Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Electric


     Half of India has suffered an electric power interruption.  That's seven hundred million people.  As I understand it the primary reason for this interruption is related to inadequate infrastructure and insufficient power generation.  In India, I have read,  electricity is the blood in the veins of economic growth. 

     The first public electric power station was completed in London, England in January a hundred and thirty years ago. A steam engine ran a generator given the name Jumbo. Electric lines were sent through storm drains to the customers who thought electricity might be a useful addition to their sense of self.  Customers who could not be reached through the drains had to get their electricity via overhead cable, because digging up the roadways was a monopoly of gas companies.  


Monday, July 30, 2012

The Lawn



    I know it's blasphemous, brings down ire from the better informed, but God damn the heat for its associated insect life.  One more tick bite and hang me by my toes from the washing line, let the sun flay my flesh, and please permit Coyote to chew loudly on my bones at night, so that children might hear and never go outside.

     The other pillars of God's ill humor in times of heat stress and drought are Creeping Grass and White Man's Foot.  Oh certainly without them there wouldn't at this moment be that part of land some call "The Lawn."  But, thank goodness, The Artist was able to catch and release the Lizard that has been hungrily pottering around the downstairs for the past couple of weeks.



Sunday, July 29, 2012

Friday


     I don't normally wear the spectacles when using the gentleman's facilities at my place of employment.  It's a series of coordinated  movements that I have practiced now for really quite a long time, so as long as I am roughly in the correct place, I don't need lenses.  The Gentlemen's facilities are very clean, even though sometimes around lunch break, or early on a Sunday morning, they smell a little like boy, or is it beer. And on the walls are large and dire warnings about the consequence of not washing hands, after performing what ever ablution one has found it necessary to try and achieve.


     Quite why I was wearing the spectacles I no longer recall, but what for a long time I thought was some sort of productivity chart, or series of safety mnemonics, because it was located at about that place above each of  the urinals which in less well kept toilets is reserved for witticisms or telephone numbers, is actually titled a Hydration Chart.   Eight bands of color, ranging from a rather flaccid and peaky yellow to what I'd call the greenish brown of a mildewing soil.  Either way, the House Sparrows at work, have a had a tremendous brood, and I saw a young Crow with a two parents watching them.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Durkheim's Expression


     The expression belonged to Durkheim.  I wish I could remember it.   He was French, of course and the father of modern social science.  And I guess ultimately translations from both French and German into the English language lose some quality.  I heard Alan Greenspan use something like the phrase, and I think he was quoting Maynard Keynes.  It has to do with a sudden exuberance, which upon reflection is not warranted and never should have been.  A moment of mental riot, that afterwards brings on the question "why did we think that."

     Hegel was guilty of it when Napoleon took the French Revolution by the throat and turned it orderly. Then when Napoleon declared himself Emperor, Hegel must have known depression, or at least disappointment.  Heidegger, too was guilty of it.  He saw that same orderliness in Hitler. Joined the Party, to keep his job perhaps. And then when the Second World War was over he was a pariah, and he turned his mind away from "Being."   And maybe if I hunt around long enough I'll find Durkheim's expression. 


Friday, July 27, 2012

Fifteen Billion



    I'd say,  if your day to day was suddenly interrupted by an influx of new traffic regulations, heightened security concerns, thousands of demented fans and the more ludicrous television reporters from all over the world, it might be easier to just stay in bed for a couple of weeks.  


     The Olympics could cost fifteen billion of one of the currencies.  In the USA a billion is a thousand million.  Fifteen billion dollars is twenty dollars a second for almost twenty four years. Fifteen billion minutes is about twenty eight thousand years.  And fifteen billion hours ago we had about a million years to wait for what the professionals call Archaic Homo Sapiens to crawl out of a simpler place.  But who knows about mathematics.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

The "what-ever" Olympiad


     Always thought team sports, such as American Football, Basket Ball, and to a certain extent Soccer, and most certainly Rugby, and absolutely boxing, belong to a category that I will call, "Boys touching each other in public."

 
     Nor is it a behavior I will ever consider a sporting event.  And I say this because I find that I thoroughly enjoy watching girls play soccer, and could certainly be persuaded to eat popcorn to watch girls play American Football.  Call me a dirty old man if you wish to.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Soul


    Of the "Appearances in Human Experience," the thing that is me, can easily be dismissed as a sort of paranoid delusion by a scalpel, and probably also by another kind of ability to learn.  I do not believe the machine in front of me, that can calculate at the speed of light, divide two by three until the sixes it can shovel out reach to the outer limits of my comprehension, is what they call 'sentient'.  However, I do know that the machine in front of me responds to stimulus, and that regularily misunderstanding can arise between us.  I become passionate, it remains stubborn. 

