? Shouldn't everyone be so blessed by such a perfection?
Saturday, August 1, 2020
“Instead of following fast fashion and keep buying new clothes, we hope people can see that old and second-hand clothes can be fashionable if you arrange and combine them in new ways,” said Reef. “This would cause less damage to the earth and the environment.”
And then along came the virus and the preventive masks.
Masks on top of masks.
How was I supposed to be in an honest conversation with someone hiding in this way. Where was the bear-bottom person I blithely assumed I might be talking to?
Now, seven months into the "pandemic," many, if not most, are wearing masks. Since there is little or no contact anyway, the bias failed to get lift-off. Everyone's hidden. And if everyone is hidden, is anyone really any longer "hidden?"
I still don't like it, either as fashion statement or health-provider. Beards.
Where you at????
Yes, yes -- I know: Beards are fashionable as well as being health-reminders. In fashion....
I still don't trust you, whether or not you play sports.
As I say -- not serious. Just nudging ... like my old stand-by's about people with blue eyes or blond hair ... weak.
What a lot of tripe my mind confects.
PS. A spate of hot weather lately ... 80's into the 90's F. And humid in large measure. Hurricanes are brewing between Africa and the Caribbean and the plain old flu season lurks. Thank goodness the air conditioning hasn't yet gone down. Poverty creeps and nips up the economic ladder. Jobs are lost. Financial safety nets are withdrawn.
Keep your eyes on the prize ... George Bush and then Donald Trump accomplished the one thing the wealthy wanted -- a reduction in taxes. Everything else is eyewash.
Friday, July 31, 2020
Monsanto has taken over tomatoes. Tomatoes are now perfectly red and ripe and.... PHONY!
A real tomato is the kind of orb that was once boosted from a neighbor's yard, bitten into and then posed the problem of trying to figure out how to clean up the dribble-and-drooze that dripped down onto the white shirt I insisted on putting on this year ... again.
Monsanto or other likely suspects have created a thick-skinned-no-juiced thing that a migrant worker might have picked with delicacy, but a machine can pick quicker (thick skin). People actually buy this shit as if it were a "tomato." Yes, Virginia, big farma has caught you by the short hairs.
No doubt there's a link between Trump and the lousy tomatoes in my supermarket. Of all the D.C. scams and hi-jinx, tomatoes (in season) burn my torches most brightly.
Wish I had the savvy and energy to track it all down and find a box/basket for Donald Trump in his next lifetime.
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
... The advent of advertising and the fresh-off-the-frying-pan summation of advertising as an exercise in the attempt to
... get people to buy things they don't need.... Imagine that -- knowing what you actually need and then going to the store and buying that thing. Period.
What would stores look like? What would rows and rows of more and more stuff become? What would anyone's life be like without the advertising assault? Just buy what you decide you need and can afford and then move on.
But, but, but ... the mind is so awash in advertising these days that imagining life without it seems ... well ... unimaginable.
My neighbor Joe once went to Kenya with his church group to help build school houses and dig wells. He took two suit cases with him. When he returned several months later, he had one. "I didn't need all that stuff," he said of the satisfying lessons he learned among those who had less than he did.
Try spending a day -- hell! half a day -- without buying anything you don't need. Imagine a day without advertising of any sort.
In the early days of advertising, I once sent a quarter to a radio ad address that offered wildflower seeds. In my youth, I thought that if I sent the quarter, they might delete the ad and stop interrupting the soap operas I liked listening to. Count me as an early sucker, obviously, though there was less followup junk mail than there is these days.
Try it ... go to the store. Buy what you need. Go home.
Monday, July 27, 2020
The best democracy money can buy?Big corporations accused of driving environmental and health inequalities in black and brown communities through toxic and climate-changing pollution are also funding powerful police groups in major US cities, according to a new investigation.Trump is using federal agents as his 'goon squad', says Ice's ex-acting head. Some of America’s largest oil and gas companies, private utilities, and financial institutions that bankroll fossil fuels also back police foundations – opaque private entities that raise money to pay for training, weapons, equipment, and surveillance technology for departments across the US. The investigation by the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit corporate and government accountability research institute, and its research database project LittleSis, details how police foundations in cities such as Seattle, Chicago, Washington, New Orleans and Salt Lake City are partially funded by household names such as Chevron, Shell and Wells Fargo.
