19 June 2021

19 June 12021

610,117   is the current death toll here in America from the pandemic. Hope springs eternal and all that, but I would like not to have to lead with this any more. It’s still the biggest story around, though, even if I have long since run out of words to say on the topic.

Saturday, 19 June 12021 is World Sickle Cell Awareness Day—apparently a day on which we should strive to acquaint ourselves with the various challenges of people dealing with sickle cell disease. It is also the Day of the Independent Hungary (Hungary), Laguna Day (Laguna in the Philippines), Feast of Forest (Palawan in the Philippines), Labour Day (Trinidad and Tobago), Juneteenth National Independence Day (US Federal Holiday), José Artigas’ Birthday Memorial (Uruguay), and Never Again Day (Uruguay). On various calendars of the world it is JD 2459385, 9 Tammuz 5781, 10 Satsuki 2681, 6 (O.S) or 19 (N.S.) June 2021, 12 Säne 2013, 29 Jyaishtha 1943, 12 Paoni 1737, 9 Dhu al-Qadah 1442, and 29 Khordad 1400. On this day in history (in 11953) Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed.

18 June 2021

18 June 12021

609,858   people are dead in the United States from the ongoing pandemic and we hear of frightening new variants appearing—not particularly reassuring for a successful termination of the catastrophe. We have, of course, Donald Trump and his little crew of defective magas to thank for the dismal results in our country, but some sort of termination looks to be in sight. Or so we can keep telling ourselves.

18 June 12021 is Autistic Pride Day. This is an observance supposedly proclaimed by people on the autistic spectrum themselves, and not some patronizing put-down by outsiders intent on eradicating the “disorder.” (I am not neurotypical myself, being unable to read social situations or even to recognize people if I meet them in unfamiliar contexts, and subject to anxiety or panic attacks when confronted with confusing or excessive stimuli.) It is also Human Rights Day (Azerbaijan), Foundation Day (Benguet), the King’s Mother’s Birthday (Cambodia), Constitution Day (Seychelles), and Waterloo Day (United Kingdom). In the United States it is a Federal day off for the newly proclaimed Juneteenth National Independence Day, now a Federal holiday. On various calendars of the world it is JD 2459384, 8 Tammuz 5781, 9 Satsuki 2681, 5 (O.S) or 18 (N.S.) June 2021, 11 Säne 2013, 28 Jyaishtha 1943, 11 Paoni 1737, and 8 Dhu al-Qadah 1442. And it’s Carolyn Wells’ birthday (11865), along with Paul McCartney’s and Roger Ebert’s (both 11942).

I am hoping to get the weblog back up and running again soon, but at the moment events associated with my having moved—under considerable stress—are slowing me down a bit. I may be out, but I’m not down, so please continue to watch this space.

16 June 2021

16 June 12021

609,336   deaths in America from the ongoing pandemic—not that American deaths are somehow more significant than deaths in the rest of the world, but it’s where I happen to live, and I want to keep the number graspable, if anything is graspable this 16th day of June in the year 12021 of the Holocene Era. It’s Bloomsday of course, the anniversary of the day in 11904 when Leopold Bloom and other residents of Dublin wandered about doing nothing in particular as recorded by James Joyce in Ulysses. It’s also Youth Day in South Africa.

On this day in history Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous “House Divided” speech in Springfield, Illinois, part of his unsuccessful Senate race against Stephen Douglas. The year was 11858, and the speech addressed the challenges brought by the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Dred Scott decision to the very concept of a free state—if an enslaved person could still be held in slavery in a state that prohibited that act as a crime, if a state had no right to prevent its citizens from being carried off and held captive in under the laws of another state, then what worth were states’ rights in such a system? Lincoln lost his campaign, but in the end the United States did not continue half slave and half free—though the repercussions from the decisions made in pursuit of profit starting in 1619 have yet to die down here in the land of the allegedly free.

06 June 2021

What the Fuck?

612,363   pandemic deaths in the USA so far, and for some reason unknown to me people are suddenly taking seriously the far-fetched notion that this pandemic somehow escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan. It seems that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is located in the same city where health authorities first identified the novel coronavirus. What more evidence do you need? I mean, other than any evidence at all. So far there’s been no indication of anything other than a low-grade coincidence. At any rate in any published account I’ve seen. We’ve been assured that intelligence agencies and politicians and other unqualified idiots (Tucker Carlson for example) have been taking it seriously all along, but that’s hardly reassuring as a reason I should devote any time to what appears to be another baseless conspiracy theory. (Child molesters in the basement of a pizza joint, anybody? You might as well look for a bicycle in the basement of the Alamo.)

