Friday, December 29, 2017

The Bears Of Blue River–Redux

My grandparents came to Seattle from Terra Haut – Indiana.

That grandmother gave my father the book – The Bears of Blue River.

Indiana – in the days of the book – was like Seattle when my grandparents came here: pristine, wild and beautiful.

Now Seattle is just an urban cesspool.

How sad.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Browsing The Image Inventory

From Paris.

In 2015.

In November.

On the 13th I ate at La Citrouille which is my favorite restaurant in Paris.

Not the best by any means; just my favorite.

Next morning Facebook had lit up over night.

Everybody wanted to find out if I had survived the terrorist attacks of the night before.

I had.

I hadn’t even heard about it.

My neighborhood was spared.

That time.

I got a lot of good pictures in November 2015.

Here are a few of them.

paris parrot in le jardin des plantes 112215 00000

paris hotel de ville 112015 00000

paris parrot in le jardin des plantes 11815 00000

paris male pea fowl in bois de vincennes 110917 00000

paris blue heron at bois de boulogne 110715 00000

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Jazz Singer

When I was 12 or so I lived until I was 14 or so with my parents in a duplex on 17th and Clackamas in Portland.

That was not many blocks from the Irvington theatre.

I saw a lot of movies at the Irvington.

Because it was close to where I lived.

And my parents were still adjusting to the death of my sister, and the adjustments – I guess – necessary to life after remarriage.

So they often sent me off to the Irvington.

What a magic problem for a star struck kid to have.

Because of being farmed off to the neighborhood theatre, I saw a lot of the early 1950’s movies.

I think most of them were quite good, because I have fond memories of those Irvington movie days.

But I don’t remember any specifics about that good feeling.

Even the movies’ names.

Except for two.

One of those  was Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

My parents had to come and get me out of the theatre on that one; I was so mesmerized by it I just stayed and watched it as they played it again, and again, and again – in those days one could stay and watch subsequent screenings for no additional cost.

I own that movie – Seven Brides For Seven Brothers - and have watched it a number of times in the last couple of years.

It never ceases being great.

Howard Keel and Jane Powell are wonderful.

So are Julie Newmar and Russ Tamblyn.

And everybody else in the cast.

The other Irvington movie that I have remembered by name is The Jazz Singer.

The one with Danny Thomas and Peggy Lee.

Yes, Danny Thomas (Marlo’s father) and Peggy Lee (you know, “Is That All There Is?”, by Lieber and Stoller).

I have always remembered that it was, from my nubile 13 or so year old viewpoint, a great movie.

But, as years have passed and a cover to this cover (Al Jolson made it originally) went by without me seeing it (I like Kris Kristofferson as a country singer and a hard scrabble song writer, not as a jazz singer, or in a relationship with Barbara Streisand – although Rita made a lot of sense) I assumed that the Danny Thomas version couldn’t be as good as I remembered.

I was, after all, only 13 or so at the time that I first saw it.

Yesterday I downloaded it.

Just a little while ago I finished watching it.

After all those years.

What a great movie.

The Bears Of Blue River

Anybody ever read "The Bears of Blue River"?

My father read it to me innumerable times when I couldn’t read yet, and then, as a semi independent, literate child, I read it many more times.

Recently I went to the ancient bookshelf in our house and got the book, which was handed down to me by my father - it was his mother's gift to him of a hardcover copy when he was 5 or 6; so it's old - and I read it.

As it turned out, I just looked at it.

I had it memorized.

There is a chapter about a Christmas homecoming in this book that I have always thought was the prototype for The Waltons.

And the chapter about the fire bear is still hair raising: Mr. Major can tell a spooky tale better than anyone I can think of except Dean Koontz.

And Mr. Major can describe a huge hollow hickory tree to be used as a home away from home during an extended winter hunting trip in such a way that you can smell the squirrel roasting on the fire in the tree’s hollow center.

Wildlife Images On Christmas Eve

I think my last post was something about the apocalypse and Amazon.

That one took a lot out of me.

So there haven’t been any since.

And there isn’t anything today.

Except a good feeling that I always have when I am watching birds and animals.

Which I have been doing.

So I thought I’d share.

Joyeux Noel

lopez birds on feeder 122417 00001

lopez red breasted nuthatch 122417 00000

lopez squirrel 122417 00000

lopez unidentified sparrow 122417 00001

lopez birds on feeder 122417 00000

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Some Consequences Of Net Subjectivity

Time: The future – sometime in the 2030s.

Place: The Remnant Rump of America (RRA) – at the capital (the city formerly known as Washington D.C.)

Subject: Things that were supposed to happen at this time, but didn’t.


Thing One: Amazon-Stratasys was supposed to start the next step in home delivery of products with the rollout of the Amazon-Stratasys additive manufacturing system (three dimensional printers).

It didn’t happen.

Thing Two: Amazon-Rochester-Stratasys was supposed to start delivering custom printed, living kidneys to clinics for dialysis patients using the new Amazon-Rochester-Stratasys renal additive manufacturing system.

It didn’t happen.


Didn’t these things (along with myriad equally important kindred) happen?

Because earlier in the century America’s vaunted luck ran out.

(Otto von Bismarck once observed that “god has a special providence for drunks, little children and the United States of America”).

Or something like that.

Anyway, two centuries of luck ran out and the checks all got checked and the balances all lost their balance.

Which had massive political, cultural, social, scientific and survival as a coherent nation consequences.

One of the results of this chaos early on was the repeal of net neutrality.

“So what?” most folks said.

“Surely Comcast can’t screw us any worse with net subjectivity than they have with net neutrality.”

Unfortunately that viewpoint was very, very, very wrong.

It wasn’t long before the dysfunctional, post 2016 government had approved the merger of Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Fox, Disney, Century Link and Trump Enterprises.

That has led to the now ubiquitous internet product, “Wonderland Speedy Platform”: 56kbps PLUS a modem for $175 a month – paid 90 days in advance.

For the less well off there is the “somewhat slower parallel product” (a new, post net neutrality term) that operates at 28kbps, modem extra, for $150 a month – paid 90 days in advance (modem must pass standards of the Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Fox, Disney, Century Link and Trump Enterprises Amalgamation with a $27 a month surcharge for ongoing standards certification).

Those are two key aspects of why the two things, noted above, didn’t happen.

There was one big other aspect of net subjectivity.

And that other aspect was of great consequence.

Immediately after the occurrence of the “Great Amalgamation of American Communications Infrastructure Act” and its associated political log rolling and legislation – refer to the act of congress of the same name for details – a new commercial product was offered by Comcast/Trump (the name of the newly amalgamated communications/content infrastructure).

That product was called “Exfinity High Speed Zoom Zoom”.

It was designed for all “commercial enterprises not under the suzerainty of Comcast/Trump”.

Which was a rapidly shrinking list.

In fact Amazon quickly became the only one on that list.