Sunday, July 26, 2020
I look for suicides, if anyone's computing such things, to rise up in the same way it did during the Depression-era 1930's and might at that time be noticed en passant by such as the Philidelphia Inquirer, which I once consulted on another matter. Heads in the oven seemed, at that time, to make good one- or two-paragraph filler.
-- I might have made a more easy person in this life if I had sat at the head of someone's table -- you know, the table at which the man sits at the head and rules, has rigidities understood and acceded to. It is easier to acknowledges class and stature than to attempt to leap over the class boundary. The older I get, the more I am convinced there are, in fact, classes in this society. Not good, not bad, just classes because there is not enough time or capacity to go-classless so to speak. Believing in classes is as ridiculous as not-believing in them. The movie "Heaven's Gate," however imperfect, put me in mind of this.
-- I slept much of this day away. It's another -- five? six? seven? -- hot and humid one. Blessedly, the air-conditioning has gone off only tick-tock briefly. Humidity brings me to my knees. How did we survive without air conditioning in the brick-oven of Manhattan before air-conditioning?
-- In a blip of television yesterday, a nun-actress accuses a priest-actor of "arrogance" in his profession. "Arrogance" may not be pitch-perfect as a descriptor, but it's pretty damned close when it comes to religion.
No insult intended: Give it a chance, and anything can be arrogant.
Saturday, July 25, 2020
"... and if you must spit, spit in the corner."
Is it too soon or too arrogant to raise up yet another cry/whinge/plaint "Bring back spittoons?" Or does it clash too forcefully with the bling nation we are being weaned away from as the flu epidemic drowns the world?
By deploying troops in Portland, Ore., as of late, Donald Trump has substituted his brand of fascism for Bernie Sanders' unexamined "socialism." Just a quirk, I suppose. I think Trump had always wanted a fascist role model, but I think he struck too soon. There's too much push-back. Yes, the lords will be lords and the peasants will be relegated to the role of peasants, but will Trump emerge as the latest Duce?
Someone has to give Trump a door to walk through ... to lose the presidential election Nov. 3, while seeming or claiming to win. This is spittin' material, I wot.
Friday, July 24, 2020
Passed along in email ... long-ish, but a hell of a read.
Mario Escamilla was furious. A colleague of his, nicknamed Porky, had just stolen his jug of raisin wine. So the 33-year-old Escamilla grabbed a rifle and set out to reclaim it. He had no idea he was about to get tangled up in one of the knottiest homicides in history—a killing that also raises serious questions about how humankind should handle the first, inevitable murder in outer space.
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
HERO .... and ... NORMAL.
People who currently go to work, if you ask them, are likely to say they go to work because they have to work .... they need the money ... they have bills to pay ... hero-ism is bullshit for others to wave around as if they knew what they were talking about. If, at the one extreme, death is an act of heroism, then every graveyard counts. Anyone can die ... get over it! Whimper, whine, piss and moan ... get over it. There is nothing heroic in death. There is only death ... or birth... or life. Get...over... it. Stop dragging others down with words like "hero."
And as to "normal" -- isn't it time to recalibrate that word. Normal as is boutiques and bling and tea shops and pinch pottery and art displays perused by woeful, thoughtful thin women and small cups of strong coffee that cost too much and clothing people only wear once, if at all, and large plates with small-smaller-smallest-but-or-so-arty displays of 'gourmet' food that leave a hungry man hungry and toreador pants with a new name in a new time and rising neck lines to match rising pandemic lines ....
JUST CLOSE THE SCHOOLS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR. ALL OF THEM. NATIONWIDE.
MANDATE MASKS. NATIONWIDE.
WILL THERE BE LOSSES? YES THERE WILL. AND BLOOD AS WELL. AND A GOOD DEAL OF SANITY. DO IT ANYWAY AND STOP LOLLIGAGGING. YES, I DON'T WANT TO DIE, BUT, AS ABOVE ... GET OVER IT.
