". . . 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, March 31, 2021

Books, History, Asparagus, etc.

      . . . . Downloaded a really well done PDF of Owen Wister's Roosevelt: Portrait of a Friendship 1880 - 1919 (1930).  I can cut and paste out of it for the essay I'm working on, of the Gilded Age's boys who wouldn't grow up -- yet ran everything.  So like today.

Theodore Roosevelt, sophomore at Harvard

Even more so this time around reading Wister's book, the arrogant, casual white supremacy, bigotry, sexism leap out. 

Here we are, regarding the 'modern woman' already on page 10 -- recall the text proper doesn't start until page 4.

"Roosevelt’s mind was a great deal cleaner than the modern lip-stick girl." 

Quickly followed on page 14, in the context of their class's Hasty Pudding club theatricals, Ivanhoe as a musical production. This isn't the fault of Sir Walter Scott.

 "...Ellis Island had not yet diluted Harvard and imported Broadway into the college-spirit of our shows. Next day, the fame of Ivanhoe was all over Boston, and spread to New York."  

This is a dig at Jewish, Irish and Italian immigrants' own theaters, productions, writers and performers, that were very popular with 'proper' Americans too -- thus to Broadway.

One can never forget that Wister's grandfather was Pierce Butler, the largest slave holder in the south, before his bankruptcy that sent all the human property he owned to auction to clear his debts.

Fanny Kemble

His grandmother,  Fanny Kemble was a different sort of person. She left Butler due to slavery.  In her Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838–1839, she left us an invaluable portrait of life in Jacksonian America's enslaved world, 

One cannot forget that Wister was a good friend to Thomas Dixon, the author of The Klansman: A Historical Romance of the Klu Klux Klan (1905), the third of his Klan trilogy, from which D.W. Griffith adapted the vile Birth of A Nation (1915). Spike Lee makes no bones about it. These books brought the revival of the KKK all across the US, which this time around was equally willing to lynch Catholics and immigrants as well African Americans.  Yet "journalists' etc. scratch their heads and wonder how such things as the murder of George Floyd, the beatings of elderly Asian American women, come to happen in this country.

One cannot forget either that Theodore Roosevelt's grandparents were Georgia plantation slaveowners, who sold a young girl to finance the lavish wedding at which they married off their daughter, Martha Bulloch to the New Yorker, Theodore Roosevelt Sr.  Needless to say, in boy Theodore's NYC home, he saw his mother and grandmother what they could to aid and succor the CSA's efforts during the War of the Rebellion.


Made a big kettle of split pea soup this morning. Cooked a sweet potato, mashed it, and folded it into the pea mixture of herbs, ground pork, carrots and red potatoes, plus some fresh squeezed lemon juice.  That sweet potato gave the rest of it a nice, silky texture, el V said.  “This might be the best split pea soup you’ve made yet!”  I have been making split pea soup for decades, so surely there had to be rivals in that time? What a splendid lunch -- especially with toast made in the new Toaster, a toaster than I now have.  Ha!

For the 6th time in the last 10 days we're having asparagus with dinner, accompanied by a bottle of Gruner Veltliner.  It's been a good spring for asparagus it seems; the Veltliners are plentiful in the local wine stores, good quality, and not expensive..

Best of all I was in the supermarket myself, picking out the asparagus -- myself.  I cannot believe the incredible pleasure I am feeling, shopping for groceries for myself in the stores, after over a year of not doing it.  Hey, I'm also a cheap date!  

I can't remember eating asparagus even once last spring; we weren't drinking anything then either except lots of tea, particularly herbals that promised soothing to the nerves.


Mail is definitely slower these days. We’d been notified by publisher the second half of last year’s royalties was in the mail. But the check only showed up today. Audio royalties still to come.


Recreational MJ was supposedly legalized today -- with enormous caveats as to who can and can't grow, buy, sell.  It will be just like the liquor licenses here -- very expensive, limited and mostly going to those who are deeply connected in the state's political apparatus.  It does nothing to make it easier for people to get access to medical mj either.  One still has to go through a gatekeeping 'state licensed to license medical MJ' physician -- yet another aspect of the necessity to be connected to the state political apparatus.  This requirement is really a license for the physicians who have them to print money.  A LOT OF MONEY.  They charge preposterous amounts to sign off on a form that they give you in their office to fill out.


