We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.- D.H. Lawrence, 1928
The humorist and cartoonist Scott Adams:
"If you want a reason to be worried, ask yourself why the mainstream media is so keen on framing the election as “not rigged.” The message I’m getting from them, collectively, is that they think it will be. (Because it will be.) We just don’t know how much the rigging will matter.
Why do I say it will be rigged?
Because whenever humans have motive, opportunity, a high upside gain, and low odds of detection, shenanigans happen 100% of the time. Our vote-counting systems have plenty of weak spots. Rigging (to some degree) is a near guarantee.
And keep in mind that Team Clinton has framed Trump as the next Hitler. That gives every citizen moral cover to do outrageous things to stop him. The stakes are sky-high. In this environment, it would truly be a miracle to have an unrigged election. But again, we don’t know how much rigging there will be. It might not be enough to matter.
There will almost certainly be election rigging for the same reason there has been debate rigging. If you don’t believe me about debate rigging, ask a woman who did some of that debate rigging herself. Allegedly. Unless it was Russia’s fault."
Because with a glass of wine you'll get this, what you see above.
Then you'll find a restaurant, like the one we found called Osteria Broccaindosso, and for a plate of pasta, a mixed salad and a carafe of fine table wine you'll pay practically nothing.
Because Bologna is the heart of Italian cuisine, because it's packed with University students and porticos and has absolutely fantastic energy.
Some say Italian towns are dying, some are, and many are thriving, and I've been driving through dozens and living in a few, for years, like Bologna.
It's all a part of the mystery of Italy.
Why? Because he doesn't want to die and he's completely serious. He had too many threats and he's a pretty practical guy.
He's also intrigued by Trump's persuasion skills and tools, documenting the election process, hence one of the most entertaining and timely blogs. As usual, the election is all about personality and cult with little focus on issues, but we're all entertained and Adams has never had as much fun in his entire life. He's jazzed at how engaged everyone appears to be, how much we've learned about the election process this time around.
And he's sticking by his prediction of a Trump landslide.
Read all all about it.
The 60's got our attention but it was the 70's that really wreaked of dark, constant drama; societal change hurled through the air permeating practically everyone's life; the oil crisis, the energy crisis, Watergate, a second wave of feminism stared down every single conventional man who dared stand in their way, self interest was on the march - the "me" decade had officially arrived. The Vietnam war refused to end, turmoil was an odor hanging above all our supposedly safe and secure lives.
Then patty Hearst was kidnapped by the SLA, everything stopped and the media frenzy began. Patty Hearst was imprisoned in a closet for two months and repeatedly raped and abused. Then she joined the revolution. The very notion an heiress would wish to leave such a privileged life really pissed people off. She should have walked home the minute she had a chance. Like Dorothy, just three clicks and you're home. As Jeffrey Toobin, the writer of this new book suggests; Patty Heart was not brainwashed, she was radicalized. Jeffrey Toobin's an establishment legal analyst for CNN - makes sense.
To think a young woman could be coerced, judged by a jury so easily coerced by the media. American culture is a culture easily coerced. Toobin is and wants to continue to be establishment and for her to leave all that privilege and money, she simply must have been radicalized. Stockholm syndrome is just a journalistic term he said.
As the popular actor John Wayne wrote in a letter to Barbara Walters back in '74, "If everyone is willing to accept the fact that one man can brainwash 900 people into committing suicide (Jonestown-Jim Jones) why can't they believe that a treacherous bunch like the Symbionese liberation Army can brainwash one little girl."
Stockholm Syndrome is not a medical term, according to Toobin, therefore irrelevant. Interesting. Recently I read about the Austrian girl held captive and raped for 8 years, unbelievably, or rather predictably, she's gone back to live part time in her previous hell. Stockholm syndrome is real and there's nothing false about how victims slowly begin to identify with their captors, it's certainly as valid, if not more so, as any of the 100's of new mental disorders registered since our Victimology culture began.
