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1 February 2021
Vol. XI, No. 2

February 2021

One must say Yes to life, and embrace it wherever it is found—and it is found in terrible places . . . .  For nothing is fixed, forever and forever, it is not fixed . . . .  The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.

—By James Baldwin, from “Nothing Personal.”

The Fourth Estate, by Michael Armitage, 2017, Oil on Lubugo. Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, San Francisco. (Photograph: White Cube/George Darrell.)

The Fourth Estate, by Michael Armitage, 2017, Oil on Lubugo. Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, San Francisco. (Photograph: White Cube/George Darrell.)

The Dumb Oracle, by Michael Armitage, 2019, Oil on Lubugo.

The Dumb Oracle, by Michael Armitage, 2019, Oil on Lubugo.

In our February issue of WeeklyHubris.com, we open with single-panel cartoons by Mark Addison Kershaw; then, feature: the poetry of Jean Carroll Nolan, Anita Sullivan, and Mimi German; speculative non-fiction by Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, Michael House, Skip Eisiminger, Ross Konikoff, Guy McPherson, and Dean Pratt; a book review from Diane Fortenberry; a portfolio of photographs by Chiara-Sophia Coyle; and a snippet of amusing video via Tim Bayer.

About the artist featured on our February 2021 Home Page: Painter Michael Armitage, born in Kenya, in 1984, received his artistic training in England. Today, he travels between London and Nairobi, citing each city as crucial to his creative practice. Armitage draws inspiration from both European avant-garde artists and East African modernists; the pull of East African culture is evident not only in the painter’s visual vocabulary but in his use of lubugo, a fabric made from fig-tree bark, in lieu of canvas as a support for his paintings. In this mix of materials and cultural influences, Armitage celebrates a living lineage of narrative, abstraction, and color. (In the 2 December 2020 issue of Frieze, Jane Ure-Smith interviews Armitage about his influences and the power parallels between modern politics and historic Christian art.)

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“Amish Phone Sex, Anyone?” By Mark Addison Kershaw

ATLANTA Georgia—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2021—Editor’s Note: We’ve not seen hide nor hair of Mark Addison Kershaw, aka The Artist Known as Addison, since September 2020. He has been on Facebook, in his dual roles as Lockdown Cartoonist-at-Large and photographer-in-residence in less-and-less-wooded-and-birded exurban Atlanta, but we are very pleased to have him back at Weekly Hubris, with or without a beard, having become (or most likely not) a cat, and participating in someone’s pandemic fantasies, in one guise or another (perhaps Amish?). (Read more . . .)

“Double Portrait of the Artist and his Wife,” by Vilhelm Hammershøi.

“Double Portrait,” by Vilhelm Hammershøi.

More Light

“The Premise,” By Jean Carroll Nolan

SEASIDE California—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2021—Since we last heard from Jean in January, 2020, she has been, like most of us, learning about isolation. At 70, with multiple exciting underlying conditions, she views trips to the pharmacy and the grocery store as incidents justifying hazardous duty pay. She agonizes over what she considers attendance at the deathbed of the Republic, and is, at various times, puzzled, amused, and furious at the fact that facts no longer matter to a vast percentage of our population. It must be added that isolation took on new meaning for her on 29 May 2020, when her husband of 52 years, and companion of 54, John Nolan, died of multiple myeloma, probably a result of exposure to Agent Orange 1969-1970. (Read more . . .)

Grigory Sokolov.

Grigory Sokolov. (Photo: Medici.tv.)

On the Other Hand

“Why We Should Not Go Extinct,” By Anita Sullivan

EUGENE Oregon—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2021—Haven’t you sometimes indulged in one of those conversations that begins: “We humans are so innately stupid, greedy, and cruel . . . .” a saturnine glance at the overall worth of our species which then rapidly descends into a full-blown sardonic cynicism: “The world will definitely be better off without us”? Trouble is, the conversation used to be safely theoretical, whereas now “better off without us” is a lot closer to seriously likely. The almighty human “We” may well go extinct within the lifetimes of over half the people now alive on the planet. Even the black humor of this is hard to maintain any more. Here is my version of “I beg to differ”—not with the likelihood of the thing, but with the all-rightness of it. (Read more . . .)

