Sunday, January 31, 2021

Russian Revolution? The Next Phase?

 The tens of thousands of people who have taken to the streets in support of Aleksei Navalny are an interesting political sample.

Most of them don't seem to support Aleksei Navalny as their leader, and many of them say that they don't support Navalny's political position; but they are willing to go into the streets to support his right to have a political position; they are tired of being told what their political position should be, and, therefore, is; they seem to want something - how you say this? - like democracy.

So why is Putin so frightened?

Putin looks a lot like Robespierre.

Robespierre met the guillotine not too long after he sent his childhood friend Danton to headlessness.

Not long before he had been the beloved leader.

What is happening in the streets in Russia is what iteratively kept happening in Paris in the late 18th century: the people want change, not bullshit.

Gonna be interesting to see how long Puty keeps his head.

Grammy's Oatmeal Bread

 When I was a little kid I was really lucky: I had all four grandparents.

And they stayed around for quite a few of my little kid years.

So, from this point in my life, I have a lot of memories.

Most of them wonderful.

Of those four people.

One of those memories is of Grammy McKeehan's oatmeal bread.

I don't know anything about it - from memory - except that it was a yeast bread and was so good I could eat a loaf of it, even as a little kid.

Grammy made it quite frequently, so my addiction to it was both aided and abetted over time.

One time I was visiting Grammy and Grampa in Lake Forest Park and I had the need for my grandmother's oatmeal bread.

Usually she had already baked some; this time she hadn't; baked some; so I badgered her mercilessly; to bake some.

She was one of those type of grandmothers who usually didn't need to be badgered; she was always way ahead of the game; for whatever reason, this time she was not ahead of the game; there was no oatmeal bread and I kept begging her to bake some; totally atypically, she really didn't want to; even then as a child I knew that she didn't want to bake some, but she was, after all, my grandmother, and what are grandmothers for but to coddle their grandchildren?

Or so I must have thought.

I really don't remember.

I just wanted some of that oatmeal bread, so I begged and begged and badgered and badgered.

And she sighed a deep sigh and made some oatmeal bread.

From the vantage point of - probably - 70 years that is a thing I really regret; badgering a woman to do something that she was likely just too tired to do.

But it was really good.

That hot from the oven oatmeal bread.


We have three cats.

They are siblings.

They came into our lives as five week old progeny of a feral cat named Gimpy (withered right front leg) that we had been feeding for several years, along with two others - five in all - by happenstance: four of them were hiding in an unused plastic downspout tube that could be picked up from both ends, thus keeping them in the tube until they could be brought into the house, and one of them was hiding just under the access panel of the deck that spans the house.

We kept three of them - Rose, Alfie and Cinq (Cinq was the late breaking news from under the deck - hence "five") and found homes for their sisters.

They are seven years old now.

Not much older that I was when I was badgering my grandmother for  oatmeal bread.


Cinq needs to have attention every hour or two.

Since I am not fluent in cattish, and he is pretty light in English our conversations are pretty much him staring deeply into my eyes and yowling until I give him some canned food or some sort of freeze dried treat.

He is indominable and I always give in even though I feel really put upon.


I am fairly sure that I frequently hear Grammy McKeehan chuckling.

And here is their mother; we originally thought she was a boy; orange cats are all supposed to be male; she wasn't male as her children attest; so we re-named her Genji; we are still feeding her, now twice daily; she's getting old and we don't know that she can catch prey as well as she once did.; but she is spayed, has a full array of shots, as of seven years ago and has a chip; and she is beautiful.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Emily In Paris

 I just watched the sixth episode.

I kept expecting it to lose steam and not be as good, if I only kept watching it.

I was wrong; it only got better.

The thing has WKRP, Mary Tyler Moore, MASH and all of those other greats embedded in its ambience.

If I were going to indulge in hackneyed descriptors I would have said DNA rather than ambience.

But whatever word you use to try to dissect it, it is brilliant.

