monk222: (Bonobo Thinking)
2017-07-26 01:13 pm


Trump has banned transgender people from the military. Chris Hayes tweets, "He's going to lean in to culture war the more threatened he feels and it will get far far uglier." It is kind of remarkable why he hasn't gotten to work on 'the wall' yet. Maybe he is saving it for a more serious crisis, such as when he fires Mueller, or perhaps when he moves to pardon himself and his family.

monk222: (Cats)
2017-07-25 09:10 pm


A lot of rumbling in the heavens above us this evening, if not directly above us, at least in the vicinity - we can hear it, right? I am watering, getting the trees in the back, the big one and mom's plum tree. Pop is suggesting that maybe I don't need to do so. But the city is on water restrictions now, and this is my one day of the week to take care of this business, and the forecast gives us only a 20% chance of rain. Rain is a long shot and I'm not betting on it. I'm almost done. According to the weather maps, that storm is a bit west of us, and it is not likely to wet us, just get our hopes up and make the cats a little jumpy.
monk222: (Default)
2017-07-25 03:47 pm


There is an old and beloved expression, “to speak truth to power.” But there is also such a thing as speaking truth to people — which too few leaders are willing to do.

-- Jay Nordlinger
monk222: (Mori: by tiger_ace)
2017-07-24 07:57 pm


Kind of feeling like I am about down and out for the count. Even the poetry is getting wearisome. I am feeling that the only thing that will save me now is some real life, the good life: pal-ing and joking around with pals, having dinner with a pretty girlfriend, some serious person-on-person fucking. And nothing less will do. Like that can happen! I might as well grow wings and fly away. Maybe I should just see how much of the day I can give over to merely sleeping and eating, and see if something inspires me before I rot away and die.

* * *

Next day...

Apparently I still need to remind myself not to take the despairing mood of an evening too seriously. In large part, it is about a brain that has been reduced to mashed potatoes after a long day. I am weakened and feel emptied, and of course I have nothing to show for it. Sure, I get a little depressed. A night's sleep and restoration is usually enough to take care of it, and I can go back to pushing my boulder back up the hill.
monk222: (DarkSide: by spiraling_down)
2017-07-24 10:02 am


I guess it was a bad time to get a box of Captain Crunch when we got our groceries. Here I am now trying to cut the sodas and sugar from my diet, as if I still have time to save myself and have a better life, and now I open the cupboard and come upon that cereal box with the wild-eyed cartoon captain welcoming us to the world of diabetes. Looking at the nutrition panel, I see that, as far as sugar goes, it's not a lot worse than my regular Cheerios, just a few grams more. But it just feels wrong. For one thing, if I am going to eat cereal, at least it shouldn't have cartoon characters on the box. And the truth is, it didn't taste that good to me. I had gotten it because I was feeling a little desperate to have more pizzazz for my breakfast, but this morning it only tasted to me like sweetened fizzle. My problem is that Cheerios tastes only like somewhat less sweetened fizzle. I come back to my old joke: it ought to be easier for me to eat less and lose weight, if I hardly like anything that I eat. I am obviously misunderstanding something.
monk222: (Cats)
2017-07-23 05:53 pm


The winds are kicking up hard. Overcast. There is nothing in the forecast about rain, but there is nothing in the forecast about violent winds and darkened afternoon skies either.

Ash came in right away, obviously spooked by all the blowing about. Interestingly, Sammy is holding out, going to the back corner and settling down in the sizeable hole there. I guess it's the rain that he really hates or fears, because he is usually quick to come indoors when the weather goes awry.

If Sammy came in, I would go out and mow the back. I have been looking for an opportunity, but the cats rarely come in the house these days. I don't want to mow while they are outside. I hate the idea of scaring them away with the roar of the mower, hence increasing their chances of meeting up with mean dogs or slithering snakes or cruel boys. But I got to mow by Tuesday.
monk222: (Default)
2017-07-23 01:45 pm


“There is no Americano dream. There is only the American dream created by an Anglo-Protestant society. Mexican-Americans will share in that dream and in that society only if they dream in English.”

-- Samuel Huntington
monk222: (DarkSide: by spiraling_down)
2017-07-22 10:13 am


The harshest statement yet on our political situation comes from Jeet Heer: "Here's how it's going to roll: Trump will pardon himself, GOP will do nothing, USA constitution will be exposed, rightly, as a joke."

And I think he means that Trump remains in power, after pardoning himself. I had never considered that possibility before. I hope this is just dark humor driven by pique. If this actually comes to pass, then ... I guess everything would be a joke, but a very dirty one.

