Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Week of Celebration

February the Fourth might not figure large in the grand scheme, but for me at least it's an ice cream moment and well worth planning a visit to town in plenty of time. None of this last minute trip to the Dollar Store during rush hour to stare at the two kinds of Vanilla Ice Cream in their freezer.

February the Fourth is one of those days that's big enough to risk a mental break down in the Grocery Aisles were there are at least eight different kinds of Vanilla Ice Cream to ponder and worry over. Nor will I ever be taken in by the blatant propaganda of any Vanilla Ice Cream that contains Double Vanilla in it's explanation.

Monday, January 30, 2017


There's a whole bunch of cans of Tomato from last year with the initials PC on them. You'd think after years of experience a person would learn that what might be an obvious aid to memory one moment is not only totally incomprehensible two days later but months later it might as well some kind of Phoenician Script.

There's a whole bunch of cans of Tomato from last year with the initials PC on them. You'd think after years of experience a person would learn that what might be an obvious aid to memory one moment is not only totally incomprehensible two days later but months later it might as well some kind of Phoenician Script.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Fear is the Key

Our hero has reasserted his authority over your writer of pulp. Who knows what might have happened to the discipline of narrative. Not quite certain how it happened, or why it happened but despite valiant attempts and through no fault of his or mine, he's been sent to the Afon-Bedd Isolation Cells. Sometimes I think he just likes being alone and hasn't quite grasped the idea that punishment is supposed to change behaviors rather than offer an opportunity for that sort of rambling the professionals call prolix when they wish to dismiss it, or travel brochures when they see advantage.

I remember a book called Fear Is The Key. I was made very uncomfortable by the title for the assumption it made, but read it because at the time there wasn't much else to do and the cover had certain Lemuel Caution qualities. The "fear" part, so far as I can remember, had not so much to do with a trail of dead bodies, rather it had to do with a revenge seeking very angry, career minded hero eliciting an end to narrative with a final confession from self centered, mean villains by threatening to drown both himself and them in a small submarine that belonged to one of those billionaires. Pretty desperate, but might be worth a try.

Saturday, January 28, 2017


I will argue that shapes in our minds are built with words. In my brain there's a shape that looks like "Vestry of Monnow." One of the things about this shape is that while parts of it might exist in the minds of others, nowhere beyond my brain is this shape called anything like "Vestry of Monnow." Easier perhaps to look around for a title that better reflects the word shapes in the minds of others, but that would be the kind of compromise that results in a sort of consumerist popularization that basically takes the adventure out of thinking and replaces it with a pair of worn out socks or a paper handkerchief. And yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I've recently found myself struggling a little with the word Orange, which has long been the name for the warmth in our hero's maternal side. Who knows what's going to happen to the word Hippo, an aspect of our hero's paternal side, now that the cesspool flows so visibly through Lindisfarne.

 Safe to say that Vestry is angelic host related and Monnow is the name of an actual little river that starts as a stream and ends up in a confluence with a much bigger river in a town called Monmouth. I could call it "Vestry of the River Monnow." But that in no way reflects the shape in my mind called "Vestry of Monnow." Not wishing to exaggerate, it would be kind of like dismissing the Girl Cat as an increasingly stout orange patched mackerel tabby with a funny tail. True, Girl Cat, might be considered equally dismissive by those for whom the distinction between boys and girls has aligned the shape boy and the shape girl in such a way that one is inferior or superior. And here, I'd be the first to judge dogs as infinitely inferior, so there's no reach for anything like a committee decision on my part. Indeed, despite the odd peculiar dreams, I am pretty much wearing a silly hat, throwing out the catalogues and marching when it comes to the title "Vestry of Monnow." Call me an extremist, if you wish to.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Vestry of Monnow

It's a sad day when a person's understandings lose touch with the few signals from reality that our senses are capable of analyzing. If you call it simpleton then we're all possessed by it.

 It's an even sadder day when those signals become manipulated by the narratives or ambitions of others. But here I am, having fun, deep in the tri-county lunatic asylum where the clock ticks faster.

