Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sensitivities

Tricky area, insanity. Not to be made fun of. Most madness dwells in unhappiness, the mind travels the emotions, struggles to comprehend the perceptions, it hears noises, hears voices and sees things that might not be there. That part of a mind which attempts to make sense of its world works overtime, and then it breaks, becomes unfit, its realities not understood by the rest of us. And we who walk the tightrope, which is all of us, tend to fear things we don't understand, they become annoying, and easier to get rid of them, ignore them or invent ideas around them to make them tolerable.

Sometimes your writer of pulp concerns himself with the sad realities of insanity as he chases down Sainthood for The Rabbit by reenacting the Vestry of Monnow in the tri-county lunatic asylum. But it's the case that the picture to be painted in the Ten Books of The Rabbit of Usk, if read through tinted lenses is filled with horrible insensitivities. You can't just go around saying "Normans suck, unleash the Unicorn!" and come away with an unblemished character reference. More likely you'll be judged and categorized by one group or another. And as for your writer of pulp's motive, I guess his level of sensitivity depends upon how much he cares about which group he belongs to. A sad commentary upon all of us.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Vedast, Gastyn and Gaston

Have to get heavily into the Medieval Saints to truly appreciate the soothing benefits they offer a mind tossed by storm, tempest and an increasingly visceral aversion to consumerism. Saint Winifred, Saint Chad, a whole bunch of them, a regular sunny bouquet and I had so many notes, not the scribbled down kind, but the neatly typed well labeled kind. It's true potlatch has its benefits, but the actual details, the names, how they might be spelled, where they came from and so on are all fairly constant. Take Saint Gastyn for example. He might have been a Frenchman, why I remember that I have no idea and the question "Was Saint Gastyn a Frenchman?" draws something of a blank from a search engine. Not remotely interested in Gaston Street, and oddly enough search engines are more interested in whether or not Charlie Chaplain was a Frenchman. MI5, the UK domestic counter intelligence service, still thinks he might have been. Saint Gastyn himself doesn't seem to figure. So I'm just going to have to assume that young Gastyn was a devout man from Gaul who arrived in the pagan Land of the Silures which is where The Rabbit of Usk is currently in a most painful exile.

The other thing about Saint Gastyn is that there's a Bishop called Saint Vedast who was a Breton which is a language group associated with Brittany, and Brittany is if you like Celtic, but Saint Vedast is called Saint Gaston by French speakers. Worth noting that Saint Vedast is a great deal better represented in the literature than Saint Gastyn. Saint Vedast baptized and advised the French King Clovis, which certainly gets a person noticed to the point of having churches named after them, but miracle-wise Saint Vedast was pretty feeble. He healed a beggar of blindness, which certainly lacks imagination and in my mind as a miracle, returning sight to beggars has always contained a "now you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps" kind of political density and is definitely an anti-blind people miracle. When he died Saint Vedast was carried aloft in a luminous cloud, which means basically that he probably died at sunset and there's no way it was a miracle and anyone who might have witnessed it was obviously desperate to find something good to say about Bishop Vedast. Of course Saint Gastyn's miracles are all of them absolutely amazing, all very novel and imagination filled, so I'm looking forward to remembering each one of them.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Canning Awareness

Some of us might be what they call a "Willy-Nilly Pressure Canner." We just can anything that looks can-able, it's the rows of colorful jars that fills the soul, rather than the content of the jars. Then there's a bias, innate in us novice canners which veers toward the idea that anything we might can is up there with the most delicious thing we've ever tasted and anyone who disagrees is clearly a knuckle-dragging salt and vinegar potato chips kind of person who wouldn't know a Bovril extract flavored chip if it jumped up and bit him on the nose.