Zoom Zoom is an offering of a maximum of 100 connections per enterprise operating at “up to” 10MBS “down” and 1MBPS “up”.

For a million dollars per connection per day.

The upshot was that Amazon never bought Stratasys, never merged with the Mayo Clinic, never developed the human organ additive manufacturing system and never developed its additive home delivery system.

In fact it went out of business in 2020, just after the election of that year.

Comcast/Trump strangled Amazon.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Biff, donnie and Potter

Amazing – I said – early in the movie.

The movie was Back To The Future II.

Early on there is a scene in Biff’s high rise residence, with Marty McFly’s mother, that is so much like what one would expect from donnie, that one wonders if the people who made Back To The Future II might have had it in for president dildo donnie.

But the movie was made in the last century.

The makers were just making a scene featuring a dildo.

They couldn’t have possibly known that all that glitter, gold and macho Biff misogyny was going to be – not far in the  future, the present.

And that donnie the dildo was going to be president.

A little later in the movie the full homage to an earlier movie, It’s A Wonderful Life becomes apparent.

Marty gets to go back to the town that he grew up in  and see that it has become Biff Town.

It looks like, except in color, a lot like Potters Ville.


The first time I ever saw It’s A Wonderful Life was in a condominium  on the Oregon coast.

Tom, Ellen, Mysti and I had reservations at Harrah's in Seaside for dinner and we were each in various stages of getting ready to depart for the restaurant.

I was ready and had come out of Mysti’s and my part of the property.

Tom and Ellen had already gotten ready and were sitting on the communal couch watching something on the TV.

I sat down because to do otherwise seemed to me to be anti-social.

After a moment or two I started paying attention to what was on the tube.

It was, I found out later, It’s A Wonderful Life.

I could not believe that that good a movie had been made in 1947, and that I had never heard of it.


In the years between then and now I have no idea how many times I have watched that movie.

But it is a lot of times.

In fact it has been so many times that I quit watching it several years ago: watching a movie that you have memorized is really not very entertaining or interesting.


A few days ago I heard an NPR interview of two young women who had never heard of It’s A Wonderful Life, but who had agreed to watch it and be interviewed about what they thought.

What they thought was pretty much what I have always thought about the movie, but with some new stuff I had never thought about.

So I bought it on iTunes.

And I watched it.

And, like the Back To The Future II Biff in the tower and Biff Town scenes, I was mesmerized by the sociology of the movie: how could Frank Capra known about an orange blivet who takes over the presidency of the United States of America and puts everybody into Pottersville?

George Orwell saw it coming, so I guess that a movie director also did, shouldn’t be too surprising.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Just Some Images: Forget donnie For Today

I have tried from the beginning of this blog to be saying things that might be important, or useful, or – rational, even.

I am pretty sure, from the reaction to this blog in the time since I commenced it, that that has been pointless.

Images seem to be the solution to that problem; so here are some:

hawk 121417 from mysti 00000

lopez chestnut sided chickadee 041117 00002

lopez junco 110217 00004

lopez junco 110217 00003

lopez nuthatch 060717 00014

lopez pintail 121513 00000

I wrote sort of a poem earlier this evening.

It was about a bird.

And about human cruelty.

So, since these all turned out to be bird pictures, here it is.


It Was A Bird

I once drew down upon a bird;

It was with my home made slingshot;

I pulled back the elastics and looked;

At something so beautiful that;

I can’t now understand why;

I let it fly…

…The rock, I mean

That flew

At that bird

In the back yard of my best friend.

But I did;

Let it fly;

And it did;


And it struck;

And I cheered;

But all these years since, I cry

Every time I remember

That bird.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

98118 Is The Future Of America

That’s my ZIP.

It’s the most diverse ZIP in the United States.

The grocery I go to, and have gone to, for the entire twenty some years that I have lived in 98118 is a Safeway.

It was, the first day I ever went there, and is still today, a joyous place to go buy a cucumber, salmon steak or package of Canadian bacon – or anything else – like flour or corn tortillas, brown rice, white rice, sour cream, Pomi tomatoes, cumin ground, cumin seeds, curry powder, chitterlings, lard, collard greens, cabbage, broccoli, shallots, garlic, mushrooms or whatever – that a normal American might need to buy for the larder.

It was on that first day a new experience of a sort (although I have lived in Japan, Vietnam and France for extended periods, so languages I either don’t speak or which I am not fluent in was not the “new” part of this new experience) happened to me: my brain was flooded with multiple languages coming from the mass of my fellow shoppers.

“This is great” I said to myself.

And I still do.

Because it has only gotten better in the twenty some years.

There probably are even more languages than twenty years ago, although I’m not linguist enough to be sure.

But what I am sure of is that these are my fellow citizens, or they should be if we didn’t have “prejudices” masquerading as “laws”.

What I am sure of is that they love their kids – I see their kids a lot, because they bring them to Safeway to shop with them.

What I am sure of is that I am proud to be a citizen of a country that has been the sort of world-wide magnet for the ambitious, the talented, the gutsy (a lot of them risked their lives to get here), the “I want to be free and America is the last best hope for freedom place on earth” sort of people.

In spite of those certainties the downer is that I have to keep being brought back to reality after I leave my Safeway.

I come home to NPR or PBS.

I don’t watch or listen to the corporate news interpreters.

And when I get home I keep coming back to the disheartening reality that there is a hate-ridden, ignorant, probably flatulent, obese, orange hulk of an excuse for a leader of the United States of America in the White House shrieking about how we need to have vast numbers more of coal miners and vast numbers less of those that I consider as my fellow citizens when I go to my 98118 Safeway.

If that orange hulk is really America, our days are numbered, because the future is 98118.

Anyone who tries to jimmie that fact is pulling the stones out from under the foundation of the United States of America.

The Villeins Be Happy, Very, Very Happy

A long time ago T.H. White wrote a brilliant rethink of the Arthurian legend.

He seems to have used the Mallory version mainly, but he does occasionally reference Tennyson.

The result is a book that reads like a modern novel laced with political commentary and myriad sly asides leaping from Arthur’s time to ours – and back – like a millennium spanning badminton match.

The entire work is called The Once and Future King.

It has four sections:


I have observed on various occasions in these posts that in America the endgame of the republican party is to return most Americans to a state of serfdom: I can see Paul Ryan saying “A villein thou art and a villein thou will remain” interspersed with pithy quotes from Ayn Rand (makers and takers and all that shit).

So I took note when I recently read the following from Chapter 14 of The Sword in the Stone.

(I have formatted it to correspond with the way I lay down thoughts in this blog. I hope it’s ok with Mr. White.)


“Everybody was happy.

The Saxons were slaves to their Norman masters if you chose to look at it in one way—but, if you chose to look at it in another, they were the same farm labourers who get along on too few shillings a week today.

Only neither the villein nor the farm labourer starved, when the master was a man like Sir Ector.

It has never been an economic proposition for an owner of cattle to starve his cows, so why should an owner of slaves starve them?