Purity and Greatness

The Weimar Republic emerged at the end of World War I as one answer to upheavals faced by the German people. Of the options explored by the political types, one was a Soviet style system which upset the property owners, the other option was to give more power to the German Parliament which was an elected body and this too distressed German elites who were firm in their belief that the average German in the Street was far too irresponsible to take control of his or her own destiny.  Briefly the Weimar Republic, as a parliamentary democracy, had a golden age of growing prosperity and the stability which prosperity always seems to promise. This golden age lasted from 1924 until the rapid decline in the value of stocks, most of which were owned by just a few, which precipitated the financial crisis of 1929. By 1933 the Weimar Republic was over.

In economic terms the interlude following the Weimar Republic was characterized by increased government spending in a market economy. Infrastructure and armaments did very well. This combination and the motivations behind it usually have a logical conclusion, give it whatever name you want but the object of the latter is essentially the destruction of the former and anything left over too often becomes a museum artifact or the inspiration behind motor cycle gangs and some of the more deranged movie directors. In political terms the interlude that followed the Weimar Republic was characterized by a leadership determined to assert both its "purity" and its "greatness." They defined purity as the eradication of dissent both vocal and genetic. They defined "greatness" as the inevitable consequence of and reward for "purity." But that's all ancient history, isn't it

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

2017 so far.

January 25th.  The Festive Season seems like about ten years ago. The New Year already old, gnarled and bitter. It must have opened its eyes and said "Not Again!" Then gone on a little about "who will release me" before taking to the Schnapps, Lobster Tails and the You Tube comment sections.

But fear not, my own views are never well defined, and entirely possible the New Year is actually busy in the potting shed, its eyes agleam with the possibilities around Apache Beggarticks in the perennial border, and the burdens of calculating the number Summer Dance Cucumber to plant.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Oh Dear.

Oh Dear! I'm going to have to stop using some of the words in the English Language, but on the brighter side I've had new insights into the fluidity of language, it's entirely temporal nature and how almost overnight meaning can change.

I remember my reluctance to use "totally" and "kind of" following an interlude spent amongst a particularly obnoxious group of younger people  Henceforth, Mount Everest will be twenty nine thousand and twenty nine feet above sea level plus or minus the snow cap rather than anything like "big."

Sunday, January 22, 2017


It begins to feel as though Potato planting time is near. Bluebirds are lisping at each other in that chess playing way and Boy Cardinals have the crazy eyes. Oh sure they have the red of a Cardinal's robe, but no one in their right mind could look into the face of a Boy Cardinal and say "Let's call them Cardinals."

It's not so much the Cardinal's fault that it's called a Cardinal, it's the nature of the mind that chose to call it a Cardinal. The other thing about the decline of January into the hell of February, we Pink Flamingoes begin to doubt the validity of our calling as our levels of tolerance deteriorate. On a brighter side our hero is about to meet Saint Winifred.

Saturday, January 21, 2017


The more authoritarian minded would likely prefer a seat at First Night of The Proms. Which as I understand it is a "happening" which some days later ends with something like Elgar's Funeral March in the Albert Hall, an ornate dome in London, England, which has been hosting "happenings" since the 1870's. The tickets are pricey of course, so it's not for everyone. And it's true, some "happenings" are riveted by the pomp of obedience that comes from tradition, an orderliness that can anticipate what happens next and applaud it, or go on a little about how much fuller the experience was last year.

Other "happenings" are less suited to the more authoritarian minded and more suited to those of us in the tapestry who might look at the Tower Of Pisa, shrug and say something like "so it leans, big deal" rather than struggle to find that brief moment of discipline around the definitions of others. Either way along the continuum from the full blown fascista to the ennui laden existentialist, "happenings" are central to the nervous system. Inevitably we all criticize the "happenings" of others, and in the interest of full disclosure, your correspondent had his own "happening" this morning. It was bloat phase vole in refrigerator workings and a good time was had by all.

Friday, January 20, 2017


When it comes to politics the word Liberal contains a host of nuance, some of it rather cruel, and yet Liberal Democracy is easier to define. It's where the person as an individual has merit because he or she exists. Call it a recipe for chaos, if you're really nervous, unhappy and can't afford a manicure, or whatever.

It's possible of course there's no such thing as an individual. We exist as the product of swarming around shiny bright objects, one of which is called an Individual. Mockingbirds, who are difficult to tell apart, are definitely individuals and so are Wrens and Ostriches.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tails for Fruitcakes

In the grand scheme that chews the tapestries of our expanding universe there's probably nothing less important than whether or not the Saints of Afon-Bedd get a chocolate cake or a fruitcake on their Saint's Day.

