Yip Abides for a Year

The first year in review

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October 31 was the first anniversary of Yip Abides: 417 posts, though there were a few missed days. Blogs are basically stacks; the newest entries are on top. Older posts are buried like geological strata. So here are the best of those 417, in my humble opinion: 116 posts of Yip Abides’ first year, by category, in reverse chronological order – as if the blog were a queue instead of a stack. Let the posts buried by time stand forth!

There’s a lot of good stuff that did not get included below, so exploring will be rewarding if you care to do so. The categories are a good way of focusing your browsing, depending upon your interests. While tags have something of a social function in WordPress, vaguely similar to Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms, I’ve used them here as a subject index. Unfortunately, with the theme I’m currently using, you can’t browse by both category and tag.

And what is in store for the coming year? Fewer posts, most certainly, perhaps not even one each day as I expect to have other irons in the fire than just this blog. There’s been a distinct tendency toward photos over other content lately; that would be easy to continue. In any case, I’m making this up as I go along so you’ll find out as soon as I do.

The first post: Hello World.

Photo Wall

Rock Island in Bureau Junction – old GP7 1275 on the Peoria line.

Birdman Lives! – the man and the mural.

Terror in the Subway! – Tyrannosaurus CTA.

Winter Has Come – photos from 1358 W. Greenleaf.

Mash Note – everyone should get at least one.

28 Thoughts on Trees – trunks, light and leaves.

Wallartee 2 – murals from the hippie underground.

Artists of the Wall 2017 – the annual mural arts in Loyola Park.

Wallartee 5 – two murals under the CTA Red Line @ Pratt.

Wallartee 6 – mural under the CTA Red Line @ Farwell.

Pounce! – Gargoyle gonna getchu.

Artists of the Wall 2018 – the annual mural arts in Loyola Park.

Teddy Bear’s Picnic – Lunt Avenue at the CTA Red Line.

The Face in the Door – stare at the door and the door stares back.

Carpets of the Sun – grasses and sedges and sun and shadow.

Beeves in Summer – cool cattle in shades…

Whirl – we spend our lives circling the edge of an event horizon.

Reflexions – water and light.

Paranoia Agent in Rogers Park – actually, Little Slugger has come.

Without the Shadow, Would We Know the Light? – a meditation.

Bird on Cable – the bird professed to know me but I found our acquaintance hard to swallow…

Cat & Floor – This is your floor on catnip.

Lurking – Troll @ work.

Spun Glass – you really need to see this! IMHO, it’s way cool.

Groot Home Chicago – return to roots. But wait! There’s more.

The Gizzard of Odd – oh my…

Rapid Transit – the CTA Red Line @ Jackson. It’s a long way down…

The Last Evening of Summer – Leone Park Beach.

No Idea – will the last person leaving…

On Fullerton Avenue – what is it?

A Botanic Afternoon – my annual Fall pilgrimage to the Chicago Botanic Garden.

The Light! The Dark! The Day! – and Captain Beefheart

Video Wall

The Gunfighter – almost certainly the best comedic western since “Blazing Saddles”.

Wild West Fan Co. – maybe the best comedic western since “Blazing Saddles”.

Frankie Sinatra — Geezer demons in a music video. I hate music videos.

This Won’t Hurt a Bit – except for the wallet biopsy. Health care in America.

Bindle Bros – there’s a hipster born every second.

Waltzing into Anarchy – bugger the bankers and politicians…

I Trust Youin the face of orchestrated hate.

World Builder – a very sweet virtual reality love story.

Descendants – keep this in mind on Valentines Day should you think of flowers. (Whoopi Goldberg!)

Alien Love – a truly alien love story… or maybe it’s a music video.

You Gotta Believe in Something – Nina Paley sez to Moses.

Over Time – a most amazing muppet wake: a must see.

I Hate Music Videos – but I keep watching this one: Cats!

Catnip: Egress to Oblivion? – classroom drug education.

Monsieur COK – which came first: the capitalist or the egg?

Fugu & Tako – the charismatic sex appeal of being a puffer fish.

Human Fountains – mind blowing… with an incredibly sweet soundtrack.

Happiness! – and the commodification thereof. A great Steve Cutts animation.

Hyper-Reality – the singularity doth come & gone but alienation remains.

AMA – you geezers think that Esther Williams was great? Hah! Watch this underwater dance!

Mom Commercial – happy Mothers Day? Amazing!

Long Term Delivery – a bizarre comedy about a secret division of the USPS.

Flamingo Pride – a hoot, especially if you watch it all the way to the very end.

Time Travel: UGH! – warning: immature content. But you’ll love it anyway.

Dissonance – for Fathers Day. Love and madness.

