Friday, June 29, 2018

Some Of The Best Views Of Paris Are From Sous Les Ponts


sous le pont SC 062918 00000

Trump’s Agents Commence Their Campaign

donnie calls them “the enemy of the people”.

His minions have heard the call to action.

Yesterday was the first act taken by a member of donnie’s hateful hoard (the follow on to the basket of deplorables).

The Capital Gazette was yesterday.

When will it be CNN?

Or when will it be “the failing New York Times”?

Or …

And how long are we going to have to put up with this?

Monday, June 25, 2018

B. A. A La Seine

One nice early summer afternoon in 2014 I was walking on la Seine across, I think, from Notre Dame or thereabouts when I saw this wonderful scene.

B.A. on la Seine 2014

Friday, June 22, 2018

At The Ferry Dock Again–On Solstice Day

I had a reservation for the 1630 ferry.

I showed up at 1415.

I had done everything I like to do in the Anacortes area, including lunch at the Brown Lantern Ale House – see my Yelp review – and I still had two hours to kill.

“Not so fast” said fate: as I checked in with the nice gate keeper she told me that I had been moved to the 1800 ferry, giving me three and a half hours to kill, not two.

“Oh well I said”.

I really said something more pungent.

I could kill some of that time walking the shore trail and taking pictures of the animals, plants and the like.

So I did that for a couple of hours.

The images will be posted, below.

But before I do that I am going to take an excerpt from the Yelp review that I wrote and posted as I waited – with a plastic cup of Washington Ferries wine – on the ferry that had finally materialized, much later than 1800.

**********************************************************

“They sent half the cars from the 1630 on the 1700 that departed at 1745; then they put the rest of the 1630 on the 1800 which may depart by 1915; and they chose to load and send off, more or less on schedule, the 1830, while those of us who were the 1630s waiting to be the 1800 (but, remember that it is really going to be the 1915) and were two and a half hours late, watched the 1800s merrily depart within 15 minutes of being on time.

 
That's maddeningly creative.”

***********************************************************

Here are some pictures from an early summer day in the Pacific Northwest of  the United States.

Many of us out here on the northern-most tip of the Blue States of America are all hoping the the United States of America can last until 2020.

***********************************************************

anacortes ferry dock 062118 00000

anacortes purple flower 062118 00000

anacortes grasses in the wind 062118 00000

anacortes elderberries 062118 00000

anacortes rose haw with fungus 062118 00000

anacortes teesel 062118 00000

anacortes salmon berries 062118 00000

anacortes great blue heron 062118 00000

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I First Noticed This During Desert Storm: 1991

As the troops flooded into Iraq I watched and was puzzled by a term that kept being used for the forces of the United States.

The American Press kept talking about “the Americans”.

I kept thinking “why aren’t they saying ‘us’?”

Because it was, and is, “us”.

“Some Americans” are who that term encompasses – who they are talking about - but they are “us”.

And it is – to me – unnerving: that that protocol – “the Americans” - has persisted to this moment.

It is never “us” in the news stories from all the stupid places where our stupid leaders keep deploying our hopelessly na├»ve volunteer forces; it is always “the Americans”.

That is not “us”.

That is some trumped up oblique and false allusion to a patriotic ideal.

“Us” is our kids.

“Us” is our blood.

“Us” is who we saw on TV in 1967.

Being maimed and killed in Vietnam.

But that accurate TV news made for bad politics.

And we don’t need no bad politics around here.

How nice to have all that sanitized to “the Americans” – some efficient, I guess, third party representing the United States of America on some sort of contract basis.

Did the news coverage of Normandy in 1944 relegate those brave men and their families on the other side of the Atlantic to being “the Americans”?

Or were they “us”?

I think the latter; and that is one of the many things that indicate the imminent decline of “us” – “the Americans”.

We farm out everything to some “other” and then stand aside and take pot shots when the contractors don’t perform to expectation.

And donnie is the best of breed of that paltry caste.

Of pot shot takers.

America apparently deserves that sort of paucity.

When we accepted “the Americans” (some antiseptic third party for whom we have no responsibility, or even blood connection) we bought the lamb stew and sold our birthright.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Abre A Souhaits

There is a bridge in Parc Buttes des Chaumont that gives a good view of an apparently abandoned railroad track and the mouth of a tunnel that once gave that abandoned track access to something on the other side of a large hill.

I always like to go on that bridge and take pictures of the track and the tunnel mouth.

I especially like to do that on gloomy gray low hanging days; the images that come from those sessions are really depressing.

And I have always felt that to be a good thing.

I have never known why I have that feeling; I just do.

One time not long ago I might have gotten some insight into the appropriate nature of all of that gloom.

A group of homeless people had taken up residence down in the woods by the abandoned track.

As I was trying to come to some sort of conclusion about what was I seeing down there something other than the people caught my eye.

abre a souhaits SC 061118 00000

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Watership Down

Remember him?