RE-FUND THE POLICE. IS THERE A DANGER OF FASCISM? YES THERE IS BUT THE FASCISM IS PROBABLY PREFERABLE TO THE RELIGIOUS MALFEASANCE THAT MIGHT OTHERWISE BE APPLIED UNDER THE LABEL OF 'HEALING.' WHEN THE EPIDEMIC IS OVER -- OR TAMED OR WHATEVER IT IS GOING TO BE -- THERE WILL BE A NEED FOR A UNIFYING FORCE. EVERYONE .... EVERYONE WANTS TO BE SAFE AND THE COPS ARE THE BEST OF WHAT MAY BE SEEN AS A BAD BARGAIN. BROWN, PINK, BLACK, WOMAN, MAN ... EVERYONE WANTS TO BE SAFE. NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO BE A CHRISTIAN OR JEW OR MUSLIM OR HINDU OR BUDDHIST OR WHATEVER-THE-FUCK-ALL. WHICH IS WORSE, ASSUMING SOME SORT OF LEADERSHIP IS WARRANTED? -- POLICE FASCISM OR RELIGIOUS FASCISM?
SO WHAT'S NORMAL?
I HAVE NO CLUE, BUT IT ISN'T PINCH POTTERY AND COFFEE SHOPS AND BOUTIQUES. MAYBE, FOR STARTERS, IT IS TIME TO GET THE BALL ROLLING WITH
CLOSE THE SCHOOLS.
CLOSE ALL SCHOOLS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR. NO EXCEPTIONS. FUND FRAZZLED PARENTS. FUND, WHERE POSSIBLE, THOSE WHO WILL LOSE THEIR SHIRTS IN THIS BLOOD-LETTING. KEEP THE FASCISM TO A MINIMUM ... WHATEVER THAT MAY MEAN.
RE-INSTITUTE SPANKINGS FOR THOSE RUNNING AROUND SPREADING DISEASE. SERIOUS SPANKINGS. S-E-R-I-O-U-S.
Monday, July 20, 2020
And you thought "Breaking Bad" was something new, novel and wondrous.
Methamphetamines in World War IIDuring World War II, German pharmaceutical company Temmler marketed methamphetamine tablets as a nonprescription drug under the brand name Pervitin.
Methamphetamine triggers a response in the body that’s similar to adrenaline, heightening alertness and a willingness to take risks.
Japanese, U.S., British and German military personnel are reported to have used the stimulant to enhance endurance and ward off fatigue on long campaigns.
Kamikaze pilots received high doses of Pervitin before suicide flight missions. Japanese factory workers also used methamphetamine to work longer hours.
The German army ordered front-line soldiers and fighter pilots to take military-issued stimulants that contained a combination of methamphetamine and cocaine.
NEW YORK (AP) — After changing its usage rules last month to capitalize the word “Black” when used in the context of race and culture, The Associated Press on Monday said it would not do the same for “white.”The AP said white people in general have much less shared history and culture, and don’t have the experience of being discriminated against because of skin color.
Sunday, July 19, 2020
Saturday, July 18, 2020
[No more lollygagging. No more knicker-twisting. No more playing the liberal version of Donald Trump, pretending either that it doesn't exist or that analysis would make things better.]Don't you wish someone would come along with a wet cloth -- as once at the end of a grade school day in the class room -- and erase everything written so far ... and replace it with?1. Everyone has to wear a mask. Period.
2. Schools will not open this year. Period.
3. Harried and cash-strapped parents will be subsidized.
4. Lying will be tagged as such.
I, like a lot of others, I suspect, am exhausted by all the analysis and reporting and drum-beating and squishy shit ... quit fucking around. Just do it. There's probably a lot more to be said, but this'll do for a start. Stop dithering. It solves nothing to suggest a solution is anywhere in the offing.
Wear a mask.
Don't open schools this year.
Finance those who are up against the financial wall ... just do it.
Yesterday, Elizabeth and Olivia, my wife and daughter respectively, went to the funeral home to work out the details of coping with 1. this dead body when it arrives; 2. and Elizabeth's, when it arrives. It's nice to think that as many wrinkles as possible would be ironed out in advance. Somebody's got to pick up the body. Somebody's got to burn it. Somebody's (possibly) got to spread the ashes ... mine, with luck, at Angel Falls in Ashfield ... north of here. I didn't pick it for the name, but rather because it's a beautiful, running-water place.