France shutting down again, for three weeks, due to massive surge in new Covid-19 infections.  Our turn again, soon.  When will the a$$hat$ running things ever learn?  Open -- surge; close -- contain.


Still in the 60° range of temperature.  Overcast though, the predicted rain has felt imminent all day, but still holds off.  The western horizon looks as though rain is falling over there though.  Colder air coming in tomorrow night for a couple of days, They Say. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

lil nas x: montero

       . . . . This is high on the list of "Wildest Things I've Seen Lately".  I am particularly fascinated by the Pole Dance Descent Into Infinity! 

How different from his previous, massive, international hit of 2019, "Old Town Road."

    . . . . April showers seem to have arrived early -- yet, it is Palm Sunday, as well as Bro's birthday. Bro got a big, layered ice cream birthday 'cake' instead of cake-cake, which suited him all the way down. One thing every member of this family agrees on (the only thing), it's ice cream, every single one of us, love ice cream.  My niece who turned 1 back in January, already loves ice cream too.

Because of the general damp I made brunch -- it is Sunday, after all.  Therefore experienced the great joy of toast, real toast, because el V got me a new toaster this week.  I've been without all pandemic because right at the start of StayHomeAloneWithEachOtherOnly he managed to set my toaster-oven on fire.  Not a short or anything like that.  But set the bottom of it, on the outside, on fire.  He's gotten a lot more acquainted with the stove and oven , and how they actually operate, in the months since.  

So ... Friday coming is Good Friday, which means then Easter Sunday, and the tradition that used to be to watch The Ten Commandments, which has morphed into watching the Taylor-Burton Cleopatra, because Heston . . . .

It also means a week later I get my second vaccination.  I'm somewhat regretful that the second appointment doesn't come soon enough to spend Easter with our friends, but not yet, not quite yet.  But SOON!  We are already confident enough that we invited Ben here for Saturday night Jazz and Pasta (he's fully vaccinated, and has been since Inauguration).

Saturday, March 27, 2021

I Moved To New Zealand

     . . . . After dinner on February 28th, I had no idea I was moving to New Zealand, particularly as I was already living in New Orleans due to NOLA Reconnect 2.  But I opened the first season of Brokenwood Mysteries then, and went for the second episode on March 1st. And there I've been all month every night after dinner. What follows are snapshots of how that happened while it happened.  Emphasis on is on snapshots. This is a fresh set of eyes, from an entirely different part of the world, landing upon a 7 year old television series purely by the happenchance of subscribing to AcornTV.

Brokenwood Mysteries, Six seasons (2014-2019), via Acorn.

     Season 1 (2014) New Zealand.  

The series centers "Senior" (title of address at the police station) Mike Shepherd, a detective in possession of the, by now, overly familiar shticks of the quirky detective.  He’s got a music genre fixation – Mike's is Country (Rebus’s a certain subset of 1960’s rock; Bosch’s is jazz, etc.), coupled with love of good wine (instead of whiskey, Scotch, Irish or beer).

He’s got the out-of-date car, that auto aficionados admire, a 1971 Holden Kingswood, but which, notably does not impress Detective Kristen Simms and Detective Constable Breen, Mike's distinctly much younger, fitter, more attractive and more down-to-earth, second and thirds. They don't like Country music either.  Mike’s an out-of-shape, rumpled mess with multiple ex-wives, whom most women still find very attractive, plus he has a dislike of contemporary technology.

Just off the top of one’s head, how many variations of this detective character can I come up with in 60 seconds, starting with Rebus and Longmire and Vera Stanhope (though sans the music and ex-wives, but she does like her Scotch)? Even Midsomer Murders’ Barnaby, when it comes to tech. Such a contrast with CBC’s  Murdoch’s Mysteries Murdoch's fascination with all new technology.

BM has beautiful, soothing, o so gazeable, rural locations that one never gets impatient seeing, shot in the series’s location in New Zealand’s greater Auckland region (North Island), 

including Helensville, whose post office stands in for Brokenwood’s small, but astonishingly resourced with tech and manpower (unexplained), police station. The closest city, Hamilton, is about 2 ½  hours by car from the fictional Brokenwood. Hamilton is a very minor though significant player in Brokenwood life, referred to constantly as a comparison to tiny (pop. 5000) Brokenwood, as well as a destination -- but we never break screen wall and go there ourselves.

