This is why I’m not a writer


I just haven’t felt like writing. The noise of life is too deafening.  The readers, few that they are, have demonstrated more interest in my co-parenting and other personal topics than in politics, which is loud, everywhere, and  therefore unavoidable. And I feel I should write about theses things,  rather than my own solipsistic mewling.

Things are crazy now. An isolated, paranoid, and vindictive child holds the keys to what he wants to make his kingdom. We watch astounded. Everyone accuses everyone else of lying, and thinks that that makes things equal. I begin to wonder if the US is a failed experiment:  If the Constitution can allow this, how can we ever make it right? Anyway, I could go on, but, as I said, you can find worry like this anywhere, and probably better written (The New Yorker has been great).

The sun is actually out, and we haven’t seen it in a while, so I think that I’ll take some sunshine over fretting.

portnoy

Another problem I’ve been having: I  have to decide who I want my audience to be? I guess the big question for every writer who has children is,  what will they think when they come across my writing one day, and am I okay with that? I’m in awe of some writers’ abilities to be brave and bold. I’m am neither. I could don’t think that I would have ever–as a child of living parents and children–had the guts to write Philip Roth’s line from Portnoy’s Complaint:

“I fucked my own family’s dinner.”

Good golly, and what great book.

 

Parasite Attack! Flesh-eating Worms in the United States!


 

A Meta-Bug News Roundup

Screwworms in Florida

The New World screwworm, Cochliomyia homnivorax, isn’t probably something you think about. Fortunately, you don’t have to. The screwworm, a larval form of a fly, has been eradicated in the United States since 1982.

220px-Cochliomyia_hominivorax_(Coquerel,_1858)220px-Screwworm_larva

Unlike maggots, which eat only dead flesh, the screwworm eats live tissue. When I was in Haiti recently, I saw what they are capable of. Any wound, any abrasion, any cut is an invitation for the flies to show up. Then the larvae come out, and work their way not just into the necrotic parts, but the actual live tissue.

Screwworms obviously present a serious danger to livestock. I can even find you a gross story where they went into a woman’s ear. But since the ’50s, researchers began experimenting with the release of sterile male flies, first on the relatively controlled setting of an island, and then on the mainland. By 1982, there were no more screwworms in the US.

Naturally, flies don’t recognize international borders, so in partnership with Mexico and the nations of Central America, the screwworm has been restricted to south of the isthmus of Panama, a bottleneck that is relatively easy to defend. The breeding of sterile males is ongoing in Panama.

Recently, 40 endangered Key Deer had to be euthanized in Florida when it was discovered that they were infested with screwworms. Sterile males were introduced, the Florida Department of Agriculture set up inspection stations in Key Largo for animals leaving the keys, and the outbreak was contained.

 

Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, has died.

“When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a Religion.”

pirsig

Here’s a passage  from Zen  that I always found interesting.

Things are getting worse.

Twittler has proposed huge tax cuts, and naturally they benefit him and those in high income brackets the most. They propose eliminating the inheritance tax, which is probably the best tax we have: WE’RE TAXING DEAD RICH PEOPLE! They’re decomposing, they can’t complain, and if their whiny little offspring think it’s just horrible that they have to be just a tiny bit like the rest of us (which they won’t, they’ll still be stinking rich), well, they can commiserate in their gated communities and in their country clubs, just like they always have. The Great Unwashed will be able to perhaps feed and educate their children a little better. It’s understandable how those at the top don’t really want a level playing field, but keeping the “Paris Hilton” tax–or maybe we should call it the Trump Kids Tax–is a good thing. Just ask Teddy Roosevelt. Whatever you name it, don’t let anyone get away with calling it a “death tax.” It’s not.  It’s a tax on plutocracy and oligarchy.

I can’t write anymore today. A buffoon is fucking up or determined to fuck up so many things at once–relations with Canada and Mexico, military policy, health care, foreign trade– that it’s overwhelming. As I’ve written before, there’s a good chance that the American Experiment has failed, and the wise will at least be keeping an eye open on an exit strategy. While I’m here, I will work to make this a better and safer place, but I do not believe that this is the best place for my children to plan their future in.

