this week i

published an uninsured-focused summary of the pandemic-dented current population survey's annual social and economic supplement

cheered for el paso, unclear uniforms.  mariachi rendition of katy perry's firework, simbacam (re-enacted), bottom of the seventh home run

rose at five in albuquerque.  we drove past rio rancho, bernalillo, zia pueblo, jemez hot springs to soak at san antonio.  local elders puffed marijuana from various states of undress, otherwise adhered to the no glass (though not the no dog) sign.  bradbury museum before noon for high desert manhattan project history and its oppenheimer family lanyards, then santa fe's dragon room margaritas, zocalo, a stroll down canyon road sometime between gallery closings and sunset.  in two distal parts of town, we ate bison, drunk shrimp, toured the acid trip multiverse of meow wolf

title this one panda express express.  albuquerque, new mexico, sunday september 13th

watched ma rainey's black bottom, first appearing on broadway thanks to lloyd richards, the director also responsible for staging a raisin in the sun

watched sectarian conflict and sexuality in deepa mehta's funny boy

oh goodness me, he'll be fine!


don't mess with the grand diva

don't mess with the grand diva

can i offer you a cup of tea?

if you come near my daughter, i'll kill you

would you like a biscuit?


(1) edward gorey

life remained 'intrinsically...boring and dangerous at the same time.  at any given moment the floor may open up.  of course, it almost never does; that's what makes it so boring'

the cape cod times advised readers..'a lot of unhinged characters wandering about in gardens, peering perplexedly in and out of windows, haunted by vague memories'

(2) hunter biden

the secret service had also been notified, and joe biden sent his daughter-in-law hallie, beau's widow, to fetch hunter after a couple of weeks of recovery in the desert.  so began their affair, 'built on need, hope, frailty, and doom', which fizzled shortly after a tabloid scandal

i was madly trying to hold on to a slice of my brother, and i think hallie was doing the same

(3) dickensian tokyo

western works on anatomy, optics and engineering were translated and interpreted by scholars of what edoites called 'dutch studies'.  edo artists depicted the first manned hot air balloon flight in 1787, not long after the montgolfier brothers lifted off in annonay

(4) mohammed bin salman's quixotic plan

we know that his idea of fun as an adolescent was to dress up as a police officer and harass the crowds at a shopping mall

saudi arabia has one of the highest per capita numbers of twitter users in the world

(5) red haired neanderthals

the glues used by neanderthals to fix stone to wood resulted from an advanced, multistage manufacturing process involving the distillation of pitch from birch-tar


(6) frat brothers at an alumni toga party

in nabokov's novel he is a chatterbox monster.  in kubrick's lolita he's a schlemiel

as the camera takes us into this barren landscape, we feel both apart from and among the man-apes huddled in fear of predatory beasts, rival tribes, the cold, the night, death itself.  2001 was a tribute to the collective genius of humanity for having turned this merciless world into a place fit for human habitation.  it was also a merciless assault on the delusion that the world is susceptible to human will

give me a condor's quill!  give me vesuvius' crater for an inkstand!

(7) on the verge of the first transboundary water war

a country with a population of 100 million, growing at 1.8 million a year, relied almost entirely on this one river

by 2025, egypt's annual per capita supply of usable water is predicted to drop from six hundred cubic metres to five hundred - the un threshold for absolute water scarcity.  hydrological poverty at this level doesn't just mean a daily struggle for access to safe drinking water and basic hygiene, in a country where a third of drinking water is already lost during distribution because of dilapidated pipes.  it means that thinking about water - how to get it, how to use and reuse it, how not to get sick from it - becomes something you can't escape.  the un's projection is based on factors that have nothing to do with the dam.  they include mismanagement and misallocation of resources, pollution, illegal siphoning, overexploitation of groundwater, increasing soil salinity because of a rising sea level, a rapidly growing population and climate change

 spectacular rainstorms that empty out over the city like an overturned bath


(8) pandemic adjustments

if covid-19 is only detectable by sticking a piece of plastic practically into your brain, how can it be so infectious?

if you live with someone diagnosed with covid-19, the chances are that you won't be infected (60 to 90 per cent of cohabitees don't contract the virus)


