". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Swash and Oratory, Struggles for Power: 1809 - 1853

Before going to sleep I Iive so intensely in this smaller United States of Clay and Co. that it's not unusual to dream about it.

These biographies ande political histories that I've been reading of the giants who bestrode the U.S. in those decades devote many pages to describing their journeys.

They are always traveling because it is a new country, straining at its seams to become always larger, with more opportunities for these ambious individualists to become very rich very fast. They are always traveling because they are politicians -- not just back and forth between their home states and D.C.. Their lives are campaigns: for their re-election (not that either Jackson or Clay had to worry about re-elections during their political careers), throwing their support to the election of this one and that one, the defeat of those others, for their causes and against the issues of others. Thus the journeys recounted in so much detail -- who they meet with, what goes on at the continual dinners -- feasts they'd be called in the high medieval and renaissance eras of the monarchies, serving the same purposes as the feasts of those other eras on another continent -- and what the local and national papers write about these meetings -- and the speeches. Always giving speeches, though Jackson doesn't much -- partly due to his messed up mouth and toothlessness, partly it's because while he was more fearsome to his reluctant troops, he didn't have the gift of oration in this Age of Oratory and Rhetoric. Jackson has his surrogates though, including his newspapers and his cadres of editors and writers -- Buchanan wanted so much to be one of his surrogates, but he no more than Jackson could move and shake audiences with his words, whether written or spoken.

Travel was difficult, painful, lengthy and dangerous. During the course of the era of Clay and Jackson there are transportation as well a communications improvements, but the Improvements are a huge political issue: Clay's American System of federal and local funding and support of improvements vs the Calhoun philosophy that not only are such public works unconstitutional but are a plot against the Slave Power by the North. Gag Rule and Nullification for the Slave Power! Bridges, Canals, Roads, Rail for the North. They steam frequently to the Caribbean, for vacations from their exertions, to recover from their many and varied maladies, to Cuba in particular, which helps power the Slave Power’s ambition to annex Cuba to expand slavery.

Then they're always sick with something, including for some of them, old wounds, from fighting Indians, rom duels, or accidents suffered while traveling. Every one of them could ride a horse, spending days in the saddle, covering hundreds of miles between home and the ferry or boat -- and finally steamboats -- that will take them to D.C.

Reading about these vital figures who left footprints in our national history so big that contemporary politicians are still pretending to fill them is as colorful and exciting as reading the best of historical fiction. But like you, probably, as a woman I wouldn't want to live then, particularly not as a woman of color.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

This, written by William Deresiewicz, in the New Yorker, concerning Jane Austen the writer, is as appropriate today as in the days when Jane Austen declined for her readers the appropriate time and place of sense and sensibility. As admirers of this writer too often we forget or ignore or never realized that Austen was formed more by the Enlightenment of the 18th century than by England's coming Romantic Revolution ( -- which, perhaps then, helped hold a revolution such as France experienced at bay?)

"When we turn to Austen—and above all, to “Pride and Prejudice”—the qualities that come to mind are confidence, mastery, serenity, and tact. Especially tact. She spares us knowledge of herself, leaves us free to read the story through the window of her perfectly transparent prose. She doesn’t tax us with her personality. She keeps her feelings out of it—not her judgments, her feelings, and she never confuses the two.

“Pride and Prejudice” discredits one of our most deeply held beliefs: the idea that emotions have an absolute validity. Feelings are not right or wrong, we say; they just are. Or rather, feelings are always right, because they are—and we always have a right to them. It is a notion that was promulgated by the same feminism that helped to elevate Austen to her current eminence. So much of the feminist struggle involved asserting the legitimacy of women’s feelings. Emotions—the reality of female discontent within the patriarchal system—were the bedrock, in a sense, of the feminist argument.

But in the story of Elizabeth and how she learned to change her mind, Austen tells us something different. ... "

Again, one wonders why some (particularly genre writers and readers) persist in setting up straw men of academic and critical and feminist disdain for Austen. Is it to bolster their own sense of selves as legitimate critcs that they persist, over and over and over, against all facts (like t-baggers) in high horseing scholars, academics and literature students as knowing nothing -- while so often getting wrong the actual facts of Austen's life, times and career, or leaving out essential matters?
How many feminists have you heard sneer at Austen?
Way back when still in graduate school for my combination history and literature degree, all the women in it with me were feminists, and all of them adored Austen. Some of them even adored Heyer (that was an enthusiasm I was unable to share). I haven't seen that change much since then -- though it was indeed long ago now, and perhaps the newest generation is different. For one thing the English department and the study of literature is so well-proven now to be no lead to employment outside of being a student. The English departments have in many programs cut out their grad programs all together as their own funding, like that of all the humanities has been cut-cut-cut, and more and more English dept. faculty are made to act as admin assistants to Administration. As well the hip humanities focus is now on identity politics and culture, which tends to by- pass -- and even be actively hostile to -- our tremendous heritage of English literature.
So maybe, yeah?

But still, not among the feminists I know, young or old, will you find disdain for Austen.

In fact, even Tah-Nehisi Coates has fallen for Jane Awesome, as he calls her, in his quest to learn how to write the best fiction he can.

Hmm, I see the suggestion I made at the Book View Cafe blog that the most daring thing Austen did in P&P was to show Charlotte Lucas making herself a good marriage with Reverend Collins has shown up on the Atlantic too.

