Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Retrospective

One perennial disruption to the routine of a Couch Potato, is this tradition at the end of the year amongst the news entertainment industry to take on a retrospective. And invariably there is some kind of top ten list which includes a cat with duck story, a cancerous child story, a pregnant woman rescued from shark story. And you can see glee in red noses, and the "Oh Dear" of a realizing nightmare that must be the lot of some unfortunate whose role it is to find something to talk about through the seven days of rampant consumption.

In a moment of anguish, brought on by the failure of the UPS to perform miracles, I found myself fully embracing the dilemma of a retrospective by giving consideration to my own year.  A first question for my own product was "how entertaining?"   I realize that it's a parameter which more often than not does not enter the work I do, at least not by design, or preordination, or focus group.  Then I asked "Entertainment" the question "what is it you do?"  The reply "I engage the endocrine system," fell rather well to my ears. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Single Axon

Any word with the idea 'neuron' contained within it, must for some minds, necessarily reflect a nucleated cell body with one or more dendrites and a single axon. These structures are 'impulse conducting cells' not found in plants. And so, for some minds "neurology of plants" is just so much nonsense, because plants don't have 'neurons.'  In response to this old farted-ness, those proposing a new paradigm for an understanding of living things have come up with the word "signaling" as a surrogate for 'impulse conducting neurons.' And I have an aversion to the word 'signaling,'  so I'll be unable to support its use.

And there are some who might suggest my aversion to the word 'signaling' results from a little bit of a sulk in me that follows a  rejection of my own alternative to both 'signaling' and 'neuron' which remains 'disseminating meaning from the slope.'  The letter itself was quite polite. It thanked me for my support, suggested I navigate to the 'donate' page, which my judges assured me was adequately secured by the most trustworthy of algorithms.  It then wished me a "Happy New Year."  All of which I thought rather quaint.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

There is a developing  argument in the other world - which is a place where I have come to think 'professional' means 'tenure is two weeks in Cancun and BMW rental' - that indeed perhaps "The Secret Life of Plants" might not have been so much geriatric mumbo-jumbo.  The  neurology of  things that live, the 1973 best selling thesis claimed, might reach beyond creatures whose children we people think cuddly.  And sure you can hook up the Aspidistra to a lie detector and watch it squirm while your Mega Mouth Juicer does it's work on your half pound of carrots. And if you are completely insane you can pipe what the puerile call classical music through the electric to your Crucifers in the belief you are offering them a calm.  My own choice in this area would be The Ramones or The Clash or Cherubino singing to a voluptuous Susanna, or an Ankole drummer getting his spear ready to dance, a  dust and heat, I yearn for.

Then, if you are like me, you can enter the world of the universal where you can collect cold Potato Rocks, call them cousins and tell them about the geometry of slopes in places that are random.  Which can be lonely, because through the years far from bonding with my clan, I have developed allergies to nut eaters and their mostly transparent commercial enterprises, that too often include the word 'angel' and the word 'spiritual' in preparation for a crash course with the devil on marketing, followed by a visit to  heaven's representative on earth, or the bank manager. Nor am I prone to fall for Goethe's Poet, "What genuine is, posterity will cherish." I'll tell that dreamer too that I don't give a rat for "words that are fitly mated."  And yes there is a disconnect in me that more often than not is resolved by a well cut double trench and that cruel and unusual punishment I have learned to call "Compost."

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Piranha Filled Waters

Always necessary to prepare the mind before entering the world of seed catalogues.  They are not something you can just jump into.  Rather they are Piranha filled waters, what Dante might have called the third circle of hell, where gluttons wallow in slush. Have to think that Calvin's approach to preparing for seed catalogues would be to write a sensible and well reasoned list.  But Calvin owned an extraordinarily mind that held within it an idea of reward after death, and most likely within that precept lies the ability to be disciplined.  Me, I become like a clown on a pogo stick when around lists, and I guess this puts me in the ninth circle of hell, where in the ice lake Judas might ask me to describe my offence.  "I didn't follow me seed catalogue list." And I might gain some warmth by watching him sneer at me.

Then there is the other side.  The dumbass obedience to history. Without Blue Lakes and Roma I begin to feel unsettled, as though something was missing, the edge of a precipice.  Which is I guess why last year I procured sufficient Blue Lake and Roma to see me through the remainder of my days, if only the weevils would leave them alone.  And it's all very well yarning on about the importance of some kind of Heritage Bean, or Corn, or Tomato so frail it succumbs to bloat at the first drop of dew.  And I'm a person who likes to see lines in his garden, so that sort of willy-nilly popping things here and there puts me in a mood to think seriously about the inadequacy of entropy as my approach to developing  a better attitude toward  the social, which of course is the reason for hell in the first place.  Yes indeed, you can't just jump into the seed catalogues.  Better to let them all just sit there on the passenger seat, stewing until February, so that prayers might be said, offerings made, chocolate eaten.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Blow Up Snake

So we got the six foot blow up snake.  It's design comes with a ninety day if not satisfied guarantee, which no longer applies because it has already once put the fear of god into me. It was on the carpet downstairs, sunning itself.  You're supposed to  peg it into the ground amongst fruiting bodies, to avoid it being taken by a breeze, but apparently if it stays put, it'll discourage pesky behavior from the closer and equally delicate neighbors.  

Between us, The Artist and I have come to agreement that we'll wait until the new season is well on it's way toward bloom, before being tempted to introduce the snake and its guarantee to the outdoors.  Late March if we are lucky.  It's the Mockingbird's reaction we are both anxious to see.  Then we'll float it on the pond for the Frogs to have fun with.  Meanwhile  the snake is tethered to a rocking chair, and staring out the window in fierce anticipation.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Entropy

I'd like to call it "managerialization."  Which isn't a word I made up, because I have seen it written in conjunction with the word  "managerialism."   Essentially, the assumption is that disparate human enterprises have more similarities than they have dissimilarities. 

Repeating Patterns are observed, documented,  improved upon and make up an arena of human thinking devoted to the business of business, what others have called the creation of surplus, or wealth.  And all I can say is thank god for the straight line of entropy and a still wind on an empty moor. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Northern Harrier

A Northern Harrier dominates the western field. He's there in a graceful way, but you understand he frightens the Mockingbird and so a Northern Harrier can never be my friend.  I believe last Springtime he lingered on into something like the middle of May. We wondered for a while whether he would nest, which he does on the ground, in the denser clumps of Thorn and Honeysuckle.

They say that amongst Hawks, the Northern Harrier is Owl-like in his hunting habits.  He drifts this way and that, low to the ground, looking and listening, flipping sideways at the unsuspecting. In my world at least, he's welcome to the odd Cardinal, he's permitted all the Vole he can eat, but not Meadow Larks or Mockingbird.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Neurotic Circling

Always get that sense of relief when I can put in my mind an idea that daytime is lengthening.  Whether this sense of relief is a self imposed neurosis, a badgering of mind against the indignity of having to wear more socks in order to deal with cold, a longing to eat Banana straight off the Banana tree, or whether this sense of relief is an attunement to some kind of magnet that pulls and pushes at me, a lay line deep in the earths crust, a spiritual connection to a great beyond, I have no clue because I try hard to refrain from indulging a megalomaniacal  impulse.

 I do know that the idea of circles really pisses me off.  The looking up in wonder, the chanting, the pleading.  All of it no more than a creepiness, that to my mind is primarily designed to inculcate a prejudice that persuades the disparate to adhere to a manipulating oneness.  This oneness is then raised into the air as a true thing, around which to submit. Without which, the argument goes, there'd be chaos. I of course will be going to hell, where, when I am not wailing, I can happily gnash what remains of my teeth.  Nonetheless I heard a Wren pretending this warm morning was springtime, and she is so much wiser than I.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Solstice

12:11 is a few moments away, and some of us are grateful.  My own thought is to match wits with the idea of infinity and understand it as nothing much more than a word.  Put it in the perspective of other words.  Think of it as a meaning, devised by a device called my brain.  Try to understand this device as a limited thing that spins to the mood of what I will call a chemical factory.  Backward in time I will go to my friends the blue green algae, because they too spin to mood, collapse sometimes into spores, sleep on endlessly until mood reawakens them to joy.

 And yeah! I am released from the strictures of Calvin's Commentaries, where joy is an apparent perfection for the thing that is me when all mood is gone, there is no spin.  And here, I must report to the great unknown that I met a man who gave up physics to find better purpose in imagination.  Which is a somewhere out there, far beyond reality, unrestrained by words or mathematics, it lies just this side of insanity. And sometimes that impossible place is magnificent to ponder, but cruel to travel through as I can attest. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Calvin's Version

I have spent much more time than is healthy reading Calvin's Commentaries. I had them all downloaded from the religious nut libraries that dot the internet. Bedtime reading during travel I had concluded. A slow relax through long sentences and precise words, one can expect from a Frenchman born in 1509 and translated by  "The Calvin Translation Society." But I just can't get away from the idea that Translation should be the work of one person.

 So I find myself picturing a society at the work of  such sentences as "Woe upon Nebo! for it is laid waste."  And I ask myself,  is that what Calvin in his version of the scripture actually meant when he sat down with his quill to think?  But, as translated, Calvin's Version Jeremiah 26: "Make him drunk, for against Jehovah hath he magnified him-self; And roll himself shall Moab in his own vomit; And he also shall be a derision." Can only be the work of a single mind.  Incidentally,  "Nebo," I am told, is a Babylonian word for God, which sadly doesn't quite cut it as an expletive.  But "May you roll in your own vomit," certainly does it for me.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Various Offenses

One thing is for certain, today does not feel like Saturday. It feels more like one of those endless Sunday afternoons, when as a schoolboy, enduring what in those days was considered an education, we were required to wander around aimlessly in the fresh air for at least two hours on a Sunday afternoon, before being permitted to re-enter the house.  Nor did it matter what the weather thought it was doing.  And it was those Sunday winter afternoons that developed in me an appetite for beer, cigarette smoke, bar rooms and rambling conversations.  All of which were activities considered ill-omens by the teaching staff.