He has joined our family; he has been with us for six or seven months now.

lopez black rabbit 060718 00000

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Some Birds And A Bug

I guess it’s an insect to be correct.

I didn’t expect to get much today when I went out for some image gathering.

And after the gathering I was sure that my expectations had been correct.

But when I got to looking at today’s harvest I was surprised to find a few decent ones.

lopez blue heron 060718 00000

lopez oyster catcher 060718 00000

lopez shore bird 060718 00000

lopez bummble bee 060718 00000


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Bobby

Fifty years ago today I was in the United States Air Force in charge of the intelligence operation of a squadron of RF104 reconnaissance aircraft.

It was Itazuke Air Base, a pretty much shuttered JASDF Air Base – shuttered until the Pueblo crisis, that is.

The US military had to open it back up after the massive influx of – resources – in support of the Pueblo Crisis had been deployed to South Korea and South Korea had cried “uncle” (translation: “we can’t absorb any more fucking Americans; we don’t even have any beds for them”).

So the Kadena RF104 guys moved over to Japan and I got to join them on a temporary assignment from Offutt.

I had been at Offutt for three months, just back from a year in Saigon; I had already begun to become antsy about being out of some sort of hostile environment: Offutt was a great base for Colonels and above; First Lieutenants really had no place there.

I was a First Lieutenant.

So I volunteered for the Pueblo Crisis and I got it.

No one else volunteered.

A few years later when I had just gone on quota as an IBM salesman I volunteered for a new sales plan nobody else would take: Plan 4; that turned out pretty well; so did Intelligence officer for the RF104 Cotton Pickers.

(I saw one of their planes in the old plane graveyard in Out There In NoWhere Arizona a few years back; the yellow and black checkerboard pattern on the vertical stabilizer made me remember Paul and Ernie, my Itazuke friends who died a couple months after I had returned to Offutt, and they had returned to Kadena, when, on take off Paul got disoriented and guessed wrong on which way to push the stick; they went fast into the runway upside down; that is frequently fatal.)

At Itazuke I had a simple job.

It was a lot like what I had always wanted to do for a living which was to be an entertainer.

But for Vietnam (a massive absorptive agent of young men who wanted to do something else) the RF Trio might have been just ahead of, and subsequently been blown out of the water by, The Beatles (the Brits were lucky; they didn’t have to go to Vietnam).

A lot of groups were blown out of the water by The Beatles.

I would have liked to have been part of one of those groups.

But in America – unless you were named Drumpf – you went to Vietnam.

If you were lucky, you got some say in how you went – I was able to get a commission in USAF so I didn’t have to carry a gun and go into the jungle and shoot randomly into the leaves and tree trunks and all that other jungle shit and hope that that would keep me from getting killed; but I did have to go; and that pretty much killed the RF Trio.

So I was at Itazuke fifty years ago.

I briefed the pilots.

The pilots flew over North Korea and took pictures.

By the time I got there, one of our planes had not returned – only a few days into the deployment (guys don’t die only a few days into their deployment, do they?” I thought I heard someone say).

However:

A few days after I got there we got pictures back of the missing plane.

It had not quite made it over a mountain.

Other than that, the pictures that came back were pretty mundane.

But we looked at all of them

We looked at them and tried to figure out how we were going to get the Pueblo back

Which was why these Kadena based 104s were there in the first place: North Korea had attacked and captured a small Navy intelligence gathering vessel back in March 1968 or so, and all hell had subsequently broken loose.

We were, after all, still up to our asses and going deeper, in Vietnam.

So another potential war was not an attractive option.

***********************************************************

In one of my several memoirs – Saigon 1967 - I document the contents of a document that I had the privilege to read that tells the tale of how all this – the Pueblo Crisis began.

It’s pretty Key Stone Cops.

Really fun stuff.

***********************************************************

All of this writing in this post so far has been a lot of fun, but it has nothing to do with why I started to write this post in the first place.

The reason I am writing this post is that fifty years ago today Bobby Kennedy was assassinated.

I was coming back to the clutch of cabin-like Itazuke hooches that we all lived in.

It was maybe 1800 local time.

My friend Joe was sitting on the steps of his hooch.

I was about to say something, but Joe spoke first.

“They killed Kennedy”.

I was transported to a college classroom into which had just entered a normally calm to the point of being catatonic professor who glared at all of us and said “I guess you have heard that they have killed Jack Kennedy!”

The two dead Kennedys, as I tried to keep walking, and not to fall – dead myself maybe: I felt that impacted by the curious confluence of Kennedy being dead, once, back then, and now, I guess, again – that I was not sure that I was going to want to keep being alive.

And I was interested that in both cases “they” had done it.

“Who are ‘they?’” I couldn’t suppress from my thought stream.

*********************************************************

On my way to Itazuke, on the plane from Travis, I had a book that I was reading.

On the Beach.

And it had been only days since MLK had been assassinated.

