". . . 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

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Media vita in morte sumus

     . . . . Continuing Reading Aloud: Diaries of John Quincy Adams. 

We are in the middle of his presidency. Again, JQ's got us laughing like silly billies. It's April and he’s drawn inexorably to the Potomac, wondering if it isn’t really warm enough to doff all his clothes and jump in. He’s president so people are always coming to see him about something or other which interferes with what he considers he’s supposed to do (though not, evidently, getting entirely starkers in public to swim in that filthy Potomac), which is be alone and write, and / or, now, study Trees!

He has discovered trees and wants to know everything about them. This office, this living in the White House, is eating all his time for study, and there won't be enough time left in his life when it is finished to learn all needs to learn about Trees!

No wonder Louisa is so often alone in her room, “unwell.” But clearly he’s the sort who believes recording history takes precedence even over he himself in the process of making history.  Hilarious.

But, it can't be foreshadowing as this isn't fiction. He's writing his Diaries in real time. Additionally, for us, there is significance in his recording of the multiple stirrings by and about Andrew Jackson. Dear JQ should be paying better attention to these -- as he seems to be doing to the abomination of slavery that offends him more every day.  He seems to have no inkling that the way presidents are voted for is going to change, despite now dealing with Martin Van Buren. The worlds of politics as he's known them since at least a very young man, is changing. But, he, he's all a-twitter about his discovery of Trees.  No wonder he was gobsmacked by how the next election for POTUS turned out.

I finally concluded reading Ian Mortimer's biography of Edward III.  I'd begun this last year, always saving it, as we also do with JQA's Diaries, for times when nothing else appeals.  I was wondering what else I could slot into this space that would last so satisfactorily long as Edward III and the 14th C.  And it was here in the apartment, and gigantic, The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans, by David Abulafia.


Stimulus, and, audio royality, chex, arrived today; the first via post office, and the second via email notification of direct deposit.

Bistro’s doors are open and action taking place inside, el V reported from going out for a breath of fresh air. The so familiar from so many years Chinese cook was sitting on our doorstep, smoking his break cigarette as I've seen him doing for so many years. Everyone in the Bistro family are fine and well, including the barista and wait staff, including brother, co-owner S, who was being given chemo and getting cosmetic surgery for the cancer on his cheekbone when this blew up. Some good news for a change!

Beloved B left a new batch of cornbread at our door (he has keys to the building and our mailbox and apartment).  I’m forcing him to use our laundry card to get his clothes washed this weekend!  So, including yesterday's grocery delivery of everything on the list, we are so fooded. It was advertised as on special, a 2 lb. bag of cleaned, split, cooked and large frozen shrimp!  We each ate three of those shrimp last night with the Spanish rice; they were y high quality: firm, textured, not in the least soggy. They went so well with the chili flakes among the herbs put into the Spanish Rice. So I made a much larger batch today to divide up among B, across the hall neighbor, and H, who is elderly, diabetic, just can't understand what is going on, can't cook, like mentally ill neighbor has none of the tools for cooking, and is dying not so slowly of loneliness.


Tore the month of April page off our wall calendars today.  How many more monthly pages will I tear off of 2020 before there is life outside this apartment for us?

I do fear though, for many of us, it will never be able to happen. Like the Bubonic Plague was never over for the vulnerable for nearly 300 years. The rich now experience with how they can deal with Covid-19.  Epidemic / Pandemic, etc. – it never changes whatever time of the world. The rich and powerful get away and sequester themselves in comfort, and are serviced by the poor and vulnerable. Like all the other of us nobodies, they get sick, they die, which is inconvenient and quite inconsiderate. Or with this one, even if recovering from the so-called mild forms can suffer kidney, heart, lung and many other ailments forever. Two of el V's students have gotten sick from it.  One fairly mild and recovered, sort of. The other just this week, and she's not doing well. They are both young, fit and healthy, or were.

We know certainly NYC will be pretty much locked down through May -- at least it should be -- though They Say that upstate, slowly, around May 15 maybe? They may begin to re-open some things in 'blocks', though certainly not the schools.

Gosh. Two months we've been living like this.  It's hard to believe.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

History vs. Eucatastrophe vs. Catastrophe

     . . . .Day began with ... snow. Polar Vortex, evidently we here haz one goin' on. Until, sometime, like, the start of May? It sure is a cold day, by golly. A good night for meat loaf, brussels sprouts (if they are edible; they arrived in yesterday's grocery order, but if I'd done this in person, I'd never have bought them), and mashed potatoes.


"… always looking backwards in an attitude of sadness, its place in the world always in decline, like [Walter] Benjamin’s Angel of History.”

In the ninth thesis of his 1940 essay “Theses on the Philosophy of History” the German critic and philosopher Walter Benjaminwho purchased the print in 1921, interprets artist Paul Klee's Angelus Novus this way:
A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.
Note the date this essay was written/published; 1940 was when Benjamin committed suicide in his attempt to escape the nazis.

For thinkers such as Benjamin, in his time of need, history provided no Tolkienist eucatastrophe’, the ‘Consolation of the Happy Ending’, ‘the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous “turn’. Fairy tales are with which Tolkien was concerned -- not  catastrophe specifically. This is one of the elements that it seems to me, to create the everlasting appeal of Tolkien. There is disaster and catastrophe, but it is transcended, lived through, by some, even some for whom the wounds of catastrophe cannot ever be healed. But for actual millions and billions of human beings, past, present and future, there is no eucatastrophe -- no Fortunate Fall, no Christ risen from the tomb and the world's sins redeemed.

For so many in such times as Benjamin's, contemplating history is to perceive a relentless range of despair for almost all, Most particularly for those who are attempting to live through, escape from current catastrophe, it is anything but a 'cozy disaster.'

See: Benjamin's suicide in the face of nazi capture. He knew too much. When one knows in detail what happens to most people inside a disaster – particularly disasters that are as familiar to Jews as the arrival of nazism – isn’t it sometimes the only sensible thing to do is what Benjamin did? Would it have served him or anyone better for him to stay alive to enter the gas chambers, and endure all that would be between capture and those killing minutes? It’s not as though staying alive to the gas chambers would be saving others, would it? Or -- is this playing into the hands of the death cultists who think anyone who isn't Them should ... just die for their sake.

I am not sure what I'm trying to articulate here.


