Monday, April 6, 2020

so, about the 'so' syndrome

When I was a kid, lo these many eons gone by, stuttering was considered an "impediment" that sufferers attempted to overcome. Stop saying "unhhhhh."

The same was true for news reporting -- stop adding on the largely-bullshit connectives like
"meanwhile." Keep things thin, trim and direct.

Nowadays, the tables have turned and people are positively flocking to the use the the bullshit connective "so....." Each declarative sentence is prefaced by the word "so." It sounds good and it means nothing whose vacuum stuttering sought to fill.

So ... today I did nothing much of anything. So, I slept, of course. So I ate. So the excitement of my day was filled with opportunities to tack the word "so" onto perfectly understandable sentences. Talking heads of all stripes -- news, non-news, etc. -- all participate.

How're things going?

Er, unhhhhhh, meanwhile ....


Friday, April 3, 2020

romcom alley

Quite independent of each other, my Zen friend Dave and I have both limited ourselves to one or two dips daily into the Coronavirus epidemic. News is routinely the same. Deaths/Shortages/and a yearning it might all end. Talking heads are running out of talking. Why bother?

Dave also said that he did a little zazen or zen meditation and it helped to clear the cobwebs.

What does anyone know when they know "more?" In what way are they lacking when they know
"less?" Is a splinter under a fingernail any less irksome for a well- or ill-informed individual?

And Dave and I swapped tales of the romcoms we have found to while away the time ... seriously.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

news wrap on epidemic

This is as good a wrap as any I've seen... or can stand.
Sent the following to my local paper today.
OK, we're in it for the long haul ... like a rug burn... the Corona virus. But if others are anything like me, they are tiring fast of the endless welter of epidemic stories and it's time for a change-up.

As for example, the resurrection of the I.D. column that once sketched out a reader and his or her background. It might be called "B. C." or Before Corona. Readers might write (and thus take pressure off reporting staff) about some aspect of their lives ... prodded by a Gazette suggestion, eg. "stuff my grandmother told me" or "my most valuable lesson" ... anything that was NOT knicker-twisting about the epidemic. The writers would be ordinary people (not the obvious do-good, yogurt and yoga and political talking heads.) Some people are nuts about collecting Hummel figures; some love horses more than they love people; some learned good lessons; some learned hard ones; everyone's got a favorite color or a secret love ... make a form that would pose the questions and let the readers have at it. Once or twice or thrice a week.

Just a suggestion.

adam fisher

Don't we all wish it were just April Fools?!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020


No one can remain breathless forever.

The shock and gloom and fear and frazzled shows on the persona of the national newscasters. Capped teeth and perfect smiles wear thin fast. The tits and teeth don't inject needed oxygen.

There is sickness, there is death, the economy is tanking, but the news stays pretty much the same ... gloom, and ... repeat as necessary.

Like others, I am in a lockdown that is more or less self-imposed. Future death rates in the U.S. are put at a potential 200,000, a number that seems enormous at the moment.

The fear is fed by the fear is fed by the fear.....

My sister Revan sent along this New Yorker cover in honor of my birthday a while back.
The news programming is so keyed by Donald Trump's herding and insults that they are lost in minutiae that are understandable and bite-sized. Trump himself has been relegated to back-burner status. He simply is not credible or useful. The TV listens to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The TV listens to Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York. These are credible men, or at any rate more credible than Donald Trump.

Everywhere, workaday hospitals are cropping up. Everywhere there are shortages of equipment and personnel. Everywhere, death tolls mount. Italy is in lockdown. Everywhere, the silence reigns serene as a plump cat. Everywhere people wonder if there is an actual "when" in "when I wake up."

The election for president is scheduled in November. The election ballyhoo that presaged this moment is left hanging forlorn on some distant branch. Bernie Sanders, whose 'socialism' once guided the wind, is ...well, I have no idea where he is.

Yesterday, I told my younger son to be aware of where his pistol might be. People who confiscate weapons have a way of aiming those weapons at the people who surrendered them.

