Sunday, July 31, 2016

Stinkbug and The End Times

Inches away from taking weapons of mass destruction to the Stinkbugs this morning. And it's possible that over the years, your gardener might have selectively bred a Stinkbug that has some kind of cloaking mechanism. Either that or your gardener's eye hand coordination and mental alertness has aged to the point where he has become Stinkbug Clumsy, there are billions of them in the Tomato and he only squished one. This time next year he'll be lucky to be able to find the front door, so it could well be time to give consideration to the End Times.

 Have to think Being is more like walking a tightrope than it is aimlessly wandering the Savannah, and when time comes to fall off the tightrope Being has no place to go. The book is closed, it's the end, and in my mind there is peace rather than regret in this answer. Then the memory of a person lingers in the minds of others, and better if those memories are mostly good memories. Of epitaphs I have no desire to see written of me, this one figures high, "He admitted defeat and used Sevin on his Stinkbug." Absolutely no chance of Sainthood with something like that on your permanent record.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Saints of Afon-Bedd

There's a Medieval Saint named Saint Aidan. He was an Irish monk called by King Oswald of Northumbria to spread the message to the increasingly heathen Northumbrians. As a young man Oswald had surprised his family by becoming a Christian, and what with the troubles he was having with Pagan Mercian tribes it was probably easier for a Northumbrian King to seek guidance from the Lord in Ireland rather than from Rome. Mind you Aidan wasn't Oswald's first choice. The Irish first sent an austere, overly pious, very dull sort of Bishop, his name was Corman, who didn't mix with the more happy go lucky mindset of the Northumbrians. Nor did it really help that Corman didn't speak the local languages of Northumbria. But Saint Aidan was a gentler sort of character, very patient man, with a good, non-pompous smile, very positive attitude toward his work and when Oswald discovered that Aidan couldn't speak any of the local languages, Oswald agreed to offer his services as translator. In time as the Northumbrians warmed to the Lord, Oswald gave the Island of Lindisfarne to Bishop Aiden, and there are many who will tell you that while "Saint Augustine was the Apostle of Kent, Saint Aiden was the Apostle of the English." Doesn't sound like much, perhaps a little obscure as so many things are but trust me, it's fighting talk up there along the lines of "Esau was an hairy man, but I am an smooth man." It's kind of Like a British Isles Battle of Karbala. There's what they call a "Whole Thing" happening between Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne and Saint Augustine of Cantebury.

Yesterday Afternoon while Pressure Canning seven quarts of Green Beans, and I fully intend to repeat the Pressure Canning part until such time as the Tri-State Devil's Advocate can be persuaded that we Pressure Canners should all be on the list for Sainthood owing to our regular contact with a potential for martyrdom, it occurred to me that having two Saint David's in Afon-Bedd served little purpose to the The Rabbit of Usk. The thing is this, Saint David of Wales was a vegetarian, he was very short and he was very polite and in the original draft of Vestry of Monnow I must have succumbed to the idea that Two Saint David's quarrelling at meal times had merit. Now when I think about our hero's suspicion of Kent, his less than pluralist attitude toward the Romney Marsh, his horrible experience with Kentish Backpackers in Monda's fair city of Zagreb, it might well be the case that for Action at Meal Time purposes there should only be one Saint David in Afon-Bedd. Much better to take a new tack. And the other thing is this, King Oswald, who was badly defeated by the Mercian Tribes near Oswestry which is right there on the English side of Offa's Dyke, had a bit of a following after his death. More like a cult type following than something recognized by Rome, yet this following qualified in the Medieval Period as Sainthood by Popular Acclaim. So there you have it, Saint Aidan, Saint Augustine, Saint Oswald, Our hero and The Rabbit in his disguise as Saint Timothy, all of them at the Thursday breakfast of Poached Eggs on Toast. Bound to be fireworks!


Friday, July 29, 2016

Dark Cupboards and Shelving

Saint Chad, Saint Winifred or more properly Winefride or Gwenffrewi, Bishop Aldulf, King Offa, and a whole bunch of other people including Freckles are waiting for our hero at the Tri-County Lunatic Asylum of Afon-Bedd. But what with one thing and another, they're all just going to have to wait a little longer. There's a device downstairs waiting for Beans. It arrived yesterday, a huge box which was delivered by the Postman, who was glad to be rid of it because it took up so much space in his vehicle. I know exactly how he felt, and when he left to continue his round he had a ripe Mellon and a couple of Cucumber to sooth his brow. And yes! There have been experimental activities on my part, some of them successful, others less so, but at the same time there remains a level of confidence that has produced the odd peculiar dream around dark cupboards, shelving, perfectly labeled canned goods and indexing systems.

And I'll tell you this much, this thing's big enough to hold seven quart jars, so we're talking volume, not Boiling Water Bath volume, but nonetheless volume. The device's manual was OK but more booklet sized, which meant you could put it down somewhere and it could take up to five minutes to find it again. But the big point about a manual is readability. If you put it in terms of cigarettes, and take into account tension levels of the reader, the manual is about a four cigarette read, so we're talking Front Porch reading with associated distractions from things like Humming Bird and Girl Cat interactions, a trying combination without which the manual might well have been a two cigarette read. Then if you can work out how to get the top of the Pressure Canner onto the Pressure Canner Base without composing too many angry emails, you can then very quickly become like a mental patient because there's a pressure dial you can stare at nervously for at least forty minutes.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Retort or Steam Digester

Call me "Her Indoors." My own Great White Whale is a Coat of Many Colors. And I could go on, but probably simpler to lay out the problem in a comprehensible and not too drawn out way. The crux is stuff and the purpose of stuff in conjunction with a deep sense that we tool makers for no good reason whatsoever have put far too much stuff into the world. In short, the Industrial Revolution has robbed us of meaning by redefining our gods, and we have become more like ghosts in the machines of our own creation than we are Noble Savages at one with our world and its creatures, however apparently horrible some of us insist that existence might have been and how infinitely preferable are such tools as the exercise machine, skiing and the psychiatrist. So let's just say civilization is a sham, a con-job and has contributed very little to a sense of oneness with our universe. Or to put it another way your gardener with the vital technical assistance from The Artist is negotiating the purchase of a Pressure Canner for his Beans, his Beets, his Carrots, who knows what else and for a whole raft of reasons he doesn't feel in the least right about it.

