New Photo Challenge: Share Your Desktop

Playing along with Share Your Desktop — March 2021

For the last few months, self’s desktop has been what might or might not be a still from the great TV series The Expanse (based on the nine-book series by James S. A. Corey — Corey is actually the pen-name for two writers: Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). If you haven’t watched, you are missing something. The sixth — and final — season is filming now in Toronto. Air date (on Amazon Prime) TBA.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Senate Filibuster

Obama explains it all for you on p. 244 of A Promised Land (Amazing: 44 explains the filibuster on p. 244 — Quelle synchronicité!). Those of you about to expire from boredom because self quotes 44 every day, know that she has barreled through 1/3 of the book in 8 days. She usually picks up her reading pace towards the end, so give her another week or so. All right?

  • This piece of legislative foolishness “isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. Instead, it came into being by happenstance.”

It’s all the fault of Vice-President Aaron Burr, who wasn’t very smart.

Self doesn’t have time to explain what Burr did in 1805, but here’s the money paragraph:

  • It didn’t take long for Senators to figure out that without a formal way to end debate, any of them could bring Senate business to a halt — and thereby extract all sorts of concessions from frustrated colleagues — simply by talking endlessly and refusing to surrender the floor. In 1917, the Senate curbed the practice by adopting “cloture,” allowing a vote of two-thirds of senators present to end a filibuster. For the next fifty years the filibuster was used only sparingly — most notably by Southern Democrats attempting to block anti-lynching and fair-employment bills or other legislation that threatened to shake up Jim Crow. Gradually, though, the filibuster became more routinized and easier to maintain, making it a more potent weapon, a means for the minority party to get its way. The mere threat of a filibuster was often enough to derail a piece of legislation. By the 1990s, as battle lines between Republicans and Democrats hardened, whichever party was in the minority could — and would — block any bill not to their liking, so long as they remained unified and had at least the 41 votes needed to keep a filibuster from being overriden.

The filibuster is the reason why we have legislators like Hawley, Cruz, Nunes and so forth performing shenanigans all over the place and getting away with it. Nevertheless, self is pretty hopeful after listening to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer telling the ladies of The View this morning that, every Monday night, he meets with Democratic party leadership (He mentioned Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Joe Manchin and a few others) and they discuss what needs to be done to get a piece of legislation passed; it’s a cordial group and he has no doubt they will be able to stay united because they are all intelligent and principled people who have the best interests of the country at heart!

In other news:

TODAY WAS MERRICK GARLAND’s FIRST DAY OF WORK AS US ATTORNEY GENERAL.

Woo Hoo! Confetti! Streamers! Mad Clapping!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Getting Through It

It’s been almost a year since the world stopped, plans got thrown out the window, and nothing will ever be the same.

Self thought she’d take a moment to celebrate the things that got her through the past year:

Of course, gardening. Her garden has never looked so great. Every day she watches the oxalis in her backyard get higher and higher. And she just loves it.

Second, books, and her fantastic local library and their curbside pick-up system. She’s been using it since June (Before that, she ordered many books from Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, which is equally fantastic). Also, self would like to thank the AUTHORS of these wonderful books. When self needed to be transported to another place and time, these authors delivered:

Self would also like to thank FREE CONCERTS. The week after everything shut down, St. Bride’s in London began streaming everything. And so did St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, which used to hold free noontime concerts every Tuesday.

She would also like to thank Cal Shakes, whose summertime Shakespeare was a high point of her summer, as long as she was home in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Her first Cal Shakes was Romeo and Juliet. ADAM SCOTT PLAYED ROMEO. Sold!!!) A few days ago, she got a message that they would mount ONE live production this summer (Dates to be announced), with appropriate social distancing, of course: Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.

Also, FaceTime. Self has actually learned to FaceTime with Dearest Mum. It’s been so great.

And The Economist, which managed to come every week (every two weeks lately, since DeJoy destroyed the USPS)

Finally, she’d like to thank her favorite TV shows, because she’d never have gotten through without them: The Expanse (closing with Season 6), Peaky Blinders (closing with Season 6), The Crown.

A big hand also for Trader Joe’s, for being most sanitary of all the different supermarkets she’s shopped in.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Here It Comes!

SUPERBOWL! Of course self has to observe the day. All her friends are off watching too, so it’s like a big Superbowl party, only . . . in different countries.

She went to the Belmont Farmers Market early this morning and came back with pork buns, which she’s going to have with cold beer. She bought a big bag of chips yesterday, but she ate the whole bag . . . yesterday.

Anyhoo. GO CHIEFS!

Sentence of the Day, 3rd Thursday of 2021

Self is alive! (Confetti! Fireworks!)

Her favorite musical guests from last night’s Inauguration Concert: the original cast of Rent; The Foo Fighters; John Legend; Demi Lovato; Tim McGraw; Jon Bon Jovi.

The sentence of the day is as follows:

If you are promoting a culture of candor on your team, you have to get rid of the jerks.

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention, by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer, p. 34

Corollary, or Sentence # 2: Jerks are likely to rip your organization apart from the inside.

