Sunday, December 27, 2015

Why the 25th

The festivals associated with celebrating the winter solstice in the more northern places were easily adapted by the Christian philosophers. But the essence of something like Christmas remains essentially Pre-Christian and the thing of it is why isn't the day of Christmas on December 21st?

There could well have been some kind of calendar issue, an error in translation following a calendar upgrade, easily done, but more likely it was a deliberate contrivance on the part of the faithful to isolate the birth of the Christian Prophet from the multitude. It was The Puritans who had it right, they tried to ban Christmas and had they succeeded more likely we would be celebrating Christmas on December 21st.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Plum Pudding Truce

Following a dispute between our hero and your writer of pulp a cooling off period has been declared. Call it a Plum Pudding Truce. The essence of the problem is Colin D Crabtree, a fellow inmate at Afon-Bedd who may or may not be deserving of his place in a very respectable Tri-County-Lunatic-Asylum. Our hero who himself is apparently 'perfectly sane' and who insists he won his own place at Afon-Bedd by good old fashioned guile and cunning is of the opinion that Crabtree is basically an undeserving scoundrel from Shropshire who should really just pay his speeding ticket, get on with his life, buy his own toothbrush.

In the rugged world of pulp there are certain standards that need to be maintained other wise the narrative descends into the world of farce and we might as well all become Pantomime Dames. The crux of the problem is the distinction between a Tri-County-Lunatic-Asylum and something like a University or college of further education, Oxford or Cambridge, Yale or Harvard.  And here, our hero is reluctant to mark a distinction so long as Crabtree remains undeserving of his place in Afon-Bedd. It's a problem yet there are a couple of possibilities that might smooth the passage of the narrative. Trouble is I've grown fond of Crabtree.

Friday, December 25, 2015

0-6-0 and Grades

 An 0-6-0 Switcher with a sloped tender, and the point is that long engines do not take tight curves with the grace of a smaller engine. The same with carriages. As well an incline with a curve is harder still for a train to manage which means the winding road that goes up hill might lead to tears for the masters of giant steam trains.

An 8 inch rise at 4% requires around 144 inches of track and another 144 inches of track to get all the way back down again. That's something like 8 yards of railway line. So it's all very exciting to think of 8 inches as something like 100 feet. At the same time adding up and subtracting, the multiplication tables, division are none of them strong points in your correspondent. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Creative License

The Palisades which is the name of a river gorge near here. High Bridge which is the name of a railway bridge near here. The White Horse at Uffington which is a figure carved into a chalk down many miles east of here on the other side of the Atlantic and not far from Stonehenge. There has to be a Public House called the Duck and Whistle.

Then there's the problem of Giraffe who require Acacia Trees to be truly happy. They can run for brief periods at around forty miles an hour and the bigger males can be twenty foot high. In N scale a mile is thirty three feet, a Giraffe is about two inches high, the High Bridge near the Palisades would be about seven foot long. All of which means The Artist is calling for a Creative License.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lady Bird Activity

A person has to worry a little about the Lady Birds. The warmth has made them active. There's pottering around, there's a little bit of flying around. Far too much activity in my view, they'll use up their stores of energy and when time comes to leave the domicile they might not have the strength to find that first meal of Spring.

For our own first meal of Spring it's difficult to tell. If it doesn't get too cold there could be Turnips through February, but Turnips don't really count. We are looking at the possibility of a stalk of two of Chard reawakening at the end of March, maybe early April, and there's a possibility of Asparagus to look forward to. With Spinach we'll have to wait until something like end of April, that's if we're lucky.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Impossible Dreams

"Alright Guys!" Tables for n scale don't actually have to be that big, and at the same time when an enthusiast is considering the role of the steam engine in empire building it's difficult not to get carried away. Better to look a long way down the track at something like the Hedjaz Railway and try to remember what happened to the Ottoman Empire. Curse TE Laurence if you want to, but if it had been up to him the Sykes-Picot lines would never have been drawn.

 So it might be the case that a more modern day empire builder should consider a less tyrannical concept, such as a train service between Columbia, Greensburg and Campbellsville. This does mean if there's to be a Stonehenge, Graffiti, a herd of Elephant and basking Crocodiles, a few liberties will have to be taken in the areas of geography, history and climate. But your correspondent is a firm believer in the idea of Empire as belonging to the impossible dream.

Monday, December 21, 2015

6.40 PM EST

For those of us who live in the northern parts of our planet there's no doubt in my mind that today is the most important day of the year. And in a strange way today is the day to mourn an event that occurred three maybe four billion years ago. The impact that caused the world to wobble must have been a sight to see. Then there's the argument which might suggest us people would be less conflicted if there were no seasons, but as an MRE (Model Railway Enthusiast) I understand a person can't have everything.

And it's true I often wish I'd been called by whoever it is that calls to the Trappist Monk. Quite why I was called by Winter Solstice has got to be some sort of cruel joke. But it's the thought of it that counts. Around 6.40 PM eastern standard time here where I live one of the movements the Earth makes upon her axis will stop. Could just be for milliseconds of course. It's kind of awesome, the idea of a return to lengthening days. The June Event is pathetic in comparison. No doubt the Southerners have their own opinions.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Happy Endings

Your correspondent will persist with the idea that we all live in stories. The diligent story teller will weave a narrative which despite all evidence to the contrary has a happy ending. Call them Angels. The less diligent will cleave to the idea that the story teller in his or her head should not be listened to. Call them Devils. The eccentric recognize that we're all nuts and without stories there'd be no tomorrow which is why of all living things our cousins The Plants are the wisest.

In these chilly hours before the northern world turns toward the longer days there might be an argument which suggests the warm fall of the year has bamboozled those of our distant cousins who chose to reach toward bloom earlier rather than later. There's a sort of sigh of regret and a worry from Angels, and a kind of satisfied "told you so" from Devils. But if you listen carefully, you might hear the Daffodil say "All our stories have happy endings."

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Alright Guys

"Alright Guys!" A traditional opening statement in the world of electric train set You Tube 'how to' videos. Worth noting that the word "Guys" is gender specific, the obsession of model electric trains remains a male bastion. Also worth noting that electric train You Tube 'how to' video presenters range in age from around eight or nine year olds to the occasional sixty year old. And should you be considering an entry into the world of electric train sets the fourteen or fifteen year presenter of 'how to' videos is your best bet for actually understanding what they're talking about.

 Those remotely interested will be delighted to hear that You Tube 'how to' videos are usually open to 'comments' and there's a 'like' button, which does subject a presenter to a process of what in the more academic world might be called 'peer review.' I'm all for the process myself, and it does offer the novice an opportunity to better understand the more political and sometimes passionate nature of the "Alright Guys" community. The purists, I'd guess you'd call them. Either way, an N Gauge electric train set needs some kind of table devoted entirely to it and there could well be four hundred thousand different ways of making this table.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Insulting Kings

The King of Thailand's large estate owns the patent on a rain making technology which has the title "Royal Rain Making Technology." It's a cloud seeding technique for warm clouds, cold clouds and a combination of both warm and cold clouds. In the patent there's a great deal of talk about 'attacking' clouds, 'fattening' clouds, 'moving' clouds, 'sandwiching' clouds when the correct aircraft are available and it does go a bit such that eyes can glaze over.

I mention this following the recent spate of individuals who through social media are breaking a law of Thailand that makes it an offense to Insult the King. The law covers a wide range of possible offenses from calling the king names through posting unflattering pictures, to saying horrible things about his dog or his cat. But interestingly a military coup within the king's realm isn't considered an insult to the king unless there is an attempt to overthrow the king.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Frequently un-asked questions, or FUAQs include "Does the N50598 0-6-0 switcher tender have to be run-in?"  And here the N stands for 9 millimeter track gauge. The 50598 stands for the manufacturer's model number. Switcher, is US for a UK Shunter, except in Pennsylvania where they are sometimes called Shifters. In Australia Shunters are sometimes called Yard Pilots. A Tender is generally speaking a fuel bunker.

Running-in with respect to motors is a period of uninterrupted operation in all gears including reverse at moderate speeds so that bearings and contacts can "seat" or get to know each other better. The point is the moving parts of electric powered locomotives that run on N gauge track are tiny, and this means tolerances between moving parts are also tiny which suggests that running-in is kind of central to smooth running future operation.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Great and the Good

The sense of celebration by the negotiators that followed the Paris agreement was shared by a number of organizations engaged in the peripheral activities which included the boys and girls who for security reasons were denied their big demonstration, flag waving, marching and banners, and who rather than run and hide arranged for empty shoes in the Place de la Republique to represent their presence and purpose and their passions at the festival of talk. Al Gore, who seems to have porked up a little, is happy. And other celebrities from screen, stage and political Party kind of regard the moment as a personal victory that will result in monuments to their erudition and learning.

As I understand it, and I'm usually wrong, the nations of our world have agreed to do their best to limit our contribution to harm such that by the end of this century anticipated increase in our planets temperatures will be, depending upon the sources, somewhere between 2.7 centigrade and 3.7 centigrade, I'll call it around 5 Fahrenheit. This apparently allows for the balance necessary to maintain the levels of manufacture and profits which apparently are the central features of harmonious society. Bye-bye Seychelles, and who knows what else, but the argument is the agreement marks a turning point that will provide the incentives for money to move away from fossil fuels. Often wondered whether the Invisible Hand of Capital has Leprosy. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015


There's Happy Holidays, there's Happy Christmas, there's a couple of Merry something or others, there's a whole thing with blowup creatures some of them with antlers, there's illuminations that twinkle, there's a host of decorative accents which for some reason or other include red bows and what could be some kind of poisonous fruit hiding in Spanish Moss. It's a rampant expression, a celebration of plenty or greed and it's contagious.