Probably better to turn the corner a little. Stand tall, ask the questions, make the statements, and try to answer them without resort to the mind blowing fantasies that come under the heading of Post Factual an area of thinking in which I thrive, especially around the central roles of an N scale electric model steam train. Over the years The Artist and your correspondent have collected three freezers, we're talking square yards, bushels of freezer space that have to be closely monitored in the event of failure in the electric supply or a croaking compressor or wire nibbled by nesting rodent. One answer of many to the question why three? Over the years we have been persuaded by the factories of erudition that salt and vinegar when used as a preservative in canned goods pretty much brings the heart and its associated life giving forces to a screaming halt where continued existence depends almost entirely on Medical Professionals and their evil allies in the Pharmaceutical and Insurance Industries. Well all that's going to change with an incredibly dangerous French invention from 1679 that was once called A Steam Digester and food processors insist upon calling a Retort. And yes, it's more stuff! Do hope it comes with a well translated manual, because it's far too late for me to learn Mandarin.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Who Knows

Most nations have taken a bit of a break from warring over resources, territory and living space. What they do now is curry favor with the investor class, and in the process their ideologues come up with all kinds of reasons why this currying of favor is a good thing and likely the only possible way to go.

 Orwell's 1984 is always worth a read. One can think of the descriptions and the story as applying to tyranny the survival of which requires an enemy and a people devoted to defeating that enemy. In Orwell's account the people had few choices but to believe. Yes indeed, Post Factual is an interesting area.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Green Beans

Might have frozen the last Green Bean for this year. More Beans coming which suggests an excellent Green Bean Year and also suggests that some of us might have planted too many rows of Green Beans. "Why don't you can your Beans?" I hear the cry of erudition and wisdom. The trouble is the Green Bean is a low acid food. This means that to ensure its canned qualities, this side of pickling or salting, don't include something like Botulism the Boiling Water Bath Canner would have to boil his cans of Beans for something like three hours to be on the safe side, and even then there are what you call Thermophiles who might just survive temperatures of 210 Fahrenheit which is where our water boils.

The more professional canner has something called a Pressure Canner for their low acid foodstuff. This device is like a heavy saucepan with very secure top and a pressure valve of some kind in the lid, or just a weight that's supposed to wobble around on top of a tiny little hole, and its a weight that sometimes shoots through the ceiling, up out through the roof, never to be found again. But theoretically because of the pressure of steam that builds up a Pressure Canner is capable of achieve high boiling temperatures, 250 Fahrenheit at sea level at 15 pounds per square inch, such that a poxe's potential in a Green Bean is killed in about half an hour of steady boiling. All very well saying something like "The modern pressure cooker is much safer to use, it has safety features." But I guess it depends on how trusting or courageous a person might be.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Wide Mouth Jar Lids

Getting on for three weeks since last your intrepid correspondent ventured into town. Not much has changed, it was the Fire Engine with the rubber boat on top's turn to get its rub down, probably getting all excited about duck hunting season in a couple of months time, or possibly anticipating a lost toddler from Ohio on the Green River Lake. And your correspondent was as usual picked on by the traffic lights, they always look as though they're going to turn red, and if your correspondent decides they're not going to turn red, they do turn red, so by the time he's reached the fourth traffic light that part of his mind which seems to have devoted itself entirely to traffic lights is a little on edge which can result in the more impatient road user feeling obliged to honk their vehicle's horn and there can be stuff like glaring and the odd gesture which does make your correspondent wonder a little about why he bothered to shave and dress up in his town clothes, but fortunately his parking spot at the Post Office was unoccupied which is always a sweet comfort in troubled times.

Some years ago, following a command decision in the upper reaches of Post Office Management, there was an attempt to eradicate the Saint John's Wort that graced the ornamental border on either side of the Post Office front entrance. Despite its tenaciousness as a ground cover and it's joyful yellow bloom that plant has been declared an invasive menace as well as a danger to livestock by Wall Street agricultural interests. The plant did hold on for a good long time, but sadly it's stronghold in the border at the Post Office has been finally vanquished, and you can be pretty damned sure it wasn't a Gardner sweating against Plant type vanquishing it was more like Industrial Chemical type vanquishing, a form of cheating that really does put the kybosh on any notion of decency and honor. Naturally your correspondent did the right thing in the Grocery Store. He sneered at the job stealing self checkout and went directly to the regular checkout so he could line up behind a mother with coupons, and with an incredibly aggravating three old, for about ten minutes, so his packet of wide mouth ball jar lids might get its Have a Nice Day.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Garden Gossip

Most Eggplant are stoic, which make them good listeners. A Gardener can go on at them for hours, and they'll nod politely. But there's one Eggplant in the Vegetable Garden who is a little less than stoic, and it could well be my fault. He's in a bed that not so long ago was a gravel path, and I suspect that because gravel paths are a nightmare to dig up this Eggplant's end of the bed might not have received the gravel path digging up attention he deserved and as a result this less than stoic Eggplant is inclined to whimper at me a little. Nor has my  accepting full blame done very much to ease the situation. The little chap is sulking, and it's entirely possible I've been over watering him as a result.