Today the governor informed us that, having just begun these tests many months since the virus hit, random testing throughout the NYC boroughs indicates that 21% of NYers have? had? the virus. What does this mean? They have recovered? are currently infected but asymptomatic? Show presence of antibodies? What? *

Upstate showed something like a 3.1 rate of whatever that means. Which again, whatever it means, seems odd since it is the nursing homes upstate that have contributed such a large number to the c19 fatalities in New York State -- of course, NYC, being the most dense, with the largest extremities of inequality, has the most deaths. More deaths than anywhere, I think, including maybe Italy? But then the US has the most deaths in the world from this thing, and the highest rate of infections, while the lowest rate of testing and medical care. Ay-up the US has turned into a 3rd world country in everything except nuclear weapons I guess. And number of billionaires? for whom, of course the rules to contain the rate of infection simply don't apply or matter.

By fall and flu season, They Say, this is all to do all over again, certainly here, and probably many otherwheres. The toll from c-19 likely, They Say, will be worse, just as the second European wave of 1361** two years later of the Bubonic Plague in the mid-1300's waves, was worse than the first. I have seen mentioned in passing that not only domestic animals died of the illness in the second roll, as did wild animals, but have failed so far to find any real work dealing with this.*** As an example of what I mean here, the Bubonic Plague arrived in Constantinople in 1347; it lasted a whole year. It returned 10 times, between then and 1400. That was just Constantinople; this happened all through Europe and elsewhere in those 50 years, and after.

I'm not suggesting that this virus creates the same disease as Bubonic Plague, rather that it manifests in at least three different manners as did the Black Death, including pneumonia. All of them can be fatal.


In the meantime Moscow Mitch says drop dead. In order for the federal budget to save money no federal assistance to blue states and particularly NYC. Give it all to the corporate big ag biz!


In the meantime climate crash catastrophes continue everywhere.


In the meantime the world is being ever more overrun by those whose only reason to exist seem to be hate and wreak as much harm, destruction and death and cruelty to as many as possible -- not only for the sake of power and greed, but just for the lulz.


One feels one understands Walter Benjamin better all the time.

Yet, I still do my facial routines, pedicures and manicures every day. Every day I put in my earrings so the holes don't close up, even though I've given up rings and bracelets due to the constant hand washing. Every morning I get out of out my pajamas and slippers, and into clothes and boots, or workout clothes. I still do work outs regularly. I still wash my hair regularly, I still change the sheets on our bed regularly, still do laundry regularly. Every day, still plan and cook meals, and clean up carefully, keep an eye out for the neighbors. I still have moments of pleasure, and even laugh now and again, still remain in love with my life partner, who is The Best!  I'm still vastly, deeply interested in the past. I continue to study, I continue writing about what I study. I keep actin, despite the promises of hurricanes, famine and death by many means as society crashes ever more widely, as if there is going to be an After, and I shall be participating in it, some way, even though, even if this were the best of times, due to natural causes, my time here is running down. Am I insane? What am I doing, fer pete's sake? But this is how I've lived all my life, so is it that I just can't stop?

- #-#-# -

* Clarification of those numbers, sort of, here.

** This is a subject in which the failures of Wikipedia hanging on to incorrect information and facts show up in bold to someone who knows a fair amount about the subject, even though no expert.

*** The reason may be that in that period a pestilence of unknown origin, sometimes identified as anthrax, affected the animals of Europe, notably sheep and cattle, further reducing the food supply and income of the peasantry. So it wouldn't have been Bubonic Plague, merely another deadly disease that proliferated during a plague wave.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

More Far Away With With Gordon Doherty, Though Not So Far As The HIttites

    . . . . Son of Ishtar was such a successful distraction from the here and now, I resolved to give one of Gordon Doherty's previous works a try. 

The Strategos TrilogyBorn in the Border Lands, Vol. 1. (2011)

Byzantine Empire Palaiologan Double Headed Eagle

This trilogy's chronological location is the 11th century A.D., opening in 1046.  A weak and corrupt Palaiologan 'empire' facing off against the energetic incursions of the Seljuk Turks to take the Emperor's throne.  I've been able to read only a few pages, but it appears Christian Apion (Greek Christian, not Roman),  born low, but also born a natural warrior, is the serial protagonist.  His is the era of Alp Arslan and the Battle of Manzikert, so there shall be battles and war, blood and cruelty, abounding, with detailed descriptions of the weaponry and strategies, the moves and counter moves, and at least, surely, from the Byzantine side, utter desperation.

It seems Doherty does repeat himself.  Many of the elements present in his latest, third trilogy of which Son of Ishtar is the first installment, appear already in the first pages of Born in the Border Lands. Among these are a mysterious female figure who appears and disappears, almost magical birds, portents and prophesies. But these are are the ages, without polling and marketing, in which the supernatural abounds.

However, over the last 3 or 4 years, maybe more? I've been attempting to fill the gap in my historical knowledge, of varieties of the Turks in the Middle East and "Turkey", the fierce people who kicked out the Arabs -- as the Mongols attempted to do with the Turks in the 13th century. As the tribe(s) who became the Ottoman empire were not the first Turkimen to invade the Middle East from the upper steppes (many under pressure of Mongolian expansion).  I don't know anywhere near as much about the Seljuks as I do about the Ottomans' origins and acension to both Empire and the (Sunni) Caliphate.

Of course, here, the Seljuks are the villains who must be defeated while Byzantium must be defended, preserved and expanded.  Good luck with that ... the 1204 Sack of Constantinople, which constituted the 4th Crusade isn't that far off from 1046, and, helped along by the Genoese, the Pisans and the Venetians, there will be an infinity of corruption, pillage, murder, poison, intrigue and failure in Byzantium in those years -- all ending up with 1453, and the Ottoman establishment thereafter of the Caliphate in Constantinople. 

Which rather causes one to wonder what was the point of it all?

a monogram of chi (Χ) and rho (Ρ) as the first two letters of Greek Khristos Christ, used as a Christian symbol by the Greek Church


    . . . . It's the middle of the week, so we put in a grocery order, which appeared very quickly, from the wonderful MW supermarket. They have just initiated their own delivery service pilot service, rather than depending on Instacart and the other ubiquitous delivery services, who charge the customer and the vendor both -- and which the reviews lean toward as being disappointing in quality of service as well.

Most of what I put on the list was available.  This means fresh! sweet Italian sausage, made on the premises, is on the menu tonight, which also happens to be faculty 6 PM Wine Wednesday.  Was also able to score a couple of roasts, more chicken, and -- ham! as well as other equally welcome supplies, before what is on hand was used up.

Plus, of course, drinking coffee and tea with milk is safe for another week.  

Monday, April 20, 2020

Let's Get Out of Here, Far, Far, Far Away: Son of Ishtar; Bronze Age Historical Fiction

     . . . .  Son of Ishtar (2019) by Gordon Doherty.

It appears to be self-published. If so, it’s still a professional and sophisticated production, well copyedited, and better written than quite a few other Ancient World historical fictions put out by trade publishers.

