Friday, November 30, 2018

From The Washington Post

“New evidence from two separate fronts of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation casts fresh doubts on Trump’s version of key events involving Russia, signaling potential political and legal peril for the president. Investigators have now publicly cast Trump as a central figure of their probe into whether Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign.

Together, the documents show investigators have evidence that Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants as they made outreach to both Russia and WikiLeaks — and that they tried to conceal the extent of their activities.”

So I guess donnie is going to have to get his ol’ buddy the crown prince to chop up some more Washington Post reporters?

Or maybe the paper’s owner?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

What A Fantasy

Yesterday I posted America: The Let’s Pretend Nation.

That post discussed the pretty much inevitable fall of America from world influence.

There is though, my optimistic patriotic belief says, a way out of the mess.

Here are the steps. 

Get rid of trump.

Get rid of all the current republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Get rid of all the  Democrats in those two legislative bodies.

Have a national plebiscite for replacements to the two legislatures and the presidency that every American over 18 years old  is legally bound to vote in.

Make the criteria for valid candidacy in that plebiscite be, in fact, a criterion/candidates’ oath:

“I will sit at the table with the blank sheet of paper; and that that blank sheet shall be, when filled in by those of us elected in this plebiscite, and when deemed by the Supreme Court of the United States of America to be Constitutional and  to have fixed and enhanced and replaced the low state of all Americans be accepted without further vote (the plebiscite and its oath and Supreme Court oversite having already fulfilled that requirement)  as amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.”

The purpose of that blank sheet of paper will be to address aggressively the unacceptable implications of the statement on the national arch:

“America’s business model doesn’t support its citizens having a decent life, with buffers against disease, misfortune, or in favor of having a family, having a home, getting an education, and an honorably earned retirement; it does support gated communities, segregated schools, posse comitatus violations on the Mexican border, massive border walls, hate, racism, lies, stupidity and all their additional and extended kindred.”

The nation that I was born to did not have that business model.

FDR was President when I was born.

Emoluments were not his big thing.

The one percent were still Americans then.

The blank sheet will define in detail how all of that inhumanity will be turned on its axis and how America can begin to return to the Country I believed it to be when Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon (even) and the rest, until donnie, were in office.

I offer this as a suggestion to bring us back from the brink.

I know, this is really stupid; but anger – yesterday’s post – needs to be countered, I believe, with optimism.

So here is stupidly la la optimism.

Monday, November 26, 2018

America: The Let’s Pretend Nation

I started hearing something during the big hoorah a couple of years ago in the Seattle area.

The big hoorah was a debate centered on whether people ought to be paid enough for their labor so that they can have a home and family – or not.

The banner under which the leaders of the hoorah marched was “Fifteen Dollars an Hour”.

I was totally in favor of fifteen dollars an hour; I was totally unsure that that was a “living wage” that could allow for workers to have home and family, but I had to agree that it was a lot better than the Federal Minimum Wage of about half that.

But back to what I started hearing then.

Small business after small business said that their “business model doesn’t support that level of income”.

All I could think of in rejoinder was “maybe you have a bogus business model if it requires employees but doesn’t support paying them a living wage”.

But that is in the past.

Right now the reason I finally started writing this is that I am listening to NPR on my KUOW worldwide app.

I just head Tanzina Vega honcho a feature about the recent and ongoing romaine crisis.

The net summary of what I heard is that farmers, large and small “have business models that don’t support assuring that they don’t sell life threatening products to the public”.

Some American Association of Civil Engineers whose exact name eludes me goes on record every year with a detailed statement of the state of America’s infrastructure.

And as a summary they give a grade: D minus.

Infrastructure is what allows a country to be a world player.

Maybe we ought to be investing in it.

Maybe we should have been investing in it all along.

But, as Mitch McConnel can be heard saying “with trillion dollar deficits extending into the future as far as we can see, our business model doesn’t support infrastructure investment, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or Public Education”.

I guess when your business model is based upon distributing the fat of this fair land to one percent of its inhabitants the downstream conclusions are obvious.

But that doesn’t mean there is any sense to that.

As an aside, it is interesting to note that Mitch’s business model is designed to reproduce the serf class.

