Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lady Birds and GDP

    Gross Domestic Product is the 'market value' of all 'officially recognized' goods and services.  For example, rescuing a Lady Bird from horrible death by kitchen sink is not an 'officially recognized' good or service.  'Market value' is the price of a good or service under the conditions of a competitive auction. 
     Then when Gross Domestic Product shrinks, I could say, 'yippee, we're reducing consumption and there'll be something for those who come after us.'  But, instead, I've been advised to think of it as a loaf of bread, up on the auction block, it's price determined by who wants it most.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tornadic (2)

    A morning that will live in infamy. Weather Radio siren made the most appalling noise off and on, from two thirty until six in the a.m.  And a telephone call from  an automated device advising me to take cover within a secure building, and there I was thinking of going outside for a cigarette and a stroll.  It was seventy two degrees, Fahrenheit.  Now it is raining, and by ten o'clock tonight, temperatures will be in the mid twenties, Fahrenheit. By tomorrow night there could be an inch of snow, I have been cheerfully informed. 

     In the junior dormitory at school, it was never a good idea to jump around on the beds and make noises after the lights were switched out. It wasn't good for the beds, and it interfered with the beer drinking of those in charge of us.  Our fourteen foot Black Mamba, against whom we so bravely had battled was a two foot Tree Snake and quite harmless.  A slightly inebriated school master picked up the snake by the scruff of its little neck, returned the snake to the senior dormitory, and spent the remainder of his evening shouting at them.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


      A forecast for high winds, thunderstorms followed by temperatures slinking back into the teens so that snow and sleet and maybe freezing rain might have their opportunity to again grant inspiration to those of us who may have become sufficiently estranged to appreciate such things.  As well as these possibilities, there's a chance of  'tornadic activity' in the middle of tonight. Which  is one way of saying 'don't worry if there is a Black Mamba under your bed, it might be asleep.'
     A Black Mamba gets the word 'black' in his name because black is the color of the inside of his mouth.  His body is a greenish, grayish color.  He's not a fat snake, he's rather skinny and can reach lengths of thirteen, fourteen feet. And of those thirteen, fourteen feet he can raise one third of his body length into the air so that he can hiss at you before biting you in the neck.  And he is usually bad tempered and fearless and if you are bitten by him, you most likely die, rather quickly and in agony. He's also the fastest snake in the world.  20mph, which in a dormitory filled with seven year old boys looks like lightning, as I remember..

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hose Pipes and Satan.

    Baal, and here there will be angry debate and spitting, might represent the leader of animals and plants, season, frost and sleet, summer drought and today's rain.  The set into which we have being, or what some people like to call "mother nature."  A sort of anguish of disobedience, that's combined with 'if only' and a sometimes grudging 'without you what would we be.'  And at the same time Baal, might be thought of as "the thing in charge of it all."   Which generally speaking and despite the comfort of hallucination to the contrary, is not you or I. 

    Early people had become agriculturalists, dependent upon a more mysterious fertility. A fertility less apparent than portrayed by habits of mammals we used to hunt or a living and, and draw pictures of for sport. In those days rather than popping down to the Hardware Store for an emergency input of nitrogen, or something that might be mixed with water, shrines were constructed and around them people would gather in an attempt to further the ambition of Gardeners by 'making nice' to all possible assets and liabilities, real and imagined, or to Baal.  And here, 'making nice' is a catch all phrase that includes pleading, bursting into tears, promising to behave, and the brilliant array that can be seen during 'pomp and ceremony.'  The funny hat, the jodhpur, the trake, the Strawberry that tastes like Pineapple, and on into even less accessible areas of the mail order catalogue.
     When the Israelites entered Canaan, God ordered them to destroy all shrines, and the Israelites obliged, because there was just the one useful God, to whom the Israelites had tied their ambitions, their hopes and dreams from the front cover all the way through to the extraordinarily unhelpful index.  I guess it must have been as incomprehensible as being told you couldn't wear red, or orange, and under no circumstances could singing or dancing be tolerated, and girls most certainly shouldn't be permitted to walk around without covering their heads and absolutely no building of shrines to Rain or to Flies or to Creeping Grass, or to Olive Trees, or anything that might have happened longer ago than yesterday, which is sometimes called Liberal Arts, Statues of the Buddha, Interpretive Dance..