      The question, "Am I more like the machine in front of me than I would like to think?"  Always puts me into a quandary. On the one hand there are parts of my brain that can be touched in the way that a key board can be touched.  And when they are, I respond as a machine might.  On the other hand I live with myself, and I am usually disobedient, or too hot, or wondering what to eat.  Then to the question, "Am I more like a Blue Green Algae than the machine in front of me?"  My answer appears to be  "Yes."


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Meaning



    If I were to attempt a definition of "Meaning," the odds are that those who wish to be entertained by their stroll would yawn rather loudly, look away, and rely upon Kant to interpret the horizon and our relationship with objects.  The Water Tower, which this time of year is occluded by a cloud of leaves, was raised in two thousand and three, after a decade of quarrelling, and with funds from members of the community who could not find loopholes.  It's always an eye-saw to those few who thought a well in their own back yard might also receive, if not subsidies, then some sort of acknowledgement on a tax return.

 
     Unlike my near neighbor, I have been close enough to the Water Tower to sneer at its rivets and to take delight in criticizing the little bit of rusting through its paintwork.  And unlike my near neighbor I have no opinion on whether plastic wrap by Saran is linked to unregulated cell growth.  My near neighbor doesn't like to leave the county, except every now and then when he is dragged by his family, down to the gulf, to look at the sea, paddle in its waves, dine on one or other of its many inhabitants that's been cooked in butter.  Nor was it my idea to visit the Water Tower, because just like my near neighbor, I too would rather not stray beyond the county line.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Spirit, Soul, Phenomena, Meaning.

 
    Many years ago it was called Spirit then it was called Soul and  it has been called Phenomenology.  In most cathedrals it still is most pompously defined this way: "The study of all possible appearances in human experience, during which considerations of objective reality and of purely subjective responses are left out of account."  Or perhaps easier to call it "The Structures of Consciousness." Then increasingly the sciences and mathematics, began to suggest more useful explorations of mind through an examination of structures in the brain.  My favorite, the Hypothalamus which rhymes with Hippopotamus.  Less favorite is the Cerebral Cortex, which is where meaning is made.

     And I too have watched the detective programs on the television, and I too know how DNA will tell no falsehoods when put beside the testimony of a person's memory, which is frail and never to be trusted, and quickly thrown out of court by an agile cross examination.  Or what Heidegger decided was "being-in-the-world."   A place where the meaning of an object, moves around in a manner that is occasionally without any apparent direction or usefulness whatsoever.  Sometimes, I hope, it's worth wondering what it is I do here, and why.  Because that's what Saints expect from structures.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunflower.


     These photographs of Hummingbirds are taken by The Artist.  The bloom belongs to a Buddleia, which is considered a foreign and invasive species by the purists here in Kentucky.  And because she is currently stalking Chipmunk, all photographs of Chipmunk, that might occasionally occur, are also taken by The Artist.  Indeed any photograph that has movement, interest, good composition and which displays obvious signs of having waited around for the perfect moment, are all taken by The Artist.

      And there is outside a most perfect Sunflower.  A very fine face and excellent petals.  The Sunflower with the big head is native to the Americas.  Some reckon it was first farmed somewhere in Mexico, around two thousand five hundred years ago. I should go outside and try to capture it with digital recording device, before Goldfinch pillage it.   It's an odd thing, but Goldfinch always seem to find the Sunflower first.  They get all excited, gather their clan, and before you know those goofy Cardinals have joined them for the feast.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

John The Apostle



     I have this love hate relationship with John the Apostle. It's that sentence, "In the Beginning was the Word."  Which is one of the most beautiful ideas I ever heard, and I love him for it.  Then he goes on to say: "..And the word was with God."  Which is neat enough.  Then he completely pisses me off me when he adds:  ".. And the word was God."   Which might have been what Socrates reckoned when he chose to accept his sentence rather than enter exile.  And of course there have been millions of words written on what John meant by "The Word."