Today I sent a note to my daughter saying it might be a good time to learn another language -- Spanish, possibly, at the easy end; Chinese at the other end of the easy spectrum. One word per day.

PS: Civil liberties.

Friday, March 27, 2020

the epidemic

Washing hotel patrons' loose change
The first ticklings of the current Coronavirus-19 epidemic that has frightened and paralyzed much of the world, was first noticed, as I get it, in late December of 2019 in Wuhan, China. It has since spread to ... well, to damn near everywhere. The spread of the disease halted much of whatever giggling was going on in the beamer and baubles crowd and anyone else who might have taken notice.

Somewhat to my surprise, the end-of-the-world, God'll-get-you-for-that constituency has remained relatively silent. In fact, although there may be prayers galore from those inclined to pray, it seems not to have affected or afflicted the mainstream ... yet. Maybe these people are saving up their toldjaso's for another time.

Donald Trump, the liar in chief of the most powerful nation on earth, must be miffed as a wet cat that he can't buy his way out of this one. As president, he is tits on a bull as the election rush of 2020 segues into background noise. He is not a leader and is not a consequential informer. Mostly, if I get it right, he is ignored in favor of scientists who seem to know which way is "up." People are frightened ... no proximity with those whose proximity is longed for; not enough equipment for those who desperately need equipment; patients clogging hospital hallways; deaths mounting among those -- especially the elderly -- with underlying heart and lung conditions.

During WWI, I believe I read, more American soldiers crammed into troop ships and bound for Europe were killed by the "Spanish flu" than died on any subsequent battlefield and the leaders of the U.S. knew it was happening. Proximity then like proximity now ... oy vey.

My younger son returned from his job as a hospital security guard last night to announce he had come into contact with someone who was infected. I am not worried. When you think of the number of transmitters available (think money, for example), is there really an opposite to "proximate?"

Were the upscale hotels prescient or priggish when they washed patrons' loose change?

PS. it's March 27, 2020. Green is beginning to warm the trees on this spring-like day. There has been exactly one snow storm of any consequence this year.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

northampton photo

Northampton where I live is a town (technically a city) full of jim-crack stores selling 'hand-crafted' bric-a-brac and things like "artisan bread." It is the home of Smith College and enough lawyers and shrinks to choke a horse. It is, or at least once was, considered a place friendly towards homosexual women.

Photo taken today at about 3 p.m. outside a once-movie-theater-converted-to-concert-venue:

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

uppity twerp

Do not stand idly in the wood.
Walk freely into the clearing and stretch out long.
Greet the sky as the sky greets you
And admire the certainty of your shadow.

Shadows are uppity as a teen.
So assured yet blind to the light
That makes the long, long lines
Of light-time dance and stretch.

Stretch out long and greet.
Soon enough the shadows reach
And stretch and cuddle in the light.
Uppity and assured,
Shake your booty
And laugh a little
Like the light.

Soon enough, the gloaming reaches
Out to touch and meld and weld and ...
And the and's are and-erful.
Uppity in the woods
Uppity in the clearing.

Shake the shadows from your fur
And greet until, perhaps, some
Future shadow makes its rounds.

Uppity twerp!

Monday, March 23, 2020

the Dhammapada

Strange how "The Dhammapada" rings true so many years later:
It is not what others do or do not do that is my concern.
It is what I do and do not do -- that is my concern.
I guess it is easy to be smart and open when everything feels so enclosed and stupid.

Just now, my wife returned (9 a.m.) from work feeling poorly (headache, shits...) -- a strange admission from a hard-working lady. Strange how those on the fringes of sickness may be repulsed by the medical arena near which they find themselves. Hard work and absolution have nothing to do with anything

The epidemic continues apace if the TV is to be believed. Corona virus-19 is here and now. Shortages of front-line medical equipment (masks, ventilators, gowns, hospital beds, etc.) are a constant plaint from states across the country. U.S. President Donald Trump retreats, slump-shouldered from a podium on which he seems to understand in part that his leadership is second-rate at best.

