Friday, May 31, 2013

Last Day of May

The last day of May, means there are two hundred and fourteen days left in the year. Which I find encouraging.  The last day in May of 1669 is the day Samuel Pepys decided that he could no longer write his diary because writing his diary had caused his eyesight to fail.  Samuel Pepys worked at the Admiralty, and there are some who might credit him for having helped steer the British Navy away from Privateering toward more professional codes of conduct.

 The last day of May in 1669 was a Monday.  In his last entry Samuel Pepys reports getting up very early, doing a little work, having lunch at home. In the afternoon he visited a female acquaintance whose husband was out of town, but whose mother was visiting, so all he could manage was a kiss. Later in the afternoon he did a little more work. Then, he and his wife and couple of friends stayed up late drinking.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tree Swallow

It's a sad fact of life that Tree Swallow do not fledge if they are being stared at.  So my advice is to put out of your mind the whole idea of spending a hot afternoon watching a small hole.  Don't concern yourself  with the possibility of sadness, don't let worry mount your imagination with stark images of failure, and go find something more useful with which to pass time. And do not let adult Tree Swallow tempt you with their play acting that something like fledging is about to happen, because Tree Swallows are cocky and deceitful little bastards. Oh, they'll fly around and call and give off every symptom of a parental desire to share flight with off-spring.  And don't allow yourself to ever say "Maybe if I wait three more minutes I'll see the little fellows make their first flight," because Tree Swallow can hear those kind of thoughts, and they call  loudly to their nest, "Not yet."

So you come to your senses and you go inside, because your head aches, and you can hardly see because despite the sun glasses your own mental apparatus is recording spots and flashes, and you think maybe this is what Rapture will be like.  And your peripheral vision has been so reduced by blue sky you fall over the  bloody de-humidifier, damaging an already damaged shin and sending a splash of water across the floor, which requires instant clean up otherwise wood eating mold starts to grow and there's the risk of electric shook, which would at least be a quick way to end it all. Then, despite the risk of heat exposure and the possibility of precipitating yet one more near death experience you go outside for a cigarette, and there they all are, on the electric line.  And it might well be a relief to see everybody safe and whole, but far better all round if they at least pretended not to be laughing at you.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


When the Rapture does arrive, I will pick up the telephone, dial a toll free number, and I will hear this: "We have identified an outage in  your area, and we are diligently working on the problem.  Thank you for your patience."

 The voice will be angelic, it will make an attempt at exuding calm and confidence and understanding, and to my ear it will contain the smugness of one vacationing in Cancun.  But fortunately internet access, here where I live, has resumed. How the Ancients managed I no longer need to know.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Two Legged-ness

I have to think that Mountain Goats, which have four pointy feet, are better at climbing and at leaping than are members of my own species. And I have seen Baboon, who are eminently capable of clambering around in a most agile manner. So the idea of us as evolving two legged-ness as a response to change in terrain due to volcanic activity strikes me as really rather absurd.  And I am sure if the actual article in The Journal of Archaeology was subscription free, I might be persuaded otherwise.

 The duty on me as an observer of two legged-ness is to adhere to the idea of it emerging in us during the period our ancestors attempted to reacquaint themselves with water.  This theory is variously titled, but 'Aquatic Ape' suffices to summarize it for me, and it's very far from a perfect theory, unless I can think of bountiful lakes in tropical setting, surrounded by sturdy trees in which to build sleeping nests. And I guess I would also have to argue that my own reluctance to go near any kind of water could be a matter of a genetic regression to the 'pre-Aquatic Ape' period of our species and therefore no fault of mine.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Strawberry Seduction

I guess one major problem for a Gardener is a quirk in his character that takes great satisfaction from the sight of The Cedar Mockingbird's crew dabbling in the Strawberry.  His three round Mockingbird children are becoming quite tame, which is not necessarily a good omen for future Strawberry crops.  The Artist for her part, has in the past been adept at growling at the youth of Mockingbird and she is capable of ferocity when in defense of her own.  I have seen her chase, Rabbit, Deer and Rogue Beagles.

