Lord Brudenell and The Former Guy

LB is, self assumes, one of the officers who ordered his regiment into the Jaws of Hell at Balaclava, since we are spending chapters and chapters on his backstory.

Lord Brudenell is a dolt, and also a martinet. Not only that, he is also a racist. And his racism is of so virulent a type that not only does he hate Indians (This is unfortunate, since India was the Jewel in the British Crown), he also hates any member of the British Army who has spent time in India. Alas, the regiment he’s been given command of, the 11th, has been in India for seventeen years.

He wants to rid his regiment of “Indians” (meaning, anyone who has served in India) and he calls those “Indians” who choose to continue under his command astonishingly “thick-skinned.” No “Indian” officer ever received an invitation to his own house, and when cards of invitation for dinners and balls were sent to the mess by gentlemen living in the neighbourhood, he made it a rule that they were not to be given to those officers whom, he said, he “had found sticking to the regiment in the East Indies.”

Not only did Lord Brudenell dislike any member of the regiment who had served in India, he grew apopleptic if any waiter had the bad judgment to leave a black bottle on the dinner table, he said because he only wished his regiment to be served champagne.

Which reminds self that, in an unprecedented spate of federal executions in the transition period between the November 2020 election and Joe Biden’s inauguration, a black man was scheduled to be executed on the Martin Luther King Jr holiday, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s son wrote to the White House to beg for a postponement, in honor of his father’s memory, and no one bothered to answer him. In the end, because The Former Guy’s White House was so incompetent, the execution scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day had to be postponed for a few hours (because of the lack of necessary paperwork) and happened in the wee hours of the following day. Phew?

Self only learned about this incident when she read an Associated Press article about Attorney General Merrick Garland putting a temporary moratorium on all federal executions.

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Quote of the Day: The Economist, 3 July 2021

“Claiming to be winning while actually losing . . . Caught between their primary voters and loyalty to the constitution, most have concluded that, unless the Capitol is under siege, the best course of action is simply to stay silent.”

— Leaders, The Economist, 3 July 2021

The Dakota Pipeline and the Standing Rock Sioux

In 2016, protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline attracted worldwide attention. The oil pipeline was designed to run from North to South Dakota, across Iowa, and into Illinois. The Standing Rock Sioux objected to the pipeline’s path on the grounds that it violated treaty rights and threatened the tribe’s water supply, grave sites and sacred land. Thousands camped out at Standing Rock to try and stop the project . . . In December 2016, the Obama administration blocked construction of the pipeline’s most contested section.

A month later, newly inaugurated president Donald Trump reversed the decision. By June 2017, oil was flowing. In the tumultuous first year of the Trump administration, the media moved on. In September 2017, Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman David Archambault II, a hero while the spotlight was trained on the controversy, was voted out of office.

— Chapter 10, Oak Flat: the Fight for Sacred Land in the American West

This is a fascinating book, as self keeps saying. She hopes she can finish it tonight and return it to the library tomorrow, because it’s way overdue and someone’s put a hold on it.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The New Yorker, 1 February 2021

A subscription is expensive, but is so worth it.

Self saves all the back issues in a huge pile, and now and then, when things calm down a bit, she picks an issue from the pile to read.

The one she picked today is dated 1 February 2021, meaning shortly after Biden’s inauguration.

For all that Trump tried to trash America’s democratic governance, his fellow-Republicans had been doing damage to the idea of government itself long before he became their standard-bearer. The extreme belief in small government that so many in the G.O.P. have espoused . . . That attitude got a big assist from Republicans in the Senate who have successfully wielded the filibuster — the mechanism that requires a super-majority of sixty senators to move a bill to a vote — to block progressive legislation and prevent even the discussion of, for example, a public option for health care.

— Margaret Talbot, The Talk of the Town

“espoused” without an ounce of sincerity, self might add.

The system of health care in California is: if your income is lower than a certain level, your health care is shunted off to MediCal. And God help you, because none of the doctors self has been seeing for the past 20 years accepts Medi-Cal. She’s scared to ask WHICH doctors accept Medi-Cal. She’d rather stick with the doctors who know her medical history. Which means she still pays through the nose, her Medi-Cal card means nothing. But that’s better than the alternative, which is being dead.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

More About Daddy, the Trump Supporter

Hugely enjoying Ayad Akhtar, let her tell ya. Self, too, is trying to understand the mystique of The Former Guy.

Here, Akhtar continues to try to de-construct his father’s support for DJT:

I think Father was looking for an image of just how much more his American self could contain than the Pakistani one he’d left behind. I think he wanted to know what the limits were. In America, you could have anything, right? Even the presidency? If an idiot like Trump could get hold of it, couldn’t you? Even if you didn’t want it? After all, the idiot apparently didn’t want it, either. He just wanted to know he could have it. Or maybe the emphasis there needs to shift: he wanted to know he could have it.