Well all that nonsense has got to change. Can't just stuff something in a well labeled can and call it genius. Nor does it really help when a canner becomes aggressive in defense of his preconceptions. He has to learn humility, not easy for some of us. He has to accept the objective potential in any criticism, rather than reaching for the Kalashnikov and declaring a border war. Hate to say it, but a "well grounded canner" is an even tempered individual, and it's entirely possible he should have discarded his soaking liquid for his Asian Pear slices instead of worrying about wasting half a cup of Lemon Juice.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Growing Up

The Girl Cat has taken those first simple steps toward becoming a dedicated serial killer, and I know this because the hop of a Grasshopper no longer fills her heart with the intensity of joy it might once have done. She now finds them rather dull, unimaginative, predictable creatures, no match for her wit and hardly worth the energy. The Butterfly Hunt is still good practice, an opportunity to leap into the air in anticipation of maybe one day spreading her own wings so that she might soar among the Owls and the Eagles. Lizards are a minor entertainment, but like the Frogs, there's something remarkably unsatisfactory about them, and they taste horrible.

We indoors are naturally very proud of her as well as a little nervous. By nature we tend toward a lily-livered soft heartedness that worries about things like Rabbit blood and internal organs on carpets. There's always the worry the Girl Cat will discover the fun she can have from bringing a live Mouse into the domicile, releasing it until one of the other domicile residents hears it, then sees it and then starts running around as though possessed by the conviction the world is about to end. And as primary care givers with full responsibility for the Girl Cat's good health we have to give thought to the dangers of her randomly sampling improperly prepared foodstuff. Yes indeed, a rich tapestry.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

William Morris and The Individual

Wanted to have a good talking to myself today about William Morris and being a Team Player. Morris wasn't alone in hoping for a working condition that might enable an Individual Person to remain an Individual Person instead of this fantasy idea of a person being a Team Player until such time as he or she messes up as a Team Player and only then is he or she considered an Individual and is made an example of, so that others might better learn obedience. And in this particular area please don't tell me I'm exaggerating, or have failed to grasp the nuances within a propaganda called Individual Responsibility. It's a catch all phrase, a meme, a simple excuse, which like all good propaganda insinuates itself into structure, where it designs not an individual but something more like a Chameleon. If you explore the mechanics of riot you'll know what I'm talking about. An Individual Person reacts to the behavior of others, always has done, always will. Go bravely to the Lions my friend, God is watching.

I remember the loose leaf notion of "Being Well Grounded." It was always important in the smoke filled rooms when it was time to gossip and report. But the assumption that "Being Well Grounded" is anything fundamentally different to being in line with the dominant social thesis is so much codswallop based upon yet another assumption that there is only one objective. What this means is that hell for leather we gather to follow each other and frankly might as well be Slime Molds. And if by some odd circumstance we were Individuals as opposed to Individual People we would exist either as hermits or in splendid isolation like Snow Leopards who meet occasionally for the single purpose of furthering the species, beyond that we'd have absolutely nothing to do with each other. And I do understand that a person who might by some kind of horrible accident have avoided contact with the Team Player gene should really and truly be made an example of. On a more definitional note, while a none Team Player has a useful role, he's not an Individual in the grand sense, he's a trouble maker. If you share this view, welcome to the club, we practice rolling our eyes on Monday evenings.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Clutch

Sometimes imagination wanders through the shadows of doom its glasses fogged by sweat and steam, like a lost soul without a metric wrench it curses Napoleon, gives serious consideration to voting for Trump, welcomes the End of Days, and then as the noon hour strikes it has what might be called a little bit of a heat tantrum. "There's nothing wrong with this drive belt!"

Reaching to steady himself, he calls to the Angel of Greed, who for those who might be interested is still exiled in the barn, he's disguised as a Velvet Ant, and then our gallant repairman spots something untoward on Doctor T's left handlebar. A loose bracket had slipped, leaving the clutch with insufficient pull. And Oh Yes! To put right it naturally required an allen key, they grow on trees, you know.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Pressure of Note Taking

There's a big investment in devising mathematical models that will enable computers to better use language. There are problems naturally. Whatever you want to think, language lacks precision and logic, and when language does become precise it actually stops being language and it becomes something else. As well, the spoken word is often beautifully accented. "A tar" might be "a tire" and a "a tire" might be a term for an extraordinarily boring person. The written word is then subject to the joining of ideas in sentences, so something like - A predictable inequality, lessons from Marx, Hayek and trade unions from the transatlantic discourse - depends upon how the mathematical model will, as they call it, pars the phrases so that the computer won't just be a dictionary, a form that has to be precisely filled in, but can be spoken to and can talk back, otherwise something awful might happen and sometime in the future a delivery drone deposits a very boring person on the back step.

