By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, more shortly. Essay later. –lambert UPDATE All done. No essay; but see Ritholtz (“What is Wrong with These People”) and the Financial Times (“America’s political crisis”), with my comments following.
Bird Song of the Day
A bit of a duet.
I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?
The South is the national champion for vaccination, so far, although the Midwest and now the Northeast are gaining.
Case count by United States region:
Big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California):
California resumes its upward climb.
Not sure what this chart means if testing is rationed so widely.
Synchronized drop, weirdly.
Nowhere near 3%, anywhere.
An enormous jump in the West. The Northeast seems to be holding steady after its jump, so maybe it’s not reporting. Hospitalization is discretionary; they may also be reducing their admissions rate — relative to cases we cannot see in this data! — to preserve future capacity; or because hospitals have figured out how to send people home.
Case fatality rate (plus deaths):
Fatality rate looking a little better, though still not as good as two months ago.
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
“State Capitals Tighten Security Amid Threat Of Armed Protests Ahead Of Inauguration” [NPR]. “States are taking steps to tighten security at their capitol buildings following a warning by the FBI to prepare for armed protests in the days leading up to the the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20. Many state capitals have already seen protests by people upset by President Trump’s loss in the election. On Wednesday, the president put out a statement responding to reports of more demonstrations. ‘I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind,’ Trump said in a written statement. ‘That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers.’ The warning collides with the beginning of new legislative sessions in many states, including in Washington.”
“State capitals nationwide bracing for possible violence in wake of attack on U.S. Capitol” [CBS News]. “America’s capital cities are bracing for possible unrest after last week’s assault on the United States Capitol. The FBI is warning law enforcement across the country that groups are calling for the ‘storming’ of federal, state and local courthouses in all 50 states if President Trump is removed from office prior to Inauguration Day on January 20, a law enforcement source told CBS News.”
“As law enforcement braces for more violence, state Capitols come into focus” [NBC News]. “More than a dozen flyers are circulating online advertising pro-Trump rallies at state Capitols, according to social media analysis by NBC News. “Freedom is a right,” one popular flyer reads; “Refuse to be silenced,” says another… As part of its response to an increase in online activity and organization efforts that could lead to further violence, Facebook has been tracking many of these fliers across alternative sites popular with militia groups and QAnon followers and pre-emptively blocking them, according to a spokesperson who asked not to be named for safety concerns. State Capitols, long seen as meeting places for activists to protest and sometimes clash with counterprotesters, are on alert. Social media platforms have taken unprecedented steps in recent days to keep their sites clear of content that might incite further violence.” • Perhaps I’m too cynical, but I’d fix that last sentence: “Social media platforms[, anxious to avoid increased regulation or even breakup from the incoming Democratic administration,] have taken unprecedented steps.” Speculation, I know.
“‘The Genie is Out of the Bottle'” [Politico]. “Wednesday’s impeachment of President Donald Trump was one of the strangest political events in memory: A historic rebuke to a president delivered with just days remaining in his term, with seemingly little at stake—and a Senate away on recess, in no rush to take a vote on whether to convict. Notably, 10 Republicans joined the vote, making it the most bipartisan vote in the slim history of impeachments. But how much will any of this really matter? Does it stand any chance of bringing Americans together in rejecting Trump’s instigation of the Capitol riot—or will the rushed process just make an already stubborn partisan divide worse?” • A real lesson in what it takes to get Congress to act on a problem with some dispatch, I suppose.
Life’s little ironies:
Overlooked irony: this time Trump is being rightly impeached for inciting a violent far-right mob. Last time Trump was impeached for, in part, briefly pausing weapons that were aiding far-right Ukrainian forces in a violent proxy war incited by the US. pic.twitter.com/6B4QVFSZvV
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) January 13, 2021
And the first time Trump wasn’t impeached, it was for something he didn’t do. Imagine if, instead of investing enormous energies in RussiaGate, liberal Democrats had invested that same effort in continuous oversight of the Trump administration’s performance, particularly with regard to the pandemic, not only showing us what Trump was doing wrong, but what they would do instead. If they truly intended to “hit the ground runnning” after the Presidential election, that would have been helpful. Of course, that would come perilously close to governing.
