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Things and Stuffing

013Christmas Greetings from Southern Arizona!

Salutations!  I’ve been away from this yere blog since November 8, for which absence I apologize. Nonetheless, people still seem to be visiting here. Onward!

Much has happened in the interim. For one thing, Trep and I visited face to face for the first time in years, when she and Cara, her dog, made the trek to my place over Thanksgiving. Funs were had by all, except maybe Cara, briefly, who had a close encounter with a jumping cholla.

The out-of-state visitors have returned to my little resort town, so all us “year-rounders,” as they quaintly call us, have learned once again that we must be very, very, careful at four-way stops and while making right turns. Surely these folks took drivers’ ed or a driving test in their home places?  Or is it just that they think they can forget all that while visiting barbarian Arizona?  Also, the grocery stores and restaurants are packed with people, which means that if one wishes, for example, to take a group of friends to a favorite eatery, one must call ahead–something that is unheard of during the summer months.

And of course Drumpf remains. The president is so repellent to me that I cannot bear to watch or listen to him. Hence I record any news program that I want to watch so that later on I can skim past his appearance. I don’t see how he can escape from Mr. Mueller’s investigation, given even the sketchy public knowledge that is available concerning his actions during the election. The Thugs’ current counter-measure (going after Mueller and the FBI) is surely a sign of their desperation. Of course people who lavish tax cuts on the very rich while wanting to kill the ACA and CHIP and Medicaid are obviously out of touch with reality.

And even as I typed that, I remembered Karl Rove’s ominous message during the second Bush presidency, to the effect that “reality is what we make it.”  Shiver.

But other good stuff has happened this fall. Nebraska’s women won the Big Ten Volleyball Championship in a tie with Penn State, and then they went on to win the National Championship!  Hooray!  The regionals as well as the finals were broadcast this year, so I made mincemeat of my fingernails over several nights of play. No, that’s not really so. Nebraska only had trouble with Penn State (who else?) but finally whupped them in five sets.  Then they won the finale over Florida in four sets. Nobody expected this team, which lost three All-Americans last year, to win much of anything. But nobody was wrong.











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Line of the Morning

Tom Perez, head of the Democratic National Committee, on why Democrats won in a commanding way yesterday:  “People want candidates who are sane.”

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This morning, while CNN and MSNBC were doing wall-to-wall reporting the arrest of George Pappadopoulos and the charging of Paul Manafort, I switched briefly over to Fox “News.” The first time I checked, they were discussing the NFL and the Houston Texans’ failure to comport themselves as conservatives expected them to do during the national anthem. The second time I peeked, 30 minutes later, the Fox anchors were talking about Puerto Rico.

A couple of hours later, by which time Fox’s spokesmodels had apparently received their instructions from somebody higher up, they launched two narratives: it’s all a lie, and “but what about Hillary and the uranium?” Another, intermittent, theme was that the special prosecutor should be fired.

I want you to know that in order to perform this public service I had to look up Fox on my teevee’s directory, having never had reason to go there before. And no thanks, I don’t plan to visit again any time soon.

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Utter Depravity

161009214226-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-01-16-exlarge-169I’m back! It’s been almost four months since I posted here. My only excuse is that I’ve been in a quasi-depression since the night Trump was elected President. I stayed up all that night watching returns, hoping against hope that what Chuck Todd was telling me just wasn’t so. I was in shock, I think.

For awhile afterward I was in mourning for Hillary, for the devastation this loss would wreak on her personally and for the nation’s loss of her superior intellect, her long experience in governing, and her sheer stones. It looks as though she is recovering, though, and the forthcoming publication of her account of the campaign looks to be an honest review of What Happened. She is a brave woman. Other women will appreciate her comments about the scene famously depicted in the photo (and hilariously recreated by Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin on SNL) when Trump stalked her as she attempted to make a point. Women know this behavior.  From what I have seen so far, male commentators just don’t get it, and her mentioning it will no doubt offer such men another ground on which to belittle her.

