1. With a hearty two-fingered salute to der Sturmtrumper and his minions, lackeys, enablers, cronies, and sycophants, I have cast my ballot here in Our Little Town and have done my mite for defeating Fascism in America.
2. We have nearly three weeks left to go in this, and der Sturmtrumper and his minions are getting ever more desperate. Buckle up, my fellow Americans. It’s going be a bumpy ride.
3. In other news, neither of my arms work anymore. Well, that’s not quite true. They work. Kind of. But they feel like they shouldn’t. I got my flu shot yesterday, and that always takes a day or two to calm down. More relevantly, on Sunday Kim and I went over to the local Chain Pharmacy and got shingles vaccine shots. Now, I understand that this is important. I’ve seen people with shingles and I know why you should do whatever you can not to have that happen to you. And Kim’s shot went well. Mine, on the other hand, was administered with a ball point pen. Even the pharmacist was a little taken aback by it. “Wow,” he said. “That wasn’t a very sharp needle.” That much, I replied, I had figured out.
4. The cats are still discombobulated, but for the moment they’re discombobulated downstairs and not in a “cleanup in aisle four” sort of way so we’ll take it.
5. I’m actually entirely caught up with Great British Baking Show episodes now, and it is kind of a bummer not to be able to turn on the television and see episodes I hadn’t seen yet anytime I wanted to do so. I know they’re working through a new season now and I’ll watch it one week at a time with the rest of the rabble, but it’s not the same. Fortunately I have discovered that The Guardian liveblogs all of the episodes, and it’s been kind of fun going back to the old seasons (still rather fresh in my mind) and reading along that way. I miss Selasi.
6. This is the most decorated our lawn has ever been for Halloween, mostly because we left that up to Lauren and her friend Aleksia. A couple of hours of work and at least one trip the dollar store, and the lawn is festooned with styrofoam grave markers and solar-powered pumpkin heads, the tree in the terrace is covered with tiny plastic ghosts, the bushes have cobwebbing, and there is a little projector that shines moving ghosts on our living room blinds from dusk to about 11pm, so we do have to remember to shut the blinds lest the ghosts dance about the bookcase. This is on top of the election signs – why Halloween and election day come so close together is an interesting historical question but it does lead to some odd juxtapositions. We’re not really sure what we’re going to be doing on Halloween proper – handing out candy to strangers seems a bit rash in the current environment – but we’ll see what happens.
7. One of the Instagram pages that I follow (and don’t bother asking to follow me – I’ve had that account for two years and have yet to post anything so it’s probably not worth your time) is a person who posts odd maps of things, which is something I have always enjoyed. They’re not American, so whenever they decide to ask contributors to send them song recommendations for review I discover a whole trove of things I’ve never heard of before. Today one of them was a really catchy, kind of 80s-punk-rock-feel of a song that you can easily imagine being played in clubs in any industrial downtown area in the world and whose title, translated from German into English, is Fuck You and Piss Off. The Germans do not go for subtle, really. I genuinely enjoy the song except that the band itself seems to have some links to the German far right, and while they do try to refute those links in interviews it does give me a bit of a pause. On the one hand, I firmly believe that art is not responsible for its creators – that a lot of great art is created by assholes and if you can’t get past that you’re going to miss out on a lot of treasures. On the other hand, everyone has their limits and Nazis are beyond mine. The song itself doesn’t seem to be political, and of course any song whose refrain starts out with “You’re an asshole / you’ve always been an asshole / you’ll always be an asshole / nobody likes you” can be applied to a whole lot of odious people in any number of fields – for all I know it’s a breakup song. Mostly I’m just enjoying the music and trying not to think about it much beyond that, which is a lot easier in a foreign language.
8. We’re careening through the American Revolution now in my US1 class. I love this unit. It’s my field of specialty, after all. And the whole idea of a mass uprising against a corrupt and authoritarian madman who is imposing tyranny by using power to crush liberty (essentially the colonial argument for the Revolution in a nutshell) is a much easier concept to wrap one’s head around these days for some reason.
9. Things that have gotten lost in the shuffle over the last two weeks:
a) We’re edging closer and closer to a quarter million Americans dead of coronavirus thanks to a corrupt and incompetent regime more concerned with holding onto power than safeguarding the lives of American citizens.
b) Der Sturmtrumper’s taxes are damning evidence of a criminal enterprise on a global scale and a staggeringly broad national security risk.
c) the GOP is ramrodding yet another unskilled partisan hack onto the Supreme Court in a transparent effort to undermine American democracy and chip away at the foundations of the republic, and their base is thrilled.
d) a right-wing terrorist group very nearly kidnapped and executed a sitting US governor (and was apparently angling for a second) and the president had more criticism for the governor than the terrorists.
e) American passports are still worthless because this country has collapsed so completely that the civilized nations on earth want nothing to do with us.
Are we great yet?
10) The weather is cooling off and it is definitely tea weather. I mean, it’s always tea weather as far as I am concerned, but there is weather you can drink tea in and there is tea weather and we have definitely edged into the latter. Cool air, grey skies, darker afternoons – my kind of time.