  One of those Sundays, a fellow scholar reported me to the authority. I forget which Sunday afternoon activity he accused me of.  And here you should understand the institution I belonged to, was one which regarded walking with hands in pockets, or unbuttoned jacket while not in the sixth form, a really quite serious offense, which if repeated often enough, could result in the whip, as I had discovered.  So you might imagine my trepidation while awaiting the verdict.  But I wasn't whipped or damaged in any way shape or form.  As a punishment I was asked to go to bed a quarter of an hour early for three days, because when I was at school the act of reporting misconduct was called "being a sniveling little shit" by the teaching staff.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Rock Bottom Creek

In the duopoly where I live, the responsibility for operating the ancient heavy machinery belongs to The Artist.  My own role is that of tinkerer, moral support, water carrying and offering unnecessary opinions. Today, for reasons I am uncertain of, roles were reversed.  And I should explain that where I live there are some cruel slopes, sharp turns, and entirely possible for a day dreaming heavy machinery operator to suddenly find themselves thousands of yards away in a rock bottom creek, where cries for help will never, ever be heard.

 Proud of my burden, some very fine looking dark soil for the compost pile that I'd gleaned from an attempt to level the road in anticipation of either five inches of rain, several feet of snow and sleet, or inches of ice, I lost concentration and attempted  a gear change while going up a hill.   The machine, which The Artist calls her Little Red Hen, became obviously distressed and decided to suddenly start going backwards, at very high speed. And it is actually true that just before a person cries for help they are subject to visions, some of which are not in the least soothing.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Esau

Calvin tells me that the prophet Obadiah, decided that  the entail of Esau who were living quite comfortable lives of plunder and pillage in the land between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, were "hated by God."  They were an awful people, Obadiah prophesized, and would soon be visited by the sort of hardships and torments the chosen clans of Jacob's Israel  were experiencing.  Calvin calls the entail of Esau, The  Idumeans.  Others have called them The Edomites.

 Edom in Assyrian  means red, I've been told. And I have to suspect that Esau, described as a "ruddy and  hairy man, who was born red all over," might not have suffered from my own red blotchy condition, but he might have actually had red hair.  Which for some reason or other changes my view of Esau, who for a long time has been in my mind, as a sort of last vestige of hunter gatherer, well able to look out for himself, unallied to the strictures of the village, the city, office work and on into the nightmare of traffic jams and synchronized swimming. An heroic figure, marrying Hittites, giving his dad venison when things got tight, doing  battle with agriculture.  And Esau might also have been a twin, a little snippet of information, that I have always tried very hard to dismiss. Nor will I be tempted  to piss off whatever the equivalent might be to Robert Allan Zimmerman's French Croatian community.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Big Plastic Bag as Travelling Companion

 I have on occasion attempted to diligently pack assorted suitcases a good  two and half hours prior to travel.  I have tried to  argue that were I to begin a journey with a structure in place, then at least at some future time I would be able to find things, like the toothbrush, hairbrush, the odious shaving things, foot powder and matching socks. But I realize the inspiration behind this diligence has more to do with the laws of entropy, than it has to do with anything like foresight on my part, because at the end of my trip the entire content of assorted suitcases, is all just dumped together in a big plastic leaf bag, which can easily be slung over the shoulder. And it's all very well considering structure as the solution, and it's possible that there are people in this world, who when they pack suitcases, are able to remember what went where, without desperate rummaging about followed by the conviction that "I must have forgotten to bring it."

 A system, I guess it would be called, and there could be a suitcase that has labeled, or color coded, or voice activated compartments dictating suitcase function. "Suitcase as fascist," I'll call it.  However,  laws of entropy declare that the very nature of time, is a passing from a high entropy to a low entropy state, a condition which at my age one becomes increasingly aware of.  But which in physics is why in the distant future the universe will be empty of stars to warm it and time will have completely stopped. Oddly enough I don't find this remotely depressing, because it gives me my reason to altogether eschew the folly of suitcase packing, and start out from the beginning with a low entropy structure slung over the shoulder. Inevitably there will be those in the hotel lobby, or elsewhere, who might disdain the implications of big black plastic leaf bag as travelling companion.   "Everything's going to cool down," I'll quote the beatniks, and I'll reserve a special "BFD" for those pompous ass suitcases that are trotted around on wheels by the mobile phone addicted in shiny shoes.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Calvin's View

If ever I make it to the pearly gate, I'll have stern words for The Good Angel.  I'll tell him that when he handed me my soul, he should have included a more comprehensible instruction manual.

 The current manual drives me to distraction, and I am forced sometimes to reach for the commentaries. All of which have clearly been written by a loose association of Bad Angels, some of them guitar playing, and really far too cheerful, except for Calvin who is so incredibly dour he must be on the right track.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Twenty One Squares

Twenty one squares upon a calendar until daylight begins to lengthen. 17:11 Universal Time Coordinated.  Somewhere around noon, where I live. Which is considerate of the Universe after the 2012 pitch dark and flashlights.

My own hope for 2013 is  a re-conceptualizing  the globe that might permit, if only briefly, to think of myself as living under the equator.  So in twenty one days time I'll be in doors, turning all maps upside down.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Rambling

This morning's Osprey sighting, essentially told me that I've been majorly rambling recently.  Fourteen thoughts in a couple of sentences does not suggest a character even remotely concerned to explain itself  in a manner conducive to sharing idea.  Rather it suggests a character lazily entertaining himself by falling off a cliff.

I recall an account of a real life Robinson Crusoe, who when rescued from his four year stay upon his island had pretty much lost the power of communication, but was very good at catching goats.  This same real life castaway, had actually asked to be left on the island, because he reckoned the ship he was aboard was so unseaworthy it was certain to sink.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Marlowe's Faust

Christopher Marlowe's version of the Faustus legend has the Good Angel telling Faust to put away his books and his learning, pull himself together, get with the program, and find refuge from the storms of his arrogant imagination by reading scripture. The Bad Angel tells Faust to take no notice of the Good Angel's wheedling, to go forward, become lord and commander of the elements, take what he wants. The two angels describe a neat black and white within a story that certainly predates the Elizabethans, and  agriculture and is very much all around us today.

When Marlowe was 29, he was stabbed to death by a speculator called Ingram Frizer.  A drunken brawl following political disagreement, some have suggested.  Self defense on the part of Frizer, others have argued.  Still others think it might have been a Catholic/Protestant thing.  But no doubt, as centuries pass, the Sin of Simon the Magus continues to define Faust's and our own alternatives.  And in a holiday season it still might be worth  trying to define "magus" in terms of the word "pathfinder,"  rather than "witch," or "devil" or the Hellenist "Zoroaster."  And I'm only able to surrender to such a thought, because I can smell the "Bacobursage" we're having for supper tonight.  It's kind of like a "Turducken"  without beaks, and both The Artist and I reckon it'll make a neat sandwich on Black Friday.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Marmite, Balaclava and Wooly Socks

The snow last night was gone by this morning.  But, we did get our chance to briefly gaze upon its falling under electric light.  As well, there is a chance of more snow tonight. Which maybe is a good in our small world, because since around the middle of August, The Artist has spent more than a couple of hundred hours preparing shapes, on the off chance it might snow.  Tufted Cedars, patterns in grass, the drifting path, leaf pile number two, and my own favorite, leaf pile number one. There's The Dirndl and a host of others, many in the further reaches where I'm reluctant to venture through the course of any winter season, owing to an intense dislike of unnecessary exercise,  getting cold and wet, or that fate worse than a Tic bite, "becoming rosy cheeked."

Granted winter is a hellishness, and you can make up any feeble excuse you want to justify it. My own excuse has basically been reduced to a conviction that marmite tastes better when day time temperature does not exceed 33 degrees Fahrenheit.  Classic pomposity on my part I know, but I'll go further into this mire and add that shapes hold a peculiar interest.  To explain it, I could say, "there is the obvious of voluptuousness."  A combination of shape that can defy any ability to control impulse, the lateral habenula completely bypassed, a circumstance that can reduce mental activity to wailing and howling, and is sometimes followed by an intense depression that includes odd behavior and rambling prose.  And you can call it a poor reaction from the endocrine system if you wish to.  But me, I am looking forward to snow on The Artist's hard work, which means I'll be spending today hunting down balaclava and wooly socks.  "It's all rather exciting," which is how Nietzsche described the Franco Prussian War.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Threat to Humanity

It's liberating to know that my own lateral habenula is very well supplied by emotion from the endocrine system.  Our little decisions in the primitive cortex, swimming in a sea made beautiful by constant flux, or slope if you prefer, or what the idiot functionalists interpret as imbalance, but which could be some kind of boson.  And they are fun to watch, these little decisions being made, but no fun to be a part of, unless you are twenty thousand years old, or nearly dead, or sometimes like me, you are stricken by the delusion that emotions know what they are doing.  And here, I'll not even try to pretend that I'm a fan of the current definitions of  "holiday season,"

 The odder thing still, is that in pursuit of gain the impulse to make contentment a commodity, and then compete for it, has resulted in reducing "holiday season" to a sort of retarded gravy color. In the geometry of me, this retarded gravy color is a tiny dot, upon which the hope of the world appears to be perched.  It's called twenty four hour shopping.  Fortunately, despite rumor to the contrary, we are none of us that special, or jolly.   Which will be my new brand words as I move the current definition of  "holiday season" firmly into the category of  "threat to humanity."  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Marmet and White Sulpher Springs

For some time now, I have lived with the idea that through time and space, the Maccorkle  Avenue exit, off the big road near the Veterans Administration Out Patient Clinic, just after you cross the Kanawha river heading East, was the half way point in distance and time.  In so many ways  I  was wrong.  The half way point in gasoline miles traveled is the exit off the big road that would take you to Marmet, a river side settlement, where if you are lucky, you can sometimes see coal laden barges and yearn to just sit there and watch them move, maybe catch a ride to the always warm weather, chase down the Waxwings, give them hell for stealing Juniper berries.