Our Famously Free Press
“How Facebook Incubated the Insurrection” [New York Times]. Weirdly, the Times puts this in the Opinion section. “Facebook’s algorithms have coaxed many Americans into sharing more extreme views on the platform — rewarding them with likes and shares for posts on subjects like election fraud conspiracies, Covid-19 denialism and anti-vaccination rhetoric. We reviewed the public post histories for dozens of active Facebook users in these spaces. Many, like Mr. [Dom] McGee, transformed seemingly overnight. A decade ago, their online personas looked nothing like their presences today. A journey through their feeds offers a glimpse of how Facebook rewards exaggerations and lies. But the rewards are trivial compared with the costs: The influencers amass followers, enhance their reputations, solicit occasional donations and maybe sell a few T-shirts. The rest of us are left with democracy buckling under the weight of .” • From the “news-gathering institution” that brought you RussiaGate, not to mention Iraq WMDs. I also note that the word has changed from “coup” to “insurrection.” Worth a read, though!
“Exclusive: Over 1,000 brands ran ads alongside election misinformation” [Axios]. “A new report from NewsGuard, a service that uses trained journalists to rate news and information sites, found that from Oct. 1 through Jan. 12, nearly every major brand in America inadvertently ran automated ads on websites that peddled election conspiracies and misinformation. The chaotic nature of the modern news cycle and digital advertising landscape has made it nearly impossible for brands to run ads against quality content in an automated fashion without encountering bad content.” • B-a-a-a-d content. Bad, bad, bad!
UPDATE “‘This isn’t the final chapter’: Analyst warns, again, about rise of right-wing extremists” (interview) [NBC]. Background: “In April 2009, a senior Homeland Security intelligence analyst named Daryl Johnson wrote an internal report warning that right-wing extremism was on the rise in the United States and that it could lead to violence. The report leaked, and the backlash was swift.” Now the interview: “NBC NEWS: What was your reaction when you saw the insurrection on the Capitol last week? JOHNSON: Over the summer, spring and fall we had two other capitol buildings, in Michigan and Idaho, that were overrun and breached by the same type of people. It was not beyond the realm of possibility that these people will do a similar thing to try to stop the election. . So it wasn’t a surprise.” • Now I don’t feel so bad. It turns out that others more qualified than I am made the same mistake I did. So, no more self-administered lashes with a wet noodle for me for not making the call.
“Democrats demand probe into nature of Capitol tours on day before assault” [ABC]. “Congressional Democrats have demanded an investigation into what they call ‘suspicious behavior and access’ for some visitors the day before the Capitol assault, alleging that unnamed lawmakers led ‘an extremely high number of outside groups’ through the building on what they say could have been ‘reconnaissance’ tours…. 30 lawmakers [signed] a letter Wednesday to request an investigation from the acting House sergeant-at-arms, the acting Senate sergeant-at-arms, and the United States Capitol Police… The letter does not name any members or make a specific reference to Republicans, nor does it make any specific allegation that members leading the tours were privy to any plans to attack the Capitol the next day…. ‘Many of the Members who signed this letter, including , as well as various members of our staff, witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups in the complex on Tuesday, January 5,’ the lawmakers wrote.” • Eesh.
“‘What is Wrong with These People?'” [Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture]. Re-upping from 2017: “‘What the hell is wrong with those people?’ If the events of recent weeks (or years) have you asking yourself that, the answer is: not very much. They simply suffer from a small but crucial error in the way their brains create models of the world around them. That is the conclusion of “The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science,” a 2014 book I reread this weekend. The insights of author Will Storr are applicable not only to the current political mayhem but to traders and investors. Indeed, anyone who makes important decisions based on their subjective understandings of the universe stands to learn something about themselves and their decision-making processes. Storr interviews, and occasionally embeds himself with, people many of us might describe as rather eccentric if not disturbed. UFO abductees, Holocaust deniers, new earth creationists, Western medicine eschewing homeopaths, meditation gurus, extreme yogis, ‘skeptics’ and past-life regression therapists are among those whose world views are closely examined. What is so striking about all of the people embracing unorthodox views isn’t that they are insane, but rather . Indeed, what is wrong with these people? They are deeply tribal; they construct story lines to help make sense of the world; when evidence is presented in direct conflict to that narrative, they find ways to dismiss it or ignore it. Their compulsion for emotional narratives overwhelms any sense of data or evidence-based analysis. They are homo sapiens operating the way homo sapiens wetware has operated for hundreds of thousands of years. What is so shocking is not that these people are so awful or believe in awful things, but that they are otherwise rational and sane people.” • Catullus 22: “Everyone has their own special delusion; but we do not see the knapsack which is on our back.”
