2019 Meditation: Clean as a bone.

Happy New Year! I’m kicking off with a meditation on writing.

Let’s go!


Whilst reading about writing recently, I tripped across a summary of some James Baldwin reflections on writing and the writing life in a post by Maria Popova (brainpickings.org).

” You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal.”

– James Baldwin, (Hat Tip: Maria Popova, James Baldwin’s Advice on Writing)

Simple, clean sentences. Owing to what I call ‘style,’ some of my sentences stampede across the mighty plains of white paper, run over the river and through the woods in search of  rainbow’s end and the small pot of gold known as a punctuation mark called a ‘period.’ Finé. Done. Viva, stop beating that poor horse and give it a rest. But already fat and heavy with verbiage, I am riding into the next stampede in search of another boney sentence.

Or paragraph. Sentences clean as a bone. Paragraphs loaded with clean bones. And I choke a little. The bone caught in my throat is fish.


Another year has passed. Another year of witness to now. I am my own little Piglet — “… he tries to be brave and on occasion conquers his fears “, a small voice on this noisy stage and I am afraid but I stand on my orange crate, pick up my bullhorn and whisper into the digital void. My voice is here. You might not hear it, but it is not about you. It is about me.

The sentence never ends. Chained to an ink pen, chained to a keyboard and screen, it is all about me. Stories hold us together. In this storyline, we are on my path of a writer doing writerly things, scribbling with writerly pens and we are lost in a sea of ideas. JRR Tolkien wrote that not all who wander are lost, and I don’t know if I’m swimming or if I am sunk but perhaps not all who flounder are drowning. The hard tools of writing are my lifeline for thoughts seeking expression and voice and I grab hold of that ring. It feels like a brave act of salvation.


Ideas captured and chained down in pen and ink. The messy first copy is not as clean as a bone. Given life on the page, it is up to me to carve til it hurts. Carve until we hit bone. And we are grateful that to participate in this activity means we are operating on a high level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Self-actualization sustains and if writing isn’t all that, it sure feels good.


It occurs to me whilst floundering and wandering in the ether of mixed metaphor that maybe the bones James Baldwin talks of are not those of the butcher but those of the archaeologist. I am not chasing thoughts like wild animals only to harvest their bones. No. I’m a writerly archaeologist sporting a virtual pith helmet as I dig in the dirt, examine rocks, blast layers, toss scat, breathe dust and celebrate mightily when I uncover that oddball sentence as clean as a bone.

That is the theory anyway.

Bone recognition skills required.


Being read is a gift. Thank you dear reader!

And here is to another year excavating for sentences as clean as a bone! May it happen with more frequency.

Or not.

Viva, January 01, 2019

Life, III. A Sundry Assortment of Advertising in Motion

tl;dr? Oh well! Carry on.

This is the third in a series of posts taking a peek into the March 31, 1972 issue of Life magazine. The advertising is a throwback reminder to the technology available and the social norms of the time.

Let’s go!

Parking lot photo booths

In 1972, advertising relied on photography which was analog. A photograph required a camera which required film which required exposure which required a specific shutter speed to capture an image. And while you fiddle with the camera settings, don’t forget to focus.

And then develop the film. A literal dark art, photography required a dark room and tubs of chemicals and time and magic. Instead of an iPhone or Android second, photos on film required a minimum of hours to develop. And I can speak to the disappointment of waiting a whole week for the postal service to deliver packets of blurry overexposed, underexposed, or unfocused photos. It could be a sad end to a long wait.

Analog photography required transportation, dark rooms, chemicals, paper.
Bottom of full-page Fotomat advertisement, Life magazine, March 31, 1971.

Polaroid photo exception

Page 2 of Polaroid Square Shooter 2 advertisement, Life magazine, March 31, 1972.

Polaroid cut the time to see a photo from hours and days to minutes. When photographic paper layered with chemicals was pulled out of the Polaroid camera, the chemicals were activated and film development would start. After a wait of a few minutes, the photo was extracted by peeling off the mini-darkroom chemical layer. And for posterity, another chemical was swiped across the surface — a darkroom feature kept within reach of mere snap-happy mortals.

