this week i

created first, maybe final work in shakespeare for breakfast series: toucan samlet, prince of denmark.  chose serious title over toucan or not toucan

wonder whether to switch to work on weather instead. powell, yellen, bernanke.. greenspan next? / nah, skip to volcker testifying with a juicy blunt

measure roughly same in lbs, cm. emoji fairy tales: 💋🐸..🤮🐸...💋🐸..🤮🐸...💋🐸..🤑🤴 / 🧗🏰 👱‍♀️ / 👱‍♀️ 🍜 🥣 🍨 🛏️ 🛌 🛏️🚪🐻 🐻 🧸

argh why am i on this e-mail chain?
here do you want a puff of this?  [makes joint smoking motion]
i haven't had any of that since i left the u.s. except..
except three days ago?
um..  yeah, three days ago exactly!
lines up with you drawing a sloth

read thinking in the twentieth century by tony judt with timothy snyder.  the kafka quote the best line, p360 flips order of orwell's paris et london

the universal character of french history
i cannot recall a time when i did not know about what was not yet called the holocaust

my father would never have driven a renault, probably because louis renault was a notorious wartime collaborator whose firm had been nationalized at the liberation as punishment for his vichyite sympathies

it took until the mid-1970s for even the core economies of prosperous western europe to get back to where they had been in 1914

his father, lord randolph churchill, had been a significant player in late-victorian politics; but he destroyed himself (through political miscalculation and syphilis)..his mother was american

there was no reason for communism to do well in scandinavia because social democracy had already bitten deep into the dominant peasant-worker constituency..there was never going to be - except briefly in norway among an angry fringe of neglected fishermen - a constituency for all-or-nothing, throw-it-all-over, once-and-for-all politics

it is one thing to say that i am willing to suffer now for an unknowable but possibly better future.  it is quite another to authorize the suffering of others in the name of the same verifiable hypothesis. this, in my view, is the intellectual sin of the century: passing judgment on the fate of others in the name of their future as you see it, a future in which you may have no investment, but concerning which you claim exclusive and perfect information

you cannot fully appreciate the shape of the twentieth century if you did not once share its illusions, and the communist illusion in particular

no biblical equivalent for "tony"

i do feel as a jew that one has a responsibility to criticize israel vigorously and rigorously, in ways that non-jews cannot - for fear of spurious but effective accusations of anti-semitism

ever since the 1920s there have been marxists (leninists really) who saw trotsky as the path not taken, the history that somehow went off course, the king across the water

for fascists in the early interwar years, the gnawing awareness of national weakness was often driven by economic collapsed.  the old empires, whatever their shortcomings, were large zones of free trade; the new nation-states were anything but

orwell could not publish his memoir of the spanish civil war, homage to catalonia, with a mainstream left-leaning publisher: the bienpensant left did not wish to be associated with attacks on communism

those who got the twentieth century right, whether in anticipation - like kafka - or as contemporary observers, had to be able to imagine a world for which there was no precedent.  they had to suppose that this unprecedented and ostensibly absurd situation was actually the case

reforming socialism was like frying snowballs

more perhaps than i saw at the time, i was concerned with the connection between "living in truth" and actual politics.  the piece began with a citation of kafka's the trial, where k. says that if we must accept that the law is grounded only in necessity, then lying becomes a universal principle

obituarist of the french revolution

marx's point in the eighteenth brumaire: "men make their own history, but they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past"

china is another way that lenin's success is his failure.  because what lenin and trotsky were counting on was that if they had one premature revolution in a backward country, the mature revolutions would follow in the western industrialized or industrializing countries.  and that's not what happens; what happens instead is that the leninist revolt becomes the thing in itself.  it becomes the model of revolution which can spread to other agrarian countries, still less suited to revolution from a traditional marxist perspective

stalin's destruction of the soviet intelligentsia was piecemeal.  and essentially retail.  mao murdered wholesale; pol pot was universal

havel's apparent lack of intellectual roots worked in his favor..that of the greengrocer who places the sign "workers of the world unite!" in his window

my dear lady, there's no sense in that, all you're going to get out of the west is tears and money

historically illiterate economists

the reagan-thatcher view: that the right to make any amount of money unhindered by the state is part of an unbroken continuum with the right to free speech

as for public ethics, kant notwithstanding, we still lack a consensual basis which is not religious in origin

what's wrong with the eighteenth century?  best poetry, best philosophers, best buildings..

