Saturday, December 31, 2016

Why

The Girl Cat has no birth certificate, so there's no way to be certain, but she could be almost a year old. And like all maturing entities she's developed a patina of routines and habits that are important to her sense of place. Good chance she'll avoid the pitfalls of Aimless Wandering, no quest to conquer central time, invade Canada or land on Mars, and as the new year dawns it's worth considering an idea of place that in many respects is alien to me, less so to her. The good argument for moving on is hunger. It eats into that part of being that cannot rest. In us people there's a suggestion that governed as we are by will the Aimless Wanderer is driven by the search for opportunity, which as everyone knows is another understanding of hunger that can include outright greed, or, depending upon the perspective "Doing Well for Themselves." Achievement, you could call it if you wish to, and you could go on through language to find nuances that justify just about anything.

The idea that one year as a cat is equivalent to seven years as a person, would kind of mean that people would be capable of reproduction at around the age of three or four. So short of some horrible scientific exploration we can do away with that ridiculous relationship. But worth wondering what the Girl Cat would do had she been blessed or cursed by the kind of convolutions of thinking that language allows. I certainly know what my first series of question for her would be, and I suspect her answers would be most unsatisfactory. Very certain she'd make little effort to excuse any of her behaviors. There'd be no waxing lyrical around the whole eating the head of the smaller rodent and leaving the rest for someone else to clear up, rather she'd probably insists it was bad luck to break with a Feline Tradition that went back to before the Sphinx. But I do feel confident that on the subject of the Ocean White Fish Pate Dinner she would definitely raise the Question Why?

Friday, December 30, 2016

A Winter's Shovel

There has been Winter work with the shovel. Some might think this odd, assume it has something to do with corpse disposal, but rest assured all is well, no one's missing, or gone to the great beyond. Far from it, the Girl Cat is sound asleep on her Sun bed. Nor is it snow related. Rather it's the kind of work that is sometimes referred to as sod-busting. And yes, it's a few degrees above freezing, a breeze the Inuit would be nervous of and the ground is a little this side of a summer soup that can only be understood at high noon in somewhere like the August Sahara.

But sometimes these things just have to be done, techniques employed garnered from years of close contact with earth, many of them a long way from being remotely elegant and the thing about it is, the 50 by 4 foot patch has to be ready by the end of February.  Have to agree it's an odd moment to begin such a project especially so soon after a long, lazy Autumn that included many, many days of fine digging weather. All the same it's a splendid opportunity to relive a Day in the Life of Ivan Ivanovitch.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Pink Flamingo-hood. progress report

Begin to realize your correspondent is a long way from achieving the goal of Pink Flamingo-hood. There might be some who wonder at the set of flowing emotions that came to such a confluence. Has it something to do with Afon-Bedd, where our hero is still struggling with lunch. Is it Sainthood related? All good questions, and I guess the answer has more to do with strands of thinking that first emerged in written form in the hymns of Zoroaster that can wander the veins during a moment or two of the Morning Dance, or physical exercise as some might prefer to call it. A time of day when there's always a possibility someone is watching. Morning Dances can be different, very different, even a little sinister and can always be misinterpreted by those of us who define ourselves by what we believe. It's tribal.

A more recent understanding of the mind suggests that of the parts of the brain, the "who we are" part is pretty much set, aside from the rare anomaly we're all very much alike. What varies between people is "what we believe." "What we believe" is an edifice, primarily devoted to the social, the importance of cohesion when faced by something like a Saber Toothed Tiger, or who cocks for who, and all the way down to getting out of bed in the morning. And the thing about "what we believe" is that what they call "facts" have less effect upon "what we believe." At the same time "what we believe" is not "who we are." This means that to define yourself by what you believe, while it may have its uses around things like which way to hang the toilet paper, it can also make you kind of stupid when it comes to taking a peep at the real. Easier to cuddle with the edifice, belong to the tribe, make stuff up, put a value on tiaras. Yes indeed, sadly I'm a long way from Pink Flamingo-hood.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Nash, Frankfurt School and Hope

