Miss me? These days you can’t say “I am sick” without sending tremors through the universe. But now I can say, “I was sick, for a couple of days.” Whatever the symptoms, they did not add up to COVID 19.
I was just sick. And now I’m better and life goes on and gratitude pours in to fill the void.
As many of you know, when you are sick, you basically do nothing. So, since I sense you don’t want unnecessary detail on nose-blowing and sneezing, let’s say I did nothing of note (“Honk!” … sorry) on Monday and Tuesday.
But here’s today’s ANNOTATED LOG!:
#1 LETTERS ALERT: Today, I started with some familiar friends. Heather Cox Richardson weighed in with what I thought was the most damning news of the day on Tuesday, the GOP-dominated Senate Intelligence Committee report defending the findings of the U.S. intelligence community on Russia’s role in electing Trump president. Trump has been slandering these agencies since the Russians put him into office, now his own Senate is telling him he is full of shit.
On a gentler note, Garrison Keillor, in his Letter from Manhattan reflectson the higher standard to which marriage holds us and on the bottle of 1942 Bourdeaux he cracked on his 70th birthday. His first drink in a decade turned out to be “a pretty dreadful dull wine” and expensive.
#2 PUZZLED: I did yesterday’s NEW York Times crossword puzzle this morning. Guess I’ll do Wednesday’s on Thursday, because I can!
#3 BLOG POST ALERT: On my own 70th birthday, earlier this month, my three sons and their families surprised me with a ZOOM performance of Don McLean’s “American Pie” only with lyrics customized to reflect my own sordid life. It got me to thinkng …
#4 FRESH CONCEPT ALERT: Our word for today is “antinomianism.”
Call me naive, but I had no idea that there were Christian religions that feel no obligation to follow the Ten Commandments or the secular laws of the community. I mean I know there are very prominent Christians who break the Commandments all the time — talking about you, Evangelical multimillionaire TV preachers and your love-child Trump.
But there have been whole disciplines built around the idea that the grace of baptism is sufficient power to guide an individual to eternal reward in Heaven. The moral laws of man and God are meaningless when you are drenched in the blood of Christ. Apparently. (Some woman on her way to Church in violation of the ban on gatherings used the “drenched in the blood of Christ” argument as justification. )
The antinomianism conflict goes back as far as the first Christians who were closely aligned with Judiasm and comfortable with the laws of Moses and the growing list of behavioral strictures, like kosher laws. Not so, the new Christians from Greece westward.
The new antinomianism can be seen in Evangelicals and libertarians who question the need to follow the laws of God or man, no matter how steeped in morality.
It is a concept I am still exploring — it is far more complicated that what I have presented here but think about it when you see batshit crazy behavior in the streets. There are a lot of people who think they answer to a higher power than the ones that have kept our country together as a democracy for centuries. We used to call them simply “selfish.”
#5 AFTERNOON DELIGHT: One of my newest delights is the Steinway & Sons Lunch Concerts. “Every day, great pianists and Steinway friends will invite you to his or her home and will play exclusively for you. Whether classical, jazz, pop, or film music — be inspired, be entertained and brighten up!”
Bite-sized treats — on a Steinway!
Here’s a wonderful example: Irina Lankova performs Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in G minor Op. 23, No. 5.” Says Lankova in her introduction, “Vladimir Horovitz once said the most important thing is to transform a piano from a percussive instrument into a singing instrument. I can’t agree more.” And so she does.
#6 FRESH READ: “The Invention of Morel” by Adolfo Bioy Casares (1940). The Argentine author made a huge contribution to the mid-20th Century literature of the fantastic and his champions included no less than Jorge Luis Borge and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. One of Bioy Casares’s recurrent themes is solitude — which makes this novella perfect reading in these days. He was 26 years old when “Morel” was first published. (Pssst. Strapped for time or cash? Here’s a pdf of the book. )
#7 UP AGAINST THE WALMART, SHOPPERS: Rolling Stone magazine has posted pictures of the first Earth Day, in 1970. I remember it well. I was marching in Washington DC and watched with awe as several jars of Potomac mud went craching against the front of the building that was soon to house the newly forming Environmental Protection Agency. I remember thinking, “Well, that won’t make anyone friends!”
Today, I look at these pictures and I wonder how many of these people are now marching on state governments demanding to be “liberated” from community regulations during the coronavirus pandemic so they can get manicures go bowling.
They seem in the right demographic for a lot of the people out there. My generation. Where did so many of them go wrong? How do we win them back?
#8 NOPE, NOT YET: I keep opening my bank account to see if a check for $1,200 from the federal government has been deposited. Nope it hasn’t. What, did you think I was going to put a link on this? Anyway, it’s a time killer.
#9 WHAT’S SO FUNNY?: No doubt about it, the pandemic has been a godsend for cartoonists, comedians, and people whose income is over $1 million. Washington Post “Comic Riffs” columnist Mike Cavna has something to say about that. Well, the cartoonist part. Mike knows his stuff, and I say that since I’ve known him since he was a copykid in britches and kneesox on the Sports desk at the San Diego Union-Tribune. Always drawing cartoons. Very interesting Q and A.
Says Mike, “A good cartoon sticks because its message — its clear point of view — makes us experience this synthesized idea in a new way, even if we don’t agree with it. We laugh or we wince or we gasp — the reaction of someone sitting ringside at a high-contact pie-fight.” He was always bright like that.
#10 DINING IN: Orderered dinner from Berlin, thanks to glowing verbiage on another blog. Thank you, “Don Day in SMA.” Miss Rose had a hamburger with bacon and fries. Thickest bacon I’ve ever seen. I had the meatloaf and, yes, it is just like mom’s. With mash potatoes. I’ll have the chocolate cake later….
#11 PODCAST TIME: While walking Moppit tonight, This American Life, a mixed bag of stories loosely grouped under the tile “Black Box” — people who reach into the void for answers. Prologue, a therapist discusses couples falling apart and in love while in lockdown.
Story 1, a man struggles for years to learn the fate of his wife and child in an ethnic village in China.
Story 2, Two 911emergency responders discuss the enormous number of cardiac arrest cases they are dealing with. Imagine having to tell 37 families in a week that you were unable to revive their loved ones — then tell me how your freedoms are being taken away.