After the plague

I have to preface this essay by making one thing clear: I have to great love for dystopian visions, or narratives of the apocalypse.

As a much younger man, I reveled in tales of the end of the world, or of the world gone wrong. Nineteen Eighty-four was my lodestar. Brave New World possessed a strange allure, as I in my hubris knew I’d be born as an Alpha. Alas, Babylon was a seminal work in my adolescence. And, of course, who can forget A Canticle for Leibowitz, whose central theme is that the problem is with humanity, regardless of how many chances it gets to get things right.

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Saving yourself by serving others

On Thursday I had the privilege of attending a symposium on homelessness at the LA County Board of Supervisors. There, we watched a documentary called Skid Row Marathon. Here’s the synopsis:

When a criminal court judge starts a running club on LA’s notorious skid row and begins training a motley group of addicts and criminals to run marathons, lives begin to change.

SKID ROW MARATHON follows four runners as they rise from the mean streets of LA to run marathons around the world, fighting the pull of homelessness and addiction at every turn.

Their story is one of hope, friendship, and dignity.

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Where the political is personal

If you are a reader of the blog I manage, The People’s View, you’ll know that most of my writing for the past two years has been there. I’ve let this personal blog lie fallow, not having enough time to attend to it.

But what I’ve come to realize over the past few months is that the personal is political. One cannot divorce one’s personal life from the maelstrom which whirls around us.

And, I’ve found, writing here focuses my purely political writing on TPV. I need to balance that agitprop with more personal writing, where I write about things which may not seem political, but do inform my political work.

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Confessions of an Anglophile: Of Roman emperors and naked boobs

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Captain Lucius Aelius Picard, or, a hairy Patrick Stewart

OK, look, I was a weird child. My brothers were 10 and 12 years older than me, which had positives and negatives. They had already been through what I was going to go through, so I had an idea of what to expect. But they were also almost autonomous adults, so even though we were a household of two parents and three children, I was pretty much on my own.

But my oldest brother Tony acted as a surrogate father at times, and the one main thing he shared with me was a love of all things British. PBS—back when it was good and would show wonderful programming—was on constantly in my apartment. And this was a time when independent television channels were actually “independent”, and combed far and wide for programming to fill their schedules.

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My new favorite podcast

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As regular readers know, or those who peruse my Twitter timeline know, I have another blog where I write political essays, The People’s View. I try to keep those two worlds separate as much as I can. I generally want this blog to deal with the breadth and scope of my interests outside of politics, from writing to reading, family to friends, work to play. But, sometimes, those two worlds intersect. This is one such case.

While hanging out at TPV, one of the regulars posted a comment leading me to a podcast I hadn’t heard of: The Fall of Rome. Produced by recently enshrined PhD historian Patrick Wyman—who is a fellow Angeleno HOLLA—it expands on his dissertation to encompass the slow decay and fall of the Roman Empire, from roughly 376 to 550 CE. As of this writing, I’ve listened to the first episode, and I’m hooked.

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Accepting you’re a man of a certain age

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So. As the poet says: Time keeps on ticking (ticking ticking) / Into the future.

I’m not sure what triggered me this time. I had a bad night the other night: woke up at 1 a.m. chilled to the bone, teeth chattering. I couldn’t return to sleep, and eventually the unnatural chill was replaced by sweats, by a heat so intense that I had to kick off the covers. (Which made my wife happy, as more for her.)

As far as I know, the chill wasn’t related to anything I had done the night before. And what had I done before going to bed? Why have a couple of Manhattans, of course! It’s my thing.

Or at least, it was my thing. Or, rather, it will not longer be as much of a thing as it has been for a while. How long? So long that I don’t remember when a cocktail or two or three a night became part of my routine.

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