But it also has something nothing I have ever seen has; and it's something with which I am uniquely familiar: trying, hoping, striving and failing to sort of blend in in Paris.

Emily is brilliant at navigating that quandary.

And it and she are beautifully wrapped in the most elegant and richly munificent Paris cinematography that I have ever seen; they even outdo Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.

It's really fun to find out that you can still be dazzled.

Images For 30 January 2021

Probably on Rue Faubourg St Martin; or Rue Faubourg St Denis?

I was walking along the Seine and this one plopped down on the river,

Northern birds are pretty drab.

Some of them have real personality, though.

And long red beaks

An orchid native to the PNW

Franklin wanted the turkey.

I got really lucky on this shot.

From Watership Down?

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

On Rue Guénégaud

 There is a gallerie that always has interesting things.

A few years back this was one of them.

I have always thought it to be among the most.


Monday, January 25, 2021

Better Get Moving, Joe Biden

 Five Days and it's obvious:

The republicans want to kill this change of leadership before it starts.

The gauntlet has been cast.

So, Joe, what are you gonna do?

As I understand your Scranton origins - Roman Catholic like me - and your Delaware love affair, you are a street fighter.

I worked for one of that type once.


He grew up in Buffalo - New York.

I just felt good working for Tom.

I even met his parents.

He and they were Polish,

So, Joe, you unreconstructed Irishman, and Roman Catholic; be at least as good as my one-time Polish American IBM boss: be a street fighter.

I am absolutely not suggesting that you do a donnie and incite insurrection.

I am suggesting that you, instead, do a Reagan, and go on the media in prime time and implore your fellow citizens to tell their supposed elected representatives that their time in office is in jeopardy; if they stonewall the livelihoods of massively millions of Americans, 

And keep doing it.

A Stream Of Conscious Diatribe

After running up the aggregate National Debt - I think I have this right - during W's administration and donnie's reign of terror by 12 trillion dollars, making the total about 28 trillion dollars, they have suddenly decided that saving 20 or 30 million Americans from social, financial and future prospects of oblivion is just too expensive a proposition. 


"What difference does that make, now that we have Amy Coney Barret?" 

I am pretty sure I have heard Ol' Mitch and the Boys laughing about that recent violation of the Constitution in the cloakroom.

The billionaires that have added 400 billion to their net worth since covid started a few months ago are good with how things are working, and the republicans see the huge tax cut  that that class got under donnie to be well worth the trillions that it cost.

Lotta votes there.

And, even without that billionaire fortuitous tax cut, look at how much more wealth has been created by that tax cut - for the billionaires.

Since the covid crisis started.

Must be really good for the economy: lotta trickle down; or is it up?

But the rest of us who are waiting  for some trickle sort of down, or sort of  up, or for bootstraps that somehow pull us up into the participating class, just seem to need to wait for the best of all possible worlds to come into our particular frames of reference.

There are other possibilities.

Maybe some doses.

Of vaccine.

What a farce.

donnie most likely owns a lot of pharmaceutical stock.

So warp speed is most likely good for him.

As a sociopath, he had no reason to think about what to DO with vaccines; he just wanted to get them "out there" so they would begin to generate revenue.

Ol' Mitch was OK with that.

He probably owns a lot of vaccine company stock also.


As long as Ol' Mitch and the Boys exist, the rest of us are screwed.

donnie has slithered away for the time being, but he left us with an army of factotums; and they are all as malignant as they ever were.

One of 'em's running for governor of Arkansas.

That the republicans apparently look on Americans of the before times as some sort of joke (how can you listen to Jim Jordan and conclude anything else?) means that the plight of a huge portion of us is to become, again, serfs.

And, as I have said here several times before, that is what Ol' Mitch and the Boys have always been and still are working for.

Good, cheap, for certain - no options -  labor is good for the economy.

Feudalism was a pretty good system, after all.

Lasted lotsa years I have heard.

I still laugh, though, when I see - in my imagination - Ol' Mitch and the Boys pushed into the line with the rest of us when end times come.