    I think it was Isaiah who put his own "thing in charge of it all" up against Baal in a rather odd competition that involved asking "the thing in charge" to reduce a Goat or Cat, or maybe another unfortunate Bush, to ashes.  Needless to say Baal did not win.  But much more interesting, is the use of the word Baal in the version of Arabic that is spoken in The Levant. Which is the peaceful name for  the strip of fertile land that runs from up near Turkey, down the Eastern Mediterranean  to where the desert begins and Camels take over, just south of Gaza.  The word 'baal' as an adjective, is used to describe gardening that relies solely upon water that falls from the sky.   And, despite the dawn of seven billion mouths to feed, and the economic opportunity of seven billion birthdays to celebrate, and the fourteen billion shoes to sell,  I too sometimes yearn for the day when hose pipes are considered the work of Satan.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


    Bitter outside. Very much like January in somewhere like Siberia.   "Freezing fog and black ice,"  it's called.  But I think that's far too nice a phrase for it. 

     Me, even though it's Saturday and I should have been  gainfully employed, I went back to bed, where I dreamt of weeding and Grasshoppers until around noon.. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ill Fevers

      I don't really understand quite why it is that team games, or any sort of sporting event, which includes chess and expositions of five year olds who can spell, or Dog Shows, have to be associated with news on the television.  Nor do I quite understand why it is that news programs on the television often include interviews with people who have written books.  And when clothing enters the content of news programming it becomes a malediction upon senses which I finally rebel against by changing channels.  Which is an error, because 'product' is on sale everywhere, and I find myself yearning for the repartee and boisterousness of a Soviet barrack. And whenever I hear a news presenter wish me 'a good weekend,' or 'a happy holiday,' or make some similar asinine remark, I gravitate toward an understanding which includes the certain knowledge that I should probably entrust the television set and its food stained handheld device to a landfill somewhere in Tennessee .  

      "Nothing to say today," doesn't  appear to be a 'news' option. A consequence of this, on a being that attempts to be present in the world at least while eating his supper and who would be quite happy to discover there was "Nothing to say today," is that I find myself increasingly unable to determine  'trustworthiness' in news sources  As a result I no longer hear the word news as something in and of itself, and instead I find that before ever I pay any attention to what is being said, I first have to know who is saying whatever it is I am supposed to be hearing.  And when I finally make this determination, the content of what might actually be usefully said, becomes increasingly irrelevant as I await the inevitable skirmish with the handheld device.  Nor, I begin to realize, am I the only one to have undergone what has to be some form of lobotomy by television. Or it could be the onset of  particularly nasty manifestation of Stendhal's Syndrome, which in it's kinder form is a psychotic reaction to a surfeit of Florentine Art, combined with Jerusalem Syndrome, which in it's kinder form is a delusional psychosis triggered by a visit to Jerusalem.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


      The inheritors of work by Crick and Watson have stored the Sonnets of Shakespeare within the structure of DNA.  All one hundred and fifty four of them, I'd hope.  And if you ask them why, they'll tell you they were in a bar in notorious Hamburg, and thought it might be something to try. His lusts and passions laid bare, her fingers walking with gentle gait, and so on and so forth into the increasingly obscure and barely comprehensible.  
    The Arabian poets of around Shakespeare's time more often when they considered  such matters looked to Camels or the thigh of Ostrich for their inspiration.  Now of course there is what I have been told is called a 'chick flick' and I have been told it is also possible to watch glorious technicolor of naked men and women who are also under the influence of  "banging each others brains out."  A something that's been described as "you know it when you see it" by men who sometimes wear robes to work.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