Nor should a writer of pulp permit his own preference for fruitcakes interfere with the decision making process. Briefly, very briefly, maybe a couple of months, Ancient Athens chose it's leader through lottery. Therefore, I'll be tossing a coin if I can find one. Tails for Fruitcake.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Warm with Peepers

Can't believe it's Tuesday. Overcast, warm with Peepers. Spring Peepers they're called, a Chorus Frog which means they all sing together in a most nerve shattering way should a person live within half a mile of their home. And this particular branch of the Frog Family is pretty much certain to come up against an arctic reaction to anything like happiness during the very earlier part of the year. I'm told Peepers can tolerate having some of their body fluids turn to ice, which is just as well.

The pond, or the water feature, or the old tub full of water, or the bio-hazard, depending upon mood doesn't host Peepers. It's the preserve of a community of Green Frogs. Watch them hunt down a butterfly, it's more of a leap and close your eyes technique than it is anything resembling ballet, and you can begin to wonder how on earth the Green Frog manages an existence. But they're up and about, contemplating stuff, and it seems quite mean that a warm spell in January should do this to them.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Good Omen

Your writer of pulp, with help from distant places and with the assistance of an Afon-Bedd orderly who has a truly horrible mustache, has managed at last to plant our hero firmly at a lunch table for four opposite Saint Chad.

And real time coverage of the outdoors suggests sunshine. Not the kind of sunshine that casts distinct shadows, rather it looks like a sunshine that's making a pathetic effort. Might even be worthwhile going outside to give it an encouraging cheer.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Railway Station

Alright guys, Glavni Kolodvor is getting totally out of control, so much so some of us are yearning for the aching bones and near death experiences that follow outdoor activities. There's never been a railway station like this and I hope there'll never be another railway station that's beginning to look more like an oddly appointed balsa wood groundhog burrow. But even an unbiased appraiser would have to agree it seems to suit the 4-6-2 and her consorts.

I guess that we more rural dwellers begin to think of urban as a place were people and things just disappear, and if ever they do reappear they're more like buzzing bees, darting around wondering what's next, rather than settling into a pattern of cutting then stacking small wooden bricks occasionally interrupted by a little mouse hunting. It's possible Glavni Kolodvor will just go on forever, one vast railway station laying siege to a Carmelite Monastery

Saturday, January 14, 2017


Nothing worse than a restless Cat. They fumble around searching for an entertainment that invariable includes random acts of Vandalism and/or demands for Turkey and Giblets. It's not that wet outside, a little damp, the occasional shower, a few puddles but we're not talking Crocodile infested with high winds, and no good raising the perils from the Long Eared Owl, he or she should be well occupied by the Crows during daylight.

And if we don't get a little bit of a walk about in the daylight, it all happens at night, doesn't it? No good pretending the myriad Cat Flaps dotted all over the place are nothing more than unnecessary architectural accents the function of which are a complete mystery. I'm almost as stupid as I look, but not that stupid. The entire morning hunting down a very hyperactive and extremely large Vole running around inside the domicile. It didn't appear by magic, you know, and you could have done a little more than critically observe the Vole removal process.

Friday, January 13, 2017


I think the whole point about Afon-Bedd, the source of it's current irritation, has more to do with it's change of name that followed a potlatch sometime in 2015. For years and years it was called Pen-y-Fal, an ancient Welsh word which I think means sugarloaf, an often used name for hills with a particular shape, but pretty certain the ancient Welsh didn't have sugar as such, so who knows what they actually meant, unless it was something like sweet. There's a Sugarloaf somewhere near Dublin, Eire, and I think there's one in that State of the Union polite people call North or South Carolina.

 If I remember, which is unlikely, both myself and our hero were perfectly happy with Pen-Y-Fal until we realized that one of us didn't like the word Sugarloaf. Briefly, very briefly Afon-Bedd was going to be Pen-y-Lan which means Summit, there's lots of Pen-y-Lans, one is title of an area of Cardiff, Wales,  a little north of Roath, which most likely is old Irish for fort, and there's a whole thing with the Irish and South Wales. Saint Patrick might even have spent his more sensible days in South Wales before addressing the Irish snake problem. Afon, means river and Bedd might just as well be a grave. On the other hand I'm just not horrible enough to represent an analogy of living upon earth as a lunatic asylum by using the word Summit. There are some very sweet and sensible people around.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Words with Friends

A brief pause in the heated debate between a writer of pulp and our hero so that air might be cleared a little. You know your close to the rubber room when you find yourself yelling some very irrational things at a technical device.

