Sunday, May 20, 2018

Demand Side

Very tempted to explore recent reflections on Demand Side Economic Theory that's beginning to find a path into the rainbow of our elites. The theory is brave because it suggests that government cannot run out of money. The criticism has so far been that governments who spend prolifically pretty much guarantee a destructive inflation, which means we're all looking to replace wallets with wheelbarrows. The response to this criticism is that monetary policy, interest rates and so on, rather than the gold standard, are the more flexible mechanisms to control inflation. Of the gurus in this brave new Keynesian world, the canoeing enthusiast Stephanie Kelton is renowned for her assertion, "Money doesn't grow on rich people."

The reason that branch of the disgustingly wealthy who aren't dumb, who don't openly practice eugenics, who understand productivity and the challenges of technology to the common man, find this iteration of demand side economics appealing is that if accurate, then to ease the burden of living for the rest of us and by so doing prevent us from roaming the streets looking for wide eyed, troll-like saviors to return us to the 19th century there will be no requirement to raise taxes on the absurdly rich. As well, there's the crassness of the Political Class for whom a path to power is to manipulate the ideas of often un-saintly Economists to either promote social change or put an end to it. Have to wonder when it might be time to go boldly again.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Fittings

Most Fascists struggle with paranoia. Convince themselves of all sorts of things and then they wallow in the conviction that something or someone is deliberately out to get them. And it's a well known fact that a good percentage of gardeners struggle with the conviction that weather forecasters and the weather itself have basically combined with the manufacturers of hose pipes and hose pipe fittings to make a gardener's life so totally miserable it's almost pointless. It's the wet Fagin gloves and leaking that finally does it, and it's a trip to the hardware store for replacement fittings. Not a good day for anyone.

One of the things is this. Some of us, through fair means or foul, might be in possession of what's called a 3/4 inch hose pipe and being miserly this 3/4 inch hose pipe is attached to a 1/2 inch hose pipe that some few years ago was also released from an unnatural and cruel servitude. Classically the sad fact is that most hose pipes are 5/8 inch which means finding fittings for anomalous hosepipes is not for the sort of person who finds the more recent iteration of what passes for hardware stores far too jovial and a little stressful. What happened to the dark counter with a grumpy little old man who knew everything behind it? Like the President, I blame Amazon.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Thorns

Blackberry in bloom, fairly certain it's early and when it blooms it can remind a person of Hawthorn, which is a low stubborn and sometimes angry tree that once upon a time dominated the European hedgerows. It was in the Hawthorn you'd find Finch, Robin and Thrush nests. There was an art to hedging Hawthorn, the hedger would cut almost halfway into a two to four year old branches, bend them without breaking them and pretty much weave them. It was a style called layering. Over time, the resulting hedge could keep a Rampant Bull contained, it made mincemeat out of anything like a dachshund chasing a Squirrel. The other thing about Hawthorn, in the early part of the year it has a very gentle and inviting looking leaf, and for a novice jobbing gardener taking back control of a Hawthorn hedge looks like very tempting and easy hourly rate, then he discovers the thorns that protect those leaves. Those thorns are a hundred times worse than the Blackberry, but not as terrifying as the medieval instruments of torture Honey Locust produce.

 It was in the older gardens you'd still find Hawthorn Hedges. Proud new property owners deemed them useful to keep the view of rurality and fertilizer at bay before the field beyond was sold to the builders and then a Hawthorn Hedge did sterling work against nosey neighbors and their yappy dogs. Invariably home owners get old, bad tempered, short sighted and prone to falls. So the Hawthorn Hedge is released to the wild, it's a riot of white bloom and insects in May and bunches of red berries as the year declines. Usually in those urban settings it's the next door neighbor who complains about the hedge, some pathetic feeble excuse about it casting too much shade on the roses or sunbathing teenager. Not a word for the travelling Redwings or the homebody Thrush that feast on the plenty Hawthorn provides when the leaves fall. And funny thing there's always a bird table in the neighbors garden. Usually in sight of the kitchen window. Coconut and peanuts, bread crusts laden with salt from the breakfast table to fatten the Sparrows and a pussy cat with a pointless name to take their fledglings. Either way, here where I live, there could be a valiant attempt to mow Blackberry picking paths.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Lumper

The Irish Lumper is a Potato. It was the more prolific variety of Potato, it grew anywhere and everywhere. In Ireland the Lumper wasn't the only variety of Potato but it was the Potato most people grew as their prime source of sustenance. It was an interesting looking Potato apparently, it was lumpy, not easily peeled, it came in all sorts of shapes and had its reputation survived the Irish Potato Famine there'd be no way mechanized Corporate Agriculture would grow it today. Today's Potato has to lend itself to the machine, particularly to the machines that churn out frozen chips, or frozen French fries for the deep fryers in fast food joints. In the saga, the Potato Blight that caused the famine came in an all consuming dark, glooming, sooty mist that had its source somewhere in the Irish Sea. Some reckoned it was the "sins of the people," others "mortiferous vapors" emanating from volcanoes in the center of the earth. Back then on the east side of the Irish Sea, England had its Trump Country which thought the blight was a heaven sent blessing that would finally transform the troublesome Irish. Prime minister Robert Peel tried to increase the availability of food by attempting to reform protectionist laws that kept out cheap foreign grain, but the English Gentleman Farmers would hear none of it. Meanwhile around a million people died of hunger in Ireland.

