Quote of the Day

In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.-- George Orwell

“I would rather be a swineherd at Amagerbro and be understood by the swine than be a poet and be misunderstood by people.” ― Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

The opinions, rants and absurdities expressed herein belong solely to the founder of RBPD. Read with caution. Content may induce nausea, confusion, vertigo, tears, hallucinations, anger, pity, reflexive piety, boredom, convulsions, lightheadedness, a fit of ague, or an opposing view.

Books by RBP writers: Round Bend Press Books. For RBP's writing and editing services go here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Fan's Note

Lived through the power outage, a harrowing affair.  My senior center was closed, but the meals were saved thanks to the tenacity of the Elm Center staff!

The MOW people rock!

Speaking of food, as in food chain, here's an interesting piece.


TS

Monday, May 22, 2017

Two

If journalists were doing their jobs as laid out in widely accepted political theory and First Amendment doctrine—to hold power accountable, especially when the checks and balances built into formal institutions of the republic fail—they would not settle for liberal pieties but instead would embrace the radical analyses that have animated the best of journalism throughout history. Tom Paine, the greatest journalist of the Revolutionary era, never settled for the liberal pieties of his day, which may be why he’s rarely remembered as one of our “founding fathers” despite his considerable contributions to independence.--RJ

One for the road.

Two for the road.


TS

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Branded and Dying

The assignment is to go up to Boston to cover the third annual Content Marketing Conference, a sold-out, $1,250/ticket, four-day powwow for 300 marketing professionals flown in from San Fran and Toronto and other prosperous North American cities. They will sleep at the conference hotel in $349/night rooms with swanky waterfront views. The Struggling Writer is picked up at the train station by a taxi and deposited at the corner of a dingy half-block. The taxi departs hastily. The S.W. finds the entrance to the Airbnb rental, a narrow building adorned in uninspired graffiti.

The Content Marketing Conference takes place in a wing of the Westin Hotel. The spectacular, light-filled lobby is abuzz with men and women ages 20s to 50s in biz attire tapping on laptops, while others quickly wheel compact travel luggage over polished marble. A long escalator to the second floor is decorated with decals of male and female Superheroes soaring through space: neon-green faces, neon-green capes. Spandex-enhanced anatomies accompany motivational implorings such as “Rid the World of Bad Content.”-- Tablet online

Pretty funny and clever, if not up to the standards of Hunter S. Thompson as infiltrator and skeptic.


TS

Thursday, May 18, 2017

RIP Chris Cornell



I figure there have been but a handful of singers max who were able to sing this song and get it right.  You know, the composers; another one in his raw and intriguing way was Chris Cornell.


TS

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Race is On

Great news developing out of Bend, in Oregon's 2nd Congressional District. The potential ouster of Republican Trumpster Greg Walden, the arch-conservative corporate lackey/congressman who helped write the Trump/Ryan anti-health bill, just got a jump start.

This will only work if Eastern Oregon voters come to their senses, but a high-profile candidate like Rachael Scdoris-Salerno can't hurt the cause.

If fame is what it takes to unseat a corporate-backed henchman, I'm all for it.


TS 

50 Years On

















Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 70, still has his principled worldview, elan and tenacity--and now a new book about his long friendship with his college coach and mentor, John Wooden.

He is troubled by the "one-and-done" rule in college ball and how it has changed the college game.

Abdul-Jabbar was always more than merely a highly successful basketball player. His skill ultimately gave him a powerful voice, which he has used more frequently than most professional athletes, past and present, to address social injustice.

The Cleveland Muhammad Ali Summit, June 1967. Kareem was still Lew in this photo.

The summit was called to mull over Ali's anti-war statements and draft resistance.  Blacks were by-and-large still divided on the ramifications of  the Vietnam War at the time.  In April, Martin Luther King had for the first time acknowledged publicly his growing anti-war sentiments, calling the U.S. "a leading purveyor of violence" in the war.

In Cleveland the assembled athletes and black business advocates heard Ali out.  Upon leaving UCLA, Lew Alcindor embraced the Muslim faith and changed his name, like Cassius Clay had before him.

The summit was a seminal moment in the history of black dissent.  At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, two track medal winners, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raised their gloved-fists in open protest of racial injustice in the U.S.

And of course disbelieving conservatives and racists were appalled, just as they are today if any social movement for betterment upsets their narrow view of the world while scaring the holy shit out of them.


TS

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

De Quincey

When he picked up his pen, De Quincey left the world of ‘mere facts’ and entered a field of free unstructured space in which to create a world of his imagining. Writing was a form of vagrancy, the page an open road, grammar the generator of limitless possible routes through thought. To be a writer was to be a flâneur, to be a flâneur was to embody the movement of imagination itself.--LRB

A terrific book review by Nicholas Spice.