When she was kidnapped back in '74 I was 11 years old, a reader, deeply curious and riveted by this case. Every article written about Patty Hearst I read over and over again, mesmerized and sympathetic. I felt for her. It wasn't as if I grew up wealthy by any stretch of the imagination but we lived in an upscale leafy neighborhood, the kind of place that made you feel safe and secure. I felt loved, living a sheltered life, like she did, and the mere thought of being kidnapped was my worst nightmare. I couldn't wait to grow up and get out into the world but on my terms. To think that a 19 year girl, unformed, newly released into her adult world, engaged and living with her boyfriend, her life suddenly, interrupted, in the most violent way possible.
When I heard of Toobin's book I thought about buying it until I read his book tour interviews, reading about how dismissive he was of her torture, almost peculiarly incurious about the complicated decade that was the 70's. He couldn't recall the 70s', a guy that grew up in that decade, eventually working for CNN.
It was time to go back into my own memory hole so I began by watching Patty Hearst's interview; it threw me back to the 70's and to all that sympathy I felt back then. The media crucified her, all you have to do is look at the images they used:
During her Larry King interview her discomfort is obvious, this is not a time she wants to re-visit. She wants to move on but she also wants to testify against her captors, she wants them to be honest, after all; she had, she'd written a book about her ordeal. She'd come to terms, knowing she'd be impacted by this for the rest of her life. She was 19 years old for heaven's sake. And yet Toobin remains unsympathetic, insisting she was radicalized.
I was a product of the 70's - this decade informed me as much as any, I was ready to be an adult early on; I remember that time, how it felt, right before the 80's and greed and debt wiped away all that unpleasant and dark reality. The 70's remains our most complicated, underrated and misunderstood decade. Just look at those movies. Now it's all spandex, but back then, there was real anger, we were engaged; we felt its impact. I think it was our last gasp of curiosity, before all the noise, technology and sensory overload took over, before that sense of privacy and intimacy folded into a nostalgic image we'd casually glance at in the rear view mirror.
Now, back to the future, thankfully, finally! I can smile when reading about Patty Hearst, now 61 - she's the winner at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York; she has an arch to her life.
"People move on," she told reporters, smiling at Rocket. "I guess people somehow imagine you don't evolve in your life. I have grown daughters and granddaughters and other things that normal people have."
Friends from Ascoli, a town near Rome, told me they were clean jolted out of their bed, gratefully their house is fine as they're located far enough from the center of the heaviest devastation.
So many far less fortunate It's makes me so sad. I've spent a lifetime looking for a home and finally found it, in Italy, here up north, and to think so many have lost their homes, homes lived in for their entire lives - and generations before, so suddenly; in fact, entire towns have been practically wiped out.
Unbelievable. And unbelievably sad. Italians may put up with an awful lot of bureaucracy but when trouble and trauma arrive they turn on a dime and deal with it immediately.
Thank God. As the drama continues...
Thinking of my mother on her birthday, thinking of all she gave me and left behind, like the little oil miniature above...
like the two more whimsical pieces she created below; she really did know how to relax, create and get into that moment.
Miss her and celebrate her often; she was just lovely...
Gore Vidal thought Italo Calvino the finest writer of his generation so you know he's worth a read. I try reading him in Italian but it's difficult but I continue and Calvino continues to please with his extremes.
Calvino writes paragraphs about how to read a wave while sitting on a beach and it will illuminate yet it's his relationship with a lawn that truly gets my attention. And those weeds. I don't even try and defeat the weeds, they feel fine underneath and I know answers are hidden in between those blades of grass - if you choose to look and Calvino does. In such a specific, touching way.
Mr. Palomar addresses his relationship with the cosmos through such seemingly mundane ideas as a lawn. This is wonderful as I do too, but Calvino has that writerly touch.
I'm obsessed with my lawn, I've made videos of me mowing my lawn. Really. So I hang on his every word. My lawn is some sort last gasp celebrating my inner Americana. And Calvino appreciates this kind of obsession. Finally! I discuss my issues with the lawn with my husband and he is simply bemused.
Italians could not care less about lawn, especially around here in the country but Mr. Palomar does. And I'm right there with him.
