Tuesday, January 19, 2021

How To Join The Militia Without Even Knowing It

 I was at our local bird seed store a few months ago - yes I lead an unbelievably trivial life - when the owner, a woman somewhere in her 60s or so, went into an impassioned monolog about her husband who is a retired Navy Seal and the hoards of lefties out to get trump and how it was so unfair and how we need to take back our country (first time I heard that was on CNBC in 2010 - it was being shouted by what was to become the Tea Party; I had to ask myself "back from what?" and then the answer hit me, and I have remained skeptical of America's prospects ever since) and then, I think I remember, she went into the various weapons that her husband and she are masters of. 

Since I was just buying bird seed I was pretty taken aback: why had she chosen me for the outburst? 

Later I realized it was probably my USAA Visa card. 

You never know how many membership cards you are carrying around.



Saturday, January 16, 2021

A Dangerous Game??

 One of the stops along the way of my IBM career was that of Sales School Instructor in Atlanta.

That was a job where older, more seasoned IBMers, like me, conducted a two week class for newly hired IBMers who were nearing the end of their year long training program.

The class was pretty much the final stage in enculturating this malleable human capital into IBM class humans.

The job was one of the best I had in my career.

The two weeks were a mélange of lectures interspersed with play acted sales calls - the students were the salesmen and the instructors were the prospective customers (we were the new business part of IBM).

The sales calls were generally exhilarating experiences interspersed with occasional disasters.

The lectures were for me uniform disasters.

Usually the lectures I was assigned were concerning subject matter that I knew to be important and had dealt successfully with when I had been a salesman.

So I really wanted to get the material across; so I had detailed notes and adopted the pedantic style of my favorite college professors.

The students' critiques of my lectures were uniformly brutal - accurate, valid and brutal.

I am entertainer enough that I couldn't just roll over and accept that I was going to be a popular instructor - the students loved my way with sales calls - that had to get bludgeoned by totally valid post lecture critiques.

But I had no idea what to do about the problem.

One Saturday morning I was making breakfast for me and my daughter in our Alpharetta kitchen/breakfast nook; my daughter was watching cartoons on TV.

And it hit me.

The students I was trying to impart important information to had never been without cartoons being ubiquitously available; if I wanted to get their attention I was going to have to come at them like Bugs Bunny.

I won't take the time to describe how I did that, but I did, and the critiques improved a lot; presumably more information was imparted, but that, after all, was not the point.

The point was the critiques and how high they rated me.

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

I am not a gamester.

And I just learned from a New Yorker News Hour broadcast that that may be one reason why I am not into Q anon.

The broadcast featured a technologist who has a deep game playing and game building background; he is CEO of a such type company.

He went through, item by item, all the game stuff that is part of the Q conspiracy.

And I think I heard him say that the design of Q anon has to be the result of a deeply experienced gamester, like him; when asked to speculate about who he wouldn't.

Or couldn't.

Or shouldn't.

However, based upon his belief that there has been an expert game hand designing and maintaining Q anon, he says it's not a conspiracy theory; it's a game.

And that's why it's so dangerous: digital games can and do co-opt people in a way that produces a mass of homogeneous group think that is frequently - usually - misogynistic, hostile and violent.

So there we are.

So much for unity.

Near the end of the interview the game technologist was asked if the solution to this particular monster that has been created would be an equally compelling game.

He said no.

He said games in the final analysis are not compelling in themselves no matter how compelling their rules and protocols, and their adrenalin rush might be; those aspects build the follower base, but that points to the real thing that make games grow and build their effects and messages: they, in the final analysis are compelling and welcoming communities.

The only thing, he said, that he could think of as an antidote to Q anon, would be the creation of an equal and offsetting community; and he said it would need to be supported by massively welcoming supremely simple message videos.

Like cartoons, he said.

It took me back to my Sales School job.

But then, I've always been ahead of my time.

