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One great thing about Hurricane Irma! It kept the 9/11 Porn out of the headlines.

You already knew I was a Horrible Human Being (and really – why are you reading this?), so it should come as no surprise that I’m sick to death of 9/11 commemorations.

Yep. 9/11 was the day that changed everything.

I have a feeling that everything would have changed anyway, though. Just more slowly. The human world seems to be embarking upon one of its periodic tilts into darkness, fundamentalism, and collectivism. Did the events of 9/11 tilt the balance? Maybe.

But manufacturing was already on the brink of becoming completely automated. Leaving nothing but service jobs for human beings. Surveillance is the biggest service industry of all! Plenty of jobs if the government needs employees to spy on its citizenry!

I’m completely aware of the advantages I enjoy as an American. Call those advantages “privilege” if you like.

Am I grateful for them?

No.

Because I think they should be the baseline.

If Homo Sapiens is really a violent, sadistic species that enjoys killing and torturing members of the species that deviate from however the “norm” has been defined – and most improbably, the “norm” has been defined as white and male – then I don’t want any part of it. I should never have been born. I should have been abandoned on a mountaintop as a squalling female infant before my ego had developed to the point of attachment to the world around me.

I’m not patriotic.

For whatever reason, I tend to see the world from the perspective of an enlightened anthropologist, say, from the planet Mars.

Do you remember Pearl Harbor?

Do you observe a moment of silence at 11am on 11/11?

9/11 is only important because some of us know people who know people who were there. As those people die, it will recede into unimportance. Become just another brutal event in a world that’s filled with brutal events.

###

In other news, the repair I took my car in for was very cheap. But they found other things wrong with my car. Expensive things! That’s the real reason for my misanthropy this morning.

To cool myself off, I went for a looooong hike. And saw the deer in the photo above.

Hunting season is looming.

Run away, little deer, I wanted to say. Unless you want to become venison sausage.
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Very sedentary day, yesterday. I may have gotten up from my desk a couple of times. (The operative word in that sentence is “may.”) To pee. To prepare food stuffs. (I seem to be back into my food-as-fuel mindset. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)

Mostly I worked. I’m way behind on my revenue generation.

Also I argued with imaginary people who live in my computer in an enchanted country called Facebookistan.

And I flirted with L’s handyman.

Not sure what it was I found so attractive about L’s handyman who emigrated from Malta at the age of seven and so has a really intriguing accent – Southern Mediterranean lilt, New Yawk City vowels.

His name is Frank. He’s a little older than me. Until 10 years ago or so, he was an engineer at IBM but got laid off in one of the regime changes. He wasn’t ready to retire, so he made a late-life career change. A lucrative one: He charges $50 an hour, and he’s not a particularly fast worker.

“But what I really want to do is travel,” he told me, eyes atwinkle.

“I want to travel, too!” I all but shrieked. “Let’s travel together!”

In the old days when I was young and gorgeous, I was often criticized by various men of my acquaintance for what they termed my “predatory” hookup style. It was unseemly in a girl.

But when I like it, I like it.

Flirting with Frank brought me back to that time in my life.

There’s the bed, I wanted to say. And when we’re through, we can book the airplane tickets.

###

The big debates in Facebookistan these days are (1) whether climate change played a role in the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey and the devastation that will be wrought by Hurricane Irma and (2) whether it was shortsighted of Obama to push DACA through by executive decree.

Note that I vote “Affirmative” on both issues.

I never waste my time arguing climate change with people who won’t accept it. I was a latecomer to belief in climate change myself, but the tree ring studies finally convinced me. It’s real. It doesn’t make a damn bit of difference whether you believe in it or not: It’s gonna happen.

The DACA stuff…

Well. I think immigration reform is a very good thing. I think if you come to the U.S. when you’re seven years old, you deserve to go on living in the U.S. with full rights of citizenry.

However

This is something that ought to have been legislated.

The fact that the Democrats were unable to push it through the House of Representatives as legislation is something I attribute entirely to the ineptitude of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a sorry excuse for a career politician.

It ought not to have mandated as an executive decree.

The executive branch of the government is not responsible for enacting what amount to laws.

I felt so strongly about this issue, in fact, that I didn’t vote for Obama in 2012.

It bespeaks a certain hubris on Obama's part, on the part of the entire Democratic Party in fact, that they just blithely assumed that whoever won the next election would be in concert with a controversial agenda.

The ends don’t justify the means.

That’s not my righteous indignation over Machiavellian stratagems boiling over, by the way. It’s a pragmatic analysis. It’s just too easy to undo executive orders. You cannot rely upon them to enact sweeping changes.

This apparently is too subtle a point for the Obama fanboys and fangirls who live in Facebookistan, and I got roundly lambasted for bringing it up.

Not that I care.

But really, it would have been a more productive use of my time to push Frank down on my bed.
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The photo streams out of Houston are wild. More of that, But it can’t happen here – can it? Bwah-hah-hah-hah! vibe.

Does it matter that the catastrophe is meteorological and only in part manmade? (Rises in sea level – almost certainly due to climate change and other human disturbances, most notably oil drilling – made the storm surges half a foot higher than they would have been a few decades before. Sea temperatures are also approximately two decrees warmer than they were a few decades ago, which means the storm had the ability to absorb more water.)

No, not really.

It can happen here is your basic scare scenario.

I can remember sitting in the back seat of my grandfather’s old Chrysler a million years ago or so, listening to him explain how, inevitably, the seas would rise, and everything we were familiar with would drown. I was only three or four at the time. His words scared the shit out of me.

###

Some of those Houston pictures are downright heartbreaking:




And, of course, some humans are always eager to prove their essential pettiness.

My various social media feeds are filled with vengeful progressives. A state that gave us Ted Cruz and George W. Bush can just go fuck itself!

Hey, assholes! I want to write. Harris County is a Democratic stronghold; it went for Hillary Clinton by 12%.

But I restrain myself.

Because, really: What is the point?

I’ve always liked Texas, and yes, I have spent time there. Larry McMurtry country, doncha know. Unlike the anal inhabitants of the benighted midWest, Texans are very friendly even when you disagree with their politics.

###

Houston will impact the U.S. economy as a whole. Texas has the 10th largest economy in the world and exports more than the states of California and New York combined.

You can expect to pay at least 25 cents more per gallon at the gas pump for the next six months or so. Possibly, this will renew the interest in fracking the northeast’s shale fields.

Difficult to say what effect this will have on the stock market – which, despite all the reasons that it shouldn’t, has continued to perform strongly since Trump took office. Energy stocks should stall. On the other hand, construction stocks should benefit.

###

I got through my awful mood over the weekend by submerging myself in escapist movies and novels.

I was practically snorkeling!

First, I wondered why I had such a strong aversion to seeing Dunkirk despite being a big Christopher Nolan fan. It’s because I remember seeing another film about Dunkirk, and I thought it might be Atonement. It’s not: The middle section of Atonement takes place as Robby Turner is traveling to Dunkirk; he never makes it.