Curmudgeons – a geezer love story. (Danny DeVito!)

La Vague – spells gone wrong: tres cute!

The Head Vanishes! – A trip to the sea side singing a different tuna…

Final Offer – if John Grisham wrote science fiction…

Love & Theft – full screen and headphones recommended.

Fish Heads – I regret the existence of this video. And the song. So will you.

Who Will Pay? – If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. Really.

Apollo 8 – Earthrise, 50 years later.

The Kings of Siam – Halloween is coming.

Poetry

Worthless – a powerful commentary written and performed by Agnes Torok.

A – it’s entropy, after all.

You Look Good in Red – yes, you do.

On Having an Infected Finger – after having helped loot a cigarette machine.

If You Were a Whale – imagine that.

The Cat Got His Tongue – and more as well.

Subway Love – by Max Stossel.

Apocalypse Rhymethe anthropocene in rhyme by Oliver Harrison

Caffeine Zombie – can’t wait to get up in the morning and have some nice…

Waiting – for love and trains.

Eye – cats, all the way down.

Politics

It’s a Hard Rain That’s Gonna Fall – about a small 1991 strike that stopped an anti-union jihad from beginning in Wisconsin. That was then.

Employment and Survival in Urban Americaan interesting public event that later became a major part of the “Obama is a socialist” narrative pushed by conservatives.

A Living Wage: It’s the Law! – on the passage of living wage ordinances for Chicago and for Cook County.

No More Business As Usual – remember Enron?

What I Saw of the 2018 Women’s March

The USA PATRIOT Game – part of Chicago DSA’s campaign against the USA PATRIOT Act.

Debt and Taxes – a subtle mix of malice and incompetence back in 2005, and it only got worse from there.

It Was May Day and I Couldn’t Stop Smiling – with a half million people in the streets: sure!

What Do Hotel Workers Want? – old Sam Gompers knew…

Wal-Mart Rampant – Chicago surrenders while proclaiming victory.

But Is It Organizing? – unions and workers’ centers.

A Small Battle in a Larger War – Jorge Mujica’s 2015 campaign for the 25th Ward.

Our Revolution: It’s a Start – Bernie Sander’s post-convention organization.

Everyone Is Joining the Resistance – anger to action.

Dubya and his band of thieves – don’t imagine they’ve given up on mugging the elderly.

Fake News – If it’s fake, it’s not news. If it’s news, it can’t be fake. Really?

Wrapped in Steel – Chicago’s southeast side at a time of transition.

The OTHER 9/11 – Time to rub your nose in it.

Brett Kavanaugh – All his sins remembered…

Prose

Tom Broderickrest in power, as they say.

Julie Was a Free Spirit – that was then…

But We Were Always Like Thatthis could be about several different things…

The War of the Roaches – soon to be a BBC 4 documentary featuring Tony Robinson?

Bureau Junction – a postcard and some family history.

The Answera sad mix of father and son and cultural change.

Mysterious Neighbor – some things are best not known.

The Tail – a shaggy shark story.

Reviews

Why Socialism Failed in the U.S. – discussing “It Didn’t Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States” by Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks.

The Really OTHER America – a review of “The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America” by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge.

Don’t Sleep with Stevens! – Timothy J. Minchin’s account of labor’s mid-20th Century campaign to organize the South.

The Wounds That Never Heal – a review of “Flashback: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide, and the Lessons of War” by Penny Coleman.

When the Democratic Party Lost Its Soul – a review of “Kennedy vs. Carter” by Timothy Stanley.

Anarchy! – a review essay of “More Powerful Than Dynamite” by Thai Jones and “In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti” by Susan Tejada

Bad Moon Rising – Arthur Eckstein’s account of the FBI and the SDS. Do si do!

In This Corner of the World – Sunao Katabuchi’s incredibly beautiful but troubling animated video of WWII Japan.

Dr. Potter’s Medicine Show – a review of Eric Scott Fischl’s horror fantasy novel, because I like barkers.

Design with Nature – a retrospective on landscape architect Ian McHarg’s influential book and the documentary movie based on it.

Which Side Are You On? – a review of J.D. Vance’s memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy”.

Djinn City – a review of the new fantasy novel by Saad Hossain.

Eye

Eye of the cat,
Eye of regard,
Eye of the storm,
Calm before the pounce with
No “chuff chuff chuff”
Prayer for prey:
Spacetime for springers.*

–Yip

 

Space-Time for Springers is the title of a perfectly charming science fiction short story by the late Fritz Leiber. Yes, it’s about cats.

Brief Seasons

After a certain age, they do indeed cycle this quickly…

Snow covered trees, crystalline, silent:
A scene from Faerie but
Without the Hunt.

