UD photographs a hummingbird clearwing moth…

… on the balcony of Big Meadows Lodge, Shenandoah National Park.

UD’s posts for the last few days.

August 14, 2019


…was like a Hubble shot of Jupiter. Whirling skirling swirling squirreling grays and blues. The cloudy sky that ensued was all wrong for perseids, so we passed on the whole get up at two AM and drive down the hill to Big Meadows (we’re talking Shenandoah National Park here) thing. Talking to a guy who drives here every year from Michigan, UD learned that last night was unusually cloudy, so we’re hopeful at least one of the next three nights will be clear enough for fireballs.

Meanwhile, we hike among the deer and the bear (UD dreamt of bears last night, natch), and gawk at the long mountain/valley/mountain views. Gophers scurry the hallway outside our room.

Big Meadows Lodge is already the land that time forgot, but they’re celebrating their eightieth birthday (UD, tomorrow, in Luray, Virginia, will celebrate her 66th), so here in the main room (only place with internet) they’re piping in nonstop forties swing.


August 15, 2019


The irony was that we were there for the perseids; but sitting on our rickety beach chairs at the Big Meadows clearing last night, the real show turned out to be an absolutely full brilliantly lit moon that insinuated itself as a silver glint among horizonal clouds and then raised itself up to surreality right before our eyes. UD grabbed her binoculars and attempted to make credible the massive and intricately legible orb, its hollows and craters so blatant… When it climbed to higher clouds, they made a golden aura together, the moon now and then blindfolding itself with a black ribbon of atmosphere, and I sat there thinking about my mother who loved the night sky. And of course immediately came the thought that has so often for so long come to UD: We are here to experience the terrestrial wonder that our dead don’t get anymore. We’re doing it for them.

This morning I stood on the lodge’s balcony and watched three gold finches massacre the petals of some purple wildflowers. If butterflies are endangered, there’s no sign of it here. Fern oceans cover acres of woodland floor, and I’m not sure why but it’s very cool when your hike intersects with the Appalachian Trail. Zero-luxuries, zero-prestige Big Meadows Lodge draws an intriguing mix – Mennonites, naturalists, intellectuals, hikers. To my eye, plenty of Paul Fussell’s X’s (scroll down) populate the place, keening over their wildlife books and adjusting the length of their walking sticks. The stolidly downscale Great Room, all dusty wood floors and dusty jigsaw puzzles, buzzes with women in gingham dresses and sweaty kids playing checkers.


August 16, 2019


She’s had a ton of great ones. At a restaurant on the edge of a Santorini cliff; in a cafe by a fast-rolling river in Telluride; at a balcony dining room at the top of a hotel overlooking Mexico City’s zocalo; and, many times, at the Bear Cafe (also alongside a babbling brook) in Woodstock, near our upstate NY house. Last night was another one of the greats – a big, boisterous gathering of family and friends at Moonshadows in Luray, down the hill from Shenandoah National Park. There were glitches galore – an immense detour plus immense thunderstorms on their trip from Washington for a group of late-arriving guests; worries about night vision for a guest who would need to drive the dark winding Skyline Drive back to the lodge… But in the event everything worked out perfectly, and UD felt love for all of these people who had gone to so much trouble for her.

Today the rain has cleared out and we’ve done a ton of hiking. If the sky stays clear, we’ll do another wee hours visit to Big Meadow (as close to a true dark sky as you’re likely to find on the east coast), set out our beach chairs, and look up. UD is so full of gratitude and joy today that she doesn’t care whether she sees any fireballs at all.


August 17, 2019


… and unless you feel like a twisting hour-long drive down the hill and back, it’s the one and only meal alternative to Big Meadow Lodge. Our foursome (Peter Galbraith, first American ambassador to Croatia; Sarah Peck, recently retired Foreign Service officer; Mr UD, and UD) met there and on arrival stared from a silent stony hilltop at a garish orange sun settling into pink clouds. The nature/culture clash was equally garish, with raucous country tap dancing in the bar next to the dining room as we entered Skyland. Fa rumore, as the Italians have it; human beings love to make noise. Indeed after a long day of quiet hiking together, we ourselves really went at it over the meal, yelling about the partisan Supreme Court, the Electoral College, and what to do with ISIS prisoners languishing in camps.

Our group prepares for a final hike before leaving Shenandoah National Park. UD‘s inappropriate backpack, foreground.

‘For Now, Rick, He’s All Yours / Telfair chooses Pitino, Louisville’

Return with me now to those glory days at one of this country’s establishments of higher learning, when Rick got down on his knees and begged Sebastian Telfair to gain his education at the University of Louisville. Telfair said yes! I will pursue my scholar/athlete career at your fine school, playing basketball, living in a university-provided brothel, and giving a big ol’ fuck you up the ass to my fake classes, all on the taxpayers’ dime — and the people of Kentucky could not have been more grateful and excited. To make matters even more wonderful, sports-mad James Ramsey, who would go on to become the nation’s highest paid public university leader by the simple expedient of stealing everything at UL that wasn’t nailed down, had just been appointed UL president!

