Jul 10, 2017

Along the lines of the last post

(This is by our friend Jim Ferringer)


Fragment, fragment. Here, This Is Heaven, Chapter 14. Very short. Greta telling her story. Don't ask.


“But that’s not exactly what happens. Ben is in, yes, and now what? He’s in. And that’s it. He’s basically slacking. There is, at most, the faintest hint of life in his pendulous organ which is now absorbed by my womb. How to say this? There’s a Mozart opera where, in one scene, the music comes from very far away, but it’s Mozart nonetheless."

Jul 9, 2017

It was a dark and stormy night













Fragment, fragment. The GREEN EYES were about everything, there was always a fitting fragment. How about THIS IS HEAVEN, then? Why, here, the opening of Chapter 47, the cataclysmic chapter. The context is complicated. Ask yourself the question: are John and Alex still together?

It’s a dark and stormy night out there beyond the entrance of the Atlantis Beach Hotel. I’ve re-activated the A-level phone and dialed Alex. We need a ride, I explain.
Alex is not in the mood (“We can’t seem to get rid of our John”).
I get defensive (“You put me up with Bienpensant”).
He gets sarcastic (“Didn’t I tell you she’s a good lay”).
I’m pleading (“I need you help”).
He’s sarcastic (“With your adrenal fatigue…”).
I signal the need for motorized transportation (“A big box of fireworks”).
He turns self-reflexive (“Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, I apologize”)—but then he interrupts himself, “Fireworks?”

I explain.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Alex,” I say, “I’m ready to ditch you.”
“Apologies again,” he says. “Kaboom, she said?”
“Yes.”
“Kaboom is what we need,” he muses. “Your box is possibly too large for my Prius. Stupid.”

I hang up. You can’t physically hang up with a cell phone, but this is the new, Swarovski-encrusted A-thing, and I angle my arm like a baseball player and lob it across the dunes into the angry, wind-swept sea.

Then I calm down and borrow the dolly for a while and push the fireworks through the storm to the field. I’m thinking. I have always had trouble with these he-knows-that-she-knows-that-he-knows chains, and now I’m having trouble with Alex’s sarcasm-remarks: so, he apologizes—so he’s aware it hurts—so he’s aware that I’m aware that it hurts—and then adding insult to injury—assuming that a flat apology would do—that our John is everybody’s clown and especially his. (As they say math books: the remainder of the proof is left to the reader.)

By the way: if you fix the fireworks to the base of a rickety bleacher, loaded with people, and kaboom, what the fuck do you expect?




Jun 30, 2017

It's immoral (2) --- Trump care 66.75 times as evil as the Twin Tower attack


One brief remark regarding the pending health care legislation in the US: 





According to estimates built on the evaluation of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, (15 million lose their health coverage during the first year of Trump Care, etc), the Republican-sponsored legislation will cause 


200 000 preventable deaths per year.

Let's quantify this. NineEleven caused 2 996 deaths.  So, Trump care is 66.75 times as evil as the Twin Tower attack. Per year.

Jun 26, 2017

"It's immoral"

Our new short story is out, IT'S IMMORAL---relating a ride from our home near Cannes to Nice airport---in issue 16 of the British lit magazine Bunbury.






It's a bit complicated to get hold of the issue (here's the link:) Bunbury XVI 

For your convenience, we have the story here. It's not so long. Save for the penultimate paragraph, it's true-true, the story, so don't miss the penultimate paragraph. 



Let me put this upfront: the main exit of motorway A8 into Nice has been under construction for quite a while. Anybody living on the Cote d’Azur must have wondered why a ramp pointing in the direction of the downtown voie rapide, obviously meant to relieve the overworked Promenade des Anglais along the beach, had been left for decades to peter out as a useless heap of sand. Two years ago, finally, a swarm of yellow caterpillars appeared and replaced the sand with an overpass of French proportions, meandering high into the sky as if the gloire of the nation depended on it. I had followed the activity with some interest and last time I checked, on Wednesday (returning home from an exhausting interview with Inspecteur Dugeny of the criminal branch of French customs about Jyske, my wayward bank), the work was still unfinished.


