Saturday, November 30, 2013

Twenty One Squares

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

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

Friday, November 29, 2013

Rambling

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

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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Marlowe's Faust

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

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Marmite, Balaclava and Wooly Socks

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

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

Threat to Humanity

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

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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Marmet and White Sulpher Springs

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

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

Friday, November 15, 2013

Gone a While

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

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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Geometry And Space

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

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

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Number

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

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Limbic Noise

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

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

Monday, November 11, 2013

Remarque, Sassoon, Owen and Gibson.

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

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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lady Bird Dream State

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

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

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Waving

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

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

Friday, November 8, 2013

Presentists

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


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

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Blue Jay

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

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

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Waxwings

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

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ecumenic

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


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

Monday, November 4, 2013

Structure

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

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

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Highway Code

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

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

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pursuit of Happiness

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

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

Friday, November 1, 2013

Beak Envy

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

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