Attention #SeditionHunters the attack on the western door at the #capitol took place in map grid E4. We now have an interactive map of uploaded parler videos to search. IF you find something tag it w/ #SHParlerVidReview_E4. Here is the link: https://t.co/XxgQbxTmPH pic.twitter.com/M3Qoq6zrIe
— Donna Lisenby (@RiverFox1) January 14, 2021
If any readers know of similar aggregations, I’d like to see them. You can forward links to me at the email address before the plant. Thanks!
UPDATE “The Slush Fund Bankrolling The Insurrectionist GOP” [Daily Poster]. “An election in Colorado illustrates how CLF often plays a far more direct role than PAC donations in supporting insurrectionist Republicans. Freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert, who voted against certifying the presidential election and refuses to walk through Capitol metal detectors, was boosted by more than $900,000 of spending by CLF and only received $20,000 from business PACs. ‘Are these corporations saying they’re no longer donating their $5,000 max corporate PAC checks to Republicans or saying they’re no longer doing bundling and financing million-dollar super PACs on behalf of Republicans?’ asked Justice Democrats’ Waleed Shahid, whose organization works to elect progressive lawmakers. ‘Big difference.’ That difference explains the dissonance between exuberant media headlines heralding the end of PAC donations and yet quiet reassurances that there will be no interruption of the much larger flood of cash funding the GOP’s political apparatus.” • I continue to express my amazement at the idea that cutting Republicans off from corporate funding is bad for Republicans, and good for Democrats. Does Sirota really want the right-wing equivalent of the Sanders campaign, small-donor funded, but this time a true 365-day-a-year movement? (I think this piece reproduces two cardinal errors that Democrats of whatever stripe often make: (1) They focus on what Repubicans are doing, instead of what they themselves should do, and (2) they don’t consider the idea that Republicans will display adaptive behavior. I like Sirota a lot, but I think he’s getting a little caught up in the whirl.)
UPDATE “FAA steps up enforcement against unruly airline passengers” [Associated Press]. “The Federal Aviation Administration said there has been ‘a disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior. These incidents have stemmed both from passengers’ refusals to wear masks and from recent violence at the U.S. Capitol.’ The FAA said under an order signed by Administrator Stephen Dickson, unruly passengers will no longer get warnings. Instead, the agency said, it will launch legal enforcement actions. Penalties can includes fines up to $35,000 and jail terms for passengers who assault or threaten airline crews or other passengers. The new policy will be in effect through March 30. It won quick praise from the head of the largest U.S. flight attendants’ union. ‘First strike and you’re out. We applaud FAA Administrator Dickson for taking this clear stand for our safety and security,’ Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said in a statement.”
Transition to Biden
“Scoop: House freshmen at war after Capitol siege” [Axios]. “The freshmen class of House Republicans has been fighting since last Wednesday’s Capitol assault, creating a clear split just over a week after being sworn in. The conversation started when Greene — a fierce defender of President Trump and former QAnon backer — sent a National Pulse article to the chain claiming the president’s approval numbers had increased in December. Mace, who came out early against Republicans who planned to reject the election results, fired back: ‘I’m disgusted by what you and other Q-conspiracy theorists did last week in the chamber after all of the violence.’ Greene said she condemned it and told Mace ‘don’t believe the fake news.’ She also brought up how some Black Lives Matter protests turned violent. Mace answered: ‘Literal QAnon lady trying to deny she’s a QAnon lady.'”
Does make you wonder if Democrats decided, early, that they would need a cop:
This is why Kamala Harris was chosen by the Democrats despite my community rejecting her pic.twitter.com/JjgW8lexY5
— Nina Turner is a Dr. Cornel West Democrat ? (@SocialistMMA) January 13, 2021
Transition from Trump
At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.