Around sixty five years ago it was a mathematician exploring Game Theory that came up with an idea of an Equilibrium that gave a mathematical basis for interactions between competing players, or participants, or people. Here, knowing the strategies of other players, the game is in Equilibrium if by changing my own strategy I fail completely to change the strategy of other players. In another way, when the game or competition is in Equilibrium I'm stuck in a set, a rut if you prefer. Some time in the 1970's Economists adopted the mathematics, and finally they were able feel less like flamboyant seers around a Supply and Demand curve in a Free Market and more like serious type scientists with something useful to offer. And there's all sorts of ho ha around the mathematics and the mathematicians engaged in the theoretical work of the Nash Equilibrium, they were awarded Nobel Prizes. And naturally enough the radical wing of Business Studies found solace in the possibilities of a rut that included the words New and Improved, or a number that followed a decimal point. 2.00, 2.5, 3.00 and so on.

You can look at it any way you wish to, but at least 90 percent of a population may have no idea what the Nash Equilibrium is, how it works, or what it attempts to describe. Yet a devotion to the Nash Equilibrium's interpretation, supported by the purity of mathematics and by the equal signs that can be proved through numbers, dominate a great many decisions that emerge from social, political, military and economic sectors of our society. "It's mathematics and it works" they'll say. Around Eighty years ago a group of thinkers in Germany chose to believe that Germany was ripe for the same sort of Socialist Revolution that had overtaken the Czar's Russia. They were terribly, terribly wrong and most of them found sanctuary in the USA where they developed what some call Critical Theory. If you're wrong, don't claim to be right by blaming each other, instead try valiantly to actually find out why you were wrong. Sometime in the 1950's Critical Theorists had become incredibly unfashionable and they'd pretty much concluded the ruts in a society are so deep that so long as the soap powder works there's not much to be done. Depressing? Depends how reasonable your hopes are.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2017

It's all about "Last Chance to..." and the permutations are endless which is a sure sign that any day now wagon loads of Gardening Catalogues will be cluttering National Arteries with cheerful theories around ergonomic clippers and the importance of looking correctly equipped when wearing a sun hat. Me, I love the temptation of a Compost Thermometer, a Mason Bee Hut and looking forward to the act of imagination that will be 2017, a year which incidentally I never expected, nor ever really wanted to be a witness to.

The other part of this time of year is "What's New.." and again the permutations are increasingly desperate, especially when "What's New..." are placed within the context of a List. Again it's a temptation to embrace the predicament, get all excited about the possibilities, but I'll remind you, what feels like a couple of months ago Windows Seven was new. Big question of course, will I be making any effort at all in 2017? Surprisingly the answer is "Yes!" I fully intend to become more like Pink Flamingo.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Day

Always interesting it was a Star in the Eastern Sky. My own preference for the Magi is they were three representatives from an order of psychologists to Persian Royalty, think of them as the poets of wisdom or the Pre-Muslim Sufis objective around the possibilities of the deterministic philosophies of astrology as opposed to the magic found in words and geometry, such as the gentleness that Jesus grew up to preach about and which has been interpreted through the suggestion that we might indeed be responsible for our fate. Very likely you'll dispute my understanding of the Magi, and pay no heed to the nature of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Assume they were gifts to a king, a gentle and almost pointless reminder of those granted power upon earth, of god and Myrrh is an embalming fluid.

It's also possible a young aimless spirit might have questioned reports of the presence of the Magi at their moment of birth. My own claim to fame in this area is that I was polite enough to arrive between meals, and this has stuck in my memory in a more than symbolic manner. If anyone had told me that very well dressed men on camels suddenly appeared out of nowhere during my first couple of hours upon earth with extraordinarily expensive grownup-type presents, I would be very curious. While a part of me might wonder what became of the presents, assume they were mislaid during a Saint Patrick's Day Festival, the better part of me would see mystery of the kind that warranted pursuing. But trust me, no one knows what happened, and yet in N scale the vacuum works, the rails are polished and all is well for a little while.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Festive Question, third attempt

Even though it's my name I've never been that fond of the name Tim, or Timothy. There's something hockey sticks and tennis about it, which means during this festive season I feel able to mention that I'm not that fond of the name Jesus' grandmother was given or has since been given. The current Queen of England named one of her children Anne, then there's Annie from things like "Annie get your gun." A whole picture of Google doodle hyperactivity around horsey culture, general bossing around and shiny shoes with white socks. And if you're wondering some of us are deeply flawed, we struggle daily and as the end times draw closer our flaws become increasingly apparent, something to do with the Angelic Host jiggling the tightrope between heaven and hell to better see through the facade, judge our souls worthy of Eternity or of the in many ways far more interesting other place..

