The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives (Play)

In anticipation of my being laid up post surgery, Zoe took me down to London for the day. We ate and walked around and saw a show!

In addition to Borough Market dare, we stopped by the Japan Centre’s new location for their expanded food hall and it was great. Pumpkin tempura and good kitsune udon were highlights. The yakisoba hoagie was better in anticipation than experience (esp in comparison to the 7-Eleven ones in Kyoto—bun not fully cut, too little yakisoba, and no mayo) but it was still great to see.

The show was The Secret Lives of Baba Segi Wives staged at the Aricola theatre which puts the funky in “awkward theatrical spaces”. This is based on a novel I’ve not read. My belief is that the show transcended the source material or at least the script. It was a ton of fun with stellar performers, spectacular music, and great energy. It had by far the best masturbation scene I recall seeing staged (as the climax of Act I).

The big problem with it was too much incident. We have a childhood rape (enacted on stage), attempted murder, accidental murder of a child, and revelation of multiple infidelities and bastard children. None of which get enough attention or organically drive the plot or character development. It almost could have been a series of vignettes.

However, the performance itself was really very fine and made it well worth the schlep. We had the rare experience of being in a majority black audience. As with Black Panther, if you given a group something to connect with, they will come. It vividly gives the lie to the universal pretensions people give to the Western canon.

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Club Snootiness

I’m in no way a club goer and never have been. But I had to laugh at this story about Joan Baez being refused entry in Paris because of her shoes. The obsequious apology is really funny!

“We sincerely apologize and apologize to Mrs. Joan Baez for the unpleasant night-shit incident, with the porter who refused to enter the building,” the director Parisian club. He explained that the employee “did not expect to see this enormous artist arriving around 00.30, the arrival was not announced in advance”, but admitted that the porter “did not recognize Mrs. Joan Baez.”

The club

“We share the values of peace and love that preach this symbol of music, but at the same time we are but human beings, with the possibility of making mistakes in our space” the next time we find them in Paris. like everyone, “is added to the announcement “The Peace & Love”

Of course, they see the problem as refusing a celebrity not in refusing someone because of the look of their shoes.

A Medical Procedure

On June 19th, 2018, I will have an operation. It will be paid for by the NHS. It does not resolve a life threatening condition, but it aims to improve my quality of life. It may not work out. It may do me harm (all interventions have a risk of harm). It is optional in that I could carry on without it at a pretty high level of functionality.

It is surgery to correct arthritis induced deformity of my right hand that restricts my ability too grasp objects.

This is a terrific medical procedure. It offers me hope for a better life. It required tons of research to get to a point where it was possible and lots training of the people who are carrying it out.

The cost will not be directly borne by me as is sensible for most medical procedures (thanks NHS! thank you people of the UK!). If successful it will probably moderately improve my productivity and (healthy) longevity but not in a dramatic or direct way.

If I explain the procedure, people think it’s cool and amazing. They are generally pro-hand-surgery-to-correct-functionality-inhibiting-deformity. Not that they want one themselves, of course, but hey, they don’t need it. They typically think that whether or not I have it is up to  me. They generally think it’s a matter for me and my doctor too figure out. Some might ask about the risks and benefits and overall cost effectiveness, but they tend to be wonky types. Some assholes (not of my near acquaintance) might go on about cancer patients, but they aren’t common.

This is the normal and appropriate reaction.

Abortion is a similar procedure (or rather family of procedures/treatments). Abortion has many cases where it is live or health saving, but a lot of abortions are “of choice” that is they are performed to improve the quality of life of the woman. There are lots of very clever techniques and the early term drug approaches are particularly impressive. They also are, overall, very cheap, so tend to produce great outcomes for low investment.

Thus, by default, the appropriate reaction to chosen abortion should be similar to the reaction to my hand surgery: cool! yay! it’s up to you! glad I don’t need one! Plus, some of the assholes should shut up since abortions typically save the system money.

