One of my favorite alternate universes is the one spun by my dear friend John Yohalem. Ruritania, evolving beyond Hope, slowly recovering from a soviet interlude, is still a chiaroscuro of intrigue and welzschmertz. Cultured, whiny, not rich enough to live up to its past, not egalitarian enough to join the EU, it's a good location for trysts and tristesse. (John goes for the trysts; I'm more the fan of bittersweetness and reimagined golden ages.)
I would visit there with John if it didn't put such a smudge on my passport. The visa stamps used to have gold dust in them. Now it's just cheap brown ink and some kind of yellow pot metal.
Still, Strelsau in the spring...sigh.
John, maybe you could just write me into a little afternoon in a cafe with a view of the Five Young Lions of the Revolution monument, a short walk from the opera house. Something light on the bills, please. Ruritanian Fruchtcremen and operettas have spoiled me for that heavy german stuff they used to favor. And soon, while we can still afford it, the american coins becoming endangered specie, as it is.


Mnemosene, like so many selfish older women, has used fertility treatments, and, quelle surprise, had a multiple birth -- nonets. They have some of the birth challenges one gets with these fertility babies, but she's finding them work in the family business. She calls them the B Muses and it looks like they get slim pickings compared to their older sisters:

Jukebox musicals
Investment advice
Radiant Arts: video, neon, fire
Patriotic Country music


My sweetheart is back from Montreal!
It was a dreamy visit and I think she's got a little civic/social crush on the place. She had art adventures, worldly and interesting company, and poutine. I'm going back with her next time and try out my wretched french with my downmarket languedoc accent. Should be hilarious to the natives, who already suffer on account of their language.

She was doing experimental clay carving and strategizing about big public projects with some of her fabricators. Evenings were for philosophy and gauloises. Just kidding. They did chat a lot, but they also saw the finalists in an international fireworks competition, in between wonderful meals. Did I mention poutine?

High summer in the backyard, turned back to prairie.

Keeping the hired help in line

"The Owners", as Gore Vidal calls the American Oligarchy, think of politicians, in and out of office, as hirelings. We can all take a page from their book.
My strongest memory from Sicko was the french asserting that their government is afraid of them; that the people get out and march and it scares the hell out of the Ins.

I love that.

Mind you, Echelon, I'm not saying violent revolt, I'm not saying threatening overthrowing a government. I am saying assembling peaceably, enjoying like-minded company, and risking whatever comes from standing up with an agreeable crowd. Of course, being the canary in the gemeinschaft has its downside. Audits, being taken aside for an extraordinary number of "random" security wandings, 'n like that.

But the payoff, that can be historic.


Am I sick of anthypophora?
To death.

Panexa: At last, there's hope

If you, or someone you know suffers from the great cripplers of young adults, tell them about Panexa. Life is too short to live without it.

The wind in the dining room


Walter Pater's self-help for artists and Antigone's ditto

In the peroration of his "The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry" he warns us that ignoring the aesthetic wonderland we all live in, "is, on this short day of frost and sun, to sleep before evening."
Anouilh's Antigone frothed at the mouth a little more: "I spit on your happiness! I spit on your idea of life--that life that must go on, come what may. You are all like dogs that lick everything they smell. You with your promise of a humdrum happiness--provided a person doesn't ask much of life. I want everything of life, I do; and I want it now! I want it total, complete: otherwise I reject it"

Just a reminder about my favorite Chicago season.
Except for a few cars and the chain link fencing, this is the view out of our house when it was new in 1908. Aahh.

Augusta GA on foot

The South. I'm just back from Augusta (I walked to South Carolina and back from there, just across the Savannah River), San Antonio, and Little Rock. Everyone was gracious and wished I would come back soon.
Especially hospitable was the bellman at the Augusta hotel. I wanted the nearest grocery store, so I could be fortified against the Deep Fried South. But when they found out i was going to WALK! Oh, you can't do that. Take you about a half hour, thirty-five minutes to Krogers. But this guy gamely took me out to the driveway to tell me how to get there.
The short instruction would be, "Walk down Jones five blocks to Fifteenth, take a left, keep going after you cross the tracks and Krogers is on the left."
Instead, he acted it out.
Big gestures for which way to turn, and miming little steps in place as he turned that corner. When he said keep walking, he kind of pranced in place.
It was a fifteen minute walk. Oh wait, maybe that's thirty-five minutes for them.