. . . . Not been a good month here despite el V's lovely birthday, two superb Postmambo Events, and, additionally, the ophthalmologist monitoring the eye with the damaged optic nerve -- though what's going on can be signs of incipient glaucoma -- found actual improvement from the last check-up. Maybe it's the new lenses? Another positive thing is the spectacular greenery and the variety of greens, due to the heat and the moisture. Related to that positive are the flowers, particularly in the community garden that's been allowed to grow as it wants pretty much, without being cut back or off. The range of vivid blossoms erupting out of the head tall greens is balm to the soul. That's purely personal though. Beyond the purely personal, things are very far away from good.
It's unnecessary for me to provide the details as to why both Haiti and Cuba are tragedies of political history, and our personal histories, that need not have happened, as surely by now all have heard of them and formed opinions, if there is among all and sundry enough interest to even bother forming an opinion -- or learning facts. Climate change feeds into both Haiti's and Cuba's disasters as well as political forces forcing both nations to go without medical supplies and food -- which forces merge into catastrophe for both the island nations. For Cuba certainly, there is no light at the end of the tunnel that begins and ends in Miami. Haiti too, as we've been told that's from where the conspiracy was hatched.
Weather They Sayers announced today our city has the most dangerous air quality of any city on the planet, due to the western US wildfires' smoke blowing right into us. One wishes to wear a good mask if one needs to go outdoors for this reason now too. Rain fell for a little while, so all that particulate from the West and Northwest can be flushed into our gardens, sewers, into the East and Hudson Rivers, the harbor and the ocean. Like pandemics, climate catastrophe never stays in one place. No man is an island, what affects thee, affects me, and so on and so forth.
Yet despite the experts of many nations begging governments to impose mask mandates in public spaces and limit gatherings, like our own stupid mayor, the politicians and governments everywhere refuse to mandate masking and distance in public spaces now, because THE ECONOMY -- and future office seeking. So -- here we are again, spiking like crazy, including right here, when barely 2 weeks ago, our own zip code and so many others in the city and state were essentially at zero for positive tests, new infections, hospitalizations and deaths. All those
anti-vaxxers, enemies of the people, surely are pleased with themselves all over again, as they bring down what's left of a health system.
Again, with COVID, extreme weather, bikers, skateboarders, stupid tourists, guns/crime/mad/desperate people, mosquitos showing up infected with the Nile Virus, etc. etc. etc., being outdoors means anything but relaxation and refreshment, even at night. In many ways, particularly at night. But for the out-of-control, whether from racist hatred or years of being homeless or the conviction of utter privilege that no laws or regulations apply to ME shoving my Porsche at 90 MPH through the crowded streets and killing people so what? day and night make no difference.
. . . . Spouses, Lovers, Friends, one way and another, these purely personal relationships are the greatest refuge from the horrors overwhelming our present cursed "interesting times." About once a week, el V, B and I dine with, and catch-up with, 2 or 3 friends -- all of us vaccinated. We've been to visit another historian in his Rhode Island beach shack, making us a mini history conference. At the beginning of August, we will visit one of our terrific Postmambo friends in his beautiful, large old historic house upstate -- with a pool, massive yard and huge screened in annex, where we will have Thanksgiving in August, the Thanksgiving we'd planned for last November, but prudently called off due to Covid spiking, which it continued to do until the blessed vaccines showed up. But we are vaccinated, so we are keeping to the plan made last year to do our cancelled holiday celebration feast with friends this summer. Still, as originally planned, this will be a small gathering of 4 people, perhaps 5, depending on another's work schedule.
. . . . History provides refuge and escape. One does speculate others too are looking for refuge in the past, thus so very many time-travel series showing up lately -- none of which I have the least inclination to look at even the first episodes. How fortunate, one further speculates, that it is not possible to subject the present or the past to the pressures of future colonialism for the sake of the yet unborn's survival. The future would have every right to do so, considering how ours and every preceding generation has abused Earth. But alas, we cannot go back in time and save ourselves, since we didn't already do it. Beside, those who benefit would be, as usual the very rich and protected, not the future sort of thee and me -- while the already mentioned 0.01% make massive profit out of our lack of salvation. Until, perhaps they too, despite anal dildo shaped escape space craft, are crushed by lack of oxygen and water.
Some of these latter sorts are getting spooked by Delta, getting the idea that the economy can tank from it. This is the only way of course we will ever get a federal mandate anywhere in the world for masking and vaccination. One does fear it's way too late now.
We continue our own plundering of the Dark Ages with Wickham's The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400 – 1000. Wickham's thesis of the real changes and transformations of the West in the 5th century was the changes in the signatures of the wealthy and powerful. Free time, leisure, was the signature of wealth and power. Much of that was spent in the luxury of the country villas, where they cultivated the arts and learning, particularly the literary arts, as well as government and administration. By the end of the 5th C, the signature of the wealthy and powerful were the manly martial arts. The ruling class no longer affected togas as sartorial signatures of their status, but dressed like Roman army commanders. However, even more so, the ruling class needed as much land as they could wheedle, conquer or steal. And steal away they did, which went on for centuries, as we know.
. . . . Television has provided some good historical escape.
Straight-up historical - period scripted drama created in the present: El Cid, 11th C, Spain and Andalus, season 2; No Sudden Move, 1950's Detroit, scripted now; The Rising Hawk, 13th C, refugeed tribes in the Carpathians invaded by the Blue Horde, scipted now; Borsalino, which was looked at here last time, is another splendid example, scripted at the end of the 1960's, located in 1930's
Women in the past re-created in the present: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (the 1920s, Melborne, scripted in the second decade of the 21st century); Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries (sequel series scripted in the second decade of the 20th C, set in 1960's Melborne when niece inherits Aunt Fisher's possession and calling) Both of these were eras in which women claimed freedom and rights Horatio had not yet dreamed of.
The present that is now the past: Bergerac, first season of 9, begins in 1981, on bi-lingual island of Jersey, featuring the young John Nettles who grew up to become Midsomer Murders's Barnaby, scripted then; House of Cards (the original, British version -- forget Kevin Spacey -- scripted then); The Midnight Garden of Good and Evil, set in the late 1970's, semi-fictional, scripted then, and oops can't forget Spacey coz he's the driver. These three share the commonality of period: late 1970's and the first years of the '80's.
. . . . Fiction has provided two works of historic escape that eschew cloying froth: Katherine (the Lady Swynford, Duke of Lancaster's mistress, eventually his wife, whose children ultimately ancestored many royal figures, while living in the England of Edward II and Richard and the Bubonic Plagues) by Anya Seton; The Noble Outlaw: Crowner John Mystery Series, Book 11 by Bernard Knight. This is a series in which it seems to be always cold, always snowing. "Crowner" in 12th century Essex, is our contemporary "coroner"; author's day job was as coroner.