Friday, July 31, 2015

Diligence as Pain in the Neck

To beat further on the drum of Book Five and a Half, and in the interest of full disclosure your writer of pulp had given consideration to the idea of Book Five Point One. The thing is, "and a" according to the professionals  don't deserve to be given capitals, whereas "Point" does. But possibly if we're all very lucky A Windral will finally pass though the brick wall of editing and "common Sense" will prevail.

It's a strange moment to decide to put something into the past. Kind of like throwing a stone into a deep lake, its suddenly gone to ripples of regret, ennui and there's a long list of painful and ugly potentials that may cause the world to end. "A fist sighting of sheep" and why have I failed to grasp the distinction between their and there. The Golden Horde, or is it Hoard. I should have learned Esperanto when I had my chance.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Existential Issues

The conundrum of Book Five and Book Six is primarily a problem of what the professionals might call "advanced planning." Consequently your writer of pulp has been existentially challenged since about April of this year. "Off the Rails" if you prefer, and it's not a nice feeling. One of the things to keep in mind is in emulating the Great Minds the number Ten is central to your writer of pulp's sense of balance.

There are Ten Commandments, Hegel attempted Ten books, so did Kant, and generally speaking the Number Ten is a signature of clear thinking. Start gossiping about Eleven, and it all starts to look like ill-considered chaos. One solution could be to co-mingle Book Five with Book Six. I could conceptualize it as Book Five and a Half, think of it as a Beatitude, shove it into the perfection and simplicity of The Rabbit of Usk, keep Book Five and Half down to 150 pages by using a tiny script. then perhaps I'd get a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Monotony of Editing

The Atlas Maior on the desk here has a neat map of The Ottoman territories as they were toward the end of the Seventeenth Century. Further east the atlas' understanding of the land between the Indus and the Ganges is very different to the more modern understandings. The Great City of Karachi might have been called Diul, but difficult to tell, the two maps in the atlas of the Indus Valley are at odds with each other.

The map on the cover of A Windral is from a world map of 1910. In that year there was an Albanian revolt against the Ottoman rule, the Vatican insisted that ordained priests take an oath against Modernism. Halley's Comet made an appearance, and unlike the Halley's comet of 1066 which was recorded in Bayeux Tapestry, or the comet's appearance in September of 164 BC which was recorded on cuneiform tablets, the 1910 appearance was photographed. Either way and despite the existence of more interesting things there is slow cruel work being done to edit A Windral.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Orcadians and Kafka

The cure is lethargy, an hour or two with the weather forecasts, abstaining from the comment sections of newspapers, shaving irregularly and a little canning in the company of the outdoor stove with its community of fiercely defensive biting creatures. It's not that complicated. But I do have a copy of the Atlas Maior of 1665, it's a Printed With Suspect Ink Edition from the less feudal decade of the 1990's, some smart-arse reckoned the coffee table book buying public might be interested and I fell for it when the Books A Million business model was surrendering to the inevitable.

Yes indeed those where the bad old days before Hedge Funds owned countries and state agencies had a proper handle on the security risk posed by whether its populace used nail scissors or nail clippers. Quite what happened, I don't know. But back in the 1930's Edwin and Willa Muir first translated Franz Kafka's Das Schloss from the German into English. Kafka himself had been dead a while when his work entered the lexicons of the more fashionable English Speaking People. Edwin Muir himself was an Orcadian, which means he was born on the Orkney Islands, a kind of isolated and lonely place where Puffins also live. Yet sometime today, I will attempt to shave.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Twitch Factor

The Artist counted seven Little Turkey. A few more weeks and they'll be flying. Deer are abundant, as are Rabbit. Tree Frog populations are happy. Ground dwelling Toads are all over the place. Butterfly are about average. Tic are also about average. It's the Invisible Biting Spider that dominates and has turned the outside into a sort of hell.

Almost impossible to wander the humid idyll without being attacked, and let me assure you it would be so much easier if a person could actually see the Invisible Biting Spider, get some kind of an idea of what it looks like. And the thing about invisible there's a very good chance it might not even be a Spider. Either way, The Twitch Factor out there is around 9.5.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Darius, Xerxes, Hotel and Catering.

Not certain why Darius the first and Xerxes the first   have figured larger and larger in your correspondent's attempts to grasp the nature of being, but I suspect it has something to do with the hotel and catering industry. I think it was Darius who had a special thing for horses. His own horse, as I understand it, pretty much had a palace to live in. The story goes that following an argument amongst the well connected as to whether Persia should be a Republic, an oligarchy or a Monarchy, the idea of a Monarchy won. The problem, who would be king?