When I Am Deplete Of Vitriol I Post Images

 To make sure there are at least a few clicks per day.

And also because my images can always tell a little story.

Sometimes I even add text.


This is Quiberon Bay at sunset.

A baby rabbit on Lopez Island. Actually, it's a European Hare.  Somebody brought them here in a previous century and they liked the place and have stayed.

To state the obvious: bee on a purple flower.

Sunset at SweptAway

That's why they call it "butterfly bush".

I think this was in Parc Montsouris; that's where I get the best images des champignons.

Paris Aquarium Tropical; I never get enough of this place.


I would call this a stile.  It bridges Canal St. Martin at an ecluse whose name I always forget.

Les fleurs de la Seine; still a dandelion, though; I love dandelions.

In le Bois de Boulogne

Guess where; I could have prettied this up with Photoshop, but I like the fact that the image looks exactly like Paris looked on the day that I took it.

Moss; this was on the wall along la Seine.

Some kind of seed tree in le Jardin des Plantes.

Couple blocks from my apartment

Cygne de la Seine

I think this is a geegaw on Napoleon's tomb.

On the Promenade des Plantes there are an amazing number of beautiful white roses.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Post Mortem

I have lived a fairly long time and don't expect to be eternal.

If truth be told, I am quite amazed to have lived as long as I have.

I am of the  American generation that got lost somewhere between Normandy and Saigon.

But I would have hoped, if hope were one of my characteristics, which it isn't, that the government of the United States of America would have cared enough about its citizens to have had a distribution plan in place for a life saving vaccine.

During the donnie era.

Where everything was going to be great.


It  - America - having thought to have ceased to have been great back in some undefined - but widely accepted and endorsed  by Fox News (a money making lie spinning joke for morons) -  time span.


Since we spent four years under a sociopathic tyranny, I guess I shouldn't be  surprised.

I am surprised though, that I am able to sleep at night for the first time in four years.

donnie has been a cosmic joke, and we - Americans - almost paid the punchline price.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

How To Join The Militia Without Even Knowing It

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

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

Later I realized it was probably my USAA Visa card. 

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

Saturday, January 16, 2021

A Dangerous Game??

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

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

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

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

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

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

The lectures were for me uniform disasters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And it hit me.

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

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

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


I am not a gamester.

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

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

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

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

Or couldn't.

Or shouldn't.

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

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

So there we are.

So much for unity.

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

He said no.

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

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

Like cartoons, he said.

It took me back to my Sales School job.

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

The Problem With Unity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then they began saying it on Facebook.

And the rest is history.

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

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

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

Nor are they so in the cities.

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

But understanding a disease is far from curing it.

As with most diseases this one has spun off variants.

And those variants keep spinning off variants.

And the variants cross pollinate one another.

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

And again.

And again.

And so forth and so on.

That original conspiracy theory has had multiple children.

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

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

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

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

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

And they don't want to stop believing.

Believing bestows meaning.

As long as they believe, Tinkerbell will live.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

I Don't Get It But I Get It

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

Ten Congress Republicans voted to impeach donnie.

I heard their statements in that two hour meeting.

I was particularly impressed by what Jaime Herrera Beutler said.

Was that an homage to FDR?

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

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

But I heard him today on NPR.

He sounds like a rational sort.

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

That's just a bridge too far.

For him.


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

The interviewer asked him why he had so voted.

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

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

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

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

That brought me up short.

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

Then I realized.

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

But he is still a republican.

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

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

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

Images In Lieu Of Bad Vibrations

Springtime brings the goldfinches back to Lopez Island.

A native Lopez Island honeybee on lavender

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

Song sparrow on a thorn branch

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

In the Paris Aquarium Tropical

In le Jardin des Plantes

Paris still life 

Paris has beautiful sunset clouds.

On the quai

Medici Fountain

In Parc Montsouris

I took this because of the orange sparkles.

Another Paris still life

Somewhere in Paris