Wednesday, December 14, 2016
The Tumulus, and Other Trivia
-- This picture shows the Tumulus, an odd feature on Hampstead Heath. It's a mound of earth covered by pine trees, which are not commonly found elsewhere on wild parts of the Heath, and entirely surrounded by a ditch and an iron fence. The brush around the fence has recently been cleared, so now it's more easily seen. Interestingly, no one seems to know what the Tumulus actually is, though there are a lot of theories.
-- I have to clarify that my neighbor, who I've mentioned in the last two posts, is not really named Mrs. Kravitz. I just call her that for blogging purposes, after the famous nosey neighbor on "Bewitched," because she can be a bit of a pill.
-- Remember the freedom survey? Yesterday I asked the boy in charge about the results. He hemmed and hawed, and finally said fifty percent of people at school think they are NOT free. Then he scampered away. I think that is an entirely manufactured statistic. Sounds like someone didn't finish their homework.
-- I was struck by a quote in the Nov. 28 issue of The New Yorker, in an article by David Remnick about Obama's legacy. In discussing Trump and his election, Remnick quotes a "left-leaning philosopher" named Richard Rorty, who wrote this astonishingly prescient passage in 1998: "Something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for -- someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots... One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion... All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet."
-- On a brighter note, did you know that you can rent Emily Dickinson's bedroom for an hour or two of creative work? (I also learned this from The New Yorker. Credit where credit is due!)
-- Speaking of creative celebrities, I came face to face with one of my famous neighbors while walking Olga yesterday morning. We smiled at each other and I said hi, in passing, like I would with any other neighbor. I've heard that she will occasionally stop to pet dogs but she didn't pet Olga. Maybe she's wary around staffies?
-- Yesterday I saw personal evidence that fake news continues to be a problem. A friend of a friend on Facebook posted an entirely false article about all Americans requiring a microchip implant by 2017. She believed it!
-- At the risk of turning this post into one long advertisement for The New Yorker, here's my favorite recent cartoon.
-- Finally, I did in fact do some perfunctory Christmas shopping. I won't win any prizes for creativity, but at least I'm not entirely empty-handed! I also did all the online paperwork to check in Dave and I for our upcoming Christmas cruise. In just nine days, we'll be off on that adventure!