Nice airport

I’m writing this while waiting for the Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt. I’m sitting on a two-person leather couch opposite Chang, who sits on another, identical couch. The couch table separating us holds a glass of orange juice (Chang), and three glasses of Bloody Mary (Michael) (empty). On closer inspection, the couch table consists of two plastic stools of not quite matching colors. The entire room, a small VIP lounge off the boarding area of Terminal One is stuffed with like furniture and overhung by a low, impending ceiling. The room is busy with passengers, various flights are delayed; people behave, nerves radiate. A TV screen on the wall shows a feature about Alain Juppé, mayor of Bordeaux, a once-presidential-hopeful who refuses to go away despite the time he spent in prison for the embezzlement of public funds. I’m the only one watching, everybody else plays with his i-thing.

_____________________

I’m not sure Chang is aware of what has happened because he is all business.
_____________________


I’m not sure Chang is aware of what has happened because he is all business i.e., very critical of the booze. I can still feel my heartbeat.

Jun 25, 2017

This Is Heaven cover art --- by Joe Phillips



Here's the cover art for THIS IS HEAVEN: 





As in the case of the GREEN EYES it's by Joe Phillips, the mesmerizing artist, and it features his model, the "Latino Boy", who's also our model for Alex Iglesias, the lead character of the Heaven-saga.


Fragment, fragment. Sure. Here, CH 29, "I strike a deal with Mephistopheles, I win," in which Alex tries to convince John, the narrator, that they'd rather break up because he, Alex, has lost his soul. Here's how the chapter begins:


Alex would take me to the debate in his car, and I shouldn’t worry, he’ll give me a ride back, if necessary. We didn’t have much time to talk, and he’s sorry and apologizes as usual. Perhaps we could converse in the car; he had some time to think. He needs to share a thought, just a thought.

Ambulance paramedic that he is, or was, he knows the shortcuts of Georgia Beach, and in particular the spruced-up bike path that shares the bridge with the Davis Canal and leads from the parking lot through the ghetto up to Georgia Avenue. So we are supposed to talk, but he’s sitting behind the wheel and doesn’t say a word. People sometimes do this, especially in movies when they want the audience to focus on their effortless silhouette; the low bridge of his nose mildly turned up (not enough for a snub-nose but sufficient for the boy-component in a big brother); the eyelashes which are a bit too long for big brothers; the brows, wide and elongated (each and every single brow-hair perfectly aligned (like he’s employing an invisible, yet acrobatic cat that licks them twice per hour)); the jaw, which isn’t macho but large enough to support the seamless definition of his chin lines; the lips, closed at the moment but wide and misleadingly sensual; his smooth Latino skin; the fitting ears that seem to know everything; the black hair cut short on the side according to the latest fashion (a strange feature in an α-personality usually dismissive of trendiness). Then there’s the prominent back of the head segueing into a muscular neck; the shoulders of course that do the big-brother thing all on their own, the biceps (ditto), triceps (ditto), all of this very much in evidence with him in a green tank top that would match the color of his eyes if anything on the planet could match the color of his eyes. We arrive at the precipitous drop of his torso along the pecs and abs and down into the groin where the perfect bulge in his shorts is always in evidence due to his—what he calls his anatomy. And we wrap up with his hirsute thighs and his dirty, sexy sneakers in the pedal space underneath. And don’t forget the big hands on the steering wheel.

“You’re beautiful,” I say.
“Why did you break my A/C?” he replies

[...]

And here, a bit more, only a few lines:

We’ve arrived at the Dream Creamery on the corner of Georgia Avenue and the board walk-—the ruling ice cream parlor, very popular with the confessive rainbow crowd. “Let me buy you an ice cream,” he says. He fumbles in his pockets and issues various pieces of paper, including some greenbacks. The paperwork is resorted and repacked, a medication bottle appears in cameo, a twenty-dollar bill is found.
“What do you want?”

A sheep led to the slaughterhouse, a squirrel in love with a cobra, John Lee ditched by Alexander Iglesias, what do they want?

“Banana, stracciatella, and lemon,” I say.

“Good,” he says, exhaling.
“Good, why?”
“I can’t read thoughts.”
“You were trying?”
“Yes, I was. You were telling me I could read thoughts, remember? Glad it isn’t true.”
“Well,” I say. “Actually, I don’t want ice cream.”
“Oh, shit.”

He proceeds to order anyhow-—he’s always served first, he only has to show up with his cat-licked eyebrows and is served banana, stracciatella and lemon.

[...]


Two more lines, the last:

“You play with me, Alex. You know you’re X times smarter, and you play with me.”
“We’re having an argument, ain’t we? An instance of rational discourse. Let the better man win.”


