The Morning Eft-er

No stopping me now; I’ve learned a  “newt” trick!

This is the first one I’ve seen this year.  These are the adolescents, or “efts” of their species.  Born in the water, maturing on land, then after puberty gradually growing a fin on their tails,  reverting to a muddy tadpole colour, and taking to the water again to mate.

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Easter: Look Upon A Little Child

Methodists don’t go in for smells’n’ bells in general.  No incense, no chimes only the recorded hymns broadcast from the ersatz bell tower.   Church was very much a quotidian kinda experience, a little boring and uncomfy,What with scratchy dresses sometimes even mortifying fascinator style hats.  But nothing frightening; it was just what you did,  every single week.

Passion Week was comparatively  lite, too, looking back.  I don’t even know if we had a Good Friday service.

Still, for the first decade of my life I dreaded Easter.  I hated the hymns, The Old Rugged Cross ,  ( I cried at the opening bars. Still do..) Alas and did my Savior bleed,  O Sacred Head, Beneath the Cross Of Jesus, There is a fountain filled with blood., O come and mourn with me a while…no Hallelujahs ( we never heard the more high toned H-less pronunciation. ) Death. The Grave. The whip.The Nails, the spear, the vinegar, The Stone. Did I mention Death?

It wasn’t as bad as it might have been; our plain li’l church didn’t stage dramatic readings where the congregation had to play Judas, The High Priest, Pilate,  the Jerusalem mob, the Roman soldiers.  Hearing the story was solemnity enough.

And children know they are  sinners. Who knows that better than a kid? And we knew our own peccadillos were somehow related to what bad people had done to Jesus.

We knew that, on top of the exotic torments, we, personally, were hurting Him when we denied having broken something, when we didn’t obey some parent or teacher command.  And kids have to — or did then—endure  a lot of pain inflicted by the people upon whom they are totally dependent for love and sustenance: shots, foul-tasting medicines,   forced consumption of foods they hate, tonsillectomies.  Plus, kids bleed, suffer physical trauma, and accidentally pierce themselves   —or did then—much more often than adults.  And kids know the terror of being forced to remain in the dark, all alone, which I think is about the only way they can envision death.  Pain,,physical punishments, and righteous hectoring ( What further proof need we?)  are not merely theoretical to them! It’s no wonder I cried me a river  while my parents seemed torn between slight embarrassment : come on, it’s really not your problem—and being pleased that I was so piously empathetic with the dying God. Oh I was sorry! so sorry!  I didn’t mean to do it, I would never, ever  do it again! People under ten are prone to total surrender to   remorse.  They get daily practice.

The scent of the dead white lilies.  The mournful purple hangings.  The minatory sermons, longer than usual during Lent.

When Easter arrived: welcome, Happy morning, indeed!   Just kidding! It was like waking up from a nightmare wherein  you knew you had done something awful.  The relief!  The light! Candy, candy, candy, till you felt kinda nauseated, the scent of those dead lilies still at the back of your throat. And bunnies, chicks!  We were back in childhood’s sunlit fields again.

i did take my own child to church. And Sunday school, although that had gone out of style, it seemed; some of us got it going but it didn’t last long.  I read her Bible stories, she knows more OT stories than any of her  peers.   And of course she learned the doctrine, the outline of the Easter story.  But…I confess, I tried to keep Easter Lite.  Pretty (but comfy) outfits, bunnies, chocolate, egg hunts.

The grave, the darkness, agony, guilt, remorse?

“ Gentle Jesus, meek and mild/Look upon a little child!”  Surely, those could wait.

If I was wrong, if I am wrong: God  be merciful to me, a sinner.

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Hangin’ With My Peeps

…the frogs! in the vernal pools, a riotous cacaphony, their mating calls.  It’s like a rave. This is opening night; I didn’t hear ‘em yesterday.

So here’s Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem Assault:

“I had forgotten how the frogs must sound/After a year of silence. Else, I think/I would not so have ventured forth alone/At dusk upon this unfrequented road.

I am waylaid by beauty. Who will walk/ Between me and the crying of the frogs?/ O savage beauty! Suffer me to pass/That am a timid woman  on her way/From one house to another.”

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Remembering Dresden Re: Rebuilding in Paris

I spent a few days  in Dresden, I reckon two years ago.  But I’ve been thinking about the city since the Notre Dame fire.