The Problem With Unity

 Unity in America has always had a lot of external characteristics that can be summed up, when they have existed, as a state of easy to acquire consensus on major national questions and issues.

In recent history, the feeling that came the day after the twin towers came down would be a good example.

I don't think that overnight from September 11 2001 all Americans had their viewpoints, opinions, prejudices and beliefs reset in such a way that all those millions of us had the same setting; I think it was just that a higher belief, that being the belief in America as a good greater than all those individual viewpoints, opinions, prejudices and beliefs.

And America had been on an amazing post-Vietnam run up to 911.

So there was some spill over of belief in the greater good from the fall of the Soviet Union and the quick victory in the First Gulf War.

Having said all of that, the "unity" seemingly present during those times covered over amazingly dichotomous differences.

It's possible to go through a mind numbing by content and an equally mind numbing by quantity list of those differences; but I offer a single fact: during the second half of the Twentieth Century America was becoming locationally different at warp speed; the big cities were rapidly becoming racial, cultural and social melting pots at a rate alarming to the rural part - geographically the majority part of America - and most of the money being made in America was being made in those big cities; it wasn't evenly or fairly distributed (but it wasn't completely fixed, either - it was more like a crap shoot) but it was in those cities where it was being made; and the rural locations became poorer and left behind.  Even culture seemed to be totally becoming urban, hybrid and loud. Those rural locations needed some sort of rationale upon which to hang the obvious fact that they were being left behind.

"It must be that polyglot of non-whiteness that exists in our cities" they said to themselves.

And then they began saying it on Facebook.

And the rest is history.

Any high level consensus in America, above the opinions, prejudices and beliefs of individuals has gotten lost in a maze of conspiracies and a haze of associated hatred.

And from a psychologically surgical point of view that is completely understandable.

Things are not best of all possible worlds in the heartland.

Nor are they so in the cities.

Happy faced assertion that things are all great would mean that Americans had all become cretins somewhere along the way.

But understanding a disease is far from curing it.

As with most diseases this one has spun off variants.

And those variants keep spinning off variants.

And the variants cross pollinate one another.

And they infect back and forth, from the heartland, into the cities and back again.

And again.

And again.

And so forth and so on.

That original conspiracy theory has had multiple children.

And they all have become driving forces for and key components of the beliefs of a large portion of the population of America.

There can be no unity because the beguilingly self serving nature of the various conspiracies makes them undeniable: believing that Barack Obama is a Muslim and not born in America gives a shred of rationale for the intense need to hold back the racial and cultural wave of non white humans that seem to many Americans to be engulfing our country.

Saying that he is fully American, half Italian, half Kenyan, born in a hospital in Honolulu would be as unacceptable  to the holders of that belief as would be defecating on the floors our nation's Capitol.

(I have been surprised that a supporting plank in the birther conspiracy has not been that Hawaii is not really a legitimate state).

There can be no unity because a minority, but a large minority, of Americans believe all those conspiracies.

And they don't want to stop believing.

Believing bestows meaning.

As long as they believe, Tinkerbell will live.


Thursday, January 14, 2021

I Don't Get It But I Get It

I listened to the House of Representatives' discussion of the Article of Impeachment for donnie the dildo.

Ten Congress Republicans voted to impeach donnie.

I heard their statements in that two hour meeting.

I was particularly impressed by what Jaime Herrera Beutler said.

Was that an homage to FDR?

I don't know; but it made sense to me.

One whose statement I didn't hear, or don't remember, was from Tom Rice of South Carolina.

But I heard him today on NPR.

He sounds like a rational sort.

He voted to impeach because at bottom he has a spirit that can't allow a president to invoke an insurrection.

That's just a bridge too far.

For him.

However:

I was surprised when the interview revealed that he was one of the 147 republicans who voted against certification of the 2020 presidential election.

The interviewer asked him why he had so voted.

