Item! Politics. Sucks! Americans just suffered their second repeal of civil rights in this nerd’s lifetime. The first was in 2001 when Congress weakened the 4th Amendment. Now the judicial branch has decided Emerson’s Self-Reliance is no longer the prevailing philosophy of a Western Enlightenment society. Super!
In 1995 a million Black men marched on Washington, DC. July 2022 saw a hundred eighty Americans arrested outside the Taco Supreme for saying they want their civil rights back. Will there be a two million women march on the Capitol? Will there be five million?
The checks and balances between the branches aren’t working, as the robed lifetime appointees have shown. Most of them put their religion above the Bill of Rights. These are the Plessy v Ferguson small minds ruling just the same as the 1890s, LOL.
Item! It’s been twenty years since Bowling for Columbine and still no refutation of its major points, statistics, and studies. Australia banned assault weapons after a mass shooting. Mass shootings went down. Ergo, that which millions of Americans forcibly block out of their minds. The cognitive dissonance that lets them set aside their fear of death has bad extended phenotypes. Children not shot in school is something Joes Liberal and Conservative agree on. Strengthen these common ties diplomatically.
Item! Music. Rules! Independent disc jockey and jazz historian/ambassador LeRoy Downs asks for feedback from his audience on his radio show. What follows is imho and should not be taken as commands or suggestions, or really paid attention to at all, as my jazz knowledge is less than 1% of the average enthusiast’s. I checked out some jazz in San Francisco and saw skilled take-your-turn jazz (each gets X bars and then the next guy’s turn). I don’t think I saw the best stuff. One reason I love Mingus is the improvization within arrangements. My desert island choice if I have to pick just one album is Five Mingus. I love Louis Armstrong. Ornette’s Science-Fiction plus headphones got me through some tough nights. In general I prefer instrumentals. I think they say more imho. Some new jazz I enjoy includes Giménez López, Soojin Suh, and many from Downs’ show like Teodross Avery and Billy Mohler.
Item! Musician Peter Forrest asks, “Why ukulele?” as in why this instrument, why its players are drawn to it, and so on. I say it’s because the lightly built handmade mahogany soprano is one of the great tones in music, across all instruments.
Item! Chess. Magnus Carlsen won the 2021 world championship four-nil, the biggest beat down since the 1930s. Ian Nepomniachtchi bounced back from the defeat to treat the world’s strongest players even worse, blanking this year’s Candidates field five-nil. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, whom I respect too much to pun on his name, won the world blitz title burying his foes in shallow time-control, er, graves. Nodirbek Abdusattorov won the rapid championship. Only 17 years old, his country rewarded him with a new apartment.
As we go to press the chess mundo waits for the modern GOAT to decide whether to go for a record-tying sixth title. But Carlsen may have entered the “try baseball” phase of his career, having been number one uninterrupted for twelve years, looking for new challenges.
Item! Translations. As soon as I can finish them. Check back soon!