A Very Stable Genius
Unexpectedly, we shall start with That Book.
(Postscriptum: which, as I read it, I have to say contains execrable, slapdash writing; pretentious malapropisms, and needed a better editor. Now carry on!)
There is nothing at all surprising that has been quoted in the media this week, editors all a-tremble, as preselections of the juicier bits from That Book. Nothing that The Pumpkin has not seen, heard or read from many other sources since Trump was adopted as the Republican party’s fall-guy in July whenever, 2016 – a century and a half ago.
So no, it’s not fake nooze. I think it’s mostly pretty much real. Trump is really a culpable person: a monster, a lazy and incompetent administrator, a self-deluded fool and a defensive liar, way off his pay-grade and clearly so temperamentally unfit to have his finger on the Big Red Button.
Yet one gets a weird sense that the author, Michael Wolff, quite admires him. And thereby hangs perhaps the greatest mystery of the Trump phenomenon: why are so many people in his immediate circle and among his support base of dumbfucks so undyingly loyal to this horrible, destructive man?
A genius at managing his own PR, Trump brings relief to paper-towel-stricken Puerto Ricans.
The sources I have relied on for US news the past 18 months have been commenters like: Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Joe Scarborough from MSNBC – and their regular panel guests, including David Korn of Mother Jones and David Frum from The Atlantic; Ari Melber of NBC’s The Beat; Wolf Blitzer, Don Lemon, Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper from CNN; Thom Hartmann, late of RT; Keith Olbermann, late of GQ (come back, Keith… please, you are needed now, he’s crazier than ever!); Cenk Uygur, Jon Iadorolo and Ana Kasparian of TYT; David Pakman, of his own channel; Farron Cousins of Ring of Fire; Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!; and the wonderful Mike Malloy, most definitely of Mike Malloy.
Plus, of course, comedians Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Samantha Bee; and public intellectuals like Robert Reich, Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges.
These in their own ways are all thoughtful, serious people, and I hail and recognize the journalism they do, which is often dependent on other reputable sources, such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, and sometimes flies in the face of what appears to be growing internet censorship and ripoff defunding being practiced by the big platforms. To which I must add another source I rely on, the New Yorker magazine, together with PolitiFact, Buzzfeed and The Guardian.
All of these sources and more (but not, sadly, the supine, overpaid tossers at the BBC) have consistently reported the views of White House insiders, Congressmen and women, foreign leaders and diplomats that Trump is an overgrown, spoilt child, unfit for office; thin-skinned, vain, ignorant, malicious and vindictive; a dangerous, overreactive bully with minimal attention span, demanding simple cartoon explanations of not very complex briefings; a man of bizarre personal habits, a loose-mouthed, compulsive liar who defines national policy from minute-to-minute after watching “news” items on rightwing cable TV, who often incriminates himself with his own vicious Twitter spats and word-salad interviews accusing others of crimes and appalling misalignments in which he is the more probably guilty party.
Senator Corker’s description of the Oval Office as an ‘adult daycare center’ seems, by all accounts, spot-on: insiders frequently say Trump has to be nursed and fed on MacDonalds pap, guzzling diet Coke, kept entertained and happy 14 hours a day, which involves presenting him with only relentlessly approving and upbeat assessments of the many successes he has not in fact had today, pandering to his loony solipsistic view of a Trumpian Universe in which he is somehow transformed by the endless adulation of craven minions into Caesar Augustus; when he is, in real life, more like Caesar Nero: a demented, uncontrolled and uncontrollable demiurge; a thug with tyrannical tendencies (principally based on total ignorance of the constitutional powers and functions of the President) and an absolutely misplaced belief in his own omnicompetence.
