I very rarely hear non-liberal voices. I do have three conservative friends on Facebook, and will I keep them (even though one is a devoted Trumpster) because I like to hear other points of view.
That same spirit led me to watch the President’s press conference last week, but because most news channels are fact-checking him I don’t often get to see the raw craziness. So I went to C-Span. And because the president was tardy I got to hear the C-Span callers. The men on the street phoning in to express their views.
Oh my god. Did you know that the Democrats are keeping this covid “myth” going so that they can destroy our impression of Trump’s stellar economy so that he will lose the election? Evidently we got every country in the world to cooperate with our nefarious scheme.
It reminded me of my favorite Colbert bit of last week (ignore the poorly-placed first commercial).
I made the mistake of watching the 9/11 footage last week. I watch it every year. There are just some things so horrible your brain never absorbs them, and no matter how many times you remind yourself, you still can’t believe it.
Similarly, I can’t count the number of times this year I’ve had to say, “Did you ever think we’d ever be in a global pandemic?” And no matter how often I say it, I cannot believe it.
The double punch of watching the replay of an unthinkable attack, while avoiding an unthinkable virus, just did me in. Evidently I can only absorb one unthinkable thing at a time. Perhaps some people can’t absorb any unthinkable things. Hence 9/11 deniers and covid deniers.
What was the year Bowie and Prince and Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher died? 2016? It was the same year Trump was elected, speaking of unthinkable. They had the Zika virus, too. That was a bad year.
And good god, 1918 - 30 million people died in six months from their global pandemic, and there was an active World War — and evidently someone poisoned people in Chicago restaurants: didn’t know that. Happily, no movie stars died because there were no movies.
But you know what didn’t happen in 1918? Ruth Bader Ginsburg didn’t die in 1918, she died last night. That unthinkable event unleashed such a level of cursing on Facebook that two friends wisely removed their TeddyJ affiliations from their profiles.
Damn it all to hell.
I wonder if the Trump politicos knew that the Woodward recordings would come out right before the 9/11 anniversary.
I certainly heard the similarities, listening to the documentaries on 9/11. I got to hear both George W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani say, “The most important thing For a leader in a crisis is to appear calm.”
Did they know that September 10th would be the perfect day to make the “Calm” excuse? Sure, they said, “Trump downplayed the risks of the pandemic so people would remain calm.” Then the next day we see images of a clear-eyed, young, still-sane Rudy on 9/11 assuring us that we just need to stay where we are, stay in our homes, and we’d be fine.
Of course, to make the comparison accurate, Rudy should have walked through the streets (without a mask on, remember) and he should have said, “Lung cancer from breathing in this epic cloud of dust? It’s like having allergies. It’ll be gone in a month, like magic.”
This week the crypts went from this ...
... to this:
I don’t like the detail on the arch that I added. But, I like everything else. The stoop looks right now. So, even though the far left crypts should still bee even darker, it’s done.
This is the original photo:
The pears went from this ...
... to this:
This one is going to take forever. The crypts took like three months, didn’t they? These pears are an eighth the size but the glazing will put you all to sleep.
I was conversing with the young people at work about our “development objectives.”
(If that phrase sounds like corporate double-speak to you, well then congratulations to you. Nice to be independently wealthy. We working class have salaries based, in part, on our personalities. My personality flaws are part of my work review and my managers get to play amateur therapist on a semi-annual basis to determine what is wrong with me so I can change.)
I find this foreign, but the young co-workers don’t. They accept this, but find it demoralizing, so I was thinking of ways to alleviate their pain. (Works Cooperatively — 5 out of 5.)
It occurred to me that we could all game the system. I could go into my next review and say I struggle with Works Cooperatively, then just sit on my rear until my next review, when my boss will applaud me for my efforts; having noticed many examples of me Working Cooperatively.
I was amusing myself thinking of how to best recommend this to the young people, and thought I should call it the “Briar Patch Strategy.”
Luckily, I caught myself. A quick check on the Internet proved that Kids Today have heard “please don’t throw me into the briar patch,” but they think it means “don’t throw me under the bus.” They don’t know the whole story of the clever rabbit — born and bred in the briar patch — begging that he not be thrown into the thorny place that only he knows how to navigate.