 I'm beginning to think that our hero has entered a pact with that devil from Seattle Cortina, or Cortana, or whatever her name is. They're both in there somewhere, plotting against me. Ask me anything? My foot!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lunch with Saint Chad

In the dream state I picture The Rabbit of Usk as a truly voluminous tome, not one of those giant hardbacks that just sit there, but a well worn paperback with a broken spine which in my view suggests a book that someone might have actually read. There'll be pictures, hundreds of them, there'll be couple of thousand pages that contain a glossary, there'll be full color maps, the odd diagram and there'll be good few addendums.

Then when my time comes to meet the great unknown, my parts scattered by the birds of the air, beasts of the field and any subterranean dweller who might express interest, I'll be clutching The Rabbit of Usk, my expression will be so blissful some might suspect that I'd seen The Rapture. But none of this is going to happen if I can't persuade our hero to sit down and have lunch with Saint Chad, whose bones are still in somewhere like Lichfield. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Pillars of Pharaoh

In the Sabean tradition The Pillars of Pharaoh might well be described as a consciousness of place. It's an edifice in the mind that unites the possibilities and generally that unity is chock full of assumptions that comfortably limit those possibilities so that you and I might dwell in a degree of certainty however absurd or irrational that degree of certainty might be. Then something like a washing machines floods the bathroom floor, the internet goes out, the electric fails, a deranged orange person is constantly in the news from outside, call centers are automated, the world comes to an end and we just might as well dig our own graves and get it over with. So The Pillars of Pharaoh is a simple, very uncomplicated idea with what I think is a rather neat name. It's true also that consciousness is ill defined word, but think of it as a good old fashioned eyes wide open Being in Time trying to make sense of passing moments by anticipating what might happen next and making terrible mistakes in the process. And forget all about the idea that a being in time is ever likely to be even remotely authentic, that condition is reserved for crack heads and workaholics. Instead take your cue from the attic dwellers by Picturing the Slope without any kind of snow or ice on it, and trust me there's no ski lift.

It's not precisely documented but it's a well know fact that many thousands of years ago the Sabeans had a schism, which has sometimes been referred to as the Poach Egg Schism. In those days Sabeans were barrack dwellers who occasionally had to dress up, travel for miles and miles beat up on one of Pharaoh's enemies and if they were successful they were allowed to come home again. Despite the perils it was quite a good job for anyone who hailed from south of what's now called the Aswan Dam. Then around the time the Domesticated Chicken arrived in North Africa from what's now called the Indian subcontinent, a Pharaoh whose name in the Sabean language translates as "Unmentionable" chose to change the Sabean rations. Back then of course there was some doubt about the best way of dealing with Chicken eggs. There was understandable division within Sabean ranks as to whether eggs should be somehow cooked or eaten raw. And while the argument raged an Elamite type people fleeing Eden invaded The Pillars of Pharaoh, which led to the equally poorly documented Sabean Diaspora. Incidentally it was the Pyramid Sabeans who followed the directions and cooked their eggs.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Saint Barbara's Book Club

Not only does Sister Elegance of Saint Teresa's Carmelites have a few opinions on the size of railway station benches, she's managed to take control of Saint Barbara's Book Club. There's some mumbling amongst Barbarians around the monopolistic tendencies of the Carmelite calling and some astonishment. The book club has long been the purview of Saint Barbara's Militia, its reading list devoted to the campaigns of Julius Caesar, Napoleon and Rommel, occasionally interrupted by a little light romance from the one eyed Lothar-Gunther Buchheim.

Regular visitors to these pages can imagine the alarm bells that tolled through your writer of pulp when Sister Elegance announced that next month's topic for the book club would be "The Meaning of the Pillars of Pharaoh in The Rabbit of Usk." Granted the series is a ripping yarn of monumental proportions, but of all possible areas to tear into why I ask has Sister Elegance chosen the Pillars of Pharaoh. I guess it probably has something to do with the earthly sin of kings, queens and presidents who get all pissed off if they're not worshipped as a God.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Can't actually remember a New Year when I woke to the idea that "This is going to be a good year." Granted some of us are less stable than others, we struggle a little with the whys and the wherefores, come up empty, but I have to wonder on this Epiphany Sunday whether anyone has ever woken to the idea that "This is going to be a good year." And sadly there are some parts of me that reckon the whole idea of Epiphany Sunday was built around the observation that aside from a falling down drunk it's a rare and unusual person that ever wakes up in the middle of the winter, looks at a real time offering from the outdoors and says "This is going to be a good year."

