Disrupter Disrupted

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image Yui Mok PA/via AP via The Guardian


This is the funniest man in England right now.  Dominic Cummings.  The guy is hilarious.  He views himself as a “disrupter”.  He thinks governments are a joke and despises the media.  He’s prime minister Boris Johnson’s top advisor and controls with an iron rule what goes on at 10 Downing Street.

Until very recently most Englanders, meaning anybody not living in London, had only heard of the guy.  They didn’t really know anything about him.  Didn’t know what he looked like or that he had a funny, northern England accent.

They certainly didn’t know that the guy who’s at least as in charge of the country as the prime minister, and some pundits suggest the prime minister, like a puppet, does everything he says, is a gormless baldy with the morals and scruples and integrity of an elderly, moth-eaten sock.

This funny man blatantly ignored the lockdown and self-isolation rules that he helped write that were imposed on the entire country.  Why?  Because he’s special.  And the rules for the specials aren’t the same as for the general public.  It’s hysterical.  For some reason he doesn’t like all the attention he’s getting at the moment and many politicians in his putative boss’s governing party very much desire that he fuck off.

Sorry about that.  That word is an old English colloquialism.  I’m using it to lend an air of authenticity to keep this piece from being too fluffy.  I mean, there’s fluffy and there’s fluffy and then there’s fluffier and fluffier and then there’s fluffiest and we’re not going by there today.

No.  This joker takes umbrage at any suggestion of impropriety.  I believe he’s offended.  He resorted to a weaselly press conference statement in 10 Downing Street’s “rose garden”.  I’ll be gooned.  I didn’t know 10 Downing Street had a rose garden.  It’s invisible from the street.  I should know.  I go by there all the time.  I guess it must be somewhere out back.

It’s just common sense.  Power.  The guy who commented on its corrupting properties was English.  It’s Englisher day around here today.  Having nothing more splendid to do in the long hours fighting off the pathogens I took to the overseas press and here was this incredible comedian, top advisor to “Bojo” as the exalted prime minister with the crazy hair is affectionately called.

England, like some other countries I could name, has a terrible affliction right now that it can’t seem to shake.  Weak at the top.  Very weak.  And it’s something just as dangerous as the pathogen but there will never be a vaccine for it.

This joker’s got a soul bro in the U.S. White house named Stephen Miller.  But I’m not going to take him apart right now.

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Rose Garden

 

3 p.m.  Shopping spree.  Helps.  Irritation of lining up outside a supermarket and the line isn’t moving.  Look, I just want to buy some groceries, all right?  Is that all right with you?  Pathogen?  You there?

Later. Two SUVs eastbound on Sixteenth Avenue making lefts onto Arbutus Street.  The first goes ahead and then the second one has to wait for oncoming traffic eastbound on Sixteenth.  It’s a lady driver and something the driver of the first SUV didn’t do she finds exasperating.

I can see her behind her driver’s side window throwing up her hands.  We’re first to go northbound on Arbutus as soon as the light changes so from her vantage in the middle of the intersection waiting to turn left she has a clear view of me just as I do of her.

After the hands come down she looks at me and shakes her head.  Looks right at me.  Me.  I’m a complete stranger in a random situation of less than four and a half seconds but am to be enjoined in her frustration and welcomed to it like a long lost friend. I understand and commiserate deeply.  No I don’t.  I have no idea what all this exasperation’s about.  I didn’t witness the first SUV’s crime, if any.

That’s when I remarked that I thought a lot of people’s fuses are a little shorter these days.  There’s a bit of impatience in the air and a grim determination to grind on but if there’s any little thing, even the teensiest, weensiest little thing I don’t like I’m going to go BALLISTIC on your sorry butt, especially because I have no idea who you are and I could care less.

It’s good to stifle these impulses.  We’re ladies and gentlemen.  Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. And most people are.  It’s probably a good thing.  There’s been enough upset already.

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Royal William. 20 years in a pot and still going strong

Thanks for stopping by. We’ll be right back.

 

Kenilworth Ivy

April 17. World 2,240,191. U.S. 699,706. Canada 32,814. Brazil has now passed Canada in total confirmed cases and Russia is closing in on Canada and will probably blow by Canada within the span of the next news cycle.