It is as if there were a sign over Trump's head: "No blowhards need apply." Lies and misstatements simply can no longer be tolerated. A frightened public awaits the scientists. Guys like Trump are out of order and, with luck, out of gas.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

I wonder if your grandma might opine...

"S/he's so stupid s/he thinks "more" is "better."

As the quarantine takes its bite from state to state -- stay inside, avoid close contacts, cough or sneeze into your elbow, wash your hands, never mind going to work -- the juxtapositions of life rise up. Actions don't ameliorate; inaction doesn't absolve. The ads for cars and jewelry haunt the TV airwaves. Newscasters look increasingly desperate for something to say. What if...what if...what if we were all just well and truly fucked?

The president of the United States slumps as he steps away from a podium he had peopled just moments before. He knows his bloviations just don't cut it. People are afraid, and he is a part of a fearful problem ... and he knows it as listeners heed the scientists on the dais at his side and ignore his half-assed meanderings and makes promises he can not and will not fulfill. China, where the outbreak of coronavirus 19 was initially addressed a couple of weeks ago, seems to be on the mend to some extent, but Italy is locked down and other Europeans look to follow suit.

Schools, churches, businesses, Democrats, Republicans, children, adults ... it is a fearsome thing when everyone agrees on everything.

Across the street here, my neighbor Mike enters his house toting a large, plastic-wrapped package of toilet paper. Twenty-four rolls, perhaps. Whole lot of shit coming down, literally and metaphorically. Cafes are empty. The neon lights invite as once before, but there is no one in the streets to heed.

Just look at this ring ... an opal or diamond or sapphire and it's oh-so-carefully crafted; and how about
this vitamin that improves memory or breathing... a luxury car for your delectation. The TV ads cast a preposterous glow.

I woke "this morning" with some pep in a half-light outdoors. But, wouldn't you know it, the half-light was the half-light of sundown, not sun up. But it was too late by the time I understood. By then I had washed some dishes, made a cup of coffee and wondered why the hell I was the only one up and about. It's a good thing I turned 80 and feel somewhat 'excused' from being sane or well-rounded or full of understanding. Not being an asshole is an old reality, a shadow of a shadow.

Friday, March 20, 2020

pandemic .... again ... and.... again

In the darkness of early morning, a few lights adorn the lowest level of the mostly two-storey houses on my street. No one likes being shut in and, around the world, "shut-in" is an operative term as the "pandemic" that is COVID-19 flows here and there.

In Florida, colleges students on what might have been "spring break" frolic on the shores of a placidly-lapping gulf. It's older people most in danger, the news feeds insist. Pre-existing heart and lung problems ... well, Nellie bar the door! Many have died. Many have survived.

In Europe, Parisians and others tied to their domiciles, open the windows and sing their thanks to the "first-responders" ... garbage, ambulance, cops, and even some military. Someone's got to put their ass on the line and there are people willing to do so ... thank you very much.

Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York (state), has become a touchstone for those of us exhausted by the non-news news channels. Why he rings true, I'm not sure, but I know I was captivated as I listened to him ... and pissed as a red ant when NBC superimposed some 20-something reporter explaining Cuomo's encouragements. Cuomo and Trump ... what a pair ... Trump receding like a fart in a windstorm... well, never mind ... he did what the Republicans wanted him to do -- get 'em another tax break.

The garbage man came yesterday, a day or two out of synch. No one is shooting yet. Wall Street and its money launderings ... ah well .....

My wife goes to work, doing hospital intake on elderly exercises.
My younger son goes to work at a hospital 20 miles to the north. As a security guard waiting for an appointment to a police academy that can punch his working ticket.

I stay inside.
I am 80.
But not dead yet.

Shut down New York. Shut down California.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

more ,'n', more

The tale of a coronavirus pandemic is so rife that my older son told me he had sworn off social media a couple of times. Not a conversation or bit of information seems to arise without some reference to a disease that has swept the globe. There is no where to turn, no where to run. The I'm-never-going-to-die presumption of the young and healthy and millennial has run smack into the potential for infection, which is said to be disproportionately dangerous for the very young and those elderly people disposed to pre-existing conditions.

