Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Continued Stray Thoughts on the Current Political Climate

1. Apparently the GOP does not like it when its own tricks are used against it.  Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) is on public record complaining that he has had no time to review the Democratic bill to overturn der Sturmtrumper’s fake emergency, and that no committee has held a hearing on it or marked it up.  You know, I remember well when Wisconsin’s own Governor Teabagger (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) and his minions, cronies, henchmen, and lackeys in the legislature pioneered the “shove it down their throats before they can gag” approach to legislation, and I don’t recall hearing any GOP objections then.

2. In the Democrats’ defense, this isn’t exactly one of the multi-hundred-page bills that the GOP was shoving through back then.  The entire bill is shorter than the Pledge of Allegiance and could fit in a tweet.  I suspect that committee hearings would have been overkill.

3. For those who doubt, here is the complete text of the bill:

“Pursuant to section 202 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622), the national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 2019, in Proclamation 9844 (84 Fed. Reg. 4949) is hereby terminated.” 

That’s it!  36 words, including all of the citations.  I’ve read cartoon captions longer than that.  Surely this does not represent an undue burden on Rep. Cole.  If it does, may I suggest that he retire and find more suitable work that does not require reading?  Might do him and us some good, really.

4. The House has in fact voted to overturn der Sturmtrumper’s fake emergency, and by a veto-proof majority that included over a dozen GOP votes – a fairly significant loss for our would-be tyrant.  Now the Senate must vote on this – by law it cannot be avoided, so as much as Mitch McConnell cares about the law I guess we’ll see.  It will be interesting how it turns out.

5. But even Mitch McConnell – the Most Corrupt Man In Washington (tm) – isn’t sure whether der Sturmtrumper’s fake emergency is legal.  He admitted it to reporters this month.  Not that this will prevent him from kowtowing to der Sturmtrumper’s blatant assault on the Separation of Powers and the sole authority of Congress to authorize federal spending, because what’s a little thing like the Constitution when it comes to absolute power for your party, right?

6. I wonder why they haven’t thought of this in Congress?

Maybe because it’s a stupid idea that doesn’t work?  I suppose.  You’d think they’d draw the obvious lesson, but you’d be wrong.

7. Did you watch the Oscars?  I saw some of it, even though I had seen only one of the films nominated for best picture and only heard of a couple of the others at all.  I did see Spike Lee – who appears to borrowed his fashion sense from Urkel, in his maturity, and good for him if that’s his thing – give his talk criticizing genocide and asking people to be on the “right side of history.”  This seems frankly uncontroversial to me.  Of course der Sturmtrumper – the guy who spectacularly failed the Nazi Test and called said Nazis “fine people” in the process – took it as a personal attack.  Of course he did.  Maybe it just hit too close to home.

8. Sweet dancing monkeys on a stick, they’re not even trying to hide it, are they?  The whole GOP sliding ever further into Fascism thing?  Now Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) is openly quoting Mussolini. 

I suppose it’s a relief that they’re not pretending anymore, but still.  Individual liberty must be restricted, is that the Republican view now?  Seriously?  Also, Cornyn does know what happened to Mussolini, right?  Is that really his goal?  It can’t be, can it?

9. Best response to this so far:

10. In case you think that comparing the current administration to its ideological ancestors is unfair, consider this:

You know, that defense didn’t work out very well at Nuremburg.  In fact, it worked out so poorly that one of the bedrock principles of American military law now is that US forces are required to disobey any unlawful order.  A paramilitary group like ICE should keep that in mind.

11. After screeching about fraudulent elections for who knows how long, the GOP finally found one.  It’s in North Carolina, and guess what?  All of the fraud was perpetrated by Republicans!  I know!  Say it with me, people: if you want to know what the right wing is doing, look at what they accuse their opponents of doing.  They simply don’t know any other way to operate, so they assume everyone’s doing it.

12. Of course The Most Corrupt Man In Washington (tm) is blaming the Democrats for this, because the Party of Personal Responsibility doesn’t actually accept responsibility for their own actions.  He’s decided that a clear cut case of electoral fraud perpetrated by the people who handle and count the votes – a case so virulently blatant that it was actually prosecuted in North Carolina, the GOP’s private autocracy – was actually due to the Democratic opposition to GOP voter suppression laws.  There is no way such laws would have had any impact on this fraud one way or another, but hey – “it has to be someone else’s fault” is practically the GOP motto these days.