     "Dyscalculia" is a mental disorder that sometimes is called "numlexia."  A difficulty with numbers, as opposed to  "dyslexia" which is difficulty with written words.  Of course professionals adhere to a theory that runs this way, "The more complicated our words the more important we appear and therefore the more contented we can become."    Which is why I'll think of the word "Dyscalculia" through the Greek and Latin where it translates as "counting badly."  And having wandered considerable distances through literature on the subject of "counting badly" I am able to say with some degree of confidence that "I am dyscalcic."  Which is not actually a word that you'll find written anywhere respectable, unless you also share with me that other mental disorder of "reading badly."

   Quite why I spend more time than is healthy casting an oar into the incredibly long list of mental disorders, I am not certain I really wish to know.  It becomes the mind's equivalent to a medical encyclopedia, through the pages of which it is easy to wonder and come away determined to do something useful in the two days of life or sanity which remain.   The alternative of course is to pretend there is nothing identifiably wrong with me, that I am the standard by which others should be compared.  It's philosophers and thinkers, God and his priests, scientists and their students who struggle with  the view that all  things within the panoply have a reason or a 'because' attached to them.  Which is a disorder you can call 'intellect' if you wish to. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


    The word  'paroxysm'  means something like sudden outburst, and this would include an outburst of either anger or laughter, or rolling around on the floor in a condition of uncontrollable-ness.   I'd hope 'paroxysm' might not yet be the word to attach to my sentiments on the subject of the word 'product.'  However, I do seem to be developing a reaction to the word 'product' that any day now will result in some form of behavior which might to an observer look like a 'paroxysm.'   And here I can draw some comfort from the origin of  the word 'paroxysm' which has in its far way meaning the ideas in 'goad' and 'sharpen.' 

   Orange Juice, is Orange Juice, 'Most Pulp' or otherwise, and any one who can put a picture of themselves wearing a hat, on an "Orange Juice" carton, and then rabbit on in self-worshipful terms that include the word 'product' has to have half of his brain missing.  And the sad thing is I know where this missing part has gone to.  It has been utterly consumed by the personality of number, it has gone to Kapital and Cancun, it has gone to the imbecilic and wholly short sighted language of business management, where each of us represents an integer in profit and loss.  But we are none of us integers.  We are not units, goddamn it!  We are vectors, remember.  We have magnitude and direction.  So do Oranges, Orange Juice, Orange Trees and whatever other unsightliness might be put into "Orange Juice".  Nor should I be allowed in the Grocery Aisles while wearing the spectacles unless accompanied by some sort of external defibrillator. 

Monday, January 21, 2013


    With The Artist not here to cast a more knowledgeable eye upon them, I'll call the sighting  "three Deer With Horns and one Deer Without Horns."  They all seemed quite unmoved when this morning I greeted them with war cries and waving of arms and rattling of Long Neck Gourds.  

   I was on the porch that does not keep shoes dry, so you'll never find a pair out there, and in the excitement I damaged a little toe, spilled hot coffee which boiled my leg and I had to retreat limping. An extraordinarily uncoordinated tantrum on my part, and it's no wonder the Azalea have been nibbled, and the newish Cherry badly  scuffed.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


     Huge excitement at the Fulfillment Center.  It's integrity was upset by a ruptured bowel.  The resulting occasional puddle of uncertain quality, meant ninety-nine point nine percent of us were given our opportunity to go home early. And happy to report there was no car-park incident during the skedaddle.
   These sort of random moments of pure joy are in my view what Fulfillment should be all about.  And I yearn for the day when internet orders are filled at the whim of a retail  mail order  employee.  Most people would get back ordered copies of  Locke's Second Treatise on Government from me.   Interesting face he has.  If I stare at it long enough I start to feel guilty about something.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gabriel and Anders

