Monday, June 17, 2024


It has been a cool spring here but is about to get very hot. I'm going to see if I can get by without turning on an air conditioner, because I dislike the noise and the quality of the cold air. The basement here is very large, dry and relatively clean, and I could practically live there if I had to. It is quite deep and always cool. I'm completely caught up on my household chores and have even more time to spare than usual. The Carson McCullers Memorial Tomato Garden has been planted, and the plants are growing well. The soil here drains much better than I thought it would, and it is possible that the clay layer is thin. In Middlebury, the soil had a lot of clay near the surface but was sandy underneath. The soil here drains so quickly that I'm watering several times a day. The eastern phoebe has left its nest, but it is possible that it will have another clutch in the same nest. The robin may also have another clutch, but they don't generally reuse nests. I haven't actually seen any baby birds, so I don't know how successful their breeding has been. The bird calls change, and I think the "phoebe" call may be a mating call. Like many humans, phoebes and robins don't have lifelong partners. Male phoebes get kicked out when the females have eggs, whereas male robins assist the females with nest building and feeding offspring. Not many bird species have lifelong pairings. Since humans engage in serial monogamy, their behavior may be similar. Because of increased longevity, once human females outlive their fertility, some of them lose their interest in males. Apparently, large mammals aren't that different from birds.

For a change of pace, I drove up to Montpelier today. I like going there because the atmosphere is completely different from that of Middlebury or Brandon. Within a very small area, there is so much street life that you could actually be a street photographer there, like Vivian Maier. I also like to go to the Three Penny Taproom, which has an excellent selection of beers on tap. It was closed last July due to the flooding, and they put a mark on the wall inside to show how high the water rose. Unfortunately, Montpelier's downtown sits right on the Winooski River, and this will happen again. At least the state capitol is slightly elevated and sits on a hillside. So far it hasn't flooded. Montpelier reminds me of a college town in the late 1960's or early 1970's and has a slightly hippyish feel – an extreme rarity these days.

My evening entertainment hasn't been very successful recently. I watched "Barbie" in an effort to keep up with contemporary culture. As with Taylor Swift and other popular artists, I wasn't impressed. At the moment I'm watching "Taxi Driver," which features Robert De Niro in one of his best performances. Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel are also good. I don't find the director, Martin Scorsese, that great, though he certainly "gets" New York City, which is part of my identity.

Begrudgingly and dutifully, I am following the 2024 presidential election. The cogs in the wheels of progress move so slowly that they are painful to watch. The problem, I think, is that the founding fathers did not anticipate that an active criminal could be elected to the presidency or that religious fanatics might be placed on the Supreme Court. In fairness to the founding fathers, the model they used did not allow most of the public to vote. It is possible that if voting rights had been more restrictive, a populist movement may never have provided Trump with sufficient votes in 2016. Unfortunately, though voting rights are associated with the inclusion of minorities, they are also associated with the inclusion of stupid white people who can't tell that Fox News isn't news. I am still waiting for that special moment when "cooler heads prevail." The reason why I dislike democracy is that they may never prevail. It should be obvious to any intelligent person who has been following the news since 2016 – eight years – that Donald Trump is nothing more than an active criminal. If I were Juan Merchan, I would give him the most severe penalty possible and put him in jail immediately. Unfortunately, there is no judge protection program, only because no one as slimy as Donald Trump has ever got this far before. Later, many laws will have to be modified in order to take into account this new slime factor. I still think that Trump won't win, though it remains a possibility.

I recently started a good (old) book but haven't made much progress in it yet.

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