(9) fungi - a body without a plan

fungi are used to searching out food by exploring complex three-dimensional environments such as soil, so maybe it's no surprise that fungal mycelium solves maze puzzles so accurately.  it is also very good at finding the most economical route between points of interest.  the mycologist lynne boddy once made a scale model of britain out of soil, placing blocks of fungus-colonised wood at the points of the major cities; the blocks were sized proportionately to the places they represented.  mycelial networks quickly grew between the blocks: the web they created reproduced the pattern of the uk's motorways ('you could see the m5, m4, m1, m6')

an infected insect becomes about 40 per cent fungus

flying salt-shakers of death

(10) false astrologers and shoplifting mystics

he had woven forty glowworms into a hairnet

the flame-resistant properties of frog fat

(11) terrorizing migrants

there is, extraordinarily, no official figure for the number of children separated from their parents at the southern border by the trump administration.  the aclu's best estimate is 5,400.  on june 26, 2018, a judge issued a preliminary injunction requiring immigration authorities to reunite most separated families within thirty days and to reunite children younger than five within two weeks.  as of april 2021, the parents of 445 children had still not been found

the united states of amnesia

(12) orientation

it is widely thought that many animals have what is called a "bio-compass" that allows them to use the earth's magnetic field to find their way.  magnetite has been found in the brains of mole rats, the upper beaks of homing pigeons, and the olfactory cells of rainbow trout.  live carp floating in tubs at fish markets tend to align themselves along a north-south axis.  red foxes mostly pounce on mice in a northeasterly direction.  dog owners, take note: your dog may well swing round to face north-south when it crouches to relieve itself

a walk in the woods is wasted time because it isn't productive, unless of course you instrumentalize it as a mindful means of enhancing your productivity when you return to the desk


this week i

published on the impact of proposed out of pocket caps on drug spending

lazed down the california coastal highway.  erin trained for triatholon, grilled fajitas while djokovic aimed for a grand slam.  dukes makes drinks better than they train their host staff, neighbor zoom yoga, pants tucked into socks, center new hires meeting, air quality webinar after hearing after hearing, orchids this week (left for betsi), bee sting trip nip, morays brayed, taliban painted over womens' faces, elephant seals lumbered, rembrandt first painted his face, though bladder better, puerco canyon invited the pacific, john travolta's 1994 five dollar milk and ice cream useful for teaching inflation concepts, huskies running near santa monica pier added to the circusiness, synchronized headphone beachdancers embodied energy in silence, afternoon jazz wolved the mid-day stay beside labrea's bubbling tar pits, the humans all around continued to amaze, maybe not in that order



this week i

discussed cockroach peer pressure with eliana.  curtis and i earned $2, ate crickets, not grasshoppers, cicadas, locusts.  alice asked what is a mattress aside from a full body pillow, i think "mouthbreather" when i see a mask below the nose, so it works out.  the williamses sent stern regards

listened to episodes 145 and 146.  a siege of herons and venezuela meant little venice

merchants and sailors needed something cheap to write on to plan their course of travel from one place to another. they needed a visual representation of where they were, and where they were going, and what lay in between. so rather than use expensive parchment, they often used pieces of cloth.  well, geographers also used cloth for their illustrations. and those illustrations drawn on cloth or mappe became known as maps. so our very common word map actually refers to the cloth material that was used to make those early maps. it also means that the word map is cognate with mop and with napkin. they're all based a word for the cloth material that was used to make each of those items

a passage that references a group of items being delivered to merchants for "a viage to be made into the levaunt"  - 'a voyage to be made to the levant.'  it's a term that english borrowed from french, and it's derived from a latin word that meant 'to rise' because the sun rose in the east in the direction of this region in the eastern mediterranean.  by the way, this is the same way we got the terms orient and oriental. orient was based on another latin word meaning 'to rise,' and it also passed through french into english as a term for the east.  and many maps of this period, like the mappa mundi..were drawn in reference to the east with the east at the top of the map.  the compass was still relatively new to europe, so maps didn't tend to use north as the primary bearing yet. they used the east.  the sun rose in the east, so it was easy to get one's bearings in reference to the east or the 'orient,' and that's how we got the verb 'to orient' in the sense of orienting oneself in a particular direction.  it literally meant to get one's bearings in reference to the east

leafed through michael bockemuhl's rembrandt.  rembrandt: the first human face that we know.  rembrandt and saskia in the scene of the prodigal son, 1635.  doctor nicolaes tulp demonstrating the anatomy of the arm, 1632.  the blinding of samson, 1636.