This is how I put it on the Book View Cafe:

In just about every case the young women searching for marriage in Austen’s novels do very well, ultimately. What is brilliant about Austen is she shows an enormous spectrum of successful marriages.
Even those we may turn our noses up at, as mercenary and grasping for security, are successful, because the women got what they wanted and they make it work for them — like Charlotte Lucas who manages to make even marriage to the frightful Rev. Collins work, for her.
Even Paston Eldon and Augusta’s union is successful by their own lights. Part of their success is abusing those who they feel are slighting them or are beneath them, sometimes to their faces, if their rank is low enough, and abusing them behind their backs, if their rank is too high, like Emma and Knightly. Shared malice can most certainly be a bond, alas — and not only in marriage.
Perhaps the most daring portrait of how a woman may play the hand that was given her and manipulate it up to winning trumps: Lucy Steele. She came from nothing, had nothing, no prospects, and wasn’t even really pretty. But somehow she manages to snag the very brother who gets all the moola. She gets what she wanted most of all, a marriage of security with loads of money.
The unsuccessful manipulators and choices almost all take place off-stage so to speak. We see the consequences as with Anne’s invalid friend in Bath — who gives her important information about her cousin-suitor.
Lydia is too scatter-brained and good-natured to even notice her partnership with her darling Wickham is bound for train wreck — she’s so much like her mother, but with the added security of well-married and principled sisters, who have principled spouses who are wealthy.
The most unsuccessful on-stage marriage we see is Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, and they are fortunate enough to rub along mostly pleasantly enough — though obviously not, at least for the servants. (This reader feels in many ways Mr. Bennett got off way too easily for his very great faults — but then he shares my sensibility on this, without the hypocrisy of disguising his relief at the lightness of his consequences.)
Throughout Austen we see one portrait after another of marriages, so many different kinds of marriages, all of which are as different from on another as Austen has created her brilliant characters as different from one another. And most of them appear fairly pleasant, as each couple has adjusted to each other and they rub along quite well.
And these are the people who make up entire communities of a particular set and range of class that was England of Austen’s time — and which we have our counterparts even now, even if we do many things differently.
That’s why feminists early and late love Austen, one thinks. She’s not dealing with small matters, she’s dealing with what makes a community, a nation, a world.

*The Lizzie Bennet Diaries*

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, there are 80 episodes by now.

It may not be everyone's cuppa though. But once or twice a week, it has fair amusement value.

'Twas the Guardian, natch, that clued me into The Lizzie Bennet Diaries:

Monday, January 28, 2013

*Young Ivanhoe* (1999) & *The Hour* (2012) Season 2

A very young Kris Holden-Ried (William Compton in The Tudors and Dyson in Lost Girl) plays the very Young Ivanhoe (1999), and Rachel Blanchard (Cher, in the television Clueless series (1996-99) based on the 1995 movie of the same name, which itself was based on Austen's novel, Emma -- whew!) plays the Lady Rowena in this made for family television version.

Holden-Ried's unbelievably smooth skin is sans the facial hair that seems his current trademark, as seen in both The Tudors and Lost Girl. He's very pretty, with collar bones, skin and cleavage on constant display. Blanchard's skin, bones and cleavage, as behooves a respectable medieval noble woman, are not displayed at all. However, despite her medieval dress of towering headdresses and flowing sleeves you cannot imagine for a second that she's a medieval Saxon descended from Alfred the Great. That face! Those teeth! are such southern California signatures. So is the way she moves. The dialog isn't much medieval either. But some of the sets are very nice -- while others look like the ticky tacky plastered walls suggestive of faux southwestern housing developments.

The cast has other recognizable names, including both Margot Kidder and Stacey Keach. None of the actors take themselves or the production seriously, but do come through as enjoying themselves, while doing the best they can with their roles. A very large plus is that very smart horses play a significant role in the plot. The other big plus is a Young Rowena who is anything but passive, possessed of a terrific throwing arm and lethal aim with daggers and other sharp-ended objects. It's a nice little swashbuckler that is perfect for passing the time while making dinner.

The other thing I watched this week was season 2 of The Hour (2012), which may be better than the first season, which itself was involving. Though there are implausibilities of various sorts in the action and set-up, these are fairly easy for the watcher to slide over. The other negative is by the last episode or so, Romola Garai, who plays the central role of Bel Rowley, began slipping into her habitualfacial grimaces that wear so badly. She had it under strict control in season 1.

To me it seems that Garai played the role of Sugar in the really fine television adaptation of the novel, The Crimson Petal and White (2009), more strongly than she plays Bel, producer of The Hour, a BBC weekly news program,which is the title of the BBC produced historical series we are watching, The Hour (see, implausibilities). In 1999 Garai also played Emma in another BBC adaptation of Austen's novel, which was spoiled because Garai could not keep her face from grimacing every second the camera was on her -- entirely unlike the deportment of Austen's eponymously titled Emma.

Dominic West (Detective Jimmy McNulty in The Wire 2002 -08) is always a joy to watch (though well, maybe not as Oliver Cromwell in the Devil's Whore (2008) -- how could such a time and characters come through as so boring?). His character is Hector Madden, the drinks-too-much-married-man-too-much-about-town, host of The Hour. His wife, Marnie, is played by Oona Castilla Chaplin, who comes out as a person instead of a spoiled rich daddy's girl cliche in this season. She's fascinating to look at -- so different from Garai. All of the regulars are good, particularly Ben Whishaw, as ambitious journalist Freddie Lyon. I'm not the only one to say that about Whishaw and his role. My favorite character is Anna Chancelor as Lix Storm, journalist and head of the foreign desk of The Hour. 

Dominic West (Detective Jimmy McNulty in The Wire 2002 -08) is always a joy to watch (though well, maybe not as Oliver Cromwell in the Devil's Whore (2008) -- how could such a time and characters come through as so boring?). He plays Hector Madden, the drinks-too-much-married-man-too-much-about-town, host of The Hour. His wife, Marnie, is played by Oona Castilla Chaplin, who comes out as a person rather than 50's cliche of daddy's spoiled rich girl in this season. She's fascinating to look at -- so different from Garai. All of the regulars are good, particularly Ben Whishaw, as ambitious journalist Freddie Lyon. I'm not the only one to say that about Whishaw and his role. My favorite character is Anna Chancelor as Lix Storm, journalist and head of the foreign desk of The Hour.

In this season everybody has a concealment / secret come out to someone, even if not to the public via the news media -- except Bel's. Who is Bel really? We learn backstories of principal characters. The older characters' pasts and interaction, meaning those older than Bel or Freddie -- reach back into shared WWII experience. Would this be the case in a U.S. produced television series made about news television set in the 1950's? Once again the U.S. viewer sees -- or should -- of how deep the trauma of that war still goes in the British psyche.

In most ways The Hour feels more authentically the nineteen fifties than Mad Men did when it began. There are a few wrong touches, mostly with women's shoes and lingerie, but the music is bang on, and they use it very well -- and again, better than Mad Men does (contemporary popular music is something that Call the Midwife uses very well too).