But when I'm on the big road heading West across the Big Sandy River Bridge, where the belching from a very fine looking refinery produces something which when it wants to, can smell like a bad egg, or foot rot, or sometimes a dead fish, I kind of get the sense of fresh air that means I'm at home. And I know this because there is a giant blue sign  on the west side of  the Big Sandy River bridge put there by our unbridled Governor, welcoming me. But if indeed, the Big Sandy River bridge was journey's end, the half way point for me would be where the big road passes beside some overgrazed fields, near White Sulpher Springs, Greenbrier and a toodle-smith of jack ass smart cars.  So it just has to be true that all roads are half way to somewhere. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Gone a While

As I will be gone from these pages for a moment of time, I'll ask myself what has space and geometry to do with tool making and consumerism.

I am beginning to believe the answer to that question is  obvious. But the answer to "Is it inevitable?" for vases like you and I, might not be so obvious.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Geometry And Space

I'd prefer to think of geometry as being about how to describe space.  And you can read some interesting things about space. For example  "The vase is a contained space."  Yet, tell a potter they are engaged in geometry and you'll probably never reach the end of the conversation, because potters do not think of themselves as being engaged in geometry. "The contained space" is nothing to do with geometry, instead they might suggest, space is a function of their expression  of "Vase."

 The idea of the universe as being described by geometry works for me. Oh certainly, you have your Euclid's, you have your spatial relationships, you have your angles and your circumferences all of them prettified by the language of arithmetic and fearfully useful. You have the endlessness of pi, incidentally an irrational number.  You have the rules, your well written regulations and your politics that contain space.  Which could make the "Vase" a mathematics, rather than a geometry, because geometry is the act of imagination that precedes the language of math.  So it's well worth thinking of geometry as being about how to describe space before knocking on the dull door of theory and practice.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Number

It might be time to enter the words "Tidy" and "Vacuum Cleaner" into the conversation between myself and the room where I sleep.  All very well sitting here marveling at the natural condition, but what real use is a card reminding me that I had a dentist's appointment on February 10th 2011, at ten thirty in the morning.  However if I turn the card over, I see that I have written the home telephone number on the back.  And had this card been in its proper place a couple of days ago, it might have saved me a great deal of awkward digging around while under scrutiny. 

From years of bitter experience I have learned to keep a record of the home telephone number in the wallet.  This way, when the number is requested of me, I casually open my wallet, and there it is clearly readable. Last time I was asked for my home telephone number, I casually reached for the wallet, I could find my postal zip code, my street number, my insurance information,  my email password,  but no sign of the home telephone number.  And it's an odd thing, but when it comes to the home telephone number, a desperate hunting around in the wallet, followed by "I don't remember it," doesn't cut the mustard. Nor does it produce any sort of constructive or helpful reaction from the home telephone number requesting party. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Limbic Noise

The Artist cheerfully greeted me this morning with, "Today is eleven, twelve, thirteen."  I was staring out the window at the "wintery mix."  A horrible sight upon which I blame the context of The Artist's greeting eluding me. 

As a rule, when floundered by meaning, the reaction is to make some sort of noise. In the early morning, I can think of this noise as a limbic reaction.  And under no circumstances does the limbic system like to appear uncomprehending. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Remarque, Sassoon, Owen and Gibson.

At 11 o'clock on November 11th, 1918,  the Great War came to a conclusion by armistice, a rather glamorous word for truce.  In Remarque's novel, the hero was killed on a quiet day on the western front in October 1918.  Remarkque, himself died in 1970.  And too, on a day like this, worth remembering Sassoon's "How to Die." And, on a day like this worth remembering Owen, "It's sweet and right to die for your country." A lie, Owen claimed soon before he was killed in 1918.  Then worth remembering Gibson's poem, "Back." Or how it feels to get home.  And there are prayers.

Nearly ten million soldiers were killed in action during the course of the conflict, of these nearly ten million soldiers, 2,738 were killed in action on the day of November 11th 1918. One of them was an American soldier, killed sixty seconds before the Armistice came into force. Some will tell you, he'd been demoted from the rank of sergeant and with one last chance to prove himself, he chose to charge an enemy machine gun.  Others will point to his posthumously awarded Distinguished Service Cross, and the big plaque which in 2011 was erected to contribute to his memory.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lady Bird Dream State

The choice is not an easy one. It's between a little gathering of Lady Birds, wisely sleeping on the ceiling in the corner of my room. Or, maintaining the shine on the shovel blade.  One of the Lady Birds is clearly an insomniac, he or she will occasionally wander around, but always returns to the pod, and when he or she does return to the pod, there is probably Lady Bird muttering, possibly a cruel remark and I say this because I have observed nudging and other signs of general disapproval by the group for any of their number unable to settle into a sensible energy conserving dream-state.  Something I yearn to experience for myself, but because I belong to a genetic predisposition primarily remarkable for its conviction that tool making is the solution to all things, this is not something very likely to happen this side of my grave.

For my part, I'm concerned for the insomniac Lady Bird, because Lady Bird restlessness invariably means clattering and banging wing carapaces against light bulbs. Fortunately my main light is some sort of soda agitated by the electric jolt passed through it, which hums a little but doesn't cause flying insects to hallucinate portals into other world spaces where our planet has no wobble and is quite without tilt.  It's the bedside light bulb that causes this problem in flying insects, and so long as the shovel blade has a shine, the bedside light remains lit for no more time than it takes to retrieve the pillow, arrange my own blankets and say goodnight to the window ledge Leaping Spider. Who I think is responsible for the occasional Lady Bird wing casing on the table at which I spend far to much time. And, as I'm certain you appreciate, maintaining the shine on the shovel blade has its own dangers to back, shin, knee, elegant wrists, nasal passages and my own wing - or shoulder blade as the medical profession will insist upon calling it.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Waving

When I first moved here, my own constitution required me to "wave" at fellow road users within a five mile radius of where I live.  Over time, waving has become an involuntary reaction to all approaching vehicles, and I have to say that over time this "radius of wave" has significantly increased, so as to include the more rural areas, even should they happen to be several states away.  Some years ago my waving within the five mile radius caused confusion, I was a stranger to the area, the vehicle I drove unrecognized. In those days the assumption on the part of my fellow road users to my random acts of waving was I guessed something like "Someone who knows me has a new vehicle, and I should have waved back, but I didn't, I hope whoever it was doesn't think I'm an a-hole."  Now days, if a complete stranger within a five mile radius of where I live fails to wave back, I know they are either rude or not "from round here."

My own constitution also permitted me to persuade The Artist that she too should "wave" at complete strangers within a five mile radius of where we live. But here there is a boy girl thing. Girls I am told should not wave at strange boys, no matter their age, unless they have first been properly introduced.  It threatens the boys, apparently, sets poor standards and encourages them to behave inappropriately.  And it's little things like this that put a perspective on the bigger things like the twentieth amendment to the United States constitution that gave women suffrage just 93 years ago. A most painful sounding word, "suffrage," that in Old French was a kind of prayer petitioning God to do something,  from a Latin word that meant "to express support."  The word "wave," on the other hand, is all about movement and shapes. So, these past years, what I might have been doing to my fellow road users, I have no clue. And most likely I should make some effort to rein in my waving while driving, because it might just be a little nutty

Friday, November 8, 2013

Presentists

The more audacious inventors of words are the category engaged in sociological study for profit.  Whole sentences can emerge from their thinking, not one word of which has an easily discerned definition. These words are like breeze cowering the candle flame, before ever they become revelation. And to get a grasp of these words one has to enter the culture of worry that so thoroughly informs any mental framework prone to the analysis of others.  An effort that may or may not be worthwhile, unless you already are bountifully judgmental and unlike Faust, you are also pure in mind, body and spirit.  A circumstance that I suspect impossible outside of an understanding of The Trinity that places the ultimate responsibility elsewhere. Gives it a cooing name, bows down to it and sacrifices the pretty to its unattainable nature.


Take something like "Presentism,"  which certainly gives the spell check an apoplectic moment, but which as far as I can tell means "being here now within a particular context."  In another way, "Presentism" is not the study of the slothful sitting on the couch staring at the ceiling, rather it is the study of the slothful sitting on the couch galvanized by mental activities that are "immediate" and "outwardly" induced.  More specifically, mental activities that react primarily to "newness."  For some thinkers, "Presentists" are a bunch of dullards seeking solace by attaching themselves to internet devices and bouncing around on pogo-sticks into more and more isolated groups, a decentralized structure certain to cause chaos.  For other thinkers, "Presentists" are the wave of the future, a conjoining of man and machine into wiser and wiser-ness.  And here it's not easy for me to chose sides because I am one of those who has finally decided that after 241 episodes, NCIS has bitten the shark.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Blue Jay

Damn right we're going to chase Blue Jays.  They have nuts to bury, Raptors to tease and a host of migratory activities very few of which seem to make any sense, and all of which should keep them well away from the Alatus Berries.  And Blue Jays are unyielding when confronted.  At this time of the year particularly, their instinct is to squawk back in somewhat accusing manner. I find this frustrating and so does the House Mockingbird, as we both ponder the status quo of our fat, stay at home, winter larders.

