Waves of the Same Sea

I will write in my journal that today was not a good day. It began with news of a surge in diagnoses and deaths from covid-19 in New York and ended with the governor’s order that Californians must stay home. This is going to be bad before it gets better, but that implies hope.

Such days bring fear up from the belly into the eyes and ears and leave great deposits of fear, like shoals of obsidian sand, in the sheltered harbors of the heart. But in the hours in between, I was offered a vista of high clouds following recent rain, and of the blue Pacific.

There was also this: On many cartons of medical supplies donated by a Chinese company to the people of Italy were written words of the 1st century Roman philosopher Seneca.

“We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree, flowers of the same garden”

Kevin Webb

I’ve just learned through Facebook that my childhood friend and classmate Keven Webb has passed away. Kevin worked for the US State Department and all I know so far is that he died at his embassy post in Madagascar.

I wish I knew more about Kevin. I know he loved to travel, enjoyed music and comedy. He didn’t join in the chaotic political tribalism and hysterical celebration of random opinion that our culture is devolving to; he kept his head above the fray and stayed positive. He shared what he loved, not what he hated. Which I thought showed integrity, self-knowledge, and mature circumspection.

His life between school and middle age in social media is largely a mystery to me because we didn’t keep in touch. And I think that’s unfortunate. We didn’t go all through school together; Kevin went to high school somewhere else. Those who’ve known him as an adult have likely known him as quiet but friendly and compassionate. We don’t really change, you know? His friends in recent times have my sympathy, and in a sense, my envy.

We didn’t finish the race together but we started it just a few feet apart. Kevin is second row, far right. I’m second row, third from the left.

… lessons done, my friend.

Mrs Wilsons Class

Mrs. Lottie Wilson’s kindergarten class, Canalino School, 1966-1967.

Goodbye National Geographic

I have the last issue trustworthy issue here on the desk in front of me. We should note the date: November, 2015. Traditional yellow border, image of Earth with the words, “Cool it” across the middle. The Climate Issue.

This week the Society sold the magazine and book elements to Rupert Murdoch and his gang for $725M.

A bastion of popular science is now controlled by a very prominent climate change denier who, despite his company’s assurances of editorial integrity, has spent decades interfering with the independence of his properties. A tabloid king could now apply the values of the New York Post to one of the world’s oldest magazines.


When the news of the merger broke, many were, shall we say, concerned about 21st Century Fox founder Rupert Murdoch’s influence over a revered scientific publication.

Morlach is an Australian billionaire, Prevaricator in Chief of Fox News. He has done as much to teach Americans to hate each other and their country as when Satan mustered his demons at Antietam and Gettysburg.

Merdlump has raised up Fox News as his flagship of disinformation and epitome of Doublethink. He has helped bring about the Rise of the Great American Stupid. His minions wage war on science, reason, and critical thinking throughout the land.


Of course, the first thing Murdoch of Mordor did was to fire staff. 180 people were gone in a day.

To the board of the National Geographic Society: How could you do such a dumshit evil thing? Better to have let it die in the ebbing tide of print media than to turn it over to a monster of anti-intellectual propaganda.

Goodbye, National Geographic. You were awesome, beloved, trusted, even collected. Beautiful photography, honest and clear writing, uncompromising veracity. All gone now.

The Young Dead Soldiers

The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses:
who has not heard them?
They have a silence that speaks for them at night
and when the clock counts.
They say: We were young. We have died.
Remember us.
They say: We have done what we could
but until it is finished it is not done.
They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished
no one can know what our lives gave.
They say: Our deaths are not ours: they are yours,
they will mean what you make them.
They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for
peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say,
it is you who must say this.
We leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning.
We were young, they say. We have died; remember us.

by Archibald MacLeish

waste of grace

In my post Hilton screamed, I derided preoccupied Paris and entertaining people in general, for their self absorbed insistence on being the constant center of attention. The problem is coming into clearer focus. The problem is the media, the evil, weed-nibbling goats at CNN, et.al.

Over the weekend, Paris called for the media to stop obsessing with her and maybe cover the war. She said she’s a changed person who wants to make a difference. OK, she’s trying to be aan adult; I give her credit for that. So setting aside the fact that the media are already covering the war, and that a change in her life doesn’t presuppose the willingness or interest in change on the part of others, the important point is what happened next. Which gives me the chance to launch an ill-founded, half-formed tirade on someone else:

CNN has been announcing that their talking head Nancy Grace is doing a live report tonight from “Paris’ Jail” today. … Great Scott!

What a waste, what a stupid disservice to the public interest, is Nancy Grace. She’s a whole lot closer to the National Enquirer than to the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. She’s a sensationalist, who brays and whines at the camera. Her presentation is that of a woman who knows she knows everything, and is prepared to pound that ridiculous conviction down your throat.

It occurs to me that we need a new cable network, for shows that pander to folks who might read the Enquirer, or the Weekly World News. They could just call it Spew, and Grace could move there, along with Larry King and all the bobbleheads from Fox News. And during the day they could run all the insipid court shows that spread like mold out of Peoples Court.

snow’s cancer

WASHINGTON – The colon cancer that Tony Snow successfully battled two years ago has returned and spread to the presidential spokesman’s liver, the White House said Tuesday.

Well this is bad news. I’m very sorry for Tony Snow and his family. Liver cancer is what took my cousin last year, and it is not a merciful end to any life. It would’ve been better for Snow to admit he’s been a disingenuous asshat, and resigned, written a book, done The Daily Show and Letterman, gone to work for a unthink thank. Anyone with a heart is dismayed and sorry for this turn of fate. So I certainly will pray for his recovery.