My own current problem, as an upright and enthusiastic apprentice to the Pressure Canning Community, is comprehending my own voluminous notes. I would call them aids to memory, but memory for some of us is a thing of the past and far too old fashioned to take seriously. So I think what I have to do, especially in the recipe area, is work on some sort of master list of Responsible Words, which would mean doing completely away with things like "small dollop of" and replace them with something like teaspoons. The thing about the "dollop" is that it's far too subjective, depends almost entirely upon mood and how kindly one is feeling toward something like the Asian Pears after having spent almost six hours peeling, coring and dicing them. The other thing I really have to do is work on practicing my handwriting, sixty five percent of which defies interpretation. A second batch of particularly zesty Tomato sauce was cruelly invigorated by my reading of what clearly wasn't "One medium dollop."

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Doctor T

Never a big fan of points, it was always the feeler gauge that went missing, and there was a whole thing, so I'll have to admit the electric ignition was sort of a joy, even if the that little box was downhill for tinkering with engines. The trouble with Doctor T could be one of many things. I do know his heads have to be cleaned, which is what they call a big job for me and I suspect the carburetor needs to have its float chamber looked at which is a whole can of worms.

And while Doctor T isn't one of these old fashioned characters, he's got all the modern conveniences, including a fuel pump which is kind of deluxe and a genuine oil pump, not one of those splashers that does nothing on hills, it's always a little nerve-racking to have to address the issue of bolt size and special tools. Somewhere in the world, and not many know this, there are people in smoke filled rooms who spend seven days a week plotting how best to infuriate the Small Engine Repair Man.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Trouble at Bloom

One theory suggests that failure to bloom can be a function of high heat combined with high humidity. The Pollen of some plants, under these circumstances, become stodgy, they do not float and as a result they do not reach the stigma and if they do, they are less able to waddle on down to the ovary. This means that randomly feeding plants to make them bloom might not be the answer.

Where I live, this year has been excellent for rain, it's up there near the records. But as I understand it, what marks this year as particularly difficult has been the consistency of very high humidity, high heat and much higher than average low temperatures. My own observation that this year has been particularly breezeless hasn't helped. All the same, the bloomless Tomatoes will be fed, they'll be cooed at and they'll remain in the ground for another couple of weeks

Monday, August 22, 2016

Early Rising

Some of us don't wake up in the morning very quickly. Some of us popup from their beds as though sleep had never occurred. There could well be a genetic origin to the distinction between these two opposites. Picture the band of hunter gathers, bedding down in the evening, the howl of Wolves, or Saber-toothed Tigers in the distance, the odd suspicious twig snapping for no apparent reason, a general uneasiness around the idea of large night dwelling creatures, creeping around casting a net for their own breakfast and probably survival depended for us people upon some of us pretty much staying awake all night. Then in the morning, the more nervously inclined having failed to achieve a mandated 8 hours of sleep getting up and about might have taken a while.

Since Neolithic times there's been less and less reason to stay awake all night which kind of makes the imperative for having slower risers in our midst increasingly irrelevant. In some senses the capacity is almost like being left handed, it's the vestigial tail, or as some might insist the appendix or tonsils or the adenoids. A person can no longer be forgiven for being grumpy in the morning. He can't just say "You obviously slept through what might have been a Chipmunk in the attic or it could have been wind on the gutter" and get away with having saved the clan from a virtual annihilation. Sadly, a person being apparently catatonic for the first hour or so of daylight is no longer a respectable virtue, it's considered a disability or an ailment for which there are probably a whole range of patented cures or special diets. But stand tall, we were once useful and without us our current conundrums would never left the planning stage.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hegemony

Hegemony is experienced within the words "That's just the way it is." It's kind of like an Invisible Hand. Mostly those who embrace an hegemony will first have to see a future within it and you can call it motivation through a love of god rather than attrition if you wish to because to embrace anything a mind has to accept that much of the thing embraced is "beyond understanding" rather than "possibly wrong." In short it's faith that maintains an hegemony, which might suggest to the wary that something like Economics should never, ever be thought of as a science. Physics, however, is a science just as long as it contains within it's own "That's just the way it is" an idea of flux, a future of change through discovery, a fifth fundamental force can't simply be dismissed. Science is an adventure for open, not closed minds, but a person's career in science is probably as subject to economics and politics as anything else might be.

