Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last Day of Another Year

I did briefly labor with the idea that yesterday was the last day of the year, but thanks to toalla limpia lentes I was able to clean the eye glasses and a whole new world was revealed. I can now feel very confident that today is the last day of the year and will celebrate by waiting until at least eight thirty before retiring to my bed.

 The limpia lentes are an introduction to the community which The Friend Who Lives too Far Away is responsible for. You have to hold your breath, the limpia part has that waking quality in it's scent that might well substitute for a strong cup of tea or a good clip around the ear. So I'll be sure to have a lens cleaning wipe handy around eight o'clock tonight.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Travel Preparations.

Thirty days has September, April, June and November. This means tomorrow isn't 2015. It's little snippets of knowledge like this which a person needs to see them safely through the the day to day without having to look things up before they engage the gears, and go boldly into town to visit the Post Office.

 I will have to shave again. I shaved a couple of days ago in anticipation of a trip into town, but what with one thing and another that trip didn't completely happen. Wish it had, because too much shaving is not good for skin, and very cruel on the emotions. "Grow a beard!" I hear you say. Well, I find the panoply of beards very unnerving in others. Beards are either "I've totally given up."  Or they are some sort of domestic pet that feeds on scraps.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Nightmare of Titles

The issue of Titles rears an ugly head. Our hero has achieved a level of hero-dom that is really very awesome and super-fantastic. Despite all my efforts, he is basically walking on water. Quite how it got to this I do not know. Fortunately I have horrible things in store for him, unless he again outwits me with some sort of Harry Potter magic wizardry. And should anyone be interested, if our hero takes a deep breath, he's almost four foot eleven inches at the moment.

One of my worries is and has been what I'll call 'A glorification of the English Boarding School System.' It does create a tribe that's separate and apart. You can get a sense of it from people who say things like 'I went to Harvard,' as they cheer the Harvard tidily-wink team. But worth remembering they didn't go to Harvard until they were at least shaving. It's nice to belong, but it's more a question of what you belong to. Ask those who remember wearing the uniform of the hitlerjugend. But that's all in our hero's future. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cold Wet Rain

This is what you call, a Cold Wet Rain. The pedant might suggest in that truly aggravating way that wet might not be necessary. Rain, he might argue is wet by its nature. Well, I'm here to tell him that this is "A Cold Wet Rain." It's not a Welcome Rain, it's not a Nice Rain, and it's far too early for it to be a Potato Rain.

And if the pedant still doesn't like the word wet in his description of rain, I suggest he gets into his milk cart and delivers bottles of milk in a rain like this. He'll find his fingers getting cold, his clothes and his warm wooly socks will get wet. And if he doesn't understand a Cold Wet Rain when he gets back to his milk yard, then there's something very seriously wrong with him.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Moa is not a Giraffe

New Zealand has no native mammal. But I will take exception to the idea of the New Zealand Amber Snail, a large carnivorous worm hunting snail by the way, as playing the role of Wren. First of all Wren's are birds, and there are, or at least there were, plenty of native species of New Zealand birds. Indeed birds ruled New Zealand until the Maori appeared.

 Second, I don't think it useful to compare and contrast the roles of species. The Moa, for example, was never a Giraffe. So thinking of the Moa as New Zealand's Giraffe is kind of like thinking a Strawberry Mivvi is, or was, the USA's Blue Bunny Ice Cream on a Stick. Similar nutritional values, possibly. But the Moa and the Giraffe are very different creatures.

Friday, December 26, 2014

"I can fly you can't" irritating.

The Audubon Dogwoods have buds. But they are not as bud rich as they were three days ago. And this means Grosbeaks had their way with the Audubon Dogwoods when no one was looking. They come through on their path to the Paw-Paw trees and the Parrots, and they pillage. There was a time when they didn't seem to care whether a resident saw them engaged in vandalism. If they were yelled at they'd just stare back, or hop around a bit and give a person the Grosbeak stare. Which is a kind of supercilious stare that's sort of independent looking and free spirited. It's "I can fly you can't" irritating. Which as everyone knows is the worse than the "Attila The Hun" sort of irritating.

