I was all set to write a leisurely Bleat and have mild sport with the day when my wife reminded me that I should make the plane reservation, and the led to the usual tsuris. ONLY 3 LEFT! NINETY SIX OTHERS LOOKING AT THIS PROPERTY! Gah. It’s the same weekend as a big touristy event, so the hotel rates have been jacked high in advance, and no amount of clearing your cache or VPNing into the sites are going to change that, despite what some say. Just because - and I’m describing a purely theoretical conversation with someone who could resemble my wife - just because you paid much less at another point in time does not mean you will get that price now; it was not the baseline for all future flights. The actual baseline varies so wildly one cannot say it is, in fact, a baseline, although a general range can be expected, and this indeed is within the general range, inasmuch as it’s not 3 what you paid before. Capisce?

It’s all stressful, because you have to LOCK IT IN NOW and SEAL THE DEAL and then wait agonizing minutes for the confirmation email.

And now I have to write a column, and I’m sure it hasn’t been a year since I last bitched about this, so I can’t do that. Gah.

Then it occurs to me that I should nail down Daughter’s flight home for Thanksgiving, which will be ruinous, so I go online for that, and every - single - flight it’s the same: FOUR LEFT.

FOUR! Who do I have to fight for this? Okay, we can get it under NINETY ELEVEN THOUSAND if she leaves at 3 AM and returns a day early, because the world and his wife is traveling on Sunday. DO IT! LOCK IT DOWN!

I’d do Christmas right now, but I’m drained.










I can’t believe the things some people write.

Let me rephrase that: I can’t believe the things some people write.

Let me rephrase that: I can’t believe the things some people write.

Let me rephrase that: I can’t believe the things some people write.

Let me rephrase that: I can’t believe the things some people write.

You know what I just did there? Erased entire demographics with the power of selective emphasis.

Ran across a Serious Piece that addressed the problematic problems with . . . italics.

The use of typeface is not value-free, it generates its own meaning and can transform that which it represents. To choose a typeface like the italics, slant and bowed, is apparently to acknowledge subjugation and erasure. But is that true?

No. No it’s not.

If you’re curious, the author is bilingual, and is discussing the colonialism implied by italicizing non-English words.

Italics serve me. By telling my own story, I already discomfort anyone who doesn’t want to be reminded that mine is a voice capable of speaking from two places. My writing embodies my experiences and those handed to me. Hence, when I italicize words in my writing, I am aware these words do not have an assimilation in the English language—textually and otherwise—and if a non-Yoruba speaker reads it, white or brown, she’ll still need to learn the words and its context. One of the aims of being a writer is to help the reader broaden their worldview—maybe, this is idealistic, but I stand by this.

For me, there is also that point of significance—especially for the political argument of otherness. The point at which the reader stops to see the “foreignness” the reminder of the existing otherness that trails my attempt to communicate my story. When I’m being told to tell my story, the italics as emphasis ask—do you want to listen? Are you reading with your being, aware that the world does not revolve around you?

God, this is exhausting.

Can you please step out of the box and see that this is a political statement on the real sense of language and borders, inclusions and exclusion, otherness and personhood. This is what and how you have produced a language that institutes imperialism, but which I use to do as I like. For this moment, I do not intend an erasure by instigating an activism that blinds an imperialist language into compliance. There’s already an eruption in the bifocal monolingualism that I translate into my writing.

Which, I suspect, is not characterized by rigorous clarity. I’ve met with many an editor in my career, and I’ve yet to meet one who would say “get me someone who can provide eruptions of bifocal monolinguialism."

I actually had more to say on this, but it would textually gild the normative lily-values, or something. All I can say is that if you're finding offense in the typographical presentation of unfamiliar words, the entire world must be a dense thicket of thorns with a billion bristling offenses on every branch. It's not a happy way to live.

But it seems to provide its own curious satisfaction.




It’s 1964.

Rusk was right.

It happened in October. The Rooskies had given them the tech before they fell out.

Thanks, Ivan.

Hey, Spur gasoline!


Murphy owns them now. As for the cutline:

Robert Baker was an American political adviser to Lyndon B. Johnson, and an organizer for the Democratic Party. He became the Senate's Secretary to the Majority Leader. In 1963, he resigned during an investigation by the Democratic-controlled Senate into Baker's business and political activities.

The investigation included allegations of bribery and arranging sexual favors in exchange for Congressional votes and government contracts. The Senate investigation looked into the financial activities of Baker and Lyndon Johnson during the 1950s. The investigation of Lyndon Johnson as part of the Baker investigation was later dropped after President Kennedy's assassination and Johnson's ascension to the presidency.

Now here’s an interesting anecdote. Baker, in an interview:

"One time I was in there and Ellen Rometsch was at my table. She was as pretty as Elizabeth Taylor. She was married to a sergeant in the German Army, but stationed at their embassy in Washington. She was sort of like me. She was ambitious. She'd come from Germany broke."Baker alleged that one of "President Kennedy's best friends and his wingman, [lobbyist] Bill Thompson was there too, and he came over to me and he said, 'where in the hell did you get this beautiful girl?' And Bill Thompson asked me if she could go have dinner with the President. So I arranged for Ellen Rometsch to go to Bill Thompson's apartment and he took her to the White House on many occasions.”

Rometsch was of German origin. As a youth, she had been a Communist Party member in East Germany before fleeing with her parents and then coming to the United States.

More here.

Minneapolis, 1964: women can’t shine shoes.

Sey shoeshiners. Well, it's someone's fetish.

Ooh, it was at Cannes, and has one of those weird names, and it’s “powerful” - this has to have lots of sex! Sex! Legs! Sex!


Sorry boys, it’s about interracial marriage. They can’t say that, but they can hint - “David and Lisa” was about a different "difficult" marriage (mental illness) and “Lilies” was about Sidney Poitier and nuns, so you get the gist.

You may remember the actress from the Mary Tyler Moore ep where she almost had an affair with Murray, but probably not.


Ah, Henry’s Hamburgers again.


5922 Excelsior was a modest building. That's the great thing about franchise operations, I guess.

By the way, here's the guy to whom the letter was written!

She may later have been whipped with a wet noodle; it happened from time to time.


  Ann pushed the envelope more than people remember.



  My God, the daily work, it was just exhausting.

Good thing there’s a picture or we wouldn’t know what they meant:

Address is odd. It comes back now to an absolutely nondescript liquor store, but there’s a Perkins of the proper vintage a bit to the north, with a different address.



Athelstan, as usual, was right/

We’ve met him at the Bleat before - futurist author of a popular cartoon about the progress to come, and also the brains behind a failed utopian city in the middle of Minnesota.




That'll do; enjoy the update, and I'll see you around.



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