Tim Cook called me this morning from California.  That’ll be the last time that happens.  Today Tim was chuffed about me using images captured from visualizer and cropping them down and using them in my bloggy blogs to create some kind of visual thing to break up the monotonous words when it hasn’t been cleared by Apple Inc.

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“I paid you for the machine, Tim. I can do anything I want with it.”

“Au contraire,” Tim said. “We own the cloud and everything in it and if you’d bothered to read the fine print under “What’s inside the box” you’d know that we still own your machine and everything on it and we don’t give a damn about receipts or money or anything. We own everything.  How do you think we got to be the richest company on the planet?”

“Tim, I understand you’ve met President Trump. What do you think?”
“Bat shit crazy, Steve. Rook to king one.”

“I’m sorry, Tim. I think you missed it. Queen to bishop three, bishop takes queen, knight takes bishop. Checkmate.”

“Ahgg… ergg…. Looks like you’re right, Steve. I resign.”

I find it generally true. The smartest individuals can have curious gaps in their knowledge of the simplest things. Tim is like this. Thinks he’s a hot-damn chess dude. Not a clue and it’s surprising. You’d think there’d be more there and there just isn’t. I told him life’s too short for chess but he wouldn’t listen. He won’t be bugging me about the visualizer anymore so that’s good. Moving on to spring garden update.

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April 18. Kenilworth Ivy. Usually grown as annual. Dainty creeper that may appear uninvited in shadier parts of the garden, sometimes even sprouting in chinks of stone or brick wall…. Smooth leaves 1 inch wide or less, with three to seven toothlike lobes. Blooms mainly in spring with small lilac blue flowers carried singly on stalks a little longer than leaves.

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Lewisia. To 1 foot high, 10 inches wide. Rosettes of narrow, fleshy, evergreen leaves bear 10 inch stems topped by large, extremely showy clusters of 1 inch, white or pink flowers often striped with rose or red. Blooms from spring to early summer.

They’re right about Kenilworth Ivy.  Grows like a weed.  We’ve seen it growing wild not far from here.  “Kenilworth” is a suspiciously English-sounding name which meant of course that I was going to look into it.  Kenilworth Castle.  Of course there’s a castle and of course it’s “Kenilworth Castle” and of course it would be situated in Kenilworth, England.  Stands to reason.  At least something does.  Looks like some of it burned down or something.  I’ve never been to Kenilworth, England.  I think I flew over it once, but there’s not much to see in heavy cloud at 30,000 feet.

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April 22.  Yeah, the numbers for the planet.  The planet will certainly get to 3 million confirmed cases and the great United States will certainly pass 1 million.  There seems to be some dysfunction in the great United States.  Sorry about that overused word but I couldn’t think of anything else.  A madness is upon the land.

Great American madness.  Everything’s going great or things are in a situation where there’s room for improvement.  It depends on who has the mic.  I think the number of people in the great United States who don’t give a crap either way is trending to zero.  It’s all about trends.  Everybody’s looking for one and that includes around here.

I was also talking briefly on the phone yesterday afternoon to a lady who lives in Washington State.  That’s because she’s an American.  She has a friend up in woolly Canada and had arrived here for a visit as she has been doing recently, but this time it was not much more than twenty-four hours before the British Columbia/Washington State border was closed. That was a month ago.  She’s been here ever since.

“You’re an exile,” I said to her.

She laughed.

“You can’t go home again.”

She laughed again.

People from the State of Washington are wonderfully joyful people and always laugh at all my little jokes, especially ones with literary allusions in them.  And Debbie doesn’t play chess either.  It’s also nice that she’s with the person she likes so things are going along okay.

Talking to a real, live person from Washington was so uplifting I resorted to the extraordinary move of acquiring a bottle of “Kung Fu Girl” riesling from Charles Smith Wines in Washington because I’d heard it was tasty and I’d been meaning to try it.  It’s very nice with pad thai apparently.  Charles Smith Wines


Apologies to Stanley Kubrick and the Sunset Western Garden book.  Garden blooms by CS Nicol

Pathogen Daze

April 8, 2020. 4:50 p.m. Decent day. To get out we go for a drive. We decide to tour the Kingdom of Richmond because it seems like years since we’ve been there. The “downtown” around No.3 road has become a nightmare of new–built concrete, steel and glass with just a few remaining dumpy little strip–malls. Once out of this it’s the same old Richmond, impressively flat and straight–as–a die wide roadways miles long. And you can still occasionally find deep, watery ditches on both sides of the road which is the reason some people used to call it Ditchmond. One is doomed in Richmond without a car.

