( The International Open (Tennis Players vs. Poets) )
( The International Open (Tennis Players vs. Poets) )
During the week, a loaf of Khorasan (kamut) flour.
Got in too late on Friday evening to make rolls for Saturday breakfast, so we had toast instead.
Today's lunch: fillets of lemon sole clear-simmered and served with a dipping sauce of soy sauce and ginger paste (these were a little bland and mushy. which may be because previously frozen, rather than fresh?); served with sticky rice with lime leaves, samphire steamed and tossed in butter, sugar snap peas roasted in pumpkin seed oil and splashed with bramble vinegar, and padron peppers (which Waitrose now stock, apparently).
Probably bread-baking during the week.
Older than me, she was as deeply engaged with the nascent celebrity culture as anyone out there could be, every month bringing home all the magazines focused on movies, pop music, fashion and anything directed to the teen girl market.
We didn't see the Tour because it was broadcast February 14th, which in 1962 was on a Wednesday, during Lent. So all of us were in church, as we were every Wednesday night until after Easter, including D and B. After getting home from church the little bit of time we’d have left before bedtime we’d wouldn’t be watching tv, but doing homework -- or -- in my case, reading a book.
Broadcast 10-11 PM on Eastern Standard Time, shows did come on an hour earlier out there than on the East Coast. Still, it would have been on too late in the evening to watch this. Except for special occasions like slumber parties and holidays, kids were generally kept on a strict 8 PM / 9 PM bedtime.
Most adults were in bed by then or 10 at the latest too, in this world where people got up at 5 or 6 AM to deal with livestock chores, and had to ensure the kids were up, breakfasted and ready to be picked up to be taken to the bus at 7 AM to get to school by 8 AM.
The White House Tour was re-broadcast 4 days later on ABC. But we didn’t get ABC until the fall. I know we had it then, because Dr. Kildare was on NBC (Channel 6) and Dr. Ben Casey was on ABC (Channel 10). All the girls were divided into Kildare – Casey preferences, that era’s team Team Edward -- Team Jacob.
Ha. Three days to confirm that we in our rural community generally did not see the televised White House tour. Which proves how necessary it is to fact check one's memories.
Had no idea about any of this though, when I began wondering about it, due to watching Jackie. Serendipity.
The ginger/cream one is Harry and the tortie is Clare
In the spring sunshine a vintage car rally was passing through the village (pic stolen from abrinsky), there were dog walkers galore, a posse of hikers gathering at the pub, lambs everywhere or course, a fox, and the church bells were ringing throughout.
So of course, there had to be something sinister too.
Apart from that brief foray into the outdoors I have spent the day processing photographs from our December trip. I had done some before on the old laptop with the old software, but decided to start again for the sake of consistency. I am now a fan of Luminar, should anyone care. It's like older Photoshop, but vastly more user friendly so that you can easily do simple stuff, yet it's pretty powerful if you want it to be. Aesthetic choices aside, the video guides are good too.
By coincidence, both times I've done this the films have been about the lives of women born in the nineteenth century. A couple of weeks ago I went to see A Quiet Passion, which about Emily Dickinson. I'm not generally a big fan of biopics, and to be honest, this reminded me why; you can't really compress a real life, with all its messiness and lack of narrative coherence, into an hour and a half and make much of a film, so it felt oddly episodic and didn't really seem to know what it was trying to say. I also felt that it didn't really manage to convey the passing of time; the opening scenes feature a younger Emily, and then there's a sequence where the younger versions of the characters are gradually morphed into the older versions, but once that has happened the film spans a period of 25 to 30 years with no sense of any real change or aging. As I often do with films purporting to depict real people or events, I also spent a lot of time wondering whether the filmed sequences actually bore any resemblence to the real life of Emily Dickinson, or were simply Terence Davies' imaginings. (Mainly the latter, I think; he has been quoted as saying he was seeking 'narrative truth' rather than factual accuracy.) It felt rather lacklustre (despite fabulous costumes) and certainly didn't leave me feeling I know any more about Emily Dickinson than I did when I went in.
By contrast, yesterday I went to see Letters from Baghdad, which is about Gertrude Bell. This takes a very different approach; it mainly consists of Bell's own letters, read by Tilda Swinton, over a montage of photographs of and by Bell and old film clips. The only fictionalised element is the inclusion of various 'talking heads' of Bell's family, friends and colleagues, though even in these cases it's clear that least some of the comments are based on letters and diaries. It's clearly the result of painstaking and dedicated archive research; it's a beautiful and interesting film, but it's very definitely a documentary rather than a drama, and I think I much prefer that to films which attempt to dramatise actual events, which always ends up fictionalising them. I'd recommend it highly.
The people on this list are not all people I agree with all the time, but they are all people you find things out from following, and they are all civil (none of them will start frothing at you for differing with them, although if you attack them they're perfectly capable of defending themselves or blocking/muting you).