And I see that some idiot judge has claimed “The evidence described so far proves that the ‘harm’ of an assault rifle being used in a mass shooting is an infinitesimally rare event. More people have died from the Covid-19 vaccine than mass shootings in California.” Since no-one has died from the vaccine anywhere, let alone California, the number of people who have died from mass shootings in California must be fewer than zero—an impossibility. And that impossibility shows that U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez is a driveling fool who ought to have his gavel confiscated so somebody can use it to pound some sense into his prematurely senile skull.

17 May 2021

The Illusion of Permanance (Guest Post by Nick Sutton)

[Guest post by Nick Sutton, 17 May 2021]

Maybe splitting up after 22 years together isn't so much a failed relationship as a relationship that ran its course. Maybe families aren't necessarily always permanent?

Maybe families can also be temporary groups which gather together for a common purpose and go their own way when the group is no longer needed.

Like many of my friends from school, who are still my friends, but that feeling that we were bonded like a family has faded over time. I still love and care for them and wish them the best, but also probably wouldn’t lay my head in their lap and say “pet me” if we hung out again. . . Because we're not THAT close anymore.

Maybe two people can come together to have kids, and raise those kids to the best of their ability, and maybe, like teenagers, they also change and grow and discover they want and need new/different things in their lives, and that change can be natural and healthy, and it’s not so much a “failed marriage” as a “completed marriage.” You came together to accomplish your goal, and ultimately decided to do something else.

Maybe instead of expecting people to become adults, date for a while, marry, have kids, raise kids, retire, and die all connected to the same familial unit, we can begin to approach the idea that this is a new era in our understanding of the family, and that a person will have many families through their life, some platonic and some romantic and none of it is really a failure, as it is just the natural course.

My point is, that as people continuously rethink the concept of relationships, and the many forms they can take, it might also be a good time to rethink the concept of family and its meaning and purpose, because humans are highly complex, and boiling everything down to simple binaries does not mesh well with that complexity? Maybe it is time to increasingly untether ourselves from groupings of beliefs, and ideologies, and accept the fluid and dynamic direction that life, all life, takes.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t be sad when a relationship ends, but maybe we place too much value in the permanence of relationships, when nothing’s really truly permanent, and maybe we’d adjust better to understanding that as a society, and still be sad when someone important choses to leave our lives, or take a different role than the one we want them in, but also understand that these changes aren’t really failings on our own part, but simply the whims and chaos of being human.

07 May 2021

August 1619 (Guest Post by Henry Wilson, 1872)

[Mitch McConnell says that 1619 is not a significant date in American History. Henry Wilson, one of the first historians of the Civil War and Republican Vice-President under President Grant, disagrees.]

God's Holy Word declares that man was doomed to eat his bread in the sweat of his face. History and tradition teach that the indolent, the crafty, and the strong, unmindful of human rights, have ever sought to evade this Divine decree by filching their bread from the constrained and unpaid toil of others. From inborn indolence, conjoined with avarice, pride, and lust of power, has sprung slavery in all its Protean forms, from the mildest type of servitude to the harsh and hopeless condition of absolute and hereditary bondage. Thus have grown and flourished caste and privilege, those deadly foes of the rights and well-being of mankind, which can exist only by despoiling the many for the benefit of the few.

American slavery reduced man, created in the Divine image, to property. It converted a being endowed with conscience, reason, affections, sympathies, and hopes, into a chattel. It sunk a free moral agent, with rational attributes and immortal aspirations, to merchandise. It made him a beast of burden in the field of toil, an outcast in social life, a cipher in the courts of law, and a pariah in the house of God. To claim himself, or to use himself for his own benefit or the benefit of wife or child, was deemed a crime. His master could dispose of his person at will, and of everything acquired by his enforced and unrequited toil.

This complete subversion of the natural rights of millions, by which they were “deemed, held, taken, reputed, and adjudged in law to be chattels personal to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever,” constituted a system antagonistic to the doctrines of reason and the monitions of conscience, and developed and gratified the most intense spirit of personal pride, a love of class distinctions, and the lust of dominion. Hence arose a commanding power, ever sensitive, jealous, proscriptive, dominating, and aggressive, which was recognized and fitly characterized as the Slave Power.