The Hour is a series perfect for cold, dark, wintery mix precipitating winter evenings, which is what both my days and nights have been lately.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Haiti - Within the Saints and Festivals World View

So it's Mardi Gras there as well as in New Orleans.

El V's riding a float later today in one of the parades in Port au Prince.

He should get some good video and stills from that vantage point.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Medieval Cats

That cats own the internets everyone knows. We all aren't aware though that cats also owned the information delivery systems of long ago.

On the Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts Blog.

Some of the illustrations are of the type called "marginal grotesques" and are vastly imaginative.

A reply to this elsewhere, calling them medieval LOL cats, ended up provoking this stream of consciousness rant on my part:

In these later years I've become increasingly charmed by early English, which makes makes the history of our language all that much more interesting.

I keep imagining the monks in their enclaves writing these words, and often just composing, rather than only copying.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight isn't early English of course, but the sense comes through of a congenial community, with many convivial meals, laughter and intelligent discussion going on, discussions about language, compositional techniques, forms and modes, latin vs. attempts to write vernacularly, while drinking much ale and wine. No Rule of Silence in these religious houses and the Church's rural administration grange compounds.  Surely their discussions about 'how to write' contained much comparison with and news of what others like them were doing elsewhere -- lots of exchanges of correspondence with Houses elsewhere in England and Europe, so easy when all the writers wrote in Latin.  :)

This is not the same as the thousands of blog entries posted every day by writers explaining How Writing Is Done -- and even worse, How Reading Is Done. At worst, bs, at best, twaddle dull and even displaying with pride ignorance of much they are declaring, particularly in the not always even subtextual "This is what we who consume our fave genres like potato chips think and we are RIGHT About Everything!  Anything that smacks of the privileged elitist hoity toity scholar or critic is WRONG. Our extrusions are all equal to everything , including Shakespeare. There is no bad writing -- and no such thing as historical fact and accuracy-- it's all made up."

So, medieval illustrations are not exactly LOL cats. lol.

But all of us don't consume genre like that or think like that. A lot of us, who also write, sell and buy books, which, of course, is neither acknowledged nor recognized.  And cute as lol speak was initially, to see adults persist in expressing themselves like pre-literate children as their favorite mode of discourse feels creepy. It bodes badly for our capacity to think, analyze and develop – i.e. become fully functioning, reliable, intelligent, effective adults who can take care of our planet, small animals, growing things and each other.

That's how teh YA publishing marketing demographic eated all the sf/f stuffs. The sf/f writers share the solipsist mind-set of the hypothetical, cliche of the self-centered adolescent. These writers haven't matured emotionally or critically, are determined not to. They are so proud of sharing their nurtured high school mean girl tropes they eveb demand you admire them for their displays of immaturity, in their communications online, in real life and in their books. Again A Major Publisher asked me to write up yet another YA dystopian apocalypse in which there are only two sorts of people left in all teh world blahblahblah, while One Single Young Female Figures It All Out blahblahblah Saves teh World At the Conclusion Of Projected Franchise Which Will, Please Ceiling Cat, Be Major Motion Pictures 2!  I politely declined as very real pictures of very real starving, homeless and houseless Haitian children, women and men run behind my eyelids.  While they still dance and make music and art.



* I am aware that all monasteries, houses, granges, abbeys, priories, etc. were not that well endowed with such easy and pleasant living, with a undercurrent of what later would become called 'humanism.'  A lot of them undoubtedly oppressed their surrounding livings -- and each other.  Others were oppressed and exploited by the  local lords, and even plundered to finance wars, and  pillaged and murdered in local lordly rivalries. Yet there were enclaves well-run, well-ordered and filled with the Holy Spirit as well as the spirit of inquiry and creation (which some Christians at least do believe comes from the Holy Spirit, the third part of the Trinity. Out of them came brilliance.


* In other words, what Charles Stross said:

"The evolutionary pressure selecting for general intelligence (to the extent that general intelligence exists) breaks once a species develops language."

Cats have developed language and thus are now becoming less smart, and we humans are following in their paw tracks as we hoomans have now been trained to do.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

YouTube Video for "Between Piety and Desire" from *Kiss You Down South*

Dan Rose made it, down there in New Orleans, where the Mardi Gras krewes are a-rollin!

Published on January 24, 2013
A video for "Between Piety and Desire," cut #3 from Ned Sublette's album Kiss You Down South. Music recorded at Piety Street Recording in New Orleans, produced by Ned with Peter Gordon and Mark Bingham. It was a treat to work with Ned, and not too difficult, as I live, not between Piety and Desire, but a handful of blocks downriver of. All images acquired with me cellphone. Live footage was obtained during Ned's record release party on December 7, 2012, at Siberia, on St. Claude Avenue, New Orleans.
Dan Rose

And here it is:

Achieving the Alpha State, Effortlessly

Spend much time outdoors in below freezing temperatures, much time that is also physical exertion.

Race like mad to meet up with your partner at the end of the day on the last car of the Number 6 at the Astor Place platform.

Proceed to Blue Smoke - Jazz Standard and eat Caroline-inspired food, while meeting old friends and someone new, talking like mad, learning what it's like currently to be living in Yokahama, and how different the feeling is in Japan these days from before Tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Listen to 'difficult' jazz music in a dark room, the apex of which is the lighted, red-backdropped stage, while seated comfortably, and drinking one's second Sly Fox pilsner, only one in a room of people gathered who do listen to music, intensely and focused, while the musicians are also intensely focused on what they are doing.

Within minutes you have entered that state, where both the body and mind are still, merely one part of an entity floating on the sound. Some call this the alpha sate, and I call it peace.

I first experienced this state soon after meeting el V. And except for the cold, food and the beer, it was the same: a dark room, at the apex of which was a lighted stage of musicians playing 'difficult' music, while the audience is listening as intensely as they are playing. And it happens invariably when I'm in this situation of live performance of 'difficult' music. It doesn't ever happen with music that I actively like and enjoy, whether live or recorded.

It's a good thing too because today is anything but peaceful. El V awoke at 4 AM and started packing. Then he sent some e-mails. He returned to bed about 5:30 and was up again at 7:30. And it's like 13 degrees and the wind is harsh, filled with ice knives. And everything is a crisis.