Where, oh where, do all those images in my head of soldiers huddling on a grey beach with broken Ferris wheels behind them come from? I wonder.

Atonement is a pretty good novel and a not-completely-awful movie.

There’s something about the actor James McAvoy I’ve always found… compelling. And so, the scenes where Cecilia tries to snap Robby out of his fugue states – Come back to me! Come back – moved me.

Then I had to watch The Prestige – for like the tenth time: It’s one of my favorite movies (and I love the novel, too, although the novel is very different from the film) – and then I had to watch The Shining! In between I had to go out to breakfast and hike around the Point and try to figure out what Alice's secret games were when the grownups weren't looking.

Weather hasn't completely returned to me, but at least I'm not tearing up at pictures of dogs.

I suppose I should line up some social expeditions for when I travel to NYC in the next few days to water [profile] lifeinroseland's plants.
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Desert-FLW-Olgivanna


The other book I’m reading right now for background on the Celeste memoir project is called The Fellowship. It delves deeply into the cultlike aspects of Tailiesens East and West.

Of course, I’m not gonna start any actual work on the project until there’s a contract in place.

Celeste is in the index. Her father was one of Lloyd Wright’s many “apprentices.” Her mother was Olgivanna Lloyd Wright’s chief handmaiden. Their last name is misspelled throughout the book (though they get Celeste’s last name right in the acknowledgements) as is the index spelling of the first name of the brother who committed suicide. This leads me to believe that The Fellowship must be riddled with other inaccuracies.

But even if only half of what’s in the book is true, what a wild ride, man.

Olgivanna was a Gurdjieff acolyte. You can think of her as the Yoko Ono of architecture. Plus there’s a straight line of descent there that leads back to minor members of the Bloomsbury and D.H. Lawrence circles – Katherine Mansfield, Mabel Dodge Luhan.

My own early immersion in a cult – Synanon – inoculated me and left me quite immune to all that cult stuff. Come to think of it, my Synanon experiences are probably what led me to develop my sense of humor as a tactical weapon. Cults do not like humor!

Anyway, the right voice for this project – assuming it ever gets off the ground, which it may or may not do: I don’t actually like Celeste all that much although as I read The Fellowship, I can see that a lot of the stuff that irritates me about her – a certain cheerful, deterministic obliviousness – are actually survival mechanisms – would be the deadpan voice that Jeannette Walls uses in The Glass Castle. In the opening chapters of The Glass Castle, this voice is used to humorous effect: the outrageous behavior of the adults seen through the uncomprehending eyes of the child. As the narrator grows older, this voice perfectly captures that trapped, exhausted feeling behind the constant vigilance necessary to maintain one’s own safety…

Anyway, we shall see if this project gets off the ground.

###

In other news – speaking of constant vigilance – I, too, am feeling exhausted, physically exhausted, like the way you feel after a coast-to-coast plane trip that you’ve spent staring out the window, willing the plane to stay in the sky.

Charlottesville seems to be an exception to the Five-Day Media Cycle Dictum, which states: Every five days, there will be some new incident the media will focus in an effort to distract people from digging more deeply into systemic, long-term issues.

But even Barcelona terrorists can’t chase Charlottesville from America's front pages.

I am thinking Charlottesville may be an honest-to-God tipping point.

But I am very, very tired of it all.

It is important. Really, really, really important.

But I'm ready to stop thinking about it.

I suppose this is the downside to not having a routine that can co-opt my thoughts and make me think about other things: I don’t have the discipline not to think about it.

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This is the time of year when I would expect to see the first reddening an oranging of the leaves, but everything remains this intense, almost blinding green.

In fact, I read somewhere that this has been one of the greenest summers ever in these parts, though God knows how they measure that one.
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The scariest thing to come out of the Charlottesville coverage is this 22-minute documentary from Vice media, which yes, yes, yes, is truly horrifying, but which, at the same time, has this oddly audition-like quality to it as though the Nazis were really trying out for their own reality TV show – think Duck Dynasty with more guns, more hate speech, less facial hair.

Watching it, I couldn’t help wondering: If they’re serious Nazis, why are they letting that feisty girl reporter follow them around? Wouldn’t serious Nazis feel too much contempt for this feisty girl reporter to let her embed? Wouldn’t one of them had taken her aside to deliver a little sermon (which her cameraman would capture on tape): “Your purpose is to breed baby Aryans"?

Obviously, the intent of Cantwell’s chest-thumping and motel-room heat display was to inspire fear.

And it did inspire fear except at the same time, the tiki torches really made me giggle.

Also, as a big fan of the Second Amendment, this documentary made me want to write I told ya so! emails to all the friends with whom I basically agree politically except when it comes to their hysterical denunciations of the Second Amendment.

Call me paranoid, or call me someone who suffers epigenetic PTSD, but since earliest childhood, I’ve had this recurring nightmare about gun-toting soldiers who show up at a family dinner in some undefined but highly familiar time and space (embroidered tablecloth, silver goblet, two loafs of challah.) Come with us, they bark. The other members of my family nervously begin packing suitcases. I’m the member of the family who says, Hell, no. I’m not going anywhere. Just go ahead and shoot me.

But I keep wishing I’d perfected lucid dreaming techniques so I could reach for a piece and take a couple of the storm troopers out with me.

I love the Second Amendment. In fact, I think I'm gonna join the local gun club.

###

If there’s a star of the Vice video, it’s Christopher Cantwell, the alt-right shock jock of a radio show called Radical Agenda who clearly lies about his gym attendance: Cantwell has a gut on him like an albino walrus.

Trayvon Martin radicalized him: “When the Trayvon Martin case happened, and Michael Brown and Tamir Rice and all these different things happened, in every single case, it’s some little black asshole behaving like a savage, and he gets himself in trouble, shockingly enough.”

That “shockingly enough” is straight out of the Rush Limbaugh rhetorical playbook. In fact, Cantwell sounds so much like Rush Limbaugh so that he could take over Rush’s show on those days when Rush might want to take a little oxy holiday.

He’s only spreading ideas, Cantwell tells the foxy blonde Vice reporter, so that somebody more capable than himself will take those ideas and create a movement. That somebody will be someone like Donald Trump but not Donald Trump himself – because Donald Trump gave his daughter to a Jew!

“A lot more racist than Donald Trump,” says Cantwell. I do believe he thinks he’s flirting with the foxy blonde reporter! “I don’t think you could feel about race the way that I do and watch that Kushner bastard walk around with that beautiful girl.”

Could this be the solution to Neo-Nazism we’ve all been looking for?

Clone Ivanka! Or if bioengineering isn’t yet up to this task, reproduce her lady bits in warm, yielding silicon and cram them inside a sex doll.

Stick those Ivanka sestras and Ivanka sex dolls on a traveling bus to 4chanistan!

Alas! Cantwell’s moment in the media high beams as an embodiment of macho was destined to be brief. Yesterday, a new video emerged in which Cantwell blubbered like a baby because he’d discovered that there might be a warrant out for him. He gave out his phone number! I’m not sure whether he wanted the foxy blonde Vice reporter, Ivanka, or the Charlottesville police department to call him.