The Semperoper, the opera house there, was rebuilt under Soviet rule, using the original techniques and duplicating the materials  and methods.  For example, it looks like marble inside on the walls and pillars, but it isn’t; it’s wood.

The Frauenkirche was rebuilt in about three years after reunification.

In fact, in Dresden, everything that looks modern is much older than the grand buildings which look so venerable!

Notre Dame shouldn’t be that hard.  For one thing, it isn’t a gravesite, like Dresden certainly was, and like our Twin Towers.   (Is that why, in the greatest city in the world, the site of the 9/11 massacre remained a gaping hole for so long?)

Trump could do the project on time and under budget, but he’s busy being our president, thank God! 

Money  is pouring in!  The City of Light can be and will be restored to its former glory. Whoso  doubts, let him visit Dresden.

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Dems, You’ve Got Male!

Looks  like  white-lightning-in-a-bottle Beta-Male O’Rourke  is being eclipsed by Peter Pansy.

Sure, Buttigieg (the name says it all!)   is white, and he’s a man.  So far no worries for Beta.

But while the best Beta can do to avoid the awful political obloquy of his manhood is pretend he’s still 12 (witness the skateboarding gif)  and go trippin’ round the country  while “mom” makes the money —

—Peter  doesn’t even have to pretend he “won’t grow up”!  He’s a grown man who  has opted out of the biological imperative.

For some reason Dem women love that!

Why?  Do they think gay men like women?  

It’s hard to believe we’re at the point where this needs to be explicated, but: See,  ladies,  the point about being a gay  man is that you don’t like women.  If you did, why would you want to watch other men flouncing around in grotesque femface, broadly and maliciously parodying the most egregious stereotypes of female behavior?

W.H. Auden and his friends used to refer to women as “fish”.  That is so perfect on many levels.  If you are a man, a Lord Of Creation, well, a fish doesn’t even inhabit the same element as you.  And even in this day and age where we’re  flirting with the idea of interspecies sexplay, I haven’t heard anybody fantasize about doin’ it with a fish.  They don t have any orifices which could possibly accommodate a man!  ( Yes I know about the amorous dolphins, but they’re mammals at least)  .  Nah, if you found yourself in a position to eat a fish that someone else had gutted, fileted,and fried, ,  okay, but otherwise,they just aren’t creatures you normally think about.  At all.

I think Dem women are taken in by the unspoken condescension of gay men,  who kinda treat them as honorary homosexuals. ( And that would be because, if you think the only humans worth loving  are men like you,  well, you gotta have some fellow-feeling for the poor fish who also  love ‘em, in their own slimy,  stinky way.)

But none of this matters.  If you’re a male and straight, you better be black like Fairfax.   Otherwise:  be sure your sins will find you out— right, Uncle Joe?  (Relax, you didn’t do anything Kerry didn’t do to Edwards in 2004!)

Bet-O and Pete-O  are both white males, kinda cute and mopsy-lookin’.  But    when the Demfems have to decide, well, they don’t really like themselves, so they’ll go for  the genetic dead end.

Here, fishy fishy! 

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”We Will Never Forget!” (But We Will Revise.)

“We will never forget!” was on bumper stickers, T shirts,  coffee mugs in the aftermath of 9/11.

And boy, did we fly the flag!  There was actually a shortage of ‘em!

Sure,  there were a few voices to the effect that we had it coming, but nobody wanted to actually admit  to being in the “Blame America First” camp.

Who could have predicted that, less than 2 decades later, a message from the President of the US, a native New Yorker, quoting that once-universal mantra “we will never forget!”  would be decried as..what: racist, Islamophobist, White Nationalist….fill in the blank.

And not out of the blue, either: Trump,was responding to a speech by an antisemitic Muslim lefty belittling and dismissing the 9/11 attacks!

America, honey!! You awake yet?

This is  what CAIR  and its ilk have done to our country since 9/1, aided and abetted by the likes of Bush 2 and Blair.

Maybe GWB actually thought  Americans were going to start burning Mosques ( it’d have been a lot harder to find one then than now; they have proliferated since 9/11!) and the homes of Muslim Americans.