Polaroid may have cut photo development time to minutes, but that could still be too long to wait. I remember family reunions where between snaps, grandpas or uncles or cousins or siblings wandered off and there was hollering to get everyone back together for the next family portrait. And then we had to smile. The struggle was real.

And Polaroid photographs are like monoprints – singular, unique. There is no negative to make reprints from.

It’s complicated.

Ford Mustang print advertisement, Life magazine, March 31, 1972.

My visceral reaction to the visual mash-up of a surfer and a Ford Mustang is that it is simple and makes no sense. Why is the surfer hunched over the cars in a King Kong menace? Why are those beautiful cars parked on a beach? They will be wrecked or swept out to sea.

Then on further inspection, this advertisement is, actually, a marvel. Created in an age before digital photography and PhotoShop, it was complicated to match the surfboard stripes to the Mustang stripes, to leave the proper amount of space for the advertising copy, to center the surfboarder, match the auto window glass to the dark water of the wave, and evoke a feeling although I’m not sure what I’m supposed to think or feel. The copy states “A panoramic instrument panel and a floor-mounted stick shift sitting between bucket seats. Now this is the real way to control a car.”

Really? Maybe not park on the beach …

Copywriting

Advertising copy used to provide lots of product information. Consumers presumably would compare products and conclude that the advertised product was more desirable than the competition for any number of reasons, but information was key.

And then the wheel turned and advertisers wised up. Who wants or needs or reads, information? Information is boring. Let’s cut to the chase. How does the product make you feel?

The Hiram Walker Ten High bourbon advertisement is an example that is copy heavy with information overload! I have to read to the end to find I’ll make a friend and I’m cheap. Hmmm, I’m wondering just like the fellow in the photo if it’s even worth it.

Copy heavy.

And here’s an example using less copy. Product placement. Smoke in the fresh mountain air on a remote lake or come up where ever you are by lighting up. And note, this Life magazine was published nine years before the Surgeon General’s warning was required on cigarette advertisements.

Levitation with cigarettes — “come all the way up …”

Breakdown of cigarette adverts.

Cigarettes were still advertised in print with relative impunity. Some contained the Surgeon General Warning. Others not. All cigarette advertisements were full page. Men smoking were manly. Women were accompaniments. The exception was Maxine, the masseuse, who rolled-her-own but you’d rather smoke Camel Filters than Maxine’s brand.

  • Camel Filters. They’re not for everybody. They suggest that your only alternative would be Maxine’s brand which is local to Maxine and conveniently not available to you.
  • KOOL. Come all the way up to KOOL. Just a box of cigarettes levitating on a mountain lake (see photo above).
  • Raleigh. Spend a milder moment with Raleigh. Manly man smoking in a meadow with a woman examining a weed? She’s a blond with a headband. The advertisement contained a Surgeon General’s warning.
  • Lucky Ten. The first low ‘tar’ cigarette that delivers full flavor. This was the simplest ad. A simple box — do we even know if there are cigarettes in the box? — in red, white, and black. The phrase “Only 10 mg. ‘Tar'” appeared twice.
  • LARK. Put some more flavor in your life. Man and woman smoking leisurely over a picnic with a red and white LARK hot-air balloon in the background meadow. The picnic blanket is blue and white like Judy Garland’s dress in The Wizard of Oz and you know it is intentional. Leave Kansas. Visit Oz. Smoke. Smoke LARK.
  • Marlboro. No tagline. All feel. Cowboy riding a horse chasing a steer. You are on the move and we know because the background is blurry. Presumably, enjoy a smoke after chasing steers.
  • Pall Mall Gold 100’s. Yes, longer yet milder. Close up of a man’s hand with a lit cigarette and gold signet ring … embossed with … the same emblem on the Pall Mall Gold 100’s box also featured in close-up. If you smoke PMGold 100’s, you.are.successfull. And manly.
Marlboro cigarette advertisement, Life magazine, March 31, 1972.

