quarta-feira, 21 de outubro de 2020

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Portugal continues to puzzle me. The level of nonsense does not seem to wind down. And despite so many saying that they are above it all, come Election Day, the usual suspects will get elected because either people don’t vote or, the ones that do, vote for mediocrity. Mediocrity rimes with poverty and the country is well on its way to become even more impoverished than what it already is. 

Of course, this comes at a time in which the rest of Europe is also poorer, so there will be less money to waste on the folly of helping those who refuse to help themselves. Maybe Portugal will threaten to leave the EU if they don’t pay up, kind of like when Trump threatens to leave the UN, the WHO, etc. Political tantrums usually go a long way.

terça-feira, 20 de outubro de 2020

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I took the morning off so that I could prepare a proper breakfast and say goodbye to my friend who was visiting. I sent her home with some plants and she left with a smile on her face. A few weeks ago, when I stopped by Fayetteville, I was surprised at how quickly she decided to come visit me. 

We usually see each other at least once a year and one could say that this year has been quite remarkable, since we have been together at least three times that I can recall, plus we also saw each other over Christmas. She’s only been to my place once and the rest of the time it was me who visited. Another friend mentioned the other day that she had never known anyone who traveled as much as me. I always think that I am quite sedentary. 

The next big item on my list this week is to vote early. I have just been waiting a few days to allow for the early crowd to get out of the way. 

Jeffrey Toobin, a commentator for CNN, had what I would call a “personal maintenance incident.” He accidentally got caught on camera masturabting during a work conference call. It’s about time that something like this would happen to a famous person. I am sad that he got suspended.

segunda-feira, 19 de outubro de 2020

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Today was pretty much a perfect day, even though I had trouble sleeping last night because I was concerned I might not wake up in time to cook. All was good on that front: both the chai tea and the Brazilian cheese bread came out pretty good and we were able to leave on schedule to get to the marina at 12:30 PM. 

If we had custom ordered the weather, we would not have been able to pick a better day. It was warm, but not excessively hot. It was not windy, so the boat ride was rather smooth. We only saw one barge coming down stream, so there was hardly any traffic, not even leisure boats. Along the margin, we saw a couple of barges, one for grains next to a grain elevator, and one for oil. 

When we returned to the dock, the Asian carp were jumping out of the water like crazy. I’d never seen anything like it. They are large little beasts, with heads as big as my hands. Dinner was early and we chatted around two tables put together to allow for social distancing. 

One of my friends has a daughter who is an MD and she is working at one of the hospitals dealing with COVID-19. Every day, she spends about 2-3 hours talking to families, explaining why they cannot be with their loved ones and trying to provide some comfort. The last time she had a day off, she was unable to get out of bed. I suppose one would just wish the brain would shut down for a bit to provide some respite. 

Every one is talking about voting and the best way to safeguard that our vote will be counted. There is an app online that tracks each person’s vote and people can check to make sure it has been accepted. If it is rejected, people can got back and try to correct the problem. 

Still, it is entirely possible that we all live in a bubble; that this drive for change away from the current administration is more wishful thinking on our part, rather than an actual change of course. Soon enough we will know.

domingo, 18 de outubro de 2020

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The weekend is halfway through and much has been accomplished. We started with a fridge full of veggies and most have been cooked into soup, roasted delicata squash, roasted cauliflower, beef stew, breakfast smoothies, and avocado toast. Yesterday, we went to the Dixon, Burke’s bookstore, and finished the evening with dinner at the Alchemy—we ate at a table outdoors along the sidewalk. 

At the restaurant, the most surprising thing was that we had to check in online and give our information so that the restaurant could do contact tracing, if they needed. The menu was also online and we accessed it by taking a photo of a QR code, which was stuck to the table, with our smartphone. After dinner we picked up Julian from day camp at PetSmart Hotel. He’s still tired today, but we managed to do a portrait session with him.

We went to Palladio Garden to look at water fountains for my garden and saw quite a few ideas that looked interesting. Next weekend, they have their Christmas open house, which might be a good excuse to visit again. 

Tomorrow, we have scheduled meeting some friends for a boat ride in the Mississippi after lunch and dinner at the dock to see the sunset. Julian might need to spend the day and night at the pet hotel, since we will not be back in time to pick him up by 6:45 PM. My plan is to take hot chai and Brazilian cheese bread for dinner. For a pandemic weekend, it has not been bad at all.

sábado, 17 de outubro de 2020

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 My “American Mom” is visiting, so since yesterday I have been focused on being a good hostess. Today, we went to Alchemy for dinner. We were only thinking about getting drinks, but ended up ordering an appetizer, then a main course. I had duck confit and she had shrimp and grits. It was excellent, although I feel like I had enough calories for a week.

At Burke’s Bookstore, next door, I found a copy of Richard Zenith’stranslation of Pessoa’s poems, which I already have, but ended up buying because this book was better than my copy. It was a fun day, but I cannot believe how exhausted I am. Tomorrow, we do fun things again.

sexta-feira, 16 de outubro de 2020

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The day was gloomy and I spent a chunk of it cooking, not really paying attention to anything else, as I was expecting company for the weekend—a first since the beginning of the pandemic. Things are getting worse quickly, as was expected, and the reproduction rate in Memphis is greater than one.

