". . . 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

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Tempe Na-Ri-Véh -- Haiti

      . . . . El V made this in an attempt to assist those who are struggling so hard to provide assistance. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The First Day of Autumn Is Dark, So Dark -- The HermanCain Award Subreddit

     . . . . The Unbelievable Grimness of HermanCainAward, the Subreddit That Catalogs Anti-Vaxxer COVID Deaths

This is not a forum that attempts to change minds. It’s much darker.

Despite the subject, describing a site that catalogs the deaths of covid deniers, anti-vaxxers and anti maskers, this piece effectively shows just how awful this disease is, how awful to die from it, and millions have -- we're creeping up to a million mark right here in the US.  From the beginning the descriptions of this disease scared the stuffing out of me -- and many others of us. Which is a massive driver for doing the right things that may keep us from contracting it, and not doing the wrong things that up our chances of contracting it.

"....It is cruel, a site for heartless and unrepentant schadenfreude. This is a place where deaths are celebrated, and it is not the only one. While endless ink has been spilled on the anger of Trump voters and Fox News viewers and QAnon adherents, there are other angers that haven’t been nearly as well explored. The exhaustion and fury doctors and nurses feel, for example, as they deal yet again with overwhelmed ICUs. Instead of being hailed as heroes, this time around they’re risking their lives to serve while walking through anti-vax protesters and being called murderers or worse by misled family members demanding or indeed suing for sick unvaccinated relatives on ventilators to be dosed with ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine or vitamin C. There is the anger of family members of those without COVID who are dying or sicker than they should be because treatment was delayed or denied to them at dozens of hospitals that had no beds available. There’s the frustration of parents trying to keep their children safe, the constant, destabilizing calculations and adaptations people are forced into when (for instance) the governor of Texas prohibits schools from taking safety measures and then two teachers at a single school die, forcing closures once again. There’s the run-of-the-mill anger of those weary of living under pandemic conditions and demoralized—in the most literal sense—by the selfishness of their compatriots.

Subscriptions to the HermanCainAward subreddit are increasing exponentially, from 2,000 subscribers on July 4 to 5,000 at the beginning of August to more than 100,000 on Sept. 1 to 243,000 Friday to 276,000 today. If that rate is any indication, rage is growing toward anti-vaxxers deliberately prolonging the pandemic out of an anti-social and deadly understanding of their rights. Now, it’s true that not everyone on the subreddit assents to its spiteful premise: One exhausted nurse wrote a long post about how much one of her anti-vax patients suffered, as an attempt at counterbalance. She acknowledged her own compassion fatigue but also urged readers to think harder about how we got to this sorry pass. Plenty of the discussions do orbit around that basic question. But most of the comments are angry. A collection of screenshots generally elicits a common sentiment: The person got their just deserts...."

It's important to notice the author reporting on these sites which catalog the deaths of the covid-denying anti-vaxxers and what they have done and said throughout this catastrophe isn't excited or pleased. The author is reporting and witnessing. The author is asking questions, trying to make some sense of all it, while working out how this deranged, self-killing (and killing of others) fits into morality, ethics, community, even families, the very dilemmas and paradoxes and contradictions we are all being driven bonkers by. I.e. where is the reconciliation? Ultimately the covid-denying  anti-vaxxers etc. are irrational, thus there cannot be reconcilation.  Leaving the rest of us even more frustrated and despairing -- including, with such numbers of them, driven on by FB, Fox News and other Big Tech, can even we who try to follow the right paths, despair of evading this dreadful disease. We have reached the point where it cannot be waited out.

Because as the author says, even for those dying of covid, there is no conversion.  Nor is there after their deaths, as they are characterized by friends and family in the terms of "God gave her angel wings this week;" "God called him home;"  "His time came and now he's with his wife;" etc.  Not a word about, gee whiz if they'd gotten the vaccine and worn a mask four kids wouldn't be without parents and penniless.  They're just "beloved parents of ...." That 2 week old baby? Don't think so, since that baby never knew his parents at all. Not to mention the other 3 kids are under 8.

"Are these projects productive?" someone asks.

