A lovely panorama of the Italian countryside in Montepulciano, May 24, 2016.
My co-worker and occasional supervisor is on vacation in Italy and sent me this picture on Tuesday. Seen in its 2MB original size on a large monitor, it was really stunning.
Here is a late night blog entry that in my previous entry I said I wouldn't / couldn't post. However, it turns out I have a bit of leeway in finishing a particular project at work by COB Friday, so I have time to do what I normally do after a gym workout night.
First things first ...
Let me note it is MH's 39th birthday! It seems like it was just his 35th birthday and then, three years later (and one year ago) his 38th birthday, but there you have it.
While last year we celebrated his birthday "Mattie Wade"-style with a rousing rending of Frankie Laine's "Mule Train," I think this year -- while keeping the train theme -- we'll have a bit more of a pensive one -- seein' as the big "4-0" is a mere year away. I can say that when I crossed that threshold with much vitriol, it really was for me the end of being truly young.
(Yes, I'm showing pictures of him from five and more years ago. I don't have any more recent ones -- but he still looks the same.)
So our tribute this year is from the Pat Metheny Group, a jazz-fusion band founded in the very year he was born.
"Last Train Home" by the Pat Metheny Group from its Still Life (Talking) album (1987)
Let me just add a few cents' worth of philosophy:
Just being in your 40s doesn't mean your life is over. Far from it -- although as a gay man, life loses the (admittedly vapid) purposes it (probably) had when you were in your 20s and 30s.
Those purposes are often some combo of "clothes," "looking hot / buff" "gym," "bar," "relationship," "job/money," and "gym" (oh, I mentioned that already). (Of course, I never was much like that, but I'm a weird little gay man of an outlier.)
What's more, because you're (probably) not married with children (your wife, or in this case, your spouse/husband), having turned you into a buccal-pumping frog on a suburban lily pad, you are forced to try to find meaning elsewhere.
Above: Anyone of a number of my straight male "married, with children" erstwhile friends from the 1990s as they now appear in 2016.
That's not always easy. Indeed, it is something some gay men never resolve to the detriment of the duration of their lives.
In my case, I'm significantly better off than I was in November 2009 when my life really was in a bad place career and money-wise. In addition, during the intervening years, I've gotten in much better shape, losing a substantial amount of weight (approx. 40 pounds of fat that I've kept off for a few years) and putting on muscle mass in place of doughy flab, although truth to tell, I'm an "in shape" 46 year old man, not a 26 year old man.
Indeed, I'm chagrined that I basically look like a ashen-gray leprechaun now with aging skin. You that "fear no mirror" CoolSculpting ad campaign? Well, my version is "veer away from mirror."
But this isn't about me, so back to the birthday wishes and notes ...
May 25th, 1977 also featured the debut of the original Star Wars movie, and it was the day that the great Russian author Yevgenia Ginzburg -- who wrote the powerful book Journey Into the Whirlwind about her 18 years spent in the gulag of Stalinist Russia -- passed away.
And with all that in mind: Happy Birthday, MH!
Those birthdays just keep comin', don't they??
Now please don't confuse the gorilla image with the Chipmungorilla named "GASY" that physically attacked me this past April, presumably because I "took food" from him.
This is the "Oscar Jonesey" (yes, "OJ"), one of the male silverback gorillas at the San Francisco Zoo. Such obvious intelligence and incredible strength -- but unrestrained by any human morality.
GASY is a chipmunk with the strength of a gorilla, hence he's a Chipmungorilla.
GASY eating. Are those Giant tangerines??
GASY and I are through and done for good, which is delightful and wonderful by me.
The last thing I need to "make up" with GASY with some fake apology (words are meaningless to him) and end up waiting for him to show up at my apartment 2 hours late and running out the door to another, better engagement (all while pretending, of course, that he's doing me some big favor, lies and nonsense pouring out like water over Niagara Falls), but not before going into my bathroom and, among other things, checking the toilet for any poop stains that your brush and Pine-Sol may have missed ...