On top of everything, and the much-investigated evidence of past criminality and misdeeds while in office, there is the mounting evidence of senile dementia: the rambling and repetitive narratives, the sudden losses of concentration, the forgetfulness of names and faces, the sudden outbursts of anger, the quirky off-topic comments, the obsessive rerunning of things that have upset him, the comical wanderings-off and changes of subject while in the middle of important business, often with important foreign leaders, whom he either looks up to or disparagingly insults. (No-one is more important than Trump himself.) The brain-damage becomes clear from watching the interviews, the half-insane public speeches (those, that is, not written for him by staffers who can string two coherent sentences together – I challenge you to read the verbatim transcript of his inaugural address to the CIA without assuming the worst), the press conferences – after which minions have to be sent out to cover for his many gaffes and lie about what in fact he said (or meant to say).
A stable genius, Trump demonstrates what he learned today in anger-management class.
His supporters, acolytes and sycophants have rushed to condemn That Book as a pack of outrageous lies, falsehoods and inventions. They have cast aspersions on the author, and on the star interviewee (out of 200, so the author claims), Steve Bannon. Trump himself has threatened to sue, as he always does, while rushing to deny, as he always does, that whoever has criticized him, such as his former chief policy advisor, ever really existed – and anyway “Sloppy Steve” is just an unimportant loser who has lost his mind, he “cried and begged for his job back” when he was fired.
That’s the essence of Trump: a vengeful liar who will say and do anything, however disgusting, to distract attention from his own monstrousness: that “malignant narcissism” which psychiatrists worry could, if unchecked, one day trigger a global conflagration.
Reportedly, Chief of Staff Kelly has ordered all staffers even close to the Oval Office to hand in their cellphones while on the premises, although he knows full well that the source of most of the leaks Trump complains of is the demented orange fuckwit himself, calling-up billionaire “friends” like Murdoch and indiscreetly moaning about everything; then expressing bewilderment at how the stuff gets out into the ‘fake nooze’ media and blaming his advisors!
Either it’s a leak, or it’s fake – you can’t have it both ways. But he tries.
The Pumpkin (for this is he) will hold further fire until Amazon delivers That Book to his door. He ordered a copy immediately on hearing Trump’s lawyer was trying to injunct it, but it seems the great online retailer has already got an out-of-stock problem; although Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff (not the Guardian contributor of the same name, nor the economist – nor is it the book of the same name that people are rushing to buy by mistake, about the fire-bombings of Hamburg and Dresden…) does seem to be available in (and fast selling out of) all good bookshops. Sad. (Also, there are a dozen probably better books on Trump’s first year on the stalls.)
Believe me, there’s almost certainly nothing in it we haven’t heard before, it’s all bad, but it will be good to have a copy on my bedside table to remind me where I went wrong.
(PS In case you still don’t believe he’s dangerous, while the book furore has been running, Trump has slipped-in the repeal of an Obama-era law forbidding anyone from micro-engineering new and deadly disease-causing agents, which with easily available gene-splicing technology you can now do in your garage. Among items specifically banned was, reportedly, an airborne version of the Ebola virus. He’s also closed down the HIV/Aids research council. Sick.)
“My name is, I imagine, now on a list down at the local nick…”
Dogged by their lies
Dear Readers, Spammers, Followers, Likers and Those No Longer, etc. will know, the BogPo’s Uncle Bogler has a burning, pathological hatred of injustice.
And not only on behalf of innocent victims everywhere.
I have written before about an incident which occurred unforgettably on 21 July, 2016. I was walking Hunzi through the exurban space that passes for our local park, a somewhat tame wilderness of cycle paths, railway lines, sports fields, river, heathland, marshland and dense plantations transected by muddy footpaths – also home to the town’s major sewage works – when I observed a group of people cavorting with their dog on the sacred turf of the Boglington Cricket Club’s first-team pitch, in defiance of signs requesting people politely not to do that.
A cretin in calf-length shorts and on-backwards baseball cap; a woman, a small child and a large brown dog.
Observing that the ineffectual gate to the ground was indeed locked, ironically I raised my cellphone and pointed it toward them – they were a good 150 yards away and a photograph would have been useless for identification purposes, so I did not take one. As we trudged on, with a sudden feeling of doom I heard a rough voice behind me shouting “Oi! Fuckin’ paedo!” I decided not to get involved.
