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.