The X-Files: Squeezed, 3/1/94

On the eve of the last weekend before the momentous election of 2020 (when we either all stay Americans or become something worse, according to Thomas Friedman of The New York Times), self is giddy with excitement.

Cleaning out son’s room, a very laborious process, which so far has occupied her for months, she finds — WHOA! — a marked-up script from the set of The X-Files. She remembers that a friend of a friend was the Props Manager and sent this from Vancouver.

Yes, this is a real watershed moment: the moment when self holds, in her hot little hands, a copy of the script for the episode Squeezed.

We all remember that episode, do we not?


Mulder crawls further, sweating, covered with dust and grease. He pauses, aims his flashlight at the end of the shaft.


A mound of papers and rags large enough for a human to be curled up inside. It is covered with a yellowish bile.


New Orleans, 1814

Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy, p. 37:

  • Edward Ball’s forebear, Yves Le Corgne, washes up in “New Orleans, a town ninety years old.” Compared with his city of origin, Brest, “rocky, cold, and strict, with a military hardness — New Orleans is new, ramshackle, and steaming. The city counts about twenty-thousand, half of them white, half of them people of color.”


Excerpt from Story # 1: Il Piccolo Tesoro

I chose this Ligurian village in the sensible way, by spreading a map of Italy across my kitchen table in Toronto, closing my eyes, and sticking a pushpin into destiny.

Stanza in affitto: one of the phrases I know by heart.

At the door of the rambling house, I knock assertively.

“Good morning.”

These stories are mostly about women who travel. Alone.

Self doesn’t pretend to have anything in common with Valerie Miner. Not. In. The. Least!

It’s been ages since she’s been in Italy. Or maybe it just feels that way. 2015. The world was so different then.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy, by Edward Ball

pp. 12 – 13

Our Klansman’s story is not just a family story, it belongs to many. I have no first-person testimony for this tale — no letters or diaries, speeches or interviews. There are court records, however. There is thick circumstantial evidence. There are newspaper accounts, victim testimony, wills, property records, sacramental records, interviews by black families struck by Klan violence, supremacist manifestos, and traces of white oral tradition.

It’s pretty balls-y (no pun intended, ha!) of the author to go ahead and write a book on the racists in his family. Self knows that if there happened to be, say, a murderer in her family tree, she probably wouldn’t have the tenacity to go dig around in court records. Props to Edward Ball!

Earlier this year, she read another book about family secrets: Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, by Robert Kolker. The pandemic was just a few months old, maybe that’s what’s coloring her year’s reading choices.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Charlottesville, Much?

On May 31, 1927, in Queens, New York, about one thousand Klan marchers made their way through the borough’s dense streets. They wore robes and hoods. The parade turned into a riot when Klansmen attacked a smaller Memorial Day march of Italian Americans . . . Fred C. Trump, age twenty-five, resident of the Jamaica section of Queens, was among seven arrested.

— Prologue, Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy

Fred C. Trump, 45’s father, lived in Jamaica, Queens. Must mean he wasn’t rich. HOW DID HE AMASS HIS FORTUNE?

Self always had a feeling the Trumps were nouveau riche. They display all the signs: the tacky attention grabs, the flashiness, the fakery.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The 45th

The 45th President of the United States is the son of a man, Fred C. Trump, who was arrested in New York one Memorial Day during the 1920s at a rally staged by the Klu Klux Klan.

— Prologue, Life of a Klansman: A Family History of White Supremacy, by Edward Ball

MILD SPOILER: Heaven, My Home p. 169

This book is taking forever for self to read! She used to read so fast: a book a week, even when she was working full-time. But now, when she’s really enjoying a book, she can only get through a handful of pages a day.


Black Texas Ranger Darren Matthews has been given a complimentary suite in a Victorian hotel in downtown Jefferson, Texas. The owner of the hotel is also a suspect in MURDER, LOL. In addition, he finds out (after noticing a constant parade of tourists taking pictures of his room windows from the street, on into the wee hours) that the room is reputedly haunted. How very passive-aggressive of the hotel owner/murder suspect!

After a long day spent interviewing witnesses and chasing down leads, Darren returns to his room to find his wife:

  • . . . why was his wife dressed for debauchery but also wearing reading glasses and flipping through a manila file folder with a Bic pen clamped between her teeth? He had the fleeting thought that the security at this hotel was troubling enough that he should consider a change of venue, as now two people had walked into his room without a key.

Will wonders never cease? This is the most ENTERTAINING mystery self has read since Ruth Rendell.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Vanity Fair: Special Issue on the George Floyd Protests, September 2020

Oral history style, short statements from different players in the drama that unfolded across the United States. Self is most struck by Muriel Bowser’s statement.

This issue was guest-edited by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Muriel Bowser, Mayor, District of Columbia

The president tweeted out that he would release “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” on the District. That’s when we really recognized that something was going to happen with Donald Trump. I was struck by the intentionality of the racial undertones. I thought those words were very purposefully chosen. They were words that were meant to hearken back to a time when African Americans were terrorized in this country. And to use that language in the nation’s capital, a place that has the largest Black population by percent than any other big city — that was what told me they had a plan.

14 more days.

Heaven, My Home, p. 120

It would bring Dateline and 20/20 and a salivating Fox News to Greg’s front door. Darren could practically see the Netflix true-crime documentary they would make.


Lens Artists Challenge # 118: Communication

The Lens Artists Challenge this year comes from Horse Addict. She tells a lovely story about a horse, you can read all about it here.

Voting is a form of communication. As of this morning, 3.5 million Californians, a record, have already cast their ballots, according to KPIX5 News.

A smile is a form of communication.

Siblings have a special form of communication.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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