* * *

Heer deletes this tweet, expressing concern that the term 'rightly' is open to misinterpretation. He does not want to be accused of being anti-American or anti-Constitution. But if this Trumpian politics cannot be fought back, then it is what it is, and 'a joke' would be putting it kindly.

monk222: (Bonobo Thinking)
2017-07-22 06:39 am

The Political Crack-Up

An interesting point regarding our sharp and potentially explosive partisan polarization. Shannon McCormick tweets, "1992 was the first post Cold War election. I do think a certain good faith across partisan divides was needed for Cold War. After?" Looking for the proximate origin for our political strife, I had argued that Republicans became more militantly unified and darkly conspiratorial with the ascension of Newt Gingrich to Speaker of the House in 1994. But the collapse of the Soviet Union is a good answer. Though, I am still inclined to think that the ultimate ground zero was the Civil Rights Acts and Supreme Court decisions that elevated blacks and latinos to full citizenship status, and that this is ultimately the basis for the great divide.
monk222: (Default)
2017-07-22 06:25 am


“There is no one truth, but there are an awful lot of objective facts.”

-- Robert Caro

~ ~ ~

“You think three times before you put a word down, and ten times about taking it out.”

-- Robert Lowell
monk222: (Default)
2017-07-22 06:22 am


Can't sleep. I don't want to wake up. ... It's another five o'clock morning.
monk222: (Bonobo Thinking)
2017-07-21 11:00 pm
Entry tags:

The Left

We have some interesting discussion on the rise of a new left in American politics, a development which presumably has become more pronounced with the ascension of Trump to the iron throne. As Andrew Sullivan used to say, the money quote:

But the millennial left is not a return to the New Left of the 1960s — the student radicals, hippies and Yippies who raised hell in their efforts to end the Vietnam War and change American culture to make it less racist and sexist and more authentic. Rather it invokes the ideas of the Old Left of the 1930s — the militant labor unions, socialists and even communists who, in the context of the worst economic depression in American history, sought a genuine alternative to capitalism. ... In this view, the role of Clinton Democrats is to administer the decline of the New Deal, not fight for its expansion through different means.

We might get a test of their mettle as the crisis over Trump's legitimacy to rule heats up toward the boiling point, which could be real soon. We will see if they can do a better job at bringing out 'people power' than such leftist organizations as the Occupy movement.

[Andrew Hartman at The Washington Post]
monk222: (Default)
2017-07-21 03:57 pm


“I write because I hate. A lot. Hard.”

-- William Gass
monk222: (Noir Detective)
2017-07-20 10:09 pm


"About America, I want to say something: Every four or eight years, you elect a new president, and the president is like a virgin who must be educated in, you can say, the world. We like America because you are friendly and believe in nice things, but the Russians understand how the world works."

-- Russian ambassador

~ ~ ~

“I measure my life in pages.”

-- Hunter S. Thompson
monk222: (Primal Hunger)
2017-07-20 09:44 pm


That scared the bajesus out of me! I was merrily looking up live baseball games on the schedule and clicking on some of them to record. Then, on one game, I get this notice that it is a pay-per-view program. It was the same channel that I had been recording previous games this week. It's a baseball channel.

Immediately, I was scared that an imperfection in Dish's programming might have had me recording games that were 'pay' games, charging me without my knowing. Remember, Pop already seemed to be upon his breaking point over the busted brake-light. After looking through the channels, trying to figure out what is going on, I don't think I have added to our debt. I believe that I should have gotten that same notice if I had clicked on any pay games. But, in truth, I am not wholly sure and won't be until Pop gets his next bill. If I hear him scream and wail in his office like a clubbed baby seal, then I know I am in trouble.

For the record, yeah, I got into watching baseball games this week. It started on Twitter. They often have a video feed off to the side of their page, and one night they were streaming a baseball game. I gave it a try and was hooked right away. I was going to wait a week or two before saying anything in order to see if this might be a quickly passing thing not worth mentioning.

I think this might be my answer to what to watch on TV over my meals. Movies are too unreliable. If I can be interested in sports again, then I shouldn't have to worry about suffering any dry spells, since sports are ubiquitous. In addition to baseball, I don't see why I cannot regain my interest in following football as well. I am less optimistic about basketball, but it might do in a pinch in between the football and baseball seasons.

As for movies, I feel less interested in watching actors emoting. Maybe poetry is more than enough for my emotional needs. It might be nice to step a foot into the sports world. Aside from the fact that sports are vastly popular, I find myself enjoying its apolitical nature, a pleasant respite from a world that seems to be more darkly turning everyday.

And music wasn't really doing it for me either, whether classical or Miley. It's early days, but maybe baseball & football is my answer for killing time in a more efficient way.

* * *

The next morning...

I went to bed last night fairly free of worries. If I did fall for a pay-per-view trap, how much can a baseball game cost? There are hundreds of games, and it's July, mid-season. Maybe a dollar-ninety-nine, or at the most three-ninety-nine? Even my meager allowance can absorb that. I will just have to go a couple of weeks without getting a book or a deck of cards. Live and learn.