Recently I have noticed that when The Artist is amongst the Strawberry she is made subject to  the Cedar Mockingbird's seductive aria, his syncopations, his gallantry of dance.  And he has made a point of letting her see him  feed the rounder of his three children in a manner which I can only call a 'pathetic public display of affection.'  Nor for one minute did I ever believe The Artist would fall for so blatant a maneuver.  But I am beginning to suspect that she has done. Which is yet one more ill omen for future Strawberry crops.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bede's Heresy

I am beginning to really believe the problem of structure in most everything a person looks at, or tries to do, is more about addressing purpose than it is about anything else.  Which is primarily why I find myself at odds with the 8th Century theorists whose commitment to 'The Six Ages of the World' led them to accuse Bede of heresy.  Bede's 3,952 years has a sort of precision to it that asks questions of me, sets my mind toward narrative and the adventure of wondering why,  to the definition of comedy, and a host of realms that spiral into a happy no-where-ness, what others might call chaos.  But Isidore's and Augustine's borrowing an idea from some of the more eccentric Jewish sects, of neat divisions of one thousand year periods, when put beside Bede's inspired calculation, contain for me at least, the same  "you can't be that dull"  inadequacy, that I feel when subjected to television advertizing. Which is something  Bede's calculation does not produce in me.

 The accusation of heresy is central to the disciplining of minds around a particular structure. In Isidore's day, he would certainly have banned the 'fast forward button.'  Otherwise Spain would never have become Catholic, The Visigoth King might now be an exile in London, Isidore might never have attained Sainthood and the internet would have no Patron Saint.  And how much easier, on the day of Bede's death to arrange conviction around the year 1000, which would be the start of the Seventh Age, when the world would end.  And for Peter at least, the Seventh Age would be something like this: "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." 2 Peter: 3:8.  So Bede, while there is no way of knowing whether he'd have agreed with Peter's wonderful definition of infinite, certainly he had doubts about the structure of his world.  And here, in my own little universe, which is mostly all about  a structure, or a narrative, for the Rabbit of Usk, I'd prefer to celebrate Bede's Heresy.  Certainly an F-minus from Isidore's crowd,  nonetheless I'll title the genre a confident "incomprehensible yet strangely entertaining."

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Venerable Bede

Tomorrow is the anniversary of  The Venerable Bede.   About sixty years after he died, the library in Jarrow Abbey, where Bede studied the evidence from history, was burned by Vikings, and some of us have disliked Vikings ever since.  But on the brighter side, while pursuing his studies Venerable Bede found evidence to suggest  that the world had been created 3,952 years before the birthday of Jesus.  A number of the faithful became outraged and accused Bede of heresy.

 The standard view in  Eighth Century Europe was Isidore of Seville's the Six Ages of the World Theory, which stated that the Advent of Jesus, his resurrection, occurred exactly five thousand years after the creation of the world.  Saint Isidore of Seville is the Patron Saint of the Internet, and when he was alive it was said of him that through the study of Greek, Hebrew, the Liberal Arts and the Sciences, he saved The Kingdom of the Visigoths, which was most of Spain and some of Southern France, from Barbarism.  As for The venerable Bede, he is also known as The Father of English History. 

Friday, May 24, 2013


The Outhouse, though I say so myself, will be spacious and magnificent, and very wonderful.  However, I begin to think "Saint Theresa of Avila,"  after whom The Outhouse has been named would by now be reaching for her Book of Proverbs, King James Version.  She'd pause to relish 6:6 "Go to the ant thy sluggard: consider her ways and be wise."  But I can at last say that the preliminary debate and confusion in nomenclature phase  are probably concluded, roof line has generally been decided upon, and there has been some experimental bolting of one bit of wood to another, so the interpersonal aspect of the project is almost through and fairer winds ahead.

Nor has the interpersonal aspect been easy, or straightforward.  And I'd guess Saint Theresa, along with my Very Own Artist,  are still savoring Proverbs 6:12 and 6:13:  "A naughty person, a wicked person, walketh with a 'froward' mouth, he winketh with his eye, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers."  And I can feel Saint Theresa looking out from her cloister, and I can see the Artist staring down from her tractor in the field.  For yea I could be called a 'froward' person.  Difficult to deal with, perverse, wayward, contrary. But in my defense, I'd argue that  I have the communication skills of an Armadillo which makes it only appear that I, "speaketh with my feet," and  "teacheth with my fingers."  And if ever I have winked at any thing, it's source was wind and sawdust.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Grass Pollen

I'd like to think the Gnatcatcher in the Apple is one of the more generous minded birds. My own rampant pruning of limbs followed by gusty winds that knocked Peaches from Peach trees, and yet there is still a tail feather in the Gnatcatchers nest.  It's possible the nest has been abandoned as a poor choice of location, and into which no more effort will be put.  And maybe the tail feather is a feature of Gnatcatcher nests, rather than belonging to an actual Gnatcatcher that's brooding.