A person can get lost in the riot. Ribbons, flashing lights, red faced children, the festival of what's loosely referred to as Christmas Music and the meat counter at the Grocery Store. Then as the dusk arrives, the homeward bound might pass a house, it's usually rather grand, anally manicured and my own reaction to the rather sinister single white lights in their windows is to better understand the expression "Meh."

Friday, December 11, 2015

Pillories and Shaming

Those who might have lived a while develop the idea that speech is easy, action isn't so easy and as a result we learn to judge each other not by what a person says, rather by what a person does. At Agincourt it was the archers that defeated chivalry. It was Chaka Zulu's stabbing weapon that led to his victories. I recall a time when snipers were the scum of the earth and more recently there are missiles and a device which shares its name with a lay-about Boy Bee.

More interesting perhaps is the idea of a Cardinal Sin. It's the big one, the kind of action that should lead to guilt and shaming. Sadly a well paid lawyer is able to reinterpret the agreements that define sins, a process that's all done through flower and words. I guess it's us old farts that yearn for the town square pillory. The last person to be pilloried in England was a man called James Bossy, it was 1830, his offense was 'willful and corrupt perjury.'

Thursday, December 10, 2015


The discussion in the Paris Talks is all about the relationship between two kinds of harm. The future harm from an increase in the planet's temperature and the harm from attempting to reduce our contribution to that increase. The men and women sitting at the table have to agree on a mutually acceptable number. The balance of harms is such that by the end of this century an increase in the Earth's average temperature of 1.5 Centigrade, which is a little over 2.5 Fahrenheit, is about as low as they can even begin to contemplate. Estimate is that our contribution so far to the problem is 0.8 Centigrade, which is a little over 1.25 Fahrenheit.

The harm associated with reducing our contribution is fundamentally about the social unrest that could result when the promise of the political class to their people that standards of living will ever increase, a fridge and a television in every living room, an IPod in every school bag fails to materialize. More likely at the Paris Talks 1.5 Centigrade might be too ambitious a number. Something like 2 Centigrade or even 3 Centigrade might be easier for the contestants to agree upon. The mechanism for enforcement of any agreement that might be reached is currently called "Shaming."

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Kafka, Hesse, The Psalms and I.

Some have their conclusions, and necessarily so, otherwise time spent in study is consigned to the subjective, where the polite agree to disagree. The less polite stamp their feet and the next thing you know it's being called war. I surrendered some years ago when I read a letter Kafka wrote to a friend. He explained how he struggled to write and how he found little joy in it except when the words engrossed him, when time passed quickly without his having to think too much about what came next and soon enough it was three o'clock in the morning and he felt happy, fulfilled by his long night's work. The Psalms I suggest. It was rhythm he enjoyed, some deep place in us that searches for meaning rather than offering meaning. It's a place so deep it predates words and language, I'd argue. Others have dismissively called this place posy, a sort of sentimental trash can. Which I guess is better than going crazy and calling it God. But as an understanding of say organizations, not sure the study of them through Kafka's writing is much more than some kind of reach for a fashionable provenance that touches the ennui in all of us. 

My own view, if there has to be a conclusion, is Kafka would probably have found greater comfort if instead of letting the world of his work life into his evenings, he'd taken to the process of word making and sentence through some other medium. He was too sickly for belly dancing, the ballet was out, music was a possibility, drawing and painting, crossword puzzles. The objection of course is that none of these posies answer the big question. Why is it suddenly three in the morning, and why am I happy? I think Glass Bead Game, Hermann Hesse's last story is a better romp for those who even attempt to understand organizations. To sum the plot, "futility must be given meaning." And always worth remembering the thing about being truly free is we'd never expect the trains to run on time, but Kafka did until it came time for him to die, that's when he asked his friend to burn his unfinished books. And here, the question isn't so much why did he do that, rather the question is why did his friend fail to oblige him. The answer is all about organization. Obscure! Probably? 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Undo Buttons

You can call it karma, I guess. Or you can call it revenge. Or justice. But for those of us who look at the keys when we type the "delete" button is far too close to the "insert" button. This means that whole passages can be typed over. Naturally enough the stuff typed over was always good, the work of genius, but it's gone for ever.

 Then after years and years a person realizes there's a time machine called an "undo" button and what with things like cutting and pasting and undoing, it's possible to reveal what was lost. My own advice is to understand the nature of hope by never ever entering this time machine. The results are always very depressing. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Umpires and Audience

The unwanted consequences of making stuff are an unknown expense. More likely there's an accounting of this expense set in the future. But we people have never been good at prediction which is one of the reasons in something like the game of Cricket there are two umpires, two scorers and a line that marks a boundary. This way the game can be played and the future can be determined within a set of rules. The winner gets the bauble, the loser retires to his kitchen where he makes tea and bursts into tears.

Do away with the umpires, the score board and the boundaries, then all you have left of the rules are the boos and the cheers of the audience. There are some who will argue that the boos and the cheers of the audience is all that really matters. "Everything else" has been tried, they'll say, and "nothing has worked" they'll add. What to do about the unknown expenses of making stuff are currently being discussed by the world's umpires and it seems they've come to the conclusion best just to leave it to the boos and cheers of those who sit and watch. The minced oath "gosh" kind of describes it. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Blue Jay

The Blue Jay horde was very present in the early hours. They'd gathered on the speckles of gravel where Creeping Grass is now earth tone brown, it's more of a tanned white, a kind of tope color I guess, but difficult to tell with the frost. Blue Jay's do have a great deal of blue and white in them, and they have the sort of cocked head, it's as though they're always curious, inquisitive, nosey and usually bored unless they are wholly engrossed by nuts and where to bury them, and whether to fly north or south, they never fly east or west, and until around January they just sort of hang around looking at stuff and at each other, and they kind of jangle the imagination of the coffee drinking domesticated.

Then all of a sudden there's a big Blue Jay excitement which requires all Blue Jays in the vicinity to gather, and the noise they make might be music to some ears, but most certainly not to the great majority. It's more of a jagged, winter noise, that creeps into the brain and it's a noise that might well be used by the professionals in the area of psychological warfare to illicit information from the reluctant informer. This morning's excitement in the Blue Jay community had something to do with rabbit pellets in the driveway, and by George it was a Mother of Parliaments out there, until old grumpy came out and clapped his callous hands.  

Saturday, December 5, 2015


There's an argument that suggests that The Caliphate yearns for an End Time. Like Vikings, this End Time will be the final bloody battle between the good guys and the bad guys. And afterwards there'll be peace on earth and mercy mild.

All very well consigning one belief to the trash can of ridiculous yet a person can't help wonder the extent to which trashing one belief trashes all beliefs. Either way it's just so much easier to get with the program and think in terms of good and evil.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Seasonal Traditions

It's always a joy when seasonal visitors to my room finally settle themselves. They have a series of remarkably irritating traditions when they first arrive, the worst of which is the night time foray, and they must lay bets on what kind of noise I'll make. I guess with a warm mammal under its blankets the bed presents a very obvious target, and there are some of us who cannot sleep unless the toes are uncovered, must be the Neanderthal running through the veins.

It's the case too that feet can be sensitive, they might not look sensitive, indeed they might look the very opposite of sensitive, more like something that's just walked across rocky terrain from one tropic to the other, yet the odd bold wintering Ladybird when the lights are out does find entertainment from seeing just how long he or she can nestle amongst a person's toes before the foot twitches. And I guess there must be some kind of Ladybird applause, a little snickering followed by drinks all round when traditional vacuum cleaner oathing is heard.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Arrival

There's a certain activity here were I live. It's called "Rushing-Around." And some might be more familiar with it than others. If I could just locate the on switch on the vacuum cleaner all will be well.

The Artist is returning after several weeks of travel and she'll be with the daughter and the grandchild and a dog called Cheeky. So it's all very exciting. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015


MC Escher was a Frisian. He was born somewhere in the middle of The Netherlands. Some will call him an Artist, others will call him a Mathematician even if he was no good at his sums. He died in 1972 in March. I don't know whether he spoke West Frisian, which is not yet an endangered language. Escher liked the same mathematical patterns that Ancient Sumerians around six thousand years ago liked to carve into stone.

The pattern is laid out on a flat surface, and when you look at it, your eye, through your mind, can see a third dimension. There's a great difference between an eye, a voice and an ear, but the information all goes to the same place. It would be easy to think of that place as a sort of number cruncher with memory. At the same time you'd have to think it's a number cruncher with attitude. And it's the attitude part that's so difficult to pin down. It's the Saterland Frisian language that's endangered. Wonder whether it's an attitude issue.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fried Rice with Egg Day

Following The Black Friday there is what's called Cyber-Monday. And for those remotely interested, Cyber-Monday was invented on November 28th in the year 2005 by a marketing company. So we're looking at a ten year anniversary. And maybe in hundred years time there will still be a Cyber-Monday.

Of the many newer introductions to the calendar is Fried Rice with Egg Day on November 24th. It's a net-citizen day that celebrates the death of Chairman Mao's eldest son. He was killed during the Korean war. And the point about Fried Rice with Egg Day for those who celebrate it, is they believe that had Mao's Eldest son not died, China would have become more like North Korea.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday

One of the things about Joseph Conrad were his heroes. They were more anti-heroes, than they were super-heroes. We're not talking Biggles, or Henty or the shelf of H's. His own idea of the institution we try to call Democracy, wasn't a pretty one. He saw it as a home for demagogues and charlatans. And while people like TE Laurence salivated over his use of language, searched for meaning, others wondered at his experience of the world as a sailor and assumed he never quite belonged. He was born a Pole, English his second language. Through his life the British Empire reached its zenith and before he died the empire was crumbling. I'll call his anti-heroes prophets.