13. Apparently Michael Cohen is about to flip entirely on der Sturmtrumper.  And this has got the minions, lackeys, cronies, and enablers all aflutter, yes it does.  Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) – a genuine waste of space and oxygen – has decided that he needed to spring to his master’s defense with a bit of witness tampering by threatening Cohen.

So here you have a sitting Congressman (granted, a buffoon, but still – duly elected and everything) trying to intimidate a federal witness in an ongoing criminal case, a violation of 18 USC Section 1512 Subsection (b).  Look it up if you don’t believe me.  This is a felony, and – as Rep. Gaetz is a licensed attorney in Florida – grounds for disbarment.  Perhaps the FBI needs to take him aside and explain to him just how many years he will be sitting in prison for this.  Or perhaps he should just find out himself.  I also wonder if he’s forgotten that the GOP doesn’t control the House anymore and that said House does in fact have an Ethics Committee empowered to launch investigations, and that the full House has the legal authority to remove Representatives from the House.  So many options!

14. Not surprisingly, Gaetz is the same guy who tried to eject the father of one of the victims of the Parkland massacre from a House Judiciary Committee meeting, because god forbid we actually have someone not in thrall to the NRA get involved in American life. 

15. Is it any wonder that the people who actually have a clue as to what national security really is – some 58 of them, from both parties, ranging from Madeline Albright (Secretary of State under Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001) to Chuck Hagel (Republican Senator from Nebraska and a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees) to John Kerry (Democratic Senator from Massachusetts and Secretary of State under Barack Obama) to John McLaughlin (Deputy Director of the CIA under George W. Bush) to Alan Charles Raul (Associate Counsel to the President under Ronald Reagan) – have published an open letter declaring that der Sturmtrumper’s fake emergency is a sham. 

“Under no plausible assessment of the evidence is there a national emergency today that entitles the President to tap funds appropriated for other purposes to build a wall at the southern border” the letter says.  The evidence is overwhelming, and much of it comes from der Sturmtrumper’s own administration.  It’s a fascinating read, for those who value reality.

16. Hell, 24 former GOP legislators (5 who served in the Senate and 19 from the House) have written their own letter denouncing der Sturmtrumper’s naked power grab, which does give me hope although I do note that they are all “former” and not “current” legislators.  They point out the obvious – that the Constitution reserves the power of the purse solely to Congress, not to a president too incompetent to get Congress to pass his pet project – and then ask their GOP colleagues the direct question: “How much are you willing to undermine both the Constitution and the Congress in order to advance a policy outcome that by all other legitimate means is not achievable?” 

If the current slack-jawed lackeys that make up the GOP Congressional delegation are predictable from their past actions, my guess is pretty far, actually.  They’ve amply demonstrated their contempt for their own power and for their Constitutional responsibilities, and this should be no exception.  But the question needed to be asked.

17. We are rapidly approaching Grant Administration levels of corruption and criminality here. 

With the indictment of Roger Stone we are now at about 90 criminal indictments from this administration, a dark stain on the x-ray of the body politic, with – possibly – two more years to go.  Remember all the indictments of the Obama years, though?  How many were there, exactly?  Oh, right.  ZERO.

18. If you ever really want to make yourself doubt the future of the American republic and destroy your faith in humanity entirely in the process, try engaging with a committed supporter of der Sturmtrumper online and see how they respond.  Mostly I end up looking at their responses and thinking:

You would think that at some point, somewhere, you’d get a coherent response, but so far none.  For crying out loud, I’ve had a lot of debates with right-wingers who at least had some facts on their side and could present them without denying reality, moving the goalposts every time they are challenged, and flouncing off in a huff whenever you introduce facts only to come back to try to have the last word. 

You know, I miss those people.  I miss having people I could disagree with and still respect.  I miss having people who understood reality and just wanted their interpretation of it to triumph rather than blowing an impermeable ideological bubble around any fact that bothered them.  They’re still out there, but their voices do tend to get drowned out.

19.  Is anyone else wondering just how badly der Sturmtrumper is going to get pantsed in his meeting with Kim Jung Un this week?  Seriously, this is the guy who went bankrupt trying to sell red meat, booze, and gambling to the American people, and he’s negotiating here?  We’re doomed.