However, a Rose by another Name is still Jesus' grandmother, so to briefly review we were discussing a whole bunch of stuff including the Diet of Augsburg, a Carmelite Monk, a monastery called Saint Anne's, the radical Martin Luther and I was attempting to pose the relevant Festive Question which was "If I was a Carmelite Monk around 1550 would I have agreed to feed and house the outlawed Martin Luther." The tentative answer was yes, and the reason the answer was yes is because the monastery I belonged to was named after Jesus' grandmother in conjunction with an understanding of a Carmelite precept well expressed by Bob Marley's song about three little Birds, who "don't worry about no ting" rather than going out and beating up on something or someone. But more likely as a Carmelite Monk in 1550's I would have responded to the same confidence ravage social undercurrent familiar today by sharing the emotions that had inspired the prayer Teresa of Avila had written in her breviary, which is book containing daily religious services. The prayer begins, "Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, everything passes...." It then goes into what I would suspect is a more Ostrich-like solution.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Festive Question Re-framed

To better frame the question for this Festive Season with a little more precision than I managed to do yesterday, I ask you to put yourself into the shoes of a 16th Century Carmelite Monk. It's something like 1550, there's been years and years of war between European Princes, many of whom were related and there's a major threat from a well organized Muselmann Empire who militarily were the equal of any army Western Europe could produce and whose leader had things like harems and who owned Jerusalem. One morning while doing the Lord's work you discover that your monastery will play host to Martin Luther, a man who's ideas were such he'd been outlawed by the Pope himself. Small comfort that this man wasn't an outlaw in the forgivable hanging, drawing a quartering sense, he was an outlaw in the "Thou shalt no speak to him or listen to any sedition he might utter, if you do you'll face the consequences in heaven upon your immortal soul" sense.

A tricky situation, I'd agree. Modern equivalent would be having someone like Margaret Thatcher, a Professional Wrestler or anyone from Hollywood, the Queen of England or one of the Trump offspring as a house guest. Martin Luther was a radical troublemaker, he was a man who wrote pamphlets before breakfast, he defaced church property by hammering nails into wooden doors, he stayed up late into the night translating swathes of the bible into German, not the High German, which was for people who knew what Frankincense was, but the every day German speaking German, the "Jesus didn't much like Pharisees and so instead of being gentle about it he went Medieval on the Financial Sector" kind of German. Trust me, the prospect of such a visit would have driven me to my cell with a terrible headache, until I attempt to recall that I'm a Carmelite Monk. I'm not a Franciscan, or a Dominican. I'm an incredibly long way from being something like Templar, and I belong to a monastery that was named after Jesus' grandmother.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Edicts, Diets and Carmelites

I believe it was the Edict of Worms that condemned Luther and the ism that followed his assertions. Europe was at the time in difficulty with the Ottomans, whose incredibly well United Empire had almost taken Vienna which is basically how an army gets from the flatter lands of  Balkan Croatia into Western Europe, where in the 16th Century Princes were less troubled by the Ottoman than they were by each other. It was the Pope who said something like "If we don't pull ourselves together and unite, we'll be paying taxes to the Turks." One of the Protestant answers was something like "Until you recognize our ism we're not going to take much notice of anything you say, and the Ottomans might treat us better, they're far more understanding of religious differences than you lot appear to be!"

