Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I take the fact that I’ve heard variations of this message about sister Leslie from three different people as confirmation of its accuracy. If you first see her, you may have an OMG reaction. But if you see her again, even the next day, you will likely see incremental improvement.

She had less swelling generally. But she can’t open her mouth yet, so communication is raising her hand, thumbs up/down, wiggling toes on command, etc.

She’s had her surgery, this time on her wrist Tuesday. They put in two metal plates. They want to be able to remove one of them in a couple weeks.

She still needs to be able to cough out the bad stuff, and she needs pain meds to deal with the 4 broken ribs.

So Leslie won’t be out of the hospital for at LEAST another week; she’s currently in the ICU. She has multiple broken bones and other issues. She’s not in peril, but this is NOT just a fall off a bike with a couple of bruises and scrapes, which I’ve experienced myself.

Incidentally, she has changed hospitals, not for good medical reasons but because her insurance required it. At least she HAS insurance, I reckon.

I’ll probably go out to San Diego sometime this summer.
***
Within 23 seconds, the Sacramento police encountered and shot dead Stephon Clark in his backyard – video looks at how the shooting unfolded

A visit to a nearby restaurant turns ugly

Can a white person use the N-word? Ever?

Still no Pride in the White House

A Senior White House Official Defines the Trump Doctrine: ‘We’re America, B!tch’

*Shady foundation that just got him sued by the New York attorney general, explained

What is impeachment for?

Rose Tico/ Kelly Marie Tran and Star Wars fandom

John Oliver: guardianship

The ‘Sex Cult’ That Preached Empowerment

How noise pollution is ruining your hearing

A Simple Way to Improve a Billion Lives: Eyeglasses

Read This Story and Get Happier

Positive Tomorrows school

Behold the magnificent glory of ‘Reefer Madness’

What Makes The Spelling Bee So Hard

What it takes to become an Olympic athlete – 15 essentials according to Nick Catlin

26-Year-Old Georgia Official Takes Her Oath On Malcolm X’s Autobiography

Ken Levine interviews Mark Evanier

Jake Tapper, Amateur Cartoonist Extraordinary

Jerry Maren, the last surviving actor to play a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz (1939) in At the Circus (1939)

Now I Know: The T-Word You Couldn’t Talk About and When a Calendar Defeated Russia in the Olympics and The Little TV Accident that Made Miami Golden and How the Soviet Union Saved Vulcan

Tallest Bonfire in the World Made From Over 4000 Pallets

Rooneyer than thou

ihop to ihob

MUSIC

:

Helpless – The Regrettes, cover of the Hamilton song

Roseanna – Weezer

Africa – Weezer

Teach Me Tonight – Amy Winehouse, a Dinah Washington standard

Coverville 1220: The Prince Cover Story V

Rocket Man – Little Big Town

Ravel’s Bolero

There is an article in the New Yorker called What Happens When a Bad-Tempered, Distractable Doofus Runs an Empire?

The first sentence: “One of the few things that Kaiser Wilhelm II, who ruled Germany from 1888 to 1918, had a talent for was causing outrage.” I’m guessing you thought it was about someone else, and it sort of is.

“Distractions…are everything to him.” The pattern sounds like Distractible speech: “topic maintenance difficulties due to distraction by nearby stimulus. Tangentiality: Replies to questions are off-point or totally irrelevant.” Wilhelm must have been maddening.

“He reads very little apart from newspaper cuttings, hardly writes anything himself apart from marginalia on reports and considers those talks best which are quickly over and done with.” Too bad television wasn’t widely available back then.

“One of the many things that Wilhelm was convinced he was brilliant at, despite all evidence to the contrary, was ‘personal diplomacy,’ fixing foreign policy through one-on-one meetings with other European monarchs and statesmen. In fact, Wilhelm could do neither the personal nor the diplomacy, and these meetings rarely went well…” Of course, nothing like THAT could happen in this modern age.

“He fetishized the Army, surrounded himself with generals…” How many generals have been in the current regime?
“In the administration During Wilhelm’s reign, the upper echelons of the German government began to unravel into a free-for-all, with officials wrangling against one another.” Where ARE the current leaks coming from?

“The Kaiser was susceptible but never truly controllable. He asserted his authority unpredictably, as if to prove he was still in charge, staging rogue interventions into his own advisers’ policies and sacking ministers without warning.” Sounds like hell to work for.

I wonder if the coincidence of the current head of the American regime having a birthday on Flag Day has affected some sense of faux nationalism, with that patriotism event in lieu of a visit from some of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

I was really fascinated by the cartoon above. It was created, obviously recently, by Rainer Hachfeld, “a freelance writer and caricaturist living in Berlin. His cartoons appear in Neues Deutschland, a socialist daily newspaper in Germany.”

It’s interesting because it notes it is done “after the famous cartoon by LOW,” “after” in this case meaning “in the style of.”

Then I saw the David Low cartoon which is referenced:

I said, “I remember that guy!” Not so much the specific drawing from 1939, of Hitler and Stalin congratulating each other over the body of Poland. But certainly that style.

