Waking in the wee smalls of what is theoretically Spring — or close enough that Daylight Savings Time is bearing down on us again and soon my kitchen wall clock will show the right time, except a little slow because this “world” is so cold (zero this morning) that battery-driven clocks are low on juice which is part of the reason I don’t bother to get the little red stepladder and correct it — as I say, waking in the dark I check my umbilicus to the world. (That’s a figure of speech. I’m discovering metaphors are a foreign concept to some.)
The medical news directly contradicts what it said yesterday. All the things that are supposed to make your life longer (not better) have been discredited by newer, more scientific, research. It’s a little ambiguous which studies were sponsored by which entities and whether the government studies are less self-serving than those by corporations. Of course, there are always plenty of outliers, whether quacks or geniuses.
The political news is similar but lately more hair-raising. I’m sticking with Rachel Maddow, who is a new discovery for me, and she explains frankly that she and her team have become clearer and more trust-worthy lately because they have stopped reacting to what all the players say. They want only to think about acts and facts that can be traced, dated, and studied for connections. I take this to mean that they actually confer and discuss whatever arrives. It’s encouraging. (Literally.)
Daily the media reports terrifying, immoral, inconceivable stuff that doesn’t quite rise to the level of proven fact but becomes more and more emotional and inflammatory. Everyone calls for investigation, recusal, resignation, and impeachment. Cancel laws, revoke permissions, and — most of all — enjoy the opportunity to be a smart aleck insulter.
Meanwhile, it’s so cold that all the spooky feral cats have moved into the house. Three were hugely pregnant but I can’t find any kitten nests. I provide soft boxes in dark corners. The pressure is high on the litter box. Commercial litter is more and more effective at clumping and preventing stink, but it is expensive. At least someone besides politicians and comedians knows how to make money from shit. The cats themselves revel in a new container of this stuff being put in their box and come to watch so they can critique how I’m doing it. Then they christen it.
The irony (rhetorical device) is that Valier is built on the volcanic gumbo that is the source of cat litter. At one time it was explored for development commercially, but turned out not to be viable because of transportation. The stuff is heavy.
At bedtime I make it a habit to watch Steven Colbert and a couple of other comedians in hopes that I’ll dream about funny stuff. Instead, because YouTube knows I like BBC mystery series and suggests them, I end up dreaming about English countrysides and vintage transportation. That’s okay. I’ll settle for that. I don’t need to watch cute kittens because they are already sleeping through the night at the back of my knees and the point of my shoulder, though they’re more cat than kitten now. Still, they’re comfortingly alive and warm
It seems important to keep perspective, so I go on working slowly through Frankopan’s “Silk Roads” which is the first account of the millennial politics I can really follow because it is about the economy of marketing around the planet in terms of material culture: blue and white porcelain, silk itself, spices, gunpowder and guns, etc. Sequestered populations who are suddenly put in contact with the rest of the world because of the domestication of camels or the development of sailing ships, always destabilize the power structure of nations so that suddenly England and Holland are at each other’s throats and the peaceful Vermeer paintings become ways to promote those material culture objects, and — oh, yes— tulip bulbs from the high grasslands of Eurasia.
We still haven’t figured out Eurasia, that barely civilized composite called Russia or USSR, according to whatever stage of consolidation or decomposition they’re in. They don’t seem to want to exist. Consider alcoholism, sterility, bad diets, and predatory intentions. Better to have stayed tribes on the steppes, riding small shaggy horses, than to do a bad job of imitating Europe.
My twitter feed is jammed with paleoanthropology, which causes me to wonder whether Denisovian genes account for the styles of Eurasia and then China plus the SE Asia peoples who populated Australia and rode the sea to South America where they founded major “civilizations” that worshipped water and may soon go back to that, irrigating the land with the blood of the indigenous because can. (This is all hypothesis — not quite thesis.)
As Frankopan points out, the most profitable commodity is still owning human beings. And we have so many of them now. Not that they’re really shaped into a useful form: they seem to lack humanities, by choice. We are fascinated that the indigenous have so many vegetal forms of entheogens. (An entheogen ("generating the divine within") is any chemical substance used in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context that often induces psychological or physiological changes.) At the moment it seems as though that’s where the real money is, esp. since we can take molecules apart like pop-it beads and fiddle with them to evade the law.
Oh, the law. All our fiddling and redefining comes to bear on laws, even though the fact that they’re written down is supposed to be a steadying core of basics we can agree on. They continue to decompose into regulations, which are fungible, at the same time that they become more encompassing and lethal. Our half-millennia-old principles from Europe appear to be unenforceable because of semantics, public opinion expressed by mobs, and situations never imagined before.
Impeachment only amounts to a “do-over”. Who is waiting in the wings who WOULD be a deserving and capable president? Darned if I know. I don’t even know what the description of such a person would be, specifically. I don’t think Ivy League education or fine families qualify anymore. To see them up close is too often to despise them. It becomes clear that much of what we thought was “law” is merely “gentlemen’s agreements” in a world where only fools are gentlemen and I’m not talking about North Korea. Meritocracies don’t seem to do any better than oligarchies. Descending from gods doesn’t work anymore.
This is what surges and seethes through my head when I first get up. But then I discover that I still have some delectably steamed new potatoes left from last night’s supper. Then I hear screams from Duckie, who keeps being afflicted by Finnegan because he gets bugged by her pestering, so I have to go stuff him out through the cat flap. Then I have to figure out why my printer is not printing. And this is what it is to be human, even as privileged as I am to sit here in a warm place and post nonsense — at least until Trump ends my social security checks. This warmth costs money.