this week i

updated our working medicaid beneficiary statistics with an eye on the pandemic

titled each of the dozen appearances.  "i had no idea you were such a little weirdo"
  • young mother sewing: please disregard the wedding band
  • self-portrait with bandaged ear: how the hell do i wear this n95 without an ear??
  • rhino: woolly rhino.  let's not do stegosaurus
  • rafiki: you missed a spot.
  • nemo: asked for nemo, got oompa loompa
  • benjamin franklin holding vcr: one day in the far far future, humans will no longer recognize the anachronism of benjamin franklin holding a vcr, like today normal people have difficulty distinguishing ancient from ptolemaic egypt
  • gorbachev: it looks like he had it removed in 2009 to prevent cancer
  • rat maze: come get the cheese
  • braided rat tail: are you going to mail this to miguel?
  • the scream: munch among the munks (lots of chipmunks in the backyard)
  • isaiah zagar: wow south philly weed is strong
  • the girl with the pearl earring: duh girl with duh pearl earring

finished the deuce.  lori madison's end the hardest part

find it minor league amazing my father still dreams.  woke him last thursday, he asked for an ashtray to extinguish his cigarette

expect the next major scientific discoveries to be brute force computations.  for example, the night sky scanning search for planet nine

wonder how often humans confuse consciousness with just vision

found the new york city department of health recommending gloryholes

read king leopold's ghost

given stanley's boasts about shooting anyone who got in his way, general william tecumseh sherman met the explorer for breakfast in paris and likened stanley's trip to his own scorched-earth march to the sea

"i am very busy here going through the indies archives and calculating the profit which spain made then and makes now out of her colonies."  the man whose future empire would be intertwined with the twentieth-century multinational corporation began by studying the records of conquistadors

in the book he later wrote about this expedition, through the dark continent, stanley followed several rules he would use in books to come: stretch the account to two volumes (a total of 960 pages in this case); use "dark" in the title (in darkest africa and my dark companions and their strange stories would follow); and employ every possible medium for telling the story.  there are before-and-after photographs of the author showing his hair turned white by the journey; "extracts from my diary" (when compared with stanley's actual journal, they turn out to be nothing of the sort); an elaborate foldout map marked with the route of the trip; more than a hundred drawings - of battles, dramatic meetings, a canoe being sucked into a whirlpool; floor plans of african houses; street plans of villages; lists of supplies.  a cornucopia of diagrams shows everything from the lineages of african kings to the shapes of different canoe paddles.  stanley shrewdly sensed that his readers' ignorance of africa would make them all the more fascinated by endless mundane details, such as a chart of prices showing that a chicken cost one bead necklace at abaddi, while six chickens cost twelve yards of cloth in ugogo.  readers got their money's worth.  pre-electronic though they were, stanley's books were multimedia productions

to read stanley today is to see how much his traveling was an act of appropriation.  he is forever measuring and tabulating things: temperature, miles traveled, lake depths, latitude, longitude, and altitude (which he calculated by measuring the temperature at which water boiled).  specially trusted porters carried fragile loads of thermometers, barometers, watches, compasses, and pedometers.  it is almost as if he were a surveyor, mapping the continent he crossed for its prospective owners

among his zanzibari soldiers there was a swahili saying: bunduki sultani ya bara bara (the gun is the sultan of the hinterland)

if a group of pygmies, for instance, killed an elephant, that site became a temporary settlement for a week or two of feasting, since it was easier to move a village than a dead elephant

sanford and morgan hit it off splendidly, and morgan, too, began receiving crates of florida oranges..knowing how carefully president arthur's republicans listened to business, sanford got the new york city chamber of commerce to pass a resolution endorsing u.s. recognition of leopold's association.  favorable accounts of the king's philanthropic work began appearing in major american newspapers, stimulated, in the fashion of the day, by quiet payments from sanford.  sanford's multilayered campaign was probably the most sophisticated piece of washington lobbying on behalf of a foreign ruler in the nineteenth century, and on april 22, 1884, it bore fruit.  the secretary of state declared that the united states of america recognized king leopold ii's claim to the congo.  it was the first country to do so

in writing the history of powerless people, drawing on conventional, published sources is far from enough

the bulk of chicotte blows were inflicted by africans on the bodies of other africans.  this, for the conquerers, served a further purpose.  it created a class of foremen from among the conquered, like the kapos in the nazi concentration camps and the predurki, or trusties, in the soviet gulag

kipling wrote: ship me somewhere east of suez,//where the best is like the worst,//where there aren't no ten commandments,//an' a man can raise a thirst.