Employment Situation: “09 January 2021 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Significantly Worsens” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 775 K to 835 K (consensus 788 K), and the Department of Labor reported 965,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 816,000 (reported last week as 818,750) to 834,250,”
Rail: “Rail Week Ending 09 January 2021 – Rail Starts Year In Positive Territory” [Econintersect]. “Week 1 of 2021 shows same week total rail traffic (from the same week one year ago) improved according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data. Total rail traffic has been mostly in contraction for over one year – and now is slowly recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.”
Imports: December 2020 Import Year-over-Year Inflation Now -0.3%” [Econintersect]. “Year-over-year import price indices inflation remained in contraction and grew from -1.0 % to -0.3 %.”
Commodities: “USDA Report Analysis: Is the U.S. Running Out of Soybeans to Sell?” [AgWeb]. “USDA’S final crop production report of the year made some historic adjustments. As a result, soybeans shot 60 cents higher in a matter of minutes, and corn traded up the limit. While the corn revisions seemed to be the bigger story on Tuesday, University of Missouri extension economist Ben Brown says USDA produced several surprises in its report on Tuesday. ‘I continue to believe after today that the story was really about corn, and especially the corn yield drop,’ he says. ‘We found in our first quarter stocks report this month, it came in 651 million bushels blow trade estimate. So that’s a large bullish surprise.'”
Shipping: “Surging Shipping Rates Add New Headwind for the Global Economy” [gCaptain]. “The convulsions are reaching beyond supply chains into operations, either curbing output or saddling manufacturers with goods that haven’t been paid for, and wreaking havoc on inventories and cash flows. In some cases, supply snarls are begetting demand drags: Some factories complain they can’t consider new orders until the clogged pipeline clears…. The outlook gets no less murky heading into February — when Chinese New Year marks a seasonal turn in Asian exports, many importers renegotiate freight rates with carriers for the next 12 months and ocean carriers start to receive tens of thousands of new containers they ordered last year… Normally container rates drop 15% to 20% after the Chinese holiday, he said, but ‘that might not happen exactly the same this year because the backlog has got to be cleared.'”
Tech: “Amazon’s Ring Neighbors app exposed users’ precise locations and home addresses” [Tech Crunch]. “A security flaw in Ring’s Neighbors app was exposing the precise locations and home addresses of users who had posted to the app…. Another problem was that every post was tied to a unique number generated by the server that incremented by one each time a user created a new post. Although the number was hidden from view to the app user, the sequential post number made it easy to enumerate the location data from previous posts — even from users who aren’t geographically nearby…. Ring currently faces a class-action suit by dozens of people who say they were subjected to death threats and racial slurs after their Ring smart cameras were hacked. In response to the hacks, Ring put much of the blame on users for not using “best practices” like two-factor authentication, which makes it harder for hackers to access a user’s account with the user’s password…. The smart tech maker has also faced increasing criticism from civil rights groups and lawmakers for .” • Idea: Make Ring mandatory!
Tech: “U.S. asks Tesla to recall 158,000 vehicles for touchscreen failures” [Reuters]. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Wednesday asked Tesla Inc to recall 158,000 Model S and Model X vehicles over media control unit (MCU) failures that could pose safety risks by leading to touchscreen displays not working…. NHTSA added that ‘during our review of the data, Tesla provided confirmation that given the memory device’s finite storage capacity.'” • Oh.
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 69 Greed (previous close: 70 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 66 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 14 at 12:24pm.
“British bees are becoming reliant on the invasive Himalayan Balsam flower for nectar as honey samples show decline in native wildflowers” [Daily Mail]. “Using cutting-edge DNA barcoding, de Vere and her team identified which plants bees visit most often today – by looking at the pollen trapped within honey. They compared this to a 1952 survey where a microscope had been used to analyse the grains sent from hives across the country…. The differences were clear between results from 1952 and the modern study. With fewer pastures and increased use of herbicides and inorganic fertiliser in farming, white clover has dropped to second place as a honeybee staple. The insects are also turning much more to oilseed rape, a plant which has a sting in its tail because of bee harming pesticides. The team behind the new bee study also found they were turning to Himalyan balsam – which is non-native to Britain and highly invasive. Other important sources are spring flowering shrubs and trees including hawthorn, apple, Cotoneasters, sycamore, maples , cherries, plums and heather.”
