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“This was back in 1945.”

Well, I was working in a dental office on Lexington Avenue for two brothers, JD and JL Burke, and all morning long people would come in and say there seems to be rumors that the war is ending. And since I wasn’t very far from Times Square, I could just walk over there and see for myself. And so after my bosses came back at 1:00 from their lunch hour, excuse me, I went straight to Times Square where I saw on the lighted billboard that goes around the building, V-J Day, V-J Day, and that really—that really confirmed what the people have said in the office. And so suddenly I was grabbed by a sailor, and it wasn’t that much of a kiss, it was more of a jubilant act that he didn’t have to go back, I found out later, he was so happy that he did not have to go back to the Pacific where they already had been through the war. And the reason he grabbed someone dressed like a nurse was that he just felt very grateful to nurses who took care of the wounded. And so I had to go back to the office, and I told my bosses what I had seen. And they said, Cancel all the appointments, we’re closing the office. So they left, and I canceled all the appointments and went home.

Interview with Greta Zimmer Friedman, August 23rd, 2005

The Kissing Sailor.

SARASOTAGeorge Mendonsa hasn’t even been buried yet, but a statue depicting the World War II veteran kissing a woman in Times Square to celebrate the end of World War II has been vandalized in Sarasota.

The sculpture called “Unconditional Surrender” was spray-painted with #MeToo graffiti, indicating the movement founded in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence.

While the statue—which came to Sarasota in November 2009—represents nostalgia and a level of unity and pride, some consider the act a sexual assault by today’s standards.

—“#Metoo” painted onto “Unconditional Surrender” statue in Sarasota

#MeToo.

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
Well, we met in Times Square in 1980.

Patricia Redmond:
But who invited you to Times Square then?

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
LIFE Magazine.

Patricia Redmond:
Okay. And?

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
And we sort of—I didn’t want to reenact the kiss. First of all, my—well, no, my husband did not come with me, but his wife was there.

Patricia Redmond:
Mr. Mendonsa’s wife?

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
Yes.

Patricia Redmond:
Well, she was there the first time.

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
Well, I didn’t know. Well, it wasn’t—it wasn’t my choice to be kissed. The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed.

Patricia Redmond:
This was back in 1945.

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
Yes.

Patricia Redmond:
Okay. So now we’re in 1980, and we do a reenactment of the kiss.

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
Yes. I told him I didn’t want to redo that pose.

Patricia Redmond:
Well, we have—we have the picture here.

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
It’s sort of a—

Patricia Redmond:
And it’s kind of the pose, and it says—and the sign, this is Times Square.

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
Right.

Patricia Redmond:
It says, what does it say on the sign?

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
It says, “It had to be you.”

Patricia Redmond:
Okay. So that makes it pretty official, doesn’t it?

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
I would guess.

Interview with Greta Zimmer Friedman, August 23rd, 2005

Surrender.

City of such Roses.

I mean, it’s never a good day to be a white writer of an abashedly Eurocentric “urban” fantasy set in one of the whitest cities in America—but it’s not a good day to be, etc.

Beeep.

Heroic convenience store turns to blasts of high-pitched noise in an effort to prevent anyone from ever having to suffer homelessness again. I’m not exactly certain how that’s supposed to work, but—wait a minute—I’m receiving word that this is not the desired effect—

Crœsus he ain’t.

BUILD A WALL AND CRIME WILL FALL, the oracle intoned, and the small-fingered king clapped and chortled at the sound of it. But in his glee he failed to note: the oracle had not specified which crime would fall…

Going to eleven.

Right, but how? What makes something toxic?

We have algorithms that can determine, based on the network, based on what people are doing elsewhere, based on the number of reports, based on mutes and blocks, whether this is a conversation that you’d want to stay in or you’d want to walk away from. And that doesn’t inform any direct action, but it can inform enforcement actions and whatnot, like when a human has to actually review. So toxicity is one such metric, we call it receptivity. Like, are the members of the conversation receptive to each other? We have variety of perspective as an indicator. We have shared reality.

How do you determine someone’s perspective?

Variety of perspective.

Right.

You have to… Like, this is all conversations.

—Thus, Jack “Health Thread” Dorsey.

Which side are you on?

