May 27, 2024

Memorial Day at Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, Wisconsin.



Photos by Meade.

"It's a world of hopes and a world of fears...."

Terrifying, but take a moment to mourn for Richard Sherman — "Richard Sherman, Songwriter of Many Spoonfuls of Sugar, Dies at 95/He and his brother, Robert, teamed up to write the songs for 'Mary Poppins' and other Disney classics. They also gave the world 'It’s a Small World (After All)'" (NYT).

Sherman and his brother wrote "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Supercalifragilistic-expialidocious," "Chim Chim Cher-ee," “Fundamental-Friend-Dependability," "Tall Paul,"  "Let’s Get Together," and the songs from "Charlotte's Web," "The Jungle Book," "The Aristocats," and "Bedknobs and Broomsticks."

The brothers also wrote the great rockabilly song that's considered sexually wrong today:

"Belly casting is a growing trend among mothers-to-be — a chance to make a permanent memento of a momentous experience...."

"Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian turned the belly casts they commissioned into plot points for their family’s reality show, while Cardi B posed for a shoot in her custom breast and belly cast... to announce the impending arrival of her second child.... Japanwala used her entire body for her first collection: One piece, which included her breasts and vulva, left her parents speechless.... Such defiant sculpting is anchored in shamelessness, a rebuttal of the Urdu insult beghairat — roughly meaning 'without shame or honor' — often hurled at women. She’ll hold open casting calls at her studio in Karachi, Pakistan, and finds many women will come to have their breasts and nipples cast, anonymously, without telling another soul. 'That’s a radical act of quiet shamelessness, a secret between the artist and her,' she says...."

From "Why women are making nude casts of their bodies/From Cardi B to the Kardashians, women are stripping down for hyper-realist molds — especially while pregnant — and displaying the results in ways both private and public" (WaPo).

"If the past is any guide, even with a full acquittal, Mr. Trump will be angry and vengeful, and will direct attacks..."

"... against everyone he perceives to be responsible for the Manhattan district attorney’s prosecution.... Some of Mr. Trump’s former staff members who spent time with him after his previous investigations said that he was in no mood to celebrate after these purported victories but instead sought retribution.... And after surviving his first impeachment, in early 2020, for trying to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine into investigating Mr. Biden and his son Hunter, Mr. Trump was in a mood so foul that it surprised some of his aides who were relieved the episode was over. He sat in his private dining room adjoining the Oval Office, scowling at the television and spewing expletives, according to a person with direct knowledge of the events.... The verdict of this trial will land in the middle of a presidential campaign, which gives the aftermath a new dynamic, especially if Mr. Trump is acquitted, said John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser.... 'He will display the sense of injury that he had to put up with it at all because if they couldn’t follow through with it then there was nothing there,' Mr. Bolton said...."

Message to jurors: Don't think that by by acquitting Trump you can expunge the depredations of the prosecutor and the judge... (and Biden?).... 

"Simply for posting a link to the Israeli chapter of the Red Cross, the novelist Kristin Hannah was deemed a 'Zionist'..."

"... as was the author Gabrielle Zevin for delivering a book talk to Hadassah, a Jewish women’s organization. Needless to say, the creator of the list — whose post on X announcing it garnered over a million views within a few days — encourages readers to boycott any works produced by 'Zionists.'... Since a large majority of American Jews (80 percent of whom, according to a 2020 poll, said that caring about Israel is an important or essential part of their Judaism) are Zionists, to accuse all Zionists of complicity in genocide is to anathematize a core component of Jewish identity. Over the past several months, a litmus test has emerged across wide swaths of the literary world effectively excluding Jews from full participation unless they denounce Israel.... For a growing set of writers, declaring one’s belief that the world’s only Jewish state is a genocidal entity whose dismantlement is necessary for the advancement of humankind is a political fashion statement, a bauble one parades around in order to signify being on the right team....."

Writes James Kirchick, in "How ‘Zionist’ Became a Bad Word in Publishing" (NYT).