     Gotten through season 2 (2015). Into season 3 (2016) now. Got a kick from the good-natured poking of fun at the crazy fans of the LOtR’s franchise who come to Brokenwood to tour Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth (that this isn't possible is part of the plot!), especially the big felt and foam spider, in the first ep, “The Black Widower.”  Impressed also by its pro environmental and endangered species protection message, for spiders, fresh water sharks, and the forests and the fragile habitats of shore lines. Another clever episode of season 3 was the Christmas episode, “A Merry Bloody Christmas.” which had seasonal, touching bits by Mike as to the belief in Santa as real. It turns out his nephew is an adult Down’s syndrome person, who receives tremendous joy from Santa, true joy, not commercial, not made-up or delusional, but true joy. This is the season the series revealed itself more clever in its writing than might perhaps be expected from the previous seasons. And sensitive too, but never ever sentimental, which isn’t possible even for Mike, who seems to possess a bit of second sight and romantic viewpoint, due to younger, thus more cynical, and down-to-earth, Simms and Breen.

     Into season 4 (2017) now. We’ve already recycled domestic abuse and in-the-closet stories, and now we are here again. I’m getting the sense this show isn’t in the least concerned with consistency of tone, or attitude. It seems focused far more on character, which, increasingly, as the minor regulars re-appear in the episodes, and characters from past episodes return, seems to remind the viewer that ultimately character is fixed.  Once a murderer – be prepared, s/he will murder again  -- particularly she.

     Season 5 (2018) They are going for episode fill-ins around the main plot, having Kristin sort- of-intrigued-by, but not interested by the courtship of Kahu, a gorgeous and smart young Maori, --  and somewhat of a playa. He is not the Maori character, Jared. (played by Hema Taylor) from earlier seasons, who was the only “cool” character on the show. The website for the series says nothing about Jared’s disappearance, or the sudden arrival of his ‘cousin,’ Kahu Taylor (played by Rawiri Jobe). Jared’s character reappears at the end of the season; the website says nothing about the reappearance either. I was glad to see his return. Throughout, the season also turned more bonkers, because so many of the characters are classified out-and-out as, ah, um, mentally disturbed, shall we say. Some of these are seen in other episodes too.  The most deranged of this season’s episodes is #4, “Dark Angel,” the plot of which centers the derelict Brokenwood Institution for the Insane.

     Season 6 already! (2019) Over the last two – three seasons, re-inserting characters from previous episodes into storylines of the later episodes.  It’s a good plan.  It makes BM more of a ‘village’ mystery series. But it's also darker even if more cosy than ever.  First episode of 6th season is set within Brokenwood’s steampunk community, “The Power of Steam” – PLUS – we have an incel.  Holy cow.  Is this the first depiction of Steampunk culture – as opposed to attempts to make movies, etc. from it? on screen? This isn’t a pleasant view due to quite unpleasant characters.  Certainly, inclusion, despite the trumpeting the the big point of the steampunk community is inclusion for the excluded, is not (always) the point, as depicted in the community's cast. or in the story line . . . .  Woo -- the final episode, “Dead and Buried,” brings back three female characters, all murderers, from past seasons.  They are in the private, for profit, Brokenwood Women’s prison, which isn’t like any prison one is going to encounter in the US – and maybe not in New Zealand either. Yoga classes? Knitting classes with real knitting needles? Shouldn’t this population -- as we know the characters from previous episodes -- be in an asylum for the criminally insane?  The female warden wears 5 inch stilettos, form fitting, sexy, yet elegant fashionable outfits – this seems more like a subset of porn that was once and maybe still is, of women in prison.  Plus, we got a lot of butch going on. But then, BM has had many episodes that include teh gay, one of whom is the minor, but recurring pharmacist character, who in the course of the series, becomes Brokenwood’s mayor.

This is an odd series, maybe we could use ‘quirky’ to describe it?  It didn’t seem to start that way, but somewhere in season 3 it started to make a turn to gothic and bonkers, while also, starting with the fake Peter Jackson locations for the LOTR films, getting in, sub rosa, comments about diversity and inclusion, the evils of raping the environment and destroying creatures generally, and endangered ones, particularly. These are the moments that have kept me watching, because while embedded entirely plausibly, they always come unexpectedly. One almost wonders if these 'message' moments are so deliberately composed that unless one already has gotten the message the watcher won't notice?  But I still appreciate them.