Tomato tend to be Theatre Critics, which is about as far from stoic as a person can get. They love drama, and I am of the opinion that often a Tomato will take pride in criticizing her attendant. There's an Old German with some particularly tart comments. She's  at the end of her row, near the New Orleans Rose, which is a Climbing Rose on the garden fence and it's in that Climbing Rose where the Goldfinch like to gossip amongst the hips as they plot their own dastardly morning. And I have told this particular Old German that I do have a life and under no circumstances am I getting up any earlier to chase them away. The point is this Old German is kind of close to the Sulking Eggplant, so I tread warily around her incase she puts two and two together.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Moment With Plants

There's a Summer Squash which might be called Italian Zucchini. The Squash itself is ribbed, green with white freckles. If left to itself this Squash becomes like a barrage balloon. Very possibly there are parts of the world that might think of this particular Squash as a Marrow, grow it big, make a butter soup out of it. This Italian Zucchini is a most vigorous grower, it likes a big territory, it's leaves are enormous, it makes excellent Zucchini Bread, its very good on the grill and the Eagle Eyed might notice that it deals very well with Squash Bug if there is a Yellow Summer Squash planted close to it. Given a choice, Squash Bug appear to prefer Yellow Squash to Italian Zucchini. Odds are that next year your gardener will have forgotten this cogent, well thought out and totally unscientific observation, it'll have drifted off into the ether, a place where it could well belong.

In the world a great many thoughts emerge from moments with plants, their relationships with each other, with the climate, the soil, with birds, agues and pests. The more physically close a gardener is to plants, the more intimate the relationship between gardener and plants become, and indeed some gardeners will even conduct worrisome conversations with plants. But I'd argue that much of a Gardener's Lore emerge from such relationships, the observations made. Gold Finch prefer Sunflower, and when there's no Sunflower they'll nibble the Tomato bloom. Boy Cardinal's become obsessively carnivorous around the small green caterpillar. And it does rather go on, probably sounds cutely rustic, homespun nonsense from Hallmark, primitive in the Political Party Convention sense, New Agey if you're looking for irony. Nonetheless, a mind works in mysterious ways, call it mysticism, give it a woo-woo spirit, because despite rumors to the contrary from the more empirically inclined that's how we actually continue to learn.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Saint Teresa and The Vestry of Monnow

The thing about Saint Teresa of Avila is that her time on earth was the Sixteenth Century which makes it almost irrational to think of her as a Medieval Saint. She spent a lot of time wondering and writing about the ascent of the soul. Her analysis was in every way an exploration of her own mystical experiences, the stages of it, the steps taken as well as the physical experience of it and there are accounts which suggest that while upon earth she was able to levitate, which must be a terrifying experience unless a mind is wholly convinced, or so reckless it no longer cares. She died of an ordinary sort of sickness that through her life she had been a little prone to. It was October of 1582, and oddly 1582 was the year Europe changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, and part of that change involved getting rid of about ten days in the month of October. So, in the absence of a clock any where near her death bed, her death day is sometime a little before midnight on the 4th of October, or a little after midnight on the 15th of October.

 I don't wish to ramble on, but one of the most interesting areas of Saint Teresa's life where her final words, which apparently went like this "My Lord, it is time to move on. Well then, may your will be done. O my Lord and my Spouse, the hour that I have longed for has come. It is time to meet one another." It's an amazing, matter of fact, slightly impatient, way out there statement and it's an inspiration to those of us who have fallen to the "Slope in a Random Place" as their primary guide through life's rich and wondrous tapestry. Naturally there will be those who will argue that Saint Teresa did live in a simpler time, her understandings far too innocent, possible crack-pot for the sophistication of learning that issues from the unflagging efforts of today's Cathedrals who have suggested that many of Saint Teresa's more mystical experiences followed consumption of an hallucinogen found in certain grains. Either way, our hero does still have a Saint Teresa Medallion, and with luck in the Tri-County Asylum your writer of pulp will be able to explain to him why he was given it.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Saint Dymphna, The Lilly of Eire

Saint Dymphna is a Patron Saint of Mental Health Professionals. A solid Medieval Saint, her story is a particularly odd one in the genre of Medieval Girl Saints who had their heads chopped off either by their father or by an unbalanced suitor. Dymphna's father was a Pagan Irish chieftain, her mother a devout and Holy Christian. Dymphna as a girl took to the good book herself, she made her vows of chastity. And then when her mother died, her father developed an interest in his daughter which was in every respect unnatural. Fearing for her chastity, not to mention the unspeakable sin not even Lot can be forgiven, Dymphna fled to Belgium along with her Confessor, a man called Gerebburnus, a couple of trusted servants and her father's Fool. In Belgium, she used her resources to build a hospice for the poor and the sick. One of the coins Dymphna used to pay for the hospice eventually found its way back to her father, who was then able to trace her to Belgium. He wanted her back. When Dymphna refused her father's demand, he travelled to Belgium, he cut off his daughter's head with his sword and he killed Gerebburnus.

Four hundred years later a church was built near the hospice Saint Dymphna founded. This church  increasingly became a place of pilgrimage, and it became a safe place for many who might not be all there, or, who have a few pegs missing and there's a whole range of expressions around the idea of a box of crayons. In time the church was so popular it had to be expanded, and expanded again, thus creating the tradition of ministering to the mentally ill by offer them sanctuary. There's no record of what happened to her father's Fool nor is there any useful information about whether there was any Saint Barbara or Saint Winfred type vengeance inflicted by the Great Oneness upon Dymphna's horrible father. The other thing about Saint Dymphna is, when she was killed, her body and that of Gerebburnus were buried in a cave. And a time came when it just seemed wrong to have two such wonderful people buried in such a way. The remains of Saint Dymphna and Saint Gerebburnus were found and their relics distributed. Then sometime in the middle of the Nineteenth Century a relic from Saint Dymphna found it's way to a town in Ohio called Massillon which has an excellent Lunatic Asylum, or Behavioral Healthcare Unit. Massillon is a just fifty miles south of Cleveland.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pokémon

Some of us have tried to grasp Pokémon Go. As I understand it, it's a game the object of which is to hunt down and catch Wild Pokémon. Sadly, like that nightmare called a Scavenger Hunt, familiar to Charade Players world wide who are still in recovery, Pokémon Go is not played in the safety of your own attic. A dedicated player has to risk all, cast caution to the wind, he or she has to get out and about, has to drive or walk around with his or her own hand held device called an Android in order to actual catch a Wild Pokémon. And possibly, like me, you might be wondering what a Pokémon is, and here it might just be simpler to say that I have no idea, but such a negative attitude is one seldom found on these pages where even though the Hula-Hoop is still a bit of mystery your correspondent does his best to preserve erudition and learning in the face of a collapsing civilization.