He discusses it's artificiality, it's cost, all that time and fertilizer that goes into something as manufactured and artificial as a lawn. This lawless jungle - yes, yes, I am right there with him, Mr. Palomar is talking directly to me. I understand.
Oh, the amount I spend on lawn product, what the Italians call Prato Inglese, but by the time August arrives there's large brown spots, far more clover than before, more and more weeds. And this is precisely what Italo Calvino writes about so beautifully, the complicity of the weeds between the grass, so thickly over-woven, the barriers relaxed, they have to, about the beauty of the weeds. Again, I understand.
To think something as artificial as a lawn, initially a part of nature, now, by the simple act of substitution; aesthetically important to the landscape. I can frame all that color I spend months creating in the summer months. I am manufacturing a painting with something as simple and profound as a lawn.
Calvino's parents were scientists and his deep curiosity comes from that, from insisting the answers surround us, like researching and writing about our relationship with the cosmos, through something so simple as a lawn. Like Gore Vidal said, he was not only fine; he was a truth teller.
The question of why we read and what books actually do for us is as old as the written word itself, and as attractive. Galileo saw reading as a way of having superhuman powers. For Kafka, books were “the axe for the frozen sea within us”; Carl Sagan held them as“proof that humans are capable of working magic”; James Baldwin found in them a way to change one’s destiny; for Polish Nobel laureate Wislawa Szymborska, they stood as our ultimate frontier of freedom.
But one of the finest, most dimensional inquiries into the significance of books and the role of reading in human life comes from Neil Gaiman in a beautiful piece titled “Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming.”
Gaiman considers how the act of reading changes us, “what it’s good for”:
Once in New York, I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons—a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth — how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, fifteen years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based about asking what percentage of ten- and eleven-year-olds couldn’t read. And certainly couldn’t read for pleasure.
Verona's Roman amphitheater, the Arena is one of Italy's coolest musical venues. I went a few years ago, it was a one-off kind of experience. As you can see in my pic, you can listen to the fat lady sing while watching the moon the entire time. It's only 3 hours away from where we live so we drove, stayed overnite, arriving back mid afternoon. Perfect little adventure.
And, absolutely fantastic acoustics. If you happen to visit Venice, good to know Verona and the Arena live nearby; it's really worth a detour. Verona's an elegant, compact city, and it almost goes without saying; Romeo and Juliet are calling....
Last time I visited Verona and the Arena I saw Carmen, this time me and my guy listened to La Traviata. It has become a memory, and will linger a long time.
However, before it could become a memory, just before the moon took its cue, right about the same time everyone lights their candles at dusk, just minutes before the performance begins, I took a pic of the mis en scene; what an exceptional treat. I just loved it, but then I would, having a fetish for flowers and antique frames.
here's what the designer had to say about it: "De Ana’s work consistently relies on symbolic associations, and never more so than in this striking staging. Ransacked over-sized antique gilded picture frames, emptied and discarded, are strewn haphazardly over the raked stage and stone tiered steps. They remain the basic set throughout, exploiting and favouring the nature of the Arena’s spaces, form and atmosphere rather than trying to reproduce improbable bedrooms, salons or country gardens. The immense inclined central frame delimits the space in which the scenes are played out.
Everyone says Paris is different now, and then Germany, in a number of days. As Gore Vidal said, history is much ado about migration. And chaos.
However, once upon a time the father of modern art, Sergei Diaghilev introduced the east to the west through art, shocking the world in the most magical way. Ballet Russe inspired - from Stravinsky to Nijinsky, from Massine and Matisse to Chanel, Picasso and Cocteau.
And then I watched an hour of youtube coverage on the political convention, the divisive behavior was insane, and that was just between the Dems!
I wonder what Diaghilev would do, and then I remember he'd lived through bankruptcy, war, revolution and exile.
He'd just make more art...
For the simple reason so many of them feel different, even from one another. Dialects shift with each town surrounding our house, they even morph amongst the valleys. I've recently had lunch with guys from Milan and Torino, friends of mio marito; we spend hours talking how they can barely understand other regional politics, let alone sensibilities, and their language gets in the way, or so they say.