Yes indeed, you have to wonder whether Joseph Conrad would have had a Twitter account, a website and how he would react to his "Heart of Darkness" being a Black Friday special. His short story "Amy Foster" spoke of the loneliness of those who do not belong. The outsider is less than the underdog, depends for his solace upon the patronizing of others else he becomes outcast. And those who object to an understanding of the world of people as a collection of tribes tend toward an ignorance. Their heroes become shallower and shallower super heroes. So you have to kind of like Rose Mcgowan's views of on screen killing and what she calls "tent pole" films. No doubt in due course, she'll join the ranks of outsiders.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Conrad, Leaning Towers and Thanksgiving

Interpreting a Hadith, passage from the Torah, a Papal Encyclical, a letter from the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, an opinion in any newspaper, and the products of academia have a lot in common. The pattern is well established, and it mostly represents a leaning tower of reason off the top of which an occasional bold soul attempts to take flight. If a person was to think of the analogy through time, one argument is that here in the west there are fewer and fewer of us trying to fly. And this argument goes on to suggest that fewer and fewer of us are trying to fly because we have less and less faith in our leaning tower.

Why, the careful reader might ask, does the tower have to lean. Conrad, the writer, who died in 1924, his Lord Jim out there in the East, had the idea that what some call the institution of society, what others rather feebly call civilization, others still will think of as culture, is little more than something like a thin layer of solid lava on top of a liquid magma. And the point about The Leaning Tower of Reason, is that should it lean too far, it will fall very quickly, it's little bricks all over the place, each one making no sense whatsoever. If it were up to a choice between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I'd happily ban Christmas. Rock on Tommy, there's mash Potato and Chard in my future. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Asimov's story and Shoping Carts

Asimov's story of our future had a thinking machine that enabled us people to populate the universe. Then when the universe fell to ennui, began to shrink, surrender to the inevitable, what did we people do? In Asimov's story we all became one with the thinking machine and created a new universe. Don't remember the details of Asimov's account but we probably called our new home Hope. Guess too there were mechanical smiles, seeds of joy, there might even have been some kind of tap dancing allowed within the oneness. Not sure that domestic pets were permitted, pretty sure nose flute music had been outlawed, and of course there were No Smoking signs all over the place.

And some people might wonder why other people don't like circles. It's a hot debate between circle people and straight line people, I know. But in this season of high spending, best not to raise the issue in the Grocery Isles where the journey is so rigged a person needs a special dispensation or a uniform to use the back entrance. Me if I worked there, I'd like to be on shopping cart retrieval duty with the authority from on high to vaporize anyone who did not return their shopping cart to the well labeled shopping cart corals. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Story Told

Alexander Haig was a commander of men at the Battle of the Somme. A battle that lasted almost four months and ended on November 18th. On the first day of fighting, 20,000 of Haig's soldiers died. Lessons were learned, tactics changed. The casualty figures on both sides of the trench by the end of the battle were something like a million and one third soldiers. The fighting was artillery, guns, axes, hammers, knives and rocks. The Battle of the Somme was declared a Victory for Haig and his soldiers.

Those who experienced the fight shared an experience  few of us would wish upon anyone. When Alexander Haig died, a hundred odd thousand of his former soldiers marched past his coffin. It must have been a sight to see. And you have to wonder were they proud of their victory, of course they were. Did they wonder why they'd volunteered, probably not. Or was it just something that happened to them all, shared in a private, sad moment. The answer is no, yet sometimes a person might get the feeling we're telling the stories that will allow us to do it all over again.

Monday, November 23, 2015

How Are You Doing.

 It's the 3rd and the 23rd and yet 13 has the th. As in 13th. No wonder spelling is tricky for some of us. The other one is the word "unique." It's not "an unique moment" it's "a unique moment." But if I have "a uncle" rather than "an uncle" I'm ready for the funny farm. Guess language is as riven by correctness as is the word Yoga in a certain Canadian establishment of higher learning where a Yoga program has come to a halt following allegations that Yoga is an Eastern religious practice and should be venerated, not treated as colonial possession or as an exercise regime for the handy-capable.

Then if you engage in Yoga but call it something like Mango, it's no longer Starbucks coffee it's just ordinary coffee and becomes robbed of the coffee drinking experience and the world might just as well end. Yes indeed, the Festive Season is upon us and interestingly this week has been called "Turkey Week." For my part I have vehement objections to the "Festive Season," it's far too long and a blow up Father Christmas is an insult to Laplanders. But, tempting though it might be, calling those of my fellow citizens who choose to actively engage in the USA's harvest festival Turkeys, is step I'll not be taking. It suggests lambs to the slaughter of Black Friday, and it's a very incorrect and mean thing to do. Incidentally "Yoga" is Ateso for something like "How you doing?"

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Peer Review and The Singularity

The thing about Peer Review, is the assumption that Peers are upright honest and decent searchers for the truth, if there is such a thing. Then when a Philosopher of the Singularity hits the big time with his assertion that when machines outshine us people in the area of thinking we'll be coming to the end of our time at the top of the food chain, it's worth looking at the man's Peers and raising an eyebrow and asking the question why is his book selling so well.  As I understand it the Singularity in this case is when man and machine become one or transcend biology.

 Researchers in what they call Artificial Intelligence, or the people actively employed in making machines think, have their own set of Peers and none of them are remotely impressed by the Philosopher of Singularity's opinion, they become like anthropologists and reckon he's a religious nut looking for an end time. And there's the argument that we people are not much more than tool makers that replicate ourselves through a process that is not only painful and in some parts of the world incredibly expensive but often results in the civil courts. So where does that leave us I wonder.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Chance of Flurries

One more month until the days begin to lengthen.  My own hero is currently enjoying June in the Land of the Welsh. For him it's a dry June. It has to be, following a high incidence of outdoor activities that have been foisted upon him by the dark fiend that pulls his strings with no thought for a truly heroic hero's happiness or comfort. Indeed the crueler his circumstance the happier I seem to be.

Such a pity the ultimate weaver of tales spends so much time devising plot lines for our weather down here on Earth. I suppose it's more a question of preventing anything like a reluctant reader from ever even thinking about getting remotely bored. But, I have to admit the weather part of the story this Fall has been a very nice and gentle story, which I'd happily read again.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Election 2016 Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal has suspended his campaign. "Suspended" means the candidate can continue to raise money to pay off his debts, but he's not actually playing anymore unless some kind of miracle happens. Jindal is big on reducing the size of government, he reckons that very little government is required to manage the interests of three hundred twenty odd million people. Just let everybody get on with it and a more perfect union will obviously be achieved. It's the old story about government being inefficient and wasteful, so let's get rid of it, so much easier than trying to work out how to improve it. Which seems to be a recent interpretation of the Christian message and/or small business.

During his career Jindal spent a great deal of time on Health. Not sure the extent to which his concerns were with Public Health, rather he was more interested in reducing the role the State played in Health. In his first term as governor of Louisiana he appointed the body guard of the Louisiana State Football team coach to lead Louisiana State Police. The body guard's name was Edmonson. Jindal then passed what he thought was a state law which provided for better than average benefits for State Police. Later he was persuaded to repeal the law when it was revealed that the only person who benefitted from the law was Edmonson and his side kick. Tricky business politics.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Few Complaints

There will be a visit to town today. Three reasons. First and most import is to demonstrate to the wider community that my own territory hasn't been abandoned to Fox Squirrel, White Tailed Deer and Turkey. All very well a peaceable kingdom, but when a Fox Squirrel tries to store his winter nuts in someone's back porch boots it's time to act. It's wrong and it's very thoughtless behavior.

 The second reason has to do with the electric line. Who knew that replacing a couple of poles would result in quite so many power cuts. My own addiction to the electric is well documented on these pages, and I feel the need to glare at the work crew let them know their hard work hasn't gone unnoticed. The final reason is what looks like an acre of Turnip Greens. I need some thing like bacon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Spacetime in The Rabbit of Usk

Algebra is one solution. Spacetime another. Granted some of us have only a tenuous understanding of both areas of thinking. Algebra: a(b)+d = St. Spacetime: matter+space+time = the universe. Meanwhile on planet Earth there's a sort of Afon-Bedd thing happening, our hero is wholly engaged and it's not that complicated.

There are many who might think The Rabbit's retrial would make no sense. But always worth recalling The Lead Bull is more like a plank of wood when put beside something like algebra or spacetime. And this is a good thing for the Vestry at Monnow where erudition and learning rule.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Current Affairs and Afon-Bedd

Very difficult to concentrate upon the causes of Sainthood in the Afon-Bedd Tri County Asylum with these constant interruptions from current affairs. Call him self centered if you have to, but your correspondent has to stop absorbing himself in the Balkan machinations around the year 1914. It's an area that has been well studied by better minds than his, and helpful to be able to pronounce the names of the characters involved, which is something way beyond your correspondent's capacity. Nedeljko Cabrinovic give it a go.