 I forget which Pope it was, but good council prevailed. Charles V, a Spanish Holy Roman Emperor who didn't much like the whole Protestant Idea or Germans for that matter, called for a "Come to Jesus Moment" or a "Diet" in the Bavarian City of Augsburg. Representatives of both sides gathered, they dressed up and the more northern Europeans agreed to stop doing things like calling the Pope an antichrist, and the more southern Europeans agreed to at least vaguely admit that Luther had a couple of good ideas. There are some who will argue that what emerged from the discussion was the Protestant Church. There are two points. First, nothing much changes. Second,  Luther who at the time was an outlaw, wasn't invited to the Diet of Augsburg, but during the Diet he was in Augsburg writing pamphlets and being very well looked after by Carmelite Monks at Saint Anne's Monastery. For those interested Saint Anne was Jesus' grandmother.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice this year is at 5.44 AM US Eastern Standard Time, and for those interested Eastern Standard Time is 12.44 AM Greenwich Mean Time, and in Beijing Winter Solstice will happen at the eminently sensible time of 6.44 PM Chinese Standard Time. In the Southern parts of the Globe, somewhere like Brisbane, Australia, that also has an Eastern Standard Time, their Summer Solstice will  occur at 8.44 in the evening. Apparently it will be Summer Solstice on Easter Island at 5.44 AM, Easter Island Time. And you're absolutely right, it's amazing what you can find on the technical device without ever doubting its veracity, a huge temptation for those inclined toward indolence or suffer from what could well be a neurological disorder.

More important perhaps, there are certain customs associated with celebrating Solstice and in particular the celebration of Winter Solstice, a totally miserable time of year. One of these customs includes the idea that unless large quantities of alcohol are involved and if the solstice occurs at an ungodly hour in subzero temperatures a celebrant is permitted to simply set the alarm clock, hear its call, turn it off and then go back to sleep again. Yes indeed, I well recall how gainful employment once required me to be up and about in the ungodly hours, and once upon a time during a winter solstice that occurred at around 3.AM Greenwich Mean Time I was given a traffic ticket for driving a Milk Truck through a deserted red traffic Light. It was one of those Young Coppers, and still a spotty nosed Goose-Stepping uniformed twit in my mind, and I could go on but won't, because saying unpleasant things about Brexit or Trump supporters is a big NO-NO around Solstice. Rather it's a time for Gentleness and Peace. Vive La France, by the way.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Solstice

Almost the Shortest Day. And there's a reasonable chance that your correspondent having survived his visit to the Dentist, will see another Spring. His teeth might not, but his Being will be around for the sprout of Tomato seeds, the budding of Multiflora and he'll have an opportunity to curse late frost on Potatoes.

Alternatively, and this is the more depressing scenario, he'll find himself driven to distraction by Festive Refrains and Elf Hats in the Grocery Aisles and will opt for something like Double Fudge Chocolate Chunk and Caramel Full Milk Ice Cream instead of Vanilla.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Naraka and Nirvana


Without any obvious contribution from me, the outdoors has willfully gone far beyond Chattering and has achieved the status of Shivering Naraka.

And tomorrow, very early, some of us will be travelling through at least four counties so as to engage briefly with tooth professionals.  A Nightmare, you bet.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Forecast

It's windy, there will be rain into the early morning and one argument suggests that this rain will turn to Freezing Rain sometime around dawn. If so, odds are the Electric will fail, could be out for days, and this means the 0-6-0 will be unable to endlessly test and fine tune Turnouts or Points or Frogs, or whatever you want to call them.

But according to Sister Elegance someone  needs to calm down. Getting all worked up about preparing track for the arrival of a Karoo Class 4-6-2 is apparently in the grand scheme not only an error of truly vast proportions, it suggests a mental and emotional decline into a Puerile Condition, and demonstrates a complete lack of any kind Moral Fiber.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Chicken and Egg

Causation is I believe the legal term for the question why? Which means it includes the ideas of guilt, innocence and redress. In the remains of the  English contribution to Western Law there are a number of questions, whether you meant to do it, whether you did actually do it, occasionally there's the question why did you do it and sometimes if it can be reasonably demonstrated that you did it, then that's all that's required to move on the important business of punishment.

Causality is the term used to build a structure of ideas around cause and effect. Not so much to do with legal proceedings, rather the idea is that things don't happen in isolation. Something happens, then something else happens, and if the first thing hadn't happened, the second thing might not have happened. It sounds easier than it actually is, because generally speaking many things happened yesterday, which one resulted in the events of today isn't easy to determine with any thing like precision. It was Hume, the Empiricist, who reckoned that sweating causality was more often than not a bit of a waste of time, especially in politics. And I can't believe I'm saying this but the DNC might consider struggling through one or two of Hume's essays.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Carmelites