Last week, USA Today ran a hit piece on federal prisoners with the tabloid headline, “Government shutdown: Federal inmates feast on Cornish hens, steak as prison guards labor without pay.” Not to be outdone, The Washington Post followed this up with their own shameful story under the headline, “‘I been eatin like a boss’: Federal prisoners served steak by unpaid guards during shutdown.” The problem here is twofold. First, the shutdown has nothing to do with the food served to federal prisoners and, second, the food descriptions are wildly exaggerated.

So much for USA Today and the Washington Post. —Meanwhile, somewhat closer to what must meanly pass for reality:

“We’re not talking about fancy luxury items here,” Mr. Patton said in a telephone interview.

“We’re talking about being able to converse with your attorney when you haven’t yet been convicted of a crime. We’re talking about being able to see your children or your spouse or your parents.”

“This is the absolute lowest baseline we should expect of a government when it detains people and assumes responsibility for their well-being,” he added.

Essence.

Long-time readers will recall yr. correspondent’s abiding disdain for Grover “Bathtub” Norquist, which has occasionally bubbled over to an embarrassing degree; how nice to once more be reminded nothing changes:

“There’s a moment when people say, ‘Did you notice what percentage of this agency was viewed as nonessential?’ ” said anti-tax activist Grover Norquist.

(Well. One thing’s changed: as I’m now an employee of the federal judiciary, I get to take his bullshit personally.)

—I mean, it’s no “drown it in a bathtub” but hey, you can’t knock it out of the park every time you spit on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people for a pithy soundbite. —And of course he knows that’s not what “essential” means, not in this context: it’s merely the all-too-cold equation being jerry-rigged all over the country to tell the difference between people who must show up and work, without pay, and those who’ve been furloughed—sent home, without pay.

“It’s inconvenient that they’re not getting paid,” Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser, said of the furloughed workers. “But it’s for time they’re not even going into the office.”

(I realize these think-tank apparatchiks have never worked a day in their fucknugget lives, but do they ever have even a glancing contact with the world the rest of us live in, paycheck to paycheck?)

Hopefully it never gets to the point where I can no longer afford the first secure job I’ve had in years. —But if it does, and planes start falling from the sky of his libertarian paradise, I can at least console myself with the thought of Norquist racing to the bathroom to heave his e. coli-infected guts into a bathtub he’s only just drained.

I think that just about covers it.

“I do not regret the incident. I will not apologize, given the opportunity. I don’t plan on doing anything like this in the future but to be fair I didn’t plan the initial incident, I just found them and decided to go through with it.” —NathanTheHicc

Remember, remember.

Huh. —This is my first election night without, as the kids call it, the Birdsite in quite some time. I wonder how this used to work?

Go, read:

back in the good old days, the before-times, we used to spend a whole blog post on nothing more than telling you to go and and read somebody else’s blog post, so: while I’m elsewhere otherwise occupied, go you then and read about the time Maria Farrell debated Ted Cruz into the ground.

#notallC.A.B.

A look at what the retired horses of Portland’s no-longer Mounted Unit have been up to, a year after they were disbanded:

Murphy went back home in southern Oregon where he’s competing in dressage, a highly skilled form of riding, while Red, Monty and Asher are with families who wished to keep their locales private. Major found his place in Prineville, while Diesel went back home to Port Orchard, Washington. Olin aids people with mental or physical barriers as a therapy horse at Forward Stride in Beaverton, and Zeus lives with a former mounted patrol stable attendant at the Lake Oswego Hunt Club.

But why, as the kids say, do you have to go and make this political.

Even though she has friends living in the city, Mack said she remembers her years there with the horses so vividly that she can’t bear to visit Portland anymore.

“Honestly, it’s sad for me to go there,” she said. “I mean, I look around every corner and remember when a horse was walking there.”

And she still wonders, she said, why the unit was disbanded yet again.

“It’s pretty hazy to me as to why, after 20 years of blood, sweat and tears, I was told it was a budget issue when it didn’t appear to be a budget issue.”

She said they were told the mounted patrol would be replaced by community service officers, but she never saw that happen.

“There’s all this talk about community policing,” Mack said. “Well, you cut the best community policing tool you ever had.”

If nothing else, one might idly muse over what might’ve become of recent antifa and fascist clashes had they been met with crowd-control officers on horseback, and not barely-less-than-lethal SWAT troops looking for a fight.

(And I know why the mounted unit was disbanded: it’s because I mentioned them over there once, and as with anything I work into the story like that, once I’ve done so, it must then be demolished, destroyed, forgotten, erased from the city.)