Nedeljko was a minor. Too young to execute. He was sentenced to twenty years in prison for his role in the assassination of Duke Ferdinand. He died in prison in 1916 of tuberculosis. And this is what Nedeljko thought about his participation in the causes of the First World War; "We are not criminals. We are honest people, animated by noble sentiments, we are idealists, we wanted to do good, we have loved our people, and we shall die for our ideals." The point about Afon-Bedd is that this sort mumbo-jumbo never comes up, so current affairs don't offer much inspiration to this writer of pulp.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Words and Too Late

"Too late for words, words have become an army." Think it's a Serbian phrase. Kosovo is a big word for the Serbs. In something like 1389 the battle was lost to the Ottoman, and it still irks the Serbian Nationalist. Mind you not far away from Kosovo, in the town of Sarajevo, in the year 1914 a single event burst the tensions in the European world, a Duke was killed by Serbian nationalists, the Black Hand they were called, 'Unification or Death' their motto, and it was indeed too late for words.

Then they look at you and say "Peace." There's a scowl of contempt, the drums roll, the fifes and the scurry of little boys. Flags fly with a new meaning, old men tremble, widows remember. Who has control of this. The media sees its opportunity, the Political Class wary of the opposition have to come out as big tough and strong, or risk losing an election. And far, far too often the Serbs are right. It's too late for words, and there's a picture of Chamberlain, the Conservative Prime Minister of England with his piece of paper. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Saint Gastyn

One of the options available to our hero was to become Saint Gastyn. And indeed it was a tricky moment for our hero. So perhaps a little background might be useful. Saint Gastyn himself was probably from Gaul, which is basically now France. Saint Gastyn's Church, on the shores of Llangorse Lake in Wales, has it's origins way back at around the time Roman Legions were directed to leave Britannia. Then when the Roman Legions left, Britannia which had contained a oneness, they had baths and stuff, fell prey to the Barbarians, or The Picts and The Scots, a loose association of northern heathens who were primarily occupied by earthly matters. Angles, Saxons and Jutes, the story goes were invited by the remnants of Rome in the British Island to come to their island and defend what I guess would have been the landed gentry. You can think of them as King Arthur, if you like. And classically enough when Angles Saxons and Jutes reckoned on better wages for their mercenary services, things started to go awry for the remnants of Rome in Britannia.

The Angles occupied the middle part of Briton. The Saxons occupied the more southwestern parts of Briton. The Jutes chose Kent. The remnants of Rome who were reluctant to assimilate were kind of pushed into Wales, and some will say down into the big toe of England, or Cornwall. The point about Saint Gastyn's Church is that it was a Celtic Church under the protection of Welsh Princes from the time the Roman Legions left to the time of the Norman Conquest of the Welsh Kingdom of Brycheiniog.  A period of five to six hundred years. That would be like from today going back to The Wars of the Roses, or the Voyage of Columbus. The other thing about Saint Gastyn's Church is that Victorians, who did wonders for things like sewage systems, the water supply and had worked very hard to rid the world of the Welsh Language, rebuilt Saint Gastyn's Church. But the good news is that Saint Gastyn's Church is in the Parish of Llyn Syfaddon which is a more ancient name for Llangorse Lake.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


#hashtags are maybe beyond my capacity to grasp. Now if they were something like an electronic meme it would be so much easier for me. I could say with the pompous head high that I am more like my angel and I prefer not to be engaged in memes, no desire to contribute to them, or be infected by them. A very frail "hope" on my part. Mind you, if you're a person as callous and cynical as my angel, then there's a splendid opportunity to watch memes or perhaps #hashtags in action.

 A nation state has again declared an "Act of War." A rally cry to the visceral. I believe a child as young as twelve was killed. Britain's odious prime minister is preparing his nation for British casualties. An American rock band was playing. It was Friday, a great many people enjoying their evening. Germany and France were playing a friendly game of soccer, which could be of interest to the ancient historian. It's a sadness, a waste. And I suspect the response will be a familiar series of #hashtags. My own would be attributed to Norman Rich #PeaceIsLearnedNotTaught.

Friday, November 13, 2015


Bless me father, for I have sinned. I have commented on the internet newspapers, I have again been moderated by the eternal wisdom of internet newspaper moderators, who I'm firmly convinced are good people at heart. And I have permitted myself to be sucked into Facebook where I have made random remarks and utterances for no reason that I can actually think of.

You come here quite often my son. The sin of vainglory is one you are prone to and I see from your permanent record a couple of offerings to Pinterest and three tweets in the last couple of days. Let me remind you the sin of vainglory remains a cardinal sin, it's stairway to hell. The devil is in you. I sentence you to 250 Hail Marys, a shave, a shower, and thou shalt visit town.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ironic v Pedant

Probably a more vital issue in my own small world, is the relationship between Language, Ambition, the Medieval Period and Insanity. A potent and extraordinarily diverse mix of themes you might agree. But we writers of pulp do enjoy the puzzle, and this one's got Sabean written all over it. Sometimes too a journey to the puzzle's solution is less of a coiled spring and more like a bursting water balloon. Then there's the nightmare of editing.

Of the many problems in the cave of my own day to day is the word "Ironic." The English, on the island off the coast of Europe, have a tendency to use the word as a description of their own mastery of meaning in words. "An ironic knock on the door." Fortunately for, language, ambition the medieval period and insanity there's a better shorthand for these four themes than "Ironic." It's to be found in the word "Pedant." A template, if you'd prefer, into which things have to fit, otherwise the world just has to sit in the corner until it behaves.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Synapse Day

Today is Synapse Day. It recalls the Political Classes who chose to send soldiers to war. They stare at empty tombs, and maybe they reflect. Suspicion is more often it's their hair or their ratings they worry about. The Eleventh of November is the Eleventh of November, and not always does it conveniently fall upon a Sunday. A minute of silence on the Eleventh hour of the Eleventh day of the Eleventh month was a promise made to those who died in the trenches long before most of us were born.

The question is why remember? There are all kinds of reasons. Veteran's Day Sale, perhaps. A bank holiday. Poppies in the lapel. A chance to strut. But the main reason is to look at the men who led us and remember the soldiers who died, so that next time a war is called - a professional army whatever - we don't all just run to the television set, grab the popcorn, say the patriotic "Goody," listen to the gather of fables and start thinking we're better than everyone else. If the dead soldiers could talk, they'd ask us to remember why they died and whether it was worth their while. Lying to them is not good practice.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Mariology in The Rabbit of Usk

The festive season approacheth. In her travels the Artist has already seen Christmas Lights, and it's a cold rain in the outdoors, a rain that I will call a Turnip Rain. And it's all kind of downhill to the Solstice, so it's just as well our hero is in Afon-Bedd where it's summer and where he'll be struggling with the problem of his grandfather's Sainthood. And this could be the time to come to a decision about which Hail Mary The Rabbit of Usk shall cleave unto. Many versions of the Hail Mary have been translated into the English Language. There is one version translated from the Latin. There's another version translated from the Greek.

Of the many possibilities in translating meaning from one language to another there is one official translation of the Greek version of the Hail Mary which begins "God bearing maid...." Doesn't beat about the bush, gets right to the point. In the English Language a Maid is an unmarried girl or woman. The word Maid also carries a suggestion of Virginity. And, in the English Language a Maid is woman servant. One Translation from the Latin version of the Hail Mary begins "Hail Mary, full of grace...." Other translations of the Hail Mary from both Greek and Latin include the words "Mother of God." Pretty obvious that boy Saints over the years have trod wearily around the issue, and while The Rabbit prefers "God bearing maid..." our hero reckons that all versions of the Hail Mary sound like some kind of horrible curse. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015


I'm told the Coyote here where I live is actually a Coy-Wolf-Dog. It's a hybrid that emerged from probably North Eastern North America sometime in the 1930's. It's a little over two foot at the shoulder, and can weigh over fifty pounds. And unlike the Western Coyote whose pups learn to fight each other first, the Coy-Wolf-Dog pups are playful. Apparently.

 And when they are all fluffed up and well fed from the Deer Hunting Season, and they are staring at you as you go about your business, they can look about the size of a really, really clever Rhino whose wondering whether you're going to throw a ball for it to chase. Indeed the less you know about the local Coy-Wolf-Dog the easier it is to walk around in the early hour.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Letlander


The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!
Edward Lear

Friday, November 6, 2015

Righty Tighty

The phrase "Lefty Political Outrage" is I believe a relatively recent one. The phrase "Righty Political Outrage" doesn't have quite the same zing. It's yet another example of the mash in words.

But better to be found guilty of "Lefty Political Outrage" than of "Righty Political Outrage." And I say this because "Righty" rings strange in my ear, and "Lefty" sounds kind of nice.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

An Anniversary

Guy Fawkes Day. For those interested it recalls an attempt in 1605 to use gun powder to blow up the House of Parliament in London, England. Guy Fawkes was tortured, tried and for his punishment his genitals were cut off and burned before his eyes, his heart and bowels were then removed, he was decapitated, dismembered and left for the birds of the air to feast upon his remains.

 The tradition amongst the English was, and still might be, to celebrate the event by building a bon fire and burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes, with all his limbs, properly clothed with a hat on. A constant reminder of what happened to anyone who felt moved to do something like blow up the House of Parliament. Oddly the other part of the remembrance is fireworks. Rockets, flares and very loud noises while everyone goes "Oh Ah."

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

An Understanding of Snake Handlers

Oh Dear! Three more days to quarrel over indefinite and definite articles. "A problem is the...." "The problem is a...." What on earth is the matter with me. Could have something to do with deteriorating mental faculties, and a refusal to surrender. That sort of gung-ho spirit that leads to the election of whippersnapper, and not because he's cute or even a little tiny bit nice. But much more important to the survival of our species is The Letlander. Several deadlines have been suggested, none of them consummated.