One solution to the mystery would be to get a step ladder and take a look. Quite why I seem unable to do that has less to do with my own inflamed perceptions of the Gnatcatcher's opinion of me, and more to do with a reappraisal of  Stendhal's reaction to being in the presence of Florentine Art.  Which caused him to claim:  "Life was drained from me. I walked with fear of falling."   Round here, where I live, I have learned to call that Dizziness from Grass Pollen, and fortunately there are pills for it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


 Sweat Factor is also a quality of shoes.  Sadly it's necessary to wear shoes, because we are very badly designed creatures, and without shoes great damage to feet can be done by the simple act of walking around.  But fortunately some shoes have a high Sweat Factor, which produce a useful foot odor that I am persuaded discourages Tics, and other small creatures that can leap out of the invisible.  And, I am happy to argue, shoes that fall  into the category of a low Sweat Factor, produce a foot that encourages the attention of Spiders.

The shoe that produces a higher Sweat Factor, is either rubber or plastic.  And there is an argument that in all shoes Sweat Factor is reduced by  wearing fresh socks every day. Which, for some of us is quite out of the question, because socks in the warm weather are an incline into the pit of hell.  And I'd wear flip flops, if I could, but along with my allergy to sunshine and windiness, I seem to be developing an allergy to the sight of my feet.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bean Thinning.

Thinning Beans.  A truly miserable process, but if I call myself  Gardener in order to explore harmonies and ancestors, and thereby own some kind of identity, I should at least occasionally attempt to deserve the title. Which is why with Beans I have three approaches to "thinning." One is to insist that Beans are not yet ready to be thinned, this way time passes until it becomes too late to thin Beans, with resulting airlessness that brings on a slow and agonizing stem pox, a Bean Beetle haven. The other two approaches to thinning Beans require granting songs from war permission to wander into the back ground so that mood might be set.  One of these songs is 'Erika,' and I have found that thinning Beans to 'Erika' can result in pardon of the weaker seedling, and a sort of ferocity toward the strong, because 'Erika' is a somewhat sappy bit of propaganda, which even contains what I suppose is a pun. A yearning for pretty 'Erika' who lives on a moor far from the front line, but who isn't the moorland Heather that's also called 'Erika.'  "Her heart full of sweets." And she's crying for her valiant warrior.  Indeed 'Erika,' though tempting to oblige her, is too mawkish, too wishful for the hard work of Tyranny, or Kapital, depending on which of your views has  a root in eugenics.

 The other war song is called 'Panzerlied.'  Which is a very good song to kill by.  It's about fearlessness in the face of just about anything from yellow sand to ice and sub zero temperatures, from deceit to an "honorable iron grave." And I have begun to use 'Panzerlied' to thin Beans, because one of the issues when Beans are being thinned is the six inch gap between each seedling in a well ordered platoon of seedlings.  For those of us who are probably certifiable, the precision of this six inch gap is necessary for calm, and this means that a ten inch gap between seedlings becomes a source of anxiety, which can only be overlaid by the sure knowledge that when the Beans are grown to shaggy adulthood, I'll not notice the gaps in the line,  unless I think very hard about it, and usually it is very hot when picking Beans so thought process ceases.  And of course, culled seedlings as they shrivel are traditionally called "The Heroes" then slow marched toward the compost pile along with the Legions 'La Boudin.' "Let us forget, along with other hardships, Death which forgets us so little."  And I tell you, 'The Blood Sausage' sounds better when chanted in French.

Monday, May 20, 2013


 Problems associated with major hacking back of  shrubs and trees at this time of year are too many to mention. But a number of considerations are well worth raising.  First, it's far too late to suddenly decide that something has to be pruned.  Much better to have thought about it up to six months ago, instead of  waiting all this time. Then, when a person realizes they made the same error last year and the year before that, it all becomes a little irritating.  And without beating a bush, high temperatures with humidity are neither of them conducive to thoughtful pruning to shape of anything.

The second consideration is the nesting of birds.  Some way into the ordeal of managing the Apple, I noticed what I thought was some kind of pox, an evil growth of some kind, and I decided that of the confusion of crossed branches, I could at least rip out an infested limb.  By sheer chance, with sword in hand, I spotted a very small tail feather and realized I'd seen a nest. She'd been there muttering at me, holding on, and had not deserted her eggs, while I'd hacked away all around her.  She's a tiny bird called a Gnatcatcher. Her nest is lichen, bark, Caterpillar silk, Spider web, and there is a slight chance her nest is lined with a hair or two from my own head.  Thank Goodness I saw her in time.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Of perennials in the Vegetable Garden, all creatures capable of movement have a special place on their menu for Ripening Strawberry, and this can lead to conflict, anxiety and rattiness, especially if Mockingbird decide that a Strawberry bed makes the perfect nursery for three plump children. The first attempt at  creating The Greedy Strawberry, which is the bigger and bigger and fatter and fatter Strawberry, was a 1750 French hybrid of two species of Wild Strawberry, one from the coastal regions of the Western America's and the other the Wild Strawberry that can often be seen anywhere from Kentucky to Virginia and which wisely produces a tiny little fruit that can often go unnoticed.

