Friday, April 30, 2021

A Woman Of Beauty

 I identify myself as an ignoramus by admitting that I have no idea who painted this or even what it's about.

I wish, therefore, I had never taken this picture.

But I did.

I know not where.

Maybe Musée d' Orsay?

Or l'Orangerie?

I just don't know, but it kinda looks like Reba McIntire.


Firesides 21

 I am beginning to hear as the days pass since President Joe made history and the pundits have had time to think about what they saw and heard the other night, and are now saying what they saw and heard, they are saying that they saw and heard what I thought I was hearing and seeing at the time: The President wasn't addressing Congress, nor was he presenting the state of the Union; he was fireside chatting with all of us.

The only difference between the other night and 1932 was that the President this time managed to talk cogently, coherently, occasionally entertainingly, genuinely empathically and massively enthusiastically - all things of which Roosevelt was master - but Joe did it for over an hour, not ten minutes.

If he can do that well for that long, just imagine how effective he is going to be when he starts rolling out the ten minute chats that are going to be required as we get deeper into the republican obstruction and lie season.

Sign me up for the podcast: "Tonight I want To Talk To You About ..."

Thursday, April 29, 2021

republicans Doing Voodoo

 Last night I saw an American President, for the first time in my adult lifetime, say stuff in simple, clear, easy to understand English declarative sentences.

He wants to do a bunch of stuff to make America a first world country, and make it competitive in the world again, and for the future.  

In the time since I have seen endless republican ripostes.

They just hate that we now have a President.

As opposed to the recent alternate fact of having an idiot.

Joe said that we need to spend six trillion dollars to make up for the fact that we have left our highways, byways, water pipes, reservoirs, railroads, electric grids, cities, counties and states, and more - and the American people - to fail and fall fallow in the road race of worldly success.

The republicans say that all we need to do is wait a little longer.

Voodoo economics will ultimately prove to be a winner.

Forty One Years and counting.

The Seine Is So Beautiful

 Especially from four floors up.

The merle noire in the poem, Solstice Song, that I posted sings in those trees at dawn.

The republicans Job Proposal: Their Counter To Biden

 Ol' Mitch and the Boys have been back at the Steak House where they planned out Obama's one term presidency.

This time they've come up with a job creation proposal as an alternative to President Joe's recent "good union family wage jobs" proposals.

Ol' Mitch says "we need to put the minimum wage at $1.00 an hour. That way human labor will be so cheap that there will be no more robots, no more artificial intelligence and no more off-shoring.  There will just be millions and millions of jobs.  We won't even need automated cotton picking machines anymore".

Thank You Uncle Tim

 I am always amused, amazed and befuddled when an African American speaks out loudly against his own best interests as well as the facts of history.


By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Mike DeBonis

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Republicans rallied Thursday behind comments on race made by Sen. Tim Scott as part of his response to President Joe Biden’s address to Congress, embracing what they hoped was an effective message in an ongoing debate over the role of racism in America that has sometimes left them struggling to articulate a clear position.

Scott, delivering the official GOP response Wednesday, suggested that liberals are using race as a political weapon, defining all White people as oppressors and seeking to use the language of civil rights to rig elections.

“Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country,” Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, said in the televised GOP rebuttal to Biden’s speech. “It’s backward to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination. And it’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present.”


Thank you Uncle Tim.

Sunset Through The Living Room Widow

 An amazing sunset seemed even better to me when I saw it through the multiple panes of our front room window.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Notre Dame Images

 I didn't know that she was going to burn down.

Over the years I took these images out of abject groveling love.

I was drawn to our lady by her beauty and majesty.

And I had to take her picture.

Again and again.

But I didn't know that she was to burn down.

That would have been an unthinkable thing.

Having A President Again Is So Comforting

 President Joe just gave the best speech that I have ever heard a President give.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

PBS News Hour Redux

 I just saw an interview with a marine biologist who is an expert in the area just off the coast of Los Angeles where there are an unknown number - but an easily counted huge number - of barrels of DDT that were dumped back there in the "the ocean is our sewer" era.

That era started when humans first set forth upon the sea and extends to yesterday - plastic is testament to that.

Apparently those unknown but certainly large number of barrels of DDT are rusting into leakage and that might not be good for the lobsters and shrimp and clams and oysters and other marine life that keeps annoyingly clinging to existence in our oceans: they are probably going to die.

How nice.

Airboat Country

 I just heard on the PBS Newshour that the big spending bill already passed by Congress is going to enable Florida to massively expand broadband to rural parts of the state.

I have been to rural Florida.

I have been to CENTRAL rural Florida.

When we lived in Boca Raton we took our daughter every year to a youth camp somewhere in Central Florida.