it's terribly important for an open society to be familiar with its past.  it was a common feature of the closed societies of the twentieth century, whether of left or right, that they manipulated history.  rigging the past is the oldest form of knowledge control: if you have power over the interpretation of what went before (or can simply lie about it), the present and the future are at your disposal.  so it is simple democratic prudence to ensure that the citizenry are historically informed.

here, i worry about "progressive" history teaching.  in our childhood, certainly in mine and i imagine in yours, history was a bunch of information.  you learned it in an organized, serial way - usually along a chronological timeline.  the purpose of this exercise was to provide children with a mental map - stretching back across time - of the world they inhabited.  those who insisted that this approach was uncritical were not wrong.  but it has proven a grave error to replace data-laden history with the intuition that the past was a set of lies and prejudices in need of correction: prejudices in favor of white people and men, lies about capitalism or colonialism or whatever it might be

the job of the historian is to make clear that a certain event happened..this rather obvious job description is actually quite critical.  the cultural and political current flows in the other direction: to efface past events - or exploit them for unrelated purposes.  it's our job to get it right: again and again and again.  the task is sisyphean: the distortions keep changing and so the emphasis in the corrective is constantly in flux.  but many historians do not see it this way, and feel no responsibility of this kind.  in my view, they are not real historians.  a scholar of the past who is not interested in the first instance in getting the story right may be many virtuous things but a historian is not among them

each time some fool declares that a saddam hussein is hitler reincarnate, it is our job to enter the fray and complicate such simple rubbish

my first wife was an elementary school teacher.  many decades ago, she invited me once to teach the french revolution to her class of nine-year-olds.  after giving the matter a little thought - i had no comparable experience of grade school teaching - i brought a little guillotine into the classroom and we began the session by chopping off the head of marie antoinette

it was robert silvers, the editor of the new york review of books, who taught me in spite of myself that i really could do this sort of writing; that i could think and comment upon subjects far removed from my formal scholarly concerns.  silvers offered me the occasion to write about things that i would have thought beyond me.  i shall be eternally grateful to him

intellectual activity is a little bit like seduction.  if you go straight for your goal, you almost certainly won't succeed.  if you want to be someone who contributes to world historical debates, you almost certainly won't succeed if you start off by contributing to world historical debates.  the most important thing to do is to be talking about the things that have, as we might put it, world historical resonance but at the level at which you can be influential

if you look at the history of nations that maximized the virtues that we associate with democracy, you notice that what came first was constitutionality, rule of law and the separation of powers.  democracy almost always came last.  if by democracy we mean the right of all adults to take part in the choice of government that's going to rule over them, that came very late - in my lifetime in some countries that we now think of as great democracies, like switzerland, and certainly in my father's lifetime for other european countries like france.  so we should not tell ourselves that democracy is the starting point

at the battle of stalingrad, the red army lost more soldiers than america has lost - soldiers and civilians combined - in all the american wars of the twentieth century

planning is a nineteenth-century proposition, largely realized in the twentieth century.  so much of the twentieth century, after all, is the acting out, living out, of nineteenth-century ways of responding to the industrial revolution and the crisis of mass society.  cities in much of western and northern europe had grown exponentially between say 1830 and 1880.  thus by the late nineteenth century there were cities all across europe of a size that someone aged fifty could not have imagined in his childhood.  the scale of urban increase has far overtaken the scale of state action.  and so the idea that the state had better intervene in production and employment grew very fast in the last third of the nineteenth century

unemployment was the preoccupation of the british and the americans, and in continental europe of the belgians.  but employment wasn't actually the theoretical starting point for french or german writing - which was more concerned with inflation

 the dominance of economic language in an intellectual culture which was always vulnerable to the authority of "experts" has acted as a brake upon a more morally informed social debate

the contemporary critique of the mcgovern-era democratic party: not because it purportedly sought to advance the interests of every hyphenated category you could think of (many of which were in urgent need of advancing), but because in doing so it undermined its own rhetorical inheritance and forgot how to speak about the collective society