You're just all jealous 'cuz I got GASY and you don't ... Oh, wait ...
Changing topics ...
So the flippin' Sun came out today and everybody was flapdoodling around as if they hadn't seen the damn thing in a century or more. I'm sure everyone was in a bourgeois frenzy over at the CWG. I didn't bother checking the site today.
It's the "Washington Weather Consensus" run amok, all neoliberal and "professional centrist" like in a way that scintillates Fred Hiatt and the Gang of 500.
There's nothing that bothers me more than a gloating "winner" -- especially when they've done nothing to "win" anything. It's all the more annoying after the endless moaning and groaning and bellyaching and howling and yowling that was done on that site over the "WORST MAY EVER FOR D.C. WEATHER" because of some cool, wet conditions.
Maybe Jason & Co. at the CWG can give out "Weather Purple Hearts" for all the good D.C. suburban bourgeoisie who had the "courage" to "endure" a couple weeks of cooler and wetter than normal conditions.
For me, the Sun was too bright and glaring today, and I felt, as ever, vampire-ish. It's not that I hate the Sun, but rather it is so bright, and invariably it is the start of a D.C. summertime -- characterized by being too damn hot and too damn humid yet too damn rainless and too damn long.
All while I'm trapped in D.C., seemingly serving a life sentence.
I'm particularly vexed at the thought of it being at the start of a frickin' presidential election year when the country -- its political structures badly fraying -- runs the real risk of electing a dangerously unqualified, clownish buffoon who is equal parts fascist and megalomaniacal -- and with one of our two main political parties has lost its mind, having become a cult defined by fear and loathing and fed by a rightwing media - entertainment complex.
Yet as David Roberts wrote, the American "political ecosystem" treats the whole goddamn thing as a choice of "Coca Cola versus Pepsi" instead of what it really is, namely, a choice of "Coca Cola versus sewer water."
Back to the weather ...
I want to be clear: I don't hate sunny, warm weather. Quite the contrary, I enjoy it when at the beach or in the country in the summertime. But as I am almost never in either setting, but instead I am serving a frickin' life sentence in Washington, D.C., and because summers here are so hot and horrible, I simply dread going into this time of year.
OK, I think I'm going to wrap up this entry. But read these three pieces (links embedded):
The Truth About the Sanders Movement by Paul Krugman.
Prof. Krugman deconstructs the five general archetypes in the Sanders movement. The "Purists" are the Susan Sarandon worst. As Prof. Krugman writes:
"Quite a few Sanders surrogates were Naderites in 2000; the results of that venture don't bother them, because it was never really about results, only about affirming personal identity."
A Letter to a Bernie-or-Bust Voter by Darby Saxby.
Darby makes very good points, but it won't make any difference to the "purist" faction -- see Krugman's piece above. Maybe a few of the idealists will change their minds, though.
And to end on a more optimistic and humorous note, this piece by Richard North Patterson on Huffington Post:
Short answer: Hillary will easily win the electoral college. The piece is actually kind of hilarious, too.
Excerpt (with paragraph breaks added):
"In three weeks as the GOP's presumptive nominee, Trumps behavior suggests a man who is driven, not by strategy or consistent beliefs, but by a profound personality disorder which limits his day-to-day ability to be tactical or "presidential." And it is a mortal lock that, when it comes to exposing Trump as an imbecile, the Democrats will be as merciless as Republicans were spineless.
"Armed with money and ferocity, from June to November the Clinton campaign will assault persuadable voters with evidence of Trump's narcissism, vulgarity, ignorance and instability -- not to mention his callousness and failures as a businessman."
"Their biggest challenge is winnowing print, video and tweets for the most repellent moments in an infinity of repulsiveness. This requires a constant state of readiness -- when it comes to providing fresh examples of odiousness and vapidity Trump, like rust, never sleeps..."
Left: A very "carboniferous" image of ferns galore that Andrea took on Sunday in Bear, Delaware where she was on a half marathon.
Alright, that really is all for now. I'm headin' to bed now. It's only nearly 3AM. Next planned update will be late Thursday or Friday.