UDPATE “CDC study finds COVID-19 outbreaks aren’t fueled by in-person classes” [The Hill]. “A new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in-person classes at K-12 schools do not appear to lead to increases in COVID-19 when compared with areas that have online-only learning. . ‘CDC recommends that K-12 schools be the last settings to close after all other mitigation measures have been employed and the first to reopen when they can do so safely,’ the authors of the report wrote.”
“Improving Ventilation in Your Home” [Centers for Disease Control] (updated 2021). This full of useful, pragmatic information. Picking out one random item: “Use ceiling fans to help improve air flow in the home whether or not windows are open.” • I don’t know whether “virus particles,” used throughout, was in the 2019 version, or whether CDC is using this phrase to bridge the droplets v. aerosols controversy.
“Bury Me Furious” [The Nation]. “Losing dozens of friends in your 20s and 30s and then getting diagnosed with a deadly virus yourself when you’re young really fucks you up. I’ve lost more people than I care to count to AIDS since the late 1980s—and many of those who survived still bear the scars of those years… I spent most of 2020 high on adrenaline. As an infectious disease epidemiologist and someone living with HIV, pandemics strike visceral fear into me even as I try to focus my thoughts, logically, scientifically, on what needs to get done. At the end of 2020, with no holiday celebrations, with instructions to my research group not to do any work between Christmas and New Year, my world was quieter for a few days. And the grief, sadness, terror of 2020 just welled up. I looked in the mirror and could see what this struggle has done to me, physically, emotionally, psychologically…. Twenty twenty-one is here. We greet it with a Democrat soon to be in the White House, and both the Senate and the House in Democratic control. This is our last best chance to finally vanquish Covid-19. We cannot screw it up. The ability to cope, to make our way through the pandemic relatively unscathed, ended a long time ago for some, but for even the die-hards like me, it’s getting tough to think how we can all bear much more of this.” • Check his list. It seems unlikely to me that the Biden administration will be able to do all of it, or if it even wants to.
“The World Is Desperate for More Covid Vaccines” [New York Times]. “There is another way. President-elect Joe Biden can solve the U.S. and worldwide vaccine shortages by using a strategy inspired by the one our country used to address the AIDS crisis. Mr. Biden can marshal the federal government’s resources to manufacture additional vaccine supplies and combine that move with vigorous efforts to boost distribution. Nearly two decades ago, Anthony Fauci, who was then almost 20 years into his role as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, helped persuade President George W. Bush to establish the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The goal of Pepfar, as it’s called, was to ensure that people in countries with limited resources could get medication to treat H.I.V. Pepfar has received consistent bipartisan support and is recognized as one of the most successful global health initiatives ever implemented, responsible for saving an estimated 18 million lives to date, according to the U.S. government. Mr. Biden can help address today’s urgent global health challenge by establishing the President’s Emergency Plan for Vaccine Access and Relief, or Pepvar, and rapidly building facilities to manufacture vaccines and their constituent components at scale. Manufacturing could be coordinated using a model similar to the one used by the Department of Energy’s national laboratories, in which a government-owned facility is operated by a private organization experienced in the relevant sector.” • I don’t think Pfizer would be happy about that.
UPDATE “Problems With Paying People to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19” [JAMA]. “[P]ayment-for-vaccination proposals are not only unnecessary, but problematic. First, people have a moral duty to be vaccinated, including a duty to promote their own health, a duty to others to promote the community benefit of vaccination, and a duty to society for individuals to do their fair share in putting a stop to the pandemic. Being vaccinated in order to receive a $1000 or $1500 incentive robs the act of moral significance…. Second, paying a substantial sum as an incentive to overcome vaccine hesitancy and to promote vaccine uptake is not a prudent investment. It is likely that a majority of the population will be eager to get vaccinated as soon as possible in view of the extremely high and increasing number of SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19–related hospitalizations and deaths…. Third, some might feel that a substantial monetary incentive for vaccination is coercive. While this is a misconception that confuses an offer with a threat, there is a genuine ethical concern about the influence of such an incentive on decision-making.” • Wellie… First, we’re facing ruin. Moralizing can wait. Second, “prudent investment” sounds like “complex eligibility requirements, to me. Why not just pay people whether they want to be vaccinated or not? The third point restates the first. I think the overarching problem is that for many outside the public heatlh establishment, “public” is just a word; that’s life under neoliberalism. If paying the individual is what it takes, pay them.
