Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: BIRDS

Self loves participating in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges. This week’s challenge is BIRDS.

Since self is a writer, she has a lot of books. When she travels, there are more books in her suitcase than clothes.

Two years ago, in London, self was trying to heft a suitcase onto a double decker. The bus driver actually left the wheel to help her (This would never happen in San Francisco. Or Redwood City, that’s for sure!). Self tried to warn him. He took one tug at self’s bag, gave her a sharp look, and said: “I tell you, it must make you feel really good leaving home, knowing you’ve brought all your books along with you.”

When she’s in London, she always stays in Bloomsbury. Which means, of course, frequent trips to the London Review Bookshop. She was so good, this last trip. She only bought four books. One of them was a book of Amazing Rare Things: The Art of Natural History in the Age of Discovery, by David Attenborough and Susan Owens.

Here’s one of the illustrations: Frigate Pelican, by John James Audubon, from his groundbreaking collection The Birds of America (published 1822):

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

A FACE IN THE CROWD: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 21 February 2018

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is “a face in the crowd.”

Self has a lot of pictures of anonymous people, because she travels a lot by herself.

In December 2017, self visited London’s Barbican for the first time. She went to see the Basquiat: Boom for Real exhibit. Life-changing.

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Before that, she was in Paris:

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Cinema Mac Mahon, on the Avenue of the same name in Paris, December 2017

Christmas Day 2017  in the Tuileries, Paris:

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Paris, December 25, 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Florida: Where Lightning Strikes

Self is still digging deep through her pile of stuff, languishing since 2015. Which is why the article about Trump that she reads this morning, in The New York Review of Books (September 2015) is so scary. Because it sounds exactly like right now. And Trump wasn’t even President yet.

If nothing else, the article, written by Michael Tomasky, shows that Trump did not suddenly sneak up on America like a Stealth bomber. His base was quietly building (like the ratings for his show, The Apprentice) for at least a decade.

An excerpt:

Is Trump not the logical culmination of where Republican politics have been headed for many years now, going back to the Clinton and Bush presidencies, but especially during the presidency of Barack Obama? Two qualities more than any others have driven conservatism in our time. The first is cultural and racial resentment, felt by the mostly older and very white population the GOP increasingly represents — resentment against a fast-changing, more openly sexual America, as well as against dark-skinned immigrants, and White House occupants, and gay people and political correctness and the “moocher class” and all the rest. The second is what we might call spectacle — the unrelenting push toward a rhetorical style ever more gladiatorial and ever more outraged (and outrageous), driven initially by talk-radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and now reproduced on websites, podcasts, and Twitter feeds too numerous to mention.

Self thinks that the reason the GOP and conservative pundits lash out at the survivors of the Florida School Shooting is: here are a group of kids challenging them on their turf: the media.

Dinesh D’Souza (who, when last self checked, was an adult, with a bestselling book yet) ridicules the Florida students who broke into tears when Congress refused to revive a bill that would ban assault rifles. Because D’Souza himself is a master manipulator of the media, but it took him decades to get there. And suddenly, almost overnight, the kids are everywhere: on the web, in our news, on television.

Which proves self’s point: In the last few decades, the GOP has become nothing more than a party of shills. Their power is the media, not the implementation of actual policy issues.

And in a party like that, of course the biggest shill of all would win his party’s nomination.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Next on the Reading List: The Romanovs, 1613 – 1918, by Simon Sebag-Montefiore

This book weighs like a brick and, since self always lugs her books around with her, she’s going to have a sore wrist in a few weeks, she just knows it.

It’s about the Romanovs but it might as well be about U.S. politics.

page xxi of the Introduction:

  • In this book, my aim is to follow the invisible, mysterious alchemy of power to answer the essential question of politics, laconically expressed by that maestro of powerplay, Lenin: kto kogo? — who controls whom?

Love the full-color plates. Michael, the first Romanov tsar, looks like a hunchbacked troll. Catherine I used to be a “promiscuous Lithuanian peasant girl.” Peter II “fell ill” on “the day of his planned marriage.” The Empress Anna forced her courtiers “to pretend to be chickens.” And so forth.

Since this is such a behemoth of a book, might take the rest of February and most of March.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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