The exurban space that passes for our local park. (See any children?)
On arriving home 40 minutes later, I was surprised to find two policemen on the doorstep, accusing me of going about ‘taking photographs of children’. What do you say? How did they know where I lived? Had I been followed? There had been a complaint, naturally therefore I must have been going about taking photographs of children, even though I hadn’t been. It’s not the sort of accusation you can deny, since where taking photographs of children is concerned – something the policeman who could articulate verbally (the smaller one was being paid by me just to stand there and glare accusingly) instinctively knew – denial is the clearest proof of guilt.
He reassured me, however, that it is not illegal to go about taking photographs of children. Were I a more robust individual and not a strange old man with a posh voice living alone with a spawny-eyed dog and a magic cat in a tiny cottage in the grimy backstreets of a Welsh seaside town, a social anomaly and so obviously someone on an offender-management program, I should at that point have told them, in that case, they could piss off. Instead, I pulled my cellphone out of my pocket and politely said, “see for yourself, I do not take photographs of children”.
At my age, policemen are supposed to be looking younger. Instead, they just seem to be getting smaller. I recognized my tiny accuser as having been quite helpful once over a matter of neighbors plastering Do Not Park! stickers illegally (and irremovably) on my windscreen.
“Hmmph”, he sniffed disbelievingly, flicking through the folder and finding there no photographs of any class of human – I take pictures generally of unusual cloud formations and wildflowers, my guitars (for insurance purposes), my lovely dog and my half-finished DIY projects. ‘Well, you might have another camera somewhere’. Ignoring that it would be a very perverted person indeed who would take a photo of a small child, fully dressed for the outdoors, together with its parents and family dog, at a distance of 150 yards, and somehow find it titillating. And insisting without legal justification (while standing on my property) on knowing who I was and where and when I was born, like I’m some common thief.
An interesting cloud formation. Not many children.
My name is, I imagine, now on a list down at the local nick of persons of interest, to be routinely hauled in for questioning the next time a child goes missing. That’s if I haven’t been dragged out into the front garden by my working-class neighbours, beaten to death and set on fire, as happened to a harmless immigrant in Bristol a while ago after a misunderstanding concerning broken windows, pleas for help ignored for months by the police, and a gang of lying, feral children.
I have still not recovered from the depression the incident brought about. It is so easy to turn someone’s life into a permanent horror-show with one stupid, malicious falsehood as, I believe, Dostoevsky may have commented.
“I plead daily in vain for the Committee of Discarnate Entities, who guide my doings, to get me out of here…”
And now, I have learned that other neighbours of mine, nice, middle-class retirees with shiny cars and campervans living in the link-detached, manicured suburban homes across the road, have been conspiring together to lie to the police that my lovely Hunzi has attacked and bitten someone, in order to protect their own, similarly black-and-white, demented border collie. “No, it’s that man across the road!” they told the police. The owner lies to them that he does not even own a dog; his neighbor backs him up; the police loyally believe them, locals both, despite all the evidence.
I see them both out dog-walking most days and they wave and smile and nod and say good morning, terrible weather we’re having. And then they lie and tell the police I own a dangerous dog that bites people and deny that they own a dog at all.
Hunzi: calm, gentle, obedient and loyal.
Collies are not considered to be vicious. Hunzi has never so much as growled at anyone in the seven years we have lived together. He has references. At least 20 people if asked would confirm tomorrow he is the loveliest, most gentle, loyal, calm, patient and obedient dog they have ever known. Several tell me they can’t wait for me to fall under a bus, so they can adopt him.
This is a monstrous injustice, that could lead to a terrible consequence for us because of poisonous, hateful, hypocritical, conniving locals and their lies.
