Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pocket Gopher

        Absolutely wrong that a person should have to walk eighteen miles on the Leap Day.  At about mile three,  I mentioned the Leap Day to a fellow mail order retail employee.  It's loud in there of course, so inevitably words get lost  in the hullaballoo and squeak of conveyors. 

       Then at around mile ten, the hand held device directed me to a product that came under the category of 'electronics'.  It looked remarkably like yet one more contraption guaranteed to rid the garden of  that host of creatures that burrow. I saw the word 'Pocket Gopher.' A cheerful looking chap nibbling what might have been Bok Choy, but with just thirty five percent of a minute to process each item there was not enough time to be certain.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Solitaire With An Athletic Component

       The most recent incarnation of gainful employment is almost like spending ten hours playing a game of solitaire. I would like to try to think of it as a game of chess.  But chess, at least amongst us Human Beings, produces a sporting response that is occasionally predicated by a move one or other of us  might make.  In solitaire there is so much less ducking and weaving.

      As well solitaire is generally played while seated, so probably better to think of this recent incarnation,  as solitaire with  an athletic component. There is a great deal of moving around while pushing a cart, and reaching for things, and sometimes there is climbing stairs. And often  a terribly loud  and rather judgmental noise from the hand held device produces absolute confusion in a novitiate.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


        I may have rejoined the ranks of the gainfully employed. The barrier of Latin, which remains the traditional language of academic qualification in some parts of the world, has been broken. The phrase Baccalaurei in Scientia Economica and the extraordinary date AD MCMLXXXII have both been translated into a more comprehensible  usage, and accepted.  These little things mean belonging. 

       On the other side is the reality of an understanding that pursues product, defers preciousness to a set of accounts, bends soul to the will of the powerful, eagerly impresses upon mind the importance of riches to an individual's worth.  And oddly I have never been prouder of magna cum laude.  Of course Semper Fidelis is Latin too, so clearly I am still a long way from cured.

Friday, February 24, 2012


        If my memory was unbounded, it might remember whether Small Crown Daffodil and Snowdrop, bloom at the same time.  At the moment I am inclined to think this a  unique phenomenon, but fair to say my grade for memory is closer to a D minus than it is to a B minus.

       Quince is way ahead of Forsythia, but here I believe Forsythia bloom is also sensitive to day-length, which is why sometimes in the Autumn Forsythia will make valiant efforts, and quite natural to consider sensitivity to day length an excellent example of awareness.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chance of Tornado

         When Maynard Keynes saw a helicopter, he might have considered flying it around and dropping pound notes from it, then call it Demand Side Economics.  Milton Friedman, might have seen the same helicopter, and he might  have decided that dropping dollar bills from the helicopter would only serve to make people lazy and poorly disciplined and prone to sitting around staring at stuff instead of contributing to what some have called wealth. And this view generally is called Supply Side Economics.

       Most of us only work for money because money defines us and has done so for so many generations that the idea of trying to exist without it produces an angst that essentially says, "That's impossible, and certainly not for me."  I could argue there are those from the Supply Side who will say without money YOU starve. And I could argue there are those from the Demand Side who will say without money WE starve.  Oddly the more adoring of god a person seems to be, the more likely he'll see the devil in Keynes.  Either way there is a chance of tornado this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Word as Bubonic Plague

        Even more interesting is the retreat from the word 'notion' in the small slither of public discourse I have ears on.  Less and less do I hear the phrase "This notion that..." as though use of the word 'notion' as prelude,  requires me to believe that I am in the presence of greater wisdom and seriousness than is imposed by, for example, the word 'idea'.  And here I have no issue with motive, I too am fond of a word that does away with me having to make sense, and which sometimes requires access to dictionaries, and which sometimes I know the meaning of, a meaning which often I forget soon after their appearance, because I am happy and pompous in the way that a Walrus might be.