Might be time for a psalm. One of David's big moments with his god. "Woe is me for I have vouchsafed unto thee.." Always a good line and often has something to do with redemption, a request for forgiveness and a whole bunch of regrets. Either way November the 7th is around the corner, and I'm just going to check to see whether the most recent end times for The Letlander is this year of next. And the answer as usual is "No you can't just spend the day pleasing yourself." Classic really. Let's all go out and start handling snakes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Election 2016 Lessig

Lester Lawrence Lessig III, a fifty four year old Harvard Law Professor withdrew from the Democratic Primaries. An interesting man, his political interests include copyright law and the extent to which the internet should be controlled by the powerful. Not even going to pretend to understand the legal details, but I think his point is that the internet would serve democracy by being a less, rather than more regulated place. His other concern is a reform of the rules and regulations that surround the financing of political parties and their politicians. In short Lessig wants a more equal playing field. It's a popular position until a person becomes powerful.

There might have been a time when your political correspondent would have given more thought to a man whose name appears on the Scientific American Top Fifty Visionaries list and who has written a book about how to make art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy, which is a mixed economy such as public/private, military/industrial. Sadly I'm not a big fan of any kind of top ten list, let alone a top fifty list. And once art thrives in any kind of economy, it's no longer art, it's a product with all that product entails. Which means his book should have been subtitled how to turn art from a thing of joy into drudgery. Given the theme of Election 2016 on these pages which is skeeviness, have to think Lessig III might not be.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Election 2016 Debates as Free Stuff

Spent much of last night counting ailments. And it does seem to me that no one over the age of about fifty five should ever be considered physically fit enough for the role of United States President. At the same time no one under the age of fifty five should be considered competent or wise enough for the role. So it's a huge problem for the voter particularly those of us who employ the word whippersnapper on a regular basis to describe anyone whose eyes might be just a little too far apart.

All this fuss around the Republican Primary Debates does suggest to your political correspondent that despite heavy rumors to the contrary the Republican Candidates have replaced all attempts at skeeviness with the kind of delinquency one might happen upon at a birthday party for four year olds. All very well saying it's a process, but what's actually the matter with them? And worth pointing out that televised political debates equals free-stuff for political parties so maybe four year olds around a birthday cake is easier to sell than a discussion about quantitative easing.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Room Tidying (and we all know what that means)

In the month of October your correspondent might have mentioned the word "Saint" more times than was actually useful. Indeed in the last four or five years your correspondent might have mentioned the word "Saint" several thousand times on these pages. And if there is a point, or perhaps more correctly, if anyone is interested in the point, it has to do with what they call a "theme" in The Rabbit of Usk. If I were to give the theme a name it would be "Duality as Necessary to Living Things." In my view a Saint is the ultimate expression of this "duality." True "ultimate" might sound a little dramatic. Which is why our unfortunate hero is now in a Tri County Lunatic Asylum where this theme expresses itself in a more raw and naked form. Bitter experience, if you happen to be curious.

The passionate reader, once he or she has recovered from this shocking news, might wish to know how on earth Timotei Candlemass went from being a Letlander and a stalwart of the Hotel and Catering industry to a nut house. The long term answer has to do with his grandfather's obsessions but in the meanwhile an account of our hero's engagement in Hotel and Catering is pretty much finished. It's yet another incredibly ripping yarn, there could well be the odd interesting spelling, but I will say with no attempt at modesty that The Letlander, is right up there with A Derailment. And before he returns to his argument with the Editor-in-Chief about definite and indefinite articles in Titles your writer of pulp would like to say November 7th, after he's cleaned his room, sounds like a good day to cast The Letlander adrift on a sea of happy electrons. And, memory being what it is, I really should make a note of that, on paper in a prominent location..

Saturday, October 31, 2015


If I look back, which isn't as easy as it sounds, I can see Christmas, Easter, Mothering Sunday, May Day, All Saints Day, Guy Fawkes, Moko Jumbi Day, my Birthday and Summer Solstice. Call me a Crinkly Old Git but I don't see Candy Buying Day back there.

Nor do I really think little boys and girls should dress up, wander around from door to saying things like "Trick or Treat." It's not even a little bit cute, it's guaranteed to piss people off and I'm pretty certain it's the only respectable reason for people to keep dogs with vocal cords as pets. 

Friday, October 30, 2015


If your correspondent was a man of principle, someone with the grit and determination of a philosopher king, he'd have ignored what we call DST, and there would be none of this PTCA. One of the problems of being something like a philosopher king for your correspondent is most of his time pieces mysteriously adjust automatically, and then tell him how wonderfully clever they are, except for one loyal subject which lives in the dashboard of his vehicle, which means when driving to something like a Dentist's appointment, he's got absolutely no idea what time it is and often arrives half an hour late, or half an hour early and occasionally he gets there a whole day early. So it's a problem.

Yet PTCA, despite affecting or effecting, men, women, children and creatures that have to be milked is insufficiently well studied by the white coat professional classes to be recognized as a condition. And worth pausing briefly to realize that those who live in the equatorial regions of our planet are neither affected or effected by PTCA. Which I think will demonstrate that Pre Time Change Anxiety is an entirely man-made condition which for some of us starts around a week ago and continues until well after the Winter Solstice. Symptoms are moments of intense irritation, randomly uttering "What time is it actually?" and hours wasted cursing the inventors of the most aggravating phrase in the English language "Fall Back, Spring Forward." Might have to go back to bed, make a second attempt to start my day.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Oh well, difficult to get a sense of last night's Primary Debate as it was on the internet. I think one of the problems is there's just an absurd number of Republican Candidates.

And you have to think back to Scott Walker who following a lack of funds chose to lead his party by heroically withdrawing from the Republican Primaries.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Election 2016 and Diet

I didn't know that Jeb Bush, Presidential candidate in the Republican Primaries, was eating a low carbohydrate Paleo diet. And while your political correspondent has yet to fully develop a skeeviness profile for this candidate, he is wholly engaged by the idea of diet as a factor in the qualities we look for in our presidents. Just to make certain we're all on the same page, low carbohydrate means you don't eat things like Potato, and Paleo means you spend most of your meal time chewing on bits of meat without benefit of a flour gravy. And here, strictly speaking, a sausage might not qualify as an authentic Paleolithic foodstuff.

Paleolithic refers to a period of time that lasted well over two million years for our species. Sometimes easier to think of it as The Stone Age. The purists will consider it a primitive era, we were more free wheeling, song singing, drum beating hunter gatherer than we were boring old farmers, our tool making talents produced stone implements, some of which were used to dispatch the Woolly Mammoth and scare off creatures like Saber Toothed Tigers, our gods were many and splendid as the great oneness conjoined in a tapestry that relieved us people of the awsome burden of living upon earth much longer than maybe a glorious thirty years. But I guess if you call it the Paleo Diet, it all becomes very Beach Chair in Cancun and guaranteed to cure tubbiness while making a person look two, maybe four years younger.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Rapid Decline

I was going to talk about triangles today, but I've totally mislaid the point I was going to make about them. It had something to to with winter exercise, back ailments and the fact that we people have only two legs and walk upright, and as former tree dwelling creatures our main error anatomically speaking is that we don't still live in trees.

 Indeed I was all set, ready to expand a most useful theory of winter exercise, until the weather forecast which suggested that there might be heavier rain west of Interstate 75. Sadly I am one of those who seems unable to put a geographical location on numbered roads. In another way I couldn't remember where Interstate 75 was. It's the big road that runs south from Lexington to Tennessee.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Editor-in-Chief

Your writer of pulp as The Letlander editor-in-chief is coming up on Chapter Seventeen. And we all know the problems some of us have had with Chapter Seventeen. It's not been fun, it's been burnt in effigy several times and on one occasion it was printed up and used to start the outdoor stove. So there's considerable tension here where I live, which naturally enough begins with a title. Chapter Seventeen is called Sandwiches and a casual observer might think that simple enough, direct, not long winded but they know nothing!

 Nor is there any great harmony between your writer of pulp and your writer of pulp as editor. After long discussion and to much grumbling in the ranks your writer of pulp as editor was given the title editor-in-chief. The idea came from Socio-Biology. An attempt to produce a meme in the tapestry that might quell the constant debate about things like the definite article The and whether Chapter Seventeen should be called Sandwiches. The point being that Ham Sandwiches makes much more sense, and the editor-in-chief isn't that good at spelling.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Grackles and Ankle Tattoos

A host of Grackle, a great cloud of them, visited on their way to who knows where. Often they can be seen with Starling, I guess it's a mood that takes them, an excitement and it doesn't really matter who you're flying with as long as there are others to fly with. Kind of like streams of motorcycles without the costumes.

Riots are like that. One person does it, the next person does it, then everyone does it. School shootings, an epidemic here in the USA. And you'd think you'd have to be in close physical proximity to copy, join the crowd, but you don't. It's more like the Borg, with threads of idea all the way around the planet. Ah to hell with it, I'll stick a pin in my nose and get an ankle tattoo.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Election 2016 Chafee

Lincoln Chafee, former Ferrier, former Mayor of Warwick, Rhode Island, former Republican Senator, who pretty much inherited a seat in the Senate from his father and former Governor of Rhode Island, has quit the Democratic Primaries. One of his positions was "Give Peace a Chance," an isolationism perhaps, but as I understand it, it was based upon the idea that a majority of United States Politicians had failed to grasp the history of most of the rest of the world. "Bellicosity, saber rattling and blind macho-posturing" might win elections but just isn't a solution. Lincoln Chaffee and his wife Stephanie have three children, Louisa, Caleb and Thea. Might be just me but sometimes I'm persuaded that names of a candidate's spouse, and or former spouses, and the names of their children are a deciding factor in the election process.