The number of cigarette ads in the magazine was a reminder that social norms change. I can’t remember the last restaurant I was in that had a dedicated smoking section. If you smoke, we want you to know you shouldn’t, and you can go smoke in isolation. This wasn’t always true.

1972 Pantone Greenery Dodge Dart

My first car ever was a 1973 2-door Dodge Dart, so this image struck near and dear to my heart. My used Dart was $300 with about 50,000 miles. I proceeded to drive it for another 50,000 miles. Mine was not painted 2017 Pantone ‘Greenery’ but it was by far the most economical ride I ever owned.

Automatic transmission was an option! and that color is so forward-looking 2017 Pantone Greenery.

This has been a moment blog post to consider Life, the magazine. Issue dated March 31, 1972.

Carry on.

Life, I. The magazine.

tl;dr? Imma blogging on Life — the  magazine between now and the new year. Specifically the March 31, 1972 issue. Enjoy! Or not.

A note. I republished this post about 3 minutes after first hitting publish. Laurene Powell Jobs was quoted in a recent NYTimes article. Not the 1972 Life magazine. Ms. Powell Jobs was 9 years old in 1973. Her fame and fortune were not yet a thing. 


I am in possession of the March 31, 1972 issue of Life magazine. 

As a child, George Wallace was a candidate in the first Presidential election of which I was aware and his name popped up in a discussion of the current racist resident of the White House with FAL*. When she tripped across a Life with an article on Wallace, she sent me the whole enchilada. 

And what a time capsule!       

*Not her real name. FAL is an acronym. Favorite Aunt L.                       


Former FLOTUS on magazine covers

Is the plural of FLOTUS, FLOTII?


Look was a contemporary magazine of LifeLook folded in the early 1970’s, Life died later. Thumbing through this issue of Life, magazines with curated news heavy on photos are a treasure.

In a recent NYTimes, I read with great interest,  an interview with Laurene Powell Jobs who is investing heavily in media:

Both magazines have managed to create unique journalistic platforms that help foster empathy and a better understanding of the world. – Laurene Powell Jobs

” … narrative moves people more than anything else.”

 Kara Swisher, “Can Laurene Powell Jobs Save Storytelling? NYTimes, November 27, 2018. 

Looking through the Life relic, I believe Ms. Powell Jobs is on to something. The photos were lush and contained another 1000 words each, they made me curious. The writing was smart and sharp, edited, considered, worthy of ink and paper, not of-the-moment and gone.

The unfiltered, uncurated internet increases connection without adding to understanding. Although the purchase of Pop-Up — a company that specializes in performance type art — can’t be held in your hands, I’m ready for a Look or Life reboot. Please?


And the Life March 31, 1972 issue is chock-full of reminders that some things never change.

In April 1971, Richard Nixon ran interference between a pending antitrust suit and a hearing at the Supreme Court for I.T.T.! And I love that the NYTimes has an online archive and that in 1973, they were the paper of record! Now? Eh, not so much, but I digress.

Ranan Lurie cartoon, Life, p. 12. March 31, 1972

In The Presidency op-ed, Hugh Sidey quoted Lyndon B. Johnson: 

Business,” snorted Lyndon Johnson once when he was battling the big interests, “is what makes the mare go.”

Hugh Sidey, The Presidency: What makes the mare go, Life, March 1972, p.12.

My bold. And this is comforting maybe things do never change! Remember John Mulaney’s observation that “Trump is a horse loose in the hospital.” This makes perfect sense since business is what makes Trump go.

Forty-six years on, the mare goes horse is unhinged and loose. 


Change a few names, tweek a situation or two, and Hugh Sidey’s op-ed would bring you up to speed on the Trump Administration’s political acrobatics. In the Nixon era:

“Even more fascinating was the story of Herbert Kalmbach, an obscure California attorney who happens to be Nixon’s private lawyer. According to one Washington authority, he now “has the goddamnedest bunch of clients lined up outside his door that you’ve ever seen.”

Hugh Sidey, “The Presidency:What makes the mare go,” Life, March 31, 1972, p.12.

Michael Cohen is Herbert Kalmbach to Trump’s Nixon. I cannot make this stuff up.