And I guess if I have a point to make it is that consciousness and all its hereditaments both corporeal and incorporeal are well adapted to maintaining a degree of stability within a constantly changing environment. The thing about it is that without our passion for stability, our emotional attachment to it, living things, all living things, would not be. Which in the end is the reason why we people make things and in the process become emotionally dependant upon the things we make, and "That's just the way it is." The question this hegemony raises is the extent to which our species is capable of existence outside of this force in our being. Of the many answers, one answer is to search for stability elsewhere, in other places and we've been doing that since long before Zoroaster with his vision of a constitution. We've had our Gods, some nasty some nice. We've tried to put chivalry into killing each other with no great success. We've looked at Love and produced a series of Holocausts. Either way I'm glad the neo-liberal hegemony is almost run its course, I was in my twenties when it again reared its ugly head, hope I'm alive to see its funeral. Yes indeed, Hope and Change.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Attrition

Attrition means a gradual diminution but in religious terms Attrition means repentance of sins as a result of being afraid of Hell rather that as a result of a Love of God. And quite why in some quarters we people are called Human Resources may remain a mystery, but motivation through fear has long played a role in maintaining the attention of the less willing in pursuit of predefined goals, or a job. Consequently a great many of us are less engaged in the reality of our world, there's a certain plodding through life and its expectations, an obedience to a mystery that becomes more like the void or the comfort of "That's just the way it is."

There's an identifiable connection between the socially cohesive consequences of Economic growth and Liberal Democracy. In more earthly terms this consequence of the relationship might be thought of as result of a love of god rather than attrition. But what happens to a polity that fails to produce economic growth. What happens to the promise that passeth all understanding. Well I'll tell you, Human Resources get pissed off, there's a major ennui, the comfort or void of "That's just the way it is" evaporates, single party cultures, Dictators, Saviors become appealing, imagination builds new structures else it dies, the world still turns and 2016 is pretty much on track to being the hottest year ever recorded. But on the more positive side the Google Doddle might disappear for ever and ever amen.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Final Frontier

The Girl Cat and I are engaged in yet another battle of wills over Lebensraum. I guess in her world, chairs are like Capital Cities, and once the Capital is occupied the remaining space within the room is then dominated, it can be gazed upon and considered possessed. A mind can then wander toward stuff like taxation, weights and measures, whether to use Fahrenheit or Centigrade, and for some odd reason you have to think of Cats as Kilometer Creatures. No doubt European Cousins, where the Kilometer is understood, will regard Cats as Miles Creatures.

Those of us who have read the War Poets, gained a sense of the folly of it all, have often chosen retreat as a prelude to compromise on the understanding that Common Sense and Decency, or possibly short attention span on the part of the invader, will prevail. Well not this time! There are sacred duties, honor and pride in the possession of particular chairs, and while I have no doubt in my ultimate defeat, I sensed a responsibility to quarts and pounds, and I moved the Girl Cat off the chair in the room where I sleep. Currently I do feel a little like a Spartan waiting for the Persians at Thermopylae.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Our Hero's Problem

Our hero and one of his fellow examinees were recently subjected to a tranquilizer, sneakily injected into their arms while they weren't looking, and according to the Specialist from Bristol's assistant, a Miss Eggers, each dose was sufficient to quickly incapacitate a charging adult Chimpanzee. It was a compound of benzodiazepine, and certainly while it solved an immediate problem for the Professionals attempting to deal with two reluctant and slightly out of control patients suspected of being possessed by early stages of the infectious Rabies virus, Miss Eggers' compound had yet to fulfill it's obligations to the MCA, an agency which in 1970 something was charged with the responsibility for determining the suitableness or otherwise of a medicinal compound for use on people. And when you come to think of it, it's just mind blowing what a Writer of Pulp has to go through in order to get two of his characters locked up in an isolation ward so they might explore a relationship.