Like so many Chafee did have a public disagreement with Donald Trump. The subject was whether the racehorse Secretariat was the best race horse ever. The thing about Secretariat is that he produced very few foals, and those he might have produced are suspect. Trump, is very proud of his own genetics and has successfully passed them along several times through  a number of partners, and it might have been Secretariat's inability to produce little Secretariats, rather than his ability to win horse races that Trump was referencing. Yes indeed macho-posturing is all the rage, pointing submarines, missiles, assault rifles, but not fingers. Trump's wives include Ivana, Marla and Melania. His children include Donald, Ivanka, Erik, Tiffany and Barron. Trump's father was called Fred. And I have to say that in the area of skeeviness Lincoln Chaffee gets really low marks.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Mockingbird Theory

An absence of Mockingbird has been a sadness for your correspondent. I see one now and then, they look a little shy, they go through the motions, harp on a little, try a couple of calls, test the air, might even chase someone and then they are gone. Of the theories there are many, one of which lays the blame for Mockingbird absence on the male Brown Thrashers' ability to give Girl Mockingbirds the creeps. I've called it "The Dirty Old Man Theory of Mockingbird Absence."

 It's an interesting theory, probably needs years of study and to be taken seriously will require a quantum shift in the position our species holds with respect to other species. Still there is hope in an algorithm that mimics what we rather grandly call Human Intuition. I read about this algorithm somewhere in one of those "happy-happy how cool are boffins type news outlets" which don't actually tell you anything and as usual I dismissed it as being well paid for by those advertizing interest that are still trying to sell me an electric train set. My lesson I suppose is never search U-tube.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Titles that Suck

The word Letlander has always been a problem. It was a temporary expedient until a better word rose from some kind of ashes. Putting The in front of Letlander compounds the problem. And it's not as though I don't have useful things to do. One solution is to potlatch, but if I recall The Letlander has endured potlatch several times before and remains bushy tailed, beady eyed and chipper. The other aggravating constant is that The Letlander is Book Five Point One in The Rabbit of Usk.

All the same, we writers of pulp are stubborn and often uncaring creatures, it's a tough world we occupy, dispensing justice, dragging out narrative, bumping off unsavory characters and sometimes just going round and round in endless circles. And the question is why?  It's kind of like Everest, I suppose. Why even think about climbing it? Hillary's Edwardian answer, a feeble one in my view, was "Because it's there!"  And The Letlander is The Letlander, I guess. In time I might even learn to live with it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Election 2016 Webb

Jim Webb, Marine, Vietnam Veteran, best selling author and Democratic Party presidential candidate, has called it quits. Money was a problem, lack of campaign infrastructure, and such things as being a former Reagan appointee, he was Secretary of the Navy under Reagan, he once claimed "women can't fight," all of which are No-No's amongst Democratic Primary Voters who like Republican Primary Voters prefer purity to anything remotely associated to reason. And sometimes one suspects that  a run for president is little more than a self promotion activity.

In the area of Skeeviness, Jim Webb lacks the quality.  To quote Bishop Aldulf, "He don't play pussy-foot to his own good dog." His answer to the really odd question at the recent Democratic Debate "Which enemy are you most proud of?" His answer was that of an heroic Hollywood type hero along the lines of some one like James Bond or a pre talking-to-a-chair Clint Eastwood, rather than something that our very own heroic hero might have considered an heroic response, but Webb's answer would have gone down well with Republican Primary Voters. Yes indeed we're all doomed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Indefinite Article as Demon

Woe is me and the definite article the. It's all over the place and I'm developing an allergy to it. It must be some kind of a cross-eyed syndrome related to this cruel, difficult and horrible work of editing. And most likely one solution to such an allergy is some kind of a top ten list, of which there are probably a hundred million. All of which are titled  "The Top Ten Reasons not to use The."

Then there is what some might call stubbornness on the part of a writer of pulp. "I can use the if I want to!"  Because the thing about Top Ten Lists is that to follow them is a commitment to joining the Borg, and not to follow them leads to titles such as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince." Mind you Prince really could dance, and if he's still with us probably still can.

Monday, October 19, 2015

In Hell with Titles

I wonder if The Letlander should be titled A Letlander. The trouble with The anything it does sound as though there is only one of them. I remember The Quare Fellow. A Play set in an Irish Prison, Dublin I think. The Quare Fellow was about to be hung, we never saw him, he was back there somewhere and he was lurking, and no one was quite certain what he'd done to deserve hanging, but whatever it was, it was something pretty horrible. Yet no one in the prison cared too much because there was another prisoner, everyone in the play called The Other Fellow, who the prisoners had a special revulsion for. The Other Fellow was something like Oscar Wilde and he was in prison because he was a gay man. And the questions raised in the play were interesting.

 Then there are the John Wayne Movies. A lot of them start with The. The Quite Man. The Searchers. The Cowboy, The Shootist, The Alamo etc. Enough to put anyone off ever using The as the first word of a title. Now had The Quare Fellow been titled A Quare Fellow, the play was such that in the dialogue The Quare Fellow could have been called The Quare Fellow and the Other Fellow could have been called The Other Fellow without distressing the questions raised by the play. But the playwright was an Irishman, and from my own experience the Irish will say something like "Ah The Boiled Potato" and are able to make it sound as though Heaven itself had been moved. John Wayne has no such excuse, except perhaps in The Shootist were in some very radical opinions John Wayne had a go at an Irish Accent. Incidentally in John Wayne's The Conqueror, where he plays Genghis Kahn I think, he doesn't sound anything like a Mongolian and nor does Rita Hayworth.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

October Traditions

One of the October Traditions in these pages is "Hibernation," another is "New Years Resolutions." Regular readers will know where your correspondent lies with respect to the Angelic Host. I have an angel, he is without wings, he is short sighted and wears a hearing aid, he lives in the barn, and sometimes he mislays useful things, such as hammers, and blames their absence upon a gnome or some sort of pixie that lives in nearby woodland. And it's to this wingless representative of the Great Oneness that your correspondent makes his New Year Resolutions.

If I recall last year at this time, I was struggling a little with a number of constraints one of which was a red blotchy itchiness, or Rampaging Hives Following an Attempt to Give Up Smoking, combined with the tremendous responsibility of acquiring a new pair of boots. And around this time last year I committed to a renewal of mental attitude that would assume the very best of Winter Time. I informed my angel that I was the exemplar of "Positive Thinking," that I was very much in tune with "Next to Godliness." And one of the nice things about having a short sighted angel who wears a hearing aid, is that a person can get away with saying just about anything. Call me "Presidential Material" if you have to.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hibernation, Squirrels and Skeeviness

A little frost this morning and a freeze tonight. It's possible sometimes to pretend these things aren't going to happen, and than "Bam" it all happens, as predicted and let's not talk about snow. Another couple of years there might even be Alligators in the Green River, a majority of coastal cities under water, and a colony of Earthlings on Mars doing their very best to get away from it all in the interests of what I don't know. Still there's always a chance of being abducted by Aliens.

 In coming months I will not only argue that the word "Skeevy" is a perfectly respectable and accurate description of many of our rulers, I will also suggest that the quality of "Skeeviness" is a necessary characteristic of the ruling class of any species that does not hibernate. Bears and Groundhogs for example, are not skeevy. Interesting however is the distinction between the Grey Squirrel and the Fox Squirrel, both of which are non-hibernating creatures. And here The Grey Squirrel is skeevy, the Fox Squirrel is not. Have to think Bernie Sanders is more like a Fox Squirrel and Clinton II is more like a Grey Squirrel.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Skeevyiness as Appearance

Have to admit that your correspondent is a little engrossed in the vey mysterious process that will result in a Presidential Election sometime in the November of 2016. A whole year from now. Sometimes too there's an argument from those of us who struggle with red-blotchiness, incredibly elegant wrists and who are very, very wise, that what a person looks like shouldn't really matter, it's unimportant, it's what people say that counts, and we should all just get along by not judging each other by appearance, color, creed of whatever, and that those who do judge each other by appearance are pathetic juvenile and sad. Yet it's the case that some presidential candidates might well deserve The Dandelion's description of "he looks skeevy."  The most skeevy looking of all presidential hopefuls here in the USA is a man called Scott Walker, the sitting governor of the State of Wisconsin who pulled out of the pageant some weeks ago.

If I remember his reason for doing so actually had to do with his fundraising operation being unable to meet the expenses of his campaign's infrastructure. So essentially his campaign got into trouble with the bank, it was spending more money than it could afford, it was running a deficit, it was a long way from adhering to the conservative principles of fiscal discipline. But in Governor Walker's heroic goodbye speech he said "Today I believe I am being called to lead by helping clear the field in this race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field." A Tricky statement, in some respects a work of genius, but I'd argue that yes indeed, Scott Walker looks skeevy and he talks skeevy and therefore he probably is skeevy. All of which means that looks might indeed be an insight into character and your correspondent fully intends to diligently pursue the theory over the next twelve months. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Why Saints?

In Afon-Bedd there's Saint Winifred, Saint Chad, there are two Saint David's, there is our own Saint Timothy who following a dispute with the Lead Bull has been confined to the form of a rabbit which is frustrating for him. Indeed there's a host of saints and whole lot of other people, some in better condition that others. And if you want to know why, it's not that complicated.