      So it's always nice when the ether fills with yet another fashion in the arena of words.  And this one is especially wonderful because it offers perhaps weeks of tirade on the subject of 'word as bubonic plague.' But I can say that "Theology" is a 'school of opinion supported by  argument', and when at its best, it's a rational enquiry into those elements of belief  that are contained in what is rightly called "Faith."  And probably distracting to raise the issue of what "faith" might mean, when there is a perfectly honest possibility of "medieval period" soon becoming a synonym for "golden age."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


        I have fallen between a crack, but not this time. Drivers license renewal included a photograph new mothers can use to demonstrate what happens to those who will not eat greens, and as well, I suffered one of those lapses in memory that results in the raised eyebrow.  Why is it that a vast majority of those of us who can still walk on two legs are expected to be able  to remember their telephone number.

      I hope it was the metal detector, just inside the court house portal, that confused a brain cell. And I remembered, while emptying my pockets into the little plastic bin, that there was a possibility I might be asked for a telephone number. As well the existential question "Do you still want to be an organ donor?" tends to distract. Then bam! "What's your phone number?"

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Word as Beginning

        Often surprises how when a word is written it takes on existence.  Quite erroneous, in my view, because the nature of a word is to reflect an impasse, otherwise there would be no need for words. And invariably this view of words  is dismissed as not useful.

      However, in the great tapestry each moment is a brick wall, and to move from one moment to the next requires idea. In the tail wind our exhaust is text, which I suggest offers insight into the view of a word as the beginning.  Meanwhile the Early Maple is about to bloom.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Confluence of Number and Language

         The ancients, I would guess, first put their minds to record keeping  as a means to make memory concrete.  A shepherd with his fifteen Goats out there on the savannah returned one day with ten Goats.  Fierce debate followed.  Some might even have claimed the shepherd had been given sixteen Goats to care for. Others, probably including the young shepherd's mother, insisted that there only ever had been ten Goats.  The more observant,  perhaps might have wondered what had happened to their memory of a Red Goat who also had a missing ear.

       An apparently wiser mind, decided upon a mechanical system for determining Goat numbers. Each Goat was in the future to be represented by a pebble, and again fierce debate followed. Some Goats were more appreciated and well loved than other Goats, each Goat needed its qualities represented more purely. A task which after much tribulation, trials and errors, resulted in the written word.  Many thousands of years later, this confluence of number and language was given the title Economics, and remains despite rumor, primarily an art form.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Peak Bloom Snowdrop

        This time last year it was dry enough to make those first exploratory moves.  We'd experienced a temperature of sixty nine, there was a suggestion of humidity, and soil was dry to the shovel.  The Robins were hopping in that way they do when they begin to separate from their winter flock.  The Spring Peepers were calling, and Sandhill Cranes were high in the sky, probably going North, or perhaps thinking about going North.

     Snowdrops,  are a difficult plant to judge, because once they have embarked upon adventure not even an overnight temperature in the low teens can dissuade them.  But I believe today  is Snowdrop Peak Bloom Day for two thousand and twelve, and I think it's really quite early.  As well there are other signs of Springtime,  but best to take none of them too seriously in February especially, otherwise it opens the gates to emotional disappointment and some very poor decisions.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Buttock Theory of Personality

        Always tempting to enter that area of thinking that ascribes character to the shape of a person's bottom, and I say this as one  rendered ashen by a  recent encounter with a bathroom mirror. Of course the buttock theory of personality certainly falls into that large category of pseudo-science and I am certain there are fat bottomed boys who are also perfectly nice. But in the political sphere, I believe bottoms are a fair enough expression of what a person is, rather than what he means to be.

       I would argue for example, that George Will has what I would call a weasel bottom when put beside for example Newt Gingrich's bottom.  Both of course would have been well powdered when young, and probably told how perfectly adorable they were. But it's too simplistic an understanding of the  buttock theory, to claim that shape of bottom dictates  political affiliation. Rather the bottom reflects a conglomerate of impression and is as good a way as any of choosing leaders. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Positive Engagement

     Naturally when a person is unwell and frail he will spend time lying on his back staring at the ceiling.  He might even try to close his eyes in a sad attempt to achieve unconsciousness, but after hours and hours and hours of sleep there is a part of the body that must crave some form of positive engagement. 