     So much easier for me, if he just said, "Who knows about the beginning, and who knows what words are, but by George, I'm going to use them to tell you what I think."  That way I could listen to what he had to say without a sense of being told what I should think.  Which I guess is why I'm so impatient with homeschoolers and monks and bloody billionaires and the list goes on.  And of course the other problem is that John the Apostle died in the year 100, or there about.
 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Taxes



     Have to sometimes read sentences out loud so that my ears might hear them.  Soon they are lost on page something or other, and are never found again, except in some recess of memory where they are distorted, their context lost, and they become like a shadow of meaning drifting around waiting to pounce.

     I believe the argument was against perfection.  In our world, the argument went, good practice should never raise a standard so high, it can never be reached, or even touched.  In other words there is no cure for being human, not even Law.  Which in my view, is rather a good thing, until someone comes along who thinks there is a cure.  Temptation, I'll call it.  Or maybe loopholes.



Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cedar Mockingbirds



   Those street corner tyrants, the Cedar Mockingbirds, have released two more of their kind into the world.  Always a chance that bad temperedness and growling skips a generation.  She still has no tail feathers, in flight she looks like a little Black Vulture and dangerous.  And He is getting old.  One single egg in their nest was not fertile, undamaged by the large feet and bustling around of growing chicks.  Of course She left it there, warned her children not to play with it, because She had a point to make.


     The other guy is clearly much younger and so much more charming.  He's up from the river, I guess, or somewhere down there where the Wahoo Tree grows. The Artist has heard him croak like a Green Frog.  He'll sing from the tall trees and leap, so the perfection of his wings and his feathers might catch the light and dazzle the afternoon with his brilliance.  Certainly impresses me.  She dreams sometimes, because I have seen her, then He comes barreling in.  His charge is like a red-eyed bull or a mental patient. Not remotely gallant, but sort of endearing..


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nest Shyness


   Silence from Yellow Chats, suggests that at last they have settled into the hard work of child rearing.  Their quietness is deliberate.  Like all Birds of the air, display is for all to see but the nest is a secret place, and if in one moment a bird suspects his or her nest is being watched by a nosiness, he or she will suddenly become very aloof.  Then if I do happen to catch sight of someone emerging from a nesting area, I sense guilt in both myself and in the Bird.  I look away, pretend not to be engaged in some form of voyeurism, and from them, there's a statement I'll call "nothing new here."  And go ahead, call me a weak minded socialist, or a wooly headed communist, if you wish to.

      Many birds learn to detect harmlessness.  They'll let me stick a nose into their business, and these birds, in my view, tend to have gained a familiarity with my own habits that result in me being really quite low down in their hierarchy of worries.  Such birds tend to be resident birds, such as Mockingbirds, or a Carolina Wren, or a Phoebe.  From such Birds, it's more a statement of "He's a clumsy simpleton," than it is a  "Watch Out!"  But the interesting Bird, with respect to these sort of behaviors, is Barn Swallow.  From the moment they arrive, they'll take very little notice of me, and it's sometimes upsetting because I always. wave and say hello to them.  But I'd like to think this is because, Barn Swallows share a sense of place, and year after year, it's the same gang of Barn Swallows that return home to raise their young in the same hot and muddled barn that raised them.  And go ahead, call it the Republican Scientific Method if you wish to.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Deserving.


    In the matter of human resources, employing people is a real pain in the neck.  Ask any one who has done so.  And this is because we are more like Cats than we are like Antelope.  This means that for those with access to wealth, it would be so much simpler to increase the value of that wealth by never actually entering a relationship with anyone.  The origin I guess of the financial product, or gambling, or gated communities, or other such schemes.


     In the new world, as in all the worlds previously, the principal of fear applies.  A principal which fetishists have blessed as competition, and like to think of as divine because there can never be enough.  Yet rich or poor, people who have a security of  health, housing, food and funeral services, do have a freedom that grants them the opportunity to say no, then follow their own path.  A path, the controlling,  often refer to as undeserving in the poor.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Forty Days of Rain


    A three an a half minute silence from the electric supply around supper time was long enough to send me through many of the more aggressive stages of mourning, which for me at least always begins with the smell of wet charcoal.  It's perhaps necessary for such an enfeebled being, to think seriously about introducing 'Power Cut Day.'  Easier in Springtime, or maybe in the middle of October.  A twenty four hour period without the electric or running water.  Emergency planning, I'll pretend, and raft on about preparedness and the great unknown that spirals into an oblivion dreamers call an afterlife.  Or I could call it a test of character and that spirit of frontier our unfortunate Ancestors so regularly had foisted upon them and maybe our turn soon.  Or I could call it poetry and sing to the changes.