Someone else says, "Totally unproductive.  The effort would be better spent in integrating these lumpenized antisocial types back into the current system of biopolitical management. Something less horripilatory than re-education camps, obviously.  Sadly the don't-tread-on-me crowd doesn't take even the most tepid advice well. "

But we see from the comments of those who are dying, before and and during, and those of their families, by and large, that reeducation is not possible.  They've left that state which could allow for such rehabilitation years ago already.  We're talking people who died, not only believing covid and vaccines are a big hoax and grift designed by Dems, but also believe satanists are stalking the schools and eating children RIGHT NOW. Thus they have devoted their lives to fighting Dems and feminists tooth and nail. Then, o jubilee! They found the more entertaining, the more fun, conspiracy of covid. More fun and more entertaining because it provided a completely protected space to be as overtly abusive and bullying to as many people as any single person or group can manage -- even to the point of physical harm, while feeling safe from any official retribution from police or anyone else. Nor do the people they bully have secret service details and other protections.

You know, in all these endless dragging years of horrors as I've witnessed them -- a very few of them let me haste to add compared to Haitians and those living in so many other places -- since 9/11 and the WOMD lies, Katrina "heck of a job, Brownie," and hurricane after hurricane battering friends throughout the Caribbean and the South, and my own home too, shoggoth and his minions taking over the country -- in some ways this reddit site is the most horrible because the most depressing, the most despairing and hopeless in what it tells us about the people who live in this country.  Because it is determined derangement that is literally killing people I love and so much else that has made life worth living, despite the horrors.  It's Cthulhu manifest in our time and space. And it's from CHOICE, because, honestly? they cannot bear women and other Others having anything from decent jobs and housing and health care to R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Jesus and his saints weep.

Even with the historical highly documented evils, such as nazism and the Holocaust, you can see how there were people who saw personal advantages of various sorts from propagating evil lies, whether or not they truly believed the bs they said -- though whether they didn't, they still committed the acts, let us not forget.

But there is nothing to be gained by these deranged populations in what they are doing to themselves and others.  Though I suppose they, as cannon fodder, are helping those who designed all this for the sake of power.  Power over smoking ruin and ashes.

Well, then, there is that.  They take all the rest of us and everything wonderful with them.  They owned us, they really really really did. 

You win.  That's what you want to hear. 

So, can you get vaccinated now?

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Warm and Woolly September

      . . . . Ay-up, in the 80's, fuerza sunshine.  Of course this is the day to trek to REI and buy serious wool sox, and hit the shops on Broadway for cashmere sweaters. To balance this out, my personal air conditioning unit is arriving tomorrow.  I'll continue to have use for this for at least another three weeks, I suppose.

     . . . . .Other significant news: CNN reports that as of today, 1 in 500 people in the US have died of Covid.

~~~~~~~~~ Books

Some serious reading has arrived in la casa, because people send us books. 

Just today we received Libros Y Grabaos De Artistas Cubanas: 1985-2008, the catalog for the exhibit held in a different world, held at the Museum of Modern Art, and funded by the Grolier Club of Manhattan. It's a beautiful volume, splendidly fabricated, with equally beautiful content.

Illuminating antiquity, somebody I don't even know -- though I do know his name, I've never met the person -- sent me a copy of the massive, annotated, mapped, appendiced and encyclopedic indexed The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories (2007), edited by Robert B. Strassler.  It's so big it's too heavy to hold. It has to rest on a lap desk or some other support. A reference resource. I have read Herodotus's Histories -- or at least read widely in them. The Polish journalist, Ryszard Kapuściński has read them all, many times.  He annotates Herodotus with his own book, Travels with Herodotus (2004) which focuses on a lifetime of reading Herodotus on the road, studying and reporting. He never traveled without the Histories. Even if one isn't familiar with or care about Herodotus, as with all of Kapuściński's writing it well worth reading, because so goo.

Now for the busy, busy 19th Century.

The title is unfortunate because it make the book sound like a Victorian sensationalist 'true crime' tale, when The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge, and the Phoenix Park Murders That Stunned Victorian England (2021) by Julie Kavangh, is a serious work of history. In Serbia it was the Black Hand, the open-secret society that funded and planned the assassination of Duke Ferdinand and his wife in 1914.  Here in 1882, it's the Irish American funded, Invincibles, the militant arm of the Irish Independence Movement. At the moment when talks between the Movement and the British government were making headway, the day after Gladstone's emissary, Lord Frederick Cavendish arrives, he and the Irish undersecretary, Thomas Burke, are assassinated by the Invincible in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes and Global Politic (2021) by Mae Ngai, traces the anti-Chinese racism in the gold fields around the world 1848-1899. It was remarkably the same in South Africa and Australia as it was in California.

People still buy our books. We just heard a school in New Orleans is purchasing two hundred copies of The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square. In the meantime, most of New Orleans's power was restored by the end of last week, but not so out there in Cajun Country.  People we know have organized a truck convoy to take supplies to Thibodeaux and Houma. With our contribution I requested sanitary supplies in various sizes be included. People, even when women are part of the organizing and planning, tend to forget this necessity.

