Sunday, October 17, 2021

"I wake up to a sunny day"


Eddie Rabbitt, "I Love A Rainy Night" live

Let's face it, people -- part of getting older means your tolerance for cheesiness increases exponentially.  I love this song.

Things move ahead slowly here in this tiny county just south of Canada.  I'll have more to say (of course!) but I've got two short stories getting published soon with a local online journal.  This will be my first published fiction, and I'm excited about it.  I'm also dealing with some South Korea stuff, believe it or not.  I really want to visit the country this February, but I won't go if the mandatory 14-day quarantine is still in effect.  Koreans and Korea-based expats are optimistic this will end soon, but who knows.  I've got a job interview this week which I'll also keep under wraps for a bit, although I'm optimistic about it.  And finally, I've been living for nine months with my 92 year-old Dad.  I think he's relatively happy, and I'm not sure if you can ask much more than that.  We'll go into town tomorrow (Monday) for some dawn-light grocery shopping, which is one of our rituals out here along with Saturday and Sunday football watching.

It's getting cold.  Bellingham kind of goes straight from summer to rainy, bleak winter, but I'm one of those weirdos who likes raw onion on his sandwiches and copious amounts of rain.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

"a global humanitarian crisis"

There is nothing wrong, nothing at all, at this stage of Late Capitalism:
"Mohamed Arrachedi, the union’s Middle East coordinator, said he wakes up to dozens of WhatsApp messages from distraught sailors around the world: 'It’s a global humanitarian crisis.'

In the United Arab Emirates, one shipping company abandoned seven container ships in recent months, leaving behind dozens of crew members, each owed a year’s wages. A five-man crew marooned next to a Dubai tourist resort, living off little more than rice for 10 months, recently ended a four-year ordeal.

Last year, a mostly Egyptian crew was abandoned in Sudan. The ship was then sold and manned by a mostly Sudanese crew who also were abandoned in Egypt. Three of them are still aboard, floating off the Suez Canal in their ninth month without pay.

The surge in cases prompted three of the world’s largest seafaring nations—China, Indonesia and the Philippines—to propose in August the establishment of a seafarers’ mutual emergency fund to help abandoned crews.

Trade disruptions caused by the pandemic and the nature of the competitive, lightly regulated global shipping industry has helped drive the increase in the number of stranded sailors."

Tell me again -- who, exactly, are the pirates? 

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Important Sports Post

This prediction is more aspirational than not, but I'm looking for Tampa Bay and Milwaukee to play in the World Series.

Update: Ouch.  Fuck the Astros.  I honestly don't care for any of these teams, except maybe the Dodgers or Giants.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Sad Sculpture

Bellingham, Washington.

A creepy abandoned casino, just in time for Halloween.

Saturday, October 2, 2021


Things move along out here in the wilds of northern Bellingham.  Fall came in quicker than I expected -- lots of rain, and I've already got leaves to rake.  One thing you'll start to see out here are widowmakers, which are trees that don't quite manage to fall during rain or wind-storms.  If you look at this picture from left up to the right you'll see a medium sized tree snapped and fell into one across from it.  At any point (probably the next storm) it's going to fall.

So that's your little bit of Pacific Northwest wisdom / safety for today.

Monday, September 27, 2021

"something of a taboo"

South Korean president Moon Jae-In is asking people, maybe, to give up dog meat:

"The meat has long been a part of South Korean cuisine with about 1 million dogs believed to be eaten annually, but consumption has declined as more people embrace the animals as companions rather than livestock.

The practice is something of a taboo among younger generations and pressure from animal rights activists has been mounting.

'Hasn’t the time come to prudently consider prohibiting dog meat consumption?' Moon asked the prime minister, Kim Boo-kyum, during a weekly meeting on Monday, according to the presidential spokesperson.

South Korea’s pet industry is on the rise, with a growing number of people living with dogs at home – the president among them. Moon is a known dog lover and has several canines at the presidential compound, including one he rescued after taking office.