Police State Watch
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes (which I think I got wrong the other day):
— Loot Every Walmart (@BethLynch2020) January 13, 2021
Not sure how the liberal Democrat focus on enforcement action plays out, given the enforcers they’ll have to rely on. (One wonders whether “Demilitarize the police” would have gotten more traction than defunding them. Now that all that surplus equipment is no longer new and needs to be maintained…)
Another ugly home:
9030 Sandringham Dr, Houston, TX 77024
Priced at: $19,950,000
8 beds / 14 baths / 21,738 sqft
thread – exterior & foyer (1/5) pic.twitter.com/GI8EgCMLhU
— Guillotine-Worthy Zillow Listings (@Zillotine) January 14, 2021
I’m always astonished at the sheer ugliness of these multi-millionaire’s homes. Versailles, for all the, er, issues with the Bourbons, is beautiful. So, despite being built on profits from the empire or the slave trade, are many English country houses. But these houses are just deformed. It’s like these rich clients can’t even imagine or express what they want to the architect, so they end up with something that looks like a resort or a hotel. In a way, this mirrors the capitol allocation problems our society has: So much stupid money sloshing about, so few places to invest it. Public goods don’t count.
News of the Wired
“‘The Queen’s Gambit’: a review.” [The Scrum]. “The series is inspiring in an endearingly old-fashioned sense. While it is neither moralistic nor judgmental, it certainly has something to say to us today. A young woman flirts with real dangers while growing up in unusually confronting circumstances. More and more, she comes to see that she is being helped along the way by the love and compassion of other people, people who, at the same time, are trying to find a way through their own problems and insecurities. The story sends a message that none of us is perfect but that we do better when we set out to support one another and work in teams. In other words, society matters. There is a subtle—almost invisible—international dimension to this theme.”
“‘Rent-a-person who does nothing’ in Tokyo receives endless requests, gratitude” [The Mainichi]. “A 37-year-old Tokyo man who says he rents himself out to other people ‘to do nothing’ has been inundated with gratitude from Twitter users, indicating people are happy with his new form of support. ‘I’m glad I was able to take a walk with someone while keeping a comfortable distance, where we didn’t have to talk but could if we wanted to,’ one user wrote. Another reflected, ‘I had been slack about visiting the hospital, but I went because he came with me.’… In the current age, difficulties have spread to various areas of life. It may be the case that somewhere in their hearts, everyone is longing for someone who will cheer them on. It seems that this may be why the “rent-a-person who does nothing” — who doesn’t tell you to ‘do your best’ or that they ‘support you,’ but stays by your side in silence, has seen endless demand.” • “[D]ifficulties have spread to various areas of life” is “not necessarily to our advantage”-level understatement…
“A lost paradise of purity” [Standpoint]. “Whilst it is generally undesirable to map biographical elements onto abstract music in the absence of external evidence, in Schubert’s case the evidence is to hand. There is moreover a directness of utterance, an absence of artifice or gesture in his music, which make him for many the most lovable of all composers. His genius is to draw us in to the melancholy of his interior world, and at the same time to set before us a vision of unattainable beauty, albeit one suffused with the ineffable sadness of transience.” • The rest of the piece is in fact better, but hard to extract. Worth a read. If not:
Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (WHD):
WHD writes: “If you look in the lower left corner, you can see the first coffee bean ripening. Next to the Xmas tree. Frozen pond in background. In Minneapolis. I purchased one coffee plant at the Friends Plant sale about six years ago. There were actually 9 in the pot. Five survived and are thriving.” I had no idea one could grow coffee indoors. Although I don’t think the yield from five plants would meet my needs.
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