The six contenders chose to hold a contest. They agreed to gather at sunrise on their horses and the rider of the first horse to neigh would become king. Darius cheated. In the early hours Darius' slave rubbed his hands on the genitals of a mare Darius' horse had a special interest in. And as the contenders waited for the first horse to neigh Darius' slave patted the nose of Darius' horse. The scent on the slave's hand sent Darius' horse to neighing, and soon after that the Monarchy of Persia thought it might be rewarding to invade Greece. Worth mentioning that one of the themes in The Rabbit of Usk, is the propensity of the wealthy to invade other countries in their constant search for obedient help.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The "EH" Summation

In the course of time, days pass, nights survived, morning's sunrise, and the word "EH" pretty much sums it all up.

For myself, I look upon the "EH" summation of being as a positive thought process. Call me unfashionable, if you wish to.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Occult

Occultation is when one object hides another object. Planets in the solar system can sometimes occult other planets. Sometimes also in negotiation between states and corporations it might well seem that much is hidden, the reason given is usually associated with something like Proprietary Information, or National Security. Never been certain of the difference, which is why occultation works for me. The Occultation on the other hand is a religious concept that dominates the belief of a Twelver Shia. The Twelfth Imam, a man called al-Mahdi, rather than appoint or produce a successor went into occultation sometime in the year 873.

One day, the story goes, al-Mahdi or the Hidden One will return to fill the world with peace and justice. He's just waiting for the right moment, I guess. Some say that the Hidden One is advising the upper echelons of today's Persia. And currently in today's Persia it's a bigger sin to criticize the state or dress inappropriately than it is to misappropriate state funds. When Xerxes and Darius were Kings of Persia, a Royal Decree couldn't be annulled, and the reason for this two and half thousand years ago was because the King was always Perfect. They didn't mess around with why The King was perfect, he just was.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Conclusions and Cliffs

I do vaguely remember when I could read without glasses. And I do vaguely remember when I could write a list that was legible. One of the more enduring constants in the pattern of my life is a failure to grasp the semi-colon and an inability to spell. Oddly I always thought wearing glasses, competence around spelling and semi-colons, and legible list writing went hand in glove. How very wrong I was.

Just goes to show a person should never be fooled by appearances, his or anyone else's. A difficult concept for your correspondent to grasp. His ability to leap to conclusions and hold fast to them as though clinging to a cliff by his finger nails would put him right up there with at least a silver medal should leaping to conclusions ever become an Olympic event. And it's most certainly time for The Rabbit of Usk to stop using phrases like "Cat amongst the ponies." 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Albert Cromby RIP

The death of Albert Cromby came as a bit of a surprise to your writer of pulp. He wasn't a particularly pleasant person. A number of suggestions from a most unreliable source that he wasn't right up there with the Angelic Host. Nor was our hero that fond of him. He was tightfisted employer, he didn't like children, not fond of pepper in his mushroom omelet and he had a long drawn out breakfast routine.

But perhaps more important is the question, "Did Albert Cromby have to die?" There'll naturally be an inquest, your writer of pulp will wear his best shoes, try to sound erudite, he might even seek legal council. And there's always a chance of a guilty verdict because we writers of pulp can't just go round bumping people off because we don't like something they said.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Poached Egg Schism

The Poached Egg Schism has a very ancient history. The historian won't find it written down anywhere, it won't be on runes or on tablets, and if it is there are some academic nitpickers who will argue that the words Poached Egg have over the course of oral transmission been mistranslated.

Interesting however that while the written record of our time upon the planet is replete with Schisms, it's a pretty sort of word, sounds well thought out, just the one vowel, yet by attaching the word Poached Egg to a schism the veracity of a traumatic historical event becomes suspect in the minds of the more pussy-footing student.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tomato Issues

There's an argument that the problem with the Tomato is lack of Nitrogen. Another argument suggest a lack of calcium. Another asks whether or not the Tomato was planted with a fish head. And there's a whole thing that gets to be endless.

 My own view is that some years are not good for Tomato and some Tomato are better than others at managing swamp like conditions. A fatalistic view possibly. Or maybe your gardener's achieved peak canning of Tomato.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Giant Wasp

There's a Wasp-like flying creature around the Compost Piles. To give an idea of it's size, think of the average Wasp as being about the size of a De Havilland Puss Moth, this Wasp would be about the size of a Boeing 707. So we're talking very big and very scary.

