Friday Homestead Dispatch

Angelic Contumacious Guimpe

Some good ol’ midwestern corn-fed poet-tree by way of Arizonee.

O, what foolish toil have I begun
With this blog I lend my tongue
A morsel and a tidbit true
At folly’s feet, a fool’s view
Take with grains locutions these
One may think it’s processed cheese
At times I might produce foie gras
Other times it’s blah, blah, blah
But, what’s to gain by being sedate
Mostly questioning at any rate

– Me, The Other Day, 2021

It was brought to my attention recently, from a friend in Kansas, that having your picture taken with a person in a Polar Bear suit was a thing in Germany from the 1920s all the way up to the 1960s. Why did I not know this? Were any of you holding out on this priceless information?

A man named Jean-Marie Donat has amassed more than 10,000 images during the last thirty years. He claims that a German friend of his explained that, “At the beginning of the 1920s, two polar bears came to the Berlin Zoo. Many families go to the zoo to see the bears—they're in fashion—and all of the children want photographs in front of the zoo with these guys in bear suits. It's a huge success in Berlin. And after, throughout Germany for the next 60 years, there are lots of these teddy bears.”

Unfortunately, his limited edition book of 500 numbered copies is sold out. You can read more about this delicious strangeness here, here, and here.

Meanwhile in Slovakia...

Donald Trump has insisted he is writing “the book of all books” and has said he “turned down two book deals, from the most unlikely of publishers”, which he did not name. “I do not want a deal right now,” he said. “I’m writing like crazy anyway, however, and when the time comes, you’ll see the book of all books.”

By doing a bit of sleuthing I found a third draft of page one of his efforts.

My friend Michael Borck loaned me his copy of James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time when he and Kathy were in town last week. I’m ashamed to admit it’s the first Baldwin book I’ve read. My Gawd, this man could write.

“It is the individual uncertainty on the part of white American men and women, this inability to renew themselves at the fountain of their own lives, that makes the discussion let alone elucidation , of any conundrum - that is, any reality - so supremely difficult. The person who distrusts himself has no touchstone for reality... whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves.”

And, like many synchronicities, he and his work have been showing up on social media. Adrienne Westenfeld, writing for Esquire, posted an article about an ABC interview from 1979 that was produced by James Lovett and conducted by the late Sylvia Chase. Lovett was soon after told that the project was scrapped because, “Who wants to listen to a Black gay has-been?”

Here is the complete video.

And just when you think white folk could go no lower, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed one of his party’s top legislative priorities into law: a bill aimed at stopping teachers from talking about racism and any current events that may be contentious.

Huff Post reported that: The Texas law doesn’t explicitly use the word “ban” for conversations about racism. But it might as well, according to state Democratic Rep. James Talarico, a vocal critic of the bill. Talarico is a former middle school teacher who now represents a district north of Austin.

“The bill is written in kind of a clever way,” Talarico said. “You can talk about race in the classroom, but you can’t talk about privilege. ... It doesn’t outright ban talking about race, but the idea is to put in landmines so any conversation about race in the classroom would be impossible. The idea is to whitewash American history of any legacy of racism.”

Lee Papa takes it on with his latest rant. “This is part of the backlash to Black Lives Matter. It is a reaction to legitimizing the pain and oppression of non-white people. It is the fearful squeal of a hegemonic whiteness that is seeing its power diminish as the United States becomes a non-white country, the crepuscule of a dominance that cannot continue. The shift to that non-white USA is going to happen, as it should. The only question is how much of this hateful bullshit are we going to have to wade through to get to the truly equitable, multicultural, anti-racist dawn.”

And just one more concerning white nationalists and QAnon kooks posing as elected officials. We have Paul Gosar here in Arizona…

"Less than two months after the violent attack on the Capitol, Rep. Paul Gosar participated in a gathering of white nationalists at the beckoning of one of the movement's most notorious and hateful leaders who glorified the events of that day," Susan Corke, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project, said in a statement to Salon. "While his colleagues were holding hearings to ensure that another violent insurrection will never again disgrace the halls of Congress, Gosar provided these extremists a mainstream platform and further stoked the hate that drives their movement."

Now he’s claiming that June 6th rioter Ashli Babbitt was executed, that a Capitol Police officer was "lying in wait" to shoot her. According to the Washington Post “His comments, which came the same day he joined 20 other House Republicans in voting against awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the officers who protected the Capitol on Jan. 6, have gone viral on social media and drawn swift rebukes from critics and some colleagues who accused him of downplaying the severity of the insurrection.”

Ward Cleaver: That's the trouble with kids. Just when you think you've built up a real understanding with them, a real man-to-man relationship, they turn right around and start acting like children!

Most of you know I play drums with the Kevin Pakulis Band here in Tucson, Arizona. Up until mid-March of 2020, we had almost five years strong of playing every Sunday afternoon at Borderlands Brewery on Toole Avenue downtown. We’re going to pick it back up starting this Sunday, June 20th! We’ll be back inside, swamp cooler chugging on full, cold beer, ol’ friends, some dancing, and some catching up to do. With Karl Hoffmann on bass, Dr. Joel Dvoskin on vocals, and Clay Koweek on guitar (if he’s in town). 2:30-4:30.

Photo by Phil Kelly

And some good news from yesterday: Two of the three supreme court justices nominated by Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, sided with the majority to uphold the Affordable Care Act. The third justice nominated by Trump, Neil Gorsuch, joined Samuel Alito in dissenting to the majority opinion. When Barrett was nominated to fill the seat of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last year, there was widespread speculation among Democrats that she would support gutting the ACA because of her past criticism of the law. But that prediction has not come to pass.

One of Trump’s greatest ambitions during president was ending Obamacare, but he was unable to do it in Congress, and conservatives have now failed to do it in court for the third time.

QUILL, n. An implement of torture yielded by a goose and commonly wielded by an ass. This use of the quill is now obsolete, but its modern equivalent, the steel pen, is wielded by the same everlasting Presence. – Ambrose Bierce, Devil’s Dictionary

And now, take this cartoon for a spin––oza…