Most of all, because without them, one wouldn’t keep watching at all, it's the chemistry among the cast of characters that keeps one watching. The writers never made the dreadful error of attempting to manufacture chemistry or interest in the characters’ interactions via that exhausted “Will the male and female detectives finally recognize how hot they are for each other and DO IT!”  Brokenwood Mysteries doesn’t Do That.  Thank goodness.

I looked forward to spending time after dinner every night with Superior Mike Shepherd, Detective Krista Simms, Detective Constable Sam Breen and Medical Examiner, Gina Kadinsky, and the chemistry among them manufactured by their shared work. I like these people! I liked getting to know a lot of the other, minor characters too, not least Frankie “Frodo” Odos, as the guy for whom nothing ever quite works out, and Mrs. Jean Marlowe, who really does know everything about everyone in Brokenwood, without whom Shepherd would never solve a single murder.

     Season 7 (2020) of Brokenwood Mysteries begins on Acorn Tv on March 29th.  Then it will all really be over. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Reading and Listening: Black Nerdom

      . . . . In a sad way, because in this absolute white supremacist historical nation, the common denial that this subject even exists is as normal as mass gun fire massacres. But though I am anything but a nerd of any kind, much less one who is Black, I still feel a sense of personal skin in this game. 

This is due to an incident that happened at the last sf/f gathering I attended, which happened to be a reading, in the early aughts of this, the 21st Century.*  A White man, ended threatening me with rape and murder because he insisted that Black people did not and never did have anything whatsoever to to do with sf/f and its peculiar** visions of the past or the present or the future. He slammed a chair on a table when I tried to draw attention to Afro Futurism and African American musical vision in funk, jazz,  including as early with, but not limited to, Sun Ra.

 He screamed I was a liar, that I'd made-up Afro Futurism.  There was no such thing, and certainly not in Science Fiction and Fantasy.  For one thing HE had never heard of it, and he knew science fiction and fantasy inside out,  because he was now 50 and had been reading it all HIS life.

Alas, we are certainly still holding on with fang and claw to that peculiar* white version of sf/f -- and all the other related pop cultural expressions and experiences.

Long read article in the New York Times Magazine.  As the NYT is paywalled, here is the url:

The Black Nerds Redefining the Culture by Adam Bradley

"By pushing back against centuries-old stereotypes, a historically overlooked community is claiming space it was long denied."

The piece is a fine run-down of pop culture sf/f nerdom and Black expression.  However, this is my favorite part, which is equally essential information for White nerds who are BLM allies:

....A BRIEF HISTORY of Black nerds dates back to before the Revolutionary War, to Phillis Wheatley, the young Black woman born a slave who was the first person of African descent to publish a collection of English poetry — only to have to prove her authorship, as well as her knowledge of the works of Homer, Ovid and Virgil, to a panel of “the most respectable characters in Boston,” as the 18 white men described themselves in a note “To the Public” that introduces her “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral” (1773). The Black nerd also lives in the pages of Charles W. Chesnutt, whose short-story collection “The Conjure Woman” (1899) reads like a late 19th-century iteration of Peele’s “Get Out,” where the resources of the Black imagination overcome the sunken place of white mythmaking and domination. And it lives in Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” (1952), whose nameless Black male protagonist is a self-described “thinker-tinker” writing the story of his life from his underground lair fitted with precisely 1,369 light bulbs; even the novel’s title evokes H.G. Wells’s science fiction classic “The Invisible Man” (1897), repurposing invisibility as a metaphor for the erasure of Black identity under the racist white gaze....


Alas, unmentioned are two early expressions -- these would be very early even if the author was White -- of sf/f imaginings, Iola Leroy, or Shadows Uplifted (1892) by Frances E. W. Harperand, even prior to the War of the Rebellion and abolition, Blake; or The Huts of America: A Tale of the Mississippi Valley, the Southern United States, and Cuba (1859) by Martin Delany.

(Anyone who knows me or el V can see why this discovery excited us so much.  Ha!)