20. At least Cadet Bone Spurs has finally made it to Vietnam.  I wonder if he’ll ever visit the grave of the guy who went in his place.

21. You know, I really didn’t want to write about this stuff anymore.  It gets old.  But sometimes you just gotta holler, and I suspect we are rapidly approaching a dividing line where it will end one way or another.  Those times are not for remaining silent, as much as silence would be comfortable.  I will not be silent while my country is dragged into right-wing authoritarianism and away from what it can be if only we make it so. 

I will speak, and I will be heard.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Ten Things That Are More of an Emergency Than the Imaginary Crisis on the Border

1. The documented case of electoral fraud perpetrated by the Republicans in North Carolina.  After all that complaining the GOP has done about fake elections, look at what turned up!  It’s like they knew somehow.

2. The 2,013 people killed by guns this year alone in the United States of America as of February 23, a figure that includes 75 children under the age of twelve and 325 more between 12 and 17.  That breaks down to roughly two people killed by gunfire every three hours.  It does not include suicides, which would more than double the number of dead.  It does include 46 mass shootings, which is just under one per day.  There is no other country in the world not actively involved in a civil war where such numbers are remotely possible.

3. The thousands of migrant children forcibly kidnapped by der Sturmtrumper’s administration, stored in cages, separated from their families, and then lost.  This is, according to both American and international law, a crime against humanity.  The fact that der Sturmtrumper’s minions say that it’s juusst toooooo haaaaaaarrrd to reunite those families is a moral outrage.  Every single person involved in this program should be separated from their own families and jailed in the cages they once put those children in.

4. The fact that millions of working class and middle class Americans are seeing significant tax increases this year while billionaires enjoy vast tax cuts.

5. The federal budget deficit, which has more than doubled under der Sturmtrumper and the GOP and next year will exceed $1,000,000,000,000 for the first time in a decade.  The national debt has exceeded $22,000,000,000,000 for the first time ever.  This is the wholly unsurprising result of item four above.

6. The looming climate crisis, which der Sturmtrumper and his minions, lackeys, cronies, and enablers continue to do everything in their power to promote through their ignorance, malice, and active support.  The five hottest years on record were the last five.  We haven’t had a cooler than average year since the early 1980s.  We will likely start losing cities in my lifetime through rising sea levels and catastrophic storms. 

7. The rapid growth of right-wing terrorism in the United States – a sorry state of affairs that began in the 1990s, spiraled out of control when Americans dared to elect a non-white president (TWICE!) and has been actively condoned by der Sturmtrumper (“fine people”).  Combine that with the free availability of military-grade firearms for every short-dicked loser in America and it’s a volatile situation indeed.

8. The active corrosion of Constitutional governance by the right wing in this country, something that has been the GOP model of wielding power for over a decade now and which der Sturmtrumper is the leading symbol though not the leading problem.  It’s a far deeper rot than that.  Mitch McConnell’s name will be spoken with loathing by future generations of American patriots, provided there are any future generations after he’s done with us.  The fake emergency declared by der Sturmtrumper to get his precious catastrophically stupid wall built is just one example among many of this phenomenon.

9. The continuing interference in American government and society by Russian agents and assets, from the bots on social media to the massive security threat in the Oval Office.  If you thought the 2016 election was a festival of corruption and sleaze, wait until 2020.  Folks, in 2016 the United States lost a war with Russia that we didn’t even know we were fighting, and the current administration is doing everything in its Quisling power to keep us from ever finding out just how badly we did.

10. Honestly, the fact that the heel went out on my left sock this morning is more of an emergency than the imaginary crisis on the border. 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Notes From the Lodge

I am surrounded by skiers.

They are all healthy and active and have strong calf muscles because they wear heavy boots.

They all eat more than the recommended daily servings of vegetables.  Every day.

I am trapped.

I should make a movie about this.

No - a symphony.

With lasers.

Can you have orchestra concerts with lasers?  Tchaikovsky had cannon.  Why not lasers?  Memo: look into this.

Memo: do not let brass section get hold of lasers.  Nothing good will come from that.

Wait - the skiers at the next table smuggled a 48oz bottle of ketchup into the lodge.  Must rethink attributed vegetable intake of skiers.  Unless ketchup is a vegetable?  Memo: find and ask nearest surviving Reagan.