 Now I do understand that in the tapestry we people are doing our very best to civilize the planet, make it warmer, do away with wild places, make it so that you can drive from the North Pole to the South Pole without too many traffic lights and not have to confront something like foreign food, or some kind of incomprehensible dialect that makes communication difficult. But in some areas we people aren't doing a very good job. Grosbeaks have gone sneaky on us. They come in the night and they engage in acts of terrorism against a person's Audubon Dogwood buds. I think there should be a pogrom against this sort of behavior. Grosbeaks should be put on some kind of a watch list, they need serious re-education.  And on this I am a single issue voter.

Thursday, December 25, 2014


I remember Georgie Fame. And I remember Radio Caroline, which was a pirate radio station somewhere out there in the North Sea. In my mind it was a big glittering ship with lots of lights on it. But the photograph of Radio Caroline shows a small rusty looking boat that might have been a trawler, and which looked likely to sink at any moment.

 Georgie Fame was a white guy who could sing blues. At least I thought he could. He got himself all involved with finding his way in the big world of music promotion. They gave him outfits, told him how many guitars he could have, they got rid of his bongo player. who looked a little too ethnic for the dolly birds. Anyway, someone bought one of my books today. Best Christmas present ever. Don't know who.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


The joy of the shortest day is surviving it. One more year upon earth. And this is holy, the word for calm, for majesty and fat little princes. To celebrate, there'll be mash potato and gravy, and maybe something with sugar.

 And almost without saying, Albert Bandura's Bobo Doll Experiment comes to mind. Not at all pretty, by the way.  Whether it be good or bad, we copy each other all the time. Can't help ourselves, it seems. I'll call it prefect.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Well Rounded

Our hero and the Rabbit of Usk are currently in East Sussex. The month is May, and the year is 1964. Not many people will remember Gerhard Zucker, a civilian rocketeer who was firm in his convictions that mail could be delivered by rockets. His early attempts to impress the Royal Mail with a practical demonstration of mail delivery by rocket, was in the 1930's. The Royal Mail rewarded his efforts by suggesting he be deported back to Germany, where the German authorities arrested him on suspicion of being in the pay of the British intelligence services.

 During the war Gerhard was a pilot for the Luftwaffe. Following the war Gerhard resumed his interest in mail delivery by rocket, and on May 7th 1964 at a demonstration of his concept in North West Germany something went badly wrong and three people were killed. The incident didn't figure very large in the East Sussex press at the time, but on May 10th or 11th 1964 eyebrows were raised when our hero mentioned Gerhard Zucker during English Spelling Detention. And the point is, we writers of pulp like our characters to be well rounded.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Why Socrates Chose Hemlock

It's a sad fact that written words remain as they are on the paper or wherever it is the technical device keeps them. They do not move around, they do not rearrange themselves. They just sit where a person puts them. Yet over time their meaning changes. One day the sentence makes perfect sense, it strikes like a brilliant cobra and causes the heart to wonder at the magnificence of it's creator. The next day the same sentence was clearly the work of some kind of rubber room experience because it makes no sense at all, might just as well be gibberish. Leave it a month and you're basically looking at the work of a Hamster or a Wombat who has a keyboard in his dwelling place. And too, there's something very unpleasant about editing that makes me think the ancients did the right thing when they advised Socrates to either get out of town or drink Hemlock.

One of the tragedies in my time on earth has been my relationship with written words. They are without doubt the most unsatisfactory forms of self expression, and yet they are the most addictive. They can touch the nerve of life on earth with the promise of understanding that can be displayed and flaunted. It's tribe and clan, it's the big hat, and it's Cancun. And too as the world of people move into newer and newer places, odds are the written word will become pretty much extinct. The expression of their moment with living things replaced by vials of the reading experience encoded within a liquid DNA that includes advertizing and cures insomnia. There'll be the odd gallant mushroom in a basement, but to future generations the written word will be kind of like puka shell bracelets or winkle pickers. Sadly the bagpipe will probably outlast them.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Manifestation of Wrong Words

There may have to be a pogrom, or a potlatch if you prefer. The trouble I suspect is not they who have offended the gods, it is I who have offended the gods. And as one who at root is deeply superstitious, or a sufferer from imagination if you prefer, I begin to realize the truth in the idea of the manifestation of spirits. I can say this because I obviously require the services of a priest or priestess who has dedicated his or her time on earth to exorcisms.