And I'm doing more laundry.

It's the getting dressed and undressed that makes everything so exhausting. You can't go out without wearing layers if you want to be warm enough outside, and not suffocate inside. Putting on, taking off, putting on, taking off. Gads.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mary Beard Learns the Internets Host Hordes of Woman Hating Trolls

In the UK Guardian: "TV presenter and academic says abuse after panel show was the kind that would 'put many women off appearing in public'"

[ " TV presenter and academic Mary Beard has said she has become the victim of a torrent of "truly vile" abuse online of the kind that would "put many women off appearing in public" following an appearance on BBC1's Question Time.
Beard, professor of classics at Cambridge University, who recently presented the BBC2 programme Meet the Romans with Mary Beard, said that the abuse followed an exchange with an audience member on the panel show on Thursday about the effect of immigration on services in the Lincolnshire town of Boston.
The Question Time exchange – in which Beard cast doubt on some stories about strains on public services – has prompted an online backlash and introduced Beard to what she described in her blog for the Times Literary Supplement as "a side on internet trolling that I haven't experienced before" and one that is "truly vile". " ]

I read her columns in various publications regularly, admire and respect her intellect and knowledge.

Mary Beard is a middle-aged woman starting to verge on elderly, a well respected University don and classics scholar. One does doubt those men gleefully abusing her have anything near the achievements she's accomplished.

Hatred of women, like violence against women, is on the rise everywhere. The so-called 'western, developed, civilized' societies are very much participants, no different from the Indian men / boys who raped and murdered the poor woman on that bus, for no reason than she was a woman.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Watching the Inauguration

Streaming, on Democracy Now.

They've just shot off the cannons, so that we're in no doubt what any of this is really about.

The colors the first lady and daughters are wearing are all my own favorite colors -- though not for me to wear, of course, unless it's high summer, I am very tan, and in the Caribbean.

ETA commentary from P, a musician-composer amigo: "The Constitution does not protect melismas."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ay-up, She's Cold Out There!

After yesterday's over-exertion out in the damp chill brought on screaming pain, today I'm feeling much better. But I'll stay in all day anyway. Tomorrow will be somewhat warmer, so library and other errands such as shopping for a new keyboard and mouse can wait.

After that though, the temps are expected to really drop down, for an extended period. Funny how the presidential inauguration takes place so often on the coldest weekend of the winter.

Even cold as it's turning, el V would rather be staying here than rising Friday at some godawful hour, get to the Newark airport for a 9:25 AM flight to Port-au-Prince. Haiti is so not going to Cuba, as to be in a different class of historical, journalist, musicologist trip all together. For one thing I never had health concerns for him going to Cuba. And if anything did happen I knew how well he'd be cared for within their superb health system.

Not to mention safety and crime. We are still waiting for the cheap, used laptop el V ordered to arrive. Not taking the main work computer, o no, not with everything that's loaded in there, even though there are tons of external hard drives too, loaded with information.

He's going to be traveling all over the island, not staying within the foreign blancs' Haitian bubbles, like most outsiders do. He'll be heading to Jacmel and other regions too. I do feel better though that he does know so many people and they are showing up in droves, volunteering to be there for him.
Every day more contacts show up in his e-mail, a great support system, of people who know how everything in Haiti works / does not work.

It's still not going to be a pleasant sort of visit, whereas going to Havana in January would be -- and even more than pleasant, particularly if you go to the east (the Caribbean side of Cuba). It's one of the most wonderful places to be at that time of the year. Though Sandy creamed Oriente, so I'm not sure about now. But for outsiders it's still more than pleasant, according to our friend, chair of the George Mason University dance dept., who took students there after New Year's. I'm kind of sighing, yearning for palm trees, pirate sail cumulus clouds and splashing sun right now.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

And Last Night's Nightmare

El V's strangled yells woke me. He was very deep. "Help! Help" finally burst out, before I could get him awake.

A pirate of the Caribbean was breaking through the sliding glass doors to steal el V's electric Strat. He wanted el V's because his own electric guitar, hanging from his shoulder, "a turquoise piece of shit.

"It took me a long time to get back to sleep after that," el V said this AM. "I felt like such a tool for having had such a stupid nightmare. Man, the vodoun dudes would just laugh at me. Dreams have meaning, they're from the other world, and this is what the other world is telling me? That a stupid guy from the stupid 17th century wants to steal my electric guitar? What he'd really want is my Ramirez!"

Today's Aphorism

Emerges out of morning conversation:

"History you learn by studying, journalism you learn by doing."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Weather Confuses Jazzy Decisions

Such as what shall I wear to the Jazz Standard tonight? We're going to the late show, in order to, at their invitation, hang out with the artists afterwards. Weather tonight is predicted to be "a wintery mix of snow, sleet and rain late." The word that matters here is "late." What is meant by "late tonight?" Before midnight? After midnight? This really matters as to my footgear. My weather boots or a pair of the sexy ones?

I've been looking forward to this for quite a while: Galician bagpipes!

" Cristina Pato & The Migrations Band in association with the Barcelona Jazz Festival
For the past fifteen years, Cristina Pato has been forging new creative paths for the Gaita or Galician bagpipe. In 1998, she became the first female Gaita player to release a solo album, followed by three more albums including the self produced The Galician Connection (2010). She’s engaged in creative collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble, the Chieftains, and the Chicago Symphony, fusing strains of Latin music, jazz, pop and contemporary music to bring her unique vision to life. . This Jazz Standard special event commemorates the release of Cristina Pato’s new Sunnyside album, Migrations, and is presented in association with the Barcelona Jazz Festival.

“This album is my personal and musical migration from the path I was supposed to follow,” says the artist, “and celebrates all the things that helped me to create my own way.” 

If I get through to Thursday without the flu, then I'll be somewhat protected, if that statement about partial protection after 5 days is true. I remain baffled though as to what a partial protection against flu could possibly be. Either you're susceptible to the virus or you are not, right?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Carlos Saura - *Flamanco Hoy*-Barcelona Jazz Orquestra-"The Abolitionists"

We have to make a press screening for Flamanco Hoy at 11 AM tomorrow, at an upper East side theater.