Truly the stars were aligned at this fine school which some have taken, cruelly, to calling the U of Smell.

And now… Ladies and gentlemen of the jury! as Humbert would say: Look at this tangle of thorns.

Rick had to be gotten rid of because of sex, recruiting, financial and anything else you’d like to add scandals. Reduced to coaching Greek basketball, where the fascists in the stands turn every game into a terrifying slaughter, he is currently suing UL for forty million dollars haha nahnah got you you’ll pay up the ass for being mean to me while I was building a winning team even though we had to vacate all our wins cuz they was SO SO SO dirty. I’ll get you back, UL.

President Ramsay was forced to resign in disgrace for the aforementioned larceny plus overseeing the most pornographic sports program in the United States. UL’s suing him to try to get a few tens of millions back (it’s all been plowed into multifarious mcmansions up and down the Florida coast), and the latest on that is that during his reign Ramsay apparently told the then-chair of the board of trustees that a fellow trustee had bankrolled the brothel for the boys!! I do declare (fanning my lace stays with my perfumed hankie), it takes a whole lot for UL to do anything that would generate italics, bolding, and double exclamation marks, but this school constantly exceeds expectations.

… Uh, where we were? Oh, the hotly recruited Telfair... He was last seen ranting like a madman in court, where he was sentenced to prison for carrying spectacular weaponry (‘three loaded handguns, a submachine gun, ammunition, extended magazines and a ballistic vest’) in his car.

‘Forget Alan Dershowitz, who has made a long career of defending likely guilty men accused of horrific crimes against women and who now seems so out of touch with reality, he doesn’t see how absurd he looks talking about his “perfect, perfect sex life.”’

It’s tempting to forget him. But a man who successfully defends female genital mutilators, and who calls critics of circumcision Nazis is just asking for it. Here’s hoping he gets it, via his beloved friend Jeffrey Epstein.

“These deaths occur not just because guards are poorly trained and jails understaffed, nor because often the procedures in place to protect suicidal inmates are woefully outdated and inadequate. The biggest problem is one of attitude. Inmates are able to commit suicide because their guards have dehumanized them to the point where they don’t care enough whether they live or die.”

Some interesting commentary on the death of Epstein.

This story is encouraging on a number of levels.
  1. A guy beat the shit out of the fucker before he could hurt anyone.
  2. The fucker is 21 years old; the shit-kicker is 65 years old.

‘The Perseid Meteor Shower Is Here, And Might Foretell Humanity’s Extinction’

Party pooper! As ever, Les UDs are headed, tomorrow morning, for Big Meadows, in Shenandoah National Park, where they will lean back in their little blue beach chairs and count fireballs. Check out my Snapshots from Shenandoah category for last year’s trip. I’ll be blogging throughout this one, too, of course.

Saturday, as longtime readers know, is market day in Garrett Park, Maryland…

UD‘s home, and she took a few photos yesterday to share with you.

Watching an endless train jammed with coal as it screams through town. Market is to the left just out of the picture.
On the basketball court, tai chi.
Rabbit welcomes UD back to her house.

Don’t know if this is for real…

… but it looks as though Epstein has indeed succeeded in packing up his troubles.

Suicide, which people famously call a permanent solution to a temporary problem, was in Jeffrey Epstein’s case a permanent solution to a permanent problem. As his fellow suicide, David Berman, put it, “the dead know what they’re doing when they leave this world behind.”


Confirmation by the New York Times.

A rather less than satisfactory outcome to his personal eugenics/eternal life scheme.


I guess this is what they call Suicide Watch at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. Maybe at the Correctional Center “Suicide Watch” means you watch inmates commit suicide.

Here’s an immensely important witness/criminal who apparently tried to hang himself not at all long ago, and now presto? Really?

So either incredible neglect at the jail, or he bribed a guard, or he was killed (way unlikely, but conspiracy buffs will put this one forward for sure)…


Will this take the pressure off Dershowitz, Richardson, Mitchell, Prince Andrew, Ghislaine Maxwell, Les Wexner, Glenn Dubin, Ehud Barak, and all the other cronies, pimps, and playmates? Chais pas, mes petites; chais pas.

But franchement, I kinda doubt it. Epstein’s lurid fate has intensified the global light being shined on him and his buddies.


And away we go!

Or, as Lady Bracknell might put it: “To fail to kill yourself in a federal lockup may be regarded as a misfortune; to succeed mere weeks later looks like carelessness.”