“Don’t throw me into the briar patch” is such great shorthand, much more pithy than “tricking someone into punishing you with something you excel at.” Sadly, it’s from the controversial Uncle Remus stories. I can see how people today think the Uncle Remus stories are racist, and I blame that mainly on the Disney version, Song of the South. I’d never seen any of that movie before five minutes ago, and now that I just looked it up on YouTube, damn, that’s racist.
I didn’t learn my Uncle Remus lore at the movies, I picked it up in book form. I clearly remember reading the 1880’s stories out loud. Picture my ten-year-old self sitting cross-legged on the carpet in my sunny yellow-wallpapered suburban home, phonetically sounding out:
‘Drown me des ez deep ez you please, Brer Fox,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, ‘but do don’t fling me in dat brier-patch,’ sezee.
(When I realized “sezee” was “says he,” I felt like I had solved the Rosetta Stone. I went out and told my mother. I was an adult before I heard Brer was short for Brother.)
So while the current 30 year olds might not know of the briar patch, here’s a 2006 animated film called The Adventures of Brer Rabbit, which brings the stories back, minus the dialect and the Wise Uncle telling the stories to the white child. I just bought it and watched it just to wash Song of the South out of my head.
The Briar Patch is the climactic scene. So if kids saw it in 2006, maybe in about five years I’ll be able to reference “briar patch” again and young people will know what I mean.
There is a tradition in Santa Fe New Mexico. According to my brother (and this is confirmed by Wikipedia):
My brother woke me up at ten at night to watch Zozobra burn. He has had a bad 2020. As have we all. There are usually 10,000 complaints in the box o’ Gloom. This year it was 100,000 items.
I approve of this burning puppet scheme. (I approve of all things involving marionettes). I might need to have my own mini Zozobra event on the barbecue.
This week the crypts went from this ...
I think it’s almost done. Needs more darkness. All the whites need a little brown. And I might do the little details on the arch door and the left side of the arch. And the columns on the right crypt need to be tidied up. And the stoop by the arch.
I need to find a place between realistic and just-winging-it.
And the pears went from this:
Idle gossip doesn’t bother me. Who’s doing who, who got caught for what, I don’t care. I don’t even care if people gossip about me. In my experience it’s:
Sometimes people use gossip about other’s misfortune as entertainment. I know I’ve done it myself. For example, I’m a little sad we didn’t get the double Laura / Marco hurricane we were promised last week. Disasters far away are dramatic and juicy, and I give myself a pass when I talk about them.
Sometimes, instead of looking for disasters far afield, someone is so starved for drama they look to their friends, and if there is indeed a delicious disaster among their friends, people feed off that drama. It happens. Your friend has had a crisis, then all the friends discuss the details, no doubt with compassion, but looking for a little attention and excitement too.
But that’s when your friend has a crisis. Sometimes, some bland little hiccup occurs, and people, again looking for drama and attention, gin the hiccup up into death and destruction so they can be more entertained. Let’s say someone named Jane has a cough and feels tired, and the next thing you know, your friends are all sending Facebook thoughts and prayers for Jane as she battles lung cancer. Then Jane sighs and questions the value of these friends who evidently are so bored they want her to have lung cancer.
I say this as a hypothetical, “Jane” is not a real person I know, and my friends don’t imagine I have lung cancer, and I am pretty sure if I did they would ignore it after a Very Special Cancer Girls Night Out.
But still, it’s so galling when I see this. To be fair, I suppose the same gossipers do give themselves lung cancer too when they have a cough or a hiccup. Still annoying.
I watched both the political conventions. (I watched the RNC, unlike Stephen Colbert, and watch this if you haven’t seen his screed already.) I always watch both, so it couldn’t be different this year.
But you know what was different? This year the Republicans actually made me lean their way, just for a moment.
Most of it was comical, what with the pro-Trump nun and all the Trump DNA, but one part got me. When the wife of the ex-Saint Louis policeman talked about how he was killed by those they kept calling “The ‘Peaceful’ Protestors” (air quotes implied), I got a little sniffly.
The link above centers on how the late policeman would have been appalled that his death was used as ammunition at the RNC. He daughters have made it clear, but that doesn’t take away from the emotional appeal. If it got to me, how would it affect someone who was undecided?
I have a long history with Candidate Joe Biden.
I didn’t know much about him until the end of his first run for President in 1988, when he decided to lift a section of a British politician’s speech without using the words “quote” or “unquote”.
I thought (quote), “Plagarist.” And I wrote him off.
In ‘91, during the Anita Hill hearings, Mom told me she wasn’t watching the hearings because “I can’t stand looking at Joe Biden’s hairplugs.”