His answer was quite straight forward, and I will paraphrase it here: the Constitution gives the power of elections to the legislatures of the various states; the 2020 election, however, was managed by un-elected and/or non legislative elected bureaucrats - secretaries of state come to mind - and there were all sorts of expansions (so he believes) of the electorate granted by various non-show-up-at- the -polls-on-election-day workarounds to accommodate a deadly virus.

Those workarounds are commonly called mail in ballots - and, those mail ins having been allowed by the non legislative parts of the various states' election apparatuses, the Constitution has been violated and there was massive impropriety of allowed votes in the 2020 election.

I have no idea whether there is any merit to that point of view, but it sounded scarily possible.

And, this from a guy who has just put his career on the line - probably has put his career in the dumper.

That brought me up short.

How can this political and cosmic dissonance co-exist in one legislator?

Then I realized.

Tom Rice at the bottom of his soul is an American and can't allow a Mussolini wanna be to stay in power - in any form of the word.

But he is still a republican.

He isn't arguing about the validity of the vote count; he is objecting to the number of voters whose vote are in that count.

Even the best of them envision a world in which the only allowed voters are white men with tightly tethered chattel female servants: that configuration constitutes the only real voters who will be allowed the franchise.

America has moved so far beyond those white men and their chattel that it is sad that we have to put up with the bullshit and the violence of the interim which is inexorably moving to the new world that WILL dawn and IS dawning.

Images In Lieu Of Bad Vibrations

Springtime brings the goldfinches back to Lopez Island.


A native Lopez Island honeybee on lavender


Oregon grapes: my grandmother used to make jelly with them.


Song sparrow on a thorn branch


This white crowned sparrow sat in the elm tree and yelled at me; i think his nest was in the underbrush.

In the Paris Aquarium Tropical


In le Jardin des Plantes


Paris still life 


Paris has beautiful sunset clouds.


On the quai


Medici Fountain


In Parc Montsouris


I took this because of the orange sparkles.


Another Paris still life


Somewhere in Paris


 

The Seven Day Problem

 A little over a week ago the occupant of the White House incited a mob to insurrection and then went back into the White House and laughed and cheered as he watched the mayhem he had induced unfold.

Just yesterday the House of representatives did the Constitutionally obvious.

They floored an article of impeachment.

It reads as follows:

ARTICLE I: INCITEMENT OF INSURRECTION

The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that the President “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”. Further, section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits any person who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the United States from “hold(ing) any office … under the United States”. In his conduct while President of the United States—and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed—Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States, in that:

On January 6, 2021, pursuant to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, the House of Representatives, and the Senate met at the United States Capitol for a Joint Session of Congress to count the votes of the Electoral College. In the months preceding the Joint Session, President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials. Shortly before the Joint Session commenced, President Trump, addressed a crowd at the Ellipse in Washington, DC. There, he reiterated false claims that “we won this election, and we won it by a landslide”. He also willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol, such as: “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.

President Trump’s conduct on January 6, 2021, followed his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election. Those prior efforts included a phone call on January 2, 2021, during which President Trump urged the secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” enough votes to overturn the Georgia Presidential election results and threatened Secretary Raffensperger if he failed to do so.

In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. Donald John Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

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

Pretty accurate description of what donnie did on the 6th.

In the hearing convoked prior to the vote on the Article the Democrats and the republicans argued for an against voting to impeach.

The Democrats uniformly just  alluded to the nature of donnie's call to insurrection and the nearly catastrophic results of his call to insurrection.

The republicans, however, had a number points of dissent.

The most common were these.

They said that now is the time for the nation to unite and come together: these are the same crowd who days before voted against certifying the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris; I guess they want to unite us all now that they might be found complicit with the insurrection for resisting a Constitutional transition of power, since their support of all the bogus election conspiracy theories gave initial fuel to the fire of insurrection.

They said that the Democrats have always been out to get donnie; that is the typical paranoid/victim frame that donnie and the republicans always throw around every viewpoint alternate to theirs.

They said that donnie's insurrection was a pale shadow - and therefore totally acceptable - of the violence they imagined into existence from the previous summer's demonstrations against violent racism - (gasp; imagine that - being against violent racism).