I've never thought of Italy as one country, it really is an entity filled with 20 regions. 20 separate countries. One could even argue Italy has more history than any other 'country'. It's complicated, always so complicated in this place, this state of mind they call Italy.
Alessio Colonneli's article goes into the otherlieness, the identity crisis unfolding in Europe; certainly an interesting perspective:
An 18-year-old German-Iranian has murdered at least nine people and injured 21 in Munich. Several others have also been wounded and little else is known of what happened in a shopping mall in the Bavarian capital. He is reported to have shouted out loud: “I’m German!” before killing himself.
It’s happened many times. We know the pattern. A crowd is enjoying itself and then a man appears, alone – he gets a weapon out and starts shooting indiscriminately. Or, he brandishes a knife,as a few days ago on a train – again, a teenager, and again, in Bavaria.
As people start laying flowers, the true facts behind this attack yet to be ascertained, we wonder how Germany as a whole will eventually react. The country is apparently being attacked on a large scale, like France. But unlike its neighbour, Germany has been the most welcoming country and has played a major role in trying to “normalise” the refugee crisis.
Driving is the way to properly see and feel the state of mind that is Piemonte. We take out my guy's motorcycle for short drives when we've got the time, the vineyards are everywhere; it's getting hot and the vines are growing fast. It's time to capture a couple of moments when you can.
And yesterday we took the car and drove to Liguria, took us about an hour to reach the Mediterranean, heading due southwest. I guess you're never that far from the Med in Italy but living in the middle of Piemonte, it's lovely to contrast our life with the open sea.
I'd been to San Remo which is dreamy but first time to Provinicia di Imperia, and you can see why they call it the Riviera dei fiori, flowers for days, like carpet along the highway and small roads. We had lunch with a friend who's got a flat in Ligueglietta, postcard like town, olive trees everywhere.
When I took the photo above the rooftops with the med in the background - the church bells were ringing; another lovely day in Italy to celebrate and save....
Benjamin Timothy Blaine has tried to sum up the post-Brexit Britain on Facebook and it’s well worth a read – people are enjoying it too – with over 11,000 shares so far:
So, let me get this straight… the leader of the opposition campaigned to stay but secretly wanted to leave, so his party held a non-binding vote to shame him into resigning so someone else could lead the campaign to ignore the result of the non-binding referendum which many people now think was just angry people trying to shame politicians into seeing they’d all done nothing to help them.
Meanwhile, the man who campaigned to leave because he hoped losing would help him win the leadership of his party, accidentally won and ruined any chance of leading because the man who thought he couldn’t lose, did – but resigned before actually doing the thing the vote had been about. The man who’d always thought he’d lead next, campaigned so badly that everyone thought he was lying when he said the economy would crash – and he was, but it did, but he’s not resigned, but, like the man who lost and the man who won, also now can’t become leader. Which means the woman who quietly campaigned to stay but always said she wanted to leave is likely to become leader instead.
Which means she holds the same view as the leader of the opposition but for opposite reasons, but her party’s view of this view is the opposite of the opposition’s. And the opposition aren’t yet opposing anything because the leader isn’t listening to his party, who aren’t listening to the country, who aren’t listening to experts or possibly paying that much attention at all. However, none of their opponents actually want to be the one to do the thing that the vote was about, so there’s not yet anything actually on the table to oppose anyway. And if no one ever does do the thing that most people asked them to do, it will be undemocratic and if any one ever does do it, it will be awful.
Brussel's a bit confused who to call re article 50. Europe would like to begin proceedings.
Unfortunately, Bojo's playing cricket, Cameron, thuh PM is 'not available' after asking "why should I have to deal with the hard s**t, and, to complicate matters, Labour's had about a dozen resignations, so far, could be a coup, could be the English just being funny.
And Nigel, the knob, of UKIP fame, the guy that inspired Brexit to begin with, well, never mind.
Twitter's river stream was running amok yesterday, screaming how banks were already preparing to leave London, how London's Fintech will lose steam, how Nigel Farage lied about the ad, this type of thing. But one reaction did make me smile; the tweet insisted it was just so punk for the English to leave. Well, Johnny Rotten, the poster boy for english punk ended up marrying a German heiress. So much for punk.