"'Sculpture Tactile,' a white box, four and a half by one and a half feet, with a live model inside, and a single hole through which to reach her."

"When I visited, I reached in, past a black curtain, and was struck first by warmth, the stillness of the air suspended like an inhale. I submerged my arm past my elbow until all of a sudden I reached flesh: curves and warm skin. I felt the distinct edge of a forearm giving way to a wrist. How familiar, how sensual, how normal. After a beat I stopped trying to guess how she was sitting and gave into sensation, feeling this delicate creature I was honored to share a species with.... [Yve] Klein conceived the idea for 'Sculpture Tactile' in 1957. But the gallery’s co-owner, Dominique Lévy, who also curated the installation, said Klein feared the world was not ready for this show. He died of a heart attack at age 34.... When Lévy Gorvy Dayan refabricated the box as a complete work of art in 2014... 'You had all these very intellectual conversations about the role of performance,' Lévy said. 'Now, the reactions are much more visceral and emotional.'... Had we become more prudish? Most of the people I observed shuddered upon making contact with the model, instantly retracting their arms. Some shrieked, most winced...."

Writes Rachel Sherman, in "I Was a Nude Model for a Half Hour. Revelatory? Actually, Yes. Two shows — an art fair in Brooklyn and an Yves Klein exhibition uptown — ask if nude art can still inspire or shock. I joined in to find out" (NYT). 

ADDED: The article refers to "'Anthropometries of the Blue Epoch,' a short archival video."

May 26, 2024

Sunrise — 5:09, 5:18, 5:20, 5:23.





The last photo is by Meade.

"It is a very cold home. It’s early March, and within 20 minutes of being here the tips of some of my fingers have turned white."

"This, they explain, is part of living their values: as effective altruists, they give everything they can spare to charity (their charities). 'Any pointless indulgence, like heating the house in the winter, we try to avoid if we can find other solutions,' says Malcolm. This explains Simone’s clothing: her normal winterwear is cheap, high-quality snowsuits she buys online from Russia, but she can’t fit into them now, so she’s currently dressing in the clothes pregnant women wore in a time before central heating: a drawstring-necked chemise on top of warm underlayers, a thick black apron, and a modified corset she found on Etsy. She assures me she is not a tradwife. 'I’m not dressing trad now because we’re into trad, because before I was dressing like a Russian Bond villain. We do what’s practical.'..."

From a Guardian article with a long headline: "America’s premier pronatalists on having ‘tons of kids’ to save the world: ‘There are going to be countries of old people starving to death’/ Elon Musk (father of 11) supports their cause. Thousands follow their ideology. Malcolm and Simone Collins are on a mission to make it easier for everyone to have multiple children. But are they really model parents?"

"Netanyahu 'peed on my leg,' Obama replied, according to two people familiar with the exchange..."

"... who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose a private conversation. The moment [in 2014] was emblematic of a dynamic that is culminating in the bitter debates over Israel now erupting across the American political landscape. Over the past 16 years, Netanyahu has departed sharply from his predecessors’ studious bipartisanship to embrace Republicans and disdain Democrats, an attitude increasingly mirrored in each party’s approach to Israel...."

From "Netanyahu’s split with Biden and the Democrats was years in the making/The Israeli leader’s longtime strategy of aligning with the GOP has helped shatter the American consensus behind Israel" (WaPo).

Are you keeping up with the sock debate?

#sockdebate (TikTok).

Take that in. It's a debate about socks. It seems the millennials and the Gen Zers are fighting amongst themselves and dealing in rules. I'm so far beyond their rules it's just funny, but even when I was their age, I was individualistic about socks. But I will link to a 2010 post of mine:

Socks — with skirts — are a big fashion trend... but we're told not to wear them if we're over 30.

"Democratic strategists seem to see climate change as a key political issue only for white liberal elites and assume that other groups, like Black voters, are either unaware of or apathetic about it...."