 There is however, the idea that the language I speak is not a shared one. So before I commit to an exorcism through pogrom of G Plus Circles, I am going to hunt down cloying and totally irrelevant phrases, pictures of cats, and I will search the thesaurus for the recipes of niceness, then plant them in the ether so I may watch them grow. Then if despite having done this I am still burdened by the spirits of red itchy blotches, I will reach for the delete button, or re-birth if you prefer. Odds are I'll return as an itch mite or scabies.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Derailment

A Derailment as a title hardly covers it. Then there's the question, "Is it actually a derailment?"  And here I can't say for certain without starting to itch. Maybe there's something on the keyboard, or even the keyboard itself, that causes this itching. Yet when I look beyond for others in my predicament there's an understanding that A Derailment might indeed be the title.

There's a sort of sweetness, a sort of earnest searching for the equation, and it's all properly wrapped looking to be cooed at. It's kind of like going to the fancy dress ball in shorts, then sleeping on the park bench and you're never quite certain when the night will end. And here I've never been to a fancy dress ball, but I have slept on park benches. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Non-Smoking Tapestry

A recent and ongoing allergic reaction can be easily explained as a justifiable response to some part of me withdrawing cigarettes from the bits and pieces that comprise the community that is me. It's a revolt, as insurgencies used to be called. Sadly the world just isn't ready for this sort of explanation, and insists upon hunting around for some kind of algebraic formula that describes the reaction as a relationship between my presence in the world and something else.

The possibility that I gave myself red blotchy itchiness as a result of a long string of internal disagreements that came to boil when the visual cortex registered a Smoke Free Zone sign apparently comes under the heading of mumbo-jumbo. Meanwhile the revolt of body parts continues, and currently some sense of agreement between parts is achieved by wandering though the pages of the Urban Dictionary. A wonderland of depravity, erudition and learning. And I have to say, never in my best dreams did I anticipate the complexity of the non-smoking tapestry.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Allergy to Smoke Free Zone

The problem is I need a pair of boots. The old faith-full ones have given up on me. They did sterling service and will be hung in a place of great honor. Maybe painted black and white, or used as hanging baskets if the Spring ever arrives. But to enter the kingdom of New-Boot-Dom, I had to go into town. Ten minutes later I was stricken by a palsy that's little understood by the medical profession. It's quite obvious to me however that for us apprentices to the ranks of the Non-Smoker there is what I will call the Allergic Reaction to members of the Radical Wing of the Non-Smoking Community. Naturally there have been a number of ridiculously far fetched theories tossed around regarding the cause of my Allergic Reaction. Laundry Detergent, Buckwheat Groats, Hibernating Lady Birds. But the more astute thinker knows better.

I started feeling shaky as soon as I saw the signature of the Radical Wing. It's their Smoke Free Zone sign. My reaction to it could be translated from the Sabean language as, these fine fellows have got a hot nerve. This must have produced some sort of psychotic reaction in me that some people call Hives, others call Bring on the End Times, but which is better understood as Entire Body Red Blotchy Itchiness. And yes there was some direct action which required a visit to the Tobacco Hut in order to hunt down a better cure than Benadryl. But to be on the safe side of course, I'll not be washing my clothes for a couple of months, I'll stop cooing at hibernating Lady Birds and I'm going to start calling Buck Wheat Groats, Highwayman Porridge. But one thing I know for certain I'm done with Smoke Free Zones until I have to renew my driving license. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Discursive Prolix as Nictotine

 The Cover Crop does look a little like some kind of aggressive invasive new species from a corporate test tube. It looks very green and lush despite some deep frosts, and it's certainly done the work of covering. I must say I did think there'd be more pea in it, maybe a little clover, some kind of accent that could suggest variety. As well in the right light at certain times of day, it can be mistaken for a not so distant relative of Creeping Grass.

 I recall a man explaining to me exactly why it was he had The Canadian Thistle in his field. For those who might not know it Canada is not that much further than a day's travel on the big roads going North from here. However not until the emergency import of Canadian Hay to feed drought plagued USDA Beef in the 1980's sometime, did The Canadian Thistle think to cross the border. And there may indeed be other theories about why bad things happen to perfectly nice people, but I still don't trust this years Cover Crop.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Redefining Day One

This could be an excellent moment to re-open The Ramses Schism. A popular subject I know, and certain to bring on some interesting exchanges, followed by an hour or so debating the minutiae as each party attempts to out flank each other in order to achieve a sort of intellectual pecking order with feathered headdress in the winners circle. There are names for it, and The Glass Bead Game is as polite a name as any.