JK Rowlings response was to insist it's time for Scotland to get out with their own vote, again, and be at one with the EU. Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain.
Some wonder whether Paris or Frankfurt will be the next european banking capital, some wonder about the other members, Geert Wilders, the radical right wing pro Israel, anti Muslim guy wants Holland out, Le Pen, from France, of course, the same.
Apparently Italy's Northern League party is already collecting signatures for a similar sort of referendum, but knowing Italy's ability to organize and gain consensus, this could take a while.
Interesting to note, for the first time, female mayors were elected in both Rome and Turin, from a very different kind of political party started by an Italian comedian named Beppe Grillo; a very anti-establishment movement that did surprisingly well in the latest elections. And yes, Italian politics can be mercurial. This new movement's called the 5 Star party, expressing what is being expressed all over the world; people are angry.
Many think Brexit equates a win for Trump, I assume, again, because of all this anger, and if displaced; that would be punk.
The lawyers will make out well, many are happy, most are stunned. With one unifying outcome; it's all going to be a bit more precarious than usual.
Just arrived back to Italy from most recent trip to Frankfurt, and after talking to a dozen bankers and fintech guys; not one single German thinks they'll leave and I agree. The Frankfurters would love to acquire The City's status, and probably could, and there's several reasons why it'd be alright if the English left. Hey, it might even be best for them, who knows.
Yet hours before the decision I bet they won't. Those lovely funny islanders do know they need Europe.....perhaps even more than Europe needs them. And it's not necessarily the most economically sound choice to leave a market of 500 million people.
The Germans do have a joke though, and I've heard it often 'how can you leave a club you were never a part of...' Of course, the Germans, in fact, most Europeans like the English, they just don't get all that worked up about it.
Aside from all the misinformation which is almost inevitable, re data and monies paid in by the English and the parliament and the politics, aside from the islanders altogether; most people don't remember what it was like for Europeans to travel before the common currency; it was a complete pain in the ass, and expensive. And most cross borders, often.
Sure, Italians may not be entirely happy with the EU experiment, but then globalization and the Chinese would have effected their economy anyway, and the French, well, they're one of the original 6 and no need to go there.
To be honest, I almost wish the English would leave, then Europe could stand on its own, without pressures from across the pond, the States; this could be quite beneficial, for them.
Either way, I'm such a europhile and after living in a half dozen of her capitals, after doing all my research on the ground, sans propaganda, there is hope for the EU, after all, it's lasted this long with a very shaky foundation and most importantly,
Europeans feel, well...European....
"Some of the girls were sobbing and hugging each other, while others shrieked. The majority appeared at the very least shell-shocked.
It was distress on a scale appropriate for some horrible disaster. Thankfully, however, I wasn’t in a war zone or at the scene of a pile-up - but in a school hall filled with A-level students.
What had provoked such hysteria? I’d dared express an opinion that went against their accepted way of thinking.
‘Generation Snowflake’ is a fragile, thin-skinned younger generation that can’t cope with conflicting views
‘Generation Snowflake’ is the term for these teens, one that’s now used frequently in the U.S. and becoming more common here. It describes a fragile, thin-skinned younger generation that can’t cope with conflicting views, let alone criticism.
Being faced by a roomful of weepy teenagers certainly isn’t the only example of such behaviour I could cite, but it’s the most dramatic I have experienced.
It happened when I was taking part in a debate at a North London school as director of the Institute of Ideas early last year."
First they ban the brown bag lunch in Seattle, now students at the University of East Anglia have banned a restaurant from giving out sombreros.
And so it goes, or rather, it snows...
They're still here writing away but harder to find amidst all the muckrakers, many of whom dwell on end times. Everyone seems to be in on the theme of fear and the 'otherly'.
Catastrophe is our bedtime story.
’Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger.
Nor is it contrary to reason to prefer the sight of a raging inferno or restless typhoon to the view of a worm in one’s apple or a fly in the soup. The spectacle of disaster—real and imagined, past, present, and imminent—is blockbuster box office, its magnitude measured by the number of dead and square miles of devastation, the cost of property, rates of insurance, long-term consequences, short-form shock and awe.