I remember Camus', The Plague, I think it was called. A quarantined town in North Africa, enduring an outbreak of Bubonic Plague. And certainly in the matter of being, and who we are or might be, especially in those days following the Second World War and the realization that 20th Century Europe had produced The Holocaust, Albert Camus had a perfect vehicle for exploring a grand sweep of the possibilities in what's loosely referred to as Human Nature. My own task in the Vestry of Monnow isn't so mighty an enterprise. All I have to do is arrange matters so that the The Great Oneness might come to the understanding that our hero's grandfather never lied when the Lead Bull came for him, and that indeed in one of his many past lives he'd performed miracles, which makes him not only worthy of The Pope's attention as a potential Medieval Christian Saint, but he's obviously been unfairly treated in all subsequent lives, and under no circumstances does our hero's grandfather deserve to be exiled as an English Speaking Rabbit in the Usk Valley, a purgatory infinitely worse than being returned as a Shellfish.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Field Sparrows and Meadow Larks

One opinion suggests that late summer and fall grass cuttings make better Compost. The early year cuttings are mostly water. Whether the early cuttings or later cuttings are more nutritious, I have no clue. But I do know that the later cuttings of most grasses are more fibrous, which augers well for longer lasting humus in compost, and here I don't mean the Chickpea humus.

The other area of consideration is that later cuttings of grasses often have their seeds ripening. Fuel for the struggling Field Sparrows who will have forage in the cut grass through winter, and more often than not, if composted, some of these seeds will find their way through the composting process and end up in the Vegetable bed. Nor have I had the joy of seeing a Meadow Lark for a good few years.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Pressure Canning Lessons

Multitasking has a definition that includes the words "apparent ability." This definition also includes the words "perform more than one task." And somewhere in there is the phrase "over a short period of time." Some of us are very new to Pressure Canning, and one of the early lessons is to avoid over confidence by, for example, nipping outside to quickly trim a ragged Forsythia, or by composing an email to the DNC suggesting that The President might not want me to wish him a Happy Birthday and if I wanted to wish him a Happy Birthday I'm perfectly capable of doing it without being asked to contribute to the finances of a cowardly oligarchy and all very Grass Roots being enthusiastic about small contributions because it looks good on the resume, but frankly "bite me with your chipping in to the Danegeld, it's not yet the Medieval Period!" And before you know it the thing that hisses is toggling badly, there are loud jets of steam and the Girl Cat is running for her private Tornado Shelter leaving me to fend for myself.

It's the case that a little Forsythia trimming and composing the odd email while waiting for the Pressure Cooker to work through its various moods and opinions might be considered an example of a person being useful "While Waiting" rather than the stricter definition of Multitasking in "perform more than one task." I mean there are phases in the Pressure Canning Process during which there's actually nothing constructive to do this side of standing there staring at one part or other of the Pressure Canner and wondering which part will break first. I imagine the more experienced Pressure Canners have long since quelled any restlessness they might once have felt "While Waiting," entered a sort of quasi worshipful state of higher being-ness, the "I am what I am" of almost the entire universe, a humility that comes difficult to some of us. Anyway, belated Happy Birthday Mr. President and while Pressure Canning there'll be no more composing emails, or hedge trimming from me, consider it a gift from me to you, Your Excellency.

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Curse upon Thee

It's not often a person finds themselves reaching to the Serbian Language for adequate expressions with which to curse. But I will say this to those who propose that a particular Language isn't a particular way of thinking. Oh sure for those who share similar circumstances across the world it might well be that the argument doesn't seem to apply. Give yourself the right tax bracket, graduate from the University, live an urban life or mechanical life, understand the distinction between a Polemic, a Pamphlet and a cocktail party, know why lawyers have a purpose, and you're problems become similar no matter your language of origin because you're well on your way to living half way between Earth and Mars and your language has lost the culture of its past, replaced by synapses that all fire the same way as the world becomes smaller, less inviting, less interesting, obsessed with irrelevances, and you can call those irrelevances sophistication if you're brave enough.