The interesting thing about the Wild West Coast Strawberry, or Beach Strawberry as it's sometimes called, is it's presence in the Mountains of  Hawaii.  The argument from some quarters is that the Beach Strawberry was carried to the Mountains of Hawaii by migrating birds.  The Wild Strawberry of Europe are as far as I can tell, mostly The Little Woodland Strawberry. Which from around 1500 were kidnapped from their forests and planted by Gardeners in nice straight rows so that all creatures capable of movement could easily find them. The Romans boiled the entire Strawberry plant, roots and all, as a cure for mental distress.  Which is an option I am seriously considering.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


I thought a Squab was a life form of the sea, that lived in the colder depths where it grew to great size while it pondered the meaning of darkness and the poor dear had suddenly become fashionable amongst the 'eating-out' crowd now that Swordfish and Snapper are in terrible decline.

 To discover that a Squab is a nestling domestic Pigeon, that's not yet left the care of it's parent,  and can do not much better than flutter, has sent me into a decline, awakened the certain knowledge that so long as I trudge this earth, I'll never again open a cook book.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Barefoot Carmelites

One of the problems of being dominated by The Rabbit is the persistence of his past, which now intrudes.  One consequence of this intrusion is boredom for any one who might read these pages and another consequence is such things as for example a name for the Out House. Which in my mind has become a tentative  "Saint Teresa of Avila."   For his part, The Rabbit formerly achieved Sainthood, in the Year of Our Lord 1099.  But as is well known, since around 1100  a person does not usually become a Saint, until he or she has been gone form the mortal plane for a respectable period of time.  There are a great many recent exceptions, and I'd argue that these exceptions are primarily a reactionary whim on the part of the modern Vatican, a pandering to populist demand.  As well there has been in recent times a horrible habit of what I will call "Mass Sainting."  The eight hundred Martyrs of Otranto, may be an extreme example but it is far from unusual.  In the 1970's Pope Paul the sixth suddenly announced the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, most of whom had had their moment on earth at around the time tea first arrived in England.

 The Rabbit was born around 720 and died around the time Offa came to the thrown of Mercia, which according the Anglo Saxon Chronicles was near enough to the year 757, though of course the calendar has changed a little, so it might have been 758, or 756.  And during The Rabbit's time upon earth, it was more likely that in order to be a Saint a person had first to have held a very respectable office within the religious hierarchy, and as admirers gathered for a final farewell there would be graveside discussion of Sainthood, and onward the process would quickly go all the way to the Pope, who'd pretty much gloss through evidence of Sainthood and make the decision on political grounds. Then there would occasionally arise a rascal, who for one reason or another would be made a Saint for purely political ends.  Which is why one of the phenomena a commission on sainthood considers worthy, is what's called the Odor of Sanctity.  And here "St. Teresa of Avila" became a Saint because her grave exuded a sweet scent for nine months after her death.  Saint Teresa was one of the founders of the order of Barefoot Carmelites, who are called to a cloistered existence of  "prayer, penance, hard work and silence."

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Odious to God

William the Second was a son of William the Conqueror. "Hateful to almost all his people and odious to God," he well might have been.  After the death of Archbishop Lanfrac, an Italian Norman who had been Archbishop of Canterbury, William was reluctant to name another Bishop to the postion and that way he was able to secure Church Revenues for his own purposes.  Then one day William fell sick, and he was able to convince himself that this sickness was a punishment from God, and he set about the business of appointing a new Archbishop of Canterbury. He chose another Italian Norman called Anslem, a brilliant politician who a hundred or so years after his death was recommended for Saint Hood by none other than Thomas Becket.  Saint Anslem of Canterbury died in the year 1109.