Adopting Tory was one of Moon’s pledges during his presidential campaign and the pooch became the first rescue dog to make its way into the Blue House."

I've done a ton of posts like these over the years, but never has a prominent South Korean official come out and suggested a straight-up ban.  I'm very happy to see he's adopted a rescue animal as well.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

"one more time"

"These are pointless questions.  The only reason I have lived so long is that I let go of my past.  Shut the door on grief on regret on remorse.  If I let them in, just one self-indulgent crack, whap, the door will fling open gales of pain ripping through my heart blinding my eyes with shame breaking cups and bottles knocking down jars shattering windows stumbling bloody on spilled sugar and broken glass terrified gagging until with a final shudder and sob I shut the heavy door.  Pick up the pieces one more time."

-- Lucia Berlin, "Homing"

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

"perfect language swap"

Where does right-wing extremism come from, and why are so many ostensibly "liberal" people falling for it?  George Monbiot takes a stab:

"I believe this synthesis of left-alternative and rightwing cultures has been accelerated by despondency, confusion and betrayal. After left-ish political parties fell into line with corporate power, the right seized the language they had abandoned. Steve Bannon and Dominic Cummings brilliantly repurposed the leftwing themes of resisting elite power and regaining control of our lives. Now there has been an almost perfect language swap. Parties that once belonged on the left talk about security and stability while those on the right talk of liberation and revolt.

But I suspect it also has something to do with the issues we now face. A justified suspicion about the self-interest of big pharma clashes with the need for mass vaccination. The lockdowns and other measures required to prevent Covid-19 spreading are policies which, in other circumstances, would rightly be seen as coercive political control. Curtailing the pandemic, climate breakdown and the collapse of biodiversity means powerful agreements struck between governments – which can be hard to swallow for movements that have long fought multilateral power while emphasising the local and the homespun."

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Books, Books, Books

I'm reading Lucia Berlin's A Manual for Cleaning Women and honestly, it's floored me more than once so far.  Funny, dark, just sentimental enough when it needs to be, and spare, vivid language throughout.

I've been reading a ton since I got to Bellingham last February, and this is easily the best thing I've come across.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Where We Are

Thursday, September 16, 2021

'ripple effect'

Since nobody asked, me and my father (and my sister by association) have been incredibly cautious regarding COVID.  My dad is in very good shape for being 92, but there's no way in hell we're going to take any extra risks with regards to exposing him to anything.  We go shopping roughly once a week, and both of us mask up.  I'm happy to say that at least here in Bellingham our favorite grocery stores are very good about enforcing masks, and social distancing to a lesser extent.  All of us got our dual shots, and I'm planning on taking my Dad in for his booster this December, eight months after his second dose of Moderna.

So I guess the good news is that in this very rural, politically mixed area, people are doing what they can to stem the tide of the virus.

Then, there's the bad news or more simply, what happens when one state does what it can to stop the virus spread and a neighboring one "pulls a Florida":

"In conservative northern Idaho, only about 4 in 10 eligible residents are fully vaccinated. Hospitals there are so packed that authorities announced last week facilities would be allowed to ration care, potentially giving life-saving care to some patients at the expense of others.

Hospitals there have sent patients to hospitals in Washington, particularly in Spokane [eastern Washington], though how many is not clear. The New York Times reported Monday that as of last week, Providence Sacred Heart in Spokane had patients from Idaho taking up 29 beds.

Briley said that while it’s normal for eastern Washington hospitals to treat patients from Idaho and vice versa, the influx of COVID patients had caused 'some ripple effect' in western Washington.

'We are keeping our head above water, but barely,' said Dr. Christopher Baliga, an infectious disease specialist at Seattle’s Virginia Mason hospital. 'Our capacity to absorb overwhelmed patients from other states is severely limited.'”

It's almost as if peeing your pants over your "rights" and "freedoms" to not wear a mask or take a safe, free vaccine, is meaningless in the face of a global pandemic.

And no, Washington State shouldn't take any more patients from Idaho.  Not anybody who has chosen not to get the vaccine, at least.