I guess it depends on how you ask the question.
Or maybe it's different by time of day.
For the rest of us, hearing that people like Josh Hawley, John Kennedy and Ron Desantis went to the top universities in the United States, and then toddled off to England for the cherry atop their educational sundae has kept us, at least it has me, silent about how smart - or not - they must be.
As a small state school graduate, having been subjected to ridicule from any crowd of prestige school graduates that life has ever brought me into proximity, I have tended to hunker down in my vicious attacks on a personally perceived cadre of morons, and lay off of the morons from prestige schools.
Especially prestige schools in England.
(Fragment noted - again).
Tonight I decided to abandon that hunkering down.
After all, so many of our elected leaders who make a point of their ed-cred keep being manifest morons, how could I let that dog continue to lie sleeping.
The morons in question are John Kennedy of Louisianna, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ron Desantis of Disney World.
I had a general theme in mind and I wanted to be accurate with the specifics, so I went to my friend Bing GPT 4 with some questions.
I was surprised that this search left out Cambridge or Oxford.
I was sure all three also went to those schools.
So I probed my Bing Freind.
I wondered if my friend Bing didn't understand "British".
So I probed more specifically.
I was relieved to discover that, apparently, John Kennedy, Josh Hawley and Ron Desantis are merely garden-variety-locally-prestige-university-educated morons.
I have always revered the great British schools and I would have hated to think that they could have spawned the like of that trio.
(Of course, I need to ignore Boris Johnson for that to be a continued belief.)
I don't know how to reconcile the trio's moronic productivity with the reputations of their domestic universities, however.
Maybe George Wallace called it, way back.
When donnie and the dildos re-take power in January 2025 a huge question is going to lurk atop the clouds in the big cities of America.
That question will generally be "what the fuck?"
I can't see 60 % of Americans being willing to live under the rule (we got rid of a king in the late 1700s) of an idiot sociopath who will be in the process of establishing hereditary divine right power in the office of the executive.
So what will happen?
I don't know.
But it won't be pretty.
The military, and the cops (always the enemy of the people) are riddled with white power christian fascist nut cases - I guess their mommies didn't put them on the potty chair correctly and they came out all fucked up - so it can't be that most of us can separate from the nuts in a peaceful manner, and that is the bloody truth of it.
There will be blood.
The ruling minority only believes in repression, lies, fantasies and the rule of the great leader.
So the people of Free America will not be able to buckle down.
To everything that most of us hate.
To donnie the farcical dictator.
So we shall see.
But I can assert with confidence a truth: prosperity and success on the world stage rots a nation at its roots.
It has here.
How deeply sad.
Forbes says donnie won't go to prison because he is a first time offender.
Fade to white as the Grand Canyon opens her orifice to us.
As our dusty blue green Thunderbird convertible plummets to oblivion.
We may have even kissed - as a nation - just prior to the plummet.
RIP America, it was good to know ya.
When our daughter was born my mother sent to the hospital a little planter of live plants.
The planter was a ceramic baby buggy.
The plants were various.
One of them was a spider plant.
A little bitty spider plant.
All of the other - plants - are gone and long forgotten.
As is the ceramic baby buggy.
But the spider plant lives on.
It lives on in its children's children's, children's, children, et cetera.
Or more; or so, or whatever.
In the intervening years we have moved across the continent and back, and north and south on that continent, and after all those years, that spider plant has travelled with us.
Or its progeny.
Or its progenies various progenies.
(Three of the last four "sentences" and at least one other, above, should cause Sister Justitia to come after me with a fiery sword; but the language moves on, so, also have I, and also the spider plants).
They aren't passed on in our will, but we expect them to continue after their current manifestation on Lopez Island.
Awhile back I posted an in-progress, but, not finished, but probably going to be the words, version of the end of my most recent attempt at a novel.
Parenthetically, it worth noting that my novels always end up more like memoirs.
That post significantly lacked what these -final - words purvey.
So this is really how it ended.
I hope people to whom I have given a copy of the book will still read the whole thing; how it got here is a strange, and entertaining journey.
So it is really worth reading.
The rest of it.
Here it is - the snippet - the end.
"Alfie, Rose and Cinq were gathered by the counter where Peter had prepared their breakfasts for so many years.
