31 December 2020

"if hindsight's 2020, i think i'm going blind"

 lights and sound at atl bot gdn w/ robt was a fine way to end this miserable year and welcome the new one, whatever it may bring

26 December 2020

happy critters



during the last century or so, it has been difficult to focus on anything useful, what with the covids, the horrors of trumpistan, and a totally insane election season — but we can see the end of all of that now:  the recent equinox has surely begun to grow the light again

in the meantime, i have, as recently as the present day, finished messing with my latest projects: atlanta's indian trails, which maps trails delineated in the state's first surveys of this part of the world after we stole it from the muscogee in 1821; improvising the peachtrees, which is a history of peachtree street and peachtree road from the time god made dirt to recent memory; and looking for the road to standing peach tree, which is just what it says, a guide to the route of the original 1814 peachtree road as it exists today 

i have hard copies as well as web versions of them all done and posted, but the seeds of all three were in what started with research for a history of midtown atlanta in 2014, which i may or may not pick up again

20 October 2020

dog water

one of dog's many endearing qualities is his insatiable need for water — a quart and a half and more per day, which is a lot for a 40-pound dog — he's been that way from the beginning, but the vet checked him out and thinks it's just a habit — all that water has to be processed and eliminated and he's gotten purty good at holding it — for nearly five hours before this video was shot the other night

19 October 2020

the liberry

dog has been a big help in the catalogization of my liberry, a project which i began a hundred years ago or so in september or something — 1,558 titles, of which around 200 are e-books and pamphlets — all of it now part of a database (readerware) that will sort them all sorts of ways  — i started the exercise when i asked a a neighbor about my homeowner's insurance coverage  —  he made me realize that should the place be destroyed, the liberry would be a huge part of the loss — $40k replacement value, at least  —  anyway it was semi-put-together when i moved in here fifteen years ago, but had become increasingly out of whack, what with additions and subtractions and what not  — i discarded some things that i knew i would never read again, and that freed up significant lineal footage of shelving , and now have everything arranged in a dozen or so categories over eight shelving units —  behind dog here, e.g., are biographies and urban histories in the shelving unit to the left, and an assortment of books on cooking, food, and drink; landscapes, gardens, and horticulture; and a this and that on architecture to the right ---  

06 October 2020

scarecrows in the garden, redux 2020

i usually don't much care for the stupid scarecrows in the garden, but the covids seem to have made the whole thing much more interesting


the beagle

yesterday was the first anniversary of the arrival of the used beagle --- i came very close to sending him back to the country from whence he came a time or two in the beginning, but we both toughed it out and he's done his part, more or less, to adjust to condo living, although he still might rather be running swamp rabbits or something --- a sweet vocal little hound who has contributed immeasurably to my ability to survive in covid-ridden trumpistan ---


03 October 2020

city woods

dog and i checked out old willis mill road today, now closed to motor traffic and used as a multi-use trail, another part of the wonderful web of trails being opened all around the city --- it runs through lionel hampton park, which adjoins westview cemetery --- crosses n. utoy creek and is a spectacular piece of woodland that somehow avoided suburban development long enough to be preserved


27 September 2020

annus horribilis, cont'd.

at this point, i just want it all to end — "i would kill for a good coma right now," to quote moira rose — short of that, all i can do is mental chants and a shitload of reading to drown out the awfulness of what is happening to our country — i've given more money to politics than i ever have and could easily be talked into giving away the rest of it if it would get us out of this nightmare —

regardless of how the election comes off, what will remain is the stark realization that so many people i thought i knew, including the majority of my biological family, are, at bottom, bigoted racist fools, and  hypocrites besides, to whom i have given the benefit of the doubt all these years but who weren't and aren't worth the effort — i understand too well how the nazis were able to destroy germany and fear that we're watching another episode of that here, probably without gas chambers and what not, but certainly with a goal of continued white, christian, male supremacy in service to mammon and his incorporated minions

 i also understand how some old people just get tired of it all 

in the meantime, i read, most lately these, with parenthetical publication dates and a 3-star rating system:

William N. Morgan, Pre-Columbian Architecture in Eastern North America (1999)

***Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent (2020)

***Edward Ball, Life of a Klansman (2020)

***Eric Cervini, The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America (2020)

*William E. Wallace, Michelangelo, God’s Architect (2019)

Erik Larson, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz (2020)

Erik Larson, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin (2011)

*Geoffrey Moorhouse, The Last Divine Office: Henry VIII and the Dissolution of the Monasteries (2009)

T. M. Devine. The Scottish Clearances: A History of the Dispossessed, 1600-1900 (2019)

Ernle Bradford, The Great Betrayal: The Great Siege of Constantinople (2014)

*Peter Heather, The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians (2007)

Alistair Moffat, Arthur and the Lost Kingdoms (1999)

*Alistair Moffat, Remembering Charles Rennie McIntosh (1998)

Alistair Moffat, Before Scotland: The Story of Scotland Before History (2005)

*Alistair Moffat, To the Island of Tides: A Journey to Lindisfarne (2019)

Alistair Moffat, The Faded Map: Lost Kingdoms of Scotland (2010)

James Shapiro, The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1666 (2015)

**Matthew Kneale, Rome: A History in Seven Sackings (2019)

***David Coles, Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Color (2019)

Alistair Moffat, The Highland Clans (2010)

*Simon Thurley, Whitehall Palace: An Architectural History of the Royal Apartments, 1240-1690 (1999)

David Zucchino, Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy (2020)

*Peter Ackroyd, Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day (2019)

Peter Ackroyd, Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I (2014)

Peter Ackroyd, Dominion: The History of England from the Battle of Waterloo to Victoria's Diamond Jubilee (2019)

Peter Ackroyd, Revolution: The History of England from the Battle of the Boyne to the Battle of Waterloo (2017)

Peter Ackroyd, Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution (2015)

Peter Ackroyd, Civil War: The History of England, Volume III (2015)

***Toby Green, A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution (2020)

14 August 2020


projects evolve along with one's research and what not, doncha know — and so my interest in "peachtree road," as in what is it? and where is it? the answers are not obvious, but i think i am now an authoritah on the subject — i am compiling a small booklet that is sure to be wildly popular and worth a great deal of money

the road was originally built in 1814 by the war department, and i found there is enough documentation to still trace its entire 40-mile route from hog mountain in northern gwinnett county to bolton in northwest atlanta — which is what kenny and i started doing today

i think we found the best preserved section today, running for about a mile southwest of duluth — the airline railroad was built a few yards away in 1870, but they were using the road and mostly worked around it --- the old road was bypassed by buford highway in the 1930s but later paved, badly, in the mid-twentieth century, before being entirely abandoned in the last quarter of the twentieth century.