Speaking of serfs, people teetering on the edge of that economic state are everywhere in America.

And they are all one minor problem short of ceasing to teeter, but to, instead, fall into homelessness – serfdom in modern day parlance.

So what happens when people who have been hunkering down in trailers, mobile homes, homes inherited from family that they can’t afford to buy homeowners insurance for, or repair or make storm durable, because, if they hadn’t inherited it, they couldn’t be living in it in the first place - and a list of similar circumstances too long to be documented here – are hit by 18 feet of water and 155 MPH winds, or find themselves suddenly one day, in the middle of what amounts to being in a crematorium?

I suspect there are nearly a thousand who won’t have anything happen to them because they were in the middle of what amounts to being in a crematorium.

And the rains are taking their remains off to oblivion.

Lest you think that I think that I am making an allusion to a lyric from Bob Dylan, I am not.

I know what oblivion means.

From Webster: 1. “the fact or condition of not remembering” or 2. “the condition or state of being forgotten or unknown”.

Sounds like America’s imminent future.

For legions of us.

And what other kinds of catastrophes are lurking out their just waiting to continue the onslaught?

“America’s business model doesn’t support its citizens having a decent life, with buffers against disease, misfortune, or in favor of having a family, having a home, getting an education, and an honorably earned retirement; it can’t or won’t honor the promises made to its military veterans; it does support gated communities, segregated schools, posse comitatus violations on the Mexican border, massive border walls, hate, racism, lies, stupidity and all their additional and extended kindred.”

This rather long quotation is destined to be emblazoned on the arch spanning a path.

The path leads to a second arch on which is emblazoned: “ thou art a villein and a villein thou wilt remain”.

Setting the dramatics of the arches aside, the remaining conclusion is that America is a pretend nation.

For sure the facts don’t line up with the long believed bullshit about the city on the hill.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

So Jeff; Where Are You On This?

If Bezos doesn’t write something of a level scathing enough to be in synch with his obvious intellect, in support of one of his employees, who was killed and dismembered at the order of an out of control saudi child, he isn’t the man I believe him to be.

Hey Jeff, Phil did it; you can too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Turn It On Its Axis

I saw Joe Biden interviewed by Stephen Colbert the other night.

Joe was impressive as always.

I saw John Kerry interviewed by Stephen Colbert several weeks before.

John was as impressive as he was as Secretary of State (which was way more impressive than when he was a candidate for President) or maybe more so.

Both Joe and John were ostensibly promoting their new books.

But we all know what they were really doing.

They were getting ready to run for President.

Due to either of their credentials, intelligence, experience, charisma and knowledge of the world, top to bottom, I wish I was getting excited about the prospect of either or both of them running.

But I can’t get there, and the space that I occupy while not getting there is dark, hollow and sad.

Because either would be a great President.

But they are both too old.

Not too old to win, maybe, but too old to swiftly turn the current mess on its axis; if either were to win, the old tried and true methods would be the rule of the day; and those rules are the rules that have gotten us into that current mess.

Too old, once the mess had been turned, to move in a new direction.

We need someone who can and will, by inspiring the real majority of American people to vote, be swept into office despite the rigging of the Electoral College and with coattails long enough to bring in a Senate and House of Representatives swept clean of the “I’ve got mine” generation and work quickly and effectively with those new legislators to usher in the New Regime: Humanity, Equality and Opportunity for all.

We need an American version of Emanuel Macron.

Sunday, November 18, 2018


I f you are going to have skyscrapers why not move them out of town and let ‘em rip?

The arch in the middle of the image – more or less – is on a line from the center of La Louvre, through the rosé petite arch celebrating napoleon, the pool and fountain at Tuilleries, straight through the middle of the oblisque at Place de la Concorde, the Ferris wheel – in season – the Arche de Triomphe, and then, La Grande Arche de la Defénse.

Whenever I get lost I just look down that axis to figure out which direction I need to go.

This shot is from the other side of the river from La Défense  so you can’t see many of the skyscrapers in the complex.

They are legion; and, if you like that kind of thing, spectacular.

paris la défense 111818 00000

Henri IV with a tern that doesn’t give a shit. 

