Autolycus is being heartbreakingly plaintive right now. He has a vet appointment early in the morning and it requires fasting, which is an impossible concept to explain to a cat. I let him graze all day and gave him a proper dinner at the absolute last moment, but he is attempting to convince me that, actually, in point of fact, he starved since then. We should find him some kind of special treat after the appointment, for being so brave and honest. Last night he and his sister shared in the Rosh Hashanah chicken. All cats are lunisolar.
In honor of the High Holidays, here is a post on Jewish superheroes and here is a brilliant riposte to the rather short-sighted question "How can you be Black and Jewish?"
Back to the relentless grind. At least it is almost autumn.
Back in 2008, Gandhian pilgrimage that ended at Calais.
And his present (surely it is the same guy) simple life agenda has crossed my horizon heretofore.
My dearios, I give you I live a healthier life now I’m free of the trappings of modernity.
O, lucky old you, a healthy bloke with sufficient resources to undertake this project and pontificate about it. You are not just lucky to be 'born without any serious long-term health issues' - this is due to various factors including maternal nutrition and antenatal care, vaccination against common childhood diseases (even if he didn't get these, and I bet he did, he would have benefitted from herd immunity), i.e. the benefits of modern medicine and sanitation.
Also, I have no time whatsoever for anyone who dismisses other people's experiences of pain: there is a man who, we must suppose, never sat an exam while doubled over with period pain, or suffered a migraine. Not at all rare conditions. Your body is not 'always aiming for balance and health'.
And we observe that he has had a vasectomy... because one of my questions (among the many stimulated by the thought of all the technological advances that have made women's lives so much less arduous, which I remarked on when his bogosity first impinged upon my aghast gaze), wot abaht contraception?
Perhaps we might introduce him to the notion that being regularly flogged with a large codfish is a cure for pretentious woowoo?
(And do we think that his simple austere life is 'more work for other people', like the process that gets his handwritten ms - written on tree bark in berry juice, we wonder? - from his simple cabin in the woods to the Guardian website?)
My first prompt for them was this quote from Fred Rogers: "You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind," which I recalled from this autotuned song made from that and other remarks of his.
I showed them some gardens.
A garden in Holyoke, created by "self-proclaimed plant geeks":
Randyland, the garden created by Randy Gilson, a waiter and son of a single mom, in Pittsburgh, PA:
The magic gardens of Isaiah Zagar in Philadelphia:
The blooming Cadillacs at the Cadillac ranch in Amarillo, Texas:
(Source is this Google image, whose original location is given as this video.)
The famous Zen garden at Ryōanji, in Kyoto, Japan:
And I said, even when you think a place is barren, nothing growing, life pushes through, like in this parking lot in Boston:
And then I asked them--what's growing in the garden of your mind? Several people wrote that they felt like the parking lot and talked about worries, but one wrote about a painting she's planning, and another compared his mind to a potato (and gave me a diagram to show it growing). It was wonderful.
What's growing in the garden of *your* mind, these days?
Things I could have done on Wednesday: lunchtime free Zumba class, free Bach Collegium concert.
Things I did do on Wednesday: went straight home, ate, showered, crawled into bed with fanfiction, went to sleep early, sleeeeeeeeeeept.
I feel much better today, in the sense that fewer things hurt physically. And I realized this morning that nothing was stopping me from taking a day off tomorrow. That would mean I can sleep in after "Elizabeth Cree" tonight, and go to bed early before my crack of dawn train to NYC on Saturday morning.
What a removal of mental weight. A day off. How glorious. It will be much easier to enjoy my day in NY with a reasonable amount of sleep beforehand.
Here's the announcement from FB. Please email me or leave a comment if you want to come!
William Pint & Felicia Dale deliver a performance with dynamic vocals and exciting instrumental fireworks. Early music to modern - traditional to contemporary, heart wrenching to downright silly.
Please note: space is limited, so reserve a seat in advance! This is a house concert at April's home near Davis Square in Somerville, and space is limited. We can seat a maximum of 20 people, and I don't want any interested people to be left out. I would love to hear from you. Register early! Likewise, share this event freely!
Doors will open at 7:30, and the concert will start promptly at 8:00. Please note that Pint & Dale's recordings will be available for sale! Kindly follow the link below to whet your appetite for excellent music.
Send me (April) a FB message, or email me at aprilcatherinegrant at gmail dot com, in order to reserve a seat, get the address, and ask any questions you may have.
Suggested donation $10 to $20 -- more if you can, less if you can't, and no one turned away due to lack of funds.
(Not that I have anything against Collin Street Bakery, who do in fact make the world's best fruitcake. But I order my stuff from them online.)
A video of a Nazi in Seattle getting punched and knocked out has been making the rounds. Responses range from satisfaction and celebration to the predictable cries of “So much for the tolerant left” and the related “Violence makes us as bad as them and plays right into their hands.”
A few things to consider…
1. According to one witness, the punch happened after the Nazi called a man an “ape” and threw a banana at him. With the disclaimer that I’m not a lawyer, that sounds like assault to me. I’m guessing Assault in the Fourth Degree. In other words, the punching was a response to an assault by the Nazi.
The witness who talks about the banana-throwing also says he was high on THC. I haven’t seen anyone disputing his account, but I haven’t seen corroboration, either.