~~~~~~~~~~~ Watching

Tomorrow Postmambo Movie Night presents The Rumba Kingsfollowed by a conversation with filmmaker Alan Brain.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~My Favorite Thing This Week (so far)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, at Monday night's Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (part 1), in a borrowed dress from her designer girlfriend and 'escort':

The meta and the irony of this.  So much reading one can do -- 
"I don't really care - do you?"  That one has never attended any Met Costume gala!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Fire In The Hole. Again. A Rant



I can't hear you because don't do media beyond radio and newspapers and I shut off the radio, and I stopped reading the newspapers too.

 . . . .  Twenty-one years later, here we are again.

All the same blobmediaidiots blathering the same things TheyBlathered after 9/11, Afghanistan, the Middle East, terrorism, immigrants, and with Hurricane Ida and New Orleans, all the same blobmediaidiots blathering the same They Blathered after Katrina and oil in the Gulf and and and and, which brings us the periodic resurrection of recognition there is climate change, by golly, and it is here, it really is here! as with Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and NYC, Ida and New York. All discovered, like Madonna's virgin, for the very first time.  

Does anyone remember the blobmediaidiots blathering climate change and rising ocean levels after Venice's flooding, o way back in 2019. 

By month's end this all will be down the irrelevant-and-forget hole, until the next occasion for the Same blobmediaidiots to resurrect and rewind. 

The same politiciansidiotblobblather also.  Who in hell thinks bushwa qualified to say anything in 2021 about 9/11, terrorism and Afghanistan?

This time with Ida, somehow the same blobmediaidiots missed their blather about loooooooooooooooooooooooooooters!  Could it be that some of them heard from people who weren't able to escape to their second homes in the country what real looters are like?  O wait they saw it on NYC tv, they didn't need to hear.  Maybe they got their looter fix back last summer.  Funny how that event immediately got shoved down the irrelevant-and-forget hole. Will it return, ya think, around mayoral election time?

Do not confuse the criminal looting that we lived through here with the ongoing BLM protests, at which there was no rioting, no cruelty, etc. etc. etc.  Except from cops.  The same cops who just stood there and did nothing when the actual looters, organized and equipped by professional criminals, did the deeds for at least two nights.

The idiots are never more idiotic than times such as these, except the covidiots who are having Glory Times non-stop.

When we'll learn all over again it's all Biden's fault, every single every bit. Or it's the fault of AOC.  Or Obama. Or Clinton. All of them But somehow never Bushwa's 1 & 2, Brownie's or the orange shoggoth's or Bolton's or Cheney's or Gingrich's or or or or ....

O give it up.  We know all of it whatever it is is the fault of Others, not ourselves. Most certainly never the fault of faux noose and big tech and white supremacists, bigots, haters of all kinds. Who must be respected and catered to by blobmediaidiots at all times because reality and facts hurt their feelings and make them mad at us and then the advertisers go away.

In the meantime one cannot walk on the sidewalks or get through the streets from about 6th Ave and West 4th, down into our neighborhood below Bleecker because all firemen, all very very very drunk, without masks, smoking cigars.

And us, in the meantime?  The 9/11 trauma for us manifested into a phobia, a deep reluctance to be anywhere from whence we couldn't make it home on foot.  Fear of leaving the neighborhood, fear of leaving home. This lasted nearly a year. It returns again with every Something that takes place that affects us, even if we aren't presently there on the ground.  But never to the extent of 9/11.  Until pandemic. We really don't want to leave our familiar haunts, our comfort zone.  So much reluctance. Even though we're all overrun by those who leave their own haunts with greatest enthusiasm.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Martin Walker's The Coldest Case: A Short, Sort Of Book Review


Walker, Martin (2021) The Coldest Case: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel. The latest installment.

Walker recently won a French literary prize for representation of Southern France and culture to the world.'

I have an additional affection for Walker’s series now too.  I introduced these books to M, back in the summer of 2020.  They helped distract her from the ordeal of cancer tests and treatments, when it was possible to be distracted still, without morphine. She died last month.  I wish she'd been able to read this latest Bruno.