I immediately ran to the TV, expecting to see the scalp version of this:
So when he ran again in 2008, I thought, “Oh, the plagiarist with hairplugs.” And after that run failed, Barack Obama picked him as Vice President, and I thought, “I like Obama, so I guess I’ll give the Hairplugged Plagiarist a pass.”
Of course, now we’ve had a dozen years of him in the spotlight. I love him now, because we both cannot keep the thoughts inside our mouths.
Yet even if Biden had never been Vice President, I’m pretty sure that if Trump was the other choice I’d still be all in for President Word-Pirate Baldy McBiden.
So, last night Friend Anne and I watched The Barber of Seville. It is a cousin of the Marriage of Figaro, which is by a entirely different composer. Both use the same set of characters, given they are both based on the same backstory.
I’ve only ever heard the “Figaro” song from this opera (“Figaro Figaro Figaro FigaroFigaroFigaroFigaro Fiig-aaaa-roooo.” That one.)
It had the same cocky royal barber character you see in the town square in Sweeney Todd, which is based on a really old story too. Barbers must have been fascinating people: part doctor, part celebrity stylist.
I wonder if there are other barber-based works beyond the two Figaro operas and Sweeney Todd. It seems like there should be a barber in Shakespeare or something.
A few days ago Friend Anne and I watched Macbeth. We didn’t go to a theater or even a drive-in, we both logged in to Amazon on our PCs and there was an option for Amazon Prime watch party. One person invites the other, and if you are the other, you must use your Amazon Prime login to get the movie to open. (“MacEllen, Thane of Saint Charles” will be rejected.)
Then, after the movie launched, we started typing in the chat window on the side, and it was like Mystery Science Theater 3000, MacBeth Edition.
Macbeth rides a horse without wearing any pants. (That’s going to chafe.)
Macbeth takes a bath in a pond and we simultaneously typed “Well, hello.”
Macduff mourns the death of his wife and all his “sweet chickens.” (MacChickens.)
It was so pleasant we’re doing it again tonight. Not Macbeth this time, but an opera.
This week the crypts went from this ...
... to this:
Look, Toto, color! The only other colors are going to be touches of rust and a thin wash of brown on the cement. (And I overcorrected in the white scumbling in the cement so now that walking surface has to get a dark wash.) There is also some brick interest I am just ... skipping.
It is almost impossible to take an accurate photo of this. It’s so big, and the phone keeps auto-straightening. I swear it’s much straighter than it seems.
The flowers went from this:
... to this:
That’s done then. I think the next small one will be from the glazing book. The next big one might be from life, though.
Update on Strawberries
Well, the squirrel pole vaulted to the strawberry container five feet off the ground and triumphantly hurled one bare root strawberry to the patio, but I will get back at him when I snip off all the runners so no strawberries come to fruition this year. (They say that makes for better strawberries to next year.)
Update on Brother
My brother went in for surgery almost a month ago and just today he got back to his home. He’s still got a long way to go. Ruth Bader Ginsburg just had the same bile duct procedure that Dave had in January. Still, if RBG at 95 keeps pace with my brother, she will still be around on January 20, 2021. Not in top shape, but around.
Update on Novel
Well, since I complained about lack of progress, I almost filled up the Plot Whiteboard. That’s enough plotting to get started writing. I’m not concerned about those two blank spots, supposedly the pinch points are the last two parts to write anyway.
Recently, there’s been a run of news for Saint Louisians who want to entertain themselves.
If you are a child and you are looking to pet some goats, the Children’s Zoo at the Saint Louis Zoo is closing. (It does seem odd to have a section of a zoo dedicated to children, like a children’s room at Chuck-e-Cheese.) While they work out what to put in its place, they’re bringing back the animatronic DinoRoarus exhibit. In twenty years there will be a generation of college students arguing dinosaurs are not extinct, they just live in Africa along with the rhinos and all the other animals they saw at the zoo.
If you are a soccer fan, the name for the forthcoming Saint Louis soccer club has been announced, and the name is “Saint Louis City Soccer Club.” I don’t know, I was expecting something alongside the lines of the San Jose Earthquakes or the Colorado Rapids. I know the rest of the world names their teams this way, and you don’t want the Saint Louis Budweisers playing an exhibition game against Chelsea or Manchester someday.