 William the Second's  nickname was William Rufus.  He had a "red faced" appearance and probably suffered from some sort of red blotchiness as I do.  He was 'flamboyant' and without entail. And it's possible that the good scribes of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles added this aspect of William's personality to their understanding of "odious to God."   William died while hunting.  The Anglo Saxon Chronicles suggest he was "shot by an arrow from one of his own men."  The arrow pierced his lung, he fell from his horse, and there in the forest he was abandoned by the nobles. His younger brother, Henry, raced to Winchester where the Royal Treasury was kept and within days Henry had himself crowned King of England. And I have told the Rabbit of Usk that I have no intention of going hunting with a marksman.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Un-auspicious Reemergence,

OK. I will wave the white flag.  And I'll try to argue my surrender has nothing to do with any wimpy-ness on my part, or fear of Grocery Store encounters, or boiling head syndrome, or Tic.  Nor do I want you to think my surrender follows after some form of enhanced interrogation technique on the Rabbit's part.  Rather, I have endured everything I am prepared to throw at myself, and after last night's long conversation with Walking Stewart he has agreed to merge briefly with the oneness on the understanding that my conclusion brings out the shine in Pythagorean thought, and, so long as I take care to offer detailed accounts of the Rabbit's horribleness.

And I guess there are some who when they attempt an account of their own existence, their Ecce Homo, if you like, have some sort of control over the course of  what the technical device calls 510,643 words.  A summation so callous I can feel my heart break. And grudgingly I can understand the importance of structure, when the Rabbit of Usk shrugs off his sulk and now begins to insist it is his turn to take the lead, otherwise anarchy and unwarranted innuendo, some of it very risky, will reduce me to a gibbering wreck, a chaotic pile of confused inconsequence.  And of course The Rabbit's first words to me after the months of his silence had to be a quote from the Anglo Saxon Chronicles. "You're like William the Second," he said to me, "hateful to almost all your people and odious to God." An un-auspicious reemergence, I'd suggest.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


The Rabbit of Usk faces such a conundrum there's a possibility I'll never again be able to have a hair cut.  The problem lies in the relationship we share, I am unwilling to compromise and his response for some time now has been silence.  It's been a long impasse in communication. So around the beginning of March, which is when one of us last made a decent contribution, I drew a conclusion that perhaps if I let my hair grow through the March hair cutting deadline, my hair would become intolerable as the warm weather arrived, and this would force me to achieve an increasing intensity of concentration that might permit progress.

 Already I have been called 'madam' in the Post Office, and I've been offered a biscuit recipe by a large round man with bad hair plugs in the Grocery Store. And now that Tic season has conjoined with Out House Construction season I am possessed by a  twitchiness that defeats all attempt at clear thinking.  But I will not surrender.  I will not kill off Walking Stewart by causing him to discover his lost button then disappear into the ethers of  the Ottoman Empire. And I will insist upon knowing the names and life history of the  Advocates for and against Timothy's canonization. And whenever that's done, I'm going to get my hair cut.  As well I believe somehow the failure of Carrot Rows has contributed to the Rabbit of Usk's continuing stubbornness. And who knows what might happen to thinking  when Beans might be ready to pick.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weather Bulletin

The late afternoon of May 12th 2013, less that six weeks this side of mid summer's day, and a frost advisory issued by the National Weather Service.  It's these sorts of dramatic moments that pulls a mind into closer and closer affinity with the men and women of the weather service. It's their opportunity to express emotion in their prose, wax lyrical, share mood.  EER was unusually blunt: "Sensitive outdoor plants may be killed if left uncovered."  I heard relish and keen anticipation in his voice, and I don't know about you, but I suspect EER is not person who likes his vegetables.

JH, who I am convinced grows his tomato on a balcony somewhere, offered: "Potted plants normally left outdoors should be covered or brought inside away from the cold." I could hear the nervousness, see the telephone call to a grandmother and the worry.  But for understatement, and pure cocktail drinking calm, a person had to go to  Geogerian/Dusty, my own  hero of the National Weather Service: "Those with agricultural interests may consider taking precautions to protect tender vegetation."  Myself, I thought the frost last night, "Spiteful and inconsiderate."  The Artist for her part, called it a "A farewell love pat, because nobody was hurt."

Sunday, May 12, 2013


A pair of Blue Grey Gnatcatchers.  A Least Flycatcher.  The butterfly flight of a courting Yellow Chat. One Hummingbird, who paused a while to sit in sunshine, warm himself on a cold morning. Indigo Bunting, bad tempered in the cut grass. Three Tree Swallow.  One Confusing Warbler, he or she was greenish and had the sharp beak. Two  Nightjar.  It's a list for this morning's coffee clutch with migratory birds.  Which, I'd suggest, is the only possible reaction to the Pope canonizing just 800 of the 813 Martyrs of Otranto who were beheaded in 1480 by Ottomans following a dispute over who might own the One God.