Awake! Awake!
The flowers summon you
On a morning breeze.

Storm clouds roil and
Lightning flares from cloud to ground.
It strikes with sudden shock.

Morning it is,
But the yard is silent.
Where are the swallows?

–Yip

The Tail

Yet another shark sighting…

Shaggy and wild-eyed, he stopped her and her dog at the beach.

“Did ye hear of the shark that bit the dog’s tail?”

“…What…?”

“Aye, lass, it was a horror… just now.”

He leaned close to her ear and his voice dropped to gargling whisper, a smell of whiskey, tobacco and sweat.

“The shark… Aye, the shark!” He paused: “Therein lies the tale.”

— Yip

Advise: Bomb Primary

on the bombing of Hiroshima

On the news of the death of Claude Robert Eatherly, with apologies to T.S. Eliot.

“Advise: Bomb Primary”

A million burning people screamed in his brain,
Their eyeballs bubbling, their faces flowing,
Nameless shadows etched in concrete.
The man who fingered Hiroshima
Began dying that day, and each bomb dropped
Struck another mortal blow
Until he returned, no longer at ease,
Robbing the Post Office not for money but his life,
Screaming in the night for the radioactive dead.
But atomic cancer took his voice then
Slowly, slowly sent him to join
The people for whom he had wept.

— Yip in July, 1978

When we speak of the sacrifices veterans make in the fulfilment of their duties, until recently it was usually in reference to the visibly physical: death, dismemberment. Since the Vietnam war, it’s become apparent that the experience of war, including simply be a witness to it, can have crippling consequences. Traumatic Brain Injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other subtle psychological poisoning can be every bit as consequential as any physical wound. How vulnerable military personnel are to things like PTSD depends in part on the degree to which the individual feels the experience was justified, was necessary.

People who need to justify the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will find it easy to be cynical about Major Eatherly‘s post-military conversion to anti-nuclear weapons politics. They may be right in their cynicism for all that I know. Motives are such slippery things! But my humble opinion is that whether sincere or feigned, Major Eatherly was also right in his opposition. Furthermore, it is long past time that us civilians need to start taking responsibility for what we are asking military personnel to do on our behalf.

Were the bombings necessary or justified? This is an old question that is vehemently argued, to the point that the National Air and Space Museum found it easier to display the Enola Gay (the aircraft that atom bombed Hiroshima) without any discussion of the historical context. My armchair general opinion is that if you assume that an invasion of the Japanese home islands was necessary then it’s a moral toss-up. But Japan had already lost the war, getting their leadership to admit it was the issue. It’s possible that a brief blockade could have done the trick as well.

That leaves politics as the deciding factor, and there I’m inclined to agree with those who argue that this was an act intended to nail down the Pacific edge of an American empire, and was aimed as much at the Soviet Union (a country with imperial ambitions as well) as at Japan. That said, the effects of the bombings were so spectacularly horrendous that they may have helped keep the subsequent Cold War as cool as it ended up being. We’ll never know.

Waiting

Said the schedule board:
No. 15… (ambiguously)… Delayed.
No “E.T.A.”, only “Delayed”.
Side-tracked on a digression
Or hidden in an air pocket
Or towed to Toledo?
An interrupted transmission,
An uncertain interval
Before arrival.

— Yip

Mysterious Neighbor

some things are best not known

In the city, it’s not unusual for one to have only the vaguest of acquaintance with one’s neighbors. My current next door neighbor is an excellent example. He moved in perhaps two years ago, three years ago? One loses track, and our paths cross maybe two… most certainly not more than four times a year.

His arrival had been hardly noticeable. One day the old resident’s name disappeared from the mailbox. Then, some weeks later, a new name appeared. And oddly, a smudge blossomed above his doorway, as if someone had held, for a time, a candle too close to the ceiling. Or had it always been there? When we finally met, I didn’t ask about it. It was hardly important, after all, and that it had anything to do with him was pure speculation.

Over time, he was always cordial but closed. “Working hard,” he would reply to “How are you?” “Going to work,” he would explain if we met on the landing: an older, quiet, always neatly dressed gentleman with a vague accent that somehow evokes the eastern Mediterranean.

Some months (how many?) after he moved in, the smudge became an X… or is it a cross? When did that happen? I hadn’t noticed, but the possibilities seemed amusing somehow. I entirely missed the appearance of a second ‘X’ some indeterminant months later. When a third ‘X’ appeared, I was a bit flummoxed. When did this happen, or had there always been three?

Oh, but it isn’t my imagination. A few weeks ago, there were suddenly four.

He’s keeping score.

–Yip