If you like musical theater, the Muny (our very old outdoor municipal “opera”) has opened up a YouTube channel in lieu of a normal 2020 season. What is the Muny, really, without the sticky heat and humidity or rainouts? It’s live theater, and so they went with a YouTube channel. Show up at 8:15 on certain days and you’ll get something live plus taped performances. Of course, I only heard about it at the 11th hour, just in time for the last week of performances.
The container on the left is the one I found in my pantry last March.
The one on the right is the one I just got at Target when I was there getting my second Shingrix vaccination.
The Viking River Cruise brochure arrived in the mail, and this time, instead of snorting at the idea and throwing it away immediately, I opened it, just to see how much the prices had been discounted. Not that I would think of going, just to comfort myself that there might be a viral silver lining.
Evidently the prices are not discounted at all. I suppose that’s because they are restarting after being stalled since March, and they need to fill the coffers. Plus, anyone who thinks the pandemic has ended, and goes on a cruise, Given that the pandemic started on a cruise, that person is probably deluded enough to pay full Viking River Cruise prices.
The prices are still insane. This from the woman who paid $25 for a raw eight ounce steak.
My brother and I were discussing politics, and catastrophizing, and speculating on how long it takes to pass an amendment to the constitution, say an amendment to make Presidential terms be eight years instead of four, or one to abolish the electoral college.
A question came up — how long does it take to amend the Constitution.
Per Wikipedia, the shortest and longest spans from proposal to ratification are the last two amendments, in the 70s and the 90s.
Amendment 26 sets the voting age at 18. (If I recall, the argument was that if you are old enough to enlist in the army and die for your country you are old enough to vote.) From proposal to ratification? 100 days. The Supreme Court ruled on what the Constitution said about voting age, Congress said, “Well, change the Constitution then,” they proposed the amendment, and the states voted on it in 100 days. Can you imagine?
Amendment 27 ensures that no bounder can 1) be elected to Congress, 2) enact a law to give himself a million dollar salary, 3) rake in millions before possibly being voted out. It was initially to have been part of the Bill of Rights. I suppose the idea was laughable in 1789 when it was proposed, but quite reasonable in 1992 when it passed, 202 years later. (The story of how it was revived and passed should be a movie starring Timothee Chalamet as the student, Daniel Radcliffe as the TA, and Swoosie Kurtz as the Professor.)
Quite a range -100 days or 200 years. And don’t forget, some people argue the Equal Rights Amendment is still in play.
Oh, Lord, that was fast. When 18 of the Florida Marlins were found to have the Covid, I think we all said, “Florida. Of course.” Because we expect a little extra excitement from Florida. If there is drama to be had, that’s where it will be. Then the Phillies Coach and a staffer got it, but no players.
Sadly, the next team infected were the Saint Louis Baseball Cardinals. Now this is personal.
They haven’t said which two tested positive. I can say if it is Yadi or Waino (or horrors, Yadi AND Waino) there will be rioting in the streets. There will be flowers piled outside Busch Stadium and black versions of the Cardinals logo and the Weatherbird will send get well wishes.
Supposedly they are only postponing one game and moving it to Sunday. It will be part of a doubleheader in which each game is only seven innings long. Another weird part of a weird season. I’m ready to cancel already.
I am almost done with season one of Upstairs Downstairs, and I was disappointed enough to Google “Worst season of Upstairs Downstairs.” Happily, it seems if a viewer makes it past season one, she won’t be disappointed again until season three.
I give the show credit for discussing topics taboo in the early seventies, but it hasn’t aged well at all.
Sexual Harassment - I hope that in future seasons the footman Edward is gelded in some regrettable cutlery incident and stops sexually harassing the parlor maids.
Sexuality - Ironically, gay footman Albert is discovered to be “a pervert” while Edward is grabbing and pawing at every bottom that walks by.
Mental Health - Cook has a nervous breakdown, steals a baby, and is cured by the butler’s romantic interest in her.
I’m holding out hope that season two is better.
Things I like about Cardinals Opening Day:
I actually liked the fake crowd noise. I noticed one long fly ball that almost made it into the seats, and the “crowd” made the appropriate ascending and descending “AhhhAHHHHHHHROOOAAARRRawwwwwwww...sigh” sound. I pictured some sound guy twisting a dial as the ball almost made a home run and then didn’t.