Pokémon is one of those words that can be either singular or plural. One Pokémon, many Pokémon, both are correct usage. The accent on the e suggests either an origin in a distant language or a reluctance to find a completely different word to avoid the innuendo that could be associated with Poke, and with Mon which is Scottish dialect for man. And indeed the word comes from the Japanese for Pocket Monster, of which there are apparently over seven hundred fictional species, which oddly enough does ring true. To catch a Wild Pokémon a player has to throw a Poké Ball at the Creature, and if successful the Wild Pokémon is introduced to the player's Pokédex. A Pokédex is a collection of Pokémon. Once the Pokémon is in a player's Pokédex the unfortunate creature can be trained to participate in a team of Pokémon who will then compete against the Pokémon teams of other players. At this juncture if you're feeling a little queasy, so am I.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Elijah and The GOP

Not absolutely convinced that plagiarizing the American Dream was a Cardinal Sin in 2008, even if the word for word part of the 2016 well coifed utterance was a little symptomatic of how increasingly that dream lives entirely in the more often than not deranged imaginations of propagandists produced by those who are so completely out of touch with the reality upon earth that they dress in Ermine, a word that arrived in the English Language from the Latin for Mouse. Oh certainly, one should always attribute, otherwise it's the behavior of a cad and bounder, and hanging's too good for them, they should be drawn and quartered first.

But if you find the current Mrs. Trump's speech to the Convention somehow funny and at the same time infuriating, then it's entirely possible you have read Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and have enjoyed the decay of Empiricism that this election season is so beautifully producing. Stress not beloved, recognizing a discourse as Post Factual is the experience of the anomaly we belong to, and realizing this is the silver lining. Think Elijah, his still quite voice and be comforted by it. You can read it in 1 Kings 19 : 11-13. The King James Version, preferably. There's a cave involved, so it's deeply spiritual and the voice Elijah heard pretty much sums it up.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Help with the Beans

It was a Tomato based day that began with Bush Bean Picking Calisthenics. And your gardener is rather excited because The Girl Cat has expressed some interest in Vegetable Gardening, she's not that fond of the Tomato plants, she's a little delicate around Stinkbug, but the long rows of Bush Beans are definitely her thing, and clearly in her view they are planted too close together. We discussed it in polite terms, and no doubt about it there is a character driven element of The Grandchild in the Girl Cat that might be useful when seeking martyrdom. Last year the Grandchild dramatically thinned the Chard plants, it was random sort of thinning and to save time she did this thinning in conjunction with the process of harvesting Chard leaves. This year The Girl Cat, channeling this same internal capacity to multitask thinned a couple of Bean plants while dispatching a Camel Cricket, bless her.

Nothing against a Camel Cricket, sometimes called a Spricket, for some reason, it looks a little Camel-like in color, and possibly very nutritious, jammed packed with vital traces good for growing bones. And if you set aside the size difference, which is dramatic, on par with the Elephant and the Shrew, a young Camel Cricket does look a little like the Big Rabbit that so dominates our Eastern horizon and which both the Girl Cat and I are just a little nervous of. They both have the big back leaping legs, what could well be a vicious mouthpart and a beady-ness of eye, that in the correct light can be chilling. I have to agree, all power to the Girl Cat for her attack skills, her tunnel vision, her grit and determination. Collateral damage easily excused when you remember she must venture toward the Big Rabbit territory with just her wits and her four paws. I at least can carry stick or wear one of those beaky hats with "Make America Great Again" emblazoned across the brow.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Sophist

A mental glitch, maybe, but the Pompous Factor in your correspondent is higher on Sunday. It goes back a bit to Sunday's past when literally hours, and I mean hours and hours, where spent in painful obedience to the whims of an assortment of The Lord's representatives down here on the temporal plain. The words "We shall now sing the Te Deum" more often than not followed a monologue by one or other of the Sophists around the subject of "Cynicism as Evil." This call came from deep in the emotions behind the Beatitudes. It wasn't good enough just to do, the doing part had to be done in a whole hearted and committed manner, with no raising of eyebrows and in no circumstance did the fountain of wisdom tolerate any kind of answering back. Naturally your correspondent as a youth found himself more and more interested in Socrates, and he yearned to be corrupted. In Socrates' day of course, the Sophists were itinerate teachers, paid to teach the sons of the nobles who could afford it. Not something Socrates appears to have approved of. Philosophy and Rhetoric, an excellence which he reckoned should be available to all.

In feel like terms it was centuries later that your maturing correspondent made an attempt to consider the nature of the charge against Socrates. The man was obviously a Bolshevik of the barrack room lawyer kind, great fun to be around, he'd sit in the back benches, raise his hand, ask questions, many of which couldn't really be comfortably answered, and there'd be much giggling. The charge the committee brought against him was corrupting the youth. It was a classic from an elite anxious to be rid of a thorn in the story of their wonderfulness and perfection. My man managed to piss off the committee, his options were Exile or Hemlock. He chose Hemlock on the understanding that a commitment to self was temporal. If it was the will of a majority, who was he to claim that he understood the complexities of life on earth better by choosing exile. And the thing about it is, many remember Socrates as the wisest of men, very few remember Anytus the son of Anthemion, an Athenian General who led the prosecution of Socrates. "We shall now attempt sing Saint Augustan of Hippo's Te Deum."