This slavery and this Slave Power, in their economical, social, moral, ecclesiastical, and political relations to the people and to the government, demoralizing the one and distracting the councils of the other, made up the vital issues of that “irrepressible conflict” which finally culminated in a civil war that startled the nations by its suddenness, fierceness, and gigantic proportions.

Half a century before the discovery of America, Portuguese and Spanish navigators had introduced African slaves into Europe. The English and other commercial nations followed their example. When, therefore, the Western Continent was opened to colonization and settlement, these nations were prepared to introduce slaves and to prosecute the African slave-traffic with vigor and on a large scale.

In the month of August, 1619, a Dutch ship entered James River with twenty African slaves. They were purchased by the colonists, and they and their offspring were held in perpetual servitude. Thus, at Jamestown, twelve years from the settlement of the colony of Virginia, and one year before the feet of the Pilgrims had touched the New World, began that system in the British continental colonies which, under the fostering care of England, overspread the land. So near in time, though remote in points of destination, came those two vessels across the sea, with elements at once so potent and yet so unlike,—the “Mayflower,” with its freight of learning and Christian civilization; the other, with its ill-starred burden of wretchedness and woe, bearing the seeds of a system destined, after a struggle of two hundred and forty years for development, expansion, and dominion, to light the fires of civil war, and perish in the flames its own hand had kindled.

Unfinished Post (May 12021)

588,620   people dead in the United States from the pandemic and still the clueless rage that the vaccines are going to turn us all into monsters as if we were living in an old fifties horror flick. Paging Drs. Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh. There are some things that man is not meant to tamper with—including gender, religion, and place in the social order as decreed from On High. Some of us are born masculine, some achieve masculinity, and some have masculinity thrust upon them, as Malvolio’s supposed friends might have told him. I mean, with the right assistance, none of us need go through an undesired puberty, but apparently a bunch of yahoo Arkansas legislators know better than physicians who have actual experience, or the children whose lives they’re setting out to ruin.

So I hear I’m wrong again—apparently George Floyd’s killer has been found guilty. **shrugs** I’ll believe it when the fat lady pulls the trigger. The judge’s obvious sympathy for the plight of the killer has not escaped me—nor the fact that the legal system is stacked in favor of the wealthy and their minions, including police and prosecutors. I am impressed that the jury somehow found the courage to defy their police-defined duty to acquit the killer, given the power of the thin blue line to exact revenge on the people they see as their foes—but the indiscriminate use of that power may be backfiring. When arrogance knows no bounds, there’s no downside to fighting back.

On the other hand I am not impressed by the current agreement on the part of those who have a right to an opinion—a right now conferred on the lucky few by the heirs of Murdoch—that Ma’Khia Bryant had it coming. It was her own choice, goes the story, that she ended up dead at the age of sixteen. If she’d really wanted to live, she never would have chosen to be a Black girl instead of a 100% American White Boy™.

18 April 2021

Typically Stupid

574,185   deaths from the pandemic here in the United States, and nearly three million worldwide—and the effort to get everyone vaccinated has had a setback with the use of one of the vaccines available for the job now suspended. In the meantime public attention has again shifted other topics—notably the trial of George Floyd’s killer, now in its final stages. I’m assuming that the smug bastard’s going to be acquitted after a brief deliberation by the jury before the judge awards him a medal for services to the Republic beyond the call of duty, but I could be wrong. The defense was typically stupid—the police were “distracted” by the large crowd of a half-dozen or so menacing women and children and the victim wouldn’t have died if he weren’t addicted to drugs. Pitiful, just pitiful, as Jed Clampett might observe. But of course the point isn’t to have a cogent defense of any kind—the point is to give the jury some excuse for the inevitable acquittal.

It’s high time we got rid of these gangs of armed thugs running around loose killing people and extorting money from the public under guise of “protection”. Don’t get me wrong, as a True Conservative™ I’m not in favor of defunding the police. Far from it. Nor do I think the police should mend their ways with some kind of reform measure—a toothless civilian review board or oversight committee or the like. That ship sailed before I was born. No, I’m in favor of going back a couple hundred years and abolishing the police altogether—handing their functions over to trained professionals in various fields—animal control experts, health care personnel, social workers, and so on—with a single paramilitary unit maybe to handle the occasional emergency. End this failed experiment originally intended at keeping the underclasses (whether enslaved or free) in their place and under control of their social betters. Terminate, or better yet, ex-terminate.