On the highway, when my wife and I went for a drive this morning around nine, there were few cars, though it's a Christian rest day. Hunkered and bunkered and the TV is full of one bit of frazzled news or another. Schools are closed, large gatherings like sporting events have been blockaded, Italy is on lockdown, and kids who may get their one good meal per day in school are under threat. People are advised to wash and rewash their hands and yet ... imagine it ... money is touched by a thousand thousand hands....

Donald Trump is lost in the muddle. His braggadocio looks weak. His lack of willingness or capacity to lead are shown up in the shadows of scientific facts. His willingness to find someone else to blame falls flat. Crowds are frowned on and yet everywhere there are crowds -- at airports and other venues. Proximity is contraindicated and yet huddling together is the longing.

It reminds me of a time in the army when the one thing that really scared me was a gas attack -- when the very air was rife with threat. News outlets are filled with a whole lot of nothing to say. News casters strain mightily, but ... it just doesn't work. No one knows. There's no buying our way out of sickness and death.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

backing up the next man

There were three of us crammed into an single cubicle. Everyone was white. I was in my first paying job since leaving the army -- a job at a book publishing house in New York. The three of us were all trainees. The two other guys were ragging me on the sly. The Vietnam police action was almost over. The tide had shifted. Getting out of Vietnam was in the wind.

"If I were in the army, in combat" one said, "I know just what I'd do. I'd run away."

And that simple line was as much as I was prepared to swallow. "If you ran away," I said to all and sundry, "I would be happy to shoot you in the back."

I don't know if that were true or not, but I did know that in dire circumstances each man had to rely on the next -- I on you, you on me -- and running away was not an option. Color, sex, belief system ... none of it mattered: What mattered was that each backed up the next.

My words brought a silence to our cubicle.

I did not apologize.

And still don't.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

shake, rattle and roll ...pandemic

A hundred years ago, in 1918, it was being withheld from the U.S. electorate that the "Spanish Flu" killed more American soldiers enroute to World War I than the war itself claimed. I read that somewhere and, given the crowded conditions of the troop ships, it seems credible. "Spainsh flu," like the current flu "pandemic," claimed a lot of lives, including that of my mother's mother when she, my mother, was 2. My mother spent her life yearning.                                                                                

But now there is the internet and the dizzying tsunami of facts and figures spills out of the TV screen. Perhaps a month ago, an outbreak of coronavirus was reported in China. Today, Italy is locked down, schools are closed, the stock market has taken a 2,000+ pasting and those who rely on schools to feed their kids are in limbo.

Donald Trump, the impeached president of the United States, is preparing to run against either Bernie Sanders -- a "socialist" Democrat on the cutting edge of global warming, health-care for all, infrastructure repair, free secondary education and a host of other issues about which the college educated cannot be bothered to look up the word "socialist"-- and Joe Biden, former vice president to Barack Obama ... a warming septuagenarian whose challenges are less challenging.

The times have been rife with political chaff. Once, Elizabeth Warren was a female candidate and Senator from Massachusetts who was squoze out, as were Amy Klobachar and Pete Bouttgieg, the latter of whom I favored (gay marriage in an age when having outsider credentials counts.) I liked Elizabeth Warren but a niggling voice in my mind said, "She's too smart." The next president is going to spend at least a year undoing the  Washington Post estimated 16,200+ lies and misstatements Trump has perpetrated since he assumed the presidency with his promise to "drain the swamp." Behind the scenes Trump is setting the stage so that he might say, "I told you I'd end the war in Afghanistan ... and I did. Only of course, he didn't.

A "pandemic." People are getting hurt ... can't go to work ... basketball playoffs on track... but no crowds... streets empty .... and where is Monty Python now that we really need him: "Bring out your dead!"

The other end of the telescope. No touching. Wash your hands. Wash 'em again.

"Pandemic" -- and here we are in the 14th or whatever century.