The one excruciatingly wonderful part of that was that we always overnighted halfway on our journey at Chalet Suzanne in Lake Wales.  There was nothing on offer there that wasn't either the best, or the most interesting thing of its kind that I have ever experienced, lived in or eaten: the tiny potato rolls or the little bity cinnamon rolls; and the best filet mignon I have ever eaten was eaten at Chalet Suzanne; that was in the mid 1980's.

The mid 1980's was when the "others" had begun creeping out of their dens after a long winter sleep, a sleep induced by the success of FDR's policies and programs.

The 1980's were the era of dismantling all that prosperity in favor of trickling prosperity down - the toilet.

So, to make the toilet look good to enough people to keep Reagan in power, the right wing press and The Heritage Foundation began, in tandem, with some help from Hank Williams Jr., promoting a toxic male, gun toting version of America that would, they said, escape the toilet's flush.

That culture found its home in Central Florida.

Which leads me back to the story of our annual migration to our daughter's summer camp.

We always stopped for gas somewhere; I think it was Lakeland.

That was always a scary thing.

It was big fuel stop and the majority of the fuel stoppers were air boat toting, various sorts of seriously lethal looking gun toting bearded male Hank lookalikes.

I will say they never did anything but mutter when they saw us and they never tried to rape our daughter, but there was a chasm of asynchrony there; it reeked with possibilities of violence; culture was not matching culture.

But we always drove on, unviolated, and had a pleasant time at Chalet Suzanne and left our daughter in the moss hanging forests of central Florida.

And she had to eat chicken flatties.

So why am I telling this tale?

I am telling this tale because Florida has just passed a law that has a lot of deleterious functions: it's OK to run down protesters with your car and it's a crime with 15 years in prison to demonstrate, if those demonstrators are demonstrating in favor of police not killing black people.

I see this law as Desantis' endorsement of the Hank Williams Jr. endorsement of guns and mayhem as the new American paradigm.

So, back to the starting point of this post: I would, under no circumstances, endorse expanding broadband - and that is a slippery term - see my post on that subject, in Florida.

I would, however, endorse removing electricity.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Birds And Other Creatures

The starlings in Paris are a lot prettier than their North American relatives.


This spider lived outside my apartment the entire several months that I lived there.

This was in Luxembourg Gardens.

Tiger Swallowtails make butterfly bush butterfly bush.

His name is Rudy.

Song Sparrow

Trying to stay warm on a frosty morning

Some kind of Grebe

Bald Eagle and Queen Anne's Lace

We had to take the tray off so this guy couldn't hog all the birds' seed.

Black Turnstones run along the beach with various of their shorebird cousins.  I was able to catch this one alone.

In the spring the shore is alive with this yellow flower and native honey bees.

Lavender is a bee favorite also.

New Law In Florida

 Florida's governor has just signed a law that makes it a serious felony to assemble, and to petition the Government, if that assembly has anything to do with Black Lives mattering.

It also makes it OK for vehicle drivers to run down people assembling and petitioning; no criminal charges are to be allowed for running Black Lives petitioners down in Florida. There is an associated rumor that the legislature is working on adding liability for car repairs to the law: Black Lives assemblers and petitioners who are run down by Florida drivers will be held liable for the cost of repairing all damage done to the vehicles involved in the new law's held harmless mayhem.

But on the other hand:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

But Florida will.

And has.

I think Oklahoma has done so also.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Images de Merles Noires

 The European black bird - the one the Beatles sang about - also called merle noire by the French is mentioned in my post "Solstice Song".

Here are some pictures of them in various Parisian venues.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Solstice Song

 Once I had the pleasure,

Once I had the privilege,

Of two months on the Seine

Two months of river living.

I was three floors up

Four if one counted American,

And the view from there was crazy,

And I drank it in all hours,

Left the casement open to hear the sounds,

To see the boats, to smell whatever one could smell.

Those two months were May and June

So the solstice came and went

While I was there

In Crazy View.

There was a merle noire - looks like a black robin - living across the river,

In a tree right on the quai,

Sounded just like a robin, too,

Or like it was saying "soon June".

That turned into a poem.


“The longest day of the year”

I heard myself thinking

“Mid-summer night’s eve”

As I sat in the darkness drinking

The calvados still not gone

Not gone yet from Tuesday

From the bottle at the sink

“Or was it left from Jeudi?”

Whichever - no real difference


“It won’t last long now”

I heard myself say

“The bottle or the year?”

Seemed to sum the day.


Friday, April 23, 2021

An Assertion Hanging In The Air In West Virginia

 I had a dream.

I was out running on a country road.

A back country highway, it was. 

Beautiful day - no clouds, thrushes singing and answering, the smell of cow manure wafting up from the manure streak down the middle of the road, a slight breeze mixing the manure with a flowery scent.

I think I heard John Denver singing.

"West Virginia, mountain mama..."