     Glory day, with the sun shining and temperatures soaring toward eight degrees of centigrade.  And here I'll think centigrade, because (a) it better accounts for windy-ness and (b) it's not so demanding around capital letters.  Why Fahrenheit continues to require its capital letter will distress an otherwise pretty day with consideration of thermometers dipped in salt and water, at the ratio of one part salt to one part water in a bucket, then waiting around for probably the middle of next week for the bucket to freeze. Which is roughly what Gabriel Fahrenheit did some two hundred and fifty years ago, so he could mark Zero on his wretched thermometer. He was of  Dutch/German/Polish origin and either a little eccentric because of it, or he was Fish on Friday obsessed.

   Mr. centigrade himself, or Anders Celsius, was a Swede.  Not the root vegetable, but from that part of the globe which includes Lapland. Worth noting too, the Laps so impressed Walking Stewart he placed them in the upper percentile of people.  And of course Walking Stewart was correct because obviously some "Moral Motion" must have cart-wheeled, or accidently slipped, south from Lapland into Celsius'  Sweden, because in the end, it really does seem more sensible to think of the moment when ordinary, unadulterated rain water freezes as zero, instead of the 32 degrees, where it freezes on Fahrenheit's thermometer.   As for the digital thermometer, whether set to C or to F, they are clearly all part of a plot devised by battery merchants and their odious allies to hasten the end times, or the condition of "Fishless-ness," as I will from now on be calling it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hygiene Factors

    Fellow beings in this field of random thoughts uttered for no apparent reason, in no apparent order, occasionally indulge the fantasy that we are occupied in something other than what an organization behaviorist once called 'Hygiene Factors.' A horrible phrase, that basically means 'what Adam and Eve first needed when expelled from Eden.' 'Hygiene Factors' within a structure would for example include 'food, shelter, safety.'  Without such things, this sad argument runs, there can be little possibility of  'good attitude.'  An attribute of mind which enables an employer to spend more of his precious resources in Cancun and fewer on motivation through things like chains, whips, armed guards, fierce dogs and so forth.  A simpler time of course, and Herzberg must have been  a recovering fascist, otherwise why use the word 'hygiene.'

  All the same, those of us in the field of uttering randomly, do indeed tromp through our minds, looking for a 'Hygiene' that precedes motivation. And very often we end up on the couch of a behaviorist and try hard not to stare at the wall where the behaviorist has his diplomas.  And we do this because behavioral-ism sometimes masquerades as psychiatry, the dental hygienist of mind.  Which can be an awkward structure to lie down upon.  It supports a misanthropy, a frailty of adjustment, it supports a truth within the theory of pointlessness and it aligns with that set in ennui which produces brief entertainments, I'll call "paroxysms."   And so I have decided that I'll attach the word 'Alive' to the word 'Being,' and by so doing produce the simpler addiction  "A Being Alive."   Which is a long way from "A Being in Time," with it's associated motivational complexities of grammar, and the nonsense that begins with a past and the future tense.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Plutarch's Nightmare

    Sad how those who make their fortune, are said to also achieve their dreams.  Yet, in defining successfulness, it might appear there are two languages.  What we say and what we tell others.  This way I can look at myself as I want others to see me.  I can say, "Because of my success, I have done the right thing."  Alternatively there is just the one language.
      In another way, I can go into a school yard with a gun or a camera.  I can make a theater of death.  I can depict little girls and boys in a slaughter house.  Tell them to try to keep still, try not to giggle so the camera might make another  sweep.  Then I can do it again because somebody moved, or because some body did not die quite slowly enough for my audience to tell me how wonderful I am..   Call it Plutocracy, if you prefer it succinct.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013



     Some of us are close to saturation point, not as a consequence of current weather conditions, but rather as a consequence of a structural deficit that worships unfairness by conceiving of it as successfulness.