My argument for those interested, has to do with the relationship between evidence, proof and belief. By some accounts The Epiphany was confirmation by the Wise Men that the two week old babe in the manager was divine. Through the years that opinion has rarely been considered an off-hand remark or a search for something nice to say to someone's mother about their child. The nature of belief is that a person believes. But I'd like to think that Jesus was never an antique or a fashion statement, he requires no provenance, and like all of us past and present, he should be judged by what he's reported to have said and done rather then where he might have come from. A minority opinion, I'm sure.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Chapter Fifteen Lunch

Big moment in Vestry of Monnow, our hero is almost ready to sit down for his Chapter Fifteen lunch. And I'll tell you this much, it's good practice for a writer of pulp to have a television screen in his room with a real time offering of what might be happening in the outdoors. A strange noise here, a strange noise there, and you can see exactly what's going on, and for those of us who are particularly averse to visitors, we have plenty of time to hide in the wardrobe where we can pretend to be in somewhere like Ulan Bator rather than available for an hour or two of painful conversation about feeding oxen, or the cold, or who didn't turn up to church because they froze to death in their kitchen, or any number of classically rural tooth skinning winter topics.

I guess too there's an argument which suggests that no one really cares whether our hero is almost ready to sit down for his Chapter Fifteen lunch. Nor would it be any use my saying something like "well I've been waiting almost ten years to introduce our hero to Saint Chad and would have managed it early had I not been sabotaged by the vandalism of a technical device. And no use talking about clouds. Those of us who can never remember our password, or our mother's middle maiden name, have no business using any kind of Cloud to store their notes, it's a potlatch just waiting to happen." Much better to give this huge moment moment a comprehensible verity by saying "there'll be a trip through snow, ice, wandering beasts and God knows what else to get vanilla Ice cream."

Friday, January 6, 2017

Local Gossip

I have a view of the outdoors from my room. Nor do I have to do anything absurd like open the curtains. It's a Movie Camera of some sort which I endured several near death experiences securing to the side of the domicile during the warmer weather. This camera is attached through wires to an old television set, and I get moving pictures of what may or may not be happening.

From what I can see it's miserable out there, there's snow on the ground, the sky looks kind of white with grey flecks and now that the Dogwood Seeds are just about gone the Mockingbird is flitting about protecting his Alatus Berries. It'll be Privet next, and I hope he doesn't get a cough. Go ahead sneer if you wish to, but I'm damned if I'm going anywhere near the outdoors until the Girl Cat does.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

News Feeds

There's Feedly, there's Feedspot, there's a whole bunch of them, but the one I like wasn't making anyone a billionaire so it's no longer available.

Maybe I'm alone, but I've totally, completely and utterly had my fill of Billionaires. I yearn for the day when they are all consigned to the dustbins of History.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Moral Philosophers concern themselves with Right and Wrong. It's not good enough to state that A is wrong, without first explaining why A is wrong, and for a person who calls themselves a philosopher this explanation has to divorce itself from the pull of emotions, find a home in reason, in logic, or in an abstract that can be shared. More often the ability to share abstract solutions depends upon a state of mind that accepts the existence and relevance of reason and this requires a mind to get far away from the tangles of passion where it might exist as a sort of board game played within a set of rules. One of the consequences is that Moral Philosophers like most Philosophers can only really talk to each other.