The other thing about this giant Wasp, she seems preoccupied. Engaged in some sort of exploratory mission, and I suspect there might be others of her kind waiting patiently for whatever the Wasp equivalent to a thumbs up might be. At this time of year the Gardener begins to reappraise his view of frost and things like the Arctic Vortex.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Letlander

A Windral has passed. There remains the issue of spelling, grammar, comprehensibility, and it's a long, very dull list. Luckily your writer of pulp whose stylings have included such wonderful phrases as At a fist sighting of sheep is pretty much immune to a vast swath of the craft he practices. Hark The Herald Angles Sing.

In The Letlander or book six, formally known as chapter seventeen, Edward Lear figures. There was a young lady from Hull, who was chased by a virulent Bull. It does rhyme if Hull is pronounced Hool. And one of the themes in book six is an attempt to understand why Edward Lear ever carved a niche in the English imagination. Mind you the Beatles managed it, so there might be no answer to the question.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Rum Shop Logic

The expression "Rum Shop Logic" figures in the news. A Rum Shop is like a bar. And it's kinds of an excellent expression that could well describe many a random or ill considered utterance. News is certainly a relative thing so I guess whether "Rum Shop Logic" is actually news depends on a number of variables.

My own current and worrying concerns are with a thing called Words With Friends. Once a person recovers from the internal debate about whether "Words With Friends" is a variation on the theme of "Rum shop Logic" or possibly a Reddit Forum, they discover that Words With Friends is like scrabble on the internet. Cringe if you have to, but at least it's not "charades" which of course is another word for the internet.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Juniper Berries

An obsession with the weather is nothing new here. I'll call this a drying spell. A chance for the poxes of damp to take a good hold, blossom and bloom and laugh at anything with a lung or a nose, cause Tomato to explode, wood to rot, compost to mushroom.

White Man's Foot, or English Plantain, or Ribwort Plantain, sometimes called Buckhorn Plantain, and it's even been called a weed has that sootiness of August that blackens the toes. Not long until winter and if the Junipers, the Eastern Cedar, speak true from the quantity of their berries, it's going to be cold.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A win/win for Sanity

A person knows his brain cells are struggling when he remembers a word but forgets its meaning. It's almost preferable to know the meaning of a word, but forget what the word is. In the afternoon of yesterday, weather inclement with high heat in swamp-like conditions, a word or phrase drifted into what remains of your correspondent's mind. The word was something like Quadrangle, or it might have been something to to with Squirrel Nutkin, or it could have have been something like Front Matters.

He was outside, without any kind of mobile device, a political stance on his part. He was patiently removing the victims of storm in a Tic infested zone. He had sensible footwear, and a rather fetching pair of almost matching socks and he was well perfumed against the Biting Creatures. All of which meant popping inside to access the streaming plenty wasn't that straight forward And by the time he was able get to his room, he'd forgotten what word he'd forgotten the meaning of and his internet was out. In an odd way, it was a win/win for sanity.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Gusty winds. Very, very gusty winds. Huge lightening. A couple of inches of rain. Tree damage. All of which were followed by an hour or two of good clean and refreshing air that was just a joy to walk around in. The ground however is saturated and has been for weeks. It can take no more water, it's essentially a swamp, unsuited to the more traditional vegetables grown in this part of the world. Nonetheless, onward and upward is the signature of my own species.

As I understand it, Rice likes a wet foot. More accurately Rice demands a wet foot, it prefers to grow in about four or five inches of water. It gets to be about three foot, it produces wind pollinated flowers, so no messing around with Bees. It does have a very nicely named pest called a Brown Planthopper. I think I might have seen a few in the Winter Squash. And then there's a problem from a freshwater gastropod, called an Apple Snail which has both gill and lung. Always been fond of anyone who has a stomach in their foot and can breath underwater..

Monday, July 13, 2015


Time definitely begins to speed up after the Summer Solstice. Clearly it's a downhill. And one of these years I'll not make it to the Winter Solstice. Probably in town, during the Christmas decoration season, some blowup Santa Claus or Singing Rein Deer in the grocery aisle will do it to me. Give the stock boys a little excitement. And too I already never go into town during the Christmas period without clean underpants, so it's been years in the making.