      Yes, I should be permitted to own a rocket launcher with infrared sights on the off chance an official from the census bureau or a Coypu  waddles down the lane, and everyone I know agrees with me.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hell Fire

     Strange Crew on the drive back from town.  I thought it a carrion Bald Eagle slinking around, so I slammed on the brakes.  Never a wise move with a little ice on the hood and no clear view through the rear view mirrors, and the Postman somewhere about his route, and farmers on tractors up to god knows what with round bales.  This bird had the blotchy whiteness of a juvenile, and following its pattern whenever it's presented with a more youthful creature that can fly, my callous heart softened, because everyone learns over time, and sometimes that learning can be difficult, and painful, and does not necessarily end in fairy land and a roast Potato.  The bird flew again.  I raced after it to get my second chance at seeing him.  His head was small and his neck was longer.  Some years ago there was an Osprey on the lake.  But today's was not a conclusive sighting, because I could have been chasing  a Turkey Vulture that had squabbled with bleach.

      In the lane, where mud is gathering upon gravel, as hillsides succumb to ice and wet and mire and bog-dom, the sort of chill and damp that brings visions of a hell that does not include fire or heat of any kind, two Pileated Woodpecker with splendid feathers and bright red crests.  And when you see two of them around the time when Snow drops develop delusions, you know its either two boy Pileated Woodpeckers up to no good, or it's a boy who thinks he might have found a girl.  Difficult to know, because Pileated Woodpecker are aloof, and in my view rather conceited. Of course the idea of hell as a fiery furnace arrives through the ancient practice of burning the chaff, so as to be utterly rid of that which is deemed useless.  Otherwise at this time of the year a person might begin to think hell fire a welcome resort, the Cancun of tomorrow, which I guess is why those less consumed by purity often choose to depart the coil in winter.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cylindrical Mammal

      Before going on to wax lyrical upon his prodigious capacity to tunnel, a prelude to Mole description often includes, "small cylindrical mammal adapted to a subterranean life style."  Quite why the cylinder in this context suggests charm and good natured chubbiness, I'm not sure, but I suspect it has something to do with that sound of an emptying bathtub which the conjunction of the word "life" with "style" appears to emit. And it's this sort of offhand and slip shod uniting of "Mole" and "cylindrical mammal" from an apparently spaced out observer that inspires the 'con-linguist' toward an idea that language is fundamentally flawed, because it's like commencing a description of Hitler with the words, "characterized by mustache that's no longer fashionable."  All very well, but at the same time so sadly inadequate as to appear deliberately manipulative.

       I do understand the importance of sensitivity, and I have been well trained by the professionals to render all creatures equal, at least in their introduction, or prelude, because at the birth of any idea there should be granted an assumption of innocence.  We are a stew of being under brighter stars, though quite why anyone might learn to think a mustache cute, I do not want to know.  But if a person is able to describe a Mole as a "small cylindrical mammal" without first having entered some sort of catatonic trance of indifference, then very certain that over time the word "cylinder" will develop meaning that places the word "cylinder" up there with "botulism,"  "bankers" and "corporate executives."   My own preference would be to begin a description of a Mole this way, "Unlike a Panda which also has twelve digits....." and then proceed directly to Mole saliva, which contains a far from sporting hornet like toxin that paralyses great numbers of earthworms, which are then hoarded by Moles in cavernous subterranean larders. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013


    Sometimes I read the words of a another, and see in them a certain kind of soul.  It's almost like meeting someone who shares the same birthday.  A kind of warmth, the sharing of an invisible, which is always more like a song, or a drum beat, or something like a  good yesterday  that might have come again.  It's a good feeling.  But quite what to call it I don't know.  There should be no implication of comradeship in the sharing of a birth date, because of the billions upon the planet, odds are 1/365th of us will share my birthday, and here I don't believe I was born in  a leap year, which I imagine has some sort of ramification upon the fraction.  Either way, it's well over a million people and probably closer to two million. Which is staggering.

