February 19, 2017
First, Sex Ed. Then Death Ed. (20170219)
Before adding Death Ed. to Sex Ed., how about reviving Civics Ed., before we lose both and Science Ed. in the bargain.
August 2, 2000
To the left is VANITY...
And her name is MARGARITA.
She's the reason I have very few pictures from a recent camping trip to Baja California, to San Quintin, except that she's in them. I planned to photograph the place, the people, the wildlife, the incredible Baja sea and landscape. But every time I went for the camera, there she was. She pleaded. She insisted. She demanded. She jumped up and ran to get in the way. She stamped her feet and got very, very angry. It's just that, from her perspective, any use of film other than on herself seemed an outrageous waste of time, money, and opportunity--her time, her money, her opportunity. She's working on a set of photo albums for when she's 80. So she can't stand the idea of missing a chance, any chance, to see then what she looked like right now, and right now, and right now, and right now. Beauty fades with each passing minute....
Margarita is my wife, so I'm in no position to argue. Besides, there's no arguing with Russian women once they're set. "No" is meaningless, just an empty sign of some vast, vague and entirely irrelevant male conspiracy against all things that really matter, especially personal vanity, its endless accoutrements and attendant privileges. And since she's also my venture capitalist, supporting me in whybother.org and other web adventures, who am I to say she can't have a page or two of flattering photos of herself? Believe me, just starting to post these photos is already making my life much easier.
Three of us took a week off and drove down to San Quintin on a whim...Margarita's whim, needless to say. Our friend Lucio (more recently "One must imagine Sisyphus happy" at My12Steps.com) had been traveling back and forth to Baja for some time, staying in various places and basically enjoying solitude, meditation, his books, and his writing. But as he was about to start another hermit stint, he made the mistake of hinting that Margarita might want to come along. She leapt for it, or maybe it was her hint in the first place. In any event, it would be a chance to realize her favorite English phrase since arriving in America nine years ago. "Let's go... let's go... let's go." Somehow I suspect that's her favorite phrase in any language.
Of course, there were complications. Lucio confessed he had second thoughts, half-wishing he hadn't offered to take Margarita, assuming he ever really did. There was simply no way that going down to Baja with Ms. Letsgo was going to be either simple or peaceful. But there was no backing out. And so I had to go, too, for full measure and to serve as a buffer between Lucio's dream of solitude and Margarita's urge to go on and on and on. Nice solution all around, but before we came up with it we made the mistake of trying to talk her out of going, telling her there'd be absolutely nothing to do where we were going, that Lucio just wanted to play hermit, that she'd be bored. Of course, she didn't believe any of it and got furious and hurt and furious again.Continue reading Baja, San Quintin
July 28, 2016
Nicholas Kristof (Did Putin Try to Steal an American Election?) correctly cautions against viewing the apparent Trump-Putin political alliance in terms of cold war conspiracy. Trump is not some "Siberian Candidate," a deep cover agent for Moscow. It's worse than that.
Trump's is not an ideological or moral commitment to a foreign adversary. His willingness to walk up to the line of treason in spirit if not in law is rooted in a pure lust for power and personal gain by any means; one that leads him to conflate himself, his prejudices, and his business interests with American national interest. That is the sum of his America First patriotism: Trump First. Putin also conflates himself, his power, and his gain with Russian nationalism. It's the core of his own demagogic appeal. Trump's "I alone" affinity for Putin's post-communist authoritarian kleptocracy is a frighteningly natural one of like minds and like leaders.
That Trump's financial interests coincide with the Putin kleptocracy and its overseas stash of untold billions looted from Russia's economy is not merely a matter of money and currying favor for investment. Though it is that, it is also a matter of the company Trump keeps. It is no surprise to find a man as poorly grounded in any genuine knowledge, moral commitment, or ideology as Trump, with the attention span of a flea according to his ghostwriter, mouthing views that are commonplace consensus in his pool of prospective investors.
Trump is a fellow traveler along the path of greed and self-aggrandizement.rri