Or has he/she?

This was when I was on the way to Metro Stop Chatelet, so it wasn’t on the island.

I was however on another island: Isle de la Cité.

paris Henri IV with bird 111818 00000

Bronze sidewalk plaque; America might be behind?

This sure as hell isn’t West Virginia.

paris  wifi marker111818 00000

Here is where I was.

After crossing the bridge from where I took the picture of La Défense.

paris arche de ville de puteaux 111818 00000

They have roses there.

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paris roses de puteaux 111818 00000

Et champignons.

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Nice day In Paris

After two days of that trademark Paris low hanging gloom, just short of real fog, and well on its way to being frozen fog – a kind of weather, that for some reason, I love – today was brilliant blue.

So I took some pictures.

I always take pictures.

Today I took my little camera because I was going to Luxembourg Gardens, the day was brilliantly bright, my little camera has a 720 mm optical zoom that, when it is brilliantly bright, yields some spectacular results, and I wanted to see if the longer zoom and bright day could get me some great parrot pictures.

The parrots didn’t co-operate.

I heard a few, but they were few, and they were elusive.

But the Gardens always have some interesting stuff going on, so I got a few interesting images.

And later on, with a magic setting I discovered by accident several years ago, I got a couple nice post sunset scenes coming back from le Depart.

They look almost like shaggy manes

paris luxembourg gardens fungus 111718 00000

I guess this is what they look like when they get older; I can empathize with that.

paris luxembourg gardens fungus 111718 00001

How many seas can a white dove sail?

paris luxembourg Gardens white doves 111718 00000

Pont Neuf

paris pont neuf after sunset 111718 00002

Boulevard St. Michel

paris st michel street scene 111718 00000

Le Depart St. Michel

paris st michel street scene 111718 00002

Friday, November 16, 2018

A Pirate Looks At Eighty

Yesterday a long term friend of mine sent me one of his occasional emails – an email to me, not to undisclosed recipient – that brought me up short.

It was, because I know him very well, simultaneously light hearted and deadly serious.

But, more interesting to me, it was poetic.

I was unnerved.

Out of the typical kluge of words that he sends in such emails select words leapt out at me; and they told a story; and it was a Bruce Springsteen story.

All the thing needed was the pre-story.

And I was pretty sure I could write that.

I knew him; I knew the place his email was talking about; I had had several other – close – friends over my wandering life that had come from right close to there; and had a web of stories from that group that could be distilled into that pre-story.

So I got out my yellow pad of paper and started to write.

I was surprised at how quickly it flowed.

And then the email did the rest.

The poem was done overnight.

Then I keyed into the computer, formatted it, and made the decision that no punctuation would be included.

In the final analysis it turned out that what I produced looks like a Bruce Springsteen poem written by Jimmy Buffet.

Here is the email that got this started:

“The more I think about the craziness going on maybe moving back to the town I grew up in might, I stress might, be a good idea. 

In 70+ years not much has changed. 

The harbor has filled in with sand and no one is dredging it out and they now are charging an admission fee to drive your car out on the sandbar that has formed there. 

No new business no new hotels and just plain nothing or about nothing affects it. 

Still cold as hell and tons of winter snow but the population is still about the same as it was somewhere between 9-10K depending on who's count you use.

As I think about it I do own property there two cemetery plots!

That's what happens to me now when the weather turns cold/cool it's in the low 40s here today.

My brain stops

So here is the poem:

My family didn’t have too much

But we never really cared

America was always there for us

And most of us all shared

Just put a boat in the harbor then

We could always catch some perch

And laying off their skeletons

We’d take them to the church

Where Fridays after work was done

We’d fry the gathered catch

And pretend we all were rich folks then

As a kid that seemed the best

The best that life could ever be

The best of times so far

But darkness lurked all over us

Like being trapped inside a jar

A jar so full of smoke

That nothing could be seen

But nothing seemed enough for us

So we made the most of lean

Lean times, slim pickin’s was all we had

Clouded by that jar

The best that life could ever be

The best of times so far

I was different from most of them

I got a college rag

I got a job in Mammon Town

Success was in the bag

But darkness lurked around me still

That jar now clear to see

That nothing was too great for me

So nothing would I be

I made a lot of money

And pissed it all away

Finally moved to somewhere warm

That’s where I am today

And thinking thoughts behind me

I finally may believe

That going back a lifetime

Is my last reprieve

Now I sit here wondrin’