       I can for example read the great minds and I come away saying pretty much the same thing about each of them that Walking Stewart said of Shakespeare, which was far from complimentary, and in his day certainly raised the odd eyebrow in circles genteel.   The height of arrogance on my part, and I have no doubt of this, because I have long considered myself the epitome of a certain kind of pompous, and an a-hole.  Either that, or it's an improper education, some link in the mind as yet unconnected, but I don' t believe so.  Sometimes though, I read the words of another and see in those words a soul like the one that walks around when I walk around.  Which is very nice for me, and humbling.  Last time it happened I guess I was eleven, the author was Peter Cheyney, his hero Lemmy Caution. "The kinda dame that'd just as easily stick you with a stiletto as order up a chocolate sundae."  Or something like that.  But I do remember the last time I met someone who shared my birthday.  It didn't end well.  

Saturday, January 12, 2013


    Big consignment of books to stow.  There are probably several miles of shelves with books, at the place that offers me gainful employment through the weekend.  Books interlaced with what ever those plastic things are called that you stick in a machine and music comes out, or you stick in another kind of machine and as long as it's attached to a television screen you can watch movies, or flicks as some might still call them.  Big surprise for me, was seven copies of Wittgenstein's Tractatus.

       I thought I was hallucinating.  These seven slim darlings were at the bottom of a gathering of books, all of which had most familiar titles, and some of which were heavy.  There was bloody Hobbes and his Leviathan,  they've given him a red cover, this time.  Plato's Dialogues, naturally.  And a fine parade from the English empiricists, on why Liberty should make sense if only people could behave themselves.  Perhaps best not to enter diatribe when still frail from the work of fulfillment. But I'll tell you this, you've never really lived unless you've had the chance to stow a copy of Tractatus right next to "How To Memorize Bible Verses."  I forget who wrote it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Meaning of Smile

    Work is being done by a new breed of brilliant men and women who have decided it might make no sense to take a scalpel to the brain, try to tease out that part of it which is in charge of language, then stick it with an electrode to see if it utters, and whether it's utterance will contain grammar and semicolons.   And, I'd like to think of these brilliant men and women, as being in a room where the walls are papered with images of brains that range from cross section, through X-ray all the way to glorious Technicolor.   Along one side of the room is a shelf of large jars, inside of which are the pickled brains from those possessed of sufficient arrogance to both donate and know how to donate, their remains to science professionals.   Up in one corner of the shelf, below a phrenology chart, is Wittgenstein's brain, which as we all know might not have died. 

    Best to think of Karl Kraus, who was a satirist, so maybe he was just being a insensitive, when he said, "I can't believe that half a man can utter a whole sentence." Then you can go to those who have called themselves philosophers and find "the sole remaining task of philosophy is the analysis of language." Which maybe a paraphrase from Wittgenstein or Hawking, but who really knows when "Ambition is the death of thought."  As well, "faith," heroes have said, is "passion," whereas "philosophy is passionless."  In that room, its walls papered with images of brains, the word 'grasp,' is being held up to scrutiny, and it's been decided that the word 'grasp' might have as much to do with the act of grasping, as it has to do with  the reason for grasping, whether or not to go ahead and 'grasp,'  and how mightily to 'grasp' should 'grasping' be unavoidable.  Not just in one part of the brain, but a little bit from here, a little bit from there, and  all the way to the end of the fingers.  Or in another way, language they suggest, is more like a perception. And for some of us, this means smiling.


Thursday, January 10, 2013


    Intermittent showers and maybe thunderstorms into the middle of next week.  It's a blessing of course.  Gives ground its chance to catch up with wet, feel the joy of swamp-ness, become one with life forms that swim. And it could happen that through the course of its passing this year will also decide to reach for a place in the record books, so it might stand up there on the dais, clutch its certificate, and flash a grateful smile back all those millions of years to the Era of Plants and Giant Insects, when my own, the tortoise and the  ancestor of the Mockingbird, first gave consideration to the devious possibility of hard shelled egg laying on dry land.   The Amniote egg it's called, and it's seen as one giant leap by whoever first produced one.