TS

Monday, May 15, 2017

Flood

Only the catchment areas of the Amazon, the Congo and the Nile exceed that of the Mississippi, which drains 40 per cent of the United States, encompassing thirty-one states (and two Canadian provinces). Other renowned calamities in the United States – the (human-caused) Johnstown (Pennsylvania) flood of 1889 (more than 2,000 German and Welsh immigrant ironworkers lost their lives when a rickety dam burst higher up the valley), the Galveston (Texas) hurricane of 1900 (the nation’s deadliest hurricane), the San Francisco earthquake and fire (1906) and Hurricane Katrina (2005) – involved more physical damage and greater loss of life. But the area affected by the Mississippi flood of 1927, the most severe in US history, is unrivalled in the annals of American “natural” disasters. Unusually heavy and persistent precipitation began in August 1926 throughout the Mississippi basin and did not let up until the spring of 1927. Long-term processes of deforestation in the upper basin, wetland drainage and installation of monoculture agricultural regimes had seriously compromised the earth’s capacity to store moisture from rain and snow, hastening runoff and erosion of the “naked” soil. So, by late spring, 30,000 square miles across seven states, from Cairo, Illinois, to the Gulf of Mexico, inhabited by nearly a million people, stood under up to 30 feet of water--TLS

Feels like we're about to be flooded out with all the rain from the sky and the gloom from reality.



TS

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bounce?


My daughter was diagnosed with thyroid problems after giving birth to her son eight years ago.

My friend CL battled mysterious medical problems until discovering he too had a thyroid condition that he has under control now.

Recently, I went for my annual medical checkup and have learned that I've joined the club.  Had symptoms, odd aches and pains and a lack of energy that I thought might be age-normative, for I am on the down slope shall we say--but alas a blood test revealed the truth.

Ha, I've added a thyroid medication to my growing list of legal drugs that I consume daily. The heart, liver, lungs and colon are good for now, but I've joined the masses with the thyroid thing.

I hope the miracle drug works and the long list of negative side effects don't appear and my energy comes back.  Watch out!  I might yet again be a dynamo.

Ain't it grand?


TS

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Haha

All she needs is the turban and shades and it would be the reality TV version of “Sunset Boulevard.” Now that  Hillary is slowly reappearing now and then,  out there on the news show circuit,  she resembles  a defiant Norma Desmond . And  we are forced once again to bear witness to the absurdity  that is the Democratic party.--JG

This is pretty funny despite its excruciating sadness...


TS

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Stink and the Fog

In a very short amount of time, it’s become something of cliche to talk about Donald Trump’s firing of James Comey as the equivalent of Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre,” when Nixon fired anyone at the Department of Justice unwilling to fire the Watergate independent prosecutor.

If that does turn out to be an apt analogy, it’s hardly surprising that this is happening in many respects.

The crimes of Watergate came out of the Vietnam War, though this is poorly understood. The Watergate “plumbers” were originally set up to plug the leaks about the Vietnam War.--SH

Out of the cheap stink of the Nixonian analogy and the militaristic fog of the power struggle in Washington, comes an actual essay of merit!

And another from Andrew Bacevich.


TS

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Quest

The mountain rises glistening from an encasement of glaciers in the far reaches of the Karakoram. Pyramid-shaped, an austere link to eternity, K2 yields only to Everest in height and is deadlier. Its walls are vertiginous no matter the approach.

Only the most experienced climbers attempt ascents, and for every four who crawl to its peak, one dies.

And then there is winter. Fourteen of earth’s mountains exceed 8,000 meters (26,246 feet), and climbers have reached the peak of 13 in winter. K2 is the forbidding exception. Ten Polish climbers hope to make history by reaching the summit next winter.--NYT

An excellent feature on mountaineering from the NY Times.


TS

Monday, May 8, 2017

About Time


Finally reading some more Orwell recently, a book I put off for far too long.  Like my favorite,"Down and Out in Paris and London," it's a goody.

"Homage to Catalonia" is Orwell's memoir of fighting the fascists in the Spanish Civil War.  I should have read it years ago, just never got around to it for some reason--perhaps sloth.  Or perhaps I'd read too many books about war and suffered from second-hand battle fatigue.  Anyway...

Great read.


TS

Friday, May 5, 2017

Why History?

History properly and deeply understood is profoundly dangerous to authority. Consistent with Santayana’s oft-quoted remark that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” it warns us about past mistakes. National leaders’ remarkably recurrent faith in splendid little wars that will be concluded quickly with little human cost is one among many examples.--PS

Paul Street lights up lazy historicism in this essay of the day.


TS