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.