We extended our adventure to the distant metropolis of Steveston and its multitude of new–built, low–rise row dwellings facing the sun–dappled middle arm of the Fraser River. I spent some time looking for more adjectives in a patch of grass while observing, of course, the two metre rule, and there were signs posted reminding us of it, but realized I’d brought more with me than I thought. You just have to luv these guys.

From Steveston we blustered our way into deep east Richmond on the charmingly named Blundell Road and its many curious, absurdly overbuilt forty room and eighty bathroom mega–houses. We’ve heard and read about them and here they are. Not a great deal of curb appeal but we only saw one with a fancy portico supported by twelve foot, fluted Corinthian columns, so that was good. I can see the guy saying, “No. They must be Corinthian columns! I don’t want any of this Tuscan nonsense.”

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I’m reminded of the old Royal Canadian Air Farce joke. “Things are getting less worse more slowly.” The roadways in Stanley Park have been closed to traffic. We’ve been very wary in these interesting times of people doing stupid things with their cars on our currently low-traffic streets. Fewer cars seems to translate for some into thinking, “Hey, it’s interesting times!  Normal rules don’t apply!”  Right.  If for these guys they ever have.

We’ve seen some of what we feel are these peculiar examples in our travels and that’s what closed down the park to cars, apparently, but we made the cut. We drove around Stanley Park as in days of yore two days ago for most of the same reasons Richmond happened today. We also had occasion to wonder about at least two congregations of human beings. They weren’t large but they weren’t hanging around keeping their distance from one another and we didn’t get the impression they were members of the same, pathogen-free households. We didn’t virtue signal. We drove on.  We were going in the right direction.

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Sidewalk Chalk in Deepest Dunbar

April 9.  Yes, it’s today again.  Always today.  We can’t be anywhere else.  Yesterday’s yesterday and tomorrow’s tomorrow.  And this is today.  We’ve got a yeast culture going.  The boss has started it from scratch.  Anybody out there ever do that in Home Ec.?  Start a yeast culture?  Anybody ever heard of Home Ec.?  I never took Home Ec.  I kind of learned to cook on my own.  I started a yogurt culture once but never a yeast culture.  I just don’t think it’s something that would have occurred to me as something to get excited about.

Yogurt was different.  I’d discovered yogurt.  Yogurt hadn’t been invented yet in the places I grew up.  I was already in my mid twenties the first time I had yogurt.  I think one or two people I was sharing a house with were buying yogurt and I helped myself to some of theirs when they weren’t around.  It was plain yoghurt.  I don’t recall the fat content or if it was even stated on the container in that era but I liked the yogurt.  It was deceptively bland.

When I heard I could make my own yogurt from my own self–perpetuating yogurt culture and never have to buy yogurt again I wanted to try it.  I set to and in just a couple of days here it was, a little dab of yogurt.  I tried it.  It was okay.  It wasn’t long before the novelty of making little dabs of yogurt wore off and I  also became worried about drawing attention to myself as some kind of weird, yogurt guy.  From then on if I  wanted yogurt I’d just buy it at the store like most people.

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I’m quite interested in the yeast culture but have no plans to get personally involved in nurturing it along.  The yeast culture’s name is “Yuri”.  It was suggested that the culture is a living thing, like a pet, so why not give it a name?  Yuri the yeast culture.  Yuri Yeast then.  Hi Yuri!  How you doin’ in there?  Yuri lives in a jar right now.  It’s a medium sized round canning jar complete with lid.  As a yeast culture you could do worse.

World 1,582,604 confirmed cases.  Canada 19,773.  United States 454.304.  It’s not funny but it is a very interesting science experiment.  Some good will come of it too.  It’s only natural.  We just don’t know when.