That lyric wafted across the beautiful green mountains, most of them truncated and surrounded by heaps of slag.

"Welcome to West Virginia" I heard someone say; then the someone cleared his (it was a man, of course) throat.

It wasn't John Denver this time, but this one was also singing; he sounded like Jimmy Buffet.

"Yonder stands Joe Manchin

"With a dram glass in his hand

"He pretends that he's a Democrat

"But that's not what he am".

Then there was another voice; this time it was a woman.

The woman spoke; she had a West Virginia accent, but it was obvious that it was Dame Judy Dench.

"If we had wanted to have another asshole in the Senate, we would have voted for a republican".

I just kept running.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

President Grant Should Have Met President Bush - "W" I Mean

 After Grant left the presidency, having chosen not to run for a third term in 1876, he became a civilian for the the first time in a long time.

Somewhere in that time he became aware of the fact that he was dying.

From his viewpoint, as I understand it from Ron Chernow, Grant wasn't particularly worried about dying, but he was worried about the financial health his wife would have after he died: would she have to go to the poorhouse?

So he decided to write his autobiography.

Maybe it would sell.

Two things stand out about that autobiography: It became a runaway best seller, and the reason that it became a runaway best seller was that Grant WAS A REALLY GOOD WRITER.


I watched a Jimmy Kimmel YouTube tonight.

It was an interview of George W Bush ostensively promoting W's new book Out of Many, One (e pluribus unum I guess).

I had, for me, some unsettling reactions to this interview.

First was that W is a really entertaining person when he sets his mind to it.

Second was that Jimmy Kimmel has a fairly significant level of respect for W, not the President, for W.

And that jangles my memory; but I like the feel of it; so let's accept it.

Third is that, based on the images of W's Paintings - the spinal chord of the book - he has an unexpected talent,

Just like Grant, an unexpected talent has emerged.

I would like him to apply that talent to a portrait of George Floyd.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

If You Live In Asotin Maybe You Might Should Vote Democratic

 This morning I was reading an article from The Hill by Jordain Carney:

GOP acknowledges struggle to bring down Biden

Even I was startled by the implications of that headline: I had heretofore just looked upon the republicans as a dangerous impediment to getting anything done for the people of the United States.

But assertions such as

"Republicans are struggling to land attacks against President Biden as they grapple with how to win back power in Washington next year."


"Biden is proving to be an elusive cipher for Republicans to successfully message against nearly 100 days into his administration, keeping a relatively low profile and refusing to engage in the day-to-day verbal sparring that has consumed Washington in recent years.

"It presents a challenge that, GOP senators acknowledge, they aren't hitting the mark on.

"We need to get better at it. I don't think sometimes our messaging is as sharp as it should be because a lot of the things they're doing are things that are popular-when you're spending money, you're popular," Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said about Republicans' success in defining Biden."

make me wonder whether we have a government or a High School Civics class.

A little farther down one finds

"Asked how his party was doing, Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) replied: "Poorly."

"I don't think we've done a very good job because he's getting away with defining himself and rolling out this stuff that we're borrowing every penny for it, and the public is buying it," Braun said. "We've got to find ways to articulate and scuffle in a better way, and I don't know that we've found that.""

So if you live in Asotin Washington and would like to have gigabit internet you've got a wait on your hands.

(Actually, I have no idea whether you may have gigabit service right now; I'm just in the assertions business, not the facts business, just like the republicans.)

But I did do a little research before writing the just preceding sentence.

I found a web site that tells the tale of internet availability and speed in the state of Washington.

(Ephrata is near Quincy where there are massive server farms sucking electrical power from Wanapum Dam; Olympia is the state capital - all that government stuff requires bandwidth - College Park is a suburb of Olympia; Liberty Lake is close to Fairchild Air Force Base - blowing up the world requires bandwidth; and the best case, 86Mbps is hardly bandwidth, and by no means "broadband - except in the vastly inflated American Broadband Lite definition.)

Even that grim picture obscures the reality: those speeds are best case, in many cases probably after midnight; most of the time those connections muddle along at much less than the stated speeds; that's why streaming is such an exasperating experience for many Americans or a non existent experience for many more.

But anyway, there was a "find this information for your city" link; I clicked it; Asotin wasn't listed.

But Yakima was.

So I went there.

There were seven providers listed; their speeds ranged from 940 Mbps down to 3 Mbps.

Only one was 940; one was 20; two were 25; one was 50; one was 10; one was 3.

I was curious how an unknown to me provider with the fastest speed priced out.

About twenty years ago I read an article in Foreign Affairs.

At that time Korea had deployed 940 Gbps service widely at a monthly price of $20.

So in the 20 years since then the best the vaunted American free enterprise system can do is to offer in a few places the service Koreans had twenty years ago at a price that is five times more than Koreans were paying twenty years ago.