If you put yourself outside society and look in at something like a communal meal there's always a table that looks a little bit more interesting. It's not necessarily the table of those in charge, it's not the big-wigs, or the superstars, their lives are too contrived and well rehearsed. It's something else and if you're looking for the quality of this something else it's more like "The Last Supper" than it is like a "Distribution of Spoils." Subjective? The answer is "I don't think so."

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Big Night

Big night last night. Patchy internet and some mild cursing. My "Long live the Plantagenets" didn't find a natural home in any of the threads of conversation, which was frustrating. I was however able to remark that of the debaters Pindar if he were still alive would probably have written an ode to the very hansom, guitar playing O'Malley. The thread rapidly deteriorated, who knew that in some quarters Pindar was such a polarizing figure and then Lostinhades called me a fudge-packer. Clearly the moderator was overwhelmed by pizza, beer and popcorn because it took a good ten minutes for the thread to be exorcised.

Nor was erudition and learning the sole activity last night. Sometime in the early hours The Artist called up the stairs to tell me she was bound for the Emergency Room. There was some stumbling around, followed by some very poor listening skills on my part and before I knew it there were headlights in the driveway. It had something to do with an "Outbreak of Hives." One of the things about the Emergency Room, is that I should never ever let The Artist go to the Emergency Room by herself. It leaves me alone with a most unreasonable imagination. By the time she returned I'd already prepared my answers to the question from grieving friends and relatives "why didn't you go with her?"

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Saint Chad and The Venerable Bede

Saint Chad has his relics in Lichfield Cathedral, which is in Staffordshire England, a part of the world that cries out Mercia, and they still might dream of Offa and Freedom from London. It's north of Birmingham and a good long walk from the Ithaca Valley. And I hear you ask "What has this got to do with anything!" Well it was Saint Chad who carried the cross to the Mercian Tribes and the point about Saint Chad is he's one of those Medieval Saints whom The Venerable Bede in his determination to put the best possible light upon the Anglo Saxon relationship with Rome, might have lied about.

 Back then of course when real saints walked the earth rather than these modern namby-pamby soft boiled egg eating saints, there was a big thing with religious haircuts. They were called Tonsures, for some reason. The Saints affiliated to Rome had their peculiar style, and the Welsh saints had their own even more peculiar style.  In Afon-Bedd, Saint Chad wore the Papist Tonsure, and The Rabbit knew for a fact that the real Saint Chad was an Irishman who wouldn't have been seen dead in a Papist Tonsure. And if The Rabbit has a point to make it is that the Venerable Bede was a deceitful manipulating propagandist upon whose shoulders full blame for the Norman invasion of 1066 can be placed. Either way Lichfield Cathedral is worth a visit.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Sometime tomorrow evening in the USA, Democratic Party Presidential Candidates will hold what's called "A Debate." It's not a traditional understanding of a debate. It's more like an Eisteddfod which combines with that part of a beauty pageant where the contestants are asked a few questions, given a chance to glare at each other and every ten minutes there's a break for advertizing.

Where I live the big excitement is the opportunity a  humble citizen has to contribute through comment sections of the internet newspapers. One can sometimes get into trouble with the pompous ass fascists who moderate, but it's all good clean fun and it does absolutely nothing to change the course of the world. Must rush, I have pithy one liners to prepare. Stuff like "Bush II was an embarrassing experiment, Clinton II and you can call us a Monarchy. Long live the Plantagenets!"

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Deadline is an aggravating word. As a boundary it's a line in a prison that prisoners can cross only at the risk of being shot. And it's a time limit after which debts must be paid, assignments complete and it's a kind endless threatening list that contributes mightily to general ennui and that sort of mental alignment that allows for something like slavery.

It's the case that deadlines are more often other imposed than they are self imposed. Which also adds to the aggravation of a jack booted word that can stamp the corridors kicking in doors, if permitted to. So what I'm going to say is that The Letlander needs something like a deadline. And here I'm trying to think in terms of flagpoles and little boats on choppy seas, rather than punishment for crossing lines.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Medieval Saints

On the one hand Medieval Saints might appear as mythological characters. Examples of a long gone past time when not much was written down, a huge randomness in spelling, very poor grammar, and the kind of peer review that relied heavily on battle axes, shields and swords. Yet on the other hand Medieval people were not that much different to you or I. And one theme in Vestry at Monnow is the extent to which what some think of as "education" - or "progress" perhaps - has made any difference whatsoever to the fundamental equations and imperatives of being alive.

One answer is "No." Certainly your writer of pulp has been vaccinated, his head's been X-rayed, he's had his tonsils out, he has access to Oranges where Oranges don't grow, and he's sitting in front of and typing upon a device that William Caxton would have considered a miracle. But in terms of the fundamental equations of being alive, while the details and direction of "progress" might have been a little fuzzy, all this and more was a predictable consequence of a tool making species energetically engaged in making tools. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

An Understanding of Saints and Politicians

Highly principled people might usefully be called martyrs. Some of whom could easily be attempting to join the ranks of the Medieval Saints. But some saints from those long ago days where more like Saint Winifred. Winifred as a young girl rejected a suitor and he decided to cut her head off. Winifred's head rolled down hill and when it stopped rolling Winifred's head caused there to be a spring with healing properties. Nor was this the end of the story. Winifred's brother, who also became a saint, was outraged not so much following the loss of his sister, rather because after the dreadful deed, he saw Winifred's suitor leaning on his sword and smiling. This was the absolutely wrong thing for the suitor to do, and quite rightly Winifred's brother called down a chastisement from heaven. Heaven agreed that any kind of smirking was wrong and almost immediately the earth opened and Winifred's suitor was swallowed.

Fortunately, and such is the nature of miracles, with much help from a maternal uncle Winifred was able to reattach her head. Following this successful procedure there was a scar all the way around her neck. Winifred's necklace it was called. Naturally she went on to become a Nun and in due course rose in the ranks of her order, becoming an Abbess. However like Saint Teresa, Winifred was inspired to follow a simpler life, she took to wandering around inland Wales where she caused there to be all sorts of excitements. And worth noting, back in those medieval days, a Saint was a Saint following popular acclaim rather than some kind rigid and structured court case by the smelly footed in Rome. And yes indeed, here where I live, there are some truly valiant attempts to grasp the nature of the political classes.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Good Day Amongst the Sweet Potato

Our hero has a suspected case of Rabies, he might have been bitten by a Mongoose, and he is bound for Afon-Bedd or Grave River as it might translate, and yes it's a made up name, which is all very exciting because there are saints, or at least there are people in Afon-Bedd who think they are saints. And it might be necessary for your writer of pulp, to pull himself together a little and finish editing The Letlander, or Book Five Point One of The Rabbit of Usk.

It's all very well having a plan, turning summersaults trying to stick to the plan in the interests of cohesion, comprehensibility and so on, but there's been the small problem of where to end The Letlander. And thanks to a particular Sweet Potato, it was large and curved in shape so releasing it from heavy soil without breaking it was shall will say troublesome, The Letlander has an end point, and your gardener has what they call a Woolly Knee.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato day three. The ground is still heavy from the rains, but Sweet Potato from twelve plants are abundant this year, so another day or two to carefully harvest them all. Currently the Sweet Potato sprinkled with oil, salt and pepper, and then baked are delicious, but soon enough there will be increasingly radical experiments with Sweet Potato cooking techniques. Boiling, mashing and I'm sure there's whole bunch of other things that can be done for this truly amazing source of very good food.

When it comes to Sweet Potato harvesting, there are three grades of Sweet Potato. The little ones about the size and shape of a small sausage don't keep well, these are called Swees where I live, and they have to be eaten soon. Then there are the slightly larger Sweet Potato which after curing can keep until around Christmas. The bigger Sweet Potato, the giants, will keep until easily the end of February, by which time a person is pretty much allergic to eating Sweet Potato. Which is odd, because some of us could happily eat the other kind of Potato every single day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Rapture Day and Trade Deals

Tomorrow is a possible Day Of Rapture, the next opportunity is something like 2030.  So here goes on a few final thoughts for those of us who might be less saintly than others. Current society is increasingly global and increasingly feudal. Nation states owe allegiance to Corporations, the voting public are an inconvenience, kind of like a cable television bill. The political class are more like courtiers within the dance of global capital than they are like people who'd pay for their own breakfast or complicate their thoughts by reading more than one book.

The Magna Charta had nothing to do with democracy, it had to do with a trade deal that would reduce any single persons influence over the propertied class and the result was a nation state as opposed to a bunch of quarrelling powerful families, or Afghanistan. So what us peasants are looking for isn't a trade deal, it's some kind of seat at the table of some kind world government. And we can all be certain that table will not be round because it never has been round. Either way I've been behaving especially well, and I did feel a little tug last Rapture Day so I might not be here tomorrow.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Born Again

One of the problems of failing memory and the need for records, is that I don't actually remember whether I've been vaccinated against a rabies. I do know that a person has a rabies shot, then a week or so late they have another rabies shot. And I'm pretty certain that some time in the distant past I had a shot and then a week or so later I had a booster shot. And this horrible experience was supposed to protect me from something for at least ten years.

It is possible that these very feeble memories were actually experienced by someone else, and I have somehow sublimated them into my own increasingly vague narrative. The obvious solution is to just go for it and never again look in the mirror. Henceforth I will be that person who loves going into town. Welcomes an opportunity to visit the Dentist, doesn't care where he parks in the Post Office car parking area and relishes a discussion with the purveyors of propane around the issue of a loudly humming valve on their propane tank.l 

Sunday, October 4, 2015


The name Ystwyth means 'supple.' The river Ystwyth runs to the sea and in the bay where it meets the sea is the Port Town of Aberystwyth.