Last paragraph of the Life op-ed:  

Up on the Hill at the ITT hearing room a few days ago a young man with fire in his eyes waited for a seat. What for? “Because I want to hear them lie,” he spat.  … this new bitterness … began in the secluded chambers of power which this administration still seems to think are its private preserves, where matters too lofty and complex for common comprehension are dealt with. It is, once again, a policy of non-communication, and it is an added insult to the American intelligence.

Hugh Sidey, “The Presidency: What makes the mare go,” Life, March 31, 1972, p.12.

My bold. Jim Acosta could play the part of the young man with fire in his eyes. Ignore the mention of ITT, replace “them lie” with Sarah Huckabee Sanders lie” and that paragraph could have been written yesterday.

Today that paragraph would be updated to pile on more insult to the American intelligence with reference to Trump’s “gut tells him more than anybody’s brain.” 

Just wondering, what with his gut and Fox & Friends talking to him, maybe we should track his daily horoscope, too? He is a Gemini.


Finally, general observations from the bleacher seats decades removed from George Wallace:

  • George Wallace is a reminder that racists persist — he made four runs for the White House.
  • Wallace ran as a Democrat. Historically, racism has not been limited to party. (And we hope that has changed.) 
  • He was a ‘segregationist’ which is just a fancy bow tied around the gift of a racist. (To be clear, racists are a curse, not a gift. See also, sarcasm.) 
  • As a judge and an early adopter of voter suppression, he blocked federal review of voting lists. 
  • His wife’s name was Lurleen. She sat in for him as governor to get around term limits. Ugh. Political dynasties. Kennedys, Clintons, Bushes, who’m I missin’? 
  • An early adopter of shooting people to gain fame made an assassination attempt on Wallace in 1972. Wallace was left paralyzed for the remainder of his life.
  • And hope. Hope that minds and hearts can change. In 1979, Wallace apologized for the physical, literal stance he took at the door of a school to impose segregation demonstrate racism in action. “I was wrong. Those days are over, and they ought to be over.” –Edwards, George C.

An exclamation of points! A sundry assortment.

Before we get started, in mathematical notation, n factorial is written n! For n > 1, n! is the product of all the integers between 1 and n. Example:

4! = 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 or 24

Wowza! Factorials get pretty big, pretty fast. Let’s go!

• 1! For love of an exclamation point!

When learning to punctuate, we learn that exclamation points should not be overused. Exclamation points emphasize excitement! Whoops and hollers! Surprise! Etcetera! Overuse undermines their impact! See?

To which I say, bah! Humbug! As a matter of expressing my complete excitement and enthusiasm for friends, the punctuation I have opted to use in salutations and greeting for personal correspondence is “Dear Jane!” or “Jane!” (Substitute your name for Jane.)

Consider the difference in your responses between:

Dear your name,

-and-

Dear your name!

If we read past “Dear your name,” we might discover we owe money, we are in need of services we were previously unaware of needing. The comma is the punctuation of business, all business, just the business ma’am. And we hate being ma’am-ed and we head to the shredder or beat the ‘delete’ key. Of course, there is personal correspondence for which the comma ‘,’ is still preferred. After all, boundaries do need to be maintained. Good fences make good neighbors and all that.

But! An exclamation point engages and expresses my excitement not about what I’m writing, but about our relationship! Good things to come! maybe? Adventure is afoot! I hope. Read on! Dear your name!

• 2! FLOTUS photo. For reals?

This week a photo of FLOTUS holding a child in Africa whose skin is ebony-colored threw us off a bit because FLOTUS, Melania Trump, appeared to be genuinely happy in the embrace! Perhaps Occam’s B**bstraps is too simple an explanation and FLOTUS is not the racist we assume.

And we would be happy to be wrong but given the company she keeps, this could be just another gaslight lit on the way to making us all crazy. We’ll keep an eye on this.

• 3! or 6. Universe bends.

In a concurrent sign from the universe that I am approaching page n of my long-hand journal, the blue ink pen I was using, ran out of ink! Synchronicity!

• 4! or 24. Peak news week!

