Sunday, January 6, 2019

Did You Know Jellyfish Have Bigger Brains Than Humans?

The gym I use mounted two giant TVs on the wall, one near the tread mills and full body ellipticals, the other behind the nautilus machines but facing the stationary bikes. The stationary bikes used always by the same dozen old people (including Coughing Woman, who is her own post I hope I never write) who make sure everyone knows the gym is theirs, theirs dammit, and the TV they watch is tuned to Fox. The TV near the treadmills is always tuned to MSNBC. I assume this is by gym policy (and the Fox tuned to that TV by request since it is their gym), though don't know. Both TVs are silent with closed captioning. Yesterday, Saturday Jan 5th, at 3PM, on both Fox and MSNBC, guests horrified at the incivility of Tlaib saying motherfucker, MSNBC the most distraught, THIS GUARANTEES TRUMP'S REELECTION screamed the captioning, MSNBC doing all in it's power to make it so, Number One.

Last night we dinnered with my brother-in-law, his second wife, his son, my non-blood (and only) nephew. My brother-in-law's second wife (who is very nice and I like very much) is a (minor) motherfucking professional Democrat. To her credit, she didn't mind Tlaib's motherfucker though she bemoaned BernieBros bashing of Beto (I didn't pursue why Beto sucks). What do you think is going to happen long term, she said to me, and I said, continuing extraction of remaining rents from the peasants then catastrophic climate change and resource wars and the death of billions of humans if not the destruction of life on the planet. Yeah, she said, but at least the election of someone like Biden will slow it down.

I'm not going distraught on you when I tell you I said to my sister-in-law If you are waiting for Democrats to save you you're a fool, they're in on the job and left it there. She agreed, actually, but seeing no alternative other than giving up she chooses to fight for the lesser evil. She is the majority position, I the minority position. She sees Tlaib and especially AOC as the wave of the future regardless how viciously both are crushed by the GOP and the media, and I didn't say (the check came, it was nine, late, time to go, I can only ask you trust me when I say I wasn't going to say) it's not the GOP and the media that will crush the Tlaibs and AOCs of the Democratic Party.

  • Didn't say, Trump's value for the elite is he makes people think what he - what any POTUS does - matters.
  • I did mention that if HRC doesn't run she will choose the nominee, and this morning, shazam.
  • Read this, please: I don’t believe that a well-phrased critique will break the world-sustaining processes that protect the privileged, although that brokenness won’t happen without critique. To break the back of the reproduction of the violence we repudiate (inequality, unfairness, racist/sexist/class biopolitics, for example) we have to disturb the intelligibility of the world, the terms of fairness, responsibility, and of consent, which actually is more likely in the short term to increase the experience of vulnerability rather than protect us from further proximity to it. That’s another way to describe the machinery that animates the intensified frictions of the crisis of the historical present.
  • How neoliberalism swallowed the world.
  • How to write about the Right - Lilla's response (I paraphrase - you need take more time to understand the racist motherfucker's pov) is illustrative of the motherfucking problem.
  • I'd be lying if I didn't admit I enjoy watching the Tlaibs and AOCs make rank and file crackers nuts.
  • Maggie's weekly links.
  • Glad to be unhappy.
  • 2019 Predictions.
  • On living in Atlanta (since at least two of you regulars like in or near Atlanta).
  • What's the point of writing?
  • { feuilleton }'s weekly links.
  • The last of the four new late James Tate poems in January 2019 Poetry below.



          My wife and I were spending a quiet night at home. She was reading
a magazine on the couch and I was reading my novel in my chair. I said,
“Darling, can I fix you a cup of hot chocolate?” She said, “That would
be great.” So I got up and went into the kitchen and started to boil the
milk. A few minutes later I handed her the cup. “Hmmm, smells great.
Thank you, darling,” she said. I sat down and resumed my reading. She
said, “Did you know a tiger has the same number of bones in it as a monkey?”
“I don’t believe it,” I said. “And a whale has the same number as a mouse.”
“Get out of here,” I said. “These are some little known facts discovered
by a man named John D. Baxter,” she said. “He must be crazy,” I said.
Then we were quiet for a while. I looked over and she was asleep. I went
on reading my novel. Then I put my novel down and got up and started to
tiptoe around the house. I went into our bedroom and over to the dresser.
I opened up Mitzy’s jewelry box and let the jewels run through my fingers.
There were some fantastic pieces in there, diamonds, rubies, emeralds. I
thought about stealing some, but felt creepy about it. I put them back in
the box and tiptoed back into the living room. I tripped on the coffee table
and went crashing down. Mitzy woke with a start. “Go back to sleep,”
I said. “What was that?” she said. “I tripped, that’s all,” I said.
She started to get up. “Where are you going?” I said. “I want to look in
my jewelry box,” she said. “Why?” I said. “I dreamed somebody was trying
to steal something in there,” she said. She went into the bedroom and
looked in the box, then came out. “It’s okay,” she said. “Well, I’m glad,”
I said. She got back on the couch and picked up her magazine. “Did you
know jellyfish have bigger brains than humans?” she said. “I don’t believe
it,” I said. “Well, they do. It says right here,” she said.


  1. How comforting. The end of the world in super slo-mo with Uncle Joe. He strikes me as potentially the first president to match the fictional castings one knows from movies & television, that is if one is able to look past the current star, framed as foil to the Dignity of the Office, scored with Yackety Sax yet somehow express delivering promises of the doom of every imaginable disaster. Yes. Max Headroom will be an improvement. Retro futuristic dystopia at its finest.

