In the early days of television, the programming was often interrupted
with a static screen which said "technical difficulties, please stand by".
That's pretty much the story of my computer life since the Manoa Flood in
October, complicated even further by the upcoming move of nahenahe.net to
a different ISP. I'm trying to persuade the Internet Archive to tell me
where they are saving stuff from the past, just in case anything gets lost
in the move.
But does it really matter?
A glimmer of hope, since the Hamilton Library Annex re-opened when the
current school term began. (The main building still has no
electricity.) But the computers in the Annex are extremely flakey, many
"out of order", one with a space bar on the keyboard which doesn't work.
Oh well, just write everything without spaces and let people figure it
"Cultural" life, without computers, goes on more or less. I haven't read
anything recently worth mentioning. I told Felix that Handel makes me
"want to powder my wig but it's a joy to hear Fleming." So it was with
Rodelinda in its Met broadcast premiere (whatever Fleming wants,
Fleming gets, I gathered from the intermission discussion, and so it
should be). The production of Verdi's Othello was also fine. Now
the Met is taking a mid-season break, something I don't remember having
happened before, so we'll have recordings from past broadcasts for two
You keep coming back like a song ...
As with some Earworm performances, not all songs are really welcome. The
Airport Couple, after a few months absence, has come back. The Fatman is
even more fat. He takes off his shirt to sleep at the Black Hole and it
is really grotesque to see that "beached white whale" on the mat when I
awake in the morning. Mercifully, I have not yet been stuck with him
right next to me during the night.
One would think that a person getting older would merit more, rather than
less, medical benefits. But no, I got a communication about Medicare
which told me that beginning April Fool's Day, I will only be covered if I
get seriously ill enough to go in hospital. No more free doctor's visits
paid for by the State ... unless I want to have $66 per month deducted
from my Social Security to provide additional coverage. No thanks.
Archive, the art critic. But it seems to have changed its mind.
Yesterday, when I went to the Picture Gallery page and looked at "Dame
Edith", the Archive briefly displayed it and then switched to the classic
icon of a broken image. Isn't doing it today.
But I don't disagree with the original verdict. I was honored to have
that work included in a museum exhibition, very much pleased when it was
purchased, but looking at it from this distance in time, I'm not much
satisfied with it as a tribute to that formidable woman.
Still falls the rain ...
Speaking of coming back like a song, Grubby is back in the mall but
apparently doesn't dare set foot in McD's, sits on a nearby bench in the
early mornings. It is essential to take a bench some distance away so as
to enjoy morning coffee without the delicious aroma of dried piss.
Another old-timer seems to be permanently gone, however. Gramps Thrasher
has now been absent from the Black Hole for several months. I think he,
and his plastic garbage bag full of stuff, have finally departed this
plane of existence.
The Queen Mum and the Duchess are still around, though. Me, too, although
I do sometimes wonder why.
Felix wrote: we fall in love because otherwise we would wash our hands
of such difficult people.
I thanked him for so perfectly defining the core of my relationship with
There is one odd thing about the computers in the Hamilton Annex. When I
created the Tales, I specified the Arial font. Of course, for that to
work, the viewer's computer has to have that font installed. From what
I've seen, not many do. But Hamilton Annex does. It's touchingly
nostalgic to see them in the way I first created them.
The used bookshop which has been supplying much of my reading material
has, alas, closed. So it's back to the State Library or to the one-dollar
selection at the mall's Japanese department store. At the latter I found
a fine treat, a Jonathan Kellerman Alex Delaware yarn I've somehow
missed before, Private Eyes. I especially liked his description
of Los Angeles as "ceaseless motion masquerading as freedom". But it
isn't one of Kellerman's best. The plot is almost absurdly gothic.
I am much impressed by mankind's landing on Titan, embarrassed it wasn't
the Americans who did it. Memories of Sputnik.
An indignant reader commented on my remark about the Titan landing and wrote:
Albert, how do you think Huygens GOT to Titan?! Give us some credit -
were it not for NASA and the Cassini orbiter, Huygens would be only a
good idea. It's called teamwork.
NASA doesn't get nearly enough credit for the things they do RIGHT as
blame for the things that go WRONG.
The theme of Michael Lasser's show this week was well-known songs by
little-known black composers. Yes, I knew every song he played but
couldn't have guessed who had written it. "Dark Town Strutter's Ball",
"Sweet Georgia Brown", etc. My favorite was Bessie Smith's naughty "I
Need Some Sugar in My Bowl", which I heard on the Sunday afternoon repeat
broadcast. Then I saw the Sleeptalker at the Black Hole and we exchanged
smiles. (From another song, "and not a word was spoken".) Sugar in my
It was a dull holiday weekend, though, not helped by dreary Kona Wind
weather. Gray and gloomy, hideously humid, constantly threatening rain.