The Russians have some fine curses, suffice to say they also have two ways of describing a Blue Sky, a tribute to their ancestors understanding of the subtleties in weather. But the Serbian capacity to arrange the words within their curses, I'd suggest, has to do with the turmoil of a people of the Balkans, a part of the world fought over for thousands of years by the armies of the powerful, both East and West, by Muslims, by Christians and by all else in between. It's the case also a great majority of Serbian Curses are shall we say blue to the point of being purple, and not for these pages. And I believe I'm prepared to argue that they have a sort of poetry to them, a meter in the sound, as well as a gymnastic which brings on a fatalistic smile rather than offence. Here were I live there's an invisible insect, at least I've never seen it, the bite of which produces a sore with an itch worthy of the seventh circle of hell, and all I can say is that I hope its children --- ------ -- --- by a Hoppy Bug.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Apple

Just call me Her Indoors. And not one of these, Sweetener, Tennis Playing, low cal double decaf and High Heels on the Weekend Her Indoors. Yes indeed, with no attempt at false modesty this is a genuine, full cream milk, wooden spoon wielding, cigar chomping, salt of the earth type Her Indoors. Ten and half hours. Fifteen and half quarts of Thick Apple Sauce from two five gallon buckets of Scrumpy Apples, a most welcome delivery from the neighbor in Central Time.

The Scrumpy Apple, was gleanings from the fallen in orchards, they were used for home made cider, beautiful stuff. Usually the cider came out green and it could knock you into a peaceful oblivion for twenty four hours especially with a suspect pork chop in the brew, to assist the yeasts apparently. But these Scrumpy Apples where perfect Apples, entirely without benefit of insecticides, not absolutely certain how long to Pressure Cook the Apple Worm, so you can imagine the experience of coring and dicing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Peppers

There'll be no more peeling of Sweet Peppers or any other kind of Pepper. Life's just too short. I'd rather have someone touch my feet while giving me a rabies inoculation than peel another Pepper. Entirely possible I misunderstood the Pepper peeling procedure, but under no variation of the process did "Pepper skins slip off easily" unless the definition of easy has changed so dramatically it no longer means "straight forward."

In terms of the US Peck, I had almost five Pecks of Peppers, give or take. And once I'd given up on the whole Pepper peeling process, I was able to produce seven pints of what I'll call incredibly poorly packed pickled Peppers. Fortunately a neighbor was willing to accept a good Peck and a half. But the trouble is I had probably the equivalent of Two Pecks of Peppers all cut up with nowhere to go. And there's a very good chance that another Pepper omelet will possibly put me off Peppers for at least three years.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Broiling

One of the English Kings died from a surfeit of Lampreys. Your correspondent is close to sharing Henry I's fate and how disappointing it would be to have "Died from a Surfeit of Sweet Peppers" on the tombstone. Can't remember when last I saw one of our own Bell Peppers turn red, but they're doing it this year. There's a Thor Pepper here that greatly enjoys turning red, it's a longer Pepper, less bell-shaped. There are dozens of them. What to do, I wonder. "How about the Pressure Canner?" I hear in the far away swamps of East Anglia where the Lampreys swarm to fresh water at their breeding time and still feel rather proud of their victory over the fourth son of the Norman William the Conqueror.

The thing about Peppers is a person can cook them to death leaving them with a nutritional value of paper. Peppers are not acid, so probably better to veer toward hot water bath process with some acidic augmentation and a frolic amongst the spices. Basically this means pickling, and often pickles remain in a dark cupboard for years. Still got a Green Tomato chutney from 2011 lurking somewhere in there. But there is one great adventure which uncharacteristically I'll attempt to pursue. Peeling the Pepper. Like most things it sounds unnecessarily dangerous, it involves what they call grilling in some worlds, broiling in other worlds. I've examined the manual on the indoor stove, and it does have a broiling element in the oven? So we're not talking eye-level grilling thank goodness.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Bacchus, Cromwell, False Gods etc.