Doesn't that sound decadent? Going to a Spanish movie about contemporary dance on a Monday morning? in January? I admit this makes me a bit uncomfortable: Young lady, you cannot watch a film on a winter Monday morning! Only worthless people and girls who shall end badly do this, and they earn their bad ending by watching movies on a Monday morning!" I won't eat any popcorn, so that will prove I'm working, not indulging. Right?

It's sort of Spanish here right now. Well, maybe I shouldn'y say "Spain" for the Barcelona Jazz Orquestra, which we're hearing Tuesday night at the Jazz Standard.

In the meantime el V spent all afternoon working his way through my drafts and notes about the French Revolution and Napoleon and Tallyrand and the Louisiana Purchase, from Henry Adams's histories, and the works I'd read around it, as well as from Napoleon's own papers and so on -- you always have to look up the citations included in the passages you want to quote. Now he's having a little feast of left overs, that includes yellow organic corn tortillas and a perfect avocado, plus some great green chili-corn-cabbage, and rice.

In the meantime, let me highly recommend watching PBS-The American Experience's "The Abolitionists". The first episode was last week.

It is as clean and all the rest as predicted.

But it is well-paced, interesting, and it seems to me there is a lot of information worth receiving in it. This said from a background of reading extensively in the 90's about the individuals spotlighted in this three part series: Angela Grimké, Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass and John Brown. I haven't been working with these great historical figures in the last 15 years, but when I was they educated me in so much of what, then, I didn't know about U.S. culture of the period, U.S. history of the period, slavery and abolition.

These are true heroes. Not that travesty and blasphemy displayed by the exploitation movie whose title I won't even type.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Life's Little Repetitions

It never fails, that after a night staying up with other musicians until 3 - 4 - maybe even 5 AM, el V arises from his pillow, looks at the clock and accuses, in voice that mingles equal parts dismay, resentment and and wonder: "It's noon!"

Also it seems according to all the local media that we are in a state of health emergency, i.e. a flu epidemic.  With all the drumbeating, including the Governor declaring the health state of emergency, I broke down and, after a variety of adventures, finally secured a flu shot for myself yesterday (el V had gotten himself one some weeks ago).  I chose to go to a Duane Reed-Walgreen's for the flu shot rather than my doctor's office, because I'd have had to sit in Judson's waiting room, surely surrounded by sick children and adults. Whereas at the store's pharmacy where the shots were available, I was surrounded by people who weren't sick and hoping to stay that way.

Then, I promptly hied myself uptown to a party in connection with a Cuban gentleman's private collection of African art minatures, where, for three hours, I mingled with a large number of  people, long-time friends, as well those I'd not before had the privilege to meet.  Surely among the 30 - 50 people present, including the wait staff who solicitously refilled one's glass every two minutes, and offered various finger foods every three minutes, somebody was harboring a virus or a germ. 

When we left we met other friends at a restaurant in the Village, which was packed with tourists and locals.

After that el V escorted me home, and then went out again for the music part of the evening.  And I wondered as I was falling asleep, "What good did I do myself getting a flu shot?"

It takes at least five days for the immunity process to begin kicking in, two weeks for it to be entirely achieved -- if indeed, one's individual system is susceptible to the process at all.  Nor does this vaccine have anything to do with the worst part of the epidemic, the rhinovirus that's causing the vomiting-diarrhea form of illness.

Limited But Free JSTOR Access

[ "Online digital library JSTOR will begin offering free access to its catalogue of journals, papers, and books. The Register & Read program will now allow individuals to register for the service, but members will only be able to read three items every two weeks. Users won't be able to see JSTOR's whole library either: free accounts will only have access to 1,200 journals from 700 publishers. In exchanges for free access, users will have to enter their personal details at signup that will be shared with JSTOR along with its partners, giving them insight as to who’s reading specific material.

Subscribing to JSTOR is notoriously expensive and often restricted to universities and libraries, so the basic access is a welcome move for those interested in academic papers. Some critics believe that the resource should be free from any restrictions, with former Reddit co-owner Aaron Swartz among them. The digital activist was charged with stealing 4.8 million documents from JSTOR using MIT’s network in 2011, presumably with the intention of uploading them freely to the internet. The case is still ongoing, but that  along with the popularity of the Register & Read trial  has clearly caused JSTOR to rethink its access policy. " ]

Here is that story: "Reddit Co-Founder and JSTOR Hacker Aaron Swartz Commits Suicide"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

History of the Second Amendment

“The Hidden History of the Second Amendment,” by Carl T. Bogus, Professor at Law. This paper can be found at: 31 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 309 (1998)
“This work, copyright 1998 by Carl Bogus, was originally published in the UC Davis Law
Review, vol. 31, p. 309, copyright 1998 by The Regents of the University of California.
Allrights reserved. Reprinted with permission.”
This paper can be downloaded free of charge from the Social Science Research Network:
Professor Bogus argues that there is strong reason to believe that, in significant part, James Madison drafted the Second Amendment to assure his constituents in Virginia, and the South generally, that Congress could not use its newly-acquired powers to indirectly undermine the slave system by disarming the militia, on which the South relied for slave control. His argument is based on a multiplicity of the historical evidence, including debates between James Madison and George Mason and Patrick Henry at the Constitutional Ratifying Convention in Richmond,Virginia in June 1788; the record from the First Congress; and the antecedent of the American right to bear arms provision in the English Declaration of Rights of 1688.
It’s a most useful paper to read in regard to the ever on-going and ever-more serious issue.
Recall that in the slave holding states until after the Civil War -- and in many places even decades, yea verily even a century after the Civil War -- all of the criminal system was about slavery, not about crime and criminals as we think of crimes and criminals.  It was about keeping the South in complete lock down --  it was a police state in every sense. Not only could you be arrested, tried and imprisoned for publishing or even possessing Abolition materials, in Charleston, for instance, there was a curfew for slaves in the street. Even respectable white people retired behind the walls of their homes after sundown for fear of running into the Patrollers and other loosely created groups to keep the slaves in order. anyone found on the streets after dark were automatically considered whores, slaves and other up-to-no-goodniks.  Bounty hunters prior to the Civil War?  Only for run-away slaves. Or, up north, labor agitators ....
Since this is a pdf I can't cut and paste, but this part of the paper and the history of the Second Amendment begins on page 15.