  I don't recall his name at the moment, but he was a printer somewhere in Pennsylvania, drank water from the River Thames at a period in history when everyone else in London took their liquids from beer because the River Thames was a sewer, and he was also the first Post Master General of his new country.  I begin to believe that before settling upon the diligent Turkey as his contribution to the choice for National Bird, he might first have considered the Blue Jay.  A choice I too would have considered had I been there with him at the Philadelphia Convention listening to delegates from Southern States harp on about the central role of the institution of slavery to their own fat winter larders.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings paused on their way south.  About thirty of them. They fed happily upon Juniper berry.  Gave some consideration to Privet and Rose Hips, and were finally chased into a Maple by the House Mockingbird, who is now obsessed by a Red Tail who has taken to hunting Rabbit.

 Wax Wings are soft to look at. They have a gentleness one associates with those in my own species who are wholly out of touch. A superior air, I could call it.  In the Maple they were quite noiseless, the very opposite of Starlings, but a person could see the conversations between them. Some conversations sufficiently vehement to require wing gestures.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ecumenic

"Mother Nature," is something I cannot say aloud without beginning to feel like some sort of mental patient reading to the kindergarten.  If I consider this dislike of the expression, I find it's because I'm along side those who might suggest that "Mother Nature" is an ill defined category.  The something out there with a mind of its own.  An enemy interrupting the desire to build beach houses.  An interruption to the flow of commerce. "The damn ship was toppled by typhoon. Sunk to the bottom of the sea with all my gold inside it." As well as the "oh how wonderful" associations often attached to this benighted expression.


It's also the case, unfortunately, that I am not perfect.  My own war with this category, will too regularly  include vehement opposition to seasons.  Precipitating a general dislike of members of my own species who claim to like winter, snow, the hell of falling leaves.  Frost on fields.  And here I am very happy to argue that freeze achieves nothing for soil that we organisms by ourselves cannot achieve.  Which is a nonsensical position to take, worthy only of a political extremist, of whom we have had enough already, and which requires from me a redefining of "Mother Nature."  Perhaps even an altogether different combination of words, and I think this because saying aloud the word "Ecology" also makes me feel like some sort of mental patient reading to the kindergarten. Most definitely I have a few issues and might soon be carrying banners..  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Structure

The "category" aligns thought. Instead of ping-pong in all directions, a category is a nice neat cage with a name  So for example something like "Eco-Poetry" can then become a structure, a DNA under a microscope. For months the professor  stares at the results and then announces "Yes! this is Eco-Poetry."  And here the  reply of "So what!" to such announcement is deemed "unconstructive."

So how does one relate Carrots and Potato , Stalagmites and Pebbles to rivers and streams and the impression of mountains, forests and hills. I'd argue for structures that are center-less. Unnerving places, where the up and down lack conviction. Worrisome it is. Unbalanced to the point where the mind reels to unanswered questions. "Steady, Boys! Steady," was a late eighteenth century solution.  "Hearts of Oak" the song is called. It has the "Us Against Them" words, the stirring music, and it rhymes. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Highway Code

I awoke a good four hours before the sun agreed to present itself. I felt remarkably vibrant, active and alive. Then while bouncing around in the pitch black, I heard a Barred Owl attempt an impression of a cudgeled Deer. A remorseless and horrible sound until he laughs.

Sadly, eight hours later, the source of this morning's heightened sense of awareness has not yet presented itself.  And I can only imagine it belongs to a contrariness so often apparent in living things.  In the highway code, a State Trooper might call it "failure to yield." 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pursuit of Happiness

As a member of a species amongst whom tool making figures high on the list of apparent achievement, I have to think of Winter Solstice as falling into the category of tool making.  Granted I do not make Winter Solstice.  It preexists me as a creation of mind, a true thing within the context of an understanding of true things.  Winter Solstice is something I believe. And it has value to me, as a means to put calendar into the year. On December the twenty third, daytime in the northern hemisphere will be just that little bit longer than daytime on December twentieth. A thought I find "happy making."  Of course, the unfortunate in somewhere like Canberra, might look upon that same day of December twenty third as "sad making" because for them, daytime will be just that little bit shorter. And as a member of a species amongst whom tool making figures high on the list of apparent achievement, I have to think of  this weekend's "messing with the hour" here in the USA as yet one more conceptual impediment to an understanding of Winter Solstice as a tool. 

 Much, much better to redesign the mechanics of time keeping devices so that no matter the latitude, daytime and nighttime are always represented as equal.  As the sun fades at six o'clock, I'd go to sleep, as the sun rises at six o'clock I too would rise. A more perfect and simple  union I cannot conceive of.  So far our species has attempted to achieve something like this by the fascistic imposition of daylight upon us through such thoroughly inadequate diversions as The Whale Oil Lamp, The Candle, The Electric Grid, and the list goes on to include a multitude of follies not least of which is such television  programming as "Dancing with the Stars."  And here, if like me, you are wholly confused by the meaning of the word "Stars" in the context of this television program, some "happy making" can be gained from understanding that the "Stars" are the least coordinated and most flat-footed of the dancing pair. And if you are very fortunate these qualities in "Star" are compounded by what I guess might be called "heaviness."  In the end, I suppose, and despite promises to the opposite, I would do better to dwell upon the possibilities of a medical break through that would provide for the social acceptance of Hibernation rather than Alcohol as the final solution to the Holiday season.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Beak Envy

I can understand why it would be very useful sometimes to have a beak.  Myself, I would go for something like the beak a Pileated Woodpecker is born to. On an off moment I would then be able to relieve frustration by reducing bits of wood to shards, without ever risking damage to my hands.

I could also use such a beak to decimate the population of the wood boring Bumble Bee that are beginning to reduce garden fence posts to structures a sea sponge might be proud of.  Holes and passages, corridors and conference chambers, excavated to such a point that I am well on the way to believing that the garden has become a Mecca for Bumble Borer culture.  And to think I once thought chasing Bumble Borers with tennis rackets bad form.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Liverish

The howl outside puts a perspective upon 'tool making.'  I am informed by the National Weather Service, a person who this morning called himself 13, but who last night called himself JS, that sometime this afternoon "loose outdoor items such as yard decorations may be thrown around by the wind."  And that "trees might also be blown over."

Inevitably motorists are advised to be wary of high sided vehicles. And naturally enough "Trick or Treating" has been postponed by the city elders. No one wants a dressed up tot to be sucked into the vortex unless WK something or other is present to record the event. My own choice of outfit would have been beaked cap, bow tie, night shirt, sandals with socks. Of course last night The Artist and I ate all the treats, which is why I at least am belching like a Hippo this morning.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Conjoining

I'd like to find a word that yokes together what I'll  begin by thinking of  as "consumerism" and what I'll begin by thinking of as "tool making."  And I plan on achieving some sense of this conjoined meaning over the next several months, something I at least am excited about. As for "consumerism," I decided to confirm my own opinion by going to the copy of Chambers Dictionary, where, in the 1972 edition, the old fashioned understanding of "consume" still lingers.  "To destroy by wasting, to use up, to devour...." And on the definition goes into the direness, where it conjures images of a raging hell and people running around with shopping carts before a snow storm on Christmas Eve doing battle over a plastic wrapped Bunny Fro-Fro while clutching bottles of milk. Then, after Chambers waxes upon the word "consummate," which is a lovely way of saying "to perfect or finish," Chambers' authors go on to the word "consumption," without once mentioning the word I was looking for.  And  I wondered perhaps whether in the England of 1972, even  Chambers was too prudish to mention the word "consumerism."

So you can imagine how thoroughly depressed I became when I realized that to find some reference to "consumerism" outside of my own imagination, I'd have to go all the way to The Artist's regions within our shared territory and heave down her 1961 Webster's Unabridged.  Which has a weight feel of something like four tons, and has very, very small print.  In the old days of course we could all see much better and we were all much more competent around heavy weights. Over time, our eyes have grown idle from clicking buttons to enlarge the reading experience. We have learned to avoid the index, we've lost our attachment to alphabetical order. We rely upon hints and search routines within the plethora of technical devices that dominate our sense of well being, without ever noticing this leash placed upon our thinking. And too, now that the shovel is sleeping, Webster's Unabridged was I decided good exercise.  A thought process and activity that engaged a good hour of my day. But quiet clearly in 1961 the Americans were also too prudish for the word "consumerism." And I guess all this unnecessary work on my part was a reaction to news that one of  the Senators, Kentucky foolishly sent to Washington DC, has been accused of plagiarizing  from Wikipedia, where along with an Ayn Rand in Hollywood solipsism called something like "Me, Me, Me,  Get Me The Hell Off The Planet I Want To Be An Astronaut " you can also find a meaning of consumerism that suggests it is:   "The theory that a progressively greater consumption of goods is economically beneficial."  But not my role to edit the whims of others.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lady Bird Roosting

Recent frost brought the Lady Birds home. There's a sky full of little travelling dots.  They gather around windows in a most determined manner. Each one of them looking for a keyboard to roost in.

I have several keyboards dotted around in the room where I sleep, and so long as Lady Birds behave themselves, don't fly around flapping against the light bulb, they are very welcome to spend their winter with me.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Scorpion Handling

I guess when the Scorpion stings himself it hurts. It's a sort of charmless moment to watch. Has a gracelessness to it, a miserliness that smells of uncertainty.  However that burden of owning a sting, and not knowing quite how to use it can produce relief in an observer, who might have wandered warily into a desert, his boots laced.

In a recent edition of the Arachnoculture E-zine there is an interesting article on Scorpion Husbandry. Their correspondent  recommends that handling of scorpions should not be attempted when tired, intoxicated, emotionally unstable or otherwise distracted. As well in their definition of "handling" they mean long handled forceps, heavy gloves and glass jars.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Utterances

Prior to quite recently, before stenographers in The Congress were removed from the halls of power for the error of  contributing to discourse, debate concerning the nature of Humankind was relatively acceptable.