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Label Wearing

There's a sootiness in the Paste Tomato, and possibly it's a Spreading Pox that might have to be quarantined and then publicly burnt at the stake as an example to every single one of the several million agues Tomato are prone to. Also worth remembering The Hillbilly is a yellow Tomato that has a blush of red around the bloom end, so waiting for her to go completely red is not only unwise it contributes to the Mid July Tomato Ennui that strikes deeply at the heart of the sensitive Gardener. How can he have forgotten that the only reason to foster the Hillbilly Tomato is because they mature to this combination of colors and they have truly refreshing, juicy taste that few other Tomato can match in a white bread sandwich.

Another year or two, and if I'm still amongst the living, I will probably have reached that point in life when a label around the neck will be necessary. Ideally the label will have my name upon it, The Artist's name, probably it'll have a simple map so I might be able to navigate from one corner of the Vegetable Garden to the other without getting lost, it might have to have a compass, and most definitely it'll have to have a couple of hundred portrait pictures of the more confusing areas in the event I again get muddled up around the important distinction between a Wheel, a Soldier, a Stink and a Squash Bug. Easy enough to blame an early dementia on the excruciating gymnastics required to pick a Bush Bean, but I'm beginning to suspect it could be time to start practicing the ergonomics of the Label Wearer so that kinks might be ironed out before it's really far too late

Friday, July 15, 2016

Saint Timothy, The Sphinx of Naxos, God and The DNC


I don't believe there was ever a time when the Infinite One e-mailed his prophets with the news that there was only limited space in the eternity of the After Life. I just don't see it happening unless God has something to do with the Democratic National Committee. "Oh Ye Faithful, unto thou shall be cast down a more competitive attitude, only the goodest of the good shall sit in the smoke filled armchairs, the effort grade shalt no longer count, forgiveness shall be limited to only the most perfectly obedient of my children." Entirely the case that over the years many a call has been made by earthly passions to have such an edict written in tablet form, a hard copy, the sort of document that doesn't get lost to the whims and manipulations of technical contraptions or the woolliness of synapses. This call has always been phrase-like rather than long drawn-out complicated and erudite sentence-like. Arbeit Macht Frei or more directly Job 34:19, conceivable Leviticus 19:15 and there's always "someone in a garage is working on the problem" stuff happens so why not wear the Snow White Armani Suit, it's so Cancun in an understated way.

There are those of course who will argue that translation from the original is the perennial problem, the word "Covet" should more properly have been translated as "Take" and the word "Steal" should be more properly have been translated as "Enslave." But following the audaciousness of Job's message that God doesn't put princes ahead of paupers, nor does he put paupers ahead of princes what God, who may well have been a foreigner, must have really meant to write into the final tablet was indeed "Covet" as in stuff like other people's oxen or wives and "Steal" as in stuff like other people's silver or oil. Worth recalling that the Moses of Exodus was more interested in forging a new nation on the other side of the Red Sea from the Pillars of Pharaoh than he was concerned with the problems facing Job and Leviticus which were more about how to maintain a soiled brand. And you're right, your religious correspondent should really get off his behind, don the banners, invest in a battery operated megaphone, take to the street corners and direct the faithful toward a serious and total reappraisal of the Eighth Commandment and Tenth Commandment.  Mind you one of the Timothy's achieved martyrdom in Ad 90 by being stoned to death for doing pretty much exactly the same thing to the followers of Diana, Goddess of the Hunt

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Saint Chad

I'm not actually a big fan of Saint Chad. It might sound a little insensitive, might even be worrisome, but possibly it has something to do with his name. His older brother, who was also a Saint, a miserable looking Bishop called Cedd, played a role in the Synod of Whitby which was a gathering in the latter part of the Seventh Century that settled differences between the Island churches and the Europeans. The problem was two competing traditions. The Ionian tradition which was basically the survival of the Christian ideal amongst the Celts following the departure of the legions, and the Roman tradition which comprised the long fingers of Rome reaching out into the more barbaric places in a search for oneness against the Devil. Saint Cedd was more of the Ionian tradition, they had a different day for Easter, they'd be fasting for Lent when those who followed the more Roman tradition would already celebrating Easter, and the other thing about it was, the Europeans had much to offer in the area of more temporal matters. Increasingly the powerful Angle and the Saxon clans had recourse to the kind of fashionable learning that comes with wealth and most of that learning came from Europe. Things like reading, writing, sums as well as stuff like really good ways to make paper, siege engines and remarkably elegant footwear.

Cedd was from the Northern part of what is now England, an area that was called Northumbria, and Northumbria had had terrible trouble with the clans of Mercia, or the Angles. At Whitby, Cedd chose Rome, the Northumbrian Bishops moved from the romance and poetry of Lindisfarne to the dour duty of York. And when Cedd died of plague it was up to Chad to persuade Mercia to stop beating up on Northumbria and follow the edicts of Rome, most especially in the manner of calculating the date of Easter, the correct way to grow a tonsure and a whole bunch of vitally important questions that Rome had already resolved at the First Council of Nicaea over three hundred years previously. The Ionian traditions amongst the Irish had always been ahead of the curve on things like the Councils of Nicaea, the Welsh Church less so. They were a different kind of Celt perhaps, they weren't that disappointed when the Roman Legions left and possibly they might not even have sent a representative to the Synod of Whitby. Either way and perhaps more interesting, I once knew a person called Chad, and I think without doubt he was possibly the most obnoxious person I've ever met. All the same, Saint Chad figures in the Vestry of Monnow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Borderlands

Obsession with Medieval Saints and the Names of God is probably not the stuff of pulp. Yet how better to explore the nature of a borderland where Nation, Race, Ethnicity, Religion and Power meet. It's always a visceral moment to say "This is Home," discover the emotion of Home, sometimes called a Sense of Place, embrace it warmly. Then when Home is impinged upon, it hurts. In one way it's an understanding of property, mine. In another way it's an understanding of community, us. Songs are written about it, usually sappy songs until communities clash, then some other God takes over. In your writer of pulp's imagination this area has a name, it's called Offa's Dyke, a ditch that runs the distance between the Welsh Clans, their princes, their saints, and the Kings and clans of Mercia, newcomers to the Island, immigrants if you'd prefer, non-Christians of the sort that worshiped Thuner, Tiw, Wade and Wayland. Wayland was the metal guy. Tiw was all about war. Wade was the sea, which is rather nice. Thuner, thunder.