In a new news peak news week — Rosenstein-fired-not-fired, Kavanaugh, FBI investigation, FLOTUS jaunt to Africa, UPCOMING ELECTIONS – VOTE! it’s a long list — the NYTimes couldn’t contain themselves and dropped the story of Trump multi-generational tax fraud writ large.

Given the current political environment, my projections for possible outcomes:

  1. Housing subsidies are reduced to limit the money the Trumps of the world siphon off the public good.
  2. Increased regulation of rent subsidies.
  3. Or, my favorite: investigation and prosecution of white collar, briefcase crime!

You might have waited for a less busy news week, but that might have been a long wait. So, great reporting NYTimes! Tax fraud is what sunk Al Capone.

• 5! or 120. Clickbait.

It may interest you to know that blog posts get more attention if they include photos and references to food. This is not a photo of tacos:

img_6679

Morning coffee with Lupita.

• 6! or 720. Friends!

In other late-breaking photographic video evidence this week, we are saddened but not surprised to learn that Prescedense OTUS does not have any friends, acquaintances, aid. No one is close enough to him, concerned enough to tell him or help him, or interested enough in his appearance to inform him that there was toilet paper stuck on his shoe.  Between a bathroom, the tarmac, the stairs. No.one.said.a.word.

Return text to FEMA Presidential alert from all of us: Hard to make America great again with toilet paper on your shoe, you orange-redacted-redacted-redacted redacted.

But maybe it was intentional? The USA as the metaphorical unflushed toilet paper stuck to his shoe? I digress. If FLOTUS were not off in Africa? I’d bet the toilet paper would still be stuck on his shoe all the way up the stairs and onto Air Force 1. Just sayin’.

• 7! or 5040. Civic participation!

With the abysmal performance of SCOTUS-nominee Brett Kavanaughnaw under pressure, the limited FBI investigation, the rush by die.die.die Mitch McConnell to seat Kavanaughnaw when there are other suitably objectionable candidates, Kavanaughnaw’s sorry-sad-sack-abuse-cycle-continues statement in the WSJ, I am so.in awe at the number, quantity, quality, and responsiveness of protests arising around the country and especially in Washington, D.C.

Individually, we’re navelent. In aggregate, we are a civic American force to be reckoned with.

Exercise your civic force in full November 6, 2018. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!! 

• 8! or 40320. Mental health break.

With the advent of personal communication devices, is it any wonder interpersonal relationships suffer? We cannot compete. We do not operate in micro-nano-itsy-bitsy-mini second moments. We operate in tree time, in real life rings earned by trips around the sun, the slow build-up of experience, time expressed in minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades. The slow patina of age. And we short-circuit all that age and grace with clickbait — the flying bits sent through space and time which do not require our attention but consume our thoughts.

With a touch of irony, I offer this bit of clickbait – a video by Edward Tufte of Inge Druckery –  a designer and educator. It is a lush production taken at a pace which encourages one to slow.down, to immerse oneself in a pursuit that does not have an immediate payback or maybe any payback at all. This video reminds me that thoughts should be sustained beyond the rush-rush of 24-hours news cycles and click bait. There is a long game. It includes thoughtful design and beauty.

I find even 3- or 4-minutes restorative. (The entire video is 37 minutes long.)

Enjoy! Or not.


• 9! or 362880. Happy Birthday, Ann!!!

 

Spam!

Spam! An all-purpose 4-letter word.

As we struggle a more perfect union, I observe that more and more vowels are taking a knee replaced with an asterisk to mask the pedestrian words that have merged into the fast lane on the public discourse freeway. She*t. P*ss. F*ck. Low words abundant in high places. But just like we know it’s Superman hiding behind a suit and glasses, we can still read all the words Clark Kent has cleaned up. When the headline includes the word ‘b***h’, Superman knows it isn’t a blush or brush Clark’s talking about.

And so dear reader, when editing or masking words, I’ve taken the tack that vowels remain in place and instead choose to mask select consonants. Sh*t becomes s*it. P*ss becomes pi*s. H*ll becomes he*l, or *ell. Still readable. You still know of what we speak. S*it could be slit and pi*s could be pits but you know they’re not and you do not need to buy a vowel. You’ve got the puzzle covered.