"They all had that same hopeful look they always had had; but Peter was gone; and they knew it; but they had gathered anyway. It was rather like a wake.
"Karen appeared just as they were about to disperse.
"'I’m sorry Peter isn’t here; I’ll feed you; just give me a minute'.
"She started to move toward the cabinet with the cat merry-go-round and the cases of fussy cat.
"But she stopped abruptly.
"On the counter where the cat bowls would soon be placed was one of the basket weave hand towels.
"On it was a single shiny cream soup spoon.
"The cats heard Karen suppress a sob.
"Cinq turned toward the direction that Karen was looking and saw what she saw and kept it to himself.
"'Do you think humans have souls'? He asked.
"Alfie snuggled over to Cinq and gave him a few licks of brotherly cleansing.
"'Souls – the human word for ‘here-now-this-time-that-time’ transmute; they don’t identify with specifics. Why did you ask that'?
“'Because Peter is over in the corner'.
“'He’s over there by the window that looks out on Bert’s grave'.
“'That’s where we last saw him, when he jumped into that thing that was over there.'
"'I haven’t been brushed yet today'.
"Peter walked over and said 'let’s get brushed, Rosie'.
"And they both went to the cat tree that doubled as a brushing station.
"Rose jumped up through the access portal to the top.
"That's the brushing station.
"When the brushing was finished Rose jumped down and went back looking hopeful about Karen dispensing the morning’s ration.
"But Alfie ran over to Peter.
"He jumped up into the top of the cat tree.
"The brushing station.
"He sat and put his paws on Peter’s shoulders.
"'That’s great writing, Peter'.
"'I like what you’ve done since you’ve been gone'.
"'Yeah, and we are headed out again, imminently'”
News from the desserts of the ancient land known as Palestine: large public showers are being erected to serve the "personal hygienic requirements of the inferior indigenous populations".
News from those same desserts: large trash burners are slated for construction imminently.
Today president Putin has ordered that all doorknobs in Russia be coated with an antiseptic compound.
Late breaking news: the Russian antiseptic compound known as Novichok is sold out across Russia; no alternate sources are known.
Later breaking news: Russian generals are dropping like flies.
Defrocked wanna be US dictator, AKA donnie the dildo, has posted more on his failed social media apparatus than the entire word count of the bible.
Today Kari Lake has changed her official address from Phoenix to Apartment A at Mara Lago.
In a related news item, Melania Trump has bought a vast estate in the shithole country from which she slithered previously.
Q and R have been replaced by S.
S says Q and R are full of shit.
Q and R are meeting with JFK Jr and are unavailable for comment.
JFK Jr said that Q and R are full of shit.
Oliver Stone has said that Q and R and S and JFK Jr are all guilty of gross malfeasance.
Jim Jordan was seen jumping up and down on a desk looking much like a giant rhesus monkey.
Margery Taylor Greene was seen distributing small plastic sacks with indeterminate white substance in various parts of the White House.
Margery Taylor Green was arrested today for sniffing loudly.
But she didn't fart much.
Always remember, and never forget: American Capitalism is sharp of claw and red of tooth; it needs not the meddling of briefcase toting bureaucrats or pointy headed regulators; all it needs is to be unleashed upon an economy, and that economy will prevail; and all will benefit, with riches unimagined, untold and, it seems, unseen for all.
The contra-epitome of that statement was last seen with the buildup to the great civilian real estate catastrophe of the 2010s.
All those banks knew just what they were doing and violently opposed any intervention from cooler heads.
When the inevitable implications of dead people, dogs and turtles being responsible for the payment of mortgages, and when the inevitable implications of the banks having packaged the dogs, turtles and dead people into what were called "tranches" of bigger investment vehicles called - I can't remember what they were called - all came home to roost, the world economy nearly disintegrated.
The American taxpayers chipped in generously and enthusiastically and the world moved on.
I have never been sure how that was a shining example of a system that was/is "sharp of claw and red of tooth; it needs not the meddling of briefcase toting bureaucrats or pointy headed regulators; all it needs is to be unleashed upon an economy, and the economy will prevail; and all will benefit, with riches unimagined, untold and, it seems, unseen."
But I have always been a negative guy.
So it is not surprising that I can't see the upside of that statement.