      There have been, through no choice of mine, 'Power Cut Days' in the past.  Quite a lot of them.  They have occurred randomly, at no particular time of day or season. Always they are inconvenient and absolutely they are out of the blue. Sometimes even, they have continued well beyond a twenty four hour period.  There's the blank television screen,  an empty radio, an instinct to drive around so as to make certain others are without power and equally bad tempered.  So better perhaps to think of it as 'Isolation Day,' and put it somewhere around Saint Swithun's Day.  Which would have been yesterday, when it rained a little.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Creepers


     A big sadness is that sense of a world gripped by an intemperate direction.  I know I share this sadness with some. And maybe we are foolish, or less well adjusted, or uncomprehending or just plain pissed off.  We ponder the possibilities, dream of more saintly alternatives, then those of us who no longer are able to visit a barroom, or apps store, devote ourselves to the even more pointless battle against things that begin to creep across gravel,  which they do just as soon as the weather turns from hot and dry, to hot and damp and driven by mold and Satan. 

       I understand the argument from the efficient.  I could use a herbicide or a flame thrower to reinforce a passion for orderliness of edges, and the behavior of others in general.  And I know why Ford wanted his motor car to be within the reach of those who labored in his factory. And sometimes, very briefly, I can see why the upper classes prefer to see the rest of us without those baubles and appendages that keep them upper. A divinity of the strong, I'd argue.  And too, I think I can sometimes understand how it is that gentleness never buggers up the paths. 


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Smile


     Many years ago, the room I rented was broken into by a short man, or a large boy.  There was nothing of mine he wanted, so he took the Baby Belling stove that belonged to the landlord.  The landlord told me that of the people in the world there were two essential types.  Those with an instinct to believe in the best from others, and those with an instinct to believe the worst.   And I guess if that landlord was correct, then those citizens of these here United States with an instinct to believe in the best of others will be more likely to vote for the current president, and  those citizens with an instinct to believe in the worst of others will be more likely to vote for the fellow whose eyes seem never to have smiled.

     Landlords, however, traditionally have a particular view of us people.  Their living is earned by the gap between what they can give and what they can take.  Which means the more they can take and the less they can give,  the wealthier they can become.  But "landlord'  is such hallowed word for a cowled creature at prey upon the poor widow, her orphans and kitten.  You can see him in the smart car, collecting his rent, then off to his friend the magistrate.  They play golf together, sit on the committees and say their prayers.  And of course they're right,  so much better to find some other words to explain the grand design.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Rain and Cigarettes


    It's a Garden Shed Rain, and I can smell the wet wood, or tar shingles. I'm not sure which because this garden shed is in a place far away in a year when rain was plentiful.  It's the sort of rain that comes slowly from clouds, puddles then sinks into earth where soil is often suspicious, and a Gardener can just sit there watching it all as a Web Spider does. Sometimes for days on end, until his clothes are damp, and the goo in his pocket is his last cigarette and his rent still unpaid.  


    To put half an inch of rain onto an acre of ground through a hose pipe, a person would need around thirteen and a half thousand gallons of water. An inch of rain on an acre of land gives about twenty seven thousand gallons of water.  Then in an average year a person here where I live, can hope for around one and a quarter million gallons of rain to an acre. Which is I think, about two Olympic size swimming  pools without the chlorine.  So I guess there are Job Creators with an eye on those kind of  numbers.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Triathlon



    A triathlon in the Vegetable Garden included Squash Bug Hunting, Mole Epithet  and Pepper Bed Weeding.  And how much more fed up can  a person become at the prospect of another Olympic Games.  Here the question "why?"  has absolutely no answer. The moaning and groaning from ambitious imbeciles about how long and self important a journey it has been since potty training.

      There is a phrase for it that's best not repeated amongst equals.  But given the tensions and tribulation of trying to operate a television channel switcher without reaching for a shotgun, this phrase is well worth hinting at.  I could try the Ateso, but their word for star is probably far too beautiful. I could think back to Urdu, but their word for any intimate act brings down a fatwa from the Mufti much worse than the baptized could realistically hope for. 