Son of Ishtar is the first volume in Empires of Bronze series, featuring the Hittite Empire, starting in 1313 B.C. Presumably there will be other empires in the following books, advertised as Egypt, Assyria and Ahhiyawa – the latter seemingly a loose confederation of Achaean states and Mycaneae. At the Hittite High King’s court we meet an arrogant Egyptian delegation's ambassador, who pays the expected price, the same price the Egyptian pharaoh had extracted needlessly from a Hittite delegation. (Egyptians are not the heroes here -- apologies, Egyptologist amigas / amigos!). In contrast there is a Trojan delegation led by their king, with whom the High King shares real friendship. About all of which, and others, we’ll presumably learn more, if in These Days, there are any following books, that is. Sigh.

Someone, whom I don’t know, and who wasn’t me, has observed:
Quote:…the bronze age was over before most of the Bible was written, so our world view of antiquity generally misses the 1800-odd years when bronze was the major metal.

This is the first fiction I have been able to immerse in, in a long time.

More about Son of Ishtar here:

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Still Readin', Just Not Many Pages; Still Eatin', Just ALWAYS Food Cooked By Moi

     . . . . We continue to read books, meaning books that are not pixilated, but have covers, often with footnotes, indices, appendices, Forwards and Afterwards, with lavish or not illustrations, glossaries, maps, and even graphs and family trees.  History is like that.

But there isn't much time to read generally, because by my usual reading time of the day, we are thinking fondly of shutting off the lights and sleep.  We do a few pages or two of our personal reading, and then default to the reading aloud for a few more pages.  Light are out soon, sometimes after only a few paragraphs or pages.

So we continue so happily with the Diaries of John Quincy Adams.  We are up to 1825, the jiggering with Great Britain and the Holy Alliance.  This is the period in which JQ, while sparring with UK Foreign Minister, George Canning, will essentially guide and prod President Monroe into what becomes the Monroe Doctrine.  As JQ had sparred with Canning many times before, during periods of personal / official contact, and doesn't like Canning at all, as he's a blustering sob, rather like Senator John Clay (who is currently on hiatus to make money to pay of horrendous accumulated personal debt -- none of these guys were any good with money, and that includes JQ). JQ's adamant policy was that in this hemisphere the United States was The Power, the leader, the arbiter, and the UK had to follow, rather than being director of policy and actions with Europe in Latin America that Canning was assuming. 

Particularly for us, as the Monroe Doctrine was strongly about Spain wanting back her colonies in spite of revolutionary era independent Latin America, this is particularly of interest to us.  Plus we get such a delight out JQ's daily reports of his 'bath' in the Potomac, which got quite dangerous around now, due to higher water levels and stronger tides.

The jostling and competition for the nomination for POTUS to follow Monroe was already in play.  There is quite a bit about Florida and Andrew Jackson too.  At this period JQ remains still a strong supporter and admirer of Jackson.  And long before this time, and during this time he demonstrates his prescience the slaveocracy would divide and destroy -- via war -- these United States.

     . . . . What am I reading, or trying to read, personally Still locked in with The Perfect King: The Life of Edward II Father of the English Nation (2006). He has managed to get rid of Mortimer, become king in his own right, not a boyish figurehead, and be at war with the Scots.  It's early in the 1330's still.

Continuing too, with Herbert Hoover (2009) by William E. Leuchtenburg, in the Times Books Presidential Series. Learning a whole lot to fill in these, for me, blank decades in the history of the US. What a quite horrible person was Hoover, But Lordessa, was he an effective organizer on vast scales, from feeding Europe and Russia after WWI, to pulling a good third of the country together during the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927-1928. Which was how he got to be POTUS, and the very worst one we could have skippering the ship of state in 1930.


   . . . . We strive to keep as much to our normal schedule from Before as we can.  It helps immensely having the Zoom History of Cuban Music course twice a week, and the once a week faculty cocktail party.  But Zoom is awful for parties, because only person can talk at at time.  At parties there are all kinds of conversations going on at once, that's why they are parties.  Sigh.

Today's normal was the usual 7 or so AM wake-up (for me -- el V will always sleep later if possible; plus I am sleeping much better now, possessed of masks, gloves and not having to Go Out Where The People Are for a while). 

Got half of the accumulated laundry together as first task of the day. Laundering is more time-consuming and difficult than one might think, because of all the steps involved from "suiting up",  disinfecting and so on, which has to be accomplished every time one goes to the laundry room, plus then the disinfecting and washing when returning between washer and dryer loads -- or even to pick up mail. Beyond that, one wishes to pick a time when the other tenants seem more quiet, not running up and down the stairs, making sure nobody else is down in the laundry facilities, and so on.

At the same time we entered for the first time the thickets of ordering groceries online for home delivery.  I'd been declared the Greatest Goddess of the Hearth who ever lived, as we ran out of milk -- producing already thawed a quart of nonfat that I'd put in the freezer some weeks ago (still better than Parmalat, of which we have 3 quarts too).  We are going through milk much faster than Before, with el V home all the time, making coffee here all the time, and so on. We were also hoping not to do Morton Williams this week due to the massive number of deaths and infections online for this week, and April generally, but particularly last week and this one -- and nobody has a clue as to how many are positive, are sick, seriously sick, dying, dead, at all, as we still have no testing, and the medical people are still without PPE and supplies.

However the more pricey and specialty Gourmet Garage does local deliveries with its own people, not a service.  So we put in an order, which should arrive tonight between 5 and 7 (Wine Wednesday, o o).  It's pricey for delivery, and then we tip very good the person who brings it. But it is so worth it for us at this time, in easing stress, blood pressure (mine, according to the home testing machine, is still in the lower-healthy range), and keeping Isolation and Distance.

Goddessadamnit we are privileged.

Ha! the order is being delivered right this minute!

So, now the items have been disinfected.  We have washed and washed ourselves, and put things away. It's nearly time already to start thinking about what to do for dinner.

Only two items they didn't have.  But now we possess again, yellow corn tortillas!  With ample rice and beans on hand, and until we eat it or it goes bad, now we can always eat well.  Ya, boy, howdy, are we every lucky and privileged.  But we're looking at living like this very likely at least until September . . . .

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Trajectory Escape

     . . . . Back in February -- i.e. Before -- I went on a James Bond film kick, starting with the 1990's Pierce Brosnan entries and through the latest one, the Daniel Craig Bonds. For whatever reason my 30 - 40 minute nightly watching (about as much watching as I can do, it seems before bored now) is a second round of James Bond flix, constituting the initial ones, the Connery Bonds. I began last week, I think, with Dr. No from 1962.

Last night’s watching was the first half of the 5th Bond-Connery, You Only Live Twice (1967), which is even more preposterous than the usual Connery Bonds. Among the many ridiculousnesses is Bond going 'yellow face' for reasons that don't make any sense, and also a real? fake? marriage to a Japanese woman.  Surely not to fool Japanese people into believing he is Japanese? Because it surely could not have worked.