God only knows what'll happen to the Compost Piles. Pretty convinced the two Toads that live there will be made delighted by the peace and quite of my sudden disappearance. There'll be no iron discipline left down there of course. Sticks will go in the wrong place. Long term, medium term, short term composting will cease to have meaning. But fair warning I fully intend to do a little haunting when I'm gone from the earthly plane.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Windral Cover

There's no great mystery about the cover of A Windral. It's a map and a Dhow. Still subject to technical issues and change of course. This isn't a steam engine on steel rails, or the mayhem of new ideas, or the iron discipline of uniform and library, it's more of an attempt to picture uncertainty as a condition, and all the choice is to journey on. A condition that pretty much defines living things, I'd argue.

And if you like, we are each of us living in stories, our own understandings defined by them. In songs and music, despite the word harmony, there's a comforting ill-definition of meaning, the sentence less important, more like sitting in a bar and enjoying the ride than earning a living. And you have to think it's more often fiction that explains the world to us people. Anything like truth, is usually too horrible to contemplate,

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Random Comments

Your correspondent has to stop making comments on Facebook and on the internet newspapers and on the blogs of others. There's something seriously wrong with him, possibly a brain cell issue.

There are far more important things to do than wander aimlessly around making random remarks about nothing in particular. In short, I have to stop talking in the Library, writing on walls, and mind my own business. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Coin Tossing and Titles

There's been some tossing and turning. Prefer to think of it as the muse, or some kind of bad angel pointing out flaws, he does so constantly, goes on and on. Or it could be an aspect of age and deterioration and possibly I should shower in milk, or cruise the aisles in search of herbal remedies. Ultimately, the source of the angst is a title. My options The Windral or A Windral.

Please accept, I do understand there are considerably more important things to toss and turn around. And like Haman I should probably toss the coin, definite or indefinite article, get it over with. But it is kind of like dealing with an Ancient Persian King. They were prone to mood swings, I'm told. Fond of six and seven day drinking feasts, and possibly the weather had an influence upon them. It's just that A Windral seems less pompous. And The Windral suggests an undeserved uniqueness.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Windral and Summer Squash

The Windral is a struggling a little against Beans, Chard, Summer Squash and Compost. And I'll tell you this much, there's a reason why people grow the Running Bean. My own problems with the Running Bean, I begin to realize, has more to do with an objection to a hedge in the garden than anything remotely reasonable. And at the same time, the Tomato are pretty much of a hedge and what exactly Summer Squash do, who knows!

This year we rather grandly planted what we refer to as an Italian Summer Squash. It's green, its ribbed and mottled white, it grows into a barrage balloon over night, and it really should be assigned the label Invasive Species. The Artist has introduced Italian Summer Squash to a number of novel ideas, and there's a herd of them waiting further attention. My own contribution, which I thought successful was to dredge them in oil, smother them in salt and pepper, and grill them to that point where they almost catch fire.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

This and That

There are three Fawns in the territory and two mothers. I believe in the woodland it's a Wood Thrush that calls. No sighting of young Turkey, but a good number of last year's teenage Turkey. A host of Yellow Chat. Girl Summer Tanager has several suitors. Field Sparrow, with the reddish legs, are abundant.

Haven't heard a Coyote for a while. There's been sighting of Bob Cats in the neighborhood. Explains the strange noise in the evening. And someone reckoned they saw a Black Bear. The Artist while picking Blackberry has taken to clearing her throat, so as not to surprise anyone who might be big and furry and the owner of large claws. For myself, I'm not Blackberry picking this year.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Hot and Damp

Red Norland are out of the earth. Their bed was a more like swamp than anything like tilth. They'll dry on the porch for a day or two. And they'll keep for about a month. Eggplant struggle, they haven't had enough sun. Summer Squash are of course blissfull.

Bush Beans don't like swampy conditions. Their leaves touch the ground, get splattered with mud, they turn yellow, succumb to rot and these failing leaves have to be regularly removed. The Early Bush Bean Venture has been successful. The Blue Lakes are sulking a little at the moment. More rain on the way.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Languages of The Windral

To put it bluntly the languages of The Windral suck. There is Urdu, there are three or four words of Arabic, there is French, there is Turkish, there's a lot of German, there is the language of The Sabeans, there is a little Hebrew, there might be a little Yiddish which can sound a little like German but isn't, there is the Language of Maréchal's Crew and there is the beginning's of Lettish. And really it's best not to enter the Lettish Argument between your writer of pulp and our hero until book six.