Mary Gabriel's *Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution *

Another book, this one Mary Gabriel's Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution (2011). I've been wanting to read this for quite a while. Marx did some of the best writing that explained and described the issues of the Civil War to a European audience. He was working on Capital during the war. Like Darwin's work (Origin of Species comes out in 1860), Marx's provides a vocabulary used about each other by both the Union and Abolitionists, and the CSA and slaveholders. Some of that is still used by neoconfederates and t-baggers and media figures like Rush & his fellow travelers today -- indeed there's been a huge resurgence of that intentional vileness from the right wing since Obama's first inauguration.

This book begins with pages and pages of a Cast of Characters -- the first entry is Charles Francis Adams -- father of my favorite, Henry Adams, son of John Quincy and grandson of John. It ends with Wagner and Zola.

Followed by pages of a Political Timeline.

Next, a Preface -- in which the author tells us that to the best of her knowledge, none of the researchers who have been writing about and making biographies of Karl Marx for all these years have utilized any of the thousands of letters and other writings by his wife and daughters. Women are so irrelevant to a great man's life, right?

Then comes a Prologue, set in London, 1851.

After that the book proper begins, with Section 1, set in Trier, Germany, 1835. By the 1840's many Germans have immigrated to the U.S. Many of these are out of the intellectual class, fleeing prison, punishment and poverty after the failed Revolutionary era in Europe of the 1840's. They are having a huge effect already on the ideas of labor and wages in the 40's and 50's here. There's an influential community, for instance, in St. Louis, publishing 'radical' newspapers and running printing presses. They are all free soil, and are first line targets by the slaveholder financed armed thugs coming up out of Louisiana into Missouri and into Kansas and Nebraska, determined to turn the territory slave no matter what the settlers there vote or want. Marx knows all about this.

This book was shortlisted for both the Pulitzer and National Book Awards. I've met the author and heard her speak, but I've just now gotten around to her book. There's so many really good and even great works of history being published these days. I wish I had the time to just, well, read.

The US Post Office Brings Beauty

Something has come from a friend in vastly different parts of the country every morning this week.

But yesterday's morning surprise from a friend who is one of the artisans in the Mary-Melinda Wellsandt atelier, located in Seattle, was spectacular. She and her crew make collectible glassware. They write more orders every year, despite the horrible economy. People still prize beauty.

Those teeny little dots you see on some of the pieces? My friend applies them, one at a time, with a teeny-tiny brush.

Every piece is hand-made -- they blow their own glass -- and crafted. Mary-Melinda comes up the designs, shapes and forms. She and her krewe, including my friend, then using a variety of tools and implements, from sand blasters to paints and brushes, execute them.

I had no idea this was coming. It has made me very happy. I love to hold it, to look at it. Not only is it a visual joy, it is a tactile one -- smooth and rough, solid and weighty.

This little vase is going to stay right here, where I can see and hold it many times every day.

Beauty arriving by the US post office -- there is no better way to begin the day

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

*Lost Girl* Me, Wrong O SO WRONG

Evidently I was working from out of date info. Lost Girl's third season doesn't start until January 14th. Sad now.

But then -- looking at the trailers -- maybe season three will be for me what Season three of The Vamp Diaries was: ho hum, and I quit about 3/4 of the way in.

It's not easy to keep up that level of imagination, freshness and creativity.

PBS's *The Abolitionists* Begins Tonight

Tonight PBS’s The American Experience broadcasts the first in a three part series titled “The Abolitionists.” The program will be available for online streaming for about a month, though I’m not sure if that means after each episode or only after all three have been broadcast.
Premiering January 8, 2013. Abolitionist allies Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Brown and Angelina Grimké turned a despised fringe movement against chattel slavery into a force that literally changed the nation.
The Characters in “The Abolitionists”
When we first began the task of tackling the history of abolitionism four years ago, we were faced with a daunting task: the movement spanned decades, the leaders were numerous, the history complicated and the scholarly literature voluminous. And yet there was no book that told the overarching story of the abolitionists, and no guide for capturing the courage and struggles of these remarkable civil rights heroes. We decided that the way to grab the attention of a broad television audience was to focus on a handful of key characters -- that is, to create a character-driven mini-series set against the backdrop of a tumultuous time in American history.
So you know how this will work. Very clean impersonators in streets and and paths without mud, manure and expectorate, and in light-filled rooms with billowing curtains, dressed in perfectly tailored period costumes, emoting with every facial muscle, while an authoritative narrator tells us what the character is doing or thinking, followed by another authoritative flat oration voice-over reading the words the characters have written, followed by yet another cut-away to actual authorities – various professors, etc. – sitting in some neutral space, telling us what it all means and how it happened. Alas, boring. But it is cheap.

Several teaching aids that go with the program are accessible online, such as this interactive abolitionists’ location map which is interesting and useful. It should be helpful for the very many middle and high schools whose budgets have been slashed and deboned for teaching an aspect of our history that has been nearly forgotten since the southern coup that ended Reconstruction. There were  abolitionists already active from the colonial era. By the days of manifest destiny the number of abolitionists who made abolition their life’s calling and for which they dedicated everything they had grew constantly in the years between the Mexican American War an the Civil War. Their efforts and effect have been forgotten, elided, or derided as criminal in the long years of revisionism since the Civil War. It’s good to see a focus on them in this era, in which the real truth of these matters is once again coming into public consciousness.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Return of Television and Mardi Gras!

Friday, 01/04/13:

The premiere of SyFy's Merlin's fifth and final season. I haven't been able to make through the fourth season.  Really? King Arthur still doesn't know that Merlin has magical powers?  Really?  Evidently they will go all through season 5 without Arthur learning either.  So when does he?  Also, bored by what they've made of Morgana and her ridiculous bed head.  None of this is the fault of the actors.  The fault lies with conception of a series that supposed to be, kind of, maybe, sort of an arc series. The producers saw it as a five season series from the start, They Say.  But if the constant is each episode's conclusion is Arthur, now King Arthur, still no more clued into Merlin's real self than at the conclusion of all the episodes before, there can be no actual arc, i.e. character development.