"During his speech at Morehouse, [Biden] mentioned the climate crisis explicitly only in a stray line about 'heeding your generation’s call to a community free of gun violence and a planet free of climate crisis and showing your power to change the world.' There’s a better way to talk about the issue, one that might galvanize Black voters... focus[ing] on how the Biden administration is investing in clean energy hubs, green work force development, tax credits for home improvement measures and community grants. Mr. Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act earmarked roughly $2 billion for community-level climate justice initiatives, such as grants for green technology and reducing the health risks from heat and pollution that have ravaged Black communities, and there’s more money waiting to be doled out...."

So, the "better way to talk about" climate change to black voters — instead of talking about "a planet free of climate crisis" — is to let them know there are billions of dollars "waiting to be doled out" to their specific communities. And that's "how much black Americans care" — they care about the money that might be doled out to them. That's what it says in the article.

"A lot of people ask why I came to speak at this libertarian convention and you know it's an interesting question."

Watch Trump standing up to boos and pushing back:


May 25, 2024

Sunrise at 5:26.


Wildflowers at 5:28 a.m.:


And a frog, semi-camouflaged, at 10:44 a.m.:


"Mr. Musk has posted about Mr. Biden on X at least seven times a month since January... Before that, he posted about Mr. Biden twice in December and not at all in November...."

"In all, Mr. Musk had posted nearly 40 times about Mr. Biden this year, compared with about 30 times for all of last year."

In contrast, Mr. Musk had posted more than 20 times on X this year about former President Donald J. Trump.... In those posts, Mr. Musk defended Mr. Trump, arguing that he is a victim of media and prosecutorial bias....

Mr. Musk’s posts about this year’s presidential race stand out because he is signaling a willingness to tip the political scales as the owner of an influential social media platform, something that no other leader of a social media firm has done. And Mr. Musk exerts outsize influence over the political discourse....

We're reading this in the New York Times, which, of course, has long signaled a willingness to tip the political scales as influential mainstream media. But Musk is an individual person, posting his speech as an individual, like other individuals who post on his platform. By contrast, other social media moguls avoid using their individual voice to openly say things about politics:

"Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas has unexpectedly emerged as a top contender to become Donald J. Trump’s running mate..."

"... according to three people with direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s thinking who insisted on anonymity to discuss private meetings. These people said that Mr. Trump’s other current favorites were Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota and three of Mr. Cotton’s Senate colleagues: Marco Rubio of Florida, Tim Scott of South Carolina and J.D. Vance of Ohio...."

The former president has said privately that he views Mr. Cotton as a reliable and effective communicator in cable news interviews. Mr. Trump has also praised Mr. Cotton’s Army service, which included deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and the fact that he is a fellow Ivy League graduate. Mr. Trump went to the University of Pennsylvania, and Mr. Cotton attended Harvard, earning undergraduate and law degrees....

Mr. Cotton has long been considered one of the party’s rising stars, ambition that could hurt his chances with Mr. Trump, who has undermined allies in the past when he perceived them to be intruding on his spotlight....

Bender could be wrong about Trump's determination to hog the spotlight. Trump may actually care about the ongoing project of making America great again. To a Trump hater, MAGA is at best an embodiment of Trump's ego, but Trump may want to pick the person who can carry Trumpism into the next administration and beyond. If he is thinking like that, then he'd pick Tom Cotton, don't you think?

I had Tom in mind for this purpose from just after the 2020 election:

And here's this from February 10, 2013: "I had never heard of the guy, but he impressed the hell out of me."

"There are days that I’ve come to my office after an announcement of a case and closed my door and cried. There have been those days. And there are likely to be more."

Said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, quoted in "Justice Sotomayor Describes Frustration With Being a Liberal on the Supreme Court/In a conversation at Harvard, the justice spoke of her despair at some of the court’s decisions, but she urged optimism and a focus on future generations" (NYT).
“There are moments when I’m deeply, deeply sad,” she said, without citing any specific cases. “There are moments when, yes, even I feel desperation. We all do. But you have to own it, you have to accept it, you have to shed the tears and then you have to wipe them and get up.”