"kill all the economists" (to paraphrase shakespeare)

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has no effect on the mind and it is largely painless

what we have altogether forgotten is that the most credible alternative to communism in the years between the wars was not the liberal capitalist west but fascism - particularly in its italian form


this week i

fixed hunger at cardamomo then powershell git, github credential by adding these lines to the end of `C:\Program Files\Git\etc\gitconfig`

    name = Anthony Damico
    email =



sketched diphtheria serum hero as alternate to pack of huskies, gunnar kaasen as santa.  what's the murder of crows equivalent for reindeer?


wrote rome sans sauce.  "had my conspirators arrived armed with tomatoes instead, the red taste would have been no less surprising" -julius caesar

asked kevin stroud about enemy.  but portuguese now.  brazilians say hooch and hosie for ruth and rosie, write bisexual bi sex uau, "bi sex wow"


read the trial by franz kafka.  max brod refused to perform the holocaust (posthumously published against last wishes).  as the trial, according to the author's own statement made by word of mouth, was never to get as far as the highest court, in a certain sense the novel could never be terminated

he went to a wall-cupboard where he kept a bottle of good brandy, while he filled a glass and drank it down to make up for his breakfast, and then drank a second to give him courage, the last one only as a precaution, for the improbable contingency that it might be needed

she pointed to the captain's door, underneath which showed a strip of light - "he has turned on his light and is amusing himself at our expense"

a phonograph which had seen long service in a better quarter of the town began stridently to murder a tune

"do you think you'll manage to improve things?"


"the guilt lies with the organization"

"but i refuse to be bribed.  i am here to whip people, and whip them i shall"

then a sound from the entrance hall as of breaking crockery made them all prick up their ears.  "i'll go and see what has happened," said k., and he went out, rather slowly, to give the others a chance to call him back.  hardly had he reached the entrance hall and was beginning to grope his way in the darkness, when a hand much smaller than his own covered the hand with which he was still holding the door and gently drew the door shut.  it was the nurse, who had been waiting there.  "nothing has happened," she whispered.  "i simply flung a plate against the wall to bring you out"

for the proceedings were not only kept secret from the general public, but from the accused as well

the painter was lolling back in his chair, his nightshirt gaped open, he had thrust one hand inside it and was lightly fingering his breast

pettifogging lawyers

how the lawyer was humbling himself before k.!  and without any regard for his professional dignity, which was surely most sensitive on this very point.  why was he doing it?  if appearances spoke truly he was in great demand as a lawyer and wealthy as well, the loss of k. as a client or the loss of his fees could not mean much to such a man.  besides, he was an invalid and should himself have contemplated the advisability of losing clients.  yet he was clinging to k. with an insistence!  why?  was it personal affection for k.'s uncle, or did he really regard the case as so extraordinary that he hoped to win prestige either from defending k. or - a possibility not to be excluded - from pandering to his friends in the court?  his face provided no clue, searchingly as k. scrutinized it

the client ceased to be a client and became the lawyer's dog

this chapter was never completed

 he was very tired, for he had spent half the night studying an italian grammar

the scriptures are unalterable and the comments often enough merely express the commentators' despair

flies struggling away from the flypaper till their little legs were torn off

chuckleheaded young man

an old ball-dress bedizened with trimmings

i have something to say



this week i

see our work in proposed rules, related wsjare there data other than kff's employer health benefits survey that the departments should consider?

tested tickle immunity, dolor de acumulador, no vaccine for gusanorejaspor que el nino tiro el reloj por la ventana?  queria ver el tiempo volando.  she scolded the luxury of both hand, dish soaps at kitchen sink.  on faulty pink camera: lady ferrero rocher ::: ancient, modern pacific student with quipu, excel, holbein's ambassador's skull ::: post-it note-scaled dragon atop treasure hoard of books, reading by candlelight of her own fire-breath


browsed circus animals, birds of peru playing cards below not the hospital lamp please.  which of these 53 birds have you seen?  //  only pigeons.  fox, sheep at muna after tangerine mimosa balcony breakfast.  yours look like this, she replied with two-eyed emoji. first and final rain following day


found eva cassidy's walk for miles // along the highway // cuz that's just my way.  i summarized dore's pieta, thought for her, .5 pedo cerebral et all.