The truth is that even nowadays the farm labourer accepts so little money because he does not have to throw his soul in with the bargain—as he would have to do in a town—and the same freedom of spirit has obtained in the country since the earliest times.

The villeins were labourers.

They lived in the same one-roomed hut with their families, few chickens, litter of pigs, or with a cow possibly called Crumbocke—most dreadful and insanitary! But they liked it. They were healthy, free of an air with no factory smoke in it, and, which was most of all to them, their heart's interest was bound up with their skill in labour.

They knew that Sir Ector was proud of them.

They were more valuable to him than his cattle even, and, as he valued his cattle more than anything else except his children, this was saying a good deal.

He walked and worked among his villagers, thought of their welfare, and could tell the good workman from the bad.

He was the eternal farmer, in fact—one of those people who seem to be employing labour at so many shillings a week, but who are actually paying half as much again in voluntary overtime, providing a cottage free, and possibly making an extra present of milk and eggs and home-brewed beer into the bargain.

In other parts of Gramarye, of course, there did exist wicked and despotic masters—feudal gangsters whom it was to be King Arthur's destiny to chasten—but the evil was in the bad people who abused it, not in the feudal system.”

So I guess if we get to work for Sir Ector it’s not going to be so bad.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Morning After III: How Democrats Could Keep The Senate Seat In Alabama

Earlier today I posted The Morning After II: How democrats Could Keep The Senate Seat In Alabama.

As I was writing it I was thinking of who the candidate might be if the scenario I was proposing ever came to pass.

I was thinking of a guy who I was pretty sure was from the South, who is African American and who a long time ago said that when he was finished with a stellar career in his chosen profession he wanted to go home and run for Governor.

I just couldn’t remember where he was from.

So I didn’t suggest the obvious person to fill the candidate in my scenario:

It’s Charles Barkley.

He’s smart, doesn’t take shit off anybody and understands Alabama.

Please, Mr. Jones, think about the idea I proposed in The Morning After II.

An Unexpected Result Of donnie And Jerusalem

A little earlier today in, a local Public Radio interview and talk show, I heard Susan Sylvester Hutchison the Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party say something very similar to this

(my memory span is too short and served by too shallow data storage to ever be word for word; but I am pretty good on context and meaning)

"Blue collar Democrats (in this case she was referring to the people who inhabit the Washington state coastal strip) are going to vote republican because the president wants to move our embassy to Jerusalem".

WHAT? I shrieked into the smog filled Seattle firmament.

How does that put any food on the working folks’ tables ??

She didn't answer.

All this morning – Day Zero Post Roy Moore – I have heard republicans spinning everything; unfortunately I also heard Tom Perez abandon reality to spin how strong the Democrats are for 2018.

The republican spin is just pathetic.

But Perez’s spin was unnecessary and dangerous.

Because the Democrats are going to be mowed down by the Tea Party and the Hate Party and the rump of the republicans in 2018.

The Democrats keep thinking that Chuck - looking down at something on the floor when he speaks, and Nancy looking like a de-frocked nun who is pissed about not being Mother Superior is going to motivate the demographic segment necessary to overcome the white hate vote and get them to go out and vote.

That is, tragically, going to be proven so stupid, so soon, that we are all going to have to think that the sickness we felt late in the night of 8 November 2016 was just a mild case of pizza stomach.

People like Perez need to deal with reality.

That is the first step toward winning again.


For years, decades really, the republicans have employed the dog whistle.

Now there is a new, rapidly gaining popularity, addition to subtle dirty tricks: the WINK WINK.

When a republican does a WINK WINK, the non republican portion of the human race points out that the WINK WINK is tantamount to pornography (that’s the whole point to WINK WINK) and the republicans gleefully indict the rest of the human race, who are just pointing out the obvious, of having their “minds in the gutter “.

Pretty ingenious, n’est pas?

The Morning After II: How Democrats Could Keep The Senate Seat In Alabama

After hearing Congressman Bradley Byrne (R Alabama) saying in an interview on NPR this morning: (the words are as close as I can approximate them from memory) “This was a one off election, will never happen again and Doug Jones will lose his seat in November because there is no way that Alabama - except in this one off aberration - will ever vote other than Republican”, I posted some thoughts titled “The Morning After”.

And that was fun.

But I kept thinking about Byrne’s statement and drew a less satirically whimsical conclusion.

And, I guess, that is another post.

So here it is.

Satirical whimsy aside, I agree with Byrne: “Doug Jones will lose in November”.

I can’t think of any way he can win.

Except one.

The fact that that way requires a combination of expedience and altruism never seen in history make that way unlikely to the point of being unthinkable.

But here it is.

Doug needs to, immediately, with a lot of help from the African American community figure out the most electable African American in Alabama and announce immediately after taking his seat in January that he will not run and who he will support.

And then let the fun begin.

There are a lot of blank spaces in this plan that need to be filled in.

I am not qualified to fill them in.

So I turn the idea over to Doug Jones right now.

The Morning After

Congressman Bradley Byrne(R Alabama) said in an interview on NPR this morning: This was a one off election, will never happen again and Doug Jones will lose his seat in November because there is no way that Alabama - except in this one off aberration - will ever vote other than Republican.

(This is not a direct quote, but is an accurate approximation of Byrne's response to a question).

So, I asked myself, “since the outcome of elections is thus hardwired in perpetuity in Alabama, why go to the expense of elections?”

“Why not just have the Grand Wizard declare the slate to be seated and direct the Council of Acolytes to endorse and promulgate that slate?”

"We don't need no stinkin' elections in Alabama", I thought I heard someone say in support of that viewpoint.

Grand Wizard donald trump

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Good News But The Battle Continues

I am stunned beyond belief by the Alabama result.

I assume, however that those results will be attacked immediately as "fake results", "rigged system", “fake news”, "big money from 'the outside"' and etc. etc. and etc..

So all I can take from this historic event is that is that Alabama's citizens really take seriously being American Citizens.

And that is comforting.

And, I hate to say this, surprising.

Alabama has done something that a lot of us blue places have never had to do: look the devil in the eye, be beguiled by his spell; and then choose right over the devil.

That must have been really difficult.

When I lived in Georgia I was pretty sure that I met a lot of real people who I could talk to about pretty much anything, with whom I disagreed on some things, and who were able to chalk up the disagreements to the fact that I was a Yankee; but they seemed to feel that that was ok; we agreed that Brunswick stew might be the apex of human food and that Merle haggard was the greatest living entertainer.

So I am happy to see that common sense and reason carried the day today in Alabama.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

donnie, I wish I had Never Knew Ya

America was once the place where nothing was perfect but where everything came out OK because of checks and balances and a vigorous rule of law.

We are rapidly losing the checks and balances because of the willingness of a frighteningly large number of Americans to think that donald trump is an acceptable President.