Why this grotesque overreach by local government continues to be tolerated is a legitimate topic for discussion. Likewise how we should enforce social conformity on the unwilling in the absence of paid armed thugs—and do we really need to go as far as we seem to have decided is necessary? But when an unarmed child with his hands up is killed by the police—and the officer doing the killing is lauded as a “hero”—I think we all should be able to agree that things have gone too damn far. If we can’t, we might as well chuck this whole civilization thing and let the cannibalistic dogs run the show.

18 February 2021

The Moment

498,469   deaths in the United States from the pandemic. So far. And that’s not counting people who died from other immediate causes but would still be alive were it not for the disease. And incompetence by leaders like Greg Abbott (allegedly governor of Texas, though he’s not doing his job) proves lethal when confronted by a new threat—an extreme weather event of a kind increasingly common due to the instability brought about by global warming. At least one Texas mayor (Tim Boyd, Colorado City) actually had the audacity to resign rather than do his fucking job, all the while abusing his constituents who expected him to actually lead. No word on whether this lazy goldbricking politician will return the money he was paid for occupying a position he had no intention of fulfilling.

And speaking of goldbricks, Rush Limbaugh has died. I personally wasn’t aware he was still alive, though as he is about the same age as I am, I sort of assumed he was. This AINO POS deserves part of the credit for the low position the United States occupies on the world stage, but not much. If it hadn’t been this Morton Downey Junior wannabe, it would have been some other brainless name-caller who thinks he’s got an unearned right to an opinion based on nothing but his feelings about the way things ought to be. Research is for losers. You can make a fortune blowing hot air over the deregulated airwaves, defaming those who don’t have your platform, undermining the nation that supports you. Dean Clarence Manion did it better.

I spent two days in the cold and dark while I waited for PGE to get the power back on. Yes, we had an ice storm here in Portland, a fairly rare event for us, but at least our officials didn’t try to shuffle off their responsibilities onto others—or, if they did, they were better at hiding it. I’ll no doubt find out later on. I didn’t die, anyway, though I was bored as hell and forced to read actual books (yes, pieces of paper glued together between stiff covers) to pass the time. (Willy Ley’s ancient history of astronomy, Watchers of the Skies was one of them, if you’re interested, and Bruce Metzger’s Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament was another. My supply of books is limited, partly because of the shelf-space issue, and partly because of the relative ease of obtaining virtual books I can look at on a machine, so when the power goes it’s either relics from my childhood or books that I can’t get in electronic form….)

Well, boredom stops here, now that I’ve got the internet and my e-library back, so I’ll be shelving Ley (and to some extent Metzger) until the next information drought comes along.

25 January 2021

Old Person Rant #59

For no good reason—well, today I’ve been converting old files from one format to another—I’ve been thinking about how much of my life I’ve spent just copying material from one form to another. Typing up handwritten notes, photocopying typescripts, scanning typescripts into a digital copy, copying reel-to-reel recordings onto cassettes, or cassettes into wav files or flac files or whatever, or changing superscript files to wordperfect, wordperfect files to ms word, ms word files from doc to docx, and on and on and on. And there’s constant information loss at every stage of the process. Let’s try converting an old wp file to ms word for example—piece of cake, right? Well, some of my old files are catalogs of project material that—thanks to varying situations of acquisition—exists in different formats itself. I therefore constructed tables of data to tell me where I could find particular items, using Greek letters and other symbols as reference points. (Phi stood for a photocopy, for example, and tau for a transcript, and beta for an old-fashioned white on black copy, and so on and so forth.) Okay, so now I transform the old wp file into ms word and guess what—the table structure comes through just fine, as do the lists of material written in Latin characters—but all the Greek characters and symbols have been stripped out. Useless. Okay—let’s say I use some form of Open Office to convert it instead. Now the symbols come through just fine, but the table structure is destroyed. I’ve found the simplest thing to do is to convert the document twice, using one system on one and one on the other, and then use the compare feature to try to reconstruct the original with a minimum of fuss. Am I happy with this? Well, no, but at least I’m not copying the whole thing by hand. I mean, with some stuff I’ve had to take printouts of the old documents and scan the results into jpegs or whatever to have anything usable.

Mind you, today’s efforts are comparatively simple. The only glitch in converting from the old ms word format to the current is that certain features of the new don’t work unless I create a blank document and manually copy the contents of the old file into it before saving it. Tiresome, but at least I don’t have to transcribe the whole thing by hand. And nothing like the annoyance of trying to copy the contents of an old wire recording into one of the (relatively) new digital formats.