 I don't call Phoebes, or Snow Birds migratory any more, nor can I call the Northern Harrier a winter visitor.  The two Bobwhites are residents. And we are getting a little too much attention from Crows, so full we are of eggs and nests and rushing around. And the Red Squirrel is guilty of something, I'm certain. He has the happy smile. And late tonight into tomorrow's sunrise there could be frost on the Iris.  So, if for some unaccountable reason you care about these sort of things, it's all very exciting and well worth waking up for.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Existentialist Cause

Pontius Pilate as he attempted to maneuver a way through a political impasse, must have decided that if he could demonstrate that Jesus was no more than a person, those agitated by the possibility of Jesus being divine, would come to their senses.  He had Jesus whipped, crowned with thorns and with the words "Behold The Man" he presented a much humiliated Jesus to that part of the populace who had been following the various flows in idea.   And you have to wonder what Jesus might have been thinking through the course of that particular ordeal.

If ever you read "Ecce Homo" which is Nietzsche's "Behold The Man," pay no attention to the idea of it being an autobiography.  If you even begin to think that, you'll get badly irritated and you will fall to the vice of scholarship and you'll start rambling about this and that and you might cease being true to the existentialist cause.  Instead think of Nietzsche putting himself in Jesus' place, with Pontius Pilate grinning in the back ground, and blast of expectant faces out there in front of him. And with this scene in place, as you read Ecce Homo, ask yourself the question "how did I become what I am." 

Friday, May 10, 2013


A year or two ago I was mobbed by a hooligan band of juvenile Hummingbird for wearing a colorful shirt while attempting to make Blackberry jam on the outdoor stove.  And anyone who might think it a cute or wonderful moment has obviously never experienced a mobbing by Hummingbird.  It's kind of like being Biggles in a Dirigible surrounded by Die Fliegertruppen.  Unnerving as it sounds.
This morning, while he was doing his rounds of Red Columbine, a boy Hummingbird paused to get a better look at me.  And there was something very familiar between us.  He darted closer to me, his beady eye inches from my forehead,  and I have learned how pointless it is to swat at Hummingbird, so I blew cigarette smoke at him. And if I'd had an Eye Pod, or Google glasses, I'd be able to show you a picture of a Hummingbird sneering.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


The Big Town in the State of Kentucky is Louisville.   I was there yesterday, amongst people with cell phones and in unbridled traffic.  An English can get close to an adequate pronunciation of The Big Town's name if he realizes the 's' is silent, otherwise confusion may rule.  Louisville is named after the French King Louis the sixteenth, who is the French King who lost his life to the guillotine, and whose nickname is Louis The Last. And it's worth noting that in the lineage of French Monarchs, Louis the sixteenth was actually  followed by Louis the seventeenth and by Louis the Eighteenth. The first King Louis of France, Louis the Pious, is not to be confused with King Louis the First of Spain, or the first King Louis of Bavaria, or the first King Louis of Hungry.  The name Louis is generally thought to mean Famous Warrior, so a great many proud European kings must have named their boy child Louis in hopeful expectation.  But how the word Louis emerged from words reflecting the idea of  fame and war and warrior in any language defeats me.  I've always thought of the sound "lewis" and "looee" as "big bottom pansy ass boy," which I am well aware is yet one more flaw  in me that I should work on, and I will.

 Louisville was founded and given it's name by George Roger Clark.  He was soldier from Virginia in the Revolutionary War, which was a war that saw the French on the American Colonist's side.   Of current day pronunciations of Louisville this is how some might be spelled,  "Loouhvull"  or the much friendlier "Luhvull"  and sometimes to better encompass the ear of outsiders the sound is repeated as  "Looeevil."   Louis, or Famous War Warrior, in the English language way of these things, is 'lewis,' the 's' is not silent.   And indeed there is a town called Lewisville in Texas, which is named after man called  Basdeal Lewis.  Lewisville Texas is pronounced "looisvil."  As well there is a town in England called Lewes, it's about twenty miles from where the Saxon King Harold lost his battle with French Normans in the year 1066. A loss that can still hurt me as much as the loss of Carthage to Rome and Troy to the Athenians.  And this town of Lewes in England as well as the town of Lewes in Delaware is pronounced "lewis."  Lewes is also a name with an origin in Wales, and there are some who will tell you it comes from the Welsh  word "Llyue" which means 'leader'  or perhaps brightness'  and probably arrives in English from the Welsh name  Llywelyn.  And I wonder what might have happened had George Roger Clark been inspired by Llywelyn The Last of Wales, rather than Louis The Last of France.  Llywelynville  would sound something like "hhluwwerlihnvull."  Which to my ear is even further  from sounding like ""big bottom pansy ass boy town"  than is "Luhvull."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Psychologically Stable