My team was planning on starting to slowly work in the office, a few people in the beginning and then the plan was to expand. It does not seem that the safety criteria are being met, so it has been delayed for now. 

I went ahead and stocked up on toilet paper and food, so I should be set for a while. Now is the most dangerous time for us, as we may have become more relaxed. Plus, it’s allergy season and the other bugs are coming out. We shall see how we fare...

quinta-feira, 15 de outubro de 2020

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Idealism is alive and well in America! People are enduring long lines to vote early and in person, as they do not trust that voting by mail will be problem-free, given that the President has said that there is voter fraud. The Post Office has also had a few incidents that have people questioning whether they are up to snuff. Next week, I will vote. I did not want to go first thing, but my plan is to vote early and in person. 

Today was the last day of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s hearing. She’s as good as confirmed, which will increase money donations to the Democratic Party, plus it acts as an incentive for people to vote. Once she is part of the SCOTUS, Roberts will become less of a conservative. And I have a few questions about Kavanaugh because, every once in a while, he does vote liberal, as if he’s giving the finger to his detractors. 

Well, the country is in a bit of a mess and many of these people have to pick a side because History is calling. Even William Barr’s inquiries are coming out empty-handed or being postponed until after the election, like he realizes that the President is on the way out. If Trump does lose, it will be interesting to see where a lot of these people will end up  Barr is going to enjoy retirement, but those that are of working age will have a hard time getting jobs. People are mad and they’ll boycott companies that hire them.

I would not be surprised if Trump had to declare bankruptcy again. And I also have a feeling that Ivanka Trump’s reputation and businesses will be damaged.  Neither Democrats, nor Republicans, can risk her eventually running for office and hijacking the GOP like her father did. It is more likely that the Trumps will be treated like weeds.

quarta-feira, 14 de outubro de 2020

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I have a friend who always defines herself by the man she is with. And her men are always awesome, the most awesome, until one day they break up and we learn all the shitty things that they did. I hate that in more ways than one. I hate that people would do that to each other, I hate that many relationships end up and the partners are left hating each other's guts. I hate all the pain people have to go through. It just feels like such a waste of emotional energy. Anyway, shit happens an then you die--that's the condensed version of life. 

Today we made a ton of progress tearing apart the garden. The AstroTurf is out and one of the water fountains is getting disconnected. There are still lots to do and sometimes it feels overwhelming, not to mention that I question if I'll be able to implement my vision, but it was a bit stressful having to look at things the way there were. Plus, I bought two dogwoods, which will soon be shipped and I need to prepare things to accommodate them. Dogwoods are one of my favorite trees; I just love them so much that when they start blooming, I drive around town trying to find the best routes to see them.

I managed to give all the extra window curtain hardware away to one of my housekeepers, who has recently moved to a house. I had been lugging that stuff around from house to house for the longest time. I don't even remember exactly which house I had bought it for originally. I think it was in my house in Arkansas almost 10 years ago, but it did not get installed when I moved to Memphis the first time or to Houston since both houses already had hardware. I had over 10 curtain rod sets, so it was probably worth over $300. I am just happy that it is of use to someone and I don't have to deal with it anymore.

One of my next projects is to repot some of the plants that I propagated and also give them to the housekeepers. They have told me several times how much they enjoy my plants, so I would like them to have some of their own. I have accumulated too many, plus they are really easy to care for, which is perfect for beginners.

The SCOTUS decided today in favor of the Trump Administration and is allowing Census work to end about two weeks earlier than originally planned. It is assumed that the big cities, like L.A., Houston, and Seattle, will have the most to lose with this decision, but we shall see.

Another Census case is being considered by the SCOTUS, regarding whether or not to count illegal immigrants. The Constitution does not specify the nationality of the people that are to be counted toward the Census, so it will be informative to see what the SCOTUS will rule. Usually, conservative Justices are keener to hold a literal view of the Constitution.

terça-feira, 13 de outubro de 2020

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The big news today is Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate hearing for the SCOTUS. Since I was working, I did not get a chance to listen to it, but the little I did listen made me sad. In her opening statement, she presented herself as some sort of reincarnation of Justice Scalia, for whom she clerked. 

She already has the votes of the die-hard Republicans, so who is she trying to persuade? If the moderate Republicans were sensitive to those arguments, they wouldn't be moderate, but it is true that they vote in pack and are not expected to veer away from the GOP. Sut she would have damaged the Democrats' arguments if she had portrayed herself as an accomplished professional woman, rather than someone who is just going to carry on the work of a man that has been dead for four years.

The question of Roe v. Wade is a moot issue, as there is too much precedent already, so it is nearly impossible to overturn. Furthermore, it's not like the GOP needs to overturn Roe v. Wade to make abortions unavailable. They are already pretty hard to get legally because most abortion clinics have closed.