admittedly suck at depicting depth, anamorphosis, tho more fun than darien ferry - gta, gtfo edition.  emo starts and ends with cobain's in the pines

read columbine by dave cullen

hemorrhaging terrified children

eric wanted ammo and a date for prom night

eric and dylan expected their attack to puzzle the public, so they left an extraordinary cache of material to explain themselves.  they kept schedules, budgets, maps, drawings, and all sorts of logistical artifacts, along with commentary in notebooks, journals, and web sites.  a series of videos were specifically designed to explain their attack.  they would come to be known as the basement tapes, because the bulk were shot in eric's basement.  even more illuminating was eric's twenty-page journal devoted to his thinking.  both chronicles are revealing, but also maddeningly contradictory.  they were so disturbing that the sheriff's department would choose to hide them from the public, concealing even the existence of the basement tapes for months.  eric and dylan's true intentions would remain a mystery for years

they both wore black combat boots and shared a single pair of black gloves - the right on eric, the left on dylan.  they left two pipe bombs behind at eric's house, six at dylan's.  eric laid a microcasette on the kitchen counter with some final thoughts.  they also left the basement tapes, with a final good-bye recording that morning

"there are no patients yet," a journalist reported.."but they are expecting one victim with an ankle wound"

gardner followed protocol and did not pursue eric inside

one room at a time, the team worked methodically toward the killers.  it would take three hours to reach their bodies

who would do something like this? robyn asked her girlfriends.  who would be this retarded?

to laymen, humans at gunpoint equaled hostages.  not so

the goal with hostages is to gradually lower expectations; in nonhostage crises, it's to lower emotions

a reporter asked about motive.  "craziness," stone said

eric had documented everything.  he'd wanted us to know

everyone was supposed to die.  columbine was fundamentally different from other school shootings.  it had not really been intended as a shooting at all.  primarily, it had been a bombing that failed

extinction fantasies cropped up regularly and would obsess eric

"i often try to create new things," he wrote in a freshman english paper titled "similarities between zeus and i"

existences: a virtual book

dylan provided an impressive stack.  his journal began a year earlier than eric's, filled nearly five times as many pages, and remained active right up to the end.  but eric would begin his journal as a killer.  he already knew where it would end

nearly two weeks before the new york times would print an issue without columbine on page 1

dylan's journal read like that of a boy on the road to suicide, not homicide

eric had a remarkably long time horizon for a seventeen-year-old contemplating his own death

in 1885, the term psychopath was introduced to describe vicious human predators who were not deranged, delusional, or depressed.  they just enjoyed being bad

even the best parenting may be no match for a child born to be bad

for psychopaths, horror is purely intellectual

he altered the denver entry on a population chart to show forty-seven inhabitants once he was through

i will force myself to believe that everyone is just another monster in doom

from euripides' tragedy medea: "no, like some yellow-eyed beast that has killed its hunters let me lie down on the hounds' bodies and the broken spears"

"i want to tear a throat out with my own teeth like a pop can," he wrote.  "i want to grab some weak little freshman, just tear them apart like a fucking wolf.  strangle them, squish their head, rip off their jaw, break their arms in half, show them who is god"

a basic talk-show setup

they could not have stopped him, eric assured them.  he quoted shakespeare: "good wombs have borne bad sons"



this week i

cannot conceive a higher priority than a peaceful morning at home, nor arranging one's burial on a continent without hummingbirds.  mossadegh:

bought unicorn turd tissue.  touring textiles, ella sang from the first lyric.  macaw down in inca crown, surf crashing against andinas town


read breakfast at tiffany's by truman capote.  her cure for the mean reds similar to tony judt's swiss chalet: a place nothing bad had ever happened

she was never without dark glasses, she was always well groomed, there was a consequential good taste in the plainness of her clothes, the blues and grays and lack of luster that made her, herself, shine so

i discovered, from observing the trash-basket outside her door, that her regular reading consisted of tabloids and travel folders and astrological charts; that she smoked an esoteric cigarette called picayunes; she survived on cottage cheese and melba toast; that her vari-colored hair was somewhat self-induced