2.Remember when George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, and people like Geraldo Rivera said it was because Martin was wearing a hoodie, and that made Martin a potentially dangerous “suspicious character”? Utter bullshit, I know. But if our legal system let Zimmerman plead self-defense, saying he was afraid because Martin was wearing a hoodie, doesn’t that same argument apply against someone wearing a fucking swastika?
We’re talking about a symbol that announces, “I support genocide of those who aren’t white, aren’t straight, aren’t able-bodied…”
3. Buzzfeed presents this as anti-fascists tracking a Neo-Nazi to beat him up. While antifa Twitter appears to have been talking about this guy, there’s no evidence that the punch was thrown by someone who’s part of that movement. And even if he was, the guy didn’t throw a punch until after the Nazi committed assault (see point #1).
Those Tweets quoted on Buzzfeed also suggest the Nazi was armed, which could add to the self-defense argument in point #2.
Is Nazi-punching right? Is it legal? As any role-player will tell you, there’s a difference between whether something is lawful and whether it’s good.
The “victim” has every right to press charges. But for some reason, he didn’t want to talk to police about the incident.
Was punching this guy a good thing? I mean, there’s a difference between comic books and real life. The Nazi was standing in front of some sort of tile wall. He could have struck his head on the corner after being punched, or when he fell to the ground. In other words, there’s a chance–albeit probably a slim one–that this could have killed him.
My country and culture glorify violence. I’d much rather avoid violence when possible. I think most rational people would. But there are times it’s necessary to fight, to choose to defend yourself and others. I think it’s important to understand the potential consequences of that choice.
Multiple accounts agree this man was harassing people on the bus, and later on the street. He was a self-proclaimed Nazi. Police say they received calls that he was instigating fights, and it sounds like he escalated from verbal harassment to physical assault … at which point another man put him down, halting any further escalation.
I don’t know exactly what I would have done in that situation, but I see nothing to make me condemn or second-guess this man’s choice in the face of a dangerous Nazi.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
What I read
Finished Boys will be Boys, which was still very familiar although it is many years since I last read it. Wonder if Turner would really have liked to be writing something a bit more serious about matters of popular culture; and would have liked to be nerdish in the archives of the publishing companies, because there are sometimes wistful asides about the mysteries that might be solved thereby. Pretty sure this is where the very youthful oursin first acquired that apprehension that each generation disses upon what the young of next are consuming (whether print or radio or more latterly other media) as A Road to Ruin (I wish I could locate my copy of his Roads to Ruin).
Also finished The Witch of Syracuse: worked well, did not have that sense one so oft has when scattered short stories on a character/s are brought together of 'fix-up', but that it worked as a narrative arc. Also thought it worked well on the historical contingencies, nature of the deities, etc. (Very unfluffy Hellenic/Punic goddesses.)
Being somewhat smitten with travel angst, read various short things, comfort re-reads, etc.
Did read the novella Suradanna and the Sea by Rebecca Fraimow (2016): very good, even though I couldn't remember why or when I'd downloaded it.
On the go
Finally began Victoria Bates, Sexual Forensics in Victorian and Edwardian England: Age, Crime and Consent in the Courts (2015) - very good so far.
Also currently in medias res, Patricia McKillip, Kingfisher (2017) - very good, but my bar for riffing on/mashing up Arthuriana is set very high with Naomi Mitchison's To the Chapel Perilous.
*Among other sights seen today, Rynek Underground.
The 100 Greatest Owl Pictures You'll Ever See is not inaccurately titled. Content warning: not actually a Buzzfeed listicle. (via)
Timelapse of 30 days on a container ship at sea, including unloading/loading at various ports. Content warnings: pretty thunderstorms, lack of owls. (via)
Famous Viking Warrior Had Two X Chromosomes, No Y Chromosome. At least, that's what the headline should have read. Content warning: lack of owls. (via)
And in conclusion, owls!
Subject quote from "The Earthly Paradise, introduction to July, William Morris.
“Bill,” from the musical Showboat, is kind of a gender-swapped “My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun,” describing the beloved entirely in negatives; that works if you’re Shakespeare and the cliché you’re deconstructing is the Petrachan sonnet. I’m not sure what “Bill” is the opposite of – a beautiful man in a Leyendecker illustration, probably (there may be some kind of working-class pride intended in the list of sports he does not excel at being golf, tennis, polo, and rowing.)
The problem with this kind of thing is that you’re always left wondering just what the beloved *does* have going for them. Sex, maybe. That’s probably what Shakespeare was implying, and the lyrics to “Bill” date from the early twentieth century and would have to be even more covert. “It’s surely not his brain that makes me thrill.”
Given that within the context of the musical, the character is performing the song, but is really thinking about her husband who’s just run out on her because he can no longer deal with the fact she’s mixed-race, I can’t feel too optimistic about “Bill’s” negative virtues, but the song’s been stuck in my head for days and deconstructing the lyrics doesn’t help.
My brain, gentlefolk.
I also finally finished the fourth and last volume of the original Runaways comic by Brian K. Vaughan, which alas ends in a cliffhanger. I liked a lot of things about this series, particularly that the teenagers acted like teenagers, sometimes making good decisions and sometimes making stupid ones. Towards the end, though, I felt like the writer was struggling to have enough plot for all of the characters, particularly the two newer ones, and I was getting annoyed with Chase and his angry angst, true-to-life as it was. I think actual teenagers might like this series.
I'm not doing a lot of reading this week beyond magazines and some scattered fanfiction because it's All Opera, All the Time.