Sunday, June 11, 2017

76. 6/11/17


"It's illegal to own just one guinea pig in Switzerland."

Good ol' humane, neutral Switzerland!

Oh, and -- by the way -- don't even think about getting a single mouse, gerbil, rat, chinchilla, large parrot, cockatoo, ara 
, large parakeet, canary, estrildid finch 
, small parakeet or agapornid 
. Know your local Lonely Bird Laws.

"Of the world's 100 highest bridges, 81 are in China."

During the campaign, 45 continually spoke with hushed, reverential awe about all the beautiful new airports, bridges and roads in China. He compared La Guardia (admittedly, a mess) to these gleaming, new structures all over the many large Chinese cities.

This article details the (hidden) costs beneath all this infrastructure renewal.

Which brings up the U.S.A.

Is he going to build all these gleaming new bridges and highways on an infrastructure bill funded by ...

... what? Tax cuts for billionaires?

"All beaches in Texas are considered highways ... we pulled over to the shoulder, threw on the hazard lights and mulled the intelligence of continuing ... already without cell service, I'd recently heard a cautionary tale that ended with a $1,300 towing bill."

"I remembered the ranger's advice: bring a stick and keep an eye out for rattlesnakes -- all three types."

"Some 24,000 commercial flights take off and land in the United States every day, most at or close to capacity."

"How did air travel, which once seemed so glamorous and exciting, turn into a sadomasochistic pas de deux between the industry and the passenger?"

I am so looking forward to getting there and I am so not looking forward to getting there.

"If there's going to be an auto-da-fe on the Potomac, Trump would prefer to light the match. He doesn't want some shrewd, fired, leaking, taller-than-thou swamp creature to take him out when he can self-immolate."

I predict this is exactly what 45 will ultimately do. When the time comes, he will resign and claim victory.


"The Volkswagen Beetle was originally called the 'Strength Through Joy Car' and was part of Hitler's plan to provide an affordable car to every German."

I miss my father, who passed away in 1978. He was a brilliant man, inspiring, loving -- and to this day, I treasure the memories of our interactions so many years ago.

One, I will never, ever forget.

I was 16 or so -- driving age -- and Dad sat me down and asked me to please honor one simple request:

That was that I would never buy or even ride in a Volkswagen.

He told me about much of the history which is detailed in this book review; some facts I already knew (Porsche designed the Beetle; the factory was staffed by forced Jewish labor); some I learned just a moment ago (the contemporary stuff) ...

I was in my 30's when I rode in my sister-in-law's VW for the first time. By that time, I had concluded that as politically sensitive as my father was, he was -- in fact -- sort of a mild hypocrite.

That same year we had that talk, he bought himself a brand new Ford.

What about ol' Henry's politics? I thought ...


"Witch hunting declined in the 1800s, becoming a distant-enough memory by the end of the century that pantomime 'witch hunts' were performed to entertain the queen of England."

45 has been denouncing one "witch hunt" or another on his Twitter account for months now. This terrific article details the historical usage of the phrase and political ramifications.

"[Witches] were thought to be devil-worshipers who had sex with demons. Old women and young girls were stripped and searched for evidence of third nipples ..."

Sounds like a bunch of horny old witch "finders" ...


Typesetting note:

On Page 14 we find the following line -- the last one in the first column:

hunt" in a 1915 collection of World War

then the reader goes to the next column:

I stories (he is ...

That's a big no-no, separating anything in the phrase "World War I." You just cannot leave the "I" sticking out there by itself like that...


"According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health, some 38 percent of girls ages 13 through 17, and 26 percent of boys, have an anxiety disorder."

"It was seventy years ago that the poet W.H. Auden published 'The Age of Anxiety,' a six-part verse framing modern humankind's condition over the course of more than 100 pages, and now it seems we are too rattled to even sit down and read something that long (or as the internet would say, tl;dr)."

Another great article today.

When I think of anxiety come to life on film, I think of Akira Kurosawa's severely underrated 1955 film, "I Live in Fear" (it is also known as "Record of a Living Being").

The brilliant Toshiro Mifune (35 at the time) plays a 70-year-old man who owns a successful factory. But he is terrified of the atomic bomb and wants to move to Brazil, where he thinks he and his large extended family might be safe. Kurosawa shows the man's anxiety as it really must be -- completely paralyzing him and wreaking havoc with all the people around him!

Paul Ryan: "He's just new to this ... he's learning as he goes ... he wasn't steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between D.O.J., F.B.I. and White Houses."

Is this guy kidding?

First of all, duh -- "the president obviously knows that it's wrong to interfere in an investigation." See Bill Clinton & Loretta Lynch on the tarmac.

And how 'bout this beauty from Christie, still the faithful little lap dog:

"'What you're seeing is a president who is now very publicly learning about the way people react to what he considers to be normal New York City conversation.' (As in: People in Chicago talk about the weather; in Los Angeles, movies. In New York City, they say, 'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty')."

Book review 14 THE BEST-LAID PLANS

"To escape arrest after the failure of the Bolshevik revolution, Vladimir Lenin shaved his beard, fled to Finland and did not appear in public for four months."

His thesis basically states that the success of the Soviet revolution was "largely a matter of chance." Eventually, the book swings around to the present and Putin:

"Putin's Russia still faces many of the same fundamental problems: rigid authoritarianism, widespread poverty and deeply rooted corruption. Little wonder the Kremlin has been at pains to play down celebration of the revolution's centenary this year."

I hear this.

"He never expected Mr. CaƱizales, who had expressed no political views to him, to be at the march. The viola had seemed to be the only thing on his mind."

I do hope that Dudamel -- an international star -- will use whatever influence he has to condemn this vicious government-sponsored killing. Venezuela produced and nurtured El Sistema. It can and must do better than this.

June 11, 1960
57 years ago

"Stone-throwing demonstrators imprisoned James C. Hagerty, Ambassador Douglas MacArthur 2d and Thomas E. Stephens, White House appointments secretary in their limousine for an hour and twenty minutes yesterday at the Haneda International Airport.

The three men were rescued in a United States Marine Corps helicopter with great difficulty."

A great Japanese film about these times is Night and Fog in Japan by Nagisa Oshima.

"Mickey Mantle's booming bat produced another Yankee victory last night. The limping slugger's eighth-inning home run defeated the Indians, 4-3, before 46,030 at the Stadium. It was New York's largest baseball crowd of 1960.

Mickey raced back to the running track in left center to haul down Hank Foiles' bid for a triple in the third.

The Yankee center fielder also took a nasty spill trying unsuccessfully for a diving catch of Vic Power's double in the fourth. When he picked himself off the turf, the limp he has had for most of the season (the result of a right knee that has become chronically sore because of repeated wrenchings) was more pronounced than ever."

Time of game: 2:14!

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82. 6/17/17

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