18 July 2020

olden times

i found this today, something i wrote in february ---- i thought everything was a mess then, and didn't even get to BLM and the covids and what not --- i also left out what matters most: people i care about --- all of the quarantining, masks, and social distancing take their toll but also put things back in perspective
I finished my 2019 income tax return this morning—first year without any working income, i.e., nothing but social security, annuity, and investment income—but still a shitload more income than I ever thought I would have in my younger days—I owe a few thousand to the feds, which I can pay, but nothing to the state—
I spend a few thousand a year on health insurance premiums, but those are deducted so I never see the money anyway—and a couple of thousand in copays for the eight or so meds I take every day (!), but I also am the beneficiary for what amounts to free medical care whenever I have, for example, a heart attack, which is no small thing I guess—I know
I own my condo free and clear and totally appreciate the services provided by the monthly HOA fee—
i can buy purty much all the groceries and liquor and what not I want—blueberries, yogurt, and granola for breakfast, a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and amy's chili rellenos for supper is just fine—for me, eating out on a regular basis would be a total chore, which is a big point of savings there—food is fuel and not much more for me
And I can buy all the books I want—I've got 1,482 on the premises at last count, and another on the way, a statistic I know since I just finished an inventory, during the course of which I discovered a number of books I had forgotten about and also too, discovered that I need to up my personal property coverage and get more bookshelves
I can get fancy seats at the benz for soccer and the stones, go to the symphony and the botanical garden and what not when I want to, and take almost daily walks around the park and the great neighborhoods around me here—I took Guinness out to the river a lot, but for whatever reason I've only taken the hound dog out there once and that was just for a short walk—the park and chicken-bone sidewalks are more his style—and so the fitbit routinely records in excess of 11 or 12,000 steps and five or six miles at least
The animals are always noodling around the house, taking up space, requiring attention, providing body heat—the unit itself is floor-to-ceiling glass looking out over midtown, with plants all over the place, even if the orchids aren't doing worth a shit right now—so I'm not sure what more I could expect for nirvana in living arrangements at this late date in my life
And yet there is trumpistan, casting its ugly shadow over everything—that so odious and immoral a person could be elected to lead what was once styled the "leader of the free world" will always be beyond my understanding—people saw him mocking a disabled reporter in front of thousands of people, they heard him brag about "grabbing by the pussy," they listened to a man that "tells it like it is" but was totally full of bullshit and lies in a way that was obvious to anyone that hadn't already been brainwashed by fox news—and jesus h christ all that and enough of them voted for him anyway—and then they've listened to him lie, virtually every time he opens his mouth,  thousands and thousands of lies that have degraded our political discourse beyond comprehension and brought nothing but confusion
"When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits—despotic in his ordinary demeanour—known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the nonsense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind."
That was Hamilton in 1796 or so
And the Republican party, by failing to convict him of his impeachment, has confirmed his belief that he is above the law—they have been cowed into submission, so that now he feels free to use the justice department and every other arm of government to pursue his enemies, fill his coffers at public expense,  and, really, do whatever he wants to do—we've gone from children in cages to deporting military veterans and pardoning war criminals for chrissake?
He has empowered white nationalists and Nazis and evil people at home and around the globe, although I'll grant he didn't do all that all by himself—I worry about the queers and what not out in the country not to mention other minorities of all sorts, from Puerto Rico to Mexico to Africa to the Middle East
He and the republican party are in denial about climate change—he trashes environmental regulations, ranging from dumping coal ash into rivers and streams to reviving the asbestos industry to eliminating protection for wetlands and endangered species—and since he has appointed foxes over all the henhouses in government, he is quickly undoing, first and foremost, anything Obama touched, as well as the advances from the 1960s right back to the entire New Deal, not excluding voting rights and Social Security
He is trashing our old allies, abandoning the Kurds and Ukraine and everyone else that might benefit from our support—cozying up to despots in north korea, russia, and turkey
How does this affect me, a white anglo male, you might ask? Financially secure, as far as that can be and a great place to live and what not 
But being gay, I am affected by the fact that he has now appointed about a quarter of the federal judiciary, including two supremes, simply because the republicans hated Obama so much they would not even give his judicial appointments a hearing, much less a vote --- and most of them would roll back any civil rights, including marriage, that gay people have gained over the last two or three decades—
I know that somewhere in the middle of all of the above, you were starting to argue, but it all goes back to the man himself—a public man we've all seen and heard for decades—deeply ignorant, narcissistic, arrogant, egotistical, and immoral—we saw and heard him throughout 2016, and he [and russia?] still gamed the system and won
And so I "keep harping on trump"—and anybody that isn't on fire about what is going on is deeply ignorant, in denial, or a part of the problem—this is not about "political differences"; it's all about compassion and morality and justice

28 June 2020

the wind was in from africa . . . .

there's nothing unusual about this saharan dust plume, except for its massive size --- it looped up through the gulf and arrived here from the southwest --- a purty great bit of big weather, as it were --- the images here don't do it justice

18 June 2020

swamp beagle!

when i got him, they told me he was a beagle mix, but the dna test says he's 100% beagle --- every single thing about him is typical beagle, except for his size --- 13" and 15" high are AKC standard, and he is the latter, but he weighs over 40 lbs, and under 35 is standard ---

as it turns out, beagles were typically heavier in the nineteenth century, as this image from the wikipedia illustrates --- kenny is a kind of throwback, i think, in terms of size at least ---

from kuntry kenny to throwback kenny!

the beagles hunting swamp rabbits featured in field and stream a couple of years ago are surely his relatives

17 June 2020

tanyard creek

we walked the tanyard creek trail this afternoon, including part of the new portion opened north of peachtree creek --- a lot of wide-open spaces, even if it is bobby jones golf course
the state champion white ash is along tanyard creek