24 January 2021

Screw It

And again I have absolutely nothing to say on a day in which (I’m sure) many things happened—I just haven’t looked at the news, or much of anything else. It’s a dull gray day here with water constantly falling from the sky and not much else of note about it. I took my dog up to the park briefly, and my roommate’s dog up the street a bit and back, and they didn’t seem to mind the rain—though my roommate’s dog is supposed to avoid getting wet as long as he still has stitches in his ear. (The stitches are a souvenir of an encounter with a passing creature of some sort—a dog I suppose—while he was out briefly chained in the front yard on Boxing Day.) My internal landscape is gray and foggy as well, so it’s pretty much wall-to-wall grim here.

But I am alive. Still. And that’s all good. I guess. Screw it. Or whatever.

23 January 2021

Clarification

In the news I see that Dr. Fauci has contradicted whatever members of the incoming administration claimed about there being no vaccine distribution plan. It seems there was in fact a plan. An inadequate plan. A bad plan. But not a nonexistent plan as had been reported.

Well, I’m inclined to trust the doctor on this one. A bad plan—an inadequate plan—these are not the same as no plan at all. A bad plan may be better than no plan at all. More likely a bad plan is worse, involving clearing it away before the real work can be started. But it is not no plan at all, so I am noting that correction.

22 January 2021

And That's What I Like About Nowhere

420,008   pandemic deaths in America, and it turns out that the outgoing President had no plan at all for getting vaccines to the people who need them, and the incoming team is going to have to start from scratch. I knew from the beginning that putting an inexperienced real estate developer in charge of one of the most complex organizations on earth was not going to go well; I knew there would be bumps in the road as the clueless tycoon learned the basics of the job he had taken on; but I did hope he would rise to the challenge and surprise us all. He surprised me, at any rate—I never thought anyone could so blitheringly incompetent as this guy proved to be. I mean, the president of the goddamn United States has the ability to call on the world’s greatest scientists, foreign affairs experts, diplomats, military strategists—whatever is needed—to help him stumble through the affairs of state, so there’s no excuse for this level of incompetency. If somebody really can’t do the job he was elected to, he at least has the resources to fake it.

Even with expert advice things are chancy, as Kennedy found out with the Bay of Pigs fiasco. But ignoring the people who know what they’re talking about is a recipe for disaster, as Reagan found out with the AIDS epidemic, or as Bush II found out with Nine Eleven. Listening only to the echoes of your own voice spouting bromides you’d heard some popular pundit expound is a road to nowhere.

21 January 2021

Back to 1776—and Then Some

Well, that didn’t take long. Apparently that noxious pseudohistorical partisan hit job our government posted the other day—yes, that 1776 commission report—is already gone. That’s politics for you. At least this time the prevailing winds and historical honesty were aligned.

The whole concept of having an official interpretation of American history is a bit nauseating, actually. It’s no longer a matter of which events, which individuals, which movements, which institutions are worth remembering; now orthodoxy demands to control how you feel about them, who were the heroes and who were the villains. Was the genocide directed against the Native American peoples worth remembering? (Apparently not; I didn’t see a word about it there.) Were the Progressives right in their aims? Why not?

It would be bad enough if the interpretation were at least based on a solid historical foundation; when key pieces are made-up or based on misinterpretations of the evidence the whole thing reeks of bad propaganda.

Fuck it. The whole thing reeks. Period.

20 January 2021

Good News / Bad News

On the good news side, Paul Pierrilus—who was scheduled to be “deported” to a country apparently randomly selected by US officials—is still home, thanks to the diligence of his congressman, Mondaire Jones. It seems that the DHS could not produce an approved travel document for Pierrilus. His future is still uncertain. On the bad news side, the authorities did manage to split up two Haitian brothers traveling legally in the United States on visas, sending one of them to Mexico (for unknown reasons) and the other to a detention facility (as an unaccompanied minor), much to the consternation of family members in California who were expecting them.

19 January 2021

Turds of Lunacy

Today I woke up at the insistence of my dog, who wanted to let me know that he had crapped on the floor, presumably because I hadn’t waked up earlier when he needed to go out. (I had thought that taking him out the last thing before going to sleep would take care of matters, but he’s an aging guy, and sometimes can’t control himself.)