German’s poetry on an abandoned building in Portland, Oregon. (Photo: John Rudoff.)

German’s poetry on an abandoned building.

Miriam’s Well

“A Scenic View,” By Mimi German

PORTLAND Oregon—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2021—Since we last heard from Mimi German in November 2020, her manuscript, Hair of Horse Eyes, won honorable mention in The Hopper Poetry Prize 2020 competition. About her manuscript, poet Lisa Kwong said, “These poems are lyric, evocative constellations of images. These brief poems reverberate beyond what is on the page, giving readers much to think on and feel long after the final page. Stunning music is scattered throughout all of these poems.” German is now using buildings abandoned during the COVID-19 pandemic as canvases for her poems. (Read more . . .)

“Stylite’s Dream,” by Frank Forrestall.

“Stylite’s Dream,” by Frank Forrestall.

Weekly Hubris

“Repeat After Me,” By Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

PENDLETON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2021—Since we last heard from WeeklyHubris.com’s Publishing-Editor, in September of 2020, she has been doing endless loads of laundry, biting her nails to the quick (a habit begun in nursery school which took a hiatus during Obama’s presidency), apprenticing as a siege-cook, communing with her two step-dogs (despite allergies), reading (Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson; Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America & Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.; The School of Life: An Emotional Education, Intro. by Alain de Botton, etc.), listening to Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Steve Schmidt, Jason Johnson, and Michael Beschloss on MSNBC, watching films (“Portrait of A Lady on Fire”), and venturing out only to walk (masked and distant) . . . . (Read more . . .)

Noose at the Capitol on 6 January 2021

Noose at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.

The Polemicist

“American Democracy? (An Outsider’s View),” By Michael House, FRGS

KING’S SUTTON England—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2021—What follows may seem trite and obvious to close followers of American politics. But close followers sometimes can’t see the wood for the trees. An outsider’s view may be useful. If the United States were a true democracy, Donald Trump would not have become President. In 2016, Trump lost the presidential election by 3 million votes. (Why Democrats have not been shouting this fact from the rooftops for the past four years is a mystery, but it is rarely mentioned.) Trump stole the presidency through the corrupt and undemocratic system known as the Electoral College. I understand that this institution was set up after the Civil War to placate and reintegrate the slave states. Perhaps after 150 years, they have been placated enough. (Read more . . .)

Photo by Tony Stromberg.

Photo by Tony Stromberg.

Skip the B.S.

“Sparkplug to Bucephalus: Horses,” By Dr. Skip Eisiminger

CLEMSON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2021—The Emperor Caligula apparently was deaf to the music Shakespeare heard because he had his horses shod in gold to silence the sound that has quickened the beat of innumerable hearts, be the rider rival or lover. It’s a safe bet Caligula overlooked many equine virtues, towed as he was in a vault behind a team of Equus caballi. What follows is some of what the tone-deaf emperor might have missed. The “odd-toed ungulate” possesses the largest eye of any land animal, giving it a 350° range of vision without moving its head. Thanks to its side-mounted, protuberant eyes, horses see better than humans do in the dark though they cannot distinguish red. And given their large, flaring nostrils, they can usually detect which of the vet’s “treats” has been dosed with medicine. (Read more . . .)

Pastrami!

Pastrami! (Photo: Vicky Wasik.)

West Side Stories

“Pandemic Pastrami,” By Ross Konikoff

MANHATTAN New York—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2021—Yesterday while walking east on 72nd Street, between Broadway and Columbus Avenue, I passed by a deli I had recently read about, a joint called the Pastrami Queen. My tendency to easily get sentimental over practically anything these days kicked in and, as a result, one particular childhood memory flooded my senses, that of those glorious Sundays back in 1950s Buffalo when my dad would take us all to Ralph’s Kosher Restaurant for hot, juicy, fatty pastrami sandwiches on warm rye bread with sharp mustard. (Read more . . .)