An elderly, harmless, dumpy little man with a slightly scrambled brain who cycles about collecting bits of scrap machinery to “do up” and buttonholes passers-by to give us all the latest gossip about people of whom we haven’t the faintest idea who they are, Old Tommy tells me this is the fourth time the dog has attacked him, and he has had to go to the hospital. This time, there was a witness. He tells me, he knows it is not my dog that is responsible, my dog is a good dog, but that the two neighbours have now lied three times that it is Hunzi who goes about attacking people so he thought he ought to warn me about them.
Of course he doesn’t attack people, the dog is under my control at all times and never out of my sight. If I thought for one moment that he was dangerous, I would muzzle him and keep him on the leash. But he isn’t, so I don’t. That doesn’t stop half the people we encounter at a distance from nervously shouting and grabbing their dogs and putting them on the leash whenever they see us coming. It is incredibly annoying that they will not let their dogs socialize, as is the advice of the RSPCA to do for their mental wellbeing.
I have never known so many paranoid neurotics in any other place where I have lived or visited. They do not understand how by doing this, they are only training their dogs to be aggressive toward other dogs. People are not like this in parks in London, they know dogs are happiest running around together, and do not attack one another.
I never wanted to live here in the first place. I do not belong here, sandwiched between the decaying council estate and the trim suburban lawns across the road, among people with whom I have absolutely nothing in common. I belong in an agreeable West-country rectory built of honeyed brick, with three acres, a library, a wine cellar and chestnut trees along the driveway; or in a balconied, book-lined, inner-London apartment on a Georgian square, walls covered in prints, of the kind nearby where I used to live many, many years ago until to escape myself I began my futile anabasis westward to the sea.
I plead daily in vain for the Committee of Discarnate Entities, who guide my doings, to get me out of here. But they don’t. Not this time, our kid. Suck it up, they tell me.
I am here now only through the accident of a business misfortune many years ago, compounded by a subsequent chain of events: losing the house, the uneconomic farm, foot-and-mouth disease, lack of employment, middle-age, two divorces – the years living in accommodation tied to my job looking after a rotting country estate for absentee owners, a job that became redundant when they turned it into a hotel. I bought the little house for quite another purpose, was obliged in extremis to move here myself, have been quite unable to sell it again, and shall have been stuck here for six years next month, despairing of ever escaping.
Were it not for Hunzi and his care requirements I should probably more seriously contemplate exiting this world, being as I am totally surplus to anyone’s expectations but his; a drain both on the Exchequer and a diminishing supply of oxygen. I live for him and he, seemingly, for me. For that reason alone, I consider the injustice being done to him, and by extension to me, of an order of seriousness that could justify a threat of violence, which would be stupid I know, as it is not the sort of thing I do. I prefer to keep relations with the neighbors at a distance, but on an even keel.
But, by God, it would give me satisfaction to make those smug little bastards eat their lies.
“Migraines don’t always produce headaches…”
As I squint at the big TV screen attached to my frustrating little laptop, on which these words are magically appearing in 20 pt, a grubby-looking twist of gristle is hovering, just out of focus, in the centre of the field of vision of my shortsighted right eye. I cannot blink or rub it away. Whenever my eye moves, the thing moves the other way, then returns to rest in the middle.
It is but one of a number of unwanted objects that have arrived to interrupt my normally clear vision.
Others over the past few days have included: a small, round, grey patch with a tail, on the end of which is a black speck, drifting from right to left; other black specks, some of which appear in sharp focus, like when the titles at the start of a 3D movie spring out in mid-air, appearing to be an arm’s length away, moving around like annoying small flies. I can follow them with my fingertip. There were the flashing lights in the periphery of my vision, thin streaks of light like small meteors flashing down the sky. And then when I am looking at any flat, white surface, with a bit of close focussing I can detect a faint, thin film moving gently downwards like a waterfall, made up of hundreds of tiny, circular dots with, among them, more of the little black flies.
Nothing two weeks on a sunny beach wouldn’t fix.