Areas near the French city of Marseille have been hit by a series of wildfires, burning homes and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents.

I'd expected the next installment of the Brunos would deal with the pandemic as central to Provencal milieu. But it's the wildfire-drought summer of 2016 - 2017 - 2018 - 2019, or maybe even 2020?  Which year it is, is not specified, but it could be any one of them, or even this summer, except of course the book was going through its production process then. However, since there's no reference to previous drought and wildfire summers, this reader assumes 2016.* There are many references to the dangers to the Dordogne in particular, and the series of caves filled with prehistoric paintings, of which Lescaux is only the most famous, though may be not the most important. Which again suggests 2016, because, though wildfires were not unusual in this region in the summers previous to 2016, the extent of the burning and length of time they burned, was new.  Now, like in California, this is the norm.

Castelnaud-la-Chapelle village with Château de Castelnaud castle, Dordogne, Perigord noir, France

The locals – Bruno’s idea of course – employ (a castle that exists in reality) Château de Castelnaud’s re-created trebuchets throughout a set-piece’s endless night to hurl tonnages of ice and water into the advancing conflagration's front lines, retarding it long enough for France’s military fire-fighting planes to be able to fly (so low they have to go, it’s too dangerous at night in the mountains) and spray water on the front – and, not incidentally, as the series is all about the local,** save the castle.

Holy cow!  A litter of puppies are born!

Plus, for the murder mystery, and the historical elements of the Brunos’ formulae, Stasi surveillance documents and trained East German infiltrators from the 1980’s are central.
There's an attempted rape upon a young doctoral archaeologist by a gendarme, which rape is extraneous to all of the story lines, so the reader wonders if a gendarme assaulted a friend of the author? Or else, since she's essential to the solution of the local mystery, but never gets any page time, or time to spend with the local interlocked powers that be/friends, which is lamented several times by Bruno -- this is how author gives her some recognition? Balzac the Bassett's first sired litter of puppies get much more attention than this young archaeologist. Constant attention in fact, even though nobody’s seen them except on Bruno’s fone. Everyone cares about the puppies. Sadly then, we understand this way just what an Outsider she is to this local influencer network intersecting with others of their ilks throughout France in the police, military, media, education, politics, finance, medicine and law (hmm what does it mean that the Church isn't represented in this group?) -- just as it has been at least since the Renaissance. Nobody cares about the young archaeologist Nobody, unconnected to Somebodies. But they do feel vaguely guilty about it, since the author does.   (How much book are we willing make, if this character recurs down the line, as so many do, it will turn out she's the niece of Somebody?)

On the other hand – puppies! And all our recurring characters, as do we readers, know Balzac since he was a pup, and love him well, while nobody knows the archaeologist, including we the readers. Local social circle-hierarchies are cruel as families to those who aren't really part of them.

This means, though, I can still look forward to a Pandemic in Provence Bruno. Or Pandemic and wildfires in Provence, just like 2020 and 2021.


  *    We were there in Provence between those of 2017 and 2018.  Wolves had been seen for the first time in decades, if not centuries, in the mountains of our friends' village.  I asked then if it were possible the wildfires had sent them to the region, but no one knew.

**  Which makes this series part of the mysteries classified as "cosies", one supposes?  That this is so contributes no little to its success, one further supposes, as the thriller aspects of the larger plots are often not plausible if one looks at them for one second.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

I Say, You Say, They Say, All Say "Abbott (Who Needs Costello)"


Why, yes, as we say, say we all, so says AOC

He is not familiar with a female body

Cortez went on to explain the basic biology surrounding pregnancies, and that many pregnancies are often undetected at six weeks. She said: “In case no one has informed him before in his life, six weeks pregnant means two weeks late on your period. And two weeks late on your period, for any person with a menstrual cycle, can happen if you’re stressed, if your diet changes, or for really no reason at all. So you don’t have six weeks.”

Cortez added: “He speaks from such a place of deep ignorance, and it’s not just ignorance. It’s ignorance that’s hurting people.”

Recall the New York woman who waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day said, "If men got pregnant abortion would be a sacrament."? That was Gloria Steinem They (the blobmedia) was determined to tell us, but Steinem said it was Floryence Kennedy who said, she had heard it in Boston from an elderly Irish lady taxi cab driver.