Symphony will have percussion section made up entirely of boots and hollow wooden booths.  Maximum age: 5.

Skiers are not good at closing doors.  Lodge freezing.

Memo: lasers will double as room heaters.

Or as ways to vaporize people who hold doors open in February.

Depending on wattage of lasers.

Definitely keep out of hands of brass section.

There is enough down in this room to rebuild an entire flock of geese and still have enough left over to lose the cat.

And nylon.

All the coats are brightly colored.

Not sure if mating ritual or convenience for rescuers searching through snow banks.

Possibly both.  No logical reason to be mutually exclusive.

Newest trend: ski masks with pre-printed handlebar mustaches.  You read it here first!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Random Thoughts on the Current Threat to the American Republic from Within

I’ve really been trying to avoid writing about politics lately, as it just enrages me to see the United States sunk into the bottomless abyss of stupidity, lawlessness, and immorality by its current administration – and even more so by the sycophantic support this administration gets from its base and from its partisan Quislings in Congress – but sometimes you just have to point a few things out for your own sanity.


1. There is no national emergency.  Illegal immigration has been declining for decades.  There are no hordes of drug dealers racing across the unguarded borders.  Not a single Congressional Representative of either party whose district touches the border thinks this is a good idea, and a number of Texas sheriffs are on public record as saying it’s nonsense.  It is a vortex of stupidity, as one recent headline had it, and it only appeals to the ignorant and the foolish.  There is no emergency.  There is only panic at the thought of poor people entering the US and working for a better life.  That’s not an emergency – that’s what the United States is designed to do.

2. The wall will not stop illegal immigration.  It will not even slow it down.  It will only divert scarce resources away from real concerns, up to and including actual border security.

3. There are a lot of bad analogies to Nazis floating around these days, but declaring a fake emergency in order to grab executive power that the nation’s foundational document explicitly says doesn’t belong to the executive is literally how Hitler turned his government into a dictatorship.  If the GOP wants people to stop comparing them to Nazis they should stop doing the things the Nazis did.

4. This is a deeply dangerous assault on the US Constitution.  Article 1, Section 9, Paragraph 7 explicitly reserves the power of the purse to Congress and it does so for a reason.  The Founders feared tyranny more than any other form of governmental breakdown, and separating the power of the purse from the executive was one of the critical ways they sought to avoid a tyrant in the United States.  Der Sturmtrumper would have been taken out back and horsewhipped as a subversive by the Founding Fathers.

5. The fact that there are so many Americans who see nothing wrong with this is a damning indictment of American culture and politics.  You are what you do when it matters, and if you support tyranny then you don’t deserve liberty.

6. Can we all just agree that this wall is a rhetorical device and will never actually happen?  Even if everyone magically decided that it was the Best Idea Ever and allocated the nearly unlimited amount of money that will need to be spent to make it happen, the fact is that you’re talking about several hundred miles of largely unsurveyed and extremely varied land – most of it private property owned by Americans who will take you to court before they let you seize it out from under them (and whatever happened to the idea that conservatives are all about small government and the free market?  just asking...) – that will have to be analyzed, charted, and prepared before the first shovel can be dug into the earth.  Meanwhile any putative wall will have to be designed, bid out, and contracted – a process that will take years unless they’re so desperate to do this that they’ll put up the first thing that comes to mind only to watch it fall over in the first rainstorm.  This isn’t a wall.  It’s a ploy to keep the rabid base happy and frightened enough to support der Sturmtrumper as he edges closer and closer to legal collapse.

7. It’s astonishing how poorly der Sturmtrumper thought this through.  He could have had billions for this stupid idea if he had agreed to provide a path to citizenship for the Dreamers back in early 2018, but that would have meant Brown People In America and by god neither he nor his base could have that.  He could have had $1.6 billion for the wall in the bill that was overwhelmingly approved by both houses of Congress last December, but President Coulter objected so we got a month-long government shut down that proved once and for all what a lousy businessman der Sturmtrumper really is, since all Congress authorized for this cockamamie project after the shutdown is $1.3 billion, rather less than the original deal.  Now he’s left with this totalitarian power grab that will in all likelihood fail in the courts even before the clock runs out on it.