It's possibly an error to assume that happiness is anything other than relative to unhappiness. I totally understand that it's much more complicated than that, but if you think in terms of the expectation of happiness in its relationship with the expectation of unhappiness, and assume that happiness is a form of contentment rather than jumping up and down on Bacchus' Trampoline of Joy, then I think we might be on the same page with respect to those who, following a mysterious idea of progress, are happy to assume that the Medieval Period was a time of great misery relative to current social arrangements in our world. Call me whatever you wish to, but don't let Hollywood, or the Romantics, or Hobbits, or Hume, or Esther, or Star Trek be your guide and if you must live in a castle rather than an attic cleave toward an understanding of Hobbes' Leviathan, rather than The Prince, even if Hobbes did come from the county of Wiltshire in England, and he kind of looks like Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, Saint to the Orangemen and Cromwell is still God's Executioner to the Irish Catholic.

But the issue on this Sophist Sunday will avoid the who are we and why, the answers are far too depressing on a day of worship. Instead it will call down from the pulpit a great wrath upon the New Luddites in Capital for their blindness, their shallow faith in the invisible workings of a Devil that calls the future his own, or possibly her own, a oneness from which there will be no escape for those possessed by irreverent dreams that taste of purity. There is no sensible reason in this universe to suggest that an increasing GDP figure is a God of goodness and wisdom unless you are of the opinion that without this God there's nothing left to live for, ships will not rise, societies will crumble to a dark cloud of emptiness, an apocalypse of death and starvation and a single horseman, a nothingness with no internet access, a place where a prepackaged ham sandwich will be a thing of the past. Oh Ye of little faith, did we leave our Tree Nesting Phase to run down a Number that primarily contributes to greed and envy.... And I could go on a bit about following False Gods and the Anti-Christ but I think the gist of today's Psalm is all here in HTML rather than iambic pentameter.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Eggplant

Eggplant is classified as Moderately Alkaline by the more scientifically minded. The bitterness sometimes present in Eggplant is not as a result of acid within the Eggplant Fruit. Bitterness is related to the maturity of the seeds within the Eggplant, or the Bigness of the Eggplant which is often a result of over-feeding by the Corporate Impulse. The other thing about Eggplant is that its flesh is like a very dense sponge that's dryer than it is moist, these dryer air holes are insulating which is useful on a hot sunny day, but when the fruit is harvested the kitchen hand necessarily has to take the insulating qualities of Eggplant flesh into consideration.

For those of us who might well be so obsessed with our brand new experience of Pressure Canning that we're giving consideration to canning anything that might not be firmly nailed down, the question is, "Can the Eggplant unadulterated be safely canned?" One is answer is "Yes, for forty minutes at ten pounds of pressure." The other answer is "Not while I wield the spatula." Of these two answer I cleave to the second and I'll tell you why. First of all indoor fuel is sourced from the electric grid and forty minutes of indoor fuel is wasteful. Secondly, and probably more important, the wise man should never trust a recipe from the internet or anywhere else that ends with "Enjoy."

Friday, August 5, 2016

Cat Flap

The Girl Cat has some wonderful habits. As a result of stress in the more two-legged inhabitants of the Domicile and despite what we pet wranglers call a Cat Flap, she's not allowed to to go outside at night which means by about four o'clock in the morning she's full of beans and bouncing around like an Olympiad at floor exercises. Nor would it make much difference if she had access to her Cat Flap through the hours of darkness. The Cat Flap is her secret and so long as she knows there is wait staff within her dwelling place she will not use it or acknowledge its existence.

There are some who might suggest "Your cat hasn't been trained to use the Pet Door?" Two problems with that. Firstly, don't be silly! It's a well known fact that any female worth their salt is totally un-trainable. Secondly, I have seen her enter the domicile through her Cat Flap, it seems we both chose the bathroom to avoid a suspected Religious Pamphleteer. And I can tell you this much, witnessing her use of the Cat Flap caused me to raise a serious eyebrow. She flicked her tail at me and demanded the Turkey and Giblets canned food, she's not that fond of the Ocean White Fish. On a more positive note, I've not seen a Chipmunk for over six weeks.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Income and Capital