I don’t think there was ever a danger of that.   Copies of the Koran sold out  in the immediate  aftermath as Americans belatedly sought to “understand” the hatred!  Violent backlash  would not have happened  even if Bush hadn’t spouted that garbage about Islam being a “religion of peace” (Though I reckon most Americans didn’t actually read  the paperback Korans  they bought, or we never  woulda swallowed that pap…)  His motives may have been good,but he set the stage for Muslims to  claim victim status.  They did not waste the opportunity.

Of course this post was triggered (yes in all senses,) by the awful images of the burning spire of Notre Dame.

In 2001, such wanton,  tragic destruction would have been the occasion for near-universal mourning and sympathy, for the city, for Catholics., dare I even say: for the Christian West.  Or at least  by the Christian West.

Not today.

If the crimes of 9/11 had been perpetrated in 4/19, we would  already  be sympathizing with the poor disadvantaged Muslims who were somehow suffering such desperation, such despair, caused of course by America’s policies, that they had no choice really, but  to enroll in that flight school in Florida where they learned to steer but not to land.

No, we will never forget.    But we have allowed what we remember to be manipulated, falsified, and turned against us.

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Be Glad You Won’t Be Getting My Travel Blog

Tomorrow I’m off to Passau.  I’ve been there before, as I have in Budapest, where we’ll end up.  As an amateur historian I’ve always concentrated resolutely on the medieval or Celtic periods of these places.  And, for the last few years, I have blogged to a small group of friends ‘n’ family every day when we travel.  I’m addicted to that.  It helps fix the experience in my memory and adds to my pleasure, in any event.  Nobody hasta read my emails, after all…!

But ive been in Passau before, and written about the world-class organ and the 16th century salt trade.  So I intend to concentrate on more recent history this time, and to  inflict it on my interlocutors. F’rinstance:

Hitler lived in Passau as a child.  And almost died there, at the age of four, when he fell into the River Inn. (Passau is the junction of three rivers: the Danube, the  Ilz, and the Inn). A slightly older companion, who grew up to become a priest, saved him.  This is reported in A. E. Rosmus’  book Wintergreen, among other sources.

When that manly lad’s fist closed on the shivering little Adolph’s collar,  it clinched the deaths of 70 million people.

….Or would it all have happened anyway?  Fate is inexorable.  (Right, @jzdro?)

Why was the beautiful Monastery at Gottvieg abandoned ? Plague? Crisis of faith?  I will find out…

And Bratislava.  I have seen the old cathedral.  What went on there during the Lebensraum and the aftermath of the  war?

Concerning Budapest, I read Arthur Phillips’ novel Prague  quite a while ago.  Despite the title, it’s about Budapest  after 1989.  But by,  say 1990, Budapest was passé; the cry went all on Prague!  Which was denuded in its turn. That has always coloured Budapest for me.  I recommend that book and that author! But I have a new novel, Budapest Noir,  by Vilmos  Kondor, on tap on my kindle.  (Yes, of course I’ll drink chocolate at Gerbeaud’s on Vorosmarty again, but I won’t blog about it! )

Spotlight on the 20th Century this trip. And that’s a blacklight.

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The Cruelest Month

it is a tribute to TSE that we don’t concentrate on the slightly jarring “cruelest”, instead of “most cruel”, which I think 🤔 is what we’d be more likely to say, if we had occasion to use the phrase at all.  “Mixing/ Memory and desire”…yea, cruel indeed.

But is Eliot truly the poet laureate of April-bashing?  Read this before you say yes-Edna St Vincent Millay’s Spring: 

“ To what purpose, April, do you return again?/Beauty is not enough./ You can no longer quiet me with the redness/Of little leaves opening  stickily./ I know what I know./ The sun is hot on my neck as I observe/The spikes of crocus./The smell of the earth is good./ It is apparent that there is no death./ But what does that signify?/ Not only underground are the brains of men/Eaten by maggots. /Life in itself/ Is nothing./An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs./ It is not enough that yearly down this hill/April /Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.”

About Beauty: personally,  I think it would  be enough.  If it could last.  I’d wager the poet felt the same.

The  “redness” of new leaves: This  is concrete, factual: the buds are red and, if you try to unfurl them, sticky with their birth secretions.

You know how I feel about “the smell of the earth”…

“Brains Of men eaten by maggots”?  O yes yes yes! Though I wonder who my heroine Vincent ( my favorite of all the permutations of her name to which she answered) had in mind…would she be a Dem today?