This probably explains why I generally care little for entertainments that feature kids or Young Adults in the first place.  I'm an adult.  I understand there is cause and there is effect, a great deal of it of our own doing, no matter how much we wish to blame the Mean Girls and the Mean Boys in Our School, and we need to deal with that.  It's called growing up, and we as a nation aren't doing well with that. I am really interested in how adults handle their problems.  Thus:

Today (Sunday):

The Good Wife (CBS) resumes its season four.  It's so much fun watching all these actors in this series about adults, with matured beauty of Julia Marguiles at the center.  It's also fun to recall her as Morgaine from the Mists of Avalon miniseries (2001), which was excellent, with a cast of actors, with the sad exception of Guinevere -- here called  Gwenhyfar -- good enough to inhabit the large figures they played. This includes Angelica Huston as Vivienne, Lady of the Lake.  That was a funny time, the early aughts; strong actresses were playing strong roles in fantasy miniseries.  Recall Saskia Reeves in the splendid (2000) Dune, and Alice Krige in (2003) The Children of Dune, each playing  Lady Jessica Atreides?  Isabella Rossillini as the head priestess, Thar, in the not-so-splendid in some ways, (2004) The Wizard of Earthsea? Most lately we saw her as Annie T's mom in last year's season three of HBO's Treme, holding that screen down with that voice, those eyes, and that delivery. Woo.

SyFy's Lost Girl premieres its season three. Urban paranormal fantasy, set in some un-named Canadian city (Toronto?), this show shamelessly pulls on Buffy most strongly (but no high school and no college either, though there is a hilarious episode in the first season where Bo, and her utterly smart, too-adorable- to-live, sidekick (and no, you do not hate her, you love her!), Kenzie, investigate disappearances in a sorority. It references other fantasy series like Xena, particularly with the girl-on-girl, bi and hetero action.  Even Wonder Woman receives a nod -- in one episode of the second season Bo, the succubus fae central character, our Lost Girl, is given a magical bracelet that deflects fire balls.

But the show is smart, as when we say, "walked smartly," "smart" dialog,  the slap made her cheeks "smart," her outfit was "smart."  All of these and more.  It fast and precise, it's timing impeccable. It has all the qualities that I liked so much in Tanya Huff's urban fantasy novels, (2009), The Enchantment Emporium and (2011) The Wild Ways.  I don't like paranormal fantasies as fiction at all, but I liked these two novels of Huff's very much, fresh in treatment, character and Canadian locations. Like these two of Huff's novels, Lost Girl is splendidly inventive, always finding a new and delightful twist you would never have thought of yourself for every tired and over-used trope of the fantasy genres.

It is also features as diverse a cast of characters in terms of race, sexual identity and age you are going to find on television. Only Scandal gives Lost Girl competition in the diversity range, but Scandal is mostly, hetero, whereas Bo is definitely bi.

She has two romantic interests. The first is an intellectual blonde human doctor named Lauren, who was claimed by the fae (humans don't know they exist, while they live amongst us doing everything we do and things we cannot; yeah, I know plausibility isn't the show's strong point -- we just move beyond that, particularly since it is the world(s) of the fae we're interested in anyway). The second is Dyson, a werewolf fae, who is a homicide detective in the un-named city's human police department.  He's played by Kris Holden-Ried, who most of first saw as common born William Compton, Henry VIII's friend  in the first ten episodes of The Tudors. He played Quint Lane, the mutated lyca (i.e. werewolf) in Underworld: Awakening (2012).  Um yeah, eek darklings, they are both white, as is Bo herself. There are though many characters of color, including regulars. The diversity emphasis seems to be focused more on sexual expression and gender identities.

So are her other two closest people white. The small person known as Trick, a/k/a the  light fae Blood King (yes, that tired trope of light and dark fae, but it's OK here -- at least so far), also proprietor of the neutral ground of dark and light waystation, the Dal Rait, a Celtic brew pub. The Dal Rait plays the role that the library, the Bronze club-bar, and later, the Magic Box did in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Trick also has in his private basement living quarters (nothing at resembling poor Xander's basement) many histories and geographies, magic texts, lore texts, fae and other magical implements, weapons and tokens. He also has Willow's capacity for doing research and knowing everything.

However, when it comes to the research and figuring out patterns, and never doing what you think she'll do, leave it to Bo's most beloved, Best Friend for Life -- not just Female Friend for Life --  the young human woman Kenzie -- thief and all around con artist -- seemingly of a Russian or a Gypsy or a Ukranian family -- or you name it, whatever works for Kenzie, she's it.  The opening of the series starts Kenzie and Bo off very fast as bonded forever, though not necessarily explained.  There's a great deal of seat-of-the-pants feel to Lost Girl's scripts.  Things arrive when needed, though not necessarily with entire explanation. So far though, it hasn't been bothersome. But, one cannot help but notice that when the series began neither Bo nor Kenzie showed any particular weapons expertise, even though Bo does take out a bruiser to show her worthiness to survive in the fae world, previously unknown to her. By now they can do anything from martial arts and boxing to samurai swords, cross bows, even, when appropriate, a chain saw.

Kenzie is so smart-sharp, so cute, so adorable -- yes, I did use the word previously, but that how adorable Kenzie is, and oh, does she know it.  She reminds me of my 7 going on 8 year-old-Haitian goddaughter, who obviously learned as early as Kenzie that her first and greatest survival skill was to be the cutest one of all, and is equally hyper all the time.  Except when Kenzie's hung over (my goddaughter, of course, has the experience of hangover far in future as yet). Kenzie is human, yet she's Bo's equal and even in some ways her superior. Even her own kind of beauty -- and the actress is very beautiful, makes for a grand contrast to Bo's beauty -- and Anna Silk is very beautiful.  Hey, Bo's a succubus -- she has to be that beautifully charismatic.

This is where the show really shines.  The relationships -- they are never what you think they are.  Dyson's first and true love shows up? She is beautiful and rich but she's not overused cliched mean bitch who hates Bo. Ciara is good, she's brave, she's honest and loyal, and truly wants to understand and be Bo's friend -- and she succeeds.

