Olav Hauge, Knausgaard, Diaries, Norway

Dear Diary,

I ordered a Diary today, or a collection of poems that includes selected parts of a diary, culled from the 4000 page behemoth by Olav H. Hauge. This book is called Luminous Spaces. His diary, only available in Norwegian, is called Diaries: 1924-1994.

Luminous Spaces: click through to Amazon in you are interested…


Another long-form writer, novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard, recommended Hauge. I can recommend Knausgaard. His English language readers await the final book to his six part, autobiographical novel, My Struggle, translated (co-translated this time) by Don Bartlett.

Knausgaard draws me into his world completely, which is one of the primary pleasures of novels, total immersion. But he’s not for everyone. Some  people tire of his cataloging of mundane details. Some struggle with the struggle. It’s largely a huge novel about becoming a writer and writing a huge novel, the very one you hold, so you are immersed in the narration in an unusual way that feels extra alive at times. I like it.

Rodrigo Duterte, Feeding Monsters, The Happy Philippines, Facebook

Dear Diary

I shared an article on Facebook today that seemed important to share. The reportedly popular thug of a president in the Philippines keeps killing suspected drug dealers and drug users. It’s a slaughter.

I immediately received a comment from someone who explained how happy so many people in the Philippines are with President Rodrigo Duterte’s policies, that they feel safe in the streets. I couldn’t resist reminding him that Hitler was quite popular with the German people as well, and could have listed any number of fascist pricks who killed indiscriminately in the name of “law and order,” which not incidentally was one of Trump’s platforms. Trump is said to endorse Duterte’s methods.

Beware of monsters who promise that they will only eat those who deserve to be eaten. They stay hungry no matter what you feed them.

Vegan Cooking, Homeless Bill of Rights, City Council

Dear Diary,

I’m not sure why I started this “diary” conceit, but it does put me into a more relaxed, informal mood where I don’t feel the need to pontificate to the masses quite as much. Just write and see what comes.

Wild rice and mushrooms for dinner tonight, along with baked squash. Very seasonal. Back to eating mostly vegan, at least until Christmas gets closer. I have no problem eating vegan, but switching back and forth is not easy and if I want to ensure a good result, it requires a good recipe. Vegan cooking takes more work, at least if you want it to taste good. There’s no real vegan equivalent to roast chicken.

Last night Mary and I attended a City Council meeting in support of a homeless bill of rights. They are mostly in favor. One councilor even said that a homeless person had been living on the roof of his house (he lives in a flat-roofed building). He also said that he helped another person build a structure under a nearby freeway. They all agreed that the bill of rights was just a start to what is needed, namely a comprehensive plan to eliminate homelessness.

Here’s a photo I happen to have of City Hall, on the left, behind the tree…

In other news, well, I’m not going to write about other news. Sometimes it feels worth it, sometimes not.

AICHO, Standing Rock, Tischer Creek and Old Houses

Dear Diary,

My chair keeps rolling away from the desk. Our house is old and the floors sag a little in from the rim joists, hence the rolling. So I need to buy a rug.

Mary had wanted us to go to Standing Rock on the 17th  to bring supplies and maybe offer medical support, but now we are waiting to see what happens. The Army Corp of Engineers just denied the permit to dig under the river. Everything is still very much up in the air, especially with a Trump presidency looming and the possibility of executive orders.

Elia and Jake will be here on the 9th for an Art sale in Support of Standing Rock, at AICHO. Jake will play guitar for the event, which should be crowded.

Yesterday we awoke to fresh fluffy snow coming down, so I took the camera on a walk up by Tischer Creek, not far from the house…

And then on the way back,…

Christmas Fairs, Noam Chomsky, Fantastic, Chris Monroe

Dear Diary,

Today I braved the Duluth Christmas fair circuit and followed Mary to the Peace church, The Knife River Christmas village, and the Glensheen Mansion Christmas village. The Villages were both over-crowded and dull. The Peace Church event had some half way decent art, along with the usual little seasonal homemade things that hurt to look at after a few minutes. Fortunately they had a comfy couch upstairs so I could drink coffee and stare at my phone while Mary finished up.

I did meet someone interesting, a children’s book author and illustrator, a successful one, Chris Monroe. It’s easy to assume she was just there selling some self-published stacks of books like many of the other authors at craft fairs, but I learned that not only  has she been reviewed in the New York Times, one of her books has been optioned by Disney. If my daughter wasn’t nineteen I might be familiar with her work. We bought some of her art, but I can’t say which one, just in case my daughter reads this, however unlikely.

In other news, there’s not much to report. I need to do some cleaning to get ready for a Noam Chomsky birthday party we are having on the 7th, inspired by the movie Captain Fantastic (worth seeing). Last night we saw the latest J.K. Rowling movie and were pleasantly entertained. The baker was a little over the top in places, but oh well.

Standing Rock and NASA

Dear Diary,


Not much to say today. The good people of Standing Rock are still fighting evil. The North Dakota governor, in support of evil, has made it illegal to bring in supplies this winter to help the protesters. They won’t stop you, but you might get a $1000 fine if you do. The police have been hired by evil to protect the assets that supposedly belong to evil, and to make sure this evil project is completed.

I suppose you could argue that the word “evil” is overstatement, and overused. After all, the pipeline will only carry what will be refined and pumped into our cars, even our fuel efficient little hybrids, so what is so evil about that? But there is no doubt that it is wrong in the purest sense, no matter how normalized this whole process has become. Burn oil, don’t think about it. Ship oil, don’t think about it. Pipe oil, don’t think about it. Don’t think. The people of Standing Rock are asking us to pay attention, and to think. That is hard, and we aren’t used to it.

Climate scientists at Nasa project that we are in for some grim times if we don’t totally change how we do things. The truth is we might be screwed already, but there are degrees of badness when it comes to climate change, and more importantly, how we react to it and share resources as problems become more severe. Standing Rock is just a tiny taste of what is to come. Choose the right side.

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

Today I sit here listening to Bach, or to someone playing Bach on a cello in 1995, streamed through the internet to my computer in December of 2016, as we are about to enter the Trump era, and I’m drinking Earl Grey tea. I’m listening to Bach because a writer I know mentioned that he listens to Bach to set the mood, and I figure I’ll try any sort of gimmick. The thing about some classical, even Bach cello sonatas, is that if you really listen to it the drama sounds a little overdone, almost comical. Is it really so different from Guns and Roses? I never liked that band, trying so hard to recycle the 70’s. What is the German expression, sturm und drang?

Okay, I switched to jazz and so far much better. Something about the swing makes me more energetic. But I’ll have to avoid the experimental, atonal stuff.

So, Trump. What the fuck is that about? I know, white working class…. Stupid elitist Hillary campaign, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, low voter turnout, uninspired voters, no real message, killing off Bernie, and of course Debbie Wasserman Shultz. But Donald Fucking Dumbfuck Dickwad Trump? We shall see. Sturm und drang.