In the meantime, even though The American Slave Coast has been out of print in print for months, due to the covid-19 aggravated shortage of print and production plants, Robert Christgau was moved to give the book his current Substack space, And It Don't Stop.  He told us yesterday, when informing us it was going up, that he'd been working on this 'stack' for weeks.  It also took him years to read Slave Coast because the content is so painful to read.  But it is a permanent, large, part that is our nation's history. 


*  This incident had a great deal to do with my removal of self from the field.

*See the classic history by Kenneth E. Stampp, The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South (1956). The book was revelatory still at the end of the 1980's when I read it first.  It is still most worth reading, particularly if one is beginning a program of self-education into these matters, in hopes of being a better informed ally of BLM.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The Last Libertines

      . . . . We've been having some nice weather again, finally, this week.  It is much appreciated.  But now NOLA Reconnect 2 finished, we wonder how we will be making money for awhile.  We can't travel, that's for sure, for a very long time, whether we are vaccinated or not.  By which I mean, we can't take Travelers to experiences in Cuba or Haiti until ... when?  Even when we can, from now on, having plans in place for dealing with Travelers who may become ill with Covid, have to be part of work.  And in the meantime, who knows when Cuba will be able to re-open to the US?  So far the administration, doubtless concerned with myriad other equally pressing crises and concerns, hasn't rolled back the roll-back of the monster previous, though it was announced it would.

So, I read, traveling into the past.

Benedetta Craveri, (2016) The Last Libertines; New York Review of Books.

Until the last chapter, titled simply, "1789", we are in ancien régime France.  So much disappointment among the aristos, for all the luxury and leisure.  At least they ate and drank well, and were clothed in the finest of fabrics, unlike the non-poetry writing poors.

What I got from the book’s murky language – murky perhaps, due to translator, perhaps, due to French names and titles of people whom mostly we in the USA have never heard of  -- was a better sense of what drew so many younger  members of this generation of aristos to the North American colonial War of Independence, and later, to support France’s Revolution. This generation of ancient French landed, aristocratic groups, were outraged that the loss of the Seven Years War had never been avenged,  France had never regained her New World territory and both Louis XV and Louis XVI never did make war on Britain, no matter how often they began gathering troops to do so.

This is the class whose raison d’etre for existence was the glory of war, going back to the Merovingian eras, whether or not they actually could fight. Additionally, they, as that class always did, chafed under the absolutist authority of the King. After all Versailles, as we know, was built and organized by Louis XIV, for that very purpose, to keep these families under his thumb, terrified as his minority years had been by the Fronde. This was the series of 17th C French civil wars (1648-1653), within the larger Franco-Spanish war that began in 1635, attempting to overthrow Louis XIII’s monarchy, and that of his mother’s regency with Cardinal Mazarin. These anti-monarchal insurrections original intent was to protect the aristocratic families’ ancient liberties from royal encroachments. The Libertines were among the highest-ranking members of this class’s generation who thought they'd welcome a new Fronde.

But this 18th C group of aristocrats were essentially play acting in their private edifice of political-philosophe theater, just as it immersed itself in other sorts of private theatricals, put on by themselves for each other.  Marie Antoinette adored theatricals, so, see, for a single instance, the support they provided Beaumarchais’s satire of their very class, The Barber of Seville. This is how the Revolution got supported by this young bunch.

They coupled their frustrations to their Romantic idealism that supported the New World independence movement in which there were no royals or nobility, a war in which someone with ability, though poor, could become an officer. That promotion was possible without family, riches or blood -- and the 'natural nobility' of General Washington, whom they all adored -- impressed them enough they Romanticized the utterly over-taxed and utterly unprivileged of France, who were bearing the brunt of famine and rising prices due the sheer financial catastrophe that were the policies of Louis XVI financial ministers and advisers.  They seemed to miss that thousands, millions, of them, were very angry and filled with hate for their sorts, who casually oppressed and humiliated them as a matter of naturally entitled course. And there were only 700,000 of them in contrast to the millions of the third estate.