You Only Live Twice is a slicker preposterousness than Dr. No, but nevertheless, they are all are, of course. One can never get away in these Connery Bonds that he's got Something ... a something that makes even the villain's henchwomen take one look at him and demand sex, and then -- sometimes, not always -- defect from the villain to help Bond succeed in his mission to stop whichever great high tech goofy crime-disaster from happening. Even if they don't defect they demand sex before completing the assignment to kill him.  And he's always ready even though he's gonna die.  (Is this what was meant by the title?)

You Only Live Twice takes place mostly in Japan.* Early on a Japanese assassin takes out a Bond ally, Bond chases him down, kills him. The assassin is wearing a medical mask. No foolin' that was the most significant element of the film for me. Nancy Sinatra does the theme song; Roald Dahl wrote the script, which seems to have shocked unpleasantly a lot of fans of this author of children's stories.

* This is the great attraction of these films, for me, that they literally are shot in their locations, shot before mass tourism, the opposite of travel, destroyed travel. From Russia With Love (1963), the second one, is mostly in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul. It was silly and fun. Goldfinger (1964) the third one, in Jamaica, was, as I probably mentioned here already, the template for the chiefbloodonhishandsforpower&money -- Auren Goldfinger even looks like him.  That was anything but fun, set in Miami and Kentucky.  Maybe tomorrow I'll start the 4th one, Thunderball (1965). Or, else Diamonds Are Forever.  Not watching in order, for no reason, just whatever.  Ha!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Winners and Losers -- What There Is After -- or -- "le jour d’après

     ...."le jour d’après" ... {as Macron is suggesting "after"be called}
In Hong Kong, graffiti reads: “There can be no return to normal because normal was the problem in the first place.”
“The crisis also represents a stark test of the competing claims of liberal and illiberal states to better manage extreme social distress. As the pandemic unfolds it will test not only the operational capacities of organisations like the WHO and the UN but also the basic assumptions about the values and political bargains that underpin them.”
Many are already claiming that the east has won this war of competing narratives. The South Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han, in an influential essay in El País, has argued the victors are the “Asian states like Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Singapore that have an authoritarian mentality which comes from their cultural tradition [of] Confucianism. People are less rebellious and more obedient than in Europe. They trust the state more. Daily life is much more organised. Above all, to confront the virus Asians are strongly committed to digital surveillance. The epidemics in Asia are fought not only by virologists and epidemiologists, but also computer scientists and big data specialists.”
He predicts: “China will now be able to sell its digital police state as a model of success against the pandemic. China will display the superiority of its system even more proudly.” He claims western voters, attracted to safety and community, might be willing to sacrifice those liberties. There is little liberty in being forced to spend spring shut in your own flat.
Indeed, China is already on a victory lap of sorts, believing it has deftly repositioned itself from the culprit to the world’s saviour. A new generation of young assertive Chinese diplomats have taken to social media to assert their country’s superiority. Michel Duclos, the former French ambassador now at the Institut Montaigne, has accused China of “shamelessly trying to capitalise on the country’s ‘victory against the virus’ to promote its political system. The kind of undeclared cold war that had been brewing for some time shows its true face under the harsh light of Covid-19.”
Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, also fear an authoritarian contagion, predicting in the west “a new barbarism with a human face – ruthless survivalist measures enforced with regret and even sympathy, but legitimised by expert opinions”.
By contrast, Shivshankar Menon, a visiting professor at Ashoka University in India, says: “Experience so far shows that authoritarians or populists are no better at handling the pandemic. Indeed, the countries that responded early and successfully, such as Korea and Taiwan, have been democracies – not those run by populist or authoritarian leaders.”
Francis Fukuyama concurs: “The major dividing line in effective crisis response will not place autocracies on one side and democracies on the other. The crucial determinant in performance will not be the type of regime, but the state’s capacity and, above all, trust in government.” He has praised Germany and South Korea.
South Korea is in fact selling itself as the democratic power, in contrast to China, that has best handled the crisis. Its national press is full of articles on how Germany is following the South Korean model of mass testing.
But South Korea, an export-oriented economy, also faces long-term difficulties if the pandemic forces the west, as Prof Joseph Stiglitz predicts, into a total reassessment of the global supply chain. He argues the pandemic has revealed the drawbacks of concentrating production of medical supplies. As a result, just-in-time imports will go down and production of domestically sourced goods will go up.
[... ....]
Europe’s chief solace is to look across the Atlantic and watch the daily chaos that is Donald Trump’s evening press conference – the daily reminder that rational people can plan for anything, except an irrational president. Nathalie Tocci, an adviser to Josep Borrell, the EU foreign affairs chief, wonders whether, much like the 1956 Suez crisis symbolised the ultimate decay of the UK’s global power, coronavirus could mark the “Suez moment” for the US.
As someone else suggested somewhere: what's happening economically in the USA is mob cronyism taking place of capitalism. The entire function of the so-called government is to protect and amplify the power, possessions and survival of the very rich. The rest of us aren't even human beings, merely a herd, that may or may not survive the culling via 'herd immunity.'

Saturday, April 11, 2020

History Doesn't Take Vacations

     . . . . Edited extract from Machiavelli: The Art of Teaching People What to Fear by Patrick Boucheron, published in the US by Other Press.

This is government by mob / mafia rule; taking and keeping power via fear and cruelty is the point.*

I am speaking literally.  In Italy the mafia is delivering food and medical supplies to their 'friends.'  Here They are delivering food and medical supplies that They have highjacked by every means possible, including via FEMA just taking possession of trucks of stuff going from one state to another, giving it Their friends who then sell it commercially to Their "friends."
This experience, which is profoundly Machiavellian in nature, is one that recurs again and again in history, whenever the words for expressing the things of politics become obsolete. What do we do when confronting adversaries we can’t put a name to? We call them “fascists”, for want of a better term – just as in Italy’s medieval communes, the people called the lords “tyrants”. We intend to confound them, to abash and bring them down, when we should in fact be examining what they say closely for its fascist potential. 
In a sense, totalitarianism is a political fiction. It had its first trial in George Orwell’s 1949 fable and was then given a theoretical analysis by Hannah Arendt in 1951. We now know that what came after, what obtains today, took its place without receiving a name. Orwell imag­ined the tyranny of a “Ministry of Truth” but that’s not what happened, and we don’t yet know if it’s for better or worse. “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears,” Orwell’s hero, Winston Smith, says in Nineteen Eighty-Four. And: “Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied.” What the novel describes is the capacity of propaganda to hollow out a receptive space in people by undermin­ing reality and sense experiences. “The evidence of one’s eyes and ears” referred to by Orwell could be common sense; it could also be that sixth sense Machiavelli spoke of, the accessory knowledge that the people have of what is dominating them.
Admittedly it was not the Party, as imagined by anti-totalitarian writers, that spoke when Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, declared, “Our inten­tion is never to lie to you,” before adding “sometimes we can disagree with the facts.” It’s not a Party, but it’s something else that we don’t know what to call, a fiction that is taking on body under our eyes. And what we need to understand is: what is this taking on of body, and how can our own society come to embody monstrousness? Gramsci read Machiavelli’s The Prince replacing the word “prince” with the word “party”. We could in turn read Orwell and replace “party” with “prince”. Either way, Machiavelli needs to be read not in the present, but in the future tense.
* It’s eerily as though Goldfinger was chiefbloodonhishands's template for his life. He talks, behaves and looks like Auric Goldfinger,