I expected to hate the designated hitter, but I did not, because instead of assigning one batter to sell his soul (as is required of the designated hitter, see the Rules) the Cards are going to pick random batters to be the designated hitter. They’ll keep swapping out the batters, which is reminiscent of Whiteyball and Barenaked Ladies concert set lists.
What I didn’t like was the absence of the Clydesdales. Though it seems there is just the one team, there are many many Clydesdales, even alternate Clydesdale when an original Clydesdale is unable to perform his duties. So I know there are at least ten bored Clydesdales tapping their giant hooves and wondering why they aren’t being photographed. I would accept a socially distant Clydesdale, or a Clydesdale masked with a feedbag.
I also felt it was nice that they kept Fredbird on the payroll, but couldn’t they have had him kick back instead, hang out in the dugout, put his feet up? They had him retrieving foul balls. He looked sad.
One final suggestion: the red face coverings were fine. The white face coverings were creepy.
I have a neck gaiter with a raccoon printed on it. How did no one think to print some of these up with a Cardinal beak?
From Arkansas TV - https://www.nwahomepage.com/around-arkansas/bruno-the-bear-spotted-in-northeast-arkansas/
IMBODEN, Ark. (KARK) – A strange visitor was caught passing through Arkansas.
It was no ordinary black bear.
It was the famous Bruno the Bear.
This is the fourth state Bruno has been spotted in after starting his journey in Wisconsin.
Even though Bruno is popular, Arkansas Game and Fish says to remember he’s still a wild animal that weighs hundreds of pounds.
“But if it’s just out in the wild, then let it be a wild animal, and it’s certainly great to watch him and admire him,” says Keith Stephens, Chief of Communications with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. “But just don’t get to close and for goodness sakes, don’t feed them.”
The purpose of Bruno’s trip is to find a mate and his own territory ahead of hibernation season.
Bruno must have done his research.
According to Game and Fish, Arkansas has around 5,000 to 6,000 black bears.
Hmph. Bruno didn’t like the female bears in Mark Twain National Forest. Perhaps the other Forest bears were mean to him for being the outsider, it IS Southern Missouri, who knows. (I apologize, that was an unnecessary city girl slam on Southern Missouri.) At any rate, he is now a three hour drive away and still moving South.
This weeks the crypts went from this ...
... to this:
I know it looks like nothing happened. That’s because I tweaked and repainted all the vertical lines. I also did a lot on of Un-doing on the 3rd crypt from the right. Every time I looked at it another proportion was wrong. And about every value is wrong, that’s the next pass.
My floral project is going to look like this:
... but right now it just looks like this:
One of my favorite places to go in Saint Louis is Lone Elk Park. Gary and I visited there last weekend. It’s the perfect place to go in quarantine: a wildlife park you drive through with the windows rolled up. No exposure to any humans.
I was concerned that everyone else would have the same idea. Not quite.
I saw at least twenty people hiking through this park, fishing, eating, drinking beer, lounging idly right next to signs that say LEAVE YOUR CAR AT YOUR OWN RISK / DO NOT APPROACH THE ELK.
I have never seen so many people, and so of course I have never seen so few animals. The second time through I saw one deer far away by the lake, Gary spotted some buffalos with their backs to us as far away as they could get, and then the entire herd of elk decided to hoof it to the middle of the lake where they pointedly glared and said, “You people are contagious. Keep away from us with your bat disease.”
Poor animals. Four months of shutdown, during which I am sure they were certain humans had been eradicated, then suddenly all the humans came back, got out of their cars, and took over the park more aggressively than ever before. No wonder they were avoiding us.
This week the crypts went from this ...
The light is different because I thought I’d move it upstairs where the tape is. A friend asked me if I was drawing it from a photo. I answered that using tape to make straight lines can’t really be considered drawing.
The seascape went from this ...
I’ve really exhausted all the paintings I want to do from my step-by step book. Either all the others have results that are too specific (Portrait of a Random Businessman), too easy (Hot Pink Peony Closeup) or too difficult (Portrait of a Kitten Detailing Every Hair).
I like learning from books, and I think it goes way back. Below is the first art book I ever had.
It is also step-by step book, published when books cost a dollar (probably the mid-fifties). I didn’t buy “How To Do Watercolors” — it initially belonged to my artistic Aunt Dolores, who died six years before I was born. When I was six and my Grandceil realized I drew to amuse myself, she gave me all Dolores’ art supplies.
But, look at the bottom of the back cover:
Yes, both books are step-by-step books published by the Walter Foster company.