"she says, this is holly, i say honey, you sound far away, she says i'm in new york, i say what the hell are you doing in new york when it's sunday and you got the test tomorrow?  she says i'm in new york cause i've never been to new york.  i say get your ass on a plane and get back here, she says i don't want it.  i say what's your angle, doll?  she says you got to want it to be good and i don't want it, i say, well, what the hell do you want, she says when i find out you'll be the first to know.  see what i mean: horseshit on a platter"

her bedroom was consistent with her parlor: it perpetuated the same camping-out atmosphere; crates and suitcases, everything packed and ready to go, like the belongings of a criminal who feels the law not far behind

like most of us in a foreign country, he was incapable of placing people, selecting a frame for their picture, as he would at home; therefore all americans had to be judged in a pretty equal light, and on this basis his companions appeared to be tolerable examples of local color and national character

don't wanna sleep, don't wanna die, just wanna go a-travelin' through the pastures of the sky

 nude and bleeding a path of bloody footprints, i followed the action as far as the hall.  "don't forget," holly managed to instruct me as the detectives propelled her down the stairs, "please feed the cat"

inhabited by melody, some bouncy bon voyage oompahpah

in the spring a postcard came: it was scribbled in pencil, and signed with a lipstick kiss: brazil was beastly but buenos aires is the best.  not tiffany's, but almost.  am joined at the hip with duhvine $enor.  love?  think so.  anyhoo am looking for somewhere to live ($enor has wife, 7 brats) and will let you know address when i know it myself.  mille tendresse

read house of flowers, a diamond guitar, a christmas memory, also by truman capote.  like mobile's penitentiary, lima has a robbin island, alcatraz

for the first time to the market in port-au-prince.  it was a journey of two days and a night, and she'd walked carrying a ten-pound sack of grain; to ease the load she'd let a little of the grain spill out, then a little more, and by the time she had reached the market there was almost none left.  ottilie had cried because she thought of how angry the family would be when she came home without the money for the grain; but these tears were not for long: such a jolly nice man helped her dry them.  he bought her a slice of coconut, and took her to see his cousin, who was the proprietress of the champs elysees.  ottilie could not believe her good luck; the jukebox music, the satin shoes and joking men were as strange and marvelous as the electric-light bulb in her room, which she never tired of clicking on and off

mean as those years had been, nostalgia touched her

on the straw moonlit pallet where they slept, ottilie was sure that old bonaparte was awake and watching them.  once she saw a gummy, star-struck eye shining in the dark.  there was no use complaining to royal, he only laughed: what harm was there in an old woman who had seen so much of life wanting to see a little more?

they came from the village, from the neighboring hills and, wailing like dogs at midnight, laid siege to the house.  old women beat their heads against the walls, moaning men prostrated themselves: it was the art of sorrow, and those who best mimicked grief were much admired.  after the funeral everyone went away, satisfied that they'd done a good job

that was the way with haunts

on parting, it was ottilie who cried the most, though she was glad to see them go, for she knew that as soon as they were gone she would not think of them again

this will give him a good scare


he wore a gold crucifix around his neck.  he had a rosary too.  the rosary he kept wrapped in a green silk scarf that also held three other treasures: a bottle of evening in paris cologne, a pocket mirror and a rand mcnally map of the world.  these and the guitar were his only possessions, and he would not allow anyone to touch them.  perhaps he prized his map the most

while the other men were dressing, he sat on the edge of his cot and tuned the guitar.  it was strange, for he must have known he would never play it again

armstrong sat on a stump, a chew of tobacco lopsiding his face, and his gun pointing into the sun.  he had the tricky eyes of a cardsharp; you could not really tell where he was looking


a few things she had done, does do: killed with a hoe the biggest rattlesnake ever seen in this country (sixteen rattles), dip snuff (secretly), tame hummingbirds (just try it) till they balance on her finger, tell ghost stories (we both believe in ghosts) so tingling they chill you in july, talk to herself, take walks in the rain, grow the prettiest japonicas in town, know the recipe for every sort of old-time indian cure, including a magical wart-remover

do you think mrs. roosevelt will serve our cake at dinner?