(September 18th, 2017)

I’ve been posting ersatz journalism, so why not an ersatz column? I plan to deal with many things, shoes and ships, etc., so the so-far title so far fits.

BBC Television recently showed all three seasons of their version of the Three Musketeers, and I was interested in the time period. I looked up Musketeers first and found that several nations of the time had musket-bearing troops that formed the larger part of the infantry. In France at the time of Louis XIV the unit was the Musketeers of the Guard.  Dumas’ Three Muskateers is fiction and historically inaccurate except for one thing: There was a real d’artagnan. (No,you are four!) He was (get ready) Charles Ogier de Batz de Castelmore, Comte d’Artagnan. The Wikipedia entry has a caveat about accuracy, but I guess it’s on point here: “served Louis XIV as captain of the Musketeers of the Guard and died at the Siege of Maastricht in the Franco-Dutch War.” Dumas’ d’artagnan was taken from a semi-fictional account of his life by a Courtilz de Sandras. The book is available from Gutenberg, but it’s in French. If you can read French and have as much time for this stuff as I do you can learn more about him (for whatever reason). The link for that war will work, so if you’re interested check the Wikipedia entry.

Here’s d’artagnan.



Now, a complete subject switch, taken from my Facebook page. Followers, this is not addressed to you.

Ah, Hillary Haters! Was it Russia calling your tune? Most of you will suffer no more than annoyance and a touch of revulsion. What effect does the Trump presidency have on your lives? You’re not dependent on what might be cut. If she had won, would you demand her impeachment?

I addressed this “issue” in my poem “I Don’t Trust Her.” I hadn’t heard about the Russian connection or had overlooked it at the time.


Now, switching again, the gender-specific pronoun problem:

His, hers, him, her, she/he himer (that’s mine), and I think it gets sillier.

The problem is that there is no dative case in English, but there is a neutral pronoun: It. Instead of Mr. Blaustein, It Blaustein; instead of Ms. Patricia, It Patricia; he and she, it and it; his and hers, its and its (careful not to put in the apostrophe).

Occam’s razor, here, simplest solution.

That’s it for this This and That for September 18th.



So people pee in pools

From perhaps the water and the flesh

The sight of spandex over certain parts…

The bladder and the prostate both awake

To turn some men to urinating fools

Ladies too let loose when it hits hard

No thought at all at where they are in space

And all the other bodies that have minds

(So fuck you what I mean go take a swim)

Though I can see myself in such a space

Avoiding all the looks that spell relieved…

Now I could tell my cats and they would know

A species that by instinct hides their waste

Evolving as we have we lost the need

An instinct first and foremost dribbled out…

Here closeness is defined by sharing pee

And think what we will do when in the sea.



Their Machinations

(This poem was written November First, 2016. Prophetic?)

Can I construct a monster out of words,
Raise to all-too-real a fearsome beast?
Conceive of this—I saw and heard
As prominent, the lowest and the least

I see who people choose to run their lives,
Those creatures made of greed and endless hate,
Drawing strength where fear and doubting thrive,
To work within ourselves to set our fate

My apartment in the back-end of the house,
Provides a distance hypogealic from the street,
This is no bar to hear what those espouse,
Their lying graven image of belief

They make a running joke of should not should
Then claim their machinations do us good.

ALAN’S NEW SKILL, Pasting a link to a post


This worked!  I saw the code at the bottom of the page and saw the invitation to post it to your blog or Web Site. I wasn’t sure this would happen. I first saw only a non-picture icon when I pasted into visual. I erased, pasted into the html side, clicked visual and here it is. I think there may be an easier way, and I’ll find out next time.

And this is useful.


The death march of the wretched hobbles on,
Darkly, under overwhelming skies.
Sinews show and bones and jaundiced eyes,
Survivors’ hollowed faces show hope gone.

Who provides the music for their steps,
Whose machinations satisfy whose greed?
For more beyond whatever they would need,
They will use them up till none are left!




A great way to enjoy the news is to compare two articles from very different publications, left and right, and  I hope we’ve all been enjoying the best show on any media today. I certainly have, and afterward I turned to the ‘Net news. Reading the Times is hearing the preacher to the choir, so I turned first to the New York Post.  

This is a very thrown-together, so it’s not in the best shape. First, the article headline of the main article, then excerpts (note how the post outed someone), then statements from both papers’ editorials. Note how the Post outed someone and how the Times did not, and note the difference in writing style.

From NY Post

(front web page):

James Comey repeatedly calls Trump a liar at Senate hearing

Ousted FBI chief James Comey repeatedly accused President Trump of spreading lies during his hotly anticipated Senate hearing Thursday.

Testifying as part of a Congressional probe into Russian meddling in the presidential election, the former top-G man said the president “lied” and “defamed” him when he claimed the FBI was in “turmoil” under Comey’s told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Comey said he gave the memo, which did not contain classified information, to a friend of his who is a professor of law at Columbia Law School — later identified as his longtime adviser Daniel Richman.

Up to that point, the Post was playing nicer than I’d expect.


Whatever Comey says under questioning Thursday, Congress plainly needs to demand those memos and any similar ones from his entire FBI tenure.

To date, the “cloud” over Trump is made entirely of conjecture, rumor and anonymous leaks. The public deserves hard evidence  (The article is off the site now.)


From NY Times

(front Web page):

Comey Says Trump Tried to Derail Inquiry and Accuses the White House of ‘Lies’


— James B. Comey, the recently fired F.B.I. director, said Thursday in an extraordinary Senate hearing that he believed that President Trump had clearly tried to derail an F.B.I. investigation into his former national security adviser and that the president had lied and defamed him.

Mr. Comey, no longer constrained by the formalities of a government job, offered a blunt, plain-spoken assessment of a president whose conversations unnerved him from the day they met, weeks before Mr. Trump took office.

Two days after Mr. Comey was ousted, The New York Times reported that Mr. Trump had asked him to pledge loyalty to him. The president then tweeted that Mr. Comey had “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’” of their meetings.

That post inspired Mr. Comey, who responded by allowing a friend to read portions of a memo about his interactions with the president to The Times.


The prepared remarks of James Comey, the former F.B.I. director, which the Senate released in advance of his sworn testimony before the Intelligence Committee on Thursday, tell a shocking story.



By Percy Bysshe Shelley

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king,–
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn,–mud from a muddy spring,–
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow,–
A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field,–
An army, which liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield,–
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless—a book sealed;
A Senate,–Time’s worst statute, unrepealed,–
Are graves from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day.