Talk about early influencers - this influence came from beyond the grave.
“I will work on Jerry’s novel when I take vacation in July.”
Nope. I spent a lot of time not working on it, but I also spent time thinking about why I’m not working on it.
I have determined that I need to recalibrate my expectations to line up with my other artistic efforts.
If you ask me if I can paint, or play the guitar, I would say, “I’m learning how to paint,” or “I’m learning how to play the guitar.” But who says, “I’m learning how to write fiction?” No one. No one says that. Yoda says the opposite.
Well, I defy Yoda. I say “Try or Try not. There is no do.” I think that’s essential for me - if I were to present something to others and say “I paint,” they would look at what I painted at any point and say, “No, you don’t.”
But were I to say, “I am learning to paint,” then they might say, yes, you are.
Early Portrait of the Artist as an International Toe Porn Superstar:
Later Portrait of the Artist as an International Toe Porn Superstar:
So, that’s the trick: do this for my own amusement and neural growth, not for any audience. It’s odd to think of a novel that way, because I would think that compared to painting or guitar a novel would be more communicative and less expressive. Don’t you need a reader to have a novel, and don’t you need to consider them over yourself while you are writing a novel?
Perhaps not for the first draft. Perhaps that’s what I need to get started. So that’s my new plan. I give myself permission to write a novel no one will read, a novel that is awful, a novel that just gives me practice writing a novel. I’ll be working on it forever, so when I die look on the cloud for a novel that is not about 1930s oil fields, but about space politics in the year 3535.
And hush, I know this is all the opposite of what I said last month, how I can’t get started because I don’t have an end point. Shhhhh. It’s part of the learning process, and the process is what’s beautiful.
Last night I woke up at 3:30 — that special hour when your brain chemistry dips and your bladder fills and your REM cycle skids off the road.
When this happens to me I play a crossword and do some light “reading.” Reading so light that it really needs those quotation marks. Not just Facebook light, Cracked magazine listicle Facebook light, where I “read” this:
“Wait what?” I said (because I have no ready vocabulary other than what I read on Cracked). “They found the ruby slippers?” I remembered vaguely that one of the pairs of ruby slippers had been stolen. (If you want a deep dive documentary into the provenance of the four known Ruby Slippers, including the St. Louisian who owned a pair, check out the long documentary The Slippers on Vimeo, or better yet just read this part of the Ruby Slippers Wikipedia article.)
Last night, though, I just went straight to a short (20 minute) documentary, Who Stole the Ruby Slippers, which just left me disappointed, because it wrapped before the sting operation that recovered the shoes.
I didn’t find out about the sting until about 4:30 in the morning, when I found this long wonderful read on the Washington Post.
I won’t tell you who — allegedly — did the deed, but I can tell you I learned three things from that article:
1) The FBI really needs to take an evening and watch The Sting with Paul Newman and Robert Redford. I’m not sure if they know what a sting is.
2) Pro tip: I always thought that if a stolen item is eventually found, then the item is returned to the person it was stolen from. Nope, not if an insurance company paid a claim. If found, the item belongs to the insurance company that paid out.
3) Art extortionist is a terrific job. Evidently, it’s quite an honorable profession, very above board. Really, I want to retire and take up a new career as an art extortionist.
Buried in the long Washington Post link above is the assumed identity of the alleged thieves, but frankly it’s so dull compared with the rest of the story I can see why they buried it.
And that is why I finally fell asleep at dawn. I recommend you read the article above at a reasonable time.
Evidently a black bear is on his way to my house. They say he’s looking for love with a female black bear, but no bear in Wisconsin or Illinois suited him. Now he’s trundled his way through several states and been spotted in Hannibal, Missouri, and if he continues his southern path he is welcome to eat some peanuts in our backyard. Perhaps he might hook up at Ladies’ Night at the S_____ Peanut Buffet.
They have given him the name Bruno. Evidently Bruno is the default name for lovelorn bears; there was a more dangerous Bruno the brown bear in Europe at one time.
Our Bruno is a harmless, peaceable black bear. However, wildlife experts all agree, “Don’t approach the bear.” No one says, “Tickle his belly, feed him by hand, he likes that.”
[hours later] BREAKING NEWS:
Okay, he really seems to be headed straight for us. I mean - I have driven on Interstate 79, the road he is on. It leads directly to our house. He’s about thirty miles away.