It waited for that until late afternoon on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
when it just poured for hours, often whipped up by strong breezes. Even
the sunset bench wasn't totally dry, but I would have gotten drenched had
I tried to move to a more sheltered spot. So I sat it out and appealed to
the weather gods to please calm down a bit before I had to leave for the
Black Hole. Most kindly, they did, although they resumed their temper
tantrum the next morning when I had to cower on a campus bench, unable to
feed the furry ones until after ten-thirty.
Offenbach's Hoffman literally put me to sleep. I had to turn it
off before the end of the first act, afraid I'd fall off the bench and
crack my head (not for the first time). But the Guy Noir segment
of Prairie Home Companion was so deliciously surreal I listened to
it on Saturday and again on the Sunday repeat.
The dollar bookshelves yielded another "thought-I'd-read-them-all"
treasure with A Taste of Death by the incomparable P.D. James. Not
one of her best, but her less-than-best is better than most writers in
this genre. Then there was Smiley's People by le Carre. I'm not
much of a fan of these Cold War spy epics, but le Carre surely is the
master. (I'm too lazy to do the code to add the accent over the final E).
I am not really a fan of Martin Luther King, Jr. but I did cringe when
hearing excerpts of Bush2's appallingly insincere tribute speech on the
Somehow I can't take St. Paul. Seems to me he was a bit of a
troublemaker. There were these little groups of Christians all minding
their own business and getting along all right, by and large. No one's
perfect. And then St. Paul arrives unexpectedly and starts bossing and
criticizing. Or he'd send them one of his fierce letters. Not the kind
of letter I'd care to receive ...
P.D. James: Death in Holy Orders
Yes, definitely the Baroness in top form.
Okay, okay, I removed the black Inaugural mourning backcloth from the main
page of the Tales. I haven't paid much attention to the pundits
commenting on the speech, but as I interpreted it, Bush2 was saying that
every country on earth must adopt the American system of government and,
if they don't do so willingly, we will force them to do so.
I do think the American system (when it works as it was intended to do) is
the best system. But I don't think Americans have the right to insist upon
it globally. Bush2 only barely managed to be elected as President ... who
anointed him as Emperor of the World?
For many years, he was the last person I saw before drifting off into dreamland, as they say.
Makes it sound like we were lovers.
Well, I guess in a way we were. Me, and millions of other American television viewers, especially those who stayed up late at night.
So long, Johnny. Was good to have your company.
Full Moon in Leo. I hope Felix is not howling too loudly.
And where is the Sleeptalker?
So I got an increase in pay from $577/month to $594/month. The big increase in income will come in May when I can finally get an
old-person bus pass and not have to pay $40/month to ride around town.
It's all so irrelevant.
They made a big deal on the Saturday Met broadcast about the recording of the '67 Aida not having been altered. I think Bergonzi
would have been happy to have had a re-take of the "Celeste Aida" inserted, because it was the worst I can remember hearing.
Leontyne Price and Robert Merrill were splendid, though.
The weather gods are being giddy. The tradewinds returned on Saturday morning, went away again on Sunday morning.
Dilemma. If you read a book which is so awful, you throw it in the trash unfinished, do you mention it warning readers not to buy the
thing or do you just ignore it?
I decided not to mention it.
Strange time, these days before the Rooster arrives.
Grubby and Joe Guam have gone missing, haven't been seen for a week. Odd
that two such long-time regulars would vanish at the same time. And Joe
has long given up talking about "going home" to Guam, so I doubt that's
A stranger came to the Secluded Grove, a beautiful, very dark
tortoise-shell cat. She greeted me with a meow, then sat looking up at
family eating their breakfast on the top of the wall. Eventually, when
most of them had finished, she went up the wall to investigate. Lady Grey
got ferocious, her fur standing on end, tail all puffed up, making deep
growling sounds. Never saw her like that before. The visitor got the
hint and quickly went back down the wall. I guess that explains why there
have been so few cats in the area aside from Lady Grey and her family.
The Sleeptalker missed this Full Moon. I am trying not to broadcast "I
want to see you" messages.
I do not often have a chance to use that old-fashioned word
"flabbergasted". But I did on Saturday morning.
I gave the family their breakfast, was sitting in the Secluded Grove
reading a book. The sky, which had been rather pleasant, suddenly became
extremely threatening. So I relocated to my usual weekend sheltered
A man walked over. I thought he was going to complain about me smoking a
cigarette in an area where one is not supposed to smoke. "I've seen you
sitting here before," he said. "It's a nice place to sit on a wet day," I
He introduced himself, added, "I'm the President. You're always welcome
Okay, he's really only the "Acting President", but my flabber was gasted.
The Sleeptalker came to look for me at the mall. He was in his most
charming mode, and when that man is being his most charming, he beats
any man I have ever known at being charming.
I was, of course, totally charmed, even more than I was flabbergasted.
And that threatening sky produced hours and hours of rain, flash flood
warnings, and all that stuff.