They said that donnie only had seven days left in office.

Of course none of these points, and all the others that I am not itemizing, has any ameliorative effect on the damning truth of the Article.

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

Humor was nonetheless in evidence.

Or so it seemed.

For example, I thought I heard someone mutter "god created the world in 6 days; it seems likely that a sociopathic cretin armed with the nuclear codes could destroy it in 7".

But what the hell. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

A 20 January 2021 Postmortem Peremptorily Presented

 The inauguration was going swimmingly.

Until it went off the rails.

A lot of dead people strewed the inaugural stage.

The new President and the new Vice President among the pile of corpses.

"How could this have happened?"

Was the cry throughout the land.

The valid post mortem of events was a surprisingly succinct and brief - terse, even, occasionally - report from a blue ribbon citizen's panel; the post mortem said that of all the security forces that were massed to defend the sacred event of inaugurating the two citizens who had won the recent election, most were riddled with militia and related armed white supremacist nuts, all armed - they were after all members of various Guards National - and they overwhelmed any remnants of valid American law enforcement.

That post mortem never was published.

No one knows why; it just disappeared; but it had existed - briefly - the late Nancy Pelosi had been assuring America  of that fact on national links when she was gunned down.

An associated video subsequently appeared on Parler showing a gun toting bearded one smashing the dais of the speaker of the house of representatives in front of a massive array of huge Dodge pickup trucks, all with pedestal mounted machine guns.

At the end of the video Leader Cruz comes on.

"Let me assure all Americans: your freedom is intact and I am in control; all is well; all is good; all is appropriate in this best of all possible worlds; trust me; follow me; only I can do what needs to be done".

There are stories of terrorist cells on the west coast of the Ex United States of America (EUSA) who are in open rebellion against Leader Cruz.

They will be crushed.

Friday, January 8, 2021

If Ya Wanna Be Mussolini Ya Need To Go The Whole Distance

 Or something like that.

But serially, if donnie really thinks he can pout and snarl like Mussolini, I would suggest that he join Il Duce in the grand finale.

A lot of us would love to add him to this image.

The fact that it would be fake news would make it perfect.

trump has one place in history: he is the most underpowered dictator wannabe that has ever stumbled the stage of Andy Warhol's 15 minutes.



Thoughts On Complicity

 As I would interpret the word - complicity - I would think it to mean "co-operating'.

Co-operating, as I understand it, would mean going along with fellow travelers - individuals that live in a different orbit from the co-operators, but not directly committed to the same mission.

But the law enforcement apparatus that didn't defend the United States the other day were not individuals that live in some other orbit; they were members of that other orbit.

What happened in the Capitol the other day was not complicity, or co-operation.

It was a well executed plan.

And it was a plan that couldn't have been well executed if most of the so called law enforcement officers had not been, really, members of various militias.

Those militias are committed to finishing off our government.

That is why everyone who just wants to go to work, earn a living and feed his or her family should be terrified; donnie has seeded the United States with a ticking time bomb: there are millions of WWIII grade weapons bearing nuts who are ready to revisit Appomattox, and they all are waiting for him to call them to re-instate Robert E. Lee.

They hate the  post Lincoln United States; therefore, they hate America.

The irony of their dual flags - triple flags if you add the trump flag - drips down the hallways of history.

And they WILL come forth.

We are only days from street warfare in the United States.

And we are not configured in such a way that we can hope to prevail in the final battle.

The militias are the police, they are the Guard, and they are the military.

And we are screwed.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

I Hope We Don't Move On

 On 3 December I put up this post:

"The Constitution isn't very clear about what it takes for a US president to be impeached, let alone be removed from office.

"But the Constitution says that such a thing is possible.

"So the fact the Ol' Mitch and the Boys didn't let the Prosecution in donnie's trial call any witnesses would seem to indicate massive malfeasance: trump was clearly guilty of blackmailing a foreign leader with the intent of having him deliver bogus information about a person who turned out to be a formidable political opponent.