Why do you rob banks, Willie?

I mean, what happens when he loses clients and can’t really network within the comic book community because he’s suing them for two and a half million dollars?

The worth of dirt.

Example: The ongoing fight to save the 125-year-old Wayne Apartments, better known as the block containing Shorty’s, the “clown bar.” Residents rallied for the building because it forms a sort of funky heart to the core of Belltown. They had seemed to win three years ago when it was granted historic protection on the grounds that it predated the regrading of the city in the early 1900s.

But the landmarks board recently voted to relax that protection, because the building is in such a poor state the owner said he couldn’t do anything with it.

“Dirt is more valuable than this building,” one of the landmarks board members said, expressing frustration with how the superheated real-estate market is overwhelming any intangible value like culture or community wishes.

That’s from up in Seattle; meanwhile, here in Portland, we’re kicking out a wildly successful food cart pod to make way for a 5-star 33-storey glass tower with plenty of hotel rooms for all the people who come here to eat at the quirky food carts they’ve heard so much about.

The ground floor includes several retail storefronts, including space for a potential food hall, which [Walter] Bowen[, chief executive of BPM Real Estate Group,] said would be similar to downtown’s Pine Street Market.

Five stars, thirty-three storeys.

“This project will be a development for the ages and a catalyst for international commerce,” Bowen said. “We believe that the next generation of real estate investors and developers will compare their projects to this one due to its high standards for design, construction, community and elegance.”

I don’t know; if anybody ever writes songs about this place, I don’t think you’ll like them.

The spectre, of this superheated market, before which we must all bow, and unto which we must all do what (almost) none of us want; take steps (almost) all of us regret: the original grand algorithm, this first Von Neumann machine: fiduciary duty! Which thoughtlessly heartlessly eats up the world to make of it shareholder value—the original grey goo.

When they came for the music, they finally pushed the limit. Maybe we’ll snap when they come for the pink Elephant.

Burned all my pronouns, what good are pronouns.

I mean, I’ve written about pronouns, like, fourteen years ago pronouns, and while I wince and cringe today at the patronizing tone I took then (forgive me, I was old), the basic stance is one I still take firmly: any system with two gender-poles requires at a minimum five genders of pronouns to operate with any dignity or grace. —That said, and the reason I bring this up now, now that pronouns and their various uses have progressed so far that bios should list them and badges should ribbon them and a third-rate Jungian washout can achieve international fame by refusing to honor them, now that we’ve come so much further than anyone might’ve thought possible fourteen years ago, the reason I bring it up is because when I go to take a step I wholly support everyone else in taking, to suggest or insist upon their preferred or actual pronouns—I find I can’t, and it’s for an entirely irrational reason that only applies to me, and yet, but still: I’d be telling you how to talk about me when I’m not there. —Which seems (to me! only for me!) inescapably, well. Rude. (To me! For me! You, you’re all fine! All of you! And beautiful!)

Punchy, anyway.

I mean the impetus for this couldn’t be more pathetically transparent, it’s right there in the first paragraph. —As for the Hugo-winning “forgotten story,” I’d merely note the Hugo is hardly an imprimatur of excellence in reporting.

A.C.A.B.

She told conservative talk-radio host Lars Larson she thought the protesters were acting like children who lost a schoolyard fight and had gone of to “whine and complain” after police fired flash-bang grenades, rubber bullets and pepper spray into a crowd of demonstrators. (At least two people were sent to the hospital with serious injuries after being hit directly with stun grenades launched by police, and many more have reported being hurt.)

“I tell you, ‘Meet me after school at 3:00. Right? We’re gonna fight’,” Outlaw said, setting up the analogy to describe how she feels her critics are acting. “And I come with the intention to fight. And then you get mad because I kicked your butt. And then you go back and you wail off and whine and complain.”

Well, I’m seeing at least two problems right up front: first, the police should never ever under any circumstances ever go anywhere with the intention to fight. For fuck’s sake. —And second?

Lars Larson: How you doing, chief?

Chief Danielle Outlaw: I’m great. Thanks for having me today.

LL: So now how long have you been here since Oakland?

DO: 10 months.

LL: 10 months. Is Oakland a tougher city or is Portland a tougher city?

DO: Similar issues, different cultures.

LL: Different, how different?

DO: Uhhh…

LL: Come on. We’re not politically correct here.

DO: Neither am I.