This is why I’ve said for a number of years now that I’m pro-abortion, not just pro-choice. I am, of course, pro-choice: no one should have an abortion against their will. But no one should have hand surgery against their will either. It makes sense for people to consider hand surgery and for a lot of people it will be the right choice. Contrariwise, homeopathic remedies are never the right choice, though if people want to waste money on them, I can be convinced to let them. (I’d support a ban, though.)

Abortion is a medical procedure that saves lives and makes lives better. I think that’s awesome.

Of course, just because something is a default doesn’t mean it’s correct. But I have a high bar for deviating from this default. I won’t rehearse all the reasons why there’s not even  the start of a question for early term abortions whether there’s a second person involved. No one believes that a blastocyst is a kid. No anti-abortion groups picket fertility clinics. No anti-abortion funders put money up for research reducing the wastage in IVF. Vehement anti-abortion folks are often perfectly fine with IVF and give it the default treatment.

I’m pro-abortion! I think all women should have access to this family of procedures!

This is first of a short series, I think, prompted by a truly inane commenter over at LGM. I didn’t want to feed the troll further, but I had some thoughts about abortion and some impetus to write. It started as one post but then got far too long.

Sessions is Running a Torture Regime for Trump on US Soil

This is on the order (though different in forms of torture and number of people affect and NUMBER OF KIDS TORTURED) of Abu Gharib.

A man killed himself. We’re talking about a tent city FOR KIDS!

We’re lost. The monsters are in charge and running free.

Edited to add: Sessions giving his “we’re going to prosecute even if this means torturing your kids” line made me think of Angela Davis on prison abolition. Sessions isn’t a radical break from other parts of the justice system: he is part of a core, perhaps dominant, faction. These horrible things are visited selectively on US citizens. Because it’s immigration and constitutional protections are fewer and weaker, he has a bit more of a free hand. But remember that US policing and prosecution destroys families all the time.

The Korean “Deal”

Objectively, from the perspective of the US and most of the rest of the world, Trump lost hard. He traded away joint military exercises with South Korea, plus a summit, plus kind words for nothing at all. North Korea got everything and we got less than nothing.

So, it’s a shit deal. We might overall be better off today than yesterday because Trump now has a big incentive not to go to war with North Korea. But…that’s not a lot!

Trump, on his own terms, won. It doesn’t matter that such a deal was always available (because it’s great for NK and terrible for us). The fact is that he got it and no one else did. Since it’s his, he thinks it’s great. Since he’s shameless and ignorant, he will tout it like crazy as awesome.

The “logic” is, of course, the opposite for Iran.

Give one point to Trump, Bolton was tamed for this.

Music Monday: Where the Bottles Break

John Gorka had a streak of amazing albums which, although none were as uniformly perfect as I Know, contained a ton of songs any one of which could be a career highlight. One of my favorites is “Where the Bottles Break”:

I walk where the bottles break

And the blacktop still comes back for more

I walk where the bottles break

And the blacktop still comes back

I live where the neighbors yell

And their music comes up through the floor

I live where the neighbors yell

And their music wakes me up

Life beyond the playground fence

Is serious as basketball

Life beyond the playground fence

Is serious

I’ll never be that sort of tough but listening makes me understand that feeling.

Listening to the chorus makes me feel a different sort of nostalgia:

Buy low, sell high

You get rich and you still die

Money talks, people jump

Ask how high low-life Donald what’s-his-name

And who cares?

I don’t wanna know what his girlfriend doesn’t wear

It’s a shame that the people at work

Wanna hear about this kind of jerk

This kind of jerk is wrecking the whole world now.

Sunday Baking: Clafoutis, Miso Blueberry Buns, Pizza, an Bread

Let’s go in reverse order!

Today, I made these awesome looking miso blueberry buns.

They were fun to roll out:

I clearly need to make them a bit more even but the rise is always a gamble:

I also baked off the rest of some bread dough that I made earlier in the week for pizza:

It’s cherry season! So we must have clafoutis!

I don’t usually put on the sugar topping because 1) it’s not necessary and 2) it melts:

I always leave the pits in. Not for the slight almond flavour but because it makes it trivial to make! I added a bit of mace as well which worked really well.