— p. 23, Homeland Elegies

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

2016 Redux

Homeland Elegies brings self back to that time of innocence, pre-Former Guy, when we thought all he was good for was palaver.

Father: He’s not going to win . . . You’re smart enough to know that. He doesn’t even want to win. He’s trying to send a message.

Ayad Akhtar: I thought you said he was trying to start a channel.

Father: Same thing.

AA: He’s running for an election he doesn’t want to win so he can start a channel to send a message?

Father: The system is broken . . . I’m saying he won’t win, so you should calm down.

— pp. 18 – 19, Homeland Elegies

And then he did win.

Self still remembers how, on the evening of Election Day, she took Caltrain from Palo Alto to the City, and the packed train car was full of anxious buzz buzz buzz. She finally asked the young woman next to her what was going on.

The young woman said: “Trump’s winning. I’m scared.” The woman held up her cell. Polls on the East Coast had just closed, and the numbers were shocking.

The next morning, when self turned on her cell, the first message was: Your representation has changed. Then, a long long list of newly elected candidates ending with: The President of the United States: DT!

That night, the smell of pot was stronger than usual from the apartment above. Self remembers there were people hanging out on the fire escape, and she could distinctly hear their conversation: “Can you believe he WON? What’s going to happen NOW?”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day? No, Sentence(s) of the Day!

Puerile pleasures, that’s what Father was learning again — we all were — and Trump was our tutor. I really can’t imagine that my father, this man I know and love, whom I still admire in so many ways, I can’t imagine he didn’t sense something was amiss. But somehow, he just kept looking the other way, seeking some worthwhile reason for the widespread abasement.

pp. 16 – 17, Homeland Elegies

If you want to laugh, dear blog readers, especially after seeing hashtag JoeIsaPedo trending, then Homeland Elegies is the book for you!

When Daddy Is a Trump Supporter: A List

A breakfast place in Waukesha where we were the only nonwhites enjoying brunch for the weekend after Trump entered the race with those infamous remarks about Mexican immigrants being rapists and murders. “I don’t know what you’re so worked up about. He’s a showman. He’s drawing attention. He doesn’t really mean it.”

The mental contortions he performed to make sense of Trump’s nonsense, which made me wonder if he was going senile. “Everything he says about the media is right. It is rigged. Rigged to make money.”

For a thoughtful man — at least one who’d evidenced instances of thoughtfulness with reassuring frequency over the years — the man seemed to be turning into an imbecile, his hodgepodge views like mental flatulence, one fetid odor after another.

Homeland Elegies, by Ayad Akhtar, p. 16

Why did no one prepare self for the delight.

And to think she was reading such depressing books before! Homeland Elegies is exactly the mind-cleanse self needed, especially after the garbage of 35 GOP Senators blocking a bill that would have investigated why they were threatened by a mob on Jan. 6. (Keep threatening us, mob! We like you, we really, really like you!)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Celebration, COVID-Style

From Nancy Merrill, host of the Photo a Week Challenge:

Last year, when Covid-19 first struck the United States, my friend’s daughter got married. It wasn’t the wedding she had started planning when she got engaged in November, but it was a beautiful celebration of love and joy. I was one of twenty-five people who were able to attend the sweet backyard ceremony. It was fun to not only take photos but to help with the decorations and food and just overall doing what we could to make the bride and groom happy.

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO (OR THREE…) OF HOW YOU HAVE CELEBRATED DURING THE PANDEMIC.

Along with the rest of America, self watched the inauguration of #46, Joseph R. Biden, on live TV.

The marchers (except for one) are wearing masks! Funny, she never stopped to think about that until she started looking at pictures for this week’s Photo a Week Challenge.

Also a first: that she watched the events unfold on Fox News!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Just One Person From Around the World: Redwood City, California

This Photo Challenge is courtesy of ThatTravelLadyInHerShoes:

I have stopped watching the news….I have dropped all social media, except for my blog, which I try to keep to positive vibes…. there are a lot of folks in the world, who are everyday folks, just trying to provide food and shelter and love……….they are trying to make a living…….keep their kids educated and basically just take care of their families, without an agenda.  Me too. I think there is more of us…. Just trying to live our lives….. So, I would like to take the time to focus on one person a week to bring us together, to celebrate ordinary folks.

Feel free to join Just One Person From Around the World  by creating your own post and then share your link in the comments! Also, add the tag JUST ONE PERSON FROM AROUND THE WORLD to your post so it is easier for me to find! Thank You!

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