Saturday Linkages: Can’t Stop the Memes

Turn Off Your Mind, Relax—and Float Right-Wing?

Chairman Mao Invented Traditional Chinese Medicine

“Cocaine of the sea” — the illegal fish trade of the Mexican cartel and Chinese mafia

Meaty meals and play stop cats killing wildlife, study finds

NeoPixel Ancient Oil Lamp

Kelly Norris on New Naturalism and Informed Plant Choices

Grow Your Own Giant Sequoia Tree

I love lava

I Can’t Get Adam Curtis Out of My Head

Could it be that this entire multi-thousand post blog, with all those canning, bread making, gardening, squirrel complaining ramblings are just an excuse for those few times I get to implore readers to watch the latest Adam Curtis documentary?

Methinks yes and so I must note that a new Curtis just dropped on the BBC yesterday. “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” is Curtis at his most sprawling and complex. We watched the first episode last night which covers, among other topics, British colonialism in Kenya, the Discoridian connection to the Kennedy assassination, anti-immigrant movements, artificial intelligence, a messy celebrity divorce and . . . the Bavarian Illuminati.

I can think of only a handful of other thoughtstylists who have helped guide me through these confusing times (Mark Fisher, Cornel West and Slavoj Žižek come to mind). More than any other period in my 55 years, at this particular point I think it’s important to look at the ideologies that change the way we perceive things. Curtis is a master at revealing what’s hidden in plain sight.

Perhaps the hidden message of all the posts on this blog is summed up in a quote from the late David Graeber that Curtis uses at the beginning of episode 1, “The ultimate hidden truth of the world is that it is something we make. And could just as easily make differently.”

Can’t Get You Out of My Head is streaming for free on the BBC. To watch it you’ll need to live in the U.K. or use a VPN to get around the regional blocking. You can also search on YouTube. Curtisheads post episodes which appear for awhile before the BBC takes them down. Just Google and you’ll find it. Here’s the last: Hypernormalization.

A Beautiful Evening

Many thanks to Silver Lake comrade Brother Lee for tipping me off to one of his busy neighbors, saxophonist Pat Posey. I’m posting Posey’s improvisational version of Debussy’s Beau Soir because it deserves way more views. The visuals also perfectly sum up a typical evening in Los Angeles under the rat infested palms and circling police helicopters.

Earlier in the pandemic Posey used seven different saxophones ranging from the baritone to a sopranino to record Ravel’s Bolero all by himself. Let that sink in.

In spite of my comfortable and privileged position during this pandemic I’ve found it hard to access the muses. I’m okay with that but I really respect the creativity of people like Posey who have made the best of a bad situation.

Saturday Linkages: The week I discovered the honey buzzard

Make your own Bayeux tapestry memes

Ladies and gentleman, the Oriental Honey Buzzard

What does a cup of flour weight? It’s surprisingly complicated

Obrigado, Internet.

‘A managerial Mephistopheles’: inside the mind of Jeff Bezos

Cactus smuggler sentenced for importing illegal plants

La-la land: the playful side of Los Angeles – in pictures

The McMansion Hell Yearbook: 1978

I’m Vaccinated

Early pandemic meme from March of 2020.

I heard a joke that the biggest side effect of being in a COVID vaccine clinical trial is the inability to stop talking about being in a COVID vaccine clinical trail. Last week I got a call from the Kaiser clinical trial folks letting me know that the shots I got back in September were a placebo. They offered to give me the vaccine this Monday and I took them up on the offer.

By Monday evening I had a sore arm and the next day I had moderate flu-like symptoms that lasted around 12 hours. Around noon on Tuesday I just needed to lay down and watch dumb TV for the rest of the day. I woke up on Wednesday feeling back to normal if a little tired. The discomfort was a small price to pay, in my opinion, for helping stop the spread of COVID.

When I got the call last week I went through a few phases of emotion. First was a sense of hope that this pandemic will end someday. Then I had worries that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to leave the house and see people. Then I realized that the fatiguing risk management that we all do on a daily basis isn’t over yet. Having had open heart surgery not all that long ago, Kelly is vulnerable to COVID and we have no idea when she’ll be able to get the vaccine. I can’t resume normal activities until more people are vaccinated. Vaccines are a we not me thing.

I’m still in the clinical trial. They will continue to monitor my blood for antibodies for the next two years and I check in every week via an app to report any possible COVID symptoms. Lastly, I want to thank the nurses and doctors who run the vaccine trial at Kaiser for their work, dedication and kindness.