As time passed, I realized that my sadness had additional roots. I have been repulsed by Trump’s racism ever since the 1980s when he took out a full-page ad in the New York Times urging that the so-called “Central Park Five” be executed. You may recall that a jogger had been horribly assaulted in the park. Five young black and Latino men were arrested for the crime, mostly, as far as I can see, just because they were there and they were young men of color. They were freed from prison by DNA evidence after a long incarceration that ruined the rest of their lives. For his part in this incident, in my opinion, Trump himself deserves a stint behind bars.

It should be clear by now to any attentive American that Trump’s racism is still alive and well. But there’s more. I add amorality to racism and misogyny as serious charges against Trump. Because of this he is utterly unfit for political office. Some days I agree with those few brave voices that have suggested he has mental deficiencies, and if this were shown to be the reason (the only reason) for ejecting him from the presidency, one could feel sorry for him. On the other hand, solid evidence of his impairment would allow (force?) the House of Representatives to begin the process of removing him from office.

Aside from that possibility, Trump has shown himself to be an utterly vile person. His only concern seems to be to protect and advertise his greatness and (possibly) that of his family. There seems to be very little warmth between him and his trophy wife. Who can blame her? I hope the payoff for her has been sufficient to make up for the reality that she must occasionally spend time with this horrible person.

Perhaps one could grant that Trump has at least one moral imperative: the preservation of his self-image. Whatever he wants is right;  whatever goes against his desire is wrong. That is why he returns again and again to the old slights and the tawdry victories–he has transformed his presidency into a continuous stump, an unending hymn to his supposed greatness. In the mean time he has accomplished little for the country apart from the selection of a new Supreme Court Justice, which was actually engineered by the equally vile Mitch McConnell–who at least owns the virtue of craftiness.

I was moved to write about this today by something that supposedly happened during Trump’s rally in Phoenix last night. Apparently one of his supporters hollered out that Senator John McCain should die right now. McCain’s daughter Megan responded to this taunt in a tweet: “I wouldn’t wish seeing this about your own father on my worst enemy. May God help these people who inflict such cruelty in the world.” https://t.co/2wV3yFI1Hn

Indeed. Megan McCain has put her finger on the most heinous effect of Trump’s immorality: his followers have been infected with his vileness.

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Signs of Science

I went to Flagstaff’s March for Science today.  It was a lovely day, the crowd was cheerful, and there were great signs.  Here are some of the more unique or entertaining ones on display






I like her t-shirt!





One for you, Doc!


I empathized with this guy



Cool headgear was on hand as well



And some VERY cool headgear.  No introvert issues here.



The March – um, stroll – got underway from Thorpe Park…


…and went down Aspen St to City Hall.


There, politicians and scientists spoke, and folks cheered cheerfully in response to good lines.

Being Flagstaff, there was plenty of this going on




And being a fine day, some of this as well.


Altogether, Flagstaff put on a fine and fun event.



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would have learned by now to keep his repulsive opinions to himself.

Trump’s slur on John Lewis has made me SO angry. Here is what the twit tweeted: “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested).”

Here is Rep. Lewis’ congressional district:


You might notice that dab in the middle of the district is a city named “Atlanta.” Does this look like a place that is in “horrible shape”?


I read some statistics on Atlanta: the median income is higher than anywhere else in Georgia and in the upper half of all American cities. Most workers are white collar professionals. Now these statistics don’t mean that there are not pockets of crime in Atlanta. But nowhere did I read that the city was “falling apart.”

No, this ignorant tweet is just another instance of Trump’s racism. In his mind, any city that is predominantly black HAS to be “crime infested” and “in horrible shape.”

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My Newest Neighbor


I don’t think he/she has moved here due to climate change, but I think climate change may be helping him/her survive.  I first saw her last autumn, and figured she came up from Phoenix in the neighbor’s horse trailer.  I felt pretty bad for her then.  Thinking of the cold and the hibernated status of all the lizards to come, I didn’t think she’d survive. But here she is again, this autumn!  I’ve seen her three times in the last month or so, and this time managed to take some pictures.  dsc02146

As she demonstrates here, worms are a handy (hm…beaky?)  stand (uh…lie?) in for lizards.  I don’t know if she’s so round due to snacking on worms or from fluffed feathers.  It’s 40 degrees out and calm.  I think she may just be slightly plump.

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