A flight of uncarpeted stairs….I don’t know why this is so evocative, but it makes me think of old houses I’ve visited…. footsteps clattering on the bare wooden hill, and at the top, surely,  only dust or abandoned possessions, maybe possessions once dear.

Strewing flowers….who would not think of mad Ophelia?  “Here’s  rue for you”…..

Cruel? Yes, I think April reminds us that while the Earth endures, Summer and winter, seedtime and harvest, and night and day, shall not cease.

But we shall.

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No Tree Frogs Yet But…

….but tonight, walking just after sunset, the dome of the sky deep glowing blue, one star visible, and the horizon a luminous peach colour—

i could smell Spring!

It’s  not the smell of mud,which we’ve had on and off for a week or so.  Mud smells like  rocks.  I think part of the Spring smell which stopped me in my tracks is from the water.  The lake is all thawed now, though I was skating just 8 days ago, and the sweet swampy tang at the water’s edge is released from its winter seal.  Maybe also the new grass, which is hardly visible yet, but  short green blades are breaking up the ground, pushing through the matted yellow of the old growth, releasing the smell of the earth.

The tree peepers are usually one of the first sensory experiences of spring here.  Not a peep so far, but tonight I stood transfixed, and simply breathed.

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England Never Actually Had a Fine Hour

My TLS this week features an article dedicated to taking  Brittania down a notch.  Well, more than a notch.  She  and Lady Liberty better open a thrift  shop together and start wearing the dowdy  jumble themselves.   Really, those tiaras look ridiculous on these two superannuated grande dames! 

Britain an the US  ( not sure why he hasta drag us  into it, ‘cept that he suspects we still think we definitively kicked Hitler’s ass) are a pair of Misses  Havisham, the clocks stopped at 1945.   Britain never really “stood alone” against Hitler, but why even get into that?  The mere existence among the Brits Of “Brexiteers” shows  a great percentage of its population ( I think in a democracy, we’d call that a majority, wouldn’t we, after the Leave referendum?) is still clinging to a largely fictitious glory.   “However extraordinary  [Britain’s]  past, it is extraordinary no longer.”   World War II has been “an ill-omened  inheritance” for the victors. Only the forward-thinking folk who “embrace  the pooled sovereignty of the European Union”  have, like the defeated nations of Europe, “got over the war” in a way that Britain never did.

” Pooled sovereignty”.

“Pooled. “

“Sovereignty.”

What do you think of that phrase?

Now is the time for all good people to come  to the aid  of the Anglosphere.

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Could We Really Lose 2020?

Okay. The Dems are “out”  now.

They’re for open borders.

They’re for communism and against private property.

They’re against Judaism and  Christianity.

They are an eschatological doomsday cult: divest yourself of all wealth, possessions and conveniences and go stand in a field waiting for the Earth to burn.

No, I mean it.  We suspected these things, but they used to make some pretense of denying them, scoffing that they weren’t really that  extreme.

No more.  Like the devotés of Waco, like the SLA, they are hellbent on burning down their own house, our house—and they will seal themselves themselves under the floorboards to thwart any attempt at rescue.

IS America really going to vote for that? 

I’m not saying it can’t happen. I’m humbly  asking.

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#metomb

Will Joe Biden’s run  put an end to the #metoo hysteria?  I just heard Mika say Biden is “flirtatious in a completely safe way”!

Oh!  So it is  okay, then, to be a heterosexual male, even if you’re white?   Say it again, we didn’t quite hear you!

Wait: You mean each and every unsolicited touch is  NOT  the equivalent of rape?  Do tell!

Of course it’s the Left that’s trying to take Biden out.  They have to .  If he were the Dem nominee, uh, what about the pink pussyhats? Why, he’s worse than Trump (or at least, there’s more film out there..)

Hee hee-Trump had to bring Clinton’s victims in to the debates in person.  With Biden, he can just run the widely available montage of Joe nuzzlin’ necks and lockin’ lips with the little  ladies!

Is it too  much to hope that the far Left Dems take Biden out.?  And then maybe nominate one of the wild-eyed ones?  Might 2020 be like 1972?

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We Want Beto!

Please  let him get the Dem nomination!