    And there may be some who will insist upon calling the Era of Plants and Giant Insects, The Carboniferous Era.  And they did this first in England because they saw those long ago years as the time when carbon was so abundant within our planet's atmosphere and plants so adept at capturing it that whole generations of being ended up as coal, because maybe there were fewer teeth to munch on them and fewer stomachs to digest them.   Back then our globe looked a little different, those of us who call dry land home, mostly all lived in Pangaea.  It was very humid and warmer, like Kentucky through the longer days, but three hundred million years ago there was less ice on the South Pole. Something like a Dragon Fly had thirty inches of wingspan, and in the sea all around us, there was a scorpion twice the size of me as I am now.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

When the tether of memory breaks.

     I was going to make an attempt to define what it was Walking Stewart might have meant by "The Apocalypse of Nature."   I was going to think about it in terms of  awareness of self, and how an awareness of self might be also defined as the dawn of reason.  I was going to follow Walking Stewart's chain of idea into matter and motion, or what he called "moral motion" and then I was going to come away feeling wonderfully refreshed and full of myself.  The problem is that while trying hard to get behind Stewart's 2nd tenet,  "Mankind are the instruments of nature in its moral motion, formed to procure well-being or happiness to all animated matter," my hand jerked in an involuntary and rather worrying manner, and by some miracle of "the great integer" I found myself at the page I thought that I had lost to the chaos of my most irrational filing system.  As Stewart puts it, "when the tether of memory breaks, the mind receives a total renovation of its identity." He wasn't actually talking about filing systems, rather he was discussing the distinction he draws between bodily functions, bowle movements, food consumption and so forth, and  memory, which "marks it's own form of subsidence."  The body, on the other hand, and according to Stewart's own estimate, "replaces itself every eighteen days."

      The page which accident returned me to, is from the Monthly Review (a US publication) 1791.  It's a review of Stewart's two books. Our anonymous correspondent appears to take great joy in offering an outline of Stewart's summation of national character.  And I guess it interests me mostly because where I am still gainfully employed at the weekends, we are subject to a sensitivity training that frowns upon these sorts of dismissive remarks, even if sometimes they are unavoidable.  Stewart's observations include the suggestion that the Poles were advancing in intellect, and that Lapland is the only asylum of liberty.  Otherwise, the Irish are monsters, the Swiss are little better than the sheep they shear, the Danes and the Swedes are uncultivated.  The English, though possessed of a high preeminence of thought were violent, hypocritical and corrupt.  It goes on to include the terrible things Stewart had to say of the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Italians, the Russians, the Germans, the French, the United Provinces (or the Dutch, which I have to add here, because some modern readers of Stewart seem to think that in the 1790's United Provinces was Canada.)  In 1791 Stewart had yet to reduce his visit to the United states into an opinion, so our American correspondent in the Monthly Review had no opportunity to add, or perhaps chose not to add, Stewart's opinion of The Americans to the list of infamy.  Also interesting is that I didn't know Walking Stewart had been to Poland, let alone Lapland. And I am often suspicious of his claims.  However a spy sent by His Majesty George the third's  government did report back to his handler, that sometime in 1792, Stewart had "shipped to Norway." Spies are of course notoriously unreliable sources, suffering as they do from "the harpy hand of avarice."


