Chalk and cheese

The tour guide at Dublin’s Farmleigh House used the expression “chalk and cheese.”

I took it to mean something like “apples and oranges,” “two things you can’t compare.”

Or maybe it’s more like, “two things that are very different but which you could mistake for each other.”

Went looking for real life examples and found this fine, civil exchange on a Linkedin story about Lagos and Tokyo, whether they are chalk and cheese:

Interesting point about Tokyo’s 23 wards!  Sometimes I wonder if Los Angeles needs way localer governance.

 


Borders Part 2

Villa bandits who raided Columbus, New Mexico, caught by American soldiers in the mountains of Mexico and held, in camp near Namiquipa, April 27, 1916.” from NARA

Lots of INTENSE feedback about post yesterday on borders.

I’m just reporting reality as I perceive it.

Since Pershing went after Pancho Villa, it’s been clear that along one thousand nine hundred and blahblah miles of desert, even the fiercest efforts of government are gonna, at best, disappear into the dust.

from the Mexican Border Service photo collection. 

And they had Patton!

(How ’bout this by the way:

Pershing was permitted to bring into New Mexico 527 Chinese refugees who had assisted him during the expedition, despite the ban on Chinese immigration at that time under the Chinese Exclusion Act. The Chinese refugees, known as “Pershing’s Chinese”, were allowed to remain in the U.S. if they worked under the supervision of the military as cooks and servants on bases. In 1921, Congress passed Public Resolution 29, which allowed them to remain in the country permanently under the conditions of the 1892 Geary Act. Most of them settled in San Antonio, Texas.

).

What kind of conservative believes that the federal government can put a wall here and stop people from moving across it?

Does declaring an new federal attempt to impose “no tolerance” enforcement seem more tyrantish or freedomish to you?

Does the fear of brown people from south of our border, like the fear of psychotically violent black people, have something to say about our own guilty conscience?  There isn’t a country from Mexico to Chile that hasn’t been severely screwed by the USA.

Look, I’m no expert.  My book about Mexico, Central and South America was the work of an enthusiastic amateur, not a serious scholar!

From where I sit, in Los Angeles, California, USA, I can understand the traditional politician approach of talking any way you want to get elected and then not going anywhere near actually doing anything about the border.

The current president got elected by sticking his fork in this electrical socket.  I’m not seeing how it ends?  Best case he declares victory and moves on.


Hubbard

The Hubbard Scientific Relief Map of California giving me some insights into our state’s geography, a true passion.

The unusual and dramatic way Mount Shasta shoots up like a pimple. 

The sharp, razorish line of the White Mountains beyond the Sierras. 

And the bowl-like scoop of Saline Valley.


Borders

Feel like I am the only person in the world who accepts the reality that borders are over.

This isn’t a political position or something I’m advocating for.  It’s an observation of fact.

Hard to say when we can date it, exactly.  The first time we could see Earth from space?  Maybe Malcolm McLean‘s pioneering of the shipping container.  Stuff, an unstoppable amount of stuff, and money, and information, and people flow and move across borders in a way that is way beyond the ability of any state or government to stop.

The idea of a wall stopping this seems about as futile as Xerxes ordering his guys to whip the sea as punishment.

UAC there standing for unaccompanied children.  That’s from the US Customs and Border Patrol website.

Tyler Cowen reports:

U.S.A. fact of the day

Number of unaccompanied minors, age 17 or lower, apprehended during or after border crossings, fiscal year 2017:

41, 456

Trump aside, what exactly is the plan here?

Hat tip goes to @BaldingsWorld.

“What exactly is the plan here?” is the question for sure.

How much force and violence would be needed to stop this?  Who would direct that?  Do the guys in charge seem like they could handle that?

How many trans-border families already exist, and what to do about that?

I have no answers, only a feeling that statements like “if you don’t have a border you don’t have a country” or something are not in touch with reality.

We already don’t have a border.  Without massive government expenditures, force and violence that would sicken any liberal or conservative, we never will again.

What’re we gonna do now?

 

 


Uncle Vanya, A New Version By Annie Baker

We were up in San Luis Obispo and took a walk to the campus of Cal Poly.

In the college bookstore, among the unsold textbooks, I found this and bought it:

Man, I felt like Keats looking into Chapman’s Homer reading this thing.  These lifeless translations can kill you when you take on foreign literature.  The bad translation can put you off a whole literature for the rest of your life.  In college I was supposed to read one of Chekhov’s plays.  Trying to save a couple bucks bought the Dover Thrift translation, which is probably worse than putting the Russian into Google Translate. (We didn’t have Google Translate then, children).

I KNEW something was wrong here.  There was something about Chekhov that moved people to tears, there was a reason theater people were still talking about Uncle Vanya.

You think this guy didn’t know what he was doing?

Well, anyway, in this Annie Baker edition, you can feel it.  The pain and the sadness and the funniness and the absurdity and the humanity of the whole situation.  Man.

Five stars. 


RIP Stanley Cavell

Here is an obituary of the Harvard philosopher, who has left this Earth. To be honest with you, most of Cavell’s work is over my head.  Much of it seems to deal with the ultimate breakdown of language and the difficulty of meaning anything.

Cavell wrote the epigraph for my favorite book:

and at some point, somebody (Etan?) recommended I check out:

which meant a lot to me.

This book is a study of seven screwball comedies:

The Lady Eve

It Happened One Night

Bringing Up Baby

The Philadelphia Story

His Girl Friday

Adam’s Rib

The Awful Truth

These Cavell calls comedies of remarriage.  They’re stories (mostly) where the main characters have a history, and the plots involve the tangles as they struggle, fight, and reconnect.

What the book really gets it is: what is revealed about us or our society when we look at what we find pleasing and appropriate in romantic comedies?  Why do we root for Cary Grant instead of Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story for instance?

It’s fun to watch these movies and read this book.  

It’s dense for sure.  I read it before the Age of Phones, not sure how I’d fair today.  But I still think about insights from it.

At one point Cavell says (in a parenthetical!):

I do not wish, in trying for a moment to resist, or scrutinize, the power of Spencer Tracy’s playfulness, to deny that I sometimes feel Katherine Hepburn to lack a certain humor about herself, to count the till a little too often.  But then I think of how often I have cast the world I want to live in as one in which my capacities for playfulness and for seriousness are not used against one another, so against me.  I am the lady they always want to saw in half.

Cool phrase.

RIP to a real one!


Carter Families