Ha! Not the first to notice this -- from Psychology Today.

who is characterized as a German ‘tycoon’ obsessed with gold. Even to obsession with golf and cheating at it (as, indeed, he cheats at everything else – “I like to win,”). Even to Goldfinger's presumed dominance in mob partnership, to steal the Fort Knox gold supply and rule it all.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Stayin' Alive R U ?

     . . . . Woke to it being cold again, due to snowstorm in New England.  Thank goodness amiga Eliza and her family are still OK in their Vermont family home, though still not having that much wifi -- shestill  drives to the deserted high school campus about 6 miles away, and sits in her car with her devices to teach her five Distance Courses for the University of Chicago and the New School. She's looking forward to it being warm enough that she can sit outside at one of the HS's campus picnic tables to do this.

One of E's distance learning students wrote this essay, re Disney's The Princess and the Frog, employing copious Sublette quotes.  

Week Eleven: Viewing/Reading Responses for New Orleans in Lit, TV & Film.A.Sp20.Online:
Hi everyone,
Hope you're all doing alright!!
The Princess and the Frog is a film I'd seen many times before because my younger sister has always loved it. After completing this weeks readings, I re-watched the film through a completely new lens and so many issues jumped out at me.
I immediately noticed how segregation was prevalent in the restaurant where Tiana works. Although there were black and white customers, none of them were seated together. Tiana and her mother are also shown sitting at the back of the street car, and of course, at around 24 minutes, Mr. Fenner reveals that Tiana was outbid but consoles her by saying "...a little woman of your background would have had her hands full trying to run a big business like that." All of these issues contribute to the intersection of socio-economic class and race that show up throughout the film.
While the instances of segregation and Mr. Fenner's blatantly rude/racist/sexist remark both make historical sense for the time, since the movie is based on a fairytale and is totally imaginary and up to the discretion of Disney to create—why not either create an incredibly rich and diverse movie that can be fantastical and fun, or, actually take the time to dive into the issues that are so clearly present? "From Edwards' perspective, "the forces were against Tiana [her]—it could be sexism, racism, classism. But we didn't want this story to be one that teaches people about racism," (Gregory 443-444). If the movie isn't meant to teach people about racism, then racism should not be included. Disparity runs rampant and it is so obvious visually how racism plays a role in the version of New Orleans that Disney specifically chose to create. The La Bouff mansion is juxtaposed with Tiana's neighborhood in the Ninth Ward "...without questioning or problematizing the socio-economic disparity or difference encoded within the streetcar journey between the two," (Turner 85). I thought that was problematic as well. Unless a little kid (the films target audience) asks their parent about these inequities, how are they expected to learn? Most of the more serious offenses took place in the beginning of the film, so that by the end you're left with the "happily ever after" mentality, which is incongruent with history.
I also noticed that Prince Naveen's character spoke an imaginary language at times and was from a made up place, Macedonia. With such a rich history of immigration, I didn't understand why Naveen could not have been from a real country like Haiti or Cuba when the film was set in a real city anyways. As Ned Sublette wrote in The World That Made New Orleans, “...the uniqueness of New Orleans owes in no small part to its rapid succession of three distinct colonial eras, each with its own ruling European language and distinct associated African world,” (Sublette 277). Because some aspects of reality, like jazz, were incorporated into the film, the line is blurred between fantasy and what life was really like in the 1920s south. Disney "...uses The Princess and the Frog to make jazz (and therefore blackness) more accessible to its white audience," but this form of "blackness" is very particular and easily commercialized (Gregory 441).
In terms of what we read from The World That Made New Orleans, I was very struck by the idea that “Whether Jefferson exercised his option or not, he could have sex with Sally Hemings whenever he wanted. The matter of consent was irrelevant, because she could not refuse. Because that’s what slavery was,” (Sublette 216). I thought this was such a blunt way of putting things but very necessary to get the severity of the point across. Following this, it was insane to realize that although under Jefferson some slaves could learn how to read, writing was prohibited “...because if they could write, they could forge passes to leave the plantation,” (Sublette 216-217). That is just pure evil!! It makes it so clear that slave owners knew perfectly well how poorly they were treating slaves and knew if they taught them to write they would essentially try to escape.
In relation to The Princess and the Frog, I couldn't help but to think about Tiana's own lighter-skinned appearance when I read that “The market term for young, light-skinned sex slaves was fancy girls. It was the most notorious, and the most profitable, segment of the slave trade,” (Sublette 237).
Looking forward to reading everyone's responses to this week's content. Sending love and California sunshine to everyone.

Last night slept well. After about four nights in a row of less than 5 hours of sleep, and not consecutively, last night I must have been out well before 11 PM. Was awake only once, when el V roused me from a nightmare, about 11:45. It seems rubbing the CBD Freeze lotion into the lower back at bedtime works really well in combination with the CBD Rich Tincture EC sent.The sub labial tincture I do when drinking breakfast tea. As far as workouts go, I’m almost 100% again with weights, stretches, cardio-respiratory and reps. One more session to go and I’ll be there. That’s four sessions now. Not too bad, since I only resumed on April 3rd, after March 6th last workout. In any case, whatever the reasons, thank the lordessa that yesterday wasn't Wednesday. That was a horrible, awful, heebie jeebies utterly terrifying day.

In this AM's email received an inquiry as to our well being, this one from a woman who often handles my research library borrowing requests: "You are far and away our favorite patron, always interesting, always paying attention and never giving anybody a hard time, instead making us all feel good about ourselves and what we do."

el V, however, didn't sleep at all, so stressed. Now he's in an online conference on Cuba for an hour and a half.  He won’t stay off the computer for anything.  He should be exercising.  His blood pressure and reflux are off the charts. We have a blood pressure measuring device now and it says so.


