It is COLD.

Heavy sweater cold. Turn on the thermostat cold. I’ve had the themostats off for months, but this afternoon I called up the app to turn on the program. For a moment I glared at the phone, expecting that the app had updated and would now want my password. The perils of convenience, as always, is occasional inconvenience.

But no, the app had not updated. I was immediately irritated, because it’s an ugly old app Honeywell hasn’t tweaked in seven years, from the looks of it. At least it works.

The stove is giving the old F-1 error again, and that means the circuit board has to be replaced. This is the second one. It’s 21 years old. But it’s not a matter of sliding in a new one - the space is standard, but it’s tucked into the cabinetry and has a rear-mounted exhaust - two things that complicate its replacement. So! A guy from Best Buy came by to measure the space exactly and begin researching replacement. He arrived at the same time as the plumber, who came to look at a pipe that’s leaking, and the TruGreen guy who came to aerate the lawn for free, because they’ve done such a spectacularly bad job on my lawn this year.

The dog was overwhemed, is what I’m getting at. STRANGERS. Birch reacts poorly to bearded men, it seems. There’s a certain type of guy that just pings his Danger Meter. The Best Buy guy? Hey there how are you. The TruGreen guy: what’s up? The plumber? KILL KILL KILL

The plumber could not replace the particular 16” long pipe, because he would have to take out about 15 yards of pipe on two floors to bring it up to code, at a jaw-dropping price.

Lol no, as they say. Second-opinion time. Meanwhile, the lawn was all torn up by the aerator, which is good; that’s how it’s supposed to work. Seed was strewn.

Dare I say . . . someone sowed.

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that -

You’ll understand in a bit.

Drove daughter to the art museum. Hadn’t been down this patch in a while.

Charming. This is the area that was hardest hit. Well, second-hardest; the worst is to the east. There was a restaurant looted and burned, and it’s proud to be open. Across the street, the rubble of the employment office.

Someone with a really grim set of commands painted the KMart.


Demolition begins soon.













In the annals of self-abasing confessions of wrong-think, this one was almost textbook.



If you're missing the offensive part:

You might wonder what the person did wrong. You might, having seen this happen before, automatically think “nothing.” After all, there was the prof who was dipped in tar and rolled in burrs for using a Chinese word that was also a homonym for a racial slur. That wasn’t like saying “faggot” when you were giving a lesson on stick-bundling terminology, it was like discussing lost tongues of Amazon tribes whose word for a smooth rock was pronounced “fahgoht,” and someone in the class took offense at the mere utterance of the phonemes, and subsequently could not even, and was literally shaken, and complained to the college administrators that they did not feel safe.

No, it was this: the person was discussing characters in a cartoon. They were brothers. They had rhyming names that related specifically to their occupation or characteristic. Oboe played a woodwind instrument. Whoa was a stoner dude. Bow was an archer. Sow was a farmer.

Are you okay? Just checking in, because I know some of you might be reeling back right now because that was not okay.

Sow? Was a farmer?

How could she not know?

How steeped in supremacy could she be to call a character “Sow,” without realizing how people would see this as a reference to slaves, who sowed the fields?

Can you even? Are you literally?

Here's how the guilty party responded.


Even better: this was a group video chat between the artists involved in the fargin’ SHE-RA CARTOON, which made it even more painful to the offended, because they saw She-Ra as an ally, because they had turned the busty cisnormy character into something else.

What petulant little monsters they are. You can say they live in bubbles, or are bubbles themselves, so easily pierced, but I think of the bubbles as the sort of thing that happens when you put dishwashing liquid in the dishwasher. The bubbles cannot be dealt with; they flood forth and get all over everything, and the only way you can cope is to get the hose from the sink and turn on the hot water and give it to them good and hard -

Ah, do you see what I did there, supremicist-wise? Summoned up images of 1960s civil-rights workers repelled by firehoses. Because someone who gets upset by a ridiculous reading of a remark made by an animator discussing rhyming names that involve common race-neutral agricultural practices is just like someone trying to integrate a school in the south in the 60s. It’s especially pertinent because everything has gotten worse since the 60s. Nothing has changed, and the idea that things have changed is what keeps people from confronting their own biases, and realizing they are not just complicit in systemic systems of systemism, but using their privilege to think that their allyship absolves them from the stain of their skin.

Sow, by the way, is white, which in itself is problematic. It erases the history of slaves who had to sow, and turns it into a cheerful white archetype that minimizes the contributions of slaves while stealing their labor, historically, retroactively. Even if you admit that there were white farmers, they stole the land, which adds another level of harm to the whole thing. And let’s not even mention the way the introduction of the plow and mechanized farming did violence to the earth, commodified land that had previously been regarded as a communal possession, inasmuch as one can “possess” the earth; it’s another sick twist of capitalism that decides the planet can be “owned” and carved up into private fiefdoms that can be passed down from generation to generation, accumulating capital and solidifying advantage and inequity.

The land should be returned to The People, who will of course stream to the countryside to plant food for everyone, and since food is a human right, there will be no thought of profit, and everyone will work out of the goodness of their heart for the needs of the many.

Two years later, the fields are fallow and choked with weeds, because when it came to farming, there was something telling about the people who thought they had all the answers. They literally couldn’t even.




It’s 1919. Behold, a thick smear of news:

Children see Pershing; all others avert their eyes.

Note: “Mob loots when Boston Police strike.”

Odd how that happens.


Never occurred to anyone to sue for peace and save a million lives, I suppose.



Never occurred to anyone to sue for peace and save a million lives, I suppose.



I plugged the details into google, and up comes a wanted poster from 1920.

As far as I can tell, she was convicted of 1st degree murder, but the judge set aside the verdict and instructed the authorities to charge her with 2nd degree murder. What? Okay. She was released, and promptly went on the lam.

She was found, arrested, retried. The jury came back with a not-guilty verdict in six minutes.


A bit pretentious? Just a bit.

The critic pans “His Temperamental Wife” as empty and vapid. Its tagline:

She had picked her husband from all the men in the world- because he wouldn't look at another woman- and then she discovered his secret- he had a stenographer, the brute!

The wife is hence jealous.

The star was one of the Talmadge sisters, Constance.

Like her sisters Norma and Natalie, Talmadge succumbed to substance abuse and alcoholism later in life. She also had many failed affairs and relationships.

She was married four times; all the unions were childless.

Do you want to tell him, or should I?

Minor news of the day:

Interesting word: “Specific.” Archaic, no longer used for medicine. Tells you something about the era, though; most medicines, it seems, were considered general tonics. For the bad stuff, you needed a specific.

A bank with a name so confusing they could plausibly tell depositors “no, you don’t have an account here,” and people would believe them. Must be the Third and Sixth Bank and the Second Trust and Bank Co.

Finally: Did they recreate the war? Looks like it:

That'll suffice, I hope see you thither and yonnish.



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