"So not only donnie, but Ol' Mitch and the Boys should be in prison right now.

"But they aren't.

"And we move on.

"donnie has let 350,00 Americans die because admitting that there is a medical emergency and doing anything about it would have made him look bad - or so his little pin head thought - so they are dead.

"But we move on.

"Now he is in the beginning stages of a first time thing in American history: a coup d'état.

"It's getting harder to move on.

"Harder not because of the heinous nature of yet another crime by the occupant of the white house, but harder because a crime so open and obvious and unchecked, and aided and abetted by the occupant's political allies - an entire political party -  is a threat to every American who depends upon our laws to work to provide a country that isn't an armed camp of bearded, racist, mysogynistic, stupid, violent little boys with guns.

"We are days away from the little boys with guns calling donnie's bluff.

"Stupidity begets more stupidity and violence usually follows in stupidity's wake."

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

When those words were just a pulled out my ass prediction I was able and happy to end the post with the observation about stupidity.

But now, a day after they have become historic fact, I can't leave it there.

There must be a call to action.

trump MUST BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE BY SUNDAY, 10 JANUARY 2021.

We can't have that person to have possession of the nuclear codes.

We can't have that person one moment longer as the ostensive leader of the great American republic, let alone the Free World.

We can't have slime of a depth hitherto never seen endorsed by our complaisant acceptance of him and his slime.

We just can't.

And we must not.

Any longer.


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

It Just Hit Me

 With joy because of the results of the Senate runoff in Georgia mixed with despair in the face of the attempted coup d'etat attempted today in Washington I didn't realize something.

But then I did: how lucky could we have gotten?

Assuming that donnie's militias don't mount a second, successful, armed, attack, and install donnie as our duce, we will move forward now, and have a country.

It's going to be a lot easier to have that country with Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff  in the Senate.

Unlike so many Senators, these two are brilliant.

Having brilliance in the Senate, an infrequent occurrence in American history, could blend with humanity in the White House, and bare knuckled pragmatic leadership in the House and may all conspire to produce the American Salvation Program which will turn us on our axis into an era in which Americans finally get to live as the Declaration said we should.

Black Voters Again: Thank God

 Back in November they pushed America away from terminal disaster.

James Clyburn made the first major move earlier in the year when he endorsed Joe.

Stacy Abrahms already had the ball; since then she has just run it across the goal line.

Her brilliant organizing in Georgia today has put potential salvation for our country in the hands of the President whom they elected: Joe and Kamala have a Senate and a House.

Now - after today's defrocking of the tyrant - if only the republicans who also happen to be Americans (I have no idea if there are any such) will only sign up for the American Salvation Program that I fully expect the new President and Congress to launch immediately after 20 January, we might gradually return to a Union - at least among all women and men of good will.

It would be good to convict donnie of his crimes, also.

Or put him in a straight jacket.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

An Interchange With My Son Based On Something From The Guardian

 Here is what The Guardian said:

"Eleven Christmases ago, a student boarded a Northwest Airlines plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit with a singular mission.

"As the plane crossed the US border, he spent 20 minutes in the bathroom and then returned to his seat. There he tried to detonate his underwear, but only succeeded in burning his leg. The likely reason Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab failed to kill almost 300 people was because he was sweating too much.

"The US has often been lucky that its enemies are too incompetent to detonate their own devices. But rather than relying on good fortune, successive presidents have spent trillions of dollars building a post-9/11 military order that is supposed to protect our freedoms.

"After listening to the outgoing president’s call with Georgia officials, it’s painfully clear that Donald Trump is the underwear bomber of our democracy. We are blessed to have such incompetent enemies, but the next assailant will not sweat quite so much, or so obviously. We cannot wait until someone comes along who knows how to light the fuse."

*********************************************************
Joe sent this to me with his usual terse comment: 

"I found this an apt description".