 On the other hand I could mention the two cigarettes I so thoroughly enjoyed smoking yesterday, which means this day of the year is another "Day One" in a series of repeating Day One's. It's a phenomenon I guess, and like all phenomena it needs a title. A good solid welcome to hell kind of word, and for some reason "Beatitude Day" begins to ring because "Magister Ludi Day" would be way too aggravating.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


 Not a big supporter of The Reformation. I like my religious nuts to go round selling indulgences and generally making hay out of the buying and selling public. Give me the Pillars of Pharaoh to hang my canvass coat upon as I sing a few songs to the great beyond.

 Nor will I be discussing the role of Tobacco in the furtherance of a more temperate society. Far be it for me to point out that politicians seemed more stable when they had ashtrays in the aisles of their gathering places, the festive season less frenetic and devoted to avarice......

Friday, December 5, 2014

Day Three

One of the other things we Non-Smokers have to get used to is a hen-like attitude to just about everything. It's a short attention span, pecking around, and then completely forgetting what we were doing. Very alarming, and I don't really know how we Non-Smokers get anything useful done, but maybe we're just very good at looking busy and waiting to go to heaven and stuff.

 And there's a rampage of villi in the part of us that does the actual breathing. They are little retired Roman Legionnaires who farm the mucus membrane and they are objecting to the disappearance of their tobacco allowance. Very understandable, I feel it too, but I don't go down there into their world and start waving banners and standing on their street corners. I wish I'd paid more attention in Latin. "Venii Vicii Go Awaii," is Dutch to them.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Day Two

This is bold new territory for me. And it seems wholly inappropriate and altogether totally inadequate to just call it "Day Two." And with such a pathetic, un-resounding sort of name it's no wonder I don't remember having actually survived a Day Two before, except perhaps in more imaginative moments while being interrogated by the Medical Profession.

Perhaps too, after one whole day, an entire thirty and a half hours, I might now be in a position to better understand the mood and world view of the Non-Smoker. A generous if rather unseemly percentage of our population, who are fitter, better educated and wealthier, I'm told. Either way, there's a Toad Stool in Junk Gully I've got to go shout at. It's the sort of thing we Non-Smokers do, apparently.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Day One

Day One, I could call it. But if I did it would be an unforgivable exaggeration. It's not Day One, it's more like day nine thousand, which is about the number of times I have tried to give up smoking. And incidentally this is the third Day One so far this week.

 It's all very well saying things like "only the weak minded smoke cigarettes, we strong minded people like dieting and drinking large quantities of low carb alcohol." Well I'll tell you this much, as far as I'm concerned tomorrow might be as good a Day One as any.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Apostrophes, An Exercise

A piano, a Hungarian pipe smoker, and a maker of death masks who ran off with The Rabbit of the Northern Clans' money. The year was 1823, Ash Wednesday, February the 20th, a day after one of The Rabbit's many birthdays.  When I think about it, The Rabbit has about forty or fifty birthdays a year, so it's tricky.

 It's a little detail from The Rabbit of Usk, and it's also an exercise in apostrophes. Not something your correspondent is good at. He apparently has no innate ability in the arena apostrophes, they do not flow from him like the Brown Water of the River Nile. Nor are Capital letters a strong point in me. But fortunately this isn't physics and nor is it Physics.

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Weaver of Declines

A Weaver of Declines cannot be a title. It just can't. Nor am I certain what picture to put on the front cover. But I do know one thing. When looking at the statistics, free things are considerably more cheerful and bouncy than un-free things which are all kind of guarded and tense and surrounded by barbed wire and protected by pompous ass guards with IPods and promises of two weeks in Cancun and elegant haircuts and some kind of concealed carry permit for a laser weapon.

 And when I think about the Buffalo, especially around the festive season, I begin to feel an intense sadness. Everyone from the totally pointless Brookstone catalogue to some mental patient with a buy me jack hammer beating on him as though he was endless and forever and you could do what ever you wanted to him because he's a half wit and maybe a little stupid. Run free Buffalo, get the hell out of town Jack, stop padding around in shops and peeing in the gutter. It's very unattractive and only encourages the bastards.