[S]tatistics show far and away, more likely to commit suicide are pretrial detainees and within the first few days or weeks of their detention … And that’s exactly where Jeffrey Epstein was. It’s only been a couple of weeks, if that, since he was held without bail. Since he had his bail hearing and bail was denied, but far and away, detainees, people awaiting their trial, and particularly people charged and convicted of sex offenses are at high risk of suicide, more than prisoners who have been convicted and serving their sentence, at supermax or minimum security.


Bernard Kerik is gobsmacked JE was in solitary; his opinion piece strengthens my suspicion that Epstein paid off a guard.

My support for removing some terrorists’ citizenship…

… receives some legal backing in England, where a high court judge has turned down a request to reinstate an ISIS member’s citizenship.

The father of a British-born student who travelled to Syria to join Islamic State (IS) has lost a legal fight to keep his son’s UK citizenship after he was stripped of it by the former home secretary Amber Rudd in 2017.  

Abdullah Islam had wanted his 22-year-old son, Ashraf Mahmud Islam, who joined IS aged 18 and is now being held in a Kurdish-run military prison in Syria, brought back to the UK to face justice and to be protected from facing the death penalty.

However, in the first case of its kind in the High Court, his case was rejected on Wednesday in a judgement which could set a precedent for other alleged British IS fighters and their wives who face or have had their citizenship revoked.

The judge’s remarks were scathing.

My posts on the issue can be found here (it’s the first seven entries).

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ruth J. Simmons, Robert L. Barchi, Phyllis M. Wise, Victor Dzau…

… the list of university leaders settling their greedy asses on corporate boards and drawing big money from them for doing nothing (except cutting into their university time by going to Hawaii for corporate junkets) is very very long; and even though they keep getting caught failing to disclose their several, often conflicted, board seats, these people keep doing it cuz man you don’t know greed and how it can drive you! You can’t hope to understand!

The latest corporate board scandal comes out of already insanely scandal-plagued University of North Carolina system, with its fake classes and shit. Take a place that’s already in deep doodoo and drive it yet farther underground: This has been the mandate of new head guy William Roper, who jest can’t seem to ‘member all the boards – some of whom do business with his institution – on which he has settled his ass. The local lamestream media insists on sticking its nose into his affairs, looking at forms he’s failed to fill out, etc., etc., and he’s pissed – as pissed as Shirley Ann Jackson used to get when people called her out (she had her people call her critics racists). From the height of his ass-cooling dignity Roper has issued statement after statement and you know what? It’ll work. UNC has suffered few negative consequences because it’s a jock-sniffing academic joke; Roper will suffer few negative consequences for his greed and deceit. UNC is what it is and life – in all its glorious scumminess – goes on.

Epstein “misappropriated vast sums of money from me,” says Mr Victoria’s Secret.

Les Wexner claims he was ripped off; but a lot of people want to know why he never pressed charges against a guy who stole $46 million from him.

Maybe it didn’t ultimately seem like all that much money to the man who introduced a twelve and a half million dollar bra to the lingerie market.

USA Today…



Updated. Phony war.


The truest words UD has read about gun control in America.

“In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate,” Dan Hodges, a British journalist, wrote in a post on Twitter two years ago, referring to the 2012 attack that killed 20 young students at an elementary school in Connecticut. “Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

‘Uruguay cautioned citizens against traveling to the US, citing hate crimes and “the indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population.”‘

Hey babe that pop POPOPOPOPOPOP pop pop POPOPOP is the sound of freedom!

And you ain’t seen nuthin yet. Wait til our 18 year olds with AK-47s organize. They’ll make Columbine look like a picnic.

Next Page »

Latest UD posts at IHE





Dr. Bernard Carroll, known as the "conscience of psychiatry," contributed to various blogs, including Margaret Soltan's University Diaries, for which he sometimes wrote limericks under the name Adam.
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George Washington University English professor Margaret Soltan writes a blog called University Diaries, in which she decries the Twilight Zone-ish state our holy land’s institutes of higher ed find themselves in these days.
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It’s [UD's] intellectual honesty that makes her blog required reading.
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There's always something delightful and thought intriguing to be found at Margaret Soltan's no-holds-barred, firebrand tinged blog about university life.

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Margaret Soltan at University Diaries blogs superbly and tirelessly about [university sports] corruption.

University Diaries. Hosted by Margaret Soltan, professor of English at George Washington University. Boy is she pissed — mostly about athletics and funding, the usual scandals — but also about distance learning and diploma mills. She likes poems too. And she sings.
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Margaret Soltan, whose blog lords it over the rest of ours like a benevolent tyrant...
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Margaret Soltan is no fan of college sports and her diatribes on the subject can be condescending and annoying. But she makes a good point here...
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