Indeed, safe to say, that in the run of imagination some kind of computer generated and preordained structure around which to arrange things would make life for any writer of pulp considerably easier. In the list of "Don'ts" odds are a multiplicity of languages would be right up there at number one or two. Then there is the problem of translating languages, an issue for The Rabbit whose own masterpiece was written in what he reckoned was an unstable English, its meanings subject to being lost over time. And the thing about language, it's not mathematics. Sometimes two and two makes three.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Songs of The Windral

To put it bluntly, the songs of The Windral still suck. One problem for your writer of pulp is that he doesn't like reading explanations of songs himself. He sees the attempts as being up there with Puns, and the clever-clever. In his opinion Robbie Burns on New Year's or any other day day can only really be appreciated by a mind heavily fueled by The Whiskey. It's kind of like a cloud of madness, the joy is suddenly there in the bonhomie and gone the next day. It's social, I guess. The glad-hand and smiles of, "why exactly are we enjoying this?" And the answer too often is "because they are!"

He's tried different approaches. The song as a smell, which is fun. The song as a character, which has a quality that really confuses the issue. But to go back to the moments of interpretation, the songs of The Windral mean different things to different people. There's impasse and misunderstanding. And too, in the telling of the story, your narrator has bones and thoughts of his own, which might not be such a good idea, but he doesn't seem to be able to control himself and this can further confuse matters. Yes indeed, The Windral is a long way from home, which itself is exciting.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

July Fourth

Big Day today. A marshalling of the Patriotic Spirit. A beating of the drum. Oaths of Allegiance. Parades. Marching Bands. And Fireworks. Security provided by an increasingly paramilitary police force. During the first five months of this year, of the three hundred million people, 385 have been killed by police. That's like two and a half people a day. Pretty much anything written or said through the telephone is subject to bulk collection by a plethora of agencies, combed through by mechanical devices for a series of keywords that may or may not be spelled correctly.

The Committee of the Ruling Class comprises nine tenured Supreme Court Justices, one elected President, an elected Legislative Body. The powers of each defined by a Written Constitution that can be amended. Around one percent of the US population is in prison. If your skin is black you're six time more likely to go jail than if your skin is white. A Perfect Union, not yet, but speech is still free, they don't chop your arm off for stealing, or stone you for disobeying a dress code, or burn you alive for being an enemy pilot, or chop your head off for being an apostate and girls are allowed to watch boys playing soccer, which is nice.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Next Leviathan

A Gardener isn't supposed to complain about rain. Rain is a blessing from the clouds, especially in July when sometimes it doesn't rain until October. Quite why it's been raining for days and days and days, I don't know. There are a few possible culprits. Some more traditional than others. God's all upset because he's misunderstood, There's an anomaly in the middle of the Pacific. When the old farts were young it was always like this, only worse.

One culprit could well be an aspect of our own species which has so irritated the weather, it's decided to change. Tropical Rainforest Summer and Arctic Igloo Winter for us here where I live. One solution is to adapt to the idea of paddy fields, the other is to Stop Shopping. But have to suspect the Invisible Hand is no longer ours to guide and Slime Mold, not the Meek, will inherit the earth. Always have been a big fan of the Slime Mold. A new future for the Earth, untendered by the opposites of science and stock markets. The next Leviathan might even produce a new definition of intelligent life. So it's all very exciting.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Darius and Xerxes

"I shall always know you by the fearsome sharpness of your sword." The Greek Anthem composed in the 1820's and adopted as the Greek National Anthem following their independence from the Ottoman. It's also been called The Hymn to Liberty. It's been performed at the close of the Modern Olympic Games since the 1890's. And the question might be, why mention this?

Your correspondent has been trying to understand The Greek Credit Crisis, and this Sunday's Greek referendum on whether Greece should accept the conditions placed upon the Greeks by the banks. And though the Hellenes are far away, and though I've no idea what Liberty might actually be, I'm inclined toward the idea that the banks are the Modern Ancient Persians. Darius and Xerxes. But there'll be no Salamis, I'm guessing.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Silver Lining

Endless damp like this does Tomato no favor. Beans don't like it. Eggplant are unhappy. It brings on the Green Chard Slug which become like Antelope grazing. Our furry subterranean community are happily shopping for mail order aqualungs. And there's a whole thing with Black Pox and all forms of End Times Sootiness. But Compost likes it and so do Tics.

The Tummy Button Tic has again favored your correspondent with a visit. I guess I should feel honored, it's not everyone has a Tummy Button Tic, but if memory serves this will be the third time I've had a Tummy Button Tic in almost as many years. A Distinguished Service Order, I like to think. And in these conditions all silver linings are important for mental health.