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Mme. Defarge

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Member since: Tue Oct 18, 2005, 12:05 AM
Number of posts: 7,704

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Nothing short of miraculous, a sonnet in a single sentence -

By Robert Frost

The Silken Tent

She is as in a field of silken tent
At midday when the sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To every thing on earth the compass round,
And only by one's going slightly taut
In the capriciousness of summer air
Is of the slightlest bondage made aware.

I recited this from memory at my mother’s memorial service. I memorized it after seeing a PBS special with Jason Robards reading it as members of the Theater of the Deaf erected a tent in a field while someone conveyed its meaning in sign language.

Trump Filmmaker Shares Moment He Was 'Very Scared' At The White House


Excerpts from the article -

On Dec. 1, then-Attorney General Bill Barr told The Associated Press that the Justice Department had not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

“In the White House, when he came in, he was furious,” Holder said about their first interview. “And for lack of a better word, powerful. He was furious. And I was very scared.”
“I mean, that was definitely the feeling I got after that interview,” Holder added. “I was like, the shit is gonna hit the fan. This is going to be a bad next few weeks. I mean, there was no question he was gonna go full on.”

In his second interview with Trump at Mar-a-Lago in March 2021, Holder said the former president was struggling after he was banned from Twitter for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection.
“He looked terrible, he’d put on a lot of weight. He was incredibly depressed,” Holder said. “And a little behind the scenes secret: The reason for all of that was because he was going through a real withdrawal from not being able to use Twitter. Yeah, I promise. I mean, that’s literally what his closest aide said to me. He was in the most terrible foul mood because he couldn’t use social media.”

Round the decay of that colossal Wreck


I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Anyone read William Kent Krueger's Cork O'Connor series?

I’m working my way through it and think it may be the best of the best. He won the Edgar award for Best Mystery for Ordinary Grace, a stand alone novel in 2014. That was the first book of his I read, which inspired me try the series. I’m halfway through Windigo Island, which gives a brief but fascinating history of Duluth, Minnesota, including the good, the bad, and the ugly, as well as a devastating account of the sexual exploitation of, and violence towards Native American women and children. But also deeply spiritual. Terrible and beautiful, and all of a piece.

"Trump demands reinstatement as 'rightful' president or 'a new Election, immediately!'

as some Republicans seek distance from him.”


At this point it’s his only get out of jail free card, and maybe a chance to pass Go and collect $200.

Blues in the Night

Stop improving things right now! Everyone must suffer as I did!

By Alexandra Petri

DISGUSTING! AWFUL! I have just received word that life is getting marginally better for some people, and I am white-hot with fury! This is the worst thing that could possibly happen! I did not suffer and strive and work my fingers to the bone so that anybody else could have a life that does not involve suffering and striving and the working of fingers to the bone. I demand to see only bones and no fingers!

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night thrashing because I have had the nightmare again, the nightmare in which someone else is being spared a small hint of the suffering I endured. The world should not get better! The world should get worse along with me and perish along with me.
Every time anyone’s life improves at all, I personally am insulted. Any time anyone devises a labor-saving device, or passes some kind of weak, soft-hearted law that forecloses the opportunity for a new generation of children to lose fingers in dangerous machinery, I gnash my teeth. This is an affront to everyone who struggled so mightily. To avoid affronting them, we must keep everything just as bad as ever. Put those fingers back into the machines, or our suffering will have been in vain.

When I see unleaded paint or un-asbestosed homes, I froth at the mouth and start stomping up and down like Rumpelstiltskin. And who are we to think we deserve better than to die of sepsis? Why shouldn’t smallpox be out in the world for us as it once was? Are we too good for scurvy, now? Our great-grandparents made do without penicillin, did they not?

What a fallen, broken world we live in. The audacity of people trying to eat food not contaminated by waste, or increase the number of rhinos in the wild — they had better not! Clean the air? YOU STOP THAT RIGHT NOW. Inhaling thick lungfuls of coal smoke was miserable for me, and it will be miserable for you. Put the cockroaches back into the kitchen, please, and lye back into the meat!


The Need for a Constitutional Right to Privacy

Perhaps, if the Constitution actually did provide for a right to privacy, it could not only serve as a basis for protecting the right to choose, but also allow for legislation addressing the assault on privacy in the workplace. Along with forcing people to give birth, I consider the all pervasive monitoring of employees’ every keystroke, mouse click, movement, breath, heartbeat, bathroom break, a form of legalized workplace violence. In both cases, an insidious kind if slavery.


Important health update (in case you wanted to know).

Today I had my best blood pressure reading since I went on medication in 2018. Maybe it was due to not having had my morning coffee, but maybe because I’m following my doctor’s advice to go for my walks every day, instead of every other day. Or, perhaps at some level I feel that the end is nigh for TFG.


The Boss Will See You Now
Zephyr Teachout
We are experiencing a major turning point in the surveillance of workers, driven by wearable tech, artificial intelligence, and Covid.

Several decades ago, when I first moved to New York City, I answered an ad to be a personal assistant to a writer. I imagined myself as amanuensis, translating inspired pronouncements into poems. Instead, I ordered and returned sweaters, scheduled haircuts, and made three-course-meal seating plans for members of the literati whom I never got to meet. My boss, her money-manager husband, and their children lived on Park Avenue, in a penthouse with Georgian drapes and triple-insulated soundproof windows. She collected bespoke services: personal trainers, personal shoppers, a personal poetry trainer, a personal opera coach. I was one of four full-time staff, along with two live-in Irish nannies and a French maid. During our thirty-minute lunchtime, the four of us would hurry into the kitchen to use the small gold-handled faucet that produced instant boiling water to make tea and soup. We slurped and laughed and complained about our boss.

During one of these meals, the chief nanny began a call on the phone in the corner, then quickly slammed down the receiver. Pointing to its golden handle, she mouthed that she thought our boss was listening in. As we huddled over our soup, I said that our boss was always asking me for reports of what we talked about, and the nanny whispered that she was pretty sure she had seen her lurking outside the kitchen door. This was funny for a moment, and then not—a thin skein of anxiety started winding its way across the room.

A few weeks later, the maid was fired. It wasn’t clear that her dismissal was related to anything that had been said. But once paranoia gets its claws in you, it doesn’t let go easily. Our wages and raises were all unpredictable. Two of the staff relied on green cards. These circumstances, which had been the subject of so many conversations, suddenly became the source of insecurity. We gradually, then all at once, stopped having lunch together.

I have lately been thinking of that small discouraging experience as we live through an explosion of corporate investments in workplace surveillance. The year 1995, when I had that job, seems almost embarrassingly quaint, an era of surveillance innocence. There was no Facebook or Google following people everywhere they went, no spooky personalized ads. Back then, Americans spent an average of thirty minutes a month online, and 24/7 intimate surveillance was reserved for targets of FBI investigations.

At the dozen-plus places I had worked by the age of twenty-four, I punched in and out, sped up my dishwashing when the supervisor came through, weighed the beans I picked, bargained to get off early in exchange for cleaning extra bathrooms, and wrote reports for the third-grade teacher I assisted in the classroom. Even the tips I received while waitressing were my business, not the restaurants’. My bosses knew me superficially—my clothes, my general productivity—not what I thought or felt outside the workplace, unless I chose to share it.


If you can access the article it’s well worth reading. We need legislation to protect people’s privacy and to insure workplace fairness.
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