I wonder if that has anything to do with flood of Kia and Hyundai automobiles, LG washers and dryers and Samsung TV sets that one sees in America?

The history of that intervening twenty years has supported the general assertion that bandwidth, lots of bandwidth, fosters creativity and productivity; lack of bandwidth fosters unemployed coal miners.

I could probably go on ad nauseum, but I'll leave it off now.

So I'll get back to the point of this post - actually it's the implicit point of the article from The Hill.

President Joe wants to ASAP make cheap, fast internet ubiquitous.

And that is just one of a large array of traditional but also visionary muscular expansions of our infrastructure - an infrastructure we have either let languish for fifty years or have outright refused to upgrade to for fifty years, or have refused to acknowledge as a new and vital way of looking at the concept of infrastructure for fifty years: think child care, for example.

The republicans want to keep Joe from retaining legislative control after 2022 so they can totally cripple him for two years and, in the face of no significant action for four years retake the presidency in 2024.

(The major agenda item for that post Biden republican takeover is to install the Ku Klux Klan as the National Police Force of America - NPFAKKK. Watch for that acronym on your favorite white supremacist secret on line meeting room.)

The tactic they will use in support of the strategy will be to stifle any legislation for any improvement in the lives of  any Americans.

That, after all, has worked since 2009: working for one term presidencies has given the republicans the biggest executive disaster in American history, 2017 to 2020, and has given the American people third world health care, third world infrastructure and third world economic prospects; but Ol' Mitch and the Boys have had a lot of fun.

And all the other republicans have been in lock step for years, so it must be fair to surmise that the state of the lives, and economics and available internet speeds and prices in Asotin and in Yakima, after they have killed the infrastructure plan (I neglected to mention all the jobs with real living wages that will be the result of Joe's infrastructure plan) will be directly attributable to the actions or non actions of their elected national legislators, who are:

Asotin - Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican

Yakima: Dan Newhouse, Republican

Using the internet litmus test which I have just invented it seems reasonable to suggest that if you live in Asotin, or if you live in Yakima - or Wheeling, or Butte - or (there are so many) you might should vote Democratic.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

I Have No Idea Whether Any Of This Is True

 But I think I heard  some of it on KUOW, my local Public Radio station; I have waxed editorial on KUOW's base story.

The base pay rate for Seattle Police is $60 an hour.

That's almost $127,000 a year.

Without overtime.

And Seattle cops are at the head of the line for off duty stuff like traffic control for Seattle City Light street projects - you know, the City goes in and spends weeks removing existing street bed so that the replacement street has a perfect pothole resistant substrate, and then a few weeks later the City goes back in to replace the gas pipes (they didn't know that the pipes needed replacing, weeks before, when they perfected the substrate and laid the new asphalt) - and there are lots of Seattle City Light and whoever-it-is-that's-the-gas-company projects; so there are a lot of traffic control jobs for off duty Seattle cops.

The hourly rate for that is $90.

But that's paid to a middleman so the cops probably don't get $90 an hour for being out there controlling traffic when they are off duty from their prime job which is killing unarmed black men.

They might not get much more than $60 an hour.

Think 60/15 = 4.

That's four times more than Bernie Sanders is trying to get to be the base rate for labor in America.

That's four times the rate that the republican fascist party says will sink America into the vast ocean of historic oblivion - they say it's too much money to pay people.

But I would expect that the middlemen pass on more than $60 an hour to their off duty cop independent contractors.

Because those cops have a lot of skills.

For example, if in a dispute over who has precedence at a four way intersection blocked by construction, one or more of the disputants is black, a cop has the instinct and the training to shoot the black one.

Black Lives Matter.

And nobody knows that fact better than a cop.

After all, their heritage is controlling and killing black people.

Or so one would surmise from history.

But back to the four way intersection where Seattle City Light is doing something vital:  if there happened to be more than one black disputant, the cop would have had the skill and training to shoot the other black ones.

That's a valuable skill.

Well worth $127,000 a year base pay with the addition of off duty traffic control uplift.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021


This was under Pont St Michel  if I remember correctly.  If I don't, it was somewhere around there. 

My first snowman. This was in Portland. The snow was pretty paltry.

At the Paris Zoo.  Lots of unhindered migratory and native birds mixed with the flamingos.

La Bastille

Rue Mazarine; my apartment is pretty near this place.

There are all the things you could ever want on rue Faubourg St Denis. That's some kind of entendre double.

On rue de Seine.

Life on la Seine where the livin' is easy; I guess; but it, for sure, is beautiful.

More life on la Seine

In the habitat at les Berges

Lopez Island rose

Lopez Island sunset

Lopez Island shorebirds

Lopez Island great blue heron on a buoy 

Lopez Island cactus flowers

Alfie thinking about dinner

I think this was in Florence.

The start of our Entre Deux Mers bike trip