- Journos and Pundits:
- Jen Williams - I'm with Gadsden on this, Jen is the best political journalist in the UK right now. Mancunian focus, but covers national stuff too. Forensic with information, and does proper investigative journalism as well as straight reporting. If you only follow one from this list, make it Jen.
- Samira Ahmed - freelancer who pops up all over the place, often Radio 4. Her twitter feed is exactly the kind of blend of politics and geekery I love.
- Jessica Elgot - Grauniad politics correspondent. This is where you go for straight Westminster bubble news, as it happens.
- Emily Maitlis - Presents Newsnight and tweets about politics a lot. Easier on the brain than following BBCLauraK.
- Marina Hyde - absolutely brutal yet hilariously funny political columnist.
- Judith Moritz - BBC North of England correspondent. Was astoundingly good on Hillsborough, among other things.
- Susan Hulme - presents Today In/Yesterday In Parliament on Radio 4. Excellent coverage of stories some others don't pick up - recent example being the gay concentration camps in Chechnya.
- Isabel Hardman - writes for the Speccy on politics. Also very good on mental health issues. Not to be confused with Oakeshott, who is Wrong Isabel.
- Joanne Douglas - Yorkshire politics, with a focus on Huddersfield. Like Jen Williams, Joanne digs deeper and goes harder than most local paper political journos.
- Neil Nunes - yes, that's right, the sexy-voiced radio 4 continuity announcer. His twitter feed is a source of news stories that I don't see a lot of links to, but are usually very interesting.
- Actual Politicians:
- Ruby Chow (lib dem) - Ruby is refreshingly blunt and very precise. I like her a lot.
- Zoe Kirk-Robinson (Tory, and Leave campaigner) - look, you've got to have at least ONE Tory leave campaigner, and Zoe is the most reasonable of them that I've found.
- Hollyamory (lib dem) - Holly is an LGBT campaigner and an immigrant, and thus has a pretty unique perspective on electoral matters. Always worth reading.
- Sophie Cook (Labour) (and football) (and photography) (and LGBT TV)
- Dipa Vaya (Lib Dem) - lib dem diversity officer and all around Good Egg
- Caron Lindsay - (lib dem & unionist scotpol) - sorry to be having so many Lib Dems on this list, but I can't link you to my absolute favourite SNPer ScotPol account because she's friends-locked. So here is the editor of Lib Dem voice instead.
- Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin (labour) - editor of Left Foot Forward blog. Good on internal Labour stuff and things to do with Ireland/Northern Ireland/Intersection between the two.
- Caroline Lucas (green) - worth following for both internal green stuff and attempts to reach out cross party.
- Non-Party-Affiliated and Other Interested Bystanders:
- Writers of Colour - this is another absolute essential, as far as I am concerned. Often combative, but always justifiably so when they are. I have learned so much and re-examined so many of my own thoughts from following them.
- Number Cruncher Politics - run by Matt Singh, and full of lovely graphs and ananlysis.
- Shoni - a lot on intersectional racial stuff. Very left wing.
- Ellavescent - absolutely essential for both disability and trans rights issues. Is "A Pox on All Their Houses" politically, so can sometimes be a bit rude about party politics. She's got very good reasons for being so, though.
- Milena - generally awesome on politics whether there's an election on or not; Milena is also an immigrant and can't vote in the general election. They've tweeted eloquently about how bloody awful that is.
- Shappi Khorsandi - stand up comic and president of the British Humanist association. Manages to be pointed yet hilarious about politics, both party and non, on a regular basis.
We also went for delicious Russian food and vodka beforehand, because we were feeling thematic; so, in keeping with the theme, some Marina Tsvetaeva:
( Hell, my ardent sisters, be assured )
I suppose I should not have been expecting anything sensible from Hollywood racial politics, but for fuck's sake, don't the film people know what it looks like they're saying when they have Fawcett being Insistently Anti-Racist Person Who Insists Amazonians Are People Too, in the face of openly racist opposition, yet, all over the movie-- which from what I gather is also rather inaccurate-- and then heavily imply that he was not only killed but also eaten by natives without including the refutation which was right there in the source material for them?
This is also a film which comes down pretty heavily on Percy Fawcett being Right About Things, and I'm not even sure it was intentional on the writer's part. It's just that when the issues somebody has are things like 'is heavily overinvested in cultural conceptions of masculinity', you have to be very blatant when you demonstrate that those are actual issues, because our culture is so approving of extreme behavior along those lines that disapproval needs to be obvious in-text just to bring us to neutral. Sure, Fawcett almost certainly got himself and his son killed, but the film goes to great (and, from what I hear, also a-historic) lengths to say that maybe they just went off to live with the natives, plus the whole thing very much has an air of It's How He Wanted To Go He Was Following His Noble Dreams. Also, even when we see Fawcett doing things that are demonstrably pig-headed, sexist, and aggravating, he winds up getting vindicated by the narrative over and over again. We never see anyone arguing against his expeditions from the level of logistics on which I am assured they were bad ideas; we see people arguing against them because they are Bad People, or because they are his family and they want him home, which we are assured is understandable and tragic but just How It Had To Be.