Why I even care

Michael didn’t get me

And nothin’s really fair

My mind goes back at night time

To the fish out on the bay

That bay’s all filled with sand now

But why should I just stay

Stay here among the dying

The crippled and the dead

When packing up when dawn comes

All of this could be shed

And trek back to where I came from

Back up in the north

Back to where I came from

Back up in the north

Back to where the sandbar

That once had been the bay

Is now a metered parking lot

The perch all gone away

Still cold as hell in winter

With tons of winter snow

No new business no hotels and nothin’

Nothin’ for to show

For all the time now long gone

For all the smoke that’s cleared

And America still is there for us

So nothing should be feared

And trek back to where I came from

Back to where I own

Some land that once was left to me

Two plots with each its stone

The graveyard plots of yesteryear

The prize left me to win

Or prizes left me to own

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Future Of Image Sampling?

A friend of mine from Lopez sent me an email, I guess, in response to some Paris images that I had sent her via a mailing list I have set up for such things.

I responded: “I haven't read the article, except this beginning:

"PARIS — Is it possible to create meaningful photographs in a world awash with images? Or should photographers instead work with the flood of images already out there? Could photographs from the past help us understand who we are today? Does photography necessarily require a camera?"

My reaction to those questions is "Oh no; we're not going to do 'sampling' to images like what we are doing to music, are we?"

And I sent her this image.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

donnie Can’t Fly In The rain

This one is for Joe, Marcus, and Ann Claire: this is what a real bool court looks like.

And what an advanced civilization it is that just puts these places for people to use hither and yon around a city.

This one is the one in the direction of La Bastille; there is also one behind me, if you place me as the photographer, in this image forefront.

paris bool court by le arsenal 110918 00000

Some kind of nut; the tree looks like a really big hazel nut.

paris nuts on la promenade des plantes110918 00000

On la Promenade des Plantes, which was the idea that New York subsequently stole to create their repurposed elevated railway line.

paris rose on la promenade des plantes110918 00000

Anybody got any ideas? The post is a tie down for barges on le quais de la Seine; but I have no idea what the graphic means.

paris seine quai tie down 110918 00000

Sometimes Seine people are pretty contrived; this guy rang true for me.

paris ukelele player on the seine 110918 00000

“Our wants are lawlessness” or “shambles” or “disorder”; or, all of the above, I guess.

paris wall graffiti 110918 00000

In a separate note, donnie was here today and didn’t go to a WWI cemetery because it was raining.

I walked a half mile in the rather mild rain to have an extended lunch at Le Depart; and, oddly enough, saw a helicopter flying down La Seine.

I guess helicopters really can fly in the rain, especially when it’s not very heavy rain.

donnie is pretty delicate though.

And he’s pretty heavy; maybe there were no massive freight choppers available today.

And what a patriot; we can now add not going to an American cemetery on the 100th anniversary of WWI because it was raining, to his bone spurs.

What a guy.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Paris Images From Today: November 8, 2018

After a day of rain, cold and wind, today was beautiful.

So I went for a walk.

Here are the images that I thought were emblematic of the route that I took.

Alexandre III

paris alexandre trois 110818 00000

paris alexandre trois 110818 00001

A chunk of major Paris motorway has been re-purposed to be a pedestrian only place, with some riverside environment: trees, bushes, creatures and associated marché de environment..

To make that an ecological fact, barges have been permanently moored at the quai and have been planted with trees, bushes, roses and other plants to make the new configuration a safe harbor for merles noirs (European blackbirds) ducks and whatever else likes a little ecological niche on the beautiful Seine.

paris les barges sparrow110818 00001

What can I say”

Starlings are a really beautiful bird.

paris tour eiffel starling 110818 00000

The crane in the background is the beginning of the restart  of the Ferris Wheel.

paris tuilleries fountain 110818 00000

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Fish Today

It rained.