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Trowels



    Some well mannered Gardeners use a trowel to dabble around in a sometimes useful manner. A polite instrument, that's good enough to undo a gentler soil.  An ergonomic handle for the weak wrist. And that shine from regular use that sometimes offers a glint from the sun which grants temporary blindness to those of us who wear a hat and gloves when moving beyond shade.


      Other Gardeners prefer a less polite instrument. It has the wooden handle, that gives it an artisan flair. It has that sort of  long blade that cries out to red bandana, shirtless-ness and rampage through villages.  And it has a very sharp point that could neatly slice a carotid artery should ever the need arise, and which quite recently pierced a carefully buried hose pipe.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Christmas In July.


      The species I belong to, can quickly fall prey to paranoid delusion. We are all of us prone to grandeur, which is a word that can be defined as ‘a sense of importance.’ This simple illusion makes us mostly frightened of our world, because our world generally does not consider us in the least important. And I’d argue that this is an ultimate cause of the cohesion that can occasionally be seen amongst us.  We band together around meaning, because that’s how we deal with the impasse of fear. And I say this as one who puts words into the ether for no other reason than the sense of grandeur it gives me.

      Tragic really, and especially so when I find myself pandering to fear by using phrases such as “Knife-like mandible” or “Sock Bomb.” Astonishing what such words do for numbers. And today I intend to achieve a statistical anomaly by entering the phrases “Sarin Gas” “VX Gas,” "Mole Bean," “Two hundred Australians,” and “Higgs Imposter.”  It'll be robots, haunting the ether, which will hunt such connections down. Then someone well paid to be frightened might grade me.  "Against,"  "Homeland Security,"  "Successful," "Free At Last," "Christmas In July."  By this time tomorrow, if I'm still here, I may have a real number.  


Monday, July 9, 2012

Fruiting Bodies



      Rain is always nice, but after such dryness a little moisture brings on molds and fungus.  The sort of things that can cause Tomato fruits to explode, their leaves to turn white, then black, then shades of yellow just before they fall off.  All of which can be very traumatic for a Gardener.  His delicate little heart turns toward "who knows why," and the possibility of perhaps never growing Tomato again.


      The worst year for exploding Tomato was as far away from now as maybe 2010.  I can still see the ooze and blotch and fizziness, and feel the shock of it.  It was dry then too, the ground just as deep into the darker adjectives and such attributes as moroseness, depression, bitterness.  But that year of 2010, Tomato Vines had an uninterrupted view of compost piles, as well, they could easily see their Gardener turn their fruits into pulp.  This year they have fallen Beans and melted Squash to keep company with, the field to their South is brownish, and what happens to their fruit, I lie to them, is the prettiest of their many shadows.
 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Knife-like Manible


       Any one of David's psalms takes on the reverie of a mind turned tumultuous by high temperature, high humidity and an even higher birthrate amongst Tics. It was almost a welcome sight to see a Horsefly on the passenger seat.  But even though all windows were open, and good cross draft, he was just sitting there, plotting against me. And because I am one of those drivers who prefers to travel well below the speed limit, and failed that part of the citizenship test that requires eating and drinking while in charge of a steering wheel, I pulled off the road so that I might follow the ordinance of the Lord to smite mine enemy.

       I will say after eleven hours in high heat, eye hand coordination deteriorates to the level of complete incompetence.  I guess, with us mammals, the brain gets hot, it's synapses lounge about in bubbling fluids, a sort of mental hot tub.  Not so in the world of insects.  Heat gives them an astuteness and agility that if it were harnessed could certainly do the work I am paid to do.  I can see them now, manning the line. An occasional visit to the break room where mammals would be tethered, flesh exposed so it might be tickled or bitten.  Either way, I escaped with just a minor strain to wrist and shoulder, and I imagine he with his knife-like mandible, is feeling pretty pleased with himself.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Little Mockingbirds


      That Mockingbird who is still without tail feathers, has two children.   Last year she had her second nest in an Apple that is kept neatly trimmed, so as not to cast morning shadows across pampered Vegetables.  This year, her second nest is in a Privet that my very own Artist also keeps neatly trimmed, so that springtime exuberance does not to distract delicate Asparagus. 

       My own joy from this second brood of little Mockingbirds, stems from a suspicion I had some weeks ago when I saw their mother's consort, singing and dancing on the electric pole.  A behavior I connect to "Look at me! I am fantastic!"  There hasn't been much of that sort of a display in some years, and for a while I wondered if an absence of tail feathers had led to a wandering eye.