 My own view is that we are a result of living things that are able to change over time.  It's a godless view, until a person attempts a definition of godlessness.  Then of course it all starts to make a great deal of sense.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Idiots

Chairman Mao was big on the idea of revolution as an easy substitute for rational thinking.  His thought was that every now and then a social structure needed to be given a jolly good shake up, to sieve out corruption and imbalance, renew purpose, return to the cure for original sin by worshipping Mao.  It was a lesson he took from the Long March, during which time he saw what he considered the best of people, driven by an ideal to sacrifice everything in pursuit of an imagined and apparently obvious perfection.

The Cultural Revolution, was two things for Mao. The first was an attempt to cleanse the people of impurities, the second an opportunity for Mao to regain control of the party, which had slipped from his grasp during the Great Leap Forward.  Revolution is an upside downing, or a rearrangement of power structures. When it is driven by a combination of personal ambition within the context of an idealism, the likes of you and I should remember Mao, his Red Guards and his Cultural Revolution. It was ten difficult years for the Chinese People, while their power hungry squabbled for no good reason. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Doing Nothing At All

I think it was Sigmund Freud who thought in terms of compensatory activities.  A person, he claimed, would do things as a "consequence of." Not necessarily because he or she wanted to. Which sometimes suggests that a pure mind and body would achieve harmony by remaining perfectly still. What in the wider society we call, "doing nothing at all."

 My own flaws are so huge, that I sometimes think my entire existence is a compensatory activity. And oddly enough, even though it is probably not healthy, I draw great comfort from the idea.  So as a reward I am going to spend the rest of the day "doing nothing at all."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ducks

There is a sort of mood out there. Nor is it a comfortable mood.  It is a sense of being manipulated, taken for granted.  Frustrating. A pissed-offed-ness.  Another way of describing it would be to say, "we are being pecked to death by Ducks."

And interesting enough the Ducks that are doing the pecking are quite convinced they will never be roasted on spits, their bones laid politely on the compost pile. And I guess the other button hole to engage is, "Are we a democracy or some sort of awful television show."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blue Jays

I am wholly confused by the attitude of Blue Jays.  I suspect that the King of Blue Jays has fallen pray to an ennui that has interrupted his decision making process. He's probably old like me, and can hardly remember what happened last fall. But old or not, like me, he knows that last Fall, Blue Jays travelled either Westward or Eastward, and maybe sometimes a little Northward, or perhaps a little Southward.

He can also remember that whatever direction movement might have taken, it was an orderly movement. A streaming of Blue Jay across the sky.  A vapor trail of Blue Jay, if you prefer.  And too he can probably remember that during the course of streaming across the sky the Blue Jays called to each other in a somewhat wistful manner, while their more sedentary nut gathering comrades hopped around the cut grass.  Not so this year.  There is a great deal of hanging around in trees, and to my ear, the call is disgruntled.

Monday, October 14, 2013

SOPs

When I think about it I am surrounded by SOPs. A great many of them unwritten yet imposed upon me by a desire for peace and quiet.  The equity in harmony.  Then when I am alone SOPs begin to drift badly.   "I'll just mash a potato, throw in some frozen chard and fry an egg."  "Not much point in shaving." "I'll go to the mail tomorrow." "Maybe the grass will need mowing in December."

I guess in the sunshine and warmth a Woolly Bear, can also be  lead astray.  His Standard Operating Procedure at this time in October should be to gallop around in a determined manner so that the likes of you and I might contemplate the quality of the coming winter. But I have seen a comrade. He was just lazing there on the walk, smiling at me. And compared to other Woolly Bears, who this year are mostly dark,  he was completely orange.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The 'V' Word

Someone has been gnawing on the Beauregard's.  Just a little patch, near where the Chard have done so well this year.  The possibility of  a Vegetarian Mole, crossed the mind, so I looked for tunnel. Probably about twenty minutes of painstaking excavation with trowel and pointy stick. But no positive sign of an actual tunnel. So I am thinking the 'V' word.

Interesting too, the stricken Beauregard's had dug themselves deep into some very unsavory looking earth.  I'd call it clay, and feel rather ashamed of myself for having missed it when I dug over the bed in the late winter. But back then I was gainfully employed in a Fulfillment Center, and I had  probably been made addled by the stress of fulfilling.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Milky Way

Wooly Bear season. And such a shame Onions don't harvest at the end of September, when the air begins to dry, the nights cooler, and dangerous blues in sky. All very well for the Peruvian Daffodils which can dry nicely upon their drying racks without falling pray to mank and must and rot and other summer blight.

The cooler nights are perfectly manageable. A walk about with the Milky Way up there, our Galaxy of spirals, and the host of stars. Have to feel a little sorry for Crickets and Frogs. And you can see Fireflies in the grass, no  longer even trying to fly. But I have made promises and will not harp on about the coming winter cold and ice and freezing and socks.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Politicos

I think it was a British Prime Minister who once said, "When the United States has tried everything else it will do the right thing."

And I think it was a British politician who once said, "Damn your principles, sir! Stick to your party."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Harmony in the Mockingbird Community

There is an unexpected harmony in the Empire of Mockingbirds.  The occasional border dispute, the odd chase. And some excellent singing from the Cedar Mockingbird. It's a series of songs, much influence by Crow and by Yellow Chat and by Blue Jay, and I thought I heard a ringtone.

Yet, I have to wonder at this harmony.  I have to ask whether it might not be too peaceful out there.  But I decided that maybe, given the current state of the other political class, Mockingbirds have seen themselves in the mirror, and are more likely feeling ashamed of themselves.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Structure In Relationships.

Through the course of being present in the world, I  have been gainfully employed on a number of occasions.  I have for example stood upon a street corner and waited for an employer to point "You" at me through the window of his vehicle. A judgment on his part that of those gathered in the morning sun, I would suit his purpose.

But best not to let the prospect of a day's pay put too great a  scamper into your movements.  The rule book on earth suggests an amiable saunter, a smile and a shrug.  The ride to a day's pay is not winged chariot, the trumpet of angels at the gate to paradise.  Which I sometimes think is the error made by Christian thinkers. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Travelling with curled finger

So I mislaid the glasses in all the excitement. And I remembered how if a person curled a finger so as to create a pinhole, it could improve vision in at least one eye.  Not something possible to do while actually driving, so judging my speed of travel, time and progress was not easy. They are so picky about speed limits in the purple state of Virginia.

Then after about what I thought might have been Steeles Tavern, I reckoned it time to  glare at the instrument panel. But I could not remember which of the gauges on the well lit check engine light side of the instrument panel was gasoline. Either way, the curled finger pinhole technique works quite well for the more detailed work, so long as no one in a sunhat is staring at you.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Travelling With Basil

 Last time I travelled with Apples in buckets, and along with us came that menagerie of flying things prone to excitement when Apples begin to mature in a bucket.

 This time I'll be travelling with Basil in buckets.  They are Mammoth Leaved and I hope my digging them out of the ground so freshness might be preserved all the way until slaughter, does not upset them.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Nail Guns

In preparation for dry walling, it was yet one more chance to curse a predecessor, or the one who came with hammer before. He was impatient of  being, the odd screw head ripped to shreds, and certainly he used one of those bloody nail guns.

Have to think nail guns are the least amenable to the good humor of he who comes after with hammer and pry bar.  Why put four nails where just two were needed.  A most aggravating and long armed man.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sorrows of the Wicked.

Regret to say that I was not "Upright in Heart."  I did not  "Shout for Joy." I would have been more "glad" had the word  "practicum" never been used. Nor was I  in anyway "Righteous," because there is something barbaric about paying five dollars for a pound of Corn Flower, even if it was grown on a mountain top using no till techniques, shovels of the short handled variety, scavenged cardboard, imported horse manure and let lie composts.

And if I look further into Psalm 32, I can begin to sense King David coming to the conclusion that the Lord must have well drenched me with both iniquity and guile and therefore I am doomed to the "many sorrows of the wicked." Nor was I the only one who smoked four cigarettes at the nut eater retreat. And yes I will probably be going to hell.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Value of Curtains

I can think of a mind as a collection of rooms haphazardly  built over time. Ancient, some of these rooms, and no fault of mine. Many half forgotten, left to ruin. Others not quite complete. Still more on drawing boards. The thing that is you or I, can move from one room to another. We can be present in any one of them. There are kitchens, there are dormitories, there are sitting rooms, there are dark rooms where the light is poor, there are bright rooms where sun shines, and some rooms too difficult to recall.

If I sit in one room, I can become easily distracted by another. And too, I can cross the corridor find rooms that are purgatory, where the colors are wrong, the table upside down, and something unpleasant under the carpet, but I have no vacuum cleaner and no hands to return the table to its place, repaint the walls, wipe cobwebs from the window. Then if I look out of the window I can see eyes staring back at me. Which is why curtains are quite useful.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September

September is one of those turning months for those of us who claim territory in the degrees north of the Tropic of Cancer.  The more eccentric amongst us love September because it heralds cold and January and stuff like skiing.  Woolly hats, socks and even crueler impediments.  Others wonder way it was, that our species ever ventured further than about a thousand miles north or south of the Equator.

 But this year of 2013 and into what remains of my future, I will not vouchsafe the psalms of Spring and Summer. Too much of my time spent moaning in the Hippo Wallow.  And as the Weather Man becomes all excited by the prospect of "chill," the possibilities of "colder than average winter" and "thunder snow," I will remain silent.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Siege of Sidney Street

Sometime in December 1910 three policemen were shot dead by rifle fire during the investigation of a burglary. Some have suggested the burglars were anarchists.  By January 1911 two suspects were holed up in 100 Sidney Street, and surrounded by unarmed policemen.  Home Secretary Winston Churchill ordered in military units from the Scots Guards, and made the terrible mistake of himself going down to Sidney Street so that he could both watch and interfere and generally make a fool of himself. 

