Me, I’m just waiting for the water for my coffee to heat up. Waiting for Marty to get home from the laundry. Waiting for H.o.p. to get going (he drug a pile of books to bed with him and read late into the night). In the meanwhile I clean the bathroom which is never in danger of looking very clean no matter how clean it is because there isn’t any part of it that’s younger than 1950 except for the paint. I think about a great Philip K. Dick quote where he says something about how nothing and no one gets too old and dirty in America because Americans kill off what’s old and dirty and not plastic (reads better in context of his biography, and he didn’t mention plastic in that quote but in context he was also railing against plastic America, in particular California, while acknowledging also it was plastic and money that marked the difference between being counted as productive and allowed to live as a sane individual or shoveled under as mad). I think about how much I like Philip K. Dick despite the fact his biography reveals he beat up on a few of his wives and it’s even difficult to write, “he beat up on a few of his wives” but there it is, he did, there’s no way to get around it, there’s no excusing it, and his biographer and people interviewed didn’t excuse it but set it in context of the personality as something inexcusable but there it was and the people who loved him loved him anyway, even if they had to do it from a distance and in small doses. I’m thinking about that while I’m scrubbing the toilet. Then my mind skips to thinking about how maybe I’ll do a post on Stephen and Lucy Hawking’s “George’s Secret Key to the Universe” which we finished last week and is a decent book but not great but better than just decent I guess, but am not too enthused about posting on that. Then the coffee water is ready and I grind the coffee and flip the coffee grinder upside down as I finish grinding so all the grounds will settle in the cap and I clean the French Press and put in the coffee and water and stir it. Then Marty comes home with the laundry and surprise flowers and I put up the laundry and he puts the roses in a vase and he tells me how, as he was driving off to do laundry, he saw that some asshole had knocked over our Sentinel Snowman Knight, but on his return he saw it had been set back up. We hear the landlord and I imagine that it was the landlord who had set it back up and Marty opens the door to call up the stairs and thank him but the landlord says he saw someone walking down the street set the Snowman Sentinel back up.
Rather, the Iceman Sentinel.
When I built the Snowman Sentinel with H.o.p. we were dealing with wet snow so I packed that sucker down good during the making of it, porting bucket upon bucket of what was very wet snow, packing it all down solid, porting more buckets, packing those down solid, thinking it would have a better chance of surviving at least a couple of days if it became essentially one big ice block. So today when whoever it was knocked over the snowman, it didn’t fall apart, it stayed together, the head didn’t even come off and the branches didn’t come out.
Then some nice person came by and saw the snowman lying on its back and picked him up and put him back up on his base.
I sit down to think about something anything to write and Marty tells me that he had bad news from a friend of his, that a relative of theirs, in the process of getting a divorce, just shot his wife in the head and then killed himself. There’s more to the story than what is in the papers, just as there always is, but what matters in the end is there was an argument, there was a gun, and, no, really, that’s not the end of the story because there are those left behind.
So, H.o.p. and I sit down to do some Egyptian history. We’ve been reading and I like to supplement with videos. I had found one on Netflix that I thought would be good to watch.
H.o.p., who doesn’t mind his cartoon figures sometimes killing each other off, is pretty selective about his movies. He doesn’t like gore.
“I don’t want to study history,” he says. “People are always killing each other.”
And I give him the same old song and dance that I always give him about why history must be known.
And how it’s not all war. We learn plenty that isn’t about war.
“But it all comes around to war. History’s all about people killing each other,” he says. “I don’t like that. It’s scary.”
I read him the description at Netflix of “Egypt’s Golden Empire”.
This three-part porgram tracks the development of Egypt’s glorious New Kingdom, a majestic era marked by the rise of powerful rulers, the birth of a sophisticated civilization and advances in art, culture and politics that would influence the world for years to come. Originally broadcast on PBS, the series blends archival documents and ancient artifacts with on-location footage and expert interviews to weave a complex but compelling narrative.
“Art and culture,” I say. “How about it?”
“OK,” says H.o.p.
So, I click on the movie and up came the three episodes. The first episode is named “Warrior Pharaohs”.
“Oh, warrior pharaohs,” I say.
“War,” H.o.p. says.
“But it’s PBS. Want to try it?”
“PBS? OK,” says H.o.p., trusting it wouldn’t be so bad.
We watch “Warrior Pharaohs”.
“See, they’re all killing each other,” says H.o.p.
“Yes,” I say. “But at least it’s not bloody. They’re not showing anything…much. Wow, look at that temple,” I say, hopeful.
And they really aren’t showing anything much.
H.o.p. has me rewind the movie three times at points, twice to listen to music he likes, and once to review a sculpture.
The warring continues.
“Why did they show those kids running with the soldiers?” H.o.p. says.
“Maybe they were running away,” I say, though it didn’t look exactly like that.
“It looked instead like they were maybe going into battle,” H.o.p. says.
“It kind of looked like that,” I agree.
They show the children running again. “Maybe the kids got away,” says H.o.p. “I hope they got away,” he says.
Dead, desert-mummified soldiers lay in the sand gazing empty-eyed at the camera.
“Would they have really left them like that?” says H.o.p. “Didn’t they have museums back then they would have put them in?”
Oh, yes, all the mummies in the museums that we’ve seen. “No, they wouldn’t have put them in museums,” I say.
“Why not? We put them in museums,” says H.o.p.
Then we learn that the Egyptians didn’t have head counts of people they’d slain in war, instead they had hand counts. And they drop on the screen in front of us a bunch of severed hands.
“Oh, gross!” says H.o.p.
We take a nice long break after that.
“Why is there always war?” H.o.p. first asks.
“Empire, goods, people wanting to mark their names in history,” I say. “But history remembers more than just rulers and politicians. It remembers thinkers and artists.”
“Homer wrote about war,” H.o.p. says and runs off.
(P.S. Well, Homer didn’t “write” about war, and Homer was actually a number of people, but never mind.)