Have I been staring at this screen from too close-up, for too long? Next month will mark my sixth year of writing this daily drivel. Am I just exhausted, all sugared-out from Christmas wines and chocolates, and was my doctor’s warning nine months ago that I may be borderline Type-2 diabetic too unamusingly prescient? Or could the phenomena be connected with my terrible old teeth, that have been playing up over the holiday – with resultant persistent rhinitis and weeping eyes, and a borderline addiction to Panadol?
Observing this new waterfall effect while browsing in Waterstone’s bookstore on Wednesday, I finally broke and fled next door, which happens to be my opticians, where the very nice new lady optician seemed somewhat alarmed at my description, which I could not resist elaborating for her benefit, as I wanted to keep her laughing. She could not fit me in immediately, she explained, so I should go straight across the road to SpecSavers, where they are better equipped to diagnose the fault – but, she warned me, I should go as a matter of urgency, right now, and report back.
Dutifully, I accosted one of the senior-looking opticians in SpecSavers, and explained the situation. “I can’t examine you now either”, he said, “so you must go straight away to the Accident and Emergency department at the hospital, as your retina is detaching and you will go blind in your right eye.”
Or soothing words to that effect.
Well. What to do? I explored my reluctance, as a) I imagined the A&E department would be facing its busiest time of year, what with post-New Year’s traffic casualties and the swelling number of victims of the Australian ‘flu pandemic; judging by reports, the waiting time would be considerable; and that b) they wouldn’t have an opthalmologist on duty. How, I asked, would my retina be detaching, as I had suffered no blunt-force trauma to the head (I watch too many CSI shows…)? Kindly, he explained that it was sometimes an age-related thing that could be propelled by something as simple as a sneeze. I’ve not been looking too good lately, lined, pouchy and gray – and I’ve sneezed at least once this week, thanks to the sinusitis.
Anyway, it seemed the hospital would prioritize my case on his say-so and summon the duty opthalmologist from wherever they spend their evenings, whereupon I would be sent on to the eye clinic as an emergency, but would not be allowed to drive for four hours afterwards owing to the pupil-dilator they would need to apply to examine my eyes.
I calculated in that case I could be in town until two a.m. What to do about Hunzi, and the food shopping?
The eye clinic. Where, two years ago, I was sent after reporting symptoms involving large, fuzzy grey patches fringed with sparkly colors, and the locum doctor didn’t know how to operate the new computerized photo-the-backs-of-your-eyeballs tomography camera and the technician couldn’t be found and the nurse couldn’t anyway find the printout paper rolls so I had to come back a month later, by which time the symptoms had long gone and it had already been explained to me that migraines don’t always produce headaches – just fuzzy patches with glittery fringes.
And so, gentle reader, I decided to risk the blindness and drove home to feed and walk Hunzi, rather than spend five or ten hours amid the unpredictable drama of the local health service, anxiously perusing months-old copies of My Home! magazine. And here we are, two days later, and my old eyes feel so strained and tired, and this fucking blob keeps floating around – the fly-specks have gone for now, they come and go – but they’re both still just about working.
It’s funny how neither of them on their own produces much of an image, but with both eyes working together I could shoot a person off a hillside two miles away, and often think about who I’d most like it to be.
And so we soldier on.
Stupid? Typical male. But you know, after years of messing about with doctors investigating my enormous prostate, I stopped taking the pills, the hospital has seemingly forgotten about me, there’s anyway an 18-month waiting list in urology for six-monthly follow-up appointments – does it not occur to anyone that our civilization is genuinely broken? – and it’s not perfect, but it’s at least settled down and I’m getting the bad nights and embarrassing days less and less often and it seems my urinary tract is learning how to behave itself despite the many free tests and the impressive medicalization of my condition, MRI scans, peeing in a funnel and all.
With a group of friends last night, I raised the issue of floaters in the eyes and several people said, cheerily, oh yes, we have those too, all the time, annoying isn’t it.
