Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Xi Jinping

It was one kind of world when, every now and then, some strikingly stupid thing would happen and be worth commenting on from out here in the bleachers of far far right field. I could usually think of something to say once a month that wasn't just a rewording of what someone else might have said in front of their teevee. But this new world, which is still unfolding, still probably in its infancy, well "prozet," as Warren Oates said in an obviously ironic tone from the table just below the General Mapache's. The other day, probably Friday last, Libby was reading that LaVar Burton had received a volley of hate on the Twitter from Trump people who thought he was LaVar Ball. That's almost as good as the endless stories of men who end up shooting themselves in church whilst attempting to show off their new 9mm to their buddies or their buddies' wives. (I always thought the crack about the gene pool being improved by each gun stupidity wasn't so bad, but that was before next week's new massacre.)

Trump's response to the massacre of over 300 worshiping Muslims in Egypt is a call for further banning of Muslims. Genius. But the President trumps himself (so to speak, if you're playing the poker game where the normal low hand is the winner). Yesterday was the Pocahontas thing, garnished with layers of further irony. The whole event occurs under the gaze of Andy Jackson. The President patronizes Mr. MacDonald with a pat on the shoulder after delivering the Pocahontas line as thought it's some sort of shared joke. Those Navajoes fought in all the Pacific island campaigns, and in Korea. And an honor which they might have otherwise taken home and framed becomes instead merely another sick joke, Trump's forever festering hatred of anyone who for any reason doesn't treat him like the Emperor he imagines he is. Trump only respects the people he fears. Everyone else he patronizes, or insults.

I was proud of Mr. LaVar Ball. Ball also thinks he's a kind of Emperor, he's just playing in the world of sports promotion, and he can't pretend that his son is better than LeBron or Stef Curry. But thank you Mr. Ball, for not becoming a toady to Trump. If I had your email I'd send you a little note. Put up a big thank you to Xi Jinping, President of China. A few decades back another little Emperor, Ross Perot, had some of his employees arrested in Iran. He didn't like it. He devised a plan and, with some able assistance, got them out. Or more accurately, broke them out. Whatever you thought of Mr. Perot as a presidential candidate, he had some gumption.

Emperor Trump did not rescue the three UCLA basketball players from China. At best, Mr. Trump asked his counterpart and much more capable Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, to please let the boys go. For whatever reason, Xi Jinping agreed to let them go, and so they went. It's even possible that Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi Jinping performed a little kabuki for our amusement. But Mr. Trump did not rescue the ballers from China. He didn't have the keys.

You should see the scurrilous notes LaVar Burton received from the imbecile 33.5%. (You'll have to look them up yourself.) Mr. Trump's minions include the folks who, responding to the 9/11 attack, shot Sikhs who were working in 7-11's because they thought they were Muslims. They likely include the guy up on NC49 between here and Burlington, who's put up a gigantic Confederate flag on a gigantic flag pole in the middle of a vacant field in front of his house. They surely include the sad Alabama voters who are going to vote for Roy Moore because his opponent, Mr. "soft-on-crime" Jones, got two Klansmen convicted of killing the four little girls in the Birmingham Church Bombing of 1963, at long long last. That's a good Alabama citizen for you, finally wiping up some of the bloodstains. You'd think some of the preachers supporting Moore would actually give Mr. Jones a little credit. And maybe some do--just not the ones in the news.

Finally some thanksgiving. Last Monday one of the little copper connectors that comprise our little plumbing system here on the ranch failed. I used Quest pipe when I ran the water decades ago. It was a wonderful improvement on plumbing, which before required a torch, copper fittings, and so forth. All you needed was this special crimping tool, which I borrowed from a friend. But it turned out after a few years in the field that the Quest system often failed, and that was particularly bad news if your pipes were in the wall, or under the house. So a fitting finally failed here. I was freaking out and talking about hiring a plumber. Libby (here's the thanksgiving) thought she could make the repair. She did some reading about the new replacement for Quest, which is called PEX and has it's own similar fittings, either crimp-rings or a new deal called "shark bite" push-to-fit. They're made it looks like of brass, not copper. They have a similar crimping tool. Libby set in to crimp and push to fit yesterday, after amassing the needed bits at Lowes. It took a long day, and the idea of having running water--even hot running water no less--had after a week become a big-rock candy mountain for us. Now and again I'd help--just looking mostly, but once actually keeping a pipe in place with my shoulder. Libby's perseverance has amortized over the years, while I've found my store of that commodity to be seriously dwindling. I argued several times for the plumber, but I also felt like it would be a damn good thing for Libby to have the opportunity to learn the way of PEX, if she was interested in that course of study, which she was. So I stifled my self-pity, which was a wholesome exercise, and not nearly so difficult as actually trying to figure out each new connection, and how the blamed push-to-fit gizmos really work. It turned out in the end that to fix that one broken Quest fitting--admittedly a 3-way connection--required some nine new connections. This is surely yet another of the fundamentals of plumbing. You cut one pipe and you have to put in two splices. I can't explain it here--but it's true, a kind of string theory.

We're on the way home now. We'll probably replace all the old copper connectors and get rid of a lot of the Quest pipe. I'd rather get ahead of the next break, if you know what I mean. Something to do on a winter day. And thank you again, both LaVars.
And Felice Navidad to Puerto Rico, in solidarity. We hope your water returns, and your electricity! A week was bad enough, and you have been two months and counting.

The next bomb may be the destruction of net neutrality. No one knows what will happen, but the big businesses who will be given full Republican "Liberty" may well make the internet of people like me, just ordinary folks who think they have something to say, and who think "to google" is just a part of life, a thing of the past. It's happened before. I worked for a year with some old masons who had started their working life in a time of trade unions in North Carolina, and who fondly recalled great wages, good benefits, full employment. NC went "right to work" back in the late '50s, long long ago. These old hands all complained bitterly of the vanishing of the good times. And they all voted Republican, and held deeply racist views concerning the ability of working men of other races to even do the job they excelled at. My boss used to say, "A N****r can't even push a wheelbarrow." For a while there was a black masonry team right across the road from us, building the same sort of building we were building. Trump all the way! Just wave that ole Stars and Bars. After a while I decided to get out and free-lance on my own, which was a pretty good choice as it's turned out.

1 comment:

  1. This blog essay, Bill, is a heroic achievement that combines politics, plumbing, and string theory. And celebrate's intrepid Libby's can do spirit. Thanks for sharing. V/R, Lew