Are you still there? Then you'll possibly like the GREEN EYES. The first part is out now, available as Kindle book on Amazon, under this link:


Night Owl Reviews
"click"

Jun 24, 2017

Yesterday evening




From today's New York Times --- Trump's lies

T r u m p  s   L i e s

Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies. But as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office.
JAN. 21 “I wasn't a fan of Iraq. I didn't want to go into Iraq.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.)JAN. 21 “A reporter for Time magazine — and I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine.” (Trump was on the cover 11 times and Nixon appeared 55 times.)JAN. 23 “Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me to lose the popular vote.” (There's no evidence of illegal voting.)JAN. 25 “Now, the audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive.” (Official aerial photos show Obama's 2009 inauguration was much more heavily attended.)JAN. 25 “Take a look at the Pew reports (which show voter fraud.)” (The report never mentioned voter fraud.)JAN. 25 “You had millions of people that now aren't insured anymore.” (The real number is less than 1 million, according to the Urban Institute.)JAN. 25 “So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can't have that.” (There were no gun homicide victims in Chicago that day.)JAN. 26 “We've taken in tens of thousands of people. We know nothing about them. They can say they vet them. They didn't vet them. They have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don't know anything about them and you have no papers? How do you vet them? You can't.” (Vetting lasts up to two years.)JAN. 26 “I cut off hundreds of millions of dollars off one particular plane, hundreds of millions of dollars in a short period of time. It wasn't like I spent, like, weeks, hours, less than hours, and many, many hundreds of millions of dollars. And the plane's going to be better.” (Most of the cuts were already planned.)JAN. 28 “The coverage about me in the @nytimes and the @washingtonpost has been so false and angry that the Times actually apologized to its dwindling subscribers and readers.” (It never apologized.)JAN. 29 “The Cuban-Americans, I got 84 percent of that vote.” (There is no support for this.)JAN. 30 “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage.” (At least 746 people were detained and processed, and the Delta outage happened two days later.)FEB. 3 “Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” (There is no evidence of paid protesters.)FEB. 4 “After being forced to apologize for its bad and inaccurate coverage of me after winning the election, the FAKE NEWS @nytimes is still lost!” (It never apologized.)FEB. 5 “We had 109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers and all we did was vet those people very, very carefully.” (About 60,000 people were affected.)FEB. 6 “I have already saved more than $700 million when I got involved in the negotiation on the F-35.” (Much of the price drop was projected before Trump took office.)FEB. 6 “It's gotten to a point where it is not even being reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it.” (Terrorism has been reported on, often in detail.)FEB. 6 “The failing @nytimes was forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win. Now they are worse!” (It didn't apologize.)FEB. 6 “And the previous administration allowed it to happen because we shouldn't have been in Iraq, but we shouldn't have gotten out the way we got out. It created a vacuum, ISIS was formed.” (The group’s origins date to 2004.)FEB. 7 “And yet the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? Forty-seven years.” (It was higher in the 1980s and '90s.)FEB. 7 “I saved more than $600 million. I got involved in negotiation on a fighter jet, the F-35.” (The Defense Department projected this price drop before Trump took office.)FEB. 9 “Chris Cuomo, in his interview with Sen. Blumenthal, never asked him about his long-term lie about his brave ‘service’ in Vietnam. FAKE NEWS!” (It was part of Cuomo's first question.)FEB. 9 Sen. Richard Blumenthal “now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?” (The Gorsuch comments were later corroborated.)FEB. 10 “I don’t know about it. I haven’t seen it. What report is that?” (Trump knew about Flynn's actions for weeks.)FEB. 12 “Just leaving Florida. Big crowds of enthusiastic supporters lining the road that the FAKE NEWS media refuses to mention. Very dishonest!” (The media did cover it.)FEB. 16 “We got 306 because people came out and voted like they've never seen before so that's the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.” (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all won bigger margins in the Electoral College.)FEB. 16 “That’s the other thing that was wrong with the travel ban. You had Delta with a massive problem with their computer system at the airports.” (Delta's problems happened two days later.)FEB. 16 “Walmart announced it will create 10,000 jobs in the United States just this year because of our various plans and initiatives.” (The jobs are a result of its investment plans announced in October 2016.)FEB. 16 “When WikiLeaks, which I had nothing to do with, comes out and happens to give, they’re not giving classified information.” (Not always. They have released classified information in the past.)FEB. 16 “We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban. But we had a bad court. Got a bad decision.” (The rollout was chaotic.)FEB. 16 “They’re giving stuff — what was said at an office about Hillary cheating on the debates. Which, by the way, nobody mentions. Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates.” (It was widely covered.)FEB. 18 “And there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing.” (Refugees receive multiple background checks, taking up to two years.)FEB. 18 “You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?” (Trump implied there was a terror attack in Sweden, but there was no such attack.)FEB. 24 “By the way, you folks are in here — this place is packed, there are lines that go back six blocks.” (There was no evidence of long lines.)FEB. 24 “ICE came and endorsed me.”