I figure it’s nothing two weeks on a sunny beach wouldn’t fix.
Like, that’s going to happen.
Postscriptum: Eventually I broke and ran, and was operated on the next day. The eye still isn’t working normally, but at least I made £300 from work…. Gentle reader, never be so fucking silly.
GW: warning – no surfing on ice floes, ya hear?
Is anyone detecting a pattern?
The last week in October, there were still a dozen locations in the northern hemisphere where temperatures were exceeding 100F during the day. Within a week there were none. Temperatures fell steadily, until in the week before Christmas we started getting reports of record cold, where a few months earlier there had been record heat; and record snowfall, where previously there had been record flooding. And not just in the USA.
2017 was a year with no Autumn; straight from high summer to deepest winter.
It’s tempting to ask, what is going on?
USA: Storm Grayson – ‘The Cyclone Bomb’. Grayson’s central pressure dropped 59 mb in 24 hrs to just 950 mb off Cape Cod Thursday – a record. “Heavy snow and high winds are beginning to pound the US East Coast along a front stretching from Maine in the north to North Carolina in the south, knocking out power, icing over roadways and closing hundreds of schools. The storm moved governors of multiple states – including New York and New Jersey – to declare states of emergency, a step already taken by governors of southern states.” Thousands of flights have been cancelled. The snow is falling on top of last weekend’s record snow. Spring tides and a storm surge have brought coastal flooding to many areas, including Boston.
Frozen: a somewhat suspect image of an iguana by an unfrozen Florida pool… (Telegraph)
Temperatures all along the eastern seaboard haven’t risen above 20F (-6C) all week and a further plunge is forecast from Friday night. Niagara Falls is a spectacular ice-palace, Cape Cod Bay is a jumbled mass of ice floes while, down in Florida, deep-frozen iguanas have been photographed, supposedly falling from trees.
(Looking at prior news coverage, the BogPo notices that the eastern USA had winters not dissimilar to this in 2013, ’14, ’15 and ’16… It’s just that this one starts further south and features a rare winter hurricane that will no doubt spin over to the British Isles in the next week. Also, he has learned with fascination that green tree-dwelling iguanas occupy the same niche, being pestilential non-native immigrants to Florida, as green ring-necked parrots do in London.)
Canada: “The storm plowed directly into Canada’s Maritime Provinces, where the New Brunswick capital of St. John recorded a surface pressure of 951.1 mb—its lowest reading at any point in records going back to 1953.”
China: Possibly 10 dead after sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfalls froze water features, cut power to millions and disrupted travel. 16-in snow fell on Shangxi, Shenan and Hubei provinces. Another 12-in of snow is forecast in parts of the country over the weekend.
India: “New Delhi – Cold wave continues to sweep North and East India. Dense fog at several places in the region has affected normal life. In Uttar Pradesh, four people died of cold in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts. The mercury in Muzaffarnagar plunged to 3.4 degrees yesterday, while Sultanpur and Fursatganj recorded minimum temperatures of 2.8 degrees Celsius. … In Bihar, normal life has been paralysed due to intense cold. Gaya remained the coldest place in the state where 3.8 degree celcius. 24 people have died due to severe cold in the state this season.”
“Reports say seven people died in two separate incidents in Delhi and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh state on Sunday after inhaling carbon monoxide from coal fires in their rooms to keep themselves warm. The dead included four children in a family in Bijnore in Uttar Pradesh. Kashmir: Srinagar city recorded a minimum temperature of minus 1.8C on Sunday.”
Malaysia: the “annual northeast monsoon brought further heavy rain (and flooding) over the last 2 days. Malaysia news agency Bernama reports that 2 people have died in the floods, one in Kuantan and another in Sungai Lembing, Pahang state.” More than 12 thousand people have been displaced.
Vietnam: Tropical Storm Balavan is arriving with more heavy rain, the third TS to cross the Philippines in a month, killing 2.