    But fair warning, best to do away with clocks in the bedroom, because sometimes two thirty one in the morning can lead to mood swing, quickly followed by a sense of confusion with hints of pointlessness.
    The clock itself must have appeared in the bedroom sometime during that era I will call "while gainfully employed."  It's not one of those wind-up clocks that tick-tocks, nor is it bright enough to be seen in the dark, but it does have a button which if pressed illuminates its dial with soft blue light that stays lit for exactly  five seconds.

   Which theoretically should mean, that to keep this clock's light on for one minute its button needs to be pressed every five seconds, twelve times in a minute. And I have to wonder what other theories when put to practice might also be incorrect.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tissue Paper

        Sometimes I think I can remember the first time I came down with that sickness loosely referred to as "cough and cold with flu like aches, dizziness and the odd hallucination."  I have a distinct memory of blaming the English, not that it was their fault, but I was given the distinct impression they considered this ailment a test of character which should not be permitted to interfere with the day to day in any way whatsoever.  

    With goo seeping from every orifice, I sat opposite a woman whose role it was to determine my level of brightness. There were colorful blocks in front of me, out of which I had to make patterns. It was probably the hacking cough, the sneezing and weeping eyes that finally persuaded her to hand over what I thought was a handkerchief.  But it wasn't a handkerchief, it was a tissue paper. Something I'd never seen before, and at the time thought totally inadequate. I remember her telling me I could keep it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Internal to Being

         Realizing possibilities is in my view one way of describing a moment of Zen.  More properly it is "realizing the possibility of realizing  possibilities," because in most of us "realizing the possibility" requires a connection to the material. Which doesn't mean to say that absent a material connection, Zen does not happen.  Rather it is to say that "realizing the possibility of realizing a possibility," and the moment of Zen, are both purely mental or "internal to being".

    But if that moment does include a connection to the material, it inevitably becomes more real. Which, in my view, is why for some traditions the moment of Zen is understood as an absence of distinction between the "thing that is me" and other things.  Of course here there is debate, and it's the sort of debate that results in flying words, insult, marching armies and other such realizations of possibility.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Window Air-conditioning Units

         Bigger than leaving home is the adventure of returning home.  It was sort of like spring when we left. Today is definitely winter, with cruel wind that cries out for fourteen layers and slippers.  But I have seen where the Palm Tree grows, and where handicap parking spaces dominate, and where people very much older than I can be seen riding bicycles, while wearing shorts and sunglasses in February.

     But apparently it's terribly, terribly hot in the summer months, with even higher humidity readings.  As I understand it, the population number for people soared following those technical developments that enabled the manufacture of window air conditioning units. Which I guess has to say something about what it is we people aspire to.

Monday, February 6, 2012


         Today might include packing the travel bag and shaving.  But more interesting is an Amaryllis which for the past decade has chosen this part of February to bloom. And of course, this is a tribute to the flow of years that have gathered in me. And of course, this bloom will be his way of saying Congratulations.

      But possibly I'm alone in understanding paranoia as a confluence of emotions that inform conclusions which give logic to a personal and monotheistic approach to the day to day. And which if allowed to dominate can result in an excommunication by the jealous. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Look There's A Wombat

        Some will insist language came at the summit of our evolutionary path, and we should think of it as our paramount weapon, or our beginning. And they'll tell you, our muscles could smile before they could talk. 

    But I don't know how true this is, and more than likely I never will because I am on the downhill slope, and I find myself smiling when perhaps I shouldn't.  "Look there's a Wombat!"

     "It's not offensive at all, because we are used to seeing people in power doing nasty things"  "Aesthetic forms of appealing to protesters are more effective than political ones" "You're just like me, a man not a god, I'm just like you, a man not a sod."