[then a few hours after that] BREAKING NEWS:
Bruno, Bruno, you’re our bear / Have some peanuts / Please don’t eat us.
[Updated the next morning]
The Internet claims that Bruno, after his long journey south, was intercepted by people from the wildlife department and from the Saint Louis Zoo. Supposedly he was rehydrated, sedated, and relocated to a large lake near Hannibal, which, yes, is back up north where he was at the beginning of this post.
I am suspicious. This makes no sense. If the bear is looking for love (or as one local paper tweets, Bruno the Bear is DTF), are there willing female black bears at Mark Twain Lake? If not, won’t Bruno just wake up and say, “Damnit, I was just here. I walked in a circle.” Wouldn’t it make far more sense to truck him south of Saint Louis so he just jumps over the dangers of the city?
[minutes later, after consulting a map]
Aaahhh ... wait. I bet he’s being shipped south to Mark Twain National Forest, not back north to Mark Twain Lake. (We’re a little proud of Mark Twain.) That’s better. The Forest has a lot more going for it, including recent reports of other black bears, plus the largest nearby city is a college town.
Still, if any Wisconsin bears pledged money for the Bruno walk-a-thon they might argue he cheated.
[later that morning]
Here’s the official story. It does not mention “Mark Twain” anything, but “Mark Twain” was referenced enough last night that I’m pretty sure he was taken to Mark Twain National Forest. It will be interesting to see what he does next. What if he backtracks and turns up on the doorstep of the Saint Louis Zoo, DTF?
I had no intention of getting yet another streaming service, especially a Disney one, but then Disney offered the filmed Broadway production of Hamilton on Independence Day.
I had concerns. ”What if they sing too fast for me to understand the words? What if I’m the only person alive who doesn’t love Hamilton? What if I don’t ‘get’ it? What if I’m the old lady who doesn’t like change?”
(That last concern was because yesterday morning we watched Sweeney Todd. I complained that back in my day musicals had chords that progressed, not this rambling Sondheim nonsense, then Gary asked, “isn’t that just like an opera?” So now I have to accept Stephen Sondheim musicals, and now I was forced to accept yet another musical format in the same day.)
Of course, I loved it, just like everyone else in the world. I understood almost every line, even without the closed captioning I rely on for The Pallisers. King George was my favorite character, Lin Manuel Miranda is a genius, it deserved all the Tonys, I share all the popular opinions.
Feeling fairly dependent this Independence Day. Dependent on the CDC for a vaccine, on Amazon for toilet paper, on the grocery delivery, on the news.
I don’t mind depending on the government. Were I in a house three miles east over the Missouri River, my local government would have sufficient sense to require that I wear a mask. As it is, I am under the thumb of the Saint Charles government, where we evidently have taxation without education. St. Charles feels its unmasked citizens can be “trusted to do the right thing.”
Based on the number of masks I’ve seen around, “do the right thing” means “open your maw as wide as possible and infect everyone, and only the holy will survive.”
Perhaps in December I will emerge and find that all the unmasked patriots are dead in the streets. That would be interesting, or at least an education.
Now is the time transportation companies should begin to concoct new ways to travel.
Just like everyone in the current circumstances, until there is a vaccine I would only consider traveling domestically by car. I’d be poking along in little-four hour jumps, inching my way to national parks, or Machu Picchu, or the Yukon. It would take time, but I’d get there.
Were I to travel overseas, well, first they’d have to have me. But let’s say they allow the dirty Americans in again. I couldn’t fly there unless we were shuffled in to a gutted plane one by one, told to stand on a x, and they we would have a vacuum tube lowered around us that sealed us in (with our own personal house air in a slow-release canister).
I could only get on one type of cruise. 1) One that runs at turbo speeds and gets up to Europe in two days. 2) We would sleep in those Japanese hotel drawers, again, with our own imported air, run through tubes up our noses. And we would have to be catheterized as well, I suppose. Price you pay. 3) During the day we would be required to be up on deck in the sunshine. I suppose we could be on deck chairs with our heads in space helmets.
Well, come to think of it, why don’t we just use space helmets for everything now? Can’t touch your face, can’t contaminate other people. It could have an air conditioning system so you won’t get hot or fog your glasses. So, maybe it’s time for me to invest in Tesla stock: I’m guessing they’ll be making the personal space helmets.
Of course, there will be someone saying, “The government can’t make me wear a space helmet!” Or the President refuses to wear his space helmet in photos.