In the news I see that my government has left me a similar piece of excrement to clean up in the form of a 45-page pile of crap entitled “The 1776 Report.” Imagine what you would get if a John Bircher, a Christian Nation advocate, and an old-fashioned Dunning-era racist got together to pen a screed about American values and then gave it to a not-too-bright twelve-year-old to edit, and you’ll get some idea of what this steaming heap of manure reads like. It was supposed to be a reply to the 1619 project, which I’ve never looked at (it costs money and my time is short), but as this one is free, I read it through for the laughs. For example it says that “Many Americans labor under the illusion that slavery was somehow a uniquely American evil.” [Citation needed!] “But the unfortunate fact is that the institution of slavery has been more the rule than the exception throughout human history.” Ah, but not race-based slavery, the American sin. Slavery-promoting Americans supported the idea of a natural caste-system, with white people at the top, black people as natural slaves, and others (Native Americans for instance) as fit only for destruction. This view has never “been more the rule than the exception”—though it wasn’t uniquely American either. How this squares with the Report’s claim that “all men are created equal” means “that human beings are equal in the sense that they are not by nature divided into castes, with natural rulers and ruled” is discreetly left unexplained.

And also I read that a New Mexico AINO POS named Couy Griffin, a leader of an anti-American group calling itself Cowboys for Trump, has been arrested for his participation in the 6 January insurrection. He has denied being in the Capitol, but there is supposedly evidence showing he was part of that mob and present in restricted areas of the building. This nitwit has openly threatened another attack on the Capitol in which “there’s gonna be blood running out of that building.” I’m hoping it’s his. After all, to paraphrase the old racist trope he himself recycled, The only good cowboy is a dead cowboy.

And another turd left me in today’s news. There are thousands of Americans without papers—people who have spent their entire conscious lives here in this country, but on various technicalities do not possess the paperwork making them officially US citizens. Rather than fix this bureaucratic flaw, our government for decades has been attempting to round these people up and send them to countries they have no connection to—places whose language they don’t speak, whose customs they don’t share, places they have only a formal connection to, if that. One of these guys is Paul Pierrilus, who came to America at the age of five. His parents and sister are Americans with papers--officially recognized as US citizens--but Paul Pierrilus is not. He was born in Saint Martin, a French territory, but that doesn’t give him French citizenship. His parents were originally Haitian, but that doesn’t give him Haitian citizenship. He’s never even been to that country. Nonetheless, in one of the final acts of a dying presidency, the government is deporting the 40-year-old financial advisor to Haiti.

Well, cleaning up my dog’s accidental crap was relatively easy. Cleaning up the pile of shit left by the moribund administration is going to take a lot more work.

18 January 2021

Casualties

I   am taking another day off, more or less, to see if I can’t catch up on sleep and maybe start feeling a little better. Don’t get me wrong; everything is essentially fine here. I just can’t seem to wake up properly and get things done. Every time I start to write something it meanders off into a mist of lost metaphor and false leads. Whatever idea I had when I started is quickly overgrown with second thoughts and things I meant to get in earlier but somehow never did, and then the goddamn lost cause blackberries invade and coherence and meaning are the first casualties.

17 January 2021

Day Off

I   am taking the day off. I don’t know what is happening to me, but I feel like garbage, and not in a good way. I may take a break from writing here, simply because I’m not writing anything that seems worth reading, not even to me, who wrote it. And if I can’t at least enjoy it, how can anybody else?

16 January 2021

Maybe

For anybody who is concerned, I am still alive. I am feeling fairly bad—tired, in constant minor pain, and unable to move without considerable effort. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, or if anything at all is wrong; maybe I just need to put in more effort. But I don’t feel good, I don’t feel energetic, I don’t have ideas, and I don’t have focus. Still—no, there is no still. I’m doing my best, but my best sucks right now. More later. Maybe.

15 January 2021

Sleeping Today

Another day down the tubes. My back and my knee are still giving me trouble, and frankly the pain—not that it’s all that extreme or anything—makes it hard for me to focus. I ended up sleeping for large portions of this day, hoping that the rest will do me some good. I can’t tell if it does at all, but at least I don’t notice the pain as much when I’m asleep.

14 January 2021

Suspense

Some day may come when we can laugh about all this—you know, the pandemic, the psychopath in charge, the comic-opera attack on the American seat of government—but that day is not today. Today we are still facing the legions of the dead and dying and there is no end in sight. There’s hope—but no conclusion. It’s kind of like waiting for Andy Ngo to become a victim of one of the savage beatings he’s promoted so assiduously here in Portland. You know it’s bound to happen, but the details of how and when keep you in suspense.

