I am exactly where I was last night at this time, hearing the same things, looking at the same slumbering dog, hearing the same plane overhead. Really. I mean it’s probably the same plane, a route plied daily, no? I could get out my flight tracker and see.

My dad used to love sitting here and watching the planes fly over. I don’t share the extent of his enthusiasm, but I get it. The beautiful of these enormous machines, the improbability of their seemingly slow motion.

Okay, get out the app.

The one that just came over was moving at 150 kts when it moved overhead; it was from Seattle. This one’s from Chicago, 1800 feet above, 144 kts.


Kilometers To the Second? I should probably know this.

Ah: Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome (KTS) is a rare congenital disorder. Congenital means it's present at birth. KTS causes a red “port-wine stain” birthmark.

So the plane had 144 Gorbachev impersonators on board. Got it.

No, it’s “knots,” of course. 1.15 miles. Making the turn right now, heading in a minute after the last one, is the nightly flight from Detroit. I looked up the registration. It’s owned by Wells Fargo, but the registration says it’s a “fractional owner,” so you can guess that there are many owners, right? It was built in 2005. I can call all this up in a trice.

Am I the better for it? I suppose not; really no point in knowing that. The more interesting thing is speculating on the people inside, the hundreds who pass overhead in magic chariots every day, strapped to their seats, thinking about . . . what? Do they call up special landing music on their phones? I do.

There’s the classics, of course:

Completely anti-climactic piece, alas. But they’re landing at Minneapolis, so it’s good for coming home. YES YES I know the airport in “Airport” isn’t in Minneapolis, but it was shot here, and we claim it as ours.

For a while I listened to this, which has dangerous swank. Good for prolonged descents into urban areas.

You get off the plane with a little more swagger after that. If you have any swagger left after standing in the aisle for 11 minutes, that is.

In 2017, after the worst August ever and the lonely crossing on the Queen Mary, I flew from New York back home to what I knew would be the last normal year where everything would be as I wished it to be. Everything afterwards would be different, and lesser. There wasn’t any getting around that. One more year of Daughter at home, and then all that was done.

I rode that one down with the Chromatics.

I had discovered the band on the in-flight music system on Icelandic Air, years before. They’d popped up on Twin Peaks: the Return, a perfect act for the Roadhouse, and I was also heading home to see the rest of TP: The Return, knowing that would be the end of that, too.

Long and typically self-interested way of saying the obvious, and the banal. Every plane above is a known quantity: its origin, its ownership, its route, its age, its engines. I can watch them move on the app as I hear them overhead. It’s all knowable. The contents of the minds of the occupants belted in their chairs, hurtling down to the thump and the screech, are all mysteries, of course. Startling insight! Every day a thousand private kaleidoscopes pass above, and I never give them any thought. Why would I? No one thinks about the thoughts of the people in buses on the highway. But there’s something different about the passengers on a plane, because they do not pass alongside, like a bus, but above.

I think I’d feel different about the planes if we were under a runway used mostly for departures. As it is, I see the birds coming home. It would be something else to see them leave every day, one after the other, and wonder why I wasn’t heading out, too. But where?

Right now, with summer ending and the slow conclusion of the year to come, the answer is anywhere.

Anyway, I’m sitting in the same spot as last night, with the sounds of the Oak Island Water Feature and the planes, and Birch snoozing. And the crickets. The planes drown them out, but the crickets persist.




Arcadia, Kansas, 1898. The cusp of the new century! Well, in two and a half years.

A dense paper, as was the style. Heds in a row, all the same size, as if each had the same importance.


Mature a policy, you say.


Hay? The man, not the dry horse-food.

The Open Door Policy is the United States diplomatic policy established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that called for a system of equal trade and investment and to guarantee the territorial integrity of Qing China. The policy was enunciated in US Secretary of State John Hay's Open Door Note, dated September 6, 1899 and circulated to the major European powers.

In order to prevent them from "carving of China like a melon," as they were doing in Africa, the Note asked the powers to keep China open to trade with all countries on an equal basis and called upon all powers, within their spheres of influence to refrain from interfering with any treaty port or any vested interest, to permit Chinese authorities to collect tariffs on an equal basis, and to show no favors to their own nationals in the matter of harbor dues or railroad charges.

The policy had no enforcement mechanism, and was basically a statement of principles, ignored when convenient.


  Another monarchy deposed! Not how it’s seen today.


Americans under the leadership of Samuel Dole deposed her in 1893. The planters' belief that a coup and annexation by the United States would remove the threat of a devastating tariff on their sugar also spurred them to action. The administration of President Benjamin Harrison encouraged the takeover, and dispatched sailors from the USS Boston to the islands to surround the royal palace. The U.S. minister to Hawaii, John L. Stevens, worked closely with the new government.

Dole sent a delegation to Washington in 1894 seeking annexation, but the new President, Grover Cleveland, opposed annexation and tried to restore the Queen. Dole declared Hawaii an independent republic. Spurred by the nationalism aroused by the Spanish-American War, the United States annexed Hawaii in 1898 at the urging of President William McKinley.


That Dole fellow. Wonder what his day job was.

Kidding! He was a lawyer. And he was born in Hawaii, in case you think he came from the states to do an imperialism, as they say. It was his cousin who came over later and got into the pineapple game.



Uh huh. I’ll bet.

Actually, I don’t know, but it seems a bit . . . forced. But it was real; google reveals its resting place in the Shafter archives. The author of the letter contrasted the American character with the Cubans, whom he said were amoral and incapable of lawful behavior.


The weekly serial.

Her name is spelled incorrectly. It was Brame. I don’t know if people knew this, but Brame had been dead for 14 years. She published this one under the “Dora Thorne” name, 20 years before.


Since (Mr.) Brame was a poor businessman and a drunkard, Charlotte found herself forced to support the family with her writing. Her books were very successful with the public, but her earnings were severely diminished by piracy, particularly in the United States.


Briefest editorials anywhere:

Don’t quite get the last one. I mean, I do; Bryan led troops in the war. but the Cuba part is obscure.



  The social blotter. Time-traveller Art Bell makes two appearances.

It was about four miles from Coalvale to Arcadia. Don’t bother looking for Coalvale; there’s naught there buy a house.

There’s not much in Arcadia, either - but that’s tomorrow’s entertainment.



That'll do! Enjoy your midweek moments. Cigarette ads await.





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