Oh, one last political observation. In foreign affairs, every president has a gazillion irons in the fire. For Trump, just a few of the top ten: Russia, China, Iran, NAFTA, the wall, the Korean peninsula, Saudi Arabia.
It's interesting to rank those on the foreign-affair list based on media coverage. It appears to me that Russia has fallen to the bottom of the top-ten list even with the president expelling 60 Russian spies and "shuddering" (as the AP calls it) the Seattle consulate? Rising to the top of the list: China. I think the focus on Asia by Trump has really, really gotten Kim Jung Un's attention.
Okay, one more observation. I realized this past weekend, it's impossible for folks like me to hold a "political conversation" with others. Why? Because no one knows what "fake news" each has been reading. As an example, I have no idea where my wife gets her "sources." She assumes she knows where I get my "sources," but I suspect she is really, really wrong. Mostly because I keep changing my top ten news "sources."
Right now, the best political analyst on radio: Rush Limbaugh. Everyone agrees (based on mainstream media outslets), whether one agrees with him or not.
The best social media commentator: Scott Adams (twitter).
By the way, my son-in-law and I agreed that of the three (Bernie, Hillary and Trump), Bernie was the most dangerous (had he been elected). Two hours after noting that, I realized I was wrong. Counter-intuitive, and my son-in-law (nor my wife) would agree with my reasoning.
Okay, not I'm going biking.
Notes to the Granddaughters
One book today: The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses, Kevin Birmingham, c. 2014
First "home" after leaving Ireland with Nora: Pula, a small outpost on the Istrian peninsula.
Trieste, Italy: much like Dublin when Nora and James moved there. Trieste's predominantly Italian population had been under Austrian rule for hundreds of years, long after the unification of Italy in 1861. Trieste Italians demanded to be part of the new Italian state.
Back in 1801, a new law from London simply dissolved the Irish assembly to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. From then on, a continued fight between Irish and the English.
From page 54:
Ulysses began as a whim. It was originally an idea for a short story to tag along in Dubliners. Alfred H. Hunter -- the lonely, benevolent Jew in Dublin who had lifted Joyce from the dirt in St Stephen's Green -- was a hero of the Trojan War, the protagonist of Homer's greatest epic, the king of Ithaca, Ulysses. The Hunter-as-Ulysses equation was well suited for a short story but the concept had undergone some unforeseeable growth in Joyce's mind. In 1914, he began gathering ideas. Joyce mapped the events of hte ancient tale of the Odyssey unto Dublin: a funeral in Glasnevin cemetery was a descent into Hades. His friend Byrne's little flat on Eccles Street was Ulysses' palace in Ithaca, and the barmaids at the Ormond Hotel were the Sirens. He had a name for his Ulysses: Leopold Bloom. Stephen Dedalus was Telemachus, Ulysses' son. Stephen was a son whose father lost, and Bloom was a father finding his way back to his son. His wife Molly, was Penelope patiently waiting for her husband's return from the Trojan War.From page 56:
Joyce wanted Stephen's thoughts to be clipped and prismatic. He wanted to strip thoughts and emotions down to their essentials (no stream of consciousness; the very opposite of Henry James). He wanted density, the bones of communication, the sharp utterance, the urgent telegram, the MOTHER DYING COME HOME FATHER (think Hemingway).
Chapter 5: Smithy of Souls --
the story of Miss Harriet Weaver --
this chapter worth the price of the book.
Ezra Pound, Harriet Weaver, and Dora Marsden were only marginal figures in a world preoccupied by war -- but a supportive coterie was enough to encourage Joyce to venture much further out ito this writing than he ever had before.
Chapter 6: Little Modernisms
Magazines (at that time) were modernism's blogosphere.
The Little Review, founding editor, Margaret Anderson -- the woman destined to bring Ulysses to the public, no matter how controversial it was. In the March 1915 issue, Anderson became possibly the first woman to advocate gay rights in print ...
Anderson grew up in Indiana and attended Ohio's Western College for Women, an offshoot of Mount Holyoke.
Chapter 7: The Medici of Modernism --
the story of Ezra Pound in 1915
Ezra Pound wanted The Little Review to be his "official organ" in the United States; it had 2,000 subscribers, exactly what he wanted.
Pound became The Little Review's foreign editor in May, 1917 -- think Hunter S Thompson and The Rolling Stone.
Press advertising, virtually nonexistent before the Civil War, became a billion-dollar industry by WWI -- think the Internet and social media.
Chapter 8: Zurich
1915; escapes to Switzerland from Trieste, Austrian zone.
From page 96:
Whatever else happened, the Joyces always ate dinner as a family. Mother (Nora) and father (James) spoke Triestino with Giorgio (older sib, first and only son) and Lucia at various restaurants as if sharing a secret argot, a verbal performance of a shared life from from Zurich.February, 1917: severe iritis. Became glaucomatic.
Somehow, p. 99, despite war, pain, atropine hallucinations and his inability to earn an income - Joyce found ways to write Ulysses.
And this is where I will quit for today.