The Post Office is seriously in trouble; chiefbloodonhishands refuses to allow them any assistance. Hey, no voting by mail -- make all the Dems stand in long lines and get sick and die, you betcha!

It does look as though the post office will collapse early this summer, without federal rescue. I've written several papers as to the historical background as to why the rethugs have been trying to destroy the United States Post Office since the days of Nixon, when he removed the Constitutionally mandated Post Office as a Cabinet Agency.

Goddamn! even Genghis Khan organized a government postal service because without one his empire would soon collapse. According to the international criteria to be a nation state, there must be a postal service. So the news remains grim and deadly, for the whole country and particularly for New York City.

They are waging war and massacre upon us via bio-chemical means.  They may not have invented and released covid-19, but They know how to take advantage of it to increase and consolidate Their power.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Classic Subgenre SF Totalitarian Lock Step Grey -- No Cozies Here

     . . . . There is a classic sfnal scenario about what this all means, especially for our now present and future. There were many variations which were in movies, tv, print entetainment and / or warning  between about the 1930's and whenever lock step in grey 1984-Brave New Worlds and other variations were no longer anyone feared because the commiesocialist baddies had been so beaten. But here again is the variation of what was so inspired by certain people's ideas of what it was like in China and Asia then.

Wuhan emerged from its 76-day lockdown.
Eleven million residents have been given the liberty to move around the city and mainland country again, provided their government-issued “health code” shines green. People are assigned a green, orange or red code, according to their risk of having the coronavirus, and must scan a green QR code before they can enter stores or restaurants, or take public transportation — an electronic passport for daily life. (Anna Fifield and Lyric Li)

Everything feels very strange at the moment. I mean, wot the hell. I mean this is what They Said FDR, Obama, etc, were going to do to us, but it was, as we knew what They wanted to do to us. I mean, this is the sfnal template, not the cozy.

Reading Wednesday; The Mysteries of History

     . . . . I have started reading two novels.  

Death of a Fox (1971)  is an historical by late Texas poet, novelist, literary critic and Literature professor, George Garrett.  It is the time of the second treason trial of Sir Walter Raleigh (in his trial records, spelled 'Ralegh') under James I. The Norfolk Mystery* (1990) by Ian Sansom -- a different Sansom than the author of the wonderful Shardlake Henry VIII era legal thrillers. It too is an historical, set as it is in 1937.

     . . . .I have also been wonderfully occupied by amigo Ted Widmer's new book, Lincoln On The Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington (2020)  He tells the story of the lead-up to Lincoln's fraught journey from Springfield, Illinois, to D.C. in time for the inauguration. Lincoln had to cope with the plethora of southern plots to take the Capitol, destroy the Capitol, plunder the Capitol, but their determination to kill him because he had no right to be President.  The Presidency of the USA was the property of the slaveocracy and that was that.  It was a very difficult, dangerous and fearsome time, and the rail journey to get him to D. C. was no different. Beyond that, though, as his seemingly round-about rail transport helped knit the remaining Union together by showing himself to hundreds of thousands of wildly enthusiastic voters, these people nearly killed him.  Literally.  It's a most interesting work that illuminates in small details so much most of us never knew about these perilous days before Lincoln ever got to Washington.  Ted has further illuminated the pages with period photographs of the landscape, the town and cities where the Lincoln Special traveled.

Along side these account, Widmer provides a parallel account of Jeff Davis's own fraught journey to his phony inauguration -- fraught for the South really didn't have railroads -- none connected from where he started to Mobile, where the CSA located its first capital. Wherever JD stopped he promised his people that Chicago, New York and all those cities were soon to be ghost towns, and they'd all return to the bucolic golden days of yore when everybody knew their place and South ruled unopposed.  Also gonna take the Caribbean, Mexico and who knows else to build the grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr8st nation evah!

The book itself is a most handsome object, the end papers alone keeps the reader involved for long minutes at a time, tracing the journey and the formidable figures associated with Lincoln's time.


And further, alas, I must mention this again -- if I see one more person smugly, without even thinking about what s/he is repeating, to this catastrophe as a cozy disaster, I swear, Imma virtually itch slap 'em into kingdom come.  To even think this at this point reveals not only tone deafness, but an unexamined racist and class attitude -- not to mention sexist  attitude -- all the women and others penned up with their abusers with nowhere and no way of escape???????  what the eff are you thinking?  You are NOT THINKING.  Anyone who says this better stay far the eff from me.

And trust me, unlike the that sub sf/f genre popular in the late 1950's, 1960's -- there isn't going to be a happy ending with the cavalry riding in on well supplied helicopters to bring your isolated communities back into the light of supreme fantasy competents running the national governments. The same people who got us here are in charge and will still be in charge.

Also it looks as though all those people cozy disasterites don't see, the people who keep them cozy with stocking, deliveries, medical care, fire fighting, transportation, sanitation, etc. are getting sick in large numbers.  And a lot of them have little to eat, no money, and go home to way too small house filled with way too many people and have to then make dinner for those locked up kids.  Have a plumbing problem? See how quickly your cozy goes away.


*  It's dark, mordant satire, and savagely funny.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Random Observations & Otherwise

     . . . . Among random observations here, in this time of c19, browsing through the NYPL Overdrive audio biography and autobiography offerings: there are very many books about that sleaze, Sarah Palin. Not a one is checked out. They are all available and undesired by anyone. Just like she is. 

Last night, for the first time in our nabe of nearly 100% white people, there was the evening clap and bang on pans for the heroes of c19.

E V swooned with happiness from his happy meal of black beans and rice. All that work yesterday to get this this old(er) bag of frijoles negroes cooked soft, to make them tasty, was worth it. (I'm trying to use the oldest stuff first, the stuff that was hanging around for months, in some cases).

Accomplished workout -- it was great.  I can't wait to start coaching el V into workouts.  He says he wants to do it.


And again, downstairs apartment is having a bit of a party. 


     . . . .  Not random observation concerning c19.

Quote:It's genocidal. "This country has now deposited its massive, collapsing weight on a small, utterly unsupported group called the “essential workers . . . It’s a curious feature of this virus-convulsed world that the people classified as essential are being treated as expendable . . . Soon, the best measure of how “essential” any group was will be the death count," writes Lili Loofbourow in Slate. As per Yashar Ali's March 29 Twitter thread:
>I don't think many people, including those in power and those with wealth, realize how dire this situation is for so many Americans. The unemployment numbers don't even begin reflect the true horror of what so many are facing.
Tip that cashier when you buy, and tip her/him well. Do a "cash back" and tell them, that's for you.
This is going to be a long hang. We -- and you, if you haven't already had it and recovered -- can't and won't be able to go out, until either a) we get infected, and either 1) recover or 2) don't recover, or b) there's a vaccine. I do hope they manage to keep picking up the garbage, keep the drinking water free of e. coli, etc.
Two and a half weeks since New York City shut down its schools, restaurants, nightlife, and everything else -- at least a week late -- we're still on the rising side of the to-be-flattened curve, shooting up toward the vanishing point on the ascending roller coaster of mass death. A New Yorker is dying of COVID-19 every five minutes. As of Friday night, the NYC death count was 1,867 -- more than a thousand of them in the last week. 15.6% of the police force is out sick. 24% of EMTs and paramedics are out sick. This is still accelerating.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

I Shall Be Released (at least by exercise)!

