Sunday Read: wsj, Tuesday, 28 July 2020, p. A3

DSCN0097

Eric Murfitt, controller of Mercantile Portland, a downtown clothing retailer who “said he supports the fight for racial justice” but “blames Portland’s leaders for letting the protesters go too far and holds federal agents responsible for turning them into martyrs” told wsj: “They’ve gotten a lot of sympathy from a lot of people . . . None of that . . . should have gotten sympathy.”

Justin King, owner of Rooks Barbershop, whose “windows were broken three times at his downtown store” and “regularly participates in demonstrations,” said it happened “while I was out getting tear-gassed. It was pretty frustrating.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is “a sixth-generation Oregonian” struggling to straddle the line between police reform and ceding control to the only black member of the Portland City Commission.

Oh by the way:

“Last week . . . the city council in Washington D.C. . . . approved a . . . roughly 3% cut to the police budget” (which, in self’s humble opinion, seems pretty WEE, given all the weeks of protest)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge # 108: SANCTUARY

Your sanctuary is your ideal place of relaxation, tranquillity and safety and you can create it exactly as you want to. — Shakti Gawain

This week’s Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge is SANCTUARY.

Self is soooo lucky that, less than 10-minutes drive from her home, is the sanctuary of Filoli Gardens.

This huge estate is managed by a trust, and is among the most magical set of gardens she has ever seen (and she’s seen a lot of gardens).

She happened to visit last Sunday, with a friend. Below are a few pictures she took during that visit. The place is so beautiful, and peaceful. A true sanctuary.

Close to the house are large trees providing plenty of shade:

DSCN0064

Further away from the house are rectangular flowerbeds, planted by theme. Interspersed among the flowerbeds is an art installation by Kristine Mays featuring life-size wire sculptures in human shape.

DSCN0068

There’s only one word for the Filoli rose garden: spectacular. The bushes are so fat and laden with what must be (at this time of year) their second round of blooms. Jealous.

DSCN0070

There is a $25 entrance fee, which must be paid in advance. To avoid crowds, especially on weekends, mornings are best. They usually offer guided tours and classes, but these activities have been suspended during the pandemic. It’s wonderful just to walk, though. And self bought two wee basil plants in the Garden Shop.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Currently Listening To

The New Abnormal, podcast launched by The Daily Beast in April.

Hosts: Molly Jong-Fast and Rick Wilson

Money Quote: “. . . between Mary Trump, Demon Sperm, and the world still in chaos . . . ”

Yes. Yes. We are in the Last Days of the Trump Presidency, and it is a wild and crazy time, involving  bad hydrochloroquine sell jobs, threats to end TikTok and the US Post Office (and even the elections), and the U.S. Secretary of Education telling America their kids are “natural stoppers” for corona virus hence they should do their patriotic duty by GETTING OUT THERE, ATTENDING SCHOOL, and SAVING THEIR COUNTRY.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Currently Getting to Know

The enthralling voice of Maaza Mengiste

DSCN0093

Self’s copy is from the Redwood City Public Library.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Economist, 25 July 2020

Modest Changes in Behavior leads to “huge rises in coronavirus infections”: The Geometry of the Pandemic, p. 19

This article focuses on a model by Rajiv Rimal of Johns Hopkins University. And it’s a big, fat chunk of the article (maybe a third), longer than she usually manages to quote. But she wanted to share it. Knowledge is power!

When “American states began easing lockdowns . . . their caseloads were three or more times higher than in Europe, in part, argues Jarbas Barbosa of the Pan-American Health Organization, because most states never had full lockdowns. Texas had 1,270 new cases on the day its governor said restaurants could reopen: 44 per million. In Georgia, the rate was 95 per million. Disney World reopened the day before Florida announced a record 15,000 new cases in a day. Just as incredibly, in two-thirds of states, infections were rising when governors started to ease lockdowns. By contrast, France, Spain and Italy had 13-17 new cases per million when they began to re-open their economies and numbers were falling fast.

“On April 12th … 95% of the population was staying at home (leaving the house only for essential visits), with 5% ignoring lockdown rules. Based on those assumptions, his model predicts that Americans would have had 559,400 cases on that day — an accurate assessment (it actually had 554,849). On July 14th, Mr. Rimal assumed that 80% of the population was staying at home, i.e., only a gradual change. On this basis, his model predicts the country would have 1.6m cases, again not far off the actual number and confirming the impact of modest rises in activity. If people really altered their behaviour, the number would rise even further to 5.6m cases if the stay-at-home share drops to 60% and to 9.5m if it falls to 20%. In that worst case, America’s death toll could top 400,000. Such is the dark logic of geometric growth.”