Guy and Pauline. (Photo: Pauline Elli Panagiotou Schneider.)

Guy and Pauline. (Photo: Pauline Elli Panagiotou Schneider.)

Going Dark

“You Had Me at the Bow,” By Dr. Guy McPherson

MAITLAND Florida—(Weekly Hubris)— Febuary 2021—This column comprises an open letter to Pauline Elli (Panagiotou) Schneider, my teacher, friend, and life partner. Born in Nigeria and reared in Greece, you had me at the bow, sweet Pauline. I know that you know what I mean, but allow me to explain to our readers. In mid-May 2013, I was on a speaking tour that included Westchester County, New York. Your friend Cameron hosted me in her home and created a public appearance for me at the Mt. Kisco Public Library. She attended to myriad details and introduced me to the standing-room-only crowd.  (Read more . . .)

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The Big Sound: Johnny Hodges and The Ellington Men.

Vinyl Tap

“The Essential Listening of Johnny Hodges (aka The Rabbit),” By Dean Pratt

PENDLETON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2021—One of the most recognizable sounds in all of jazz belongs to Johnny Hodges. As a young saxophonist, Hodges was inspired by the unique sound of his first idol, Sidney Bechet. Hodges said, “The reason I was influenced by Bechet is that he seemed quite different from everyone else at the time. The others were trying to copy Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, Jimmy Dorsey, etc.: for me it was Bechet.” Hodges took to heart the development of a style “quite different from everyone else” and we’re all very fortunate that he did. Hodges was instrumental in forging the sound of the Duke Ellington sax section from 1928 on, with a brief hiatus in the early 50s, until his death in 1970. A big fan of his music, I note for you here a few of Hodges’ albums recorded with him as a leader which I have in my collection and continue to enjoy. (Read more . . .)

Author Merlin Sheldrake and his first book.

Author Merlin Sheldrake and his first book.

Outside of a Dog

“Entangled Life: How Fungi Make our Worlds, Change our Minds, and Shape our Futures, by Merlin Sheldrake,” By Dr. Diane Fortenberry

LONDON England—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2021—Last November, voters in the state of Oregon voted to legalize the use of psilocybin, the psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms. It had previously been decriminalized in Santa Cruz and Oakland, California, and in Denver, Colorado, following clinical trials at UCLA, NYU, and Johns Hopkins that have shown that psilocybin can effectively treat depression and a wide variety of addictions. Michael Pollan relates the history of the politically thwarted scientific study of psychedelics in his superb, highly recommended How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics (2018). Merlin Sheldrake goes further to show in this, his first book, that there is much more to mushrooms than tripping. This extraordinary book will change the way you understand the world we live in and, just possibly, make you reconsider your place in it. (Read more . . .)

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Italy.

Clicks & Relativity

“Beloved Abroad, Past & Future” By Chiara-Sophia Coyle

SONOMA California(Weekly Hubris)—February 2021This little Pandemic Portfolio features long-beloved countries (and great cities) I would have wanted to move to if 1/20/21 had somehow failed to play out the way it did. (Read more . . .)

Dancing robot.

Lets dance!

Won Over By Reality

“Trump Was So Horrible, Even Robots Are Dancing Now!” By Tim Bayer

FAIRPORT New York(Weekly Hubris)—February 2021—I have never been so happy about, or riveted by, a presidential inauguration as I was on January 20, 2021. And I wasnt the only one . . . er, thing . . . celebrating. Perhaps some moves executed by unexpected dancers will help us shake off the negative orange dust of 2020. If you dont yet know what Im hinting at, allow me to enlighten you with this offering from the folks at Boston Dynamics. (Read more . . .)

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