13 January 2021

The Ongoing American Tragedy

I   don’t know what’s been happening today, since I’ve mostly been lying (or sitting) quietly while I wait for the pain to go away. I assume it’s all been bad. Death threats from the Trumpenproletariat. Carefully balanced false equivalences from the punditocracy. Displays of cowardice from elected representatives. Gutless Mike shaking in his boots lest the boss strike him dead with a withering nickname. It would take an Aristophanes to do justice to this tragedy.

12 January 2021

Not feeling well again

Nothing is working properly today—my back is out, my shoulder still hurts, my right knee still hurts and my right leg doesn’t work properly even setting aside the pain. And setting aside the pain isn’t something I can do right now anyway, so it remains a hypothetical aspect of my health and wellbeing.

11 January 2021

You know, it’s legal to drive a car. It’s legal to pick your friends up at the bank and give them a ride somewhere. And yet you can still be held to account for driving the getaway car in a bank robbery.

I saw Jerry Coyne (or somebody of that ilk) saying that Josh Hawley shouldn’t be held to account for his part in the insurrection because his actions were within the law. That is, he tried to set aside the results of the presidential election on fraudulent grounds by misusing a power granted him by the American constitution. His part in the insurrection was played under color of law, as the saying is.

I don’t see the distinction, however. Indeed in my view it just makes Hawley’s actions all the worse, since he was abusing a position of trust for political ends. Losing a book deal is nothing. The guy ought to lose his power, his position, and his liberty.

10 January 2021

Spooky

And The Steal continues. The Republicans keep coming up with new and different ways of recycling the same old bullshit about the election. It is tiresome. People were seen bringing in ballots to counting centers in the dark of night. Oooo, spooky stuff! Dead people were seen rising up from their graves to vote. Even more spooky! And worst of all, states made changes to their election procedures in light of the pandemic without the participation of the legislature, which is against a novel interpretation of the Constitution that is not generally accepted. Okay, you lost me there—it’s really reaching. Give us all a break, please.

09 January 2021

Disgruntled

This has not been my day. Nearly hit by a car while crossing Huber this morning, charged twice for a pricey set of books I’ve ordered, and still wondering about how I was supposed to know that my shoulder was heal by itself before I’d had it evaluated by professionals. Yeah, Medicare says it won’t pay for my visit because the excruciating pain in my shoulder was something that would heal on its own. How I was supposed to know that when I’ve never had anything like this before I don’t know. Needless to say, I am not pleased by any of it.

Some asshole I was reading on Quora claims that Fawn Brodie made up a story about Joseph Smith attempting to walk on water, while admitting that he hadn’t actually read the book anytime recently. Unmitigated bullshit. Fawn Brodie relates an “apocryphal story about Joseph Smith” narrowly escaping drowning when attempting to fake a water-walk on a hidden plank bridge, giving sources for it from 1834 and 1835. In other words, Brodie didn’t make it up, and didn’t claim it was true—which is the meaning of the word “apocryphal” in this context. There is such a thing as research, after all. If you’re going to write something on Quora, you should try it out sometime.

08 January 2021

Random Rant #83094

Every time I try to write something I end up recycling bits from the past—old commercials, bits of songs, things my father said to me. I might write about how the right-wing ravers can’t seem to keep their story straight—were the unhinged AINOs that looted the Capitol Trump supporters? Or were they anti-fascists? Nobody seems to know for sure. Ben Shapiro says one thing, and Tucker Carlson says something else. Who are they supposed to believe? Some Fox lady was bragging about how were Trump to lose, his followers would simply go about their day and accept it—not that Trump was going to lose, mind you. What a contrast to the Biden supporters!

(As someone who is neither a Trump nor a Biden supporter, I found this unlikely as hell—I expected the Biden supporters to shrug and go about their business when Trump crushed him, as I predicted he would; if Biden somehow won I did expect Trump supporters to riot, vandalize and loot to show their displeasure with the results. Mind you, I was with Tomi whatever-her-name-is as far as predicting that Trump would win, but picturing staid conservative Biden supporters taking to the streets, let alone throwing some kind of fit about it—no, it’s too much to ask.)

(Of course the BLM and anti-fascist protests would have continued regardless; they were never dependent on national politics.)

07 January 2021

Out

This is the end, my friends. It’s a wet rainy day here in Portland, and the knowledge that we have a mad president—not just an unhinged president—a stark raving lunatic running the country. He needs to be removed from office right now, by whatever means, and only then should his enablers and nuthatch followers be taken care of.