I will hold that Saint Chad was from that part of the Christian Church that survived amongst the Britons following the departure of the Roman Legions. It was a church that had learned new lessons. With the Legions gone, Saxon, Angle or Mercian, and Jute clans, who first arrived on the Island as mercenaries, then as settlers, soon dominated the more fertile central areas of the Island and characteristically they wanted more. Saint Chad, one of whose brother's also became a Medieval Saint, was the evangelist who finally managed to peacefully convince the Mercian Clans to enter what I suppose would have been considered the cutting edge of the Seventh Century and adopt the multi-tasking God of Christianity as their overall Religion. Now the thing is this, the Chroniclers of this period in history, Bede in particular, had a big thing for The Roman Church head-quartered in far away Europe and led by the Popes. They knew where their butter was spread. So naturally Chad was considered of the Unified Roman Church, the fact that he'd spent time with the brothers of Ireland and Wales was in my view glossed over in the interest of simple narrative. Yes indeed, it's a lesson to all of us.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Chard

Fewer Stinkbugs in the Chard this year. I'd call this a blessing. The reason being that frozen Stinkbug is incredibly unwholesome, and during the Chard washing processes, a Chard Leaf Processor who may have become genetically adapted to pounce on Stinkbug, squish the life out of them, can end up with Stinkbug goo on their fingers. And I'll tell you this much no amount of washing can rid Chard leaves of the astonishingly unappetizing esters that Stinkbug can produce.

Strangely there seem to be more Spiders in the Chard. Not certain there's a relationship between number of Spiders and number of Stinkbug, but there is a little something about Spiders. Don't mind the Jumping Spider, the Wolf of the Spider world, independent nomadic creatures. Don't mind the diligent Web Weaving Matrons. It's the little tiny Swarming Spider that I'm most wary of. They seem hell bent on a mission to bite something so they might  pass on effortlessly to their own Nirvana. Can't really see them, so what with the twitching from being creeped out it can be rough out there.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Cathedrals of Learning

Many, many years ago two general states of happiness were identified by those who spent time wondering about what happiness might be. If you're remotely interested they were the Hedonists and Platonic schools of thought that produced erudition and learning, literature and volumes of theory that have stuck in the western imagination to the point of almost being an anthem amongst the ever so clever. No doubt it's a luxury to be able to sit around wondering about what happiness might be, and for many long generations it was a something of a luxury to be able to put down in writing any thoughts a person might have had about the poem of happiness. Inevitably there are those who might cynically suggest that a definition of happiness might include the idea that being able to sit around wondering what happiness might be is in and of itself a state of happiness. Either way, far too often a society's thinkers totally lose touch with the realities of a large percentage of those they nobly claim to think on the behalf of. It's a blindness of course. Then what happens? I'll tell you. A fence is built.

On the one side of this fence are the more powerful, on the other side of this fence are the less powerful. Invariably the more powerful have access to greater resources than the less powerful, and oddly enough the insults the more powerful toss over the fence include words that suggests ignorance is a state of un-enlightenment. Currently a favorite word for this sad condition appears to be "Uneducated." It's an interesting word. On the one hand it suggest proficiency in the areas of reading, writing and arithmetic and on the other hand it suggests a grasp of the extent of knowledge, acumen, and understanding which for one reason or another is deemed superior coming as it does from Guilds of Cathedral Builders. The higher this fence gets the more profane the insults become and elements within society begin to define education and learning in a way that will suit their immediate interests rather than serve anything like enlightenment. But I guess if you really wanted to gain some comfort from this fence, you could give it gravitas worthy of the Cathedrals by calling it a Hedonistic Excellence. An Homeric Arete if you want to be a truly Ancient Greek type pompous.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Joy of Bean

Had to thin the Bush Beans. They grew giant leaf bushy and recent rains helped them not in the least. There was bonding between man and plant, and the Beans and I both now feel better. Not quite certain why they chose to grow in so robust a way, but I suspect it has something to do with soil enhancement though compost. And the thing about compost, a gardener can never be sure of its nitrogen content. The other thing about compost is the sense of purity it provides to the spirit of those gardeners who spend several hours every day thinking about compost. It's the same with double trenching. As well, purity without science is a most subjective notion that can become habit forming. "I've always done it this way" is a kiss of uncertain quality.