But then the conundrum of how to censor f*ck. F*ck is not so simple. Censored any other way it still sounds like it reads. Maybe *uck? Nah. And so taking a trick from the Monty Pythons, I propose that ‘spam’ be used as a substitute for the words that are still too robust, still too raw, still too pedestrian to walk by the editor’s blue pencil. Spam, a four-letter word, it can be a noun, an adjective, or it can be verbed and we can leave the asterisk alone. Totally flexible that spam:

  • Go to spam.
  • Spamhead.
  • Spam it.
  • What the spam?
  • Spam right off.
  • He hasn’t a spamming clue.

Spam! Bonus: suitable as a substitute for longer words too:

  • That spam better have my money.
  • Grab them by the spam.

You know what’s been said. And the Pencesniffians can read through all that spam too!

Spam. Spam. Spam.

It works.


I offer this clip of Monty Python’s ‘Spam’ in the event you think I used too much spam in this post:

A Sundry Assortment of Updates

General Election Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Vote. Vote. Vote.

(Actually vote once and only once, but VOTE!)

Wisconsin Residents: Information at MyVote Wisconsin.


A calendar check tells me that while I’ve been off not blogging, I have completed another trip around the sun! And although an annual holiday is a good time to reflect, review, and renew personally, here are some updates on previous posts as we, the US of A continue to struggle a more perfect union:


Kava-nah!

Brett Kavanaugh. From 7th-grade civics classes, I understood that selecting a Supreme Court Justice was a really.big.deal. Appointments are for a lifetime or the remainder thereof.

And then McConnell blocked any hearing at all for nominee Merrick Garland for 264 days or so and again, I was reminded that selection of a Supreme Court Justice is a really.big.deal.

And then Gorsuch was confirmed in record time and I learned that Mitch McConnell is a racist, treasonous, hypocritical lyin’-SOB and if karma is a bi*ch, a chunk of the rotunda would fall on him literally symbolizing his contribution to the death of our democracy but I digress …  

So the update is that after watching this political circus s*its*ow for a few decades, selection of a Supreme Court Justice is not as big a deal as I thought it was, or that Mitch thought it was during the Obama Administration. Mitch has matured past those archaic mores that Supreme Court justice picks are a really.big.deal.  He has embraced public life as the racist, treasonous, hypocritical lyin’-SOB he’s kept hidden under his white suit in plain sight but I digress …

It’s a race. The final race starting gun sounded this morning with confirmation hearings. Call your Senators – (202) 224-3121. Script:

  • Hi, my name is your name and I’m a constituent of Senator name calling from City, State.
  • I’m calling regarding President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh whose records have been withheld for review and whose stated ideology is out of step with the vast majority of Americans. 
  • I urge Senator name to oppose the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. He has a troubling record on guns, he would put reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, the environment, and health care for millions of Americans at risk.

Or say what you want. Script lines were lifted and modified from multiple sites.

Kava? Nah.


Where is Jeff Sessions?

Well, he’s still Attornery General.

Oh, a spontaneous word-mash! ‘Attorney’ plus ‘ornery’ gives us ‘attornery’.

After predicting that the penalty for Jefferson bull*hit-Beauregard-no-regard Sessions, III White Lying under oath would be that he would still be Attorney General in a month, I will state that I was so wrong! It has been 550 days and we’re still counting. I wonder what the odds were in Vegas?

Well, I’m sure as the target for Prescedense Orangangutang’s Tweets, Jeff Sessh is an attornery.

But he’s in good company: Don McGahn and Stefan Passatino are leaving or have left too! They can form a veritable firm of Trump attornerys.


C.K., I

Louis C.K. and do we even know what the C.K. stands for? Well, Louis C.K. decided his times up now,  he’s been bad but now he’s exited the penalty box to resume his day night job “without apparently grappling with what he done.[sic]”  The commentary at the end of this article “Standup Comedians Explain Why Louis C.K.’s Return Was So Infuriating” is everything.