The portrait in these pages of Queen Marie Antoinette is mostly unsympathetic, though the author says the queen matured in the years shortly before the Revolution and changed into a more responsible and politically savvy mind.  After France restored the monarchy, the portrait of the Queen was burnished the class’s survivors into an innocent martyr, almost a second Virgin Mary. But for most of her life as Louis XVI’s wife and queen, she made enemies within that class, which had a great deal to do with their support of Thermidor.  She pushed her favorites into high, lucrative offices, and cut out everyone else. This was a world where all honors, power and financial preferment came through the favor of either the King or Queen – not merit, not in the least.  So even within the military, by class, nurture and tradition, always loyal to the King, officered entirely and only by this class, there was much frustration.  Yet the author fails to make these figures interesting, for the most part. They are not sympathetic sorts for my kind (though for some of the women, I can feel to a degree, and I do admire some of the art, while shuddering at the layers upon beribboned layers of ostentatious ornamentation of the clothes), though it does seem the author quite admires them.

There are errors of fact. Talleyrand never came to North America with the French during the War of Independence (he came as an exile for a short time during Washington’s presidency). France did not exchange San Domingue for Curaçao in the settlement of the Seven Years War. Or did the author claim it was exchanged for Guyana? Trinidad? both undeveloped at this time.  This claim was buried in sentence nearly a paragraph long and difficult to parse, so I don't remember, other than the shock because if India was the jewel in Victoria's crown, San Domingue was the financial jewel that provided the French government a shockingly large amount of its income.  Benjamin Franklin was not sent to France by the Continental Congress in 1766 – there wasn’t a Continental Congress then, or even a movement for independence. That’s just a few mistakes within the history that I know very well.  What errors there are in the French history and biographies that I don’t know well, or not at all – we only guess.

Beyond that, the chronology is all over the place, which makes for a choppy text, as opposed to one that can be smoothly followed, as to who is who, when and where. This is particularly so as the narrative is supposedly about how this group of men, and the women they bedded, frequently even bedded at the same time, came to grief, their world destroyed, by the French Revolution, but we spend at least as much time in the era of King Louis XV, as we do with King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette. It's not at all that the author should have left out the material from Louis XV's reign -- it's that as it is structured, it is hard to follow and gain the points the author's trying to make.

The most interesting section, because most vivid, with open spaces, as opposed to the claustrophobia of châteaux and palaces, was that of the Comte Louis-Philippe de Ségur and his diplomatic service as ambassador to Catherine the Great. Their’s was the great spectacle of a journey across the wintery expanses of Russia to Tartarine Ukraine, and then the Crimea, which her general, lover, minister, friend, advisor, Potemkin, had recently conquered for her from the Turks. This is a landscape and action, of immense caravans of coaches for the court, coaches each as large and lavish as a small palace, surrounded by the 30,000 at least, cavalry and more infantry, more likely to be found in great historical fiction that real life – and make Cleopatra’s barges, and the journeys up the Nile, look small and a bit tawdry.

Finally, comes 1789.  Most of the personages described in The Libertines, survive, often just barely, prison and the Terror, and then Napoleon.  Some – do not.  None of them have the lives they led before the great change, this authentic, anti-monarchy and aristocratic revolution. For quite some time, some of them retained their privileged ignorance of what all those words were really saying and the actions really meant. For some time, many of them seemed to think the Revolution was staged particularly for their benefit and amusement – and under their direction, because, after all, that how things were always done.  Down with the King! Up with the ancient families!

Instead, they had to comfort themselves with writing their Memoirs and hoping they would sell well.

Thursday, March 11, 2021


    . . .  How about that? I was sent a reminder this AM for my 11:30 vaccination appointment. The appointment was only made last night.  Getting my first shot a year after the pandemic shut us down – well technically tomorrow will be a year exactly. Biden’s addressing the nation at this marker.

Getting vaccinated only a year into a global pandemic, after 4 frackin' years of the Monster Previous working every day to kill us even before the pandemic, is a miracle, really.  But this lost time feels far longer, like, well, forever, which still has me socially stuck in shut-down torpor.  How will I be able to act after that’s not as necessary as it has been, due, literally, to life vs. death?  For one thing, maybe we can plan our promised Thanksgiving in the spring with Steve in Saratoga as in November we all realized it was not anything we should be doing. 

I can hardly believe it is only a year .... it feels like a massive time dislocation.  Will I ever be able to behave normally in a group of people again? I wonder ....

