Field of Rocks

Yesterday, self dropped by Lyngso in San Carlos. It’s THE place for everything “natural” for your landscaping needs: pebbles, stones, rocks, flagstones — you name it.

She’s been hearing about Lyngso forever, since son was in primary school at St. Raymond’s in Menlo Park. Every single one of his classmates lived in the area, all of them had beautiful homes, and all of them got their stone from Lyngso.

It just so happened that when self dropped by yesterday, there was an abundance of boulders. She was so happy, it reminded her of the time her friend Helene took her to a field of rocks near Yorkshire (very Wuthering Heights).

She asked an employee about the different-colored rocks, and he told her that a customer had put in an order for 18 boulders, and hadn’t picked them up yet. “So this is a pretty special assortment,” he told self.

Wowowowowowow

Just lookit. Self wanted to use these rocks for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 115.2 (Inspiration) but she ended up using a different set of pictures. Still, she went bananas and took 20 pictures of rocks yesterday. Here are a few:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Regarding Juan Sebastian Elcano, Basque

Rick Barot’s collection The Galleons is on the National Book Award’s longlist for poetry! Kudos, sir!

Self finds it interesting: she is writing about the galleons, too! Her book invents a character and puts him in the Philippines at the close of the 16th century.

Today, in her leisurely read of The Economist of 12 September 2020 (She’s fairly sure they skipped an issue; the 19 September issue should have arrived last week. What gives, USPS?), there is a letter about Magellan. Truly, self has entered a zone! A zone where everyone else is also thinking about Magellan! Galleons! The 16th century!

Letter to The Economist from Marques de Tamaron, Madrid:

Ferdinand Magellan was not “the first known circumnavigator (Obituary for Marvin Creamer, August 29th). He commanded the flotilla of five ships and 239 sailors that sailed in 1519 from Spain but he died in combat in the Philippines in 1521 before completing the round-the-world voyage. Juan Sebastian Elcano was then elected leader for the rest of it, reaching Spain in the only remaining ship, Victoria, in 1522. He and the emaciated survivors who dragged themselves ashore were indeed the first true circumnavigators.

Prompted by curiosity (mebbe she should have written about Elcano instead of making up a fictional character for her novel! Oh well, too late now!), self does some google research. Elcano died only four years after his return from that epic voyage. And there is a Spanish thinktank named after him that addresses such topics as climate change, cybersecurity, and international migration. Here is a link to their very interesting blog.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

On the Ground in North Carolina: NPR News Report, 11 Sept 2020

  • “Saying he did more for blacks than any President since Abraham Lincoln is the biggest lie he ever told . . . Mark my words, we’re gonna turn the mother out in North Carolina.” — Rep. Alma Adams, representing the 12th District of North Carolina
  • “People here just love the way he (Trump) is able to speak directly about the issues . . . without anger,” — young man near Raleigh, North Carolina. “He really cares. He’s been here three times in the past few weeks. We haven’t seen Biden in at least six months.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Campaign Fundraising Totals (wsj, Thursday, 3 September 2020)

p. A4: “Biden’s August Fundraising is Record” by Ken Thomas

“Mr. Trump has held a significant cash advantage during much of the campaign, but Mr. Biden’s fundraising onslaught has eroded it. Mr. Trump’s team ended July with more than $300 million in the bank, while Mr. Biden’s campaign said it had $294 million at the end of last month (August).”

As a measure of comparison, in January 2020, Biden’s campaign “raised less than $9 million for the month. During August, his campaign averaged about $11.7 million daily.”

A large bump came with Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate: $48 million came to the Biden campaign “in the 48 hours after” the announcement.

The playing field is almost level now. (Interesting side note: the article says that in August 2016, the Clinton campaign had raised $143 million against the Trump campaign’s $90 million. WOW. Trump was such an underdog! He really did come out of nowhere)

Hilarious Stendhal Quote of the Day

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT

The Charterhouse of Parma has reached a turning point. Fabrizio is recognized by a former servant as he tries to cross the Po River. From loneliness, Fabrizio tells this servant, right away: I killed a man this morning.

Ludovic promises to help Fabrizio. They manage to evade the police, but during “the long intervals” of hiding, Ludovic decides to make Fabrizio listen to his sonnets.

Who knew this former coachman always had a deep desire to write poetry!

Fabrizio’s reflections on Ludovic’s sonnets:

  • Their feelings were true, but somehow blunted by their expression, and the verses were scarcely worth transcribing; oddly enough, this ex-coachman had passions and visions that were lively and picturesque; they turned cold and commonplace as soon as he wrote them down.

Poor Fabrizio, hiding in the willows on the banks of the Po River, forced to listen to his companion recite his bad poetry!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

How To Be

Fabrizio’s looks save him over and over again. After the defeat of the French, he stumbles across the canteen woman who, despite having lost her cart and her horse, is still intent on protecting him.