reading the king's correspondence is like reading the letters of the ceo of a corporation that has just developed a profitable new product and is racing to take advantage of it before competitors can get their assembly lines going

the reptile congophile press of brussels and antwerp

"in these twenty years i have spent millions to keep the press of the two hemispheres quiet, and still these leaks keep occurring," says twain's exasperated king, who rages against "the incorruptible kodak....the only witness i have encountered in my long experience that i couldn't bribe"

listen to the yell of leopold's ghost//burning in hell for his hand-maimed host.//hear how the demons chuckle and yell//cutting his hands off, down in hell.

the midsummer day seemed particularly warm, and the two men went to an open window to talk.  stinglhamber sat down on a radiator, then jumped to his feet: it was burning hot.  when the men summoned the janitor for an explanation, he replied, "sorry, but they're burning the state archives."  the furnaces burned for eight days, turning most of the congo state records to ash and smoke in the sky over brussels.  "i will give them my congo," leopold told stinglhamber, "but they have no right to know what i did there."


this week i

have better friends than i deserve.  asked for nemo and got oompa loompa.  "you look like you escaped from an insane asylum during a haircut"


this week i

planned out clipping stages with laura

held the shuttlecock in the air twenty two times, pauses in the action for the other birdies

identified a catbird while suburban living.  old bay seasoned shrimp, sushi rice without a steamer, the-cheese-that-grills halloumi, curtis' coffee roast

read mere christianity by c.s. lewis thinking about lorraine hansberry's beneatha younger's "the human race achieves through its own stubborn effort"

first, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it.  secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way

enemy-occupied territory-that is what this world is.  christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.  when you go to church you are really listening-in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going

that is not how christianity works.  when it tells you to feed the hungry it does not give you lessons in cookery.  when it tells you to read the scriptures it does not give you lessons in hebrew and greek, or even in english grammar.  it was never intended to replace or supersede the ordinary human arts and sciences: it is rather a director which will set them all to the right jobs, and a source of energy which will give them all new life, if only they will put themselves at its disposal

starving men may think much about food, but so do gluttons; the gorged, as well as the famished, like titillations

we learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other, that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven.  the only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection

unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through pride that the devil became the devil: pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-god state of mind

so that when we talk of a man doing anything for god or giving anything to god, i will tell you what it is really like.  it is like a small child going to its father and saying, 'daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present'

almost certainly god is not time..he has all eternity in which to listen to the split second of prayer put up by a pilot as his plane crashes in flames

we must go on to recognize the real giver.  it is madness not to.  because, if we do not, we shall be relying on human beings.  and that is going to let us down.  the best of them will make mistakes; all of them will die.  we must be thankful to all the people who have helped us, we must honor them and love them.  but never, never pin your whole faith on any human being: not if he is the best and wisest in the whole world


this week i

note the last person to receive a civil war pension outlived george floyd.  when crowds pull down monuments, do they shout stela like brando?

hiked near baltimore before west coast tenure track.  one family drank corona by the riverside.  gardeners of this planet, maybe nothing else

grilled out back.  failed nest in the wisteria.  properly seasoned tuna steak pairs well with anything, as does jollof rice

eat once a day some days.  "i used to be a cop.  now i smoke pot"  old sicilian at the beginning of the godfather part two, pizano knew how to nap

discovered a community photographing first broken bones, internet commenters who've never broken a bone trash-talk the injured person