The other side of this area involves the nature of a mathematics. These particular Bush Beans were brutally thinned as seedlings strictly according to the directions on the packet in which they came. And presumably under ideal conditions of soils and climate they would have done just fine. Have to suspect that in the laboratory the idea of efficiency of Bean yield figures very high in the calculation. The average distance between Bean Plants determined as an accounting figure rather than anything remotely associated with what might be called "Joy of the Bean." It's an area of mind that's not considered necessary in servants that have no voice. It's kind of like a missile, it's operator, and the order to fire. It lacks honor, and unlike wealth, it trickles down.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Self Existent Woolly Mammoth Mode

There's always a big debate about God. Over the years there have been in our number many who have spoken to God. For myself, had I spoken to God or if God had spoken to me, I think I'd be a little shy about it. I might even ask the question, "Why pick on me?" before donning the robes and yelling from street corners. In the early literature was the idea that God had no name, and to even try to mention his name or think too hard about his name was sinful. This particular idea emerged from a conundrum. One of the chosen was talking to God and in the course of the conversation he asked God "What shall I call you?" God's somewhat disgruntled reply was, "I am who I am."  Maybe this particular chosen one was exaggerating a little, but the point is, to claim that anyone who has spoken to God is lying can be risky to the foundations, hence the conundrum that often leads to horrible schisms. The Sphinx/Pyramid Schism is a classic example, there was no actual speaking to God involved, it had more to do with poached eggs, but perhaps that's for another time.

Of the names available for God, our own minds are limited to four general areas. There's the list of more inclusive words for god. Things like The Oneness that direct toward an overall general plan with something that resembles a happy ending for those who become involved in the plan. The second general area is more Hindu, something like The Self-Existent, an otherness within God that suggests a splendid isolation that occasionally enjoys a carnival. The third area is the Woolly Mammoth, a bad tempered slightly insane character who must be regularly appeased otherwise he'll run around trampling the fields. The final general area is actually the most interesting. Those who will claim that God Isn't and thinking otherwise is so sinful it's both stupid and uneducated. This fourth list of names for God is often added to by a wide range of highly educated, intellectual cloud dwelling individuals whose sense of sophistication is such they themselves might not be of this earth. My own current position on the subject is a sort of Hindu with Woolly Mammoth undertones, I'd guess. It's not at all pretty or remotely comforting, but like all true believers I suspect I'm absolutely correct.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Man Bonding

I realize there a great many weeks that will Live In Infamy. Fortunately there is something in the water around here that reduces memory to a sort of spottiness, time passes and a week from the past which might once have Lived in Infamy takes on a special glow where the Infamy part drifts into the sunset. But with respect to this week the Infamy part is right up there, still very present in the mind. The weather has been exceptionally mean. Around six inches of rain in five days, and I'll not mention the straight line winds or the levels of humidity that have prevented the Bean Plants from drying out and are in process of doing horrible things to the Tomato.

On the brighter side, the power cut was no more than a couple of hours, and the tree that fell across the lane provided opportunity for neighbors to judge each other in the area of manliness. And here, despite being the only male wearing shorts and a rather flamboyant collared shirt, I think I did quite well. While womenfolk were huddled around early morning coffee and girl type internet activities we men gathered. It was the branch of a very big tree, a rare giant, an excellent shade producer, which had it fallen the other way would have pretty much destroyed a dwelling. I made a joke about firewood which fell rather flat and which for some reason caused the neighbor's big dog to wag it's tail at me, which I thought a little suspicious because as a rule that dog develops all the symptoms of Rabies whenever he sees me.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Lead Bulls and Stuff


There are many theories, but the thing about the Drums of the Acholi was they represented a higher consistency. Something reliable that did not move to the whims of something like an electorate, or the wiles of something like a politician, or the fear of something like hunger or unfairness. No matter the circumstance the drums always sounded the same, they were given their own hut, their own place to be and they were cared for. Sometime in the 1970's the Drums of the Acholi were stolen, probably sold to a far away collector The question where are these drums in our world as it is today.

You can sometimes see them in obedience to constitutions, hear them in a national anthem, observe them in the toll of a church bell or the call from a minaret or in the klaxon of a factory at the end of shift, you can feel them in the pin pricks of an economist's equations and yet for some of us the consistency of the drums has gone. The sound of them, the knowledge of them lost to uncertainty of tightropes and conjurors. Call it The Lead Bull of Socio-economic Development if you prefer. Follow him into the dark night, return again as a child if you're lucky. Me, I'm going to try and pickle this years crop of onions.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Chilcot

It would probably take a while to read the Chilcot Report, and no doubt in my mind that very few will. The preference, I suspect, will be to glance at the précis provided through media by those anxious to demonstrate one or other of several points which will be examined minutely and then extrapolated upon for political advantage. And one has to wonder, why such cynicism. The answer has to do with yearning for a savior, someone to trust by finding someone to blame, and the Chilcot Report is several million words long. I understand it includes the round number of "at least 150,000" Iraqi casualties, a few of them soldiers.

In the matter of blame, there will be those who will claim that political will foundered and withdrawal was premature. And there will be those who will claim it should never have been started in the first place. At the time, in 2003, the latter opinion was a minority opinion. Those who held it were deemed unpatriotic, wooly livered and weak minded, probably socialist with no moral fiber. Saddam Hussein was an evil, guilty of something, and there was a whole thing accompanied by song and dance, and "OH Goody" let's cleanse ourselves of alternatives through a war that'll make us famous. There's no shame in the analysis of an error, but "shame on him who thinks evil of it." Not Socrates' dying words, a motto of the Norman Kings.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Our Hero's Disorder

Identifying our hero's mental anomaly hasn't been a straightforward process. As an objective, perfectly normal, writer of pulp it was more a case of the Chicken coming first. Identifying the Egg from which his anomaly hatched remained without any kind of structure within the narrative, instead it has drifted in an aimless manner through the pages of International Statistical Classifications of Diseases from the World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. And the thing to note in both these grand titles is the word Statistical. Anomalies are more likely or less likely to belong to a class, it's a Venn Diagram around which the characteristics are listed rather than the preciseness of something like a surgical procedure or a times table. And I guess too it's some sort of anomaly when a mind sees ripping yarns in these two massive tomes, such that it can spend hours perusing the pages with a smile on its crown that suggests it's engaged in reading a Bodice Ripper.

