Hope y'all had a Blessed Bloomsday.
Yeah, I know, a candidate for public office shouldn't debase himself with a blog headline featuring an anatomical giggle that would make a 12-year-old boy roll his eyes. Sometimes the headlines just write themselves, and the blogger's brain stays out of the way.
Under the COVID regime, I'm the one who runs errands in our household. My wife Molly—oops, I mean Kayleen—is none too sure that her immune system is a match for the 'Rona.
This beautiful Bloomsday morning, I did a wee bit of out-and-abouting, but nothing that turned into a 20-hour sojourn with a stop at a bawdy house. I picked up a package at the Palm Center Post Office, grabbed a half-dozen Shipley's Donuts, and took a circuitous route home via Hermann Park. Unlike Jimmy Joyce's fictional friend Leopold Bloom in 1904, I had access to a motor vehicle.
I wanted to see whether the statue of Confederate Army Major Richard W. Dowling was still in place. This is a statue that thousands of Medical Center employees and students pass every day en route to work or school. Dowling, an Irish immigrant from Tuam, is the former namesake of a street that was once the commercial heart of black Third Ward, the street recently rechristened Emancipation Avenue. Kayleen now refers to the major as "Richard Emancipation." A middle school in far southwest Houston also had his name taken off it in HISD's Great Confederate Purge of 2015. (There is still a Tuam Street that cross Emancipation Avenue near Emancipation Park.)
The Chronicle recently reported that Mayor Sylvester Turner is arranging to have the statue transferred to an exhibit at Sabine Pass, site of Dowling's famous victory over Union forces invading from the Gulf of Mexico. I took the photo to serve as the "Before" picture. In light of recent events, I am eagerly looking forward to a chance to take the "After" shot, so that Houston can wash its hands of Dowling and all monuments to the Lost Cause.
UPDATE: From today's Chronicle (paywall), an item about the relocation of the "Spirit of the Confederacy" statue from Sam Houston Park near downtown (and uncomfortably close to what used to be the eastern edge of Freedmans Town). The city managed to get the "Spirit" taken down just before Juneteenth; it doesn't appear that Dick Dowling will disappear by then.
I made another errand this evening to my sister's place in the Heights to deliver my niece a birthday present. (Her birthday was a few days ago; she's not a Bloomsday Baby.) By strange and happy coincidence, a fellow sporting a Celtic FC jersey and a slight Irish accent came by to pick up a pair of barstools that he had purchased from my sister and brother-in-law on Facebook Marketplace or whatever site. From my spot on the front porch, I got to wish him a happy Bloomsday; he looked at me for a few seconds as if I were speaking a foreign language, but then smiled as he apparently got the reference.
This entry is adapted from a Facebook rant that I posted today (28 March). It started out as two paragraphs and just kept growing until I thought, "Y'know, I should really bring this to a conclusion."
Perhaps you've heard talk about COVID-19 laying bare the vulnerabilities & pro-corporate, anti-human biases of our political & economic systems.
Another thing that it's exposing is right here on Facebook: Too many otherwise intelligent people are now self-appointed experts on the pandemic, its causes, its transmission, how government policies have helped or hurt efforts to curb it, & the long-term socio-politico-economic fallout from it. This is not a new phenomenon, but, as with our government's incompetence, COVID-19 is shining a big ol' spotlight on it.
Science, as a global academic community, doesn't even have the complete picture yet, & it's a picture that changes practically every day. Articles we're quoting or linking here give only portions of the picture that was known the day before. Reliable, verifiable information is good in helping us know how to respond to the crisis. People who aren't health science researchers quibbling over aspects of the information, citing other articles that say something different, isn't helpful. There's good info to be found on FB, but I have to wade through a lot of dis-, mis-, & under-information to get to it.
Social science doesn't have all the answers either. People who study this stuff on individual and community levels may have different conclusions, different prognoses. My knowledge & experience lead me to some very bleak conclusions & prognoses, but I recognize that I may be wrong. I earnestly hope that I am wrong—except for the part where common people rise up & demand a government that operates in their interest, one that doesn't toss them a few croutons while billionaires & multi-national corporations make out like bandits YET AGAIN.
If there's a point to all this, it's that
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.