Hate to say it, but I believe it was Shakespeare who had really good way of describing Love, and apparently it's one of Shakespeare's best known sonnets. "Love's not Time's Fool." In other words through storm and tempest, rosy lips and the entire agenda, if Love goes away then it was never Love, almost. With Shakespeare it's always almost. There's more recent poet who has "Love's not Time's Fool" upon his gravestone. He died at a young age in 1988, he was genuine no holds barred nutcase, struggled with the problem of an erratic mind that failed him regularly in the social and happiness area, and words, some of them angry, were his solace. One of his lines was about Ned Ludd. "He turned to his work mates and said death to machines, they tread on our future and stamp out our dreams." Naturally popular with the Weekend Rebels.

Ned Ludd himself, was more of a phantom, his reputation as Leader of the Luddites wholly exaggerated, but the movement against the new weaving machines was real, and it involved acts of sabotage in a desperate attempt by men to save their work from the Stocking Frames, which were the first in a series of devices that mechanized the Textile Industry. Simpler times of course, generations before the dishwasher, refrigerator and the list of how to rid industry of craftsmen is long, often painful. Not sure they can be called New Luddites, but I'd argue for an idea that associates sabotage with those many in our number who count resources as quick income, instead of capital. Yes indeed "A star to every wandering ship, his worth's unknown and yet his height is read." Funny what Fourteen Lines can almost do to you in detention.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Very Early August

The Beans are at their end, just a few old battle hardened warriors remain for the rogues to sip upon which means Autumnal dews on Spider webs not far away. And I could go on about the chill of winter, the freshness of frost, the wonder of color in the hills, the sparkle of freezing rain, but the more positive attitude requires a gardener to consider three things in the first days of August. Fall Planting, Compost and Indoor Projects.

A person can't just sit there staring at canned Tomato through the four cruelest months. Nor should Winter Projects be remotely associated with the outdoors. Then when Winter does arrive the project can't be one of those "I'll do it tomorrow projects." It has to be all consuming, otherwise by March a person's pretty much a basket case. A new county in N-Scale, Kentucky. I'll call it Aidan County, Monks might be tricky but Aidan will need his Monastery.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Purpose, Courage and Walkie-Talkies

Easy to think of candidates for high office as Fruit Cakes. It's that moment of their looking in the mirror and saying to themselves, "I will be President of these here United States." Worth marking the distinction between such a psychotic to the point of schizotypal idea of self and that hoped for humility within a more admirable idea of leadership as Purpose and Courage. And likely there will be some of us in the more general population who could well join me in giving serious consideration to the traditional and rarely successful therapy of banging the head against a barn door.

 However, this year's election season has both fruit and nut in the cake mix of our future. So it's very exciting to have two such depressing examples of rampant personal ambition questing for dominance and for some reason both are unnaturally devoted to other people's children. But worth remembering, whether they be fruit or nut, who ever is awarded the high office, it keeps them occupied, off the street corner, properly quarantined behind bars, constantly reported on and has them well surrounded by heavily armed guards with walkie-talkies.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Timing

The Pampered Chef is a small electronic device, it runs on a tiny battery, it tells the time of day, it is a timer and it is a miracle of miniaturization which attaches by a magnate to metal surfaces. The Artist having used this device for many long years is adept at pressing its almost invisible buttons and directing its attention to its timing function. My own preference for timing is or was more clock-like, it had a dial which could be turned to something like the ten minute mark, it would remind you of its presence by ticking in a peaceful and soothing way, and it would eagerly announce its calculation of a ten minute period with a not unpleasant clockwork ring.

It's probably the case that some of us are more fuddy-duddy than others, but the Pampered Chef is possibly the most appalling contraption ever inflicted upon us kitchen workers. It has no redeeming factor whatsoever, and its name is enough to spore the mind with a flat sour that screams Cancun, ridiculous hats, pickled onions on cocktail sticks, thinned sliced white bread, pedicure and whole range of examples of why it is our species is doomed. Either way, I probably should have chopped the Basil with more diligence, used a little less salt, spent less time grinding pepper and paid more attention to the process by which the oils of Garlic are released.