A branch died on a lilac in my yard and of course I had to see what the wood was like. It's really hard and finishes to a smooth surface. Wikipedia says as much (on the page for genus Syringa).
Lilac drawstring closure: Happy nineteenth, everyone.
I had a wild dream this morning. When stuff I was seeing didn't look plausible I considered whether I was dreaming but it was all so vivid and detailed that I was having a hard time saying it wasn't real. The phrase if there are no pics, it didn't happen crossed my mind and I took photos with my phone so I could check if they would be there later. They aren't.
jackrabbit, this morning.
photo by Matthew Tufts
cottontail, this morning.
I started reading The New York Times around 1977 and kept reading the paper when I moved to Los Angeles in 1981. I was getting papers printed in New York, flown to LAX overnight, and delivered to my office near the airport in the morning. Within a year, the Times started printing editions in California. When I lived in San Francisco in the 1990s, a youth delivered the paper arrived around midnight, I was usually awake and heard it land, and I'd wind down before bed by reading the next day's paper.
I forget what year I moved to reading the paper online. It was free to start but I subscribed when they started charging.
For a bunch of reasons, I switched to the Washington Post a few years ago. By that time it was owned by Jeff Bezos but the word was he was a hands‑off owner. Even so, you can't help but wonder what influence he has. I listened to an interview yesterday with the author of a recent book about Amazon. He said his friends at the Post are in a delicate position. Bezos isn't giving orders but at the same time reporters are concerned about writing too critically about Amazon. With how important lobbying and regulation are to his business, it's not an accident that the newspaper Bezos chose to buy was the biggest one in Washington.
The recent brouhaha about reselling Nike shoes with various provocative modifications--and Nike's response with a lawsuit--reminded me of possible copyright violations my friends and I may have committed when we published a small (circulation around 4000) magazine in the 1990s. Legal precedent protected the right to create parody song lyrics but I'm not sure we were in the clear when our magazine's fifth issue included a (6" flexible sheet) phonograph recording of Pus, The Septic Dragon, sung to the tune of Puff, the Magic Dragon, a 1963 song by Peter, Paul, and Mary. Writing parody lyrics is one thing, but selling a phonograph record without paying royalties to the author of the music (nor even crediting him) may well be another. We were young and reckless.
My friend Wulf came up with the concept. Michael Botkin wrote the parody lyrics. I engineered the recording, my brother played the guitar part, and a friend of Wulf's performed the vocals.
I bring all this up to mention one of those coïncidences that you can't make up. A year or two after my brother played guitar for the record, he dated a woman who worked as personal assistant to Peter Yarrow, who had written Puff, the Magic Dragon. If memory serves (I could easily be wrong; this goes back almost 30 years), my brother let Peter know about playing on our record and he was cool about it.
When I was a teenager, I asked a friend when he thought it was appropriate to form a plural with an apostrophe before the s. He said, "Never!" That was pretty much in line with what I had learned in school and from reading, although style guides make exceptions for instances where a plural won't read right without an apostrophe, e.g. Mind your p's and q's.
The friend whose advice I sought back in the '70s is now a physics professor. In email nowadays, he sticks apostrophes in the plurals of some words whose singular form ends in a vowel. I thought about reminding him of what he said on the subject way back when but I let it pass.
Once when I was 21 I was hanging out with a different friend and I idly whistled a tune. He asked me to stop. He was a musician and told me he couldn't bear to hear off‑pitch whistling. I didn't think my pitch was that bad (relative pitch, anyway) but I stopped.
I recently checked the pitch of my whistling with a tuner app and wow it was a lot worse than I expected.
I have lucid dreams now and then but most of my dreams are the normal kind, where it doesn't occur to me that it's a dream no matter how implausible it is. This morning Joe Biden was in a dream, speaking at length quite forcefully and articulately. I thought, wow, he's got more vigor than you'd guess from his public appearances nowadays.
Final position in a recent rapid game (Wesley So vs. Levon Aronian). I wish black had played a few more moves before resigning because what follows is pretty cool. It's black's move and he has to take white's rook at f8 with his bishop. To reveal what white could then do, click here.
White plays Qh7+, black has to take the queen with his king, white captures black's bishop with his pawn and promotes to a knight, forking black's king and queen.
This isn't the only way white could win but it would have been great to see.
This building houses a restaurant, a _________, and a climbing gym. Anyone wanna guess what the _________ is?
We're not having a wildflower season to speak of this year, what with how dry it's been. But I saw a couple scarlet loco plants today, all the more striking given how nothing else is in bloom.