to completely follow goethe's argument when he claims that the man rescued by the samaritan, who is being helped from the latter's horse, recognizes in the figure with the feather in his cap - in the window to the left - the robber who has attacked him; nonetheless, it is clear that the whole is developing as a dialogue scene.  the man with the feather in his cap belongs to those spectators so characteristic of rembrandt's pictures

rembrandt's landscapes do not document the appearance of hills, paths and trees.  the atmospheric event, the change in illumination, transfer the topography into a sphere of experience given life by each observer in his own individual manner



read hemingway's the snows of kilimanjaro

because, just then, death had come and rested its head on the foot of the cot and he could smell its breath.

"never believe any of that about a scythe and a skull," he told her.  "it can be two bicycle policemen as easily, or be a bird.  or it can have a wide snout like a hyena"


"no gambler has luck with women.  he is too concentrated.  he works nights.  when he should be with the woman.  no man who works nights can hold a woman if the woman is worth anything."

"you are a philosopher."

"no, hombre.  a gambler of the small towns"


walcott was just getting into the ring.  the crowd gave him a big hand.  he climbed through between the ropes and put his two fists together and smiled, and shook them at the crowd, first at one side of the ring, then at the other, and then sat down.  jack got a good hand coming down through the crowd.  jack is irish and the irish always get a pretty good hand.  an irishman don't draw in new york like a jew or an italian but they always get a good hand.  jack climbed up and bent down to go through the ropes and walcott came over from his corner and pushed the rope down for jack to go through.  the crowd thought that was wonderful


"which would you rather do?  take a good birching or lose your pay?


"you know i don't think i'd ever be afraid of anything again," macomber said to wilson.  "something happened in me after we first saw the buff and started after him.  like a dam bursting.  it was pure excitement."

"cleans out your liver," said wilson


this week i

concluded baroness von sketch show.  tommy kha's return to sender worth a browse.  marcie baked pear pie, david planed a cutting board

drove to sisters for volcanic obsidian, crater lake for oregonian propensity for uncreative names, mount shasta for cascadia's southern terminus


read luster by raven leilani

there is a painting that i love by artemisia gentileschi, judith slaying holofernes.  in it, two women are decapitating a man.  they hold him down as he struggles to push away the blade.  it is a brutal, tenebrist masterpiece, drenched in carotid blood.  gentileschi painted it after her mentor, agostino tassi, was convicted of her rape.  as i am working on a piece inspired by this painting, my father dies.  i bury him next to my mother, and for weeks i don't sleep and the mice eat all my fruit.  mark sends his condolences in a card, but then he stops returning my calls.  he sends the drawings i left at his house in an envelope simply labelled stuff, and i leave him some voicemails that mostly boil down to him being a hack who only draws four-fingered hands, to how he is an impossible dweeb who needs to be kept away from women and shot into space, and a few times, yes, i stand in front of his house in the middle of the night.  i draft some emails i don't send and wander the halls of the office with all the things i want to say to his face.  but when i see him now, when i go back into the stairwell next to kevin's office and see how mark has remained unchanged, how he is flanked by two women and proceeding gaily about his life, i lose my nerve

i feel rebecca reassessing my presence in their house.  while i have learned how to use a mop and maintained the appearance of tutoring their daughter in the pineapple method and everything else african american 101, my resume has been revised so frequently that my career in publishing and soft cheese has become a career in scientific journalism, the zebrafish trials at sloan kettering surprisingly easy to riff about over the phone, though not as easy in person when the interviewer, a distant relation of jonas salk, wants to talk about the moral implications of giving mice cocaine.  during my interview with cvs, i try to be convincing in my assurance that pointing young adults in the direction of plan b has always been a part of my five-year plan, but after the interview i go to the parking lot to drink some cough syrup and notice one of the managers watching me from his car

i ask him if something is wrong, and he hoists me up and takes me from behind as a sleepy radio voice is introducing "come on eileen."  you have nowhere else to go, he says.  he asks me to say it back to him

the cadavers in rembrandt's paintings were all criminals.  the subjects are really the learned men around the corpse