However. whatever, today is a BEAUTIFUL day, in every way, including weather-wise: 67°, sun shining.  Perfect.  If I stay in the sun, a short-sleeved t-shirt is adequate.  The market's up again.  That first endless super-long NOLA Reconnect 2 last weekend was successful, and the shorter weekend coming right up is in good shape.  Yesterday el V got his first shot (Pfizer) at a Walgreen's-Duane Read right over there on W 4th and Broadway.  I got my first one (Moderna) this morning over here, across Broadway, on the Lower East Side.  We both have scheduled appointments for the second ones, his on April 7th and mine April 9th.  So we're even pretty much in synch.

It sure didn't look like that was going to happen.  El V had gotten his appointment at the pharmacy, but the only thing we had found for me was at the Javits Center at the end of April. Also yesterday a whole more categories of people were declared eligible for vaccination -- including at least, FINALLY, thank goodness, front line public workers like those in supermarkets.  We got the JC appointment almost exactly at the moment 40,000 new appointments were opened.  By the time we got me through the process, about ten minutes, the number of appointments was down to less than 10,000 and they were for May. 

But some friends were determined that el V and I should not be that out of synch, and with el V, after dinner they just punched and punched the keyboards and the phones, and at 9 PM Dear Wonderful Treasure Beyond Price amigo, podster, biz partner and neighbor-across-the-street called me to double check my info.  He'd gotten through to the place where he'd gotten his vaccinations.  And just like that my life changed.  How would we ever get through all this without our friends?  In so many ways, doing so many different things.  And most of all, being there, staying there.

The community center where I got the vaccination was a billion times better experience than the pharmacy where el V got his -- which took forever.  Nor has the pharmacy yet sent him confirmation for his second appointment -- and somehow had never gotten around to doing it for the first.  We got to Essex St. this morning about 20 minutes ahead of my appointment and they sent me right on through.  It was so very very organized.  One felt happy and safe. The 15 minutes waiting to see if I'd have a reaction was spent setting up my second dose appointment. The second appointment confirmation was in my email when I got home.

I am so grateful to Our President Biden.  If Monster Previous was running things I'd probably not get a vaccination appointment until next year -- if ever! 

Yesterday was great too, with the passing of the Stim Bill and Garland's confirmation.  But I was having a hard time feeling it, as depressed as I was at the prospect of nearly 7 more weeks of this before I could even fantasize about something different. I cannot express the relief getting the first dose is.  And now B, S, el V and I can begin planning our Thanksgiving for April, the one we understood we couldn't do in November. That was our promise to each other then -- Thanksgiving in the spring.

By the way Postmambo/NOLA Reconnect's Saturday night in Port-au-Prince and the Hotel Oloffson were literally awesome.  Richard Morse, the bandleader of Ram, had flown home to Haiti for the pre-records and video in Port-au-Prince, and then came back to the house in Maine that has been in his dad's side of the family for generations.  Saturday was freezing up there in Maine, as well as down here.  Like Vermont, Maine is not very wi-fied.  So, after the music events, Richard sat in his SUV in a high school parking lot with his devices for hours talking to people via Zoom on the wi-fi connection there.  People were just melting all over from the experience.  They didn't want to let him get back to his warm house, they loved it so much. We didn't get into bed here either until after 2 AM.

A 2nd by the way -- there isn't covid in Haiti, for reasons that remain mysterious.  Haiti has loads of terrible problems right now, from the volatility and violence imposed upon people who want that toxic, corrupt, murderous so-called president installed by Hillary (and Obma) to stand down, but he refuses to accept losing the election.  But there is no social distancing, there are plenty of live concerts, where the people lose themselves for a while in happiness.

I cannot express the huge difference in how I feel today from how I felt previously.  Before this appointment showed up about 9 PM last night, I had fallen into the kind of depression I haven't felt since the year everybody died: my baby sister, one of my dearest friends and both of my parents.  It had been creeping on since December, but accelerated in February. Worse, the damaged sciatic nerve kicked back into major pain last week too, probably due to the cold.  Maybe now I can recover the energy necessary to begin re-arranging life that is a little more open than it has been for 12 months.

First things I’ll be doing once the time protocol post the second shot has passed is start buying groceries myself again, and do a big shopping at the CVS (masked, OF COURSE!)  – and find a new dish drainer and new pot holders somewhere. Then have a drink with K & C & B & el V, outdoors, in the sunshine.

Then we'll have Thanksgiving.