And even further back than that in New York there were Susan B. Anthony and Cady Stanton.  The staging of Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thompson's opera re Anthony, The Mother of Us All in February 2020, was the last time I've been there.  Sigh.


     . . . .  Brain's been in a funk the last several days.  I hope I'm coming out of this state in which I just don't wanna bother because why bother?  A weekend without a hurricane, without a hurricane watch, without a hurricane, all of which were disasters to so very many of our near and dear, after three in row, has helped. El V insisted we Go Out to observe our Carnalversary, which is Labor Day Weekend (why yes, that was a date that lasted the entire long weekend!) helped too.  There's just been so much death, delta, destruction, voter suppression, and all around wickedness in the last few weeks that my processing capacitors seemed to have needed to shut down for a while.  All I want to do is watch old Poirets on Acorn tv and read novels.

Books, we have them.  I brought home two from the library this afternoon.

I'm going to re-read Sharon Kay Penman's second Plantagenet novel Time And Change (2002), now I've finished the re-read of When Christ and His Saints Slept (1995) -- well that one I listened to while working out.  This one I'll read with mine own eyes. Henry II and Eleanor have courted and married, he's become king.  In this second novel Henry and Beckett's alliance-friendship fails in murder; Henry and Eleanor's brilliant erotic, romantic, strategic marriage alliance of equals goes to hell yet with love abiding. Can there be anything more dramatic that that?

The second novel I brought home is The Personal Librarian (2021) by Mare  Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. This historical fiction is centered upon the mixed race, passing for white, brilliant woman, who was John Pierpont Morgan’s first librarian, in charge of his magnificent collection in the building that is now the Pierpont Morgan Library.  I've been looking forward to reading this novel since late spring / early summer.

Delivery brought three non-fiction books today too.  

Toby Green's A Fistful of Shells: West Africa From the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution (2019) a history of the African slave trades -- not only the Atlantic slave trade.  I wish we'd had this book back when we were writing the bodies as money sections of The American Slave Coast (2015).  

We received Ada Ferrer's latest book, just released, Cuba: An American History.  We will not be suprised if she gets the Pulitzer for it. She's speaking tomorrow night at a NYPL event, but tomorrow night is Postmambo Movie Night, so we cannot participate.

September 9 and 16, 2021

NOLA Reconnect Sessions and Postmambo Movie Night present
Cuba and Africa: Ivor Miller and The Rumba Kings [Some serious Congo Guitar Godding going on' here! ]

The bidirectional flow of music between Cuba and Africa, with Abakuá and Congo perspective

And, a book that can't be more New York if it tried, Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destablized America and Produced Trump (2021) by Spencer Ackerman. OK, so it's not just about New York, but it is stuffed with what we experienced up close and personal.


      . . . . As for watching, I'm continuing with King of Boys (2021), Season 1, Netflix Original and the re-watch of The Last Kingdom, 4 seasons, the best 'period' television going. 

Brain, heart, soul in funk though, so bad has it been, that I missed working out one day last week, I keep wanting My Life Is Murder, season 2 (2021), in sunny, colorful Sydney, featuring Lucy Lawless as police consultant, Alexa Crowe.  In the latest episode we here learn that even if successful enough for Las Vegas, Sydney? New Zealand? drag queens cannot compare to the stunning, talented, spectacular drag beauties we are used to. Also, by time the drag duet was to go to Las Vegas, Las Vegas was closed, but they evidently didn't know that, even though Alexa's assistant, Madison called Vegas to learn for who rooms were booked. 

Thus -- I'm most confused.  Supposedly they are now somewhere in New Zealand ... for ... reasons? Family?  But it still looks like Sydney.

We  learn Alexa has a brother in prison and her father was something of a crook and con man -- just like Miss Fischer's dad!  The bro is played by the dude who plays Sam on Netflix's northern California soap opera, Virgin River. He isn't convincing as an Aussie, New Zealander, whatever.  

Alexa and Madison

They Say that Renee O'Conner will show up in one of the episodes, so Xena fan service, I guess? Alas, only a single episode released per week, just as with Vera's season 11. So I began re-watching the earlier BBC Suchet Poirots too. 


     . . . . This afternoon I officially began preparing for the long cold winter ahead.  I have discovered REI Co-op, an outdoor activities store.  This means they carry some serious cold temperature kit.  I started with the over the calf heavy duty merino sox, with extra layers on the soles.  I'll pick up more items like caps and more sox, particularly for el V in the next few weeks, as it couldn't be more convenient to do so, located between here and one of the library branches where I pick up ordered materials.