###

Cantwell does raise a salient point here, though: Exactly where were Mr. and Mrs. Kushner while Der Donald was exchanging coy verbal semaphores with the Neo-Nazi command posts?

I mean Jared Kushner is the grandson of Holocaust survivors. Surely, he can’t be down with slack for neo-Nazis.

Or can he?

What a fuckin' putz.
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Except that yesterday I slid right back down the Facebook rabbit hole!

And I thought to myself, This is insane. This has reached the level of obsession of some 4chan loser playing first-person shooter games.

###

The big controversies in Facebookland yesterday had to do with free speech and publishing private information: Should Nazis have the full protection of First Amendment safeguards, and is doxxing a good thing to do with Nazis?

I suppose in an era where text messages can suffice as grounds for second degree murder convictions and the Justice Department can subpoena for info on visitors to an anti-Trump website, we can all kiss civil liberties protections goodbye.

But just for the record: I’m in favor of the First Amendment and against doxxing.

I feel pretty strongly about it, too, but no – my opinions have nothing to do with any platitudes about civil liberties.

They have to do with the fact that these things are double-edged swords: They can easily be used against people on both sides, and that it is very dangerous to set these kinds of precedents.

When – for example – Obama decided to rule by executive fiat, he basically manurered the ground for assholes like Donald Trump.

Is this a particularly subtle point or something?

Do you honestly want Richard Spencer’s boy scout troop running your face through facial recognition software and showing up at your condo with a tiki torch next time you attend an anti-Trump rally? Because I don’t – and this is absolutely what is going to start happening if doxxing becomes the default.

Any way you slice it, the United States is tilting toward fundamentalism. Whether it’s Mike Pence (™)-brand Christian fundamentalism or some Leftist fascism cobbled together from competing brands of identity politics, I’m not sure. Probably the future seesaws back and forth between these two poles for the next century or so.

But even if you find Nazis scary – and yes, I’m a Jew: of course, I do! – it’s insane to strip away the legal and social protections that protect you against these types of things.

###

Anyway, about the fourth time I got lambasted for Nazi sympathies and “pearl-clutching” – this time by an overweight white guy who made a killing in Palo Alto real estate 30 years ago and who you just know used to read Playboy Magazine for the articles – I thought, Fuck this shit.

I wrote a colorful reply inviting said white guy to cram his head up his narrow-bore rectum to lick his ulcerated duodenum (commiserating, ‘cause I knew his head was so swollen it would be a tight fit.)

And then I resigned from the Sooper Sekrit Political Group.

This should really cut way back on any time I have to spend on Facebook.

###

In other news, I began reading T.C. Boyle’s The Women because it’s a fictionalized account of Frank Lloyd Wright’s love life.

I’ve always thought of Boyle as an exceptionally tight writer, so it was surprising to discover how bad the prose is in this book. It’s actually banal.

You write just as well as Boyle writes! I told myself.

Part of the rah-rah-rah! internal process.

It’s awfully hard for me to see any relevance to my own thoughts, to my own fictions in a world that’s little more than a conveyor belt for awful political events.

And August is half over.
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charlottesville


In case you’re wondering what really went down in Charlottesville on Saturday…

You had a bunch of people wearing costumes. In fact, Charlottesville could have been subtitled: When Cosplay Goes Wrong.

The majority of self-styled white supremacists who showed up there are male Millennials who live in their mother’s basement, who play a lot of first-person shooter games, and who can't get laid. Their spirit animal is Dylan Klebold. They’re actually too stupid to understand the full significance of the Nazi regalia they sport. They only know that it seems to be a trigger. They're invisible people. Who are suddenly... VISIBLE.

They’re pushing the envelope, in other words. If we do this, they’re saying, you’ll have to notice us.

###

On the other side, you had a more diffuse group of well-meaning individuals who are triggered by Nazi imagery.

###

But manipulating the marionette strings behind the scenes, you always have the same cadre of billionaires who subscribe to a specific political and cultural system.

Let’s call that system Neoliberalism!

Neoliberalism perpetuates the extreme wealth inequality that results in economic scarcity, deteriorating infrastructure, and the inability to improve real wages, health, or happiness for the majority of people living in the United States today.

Neoliberalism thrives by pitting groups of working class individuals against each other. This is the way they maintain the fragmentation that allows that tiny elite of 0.01% to hoard all viable resources on this planet. Incidents like Charlottesville are a command shadow puppet performance that's executive produced by the members of that 0.01%.

Just remember: The ruling class wants the 99% to be fragmented.

The ruling class wants the 99% to focus on the players. Not on the play.

That’s the larger context you must keep in mind when you think about Charlottesville.

We’ve gotten used to Koch Bros-style tactics. Mercer/Bannon tactics still have the capacity to make us lose sight of the larger picture.

###

Which is not to say that Nazi imagery doesn’t trigger me because, of course, it does. Big time.

I got physically nauseated reading The Daily Stormer.

I had to take a half-hour shower in extremely hot water when I logged off the site.

I wanted to go all Maenad on the asshole who runs the site. Tear his dick off. Feed it to a coyote.

Instead I researched rallies in protest of the White House’s tepid reaction to the events in Charlottesville.

Found one in Poughkeepsie. Went to it.

###

Anyway, yesterday was a complete waste of time. I’m deeply disgusted with myself.

I did not get one lick of remunerative work done, and Alice still doesn’t know how to react to the sight of her cousin sitting in a car with the ghost of her dead father. So all in all, a completely useless day.

You’d think I know better by now, right?

As an early Internet adopter and all.

Social media is always the La Brea Tarpit.

There is never any excuse to stay on Facebook any longer than it takes to “like” the latest photos of your kid’s girlfriend and your pal in Kerhonkson’s engaging granddaughter, flirt desultorily with that guy you should have run away with 25 years ago (but didn’t), and play a couple of rounds of Bejeweled Blitz.

That should take – what? Twenty minutes?

Thing is once you’ve been infected by the social media worm, it is literally impossible to go back to thinking your own thoughts. I’m convinced this has to do with the fact that stuff you read transforms voices in your head that are the analogous to audio hallucinations – they pack that kind of power and compulsion. Social media creates symptoms of psychosis in people who aren’t necessarily psychotic.

Facebook is the only social media I do. (I don’t count LJ as “social media.” LJ is an upload of the actual diary I’ve been keeping since I was 12 years old.)

But I am thinking the next time I allow myself to slide down that particular rabbit hole, I’m gonna delete my Facebook account.
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unnamed Celeste has asked me to collaborate on her Tailisen memoir.

Project has lots and lots of commercial potential: Celeste’s father was Frank Lloyd Wright’s second-in-command; Tailisen was a cult without the Koolaide; there were all sorts of kinky 1950s weirdnesses going on there, plus Celeste got polio – and they sent her away (baaaaaad Frank Lloyd Wright) ‘cause you know, disabled children, such a downer. Not good design.