And he is successfully undermining all the constitutional checks and balances and right of citizens – freedom of the press paramount among those – because he is supposedly a member of the political party that holds the majority in both houses of our legislature; the members of that party are punch drunk with power.

And the rule of law is being, daily, done away with by the republican CABAL.

donnie is so far from acceptable, that I need to offer a link to a video I have posted that describes why he should be impeached;

But America keeps chugging along, hoping every day that donnie isn’t going to get WW III going, and just keeping its head down, because, after all, he is the President.

Some of us think maybe America can do a lot better than donnie:  we have had Presidents who have seemed to understand the things that the office of the President requires – Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy, Wilson, FDR, Harry, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, Barack.

donnie doesn’t seem to be able to get what these other men got.

But he got elected.

And some of us lost in that election.

And, having lost we have to accept the fact that donnie likes to be different.

He has decided to be the asshole President.

And a lot of Americans seem to like an asshole as their leader.

And he seems to have an Electoral College lock on being the asshole in chief.

For a frightening length of time.

I would like it if this weren’t true.

But it is.


And we are going to pay for this.

Even if we – who really would prefer not to be ranted at (as an alternative to being governed by)  the President - figure out how to get donnie out in some way, by the time that that happens the republicans will have gutted America.

We are already not first world - in any rational measurement of that membership - healthcare being the most obvious, and mass transportation being not far behind – and we are rapidly descending into being a country where myth drives policy.

The problem is, the myth is a hate based justification for weakness and incompetency spawned by a few years of luck driven world dominance (“all them Mexicans have caused us to not have jobs”).


At the end of World War II nobody but us had any factories.

As countries began to recover, and wanted to and needed to buy stuff, but still had no factories to produce the “stuff” there was only one place to buy it from.

America was that place.

And we got fat and lazy: the 1% mostly, because they owned everything; but the workers did all right also; because with a world monopoly even the 1% had to cede to the serfs some part of the largesse of that monopoly.

The 1%, after all, needed the workers to show up to work every day so that the 1% could fuck a still prostrate world.

But the 1% couldn’t stop history.

The Japanese rebuilt; and they adopted Deming’s methods.

And they rubbed our fat, overfed American noses in the real world: you need to be good to compete.

And we were not good: having a world monopoly allowed the 1% to charge whatever they wanted; It allowed them to keep giving unions contracts that probably made no sense; after all, with a world monopoly they needed to keep the workers turning their bolts, no matter what.

But that all stopped when the Deming trained Japanese kicked into gear.

And we whined and moaned and continued to turn out embarrassing excuses for automobiles.

And the Japanese kicked our ass.

And we whined even more loudly.


The early post WW II dominance of America in the world of commerce was not superiority, GREATNESS, or skill; it was just LUCK.

And on 8 October 2016, our luck ran out.

Why do I say that?

Because delusions aren’t going to make America great.

In some ways we still are great; but it’s waning rapidly; and it’s not going to happen again, unless we cease being delusional.

Because delusions are going to take us into the miasma of stupidity, ignorance, hate and prejudice that are the things that have spelled finis for all other once great civilizations.

Anyone without delusions can see “finis America” emblazoned on the walls of history.

But that is just a likely outcome.

There is still time for another outcome.

But things don’t look very hopeful.

I am glad that I probably am too old to see whether the walls so emblazoned are accurate in their prophesy.

It’s ironic that so is donnie.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Second Coming (Of …)

All that follows is going to be both ignorant and silly; I want to get ahead of any evangelicals who may stray to this post by ceding them whatever ridiculous thing it is that they are going to say in riposte.

So here it goes…

I am a fallen away Irish Catholic (Roman, also).

I have found the belief in god and the belief that an apparently documented human being – Jesus - is also god and that to complete that dual goat rodeo we, need a third person, the holy ghost, to be about as ridiculous as believing that cats have souls.

Actually, I believe that cats have souls.

As I “grew up” I went to four years of Catholic grade school.

That was grades 5, 6, 7 and 8.

Then I went to four years of Catholic High School (one of the worst and most dangerous of the Catholic priests in the abuse debacle taught me Sophomore religion; apparently he didn’t find me attractive; I thought he was pretty smart; he was, he always said, “Jesuit educated”).

I learned a lot there at Central Catholic.

The other four years of grade school were public schools and Catholic schools, but there was no continuity – we moved around all of the time, sometimes more than once a year, so I am leaving them out of my academic body count.

I will, however, say that what I got from public school in those years was vastly superior to what I got from Catholic schools in those years.

Which is one of the reasons why I so firmly believe in public education in America: and don’t lose sight of the fact that trump et al want to get us all back to brainwashing institutions of the private or the religious sector (Catholic schools, by the way always made me feel like an American patriot).

Back to what I was meaning to talk about: the Baltimore Catechism was pretty much the sole source of religious training in the Catholic schools.

I have vague memories of kind of a readers digest of the Bible, but I cant remember anything tangible I took from any encounters with it.

But, from somewhere, I remember one thing.

Jesus is coming back and he will judge the living and the dead and he will adjudicate those judgements, and then he will take the winners from that judgement day into the Valley of Josaphat and commence a thousand year reign.

I have no idea what happens after the thousand years.

I think I remember one other thing.

We will know that Jesus is coming back – soon – when Israel rebuilds the temple that the Romans destroyed way back when.

That temple, I think I know, was, and therefore will be again, in Jerusalem.

Evangelicals all – I think – believe this.

In fact they, as I think I understand things, want to induce it.

“Let’s get on with this Valley of the Josaphat deal” I think I hear them shouting.


I guess this all comes down to whose beliefs are going to win.

Since, in the context of that remark, I have no beliefs, that question is meaningless to me.

But in a larger – let’s say “rational” - context it might matter (the return of a – probably – great man who has been, without his approval declared by a clique who benefitted amazingly from the declaration, 400 or so years after he was assassinated by the Jews, to be “god the son” bears, I think some sober consideration) to those of us who don’t want the world to descend into a sea of flames, again – we already did that with Hitler.

So I get some beliefs real fast.

The dominant among them is the belief that humanity needs to cease justifying everything they do – most of it violently irrational – by the mythical words of an unprovable presence.

If you need to believe in god, just do it.

But quit making my life and the world that I inhabit untenable due to your beliefs.

After all, I don’t EVER try to make YOU believe anything.


The point to all of this?

donnie just declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel.

So, why, everybody is asking.

The only reason I can think of why he would do that is to mollify his Evangelical base.

That would likely set the Arab world in flames.

So, in a country that eschews an established religion, one group’s religious beliefs drive a catastrophic turn in our foreign policy.

BUT, I hear from the Evangelicals, “Jesus is coming back and he will judge the living and the dead and he will adjudicate those judgements, and then he will take the winners from that judgement day into the Valley of Josaphat and commence a thousand year reign. And we will know that Jesus is coming back – soon – when Israel rebuilds the temple that the Romans destroyed way back when.”


And the dominos will begin to fall.