So, as we all sit in the great theatre of the absurd and watch the American economy careening to yet another bank crisis - the inability of the owners-of-all-those-office-buildings-out-there to pay their mortgages (because an amazing number of Americans are refusing to be stupid and get in that pollution-choking line of cars stalled on the freeway every morning to go to an office where they probably will do 60% of the work they would do if they stayed home and worked on-line and that means less butts in the seats in the vast tall buildings in the vast vapid downtowns) I suggest that the taxpayers go out and get some Vaseline.
Or maybe estrogen.
I don't really know if there is a way to deal with the multi trillion dollar bailout that is imminent.
We all (those of us in the 99%) are going to find out, though.
Walk down the river to the end of Isle de la Cité.
Along the way you will see Shakespeare and Company; that's a place where one buys English language books.
It is also famous from Hemingway's time in Paris.
When you get to Square René Viviani, go in and look for the oldest tree in Paris.
There is also one of Paris' oldest churches; it has served multiple purposes over its life.
For several hundred years starting 1000 or so years back, it was a way station for pilgrims who were doing the St Jaques.
There is still the spring that provided the water for the compound's various religious and commercial purposes.
If you were to go out the back exit of the square you would go by Eglis St Jean de Pauvre and head toward Eglis St Severin.
But don't do that; go back the way you came and continue down the quai.
When you get to Pont de l'Archevêché, cross over to an accretion of commerce where there is a bike/motorcycle shop and some cafés and find rue Bievre.
Walk to the other end of rue Bievre.
Notice Place de Madame Mitterand on your right as you go.
Bievre used to be a small tributary stream to la Seine; it was converted into a sewer pipe in the late Middle Ages and a street sometime after that.
There is a really good Chinese restaurant just as you come out of the canyon of rue Bievre.
At this point you will be at a complicated intersection of smaller rues converging on Boulevard St Germain.
Cross over St Germain to the obvious - I hope it's still there - collection of markets.
Depending upon the day there may be the transient market which is a large collection of sellers of all kinds of meats, poultry, produce, kitchen goods, used stuff, clothes and a lot of things I can't remember.
The permanents include a poissonnerie, a boucherie, a wine shop and a boulangerie that is supposed to be the latest and greatest.
It replaced the one I used to go to in 2018 and earlier; I can't imagine the new one being better than the old one was.
Last year when I was there for November I was semi-crippled, so I couldn't walk that far, so I don't know if any of the stuff I am enumerating is still there.
The plague got a lot of my favorite places close to my apartment, so who knows what else bit the dust?
As near as I can tell, the fromagerie is still there.
It's Laruent duBois; it has great cheese.
When you are finished with the market, go back to the river turn, left and walk to Pont St Michel.
Stop and have a wine at le Départ St Michel.
If you don't mind smokers get a table outside; if smoke is out get a table in the first row inside the glass window/wall.
Watch as people from all over the world go by in their most colorful plumage.
A major exit tunnel of the RER and Metro disgorges masses of people right in front of where you will be sitting.
It's pretty interesting.
Jason Isbel said it
He said it on TV
“On a mother’s hip” he drawled
I remembered what that meant to me
The first time I ever saw it
On the streets of Saigon
Not far from the vestige of the lake
That was there when the rains were on
There ad infinitum
Or so to me it seemed
For days and weeks and then some
Until it dried away
And the nasty creatures in it
Had had burrowed in the clay
Of the bottom of that field
That field that was a flood
Sometimes never always
The creatures in the mud
But the hip was ahead
And so may be dead
In Saigon that dread
Of the creatures in the mud
Didn’t stop me
She was really young
Hard to say exactly
The child clung to her hip
I thought about abstractly
I may have posted this at an earlier time.
I can't remember.
I just did remember it, though, and wanted to share.
I really wanted to see if anybody would read it.
Which is pretty futile, because the feedback on my blog posts is a dead letter office.
But here is a poem that came to me when I woke up one morning in Paris a while back.
I thought I heard someone say.
There, I heard it yet again.
I wonder what it might mean?
Means it that June is almost here?
Surely it can’t be that simple.
Means it that the end is near?
Surely it can’t be that grim.
If it were the end,
The end of what?
If it were the end
It would be the click of the clock;
The set of the chestnuts;
The reddening of the berries;
The chirp of the robins;
The chirp of the merles.