Chapter Four, The Charterhous of Parma:

Canteen Woman (That’s all she ever goes by) to Fabrizio: “Get yourself away from this defeated army; find some way out . . . The first chance you get, buy yourself some civilian clothes. Once you’re eight or ten leagues away and you don’t see any more soldiers, take the mail-coach and rest up for a couple of weeks in some nice town where you can eat beefsteaks . . . As soon as you’ve got a gentleman’s clothes on your back, tear up your travel-permit . . . never say you were in battle, and don’t breathe a word about Bonaparte . . . When you want to go back to Paris, get yourself to Versailles first, then enter Paris from that side, walk right in as if you were out for a stroll. Sew your napoleons into your trousers. And above all, when you have to pay for something, don’t let anyone see more than what you need to pay. The saddest thing of all is that people are going to cheat you and gouge you out of all you have, and what will you do once you have no money, when you don’t even know how to take care of yourself?”

Wakanda Forever

RIP, CHADWICK BOSEMAN

Damn. Damn. Damn.

He was just 43.

What is life.

Fabrizio: “I want to fight right away”

Good Friday morning. Self spent all last night howling over Chapter Three of The Charterhouse of Parma.

Self will summarize events leading to this chapter.

Fabrizio, hero of the novel, has been trying to join the Battle of Waterloo. He heads towards the scene of battle, but keeps encountering women who point him in the wrong direction because they don’t want a young man so beautiful to die. One, who Stendhal refers to only as “the canteen-woman,” even decides to accompany him, to keep him out of harm’s way.

Chapter Three:

Many delightful conversations later, the canteen-woman caught sight of three or four French soldiers running toward her as fast as they could; she quickly jumped down from her cart and managed to hide fifteen or twenty feet off the road, crouching in a hole where a huge tree had been uprooted. “Now,” Fabrizio decided, “now I’ll find out if I’m a coward!” He stood beside the little cart the canteen-woman had abandoned and drew his saber. The soldiers paid no attention to him and ran past him through the grove to the left of the path.

“Those are our men,” the canteen-woman said calmly . . .

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

HOOOLY Cow, Stendhal!

Self has spent one whole day — today — reading and re-reading Chapter One of The Charterhouse of Parma. Since she’s already quoted from the chapter several times, she will, in the interest of efficiency, summarize. Otherwise, she’ll still be here tomorrow.

Napoleon’s army marches into Lombardy, expecting to be met with surly peasants. Instead they are greeted with wide open arms and love. Crazy, right? It turns out the Italians are very superstitious, and there is a prophecy that Napoleon’s troops will leave of their own accord, in thirteen weeks exactly. So why worry, be happy!

After thirteen weeks, when the French do not leave, the people realize that the prophecy actually meant thirteen months.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The 90s: Those Were the Days

NOTE: WordPress switched self over to the New Block Editing, which she hates. She can’t find a thing. Can you imagine WordPress PAID PEOPLE to study how to make self slower and more inefficient? Where, for instance, are categories and tags? Now self has to hunt for them. Thanks a lot, WordPress! It’s like those apps that keep downloading on her Android, preventing her from making a call (You have to wait for the app to finish downloading; there’s a download a day).

If you press the button for paragraph, you get a menu that has ten items for paragraph. AAAARGH. Who has the time. Can’t a paragraph just BE a paragraph, does self have to pick and choose one out of ten options for paragraphs?

In the 1990s, and especially after the Rwandan massacre, the American Bar Association (ABA) “recruited an astonishing five thousand American lawyers to go abroad and spend months of their time working pro bono publico, free for the common good, drafting laws and training judges. (“Lawers are bored. We were dying to go,” said one of them, Mary Noel Pepys, a land use lawyer from Kansas who went to Bulgaria and slept in her coat in the winter)”

“At a reception in Sofia in 1994, an older gentleman, a professor at the university, walked up to Sandra Day O’Connor “and pulled out a badly frayed copy of the U.S. Constitution and said he had been reading it for 40 years. O’Connor, who always carried a copy of the Constitution in her pocketbook, choked up. ‘It will serve you well,’ she told the man, ‘and guide you as it has us.’ “

First: Sandra Day O’Connor, pp. 288-289

Can you imagine ANYONE in Trump’s White House pushing such a program. Now, everything is ME ME ME, how much can I get, how much can I get away with. Even Melania can’t summon up any energy to start something as simple as a Sister City Relationship with her hometown (Unless she’s really trying not to call attention to how she left it!)

She had plenty of time to start some kind of humanitarian thing with Eastern Europe, who knows? But no. She just didn’t care. Too busy re-negotiating her pre-nup to Dear Donald? (Does my pre-nup say I need to hold his hand in public? Then no, I do not need to hold his hand)

Self thinks the public’s perception of the law profession has forever been marred by association with Trump, the seediest President in American history. Think of the Trump lawsuits to block: a) revealing his taxes; b) suing to stop books like his niece’s from being published; or c) suing Democratic officials to make them look bad, such as the suit Gov. Brian Kemp brought against Atlanta Mayor Kesha Lance Bottoms to stop her from implementing her order to make wearing a mask mandatory in Atlanta.

Self is glad she’s reading a book about idealistic lawyers, for a change.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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