Opening Sentence, The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal

Self has decided to juggle reading Evan Thomas’s First: Sandra Day O’Connor with Stendhal’s The Charterhouse of Parma.

She’s trying to finish writing two novels and they’re both political novels, so reading Stendhal should help.

Chapter One, The Charterhouse of Parma:

On May 15, 1796, General Bonaparte entered Milan at the head of that young army which had lately crossed the Lodi Bridge and taught the world that after so many centuries Caesar and Alexander had a successor.

W.O.W. From the foreword: This tale was written in the winter of 1830 and three hundred leagues from Paris . . .

The translation self is reading is by Richard Howard.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

The Pandemic Protocol (The New Yorker, 4 May 2020)

Ground Zero was Evergreen Health, a hospital in Kirkland, WA, just east of Seattle: Here was where the first diagnosis of corona virus in the United States was confirmed. That was back in January. Dr. Francis Riedo was the “medical director for infectious disease at Evergreen Health.”

  • “A national shortage of diagnostic kits for the new coronavirus meant that only people who had recently visited China were eligible for testing. Even as Evergreen Health’s beds began filling with cases of flu-like symptoms — including a patient from Life Care, a nursing home two miles away — the hospital’s doctors were unable to test them for the new disease, because none of these sufferers had been to China or been in contact with anyone who had.”

Testing finally began at the end of February, when “there had been only six detections of the corona virus in the U.S., and only one in Washington State.”

During the previous few weeks, “researchers, in quiet violation of CDC guidelines, had jury-rigged a corona virus test in their lab and had started using it on their samples. They had just found a positive hit: a high school student in a suburb twenty-eight miles from Seattle, with no recent history of foreign travel and no known interactions with anyone from China.”

Dr. Riedo sent two patient samples to the local department of health. “I was sure they’d be negative. “Riedo got a call from his friend at the public health lab. Both of the samples he had sent were positive. Riedo sent over swabs from nine other Evergreen Health patients. Eight were positive.” Riedo kept sending more samples, and “most of the patients tested positive.”

And so it began.

The article was written by Charles Duhigg.

Just For Fun, 10 Latest Bookmarks

Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge # 109: UNDER THE SUN

This week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is UNDER THE SUN.

Read to the very end of the post about the theme. The quote from E. M. Forster.

It is still summer. Can you believe it? Summer came. And stayed the usual length of time, despite pandemic and politics.

At the end of July, self visited Filoli Gardens, in Woodside. It had been decades since she’d last been.

DSCN0058

Filoli Gardens, Woodside, July 2020

Here’s another picture of the gardens. Visitors wore masks and maintained social distancing. Lines to get in are long, because soooo many people want to get in, and those in line must stand six feet apart.

DSCN0056

In contrast, here’s self’s own garden (sad, dry as the foothills). She took this picture just a few minutes ago:

DSCN0138

The Backyard Today

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

Looking Back, November 2016

Self is doing catch-up reading of The New Yorker. She’s currently reading The Talk of the Town of the 3 February 2020 issue:

  • In the dazed aftermath of the 2016 election, as a vast portion of the country tried to come to terms with the fact that a fixture of the tabloids and of reality TV would be the next President of the United States . . .

Steve Bannon announces the new President’s agenda in an interview to — not The New York Times, not the Wall Street Journal, not the Washington Post, but to The Hollywood Reporter which would have been telling except we were all too dazed from shock to grasp the direction the wind was blowing:

We’re going to build an entirely new political movement.

Four years later, here we are. The new political movement turns out to be nothing more than a transparent and clumsy power grab by the most rank amateur ever to occupy the White House. All that fanfare, all that hoopla — all just a distraction, all smoke and shiny mirrors. To call it tinsel-town Hollywood would be an insult to the actual Hollywood.

Does self sound bitter? That’s because she is. She voted for Hillary and really, really thought that American women would have their moment. Instead, we got the president who’s a serial cheater and the First Lady who was so enthusiastic about being First Lady that she re-negotiated the terms of her pre-nup before she agreed to move into the White House.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

Sentence of the Day: Evan Thomas

The Lazy B got about ten inches a year, barely enough, and in some years not that.

— p. 9, First: Sandra Day O’Connor

The first female justice on the US Supreme Court grew up on a cattle ranch called the Lazy B in Arizona, and the ranch hands (most from Mexico) named their horses Hysterectomy, Hemorrhoid, Idiot, and in one case, Swastika (in jest, self is sure)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: Thomas Candish

I navigated to the Islands of the Philippines, hard on the coast of China: of which country I have brought intelligence.

— Thomas Candish, 1588

Sentence of the Day: Doreen G. Fernandez

  • The drive from Dumaguete through Bais and Mabinay to Kabankalan, Negros Occidental is an excellent road, past hills and valleys, even a zig-zag portion, through fields and towns, and hardly a billboard.

Self has driven this route. Ten years ago.

Doreen G. Fernandez (self’s second mother) had made an appointment to visit Vicente Lobaton, kinilaw artist. Kinilaw is the Filipino version of sushi. And it’s rather a specialty in the Visayan Islands, in the central Philippines. The number one requirement is that the seafood be freshly caught. And in a country with over 7000 islands, there’s no excuse not to have seafood that is freshly caught. Kinilaw is served with a “dressing” called sawsawan. Want to know more? It’s all in Doreen’s book, Kinilaw (1991) She goes on to describe the meal, which involved kinilaw crab, fish, and shrimp. (SO hungry right now)

Doreen was from the self-same island that Dear Departed Dad was from. It has a very non-PC name: Negros. That’s right, the island is named Negros because its people were dark. It has been named that since the 16th century. It is divided into two provinces: Negros Occidental (where self’s Dear Departed Dad, and Doreen, were from) and Negros Oriental. Negros Oriental has this really cool city called Dumaguete, which became the title for one of self’s short stories (It’s in MsAligned 3, published earlier this year)

Vicente, who goes by Enting, has two restaurants on Negros. One is Enting’s Manukan in Sagay; the other is Enting’s Lechonan on 17th St. near Lacson in downtown Bacolod, the capitol of Negros Occidental.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The True Face of Freedom Wears a Mask

Kwame Anthony Appiah in wsj, Sat/Sun Aug. 8 – 9, 2020:

What’s the iconic image of American freedom? To judge by countless rock and country songs, it’s rolling down the highway, possibly with the wind in our hair. Sure, there were comforts back home, but also expectations and obligations, and now, rockin’ down the highway, you’re free from all that.

But what does it take to roll on down the highway? Well, a highway, for starters. The federal government built the interstate highway system, using its constitutional prerogative of eminent domain hundreds of thousands of times to keep it straight, while collecting taxes to pay for its construction and maintenance. And then you can only speed down your lane because you know that the other cars are moving in the same direction. Governmental power, exercised through a veritable trailer-load of law, is what makes it possible to keep truckin’ on.

Minimal-state libertarians tend to revile regulations while prizing private property and the free market. But property rights are meaningless without legal procedures to sort out ownership and mechanisms of enforcement to protect it.


The piece is extremely long and takes up most of page C4 in tiny print, so self will resist quoting too much. The upshot is: There’s precious little freedom in the sick ward and less still in the graveyard.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Playing With Language

Excerpts from self’s story “First Life” that appeared in Juked, 2015. The point of view belongs to a boy named Dragon. He’s sitting in a classroom of the future (Just because it’s the future doesn’t mean people don’t daydream, ha!)

Today I’m thick or something because thoughts are dark as dark.


Sunlight and glass, Prisms and mirrors. My mind is floating out there, beyond the windows. Out there, where swish swish goes something, maybe the wind.

 

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