From the Political Cartoon Gallery:

“Born in New Zealand and probably the greatest political cartoonist of all time, [Sir] David Low was first attracted to caricatures and cartoons through reading British comics. Prior to moving to London in 1919, David Low worked for the Sydney Bulletin in Australia…

“In 1927… the Evening Standard’s proprietor Lord Beaverbrook had had to promise Low a unique contract giving him complete freedom in the selection and treatment of his subject matter as well as half a page for his cartoon in order to secure his services…

“Describing himself as ‘a nuisance dedicated to sanity’ Low was a hugely influential cartoonist and caricaturist, producing over 14,000 drawings during the course of his 50 year career.”

I’m reminded how much I admired, and was influenced by, the editorial cartoons of my youth. They just don’t hold as much sway, in large part because newspapers don’t.

In fact, it seems that YouTube videos seem to have captured that niche, even if the content originated on network TV. One example is “A Closer Look”. I have almost never actually watched “Late Night with Seth Meyers” on NBC (12:35 a.m. Eastern Time). But I usually watch the regular segments in which he breaks down politics.

His assessment of the Singapore meeting that Hachfeld portrayed might make more sense than the actual event. Check it out here. Or maybe it won’t help, as you view the action-movie style trailer Trump says he played to Kim Jong-un.

Maybe cartoonists can’t capture the moment as well because the moment Dennis Rodman? – is too damn surreal.

Writing is a very useful, even necessary, exercise for me. It helps me offload stuff in my brain, where it would otherwise interfere with my life.

I can tell when I haven’t written something for three or four days, usually because of technical difficulties. Sometimes life gets in the way – busyness, illness (mine or the Daughter’s). I’m usually emailing myself – “you should write about X”, which somewhat alleviates the frustration.

Writing helps define what I believe. And by that, I don’t mean a knee-jerk response to someone’s comment on Facebook, which I generally consider the fast food of communications. You won’t starve, but there are probably more emotionally nutritious options.

I’d rather work on a (hopefully) thought-out, considered opinion in the blog, or perhaps in a private journal. I consider it more like the slow cooking movement that is taking hold in some parts of the world.

I find writing easier than talking because one can spend time thinking and contemplating while writing. I can even change my mind, deciding that another option would be the better choice.

Still, I found this piece useful: Am I still a real writer if I don’t feel compelled to write?

“Not writing gives you time to have experiences. I can’t stand that thing where people are talking about something interesting in the world on social media or whatever, and some scold pops in to say, ‘This is a distraction/waste of time, get back to work.’

“As though anyone can literally work all the time and never stop to talk to humans or engage in politics and expect to make good art out of that. You actually have to spend some of your life living and doing normal life stuff or you can’t be a good writer.”

The message of this vlogbrothers video, The Secret to my Productivity, I hope to emulate. 80% ain’t that bad.

For ABC Wednesday

Given all the other tomes on my bookshelf, I surprised myself by checking out from the library, The Quartet by Joseph J. Ellis (2015), the author of Founding Brothers and American Sphinx, about Thomas Jefferson.

The subtitle, Orchestrating The Second American Revolution, 1783-1789, informs how George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, along with others such as Robert Morris and Gouverneur Morris (not related), got the thirteen colonies, who had fought off the British, came to accept another centralized government.

A lot of reviewers noted, and it was my experience as well, that our American history courses in high school presented the narrative of the last quarter of the 18th period woefully incompletely. There was the revolutionary fury of the Declaration of Independence and the war, which was reasonably well laid out. The Articles of Confederation -they failed, but why? – followed. Then the Founders came up with the Constitution – but how? – including the Bill of Rights.

In fighting the American Revolution, the colonists were cohesive in that limited battle against the British. However, the notion that these 13 nation-states would then relinquish their independence to accept the creation of a powerful federal government was no guarantee. Certain visionaries diagnosed that structure created by the Articles of Confederation was doomed to fail. They suggested conventions, purportedly to amend the Articles, but ultimately to throw them out.

As Newsday noted: Ellis’ account of the run-up to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the subsequent state-by-state ratification process is so pacey it almost reads like a thriller. New Yorker Hamilton, fearful that anarchy was looming, developed a national vision first; Madison was just a bit behind. Jay, serving as foreign affairs secretary, was trying to fashion coherent foreign policy. But all agreed that if their efforts were to succeed, a reluctant Washington, who had retired to Mount Vernon, had to be on board. Washington’s revolutionary credentials were unassailable.

“In 1780, most Americans, having thrown off the fetters of a faraway central power, would have thought the kind of national government envisioned by Washington and Co. as peculiar in the extreme. Some historians have viewed the Constitution as a betrayal of the American Revolution by a cabal of elites who crushed an emerging democracy. Ellis, however, reminds us that democracy was viewed skeptically in the 18th century; he prefers to see the efforts the quartet as ‘a quite brilliant rescue’ of revolutionary principles.”

I totally agree that, for a topic that could be very dry, I found the book surprisingly engaging. Ellis explains how the Founders, even those opposing slavery such as Hamilton, essentially ducked the question for the cause of federalism, hoping the topic would be addressed down the road, which it was, decades later.

I should mention that I got the large-print version of The Quartet because that happened to be the edition near the checkout. I didn’t NEED it, but I’m not complaining about it either.

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