Problem is I’m not at all sure I can collaborate with Celeste. She’s kind of a flake, and her X-Husband with whom she is presently living (though I don’t know whether they’re inhabiting or cohabiting) kind of has a crush on me.

“I’d rather ghostwrite it than collaborate,” I told Celeste. You know me: I like to keep things strictly invisible at all times! “Plus, Celeste, I’m a real snob about writing. I don’t work and play well with others at all. You’d have to give me final cut over the first draft."

Anyway, we’re gonna Skype about it tomorrow.

There’s $$$ involved up front – although not a huge amount of $$$, and since our kids are besties, I’d be reluctant to wring too much out of her. I’m 100% positive such a memoir would capture a commercial publisher’s interest, though, so I could put in for some percentage of the advance and subsequent earnings.

Photo above is the lovely little Celeste aged four or so sitting at Frank Lloyd Wright’s side.

I like the way that Frank Lloyd Wright was carefully costumed – white suit, dark tie, and is that a pocket handkerchief or a boutonnière? – and yet his pants legs are too short!

I’m giving Celeste reading assignments: The Glass Castle (example of a superb memoir); The Astor Orphan (example of a terrible memoir.)

And we’ll tawk.

###

In other news, as a loving parent and a concerned cat owner, you’d think I’d care more about the stories of imminent nuclear showdown with N. Korea being trumpeted throughout the 24/7 news cycle these last few days.

But I don’t.

We have always been at war with Eurasia. Or is it Eastasia? Or is it Oceania? Wait! Aren’t we Oceania?

International politics can be so confusing.

###

Plus – Chris and Summer posted FB pix of a recent trip to Newport, RI, and now I am obsessed with going to Newport, RI, because I want to see the mansions! Big Houses ‘R’ Us!

And it’s only like 200 miles away from where I live so the trip is completely doable except that I’m so phobic about driving these days that I literally spent half an hour last night tracing and retracing the Google maps, thinking, I could do this! (No, you couldn’t.) Yes, I could! (No, you couldn’t.) until I finally burst into tears.

I have felt really out of it the last few days if it comes to that.

Not sad exactly.

But useless.

Irrelevant.
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Spent all day yesterday in a deep, depressive funk – which had nothing to do with the awfulness of Everyday Above Ground and everything to do with the rain, which just would not relent!

It rained, and it rained, and it rained. And then it rained some more. And so, I spent all day thinking about those poor people living in Lagos and Somalia, or dying of slow, painful, wasting diseases in other parts of the world. Or dying of quick, murderous assaults.

Any way you slice it, life is suffering and pain. There really is no payoff for being alive.

This morning, though, shafts of wan sunlight are going mano a mano with the cloud cover, and I’m feeling 10,000% better. Life may be marginally endurable. (That’s a highly qualified conditional.) Because without life, there would be no ripe peaches or crème brulee. Without life, there would be no Real Housewives of New York!

###

Sometime during the fever pitch of yesterday’s anomie, I got into a political argument with an acquaintance. That sort of thing nearly always results in self-reproach and yep, even a little bit of self-hatred the following morning. I mean, honestly! Did I really think I could change his mind? (Snort!) No, I just love the mellifluous sounds that come out of my throat when I open my mouth. I have such a large vocabulary. I enjoy showing it off.

“So, you really think there’s a difference between Republicans and Democrats?” I sneered.

And I would have won the argument, too, except my acquaintance wasn’t in the least bit interested in arguing; all he was interested in was venting his immense hatred for Donald Trump.

See, I’m not entirely sure I hate Donald Trump.

I mean – in a way, it’s as if some Borscht Belt comedian has been elected President, you know? Donald Trump is such an endless source of laughs; it's hard to hate someone responsible for so much mirth.

I know, I know -- I probably should hate him. Legislative failures notwithstanding, he has managed to do a fair amount of damage in his short term of office, notably in the fields of consumer, worker, and environmental protections.

Here’s the thing, though: You know the most effective way to combat rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

Plant more trees.

It really is that simple.

But such a low-tech prescription would make no money for anyone, which is probably why no one on the Left is touting in as a solution. No, the solution clearly must involve Expensive Technology and carbon taxes that will inevitably shift the costs of cleaning up the planet onto the shoulders of the poor.

(Meanwhile, that Expensive Technology is waiting impatiently in the wings for the current tech bubble to pop so that it can become the next economic bubble.)

Ever wonder why the Democratic Party – then in power – did so little to change Wall Street after the 2008 housing crash? It’s because Remocrats, Depublicans – they both like money! And they view periodic breakdowns of the financial system kind of like forest fires – necessary so that new little bubbles will grow! So that they can make more money!

###

But anyway, who gives a shit about this kind of stuff? Certainly not me.

I’m too busy trying to solve the mystery of the strange little town of Windsor, New York where I espied this strange little shop a year or so ago:

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Here’s a close-up of that front window:

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Look at all those amazing dead things! Don’t you want them in your living room? I know I do!

Who is Amanda April June, why does she have a shop in Windsor, and why is that shop always closed? Also why is there a shop completely dedicated to Lionel toy trains in Windsor? These are the real mysteries. Not the rise and (inevitable) fall of Donald Trump.
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bard


I continue in this – what would you call it? Very nihilistic mood.

Fortunately, there is social media where I can insult people with impunity ‘cause you know what? They don’t really exist.

In my real life, I am laying low ‘cause when I’m in this kind of a mood, I can do real damage. In fact, if anything, I’m being extra treacly sweet. Classic reaction formation, doncha know.

I’m frustrated by my utter inability to craft anything on the written page in which chance coaligns with choice as perfectly as the two do in my mind. That must mean I’m a baaaaad writer, right? And that I should give it all up and put The Real Housewives of New York on 24-hour playback.

(Presently, I’m stymied by the fact that when Alice stumbles upon Nell sitting in her dead father’s car, and Nell begs, Don’t tell!, Alice is gonna try and extract something from Nell. And the only thing I can think of that Alice would try to extract is a promise to drive that car herself, Alice being a speed demon and all. And this does not fit into the plot as I outlined it at all.)

###

Politics in America continue to be one big fucking mess.

You read it here first: We’re gonna be in a proxy war with China within three months. It’s the only way Trump keeps his ratings up among the base.

An if I read one more come-to-Jesus rant from self-styled Lefties sympathizing with the “white” working class, disguised as a Medium article or a blog entry on sites with names like Uncensored Truth, I will explode.

Fuck the “white” working class!

The working class is the working class. I celebrate the working class!

I intensely dislike attempts to set members of the working class against one another through divisive tactics like pretending "white" working class people have different self interests than "black" working class people or "purple" working class people.

After reading Devil's Bargain, it is well nigh impossible for me to read Come-to-Jesus rants like these without seeing every single way the writer was manipulated by both the "Right" and the "Left."

It's like wearing those X-ray glasses that they used to advertise on the backs of comic books.

