The Big Empty

I’ve been running on reserve power for about twenty four hours now. I find something that stimulates, then overstimulates me, from old black and white movies to YouTube videos of trains or excision of epidermoid cysts.

I slept a little bit, then woke, stayed awake, then tried to sleep some more. I have feelings of anger and now, heartbreak. I learned that a young woman, 25, just died from an aneurysm. Most likely, it was an undetected birth defect. This is hard to take on little sleep.

I’m flying the colours this Memorial Day. It’s also the anniversary of my aunt’s passing in 2011.

Not quite in the mood for a cookout.

Stones. Kidney Stones.

J has a medical condition, medullary sponge kidney, that predisposes her kidneys to stone formation. There’s no question that flare ups are a miserable ordeal. She had flare ups from late winter to spring where she passed several smallish stones and one “whopper”.

That flare up prompted a visit to a urologist, where a CT scan indicated blockage of the left ureter. Yesterday a ureteroscopy was performed to break up and remove a large stone (12 mm) and several smaller stones. The procedure, from prep to discharge, took about four hours. She is recovering at a nice pace.

It’s been an exhausting few days.

I’m tired.

Ana Moura

Ana Moura is a fadista, a singer of the Portuguese musical genre of Fado. Yesterday was a generally sad and stressful day. In addition to Tina’s passing, the politicians are making noises about the debt limit, their own squalid little dreams, and why the war in Ukraine is a good idea.

But back to Ana Moura. She has a lovely melodic voice. If you think you need to understand Portuguese to understand Fado, you don’t. Like all music it comes from the heart. Accompanying the vocalist in Fado are a guitarist and a Portuguese guitarist, which sounds and looks much like a lute.

Fado is the antidote to the poisons of the twenty-first century.

Tina Turner R.I.P.

Tina Turner grew old and sick and died, just like everyone who predeceased her and everyone who will follow.

And yet… Anyone who has heard a Tina Turner song cannot forget her. That makes her, in the world of digital memories, immortal.

Tina, you will be missed.

Debt, Foreign & War

I’m thinking aloud here. When the good Ol’ US of A was borrowing money to pay for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, clandestine wars in Syria, Yemen, Libya, The People’s Republic of China bought that debt. Whenever the government spends more than it collects in taxes, it has to issue bonds to pay those bills. Who buys the bonds are governments, banks, insurance companies, or individuals.

Right now the guerre du jour takes place in Ukraine, a poor country in Eastern Europe, run by a leadership class with a penchant for stealing. We are sending untold billions in cash and armaments to this country, where auditors and accountants are scarcer than fans of the WNBA.

What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the Peoples’ Republic Of China is hinting at the prospect of a military takeover of a rebellious province, the island of Taiwan. It is the home of the Kwomintang (KMT), the Nationalist party of Chiang Kai Shek, Chairman Mao’s adversary in the Revolution of 1949. With justification, China sees the dispute with Taiwan as an internal matter within China.

The tie between Taiwan and Mainland China is fairly clear. Who controls Taiwan is an internal question to the Chinese. The United States is making all kinds of bellicose gestures and remarks about defending Taiwan. It is looking like 2024’s war, arriving just in time to prop up the sagging fortunes of the Biden Administration.

Meanwhile, why would the Chinese want to damage the economy of a nation that owes them a whole lotta money? Diabolically, or theoretically, the US could fight a war with China, with debt financed by China. Since the days of WW Two and The Cold War, war has proven to be good business. Since one of the last big domestic industries is based on defence (AKA “war” ), don’t look for anybody in Washington or Wall Street or Silicon Valley to eschew this folly.

If there’s a war, lots of people could die, people like your spouse, children and grandchildren. Maybe even you. One would think the Government would want to avoid this outcome. One better think again. I’m not looking for cooler heads to prevail in Washington. The American War State is a bipartisan coalition of Republicans and Democrats. They will unfurl the flags and conflate any actual or potential conflict with World War Two, the last so-called “Good War”. They’ve been doing this since 1945. Sadly, it has yet to wear thin.

3:33 AM

The time seemed auspicious as I began the post. I woke up, prayed The Rosary for family members and loved ones.

J has a large stone at the beginning of her ureter on her left side. She’s in pain, obviously.

I haven’t slept well in a very long time.

I have not much else to write about.

Nothing Really Wrong

I went upstairs to lie beside my wife, as she watched rerun after rerun of Little House On The Prairie. OK. Then she wanted me to prepare a quesadilla for her, with a corn tortilla rather than wheat. No big difference.

I had settled in, even as Little House was saturating the bedroom with its unique banality. Then I became restless again. My eyes ached, but I could bear Little House no longer. I went downstairs, took my metformin, watched a few episodes of a World War One documentary. The sharp brutality, tempered only by black and white film is the originating myth of our time, now playing itself out in Ukraine. Lemberg, Lvov, Lviv, only the names change. And the butchers.

My home, like the world, scrapes along. We have our pains, as our dreams of grandchildren flicker away, in my son’s alcoholic reveries and seizures.

The orgasms of half a century ago were meant to spark a legacy. We didn’t know that then.

Nothing Really Wrong

Nothing Really Right.