Madagascar: Up to 20-in of rain expected, as “Tropical Cyclone Ava was on track to produce what could be the planet’s first hurricane-strength landfall of 2018.” Friday: Ava hits Madagascar with 110 mph wind, killing 6, but is forecast to dissip[ate and wander back out into the Indian Ocean. Capital Antananarivo flooded, rivers on red alert.
New Zealand: “Winds were over 90 mph in some parts, with at least 274 lightning strikes and nearly 9 inches of rain in areas around Mount Taranaki. (Parts of Auckland flooded out.) The massive rain storm followed an unusually dry summer. 1 woman died after a tree fell on a car.” Campbelltown, Sydney, Australia, (06 Jan) the mercury hits 47.3C, 117F, 0.5C off the city’s hottest ever. Hundreds of ‘Flying Fox’ bats die from dehydration; koalas rescued.
Eleanor froths up a storm (ibtimes.co.uk)
British Isles: Heavy rain, strong winds and a tidal surge from Storm Eleanor brought flooding to the west of Ireland. Galway and Cork cities were partly underwater. In England, “winds of 100 mph (160km/h) were recorded at Great Dun Fell in Cumbria. At least four people were injured by fallen trees.” Masses of frothy sea-foam whipped-up by the huge storm were reported along the entire western seaboard of Europe, from Portugal to Northern Ireland. The Thames barrier was closed to protect London from the storm surge.
France: “Storm Eleanor brought down trees and left thousands of homes without power. Winds of up to 147km/h recorded in the Nord department.” A skier in Haute-Savoie was killed by a falling tree; 2 other deaths were reported, and 2 more earlier in Spain. 2 -ft of snow at the ski resort of Chamonix was greeted with delight by operators until it turned to rain and the avalanche warning indicator reached 5/5, curtailing sport. At one point over 200,000 homes in France were without power.
Known in Germany as Burglind, Eleanor led to a falling tree derailing a train near Luenen, while flooding was forecast for Cologne and other cities along the swollen Rhine.
Thousands of tourists have been left stranded after heavy snow in the Alps cut off towns and villages across Switzerland, France and Italy. 13,000 tourists are trapped in Zermatt. More than a metre (39in) of snow fell in parts on Monday alone. On Tuesday, a metre more is forecast. In the Simplon region of Valais, where Zermatt is located, two metres (6.6ft) of snow fell in a 24-hour period, the Swiss ATS news agency said.
Wunderground/ Independent/ Floodlist/ Newsweek, quoting ABC News, South China Morning Post/ India Newsroom Post/ BBC News.
(PS Where is Climate & Extreme Weather News #89? 7 days overdue… Frozen up? )
End of civilization as we knew it
WARNING: Do not travel to Egypt without memorizing your catechism (or redacting your bogl Posts…)
Deity of the Jackal: an Egyptian god you can have fun choosing to believe in (and stay out of gaol).
“The Egyptian parliament has commenced processes to criminalize atheism in the predominantly Muslim north African country. A legislation proposed on the eve of 2017 Christmas was given consideration by the parliament on the eve of New Year’s Day, the USA Today website reported.
“Under existing Egyptian laws, it is illegal to insult or defame any religion. Blasphemy arrests carry a conviction of up to five years. The new development if approved means just refusing to believe in God could be punishable by law.” (Africa News, 04 Jan)
For a list of Egyptian gods in which you may safely choose to believe, visit wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Egyptian_gods_and_goddesses
In Yellowstone news, the unusually intense earthquake swarms that began on 12 June last year are continuing, inside and outside the caldera, with pronounced tremors, outgassing, indications of rising melt and magma movement, water and ground heating, ‘dead fish’ events and strong ground uplift. USGS says “condition green, all normal”.
The Express reports: “UFO hunters have now added more fuel to the fire by claiming to have spotted alien spacecrafts hovering over the Yellowstone volcano, claiming they are monitoring it before its imminent massive eruption.” (The story then goes on to deny itself. We’ll see.)