Oh, gr-r-r-r-reat!, I’m thinking. You finally got around to reading "Hillbilly Elegy!" Know what? It's a sucky book, badly written, and its author subsequently coopted by Peter Thiel to the degree that his latest crusade is preaching Payday Loans are really a good thing.

Fuck that shit.
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I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock. I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the president. I’m here to serve the country. – Anthony Scaramucci, White House Communications Director

I broke down when I read this.

I cried and cried and cried.

I hate Southern Italian men.

I hate every single fucking thing about them.

That’s because I’m a Southern Italian woman. Thank Gawd, I got away.

But come to think of it, aren’t all men disgusting? All women, too? All human beings?

What’s the point of being alive?

###

After about three hours or so, my sense of humor returned. Isn’t it great that all those years of secret yoga practice are finally paying off for Bannon? I thought. Though, really, someone should tell him that some tasks – blowjobs, for example – are best left outsourced.

The point of being alive is obviously to feed cats, to watch The Real Housewives of New York, to eat ice cream, and to see wonderful things like these in antique stores:

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Before I had my mini-psychotic episode, I’d spent a pleasant enough day futzing around with various writing projects. The Eleanor Roosevelt Haunted Childhood story has a structural problem: I invented a coachman as the receptacle for the ee-ee-veeel spirit of Elliott Roosevelt, but there’s also an unpleasant male relation lounging around Oak Terrace, Valentine Hall.

Two sinister male presences seems like too many. Plus – Chekhov’s Gun.

The coachman works better for my purposes since I can kill him off at the end of the story. But Valentine Hall is an actual historical element; he lived at Oak Terrace during the same period Eleanor Roosevelt lived there and he was so fucking weird – an 1899 U.S. tennis champion, a mad alcoholic with the habit of shooting at passers-by from the window of his bedroom. It would make a lot of sense (and cut the story by at least 2,000 words) if Valentine Hall becomes Elliott’s ee-ee-veeel introject. Except historically, Valentine Hall doesn’t die until 1937.

Decisions, decisions!

I will futz some more today.

And make money. That asshole apparently is never going to pay me, so I find myself short with all the bills attendant on the first of the month looming ahead. I’ll be able to pay them all, but it’s seven days of ramen dinners for me.
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The fabulous [profile] lifeinroseland is visiting this weekend. Whirlwind of activities!

Exciting tour of the Poughkeepsie ‘hood!

Strange dinner cobbled together from ingredients found at Ocean State Job Lot.

Sl-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-eep!

Dragonboat fest!

Local Downton Abbey sighting!

Rhinebeck retail! (I bought a $3 pair of scissors at Sharpy’s!)

More sl-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-eep!

Barbecue with L’s drunken boyfriend!

Sl-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-eep!

###

Today’s itinerary:

An intimate meetup with the Biggest Buddha in the Western Hemisphere.

Antiquing in Cold Springs.

Teary farewell!

###

I am dying to see if that pink Dior jacket in perfect shape that I didn’t buy for $50 three years because it was a tad too small is still in that antique store in Cold Springs.

It was still there two years ago although bizarrely, the store had doubled the price – I mean, if something doesn’t sell, aren’t you supposed to discount it?

The jacket was beautiful, and for an entire year, I tortured myself: I will write away to Hong Kong for fabric swatches to find one that will match its precise color – something between Hello Kitty and that frothy color you get when you beat Cool Whip into raspberry jello – and then I’ll find some struggling seamstress who is struggling to make commissary money to send to her sons – all three of whom have been locked away in the Fishkill Correctional Facility on cocaine trafficking charges – and I will pay her $25 bucks to lengthen the sleeves and do something about the shoulders –

But damn! A hundred bucks for something I can’t possibly ever wear? I don’t know.

If it’s still there, it should be up to $200 by now.

###

C is a pretty bright guy, but when he drinks, he turns into a total redneck. And not just any redneck: a redneck with liberal kneejerk biases. Thus, instead of the usual All Muslims are scum! from C, you get, All Republicans are scum!

“And the bastards are trying to shut down Poughkeepsie’s bus system!” C growled.

He had started slurring his words.

One of the big local issues hereabouts is that Dutchess County is finally wresting control of the city of Poughkeepsie’s flailing bus system. Really, the City of Poughkeepsie should not be running anything. The City of Poughkeepsie can barely keep its streets plowed in the winter: I still remember Adventures in Grocery Shopping between the months of December and March when I was living in Poughkeepsie and I did not have a car. They involved hopping from ice floe to ice floe kind of like Eliza fleeing the hounds.

Lois Lane does not have a car and is completely dependent on the public transportation system, so I get weekly updates on just how awful the City of Poughkeepsie’s administration of its bus system is.

Public transportation, in fact, is one of those few areas where economies of scale make perfect sense.

So, it was kind of a ridiculous argument to be having, plus I have a deep sense of C’s underlying tragedy – I can hardly look at him without flashing on the beautiful young artist wife who went mad and the beautiful young artist daughter who went mad: How do you survive tragedies like that without hating yourself, without thinking, It was something I did, I drove them mad?

Nonetheless, I continued having it – fueled, no doubt, by my deep contempt for Joel Tyner whom C kept citing as some kind of an authority. Joel Tyner is the flamingly left-wing county legislator from Rhinebeck, a weasely attention ‘ho of a type that’s very common in Berkeley – I used to date his clones regularly, which no doubt accounts for my deep, irremedial hatred for him. Talking about Joel Tyner in front of me is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

Anyway, at some point, I realized I had an incredibly well-behaved guest sitting to my left who had not made a peep but who no doubt was bored to tears by this conversation, so I made C shake hands with me – See? We’re still buds! We can still discuss the finer points of cinematography in “The Creature from the Black Lagoon”! – and toddled off to the Patrizia-torium where I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca.

What a ridiculous movie, and how Hitchcock must have suffered when Selznick and the Hayes Code board forced him to tack on that awful ending.
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Spent yesterday reading Joshua Green’s Devil’s Bargain cover to cover. An obsessively readable book all about the symbiotic relationship between Donald Trump and Steve Bannon.

Bannon was the mutagen who spun the conservative RNA, and Trump was the pointy-headed virus who penetrated the body politic. The disease was the narrative, Crooked Hillary.

The most interesting part of the book for me - since I am what the Trump team dubbed a “double hater” and it’s all about me-e-e-e, right? – was this:

[B]oth campaigns battled for a group of voters who would ultimately decide the race. ... Trump's data analysts gave them a nickname: 'double haters.' These were people who disliked both candidates but traditionally showed up at the polls to vote. They were a sizable bloc: 3 to 5 percent of the 15 million voters across seventeen battleground states that Trump's staff believed were persuadable.

Early on, many indicated support for third‐party candidate Gary Johnson. But after a series of televised flubs, ... they largely abandoned him. ... Many refused to answer pollsters' questions ... These were the voters Clinton had hoped to shear off from Trump with her 'alt-right' speech in August. ... Comey's letter had the effect of convincing the double haters to finally choose.