Keep on truckin' all we all!  

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Daily Depressions, Reading, Watching

      . . . . Our tiny but sublime vacation was followed immediately by non-stop crises of all kinds, all of them made by those over whom we have no control.  Death was bookended by Hurricane Henri and Hurricane Ida. Ida's hollowed out New Orleans's professional class. With no prospect for the return of power for perhaps months, they left the city.  They have the resources to do so -- Tulane shuts down for 6 weeks, but keeps remote learning going, so the faculty get paid.  You see what I mean?  So in crazy heat and humidity, no power, no a/c, no home, no money, no food, no water -- what do you think will happen to those in New Orleans left behind?  Not a scrap of a FEMA person on the ground has yet been seen.

Though we personally have been spared hurricane crises -- so far, as tonight and tomorrow we get a month's worth of rain wrung from Ida's tattered, passing skirts into our already overflowing reservoirs and saturated earth* -- there are the western wildfires, whose toxin-laden smoke we are not spared. The mid-west is dying of drought, while the Gulf is drowning in flood. The blob that calls itself the responsible media is determined to crucify our President in the name of ... what???? A man in a no-win situation had the guts to let go the wolf's ears (which T Jefferson, referring to slavery, said could not be done -- but then, TJ become quite famous in the South, in Virginia, for his cowardice ....) does so, and some how this is reprehensible, but the Jan 1 insurrectionists are merely mis-understood, and must be forgiven.

Then ... there is covid's Delta variant which relentlessly tsunami's across the country.  In Illinois, Bro says he and his cohorts are calling it the "Unvaccinated Pandemic."  They are not saying this good-naturedly. They are as furious abut this as I am  Then comes more death, not from covid, but from people who can't get treatment due to the Unvaccinated Pandemic taking all the medical resources.  This is not of any personal making on our part, or that of anyone we know.  In the meantime, more voter repression, more war on women's reproductive rights and health. In the meantime too, the non-stop crisis that is Haiti, and now also that of Cuba, keep rolling.

And now, I am staring at the approaching mouth of winter's tunnel, a third cold, dreary winter, pretty much enclosed in this tiny space with one other person.  All we're seeing at the end of this tunnel is more vaccinations, more masks and even more dangerous covid variants. Because of Those Ilks.  Well, even people in my family now believe that is how it is with the rethugs: if They don't get Their way one way, They'll get it by something even crazier, such as killing Their own.  Whatever it takes, They get 'er done. **

So I've not been of much use to anyone outside of what is, again,  a tiny circle of close friends who happen to be physically close by, close enough we can meet informally in one of the neighborhood's small parks.  And I'm good for cooking. We continue to eat very well.  I have a big pot roast in the slow cooker right now, with wine, beef stock, herbs, onion, potatoes, carrots and 'shrooms.  It was a home delivery error on the part of MW's interpretation of what I'd ordered back in the spring. On such a wet day, with night temps for the next 2 - 3 nights going into the 60's and even 60's, it made sense to get it out of the freezer.


     . . . . Fortunately there is a great deal of good reading, and good watching. Never in my past life could I possibly have imagined there would be an extended period of my in which television would be of the greatest importance! This is the state of reading and watching as of today.



Penman, Sharon Kay (1995) When Christ and His Saints Slept.  The workout audio book.  I’m going to re-work my way through the Penman Plantagent series.

~ ~ ~ ~


Walker, Martin (2021) The Coldest Case: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel. The latest, for which I've been waiting since last September.

Walker just won a French literary prize for representation of Southern France and culture to the world.  I have an additional affection for Walker’s series now too.  I introduced these books to Mary F. back in the summer of 2020, and she loved them too.



Herrin, Judith (2021) Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe. This one I read alone.

Sampson, Fiona (2021) Two-Way Mirror: The Life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I have only a few pages left. I'd have finished it by now but the author is so irritating as she insists on being in the book, and she is not interesting.

Wickham, Chris (2009) The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400 – 1000. El V and I continue this aloud every night before lights out. 

~ ~ ~ ~ 


Beran, Michael Knox (2010) Pathology of the Elites: How the Arrogant Classes Plan to Run Your Life.

Clark, Christopher (2013) The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914.