     . . . . I had a lot of plans for yesterday because nothing for Zooming needed to be worked out for the students, no laundry needed to be done, and grocery shopping not again until Wednesday probably.  So I wanted us to start some work in here.

We both ... just crashed.  We took a time-out day, which we both needed.  It's been non-stop survival and work mode for a whole month already, without a breather.

So, instead -- Yesterday became ... 


I gave myself a pedicure, did about a quarter of the usual work-out, took full bath and washed hair. The last time I did all these things one after another like this was March 6th, a Sunday.

The relief from being on my knees, spine and face and arms stretched out as far as possible on the mat – it sounded as if I had an orgasm. Not to mention the release of physical tension. Upright -- how good it felt to do the combo very light weights and cardio-respiratory and dance moves, that all use a lot of my core muscles.

My entire body went limp and turned into a warm puddle, and my brain shut off. The endorphins kicked in so strongly from the release of weeks of physical tension. I was asleep by 11 PM for the whole night.  I couldn't even make through the John Quincy Adams's Diaries reading, in which he is predicting the War of the Rebellion in 1819, and so is Henry Clay and Calhoun and others (this is while JQ is Secretary of State to Pres. Monroe).

I cannot begin to describe the difference in my mental and physical state since the workout. I'm so used to doing this, it's normal! I did hear music instead of my audio book, but that can be remedied I just didn't have one up and ready to go yesterday, having let all that lapse in the non-stop survival mode. And yah, I feel it in the muscles this AM. It's been a whole month without working out at all, and hardly walking -- to the supermarket and back. But if I get back to my regular schedule I'll be back up to where I was pretty quickly.

El V's going to start work too, his neck is such a wreck, and he needs to do something since we can’t go out due to crowding and no masks. I will have to coach.

It's essential for we must stay in as completely as possible for at least another month.  Governor Cuomo predicted today it will be at least another two weeks before the curve begins to flatten.

As well, yesterday, wonderful LA cannabis entrepreneur / chemist / amiga package came in, full of incredible goodies including the 1thc-20cbd tincture. I like the tabs better, but holy cow! Recreational for him, so to speak, medical for me, plus lots of balms and teas and other things.

Last night made London Broil, carrots and mashed for dinner. It wasn't that cold, but it was raining. Also made a huge amount of rice yesterday, always good for lunches and snacks.

Today I'm making a pot of black beans. Among the flavorings are the leftover liquids and meat from last week's pork roast.  The excellent left-over lentil soup of earlier this week made lunch -- and there's still another serving or so left, which is great.

Tonight it is Saturday so it will be pasta and jazz per usual.  Just not the wine.  Still not feeling wine for whatever reasons.

Kill US to Save the Economy, Stupid!

     . . . . Georgia's governor is re-opening the beaches.

THEY are going to make all of Us shelter in place all summer because THEY won't. Recall this is a governor who was unaware there was a CDC down the road 5 miles away or that asymptomatic people can and do infect others.

And there are reasons he gives not a shyte.

From a French professor, with whom I exchange information, who, with his girlfriend, went through having the virus in Paris.
"Was working on this text (for my students) and realized it's actually quite informative... Could be posted in several threads really... As crazy as it is, this article does help explain a bit both Trump and BoJo's choices in the crisis."

Quote:The U.S. Economy Is Uniquely Vulnerable to the Coronavirus
Two competing epidemiological models currently guide and divide expert opinion on how best to respond to the novel coronavirus. The first, from Imperial College London, scared the U.S. and British governments into instituting strict social-distancing measures. It predicted that if left unchecked, COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, could kill over half a million people in the United ...
In contrast, countries with growth models of the Anglo-American variety, especially the United States, tend to have weaker states, lower taxes, and large financial sectors. They have highly flexible labor markets rather than large welfare states, which means they ultimately depend on wages to drive growth. Since those wages have been buying less and less over time, credit cards, student loans, and medical debts have become a standard part of U.S. household budgeting. When those household budgets shrink sharply, their debts are not compensated by the shock absorbers that countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany have in place. When systems such as the American one are hit by shocks, they tend to bail out their financial systems to keep credit flowing and let the real economy absorb the blow through unemployment and austerity policies. The assumption is that with no shock absorbers in place, prices and wages will adjust quickly, capital will be redeployed, and growth will return without the need for state intervention.
Because the model is designed to adjust through reduced wages and employment rather than increased welfare outlays, political leaders can contemplate temporary unemployment benefits for a banking-induced shock, but not semipermanent cash transfers—which is what the British are doing—and a near-total collapse in asset values. The British solution is too politically toxic to be anything other than a short-term expedient in the American context. So, once it became clear that—at least according to the Imperial College London model—the epidemiologically correct response was to put the economy in hibernation for several months, U.S. leaders started looking for other solutions.
One alternative solution, put forth by U.S. President Donald Trump but with proponents in many states, is to simply “restart the economy.” The direct cost of doing so, according to the Imperial College London model, could be the deaths of as many as 2.2 million Americans—or, as Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick bluntly suggested in a recent interview, old people need to die to save the economy.
"Now, as a eurocommie, I'll reiterate my position that this entire crisis just highlights the ultimate failure, both moral and technical, of unregulated capitalism. I'm even starting to think it might lead to actual revolutions in thinking in the next couple of years.
However, this article also suggests that this crisis is actually destroying the US economy. As in, for good. If just half of this article is correct, then the US has definitely lost the n°1 spot to China.
Which might also raise several very tricky questions for the future of the world economy as a whole... As I understand it, China's ownership of US debt (about 1 trillion $) is supposed to protect us all from a full-blown trade war... But what if the US economy is beyond saving? Wouldn't dealing it the death blow become attractive to Xi Jinping? At the very least, China has a lot of good cards in its hands right hand, and the US a lot of bad ones... This might explain why Trump (and Republicans) seem genuinely willing to let 1M to 2M elderly Americans die to save the economy... Maybe.
Not that any of this is good news for anyone. The US still is #1 militarily, and I've always thought that the US will nto be afraid to flex its military muscles to compensate for a shrinking economy.
TL;DR: buckle up, this might just be the beginning."