Double haters ended up going 47% for Trump, 30% for Clinton.

I stuck with the original game plan and voted for Gary Johnson.

As I see it, Comey's letter was not a precipitating event, but a cumulative event that was like the denouncement of a story that Bannon et al had been telling - but more importantly, circulating - about the Clintons for a very long time. The massive Hillary hatred was the result of a very conscious campaign.

Of course, Trump’s story is filled with as many if not more unpalatable facts than the Clintons, but since Trump was not a public servant until very recently, it’s difficult to work up a sense of moral outrage however easy it may be to feel personal disgust.

Also Trump was a celebrity, and the purpose of celebrities is to function as collective ids, no?

One of the most fascinating parts of Devil's Bargain, by the way, is how Trump managed to carry over the narrative from The Apprentice into his campaign. Trump benefited from advertisers' determination to make The Apprentice an ethnically inclusive show so it could sell more McDonald's hamburgers! Black and Hispanic voters LUVVED The Apprentice!
And this is one of the reasons why Trump didn't tank as badly among black and Hispanic voters as Democratic pollsters predicted he would.

Anyway, it’s very clear to me that unless the Left becomes more comfortable creating narratives, they’re cooked.
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Oh, m’Gawd. That storm. Unbelievable.

I’ve seen that erie grey-green before, most notably one afternoon when I was traveling through Tornado Alley with the circus, and the sirens went off while I was inside a Barnes & Noble in a tacky mall just outside Iowa City.

I scampered to the front plate glass windows to get a better look.

“Are you nuts?” hissed one of the store attendants.

(Well, yeah, I thought. Isn’t that the point?)

They herded us into some kind of dark back room for safety.

But the funnel-shaped cloud never touched down.

Yesterday, there were no funnel-shaped clouds, but the entire sky roiled and turned that grey-green, and we were hammered for four hours straight by high winds, sky-to-earth lightening bolts, and torrential rains.

Flash floods all over town. Power outages (though not at my house.) Trees down.

But the humidity is back down.

Which is good.

It hasn’t been all that hot here, but the humidity has made it difficult to move. Like yesterday morning before the storm hit, I went exercising on the Walkway because I figured breeze, marginally more comfortable.



You can practically see the humidity in the air, can’t you? The river is just one big gloopy mess.

This morning it’s quite beautiful out and not humid.

I continue to be in this distracted, fretful mood, but I did solve one major POV challenge with Where You Are When, which should make the writing go much more smoothly. (Of course, it doesn’t solve the underlying dilemma of Why are you wasting time on creative pursuits when you could be watching Season 4 of The Real Housewives of New York for the fourth time?)

Also, I solved the image upload problem on Dreamwidth, which means I can start using DW as my image repository. I'll have to keep the LJ account because there's no EZ way to transfer those old images to DW, and I like them. Also, like I say, I'm fond of my wacky little band of self-selected LJ pals, and most of them have no interest in migrating away from that platform.

But certainly my goal is to use LJ less and less.

I'm feeling this underlying baseline of mild panic all the time. Why? Who knows? As I say, my life is quite cozy these days.

PTSD?

Perhaps. The political situation here, there, everywhere continues to be appalling.

And I’m finding it increasingly difficult to care. Though I know I should
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I’m a little perplexed by the latest Democratic/Progressive narrative in which James Comey is a white knight singlehandedly saving American democracy.

Don’t get me wrong: Trump is mega-creepy. But it seems to me that he was well within his rights to fire Comey. (In fact, Obama ought to have fired Comey as soon as Comey interfered with the November election.) The Constitution explicitly places the President above the law in such matters: The Justice Department and the FBI operate under the executive branch of government; The President can order them to do whatever he likes.

So. Abuse of power?

Certainly.

Obstruction of justice?

No way.

Plus, the prospect of a President Pence is a whole lot scarier than the reality of a bumbling President Trump because Pence is not bumbling, so it’s likely he would be able to push a whole lot of his creepy agenda in.

No, the best thing for Progressives is if Trump remains in office, but is kept on the ropes for the next four years. This strategy will swing both the 2018 and 2020 elections.

###

But the big news yesterday was the UK election. Despite what can only be described as a disastrous rout, Theresa May is refusing to quit.

I didn’t follow the UK election closely enough to know whether any poll or pundit had predicted a hung parliament, but hung parliaments are actually not that rare – that’s how David Cameron got in as Prime Minister in 2010, after all.

I do know that the Conservatives had a majority going into the election and that Theresa May called for the election as a vote of confidence in her policies – so there’s really no way to interpret the loss of 23 seats as anything other than a slap in the face. A completely unnecessary election undertaken for the sole purpose of party advantage, and now she’s hiding out from the electorate: Pffftt.

The pound took a nosedive. Time to start planning that trip to the Tate!

###

In other news, it was a bright, sunshiny day! I soaked up a massive amount of Vitamin D.

I’m toying with the idea of writing something about the Comey narrative. What really strikes me is how short and dramatic the pivotal moment was that turned Comey from a progressive bop clown into a hero. When Comey lost the election for HRC, he was Public Enemy # 1. But then Trump fired him and bam! He was a good guy! The Comey of my enemy is my friend.

The brevity of that pivot and the confusion it caused is best demonstrated by that audience that showed up at the Ed Sullivan Theater on May 9th to see Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. Unaware that the narrative had shifted while they were standing on line, these audience members actually clapped when Colbert announced Comey’s firing – Buzzzzzz! Wrong reaction!

Nothing that 15 minutes in the Reeducation Camp couldn’t cure, of course.

It’s so amazing to me that partisans on both sides of America’s political divide continue to believe the narratives dangled before them by a media that’s only interested in tricking their eyeballs into watching ads.

I mean, Jeez! What’s up with that? Are people really that stupid?

(It’s a rhetorical question! Don’t answer!)
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Came back from my trip and thought about writing and wanted to write – I had adventures! – but did not write.

And I’m not exactly sure why.

Trips are good. Trips reaffirm you as the primary stakeholder in your own life; the center of your own narrative, if not of the universe.

I want to go on more trips.

But I guess I’m so innately lazy and undisciplined that a week is all it takes for me to lose a habit.

###

After a couple of days, the small adventures of everyday life began to take over the brain cells allocated to trip memories.

For example: One afternoon, I was tromping fast or running – whichever one you want to call it – through the Vanderbilt Estate when I was passed by a car. Not a limo, but a black car – Crown Victoria maybe? And inside that car sat the Former Democratic Candidate for Congress. This was really confusing to me because I’d heard through the grapevine that she was desperately ill, too ill to leave her bed, or so, I’d been told.

If the Former Democratic Candidate for Congress saw me, she made no sign.

When I got home three hours later, there was an email: The Former Democratic Candidate for Congress had just died.

And this was just very weird because it strongly suggests that the Vanderbilt Estate is either the hellmouth or the pearly gates, I’m not exactly sure which.