(Only its union did.)FEB. 24 “Obamacare covers very few people — and remember, deduct from the number all of the people that had great health care that they loved that was taken away from them — it was taken away from them.” (Obamacare increased coverage by a net of about 20 million.)FEB. 27 “Since Obamacare went into effect, nearly half of the insurers are stopped and have stopped from participating in the Obamacare exchanges.” (Many fewer pulled out.)FEB. 27 “On one plane, on a small order of one plane, I saved $725 million. And I would say I devoted about, if I added it up, all those calls, probably about an hour. So I think that might be my highest and best use.” (Much of the price cut was already projected.)FEB. 28 “And now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that.” (NATO countries agreed to meet defense spending requirements in 2014.)FEB. 28 “The E.P.A.’s regulators were putting people out of jobs by the hundreds of thousands.” (There's no evidence that the Waters of the United States rule caused severe job losses.)FEB. 28 “We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials.” (They can't lobby their former agency but can still become lobbyists.)MARCH 3 “It is so pathetic that the Dems have still not approved my full Cabinet.” (Paperwork for the last two candidates was still not submitted to the Senate.)MARCH 4 “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” (There's no evidence of a wiretap.)MARCH 4 “How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”(There's no evidence of a wiretap.)MARCH 7 “122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!” (113 of them were released by President George W. Bush.)MARCH 13 “I saved a lot of money on those jets, didn't I? Did I do a good job? More than $725 million on them.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)MARCH 13 “First of all, it covers very few people.” (About 20 million people gained insurance under Obamacare.)MARCH 15 “On the airplanes, I saved $725 million. Probably took me a half an hour if you added up all of the times.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)MARCH 17 “I was in Tennessee — I was just telling the folks — and half of the state has no insurance company, and the other half is going to lose the insurance company.” (There's at least one insurer in every Tennessee county.)MARCH 20 “With just one negotiation on one set of airplanes, I saved the taxpayers of our country over $700 million.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)MARCH 21 “To save taxpayer dollars, I’ve already begun negotiating better contracts for the federal government — saving over $700 million on just one set of airplanes of which there are many sets.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)MARCH 22 “I make the statement, everyone goes crazy. The next day they have a massive riot, and death, and problems.” (Riots in Sweden broke out two days later and there were no deaths.)MARCH 22 “NATO, obsolete, because it doesn’t cover terrorism. They fixed that.” (It has fought terrorism since the 1980s.)MARCH 22 “Well, now, if you take a look at the votes, when I say that, I mean mostly they register wrong — in other words, for the votes, they register incorrectly and/or illegally. And they then vote. You have tremendous numbers of people.” (There's no evidence of widespread voter fraud.)MARCH 29 “Remember when the failing @nytimes apologized to its subscribers, right after the election, because their coverage was so wrong. Now worse!” (It didn't apologize.)MARCH 31 “We have a lot of plants going up now in Michigan that were never going to be there if I — if I didn’t win this election, those plants would never even think about going back. They were gone.” (These investments were already planned.)APRIL 2 “And I was totally opposed to the war in the Middle East which I think finally has been proven, people tried very hard to say I wasn’t but you’ve seen that it is now improving.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.)APRIL 2 “Now, my last tweet — you know, the one that you are talking about, perhaps — was the one about being, in quotes, wiretapped, meaning surveilled. Guess what, it is turning out to be true.” (There is still no evidence.)APRIL 5 “You have many states coming up where they’re going to have no insurance company. O.K.? It’s already happened in Tennessee. It’s happening in Kentucky. Tennessee only has half coverage. Half the state is gone. They left.” (Every marketplace region in Tennessee had at least one insurer.)APRIL 6 “If you look at the kind of cost-cutting we’ve been able to achieve with the military and at the same time ordering vast amounts of equipment — saved hundreds of millions of dollars on airplanes, and really billions, because if you take that out over a period of years it’s many billions of dollars — I think we’ve had a tremendous success.” (Much of the price cuts were already projected.)APRIL 11 “I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve.” (He knew Steve Bannon since 2011.)APRIL 12 “You can't do it faster, because they're obstructing. They're obstructionists. So I have people — hundreds of people that we're trying to get through. I mean you have — you see the backlog. We can't get them through.” (At this point, he had not nominated anyone for hundreds of positions.)APRIL 12 “The New York Times said the word wiretapped in the headline of the first edition. Then they took it out of there fast when they realized.” (There were separate headlines for print and web, but neither were altered.)APRIL 12 “The secretary general and I had a productive discussion about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism.” (NATO has been engaged in counterterrorism efforts since the 1980s.)APRIL 12 “Mosul was supposed to last for a week and now they’ve been fighting it for many months and so many more people died.” (The campaign was expected to take months.)APRIL 16 “Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!” (There's no evidence of paid protesters.)APRIL 18 “The fake media goes, ‘Donald Trump changed his stance on China.’ I haven’t changed my stance.” (He did.)APRIL 21 “On 90 planes I saved $725 million. It's actually a little bit more than that, but it's $725 million.” (Much of the price cuts were already projected.)APRIL 21 “When WikiLeaks came out … never heard of WikiLeaks, never heard of it.” (He criticized it as early as 2010.)APRIL 27 “I want to help our miners while the Democrats are blocking their healthcare.” (The bill to extend health benefits for certain coal miners was introduced by a Democrat and was co-sponsored by mostly Democrats.)APRIL 28 “The trade deficit with Mexico is close to $70 billion, even with Canada it’s $17 billion trade deficit with Canada.” (The U.S. had an $8.1 billion trade surplus, not deficit, with Canada in 2016.)APRIL 28 “She's running against someone who's going to raise your taxes to the sky, destroy your health care, and he's for open borders — lots of crime.” (Those are not Jon Ossoff's positions.)APRIL 28 “The F-35 fighter jet program — it was way over budget. I’ve saved $725 million plus, just by getting involved in the negotiation.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.)APRIL 29 “They're incompetent, dishonest people who after an election had to apologize because they covered it, us, me, but all of us, they covered it so badly that they felt they were forced to apologize because their predictions were so bad.” (The Times did not apologize.)APRIL 29 “As you know, I've been a big critic of China, and I've been talking about currency manipulation for a long time. But I have to tell you that during the election, number one, they stopped.” (China stopped years ago.)APRIL 29 “I've already saved more than $725 million on a simple order of F-35 planes. I got involved in the negotiation.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.)APRIL 29 “We're also getting NATO countries to finally step up and contribute their fair share. They've begun to increase their contributions by billions of dollars, but we are not going to be satisfied until everyone pays what they owe.” (The deal was struck in 2014.)APRIL 29 “When they talk about currency manipulation, and I did say I would call China, if they were, a currency manipulator, early in my tenure. And then I get there. Number one, they — as soon as I got elected, they stopped.” (China stopped in 2014.)APRIL 29 “I was negotiating to reduce the price of the big fighter jet contract, the F-35, which was totally out of control. I will save billions and billions and billions of dollars.” (Most of the cuts were planned before Trump.)APRIL 29 “I think our side's been proven very strongly. And everybody's talking about it.” (There's still no evidence Trump's phones were tapped.)MAY 1 “Well, we are protecting pre-existing conditions. And it'll be every good — bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.” (The bill weakens protections for people with pre-existing conditions.)MAY 1 “The F-35 fighter jet — I saved — I got involved in the negotiation. It's 2,500 jets. I negotiated for 90 planes, lot 10. I got $725 million off the price.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.)MAY 1 “First of all, since I started running, they haven't increased their — you know, they have not manipulated their currency. I think that was out of respect to me and the campaign.” (China stopped years ago.)MAY 2 “I love buying those planes at a reduced price. I have been really — I have cut billions — I have to tell you this, and they can check, right, Martha? I have cut billions and billions of dollars off plane contracts sitting here.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)MAY 4 “Number two, they’re actually not a currency [manipulator]. You know, since I’ve been talking about currency manipulation with respect to them and other countries, they stopped.” (China stopped years ago.)MAY 4 “We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world.” (We're not.)MAY 4 “Nobody cares about my tax return except for the reporters.” (Polls show most Americans do care.)MAY 8 “You know we’ve gotten billions of dollars more in NATO than we’re getting. All because of me.” (The deal was struck in 2014.)MAY 8 “But when I did his show, which by the way was very highly rated. It was high — highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever had.” (Colbert's “Late Show” debut had nearly two million more viewers.)MAY 8 “Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows — there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/ Russia and Trump.” (Clapper only said he wasn't aware of an investigation.)MAY 12 “Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.” (The F.B.I. was investigating before the election.)MAY 12 “When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?” (Clapper said he wouldn't have been told of an investigation into collusion.)MAY 13 “I'm cutting the price of airplanes with Lockheed.” (The cost cuts were planned before he became president.)MAY 26 “Just arrived in Italy for the G7. Trip has been very successful. We made and saved the USA many billions of dollars and millions of jobs.” (He's referencing an arms deal that's not enacted and other apparent deals that weren't announced on the trip.)JUNE 1 “China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020.” (The agreement doesn’t allow or disallow building coal plants.)JUNE 1 “I’ve just returned from a trip overseas where we concluded nearly $350 billion of military and economic development for the United States, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.” (Trump’s figures are inflated and premature.)JUNE 4 “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” (The mayor was specifically talking about the enlarged police presence on the streets.)JUNE 5 “The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.” (Trump signed this version of the travel ban, not the Justice Department.)JUNE 21 “They all say it's 'nonbinding.' Like hell it's nonbinding.” (The Paris climate agreement is nonbinding — and Trump said so in his speech announcing the withdrawal.)JUNE 21 “Right now, we are one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.” (We're not.)