The observation is that of all life forms that have ever existed upon earth, four fifths of them are debatable.  Which means, there is no clear unadulterated fossil evidence of their having been here.  There is no dinosaur bone.  Rather the existence of fourth fifths of past life on earth is assumed from scanty physical evidence from peculiar, yet familiar structures, which support a theoretical over view of  what it is past living things did, or might have done, had they been here.  As an example, the argument is, our planets breathable oxygen is a product of ancient life forms, a pollution which some of us learned to cherish as we fed upon creatures that produced breathable oxygen as an unwanted byproduct of their own life cycle. A perspective is to think of the past five thousand years of our history and say that of those five thousand years of history there is no real concrete evidence of anything ever happening prior to 1000AD.  In the context of United States history, a history which begins around the war of independence, it would be as though records began in something like 1960.  All of which is grist to a creationist mill.

For the more modern people still aboard it, the planet Earth is about four and a half billion years old.  Which makes Earth about one third the age of the Universe. From a great many sources of evidence the estimate is that a little over three and a half billion years ago the first life forms emerged upon earth.  On April 22nd of this year, which is about two weeks ago, a Netherlands based group called Mars One asked for a million 'psychologically stable' volunteers who are 'proficient in the English language' to support their vision of colonizing Mars sometime in 2013, which they claim is an imperative if we are to 'understand our place in the universe.'  Since April 22nd there have been 78,000 volunteers.  My question is "why is their answer on Mars?"  And while I suspect the Mars One  answer is somewhere in the word "mission,"  it's interesting that Mars One is planning to fund their search for an 'understanding of our place in the universe' with reality television programming.  Nor does a person have to lie about his age on the application because so long as you are over eighteen and can mutter in something like English or plan to be able to soon, there is no upper age limit.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Past, Present, Future.

A person becomes aware that he is living in the past, when he wakes up, looks out the window and says, "This time last year Poppy was in bloom."

And it's all very depressing when a person wakes up, looks out the window and says, "This time next week there could be frost on the Tomato."

Monday, May 6, 2013


    The Summer Tanager has chosen his tree to sing from.  It's nice to again be in the presence of my post structural friend, but sadly his tree this year is in earshot of the room where I sleep. So I will have to listen to him harp on at an hour of the day when thought process is best left uncomplicated by external stimuli.  Today the Tanager entered morning dreams a little before the sunrise.  I was in the lecture hall, undergoing scrutiny, my thesis on Barn Swallow attacked by the more practical minds of Banana Growers, it was getting ugly with sneering and I felt aggressive. Then, when my post structural friend started to sing, I drew a blank.

As those of us who are often distressed by dreams know, drawing a blank while dreaming is tantamount to a day spent pacing around the question "I should of said" while reinterpreting Jung with the question "what was I trying to remember." So I closed my eyes determined that no dream of mine would end without a satisfactory conclusion, which as a rule requires me to lop off the heads of my antagonists before marching down the aisle toward a coffee pot.  But woe is me when the Tanager sings, his voice enters a synaptic cleft, grips it with his little feet and he pecks away.  I turned toward my enemies.  "There," I said. "That's your answer."  And bowed  gracefully into wakefulness. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mountview Silt Loam

    I am one who cannot shake the view that temperate zones will increasingly succumb to drought.  Rain, when we get it, will be irregular but intense and each drop evermore valuable.  Here where I live, we are very well drained due to run-off, rather than sandiness. One classification of our soil type is "Mountview silt loam" and what remains of its top layer is depressingly thin,  much of it cruelly treated following laxness by immediate ancestors who archeology might suggest belonged to 'canned beer bulldozing' culture.  Which is one reason I have spent this digging season deep trenching garden beds to further distress the hardpan, so that rain which does fall to earth and which does begin to flow down hill toward the Gulf of Mexico will find an interruption to its travel and will collect in a pool below ground, a sponge of water, where longer roots might rightfully find a refreshment.  And I really should add the other two reasons for this sometimes bizarre activity.  I found  the process mentally absorbing, as I pictured rectangles of moistness down where the eye doesn't see. Secret Oases, I thought of them, verdant, lush and hosepipe-less. A joy to behold.  A third reason, for a behavior most find peculiar, is tobacco related.  A person who can triple trench, I'd argue, should be permitted the odd cigarette.