The Economist concludes that “to drive the level of infection down to perhaps a tenth of what it is now (closer to European or Asian levels) … seems to require full lockdowns.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

RIP for the Lost

Just recently, self heard The Octopus Literary Salon, in Oakland, where she and friends had all variously read, had closed. SAD! It was a mainstay of the local literary community.

Self was just looking through her pile of contributor copies (for stories she’s published in literary magazines) and realized that there are quite a goodly number that do not exist anymore. Like, The Rambler? This magazine of nonfiction appeared in North Carolina, survived a number of years, and took two of self’s flash.

How about Isotope? A place for creative and science writing. Edited by poet Chris Cokinos. In the same issue as poetry and plays, an essay on math (with numbers!) or biology. This one published out of Utah.

Here are self’s list of The Departed (the ones she knows about):

  • 5_Trope
  • Alimentum: The Literature of Food (Self loved this magazine. It moved to on-line only, and self still loved it. Then, ALAS!)
  • decomP
  • Elsewhere Lit
  • Isotope
  • LITnIMAGE
  • Our Own Voice  (featuring writing of the Philippine diaspora)
  • The Cricket Online Review
  • The Rambler
  • Used Furniture Review
  • White Whale Review (The editor solicited her after reading her blog)
  • Word Riot

Most of these magazines fell into the experimental and/or social justice arena. They were trying to do something different, and their presence in the literary world was exciting (Face it, if self had to rely solely on the big literary magazines, her career would have been over years ago). They were labors of love (as every literary magazine, big or small, is) and their vision was unique.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

A Big Entrance

He watched Dewy Crowe bring a pump shotgun out of the trunk and start back this way, all business now, his mind made up, his dumb pride taking him to a place it would be hard to back out of.

. . . Raylan in his shirtsleeves, Dewey Crowe taking careful steps now, holding the shotgun out in front of him.

“Mr. Crowe? Listen, you better hold on there while I tell you something.”

It stopped him about fifty feet away, his shoulders hunched.

“I want you to understand,” Raylan said, “I don’t pull my sidearm ‘less I’m gonna shoot to kill. That’s it’s purpose, huh, to kill. So it’s how I use it.”

Fire in the Hole

4e92a40e61d6f929a972e499864dae46.jpg

A Fine Bromance

Since self is currently reading Fire in the Hole, she’s on a Justified nostalgia kick.

Lookit these two! The hottest dudes on TV for six glorious seasons:

e104a0eda9ca57efc59a4b5ec312cf8776-01-justifed.rhorizontal.w700

Timothy Olyphant as US Marshal Raylan Givens; Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder

Chemistry between these two was high, every encounter struck sparks.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Aryan Knights of Freedom

Hot, hot day. Still reading Elmore Leonard’s “Fire in the Hole”.

Trigger Warning: white supremacy, ‘niggers,’ spray-painting synagogues. Elmore Leonard could have been writing about today.

  • This Jared had come recommended from an Oklahoma group, the Aryan Knights of Freedom. Jared saying he heard of Crowder’s Commandos he couldn’t wait to drive his new SUV over to Kentucky and join up. Saying he was anxious to get into high explosives ‘stead of chasing niggers down alleys and spray-painting synagogues; shit. He said he was in Oklahoma City for the Murrah Federal Building, got there just a few minutes after she blew. He said it had inspired him to get in the fight. Sometimes talking about the Murrah Buiding it would sound like he had taken part in that mission with Tim and Terry.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

“Fire in the Hole”

The title story:

They had dug coal together as young men and then lost touch over the years. Now it looked like they’d be meeting again, this time as lawman and felon, Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder.

Boyd did six years in a federal penitentiary for refusing to pay his income tax, came out and found religion. He received his ordination by mail order in South Carolina and formed a sect he called Christian Aggression. The next thing he did, Boyd formed the East Kentucky Militia with a cadre of neo-Nazi skinheads, a bunch of boys wearing Doc Martens and swastika tattoos. They were all natural-born racists and haters of authority, but still had to be taught what Boyd called “the laws of White Supremacy as laid down by the Lord,” which he took from Christian identity doctrines. Next thing, he trained these boys in the use of explosives and automatic weapons. He told them they were now members of Crowder’s Commandos, sworn to take up the fight for freedom against the coming Mongrel World Order and the government’s illegal tax laws.

That’s some opening. Probably one of the best short story openings ever.

So Boyd Crowder was a neo-Nazi skinhead? Somehow, this little fact escaped self’s mind when she was watching the show. Or perhaps they downplayed it for the adaptation, to make Boyd more likeable.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

« Older entries

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

A crazy quilt of poems, stories, and humor by Catherine Hamrick