Ground zero in all instances is the eye of both beholder and storm, some disasters therefore more disastrous than others—my first lesson learned as an apprentice reporter for the San Francisco Examiner in the autumn of 1957, posted to the press room in Oakland to stand watch for blood in the streets. First thing of a morning I telephoned every police station and emergency room in Contra Costa and Alameda counties to ask if anything of interest had turned up overnight—multiple homicide, heavy-metal highway accident, five-alarm fire. The worth of the story was graded by color: banner headline on page one if the victims were white; if not, three paragraphs on page twenty-eight.
We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.- D.H. Lawrence, 1928
Times change, and with them the markets in human interest and grief. We live surrounded by terror alerts projected on myriad screens, late-breaking reports of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in full stride at all points of the compass—corpses of unarmed black men on the streets of Chicago and Cleveland, jihadists massacring innocents in Palmyra and Paris, disease in Bahia, flood in Missouri, birds flying north to extinction, the economy headed south to oblivion, nuclear weapons falling into the hands of despots, carbon despoiling the atmosphere, ice abandoning the poles, drought in California, famine in South Sudan, seas rising offshore Miami and Mumbai, civil war in the Congo, concealed weapons walking around in plain sight in Texas, Syrian migrants at the gates of Vienna and Berlin, drug addicts littering the lawns of Bel Air, the end of the world coming soon to your neighborhood cineplex, this year The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio, recovered from his going down on the Titanic, up for an Academy Award.
Gore Vidal wasn't interested in being an activist for the LGBT community. He was an activist for The Constitution.
In "Sexually Speaking" he speaks with Larry Kramer, a major activist for the LGBT community. Here's part of the conversation:
"I come from an over-developed sense of justice-and not only about myself. I have a general view that this is my country. My family helped start it and we've been in political life of one kind or another since the 1690's. and I have a very possessive sense about this country, an ecumenical sense. I don't divide people into men and women, blue eyes and brown eyes. Obviously I do on some levels, we are all filled with wild prejudices and madness's that strike from time to time. But its this sense of justice that keeps me going and fuels my rage. It isn't just that I l feel upset that I've been discriminated against, as indeed I was. I was blacked out as a novelist. (after City and the Pilllar at 22) I was practically destroyed. My friend John Horne Burns was destroyed."
LK But what difference does it make what fuels the rage?
GV The difference is in the tactics you use
LK I use the same tactics as you use.
GV Except a lady stopped by here before and wanted to know what I thought about the election this year and the Constitution.
LK Well we can walk down the street and someone will stop and ask me a question.
GV but it won't be about the Constitution.
This conversation almost seems quaint today, back when the world felt more intimate. I grew up with 3 major television stations and now social media is part of the establishment. It's a world that feels fairly chaotic, this globalized world. Sometimes it feels as if there isn't enough room for everyone to breath freely, together.
Milo Yiannopoulos is a gay conservative flamethrower who happens to very articulate; definitely a clash. Between the alternative media and the left media, just listen to Alex Jones, now there's a trip, an American character that could only have been created by the state of mind that is Texas. Alex Jones can be fairly inconsistent but he's immensely entertaining and more important, immensely popular. He and Matt Drudge are two of the most powerful muckrakers. Their audience only grows.
They're all flamethrowers and they are all fierce. Milo is new to my little world but not the internet. Milo's scheduled speech at Orlando was cancelled because the police said they couldn't protect him, and his twitter account, which is immensely popular was suspended. He is not happy.
Milo also talks about the amount of gays coming over to Trump, especially after the Orlando tragedy.
And then there's Diamond and Silk. An internet sensation in a category all their very own.
...I'd recently moved to Amsterdam after living aboard our sailboat in Lignano Sabbiodoro, a resort located close enough to Venice to make it a reality, even as that town feels like a dream.
She said, "Why Bailey, all we need are the gondolas and gondoliers and we could be just like Venice."
She kinda sounded like today's technocrats and politicians, who just happened to own the world.