The Writing on the Wall: San Francisco Chronicle, 16 May 2018

Editorial, p. A9:

The Trump Administration has exported its politics of provocation to the last place that needs it, the Middle East. The all-too predictable immediate result has been carnage. The long-term consequences are likely to be worse.

Like President Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement last week, his relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday stoked tensions and emboldened hardliners on all sides. They include those who urged protesters to storm a border fence in Hamas-ruled Gaza, about 40 miles from the wilfully oblivious celebration of the new embassy. Israeli soldiers responded with tear gas and gunfire, leaving at least 60 dead and 2,000 wounded.

The disputed status of Jerusalem, in light of its religious and political importance to Jews and Palestinians alike, has long been regarded as one of a few key controversies to be resolved by peace talks. Trump’s recognition of the holy city as Israel’s capital would be a monumental concession to one side if anything had been gained or even asked in return. As effected, it was just a gift Trump bestowed on his evangelical political base, and by extension himself, at the expense of lives, American standing and prospects for peace.

Whether Trump takes the need for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations seriously might be guessed from his decision to entrust the job to his callow son-in-law, Jared Kushner, along with a laughable litany of other assignments for which he has no obvious qualifications.

Still More Awakenings: Sea Urchins

Last night was Second Saturday in Mendocino, and the weather was beautiful. Self walked down the street to the Artists Co-op on 10400 Kasten Street and saw some very beautiful artwork: paintings and sculpture and collages and jewelry, all by local artists.

Her friend, Mary-Ellen Campbell, had a few handmade books on exhibit, as well as collages. Self adores collages of all kinds.

DSCN0814

Detail, Shell Games by Mary-Ellen Campbell (Encaustic Collage)

Self loved the sharp little objects that are clustered on Mary-Ellen’s encaustic collages. Liza, an artist who self met at one of her previous readings in Mendocino, explained that those sharp little things are sea urchin spines. “If you go to the parking lot of Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg, you’ll find lots of these scattered about,” Liza told self.

DSCN0815

Detail, Shell Games by Mary-Ellen Campbell (Encaustic Collage)

Liza told self that sea urchins are killing the forests of sea kelp that the local abalone population needs to survive (see San Francisco Chronicle article here), and that’s why abalone are becoming extremely hard to find.

She learns new things every day.

Fascinating.

Stay tuned.

 

“Worlds of Decay, Renewal Merge Unexpectedly”: Elegy for a City, San Francisco

  • Like a lot of people, I have mixed feelings about a walk in the city these days. The Sunday before, my companion and I had walked the streets of Washington, D.C. and marveled at how clean they were. On returning back home, it was clear how much of San Francisco was a mess, particularly downtown with its crowds of lost souls roaming filthy streets. — from Carl Nolte’s column, Native Son, in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, 18 March 2018

Don’t ever try to walk (alone) from the Asian Art Museum to Powell. Don’t. Even if it’s broad daylight, you will be accosted by xxx panhandlers, and some will be quite aggressive. Just saying. That stretch of San Francisco feels like Detroit. Or like a Third World city. The decay is absolutely heartbreaking.

Self tried it once, last year. Every few steps, someone said something to her. Like running a gauntlet. Don’t reach for your wallet, don’t hesitate. Keep your earbuds in place. Keep walking.

If that’s what it’s like in the daytime, can you imagine what it’s like at night? Downtown San Francisco is not a woman-friendly city.

(And on the streets, there are Teslas. And Jaguars)

Stay tuned.

Looking Back: George Saunders

Self blogged this on 25 December 2013 (Christmas Day, self only just realized after writing the date). Title of post: 2013 Top Ten Books of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Saunders won this year’s Man Booker. He’s the Keynote Speaker at the next AWP, in Tampa, FL:

  • Tenth of December:  Stories, by George Saunders (Random House):  Ever read CivilWarLand in Bad Decline?  Self thought that book was a game-changer.  In one stroke, changed the landscape of the contemporary American short story, which until then had been Raymond Carver/Lydia Davis.  She will read anything by George Saunders.  Anything.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: San Francisco Chronicle, 17 August 2017

After the deadly white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, people have taken to social media to identify or “dox” the participants in order to shame them. The criticism doesn’t just land at the feet of participants, but often extends to their employers, leading to lost jobs over the exposure. Some people see this practice as violating one’s freedom of speech. Yes, this country is based on freedom of speech, but not freedom of consequences. It’s not a slippery slope. People are marching to intimidate and oppress other Americans.

There’s a real difference between disagreeing over politics and hate speech. No one is obligated to walk on eggshells for those who call for oppression. If you’re concerned with privacy, don’t show up to a public protest spouting racism — and then be surprised if people want to identify you.

— Spencer Whitney, Assistant Editor, San Francisco Chronicle

Sentence of the Day: San Francisco Chronicle, 26 January 2017

In a review of Silence! The Musical by Lily Janiak:

Lambs don’t actually appear in the 1991 thriller Silence of the Lambs; they’re a metaphor for the lifelong inner suffering of Jodie Foster’s character, FBI agent Clarice Starling.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: San Francisco Chronicle (26 January 2017)

  • “We’re still a sanctuary city.”

— Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, quoted in a San Francisco Chronicle Editorial on Immigration Policy (“His wall won’t work”)

San Francisco Chronicle, 13 November 2016

From Willie Brown’s weekly column in the SF Chronicle, WILLIE’S WORLD:

  • For Democrats, Tuesday was more than an election defeat. It was in the words of local Democratic consultant Sean Clegg, a “Trumpocalypse.”

Stay tuned, Dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The $40 Burger in San Francisco

OK, you know what, dear blog readers? Self is suddenly so repulsed at the idea of a $40 burger anywhere in San Francisco that she won’t name the place. The San Francisco Chronicle says “it’s a good burger, if nothing life-changing.”

And self thought the $24 she ended up paying for a cheeseburger in Manhattan was outrageous!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Good Review: Steven G. Kellman (San Francisco Chronicle) on Paul Theroux’s DEEP SOUTH

Self loves Theroux’s absolute adherence to his crankiness, and his courage. His youthful curiosity is still very much alive and present in him.

She remembers a scene in Dark Star where he has to ride in a jeep with various native Africans and they regard him with contempt because why would a man his age still be doing stupid things like taking the most uncomfortable way to get between Point A and Point B, riding with people who have no clue who he is and therefore focus on his age as a point of ridicule. To make things worse, Theroux himself is having the same kind of thoughts: Why is he sitting in this jeep/van with these rude people? Why? But then he goes on to put the scene in a book. That’s what makes him one of self’s favorite travel writers.

An excerpt from the Steven G. Kellman review in the Chronicle:

Theroux spends a year and a half meandering along the backroads of Dixie, primarily the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. He does not venture into either Florida or Texas, and Virginia is merely a stretch to traverse on his way south from his home in Cape Cod (Now self feels like embarking on a pilgrimage to Cape Cod). Theroux has no interest in the “New South,” the prosperous metropolises of Atlanta, Charlotte and Nashville that draw bankers and tourists. Instead, he deliberately seeks out the most neglected and squalid pockets of the region: the Lowcountry of South Carolina, the Black Belt of Alabama, the Mississippi Delta and the Ozarks of Arkansas, finding that its inhabitants, the “submerged twenty percent” are poor in their way — and less able to manage and more hopeless than many people I had traveled among in distressed part of Africa and Asia.

He is a travel writer after self’s own heart, one of the best.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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