That easy calm got shattered this morning. I decided to take another look into the situation, feeling fairly confident that I was okay. I wanted to see how Dish responds when clicking onto pay shows. When I checked out one game, I read the whole notice with studied care, no longer feeling panicky as I was last night. Then the bottom fell out from under me: one game costs one-hundred-sixty-five dollars, not a dollar-sixty-five - almost two hundred fucking dollars!! I had watched three, maybe four games - maybe a thousand bucks worth if I was charged for it! I'd be dead.

I went to Dish's site to check out our account. This moved me to feats of memory and deduction. I doubt that Pop is even aware that he has an Internet account. But I got on. It doesn't look like I am down for any pay-per-view orders. But nothing short of absolute knowledge can clear my mind. Maybe, for instance, the Major League has a special side-deal with Dish. It's possible! Maybe it's not recorded on their Internet site. It's possible! I think I am okay, and this will be nothing but another case of hysteria, but I just cannot be sure of that.

My morning routine was shot down. I cannot concentrate on my books or my chess. I did some chores to help get me past this crisis. It's almost lunch time, and I think I might be re-normalizing, calming down. However, the bill doesn't come due for another few weeks, so this issue will be hovering over me like my own personal dark cloud.

* * *

In the afternoon...

I googled up some info on the MLB channels and Dish to see what I can learn. The $165 price looks a lot like their charge for a season pass, to watch any or all games of the baseball season broadcasted on their station. That makes more sense. I don't even think millionaires would care to pay a couple of hundred dollars to watch a mid-season baseball game.

So, I am feeling better about the situation. I am pretty sure they did not charge me for a season pass, or else I would already have access to all the games. I will close on this note, though: if I had middle-class money, I would likely buy a pass. These games readily absorb my attention, making for great dinner-theater for me.

* * *

A couple of days later...

As I had feared, I have given up my interest in watching the battles between pitchers and sluggers. It's more a matter of principle than anything. I could tune into a game right now and be readily absorbed and entertained by the action. Watching millionaire athletes just seems ... like just one of the most pointless of all the pointless ways I have of throwing away time. Maybe it would be different if I were a girl.
monk222: (Default)
2017-07-20 06:51 pm

O. J.

O. J. Simpson was granted parole for that robbery conviction over sports paraphernalia. I guess his judges did not allow themselves to be influenced by the double homicide of his one-time wife and the Goldman boy, measuring out justice formally and coolly.

He is 70 years old. So, he will get to live out the late-evening of his life as ... a relatively free man, just chilling out and thinking about his life and all the wild things that happened. I don't suppose he will go out partying and womanizing. I doubt that he is still a rich man, but maybe he won't have to live in a halfway house and eat frozen TV dinners. He probably still has a good friend or two left who has some means to comfort him in his last years.
monk222: (Default)
2017-07-19 09:51 pm


I hate my blob of a gut. I feel like an "Alien" monster should pop out of it.

It seems kind of late and pointless now - would that I were in my thirties! - but might there still be something to be said for cutting out the Cokes and the serious sweets, such as doughnuts and cookies and candy, as well as the sweetened tea?

Is this even a possibility? Or might I as well be speaking of publishing a novel or my own collection of poems, or meeting and falling in love with a real woman?
monk222: (Default)
2017-07-19 10:55 am


“Sometimes I think a writer should make up his mind whether he's going to be a writer or a reader.”

-- Jessamyn West

~ ~ ~

“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”

-- Michael Crichton
monk222: (Mori: by tiger_ace)
2017-07-18 06:22 pm

The Car

That's a little scary. Another threat to our not intolerably unhappy home. Now it's the car. Pop went for his annual sticker inspection, and failed. The back break-light went out. The replacement alone costs $250, he says, not counting labor - maybe another hundred? This mishap by itself might not have been so bad, but we just had that water-heater breakdown, and it is air-conditioning season. Pop is so financially strained that he said, "I feel like getting that gun and blowing my brains out!" This was not said in a humorous vein. He was quite passionate about it, like he is not too far off from a nervous breakdown.

Of course, the concern is not that he will actually shoot himself. He loves himself too much for that. Rather, he might do something upsetting about our budget, like decide that we don't need an air-conditioning season. In which case I might blow my brains out. I don't know if I love myself too much for that. In this, am I more like my father or my mother? I really don't want to find out.

This is kind of funny, in a perverse way. It sounds like the situation might come down to it being between him or me. "This budget isn't big enough for the both of us!" If that is the way he comes to see it, then he will just send me flowers - cheap plastic ones.

That's not as bad as it might sound at first. After all, if he goes down, then, in all seriousness, how can I go on anyway? The checks are in his name. He earned them. His way, at least one of us lives on. Why should we both fall?
monk222: (Effulgent Days)
2017-07-17 01:16 pm


“I once started a detective story to make money—but I couldn’t get the murder to take place!”

-- Mary McCarthy