    Elsewhere, because perhaps some of us are less able to concentrate,  there is  snappier repartee.  "Job Creators" "Right wing social engineering" "Entitlements" "Failed Economic Policy" "The Safety Net is not a Hammock" "Crackdown on Descent" "1%".

Saturday, February 4, 2012


        Creatures that greet the sunrise with an audible comment, include Mockingbirds.  Its not unusual to hear in his voice a suggestion of what I guess in my species would be called "Am I still here."  Then as a season progresses toward change that tone becomes, "I'm still here, what are you going to do about it."  The American Robin on the other hand follows a different pattern.  When Spring arrives he becomes more solitary, he potters around in silence and when the sunrises, he basically says "What's That!"  And he can do so rather loudly. Which can rouse a person from his bed earlier than might be necessary in February.

         Wrens, and here I mean Carolina Wrens, have less concentration in thinking. They in my view greet the morning with "Not again, again, again." And then in the afternoon I'll sometimes hear them say "cheeseburger"  several times in rapid succession. And  I've seen a male House Sparrow, already in the barn.  There is an eve up there by the roofing that he cannot resist.  From that beam he can fill the inside of the barn with a magnificent swell of noise loud enough to drown a chain saw, but from outside the barn, where the girls are, you can hardly hear him. So on he'll go, for days, perhaps weeks. Nor am I certain what he'll be saying this year because last year there was discord between us, and I might have thrown a pebble or two in his direction

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cocktails and Caviar

        It's very cold in Europe.  Londoners have the nightmare of minus three degrees centigrade on their walk into work. The homeless are freezing to death in the Ukraine, the advice from the authorities is to exercise, maybe run around and in the morning take a cold bath. In Egypt there is passionate debate about the role of god in society, younger men are rioting while philosophers shed tears for wisdom.  Somewhere in Northern Italy there is a bed and breakfast owner who could be going mad because he has been snowed in for a couple of days. From China there is a silence which may belong to contemplation, or perhaps fear, because that's where computers are made. And too, I have seen a video of the most expensive hotel in the world.

         All these things I have gathered, not because of a newspaper, or a television, or a radio, or a town crier ringing his bell as he walks down the lane carrying cocktails and caviar.  And I realize sometimes, they are a distraction, a consumer of space, a moment that belongs to something else, an image I will call a "lollipop" because it contains no before or after except through a taste that I'll call the "unbecoming of the known," and which sounds like "sharing" but which could be what some have called "one more pointless tweet in a long line of errors" but which I prefer to think of as a stream of electrons and the chances they have offered for twelve or perhaps fourteen billion years.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

An Emotional Disturbance

        Some of us are a little over excited today.  That sort of jelly fish in consciousness that prevents serious enterprise.  And most likely its cause is an anticipation, or a worry. And I realize that a mind when searching for the answer to this emotional disturbance might not always reply "Wiregrass Country."  But if it does, it might be a one that spends more time than is healthy thinking about the devil's minion that so dominates the day when mean temperatures exceed 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

          I have been told there is more than Creeping Grass in "Wiregrass Country."  It's near enough to the sea, apparently. Might even be Palm Trees, or beaches, or swamps alive with wintering Water Fowl. Could even be Shrimp dinners and views of oil refineries.  Tankers and other ocean travelers. And always there's discussion about what to do next.  But I'm going down there for the  Creeping Grass, with special attention to how these pioneer folk maintain their garden edges.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Synaptic Fault

        'Creative Is' has its antithesis in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's concept of 'Flow'.  In my view, 'Creative Is' resolves the 'action and inaction' the 'doing without doing' of Buddhists and Taoists.  And I say this because 'Creative Is' has nothing to do with the consciousness of what I will call 'going somewhere.'

         Naturally to be taken even remotely seriously I would have to discourse in a disciplined manner for something like half a million words with proper chapter headings, which I think you'd agree is an attempt to 'go somewhere.'  Journeys for me basically involve motor vehicles and the suspicion they will break down before achieving destination. Other's call this laziness. Some think it a synaptic fault.