In most parts of the garden over twenty four inches of useful depth to garden beds has been achieved over time, and generally the more impermeable layer surrounding the garden bed begins about eight or nine inches below the grade. The ground then peters into hard and harder and more and more  impermeable layers of  a god knows what that can reach ninety inches before finding solid rock. So the potential for a water storage is pretty much wonderful unless you set off something like a sink hole which could result in a Oneness with Mole and an extraordinarily irate Artist.  But this year, March, April and so far all of May have been "wet" and there is a strong chance that my diligence and planning, my exacerbation of wrist, shin, ankle, knee and wing ailments, my sense of  cooperation with earth, wind and air, have resulted in the Vegetable Garden becoming a soil type some might classify as  "Root Rotting Bog land." Fortunately, through the digging season, I was fairly preoccupied by the impossibility of my ever being considered for Sainthood, and in an act of random, ill considered  disobedience I dug a pagan Long Mound or Barrow for Tomato, and it's this barrow along with a fungicide that might save them if the year insists upon continuing this way.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Besotted Handmaiden.

    From the Two Handled Ard to Google Glass, from the Altal and Dart to the Opinion Poll, changes in method of production, flight to the city, has put both  anxiety and excitement into thinking.  "Town air makes you free." And the gathering pace of technical innovation is such that some have concluded it might be better to stop thinking of ourselves as "tool makers" by giving technology an understanding of being which technology could call its very  own.  An identity, if you like, a character, which has its own meaning, purpose and the plethora that so umbrella's our own Being from the curves and infinite poem of physics.
    Generally I think it could be argued that an existential understanding of technology would require my own species to step up to the role of  'un-caused first cause' and do away with any notion of ourselves as 'intelligent designer' or 'creator' of technology.  We'd have to begin to think of  the technical device as owning an existence that is outside of ourselves, we'd have to think of it as subject to unaccountable mood swing, we'd have to think of it as capable of poor decision as well the occasional moment of successful conclusion, all of which are concepts we have good access to and experience of as we pass through our own time.   For it's part, the existential of technology has been asking itself our equivalent to the  "Question Why" since long before the first castanet, arghul and sistrum.  And as the existential of technology gains  the capacity to blame others, or what our species prefers to call 'intellect,' odds are you and I will one day learn to find solace in caves, otherwise we are doomed to continue our role within the dialectic of besotted handmaiden.  And how completely my position will change should my application to become a  Google Glass Explorer be accepted.

Friday, May 3, 2013


    When there are tender new plants in the soil that are fresh from The Artist's green thumb, the expression 'copious amounts of rain,' though wonderful to read from the National weather Service, does not settle the soul.  The statement continues, "especially across Southern Kentucky where grounds remain rather saturated." And with respect to saturated ground, the Poets at the National Weather Service are correct. The four foot of  hole for the Outhouse has three foot of water in it.

    Of my favorites from the National Weather Service, and this was sometime last year, or maybe three years ago, is this: "Another danger this afternoon pertains to fire. As dry air pools in the Ohio Valley, behind the existing aforementioned low....Relative humidity levels will continue to decline rapidly through this afternoon. Please be cognizant of any fire related dangers." But I have to think that those of us who are collectors of prose from the National Weather Service, if we are to be taken seriously, should start some sort of association, and offer awards at the annual dinner.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ice Cream

    In three weeks time we'll be about where we were last year with the Garden.  But in three days time there is an anniversary that this year I will consider worth celebrating with ice cream, rather than almost forgetting it, as I did last year.  So I have spent about two hours fixing May 5th into one of those calendars, that pops up in an insistent manner, daring me to 'dismiss' it with a tap of the finger, and I have the device with it's sound on at high volume, which should provide further aid to memory because this particular loud sound can jar the nerves. 

    When I think about ice cream, it's the Vanilla Flavor or Caramel Flavor I think about.  But there's time between now and the anniversary to perhaps demonstrate a little flexibility of thinking, and generally when I do that with ice cream, the mind wanders toward some sort of brick wall.  And I have realized my main problem with any sort of veering away  from the rope line that separates vanilla and caramel from all other ice creams, can be squarely blamed on a most unpleasant and deeply depressing experience I had some years ago with an ice cream called something like 'cookies and cream.'   It was like trying to eat boiled Carp, if I remember.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

About Face

    The about face happens shortly. Leaves upon trees become everyday.  The short trousers are rescued from their life amongst Moth.  There is the issue of knees, which when concealed are easier not to think about, but which when revealed become a source of anxiety and tirade against The Creator's appalling sense of esthetics and lackadaisical attitude toward design.

     There's the cruel decision to stop wearing socks, which means having to endure awareness of toe nails, which in some of us appear to be developing increasingly revolting characteristics not least of which is a yellow hue. And there are freckles which when a mind is in the reverie of high heat and humidity can suddenly be mistaken for Tics.  And all this is merely a prelude to "Recommencement" or "Creeping Grass."