Monday, June 5, 2023

New York Times on the Horror that is Fresno--where the rich flee to Carmel, Pebble Beach, and Morro Bay


The one thing Northside and Southside [of Fresno] share, and it is no trivial feature, is air that is often ranked as the most polluted in the nation. But there’s a difference in this too. The lawyers, doctors, developers, nut growers and pesticide dealers have second homes along the coast, in Carmel and Pebble Beach and Morro Bay, to restore their sinuses and lungs. The farmworkers sit on their lawn chairs after picking the valley’s endless harvest and watch the poison-specked sunset turn the most glorious pink, orange and purple.


Sunday, June 4, 2023

Biden and aging

 Aging, aging. A picture of Biden today and the news that if he wins in 2024 and survives he will be 86 when he leaves office. In 1988, after his aneurysm surgeries, I went up to him at (where else) the Amtrak depot to say it was good seeing him look so strong. Beau was with him looking immortal. I am nearer 88 now than 87. I have finished the book I started the day George Floyd killed. I started it then because only then did I see a way to make something coherent from ten thousand (and more) documents on my American family. I pulled out the ones obviously about race. I finished it despite (starting earlier in 2020), prostate work, near blindness misdiagnosed as lymphoma but really Valley Fever. Blood clot, hallucinatory vertigo, many falls (some severe), fainting on the beach that ended with a heart procedure last Fall. I still don't know if I can make use of the thousands of documents in my "Ornery People" file which are not so obviously about race. It's 9 and I will be at the beach soon, but only going a mile and a quarter, not 2. Now, I could not have an office job any more. I have beautiful long London Majesty neckties in Ancient Madder but I don't wear them. I wish the Democratic Party had a dozen men or women as good as Beto. Failing that, I wish Biden strength. I will never see him looking as I did in the depot in 1988.

Monday, May 22, 2023


 Three mornings ago in the parking lot at the beach a man came up and asked me about how to get to the Rock. His wife stood near him, and I was slow to realize that she was causing me terrible pain in the eyes from her perfume. Once I realized, I dodged fast behind her so I could have her downwind, and got away, wetting fingers in my mouth to try to clean my eyes. Well, the left eye is still hurting and we have thrown out eye-drops after reading horror stories about their dangers. People don't realize that perfume can be a dangerous weapon. Maybe some people do.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Limpets? 10 or 12 years a storm washed up a big tree trunk covered with this thing in BLUE

 The tree was covered almost totally. What you saw were hard blue things the size of a fingernail.

These are not blue, and the ones I saw before were not conical as limpets are supposed to me.

Are these just flat limpets?

Well this looks bluer than I thought. There were two pieces each the size of a dog--less than 3 feet long.

The tree was 25-30 feet long, very irregular. The blue things fell off in a few days and children played on it for years then a storm lifted it up against the dunes and it stayed there for years--8?--Then this year's atmospheric rivers lifted in ONTO the dunes.

This is the first time I have seen this since--so probably limpets?

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Colleagues. Are they all dead now?

-Almost overnight, everything changed. Starting in the postwar years, anti-Semitism became intellectually unrespectable, thanks to its association with Nazism and the Holocaust, while the flood of new students entering the universities under the G.I. Bill meant that there was an urgent need for new faculty. Jewish professors, critics, and scholars were newly acceptable—Lionel Trilling studied Arnold at Columbia, and Harry Levin studied Joyce at Harvard. Leon Edel wrote the biography of Henry James, and Hershel Parker wrote the biography of Melville. Alfred Kazin recovered the history of the American novel in On Native Grounds, a title whose defiant claim could not be missed.