********************************************************
I replied, in my usual verbose manner: 

"It is. 

"And the fatal related fact is that most of the republican party really believe in a massively abridged implementation of the Constitution.  

"That means that they are equally as dangerous when trump is gone, because when he is gone, they will block any form of reform legislation - we learned a lot from Watergate and passed some tooth bearing laws to waylay future similarities - that would put a future criminal president on the fast track to prison. 

"Without such legislation (even with it the integrity of the republic is touch and go) it's just going to take someone Washingtonly and intellectually smart to light that fuse.

"And someone will come along and light that fuse.

"And the Republic will be pushed off the back of the toilet, where it is now, into the bowl of the toilet.  

"A lot of us won't like it when that fuse is lit, and when that toilet is filled with the detritus of 233 years; probably a significant majority of us won't like it; but "THE BASE" never disappoints: it lives up to its name with remarkable reliability.

"They will love it".

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

The sound you here is the sound of a toilet flushing.


Some Fish Pictures

 Even though we have a criminal insane person masquerading as president, and even though he is enlisting the vice president, much of the house of representatives and a significant number of so called senators in his criminal, and really, treasonous, chicanery we still have fish.

Similar to birds in the trees and skies, fish, by their very presence are a calming influence.

So let's all try to be calm as America finishes its traverse down the toilet.













Some Bird Pictures

 Even though we have a criminal insane person masquerading as president, and even though he is enlisting the vice president, much of the house of representatives and a significant number of so called senators in his criminal, and really, treasonous, chicanery we still have birds.

Similar to fish in an aquarium, birds by their very presence are a calming influence.

So let's all try to be calm as America finishes its traverse down the toilet.













Monday, January 4, 2021

From Blue America Project

 I have already said pretty much the same thing in two previous posts.

An Insane Criminal

Or To Put  It Another Way

But the more the merrier.

This is not just huffing and puffing with theatrical outrage.

This is whether America is going to survive to Springtime.

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

"There is no other way around it — Trump broke the law. The President of the United States committed a crime by pressuring Georgia’s Secretary of State to overturn the election results, and even threatened him if he failed to do so.

"The best part about all of this? Everything is on tape.

"Washington Post Headline: 'I just want to find 11,780 votes ': in extraordinary call, Trump pressures GA secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor

 "This is disgraceful. It’s dangerous. And it’s corrupt. Don’t let Trump get away with this. Add your name to demand Congress investigate the President NOW >>>

 "Here’s the bottom line — Trump lost this election fair and square. Period. This is yet another attempt to undermine our election process. And failing to take action will only encourage the GOP to destroy our democracy."

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

The thing to remember, though, is that, if this gets serious, lying donnie and Ol' Mitch and the Boys will all say that this is a deep fake simulation.

Complete with a deep fake of Georgia's Secretary of State.

And  a Georgia State Attorney.

And The Washington Post.

And The Wall Street Journal



Sunday, January 3, 2021

Or To Put It Another Way

 The Constitution isn't very clear about what it takes for a US president to be impeached, let alone be removed from office.

But the Constitution says that such a thing is possible.

So the fact the Ol' Mitch and the Boys didn't let the Prosecution in donnie's trial call any witnesses would seem to indicate massive malfeasance: trump was clearly guilty of blackmailing a foreign leader with the intent of having him deliver bogus information about a person who turned out to be a formidable political opponent.

So not only donnie, but Ol' Mitch and the Boys should be in prison right now.

But they aren't.

And we move on.

donnie has let 350,00 Americans die because admitting that there is a medical emergency and doing anything about it would have made him look bad - or so his little pin head thought - so they are dead.

But we move on.

Now he is in the beginning stages of a first time thing in American history: a coup d'état.

It's getting harder to move on.

Harder not because of the heinous nature of yet another crime by the occupant of the white house, but harder because a crime so open and obvious and unchecked, and aided and abetted by the occupant's political allies - an entire political party -  is a threat to every American who depends upon our laws to work to provide a country that isn't an armed camp of bearded, racist, mysogynistic, stupid, violent little boys with guns.