    1. (Check President Erwin Rexall of the "Give Me Liberty" graphic novel series [Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons]. Rexall, part Reagan and part America's Current Leader, pursues economic policies that enrich the few and impoverish most everyone else. He also has the 22nd Amendment repealed so that he can run for Leader, forever. The part where America also pursues wars against corporate armies in 2nd- and 3rd-world countries, is a Hoot.)

  2. 0)i read about atlanta and its environs - the bookstore at the mentioned mall is BAM! - books a million

    1)with regard to the 2020 donkey rodeo and hrc's role as ringmaster - spouse and self were watching tv talk shows this am and missus charley thinks elizabeth warren and julian castro are not viable candidates - she, a non-anglo xx person, thinks non-anglo and/or xx are disqualifying in terms of appeal to a sufficient number of voters - is she too pessimistic? sometimes, i think, but maybe not about these persons

    2)fact-checking the tate poem, one finds that the assertions about equal numbers of bones can't be right - The number of bones varies from one species of whale to another and is dependent, in part, on the length of the whale's spine. Sperm whales contain 164 bones, while the blue whale, the largest animal on earth, has 356 bones.

    2a)there WAS a noted scientist named john d. baxter, though he was not associated with bone-counting - there is no wikipedia article about him, but his career is memorialized at -

    The consistent theme of John’s work was finding a connection between academic science and medicine. It should be obvious that therapeutic development was the driving force behind all of the research achievements listed above, even though many of them required difficult and intellectually challenging advances in basic science. John applied this principle to the structure of the Metabolic Research Unit, a department at UCSF that he led from the 1980s onward. It was common for the mix of basic scientists, clinical researchers, and pure clinicians that were members of the department to share laboratory space, attend the same seminars, and meet as a group to exchange ideas.

    3)jellyfish do not have a brain at all

    3a)and yet they feature prominently in an oft-repeated tv ad for a "memory booster" supplement - did tate see these ads? quite possibly

    3b)“The Federal Trade Commission and New York State Attorney General have charged the marketers of the dietary supplement Prevagen with making false and unsubstantiated claims that the product improves memory, provides cognitive benefits, and is clinically shown to work,” the FTC said in a statement.

    3c)i have wondered why i should regard something from jellyfish as likely to improve my brain function - now i know that the supposedly therapeutic effect is based on its effect on calcium

    Memory reconsolidation and maintenance depend on calcium channels and on calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinases regulating protein turnover in the hippocampus.

  3. 1.) " 'The savvy ones know she’s the most valuable endorser in the party not named Obama,' that source added." She, The Inevitable One just will not go away. And to Herr von D.'s point: the Patent Obviousness of Onkel Joe as the Benign 'Daddy Candidate', the Healing Papa, just takes your breath away, doesn't it?

    2.) "To break the back of the reproduction of the violence we repudiate... we have to disturb the intelligibility of the world". I take that to mean Gonna be worse before it's something else. Not necessarily better, just Other.

    3.) Neoliberalism is like going on a date with someone who speaks about an incredible idealism and a shining world for all peoples, and suggests that there may be Actual Sex™ for you later, if you'll just buy some things, and buy into other things. Suddenly, you realize they've gotten you to pay for dinner (overpriced), the movie (bad), their cab ride home; and a "loan" -- and, none of the idealistic crap they were spouting ever came to pass, and there was no Sex. Oh, and if you bring any of this up while the date is in progress, someone puts a black bag over your head, and when you wake up you're in Guantanamo.

    4.) Thankee linkee.

    5.) I Prophesy in Twenty-Nine Teen that The Leader will provide some of the best surrealistic theater this Nation, born of P.T. Barnum and Frederick Winslow Taylor as it is, has ever seen. It will cover everything from You ain't seen nothin' yet to "Buh-dip, Buh-dip, Buh-dip; That's All, Folks!"

    6.) An Old Carlin joke: At the Peachtree Complex in Atlanta, he was served breakfast. "What's this white stuff, man?" he asked. The Serving Person replied, "Hell; them's grits!". "They're moving, man," he said.

    7.) We write to know we're not alone. Ay-yuh; well, we do just about everything on that basis, come to think.

  4. Interesting stuff. As a trained philosopher, though, I instinctively recoil when I read phrases like: "world-sustaining processes that protect the privileged," "disturb the intelligibility of the world," "the machinery that animates the intensified frictions of the crisis." Same them out loud to yourself. What do they even mean? Too general to be relevant. Too vague to be meaningful. Although, truly, they sound urgent and important and, more importantly, smart. The problem is that people fall for that sort of flummery by flattering themselves about how smart they are, too, and then delude themselves that they actually understand what the writer is saying. While sympathetic, I have no idea what this person is talking about and, I suspect, you would be hard-pressed as well to explicate these and such like verbiages intelligibly.

    1. Wow. I thought exactly the same thing you say here, but only first as my reaction went from finding the choice words brilliant, feeling I understood them as choices of precision of meaning. But then asked myself if I had more than a feeling of what had been written. My conclusion however is that one'd at least have to work a bit to explain it.

    2. Yes, Davidly. But it's the work of the writer (who's trying to persuade us of some point or other) to clarify meanings, to explain. Making the reader work may be an accepted strategy of poetry, but the loosey-goosey use of sloppy terms in serious writing—polemic included—is a major flaw. Disqualifying, IMHO, even though the sentiment seems on point at first blush.