Call it an elitism if you like, but more important is the contribution of any elite to the whole mass of us. One of the things about that contribution is the extent to which the whole mass of us trust it. Ideally of course the rest of us would understand the means by which the conclusion was achieved, we'd be able to follow the arguments, have our chance to dispute them instead of relying upon the flickering light of trust. Generally though the whole mass of us has no idea how the conclusions were achieved, but give us power and soon enough we'll make our own mistakes, lessons that will need re-learning, lessons that might even produce different conclusions. Whether anything is reasonably right or wrong, however, will always remain in limbo. And you're probably right there's a hot poker in hell for me. Either way RIP Derek Parfit.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mysticism and Caves

Warm, but even for the dedicated professional it's too wet for the shovel. The thing about a digging project, it gets into the mental flow and sort of hangs around and usually at the most inopportune moment it says something like "What about me?" It happened this morning while the Upper Glavni Kolodvor Development Committee was in session, the questions raised had to do with carriage doors opening on platforms, the clunky and piecemeal nature of the overall design, flawed windows. As well, apparently the planner have paid scant regard for the safety of little boys who might be running around in a totally out of control manner on platforms. Sister Elegance came up with some suggestion about herd thinning, and fortunately I was able to call the meeting to order and we all found some solace in Now Casting around the recently turned earth that is currently at the Muddy Finger Stage, the worst possible condition for working soil.

I don't care what anyone says, multitasking is a Cardinal sins. However, I am a person who does give credence to an idea of mysticism. And here I don't mean "realities beyond perception" or anything remotely associated with an "immediate consciousness of the ultimate nature of God." What I mean by mysticism is defined by the words "vague, groundless, vegetative, speculation." It's the part of the mind that lies between being awake and being asleep and however you want to look at it, mysticism as vague, groundless, speculation is always kind of paddling around in the streams of Being, and I'd argue if it wasn't for that paddling around we'd still be living in caves. In the interest of full disclosure, a very rare quality in the modern age, I will say that I do spend much of my time in a cave. It's got a carpet, a table and so on, but it still has the essential qualities of a cave.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter fifteen of Vestry of Monnow begins to feel like a Chapter Seventeen of The Letlander, which ended up enduring a voluntary potlatch, it was tossed into the fire while the Angels sang. That was the glorious June of 2015, so when searching for something to blame for the predicament of Vestry of Monnow's chapter fifteen, at least I can find a responsible party in the January weather and in the imminence of the End Times now that the complexity of policy can be stuffed into a tweet which may or may not include commas.

One New Age option would be to dismiss the nuances and flavors, the subtleties and the genuine pulp of chapter fifteen and just say something like "A bunch of stuff happened and they had lunch." Then I could quickly move on to chapter sixteen which is all about our hero's exciting attempt to impress King Offa and his fellow inmates in Dayroom Two by volunteering to deal with a Mole issue in the king's dyke. Sadly we writers of pulp are made of sterner stuff than that, which means that for us struggling to comprehend is a virtue rather than a vice.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Spirit of 2017

An early insight into the Year of our Lord 2017, or the year  4714 or 4715, possibly 4713, of the Chinese Calendar, was a remark by The Artist. "You are so not a Pink Flamingo."  Invariably The Artist is absolutely correct, which means an attitudinal adjustment on my part, and here I suppose the attitudinal adjustment required has commonalities with something like Fear of Telephones, which like Fear of Spiders or Snakes the professionals claim is one of those fears that can only be overcome by picking up a telephone and making a telephone call every day for at least a year. The rewards, I have been assured, are well worth the daily risk of heart failure. Nor are the professionals inclined to take interest in my own theory that anyone who actually makes a telephone call is struggling with "A Character Flaw." It's a long theory that requires an ability to conceptualize a slope, a more quantum understanding of randomness, it has an "almost" sign near the end, but there's no "equals" sign which causes uneasiness in so many.

This "Character Flaw" position is probably the area where attitudinal adjustment is required from me. It's a well known fact that a Pink Flamingo responds in an erratic, sometimes gormless manner to the influence of peer review. In another way, it's not the snake or the spider or the telephone, rather it's what's at the other end. With respect to a telephone it's a disembodied voice, it has no face to look at, no eyes, there's nothing more than that same menacing nuance of voice found in something like a tax form or hate mail. And when thus threatened a Pink Flamingo will dance, whereas a Non Pink Flamingo will look for a rock of dull ideas to crawl under. The question of course is "What's to be done?"  Of the possible directions to take, I've already given serious consideration to addressing my Profile Picture, to changing the color of these pages, updating gadgets, reopening the list of Top Ten List Writing Birds, accepting Friends Requests on Face Book and so on. In short, as a new year of resolution dawns, I feel confident that despite rumors to the contrary, and if I'm still conscious, some degree of hatchling Flamingo-hood will have been achieved. Oh Yes! And pictures help apparently.t