See,  here’s the thing: he’s never really had a job .  Doesn’t have one now, which is why he’s the only Dem out there on the hustings every day.  His wife runs a company they founded, Stanton Street Technologies, which designs websites.

Seems to me Trump oughta be able  to wipe the floor with him.

And he won’t have to  worry about sexism. (Unless he gives into the temptation to call him Betty O’Rourke…)

Also not about racism, since apparently it’s perfectly okay to malign Irish-Americans with the grossest stereotypes (see Kavanaugh, Brett).

yup, all things considered I think O’Rourke is our best beto.

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It’s Not That Simple

My title is an anticipation of the likely response to this post.  Okay.  Very few issues  are  so “simple” that they can be dealt with in a few paragraphs.  Still I persist:

Trump  better hire some genius medical economist to come up with a healthcare plan and simultaneously explain why Ocare did not work.  (Which it really hasnt) McConnell has said he’s not gonna help,  which swells the music of the Dems’ chorus:”They have no plan!”    We gotta get one.

I think we should go back to private insurance, but regulate it.  Make it  illegal, period, to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.  Make the insurance  market nationally competitive.  There: we’ve leveled the playing field, let the vying for customers begin.

Also would somebody break it to middle-aged America that Medicare is not free?   Maybe it is you’ve got nothing, but if you do have assets, you’re penalized and they’ll take it outta your social security.

But that isn’t even the biggest thing.  We should be concentrating on care, not insurance. Instead, Ocare has made it more difficult to even get to the actual hands-on treatment stage.  You can’t get into a clinic without photo ID.  You can go to an ER without it, but such “facilities” are authorized to  charge a “facilities fee” just for entering the door, exactly like a cover charge, in addition to and possibly in excess of the fee for treatment. (But independent practitioners cant impose such a fee.)  And, is it still possible for a medical school graduate to set up his/her independent office?  I doubt that.  When my husband left his practice as a family doctor in 1998  as we moved to my mountains, it had already become impossible to pay the overhead.  He was prohibited from performing most medical tests like EKGs and throat cultures and drawing blood in his office: patients had to make a separate trip to the hospital lab, pay for that, and w.a.i.t…both to undergo the test then to obtain the results.  He was prohibited  from charging more than insurance would pay for work injuries and car  accidents, regardless of the services he rendered beyond those remittances.  He was prohibited from charging for the total cost to him of immunizations.   Let those rich doctors just absorb the costs!

Yeah, so,let’s scrap all that and start selling medical students again on how great it is to exercise their professional skills in an environment where, yes: they are god.  (WTF was wrong with that?  If you have ever been through, or been terrified by th prospect of, a deadly illness, you know that what you want from your physician is, precisely, a god-like certainty and confident prognostication. ) Then they’ll compete for patients, who will flock to the ones with the best results, the most accommodations in services, and yes, the best bedside manners.

Such competition was fierce! we used to joke about our fellow residents who set up an office in some fairly remote area, and were instantly “busier ‘n’ a one-armed paperhahger” ( i dky, But thAt was  the invariable  cliché)— until one other doc moved in, and the new practice was instantaneously halved!   It was riskier and harder, but much better in the long run,  to go to an already saturated area and carve out a space.  If you could make it there, you’d make it anywhere.

People  had no idea what they used to get outta their doctors.  Oh, BC (before Clinton, Hilary I mean) they did respect and kinda idolize them.  But they didn’t know how much work docs  did FOR FREE.  Weekends “on call” where the doctor was tethered to his practice area, likely to be interrupted at all hours of the day and night.  Hours on the phone after office hours ended,  explaining lab results to patients, answering their questions, calming their fears.

They didn’t charge for all this time, and the cost of the office visit, what, like, $30-35? surely  didn’t begin to cover it. IF the patients paid even that, which many regulars just..never did.   But I never once heard of any of our peers asking a patient to leave his/her practice because of failure to pay.

Hilary, and then the era of the HMOs ( capitalized mecicine) convinced America that doctors weren’t on their side, they were just greedy,self-important charlatans in white coats.  Well, when you knock a profession off its pedestal,  don’t expect its members to keep up the monumental standard.

If Trump can’t win 2020 without a healthcare revamp, then come on!  Find the right architect, now!  The man who rebuilt lower Manhattan can handle that!

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