Raven, Catherine (2021) Fox & I: An Uncommon Friendship


Watch for: Vera, season 11, 1st, every Tuesday – BritBox;  Frankie Drake Mysteries, season 4, 3rd – PBS; Midsomer Murders, season 22, part 2, ? – Acorn; Crooked House (2017 film fr, an Agatha Christie novel), NF – 1st; Lucifer, season 6/final, 10th – NF; Dear White People, season 4/final, 22nd - NF; 


My Life Is Murder, season 2, 3rd through the 10th eps, 1st – Acorn -- sundrenched Sydney, Lucy Lawless.  Nuff Said.

~  ~ ~ ~ ~


King of Boys  (2018) season 1, "The Return of the King"; Netflix Original.  I started this 7 episode series last night.

Made in Nigeria, by Nigerians, located in Lagos. Even in the first episode the show is ‘showing up’ the endless traditional internal conflicts, such as Yoruba vs Igbo.  Complicating things further we have a Nigerian version of protestant evangelical Christianity (a prosperity church, you betcha, with all the prosperity going to the head minister, natch), and so much more.

It opens media res within a prolonged party, dancing to live music. Money is being ‘sprayed’ i.e. the guests are “making it rain” – they are shoving, pouring, sticking, thousands of dollars upon the giver of the party and the musicians, a tradition in the Afro Caribbean as well as West Africa. So right away there’s a lot going on with which I have a certain level of long-time familiarity.

It’s as multi-lingual as Lagos is. The show is mostly English, but Nigerian English as well as the traditional languages of Yoruba and Igbo. Subtitles are provided then. Plus there is the local pidgin, for which the viewer might like to take advantage of closed captioning. The characters who know each other long and respect and like each frequently lapse into pidgin, a Nigerian variant of code switching done among friends, in the same way African Americans do this among each other.  There is this too -- 'King' is a woman.  She's addressed as "Oba" which is a male gendered title in Yoruba.  If one knows this right at the start, a whole lot of information is provided just by that.

Vivid, intense and not the USA at all.


*   Even as I type now, the rain begins. I hear it spraying against the window panes.

** See "The Density Divide and the Southernification of Rural America: The Old North/South Split Lives on in the Urban/Rural Divide"  by Will Wilkinson. Thanks to Lawyers, Guns & Money for tipping me to it.

. . . . One of the puzzles of the 2016 election, and the catastrophe of the Trump presidency, is how populist white nationalism finally prevailed at a time when Americans, taken altogether, were less racist than ever. This is one of the questions I take up in the “Density Divide.” But I left out one of my favorite answers to this question largely because it’s too speculative and I didn’t have the data to prove it. My hunch is that rural white culture, which was once regionally varied and distinctive, became more uniform by becoming increasingly Southern. I call this the Southernification thesis.

In the "Density Divide", I argued that the key to answering “Why did white ethnonationalism finally work to win the GOP nomination and then the White House when it didn’t even get close to working for Pat Buchanan or Ron Paul?” was that residential self-selection on ethnicity, personality, and education had made lower density parts of the country progressively more homogenously ethnocentric and socially conservative, which finally made it possible to unify and organize rural and exurban whites as a single constituency.

I’m confident that this is correct, as far as it goes. However, I think it’s an incomplete explanation without something like the Southernification thesis. Before it could be successfully organized politically, America’s increasingly ethnocentric non-urban white population needed to be consolidated first through the adoption of a relatively uniform ethnocentric white culture.

What I’m still groping for is solid empirical confirmation that the Southernification of white rural America did happen and, if so, how it happened. Now, I have few doubts that it did happen and is still happening. Indeed, it’s hard to think of better impressionistic evidence than the spread of Confederate flags far from the South into all parts of white rural America. But that doesn’t seem like quite enough.

But let’s suppose that it is enough. How did Southernification happen? I’m going to take this up at length in another, even more speculative, post. But here’s where I would start: When I was a kid, the Atlanta Braves somehow became “America’s Team.” Could it be that the media mogul who married Hanoi Jane took the critical first step in bringing non-urban white America together by beaming sanitized Southern culture into living rooms everywhere? . . . .

This is the most cogent explanation for what has happened that I've seen.  Of course, one doesn't see it in the Blob, which is what Lawyers, Guns & Money have taken to calling the so-called media, made up of people who have gotten whatever it is wrong almost every time, but still keep getting paid big money to keep getting it wrong.