###

And yesterday, which I’d put aside for writing about my trip, I could not wake up. All day long I had that really frustrating feeling of trying to jumpstart my mind as though it was a power mower or a chainsaw, and feeling it sputter and spurt as fuel was fed but remained unsparked.

Finally, I gave up and watched a six-hour documentary on the Grateful Dead.

I would never describe myself as a Deadhead, but I did see the Dead in concert innumerable times. Dead concerts were always a great place to do psychedelics. Plus I really liked the fact that here was this huge underground phenomenon that had received little or no acknowledgement from the mainstream press and PR machines; a whole transient economy and community that came together and then dissipated in the time it might take a handful of itinerant Buddhist monks to make a sand painting. Think Burning Man without the hype.

Still. Jerry Garcia as a Christ figure is stretching it.

###

Before I forget – there are three pieces I’d like to write in the coming week:

(1) The Kathy Griffin saga. Think what you like about the tastelessness of swinging a severed and bloodied head – hey! It worked for Salome! And for Judith! – this was a woman who was prepared to do battle on the enemy’s own turf.

Vulgar?

Sure.

Vulgar to a Trumpian extent, in fact.

Fighting fire with fire is not an inherently bad thing, so I was deeply puzzled when Griffin was castigated by both the Left and the Right.

The Left loves to eat its own.

But this one makes me wonder whether the real reason the Neanderthals lost out to Cro Magnon Man wasn’t because they were too polite.

(2) A deconstruction of the Hillary Body Bag trope. I have a list of all of Hillary's (alleged) bodies, and it’s far more extensive than Seth Rich and Vince Foster. But I'm wondering if there's another episode in American political history where a particular politician was accused of so many back channel murders. I have this sense that it’s a hoary narrative, but I just don’t know enough history to support that contention. So I’m fishing around for 19th century or 20th century examples.

(3) Why Americans don’t care about climate change. And I suspect that Trump called the zeitgeist exactly right here: Most Americans will actually concede that scientists are right and that climate change is happening. But they don’t give a shit. Why? Because climate change, indeed environmental issues in general, are widely perceived to be rich people’s causes. As though one morning, the One Percent woke up and realized, Uh oh! We’re sharing a planet with those dirtbags. We gotta do something.

Naturally, every strategy for reducing greenhouse gases has a disproportionately large effect on the poor.

How many tons of carbon does the Lear Jet that Al Gore uses to travel between climate change conferences generate anyway? But you’re not gonna find Al Gore reserving a seat on Amtrak any time soon.

There’s a huge amount of cognitive dissonance involved with behaviors like this, and mainstream Americans are not blind to it.
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It’s been hot. Very, very hot. Eighty-degrees-Fahrenheit-by-9-o’clock-in- the-morning hot.

This means that by the time I’m coffee’d up and Daily Mail-ed up enough to want to go out and exercise, it’s too hot to go out and exercise.

Consequently, I haven’t exercised for the past couple of days. At the same time, I haven’t slept well for the past couple of days. Are these two things connected? Seems likely.

I felt the urge to become politically involved in the orchestrated momentum leading up to the last Presidential election and the hysterical churn of the first few months after Trump won.

But it’s obvious the Sooper Sekrit Political Group is just another dead-end time sink at this point.

Before I got involved with the Sooper Sekrit Political Group, I was very involved with the Dutchess County Political Action Alliance – but it soon became very clear to me that the only “action” the DCPAA is committed to doing is allying with larger state progressive groups that want to use ground members as background extras in various useless rallies and protests. That’s an insult to my intelligence.

At this point, I’m thinking that all the high drama on the American political stage is just a battle for advertising dollars being waged between MSNBC and Fox News.

The words of the ZMan echo: I slowly came to the conclusion that the whole Right-Left dynamic was just a myth… If the Right-Left construct is just a version of good cop/bad cop where the people in the media hustle the rest of us so they can live above their utility, then what’s really going on in the world?

And the always relevant Bion of Borysthenes quotation. You know the one. The boys throwing stones. The dead frogs.

I care but not in the way I see my agitated Progressive friends caring. I think they’re having trouble separating the Figure from the Ground. And the Ground, she is changing…

###

Also, I have my own Work – which I pretty much have ignored for the past few months.

My own Work may never amount to anything, but it is mine – my own “sensemaking” to borrow Boy Genius’s ridiculously pompous phrase.

Why have I been ignoring it?

Partly a lack of discipline.

Partly the fact that I make my supplemental monies writing and that those writings have to happen on a timeline over which I have no control – so that when those deadlines have been met, I am often all written out and mentally exhausted.

Partly, though, because I’m not allowing myself to be absorbed into my own imagination. I’m allowing myself to be absorbed into other people’s imaginations. It’s more of a social thing, doncha know.

Not really sure what to do about any of this. I’m done being hard on myself in any way, shape, or form. The world is hard enough on me already; I don't see why I should give it any additional help.

But I’d like to figure out a way to get back inside my own imagination.
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I don’t know what to make of Comey’s firing. Seriously.

Clearly, the guy was incompetent and deserved to be fired.

But I find myself looking at something that’s a good thing if you believe the Good Guys did it (or would have done it) but a bad thing if you believe the Bad Guys did it (or would have done it.)

This sets up a paradox in which the conditions surrounding the event register with more significance than the actual event itself, which is a level of abstraction that my poor concretistic mind finds almost impossible to process.

All my Progressive friends are screeching, Constitutional crisis!

They see Comey’s firing as part of some complex long game for bringing down the Deep State.

It’s a ploy to stall the Russian investigation! they're wailing.

My own thought is that if they were actually depending upon an FBI investigation into Trump’s Russian ties led by an incompetent like Comey to bring Trump down, then there’s a plutonium plant in Hanford Washington I’d like to sell them.

Shouldn't Obama have fired Comey? And wouldn't that have been a good thing?

I was so confused, I asked Ben, So is firing Comey a good thing or a bad thing? I don’t know how I’m supposed to react.

It’s a very bad thing, he said. On the one hand he was responsible for Clinton’s loss, at least in part. On the other hand, he was conducting the only legitimate investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia. The next FBI Director won’t. On top of that, tonight the White House says Comey was fired for failing to charge Clinton with a crime. So however bullshit it is, the next FBI Director probably will... This is Nixonesque.

Okay! Well. At least, I know what I’m supposed to believe.

I guess I’m gonna start practicing how to say President Pence.
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Rimbaud_in_Harar


The piece __ submitted was awful. Which shocked me because, you know, ___ journalist! _________ contributor!

But I really must be the world’s best editor ‘cause damn! if I did not make those words sing.

And the piece we published in Sooper Sekrit Standpoint is very fine indeed.

This makes me think that I have been approaching my own writing in absolutely the wrong way.

I have this compulsion to get it all right on the very first draft, which leads to hours and hours of rearranging commas, searching through weird linguistic appropriations for common adjectives, and other time-wasting activities. When really, I should be blurting it all out in as short a period of time as possible and shoving it in my underwear drawer for three months.

Three months is about the right length of time to lose the muscle memory of writing it.