The plane seemed to me to be cloaked in a semi-transparent sort of darkness that might be in some sort of not very good movie.

But I kept reading On the Beach and going deeper into the dark transparency.

So now, as I tried not to fall – perhaps dead – out front of Joe’s hooch – I had a revelation: I had MLK, JFK and RFK.

All dead.

And Nixon loomed.

And I really wanted – if I didn’t die – to be positive about my country.

But history intervened.

And we got Nixon.

And now we have donnie.

JFK, MLK and RFK can be seen in the homes of millions of people all over the world.

I wonder if in the future primitive hovels are going to have pictures of an orange fat man with a weird yellow wig hanging on their walls.

I do doubt it.





Sunday, June 3, 2018

An Observation On The Vietnam Memorial

I often think that I just imagined this.

But I have a few pictures.

So maybe not.

St. Ann d’Auray.

There is a WWI memorial there,

It honors the quarter million Bretons who gave their lives in the defense of France in the Great War.

The memorial is a huge cavity dug into a hillside in France.

The cavity has a sort of wall of stone girding it, and in that wall are the names of the 250,000 Bretons who died for god and country.

I always wonder why the facsimile in Washington DC gets so much press.

And why its creator gets so much reverence.

And I was there.

Vietnam.

And I was there.

St. Ann d’Auray.

And I am glad that I got out alive.

Vietnam.

But I wonder why the great DC Black Wall never gives a nod to the wall that preceded it.

AND MUST HAVE BEEN ITS INSPIRATION.

It – the wall of St. Ann d’Auray – precedes the great black wall IN DC by a lot of years.

But Americans always think that they have invented everything.

Even when it is impossible to support that belief.

I Have Wondered What This Means – For Years

I love Paris.

I have been lucky enough to find an apartment that is frequently available and is a block off the Seine.

Pont Neuf is close.

So I often saunter across the river and into the Tuileries Garden.

One of the fixture features of the Tuileries is a segment of the population: as one walks toward Place de la Concorde one is engaged with never ending encounters with very black Africans selling little Eiffel Tower trinkets.

They all have the same trinkets.

And no one seems to want to buy the trinkets.

So why, I always wonder, did these brave young men give up everything, get on boats not fit to be called boats, and brave the Mediterranean just to be able not to sell little trinkets in the Tuileries Garden?

Freedom, I guess.

Willboo Woss Twade Wawwior

Wilboo, the most likely to become president after the stack of criminals in front of him in the presidential replacement sequence are carted off to jail, landed recently in China.

As he disembarked the plane he spoke.

“Hi. I’m Wilboo Woss; has anybody seen that wascally wabbit?’”

Saturday, June 2, 2018

donnie, the grid and the navy: this guy is amazing

donnie wants to sell the BPA to private industry so private industry can add a nice profit margin atop the very reasonable price the upper American Northwest has become accustomed to paying for electricity over the last hundred years. 

donnie says BPA is not wasteful enough or vicious enough to be in to be supplying electricity to the American people.

“They just don’t charge enough to be in business; and I am a businessman, so I know what it takes to be in business” he says in his trademark nasal manner of emulating human speech.

Now he wants to get rid of natural gas powered electricity providers.

“Way too efficient”, he says; “if we want Americans to have jobs we need to be REALLY INEFFICIENT”.

And EFFICIENCY cuts two ways when talking natural gas: first, America has figured out how to dominate the world with revolutionary production methods (“don’t want that” mutter the coal folks); second, gas is cheaper than coal – unless you cook the books; donnie knows how to do that, so coal is cheaper.

SO WE DON’T WANT TO BE EFFICIENT.

Today the trump misinformation announced that the United States will return to an all coal navy by 2020.

Not only will that drive untold hoards of morlock-like Americans back into the mines, it will unleash a shipbuilding frenzy unseen heretofore in world history.

Astoria Oregon, for instance has just floated a coal navy underpinned bond issue: “back to the good old days of WWII” is the tag line in their slick Wall Street created video.

The number of coal powered aircraft carriers, just for instance, that it’s gonna take to carry our naval air force becomes so big that one wonders how many countries the United States will need to invade and take over to have enough ports to house them.

It turns out that we will need 100 new coal powered carriers for every nuclear one we now have deployed.

I think that means that we need about 1400 new coal powered carriers.

Hell, we may run out of coal.

No problem.

We will just invade some coal rich country – like England – and dig away.

Little Marco Talks To The New Yorker

I just heard this long interview.

Rubio is smart, articulate and phony as the boat person he plays on TV.

After listening to half an hour of all the traditional – intentional – debating errors that republicans like to use as underpinning to their myriad lies, I have concluded one thing.

“Little Marco” is running for Pence’s slot next time around.

What a dream: a balanced ticket: a pseudo president and a pseudo immigrant.

But then, what could I possibly know?

Goldfinch!!!

lopez goldfinch 053018 00000