And the second temple will be built.

And …

Fade to – stupid – black; (or white, equally stupid).

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Chuck And Nancy Just Don’t Measure Up

The Tea Party and the Hate Party and the rump of the republicans are going to mow down the Democrats in 2018.

The Democrats keep thinking that Chuck - looking down at something on the floor when he speaks, and Nancy looking like a de-frocked nun who is pissed about not being Mother Superior is going to motivate the demographic segment necessary to overcome the white hate vote and get them to go out and vote.

That is, tragically, going to be proven so stupid, so soon, that we are all going to have to think that the sickness we felt late in the night of 8 November 2016 was just a mild case of pizza stomach.

One Good Thing About 8 November 2016

On 8 November 2016 I was in Paris.

I had voted for Hillary via the US Mail before I had boarded the plane on November 1.

I was drinking the Kool Aid: Hillary had it in the bag.

That morning – 8 November – I bought a baguette and ate half of it with butter; there is a bistro way to cut a baguette into strips which exposes two edges to the butter.

I also had a small dish of fromage blanc from my favorite fromagerie at 47 Boulevard St. Germaine.

A clementine finished things off.

Then I left the apartment and headed down the Seine.

For no real reason (I had a lot of this statue already) I took a picture of the statue of Thomas Jefferson.

When I was evaluating and editing the days images later I looked at Jefferson for a moment and he spoke to me: “He will never be on the list”.

That inspired me: I used that picture in a blog post: “Donald trump will never sully the list upon which this man is third.”

Or something like that.

As the early pre dawn hours crept forward in Paris I watched in horror as, first CNN, and then CNBC unraveled in the face of the obvious impending disaster.

It’s a disaster from which we can only messily recover.


I did take another picture on 8 November.

It can’t change the disaster of that day, but it does show that for me, that day, 8 November, in Paris, wasn’t so bad.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Impeachment As A Necessity

I got an email from Tom Steyer today.

He’s a billionaire.

I’m a peasant.

But his heart seems to be in the right place.

I have no idea where he got my email; probably some drunken response by me to some incendiary post I had encountered late some night after dinner; but he had a reasonable proposition: sign this petition to impeach trump.

So I signed up for his impeach trump program.

Seemed like the least I could do.

As part of signing up he asked that those of us who did so would make a video, post it to You Tube and send him the URL.

I did that.

Here is the URL:

I hope you find it mercifully brief.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Schlesinger Jr Said This In 1941

I am going to reformat – he spoke this as a paragraph; I am posting it as separated sentence/thoughts - Schlesinger’s words to fit how I think 21st Century Americans read things like this; but that is the only change; it would seem to me that anybody that has some semblance of a brain will find what he say to be obvious – and unsettling.


Paris, December 2016:

“I am finally finishing "The Age of Jackson" written in 1945 based on lectures the author (Arthur Schlesinger Jr.) delivered in 1941.

I just read the following:

‘... since this is a capitalistic society, the class most interested in its security and prosperity is the capitalist class, which thus should have the most power.

The theory has survived every test but experience.

It simply has not worked. Since the Federalist party the American business community appears to have lost its political capacity; it has not been, in the strict sense, a ruling class.

In placid days power naturally gravitates to it as the strongest group in the state; but through American history it has been unable to use that power very long for national purposes.

Moved typically by personal and class, rarely by public, considerations, the business community has invariably brought national affairs to a state of crisis and exasperated the rest of society into dissatisfaction bordering on revolt’”.

With donnie as president and the republicans in control of both houses of the legislature, god help any of us who care about America.

Watching Cat Stevens

It looks as if he is playing some kind of Gibson flat top. 

The cameras, either inadvertently, or, perhaps vertently, just focus enough for those of us who love that inlaid mother of pearl logo to think it says “Gibson” don’t give a clear view. 

But, Gibson on my mind, I had to wonder where my Gibson Country Gentleman, that I traded on a Favilla twelve string, might be today. 

Or if it might even be today. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Tocqueville Told Us To Worry

Saturday 2 December 2017; it’s 12:31 PST.

The sun is moving across North America.

Darkness is scurrying behind the sun; it is somewhere over the Atlantic right now; but its amorphous tendrils of gloom will be intercepting the coast of the United States soon.

And as they so intercept the lights will  begin to come on.

And residents of Mars will be able to see the glory that is America.

There will be one facility whose light will be of special interest.

“There’s been absolutely no collusion.”

“We know Mr. President.”

“I repeat, there’s been absolutely no collusion.”

“We need to move on, Mr. President; Sarah has covered you beautifully: she said that the ‘godless democrats are stirring the cauldron of progressive/liberal offal against the vicar of Jesus here on earth’; nice phrasing, no?”

“I repeat, there’s been absolutely no collusion.”

A little covfef ensues among the gathered advisors and camp followers.

“What are we going to do with him?”

“Hope he chokes to death on his burned steak?”

“If only!”

This goes on to no apparent result until a roar from across the room arises to heavens and intercepts the down floating tendrils of darkness.

“Mueller dilendum est!!!”

“I didn’t know he spoke Latin.”

“He’s really smart; he says that all the time.”

“Mueller dilendum est!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

(Louder this time.)

“Nice classical allusion.”


As the tendrils of the sun waft their golden amorphisty across the east coast of the United States the Nation’s newspapers pop into view like mushrooms after a good rain.

The headline of each mirrors the head line of all the others.


Friday, December 1, 2017

The Rats Are Busy As Bees

As trump unravels we watch the republicans scrambling to pass a law dismantling Social Security, Medicare, the remnants of welfare and anything benefiting any but the 1%.

 The rats apparently want to feather their nests before abandoning a sinking ship.

I love mixed metaphors.

The donnie Night Time Effect

I just watched a YouTube montage about what a windfall trump has been for nighttime TV.

I also watched a British TV montage of – which was pretty much the same thing as the American viewpoint – what an idiot donnie is.

So do we get him out for being an idiot, or for being a criminal (treason is something like a criminal offence)?

I guess only posterity is going to know.

Unless we abrogate our responsibility under the Mayflower Compact and the US Constitution – and de Tocqueville said we would so abrogate (not really abrogate, just too nice to step up to the responsibility) to remove cancers from the body politic.

I vote that Tocqueville was right.

How really, really sad.

Jabba Seems To Have Staying Power

How many impeachable and indictable things can we excuse donnie from?

I can’t think of any.

But we are.

Excusing him.

And the list is long – of transgressions committed and being ignored, denied or forgiven.

Treason comes to mind at or near the top of the list.

The emoluments thing is so blatant it doesn’t bear being mentioned.

So I won’t.

Trying to gut the freedom of the press is so out of the Putin Playbook that only someone who has not read The Invention of Russia would not recognize it’s key components: plant fake news, claim fake news, deny and threaten real news, and always lie, even if the truth might be benign.