The 12th Century was after the Norman Conquest of the British Islands, and what with the Normans well occupied it was a time of a very brief Reformation on the European Mainland, evils like science and new ideas reared like horrible dreams. Also in the 12th Century a group of what where essentially Western European Christian Hermits began living on Mount Carmel which is a plateau of higher land on the Eastern Shores of the Mediterranean. These Hermits were mostly men, many were former Crusaders, they had a thing for the miracle worker and prophet Elijah, who was all about the Yahweh, and as Hermits they preferred contemplation, because through silence a person could get closer to God and to hell with the rest, and yet after several attempts by less than friendly groups to remove the Hermits from Mount Carmel it became clear to the Carmelites that contemplation alone wasn't really part of God's plan, and they went to the Pope's representative in Jerusalem in search of closer ties with the Holy Roman Church which was an economic and political power with a big yearning for a Monopoly in the business of Faith.

Rest assured not much is known about the first Hermit Carmelites, it was only when they wanted recognition and through recognition a degree of protection, did they have to consider the responsibilities of joining a club. No one was sure who the Founded the Carmelites, a prerequisite of provenance in the Roman Church, I mean you just couldn't set up shop as Christian Order without having some degree of organization and a Founder who was preferably a Saint with a set of rules to follow and a Spiritual Focus, or a Charism as the less random prefer to call it. Soon enough the Carmelites had a Motto, they had a representative in Rome and they'd kind of given up on silent contemplation, done away with vows of poverty, given up on serious begging or Mendicancy, as some prefer to call it. Carmelites became wealthy in stuff and property, and by the 16th Century, when Teresa was young, Western Europe, having survived the Hundred Years War  and plague, was again struggling with a Reformation in science and thinking, or Dramatic Change. What with the new ideas spinning around her Teresa of Avila chose to believe that in the course of four hundred years her order had taken a wrong turn and it was time to go back to the more mysterious roots of the Carmelites.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bulls

Discalced basically means barefoot or wearing sandals. The word comes from Latin for Heel and the Latin word for Heel migrated into the Latin word for Shoe with consequent Shoe Heel and so on. In other words, under no circumstance do Discalced Carmelites cover their heels, though I'm not certain whether wearing socks is a Discalced Carmelite error of the dress code. And I think the whole point for the order has to do with shunning the comforts of modernity, returning to an understanding of stuff that doesn't include owning any of it by determinedly chasing the dream of simplicity in pursuit of developing a favorable relationship with The Lead Bull..

In terms of Papal Bulls, the word Bull has little to do with the four legged creature. The Bull associated with The Pope, came from a very ancient Persian word that migrated down through history. It was piece of clay upon which marks were inscribed, a seal if you prefer, and it served as a way of keeping records about who owed what in a fashion that did not rely upon memory. A Papal Bull is the name given to list of instructions from On High and attached to a Papal Bull is a metal seal that defines authenticity. What has any of this got to do with N Scale, I hear the gnashing of teeth. Well, I'll tell you. Sister Elegance's Discalced Carmelite Community is in the process of constructing their new home, and frankly there's nothing discalced about it. Interestingly, there's never been a Carmelite Pope.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Committee Decision

N Scale's Brown Paper Bag Committee has aggravated Sister Elegance of the Barefoot Carmelites. The Committee waned a little in the early hours and in the morning the name of the small railway station at the entrance to Saint Teresa's Carmelites was announced. The sandal wearing Signal and Turn Operators were delighted with the choice, they have a fondness for titles that can easily be reduced to a few letters so long as those few letters meet the criteria of a comprehensibility that sounds like the location referenced.

As Committee Chairperson I explained to Sister Elegance that the Brown Paper Bag Committee were charged with nothing more than naming signals and turnouts, they were a parts naming committee. I went on to explain that Saint Barbara's Halt, a most venerable railway station, was titled St B's. Short and easily inscribed on the miniscule switches signal operators and especially turnout operators had to contend with. Then I told Sister Elegance that I personally saw nothing wrong with the shorthand of St T's for the Carmelite railway station of Saint Teresa's Halt. The good sister muttered something about the President Elect, the end of the world, before removing herself  from Glavni Kolodvor, or Chst as the signal and turnout operators refer to it.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Bridges


A little close on the bridges. It might well have been worth an engineer's time to add a sixteenth or two to the bridge widths.

The Yellow Bridge will be fine, but the Red Bridge might not be wide enough for a Karoo Class, so it's all very exciting..