I know about the Lumper because I once earned an hourly rate down by the docks near the late night bars and dance clubs. It wasn't a large establishment, more of a hole in the wall establishment, and raining or not, most of the eating was done by drunk people, eating out of newspaper in the streets outside, between the hours of 10.30 pm and 3.30 am Thursday, Friday and Saturday. My job was to get there around 9.00pm and put the Potatoes into a Potato Peeling Machine. It had an electric engine that made a loud noise in a confined space, the Potatoes whizzed around and around for a couple of watery minutes and when they looked as though they had most of the peel rubbed off them I'd stop the machine, release peeled Potatoes into a bucket full of clean water. Then my job was to press one Potato after another through a device that cut them into the thick chips. The kind of chips that lend themselves to being deep fried in lard. Greasy, hot, limp and soggy, delicious sprinkled with salt and vinegar. My employer might never have known a moment of sobriety, he knew a lot about the art of battering fish and sausages, his hygiene was appalling, he was very picky about the quality of his Potatoes, and he did rather go on about the pace of change, progress, the Lumper and the killing mist. He always paid me at the end of the day in cash.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

News

Some of us might be old enough to remember when the important daily news was all about Sharks biting scantily clad people at the seaside, toddlers dying from heat after being locked in cars, Grannies getting mugged, film stars getting arrested following erratic behavior, tornadoes in somewhere like Owensboro, the inevitable nonsense about disease resistant Tomatoes. Sometimes you might read about the President and occasionally there was something positive, if a little suspect, such as a Cat rescuing a Budgerigar from a burning four story building.

Then suddenly it was 21st Century. I remember the panic, the world was going to end because someone had failed to advise technical devices that following the 1900's the 2000's would happen, and as a result banks would fail, clocks would stop, satellites and airplanes would fall out of the sky and we'd all have go back to 1900 again. Mind you in November of 1918 the First World War ended, so we got that to look forward to and in 1920 the Nineteenth Amendment was adopted which meant girls could join us boys at the voting booths to elect Warren Harding who dies of a heart attack in 1923, which leaves us Calvin Coolidge and the slide toward the Great Depression to look forward to.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Compost Piles

Inching toward a curse laden diatribe addressing billionaires, old white male politicians, slime-balls and portly white men generally, blond, orange presidents, anyone called Nunberg, cheeseburgers, Democrats and the GOP.... and the list does go on a little. So it's probably just as well I spent the late morning letting off a little steam with the Compost Piles.

Compost Piles really are so understanding, they take it all in, nod wisely, tell me I know exactly what I'm talking about and remind me that in the long run we're all dead and rotting. I would move a chair down there, hang out more often, but sadly there's something far too inscrutable about them and I'm beginning to suspect their motives.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Inclement Conditions

Average high temperature for the month of May here is 77 Fahrenheit. Average low for May is 54 Fahrenheit. These are ideal conditions for pretty much anything that grows in a vegetable garden and they are perfect for gardener's own sense of being as he goes about his important business. But, the first weeks of May in the year 2018 have been running a good 10 degrees Fahrenheit above average. The cooler weather plants, like Lettuce and Cabbage, particularly those in full sun, are endeavoring to be brave but will crack sometime very soon, they'll bolt or apparently just develop peculiar little colorful halos, turn into angels and wither away. This morning at around 11.30 am, or 10.30 sensible time, your gardener withered quickly and he bolted for the indoors.

 It was fairly pathetic sight, kind of like deserting his post, running away to hide. The Tomato didn't care, as long as they get their evening water. Uncle Eggplant remained stoic. With Peppers you never know, hot weather or not they're like deep blue Mercedes Liberals, always on the verge of sulking about something. But there'll definitely be a white feather or two in the mail from the Victorian Snap Peas, most of whom have incredibly brave, if distant, relatives in the Hussars. More ominous there's a patch of Foxgloves that lost their shade to a sudden and terminal sootiness in a Redbud. Pretty certain they blame me. And well worth noting, seeing halos around objects are amongst the symptoms of Foxglove poisoning, so sometimes it's not all about the heat.