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

melting the heart

How easy it is to melt this heart and yet strange how much of this life is spent hardening it.

For my birthday, like a single snooker ball rolling over smooth. green baize...

A bunch of white and purple flowers ... the one mixed amid the other. Delicate. Delicious.

One card that "remembers you when you were 5."

And another anonymous card, ever so neatly lettered  asking if I remember blackboards.

I wish I knew the sender's identity. The picture melts my heart. How? I suppose it just wants to be melted.

Monday, March 9, 2020


Happy eightieth birthday.

I want, therefore I am

A room of soft whips, perhaps.

There are lashes and gashes from time to time, of course, but generally, soft whips of wanting.

I want (not "I think"), therefore I am.

Thursday, March 5, 2020


Fluttering, flittering....

My local newspaper, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, hardly contains news. What it contains is rafts of solutions (lawyers, shrinks and other feel-gooders) in search of a problem. Press releases abound.

News, I have decided to decide, is shot. The media have bowed to the format of talk-talk-talking ... about a future they cannot predict. Everyone needs to put spaghetti on the table, but these guys and gals are really idiotic.

The best I can figure is abject surrender. I give up.

Get rid of the talking heads.


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

counsel from an earlier time...

... not quite sure where or when or who, but this snippet of an earlier American etiquette floats to mind:

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

who's a liberal?

Passed along in email:
January 24 at 5:41 AM
“I'm a liberal, but that doesn't mean what a lot of you apparently think it does. Let's break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I'm getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: not every liberal is the same, though the majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines:
1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. PERIOD.
2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that's interpreted as "I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all." This is not the case. I'm fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it's impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes "let people die because they can't afford healthcare" a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I'm not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen.
3. I believe education should be affordable. It doesn't necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I'm mystified as to why it can't work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt.
4. I don't believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don't want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can't afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist.
5. I don't throw around "I'm willing to pay higher taxes" lightly. If I'm suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it's because I'm fine with paying my share as long as it's actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare.
6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion-dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn't have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live.
7. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. (BTW, prayer in school is NOT illegal; *compulsory* prayer in school is - and should be - illegal). All I ask is that Christians recognize *my* right to live according to *my* beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I'm not "offended by Christianity" -- I'm offended that you're trying to force me to live by your religion's rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law on you? That's how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don't force it on me or mine.
8. I don't believe LGBT people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the *same* rights as you.
9. I don't believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN'T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they're supposed to be abusing, and if they're "stealing" your job it's because your employer is hiring illegally). I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc).
10. I don't believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It's not that I want the government's hands in everything -- I just don't trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products/practices/etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they're harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation.
11. I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I've spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past.
12. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege -- white, straight, male, economic, etc. -- need to start listening, even if you don't like what you're hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that's causing people to be marginalized.
13. I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. What I am interested in is the enforcement of present laws and enacting new, common sense gun regulations. Got another opinion? Put it on your page, not mine.
14. I believe in so-called political correctness. I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you're using, you now know better. So why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person?
15. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else.
16. I believe that women should not be treated as a separate class of human. They should be paid the same as men who do the same work, should have the same rights as men and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be?
I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I'm a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn't mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don't believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.”

Monday, February 24, 2020

time is a convenience

Now and then, as now, after a nice meal of beef and rice and lima beans, I bask and glimmer like some piece of volcanic glass. I am almost 80 and eight is one of my numbers. What does it mean that it is "mine?" I don't know, but it is shiny and not yet really proud. Somehow it bristles quietly and black.

Time snickers forward and back in pinholes of brightness cast by a dancehall ball above the swooping herd. The gas station attendant appears in the driver's side wineshield and spits idly in the driver's face, the better to clean the random bug guts collected along a cross-country road. These days spit might be frowned-upon -- "nowadays," a time when a million solutions running hither and yon in search of an unnecessary problem.

Now-a-days. Then-a-days.

Time of time.

Time is a convenience, not yet a fact.

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.....