Myself, and hate me if you want to, but I'm not one to find myself saying, "Twins, how sweet." A person can go further and suggest the left handed people are in someway awry. Neither position currently fashionable in many parts of the globe, yet the circumstance of Twins and left handedness were in past times often considered very, very sinister indeed. Talk to someone who is left handed and one can commiserate a little as he goes on about having to write the wrong way and how difficult it is to find left handed scissors, there are things like place settings, knives and forks. Our nature, contrary to the ambitions and machinations of so many, contains a variety. And this variety is tolerated so long as it doesn't reach a point of mad-dog weirdness. Inevitably "mad-dog weirdness" also falls into the circles of a Venn Diagram, were it becomes classified into more likely acceptable or more likely unacceptable. Our hero who now confronts a panel of professionals is anxious to avoid the diagnosis of more likely unacceptable. His grandfather is kind of hoping for something less borderline, more "stark-staring who should be locked up." Naturally enough the impasse may well require miraculous mental gymnastics, a borderline personality disorder that's increasingly favored by our ruling classes.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Interpretive Dance

It's been long years for your correspondent upon earth, and he has yet to develop a reasonable relationship with the words Intelligent, Intellect, Charades and Puns. He also has a bit of a problem with things like The Olympics, Competitive Sports and although this second list is long it contains nothing that consistently touches the visceral part of his cortex, sends the shivers down his spine that produce what I guess has to be a knee-jerk reaction. The better path would likely be some sort of twelve step program, but most such therapeutic recipes do call for commitment by a supplicant to a Highness, and here I'd rather potter down to the barn see how the Angel of Greed is managing his own recovery program. He's reading Calvin's Commentaries at the moment and has taken to preaching against The Papists, which can be entertaining even if it is a little mean spirited, but worth remembering the Angel of Greed claims that just prior to his martyrdom he smoked a pipe with Luther.

In my own equally pathetic attempts at recovery, I have found several potentially useful directions. I have to avoid anything that sounds like Logic of course, it's one of those puns that sends me into a steep decline, but I do have a fondness for the word Dialectic so long as I don't associate Dialectic with the word Intellect, something that's far too easy to do. Better to think of Dialectic as a three part movement in an Interpretive Dance. On the one hand, on the other hand, and Either Way. It's almost like a Waltz, but without the associated musical accompaniment or scoring board, funny shoes and perfumes. All of which does give "Dialectic as Waltzing" a certain Charade-ness, so better to cling to an Interpretive Dance as performed by tearful toddlers in nappies where the Either Way has a tantrum. Inevitably there are brief moments of joy, the decision that a Japanese Great Tit uses compositional syntax and the decision that Pea Plants are able to evaluate risk are two of them. My own eloquent contributions to the literature "Never Let An Eggplant See a Hosepipe" and "Bluebirds Play Chess" were both returned with polite little notes.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Shaman and Confucian

What exactly has our hero been doing these past few days or might even be weeks. Sadly we both got a little side tracked by world events, particularly around the words existential crisis as it applies to Political Parties, one thing led to another and we found ourselves exploring the history and causes of the First Sino-Japanese War as well as the Japanese Annexation of Korea, where we again came across the word Cheondoism. It's an opinion, agnostic in nature, no after life, that offers heaven upon earth through a set of moral virtues that would reform society, overcome old outdated customs and traditions. A person can think of it as Confucius and the Eastern Way as opposed to the many iterations of the Shaman tradition were the Shaman was able to enter trance, leave his or her body, travel the astral plains, seek guidance from the source of all being and return to earth with good advice for a small hunting party or an affair of the heart or a Shinto Samurai Warrior or pretty much anything you can think of.

By the time we reached the burdens of World War I Reparations upon German Society and the final payment which was made by The German Treasurer on the 3 October 2010, our hero, who has been anxious to get on to his interview with a three person panel of professionals, was a little impatient. He wanted to know how this drifting about was going to help frame the more immediate question confronting him, which is how to demonstrate his sanity to three psychiatrists charged with determining the extent of his mental fitness. It's not an easy time for our hero. There are ghosts from the past in the interview room, the contents of his carryall are arranged on the table between our hero and his interviewers. Tealeaves, you could call them, the sum of our hero's concrete world. His grandfather has been cruelly exiled in the form of a rabbit by the Lead Bull and in our hero's view is quite obviously nuts. Our hero, himself, has had his head shaved, he's been dipped in lindane, scrubbed head to toe, he's been given an orange dressing gown and pajamas to wear  And certainly he looks like a mental patient. And I think if there is a point, of the three Doctors conducting the interview, one is more Shamanistic, the others more Confucian in their approach to their chosen discipline.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Dream Theory

Without the assistance of machines and chemicals, a good seventy five percent of a population would be engaged in agriculture. Aside from the obvious problems associated with the history and practicalities of such back to the land wishy-washy theories, would this be a good thing for us or a bad thing for us and the world we live in? Probably a question for an Artificial Intelligence rather than our own, yet worth considering.

Of the problems associated with the answer yes to this question are the physical disciplines that would be required from those of us engaged in agriculture. Of the benefits associated with the answer yes to this question would be the nature of the relationship a person can develop with hard work, the land and its creatures. Alternatively accountants could give butterflies a column, but I don't think they'd know how to.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Mother's Boys

Not for me to pontificate, lay down the law, pretend I'm some sort of journalist politician who claims to know where the Golden Egg is hidden. But I will say this, Horn Worm have the Mother's Boy Bottom. There's one in the Tomato, and I know this because I have seen the scat, but no sign of the beast who's still there munching away, getting bigger and bigger by the looks of the trail that has issued from Mr. Know It All.

Currently I'm torn between naming this Horn Worm Boris Johnson, Michael Gove or Donald Trump. And it's true, your correspondent has fallen off the wagon, he's been dabbling in the comment sections of newspapers, social media where it is so easy to get carried away. Indeed he attempted to look at his own bottom in the Daily Mail. It took forever to download, Rothermere's empire is hungry for advertizing.