 Churchill's secretary, reprimanded him for leaving the Office of the Home Secretary, thus opening himself up to criticism from every quarter including the popular press and songsters everywhere. And in all the excitement, Churchill, in his reply to his secretary, forgot to disguise his lisp. "Now Charlth, don't be croth.  It wath thuch fun." 100 Sidney Street gutted by fire, the two suspects and one fireman were dead.  And though I have not fully checked to make certain, I do not believe the Scots Guards ever considered  "The Siege of Sidney Street"  a battle honor.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Soul as Caged Bird

On the "soul" Plutarch was something of a dualist. The soul, he decided was "eternal after death." When it was part of a body it was like a "caged bird." A restlessness. But when the soul remained in a body for a long time, it became tame. And after the release that follows death, such a tame soul would develop a hankering, or perhaps a nosiness, to once again involve itself in the affairs of the living and it would return to inhabit another being. And probably for Plutarch, that other being was a person in the form of a new born.

 He did have wonderful things to say about what he called "other living things". It was his opinion that when "other living things" became old and "useless" they weren't to be thrown away as one might an old shoe. Whether he thought plants "other living things" I just don't know. Nor can I grasp what he might have meant by "useless."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Apples and Flyingsaurus

Long trip with Apples. Some of them I'll call "on the verge." By Charleston a first generation of Fruit Fly had procreated, and by Beckley the fourth or fifth generation of Fruit Fly had clearly mutated into what I will call "Flyingsaurus." About the size of a Cluster Fly.

And if by chance you are ever persuaded to pause at the rest stop where you could some years ago feast on a dish called "Galloping Herd," the answer is they do sell fly swatters, aspirins and artisanal items, but not aerosol cans that squirt insect repelling spray.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Balm

If I consider a definition of the word  Religion, it invariably results in some sort of nonsense that combines "all knowing," "Intelligent," "Creator," with the words "bigot," "irrational," "unquestioning," "cohesion" and "cretinous."  And it all ends up not reflecting my thinking about the word Religion in any way, shape or form.

I prefer to think of Religion as using the word "believe," with all its fragilities, to combine with  idea, in a manner that acts upon the mind as a "balm" from the horror and happiness, the joy and frustration, that arises from the often desperately inconsolable fact of being alive and present. Why the word "balm" might piss any one off, I do not know, because mathematics is also a "balm."

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Two cups, three tablespoons.

To make a truly viscous gravy the proportions are about  two cups of liquid to three tablespoons of flour. I mention this because of what I will from now on be referring to as "Age Related Forgetfulness." It is a phrase that is both polite and forgiving in same way that "Midriff Bulge" is both polite and forgiving.

 "Age Related Forgetfulness" is not a term I have come to embrace without considerable thought. "Can't Remember Crap," for example is very depressing, as well as defeatist.  And wandering through an index unable to remember whether F comes before H is just very, very sad. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rabbit of Usk strikes again, thank God.

Delighted to report that The Rabbit of Usk has finally bitten another quest at Pen-Y Fal. And yes, the body part bitten was again a big toe. And I guess there must be something about the shape and size of a Rabbit's biting parts that makes the big toe a natural thing for a Rabbit to bite.  I mean, a shin or a leg just seems too awkward a surface for a Rabbit to really get his mouth around.  And it is also the case that these attacks by the Rabbit of Usk are not necessarily preceded by murderous intent, so leaping for the throat is quite out of the question.

This time The Rabbit of Usk's victim was King Offa, whose rivalry with Alfred for the title First King of England, I have alluded to a number of times over the past several years.  And worth noting too that in nineteen seventy something King Offa had been dead for thirteen hundred or so years. Anyway, I'm excited, because I can call this second bite by the Rabbit of Usk, progress. Or if you prefer I can call it, furtherance of narrative.  Both of which are the process of structure.  The way I get from here, to there, without losing touch with the real. Which, if I might be forgiven for saying, is you.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Abwehr

The Battle of Gazallah was fought in June of 1942. It was a victory for Rommel's Afrika Korps. By my reckoning sometime at the end of August 1942, JHC had been transferred from interrogation by German Military Intelligence, the Abwehr, as it was then called, to a transit camp in Southern Italy which was under the control of the Italian Military. Of the transit camps, there are several dozen possibilities and no hard evidence, so I have invented Campo XL5. It is named after the puppet Steve Zodiac's space ship, a truly alarming children's television program from sometime in the 1960's. Even though a person could see the puppet's strings, he quickly learned to distrust any form of Exploration of Space that includes music.

JHC's Campo XL5 was poorly managed. Latrines hadn't been dug, food sparse, water bad, Red Cross parcels diverted to the black market. Men died of dysentery, hunger and from wounds, and it was while in that Transit Camp, JHC learned to dislike Italians, sometimes with an overwhelming intensity.  At the end of August 2013, one of my dreams is to recreate Campo XL5, then train an army of young Vegetarian Spiders, who at my command will march into the territory of our Valiant Eggplant, round up every last Hoppy Bug and lock them up in Campo XL5, where they will be subjected to re-education, taught to accompany a piano with violin, and weaned off their addiction to the delicate leaves of Eggplant.  And I am sure Fascists everywhere will approve.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Green Grass

So far this year, I have left the county maybe three times. Which is wise and sensible of me. And saves on gasoline, tire wear, it reduces levels of stress, permits centeredness, or isolation depending upon perspective.

And this year, because if the intensity and regularity of rainfall, the weight of morning dew that lasts into the afternoon, I am very convinced I have travelled further mowing grass than I have on a highway.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pitt the Younger

When I was considerably more agile than I am today, and here I am talking capable of climbing both ropes and monkey bars, I thought 'Shucking' was an American word for something rather unsavory.  The expression, "We shucked the corn," was one I reckoned upon learning more about as I aged. And I reckoned also that the part of the world which spoke American English was clearly more open minded and pluralistic than the part of the world in which I lived, because "shucking corn," often engaged more than two people, as well as 'Junior.'

It was a stubbornness of mind, a single tracked-ness of thinking that kept the word "shuck" in its place. Not once did it occur to me that in a land where black people and white people were required to use different parts of the bus and different toilet seats, there could be so liberal an attitude to pedophilia, sodomy  and orgiastic behavior around harvest time.  Of course I am also one of those minds in whom still dwells the certain knowledge that I will go to my grave with the word 'maize' for 'corn' because 'corn' means 'wheat.' And naturally until then, I'll have  absolutely nothing good to say about the form 'Junior'  for the noble title of 'Younger.' 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Zoo Keeper

I remember a zoo keeper, writing about the advantages for  an animal kept in a zoo, as opposed to an animal out there in the wild, free to roam and steal people's Apples or their Peaches, nibble their Chard, tunnel under their Carrots, randomly peck at their Tomato.  Wild animals he claimed were beset by Botfly, Worms of the intestine, Ulcerating sores, Tic borne sickness and the list went on.

But once under the care of a zoo keeper, such pestilence receded into a past, leaving creatures of the wild free to enjoy their being without itching or scratching, and little chance of their succumbing to horrible wasting pox or themselves having to endure the gore of becoming somebody else's food. And I mention all this because Horse Fly have arrived.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Velvet Ant

The barn has a resident Velvet Ant, or perhaps more than one.  Some days ago I noticed a couple of outraged Hornets of a kind that were new to me. They were Scarlet and Black and very dangerous looking. They had glued themselves to a Velvet Ant, and I guessed they were protecting their burrow from her ovipositor, or just fed up with her trundling around like an aimless Mzungu.  Have to say, I am a big fan of the Velvet Ant, it's scarlet and velvetiness, so when I saw a Velvet Ant in what I guessed was distress, I did a little poking with a stick.

Probably madness on my part because both Hornets and Velvet Ants have that potential to give me my chance at the centeredness of the Near Death Experience. Some days ago, however, I was remarkably ignorant, because I'd assumed boy Velvet Ants were pretty much like girl Velvet Ants. I didn't know that boy Velvet Ants have the wings. And I have heard of a Velvet Ant that's not Scarlet and black, it's white and black, and it's known as a Panda Ant. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Specters and the Poor Will

Amongst Primates there is the family of Lemurs. They are described as small, arboreal, and nocturnal. And they have the big eyes, good eyelash, a long tail and a long thin snout, and most Lemurs are very, very adorable to look at.  The word Lemur comes from the Latin for a frightening specter that had to be exorcised from a person's home, otherwise all sorts of terrible things would happen.

 A Fetch is an Irish word for a particular kind of ghost. Fetch is thought to be a person's ghostly double, and those who see a Fetch are probably near the end of their time. But my favorite word for these sorts of thing are the Psychopomps.  Psychopomps were Ancient Greek ghosts who would escort a person into the afterlife. Few words were exchanged I am told, and none of those words judgmental.   And of course, here in Kentucky we have the Whip-poor-will, whose role is to capture the fleeing souls of us mortals, keep us listening to the soil we live upon.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Offa and Alfred

In those days of course keeping good with the Church had certain advantages. Alfred was so favored by the Pope in Rome that Anglo Saxons living within Rome did not have to pay any sort of duty, tax or tribute. Offa for his part, irritated Rome.  Offa's disagreement with Canterbury, resulted in Offa creating a new archdiocese closer to the heart of Mercia. A place called Lichfield.  In Offa's day, near where  Lichfield Cathedral now stands there would have been a wooden church that contained the bones of Saint Chad, who had converted the Mercian clans to Christianity.