We are days away from the little boys with guns calling donnie's bluff.

Stupidity begets more stupidity and violence usually follows in stupidity's wake.


Lopez Island Moondown

 The moon is often silvrey white.

If she's anything at all.

I was so surprised, one night,

When I saw her in the Fall.

"Almost red" I said on sight,

Of that amazing ball;

"Just the smoke refracting light",

I thought I heard her call.




An Insane Criminal

 From the Wall Street Journal:

"ATLANTA—President Trump in a Saturday telephone call urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the November election results that delivered the state to President-elect Joe Biden.

"At one point in the roughly hourlong call, Mr. Trump told Mr. Raffensperger that he could face legal action and said he wanted him to find nearly 12,000 votes so he could reverse Mr. Biden’s victory.

"'I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state,' he told Mr. Raffensperger on the call, adding later, “it’s not a problem that is going away.” Mr. Biden won the state by 11,779 votes out of about 5 million cast."

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

The fact that trump won't let up in the face of the irrefutable and overwhelmingly reaffirmed fact, that he lost the 2020 election, can best be explained by a simple phrase: "he's plug nuts".

And that is true.

But he is also a CRIMINAL of a high order.

If America hadn't disappeared in recent weeks, gone from history, gone from existence gone in in fact, and gone from memory, donnie would be in jail waiting for a speedy trial rather than being back from Mara Lago bleating lies and being aided and abetted by hoards of  his fellow republican criminals.

Unless a Nuremburg style court is called into existence to mete out justice and unhorse this bunch there is no country left, not even a miserable shred of the once great structure that was the United States.



Butterfly On Butterfly Bush

 Designed for one another.



Saturday, January 2, 2021

Napoleon's Tomb

 I have a never ending number of images that I have taken of Napoleon's tomb from the river side.

The problem is Invalides gets in the way.

I finally got smart one time and went around back.

The only problem there is that the tomb is so big, like everything in Paris, that I had to back out into the street to get this picture.

By sheer luck none of the careening vehicles got me.



Native Honey Bee On Lavender

 


More About The Ol' Pigeon Drop

 In yesterday's post I had an actual image of the Pigeon Drop and a little bit about why I call the ancient sham known as the ring drop the Pigeon Drop.

I also included a snippet from a book that I have written called A Curious Confluence.

As it turned out the Pigeon Drop and one its practitioners became a significant part of the plot in A Curious Confluence.

So here is a larger snippet from that novel; this is the plot point encounter.

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

"Remember I said that I had given up trying to get pictures of the pigeon droppers?

"There is a reason for that.

"Actually there are two reasons. One is just that it’s just too damn hard catching their image. I have a number of blurred barely identifiable encounters, none of which amount to a documentary hill of beans. The one exception is the first one I got when the guy came up to me by Thomas Jefferson.

"But the other reason for my abandonment of the project is probably more interesting.

"Several days ago I went out specifically to harvest images of pigeon droppers. To that end I chose my route carefully, having by that time in this residency noticed what appeared to be patterns to their lurks and haunts.

"The plan was to cross at Pont Neuf and troll down the right bank to Pont d’Alma and cross at Pont d’Alma and troll back to L’institute de France and home. Two hours; maybe six or seven droppers; and maybe one or two decent pictures: it was pretty much a day’s work, I thought.

"En route I changed my mind and crossed at Pont St Michel to give myself a little bit of a leader on the first likely encounter (the droppers seem to like to start more toward Le Louvre).

"As I walked along, it being a really nice day for a few days before full winter, I lost track of what I had been supposed to have been doing. There were some just-right-yellow poplar leaves, and the river was absolutely sparklingly spectacular, and every boat seemed to be a candidate for a Saturday Evening Post cover.

"So I was many mind-space miles from thinking about the old pigeon drop gambit. 