And bragging about being a sexual predator probably isn’t very important, so we can move on from the tape where he crows about his predatory prowess and from the multiple women who are on record saying they have been his victim.

After all, it would be untoward to go after the President of the United States when little people like Garrison Keillor are available for the pillory.

Anyway - you know how hysterical women get when someone grabs them by the crotch, right?

And besides, I guess there needs to be a lot of leeway granted to the President of the United States to conduct himself in office – right?

So however long the list of this man’s indictable and impeachable infractions may be, we just have to suck it up and take it.

Welcome to the newly made great America.


I would not bring up the obvious if I were not continually haunted by memories of - just a few of the - people denied the right to even run for President due to ONE NEWSWORTHY, BUT WHO REALLY GAVE A FUCK, THING: Patricia Schroeder (she cried), Gary Hart (he indulged in some hanky panky – it was alleged – aboard a luxury sea craft dubbed Monkey Business, Ed Musky (he teared up in a news conference talking about attacks on his wife) and John McCain 2000 (he was alleged to have a black child – what has that laudable, if true, thing got to do with being President?) are on the list.

How can we have slid so far down the slippery slope of mindless opportunism (my version of godless humanism) that we can tolerate the human equivalent of Jabba the Hut being in the office of President of the United States for one more moment?

One answer to that question is that the majority and controlling party is the party of the amoral rich, big business, pedophiles, ignoramuses, Russian sympathizers, criminals and liars.

But that’s just me.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

There Is Still Hope

A couple of days ago I posted the first of what turned out to be three posts with bird pictures.

In that post I said a few things about my intermittent but lifelong experience with photography.

Inevitably the comments centered on the hardware: what brand and type of cameras have I owned over my lifespan to date.

That hardware centricity is just me: for me a well crafted camera, and if is capable of changing lenses, any of its associated lenses are things of beauty; they are to be savored when not in use.

I feel the same way about guns.

My love of firearms has nothing to do with the Second Amendment.

A Browning ultra light 20 gauge with a ventilated rib is a thing to be kept in safe, dry, locked storage; occasionally it is to be brought out of storage and be enjoyed as a work of art; it never need be loaded or discharged to be completely functional – for me – in its ultimate purpose.

I feel that way about books as well.

Over the years the hardware centricity that I have for cameras and lenses has found ancillary utility: I have learned to express myself using cameras for their designed purpose.

And that has added a vital dimension to my life.

The evolution of the hardware of photography has accelerated into a full fledged revolution.

And I have become something of a camp follower of that rapidly rolling army.

Every time Sony has a major new announcement I give the new thing my complete attention and analysis: do I really need the dollar eating features and functions that have just been added to the Sony predecessor that I am currently using?

Or not?

So when I got an email from B&H telling me about a live stream panel discussion for the new Sony A7RIII, I enthusiastically clicked on the link and watched the event.

There were five young people – one a moderator - all professional photographers.

I doubt if any of them was older than thirty five.

It was a good session; I learned a lot; I probably am going to upgrade.

But the thing that hit me about five minutes into the event had nothing to do with B&H, Sony, the A7RIII or anything tangibly related to commerce or photography.

“These kids are the future of America, and I like America’s chances if these are the sort of people we are and will continue to be” I heard myself thinking.

In the drab, downer dominated, discouraging and disheartening era of donnie I saw the first sign of hope.

There are people who love life, the world, one another and are moving forward.

There are people who think thoughts, not alternate facts, who savor ideas and probe the edges of what they think they know.

There are people who spontaneously and articulately, and with a smile or a chuckle can follow a heuristic line of discussion to cogent, spontaneous and whimsically entertaining conclusions.

There are young Americans who don’t need to be made great again; they already are; they always have been; and no amount of socio political filth can change that.

So I have hope.

And part of that hope is that I hope there are lots more like the ones on the panel; and I hope they all vote.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Birds Part Last

I have a lot more pictures of birds, but repetition can get boring pretty quickly.

So this will be the last.

At least for now.

paris 2012 magpie 123012 00003

paris 2012 parc montsouris parrots 011713 00001

paris merle noir 112517 00000

paris starling

pauli et francesca from sceensaver 051717 00000

seattle flicker 00000

Back On Blogger Mobil?

I have had a Blogger app for quite a while. 

It mysteriously stopped working a while back. 

Today I found this one. 

It seems to work. 

I guess I’ll try to post and see what happens. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Birds Part Next

The difference between the indistinguishable dots in the not very visible bird feeder attached to the house from my grade school days  and full color, you can see the feathers versions that I take these days is a miracle.

But it’s an explainable miracle: megapixels, auto focus, deep zoom and Photo Shop’s home photography features.

So here are a few more:

lopez nuthatch 091917 00000

lopez red winged blackbird female

lopez junco 00000

lopez towhee screen capture 100715 00000

lopez white crowned sparrow

lopez eagle 062017 00000

Monday, November 27, 2017

Birds Part One

The first time I tried to take pictures of birds I was in grade school.

I had a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera.

My best friend Joe had a similar camera.

We both loved birds.

Joe knew a lot about birds in addition to loving them.

So we built a sort of blind in his backyard: some chairs covered with a sheet facing a bird feeder attached to the house.

We took our cameras into the blind, pointed them toward the feeder and waited.

And some birds came.

And we took their pictures.

When we each had a roll of film taken we took the rolls to Anderson’s Drug to be sent to the film processing company.

And we waited impatiently for the prints to come back – they were, of course black and white; color was an exotic and expensive technology beyond our means; it may have been beyond our cameras’ capabilities; I don’t remember.

Anyway, the prints came back; we opened the envelopes; as we scanned the results our hearts sank.

Every print was pretty much the same thing: the house was clearly focused; the bird feeder could be seen; and the little dots that were hard to see but could be ascertained were – apparently – birds.

That showed me at an early age that there must be something beyond a basic camera that was necessary to take pictures of birds.

Since those Kodak Hawkeye days I have had several bursts of being interested in photography.

I had a 35mm Kodak Motormatic; it took really good landscapes and scenes.

A few years after that I had a Pentax Spotmatic. It had a 1.4 55 mm lens; I also bought a zoom lens of some type and specification. 

I don’t remember the specifics.

That was my Vietnam period.

A couple of decades after that I got a Cannon with several lenses.

I never could take decent pictures with that camera or any of its lenses.

By the time I started going to France I had come to the conclusion that I had taken every picture that I would ever want to take.

After a couple sojourns wandering the streets of Paris sans camera, I replaced that obviously ridiculous viewpoint with the mantra “walking the streets of Paris without a camera is a really bad idea”.

Inevitably the camera (there actually have been a rapidly changing, increasingly expensive succession of Sonys, not a single camera) that took Paris pictures became a fungible device: pictures started coming from everywhere.