 But beyond not irritating the church, Alfred has yet one more advantage over Offa in the matter of First King of England.  He wanted to increase the level of literacy. Fewer and fewer Anglo Saxons read Latin. Alfred bribed the most learned monks he could find, some of them from Europe, to join his court, where one of their roles was to translate books from Latin into Old English. Alfred himself is said to have translated four books. And it has been said that when it came to teaching the young, Alfred's idea was to first learn to read English, and then if a person was serious about reading they could go on to learn Latin.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Vote and The Fryd

During times of political frustration, a condition I am often beset by following any interaction with "News about the Republican party's attitude to the vote etc.....", I find it sometimes soothing to ask the question, who was the the First King of the English?  Briefly the debate goes this way. Some will argue, it was Offa of Mercia.  Others will claim that Offa was a power hungry maniac, and  better to understand him as a speculator who through military and political maneuver was acquiring as much property and wealth for himself and his family as he could.  In other words he wasn't a King, he was more like a War Lord or a corporate chief executive. Those who argue against Offa,  prefer to give the title of First King of England to Alfred of Wessex.

They do so because Alfred promoted the idea of "common burdens" in his efforts to maintain lasting and effective defenses  against the remarkably mobile Vikings.  Alfred's Burhs, or Boroughs  were garrison towns within twenty odd miles of each other. To properly man a Burh it was reckoned to require one man every six yards of wall.  Which according to some meant that in Alfred's territory one in four freemen were always engaged in garrison duty. To further prepare for Viking incursion Alfred drew on the Anglo Saxon tradition of the Fryd to raise a mobile standing army. Amongst Germanic Tribes, Fryd was a levy which freemen when called upon could either participate in, or pay a fine.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Almost An Island.

The Punic Wars, were called the Punic Wars because around 300 BC Romans referred to peoples of North West Africa as the Punici, which was the Roman word for the Phoenicians.  Following the Second Punic War against Carthage, descendants of Phoenicians, the Iberian Peninsular gained the name Hispania. In the Eighth Century The Umayyad Caliphate's conquest of Hispania - which at the time of the conquest was called "The Kingdom of the Visigoths" - gave the Iberian Peninsular the name Andalusia. From Al Andalus, the Arabic for "Land of the Vandals."

Reconquista, is the name given to  period of of something like five hundred years, which ended with the fall of Granada on January 2nd 1492.  On August 3rd 1492 Columbus set sail from Palos, a port town in The Iberian Peninsular. Palos comes from the Latin word for Lagoon. Briefly, around the turn of the Seventeenth Century, The Iberian Peninsular, became a political entity known as the Iberian Union.  Now days The Iberian Peninsular is Spain and Portugal.   And if you want to know why, I've been have trouble with the correct spelling of peninsular. Which is from two Latin words, "almost" and "island."  It's Pennsylvania that has two n's.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Grasses

Grass enjoys this sort of wet, humid, warm weather. It grows onward and upward, sideways and around corners. Blissfully ignorant.  Creeping Grass, which is not really a grass, more like an agent of the devil, also likes wet, warm, humid weather.

 Sadly, mowing machines do not like wet, warm, humid weather. A person can pretend. He can whistle cheerfully. But as soon as a mowing machine feels the damp on its wheels it knows you are deceiving and wretched.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Physicist's Cat

"If the cat survives, it remembers only being alive."  In the act of becoming, the question "why?" more often recedes, and gives way to "how?"  I can conceive of two states. One I'll call alive. The other I'll call dead. Some will argue that if I know 'how' then I'll know 'why.'

My own preference however is the sound of one hand clapping.  Which is an equation without an equal sign.  Or a slope with nowhere to go.  And there is of course the bear in the woods to assist the act of "thinking different."

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bright as Ostrich

The name Nagaya, means 'bright as Ostrich.'  A wonderful name in my view, and I wish it were mine. But, it's not a name I could ever call myself, because as a description of me it falls on the other side of a boundary. Perhaps only five seconds a year I am 'bright as Ostrich.'

My own name  means 'honored of god.'  But I suspect this meaning of my name derives form the first Saint Timothy, a passionate young man whose fate was to be chased through the streets and stoned to death for preaching against the Goddess Diana, whose followers where prone to excess in all things.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cactus Lizzie

One of my most favorite passages is this : "Well, I reckon that there's a lotta dames playin' around like Cactus Lizzie. They're afraid of spiders but they'd just as soon stick a stiletto into their boy friend as call for a chocolate sundae." 

It's from page 4 of Peter Cheyney's  tale "Dames Don't Care." For years and years I thought he was an American writer, but he wasn't.  He was a Londoner.  French illustrators adored his work.  The USA preferred Dashiell  Hammett, until he was black listed.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Tortoise

Of dreams recently, the more curious have had to do with Tortoise.  And it is very obvious to me that from somewhere in the ether a diabolical sect has sent a Tortoise to contribute to my nightmares.  I find it sometimes glued to the wall.  I have heard its Morse Code on the keyboard. In the symbols of dream, a Tortoise means 'impossible task.'

Fortunately I believe it to be a reluctant emissary. It smiles at me occasionally. It potters cheerfully around in the vegetable garden where I am haunted by Pox on the Tomato, billions of beans and a mosquito the size of a Bald Eagle. And  I have caught my Tortoise reading from the Atlas.  Page ninety five.  Islands of The Polynesians. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Extraneous Borders

I imagine, twitching at the unseen.  I think, hearing footsteps.  I understand it as losing the pathway between mind and voice.  All of these things multiplied by two hundred.

To get closer to it, I spent time weeding extraneous borders, where the Spider wear gumboots, the Grass Snake is tame and where Mosquito are parked for the day.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Henry the First.

Henry the First, an  English King,  is said to have died from a surfeit of Eels. He'd been travelling through the Fenlands of East Anglia, during Eel season. That particular Eel includes a visit to the Sargasso Sea in its life cycle, a distance of  something like four thousand miles.

The ancestors of Eel that sent Henry the First to his grave, are currently environmentally challenged. They require the assistance of  Eel enthusiasts, fishermen and bird watchers to maintain  their presence as a species upon our planet. In my own tiny world I am struggling with a surfeit of Tomato. Which means canning. If I eat one more of them, I'll likely drown.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Jellied Eel

 I am familiar with the Green Stink Bug, the Brown Stinkbug and the colors of that Harlequin Stinkbug, who is happier amongst members of the Cabbage Family than Tomato or Bean and who is more likely to be spotted down where the Wild Blackberry grow.

The new Stinkbug looks a little like the adult Bean Beetle, only his carapace is harder, his eyes beadier, he is infinitely astute, and he is very quick witted. His colors are yellows and reds, his legs black, and I get the sense that he has been called in by other Stinkbug to reduce me to Jellied Eel.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Necktie as Defender

General Patton, insisted soldiers under his command in the North Africa campaign of the second World War, wear neckties and leggings along with their steel helmet. His reason was to prevent injury from Spider and Scorpion bites. And, I am told, General Patton thought lace up leggings also useful to prevent Rats from climbing up underneath a trouser leg.

 In my own campaigns against the outdoors, I have begun to use socks over the trouser leg to discourage Tic and Spider. I don't believe a Rat has ever attempted to climb my leg, and I have some confidence that if such a thing had occurred, I might have noticed.  Sock of any color, over trouser leg is not an attractive look, suggests I possessed by a number of perversions. But the necktie while in the outdoors, is something I am seriously considering. Not a glamorous red or a yellow one, because those two colors attract the attention of Hummingbird Youth.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Plasma

More recently, we end of the world aficionadas have been glued to the "End of the world as we know it by  Solar Plasma Eruption"  hypothesis.  2012-2013 is, or was, a peak time for our star's eleven year cycle. Some of us had keenly anticipated a plasma burst of five hundred year proportions directed at our planet by an angry sun.  I personally looked forward to communicating by the mail carrier with any and all  internet providers and an end to the utility bill.

 Of all the things in the universe that are nearest and dearest  to us the sun is the most likely to discipline us.  It has the potential to produce a disgruntlement in the ether that will rob us of electric power grids and their peripherals, creating  momentous damage, and returning us to something like the eighth century AD.  Billions of us might survive radiation poisoning so that we can die of starvation, and there will be no television  to watch while we wait.  Otherwise it has been a good couple of days rest for me.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Personal Exploration 2

I begin to like the idea that language emerges in creatures through their emotions.  The fortunate Oak Tree says hardly a word.  Ducks can quack out their irritation, of course.  And I am pretty certain that Egg Plants are mostly sullen.

My own species is well supplied by emotions, and consequently we are the Olympiads of natter, much of our time spent voicing emotions., if not out loud then as a sort of background grumble.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Personal Exploration.

I'd say that matters of personal exploration should probably be left private until such time as they are positively formed. However, with respect to structure, it is more often the case that matters of personal exploration, as they become formed take on a hue, and this hue has first to fit a pre-existing pattern, otherwise it remains private - or incomprehensible.

 The flaw in language, as a means of personal exploration, is that while members of our species are capable of acquiring it, we as individuals do not determine the meaning of words on our own. That definition comes from the amalgam, or the aedicule, hidden deep down there in the soup. All the same, I am able to say "Deep Sea Suds" and it makes a sort of sense. So I guess the question is, what do I mean by 'personal exploration.'

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pen-Y Fal

The Rabbit of Usk is proceeding, I guess. But where he goes or what he might actually want I am less and less certain. Currently he has bitten through my slipper, causing my big toe to bleed.  As I am the only one who can see and touch him, there are some in Pen-Y Fal, who think my suddenly bleeding big toe belongs to the miraculous.

However, should I prolong my own agony, embrace the possibility that I am indeed touched by god, odds are there will be no possibility of me ever leaving Pen-Y Fal.  And with respect to structure, such an impasse would depress me mightily. Incidentally, Pen-Y Fal the Joint Counties Lunatic Asylum, which is what the asylum in Abergavenny used to be called is now days given over to high end apartments.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

BAP09

In the cupboard there were sixteen pint jars, labeled  BAP09. They had been there for basically as long as I can remember.  Occasionally The Artist would come across one or other of them and would question me as to their contents.  Which is a fine opportunity for me to harp on about the precociousness of young Hummingbird who spend July travelling  in packs, looking for trouble and adventure. And I usually finish my account by saying, "And it does you no good to swat at them."