06 January 2021

The Steal

The Steal is on. Armed insurrectionists stormed the Capitol today, egged on by the Dopey Don, and are now being beaten back by the police. While unarmed insurrectionists inside the building were trying to nullify Arizona’s presidential vote because it hadn’t gone the way they wanted, armed insurrectionists stormed the building from outside, apparently for the hell of it, since they didn’t seem to have any clue about what they were going to do except break windows and vandalize the center of American government.

This coup attempt came as the results of the Georgia run-off elections were being calculated, with control of the Senate apparently passing from Gutless Mitch to some Democratic scumbag to be named later, and in the wake of President-In-Name-Only Trump’s phone call pressuring Georgia officials to “find” enough votes to somehow make him the winner.

These AINOs—Americans In Name Only—both inside and outside the government, should all face charges. Indeed, I would go further. The gormless dope in charge of this whole riot should be impeached, removed from office, and then charged with the crimes he’s committed. The various officials who have abetted this whole farce, senators and representatives alike, should likewise be removed from office. All involved should be given a choice of renouncing their American citizenship and leaving for whatever shithole country will take them, or being sent to Gitmo never to be seen again.

05 January 2021

Chilling Effect

Okay, the authorities did (kind of) what I expected, at any rate. No charges are to be filed against the officer who shot a man at point-blank range in front of the children and left him paralyzed. On the other hand the guy who opened fire on a crowd, killing two men and injuring a third, is being charged for something—which I didn’t expect. The first is par for the course. I’ve seen the story play out over and over again. An officer of the law kills somebody—maybe a kid playing with a toy gun, maybe some guy standing by his own house who didn’t show the proper deference—and people are upset. First thing the police do is try to blame the victim—maybe the kid playing with the gun had once been accused of shoplifting, or the guy by his house had an outstanding warrant on an old charge of jaywalking or something. And we learn that the officer was only following orders, was within the departmental guidelines, was doing as he was trained to do. Then upset members of the community are described as rioters, and acts of vandalism by unknown parties are turned into major infractions of the law. Maybe we hear noises about new training for officers, or some sort of new review board to be set up. The authorities announce that the officer in question will be returning to his job, and the officer himself says that if the same situation comes up again he will do the exact same thing. And pundits editorialize about how terrible it is that police officers can no longer shoot unarmed civilians without a big fuss being made over it, and how this will have a chilling effect on police shooting unarmed civilians in the future, and we can’t have that, you know. And everybody forgets about it except maybe the friends and family of the dead. And then the clueless seem puzzled when a slogan like “defund the police” starts making the rounds. “What could have brought that on?” they ask. “Isn’t that kind of extreme?”

04 January 2021

Paris Timelapse

Well, things are getting worse, but I still feel like writing something or other. Today I got sidetracked into trying to run down a short film I saw in a PBS series called Film Odyssey back in 1972, featuring scenes of night life in Paris in high speed. I think it was in black and white. In Portland it was (apparently) broadcast 12 July 1972, but the newspaper simply describes it as “an unusual view of Paris” or the like without giving the title of the piece. And at this point I’m giving up on the day.

03 January 2021

Nothing #14207

Nothing is happening, and I continue dispirited and depressed. I’m going to try to get back to regular posts in the near future, but I don’t have anything prepared, exactly, and the effort exhausts me. Maybe things will be different soon.

02 January 2021

Antics of the Rich and Infamous

Whatever. The pain is diminishing, anyway, but the news remains lurid and flashy, like a defective neon sign just outside your window. Over a hundred legislators, allegedly, are planning to throw a spoiled-brat party when it comes time to finally certify the vote of the Electoral College. This is the kind of crap the Diggers used to pull in the Haight-Ashbury days—no substance, just a childish attempt to gum up the works. And while I’m personally childish enough to rather enjoy the sideshow, it’s odd to see America’s supposed leaders wallowing in the mud like so many hogs. It makes levitating the Pentagon look like a class act, overflowing with solemnity and dignity. You guys might want to keep in mind that people out here in the real world are really suffering. You know, if you can spare some time from your antics and high jinks.

01 January 2021

Tired, In Pain, and Upset

After thinking it over I decided to offer a quick Happy New Year here—not that I believe it is going to be happy, but you never know. I’m not happy, but that’s mostly because I’m tired, in pain, and upset with the people who share this house with me. I’m sure that everything will pass, but for the moment I am in too much pain to care much—not that the pain is extreme at all, just annoying—and I am too dispirited and discouraged to put words down on virtual paper. But I don’t really want to start the new year with a perfect blank, so—Happy New Year. And Allah help us all.

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