Jun 17, 2017

Pompeii (6)

Yes, we're not yet done with Pompeii, we've got interrupted but we are not yet done. Here, the historic site, with a statue that's a contemporary addition (we forgot the name of the artist---have a look at the comment below).



Jun 13, 2017

Happyness




What you see is a myosin protein dragging an endorphin along a filament to the inner part of the brain’s parietal cortex which creates happiness. Happiness. You’re looking at happiness.

May 20, 2017

Why books no longer sell

Many a literati complain that their books no longer sell. Many a theory circulate why this is so (the disappearance of gay book stores, the disappearance of attention spans, competition from other media, Trump, and so on). But yesterday---yesterday we discovered the definitive answer. Here it is:

Ceci n'est pas une pipe, mais un camp de concentration Trumpien.

No, wrong, this is the airport of Cannes, the main hub of the Cannes Film Festival for anything that moves about by general aviation. Ten years ago, during the Festival, this place was loaded with private jets---Learjets, Falcons, Netjets, Gulfstreams---all patiently waiting for the "talent" to be beautiful, blow insouciant kisses, sign contracts, fuck, collect awards, and then return to Hollywood. And now what? The place is practically empty---emptier, we'd say, than on a normal day of the week when we drive past to go to our discount Lidl supermarket which is just around the corner.

You get it? Nothing sells. Almost. This is not only about books, this is about media in general.

And the underlying reason? Well, a shift in the parameter values of the Power Distribution of course.

Huh? Stay tuned.

May 18, 2017

Pompeii (5) The Year of the Spritz --- History of the world





Yes, we're back in Positano, or we are still in Positano because Julia, our hostess, has an uncle who runs this restaurant, and they would pick us up and deliver us back safely despite the fact that the road is barely fit for mules. And this is what we get as the welcome drink: THE SPRITZ. (Henry James also used capitalisation extensively).

When we arrived in Venice in 1988 on a research assignment, our host Massimo picked us up at the airport and delivered us almost directly---we had a brief look at a Tintoretto in a nearby church first---to a small café and ordered something we surely had never heard of. "The Spritz." It's a German word introduced by the Austrians when they ruled Venice from 1815 to 1866, meaning a "dash" of something stronger into a small glass of white wine. It was great and we ordered a few more. Then. 

I returned to Venice repeatedly, but it was only in 2013 that I was confronted with the NEW SPRITZ as you see it on the picture. This Spritz is made from Prosecco and a dashy new version of strong water unfortunately dubbed Aperol. The color is great, the taste is mild, and chunks of lemon and orange are added for effect. There's a Hitchcock movie where the poisonous drink is served to the unsuspecting suspect in a glass illuminated by a little light bulb hidden in a translucent olive. Along those lines. 

Okay, and now, this year, THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE SPRITZ. Everywhere you go, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and today, St. Raphael, FRANCE (not shown)---the Aperol Spritz is everywhere. We ordered white wine in St. Raphael.