The thing about it is I don't actually remember whether I've been to Aberystwyth or not. But I like the name Ystwyth.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

RS Thomas

By the end of the 1970's the Western World began to forget all about the Second World War and its causes. And too, comradeship, the idea of togetherness, faltered. Nor was it Vietnam that did it, rather it was fear of failure as definitions of success became embodied within the sentence "How much do you earn?" rather then "What have you done?"

Now days the Ivory Tower with its foundation in quantitative easing stares down at the primordial slime, where the difference between the food bank, $7.50 an hour and $15.00 an hour is a definition of a persons value. Some will say it's because the factories have gone, others will persist with the idea that Greed is Good, More is Better. Indeed RS Thomas's poem is always worth a read  A Welsh Testament

Friday, October 2, 2015

October 1962

In October of 1962 Cymdeithas Yr Iaith, or the Welsh Language Society held a protest which stopped traffic on a bridge in Aberystwyth, which is a port town in the middle part of West Wales. Between 1970 and 1972 Cymdeithas supporters made a habit of dumping English only road signs on the steps of the Welsh Office in Cathays Park in the Great City of Cardiff. Some made a point of wearing suits and ties as they did so, and happy to be arrested by the constabulary. Cymdeithas publishes a magazine which used to be called the "The Dragons Tongue."

A great many society members and supporters were jailed or fined. In the United Kingdom it's been called the biggest protest movement since the Suffragettes. The thing about it was, men and women gathered around the idea of a cultural heritage embodied by the Welsh Language. Sure there was politics and ambitions, yet the idea was and still is beautiful. Welsh Princes climbed television towers for Welsh Language Tax returns and Welsh Language Post Office Signs, and I guess Welsh language McDonalds menus. And the other wonderful thing about it was, it really irritated the English Establishment.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Guilt and Self Loathing

I guess in a strange kind of way the opposite to "self loathing, liberal guilt' would be something like "ping the feed burner." My own promise to Facebook was to develop a kinder, gentler attitude toward it. Otherwise I suspect the opposite to "self loathing, liberal guilt" might have been "narcissistic Facebook-ism with xenophobic fascistic undertones." Thank god for spell check!

The alternative is to try to understand what a person means by "self loathing liberal guilt" and I suspect it's kind of like the word jealousy. "Your just jealous of my Lamborghini and Mediterranean villa!"  And here the answer "No I'm not!" generally produces a sort of sneer of disbelief. I must be lying because the possibility I'm telling the truth is incomprehensible. However at this time of year, I can say without equivocation I am very jealous of people who live along the equator and I hope they are filled with liberal guilt and self loathing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Faith, Language and Income

Yr Iaith is Welsh for The Language. It's one letter away from the English word Faith. At least I reckon it is. There are some who'll suggest that Languages which become vulnerable should be allowed to whither and die. Others will suggest that social cohesion depends upon a shared language, the Tower of Babel a punishment upon us people and we should all speak with one tongue, kind of like a garden with only one variety of plant, all of them Dandelion perhaps.

 In the end, the issue is one of obedience to the Gods of Income. The problem is as much a man with sword as it is a man with a different language, a different sound, a different music, a different color. The other problem is those who might insist that we can do better, live in polite pluralistic harmony. And the thing about that is we don't, never have been able to, probably never will be able to. Which is why our heroic hero chooses sides. Call him tribal if you have to, or a Baboon. It's up to you.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Rapture Day

In the year 2011 a man called Harold Camping was the president of a radio station called Family Radio which broadcast to 150 markets in the USA. Harold's understanding from his research was that on May 21st 2011 Jesus would return to earth. The saved would be taken up to heaven, everyone else would have to endure plague, fire and brimstone then on October 21st 2011 the earth would be destroyed

 More recently a chap called Chris McCann of the eBible Fellowship has reexamined Harold's methodology and has decided that May 21st 2011 was actually the beginning of the End of Times. Harold, McCann claims, was confused by a small detail in the Book of Revelation and the actual day of Rapture will be1600 days after May 21st 2011, which would make the Day of Rapture October 7th 2015. So we've got about a week.

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Disapointment

Like so many of us who are still here this morning there will be a visit to town today to check on the condition of car parking areas. However there is some debate about which car parking areas are more likely to serve those of us who are most likely to have been chosen for last night's Rapture. I reckon Main Street will be empty. So it's going to be interesting.

I did feel a little tug this time around, it was about ten  thirty Eastern Summer Time, but I might have been wearing the wrong shoes and it was way past my bedtime. Fortunately The Rapture is a reoccurring event, so next time I'm going to dress to impress, proper shoes, matching socks, I'll shave, powder under my arms, and there'll be none of this flip-flopping around with the Organic All Natural Bug-Be-Gone. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015


A nice note, another invitation to meet the President and yet another suggestion that I should donate to the coffers of a political machine. Nor is the other political machine any more enticing. So I guess I'm looking for what they call a "Populist."

 The odd thing about the word "Populist" is the extent to which Establishments view Populists with disdain. Populists are wacky, weird, out there kind of people who don't really get it, apparently. Which is a polite way of saying they're stupid. However "Populist" is defined as one who seeks to represent the views of ordinary people.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


A theme in Vestry of Monnow is the relationship between obedience and sanity. The actual nut house was called The Tri County Lunatic Asylum or Pen-y-Fal. A wonderfully scary Victorian structure with beautiful gardens, there was even a heated green house and vegetable growing.

 The thing about this particular Tri County Lunatic Asylum is that recently, maybe twenty or thirty years ago, it was converted into very expensive apartments. Back in the day of course our hero had to qualify to get into Pen-y-Fal. And he can assure you the examination was great deal harder than his Geography A Level.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Thomas Hughes and Kingston Lisle II

Thomas Hughes wrote several books. The Manliness of Christ, being one of them. He was born in Uffington, which back then was in Berkshire and which is now in Oxfordshire. But the thing about Thomas Hughes is the connection he has to our hero. Any mention of Hughes' book Tom Brown's Schooldays, a manly yarn about Victorian Boarding schools, will put our hero into a state of apoplexy, send him into ennui and cause him to contemplate the long handled shovel as a means to salvation.

 Which is why your narrator has never told Timotei Candlemass that JH Woolly, a name upon AB Gorely's list, would have known that the author of Tom Brown's Schooldays was familiar with Uffington, Kingston Lisle and the White Horse. All of which remain for the moment little bright stars in our hero's heart. The other thing about Thomas is that he wrote an account of Alfred's time upon earth which is up there with Van Doran Honeyman's ludicrous contribution to erudition and learning.  Just as well there's no touching the books in the Library at Rugby Tennessee.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thomas Hughes and Kingston Lisle

 Fresh from the trail a person quickly realizes the importance of drywall, dehumidifiers and stone. When everything's wood the organic becomes oppressive as it gently melts away to dust that mingles with and flavors the air. Still reckon we are creatures of salt water pools.

 The most interesting thing were the books. A whole library of them, stuck in time, and not to be touched without special permission. In their day the residents had access to the books free, outsiders had to pay a penny a year for the privilege. In an odd way it summarizes a condition of life.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Letlander and Why

The Letlander begins with our hero's decision to avoid speaking English to English Speaking People while helping change the tire on a motor vehicle. Then one thing led to another and pretty soon our hero was an indigenous Letlander from a semi tropical fictional paradise called Letland employed by the hotel and catering industry.

 The question for our hero's narrator is why? And at the end of The Letlander our hero does attempt to satisfy his narrator's curiosity. Me, fortunately I don't have to concern myself with the details because I too was once a Letlander employed by the hotel and catering industry and rest assured foreignness is the only way to manage the experience, otherwise the answer to the question is very depressing.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Savior as profession

The idea of savior is one of the perennials within our species. In the corporate world, in politics and in the religious world, it's pretty much all about saviors. And you have to think the religious world has it right, all their saviors died a very long time ago.

The sign on the church, it's a neon sign and it's a big church with windows, asked "What would you do if you knew Jesus was coming?" My answer I regret to say was, "buy a twelve pack and bottle of whisky, hope it's all over by the time I sober up."

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Katydid Frost, Popes and Puns

The Almanac's first frost failed to show, and six more days before the predicted Katydid Frost. Some of us are kind of hoping the Katydids are also wholly confused by the art of forecasting the future, and at the same time kind of hoping that Katydid's are smarter than us.

Interesting too is the general idea in certain quarters that Fortune Tellers are somehow evil. The famed seers of the future in somewhere like Afghanistan are considered devil worshipers by the zealots. There's a sense too amongst some that the Pope shouldn't be talking about Climate Change. It's very weird but it does at least explain why some of us find puns aggravating.

Friday, September 18, 2015

F-This Moments

Your writer of pulp has achieved what might be called an F-This Moment. It's a fairly regular, often repeating moment that twirls around and can often result in an ennui that leads a man to find solace in the company of his Compost Piles. And the sad fact is that sometimes Compost Piles just need to be left alone. You can only stick your finger in them so often to check their temperature otherwise it becomes an obsessive behavior that doesn't look good on your permanent record.

The more useful direction when confronted by an F-This Moment is to consider the possibilities of using the  moment as an opportunity to so thoroughly explore pointlessness that you come away with a construct so novel in it's solution that even the angels toss a couple of A pluses in your direction. And while on the subject of Compost Piles during the seasonal adjustment and the general preparation for Giving there is such an unholy  thing as a Compost Pile Thermometer. It's amazing what evil people will devise to spoil the fun of others.