8. The fact that der Sturmtrumper openly admitted that he didn’t need to take this action DURING HIS PRESS CONFERENCE ANNOUNCING IT is going to be the lead in every lawsuit filed against this illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, and totalitarian action.  Seriously – this guy can’t even seize dictatorial power right.

9. Which doesn’t reduce the seriousness of the fundamental threat this action represents to the American republic.  This is our Reichstag Fire moment, folks.  How do you plan to respond?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

A Joke 46 Years in the Making

My usual Saturday morning routine these days is to try to sleep late and fail – generally because the cats are ricocheting off my pillow demanding breakfast – and then go downstairs, feed the cats (even though this just perpetuates the problem) and then get breakfast myself since at that point I’m up and not going back to bed.  I make my Yorkshire Red tea, gather up the butter and my box of gritty Scandinavian rye crackers that I love so much, and settle in to watch whatever random English Premier League game is being broadcast that morning.

Other than the cat part, it’s actually a pretty nice routine.

Today’s game was a fairly lopsided victory by Liverpool over Bournemouth, which came as no surprise if you know where each of those teams stands in the table.  Bournemouth had some pretty good counterattacks, but they got worn down by a much better side and lost 3-0, which is a pretty thorough beating in soccer.

About midway through the second half there was a foul committed by Liverpool, and Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser found himself sprawled out on the pitch as a result.

“Down goes Fraser!” shouted the announcer.

I can’t be the only person listening who found that immoderately funny, can I?

Maybe I can.

For those of you not up on your odd sports references, this is – aside from the spelling – one of the most famous announcing calls in all of boxing history, word for word. 

Joe Frazier was the heavyweight champion of the world when I was a kid, back when people actually paid attention to boxing.  I have no idea who the heavyweight champion is today – haven’t for decades – and I expect that few people reading this know either, off the top of their heads.  There was a time when boxing was a weekly prime-time event and while that was no longer true by the early 1970s it was still a staple of Saturday afternoon’s Wide World of Sports broadcast.  I spent a fair portion of my childhood watching various boxing matches with my dad, who was something of a connoisseur of the sport despite not having done it himself.  He loved Sugar Ray Leonard and valued “boxers” over “fighters.”  Even now I can still tell who fits into which category on those rare, generally Olympic, occasions when I stumble across a few minutes of a match.

We loved Joe Frazier.  He was a local guy – not born in Philadelphia, but that’s where he lived when he was champion and we claimed him as our own – and even in my first-grade class we all knew who he was.  He was the Champ! 

We were all really bummed when he lost the title to George Foreman in 1973.  It was a short fight, and Frazier lost on a TKO.  Howard Cosell called it, and his amazed cry of “Down goes Frazier!  Down goes Frazier!  Down goes Frazier!” is just one of those things you know if you were around then.  It got memed back before memes were a thing.

I like to think that today’s soccer announcer had been waiting a long time to make that call – that he’d looked at the Bournemouth lineup many times over the last however long Fraser has been with the team and filed that line away for future use at the first opportune moment.

There were probably a dozen of us who caught that reference, but sometimes you have to make those jokes even if you’re the only one who gets them.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Observations on a Dull Game

1. Sweet dancing monkeys on a stick, but that was a boring Super Bowl.  Three hours of two inept offenses being held in check by two hard-working but not particularly exciting defenses until finally the Evil Empire did just enough to squeak out a win and deliver yet another championship to the most entitled fan base in America.  Rah.  The rich get richer while the rest of us look on from the outside, and if that isn’t a precise metaphor for modern America I don’t know what is.

2. Yes, I watched.  Of course I watched, even if it was a game between two teams I really don’t like playing a sport I’ve been losing interest in for a decade.  My team won it all last year so I’ve got that bump in interest still going for me, plus it’s my Salt Holiday – this is the one day on the calendar where I cast doctor’s advice to the wind and stoke up on chips, dip, and pretty much every sodium-laden treat that I try to avoid during the rest of the year, which makes staying on the straight and narrow easier those other 364 days.  You have to have one day to do that in order to survive the rest.  So I watch, regardless of who’s playing.  It would have been nice to have a team to cheer for and even nicer if the usual winner wasn’t crowing about it afterward, but you can’t have everything.

3. Although the women’s curling matches that were on against the football game were tempting.  And so help me if there had been a Premier League game or if the Flyers had been playing, I’d probably have switched the channel before kickoff.