In conclusion, I'm definitely going to read the book, because the film, despite a reasonable central performance by Charlie Hunnam (perhaps a bit too restrained) and a very fine side performance by Robert Pattinson (unrecognizable beneath layers of fuzz), some pretty cinematography, and occasional attempts at symbolism, comes off as racist, insultingly simplistic, and just not overall what you want Hollywood to do with a good source text.
Eventually we worked our way down the mudslide to a point where we could hear the speakers from the main stage without getting blasted by the amplification. My father took pictures. Meeting up with Dean and Lily, I gave directions by the papier-mâché 45-on-a-stick with a separate sign for its speech bubble ("Believe me, climate change is a Chinese hoax! Sad!" while standing in a pants-on-fire flaming barrel of Exxon-Mobil) and held my blue butterfly-patterned umbrella aloft like a torch. I saw gaudior and nineweaving and B. for about fifteen seconds before they disappeared with Fox, whose baby sling was pinned this time with a "Test Tube Baby" flag. We never did find choco_frosh and Peter. We had planned to stay the entire duration of the rally, but around a quarter to four the weather became just too cold to stand around in and we set off down Boylston Street in search of hot drinks, ending up at Patisserie on Newbury and then Trident Booksellers & Café. A great deal of walking later we met my mother in Porter Square.
The signs were great. Lots of variants on "Make America Think Again." Lots of "There Is No Planet B." Several pro-vaccination and medicine, of which my favorite was "Got Plague? Yeah, me neither. Thank a Scientist!" A woman in a Spock sweatshirt carried "The needs of the planet outweigh the greed of the lewd." I have no idea what the relevant research was, but I swear I saw "Plankton Don't Want None Unless You Got Funds, Hon!" On general principle I was rather fond of "The Oceans Are Rising and So Are We," "Think Like a Proton—Always Positive," and the several variations on "I'm with Her," pointing in all cases to Gaia. "The Climate Is Changing—Why Aren't We?" "Science Is Inoculation Against Charlatans." I did not expect to see so many shout-outs to Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, from paired signs to a person in a full-body Beaker costume whose small plain sign read simply "MEEP!" I saw signs for Alan Turing. I saw signs for Millie Dresselhaus. One of the speakers was a deaf scientist; several were women of color. My father said it reminded him of the be-ins in New York in the 1960's, only with more porto-potties and lab coats. It was definitely a compliment.
And now, as always, not to lose this energy. What next?
I tweet about politics.
I have over 3000 followers, and several of them RT me on occasion.
This all means that I quite regularly attract... People who wish to engage in debate. Some of them in a less than friendly manner.
Now, sometimes, these people are just asking a question. And sometimes, when I answer their question they say "oo, I didn't know that! Thanks!" and we both carry on our merry way after a positive interaction.
Sometimes they are just outright hostile or insulting, and those people I mute straight away.
Sometimes though... Sometimes they are asking a question in the hopes of trapping me, or pissing me off, or just wasting my time. So I answer their initial question, and then they say "yeah but..." and bring up something unrelated, but still opposing, or they build a straw man (or a battalion of straw men), or employ any number of other tactics designed to irritate me.
Life is too damn short for people like that.
Therefore, from today, I have instituted a Three Strikes and You're Out policy for twitter. If you ask me a question, and you respond with "yeah but...", I'll answer. If you respond to the second answer with "yeah but..." then I will know that you are not debating in good faith, you're trying to irritate me and/or waste my time, and I will simply mute you.
Like I said, life is too short. I confidently expect lots of "yeah but..." replies to this post, btw...
The patchy fog has wiped out the new Towers on the 9/11 site. It feels almost 16 years ago, when things were still "normal."
Everywhere around are green and flaming red.
The leaves are bursting. For some reason this is the weekend all the largest tulips, for some reason all red, have exploded.
Then I run into one, two, and yet another neighborhood friend, while going about my Saturday street routine. We stop and chat cheerfully, happy for April Showers.
This kind of light is good for photography. But grocery shopping and carrying an umbrella are bad for photography!
More mundanely, I was awake at 6. But Himself was planning to sleep as late as he could because of tonight's concert. The music is difficult and he wants to be as well-rested as possible. I didn't even turn on my computer. I sat in the kitchen and read the Mantel novel until he really waked up, about 10:30. Then I made him a big breakfast (don't do that often).
He'll be heading out to Brooklyn soon for the rest of the day. Won't be back til probably midnight? I'm not going because I don't love the kind of music that's being presented, and because once Himself left I will be able to get some work in on Far From Anywhere.