Then I should take it out of the drawer and edit the hell out of it.

‘Cause as surely as Bruce Springsteen was born to run, baby, I was born to edit!

###

Else?

It’s raining.

I have been in the same general washed-out mood for several weeks now. Unengaged, one might say.

This weekend I’m supposed to write a piece on the Five Trump Insurgency Blogs YOU Should Be Reading!

That Five…You Must… formula is guaranteed clickbait.

Trouble is I have only identified two Trump Insurgency Blogs you must read – and one of them is by an insufferable prick whom I honestly think no one should read.

The other is by a sinister genius who espouses the darkest, most inflammatory thoughts ever but does so in a rich, delicious style that makes me shiver so that every time I set my browser to his site, I feel as though I've just been presented with a plate of chocolate-covered, absinthe-filled cherries. He is Rimbaud – after the teenage rockstar poet years, when Rimbaud was a weary smuggler working the Abyssinian coast.

But now I have to come up with three other pro-Trump blogs!

Plus – as always – I must toil in the Scut Factory mines.

For I have CV axles to fix and trips over Memorial Day to take.
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I’m feeling incredibly cranky. Like if I were Jehovah, Zeus, or Odin, I’d be smiting revenants left and right, and thinking up incredibly inventive plagues to visit upon them.

###

Like yesterday… The last day of taxes, right? Jerry, the administrator at the TaxBwana site at the Dead & Dying Mall, asked me to come in even though I wasn’t on the schedule because he was anticipating that a great hoard of taxpayers who’d put off doing their 1040s till the very last minute would drop in – and he was right.

There’s a certain art to providing services for huge numbers of clients.

You gotta assembly-line them somehow. Those long, personal conversations one enjoys having to establish rapport must be deferred – in the interests of serving as many clients as possible.

Likewise the giving of helpful advice that one knows clients will ignore.

So anyway, one of my first clients was a cook holding down three jobs. He was getting a small refund from the Feds but he owed a shitload of cash to New York State because he wasn’t having enough state taxes withheld from his various paychecks.

True, English was not his first language. However, I think he understood enough English to follow this conversation. I base this deduction on the fact that he was also paying child support, and when I asked him, “Any chance that the mother of your kids would let you declare any of them as dependents?” (since that would be an alternative method of decreasing his tax liability), he snorted and said, “Absolutely not – she hates me.” That’s actually a fairly high level exchange so far as English as a Second Language is concerned.

After I finish crunching the numbers, I always sit down with clients and give them the opportunity to review the form with me and compare it to their 2015 form. During this brief discussion, we’ll talk generally about ways they might be able to reduce their tax liability in the coming year: I am not a financial advisor, but I play one in the world of nonprofits!

About half the time, they’re interested in having this conversation; about half the time, they’re not.

This man was definitely not.

The next step is to trade places with a colleague. I will proceed to reduplicate all the work my colleague did preparing the tax forms, and he or she will reduplicate my work. This is our quality assurance process.

So anyway, the woman who QAs the cook is Little Miss Bleeding Heart Liberal who decides he needs a Spanish interpreter to explain the complexities of the state withholding system. And this proceeds to take up 45 minutes during which time the line of people actually waiting to have their taxes done grows longer and longer.

And frankly, I am wanting to grab Little Miss Bleeding Heart Liberal by the hair, pound her head into the nearest wall, and then invest my life savings in Make America Great Again baseball caps because everything she’s doing is a total waste of time. Plus – and vanity is everything, after all! – she is majorly disrespecting my assessment of what needed to be done in this situation. It isn’t virtue signaling, exactly; I could see she was a helpful sort who goes out of her way to have pleasant conversations with strangers on supermarket lines when said strangers look stressed. She had a good heart.

But it was just so unnecessary.

I would bet $100 – serious bank for me! – that the cook will not march into his HR office this week demanding to fill out a new W-4.

###

From taxes to my intermediate English class. With a brief break to eat bad pizza but helas! not to exercise.

Can you tell I need my exercise?

Because it uses up all that kinetic energy that otherwise gets channeled into fantasies about pounding well-meaning individuals’ heads into walls!

###

Got home and Max called. He’s doing well. We discuss Imane’s latest misadventures –

Max laughs. “It’s so funny the way you keep calling her, ‘My little bad girl.’”

“Well, she is a little bad girl! I mean, I feel an enormous amount of affection for her. But there’s no denying that she’s got that grifter thing going. Of course, most 20-year-olds I know kinda do.”

“Really? You think so?”

“Oh, absolutely. Not in their interactions with other 20-year-olds necessarily. But don’t you remember? I remember very clearly! When I was 20, everyone over the age of 20 was old, and old people really don’t matter very much unless you happen to be related to them.”

“Huh,” said Max. “You could be right.”

“I am right,” I said. “And furthermore, 20-year-olds don’t distinguish between old people. You could be 30 years old; you could be 60 years old. Thing is you’re old, so you don’t count! You should be starting to pick up on some of that yourself since you just turned 30, which makes you officially old –“

“Huh,” Max said again.

###

One of the things Max told me in that conversation was that he was going to delete his Facebook account.

Second person yesterday to announce the imminent deletion of a Facebook account.

Really, I should delete my Facebook account. Facebook is an enormous time sink. Plus it’s a guaranteed method for fanning suicidal thoughts should you happen to log on to it while feeling depressed. Look at all those happy selfies! you'll think. All those people are living rich, rewarding, successful lives! Meanwhile, my most meaningful personal relationship is with Dr. Who. Who never pays any attention to me! And come to think of it, neither do any of those people living rich, rewarding, successful lives on Facebook.

I don’t delete my Facebook account for the following reasons:

1. It is my only way to keep in touch with the scattered DiLucchio Tribe.

2. I communicate regularly with Lois Lane on Facebook.

3. I am an administrator for the Sooper Sekrit Political Group – which is busily gearing up for world domination.

And that means that some day, there will be a big bronze statue of me with an inscription, Mother of the Revolution! Right there on Wall Street, right there between the bull with the big balls and the petulant little girl! But only if I remain on Facebook.

The Sooper Sekrit Political Group, though, is really fucking annoying. Constant thrashes over identity politics.

I loathe identity politics.

Though I’m completely on board with many of the constituent movements commonly filed under the general heading of “identity politics.” I think Black Lives Matter, for example, has an incredibly important agenda, and I thought it was smart of them to hire mega-ad agency J. Walter Thompson: Their message must go mainstream; it’s too important to remain marginalized.

But so far as I'm concerned, the only important battle in a political sense is the battle between the 99 Percenters and the One Percenters.

Everything else is a complete distraction.

What’s called identity in today’s "politics" (sic) is really just an extension of the Starbucks divide-and-sell-more-beverages doctrine, a way to distract people struggling to keep their heads above water from the fact that they have more in common than they have to disagree about.

Identity politics is a reflection of market segments, a methodology that was created to sell ads to television networks. It’s kind of the Left’s replacement for class, but it can only exist under mass market conditions.

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