 Anyway, BAP09 refers to Blackberry Apple Jam that was made on the outdoor stove in the hot weather of 2009.  And thanks to the interference by Hummingbird I was not able to get the jam to set. So I bottled it and stored it away, for maybe a second chance at it sometime in the cold weather. Yesterday I couldn't take it any longer, I opened the bottles smelled each one of them, then poured them into the big shiny cook pot that's made in India, and in the safety of the kitchen I boiled them to the mutual exhaustion point. There are now eleven pints of BAP09 in the cupboard. I'm going to call it "very expensive syrup."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Yellow Chat Girls

 The Yellow Chat's infidelity is advantageous.  For some it could be no more that a wandering eye on a hot afternoon.  However, Yellow Chat girls long ago realized that appearance in their men folk is sometimes deceptive.

 Yellow Chat boys on the other hand own what they understand as glamour. They are beautiful. And while some would argue that Dinosaurs, the ancestor of all birds, declined as a consequence of earth's collision with a meteor. Yellow Chat girls know better.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Yellow Chat

For a moment, the big question for me, was whether the Yellow Chat has set his mind upon a second brood.  I saw him yesterday, in the mid afternoon.  The temperature was 92F, and I'd call the humidity level "Beak Pant Horrible," because the Mockingbird was just sitting there with his mouth open, and like me he was drooping and somewhat disgruntled.  But there the Yellow Chat was, doing his Butterfly Dance, down on the slope.  Up and around and around.  A beautiful thing to see, even if it did appear a little desperate and I had to wonder why he didn't wait until the cool of the longer evening.

Nor is the Yellow Chat's Butterfly Dance effortless. It requires a considerable exertion from him. He has to flap his wings in a most awkward manner so that his dance might be fully appreciated by any one who might happen to be watching, and he has to do this while singing the least relaxing of his many songs. In the deep shade of my own nest, I did read a rumor about the Yellow Chat girls.  It was a study of DNA samples from Yellow Chat nestlings in Kentucky.  This study found that seventeen percent of Yellow Chat nestlings were not 'legitimate' in the "One Married Man" sense of that word.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Portliness

There are two periods of portliness in the year.  July though September, and December through February.  The other half of the year is fairly active.

 Summer portliness is caused by sitting around yearning for ice cream.  Winter portliness is caused by sitting around yearning for bread with butter and maybe some sort of jam.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Footwear

Spent a dew soaked ten minutes polishing some sort of fungus off the good shoes.  The ones that I believe give off an impression of good moral character.  Then I entered an internal debate with socks.  The smart shoes are black, and somewhere I have black socks.  I have always felt that black shoes with white socks makes a person look like a spiv.  Which is an English word for someone who might have spent time in the nick for selling things from the back of a lorry, so accept only cold, hard cash from him.

However, my debate with socks quickly entered the "I am what I am" phase and I decided I would wear the work boots, which have a little age on them.  And even though the laces are original equipment, the age of the work boot is not a comfortable, well seated age, but an "I am on my last leg, and I don't give a damn" sort of age.  Nor are they often permitted indoors owing to their fragrant quality which very few know how to appreciate.  In the end I went with the smart shoes and no socks.   And I can tell you, the smart shoes with no socks, is not a look you want to cultivate when visiting a Dentist's chair.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Body Past Perfect

The tummy button is not a good place to be bitten by anything. There is an element of indignity to it, as well as an appalling sneakiness on the part of the biter. But perhaps more elucidating  is to be bitten by an Ant on that back part of the upper arm, which were I a bird, I'd have some rather elegant flight feathers, but which because I have been made decrepit by opposable thumbs I can only ever see in a mirror.


If I were a bird, I'd not have to rip off the long sleeve shirt and peer around in a truly spastic and short sighted manner looking for a culprit. Instead I'd be able to use my beak, which as far as I can tell would be able to reach each and every part of my body, except perhaps parts of  my head.  And if you wonder why an Ant should produce so a dramatic reaction, it's because  the Velvet Ant has been spotted marching along the lane and her bite, I am told, will reduce an Elephant to tears.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Blackberry

To hell with it!  Especially on Bastille Day!  I will no longer be gathering the Wild Blackberry in quarts.  That particular pathetic measurement for Blackberry is about as bland as is the name Hope for a Seal Island Puffling.  Instead I am going to work on the principle of a basic quart type measurement that I will call "A Dog Tic Ton."

There will be four "Dog Tic Tons" to "One Lone Star Tic Tonne." And here, the observant might recognize a curious conjoining of Imperial and Metric, for which there was a reason, but at the moment that reason eludes me following heat stress on brain cells.  Then while gathering Blackberry, if ever two Lone Star Tic Tonnes are achieved it will from henceforth be called "A Drunken June Bug,"  because  one "Drunken June Bug" is sufficient Blackberry for six jeroboam of the wine.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Seal Island Puffling

 I understand from The Artist that when the Seal Island Puffling was still an egg, he or she was given the name Hope.  Not that it's any of my business, and why should I care, but for some reason the idea of naming the Puffling "Hope," has produced in me a very poor reaction.

 Of all names in the universe of names, which could be applied to a Puffling or a Puffin Egg, I am of the opinion that  "Hope" is possibly the most unutterably dull and insipid name that a mind could reach for.  However, to the question: "Why not name the Puffling, Hope?" The sad fact is, that I have no good answer.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Decadence

Of the five or seven beautiful days in the year, today was one of them. Clear air, good Butterfly breeze, sufficient cloud in a sky that was a respectable blue, a close up look at one of those Warblers that's impossible to identify, an absence of quarrel in the community of Mockingbird, and though it is still early, nothing has yet bitten me.  Which means today could become the day all other days will from henceforth be compared to.

And on a day like this I had my chance to better understand the statement "Socrates was decadent."  And while I am very aware that most will dismiss this statement, I was able to better understand it, because when the weather is perfect and the day is beautiful, I become a materialists.  Idea disappears.  So on reflection it was probably just as well that while digging the Potato, I found some that had been gnawed upon by Vole.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Weather Statement

These past nine days have tested the proud men and women of the National Weather Service. No doubt the political class have added to their woes.  And I think KD sums their exasperation with: "Special Weather Statement in effect until further notice."

It was Saint David of Wales, whose Feast Day is March 1st, who uttered the immortal words,  "Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd." Which for an English, means something like, be sure to mind the little things in life. Which is another way of saying, "an occasional thank-you is welcome."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Puffling

 Very warm in the outdoors here in Kentucky with storms anticipated.  Fortunately The Artist directed me to The Puffin Cam, live from a Puffin Burrow in Seal Island which is in US Eastern Standard Time. It was sixty one degrees there at noon today, and I got the sense the sun was shining.

 The Artist tells me that one of the main reasons to watch the Puffin Cam, is the opportunity to admire a Puffin blink.  Sadly for the past three hours, the Puffin has been asleep with his or her back facing the camera.  The Artist also informs me that a Puffin's child is called a 'Puffling."

http://explore.org/#!/live-cams/player/puffin-burrow-cam

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

June Rhee

The 'June Rhee' bird is a familiar voice, and I can even sometimes remember the name given him by the community of ornithologists, or 'twitchers' as they are sometimes called. June Rhee will sing for hours, and he is obviously very proud of his voice, because he can go on through the course of an entire afternoon without apparently pausing for breath.

Then the other day, while battling the outdoors I heard what I have to call 'Beetroot' from June Rhee. He said the word several times.  It's possible I had sweat in the ears and I know I was standing on a slope, both of which can do things to the auditory function in those of us who become easily disorientated by the hot weather. Either way, he'll always be June Rhee to me.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Distrust of Flocks

While on the one hand I understand 'science,' it's rigor and attention  to disciplined parameters from which to take evidence, I am also prone to the other hand from where comes the self serving, the ridiculous and the fantastic.  Nor am I one of those persuaded to think that either priests or scientists are pure.  I prefer to think of them as devoted to poetic forms, passionate in their pursuit.

So when I tell you that the American Robin is primarily a flocking bird for whom child rearing is essentially an embarrassing interlude, it's conceivable you might request some sort of evidence. Then if I tell you that Mockingbirds have a particular distrust of birds that flock, odds are you'll nod the head politely and take steps to avoid me in the Grocery Aisle.   But before you leave, let me reassure you, Grackles are birds that flock and take great joy from raising their children.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Blackberry and Gallons

In the matter of Blackberry, it can be rather important to recall the distinction between the volume of a "Quart" and the volume of a "Gallon," rather than luxuriating in an ability to remember that there are four quarts to one gallon. But should ever a mind remember a recipe as requiring "Ten Gallons of ripe Blackberry" the better plan is to sit quietly and count Tic bites before proceeding, because the odds are that mind has entered the loose-leaf phase.

Then there is the issue of "The Quart."  My advice is to never use a "Two Quart Container" to measure "Quarts of ripe Blackberry."  I say this because sure as onions, somewhere during the process a mighty confusion will erupt.  Paper and pencil is also useful, and there should only ever be one person in charge of counting.  As well, it's worth remembering that as a general rule recipes measure Blackberry in "Quarts," not in "Gallons."  Or in another way, the word "Gallon" and "Blackberry" should never be used in the same sentence.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Epitaphs

Seven and a quarter inches of rain in the past couple of days, and more to come. Wonderful really, unless a person spent a majority of the early part of his year preparing ground for drought. The Vegetable Garden this morning could be mistaken for Duck habitat.

There was a time when I might have imagined today as being spent tooth and nail against others.  And I really should get out there before Turkey and Coyote get more than their share. But I guess of two possible epitaphs, I'd prefer, "Struck by lightning while gathering Blackberry," to "Drowned in his Bean Patch."