And a lot of them were of birds.

dans le jardin de luxembourg

ebay 013015 00000

hummingbird for print

lopez chestnut sided chickadee 00000

lopez heron 010917 00001

Friday, November 24, 2017

Both Beautiful

Recently, after coming back from a trip to Italy that included Rome, I have posted a couple of times about Rome as a city that has to exist in a world where there is Paris.

I won’t resay any of that here; you can look for it if you want to.

But in both cases, my thoughts seemed to get down to how I feel about the rivers.

A picture of La Seine came up on the screen saver today that seemed to want to keep those musings alive and ongoing.

Here it is:

ls seine apres couche de soleile

One might declare La Seine the winner.

But my memory is still long enough that I remember this picture I took last month on the Tiber:


I think they are both magic.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving As A Stephen King Event

The joke of the season is that Thanksgiving is a nightmare: interspersed among frantic culinary thrashing, multiple culinary disasters and terminal end-of-festival drunkenness comes what is called "political arguments".

I can authoritatively attest to the validity of the first three: the family I grew up in laid down the master template for those things.

In fact, here is a little snippet from a novel that I am thinking about writing:

“She threw the turkey on the floor and then the cast iron frying pan. The turkey slid over to the cat food dishes; the cast iron, after an amazing low range gong note, spun in place and slowly split into two pieces: a third and two – thirds. It was beautifully asymmetrical.”

“So what did she do for dessert?”

“Funny you should ask; she threw the cocoa divinity cake into the sink. After we put the pieces back together and pasted it up and back together in several pieces with frosting it was the best cake she ever made.”

“The cat went after the turkey, of course; but the pan hit the floor so soon after the turkey that he made a big tail and left with a shriek. He never was quite the same after that, which was good; we never liked that cat much anyway.”

“Most of the dressing stayed in the bird.”

“That was the first year using nutmeg in the dressing; we always thought it was the nutmeg, not the slight infusion of Puss ‘n Boots that made the dressing so special; but we were never really sure.”

So I can talk with authority about part of the horror that is thanksgiving.

I still have nightmares.

My father, with a dull knife trying to carve the turkey is a recurring nightmare theme.

It always ends even more badly than one might expect.

After I made this post my younger sister, who was still at Thanksgivings long after I had escaped into adult life, read it and reacted: 

“I read your blog.  It’s funny.  Sometime in grade school I wrote an essay about the Thanksgiving my father went to carve the turkey and it slipped off the table and out the dining room window.  That never actually happened exactly like that, as I believe your story did, but certainly similar things occurred.  I remember my teacher commenting that I had such a wild imagination….”

I just had to include it here; I’m not making this stuff up!

So I submit all that in support of the first three Thanksgiving nightmare activities.

But number four?

Political arguments?


We have merely devolved into a culture which shouts at one another armed with our various forms of ignorance, misinformation and prejudice.

That's not politics; it's anthropology.

And The Heron Just Walked Away


The Burroughs Corporation owns the patent on this ancient technology.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I Was Really Worried

I always knew a lot of things.

Over life most of them had become obviously wrong, not true, or en Francais, faux.

The major remaining tenet of not being right had managed to nonetheless continue into my middle life.

That tenet was that I really didn’t like France, the French, and denied that there might be a French culture at all, or a way of living that might be French (as opposed to good old red blooded ‘Merican “culture” – deep fried turkeys and such).

In the waning days of the Twentieth Century a close friend of my wife’s and mine had put together a ten day trip to Paris for her students at a Spokane Community College where she was a professor.

The trip was open to anybody that wanted to hitch a ride.

I sensed that Mysti would want to go and my anti-French muscles all contracted.

But for no reason that I have ever been able to re-create I decided that both of us should go,

I think Mysti was appalled.

She was not interested in being in France with an ignorant buffoon.

But, as it turned out, she was.

There with an ignorant buffoon.

So she was making the best of it as we walked down the Champs Elysées: she was telling me about the City of Lights and the blood that flowed across the Place de la Concorde and all of that.

I was finding all of that to be pretty interesting – in a comic book sort of way.

And then, as we broached Metro Stop George V, I had some sort of irrevocable experience.

And I have never come back.

In that moment Paris became home to me.

I have no idea why.

In the intervening years I have lived there, cumulatively, for about a year and a half.

I have places that are so magical, so important, and so psychologically fragile that I almost never want to think about them.

I just want to be among them.

So, as a recent trip to Rome loomed I was almost like a lover who was fearful that his loyalty to Lady Paris might be compromised.

After all, Rome is where most of everything we now do, or think, or even contemplate, came from.

Paris just distilled and re-packaged it.

As it turned out, as I walked down the Tiber, under the sweet gum trees, with the shriek of the parrots in my ears, I had a different experience than I ever would or could have expected; oddly it was parallel, but totally different, to George V.

It gave me a different viewpoint.

We had walked toward Vatican City.

Then we had gone the other way and walked toward the Island, the oldest part of the city..

Either way,in the river, the birds and hulks of abandoned boats, and the occasional rapids, and the aquatic plants and everything of similar nature that would be part of a small rural municipality screamed a fact: “Rome is not Paris: Paris is unique; but so it Rome; Rome is the cow town that spawned Western Civilization”.

And she doesn’t want to change.

And she isn’t my home; Paris is my home; but I love her – Rome - dearly.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Angel Did It Part Ten

Dateline Gethsemane 0033 AD

“ I just don’t want to be god.”

“I am not, in any way, god.”

“I am, I guess, a thinker.

“And apparently thinkers are not welcome here.”

“The bald red guy just made a pitch”

“He said if I went with him I would be King – of something – I wasn’t sure of what.”

“He said the Jews are against me.”

“I am a Jew.”


“I know that they want to kill me.

“My people, I mean.”

“The Jews, I mean…”

“I know that…”

“The Romans don’t give a shit.”

“But I also know that …”

“The Jews want me gone.”

“And so Pilate washed his hands.”

“And then – I do have some connection with things that I do not understand - there is the future.”

“Those son of a bitches from Rome – I see a bunch of them in the future gathering at Nicaea – and saying that I was/am/will be/and forever must be -  be god.”

“Or the son of god.”

“In some weird triumvirate that gets around polytheism.”

“Which indicts me to being Divinity.”

“I am not.”


“I am and always will be, a man who hoped for the best from his fellows, and who tried to teach a few of them.”

“But it all went off the tracks somewhere about AD 325.”

“How sad.”

God, I hate this.”

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Angel Did It: Part One

Dateline: Nazareth 0000 BC/AD

“So what are we going to do?”

“Joe, if you ask me that one more time I am going to have to castrate you.”

Silence settles on the couple; the man, much older than the woman, seems to be gathering his thoughts.

“ I wish you had – before – but thanks for the feedback.”

Silence ensues yet again; a gecko crawls up the wall of the mud hut.

“But, can’t you just make the kid go away? I mean, I hear from the crones that there are ways …”

“Fuck off Joe.”

“You need to clean up your mouth, Mary.”

“I’ll get right on it!”