Polaroid of the Day


 

Too many books. The boxes are filled with books as well.   All my closets look like this. Shot with expired color film and a Polaroid One-Step.

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Find Your Community Treasures


bluebeardvonnegut

“…simply moderate giftedness has been made worthless by the printing press and radio and television and satellites and all that. A moderately gifted person who would have been a community treasure a thousand years ago has to give up, has to go into some other line of work, since modern communications put him or her into daily competition with nothing but world’s champions…. A moderately gifted person has to keep his or her gifts all bottled up until, in a manner of speaking, he or she gets drunk at a wedding and tap-dances on the coffee table like Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers. We have a name for him or her. We call him or her an “exhibitionist.” How do we reward such an exhibitionist? We say to him or her the next morning, “Wow! Were you ever drunk last night!”

Everything Must Go. Who wants this book?


The Shipping News, by E. Annie Proulx, 1993shipping-news

Best novel I ever read that takes place in Newfoundland. Not a bad read.

Quote: “And it may be that love sometimes occurs without pain or misery.”

I’m still waiting to get back to the author on that one. She lives in the neighboring state, so I suppose I could stop by for tea sometime.

Send me your address, and I’ll send you the book. I’ll trust you to pay me back for the postage. Or you can donate to PAZ.

Amazon: When are you going to join the other 1,250 companies that pulled their ads from Breitbart?


steve-bannon-breitbart-670x454
The Best Drumpf Could Do.

Like most of us, I’ve bought a fair amount of stuff from them. It’s convenient, right? Should I give up the convenience because Amazon is still advertising on a site that has essentially become an online gathering place for a very nasty and hate-filled mob?

A perusal of Breitbart.com shows that the boycott, whether it’s working or not, has certainly affected the look of the site. The only ads I saw were of the “Try This One Weird Trick to Restore Your Eyesight!” or “She Didn’t Realize That the Camera Was Watching!” type. Useless clickbait. No cars, no washing machines, no guitars, no floor cleaner, toilet paper, airlines, house paint, tires, etc. In short, nothing that I actually use.

This article from the Washington Post provides some flimsy verification that Breitbart is starting to hurt. If employees get laid off, whether because of a lack of revenue or they’ve been discovered endorsing pedophilia, morale is going to drop.

vicks
Yes, this is a real ad from Breitbart.com

What I Threw Out Today: Notes from Veterinary School, a Photocopy of an Article, and an Italian Journal on Equine Medicine


I don’t know if my children will ever know what it was like to have to keep one’s information in hard copy. There were all those articles that one Ippologiaxeroxed just to have them handy. The walls of offices were filled with years of periodicals and journals, all because we were afraid that we’d have to refer to them.

Of course, I barely got around to reading a tenth of the stuff I ever copied, and in the day of the internet, they are just not worth keeping around. The information in these old things is still  probably good, for the most part, but it’s also been 15 years since I’ve treated a horse. IMG_1777

I liked keeping the Ippologia issue for sentimental reasons. I got it in Cremona, Italy (home of Stradivarius) when I was taking a course in veterinary acupuncture. I had a great time. The connections I made there lasted a while, but then they dissolved.

It happens. Radiology Notes II

 

 

 

 

What I Threw Out Today: The Organic Chemistry Textbook


The process continues.

I try to think of why I hang on to things.  My mind strains to think under what conditions I would actually need an organic chemistry textbook again. To be totally honest, I’m not sure why I needed to study organic chemistry in the first place. As a requirement for graduate school in chemistry, pharmacology, biochemistry, etc, it makes sense. To be a doctor? Most of us don’t remember anything about organic, except that we had to take it and a lot of people really hated it. ochem.jpg

I didn’t hate organic. I thought it was sort of interesting. I think I kept the book because 1) I thought that I might need it, though who knows for what, and 2) I hated the idea that after spending so much time studying something, it would all just go away. Could I get 5% right on those tests I took all those years ago? Why on earth did I spend all that time and treasure learning something the veterinary school admissions committee must have known I wouldn’t need and that I would almost certainly forget?

Lastly, I wonder whether somewhere this book wouldn’t be of use to somebody somewhere, in a place where there aren’t old textbooks piling up in landfills or being carted off to get recycled?

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