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Will

I guess "old in spirit" requires some definition, but one of the symptoms of getting old in spirit is the dawn of an understanding that the mind is no longer emotionally capable of reading the newspaper without degenerating into a polemic addressed to something like a household pet, or a coffee pot.

 Another symptom could well be a retreat into a set of ideas that confidently asserts that our species is actively engaged in attempting to set the necessary conditions for a brand new and exciting Dark Age. A third symptom is deciding to go into town without first enduring the ordeal of shaving. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Very Cold Outside


There's quite a lot of pottering around upstairs, noises off, things like vacuum cleaners, a drill that can whine and someone keeps burning themselves with a soldering iron.

This means it's best to keep the upstairs door firmly closed otherwise the the only unction for the downstairs is Turkey and Giblets fresh from the can.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Mockingbird

 May well be a Boy Mockingbird. Alatus Berries on the concrete walk, a certain nervousness amongst the Boy Cardinals, confidence around the tall Ornamental Cherry and there's a loudness in the call of this Mockingbird, much louder than the utterances the politer Girl Mockingbirds.

I'll know more in the Spring. And if it is a Boy Mockingbird, I find myself hoping the Girl Cat will ride rough-shod over Thrashers who, like all sneaky creatures, tend to nest close to the ground and have this vile, almost Trumpian habit, of giving Girl Mockingbirds the creeps.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Naming of Parts

Alright Chaps, one of the problems in N Scale is an increasing complexity in the relationship between the idea and the reality, and I have to admit that it's political as much as it is a problem of both short and long term memory, and language. I'll give you an example. A simple straightforward question of giving names to main lines, to branch lines, to turnouts, to halts and to railway stations, so that there can be no possible confusion in wiring and direction. And before anyone says anything, Lists, even Typed Lists, just don't work because the names of parts and places change from day to day, sometimes from hour to hour and the whole list has to be re-written.

Why? One answer could be degenerating mental processes, but more likely it's the absence of a Parts Naming Committee. With such a body in place the name of something like the turnout at Saint Teresa's Nunnery, should it sound incredibly stupid, will be no one's fault. It's also true that much of what goes on in N Scale is a figment of someone's imagination, so an actual Parts Naming Committee would be just the one person. Which wouldn't solve the problem at two o'clock in the morning. The answer is probably pulling names out of a paper bag and calling the paper bag The Parts Naming Committee and every afterwards I can curse the paper bag at around three of four o'clock in the morning then go back to sleep rather than reaching for a noteboook.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

D's

Big Fan of Roosevelt, Franklin D. Then there was the 33rd President and after that there was Eisenhower, Dwight D. I believe Eisenhower chose to run for President primarily because the other Republican candidate, a Senator called Taft, was a non-interventionist who couldn't stop talking about Communism, Labor Unions under every bed and Corruption all of which had to be rooted out of the United States for the benefit of those who knew best. For Taft, what the rest of the world did was up to them and stuff like The Marshal Plan was basically socialism. At the Same time Eisenhower had had something to do with the Marshal Plan and understood well enough that when world became that simple, horrible things happened.

There are some who might say that coming as he did from the Military, Eisenhower had no clue what was in store for him when embarked upon his presidential campaign, but who knows with people like Churchill, Paton and Montgomery to deal with. When Eisenhower had come to the end of his two terms as President it was stuff like the 60's and 70's and people started saying that he was a lazy President, he had no glamour, he was bald, spent far too much time playing golf, and he did nothing to oppose Senator McCarthy who had George Marshal, of the Marshal Plan, on his list. Around the time of Reagan and Thatcher Democrats started trying to be nice about Eisenhower. He was honest they'd say and he was the power behind a public works project called the Inter-State Highway System. Up until maybe last month Republicans reckoned he was a closet liberal, someone called him "A Dime store New Dealer." Wonder what the next D will be known for sometime after I'm dead.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Wet Rain

With a bit of luck it might be dry tomorrow, get some fresh air, a little exercise. And I say this, not for my own wellbeing, rather it's the Girl Cat.