Louis C.K.? Wrong. How about Louis I.C.K.? Just another OWG back to his OWG schtick.

Maybe keep it in your pants this time Louis.


C.K., II

Colin Kaepernick! After celebrating Colin Kaepernick’s standing up by way of kneeling down to protest systemic racism by putting the anthem run-up to his livelihood on the line, I wondered how much we would hear from or about him in the future. But GO NIKE! Yesterday, Nike announced they had kept Kaepernick under contract and that he is the face of their 30-year ‘Just Do It’ campaign!

Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

Colin Kaepernick, or Nike …

In contrast to C.K., I., C.K., II interrupted his career. The NFL put him in a permanent timeout-side-the-stadium penalty box. And Nike? sure, they’ll make millions but it’s a bigger world outside the stadium and Colin Kaepernick will continue to Just Do It — play, protest, be heard.

Make a difference for those left out of stadium seating.


Celebrate! The GOAT.

Serena Williams. Gonna end this on a positive note, I celebrated that Serena Williams is in the army supporting Fearless Girl come-to-life here. And when Serena was restricted from wearing a catsuit to play tennis, she sported a tutu. (And I’m not sure I can rock bumper Nikes with a tutu, but I’ll try. Frood, you have been warned.)

And here is a celebratory thread link to a Serena history lesson with pictures and video of why she is the GOAT. Enjoy!

(Twitter thread by @khalilmsaadiq, 2018 Aug 31, ThreadReaderApp unroll.)

Acronym GOAT: Greatest of All Time

Have a terrific day, why not?

 

Puerto Rico

Low hum hmmmm. Thinking of Puerto Rico as Hurricane season rolls around. Again.


Aquí vive una escritora! Here lives a writer. When Ann, my friend retrieved this decorative tile from the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico for me as a gift a couple of years ago, it became my inspiration for the pseudonym ‘Viva Escritora’! Live writer. A verb! Pronounced either live or live. Remain alive or make one’s home in a particular place.¹

And so Viva I am!

CC398510-0A51-47D4-8093-393736050D1D

And then Project Runway featured a home tour in Puerto Rico pre-hurricane Maria with Margarita Alvares. A colorful mosquito-free paradise. Project Runway in Puerto Rico, PR in PR, it was gorgeous. (I wanted to celebrate the beauty and embed a video or link here, but the PR video with the mini-tour of PR remains Google elusive. Find Old San Juan at 20:16 if you have time, full episode: Season 16, Episode 13.)

And now a Harvard report estimates the actual death toll in Puerto Rico is 4,645 deaths due to Hurricane Maria and it’s wake. Not ~70. I guess the paper towels didn’t go far enough.

Remain alive or make one’s home in a particular place.¹

Live or live.


Although my politics and opinions drift center-left, I appreciate this center-right perspective on Puerto Rico from Jennifer Rubin because she acknowledges “If we had a responsible Congress that took oversight seriously there would be a top-to-bottom review of the response.” My bold. And oversight and grading the response is a start, Ms. Rubin, but it appears you’re concerned about rigorous oversight of deaths rather than preservation of life (remaining alive) or restoration efforts (make one’s “home”). But hey! it’s a start. You kinda, almost … have a heart … drag the GOP a*s*es … well, again, good job. It’s a start.

Puerto Rico’s debt is approximately $123B ($74B + $49B pension). Or, about 8.2% of the increase in the national debt this year ( $1.3X10¹² USD). Perhaps with all those fancy zeroes and debt added in scientific notation, the US government could find a way to … restructure Puerto Rico’s debt? refinance the debt? stop punishing Puerto Rico? I mean, cryin’ out loud, Puerto Rico literally translates to ‘Rich Port.’ For the three (3) branches of government the GOP controls, and the focus on the almighty dollar, it’s probably worth $omething $ub$tantial.

Hello? Jeff Bezos? Rich Rico? They could still use some help. Puerto Rico? Fixer upper? Flip as the 51st state?


¹ Definitions of ‘live’ from the Googles.

For future reference: Wiki List of Hurricanes that have affected Puerto Rico.