OK ... one more thing out of the way.
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Monday, July 13, 2020
I hate Facebook.
I have done so for years. Its promises of closeness and connection are diametrically opposed to the resulting separations that are nourished. Yes, people need to get rich, but the lies they employ while on that quest ... it's like a spoonful of castor oil. Yuck and ick.
It has taken me a while to get used to hearing people talking outside the front door and to peek into the street and see a single person talking into his or her (phone-holding) hand. If there ever were a social-distancing tool (the kind recommended in the current flu epidemic) Facebook is it.
But people are used to it. It's the new wave. It's up-to-date. And it's bullshit. The 'friends' and 'connections' Facebook pretends to usurp are weak tea beside the touch of a hand or lips. People -- flesh and blood people -- are left out of Facebook's equations.
I awoke and the confusion began: Had I just slept through the night or just completed a nap?
Since I am accustomed to knowing what day of the week or hour of the day I inhabit, this felt like a royal clusterfuck: Should I be craving breakfast or dinner? An old habit -- being accustomed to things and then finding the accustoming is entirely -- what? -- "arbitrary" perhaps. I wasn't especially hungry for anything.
Oh well, the sun straightened things out a bit ... as did the computer clock. It's Monday morning, chillun, and time for a doughnut and a bit of orange juice and half a banana. It's straightened out and yet now the shadow of the "arbitrary" haunts the "accustomed" realm.
Those more glued-together will find all of this a quaint matter, one that can be brushed aside ... a fogie moment. Strange to get so accustomed to being accustomed and meanwhile ... meanwhile everything is wobbly, to say the least.
As the Buddhists say, all compound things come apart. Being accustomed is a matter of compounding: It's Monday because the sun rises in the East and the garbage cans are out. I am accustomed to it. And yet that custom moves on shaky limbs.
Suck it up, Sally!
Sunday, July 12, 2020
Well now, I don't need to wonder and fiddly-fuck around any more.
My friend Dave passed along a New York Times article that does all the work and then some. No need for me to put my oar in the water. Just a very damned good article (minimal 'democracy' prating and whinging): I feel that I can rest easy even if the article did appear in what I consider the general arrogance-maw of the New York Times:
Muzzle to butt plate, in the words of the old movie "Babe," the article sums things up:
"That'll do, pig."
Saturday, July 11, 2020
Today, his name is almost entirely absent from those headlines. Such is the nature of the flu epidemic that has consumed the world.
Well, it couldn't happen to a nicer fellow.
And behold, I am old. Inside, of course, I am 35 and full of piss and vinegar... full of smug, male plans and nostrums. But photos don't lie and ... well ... voila! I am old and have the evidence to prove it. Reminds me of one of my life's all-time favorite lines uttered by Mary Gizzy (no shit) about a woman not present: "She's ugly and her mother dresses her funny."
Ugly and his mother dresses him funny.
The sign above the graveyard reads:
As you are nowPhoto evidence calls into question my interior sense of a person without wrinkles and weakness. I wonder where wrinkles go when they want to take a break. Anyway, I have a haircut and it's as close as I am ever likely to come to the shaven head of a monk.
So once were we.
As we are now,
So you shall be.
OK... I've 'fessed up now.
Wrinkles ... and, with my teacher (who is dead), I am old.
Friday, July 10, 2020
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a large part of eastern Oklahoma remains a Native American reservation, a decision state and federal officials warn could throw the entire state into chaos.
The court’s 5-4 decision, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, means that Oklahoma prosecutors lack the authority to pursue criminal cases against Native American defendants in parts of Oklahoma that include most of Tulsa, the state’s second-largest city.
“On the far end of the Trail of Tears was a promise,” Gorsuch wrote in a decision on Thursday, joined by the court’s liberal members. “Forced to leave their ancestral lands in Georgia and Alabama, the Creek Nation received assurances that their new lands in the west would be secure forever ... Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian [Native American] reservation for purposes of federal criminal law. Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word.”