But it's all a show anyway. It will be interesting to see if the Senators who said that they would not vote will act as indicated. My gut feeling is that they will go ahead and vote.


segunda-feira, 12 de outubro de 2020

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 At the end of the day, the sun came out for a bit, as the clouds of Delta moved on, but the morning was wet. I ended up taking Julian to the pet hotel, so that he could spend the day playing with other dogs, since we could not do our usual activities. 

When I went to pick him up, I also stopped by Barnes and Noble, since I wanted to buy a Pablo Neruda book to introduce a friend of mine to poetry. I also got a Rumi book for myself. All the sections at the bookstore had been rearranged and the back of the store was full of toys. It felt strange to not have things in their usual places, but I suppose they are hoping for early Christmas shoping and toys are supposed to perform really well.

This weekend, I binge-watched two TV shows on Netflix and also read, which felt good. I had tried to do a cook-along where I learned to make vegetarian meals, but I did not feel well at all. I don’t think I can digest lentils or mushrooms because I had really uncomfortable stomach aches and I felt very bloated. I gained about 5 lbs 3-4 days, just from inflammation. And when I get out of bed in the morning, my ankles hurt. 

I will have to go to the doctor and ask if this could just be because of a reaction to food or if there is something else that could be wrong. It seems like my immune system just turned completely bonkers over the last couple of years. Comfort food these days is a baked sweet potato. I suppose it could be worse. 

domingo, 11 de outubro de 2020

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"This bill makes sex look like church." That's how Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah described the coronavirus legislation that is being discussed in the House of Representatives. I am glad the prudes of Congress are thinking about sex while people are going without jobs. Although their explicit rationale for not passing the legislation is their own jobs, since the GOP is concerned that they will be voted out for spending so much money. I actually think that they are trying to lose the election on purpose because they don't want to deal with the big mess that they created. Good for them...

During the day, we hosted the remnants of Hurricane Delta, so lots of rain and some wind. I was surprised by how little coverage it got, given that it made landfall in Louisiana, so it could've been serious for New Orleans; however, the storm moved on pretty quickly, so that was a good thing. Obviously, one person who did not give a hoot was the President. I can't believe people in the affected areas vote for him, but they do, so I guess they got what they deserve.

We are 25 days away from the election and, next week, we will be able to vote early and in person in TN. I will wait a few days and do so, as I want to avoid the early crowds. Five days ago, more than 4 million people had already voted, which compares to 75 thousand early votes by that time in 2016. I think that we will have record participation this year, which just shows you that despite all the craziness that Americans endure, they also understand that, if the country is not doing well, it is because of who got elected, so if they want a different outcome, they need to vote accordingly.

Trump may win the election because of the Electoral College, but one cannot say that this President is popular or that he has the support of the majority of the people. He is one of the most unpopular Presidents, as the American people has shown over and over again in public demonstrations, some of which having broken participation records. Democracy is alive and well these days and people will continue working until he is brought down.  


sábado, 10 de outubro de 2020

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President Trump had a tantrum and refused to participate in the next debate, which would have been held virtually. As such, it was cancelled. Whoever thought that Donald Trump was a political genius has been proven wrong. If he had been said genius, he would have played the part: smiled for the cameras and let things move along. As such, he would've garnered the praise of many people on the left, center, and the Rockefeller Republicans, besides his original base. Instead, he acted like an elephant in a china shop.  

The only thing that can give him a win is the Electoral College, but I would not rule out that some Electors may just vote with their conscience, rather than the will of the majority in the state they represent. After all, the point of the Electoral College is to weaken the tyranny of the majority.

On Friday, Ian Bremmer, the President and Founder of the Eurasia Group, has a really nice review of major events for the week. In today's newsletter, he had an interview with the Greek Prime Minister, who seems to be a very impressive man and quite well spoken and in control. I am happy that Greece is managing the pandemic well: they deserve a break. Other countries should be so lucky. 

sexta-feira, 9 de outubro de 2020

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The dominoes are falling. The Drudge report no longer supports Trump and has joined the Biden bandwagon. One of the masterminds behind an important QAnon website has been identified as Jason Gelinas and has been fired from Citigroup where he was a  Senior Vice-President. 

Today, news came out that 13 people have been arrested in connection to a plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, who is a Democrat, and take over the state government. 

Little by little, until election day, the machine that supports Trump will be dismantled. It will not be completely eliminated, but it will be weakened in the short term and it will take a while for people behind it to reorganize.

The talk of the town today was the fly that landed on Vice-President Pence during yesterday's debate. He seemed completely unaware of it, but people don't know if he did not realize it or if his poker face is that good. 

I wonder what tomorrow will bring us...

quinta-feira, 8 de outubro de 2020

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 We are through the only vice-presidential debate of the season. Kamala won on content, Pence won on demeanor. Nobody changed their mind after watching this, of course. The best part of the evening was when one of the commentators on PBS described Mike Pence’s style as “syrupy politeness,” which is quite apt. This is the type of guy who can convince you you’re looking at the sun, when in actuality it’s midnight and you’re staring at the moon. He’s very good at playing to the emotional system, instead of the rational. 

Kamala was good enough and did her job. She could’ve been better, but it is hard to be in her position. 

Debate Vice-Presidencial