There, I heard it.
The clock just clicked..
In it I said about a recent podcast about GPT 4:
"They all were saying in their own way what Michal Kosinski of Stanford University said in a paper recently: 'Theory of Mind may have recently emerged in large language models'".
"Theory of Mind can be dumbed down to be described by the term "self-awareness".
It turns out I hadn't listened closely enough to a recent interview of Kosinski that I have listened to.
I have been listening to it again this morning.
It turns out when he says "theory of mind" he means the ability to assess what some other entity is thinking, not self-awareness.
As is frequently the case when I get excited about what I am listening to, when I was listening to this interview I went partially elsewhere, in this case to end of game.
Or beginning of game, I guess.
That beginning of game is that it is obvious, at least to me, if an entity is capable of, and engaged in following and assessing a fellow entity's thinking, the tracking entity needs to be acutely self-aware.
So, where I said in Inside The Mirror Looking Out that "GPT 4 has crossed some cosmic Rubicon into human-like reasoning and human like-self-awareness" I was, I believe, correct but what I had missed was that it was the first of two Rubicons; that one into self-awareness made it possible for Rubicon Two to be crossed; that one was into theory of mind.
So two Rubicons.
Not a bad day's work in the cosmos.
I wrote this a while back.
" First, is the history lesson.
"The Mueller Report, we were told by William Barr, "completely exonerated" trump of any wrongdoing.
"So America shrugged, said "my, my" and moved on: reading a tome like The Mueller Report is not the sort of thing Americans would ever do - they have Netflix to binge - so, since the tome "completely exonerated" donnie, the country moved on, and The Mueller Report went un-read.
"That was too bad.
"That was too bad because, rather than completely exonerating donnie, The Report laid out a clear case for impeachment.
"Part one documents myriad instances of trump's lackies being in deep contact with Russian agents and exchanging significant information including crucial polling data.
"But, Mueller said, despite the likelihood of there being fire amongst all that smoke, conspiracy is a bitch to prove, so he said it would be up to stronger hearts than his to pursue the obvious.
"Part two documents ten clear cut instances of obstruction of justice.
"But, Mueller said, he was forced to defer to the custom and practice of the Justice Department of not indicting a sitting president.
"Besides, he noted, there are constitutionally prescribed processes in place that could be employed.
"There being at the time a republican Senate and a republican House, those prescribed processes were left unemployed.
"But that was then and this is now.
"Now we have a thirty-seven count indictment against donnie which he and his base all are screaming to be the most monstrous witch hunt in history - even more monstrous than the last, most monstrous witch hunt in history, only recently launched also against poor little donnie.
"In fact, since 2016, we have been witness to an almost infinite number of most monstrous witch hunts against poor little donnie.
"So, however many deplorables there may be in that famous basket, they are not going to be swayed by anything: truth, justice or the American way being paramount among those things that will not sway them.
"So, I would not expect them to read - many, I suspect, can't read - a 44 page outline of something they are calling, without any knowledge or basis, a witch hunt.
"But I would beg the rest of us to devote the little bit of time it will take to read one of the clearest and most understandable legal documents they are ever likely to read.
"I have read the first 27 pages so far.
"That is the narrative underpinning the 37 charges of donnie and the one charge of Nauta.
"It is exceptionally well written, occasionally with a drollery that must be by design.
"And it is damning.
"It is damning of donnie and Nauta but also of various lightly disguised actors: think TRUMP Attorney 3, for example.
"Please read it.
"Coda: The narrative depicts a doddering old ex-president who thinks he's a mafioso boss, but who conducts himself like Wylie Coyote; donnie aint no Michael Corleone, but remember, incompetence can be as dangerous as skill when employed by a master of the art."
Since I posted this, we have learned that Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin - noted chef, military commander and generally malleable general-purpose factotum, managed the 2016 American election misinformation campaign for Putin. A key component of that campaign was critical and confidential polling data that Paul Manafort, trump's campaign manager, passed to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian operative and conduit to Putin. That data was used to mount hate/misinformation Facebook and Twitter campaigns to cause black Americans in target states - Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan - not to vote.
That Manafort/Kilimnik encounter was one of the myriad too-difficult-to-prove-to-be-conspiracy encounters of trump's lackies with the Russians documented by the Mueller Report.