4. I’m kind of glad that I don’t do those Salt Holidays much anymore – at some point you just stop being able to deal with them as much as you’d like to, and I suppose that’s the point of it all.  Today was a long day.

5. The only good things about that game were Tony Romo – whom I’ve always liked, even when he was leading the previous Evil Empire, because he always had a look like he was getting away with something, and who is far and away the best announcer working the game today – and the NFL 100 ad, which was a fun game of “right, who is that one?”

6. Best Super Bowl Meme by far:

7. Second best:

8. I never stick around for the halftime show because that’s just never anything that’s going to end well.  I have no idea how it went, to be honest.  I can’t say that Maroon 5 is a band that does much for me one way or the other – they seem perfectly serviceable, in a focus-group-tested FM-radio sort of way – but I hope for everyone’s sake that it went reasonably well.  It’s a big stage.

9. What was fascinating about the game is that nobody I know was talking about it today.  They weren’t celebrating.  They weren’t complaining.  It was as if the whole thing had been dropped down a well.  Some of that is probably the fact that my team wasn’t in it and I don’t pay much attention if they’re not so maybe people were talking and I just wasn’t listening, and some of it was no doubt the fact that Dynasties Are Boring and celebrating or even complaining about the umpteenth championship by the same team is kind of beside the point.  Eventually even the winners stop caring.

Saturday, February 2, 2019


I went over to the recycling center today with a load of paper.

We actually have bins for that here in Our Little Town – nice big ones that are generally more than enough to keep two week’s worth of paper, cardboard, glass, and plastic that someday you hope will be turned into something else.  It’s one of the nice things about the place. 

Although I never know if I’m doing it right so sometimes it is a bit odd, hauling it all out to the curb every other week and vaguely hoping that it gets taken away and not left there with a passive aggressive note about how other people can handle the recycling rules and wouldn't it be nice if we could all learn to pitch in and be good neighbors?  It’s the midwest, after all.  Passive Aggressive is kind of an art form around here.  Having grown up in the Northeast Corridor, I’m more used to Aggressive Aggressive (“get your act together or we will cut you”) so I’m never sure what to do when people try to be passive aggressive to me.  Mostly I don’t even notice – it doesn’t register at all.  This probably annoys the sorts of people who try to be passive aggressive with me and makes them think that I am trying to do that to them in return, which I would find amusing except that, as described, it pretty much goes over my head unless there is an explicit threat involved and then it’s not really passive aggressive anymore.  So I just put out the recycling and hope for the best.

So far, no notes of any kind.

Usually the bins are more than enough, but recently there were two problems that individually would not have required a special trip to the recycling center but combined were enough to cross that threshold.

First, we’re trying to make some headway in cleaning the basement, which has become the Storage Space of Last Resort and is therefore filled with vast quantities of things that really don’t need to be in my house anymore.  Anyone need a 2600-baud modem?  Got one right here!  We ended up with a lot of paper to be recycled.

And second, the recycling truck comes by at the crack of dawn – usually before we’re even awake on a school day – so if you forget that it’s Recycling Day or if you make a strategic error and assume that a particular federal holiday would also be a city holiday and push your recycling day back 24 hours except that the city apparently does not celebrate that holiday, there is no time to fix it and you end up with an uncollected bin for a month and stuff just piles up around the place. 

It’s a bad combination.

This run was all about paper.  As an academic I live in a world made of paper and office supplies, and as a historian I generally tend to hang onto things because Archives and all that.  But at some point you have to ask if anyone, least of all yourself, will ever want to look at any of it for any conceivable reason.

And, sadly, the answer is often “no.”

So this afternoon about a decade of lecture notes went into the recycling dumpster.  I’ve got it all in electronic format, on multiple storage drives in case one dies, so from a practical vantage there’s no real change here.  And it is nice to have made at least a small open space in the vast collection of nonsense that is down there.  We’re going to keep at it whenever the weather is conducive (i.e. warm enough to avoid frostbite in my own house, which was definitely not last week) and we have a moment or two to devote to it (i.e. probably not once the semester gets rolling).

It’s a strange feeling to let go of so much of this, nevertheless.

But perhaps someday it will be made into new paper for me to write new class lectures upon, and the great circle of academic life will be complete.