Bloomsbury Square, The Lamb, The First Gulf War

Asymmetry, p. 196:

One afternoon we were sitting in Bloomsbury Square, keeping half an eye on our charges, when Lachlan pointed toward the iron railings on the far side of the park and said that the original ones had been dismantled and melted down for ammunition during the Second World War. These new ones were shorter, and unlocked all day; square’s been open to the public ever since. I could not pass Bloomsbury Square after that without wondering where the old iron had ended up. On which fronts. In whose bodies. It was around this time that the avowal to do away with Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction was accelerating toward its first anti-climax. Blair had declared it time to repay America for its help sixty years earlier and pledged Britain’s commitment to sniffing out all remaining stockpiles of genocidal intent. Forty-eight hours later, Clinton announced that Iraq intended to cooperate; a month after that, UNSCOM reported that in fact Iraq was not cooperating, and lo, the British-American bombing began. I watched the Desert Fox airstrikes with Alastair, sitting in our usual spot in The Lamb, whose ceiling had been strung with Christmas bunting and the bar transformed into a lukewarm buffet of mince pies and a faux cauldron of brandy-spiked mulled wine.

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My Love to Paris

CNN Breaking News: People are mourning “the loss of a good part of Notre Dame Cathedral.”

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Opioid Addiction

According to The Economist of 23 February 2019,

  • The states with the highest opioid death rates are: Ohio, West Virginia, and New Hampshire.
  • Drugs kill an estimated 70,000 Americans every year. “In 2017, 47,600 of those deaths were caused by opioid overdose — a five-fold increase since 2000.”
  • Alexander Wood invented the hypodermic needle in 1853. He “touted it by claiming that morphine would not cause addiction if injected rather than smoked or swallowed.”
  • “Needles and morphine were deployed in the American Civil War . . .”  leaving “as many as 100,000 veterans” addicted.
  • Heroin was first manufactured by Bayer, the German pharmaceutical company. “To market it, they called it heroin from the German word meaning heroic.”
  • In 1996, a private pharmaceutical firm launched Oxycontin, an opioid “that, like heroin, is twice as strong as morphine.”
  • “Opioid sales quadrupled from 1999 to 2011.”
  • In 2012, the number of opioid prescriptions was 255 million.
  • In 2015, “Americans were still getting four times as many opioids per head than Europeans.”

These stats are terrible.

One Year Ago: Redwood City, California

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San Francisco Chronicle Datebook, 27 January 2019

Loving the cover story:

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In 1969:

Nixon became President, the Beatles released Abbey Road, Sly and the Family Stone released Want To Take You Higher, The Who released Tommy.

Midnight Cowboy, Easy Rider, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid premiered. TV’s Star Trek got cancelled.

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Woodstock happened, Chappaquiddick happened, the moon landing happened, Berkeley’s People Park happened, Charles Manson happened, The Gap opened its 1st store, the Vietnam draft lottery was televised, William Calley was convicted of six counts of murder for My Lai.

Self was in summer camp in England. That’s where she heard about the moon landing.

Ferdinand Marcos won re-election as President of the Philippines.

Wonder what groundbreaking books were published that year? No mention in the Chronicle. There must have been some.

Where was Gloria Steinem?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

New Year, New Issues: Prairie Schooner and Calyx

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Just Arrived: Sunday, 6 January 2019

SPREAD THE WORD.

Colin O’Brady, American

While Trump and Melania were off in Iraq doing God-knows-what, an American named Colin O’Brady became the first man to cross Antarctica un-aided.

In 54 days of enduring bone-chilling temperatures, he made a journey of 932 miles (1,500 kilometers), while pulling a sled. He told the Associated Press: “Can you see it in my face? I’ve suffered . . . ”

He and Englishman Louis Rudd were racing each other for the record.

In 2016, English adventurer Henry Worsley died while trying to make the first such attempt.

Here’s a link to an article about his trek on the National Geographic website.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

STOKED: The Sentencing Memo, Language

This is thrilling. Courtesy of Vox (and it’s only the FIRST of, self hopes, many):

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

vs.

MICHAEL T. FLYNN, Defendant

Sentencing: Dec. 18, 2018

The United States of America, by and through Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III, respectfully submits this memorandum in aid of sentencing defendant Michael T. Flynn. On December 1, 2017, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of making materially false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in violation of . . .

Demolish. Destroy. Stay tuned.

Dallas Cop Shoots Neighbor ‘By Accident’

Because the victim was black and was in his own apartment when the cop came in and shot him, there is nothing for it but to imagine the hashtag:

  • Being in your own apartment while black

Stay tuned.

What Has Happened to Oleg Sentsov?

In two years, Trump has arranged two of the most bizarre summits in the world:

  • with Kim Jong Un, a brutal dictator, who he made seem, according to The Economist (10 June 2018) “warm, jovial, and eminently reasonable.” The Economist maintains Kim Jong Un “ought to be at The Hague.”
  • with Putin in Helsinki, a “one-on-one” which offered Putin “the chance to be seen as a global statesman, an equal with the President of the United States, the leader of a country whose participation was needed to solve just about every pressing world problem.” (Joshua Yaffa in The New Yorker, 16 July 2018)

In the meantime, what has happened to Oleg Sentsov, who was jailed as a “terrorist” for “protesting against Vladimir Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the war Russia’s president unleashed in eastern Ukraine four years ago” (The Economist, 10 June 2018)? No one knows. Here’s the latest article self found about him; it was almost a month ago, in The Guardian.

Trump instead calls for Russia to be allowed back into the G7, which expelled it “for the seizure of Crimea.” According to Trump, that “happened a while ago.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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