“Well, you need to think…”

“Think – you could have thought – but you just plowed the field, as they say.”

“The field resisted not.”


“But what I was trying to say, what I was trying to get you to comprehend is that I am old; future generations will say that you being 15 and me being 72 will justify some future behavior, by some future asshole.”

“Are you nuts?”

“Most assuredly; articulate also; prophetic,even.”

Sunday, November 12, 2017

60 Minutes This Evening

Tonight they had a long analysis of how four Americans got killed by a B1 that dropped a 500 pound bomb.

On the four Americans.

The bottom line of the analysis – as I understood it – I was cooking steelhead, so I might have missed something, was that the captain in charge of the whole goat rodeo lost track of, or didn’t adequately keep track of, the guys who were out in harm’s way.

The 60 Minutes version of events pretty well shredded that view of what happened.

But I was not able to suppress my own reaction to the story (and part of my reaction is based on my total rejection of the current use of the word “strategy”).

“Strategy” is a big thing – like winning WWII.

“Tactics” are things like dropping the atom bomb on Hiroshima to end the war.

An “F” designated airplane is a tactical airplane.

A “B” designated airplane is a strategic airplane.

I am not going to even attempt to explain the differences between the capabilities of the two types of aircraft.

But they are legion.

And, when misapplied, as we see from the 60 Minutes story, they are fatal.

So why, in an undeniably “tactical” situation did the US military deploy a “strategic” weapon, as they did in the case of the story analyzed this evening by 60 Minutes?

And why is everybody surprised that the “strategic” weapon killed four Americans involved in the most elementary sort of “tactical” situation?

Actually, nobody is.

Any one of the four or five people who might read this post are going to say “my, my” and go back to whatever it was that they were doing before they wasted their time reading it.

And the people who know that I am right, and who are too important to find blog posts like this to read, are just going to continue in the cover up: somebody really fucked up when they deployed our (we all, Americans, after all, do own these assets) “B” thing, rather than an “F” thing and that was tragically, fatally, the wrong tool to save some lives.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Stench Of trump Offset

donnie is travelling around mouthing off in Asia.

Those of us back home just have to clench our teeth and take it.

Fucking morons can’t be stopped, so it seems.

So I looked for something else to take from the day, today.

It turns out the very people that donnie wants to eliminate from the earth, because they don’t play golf, showed up in force.

Here are some images of a few of them.

lopez female house finch 110817 00000

lopez hairy woodpecker 110817 00000

lopez house finch 110817 00003

lopez squirrel 110817 00000

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Three Rivers

I have been so lucky.

In my life I have walked La Seine.

So many times that I am unable to count them.

And that has been, in the third third of my life, the most important thing.

Of that third third.

Of my life.


But more recently I found the Arno.

Words won’t suffice.

So there aren’t any.


About the Arno.


Then, just a month ago, it became the Tiber.

La Seine is my favorite.

And the Arno is a demanding mistress.

I said that there aren’t any.


For her.

But there are:

She is so beautiful.

And so beguiling.

But then there is the Tiber.

She is totally unwilling to abandon abandon my reverie.

How Lucky I am.


Friday, November 3, 2017

I Long To Return To Vapidity

If this long national nightmare ever ends, I hope to lapse into some degree of vapidity again.

As a citizen of the United States it has long been a vested right to be vapid.

Vapid is defined as “offering nothing that is stimulating or challenging”.

And in the old days of American politics, that was nice.

Really nice.

But now, every morning – or during the night if one is of the sort who can’t sleep without checking one’s iPhone – one is accosted by CNN posts about what outrages donnie has done over night.

Gets ones juices going.


And that’s not vapid.

It’s not vapid, for example to have to deal with the fact that the asshole in chief has, overnight, condemned a wayward military man to death.


Extra judicially.

And utterly capriciously.

Just to mention one overnight.


Unleashing total nuclear war gets my vapidity quotient plummeting to zero – also.

But, maybe it’s good.

To be on the edge of nuclear destruction.

Or on the edge of declaring America’s future – sole and complete – to be coal mining.

I want to be vapid when I hear about coal mining, because what could be more 19th Century than coal mining; and 19th Century stuff is pretty vapid; but, down deep I just get all het up: what kind of idiot would propose, and what kind of idiot would endorse and try to implement a return to coal?

It just stimulates one’s “what the fuck?” glands.

So vapidity suffers.

Then there is the new tax plan.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Birds In The Wind And The Rain

Today is cold, windy and, intermittently, rainy.

But the birds don’t care.

They need to eat just as when it is sunny and warm and calm.

So they each take their turn in the tree and wait for the next vacancy at the fly through feeder.

I got some of their pictures.

lopez sparrow 110217 00000

lopez junco 110217 00003

lopez junco 110217 00004

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

So Says Wolfgang Streeck

A friend referred me to this article in The New Left Review from the May/June 2014 edition.

In the article, Mr. Streeck has a lot to say about the state of capitalism.

I was reading along, keeping up as best I could – the man has a large vocabulary, uses correct and complex grammar and structures and deals in thoughts of more complexity than donnie’s latest tweet – and savoring and agreeing with everything that he was saying that I could understand.

Then I came upon this paragraph.


I have used the word “endgame” occasionally in my posts; I use it when I feel I have described how “the system” is being managed to put most of us back to serfdom.

I read this paragraph and saw the mother of all descriptions of “endgame”.

I am offering it here.

I have taken the liberty of using my formatting method, but not a word is changed.


“A central topic of current anti-democratic rhetoric is the fiscal crisis of the contemporary state, as reflected in the astonishing increase in public debt since the 1970s (Figure 4, below).

Growing public indebtedness is put down to electoral majorities living beyond their means by exploiting their societies’ ‘common pool’, and to opportunistic politicians buying the support of myopic voters with money they do not have.

[9] This is the Public Choice view of fiscal crisis, as powerfully put forward by James Buchanan and his school; see for example Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy, Ann Arbor 1962.

However, that the fiscal crisis was unlikely to have been caused by an excess of redistributive democracy can be seen from the fact that the buildup of government debt coincided with a decline in electoral participation, especially at the lower end of the income scale, and marched in lockstep with shrinking unionization, the disappearance of strikes, welfare-state cutbacks and exploding income inequality.

What the deterioration of public finances was related to was declining overall levels of taxation (Figure 5) and the increasingly regressive character of tax systems, as a result of ‘reforms’ of top income and corporate tax rates (Figure 6).

Moreover, by replacing tax revenue with debt, governments contributed further to inequality, in that they offered secure investment opportunities to those whose money they would or could no longer confiscate and had to borrow instead.

Unlike taxpayers, buyers of government bonds continue to own what they pay to the state, and in fact collect interest on it, typically paid out of ever less progressive taxation; they can also pass it on to their children.

Moreover, rising public debt can be and is being utilized politically to argue for cutbacks in state spending and for privatization of public services, further constraining redistributive democratic intervention in the capitalist economy.”