What a surprise.

In Paris?


One of the reasons I keep coming here - with some segment of the sojourn being Novembre - is so I can be here for days just like today: cold, nasty windy, rain on and off, and  – when on, really on – just miserable.

For some reason I love that.

In Seattle, where I exist when I am not in Paris, that sort of weather pretends to be, frequently; but it never rises to the standard of magnificent Paris misery, coldness, and utter from-the-north-sea-bitchiness.

It just kind of feels like what one would expect from a vastly overgrown village of fisherman: bitter, yes; but charm?


Just fishermen and bitchy weather.

Now the weather in Portland, not far south of Seattle, seems more like Paris weather.

I think it has something to do with the people.

Or maybe because, Like Paris, Portland is a few hundred miles downriver from the sea.


Anyway, since I had seen on my computer, on the Weather Channel (an IBM company) that today was going to be of the sort of Paris weather that I perversely love, I said to myself “we go to the aquarium today".

I always go to the aquarium on days like this.

Or to Invalides.

Or Le Louvre.

But today it was the Aquarium.

So here are a few images from le Aquarium Tropical de Paris.

I love this place: one of its endearing features – for me – is that, being a topical aquarium, it needs to be kept QUITE WARM; that means, that when my clothes have begun to defy the definition of the boundary between solid and liquid, I get to leave and go to Les Cascades for a glass of wine.

That usually takes about an hour, which is enough time for me to look at all the aquariums and get some pictures.

Here are a few of them from today.

paris aquarium 110718 00001

paris aquarium 110718 00003

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I Told You So

Here are some of the non-crow pictures that I took today.

I guess the light was so different that I was moved to take so many pictures.

Ginkgo trees are all over Paris.  In the fall they get beautifully yellow.

paris gingko leaves in autumn 110618 00000

Hotel de Ville was beautiful.

paris hotel de ville 110618 00000

Nice Japanese Maples

paris japanese maple 110618 00000

I have no idea

paris la petite image110618 00000

They welcomed me as I came into l’Arsenal.

paris pigeon 110618 00000


paris republique 110618 00000

La Seine

paris seine view 110618 00000

Crows Are Great People

I took a lot of pictures today and, I suppose, some yet to be reviewed and edited images, might possibly be central to one or more other posts to this blog; but these were so good I had to go to press with them on a stand alone basis.

Crows and ravens are just exceptional creatures.

Paris has a lot of crows, as does every place that I live.

As it happened, some of the most interesting photo ops early in my three hour flaneur de la Seine et environs were crows.

This looks a lot like sushi ginger which is not unlikely, since I constantly see abandoned sushi detritus hither and yon in Paris; in fact, I think it could be proven that there are more sushi shops in Paris that there are in Tokyo; this crow had grabbed whatever it is that he or she has and moved stage right from his or her fellows.

paris crow with sushi ginger 110618 00001

These were two other pansy garden crows who hadn’t gotten the ginger; I was so happy to have been able to get this straight on image of a crow face.

paris crows in primrose garden 110618 00000

Monday, November 5, 2018

Finally, I took Some New Pictures

I have somewhere near 20,000 images of Paris since I started living here on periodic occasions.

Most recently I arrived here on 1 November (I hate giving out candy so I always escape to Paris on Halloween) and I had no image inspirations on that day.

So I didn’t take any pictures that day.

I took none the next day.

Or on several subsequent days.

I had begun to wonder what has been wrong.

I always take pictures of Paris.

Even if it is the same view the light is always different.

I was once really surprised to discover that I was by far not the first to discern that.

No pictures?

That is unacceptable.

So today I just forced the shutter to shoot whatever I saw for a few minutes this afternoon.

It felt good.

There are quite a few of them; here they are.

paris arctic tern 110518 00000

paris arctic tern 110518 00001

paris arctic terns 110518 00000

paris baloon man on petite pont 110518 00000

paris bubbles on la seine 110518 00000

paris bubbles on la seine 110518 00001

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paris strollers on la seine 110518 00000

paris tour boat dock 110518 00000

paris tour boat on la seine 110518 00000

paris tour bus 110518 00000

paris woman coming off le quai 110518 00000