Frigid is OK, inches of frost is fine, but cold Kentucky rain is for the Girl Cat right down there with ocean whitefish. Nor is she very good at being bored.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Old School

Alright Guys, old school isn't easy. Blocks, selector switches, toggle switches, two cabs, yards and yards of gathered 14 AWG and 18 AWG wire, telephone wire for the frogs so it's no wonder the phone doesn't work, bus lines, terminal ports, horseshoe connectors, I'm going to use suitcase connectors.

Then there's the control panel which begins to look like a Stone Age temple, there's soldering, turn out switches, hours and hours on degenerating spine under a table that seems to be designed around the idea of brain damage.  Fun! Of course it's fun. Old School is always fun, it's way up there with Super Fantastic and Chiropodists.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Recent Sightings

Major Bernice, of the Ladies Wing of Saint Barbara's Militia, spotted the Slipper Wearing Spider. It was wandering along the dry river bed, minding its own business and it might have had a Beagle in its mandibles.

According to the Major the spider wasn't wearing slippers, it was one of the larger Wolf Spiders, it had two big eyes, it had four smaller ones, it looked sad and it reminded her of her third husband.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Big Spider

There's what The Artist calls a Slipper Wearing Spider hiding in a deep Cave, a very deep cave, possible all the way to Australia. Saint Barbara's Militia have been instructed to just go ahead and do the right thing, pretend they're Saint George, slay the Dragon, and make sure the more tender hearted don't have to spend the remainder of their time upon earth under the care of psychiatrists or wandering around Glavni Kolodvor mumbling.

In terms of scale, Slipper Wearing Spiders are up there. Apparently they're called Slipper Wearing Spiders because on a dark night you can hear them scampering across a clean floor. In N Scale they'd probably be about the size a Bull Elephant, but unlike Elephants, Slipper Wearing Spiders can leap over tall buildings. Good luck to the fine men and women of the Saint Barbara Militia, always a chance some will pay the Ultimate Sacrifice, there could be a couple of MIA's....

Friday, December 2, 2016

Tank Engines

Tank Steam Locomotives, sometimes called Saddle Tank Steam Locomotives, were engines that had no need of a Tender to carry stuff like water and coal. The reserve of water was in tanks on either side of the boiler and a limited supply of coal was stored at the back of the engine. These Steam Locomotives were used for short haul and the wonderful work of shunting, and in my view they are the cream of Steam Locomotive crop, especially when you pause briefly to consider that an electric model train doesn't like water and there's really no need for coal.

There was a big thing for running steam trains on oil. The Tenders for such locomotives were ugly in the extreme, they just look unnatural and totally destroy the glamour of the entire Steam Locomotive experience. Of course in the good old days, stray sparks from the engine's chimney would do things like cause fires in someone's Wheat field. Modern equivalent would probably be something like a Jumbo Jet engine landing on the Vegetable Plot. The point is the French Google-bot must have had a well deserved day off, it's now returned with a vengeance and I'm doing my very best to entertain it with the kind of bromide that hopefully substitutes for watching paint dry in the Google-bot community.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

List Making

The word Watch, basically means to "observe closely." To peer at in an unnerving and possible maniacal manner. It's not just casually glancing at for example a person's toupee, it's more like standing in the ice cream aisle at the Grocery Store, staring at the man with a toupee, getting out a note book so as to record for posterity what kind of ice cream people with toupees decide to go for, and hoping it's not Vanilla or Heath Bar Crunch. Oddly there's a wrist Watch, but sounds strange to call a Wall Clock a Watch. There's Bird Watching, where the intensity is such that a person may risk sun stroke, Wasp Attack and a visit to the Emergency Ward in exchange for the sight of a Lesser Green Egret.

The word List means a series of names, ideas, items which are written or printed or imagined one after the other. Top ten lists for example, a toy for the emotionally vacuous, spotty faced and basically stupid. A shopping list, a careful analysis of what might be required from the Grocery Store and which for one reason or another gets mislaid on the way to the Grocery Store. Then there's the Watch List. And here if I was a Professor tasked with challenging the minds of the youth on the basic assumption the youth actually have minds, I'd like to think I'd take my cue from someone like Socrates, maybe Zoroaster, or perhaps even Jesus, all of whom came to a sticky and very heroic end. And for those interested, Bon Chance Mon Frères, the French Google-bot has finally declared me harmless and has taken me off its list. Either that or an Exocet will shortly be knocking on the Front Door