FYI -- Wuhan re-opened the wet markets.

 Between climate catastrophe and the people who think like the above, the utter ignorance and cruelty and selfishness of those whose hands already drip with blood,  it's easy to see the planet ridding herself of homo saps in about ten years.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Mandatory Face Masks -- Cloth

     . . . .Here's link to an online video that show how to make a pretty damned effective face mask, that is very easy to do, if you have big rubber bands and bandanas, or fabric that is or can be cut to that size. 

It is so easy to do that even I could do it.  A very dear friend, who is aseamstress extraordinaire sent the link:

In the meantime the CDC was expected to announce as soon as today that the entire country is to wear cloth masks:

... is expected to announce as soon as Thursday that all Americans should wear cloth masks or other face coverings if they go out in public, based on a forthcoming recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that would mark a shift in federal guidance amid new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms.
Until now, the C.D.C., like the World Health Organization, has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks, including N95 respirators, for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply....
But according to a federal official, the C.D.C. will now recommend that everyone wear face coverings in public settings, like pharmacies and grocery stores, to avoid unwittingly spreading the virus. Public health officials have stressed that N95 masks should be saved for front line doctors and nurses, who have been in dire need of protective gear.
Earlier this week, Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the C.D.C., confirmed in a radio interview that the agency was reviewing its guidelines on who should wear masks. Citing new data that shows high rates of transmission from people who are infected but show no symptoms, he said the guidance on mask wearing was “being critically re-reviewed, to see if there’s potential additional value for individuals that are infected or individuals that may be asymptomatically infected.”
On Wednesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles urged all of that city’s residents to wear homemade, nonmedical face coverings, or even bandannas, when food shopping or doing other essential errands. Health officials in Riverside County, Calif., made a similar recommendation on Tuesday.
The federal official said the C.D.C.’s revised guidance stemmed from a request by the White House and the task force.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The First, Perhaps the Second and Third

     . . . . The first person has died of Corvid-19 with whom I had a personal connection.  An ex-model, still youngish and beautiful.  In Paris.

The dear son of very old and dear friends, is still very sick.  His girlfriend has pneumonia. They are in Broadway theater.  Very fit, young, healthy, strong. No drugs, no liquor. They eat very healthy.

They thought she didn't have it after being quarantined for 14 days after one of the members of the Company was tested positive.  Then he got sick, but supposedly, 'not too bad.' And was feeling better, they thought.

They decided to drive up to B&B in Vermont rented long ago for this time for a getaway.  He's still unwell; she's got pneumonia. They brought it with them to this isolated community that so far had been free of it.

We all have to shelter in place.  We all have to wear masks and gloves and wash wash wash wash.  We all need to be isolated, either with our families who are already as exposed as we are, or alone. This will never end unless we do.  People are constantly taking the contagion with them -- exchanging parenting dates back-and-forth from house and neighborhood to another, returning from vacation, going to funerals.  

It's horrible. But this is the fact.  If you aren't doing everything you can to protect others, you are putting yourself and your loved ones at terrible risk.

At this point, with the way things are being handled, and the infection and death toll rising so rapidly every day, a quarter of million dying in the USA alone doesn't seem in the least inconceivable.

And it seems mostly those doing this, putting others at risk, are those who are well enough off to know better, who have more resources than others.  What people in small spaces and little or no income and have children are supposed to do -- WHAT ARE THEY TO DO???????

So Often On Wednesday Books

     . . . . So often Wednesday speaks about reading matter.

Herbert Hoover (2009 American Presidents Series)

by William E. Leuchtenburg, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (Editor), Sean Wilentz (Editor)

No matter how much and sincerely Leuchtenburg tries to say something positive about this thoroughly ugly, cruel, bigoted, racist sob, he can't.  Well, he did have a rotten childhood. He made sure everybody else he could make have a bad childhood and rotten life, he did.

Whereas Woodrow Wilson was a southern racist, Hoover is a western racist.  He created the border patrol -- because of Mexicans, first, and Chinese second.  By now these forces have become a private army called 'ICE'. But the constant murders and cruelties and incarcerations and humiliations and degradations were always the SOP.  And lynchings.  Don't forget that grrrrrrrr8 historically popular entertainment.

April ... Come She Will ... Bringing Hell

     . . . . April bringing hell come she will.

Did a 7 AM morning trip to the supermarket.  Tipped check-out $40.

Some things I didn't look at, like baking item, so don't know how that was, or soup / stock shelves because I wasn't going for that today. All dairy goods available. Paper goods. Personal hygiene items very depleted, and certain brands not there.  Juices, and so on, ample.  Got coffee filters*, but didn't check on coffee or tea -- forgot, as I never have bought mine there, but at a dedicated business. But I go now to one place only, once a week. Produce available all right, but kind of messy. Baked goods ... not what one is used to, but who is fussed about that now?

At that hour the homeless and desperate were wandering about looking for anything they could get.  No masks or gloves of course. What else are they supposed to do?

The real problem?  The young prosperous assholes!  Running! NO DISTANCE.  In their extraordinarily expensive running kit they hurtled down -- as a couple --  the narrow stairs of our apartment building -- not stopping to let us finish descending --and move 6 feet out of their way. 

Runners filled, I mean really filled, the sidewalks and the streets.  They are huffing and puffing their respiratory particles into the air, leaving long trails behind them. 

Last night, a downstairs neighbor returned from vacation, had over some people to drink beer. 

There is no frackin' way NYC is going to flatten the curve or even reopen, as long as this kind of behavior is not prohibited with enforcement.  This is here in the epicenter of the epicenter. As of today 1000 have died. The models being built by the feds think it's not impossible at all nearly a quarter million will die here in the USA. Yet, they ponder: should everybody wear masks and observe physical distancing and social isolation?  

I made a package for across the hall mentally ill, and immune compromised, neighbor, of yams, baking potatoes, milk, eggs, bread, cheese, plus a container of the really delicious lentil stew I made yesterday (if I say myself!)  -- and some masks and latex gloves. She has SNAP and so on, but she can't go out, due to mental illness and the other conditions.  Her drive to survive though is maybe the strongest I've ever seen in anyone. I think she has someone bringing her things, but I'm not sure.

BIL / SIL -- licensed physicians -- sent a medical emergency kit they'd made up for their employees by Fed Ex.  It arrived while groceries were being disinfected. The cardboard box is sitting outside the door.  Won't bring it in for 12 hours, I guess.

* El V feels he's got about two months of coffee on hand, due to all the coffee beans that are gifted to us regularly in Cuba and Puerto Rico.  What he really needs though, is a stove top espresso coffee maker. Darling B, who doesn't drink coffee, says his sister left one at his place, so he'll give to el V.