Tuesday, January 8, 2013


    If I think of words as expressions of consciousness, I can then think of them as emanations from the universe.  I do this because Consciousness is consciousness, and at the moment I prefer to think of Consciousness as a property of matter, and our species here on earth is this property's  prime exploiter. Oil, can look pretty too, it might be worshipped as the sepulture of past life forms, but mostly it's prized as a source of carbon that can travel through pipes.  But, if I think of language as purely an object of my mind, I can then understand it as being gone when we are gone, in the same way that a Dodo is gone when the Dodo is gone.  Easy enough to portray the universe as sharing physics, the Higgs Boson corralling mass around elemental particles, and on toward entropy and the ultimate cool, or the conclusion of thought.  The question, "Is the universe physics?" is an easier one to react positively too.  But, "Is the universe language?" has its more enjoyable problems.  An "out-there-ness" that appeals to me, because sometimes it makes more sense, or it satisfy's in the pursuit of happiness, a Grim Boson for many of us..

      There is the argument that both math and language, are no more than constructs that have emerged in the minds of people.  These constructs exist nowhere else, and that both these constructs of language and math should be thought of as mechanisms with which to gain better advantage in competition with Saber Tooth Tigers, or the Woolly Mammoth and between ourselves. Which is to say, that both math and language, in the course of our progress through time, have been useful to us and us alone. The Nautilus has no grasp of geometry, the Oak Tree does not calculate or curse, this argument will foolishly insist.  Which suggests that Math and Language are no more than tools, and they have an analogy in flint arrow heads or Bessemer steel, or banking, or opposable thumbs, and no other species have yet to explore such panicles.  Me, I like to sit on the edge, stare down into the darkness, think of language as emanations of a universe where Physics and Math is the work of poets.  Call me a heckler, if you wish to.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Word as Corpse.

     This time of year, a mind begins to boggle itself by thinking of ways to understand the "Meaning of Being."  Quite why, I don't know.  But let's call it "Winter Break," so as to avoid confusion with purpose and other such nonsense, and at the same time retain "noun-ness."   Then if I think of  "Winter Break" in terms of something that exists, an essence, or spirit, or smoke swirling around, I have to think of each word, "Winter" and "Break," as having a realness or an existence beyond the definition of  the word "Winter" and in the word "Break."  Yet the moment after the words "Winter Break" are uttered, they disappear.  And here, after the words "Winter" and "Break" are uttered, they do not have to be repeated on endlessly because most of us still cling to the hope that both the words "Winter" and "Break" maintain existence within some sort of loose leaf folder contained within the mind.

      The perfectly sensible materialist argument against the idealists, is essentially that unless the substance of  a something can be "held in the hand," theoretically or actually, it's pretty much pointless trying to understand it, because a something that cannot be "held in the hand" is for any useful purpose invisible, or "not here."  Which is to say that the most positive a person can be toward something that has no substance is to say that "it may or may not exist." For example, ghosts may or may not exist, and as far as I know, ghosts are not hunted down,  popped in a jar and if they have been I'd like to know which museum of natural history they are displayed in.  Words, some might be able to say, have been hunted down, and you can find their corpses, some of them beautifully mummified, in any number of places.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Cranes in January

     A dusting of Sandhill Cranes.  I estimated eighty or ninety of them. Almost too high to see, and they were circling, round and round, beyond the reach of lenses, and way beyond the reach of hunters.  When they do that in January, when there's still frost in the pockets all the way until noon,  three or four blankets on the bed at night and toes still tickling, the Creeping Grass very fast asleep, and the air so chilled it has frightened away the wind, a person begins to think them confused.   The calls they make, and which you can always hear before you can ever see them, add to an idea of confusion in their ranks.

      It's possible that everyday, around the same time, this faint cloud of Sandhill Cranes has emerged, but the eye does not look for them, cannot see them, unless they create a hullaballoo.   Yesterday I heard them from inside the domicile.  I knew straight way that I'd have to find the coat and more sensible foot wear.  Outside there was sun in blue sky.  An entire hemisphere to search.  And from where they were, they could have probably seen a hundred miles into the distance, maybe two hundred.  The Tennessee border and on south to the sanctuaries.  But I guess they didn't notice me pointing, because someone up there decided to head north, and everyone appeared to follow him.  Can't help but wonder if they know something I don't.  Either way, here on earth we have to find Spinach seed.