Good advice, that.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: TO START A WAR

The first plane, the one that plowed into floors 93 through 99 of the World Trade Center’s North Tower, was an astonishing spectacle.

To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America Into Iraq, by Robert Draper, Chapter One, p. 4

Self was up, watching CNN before getting son his breakfast and taking him to school. She saw the first plane, and her jaw dropped. She saw the second plane, and she woke up the rest of her family and told them, “Something’s happening.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Second Tuesday of 2021: The Relentless Moon

Switched off the news. Self has had enough of the crazy for one day: Idiots in airports ganging up on a Democrat, crazy woman shrieking at Chuck Schumer and interrupting his speech just as he was about to get to the good parts (“My first amendment rights!” Listen, Lady, if all you’re going to do is scream xx@@## at the top of your voice, it’s self’s first amendment rights you are violating!), and the most delightful moment of her week: POTUS looking fresh as a daisy, saying Nah Nah Nah to a reporter who asks him about his second impeachment.

Anyhoo, back to The Relentless Moon, which is exciting as all get-out. An intrepid band of astronauts and Moon colonists have had to make a crash-landing, and one of the lady astronauts, whose husband is a pilot, has to watch as the colonists are helped off the ship to the surface of the moon (a drop equal to the height of a five-story building, but it’s in 1/6 gravity), and her husband takes over the controls (The main pilot broke her arm in the crash landing) to make sure he keeps the ship upright so everyone is safe. After, he —

Half of the ship is in 173-degree Celsius heat, the other is in deep shadow and cold. They all stand and watch as —

“White plumes kicked out.” The pilot on the ship fired its thrusters, “sharp, quick bursts fired in sequence.”

Just read the book. Holy cow. Self is dead.

Back to Reading The Relentless Moon, Book # 3 of the Lady Astronaut Series

How is everyone doing? Are we surprised we made it to Saturday?

I like the Lady Astronaut. She has an eating disorder. So does the head of the Space Program. I think it’s called Starving Yourself to Death. Apparently it’s quite a common reaction to things being out of control.

(Some people in space don’t eat. Some, like Bobbie Draper of The Expanse, resurrect sad childhood memories: “I used to have a rat.” — The Expanse S5:E04)

The Lady Astronaut happens to be married to the Governor of Kansas.

The Governor’s Mansion in Topeka used to be an old pile of a Victorian, but after the Meteor, it had been replaced by a bunker with ballrooms. That was before Kenneth was governor, or he would have stopped that foolishness. But people were so scared of another Meteor they just buried everything . . . It was a terrible design that had all the grace of a fart . . .

The Relentless Moon, by Mary Robinette Kowal, p. 95

The Expanse, Season Five (Quick Comments, No Spoilers)

A few things about the first three episodes, which dropped Dec. 15 (and which self has already watched twice)

  • Splitting up the characters creates great narrative drive.
  • The scale of this universe is tremendous. Just the scope of the whole production, the ambition and sweep — not even Battlestar Galactica had that.
  • The actor who played Erich, Jacob Mundell, is amazing. Once again, props to whoever casts this series. Can’t imagine any other actor who could play this role. They apparently found Mundell in Chicago.
  • Drummer’s grief over Ashford broke me.
  • Beltalowda is a thing.
  • Absolutely hate Filip, he is trash. Points to the actor who plays him, Jasai Chase Owens.
  • Monica Stuart, as played by Anna Hopkins, is a lot of fun to watch. Wonder why she never makes a pass at Holden, lol. Even just to worm some information out of him. She seemed pretty ruthless, in the books as well.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 128: And Here Comes the Holiday Season

  • I know many creative plans are being made to make these celebrations work – somehow and anyway. This last LAPC challenge, of the strange year 2020, is all about your Holiday Season. So what will your holidays look like? What are your plans and/or memories? Will you create new traditions or will you just ”survive” this one, looking forward to a ”normalized” celebrating next year? Leya

Self did not expect 2020. Neither did any of us. Right?

Nevertheless, today self was checking out viveka’s blog, my guilty pleasures, and she had the most stunning array of Christmas photos. Inspired, self came up with a few Christmas photos of her own.

Here’s a picture from the night of Dec. 15, when Amazon Prime dropped the first 3 episodes of Season 5 of The Expanse! So exciting! Each succeeding episode is on Wednesday, that means the next ‘drop’ is Wednesday, 23 December. And that is the nicest Christmas present she could have asked for.

She did buy a wreath from Trader Joe’s for $10.99, and fastened a few multi-colored Christmas balls to dress it up a little.

And she put out her lighted angel, that she puts out every year. And brought out a tin angel that was made in the Philippines.

So, very simple decorations this year. Not even half of her usual lay-out. Usually, she gets a big, fresh-cut fir, and hangs about 100 ornaments on it. And she scatters greenery on every available surface. Last year, her neighbor Wendy dropped by, and the first thing she said when she crossed the threshhold was: WOW.

But, Christmas is in her heart, even though this year was a very hard one.

Shout-out to Restless Jo for her great Christmas gallery, to don’t hold your breath’s Four Views of Panchgani, and to Bend Branches’s lovely Christmas ornaments.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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