I’ve just read Julio Cortazar’s short story “The Axolotl” again after some five years of Axolotl-free reading and find myself audibly cheering as I follow Cortazar into a labyrinth. The story is much too good to be hashed up in this setting; I hope a curious reader will search it out and share my appreciation. The curious achievement of the story is in presenting a narrative voice that is simultaneously the narrator and not the narrator. It’s one thing to go all Sybil as an author, pumping out personalities by the gross and laboriously coming up with accents or verbal…


It’s hard to believe that the worst was yet to come, but madness and mayhem still lay ahead.

July –

Lots of nifty stuff in July, 2020, beginning with Vladimir Putin’s successful referendum to allow longer presidential terms, the seizure of 14 TONS of amphetamines in Italy, America’s officially withdrawing from the World Health Organization, and the announcement that the condor, the world’s heaviest bird, can fly for up to five hours without flapping its wings.

Civil Rights leader, John Lewis died in July, becoming the first Black lawmaker to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, and the United…


Democracy on the brink of extinction, a global pandemic, the impending end of truth, science, progress, empathy, and humanity. Seems like just about enough to cast a dark shadow on even the sunniest prospect, but the more immediate cost for me is the loss of friendship and the prospect of friendship. Family members and people I once knew and liked despite our differences have moved to affiliation with a political movement that is not only inimical to my beliefs but operating outside the constraints of constitutional democracy and dedicated to disenfranchising me and injuring people that I love. …


So, sometime between 2016 and 2020 we went insane.

I’m not talking about the relentless stream of misinformation and deception propagated by the cult of personality currently wielding power. …


My wife and I and our two dogs are living in a room offered us when we drove away from fire and our home. We are gratefully living in that room and very much aware of the desolation many others less fortunate than we face today. Many have lost everything. Fires continue to burn. We’re still in a pandemic. Shops and restaurants have folded. Differences of political opinion have become fraught with danger. Oh, and the entire state is suffocating as the smoke turns the sky yellow, orange, or brown, if sunlight penetrates at all.

There’s nothing funny about it…


Before this week, we knew a thing or two about fire. We’ve lived in the west for more than twenty years. We’d felt the hot breath of the Santa Ana winds, predictably whipping through our section of California in autumn, the devil winds that added a sixth season to the calendar: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fiesta, and Fire. Some years the dry downslope wind was just a sand blasting hurricane, tearing leaves from trees and trees from their roots. A mess and scary. In the Sierras, a Santa Anna roared through Mammoth at more than 175 miles per hour. …


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The Democratic National Convention ended on a high note as decent folks spoke about decency, which is all well and good, but let’s not forget that the playing field has been tilted considerably past even. For example, this week Louisiana enacted a law which removes the votes of any protestor arrested on federal property, this from a governor who has already prohibited mail in ballots for those whose only excuse is not wanting to die of Covid-19. …


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I’m no longer keeping track of Presidential gaffes. Try to number the stars or the droplets of Covid-19 still hanging in Tulsa. Too much for the limited mind of man to hold in one lifetime. So, but, how do we avoid pausing in reflection upon witnessing the recent celebration of the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act, a scripted, and yes, fumbling recitation of platitudes which almost obscured the relative enormity of actually getting a bill of any sort through the Senate much less a bill that has to do with the public good. …


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In the midst of a global pandemic in what was once considered an advanced first world nation, we have demonstrated a level of moronitude that beggars the imagination. Prevention would have been good, but we worked with great diligence to discount the verified reports of hellacious disease and death. Perhaps you will have seen my earlier attempt at satire: “Democrats’ Hoax Inconveniences Hundreds of Thousands in China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea”? Perhaps not. In any case, we not only could have seen it coming, dammit, we did see it coming.

So here it comes, refrigerated trucks are stacking bodies…


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I’m privileged. No one I know has been hospitalized, ventilated, or died as a result of contacting the coronavirus. I’m privileged. I live in a small rural town in a state that has taken reasonable caution in mandating closure of businesses and schools, limiting the number of people who can attend events indoors, and requiring the wearing of masks as we shop. I’m privileged. My sector of the nation has flattened the curve.

My wife and I have been distanced since early in March, expecting a federal state of siege as the death toll in New York mounted so quickly…

Peter Arango

I’m the author of four novels and America’s Best Kept College Secrets, a retired teacher of the humanities, eclectic reader, and prisoner of popular culture.

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