Lost Girl doesn't have the urgency and sheer fear that we get from Buffy, at least the first times we watch, but it is no less enjoyable for that -- perhaps, in these days of economic and the many other real fears so many of us struggle against -- this is a plus. No matter how frightened by what is happening or going to happen to the characters, those sequences never go on too long.  Nor does the show revel in gore and terror, any more than the girl-on-girl and other sex is given to us in a pervy, creepy, male-gaze sort of way -- very not Joss Whedon (the creator of the show is a woman).

Its tone varies with each episode from wry and cynical, to sweet and vulnerable, sad to comic, suspenseful to sexy. Though you might think it wouldn'y work, it does, I think, because Lost Girl doesn't take itself as seriously as much as it enjoys itself.

What I don't like about this show?  The ridiculous shoe - stilettos 8 inches high fetishism -- fighting in those heels, really?  And that I can count on one hand and not use all the fingers, nevermind the thumb, of scenes that don't show enormous acreage of Bo's tits. One other thing. Dyson's a werewolf.  We never see him being a werewolf.  I am guessing from how other things are handled on this show, that the budget is relatively small, certainly by the standards of what is spent on a single episode of HBO's Boardwalk Empire.  On the other hand, nobody seems to care that for all the direwolf fanning, we don't really see the dires do anything, in GRRM's pages or on HBO's Game of Thrones, beyond Brandon running inside his wolf. In fact, we hardly see the wolves at at all after the first book, except John Snow's Shadow growls sometimes. But years have gone by and the other surviving wolves are off somewhere somewhere else not where their bonded humans are.  Nevermind.  I digress.

Tonight too premieres o dear, the very bad, o yes, really bad PBS's Downton Abbey's third season.  It's already been howled at and picked over for months in the UK. I helped, I confess, as I saw some of the third season while there last fall.   Everybody will watch it. Nuff said. But so many of us are so ready for Sherlock! At least the first episode.  They are going to keep us waiting for quite some time longer to learn how he who is on the side of angels but o so not an angel himself handled his death and resurrection.  Are they really going to keep us waiting until Easter?


Justified (FX) opens season four. I haven't yet seen season three -- it's in my netflix queue, but netflix is really stingy with its dvd budget .... Though what I've heard about season three, it comes across as inferior to the exciting season 2. So I guess I can wait. I do like series though that aren't set in my hometown or LA -- though I like those too, often, i.e. see Damages.  I quite like thinking of the ghost of that Great Orator from Kentucky, the Great Compromiser, Henry Clay, floating around Raylan Givens. Clay's Ashland estate outside Lexington is still there:

Ashland - The Henry Clay Estate
120 Sycamore Road,
Lexington, KY 40502 Phone (859) 266-8581
Fax (859) 268-7266 

And Thursday:

ABC's Scandal, resumes its season two.  Pow, this has been one for the books. Thanks, Hulu.  The o so awesome awesomeist evah Olivia Pope is giving Glenn Close's Patty Hewes of Damages a serious run as the most monstrous lawyer -- or consultant? detective? whatever Olivia is, of all time -- though Olivia is beautiful and Patti's not, and Olivia can do vulnerable like nobody else, and Patty would rather turn her back on her own son than exhibit a hint of vulnerability. Who back in season one would have thought Olivia Pope could be cold at all, much less that cold? Also that time lapse, back to the past, return to the present style, though somewhat softer, is very Damages-like. When we concluded last year everybody was spying on everybody via an illegal program, and everyone was allied with and betraying everybody else ... all at the same time! It was even more mad than the soap, Revenge, it was awesome!

Happy watching.

O yeah, it's also King's Night, and the opening of Mardi Gras. The Phunny Phellows are drinkin' champagne on the street care of St. Charles. I just saw a video, and these are some of the drunkest white people you'll ever see.

Friday, January 4, 2013

How Many Writers?

How many writers read their work out loud to themselves in the process of creating a work, whether fiction or non-fiction?

How many writers listen to some one else read their work in progress out loud while they sit and just listen to their own words?

One might think that all writers do this, because it is such a useful tool for writing the best sentences and pages and chapters that can be written.

But I don't know if everyone does or no one does.

I do though, and so does el V. I know a few others.  All of them are non-fiction writers, incidentally. It's the very best way of catching thuds, that all too often the eye does not process as what they are, as the eye moves along.

Though if voice, pacing, rhythm, tone and style don't matter much or at all to the writer or the writer's readers, it probably is a waste of time? Though one's own experience with manuals and other writing that is intended to be helpful, still it seems that reading the instructions and even the step-by-steps aloud might make for highly improved instruction manuals!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Completed with links and illustrations, about 16 single-spaced pages worth, and turned in.

It was pronounced, "Excellent! Really good stuff!"

Which is a good thing because of the people who see it, and thus learn what kind of a writer I am.

O, and yes, by golly, it's still darned cold! :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year For Us All!

 sincerely hope for a happy, productive and most of all healthy 2013 for Everyone, but particularly for all of us who suffered significant unpleasantnesses in 2012. Speaking, alas, from very up close and personal experience, a run of poor years is really rough.

In the meantime, el V has requested my essay to be sent to him for the pdf today. However, it is not finished, considering I was only well enough to start working on it Sunday. I wasn't able to finish it yesterday as el V decreed we had three parties to go to, beginning at 8 PM, so thus we didn't get to bed until after three. Today, el V has decreed I am going with him right now uptown to the annual New Year's Day Gumbo party hosted by Historian-Buddy of both New York City and New Orleans (a native of NO, but lives now in NYC). So, I am baffled as to how I shall fulfill both these decrees.

Fortunately, when one's spouse is also one's editor, there remains much wiggle room for deadlines. It's called 'pull' in some quarters, nepotism in others, and in other others, even favoritism. I call it, "Which do you want more? My company or my essay?" He always goes for the "my company."

Boy, is it cold here! And we're glad, very glad of that. One has justified fears that winter as we understand winter is forever a thing of the past.

Edited to Add: Back home from Malcom X Blvd. and a most splendid NY Day's party of the most splendid conversation, music, eating and drinking.  The party is moving into second shift as we left to come home and try to do some work.  Equally interesting people were just arriving as previous interesting people began leaving.

Also -- colder than before.  Which cheers me, just like everytime I get way uptown I feel cheered by the sight of the open skies, boulevards and streets, and where there are no tourists, just people, baby, people who live there.