"I was composing and taking pictures and savoring a beautiful day on the right bank of the Seine, in the shadow (the sun was from the other direction, so there was no shadow, but the allusion has great literary appeal) of Le Louvre when suddenly my concentration was broken by a rather large humanoid at my side thrusting his hand with a gold-like ring in it into my field of view.

"I immediately snapped back into pigeon dropper image harvesting mode, put the camera next to his hand and pulled the trigger.

"That did not please Gargantua.

"He started asserting in a raised-level voice – something. “No fucking way” came to mind, but I really couldn’t get anything he was saying. I don’t think it was French.

"But I didn’t need a dictionary to know the gist of the message.

"The problem for me immediately had become – I didn’t really care whether he liked the fact that I had taken a picture of his hand – that the picture I had taken – he obviously believed – gave him the right and the access to pursue the real point of the gambit, which was to extort funds from the mark, and I was the mark.  In the case of an unapproved photo, who knew what the endgame might be?  In any case, I had, inadvertently, stepped into the snare.

"And I didn’t like that at all.

"So I yelled at the top of as well modulated a pair of baritone male lungs as I could summon “God damn you, you son of a bitch”.

"He spit at me. I think he missed. I threw a punch, hitting him mid chest. He was alarmingly lean. I felt as if I had struck a rock.  I was so angry that I just was ready for a fight, which totally out of character for me. So I was surprised that all that he did was indulge in some eastern European-sounding guttural utterances. I said some things in riposte that I can’t remember now and he reciprocated.

"And then not long after that he moved off down the quai.

"I took some more pictures of the poplars, waiting for my heart rate to drop below three hundred.

"I could see the dropper not too far up the quai. There was no way I was going to backtrack or try to elude him. I struck out in his direction.

"As expected, I fairly quickly came abreast of where he was standing. And he knew that I was there. As our eyes met, and he started spewing whatever language it is that he speaks at me, I threw him a snappy, Air Force officer salute.

"That seemed to throw him a curve, because he came over and put his arm around me and started saying things that seemed to have “monaie” as a major and recurring word. “Bon chance a vous” I said; and the torrent from him grew even greater. He kept asking me in English where I was from. “Are you English?” I just laughed.

"By the time that encounter had been closed out, I had discovered – I think – that he was from Romania, and that there was no luck without money.

"If I encounter him again, which I assume I will, maybe I will find out if my feeling that we parted as sort of mutually respecting human beings was, in fact accurate.

And that is the more compelling of the two reasons that I am out of the game of trolling for droppers."


 


Friday, January 1, 2021

Pigeon Drop Is Alive And Well

 There is an ancient gambit called the "ring drop".  I call it the pigeon drop because I once saw a much grander, but conceptually identical, sham presented as one of the segments of 60 Minutes.  I have spent days trolling the quais of the Seine to try to get pictures of it in action. Here is one of the few I have ever gotten that can be seen clearly.


I have been so fascinated by this stupid sham over time that I even have a brief mention of it in A Curious Confluence.

Here it is.

"The first time I ever saw the Pigeon Drop attempted was in 2006 on or about Quai Voltaire. That was in August. I was back in November of that year and they tried it again. By then I really had the adversary role down pat: "Vous avez bon chance, Madame!" I said to the drab little woman who was conducting the scam.

It has been tried on me a number of times since. Today I had decided was an ideal day for image gathering on the banks of the Seine. I set out about 1330.

I kiddingly wondered to myself if I would again be pigeon-dropped. "No, not after all this time" I said to myself. A distance down the quais, I was just standing and wondering if I should take yet another series of images of the statue of Thomas Jefferson when I was suddenly aware of a small dumpy brown woman attired in some kind of trademark eastern European garb sort of floating into my view as she stooped down on toward the sidewalk. 

She was stooping on toward the sidewalk because she was groveling down to pick up a shiny gold ring. She rose to her full 4 foot 8 stature and said to me, "Voila! Regardez que j'ai trouvé!" I was so excited. The drop was on."